S: Letters from Home
FC: Happy 20th Birthday! | We love you!! | Letters from Home | Ryan Adam Wilson
1: To Ryan Celebrating 20 years with you
2: Dear Ryan, This birthday time is a fun opportunity to reflect on the many memories which we have of you in your growing up years, and of the wonderful contribution which you have made to our family. You were born shortly after our family returned home to Utah after living for a short time in Washington state. Dad had just been called as the bishop of our Highland ward. With our family of eight children and heavy Church, business and community responsibilities, our lives were extremely busy. But they were very happy years as we worked and played and learned and prayed together. As the youngest of a group of four brothers you had a ready-made group of playmates. We also lived in a delightful neighborhood with other children with whom you were good friends, and together you roamed among the homes of our neighborhood families. There always seemed to be children on the trampoline, and there were plenty of toys and books and bikes and balls. When you were little your sister Lisa had possession of a good camera from the high school. She spent a good deal of time taking fun pictures of you and your friends. You enjoyed your school years and your scouting years. Making friends came easily to you. You were never shy about conversing with anyone, either child or adult. I have always known that this gift would serve you well during your entire lifetime. You also had a great sense of humor. Dad always enjoyed watching funny movies with you because you were not afraid to laugh whole-heartedly at a good joke.
3: You began playing soccer on a neighborhood team around age four, and you loved it. You also played some basketball and t-ball, but soccer was your favorite. You played on recreational teams every year until you were nine, when you played on a competition team. At ten you tried out for the Rangers, following in the footsteps of your older brothers. I had fun being the administrator for your team and being able to work and travel with all of you. You learned early how to work hard. When you began working for the craft business as a young teenager, they were very impressed with your resourcefulness and dependability. This job gave you some good experience and some great memories even a Hawaiian vacation! I was also grateful that you had the incredible experience of going to Guatemala with the humanitarian group, broadening your horizons and providing an opportunity for service. You have grown into a wonderful young man with many talents and abilities and a promising future. You are developing a strong testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is the most important knowledge and understanding which you can gain during this earth life. It is the ability to love and serve God by loving and serving His children. I know that you do this already, and I also know that you have only begun to realize the joy and satisfaction which you will receive as you devote your life to His service and to the accomplishment of His will. I am excited that you are preparing to enter the mission field where you will begin your lifetime of service to Him, and will prepare you for building your own eternal family one day. Your dad and I love you with all of our hearts and are proud to have you as our son!! | Love, Mom
4: HAPPY BIRTHDAY RYAN!!! Though I am hundreds of miles away here in the world of the Dallas Cowboys,Rangers and Mavericks (I don't even know if they have a soccer team!), you are the top sport in my life and your soccer team is my favorite! I want you to know how important your happiness is to me and I want the very best for you! God exists for us and loves you dearly and will watch over you! As you already know, although I have struggled at times with my own testimony, the gospel and my family are everything to me, and that includes you! Have a great birthday and a great year! Love, Dad
5: As you know, Mom has taught us a lot from the scriptures, me along with the rest of you. She reminded me the other day as we were talking about this issue of receiving answers to our prayers and direction from the Lord, citing the experiences of Lehi and his family. Lehi was directed by the Lord to leave Jerusalem and he would lead them to a promised land. But it wasn't a direct route there. They had to wander in the wilderness 8 long years with many hardships before they made it. This is often the way the Lord works with us as we seek his guidance and direction in our experiences, as we deal with the viscissitudes (a word my dad taught me as a boy) of life as we pray for a certain result, and we are lead down difficult paths to get there, benefiting from the struggles as we go. You will all have various struggles in life, that I can guarantee. But the Lord will be with you and guide you, even if you don't always feel his presence or his direction for you. Never turn away from seeking his influence and his help. I just had one of my urges to share these thoughts with you as I have experiences certain feelings these past couple of cays. Forgive my tendency to preachiness. I just want you know I love my family a bunch and I want you to experience some of these things through Mom and me. We love ya! Dad | Dear Ryan: I know this is a critical time in your life. As you know, I am not the most righteous soul, and coming from a less active family. I admittedly went on my mission not for the most noble reason, but it was the best thing I could have done! It set the template for the rest of my life, even though I continue to struggle at times with my own testimony. In reality, the church and my family are everything to me even though I often get frustrated with my shortcomings! That is why we emphasize the importance of a mission to you. It is NOT because you would be another notch in my gun handle! It is because I know how important it is for your future happiness and that of whomever you marry and your own family. I want to be able to someday or somewhere look them in the eye and say we made it happen for them! A mission can feel to be an overwhelming endeavor, the thought of knocking on unfriendly doors or answering question about why we young men were spending 2 good years of our lives for such a venture, but I can promise you it is worth it, even I didn't see lots of Swiss come into the church. For me, it was most worth for what it did for me, even though that might sound selfish. I like to think it gave me great opportunities. Just know how important this is for you. It is important that you keep yourself worthy for you, your future wife and family! You will never regret it. So even though I am hundreds of miles away for a while, we pray for your success daily! The Lord is on your side. Let me know what you think and what else I can do for you.
