The Watchman

The Watchman

Friday, February 24, 2012

Uirumu's Nihon Journey

Wednesday was the most amazing of days.  It was a day looked forward to with great anticipation and great anxiety.  Preparation for the day was at times stressful, and yes there were even times when voices were raised in frustration.  But as I watched Wil enter the doors of the Missionary Training Center (MTC), I knew that there was no other place on earth that he should be.

I have often been asked how I could send my children away for two years, knowing that I will have minimal contact with them.  Only a letter once a week and maybe five phone calls during that time.  My answer is that I know that they will grow more during those two years than at any other time in their lives.  I have entrusted them to the Lord, just as a loving Heavenly Father trusted Rick and I to teach them of Him and all the things they would need to do to live in Heaven again.  

This is a time of growth for my son; spiritual, mental and emotional.  He will learn to turn to the Lord in times of trouble and need.  He will learn to rely on the Spirit of the Lord to guide him in decisions and to listen to that still small voice.  He will learn to be self-reliant as he prepares his own meals, does his own laundry, resolves transportation issues, manages a budget and schedules events.  He will learn to get along with others as he is assigned companions that he may or may not have anything in common with.  He will learn to love the people he serves.  He will come to understand that we are all God's children and He does love each and everyone of us.  My son will see miracles and learn to recognize the loving hand of God in all and learn gratitude for His tender mercies.

I love the advice that Rick gave Wil as he left:

- Write in your journal everyday. Take a few minutes of your personal time every evening to write how you feel, what you've seen, who you've talked to, and what you've done. You'll be surprised how fast the memories fade. Having them written down keeps names and places fresh and will bring the memories back when you need them.

- Love your companion. Be the companion you want to have. If you are following the rules, it will make it easier for them to as well. When you have a rough time with a companion, remember it isn't forever. Love them, try to help them improve, but in the end, they will go their way a nd you'll go yours. Just be the person you should be and you'll be fine.

- Be obedient. Remember Pres. DeMille's blessing. You will have the power of our Heavenly Father at your disposal if you are living the rules and are fully committed to the mission. I've seen you learn to love and be totally committed to things that you enjoy and love. You don't want to have any regrets about your mission when you are home. Be committed, be obedient and you'll have a great experience.

- Be on time. Get up when you should, go to bed when you should, be where you should be ahead of time. If you say you will do something, do it. People will respect you and love you and will want to refer their friends to you if they know you care and are honest and will do what you say.

- Use your camera. If you run out of space on your flash drives and thumb drive, let us know so we can send you more. Remember you're Mom will have a much easier time making a mission scrapbook if there are some pictures to fill it up.

Again on Thursday I was asked why I wasn't hysterical about Wil, now Elder Wixom, being gone, knowing that Japan is so far away.  My response again was that I trust the Lord.  I know that there are many who are praying for his safety.  He will be watched over.  How selfish would I be to deny him this incredible opportunity.  The growth and maturity I watched develop as he prepared to leave is only a small part of what will occur over the next two years.  We are not often given the opportunity to dedicate our lives exclusively to the service of the Lord.  It is a special time.  

I am excited to watch him grow.  As he sends letters home, I will post them on a separate blog, Uirumu's Nihon Journey, so if there is anyone interested in watching him grow and living vicariously through his journey, they can follow along there.  I have no doubt that Wil is not the only one who will grow during this time.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

And the Word of the Year is .......


Protect and care for (someone) lovingly: "he cherished me in his heart".
Hold (something) dear.
nurse - nourish - foster

The word of the year is a concept that my friend Cynthia Bee (aka Cindy) introduced to me in her blog Creative Chaos.  The idea is that rather than making resolutions that we know we will never keep past the first weeks of the new year, you choose a word that can help you focus your actions throughout the year.  It seems such a simple concept, but as I have thought about it the last few weeks I have realized that it can become a life-changing exercise.

So why did I choose "Cherish" as my focal point for 2012?  Because life can move fast and at times my life has been trying to set a new land-speed record.  I need to slow down and take time to smell the daisies or the roses or the tulips.  (Maybe I need to tip-toe through the tulips?)  So here are some of the things I plan to cherish during the coming year.  I know this list will be added to as the year progresses and some items will vary in their priority,  but like any goal you need to start.

1. My marriage and my husband - More and more I am reminded how truly blessed I am to have such a wonderful partner in life and for eternity.  There is no one I would rather be with.  He can always bring a smile to my face and his support for me is limitless.  I want to insure that he knows how much I appreciate him and support him.

2. My children - 2011 really brought home the point that times in the Wixom house are changing.  This is good, but I don't want to look back and regret that I just let these days pass me by.

3. My family - Same reasons as above.

4. My friends - Just as I have been blessed with a wonderful family, I have also been blessed with amazing and supportive friends.  Life can so easily take us apart.  Through Facebook I have been able to reconnect with many friends I thought I had lost.  I want to continue to nourish those refound relationships.  And I want to take a time to let be there and not lose those friends I have now.

5. My community - I love where I live.  It is the best place in the world for our family.  It has given us so much and it is now time for me to focus some time and energy on giving back.  Whether it is volunteering in the schools, making myself knowledgeable of issues in the community, serving on activity committees; I know I can contribute to this place.

6. My church service - I have a strong testimony of Jesus Christ as my Savior.  He has sacrificed so much that my life can be better.  In return, He asks for so little in comparison.  Often when we are asked to give service, we refer to it as work.  Yes, it can be hard at times.  Yes, it can take away from other things we would like to be doing.  But right now I have been entrusted to serve a very choice group of young girls and provide them with experiences that will help them grow closer to Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father.  In time this may change and the Lord will find some other way for me to serve, something else he will entrust in to my care,  but now it is twenty-three amazing and bright daughters of God.

7. Myself - I know that I will not have the energy or strength to give to anyone or anything else, if I do not  take care of myself.  Last year, I tried "to get in shape", and it was as you would expect such a goal to be.  I hope that a new perspective will help me gain a greater appreciation for myself.

So here is to 2012! No resolutions to break!  Nothing to feel guilty about not accomplishing!  If you were to pick a Word of the Year, what would it be?  Something to think about.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Where'd My Little Boy Go?

Over the weekend, our home was the scene of more chaos than normal as friends and family descended upon us to celebrate and support Wil preparing to leave for his LDS mission in Japan.  With everyone coming and going at different times, the only firm item on the agenda was the 9 AM worship service that included Wil on the program.  I have to say that this casual approach to scheduling allowed us to relax and enjoy each others company.  Time was spent climbing rocks in Pioneer Park, jumping on the trampoline, playing games, putting together a puzzle, shopping, attending the temple, taking pictures and eating.  Most important was the time we were able to spend just talking.

Of course, talking led to reminiscing.  My niece, Brittney, commented on how much she enjoys hearing the stories from when we were all young.  We do remember to utilize liberal editing in the retelling of some of these adventures.  Not that any of us were ever really wicked, but as parents, we don't see the need to encourage them to try and out do us.  I remember one time Wil asked how his dad and I always knew what he was up to.  I responded that there was little he could do that one or the other of us hadn't done and we knew how to recognize the signs.  With the way society has become today, the adage "kids will be kids" can lead to a lot more heartache than a few missing rolls of toilet paper from the bathroom cabinet.

Rick and I always said that as our children got older, we would more fully answer their questions.  The phrase "When they grow up..." has been used quite frequently.  So it has now shocked us to realize that our sons have reached that "grown up" stage in life.  They now ask the questions that require the harder answers.  "Because that's the way it is" is no longer enough of an answer.  They have also reached a point that the concepts of repentance and forgiveness have real meaning.  Wil gave a beautiful talk in our worship service on the subject of forgiveness.  Two very important points he addressed were that forgiveness of others is necessary for our own growth and peace and that when we ask for forgiveness, we also must be willing to forgive ourselves.  

Sunday evening my sister Jody and I were talking.  She looked at me and asked if when I look at my children do I see them as they are now or is now an overlay on what they were when they were younger.  She said it is hard for her to see Hunter without his chubby baby cheeks, Wil not small enough to hide in a cupboard and when did Jon get taller than her.  I kept thinking of that not only can I not look at my own children without seeing them as they were when they were little, but I also have a hard time looking at my brothers and sisters and wondering when we got so old.  The lines from the Fiddler on the Roof song , Sunrise/Sunset, have kept going through my mind: Is this the little girl I carried? Is this the little boy at play? I don't remember growing older. When did they?

Many things can be said about wasting time, losing time, killing time.  But I find myself more and more cherishing time, relishing time, spending time.  When we are together as a family, those brief moments of time are more valuable than all else.  Time stops for no one, and time brings change.  Nothing is ever the same as it once was, so I am grateful for those times that we can look back and not regret.  I think that is why this quote attributed to Gordon B. Hinckley was so meaningful to me this week: 

“Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he’s been robbed. The fact is that most putts don’t drop, most beef is tough, most children grow up to just be people, most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration, most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. Life is like an old time rail journey…delays…sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling burst of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride.”

Then and Now

Dickamore Family about 1979
Rick with his brothers 1975
Jon, Wil, Alex, Hunter and Brittney 1998
Tiffany 1998
Everyone, January 29, 2012

Our children 2003
January 29, 2012

Wil and Hunter 1996
Wil and Hunter 2011