Sunday, February 7, 2016

We love to Sing, Sing, Sing!

The Women's Choir at BYU-Idaho, of which Mary is a member, had the opportunity to sing at the Devotional this week!  Here's Mary on the top row, second from the left.  Beautifully done, Mary!
 And Libby got to sing with the Honor Choir this week!  She sang in the Treble Choir, and they sang some beautiful numbers.  Way to go Libby!

Josh had his first full week of working full time on the assembly line.  He has been listening to an audible book about Abraham Lincoln called A. Lincoln: A Biography, Rythmatist, Emperor's Soul and something else.  He has really been enjoying his time with the Middletones and the Mad Boys.  They came again to our house for breakfast and it was decided around the table that this would be a weekly tradition for the next forty years for all the Mad Boys.  Good!

Joseph had his resting heart rate measured this week and it was 44!  They quizzed him on his physical activity.  Haha!  That's really something.

I have to add this picture to the blog of Jesse!  Her caption said she was missin' kissin'.  Classic!
Becca and Nic came over on Thursday for dinner.  It was so fun to have them here!

Bruce and I had our first rehearsal for the Easter performance of Messiah.  It was great!  A college professor is the conductor, and the quality of his work is so apparent.  Wow - what an opportunity to learn from him!  And to sing about the Savior.  Charles Johnson, I believe that is his name, was the one that actually wrote the lyrics for Messiah, and I am amazed at the depth and breadth of understanding that he had of the Savior's different roles and mission.  it is truly an inspired work!

I'm so grateful for the merits and mercy and grace of the Holy Messiah!  I wish every day to come unto Him and be a better disciple, and I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to do that.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

I'll Go Where You Want Me To Go

That is the theme we have had in our hearts all week, when a meeting was announced this week to describe changes in our ward boundaries.  It didn't end up being a huge change as far as the number of families, but a huge change because of the leadership and the great families that were moved to another ward.  But mostly our ward stayed intact, with the same Bishop, so we are happy to have all the same people to serve.  I didn't lose any of the sisters I visit teach, or my companion, so that is good.  And I am still a ward missionary, which is doubly good, because there is a lot more I want to accomplish with that calling.

Besides the meeting to announce the changes this afternoon, we had the pleasure of going over to eat dinner with the family of one of Jesse's companions!  Maren had Jesse as her last companion before she came home.  They were a delightful family to meet and talk to.
Maren couldn't say enough about what a good missionary Jesse was and what a great time they had as companions.  Of course these are the same exact things that Jesse wrote home about Maren!  We ate delicious chicken noodle soup, salad and Dad made some of his great artisan bread to take over there.  It was wonderful!  I feel like I have another great friend in the world in Laura.

What a fantastic thing it is to meet a family like this.  Although their kids are into sports and ours more into music, I felt like our families had so much in common.  We just kept finding one commonality/connection after another, such as the fact that Sarah V., Jesse's friend in Madrigals, just got engaged to Parker, who is Maren's childhood friend.  Small world!

Libby and I took a picture together this week when we both showed up wearing the California t-shirts that Jesse gave us for Christmas.  Fun!

This happened in our house Friday morning!  Kevin and Travis showed up at 6 am at our house and helped Peter make a breakfast for the Mad Boys.  Peter, Connor, Sam, Matthew, David, Kevin, Riley, Gunnar and Travis are picture below, with Josh on the piano.
 They practiced "So Happy Together" and it sounded great!  Josh is really doing a great job with these boys.
It brought back memories of having private concerts from the original Mad Boys when they would come over to our house occasionally to practice.  Good times!

Libby will be happy that I am posting this scorecard for the Qwirkle game we played last Sunday.
She beat Josh and I soundly!  Ha ha  Josh was perfectly disgusted by this the whole game, and it wasn't until after the game that he came away with a mature smile and congratulations for the little sis.  13 year olds beating 23 year olds (and 48 year olds) is classic to watch!  :)

Joseph and Mary hanging out at Uncle Craig and Aunt Jenette's!  There are some pictures that absolutely warm your heart, and this is one of them for me.  I love to see happy, contented faces!

 Mary reading to the young cousins!

This week I gave blood at a Red Cross Blood Drive.  As I did, I made a conscientious effort to send warmth, and love and light with that blood, to whoever it served.   I was in the very thought, and the phlebotomist working with me said, "You look so content, like you're about to fall asleep."  Interesting!  Cool that she could see that light and love on my face.  She thought it was because I was about to fall asleep, but it wasn't that.  I was pretty happy about that!

Bruce spent most of the week in Oregon for work meetings.  We were glad to see him come home. He is ever missed when he is gone!

