Tag Archives: new beginnings

A final New Beginnings

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Sunday was a bittersweet day at Patchwork Farm, as Molly and I headed off to church in the evening for Molly’s last New Beginnings program with the young women at church.

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New Beginnings is an annual event that occurs at the start of the year. The purpose behind this social activity for the young women and their parents, is to welcome the young ladies who are turning 12 and moving into the young women program, bidding farewell to the graduating seniors, and to introduce the youth theme for the year.

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This year the theme is:

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And the décor and activities of the evening revolved around this theme of love.

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I have attended many, many, many New Beginnings between Grace, Molly, and my years serving as Young Women’s president. I remember the bittersweet emotions felt at that first New Beginnings ceremony when Grace was welcomed into the Young Women program. I remember the feelings of sadness that she was old enough to be part of the teen youth group, and the feelings of dread that this was the beginning of the end. As I fought back tears over the fact that my baby was growing up, I couldn’t imagine the heartache those with graduating seniors must be feeling.

Now I find myself in their shoes.

After 10 years of complete immersion in the young women program, I find myself on the cusp of having no more young women in the house. As I sat there celebrating the growth Molly has achieved through the inspired young women’s program, I found my feelings were less sad, and more grateful.

It is funny how the Lord prepares your heart for the transitions of life,

And those dreaded milestones that you live in fear of coming, turn out to be a celebration of growth when they arrive.

Those life events you feel incapable of handling years before they happen, would be impossible to embrace at that time, but God grows our hearts and prepares our children, and brings about a joyful acceptance so that when the day does arrive, you find your emotions have evolved and your capacity to celebrate the changes of life expand.

It is a beautiful testament to the Lord’s promise that if we live in today and not worry about tomorrow, He will care for us.

We arrived at New Beginnings 15 minutes late, due to a dinner and Braden’s lesson with our missionaries running later than planned. We got there just in time to witness the welcoming of the new 11/12-year-old’s who enter Young Women’s this year. They looked so little!

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And then Molly joined two of her dearest friends to be honored as graduating seniors. Each young lady had the opportunity to speak and share their testimony and parting words of advice with the younger girls. All spoke to the power of transformation that can be found in the young women program and the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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As I watched them say good-bye, I was blown away by the growth and transformation I’ve had the honor of observing over the last few years.

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They have each grown into amazing young ladies that are more than equipped to head out into the world and change this world for the better…

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And I can’t wait to see what Heavenly Father has in store for them!

The remainder of the evening was filled with fun games, yummy treats, and a beautiful musical number by the young women.

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It was a beautiful night and my heart was filled with love for my sweet daughter, her dear friends, and the countless leaders that have been instrumental in molding her into the lady she is today.

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Here’s to New Beginnings…

May we embrace them for the divine adventure they are!

 

Welcome 2019!

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It was another year for the history books!

As I was looking back on past blogs written in reflection of the New Year, I was able to see the ebb and flow of trials and ease with each passing year. Some years were especially challenging (like 2017) and we were more than happy to bid them “adieu.”

Others came to a close with feelings of delight as we reflected on the unexpected blessings we never saw coming when the year began.

This was one of those years.

At the start of 2018 we were in such a different place. We were focused on helping Ozzie find healing, as we healing ourselves from a brutally hard 2017. Never in our wildest imaginations did we foresee another adoption on  the horizon, much less the adoption of Tyler’s 17-year-old biological brother.

As I sat in the living room on January 1, 2018, filling in the pages of my new planner, so pristinely empty of appointments, yet so full of hopeful possibilities, I couldn’t have even imagined that we would be closing out the year as a family of eight.

It never ceases to amaze me how life can change on a dime.

2017 was one of the hardest years of our life as a family…

2018 was one of the most blessed.

And once again, as I find myself with a blank planner in front of me, I can’t help but wonder what adventures God has in store for us this year. There is something so exciting and hopeful about the New Year. I love the process of filling in a new calendar and setting new resolutions and goals for the months ahead. Everything seems achievable and even hard things seem possible.

There is something so empowering about new beginnings and fresh starts that make New Year’s Eve one of my favorite holidays of the year. As we bid the previous year good-bye and welcome the new year with hopeful anticipation, it seems all the world is our oyster and the possibilities are endless.

This year will be another big one for our family. While much is unknown, we do know that the following 12 months will hold a few epic vacations, a high school graduation, an adoption, a couple driving tests, and two more kids gaining adult status with their 18th birthdays, leaving us with two minors left in the house. It promises to be a BIG year at Patchwork Farm!

