Monday, August 29, 2016

25 Years

 25 years ago on June 14th we were married in the Oakland Temple.  Just to reminisce about this, Jeff's family was living near Oakland at the time.  My family has always been in Dos Palos which is about 2 hours away.  We went early of course with some family, friends and ward members.We were eating breakfast talking like normal.  I was in my head thinking, "  How can we be talking about nothing at a time like this.  Don't you know that I am getting married this morning.!!!"  It really was a lovely day, even the weather, was perfect, which is unlike Oakland. 

Just for fun I wanted to mention 25 things I love about Jeff, not in order. 
1.  He's got your back.  Jeff will do anything to support, help and make my life easier.  I know it's pretty great.  Well there is one disclaimer, he does not have your back in a water or snowball fight.  It's to the death and we have all accepted that.  
2.  He is sentimental.  He has this journal of pictures and experiences  that we have been through.  He loves to talk and remember all of our great experiences together.  
3.  He is humble.  I remember when we first got married and we were setting goals for our family, he was all for it and involved.  I had many friends complain about how their husbands would get defensive whenever they would try to set family goals.
4.  He is fun!  I used to consider myself a fun one in my family.  My dad used to say that I play too much and I thought,"  What's wrong with that?." Well I definitely met my match, which has really benefited me because sometimes moms get tired and I like it when the kids want to play with their dad.
5.  He is tall, dark and handsome.  I know you don't get your favorite type usually because you are looking for more important qualities, but I did happen to luck out on that one.  Now he is tall, silver and handsome, and very distinguished I might add.
6. He is charitable.  When we were at BYU, whenever someone stalled their car or needed help, he was immediately willing.  He didn't hesitate.  It's the same way in my life.
7.  He is low maintenance.  He is one of those guys that picks the shirt on top and  only complains about how he is sick of his clothes because  they are 10 years old. 
8.  He is funny.  We have been through a few stressful times and I remember that right before my first thyroid surgery I was feeling nervous and he said something funny and we were laughing and talking like nothing. He is a diffuser.  His jokes don't always come out the way he wants, but it's totally worth it. 
9.  He's a spoiler.  When it comes to love languages, I happen to be one of those people who like them all.  I don't require them all, but am happy with anyway you want to show love.  The spoiling thing is really fun, because I'm not used to it.
10. He does the dishes.  Many people have asked how I got him to do that.  He came that way.  Thanks Rhea (Jeff's mom)!  
11.  He will dance with me. I love to dance and always have.  When we were at BYU country dancing was the rage and I went dancing a lot.  So, when we met, he was willing to give it a try.  It doesn't come naturally and rhythm is a struggle, but the guy keeps trying and still takes me dancing. 
12.  He is a hard worker. I'm not kidding when I say that there is not a lazy bone in his body, I mean it.  If our kids have turned out to be hard workers it's probably because of Jeff.
13.  He is my best and favorite nurse.  When we first got married I don't think I was a great nurse because I rarely got sick, so not much empathy.  Then after morning sickness for months on end and cancer I am so impressed with his ability to serve me so perfectly. He taught me everything I know in the nurse department.
14.  His favorite place to be is home. When Jeff was the Bishop he was really busy and gone a lot, but I never felt neglected because I knew if he could, he would to be home.
15.  He is competitive.  We have had so much fun over the years competing in little things just for fun.  Like who got the best meal at the restaurant, etc.  I finally figured out how to beat him in racquetball every once in a while.
16.  He has a superpower.  He has the ability to run up a mountain no matter how steep, or how out of shape he is or how old he is and love it the entire way.  He is a mountain goat.  Some of our kids inherited this gene.  It is real.
17.  He is loyal.  I didn't realize this when we first got married, but this loyalty has been so great to depend on all these years.  He is totally content in marriage.
18.  He doesn't know how to flirt. I never had to worry when he was in college and some girl would sit by him or give him attention  thinking he was single at first.  He never gives any one the wrong idea.  
19.  He is a family man.  He is so in love with his family and being with them that we know exactly where he wants to be.
20.  He just keeps trying to be an accent person.  it is pretty entertaining to hear Jeff try accents.  They usually end up sounding like a pirate no matter how they begin.
21. He is creative. He has this creative streak that I really admire.  He just makes everything we do a little more exciting.
22.  He is faithful.  He trusts in God and serves Him with all his heart, might, mind and strength.  He has always been a faithful follower of Christ.  When ever he shares his testimony, he gets emotional. 
23. He takes me on a date every Friday or Saturday or both.  I absolutely need a date every week.We both believe strongly in taking that time together, but he makes sure it happens.  I think it is very romantic and I love being with him more than anyone else in the world.
24. He takes me seriously.  I grew up in a family with 7 strong girls.  We talked and philosophized with my parents and were used to be taken seriously when we had an insight or opinion.  He has always treated me as an equal partner and we have made our decisions together. 
25.  He's my favorite.  When we first got married we had a hard time getting pregnant.  Katelyn came after three years of trying.  We were so thrilled to finally get our family started, but those three years we learned something.  We really, really like each other, not just love, but really like.  We know that when the kids leave we will have a blast because we love to be together.

