Friday, December 19, 2014

The true meaning of Christmas

Well, I must say I am probably even more behind than usual this Christmas--still shopping, haven't really started baking, and done very little wrapping. However, this morning as I was kind of in that in-between sleep and wakefulness mode, I felt very grateful for the things that have been happening in our lives. I may not have everything DONE by Christmas morning--however, some of the things that have been going on are more important than those things.

Yesterday my husband spent over an hour talking to his cousin, and catching up with him. Yes, he could have been writing Christmas cards or been out shopping, but he felt so good just spending time with someone who is one of his very best friends. What a great use of time!

At the same time, I  was having so much fun, making sugar cookies with my grandson. It has been quite a while since I made sugar cookies--my children outgrew the "fun" of doing that, and so it had been a tradition that had been  stopped for a while. But now I have this very active 3-year-old who LOVES to make sugar cookies. We had so much fun. Even my own son got into it...and helped roll and cut those cookies out. It was so much fun! And it didn't even matter one bit that we cut cookies out of the very middle part of the dough!!

Tonight we had the great opportunity to take a friend to see the temple lights at the Mesa Arizona Temple. They are absolutely breath-taking, and it was a beautiful night (a little chilly for us desert rats) to walk around the grounds. We also got to hear some of our favorite men sing in a men's quartet...and they were so good!! What a fun night. NO, we weren't home, wrapping gifts...but we were enjoying time together, and deepening a friendship. It was an awesome evening.

Last night some of our kids were over--after eating dinner and making cookies, we just talked and laughed. It was good to be together. These are the things that I need to focus on. Yes, I know I'll get frazzled in the next few days, and feel overwhelmed and under accomplished...but hopefully I can remember the sweet feelings of some of these very simple experiences, and find joy in them...and realize those memories are what really make Christmas. Good luck to all of you in your preparations--may you feel peace and joy and may you have time with loved ones.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Fabulous Weekend for Phoenix, Arizona

Wow--can't believe it's been since May when I wrote! That is pretty bad...but this weekend was so memorable that I needed to write about it. I know that many of my posts are about my feelings about the Gospel and my religion--but I guess those are some of the most meaningful things to I guess that is what I SHOULD write about! My family is doing pretty well. Since May we have added a new member to our family--cute little Ruby Johnson, born to our daughter, Emily, and her husband, Michael. She is just precious--there is nothing like a baby to help you "reconnect" to heaven--there is something so sweet about a newborn...and now, as she is starting to smile and respond, it is even more fun to have her around. We are so grateful she arrived here safe and sound. :) We love our precious grandchildren. :)

Well, now let me write about the events of this weekend. The Phoenix Arizona temple was dedicated this weekend, and is now ready to be opened and to be used. It has been an amazing fall for us--we went to the open house several times, with several different people. Each time was very meaningful and special to us. We are so thankful we could share that experience with people not of our same faith--the temple means so much to us, and it is so nice to share it with people who don't get to normally go into it. We loved doing that. After 3 weeks of open houses there, it was ready for a final cleaning and then to be dedicated. That is what this weekend was about.

For weeks, even months before a temple is dedicated, the teenagers in that temple district participate in learning dances and songs for a big cultural celebration that is held the Saturday night before a temple is dedicated. So many people are involved--and thousands of hours of service are given to teach dances, to coordinate huge numbers of youth and to make costumes for all the youth involved. It is a huge undertaking--and the final result was last night, where 4300 youth between the ages of 12 and 18 performed in a football stadium. There were songs and narrations about the history of Phoenix, and the Church's influence in that history--and it was all coordinated. It was an amazing show--and the enthusiasm and love of the youth was evident as you watched their faces as they performed. It was spectacular. I believe it is shown on U-Tube--if you want, you should watch part or all of it--it was great! After the performance, many of the performers gathered around where our church leaders were sitting--our president, whom we revere as a prophet of God, was right there, and it was wonderful to see how the youth just wanted to be where he was. It was so heartwarming. :)

Then today in 3 different sessions the temple was dedicated. As part of each service, there were probably 4 or 5 speakers--different ones at each session, beautiful music performed by 3 different choirs, composed of people chosen from the different areas in the temple district. One of those choirs was led by our dear cousin, Becky Allen, which made it even more special for us. A dedicatory prayer was read in each session, dedicating the temple to the work that it is designed to do. The Spirit was so strong in each session--I went to 2 of the 3 sessions. Each speaker talked about something different, but each talk had to do with the blessing of having this temple here and how we need to rededicate ourselves to going to the temple...just as the temple was dedicated for the work that goes on within its walls. It was an amazing experience, and I was just so grateful to be there.

