Saturday, December 31, 2011

some lessons from 2011

~ people can be prepared, whether it's through impressions, intuition, listening to the whisperings of the Spirit, for events or changes before they actually manifest.

~when it's over, it's over.

~trust your gut feelings.

~sometimes taking the unexpected, scary, and unknown path might turn out to be the journey the Maker always had in mind for you in the first place.

~this vegan way of eating can be very satisfying.

~there are so many good people in this world.

~trials and challenges really are instruments in learning and growth.

~people, relationships, and feelings are more important than programs, procedures, and protocol.

~everyone has some kind of inward and unseen insecurity, doubt, and struggle not apparent or manifested on the outside.

~distancing myself from God, doubting His love and care only leads to bitterness.

~things never stay the same. People don't either.

~I can't change the past and I can't control what may happen in the future, but what I do have is today: living in the present, in the now. Peace and happiness is right before me if I can just see and remember this truth.

~sharing makes me happy.

~it can make all the difference in the world when you know and feel another's genuine and sincere love, interest, and care.

~there are certain people (earth angels, really) that come into your life right when you need them the most.

~people can change in unexpected, surprising new ways. Allow for patience, baby steps, time.

~a simple life is the best life.

~it's good, it's okay, and it's even important to be alone sometimes.

~it takes a conscious, deliberate effort to really see, to know, to capture my life. Opening my eyes to the beautiful, the happys, the simple blessings that make up a wonderful life is a choice.

~there are dormant, undiscovered talents and abilities, things about myself that I never knew were there.

~miracles can happen.

~the grace of God is always there, even with all I can do or can't do or won't do.

~interaction with others is crucial to a happy, balanced life. Even when you think you don't need it. Isolation and distancing oneself isn't always such a good thing.

~ "gratitude unlocks the fullness of life; it turns what we have into enough and more." Oh this is true.

Friday, December 30, 2011

come away

with me,

and we'll ride in a truck
and eat at the Cheesecake Factory
and we'll be satisfied even without the cheesecake part
and you'll say that sweater would look nice on me
and we'll look at dishes and stuff at Crate and Barrel
and we're both fine without buying anything
and I'm glad you like to look as much as I do
and we'll walk downtown in the dark
with all those pretty twinkly white lights
and you'll hold my hand
and we'll eat a late dinner
at that nice Thai place
they told us about
and we both comment how much
we like this smiling server man
and we call home
because we love them so much
and we share
and we talk
and we see
and you tell me that I'm beautiful
and we dream
and we wake up late
and we take cold showers
and we eat
and I give you my bacon
and we eat again when you take me to that vegan bakery
because you know I like to do that kind of stuff
and we talk about what we've learned this year
and we get me my planner calender
and we see that War Horse movie
because you wanted to please me
even more.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

around here (holiday style)

:: lots of family togetherness. lots and lots.

:: Sammy's got a big old basketball tournament.
Excited for that fun bus trip down to Kanab and back. (wink wink)

:: "Would somebody please just do the dishes?"

:: meal time- it's a random thing.

:: never ending Settlers-a-thon

:: pajama wear day and night

:: late night movies at home and on the big screen, too.
 (we loved Hugo)

:: she gets reacquainted with the pool. Forgot how nice it is to move her body through the water.

:: she also gets friendly with those fun new camera lenses.

:: lots of time to dive into the books.

:: repeated staying up late leads to many mornings of sleeping in.

:: it's all about Finland these days.

:: weird to have Christmas without a speck of snow.

:: since Santa officially brought it to the both of them, they are naturally spending lots of time together. Robotics + Legos + Dad + computer programming = Lots o' FUN!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

from our hearts to his

What a gift of love. Something he will treasure his whole life long.

She wanted to make his Christmas special. She wanted to give him something that would mean so much. Something unforgettable.

And that's what she did.

It was a big secret we were all sharing. She arranged with her video savvy friend to film all of us. His Papa. His Mama. His Mom. His Dad. The people who've known him all his life and love him the most. She wanted us to share our hearts with him. Our feelings, words of love, kind encouragement, wise council, tender memories. Things that he could always draw from. Things that would give him strength in the days and years to come.

Such a special gift to have this beautiful record. This record of not only voice and video, but the expressions, the nuances, the emotions behind the words spoken, the tone and the beauty and the feeling.

