Sunday, December 28, 2008

Scripture Sunday: Isaiah

I am far from being an expert on the book of Isaiah, but I've had two of his passages in my mind recently.

Isaiah 53:3-5 (also quoted in Mosiah chapter 14 in the Book of Mormon):
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Isaiah 1:18:
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

All of Isaiah 53 is about Jesus Christ being sinless and offering His soul to save sinners. Like my former roommate Shelley, I love verse five, in a way that is hard to explain. My perfect Savior didn't deserve to be wounded the way He was or to be crucified with wicked men. Somehow His sufferings can erase my iniquities. With His stripes I am healed and purified (forgiven, made white, spotless) if I accept His atonement, continually repent, and strive to follow Him. I will be forever grateful that He
felt everything that I feel and therefore understands me.

As I walked outside the other day I saw how beautifully white all of our fresh snow was. I thought, "though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow." I don't fully comprehend it, but it is true. Jesus was born (into the world that He created) to save us. "
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." "[T]hen cometh the Son of God to redeem all those who shall believe on his name."

We can have hope because He came to fulfill His Father's plan, and He kept that promise!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Guess Who's Getting Married

My daughter.

Yeah, she's only two, but for some reason she has been talking about this quite a bit. It's been a little while since she saw a bride and groom, so I think it started a few weeks ago. That day I tossed Shboogoo's clean white fitted sheet onto her head. She immediately said, "I'm getting married!" She has said on several days, "When I get married," "I'm getting married," or that one of her stuffed animals is getting married, or "You get married in the temple?" She was also excited when she saw her Aunt M's bridal photo on the wall.

We don't know who the lucky boy is. It's not any of the boys she goes to nursery with. One time when I asked her if she was going to marry Robbie she said, "No, Robbie getting . . . not getting married." But she has said once or twice that she IS marrying Robbie.

The excitement of seeing so many relatives on Christmas Eve and Christmas -- and gifts that she can build with, drive, hold, or look at -- has distracted her from mentioning her upcoming marriage. I'm sure she'll bring it up again, though. We can see that she understands (or wants to) some things about people, relationships, birth, etc. She played with her friend Kate the other day, and when we drive past their place she says, "I play with Tate! Member dat?" She 'members the day that Brett and Lana weren't home ("Brett and Lana not home"). She knows that their baby was born (she got to see him at the hospital), and asked me, "Is your baby inside your tummy?" I caught her after she tasted some of her baby wash from the bottle. I called poison control and she was fine, but of course I told her that we never eat baby wash. A couple of days later when we had it out again she said, like she was scolding herself, "I not eat that."

I am biased, but it is all very cute. And she'd better not think about getting married for at least another 18 years.

Maybe half an hour after I posted this I asked her who she is going to marry. She replied, "I marry . . . mommy."

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

My Favorite Things about Christmas, part 6

Some of the best choral arrangements and new choral music come from the composer Sally Deford. Everything she writes is available for FREE DOWNLOAD, for church use, through her website, I had forgotten about her because it had probably been several years since I had sung in a choir. This Christmas, though, I enjoyed singing with my ward choir; I think every piece we did was by Sally Deford. Here are the lyrics to one that we sang, called As Shepherds Kept Their Lonely Vigil. She wrote the lyrics and the music. (I italicized my favorite parts.)

As shepherds kept their lonely vigil, in the fields abiding
A multitude of heaven's host brought long-awaited tidings:

Gloria in excelsis deo! Peace on earth, good will to men!
Gloria in excelsis deo! Christ is born, born in Bethlehem.

Fear ye not the angel said, let not your hearts be troubled
But get ye up to Bethlehem to seek a lowly stable

Gloria in excelsis deo! Peace on earth, good will to men!
Gloria in excelsis deo! Christ is born, born in Bethlehem.

Ye shall find the holy infant lying in a manger
Come see, and know, and testify, this child shall be our Savior

Gloria in excelsis deo! Peace on earth, good will to men!
Gloria in excelsis deo! Christ is born, born in Bethlehem.

Tell the wond'rous news abroad 'til all the world rejoices
'Til ev'ry tongue shall sing his praise and join with angel voices

Gloria in excelsis deo! Peace on earth, good will to men!
Gloria in excelsis deo! Christ is born, born in Bethlehem.

Friday, December 19, 2008

My Favorite Things about Christmas, part 5

This sign is one of the crafts I made during my ward's Super Saturday last year. I sanded the wood, chose a paint color, painted, let it dry, rubbed on the vinyl word strip, and then sprayed it all with clear sealer. The sign currently stands on our TV; I wish I could have gotten a better photo, but this will do.