6: Dear Ryan, What a privilege it is to be your sister! You have always been so kind to me, ready to ask how I'm doing, like you really care to know. The Lord has given you gifts of strength, leadership, faith, and charisma. Our family was not complete until you were born. I know you have been born here in this family at this time for a reason. I know you have an important mission in this life, and that together with the Lord you will accomplish great things. I'm so grateful we have been sealed together for eternity as brother and sister. I will love you forever~ Julie | Dear Ryan, Happy Birthday! I'm grateful for an opportunity to share how much I love you. You have always made me feel your love for me, and make my experience in this family so warm. While many of my sharpest memories of your life so far include accidents (tipping you over in a tube, whacked in the head with a golf club, removing staples from your head...) my more important memories include watching the compassion and care you treat others with, the interest you show in people--including me--and your willingness to serve. Like the rest of your family, I've known you as a man who jumps in to help. When we lived close enough to see you regularly, I was always impressed by your lack of murmuring. I thought I was pretty cooperative growing up, but you seemed never to be inconvenienced by helping around your home or the neighborhood. I've appreciated the time we've been able to spend together since we moved back to Utah. Your determination to grow, your friendship, and your testimony of Christ and His Atonement strengthen me. My children look to you as their uncle who loves them, and they love you, too. As you look forward to your next 20 years, I am grateful to know you, and look forward with you. I'm grateful to be your brother, and I love you. Raymond
8: Dear Ryan, I have many fond memories of my interactions with you over the years. I remember my time with you before I left home. You were such a cute little kid, and I enjoyed playing with you. I thought it was fun to say, "Why hi, my sly Ry Guy." I remember coming home from my mission and being amazed at how much you had changed. After we moved away from Utah, I missed being around you and the rest of the family and wished we could be closer to spend more time with you. We enjoyed our visits to Utah and playing with you and your brothers. You seemed to grow up rather fast, perhaps because we only saw you once or twice a year, and perhaps because you seemed to be taller for your age than any of the rest of the boys in the family. I remember the unique clothing styles you wore, and being impressed that you set your own trends and had some fashion sense (since I am completely lacking in that area). I've enjoyed interacting with you over the last few years as you have matured into the man that you are. I've been impressed with your independence and work ethic as you have supported yourself. I can relate to the struggles you've had with your testimony, and how you've come to be able to stand on your own in that regard. I love spending time with you, and look forward to many good times in the future. Thanks for being a great brother and a good friend. Love, Scott | Dear Uncle Ryan, Happy Birthday! I'm happy that I get to make this for you. I'm glad that you're close to being able to go on a mission. I hope that I grow up to be like you and do all the things you do. (Well, almost all of them. ) Thanks for being a fun Uncle. Love, Nathan | Why, hi, my sly Ry guy!
9: Dear Ryan, Happy birthday! It's not quite the same as having a birthday when you're young and everyone surrounds your birthday cake, eagerly awaiting the moment you blow out your candles so they can finally have a piece. But hopefully you feel surrounded by your family today (and always) and feel of our love for you. When I first met your family in November 1997, I walked into your home and was surprised by this cute little boy who ran up to give me a hug. Steven was a little shy and bashful, but you had none of that. You hugged me and Scott and peppered us with questions--even hanging on Scott's leg a little while we were there. I thought to myself, "What a fun younger brother!" Since then, you've been the motivator to play games together, which I have thoroughly enjoyed. I remember playing Rack-O with you several times; I'm embarrassed to say that I don't remember how to play anymore, but I remember you winning often :). I think we also had a few rounds of Guess Who, but I probably "let" you win those. Hmmmm.... Even though I'm sad we've missed out on a lot of fun times because of our living far away for the last 12 years, I am grateful for the times we've been able to get together--including your coming out to help us build a fence and bedroom in our Champaign house (remember that?) as well as our more-than-yearly trips back to Utah for Christmas and weddings and such. It's fun to interact with you as an adult, and I'm sure we'll have lots of good times in the future. We are confident you'll go far in your life and will continue to cheer you on from Colorado! Lots of love, Diana | Dear Uncle Ryan, Happy birthday! I liked hiking with you. Have a great day. Love, Jessie | Dear Uncle Ryan, I hope you had a great birthday! Not that I’m asking you any favors, but when are you coming to Colorado? Anyway, I hope you have an awesome day!!!! Love, Brandon | Dear Uncle Ryan, Happy birthday, Uncle Ryan! Goodbye, Ryan! Love, K for Kelly | Hey Uncle Ryan, Happy Birthday! I hope you have a happy day, and I hope you read this on your birthday, because I think if you don’t that would be embarrassing. You are a very nice uncle to have. You take the time to greet us and have fun with us (“us” meaning my family and I) and please forgive me if I have bad grammar. I understand that you must have things to do and you still spend time with us. That matters. Have fun, Jared Wilson
