Oh boy, that alarm clock was very unwelcome this morning gosh darn it.

But we’re off to the races.  New week, new term in school, new sacred memories packed away from the opportunity to visit Max’s island of Taiwan and see him in his element (just Dave and I got to go and I have a lot to say about that), and then a stop-over on Elle’s island to see where she lives now and meet her roommates, and then back to the girls and up to Utah to move Max in and now back home with a “new” family framework with two college kids we can call and FaceTime any time we want.
But oh boy do I ever miss those kids.  
In some ways I just wish it could be this all the time:

Just a little huddle snuggled up with those people that make my heart ache with adoration.

Yes I know all that mumbo-jumbo about how letting them go is the way they grow, and I’m all for it (the growth part), but sometimes I’m so mad at time for moving so fast.

I miss my work-out partner errand-running goal-oriented side-kick so much.  His room sits empty once again, hollow, missing.

I miss our talks too.  Lots of things we talked about have stuck with me.  One was a comment he made in a Sunday school class while he was home.  We were talking about the Fall of Adam and Eve and he reminded us that part of our journey here on Earth is to “fall.”  Sounds contradictory that we would be sent here to fail in many ways but I love that thought because we do.  We all do, over and over again.  And those failures that come our way are what create growth.  Those “falls” are such powerful tools to create a more firm connection with God if we remember which way to look for help.

There have been lots of exciting things around me lately, but also lots of sorrows and “falls.”  We’ve got friends and family members going through lots of tough things right now.  Serious health crises, parenting sorrows, failing marriages, heart-ache and depression.  Max is going through some stretching adjustment up in Provo.  It’s weird to come home from a mission in the middle of a semester (he’s going to be just fine, but I don’t want to act like this whole transition thing is all hunky-dory-ness).  And as much as I write all the good things here on the blog, and a yes, a lot of the hard too, there are things Dave and I lay up late at night worrying about that I can’t talk about here…things we worry about with each one of these kids…and us too.  “Falls” of insecurities and frustrations and unmet expectations to be grappling with.

But we do know in whom we can trust.  And I’m so grateful for that.

Which reminds me that I want to share some Easter prep information.  Because, after all, that Atonement we’re getting ready to celebrate is the answer for everything in my opinion.  And I think just like Christmas, Easter deserves a few good weeks of preparation.

Thanks to my sister Saydi who sent out her list of great resources again in her “holy month” google doc, we started studying the miracles and teachings of Christ a little teeny bit last week on our road trip and will work on this outline for morning devotional for the next two weeks leading up to Easter…including our Holy Week study.

Saydi continues to work on tweaking this list of great resources to take up our Easter celebration a few notches each year and I’m so grateful for all these great ideas so I wanted to share.

Here is the link:  https://docs.google.com/document/d/15dRKHpmxPqVe2cGNK7JBgLO8ID5Rucr_1Ih5Ncf0Sj0/edit

She also created an Easter playlist here:  https://open.spotify.com/user/124942209/playlist/0fmdHOazeh2Ccj1sHdYFbn?si=ew8vAF2hTI6n4z_hEu68Uw
(I don’t have Spotify so I actually haven’t listened to it, but I know Saydi so I know it’s good 🙂

I talked about our traditional Holy Week cards we do each year that last week before Easter over HERE (and more on Easter week HERE).

Another Easter help I love is on the mormon.org site HERE.  Those videos about the Principles of Peace are really good.

And more info. about what we believe about Easter in these links:

Let’s leave today with one of my favorite Easter videos…makes me cry every time.

I’m so excited for Easter.

Happy Monday!


    1. Yes, he was there for 2 years and just returned at the end of January. It is not uncommon at all for missionaries to return with their families some time after they have served. The reason they go back is for families to see where their son or daughter served and lived for all this time, but more importantly, to meet the people who their son/daughter served, served with and taught. The people and the area of where a missionary has served become very dear to families.

    2. First extended family at airport, then out of state extended family at homecoming talk. Then immediate family trip to California. Then trip with parents abroad to the place he just left a month before. Is the goal is to get back to normal? It seems overwhelming.

