Saturday, April 01, 2017

Letter to Marty

Hi Elder Shaeffer,

We’re in Deer Valley again this weekend and Dad has taken Chris and Nicholas to the General Conference Priesthood Session. Nick’s first one! I’m at the condo alone and knew it would be a perfect time to write to you.
Nick's first Priesthood Session
Chris can officially ski now so we thought it would be a fun end to his Spring Break to take him skiing. Glad we had the condo too, because Dad and Chris came up Friday morning but after just a few runs, Chris leg hurt and he was exhausted. They were able to come back to the condo and Chris slept while Dad “hit it hard” (his words!) for a while. Later they skied over to get lunch on some easy groomers and Chris did great. Dad said he looked good and Chris actually felt better enough in the afternoon to take a few extra runs. Of course they’re easy ones – his muscle is still really weak and he limps quite a bit still.  So his muscle got tired quickly from skiing, but also he said any bumps actually hurt. He was a bit nervous before he went skiing, but said he wasn’t scared at all once he got up on the hill.  That’s good because my first few funs last time we were up here I kept thinking, “Please don’t let me fall and break my femur!”

Nick and I came up last night after he got out of school. Dad grilled steaks at our condo and we hung out and watched Hunger Games and Men In Black II. Super chill, but really nice to be all together – just us – for an evening.

We didn’t ski today because Nick is all skied out (which always happens at spring break) and I wasn’t dying to go and wanted to watch Conference. Chris couldn’t do a second day and Dad is starting to get sick with a cold. So we just stayed in. (Mom and Dad watched Conference – Chris and Nick watched shows in their rooms, of course! Ha, ha!)

Between sessions Dad and I hiked up the road to Guardsman Pass. It was super steep and I haven’t hiked at all this winter (Dang—KT and I were so good about going last year, but she’s gone back to work as a nurse and I’ve had different excuses so we only went twice this winter! Sad!) Anyway, we’d been going about 40 minutes and needed to stop for a rest. Dad was pointing out the top which seemed VERY far away and we weren’t sure if we had the stamina to make it. (Seriously, it was so steep!) We decided after our break we’d walk to the top of the hill we could see and then turn around. But when we got to that spot, we were still feeling good. We kept going and pretty soon we had made it to the top! And it was so beautiful!! We could see the back of Brighton, Heber City, Mt. Tiimpanogos and the Park City Valley.

Taking a breather is a good life lesson. You are going to be keeping a busy schedule. Well, maybe some days won’t be busy and then you’ll have the challenge of thinking of things to do to stay busy. But when you feel tired or feel you’ve done all you can do, take a short break. Catch your breath. Then keep going. A short breather will often give you the energy you need to not only move forward, but go farther than you thought you would be able to previously.

Some of my “breathers” this week were: I’ve been so good about reading my scriptures in the morning lately, but this week a couple of mornings I drove carpool or had early meetings so didn’t have that 30 min. in the morning and then didn’t read my scriptures at all those days. But another day, I stopped in the afternoon and sat on the couch for 20 min. and read and studied. It felt so good to immerse myself for a few minutes in spiritual things. To step back from the world and consciously think about God.

This morning’s walk with dad was another “breather.” Some days when I have nothing planned, it’s kind of hard to think of something to do – or get motivated to do the things I should or even would like to do. After Conference it would have been easy to lay down and nap, but it was beautiful and sunny outside and we were so glad we went out. We loved being together, having time to talk and getting exercise at the same time. So that was more a metaphorical “breather” because actually it was hard work. But it recharged my soul.

