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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

I was in the mood to illustrate my feelings about this season....somehow it's easier to work on this sort of thing than, it is to...say...make a new Blogger template. :-)

Well, Halloween is over for most of the world, but we've still got two and a half hours here, darnit! :-) I completed my goal of making it all the way through "The Changeling" today. Also, our pumpkin turned out pretty was nice to have the internet around for inspiration. I guess Megan can update you all with more detail later.

Enjoy autumn while it lasts! And sleep safely.


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

You Are 4: The Individualist

You are sensitive and intuitive, with others and yourself.
You are creative and dreamy... plus dramatic and unpredictable.

You're emotionally honest, real, and easily hurt.
Totally expressive, others always know exactly how you feel.

At Your Best: You are inspired, artistic, and introspective. You know what you're thinking, and you can communicate it well.

At Your Worst: You are melancholy, alienated, and withdrawn.

Your Fixation: Envy

Your Primary Fear: To have no identity

Your Primary Desire: To find yourself

Other Number 4's: Alanis Morisette, Johnny Depp, J.D. Salinger, Jim Morrison, and Anne Rice.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Let the rain come down

Today is Monday. M O N D A Y. What more is there to say? I thought about posting a music video of Manic Monday, but didn't find one that I liked. Instead, I figured it would be a good day to promote one of my favorite songs, Into the Ocean, by Blue October. It is October, after all, so it works. Not that I wouldn't be able to post a song by Blue October in May if I wanted to... but, I was really stretching to think of something to post for today and since "Monday" didn't result in finding anything good, I went with the next thing that came to mind - October.

So, I really love this song. I love its catchy music... but, I really love the lyrics. I might be interpreting the song wrong, but the message that jumps out at me is "bring it on!" (Of course, until the end of the song, when it starts to sound like the poor guy has given up. Oh well, don't listen to the end if you don't want to.)

Let the waves up take me down
Let the hurricane set in motion... yeah
Let the rain of what I feel right now...come down
Let the rain come down
Let the rain come down

I remember getting stuck in the rain on my bike once while I was on my mission. It was at the end of a really awful day. So many bad things had happened that we stopped counting. Then, we came out of our last appointment at about 9:00pm. It was dark, cold, and when we stepped outside it literally felt like buckets of water were being dumped on our heads. And, we were about a 20 minute bike ride from our apartment. What can you do? Really? So, we hopped on our bikes and started riding home... and the entire time I was thinking, "bring it on!" The worst had already happened... this was nothing after all we'd been through.

The photo isn't too flattering, but what do you expect after a 20 minute bike ride in the rain? Oh, and, don't you just love my bike?! It had a bell on the right side of the handle bars, it had saddle bags hanging over the back tire, and it had a light on the front of the bike that was powered by the movement of the front tire. So, when I would go "lightning" fast, the light would practically blind everyone in my way. ;)

So, anyway, if any of you out there are feeling like your Monday was rotten and the world around you is falling apart, look into the eye of the storm and with determination in your eye, say, "bring it on." (And, hopefully, that'll be enough to scare the storm away... but if not, then at least you'll be facing things head on instead of letting the storm get the best of you.)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Our Swamped Saturday

Our day was so full! It was nice to sleep in two hours and get up at 7:30am. Marc made his delicious whole wheat pancakes and then was off to his Judo class. I headed out the door a half hour later for our last soccer game. The girls on our team are such a joy! Tabitha and I had so much fun coaching them and interacting with them. They played hard and worked together... I am very proud of them!

As soon as the game was over, I rushed home to find Marc cleaned up nice in his slacks and a tie. I hurriedly changed into a dress and high heels, and within 15 minutes we were out the door again. A family fried was getting married over on the coast, about an hour and a half drive. We made it there with about fifteen minutes to spare.

