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Campouts, glaciers and the tallest mountain in the Northland
Chris is the Young Men’s President in our ward/church congregation and back in August (yes I know…still catching up! It’s a never-ending battle) he and the youth went up north Jotunheimen National Park for a dual-stake campout for all the LDS youth in Norway. It was 5 full days packed with 10 hour drives, lots of gear, campfire food,  devotionals, treks across glaciers and summiting Galdhøpiggen: the tallest mountain in Northern Europe.
Tethering together to prepare to cross the Styggebreen glacier.
The summit of Galdhøpiggen
The view from the tip top of Northern Europe!
Devotional/testimony meeting.
Represent!
Building temples out of woodland materials.
The end of an adventure. 

 

 

Lily’s Blessing Day

In the LDS church babies are given a special priesthood blessing in the months after they are born. Chris gave Lily a beautiful blessing and my dad was able to be a part of the circle of priesthood brethren along with many of our good friends. I am so grateful to have the power of the priesthood in our home and family!

My mom and I stayed up late the night before to sew Lily a blessing gown (based on this tutorial) and while in the end it was hard to find Lily in all the ruffles, we think it turned out pretty cute!

After church that day I tried to get some cute mommy-daughter photos while she was still in her dress.
Some turned out precious…
Others not so much…
She cracks me up on a daily basis!

 

Little Brother: The Missionary

“Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise.” – The Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 2:8

As soon as our early Thanksgiving ended, it was time to help my little brother, Cameron, get all of his final preparations ready for his 2-year mission to Dallas, Texas for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I can't believe he's old enough to be a missionary already! Granted, he left sooner than we all had planned on due to the change in the age limit last fall, but it still makes me feel old!

Suits and dress clothes all packed and ready to go.
Classic missionary.
For those of you who aren't Mormon, many young Mormons choose to serve proselyting missions to preach the gospel for 2 years full-time. They give up their normal lives to spend all day, every day, preaching the gospel, serving others, and teaching the message of Jesus Christ. They don't choose where they will serve their mission and during those 2 years they only get to call home on Christmas and Mother's Day. All other communication to their families back home is through letters and emails. It's pretty intense, but it's a beautiful experience that touches lives forever. You can read more about LDS missions here. I think they are pretty cool!
 
 
 
Cameron gave a fantastic farewell talk in church the Sunday before and he was more than ready to get out there and preach the gospel. He'll totally be the cutest missionary ever. I mean, look at him! We are all so proud!
 
Cameron's last photo at home in Vegas for two whole years!
 
 
Most new missionaries go to the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Utah for a few weeks before going to their assinged mission location to, well, be trained how to be missionaries.
 
Cam was so excited to go he barely had the patience to hug everyone goodbye!
 
But he did anyway :)

Bye Cam! You're going to be a great missionary! We sure do love you!

 

(Whether you are Mormon or not, if any of you reading this are in Texas and happen to see this guy and his companion walking around, you should definitely invite them over for a good home-cooked meal. And if he knocks on your door, take a second to think about the sacrifices these young people are making and at least listen to what he has to say for 5 minutes. As a favor to me. It'll make his day and mine. :) Go Texas!)

 

Category: Church, Family  Tags: ,  2 Comments
At the Stockholm Temple

Tuesday-Friday we did around 4 temple sessions per day starting at 9 and ending at 6.

At first we were both quite intimidated by spending THAT much time in the temple, as we had only ever done one session at a time before. We were afraid we’d get bored or worse, be that person. You know the one. The one who starts snoring at the worst possible time.

We were pleasantly surprised though! I can’t speak for Chris, but I felt such a sense of peace there that it made everything go quickly, and on the few occasions it went slow I didn’t mind so much. It was wonderful to be there with Chris so often as well as the rest of the ward members.

Usually right after the temple, everyone gathered in the community kitchen at the patron house to make dinner. One night, as is apparently a yearly temple trip tradition, we all went out to a neighboring pizza joint and pigged out on really good pizza.

Chris picked a banana curry pizza. I wasn’t a fan, but he loved it…


Another night, everyone bought their favorite flavor of Haagen-Daas or Ben & Jerry’s and we had a massive family-style ice cream party.


Then the kids would run wild in the yard, the youth would gather to play card games, and the adults would circle around and chat until eventually someone would pick up a guitar or ukulele and the rest of the evening would end up in a big sing-along music fest.

Near the end of the trip I commented to Chris, “I don’t think I’ve felt this much spiritual camaraderie and unity for a week straight since my days of EFY and church history trips. In fact, it kind of feels like an adult Youth Conference.”

I love knowing that those days aren’t behind us :)

 

Category: Church, Friends  Tags: , , ,  2 Comments
Stockholm or BUST!

It takes 18 hours or so to drive from Stavanger to Stockholm. By some definite divine intervention, our plucky little station wagon made it to and from Sweden in one piece. We had some worrisome moments, but I tell ya…blessings come from going to the temple!

We carpooled with our friends Amerigo and Sarah and caravanned with the Steffensen clan. Amerigo and Sarah are originally from the Philipines, which meant that our car was full of a combination of English, Tagalog, and Norwegian the whole drive! So much fun!

Amerigo

 

Of course, we had to stop along the way for a Norwegian hot dog picnic.

Cousins

Rotten watermelon discus

Cousins

Mother and daughter.

 

We wound along the southern coast of Norway, stopping for church in Kristiansand along the way. It was a seriously gorgeous drive! We passed fjords, lakes, rivers, and countless waterfalls. I don't think I will get over how beautiful Norway is as long as we live here. We stopped for the night in Drammen (just outside of Oslo and about half-way to Stockholm) and stayed the night with our stake president's family.

Our stake prez. and wonderful son-in-law.

 

We crossed the border into Sweden the next day and the difference was strangely immediate. For one thing, the speed limit suddenly increased from 70 km/h to 110 km/h! (Go Sweden!) In addition, I had never noticed there were no billboards along the side of the roads in Norway until we started seeing them along the highway in Sweden. The landscape also suddenly became rather boring (sorry Sweden!). Where Norway is full of winding roads and small quaint towns, Sweden was one loooong tree-lined road. With red barns. Lots and lots of red barns.

Ikea in the Motherland!!

Speed bump tee hee hee! (yep, we're still 12 years old ladies and gentlemen)