Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Something New

I am seriously thinking about taking up cross country skiing this winter. I can't downhill ski because of my worn out back but I bet I would like cross country skiing. Looks fun.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Great Perspective

I sent Ian a picture of the downstairs bathroom which is still a work in progress. ( I have been saying that for years now).
I loved his reply:
"are you sure that this is that same room that was downstairs? I think you took this picture in someone else's house. Way to go Dad, it only took 5 years but it turned out great" That's great perspective. What I think is taking forever, actually is not forever. It is getting done...Granted, there is no ceiling yet or outlet covers, or lights in the ceiling, and the moldings top and bottom need to be nailed on and then all the moulding and bead board needs to be painted, and there is no bathroom fan yet...BUT...it is much further along than it was a year ago! And I think it looks great...so far.

His e-mail was short again today:
"Dearest Family,

I am not sure exactly how but I forgot to do a voice recording this week, so this week you will just have to go without, sorry. This week I had a Brazilian Thanksgiving, or in other words a non-existent thanksgiving. They don’t even have some kind of similar holiday here, but I celebrated in my own little way. I bought a box of chocolates, and I made the first ever Portuguese gratitude wall...Thank you Mom for the card and the post-its. I was going to take a picture of the wall and send it you y´all but I forgot, so It will have to wait until next week. We also had, by luck more then planning, a family home evening that night with a Brazilian BBQ, which I think could be about the Brazilian equivalent of a Thanksgiving feast, so in the end my Thanksgiving turned out well, it didn’t seem anything like Thanksgiving, but it was still good. Oh, and sorry for not sending my seven kernels of gratitude last week, I ran out of time and forgot..."


Glad to know he remembered our traditions sort of and was able to celebrate in his own way. Love him.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Why I Go To Church

It's a lovely day here in Utah. The weather is nice, the sun is out, I just feel better when the sun is out. It's just a nice late November day. I always look forward to going to church on Sundays. Like a good sunny day, I just feel better when I go to church. I have felt that way since I was a young girl. I like the people at church. I like the fact that everybody smiles at me and says hello. I like the fact that all of us seem to be in the same boat, the "we need church" boat. By the time I get to Sundays sometimes I feel like I need the boost that going to church gives me to strengthen me again for another week. I learn new things every week and am reminded of old things and precious truths that are simple and sweet.

This week we enjoyed a lovely Thanksgiving. We also heard news of a woman pepper-spraying people in a store to get the items she wanted on Black Friday. We saw news reports of pandemonium at some Black Friday sales. We listened to news reports of Black Friday turning violent. I don't know about anybody else but these things leave me shaking my head as I wonder sometimes what is happening to society generally.

This brings me back to why I like going to church. I attend church with other people who simply want the peaceful feeling that comes with worshiping God and associating with others who also want the same thing. I am reminded by a sweet, gentle feeling as I sing hymns and listen to other people teach a lesson or give a talk that God loves me. I am reminded that He cares about my life. I am reminded that it is OK to try anew every week to be better. I am reminded that even though the news reports seem a little crazy sometimes, God knows all and that means I don't need to worry about the news.

Today we sang a few Christmas hymns. They are like old familiar friends. We dust them off every year and singing them brings us joy. I heard three talks about Christ today and why we celebrate His birth every year during December and at Christmas. The three very young men who spoke taught us gently about why the Christmas season reminds us how very much God our Heavenly Father loves us. He loved us so much that He sent us His son, Jesus Christ, to be our Savior. I think all of us need to be saved from one thing or another. As I watched and listened to two of the men tear up as they talked about the significance of this, I had that sweet, peaceful feeling confirm to me again that worshiping on Sunday is good. That feeling is healing when my heart is troubled. It is clarifying when the world seems a little bit crazy. It is rejuvenating to by body and to my spirit.

Everybody looked happier and more peaceful when we left church today. I guess that's why we all came. We're renewed for another week. God is indeed in the heavens and no matter what crazy thing we hear on the news this week, we have church to look forward to next Sunday to put everything in perspective again.

Happy Sunday.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Girl's Day Out

I am very aware of all the people who woke up very early to go shopping today and a lot more who never went to bed last night so they could go shopping at midnight. That is simply beyond my ability to understand. Elisa, Sarah, Emma and I went shopping as we do every year on the day after Thanksgiving but we didn't even leave until 9 A.M.! We went to Target first and I think there were more store employees than there were shoppers. (Not really but it sure seemed that way). Now I know the best time to shop at Target on Black Friday. :)
 We came back home by 1:45. 
We're not die hard Black Friday shoppers
but we always have a great time.
Smile girls!
(This was Sarah's IPhone and I am IPhone challenged it seems).
 Smile again ladies...
Somebody needs to tell Elisa that she has
just a tad too much self-esteem. :)
And while we were gone
Jim, Gregory, and Nathan did their own shopping.
I guess Nathan wound up in the ball pit.

