Monday, December 30, 2013

It All Started With The Fireplace Party

We also call it "Christmas Adam"
because it happens the day before Christmas Eve.
Family gathers about 6:00 and we enjoy
each others company for several hours.
A blog post about our fireplace party tradition.
Emma always reads "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever."
It never gets old. We love it.
It's always a great evening. We had a LOT of fun.
Chris Ruoti visited as he always does. We love him like a son.
 Ian and Jessa were here.
Only Chris slept by the fire this year.
Then came Christmas Eve.
This year we went to my Mom's house.
She always likes to set a nice table.
Elisa and my Mom
Emma was with us too but everyone else was gone or working.
I love these girls.
It was a fabulous dinner.
(You can see from my eyes that I was not feeling well).
My Mom made a magnificent antipasto.
Emma and Elisa had a good time.
We all did.
My Mom asked Jim to read the Christmas story from Luke.
Emma led us in Christmas carols.
That was fun.
It was a nice evening.
The presents were out and the day was over.
(I have no idea how this picture is doing this but it's cool).
Then it was Christmas morning.
A car emergency kit for Ian
which he had to use twice the next day because his battery died. :)
Elisa was sure excited.
She asked for flatware to set a nice table.
She seemed to like it.
A big foam roller for me to ease my sore muscles
from Ian and Jessa. Yeah.
And something beautiful in pearls and silver from Jim. Love it.
Jessa is a delight!
Christmas breakfast.
And the HIGHLIGHT of the day...
a SKYPE call from Seth!!!!!
He looked WONDERFUL!!
It was SO good to see and talk to him.
He loves being a missionary.
40 minutes went way too fast.
Elisa must have snapped this during the family prayer with Seth.
I always miss my missionaries.

We finished up the day with a nice Christmas dinner.
My nephew Jonathan (Rob's son) came. 
It was great to have him.
He recently returned from his mission in Arizona.

It was a quiet, simple Christmas this year but it was lovely. I was sick most of the time unfortunately with very bad, very painful swollen ankles and feet and felt seriously unwell the entire time, something systemic I suspect that really knocked me for a loop. It's easing up a bit today thankfully. This was the first year when most of my children were gone. It was the first year in a long, LONG time that we didn't have Christmas Eve dinner at my house. I knew this time would come someday and it has, but I'm really OK with the transition to empty nesthood. We will have other big Christmas' again as the years go on. There will be other years when our home is filled to capacity and overflowing with visiting children, their spouses, and grandchildren. In the meantime, I have sweet memories of all the years we had everyone here. Either way, I feel blessed. Like the song from Fiddler on the Roof reminds us, "Sunrise, sunset...swiftly fly the years." And they have.

Monday, December 23, 2013

I Love Being A Missionary At Christmas!!!!

Seth was sure excited when he emailed home this morning. there were a lot of exclamations points throughout his email. He sounds very, very happy. He's always been a happy person and that's been a good thing for him. He sent a few pictures and he has an ear to ear grin in them. Here's a snippet:

"I love being a missionary at Christmas!!!! It is awesome. It is the most meaningful Christmas season I have ever had. I don't feel homesick. It doesn't exactly feel like Christmas because there is no snow or family.

I love the Savior Jesus Christ. I realize that I am a lot closer to Him than ever before, but now I realize the immense distance that is left as well. I know that He lives. I have felt His love change and refine me. I am one of His authorized representatives.

Love, Elder Freeman

See you Wednesday!! :)"

Looking forward to seeing him on SKYPE just as much.

I'm almost ready for Christmas but for some reason both my feet and ankles are swollen and are killing me and it's making it hard to get things done. I will forge ahead however!
 His mission had an all mission Christmas party on Thursday. We were asked to provide a small gift for them to open at the party besides what we would send them for Christmas. I sent a little box with a CD in it, a little candy, and this Christmas tree ornament of a missionary on a bicycle. Glad he liked it. I'm happy to see the expression on his face when he opened it. It really was a great little ornament. :)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

My Latest Project

I have been thinking for a really long time that I should put up a website for my book. Recent yucky weather days finally propelled me to action.  I still need to figure out how to link to a contact form. I'm working on it.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Hallelujah All The Way Around

"Dear Family and Friends,

I have the best news!!! We went to an event at the local Baptist church this week, it was called the living Christmas tree. The mission president says it is OK to visit other church every once in a while. It was a beautiful building and event. It was a choir presentation. At the end of it they sang...the Hallelujah chorus!!! The whole congregation stood up for it. I totally sang with them, I don't even care if I wasn't supposed to. It was awesome!!!! That made my Christmas!!!!!...I gave a talk this week on Sunday. It went OK. It was about how the worth of souls is great in the sight of God...I tried to focus on how, because God loves them so much, they can have a relationship with Him. A relationship He wants them to have. It can be done through scripture study and prayer. I encouraged them to increase their efforts in those areas.

I know that Christ lives and loves!! I know that He is real!