Just for a surprise to Mary I thought I would also write 25 things I love about her

1.   Mary is pure sunshine.  You only have to be around her for just a few minutes before you begin to feel the blessing of her influence on you.  Just like the sun on a spring day.
2.   Mary is an adventure girl.  Mary is game for just about anything.  Cliff jumping, long boarding, rafting, hiking Table Rock, or long road trips she is up for the adventure.
3.   Mary is fearless.   Over the years I have watched her face some huge challenges and she takes them in stride and makes the most of every day.  Cancer, tough church assignments, financial strains, health issues, and the responsibility of being a mother are just a few things she has faced.
4.   Mary is a true disciple of Christ.  She is ever trying to serve and help others.  I have watched her countless times be on the Lord's errand and make a difference at a crossroad moment.
5.   Mary is a "Jolly Holiday".  Mary is the type of girl that makes a holiday.  She still gets excited for holidays just like a kid.  No matter the holiday she still believes and the magic begins.
6.   Mary is a hard worker.  Mary is a master at knowing what to do and when to do it, but still getting all the jobs done that never seem to end.  She never gets the job ahead of the individual.
7.  Mary's voice is "Butter".  Have you ever heard a voice that just makes you happy.  Whether speaking or singing her tone brings me joy.  We had a friend that described things that where perfect as "Butter".  So Mary's voice is "Butter"
8.  Mary's smile is like the ultimate "Butterfly Effect".  Mary's smile is a "Miller smile".  When she smiles your day changes and that benefits everyone else around you.  The effect just keeps on going.
9.  Mary likes treats.  Its always fun to share a delicious treat with someone who can appreciate and make the treat better.
10.  Mary loves people.   It takes only a few minutes to realize that she is a people person and not because she wants attention, but because she completely loves getting to know people's stories and sharing in the joys and lifting up in their challenges.
11.  Mary is silly.  She never takes herself to seriously and has a spazzy side that is fun to watch come out every once in awhile
12.  Mary is confident.  She really believes that given enough time she can do anything.  She is willing to take on a task and will do it to the best of her ability.
13.  Mary is beautiful.  Inside and out Mary radiates beauty.  The is nothing about her that is not beautiful.  If she where a flower she would be the one that a gardener would design their whole garden around to showcase.
14.  Mary is ever learning.  She is constantly trying to improve and learn.  She is always gleaning things to improve upon from any source she can.
15. Mary is humble.  When ever she gets a compliment she is genuinely surprised by the comment.  She does not think that she is that different or anything unique.
16. Mary is the ultimate "All American Girl".  Mary always says that she is not really great at anything but can do a lot of things okay.  All I have to say is I think she is the perfect "All American Girl".  In my mind she is great at anything she puts her mind to.
17.  Mary is a great homemaker.  Mary has made our house a home from day one.  She is a great cook and has made our home beautiful, but this is all secondary to what she does for our home. When she is home our home is truly a sanctuary.  "Home is a haven where faith, obedience, and love give the courage to face the storms of life"  This is a quote we placed on our dining room wall when we moved in.  Mary and I wanted a statement that describe what we wanted our home to be.  She has been a haven to all of us.
18.  Mary is positive.   No matter the situation Mary is always going to look for the bright side of things.  She simply refuses to be negative or dwelling on what is wrong.
19. Mary loves being a girl.  Mary is proud to be a woman and loves the blessing of being a woman.  She is confident in her God given worth and is a great role model to all women around.
20. Mary is a great teacher.  Great teachers don't just stand up and lecture or focus on sharing their wealth of knowledge with others, they make those they teach better and motivated to learn on their own.  Mary has taught all ages and they all are better after being taught by her.  I am ever improving from her teaching me.
21.  Mary is competitive.  She love a good game and loves to play.  I just wish she would agree to one more leg wrestling match.  She won the last one we had (23 years ago) and has never agree to a rematch.  I guess I will always be the runner up.
22.  Mary loves seasons.  Mary loves the change that is brought about by each season.  She finds joy in each season and enjoys making each season special to us all.  Although the winter season I am sure she would agree is a few months to long.
23. Mary is a true romantic.  Everything about romance is fun to her.  She loves the chase, the romantic tension, the catch, the devotion, the struggle, and the match making.  After 25 years the sparks still fly.  Thank you Mary for being willing to keep our relationship young and fresh.
24. Mary is a kid at heart.   Mary loved being a kid and the excitement and joy that comes from discovery.  She has never lost this desire to discover and excitement that comes from it.
25. Mary is my Best Friend.  If I were stranded on a island I would be thrilled to have Mary by my side,  but if I had all the world's population to spend my days with and could choose from a different person each day I would still want Mary every day.  She is everything I hope to be in this life and brings me ultimate joy.   She is the "Angel" that God placed in my life and helps me feel Heaven daily.

