Monday, September 26, 2016

THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD SCULPTURE GARDEN BY ANGELA JOHNSON & I AM THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD FOUNDATION

Evidently there is a new sculpture garden in Lehi, Utah. And it looks like something I will definitely have to stop by and visit whenever I'm there next. Something the sculptor said made me take pause and think. She said:

“I watched something very dreadful happening in the world, through media, through television, through entertainment, through music. It was a widespread blitz of negating good with the tool of humor, it began to level every moral standard and I was shocked. I was horrified as I was seeing what was happening to our world and to our society,” said Angela Johnson. 


http://ldsmag.com/photoessay/photo-essay-one-of-the-most-significant-sculpture-parks-in-the-world/


 As I thought on that, I couldn't help but agree with with her thoughts. I, too, have watched this "something very dreadful" happen in the world around me. It is easier seen with hindsight, but can still be noticed by the discerning and spiritual eye even without hindsight. It makes me wonder why it is that we don't seem to pick up on this "something dreadful" until we are older and more mature? Why is it that the young can't seem to see it as readily? Especially since they are the ones that could benefit from seeing it sooner, so that they might raise their children in an even better surrounding sooner in life. I've come to trust that the Lord knows what He is doing, and there must be a good reason for things being the way they are. 

Still - things like this are worth taking it, and they are worth spreading the word about it. Hopefully, there will be plenty of younger folks, who are still raising kids, that will 'see' what is there to see, and plenty of others whose faith can be increased by taking in such beauty and spiritually uplifting art. 
 

http://ldsmag.com/photoessay/photo-essay-one-of-the-most-significant-sculpture-parks-in-the-world/ 
Here is a KSL News video from 2015 on the Garden and Angela Johnson's explanation for it:





I am grateful for artists that bring the Spirit of Christ into this world. The world still is full of beauty and spiritually uplifting scenery, art, music, experiences, places and people. Even while the world seems to be sinking further into the mire of all that is evil and filth, we can rise above that by focusing on the beautiful and strengthening ourselves with the spiritual. 


http://ldsmag.com/photoessay/photo-essay-one-of-the-most-significant-sculpture-parks-in-the-world/


“I believe people will come by the thousands, I believe they will come by the tens of thousands, grateful for a setting in which they can reflect and contemplate, a place to meditate and yes, a place to pray. We don’t have a lot of those kinds of places publically in our busy, noisy, 21st century lives.”(Elder Jeffrey R. Holland)

Click HERE to visit the site and see the sculptures.


Another KSL News video, showing how the sculptures were made-



Wednesday, April 6, 2016

DO YOU STRETCH YOUR TARGET OR YOUR KIDS' TARGET?

There are some things in life I just have to share and I wish I could share it with a big fireworks display in the sky for the entire world to see, take in, and understand. This is one of those things. I share this article I just read in hopes that it might help someone. The source is at the end, so you can see the original piece if you wish. 

Ponder and enjoy.  Make your life better for it too. It IS worth it.

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 STAY AT 17 INCHES
By Chris Sperry




In Nashville, Tennessee, during the first week of January, 1996, more than 4,000 baseball coaches descended upon the Opryland Hotel for the 52nd annual ABCA convention. Nineteen times since, many of the same professional, college, high school, youth, and a slew of international coaches from passionate and developing baseball nations have gathered at various convention hotels across the country for two-and-half days of clinic presentations and industry exhibits. Sure, many members of the American Baseball Coaches Association have come and gone in those years; the leadership has been passed, nepotistically, from Dave Keilitz to his son, Craig; and the association — and baseball, in general — has lost some of its greatest coaches, including Rod Dedeaux, Gordie Gillespie, and Chuck “Bobo” Brayton.

I have attended all but three conventions in those nineteen years, and I have enjoyed and benefited from each of them. But ’96 was special — not just because it was held in the home of country music, a town I’d always wanted to visit. And not because I was attending my very first convention. 

Nashville in ’96 was special because it was there and then that I learned that baseball — the thing that had brought 4,000 of us together — was merely a metaphor for my own life and those of the players I hoped to impact.

While I waited in line to register with the hotel staff, I heard other more veteran coaches rumbling about the lineup of speakers scheduled to present during the weekend. One name, in particular, kept resurfacing, always with the same sentiment — “John Scolinos is here? Oh man, worth every penny of my airfare.”

Who the hell is John Scolinos, I wondered. No matter, I was just happy to be there.

