Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Road Trip

We had a full night pf packing and cleaning getting all ready to move Bre, Alfie and Addison back to Utah. 
Wayne got off the airplane totally dizzy so just had to lay low for 15 hours. But he's a trooper and has driven the full time. Day 1:
BBQ in Tennessee
Day 2:  Crossing the Mississippi
Road detour and delay
Face timing Alfie from the car. Eating at Nebraska City.  More river crossings.  
Day 3:  up early once again and ready to drive for atleast another 12 hours. We sing and share you tube videos. Read books outloud and make phone calls. We talk a lot and solve all of the world's problems.  
We dropped Wayne off on Wyoming to go with our stake people on pre trek. He is a true pioneer. Addison and I race home to see this little guy....
Life is good.  It's been 4 1/2 years since all of my children have been altogether in the same room. They have changed a lot but I like who they have become.  It makes this mother's heart so happy!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Missionary Monday

Monson did a Missionary Monday for us last family night.  He got out his pictures and talked about people and places that impacted him while on his Michigan mission and the things he learned by being a missionary.  He listed  6 things he learned on his mission...…….
1.  In the end it's easier to live the Gospel than not to
2. The scriptures have real answers for our small and big  problems
3. EVERYONE is Lovable somehow
4. If you want to Love God, you also have to love your neighbor
5. Satan and  God are both just as real
6.  Forgiveness is real and it works

Then he shared a faith promoting experience that happened to him when he was feeling really down a year into his mission.  He was having little success and wondering if the Lord even remembered him..... This is what he wrote in his letter January of 2013......

..…But I did have a way awesome miracle happen on Wednesday. My first day in Jonesville we were walking to an appointment and by the time we had gotten there I finally noticed that my name tag had fallen off and I honestly thought that there was no way that I was ever going to get it back. Well fast forward three weeks and here we are walking home from an appointment.  It was cold and I had my hands in my pockets and I was all hunched over trying to stay warm and looking at the ground.  And out of nowhere, something hit me in the face. Well I looked to see what just happened and sure enough my name tag was hanging on a TREE! It was the coolest thing ever!! I just gave Elder Jones a hug cause I was so happy but I didn't know what to do. So that was real awesome…..

He shared that the likelihood of this happening was so remote that it really was a miracle made just for him.  Right then he felt the Lord was aware of him and his needs and it just testified to him that he is a Child of God.   

I love this story.  It's one he can hold on to and share with his own children some day.  Missionary Mondays and tender miracles are great.  

Saturday, April 26, 2014

10th Anniversary since Tom's passing

It's been ten years since my sweet Father in law passed away.  He was a kind hearted, hard working, family loving, spiritual man.
OBITUARY:    Thomas Nash Welch, 70 of Bountiful, Utah, returned to his heavenly home peacefully the afternoon of April 26, 2004 in the presence of his dear wife, all of his children and their spouses.
He was born August 13, 1933 to Samuel and Minnie Jane (Hughes) Welch, the sixth of seven children. He married his sweetheart, Wanee Israelsen, in the Logan Temple on July 30, 1958.  Thomas was raised in Harper, Utah ( near Brigham City) and spent his early years working on the family farm.  He served an LDS mission to Somoa and came to love the Polynesian people and culture.  He graduated from USU in 1957 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.  He served in the Army Reserves for six years.  He worked with his wife's family on the Buttercup Dairy in North Logan, Utah.  He loved the farm work but a back injury made it difficult for him to do the manual labor necessary to run a dairy farm.  He went back to USU and received his teaching certificate in Secondary Education.  He taught Auto Mechanics and Math at Viewmont and WoodsCross High Schools.  He retired in 1995.  He had a brilliant mind and rivaled any computer on things mathematical.
He was a faithful, active member of the LDS church.  His love to the Savior was shown in his service to others and his willingness to serve in many different capacities in the church.  He loved his family and enjoyed spending time with them at the family cabin.  He was an extremely hard worker and worked many extra jobs to support his wife and nine children.  He will be remembered for his sense of humor, his storytelling, his excellent cooking and the love that he had for his family especially his grandchildren.

