Summer Highlights #1

I’m writing this post from my sister Darci’s house in Utah. I drove down yesterday, with my oldest son, Clark (pictured above.) Clark is returning to BYU to continue his college education —and it suddenly hit me this week—he’s leaving me again. This summer is almost over. I’ve been wanting to blog some of our summer highlights for several weeks and now, here I am, realizing that if I don’t start, it may not happen. So …

Summer highlight #1: Clark is home!!!!!

I’ve looked forward to this particular summer for two full years. This is what missionary moms do. We put our boys (and girls) on the airplane, headed to a Missionary Training Center (MTC for short) and we come home and circle the day on the calendar that they will return. And, while two years is a long time and there were moments and days when I thought, “I can’t do this,” I can hardly believe that he is home. He did it. We did it. And this first summer highlight has made every other highlight ten times better. We have LOVED having Clark back and have enjoyed so much everything we have planned and anticipated—the big trips, the family gatherings and perhaps even most of the all, the quiet moments where we sit around the kitchen table or the living room and just talk and listen to his stories.

The coolest thing about having Clark home is Clark himself. His mission changed him. I knew this would happen of course, but it’s still so awesome to experience — he is everything good that he already was, only magnified — I am learning that adult children are worth every effort that you invest into teenage children (so, don’t give up if you’re dealing with teenage drama.) Anyway, having my first missionary come home will make it much easier for me to endure the last half of Chase’s mission and to send out any other children that have the desire to serve. Clearly any experience (at 18 or 19 or 20) that requires self-sacrifice, hard work and discipline will build character, but there is something special about Mormon missionaries, and that is that their primary purpose is to invite others to come unto Jesus Christ. They are immersed in the Master’s teachings and they work everyday to share the good news of His gospel. They help people find and restore their faith and (I believe) it is this spiritual focus that changes these boys and helps them mature and become better versions of themselves.

By the way, you can read more about Clark (and Chase) serving missions here, here and here, and if you’re curious about missionaries in general, there’s an informative article here. It’s actually interesting because the award-winning musical, The Book of Mormon is playing in Spokane right now and so I’ve had some friends ask me about missionaries. I have not seen this show—I’m sure it is entertaining, but I know that it also mocks missionaries and missionary work. So, I’ll wrap up my thoughts by saying that I am so grateful for my faith, and for my membership in the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I think often about my mission (I served in Frankfurt, Germany from May, 1986 to November, 1987) because it was such a pivotal time in my life. I know that keeping the commandments and striving to live and teach my children gospel principles has done nothing but bless my life and theirs. If you ever have questions about what missionaries do or what I believe, I hope you’ll ask me. I’m always eager to share!

A note about the picture: One of the smartest things I’ve ever done, is invite my friend Randi Brunt (awesome photographer) to come with our family to the airport for Clark’s homecoming, so that I could just be in the moment and she could capture it. I love the photos she took and will absolutely do this again when Chase comes home next summer!




  1. What a wonderful summer highlight!

  2. Wendy Smedley says:

    Love this and love you! So glad you got to enjoy your sweet boy (man) this summer. Can’t wait to read more summer highlights.

  3. Wow! I took classes from you at Paperhearts (was that the name) in Salt Lake City and bought your first scrapbook magazine and your missionaries were just toddlers and I even recognize Clark’s face from when he was so young. I remember the spread where he was crying in an ice cream store…more like screaming. How fun and how fast the time went! Proud of you and your boys! :)

  4. PS. You had your books in the trunk of your car and we all bought one from you. You demonstrated the spread where there was a die cut duck as your family was at a pond with ducks. I have a memory like an elephant….LOL. It was my first scrapbook class and page ever and I couldn’t ever imagine being so creative as you were. We were all scared to make our first page as you encouraged us to do. It was all so new and scary and exciting! Ah, I miss those days of crops and scrapbook retreats and weekends. Fun times that I never thought would end…thanks for your contribution to the Scrapbook industry (ongoing) and I absolutely loved Simple Scrapbooks…RIP…:)

    • Wow! Cynthia — you do have a great memory. As I’m reading your comment, you’re reminding me of these things! I miss those days of crops and die-cut ducks too, ha! Those were good times for sure. Thanks so much for taking time to leave a comment. You brought a BIG smile to my face today.

  5. Having your son home after two years is such a great way to bring celebration into your summer. Although we raise our kids to grow up and leave home and have a wonderful life, it is so hard to let them go. My oldest is about ready to start college and we are enjoying every family moment we have before she is gone.

    • well said. In the end, I would be more sad if he didn’t want to go — good luck with your parting moments!

  6. Meredith F. says:

    Wonderful! We are taking our first to college Tuesday–exciting, but sad for us. Congrats on having him back!

  7. Sue Busada says:

    Two years already! Seems like yesterday when “we” sent him off! Not having children of my own, I enjoy watching other peoples’ children grow and mature into fine adults.

  8. When I had read that Chase was leaving and Clark was still gone, I thought that that sounded so impossibly hard. I would imagine having Clark back will make the next year before Chase comes home a bit more bearable. Will Trey and Taft overlap also?
    I know you all were a bit disappointed that Clark didn’t get chosen to go somewhere more ‘exotic’ than your own backyard but I see on Instagram that you got to meet someone Clark was close with during his time away – that probably wouldn’t have happened if he went half way around the world.
    Even though he is off to collage and leaving you again I would imagine it’s not as hard since you can have contact with him and he can come home for holidays.

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