Having sensed the size of the group during check-in, I woke early the next morning in order to ensure myself a good seat near the stage — first chair on the right side of the center isle, third row back — where I sat, alone, for an hour until the audio-visual techs arrived to fine-tune their equipment. The proverbial bee bee in a boxcar, I was surrounded by empty chairs in a room as large as a football field. Eventually, I was joined by other, slightly less eager, coaches until the room was filled to capacity. By the time Augie Garrido was introduced to deliver the traditional first presentation from the previous season’s College World Series winner, there wasn’t an empty chair in the room.

ABCA conventions have a certain party-like quality to them. They provide a wonderful opportunity to re-connect with old friends from a fraternal game that often spreads its coaches all over the country. As such, it is common for coaches to bail out of afternoon clinic sessions in favor of old friends and the bar. As a result, I discovered, the crowd is comparatively sparse after lunch, and I had no trouble getting my seat back, even after grabbing a plastic-wrapped sandwich off the shelf at the Opryland gift shop.

I woke early the next morning and once again found myself alone in the massive convention hall, reviewing my notes from the day before: pitching mechanics, hitting philosophy, team practice drills. All technical and typical — important stuff for a young coach, and I was in Heaven. At the end of the morning session, certain that I had accurately scouted the group dynamic and that my seat would again be waiting for me after lunch, I allowed myself a few extra minutes to sit down and enjoy an overpriced sandwich in one of the hotel restaurants. But when I returned to the convention hall thirty minutes before the lunch break ended, not only was my seat not available, barely any seats were available! I managed to find one between two high school coaches, both proudly adorned in their respective team caps and jackets. Disappointed in myself for losing my seat up front, I wondered what had pried all these coaches from their barstools. I found the clinic schedule in my bag: “1 PM John Scolinos, Cal Poly Pamona.” It was the man whose name I had heard buzzing around the lobby two days earlier. Could he be the reason that all 4,000 coaches had returned, early, to the convention hall? Wow, I thought, this guy must really be good.

I had no idea.

In 1996, Coach Scolinos was 78 years old and five years retired from a college coaching career that began in 1948. He shuffled to the stage to an impressive standing ovation, wearing dark polyester pants, a light blue shirt, and a string around his neck from which home plate hung — a full-sized, stark-white home plate.

Seriously, I wondered, who in the hell is this guy?

After speaking for twenty-five minutes, not once mentioning the prop hanging around his neck, Coach Scolinos appeared to notice the snickering among some of the coaches. Even those who knew Coach Scolinos had to wonder exactly where he was going with this, or if he had simply forgotten about home plate since he’d gotten on stage.

Then, finally …

“You’re probably all wondering why I’m wearing home plate around my neck. Or maybe you think I escaped from Camarillo State Hospital,” he said, his voice growing irascible. I laughed along with the others, acknowledging the possibility. “No,” he continued, “I may be old, but I’m not crazy. The reason I stand before you today is to share with you baseball people what I’ve learned in my life, what I’ve learned about home plate in my 78 years.”

Several hands went up when Scolinos asked how many Little League coaches were in the room. “Do you know how wide home plate is in Little League?” After a pause, someone offered, “Seventeen inches,” more question than answer.

“That’s right,” he said. “How about in Babe Ruth? Any Babe Ruth coaches in the house?”
Another long pause.

“Seventeen inches?”came a guess from another reluctant coach.

“That’s right,” said Scolinos. “Now, how many high school coaches do we have in the room?” 

Hundreds of hands shot up, as the pattern began to appear. “How wide is home plate in high school baseball?”

“Seventeen inches,” they said, sounding more confident.

“You’re right!” Scolinos barked. “And you college coaches, how wide is home plate in college?”
“Seventeen inches!” we said, in unison.

“Any Minor League coaches here? How wide is home plate in pro ball?”

“Seventeen inches!”

“RIGHT! And in the Major Leagues, how wide home plate is in the Major Leagues?”

“Seventeen inches!”

“SEV-EN-TEEN INCHES!” he confirmed, his voice bellowing off the walls. “And what do they do with a a Big League pitcher who can’t throw the ball over seventeen inches?” Pause. “They send him to Pocatello!” he hollered, drawing raucous laughter.

“What they don’t do is this: they don’t say, ‘Ah, that’s okay, Jimmy. You can’t hit a seventeen-inch target? We’ll make it eighteen inches, or nineteen inches. We’ll make it twenty inches so you have a better chance of hitting it. If you can’t hit that, let us know so we can make it wider still, say twenty-five inches.'”

