Saturday, 22 December 2012

21 Days of Random Acts of Kindness - AFTER Christmas

I was reading a blog post recently in which the readers were invited to participate in the 12 Days of Christmas challenge...

Service is something our family does, but not in the same way every year. We have participated in this, as well as in The 25 Days of Christmas, and various Random Acts of Kindness project;, but we haven't made a consistent "tradition" of any specific one of these. :o What's up with that? How can one NOT adopt a specific tradition of serving  each Christmas Season??? OK, so maybe it doesn't matter WHICH one you do, or even if you alternate, as long as you're serving what you call it really doesn't matter...

Actually, I TRY to do random acts of kindness all year round and was inspired to by the book "The 17 Second Miracle" (which I have read every Christmas since it was written in 2010). But I think it a good idea to make random acts of kindness a family event as well.

I do wish I had remembered to do this with my family this year! Boo-hoo... WAIT - Who says it has to be the 12 days BEFORE Christmas? Why not do it the 12 days AFTER - to remind us to carry the Spirit of Christ into our hearts and lives - AFTER Christmas, not just at Christmas time - but ALL YEAR LONG! :) I feel quite good and happy about this thought! :D  In fact, since it takes 21 days to create a habit, why not do it for 21 days  - being certain that the 21st day arrives after Christmas?

Intermission - (I'm going to go talk to my family about this...)

I have spoken to my husband about this, and he likes the idea, so we decided to make it a tradition and invite our family and friends to do it with us... :)  Therefore,

We would like to invite you to join us in our celebration of Jesus and the life He inspires us to live.

I am excited to announce that our family is starting a new tradition - the tradition of making it a major focus to serve and perform random acts of kindness as much as possible for 21 days in a row, so as to help kindness and service to become a solid habit. We may start it before Christmas, or on the Day of Christmas - the important thing is that we continue on AFTER Christmas...

We will call this new tradition...

The first annual 21 Days of Random Acts of Kindness - AFTER Christmas - Project...

Let this tradition be a reminder to us - to carry with us the spirit of Christmas, not just at Christmas time, but after the Christmas Season as well - in fact, all year long...

Please help to spread the word - Think of the good we can do if many people go about making it a habit to selflessly go about doing random acts of kindness to others... :) 

I may leave this post up without re-posting for a short time to be sure it is seen by as many people as possible coming to my blog. Please invite your friends and family to participate as well. This is a great and fun way to stretch out and lengthen the wonderful feeling we have during the Christmas Season and to help us make Chris-like kindness a greater part of our everyday lives.

PS. Our family will also be listening to Christmas music - or at least music about Christ - all year long...

What other Christmas traditions do you think would be fun to carry on into our lives AFTER the Christmas season is over?

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Yup. Santa Claus Does Exist... :)

Santa Claus is coming to town! :D

I just need to take a moment to rejoice! :) 

Thanks, Santa! I'm glad you exist! ;) More importantly, I'm thankful that you remind us that Christ exists, and that the spirit of kindness  selflessness, service, giving, generosity, forgiveness, love... well, they exist too - in the spirit of Christmas...

I am very excited to celebrate Christmas with my family! :) And this year I have a constant prayer in my heart that the spirit of Christmas will grow in the hearts of my family and reside there, all year round...

Merry Christmas!
Corine :D

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Christmas Season - Pre-peak... :)

Merry Christmas, friends!

I have written several times in past years about our family's Christmas traditions on my other blog, but never here. So I decided to write a very brief one here. We are about to start the 12 days of Christmas as a family and I'm really excited about that! :D Perhaps I will write more about what we do after we do it; but for now here is a quick post about some of the things we typically do at Christmas time...

Our family has the same tradition a lot of other families have of giving a gift to Christ for Christmas (it is, after all, His birthday we are celebrating! :) This gift is one of setting a goal to repent or improve in some way - and I LOVE it!  (Setting goals excites me! :D)
I just read about one family placing their gifts to Christ in a large white stocking. They enjoy looking through the stocking to reminisce over what they have done and the progress they have made. I think that is a pretty neat idea. :)

The "how" has been less traditional for us. The first few years we did this, we actually wrapped our gifts in small boxes, then opened them the following year to see if we remembered and followed through. But it made more sense to store our gift in a way that we could see, remember, and be sure to follow through; so we switched to writing our gift on a 3X5 card with a small bow and a couple Christmas symbols stamped on it; that way the gift could be placed in a journal or book or anywhere a person wanted to keep it for quick reference. I thought of scrap booking the notes, but wanted everyone to be free to set personal goals if they want to, so we ended up keeping them individually and privately.
Other favorite Christmas traditions of mine include caroling and visiting in nursing homes. We also bake a variety of cookies together to spread a little more holiday cheer as we carol. The goal is to keep our traditions and activities Christ centered by doing services Christ would have us do. And of course, we also read a lot about the birth, life, and teachings of Jesus during this time. I love to read the Sermon on the Mount around Christmas time each year as well as reading about his birth and resurrection. Having a family gospel study about the Atonement of Jesus Christ is also a must...

Fun traditions that build family ties and memories are also a must, and Christmas break is a great time for a little more family fun than usual. These include things like sledding on Cherry Hill, watching Christmas movies, driving together to look at Christmas lights then coming home and sipping hot chocolate while reading a good Christmas story. We also enjoy walking the docks together and seeing the lights on the lake. When the kids were young we once took a night cruise to see the "North Pole" (lighted up Santa's workshop on a lake). Another favorite of mine is writing letters to family and friends; those bonds are important too!

