Thursday, December 11, 2014

It's been a long time since I felt like what was happening in my family life was worth documenting, worth remembering.  Of course there have been beautiful moments, laughter, affection, and LIFE in the last couple of years, but it was a time that was clouded by grief and transition.  I couldn't bring myself to write beyond my journal, or post pics beyond FB.  But I am ready now.

We can only discern our shadow from the light because the sun is shining on our backs!  This week, I finally came to the place where I could fully embrace and be grateful for the gift of all that felt dark for so long.

I feel grateful to have had the experiences that I have had, and to have transformed as I did.  Now when I look at a screen with a blank sheet of paper, my fingers don't ramble over the key board with venom or martyrdom.  And that's how I know it's time for me to write again.  I can document my experience with the new, earth shattering understanding that; "it's all a gift."  This has been my favorite phrase for the last year, and one that I plan to tatoo on my wrist.  No matter what form the gifts come into my life, or how at first they may be disguised, everything is for my greater good.  My custom designed and gift wrap presents from the God and the Universe.

Of course my 3 kiddos are my favorite gifts I have ever received!  And this blog is not only for them, but TO THEM.   I have to have a place where I can do a somewhat decent job of caputuring our adventures, lessons, inspiration, and hardships.  The dirty, and the shiny.  The happy and the sad.  I think it's important to remember it all.  I don't scrap book, journals don't have photos, FB is what I use mostly for business and casual social connections, but not THIS.  This is printable.  This is creative.  This will be a little book of our lives.  This is a little bit of me... for you three.

I make you guys take photos for my fitness Instagram account @happysweating.  You aren't always happy about it, but your are pretty good sports!

You finally got glasses this week Brody! 

You guys finally FINALLY got me to cave and get a pet.  "Honey" cause she's like a honey badger.  Honey Badgers just don'g give a sh*&, and neither does this little one.  I love her.  Thank you guys for nagging me, what a gift she is!

Elliot you had another scary go at croop, but we live in the U.S. now and what a miracle modern medicine is!  Brooklyn did an amazing job of making us all laugh while you got your treatments, until she got HANGRY that is.  

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Birthday Wishes from Across the World!

From a daughter-in-law perspective, Debbie Burton is THE best mother-in-law a girl could EVER ask for! I love her energy, zeal for life, her capacity to love others, her sense of adventure (or at least the willingness to tag along with Bob's,) desire to serve, and general ability to live, laugh, and have a great time. We have all missed her sooooooooo much! We have been happy to share her with the people of Norway, but we are also anxiously awaiting her return. For her birthday we couldn't send a package from Costa Rica, so instead we wanted to send her the top ten things we love about her! Of course this list applies to Bob too, but he'll have to wait for his birthday for the roast. :) The list is in no particular order...

You are good looking and so is your posterity! I think I speak for Jon too when I say, thanks for making good looking kids! We give you most of the credit on this one, as it's apparent that you are the one with all the good genes ;) We are of course grateful for ALL the attributes you passed down the generational line, with your spiritual gifts being right at the top.

You put family first. Your kids and grand kids love you so much, a product of years of love and nurturing. Even though we are miles and miles apart, Tom loves, misses you, and thinks of you often.

You know how to have fun with the kids! I think you probably know the zoo like the back of your hand, along with the kangaroo zoo, chuck-e-cheese, the neighborhood park, the movie theater, kids museum, library, planetarium, aquarium, natural history museum, and the local pool. The list goes on and on. Thanks for being an 'up and at'em' grandma!

You have a great spiritual influence in your home, your community, and your global community. Your faith in Christ radiates through your life in all that you do, and your faith in his plan for you is evident by the path that you choose. You touch the lives of others with your kindness and service everywhere you go. The world wouldn't be the same without you.
(below you are getting your mission call)

You spoil us rotten! Not just with gifts (like build-a-bear below) but with your prayers, thoughts, energy, and love. This is the day that the kids made their bears before you left on your mission. They can still press the button and hear your sweet voices saying, "Brooklyn, we love you. Be a good girl and we'll see you when we get home from our mission. Love ya!"

You'll give everything a good shot! I love this picture of you in front of this wacky painted bus on some tour, somewhere in the world. I know you don't think that you are the most adventurous person and you give most of that credit to Bob, but you have a great sense of adventure and a willingness to give anything a try. Somethings you wouldn't redo, like Tuba city, but let's face it, who can blame you for that?! I gotta hand it to you. With the challenges you have faced because of your back, you have still wondered through more unfamiliar streets than even the eager tourist. You and Bob instilled that into your children, and so I can thank you in part, for this wonderful adventure we are now enjoying in Costa Rica.

You make EVERYTHING pretty. These flowers below remind me of your gift to turn dull into delightful. For food, home, garden, and fashion you have the touch. You never settle on ordinary, and even with your mission budget, between IKEA and the local scarf stand, you have managed to make the mission feel like home. Often I think this talent of yours is overlooked, but you deserve mad props. Martha Stewart, move over!

