Category Archives: Mission

transitions and here we go again!

Yes, we’re alive over here, time is just going so fast I start wondering where to start.

It’s such a strange thing to suddenly be the parent of older kids instead of having a posse of younger ones. The baby is going into 6th grade for heaven’s sake! I find myself gazing at her playing Barbies and with her American Girls, knowing in a blink they will soon be abandoned for American Eagle gift cards and iPods.

We’ve had a great summer, traveling out west for a family reunion, coming home to another family reunion (hosting all of Gregor’s brothers and family – a hoot and a holler!) The house has been FULL of people and so much food and messes and reminiscing.

Labor Day always marks the beginning of packing school lunches, quieter days, busier afternoons, and the rank smell of soccer cleats by the front door.

I find myself pondering Ernest Hemingway’s quote:

There is nothing else than now. There is neither yesterday, certainly, nor is there any tomorrow. How old must you be before you know that? -Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls

I’d like dispute that, Ernest. If I may. Because what of this:

The past in a cool, dark pond; our feet are always damp.

I took that line from book critic, Lucy Feldman. Isn’t it terrific?

Or how about Matt Nathanson’s greatest and latest song:

The past is a long distance runner…

So good!

I’ve always been one to look back and also forward. I think I have a better handle on it, feel more at peace with change.

It’s been a good summer and a hard one. We lost a tremendous man and friend to suicide. His impact reverberates through our community in a painful way I’ve wanted to run from, yet it’s been a huge wake up to remember we belong to each other. It’s a reminder to check in with one another. To speak up when we are hurting, to reach out when we need help.

But the good stuff?

A LOT of swimming at our favorite hole:

Traveling to Utah for a family reunion, where the stomach bug traveled through all of us (YES!). We hiked some mountains, sold books, rope swinged into Blood Lake, ate gallons of ice-cream.

In early August I ran in the Beach to Beach 10k alongside elite-level and olympic runners (okay, fine, they were practically finished before I started) and now I’m ready to train for the Cape Cod 1/2 marathon this October. SIGN UP HERE! We (running buddies Maryn, Jill, Chloe, and Cope) have had great times on the rail trail. Running a 9-miler with a pal bonds you for life, I swear.

The other night I lay here in the dark, looking out at a bright moon lighting up the sky. The next morning I awoke early for our girl posse long run. The moon was still up when we started; by the end of the run we were running into the sunrise. WOW.

I’m waxing a bit sentimental thinking of the upcoming year and the many changes that will occur. These kids we’re raising? We haven’t missed anything. It’s happening all as it should. We’re watching miracles happen every single day.

Here’s a picture of my siblings and me from this summer: I remember so well when we were little kids and now look at us. Side note: isn’t it remarkable that I’m the oldest and have retained my natural L’Oreal Medium Brown hair color when the rest…haven’t? What can I say??? I guess it’s all in the genes! 🙂

And look at these kids. What will they remember about their childhood together? Adding Grandpa and Tenny to the mix sure was a great idea!

So here we go:

Cope is awaiting her mission call! It should arrive any day. Like, ANY DAY. She will serve an eighteen-month mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. She will leave behind her phone(!) and everything else to serve and teach others of one thing: the life and mission of Jesus Christ. I’m in awe of her. She could be called to Brazil or Iowa – WE DON’T KNOW. I’ve known A LOT of missionaries, but how different it is to have my own child embark.  Strange, for sure.

Stay tuned!

Nelson embarks on his senior year and is currently going through the college admissions process. Boy, that’s no small feat. Note to self: we will survive. He’s also ALMOST done with his Eagle Scout project and fundraiser. I’m more than A LITTLE EXCITED to see him on the soccer field this fall. He loves the sport so much, and uh, so does his mama.

And Brynne Brynne? She’s a freshman! Zowie. Paige is a middle-schooler. I mean, what is going on? They will also be on the soccer field and I’ll be coaching, so you know, packing lots of Lara Bars.

I process these transitions by running (which leads to cravings of wavy potato chips and Diet coke, but hey, no one’s perfect.) Also? More sleep, please.

Talk to me. What are you transitioning to?


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He Returns

Valentine’s was extra special this year:  Elder Ian Makechnie, Gregor’s youngest brother returned home from serving a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  He was sent to the Denver Colorado mission.  We “heart attacked” the house and Brynne put a special heart on the door for her beloved uncle:

My idea of a “special” Valentine breakfast.  Easy 🙂

As you can imagine, we created quite the scene.  Our bishop and his family were at the airport as well. There aren’t a whole lot of things that can top waiting in the airport for a missionary to come walking on home.  I still remember the way I felt when my twin brother came home after serving for two years in Idaho.  

He returns with honor.

The cousins were beside themselves.  And see that good-looking guy on the right?  Victor, one of “our boys” who graduated from Proctor in 2005 is working at the airport.  He wants to work air traffic control.  It was awesome to have him there.

I always get emotional at missionary homecomings, but I held it together very well.  Until Ian went to his mother…

And then his father

Brothers gotta hug

Nelson is so happy to have another man around. 

The girls happily carry the baggage:  one bag and one small suitcase.  A missionary travels light.

We went out to eat at the Airport Diner, arriving at 9:30p.m.  Yep, the kids are a wreck two days later but it was worth it.  Here Paige is Ariel and combing her hair with a dinglehopper.

Heather said that the next morning Ian said, “Now mom, you are not to do any of my laundry,” and then he went right to Proctor to get a job for a month before heading back to BYU-I.  At least we get him for a month.  We get to hear Ian speak on Sunday except that I get to go first!  I am honored to be on the stand with this good boy.
Welcome home Ian.  We’re so proud of you.


So after speaking with my mother-in-law who has her last son on his mission (Elder Ian Makechnie!) and talking about the financial cost of a mission and crappy medical care on a mission I had a major panic attack.  Maybe just a reality check.  Saving for college and missions.  It looms.  It creeps upon us closer and closer.

If any of our children go on a mission and the cost is still $300/month, then $300 x 24 months = $7200.  That’s not pocket change!  If the cost is $400 a month, then $400 x 24 months = $9600.  Ah, the panic…we’re teachers living on teacher salary.  Must have plan.

Years ago we set up a tax-exempt Fidelity account strictly for education.  Only $50 a month is put in but guess how much it has accumulated?  $14,211.16.  Cool.  That will buy some books at least!  Really though, it’s pretty amazing how fast it accumulates and it’s sobering to see the HUGE pay-offs by starting early.  We also use a UPromise credit card which contributes a % of spending to college funding.

Alright, so I went to our on-line banking system, ING.  I love ING.  It’s a savings account that gives the best interest I know of.  I set up an account strictly to store money for our tax bill that is due every Christmas.  I also set up an account for each child.  Click here to start saving with ING.

Now, thinking of missions and college.  Nelson is the most likely to go on a mission so I set up a recurring transfer from our local bank to his fund.  Only $50/month = $600/year.  A doable monthly expenditure.  But in ten years when he needs money?  He’ll have $600 x 10 years = $6000.  I’m counting on him working his booty off in high school.  He’ll hopefully be able to earn the remaining $1200 or $3600.

Now for the girls.  I didn’t set up as big a transfer though they may need it as well.  Just $10/month.  $10 x 12 months = $120.  $120 x 10 years = $1200.  It’s something.

Maybe we’ll discover $20/month is doable.  Maybe we’ll earn more money in the future and be able to contribute more.  For now, this is good.

So, the point is:  SAVE.  PLAN for the future.  I feel so much better.