I enjoyed watching Olivia thoroughly and completely enjoy doing her artwork. As you can tell, it's a real "hands on" process for her. I enjoy seeing her creativity and talent develop each time. Thank goodness for "washable" paint.
This little leaf was the last of his kind hanging onto this tree. Amongst all the harsh cold, snow and bare branches, he stood out to me. I was impressed by his show of endurance and strength. I was reminded to be as strong in my personal trials.
We had the opportunity to let Olivia act out the nativity scene with some of her cousins on Christmas eve. We had talked with Olivia previously and had told her the story so she would be familiar with it. Once we started reading and acting it out, she was very attentive and eager to act her part perfectly. It touched my heart to see my little girl play the part of Mary. She lovingly held baby Jesus so carefully. She told me afterwards, "Mom, I got to be Mary. I love baby Jesus so much! That was so fun!" What a great memory for her and a great way to teach our kids the true meaning of Christmas.
My heart is still happy from our trip to temple square. I'm grateful for the fond memories Olivia is garnering in her childhood. She told me "I can't wait to go back to the temple and next time, I want to go inside!" I'm glad she has set that goal in her life. I want to make sure she sees it fulfilled.
I'm grateful for the light of Christ. As I celebrate His birth this week, I'm going to focus more on His love and the gift of His life. I hope I can share His light and love with my little family so that my girls will recognize and KNOW the true reason we celebrate Christmas.
I'm grateful for Christmas traditions. New and old. We started a new family tradition by taking the girls to the Ogden city lights. This is also an old tradition because while growing up, my family used to go each year. Seeing the lights and the displays brought back so many memories. I hope my girls have as fond of memories as I do when they grow up. I'm grateful for our time together as a family.
Evergreen trees. Always faithful and true. They stand as a reminder to me to be true to myself. To hold onto my values and the virtues I was raised with, and to not lose them just because the seasons of my life change. I need to remain as faithful to my true colors as the evergreen.
I love a good game of Peek-a-Boo! I especially am loving the game with this little tease. It's her favorite thing to do as of late, and we get to play at every meal time. I love how she will "peek" out of her hands to make sure I'm watching. As soon as she catches my eye, she starts grinning. She is so adorable!
Brad and Olivia had their very first Daddy Daughter Date on Saturday. I took this picture just before they left. Brad took her to her very first movie in a theater. They saw "The Princess and The Frog." I was so excited for her. I knew she'd love the big screen, and according to the reports afterwards, I was right. "Mom! It was even BIGGER than Daddy! It was amazing!"
I'm grateful for a loving partner in my life who loves his girls so well and who treats his daughters so amazingly. I hope this is the beginning of a new tradition with Brad and his daughters. It was fun to witness her excitement and the joy she received from time with her daddy.
Since I've started really getting into photography a couple months ago, I've learned a lot about myself and life. I've learned to trust my first instinct. I've learned that I like the solitude found while taking photos. I've learned that a picture really can be worth a thousand words. I've learned that if we magnify the talents we've been given, we truly can be better at them. Taking pictures is therapeutic to me. I've learned that I look at the world differently... everything has the potential to be an amazing photograph if looked at the right way. I've learned that I truly LOVE photography. So, thank you to Brad for allowing me the opportunity and for buying me an amazing camera. And Thank You to my Heavenly Father for placing in me a talent I'm trying to develop and magnify.
I have posted these two pictures today because I'm was reminded that life is about perspective. These two pictures are taken from the same position on my back porch. I just lowered my camera a little bit for the second picture. I love the little heart shape of light shining through the leaves on the second picture. So... if you need to find a little love or happiness in your life, try changing your perspective. I bet it will work.
Old Man Winter has finally arrived and decided to stay I think. As I watched the snow fall yesterday I had mixed emotions. I'm grateful for the beauty of the fresh snow, the water it will give us next year and the chance to have a white Christmas. But, I am not a lover of the cold or of driving in snow. When it snows, I become even more of a homebody. I watched Olivia play in the knee deep snow and love every minute of it. I decided that's one more reason to be grateful for it. The joy it brings to my daughter and so many other children. I can also be grateful that the snow is only here for a few months of the year and that I don't live at the North Pole.
Olivia wanted me to take a picture of Jesus today. "Look Mom, He's happy! I hope He loves me!" I quickly assured her that, "Yes Olivia, Jesus loves you very very much. I think you make Him very happy." I want to make sure that every day I am doing my best to make Jesus happy also.
