Family December 2013

Family December 2013

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Breadth vs. Depth

I often struggle with balancing my desire to learn new things with my desire to become more proficient at the things I have already started learning.  I want to improve my skills on the piano, yet I would love to learn to play the guitar.  I would like to become more skilled at knitting, but I would still love to learn a foreign language.  I feel a desire to practice writing and yet want to read more books than there is time for.  I want additional training as a counselor but need to be there for my kids during their formative years.  Inside there is always a struggle for competing desires in finite time.

Sadly, we are limited in our time and must balance our competing wishes.  All the way through my 30's I felt that with enough practice I could do anything I want.  Now that I am older I am realizing that I have finite time and energy and must be more choosy about what is really important to me.  The hard thing for me is deciding what I really want to do.  I want to do everything!  But alas, I can't.  So I sometimes become paralyzed by indecision and do nothing.

It reminds me of the parable of the talents.  I suppose it should be good enough for me to use my talents the best I can, double them and improve myself so that the Lord will tell me that I have done well and am a good and faithful servant. 

I have resigned myself to the fact that I will never be great at any one thing.  I won't be the best counselor, author, mother, leader, friend, wife, knitter.  But I will try my best to continue to improve myself, and I will hopefully always be progressing in one way or another.  My hope is that when I am too old to see or move around on my own that I will be able to sit back and feel joy over the well-spent years that I enjoyed (that is as long as I'm not afflicted with Alzheimers).  And who knows, maybe this dog can still learn new tricks!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Final Highlights of 2015

We have had a very full year indeed.  I feel so grateful as I look over the pictures from this past year and marvel at how much we have managed to fit into 2015.  Nicole enjoyed being part of a homeschool choir.  She loves singing, art and music.

Brandon had a great time going to prom and especially enjoyed wearing a Tux!  He felt a little like Gatsby.  

We worked literally from sun-up till the last traces of available light painting our house on the hottest weekend of the summer.  All of the kids chipped in tremendously and we could not have finished the huge job without their help!  They helped us save $5000 with their combined labor, so we bought a new big-screen television to thank them for all their work.

Our home went from a faded rust to much more modern colors.

We have loved having family come visit this summer and enjoyed Crater Lake with the Cluffs.  I finally made the hike down to the shore and was impressed with how fit Tyler and Susan are!

That hike was nothing compared to hiking Mt. McLoughlin a steep-sided lava cone that had a breathtaking view.  Nathan and I were in charge of the 4th year hike and were happy to make it up to the top with all the girls...though it was close!

I enjoyed a quick mother/sisters weekend to attend Cami's choir with the Utah Chamber Artists.  Happily, Nicole managed to make it to the lobby before she puked with the stomach flu!  Poor girl had to lie on a bench for the rest of the concert.

Nathan and I enjoyed the annual ICMA trip to Seattle this year.  We made the ride up to the top of the iconic Space Needle and enjoyed four bright, clear days.  We especially liked the sights, sounds and smells of Pike's Market.

We sampled lots of delicious food and managed to have seafood every day of the trip.

We loved have Jeff and Jen Cherpeski and their family over for Thanksgiving Break.  They joined us in some of our traditions and the kids had a great time playing together.

We found a gorgeous tree for our last Christmas with all of our kids at home.

I was especially nostalgic in being able to attend Connor's first Band Concert.  It brought back a flood of memories from all my performances.  I'm glad that he enjoys music!

After having almost no moisture, we finally have been blessed with huge amounts of  beautiful, wet snow.  Danielle and I got to build her first snow family and we made an awesome snow fort.

Danielle was fortunate to be a mouse in the Nutcracker, which was thrilling for her.  We enjoyed the performance, knowing several of the dancers.

This has been a rich year full of  wonderful memories and experiences.  2016 will bring many changes for our family.  I liked a quote that one of my friends shared..."Change is inevitable and happy is the person who embraces it."

Friday, December 11, 2015

Highlights of 2015- Camping Trip to Fish Lake

With all the chaos of completing my school, moving to Oregon, starting work and general busyness, our family didn't go camping for a couple summers.  We were determined to go this summer, though there ended up only being one free weekend.  Brandon had to work the first day, but he drove out the next day to join us.

This was the first trip that Danielle remembered camping, and she probably loved it more than all of the rest of us combined.

Nathan and the kids attempted to fish, but the drought has taken its toll on the water level and they didn't even get a nibble.

Still, our campsite was beautiful, and we got to hike a beautiful trail between Fish Lake and Lake of the woods.

We had a nice view of Mt. McLoughlin that Nathan and I hiked with the 4th year girls this summer.  We also had a nice view of volcanic rock interspersed with forest.

The best part of trip was the last night when we told stories around the campfire.  I didn't realize what an impact Nathan's nightly storytelling has had on our kids until I heard what great storytellers they are.  Even more, they love telling stories together.