Mary Miller thank you for saying "Yes" all those years ago.  You are truly my greatest blessing!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Tijuana, Mexico

One day I was talking to one of my old Youth Camp Leaders and she said that she was getting a group together to do humanitarian service in Tijuana,Mexico.  She asked me to invite Kyle.  So I let him know and he said that he wanted to do it.  The name of this group that helps in Mexico is Charity Anywhere.  He got his cousin to go and slowly the group grew until they had about 20.  I think there were 3 girls and the rest were boys.  They went over spring break.  The great part about it was that it was only $450.00.  They drove there and were fed, but besides that the rest of the money went to the project, which was building a house for a family. 
So they loaded up into a a big van and a suburban and off they went.  The rest of this is in Kyle's words.  
We left on a  Friday and drove to Centerville to the home of man who ran Charity Anywhere.  We spent the night on the floor and the next morning we started driving to Tijuana. We had car trouble along the way and stopped three times.  The band broke, so we had to stop and get it fixed.  Next door was an engine place and they were having a customer appreciation day, so they gave all 20 kids and adults free hotdogs.  We finally got into Tijuana pretty late.  It took a lot of hours to get there.

Sunday we went to church.   I forgot my church clothes, so I wore a white t-shirt and jeans. We didn’t understand anything they said.   
 Then we went to the site where you would be building the house. 

Monday The next day we started working at the school laying concrete.  We pulled up tile and laid concrete for a cafeteria or where people ate their lunches. They were eating on a dirt floor. We did mix a lot of concrete.  We finished about half of that the first day.   

A Job Well Done
Then we went back and played soccer with a bunch of kids.   There was a funny thing that happened when we were with the kids.  A kid got hurt and I went up to him to see if he was ok.  He said, "One dollar?  I had to laugh.

 Tuesday, we started out at the school, then half
of us when to the house and started laying concrete there.  I went to the house. 

 We finished the whole floor that day and went back to the school and helped them finish.  Then that night we went to a taco place and ate there, played games and took showers. 
Wednesday Then the next day, we started framing the house.  We made all the walls, but didn’t put them up.  

Then we went to the temple that night.  I borrowed a shirt from Tristan and wore my jeans.  It felt like a regular temple.  We got confirmed and baptized in Spanish, but we could have done it in English.  Sephra brought names for all of us I think. 
Thursday we put up all four walls and started on the roof.  There were kind of like threeish rooms.


That night we went to the market, where we bought our souvenirs.  It was weird.  We got offered drugs within three minutes of being there.  I just told them I was Not interested.  I bought myself a poncho and some other souvenirs for home.  Nathan bought a hat. 

The next day, we finished putting on the roof, then some of us went to an orphanage place and weeded and cleaned up the place.  Our car broke down when we were there.  Then everyone else came and we sat around for a little while.
This is the family that we built the house for.
Then we went and got the suburban and we all got in and we went to the beach.  We went to jump in the waves and then we collected shells, built stuff in the sand.  The water was a refreshing temperature.

Then after the beach we went back and dedicated the house.

  Saturday we left early at 5:30am and drove straight home.

The family that we built the house for was so grateful that we were building the house.  The Mom and kids helped us while we were building it.  The Dad did something that surprised us.  We had dropped off all of the stuff that we were using to mix the cement, rocks, sand, and cement powder.  We left it at the bottom of the hill.When we got there the next morning it was gone.  When the dad came home from work the night before he carried all of that stuff up to the top of the hill where the house site was.  He must have worked really late into the night. He really must have wanted to show us  how grateful he was.
Mary speaking again.  When Kyle came home, I could tell that he had had a very meaningful experience. It wasn't your regular teenage experience, but an adult experience.  He loved it.  He said that he would like to do it again before his mission.  He never mentioned how hard it was.  It's like he did something that mattered and not just for this great family.  They also helped a school.  The kids had been eating their lunches on a dirt pad.  They also cleaned up an orphanage.  I was really happy for him. 
Home sweet home with his Mexican poncho