10: Ryan, Happy birthday! Wow, you're all grow-ed up! It's been fun to see what a man you're maturing into. Most of my memories of you were when you were just a little boy while I was in high school and college. After I got married and moved away, I watched you grow and mature from afar and from visit to visit. It's been really fun getting to know you and your personality better since we moved back to Salt Lake. You are a great young man and have a lot of great things ahead of you. You've had a lot of challenges in your younger years, and you're so much stronger because of it. I know that as you make these decisions to put the Lord first in your life, He will bless you beyond what you can know. I am so grateful for the experiences I've had as I've imperfectly tried to follow the teachings of Jesus. I know that as you try and do the same, you will find true and lasting happiness. And wherever life takes you, always know that we love you and support you and will always stand by you. Love, Kevin | Ryan, Happy Birthday!! It has been so much fun to watch you grow up! My first memories of you were when you were 8 years old. Kevin and I were dating and you came with him in the car to pick me up for church one Sunday. We played games with you a lot before we moved away to Michigan and I loved it that you always wanted to play. On the 4th of July that year we got canoes and went out on some pond in Highland with you. That night we went to Stadium of Fire and you were great at keeping things interesting and exciting. We left Utah right after that and when we moved back 9 years later we celebrated your 18th birthday! Time has flown for us and you have turned into this incredible adult. We love you and feel blessed to know you and be a part of some of your life experiences. Love, Emily
11: Dear Ryan, Happy Birthday! Hope you have a good one and all your dreams for the year come true. Sincerely, Gabe
14: Hallowed Hooligans | Bros in clothes | Happy Birthday Little Brother! Just wanted to drop you a little note to tell you how much we love you and pray for you. I wonder sometimes if it seems like the rest of us have moved on and forgotten our youngest brother, since we’re all married and involved in our own families. But that’s definitely not the case, at least not for the Arizona Wilsons. We think about you often and wished we lived closer so that we could hang out more. Because here’s the thing. You’re cool. And we like being around you. You have a delightful personality and sense of humor that we sincerely enjoy. We love when we get the chance to play games or some other such social activity with you. You’re fun. We were reminded of your natural social abilities when we came to listen to you give your talk in Utah. You’re naturally comfortable with, and rather excellent at, communicating ideas to others. And the great thing about that particular skill is that the Lord tends to use such people very effectively in their service in the kingdom. When you are teaching people, on a mission or thereafter, the Spirit is the ultimate teacher. But the Spirit can often be helped by an articulate teacher who can make principles clear to the learner. I’m confident that your skills in this area will make you a very successful and effective missionary, not to mention your service in other areas in the church later. Ryan, I want you to know that literally everything in my life that brings me true joy has come as a direct result of my service as a missionary. I’m not trying to be preachy here. But seriously. The maturity and experience that come from enduring hard things on a mission, and the nearly constant exposure to spiritual experiences in yourself and in others: both served to prepare me for adulthood and marriage and family life. And it’s been through marriage and fatherhood that I’ve known more joy than I ever imagined as a teenage kid. Someday in the not-too-distant future, you’ll look into the face of your child around bedtime, and he or she will ask you an innocent question, or tell you that they like you, or just put a hand on your face or smile at you in their unique and special way, and you’ll understand exactly what I’m talking about. None of those things that I enjoy so much would be in my life if I had not served a mission. OK enough preaching. This letter was supposed to be about your birthday. So I wish you a happy birthday. I hope this next year of your life is the best one yet. Love you, Dave
15: An Unsettling Game | Hanging out | Happy Birthday, Brother!!! What a great time birthdays are. I like to think about you and all the things I love about you. The great part is that I do that much more often than once a year. I have often wondered how it is that I like you so much and feel like we’ve been friends forever. Then I remember that we’ve known (of) each other for about 13 years now. And in the last 6 years my love and admiration for you has grown about a bazillion-fold. I love that I had the opportunity to live in the same house as you for 3 years. I’m just lucky that way. I love a lot of things about you. Here is a list of ten of them: 1.) You have made me feel welcome since the day I joined this great family. 2.) I feel like you feel like I’m your sister. 3.) We have a common shoe fetish. 4.) You call me “Meg.” 5.) You're really quite good at remembering requested details when retelling stories. 6.) I love the way you talk. You have a confidence that makes you sound natural and comfortable speaking (I’m mostly just jealous of this ability). 7.) You ask for my advice, therefore making me feel valued. 8.) You have made my children adore you. 9.) You have shown me glimpses of the powerful testimony in your heart. 10.) The Lord has allowed me little peeks of the way he sees you, making my love for you so great. Ryan, here’s the bottom line. You are one of the greatest men I know. I feel like I know you (can’t really explain, sorry). You are a cherished son of our Father in Heaven. He has blessed you in ways that are so obvious and wonderful. I love seeing how you bless the lives of those around you, especially in your own family. As you were bearing your testimony to the family during the reunion there were several things I noticed. I loved watching your face as you expressed your thoughts and testimony of the Lord, Jesus Christ and His gospel. It was wonderfully tender and I could feel the spirit. I also loved to look around to all the faces of everyone in our family. The intense love for you that glowed from their faces was obvious and wonderful. Ry, I love you and I am so happy to know you. I hope you have a wonderful day. Love, Meg | Dapper Sibs
