Sunday, July 19, 2015

Family Reunion - Mom's Side of the Fam

After dropping Jesse off at the MTC, we traveled directly to a family reunion on my side of the family.

On Wed night, Josh and Joseph had a rehearsal for their a Capella group Apollo, and we got to sit in and hear them practice Come Thou Fount.  It was wonderful!

What handsome boys!

The next morning, cousins got to play at the park together.

And the big boy got to swing!

This is one of my favorite pictures of the reunion.  One day we went to another local park and spent the morning there eating breakfast and playing games.  I caught a moment with Conal sitting talking to Dad.

It poured rain that morning, but we huddled in blankets and behind tarps and went on with events as planned!  Eventually it stopped enough for us to play games.

Bruce, Libby, Garrison and Bruce were the finalists of the Alligator Rhythm game.

And Bruce came out the victor.
Treasure hunt prizes for Carson and Libby.
And Peter...
And Jackson.
Puzzle game!

Josh and Joseph coming from their Concert Choir rehearsal.

Libby, Hailey and Alyssa (and photo bomb by Alexia!)
Peter, Ethan and Garrison
We had the privilege of attending Carson's baptism during the reunion.  What a special occasion to have Rodney baptize him.  We took advantage of the Sunday attire to get family pictures.

Conal & Monique's family
Rodney and Angelina's family
And us, well, part of us!  Jesse was in the MTC, of course, and Mary had to stay home and work.  We missed them both!  (Wow - check out the yellow sandals!)  ha ha ha
We had a wonderful reunion!  Thanks to Craig and Jenette for planning it!

Jesse enters the MTC!

The week before Jesse left for the MTC, Joseph was able to come back from school for the 4th of July weekend.  This was great because Joseph was able to be here for the 4th of July celebrations, and he was also able to stand in the circle on Sunday morning when Jesse was set apart to be a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Our Stake President set her apart, with Joseph and Bruce in the circle (meaning - they laid their hands on her head, along with President, but our Stake President was the voice of the prayer).  It was a beautiful blessing - everything I could have wanted for her.  In the four days before this, she had bees really sick with a high fever, due to immunizations.  It was questionable whether she would be well enough by the next Wednesday to enter the MTC.  President Evans even asked us if we wanted to delay the entry date. As we thought about it, we agreed that the blessing he would give her would make a big difference, so we went ahead with it.  And we were right.

At Church after her setting apart, we took this picture of Joseph and Jesse, the last time these two will see each other for 18 months.  But they were happy when they said good-bye.  They both know the purpose of it all.  I know I'm a biased mother, but isn't this just the happiest picture of Joseph and Jesse?

And here is a happy picture too.  I had to go in the Church right after this and teach Gospel Doctrine. I held it together!

We packed all her suitcases on Sunday night.  Monday we went up to a Reservoir for one last mountain retreat.  Todd and Kristie and family were there, along with Greg and Rachelle and family.  This is the group right when we said goodbye.  You can see Jesse's big smile right in the middle.  

Jesse and Mary say good-bye!

On Tuesday morning, after some repairs to the Dodge pickup we own, we headed out of town.  Last picture at home for 18 months!  (Sorry - you'll get sick of me saying that...)  Mary is not in this picture because she stayed home, having to work at her new job.

In Utah we met up with cousins Lindsey and Adam, and Darcy, and also Jesse's boyfriend Stephen and her best friend and roommate Jane.  In-n-Out Burgers was Jesse's restaurant of choice.

After that we went up to Shawn and Janel's house (Bruce's brother), and Jesse played some Josh Groban (When You Say You Love Me) while Stephen sang.  It was beautiful.

Jesse with Uncle Shawn and Aunt Janel.  Janel took the opportunity to tell Jesse how much she loved her and what a great missionary she would be.  I didn't hold it together during that.  I cried.  :)

On Monday morning we went to IHOP and met up with my brother Conal and his six children.  It was so fun to have them be with us for Jesse's last breakfast with the family.

We met up with Stephen right below the Temple in Provo.  As we were driving into the parking lot, we saw all these families saying good-bye to their missionary, and in true Jesse form, she said, "There's too much love going on here.  This sickens me!"  Ha ha ha  That's Jesse!  

Stephen has been a dear friend to Jesse since last October when they got to be friends/more than friends in music classes in the BYU School of Music.  These two will miss each other, but will grow during the next 18 months.  No commitments are in place other than keeping in touch, but they are both very grateful for their relationship.

Family picture!

Jesse, Peter and Libby

Bruce said the real test is if she can pick up both her suit cases.  Not one to shrink from a challenge, she passed the test!

Two proud parents with a beautiful missionary daughter!

After quick hugs at the MTC, she is ready to wave good-bye.

There is no doubt about the importance of the work of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ, and it is especially poignant at the moment you wave good-bye to your daughter for 18 months.  As I said before, we didn't cry, because we know she is doing the best work in all the world.  I'm so happy for her!