The important thing to me is to focus on loving and serving as Christ does and strengthening family bonds of love. :) Now that we have a working vehicle and our family is all together again (a son is returning home from visiting friends) - I'm so excited about Christmas time! :D
I hope this Christmas season finds you filled with love, service, family and the Joy of Christ!
Corine :D

Sunday, 9 December 2012

I Was Asked to Give a Talk... Because I'm "Spunky" - Imagine That... :o

Hi. :) Today I gave a talk at church about celebrating Christmas through service. It was fun. :D (I know, I'm a strange duck ;) I was a little nervous about it because I hadn't given a talk at church for a long time, and since I am so uplifted and inspired at church it was really important to me that uplift and inspire others. I was also nervous because I am so different than most women. I used to wish I were more refined, like the other women at church - more calm... I actually prayed that while giving my talk I would be calm and reverent, rather than excitable. Honestly, I love talking in front of people and when I speak of things I am passionate about I can sometimes be quite animated and loud. So I really prayed to be calm and reverent.

Later on at church the wife of the man who asked me to speak came to me. She told me that when she asked her husband who he would call to give the talk, he told her he would call me, "because I am spunky and energetic..." :) LOL - I hope I didn't disappoint him, because my prayer was answered and I felt really calm!

PS. She also told me that she told her husband that she could think of a second great reason to ask me to speak. She said she knew I would say yes - and that if she needs someone she can depend upon she knows she can call me. That also made me happy. :D 

Isn't it great when people tell others the good things they see in them? I think I'll go out and tell a few people the things I like about them now... :)

PS. If you want to read my talk you can go here to read it.

Have an awesome Christmas season!
Corine :D

Update: The said wife talked to her husband again to remember his exact words then came and told me about it; he said I am"energetic" and "enthusiastic." I'm so glad people appreciate the way I am more than I do! :)

Christmas and Service

Just before Thanksgiving this year, it snowed. Just as snow does with small children, my youth got excited. :) "It's snowing! It feels like Christmas!" OK. So, maybe they weren't the only ones exclaiming with excitement. ;) The next thing I knew, we were all sitting down together to watch a Christmas movie! :D

Thanksgiving Day came and went, and so did the snow. And we temporarily stopped watching Christmas movies. It stopped feeling like Christmas. I didn't like it. We hadn't gotten that Christmas spirit feeling back into our home. We hadn't found time to decorate yet either. How does one get that Christmas feeling back – without snow, decorations, or celebrations? ;o

In the story of The Grinch who Stole Christmas - Betty Lue saw Christmas being "celebrated" all around her – which, for Betty, only made it feel less like Christmas. “There has to be more to Christmas than this!" She exclaimed. And upon seeing people purchase piles upon piles of gifts, she asked, "Isn't this a bit much?  It all seems so Su-per-fi-lis?” As you already know, in her search for Christmas, Betty Lue extended a hand of friendship to "the one who needed it most"...

I saw a Christmas video on recently. 

It was the goings on of a family. In the kitchen, the parents did the dishes together as they discussed finances and how they would purchase gifts for Christmas.  In the living room a couple of teens were seen looking through magazines and telling each other what they wanted. And wondering all around the house gathering things and taking them to her own bedroom - was a little girl who had created and decorated a manger scene.

These little girls both found Christmas... It may be helpful to contemplate what we can learn from them...

The church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is doing a Christmas campaign in New York. On billboards, taxi's and buses there are big signs and pictures stating what Christmas is. Some of them tell just one word, others 3, and the messages that are electronic, giving room for more explanations of what Christmas is have four words for Christmas. First they say "Christmas is"... then they give the definitions of Christmas: "Christmas is, LOVE, FAMILY, SERVICE, JESUS CHRIST"

Last December (2011) President Thomas S. Monson gave a talk now known as The Spirit we feel at Christmas Time. In that talk Monson said the following...

"My brothers and sisters, finding the real joy of the season comes not in the hurrying and the scurrying to get more done or in the purchasing of obligatory gifts. Really, joy comes as we show the love and compassion inspired by the Savior of the world."

Monson  continued... 

"The Savior gave freely to all. And His gifts were of value beyond measure. Throughout His ministry, He blessed the sick, restored sight to the blind, made the deaf to hear, and the halt and the lame to walk. He gave cleanliness to the unclean. He restored breath to the lifeless. He gave hope to the despairing, and He sowed light in the darkness. He gave us His love, His service, and His life.

"What is the spirit we feel at Christmastime? It is His spirit—the spirit of Christ."

"The Christmases we remember best generally have little to do with worldly goods, but a lot to do with families, with love, and with compassion and caring."

President Monson has given so many talks about service and Christmas and says things so beautifully I'm going to quote him again. In our last Christmas devotional President Monson had this to say... 

“Christmas is not just about tinsel and ribbon – unless we make it so. Christmas is the spirit of giving with no thought of getting. We feel happy at Christmas time because we see joy in people. We forget ourselves and find time for others.”

This definition of how to find that happy Christmas feeling is much like the definition David O. McKay once gave … 

True happiness comes only by making others happy. The spirit of Christmas makes our heart glow in brotherly love and friendship and prompts us to kind deeds of service. It is the spirit of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

And isn't this why we are all either members or investigators of His church? I'm guessing that we all felt the spirit of Christ as we learned about His gospel and watched others live the gospel by doing the things the Savior would have them do. The gospel of Jesus Christ fills our hearts with happiness as we do the things he asks of us – most of which involve sacrifice and SERVICE...

At our last General Conference Elder Daniel L Johnson of the seventy gave a wonderful talk about becoming a true disciple.  I quote, “Those of us who have entered into the waters of baptism and received the gift of the Holy Ghost have covenanted that we are willing to take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ, or in other words, we declare ourselves to be disciples of the Lord.  We renew that covenant each week as we partake of the sacrament, and we demonstrate that discipleship by the way that we live.”

