2018 was a year of unexpected surprises for the Butters Family, and a true testimony to the fact that God has plans for us beyond what we could possibly imagine for ourselves. We began the year with no major trips planned, and no intentions to change the plans we had had in place for years, and yet, here we are, looking back and hardy believing where we stand.
March brought joy, with Catie and Gerin’s sealing in the Provo City Center Temple. In April, two new additions came to the family–Easton Cook, (Daniel’s nephew), and Benjamin Johnson, (my first nephew), both coming within a week of one another. We were ecstatic to see the family we love growing in such new and beautiful ways!
The bitter came with the sweet, as it so often does, and on April 22, my sweet grandmother Nola Matthews passed away and was reunited with her sweetheart in heaven. It was a humbling experience to be able to help my sweet parents care for her in her last months of life, and though her mental state of mind was, at times, emotionally exhausting for her caregivers, there were beautiful, tender mercies in the experience that I will always hold close to my heart. Her love for her family was evident, even in the midst of her confusion, and it makes me so happy to think that she is in Heaven, watching over us, in a perfected and holy state.
The summertime brought adventures–we traveled to Oregon to bury my grandparents and have a small ceremony for them…our first road trip with ALMOST all of us (we missed you, Jake)! Amongst the amazing things we were able to see, we visited Crater Lake, the Lava Beds National Monument, and the childhood homes of my grandma and her cousin Jim. Then, in August, Daniel and I participated in a mud run in Albuquerque New Mexico. We had SO much fun, and were able to visit family and friends, and fantasize about our future adobe homestead. SIX DAYS LATER, we flew into San Francisco to pick up a car and drive it back to Utah. San Francisco has my heart, and to spend even half a day walking around the pier and roaming around the Sutro Baths was well worth the lllooonnnggg car drive back.
August brought another unexpected change. For some time, I had felt uneasy in my current job and career path. I was working as a CNA in a busy hospital, and was busily completing my pre-requisites for nursing school. Physically and mentally, I was struggling to keep up with the demands placed upon me, and although I couldn’t understand the logic behind it, I felt that God was pulling me in a different direction. After much prayer, pondering, temple attendance, scripture study, and counseling with those I trusted most, I made the bittersweet decision to quit my job, and reconsider my college major. I miss my co-workers at Banner all the time, but I feel at peace with the decisions Daniel and I have made. I look back and see the beauty of God’s timing in this–I was able to care for all of my grandparents as they passed away, using the certification that I had been prompted to receive. It was exactly what my family needed at that point in life, and it afforded me closure in their passing, but that chapter was closing, and I needed to trust that there were better things ahead.
September and October brought another wedding (Congrats, Ross and Amanda!) two BBQ competitions for Daniel, one in San Diego, with our favorite dog beach, and the other in Tempe, where Tyler and Hayley were able to help out. Daniel did extremely well, winning awards at both. I’m so proud of him and his dedication to whatever he sets his mind to. We also began working out at our local CrossFit box, and I think it’s safe to say that we understand the obsession now. Daniel had to take the last two months of the year off, due to an appendectomy and some work obligations, but I can’t wait for him to join me again in the new year.
Our last trip of the year was a week in Mapleton, Utah, where the rest of the Nuckols family relocated in the summertime. We fished, played with the sheep, ate good food, and saw some of our favorite people.
Paisley, our sweet little Bulldog, had quite the month in November…she is now expecting puppies the second week of January, and we could not be more excited to have sweet little babies in our home! She’s already starting to get a little tubby, walking more slowly, eating more food, and basking in the sunshine whenever she can. We just know she’s going to be an amazing Mama.
Looking forward to the future, there are many things that are still uncertain. Daniel will continue to move forward in building up his insurance business on his career path towards an agency, and I’m planning on finishing my associates degree program and transferring to a University to get my bachelors–major undecided, but likely History or English.
As I reflect on all of the changes and surprises–both bitter and sweet, the lines of one of my favorite songs comes to mind, that sums up my feelings perfectly:
“All I ever wanted, All I ever dreamed of, everything I hoped, and all that I had prayed for, couldn’t hold a candle to what I’ve been given–I’ve been given what I need.”
We’re grateful for anyone and everyone who has lent us support, love, kindness, or friendship in this past year. We are truly blessed with loyal friends and family, and a beautiful life, and we’re looking to 2019 with an abundance of hope. May you all have a wonderful Christmas, and may the new year bring joy and happiness for us all.
Lots of love,
The Butters Family
Morgan, Daniel, Paisley, Klause, and Lila.