I love its invitation (does it make you think of the Forgotten Carol with the same name?) and its simplicity.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

My Favorite Things about Christmas, part 4

I love this album by The Carpenters. It had been released as two separate albums but is now on 2 discs. My roommate Laura H. (now M.) introduced it to me in 2001. Some time after that I gave a copy to my mom. I believe it was on this Christmas Collection that I first heard The Christmas Waltz. I found out that Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne wrote it. Apparently Frank Sinatra, Doris Day, Barry Manilow, Johnny Mathis, Clay Aiken, Harry Connick, Jr. and others have also sung it. These are the lyrics; the tune is really fun, too.

Frosted windowpanes, candles gleaming inside,
painted candy canes on the tree.
Santa's on his way, he's filled his sleigh with things,
things for you and for me.

It's that time of year when the world falls in love.
Every song you hear seems to say, "Merry Christmas!
May your New Year dreams come true."
And this song of mine in three quarter time
wishes you and yours the same thing, too.

(Then it repeats all of that)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My Favorite Things about Christmas, part 3

(Photo by me)

We have only a handful of unique (not plain red or gold) Christmas ornaments. This is another ornament I love that was from a friend. Hillary gave me this pregnant snowman, I mean snow-woman, in 2006. The snow-woman does look pregnant, and she's so cute all bundled up for winter. Oh, the weather outside is frightful . . .

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Scripture Sunday: you can do it!

I taught in Young Women this morning. The point of the lesson is that we can avoid crises by planning and doing all things in wisdom in order. Some of the scriptures we read told us not to run faster than we have strength; we need to recognize our limitations. Another suggestion was to establish priorities. Once the most important things are done we can truly relax. It was nice to think about and discuss these things.

Some of my personal thoughts were kind of tangents from the specific lesson topic; they are what I want to post about today. I call it "you can do it!" I know Heavenly Father gives us what we can handle. He doesn't want us to try to do more than we are capable of. He doesn't give us too many commandments or allow Satan to tempt us too much. Would you give a little toddler the assignment to cook a meal on the stove? No, because you know that's impossible for a toddler. But you can hand a child this age a paper towel and ask him to wipe up a spilled drink. Heavenly Father gives us all (in the LDS church) callings to be visiting teachers or home teachers, so if we seek to do His will He'll make a way for us to visit or home teach. Nobody is perfect. We can't do all that we want to do. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't keep praying and doing what we are able to do. We can't endure to the end if discouragement leads to our giving up. Here are some verses I found that, in my opinion, relate to being able and doing what we can.

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. [Ephesians 6:11]

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. [1 Corinthians 10 13]

And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it. [Numbers 13:30]

. . . all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known unto me the interpretation: but thou art able; for the spirit of the holy gods is in thee. [Daniel 4:18]

And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them. [1 Nephi 3:7]

Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. [Joshua 1:9]

Do not run faster or labor more than you have strength and means provided . . . [D & C 10:4]

And ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, for I will lead you along. . . . [D & C 78:18]

Saturday, December 13, 2008

My Favorite Things about Christmas, part 2

Last year I shared the lyrics to Cherie Call's song "One Star." That was before I owned her album Gifts. She's probably my favorite songwriter of all time. I had the privilege of meeting her once after a concert she did with Katie Thompson. Also, Cherie got married a year before me, almost to the day, and our pregnancies (both her two and my two) have overlapped. So, here are the lyrics to a gorgeous song, from Gifts, about what Christmas means. It reminds me of Kenneth Cope's song "Broken Things," which, I believe, was inspired by THIS.

Broken Hearts Like Mine
(Cherie Call)

It was right around this time of year, not too long ago
That was when I heard the news that he wasn’t coming home
Now there’s just something about this holiday that just tears me up inside
But Jesus was born, and He lived, and He died for broken hearts like mine

I see the gifts and the Christmas trees, and I don’t think these things are wrong
I just don’t want to break down under all these lights, so I still can’t sing the songs
Because the melodies turn to memories, and the only peace on earth I find
Is knowing Jesus was born, and He lived, and He died for broken hearts like mine

I can feel the tenderness of friends who care
I can see the children playing everywhere
I just try to fade into the scenery
‘Cause everyone is meant to be Christmasing
I am not homeless or alone or poor
Sometimes I’m content to be ignored
But that doesn’t mean that I don’t believe
Believing is what saves me in times like these

Jesus was born in a stable, so He must know how it can be
Sometimes I feel like this holiday doesn’t have a place for me
But when it’s all I can do just to make it through this bittersweet Christmastime
I remember Jesus was born and He lived and He died
For broken hearts like mine

I’ll be singing once again, I just need a little time
I’m thankful that Jesus was born, and He lived, and He died for broken hearts like mine

* a sound clip is HERE *

Friday, December 12, 2008

My Favorite Things about Christmas, part 1

I am going to dedicate posts to some Christmas items and lyrics that I love. Each post will be about just one thing. I may be posting frequently but they won't be very long to read.

