Thursday, November 26, 2009

Something I’m Grateful For

There are so many things that I’m grateful for: Brooke, Family, Friends, Freedom, Health, Home and Happiness. But there is one particular thing that I am grateful for that I want to share with all of you.
While I was on my mission I purchased a CD of some Opera music. I still remember the chills that I felt when I first listened to Wagner’s Pilgrim’s Chorus from Tannhäuser. Later I found out that the Tabernacle Choir had recorded a version of the song. Here is a video of that arrangement. I hope you enjoy it!
So this Thanksgiving, I have to say thank you to all of you who share the gift of music with the rest of us.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Helen vs. Winter

The other day when it was snowing a little bit, I walked into the living room to find Helen looking out the window. She had never seen falling snow before! She seemed quite confused and was watching as many snowflakes as she could as they drifted through the air!! It was so funny!!! She seemed to wonder where they were coming from.

Helen started to get a little worried, so she thought that maybe by not looking, the snow would stop!! [She was actually just washing her face!]

Then she decided that the snow wasn't so bad after all and just enjoyed observing the unusual phenomena.

Here's a little video I took of her watching the snow!

We started decorating our apartment with Christmas decorations!! Helen is very excited about Christmas! She really likes the Christmas lights and bows on the staircase railing!!!

Hector was really excited when we put up our artificial tree! Helen was a bit confused and tried to help us set it up while Hector played in the Christmas tree box! Hector decided he just wants a big cardboard box for Christmas. Helen is still trying to make up her mind about what she wants for Christmas!


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Armistice Day

I wanted to start by thanking all of you who are serving or have served in the military who may have a chance to read this. You deserve much more credit than you are given, and much more gratitude than we can offer.

I read a very powerful article in the Deseret News yesterday. It told the story of a soldier who had served in the German army during WWII and his suffering in Stalingrad and a Soviet Gulag. Finally he was able to return home to Germany and escape to the United States, arriving on Veterans Day in 1954. At the end of the article the man was quoted as saying “I have respect for every solder, wherever he served, whoever he served for”.

One of the greatest moments in human history was when Soldiers replaced Warriors, when peace became the goal and not merely a period to prepare for war, when more glory was found in protecting the innocent instead of vanquishing the enemy.

Now tomorrow we will celebrate the 91st anniversary of the end of the Great War. Perhaps the greatest tragedy of that war is simply the fact that it’s name had to be changed within a generation to the “First World War”. As we remember the more than 20 million individuals who died in that war and the millions who have served, sacrificed and died since, I think that it is appropriate to quote two of the most powerful poems coming from that war. One was written by a Canadian Medic working on the front lines, the other by an American woman responding to his plea:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

-Lt.Col. John McCrae

Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet - to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.

We cherish, too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields.

And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We'll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.

-Moina Michael

I hope that all of you take some time tomorrow to remember, and if you get a chance, to thank somebody who is serving in the military.