The couple was married in the backyard of a house that was literally on the edge of the ocean. It was a very beautiful setting and fortunately the weather cooperated, adding to the beauty of the day. Here's the view we enjoyed during the ceremony:

Annmarie and Kevin are a darling couple and we wish them all the happiness and love as they begin this journey together!

It was wonderful to be able to witness their wedding. We stayed and mingled for a while, gave our best wishes to the happy couple, and then we made our way back home.

We had a half hour before our next "activity" for the day, so we took a short 15 minute cat nap on the couch. It was just what we needed. Then, we went to the church for the baptism of Alex, a young man in our ward. He is a sweet boy and it was wonderful to celebrate his beautiful day with him.

Are you getting tired yet?! Yeah, you might think this is where our day ended. No, no. We came home and changed into some more casual clothes and then rushed over to a pizza place for a party with the soccer girls. This soccer season was so much fun that I can't wait for next year! Tabitha and I will be signing up to do it again. How could you not after having such a great group of girls to work with?!

It was a great ending of a stupendous soccer season and the perfect ending for a wonderfully packed day!

Friday, October 26, 2007


I can't believe this week has gone by so fast! We've been busy with work and school and... other stuff, I guess. I don't really know where the week went. But, it has been a good week. The weather has been unseasonably warm - in the 80s! Yeah, the week before Halloween we have been wearing flip flops and t-shirts, opening the doors and windows to let the warm sunshine in. It has been beautiful!

We're looking forward to a fun-filled weekend, with lots of activities going on. We'll also be getting geared up for the traditions that come with celebrating Halloween in less than a week. For us that will include:
carving pumpkins
roasting pumpkin seeds
making pumpkin bread and cookies
breaking out the hot chocolate
(if the weather doesn't cool down, maybe we'll go with chocolate milk instead)
... and the best tradition of all....
making homemade doughnuts!

Growing up that was one of the most exciting traditions I looked forward to. We'd come home from trick-or-treating to find Mom and Dad busy in the kitchen together, making loads of doughnuts. Rather than eating candy, we'd enjoy a fresh, warm doughnut. Yeah, so maybe doughnuts aren't much better than candy... but, at least they're homemade and it's a once-a-year treat! Marc and I decided it was one of the traditions we wanted to carry on. It has been fun to play around and try new recipes and new glazes.

I asked Marc this morning what Halloween traditions his family had growing up, and he said I'd have to talk to his sisters. So, Calamity and Carrot, I'm counting on you to fill me in! Anybody else have any fun traditions for Halloween? We're always looking for new ideas of things to do. Please share!!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Addicted to Autumn

On Saturday afternoon Marc and I went on a little drive to take some pictures of the beautiful fall colors. We had only taken a couple when the batteries in our camera died. So, we came home to recharge the batteries, and went back out a few hours later. Once again, we had only snapped a few shots when the batteries died again... so we either didn't let them charge long enough or our rechargable batteries have seen their final days. In any case, we had a nice afternoon together, enjoying the beautiful weather and scenery!

It's getting to be that time of year when the leaves start falling really fast and before we know it the trees will be bare. So, we'll have to go out again sometime this week to get some better pictures of the trees and the vineyards. They are so beautiful right now!

Here are a couple of pictures we got of us standing in front of one of the many trees we found in full fall bloom. This time of year is so beautiful!

I've had so many moments over the last couple of weeks where the beauty of the earth has literally left me speechless... and all I can say over and over is, "Aaahhh, it's just so beautiful!"

Sunday, October 21, 2007

"the dark threads were as needful"

I got a poem the other day from another seminary teacher I work with. I'm not sure of its title or of its author, but here's the poem:

My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me.
I let him choose the colors
He worketh steadily.

Ofttimes He worketh sorrow
And I, within my heart,
Forget He sees the pattern
While I see only part.

The dark threads were as needful
In the Weaver's skillful hand,
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He had planned.

Not till the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Shall God unroll the canvas
And explain the reasons why.

