It's been what I like to call a "rollercoaster" weekend... full of incredible ups and disappointing downs of ALL kinds.
My husband was recently called to the High Council and he was given the assignment over a little branch of the Church in Swift Current, SK. He isn't slated to speak there officially until August or September, so he wanted to get out there and meet the members. We thought it would be a fun adventure for us all to go out there as a family (as it's about 2 1/2 hours away) so my hubby booked a motel with a pool and a waterslide - sounds like fun, eh? The best part was that when the branch president found out we were coming, he asked both my husband and I to speak. I can imagine in a small branch they are anxious to hear from someone new :)
We had an uneventful drive out there (thank you portable DVD players) and when we arrived, the place wasn't what we were expecting. Our room was small - no dresser, 100 year old television, bathroom straight out of the 60's - but we didn't care much. It was only one night, afterall - and we were there to swim and slide! YIPPEE!!! We got in our swimsuits (yes, even me) and tromped down the hallway to the pool. The first thing I noticed was the frigid air that froze my tush the second we walked in. The second thing I noticed what the boarded up waterslide with the large sign saying it was not working. BOO HOO! My husband specifically booked THIS place because of the waterslide! What a let down... they should have made it clear that it was out of order (and for years by the look of it). Thankfully the pool was heated and as long as you were IN the water, you were okay. Getting out was another matter all together...brrr! The freezing air was pouring in from some unseen hole near where the waterslide was. Soooo cold. We swam for about an hour and half, then we were ALL done. I've got to teach my kids to swim so I don't have to be holding them every second. On my to do list... The best part was when the motel employees informed us that they were out of towels. Oh joy.
We went for a nice drive around the town - trying to locate the chapel so we knew where it would be the next day. They meet in a building in the city center (very nice spot) but it took us forever to find. We got a nice tour of the town that way :) We stopped at a couple of stores, then bought some KFC for dinner. We ate back at the motel room and watched a completely corny "Casper" movie, but the kids enjoyed it. Okay...we all enjoyed it. My oldest daughter lost one of her baby teeth while we were there, which was UBER exciting for all of us. I was so impressed that she worked at getting that thing out for almost an hour and ultimately won out. YOU GO GIRL! Thankfully the tooth fairy knew we would be in Swift Current :)
We showered the kids and got them ready for bed (though NOT for sleep apparently). We had all four munchkins on one of the double beds (if you could call them beds - I would call them stone tablets) because (shocker) the motel was out of cots. My hubby and I hunkered down on our bed ready for a peaceful night's sleep. I had my talk prepared, but I wanted to be at my best the next day. No sooner had we turned the lights out than the whining, wiggling, and giggling started. *SIGH* I knew it would be a looooong night. We ended up sticking our 1 year old in bed with us (in the hopes that at least SHE might be able to fall asleep) and the other three girls eventually drifted off. I'll tell you all now that we don't share our beds with the kids...ever. We don't care if other's choose to (good on ya if you can handle that) I am just a VERY VERY VERY light sleeper and the noise and movement of a child in bed with me makes it impossible for me to sleep. This night was NO exception. She managed to turn sommersaults somehow in her sleep. I had a foot in my face, and I was head-butted a number of times. I was afraid to turn over or move in case I would wake her up - however the people in the room next to us did a fine job of that anyway. For some reason people who come in VERY late forget how to close doors quietly. They like to slam the door...again...and again....and again. Long story long, I ended up getting a little over an hour of sleep.
Sunday morning went well. We got ready and enjoyed a continental breakfast before heading to church. The meeting started at 10:30am, so we had plenty of time to pack up and be ready to go without rushing. The members welcomed us SO warmly, it made me feel 100% at home from the minute we walked in. I could tell the girls were getting tired by the time sacrament meeting started and we had to diffuse a couple of outbursts, but all in all they did really well. We gave our talks and I felt good about it. I was nervous to begin with, but once I start into a talk - I just forget myself. I am always amazed when I hear my husband speak, and NEVER fail to feel the influence of the spirit when he does. It was great. They only meet for 2 hours in that branch, so before we knew it, church was over! We had some invitations to stay with some of the members next time we come (which was a welcome idea) and the best surprise was when the branch president's wife (Sis. Parsons) handed us this:
She had packed us a HUGE picnic basket lunch filled with croissant sandwiches, baby carrots, chips, fruit, fresh baked cookies, water - you name it! She didn't want us going hungry on the ride home, and she had packed everything into handy individual sized containers for us so we could eat on the road. She told me to keep the basket, and just pass along the favor someday... I was speechless! What amazing, amazing, good people there are in this world. My daughter whispered to me (she is just like Jesus!). I couldn't agree more... What a wonderful example of Christ-like service! I still am choked up when I think of it.
I was able to visit with another sister who is retired and she commented on how lovely our children are. She reminded me to enjoy them at this stage because when they are gone it can be very lonely. She was baptized about 10 years after she was married, not because she was really converted at the time, but because he husband was a member of the Church and he wanted her and their children to be as well. She started to teach the children and as she did, she says that she realized she was thirsty for what the gospel was teaching and she couldn't get enough. Unfortunately, as her testimony grew and strengthened, her husband went the other direction and fell away from the Church. Her children grew, were married in the Temple, and eventually moved many, many miles away. She was now alone, elderly, and still completely active in the Church - serving her heart out. Another angel on earth
What started as a kind of questionable weekend turned into a very uplifting experience for me. You just never know what lies around the corner. My husband made the comment that he's not surprised how even a stressful couple of days just melts away when we go to church. I couldn't agree more.
I was just phoned by a member of our bishopric and asked to speak in OUR ward in a couple of weeks. I guess the Lord really wants me to learn something! LOL! I'm also speaking at our New Beginnings activity this Thursday. There is no better way to grow than by preparing a talk. I know that's true!
Well, if you're still with me then you are a faithful reader. LOL! I use this blog as a sort of personal journal, so thank you for bearing with me as I reminise about this weekend. I truly want to make memories with my kids like I had with my family growing up. We did a lot of vacationing and though I know there were not so pleasant road trips and tempers flared at times, I somehow filter through that and remember that special time spent with family. I hope I can do the same with our children and that we can grow closer as a family unit by doing so.
I would love to hear your stories of acts of kindness that have been shown to you, or that you have shown to others. It's always nice to hear of angels on earth making a difference to those around them.