Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Neighbors in Nagoya

Connor has been serving in the Nagoya Japan mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for about a year and a half.  (He's been on his mission longer than that, but he was in the MTC for a while!!)  Now our neighbor Riley is there too!  They got to see each other at a multi-zone conference.   They are doing good work!

What Does Ministering Look Like? Halloween Cupcakes!!

Halloween Cupcakes!
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints changed home and visiting teaching to ministering about 7 months ago.  This change was made to help us to take care of and love each other a little better.

The thing that I feel this has done for me is to help me think harder about what each sister might need, and how I could be a friend.  I know I can always use a friend!  I still have a lot of figuring to do, but I had one experience that I am thankful for.  One lady that I visit has a lot of little children.  She is someone I really admire.  She often offers to help people with their kids, and she and her husband both serve in the church wherever they are needed, even if it is obviously not easy, or convenient.

In the past I would sometimes visit her at her house, but her kids always seemed afraid that my companion and I had come to steal them or their Mom and so it ended up being a tad difficult to have a conversation.  I was pondering how I could have a visit with this friend that we could both enjoy.  I thought back to when I had little kids.  I had a friend named Shannon, and we would get together often at our houses to visit, have lunch, or whatever else we came up with.  Pondering about this made me think that I could come up with an activity that I could do with the Mom and her kids that would be fun (hopefully) for us all and give us grown ups time to talk.

So a day was arranged, and looked forward to.  I made cupcakes and my friend came with her two kids who aren't in Elementary School.  We decorated the cupcakes with candy.  The two little girls were SO cute.  The youngest one would occasionally lick a cupcake she was working on, and both girls enjoyed eating some of the candy.  Afterwards I got out some games.  Sometimes the girls played, sometimes us Moms played.  It was really very fun.  Just to really feel like the good old days the girls and I had macaroni and cheese for lunch (Their Mom was being true to the health program she is on and declined).

I am looking forward to having them all over again.  Good conversation with cute children in the room can happen, with the added bonus of children's smiles to enjoy.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Annual Trip to the Red Barn

Every year Derek's Mom takes as many of her grandkids and their moms as are available to the Red Barn to go on a hay ride, try a maze or two, do other available activities, and have ice cream (or if you are Dan, whatever you pick at the gas station on the way there).

This year I was not really feeling well, but the boys and I still headed over at the appointed time.  We stopped at a gas station on the way and got Dan some A&W Rootbeer. 
This is a not good picture of Derek's Mom and Isabelle.
I missed getting a good picture of Derek's Mom on the Zipline.

Derek's Dad did the zipline!  Erin is in the background on the other zipline.

 Jake spent his time with cousins in the mazes.  When Dan had finished everything he wanted to do (he didn't hang out with cousins this time but ran around by himself), and when Jake came out of the maze, I gave them the option of staying with their grandparents or coming home with me right then.  They came with me.  We got a hayride back to the barn, had our treats, and headed home.  The other family members stayed for a while longer, taking advantage of a really beautiful fall day, and a generous gift of a paid trip to, and treat from, the Red Barn.
Me, Dan, and Jake on the ride back to the barn.

Scout Awards for Dan

Dan is an 11 year old scout.  Apparently he earned some awards and then missed the occasion where they were handed out.  Derek brought them home from church for him and we had an extremely short awards "ceremony" where Dan was handed his awards, and I took a picture or two.
Dan and Derek
This is the best of the 3 pictures I took.

Trisa's Birthday and Fall Break

Trisa's 28th birthday was the first day of Jake and Dan's Fall break from school.  I wanted to go shopping with Trisa for her birthday, and Fall break allowed the boys and I to make a trip of it.  Unfortunately, Derek had to work.  Yay for having a job!  Boo for having meetings Thursday afternoon!  I do not really like to go vacationing without Derek, but I suppose it's good to be reminded that I can!

