What Does It Mean to Have a Broken Heart and a Contrite Spirit?

 

I was skimming over my scripture journal a few days ago, reviewing some of the things the Lord has taught me in the last few months, and I came to a topic that I felt like I still didn’t understand.  The Spirit told me to stop, and to take time to study and learn some more about the topic.  The topic was: “Having a Broken Heart and a Contrite Spirit.”

I thought about what having a broken heart and contrite spirit means.  To me, up to this point, having a broken heart meant that someone you deeply loved had done something to hurt you and then your heart was broken or shattered.  I was picturing someone being in the depths of despair over the loss of someone they loved, but that doesn’t sound like the type of broken heart that was expected before people could be baptized in Moroni 6:2 when it says: “Neither did they receive any unto baptism save they came forth with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and witnessed unto the church that they truly repented of all their sins.”  We know that children as young as 8 years old can be baptized so having someone break your heart and leave your heart shattered in pieces doesn’t seem consistent with a requirement to be baptized, nor does it seem to go hand in hand with repentance.

I decided to look up the words broken and contrite in the dictionary, because that’s almost always where I start. Ha! .  I thought I knew what the word broken meant, and I knew I didn’t have a clear understanding of the word contrite.  We’ll start with the word broken  because it is listed first. I found, as I had expected, definitions like: reduced to fragments; fragmented, ruptured; torn, not functioning properly, out of working order, fragmentary or incomplete.   These definitions still didn’t sound right.  While I know that we can bring our weakened, fragmented, not working parts to Christ and He will heal us, it didn’t seem right that a heart that is out of order and not working properly would be a requirement of baptism.  And then I got to the definition that made everything clear!

Broken: “Tamed, trained, or reduced to submission:  The horse was broken to the saddle.”

With that one definition it all made sense!  God doesn’t expect us to come to him with a broken, out of order heart.  He expects us to come with a submissive, tamed heart!  Yes!   A heart that is trained or broken like we train or break a horse.  A horse can finally fulfill its purpose once it is controlled and doing the bidding of his master, and only when we are submissive to our Savior can we do His will and fulfill the purposes He has for us.  Wow!

Next, the meaning of the word contrite.

Contrite: 1. caused by or showing sincere remorse  2. Filled with a sense of guilt and the desire for atonement; penitent.

So, to me, contrite means being remorseful when we have done somethings wrong, we feel truly sorry and we have a desire to repent. This fit perfectly with having a broken heart.  If we have a submissive, tamed, trained heart then we also should have a repentant, penitent spirit.  We have a desire to repent quickly when we have done something wrong.

Both of these definitions seemed to fit so well with the scripture I quoted above from Moroni.  Now substitute the new found meanings in the scripture for the original words.

Neither did they receive any unto baptism save they came forth with a broken submissive, trained heart and a contrite  repentant, penitent spirit, and witnessed unto the church that they truly repented of all their sins.

It all makes sense now!  This new definition also made clear the things I had been studying in a talk entitled “Broken Heart and A Contrite Spirit by Bruce D. Porter.  He said that having a broken heart and a contrite spirit:

  • Is Perfect submission to our Heavenly Father
  • Is being completely open to the Spirit of God and recognizing our dependence on God for all that we have and are
  • Preconditions repentance
  • Means your are willing to do anything and everything that God asks, without resistance or resentment
  • Serves as a divine shield against temptation
  • Is deep gratitude for Christ’s suffering on our behalf

Here are a few more quotes and scriptures I found on having a broken heart and a contrite spirit:

3 Nephi 12:19 “And behold, I have given you the law and the commandments of my Father, that ye shall believe in me, and that ye shall repent of your sins, and come unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Behold, ye have the commandments before you, and the law is fulfilled.”