I have to say... I'm tired!
But what a great Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

And A Happy Thanksgiving It Was!

Our "one table" Thanksgiving was simple and easy this year.
Everyone enjoyed Nathan.
And Nathan enjoyed everyone. :)
Love this kid.
Jim and I went on a great walk.
The weather was fabulous.
Sarah and Gregory also enjoyed a walk.
Elisa, our Home Ec. teacher, enjoyed cooking.
And we all enjoyed her cooking!
At dinner we continued our yearly tradition
of mentioning one thing we are grateful for
for each popcorn kernel on our plate.
Jim's Mom & Dad stopped by during our dinner.
They had already eaten elsewhere.
Nathan enjoyed Emma's rolls and grapes.
I enjoyed Emma. :)
Elisa enjoyed us enjoying her food. :)
Of course, the dishes needed to be done.
But they were easy this year.
Everyone helped thankfully.
 We always enjoy posting on our "gratitude wall."
People post the most wonderful things.
Even Amy Jo texted Elisa for her to write
that she is grateful for our family. :)
And Seth is apparently grateful for bacon.
But the best news of all....
SARAH IS PREGNANT AGAIN!!!!!!
Due in July on Nathan's birthday.
One really wonderful grandbaby
and another on the way...

THIS WAS A FABULOUS THANKSGIVING!!!!

But I still missed Ian...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Gratitude Wall

It seems that Thanksgiving is upon us so soon once again. It feels like the years fly by faster with each passing year. We will have a smaller Thanksgiving this year. Some years are quite large and other years find us with just our family. I like it both ways. The smaller years are less stressful and I find I get to enjoy my family more. The years we have a bigger Thanksgiving are also fun because I like having a lot of people to celebrate with. I am also less tired after Thanksgiving when we have a smaller Thanksgiving. I call it a "one table" Thanksgiving.

I get increasingly concerned as the years go by about the way Thanksgiving seems to become less and less important to people as Christmas encroaches earlier and earlier every year. The act of taking time to thank God for our blessings is so important. Taking time to ponder the blessings that come from Him is a way to remember how good He has been to us. Taking time to thank Him daily is an important task but setting aside time as family and friends to expressly give thanks is simply the right thing to do. I truly feel bad that this year it seems there are a number of stores who are simply advertizing Thanksgiving as the day to start the Christmas shopping season. What once was reserved for the day after Thanksgiving has been pushed up earlier and earlier the last few years until this year when we find that for whatever reason there is, shopping and retail has replaced giving thanks and the set aside time to mark the day. It's very sad in so many ways.

In our house, we celebrate Thanksgiving. My home is decorated for Thanksgiving and we mark the day as a day to be with whatever family and friends are here and we express gratitude to God for His blessings. I bought our Post-It notes last night for our gratitude wall where we write down the things we are grateful for and post them all over a big wall. I for one am looking forward to Thanksgiving.

Things I am grateful for this year:
  1. A family to celebrate with. I suspect that there may come a time when most of my children will be truly celebrating on their own perhaps in another state.
  2. The means to buy ample food and to have something special to share. I am aware of those who can't even afford food.
  3. Increasingly better health. I am feeling better recently than I have in a long time. My body seems to be healing. For this I am truly grateful.
  4. A son who willingly serves God.
  5. A good and kind husband who treats me with enormous kindness.
  6. Children who bring me joy. They are not children anymore, really adults but to a mother, what else do you call them? Gifts maybe...
  7. A patient and loving God. I have many faults and weaknesses. He is merciful and kind to me as I try to improve year to year.
  8. A comfortable home which is a place of refuge and safety from the cares of the world.
  9. Friends who express kindness to me with sincerity. That's worth gold.
  10. The blessing of being able to repent, change, grow, and try to become better with each passing year.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Is Anyone Feeding My Son?

It was great to see a picture of Ian because he doesn't send many but I looked closely at his belt and it looks like he had to move it ove FIVE notches! I will have to ask him about this. He looks OK though and it's great to see a picture. He had a short e-mail this week and said nothing about cutting his head open but his head looks intact so I guess that's a good thing. He looks happy.

