I am so often reminded of why we are told to "become as little children" as we prepare for the coming of our Savior. Children are so loving, forgiving, teachable, understanding and unprejudiced. Why do we have to "grow up" and lose so much of that?!
A few weeks ago, I was reminded yet again, of the purity and innocence of a child's heart. Seneca came home from school one day a few weeks ago and, as she threw a flyer in my lap, simply said, "I want to take Jeffrey!" I smiled and said, "OK. To what?" As I looked down at the flyer, I was surprised to see what was the announcement of an upcoming "Daddy/Daughter Date." I will admit, as much as I was so thrilled that she wanted Jeff to go with her, I was a little bit surprised, considering the nature of the evening (this is a new experience/situation for us). Making sure she understood that it was a "Daddy/Daughter Date" (even though the flyer specified that you could bring your Dad, Grandpa, Brother, Uncle or Friend), she smiled and said again, "I know! I want to take Fuh Chan!" (Every time she calls Jeff that, my heart smiles. In addition to still calling him "Jeffrey" every now and again she now lovingly refers to him as "Fuh Chan," which is the Chinese word for "Father.") She then proceeded to say, "We have a Daddy/Daughter Date coming up at Daddy's church, so I thought I could go to that one with him and have "Fuh Chan" come to this one."
Simple as that.
I must say...I was in awe for a moment (I still am actually). As adults, we make situations like this so personal and complicated, that it often creates confusion, contention and hard/hurt feelings. For this little 7 year old, it made absolute sense in her mind to split the time between the TWO men she loves. A simple and beautiful compromise....from a child. I stand amazed at the beauty of this little girl's soul. And so it was, Baby and "Fuh Chan" began preparing for a fabulous date night. The theme? "UNDER THE SEA."
On the flyer, all girls and their dates were asked to dress up either as sea princesses, mermaids or pirates. I canNOT TELL YOU how much I LOVE LOVE LOVE that my little PRINCESS wanted nothing other than to be a PIRATE!!!!! HIT IT!!! And so, Mama set out on a search for the PERFECT pirate costumes!! It didn't take long. Fortunately, my sister's cute brother and sister-in-law had JUST invested in the most AMAZING matching pirate costumes for this last Halloween. Would you believe that the sizes fit Baby and Jeff perfectly!?! Of course they did! ;-) So grateful for sweet Peggy and her willingness to share these fabulous costumes! I think it's safe to say, that they were probably one of the best-dressed couples there that evening! Can you stand it? How seriously CUTE are these costumes...these pictures and these priceless TREASURES of mine!?
Love the picture below of them driving away. All pirates drive away in Galants, don't they?! LOL! Awesome.
They had SUCH a fun and memorable night of activities, games, dancing, face-painting and more!!!
I am so grateful for this very special and memorable night for BOTH of these two crazy pirates! And even more so, I am filled with gratitude and humility for this precious little girl and her tender heart and constant example of Christlike love and understanding. My heart was (and still is) so touched by this "little" thing, that was anything BUT little to me.....or to Fuh Chan. :-)
Within the next few weeks, I plan on documenting the details of Jeff's beautiful and perfect proposal, along with a few other entries that I have wanted to write for quite a while now (EDITED 5/20/13: Have now posted those entries and filed them back to just after when I posted the news about our engagement...just to keep everything together chronologically). Until then, I want to just post little things here and there....as they come to my mind. My heart is so full lately and I feel as if I am constantly surrounded by tender mercies and reminders of God's love for me and of His Divine blessing of our union.
A few weeks ago, I happened upon a video "purely by chance" (by now, you know I don't believe in "chance"). As I watched it, I absolutely could not control my tears. It seems like I cry so often lately....but the tears that fall feel so much different than of years past. The energy is so different and the tears are so pure and cleansing. I feel so very close to the Spirit every moment of every day and I am filled with so much love and gratitude, that it is so often overwhelming, in a beautiful way. As I sat and watched this video, my heart swelled as my mind immediately turned to my children and my sweet Jeff. What a miracle it is, knowing that my children will have Jeff in the home, a man who (like their Mama) loves them, cherishes quality time (both as a family and one-on-one), makes them laugh, makes them feel safe to share all that is on their hearts and INTENTLY LISTENS to those thoughts and feelings, disciplines with love, teaches them and helps them to grow, and (most importantly).....loves their mother.
