Sunday, September 26, 2010

One Year

Saturday morning, I woke early.  I didn't intend to run.  We had to be ready to leave for a lacrosse tournament at 7:30, and I couldn't get in my planned 10 miles before then, so I thought I'd sleep in(ish) for a change.  But something nudged me awake.  I looked at the clock, groaned, and closed my eyes.  I felt the gentle push again, looked at the clock again, and figured even if I couldn't manage 10, I could run up the mountain and back down.

I grabbed my iPod on the way out.  While climbing the hill, I listened to a talk on prayer and promptings of the spirit which talked about the miraculous rescue of a young man when his parents felt inspired to pray for him at a moment of great danger.  I thought about Brent.  I cried.  I felt the reassurance of the spirit that while he was not rescued from his moment of great danger, that he had been at that very moment in the hands of a loving Father and that we were too.  I took the pain of it and gave it back to Heavenly Father, filing it in the "I don't understand fully" file.

I reached the trail, and despite the barely brightening sky, decided to turn onto it instead of continuing on the street.  The path was still, the sun began to glimmer over the mountains, and the lights of the valley shone under my feet.  I stopped at my turning point, breathing in pure beauty.

Something rose in me.  "Think for a minute," it said.  I thought.  And then I was washed with peace.  As joy bubbled up, I remembered the date.  September 25, the anniversary of our move.  And I knew, in one gorgeous moment of grace, that all I've experienced this year, all the pain, all the turmoil, all the questions, all the searching, and all the growth, was sanctified for my good.  I wept again, recognizing that all of it has worked together to put me in a new place, not just physically but spiritually.  I have a new heart.  And with the new heart, I've been gifted a new vision for my life.

I don't know why my path has been stony and hard to follow for so long, but it's lying smooth and straight ahead of me now.  And I am grateful.  I am so so grateful.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ben's Preschool Preview 8.16.10

So Ben is three.

And being three means Ben is going to preschool.

For reals.

So we went to meet his teacher on a bright August day.  He wore his boots and carried a stuffed animal. He was not too interested in the classroom, but was pretty darned excited about the sandbox.

Ben.  Three.  In preschool.


(That MAY just be a happy sigh...  Or a sad sigh...  Or a mixture of the two.)

Croquet 8.15.10

Sunday we brought some food down to David's brothers' house.  We love Mike and Debi and their kids.  Mike was in a diving accident earlier this summer and ended up with major back surgery, so we've tried to spend a little more time with him as he's dealt with the aftermath.  We're so glad his recovery is finally coming along well.

Lyndsey lived with us for a year during my pregnancy with Ben.  We miss having her around.  We loved playing croquet with her.  I think I lost.  But maybe I beat Ben.

Josh's 50 Miler 8.14.10

After getting in fairly late at night on Friday, we got up at 4 (yes, you read that correctly) to get to Bear Lake in time for Josh's first 50 mile bike ride.  We were lucky enough to get involved with a great group of people who put together a summer program to help kids earn merit badges for a very low price.  Josh did his art, citizenship in the community, citizenship in the nation, sculpture, and biking merit badges through the group.  The biking merit badge was by far Josh's favorite, and it culminated with a 50 miler around Bear Lake.  He did it with his Scoutmaster and his Scoutmaster's two boys.  He loved it.  He's planning to do the century (twice around the lake) next year.  I love seeing my kids get passionate about something.

The girls and I had fun with Michelle Christiansen while the boys were biking.  We headed over to her friends' condo where the girls quickly became friends with the children of the condo owners.  And it turns out they live in David's brother's ward in Bountiful.  We walked over to the lake and fed the carp that live near the docks.  Really gross.  And really cool.

Josh and the Christiansens
At the first rest stop
Ben.  Fashionista.

The carp.  Totally disgusting and yet somehow still fun to feed.
Handing out medals
Finished.  Still feeling good.
And of course, no trip to Bear Lake is complete without a raspberry shake.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

New Friends 8.13.10

Ben and the Three Z's: Zachary, Ez, and Zeke

One of the very best things about camp was the friendships each one of my kids made with their second cousins. It was heaven to watch the bonds grow over the three days we were at camp. My cousins remain part of the fabric of my life, and I think a majority of the experiences I shared with them happened on long camping trips with little scheduled to interfere with our talking and laughing. Honestly, it was on these trips that I felt the most linked to our extended family. It wasn't always perfect, and we didn't always treat each other perfectly, but we sure loved each other.

I am blessed beyond measure with the relationships I've been given in my family. My parents, my siblings, their spouses, their children, my grandparents, my aunts, my uncles, my cousins, my cousins' spouses, and their seems like that's almost more love than it's possible to contain in one life.