 

“In this lifetime curriculum of repentance, the sacrament is the Lord’s designated way of providing continual access to His forgiveness. If we partake with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, He proffers us weekly pardon as we progress from failure to failure along the covenant path. For “notwithstanding their sins, my bowels are filled with compassion towards them.” –Elder Lynn G. Robbins, (Until Seventy Times Seven, April 2018)

 

“What is the value of even a beloved gold bracelet compared to the sacrifice of the very Son of God? How can we honor that infinite sacrifice? Each day we can remember that we have one more day to live and be faithful. Amulek taught, “Yea, I would that ye would come forth and harden not your hearts any longer; for behold, now is the time and the day of your salvation; and therefore, if ye will repent and harden not your hearts, immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you” (Alma 34:31). In other words, if we will offer to the Lord the sacrifice of a broken heart and a contrite spirit, immediately the blessings of the great plan of happiness are manifest in our lives.” –Taylor G. Godoy (One More Day, April 2018)

 

“The ordinance of the sacrament is a holy and repeated invitation to repent sincerely and to be renewed spiritually. The act of partaking of the sacrament, in and of itself, does not remit sins. But as we prepare conscientiously and participate in this holy ordinance with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, then the promise is that we may always have the Spirit of the Lord to be with us. And by the sanctifying power of the Holy Ghost as our constant companion, we can always retain a remission of our sins.”  –Elder David A Bednar (Always Retain a Remission of Your Sins, April 2016)

If you are interested in reading more scriptures on having a broken heart and a contrite spirit you can find some here:

2 Nephi 2:7, Ether 4:15, 3 Nephi 9:20, D&C 59:8

I hope this has increased your understanding of what it means to have a broken heart and a contrite spirit, it sure increased mine!  I would love to hear your thoughts.  Leave me a comment!

 

 

How Do I Come Unto Christ?

John 7: 37 If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.”

I’ve had an ongoing problem.  I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I realized I didn’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ.  I would hear people in church talk about Christ and they would be so overwhelmed with emotion, I could tell they really loved Christ, and that his atonement had deep meaning for them in their lives; I also knew I wanted to feel the way they did about Christ, but I didn’t.  I had learned about Him in church. I knew He was real, I knew he was the Savior and Redeemer of the world, I knew He was God’s Only Begotten Son, that He was the creator of Heaven and Earth, I knew he lived, and does live, just like I know that George Washington lived, or Donald Trump is real, but just like I don’t know them personally or have a personal relationship with them, I realized I didn’t have a personal relationship with Christ.   After I figured out what it was I was missing, I realized I just wasn’t sure how to go about gaining that relationship.  All the lessons and talks I had sat through hadn’t given it to me, there must be more to it.   I remember being at a church activity where the theme of the activity was Come Unto Christ, and all the speakers were inviting us to come unto Christ.  They were quoting scripture after scripture about coming to Christ, and I remember thinking, “but how do I actually do that?  Well, I decided to find out.

I thought about what it meant to come unto Christ.  I wrote in my scripture journal:

“Come Unto Christ”

What does come unto Christ mean and how do I come unto Christ?

Next, I looked up the word come in the dictionary,

The definition of the word come is:

  1. To approach or move toward a particular person or place
  2. To arrive by movement or in the course of progress
  3. To approach or arrive in time, in succession
  4. To move into view, appear
  5. To extend, reach

I found out from this that coming to Christ involved movement and action on my part, I needed to be moving closer to Christ, I needed to extend and reach for him.  I needed to move into view of Him.  Christ was already waiting and reaching for me, but I couldn’t expect to do nothing and come to Christ.  I realized I needed to be acting and trying daily to come closer to him.

I thought about how I go about getting to know anyone I don’t know.  I spend time with them.  I ask them questions.  I listen to them, I talk to them, I learn their likes and dislikes, their desires and dreams.  These are all things I could do to help me get to know Christ.

Next, I made a list of things I could do daily to come closer to Christ.

  • Read my scriptures daily
  • Pray more sincerely
  • Ponder what I have read
  • Try to think of Christ more throughout the day
  • Invite Christ to be with me
  • Pray that I can feel Christ with me
  • Envision Christ by my side throughout the day
  • Be in His service

 

Then, I tried to get up early before my kids were up and do the items on my list daily, I wrote out my testimony of the Savior, and I studied topics that dealt with Christ from the Topical Guide.  I also wrote down everything I was learning and feeling.

