Thursday, December 30, 2010

Depends On Which Hemisphere I Guess

We have been shoveling out from the latest winter blasts in Utah. Usually Utah gets a lot of snow in the winter. It's kind of crazy sometimes. And it's getting bitter cold. There is a reason why a lot of Utah's license plates say "greatest snow on earth" on them.

I never posted Ian's e-mail from Monday of this week. Here are a few tidbits from that e-mail:

"Querida Familia, 
 
I am doing oh so well here, I have having my fair share of trials but the work is going well as could be. Our baptism yesterday was wonderful, there were lots of ward members there, we didn´t even have enough chairs. She also had a lot of family there, which was really really awesome. I am also very excited because we have some other investigators who are very close to baptism, they would already be baptized if it weren´t for some things that are holding them back, but they have a lot of desire, and so I have a lot of hope that they will work though these things. 

Things are starting to get really, really, REALLY hot here, I think it has been around 112 for the past three for four days, and will stay just about this way for the next three or four months. I don´t know how I am going to survive, but I know that the Lord will provide a way. It is even more hot because our air conditioner is still broken, and we just have that one little fan... Also as a side note, more of my clothes got moldy, worse this time, so I will be trying an assortment of things to fix this... I will be washing my hamper, lots of stuff, but in short, don´t worry Mom. The Lord is taking care of me, and I know that somehow everything will be all right and I will talk to some more sisters because I know that will make you happy..."
 
So it's 112 there in Brazil and it is supposed to get down to zero tomorrow evening here. Go figure. I guess it just depends on which side of the hemisphere you are on. Ian seems fixated on the heat and I can't blame him. I remember how blazingly hot it was in Taiwan. We just sweated and dripped and sweated and dripped through those summer months. I feel for him. The mold issue on the clothes is a real issue though. When I talked to him on Christmas I told him if he ever had domestic problems like that again to go find some sisters in his ward and ask them. I told him women could help with those things. I guess he heeded my advice. :)

In the meantime...we shovel and bundle up. :)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Good Message For The New Year

I just came across this link. It's a good one about thinking about how to move forward in one's life.

http://lds.org/pages/look-not-behind-thee?lang=eng

Which reminds me of a good quote I keep written on a piece of paper in my scriptures:

"Forgiveness means giving up the hope 
that you could have changed the past."

I don't know who said that or where I got it from, but it's a good one.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Aftermath

Isn't it amazing that the aftermath of Christmas can take days to clean up? I love Elisa's present to Jim. He has said for years that he wished he could just have one box of 100 socks that were exactly the same so he didn't have to hunt and fish for socks. He said he wanted a "box o' socks.com". Everything in his mind is somehow related to a computer I think. So Elisa did that for him only it was 72 single socks exactly alike. Great present. :)

Jim always does a Christmas breakfast. 
An egg/potato/sausage/cheese concoction
he calls 'mountain music.' 
I embroidered an apron for the occasion.
That's a great apron.
Ready for the mission call...
only this set up didn't exactly work.
But we were ready.
This speaks for itself. 
Sorry Seth. :)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Christmas Call

Christmas was small and lovely this year. The highlight for us had to have been the telephone call from Ian. He was allowed an hour to speak to us. The first twenty minutes was filled with anxiousness on all our parts to make sure we had the best connection. There were four of us who wanted to be in on the call on this end. At first we tried a speaker phone which did not work well for Ian to hear us. We then scrambled to different phones which caused confusion. Ultimately we settled on two phones to share with a third phone hooked up to an iPod speaker. After that got worked out and we could all hear each other well, we were able to settle back and enjoy the conversation.

Ian told us it was 110 degrees where he was and he was so hot. He said that sometimes in the summer there it can get up to 122 degrees. He said he never could have imagined that such a thing was possible and that people could still survive. He seemed so amazed by the heat.