"Dear Family,

Alright, we are already done with my second week here in América, and it was a pretty good week. We had  a baptism this week of a little boy who is the grandson of a member, I am sending pictures too. We also went to Londrina on Thursday because my companion had a medical consult about some warts that he has on his foot, but don´t worry, all went well, and he gets to keep his foot... I also ate a big bowl of açaí with granola, honey, and bananas and it was so freakin good! We did some divisions this week and taught a bunch, and that helped to get the zone going a bit more. We have been enjoying pretty good weather here, it is hot, but not unbearable, luckily Apucarana is one of the coolest cities in the mission."

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Wedding

Most of the time in our church, people choose to be married in the Temple. Only Temple sealers can perform those marriages. On a few occasions, people choose not to be married in the Temple for one reason or another. Those marriages are performed by a local Bishop and the ceremony clearly states that the couple is married until death parts them. That couple can someday choose to one day attend the Temple together and have that marriage sealed for eternity if they so desire and if they meet all the requirements for that to occur.

Jim is a Bishop
and sometimes he performs marriage ceremonies.
Jim is friends with the groom and the groom's father.
He received special permission to perform this marriage as the family requested him to do so.
This was the third marriage he has performed.
The bride was very pretty.
The groom was clearly moved when he saw her.
He actually cried more than Jim
and that's saying something!
Jim gave a few words of sweet counsel...
and then performed the ceremony.
It was all very sweet.
They made a lovely couple.
They had to sign the license and Jim had to fill
out the paper work to send to the county clerk's office.
There was much picture taking.
The bridal party was lovely.
I loved the centerpieces.
All in all...
I'd say it was a lovely evening.
This was a marriage Jim performed two years ago. 
This couple now have a baby. :)

Even though Jim is gone a lot attending to Bishop duties,
there are days like today when all is joyful.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

And Now He's On The Swim Team

So the Cross Country season is over 
and now Seth is on the swim team. 
 Today was a meet.
Swimmers on your mark...
get set...
GO!!
Good job Seth.
A pretty sunset tonight from my bedroom window.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

An Evening With My Son

Last night I attended the play "Savior of the World" with Seth and two of his friends. Seth got tickets from his seminary teacher last week and really wanted to go. Jim was busy doing Bishop stuff so Seth asked me and two of his friends to go. I already saw this production a few years ago. I enjoyed it very much then and so I viewed it differently this time. This time I sat there and pondered a lot about many different things as the play proceeded. The play has two acts. The first act is about the events leading up to the birth of Christ and the second act picks up the story when Christ is resurrected through His ascension into heaven again. It is heavily scripture based with good singing and thoughtful characters. I was particularly touched by the scene depicting the shepherds going forth testifying to others that the Savior had been born. That was very thought provoking. It is not really in the scriptures yet somehow that makes sense. How could they have kept such a thing to themselves after they witnessed the heavenly host proclaiming Christ's birth in such a miraculous way?

One of Seth's friends has been coming to church with us since September. He's been to our home many times. He's just a great young man. He wants to be baptized into our church but he is waiting on parental approval.  During the intermission he asked several good questions about the production. There were some questions about basic story lines surrounding the birth of Jesus that he had never heard before. He also did not know much about the events surrounding Christ's crucifixion. I was somewhat surprised. I thought he at least knew the events associated with Christmas and Easter but in reality, he had not been taught those things. It was a privilege to teach him and prep him for the second act and then to let him ask more questions when the play was over.

This is why missionaries go throughout the world preaching the gospel to any who are willing to listen. The events of Christ's birth and resurrection are central to their message. Knowing these basic things is a blessing to any and all who want that blessing. Lives are then changed and a peace not yet experienced is the result.

It is a blessing in my life to have a son who serves in such a capacity and to have been taught by missionaries myself.


Monday, November 14, 2011

"Oh, And I Cut My Head Open"

As Ian walks to the place where they have e-mail access each P-Day, he records a short voice digital message which he attaches to his e-mails for us to listen to. It's about ten minutes. They are delightful. At one point in this week's voice message he just abruptly said, "Oh, and I cut my head open this week on barbed wire." Now that's not exactly what a mother wants to hear. I guess they have barbed wire in the yard where they live now and as his new companion was telling him to watch out for the wire, he walked into it. He didn't say much about it or what the extent of it was or if he needed stitches or if he's going to die of gangrene...just that he cut his head open. I'll have to wait a week to ask for more details. Eeeesh!


