Christmas was cold this year. A slight sifting of snow fell, but as the skies cleared the temperature dropped. Still, the white mantle on the mountains was most welcome.
Don's yearly "adjustments" of our manger scene brightened my life and brought many smiles.
The wise man on the roof was a masterly touch. This magi wanted to get an uncluttered glimpse of baby Jesus, even if it was upside down as well.
The animals found a way up the ramp so they could see, but the stubborn cow decided to sit down where it was, so the donkey and sheep had to wait patiently for their turn.
It was truly an unusual (one might even say "unique") arrangement, as the group crowded elbow to elbow to watch.
Our little wooden reindeer stood proudly as he has done for so many, many years.
The stuffed animals made things cozy beneath the television set.
I couldnt' resist including all three pictures of the Christmas tree. First as it is in daylight (with a flash).
The second view is a little blurrier as the flash was turned off and the lights on the tree gave the only illumination.
And the last is the blurriest of all, when I included the star. The feeling of the blurry tree captures some of the "magic" feeling that I love about having a Christmas tree. Who needs sharp reality?
Of course, the holiday isn't complete until I get out a puzzle on Christmas day.
For me, one of the highlights of this year's Christmas was the gift my children gave us of an LCD picture frame pre-programmed with pictures from all six of my children and their families and loved ones. It is a delight to turn it on and just sit and watch.
And I once again read the four gospels and the book of Acts from the Bible, starting just after Thanksgiving and reading every day up until Christmas. It keeps me focused on the Savior, who is truly the gift to us all from a loving Heavenly Father. Jesus's love for us brings light and hope and joy into our lives. I hope your Christmas was as nice as ours was.
Dianne Carr and I played our once-a-year golf game Tuesday on a gorgeous day. Thanks to Sonny for supplying me with clubs, tees, balls etc. We had a great time even though her back started acting up so she had to stop trying long drives and I spent a great deal of time in the sand or in the creek. We had to just laugh at ourselves, but it was certainly wonderfully beautiful and fun. Thanks, Dianne
I've been thinking about what a nice summer this was--some hot days but nothing like long stretches of over-100 degrees that we have had some years. I'm posting a few of my favorite memories this summer.
Hike up Round Peak with Shaunalei--
Devi and Ken's visit--
Watching the Civic Center be built--
Visiting the Art Museum's sculpture garden with Don--
It has been a delightful few days with chances to visit with Jenae and her children: Becky, Emily and Kaleb. We went to see Michelle and her children: Patrick and Daniel, and had a wonderful time. After some supper, we went to watch Michelle practice with the rest of the cast for "The Wizard of Oz," a play which will be performed toward the end of August in Payson. Kirsten and Rebecca were here in Utah County for a couple of days, too, and Michelle and the kids' grandma Carolyn joined the rest of us for a trip to the Oquirrh Temple Open House, supper at Wendy's (where Grandpa Jorgen joined us) and a concert by the group Voice Male. On Saturday, all the girls got to visit with many cousins and aunts and uncles at the Boyer reunion, and that evening some of us went to the Springville Folkfest to watch dancers from six different countries. While at my house, Jenae's kids had fun trying on Grandma's hats. Grandpa Don was included in a game of Chicken Feet, which he won. Rebecca played Rubix Cube and showed Kaleb how it was done. Kirsten and Jenae were glad to see each other. (This paragraph goes with the pictures.) The trip to the temple open house was spiritual, and fun, too. After the tour of the temple, we all got to ride back to our cars in an extended golf cart thingamajig because Jenae's broken foot was paining her after all the walking. At supper and after the concert, Michelle entertained us with her great ability to talk with Scottish and Indian accents. She's hilarious! It's too bad I didn't take my camera with me on that trip. Our cheeks hurt from all the laughter. If any of you get the chance to see Voice Male in concert, I'm guessing you will truly enjoy it. We sure did. The group started when these men got to know each other while students in college, and now, more than 13 years later, they are still singing a cappella songs and cracking people up with their funny joking between numbers. They got off on jokes about "Porch Geese" when they were talking about the Portuguese language. You had to be there, but I have rarely been more thoroughly entertained. I've been happy as a ladybug having these family visits this week. I'm so blessed.
I've been reading A Circle of Light by Madeleine L'Engle. Here is a part that touched my soul: "Once, when I was very unhappy, Hugh [her husband] and I had to go to a large cocktail party. There was nothing I wanted to do less than get dressed up and have to radiate charm to swarms of people. But we went, and I tried. There was a woman at the party who very quickly had too much to drink because she was lost; she had been widowed; she had not been able to find a new life which was valuable, or in which she felt she had any value. She talked to me and cried into her drink and suddenly she said, "You're a very happy person, aren't you? "I had, at that point, legitimate reason to be miserable. But her question stopped me in my tracks. I looked at her in surprise and gratitude and said, 'Yes, I am.' "This was ten years ago. But the answer is still the same. The better word, of course, is joy, because it doesn't have anything to do with pain, physical or spiritual. . . . Joy is what has made the pain bearable and, in the end, creative rather than destructive. "To be fifty-one in the world of today and to be able to say, 'I am a happy person,' may seem irresponsible. But it is not. It is what keeps me capable of making a response. I do not understand it, or need to. "Meanwhile, I am grateful.'
Her words have rolled around in my mind and I've tasted them in my heart and believe that I can say that I, too, am a happy person. Joy is what makes "pain bearable." And joy is frequently a verb--looking at things in a certain way--doing things from a distinct perspective--making a choice to be happy. I can "joy" in life. I don't believe that means going around with a sappy grin in the midst of trouble. To me it means acknowledging the misery and darkness that abound, but refusing to feast on them and not letting them become who I am. There is glory and beauty in abundance, and I choose to let them be the feast that I internalize. Naivete has its benefits, and I prefer filling up on trust and faith and hope. Like Ms. L'Engle, 'I do not understand it, or need to.' And I, too, "am grateful."
Glory came, this morning, in a little spurt from Aurora's rose-tipped fingers-- so beautiful it hurt.
Glory comes in moments that quickly melt away, yet leave a hallowed memory to echo through the day.
Glory comes in moments so keen they take the breath-- as keen, almost, as resurrection after solemn death.
I'm extremely normal (whatever that means). I'm usually optimistic and hopeful. For me, emotion seems to precede thought. I have been blessed enough already for more than 60 lifetimes. Family is tops on my list of important things.