Sunday, December 14, 2014

Christmas Bells Are Ringing

This post should have been published a week ago on 12-7-14.

Bruce and I got to see Josh in concert with the King's Singers. 

It was awesome!  It was a huge production.  I think the only thing that could have beat it would have been to be at the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Concert in the Conference Center.  We are getting closer to Zion!

We got a ride over with Aunt Michelle's two sisters, Tamara and Kirsten, and then we got a ride back with Laren, Caralee, Devin and Ashley.  It was SO fun to catch up with them!  They are great people.  They have abundance flowing to them all the time.  It is amazing to see what they attract.  Good, good people.

Our truck batteries have both died, so now we have to jump start the truck every time.  And no money for another week to replace them.  Ah, the joys of having one car.
Peter has been singing to himself the songs from the Nashville Tribute Band concert we went to a few weeks ago.  Today he sang some words that talked about Jesus, "And He healed me..."  We also listen to the songs every morning on the way to the bus.

Libby went and took a shower on her own without being asked.  Starch my shorts, what is going on in this family?!

Mary had a fantastic missionary experience yesterday with Alexis, a non-member friend from Madrigals.  Mary asked her to be in a group that is singing the musical number at the Morningside for Seminary on Dec 12th.  She said yes.  The practices have brought her to our house, and she and another boy from Mads, Connor, talked to Alexis for over three hours about the gospel.  It was randomly brought up, but she started asking questions, and it went from there.  She said that when she comes to our house she feels light, and Connor said the same thing.  If that isn't the coolest feeling in the world, I don't know what is.  I am SO grateful for that protection and light that surrounds us.  She did end up giving her a Book of Mormon, and she has already started to read it.  It was really a fantastic experience!

I have been praying and thinking about the Russian people this week.  The ruble, which is the Russian currency, fell by 50% this week.  It wouldn't be so critical except for the fact that Russia imports so much that now they're buying power is cut in half and they won't be able to import nearly as much with the same amount of money.  Putin got on public radio and announced to the people to prepare for hard times.  They are already having hard times, as most of them are only surviving anyway.

Jesse's Sophomore Recital is the 13th of March!  

I'm so grateful for that.  It'll be amazing.  She has the whole Madsen Recital Hall to herself.  She asked her Bishop today to open up the process for her mission papers!  Holy makarel!  It gave me a strange feeling when she told us that tonight.  It's one thing for you boys to go.  Entirely different to have her go.  Not sure why.  :)

Monday, December 1, 2014

Our Hymn of Grateful Praise

Thanksgiving Week!

What a wonderful week to focus on gratitude and everything we have to be thankful for, especially our Savior Jesus Christ, and his gospel. 

Josh and Jesse both got home on Tuesday night.

It was so fun to see them and have them home!

On Thanksgiving Day, everyone got assigned a dish for the dinner.  Josh displayed his skills learned from his catering job at BYU-I!  He folded the napkins, set the table just right, and even insisted on flowers for the centerpiece! 

And we had Joseph with us too (if only by his portrait).
The turkey wasn't fully defrosted when I pulled it out of the fridge Thursday morning, so we didn't eat dinner until late.  This was highly stressful for me, but everyone was patient and it all turned out well.

On Saturday, we decorated the tree!

 Jesse got to put the top on the tree on this year!  She has never gotten to do it before, and since she might be gone for the next two years on a mission, we let her have the privilege this year.  :)

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend.  Especially because Bruce, Mary, Peter, Libby and I played Puerto Rico last night and I won.  :) 

And now it's already December, with Christmas only 24 days away!

PS Sorry the pics are so bad in this post.  I transferred the pictures from our phones through iCloud, and apparently it only stored a small version of the original.  :(  Well, now I know. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014


It was crazy driving this week.  The roads were so cold that there were mounds in the road of ice and snow where it hadn't quite melted.  I was really glad to be driving in the truck with 4-wheel drive.

But on Friday, I got a little cocky.  It got up into the 40's, so the ice/snow on the roads had turned into slush.  I was going down a road at 50 mph, and turned to the side to get the middle seat down to rest my elbow on it.  When I look back up, the truck had gone into the slush and I was sliding with the back end to the right.  I let off the gas, didn't put on the brake, but tried to correct.  Soon I found myself headed across the other lane and off the road, right in between an electrical box and a telephone pole.  The back of the truck slid out to the right behind me and turned the truck.  This was a good thing, because if not, I would have landed head first into this embankment.  Instead, the back of the truck slid into to it, specifically the right rear wheel, and the truck went over on two wheels and teetered there for a moment, before landing back down on all four, albeit at weird angle.  The two big dirt spots here were where the rear wheels ended up.