My favorite Christmas traditions - are the ones that make Christmas FEEL like Christmas; these are traditions of service…

Each and every time my family and I experience these traditions, an overwhelming and inexpressible joy comes over me - and I again find myself thinking,

THIS is what Christmas feels like!” I am experiencing Christmas right now…

Thinking of these things reminds me of a couple of my favorite lines in a Christmas song...
It's the hap-happiest season of all (wonderful time)
It's the most wonderful time of the year (most
wonderful time)
I believe the Christmas season is a wonderful, happy time because people, everywhere, whether they realize it or not, are striving to be more like Jesus. They are forgetting about themselves and sacrificing for others

I love the story of the Magi, about a sweet couple who are so materially poor. Each has but one thing of earthly or monetary value. For her, it is her hair. For him, a watch. On Christmas Eve each is desperate to do something kind for the other. Neither has money. She cuts and sells her hair to purchase a chain for his watch. He sells his watch to buy combs for her hair. I laugh at the irony of it while crying over the sweet sacrifice every time I hear that story! This is the spirit of Christmas.

I think we need to train ourselves to think outside the box when it comes to celebrating Christmas – and let the spirit of Christ change us – so we can have that kind of happiness all year long…

To accomplish this, we must stop thinking that the things we do to celebrate Christmas must carry a traditional stamp of Christmas. So often we do only traditional acts of service which carry the “Christmas “stamp of approval – and once the “Christmas season” is over we never do that particular service or activity again – at least, not until next Christmas…

As was mentioned before, the spirit of Christmas is the spirit of Christ... To become converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ is an ongoing process that never really ends. As Elder Johnson mentioned in Gen. Con... to become a true disciple of Jesus Christ takes continual work and consistent living of gospel principles… Having the spirit of Christmas/Christ helps us with the conversion process, because it helps us to follow Christ’s example to love and serve...

President Henry B. Eyring gave a wonderful talk this past October titled The Caregiver. In this talk he quoted Joseph Smith's mother, Lucy Mack Smith, as she spoke to the sisters about what the Relief Society should accomplish - something that we would all do well to accomplish... "We must cherish one another, watch over one another, comfort one another and gain instruction, that we may all sit down in heaven together..."

Perhaps the greatest gifts we can give are given spontaneously as our hearts are changed...

One day the lord will return again upon the earth. And I believe that one of the things which will help the earth to prepare for His coming is faithful followers of Christ living the spirit of Christ, of Christmas – all year long…

As I imagine what the righteous will be like on the day that Christ returns, I envision a people who are close to the spirit. I believe the changes in the way missionaries and youth leaders teach -  by the spirit - is the beginning of a people who are closer to the spirit and therefore more capable of serving the lord and preparing the world for His coming. We can all be a part of this as we make simple choices each day to have the spirit of Christ in our hearts and minds and follow the promptings we receive to serve others.

Christmas is a great time to make such changes in ourselves...   Don't wait to be prompted to serve...  Look around to notice people who are suffering and continually ask the lord, “What would you have me do?”  Listen to the promptings of the spirit. The answers will most likely include many things which are not typical of “Christmas” activities. There will sometimes be no packages or bows in your Christmas activities. But with the unleashing of expectations for how to celebrate Christmas – you will find yourself doing wonderful things you may never have thought to do for Christmas. J I have felt prompted to serve the lord - (as well as family members who have passed on before me) - by doing temple work. I feel prompted to also encourage you to celebrate Christmas by attending the temple.

There is not limit to the number of ways we can celebrate Christ all year long... Visit an elderly person in a nursing home, and keep visiting, not just for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day…  

Ask the Lord what He desires of you. This will constantly change. At some time in your life the Lord may ask you to perform much service outside the home… Other times His desire for you may be as simple as playing with your children more; buoying up your husband or wife; fixing better meals for your family and eating with them all together… The Holy Spirit will speak into your heart and mind and help you to know how and where to serve if you will but ask with a true and sincere heart – Strive to live the true spirit of Christmas and to do what Christ would have you do - rather than just going through the motions.  I have felt a steady prompting to celebrate Christ by going to the temple more and encourage others to do so as well…

Now, I would like to share a few very brief stories of Prophets celebrating Christmas – Notice how untraditional yet wonderful these are – and yet – notice they do services for the sole purpose of bringing laughter, fun, and joy as well as to meet needs…

As a boy, President Thomas S. Monson was celebrating Christmas when his friend asked a startling question, “What does turkey taste like?” He responded that it tasted like chicken, but then he realized that his unfortunate friend had never tasted either. Not only that, but there was nothing in his friend’s house with which to prepare a Christmas dinner. “I pondered a solution,” said President Monson. “I had no turkeys, no chickens, no money. Then I remembered I did have two pet rabbits. Immediately I took my friend by the hand and rushed to the rabbit hutch, placed the rabbits in a box, and handed the box to him with the comment, ‘Here, take these two rabbits. They’re good to eat—just like chicken.’ … Tears came easily to me as I closed the door to the empty rabbit hutch. But I was not sad. A warmth, a feeling of indescribable joy, filled my heart. It was a memorable Christmas.”

In 1876 the St. George Utah Temple was nearing completion. The dedication ceremony for the basement, main room, and sealing room was scheduled for January 1, 1877.8 With Christmas just seven days before the dedication, many in St. George worked frantically to help ensure the temple was completed in time.

President Wilford Woodruff, who served as the first president of the temple, recorded in his journal that on Christmas day the men were busy at work with buzz saws and that 40 women spent the whole day in the temple sewing carpets. They laid carpet and put up curtains.

I believe the most important people we will ever serve will be the ones who call us family... 