There was an oil painting I did a couple of years ago, where I intentionally worked with only a couple of different colors, to be able to focus on the contrast of light and dark values. In a very compelling way, the darks made the lights stand out and vice versa.

Every time I look at the painting, I am reminded that in life, as in art, there is beauty found in contrast and opposition. Dark times make the good times more beautiful. There is purpose in pain. It plays an important role. When coupled with moments of joy and peace, it makes the masterpiece of our lives rich and deep and more beautiful than it would be if we only experienced one or the other. How could I fully appreciate the joys of life if I felt no pain along the way? Pain deepens our joys, and perhaps joy also deepens our pains.

So, today I'm grateful for the role of trials and challenges, and the way they add to the beauty of life.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Happy, Happy Birthday...

Just wanted to say Happy Birthday to Carrot Jello...her posts always brighten our day and she has done a *lot* to help others find their way to our blog. We think she's awesome =)


Adoption Vocabulary

Marc just left for his Judo class. I'm about to leave for a soccer game. Our team only has two games left after today. And, who knows where we'll be for the rest of the day... so, I thought I'd give you something to do.

When we first got into adoption, we learned from our case worker that there are correct and incorrect words and phrases to use when talking about adoption. It was really helpful for us to learn how to say things in a way that represents adoption in the positive and beautiful way that it should be represented. So, the other day I was thinking about posting the list we received, but then realized that Carly had just posted it on her blog.

So, go check it out... you may learn something new. Plus, she has a really incredible adoption story that had me in tears. I have loved seeing her perspective as a birthmother... it helps me so much to learn the feelings and emotions on the side of birthmothers.

We have really appreciated Carly and the other birthmothers we've "met" throughout this process and the ways they've enriched our lives and deepened our love for the miracle of adoption. They are incredibly strong, mature, selfless women, who demonstrate awe-inspiring faith and courage in choosing adoption for their child. Just amazing.

Friday, October 19, 2007

"Is someone going on a field trip?"

I just had to share this funny thing that happened to me last night. Thursday nights I have my Multicultural Pedagogy class. It goes from 4-9pm. *deep sigh* Usually it isn't too bad... but, yesterday was a different story. I've been coming down with the beginnings of a cold, and that mixed with my early morning wake up call of 5:30am was not a good combination. After being in class for only TWENTY minutes, I was fighting to stay awake and alert. My eyes were extra dry, so that was not helping at all.

When 5:45pm hit, Mrs. P decided to let us take a short dinner break {her eyes looked more blood shot than mine}. Usually I bring something to snack on, but I forgot to last night. So, I decided to make a quick trip out to grab something to eat. I couldn't stand the thought of fast food, so I stopped at the nearest grocery store. I only had about ten minutes to get in and out, so I was making a list in my head on the drive there of super power foods to get me through the next three hours. Here's what I picked out:


Trail Mix (without M&Ms)

Braeburn Apples

Baby Carrots

Mandarin Orange Propel Water

At this point, I headed towards the deli area, to see if there was anything fast I could grab. But, I realized I wasn't in the mood for a sandwich as much I was in the mood for crackers and cheese. I was running out of time, so I rushed to the deli meat area and grabbed this:

It wasn't my top choice, but I had to hurry and that was the quickest thing to grab. So, I headed towards the check-out stand. I patiently waited in line until it was my turn. The cashier was Tina. She was very pleasant and we made some small talk while she checked my food through. Then, as she was handing my groceries back to me she said, in a slightly high-pitched, child-like voice:

"Is someone going on a field trip?"

*short pause* (I'm thinking, "field trip? what kind of question is that? where did that come from?" Then, I realize it was those dang Lunchables that made her think I had a child going on a field trip.)

Then, I proudly replied, "Nope."

Tina: "Oh, just some healthy snacks, huh?"

Me: "Yep."

LOL! So, the whole drive back to school I chuckled to myself as I ate my cheese, meat and crackers. I found myself thinking of field trips I went on as a child and how I never would have gotten Lunchables for a field trip. And, then I thought of future field trips I'll send my kids on and how they probably won't get Lunchables either. lol! But, it made for a funny moment.

