Monday, December 21, 2009

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas!

(By the way, we feel so stinking cool to have had so many people send us Christmas cards! THANK YOU!!!)

MERRY CHRISTMAS to you. I hope it's fab.

Monday, December 7, 2009

a bit o' Christmas

Seriously, Lloyd Newell has got it going on!

This was part of a MoTab broadcast and I loved it:

"As we look forward to Christmas this year, let's look back to Christmases past and appreciate what makes a holiday memorable. Some memories may involve less-than perfect circumstances--and that's all right. Few real-life celebrations resemble the slick ads and scenes in holiday movies.
In fact, sometimes the most cherished Christmases take place in conditions that are not quite ideal. Of course, it's easy to feel discouraged when things don't go according to our plans. But in time, families often look back and laugh about the mishaps: the year the tree fell over, the time they forgot to turn on the oven, the school program when everyone forgot their lines.
Other times, families weep when they remember more serious hardships: the year when someone was in the hospital, the year there were no presents because times were tight, the first Christmas after a loved one passed away.
As such memories fill our hearts, we would do well to recall that original Christmas night. It was not without difficulty. Mary and Joseph were far from home. No room could be found in the inn. Few comforts were available. And yet, love was born. Heavenly choirs sang. A new star lit the sky, and shepherds came to worship.
Unrealistic expectations for a picture-perfect Christmas may be misleading and actually keep us from appreciating the holiday's more subtle yet more satisfying blessings. Everything does not have to be just right for wonderful things to happen.
No matter the circumstances for Christmas this year, cherished moments are within reach. Hold a child in your arms. Pause to look at the night sky. Welcome friends and family into your home, and listen to heavenly choirs. Give the love that only you can give, and you will have a memorable Christmas: a Christmas that recalls that first holy night when, in the lowliest of circumstances, a King was born."

I just love this because life is rarely perfect. We often think of what we wish we had instead of being thrilled with what we do have. But Christmas isn't about that. It's about spending time together and loving each other and focusing on our blessings. Aaron and I were so lucky to go see "A Christmas Carol" at Hale Theatre this past weekend. I don't think I can ever tire of that story; I get something new from it every time I see or read it. The story really is all about how the Atonement can change our lives, if we let it. Really, our less-than-perfect lives don't matter that much. It's such a blessing to be alive, to have someone to love, to have supportive families, to have Christ in our lives. There's so much to be thankful for.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Masonic Temple

A few weeks ago we were able to go into the Masonic Temple in Salt Lake City. A banner went up saying the doors would open to the public so we put it on our calendar! I've looked at it zillions of times since we live very close to it and wondered what it was like and now I know! We went with our friends, the Merds.

One of the rooms had a Colonial flare. They told us the decor really had nothing to do with being a Mason... more of just looking to the past and remembering. I want one of these benches. :)

These stairs were in the "ritual rooms" and each word relates to part of the ritual.

This was the Egyptian room... though I can't lie... I was least impressed with this one!

Here is a close up of the framed picture. I love the phrase "We have seen His Star in the East and are come to worship Him."

To be a Mason, you don't have to actually work with stone, you just use similar principles of building a 'true' building to build a 'true' man. Here is a rough stone...

and here is a polished, carved stone. Just like our lives... we can polish our rough edges and make ourselves shine.

There was a large theatre room with this stage. They said the sets are used in the rituals. Again learning that building a building is like building our lives.

And here is the old-time stage stuff. We loved the huge knobs and stuff! There even was a steering wheel! :)

Here is the Gothic room.

There was also a Moorish room but it appears I didn't upload any of those pictures. The main thing that was different was the pointed-top doors.
We also visited the cafeteria in the basement and were entertained by these friendly creatures who watch you eat!

Check out these folding chairs! They just don't make stuff like they used to!

And a couple other random pictures... Cool old telephones!

And an insanely large comb we found in a drawer! (Yes, we're annoying tourists!)

We had a lot of fun and learned a lot and are so glad we went!

That evening, we went to the LDS temple and Aaron mentioned that although the Mason's seem to be a great group for men, there is nothing like going to the real temple!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Day of Thanks

We spent the Thanksgiving Weekend in a tiny city called La Jara with Aaron's family. All-in-all it was a relaxing break.
I got a kick out of all the small towns we drove through on our way there. This is at a gas station in Gunnison, CO. Yes, that garbage can is wrapped up. :) And yes, there is tinsel on the gas tubes!

This side of the family is quite blessed with boys! They spent time hauling hay and grain,

playing paintball,

and, of course, EATING!

And my goodness, they sure know how to eat!!! Thanksgiving Dinner included a turkey, ham, pork roast, twice-baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, yams, stuffing, homemade cranberry sauce, rolls, shrimp, three different kinds of veggies, two different kinds of fruit salads... and that's all I can remember right now. NO ONE went back for seconds!! Farmers know how to cook! I enjoyed spending time with this side of the fam and getting to know them. Oh and of course we also enjoyed a good win from the Y!

Our trip home started snowy and icy (and gorgeous), but it cleared up very quickly. (This is the top of Chimney Rock near Aaron's hometown--I'm pretty sure I've posted pics of it before. The clouds were doing some pretty awesome stuff!)

We stopped at Wilson's Arch near Monticello and walked up to it to give our legs a rest!

Good times! The holidays are here!!!