Friday, 12 January 2018

The Big 4-0!

40 used to seem so old. It sure doesn't anymore! We had fun celebrating with family. We made two cakes and homemade ice cream. He sure is one good looking forty-year-old!

Christmas Break

 Our good friend we knew in San Antonio that I used to interpret for, came out to Colorado to visit. We had planned on all going out for dinner, but I mixed up the days and Tink and I were committed to going to the Relief Society Christmas activity. So PC was the only one able to meet up with him, but they had a good time. They even dress alike!
 The Relief Society did a progressive dinner and at each house there was a woman dressed as someone from the time of Christ's birth. There was the innkeepers wife, a shepherd's wife, and then Mary, the mother of Jesus. They said they prayed about it and wanted me to be the one to represent Mary. What an honor! I was so nervous, but felt like it went well. Tink sang "O, Holy Night" with two of my friends. One of her friends "sang" as well. I say it like that because she was so sick, she could barely talk but still stood behind them and sang as loud as she could. I snapped a picture. I cried when my friend on the right lost it. She just had a baby so is still emotional and after having just represented Mary, my tears were close to the surface. It was a beautiful way to bring in the Christmas season.
 Tink and I went out on a Mommy/Daughter date with our friends to the Fat Shack. Tink and her friend had heard about it from their English teacher and really wanted to go try it out. It was definitely different but really good! They make sandwiches with the meat, french fries, and all the toppings together. I love the picture above because it shows how much fun Tink was having. I'm so glad she has such a great friend. They both want to go to BYU and maybe even room together. 
 I had a fun day with another of my good friends. Her husband is deployed, so we had planned to do stuff together. Her daughter wanted to throw her a surprise birthday party, so my job was to keep her out of the house. We went shopping and then got pedicures. When we got back to her house, everyone was waiting and completely surprised her! It was so much fun!
 PC and I went out to see the new Star Wars movie.
 While watching The Grinch Stole Christmas, Shortcake really wanted her hair done like Cindy Lou Who. The Grinch was definitely the movie of choice this holiday season. Both little girls asked to watch it almost daily it seemed!
 Minnie had a friend over one day and they learned how to do makeup from my visiting teacher who is a Mary Kay consultant. They loved it!
 Minnie's class also acted out the Nativity for sharing time in Primary. She got to be Mary too.

Surprise and New Years Eve

Our good friend, "A", flew in to surprise PC for his 40th. It didn't work out with schedules to get her here on his birthday, so it all came together the weekend of New Years. We did a great job and PC had NO idea! The kids even knew and were in on it! Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures of the surprise! But their old friend stopped by the next day and we got a picture of all three of them together. He couldn't make it the night before as his wife just had a baby and was still in the hospital.
 Bucko got ahold of my camera on New Years Eve and took a few pictures. We had tons of food and played games. It was a fun weekend!


I just LOVE the kids expressions on Christmas morning. I wish I could remember all of them forever, but I was able to capture a few great ones on camera at least.

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve was on a Sunday this year, and I was asked to speak in Sacrament again. This is the second year in a row as I spoke on Christmas last year as well. I joked with the bishopric that I am now the official Christmas speaker. And if you missed it, well, I have it all typed up so I guess I'll just share it here:

Peace on earth, good will towards men. At Christmastime, we are often more focused on how we can find peace on earth. Even in 1914, amidst WWI, opposing sides stopped fighting and sang Christmas carols together and even played soccer. Our Savior, Jesus Christ, is known as the Prince of Peace. But peace isn’t only about a time when there is no war. Personal peace is an even more prized possession. Inner peace can help us navigate through all the storms of life.

Bishop W. Christopher Waddell said, “Peace of mind, peace of conscience, and peace of heart are not determined by our ability to avoid trials, sorrow, or heartache. Despite our sincere pleas, not every storm will change course, not every infirmity will be healed, and we may not fully understand every doctrine, principle, or practice taught by prophets, seers, and revelators. Nevertheless, we have been promised peace—with a condition attached.
In the Gospel of John, the Savior taught that despite the tribulations of life, we can be of good cheer, we can be of good hope, and we need not fear, because He declared, “In me ye might have peace.” Faith in Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice is, and forever will be, the first principle of the gospel and the foundation upon which our hope for “peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come” is built.
In our search for peace amidst the daily challenges of life, we’ve been given a simple pattern to keep our thoughts focused on the Savior, who said: “Learn of me, and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my Spirit, and you shall have peace in me. I am Jesus Christ.”
Learn, listen, and walk—three steps with a promise." (“A Pattern for Peace”)

Ever since this scripture was announced to be the YM/YW mutual theme for 2018, I have been studying it in more depth. How can we learn of Him? How can we really listen to His words? How can I walk in the meekness of His Spirit? I have broken up the word PEACE to help me remember how I can do these things better.

