Friday, April 10, 2015

Spring break happenings and Michael and Johanna arrive!

As I previously mentioned, Spring break got off to a slow start as the stomach flu cycled its way through our family. My attention was also diverted as I was preparing for the arrival of special visitors. Feeling bad about our lackluster spring break itinerary, I did my best to take the kids to the park and to let them outside to ride bikes as much as I could.
Tuesday night, March 31, I was bustling about my kitchen feeling somewhat overwhelmed. Andrew was on his way back from a business trip and I was hoping that he'd be home soon to help me with the kids. Thinking ahead to the next day, I was preparing food, cleaning up dishes and mentally going through my list of to-dos when I heard a knock at the door.

It was Michael and Johanna Auras! We weren't planning to see them until the following day. I love a good surprise and truly, my excitement level was through the roof when I saw who it was. In that moment, I no longer cared about my stairs that desperately needed to be vacuumed and forgot that I was in definite need of a shower (among other things). They were actually here! My list of to-dos no longer mattered to me.

The kids were likewise drawn to our visitors. Gathering outside in the backyard we enjoyed a great visit complete with introductions to our livestock (Andrew likes when I incorporate that word). Andrew soon arrived home and a short while later the kids were put to bed. We were then free to talk about Simon and his special funeral service without interruption. They shared photos with us from that day and opened up about their grief. Testimonies of eternal families were shared along with expressions of gratitude for the plan of salvation. They talked about accepting the Lord's will and shared other tender mercies which provided Andrew and me with comfort. The strength they have demonstrated has really amazed us.

The next morning, we secured a babysitter and joined them for a session at the Ogden temple. I slept poorly the night before and spent a lot of energy that morning pleading with Heavenly Father to help me get through the day. I was feeling stress because I was really hoping that I would still be able to enjoy the things that we had planned to do with our friends and kids. As I sat next to Johanna in the temple, I realized that my desires were fairly petty and selfish as I imagined the great burden of sorrow that she now carries. I realized then that my efforts would be better spent praying to God to please help alleviate the ache in her heart, to give her strength, courage and to bless her with the ability to truly enjoy her trip with Michael. It was their first real trip together in 19 years of marriage.    
I have a testimony that the temple is the place to be when you are seeking comfort and peace. Serving there, I believe, also gives us the opportunity to express gratitude to our Father in Heaven who has given us everything. Andrew and I don't go as often as we should but I can say that when we do, there is greater harmony in our home.

After the temple, we returned home, ate lunch and loaded up the children for an outing to This is the Place Heritage Park. The train and pony rides were the highlight. Several attractions were closed, including the donut shop. This devastated Eliza.


That evening, we dropped the kids off at Bubba and Nanna's (thank you!) and went downtown. The four of us enjoyed a delicious dinner at the Roof restaurant. We also meandered around City Creek for awhile and laughed as Michael ran into various acquaintances.
Our day began with the Ogden temple and our night ended with a view of the Salt Lake temple. It was a very great day. 
That night we rejoined our kids back at Nanna and Bubba's home for a sleepover. The kids love doing this; especially when cousins arrive the next day with fun Springtime projects. Aunt Katie is so fun to organize these activities.

It also marked the first time Forrest and Harley had quality play time, one on one. :)

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