The good news is that the almonds and the apple ended up being all I needed to get through the rest of class. Phew! One more week down!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Oddly Wrapped Gift

"For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift."

The other day I decided to post about some of my more honest feelings about the difficulty of some of our trials. While it felt good to express that raw emotion, I want to be perfectly clear about a few things.

Yes, dealing with infertility has been painful.
Yes, the wait for adoption can be hard.

But, I would be completely ungrateful if I didn't admit that somehow in the midst of going through these trying times, we have found so much beauty. How is it possible that adversity can be a blessing?

I've started to recognize that the most wonderful of life's blessings have usually come to us in the most oddly wrapped packages. To look at something on the surface, it's easy to be deceived into thinking it represents something awful and unattractive.

Have you ever been to a white elephant party where the beautiful box wrapped in gold paper with the perfect red velvet bow on top is coveted by everyone? That is, until the person who finally ends up with it, and no doubt fought hard for it, finds that its contents are totally undesirable... you know, like an old fruit cake or a half burned candle or something.

While, on the other hand, there is a plainly wrapped gift that everyone does everything they can to get rid of it... only to discover at the end that it contained some very desirable gift... like, a large box of See's chocolate. {can you tell what I'm in the mood for right now?}

So, where was I? Oh yeah, packages. When we first found the "infertility package" on our doorstep, we were in denial. "No, no, it wasn't intended for us... we'll just ignore it there in the corner until it goes away." We didn't even want to go near it... it was not a gift... it was most definitely a curse.

Well after a couple of years, either out of desperation or curiosity, we decided to unwrap it. But, we did it very slowly. Just a little bit at a time. We went at our own pace. Even while in the middle of unwrapping it, we were trying desperately to understand how this could be a blessing. We were still deceived by how it came wrapped. We wanted the pretty, gold wrapped package with the big red bow.

After some time, we finally started to recognize little blessings of having received this "gift." We have found the gift of empathy. The gift of bearing each other's burdens. The gift of knowing that everyone has their quiet struggles. The gift of very faithful, supportive family and friends. The gift of knowing how to let each other mourn in the way that works for each of us. The gift of a strengthened marriage. The gift of patience. The gift of faith. The gift of a learning what it means to pray intently. The gift of seeing past the awful wrapping of infertility, to find that we had been given a very wonderful gift. Adoption.

We're all given different "gifts"... they come in all different shapes, colors, and sizes, and most importantly they all represent different things for each of us. The key is to "receive the gift" and "rejoice in the giver of the gift" even if it appears at first to be something that we think we don't want.

Because, there is a loving Father in Heaven who knows how to bless us, and always blesses us with "good gifts."

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Our Day in Oakland

As soon as I was done with seminary this morning, we headed down to Oakland to go to the temple. It usually takes between two and two and a half hours to drive down there, depending on traffic. The drive down was gorgeous! There was fog blanketing the entire valley, and that mixed with the colorful foilage was just breathtaking. There were vineyards and trees and entire hillsides in perfect autumn bloom!

By early afternoon, the sun was shining and the sky was a beautiful blue. We couldn't leave without taking some photos. Here's one of my very handsome husband:

Isn't he SO HANDSOME?!!

Before heading back home, we were able to meet up with our good friends, Allison and Pedro, to have lunch at Zachary's. Pizza that's so good it can't be categorized with what is traditionally defined as "pizza." Does that make any sense? Well, just take my word for it... and try it if you ever get the chance.

The entire day was completely wonderful! We ended up spending most of the time in the car, driving to and from... but, we had so much fun talking and laughing! I absolutely loved our day together! It's a blessing that we have flexible schedules to get away in the middle of the week together. It was a terrific day... just what we needed!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Patient Wait

I was thinking back today of a childhood memory - going fishing up at the dams with my dad and older brothers. I don't remember if either of my sisters were there for this outing, but it ended up being a memory I wouldn't forget. On this particular fishing trip, at the young age of seven, I had my own fishing pole. I don't know how it's possible, but I knew how to cast, how to bait the hook, and I was even good at letting the line stay out for long periods of time without impatiently pulling it back in.