PRAY   D&C 19:38 Pray always, and I will pour out my Spirit upon you, and great shall be your blessing—yea, even more than if you should obtain treasures of earth and corruptibleness to the extent thereof.
Elder Richard G. Scott said, “Prayer is most effective when we strive to be clean and obedient, with worthy motives, and are willing to do what He asks. Humble, trusting prayer brings direction and peace.” (“Using the Supernal Gift of Prayer) Feeling peace before getting married/going to the temple

ENABLING POWER OF THE ATONEMENT Enabling power accessed by faith; cut off by fear and doubt. This enabling power is also known as grace and the Bible Dictionary teaches that it is what “allows men and women to lay hold on eternal life and exaltation after they have expended their own best efforts” (p. 697). I love the quote that says, “Pray as if everything depends on God. Work as if everything depends on you.”
Elder Bednar counsels, “As you and I come to understand and employ the enabling power of the Atonement in our personal lives, we will pray and seek for strength to change our circumstances rather than praying for our circumstances to be changed. We will become agents who act rather than objects that are acted upon (see 2 Nephi 2:14)." (The Atonement and the Journey of Mortality)

ACT in faith Elder Scott teaches us to, “Remember our Savior is the Prince of Peace. Peace in this mortal life comes from His atoning sacrifice. When we are consistently praying morning and night, studying our scriptures daily, having weekly family home evening, and attending the temple regularly, we are actively responding to His invitation to “come unto Him.” The more we develop these habits, the more anxious is Satan to harm us but the less is his ability to do so. Through the use of these tools, we exercise our agency to accept the full gifts of His atoning sacrifice." (Make the Exercise of Faith Your First Priority by)

COMFORTER, President Eyring said, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:26–27). Your defense against Satan’s attacks is to have the Holy Ghost as your companion. “The Spirit will speak peace to your soul.” (My Peace I Leave with You) Hurricane while in MD by myself with the kids. Storm all around and scared, but asked for peace and found it.

ENDURE well Elder Quintin L. Cook taught, “We all long for peace. Peace is not just safety or lack of war, violence, conflict, and contention. Peace comes from knowing that the Savior knows who we are and knows that we have faith in Him, love Him, and keep His commandments, even and especially amid life’s devastating trials and tragedies. The Lord’s answer to the Prophet Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail brings solace to the heart:
“My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;
“And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high.”19
Remember, “God is not the author of confusion, but [the author] of peace.” (Personal Peace: The Reward of Righteousness)

The theme song for the youth came out a few weeks ago and I like to leave you with these comforting lyrics of the chorus:
“He gives us hope, when hops is gone. He gives us strength when we can’t go on. He gives us shelter in the storms of life. When there’s no peace on earth, there is peace in Christ.”
I know as we strive to learn more of Him, study and listen to His words, and walk in the meekness of His spirit, we can find peace amidst all that we face in this life. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

We invited two families from our ward over on Christmas Eve, along with Nana, Papa, Johnny, and Mark. We had our traditional taco salad followed by acting out the Nativity.

It was a great day to celebrate the birth of our Savior.

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Elementary School

It is still weird to me to only have one child in elementary school. Goofy had his music concert on November 8. They did a lot of patriotic songs for Veteran's Day.
 And he received a Top Dog Award this quarter as well. He was awarded his certificate at a school assembly.
I am the Home Room Parent for his class, so I get to plan the four parties they have during the year. We had fun with the Christmas party, playing Christmas charades, a book exchange, hot chocolate, and cookies.
It's nice that he has a cousin in his class because my sister-in-law helps me plan and execute all the parties!

Friday, 1 December 2017

Feeling Connected

We had a family move out of our ward at the beginning of December. We were all still fighting sickness, but I did go out to eat at my friend's going away breakfast. This is Minnie with the friend that moved in the middle.
Well, at that going-away breakfast, I had the opportunity to talk to one of my friends that I just hadn't had much time to talk to recently. Her husband has been battling throat cancer for the past ten years. They have 3 little girls who are just the cutest. One if 5 years-old and the 4-year-olds are twins, so she is super busy. Her husband hasn't been doing well, having had to have surgery to remove a tumor in his leg recently and then having to go in for throat dilations every couple of weeks, plus they had to put a trach in so he could breathe. Anyway, it's been rough on my friend and we really wanted to help. So I offered to help set up some ladies to come in and clean her house and watch her kids when she has to take her husband in for his long appointments. It has been such a blessing to be able to help her out and feel connected to so many women in my ward. We just love their family and want to help however we can. Here's picture of my kids playing with their kids on the trampoline.