Monday, January 28, 2008

Carry On

Like many of you, I experienced a few emotions when I heard that our beloved Prophet had passed away. My first reaction was sadness that he was gone, which was followed by happiness thinking that he had been reunited with his sweet wife, which has been followed with a deep sense of gratitude for the life he lived, the example he was, and the lessons he taught. I'm grateful for his example of someone who approached life with optimisim, kindness and hard-work. I appreciate the way he was constantly encouraging the saints to "try a little harder" and "do a little better." His encouraging words really made my eternal quest for perfection seem attainable. I loved that he faced challenges in life with a smile and a sense of humor. I loved the way that you could feel the spirit the moment he walked into a room.

After he was sustained as the Prophet and President of the Church in April of 1995, he said the following quote in conference:

"Now, my bretheren and sisters, the time has come for us to stand a little taller, to lift our eyes and stretch our minds to a greater comprehension and understanding of the grand millenial mission of this The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is a season to be strong. It is a time to move forward without hesitation, knowing well the meaning, the breadth, and the importance of our mission. It is a time to do what is right regardless of the consequences that might follow. It is a time to be found keeping the commandments. It is a season to reach out with kindness and love to those in distress and to those who are wandering in darkness and pain. It is a time to be considerate and good, decent and courteous towards one another in all of our relationships. In other words, to become more Christlike." (May 1995 Ensign, p.71)

This has been one of my favorite quotes from the Prophet. I have kept it in my scriptures and read it often because it always inspires me to try to be a better person.

In a press conference after President Hinckley was formally introduced as the 15th president of the church, he was asked by a reporter what his focus or theme of his administration would be. To which he answered, "Carry on. Yes. Our theme will be to carry on the great work which has been furthered by our predecessors.”

He made such a simple statement, but I think it perfectly describes the way he led the church up until the very end of his life. What a great example he has been of "carrying on". I am truly grateful that I have been blessed to learn from the life and example of President Hinckley.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Welcome Home Elder Hicks

On January 4 Caleb returned from his mission! It was the highlight of our holiday season and we were super excited to welcome him home. We waited with some cute (and maybe a little bit cheesy) signs at the airport and he looked properly embarassed when he walked out and saw them. It was so great to see him coming out of the terminal. He looked really happy and just like the Caleb we all know and love (except for skinnier).

That night we had our second Christmas celebration where we got our traditional matching pajamas from my mom. Caleb gave us presents from Uraguay including cups made out of various parts of a cow. The next morning we had some more Christmas and then we took Caleb shopping for new clothes since Johnny and others had taken most of his in the last two years. By the end of the day Caleb had a blackberry and ipod and new jeans to help with his adjustment. At Caleb's request we went bowling and played a rousing game of "bunsies" (runs and bunches). It was so much fun to have my whole family together again! We really missed Caleb's fun loving personality and his humor. I had gotten so used to having him gone, I almost forgot how much I loved to be around him, but I was quickly reminded. We are so proud of him for the great missionary that he was...and now we are so grateful to have him back home!

Friday, January 4, 2008

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I have been neglecting the blog for too long...partly because of limited internet access and partly because of busy schedules. But we have had an absolutely wonderful holiday season! So here are the highlights of our Christmas break, sorry if it gets too long.

Aaron and I enjoyed out first Christmas in our new house. On Christmas Eve I went to work, and then we went to the Bee Movie (very funny) and then enjoyed an evening with my parents and Johnny playing games and eating good food. Then we watched my favorite Christmas movie, A Muppet Christmas Carol. It really is a hit and I highly recommend it to anyone that has good feelings towards muppets.

On Christmas morning we opened presents from Aaron's family at our home and then drove through the snow to go back to my parents house. It was so beautiful! I loved having snow on Christmas. We got a lot of nice gifts. Aaron got a nice picture to hang in our home and a bowling ball, bag, and shoes. I was extremely surprised to get the complete series of Gilmore Girls DVDs from Aaron...who had been swearing for weeks that he would never get them for me (he hates the show). His condition on giving them to me was that I could never watch them when he is in the room, which is OK because they will be great entertainment during soccer season when he is busy. We had an enjoyable Christmas day eating, playing games, and talking to family on the phone (including Caleb in Uraguay!).

The day after Christmas it was back to work for me (unfortunately troubled boys at a treatment center don't suddenly become untroubled and get to go home, just because it is the holiday season). I didn't actually have to teach, but I had to go in for a half day and play games and watch movies with them until their other staff could come in. We went to the movie Enchanted that afternoon and I loved it! It was a great mix between slightly mocking the fairy tale Disney movies that I love...while having it's own cheesy fairy tale ending.

On Friday the family fun continued because my cousin Alex got married, so a lot of family was in town including Julia and some of my great cousins. We enjoyed taking some pictures in the frigid cold temperatures at the temple and then scoured the town for some good hot chocolate and donuts to keep us warm. We spent the afternoon and evening together enjoying the wedding festivities.

On Saturday we enjoyed an evening of game playing with cousins and grandparents. We also tormented my little cousin, Noah, my convincing him to drink lemon juice so that we could watch him make funny "sour faces". He is a pretty good sport about it. We enjoyed the lights at Temple Square (although we unfortunately forgot to bring a camera). It was actually a perfect time to see the lights because it had warmed up a bit (to maybe 30 degrees) and a light snow was coming down so it looked perfect.

On Monday we enjoyed spending New Year's Eve with family at the Patterson's house. We ate a lot of good food, played fun games, and jubulantly wished each other a happy new year and toasted with our Martinelli's. Aaron and I shared some good memories of the night we got engaged on New Year's Eve four whole years ago.

Tuesday was my second day off of work for the break and we enjoyed it by relaxing at home, spending time with family, playing hand and foot, and working on our Europe book with Julia. Wednesday Aaron was able to try out his new bowling ball. It didn't turn out quite as well for him as he would have hoped, but maybe he just needs to break in the new shoes. (Picture at left is our four tiered podium we created at the bowling alley where Julia took first)

Wednesday and Thursday were spent working and spending time with family and anxiously awaiting for my brother Caleb to return! To be continued...