Camping was always so much harder with toddlers and babies.  This was MY most relaxing camping trip.  This kids were all a huge help and pretty much self-reliant.

I'm so glad that we carved out time to make these memories.  Next summer I hope we can go more than once, but we will not miss camping for sure!  I'm so grateful for my wonderful family!

Highlights of 2015-Family Reunion

This summer I was in charge of the Frey family reunion.  I planned a trip to the Oregon Coast at Bandon.  We stayed at a Compound 10 miles from the ocean that had plenty of space for everyone to spread out and Queen size beds for all!  That was the best.

My mom said that it was the happiest weekend of her entire year.  This was also the last family reunion for a long while that we will have all the kids there, as Zachary is on his mission to Wisconsin and Brandon will be submitting his mission papers in the next few months. 

Despite the wind, I attempted to get a family phone with everyone.  We found a great rock for everyone to climb on and got some fun shots!

Fun......and Serious......

This was also my first time to the Oregon Coast.  I intend to take advantage of our new location and check out all the spots along to coast to find my favorite place. 

Even though it was a little cold the first day there, Danielle couldn't resist getting into the water.  The next day I didn't bring my camera, and the weather was sunny and perfect.  The kids pulled out their swimsuits and played in earnest in the water.

Even the older kids enjoyed the waves. 

I love the ocean and come to almost crave it the longer that I stay away.   I'm so glad that we were able to make such wonderful memories all together!

Sunday, November 8, 2015


After 5 years of work with my sister Lenaya, I am so excited to announce that our book is finally a reality.  It is available for order on Amazon and is entitled The Pathways home:  A Memoir of Sisters on Both Sides of Addiction.

Our hope is to provide hope and encouragement for people both with addictions and those related to them.  Even if we just help one person, we will consider it a success!  We have also started up a blog to give additional support:  ThePathwaysHome 

I'm relieved to have that project done, and I am curious about where it will lead.  I would love to hear any feedback!

Monday, October 5, 2015

On Responsibility and Rest

 Image result for rest

I'm back into a routine after a crazy summer, and it feels so good to be living regular life.  Our ward boundaries were recently realigned, and we suddenly find ourselves in a new ward and callingless for at least a few weeks.  Nathan and I took a trip to the ICMA conference and then enjoyed General Conference weekend.  I haven't felt so rested since I can't remember when.  I started to think back and realized that my pressures haven't really let up for over 5 years. 

Before Danielle was even born I was serving as the Stake Young Woman president which was very busy and stressful.  Through that calling I had another baby and then started Graduate School.  Then came the move with a 4 month separation waiting for the school year to end.  Right after we moved my dad passed away and through the course of the year I somehow survived my 20 hour a week internship along with classes.  

With two semesters to go, I was called as the Ward Young Woman president, and felt a heavy weight in the responsibility of all the young women.  This is my first rest from pressing responsibility and I didn't realize how heavy the load was until I felt so light.  I have enjoyed simply reading with my girls, working a set schedule of 15 hours a week, playing the organ for fun and traveling with Nathan.  I have a chance to re-prioritize, rest and relax.  

I'm sure we will dive back into busyness in the near future, but oh, how wonderful this rest has been from my responsibilities.  

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

My Rough Sandpaper

Nathan and I have an ongoing joke that he is the rough sandpaper, and I am the fine sandpaper.  This has come as a result of the numerous house projects we have worked on over the years.  He knocks out the large components of replacing drywall, rewiring the electrical outlets, landscaping our yard, painting the house, and laying tile to name just a few projects.

I follow behind him fixing the finer points of the projects, pointing out holes that still need to be patched, rough edges to knock down, bushes that need to be pruned or finishing touches that are left.  I am the official indoor painter in our home, because of my eye for details, but when I want 5 bushes ripped out of the backyard, I won't even touch them.

Our differences just demonstrate how we complement one another.  We both know our own interests and allow each other the freedom to pursue our passions.  We are supportive of each other in our varying interests.  Not only are we supportive, but we push each other to be better in all that we do.

At the same time, we have always been unified in the important goals and priorities.  We are equally yoked in all our pursuits.  We have always been committed to each other and to our family.  We have laughter in our home and prayer that bookends our days.

Marriage is always a bit of a risk, placing our life in the hands of another person.  I am blessed to have done pretty well.  Considering when we were married, Nathan didn't have a declared major with years of college ahead of him, we have come far.  He has excelled in his career as a city manager, always working to improve himself and the people around him.  He has always served faithfully for his church in every calling that he has been given.

Most of all, he has been a father worthy of emulation.  He has told stories every night for the past 14 years.  All of our children look up to him and see him as a hero.  I am grateful my my rough sandpaper and for how he lifts me and improves me.