Saturday, February 20, 2016

I have been thinking recently about the impact that Christ's atonement has made on my life.  I have understood it at many different levels over the course of my life, and I'm sure I will increase in understanding in the future as well.  However, my current understanding seems to have opened of a new chapter in my life.  I have recently realized that, because of the atonement, all people -- including me -- are allowed to change.  They are allowed to completely change.  They are allowed to turn their lives around without having the lingering feeling that their past mistakes are being held over their heads.  Christ not only allows, but encourages this!  Not only does He encourage this, He actually pleads with us to do this.

What hope!  I am allowed to put away my habits, my sins, my bad choices, and start over.  You are allowed to do this, too.  It's amazing and wonderful!  And, if Christ allows this, we must allow everyone the opportunity to change.  We can forget past hurts and painful experiences, and allow each other to start over!  Wow!  I don't know about you, but starting over sounds so sweet to me.  I am full of gratitude to and love for the Savior!

I love you!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Hitchhiking in Ann Arbor

When Dad and I lived in Ann Arbor, we did some fairly crazy things.  For instance, having no car, we hitchhiked to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  Traveling together in this way was an exercise in bonding, mutual support and mutual dependence.  I had confidence in Dad's skills and camping expertise.  I'm not sure I had any skills that made him feel confident, but he let me come along anyway.  Hitchhiking with Dad felt safe.  It felt as though he and I could do anything and go anywhere, as long as we were together.

We had matching backpacks and a destination sign, which Dad felt would surely indicate to drivers that we were respectable people -- not those they needed to be concerned would murder them if they stopped to pick us up. This indeed seemed to be the case.  Not only did we travel this way to the Upper Peninsula, but to several other places including the Trostle Family Reunion in Jewett, Illinois. (We also hitchhiked from Carbondale to Nauvoo, but I'll talk about that in other memories).  People were definitely willing to pick us up. Sometimes we rode in the back of a pickup truck, but most of the time people actually invited us into their cars.  In one instance, a couple drove past us only to turn around and come back. They said they had felt impressed to pick us up.  The man, who had a German accent, was still a bit apprehensive, however.  He asked Dad if he had a gun, or was planning to kill him.  Dad said no, and decided not to tell him about his pocket knife.

We could carry almost every basic item we needed in our frame backpacks -- bedding, personal care, clothing, cooking utensils. That obviously didn't include an unlimited supply of food, however.  On our trip to the Upper Peninsula, we ran aground in Marquette.  We couldn't seem to get a ride at all. We were tired, our feet hurt, and we were very hungry.  At that time, Marquette had about 22,000 people.  It wasn't huge, but as we walked, it seemed endless.  As we walked down one of its streets, we passed a pastie (pronounced PASS-tee) shop.  Pasties are compact, tasty little pastry bundles containing beef, steamed rutabaga, carrot, onion, potato.  Even though we weren't familiar with pasties, the window display made our mouths water.  Unfortunately, our limited resources only covered the price of one. The baker had apparently been watching us eye his wares for several minutes, and had accurately assessed our situation.  When we ordered one pastie at the counter, he invited us to sit down and have two.  I feel I have to say that, in my experience, wonderful interactions like this one far outnumber unpleasant ones.  I am so grateful for that!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Memories from Ann Arbor days

Dad and I went sledding in the Arboretum one fine winter day.  Unfortunately, we had only one sled. That led to duplex sledding, which led to cracked ribs for Dad when we hit a rock.  Sigh.

Katie was born in at Women's Hospital, which was a short walk across a parking lot from our apartment in University Terrace.  We only had to stop once on the way across for a contraction (I hung around Dad's neck).

I had made the ridiculous mistake of agreeing to be interviewed by a PhD student during labor.  Since there was money involved, it didn't seem ridiculous initially.  However, when she interviewed me during transition, it became apparent that the plan was idiotic.

Dad and I had practiced Lamaze breathing technique for relaxing and dealing with the pain of contractions.  One method of helping me re-focus on my breathing pattern was for him to breathe along with me, quite close to my face -- presumably so that no matter what state of mind I was in, I couldn't fail to see him.  One thing we hadn't counted on was the possibility that taking deep, rapid breaths might cause him to hyperventilate. Watching him breathe into a paper bag was a diversion, but didn't help my concentration very much.

