Our youngest son Brian was married in the Newport Beach Temple on February 14, 2015. It was such a memorable occasion. Many have asked about my trip back to the United States and what it was like. Some of the questions have been: Was it weird being in the United States? Did you feel guilty? What was the food you most wanted to eat? What was the first American food that you ate? Well the answer to those questions is: No, it felt wonderful, normal and natural! No, I felt wonderful, normal, natural and exactly where I should be at the time! (With my family) Cheescake. A burrito at Tacotime. Eric and I arrived at the airport about the same time and were picked up by Lisa and Hayden. We mentioned that we were pretty hungry. Lisa asked where we would like to eat. I saw a Tacotime and said to go there. Lisa said, "No, you don't want your first meal in the United States to be there:" I said, "Are you kidding?! This is amazing to be able to drive up to a Tacotime, order a burrito, receive it in two minutes and it eat in the car! This is not even possible in Peru!" That was the best Burrito Supreme I have had in years!
We were able to spend five nights in a beach house with our almost our entire family. Mark was not able to come, but it did include all thirteen of our grandchildren and it was wonderful! Most importantly, we had some time to visit with our family. My Dad and Linda were able to come from Utah, also my brother Tim, my brother Bobby and family and my sister Charlene and family. We also were blessed with the company of Mike and Pam, who just fit in perfectly with our whole wild crew. We relaxed and played on the beach, made donut runs to Newport Donuts, went to the temple with Megan, had dinner at Balboa Pier with both the Williams and the Greenwoods, rode the ferris Wheel and danced with hula hopos (CJ is the hula hoop champ).
We attended all the wedding festivities including the temple ceremony, lunch at a Mexican Restaurant with all my family and dinner and reception at a ranch just outside of Bakersfield, California. It was a perfect week and a perfect day for Megan and Brian. The dinner and reception were beautiful and perfect with words spoken, feelings shared, tears shed and dances danced. What a great night! Mark was able to join some of the festivities with the help of Chris and Facetime. He made sure that his voice was still heard even though he was not there! We appreciate all the hard work and planning of Megan and her Mom. My only complaint was that I did not get a piece of cake. And everyone kept telling me how good it was!
My Dad and my baby brother Tim, 16 years younger
I also had the priviledge of flying to Indiana with Lisa, Hayden and their family and spend four very fun days in Indianapolis. Lisa and Hayden have a beautiful home and live in a very nice area. They have a huge backyard and a beautiful neighborhood. It did not feel like I was in a big city. Lisa and I went to the Children's Museum, which was incredible, with Beckham, Ellery and Coast. We even got to ride the carousel! Lisa and Hayden treated me to Cheesecake Factory (yes, I had cheesecake) and Red Lobster, two of my favorite places. They also had record cold days while I was there, -25, so I got a very diverse taste of two completely different climates. I also had a dental checkup and physical exam on the insistence of my husband. He really likes to make sure I am well taken care of.
The only part of my trip that was not perfect was not having my Eternal Sweetheart by my side. It was not Valentine's Day for me without him there. We all missed him very much. Eric had the priviledge of being a witness to the sealing in my husband's place, but it was hard to look over and know that Mark was not there. I only had one breakdown. Just too bad it had to be in the temple endowment session in front of a lot of people, but after that I was okay. I think I even missed Mark more at the reception when many feelings of love were expressed in our family. It was strange to look around on the dance floor and realize that I had no one to dance with. I have to thank Eric for filling in with a lot of things and making sure I was taken care of all day. My husband has set such a good example for my sons of what a husband should be and how he should treat his wife. I have no doubt that Eric and Brian will be superb husbands if they follow in the footsteps of their father.
Sunday was a hard day for me. Little "Cutter Mark Brown", our thirteenth grandchild, was blessed on Sunday, March 1. We have never missed any other Brown blessing in Cheyenne, Wyoming. So I have to admit that I mourned a little bit that day. But there have been so many blessings to outweigh the sacrifice. I have never felt such relief and gratitude for a safe delivery as I did the day that Cutter was born. When Julie started her labor, the fluid was brown, which is not a good sign. I was worried all through the night. The next morning, when Cutter was born perfectly normal, without any problems, I knew that the Lord had granted us a special blessing. How thankful I am that all of my son-in-laws are worthy priesthood holders who bless the lives of their families and are worthy to give them blessings. I am grateful for children who are teaching my grandchildren the gospel by holding family home evening and scripture study. We are also so blessed to have the technology that we can see and speak with our family anytime that we want or need to. It has really made this separation so much easier.
It was a blessing for me to attend a Sacrament Meeting on Sunday, partake of the sacrament the exact same way that we do in the United States and feel the same strong spirit. I was uplifted and comforted by the testimonies that were born and the sweet spirit that was present in the meeting. I am grateful for the words of the scriptures and of the hymns that speak peace to my heart on occasions when it is troubled.
More holiness give me, More strivings within,
More patience in suffering, More sorrow for sin,
More faith in my Savior, More sense of his care,
More joy in his service, More purpose in prayer.
I do know that my Savior lives and that he suffered and died for me. I know that it is only through His help and His strength that I can overcome my challenges and my weaknesses. It is because of my knowlege of Him and what he has done and suffered for me, that I want to serve. I hope that I can be a more humble and willing servant.