So, because Trisa worked on her birthday, we passed up Cedar City and went to my brother Ray's house in LaVerkin.  Jake and Dan and I played pickleball in the culdesac while Ray and Lori had a late lunch, and then we all went for a walk.  It was a beautiful day!  We walked up to the church I used to attend with my family when we were visiting my grandparents, and then we walked up to their old house.
In the background you can see a white house.  That used to be my Grandma's house.
Dan and Jake humored me and let me take their picture.

This is a part of "Grandma's Mountain" that my cousins and I spent hours climbing as children.
There's been some bulldozing done since the "old days", and it doesn't look as tall now as it seemed back then!

This is a picture of what my Grandma and Grandpa's house looked like when I would go visit.
My Grandma spent a lot of time making her yard beautiful!
She was not afraid of getting up early to work.

This is a different view.  I loved Grandma's house (It really was Grandpa's too but we always called it Grandma's!)
I had such fun times here with my siblings and with cousins!
Grandma made delicious treats too!
After visiting Ray, we headed to Jenny and Jeff's house.  I really enjoyed talking to Jenny and Owen and Maddie.  Dan really enjoyed taking apart electronics with Uncle Jeff, and showing him 2D Minecraft.  It's hard to tell if Jake had fun, but he listened to some conversation, and helped with the electronics too.  Jake said later that he spent most of the trip being sleepy.  I didn't take any pictures at Jenny's. 

We all went to my parent's house for dinner later.  Jenny and Jeff only stayed a little while after dinner.  The boys and I stayed at my parent's house Thursday and Friday night.  I don't have any pictures of my Dad, but he took the boys with him to do recycling, and they stayed with him while my Mom and I went to exercise with some of her friends Friday morning.

Mom and their dog Lizzie

My Mom loves her little dog!

Jake is still the "dog whisperer".  Animals like him.  They are smart.
Friday we visited some of the Christensen side of the family.  I visited Tonya while Jake and Dan spent time with their cousin Porter.  We would have enjoyed visiting longer, but schedules are busy!  Next we headed over to Brandon and Laura's new house.  Laura was doing a fabulous job giving directions since GPS hasn't caught up with their neighborhood yet, but just at the last moment we were getting confused, until Brandon pulled up beside me and pointed at their house, just around the corner.  I forgot to take pictures, but it is a really nice new house, and we enjoyed that visit too.

After that visit we headed to my Aunt Vanda and Uncle Carl's house, until we found out they would be gone, and then we headed back to Ray's.  I really feel like I drove a lot that day, probably because I did, but it was good to see everyone.

Our trip ended on Saturday.  We stopped in Cedar City this time and the boys watched a movie while Trisa and I went shopping.  I had such a good time with my Trisa!  She is great!  We went and got the boys and went to Wendy's for lunch after shopping, and then the boys and I headed home -- where we were glad to be.
No, Connor is not home from his mission yet.  I had to steal a picture of Trisa from Facebook and I liked this one!
Happy Birthday to the best oldest daughter ever.  She is a kind, smart, fun and all around wonderful person!

Monday, October 29, 2018

Pictures and an Events That Don't Match

There are a few things I have done that I failed to get pictures for, and a few pictures that there really isn't a lot to say about.  Since I dislike posting without a picture, I will just combine the two!

One of these eggs is not like the others!
My back yard neighbor has some chickens and was being overrun by eggs and so she shared some with us.  The large one had a double yoke.

Event with no picture:  I had an Orchestra concert on October 13th at the Angelos Theater.  Derek's parents and Derek and Jake were nice to come and support me.  I did not feel well!  I had one of those headaches that hurts worse when you blow, and that isn't good when you play a wind instrument!  I was doubling on the 1st flute part and so I felt like they didn't really need me, and then when my companion player missed her solo, I panicked and didn't back her up and play it instead.  The missed solo threw the whole orchestra off!  I worked hard all during the concert not to put myself down, because I always play worse if I goof and tell myself I can't play very well!  Nerves are bad enough without feeling demoralized too!  Thankfully, our playing did improve with every song, but we all felt like we were a bit under-rehearsed and therefore unprepared.  I did enjoy some of the music though, and I was happy to go home!