Having two daughters, this particular characteristic you have I find especially important. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your enthusiasm for education and learning. You take the development of your mind seriously. It is a great example to us all. There is always a stone to be turned, a book to be read, a seminar to be attended. Learning never stops, and you are a great example of that. You are continuously moving forward and up as you learn, and you share your wealth of knowledge with everyone along the way. There are many woman out there with your abilities and experience making a lot of money. You choose instead to serve. This makes your impact even greater. My girls will always know what a clever, powerful woman you are.

You brought three, wonderful spirits into this world. Their impact is great, on both sides of the veil. You should be a very proud mama, and grandmama! Your efforts were well worth it and continue to make an impact. I am grateful for my adoring husband and beautiful children that are all a piece of you. Thank you!
(baby Redd)

You chose the best darn guy for your journey and you stuck with him! Well done. We all enjoyed so much watching you two in Norway. You have been together on the road of life for so long, and are a really great example of love and service making a successful marriage. Tom and I hit 10 years last month. It feels like an incredible accomplishment in this world. You two are solid and it's a beautiful thing to be a part of your life. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. From the bottom of our hearts, we are grateful to God for you. He gave the whole world a gift when he made Debbie Burton. Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Elliot's 4th B-Day!

I must have done a really awesome job with the Rainbow theme for her 3rd birthday, because this year Elliot wanted a rainbow theme again.  That, or she was so sick with Hand Foot Mouth the year before, that she thought to really enjoy the skittle cluttered cake she would need another go.  There were no skittles to be found for the cake, but I got creative and she still had a rainbow.  We filled the gym room with tons of balloons and had pizza and lots of rainbow fruit.  It was just what she wanted.  Did I mention we planned it the day before?  Glad I have friends that like spontanaity!  Happy 4 my big girl Elliot!

Monday, October 1, 2012


I feel like Tom and I have worked really hard since we arrived in Costa Rica. We have put in more than three years doing 'whatever it takes' to make our life here. Sometimes things have been pretty rough and sometimes life's been a beach. So much has lined up for us now; Tom has a dream job, I have a gym in the house, the kids are finally at La Paz, we live in a great neighborhood in a " big girl" house. So, it's interesting that as I enjoy these life events and comforts I also face some of my greatest personal challenges. On this particular day I was feeling like a bit of a hopeless mess. At dinner Tom looked up and pointed at one of the most beautiful and pronounced rainbows I have seen in a long time. We snapped photos of the image but a camera cannot capture the more impressive feeling it left in my mind and heart. I'm sure a lot of God's children needed to see the rainbow that day, and I was one of them. I felt a warmth of love and hope as I recalled my Bishop from back in my college days reminding me that after the storms of life come our personal rainbows. It has become one of my life's major slogans. In many ways Tom and I are experiencing great satisfaction for all of our previous efforts, but for the matters that were pressing on my heart the rainbow gave me a renewed strength and determination. I feel very grateful that my God writes these little messages of love on the canvas of life he created for me.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

First Day of School at La Paz

Elliot's first day of preschool! Brody heading to Mr. Dodges 4th grade class and Brooklyn heading into 2nd with Geneva and Sara team teaching. First day they focused on Peace Practices, get to know you, and schedules.

Elliot was so nervous when we walked in and some of the preschoolers were crying. She was like, " what is this place where all the kids are crying?". She wanted to be with the big kids who seemed much happier to be there! As soon as she found Ayla she was fine. They held hands and looked on like dear in headlights, it was quite the sight!
Brooklyn was greeted by her close friends and felt really happy. She said the best part so far was the dry wick athletic uniforms were so comfortable!
Brody was excited to start class with mr. Dodge, supposedly the world's best teacher. He has to make all new friends, but the task doesn't seem to phase him.
When we came home Elliot passed out in dead man's pose on her bed. She never naps , but it was quite a day!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

7th House the Charm!

" I felt like this day would never come," and "it doesn't feel real!" are just a couple of phrases I heard in my house this week. We moved into a neighborhood we have wanted to be in for a year or two now. Surrounded by friends, great location to beach/La Paz Community School/ stores, paved road for bike riding, and really safe. This morning when I walked my dogs I even saw dogs on leashes!!! Our pool is huge, and the very best part; I get to put an indoor gym into the remodeled garage! Lots of excitement around these parts. The move came just in time for the start of the new school year. Surrounded by our friends, the school, the beach, feeling like the 7th might be a charm.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Great Mother's Day!

One of the benefits of being an American mother living in Costa Rica is we get to celebrate Mother's Day twice a year. Mother's day in Costa Rica and throughout central America is August 15th. The first few years we lived here Tom didn't really catch on, ya know, we always thought it might be our last year here and two holidays for moms isn't really over doing it. In order to be excessive with this matter one would have to demand a day of appreciation once a week. But this year when the American Mother's day rolled around Tom said,"We live in Costa Rica and we will celebrate the Costa Rican Mother's day." He thought he was off the hook, until yesterday !! It was funny because when I brought it up he tried to tell me we only celebrate the American holiday, I almost got ripped off! In the end he came through , and I think it was one of my favorite Mother's days ever!