At one point I had decided to reel the hook back in, to see if the bait was still hanging on. Sure enough the bait wasn't there, so I reeled the fishing line in until I could carefully grab the hook and put more bait on. Somehow the "carefully" part didn't happen. I grabbed the three-prong, barbed hook and one of the hooks went into my right middle finger with ease. Unfortunately because of the barb it wouldn't come out with the same ease. I tried to hide at first, embarrassed at the situation I was in. I finally ended up going to my older brother, Mark, who tried to work the hook out. When that didn't work he took me to my dad, who tried himself, though unsuccessfully.

So, off to the ER we went. I don't remember much else. Except the funny blown-up-glove balloon that the doctor gave me afterwards, and the "fun" bandaid they put on my finger. Oh, and they gave me the fish hook... a souvenir, I guess. I have a photo somewhere of me standing on my front porch, proudly holding my balloon in one hand and the fish hook in the other hand. Somehow that awful experience ended with a big smile on my face. Perhaps it was because of the day's happy ending that I kept going back to the dams with my dad and brothers, without letting the hook deter me from having other positive experiences fishing.

Lately I've been consumed with thoughts of adoption... struggling to figure out if we're doing all that we can, wondering when and how it's all going to work out. Earlier today, I was thinking about this fishing experience and how it relates to our adoption journey. We know there are certain things that are so important for us to have throughout the adoption process - having the right tools, being surrounded by supportive family and friends, having the patience to keep our line in the water, and not giving up completely at the slightest sign of pain.

I've been wishing I had the same child-like courage I had 22 years ago to grab that fishing pole and get out there again and again without fear of pain or failure.

Maybe it's inevitable that there will be pain along the way. Maybe pain is just naturally part of the process - maybe it's supposed to teach us that we can learn to trust in the supportive arms will be there to lift us back up and bind our wounds. As much as we'd like to keep our intimate, painful moments to ourselves, maybe we're supposed to learn how to allow others to help us carry our burdens.

The hardest part has probably been exposing ourselves completely... our infertility is no longer a secret. We have been stripped of all our secrets, and we stand before complete strangers to be judged and analyzed. It has been very humbling. It's no wonder people ask us why we put ourselves through it.

We do it all for the miracle of life that will come to us. Then, it will be worth it.

The majority of our marriage has been spent pleading for that miracle. The first part of that miracle came about a year ago when we first felt guided to adoption. We have had many moments since then when we have felt a calm, quiet assurance that we're headed in the right direction. We're trying to be patient as we wait for things to happen according to the Lord's will and timetable. We know He knows the empty ache in our heart that yearns to be filled with the joy of a child... and we excitedly anticipate that day.

We can't wait to embrace the birth family who will bless our life with that most precious gift... there are no words to express what they will mean to us.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Our Masseuse - Watson

So, while I was catching up our blog this morning, Watson jumped up on my lap and settled in next to me on my chair and fell asleep. For the little guy that he is, he sure has a heavy duty purr. He is like a little hand-held massager.

But, rather than having something like this:

We have this:

So, in case it isn't obvious, Watson is resting up against my leg (I'm wearing red sweat pants)... and it really felt like he was giving my left thigh a nice massage before falling into his deep sleep.

Now, come on, really, is there any question which one you would choose?

Saturday - Pumkin Fest Parade and a Haircut

Saturday I participated in the Pumpkin Fest Parade with our soccer team. Unfortunately I forgot my camera, so I didn't get any pictures of our beautifully decorated truck. I think I need to just keep my camera in my purse at all times. But, anyway, it was fun! I'm not a huge fan of parades - as a participant or as a bystander - but, we really had a good time!

