Tuesday, January 29, 2008

My Own Thoughts

If possible to have a "favorite" prophet, President Gordon B. Hinckley would most definitely be mine. I have a testimony of prophets. The belief in a modern-day living prophet is integral in a testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I join the ranks of millions who loved this man both as a mouthpiece of the Lord as well as a person who has lived an extraordinary life. His biography written by Shari Dew describes so well this extraordinary life.

I have to share one of my most treasured memories of President Hinckley. I could actually share thousands of experiences where his words has taught me/changed me so much! However, at this time I want to share just one...

I have never met a general authority in person, let alone the prophet. I have never attended General Conference in person. On occasion, I have attended a regional meeting, devotionals in my BYU days where I would have been in the large presence of a general authority but never had I actually been face to face with one.

Scott's parents were being set apart as the temple president and matron of the Denmark Temple in 2004 by President Hinckley in Salt Lake. I was just a couple of weeks from delivering Emma. Dee and Kay's children were invited to attend this setting apart. With written permission from my doctor to board a plane, Scott and I left the kids behind (a huge hurdle for me) and set off for Salt Lake for the day.

This was just days after Sister Hinckley had passed away. Before President Hinckley's assistant led us into the large conference room he schooled us on what would happen. He mentioned that we should not expect him to shake each person's hand, that he was tired and weary. We entered in through a main door and took our seats. A few minutes later, a side door opened and in walked President Hinckley. It's impossible to recreate with words the spirit that overtook that room. We each stood at his presence. He then proceeded around the entire room and shook the hands of each person there, including mine looking me straight in the eye. I will never forget the power and witness I felt at his presence. The look of the Prophet's eyes will forever be imprinted in my mind. This is an experience I will forever treasure. I didn't need to see the prophet in person to have a testimony of his truthfulness. It was just an exquisite treat to do so.

This picture was taken inside the Church Office Building on the day of Dee and Kay's setting apart.

Here's a quote just for fun that I just read in the Ensign...

"I want to plead with you to keep balance in your lives. Do not become obsessed with what may be called 'a gospel hobby.' A good meal always includes more than one course. You ought to have great strength in your chosen . . . field of expertise. But I warn you against making that your only interest . . .

" . . . Beware of obsession. Beware of narrowness. Let your interests range over many good fields while working with growing strength in the field of your own profession."

An amazing man. Just as amazing will be the day to sustain a new prophet. It's so exciting the church will never be in chaos. We'll have a new prophet to love and listen to. We won't be led astray. This is awesome!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

I Love This Baby!

Can baby number four really be this fun? Grace is the human doll at our house. Sarah plays with her like she might as well be her latest Corolle or American Girl doll. Most of the time I feel like Grace is my dolly too!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I say BOO!

Yesterday I was home and I went to pick up the kids from school. Emma stayed home with Mama and Gracie. As I was walking out the door Emma yelled "I say BOO!" I asked "What?" "I SAY BOO!" She said this as she was climbing behind the couch. Then it dawned on me what she meant. She was going into hiding so that she could jump out from behind the couch and say "BOO" and scare Ben and Sarah when they got home from school. I thought it was cute and added "you don't have to hide yet, I'll be home with the kids in a bit."

I picked up the kids and on my way home Nancy called and asked if Emma was with me. "No!" She said that she could not find Emma anywhere, and Nancy called for her while I was on the phone. (If she were next door she would have heard.) I asked if the front door was unlocked. (One of Emma's new skills is unlocking and opening the front door. She is quite pleased with her self, I am not so much. Oh well I guess it was bound to happen.) I just hate the feeling when you realize a child is missing or at least unaccounted for. Suppress the panic, suppress the panic, she has to be somewhere! At least the front door was locked. I then cycled through some of her favorite hiding places, and then it clicked. I asked if she looked behind the couch. She looked and the picture shows what she found. We both laughed. Emma is such a funny girl. Panic relieved in a millisecond! Whew!

I guess she just got tired waiting for her moment to jump and say BOO! The funny thing is after Ben and Sarah got home Emma walked in and said "BOO!" It did not have quite the impact I think she was hoping for, however she followed through with her plan.

Reviewing this little incident I find it interesting that we have an automatic parental panic button that seems to trigger so fast when the whereabouts of our child/children are not known at all times. It seems like we mirror the homeland security warning. We are always on orange alert. You know the one just under RED ALERT!

I can not help but think that my parents were mostly at level green. (I know that they have been at full tilt RED ALERT a few times like the time I got "lost" at 6 or 7 yrs old at the Roadway Inn in Indianapolis as we traveled across country in our brown Ford LTD wood paneled station wagon. (Ah memories of the 70's) The Roadway Inn was pretty nice but it was full of truckers and other desirable folks. (It was right next to the interstate) I was "lost" for about a half hour or so. My parents did not know that I was perfectly fine watching TV in the lobby. I knew where I was the whole time, I did not understand what the big deal was. Oh well to be a naive kid again.)

Well having illuminated the red alert a few times in my day, the green light was on most of the time. I can remember my mom instructing us kids to have fun and come home for dinner. Ah those wonderful summer days! My mom usually had a general idea where we were, but there were times she did not have a CLUE where I was for hours at a time! The truth is that we always came home, and there was really no need to be that worried. We were always among friends and were considered safe.