It was interesting to me that the longer the conversation went on, the more and more assured he seemed in his role as a missionary. He obviously misses his family but as the time went on it was evident that he was focused on his work and in doing the best he can to serve the Lord. He talked about how kind the people are to him in his ward there and how much the ward members take care of the missionaries. He talked about how really, really good the food is and how plentiful it is. He talked about having to get used to the physical accomodations of his missionary apartment and that they are moving to a new house this week because they have electrical problems with the house they are living in now. He said that in order to to turn one of the lights on in one of the rooms they have to turn on the shower. They are somehow related. That was pretty funny.

He let me know that his e-mails will always leave a little bit to be desired because of his limited time to e-mail on P-days. He said to just send him an e-mail of the five questions I needed or wanted answered and he would try to answer those but not to expect too much. Knowing that helps.

He tenderly talked to Jim about how much he appreciated his example and influence in his life. He said many times he stops and asks himself, "What would Dad do?" He said Jim's very calm nature is having an effect on him there and how much he appreciates his influence in his life.

It was clearly evident that he has matured a good deal already on his mission. He seems very self sufficient and not focused on himself. Rather, he seems focused on those he is serving and as his role as a missionary. That was nice for me to glean from the conversation.  By the time we all said our good-byes and hung up, both Jim and I had a sense of the fact that he really doesn't need us anymore. We have done what we could to raise him and teach him and love him and he is now his own person. That was a bitter-sweet, gratifying moment. It is what we hoped for, yet still tender. I always told Ian I was raising him to be a productive member of society who would serve others. I think it's working.

Sweetly, he told us of a woman who was being baptized today who they have been teaching. This is his first baptism. He said he never did get the Christmas box we sent him but that her baptism was his Christmas present. I too had a "white Christmas" on my mission...a dear woman who was baptized on Christmas Day. It is a day after all to contemplate the meaning of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and His mission which is to do the will of His father. This scripture best sums up what God's work is..."For behold, this is my work and my glory-to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. " Moses 1:39 (Pearl of Great Price)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Dawn Of Redeeming Grace

I love that phrase taken from the hymn "Silent Night." For me, it really sums up what Christmas is all about. The word "dawn" can be taken in two ways here. It can be taken literally as in "Christmas morning" or more subtly as it suggests in Webster's dictionary, " to begin to appear, develop"; or "to begin to be understood or felt."

Christ's advent was the beginning of so many things for so many people. I like the the way the wise men understood that the new star which appeared in the heavens meant something significant for them. Not only did it appear but they must have felt something in order to follow it and inquire about it. It required action on the part of those who saw it. The shepherds needed to follow it to find the babe lying in the manger as they had been told by the angel. They were told outright that the babe was "A savior, Christ the Lord." The wise men needed to ponder the meaning of the star and decide to follow it as well so they could find Jesus and worship him.

God gave His only begotten Son for us. That  evidence is all around us. God sent His Son because He loved us. He didn't want us to guess about Christ or just hope for the reality that we could indeed have a Savior. God placed a new star in the heavens to illuminate where our Christ was. That baby became our Savior. That Savior fulfilled all His father asked Him to do, for us. "Redeeming Grace" is such a beautiful term. The dictionary says that redeem means "to buy or get back; recover; to ransom; to deliver from sin; to fulfill  (a promise); to make amends or atone for." Christ did that for us. God, our Father in Heaven sent His son to do that for us. Because He loves us.

The shepherds were humble enough to seek the Savior and find him after the angels told them where to look. The wise men were also humble enough to seek Him as well. Then they worshiped Him and brought Him gifts. Christ was born a king. The king who would redeem His people.

So it is Christmas morning. Everyone is still asleep. I'm always the early bird. I wait for everyone else. While I wait, I ponder. I read the scriptures and I think about what they mean. More importantly, I think about what I need to "do" about what I find in them. The wise men didn't just look at the star and say, "great star but we're so busy." They journeyed and pondered and found the source of their redemption. The scriptures don't tell us what the wise men did after they returned to their own countries. We are left to wonder what we would do if we were them.

For me, the knowledge I have that Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Christ motivates me. I don't want to just live my life and die someday and just have my life been lived as one who said, "great star but I'm just so busy." I'd like my life to reflect that I "understood and felt," then lived as if Christ's "redeeming grace" is really important to me.

It really is important to me. And I am so grateful.

Merry Christmas.