I have a very special feeling towards this Phoenix Temple. We lived for our first 5 years of marriage on the west side, so many of the people who have been involved in all the activities getting ready for it are very close and dear friends and family to us. Plus Spence's family has been in Phoenix for several generations, and his granddad, JR Price, was one of the first leaders of the church here in Phoenix. He was very instrumental in its growth and progress...and so this temple is very dear to the hearts of our Price family. I felt quite emotional as I listened to some of the talks, and thought of what this all means to us--it makes me very grateful for the tremendous heritage I inherited when I married into this Price family...and just so very grateful for SO MANY good people who have sacrificed so much of their time and energy and talents to making this temple a reality. I am especially thankful to my Father in Heaven for blessing us here in the Valley with another temple--and I hope to rededicate MY life to serving in the temple, and doing all I can to build the kingdom of God here in the Phoenix area. I am so grateful for my membership in the Church, and for the blessings it has brought into my life, ever since I joined so many years ago.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Losing my "other" mother

Yesterday my mom's best friend and "sister" (since my mom had no siblings), Beverly Bennett, passed away. We have been getting emails from her niece, who has been extremely good about letting us know how Bev was doing. This is a huge loss in my life, and has caused me lots of time to reflect about the impact of people in our lives. Bev was truly a wonderful person in our life. We called her "Aunt Bev," and loved her like she was family. When we had family reunions or weddings or any big celebrations, she was there, sharing with us. When my mother was unable to talk much, due to several mini-strokes, it was Bev who I could go to, and discuss family problems or issues. I appreciated her listening ear and her very caring heart. She would always express her love to me, and her concern for my siblings.

In 2008, I went back to Boston to be with Bev. I didn't really know much about my mother's life, and her growing-up years. Since Bev was there in so many of those times, she shared with me several places where my mom lived her early life. She also shared several stories, and even helped me label some pictures that my mom had taken. We went to schools she had been to, and saw many places in the Tewksbury area outside of Boston, where my mom had grown up. We even went to Wellesley where my mom went to college, and saw the dorms where she lived. It was a wonderful trip--so great to learn more about my mom, and so good to be able to spend time with Bev.

When I was going through my sickness, Bev was so good to check in with me, and make sure that I was doing all right. She was so loving. I will miss her a lot, even though I didn't get to see her much or talk to her much.
Thanks, Bev, for being there for me--for loving me and for being such a wonderful friend to my dear mother. You have blessed so many lives. Bev has been very active in her church and in many things in her community. She was a travel agent years ago, and arranged many trips for my mom and dad. She just went about doing good, and because of that she was deeply loved. Thank you, Bev, for being such a special person in my life. I love you and will miss you deeply.

Friday, April 18, 2014

He Lives--the Savior Lives!