I learned major life lessons this week about motivation, and why I do what I do.  It made things so much more clear for me, and I'm so grateful for the experiences that taught me my about these motivations.  I am reminded of Mr. Darcy saying to Elizabeth Bennett, at the end of Pride and Prejudice, "Surely, you must was all for you."  This is how I feel about what I do for the Lord.  Surely, all I do is for Him, and to glorify his name and build up his kingdom in preparation for the Second Coming.  I love Him, and I'm so grateful that He in turn blesses me with untold peace and love in my heart.  It is a wonderful thing!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

We Love to Love, Love, Love

This week started out with a bang.  A bang on Mary's nose!  Josh, Joseph, Becca, Nic, Mary, Andrew and the former Elder Halter (can't remember his first name) went sledding.

They had a blast until they went down in a train, and they hit a bump and Mary hit the back of Becca's head.  Ouch!  An Emergency Room visit and a CAT Scan later, they told her she just had soft tissue hematoma.  This was a blessing - no broken bones!

We are glad she is OK!

Gérard, our brother-in-law, took us up flying yesterday!  It was a small Cessna with four seats in it.  I sat in the back, and Bruce sat up front.  We flew all over our community.  When we flew over our house, I was on the phone with Libby, and they all ran out and waved up at us.  Great memory!

It was really cool to see the bigger picture of our community.  I loved seeing all the open land around us!  I am so very grateful for where we live.  A couple of years ago, when Bruce was working full-time from home, and his team was living in different states and different countries, Bruce said, "We can basically live anywhere we want."  And so we gave that some thought... for about five minutes. It only took that long to decide - no, we don't need to go anywhere - we live in the best place for raising a family.  If it was just Bruce and I, I think we might go live in the mountains somewhere, but for raising children, this is it! We love it here.

Joseph came home again this weekend!  It was Logan's farewell, so Joseph came back for that.  So fun to see him!  He left his phone in his apartment, and Andrew brought it with him when he came later.  So all evening we thought he was still in Rexburg, because we were tracking his location from his phone, and then all of a sudden he showed up in the kitchen!  Fun!  Becca and Nic came over and we had Stone Soup for dinner.  We did the story and everything!

Mary went Latin Dancing this week in Rexburg.  She saw Santi there, Josh's old roommate, and they started dancing and had a blast dancing the rest of the night.  She said it was so fun!  That girl does love to dance!  Mary also called me halfway through the week and told me that in her voice lesson with Sis. Ashby, she went over the basics of how to breathe while singing.  Mary said it was night and day difference when she applied the principles.  She felt like she'd taken a huge leap forward.  Oh, how great it is to learn something like that!

On Thursday night I went over with Josh to the Middletones, Peter's new singing group.  It's a group of 7 freshmen boys that Josh is directing as an a Capella group.  They practiced Silhouette and an arrangement of Love at Home.  It was super fun to see how enthusiastic these boys were and how much fun they had singing!

Libby was accepted onto a competition soccer team for the Spring!  So she is swimming, playing futsal (in preparation for Spring soccer), and adding in Ballroom dancing on Saturdays.  That girl is in shape!  And she manages to squeeze in some piano practicing and through it all, listening to Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson on Audible.  This week Libby started playing the piano while she was listening to Audible, and she played and played and played.  All kinds of songs - sight reading many of them.  It was awesome!  Her sight reading ability is taking huge leaps and bounds forward.  I'm not sure how her brain is able to listen to the book and sight read the music at the same time? But she is doing it.

Josh, Becca, Joseph, Peter and our friends - Jay, Eric, Caleb, Chase and Mindy, along with their cousins Kevin and Travis and friend Kyler - ALL those people piled into our truck and went skiing yesterday evening.  Crazy!  But they had a ton of fun!  Josh came in and talked to me for about half an hour, and then Joseph came in and talked to me until 2:44 am.  Thankfully, earlier in the evening, I had a cold a sinus headache, so I had gone to be at 8:30 pm.  The Lord has mysterious ways of getting me to bed so I have enough rest for things!  :)  (I ran on the Zyto Compass and needed Clarity and Tsuga.  I applied those 3 times and woke up this morning totally clear. I'm so grateful for the tools Heavenly Father has given us for healing, including sleep!)

I have been sorting and cleaning this week!  I went through a lot of cupboards and drawers, and dejunked them.  YEAH.  It feels so good.  I threw away/donated all the stuff that I never use that was just taking up space in the drawer.  It felt SO good.

In addition to the Middletones, Josh has been working with a new group of Mad Boys!  He even spent a great deal of time doing two different arrangements of songs for them this week.