Thursday, December 31, 2015

1290.2 miles run
1 half marathon with Isabella
2 New York trips with her too, and another to attend the wedding of a friend
4 major trips - Dominican Republic, Hawaii, Scotland and Texas
3 beach trips - one with family, one with best friend and kids and one with my sister
2 new foster children
1 Whiting drilling expansion - Travis brought drilling equipment to PA to do Geothermal drilling
2 Visits from the in-laws and college roommate and kids
1 Travis trip to Utah
1 set of changed renters in the Utah house
4"ish" weekend trips to East Strousburg to see another BFF
13 temple trips
1 baptism
15 years of marriage
And endless other adventures and joys.

Each year I feel blessed beyond measure, each year is better than the last.  Each year I am nervous the next won't be as awesome and each year I worry in vain.

Because somehow my life gets better and better.  So it felt almost karmic when I read this talk today.

Happy New Year.  May you find your happiness in 2016!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

It's Great To Be 8

Kody turned 8 this year.  My youngest got baptized.  Where has the time gone.  He's growing up.  So much happened that I just haven't taken the time to record it all.  But we are very proud.  The last of the kids has made the first of their covenants with God.  Here's to many more along the way and through the years.  We love you, buddy!
P.S.  This all happened in September, I'm just now getting to blog abut it! Ooops!

Friday, December 18, 2015

They're Yellow, Green and Brown

What would the autumn be without the amazing foliage of the eastern seaboard.  Nothing but good weather.  But with it, you have good weather and spectacular views and endless opportunities to serve neighbors, friends and church members.  And that's just what we did.  Plus it gives my kids a little time to play since we only have one deciduous tree in our yard  :(

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Course Corrections

Nothing changed my life more dramatically then deciding to attend college in Idaho, approximately 2,000 miles, 32 hours driving, and 6-8 hours flying away from my home, from birth, in Spring Grove, Pennsylvania.  I arrived on a Saturday to campus and my housing for the next month or so before I moved to my more permanent fall semester housing via my brother who had gone there.  He took me around the town and left for the four hour drive back to Provo, Utah where he lived.  He was the closest family member to me. 

So it was I found myself at 6 in the afternoon on a July day feeling sorry for myself in my loneliness.  As a social person, a Saturday night with no plans, no friends, no prospect of friends, I felt utterly lost.  Listening to the laughter and playing of other college kids in our front yard did nothing to disperse my loneliness.  So I did what any person should do...I watched with open stalker like tendencies for a bit before I threw myself out there and asked, "Can I come play with you all?"
They happily included me in their group of friends who had all come to college together from Texas.  Eventually the guys from our group left to go home, and the girls and I trickled into one of the apartments of our four-plex front.  We then embarked on the exciting journey of getting to know someone new.  We asked and told each other all about our lives, the major high points.  We ended up staying up most of the night talking.  I knew is was a great start to what I felt would be lasting friendships, and I wasn't disappointed.

The next day these girls stumbled up to campus with me, where my future husband, Travis, would "shush" us.  We giggled endlessly and prepared for the first day of college the next day.  In that short summer term of five weeks I was able to go bridge jumping, caving, to the sand dunes to play tackle football in the leech infested water holes and participate in a hundred more adventures with these girls, including a late night traveling WWE style wrestling tour put on for my future husband. We would form an intramural football team, called Big Booty where our theme song when we arrived on the field would be "Who Let the Dogs Out".  We would take that same core group of girls and play countless other sports.

And through those girls I met many others.  Our circle of friends expanded over and over until, I had a huge network of friends who I adored.  I had met the man of my dreams, whom I would later marry.  I would alter my life plans just enough to get me to where I am today, which is exactly where I was meant to be.  It may have been terrifying in some ways, but it was the best decision of my life. 

And still I see and love these girls, though not as much as I would like.  Here's hoping that we can get a 20 year girls only reunion going in the next couple of years with all of us. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Dear Travis,

I'm not going to lie, I feel a little sick right now to my stomach, a little sad, mainly hopeful and tons optimistic.  It's crazy that in this human experience we can feel all these conflicting emotions at once.
I know you are already asking, what sparked all this.  So let me give you the back story.

I just got done reading this book.  It was a "love story".  It was sweet and sad and I fell for the characters.  So much so that I started to get emotionally involved.  I had real opinions that the main girl should not forgive the main boy.  He had screwed up too many times in too many big ways.  In the end, she did and of course they lived happily ever after, but I left feeling heartbroken too.  My heart hurt and I am still feeling some of the pain and it's all FAKE.  Blasted books!

And I keep thinking back on our dating story.  How it was rocky and rough, filled with hurt and pain, some intentional mostly not.  And I think to all the times I forgave you and how well that turned out.  I think of where we are now and how I couldn't be happier.  I think of all the times still, that we hurt one another, never intentionally we've grown too much for that nonsense, but often unintentionally or just from selfish motivations.  I think of all the times you have forgiven me, more you, because I'm a much bigger culprit of selfish imprudence and need your forgiveness daily.  And that's where all the hopeful happiness and optimism comes in. 