Last night I did the best thing ever to celebrate Easter--I went to the Easter pageant at the Mesa Arizona Temple grounds. It was a great experience. My sweet daughter, Kelsey, who happens to be one of the most thoughtful people I know, went with me. She had already gone this week with her singles ward, but she knew that I didn't want to go alone, so she went with me...just because she is a super nice person. It was SOOO crowded there. we got there about 7:30 (I usually get there a couple of hours early--and the performance starts at 8:00), and we drove around for quite a while, just looking for a parking place. Kelsey finally dropped me off so I could find us some seats, and she parked the car. People sitting next to us, held one of their children on their lap, just so we could have two seats together--pretty nice. The pageant goes through the Savior's life, quite quickly, with script and music. There were several times I wiped tears from my eyes--seeing the love of the Savior for little children portrayed so well, when he was whipped and scourged, when He appears to Mary in the garden, when He suffered so much when He was in the Garden of Gethsemane--so many times my heart was touched by His sacrifices, and the love He demonstrated so many times for us during His life. I am so thankful for the Savior. I know He is the Son of God, that He came to earth so He could show us he way to live. I am thankful that He suffered in Gethsemane and on the cross for us so that we could return to live with our Heavenly Father if we will repent of the things we do wrong, and try in all ways, to be like Him. I am thankful for inspiring music and the spoken word when it helps us feel closer to our Heavenly Father and to our Savior. I am so thankful for this time of year--what Christ did for us in unfathomable. I am just so thankful. The last song that all the cast sing is "He Lives--My Savior Lives." That touched my heart so much, and I felt like singing along with all of them--yes, I too, know that my Redeemer lives.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Happy Birthday Eve!

This is the night before my birthday. Not that anyone really will be reading this, so it won't really matter to anyone...but I thought I would write it anyway! A few years ago, I wondered if I would see many more birthdays--it has been an amazing journey to see that Heavenly Father, for whatever reason, still wanted to prolong my life here on earth. There are days that I really wonder why, and other days that I'm very grateful--it's funny how we go through such a variety of emotions. It is awesome how many people write mission statements for their lives--laying out their purpose and goals for life. They have a focus in their life that I seem to be lacking in my own.  I have always been a goal-setter, and tried to set goals at the beginning of each new year. However, like many of you, it is hard to remember what goals you've set, and to actually try to achieve them. Some days I am amazed at my lack of motivation to really get anything done. One time one of the leaders of our church talked about how we use our "discretionary" time. That phrase has stayed with me...and at times, HAUNTED me, because I see so much of my time being wasted. I am not always a very good steward of my time.

In the last couple of weeks I have had family visiting me. My daughter, Katie, and her precious daughter, Brooklyn (my first granddaughter) were here for a week. Katie is an amazing mother. She has always been a very unique person, and certainly marched to the beat of her own drummer...and she is an incredibly relaxed mother. It is fun to watch her mother, and I am very proud of the way she is handling her new responsibilities. She has become a very close friend to me. During her teenage years, I could never have anticipated this happening. She was a challenge, and I know I was a challenge to her. We rarely saw eye to eye, and life was pretty much a roller coaster...and VERY challenging. However, now we love to talk and share thoughts and feelings. I am grateful for her. I am especially grateful that she tries so hard to keep in touch with me. She knows that is important to me, so she really makes an effort since she knows it makes me happy. She cares deeply about every member of our family.

While she was still here, my sister, Kathy, came to visit also. It was great, because it meant that all my girls got to spend time with their aunt. She is very interested in them, and enjoyed being with them very much. We visited a lot, ate out a lot, and just had a good time. She is a gift-giver, and so she always comes with gifts for everyone. She is very thoughtful. She is a huge San Francisco Giants fan, and we took her to a baseball game where the Diamondbacks were playing the Giants. She really was in seventh heaven, and loved being there. She let all her friends in the Bay Area know she was there, by posting pictures and messages on her Facebook page.

Then last weekend was General Conference. It was the BEST. I love it--love the inspiration I feel from my leaders. It is easy to get caught up in the world's ideas and philosophies...but when you listen to Conference, you get the clear call that comes from men who are called of God. It is always such an uplift, and carries me for a long time after it is through. However, I wish I could feel as good always as I do when I'm listening to Conference--it is awesome!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

What every mother wants to hear!

It was just an ordinary moment--I was doing the dishes after having some friends over for dinner. My daughter, Kelsey, came into the kitchen, and just said, "Thanks, Mom, for being such a great mom." Those are words EVERY mother would like to hear--and it doesn't happen very often. So that meant a lot, and even though Kelsey doesn't read my blog, I want to tell her how much I appreciated her saying that to me. There are a lot of thankless days and nights--and many frustrating moments as a mother, but when a child (especially a grown-up child) says something like that, you really do feel special, and feel like all the effort, time, and craziness of being a mother is worth it. Like Kelsey said afterwards, we don't say that often. I hope I remembered to tell my mom that--she was such a sweet and loving person, and I hope I let her know at least sometimes that I DID appreciate that. Gratitude is so important.