I guess we live in a different world where we have to always be at high alert and have a need to know where our little ones are all the time. I guess the good thing is our kids will never know anything different.

Sadly we do... and what fun it was while it lasted.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Christmas 2007 Memories

It is already the 2nd week of January 2008, however we were so busy this last Christmas we never blogged about it. Well we have some great shots I thought I would share under the guise of Christmas Memories. Enjoy and Happy New Year ... again!

We started out our Christmas Season by inviting our neighbors for a Christmas carol sing along on December 10th. We all had such a fun time singing together so we decided that it may become a tradition. It was a great way to invite the spirit of Christmas into our home.
Pictured are a few of our neighbors and friends that came to "sing in" the Season.

It was also the first time we used Papa's chocolate fountain. We are glad we set it up in the kitchen. Chocolate dripped all over the tile floor which made for an easy clean up. I think the kids were much more excited about the dessert than the singing. Alas sorry no pictures of our treats. I guess I was not thinking of blogging.

On the 15th of the month we had our Ward Christmas party. The kiddos first got to see Santa and then we enjoyed a great roast beef dinner with Ward talent sharing music and fun.

Sarah wins the best photo with Santa this year so she has earned the BIGGEST Santa picture this year! Yea Sarah, good smile!

Emma and Grace were not too sure about the big guy in the red suit.

Ben was just excited to tell Santa what he really wanted for Christmas. In our family tradition they get to ask Santa for one gift. Usually he comes through and delivers, so this was a very important moment. Ben's wish was a Roboquad. I am glad that Santa knows what the heck a Roboquad is because I never heard of it.

One of the musical pieces performed was by Jeff, the Bishop and me (the bishopric). We performed "We three Kings" the Three Tenors we were not, quite impossible in fact seeing that Jeff and the Bishop are basses. We had good practices, but we got off a bit in the beginning of the performance oh well. At least we were able to end on a strong and recognisable note! I think we three were happy when it was done. :)

We spent Christmas Eve with Nancy's sister Susan and her family. We had a wonderful time and loved the prime rib dinner. Yum yum yum. After dinner we had our traditional Christmas story found in Luke 2 read by Uncle Elvin and acted out by our puppeteers. This year with the addition of Emma as a wise man the story took on some funny turns like when the wise men started fighting with each other and then turned on Joesph and Mary. Not the most reverent rendition, but memorable. Thanks to Brian Emily's hubby (playing the angel part) the nativity brawls were kept to a minimum.

After the Christmas story we sang Christmas hymns. This is Sarah with Emily posing in front of the ebony and ivory. Sarah is taking piano and was pleased that Auntie Em (really cousin but Auntie Em sounded more fun.)would let her play a little bit too.

Amy had dish duty after the festivities. You can bet when you can hear water running Emma will be there in a flash. Amy was more than happy to have a helper, however I am not really sure how much help Emma ended up being.

As for me I was just happy Gracie was willing to take a little snooze. There are few things better than a sleeping baby!

The first order of business for the kids when we got home was to jump into their new PJ's. They are really cute jammies. Thanks to Aunt Allison for making matching PJ's! Getting PJ's for Christmas seems to be a tradition for many, we feel privileged to have one of a kind special made PJ's to wear. The kids love them and we appreciate the hard work and love that went into their making!.

Christmas morning... sometime most likely before 7AM... ack. too early, but fair game on such a day. As you can see Santa did come through for Ben. He got his Roboquad, Sarah got her "Wet and Bath Paul" doll and Emma got her (appropriately named) "Wet and Bath Emma" doll.

I hope you had a fun and happy Christmas season like we did.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Skating into the New Year

December 31st was a lazy day around our house. After nearly a month of begging I finally gave in and took the kids ice skating in downtown Walnut Creek. We had a blast, and I enjoyed the 80's music that seemed to be a theme. Ben and Sarah had fun getting their "skate feet" back.

The first half of our adventure with Sarah was pushing her along or helping her with full support. After a while I let go and wouldn't you know that she could skate on her own! Ice skating was something that she did not think she could do on her own. I was really proud of her for trying!

Ben had a lot of fun and was content to skate by him self and was excited to get out his favorite hat. It is a few years old and possibly a size or two too small. Hmmm you be the judge.

I was of course happy to bring out "my" old skates. They are actually my Dad's skates that he purchased in the 50's and brought back from his mission in Sweden and gave to me. He skated on the Baltic Sea one cold winter when it was frozen from Stockholm to Helsinki. I'm sure he didn't go that far, but I am happy to have his leather Swedish hockey skates.

Nancy and the other girls (Emma and Grace) went to a near by park and had a swing while we carved the ice.

We ended 2007 with a kid party. Sounds crazy but it was fun. We invited over a family from our ward and had a little movie night. A movie was the activity but horsing around was the real fun.

Our neighbors had a little firework display around 8 and we settled down around 10 PM. Not too exciting, but we are looking forward towards a new year 2008!


Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Clean Slate

I love the New Year's holiday. It feels so fresh with a clean slate. In keeping with the perfect day as a start for a perfect year, I'd better get off the computer and read my scriptures followed by a homemade dinner for my family made from ingredients from our year supply followed by a devotional with the kids surrounding the fire in a quilt I made with my own hands from homespun cotton. There will be no unkind word said following which the kids, in their matching leiderhausen, will skip off to their rooms hand-in-hand to have silent reading time. Do you think I can keep this up all year?