(Taken from a letter I wrote to Austin on his mission)
Last Friday I took the day off work to attend Jacob's CHS Graduation. He sure has done well in school his senior year. The last two semesters he got straight A's. Pretty awesome. Not bad for a kid who did his fair share of sluffing, and sleeping in a few times missing his first period.
It was funny after he and the other swimmers did their 100 yard jog in the ankle deep water at the start to get to a swimmable depth, I heard Isaac yell out at the top of his lungs, "It's Salty!" Haha. You think?
Can you find Isaac in this group picture?
Cathi helped me paddle for a 10K swimmer. That race consisted of three big loops that started and ended at the marina. I paddled the first loop (which took about 1.5 hours). I also had Sam and Oliver on the kayak with me. It was tough. Then Cathi took the second loop, while I took pictures of the one-mile swimmers. Then relieved Cathi for the final loop. Everyone was dead tired, including the race volunteers. Cathi, Oliver, and Sam were zonked out on the way home in the van. Isaac, however, was on a "swimmers high", as he sat in the back thinking about the race and every once in a while talk about what he was thinking/feeling during the race. I'm so proud of him.
As soon as we got home, Cathi took Jacob and 5 of his friends up to the cabin for the weekend. Grandma and Grandpa also being up there. Mom spent like 5 hours preparing food on Friday night for this. Jacob was gone and had no idea how much effort she put into making his "Senior trip" a success. He's getting pretty serious with this girl from Spain, Natalia.
Last Sunday Sam bore his testimony. He did so right after one of Slagle girls did. He always does it right after her. So I knew he's got a little thing for her. But he said something in his testimony that demonstrated his lack of understanding of Heavenly Father and Jesus. So we had a family home evening lesson helping the kids understand the difference between them, and the common misunderstanding that people have on what role they have, and the names they go by. With their purpose all being the same it is understandable how they can be intermingled.
Yesterday, Mom received an email about someone in the family that renounced their faith in the gospel and left the church. While I'm not bringing this up to judge, it made me think. Sometimes I wonder about Cathi's spirit. This might be considered blasphemous probably by Catholics, but I think she may be made of the similar spiritual strength as Mary. Almost every day I catch her sitting on the toilet reading her scriptures out of her very worn quad, with printed programs, and pamphlets intermingled in the pages. Or finding her kneeling beside the bed in prayer for seriously 10-15 minutes. What the heck! And she is constantly building people up around her and saying kind things. I totally married up. I joke every once in a while, that I totally have a free pass to heaven as long as I hold her hand nice and tight. What an angel. I'm so glad she's so strong in the church because there are a few things I've determined in my life that I will never even consider:
2) Going inactive
They are both actually interdependent. If my faith in the gospel diminished, then so would my belief in our eternal marriage. If I turned my back on my marriage, then my dedication to the gospel would obviously go to pot. Both go hand in hand. I love my wife with all my heart, and I love this gospel with every (pardon the cheesy cliche) "fiber of my being". haha. Seriously, though. Not a chance I'll turn my back on either my wife or the church.
Please do me a favor and listen (or read) this conference talk: https://www.lds.org/general-
conference/2015/10/faith-is- not-by-chance-but-by-choice? lang=eng
Some thoughts to consider:
- When we are obedient we strengthen our faith. When we justify disobedience we plant a little thorny black stinky seed, compared to the tiny mustard seed of faith. This thorny black stinky seed grows to be a nasty old weed that bears all sorts of gross fruit: Cynicism, Justification, Pride, Gluttony, Lasciviousness, Worldliness, and Idolatry.
- I love the statement he makes, "Your faith is either growing stronger or becoming weaker."