Over the next few weeks and months I realized I was gaining a real relationship with the Savior.  I was thinking of him more, and I was looking forward to my time spent each morning with Him in prayer and studying the scriptures.  I could feel Him with me during the day and especially when I was praying and studying.  I began to not just know that he loved me but really feel his love for me.  I could feel His desire for me to Come to Him.  He became a good friend that is always there.  He listens to me. He has patience with me. I feel Him teaching me, and guiding me.  My desire to repent and my prayers have been more earnest and sincere.  I want to do what is right, and have Him be proud of me.  I’ve found that the more time and energy I put into my relationship with Him the stronger it is, just like any relationship.  I’m so grateful for the things I’ve been led to and taught by the Savior over the last few months as I’ve sought to know Him better.

Revelation 3:20 “Behold I stand at the door, and knock:  if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”

I realized it is up to me to open the door and let Christ in.  He is standing at the door knocking, waiting to come in and spend time with me like a best friend would.  I know that we are all God’s children, he loves each and every one of us, and desires to have a relationship with each of us.  If you haven’t decided to come unto Christ yet, I humbly pray that you will.  Your life will never be the same.

 

 

Why We Stopped Celebrating Halloween

Warning:  Some pictures in post not suitable for children.

As a kid growing up my favorite holiday was Christmas, but a very close second was Halloween.  I loved dressing up and going trick-or-treating, and as I grew up and had a family of my own my love for Halloween grew.  I always dressed up and had fun costumes for my children.  We made a big deal out of Halloween.  We loved trick-or-treating and trunk-or-treat, and I hosted a Halloween party for our friends and neighbors every year.  I loved Halloween, but something happened.  Over the years I started to have an uneasy feeling about the holiday.  I started to really think about Halloween, what it represented, what it promoted, and then we decided to stop celebrating it. Here are some of my thoughts, and some of the reasons we stopped celebrating Halloween.

My uneasy feelings first started when we were at a ward Halloween party in the church.  I stopped and looked around at the costumes, the hallways, and the decorations.  Someone was dressed as a devil and there were others dressed in very creepy, dark costumes.  The lights were off in the hallways and the classrooms were decorated with Halloween decorations.  In that moment I also thought about Halloween in our other wards through the years.  Most of our wards celebrated Halloween, going all out, some complete with spook alleys in the church.  The thought came to me, “How does God feel about his house being used to celebrate the devil, because that’s what someone is doing when they dress up as the devil, and how does he feel when we make a party of and glorify frightening, spooky, and dark things in his very house.

I contrasted the things of Halloween with the temple.  We would never see the temple grounds decorated for Halloween, although it is decorated for Christmas and Independence Day.  The thought seems almost laughable.  It’s hard to imagine the temple grounds with spider webs on all the fences, zombies coming out of tombs on the lawn, bloody footprints down the sidewalks and ghosts or dead bodies in every tree.  I think it’s so impossible for our minds to imagine because Halloween and the temple are so decidedly the opposite of each other.  The temple is a holy place, a place of peace, beauty, light, and God.  Things associated with Halloween are eerie, spooky, and meant to induce fear, the opposite of peace.  They are also meant to scare, and they focus on darkness, the opposite of light.  They are often gory, grim, and definitely gloomy, all opposites of what the temple stands for.  Don’t we want our church buildings to emulate and feel like the temple, and don’t we want our homes to emulate the temple as well.  In fact, we have repeatedly been told to make our homes like the temple.

“Only the home can compare with the temple in sacredness.” This suggests a sacred relationship between the temple and the home. Not only can we symbolically turn the doors of our homes to the temple, or the house of the Lord; we can also make our homes a “house of the Lord.” 

Couples in the temple are often counseled that their homes are to become mini-temples. “Even if you have to live in a tent in a vacant lot,” President Spencer W. Kimball said, “look upon your home as a sanctuary.” (Sacred Homes, Sacred Temples, Elder Gary E. Stevenson)

So, if our homes are sacred and we should make our homes like the house of the Lord, what does that say about the kind of decorations and the things we should allow in our homes.