Pause.

“Coaches …”

Pause.

” … what do we do when our best player shows up late to practice? When our team rules forbid facial hair and a guy shows up unshaven? What if he gets caught drinking? Do we hold him accountable? Or do we change the rules to fit him, do we widen home plate?

The chuckles gradually faded as four thousand coaches grew quiet, the fog lifting as the old coach’s message began to unfold. He turned the plate toward himself and, using a Sharpie, began to draw something. When he turned it toward the crowd, point up, a house was revealed, complete with a freshly drawn door and two windows. “This is the problem in our homes today. With our marriages, with the way we parent our kids. With our discipline. We don’t teach accountability to our kids, and there is no consequence for failing to meet standards. We widen the plate!

Pause. Then, to the point at the top of the house he added a small American flag.

“This is the problem in our schools today. The quality of our education is going downhill fast and teachers have been stripped of the tools they need to be successful, and to educate and discipline our young people. We are allowing others to widen home plate! Where is that getting us?”

Silence. He replaced the flag with a Cross.

“And this is the problem in the Church, where powerful people in positions of authority have taken advantage of young children, only to have such an atrocity swept under the rug for years. Our church leaders are widening home plate!”

I was amazed. At a baseball convention where I expected to learn something about curveballs and bunting and how to run better practices, I had learned something far more valuable. From an old man with home plate strung around his neck, I had learned something about life, about myself, about my own weaknesses and about my responsibilities as a leader. I had to hold myself and others accountable to that which I knew to be right, lest our families, our faith, and our society continue down an undesirable path.
“If I am lucky,” Coach Scolinos concluded, “you will remember one thing from this old coach today. It is this: if we fail to hold ourselves to a higher standard, a standard of what we know to be right; if we fail to hold our spouses and our children to the same standards, if we are unwilling or unable to provide a consequence when they do not meet the standard; and if our schools and churches and our government fail to hold themselves accountable to those they serve, there is but one thing to look forward to …”
With that, he held home plate in front of his chest, turned it around, and revealed its dark black backside.

“… dark days ahead.”
Coach Scolinos died in 2009 at the age of 91, but not before touching the lives of hundreds of players and coaches, including mine. Meeting him at my first ABCA convention kept me returning year after year, looking for similar wisdom and inspiration from other coaches. He is the best clinic speaker the ABCA has ever known because he was so much more than a baseball coach.

His message was clear: “Coaches, keep your players — no matter how good they are — your own children, and most of all, keep yourself at seventeen inches.”

He was, indeed, worth the airfare.

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Source: http://www.sperrybaseballlife.com/stay-at-17-inches/ 
 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

THE FIRST VISION'S 196TH ANNIVERSARY!

What is "The First Vision", you ask?
I really like this description:

"As a boy, Joseph Smith was surrounded by various churches which, though they disagreed with one another, each claimed to teach the truth. This caused him much serious reflection. He wanted to know which church was right. One day he read a passage in the Bible which says, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5). Joseph decided to accept the invitation to ask God.

In the spring of 1820, Joseph went to a grove of trees near his home and prayed to learn which church he should join. In answer to his prayer, Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, appeared to him. Joseph wrote: “When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!” Joseph was told to join none of the churches that existed at that time as the priesthood authority and Church as Jesus Christ had organized it when He was on the earth had been lost over the centuries.

Joseph Smith’s First Vision marked the beginning of the Restoration of Jesus Christ’s Church to the earth. Joseph’s written account of this event is a powerful testimony of what he saw and experienced. (Joseph Smith’s History chapter 1 verses 8-17.)"


I also really like THIS possible explanation as to what date the First Vision most likely took place (3/26/1820).  The last paragraph of this site wraps it up in a nutshell (after all the clues/evidences were taken into consideration): 


"Combining all of this evidence, there were three days of early spring on which the weather qualified as being possible for the First Vision. On the first two of them the Smith family would almost certainly have been totally occupied in producing maple sugar. On the third of those days, there would have been no more work to do in producing maple sugar, and it would have been a day of rest. That day coincided with Sunday, the weekly Sabbath. Thus it is one day which is indicated as being far more likely than any other for the First Vision. It must have been on the morning of Sunday, March 26, 1820, that Joseph Smith reached out to God and the glorious response changed the course of history. The brief statement that the marvelous event occurred "on the morning of a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring" of 1820 was enough to pinpoint the very day it occurred."