I was going through some family scrapbooks and was reminded of his funeral.  This is what I wrote about it to my parents who were in Scotland at the time, May 3, 2004:

Wayne got to go on Friday morning, with his brothers and help to dress his dad.  He said this was a reaally special experience.  The viewing Friday night was so nice.  No real tears shed-- just happiness and good visiting with such good people.  It was great.  We had a number of our old ward members and high school friends come through.  We were so surprised.  The outpouring of love was nice.  We had to gather at 4:00 for the family viewing.  They lifted up both parts of the casket and showed all of the little kids that grandpa did indeed still have his legs.  It was cute.  Scott Russon did such a great job explaining it all.  He did the hand and glove metaphor to explain the spirit and the body to the children.  They all gathered around the casket spell bound.  They got to ask questions.  They asked, "Why is Grandpa wearing a green apron?"  ( part of his temple clothes)  Lindsey volunteered the answer, "Isn't it becaue he loves to cook?"  We all chuckled.  They also wanted to know why his watch and glasses were on.  Good questions.  Tom really did look great.  Better than any I have seen.  He just looked asleep-- not made up.  He was very cold to the touch and many grandkids commented on this.  It was funny.   It was great to have the whole family together, except the 2 missionary boys.  Dale didn't make it to any of the viewing or any of the services on Saturday-- he just couldn't do it--the voices were just too powerful.   The viewing line just kept going and going.  As we said our last goodbyes it was just really sad to see all of the grandkids crying.  Hunter- Tami's 5 year old-- said his goodbyes to Grandpa and patted him on the cheek and said really loud, "Hey grandpa you feel like a corn dog."  That brought us a great chuckle and the tears stopped.  Holly was cheery all day.  She has this all figured out.  No tears for her.  The veil is so thin for her.  She really does see and speak to those on the other side.  The funeral talks were all excellent.  Wayne held up Dale's picture and read his talk.  It was sweet.  I sang without a tear.  The closing song, Families can be together Forever,  was sung by all of the grandkids. Addison cried through the whole thing.  Truman cried through most of it--Monson cried at the end and Landon holding Laila did great.  He stayed strong.
Truman got to ride in the limosene with Lindsey, Wanee and Holly.  They were all crying so they begged Grandma Welch to sing, "How much is that doggey in the window" to cheer them up. She barks for them.  It was a hoot.
The weather was lovely. We actually had a line up at the cemetery and had another funeral ahead of us only 8 feet away from where our tent was set up so we sat and waited 20 minutes for our turn.  That was crazy.  The casket was draped witha flag because Tom served in the military-- so TAPs was played and Rob, Wayne, Terry and Mark took off and folded the flag and presented to to Wanee.  It was very touching.  Wanee had 40 roses there for each grandkid to take and place on the casket.  Her passing out the flowers to each of the kids was very sweet.  It was a great day.  Long but great.  

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

My journey with my gay sons

I am a mother of gay sons. That's right ....sons.   I don't know why I get this blessing in my life but it is indeed a blessing.  I have had to travel this unknown path with one hand in my Wayne's strong grip and my other hand in Christ's.    It has been at times a difficult and illuminating journey.

     When I was a young mother, I knew "everything."  I probably was judgier than I should have been and was able to solve other family's issues with a wave of my magic superiority wand and all knowing advice.    I used to be so sure of many things I’m not so sure of now. How did this happen?  How did I get here?  Having gay children has opened me up to many new life lessons. But on the flip side, this journey seems to have made me a nicer person: less judgmental, more compassionate, less rigid, more flexible, maybe even more spiritual.  I believe the Lord calls this "growth."  What  I do still know is Heavenly Father loves me and is aware of me and my children.  I have had a trial of my faith for 8 years now.... I used to think "if I just had more faith" I could make this all right....but I realize now the faith I have is enough...and everything is all right.

While I was pondering on all this, a character in a TV show said something that impressed me so much. It's from Lark Rise to Candleford. Dorcas Lane said this to another in spiritual crisis: “Your faith does not depend upon you impressing the bishop…. It is yours. It lies beside you on your pillow at night. It comforts you when there is no human comfort to be found. Your faith has stayed and sustained you through many trials. It has sustained others too.” I now realize that my faith is between me and God and that it has comforted me when there was “no human comfort to be found.”

 My Journey:
When Landon was little he loved to play with dolls and wear blankets tied to his body as a dress.  I didn't neccessarily encourage this, but I didn't stop it.  He was always the princess and he loved playing the mom.  He always wanted to be a female character for Halloween.... at one point I was getting exasperated with this and came up with the brilliant idea that all 4 boys would be dalmation puppies for Halloween from Disney's  101 Dalmations.   Landon piped up... "Okay But I get to be Perdita."  That is the mother dog.......   We put Landon in soccer and scouts and he loved "the outfits".  He loved to sing and be in musicals with the family...and he was just the sweetest, bossiest, energetic, most loving child with a very high voice.   Landon did great in grade school and had many friends.  In Jr. High something changed.  My beautiful boy, was being made fun of and ridiculed and called gay a lot.  We talked to him about this and asked him if he was and he said "no"....through many tears.  It was going to be okay if he was...we could find help for him.  At the time I was still under the dilusion that being gay was a choice, not an orientation, something that needed to be fixed. (Our actions are a choice our sexual orientation is not. )

Landon was tortured and tormented through jr high; made it into High school, and found a group of great friends and survived with his self esteem mostly intact.  It helped that I was a teacher at the high school while he was there and he would seek refuge in my room. He waited til his first year in College to officially "come out."  He was so confused and full of sorrow and just didn't want to live.  He actually attempted suicide and ended up in hospital for a few weeks while we worked through it.  Those were desperate times.  I look back on that and hope that I didn't add to his suffering, but I probably did with all of my "choice" talk.  