“In a stake conference, all present were invited by the visiting authority, Elder Glen Jenson, an Area Seventy, to take a virtual tour of their homes using their spiritual eyes. I would like to invite each of you to do this also. Wherever your home may be and whatever its configuration, the application of eternal gospel principles within its walls is universal. Let’s begin. Imagine that you are opening your front door and walking inside your home. What do you see, and how do you feel? Is it a place of love, peace, and refuge from the world, as is the temple? Is it clean and orderly? As you walk through the rooms of your home, do you see uplifting images which include appropriate pictures of the temple and the Savior? Is your bedroom or sleeping area a place for personal prayer? Is your gathering area or kitchen a place where food is prepared and enjoyed together, allowing uplifting conversation and family time? Are scriptures found in a room where the family can study, pray, and learn together? Can you find your personal gospel study space? Does the music you hear or the entertainment you see, online or otherwise, offend the Spirit? Is the conversation uplifting and without contention? That concludes our tour. Perhaps you, as I, found a few spots that need some “home improvement”—hopefully not an “extreme home makeover.”  (Gary E Stevenson (2009) Sacred Homes, Sacred Temples)

What if we did this around Halloween time.  Do the decorations we have point us toward Christ and the temple?  Do they bring the Holy Ghost, light, peace, and love, or do we have decor like this:

 

 

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It’s not just the Halloween decorations that are creepy, so is the food.

God has told us that our bodies are temples as well as our homes.  1 Corinthians 3:16-17 it says, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and [that] the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”  Our bodies are sacred and holy and should be treated as such.  Are these pictures making bodies seem sacred and holy or do they make our bodies spectacles of fear and disgust?

And while we are on the subject of the body being sacred let’s talk about costumes.  Because our bodies are sacred and holy, we should dress them and treat them like they are sacred and holy, filled with light and truth, like the temple.  I feel like kid’s and adult costumes are getting creepier and more gory every year.

 

These pictures make me so sad.  They also make me think about how sad God must be when we dress up these beautiful, sweet, innocent children in gruesome, gory, creepy, costumes, the opposite of what children are and should be.  These costumes aren’t uplifting, honorable or wholesome, they aren’t fitting of children of God.  Sadly, I did not have to look far and wide to find these pictures.  A simple Pinterest search of kid’s scary Halloween costumes will bring these pictures up.

I love that God tells us plainly throughout the scriptures how to discern if something is good or bad.  In the book of Moroni He tells us,

“ Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God: and that which is evil cometh of the devil.” …”behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; Wherefore, everything which inviteth and enticeth to do good and to love God, and to serve him is inspired of God.”

“But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not god, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil…” (Moroni 7:12-17)

Moroni 7:11 tells us that “a bitter fountain cannot bring forth good water…” We can’t decorate our houses with dark, creepy scary things and expect to have the spirit there.  We can’t expect our children to have the spirit with them if they are dressed in bloody gore.  We can’t expect to feel close to God and be filled with light and truth if we are celebrating fear, darkness, and violence.  “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.  Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matthew 6:24)

Another thing that made me uneasy about Halloween was that I started realizing how the Halloween costumes and decorations scared and affected my children.  I think that children are often a lot more sensitive to spiritual things and things of darkness than we adults are.  I have one particular daughter that would worry, when Halloween was approaching, every time that we went somewhere, that she would see something scary.  I remember telling her it was only Halloween stuff and that she didn’t need to worry about it, it couldn’t really hurt her, and while that is true, I began to realize that I was in a way desensitizing her to these dark and scary things.  I was telling her they were no big deal instead of realizing that her spirit was recognizing that they were dark, and they were scary.  I want my children to be sensitive to recognizing when something isn’t from God, when something, is dark, when it gives them a bad feeling inside, so they can get away from it, and here I was decorating the house with it, making a party of it, and telling her it was okay.

The next thing that bothered me was haunted houses.  A few years ago, my older boys asked if they could go to a haunted house with their friends.

Here is the commercial for our local haunted house, it’s call The Asylum.

And here is the local newspaper write up about it:

“They settled on an asylum theme in which mental patients have escaped their cells in part because Robert works in a hospital and because of the horror movie “The House on Haunted Hill.” The movie is set in an abandoned insane asylum where the head of the facility performs gruesome experiments and medical procedures on his patients, resulting in their deaths and trapping their souls in the asylum. The remaining patients who survive the doctor’s experiments escape their cells and burn the facility, killing almost all the staff. Years later, an eccentric millionaire offers a group of people an exorbitant amount of money to spend the night in the now-haunted asylum, which the ghosts of the patients find none too pleasing.”

