Sunday, January 6, 2019

Two Hour Church- January 6, 2019

As I pointed out to my Primary class, this was an historic day that they could remember and tell their own children about.  We started the 2-hour block of Church today.  The tricky thing for me was how to adjust to teaching only a 20 minute lesson in Primary following the new guidelines and allowing the children to also share what they had learned.  I studied the individual study guide through the week and started thinking about the lesson, but kept worrying about the whole 20 minute thing and having the students share their own experiences.  How do you do that?

On Friday as I was preparing a small treat to take around to my new Primary class with a note about the room number, etc., I realized exactly how to try to do that.  In that flash of a moment how revelation comes at times, it was clear.  The simple things which I had assemble for their "welcome to a new year in Primary" served as the framework for our lesson...even though when I bought them, I didn't know that was the purpose for them--I just thought they would make a fun treat bag for my class.

The package included:
1.  A stuffed Teddy Graham:  This represents each one of us.  We are responsible for our own learning.
2.  A red pencil-  The scriptures are the key to learning about Jesus and His gospel.  Underline important verses to you.
3.  A package of TIC TAC:  Easy for sharing (six of the eight had shared with their family) because we are going to share what we have learned at home in our class and also we are going to be "Tac-tful" and supportive when others are sharing  (see how I did that!)
4.  A picture of Christ--to remind them of who we are studying and He loves them.
5.  A little tea light:  For Christ is the light of the World and we each grow our light as we become more like him.

I also gave them this note so they knew actually what we were going to discuss.

We sat in a circle and I placed them items on a tray in my lap and we talked and shared together.  It was amazing (and made better by the amazing class I have this year.  Smart and reverent--an amazing combination for nine year olds.  I have a new teaching partner and she is going to be great as well.)

Each week we will give the students a card with something to prepare for the week ahead.  It is going to be a great year in Primary.

Have I mentioned that it is an amazing time to be a member of the Church?

"Go to the temple"


That was a text I got from my sister on Thursday, January 3, 2019.  So Friday afternoon I did.  And I cried.  And I wrote back to her:  "Truly there has not been a more blessed time to be a Saint than now except perhaps for those groups who walked and talked with Christ during his mortal life or on this continent after his death.  I followed your directive and went to the temple this afternoon."  And that sums it up!

Out my window as I drove away.

Post-Christmas Celebrations--Washington style

When I was looking at airplane ticket prices it was cheaper to fly out on Christmas day and come back on New Years Day so that is what we did.  It was fun to see Tosha and Austen on Christmas even though Niki and Ava were already asleep.  Of course, Ava wakes up pretty regularly so we saw her with open eyes that night as well.  Cooper was excited and I was happy that he seemed to remember me from my last visit.

Niki was darling in the morning, giving me a big hug and telling me he loved me so much.

We got to open presents with them which included their dinosaur pjs. to match their Utah cousins.

The rest of the week we played, watched movies, talked, and played some more.  It was resting and fun.  We had some rain on a few days, but the weather overall was fairly moderate and better than the snow storms they had in Utah while we were gone.

Our selfie--Niki, Cooper, and I in Niki's room

Got to love fake smiles.......
One day we headed to a Museum in downtown Tacoma where they had a train exhibit.  Great Grandpa Giberson and Grandpa Hall would be very proud how much Niki and Cooper love trains, too.  I didn't know that was genetic...:)

Outside, we headed part way across this bridge to see the beautiful stain glass windows in the ceiling...

Home again and two cousins in their dinosaur pjs brushing their teeth--just like their cousins in Utah.
Another moment of Aunt Jena with Ava
Saturday night, we headed to a large city park where they had a lights display that you could drive through.  It was difficult to get photos, but it was fun and beautiful.  People are so creative.  We listened to Christmas music on a certain radio station and drove slowly through the park to admire lights everywhere.
This was a fun display--Mt. Rainier and there were trees on the sides and then whales in the ocean to the left.  I loved the clouds which were "raining" overhead.  I have to admit I have never seen clouds and rain in lights before--nor Mt. Rainier and whales.....
or a shark eating a fish.  It was a fun display and it was a good way to end our Chri
Mostly we played and talked....
A photo of wide awake Ava.  Isn't she beautiful!

I spent my last Sunday of 2018 and more importantly the last Sunday of the 3-hour block at the American Lake Ward in Lakewood, Washington.  It is a moment in history that I wanted to note.  There was a meme going around Facebook that said, "I survived the 3 hour Block."  I commented that I consider my mother and those of her generation and before as heroes for getting their children to Church twice on Sundays.  Three hour block seemed much more doable when we started having our children to get ready for Church.  Starting in 2019, Church will now be just 2 hours long.

We didn't do anything special on New Years Eve--watched a movie and had ice cream and pie.  Even headed to bed early.  Somewhat how we usually spend New Years Eve....but it was very weird to not be with Gary.  I didn't think it would really matter, because we don't usually celebrate, but there is something about being with him as a New Year starts that seems right.  I don't think I will plan to not be with him on New Years Eve in the future.

New Years Day came quickly and we had to pack and head for the airport again.  Saying goodbye is never easy and it wasn't this time either.  Hopefully they will be making a trip or two to Utah to this year.

Happy New Year 2019---not sure what is ahead.  In fact, I am feeling like there are some changes ahead for me as a person and maybe our family.  Changes aren't bad, but it can be scary because often it is challenges that lead to those changes for good.  I think I will stick with Joseph Wirthlin's phrase:  "Come What May and Love It."  I look forward to sharing our journeys in 2019 together.

It is finally here!


Our short Hall Christmas train to come into the family room Christmas morning--youngest to oldest.
Our singing reindeer guarding the tree
I got this photo of Ben taking Jena's photo.  She loves hats and I love the smile!
This is the moment that Jena found out that she is going to Seattle with me THAT afternoon.  She was excited that she would get to see Tosha, Austen, and Niki, Cooper and Ava....and fly on a plane.
As usual, when Jena helps Gary wrap my gifts, she puts funny names for the gift giver.  It is one of the simple pleasures of the morning.  I hope she never stops doing this.

We packed our suitcases and then headed to the airport with stops at Scot and Chantel's and then my dad and Karla's house to share some Christmas time with them.  Couldn't make it all the way to Jessica's that day, but they had a good Christmas as well (after Jessica got off of work at 3:00 pm).
Here we are at the Salt Lake City airport, waiting for our flight.
And look what is on the TV---
Jena with our luggage waiting to be picked up in Seattle.
And Aunt Jena with her first time holding our newest little grandchild--Ava Eileen Russell.
And Christmas 2018 just keeps on giving as we got to spend a whole week with the Russells and enjoyed some additional Christmas fun with them.  More in the next post!