I can't think of a more meaningful, thoughtful gift.

Monday, December 26, 2011

their gift of love

Keith and I received a gift on Christmas Eve that we will never forget. Created and given with such sweetness, such tenderness, such love. Both of them (Eliza age 13 and Isaac age 7) working secretly only last week on something to surprise me, they said. So excited and joyful those two, together.

And when I opened this little book, a collection of Christmas poems each of them authored, complete with Isaac's sweet rendering of the stable scene on its cover, I was just so overcome. With wonder. With amazement. So touched that they each have found happiness, true talent in writing. In expressing so creatively and sensitively, their feelings, impressions, and interpretations of this beautiful season.

I knew I just had to share some of them with you. 

I think they just might melt your heart, too.  

The Wise Men

The Wise men come,
Traveling far,
To find the star.
They travel on camels,
A row of three,
To find the child
Who saved you and me.
~ Isaac

The Star

Wise men riding,
Oxen lowing.
~ Isaac

The Shepherds

The shepherds, while tending their flock,
Know not of the signs that announce Jesus' birth.
The angels tell them that the child is born
To see the star
The light from afar.

The Elves

The elves, though tiny and small,
Are very smart, but not very tall.
They work in their workshop until it's time for bed
And it's weird how they all wear red.
The workshop is always full
And their lives are never dull.


The Christmas plant
Has red leaves, green,
Veins like lace,
A pearly sheen.
The red is blood
Our Savior gives.
The green is life-
Our Savior lives!


Blue cheeks
Blue nose
Blue lips
Blue toes
We are cold
As cold can be
But I am warm
Inside of me.

The Hands of Joseph

Worn rough with years of work.

They tear strips of cloth to wrap a baby in.

Though so strong,
So rough-looking,
They are gentle, kind.

They press Mary's palm,
The large thumbs
Rub back and forth on her fingers
To soothe her through the pain.
They brush back her hair
So she can nurse her baby.

These hands
Are those of a carpenter,
A worker,
A husband,
A father.

They are the hands
Of a good man.

They are hands
Full of love.

Where Among the Angels

Where among the angels
Were you on that night?
Were you in the heavens
Polishing stars bright?
Were you in the choir
Learning how to sing?
Did you come to children
And tell them of a King?

Were you in the pastures
Comforting the sheep?
Did you sit by Mary
And help her fall asleep?
Did you spread glad tidings
Of the wondrous birth
To each and every person
Across the Father's earth?

Did you leap and shout for joy
And shine your holy light?
Were you among the angels
Were you on that night?

Sunday, December 25, 2011



Peppermint and evergreen
Firewood and tangerine
Danish cookies, holly leaf
Cinnamon and pinecone wreath
Gingerbread and jingle bells
Almond and pistachio shells
Snow globes, Russian nesting dolls
"Silent Night" and "Deck the Halls"
Roasted chestnuts, mistletoe
Dampened mittens, tracked-in snow
Gumdrops, tinsel, Christmas crackers
Chocolates in gold foil wrappers
Snow boots, scarves, nativity
Lights strung round the Christmas tree
Story of the Christ Child's birth
Christmas all around the earth.

~ Eliza
December 2011

(One of the many poems she and Isaac
gifted this year to their mom and dad.
Come back tomorrow and I'll share more!)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Finding Joy~ Day 24

Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve is very fun,
You get to wait for Christmas day.
It's hard to wait for the very best day.
Tick, tock, tick, tock goes the clock
Crackity, crackity goes the lock.
Why! That is Santa Claus filling my sock!

a poem by Isaac

Another day spent in the kitchen. More treats made with love to tuck into a few more gift baskets. Rice pudding ready to take to my parents house where we will gather tonight to feast Mexican style, play the goofy Left and Right game (it's tradition), exchange gifts, and enjoy being all together. It will be beautiful, as always.

Cinnamon rolls are baking in the oven for brunch tomorrow and the house smells lovely and feels cozy. Keith has been out and about since this morning doing his thing. Eliza is playing Picture a Christmas on the piano and it's nice to finally sit down and enjoy this moment. This calm.

Now, we wait in expectation, anticipation.

I hope you feel peace and joy, my friend. Today and tomorrow and the day after that. That's my Christmas wish for you. Thank you, each of you dear ones wherever you are in the world who visit here and let me share my life with you. I think about you and wish all the best to you and those you love.