I was so glad I researched it before letting our boys go.  We talked with our children about entertainment and the things God wants us to surround ourselves with.  In Philippians 4:8 it says, “…whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

And the 13th article of faith says, “if there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report, or praise worthy we seek after these things.  Something that is glorifying, and making entertainment out of gory, gruesome violence, insanity and murder doesn’t fit the bill.  We should be seeking out activities that uplift us, make us feel good, bring the spirit, and bring us closer to God.  We shouldn’t be seeking out activities that glorify death, murder, destruction, gore, violence, and fear.

In 2 Timothy 1:7 it says that “God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and love.”  Again, God tells us plainly how to discern if something is good or bad.  Things that purposely bring about fear are not from God.  Things of God bring peace, joy, and love.

An additional thing about Halloween that makes me uneasy starts with a post I saw on Facebook a while back, that I have thought so much about. In fact, I think about it almost daily.  The post went something like this:

You are holding a cup of milk and someone walks by and bumps you causing you to spill the milk from your cup.  Why did you spill your milk?  Most people would say because someone bumped me, but the real answer is because you had milk in your cup. If you had had orange juice in your cup you would have spilled your orange juice, or if you had hot chocolate in your cup you would have spilled hot chocolate.

The point from this is that when we are bumped or stressed we spill what we have put in our cups.  We give out what we take in.  We can’t expect to fill our children with gruesome costumes, scary decorations, haunted houses, insane asylums, and let them play hours upon hours of shooting and killing games (this needs its own post in and of itself), feed them a diet of violence in movies and video games and expect them, when they are bumped, to spill good out.  They are going to spill out what they have been putting in their cups.  Mosiah 4:30 tells us that we must watch our thoughts, our words and our deeds.  Our actions start with our thoughts, our thoughts usually start with the things we see and watch, so we can’t expect a generation that has been raised on an entertainment diet of gore, darkness, violence, and fear, to produce love tolerance, acceptance, light and truth.  It simply will not happen.

You may be asking yourself what the big deal is?  It’s not that bad?  Our costumes aren’t that gruesome.  Our decorations aren’t that scary. We don’t celebrate Halloween that way.  I did that too, for years.   I told myself it was all in good fun, and I wasn’t celebrating the bad parts of Halloween, but I’ve come to the conclusion that Halloween is a packaged deal.  It isn’t possible to separate out the “good” parts of Halloween from the bad, we’ve all been trying to do it for years and it hasn’t worked.  Isn’t that how Satan works, mixing the good with the bad, here a little, there a little so that it is so imperceptible at first that we don’t even realize something is bad. “The Devil leadeth with flaxen cord until he bindeth them with strong cords forever.”  When was the last time you saw the good uplifting, sun-shiny, light and bright Halloween section in the store, or the Christ centered section of town for trick-or-treating.

If something isn’t pointing us toward light, truth, goodness, and Christ, then where is it pointing us?  The very words we use to describe Halloween, creepy, chilling, eerie, spooky, frightening, sinister, gloomy, dark, show us where we are pointed.  In 2 Nephi 26:23 God tells us, “the Lord God worketh not in darkness.”  By celebrating Halloween we are desensitizing our children to darkness, and we are also signaling to our children that things of darkness are okay.  It can’t be separated.  We can’t have it both ways, either we celebrate Halloween and what it represents, or we don’t.

Elder Robert D. Hales said: “As Latter-day Saints we need not look like the world.  We need not entertain like the world. Our personal habits should be different.  Our recreation should be different…. Brothers and sisters, let’s sell that summer cottage in Babylon.  Let us be not ‘almost’ but ‘altogether’ Latter-day Saints.”

Orson Pratt has said, “…may we put away from our minds everything calculated in its nature to shut out the spirit of the living God from our hearts.”

Jesus Christ is a god of Light, He is a god of truth, He is a god of virtue, goodness, joy, peace, holiness, and love.  “…The Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for everything which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.

“But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not god, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.” (Moroni 7:16-17)

 

For more on this subject see this video:

 

 

The Scriptures Are the Ultimate Parenting Manual

Last week, I was asked to share a short post for ScriptureLight on Instagram, and I thought I would share it here as well.  The Topic I was asked to write about was a short lesson on parenting I had learned from the scriptures or what I wish I would have known when I first became a mother.  What a great reminder writing this was for me.