About 5-6 people stopped to see if I was all right.  Thankfully, I was.  I called the roadside assistance that we have, but they ended up telling me that towing was not covered for the size of vehicle we have.  But at the same moment they were telling me this (yes - the same moment), a guy who I later found out was named Vern, was at my window telling me that he was going to put a cable on the front of the truck and pull me out with his winch.
Dave, the man pictured here, also stopped to help.  He coached me on how to turn the wheels and when to press on the gas while I was being pulled out.  He didn't know Vern or me from Adam, but they were both there helping me out.  Vern's truck winch pulled me out easy as can be.  It was amazing!  When I asked Vern for a business card, or what I could do for him, he said, "Nope, nope."  I said, "Well, I can pray for you."  And he ducked his head and said, "Let me tell you that the truck was a gift to me.  It was worth $8000 and I payed $1000 for it, and it only took $400 to get it running.  You are the 40... no 42nd person I have pulled out from a ditch this week."  This week!  The truck was undamaged, I was completely unhurt, and the tow cost us nothing.

I was rescued as clearly and simply as can be imagined.  And I didn't deserve it, but I was blessed with it, which reminded me once again, as I am often reminded, of the Savior's infinite and loving mercy to me.

And thanks to that tender mercy, I was able to attend the concert that night of the fine gentlemen in these pictures from the Nashville Tribute Band!

Oh my word, these guys were awesome!
The lead singer and songwriter, Jason Deere, pictured below, reminded me so much of my brother Cedric.  :)  He bore powerful witness of the Savior, through word and song.
The whole concert was entitled "Redeemer" and it was all about our Savior, Jesus Christ, and the way people saw Him who knew Him
They published a CD in 2005 called "Joseph" that we obtained somehow (I don't remember buying it), and our kids loved it!  Mary said fell asleep every night for a time period in her life, listening to that CD.  It had songs about Porter Rockwell, Emma, and others.

This concert was wonderful!  We got to sit on the front row with our friends Jonathan and Mirlandra, so it was up close and personal!  You can see that by the pictures!  

Mary got to bring her friend Becca, too, and of course Nic was up on the top working with the lights.  An accidental "major dim" of the whole auditorium may or may not have been caused by him.  Haha!  Thank you to our Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for sponsoring the concert!

I got a Raindrop this week from my friend Michelle.  She only joined Young Living in the summer, and has already been to the C.A.R.E. Training and is currently taking my Foot Zone class.  It was a wonderful treatment.  I came away from it feeling grounded, and back to myself, after feeling "off kilter" for a few days before that.  Thank you, Michelle!

Peter started indoor soccer this week!  He is playing with kids that are a year older than him in school, so the high school JV team, basically.  They lost their first game, but hopefully it will get better from there.

Peter, Libby and Mary are loving their ballroom dance team.  Chantal, their co-director told me last week that if it wasn't for those three, coming in a year ago with their talent and good attitudes, that they might have folded as a club, but that these three gave them the impetus they needed to keep going, and now this is the best year they have had so far.  What a compliment!

Saturday we helped our friends Jay and Leah move in to their temporary rental until their house can be built.  It was great to be of service, although they had so much help that I don't know how much  we did besides throw a ton of snowballs (the snow was perfect for it that day).  But Libby and I did get the kitchen boxes mostly unpacked, so that was fun!

Have I mentioned on this blog that I have become a Norwex consultant?  I love the products - they are designed for chemical-free and effective cleaning - and it is providing a source of income for Mary and Libby, whom I have hired as assistants.  Make no mistake, my Young Living business is my top priority, but this is a fun side business that is doing well!  We have had two parties in the last two weeks, and have a third one planned soon.

Mary's Honor Choir concert was this week!
They sang The Last Words of King David, by Thompson, which I love.  And then a new song which I thought was gorgeous, called Autumn.  And then they sang two more that I am familiar with - Troubles of the World (I don't know if that's the title) and Cindy! arranged by Mack Wilberg.  It was an awesome concert!

Follow up from last week!  Libby's teeth are fixed!  Thank you to our local dentist and friend who did a great job taking care of Libby!

While Mary was at Honor Choir two days this week, I was a substitute at the high school for the choir teacher.  While I was sitting in his office, a took pictures of the pictures that he has on the wall of Josh, Joseph and Jesse.  Throw back!
The MAD Boys in one of their first performances.
Josh on tour.
Josh in Madrigals
This picture of the MAD Boys was from their photo shoot for the cover of their album.

Madrigals - with Jesse and Joseph (bleached blond hair in the middle!)
Jesse - one of her senior pictures.  (One of my favorite ones, too!)

My children's favorite memories from High School are all with Madrigals.  Josh, Joseph, Jesse and now Mary all say the same thing.  What a blessing to have that experience!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Snow Day!