"Sacred Grove" by Brent Borup

From my personal experience, aside from all the "learning" I've done and all the "teaching" I have received from the human side of things, this is my personal spiritual learning I've received directly from God, through the Holy Ghost, who makes the truth of all things known to us - That I know, not of myself but of the Spirit of God, that Joseph Smith Jr. truly did see God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, in vision, in that sacred grove on that Spring morning. They truly spoke to him and instructed him, and thus began the Restitution of All Things, which the Apostle Paul testified should take place in the last days, when he stated: "Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began." (Acts 3:21)

My experience as to how I came to know this is sacred to me, and it is a very long story to type out. However, if any one wishes to hear the long version, you are welcome to comment below and leave your email, and I will be happy to email it to you. 

This is the short version:  There came a time in my life that I didn't want to just believe whatever I had been taught. I wanted to know for myself whether or not Joseph Smith Jr had truly experienced what he said he did. It made sense to me that the truth of Mormonism hangs on whether or not Joseph Smith had that first vision. If he did, then all he taught was true, and God is truly a keeper of His word and restored His gospel and His church, just like the one He had organized when He was upon Earth, was once again upon Earth. Or, if Joseph Smith did not have that first vision, then it was all a lie and nothing he said could be trusted. The story of Joseph, following the admonition of James, also touched my heart as being true and trusworthy. I lacked wisdom, of myself, to know whether or not Joseph Smith truly had that vision. But I KNEW that God knew, and I knew that God was capable of tellling me, personally, whether or not I could trust the claim. So for many months I prayed to know. At first, I kept feeling the same answer over and over "I've already told you", "you've known all your life", "remember when you'd talk with me every day when you were young? I'm still here", "yes, it's true, and you already know it", "remember how you've come to know, precept upon precept, line upon line...." Etc. Etc. But, being stubborn, I wanted to know for myself with a direct, personal revelation. 

Well, one day that revelation came, and when it did it quite literally floored me. All I could do was back up against the wall, slide down to the floor, and cry. I couldn't speak. I could only cry. My heart felt like it was going to burst from sheer joy, enlightenment and peace.  I KNEW, in an unearthly, non-human kind of way that YES! Joseph Smith truly experienced that first vision, and God was testifying to me of its truthfulness.  I can say this, that unless one has experienced God testifying to them, in their hearts and their minds, then there are no possible words in any language to describe that feelings and that experience. I wanted to shout it out to the world! I wanted to grab each person I saw on my way home and say "Do you UNDERSTAND what has happened in this world? The fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is truly upon Earth once more! It's all true! It's all REAL!"  Of course, I didn't - but I wanted to. 

Then when I read about March 26th being the most likely day that the First Vision took place - in fact, it's probably the only day it could have taken place - I was more excited, because I could then celebrate this special day on the very date.  So..... 

HAPPY FIRST VISION DAY!

Just think: In 4 more years we will celebrate the First Vision's bicentennial! Wow!

I would love for the world to know about the First Vision and the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.So please click on this image above to learn more if you wish! :)


I KNOW THAT MY REDEEMER LIVES
 
 I know that my Redeemer lives.
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, He lives, who once was dead.
He lives, my ever-living Head.

He lives to bless me with His love.
He lives to plead for me above.
He lives my hungry soul to feed.
He lives to bless in time of need.

He lives to grant me rich supply.
He lives to guide me with His eye.
He lives to comfort me when faint.
He lives to hear my soul's complaint.
He lives to silence all my fears.
He lives to wipe away my tears.
He lives all blessings to impart.

He lives, my kind, wise heav'nly Friend.
He lives and loves me to the end.
He lives, and while He lives, I'll sing.
He lives, my Prophet, Priest, and King.
He lives and grants me daily breath.
He lives, and I shall conquer death.
He lives my mansion to prepare.
He lives to bring me safely there.

He lives! All glory to His name! 
He lives, my Savior, still the same.
Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives:
"I know that my Redeemer lives!"
He lives! All glory to His name!
He lives, my Savior, still the same.
OH, SWEET THE JOY THIS SENTENCE GIVES:
"I KNOW THAT MY REDEEMER LIVES!" 
(Hymn No. 136, I Know That My Redeemer Lives; Text by Samuel Medley 1738-1799)

#Hallelujah #BecauseOfHim #HeLives

Monday, December 21, 2015

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOUR FAMILY ~ FROM THE 9 FAMILY

 

Each year our family looks forward to receiving the Christmas letters, cards, and photos from each of you, and we happily share our own. It is the time of year we all reconnect and we love that feeling. Thank you for sharing yours with us!

