Sunday, December 20, 2015


I just tucked the kids in bed and threatened to take presents away if there's anymore fighting. And I will. I'm weary of it all tonight.  

Every night of the week preceding Christmas, I try to do a little devotional with the kids. It's based on the Christ-Centered Christmas book. We read some scriptures about one of the figures central during the Savior's birth, we watch a related Bible video, sing a song, and I give them a figure to add to their own little nativity set.  It's important to me. But it's not important to them. I'm hoping it will be some day. But it's hard on nights like this when Hazel prattles on the entire time about baby Jesus and why the angels in the video don't have wings and Henry throws his angel figure up in the air over the over again, trying to catch it, and Meg puts hers in her mouth (???) and then complains that she already saw the video "A World without Jesus" in Primary and when none of the kids had even heard of the song A Little Town of Bethlehem,  yet they know all of the words to Frosty, Rudolph, and Rockin' around the Christmas Tree. 

At least the devotionals have been good for me--they've helped me re-focus each night, even when they haven't helped me refrain from losing my temper. Tonight I got to think about the anticipation of Christmas. That feeling that I still remember from my childhood that's so keenly part of the magic of Christmas.  I explained to the kids that if they magnified that feeling by 100, they still would not come close to the anticipation that we felt the night the Savior was born. A night we had been anticipating since the creation of the earth, for thousands of years. No wonder the heavenly hosts could not contain themselves from singing their praises. During the Christmas season, I bring out my Brian Kershisnik painting:
There are many things I love about this painting, one of which is the angels of all ages and sizes, crowding around to see the baby whose birth was hard-coming and long-awaited. 

The speaker in church today is a famous artist who lives in our ward. He spoke about the color crimson--alizarin crimson. For an artist, it's a hard pigment because it's impossible to cover. Even if an artist applies a thick coat over it, in time, you will still see the crimson below. It's called "ghosting."  The only way to erase the color is to subject it to continuous bright sunlight, which will fade it to gray and eventually to white.  The speaker applied this to our sins, which are crimson, as Isaiah said, but, if we subject them continuously to the light that is the Savior, they can be white. Christ's gift to us, said the speaker, is forgiveness. Our gift to him is repentance, is our sins. 

And that is why I think I was among those heavenly hosts, even if I wasn't in Bethlehem singing, I'm sure I was singing wherever I was, even if I was surrounded by small spirits who were throwing things and prattling on and complaining. I'm sure I was rejoicing, as I continue to do.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Snow Day

The first snow of the season felt too early to me. I was still soaking up the golden autumn. I'm not ready for the cold. But, once I got out in it with the kids, I loved it. I did feel a little too old, though, to be digging for sticks in the neighbor's yard. We made 4 snowmen that H and his friend promptly kicked down. I expected Zelly to stay out for only 3 minutes, the cold wimp that she is, but she surprised me by staying out for almost 2 hours. Glorious Day. Winter might not be so bad after all. And, a parting poem, more lovely than the snow itself.

The snow
began here
this morning and all day
continued, its white
rhetoric everywhere
calling us back to why, how,
whence such beauty and what
the meaning...
...and though the questions
that have assailed us all day
remain—not a single
answer has been found–
walking out now
into the silence and the light
under the trees,
and through the fields,
feels like one.
--Mary Oliver, "First Snow"

Frightfully Fun Halloween

Despite the fact that October was an extremely stressful month for me and that I returned Saturday morning from 2 conferences in Arizona, our Halloween festivities were frightfully fun. We didn't manage to hit Frightmares at Lagoon, much to the big kids' sorrow, but I took the littles to Cornbellies, we made sugar cookies, we had our P family Halloween party, we carved pumpkins, and of course, we trick or treated. H had his bag of candy gone within a couple of days and Sweetie still has most of hers (the little hoarder).


 These next few pics are classic H. They give you a glimpse of what it's like to go places with him.

Right in front of the signs that say "no jumping into the corn."

 Notice the belly full of corn. He takes the Cornbellies name literally.

P Family Party

Wrap the mummy game. H is not happy because his own mummy stinks at wrapping the mummy (couldn't resist the cheesy word play).

 Pumpkin Carving

California Dreamin'

Well, I uploaded these pictures weeks ago. And I meant to add captions and a recap. But here I am weeks later, and I'm just going to press "post" and call it good. We went to Newport with the P family and it was a good time, as always. We have great memories of our almost-annual trip there. This time we added some extra fun with a night of Jimmy Fallon games. Our favorites were Water War and Dance Your Hat (and Gloves) off. We love our family!!