Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I Believe

Our Relief Society group at church decided this year to think about what we believe and possibly share a 'belief' statement once a month throughout the year at church. I shared mine already at church and they will be printing a book for everyone in the ward. I was debating whether or not to share this, as it is close to my heart. A friend from High School who was battling cancer passed away yesterday. I realize that I can hopefully offer some words of comfort to those who are struggling with this loss.

I Believe

I believe that the trials and blessings in our life are all part of a greater plan or purpose.

When speaking of trials, I recently was struggling with the fact that there were so many people around me that had to go through such hard trials. My younger sister was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 16 and lost the battle when she passed away when she was 18. Other members of my family have struggled with cancer. And here I am, someone who has lived an almost perfectly healthy life. Why am I the one that is sparred this trial? I was struggling with feelings of guilt and doubt when the answer came to me, "Heavenly Father had a plan for each of us. We each have a part to play."

In the Book of Mormon, (Mosiah 18:9) the Prophet Alma spoke the people waiting to be baptized at the waters of Mormon. He said "are ye willing to bear each other's burdens? ..Are ye willing to mourn with those that mourn, comfort those that stand in need of comfort?" I may not be in the hospital bed, but I know I can do my part to lighten the load to those that are suffering. I know that Heavenly Father places people in our lives that we are able to help or who can help us.

I know that my Heavenly Father has had a hand in blessing my life.

I bumbled my way through college. I didn't know what I wanted to do. I ended up going into computers. I was still single in the classes with 50 guys and 3 or 4 girls. My dad would ask,"why not date some of your classmates? There are so many of them?!" I told my dad," The odds may be good, but the goods are odd!" Pete and were at BYU at the same time, but I guess we had some growing up to do before we could meet .. I am still waiting to see when I will finally grow up! So here I was single and ready to graduate. What was I going to do? Go on a mission? Go to Law School? Get my masters? I eneded up interviewing for jobs in the fall and got a job offer in Philadelphia. I didn't know anyone there. It seemed completely random to move out there by myself but it somehow fell into place and felt right. About 6 months after I moved into the singles ward Pete and I started dating. The rest is History! That has to be one of the greatest blessings of my life.

We think that we are in control of our lives ... Trying to make the best decisions, exploring opportunities. Sometimes we follow the guidance of the Spirit and it just doesn't make sense. But looking back, I can see Heavenly Father's influence in my life. Because of this influence, I am more blessed than I would have ever hoped.

As I begin to contemplate how other people have played a role in my life ... How I have affected other peoples lives .. I believe more than ever that I have a loving Heavenly Father who guides and directs my life.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Festival of Trees

WARNING ... there are a lot of pictures of christmas trees and decorations ... don't be stressed out for me! ... I'm a little crazy and a little obsessed with Christmas junk! ;-)

So, we started decorating a little early ... almost 2 weeks before Thanksgiving. I'm glad I did it early because now I get to enjoy the decorations and I don't have to worry about decorating the day after Thanksgiving.

So let me take you on a tour of my "FESTIVAL OF TREES!"

Living Room - Harvest Theme ;-) This Tree reminds me of the tree from the Christmas Carol, when Scrooge meets the Ghost of Christmas Present. I tried out some new decorating techniques that I saw at Thai Pan and Modern Display. I used green mesh fabric and some brown chiffon to fill the tree, along with ribbon. Joly ole' tree and I get to use my autumn decorations a little longer ;-)

Now, in the kitchen. We do have 'some' reference to Thanksgiving. (The little Thanksgiving tree that Pete's Aunt made us still has a spot by the sink. I love it!)

"The Turkey Tree"

The rest of the kitchen is a candy theme. I was crazy to try and do South Beach and live in a 'candy' kitchen. Here are wreath projects that we did last year. We got some styrofoam forms and glue-gunned candy to them. We were worried that all of the time was going to be a waste if it didn't 'keep' for another year. But, wrapped in a garbage bag, inside a wreath box, and they were good as new!

Almost 8 years ago me and some of my sisters submitted a small tree for Festival of Trees in honor of my little sister Julie. This fun little tree is now known as the "Julie Tree." This tree went from my sister's in-laws, to my sister, to my brother, to my mom's basement. It was looking a little sad and needed a little face lift. I was glad to help out this little tree!