One of President David O. McKay’s annual family traditions was to take the grandchildren riding on a bobsleigh pulled by a fine team of horses, “bells a-jingle.” The ride was one of their favorite traditions. President McKay continued it into his 80s. To stay warm, President McKay wore his long, thick raccoon coat and big gloves. The smaller grandchildren rode in the sleigh, but the older ones “whizzed along behind on their own sleds” tied to the back of the bobsleigh. These long-to-be-remembered Christmas celebrations sometimes ended with carols around the piano and singing “Love at Home.”7

There are countless ways to serve, and I will leave it to you to open your eyes to see what needs done, and go to the lord and ask Him what He would have you do. 

I pray that when the spirit prompts us to do a kind deed for someone, especially if it is as simple as stopping by to visit someone – we will heed the call to serve.

We are his hands. As we heed the prompting to serve we become his faithful disciples.

I say these things humbly in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen...

Corine :D

(This was a talk I gave at church on Dec. 9, 2012)

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Half a Century YOUNG :)

Miles just turned 50. That's right. He is a half century old young. ;) 

I have wanted to throw a party for him for his 50th for a long time now. And yet, I did all the planning at the last second. :o But at least it happened. :) Yesterday Miles and the boys left the house to help someone move, so Mindy and I had the house to ourselves for preparing. We brainstormed and rummaged through old newspapers and photos.

As I went through Miles' belongs I thought of so many things Miles has done in his life. Some of them I would mention to Mindy and she would write them down. Though I considered postponing the party, my gut instinct told me I was preparing to throw the party that very day and I knew I was somehow preparing. I continued reminiscing and setting aside newspaper clippings and mementos of his life experiences. I also got a little teary eyed now and then as I would come across sweet memories of Miles or words he had written that pulled at my emotional heart strings. Miles is a very special man and I am so blessed to be with him... :)

Miles has done so much in his life that I considered calling off the party and scheduling it for another day - just so I could have more time to adequately highlight his life. I knew our highlight would not be nearly complete. Then I considered the fact that I recently cancelled a surprise party planned for my twins because a friend was out of town. We still haven't rescheduled. One of the things I have strove to do is to let go of procrastinating to have things perfect - and just DO things. It is a great way to live. One thing I've learned is that things have a way of working out when we ACT. :) So Mindy and I decided to do our best with the time we had and go ahead and celebrate.

I had already told Miles that I wanted to take him to the theater for his birthday, so I knew I would be leaving with him when he and our sons returned home from helping a friend. The display wasn't created. The time line wasn't created. There was a pile of newspaper clippings and photos and notes, and some food prepared but not enough...  I would think of people I still wanted to invite and things I needed for the party, but didn't have time to do anything about it. I really wanted Miles to have a good party. As the time approached to leave with Miles I would begin to stress over what needed to be done. Each time I began stressing a peaceful feeling would come over me along with the thought, "don't worry. It will all work out." And it did. :) I made some food. Had supplies for root beer floats and a half snickers bar for the half-century old man. ;) (I told him he could only have half of what he got that day and had to share the other half with me since he is only a half century old). I took Miles to see Breaking Dawn 2. And before we returned home Mindy had done this...  

While Miles and I we were at the show, Mindy made a time line and display table to highlight a few of Miles' accomplishments and achievements. She also made a slide show of photos of Miles from a photo file I compiled. She did awesome! :D

(Drawing of John Lennon on the wall: Miles drew that around the age of 19 or so. It went to Wa. DC.)
My dear friend Valerie offered to help us out with finger foods and invitation phone calls - which I gladly took her up on! Her son made delicious sushi (Not from raw fish. This stuff was GOOD... I am quite impressed!). Valerie made a darling snow man cheese ball and brought a few other finger foods as well. What an awesome friend! :) 

Between Valerie and Mindy, everything I couldn't do was done...

And friends came. :) We had some really great friends come.
I wish I got photos of them all..

People came at different times, so no group photo...
To all of you who did not know about the party - I'm sorry I didn't plan earlier and get invitations out. Please know we tried to invite you by phone. And thank you for being great friends! :D

And to those who miraculously made it to the party at the last minute ... Thank you so much for coming! It rally made Miles' day. :)

Last but not least - To Miles -  I LOVE YOU! - And I am so incredibly honored to celebrate your life with you! :D You are an amazing person! You have led a wonderful fifty years! I can hardly wait to see what you will do with the next 50 years of your life...

Forever and always,
Corine :D

PS. I don't usually post two writings in the same day, but today I posted a writing about our Thanksgiving celebration (must catch up! :o): 
This year's Odd Highlights of Thanksgiving Day 

TTFN! :)

Thursday, 22 November 2012

This Year's odd Highlights of Thanksgiving Day... :D

Nov. 22, 2012
Thanksgiving Day.  :D

This Thanksgiving was the strangest Thanksgiving we have ever had. But the strangeness of it also made possible some beautiful gems worth recording, so I am finally here to record them...

Miles worked on Thanksgiving Day until evening, so we planned on having our meal late and held off on preparing much of the meal so it would be hot and ready at just the right time. 

It was at this critical time that I suddenly found within me the bursting urge TO ROLLERBLADE! :o "Really?" I asked myself"How could you even let it enter your mind on Thanksgiving Day?" (I suppose I should confess... I'm a rollerblading addict. :o)

But it did enter my mind. And you know what... My awesome kids knew it, and KICKED ME OUT of the kitchen so I could go rollerblading! They ALL FOUR took over cooking and Mindy COMMANDED me -  "GO, - NOW - BEFORE the sun goes down and IT IS TOO LATE!" Can you believe that? :D I honestly tried to stay and cook despite the addiction - but the boys supported Mindy and none of them would let me stay. :D :D (Yes, though  conflicted by the weird prospect of playing while my kids worked - I was nevertheless happy enough to merit TWO smiles here! ;)

 Honestly, the older my kids get the younger I feel. Before you know it we'll be almost the same age!! ;)

This new experience was weird; but it was wonderful, too...  While rollerblading that day I experienced something I could never have experienced on any other day. 