I wish I would have realized sooner that the scriptures really are the ultimate parenting manual.  One experience that taught me this was at a time when our children seemed to be constantly arguing,  and nothing I had  tried seemed to be working.  One day as I was praying and wondering what to do, I was led to 4 Nephi 1:15:  “And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people,” and to Alma 31: 5: ” And now, as the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just–yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword or anything else, which had happened unto them–therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God.”  I had my answer.  The most important thing I could do was to teach my children to love God.  Their behavior would be changed more by learning the gospel and loving their Savior than anything else I could try or teach them.  I’m so thankful for the scriptures, and for the peace and knowledge they bring to my life.

 

Homeschool Interview

The very lovely and sweet Elizabeth Riley interviewed me about homeschool for her blog.  I was honored to be featured with so many other great women that she has interviewed about homeschooling.  You can read the other interviews by clicking here.  I thought I would share a portion of our interview and then you can click over to her blog to read the rest.  Thanks for reading!

64 Degrees North | Kim Lowry Photography

What are your long-term education goals for your family?  My long-term educational goals for my family are that everyone knows how to learn, that they love to learn, and that they continue to learn for the rest of their lives.  I think that if you know how to learn and you love to learn there isn’t anything in the world, especially now with technology the way it is, that you can’t teach yourself.  So many people have self-defeating ideas that learning can only take place in a classroom and that learning isn’t necessary after you graduate from school.  But, to me learning is fun, it’s exciting, it helps me become better, it helps me grow and do new things.  It helps me fulfill my dreams.  Learning has meaning and purpose, and it benefits you and all those around you.

What do you love most about homeschooling?  I love that I get to spend time with my children.  I love that I get to help them discover the joy of learning.   I also get to watch their passions and dreams materialize, and I get to help them work toward those dreams. I also love that I get to learn right along with my children.

Click over to Elizabeth’s blog to see why I homeschool, what our daily schedule looks like, how I teach different ages, and to read an interview I did with my 20 year old daughter about her homeschooling experience.  You can read the full interview here.

Leave me a comment.  I would love to hear your thoughts and/or questions!

Mixed Emotions

64 Degrees North | Kim Lowry Photography

This handsome boy graduated from his nursery class (for kids 18 months to 3 years) today at church and moved in to the older Sunbeam class  (for ages 3-4).  It as bitter sweet for me to see him move up.  My baby isn’t a baby, he isn’t even a toddler, he is a pre-schooler now!  Where does the time go?  And while I am feeling sorry for myself because he is growing up so quickly, I am really enjoying the fun kid he is now and am excited about all he is learning and becoming.

And I guess I am feeling a bit about the new year in the same way.  I’m sad 2016 is going.  It was a great year!  Our Epic Adventure was incredible, and we learned and grew so much as a family.  It’s hard to say good-bye to a year with so many good memories.  One more year means my kids are a year older, Jarom will be moving out in 2017, and another hole will be added to our family.  But, in spite of everything I’m mourning, I’m also really looking forward to the new year and all the new possibilities it holds.  I’m looking forward to growth, learning, and new opportunities not only for me but for my kids as well.

Life really is a magnificent adventure………… I just wish my emotions didn’t always have to be so mixed up about everything.

 

Leavenworth, Washington

DSC_0476_edited-1Last week, at least I think it was last week, my days are getting so jumbled up lately, we visited Leavenworth Washington, a quaint little Bavarian town in the mountains.  The town decided to become a Bavarian themed town after several key businesses left the area. The economy was suffering so they decided on a plan to save the town, and it worked.  People come from all over to see this unique town.

The town council has a special committee trained in Bavarian architecture and culture and any new businesses must have their signs, and new building plans approved by the committee.  It’s like being transported to another place.   In the winter, I’m told, they have a fabulous Christmas festival.

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We walked around and enjoyed seeing all the little shops.

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It was 95* outside the day we went, and one business was nice enough to have a water mister outside their shop that the younger kids enjoyed playing in.  It cooled them right off.

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Our favorite shop was a beautiful Christmas shop.   They had so many beautiful Christmas decorations and ornaments.

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All the shops and up and down the streets on the light posts were the most beautiful hanging baskets.  All the flowers were so pretty.