This year we celebrated the passing of another year as we always do, with the Hudak family. We look forward to this annual tradition of food, friends, family and FUN with some of our very favorite people.

We arrived at the Hudak’s house at 7:00pm, ready for a night of feasting and frivolity. This was Brandon’s first time celebrating with the Hudak’s and he was blown away by the feast prepared for the evening. Dinner was a smorgasbord of appetizers and dips prepared by Lana and I. And for the next six hours everyone ate until they couldn’t eat anymore.

This year we switched things up a bit. With the kids all getting older and desiring more free time to just hang out and visit, we didn’t plan the usual hourly activities. Instead, the girls hung out upstairs, visiting and giggling until 11:00pm,

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While the boys took over the basement and played video games and pigged out of plates of food.

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This allowed the adults the rare treat of hours of uninterrupted conversation. That was a gift in and of itself and we had a wonderful time.

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At 11:00 we gathered everyone in the basement for game time.

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We began with the candy ball game that Lana had prepared. Using dice to try and roll a double, the ball of saran wrapped candy was passed around the circle with those who rolled a double unwrapping and collecting all the candy that fell onto the floor, until the next person rolled a double.

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After that, the kids enjoyed a few rounds of “What do you Meme?” before we gathered in front of the TV to watch the ball drop. This game brought gales of laughter as players tried to pick the perfect tag line for the photo on display.

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With minutes until the New Year arrived, we gathered in front of the TV to watch the ball drop and toast the arrival of 2019. With cheers, and hugs, and kisses we celebrated the passing of 2018 and the arrival of a new year full of infinite possibilities.

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Woody couldn’t help but welcome in the new year with a little pyrotechnic display.

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By 1:00am we were packing up and heading home. It was another awesome New Year’s Eve with the Hudak clan.

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2019, here we come!

 

 

Walking in Meekness

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With the new year comes New Beginnings, an annual program for the young women at church that rings in the new year with an introduction of the mutual theme, a welcome for the incoming 12-year-old girls and a chance to say farewell to our graduating seniors.

The theme for this year’s New Beginnings was built around this year’s mutual theme:

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The night focused on “Walking in the Meekness of Christ” with a fun shoe theme to drive the décor, activities, treats and message of the night.

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We arrived at 6:00, (30 minutes early) so that Molly could go over the program for the evening with her leaders. As Laurel Class President she conducted the meeting.

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It was odd not having Grace there with us, as every New Beginnings night for the last 7 years has been shared by my two girls, but we enjoyed our special time with just Molly.

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We arrived and the gym was all decked out and looking adorable.

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A few weeks ago, the girls tie-dyed tennis shoes to be used as the centerpieces for the evening…

Shoes which they then got to take home as a party favor at the end of the night.

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Molly made watermelon shoes that were charming!

The night began with a fun mixer activity entitled, “Guess Whose Shoes,” in which guests were asked to try to match the shoes that were brought in by the young women with their pictures on the wall.

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Later in the evening the answers were revealed when each young woman presented her shoe and explained why that shoe was reflective of her and her personality.

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The program began with Vicky, the current Young Women’s president, sharing a spiritual thought based on the comparison of our walk with Christ and the experience of running a marathon. She showed off her marathon medals and drew powerful analogies to our earthly journey.

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She was followed by a comical presentation by Lisa, the Young Women secretary and Linda, our Personal Progress leader, explaining the blessings of the Personal Progress Program.

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Then it was time for the introduction of the classes.

First were the Beehives, the 12/13-year-old girls, who were introduced by their teacher, Tori:

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Then came my Mia Maids, the 14/15-year-old girls:

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And then finally the Laurel Class (16-18-year-old girls) who were introduced by Mary, their class teacher.

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Next idem on the agenda was the introduction and welcome of our newest young woman. Ava will be turning 12 in two weeks and will be joining the young women then. She was welcomed into young women with a bouquet of rose buds, signifying the fact that she is at the beginning of her journey in young women…a closed bud just beginning to blossom in the gospel.

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Then we said farewell to Taylor, our only graduating senior. She, too, was given a bouquet of flowers but her yellow roses were fully opened, signifying that her time in Young Women’s is ending. She has blossomed over the last seven years and has grown into a beautiful young adult who is ready for the exciting next stage of her life.

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After a beautiful musical number by the young women we heard from our bishop and ended the evening with a dessert of high heel shoe cupcakes, baked and decorated by the talented Teresa Wright.

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It was a lovely night and a poignant reminder of the peace we can find in Christ when we walk in the meekness of His Spirit.