It seemed that the world was almost sleeping. Everything was quiet. There were no cars driving by. No children out playing. Many windows were drawn. And many of the houses were dark, as families had gathered together with family elsewhere...

But now and then I would pass by a home with curtains open... Light shone there, illuminating a dining table with friends and family gathered round enjoying the holiday together. 

It was something I had never seen before while rollerblading. And yet - This was the ONLY activity I witnessed while rollerblading on Thanksgiving Day.

I thought of how strange it was that something one would think to be so common and everyday - could only be seen only on Thanksgiving Day. And I prayed to make and keep it common - at least in my home...

I arrived home just as my husband did. We marveled together over our kids becoming adults so quickly - so thankful for the time with them... :)

After the meal we all watched a movie then cleaned the kitchen together before winding down again. I know it sounds crazy - but cleaning together in the kitchen WAS NICE. :) I'm as thankful for that experience as I am for both he rollerblading adventure and the Thanksgiving feast with family . :)

As I watch my children become adults, I am amazed to realize that the tiny little every day experiences with the people we love and live with day in and day out are the ones that matter most.

I'm so thankful for my wonderful family! :D

Corine :D

Saturday, 17 November 2012

The "Goodest" Boy

Today I will tell you of a memory I have had – many times… It is a memory of my very sweet little boy, Devry.

Devry was a very quiet, very sweet boy, and usually very mild mannered (except when he threw tantrums. But I don’t think he knew about his tantrums, perhaps because it was never his intention to tantrum. ;) But he knew of his intentions, and they were GOOD. And like all goodness, when we experience it we get a feeling inside that some describe as “warm and fuzzy.” And it just puts a person in such a content and happy state that you simply glow with peace and joy.
This was the state Devry was in one day when, perhaps around the age of 6, as he sweetly and reverently told me something...  
“Mom. I’m the goodest boy.”
(I think he may have shook his head up and down - followed by content and peaceful smile…)
“I am. I’m the goodest.J
 I laughed for joy. Not because he was right, or because he was wasn't wrong, but because he saw the best in himself. 

“You are right, Devry. You are good. But always remember that other people have goodness in them, too. Don’t ever let yourself think you are better than them.”  And I hugged that sweet little boy.

Forward now to the present - I love driving Devry to seminary for the brief talks that we can have. Yesterday as we drove down the road I reminded Devry of this memory. I then told him how much I love him and of how thankful I am that he IS a “good boy.” And I told him this…

There is so much good in the worst of us,
And so much bad in the best of us,
That it hardly behooves any of us
To talk about the rest of us.
Edward Wallis Hoch

This morning as I woke I thought of a few more things...   When I told Devry he was no better than others, I should have told him that he was no worse either.

I don't recall doing so, but knowing what I now know, if I had little children today
I would tell them this;
Always LOOK for the good
 - in yourself and in others -
and you are sure to find it.

Maybe I didn't need to say this to Devry; he already knew... I’ve never heard a word of criticism from his lips about any of his friends, ever. One of Devry’s gifts is that he sees the best in everyone.J 

I never thought of it before until this very moment. But maybe this was made possible because he first saw the best in himself. Devry is capable of following the Savior’s admonition to “love his neighbor as himself” because he first loved himself… :) - What an awesome example he is to me!

I am SO thankful for Devry! :D
Corine :D
 PS. Here are a few of my favorite quotes and thoughts/beliefs which agree with this post:
"As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he."
                                      Jesus Christ
                                    Proverbs 23:7
 "We could spend weeks, months, even years laboring with the Personality Ethic trying to change our attitudes and behaviors and not even begin to approach the phenomenon of change that occurs spontaneously when we see things differently."                                 Stephen R. Covey

"Promise me you'll always remember;
You're braver than you believe, and
stronger than you seem, and
smarter than you think."
 A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
I believe the good and bad within us are at war with each other, and that the one we give the most attention to, the one we think about the most, and believe in the mostTHAT is the part that wins.

I believe this is true about our perceptions of others as well. There is good and bad in us all, and either or both can be perceived. What we SEE, is what we LOOK for. There is so much more than what we see!!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Throw Yourself a Gratitude Party!

This is an old photo of one of my sons, Dausen... who I am very thankful for! :)
(Of course, I'm thankful for ALL my wonderful kids! :D)  
Hi! :) I am so busy, but life is GOOD. :) Since I have not the time to write, and since I found another fabulous blog post worth sharing, I decided to link up with a great post from Latter Day Homeschooling. Follow the link above to view some wonderful ideas for a Gratitude Party.

In that post you will have access to a gratitude banner and a darling gratitude list reprintable. In addition you will get to see  three of my favorite videos about gratitude (I guess the author and I just think alike - or I just adore the subject of gratitude! ;) You may have seen these videos in years past on my other blog or elsewhere; It's OK... they are worth the repeat!) Hugs to you all, and have a thankful day! :D

Corine :D  

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Welcome! :D

Hi!  :D And Welcome to our new family blog ~ The Moore Memoir! (Isn't that a snappy name? LOL ;) I plan to blog each weekend; Sunday evenings after church is a good time to come here looking for new news.

I am transferring a couple recent posts over from my other blog, so you will see posts dated before today. I have comment verification on so I will receive notification if you comment even on old posts; so feel free to comment to any of them if you wish to.

I'm very excited about this blog and hope that many friends and family will come here and be a part of it. All are welcome so don't be shy about making yourself known; please feel WELCOME. :) I'm counting on word of mouth and anxious to see which of my friends and family join me in the comment section.

