November 30, 2008

Quote 22

Now Faith, in the sense in which I am here using the word, is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods. For moods will change, whatever view your reason takes. I know that by experience. Now that I am a Christian I do have moods in which the whole thing looks very improbable: but when I was an atheist I had moods in which Christianity looked terribly probable. This rebellion of your moods against your real self is going to come anyway. That is why Faith is such a necessary virtue: unless you teach your moods 'where to get off', you can never be either a sound Christian or even a sound atheist, but just a creature dithering to and fro, with its beliefs really dependent on the weather and the state of its digestion. Consequently one must train the habit of Faith.

The first step is to recognise the fact that your moods change. The next is to make sure that, if you have once accepted Christianity, then some of its main doctrines shall be deliberately held before your mind for some time every day. That is why daily prayers and religious readings and churchgoing are necessary parts of the Christian life. We have to be continually reminded of what we believe. Neither this belief nor any other will automatically remain alive in the mind. It must be fed. And as a matter of fact, if you examined a hundred people who had lost their faith in Christianity, I wonder how many of them would turn out to have been reasoned out of it by honest argument? Do not most people simply drift away?

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 125

November 29, 2008

LOTR Marathon

















I am a huge "Lord of the Rings" fan. I've read the full series many times and thought the movie versions were brilliant. Jeni and I even attended a "Return of the King" midnight release party several years ago. Jeni's cousin Kara hosted a marathon party last year watching all 3 of the regular versions, so this year we thought we'd do the same but used the extended versions. That's right - all 11 hours worth! We hosted it today from 8am to 8pm and it was a great time! Though I wasn't used to sitting in one place for so long, this will definitely become an annual tradition. And, if Peter Jackson ends up producing or directing The Hobbit, it will likely turn into a 14 hour day. I can't wait! The picture above is the invitation we sent out. Mark your calendars now for the first Saturday after Thanksgiving in 2009!

November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008






















We were grateful this year to host a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration with all of Jeni's family living in Utah including Rebecca and her girls, Steve and Bob and Carin's family - 14 in all. The food was delicious and the company was great. The last few hours of the evening were spent mapping out "Black Friday" routes to get a jump start on Christmas shopping.






























































































November 27, 2008

Perspective

Joey brought home the paper below this week in preparation for Thanksgiving. It certainly puts most of our cares and worries in perspective. On this Thanksgiving day, Jeni and I are so grateful for all the wonderful blessings we enjoy, but none more so than each other, our children, our families and our friends. Happy Thanksgiving!

November 25, 2008

Aida






















On Friday night Jeni and I took the kids to see "Aida" at Hale Center Theatre. We'd heard songs from the soundtrack but had never seen the musical. The show was excellent and Jeni even recognized one of the actors from her college days as a Music, Dance, Theatre major. We had a great time and also enjoyed a yummy dinner at Ruby River before the show, courtesy of Grandma D! Here are some pictures of us at the restaurant. If you haven't been to Ruby River in a while, the menu has expanded and the prices have come down - a great combination and one of our favorite restaurants.
















November 23, 2008

On the House

Of the many great qualities that define Joey, two came together recently in an interesting way. Joey loves drinks - milkshakes, fruit slushes, virgin daquiris - you name it, he loves them! He also has an especially good memory. So good, in fact that he has been continually reminding me about a frozen chocolate drink I bought him at Starbucks nearly a year ago that spilled on the way home and about my promise to buy him another one. He also has been reminding me about the Sonic Reeses Milkshake I bought him about a month ago that I finished for him during his piano lesson without his express permission (one of my not so great qualities) and about my promise to buy him a new one. And, recently he wanted a "slushy" drink from 7-11 but I told him I'd only get him one if he could remember what it was called before we got home. He remembered "Slurpee" just in time and has been reminding me about that debt as well.

So, growing weary of his continual reminders and embarrased that I had not fulfilled my promises to him, I decided last week to surprise Joey with all three at the same time. It was a fun memory and I had to post this picture of Joey after tasting the Starbucks chocolate drink. It is "coffee free" but after seeing his face afterwards, I'm not so sure. Here are the before and after pictures. Judge for yourself!
















November 19, 2008

Groomed

















We've had our Shih-tzu Baxter for a year and a half and we love how his fur is very soft and doesn't shed. In fact, we love it so much that we sometimes don't take him in for grooming as often as we probably should. In the picture above, you can almost hear Baxter thinking "You are taking me in today, right?" We finally broke down and got him groomed a few days ago. The pictures below show the before and after pictures. Big difference!
















November 18, 2008

One Year Ago














Today marks the anniversary of our the start of our family blog. 145 posts later, here we are. During the last year I've been asked several times why I do this. So, I thought this anniversary would be a great time to answer that question - "Why a blog?"

Communication with Family
Other than a few of Jeni's siblings, both Jeni's and my family live in other States. It is very difficult to keep up communications just over the phone because unless you talk every week, it's hard to remember what has taken place and its usually the little things that make life interesting to those that don't live nearby. My sister has an amazing blog and I feel like I know her and her family so much better as a result. In fact, on a recent visit to see her I was able to ask questions and comment about things that had recently happened in their lives, almost as if I'd been there participating.