The birth of all babies is a miracle, but the birth of a first baby seems even more so.  Katie's birth was a revelation to me.  I knew, theoretically, that I was carrying a baby and that I would have that baby at some point.  However, as the due date passed and one week turned into two, I began to doubt that.  I felt that perhaps I would be pregnant and sick forever, and that this was simply a cruel hoax.  However, the day (actually, night) of my deliverance came.  There she was, lying on my stomach -- a new person!  Although to Dad this seemed like stating the obvious, I could only repeat over and over again, crying and trembling with joy and exhaustion, "A baby!  A baby!"

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Updates are good, too!

So something I feel like we could all improve on a little is talking to each other more. ...or at least I could! Along with that, I feel like we're not always up-to-date on the happenings in each others lives. So this is as good a place as any to do that, right? I know it's not exactly what we talked about using the blog for, but I figure we'll be discussing new memories! :)

So in that light, I just wanted to give everyone an update on stuff in the Peper Family right now (because I know you all are just dying to know!!). TJ just submitted his placement requests for next year, and we'll find out where he's going right before thanksgiving. There are 4 3-month placements, and this is what he put as his ideal schedule -
Quarter 1 - Salt Lake City, UT
Quarter 2 - Edina, MN
Quarter 3 - Shelbyville, KY
Quarter 4 - Bloomington, IN
He said he's pretty sure he won't get the one in MN because it's really popular and they only accept 2 students all year. He listed a few back-ups also, all of which were in IN. So we'll see! The kid's and I will only be able to go with him for the 1st placement (over the summer), and part of the 2nd, but we'll hopefully be able to see him over any breaks from school Steven has. Also, if he's not too far away, he could probably come home most weekends.

And that's the news from lake Wobegon... uh I mean Lake Monroe? (that's the closest lake to us...) Love you guys!


Saturday, October 10, 2015

Ann Arbor

What an apt time to begin this blog!  Dad and I are in Ann Arbor, Michigan -- our first home as a family.  Today we went to the Institute building where we attended church and where I lived for a couple of weeks.  The exterior was exactly as we remembered it, but the interior had changed.  Mosher-Jordan Residence Hall where Dad lived for two years was disappointing because we couldn't visit his room.  Oddly enough, someone else was living in it! The kitchen where he ran the dish machine was, sadly,  no longer there.  As you know, Dad graduated from the School of Natural Resources, which has now added "and the Environment" to its official name.  We visited its home in The Samuel Trask Dana Building, and attended the annual SNRE Campfire, bringing chocolate chip picnic bars.  We won the alumni division of the annual log-sawing contest, with a time of 2 minutes, 58 second!.  Of course, we were the only alumni to enter the contest, but no matter.  We ended up with a better time than far younger folks.  

We did it!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Memories are for learning

While Julia was here these last few days, we were looking at photos of our family, circa 1980s. Wow! You guys were so young! Dad and I were so young!  That sounds ridiculously obvious, I know. However, having not looked at those photos in such a long time, it was eye opening to see us there -- younger, healthier, and in some, but certainly not all, cases happier -- and to relive those moments to some extent.  Some memories were wonderful; others were painful.  I'm sure we all wish each of our family memories were positive.  Nevertheless, they aren't, and that is the case in everyone's life. Therefore, I hope that as we write memories on this blog, we can remember all the times our family has experienced, and use those memories to become better people and a better family.  I love you all so much!  

The scripture that I'm going to be thinking about and trying to memorize (I'm kind of avoiding the word "ponderizing") is 2 Nephi 26: 24-28.  The basic idea is that Christ only does things that show His love for us, and that are for our good.  He never says to anyone, "Go away!  I don't want you to have any part in the happiness and joy of eternal life with those your love and with me."  He has never said that to anyone and He never will.  He loves all of us and wants everyone to come to Him, and in these verses He makes that very, very clear.

All my love,

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