Tis the Season! I'm in love with the Holiday season. I love the good it brings out in everyone. I love the excitement in my daughter's eyes. I love hearing Olivia sing that song. It's her favorite right now. I love the REASON for the season. Remember the true reason this season and it'll make your holiday even better.
I had the opportunity to take pictures of some good friends today. This is one of their daughters. She's curious, adventurous, fearless and a total riot to take pictures of. I enjoyed the laughter that came with today's photo shoot. Laughter is good medicine for the soul, and kids are a great way to find that medicine.
Do you know anyone who's light seems to have gone out? I think we've all been there at one time or another. If you know someone who's light has been extinguished, please reach out to them today... NOW. Let's turn their lights back on. No one likes being in the dark.
For those of you who live by me... Did you know this little imprint is in the concrete work at the Bountiful Temple? Have any of you ever seen it before? I absolutely love it. I'm convinced it was an accidental impression, but I'm so glad the construction workers didn't smooth it out. It's just one more small detail that makes that temple so beautiful to me. Look for the small details in your life....
I had the opportunity to watch the moon rise tonight. It was amazing. As it was rising I was thinking to myself that there is an immense universe that we live in that we really don't know much about. I looked at the moon through my telephoto lens and found myself wishing I could walk on it. What unknown planets and people are out there that we don't know about? How many? Who lives on them? Where are they? One day I look forward to finding out just how immense this universe is, but in the meantime, I will be here on Earth marveling at Heavenly Father's creations.
Is your life path like this fence? Winding and long? I know we're all aware we should walk the "Straight and narrow," but sometimes I wonder if our straight is more like this winding railing... Life has different options and trials. Some can be treacherous like the tops of the posts next to the railing while others can end up with a long fall down. Yes, the path is narrow and I believe it's getting ever more narrow, but if we continue onward and as straight as we can, we'll get where we want to be. I promise.
I love the look on Mary's face in this sculpture. There is such love and tenderness displayed. Such awe and amazement in Joseph's face. I love the overlapping of their hands as they hold the tiny baby Jesus. As I read a passage in Luke 2 yesterday while sitting in the temple, my heart was touched by these two amazing people. They are such a great example of unwavering faith, obedience, humility, love and respect. As I sat there reading Luke's version of the birth of Christ I found myself wishing I could read Mary and Joseph's version of that sacred night. What insights would they have shared? What tender feelings must they have felt? What special visitors and experiences were they blessed with? I am grateful for the example of Mary and Joseph. I find in them a couple worth emulating.
I spent part of my morning at the temple. It was such a spiritual experience for me. About four months ago, I received some family names from my mom. They have been sitting on a shelf in my room since then. Recently I have been feeling the tuggings of desire from those ancestors wanting their work done. I took those names and did their initiatory work today. There were the names of two sisters and a cousin in my pile. As I was finishing up the work of the last name, I felt such overwhelming joy on their behalf that their temple work had been started. I could almost see them rejoicing together on the other side. It was such a special experience for me. I'm anxious to continue and finish the work for them. I am so grateful I took the time to go to the temple today. I'm grateful for the sweet and spiritual experiences I am offered in the temple by a loving Heavenly Father when I'm there doing service for others.
I am so grateful that it is "officially time" to start celebrating the Christmas season. It is time to "deck the halls" and "haul out the holly." I love the feeling and Spirit that comes in the Holiday season. Everyone is a bit nicer, friendlier and more willing to help out a stranger. It's the influence of the Light of Christ in everyone being exhibited a bit stronger that helps makes this season so wonderful.
On this day of Thanksgiving, I find my heart most grateful for these individuals in my life. I'm grateful for my family, immediate and extended. For all that they teach me, do for me, the way they love me, and the way they help me be a better person.
When I first took this picture a couple months ago, I was mostly trying to figure out different settings on my camera. I thought I was just taking a picture of a pretty flower with some beautiful lighting from the sun on it. I thought I was aware of and seeing all that was before me. Well, when I got home and uploaded the pictures to my computer and was able to blow the pictures up larger I was surprised the see the little guest I also got a picture of. See him? The little bug on the petal at the bottom of the picture? If you click on the picture you can see it bigger. It was a pleasant surprise to find him in the details of my picture.
Much like everyday life, I often go around thinking I am aware of and see all that is before me. Little do I realize how much I'm missing in the smallest details of my life. The details that Heavenly Father takes care of for me whether I acknowledge them or not. It is my goal and desire this Thanksgiving to start noticing more of the finer details in my life. To start noticing and to start THANKING Him for taking care of the finest details for me. For His tender mercies.
