Saturday, November 29, 2008

Christmas Tree Hunt

As usual, we went on our christmas tree hunt the day after Thanksgiving. I think this is the third year we've gone with the Moses family. Everyone had a blast (even Kyle).

This is Ian's description of the event. Unfortunately I started recording about half way through, but most of the content is there. He hasn't quite figured out yet how to tell a story in chronological order. Downloadable versions here. Enjoy.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A special thanks

I teach the 12-13 year old Sunday School class. I really enjoy it. I feel a special connection to my class, especially since there are a couple of individuals in my class who have lives that somewhat parallel my own life at that age. I love the manual as it focuses on teaching one gospel principles at a time. It makes me stop and think about how much each of these principles has impacted my own life.

Today's lesson is on giving of yourself and serving others. I found my mind and heart drifting back to my own 12 and 13 year old years and a sandy blonde haired 6th grader in young womens who changed my life.

I arrived in Abilene abruptly in the middle of 7th grade. I was torn and tattered beyond all belief. In the past year and a half I had been in 5 schools, lived in 9 different living arrangements (roach motels x2, cheap extended stay campsites x2, old broken down houses x2, old broken down apartments x1), in 3 different states. Every step of the way, I had lost more and more. My step mom allowed me to bring one small box (2'X 1.5' x 1.5') with me when we went to Wyoming. My scriptures took up about 1/4 of the box, which left little room for the limited number of warn clothes that I had in my possession. My father had abandoned us to the care of my step-mom, I think this was partially her way at getting back at us (mostly me) for it. Plus, space probably was limited. The rest of our home (everything that my mother had acquired for us) was left in storage which was lost due to non-payment. Due to the kindness of the folks in Laramie, Wyoming, I had acquired a whole stash of clothes and other needed items at Christmas. I will always love Laramie, they were amazingly accepting and kind. We were only there a semester, but they were amazing. Unfortunately, all of that fell off of the back of my father's truck on the way back down to Texas. I found myself in Corpus living in the lowliest spanish roach motel in existence (just inches off the street) for a couple of weeks including one- maybe 2- days of school. Then my father got mad, packed us and our limited possessions in the old, broken down ford escort wagon we had traveled from Wyoming in (which took less than 10 min) and headed towards Abilene. My father didn't have enough money for gas to get us to Abilene. On the way, he stopped and said, "You kids, stay in the car." He walked in and asked to speak to the manager. He told them, I've got two kids in the car. I have to get them up to their aunt's house in Abilene. I don't have any money for gas. I have some tools I can give you in exchange for gas (my father is an electrician- his tools were his livelihood). He came out, gathered his last hope of livelihood and exchanged it for our safety.

It was in this state that I arrived in Abilene. There really wasn't much left. I'm sure I looked tattered when I sat down in Young Womens that first day in the only dress clothes I had (a blue jean skirt and an old purple sweatshirt). But this sandy blonde angel, sat beside me, seemingly unaware- or maybe acutely aware- of my tattered state. "Hi, I'm Melissa Crockett." And with that, she accepted me, unreservedly as her friend. The thing I needed most in the world. My father disappeared a few weeks later, leaving me to the care (and later sodom-like environment of my aunt's house). But not before Melissa had scooped me up into her safe haven. It was fortunate I only lived about 3-4 blocks away. She and Mary (her mom) picked me up every Sunday for church and every Wednesday for Young Womens. My Freshman year, DT (her dad) picked me up every morning and took me to Seminary. As my Aunt's environment became more and more toxic and loathful, she made sure I spent more and more time with her. She was nothing less than a spiritual savior for me. The very act of getting to church and young womens served as a shield and a protection to me in the most tangible of ways. Although the toxins in my aunt's environment became more and more lethal and prevalent, many/ most of these toxins were never offered to me (although readily available for my taking) simply because I went to church every Sunday. She helped me to resist this incredibly dangerous environment and helped me to realize that I needed to get out and find a relatively safe harbour. Much like a scuba diver with his gear, without her I would have had no access to the gospel air I needed and would have inevitably drowned in the sludge I was increasing surrounded by. By this point, it was just me and my brother Chuck. My older two brothers were smart enough to jump off this roller coaster ride long before my Aunt's house. Unfortunately, chuck did get forced to swallow some of those toxins. I asked him once why he stopped coming to church. He said, "I didn't have any friends there." I Thank Heavenly Father for Melissa.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Halloween Party

Last night was the annual Halloween party at the Moses house. Ian was more excited than ever to go trick or treating.