While I was wallowing in mother doubt and what did I do wrong, and why does God hate my child, and how does this all fit in with the gospel and why and how to love now.....????? My sweet Wayne never waivered in his love for our son. He never got depressed or discouraged about our family.  Wayne has always been better at all of this than I.   It's probably because of his brother Dale, and all of his issues that Wayne is able to see beyond "the stuff" and just love the person.  Whatever it is, I'm glad he has always been here to stablize me and buoy me up, and to love on our children.

It was been a journey for all of us.

We have come a long  way as an extended family these 8 years.  When I sent around a letter/email telling family what was going on with Landon and his sorrow and his "coming out" sweet sister finally opened up about her self and her partner.  It was always a don't ask, don't tell subject...and now we could talk about it and express our support openly.  Many good things resulted from this letter.   We have many gay relatives in the Cole/Butters is genetic.   I know this now. There is  a whole spectrum of sexuality from Hetero to Homo… and all of us fall somewhere on this scale.  We are not all a like.  I know being gay is not contagious or a learned behavior. It is not an addiction. It does not make one a pedophile. There really are so many lies and misconceptions floating around out there.

Landon has found joy. He leads a good life. He  has a great partner in Alex  and loves his two children, Sophia and Andrew,  like his own.  We love them all as well and welcome them into our home and  lives with open arms and hearts.

The journey continues......

It has been a difficult year for my Truman.  He is my other gay son.  He didn't come to this knowledge about himself or was willing to share any of this with us until recently.   His path was not like Landon's at all.  Tru dated many girls all through high school and served an honorable LDS mission to England.  He was living with a bunch of boys in Provo last year when his world started to turn. He had to come to terms with his sexuality.  He moved home rapidly, was depressed, spent much time in his room, had no desire to get a job, barely made it through school..... all signs that we knew something was up, but he kept insisting he was fine.   I couldn't believe it took Tru so long to tell us about what was going on with him. He let many close friends and other siblings know before his parents. That was sad for me. I thought we were always open and accepting, but it was a difficult conversation for Tru to have with us.   Needless to say, we were blindsided. Tru is struggling with how he fits in with the gospel and what his life is going to look like now. So many things he thought he knew,  have been challenged.   What I know is I love him...and I am here for him....and whatever choices he makes, I will continue to love him….and learn from him.

Truman is finding his own way. He is happy. 

Let me close with a verse from Proverbs that  means a lot to me:
“Trust in the Lord with all thy heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. 

In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.”

I realize now that my journey isn't just about's about Trust.  I need to Trust that the Lord knows what he is doing......and it's all going to work out, even if I have no idea how.

Monday, April 21, 2014

I know He LIves!

When my momma was leaving our world last May, the one thing I knew for sure was that I would see her again.  I know this with every fiber of my being. I have this great gift because of the sacrifice, atonement and resurrection of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  He Lives and because He lives we will be with our loved ones again.  This is especially sweet to me this Easter time of year.  What a great holiday of remembrance.

We had our annual extended family egg hunt, egg chuck and picnic. 

It never fails to amaze and amuse.....
Speaking of Alfie is not.  He's probably thinking,"what is up with my parents and why do I have blue ears?"  He is adorable!

Lexi, Laila and Melinda in Easter outfits
Big news. Lexi and Monson are officially engaged and wedding plans are in the works. Nov 21st  is the big date. This will be one year from her baptism.  They will be married in the Bountiful temple.  And we are thrilled to welcome this sweet, Michigan girl into our family. For the proposal, Monson had her go on an egg hunt and find her basket, then when she opened the candy eggs, one of them had a note inside that said, " I love you", she turned and looked at him, and he was on his knee with a ring, asking her to marry him. She said, “Oh my gosh, I think I’m going to cry.  Yes.  Yes.”  It was really sweet. He was nervous but he did great. 