(Photo by me)

This is a good quality ornament my friend Katie gave to Shboogoo for her first Christmas. Yeah, it's the cute one on the right, not the cheap gold Walmart one. Shboogoo was about a month old when she received it. I like that it's a smore that also looks like a snowman. The marshmallows have a realistic looking texture. Katie wrote with a marker on the bottom of the graham cracker. By the way, she used to work HERE -- they have tons of cool Christmas things!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Why is it that during our free time we often neglect doing the activities that we enjoy the most?

I loved the piano enough to major in it. My associate's degree is in Music Liberal Arts. I had to practice 1-2 hours a day, 6 days a week or I couldn't get an A in piano lessons. I memorized music for recitals. One of the music professors had a comic strip on his office door that made me laugh. It asked, "If practice makes perfect and nobody's perfect, doesn't that mean nobody practices?" My mom likes to tell people that when I was young she never once had to remind me to practice the piano. It's true. She didn't have to make me do it because it came naturally to me and it was fun -- even the "work" of practicing a new piece slowly. I grew up with my great-grandfather's heavy, imperfect, 1910 upright piano. We never had anyone tune it, but it sounded pretty wonderful to me. It is still at my mom's house.

Soon after we moved into this place in '06 we bought a 76-key digital piano (the standard size is 88 keys) . It can do some cool things that a regular piano can't, and with the headphones I can play it any time, day or night. Recently I have tried to be better at doing the things that are the most important to me and not wasting time on unimportant things. I'm happy that I have been practicing the piano more often. It's nice to get through a whole piece at least twice. (I have to make sure my daughter is entertained or can't hear me playing, or she'll come over and want me to stop so she can play.) The one I have been working on is George Gershwin's piano prelude #1. I have a little book of his three preludes for piano, and the first is the one I know best. If you haven't heard these, you should. They're on iTunes or you could probably check them out from a library. The first and third are really fun to listen to because they are "allegro ben ritmato e deciso." My tempo is not fast enough yet, though.

A lot of popular (best-selling) music isn't great, and a lot of great music isn't popular. I think everyone who is not familiar with classical or jazz music should explore and listen to some of it, because I think they'll find something that they do like. There are tons of composers and styles. But I digress. I think it's cool to realize that George Gershwin's preludes were written in 1927, when my grandma was a kid. As I've brought piano practice back into my life I feel literally like part of myself has returned and I am more complete. I remembered how special it was to play a couple of songs, including one I composed, at my own wedding reception. I am grateful for this talent and that I can put my heart into improving it.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Week in Review: Nov. 28 - Dec. 4

I want to share a few events of this past week in our family's life. (It's taking forever because Blogger is being stupid with the photos . . .)

Friday, November 28 / I sort-of planned on getting up before 7:00 to shop, but we were up too late the night before. So there wasn't enough time in the morning before D had his Lasik eye surgery done! We decided just a few days before to do this with some of our savings. (If he goes to a sandy place it will be much easier to never have to deal with glasses or contacts!) We were there about an hour and a half but the actual surgery only takes about ten minutes. The doctor has done this more than 12,000 times before and was wonderful. D would recommend Lasik to anyone. I was his nurse all day, putting in three different kinds of eye drops at frequent intervals.

You can see his eye on the tv screen:
I had to stay in the waiting room -- I zoomed in for this one:

He couldn't work because he wasn't allowed to drive for the first 24 hours. We went downtown as a family and had a blast just looking at the lights, people, and everything else we could see. The camera batteries died and we weren't in the right places at the right times to hear the musical performances but it was still fun for us to be out at night, when D is usually working. Shboogoo loves the Tipit [Christmas] lights; she also watched the ice skaters for a long time. We arrived at our last stop just in time for them to officially turn on the lights on their huge tree. (They call it a holiday tree but it is a Christmas tree! That's all I'll say about that . . .)

Saturday, November 29 / At the follow-up at the Lasik place the doctor told D his vision was already 20-15, which is kind of rare. Now he apparently has better vision than I do. Then I had fun all by myself browsing Robert's Crafts and using their 50% off coupon.

Tuesday, December 2 / We found out when D will start his training out-of-state: the end of February. We'll move a few weeks before that. He may or may not be able to be with me when I give birth.

Wednesday, December 3 / Shboogoo had her two year checkup and D came to meet the doctor for the first time. She told us Shboogoo's talking is the kind you would expect from a child who is 3, not 2. Her stats: 23 pounds (7%), 32 inches tall (9%), and 47.5 cm head (50%).

Thursday, December 4 / We didn't need these anymore:

and we set up our Christmas decorations and lights. I participated, but I took photos instead of being in them.

Helping Dad straighten the branches:

"Oh, what fun it is to play in a Christmas-tree-box house!"

Monday, December 8, 2008

Growing Belly

We're taking more pictures than we did with my first pregnancy.

8 weeks:

9 weeks:

10 weeks:

11 weeks: