Monday, February 23, 2009

Comings and Goings of February

What a wild month, lots of coming and goings.

Austin has returned from his mission
Don has shipped out to Iraq.
Melissa (Don’s girlfriend is taking the missionary lessons and attending church)
Celeste and Brad moved to Maryland
Bryce found a new way to injure himself with a broken wrist
Dave and Danica are fixing up their house


The biggest change is gaining a new son-in-law named Preston who was sealed to Tiana last Friday in the Salt Lake Temple. Everything went off without a hitch except a chocolate fountain that wasn’t in the mood to celebrate like the rest of the family. Tiana glowed with that fantastic radiance of fresh love and Preston couldn’t keep his eyes off of her. It was a great weekend.
I have to make mention of a few of the attendees in the temple sealing room. Except for Don being deployed to Iraq all of Tiana’s siblings were in the temple; friends from her college were there, plus missionary companions and a mission president, old roommates, aunt and uncles, and parents and ailing grandparents. It is a testament to the person Tiana has become to be surrounded by these noble people from so many different areas of her life.
I think they are off to a great start (even though Uncle Eric had to rescue their lingerie before they took off to the hotel).

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Homecoming 2: Top Ten List

The Top Ten Ways We Know Austin is Home from His Mission and has Changed:

10. All the extra food mom makes is now eaten.

9. Furniture has been moved around.

8. I got waxed in Racquetball 3 games to 1.

7. Girls are calling our home number.

6. He could pick up Lily and Jensen and give them a hug.

5. We have carried on several intelligent conversation with many multi-syllables words.

4. During our conversation Austin will quote a chapter out of the Book of Mormon.

3. Austin is wanting to know what time is family prayer and for us be quiet so he can study.

2. Austin was running around all nervous because he was fearful of being late to church.

#1. When we first came home I thought he would camp out in front of the big screen TV, but he passed right by that and instead he planted himself in front of the book case and picked up several books he wants to read.

It's great to have him home. Pray for Don who leaves for Iraq tonight.


Can you believe it one era is ending and another is beginning. Our youngest has returned from a mission. It is one of those classic milestones in life that are celebrated all too briefly as we brace our shoulders to tackle the next obstacle. When the kids were young it was getting out of diapers or buckling their own seat belt that we cheered, now it is graduating from college or getting married. But lest we hurry on to the next major task on life’s to do list, let’s celebrate this latest landmark.

Ours is a missionary family where all have served full time missions or acted like a missionary in the military. In fact all the in-laws have served righteous and honorable missions. Some have even taken it a step further and married someone from their mission. Thus insuring a happy missionary reunion party daily through out their life. Don had the opportunity to participate in two baptisms during boot camp and he is currently taking his girl friend to church and meeting with the missionaries. Nothing could make me happier as a father than to see our family’s treasure and sweat and prayers spend in the effort to bring people to Christ. Thank you all for the incredible examples and righteous choices you have made.

I know it doesn’t guarantee anything, but I firmly believe that having paid the price of missionary service does provide a decidedly better chance of a happy marriage and spiritually healthy grandchildren. There is nothing sweeter in life than the prospect of a glorious union with the one you love and to be surrounded by great kids. Life is not a straight line, it is full of twists and knots that can strangle even the best of intentions for family happiness. A blessed family with spiritual health is worth fighting for and taking the time and money to work out the knots and kinks. It is true that “No success can compensate for failure in the home.”

That is why today I salute Austin’s return from the mission field as he has now completed this most important work. He has grown from dedicating his life to World of Warcraft to serving the Lord. Last night as he hung out with Joe Rutherford (an old WOW buddy) they didn’t talk about their weapons of choice or what level they had obtained with their creature character; Austin challenged him on his life’s choice and what kingdom Joe would like to obtain in the next life. The mission has infused Austin with a sense of time and urgency to be about the important work of being a disciple of Christ.

I must say that after seeing some of Austin’s pictures and videos he had fun out there in true Austin style. It was a jumping, physical, flat out hard working mission, with some time left over for laugher. I can tell he loved the people he served, loved his companions and what they could teach him, and he loved the Lord for all the joy he brings to our life.

Thanks to all of you for your service and thanks at this time to Elder Austin Barrand. I like the chance to put life on pause for a while and celebrate this blessed milestone – our youngest has returned from an honorable mission. Thoughts of college and marriage can wait for another day.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Trip to the mountains

Mom was a star this weekend. We were all kind of sad that all our family guests departed this week and we were left without a chaperon, so mom cooked up this great weekend. Friday night we sat down to an incredible romantic candlelight steak dinner in the dining room. It seemed so quiet and intimate, just us two.
Them mom pulled off this fun trip to the mountains on Sunday. She presented to the combined relief society, priesthood, young men and young women in Frisco the best presentation I've ever seen her do on mental health. It was so fun to think that I was lucky enough to be married to this incredible talented good looking professional woman. Wow... I have to pinch my self.
We stayed the night in Breckenridge, ate at Empire Burger (our new favorite spot), toured the Snow Sculpture contest (first time in 17 years), relaxed at the condo, felt disappointment with the Super Bowl outcome, and generally got our batteries recharged.
Life with Tracy is great and Austin comes home this week. That makes two new firsts this year; seeing the stock show and the Breckenridge Snow Sculptures after 17 years.