 Now the wedding planning can really begin.  Monson said he only wants to make 3 decisions concerning the wedding  and the rest is up to Lexi.  He wants to choose who to marry, ( Lexi) where to marry ( Bountiful temple) and what the colors are ( blue and yellow Michigan  colors) They have had a fun time calling everyone back in Michigan and her dad in Alaska and letting them know the news.  It’s been a fun couple of days announcing and showing off the ring to everyone. They will go to Michigan the end of August for a big Party/wedding shower for Monson to meet everyone.    We are thrilled to welcome a new Welch girl into our family mix.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

#tbt.........Hoppy Easter

Ah.......I remember 1998, when Easter sweaters were popular, my boys were little and cuddly, and  the Easter bunny always knew what to do with the baskets  and where to hide the eggs.
Our family Easter traditions always include doing the basket and egg hunt on Saturday so we can focus on Jesus and his resurrection on Sunday. I wasn't raised this way but Wayne was and I think it works beautifully. The simple picnic and egg roll of years past has turned into a picnic and egg throw with Seagulls enjoying an egg feast instead.
4 year old, chef Laila dying her eggs...2006

Sunday, April 13, 2014

100 miler

St George Century this weekend.  Wayne and I went down and stayed with the Belnaps. Diane Lake and Kevin and Robyn Martin also came down. Since Wayne's  broken arm accident I stopped training so I knew the 100 miles in one day was unreachable so I set my goal at 50 miles. I was on my own riding most of the time nd my chain came off and I fixed it by myself. I was greasy but felt accomplished. Thanks to an awesome pit crew of Wayne, Laura and Robyn  I succeeded. They cheered me on and fixed my bike and filled my water bottles. Kind of reminds me of our journey here on earth pushing through the hard uphill climbs, soaring through the easy down hill times with family and friends here and in heaven helping and cheering us on. Even thought of how we each have our own bike to pedal, and some do it fast and some do it slow.  Some take the long path and some the shorter one....tney both end up at the finsih line.  Some have a lot of falls, but the point is we get back on the bike and keep going.  It was a great metaphor to think on as I rode. It was a glorious day. 
I did 100 miles in three days in St George total. I feel pretty good about that. It's great to be riding again. I forget how much I like it till I'm out pedaling and listening to my music and just zoning out. It's great exercise and relaxation for me all in one. Looking forward to doing a century ride the end of August. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Friday, April 4, 2014

His eye is on the sparrow

I love the lyrics to His Eye is on the Sparrow song...... I especially love it when Addison sings it to me.  

Why should I feel discouraged
Why should the shadows come
Why should my heart feel lonely
And long for heaven and home

When Jesus is my portion
A constant friend is he
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know he watches over me
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know he watches me

I sing because I'm happy
I sing because I'm free
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know he watches Me

How have I felt watched over lately???

Cards from Laura
Gym time with Si
Call from Jill
Lunch with friends
Call from Linda
Facebook message from Eileen
Email from Sandy
Treats from Natalie
Phonecalls from my boys
Text from Tami
Lunch with sisters
Call from Auntie
Book from Kim
Email from Cyrrena
Cuddle with Laila
Facebook message from Paula
Walk with Wayne
Book from Heidi
Chance meeting with Brad and Karen
Text from Landon
Hug from dad
Breakfast with friends
Instas of my Grandbaby

My Sweet Friend, Paula made this for me years ago...and it is just so applicable....

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Sound of Music wrap up

Sound of Music came at a perfect time for me.  I have had a depressed winter and my therapy has been this show. If I didn't have a reason to go and do something at night I would have easily been in my pjs and in bed at 7pm, but theatre keeps me going, it's my lifesaver.  I enjoyed singing beautiful "Allelujah" harmonies with the nuns each night. 
I have loved spending time with Mickey Larsen. She is a doll and so talented. I consider her not only my kid's friend but my friend as well.  Here she is loving on Holly.

Being with Adam West and Julie Nelson Blatter always means fun times and funny stories. We would steal away to the dark balcony hallway each night and munch on wintergreen lifesavers trying to get them to spark. We laugh together a lot 

My sister nuns who tried to "solve a problem like Maria" with me are Reverend Mother-Nedra Pace, Meghan Smyth and Becky Bryan.  Really awesome ladies and beautiful singers.

I did get to play one night with my favorite Reverend Mother -Jan Smith from the other cast. She was a most irreverent  Mother Superior and I was so proud of her singing "Climb every Mountain".
I was talked into doing this show by my lovely "Carols" -- Jan , Maurie and Julie. I'm so glad they did. I love my theatre friends!!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Fools for waffles

April Fools morning, like fools, we jumped in the car in our pajamas and drove clear out to Taylorsville to go to the Waffle Love food truck. It was freezing and fun and we ended up eating our Nutella and biscoff cookie slathered waffles in the car. It was a spring break adventure!