Yummy Snack!
This was my afternoon snack one day.  I took a picture because it reminded me of Connor.  He loves whipped cream!

Derek and Jake and the peaches

These are some of the peaches we bought this year.  We took this picture for Jake's cousin Haven because she loves peaches.  We tried to convince her to come over and get some, but since she lives in St. George, it wasn't really convenient!

Another unmatching "event":  A visit with cousin Ricki
Derek's cousin Ricki came to this area from Texas to attend Uncle Paul's funeral.  She took an afternoon to come down here to visit.  I ended up driving her and Derek's parents around to see some family sites.  We went to the graveyard, Derek and Ricki's grandparent's house, the lot where the cows used to be kept, the house where Uncle Paul's wife Bonnie grew up, the city park where Grandpa C. used to direct band concerts, and my house.  Ricki was my kind and sympathetic Cancer buddy.  She had cancer and cancer treatments at the same time as me.  We both decided to treat ours differently (I had a lumpectomy, and radiation and she chose a mastectomy).  She thinks my treatment was harder and I think hers was!  Either way, we have survived and are moving on!
Ricki!  I didn't have a picture for this visit, but I decided to get one from Facebook.
Ricki is sweet!

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Pictures From Connor

Connor is serving in the Nagoya Japan Mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  Sometime in the summer he sent some pictures to me via Google Hangouts.  He was "with a member in the mountains."

I think it is very clear from these pictures that you do not need to be serious every moment of your mission and it is okay to be joyful.  After all, they are spreading the good news of the gospel!  It is also clear that the place they were visiting in the mountains is very pretty!

Friday, October 26, 2018

The Joy of a Blank Bulletin Board

On one of the days when I decided cleaning sounded fun, I was cleaning our office and noticed the mostly ignored bulletin board.  It was full of outdated schedules and past events.  I took all of them off and found myself faced with an almost blank bulletin board.  My reaction?  Joy!  I could try to create something meaningful and beautiful!  That sounded fun.

It's not perfect, but I like the messages on it, and I like that I can try to find quotes and pictures that will make me happy, and remind me to love more, and love better, which is my constant goal.

Almost all of the things on this bulletin board came from my old Magnolia Magazines.  The quote from the top right is from Lucy Maud Montgomery's character Ann of Green Gables:

"Isn't it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about?  It just makes me feel glad to be alive -- it's such an interesting world."

The love your neighbor signs have ideas on them:

"Make someone's day by tackling one of her or his everyday chores."

"Sharing fresh-cut blooms brightens days no matter what the occasion."

"Expand your giving to encompass those who enrich your life in ways both large and small."

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Uncle Paul

Derek's Uncle Paul passed away on October 8th.  He was 89.  At times like this, I feel grateful to be the oldest daughter-in-law that Derek's parents have.  That means that I have had the greatest opportunity to know some of the older family members.  I do not have a lot of memories of Uncle Paul but I do have some.

Once he was at Derek's parent's house.  I can't remember how I ended up playing a little piece of a song I used to have memorized for Uncle Paul, but I did.  He was an excellent musician and had taught piano for years and years by then.  He corrected something I had probably always done wrong in the song I had played.  Unfortunately, while I know what song it was, I no longer have it memorized, nor can I remember what my mistake was exactly, so I suspect if I played the song again -- I would goof again!

On that same occasion (I think), he played a hymn and transposed it in his head to different keys as he played.  I was impressed!

One year he came down and did a Christmas concert on the organ.  Derek and I went.  It was held at the church building where we currently attend church.  In my head it was dark in the chapel while he played.  I wonder if it really was?  Maybe that was just as we were walking out.

Another year Derek and I went up to Uncle Paul's house.  There were quite a few people there, and I think we had food, but I don't really remember why we were there -- just that we got to see his house and his yard and some other Christensen relatives.  He lived in a beautiful area!

