December 18, 2011

Merry Christmas 2011

















We continue our tradition of using our blog to deliver our annual Holiday greeting. If you'd like to see what we've been up to during 2011, feel free to browse through the blog posts from this year in the archives section on the left side of this page. You'll see milestone birthdays, school plays and musicals, scouting awards, braces on and off, family trips, links to Ro's cooking blog, filming the Church’s New Testament Project and just general craziness. Most of the major events of this year can be found here.

One of our favorite Christmas traditions is watching the many renditions of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” In this classic story, Ebenezer Scrooge, a wealthy but uncharitable banker, is visited by a series of ghosts on Christmas Eve. Of all the ghosts that appear to him that evening, one of our favorites is the first, Scrooge’s former business partner Jacob Marley. In a brief exchange that captures the central theme of the entire story, Marley, burdened with large chains, appears to Scrooge and explains that the chains were of his own making during his mortal life. Scrooge, confused at how this could have been suggests to Marley:

“But you were always a good man of business, Jacob,” faltered Scrooge, who now began to apply this to himself. “Business!” cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. “Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!” (Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, st 1, 1843) As much as Scrooge had tried to distance himself from other people and their needs, he came to understand that he truly was connected to “mankind” and thus he found great joy as he then went about serving them.

At this time of year, may we remember that the Savior’s life was infinite for all mankind. Remembering this should lead us to doing the same - devoting and dedicating our life to all in need. Is there a member of “mankind” that needs our help? Someone we should reach out to? Someone to uplift and encourage? Someone to mourn with? Someone to comfort? Someone to serve? Someone to forgive? In the midst of the hustle and bustle of this holiday season, let’s take time to pause and seek out those who might need our help so that we, like Scrooge, can make “mankind” our business and, by doing so, experience the true spirit of Christmas.

Speaking of that wonderful Christmas spirit, please enjoy the video below which was recently released as a “Gift to the World” by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This video is the first in a series of over 50 vignettes depicting scenes from the Savior’s life from the New Testament and are free to download by anyone worldwide. This video series is the same that Maddy and I participated in as Extra’s. For more information on that wonderful filming experience, click here. To see the other videos, pictures from the scenes or to download your own free copies, click here.

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Wishing you and your families the choicest of God's blessings this Christmas and into 2012.

Ro, Jeni, Maddy and Joey Shearer

December 15, 2011

Midnight Clear

Several years ago I recorded myself playing Kurt Bestor's arrangement of "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear," one of my favorite Christmas time songs. I forgot all about the recording until recently. I hope you enjoy it and that it helps evoke the wonderful feelings of this special season.

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December 13, 2011

Helping Hands

















Several weeks ago we had the privilege of participating again in the Wendy's annual Warm Hearts and Warm Hands clothing drive for the homeless in Salt Lake City. For a month our stores collected blankets, hats, gloves and other warm clothing items and then we went downtown on a Saturday to distribute them to those in need. It was a great experience once again, especially to see Maddy and Joey participating. At one point, a man was looking for gloves but we had given them all out. Joey willingly gave his own gloves to this man which left him with none. These are the kinds of experiences that money just can't buy. Click here for a link to last year's distribution. Below are pictures from the sorting party at the Wendy's division office and pictures from the day of distribution including a picture of me with Misti Scow, our partner for the project.


















December 11, 2011

Maddy - Sweet Sixteen






















A few weeks ago Maddy turned 16! During the week she spent a fun day at the spa with Jen and her Grandma Kaye and then we hosted a party here at the house for some of her friends. It is so strange to have a 16 year old now with the driving and dating but Maddy has made the transition an easy one. We're very fortunate as parents to have such great kids who love life and love the Lord.

Below are pictures from the week including several from the party. For my birthday Maddy gave me a recipe book for gourmet cake bites so I tried a few for her birthday party and they were yummy! I also made her favorite Queso dip from Chili's and her favorite dessert, Chocolate Torte. Her friend McKenna who is an amazing artist decorated the top of the cake with a "16" made out of some modeling chocolate I had in the fridge. Also, her friend Madisen helped her make the amazing decorations pictured out of tissue paper.



















































































Forty






















A few weeks ago I celebrated my 40th birthday. As much as I wasn't looking forward to it, now that it has come and gone it hasn't been as big a deal as I thought it would be. Jeni threw me a great party with some of our closest friends at Carrabbas.

I've reflected a lot about what it means to turn 40 and the one quote that has helped me handle this transition the best is this one from CS Lewis. "What counts is not the age so much as the prospect; not the mileage traveled or ahead, but the view from this bend in the road." (Yours, Jack, p. 147) This has helped me to truly take life a day at a time with great appreciation for my family and friends.

Unfortunately not all the pictures from the night turned out but below are those that did.