We had a snow day on Friday!  No school!  First thing in the morning, Peter was out on the four-wheeler having a ball.  It snowed from about 7:30 on Thursday morning all the way until Friday afternoon.  We got at least six inches.  It was a light, dry snow, not big flakes coming down.  But then Saturday it got cold!  It was -8 F during the night!  This is extremely unusual for this part of Idaho in November.  It's only 3 degrees right now as I write on Monday morning.  Thank goodness for good furnaces (we have two in our house) and heaters!  Libby showed me Mendoza's temperature right now, and it was 88 F!  Joseph's going to have quite a transition when he gets home in January!

We drank so much hot chocolate the last few days that our cupboard, normally full of mugs and cups, looked like this!

We didn't get through the snow day without accident, though.  Libby was riding on her sled behind the four-wheeler - Bruce was pulling her around the pasture - and she bumped on something and chipped her two front teeth! The corner of one is gone, and about 1/3 of the other one. 
She didn't get hurt any other way, though so that was good.  But she kept saying, "There's nothing there!  There's nothing there!"  So sad!    We'll get into the dentist on Monday and see what they can do.  They said they'll bond something to them, but they'll get chipped off and have to get fixed frequently.  When she's 20 they'll put on a veneer or a crown.

Jesse sang in a concert last night with Concert Choir at the DeJong Concert Hall, but she had to go off after a few songs because she was coughing and couldn't stop.  She's had a bad cough all week.  Somehow she got off to college without a diffuser or RC or Raven (good respiratory essential oil blends), so when she really needed it, she didn't have it!  But, I've gotten over that one.  It has kept me humble this week, and pretty certain it kept Jesse humble.  haha

Jesse and Stephen are both in Concert Choir, so they took this great picture together before the concert!  BYU does a live video stream of the concert, so Bruce and I got to listen to it.  It was so good!  We thoroughly enjoyed it. The second night, Jesse just lip-synched the songs so she could stay up on stage without coughing.  At least she was able to do that!

And this happened on snow day too:  Mary went off with her friend Nic to get some hot chocolate at Dutch Bros and they went off the road into the ditch.  

Bruce and I had to go pull them out with the truck.  While they waited for us to get there, a policeman pulled up and had them wait in the back of the police car until we came.  That was ripe for a selfie.  :)

Josh got into the championship game with his intramural soccer team.  They lost by one goal.  They had tough playing conditions - the field was covered in snow!  So that was a bummer, but Josh sure had a fun season playing with old high school buddies.  

We FaceTime with Josh almost every Sunday.  I took a screen shot of him last night.
We got to talk to Josh's friend Elisabeth, so it was fun to "meet" her.  She spells her name with an "s" like our Elisabeth, and she said her mom calls her Libby!  Thankfully she goes by Elisabeth most of the time though, and our Elisabeth goes by Libby, so that eliminates some confusion!

I loved our church meetings yesterday.  I turned to Bruce at the end of Sacrament meeting and said, "It doesn't get any better than that!"  One of our former Bishops was a security guard for the First Presidency when he was in college.  He told of an experience where Pres. Hunter had just passed away, and Gordon B. Hinckley had been set apart as the new President of the Church.  Fred had the assignment of sitting outside the room in the Temple where Pres. Hinckley spent the day on his first day as the new prophet.  He said that most of it was too sacred to talk about, but he bore a strong witness that he knew that Pres. Hinckley received his commission as prophet from the Lord that day.  The Spirit bore a beautiful confirming witness to my heart and mind that what Fred was relating to us was true.  And then after that, our current Bishop spoke for about five minutes, and reminded us to sit down as a couple and go over Pres. Monson's September Ensign talk, and decide together what we needed to do as a family to prepare.  It was a wonderful tandem witness of following the prophet and a reminder of specifically how we can do that.

I am so grateful for the Sabbath Day.  It is a day set apart from the things of the world for a reason.  The Jews have a saying about the Sabbath, "We have not kept the Sabbath.  The Sabbath has kept us."  Oh, how I love that, because I can say the same thing in my own life, and in our family's life.  The Sabbath has kept us!  What we do on the Sabbath Day holy is a clear testament of who and what we worship.  If there is anything to be learned from the Old Testament, it is that the Lord would have us worship Him, and Him only, not idol gods.  I prefer to leave sports, entertainment, business, education or social pursuits for another day, and fill up the Sabbath Day with worship, focus on family, and activities that set the day apart and make it a day of rest, worship and service.  I'm grateful for the Sabbath!