Hope to see you again soon!
Corine  :D

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Grattitude For Twins ~ My Twins... :)

Today I am especially thankful for twins... my twins. :) I'm thankful that Dausen tells our family jokes. And that Devry shows us funny videos. These boys bring SO MUCH fun and LAUGHTER  into our home! :D I'm thankful for their cheerful, pleasant personalities, and calm dispositions. Our family is truly blessed to have them in our lives...

So, YES,  THIS... case you've ever wondered ... was so totally WORTH IT! :D

(Shocking, I know! :o I really didn't get very big with just one baby... but with twins!!!! Whoa!)

This writing may end up being long (there is just so much good to say about them!), but trust me, it will be so intriguing... These are some very unique and amazing individuals!!!! :)  (And, YES... in addition to being a history brief, this IS also a brief brag session! ;) But, No... I'm not at all biased! ;o)

Amazing Birth Story:

Every story has a beginning, and this story starts right out with nothing short of amazing. During childbirth, these little angels caused me only 5 minutes of mild pain, and the entire labor from first contraction to second birth was only 15 - 20 minutes long "short." (I promise... I'm NOT exaggerating. It still amazes me! God tricked me into going to the hospital to have a baby turned (my Dr was at the hospital delivering another baby, so the receptionist sent me to the hospital to see a Dr. there). At the hospital, a nurse "accidentally" (ha ha!) broke my water and put me into labor. Labor was so easy that if I had gone into labor at home I'm sure I would have had them at home with no Dr.). Delivery must have been easy for the babies as well, because neither of them came out crying (maybe they cried for a few seconds). It was incredibly surreal!

You would think that with two babies I would be happy to let their father hold one of them. But to be honest, my arms longed for them both... especially since I only got to hold the first baby for a few seconds before I had to toss him back to the Dr., who tossed him to his dad, so the second baby could be delivered without the first baby being dropped... I'm sure you understand! :o 

Miles holds the first born while I hold the second born... then I get them both! :D

In this photo I am reaching out to hold them both, together, for the first time... :)
Don't worry... Dad eventually got to hold them at the same time, too... :)

By the way, the first born was, at birth, named Dausen, and the second was, at birth, named Devry. But after 3 days I just could not deny that the first seemed like a "Devry" and the second seemed like a "Dausen" (Dausen was more mellow... ) So, I called the hospital and told them to swap names before mailing off their S.S. card and birth certificate applications. Thankfully, they hadn't yet sent the mail off, so there was no fee for changing the names; yes, I would have swapped their names even if it had cost money! :)

At the time of their birth I thought that perhaps the quick and easy delivery might have had something to do with them being born so peacefully; but the calmness continued on...

Dausen - back... Devry - front...
Ages - About 11 and 14
Dausen was especially calm. He was happy whether right side up or upside down! His father and I loved to watch him in the arms of big sister, Mindy. In his little eyes, she could clearly do no wrong. (By the way, they are amazing friends; it way cool! :D) We frequently called Dausen, "Docile Dausen." As he left babyhood his nickname changed to "Awesome Dausen!"
Devry was also very happy, in fact, he got the nick name "Happy "Devry." (You can get away with anything when they are babies! LOL :)

As toddlers the twins would run in huge circles as fast as they could. They had a little friend named Jessica who also did a good deal of running with them. Sliding down the stairs on their bellies was another favorite activity of theirs as toddlers (and great entertainment for their dad! :). They were so cute and entertaining! :D

We got around via bike... this was their very fun "rig!"
THESE BOYS STARTED LIFE AS the cutest little guys and the best of friends! As young kids, they once told me with excitement that they were going to live in a mansion when they grew up (along with some really cool specifics about what their mansion would be like). I asked, "Are you talking about living in the same house?" The reply I received was a confident, "Yeah!" with an attitude of "Gee! Don't you know it?" I broke it to them as gently as I could, "I'm glad you are such good friends, but you will most likely get married, and I don't think your wives would appreciate you living with each other instead of with them...

After a long pause, new plans were immediately made... "We're going to live in mansions right next door to each other." I had to hold back from laughing out loud with delight... I wonder how many other twins dream of living in mansions together, or right next door to each other! :) As teenagers they can sometimes be hard on each other not treat each other with such fondness. But I can see the love they have for each other by the little things they do for each other (and no one else), like making sure each other get their fair share of the food :); I believe they will be best buds again as adults...

Devry...        &       Dausen...
Devry  and  Dausen
I have to tell you... while thrift shopping the other day, I met a woman who is married to a twin. Her husband and his twin are still the best of friends, as are she and her sister in law. The four of them peacefully own a store together and are incredibly happy to spend their lives running the family business together on a daily basis. I didn't ask her if they live in the same house... :o But I was thrilled to hear that they are all so close, including the wives! :D Twins are so incredibly blessed!!! :)

I'm sure you can already tell, these cute little buddies did the typical "twin stuff," including creating their own language... Unfortunately, they couldn't teach each other to speak English, (since they both spoke "twin." :o)
We have quite a few photos of these
two snuggled asleep together.

So began the exciting journey of speech therapy and early preschool at the age of three (Which, by the way they loved! Their preschool was in a church, and they got to go upstairs in the room with the pretty stained glass for speech therapy! :) Even at four years old the two of them still had their own little language, which could sometimes only be deciphered after careful translation by their sister Mindy. Sometimes Dausen preferred to not speak (just a quiet kind of guy. 