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We ended our visit to Leavenworth with ice cream in the park and the little kids rolled down the grassy hill while the boys played Pokemon Go.  Yes, my kids have succumbed to the craze as well.

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One thing that we have really enjoyed is face timing Shawn while we are out and about.  When we are doing something fun that I think he would like to see I face time him and he gets to enjoy it with us.  He watched the kids roll down the hill, and got to see a little of the town.  We have also called him from the beach several time and while we are roasting marshmallows.  It helps us, and hopefully him, not be so lonesome.

I try to post everyday on my Instagram.  My user name is:  KimberlyMLowry 

 

Camping On The Banks of The Columbia River

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We’ve traveled 6,000 miles and been gone for 55 days.  Holy moly!!!!  Where has the time gone?  Time certainly does fly when you are having fun.  As I said in my last post, the first phase of your trip, visiting family, is over.  We left Tricia’s house in Moses Lake, Washington on Thursday and we stayed our first night in a 1000 Trails campground on the shores of the Columbia River, in Crescent Bar, Washington.  I bought a 1000 Trails membership and we wouldn’t be able to do this trip without it.  I was fortunate enough to get my membership when it was “buy one zone, get one zone free.”  so we can see the whole west coast.

Our first experience at 1000 Trails was great.  Everything was clean and well taken care of.  The pool, although small, was very nice and warm.  We had full hookups at our site and warm showers steps away from our door.  So far, I have been very happy I decided to get a membership.

We spent 4 nights at Crescent Bar, on the river.  While we were there we went swimming twice a day, explored the nearby little town,  went swimming in the river, and went to church on Sunday to a very friendly ward in Quincy, Washington.  My sister Tricia lives close enough that she and her family came to visit us, and went swimming with us at our pool, and we visited her on Sunday, one last time before we left on Monday.   All in all it was a great time.

As for our travels, this is the first time I remember ever being in eastern Washington.  My uncle was married in Spokane when I was 4 or 5.  I know that I flew up to Spokane with my mom and that we all drove back with my dad, but other than vaguely remembering being on the plane I have no remembrance of the trip at all.  I’ve also, been to the Seattle airport a million times, and Shawn and I even ventured into Seattle when we had a 10 hour layover once, but other than that I haven’t seen any of Washington.  Seeing the Columbia River for the first time was awesome.  I had no idea it was so big.  I really was shocked.  I was also surprised about how dry eastern Washington is, and also, how may fruit farms there are.  I thought the area would be much more urban than rural.  I think it’s beautiful and I am really enjoying seeing new sights and adventuring where I have never been.

We left our spot on the banks of the Columbia River yesterday, and are now enjoying the mountains of central Washington, more unexplored territory.  It is safe to say that I am thoroughly enjoying life on the road.   The only thing that would make it better would be to have Shawn with us.  I am missing him like crazy.

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Good-Bye

The first phase of our trip is over.  My sister Tricia and her family were the last family stop on this trip.  My parents may join us for a weekend in Oregon in August, but other than that our time visiting family is through, and it makes me so very sad.  We have had the most incredible time.  I have loved spending time with my parents, siblings, in-laws, and nieces and nephews, and it has been so wonderful for my kids to get reacquainted with everyone again.  All the cousins have grown up so much in the last 3 years, and it is so sad for me to think that we don’t know when we will see everyone again.

If we ended our trip now and headed back to Alaska tomorrow, I would say our trip has been a success and all the money and time spent to make it happen has been so incredibly worth it.  Building memories with those you love, is to me, the best thing you can do in this life.

Lowry Family Epic Adventure

Some of my sister Melinda’s girls.

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My sister Jennifer’s kids.

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My sister Emily with my niece Livs (Olivia).

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Shawn’s sister Lydia and her dog Barney.

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Camdon with his cousin Beck.  They were best buds at Grandma’s house.

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My mom, my brother Josh’s boys, and my sister-in-law Cordie and her kids

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My sister Tricia’s boys.

I feel bad that I don’t have a picture of everyone we visited, but I hope you each know that we loved spending time with each and everyone of you.   I’m tempted to make the rounds again.  I have enough family that I could just spend a week at each persons house every 8 weeks!

Good-bye all!

 Thank you for letting us visit and eat you out of house and home.

 We love you and miss you all so much already.

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