learning life lessons is a beautiful thing. and i feel like my eyes have been opened in the past couple weeks. recent lessons that make me grateful for the goodness that surrounds me.
here are some thoughts:
one day i decided to stop by nana and papa's after the dentist. they live almost right next door, i couldn't pass it up. and i couldn't be more grateful that i did. a discussion about family. our family. and how each member has worked hard to get where they are today. stories about how life wasn't always easy, but how much was learned from those times. stories about our ancestors and the great genealogy nana has done. a testimony of it's importance. both of them expressing their love for me. and papa telling me things that he sees in my that i hadn't seen in myself. "you have ambition and creativity ashley. i've always known you were the one who would have ideas and start your own buisness one day. i'll give you five years after graduation. there aren't many kids who can go out and buy sewing machines on ebay to start their own business at 13." something i've always known i've wanted deep down, but it meant the world hearing my grandpa tell me that he sees that in me. that he believes in my hopes and dreams. and knowing that i get some of those traits from him. something that draws us closer together. i love that they let me know just how much they love me. and that they are proud of all i do. makes me want to just keep trying my best.
a "walter family group" was created on facebook announcing that we would be having a service project to clean grandma and grandpa's house. sometimes it seems a long drive to salt lake, but there wasn't a chance i'd miss out on this one. once we got there grandma asked if i was home for the weekend. i told her, "no, just this morning." and she said, "you didn't drive up here all the way for this, did you?" she gave me a hug and her gratitude was so heartfelt. i got the job of cleaning the chandelier. something that just didn't get around to as often as they liked. it was a simple task really, but grandma told me time and time again how glad she was to have that cleaned. and standing on top of that chair i had a beautiful time-stopping moment. cousins and aunts and uncles kept showing up. looking around at everyone cleaning. people vaccuming, some dusting, some outside in the yard. simple tasks. and my grandparents were in awe. that we all came just to clean their house. and i realized just how beautiful family is. that we work together, support each other, and just try to help each other out. we do it because we love each other. that's exactly why the family is the perfect set up.
sometimes i feel very overwhelmed. that i just don't quite measure up. and having that "blue" personality that i do i'm quite the perfectionist and require a lot of myself. it was a morning that every single one of my flaws was right on the surface, maybe not for everyone to see, but i sure noticed. holding back the tears we headed to stake conference. then the words of the stake president, "i prayed this morning that you would come here being humble and teachable." a lesson on how we need to accept correction because that is how we learn and grow. and a realization that i had all my overwhelming feelings of inadequacy so that i could be humble and teachable. to learn that we are working to become. become better and more like Jesus Christ. and the only way to do that is by accepting correction.
i'm a people pleaser. when i'm upset i usually try to hide it away. because i'd rather get over it myself than make someone else feel bad. but this time i couldn't hide it any longer. i said there was something i needed to bring up. but it was so hard. the tears began to flow. and he sat there patiently, waiting until i was ready to talk. i finally got it out and he just wiped away my tears, held me close and listened with understanding. although it wasn't the easiest thing to do, it was one of the best conversations we've had. and a lesson to me in so many things. like the importance of being open and honest, having patience and understanding, what it means to trust someone, and simply how to love more.
my brother spoke in church on sunday. i decided to stop by. there is nothing more tender than hearing a pre-missionary talk about their desire to serve. especially when you know how hard it's going to be saying good bye. he talked about service. he talked about his love for the Gospel. he talked about how he knows it won't be easy but that he'll work his hardest. and hearing those things makes it just a little bit easier to let him go for two years. because i know he will be sharing with others the thing that has brought me the most happiness in my life. and that makes me so grateful.
[you can learn more for yourself here.]
life is truly a beautiful thing.