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.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Provo City Center Temple Open House Adventure

Friday afternoon we drove to Grandpa and Grandma's house with Bruce & I, Josh, Nic, Becca and Libby.  We slept there, for a few hours anyway, and then left for Provo at 3 am in order to get there for our 7:30 am reservation time.  Nic, Josh and Andrew (Joseph's roommate) rode in the back of the covered truck, Mary, Becca and Joseph in the back seat and Bruce and I in the front seat.  Libby rode the whole way down in "the coffin" (inside family joke).  She said as long as she can listen to Words of Rafiance on headphones she would be all right!  What a trooper! I'm explaining this all for Jesse - she'll get it.
Nic's bed head from sleeping all the way down:
Josephand Andrew in the underground parking lot. (Becca and Libby peeking in from the sides).
The Open House was awesome!  We loved the beautiful designs and architecture. I was especially impressed withe cathedral like high ceilings, and I loved the murals on the walls. The Spirit was abundant.  In the Celestial Room we gathered everyone in a circle for a moment and put in ou hands and whispered, Suuuure love ya!
This is at the reception afterwards.
And some more pics from outside the Temple.

Mount Timpanogos was shining in all her majestic snow-covered glory.  What a sight!

We ate all you can eat French Toast at Kneader's afterwards, and also went to visit cousin Derek in his apartment. It was super fun to see him!
On our way home, we were stuffed, but Josh insisted we stop and eat at In n Out Burger.  It was good, have to admit!

Joseph did some hairy driving through the snow, and we made it back to Grandma's safely.  That night we had a birthday dinner for Joseph at Craig and Jenette's.  We laughed and talked about our favorite Studio C skits, movies, etc.  we had a great time.

Today I was watching Grandpa while Mom, Libby and Bruce went to Church, and he did fine until right when Bruce and Libby walked through the door.  Then I looked down and Grandpa was having a seizure.  Oh man, that just drops your heart.  I called Hospice and he had one more seizure after that.  Bruce was able to pick him up and take him to his bed when he was done.  He is all right tonight though, and he has stabilized tonight.  

We've had a wonderful wee!kebd

Monday, January 11, 2016

Mary Goes to College!

After waiting 7 months from the time of her graduation, it was finally time for Mary to go to College!  She said good-bye to the great friends she made at her job at the dry cleaners, packed up her room (that was hard), packed her bags (there mere MANY of them), and we headed to BYU Idaho!  But first came the good-bye pictures, taken by Nic.
 We had a doozie of a time taking this picture because Josh felt like he wasn't seen enough, and Mary was telling him where to stand... it didn't work very well.  After Nic approached everyone with his arms out saying, "Peace and love..." people finally calmed down enough to take the picture.  Ahh - family life!
Becca and Mary!  These two have been dear friends the last 2 years.  Thank goodness for friends who understand you and love you!
 Mary, Josh and Becca singing.
 Mary had fun attending all the new student orientations.  Here she is in one of  the activities (in the red pants) in the gym at the I-Center.
 Josh came over at the same time (in a different car - long story), and Nic and I got to watch him practice with Apollo.  They sang at the new student orientation to recruit students to the School of Music.  It was really fun to watch Josh in the rehearsal.  I can see why he loves to sing with Apollo - they have so much fun together!
Mary is rooming with her cousin Kaylee, so they are going to have a great time together!  So happy about that!  Joseph also moved in and started the Winter Semester.  He is rooming with Freddy, longtime friend form our ward, and his old roomate Andrew, and one of his mission buddies, E. Halter.

Nic and I drove back together.  We got to my Mom's house just in time to help her with Grandpa (we call him that, but it's my Dad), who was throwing up.  She was so relieved I was there, but I really didn't do much to help.  Just the moral support is a help to her, I think.  Thankfully, Grandpa is doing a lot better.

Joseph told me on Wednesday that he was coming back with Andrew for the weekend.  When Josh, Dania (friend) and I got back from the Temple, they had September going so we walked into the kitchen and started dancing.  It only took me about 5 seconds to say, "Oh, I wish Mary was here!"  And immediately, I saw Mary jump out from the hallway and say, "She is here!"  Hahaha!  Wahoo!  She came with Joseph!  It's funny because I was just talking to her that afternoon saying,"I'm really proud of you for staying in Rexburg.  It's a good sign that you are focused and not running home on the first weekend."  Well, all that sound advice went down the drain when we started dancing and she wasn't there.  And then she was!  Haha!  I was so happy to see her!  What a great time we have dancing around the kitchen!  (Jesse - don't you worry - we did some good Jesse impressions of your favorite dance move.  Libby even got up on the bar and did some good foot stomping!)
We had a fun weekend with Mary and Joseph home!

Sunday night we had Gérard and Michelle, Shawn & Nicole and little Emma over for dinner.  We had Lasagna, salad, and Bruce's delicious dutch oven artisan bread.  And Michelle brought over cinnamon rolls too.  It was delightful to be with them.

We traded Mary for Josh!  (You gotta love this track system with BYU-Idaho).  It's been fun having him home!  I am especially enjoying his piano playing!  He is right now playing the theme from Pride & Prejudice.  So beautiful!  Josh got called to be a Branch missionary, and specifically to teach the Gospel Principles class.  That's what I am doing too!  I guess he taught so well last week, that Erica was pounding down the door of the Branch President to get Josh called as the permanent teacher.  :)  Erica assists Russell in the Ward Mission Leader capacity.  Lots of missionaries now in the family!

We are off to a great year in 2016!