We spent the rest of the day with Mahala, J.C., and Thea. We got to have them hang out with us while their mom attended a class for school. Mahala actually went to a church activity, and Marc helped J.C. with some of his school work, and I gave Thea a new haircut. As a disclaimer, I have not received any professional training. But, I have had a lot of practice on Marc and on myself. It all started when I would come home from getting my hair cut and I wouldn't be happy with how they cut it, so I'd snip a little here and snip a little there, until I eventually got to the point where I would just skip directly to my own snipping here and there. Just don't look too close and you won't be able to tell the difference! :)

So, anyway, here's Thea before:

And, Thea after:

We ended up cutting about three inches off. But, here's the deal - Thea is such a cute little girl that she would look darling no matter what! We sure had a fun afternoon.

Since our home is usually very quiet with just Marc and me, we really enjoyed having a little more noise and energy filling our home. When we have kids of our own we'll probably appreciate the quiet days we have now... but, we honestly can't wait to have our home filled with the laughter and busy energy of kids. What joy!

Friday Fun

Friday morning started with baking a fresh batch of whole wheat bread.

I am so grateful for Marc's Mom and sister who have shared their whole wheat bread recipe with me - it is so good! Rather than write the recipe out, just go here, if you're interested in making it, too.

I decided to make one loaf into a cinnamon swirl, which just consists of rolling out the section of dough, spreading a little butter, sprinkling a layer of cinnamon sugar, and then rolling it up and putting it into a loaf pan. Yum!

Later that night we had another friend come over for a visit. Emi was in town with her kids for the week, so as soon as she had the kids put to bed at Grandma's, she came over to visit with us. Emi and her family just moved to Arizona a few months ago. We were sad to see them go, but are happy that life is going so well for them in Arizona.

Emi and I first got to know each other when we played on the same soccer team, close to twenty years ago. I came across our team's soccer picture a few months ago, so I'll have to get it out again and post it here. While we have known each other for a long time, it has only been in the last three years that we have gotten to know each other really well. We loved living in the same town as her and Aaron... and have so many great memories of hanging out together with them. It's hard to have friends move away, but having them back in town (if only for a short visit) brings so much joy. We love our friendship with them!

Emi, it was so great to see you! Thanks for coming over to see us!

Fantastic Thursday

Last Thursday I was able to meet up with my very dear friend, Allison. For the last three years we've had the pleasure of living within a couple of hours drive from each other. While we haven't seen as much of each other as we'd like, we have had more chances to meet up than we did before. While Allison was in town for the week, we were able to meet up for a fancy cup of hot cocoa at a local Starbucks, and had a good two and a half hour chat. We could have easily talked the entire day away!

Allison and I go back to sixth grade band class, where we both played the flute. That was just the beginning of a friendship that has come to mean so much to me. Allison and her husband, Pedro, are getting ready to welcome a little boy into their life. She is due in a few months and is one of the cutest, soon-to-be-mamas that I've ever seen. I forgot to get a picture of her when we met up, so here's a picture from last summer when we got together with our little group of girlfriends for a 10-year high school reunion.

From left to right: Sarah, Julia, Megan, Allison, Rachael

Thanks, Allison, for the hot cocoa and for the warmth of your friendship! You are a jewel!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Bran Muffins

My mom passed this recipe on to me a few years ago, and I love it! It makes the best bran muffins... and they are so perfect for a cool Fall morning!

Bran Muffin Recipe

5 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp. salt
4 cups All-Bran cereal
2 cups Bran Flakes cereal
2 cups raisins (optional)
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
2 cups boiling water
5 tsps. baking soda
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter
4 eggs
1 quart buttermilk

In a large bowl sift together flour and salt. Stir in All-Bran and Bran Flakes. Add raisins and nuts, if desired. Set aside.

Mix boiling water and baking soda; set aside to cool.

