on the joys of motherhood, adoption, life in Korea & Japan & small town USA, simplification, homeschooling, sewing, quilting, and much more........
if you are new to my blog, i recommend clicking on a topic below, to see postings on a theme that interests you.
comments are always welcome!
tonight i did a truly wondrous thing. i was able to participate in the chorus in our community performance of handel's messiah. i am not a singer, not by any stretch. in fact, when i took chorus in high school, (be warned that this is a pathetic and painfully true story) in an attempt to become a better singer, the teacher assigned a friend to sing into my ear, and then eventually gave up and assigned me to be the pianist. most of my attempts to sing, even in a chorus, have been simply an exercise in frustration. but my parents have been participating in the annual presentation of the messiah at christmastime for about 30 years, and it has become part of me. i thrill at the complexityof the music and the beauty and deep meaning of the scriptural passages. brock and i own several recordings of the messiah and it is beautiful, precious, and sacred to me. to my delight, the music flowed joyfully through me tonight and it didn't feel strained at all, but easy and graceful. i absolutely love this miraculous music, written in a mere 24 days, and felt tearful as i thought about the meaning of the scriptural passages that i was singing. although our community is small, they manage to pull together a sizable chorus and orchestra each year, with the support of other nearby communities. i can accompany a choir singing on the piano without a great deal of effort (thanks to my high school music teacher, and numerous church callings), but although i have tried to learn the messiah accompaniment, i have been unsuccessful, and stand in awe of those who can play it. i love my saviour, and am grateful for beautiful music that praises him, and my opportunity to participate in it. it was made more meaningful by lexi and tashi singing too. brock wanted to participate, but someone had to watch the three little ones, and he volunteered. next year, his turn to sing.
we were so blessed to get another photo shoot with kelly in time for christmas. BYU was our setting, very fitting, since that is where it all began, 18 and a half years ago. she did such a good job, that it isn't even obvious that most of us had colds and felt miserable (just don't look too closely - gracie shows it the most). thank you kelly.... you're amazing! i love how you catch moments, angles, expressions, motion, and feelings. i've already given some sneak peeks of this shoot here on my blog.....here we go.
scroll down on this page to see more, AND to see our previous photo shoot with kelly, go to my posting, "lucky me"
i like to bring my christmas out a little at a time, and savor it as we go. so our tree is usually up for several days to a week before it is completely decorated, the stockings come out on their own special day, and i tweak and rearrange things as we go. to me, it seems to help the season linger longer.
this year i finally got smart enough to just turn the gingerbread house decorating over to the kids, and i was surprised by how well they did with it. i should have done this long ago (instead of making everyone crazy while trying to make it fair and cute and enjoyable and perfect all at the same time). noah was the most excited his year - anything involving this much candy is on his list of very favorite things.
i made a new advent calendar from a fabric panel designed by nancy halvorsen. tashi helped me one night as we shared some "one-on-one" time and chatted about her life as we worked - so much funner that if i had done it alone. she had wanted to go somewhere together for her special time, but i was too tired. this was spontaneous, but turned out to be better than we could have planned. just a few of the ornaments are pictured.
these two quilts, a runner, and a topper/wall quilt, were made on comission for the local gift shop. the ginger bread men are a project i have long planned, and the stars were begun last year, and continuing on this year. i can't decide wether to make garlands or tree ornaments of the stars and gingerbread men. i would like to do both.....better get busy and make some more.
scientists tell us that during pregnancy, the brain shrinks by a significant percentage and doesn't return to it's normal size until 6 months or so after delivery. it's now been 6 months since i gave birth, and it is with great joy that i report that i can feel my brain regaining some of its previous abilities. i know i won't have full cranial function until after i am done nursing, and maybe not even then. but i am still finding myself better able to remember things, to organize, to have (moments of) clarity of thought, to think deeply, to analyze, to pay attention, to take more in. i didn't notice this much of a change in my brain function with my previous pregnancies. maybe because i was so much younger, maybe because science hadn't told me about it yet.......but this time the change has been pronounced.
a friend, who is a principle of a middle school recently informed me that science has also recently discovered that the brain of 12 to 14 year olds shrinks just as a pregnant brain does. these adolescents are going through so much growth and hormone surges (just like the baby during pregnancy) that the brain shrinks to allow nutrients and energy to flow elsewhere. THIS MAKES SO MUCH SENSE! it explains the many times i have been perplexed by my dear teenagers' behavior, thinking "i know they are smarter than this!" and because i have been undergoing my own brain shrinkage, i can empathize and understand what it has been like for them.
the very good news about this scientific information is that the three of us actually ARE smarter than we have been acting! what a relief!
"rejoice evermore. pray without ceasing. in every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. quench not the Spirit. despise not prophesyings. prove all things; hold fast that which is good." 1 thessalonians 5:16-21
"grace & peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord." 2 peter 1:2
"and we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him." 1 john 4:16
.......and a sneak peek at our our christmas "photos by kelly". thank you kelly!
thank you santa! it's so, so lovely and has so many, many more sparkley lights than we've ever enjoyed before. it's just what i wanted....how did you know? and it arrived just in time for us to put it up for family home evening. our old tree was abandoned, well, given away, with so many of our belongings, when we left japan. it was a large tree for japan, but in reality, quite small. so we needed a tree this year. and (i'm sure you know this santa) every year we have experienced some amount of family tension in getting the lights strung on our tree, which isn't at all conducive to the christmas spirit. so for several years i've been dreaming of this very tree. it isn't decorated yet, but still so lovely - so lovely that it doesn't need much by way of extra decorations. i will endeavor to be a good girl for the rest of the christmas season, to be deserving of your early present to me. (stock photo from christmastreesgalore.com).
yesterday i found gracie discovering its magic.....as soon as the camera came out, she was joined by two more.
i like to keep our favorite christmas stories & books under the tree. yesterday the four of us enjoyed "the grinch" and "rudolph the red nosed reindeer". mia says its so much more fun to read under the tree (preferably completely under the tree, lying on your belly). who could argue?
we awoke on our first december morning with a magical snowstorm, the biggest this season (all four have been on saturdays, like today). a snowman has been exuberantly built, the teenagers have gone sledding with friends, and the snow continues to fall.
our neighbor's ash trees that looked so brilliant in their autumn colors.