Dausen's lack of desire to do a lot of talking matters most fun for Devry, as Devry could answer questions given to the two of them like, "Which of you is Devry, and which is Dausen?" At only 4 years old, Devry “snowed” the Preschool teachers for an entire day, by telling them he was Dausen.  At the end of the day, Devry looked up at me with a sparkle in his eyes and a very cute crooked but pleased grin on his face... when he overheard me informing the teachers they had been "had." I will never forget the light and delight I clearly witnessed in Devry's eyes... over his own cleverness! :)

In addition to running around together speaking "twin," these boys loved (still love) art with passion, and have always been eager to get their hands on any kind of art or drawing devices. They even participated in a talent show in second grade in which each stood up on a chair and drew a large picture on a large chalk board in front of an amazed audience. It was awesome!!! Devry drew a picture of a seahorse, and Dausen drew a picture of a wizard holding up a wand. The audience "ooed" and "awed..." I don't know where a photo of that is right now, but here is a photo of them drawing in their bedroom just after they turned five years old...
When they were in Preschool, it became a regular thing for their teachers to, (at the end of the day and in amazement…) RUN to greet me, quite eager to show off the extraordinary things these boys created using colored shaped tiles - "with perfect symmetry of shape, size, and color," and with skills "advanced years beyond their peers." (I'm pretty sure the teachers were impressed! ;) Their teachers soon learned to bring cameras to school so they could capture tile art which were simply too good to scoop up and put away without evidence of their having been there. Their father and I were also impressed, but not surprised, for their talents were no secret in our home. Artistic talent was always a big part of their lives (they drew dinosaurs and other creatures when they were only three!). One day when I find the photos these teachers gave to me I will scan and add them to this post.
Teachers always greatly loved these sweet and gentle boys. In preschool, their names were somehow consistently “randomly” drawn as winners to various prizes offered by the school, and the teachers were always fussing over them with delight.

In later years, it was fun to watch these boys reflect on the consistency of their school winnings, and come to the realization on their own that the drawings had to have been rigged in their favor! LOL ~ BTW. I really do not approve of having favorites, but I can understand the teachers’ dilemma; these boys were simply beyond adorable! Not only that, they were well mannered, entertaining, sweet, and brimming with talent! What was there not to love? :D

OK… there was the "egg throwing" thing… :o (Around 2 or 2.5 years old (???), they would throw eggs on the carpets! I kid you NOT!) Once I came down the stairs and spied them hiding behind a chair and giggling. When I peered around the chair to see what they were looking at, I saw broken, raw, eggs… in the carpet; I was shocked and appalled to witness them giggle in anticipation over the huge reaction I was bound to have!
Oh yeah! Again... I kid you NOT! This was a big lesson for me, teaching me to 1. NOT OVER REACT… And 2. LET THEM be the ones to suffer the consequences of their actions!… (Yeah, RIGHT! I had to spend hours on the project after they were done "cleaning" to the best of their toddler abilities, then sweetly and lovingly tucked into bed.  :o ... :)

There were "other" things which they did together that the non-twin kids never did… (I know it was a "twin" thing; it just had to be!) But then again, things like that took place when they were VERY YOUNG, and at home, not at school (thank God!) By the way, having them clean up their own messes didn’t cure them. Neither did time-outs, loss of privileges, or even spankings (which I later decided was a very bad idea). After at least a couple years of struggling to motivate these kids to behave (Honestly, I really should have used more positive approaches; I'm so sorry kids! :o) , I finally discovered ONE thing that actually "worked..." grounding them from each other...

I’ll never forget the first time I told them they were grounded from each other for not helping each other to make better choices. They both FREAKED, and begged me not to ground them from each other, promising that they would “never do it again.” I was totally “wowed!” Never before had any punishment or consequence seemed to faze them!! After that we started talking about how friends (and that includes brothers) help each other to make "good" choices. :) I’m VERY happy to say that they got the concept down as young kids and that as youth they have never encouraged each other to do anything outrageous! Yeah! And whew!!! ;)

Now, a few brief  tidbits about Dausen…
Dausen created many "cool" things of his own design.
He could always draw or create amazing things from
his head - via tile shapes, pencil, Lego's, Bionicles...
(What an amazing visual mind!)
One thing I have always known about Dausen is that he is a very good boy. You could see it in his eyes, right from the start. And you could see it in his attitude and behavior. I used to become overwhelmed with awe as this knowledge rushed over me in the form of a spiritual testimony...  I have been thankful for this knowledge to help me to look for the best in him as he grew older, as he and I are EXACT OPPOSITES in personality (according to Myers and Briggs, every thing I am, he isn't and visa versa - this is in regards to personality - we both have the same standards and value many of the same things.) It is so easy to judge someone who you don't understand; Raising Dausen has taught me not to judge... He is a fabulous teenager, who doesn't give me a lick of trouble! Though he makes his own decisions, which are not always the choices I would make (like not going to Seminary this year... boo hoo!) he has a great head on his shoulders and he is growing to be an honorable man of good character. Dausen is responsible, hard working, honest, and fair, has a great sense of humor, and smiles and laughs often... I love and adore Dausen more than I could ever begin to say!
Dausen, Devry, and their twin neighbor friends
hiking on Tubs Hill a few years ago...
A few words that could describe Dausen include...  calm, quiet, cool, collected, good, mature, and wise (he teaches me all the time). However, even though he is quiet in large groups, he can be nonstop talkative and extremely funny at home among family and close friends. Dausen loves to be home with his family; we have always been his best friends; I love that! But when he takes the time to get to know people he is always very well loved! :o  
As far as personality goes, Dausen has such a masculine way with him... even while playing the comedian and pretending to be a girl (SO FUNNY!!!)... A comedian he is! (I’m really not sure how he does it; he is amazing!)

