Sunday, February 28, 2016

Kaleb's Farewell/Mini Reunion

We got together this weekend with Bruce's side of the family for the farewell of Kaleb, going on a mission to South Carolina!  Gary and Heidi rented out a dormitory from an old teacher's college in a small town near Kaleb's house, so we were all able to gather there.  It was super fun!

Five siblings - so good to be together!
Siblings and spouses
We got there in the afternoon, and after we ate, we watched a program that Dad prepared about our ancestors and family name.  The owners run a haunted house as part of the grounds, so Kaleb took us on a tour of that.  Why do people think that is fun?!  Then that evening, Kaylee, Daniel, Derek, Justin and Joshua B., Joseph & Becca, Mary & Kevin, Peter and Libby all got in the hot tub.  We all talked and laughed and talked some more.

The next morning was Kaleb's farewell.  He gave a wonderful talk about "finding a better way".  I loved hearing him testify that in the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ followed through with the Atonement, even though he asked if the cup could be removed.  After Kaleb's talk, Joseph and Josh got up and sang, "Lead Kindly Light".  They only practiced for about 25 minutes ahead of time, but it was solid, and so beautiful!  Their voices blended so nicely, and then you could tell the training and experience of singing together really came into play.  Kyla was so impressed by it that she came up afterward and asked our family if we would sing a song at their wedding (Jacob & Kyla get married in June).

After the farewell we went back to the Dormitory and were able to eat lunch, and then go around and have everyone give some advice to Kaleb.  It was a large group, and wonderful advice was given.  The Spirit truly testified of the truths that people shared!

And here are some pictures that were taken. (I'm missing some - I'll add them in later).

Andrew, Kevin and Becca - talking while the cousins all stood in for a picture.
Here they are in order (those missing in parentheses:  Nicole, (Philippe), Joshua W, (Heather, Natalie), Jacob, Jeremy, (Matthew, Devyn, Brianna), Joshua B, Kaylee, (Gwenaelle), Derek, Joseph, Justin, Daniel, (Jesse), Kaleb, Camille, Mary, Zack, Sarah, Lauren, Peter, Libby and Katie.

It was a wonderful weekend being together!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Be Thou Humble - and then what?

Here's the debut of the man bun...

Peter's in the musical Beauty and the Beast at the high school, and the director asked them to all grow out their hair so they could have a man bun for the play.  Peter is a featured dancer in the play.  He is enjoying the play, but getting worn down because he also started soccer practice this week, and he is in Ballroom dance with Libby (pictured here), AND, in Middletones and Mad Boys (a Capella groups).  And memorizing lines for Romeo and Juliet in English class to boot.  Oh yeah, and he feeds the animals every day and milks the cow.  And home teaches and manages to go to stake dances and have fun too.  WHEW.....

Bruce and I are singing in a multi-stake audition choir led by the local college choir director that is preparing to sing Handel's Messiah. Wow - what a great experience.  It's the most professional choir I've ever been in and I'm learning so much!  We are singing Easter Sunday.

Mary had a choir performance this week too.  She is doing great in her classes.  Joseph is giving plasma and keeps getting poked in all the wrong places, giving him hematomas.  For a boy that was petrified around needles in high school, this is taking all sorts of mental discipline to do this.

On Saturday night we went to a local hot springs and then went afterwards to an old-time burger joint.  Jerica and Tristan arranged it, and Bruce and I, Josh and Libby joined in.  It was fun!

We got a wood stove this week!  Our furnace broke down in the west wing, so instead of investing in a new furnace, or patching up the old one, we decided to invest in a wood stove - something that will heat the house in time of need.  We got a really good deal on Craigslist (Bruce and Craigslist are TIGHT), and even bought some used flooring, wall paneling for the heat, and some piping for dirt cheap.  Now all we need to save up for is the final installation to pipe it out the roof.  We feel really good about it.  We're going to put it in the hallway that has a door out to the back porch.

We have had the strange occurrence of losing both our pastures in the last month; meaning the pastures that we have borrowed from friends in the past to put our animals on have both become unavailable.  So, we are looking for extra pastures.  It's interesting timing, I think.

Libby has started outdoor soccer practice!  The coach put her in as a striker.  Whaaat?  Jesse and Mary always played defense.  This is a new world!  And Libby has stepped up into the role of playing the piano for Young Women's on Sunday.  Way to go Libs!

We have tiger lillies starting to grow in the front flower bed!  Wow - that took me by surprise.  Looking forward to that.

I have come to an understanding about Humility lately.  I have found that humility is not an end virtue, and neither is gratitude.  What good does it do to be humble?  So what?  And what good does it do to be grateful.  So what?  Both of these virtues have to lead to something to be of value.  I seem them both as breaking up the ground, plowing the heart, getting the soil of the heart ready for planting.  And when the seed of faith is planted in such ground, it is fertile ground, and the seed takes root and grows.  And what emerges is belief and faith and action.  Faith is a principle of power, so things happen.  Do and Be take place.  One of my personal declarations is this:
Because I love God first, I flow in gratitude and humility, which broken ground provides for the fertile growth of my faith, leading me to abundance, daily repentance and creation.
I love how the gospel of Jesus Christ lends itself so fully to the growth mindset that Carol Dweck, PhD talks about in the book Mindset.  We are all about growing, learning, becoming.  I love this way of living!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Valentine's Day!

Mary has started dating Kevin.  They met at a dance 3 weeks ago.  He and Mary came home this weekend (his family lives in a nearby town) and so we were glad to meet Kevin.

Mary is planning on her mission and only needs to have her interview with the Stake President before submitting her papers!  So watch for that announcement soon!

Peter started playing the piano all of a sudden.  He is learning Jessica's Theme from the Man From Snowy River soundtrack.  He's getting good at it!  So all of a sudden we have piano wars going on over who gets to play the Kawai baby grand.  We do have 2 pianos, because we still have our Petrof, but both want to play the Kawai.  #firstworldproblems

I told Peter that playing the piano was a good way to win over chicks, and he said, "I know."  And he said it in such a way as to say, "Why do you think I'm playing the piano all of a sudden?"  Ha ha ha

Libby has also been playing a ton.  She has been playing the Hymns while listening to audio books on Audible.  She plays for what seems like hours!  And she is getting really good at the Hymns!  We figured out that since the ward split, she is the one out of all the YW who play the piano the best!

Joseph has overcome his severe fright of needles and is giving plasma. 
Joseph went to the Temple this week with his roommates.
Libby Selfie!
Peter's bed head after waking up from a Sunday nap.
He is growing his hair out for the HS play, Beauty and the Beast.
Josh sang tenor today for a special invitational choir for Stake Conference coming up in 3 weeks.  That's new for him!  Becca sang in it too.
Joseph and Mary both came for Valentine's Day.  We had a family dinner on Saturday.  Tonight we played a fun round of Mormon Bridge.  Becca won the last round with the Rook card, but Bruce won the game!  Josh had to go to sleep, so he's not in the picture, but here are the rest of us, including Peter with his messed up hair.
And here are these two couples.

Happy Valentine's Day!

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.