New Family Pictures

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Today we finally went to Target for our family photos with the four of us. Seth and Noah have grown so much since December of 2014 and seem to be growing more each day!

Although Jim and I look a bit older, I don’t mind. Too much.

We’ve been through a lot since our last professional picture, so I believe that each new wrinkle has added to my character as I’ve overcome many challenges, and a few that are ongoing. This perspective has helped me remember to love myself.

Investment House

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Jim and Seth are in Pennsylvania again for a few days working on our investment house. Yesterday our kitchen cabinets were delivered, but they did NOT include the two counter tops that I bought back in October.

Ugh.

Home Depot’s special orders and delivery department has been awful. When we lived in Pennsylvania and remodeled our bathroom things seemed to go a lot smoother.

I’m hoping that Jim and Seth will work on the removing the last of the kitchen tiles in the kitchen so they can begin installing the cabinets. They are coming home on Sunday afternoon, and I can’t wait to just enjoy spending Christmas and New Year’s with all of us at home. As much as I love rehabbing this old house, it will be wonderful to spend time together creating Christmas memories and the smell of delicious food as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

Millie

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This is my friend Millie. She grew up in Chicago and now lives in Western Pennsylvania, and is a good family friend. Her husband Gary was friends with my dad, and they played golf together with my brother and cousin Kevin. His wife Christine is actually Gary’s niece. Guess that makes us family.

Millie is fun and makes me laugh with her cute sayings, and how she has a voting outfit complete with beads and a scarf to show her patriotism. She’s a talented piano player, and blew my breath away the first time I heard her play! She loves to play cards, and we often play one called Scat, where she always wins all my quarters.

Anyway, I stayed with her this fall when I bought my investment house in Ambridge, and my mom and I will be staying with her again in January as I finish rehabbing the house so I can sell it in the spring, and although I hate when the weather is freezing ( I live in Houston), I’m really looking forward to seeing Millie again.

She’s very blunt and just says whatever she’s thinking, and sometimes when she tells people things they don’t like, such as your kids are acting like brats (she once said told me this, though it was true), they stop talking to her. It makes me sad that she will be alone on Christmas. And today’s Light the World theme is that “Jesus visited the lonely, and so can you,” but since I can’t visit her, I’ll call and let her know we love and miss her.

My Mother-in-law

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My sweet mother-in-law and I in February, 2009 at my son’s 8th birthday party. She died ten months later on December 26th from pancreatic cancer, and not a day goes by that I don’t miss her.

She is one of the most loving, caring, and understanding women I’ve ever had the honor of knowing. I’m grateful that she’s my husband’s mother, as he inherited her divine nature. If she were on the earth today, she would continue to light the world with her beautiful spirit. It helps to know that she is waiting for us in the Spirit World, and at times I sense her presence in my house, especially when I stay up late.

I knew when I moved to Houston that I’d miss her and asked my husband to take this picture of us to remember this special daughter of God, Mary Louise McFadden.

Christmas Season

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My dog Kakes as a reindeer a few years ago.

December is one of my favorite months of the year. Between the Christmas decorations in our home and celebrating the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, life seems better.

Even the Hallmark channel has one Christmas movie after another where the characters often start out either depressed or self-centered, and then have a life changing experience where they are filled with the Christmas spirit by the end of the movie.

I have been trying to #LighttheWorld this month with small acts such as praying for others as a family and on my own, reading scriptures more often, give food to shelters to help feed the hungry, etc. and have found that this really does keep Christ in Christmas.

General Conference

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Last weekend (how is it Friday already?) my family and I watched the 186th Semi-Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. On both Saturday and Sunday, we eat our favorite dishes and deserts to enjoy on both days as sit on our HUGE couch and listen to the inspired messages of the General Authorities of the LDS Church on behalf of our Lord, Jesus Christ. One of my favorite talks was from President Henry B. Eyring on eternal families. He said, “Since that is true, everything we do should have celestial marriage as its focus and purpose. That means we must strive to be sealed to an eternal companion in the temple of God. We must also encourage others to make and keep the covenants that bind a husband and wife together, with their family, in this life and in the world to come.” My  husband and I are going to the temple tomorrow where he will be sealed to his parents, which then seals me to his parents as well. I’m grateful to be sealed to Jim and my sons so we can be an eternal family. Click on the picture to either read or watch his inspired words.

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We also are privileged to hear the what I call the choir of angels, The Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They sing beautiful hymns such as this one:

This song was sung so beautifully and the Spirit’s witness of God’s love was so powerful that you’ll notice at the 2:30 minute mark this man (pictured below) crying as he sings his talented heart out.

 

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Every time I watch him tears form in my eyes again. Here is the link to an interview regarding why he cried and his humble attitude of singing in America’s Choir.

Click on lds.org to watch General Conference.