Musical Monday: Lo, How A Rose E'er Blooming

My friend Cherranne asked me awhile back to do this song as part of the Christmas cycle for Musical Monday.  It has special meaning to me because it was an a cappella piece that I did in high school when I was just catching on to singing in a small group.

I am an easy mark for these old pieces that have awesome harmonies and poetic lyrics.  I hope you like it.

Lo, How A Rose E'er Blooming

day 103: african anticipation

I heard about Kenya today as a member in our ward spent the final hour of church talking about his experiences recently on a humanitarian medical expedition there.  My heart hurt a little, but it is allowed to hurt now since Elder B will be home in just ten short days.  I am glad I was spared from sad feelings for 23 3/4 months.  I feel very blessed.

day 102: sharp ice

Tonight I hung lights around the front porch.  White, red. Some winding around posts, and others coming down from the top in small crooked white lines meant to resemble icesicles. 

I have had some icesicles in my life.  They have also felt jagged and white cold.  And I have strung them up and looked at them as if I were a bystander on the front sidewalk looking at a lit up house.  They have, not in a good way, lit my way.  And I have held these icesicles in my hand and somehow they have not melted. 

But today the red lights win.  Today the warm red has worked its wonderful Christmas magic and thawed out my hands.  My hands that were getting tired of holding sharp daggers.  And as the ice melted I opened my hands to find them softer and more relaxed.  Ready to do other things as I released my grip.

day 168: remade

I am a little hooked on make-over shows. Maybe it's because it feels like virtual shopping for me. Or because it is like a virtual trip to a salon. I just get a kick out of seeing someone light up when she looks in the mirror. What starts as a little defiance and stubbornness about cutting her 3-foot long hasn't-been-cut-since-4th-grade mane, turns into a little vogue-ing and hair flipping.

Then as I am brushing my teeth before bed I look in the mirror and call to my husband, Hey Hon, will you call Clinton and Stacey and turn me in?"

day 101: kidless

It was nice to have our boys all sleep over at their cousin's place last night so that Geo and I could have some time together. With our completely hectic lives it often feels like we need to get reacquainted on a regular basis. Not that that is a horrible thing.

I am not sure what got into me this morning, but I got up around 7:20 and started to really scrub the kitchen. I think with my oldest son returning from Africa after two years, and the holidays coming, I am feeling that old familiar nesting feeling coming on. It feels good to do something tangible and obvious after all of my theoretical undertakings this semester.

After spending the afternoon getting some shopping done, G and I stopped for a soda and then headed to SLC to pick up the guys. Pizza on the way home, and now some quiet time with my shoes off and my computer on my lap. The tree and the bazillion nutcrackers come out tomorrow.

Fa la la la la la la la la. :)

day one-hundred: lip-licking and lip-syncing

A terrific day at the in-laws today with cousins and food and great conversation.  It was nice to get out and away from the books and to just be with people that I like a lot.  Man, I love the holidays.  And this 6-week stretch from Thanksgiving to New Years is like magic as we get the occasion to count our blessings, remember the Savior and look toward a fresh beginning.  The three go together so well, don't you think?

My youngest and I were watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade this morning and I commented on the lip-syncing of all of the musical numbers that were highlighted.  #4 said they were still singing, we just were hearing the recorded version, so what's the difference?  He was right.  We could see their strained neck muscles and the effort on their faces.  What WAS the difference?  It made me think about all of the times that the real me is somewhere in there, but maybe the person that has actually shown up is the one that has been prerecorded with all of the mistakes edited out and the shiny best on display.  Maybe we all lip-sync most of the time.  And maybe that is just fine.

day ninety-nine: public promises

it was important for me to make a promise to a room full of women
to give me a little accountability

it was important to show a weakness
to admit to soft spots

so now there is a deadline to meet
to meet myself somewhere in the middle

and i will try and mend things
like i promised

and those friends will be behind me
and i will return and report

day ninety- eight: four hours in a booth

I met up with three of my friends from my old BYU days today. I ate chipotle chicken penne and sourdough bread and talked and laughed and remembered. It was like yesterday with lots of new things (read: husbands and kids) thrown into the mix.

I am such a sucker for nostalgia. Really. An easy mark.

Musical Monday: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

This has always been a favorite Christmas piece of mine because of its simplicity and cathedral-like vibe.  It is a prayer for the Messiah to come and rescue His people from captivity of body and soul.  I hope you think about the Savior while you enjoy this week's offering.

 O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
The guitar is from a karaoke track by Rosalie Glemann.
I use Audacity for sound mixing, and a Blue brand Snowball mic.

day nintey-six: i seeee you

My sister, who is one of my besties, has finally joined the 21st century and gotten converted to video chatting.  This is web 2.0 in its glory, people, and she is into it.  Finally.  I use Google chat, which is so easy. 

How about a monthly video blog post?  Anyone interested in giving that a test drive?  A short, one-minute video post where you talk about your day/ week/ month?  Who is willing to get out from hiding behind the keyboard?

day ninety-five: a no-no

Ancient Burton proverb:

Men should not buy their wives clothes for Christmas unless said wives pick the clothes out.

day ninety-four: spear and magic helmet

When our kids were all little we (OK, Geo and I) always cracked up over Bugs Bunny classics.  The Barber of Seville was a favorite, along with the parody of The Flight of The Valkyries. 

Kill the wabbit!  Kill the wabbit!  Kill the wabbit! Kill the wabbit!

We accidentally ran across it online tonight and got almost teary with nostalgia as we watched it.  Bugs dressed as a woman to distract Elmer from using his spear and magic helmet.  Elmer falling in love with Bugs as the Valkyrie on his (her) white horse.  Good, classic stuff.  Good, classic stuff the six of us used to laugh at together. 

Maybe we will watch it over Christmas.....

day ninety-three: friends who knew me when

Last week I spoke to my roommate from back in the day.  Her oldest son is getting married in Salt Lake next month and we spent an hour chatting it up about letting kids go, the changing role of being a mother, and trying to find our way once there are fewer demands at home.  It was good to talk to her, both because she is a sweetie and because she knew me when.

On Saturday my second roomie will be in town introducing her daughter to BYU, and we will get together for lunch.  We are going to laugh our heads off and eat wraps and reminisce.  She is important to me.  And she knew me when.

Next week my third roommate will be in Utah to visit her in-laws for Thanksgiving and we are getting together on Tuesday for lunch (yeah, lots of lunches).  She is a Texan now and has a houseful of blond daughters, which of course is foreign to me.  But we are from the same hometown in Virginia and have a good connection.  And she knew me when.

By "when" I mean the period between living in some bad apartments to each of our wedding days, as we split off from each other one my one.  By "when" I mean late late late nights talking.  "When" means the day my fiance decided the spark was gone and my roommates later helped me to hold a ceremonial bonfire on the front steps where we incinerated most of the memorabilia I had saved for 5 years.

I love those ladies.

day ninety-two: hoorah for israel!

I was just about ready to leave work this afternoon when each of my younger boys called to say Adam's mission call had arrived. "I am being very careful with it and putting it right on the table, Mom," said boy #4.

We ended up with 35 people over, all dropping their guesses into the silver bowl, which sat next to the apple pie and cheese and crackers.

Mexico Monterrey East mission. He leaves for the MTC February 24. We are thrilled he will get to speak Spanish, after taking it for four years in high school.

I am ready to pass out. I love my son. I love the church. Hoorah for Israel!

day ninety-one: i wanna eat him up

I know this cute little photo flashes here and there on my flickr ribbon to the right, but I thought it deserved a small little post all to its self. 

This is my sweet husband at three years old.  I have caught myself numerous times over the past week looking at this shot when I have had a free second, which is easy since I have it bookmarked on my iPhone (have I mentioned I am completely enamored with it... in this case I mean my iPhone... even though I am enamored with the boy/man too).

It gives me perspective to look at this cutie patootie and to remember that he wasn't always someone who was so hard on himself.  There were many years when he just played and had fun and wore bow ties. 

We all start somewhere innocent.

Musical Monday: Breath of Heaven

This one is for my compadre, Miss Connie. 

I love this song, and the way it makes the listener put herself in Mary's place.  At least just a little bit. 

Christmas is coming... enjoy.

Breath of Heaven

day eighty-nine: random memories

random memory #1
When I was a little girl I loved to sit on the floor of my BFF's walk-in closet and play with Barbies, or with the Sunshine Family.  A blond mom, a brunette dad, a couple of kids (and maybe a dog... I can't remember).  The shelves acted as floors to the homes and my friend and I sat back-to-back for hours playing happy family.  There were the typical wardrobe changes every five minutes, the cool cars each family would drive, and the constant rearranging of the plastic furniture.  It was glorious.

random memory #2
My black and white checked polyester pants with the permanent creases down the legs.  They also had cuffs and were bell-bottoms.  Man, those were cool.

random memory #3
Walking to 7-11 in third grade with Kathy Green and hearing her swear like a sailor.  I always felt so gross once I got home, but I was wimpy then and never said anything to her about it.

random memory #4
Helping my friend Karen clean her house and listening to Cheap Trick turned up so loud that we had to yell to talk to each other.