16: Hey Ryan, It's nice to take this opportunity to write to my littlest bro. It's funny how you don't realize how much someone means to you until you have been away from home. I have missed a lot of the regular interactions with you that I took for granted- - catching up at Sunday dinner, playing the occasional futsol, getting together for game nights with you and Steve. It was fun to see you on this latest trip. It seems to me like this last year since we've been away, you've gone and turned into a man. It was a bit of a shock to see such a mature, confident, well spoken speaker at the pulpit, when I was expecting my brother. I had to check the program. I am really proud of you Ryan. I am proud of the person you have become and the decisions you are making. I know there are great things in store for you and that you'll continue to make all of us proud. Good luck with everything you're doing. Try not to be a stranger. Love, Mike | Mike Ryan
17: Hey Ryan, I remember coming out of the temple the day Mike and I got married. You hugged me and said, "Hey sis!" I thought it was amazing how much you already felt like the little brother I always wished I had. I just want to say how amazing I think you are! I always felt like I could relate to you, trying to find your way as the youngest kid, living up to incredibly intelligent and talented siblings. For the record, I think you are managing with flying colors. Was anyone else nominated for most likely to be on the bachelor? Didn't think so. But really though, you are a stud. You are perfect at making people feel comfortable and valued. You work hard and are loved by everyone who knows you. You manage to be yourself no matter what... I always copied my sisters, right down to their haircuts (fortunately for you, you haven't had to do that yet :). Your testimony is solid. I remember being on my mission the first time mine was really shaken. It really is a blessing in disguise that you had to question and confirm your's before needing to be that rock for those you teach. You are a fierce competitor for favorite uncle with the kids. Don't tell Steven I said this, but you may have him beat :) And you are a catch for any girl already. No doubt you could get hundreds of ladies lined up for your season of the bachelor. I know a few who are waiting for the announcement :) I am so excited for you. You are at the funnest stage of life, so many unknowns and thousands of doors open to you. I am even more excited to be your sis along the way. Remember that I'm routing for you and am anxiously waiting to see which doors you choose. Hopefully one that brings you to St. Louis. Oh please, oh please, oh please! Love you, Bro! Em
18: Ryan, Happy Birthday. I would like to say how good it has been for me to get to know you the past couple of years. We definitely didn't do a great job at getting along before my mission, but since I've been home, we've had the chance to be at BYU together, play on soccer teams together, and even, you know, hang out sometimes. You are growing up. You have developed a lot of good traits and have become much more mature, in many ways, than I was at your age (or even than I am at my age). You have also experienced a good share of disappointment and hardship. I believe these trials have helped and continue to help you in your eternal development. I believe that, though this has been a hard time in your life, you will look back on these few years with gratitude. I only say that because of the gratitude I know I have for those trials that I have experienced. I feel gratitude for a loving Father in Heaven, who blesses me when I am righteous and when I am disobedient, though those blessings often come in ways that, at the moment, I do not appreciate. You will do great things in your future, Ryan. I truly believe that. Some really great people that I know have made some really dumb mistakes. They have overcome those mistakes through the Savior and His grace. You are doing that right now, and the Savior will form you to be what He needs you to be, and He will use you for great things. Love you, bro, Steven
19: Ryan, It has been fun getting to know you over the past year and a bit since I joined your great family! It's fun having someone who is close to my age that I can relate to a bit more. I appreciate all you have done to make me feel comfortable and part of the family, even when it is as simple as making small talk or asking how I'm doing. I'm excited for you to go on a mission. Being married to Steven has opened my eyes to the blessing a mission can be on a person's life. Honestly, I am often jealous of Steven's deep gospel understanding and familiarity with the scriptures. I know that in the next couple of years you will grow to become an incredible missionary, husband, and father. I'm excited to watch all of that come about. I hope you know I'm here for you any time you need someone to talk to (or even if you are just hungry). I love you and pray for you. Claira
21: Ryan Wilson | Last the best of all the gang! Happy Birthday! We love you! Your family