Cream sugar and butter in a large bowl. Stir in eggs, one at a time. Beat well. Stir in buttermilk and soda/water mixture. Stir in bran mixture. Cover tightly. Best if refrigerated 12 hours (or more).

The mixture will keep 4-6 weeks in the refrigerator and can be baked as needed. When ready to bake, drop by spoonfuls into greased muffin tins. Do not stir mixture. Bake at 375 for approximately 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Makes 5-6 dozen muffins.


Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Ordinary Miracle

My favorite music artist is probably Sarah McLachlan. I have periods where I'll listen to other singers and put Sarah aside, but I always come back to her. I love her voice and I especially appreciate the depth of her lyrics. She writes some good music.

Here is a song that she wrote for Charlotte's Web last year. I hope you enjoy listening to it.(As a side note, the very first picture on the video is Cannon Beach, Oregon - where Marc proposed to me!)

Ordinary Miracle lyrics:

It’s not that unusual
When everything is beautiful.
It’s just another ordinary miracle today.

The sky knows when its time to snow,
Don’t need to teach a seed to grow.
It’s just another ordinary miracle today.

Life is like a gift they say
Wrapped up for you everyday;
Open up and find a way
To give some of your own.

Isn’t it remarkable?
Like every time a rain drop falls,
It’s just another ordinary miracle today.

Birds in winter have their fling
But always make it home by spring.
It’s just another ordinary miracle today.

When you wake up everyday
Please don’t throw your dreams away;
Hold them close to your heart
Cause we’re all a part
Of the ordinary miracle.
Ordinary miracle

Do you want to see a miracle?
ohh ohh ohh, ohhh ohh ohh...

It seems so exceptional
That things just work out after all.
It’s just another ordinary miracle today.

Sun comes up and shines so bright
And disappears again at night.
It’s just another ordinary miracle today.
ohh ohh ohh, ohh ohhh ohh...
It’s just another ordinary miracle today.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Conference Weekend

It has been an awesome weekend. Conference weekend is our favorite weekend... we look forward to the messages and love the uplifting feeling that strengthens us and helps us to find joy in the midst of trial. This weekend was no exception. I won't re-type all of my notes, but I wanted to share a few thoughts from this weekend.

When I was at BYU, I had religion professors who taught us that if we approached conference with a list of questions or concerns that we wanted answers to, and we prepared ourselves to receive those answers, that we would come away from conference with answers. Now, we were warned that sometimes the answers would come from spoken words and sometimes the answers would come through quiet feelings that we would only feel within our hearts. So, it would require some intense listening (with ears and heart) to get the messages we were seeking.

I haven't always prepared myself like I should, but when I have prepared, I have come away with an overwhelming feeling of knowing that God knows me and loves me. I have been constantly amazed at how this process works. I prayerfully make a list of questions and the answers come with great love.

There was one talk that felt to me as if it was intended just for me. It was Spencer Condie's talk on Saturday morning about the Lord fulfilling His promises. Even before he got into the meat of his talk, I had made a large star in the margin of my notes and wrote "Re-read this talk." As the talk continued and he very tenderly talked about faithful couples in the Old Testament who sought the fulfillment of promises that they would have posterity; his message that the Lord knew and loved them came loud and clear into my heart. I was overwhelmed with the feeling that God has not forgotten us, that he knows the quiet feelings in our hearts, and that His promises to us will be fulfilled. I guess I just needed to be reminded of that. This entire talk was an answer to my prayers. It was a profoundly moving moment for me.