"The Julie Tree"

Peppermint Garland

The kids rooms:

Phillip's M&M Tree

Lily & Amelia's Princess Tree

Now lets walk down to the basement where the craziness just gets crazier ...

Old fashioned Christmas Tree with Train Village. Pete has an almost complete collection of "The Christmas Story" village. He has his grandpa's train in working order that runs around the town ... complete with animated gondola and Santa. My favorite part of this tree are the animated soldier ornaments that play christmas songs with bells.

It's going to be a 'Coke Christmas' - I don't think I have posted a picture of our downstairs diner kitchen yet .. here it is! I even have have a cookie jar collection (I need to get a weekly dose of 'hoarders' on A&E!). We got some cute coke ornaments from ... you guessed it .. a garage sale. I thought it would be funny to have a diet coke garland. Guess how many days it took to collect the 8 'diet coke' ornaments.

And last but definitely not least, we have a 'Star Wars' tree in the movie room. I can just imagine the kids looking at this tree and asking, "Mom, what is the true meaning of Christmas?"

So there you have it, 8 trees, 2 garland (inside & outside), 4 wreaths, countless animated singing Christmas toys .. isn't it wonderful!!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010


Hello Kitty Witch!

What a MONTH! Well, I got a second-kick of Halloween energy and October went out with a BANG!

Food Drive - Last week the Scouts took the food and money that we collected. We filled almost 2 huge rubbermaid bins full of food and decent amount of cash donations. We will make this an annual tradition to "Scare off Hunger!"

Pumpkin Carving: Friday, I cleaned out the pumpkins. We roasted the pumpkins seeds and had a good salty snack all weekend. We cut out the pumpkins on Saturday. Which is your favorite? I may have to do some more pumpkins next year. Homer Simpson maybe? ha!

Doughnuts: We found a doughnut dispenser at a garage sale for the sole purpose of making doughnuts on Halloween. I was determined to get it to work. The Yeast doughnuts didn't taste very good, but it was the perfect application for the spiced cinnamon doughnuts. So GOOD! I didn't take a picture. I should have taken a picture of our kitchen (what a MESS!!) .. or captured the smell .. the deep fryer always makes our house smell like a chinese restaurant. ha! Next year I'll do it outside!

Early Birthday Surprise: Friday night, the cat was out of the bag and I decided to give Pete his Birthday present early. Below we used the new contraption as a Halloween costume in the rain. Little Amelia is R2D2 and is shielded from the elements. Here's the funny story behind this find. Emily told us that she saw a R2D2 refrigerator or something like that at a garage sale. It turned out that it wasn't for sale, but the wife said that her husband never used it. Emily was worried she didn't get me a birthday gift. I told her that in lieu of a birthday gift she could track down this guy and see if he would sell the R2D2 to me. She didn't know which house it was and it took 2 tries to find the right house. They weren't home when she stopped by a bunch of times. Finally she got the number from the wife. I happened to be in Mapleton for a Halloween spook alley. I was at Emily's house and her home number rang and Emily said, "It's for you Cathy." Pete said, "For Cathy?!" It was the guy and we figured out a price and I planned to go to his house to look at it. Anywho, I tried to be coy and said I had to run to my friend Melanie's house for something, but I knew that Pete knew, but he didn't know that I knew he knew (confusing?) ha! Now our life is complete. We have a drink cooler that rolls on casters and is the shape of R2D2.

Halloween photo shoot: The Ritz Camera store by us does free Halloween photoshoots and you can get a sheet of pictures for free as well. They do it from 10:00 to 3:00 PM, so I recommend doing when your kids are getting ansy for trick-or-treating. I am copying Emily's decorating idea and I'll switch out my picture frames with seasonal pictures. I'm trying to figure out how to set up a similar studio at home.

Trick or Treating: - We did trick-or-treating at one of the rest homes after the photoshoot. We took a break and tried trick-or-treating in the rain with just me, Phillip, and Lily and 2 umbrellas. I think we only got to 5 houses in an hour. We took the whole family to some of the houses in the neighborhood and called it a night.

Clean Up and Set Up: - Yesterday Pete worked from morning until night taking down Halloween inside and out. I helped, but often got distracted by other projects. Pete also sets up the Christmas lights the same day so we don't have to worry about doing it in the snow.

What a wonderful time of YEAR!!