I have found lately that I have been very critical of people, and I know that is not right. First of all, we don't know all the facts, so we really can't judge--secondly, when we criticize others, we become negative and ungrateful. We see the things that are wrong with others and wrong with our lives, and then let that discourage us...and make us unhappy. It would be so much better if we would look for the good, and then tell others the good we see in them. People who do that are so nice to be around...and we enjoy being with them. They see the good in us, and help us to see the good in others. Oh, if only I could be as good as I know I should.

Yesterday our son, Brady, had two basketball games with the YMCA. His team lost both of them, and quite badly. Usually I enjoy watching him play basketball, and watching his team. However, I guess I don't love watching losses and especially blow-outs! Brady gives his all every time he's on the court--he plays hard, and intensively, and he's good--but who am I to say, I'm just a biased mother! Anyway, that was a big majority of my Saturday. So that's about it from here--this week my daughter, Katie, and her baby girl, Brooklyn, come to visit. We are so excited, and know it will be lots of fun to have them here.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Beautiful spring weather! Happy Days to you!

This is the time of year that people in Arizona live for. :) It is beautiful--the nights and mornings are wonderful, and it is fun to be outside. You can smell the citrus blossoms everywhere, and even though that isn't always good for people's allergies, it still smells fabulous! It has been a cold and tough winter in many parts of our country, but this is the time when we can brag about our weather...and enjoy these days! Much hotter ones will be coming soon--so we need to enjoy these while we can. This has been a particularly fun spring for us, since our grandson, SJ, now lives in Arizona. He loves to come to our house, to play in our sandbox, jump on our trampoline, and dip his toes and legs in our pool. He brings a lot of fun and excitement to our home--we love having him around...and love that he comes to visit his "Handdad," (what he calls his Granddad), and "Grandma Weez." (That would be me!!)

I have had many enjoyable experiences with my Church calling. I work in the Primary organization (our children's organization), and I work in the stake--where I am associated with several wards, and their individual Primary organizations. It is a joy to work with the children--I love their sweet spirits, and the funny things they say...and how they aren't afraid to say ANYTHING!! Last weekend we had a choir composed of children from throughout our stake, who sang at our stake conference. They sang the opening song, and then a song after the announcements. They were so AWESOME! They sing with all their hearts, and with so much enthusiasm--you can't help but be touched by what they do. I am SOOO thankful I can rub shoulders with these wonderful children. I also love working with their leaders who put so much time and energy into serving these children. Primary is the BEST!

Just one more thing for today--aren't you proud of me for writing TWICE in March--I AM improving!! Today our daughter, Emily, called--she was feeling very sick with the flu, and wanted her dad to come give her a blessing. So we spent a few hours over there this afternoon. It is so nice to be able to help when she needs us and to be close enough to do it. We had a great talk with her, and it was good to be over there--so glad she will let us help. :) Happy March to all of you!! Love you!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Well, my computer skills continue to amaze (and disappoint) me. I DID write in January, vowing to start off this new year with more blog entries--I went to my blog this morning and the last post there was Dec. 2013. So I'll give it a try again! Hopefully this time it will TAKE!

It is hard to believe it is already March--here we go again, with another year flying by! I wonder at the things I don't accomplish, and continue to bemoan the fact that I waste way too much time. Hopefully, I can improve on that this year also.

This is our most beautiful time of year in Arizona--beautiful sunny and warm (but not hot) days, and cool nights and mornings. I actually have to admit I like fall better--when the days are cooling down again. I like it better because I know that cooler weather is coming, whereas in spring, I unfortunately anticipate those days when it will get super hot!! But I love the flowers and the green and the smell of citrus blossoms in the air--it is awesome.

