Click here for pictures from our trip to the Maui's biggest beach. It has a really creative name... Big Beach.
Well, there we are. Jumping for joy that we finally made it to Hawaii as a family. We talked about this trip the entire 2 years Ryan was on his mission!
Watch Watch the boys get to know each other again. Watch Ryan readjust to non mission life. Watch the smiles. Watch the ocean. Watch the sea life. Watch the sunrise. Watch the sunset. Watch the clouds. Watch the waves. Watch them boogie board. Watch them body surf. Watch them wrestle. Watch them tease each other. Watch them smile. Watch them eat. Watch them dig in the sand. Watch them bury each other in the sand. Watch them play tag. Watch them walk through Lahaina. Watch them look over the edge of the world at Mt. Haleakala. Watch them snorkel. Watch them dive. Watch them get sunburned. Watch them wince as they put white shirts on their sunburns to go to church. Watch them bond. Just watch.
Listen Listen to their laughter. Listen to them snore on the plane. Listen to their teasing. Listen to their late night talks. Listen to their early morning talks. Listen to them pray for each other. Listen to them exclaim, "A turtle!" or "An eagle ray!" or "An eel!" or "This tastes so good!" or "I'm starving!". Listen to them sleep. Listen to them say, "Aloha!" Listen to their arguments (only a couple). Listen them gasp when I put aloe on their sunburns. Listen to their gross bodily functions that never cease to bring enjoyment to boys. Listen to their running feet. Listen to their grunts as they tried to wrestle each other to the ground. Listen to their panting after chasing each other around the beach for an hour. Listen to their whispers. Listen to a million "Thank you so much for bringing us to Hawaii!" Listen to them slurp Hawaiian Shave Ice. Listen to them open the fridge 1,000 times. Listen to them say, "I love you!" Just listen.
Be Grateful Be grateful that Ryan was home. Be grateful that we have 3 wonderful sons. Be grateful for the beauty Heavenly Father has given us. Be grateful for the blessings of obedience and sacrifice. Be grateful for young men with manners. Be grateful for boys. Be grateful for opportunities to spend time together. Be grateful for memories. Be grateful for our marriage. Be grateful for love. Just be grateful.
A Few of Our Favorite Pics
Click here or click on the "photos" page for more pics from our first 24 hours in Hawaii
I finally have a few moments to chronicle one of the greatest events in the lives of the entire The Bills Family. Elder Ryan Bills returned honorably from his mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to Santa Rosa, California serving the Hispanic people in that area. I emphasize the word "honorable" for a reason. The definition of honorable is: In accordance with or characterized by principles of honor; upright. The definition of honor is: honesty, fairness, or integrity in one's beliefs and actions. Ryan devoted 2 years of his life to the Lord, Jesus Christ and to our Heavenly Father's children in the California Santa Rosa Mission. He withstood hardship, disappointment, and medical issues that almost ended his life and yet all he talks about is the joy he felt as he saw the light of Christ shine in the eyes of the people he served. I'd say that is pretty honorable.
Our family has never felt as much pride and happiness as we did when we gathered him in our arms in front of hundreds of people in the Seattle airport at noon on July 31, 2012.
It was as if we were the only people in the airport. We were finally together again. We all missed Ryan terribly, especially Sean and Troy. I'm sure Sean will want to smack me for telling everyone this, but he kept telling me that he would not cry when Ryan came home. "Why would I cry?" he kept saying. Sure enough, the tears were squishing out of his eyes when he saw Ryan and gave him a huge bear hug. When I saw him wiping his eyes, I quietly said, "You are crying". He responded with that adorable grin of his, "Shut up." We both laughed!
Ryan could not believe how big Troy has gotten over the past 2 years. You might think, "He still looks pretty small to me!" It's true though, he's grown about 6 inches over the past 2 years, so when Ryan left he was pretty little!
We can't believe how much Sean and Ryan look alike now that they are... well, men really!
You know the families that make lots of signs and have balloons when they welcome someone home at the airport? Yeah, we just aren't really a "signs and balloons" kind of family... I blame the testosterone that abounds in our home. So, instead we had these shirts made! They said, "My Superhero wears a white shirt and a name tag" with a little stick figure of Elder Bills wearing the missionary attire. It also has Ryan's years of service 2010-2012 and the name of his mission. If you are interested in getting something like this for your returning missionary, just go to my "I Love My Missionary" board on Pinterest here.
We are so proud of our missionary. We are proud that he served so honorably. We are proud of his dedication to the Lord and the wonderful example he has been to his younger brothers. Ryan's favorite scripture when he left on his mission comes from the book of Alma in The Book of Mormon chapter 29, verse 9:
"I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy."
I'm not sure if that is still his favorite scripture, but I know that he lived this scripture fully during the 2 years he served his mission. We heard it in his letters, heard it in his voice and saw it in the joy of his face when we welcomed him back home.
Click here for the photo album containing all the pictures we took at the airport.
The Bills Family
We consider ourselves Texans, but now live in Peoria, AZ. We started this website so that the family and friends that we love so much can keep up with our lives.
The Bills Family is counting down again!
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