I was running a few weeks ago and Pearl Jam's Just Breathe started to play. Of course, the song always reminds me of our great loss, but this time I was also flooded with gratitude for how much MUCH love there is in my life. My huge family. My wonderful friends. Love unbounded. Love overflowing. I can't count on both hands AND both feet the ones I love. Sometimes I think the number is uncountable.

Yes, I understand that every life must end.
As we sit alone, I know someday we must go.
Oh I'm a lucky man, to count on both hands
the ones I love,..

Some folks just have one,
yeah, others, they've got none.
Stay with me,..
Let's just breathe.
So if you are one of those I count as one I love, thank you. I hope you feel my love, too. There's nothing like love to make our paths worth walking.

I hope that my children will find the same kind of love as they move into the world. I hope a few days at Lake Cascade will give them the beginnings of these beautiful relationships.

Cascade Lake in the Sun 8.12.10

(My sweet Kate and my sweet grandma, Roxie. She couldn't wait to show Grandma her Roxy swimshirt.)

Even though Wednesday was a fun day, I was a little worried that our entire trip would be rained out. Thankfully, Wednesday dawned clear, if still a little chilly. I was kind of in charge of a fun run ("kind of" meaning that I found out I was in charge the night before, so I ran around telling everyone to meet at the gate at 9:30 to run to the lake and back. That's MY kind of responsibility) so after breakfast, off we ran. After the fun run (won by 13-year-old Nathaniel), Christina, Eric, Mom, my cousin Steph, my uncle Clark and I all went on a longer run. It was really gorgeous. A perfect beginning. And as we ran, it got warmer and warmer.

Definitely a water day. Hooray!

So down we all went to the lake. There are a lot of us. A LOT. Throughout the week at camp there were over 180 people at camp. Not all of us were at the lake at once, but it almost looks like it in the pictures. Highlights: canoeing with David, watching my kids being happy happy happy, watching the little kids learn to ski on the trainer ski, and reliving many wonderful days from my past.

Uncle Dave and Kate
Steph's family

Later, back at camp, we watched the three-year-olds wander, throwing berries at everything in sight. Eric and Dad did the dutch oven thing. After dinner, we took the littles back to the lake so they could try their luck at fishing. David is a patient, patient man. And sadly, there were no fish! Such a surprise!

It was a perfect day to end our camping trip. I started campaigning to meet back at the campground in two more years, and I think I may have convinced almost everyone that a biannual enormous, crazy, wonderful Youngberg reunion is exactly what we all need.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Cascade Lake in the Rain 8.11.10

This first picture is just why we made the effort to get to Idaho in the first place. Here is my sweet grandma with five of her great-grandchildren. Kate hadn't met any of these darling second cousins before Sunday, but by the time we left, they were fast friends. By the time we left? No. That's wrong. By Wednesday afternoon, they were fast friends. That's the magic of a Youngberg family reunion.

We were treated to a rainstorm overnight, and woke up to cold, cold, cold, and wet, wet, wet. Did the rain and cold change our plans? Yup. I was planning on a great run followed by a day at the lake. What did we get instead?

Time to wander around the camp, looking for someone wanting to party.

Lots of games of kubb, a Swedish game my dad made in his woodshop before the trip. My dad was great at it. I was not. But it was fun anyway.

Time to watch my very talented kubb-playing dad and cheerlead for the various kubb-playing teams. David was the best cheerleader, hands down.

Time to walk and talk.

And more time to wander.

Time to be silly. (So sorry, Mom.)

Time to visit the lake.

Time to drink in the gorgeous scenery.

Time to get re-acquainted with my cousins' darling families. Here's Steph and her family.

And here's Brian and his family.

Time to hang out. Josh discovered that he does indeed have cousins his age. They may be second cousins, but that doesn't matter when you're a Youngberg. I don't know if I ever saw Josh and Sophie after they found Ally. That's Ally on the top of the swingset.

Here's Karissa and her sweet Porter. Love the hair. There are not nearly enough red-headed Youngbergs. I'm glad to see a few coming out in the next generation.

More hanging out. Literally.

It's just not a party without another Kerri cake failure.

Ben made fast friends with Zeke, Karissa's oldest. They thought sweeping the dirt was a great plan.

Time to make new friends.

And time to dance. My cousin Gary brought all his church dance equipment, and we rocked the house. Well, we rocked the eating area. There was no house. And seriously, my mom loves to dance more than anything else in the world. Just look at her smile here.

And here. Oh, you didn't notice my mom, since you were so distracted by Dave's sweet moves. I know.

And here. The woman is dance-crazy.

Time to take pictures. I love my cousin Richard.

Time to dance some more. Yes, that's my mom living it up on the left.

Time to spend with my grandma. I love this woman.

Time to reconnect. I love this picture of these two almost-cousins.

And even more time to dance.

So I guess the long story short is that we really didn't end up caring too much that our water fun was rained out. Life was good (if a bit muddy).