Saturday, December 28, 2013

Nature is Amazing!

Uncle J took these photos in Idaho during the cold snap.  
Isn't it amazing?  Thanks J!

The wind was blowing so hard that all the humidity gathered on the fence blew out into those feathery mini-towers.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Flatbush Christmas Caroling

One year, about six years ago, when we were pregnant with you, T and R and S were little and constant munchins, which I loved. We were staying by ourselves for Christmas in a rather scary neighborhood in Brooklyn. It was not our first time with our family only and I was trying to enjoy just being us for Christmas, but I really missed our families.  I missed all the talks and the food and more than anyone I missed my mom. She's very much alive--I just really missed her.

In order to stave off those feelings I organized a caroling group.  I invited every soul I saw at church and set an appointment for all the missionaries to come with us.  When they came it was as if they just trickled in one at a time in the beginning and not everyone came.

We went to the first house and sang some songs. With each note, I felt my soul strengthen with the strands of rejoicing that entwined each word. The people loved it and some began singing with us.  Then we invited them to come along with us, complete strangers, to carol other people and guess what?!  They did!!

I felt so happy and blessed.  Those feelings of togetherness were the feelings I dearly needed.

Sometimes, it is easy to feel sad and down about things and wish you were somewhere else, like with the people you know and love, but I know that when you reach out to others around you through service and love, like caroling and other good acts of service, that you will begin to feel those feelings of sadness begin to peel away.  I won't say they will be all gone, but they will be less. And you will feel the love of God smiling upon you.

Friday, December 20, 2013

In memory of Sister Thorne

Yesterday I found out that the director of the choir that I sang with in the Manhattan temple dedication, Nancy Thorne, perished in a car crash earlier this week a half mile from her home. Her husband is in critical condition. He and their family are in my prayers.

Borrowed from my friend, Malissa Arnold's (pictured, two people to the right of me, below) facebook page.

From one of the men in the choir that took a photo at the dress rehearsal and gave us a CD of it at the performance.
What I didn't mention previously, specifically about Sister Nancy Thorne, was that she gave us keepsake  handkerchiefs to more fully remember the day. She purchased them with her own funds. I think they were embroidered with the Manhattan Temple. It meant a lot to me that she would do several things to help us remember the day--not just visually seeing the glorious temple, auditorally with our singing, but also kinesthetically via the handkerchief. I am so grateful for that experience.

I remember that she had great faith in me and my voice.  If the amazing professional singer couldn't have have made it to the performance to hit the high note than she told me I could be the one singing it.  That gave me a huge (and much needed) confidence boost because the aforementioned soprano had a voice like rich European chocolate--amazing!  
I guess you never know how many people's lives you will touch with your talents and kindness.  Like Sister Thorne, let's determine here and now that we will be loving and see the great potential in others.  
Thank you to her family for sharing her with me and the choir.  She was a great woman!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

I am here. Do not worry.

Last night, K, you cried for a few minutes--long enough for me to hear you, drop what I was doing, and come hurrying to your aid. You were crying dear, pitiful tears. But, the moment I walked into the room and said, "Don't worry, I am here!" you stopped crying and your little arms flew into the air in the universal baby language for please pick me up and hold me.  My heart was touched and I said a silent prayer that you will always know that if you have fears and worries that some how in some way I will, or some one near you will be able to give you a hug or to just tell you, "It will be okay. I am here for you!"

You are never alone! God is always there to comfort you.  If you are feeling sadness, pray and then open the scriptures for comfort. If that is not enough, go and serve someone else--you may be an answer to their prayers. In return, that act of love for others may be an answer to your own prayer.

Elder Uchtdorf says, "By becoming the answer to someone's prayer we often find the answer to our own."

In a talk Elder Holland gave in 2004 he said: 
God not only lives; He loves us. He loves you. Everything He does is for our good and our protection. There is evil and sorrow in the world, but there is no evil or harm in Him. He is our Father--a perfect father--and He will shelter us from the storm. . .
"Fear not, little flock . . . Look [to Christ] in every thought; doubt not, fear not."
"Ye have not as yet understood how great blessings the Father hath prepared for you."
(D&C 6:34; 36; 78:17).
I love you!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Raelene's Cookies

One of Dad's assistants gave us some sugar cookies for Christmas.  I don't need to tell you that you were so excited and happy to have the delicious cookies to eat.  I was flattered when Daddy said that Raelene wanted these cookies to featured on our blog.  You were dancing around begging to eat the tastiness, but Daddy and I told you I needed to take some photos. 

 Yes, these photos were quite obviously posed, but I had to tell you to quit licking your cookie several times.  It was a sign that you liked the cookies immensely.

 K, you loved thinking that the cookies were for you--you got some indirectly.
But I adored how your sweet face lit up when you thought you were going to get some directly.
Thank you Raelene! Merry Christmas!

It was freezing!!

This last week was freezing.  I mean it.  
 Our sprinkler system was left on and it made our driveway look like an ice skating rink and our trees look like ice mummified wonderland trees  You can't see it very well,  but the photo below has ice all over, next to the rug and you, R, fell as you zipped out the door to get on the bus.  I couldn't find the shut-off valve for the sprinkler system so I just unplugged the controls. 

(To the now readers--specifically my Dad) If you know better than I do, let me know so I can do it right (Dad, are you reading this--is that okay?). Also, what do I do with the board that is sticking out of the ground--as you can see in the photo below.  

Friday, December 13, 2013

Super Man and Cape

It is no secret in this family, Daddy is the favorite. Hands down. No contest. For you K, you put on your happiest face, sit up really straight and then reach your hands up as high as you can so Daddy can take you (I really want to get a picture of it, because it warms my heart like butter on a hot griddle).

T, at this juncture you dislike intensely going to the store with me, until we get in and there are samples, of course--at which point you are relatively okay with the whole idea of serving the family by grocery shopping. But if there is any opportunity to go with Daddy anywhere you're the first to say, "Let's go!" You dash out of the house like you're on fire, instead of having me pick you up and carry you out to the car while you severely oppose the injustice of shopping.
T, you and Daddy.

R and S, you still enjoy doing everything with dad.  If someone can make anything fun, it is dad.  Working? Dad can do it! Practicing?  Dad makes you feel like a million!  Etc.
R and Dad

We've lost most of the baby photos of you S.  That makes me sad, but the ones that we do have from age 3+ make me happy.

Sometimes I am just a little jealous of his secret ability.  But then I realize how much more time I have with you than him and then I suppose that is okay.  I don't mind being your second favorite.  I get you more.