    3. Dave and I had a one-night lay-over there in Taipei years ago but the girls have never been there and I just saw one little corner of that country. There is nothing like seeing the place where your son lived for two years and that has changed his life in so many ways….to be able to meet the people he loves and who took care of him and love him so much. So grateful for that opportunity! It's been a busy month but one we've looked forward to for a long time! All that family time? That's just what we do! Lots more to say about Taiwan soon.

    4. So you can meet missionaries there but those missionaries can’t contact home often and through limited means? One mission president couple that took care of him would not even be there. We do not do this for catholic clergy in the family, to meet staff and parishioners from his last parish after he left it. Two trips just seem a lot in a short time frame. Any reader would know a trip after he came home somewhere was going to happen. Twice is what surprised me. Since he didn’t go home earliest date why in heavens name could you just not visit him for a few days at the end and him get released there? Surely if a deployed soldier can be away from family a year and get a short vacation in the middle and the ability to contact family an LDS missionary can be just as focused doing the same thing.

  1. Shawni, I would love to hear your (or even your extended family's) thoughts, ideas, experiences and solutions dealing with a teen suffering from depression and anxiety. My family is working through this now and it is so darn hard because it affects absolutely everything. Unfortunately, many of my friends are also dealing with teenagers (especially daughters) with these same issues. I'm not asking you to divulge anything or break any confidences, but this is a huge parenting issue many of us our facing today. I value your advice and would love to hear your thoughts.

    1. Hi Maureen,
      I'm not Shawni, but I thought I'd share my experience.
      As a teenager I was suffering from depressive episodes, and as a young adult from a severexdepression. What helped me most was seeing a therapist. And my family got professional help as well, so they knew how to treat me and how to deal with this whole situation.
      I really feel for your daughter and your family. I hope she will get better soon.

    2. I second what Matilda said. It's good that you are reaching out for help. That's important. My dad took his life in November. We didn't know he was suffering from depression. If he'd had help, he might still be here.

      I'm not trying to scare you. Just still feeling everything. I just heard a song that he loved and it made me really sad.

      Anyways, I've suffered from depression for years and sometimes, just talking things out helps. So I fully support people getting help. Therapists know how to deal with all sorts of mental health issues so I can't recommend them enough. You're doing good. Reaching out shows you really care and are willing to get help wherever you can. 🙂

    3. Thanks guys for sharing. She is seeing a therapist and attends weekly group therapy sessions with other teen girls that she finds helpful. It just breaks my heart seeing her struggling and so unhappy. I wish you both peace.

    4. BearikaBallerina, I'm so very sorry to hear about your dad. I'm glad that it sounds like you have found good therapy for yourself. I think it's so important to talk about these things!
      Maureen, I'm so sorry you're dealing with this right now. I have friends who are dealing with this in parenting right now as well and like you said, it is all-consuming in so many ways and my heart aches for them. It is so real. It seems that depression and anxiety are especially prevalent right now in this generation of teenagers. I don't have first-hand experience with it but I'm always worried about it…it has come up in Dave's extended family here and there and I think it's so important to be aware. My question is, what is causing such an influx of depression and anxiety in our society today? Does social media have something to do with it or is it just more talked about? I don't know. We actually had an interesting talk with Max's mission president about this…I have a post half-written about that, coming soon.

      I'm so glad there are good people out there who can help. So glad it sounds like the therapy sessions seem to be helping for your family. I know several people who have found the right help and are doing really well now, so there is light. But sending prayers your way for the process you are going through right now.

  2. I always love reading your thoughts and insights. We have our first missionary coming back in a few months, and it has been really meaningful to hear about Max's experiences. Thank you so much! I really love your thoughts on "falls". xox

  3. @kms, Dave served in Taipei, not Taichung (like Max). So while they've been there to Taiwan before, the cities and areas served were most certainly different :)/

  4. Man, it must be hard to get to see your kid for what probably feels like a minute only to have them gone again. But I'm glad you can talk to him this time. Hurray for modern technology!

    I feel like I've aged so much in the last six months. I have also been through so much and am seeing loved friends and family go through so much. I feel so helpless all the time. 🙁 I don't know why life has to be so hard.

    I hope that the adjustment goes well and that you find a lot in comfort in being able to talk to your babies and snuggle the ones at home. Lots of love from California. I'm in the desert too! Just a different desert.

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