Communication with Friends
I love reading about my friends' experiences in their blogs. They help give me greater insights, comforts and have helped me to realize that while every family has their own set of unique challenges, every family deals with them in different ways. I have learned so much! It's a wonderful peek into the lives of those I care about.

Record of our Doings - Now
Countless times over the last year Jeni and I have asked ourselves questions like "When did this happen?" or "Didn't we do this?" I feel like my memory is so much worse than it used to be. Having the blog history, I can do a quick search through our events and find what I'm looking for. I've also found that things we are blogging about are things that we would normally never record anywhere and thus forget. I've also found it helpful to put my favorite quotes on the blog for quick searching capability. And even recently, Maddy's friends have been going onto the blog to find out about her going-ons, looking at her pictures, listening to her performances, etc.

Record of our Doings - Later
In the Church we've all been counseled to keep journals. One reason is to remember daily how grateful we should be for all we've been blessed with in our lives. Another reason is for our posterity's sake. They can look back on these experiences and it will give them a greater sense of who they are and where they've come from. Having kept a journal every day of my mission, I've tried to keep regular records since coming home and there have been a few years I've done really well, and many year's I've done really poorly. I've found that blogging has kept me in this "daily rememberance" mode much more effectively. On Sundays, I copy my blog entries from the week into my main journal (kept in Microsoft Word) and then add additional thoughts and comments in that journal. It's almost like the blog entries are my "large plates" and the Sunday comments are my "small plates."

Easier than Scrapbooking
Earlier in our marriage when Jeni's health was better she used to scrapbook and was very good at it. It was fun to see the pictures combined with a few words or phrases that told a story. In my opinion, it was that combination of pictures and writing that made scrapbooking so popular. For me personally, blogging accomplishes the same purpose but is much easier and more permanent than scrapbooking. While perhaps not as crafty or creative, blog entries will never rust or fade, the pictures are perfect quality, there's more room to tell the story, plus you can even add video!
So there you have it - my rationale for having a blog. For those of you that have allowed us a peek into your lives through your blogs, thank you for being willing to share! And for those of you that read our blog, thanks for putting up with our craziness! Who knows what the next 145 posts will bring?

November 17, 2008

VIP - Christmas 2008

















Maddy's performing group (VIP at Center Stage) just started their annual round of Christmas performances. This year their group sings and dances to Christmas songs with a 50's twist and after only a few shows they're already coming together really well. This past weekend they performed at Thanksgiving Point and at the Southtown Expo in Sandy. I'll post some video of some of Maddy's solos soon, but here are a few pictures from the weekend.



















































November 16, 2008

The Other Pod

















Earlier this year, I published a post about Maddy and her friend Madisen, friends since they were very young. I mentioned on that post that Joey has been friends with Madisen's brother, Tyler, literally since birth! The picture above was taken recently of the two of them. They're both great boys and love spending time with each other riding their wave-boards, playing video games, etc. Its hard to believe but these are the same two boys in the picture from the "Backing Up" post. Time passes way too quickly!

November 12, 2008

Missionary Maddy

















This week the youth in our ward had "Missionary Week." It started with a Fireside on Sunday and then all the youth and their families were invited to live like missionaries as much as possible during the week. That meant no tv, only wholesome music, scripture study, etc. We all participated and it has been a great week so far. One of the activities took place last night when the young men were paired off in two's and the young women were paired off also. Each companionship had been given a section of the "Preach My Gospel" manual to study and then last night they each visited a different home in the ward, shared a message from their section and then ate dinner with that family. Maddy went to a home with Brianna Beck, a Laurel, and had a great time. We thought it was a great idea! Sister Shearer - that has a nice ring to it!

November 09, 2008

Quote 21

It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succor of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule.

J.R.R Tolkien, The Return of the King, p. 190

November 05, 2008

First Snow

















This morning we woke up to quite a sight - snow! How do the seasons sneak up on us like that? Just yesterday I went grocery shopping and heard Christmas music playing throughout the store. Wasn't it just October a few days ago? Aren't we still three weeks away from Thanksgiving? Though there's nothing like sitting by the fireplace, drinking hot chocolate and watching the snow come down outside, I am not a big fan of shoveling the snow off our driveway. This is true especially when I'm pushing the plow and it hits an uneven part of the driveway and the handle hits my stomach and catapaults me into the air like a pole-vaulter. Who knew you could get a bruised stomach shoveling your driveway!

November 04, 2008

BYU Conference

















Joey had a great time yesterday at Brigham Young University attending a Student Council Leadership Conference put on for 100's of Elementary School Student Council's across Utah. Joey's favorite speakers were John Bytheway and Ryan Radebaugh. He also enjoyed getting to miss the entire day of school with the other 7 Student Council members (above). On a side note, if you look closely at Joey you'll see his new hairstyle, done completely by himself including the occasional trimming and styling. None of us are allowed to touch his hair. What happened to our little Joey?

November 02, 2008

Quote 20

Christians have often disputed as to whether what leads the Christian home is good actions, or Faith in Christ. I have no right really to speak on such a difficult question, but it does seem to me like asking which blade in a pair of scissors is most necessary. A serious moral effort is the only thing that will bring you to the point where you throw up the sponge. Faith in Christ is the only thing to save you from despair at that point: and out of that Faith in Him good actions must inevitably come.

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 148