Our family has been blessed yet again another year. Like you, we’ve had our share of home runs, curve balls, and outs, but as take time to look back we see how each has been a blessing to us. We are grateful for this crazy adventure called life! It has been our greatest teacher.

Bob’s news is that he started a new job. After working for his previous company for many years, he was blessed with a “new and improved” job as Regional Manager-Southwest, Endpoint Operations for a AmerisourceBergen. He loves this new opportunity and the people he is working for. He was content and blessed with his Concentra job, but as he prayed and sought the Lord’s guidance, this was the direction he felt he needed to go. We found out just a couple of weeks later that it was indeed a blessings he switched jobs precisely when he did. So thankful! Another big change for Bob was his being released as the Ward Clerk and being called as the Young Men’s President. He loves these young men, and they love him. He has helped most of them grow from young boys to 18 yr old young men, helped them through Scouting as their Scout Master, and now will get to help  them as YM President. These boys (and Bob) are so happy about this!  It is neat to see the relationship and rapport he has built with them over the years, and I cannot imagine a better man to help usher them into their next phase of life as grown men. Bob also continues to be webmaster for Dallas Millennial Choirs & Orchestras, the choir that Emily sings in, and spends his “spare time” helping and serving others as well as his family, plus catching a bit of Dr Who when he can!




I, Teri, was released as Activity Days Leader after I received a call to be one of the first two Stake Social Media Specialists, creating the new Stake website, Facebook Page, Facebook Group, Twitter, and Google+ Page. It is time consuming and a lot of work, but it is fun, and having served the past 2 1/2 years as Admin. for the Missionary Moms support groups on Facebook for both the Texas Dallas Mission and the California Bakersfield Mission (plus their respective Returned Missionary groups) has given me the necessary know-how to be able to fulfill this calling well. It is amazing how the Lord prepares us ahead of time sometimes for things to come. I also continue to homeschool Emily, serve as Visiting Teaching Supervisor, and have also begun teaching another 3-year round of the “MOA” (Making of America) Class to homeschool teens ages 14+. This is a class on the Constitution, Bill of Rights, Founding Fathers, and the Principles that serve as their foundation. It is an amazing experience and one of my passions in life - to teach the rising generation these important truths, so they may help maintain our nation free for the next generation. I first taught it when Jonathan was a teen, and now it is Emily’s turn. This time we have only 17 students, but we have added some side activities such as Focus on The Founders oral presentations before an audience, and Constitution Bowl which is a competition of teams to show the student’s knowledge on the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Founding Fathers. Family and friends are invited to attend these and they turn out to be a lot of fun.
 

Jonathan is returned home after serving an honorable 24 month mission in the California Bakersfield Mission! A very emotional experience! To say he had ups and downs, and experiences that tested, tried, strengthened, and enlarged him would be an understatement. He grew to love the Mission President, the missionary companions and friends, and the people he served and taught there. It has been one of the greatest blessings of his life, while coming home and leaving it behind has been one of the hardest things in his life. He misses it and thinks about his mission daily. He is still learning to adjust to “civilian life” post-mission, though he’s been doing well at it, and he hopes to return to the mission to visit sometime in early 2016.  A highlight for him was being able to go to Michigan where he surprised Elder Peterson by being at the airport when Elder Peterson walked off the plane having completed his own mission! Shortly after that, Jonathan's mission Trainer, Elder Norton, came and spent a couple of days with us while he competed in The Texas Titan Challenge.  Jonathan began working full time as an IT helper for Apple Orthodontix, which covers all their offices in the Dallas area, and also restarted his university studies with the Pathway program through BYU-Idaho. This is an On-Line general studies program that includes attending the local Institute of Religion class. He has loved it so far and will continue with the three-semester program. Once he completes that, he plans on transferring up to BYU-Idaho full time. At least that is what we hear so far. School and work keep him quite busy, but he manages to squeeze in some social time with family, friends, and even some dating!  We love having him home for a few months before he really flies the coup. He was sorely missed the two years he was serving his mission and we are really, really happy to have him home for Christmas this year!


Welcome home, Elder Nine!
(Click the photo collage to see the homecoming video - 10 min.)
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVdOCBI_USk

Surprise & Welcome Home, Elder Peterson!  Thanks for being one awesome Missionary companion!

 

 Mi casa es su casa, Elder Norton! Thanks for being one awesome Missionary Trainer!

 

Starting out the holidays right - Star Wars VII with friends!