"And now, I would commend you to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written, that the grace of God the Father, and also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of them, may be and abide in you forever." Ether 12:41 (The Book of Mormon)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQs0H7dvwy0&feature=related

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Family

A Christmas morning about ten years ago.
Christmas Eve dinner 2003.
2004 
Last year.

We have always tried to make Christmas Eve dinner special. 
We have a candlelight dinner 
and make it the nicest dinner of the year.
Lasagna is the main course.
Seven layer salad usually.
And ancini de pepe.

We have been home every single Christmas Eve
and Christmas Day for 27 years.
 
Family is important to us.
 
Gratefully, we love and care about 
each other a great deal.
 
Joy is the by product. :)

It wouldn't matter what we served or what we wore,
as long as we could be together 
somehow
even if it is long distance...
Our hearts are always together.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Few Favorites


Delightful daughters
Who grew up to be delightful women
Jim was always a good sport 
about anything we put him up to...
A wise man perhaps?
Ian at two
Ian sat next to me at the dinner table 
from the time he could sit at the table 
until the time he left on his mission.
Miss him.
Sweet Seth at two.
You know Seth, 
that Santa looks awfully familiar. :)
Something about the eyes....
Jim and Emma.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Adam.................................... (aka)The Fireplace Party


I guess it's time to blog about the annual fireplace party.

When Ian was about 5 months old we started an annual tradition. That summer we had moved to a home that had a fireplace. We decided to all sleep in front of the fireplace on the 23rd of December that first year as a fun activity. We told the kids we were going to have a "fireplace party." Elisa would have been about 7 at the time, Sarah 5, and Emma 2 I think. We pulled some mattresses out into the living room and pushed some chairs together to make little beds and voila.....Christmas Adam was born.

I have no idea who named it Christmas Adam as the years went on but somebody did. It is now jokingly referred to as Christmas Adam by many. We do it the day before Christmas Eve, hence the name.

That first year, I distinctly remember nursing Ian in the middle of the night on the mattress I was lying on. Jim had gone outside in the bitter cold to get more wood for the fire. As he  was coming in quietly to put more wood on the fire so it wouldn't go out, he dropped a log on my leg as I was nursing. Some memories stick with you. :)

The first year was a success and the kids could not wait for the fireplace party every year thereafter. They would start claiming their spots by putting out their blankets, stuffed animals and books at about 5:00 in the afternoon as soon as it got dark. I remember reading "Strega Nona" by Tomie dePaola to them for several years running. It is about an Italian grandma of sorts in a small Italian village close to where my ancestors are from. It talked about Italian traditions similar to my own. We all enjoyed that book.

When the kids got older, they needed a longer book. One year I read "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" by Barbara Robinson. That is one of the all time great Christmas books. It is about the Herdman family and it is hilarious. We never tire of hearing that story. It takes about an hour or so to read. To this day, we still read that story. "Hey, unto you a child is born!" It never gets old. :)

Our fireplace parties have evolved over the years. We've added friends, (Chris called just the other day and asked if he could come again), fiances, and then spouses. People still claim spots but the reading and the party don't really commence until later in the evening. By that time the mattresses are out, the wheat thins, triscuits, easy cheese and peanut M&M's are also out. The kitchen is usually a disaster by then because of all the Christmas baking and  we have sung Christmas carols to the nth degree. No one wants to miss the fireplace party. When we worked with an architect to design our current house, we told him of this tradition as being core to our family. He designed us a pretty big fireplace to fit the bill. We no longer need wood in this fireplace, just the flick of a switch does it but it still anchors us like an old fashioned fireplace.

I suspect we will one day have grandchildren who will be with us on the 23rd as the years go on as well. Emma is pretty sick today and I suggested she might want to miss this year's party but she said, "But Mom, it's the Fireplace Party."

We'll miss Ian this year. I can lay on his mattress without being chastised for once. Oh how we'll miss him.