I found this picture of Christ on that is my new favorite!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Doing Good - A Blessing of Duty and Love

This week as part of the Young Women's program, for our ward, Mary and Libby participated in an evening called "Young Women in Excellence".  The theme for the program was "Covenant Path".  I wish I had taken a picture of the rest of the decorations.  We came in on a white path on the floor, and went in under an arbor made out of white balloons.  It was gorgeous and light-filled!  Mary conducted the meeting, as she is the Laurel Class President.
For the special musical number, Libby accompanied Mary singing Valiant Faith as part of her (Libby's) Faith Project.  They both did a beautiful job!  Libby learned this song in 3 weeks.  We had several friends over during that time period who commented to me that when they heard her playing, it took them awhile to figure out that it wasn't a recording.  Libby proved that she is ready to accompany!

I glanced out the window one day last week while talking on the phone and was greeted with this site.  These animals are on the wrong side of that white vinyl fence!  Ha ha.  Adding to the trouble was the fact that I was home by myself, and still recovering from falling off the horse, so it was a bit of a conundrum - how to get them all back in the pasture.  I managed to get a lead rope around Buck (the goat on his hind legs) and I led him back into the pasture and tied him up.  I did the same with Lilly (you can't see her in this picture - she's the other goat).  And then I got a bucket of hay and managed to entice the cows back in with the hay.  Thank goodness!
Mary has started going to "Youth Court".  It is a program after school where students that sign up for the program are involved in working with youth who have committed a crime - in the court process.  Mary cleaned well for this day in court!
We went to see the movie The Giver this week.  It's based on the book of the same title by Lois Lowry.  It was a good depiction of the book, I thought!  They picked a great actor for Jonas (although he was older than 12 years old) and the Giver.  It was thought provoking, as always, to contemplate the necessity for a mortal experience where we are passing through sorrow in order that we might learn to choose the good from the evil.  This is a true blessing made possible through the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ.

I took a screen shot of a video that Jesse posted on Facebook of BYU's Concert Choir singing in the HFAC.  Jesse couldn't sing with them because she has a cough, so she took this video.  I love the music!  I had it playing in the background just now, and it is gorgeous!  Jesse's boyfriend Stephen, if I'm not wrong, is on the left side in the middle row in the black shirt.

I was doing fine recovering from falling off of MacKee last week until Wendnesday night when I moved some boxes of chicken that I bought.  Friday morning I had this sharp pain and by afternoon, it got worse and I could feel a rib was out of place.  Thank goodness my friend LaWanna, whom I trade work with, already had me scheduled for Saturday morning!  I went in to her and through her good work, and prayer, the rib moved back into place.  Now I'm back to just recovering from sore muscles like I was before.  I consider it a miracle that this problem got resolved!

Libby did great in her basketball games this week!  In just two weeks she has already learned a ton and improved her skills tremendously.  She is a left-handed dribbler, which is so interesting to me, since she writes with her right hand.  She made a basket in each of the two games, so they moved her to wing where she can more easily shoot the ball and go up for rebounds.  Way to go, Libby!

Peter went and watched the local college football game at his friend Karson's house this week.  Their family used to live right in back of us, but they moved away and then came back and built a different house a few miles away.  We're glad to have them back in our community.  Anyway, when Peter got in the car when we picked him up, he said his throat hurt from laughing so hard with Karson.  I'm always glad to hear that my children are laughing!  I know there is such a thing as too much laughing, and at the wrong things, but my children are not in that place, so when I hear they have been laughing, I know it is good.  :)

I read Julie Rowe's book, The Time is Now this week.  She has great insights and I enjoyed the added detail and information she gave about her near-death experience where she saw events leading up to the Second Coming.  I also read another NDE by Sarah LaNelle Menet, called There Is No Death.  This book is interesting in that she is not a member of our Church but it is amazing how much knowledge and vocabulary that she has of pre-mortal and post-mortal life that is spot on to what we know.  I enjoyed that book too.

Josh is the captain of his Soccer Team.  He has actually never told me that he's the captain - I had to hear it from someone else.  ha ha  I could have guessed because he alluded to organizing practices and such, but he never came right out and said that.  I was thinking this morning about what a great leader Josh is.  It just comes naturally to him.  I am grateful for what a great son he is!

We got Joseph's "Ode to the Valley" last week!  He left his beloved mountain valley of Tupungato last week, where he has been for 8 months.  He said he would go around on Sunday and shake the hand of all 120 members that were there and call them by name.  :)  He is on to San Rafael now, and another small country town, training a new Elder.  How fun that will be for him!  I have been praying for his companion that not only can he stand to loose 7 kilos this week, but that he's ready for what Joseph wants to do!!  ha ha  There's no doubt Joseph will be a great trainer, I just hope this new greenie can keep up!

I'm grateful for the ability and desire to "do good"!  I hope it will ever be so.