We just had the most wonderful weekend here--and a very momentous one for us who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, here in Arizona. The Church has built its biggest temple in 20 years, right here in Gilbert, Arizona, and it is magnificent. It is so beautiful and inspiring to everyone who has seen it. We had 4 opportunities to take friends and family members to see it during its open house...and that was such an incredible blessing. It was wonderful to be there, and it was wonderful to share it with people we have known (at work and in our neighborhood, etc.) so they could see something that means so much to us. It truly made the whole month super special for us. Then this past weekend, the youth in that temple district, performed in a cultural celebration. That happened on Saturday night in a park right by the temple. We had not had rain here in several months, and are in dire need of it--and Saturday is when it rained. I was sure that with the prophet (the leader of our church, Thomas S. Monson) here to watch, it that the weather would be tempered, and it wouldn't rain. However, that didn't happen--it rained, and those 12,000 kids who were participating, performed dances and songs in pouring rain. It was incredible to watch--it was an awesome performance in many ways, but it was especially great to watch the attitudes of those kids, who joyfully performed, even with rain pouring down on them. Their smiles were amazing, and it was a great performance. We watched it on TV, and were totally uplifted. Then on Sunday, in three different services, the temple was dedicated by the prophet and his first counselor, Henry B. Eyring. There were different choirs and different speakers at each session, and each one was so filled with the Spirit. Each of our stake centers (Church buildings) were considered an extension to the we gathered there to participate by satellite in the dedications. It was wonderful--so uplifting. What a wonderful time for Arizona to have another beautiful House of the Lord, where these ordinances which we feel are so important in our journey to return to our Heavenly Father, can be performed. I am grateful I could be there with members of my family, and to enjoy that beautiful spirit.

Monday, February 24, 2014

A new year...and new resolutions

Yes, I have made some New Year's resolutions, but true to my normal life, it is hard to keep those resolutions in mind (even though I DO write them down), and then even harder to DO them. One of them is to be more regular in writing in my blog--so even though it is almost March, I will try to do better...and to keep this goal this year.
I was very faithful in writing in here when I was having so many health issues 4 years ago...but when things get back to "normal," we forget to show our gratitude, and also just express some of our feelings, because we're not in such a desperate situation anymore. It's crazy how easy it seems to be to forget--SIGH!
I just went to the cancer doctor, and he told me that this year I won't have to have a pet scan. That is huge news for me--and I'm very thankful for that! I still go to him every 3 months, and have blood work done, so if anything changes, they are aware of it, and we'll take care of any potential problems. Sometimes going to the doctor for a "routine" check is a pretty amazing thing...and a reminder that I truly was the recipient of some pretty miraculous things. I wish I could keep that uppermost in my mind, and just show more gratitude on a more regular basis. It's too bad that we get kind of complacent sometimes and take things too much for granted.
We are doing well. Our daughter, Kelsey, has come home from BYU, and now lives here at home with us. She is very busy with work, school, and several ward activities with the singles' ward she is involved in (with young adults of her age and older at Church). They seem to have things going all the time, and she is very good about staying involved.
Our third oldest daughter, Emily, has moved down here with her husband and little boy...and it is truly a joy to have that cute grandson here in town. He has so much personality and it really brightens our world to have him around here. He is just SO MUCH FUN!!
Our youngest child, Brady, is  a junior in high school. He is a very dedicated student--and works very hard to keep his grades up. He also has quite the social life, and has lots of friends. He plays basketball for the YMCA, and his dad is his coach, which is something he has wanted for several years now. With Spence, halfway retired, he DOES have more time, but finds that coaching is a lot more time-consuming than he had ever imagined. But he does enjoy it.
Brady is 16 and so does many of the normal teenage things, but I have to say, he really is a pretty good kid. He has good standards, he works hard in school, and on the whole, he makes very good choices. I think he is a good example to his friends, both at church and at school. Yesterday at church he and his dad blessed the sacrament during our sacrament meeting (that means they said the prayers over the bread and water). I had some very proud and some very grateful moments as I watched them--thankful that they both are living in such a way that they can do that, and just so thankful for the good examples they are to our family. It was wonderful to watch them do that together. Well, that's all I'll write for now--but I really AM going to try to be more consistent in here. Have a great day, and write if you ever feel so inclined!! Love you!