Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fire of Testimony

About a week ago we were sitting on our porch enjoying the cool evening air when we saw smoke rising up in billowy puff against our west mountain. We thought it was probably a grass fire. We put the kids to bed and went for a walk around the block, not thinking anything more about it.

When we rounded the corner, the smoke was getting darker and thicker. Suddenly we saw flames peeking over the mountain. FLAMES! (This photo was taken much farther away than we were. I was so stunned that I didn't even think of taking pictures)

We hurried home. We spoke in hushed tones so the kids wouldn't hear our conversation.

We spoke of the fire and took inventory of what we would grab if we were presented with an emergency like this. (We knew the fire was still a ways away, but our job is to be prepared and protect our children) Ben and I both did what we do in situations like this, he watched football while I quickly updated our 72 hour kits, itemized what we would grab if we ever had to evacuate....and kept our eyes on the mountain.

We had a clear shot of the fire as it spread along the ridge and then started down the mountain. We could see the flames leaping in the wind.

Through this whole time Ben was calm. He said, "Don't worry about it. It's just "stuff" that's burning...peoples' homes and stuff can be replaced. The families closest to the fire are safe (they'd already been evacuated)."

We watched the fire continue to creep closer.

Emma caught our conversation and rushed to the window...seeing the fire for the first time.

She immediately started to panic. "Will we have to leave?" "Where will we go?" "What if our house catches on fire?"

Ben (super-daddy) takes control. "Emma!" he said, "We are not going anywhere. Those people are safe. It's just stuff that's burning. Even if those people lose their homes, they will still have more than some people Grandma and Grandpa know in Africa. Those people in Africa are happy. It doesn't take "stuff" to make us happy either. Even if the house does burn down you will likely get a bigger room once we rebuild."

She calmed down. We prayed together. We prayed for peace, for those who were evacuated (many of them were her friends from school- and yes, many of my orchestra students). We prayed that she would know how to handle this very real concern...that she would find the peace to be able to sleep that night.

She excused herself and disappeared for about 15 minutes. When she returned she had her scriptures in hand. She shared with us a scripture that she found that gave her comfort. She told us that she had prayed and searched the scriptures until she felt peaceful. She told us that she knew how to handle this situation.

She said that in the morning she wanted to put together comfort-kits for her friends who were evacuated. We could deliver these kits to the evacuation site. She said, "I don't need to be afraid. I need to be thinking of others who might be more afraid than me."

I am very proud of Emma for understanding the true source of comfort. She KNOWS! She understands that she can always be comforted through the influence of the Holy Ghost, especially if she prays, searches the scriptures, then listens for her answers.

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27

We occasioanlly checked on the fire and eventually went to bed. We were ready...just in case.

In the morning, the fire was almost to the base of the mountain. From our window we could see the police lights from the evacuated neighborhoods. At least the high winds had stopped. Now those heroic fire-fighters had a chance.

Within a few days the fire was contained. Many prayers were answered. Many priorities re-evaluated.

How thankful I am for a husband who knows that happiness doesn't come from "stuff" and a daughter who knows how to find peace. Our prayers go out to all those who lost homes in the fire. Even though it's just "stuff" it can still be horrible. May everyone effected by the event be blessed with peace in their time of trial.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My Magic Wand

It's simply magical...the lights in their eyes as they learn to rosin their bow, as they figure out how to hold this shiny new, amazing thing that actually makes sound when you figure out the to place their fingers to change the sound. What it means to be a "stand partner" and how your "stand partner" can become your best friend.

This is our first full week of orchestra for this school year...2 Beginning classes and 2 Advanced classes...about 40+ kids in all. We are a club, a group of crazy musicians.

We are not your typical stuffy orchestra. We have fun. We work hard and play hard. When nerves run high from trying to learn a difficult song, we get up and do the "Chicken Dance". We perform in "personality attire" (definition: wear something that expresses your personality...a silly wig (Eve wore a curly blue one), your pj's, a large hat....anything that is YOU!

Musicians have unique personalities. This year is no different. My group of students represent all kinds: the studious, the trend setters (the mismatched sock trend around our elementary started with 2 girls in the cello section), rockers (the electric violin will become her goal), the non-conformist (purple violins ARE cool!), composers (we performed one of our 3rd grader's compositions for our concert last spring. She wrote different parts for violins, violas, cellos, and was brilliant. It was her conducting debut! She has been working all summer on other pieces for our orchestra...the district is considering them to be played at our huge district concert in the spring). And in general, one huge friendly group of kids. Boys and girls, tiny and tall...all smiles...all the time!

At the end-of-year District Concert last year, my orchestra was the largest in the district. My students were well-behaved, well-prepared musically, and ready for fun (they led the others in a grape soda chugging contest during our dinner break). They were also invited back to perform for the second night performance (quite an honor!)...I'm proud of my group. When I was invited on the stage to conduct the encore number, my orchestra (mixed with 200 other kids) stood and cheered. I will never forget that moment...especially looking down and seeing my 2 sweet's worth all the squeaks and early mornings.

Who wouldn't love this job!

As I take my "magic wand" in my hand, step up to the podium, raise the orchestra to ready, look around at all those shining eyes (especially my own daughters) and give the down-beat, I know that this is exactly what I was born to do. How thankful I am to be a conductor!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

You Made it to 6!

Hyrum, all boy, all the time!
Party #3

Hyrum's birthday has lasted for days

This cake honors his love of Kindergarten (although he doesn't take the bus...there are no buses with the budget cuts)

We had a few people over for cake and pizza. We love Hyrum!

Emma's gift to Hyrum was to take he and a few friends (cousin Jacob, and Logan) to the Children's Museum for his friend's party.
Party #2

Our party was quite and adventure. First, we were stuck on the freeway for an hour because a powerline was across all lanes. All traffic was required to exit. The boys were getting restless in the van. We broke into the party snacks before arriving at the museum.

Construction Zone

Mom and Dad can play too. Notice that Mari is not here...Thank you Mom for tending so we could keep track of the boys.

Emma, thank you for the party for your brother! What a sweet girl!
She won the Museum pass from the Science Fair.


Does this scare you? Only a few more years until these are real drivers!

The helicopter was cool!

By the time we were finished with the museum, we were right in the middle of rush hour traffic so we decided to take the boys to dinner instead. Ben was starving so we didn't give them the option to choose the restaurant (we didn't want McDonald's). We went to Chili's instead.

Unfortunately, the boys were still excited from the museum so our group's volume was LOUD!
They put us at the farthest table in the deepest corner. No one else was around us.
(Hyrum IS smiling, can you tell?)

What an adventure! This strange birthday party lasted from 2:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m
(It was only planned until 5:30 p.m.)

Party #1

Last Friday Hyrum told his teacher that it was his birthday. His teacher srambled to throw together a birthday gift from the class. She found a posterboard, folded it in half, wrote 'Happy Birthday Hyrum' on the front and had the class sign it. Hyrum was elated!

After school, Hyrum came to the van beaming, "Look what my class made me!"
"But Hyrum" I said, "It's not your birthday!"

"I know" he said, shrugging his shoulders.

I bet his teacher was really surprised when, 4 days later, he brought in birthday treats...on his ACTUAL birthday.