Happy Birthday, Elder Smith! My baby's going to be 20 years old tomorrow. Sniff. In Mushu's voice, "All grown up and preachin' the Gospel!" Haha. To celebrate, we are mailing you a package ON your birthday. Any requests?
Here are 20 Things I Love About Josh:
1) You were the best baby on the planet. Slept through the night at 4 months, rarely cried, and those chubby cheeks! Love at first sight. Truly.
2) You were born to poor student parents who were resident managers. Patiently, you came with me every time I had to show an apartment until you were 5. (Don't ask me where Stephanie was.) My little buddy. Everyone loved you. You never complained.
3) That home video of you singing "Happy Family." So cute.
4) The time I had to rescue Stephanie from the thunderstorm. I sat you up to the table with dry snacks and told you not to get down. You were 3. When I got back 15 minutes later, you were happily munching, still in your spot. So obedient.
5) Watching you ride your bike endlessly in the cul-de-sac by our barn house. I called out, "What are you doing, Josh?" You replied matter-of-factly, "Oh, I'm just playing with the wind." I love that imagination of yours. You always had it and always will, I think.
6) Eating carrots from our garden with the dirt still on it. "This is deee-licious!" Made me feel I could actually grow stuff. :)
7) Your public school fiasco(s) gave me the courage to start homeschooling. When I asked you what you thought of Mom being your teacher, I'll never forget the way your eyes lit up.
8) The time you finally took reading into your own hands. You followed me around all day, with your finger holding the place in Chapter 3 of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. "Please, Mom! Please read!" I had to tell you to wait until bedtime. Finally you said, "Can I read it myself?" I was so relieved and happy you took it into your own hands. You are so very capable and smart, once you decide. And you burned through that book in a matter of days, which opened the floodgates. I love that you're still a reader.
9) That time I decided to start dressing up a little more for homeschooling days (instead of PJ's or sweats). I came down the stairs and you said, "Mom! You are so beautiful!" Made me feel so good. I adore your sincerity. It comes naturally to you.
10) Kookanusa swimming. My little fish, even though you almost drowned in the Sparwood pool, I couldn't keep you out of the water if I tried.
11) The phase of life where you explored all of Leduc on your bike with your brothers. They look up to you so much. Your example inspires them to be better. I love watching your crazy awesome relationship with them.
12) The way you faced Repentance and overcoming those negative influences in your life. It's the hardest thing you ever did. Once you were on that path, no matter how long it stretched out before you, you never gave up. You are not a quitter and I love that about you.
13) Watching you in Mixed Martial Arts, I witnessed your confidence soar. My gentle boy, kicking butt. Loved it.
14) Tenaciously sticking to your DNA story idea. One day, it's going to be big.
15) Your singing voice.
16) Watching you dread the hard work at Classic and facing it anyway. You've developed the ability to work hard and to stick to a task. (Side note: You received some unexpected holiday pay and a $1800 tax return. As a result, we haven't even touched your Mission Savings yet.) Hard work pays off.
17) The way you decided to value women as divine individuals and treat them accordingly. Of course, they didn't know what hit them and there were some unintended consequences but I think you'll find that happy medium after your Mission. Hahaha. The principle is sound.
18) The respect you've always shown us as parents. (Except that one day for an hour when you were rebellious. Lol!) Dad and I always felt your obedience and honour, which in turn, inspires us to want to be better parents. Your quiet influence effects everyone you meet, even though you don't really realize it. Keep going with that, Josh. You have a quiet strength.
19) Your love of the Gospel, your conviction of the power of the Atonement and your efforts to draw nearer to God. I love that about you. It's the best thing you could ever do in your life... to continue to develop that relationship. Love.
20) Your desire to serve. A mission is a major part of that. It will teach you so much about yourself and how to serve effectively. I love that you are out there serving. You will see miracles.
And there is so much more. You are a treasure to us. Keep going, keep striving. Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of your life. Be happy. See life for ALL it's possibilities.
Happy Birthday! (And don't forget to send us some requests for your care package.)
I love you forever,
Thank you so much Mom, all I have become and all I will ever be is because of my parents, and the foundation they helped me build, It is because of your faith and diligence in the gospel that I have been able to see that example and learn, I remember when I was little there was a time when going to church was the last thing I wanted to do, but you always said it was what we needed to do, so every week I would reluctantly get dressed for church, how you and dad always were faithful to each other and observed the commandments strictly, and the continual diligence of reading and praying everyday, has built me up more then anything in my life. I love you all for it.
The one thing that I really miss is Dads homemade pancakes, grandma smiths brownie recipe and a couple other things, If I could have one thing in a care package I would want an easy recipe book, because one thing I lack is an ability to cook anything, that is one thing I remember being stressed to do is learn how to cook and it is one of my regrets that I didn't seise the opportunity sooner, so my one request would be a recipe book, with a lot of simple recipe's, something else that I love is seeing you guys, so another thing that would be so amazing would be to have a picture of everyone, Steph sent me pictures in a letter and honestly I treasure those above everything I have ever gotten, pictures and letters are so amazing, worth more then gold, honestly if I had a choice between a thousand dollars and a letter or a picture of someone I love I would choose the latter. Other then that everything else fades into the background, I miss you guys immensely, and I know this is where I am meant to be.There are so many blessings that abound in my life right now, as a zone we are in Alma 56 right now and something that caught my eye was Alma 53:20-21 the description of the stripling warriors and Alma 48:11-13 the description of Moroni, and I read verse 17 as well and wondered how I could be better there is definitely a long list, because if there is anyone who is far from being perfect it is me.A big topic this week for our zone is diligence, and how we could be more diligent and in what ways, so this morning we were given a challenge to do some personal reflection on what I needed to focus my diligence on.Here are a few things.-Exercise-Reading the Old and New testament-Prayer-Validating others-Reading Preach My GospelThese are a few of the many things I could work on being more Diligent in. I encourage you guys to do the same, take some time and evaluate what you could be more diligent on in your life, whether that is getting to bed on time, use of technology, giving service, sharing the Gospel, whatever it may be, decide to act now and build up your foundation.Oh I almost forgot! We were able to see Elder Neil L Anderson and I got to shake his hand! it was an amazing experience and I was in a small group of eight people in our zone that was able to sing "sweet is the work" for Elder Anderson and for the entire mission. I stood right in front of him as we sang, and nearly forgot all my notes. I am so grateful that the Lord has Apostles to lead his church in these days, I have a testimony that Elder Anderson is truly an apostle of the Lord and that the quorum of the twelve are all called of God to be special witnesses of his divinity and to lead Gods true church on this earth, something he said really hit me hard when he spoke to us, He asked if anyone had memorized any quotes of Jesus in the New Testament, and I was at a loss, I don't know how to quote the master of the world! I know a whole bunch of quotes from movies I have seen I could probably quote a couple prophets and scriptures from the book of mormon, but how sad is it that I cannot quote Jesus Christ. Elder Anderson went on to say, "How powerful would it be if at any time you could pull out a direct quote from the master in a time of need, to someone who is sad or depressed Jesus said 'Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth I give unto you' to someone who is angry or upset at someone Jesus said, 'Love one another as I have loved you'"That is my new goal, to memorize the words of Jesus Christ, so I can know more fully for myself and so I can impart his word more completely to others.I hope everyone is doing well, Please stay true the faith, because this is the one true church on the earth today.
P.SMe and Elder Wilson at the L.A Temple It is HUGE!