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Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Favorite Blessing

SALT LAKE CITY - 27 January 2008 - President Gordon B. Hinckley, who led The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints through twelve years of global expansion, has died at the age of 97.

President Hinckley was the 15th president in the 177-year history of the Church and had served as its president since 12 March 1995.

The Church president died at his apartment in downtown Salt Lake City at 7:00 p.m. Sunday night from causes incident to age. Members of his family were at his bedside.

* This is a pencil sketch that Marc did of President Hinckley a few years ago... and I love it so much!

There aren't words to describe how much we dearly love this beloved man. His life and example have blessed our life and his legacy of faith and optimism will forever live in our hearts. He is one of our favorite blessings.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Dream Big

Maybe some of you have already heard this song, Dream Big, by Ryan Shupe & The Rubberband, but I just had to share it, because I LOVE it! Unsurprisingly, it makes me want to Dream Big! :)

Who needs your influence?

In this picture I'm holding Talea (on the left), and Audrey (on the right).

If you can't tell, I am thoroughly enjoying this moment with my sisters and newest nieces. And, I just have to say that I am so grateful for my family, the awesome family I married into, and our amazing friends! We have been loved and supported so much by all of them through everything. You see, we are surrounded by champion family and friends who are always making sure we get to spend lots of time with their kids.

In fact, I've come to feel a love for my nieces and nephews, as well as some of my closest friends' children, that I can only describe as a motherly love. I'm grateful for such gracious family and friends who are so generous in sharing their children with me, since it's been through loving them that I've felt that yearning to be a mother.

Recognizing that there exists a motherly love in my own heart is such a comfort and blessing, as it reminds me that innately I am already a mother. There is nothing like holding a child and feeling that overwhelming love and desire to bless and protect in every way possible. And, between Marc's family and mine, we have plenty of opportunity to feel those feelings, since we have 43 nieces and nephews. How lucky are we?!

While we have found great joy in loving all 43 of them, there is still this love in our hearts reserved especially for our own. And, I have to tell you that it's very humbling to think of being able to share that love with a special child that will come to us through adoption. Even just the thought of it makes my whole body tingle with emotion. To receive the confidence and trust of a mother to love and care for her child... there is no greater gift or responsibility than that. I just know that when that day arrives, the love we share with that child will be multiplied - since it will be our top priority to pass on the profound love of the family he/she comes from.

While we wait and prepare for that day, we are aware that there are individuals "who need to be loved and led." In this talk , "Are We Not All Mothers?", we have found great inspiration that has helped us find ways to bless others' lives, as we make ourselves available.
Here are some of my favorite parts:

While we tend to equate motherhood solely with maternity, in the Lord's language, the word mother has layers of meaning.... Motherhood is more than bearing children, though it is certainly that. It is the essence of who we are as women. It defines our very identity, our divine stature and nature, and the unique traits our Father gave us.

For reasons known to the Lord, some women are required to wait to have children. This delay is not easy for any righteous woman. But the Lord's timetable for each of us does not negate our nature. Some of us, then, must simply find other ways to mother. And all around us are those who need to be loved and led.

As daughters of our Heavenly Father, and as daughters of Eve, we are all mothers and we have always been mothers. And we each have the responsibility to love and help lead the rising generation.

Look around. Who needs you and your influence? If we really want to make a difference, it will happen as we mother those we have borne and those we are willing to bear with.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Some photos of Audrey

I spent the majority of my getaway with Mandi and Audrey... how can you resist taking pictures of a cute little one like this? Believe it or not, this is only a small portion of the photos I took!

Check out Audrey's long lashes... so lucky!

Smilin' at Mamma Mandi:

Cutest tongue... ever!

Go Cougs!

The cute new family - Mandi, Adam, and Audrey

When I took this photo, I'm pretty sure I heard her say "Hi Aunt Meg!"

Some photos of family

Check out these great pics from my getaway. I only wish I would have taken more!