Why are there so many little memories like that that stick to the mind and heart like glue?  And so many things I should remember, but can't.  It is so random what we hold onto. 

day eighty-eight: welcome to the couch

Saturdays used to be a great day, but I don't like them so much anymore.  They are either filled with tons of homework or housework or home repairs or, ironically, none of these things.  The lack of a routine can be hard once you have lived the life of someone who is totally addicted to the rigidity of a strict schedule all week.

The mind can play tricks on us and we fill any free time we find on a Saturday with too much hashing things out.  Too much analyzing of our lives.  Too much talking things through.  Even though I am a girl I must admit that I am not big on these skills.  I prefer to just be busy and to take care of the things at hand.  I guess I don't dream big or have huge needs.  I can be happy with my little life the way it is.  It seems to work for me.

Add all of the putting-our-lives-under-a-microscope healthy reevaluating together and you get a tired lady at the end of the day.  But I always look forward to Sundays and the chance to think about bigger things.  The two days seem to really cancel each other out.

day eighty-seven: i have become the old person

Tonight we went out to dinner with three other couples, two of whom are moving within the next month.  We wanted to have a fun night out before they left, so we piled in and rode to a neighboring town together for some steaks, some sweet potatoes, and some salad.

We have now been in our neighborhood for 15 years.  Where has the time gone?  I can remember like yesterday being the new family on the street, and now my husband and I we are the old ones (all three of the other couples are in their 30s) who look at the younger incoming (and outgoing) couples and say,  Look at that cute little family.  Or, They look like they are 15!  Scary.

Somebody pass the Polident and Bengay.

day eighty-six: talking out in class

Today when I reminded T that since he was the helper he got to hand out towels to all of his friends after washing for snack, he said I already know that, Miss Karen, in a kind of "duh" way.  I laughed.  In my class it is not uncommon to have a kid that is strong-willed.  We also have kids that are weak-willed.  To be honest, the stronger ones are usually easier to move along and to see progress in.  At least I know there is some gumption in their sweet little bodies and I just need to figure out a way to have it propel them forward.

Working with special needs kids reminds me everyday that I have my own disabilities.  I have my stubbornness. I have my disappointments.  I have lots of things.  And sometimes I have my own moments of saying I already know that.  Even when I don't.

day eighty-five: social eating

from google images

I am a social person.  I kind of thrive on interaction, and everything that comes with it.  And sometimes what comes with it is food.  Whenever we have people over for dinner I always make too much food, and while we are all sitting around the table talking after the meal I substitute that glass of wine or cup of coffee with nibbling.  I put more salad on my plate, or butter just one more piece of french bread, even though I am not hungry. It goes together for me- good conversation and food.

Tonight we went to a wedding reception, right after dinner with the kids, and I found myself doing it again.  We had just had dinner before going to Mapleton to attend the reception, but I ran into many many old friends and immediately wandered to the buffet table while we talked and picked up some chicken salad and a piece of pumpkin pie.  We sat around the table and visited and ate.  And now I am going to bed full, not just from food but from a lovely evening with old friends.  burp.  Excuse me.

day eighty-four: them, me, them

Lately, I find I am either in a state of thinking 100% about everyone else, or 100% percent about my own "things".  I don't like the extremes, but that's what I seem to be facing lately, and I am trying to deal with it.

I sit at my desk at work while my kiddos are in PE or at the library and my mind goes straight to my two older boys as I think about their life changes they are facing.  One of them will be coming home and needing a job- to pay his own way, to hit the ground running.  The other one will be leaving, to... somewhere.  He will be so good at meeting people and following rules and doing what he is asked to do.  And mostly, at sharing his huge heart that somehow he fits into his scrawny, freckly body.  I love those guys.

#3 is healing up really well, and is on his way to getting his 13 yr-old life back to where he wants it to be.  It's all good there.  And last night my husband and I both wondered out loud if our youngest is feeling like he is getting enough attention and nurturing.  We are doing our best to spread the love around, but you know how it is. Sometimes the weight needs to be shifted to one side. 

And just when I put all the kid things to rest my mind does a 180 and I start to think about my own progress, or maybe lack of it.  I am not a self-loather, seriously.  I just feel a little bit tired of myself.  What I need is to do some recreational reading and get inside someone else's head.  It's getting crowded in here. 

Musical Monday: A Merry Little Christmas

Faithful friends who are dear to us, gather near to us...

