Sunday, March 23, 2008

Sending Esther on a Mission

We just got back on Friday from a six day stay in Salt Lake where we sent my baby sister Esther off on her mission to Richmond Virginia. The whole family was able to be together, it was very special.

Esther's talk was very good then we had a luncheon and took family pictures since it is the last time we will all be together for two years, my brother Don will be leaving on his mission at the end of May.

This is a picture of all of my brothers and sisters oldest to youngest from right to left (Me 31, Mary 29, Lem 23, Esther 21, Don 18, Taft 14, Robert 10, Jesse 6), the eight of us span twenty three years. I love my brothers and sisters, they are my best friends.

The seven Harsh grandchildren with Auntie Esther. Eve was asleep, but did that stop us from taking a cousins picture? Oh no, the picture must be taken! Despite being asleep somehow that didn't stop her from trying to find something special up her nose, Jeff tried to move her hand away but she just put it right back.

Once we had recovered from the first 2/3ds of the day we held an Eagle Court of Honor for Don, he had been waiting a year for a time when we would all be there. It was very good, Allen wore his new scout uniform and said it was the first time he had sat in the Eagle's Nest since he received his Eagle. I was very proud of Don, and grateful that my boys could see their uncle's example.

On Monday, St Patrick's Day, Mary made us all Mickey Mouse pancakes. Then all the girls went shopping with Esther to get those last minute items, it was so fun.

We found a killer hat, I loved it but didn't have any shoes that would match so I didn't get it... ha ha. I made a corn beef and cabbage dinner (a must for St. Patrick's Day). Tuesday morning bright and early we all went to the Temple, I loved talking in the Celestial room with Esther.

That evening she was set apart and then we had a family testimony meeting, all the RM's gave Esther their advice. We all cried, it was great.

Then came the MTC day. It was so awesome to be at the MTC with all of the new missionaries and their families. Allen's little brother Scott is going to the MTC this Wednesday so he might see Esther there. He has been called to the Washington DC North mission which is above Esther's mission.

Esther said goodbye to all the little children before we went in, but it didn't help, when it was time to say goodbye Abby held onto the back of Esther while she hugged everyone else. Esther started to cry the minute she sat down for the presentation they give you. Mary was very brave and said we shouldn't cry but be happy and cheerful for Esther and we could cry later, but I couldn't hold it in, I realized that I wouldn't be talking to Esther three or four times a week any more. Mary started crying as soon as we got into the hall, she's so good. I always wanted to go on a mission, I'm glad that one of the Harsh girls will have gone. I'm very proud of her.

After the MTC we went to Mary's mother-in-laws house and had an Easter egg hunt in her beautiful back yard. Then we said goodbye to Mary and Jeff as they were going back to California and my children and I went to spend the night with Allen's older sister Melanie and their family. They are in a brand new home in Highland, we had so much fun visiting and the kids loved being with their cousins that they hadn't seen since last July. Then Allen came and picked us up and we went back to Cedar City, it was quite the adventure, and just think we get to do it all over again in May when Don leaves... wow! Today is my 31st birthday, I am now officially in my thirties, gosh that is too close to 40 for my comfort! Oh well, time marches on. I hope you all had a great Easter weekend.

Mighty Paul Paul

Yesterday Paul came in the house with his finger in his mouth whimpering a bit. "The cat scratched me mom." I consoled him and then got him ready to take a nap, and then I started to think about it, our cats are kind of wild and don't come up to you to be petted they run away. So I asked Paul how the cat scratched his finger, was he petting the cat? "No mom, I was just trying to whack his head off." Oh, well that was why the cat scratched him, simple self defense, poor thing. Paul is our adventure child. We love him, and then we talk about how to treat animals:)

Friday, March 7, 2008

Martha's Book Nook

Yesterday I finished the most incredible book! My good friend recommended it and loaned me her copy, I felt like she had given me the most precious of gifts by introducing me to this inspiring read. I would like to give you the same gift and tell you about it in the hopes that you will read it, so ladies check your local library or you can get used for $2 online. (Those of you who live in Cedar, we have it at our library.) Also if you don't mind reading books online you can find it by googling the title.

