Saturday, December 27, 2008

Eternal Gifts

So it's over. But I don't want it to end.
In an effort to stretch it out a little I'd like to share one of my new favorite Christmas songs. It reminds me of this image I've always liked:
I love how Santa worships the original and purest example of charity and selflessness.

The song is Eternal Gifts, by Leigh Nash.
It wasn't on playlist, but it can be heard at:
I think it's quite sweet:

Eternal Gifts

Santa knows what I want for Christmas
but Jesus knows what I need
it can't be purchased wrapped up and placed
under an ephod tree

I need patience, kindness - virtues like these
to bend on my knee at the manger
Santa may bring things that last for a year
but eternal gifts come from the Savior

some days come where I'm playing selfish
I can't think of no one but me
then I think of all that I'm blessed with
and that's always best to give than to receive

I need faithfulness, love, generosity
to open my home to a stranger
Santa may bring things that last for a year
but eternal gifts come from the Savior

I need patience, kindness, generosity
to bend on my knee at the manger
Santa may bring things that last for a year
but eternal gifts come from the Savior
by LeighNash

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Everybody's Workin for the Weekend

Shortly after this was taken,
Ryan was seen zipping around the house like this.
(I wrongly assumed "Would you please take her Christmas dress off?" implied the expectation that other clothes would be put on her. Bless Daddy.)
Which had us in stitches because it instantly reminded us of this:
(Imagine that hair bow around her neck.)

For those of you who did not graduate from high school in the 90's I'm including the original SNL clip, despite brief internal conflict. Yes, I know, Patrick Swayze does an embarrasingly thorough job in his supposed audition. But let's be real, would it be nearly as funny otherwise?

The hair!

Patrick Swayze - Chippendale
by tressage

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Can I Get a Little Sassy-Frass With That, Please?

This is Reagan MacKenzie Chase.
She's pretty adorable as 3 year old nieces go; sassy, adventurous, funny, and doesn't take grief from anyone!

And she's helpful. Se "helped" me pack up the house before we moved. Suddenly she had an epiphany, "Kasey, I move to California wiff you? I pack my bags and go wiff you?" She, of course, has this way of asking questions without any inflection. They're more like statements, even though she waits for a reply out of courtesy. How do you refuse this face?
You don't. You say, "Of course you can move to California with us! But you have to ask your mom first."

Imagine my suprise when, 20 minutes later, the door flies open and I hear, "She...said.....YES!"

Imagine our further surprise when we arrive in California (after she reluctantly decided not to go) and find this suspicious box packed in with ours. Notice her meticulous labeling skills. It was even sealed with packing tape!
But our favorite surprise was the contents:
2 complete outfits, including shoes: 1 for warm and 1 for cool weather
2 mismatched socks
Her sister's brand new tennis shoes for school
A hair tie
Travel sized Book of Mormon
A bra (why a 3 year-old needs a bra is a mystery. I guess she intended to stay for a LONG time.)
And 7 (yes, SEVEN) pair of underwear

And so, dear Reagan, this one goes out to you. We miss you terribly. We wish you were here. However, we now have pure confidence in your ability to succeed in life. When it comes to preparation for making dreams come true you've got mad skills.

Monday, December 8, 2008

'Tis the Season!

I believe music is one of the greatest joys of the Christmas season.
(Apparently it is for Atticus as he requested "a little Christmas tunage" the other day.)
Our move to California has afforded me 3 fabulous, live "Christmas tunage" opportunities in the last couple weeks.
1. We have joined the Clovis Adult School bell choir.
It's technically for retirees, but we moved from Florida so I guess they figure that counts. Monday nights Paris, Mom, Kathryn and I head over to my old high school choir room and don the white gloves. The result is admittedly sometimes dreadful, but always entertaining. And fun!

2. The Messiah Sing-Along
Fresno First Presbyterian Church holds an annual Messiah sing-along the weekend after Thanksgiving. I've been learning the alto part since April of this year in hopes of finding a sing-along in Florida. Little did I know I'd need it for the Fresno one. Go fig.
Mom, Irene, Merrily Bonnet, Sandy Cusak and I headed downtown!
The event is accompanied by a full orchestra and is simply gorgeous.
We sat in the loft. Turned out to be the best seat in the house.
The only unenjoyable part of the night was realizing the man singing the most beautiful opening tenor solos was a boy I had babysat back in the day...Slight buzz kill.

3. The 26th Annual, Fresno East Stake Relief Society Christmas Choir
(Muchas gracias to Mom who fought valiantly to save me a spot since I missed most rehearsals.)
This annual concert is a community event a year in the making. Women from the stake rehearse every Sunday for months in preparation. It's hard work, but there is nothing in the world like singing in a choir led by a talented, professional director and which is enhanced by the Spirit because of its message and purpose.
It's exhilarating and humbling at the same time.

We had professional lighting for the performance. Once those stage lights come on it's hard to see much of anything, not even your music. This uncomfortable phenomenon created a beautiful opportunity for me personally.

This painting of Christ Ordaining the Apostles hangs in the east foyer of the stake center. It is a lovely, looooong painting.
Due to my placement on the stand, the angle of the open chapel door, and the lighting in the foyer this was all I could see Friday and Saturday during the hour we sang of the Savior's birth:
I was touched to be reminded so poignantly of the purpose - the PERSON - behind the glorious songs we were singing. This fun-filled, family-oriented month is all about the birth of the King of Kings whose most humble beginning foreshadowed His humble life of service and sacrifice.

My favorite song was a lullaby sung from Mary's perspective. "Sleep, baby, sleep. Sleep 'til the dawn starts to break."
I was especially touched by this phrase as I thought of our trials of the last few months, job hunting and relocating amid national financial and employment crises. I remembered feeling the same reassurance over and over again as we searched for the right job..."Sleep, baby, sleep. Sleep 'til the dawn starts to break."
I'm grateful for a loving Father in Heaven who loves us all with the pure love a mother has for her newborn babe. I'm grateful for the peace and blessings we've been given this year. I pray for others facing life-trials to feel that hope, experience peace in their hearts, and recognize divine love throughout this season until their dawns break.

Thank you to Leslie Woods and the stake Relief Society presidency for providing the women in the choir this opportunity. I am forever changed by it.