Traditions bind people together. Families need traditions. Even silly ones like Christmas Adam. It doesn't matter if people sleep terribly the entire night. It doesn't matter if you get logs dropped on your legs. It doesn't matter if the house is a DISASTER the next morning and there are M&M's everywhere. It doesn't matter that some people who shall not be named manage to fall asleep every year in the middle of the story only to wake up for the crucial moment to exclaim loudly..."Hey, unto you a child is born!" Our family can be found in front of the fireplace every year on the 23rd of December.

It's who we are. It's what we do. It binds us together. :)

I have taken many pictures over the years. Usually I take the pictures early in the morning while everyone is still asleep. They are not really flattering for anyone and probably not post-able but I posted these few anyway. Hopefully Jim will forgive me but that picture of Ian looking at him as if to say, "Dad, please wake up" just was too typical not to post. :)

                                           
Let's see.
This means I have just two more days 
to get everything ready for Christmas.
I'll never be ready. :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Looking Forward To the Christmas Call

I did hear from Ian today but the e-mail was short. Communication is tough when you have a one week lag to answer a simple e-mail such as what one does about mold on one's clothes. I e-mailed a long list of solutions for removing the mold on his clothes that had been mentioned in last week's e-mail and how to prevent future mold growth incidents. He e-mailed back that it was only on two white shirts which he had bleached. That didn't work so the shirts are at the cleaners. I thought about that mold all week long picturing mold throughout an entire stack of his clothes. My husband says I tend towards catastrophizing sometimes. I can't say that mold throughout a laundry pile is catastrophising but I sure feel better knowing that it was only on two shirts.

Gratefully, Ian is allowed a Christmas call on Christmas Day. We are all looking forward to that. I'll be able to ask a question and get it answered right then. He sounds fine though and says he is looking forward to the call as well.

The cutest grandbaby in the world was here for a good chunk of the day today. It is great that grand-babies like it when their grandmother's sing and they could care less if the singing is good or not. :)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Graduation

I've been sick since yesterday with a low level virus bug of some sort. I've been in bed most of the time trying to shake it off. I watched the Ironman triathalon this afternoon on TV. I have seen it a number of times and it is always inspiring. The last person across the finish line at the absolute midnight deadline was a 56 year old woman. She had a wonderful look of triumph on her face. For her it had been a 17 hour grueling race. There were many, many people there to congratulate her when she finished.

I was reminded at that moment that the degree which hangs on my wall in my bedroom is stamped with the date of one year ago today. I thought about how grueling it was to get that degree. It took me five years. I had so many challenges along the way that I thought I would never finish. I wanted to quit many times. Halfway into it, I fell and broke my right elbow. I had near constant pain/ aggravation in that elbow/arm for the remainder of my time finishing that degree. Winters are very bad for my elbow because it just hurts so bad sometimes. It is quite a bit better this year but just this afternoon I had the heating pad on it again to get some relief. People don't realize how much you use your elbow to write. To get a degree in Chinese, you have to write a lot of essays in Mandarin. The majority of them seemed to have to be memorized. I cannot adequately describe how difficult it is to memorize Chinese characters for a timed exam, especially when you are not young. The stress was overwhelming at times. Writing Chinese characters takes a lot of writing dexterity because there are so many strokes involved in each character. So many times I just wrote and rubbed and wrote and rubbed my elbow and my arm to complete my task.

But I started something and like the 56 year old triathaete who crossed at midnight, I was not going to stop.

No one but God knows the enormity of that task at my age. Only God knew what it took to help me finish. He was always there for me and I needed Him so much to help me.

On the day of my last final I was tired, worn out and beat. Really. The last exam was in English thankfully but there was a long essay. So many students were finished before me but the essay was thought provoking and I knew what I was talking about. The essay was about China. I wrote and I rubbed and I wrote and I rubbed until I finished. At the end of the essay I wrote,"The end...and now I graduate." My professor was Berkley trained and she liked me. She like most of my professors wondered what I was doing there. They gave up after a while as they realized I was there as a serious student. I think she would have liked my note. :)

I handed in my exam and left the class. My car was quite a distance across campus. I began to cry. I hoped no one would see the 50 year old lady crying as she was walking across campus. But I had finished. It was over, and against so many great odds.

