Dear Sister Vancouver,
It was really terrific to see and hear you when we skyped on Christmas. Donavon posted the family Skype Selfie as a kind of belated Facebook Christmas Card. 🙂
It was so nice to meet your companion. You both looked and sounded great and it is clear to me that you have not wasted any time getting to work…. even in taking opportunity to apply “Preach My Gospel” teaching strategies with us. It is good to hear about the Burts, and what Vancouver is like and how you contact and teach. Thank you for praying with us and sharing the message about Christ. Since Christmas, I have been thinking a lot about the challenge you gave us to complete the sentence: “Christ lights my life as I _______.” At least this is the sentence starter I am remembering. You know I do not listen well and sometimes I remember even more poorly. Here is my sentence:
Christ lights my life as I stay close to Him through frequent prayer and feelings of gratitude. He magnifies the light of His Father who is also Light and who loves us as evidenced by His greatest gifts, His Son, and His Grace. I remember this as I drive into work in the mornings and as I see the sun rise lighting the sky and clouds. Christ lights my life as He goes before me and I choose to follow Him and His teachings. Each morning in the parking lot as Pearl idles, I call on His name and remember his power and glory. His light leads me as I give thanks in both good times and hard times. I thank Him for the abundance of life. For you, Devon. For family, friends, children. I give thanks for a warm, safe, peaceful home and mountain valley. For food, and health and strength. For freedom to choose and to drive and do what I love to do. For a place of employment in which I am surrounded by children and good intentioned adults and good feelings. Because I spend most of my day in a variety of classroom settings, I ask for His help with teaching and reaching the needs of children. I ask Him to open my heart to Love the children and everyone there. I ask Him to open my heart to feel His love. I ask Him to open my eyes to see opportunities to lift and to serve others. I ask Him to open my ears to hear between the words that are said, and sometimes the ones that are not said. I ask Him to slow my tongue so that I say only good. I ask him to help me to share a smile and a kind word. Then I try to remember this prayer throughout the day.
So, this where I am at with your challenge. Christ lights my life as I stay close to Him through frequent prayer and feelings of gratitude. Recognizing triggers is helpful in an attempt to stay positive and in combatting discouragement. If you ever feel discouraged, you might remember this advice. Be aware of your own triggers, and….Pray a prayer of gratitude and ask God to change your thinking.
I do not do as well with my prayers at bedtime. Sometimes it is difficult to review the day and still feel positive when I am so tired and achy, or when I feel I have fallen short. I am hard on myself at times. The advantage of being young is that some select grownups who love you, tend to remind you of your worth and encourage you on. The older you get, the smaller the cheering section becomes…..or so it seems. This is why friends and family are a blessing, I suppose. This is probably also why so many people are addicted to social media. It fulfills a need and appetite for personal approval from others…maybe.
A friend at school gave me a book called How to Help Your Missionary. I thought this was a thoughtful Christmas gift, as I am still trying to get used to you being gone and wondering how I can be the best support to you beyond the obvious prayers, emails, packages, and monetary deposits. You will be glad to know, the mini whiteboard is still on the fridge. I was informed DO NOT REMOVE IT OR ERASE IT!!! and that it will remain there with the schedule and message you left us: “Everyone is Lost without me!” 🙂 Please know that the “foster mother” is sorely missed…..but, you will find us here, along with that mini whiteboard, when you return in 2017.
The gifted book reads a lot like an owners manual, or a Help for Self (Sister missionary) and Mother book. Actually, it reads a lot like the Principles of the Gospel Sunday School lesson book. Here is something funny… as I considered the title, How to Help Your Missionary, I nearly typed another title…..ha ha……How to Train Your Dragon. Funny what my brain does, and how I make connections. The person who gave me the book also recently built a giant snow dragon. Just before Christmas, she texted me a picture of it.
I think training a dragon would be a lot more challenging than raising up a child and training her to be a young missionary, but what do I know? You did not seem to require training. You seemed to come to me with “batteries included.” You were so proactive in your choices and preparation for many years prior to your mission departure. I am proud of you, Devon…of who you have become and of who you are becoming. You are an inspiration to me. I have not told you this enough. Thank you. I love you. You have been a sober child, motivated to learn, and full of good will for those around you. You are an example to me of unshakeableness. Thank you. So, If anyone has a dragon needing training, it is not you…..it is me who possesses a restless, firebreathing creature inside of me…ha ha.
As for the book…..I am thinking I will share parts of it with you in our emailing. 🙂 or, I will forward it to you for some “light” bathroom reading, along with more of your favorite Tom’s deodorant, or whatever you want and need 🙂 eh?
Today dad, Delanie and Donavon went to church and found out about the new Ward boundaries. Most of the people living on the old Lincoln Highway will be absorbed into a Hoytsville Ward. Delanie is heartbroken as most of the young men and young women will no longer be with her in the Wanship Ward. Her friends will not be with her. This is difficult for her as you can imagine. The Hoytsville Ward will still meet in the Wanship building. Maybe Delanie can just attend the Hoytsville group. Dunno. This is what I would do….but I do what I want, not necessarily what I should do. 🙂
Tomorrow is swim team practice. I should go to bed. You should probably challenge us to follow mission rules about going to bed early. Just an idea.
Keep layering, stay warm and dry, and wear your GUM BOOTS!
Love, Mom 🙂