In his free time, Dausen likes to draw. He started out with just pencil drawings, but now also loves to do computer and z-brush animations. He also enjoys and excels in Photo Shop and Adobe Illustrator, and has done a little clay sculpting… Although he is home-schooled, Dausen went to middle school for a computer and art classes. In both instances he was so far ahead he completed his assignments multiple times over, before the other students finished their first and only project. In the photo to the left, Dausen is drawing his first self portrait (only one SO FAR) at age14...
Here is one of Dausen's drawings.  He's good! He has his father and Heavenly Father to thank for that talent! :) And he can thank himself as well, for the time and effort he spends working at it!!! Way to go Dausen! :D
Dausen started this drawing in 2009 and forgot about it until 2011 when he finished it.

After drawing the above photo, Dausen traced it with Adobe Illustrator then colored it...

I hope to get these boys into some fun college courses in the graphic arts program soon; they may have to enroll as Graphic Art students. I’m really excited about them doing this! :D

Now, a bit about just Devry…

Typical image of Devry... I opened a envelop of photos and saw
this one; I figured I need not look further. :) A smile on his face,
a twinkle in his eyes, and adventure on his mind and in his hands! :D
Here, Devry has decided to add "snow" to our tree. I love his happy disposition
Devry is such a happy person. He was born that way. :) We often called him “Happy Devry” when he was just a baby. Even now, he cracks me up with his wonderful and cheerful ways! I know it may sound funny (you may have to see this to appreciate it) but when he gets really excited about something… he sometimes lifts his hands up and down like a little bird flapping it’s wings. J I told you that you would have to see it to appreciate it! LOL Honestly, he is SO HANDSOME (so is his twin... imagine that!  ;) and so masculine (ALL BOY) so it is really quite hilarious to see the hand flap thing (he is so incredibly handsome and cute, too! :D

You already know that Devry draws…
Devry drew this anime on his I-pad about a year ago. Isn't she cute? :) This is a simple sketch. I will scan some other drawings which he has worked harder on and add them too.

Cover to a book Devry
made in Preschool... :)

Devry also likes to play the drums. Though he was a homeschooler, he joined the band in middle school and played percussion's. He lost interest in being in the band at the HS age, but still plays the drums now and then at home while Dausen plays the guitar. 

Another thing Devry has done in huge abundance is catch animals. This interest also took a back seat in the past couple of years (though he did catch several wild mice; DEVRY!!!!). His skills with animals are amazing! He even catches rattle snakes safely. This is because of his talent with animals, his fearless personality, and his love for looking up little facts which give him the safe know-how. He used to do this with books. Now Devry researches on the Internet or with the encyclopedia on his I-Pad. Devry often looks up and shares little facts with the rest of the family. I love it! :D
Devry does a variety of "guy" stuff, like throw knives. I believe he throws for about 30 minutes now without missing (that could be a good skill for a man). Below are videos he made about a year ago.

Devry is adventurous! :) And with his inquisitive and adventurous nature he learns to do all kinds of interesting things... At the age of about 6 he asked me for the bones to a chicken I was cooking so he could figure out how to reassemble it. :o When he was around 14 (maybe younger) he introduced our family to holding fire (safely contained...). While some Missionaries were here visiting, he introduced it to them as well. I wish we had it on video, because it was hilarious! Devry caught a cotton ball on fire (after preparing it to retain fire so we wouldn't get burnt while holding it) then he passed it to the person next to him...  and the fire was passed around the room like a hot potato! :D We all sat around the room laughing - as we tossed fire at each other... See what fun we have thanks to this curious and adventurous young man? (PS. For those of you who are not familiar with this little trick... when you get freaked and drop the fire, it does NOT light the carpet. We even rolled it back and forth on the carpet without any damage or trace of it having been there! :)

 Since Thanksgiving is near, I thought it would be fun to share one of our family traditions with you...

Our family has a tradition of each person doing the same special "something" for Thanksgiving each year. Devry's "thing" is to make a Mayflower out of bread, crackers and tortillas for our Thanksgiving centerpiece. Here are a couple photos of Devry making a Mayflower  as a little boy... :) (Isn't he cute? :D

Dausen's "thing" is to make some kind of finger food to snack on throughout the day (I love the wonderful things he makes!). Last year he did crackers, cheese and meat, and arranged it very nicely I might add! We already have many photos, so you can use your imagination on this one.

OK a quick note or two about the both of them - followed by a note to them, then I will end this post…

About two years ago the boys decided they wanted to start learning to ParKor. We paid for them to have weekly lessons for just one month - not much, but it got them started. They both learned to do front flips really well so we bought a trampoline so they could continue doing flips at home. It has been fun to watch them progress. :)

These boys are also both very good swimmers. I’m hoping they will both one day start doing triathlons with me (imagine the eyes blinking here boys!!! :D); I think they would be really good at it. They also have talents to share with me... Devry has agreed to teach me to use my I-pod (please don’t laugh at me; I honestly haven't even taken even one minute to try! :o) Dausen has agreed to teach me to do a flip on the trampoline next summer, and also teaches me things with Photo Shop now and then. In addition to their other cool talents, they are incredibly honest, hardworking, and persistent! (I could go on and on with a list of good qualities.)

And now, a note to my marvelous twins (the first note that I have written to the both of them; usually my notes are written to just one at a time, but for a blog I think this works better).

Dear Devry and Dausen,

Thanks so much, to each of you, for being YOU! I love each of you individually and every bit as much as I love the other, but no more than I love the other;)!! I wouldn't trade you two for all the tea in China... (How am I doing? :) I hope that when you are grown and gone you will think of me often, visit me constantly, and hug me tons! :D (I know... I can be demanding... Please imagine me batting my eyes right about now for good measures). And most of all, please remember how much I absolutely  LOVE and ADORE you! (you know I do!) Thanks a million times over for always being willing to help me when I need it, and for being the really great people that you are! :)
Love, forever and always… MOM :D

OK, that’s enough mush and bragging for now. I will present you with more recent photos of these wonderful boys soon. Until another day!

Corine :D