preface: I am only giving myself thirty minutes to write this post (trying to carve out some time to be here to clear my thoughts before our we all need to get going around here)…so please forgive me if I don’t say everything perfectly (which I never do anyway!)…there is a lot to say at a time like this. My mind is jumbled with so many thoughts! The good and the bad, the hopeful mixed right in with the hopeless.

Lately I have been clinging to the thought that there is power in disruption. It gives you an opportunity to reflect and figure out what really matters. To change course. And I have thought about that over and over again in the past three weeks. What do I want to disrupt? What do I want to hold onto?

Am I doing what matters most at a time like this? Trying to figure that out.

It is mind blowing to think what has happened in our world in the last few weeks. Never in a million years would I guess that we would be right here right now. My calendar is filled up with the skeletons of life past, and we are trying to figure out this new kind of normal.

One by one my college kids have arrived home.

Let’s go back in time though to when it was just these two. Our first “home family church” and trying to figure out which way was up in the world (I guess we’re still there, right?)

We had extended family church on zoom too, which was pretty awesome:

That night as Dave and I were getting ready for bed Elle FaceTimed us trying to figure out what in the world we should do about everything coming up…bridal shower the next weekend, wedding, work, college closing…then Elle linked in Grace, and then Carson (he was trying to figure out his plan as well), then Claire heard our commotion and came to join in, then everyone added Max & Abby in, (even though it was 1:30am their time), and it was one of my favorite “thin place” moments, each face getting bigger on the screen when they were talking, laughing because Elle had just driven back from town with a live fish in a fishbowl in her back seat from a friend, and all of us so happy for this bright spot of togetherness in the middle of all the corona unease.

The girls got into a routine in their new no-school life. Lucy loves a good schedule and list of things she needs to get done (we had all put together lists n that Sunday), and she stuck to it I tell you! Here she is exercising:

Loved her list she came up with as well as her “wake up time” at the top. Ha!

She was pretty excited about that social goal (hand out with friends every day) until we squelched all her dreams and let her know that wasn’t a possitility.

Since BYU-Hawaii was closed, they closed down most of the dorms including Grace’s. She was coming home that weekend anyway for Elle’s supposed-to-be-bridal-shower, but little had she known when we made those plans that she would be coming home for the rest of the semester. And really the rest of who-knows-how long since she has had big, different plans for next year.

I’ve got to admit that it hit me in the gut to see this picture of her empty dorm room after she packed it all up in such unsettling times:

I know there’s so much sadness in the world right now, so many more harrowing things going on than an empty dorm room, but to me it just hit me how so much of life is out of our control. And how crazy it is that this thing, corona, has the power to shut down so many avenues. And it made me ache for the end of that freshman year experience that has been erased, right as she got in such a beautiful groove there on that island.

Both girls arrived home safely together after their red-eye flight, Elle with a suitcase filled right up with her wedding invitations we had originally planned to send out that weekend in the midst of doctor appointments and her bridal shower. Elle intended to go back to Hawaii where her house/job/fiance are after all that hoopla, but my heart sunk knowing deep down that really wasn’t going to happen.

With volleyball and school cancelled up in Utah as well, Max and Abby decided to drive down to join us. And suddenly all five of those kids of mine were there, lined up on the couch together, smiling in the eye of the storm.

(And I promise Lucy was MUCH happier about that little fact than her face lets on in that picture up there! Ha!)

Our table was filled right back up again:

Oh, but before we go there, let’s talk about how amidst all this unease, there was an earthquake in Utah.

When it rains, it pours!

And I’m sure everyone and their dog has a picture like the one on the left below, but I may as well have one here in this record. It is so eerie to go to the grocery store. And Costco, the one time I went before all the college kids arrived, trying to frantically boost up the volume in our empty cabinets, happened to be in the middle of an incredible rain storm, so I took that picture on the right below when I was trying to figure out how I was going to get all those groceries to the car…

Ok back to home.

It has been an uneasy time to be sure, so much unrest going on in the world.

But every now and again I have stopped myself in my tracks, my heart bursting with gratitude for these people I get to be quarantined with. Even in a world where I cannot get my mind to stop racing, (none of this “slowing down” people keep talking about going on over here, no books read, no podcasts listened to, nothing very productive being done, everything so unsettling), I don’t want to ever take it for granted that we get each other.

We have stayed busy with all kinds of things from “yoga sculpt” (a class Elle loves in Hawaii that the lady is streaming for free now…you can find it HERE and it is so good!):

To impromptu sunset bike rides:

To SO MANY THINGS to keep kids occupied on their phones:

Not quite sure how I feel about this phone thing, but I guess there are worse things!

