Sunday, December 30, 2018

Christmas 2018

When your 5-year buys all her family gifts by herself you might get real gems like this “World’s Best Grandpa” one!

Cute mermaids

Cracking the Christmas gift code

#5 continuing to roll even when the cookie dough is gone


Monday, December 24, 2018

Christmas is coming!!!

A few snapshots of our past week’s activities to celebrate Christmas:

#6 and me making 50+ Candy cane Christmas mice for her to give to classmates and friends at church. 

The finished product!

#6 and class singing “Ding, Ding, Dong” (Chinese “Jingle Bells” )

#5 at his class party. He was picking up the sprinkles and running them through his fingers over and over again (stimming) so I made him do it over a frosted cookie...

#3 and Dad (and friend) helping out at local
food pantry. #2 and #4 were there too, but no one got their picture....

Sunday before Christmas (and the boys snuck in Mr. Smiley!)

#5 actually sitting and watching 5 minutes of a Christmas movie with us!!!

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Monday, December 10, 2018

My current first world problem...

My foot:

My usual shoes (all heels):

My current selection (no heels!!)

(Mostly sandals, in December 😳).

Sunday, December 2, 2018

2019 New Years resolution—starting early

I am starting my 2019 resolution now: I aim to blog more. I am going to do this weekly but the only way to be successful in this goal is to make sure it is attainable! I must K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple and Sweet). So—just a photo of the week and why it touched me...

My dear sister and her husband as they look on their first baby as she fights for her life. They are feeling so many feelings here, and always. God is mindful of them and they are putting faith in Him to carry their daughter—and to carry them—through all these many difficulties. They are in my prayers always.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Holy [Moly] Land!!!! (part 5 of 5)

(Israel Highpoints, cont.)

-Pool of Siloam (site B, source of water is correct but actual pool has not been found)
Wonderful occurrence where Jesus taught his disciples that neither the man nor his parents had sinned, resulting in the blind man being blind. He made a clay from dirt and his spit and put it on the blind man’s eyes and then told him to go wash in the pool of Siloam. He washed and could see!

-Holda gate to the temple, Old City of Jerusalem
We know Jesus came to Jerusalem and entered the temple on many occasions. The arch doorways are what is left of the original gate...

-Western Wall of the Temple of Jerusalem 
Last wall of the temple. Very holy site for Jews. We came on a day of Bar Mitzvas.

-Pools of Bethesda
I love this story where Jesus asked a lame man why he was not going in to the waters to be healed? (Rumor was that when the waters were “troubled” whomever was first into the pools would be healed). The man told Jesus that he had no one to carry him down to the waters. Jesus healed him and the lame man walked!

-Garden of Gethsemane (Church of All Nations)
Some of these trees are shoots from the olive trees that were there in the garden where Jesus Christ took on all our sins. The garden was peaceful and lovely and I felt very humbled to be where Christ atoned for me and you. 

(View from Mt. of Olives looking out at the Old City, Kidron Valley between)

(One of my favorite churches, Church of All Nations. Alabaster was used in the windows, instead of glass. This keeps the chapel dark —symbolic of Jesus being arrested in the night.)

-House of Caiaphas
Corrupt priest who convicted Jesus after he was arrested at the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus spent his last night here, most likely in an old cistern. 

(Replastered, but this is the site of Caiaphas’s house). 

(Statue depicting Peter denying Christ three times that night. Peter wept bitterly...)

-The Garden Tomb
Most Christians believe Jesus was buried at a location beneath the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. But those of my faith and a few other Christian sects believe the location to be the Garden Tomb.

I am so thankful for the volunteers who maintain the gardens and give tours there. Our guide showed us Golgotha, the old cistern of Joseph of Arimathea’s home, and lastly, Jesus’s tomb. 

The spirit hit me so strongly as I waited in line to go in to the tomb. I can only recall one other time where I felt such a powerful witness—when I was 13 1/2 years old and visited Carthage Jail and felt the confirmation that Joseph Smith was undeniably a prophet of God. And, while I’ve never doubted who Jesus was, or what he did for me, now I have felt the power of the miracle that took place at the Garden Tomb.

He Lives!!!!!

(There was sooo much more that we saw but, again, this is highlights. You can ask me about my trip any time and I would be happy to share more with you!!!)

Holy [Moly] Land!!! (part 4 of 5)

High Points from Israel 
We spent four days in Jordan and nine in Israel. It would be too much to try to blog about everything in Israel. Let’s just say, I came back very educated on the area. Really understanding the history which is saying a lot since I don’t like history, at least I did not in school. But this was very interesting to see the history. Especially places like Bet She’An— where there is a hill that they have discovered 15 civilizations built one on top of another. 

That is how a lot of the sites were in Israel, somethings historically significant took place. A lot of times the Romans built something on top of it. Then Constantine’s mother, Helena, interviewed many generations of locals to learn where these sacred events most likely happened and then built churches on top of the sites—to mark and preserve them. They were destroyed by invaders or the great earthquake of A.D. 749. Byzantines sought to rebuild them. Oftentimes—more invasions, etc....Nowadays other Christian sects (like the Catholics) have tried to restore the churches to the best of their abilities and now several denominations “own” the buildings that house significant sights. (It was not uncommon to see a church building with three or more different chapels—each a different Christian denomination). 

And in many cases, such sites were also significant for various reasons to the Jewish and Muslim faiths. And now you can see why there is a perfect religious storm brewing in Israel/Palestine!

Our local Palestinian guide, Faris, was so knowledgeable about historic and current religious and political events—this was invaluable! Our spiritual guide as well, Jack, was not only a scriptorian, but also had studied extensively the traditions of the region and was very educated about the customs of Old and New Testament times. I have pages and pages of notes from the treasures that they shared.

They would often refer to different places as site A, B, or C. Site C meant that traditionally people believed an event happened here. Site B meant that there was significant historical evidence that an event happened here. And site A meant that the evidence pointed that it most definitely happened here. 

I definitely felt the spirit more at Site A’s. 

-Mt. Nebo (in Jordan, not Israel)
This is the site where Moses was led by God and shown the promised land. Unfortunately it was hazy and we were unable to see much from the peak.

-Migdal-Eder, shepherds field
The special flock of sheep reserved for sacrifices at the temple—and those shepherds—were the ones that witnessed the angels’ glorious proclamation of Jesus’s birth. Though the area around the field is building and city dinginess, I knew what had happened here.

-Valley of Doves
At Jesus’s time this was the route from Nazareth to Cana and Magdela. How humbling for me to walk a path he walked...

-Sea of Galilea
We spent time on the shores of Galilea, as well as on a boat on the sea (which is a lake, really). It was so touching to spend time where my Savior calmed the sea, walked on water, and taught priceless lessons to his apostles and disciples...

We sang and danced on the boat. Not what I expected but it was so fun!

-Synagogue of Magdala 
The city of Magdala is right on the shores of Galilea and was a major hub for fishing and commerce during Jesus’s time. All religious men would enter the synagogue—including Jesus! The story of the recent rediscovery and careful excavation of the synagogue was beautiful and divinely-inspired...

(Continued on next post...)