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Saturday, December 25, 2010

My darling little sister Ashley, I ADORE you!!

Note: A sibling sitting next to me while I am typing this says I am way too long winded... so for those of you who want, just skip to the end.

Oh my darling little sister Ashley,

I honestly believe you are one of the greatest blessings in my life. The gifts of joy and womanhood are things that I will always honor and cherish about you. I remember the first time I met you, thinking what an amazing girl you were. Now that you are a mother, and a wife to my little brother... well, I just really struggle to describe the honor it is to have a relationship with you.

When I was given your name, I was thrilled. I knew that my gift of service was going to be to try to become more like you. I felt like by trying to live more like you, that I might be able to have my life serve others as yours does every day.

The first few steps were easy. First off, I had already made a goal to use ONLY (and I do mean ONLY) the recycled shopping bags from now on. I loved how you did it, and made it seem like such an easy thing to do. You acted as if, "Well duh, if it is better for the planet, better for others, why would I not do it." You gave it a selfish/unselfish type of feel. Like... if you try to do this one little thing, well that is a very small, unselfish change you could make in your life. I am happy to report that I have been GREAT at this. I would give myself a 95%. I will go into more details on this on my personal blog.

Next, I wanted to serve my children by taking the time to learn to cook healthier. I loved visiting you and having you make us such yummy meals that were REALLY healthy, but also DELICIOUS!

These might seem like dumb, well duh, thoughts... but I never realized how simple and easy it would be to take the time to plan, prep and cook healthier meals. I now serve only the high protein, whole grain pasta. It is yum and although it costs a little more, it is so much better for my family. I have added a lot of fresh vegetables to my meals. I used to use a lot of canned, easy foods, but now I have really learned to enjoy preparing fresher, healthier alternatives. (Grilled baby bell peppers... who would have thought how delicious, healthy and easy they are!)

I had noticed that a couple of my girlfriends were really starting to be catty about others. In thinking of you, I thought, I wonder how Ashley handles this? I have gone back to what I learned back when I was in Young Woman's. When one starts to "talk"about another girlfriend, I just try to point out that other friend's good points. It just makes me feel like I am trying to be a better friend.

I wanted to do a true "gift" to someone. Something "blog worthy". I feel like in changing my way of thinking, I have, in a small start, changed the person I want to be. But what is really "blog worthy" about that?

I sent out an email to all the mom's in my ward that have kids in primary. I told them I was newer to the ward, but that I would love to be their "drop off spot" for their kids when they go to the temple. I have teasingly done a couple of reminders, but I still have not gotten any takers. (I know!!! I would totally take advantage of the offer if someone gave it to me!) However, in truly trying to do this, I have had three moms email me and ask if there was any way I could help them with their kids, even though they were not going to the temple.

One was a mom that needed help the first couple of days, while she went back to work and was figuring out a childcare arrangement. The next was a mom that is brand new to our ward, and was just put on bed rest at the 6 month mark of her pregnancy. Her 3 year old Sophie was really wanting to play so she emailed me to ask if I could help one day. I immediately called her and said, "Yes! I am totally open the next two weeks. We will pick her up at 8am and you can tell us what time each night to bring her home.

The third is another new mom who I ADORE! She just had her fourth baby in October, and her oldest is 6. They moved here in September and her husband works two weeks out of the month on the East Coast, so she is alone with these kids a lot!

The yucky flu with high fevers and upchuck has been going through her family for the past month. It keeps dragging on. I have called her every time I have been to the grocery store in the past month and a half, and I always ask her what I can get for her. She always says nothing... so I have changed what I ask. Now I just call her and say, I am getting milk for you... Non-fat or whole? Bread, Wheat or White? Candy or fruits and veggies? What are you in the mood for?"

She used to say nothing, but after a couple of deliveries of what I like best, and I keep telling her, "I'm bringing it over to you anyway... Do you want me to choose for you, or do you want to give requests?" So now she sweetly tells me what might help her out in her life. She is a joy to serve.

Okay, so I am totally bawling while typing this. I think that is why I have procrastinated all day. I knew that I would feel your sweet spirit while thinking of you and in trying to tell you how much I love you. I know my sisters tease me about "Ashley Whoo Hoo" but seriously, you are Ashley Whoo Hoo to me. If I haven't said it five times already, Ashley, I adore you!

I remember the day you were sealed to Chuck in the temple. It was a CRAZY day... and I just remember thinking, "This girl is amazing, and she deserves ALL the blessings of heaven. I hope Heavenly Father has some wonderful blessings ahead of her in her life." I often wonder what makes you the woman you are. Is it your parents? Your upbringing?

Oh Ashley, my sweet little sister. I am so in love with you. It is an honor and a joy to be your big sister. You make me want to be a better mother, a better sister, a better friend. But most of all, a better daughter of God, because then I might truly be more like you in all ways.

Yeah, I don't really have a picture that goes along with this post... but this random shot is of me trying to make memories being a good mom. Amy says we have to have a picture with our post. Is that part of the rules? :)


  1. Char - What a fabulous post! You know I love the long winded versions (you've met my husband, right?). Thank you for your kind words. I am truly blessed to be a part of this family and to call you my sister.

    I know that those friends you served were so grateful for your service.

    I love you!

  2. Hey! I resemble that long-winded comment!

    Thanks for getting me all teary-eyed and then just at the moment I was starting to cry, I scrolled down to see that photo. I thought, "Um what does a photo of Bill in the hot tub while wearing a sweater have to do with this post?" Then I read Char's comment on the photo and I burst out laughing while I was crying and I started coughing (my asthma is horrible today) and basically, I nearly died! Literally!

    New rule... no more random crazy pics that make Chuck laugh so hard he nearly passes out on the floor.

    You are such a cute older sister to Ashley. I love you Char.

  3. No random pictures. Especially when a person in the picture has not signed a waiver. What memories is THIS picture making?

  4. LOL!

    Mike's family here was concerned I might have offended you. Mike and I laughed and said, "No, he is proud of it and his wife loves it." Plus, y'all make fun of me for not being able to grow a single hair on my chest.

  5. Oh, my gosh, I am dying laughing!!!!!!

    Char, great service! Glad you can become a better person by being more like our sweet Ashley!

  6. Great job Char. What a life changing service.

  7. I totally just snorted as I am trying not to laugh and wake people up. You don't HAVE to have a photo...Look at Wayne's post...but I did like the seater photo of the family.

  8. That was SWEATER photo of Bill (not seater).

  9. Char, what a beautiful post! I like the gushy posts. I can witness that Charise really was good about using her "earth savvy" bags. As for the sweater picture, I gotta say, I had a great time on our cruise last month but I did miss being the "sister of the hairiest man" :)

  10. When I went to visit Char, we had borrowed dad's car and we stopped to grab something at the store and Char made me get it and bag it b/c she didn't want to ruin her perfect streak and her bags were in her car. Way to go Char, I am most proud of you for trying to eat healthier. That is something that isn't only a service to Ashley but to your family as well. I bet it is easier to cook in a bigger kitchen now that you are at mom and dad's. I enjoy cooking a lot more if I have space.