I wear hearing aids for a moderate hearing loss. The doctors told me in the beginning that I couldn't do a degree in Chinese because I couldn't hear well enough to do it. Mandarin is a tonal language. It requires the acute ability to discern tones. There were times we would break off into groups and the noise was so loud that I couldn't stand it. My professors learned to allow me to be on the outside of the groups so I had the best chance of hearing. There were a few students who always helped me. So many would not give me the time of day.

I graduated with a GPA of 3.844. I did not do that degree alone. God helped me, every step of the way... He helped me.

When I walked across the parking lot after my last final with tears in my eyes, there were no crowds at the finish line like there were for that 56 year old woman. It was just me. But I had the distinct sense that my ancestors knew what had just happened and I pictured them in my mind's eye cheering for me. I wasn't alone after all.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Getting Sappy In My Old Age

I'm not really old but I did just recently have another birthday so I do count them.

My kids have all sung in the same high school choir group when they were juniors and seniors in high school. They do various small concerts at different venues in the month of December. They had one today that I always go to. It is in a beautiful old building which just happens to be the building that Jim works in. I never miss this concert but this is the first year that Jim has been able to attend as well.

This choir always sings a song which brings me to tears. It's called "Candlelight Carol." The first time I heard it sung was when Elisa was in this choir ten years ago. She sang it for two years, followed by Sarah for three I think. Emma sang it for two, Ian for two, and today Seth sang it with this group for the first time. I could only sit there in the middle of the large gathering room with tears coming down my face. I remembered all those Christmas' when all my kids were home. Only Seth is left now and I am a sap among saps. It was like ten years rolled before my eyes as they sang. Miss them.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eME_gxZRDxo&feature=related

CANDLELIGHT CAROL

by John Rutter

Verse 1: How do you capture the wind on the water? How do you count all the stars in the sky? How can you measure the love of a mother, or how can you write down a baby's first cry?

REFRAIN: Candlelight, angel light, firelight and starglow shine on his cradle till breaking of dawn. Gloria, Gloria in excelsis deo! Angels are singing; the Christ Child is born.

Verse 2. Shepherds and wisemen will kneel and adore him, Seraphim round him their vigil will keep; Nations proclaim him their Lord and their Savior, but Mary will hold him and sing him to sleep. (REFRAIN)

Verse 3. Find him at Bethlehem laid in a manger: Christ our Redeemer asleep in the hay. Godhead incarnate and hope of salvation: A child with his mother that first Christmas Day. (REFRAIN)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Mold On His Clothes

Ian and I talked about the ramifications of humid climates and some of the fallout because of that before he left. I could not perceive however the possibility of mold on his clothes and did not teach him about that. Read on:


"Beloved Family,

I am nearing the end of my first transfer, and I have returned to my original area. I had some trials because of the division but some wonderful blessings too. I told you that I left without anything except the clothes that I was wearing and my backpack. Well my companion brought me stuff the first day I was there. I thought that I was going to be able to return and get some things before our trip to Londrina but it wasn't so, so he brought me some more things. All in all, I didn’t sleep in my own bed for a week, and I smelled pretty bad for a while. But it was a wonderful privilege to get to teach with another elder, another way, I felt that my teaching and my Portuguese improved vastly during those 3 short days, I can’t tell you why though. We also had the opportunity to teach some great lessons and find some great people. So Wednesday night at nine we got on the bus to Londrina, we had enough elders to pick up along the way that we had our own bus, It was a lot of fun but we didn’t get much sleep and we were super tired the next day...Friday was Christmas conference and that was really awesome, we had a lot of fun, we had a white elephant gift thing, we made this great cake, ours was the Salt Lake Temple, and we had a scripture scavenger hunt and our zone beat everyone by a mile...We also had a wonderful training from President that night...there was an incredible feeling of peace and love there. I will never forget that.  It was also hard for me, because It made me think of Christmas a lot more (it really does not feel like Christmas here), which made me think of home and all that, but it was also a lot of fun, and a wonderful experience. After we got back on the bus and made the 9-hour bus ride back to our area, arriving at five in the morning. I arrived to find out that while I was away some of my clothes began to grow mold, and I have yet to figure out how to get it out....I love you all terribly, and I will talk to you soon. I hope you are having a wonderful Christmas season.