Love, Elder Freeman"

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Out Of The Mouths Of Babes

Today was a wonderful Sabbath. The topics we covered in our lessons drew us closer to God and reminded us of the blessings granted us by the Lord. Our annual sacrament meeting Christmas program was held today.  It is an hour of song by the choir mixed with scriptures about the birth of Christ. Sarah came back today to sing with our choir. She has a wonderful soprano voice. It was a delight to have Nathan and Hannah there today. When I was in the foyer headed into sacrament meeting, I saw Nathan coming in the door. He ran over to me yelling "Grandma Liz," Grandma Liz," Grandma Liz," Grandma Liz!!" Of course much hugging and kissing occurs with that kind of greeting. Just then the bishop's door flung open and Jim walked out saying "Nathan!!" He heard Nathan from in his office. Then there was much "Grandpa Jim" exuberance. Jim and I truly delight in these children.

The choir sand some wonderful songs today. One of them was sung by all the Young Men and Young Women and their leaders. It was a gentle, melancholy song. When it was over Hannah looked at me and said, "again." She wanted them to sing it again. That's the power of a song that invites the Spirit.

Toward the end of the program, the choir sang the Hallelujah Chorus" from Handel's Messiah. They did a great job. The audience could sing if they knew it. I know most of it without music and so I sang softly while holding Hannah as we all stood. When we sat down, Hannah said over and over again, "Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia." I tried to silence her a little because the narrators were not far from us narrating scripture and Hannah was saying "alleluia" over and over again quite loudly. I looked at Gregory and we both had tears in our eyes. We understood the significance.

I was reminded of the scripture about the children from Matthew, "And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased, And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?" Matthew 21: 15:16. I also thought about the scripture from the Book of Mormon relating a similar thing: "Behold, it came to pass on the morrow that the multitude gathered themselves together, and they both saw and heard these children; yea, even babes did open their mouths and utter marvelous things; and the things which they did utter were forbidden that there should not any man write them." 3Nephi 26:16

Hannah is not even 1 1/2 yet. She said "alleluia" over and over again. It was very touching. It really was perfected praise because it was so innocent and so beautiful. I will never be able to hear the Hallelujah Chorus again without thinking of Hannah's example of perfected praise.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Calling Grandma

Today the phone rang. It was Nathan who was very excited to be talking to me. He asked if "we" could come to Grandma's house.

He figured out how to dial me himself and Sarah didn't know about it.

Just delightful. His sense of independence gave him the freedom to want to do what he wanted most...go to Grandma's house.

Love it.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

When You Are Up In The Middle Of The Night...

posting pictures on a blog seems like a good thing to do. :)
Sarah snapped this on my birthday recently.
Later that same day at a ward Christmas party.

Thought for the day: You'd be surprised how many people smile back at you if you smile at them first. :)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Joseph Smith

We had a very good class today in Relief Society. Our instructor taught a lesson about Joseph Smith. One of the things she mentioned is how much internet slander there is about him. She said there are many, many websites that give false information about him and websites that purposely seek to defame him. She talked about websites that tell outright lies and give false information trying to discredit Joseph and the important work he did being an instrument in the Lord's hands restoring Christ's gospel to the earth.

While our teacher was talking, I thought about this blog. I thought how nice it would be for people who are truly wondering about Joseph Smith to happen on a positive post about him which told the truth about him and bore testimony of him as God's prophet. So I invite anyone who has a positive comment about Joseph Smith or a testimony of him to post a brief thought for honest seekers of truth to read. Negative comments will not be welcomed because there are enough of those already on the internet. Feel free to pass this post on to others.

I have no doubt that Joseph Smith was a true prophet. My testimony of him as a prophet of God is sure and firm. I have a link to it on this blog (my conversion story on the left sidebar) which talks about that testimony in great depth. My testimony of him as a prophet of God came by the power of the Holy Ghost. I have never doubted. I have never questioned his call or role as a prophet because of the powerful witness I received about him when I first learned about him. Knowing he was a mouthpiece for the Lord and acting upon that knowledge daily has blessed my life in countless ways and will be a blessing to me and my posterity throughout eternity as I try to remain faithful to the end.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Home Is Where Memories Are Made

Shortly after I finally finished my holiday decorating yesterday,
 Sarah brought Nathan and Hannah to visit.
Hannah was thrilled with everything and kept
 "sweeping" her arm around while saying "OOOOH."
 She liked the Mickey Mouse on the tree
and the Santas.
She loved the lights all around her.
She kept pointing at them.
When I went upstairs to turn on the stair garland,
 I said "ready, set," and let them say "GO!"
Christmas lights delight children.
So I decorate to make memories for my family.
 Memories bind families together,
especially at Grandma's house.
The decorations in the yard
and the city lights we can see from our windows
  make Grandma's house a special place.
I have little shelves in my kitchen I call the 
"Grandma shelves."
They have small toys and snacks for the kids.
Hannah LOVED the book about Elmo getting clean.
She kept saying, "read it again."
But the overall hit of the day
was the snow globe Nathan spotted 
when he first walked in my house.
He also loves all things trains so I hung this up for him.

We talked about the importance of holding the snow globe tightly so it wouldn't drop and break like Humpty Dumpty did when he fell off the wall. Hannah and Nathan were both delighted by the snow globe and they both played with guessed it....Hannah dropped it and well, let's just say that Nathan really understands the nursery rhyme about Humpty Dumpty now. Ooops. Oh well.

It is a delight to create an atmosphere where memories can be made for my grandchildren. I did it for my children for many years and I think they will always remember the joy we had in our home at Christmas. A home is where memories are made. Homemaking is a valuable endeavor. At least I think so.

Here's a video of Hannah, Nathan and me
right before the snow globe accident. :) Enjoy.