One final memory I have is when Jake was in the hospital as a baby.  Uncle Paul lived a lot closer to Primary Children's hospital than we do and offered to let us stay with him while Jake was there.  We didn't.  We drove up and down the highway so we could spend time with our other children too, but it was kind of him to offer, and we knew he meant it.
I don't remember having seen this done before.  I think this is a burial vault that they are writing on,
and it is covered with the names of relatives who love Uncle Paul!

It was a beautiful fall day for the funeral.
This is Derek in front of Uncle Paul's casket.
Here's a quote I think Uncle Paul would agree with: 
"Music can change the world because it can change people."  

Changes Cause Closet Cleaning

During General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in October, a new program was announced called "Come Follow Me".  We will study at home and go to the church building less.  All of the age groups will have discussions about the same topic.  This coming year we will all be studying the New Testament.  This change means that those of us who serve in Primary Presidencies will not have to spend hours and hours making sure binders have the right book and pictures.  Use of the online copies of the book are encouraged! 

This change called for a cleaning of the Primary closet, and a lot of recycling.  Here are the pictures of the books we no longer need -- not counting the ones that are still currently being used by the Primary teachers.

A stack of Primary Manuals.

The organized mess.
There are a lot of good pictures.  We did not recycle those.
We are hoping that we can find people who can use them at home.

When this new program was announced I felt like a weight was being lifted off of my shoulders.  I love Primary and didn't realize that making it shorter would feel like a relief.  Primary just got shortened by half.  Now the 3 to 11 year olds do not need to try to sit still for most of 3 hours while their teachers are trying to teach them, keep them focused, and keep themselves focused. I try to get the kids moving as much as I can when I teach, but that is still a long time.  Now, after Sacrament meeting, they can sing for about 20 minutes and have class for about 20 minutes with another 10 for a prayer, talk, scripture, and walking down the hall.  As long as people prepare, I think the kids can learn just as much, if not more.  We are not just cleaning out the closets, we are clearing the time we use from the unnecessary clutter of busy work, and time fillers, and getting to the heart of what is important.  Learning about Jesus!


On October 11th, Derek took me to the BYU Spectacular.  David Archuleta, and Colbie Caillat sang, as did with performing groups from BYU.  It was great!  Kayli and her cousin Avery went too.  We happened to see them as we were headed opposite directions to our seats.  They were straight across from us behind the big screen.  I took a picture of the program, and then somehow must have deleted it.  Oops.  The only picture I have is a bad one taken of this projection of David Archuleta.
It was fun to see all of the lights from the cell phones.  
I really had a good time.  I had seen the advertisements and thought I would enjoy it, but didn't think Derek would want to go and so I never mentioned it.  I thought it was nice of him to think of me and take me.  He said we could do things I enjoy too :-).  Everyone who performed did very well, but perhaps the best performance was David singing Elton John's Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me.  He even got a standing ovation.

I did think that the BYU Spectacular was pretty spectacular!

While We Were Away ...

Dan played in a soccer tournament.  He decided he wanted to play this year, and he did very well, though he missed a few practices and games due to the bad air from the fire affecting his breathing (Boo! to asthma!). 
This picture I took a picture of was taken by Russ at Memory Lane Photography
Dan's team made it to the championship game!  They were tied when time was up and lost by one in double overtime.  My Mom said that Dan did very well.  Both of his Grandmas were there to watch.  I know Dan enjoyed the game because he told me about it when I got home.

I'm glad that Dan decided to play.  I was a little skeptical that he'd enjoy it.  That's a lot of running for asthma boy and he was smaller than everyone on his team.  He did well though.  I am thankful that Desiree was willing to coach.  She was good with the kids and got right out there with them at practice. She taught my girls piano lessons a long time ago and it was fun to see her again.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Charleston by the Water

Charleston:  Sherie and Derek
Photo by Kayli

Charleston:  Derek and I again.
Photo by Kayli