Love,
Elder Freeman"

Well, I'm glad he's sleeping in a bed and that he is safe. This week I'll be praying about the mold in his clothes. Miss him.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Means........

I was thinking about a favorite scripture today. "...have faith on the Lamb of God...who is mighty to save." Alma 7:14

Today I saw evidence of people who needed that saving in so many different ways in their lives. I was thinking about the fact that Christ was born for us for that very  purpose. Christmas is a celebration. We celebrate Christ's birth. He was born to save... for that was His mission. I for one need that saving in several aspects of my life. I'm so glad He was born to do just that.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Justice For Elizabeth

I am happy for Elizabeth Smart today. I am happy for her parents. They surely have also suffered in ways that most people cannot imagine. I am happy that they also received the justice due them subsequent to the horrific crimes committed against their daughter and their family. I am happy that Elizabeth received the justice she so absolutely deserves. I am so happy for her that she can go back to France and finish out her mission. I think the whole nation is happy for her.

I feel for all the other "Elizabeth's" that also wait for justice. My heart goes out to them and their parents as well. I trust that God knows all and understands all and will mete out justice to all in His own way and in His own time. I trust that He is the ultimate judge and His is the ultimate justice. I know the healing power of the atonement of Christ can and will one day heal all.

"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more...sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." Revelation 21:4

For all the rest of the "Elizabeth's" who wait...God will not and cannot forget you.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Same Gang Of Five

It seems we always had Christmas pajamas.
And I also remember a lot of hair curlers
although with my hair,
the last thing I need(ed) is another curl. :) 
I believe I was about nine or ten in this picture.
Left to right bottom: Fred, Rob, Sue
Left to right top: Bern and me.

Ah, 1977...
before I discovered mousse, hair spray, and a good hair stylist!

Left to right bottom row: My cousin LeeAnn, my brother Robert, Bernadette's future sister in law Jeanine.
Left to right top row: It sort of looks like me but the hair is something I can't claim, :) my sister Sue, my sister Bernadette, her future husband Ricky, my brother Fred, Stacy (the current baker and owner of  Nanny's apron :)), and her sister Allison. Christmas always involved my three cousins as did almost every holiday for that matter.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Italian Cookies And Weddings

My cousin Stacy reminded me in her comment to one of my posts about my grandmother's cookies. Nanny had one particular cookie that defined her. She made it every Christmas for sure and she also made it for weddings. They were so good. Now Stacy has a business and sells them. Good for her.
This is a picture from my other cousin's wedding. The large platter of cookies are the ones I am talking about. Too bad this picture isn't clearer. On the back of the picture from 1991 I wrote, "Nanny made the cookies and all the people took little bags of them home with them." That's a tray of cannoli behind them. I love the look on my great Aunt's face in this picture. She knew how good the cookies were. :)
This is a picture of me and my siblings from the same wedding. Ian went with me then,  he was only two months old at the time. Left to right- My sister Sue, me, my brother Fred, my sister Bernadette, and my brother Rob. I think this is the last picture we had of all of us together prior to his passing away about nine years later.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas Ornaments

We put up our Christmas tree last night. I have a vast collection of homemade ornaments which are actually a collection of various family pictures cut out to fit the heart shaped ornament. I bought them years ago and added pictures as the years went on of my children at various stages when they were young. They are my favorite ornaments. This ornament/picture is my most favorite of all.
This was our wedding dance.
The song..."Lady" by Kenny Rogers

How I do still love this man.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Love P-Days

A few snippets from this week's e-mail...

"Dear Family,

... my bed is finally fixed, actually it was fixed last Monday night, but that was right after I had emailed you all. A member came with some wood and some tools and we fixed my bed lickety split, and now I am sleeping as good as can be on a wonderful bed that is stronger then before... Let me assure you (mom) that I am eating plenty, I always eat breakfast, a big lunch and a snack or something at night, and I think the weight loss is tapering off. So, I am learning something about Brazil, apparently if it is not blistering hot, it is pouring rain. We have had some crazy rains the past few days here, yesterday as people were arriving to church it was POURING, and so I was running around with an umbrella helping people in the church, and I was soaked! .....Wednesday night we will go Londrina for a mission tour! The general authority in charge of Brazil will be coming for a mission tour on Thursday, and on Friday we will have Christmas conference. I am very much looking forward to this... I love you all and I wish you the best.