I am so grateful for Brad. He takes such excellent care of me. I woke up in the middle of the night feeling like I was going to tear in two pieces. I wasn't much better when I woke up, but thought I could make it through the day taking care of our two girls. Needless to say, he was back home a couple hours later with a Sprite in hand and orders for me to go to bed. I love that he willingly took such good care of me and of our daughters. I felt much better when I woke up from my nap, and I'm still in one piece. I'm grateful for a good man in my life who loves me and who treats me so well. I love you Brad.
The changing of seasons is as inevitable as the changes that happen in life. Change is good for the soul... not always fun or easy, but good. Change can make us stronger, softer, nicer, meaner, better or bitter. It depends on how we choose to handle the change. I believe we have choices. I believe we can choose how we react to the changes in our lives. I like to believe that I always choose the better way to respond, but I know that's not true. I'm going to keep trying to improve my reactions and myself. And I'm grateful for the opportunity I have to keep trying.
I love the smell of baking bread. Today I made Brad's mom's recipe. She was one of those wonderful moms who had fresh bread out of the oven when he got home from school. My mom was the same way. When I see home made bread, I think of moms. Those wonderful women who love us, who teach us, who feed us, who care for us and who make us the people we are. I'm grateful for my wonderful mom who is one of the best women I know. I've never met Brad's mom, but I'm grateful for her also. For the legacy that continues in her children.
Brad was able to leave work early today because he had already reached his 40 hours for the work week. When he arrived home he sent me out the door. I was told to "go take some pictures. The lighting in great and you need to do it." I obliged. Having a moment or a few to myself to enjoy a new hobby is relaxing. I drove around and stopped wherever I found something interesting to look at. I really am grateful to Brad for recognizing the need I have to get some "me time." For sending me out the door to be alone and to be able to do something I love.
Whenever I see berries like these, I start thinking about the Holidays. They symbolize Thanksgiving and Christmas to me. I start to think about playing Christmas music, hauling out the decorations, putting up a Christmas tree and doing all the festive things for the holidays. I love celebrating the holidays. Thanksgiving and Christmas are my two favorite holidays of the year. Lots of family, traditions and joy!
We've reached the "fun-and-not-so-fun-get-into-everything-possible" stage at our house. I walked into the bathroom to see this cute little bug unrolling my toilet paper roll. Right after I took this picture, she flashed me great big smile and continued to unravel more off the roll. I'm grateful for her fun personality, her curious mind, her continued growth and her healthy body. Mostly I'm grateful for her loving spirit and for the spirit she brings into our home.
Once again, I need to express my gratitude for my family. These two girls are so amazing and I've been so blessed to have them in my life. They adore each other and love to play together. I captured this special moment while they were both longing to go outside to play. Priceless, isn't it?
Have you ever tried to walk in someone else's shoes? Literally or figuratively? It's not an easy task. As I watched Olivia try to walk in my shoes one Sunday morning, I realized that no one can really walk in another's shoes perfectly, except for the Savior. He has felt everything that I'm feeling. No one can really fill the shoes I'm expected to fill in this life except me. I've made covenants with my Father to do the best I can with whatever He gives me. I've tried to make that be a constant focus for me.
I need to remember that we are all trying to do our best. I need to remember that I haven't walked in other's shoes and I don't know everything they are going through. I don't know their trials, their joys and their heartaches. I can't make judgements on what I think I see. That judgement is reserved for the Lord. It is my job to comfort, help and love those around me. I haven't walked in their shoes because they aren't my shoes to fill. I place my trust in the Lord to help me fill my own shoes and to help others fill theirs.
I'm so grateful for good friends. Those who stay by your side even through the rough patches. Those who notice when you're not around, who call to check up on you, who forgive you for being dumb, who love you for being you. Those who will support you in achieving your dreams, try to talk you out of your delusions, and will hide a body for you. The friend who will drop everything to help you when you need it, who will sit on your couch and cry with you, and the friend who will tell you how great you look even when you're still in your pajamas at 3:00 in the afternoon and haven't showered for the day. The one who can make you laugh when you feel like crying. I've been blessed with choice friends in my life. They are a true blessing and I'm grateful for them. I just hope they know that they've "got a friend in me!"
The idea behind this blog came about from President Eyring's talk in General Conference. He asked that we take the time each day to write down the ways we had recognized God's hand in our lives. In doing so, we will be more grateful and even more blessed.
This is my effort to do so....
Because my family is one of my greatest blessings, there will be a lot of pictures of them. Please forgive my indulgence and Enjoy.