Here are the 22 of us gathered at Mark's house:

Ice cream party (Happy Birthday, McKayla!!):

Matt with his little Spencer:

Kelly in pink pumps:

Kelly and Micah playing in the snow:

Jonah building his snow fort:

Max preparing for battle with Jonah:

Talea smiling:

Spencer, 8 hours and 13 cousins later:

My sweet getaway

I'm obviously really behind and probably have a few upset blogging friends who I've kept in such intense suspense about my little vacation... well, this, is for you!

My sweet getaway was centered around two main purposes:


(This petite princess is my little sister's new baby, Audrey. She is about 6 weeks old.)

and, this...

(This big-eyed-beauty is my older sister's new baby, Talea. She is almost 4 months old.)

I hadn't seen either of them, though I had tried to hurry Talea out of the womb when I went to "help Dawnette after delivery"... only that I missed the birth altogether because Talea decided to be three weeks late. Maybe a little stage fright.

After totally getting my flight plans scheduled for the wrong days with Talea's birth, I decided to wait until after Audrey was born to make a trip out to meet her for the first time. When my parents left on their mission, I promised my Mom that I would take care of my sisters around delivery time, in her place... though, I discovered there is no way I can ever fill those shoes! But, it was nice to have that promise to her as my excuse to spend quality time with some of my family.

And, so last week I had the incredible experience of meeting two new nieces for the very first time... and just doted around like the proud "Auntie Meg" that I am. I cherish that title, I tell you.

And, on top of meeting these two darlings (as if that isn't enough blessedness for one girl to have), I also got to see 13 of my nieces and nephews, 2 sisters, 2 brothers, 2 sisters-in-law, 2 brothers-in-law, a turtle named "Tiny Tim", and a puppy named "Haiku".

It doesn't get any better than that. :)

(stay tuned for some photos, coming soon...)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Vacation called and I answered

But, my vacation wasn't to a tropical, secluded island... instead, it looked more like this:

Sorry to have left you hanging without any warning. I promise to post an update very soon of my last-minute-getaway, because it was so fabulous!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Chocolate and Ice Cream

One of our favorite things about this time of year is looking forward to combining two of our favorite things:


And, this:

We just finished off the last of our peppermint ice cream and I'm 99% sure we won't find any in the stores at this point. I guess we'll have to settle for Mint Chocolate Chip in its place. There's nothing like a good cup of hot cocoa to wind down at the end of a long day. Love it, love it, love it!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Anxiously Engaged

When I was in seventh grade Language Arts class I sat in front of a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, ruddy-face boy. Nathan was his name. We soon became best friends and later went on to attend BYU.

When Marc and I were dating and heading towards marriage, I was a little nervous about how I could continue my friendship with Nathan after getting married, not knowing how our friendship might change. Well, I was thrilled when I introduced Marc to Nathan, only to find that they were already friends from their first year at BYU. Kind of a strange coincidence, but making everything comfortable between all of us.

Anyway, this past year was a good one to Nathan - he found the most incredible girl - Jelaire! They got engaged a couple of weeks ago and since they've been home for Christmas break, we've been able to spend quite a bit of time with them over the last two weeks.

I always hoped Nathan would find someone wonderful, but I never could have imagined he'd find someone as awesome as Jelaire! They are so perfect for each other. Nathan was telling me the other day that as he got to know Jelaire, she exceeded all the things he ever could have hoped to find.

We have had so much fun hanging out with them, going hiking, hot-tubbing, watching movies, and playing games. We are so excited for them and their upcoming marriage - May 3rd.

Congrats, you guys! It only gets better from here! Just keep on smilin'! :)

Baby Shower for Allison

One of my really good friends from my childhood had a baby shower a few days ago that I was able to attend. Allison and I were both in the flute section of our sixth grade band class. It's amazing to me that we've been friends for more than 18 years. I feel blessed to have her friendship that only seems to strengthen over time. It was so fun to spend the day with her, celebrating the upcoming arrival of her baby boy, Rafael. She was glowing and more beautiful than ever. She and her husband, Pedro, will be fantastic parents. I am so excited for them! Here's Allison at about 36 weeks: