Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Windstorms and Willows

Mother Nature is awesome! Brilliant and beautiful and messy and amazing and inspiring and dangerous and on and on and on. There was beautiful storm last night. One with lightning and thunder and wind and rain and gray clouds in a gray sky. I was wishing I had a huge porch so I could sit out and safely watch it in all its glory. And just as quickly as it would wind up, it would wind down and leave me wondering what was the mastermind behind all the damage I could see.

{The wind was a funny thing when the kids were little - especially Nathan. It was something to be feared and it's been humorous to see what a genetic issue that fear of wind is. But that's all a story for another post.}

It actually wasn't until this morning that I was able to see all the storm had left in its wake. I think this is probably the worst collection of downed tree limbs we have had in one occurrence since we moved here and chose to plant willow trees. Yes, I said "chose". When we were planting the yard, I wanted a foresty front yard. Kind of to hide us from the street but mostly just because I liked the ambiance of it. We weighed the pros and cons of the kind of trees we'd plant. We wanted fast growing. We wanted shade. We wanted trees that could be climbed in. We wanted trees that wouldn't blow over in the winds that Tremonton is famous for. Willows fit the majority of our requirements and, because of that, we felt that a little bit of mess from weak branches would be livable. And, truth be known, we actually chose three (3) willow trees. One in the backyard and two in the front yard. It would be interesting to see what things would have looked like this morning had the drunk driver not upended one of the willow trees from the front yard years ago! 

So, yeah, we chose.

What I saw this morning was such a vivid analogy of life. Maybe my life more than anyone else's. And I wondered the whole day. I wondered if, after the storms of life, I am a branch who is still on the tree or if I am one of the many weak ones on the ground. Or, on the broader sense, am I weak like a willow tree who can't hold herself together when the storms get scary and wild?

The backyard. Fairly normal after a windstorm for the backyard. Some pretty big (weak) branches but not more than usual.

One angle of the front yard. Some really big (weak) branches and many more than normal.

Front yard by the fence. I don't think there have ever been branches smashed up again the fence. Reminds me of the

sage brush in Delta. If I actually am a willow tree, I certainly fell apart big time!

Another angle of the front yard.

The biggest of the branches piled up. They were probably up to my waist at the deepest part. Absolutely amazing!

What an amazing image of weakness to me. Of not having my armor on tight enough {if I even have it on at all}. Truthfully, I probably am a willow tree. I'd like to think I'm strong and can do anything but deep down in my roots, I know I'm not. I'm weak and fragile and fall apart after three sneezes, let alone a wind storm. I'll own that. But, I guess my question now is, can the Atonement make this frail willow tree a mighty oak? Is that what Christ's Atonement can do for me? Second question would have to be, do I have the faith to allow Christ's Atonement to make me into an oak tree? Can I believe {rather, know} that when He causes a strong wind to blow and I lose branches, those branches needed to be lost? So the wind is His way of pruning me and cleaning me up and shaping me into a mightier, deeper-rooted, stronger-limbed tree? That's what I'm to believe and trust in?

I guess I need to not just sit on an imaginary porch watching the storm. I need to get out in the storm, look forward to the wind, knowing I will come out on the other side a better, stronger tree.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Monday, September 2, 2013

My Grandkids - In All Their Various Stages

In the course of two days my grandkids went from well-behaved, Sunday best kids to fierce warriors to crazy dirty bridge-sitters. I love them in all their stages!!! So glad we got to be all together!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Stripling Warriors Armored Up

Since our Labor Day Camp spanned over Sunday, it's kind of become a tradition to have a Family Home Evening Meeting so we are reminded - if only for a moment - that it is Sunday. 

Joe and Mandy had a good experience with the Armor of God with their family so they were assigned the teaching at the meeting. Mandy and I got all the visual effects and "Armor" ready.

Everyone waiting quietly for the meeting to start. Kind of
surprising just how quiet they were, actually!

There was a cool bridge up the hiking trail a little ways and I wanted to get a picture with all the grandkids sitting on it so a few of us took them on the short hike up to the bridge. They were supposed to come back into camp with their 'reverent' voices and be ready to start. I think they did really good!

Look at those good examples!! Wow!

Helmets of Salvation

Grampa conducting the meeting

The adult row

Krisy leading the music - The Army of Helaman

Nate led a good discussion with the kids about the firefighting gear he puts on before he goes out to fight a fire. The kids were pretty smart, knowing what he needed and why he needed to wear it. All of it was to protect him and vital parts of his body.

Nate giving a description of what he wears as a

Paisley joined her dad in teaching safety.

Joe telling the story out of the scriptures and
explaining what the Armor of God was and why
it is so important in protecting us

Mandy getting the warriors all pumped up as she explained what
all the parts of the armor were for and how they could use them
to protect themselves

Trying to get them all lined up so we could get a picture of them all while they had their armor on and before they left for battle. That was almost a losing battle!

A mom getting her little warrior ready for battle

I think I specifically told them to quit taking pictures until my behind
was out of the way. Obviously someone wasn't listening!

My 12 Stripling Warriors - there wasn't a picture where someone
didn't have some piece of armor in front of their face - theirs or
someone else's

And then 'someone' yelled, "1, 2, 3, Battle!" and any semblance of a Sunday was over! Luckily we did have the closing prayer first! I think...

Scott getting pummeled while trying to start the fire. Something tells
me he thought he would escape the battle

Amber didn't escape either. But at least she tried
to steal some armor and weapons and protect
herself and fight back!

There was a lot of distractions, being in the mountains and will all the cousins together and all, but I think a landmark was planted. I can't help but think that at some point down the road, at least one of those kids will remember that time up in the mountain when they learned about how God's Armor could protect them. They will remember and they will look it up and they will correct whatever isn't going right with their lives at the time. I have to believe things like that.