I have to say that I LOVE the the creation of stuff like tiktok dances though:

(I’ll have to post a couple of these on Instagram so you can see the full effect…I’m pretty sure these girls get all their moves from me. HA!)

Abby and Claire did one too…I need to get that one from them.

As we neared the end of that week our worry about Carson in Hawaii had mounted. Everything was closing, including all flights. Luckily I had booked a flight for him to come with points “just in case” and we finally got him here too.

The bridal shower, of course, turned out to be much different from anticipated.

I know there are much bigger things going on in the world. Huge, horrible things. But it was still pretty sad to send out the texts to everyone to cancel that shower earlier in the week.

I “reserved the right” to throw my own shower for Elle when we could really gather, even if it’s after her wedding, but still, I teared up when I pushed “send.” So sad that it has come to this. Sad because deep down we knew it was only just the beginning of wedding changes. For a while there at the first we held out hope that we could still get to Hawaii for the big day, maybe some semblance of order would return to the world, not wanting to come to grips that wasn’t going to happen.

So maybe it’s appropriate that I took this picture with the bridal shower invite accidentally upside-down, mid family-pool-party:

(Our substitute bridal shower party.)

This new order came out from Hawaii:

…And gradually Elle and Carson, and all of us, realized it wasn’t going to work for them to go back any time soon. No one could work, we couldn’t get there for them to get married nor could they really come back here if they left.

So we rolled with the punches and LOVED having every single person in our family here for family church, everyone giving such good insight and that back porch so filled up with love and the spirit:

It has been crazy having all these college kids home. Our once empty house is filled with life. From stuff like this:

To stuff like this…

…all kinds of laptops all over the place, people trying to find quiet places to take a test, etc. The college kids are stressed about this transition to online school, much more demanding and difficult online, especially for Max who utilizes labs and TAs so much for his computer science classes. This is a crazy adjustment.

Food is flying out of the fridge, our once so very quiet house is filled to the brim with life.

Lucy is overjoyed to have her future brother-in-law around:

I think Max was so happy to have another guy around too 🙂

Dave has kept them busy with some house projects that have needed to get done:

We’ve had time for all kinds of discussions:

And baking:

…and family Zoom connecting:

Family hikes:

Sunset watching:

More baking:

And more…

(I do feel like I have spent half my life in this kitchen!)

Grocery scavenging…(I was so happy when I found canola oil the other day!)

Bo has joined us for yoga:


Grace has addressed hundreds of wedding invitation envelopes with her beautiful handwriting…for who knows what we will put in them some day:

More family hikes…this world is such a beautiful place!

And more family work projects.

And for now, my allotted time is over, so I will wrap this up for more.

So much more to say about wedding plans and missionaries coming home right and left and thoughts on the highs and lows of all this disruption, but for now I will just leave you with a quote from Robert Hales, one of our church leaders, who once said, “when you can’t do what you have always done, you only do what matters most.”

I am on the quest to figure out what really matters most. Some things are obvious, others not so much. And it is an interesting journey!

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  1. Your family has been on my mind. Truly. I can’t imagine some of the disappointments your kids are facing, esp. Elle and Lar, but I do so admire the smiles in the face of such.

  2. What beautiful post. I’ve been wondering about Elle’s wedding, especially with the change announced announced last year about civil weddings. MY heart goes out to them. It’s a crazy world and after my husband got another big paycut today I thought we might come out of this with poor bank account accounts but we will so rich is many other things!!!

    1. Oh Heidi, I hope things are working out ok, but I love that you are looking at the richness in other things. Such a good reminder at a time like this!

  3. I personally have so far had no inclination for the power of disruption or for personal growth. I try not to go crazy and keep some kind of normalcy for my three year old.

    However I want to share that I believe in “There is a time for everything.” and in “If you can’t be unhappy, because there are worse things, you can’t be happy, because there are better things.” So to mourn cancelled bridal showers and weddings, is absolutely okay and healthy.

  4. As a mother of another bride-to-be, I’m feeling your disappointment yet trying to keep it in perspective. Our June 2020 wedding has been moved to June 2021. It gives us another year of happy anticipation and more time to find a mother of the bride dress! I’m loving that closing quote and wrote it down immediately. Stay well!

  5. I am not LDS; but I am a Christian who loves Jesus, my Savior. The following quote (message) has been shared recently among church members and Bible study groups and has caused deep reflection:

    “ In three short months, just like He did with the plagues of Egypt, God has taken away everything we worship. You want to worship athletes, I will shut down stadiums and arenas. You want to worship musicians, I will shut down every venue. You want to worship actors, I will shut down theaters. You want to worship money, I will shut down the economy and collapse the stock market. You want to worship your own bodies, I’ll close down all the gyms. You want to worship your own intellect and pat yourself on the back with a graduation, I’ll close down your schools. You want to place your trust in your friends and not in Me, I’ll make sure you can’t even meet with them physically. You don’t want to seek my face and worship Me, I will make it where you can’t go to church.
    “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
    2 Chronicles 7: 14
    Maybe we need to take this time of isolation from the distractions of the world and have a personal revival where we focus on the ONLY thing in the world that really matters….JESUS!!!”