Yesterday I was feeling my morning sickness most keenly, so for most of the day I sat in a chair and rotated reading to my children and finishing this book, I must have used half a roll of TP as I cried while reading. This is a story of Abbie Deal who was a pioneer settler in Nebraska. Never have I read a book that so thoroughly depicts what it is like to be a wife and mother. They say that what you do as a mother is not just for your children, but for your grandchildren and great-grandchildren. There is that story of the man who is planting oak trees and the town thinks he's crazy, so they tell him so "Why are you planting all those trees, you will never see them in your lifetime?" and the man replied "You thought I was planting these trees for me, no these are for my grandchildren." I always had a hard time understanding this concept, I want big trees right now for me! I don't want to work hard for something that I love and cherish if I won't be able to enjoy it. Why have dreams if you can't make them come true.

But now, because I read this story, I understand... I can see clearer the bigger picture of life and how it all works. Your dreams aren't just for you, that's just selfishness as you see in two of Abbie's daughters, dreams are seeds planted in the heart of everyone you come in contact with. We must have dreams, desires, wishes, for our own sake and our families. The best is yet to come in the future and in the next life.

I appreciate more the sacrifice of my pioneer ancestors, who wanted big things for their families but didn't see it in their lifetime, however I am living it today. Now I am ready to get to work, to gain a vision and work everyday for it in my life and the lives of my posterity, when I think of what I will do today and in a week, month and year I can see my grandchildren and how that will affect them. That gives me strength and courage and purpose to do what needs to be done. I even learned the greatest of lessons by a mistake that Abbie makes with her children.

Please read this book, you will relate to it even though you never rode in a covered wagon or lived in a sodie. I promise you that it will be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. I plan to read it over and over again through the years.

P.S. I just got off the phone with my sister who read this book years ago and hated it. We talked about it and I can see why she didn't like it, the author of the book wasn't perfect. So I thought it prudent to curb my intensity and retract my "promise" that you will love this book. I still recommend it though, and I won't be offended if you don't like it, after all we are each of us different with varying backgrounds and experiences. Happy day to all of you.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Sick & The Sickest

Well, we had been looking forward to last weekend for months. Every March Diann Jeppsen puts on The Thomas Jefferson Education Forum, and for the past three years she has asked me to teach one of the classes. The convention is at the Hilton hotel in Salt Lake, we had a room for two nights and we had great plans for swimming and relaxing. Then the bomb shell struck, all of us including Allen got really sick (because it's not enough to have morning sickness, I want to get a cold on top of it). When the weekend came I was sick but Allen was sickest, so I basically ran the show. We all had blessings and I felt quite better (which was good since I was presenting at the forum).
We were able to see so many good friends including Steve and Michelle Adams who have been in Florida for the last three years. Notice Allen's red nose in the picture above, that's from blowing it non stop. The Forum was incredible! My two presentations went really well. Taft was able to come at the last minute and good old Robert watched all the kids. My Parents and Don helped us out at our Elocution 360 table, we are doing a seminar in May to help Don finish paying for his mission.

Then we ended up staying for three extra days at my parents house because we were too wiped out and sick to drive home. We had just read in Little House on the Prairie that the whole Engles family got sick and would have died if someone hadn't have just dropped by. So we were grateful to my family for letting us stay so they could take care of us.

The last day that we were there my mom announced that it was time to clean up, and if everyone did their part when the butler came they would get a treat, but only if the butler was satisfied with his inspection. I had to smile because my mom did this with us when we were little, she would put this had on her head and walk through the house speaking with an English accent. We loved it then and my kids loved it just as much. They busily cleaned up all the toys encouraging each other to "hurry before the butler gets here". Then the doorbell rang and it was a man to see my brother Don, but Paul went right up to him and asked "Are you the butler?"

Finally the doorbell rang and in walked the butler, my dad in a trench coat, mustache and boller hat.
The children were in awe and thrilled to get a treat. In the end they knew that it was grandpa, but that didn't matter, they were pretending with him and loving it.

So now we are safe and sound in our own home almost all better. I hope you all are doing well, and that there is no sickness in your family!