Merry Little Christmas

day eighty-two: the 80's rocked my world

I am now on day 82 of consecutive blog posts, and being that 1982 was the year I graduated from high school I thought it would be fitting that I sing praises to this greatest of great decades. 

It would take me multiple posts to just get started on the great music, but I will say that I was a total Journey junkie, and that I attended 3 concerts in DC during the early 80s.  Man, I loved those guys...

Here are the reasons I look back on the 80s with love in my heart (a lot of firsts):

1981 Homecoming court (no, I didn't win)
1982 Graduated from high school and led my choir at the ceremonies
1983 Joined the LDS church
1984 Transferred to BYU
1986 Met Geo
1987 Got engaged
1987 Went through the temple for the first time
1987 Married Geo
1987 Graduated from BYU
1987 Got my first teaching job (fifth grade)
1988 Gave birth to my first baby boy
1989 Moved to LA for Geo to attend grad school at USC

day eighty-one: how goofing off saves our marriage

day eighty: curry and conversation

I fell asleep on the couch from about 3:45 until 4:30 this afternoon in an effort to regenerate before cleaning and making dinner for me, Geo, and four friends.  I woke up to HGTV and the sound of my kids out front in the yard visiting with some of their friends, and then I got busy vacuuming and dusting and unloading the dishwasher, knowing it would be filled to the brim twice more before the night was over.

Geo entertained the gang while I finished up in the kitchen.  They talked about new media, rhetoric, writing, as I made naan, broccoli, rice, sliced tomatoes, and curry chicken.  I thought I would share the easy- peasy chicken secret with you.  Please excuse the loose measurements, but I only cook with a recipe when it is something that will be baked  :)


  • cook boneless, skinless chicken breasts in crockpot
  • dice into bite-sized pieces
  •  in pan, heat a few tablespoons of oil, a big pinch of coriander, 6-8 cardamon pods, and a few teaspoons of curry powder
  • add diced chicken and cook over medium high heat
  • after chicken is coated with spices turn heat to low and add a large container of vanilla yogurt
  • warm through and serve alongside rice

day seventy-nine: fair is fair

Seek first to understand,then to be understood.

I have been spoiled by a good husband.  From our very first date he has been a listener, and we have been talking and listening to each other for 23 years now.

I love meeting people and caring about them, and I actually think I am decent at it.  However, I have made a recent rule of looking for and keeping in contact with friends that live by the rule at the top of this page. 

If it's all about them, no good.  If it's all about me, no good.  But a little back and forth, that works.

Just sayin'. 

ps  I miss my sister.  :)

day seventy-eight: butch payne and the school bus kid

I liked rules when I was a kid.  Now, that doesn't mean I was inflexible or judgmental, but some nice, well-placed rules were comforting.  I guess I am still that way. And once this almost got me into a humiliating situation, until I was saved.

Mr. Ashby, the hey-walk-all-over-me-kids bus driver, was driving the bus down Smithfield Road in my old neighborhood one afternoon.  I had seen Butch Payne and another boy throwing things out the window, and being only a few seats from the front decided to make my move to Mr. Ashby to report the offense.  After turning around to get back to my seat Butch started forward down the aisle calling me a goody-goody and, I am sure, other things which were not quite so innocent.  All of a sudden he was grabbed from behind by a much shorter boy who laid him flat on the floor of the aisle and proceeded to punch him a few times in the face.

Now, I don't promote violence, usually, but Butch was gunning for me, and I am not sure that decking a girl was out of the question.  So to this day I am grateful to the young man who stood up for me.  My brother Robert. 

There haven't been many occasions where this has been necessary over the years, but it is nice to know that as a family we don't let people come down the aisle after us.  We are there for each other.  Isn't that what it's all about?

day seventy-seven: the dairy group

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed with my whimpy problems. And then I remember that halfway across the world in Kenya there is a handsome young man that sometimes has had to choke down curdled milk. 
I'm good, thanks.

Musical Monday: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

I took this cool instrumental by Eric Essix and just used a 2-minute clip to do a short riff on this piece.  It has a great vibe and I didn't want to mess with it too much.  Fun stuff!

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

day seventy-five: forgiveness

I just walked home from church, on this beautiful Fall day, with nothing but the lesson I just heard on my mind.  Sister Bate rocks the party in Relief Society, today being absolutely no exception.  She taught us about forgiveness, and the power it holds in our lives.  We talked about the Savior's example, about The Law of Forgiveness, about letting things go and letting the Lord handle it.  It was bonding and powerful and full of the Spirit, and I hope to never be the same.  Man.