    Praying comfort and peace for you and your sweet family…
    In hope and expectancy,

    1. Dear Patricia, I don’t think that the quote you shared is logical in itself. The last sentence would have to be “You want to worship me, I’ll shut down churches (mosques and synagogues).”, wouldn’t it? Otherwise you could just change every sentence. Like “You don’t want to worship your own bodies, I’ll make it where you can’t go to the gym.” Why would churches etc. be closed, if people shouldn’t worship God?

      Wishing you comfort and peace!

      1. Since I didn’t write it, I don’t know what the author intended; and perhaps it’s just a case of semantics. I chose to interpret that line regarding the church as “we often take for granted the blessing and privilege we have until it’s taken away.” The piece also speaks to our priorities – an idol can be described as “that which you give your strength to and draw your strength from….” I believe the author is suggesting a time for personal inventory: what has crowded out our Heavenly Father’s rightful place in our lives? This is solely my interpretation. Thank you for your comment.

        1. I very much prefer your interpretation/explanation over the quote (even if I don’t agree in essence. I don’t feel the need for a bigger reason for the pandemic.)!

      2. Love this. Your quote and Kerstinek’s question remind me of a few verses in the Book of Mormon (Alma 32:9-12) where the people are so sad they are not being allowed into synagogues and churches to worship. They were reminded that you don’t need a church to worship God. Such a good reminder to stake claim of our personal connection with God whether we can meet in churches or not.

  6. Right there with you! We started the school year with only our youngest left at home, and now suddenly we have our BYU-H college girl back home and a Sister missionary returned from Brazil, 11 months early. Meanwhile, our spring break trip, that would have brought us together with our oldest and her new husband, was obviously canceled. And due to his work they had to stay at school, rather than coming to stay-in with us, so I am sad and wondering when we can see them next. On top of that I went back to school myself last fall, and am discovering I don’t work well/quickly in the noise! ha! Having done the wedding hoopla ourselves last fall I am really feeling for you all and all the cancelled/altered plans. Thanks for sharing your very relatable feelings in these difficult times:)

    1. Good luck with everything Janan! We are certainly in unpredictable times right now, thank you for the well-wishes, sending some right back!

  7. They have their license. Surely someone in your church, former or current bishop, could marry them civilly with a few in attendance spaced apart with the iPhones on sending it out to whomever can’t make it. Then mail in the license. They can seal and then do open houses in the states where the parents live later. And no wait. Getting married should be more important than a wedding. As it is her sisters would not normally see it actually happen anyway. They surely have a household to sort out and being single longer won’t help with that given the school he still attends?

  8. I had been thinking about Elle’s wedding and wondering how that was playing out. I love your silver linings in all this. Having all your kids home must be such a gift.

  9. Wow, you’ve got everyone at your home!? How much crazy, fun that must be!
    I don’t think it’s wrong to mourn what can’t be right now. I had just the hardest time throwing away the March calendar that was on the fridge! Looking back just a few weeks when everything was still “normal “ was something I didn’t want to part with. Silly, I know.
    Stay well.

  10. I am so sorry for the disruptions in rites of passage for your kids. As a mom it is so difficult to see our kids not have those things that can allow for happiness. It might not be the most important thing to have a bridal shower, but it sure is fun to spend time with loved ones and celebrate.
    I am glad that you’re able to have all the kids home for a little bit. But I am so sorry for all the cancellations. Praying for those disappointments yours are going through right now (and anyone who is reading this, no matter how seemingly big or small).

  11. I just have to smile looking at your photos, I too have college kids home, all tik toks, hydro flasks and cooking!!

  12. Your positivity and ability to roll with the punches and look for the silver linings is inspiring.
    I will be praying for you (for all of you) as you wait to see what life holds next. I am so sorry for Elle for all the disappointment of things being canceled. I can’t even imagine.
    Thanks for sharing your journey in this with us.

  13. If you haven’t already, check out Brene Brown’s new podcast. Her first episode is so validating to the loss we’re all experiencing. It’s so good!!

  14. Ok I was going to reply to all of these, but I’m just going to say right here, THANK YOU for all the love and care. I so appreciate it! Sending love right back. I’m going to go check out Brene Brown’s new podcast!

  15. Thank you for sharing your family life — I have littles at home and encouraged by your sharing to love better, more and well. A long time reader but have never commented until now.

    P.S. I adore your updated black dining chairs. where can I find them?!

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