December 22, 2002

Posted by Ryan on Sunday, December 22, 2002

Fun Stuff

There has been so much fun stuff this holiday season. Mom prepared a great Christmas program in the sixth ward for homemaking. Juliet and Rob brought Kayden, dressed as Mary & Joseph and sang. I can't think of anything that brings the Christmas Spirit more than having, or soon expecting, a real baby for Christmas. We then made beautiful-smelling, fresh Christmas wreaths.

We bought a pretty scrawny little tree this year-the kind you can see right through because there are only a few branches-but we love it and the Spirit it brings into the home once all the lights and ornaments are on it. Ryan and I have an ornament to remind us of every year since we began dating (8 years!). This year we're going to make my graduate parking sticker into an ornament-a symbol of graduation.

Early in December we were able to go see Savior of the World at the conference center theater. Wow! I remember a couple things I loved about it. First of all, they have a sort of balcony up through the whole play where angels switch off watching what is going on. I know angels (families) are watching us and I loved the reminder. I also loved how humbly they portrayed Mary finding out the best place to birth the Savior of the world was in a stable. I loved the shepherds with their simple faith then courageous declaration of his birth. The angels singing to the shepherds reminded me of my own experience at Shepherd's Field where I felt the joy and felt that I must have been there that night as well. Lastly, I loved His resurrection with the emphasis that He had come for the second time into the world and that He would come again. Each appearance comes with added glory.

The second week of December we went up to stay with Katie and Tucker in West Valley then met up with Ryan's freshman ward to see The Testaments. Wow again! My three favorite parts were first, the incredible acting on the cross as Jesus pleads with the father to forgive them for they know not what they do then commends his Spirit into his father's hands. Second, the little girl behind me who said to her daddy "so Jesus came back to life?" during the portrayal of his resurrection. Third, the incredible acting of Helam in the last scene where he meets his long awaited Savior. You can't help but think about how familiar and loving he will be to us when our own time comes.

Katie and Tucker were wonderful hosts, even leaving treats on our pillows and bringing us breakfast in bed. They are gradually painting and working on their home to make it their own. They are pillars of strength in their ward, neighborhood and our family. Their dog Charlie is like their baby. Despite chewing up their hot tub cover and phone lines, he is a lot of fun to play catch with and watch jump.

For our anniversary on the 17th Ryan wrote me a great love note (he is still so romantic) and brought me a rose. I hid several papers with things I love about him around the house and baked some into some blueberry muffins for breakfast. After he took a final we went to lunch at Rosas to try out the mango chicken salad. Good stuff! Ty, however, managed to spill root beer all over the table, put salsa in my water, knock the lady's head in the booth behind us and make a few more messes. We just laughed to see how different yet how wonderful things had become in only three years.

Ty has grown up so much these last few weeks. He understands so much and is starting to combine words and point out letters to us. Today he was saying "pitty boo" when he saw the "pretty blue" Christmas lights. It is also cute when we ask him to say something softly (since he's really into screaming) then he says "hofty" (softly). We're not sure how he learned his letters, but he started pointing out on signs and in book the letters A, T and O. He is so excited to find them. Although he is also becoming more demanding and it's often hard to know how to handle situations-he is also just getting to be more fun all the time. The good just continues to get better.

Everything else is kind of a blur to be honest. Finals bombarded us and we just sort of went through the motions until this weekend.

Now, for Christmas break, we have some time to read together again. We're reading The Riddle and the Rune (by Grace Chetwin) about Gom of Windy Mountain. So far so good. We're always amazed at how just reading fun books together bonds us so much more than sitting in front of the TV. I guess there just seems to be more substance to books-the descriptions and ideas give you a lot to think and talk about.


Tamie's not-for-profit group won $500 for a business plan warm-up competition. The money goes to the business, and they're going to continue pursuing a business plan to enter the actual competition for a chance to win thousands more to help the business get started. Pretty exciting. It will be especially interesting to see where this little venture goes. Tamie's group is backed up with some good research and is starting to gain some intial community support. We'll keep you posted.

Grandma and Grandpa Hall are here from St. George. We're excited to get the chance to spend some time with them for Christmas.

Robert wrestled in St. George this weekend and lasted three rounds. He's getting to be pretty tough.

Daniel got to play the most frightening part in "A Christmas Carol" with his 5th grade class. He was the ghost of Christmas future. He did a great job.

Great Grandma Hansen was sealed to Grandpa on December 7th in the Las Vegas temple. Our hearts were there and we offer congratulations.

Happy Birthday to Jenna on December 7

Happy Birthday to Juliet on December 11

Happy Anniversary to us on December 17

Happy Birthday to Ryan on December 30

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL! Enjoy talking to your missionaries. We've been diligently practicing "Hi, Matt" with Tyran.

Tamie's Graduation

Just two weeks ago I was sure I would never live to see this day. Honestly, I've had my share of emotional break downs as I finished all my big projects and finals for the last time. I remember feeling so overwhelmed two Sundays ago and praying sincerely that Heavenly Father would send me some extra help. Two people answered my prayer and I want to pay tribute to them.

1) My husband Ryan had is own share of projects and finals but, when I needed him most, he dropped his assignment (and even turned it in late) to help me on an Access database that was totally overwhelming me as a final project. He literally rescued me by taking the time to help me calm down and figure of few things out.

2) I took a calendar over to my Mom's house to see if there were any extra times she could help and she, despite all of her own holiday preparations, volunteered a generous amount of time to watch Ty for me. Not only that but we found ourselves a couple times with late assignments or other emergencies. We didn't want to ask anyone for help because we had already asked so much. She followed a prompting and called to offer help on our last morning. What a blatant answer to prayer. Thank you so much Mom.

We survived. I had another emotional break down after my last final. For so long I only had one more semester or two more classes or one more project. There was always something else coming up. Then it was over. I stand in awe with the realization that I've literally been carried through this experience by God and through a supportive husband and family. Words don't do justice to my gratitude but I hope to do all I can to help those who helped me know of my gratitude.

My MPA belongs to all of us and it belongs to God. During the last week, Ryan gave me a sweet blessing. I was reassured that the Lord was pleased with me and has sharpened me as an arrow in his quiver. The future is wide open and if the next three years turns out anything like these three years then I've learned there is no way to predict what the Lord will do with us.

Life is so good.

Spiritual Thought

There's a lot to ponder this Sabbath day before Christmas. Every year I find a new dimension of meaning and significance in the birth of our Savior. What does the birth of the Savior mean to you?

"O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? ...But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through the Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 15:55,57).

The meaning of the Savior's birth for me this Christmas is a fruit of the experiences of this past year. Christ's birth was a victory over evil-it was the most glorious victory in the history of the earth. That victory has a direct impact on our everyday lives in our personal struggle against sin.

Too often, we lose sight of the most important battles of salvation. Satan has provided an effective decoy for us when we seek honor and glory in highly visible battlefields while he conquers more critical fronts. We agonize over poverty as we are selfish and covet worldliness. We fret about world hunger as we spiritually starve our children. We hope for world peace as cruelty and criticism infect our own home.

Our most important work is within our own sphere. This Christmas season, may we fight for peace, joy, and love among those who are closest to us. Christ's birth was not a victory over hunger, poverty, or war. Christ's birth was a victory over hate, sorrow, and sin.

No more will sin and sorrow grow,

Nor thorns infest the ground;

He'll come and make the blessings flow

Far as the curse was found.

Joy to the world, the Lord is come;

Let earth receive her King!

Let every heart prepare Him room,

And Saints and angels sing.