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New Beginnings

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Every year in the Young Women program at church there is an event called New Beginnings. This annual event is a dinner and program for the young women (12-18 year old girls) and their parents. Its purpose is to introduce the theme for the year, explain Personal Progress (the goal setting program that the young women participate in), say farewell to the graduating seniors, and welcome the 11 year old girls who will be turning 12 in the upcoming year.

For many years, as young women’s president, I was in charge of pulling together New Beginnings. It was always our biggest event of the year and inevitably with it came a certain amount of stress and sleepless nights as we worked to pull off this special event. This was my second year  attending simply as a mother to young women. It was SO nice to enjoy the event without any of the work usually associated with it. 🙂 The leaders did a wonderful job!

Each year there is typically a theme for New Beginnings… something that the girls pick to build the evening around. This is the jumping off point for decorations, invitations, and the spiritual message of the evening.

Past New Beginning these have included:

Alice in Wonderland, Olympics, Dr.Seuss, Embark, and Frozen.

Here’s a look back on some of those years:

https://ktmccleery.wordpress.com/2013/04/22/theres-no-snuggling-in-soccer/

https://ktmccleery.wordpress.com/2014/03/26/dont-let-your-heart-be-frozen/

https://ktmccleery.wordpress.com/2015/03/24/embark/

This year the girls chose Inside Out.

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The leaders built the night around the idea of serving the Lord with hearts, hands and minds.

Gracie made the invitations for the event.

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The evening began with speakers touching on each of those areas, a wonderful presentation by Robyn on how to make the Personal Progress program personal, and the young women talking about some of their Personal Progress projects (which were displayed as center pieces on the tables.)

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Gracie and Molly’s display representing the projects they have been working on.

 

Then it was time to bid farewell to our graduating senior (even though she will continue to attend young women’s until she leaves for college.) Our only graduating senior this year was Stephanie. I adore Miss Stephanie and it makes me sad to see her go. I know Grace is going to miss her desperately next year!

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The night ended with cookies and lemonade.

It was a lovely evening!

Embark!

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It was that time of year once again… time for New Beginnings! New Beginnings is a yearly ceremony for the young women at church. It is a chance to focus on their theme for the year, welcome the new 12-year-old girls who are coming into young women’s, and a chance to bid farewell to our graduating seniors.

It was so odd, after 4 years of planning New Beginnings, to show up on Sunday evening as a mother without any of the stress or worries that are typically associated with that day. 🙂

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In the past we have had fun with the theme for the evening. We have done a Dr. Seuss night, an Alice in Wonderland adventure, “You are a gem,” and last year’s theme was “Frozen.”

This year there was the nautical them of “Embark!” and the focus was on service.

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The girls were all asked to bring in objects that represent what they have been working on this year in their goal setting program, Personal Progress.

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Grace brought in her scriptures, that she has been working on reading daily, and a painting to represent a talent she has been working on developing.

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Molly brought in a loaf of bread to represent the bread she made and delivered to neighbors for a service project, as well as baby hats she crocheted to donate to our local hospital.

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The night was filled with a spiritual devotional, a musical number by the young women, a welcome to the 12-year-old girls and a farewell to our seniors.

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The night ended with snacks and treats.

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There was even a photo booth for the girls to play around with…

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As a gift for each girl there were charms with nautical themes for them to each take home. Grace chose an anchor and Molly chose a lighthouse. They were excited. They both collect charms for their charm bracelet so it was an extra special gift!

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It was a special night for the young women!

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Don’t let your heart be FROZEN!

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This past Sunday was New Beginnings, an annual event that celebrates the Young Women program at church, welcomes the new girls turning 12 this year and says farewell to the Seniors who will be graduating. Every year the young women pick a theme for the night that we then base our decorations, food, gifts, and speakers around. This year the girls, all caught up in the new Disney movie mania, asked if we could do a Frozen New Beginnings. They came up with the title for the event: “Don’t Let Your Heart be FROZEN: Come Unto Christ.” The girls worked on the planning and preparation for the evening over the course of a few weeks. They made posters for the walls, wrapped silverware, cut out snowflakes, decorated the gym and made appetizers for everyone to enjoy.

The night focused on identifying the things in our lives that cause a frozen heart and keep us from “Coming unto Christ.” Our keynote speaker drew spiritual analogies from the movie of those things that cause a frozen heart and then talked about how to “Let it Go.”

It was a beautiful evening thanks to the efforts of our young women, teachers and counselors.

 

Our décor for the evening was "winter wonderland."

Our décor for the evening was “winter wonderland.”