"Dear Family,

So this week was the week of transfers and two things happened. I got demoted, and I got transferred to America. The mission president’s handbook explains that the most important calling in the mission is that of trainer. I was training Elder Marques and have now been demoted to Zone Leader. I was also transferred to America. América Branch here in Apucarana. Apucarana is actually about an hour away from Londrina by bus, and Maringá was about and hour and a half away by bus...So I spent most of the week in Londrina, I knew that I was gong to have to renew my visa while there but I also found out when I got there that I would go to the Leadership Council that Zone Leader have every month. I got in Londrina on Tuesday, and tues. and wed. We worked in one of the areas there and on Thursday, we had the leadership conference which was super cool. Then on Friday, I went to the federal Police and renewed my visa. I am legal now! While in Londrina, we always stay at the house of some missionaries there but I was also being transferred, so I was with all of my suitcases. They have a place in the bus station where you can guard your bags, but for 4 days, it would cost about $40 Reais. So instead of doing that I took my bags with me to the house where I would stay, and how did we get there you might ask? By bus! it was quite and experience getting on and off various buses with two heavy suitcases. Everybody gave us funny looks and I fell once getting off the bus, but I saved 40 bucks. Every once and a while you have to do crazy stuff like that on a mission...Mom, I want you to know that we are getting into summer now and I have been eating mangoes for the past five days straight. Oh joy!...All right, that just about raps it up. I bear my testimony that I know that the Church is true. I know that Jesus Christ is at the head of the Church, and that he guides us today though a living prophet. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I know that this gospel brings us more joy then anything else on the earth. I know that Jesus Christ is our savior and that the loves and knows every on of us.

I love you all!"


Mmmmm....Mangoes.
Watch out for the barbed wire Son and have a mango for me!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

My Week In Review

I didn't blog much this week. I've had a busy week and I just didn't get around to it. There were several memorable things about this week though, some sad...some good.

I feel such sorrow for the families of the two missionaries that were killed this week while riding their bikes in Texas. I have thought about their mothers in particular and I have been praying for them. I thought about them again in church today and then in thought about Ian. He's been gone so long now. I can't imagine what it would be like to know that your son was supposed to come home from his mission last week after serving for two years and then receiving the news that he was killed. I just feel so bad for the families. It made me miss my son again.

I did a lot of painting this week. It took a lot of my time. Jim is still working on that downstairs bathroom and I have done a bunch of painting. I love the color and it is turning out well. He hardly has any time to spare to work on the bathroom so when he finds time, we take advantage of it. I was wearing my painting garb and looked atrocious one day. We had to hurry out the door to attend a banquet for Seth. Jim was taking a nap and saw me as I rushed up the stairs to get ready. I told him we had to leave in fifteen minutes. I rushed in and got ready to go. I was ready in about ten minutes. He looked at me most sincerely and paid me a wonderful compliment. He said, "You're ever only a moment away from being glamorous." Now that's not true because it takes me an hour in the mornings to get ready but I so appreciated the sincerity of the thoughtful comment.

I did a lot of walking this week. I took long, long afternoon walks. While I walked, I listened to the New Testament on my IPod. I learned a lot. I enjoyed the sun when we had it and I enjoyed the time to ponder. I have always liked to walk. It does me good.

I think the highlight of my week was my time in the Temple. Pondering about the blessings of  family has given me much peace and great joy.

It's taken me an hour to write this post. I've video chatted with two of my daughters in the meantime because they pinged me as I was writing. A mother's work is never done... :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Clarity

I went to the Temple this morning. It is a beautiful morning. What struck me this morning was how very clear the circle of life is and how very sweet it is as well. I looked into the faces of many older, white haired women today. They were beautiful. They seemed to radiate a clarity of purpose. There is so much confusion in the world today, so much of which is aimed at women to steer them off a simple, circle of life path. Going to the Temple frequently is the surest way I know of how to "cut through the confusion" of the world's messages.

As I was walking out of the women's dressing area, I passed a bride. There is a small room where the bride freshens herself up after she is married and prepares herself and her hair and dress before she goes outside to greet her family and friends for picture taking. I have passed this room a hundred times or more over the years. There is usually a young bride or two and their mothers in there during the day and it is always delightful to look in and see the beautiful brides. I have been in there twice with my own daughters. Today however, I only saw one bride...alone. She had on a beautiful white wedding dress and she was dabbing her eyes pretty seriously. Obviously she was trying to collect herself. The difference this time was this was an older woman, I'd say mid-40's at least. She was very pretty but clearly older. I don't know her story. Is this her long awaited and anticipated first marriage or is this a second marriage after a death or divorce? I don't know. All I know is I was very touched by what I saw. Some blessings come later to some but the message was clear...they eventually come.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Times Gone By

I miss having Ian around to ask me what's for dinner....