So thankful, more and more each day, for that Light that gives my life meaning, joy, and hope.

The greatest gift of all.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Finding Joy~ Day 23

A slow, easy morning. This was needed after all the rushing about this week. The knock at the door had me nervous, embarrassed as I was still in my sweats/pajamas and that meant no shower. What a surprise to see her standing on my doorstep. I hadn't talked to her for over a year. This friend of mine who is the epitome of goodness. It's a true friendship when you can just pick up from where you left off without day to day interaction. Hardly any real interaction, for that matter. Knowing and feeling that the caring, love, and concern is and always has been there, regardless.

She said she always thinks of me when she's in my neighborhood. She said she wanted to stop by and bring me her family Christmas card, along with the carol that she wrote. I was touched that she would think of me. We talked heart to heart on my couch. So warm. She's a listener. We hugged tight and I told her that this visit made my day.  

Some years we go to see a local production of the Christmas Carol and other years we like to go to the Nutcracker. It's a tradition that's brought us a lot of joy. A family outing that we all look forward to. We asked them what they'd like to do this year and the ballet it was. Made even funner by inviting Ivana to join us.

So magical. Even though we know it by heart. Maybe that's the reason why.

German food sounded good. Handy right there next door to the theater. Lot's of fun, too, browsing around the aisles of imported European foods. That's something I always find very interesting.

I love it when we are all together like this. These times, this season, these traditions that make memories, tighten bonds. Thankful for days like these to tuck away and hide in my heart.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Finding Joy~ Day 21: The Day Gary Gets His Mission Call!

This was one of the most joyful days of my life.
Of his life.
Of so many of our lives.

A day we've dreamed of.
A day, he most of all, has been praying would finally come.

Since Gary turned in his mission papers to church headquarters at the beginning of the month, these days just have seemed to drag on and on. The holiday rush has honestly been a welcome distraction in some ways. We've been sitting on pins and needles, anxious to know where in this world Gary would be called to serve his mission. His ecclesiastical leaders told him to expect that the letter would come today.

Gary brought over his stuff late last night to sleep here. Obviously, none of us slept very much. Think Christmas Day anticipation x10. Keith and I laughed, noticing it was 1:30 in the morning and all we could hear were the sounds of Gary downstairs rummaging through the Lego box that Isaac had been playing with during the day. We smiled there in the dark. It was a happy sound- this way  of his he found to occupy his mind.

In our town, the post office usually calls prospective missionaries early in the morning to notify them that their letter is in. Whether to hold it or deliver it. No call came by quarter to 8 and knowing I couldn't wait any longer, I went ahead and made the call. Sure enough, the letter was there. We all piled into the van. Such joy, laughter, and expectation filled the air as we drove to pick it up and then on to Mama's and Papa's house to gather as a family. To share it all with them.

Each of us made our guesses. Excitement, love, and pure joy reigned. We knelt in prayer and listened to Gary's sweet sincere prayer of gratitude and humble plea for peace.

I thought my heart would burst out of my chest. Beating so fast and so hard. We were all literally holding our breath.

And then there was that tender silence.

Our waiting while he weeps. Tears of utter happiness.

" Dear Elder C____,

You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Finland Helsinki Mission. It is anticipated that you will serve for a period of 24 months..."

Finland! We were shocked. None of us even considered this place. Many more tears. Shrieks of delight and amazement. A whole new way of thinking, processing it all.

He will leave on April 25th for a two month stay at the nearby Missionary Training Center. To learn the language and the culture. To learn how to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ. What it means to be one of His representatives.

We gathered around the computer. Wikipedia (the first place we go to for information these days) would shed more light on this country that would become beloved and cherished in time. Sensing now that it already is these things.

Calling to share the good news with loved ones. Spending the day back at home digesting it all, letting it all sink in. Visiting with eager- to- find- out- the- news friends of his. Listening to online Finnish instructions- how to count and what this new and different language sounds like.  All of us agreeing that his love and ease of learning languages might be one of the factors in his being assigned there. Cranking up Sibelius's Finlandia and feeling the sudden stirrings of pride for this people and culture he'll soon learn to love. 

Such day of joy and jubilation.
This day of true rejoicing.
An early Christmas present.
Sweetness none of us will ever forget.