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There were snowflake themed gifts for our incoming young women, seniors and teachers.

 

We even had melted Olaf to drink because some people are worth melting for!

We even had melted Olaf to drink because some people are worth melting for!

Our program for the evening.

Our program for the evening.

The icebreaker activity was a get to know you quiz that earned you Olaf body parts for the girls to assemble.

The icebreaker activity was a get to know you quiz that earned you Olaf body parts to assemble.

The young women singing "Let it Go."

The young women singing “Let it Go.”

The take home gift for all the girls was "think pink" gloves for Personal Progress.

The take home gifts for all the girls were “think pink” gloves for Personal Progress.

The night ended with delicious homemade snowflake cookies, compliments of one of our fabulous teachers, and milk.

The night ended with delicious homemade snowflake cookies, compliments of one of our fabulous teachers, and milk of course!

The Laurel class

The Laurel class

The Mia Maid class

The Mia Maid class

The Beehive class

The Beehive class

Our beautiful young women!

Our beautiful young women!

The theme of the night was poignant as I personally reflected on the things that keep me from “Coming unto Christ.” We all struggle with a frozen heart at various times in our lives…those times when we can’t feel the love of the Savior because of obstacles we place in our own way. What is it that is keeping you from “Coming unto Christ?”

Fear? Guilt? Sin? Peer pressure? The pull of the world? Anger? Hopelessness? Self focus? Disappointments? Loneliness? An unforgiving heart?

Whatever it is perhaps it is time to…

“Let it Go.”

“There’s no snuggling in soccer”

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Tyler's first soccer game!

Tyler’s first soccer game!

Saturday morning we were up early for Tyler’s first soccer game. The girls came downstairs.. still half asleep after their fun night.  We had a quick pancake breakfast, grabbed Olivia’s sleepover supplies, our camping chairs and headed to the soccer fields.  It was bitterly cold with snowflakes in the air. What a change from two days earlier when the boys were playing in the sprinkler. We set up our chairs on the sidelines and were ready for our first soccer experience. The boys were adorable to watch. When we signed Tyler up for soccer I was concerned that his impulsiveness and lack of focus would be an issue. As it turns out that is the general theme of six-year-old soccer. The game consisted of little boys chasing the ball around the field, occasionally kicking it, wandering off to talk to a parent, stopping to watch an airplane go by and doing cartwheels on the field. When one of the boys did manage to get ahold of the ball and move it down the field toward the net it was usually to a chorus of parents yelling, “The other way! Your goal is the other way!”

Tyler stopping for a drink.

Tyler stopping for a drink.

Tyler’s team won 6-2. On the way to drop off Olivia I commented to Toby that it wasn’t what I expected. I told him that I thought it was going to be more intense and competitive with a lot of rules. Tyler overheard me from the back seat and said,  “Momma, there is only one rule on my team…no snuggling!” He said this because the boys kept hugging/tackling each other on the field and the coach told them to “high 5” instead. “Yep,” said Tyler, ” There’s no snuggling allowed.” 🙂

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After we dropped off Olivia we stopped at the store to buy supplies for the activity we had the next day at church. We were preparing for “New Beginnings,” an annual celebration we have to welcome the girls who will be turning 12 this year into our youth group and to say farewell to the girls who will be graduating in June. Our theme for the party was Dr. Seuss. We titled it “Oh the Places You’ll Stand” based on our scripture for the year “Stand ye in holy places.”  I needed to stop at the pet store to buy goldfish for my centerpieces so we went shopping before we went home. When we arrived home Gracie worked on drawing some Dr.Suess posters to hang on the walls and I began baking some of our Dr. Seuss treats…

Gracie making Dr. Seuss posters for me.

Gracie making Dr. Seuss posters for me.

The finished poster..

Lorax cookies

Lorax cookies

Green eggs (no ham)

Green eggs (no ham)

Sunday, after church, we stayed to set up and decorate. New Beginnings began at 6:00. The night consisted of enjoying appetizers and treats, a program and the young women performing a musical number. The evening was wonderful.  So many people put so much effort into making it a magical night for our young women!new beginnings 025

"Oh the places you'll stand"

“Oh the places you’ll stand”

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The young women made truffula trees for some of our decorations.

The tables..

The tables..

Some of out Seuss treats included “Hop on Pop popcorn,” “Yertle Turtles,” “Truffula Twigs,” “Seusscakes, and “One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish crackers.” Yum Yumnew beginnings 029

Two of my beautiful young women..Molly and Gracie :)

Two of my beautiful young women..Molly and Gracie 🙂