Friday, April 15, 2016

The Missionary

Just in case you don't follow along on her blog, The Missionary Life of Hermana Foster, I've got some updated photos to show you.

She's doing good. So good. Every letter home is a confirmation that she is in the right place at the right time. She's also mentioned that this is the hardest things she has EVER done. But she is learning so much about herself, The Lord and the Book of Mormon. We live for her Monday emails. I read them twice just to hear her voice in my head.

I would give just about anything to hold her in my arms and hug her. Sometimes that need is a physical ache. But then I remember that this girl was born to be a missionary in Santa Rosa, California. She is doing the right thing for the right reasons. So, I ask the Lord to hold her for me.

My favorite picture of her while she was in the MTC:

Her last companion, Sister Burton. They got along so great and even sang together!

Her newest Companion, Sister Gudmundson:

And her very best friend from the MTC is Sister Bennett. They got to see each other last week and it made them both so ridiculously happy. They are determined to be companions one day.

She is now in Sonoma and there are vineyard EVERYWHERE.

She is my light and my joy. She strengthens my testimony with her own. She is constantly teaching me. Missing her is a small price to pay for this incredible life experience. I simply adore her.

Sami, you are loved beyond the stars.
I think of you every moment of every day.
Thank you for using your life to do good.
May angels surround you and protect you always.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

A Birthday, An Anniversary and Team Riley

The weekend started with a birthday and an anniversary.
We got married on Todd's birthday. Every year I give him a birthday present and he gives me an anniversary present. It's the best win-win situation all around. In all the truth I know, this man is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me.

21 years. That's quite a number. I even dragged down our wedding album out of the closet just for a reminder. Todd's hair is shorter now and mine looks exactly the same. I'm not sure what that says about us. It just boils down to this: We're perfect for each other. And I'm fairly certain that's all that matters.

On Saturday morning Team Riley all gathered at the Houston Zoo for the Easter Seals event. We made quite a presence. And all for one precious, angel girl who happened to be one of the three ambassadors of the event.

These 2 girls have a part of my heart. I would literally do anything for them. Including arriving at the Zoo by 6:45 am. We walked, we talked and we cheered.

The Texan cheerleaders were there. Wow is all I can say. I seriously pondered how they can dance in those boots. It's a mystery. But Addie was determined to get a picture, so she jumped right in.

What a day for being together for an amazing girl and a great cause.

Kellie and Keagan

Me and My Amazing Sister

Keagan and Her Many Talents

I hope your weekend brought you as much goodness as ours.
Life really is all about loving those close to you.
And wearing matching Team shirts.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

How To Spend A Day

It's become an unwritten rule that orthodontic treatment equals skipping school. Oh, and having your mom buy you lunch.

So it was today. And in a strange way, I like it when this happens, because I have her all to myself. No one to text. They're all in school. So, she's stuck with me.

She requested I buy Cake Flower for a cake she wants to make. And also enlisted my help to get her Converse squeeky white again.

Luckily, I grabbed a $5 craft kit at Target, and the Baby Child and I crafted together. And she talked to me {gasp}. I might venture to say she liked me. For at least 30 minutes.

I hung it in the kitchen over our missionary board. She looked at it and said, "I like it." I nearly fainted on the floor from the whole experience.

 Every now and then these teenagers give you the briefest glimpses of the girl they are inside. Today I shared several hours with that girl, and I adore her. A day well spent.


Sunday, March 20, 2016

When To Stop Caring

You wouldn't believe what mounds are in the other daughter's rooms.
When they were little, I spent 99.8% of my time cleaning up. I thought I would die holding a broom in my hand. Little people produce large messes.

And then they grew up. You'd think the messes would diminish. Nope. They just rotate to their bedrooms. I literally avoid going in those rooms unless it's necessary. And I advert my eyes. On the good days I humor myself and count all the bottles, chip bags, cups and bowls. I have a strange way of entertaining myself.

Oh, and by the way, when we moved into this house a made a grand, final, foot-stomping rule that food stays in the kitchen. You hear me? The kitchen only!

I clearly have authority around here. In fact, in order to have authority, they'd actually have to listen to the words that come out of my mouth. That right there is the real culprit.