Since we knew that we had a very special American History Tour coming up in March, we decided that we wanted to wait until then to get engaged. We had already dated a year and a half, and waiting a little bit longer for a very perfect and personal moment, was absolutely worth it.
Jeff and I had decided not to tell anyone until after we were officially engaged...and that included family and close friends. However, the joy and gratitude I felt in my heart, was something I
simply could NOT keep completely to myself for an entire month and a
half. I immediately had an idea. After I returned home from Bennion Jewelers that late morning, I hopped in my car and drove to the bank. To anyone else, this may seem so "different," but I have dear friends just about everywhere....including the bank. Julie and Nancy (and many others that work at my bank) have become absolutely dear friends of mine. We have chatted so often and shared much with each other. I love them both so very much! When I was faced with the dilemma of not being able to tell anyone in our immediate circle, I instantly thought of Nancy (Julie no longer works at that bank....sadly. Though, we still keep in very close contact.). I ran in, plopped myself down in the chair at her desk and, bright-eyed, said, "I have to show you something!" She was ELATED.....and I was appeased and able to wait another month and a half, having been able to share my incredibly joyful news with at least ONE person.
It's not often that your bank teller is the first one to know about such amazing, life-changing news. But then, Nancy isn't just any bank teller...and I'm not quite "like everyone else" either. :-)
Oh my heart, I love this picture so very much, for SO many reasons. I will explain why....
There are countless reasons why I love and admire my Dad. As I have vigilantly searched for an Eternal companion, the qualities I love so much about my Dad, have been at the forefront of my mind. I love...
...that he is kind to everyone and judges no one.
...that he is a man of learning - always seeking for truth and knowledge.
...that he is a man who loves, admires and respects his wife.
...that although he knows more people than anyone I know, when you are with him, you feel like the most important person in the world.
...that he is the perfect example of a righteous father - he (together with my sweet mother) was constantly teaching us, disciplined us with love, supported us in all of our MANY activities...and was a very ACTIVE and playful Dad. We ALWAYS knew that our family came FIRST to him!!
...that he is strong and authoritative.....yet still knows (and loves) how to PLAY!!!
...that he is a focused listener.
...that he remembers people.
...that he makes friends wherever he goes.
...that he is resourceful.
...that he is punctual.
...that he honors his Priesthood and so readily offers to give us blessings, as needed.
...that he knows the Gospel and the Scriptures so well and teaches them in a manner that is easy to understand and retain.
...that he is a dreamer and chases after those dreams.
...that he loves to travel, see new places and immerse himself in new cultures.
I could spent the entire morning continuing this list. However, I believe that that is definitely a good sampling of the qualities that I love the most.
After spending a while in the dating scene after my divorce, I met quite a few wonderful men. I am grateful for all of them and for their friendship. However, as I kept these qualities in mind and had resolved to select a mate with the utmost care (no matter how much time it took), I started wondering whether or not I would ever find a man the caliber of my Dad. I didn't have to wait very long.
Although Jeff and my Dad do differ in many ways "personality-wise," their core is the same. They are both strong men who love the Gospel. So many of the qualities I love in my Dad (listed above)....I also love in Jeff. We are all made unique, with unique sets of spiritual gifts that will uplift and strengthen others. Jeff, of course, is his own man. And as his own man, he is absolutely magnificent. However, what a blessing to have my Dad, one of the greatest men I have ever personally met (regardless of the fact that he is my father), to hold up as a standard as I so carefully *selected the man that I want to have by my side for Eternity. (*A side note on the word "selected." I guess it is true that I chose this wonderful man. However, it goes much deeper than that. The word "selected" does not seem adequate or even accurate. The truth is, I didn't really "select" him. I know, with my entire being, that GOD was the one who selected BOTH of us for each other. I simply RECOGNIZED His choice.)
I feel so very richly blessed to see in this handsome young man, what I have admired in another, very, very dear and slightly-older man for my entire life.