Bishop Bragg was our bishop in Los Angeles – Dad worked with him as the Young Men’s President, I worked with him as the Primary President and besides that he was our good friend and his wife, Yvonne, was one of my best friends. She was in our “beach day” group (do you remember beach day at all?!) They are both funny and thoughtful and awesome. He spoke at General Conference today in the morning session. I can’t wait for you to see him! He spoke on Light and was so positive and such a comfortable speaker. It was his first General Conf. talk and he was a natural. It was so great! He spoke in the last half of the morning session. The other morning talks were great. As were the afternoon.
Elder Bragg!
Some of my favorite thoughts were:
Henry B. Eyring spoke a lot on Family History work. He talked of a dilemma he had in doing some research and only he could decide what to do. He prayed to know, and said, “when I prayed, I knew of a surety what I should do – just as I have had known in other situations… After all, these are beloved sons and daughters of God.” This struck me because I have felt the same thing as I’ve prayed for you kids. I have always wanted to do my best as a mom, and I’ve often thought as I prayed, “these are your sons and daughters too. Help me to know what to do.” And I have always received answers to my prayers. I imagine you will have similar opportunities as you pray on behalf of investigators, members of your ward or even your companions. Or quite frankly yourself. You are a beloved son of God. He will help you any way he can if you ask. I’ll never forget a blessing Dad gave me when I was PTA President. I was feeling overwhelmed by responsibility and in that blessing he said, “Heavenly Father knows you and loves you and wants to bless you. But you need to ask.”

Joseph Brough’s talk right after was along similar lines. “Heavenly Father knows what we need better than anyone else.” He also said, “I felt peace in seeking Heavenly Father’s will.”

One of the speakers talked about honoring our ancestors (probably Eyring) and I thought it was great for you and all missionaries in Japan where respect for their ancestors is taken so seriously.

Russell M. Nelson encouraged us to study Jesus Christ and The Living Christ. He did so himself this past year and said the effect his study had on him is “I am a different man.” I am going to start by reading The Living Christ. 

President Holland and Elder Sabin’s talks in the afternoon session were also awesome! As was some guys (didn’t catch his name) who talked about “Teaching the Langage of the Gospel to our Children.” They were all great. I love Conference!

Changing topics -- On a sad note, Grandpa got news this week that he has a cancerous tumor on his brain. In his e-mail he said he was “disquieted” by the news. Me too! I texted Diane and she said she was much more than disquieted, she was SO sad. 1 tumor is not as bad as 3. So that’s good. And we don’t know the size yet – less than 3 cm is hopeful. And we don’t know where it’s located either, which also makes a difference. But his jaw has been numb as if he’s had dental work for a couple of months so that’s why he had the MRI to begin with. They will treat the tumor with direct radiation which can kill the cells (as opposed to whole brain radiation – which is kind of last resort with not very long survival outcomes). So all those things are promising. But the reality is, his cancer is spreading and it makes me so sad. On the other hand, he is just as fun and funny and caring as he has always been and I love that he’s “my same old Dad.”

I hated the thought of telling you his cancer has spread. But I want you to know especially so you can keep him in your prayers. I’m praying that his symptoms don’t become disabling and of course for Diane, Luke, Sam and Max to be strong and to have time with him and also peace through any outcome. What I love about both my mom and my dad is that they love you kids so much. As do Dad’s parents. We’re a very blessed family to be surrounded by so much love.

Oh wow! And Kay is engaged! Maybe Courtney already told you! But to Chuck! They get married June 3 in the Mesa Temple.

This is officially a Very Long Letter. We loved your letter last week and getting answers to our questions! I’d love to hear about any investigators. Are you teaching English classes and what’s that like? About how street contacting went your first few times – what’s hard about it and what you like or what you’ve noticed you’re good at. Do you ride your bike every day? I’ve got the weather for Okinawa on my app and it looks about 10 degrees warmer than Fukuoka so I thought that seemed lucky. KT wants me to tell you that if you start to get chaffed from your bike seat from riding so much – especially if you’re wet on a rainy day – you should put Vaseline (or a similar product) on your inner thighs to prevent blisters. Apparently a missionary she knew in Japan just came home because his blisters got infected or something gross like that. So take care of yourself!

I love you, Marty! XOXO

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