You are amazing and wonderful and forgiving and kind and generous.  I keep thinking of that quote I read to you from another book the other day, "Always remember...You have been given the power to forgive any offense, and in so doing, remove it from your awareness...True vision is his gift, allowing you to see no blame; forgiveness is your truest purpose in this life.  Seventy times seven, always, leaving the old self in the watery grave and rising to find no fault."  And are a master at this.  And I am learning, and I'm happy to say I've linked myself to you.  I'm learning from you everyday. 

Thanks for being you, I love what you do!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Me You Don't Know!!

Hi, my name is Mary... I am the most awesome Wife, Mother, and Friend in the universe.

Most people see me as a regular yahoo who's out for a good time.

About 5 times a week you will see me in a public School. Helping in some form or fashion. Reading books is my favorite past time but I realize that there are other important things in this life.

Believe it or not I run marathons I find that they keep this God given tool called a body sharp and strong.I have pillow talk at night with my kids. I do this to bond with them so that they trust me during every phase of their life. First I'm a Parent then I'm a friend.

I let little kids mess up my nails because I think it's more important for me to make a child feel loved and appreciated than it is for my nails to be done up right by a professional
I challenge my kids to do hard things and I give them big rewards. I think that's how Heavenly Father works so I'll mirror his plan. 

My Husband thinks I'm sexy and he can't keep his eyes off me. I'm surprised that our bond has grown deeper over the 15 years we have been married. He really makes me crazy sometimes but I know his needs are just as important as mine. I continually try to be water to our heated discussions. In the end we always make it through those tough conversations.

What's the difference between a neighbor and a friend????? Nothing..he he he! They all deserve my time and attention.

So Mary didn't write this post actually I (Travis Whiting aka Husband) hijacked her blog account and posted a little something about her because she would never share the following information. All who know Mary would agree that she has some special gift that reminds them of the Energizer Bunny.

Mary has many gifts one of which is humility. Most people in the community think that she has endless energy and is happy 100% of the time. She wants people to wonder why she has so much energy and is always happy but allast nobody ever voices this curiosity. I will spill the beans about her secret because it's so dear to her heart that she would never come out waving her own Flag because that's just not her style. In reality the gift she has, glorifies God, and so, to exploit it herself would detract from the Glory that is rightfully His not hers. She knows this, so she keeps it to herself unless someone presses her for information. Even then, she is found teaching the principle and her humility doesn't allow her to take the credit.

The fact of the matter is that the secret to her endless energy is not seen by the public eye. It's a Mormon thing. To put it simply she has made a covenant with Heavenly Father. For those who don't know a covenant is a two way promise. I promise something to God and He promises something in return. The deal she made with God is found in the scriptures. DC 84:33 " 33 For whoso is faithful unto the obtaining these two priesthoods of which I have spoken, and the magnifying their calling, are sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of their bodies." To keep this post short and not go into a lengthy discourse let's say for the sake of argument that the priesthood spoken above means if She puts God's will first in her life and concentrates on his work then she gets the blessings of the promise. So, that, coupled with her desire to be her best self (Not compared to others but compared to herself yesterday) makes this a formula that God can not deny (as successfully filled) and therefore God can not lie. And so he is bound by his own covenant. She wakes up each morning and her body is renewed. I have witnessed this for 16 years of her life. 

If this God given principle wasn't true then she would have hit burn out 10 years ago and should be a hermatized recluse by now. But God is real and the scripture is true.

In each of the picture scenario's above Mary could choose the selfish path but she doesn't. Consistently and dependably Heavenly Father has built a relationship with His daughter because she chooses "His will" not her own, time and time again.

I love this amazing "Saint in the latter days" Thanks babe for choosing the road less traveled.

I want the Whole World to know your secret. So with the utmost admiration I post this blurb.

With Love,


Thursday, December 3, 2015

Holy Kilts and Such

So I went to Scotland,
with Elizabeth
to get her settled for University.

That's fancy Scottish talk for college,
post-grad school to be exact.
She was worried.
I have a travel bug. 
Everyone wins.

I don't know that I ever wanted to
go to Scotland.  I felt no pull,
connection or strong desire.
But once there...

It's beautiful, it's diverse.
It's like our whole country's landscape
packed into one Pennsylvania
sized country.

Their groceries are dirt cheap.
The specialize in meat pies and pastries.
The men wear kilts and sing and dance.

It's turns out their royalty/
political leader - James V,
who later becomes Britain's James I
is my 13th great grandparent.

So everywhere I went,
I looked for Stewart clan items.
Absorbed every detail about my heritage.
Basked in the culture, the country
and now recommend it to others to visit.

On the negative side,
they were not overly friendly
as I was led to believe.  Not unfriendly,
just stick to themselves.

The rumors of drinking are all true,
and probably not exaggerated.
There is a bit of a sense of romantic desperation.
Go see it for yourself.
That's all!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

He's Mr. Incredible

He's a genuinely happy, always helpful, easy going, laughter loving, lady slaying "boy next door" charmer.  At his birthday party yesterday all of his friends agreed they had never seen Issac mad.  It didn't surprise me, he next to never is.  He's the perfect combination of my husband's mellow with my happy.  I love him endlessly.  Can't believe he entered the double digits and tween land. 

Keep doing you, Issac, because you're pretty incredible!  Happy Birthday.