Better Week

In ways that are difficult to describe, last week was a challenging week. 

I don’t really recall instances where I felt that Satan was full-on attacking me until we moved here, and last week was a hailstorm of attacks on the entire family.

Woo and I both felt that (for whatever reason) Satan did not want our talks in stake conference to happen. A little confusing to us because they were only talks in stake conference, but I at least, was desperately counting down the days until we could give the talks and get some relief.

I read two quotes last week that I remember.

I must not have this one quite right because I can’t find it now, but something like: If it feels like you’re going uphill, then you’re going in the right direction by Joseph F. Smith.

And this one by Winston Churchill, which made me laugh because it felt pretty accurate at the time: If you’re going through hell, keep going.

Anyway, like clockwork, we all woke up Sunday morning to sweet, peaceful feelings. We did our morning scripture reading and prayers and family history, ate breakfast, dressed and left without any problems, stress or contention from anyone.

We had a lovely drive to Oeiras on nearly empty roads with pleasant weather. Ruby, Penelope, Archie (and sometimes Woo) softly sang primary songs. Herbie, Moses and Linus sat amicably together in the back.

We arrived in plenty of time to stretch, use the bathroom, put our lunch in the fridge, take our seats, find out how to pull out the step at the pulpit for Archie, and quietly listen to prelude music.

I personally was not particularly nervous for my talk. I’ve given a million talks, but I was very anxious for our lives to get easier. As soon as Woo stood up and started (he was first), I calmed down even more, and by the time we were all done, I could relax.

The rest of the day was kind of daze. We had a lot of people compliment us and some people want to have us over for dinner, but it was something we all accepted with perfunctory nods of the head. We know it’s something like a circus attraction when we all speak.

Woo said, “If you think I went through all that for the praise, you’re mistaken.” And he was exactly right.

There was one woman who seemed sincerely grateful, that we both thought we might have really helped. That was a comfort.

Ruby spent a lot of time afterwards talking to other young women she’d previously only met over Zoom.

Moses said it was the best Sunday of his life (something about being in a real church building, full of members), even though Herbie says when they tried to talk to any of the young men, they ran away from them.

And yes, this week has been much, much easier. Whew!

We broke out the new Seafarers and played several games (to much less contention and yelling). We did the virtual tour of the Peter Whitmer farm, which was my personal favorite so far. We cleaned the church. Woo made everyone waffles for lunch afterwards.

Woo and I took the kids to Lisbon with us when we did an endowment. There’s a little building near the temple and behind the stake center with soft chairs, a kitchen, and bathrooms that is normally open, but it was locked this week for some reason, so the kids waited on the stake center grounds.

Afterwards we walked to Telepizza and then to a park we’ve never been to (under the Vasco de Gama bridge) that had a skatepark, a pump track and a bar workout area that were all a lot of fun for Woo and the kids.

Woo probably played the longest and hardest, unless it was Archie. Penelope RAN several laps on the pump track between the skateboarders and kids on bikes, and Linus is still amazing on the monkey bars.

Today we had the last branch party of the summer, and that’s our week!