Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanks List

I know, I am a bit late to be posting on this one, but better late than never, right? Also, being married to someone who is not American kind of gives you a different spin on this holiday. Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday though, so I have had to work really hard to get him on board. Here are a few reasons why.

1. Turkey: (Of course one reason had to be food) This is the only time during the year that I get to cook a turkey. JC is not terribly big on turkey, but he’ll go for it once a year. There are only two of us, so we freeze half of it and eat the other half for the week following Thanksgiving. Then I hoard the turkey and eat it bit by bit over the rest of the year. Tomorrow is soup day, hooray!!!!

2. Fall: Of course this HAS to be my favorite holiday because it happens during my favorite season. I love fall. I wish fall lasted six months. I like Halloween, but that seems to be more about the candy, the costumes, the ghosts and goblins. Thanksgiving for me is more about family and the joys of the season.

3. Holiday Season: I have never been big on the whole shopping aspect of the holidays. It’s just not that much fun for me. But the caroling, the time spent with family and friends, the concerts and the lights make me enjoy this time so much. Thanksgiving is the time that kicks all that off. We don’t have small children of our own but we so enjoy seeing and hearing about what everyone else does with their families. It is one of our favorite things about this time of year.

Juan Carlos and I have a tradition that we follow every year as we eat our turkey. We talk about the things we did during the year that made us the happiest and we talk about why they made us happy. Here are the top three from our list from this year. There were lots more but these were the ones that stuck out in our minds:


1. Celebrating 10 years with Juan Carlos at the top of the Birigoyo volcano in La Palma. How beautiful. I will remember it for the rest of my life.


2. Seeing a new part of Spain and Portugal with my mom and dad for the first time.  I am so grateful my parents could share this trip with us.



3. Visiting the Rey family, who I met when I was a missionary in France. I had not seen them in over 12 years and I bawled my eyes out when I saw them again.  They are also some of the people I love best in all the world, even though we live so far apart.




Juan Carlos:

1. Okay, really, do I need to say anything?




I think this was the most grateful moment in Juan Carlos’ whole LIFE, not just this year. You ever want to see a bunch of grown men crying and hugging each other, hang out in the country where they win the World Cup for the first time.

2. This was also the year that Juan Carlos’ family and friends visited him here in the United States for the first time. It was so wonderful to have them and for them to finally see what it is he does over here, haha!


3. Visiting Acadia National Park in Maine. These were about the only three days we had to ourselves this year, and this was definitely a highlight of our year.


I hope your holiday was as wonderful as ours, and that you took a moment to think about the things that make you the happiest and most thankful.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Random Act Of Culture

Usually I am not one to get obsessed with the holidays the moment Halloween is over, and this year in particular I have thought about the holidays in more of a "Oh yeah, Christmas, when I dig out from under everything else that is going on, I will think about that" kind of way, but this year I had a concert run in November and on the last night we were handed our music for the holiday concerts with the Boston Pops. So the season has come a little earlier this year. That, and one of the chorus members forwarded this to everyone in the chorus today:

I always love seeing these things. And this one had the side effect of making me fully in the mood for celebration.

So let the holidays begin!!!

Sunday, November 07, 2010


For the last three and a half years it has been my honor and pleasure to serve as Young Women’s president in the Central Falls Ward. For my non-Mormon friends, that just means that my “job” in my church congregation is to work with the young women ages 12-18 who live in the same area as I do, to teach them gospel principles and life skills and also have all kinds of fun with them. I was very nervous when my bishop called me to do this, since I didn’t know the area, the girls, or even very many people in the ward, since I had been working in the Primary  (3-11 year-olds) since moving into the ward. . My bishop is an inspired guy, though, and knew what he was doing, because the young women are possibly the coolest people IN the ward.
I have to admit that sometimes the responsibility was a lot to handle and sometimes when I was supposed to be running the weekly activity for the girls I really wanted to be grading papers or prepping lesson plans or taking care of one of the other thousand responsibilities in my life.  I mean, that’s life, right? Add to that that these girls are living in a world that is the polar opposite of the world I was raised in, so what on earth could I possibly have to offer them? But the kicker is that I was always so happy after those activities, and somehow all the papers got graded and lessons planned (and don’t forget music memorized!) regardless.
A couple of weeks ago we had an activity at my house where the girls came over and learned to make cake. It had been a long day, a long week, a long month. (More about that in another post) I was tired and discouraged and not really looking forward to it. At 7:30pm there was a knock on my door, and seven lively, giggling young girls swept into my house and their optimism and their cheerfulness blew in with them. It was a really fun night, and as usual, I was so glad that I hadn’t let anything take priority over them. The girls gave me my weekly lesson on what the latest lingo is around school, and hey, there was cake. How could it not be fun?
In the beginning I looked at this as a calling in which I was supposed to be serving and working for these girls, but the truth is that they have blessed and brought as much to my life as anything I was able to do for them, and very possibly more.

Of course there is a lot that probably wouldn’t have gotten done without my awesome counselors Becky and Kelly. They love these girls so much and it shows in everything they do. Kelly is taking over in Central Falls now and in my opinion there is no one better for the job. The girls are so lucky to get her and Becky.
I’ve been asked to work with the stake Young Women’s presidency, which is sort of doing the same job,  but on a more regional level, working with young women from all over Rhode Island and Connecticut. Again, I am a bit daunted, but I have already worked with some of those girls at Girls’ Camp, so it won’t be a total unknown. My life is teenagers, what can I say?
I will miss my Central Falls girls so much; even though I will still be seeing them, I won’t be working with them regularly. So, to Flora, Agatha, Myra, Cassandra, Victoria, Loriana, Lucia and Lucilia, thank you for being the most awesome girls ever and for bringing me so many smiles. Remember how special you are and how much I have loved working with you.