I was already a bit emotional before we arrived because... this Sunday, the bishopric will be released. Bishop Skeen has served for four years in this YSA stake. When Doug was called last summer, he was informed that he would serve until Bishop Skeen's release this spring and then, he (Doug) would probably be called to another position because they do like to keep the leaders in the stake for 3-4 years.
However, in the meantime, our home ward bishop has been very clear that they need Doug back in the home ward. So, we aren't sure what's going to happen next. All that we do know is that Doug and the bishopric will be released this Sunday. And that last night was our last activity. And that my heart hurts at the thought of not being involved with Bishop Skeen and Ann through the YSA. Ann is my friend, before and after the calling and that won't change. She's also Carol's sister. So, we will still get together and visit. And Doug and Trace have a great relationship. But, these students. My heart! We will miss them all!
This is Lilly. She and her partner, from another ward, danced and blew us away with the lifts. Lilly has been in charge of ward devotional each Sunday night for the year. She's never served the same treat twice. Unbelievable and she's sent Doug home with treats for our kids most weeks. She's a delight!
Trevor played the Pink Panther Theme song and everyone was just snapping along. So fun! He's a riot!
Rachel and Taya were hysterical. They'd written several verses of a song about members of the ward, then asked for people to come up impromtu and add a verse. Wow! Rachel and I connected right off the bat, as well. She's a hugger. I love that about her and she has no inhibitions! She just radiates happiness wherever she goes!
Dane became one of my instant favorites when he came to our home the first time we had any students over. He gravitated right to my piano and blew me away. He continues to do so. No music ever and he can play and play and play. I leaned over to Grace last night and said, "You have my permission to fall in love with and marry him." Zee leaned over Grace and said, "What about me!?" Dane is awesome!
Andy and I share a love of classic rock music. The first time he came into our home, he went straight to my wall of CD's, saw my music selections and said, "Sister Corbridge, you just moved up on my cool people list!" His guitar playing, literally, has to be the best of anyone I've ever known personally. I could have listened to him play all night long! And the band's Lonely by Zeppelin may have been loud and shocking to some, but I wanted to get up and cheer! They were great! I heart Andy! Andy also served his mission in Florida. Yagottaluvthat!
The ward dynamics actually change a bit each year. Kids come and go, graduate, move to other apartments and end up in other ward boundaries. Over the summer, there's only a limited few kids that don't go home and then in the fall, there's a new group that move into the boundaries. So, anyway around it, the dynamics will change. New faces, new talents and strengths. But, these kids! We love them so!
Whether Doug will remain in the YSA Stake or come back to our home ward... it's been the greatest experience we have ever had in church service! We have loved every single second! I had a friend ask, "Wouldn't it be nice to get your husband back though?" (because he is so involved and it is time consuming.) I said, "Heck no!!! It's the greatest thing that we've ever done!" And Sundays are really the only time that we miss Doug's presence at home. Otherwise, we are very involved together or as a family with the calling.
I've asked Doug how he feels about the release. He feels that Bishop Skeen, who has been one of Doug's life heroes for several years now, has been the "magic". Bishop Skeen has an incredible sense of foresight and vision for making things happen. His general disposition is to serve others and he has brought service opportunities to these Young Single Adults like nothing I could have ever imagined. My mind thinks "What can we do for FUN!?" Bishop Skeen's mind is "SERVICE IS FUN!!!" And he's really set a high standard for that with his activities and his own personal example.
I digress... Doug's response is that he will be happy and willing to serve wherever he is needed the most, but when I pinned him to get an answer (and believe me, it was hard to pin him down to vocalize it), he admits that he would love to continue in the YSA. Who wouldn't! Bottom line... we'll all know on Sunday, right?
Anyway... last night's talent show was incredible. From classical pianist to dancing to a A Cappella group (that literally took our breath away) to opera singing to a cow playing the cowbell to a make-up tutorial by a girl who could not see the boy's face as it was applied to a rock and roll band performing Led Zeppelin... it was a fantastic evening. We ended by with a group sing-along of American Pie, which has become a tradition for Bishop Skeen's ward. It was a.maz.ing!
At the end of the evening, the bishopric and wives were asked to come to the stage. We were presented with a large plant and cards signed by everyone. Oh my. Ann kept leaning over to me saying, "Don't cry. Don't cry." And how could I not. While singing American Pie, I was doing the ugly cry! I love these kids so much!!!
Bishop and Ann... two of the greatest people Doug and I have ever had the pleasure of being friends with.
It was a perfect ending to a perfect chapter in our lives. Whether Doug continues in the YSA and a new chapter with new leaders begins or not, for Doug and I, serving with Bishop Skeen and Ann, has been a choice experience. Sunday will come and go, but our love for them both will not end. Doug and I were both emotional about it as we left. We needed to run and pick Quayd up from work. None of us had eaten dinner so we stopped at Sonic and had a burger on the way home. The girls were telling Quayd about the amazing talent show and we were all talking about "if" Doug stays or is done. It's been a great experience for us all. Continuing in the YSA would be wonderful, but, coming home to the home ward will bring new adventures as well. Whatever happens happens...Come what may and love it! We shall see! As always, we just roll with life and are happy to serve wherever we can. Enough said.
Life is good!