The amount of time it rained for Noah and his ark, the amount of time Jonah preached to Ninevah, the amount of days Christ fasted before he began his ministry… A preparation, a period of trial, a testing of faith, a time of intensely hard work and the sincerest effort…
The amount of time we feel increased pressure, demands, hardships, and happiness – all escalating to the 40th day each spring and fall when our stake gathers for stake conference. My husband has served as stake president here in this area nearly 8 years now and there’s no escaping the pattern for us.
It has helped us to identify it. When we start feeling extra stress and pressure and even many extra happy things filling our lives to the brim and beyond, we look at each other and say, “it must be our 40 days.” Sure enough every time we check the calendar and indeed our own forty days to stake conference has begun.
So we buck-up, buckle down, anchor in and get-ready-to-be-steady during the ride. This year, last Wednesday to be exact, I told my dear husband, “I don’t know if I can make it. I feel like I could just crumple up on the floor with a ‘game over’ sign flashing above my head. It’s just so much.” He simply responded with the most comforting, sustaining words he could have said to me, “It’s day 37, you’re going to make it.”
And we did and the rewards were and are FULL and RICH and WONDERFUL!!!!!!!!
We had stake conference. It was full of the spirit of light and truth and gathering and love. I was touched, enlightened, and changed by many of the thoughts shared, the talks and the music also. My husband’s talks were my favorite. (biased?) It is a wonderful thing to witness the mantle of the calling he holds as he speaks with power and authority the truth we need to know.
Monday night at our dinner table there was MUCH rejoicing in the LAND!!!!!!!! We shouted out and started celebrating just what had happened in the past week alone!!! A huge hurrah from all of us at the end of every event mentioned! This, the last week of our fall forty days…
-We had enjoyed so much seeing our beloved niece and cousin perform as the most adorable Alice ever in the most charming rendition of Alice in Wonderland ever!
-Esther had received distinguished honor roll for straight a’s in her first marking period of middle school! 3 cheers for Esther!!
-Zoie Grace’s cheer team had taken 3rd place at both her competitions! Way to go Gracie!!
– Katey’s color guard team had received 1st place at the Cavalcade competition at Hershey Park! Let’s hear it for Katey!!
-Mikela had received the prestigious and beautiful honor of being given the Young Woman of Excellence award from the YWCA and gave an incredible speech at the event honoring women who (from the program)“represent achievement and service to the community and who have been dedicated to improving the lives of others”, “women of integrity, strength and leadership”! Wow! Huge cheers for Kia!!!
– Clara had been best big sister ever to the tiny twins and happy helper to Mom!
– ALL the girls have been patient, hard-working, supportive, and cheerfully diligent through a VERY FULL 40 days!!! WAHOO!!!
-We have thoroughly enjoyed having Grandpa and Grandma here with us this month – we enjoy them so much! Hurrah!!
-And we HAD to celebrate Grandma, as she underwent knee surgery by Dad 3 weeks ago and is doing remarkably well! No one would ever know she’d had such a surgery just a few weeks ago by the way she looks and walks!! So GRATEFUL!!
-And we even had to celebrate Grandpa, who during their visit has been #1 dish-doer while Mom’s been running around trying to just keep up with this crew the past couple weeks! It’s kept the house sane this past week to have the kitchen stay clean in the midst of so much!
-And last but not least, we had big cheers for my Handsome Husband, otherwise known around here as Dad. He’s been the rock this past 40 days as he has served the beloved members of our stake, his sweet parents during Mom’s recovery time, and me and our precious children every day in every way he possibly can.
And as always comes at the end of the 40 days, we feel we have found new strength, new promise, a new and better way ahead!!!!
Definitely time to celebrate!!!!!!!
My husband and I were so exhausted climbing into bed that Sunday night. The 40th day had included stake conference, interviews and some stake business for Mike, marriage conference committee meeting at our home, meeting the needs of our children, and the missionaries had come over for a meeting with Mike and then he went out with them for visits. We looked at one another and with sleepy eyes, commended one another for making it through another wonder-FULL 40 days. I said, “I wonder how many days til Christmas?” Neither one of us wanted to look but chose to venture off to sleep. Today I had the courage to peek at the calendar and could hardly believe it was precisely 40 days from that night to Christmas day. God bless us everyone in our 40 days til Christmas!!!!
Sincerely, CaMarie Hoffman and Crew
Here are a few pics from our fall 40 days, (we will have to include the Christmas season ones soon). This is just the tip of the iceberg of happy happenings and hard ones too of course from our past month and a half, but wanted to capture at least a few to share with you. God bless you in whatever 40 days you are facing!
Love, C & Crew