There were a few other very specific moments that really touched me:
- Elder Wirthlin's talk on charity was so powerful, especially as Elder Nelson stood behind him to steady him when he started shaking. So much was taught without words. So powerful!
- Pres. Packer's phrase, "You can't tell by looking at a frog how high he's going to jump," was a good reminder to find the best in people.
- Elder Holland always speaks with power and boldness - this was an incredible talk!
- I really loved the closing hymn by the Young Women on Saturday, "Oh, May My Soul Commune With Thee." It's one of my favorite hymns, and they sang it so beautifully.
- I loved the Choir this morning singing "A Child's Prayer" and really liked the intro to it that they added. So beautiful!
- I appreciated President Eyring's talk about writing down our experiences for our posterity. I love the inspired thought that came to him, "I'm not giving you these experiences for yourself."
- The two talks back to back on revelation by Elder Hales and Elder Scott were inspiring and profound.
- Julie Beck's talk is one that I'll have to go back and re-read over and over... kind of seemed like a "raising the bar" talk for women, showing specific ways we can be a little better as wives, mothers, and homemakers.
- Elder Oaks talk was great! I liked his catchy little phrases, like "what your children really want for dinner is you." The message of the importance of spending time with family was powerful.

Oh, gosh, I could go on and on. There were so many great moments! I love love love President Hinckley. I am so grateful for him and all the other leaders of the Church who give us such simple tools that can help us be better people and encourage us with great love and kindness. I am overwhelmed with feelings of wanting to be more kind, more faithful, more giving, more sensitive, more loving. We are hoping to take these messages and turn them into manageable pieces that we can apply to our life.

It was a wonderful weekend!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Our fun-filled Friday

Yesterday was kind of a crazy day. First thing in the morning we took Watson to the Vet to have have his neutering done. Poor little guy. We dropped him off at 8:30am and finally picked him up at about 2:00pm. They let me know that they put a collar around his neck to keep him from licking the general area of the stitches, so that he doesn't cause any infections. I guess we should have asked for another one for Einstein to be kept from licking Watson. So, here's Watson, post-surgery:

And, here's a little video we took of him, trying to figure out how to function with the collar on:

We were only able to watch him like that for about an hour, before we took the collar off. The Vet said that if he started to thrash around, then he was going to do more harm to himself than any licking might. So, we just kept an eye on him for the rest of the afternoon. By Friday night Watson was extra cuddly, rubbing his nose up against our faces and purring extra long. I think we're all glad this procedure is behind us.

Friday Night Football

We spent our Friday night up at the high school watching the Homecoming football game. We ended up being surrounded by some of the youth from Church, which made the evening even more fun!

Our team lost the game, but we cheered loud and long until the very end. The final score was 17-7.

It was a very brisk evening and we were happy to have our warm jackets as well as a large thermos of hot cocoa. It was a fun ending to a long week!

Friday, October 5, 2007

This beautiful season...

These days I can't go outside without having sensory overload, with all the colors and smells that accompany this time of year. If you haven't noticed, I really just love Autumn Time! The leaves are just beginning to change colors, the air is fragrant with smell of "Fall", which I don't even know how to describe. I guess it's a mixture of chimney fire smoke mixed with a cool, briskness (you probably didn't know that "briskness" had a smell to it!) that makes me want to jump in a large pile of leaves!

To celebrate the joy of Autumn, we had a rare lunch date in the middle of the afternoon on Tuesday. It was a much needed break for us... and we really enjoyed the spontaneity of going out together on some other day than Friday. Afterwards we decided to stop by a couple of stores to pick up a few items, and couldn't resist going down the seasonal isles, where they had all kinds of fun Autumn things on the shelves. We decided it was time to change the look of our kitchen to reflect the changes outside. So, we found a nice tablecloth and a beautiful dark vase, to hold a nice fall arrangement of flowers.

I think the thing I love the most about this time of year is the reminder that change is good. I watch the changes in nature and I'm able to recognize the beauty in the different seasons. As I learn to appreciate the changes in nature, it helps me to find gratitude in the different seasons of life.

As I reflect on my life, I must say that I have always been very blessed. I know that whatever changes lie in our future, we'll find many more blessings along the way. We're looking forward to new seasons and changes that may come into our life in the coming days and years. In the meantime, we are soaking up the beauty of the season we're in. We are in a beautiful season of life and we love it!