At some point, I stopped caring. About a lot of things. Teenagers will do that to you. It's like they whittle you down to a nub. And the list of what you really care about becomes quite small. Crap all over their bedrooms? I'm over it. The words you decide to speak to me? Ah, now there's something that's on the list.

There is freedom in not caring. About the stuff that doesn't really matter. Take a look at the list of all the things that drive you crazy and just remove a few (or a lot) items. It's rather life changing.

From Erma Bombeck:
"My theory on housework is, if the item doesn't multiply, smell, catch fire, or block the refrigerator door, let it be. No one else cares. Why should you?"


Thursday, March 17, 2016

Y'all, We Went To The Rodeo

The Rodeo. It's a Spring Break tradition with my sister. And this year? I'm down to one kid who will actually go and only with a friend. I had to bribe her to take a picture with me. Life with teenagers.

This year we discovered that Wednesdays are half price. That means all of Houston and Louisiana and probably Florida were all there. I've never seen so many people in one place. And a majority of them were wearing cowboy boots.

We ate corn dogs and treats and rode carnival rides until we were sick. The best kind of fun.

Can't wait until next year. It may just be me and the twins by then. I'll work on my bribery and blackmail skills. Maybe I'll get 2 teenagers to come instead of just 1. What a likely story.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Saying Goodbye

She's been gone for 14 days. It's taken me that long to look at the pictures I took on the day she walked to her airport gate. I can't really describe what her absence has done to my heart. Pride and sorrow all combined. It's a strange state to live in.

We stood at the end of the security lines and hugged her tight. Each one of us taking our turn.

I held her as tight as I possibly could and whispered in her ear how much I loved her. And then I looked into her eyes and told her she was brave and courageous and inspiring.

We walked her all the way to the security check point. All of us with tears. My heart pounding so strongly, I thought it would stop.

And then she was gone. With one final wave goodbye. Her final words, "I'll see you soon." The Lord carried all of us that day. Her to Utah and us back home. I'm pretty sure He's still carrying me.

And the dearest of friends were on the other end of the plane trip. There to catch her and take care of her. She and her friend Emily are both serving missions in California, just different ends of the state.

They drove her to the MTC (Mission Training Center), hugged her tight and handed her off.

And now she's been gone 14 days. We've gotten 2 emails from her so far. I reread them over and over, just to hear her voice in my head. She's immersed in learning Spanish and loving her companion and district. She bears her testimony of the truthfulness she knows. Just like a missionary.

I don't think about the journey ahead. I can't. I simply focus on today and send her name up to heaven in all the ways I know how. What she is doing with her life, serving the Lord with everything she's got, is so inspiring and monumental. Her courage reverberates through our family. She is our light.

If you want to read her letters home to us, we've created a blog: The Missionary Life of Hermana Foster. Feel free to follow along.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Her Farewell

A missionary farewell is a strange day for a parent. First off all, I want to take my people and squeeze them all together forever. United time is ticking away. So our family unit becomes extraordinary in all it's ordinary ways.

You watch your child stand at the church pulpit and teach. She also bares testimony of truth, especially her truth. And as a parent, your heart is so full of pride and sadness and hope, so all you do is cry. You look at her in awe and cry.

And then she sings. Oh, when she sings. My heart tries to capture every word and hold it close. Because music is ingrained into her very being. And when I watch and hear her, I am caught in her beauty. I am reminded of her unfailing example of what it means to be a righteous, warrior of a woman.
It is such an honor to be this girl's mother. I was created for her, and she for me. And for the next 18 months we are both giving our hearts to the Lord. Mine is in letting her go. Hers is committed to teaching the Savior's truth. Noble, and honorable, and great, but also hard. Pretty much the perfect recipe for growth.

I gave Sam a necklace for Christmas. It's titled, "The Ties That Bind". It's five perfect circles centered inside one another. The 5 rings represent the 5 of us. This family of ours. For we will be with her with every step she takes and every door she knocks on. We will be right there on the hard days and cheering for her on the glorious days. And every night when she lays down to sleep, we will be right along side her holding her together with our love. What a mission for us all.

Santa Rosa, California is getting one awesome Sister Missionary.