Love,
Elder Freeman"

I figured the rains were coming sooner than later because Ian's mission and my mission are the same latitude only on different sides of the hemisphere. Great stories... there are always crazy adventure stories about this, that, or the other thing. Missionaries get very good at learning how to 'adapt'  to so many situations. This week it is the rain.

Ian really needs my super-duper fancy rain poncho from my mission. That would keep him dry. :) Oh and how I remember riding my bike in this thing during torrential rains, holding an umbrella while wearing a skirt . Ah, the memories....

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Tender Mercy

I thought of a few things today that were helpful for me. Someone mentioned in church how much their daughter liked reading her grandmother's journal which her mother let her read one day. She especially liked reading about her own mother from the perspective and words of her grandmother. That daughter stayed up until midnight reading and reading about what her grandmother wrote. She snuck into her mother's room and whispered, "I've been reading about YOU!" I was reminded that I am really keeping this blog for my grandchildren and great grandchildren. I hope when they read this long after I am gone, that they will enjoy all the pictures and stories and comments. Having two years to put something together like this is a wonderful and joyful labor of love. I hope they enjoy what I write about THEIR parents. :)

I was sitting in Church today listening to various speakers speak briefly on things that were important to them. Over the course of an hour, I had four separate and distinct thoughts come to me that strung together like a wonderful message just for me. The message to my heart was tender, kind, and taught me about something that has been bothering me. I was able to understand clearly what to do about my problem. It's not necessarily that the speakers were speaking about my concern, rather that simply being in church where the Lord's Spirit was and having a tender heart towards God led to peace and understanding. That was a tender mercy. That's one of the things I love about Sundays. Sometimes it is just in simply "doing" the regular and good things, that we are blessed.

"Great are thy tender mercies, O Lord...Consider mine affliction, and deliver me: for I do not forget thy law." Psalms 119: 153

Friday, December 3, 2010

I Guess It's Wedding Week

I found a few from my own wedding.
This is my Italian Grandmother at my wedding reception. I've been thinking about her a lot this week. I have some of her dishes and we ate off of them a few times this week and I was thinking about her Christmas cookies which I haven't had in years. Maybe I'll make them this year.
My Dad and I dancing at my own wedding. He has since passed away but I think of him often at this time of year too.  My father- in- law did not want to wear a tux at the reception so everyone was off the hook for tuxes (except for the groom). :)

I was downright poor when I got married because I had just come home from my mission and hadn't worked in a year and a half. I didn't have any money to buy a wedding present for Jim, so I wrote him a poem and read it to him at the reception. After all these years, I still like it. If I ever get brave enough, maybe I'll blog it. Hats were in back then, go figure. And you really can't see the pretty detail on the neckline in this picture, oh well.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Can't Leave Out Sarah

Sarah was also a lovely bride.
I loved this picture. She just happened to be sitting and resting when I snapped this one. Loved it. Somewhere there are more pictures but I don't know where right now. This was from a reception she and Gregory had in Calgary. More another day.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Emma's Turn

This picture is old and smudged but I have always liked it.
This was Emma when she was about three. 
She always had enormous eyelashes.
Dancing at her wedding was fun.
I don't remember growing older...when did she?

Here are a few more of the
photographer's pictures from the wedding.
The Father/Daughter dance.
The song: "Isn't She Lovely" by Stevie Wonder
We had a great time that day.
We smiled and laughed all day long.
I love this one. 
There's always one of a father 
wondering how much everything cost. :)

Only missing Ian here.
But then again, his 'double' was always hanging around. :)
Photographers pose people funny sometimes.
This one is better.
Shortly after the ceremony.
And a few more of the bride and groom.

Tossing the bouquet.
And saying goodbye.