Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas Tidings!

What a wonderful week we had!  The highlight, of course, was talking to this girl!

She looked so good!  She was genuinely happy, so full of the Spirit and happy to see and talk to us, even it was just over Skype.  Thank you to the wonderful family that allowed her to come and use their home.  She made us laugh at the end by telling us that a pug was licking her leg last night and she wanted to do away with it (her words were not that nice).  ha ha  Yes - still Jesse!

On Monday we met for Family Night with what we affectionately call the To Zion! group up at Todd and Kristie's.  This is the same four families that went with us on our week-long campout last summer.  We had a great time eating, talking and lighting Chinese lanterns and sending them off in the air.  We are so thankful to have such good friends!

Bruce and Josh (and Joseph joined in at the last) sang with the Barbershop ensemble that sings every year at Bruce's work.  They are really good!  Becca, Peter, Libby and I went to hear them sing.  (Mary was at work).  We were laughing so hard as we saw these guys come across the courtyard because here's everyone in their white shirts and red botwies, and here comes Dad in his plaid felt shirt.  At least it was festive and red!

Libby has been doing her own Dutch braids!  Not bad!
On Wednesday night David and Elysia, Erica, Nathan, with his girlfriend Jenna, and Darin came over for dinner.  (Sadly I didn't get any pictures!)  It was so fun to sit in the family room after dinner and talk.  At 8 pm, Bruce, Josh, Mary and Joseph went and participated in the Live Nativity that our Stake set up in front of our church building.
It was so beautiful!  Calvin, our friend, built the stable out of old barn wood, and another sister in the stake made all the costumes.  They were gorgeous!
They added a recording of Christmas music from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  Becca, Peter, Libby and I stood and watched them for their one hour shift.  Kevin, Becky and Bailey, our old neighbors, filled some of the other spots, so it was fun to see them!
Part way through the program, an older gentleman that seemed to be in charge of the proceedings came up to me and said incredulously, "Did you know that their real names are Joseph and Mary?"  I have to say that it was one proud/happy mother moment for me to say, "They are my children!  I gave them those names!"  I love this picture!
As we watched the quiet scene, I pondered how we really had seen it all, that we were watching from premortal life as the original scene unfolded. On this night, it was a very sacred and spiritual experience to be there!
Later that night we had Becca and Lexy over at our house.  So fun to see these three together again!
Christmas Eve found these four playing Mario Kart.  (Thankfully not for long...)
Mary had to work that day, but ended up getting off early at 2 pm instead of 5 pm.  Yeah!  We had a snow day on Christmas Eve!  It snowed beautifully all morning - big flakes just comin' down!  It made it so peaceful and beautiful for Christmas Eve!  I loved it!  It also made for a fun snow day!

In the evening, we went caroling to four of our neighbors, and then we had our traditional Posole!  I did it up good this year.  It was yummy!

After dinner we did our own live nativity.  Nic was with us and took a video, which I haven't gotten from him yet, but here again are Joseph and Mary!  Josh was the Inn Keeper, Peter the Shepherd, and Libby the angel and the Wiseman.
I love these pajama pictures!

Because Jerica is living in the room upstairs, the kids decided to make the fort in this room instead.
 It's an awesome Fort, by all accounts!
Christmas day was wonderful!  WE (Bruce and I) had to actually go wake the kids up!  I'm sure had Jesse been here that wouldn't have happened.  ha ha  The highlight of the day was talking to Jesse, as I mentioned before, and then going to Bruce's sisters for a wonderful dinner.  Michelle went all out - it was basically a Thanksgiving meal all over again.  Delicious!  We had a great time sitting around their table talking with Gerard, Michelle, Nicole, Philippe and Daniel.  Nic and Becca came over that night and we had a good time talking and laughing late into the night.

On the 25th and the 26th, we woke up to this beautiful frosted scene!
Josh, Joseph, Peter and Becca all went snowboarding/skiing on the 26th.  When Joseph got home, he was exhausted!  Josh slept on the couch too, never making it into bed.  But they sure had a good time!
Libby and Mary in their new Charlotte Mynt dresses!

I was asked to teach a lesson in Relief Society today on Elder Oaks talk on the Atonement from October General Conference.  What a treat!  I love this subject - the nuts and bolts of how to bring the Atonement to work in our lives.  I mapped out Stephen Covey's Stimulus and Response, and the space that we have in the middle to choose our response.  Mary sang Where Can I Turn for Peace and I also played Come Ye Disconsolate, from Rob Gardner's Saints and Pioneers.  The most powerful moment for me was when I bore testimony that in that space between stimulus and response, when I have something painful to deal with, I go and walk in the Garden of Gethsemane with Jesus.  And He walks with me and feels what I am feeling, and the light of that pure being is able to take my pain and allows me to choose gratitude, love, mercy, abundance - He allows me to choose all these as my response instead of remaining in struggle and pain.  I got really passionate about the subject - I  love teaching this.  It is life-changing!  I love my Savior.  And I also testified that we can trust God and trust in His plan.  I love the good tidings of the Gospel!

Lastly, Bruce and I had our 26th Anniversary today!  All the time I think, can it get any better than this?  The next two days we are going on an Anniversary get-away.  Yeah!  Pictures to come from that next week!

Merry Christmas to all!

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