 


Emily is 6’ tall now and just turned 14 - which means she can now attend Church dances!  The world has gotten exponentially better! Her birthday just so happened to fall on the day of the big Halloween Dance, so her birthday party was one big “Pre-dance Party”. She continues to homeschool (sort of 8th and 9th grade both), to sing in the Dallas Millennial Choirs & Orchestras, participate in the MOA class as well as provide Community Service (Toys 4 Tots is one of her annual favorites!), take piano lessons, and take classical art lessons, where she was excited to begin to learn oil painting. She got to attend her first "Texas Homeschool Teen Camp" for a few days down near Houston this year which was a highlight for her. She also loves to spend time with family and friends, and in her free time (any little minute she can squeeze in) you’ll find her drawing and sketching. This girl cannot live without art! Emily attended the Young Women’s Summer Camp again this year where she mastered one of her greatest fears:  Her fear of heights! She actually went zip-lining and actually liked it! Proud of her for trying that. Emily is still a big helper to her family, a caring, selfless, and ultra considerate young woman. She brings purity, innocence, laughter, and even deep reflections into our family. She was just as excited as I was to welcome Elder Nine home from his mission!

Dallas Millennial Choirs & Orchestras
(Click HERE or on the image to listen to the choir)
Christmas Concert 2015

Community Service at Toys 4 Tots with friends


One of Emily's first oil paintings


At Teen Camp with other Texas homeschoolers


Young Women's Camp (Church group)


She loves it when her Daddy gets to go to Young Women's Camp to help with the sound system (and so does he!)



Jessica has had a rough past few years. This past year saw her in jail, and afterward seeing her diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (“BPD”). You may look it up online by clicking HERE, to see what it’s all about. It has been a very long road for Jessica and our family.  The bottom line is, that just like alcoholism, BPD is something that is life-long, but it is very manageable if the person gets the very specific therapy needed. BPD people can have good lives and relationships. However,  the person must want it badly enough to do the hard work it takes to get there. Time alone will tell if and when Jessica gets there.
    

Orli, our little 2 yr old granddaughter, is a joy for us to have over every Sunday, thanks to Nate (her father) being so gracious about having us in her life. She gets to spend the day here with us, attend church with us, and play with us. She is a blessing and a light in our lives. We just adore her! She is growing up so quick and is talking more and more, so we can now have small conversations with her. She is a lot of fun and we are excited to be able to have her over for Christmas again this year, with her spending the 24th and 25th with us! 

Orli loves to find ornaments on the tree - 
And she's very good at it too!


Some highlights for our family this year: Feeding and helping Missionaries in our ward and area. Since Elder Nine served his mission, we have become acutely aware of how much fun this is and how very much it helps and supports the moms, and missionaries too. We especially love helping them celebrate their birthdays! 

 


 

Next, my sister, Eileen, came down to visit us in October and we all got to spend some time with my brother, Billy, too. It had been way too long since the three of us siblings had been together - such a wonderful blessing!

 

Another one was sharing a delicious and special Thanksgiving Dinner with our good friends, the Kozlowski's - we even got to meet Alex, their foreign exchange student from Germany! We love these friends and love spending time with them.

 

And last but definitely not least, a highlight happened in November when my dear friend, Jen Felix, came to the Plano area to spend Thanksgiving with her brother and his family, and we got to spend some time together. it seems our friendship has been a long-distance one for most of the 28 years we’ve known each other, so this was another big blessing!  

 

That about covers it for our family. We managed to survive the 2015 storm season which saw many parts of the DFW metroplex, including Plano, inundated with water within a short few hours of non-stop, pouring-down rain. A week or two of that, and one could almost see fish swimming in the streets! But it was a blessing overall, as we were in bad need of water, and this filled up our lakes again. Another tender mercy from heaven!


 

As we remember our Savior this Christmas and always, we are reminded, as Elder David A. Bednar states, “In every season of our lives, in all of the circumstances we may encounter, and in each challenge we may face, Jesus Christ is the light that dispels fear, provides assurance and direction, and engenders enduring peace and joy. Many of our memorable and enduring Christmas traditions include different kinds of lights - lights on trees, lights in and on our homes, candles on our tables. May the beautiful lights of every holiday season remind us of Him who is the source of all light. 'Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting light. The hopes and fears of all the years, Are met in thee tonight.' ("O Little Town of Bethlehem," Hymns, No. 208)”  I love Christmas lights! Perhaps because they remind us of the Light of the world!

 Merry Christmas And Happy New Year!