Thursday Steve was told that he was going to receive a holiday bonus check - we were totally pumped. It's his first ever bonus check. However, I still had this thought in my mind - that the reason we had the check was because something was going to happen. But I pushed it aside, simply praising God for the generous gift He had given us.
Friday night, we had made plans to attend the Live Nativity that one of the LDS stakes here in Vegas puts on. I made up a little invitation on Fireworks and sent it out to all my new GP friends. And I asked Papau to come with us - I figured the chances were in our favor since it was a LDS pageant. He declined to come because it was "too cold" (turned out to be the warmest pageant I've been to at 55 degrees!) but my TBM Aunt Connie and newly converted Aunt Grace came instead. The entire drive there, I kept thinking to myself, "Is she going to say anything about our recently revealed apostacy?" While my parents are faithful (hardcore in their own way) LDS - they greatly pale in comparison to my Aunt Connie (Mamau's baby sister). Her son, Jeremy just got back this past summer from his two year mission, Aunt Connie has been YW President for as long as I can remember. She has been my LDS role model for a long time - if I could be as hardcore as Aunt Connie, I would have been so very happy.
Yet, she surprised me. Indeed, my whole family has been surprising me. When I asked about Mamau's condition (recall she's on a -IMO- highly risky "experimental" treatment and so Connie is here to monitor her and help her out) she said, "If we all put our faith together and pray to Heavenly Father, I believe she'll be healed." My prayers matter? This may sound rude or negative to someone outside the LDS culture - maybe even to someone inside the LDS culture, but to a real hardcore TBM (True Blue Mormon) an apostate's prayers do NOT matter. The apostate has been taken over and is the servant of the devil and the Lord cannot honor that prayer unless it's to return to the LDS church of course. So, this was quite - in an odd way - the compliment.
Now, the pageant is a live one - meaning real horses, donkeys, goats, sheep, and some sort of chicken looking thing - so of course, it's outdoors. The very first time we attended - I planned ahead, bringing two quilts, bought Anya (who was barely 7 months at the time and tiny) this sack looking thing to keep her warm - covered her head, hands, toes, and everything in between - all you saw were these beautiful eyes, bundled everyone up and came on out. It was freezing and we didn't have near enough layers and blankets. So this year, I brought every blanket and quilt in the house, put at least three layers on the kids with a "super warm" jacket, and brought socks for their hands. Aunt Connie - from Idaho - laughed at me telling me I didn't remember what cold really is. Of course, she was bundled up in my blankets when we got there. As I was getting the blankets out of the back of the truck, the back fell off.
The back of our truck/suv is divided in two. You can "pop" the whole back, of just the upper half - the glass (say like for groceries or getting blankets out). Well, I popped the glass and when we tried to close it, the top right hand hinge popped right out. Remember how I said I was expecting something to happen? It happened. Currently, our truck has a "giant band-aid" and we rented a car because we're afraid that the back will pop off and shatter before Monday when we're taking it in. And since the insurance isn't covering this one...
However, we did have a great time at the Nativity. Both before and after it began, the kids could go up and pet the various animals, play with the dog, run around, etc.
Here are the kids before the Nativity - climbing on haystacks and having tons of fun.
When the shepherds came around, Anya and Paul just had to have their pictures taken with them.
My favorite part of the Nativity. When I was highschool at LVA, we performed Handel's Messiah every year. I have grown to LOVE this and miss it tons. They use various clips from the Mormon Tabernacle's recording of the Messiah. Oh so good.
Had to post this next one for Wayne Nesbitt. Here ya go.
The kids had a great time - at one point Anya ran out into the middle of the stage also in the middle of the recorded performance. I sat there frozen for a few seconds wondering what to do before I got up and raced out there behind her. Eh! I listened closer to the narrative - will have to record it next year - because it sounded just the slightest bit off. I feel just a little bad because one of the families I invited (the only one that I know that went) is a baby baby Christian and she stated that she learned so much from watching the Live Nativity. If there were any off parts, I'm hoping they don't affect her any.
We came home and watched "Rudolph" with the kids to help us wind down. Of course, that just gave Paul potentially messy ideas.
The door seemed fixed, until Saturday morning when we found that it was coming out again. So to the auto shop is goes and here's hoping that the quote they gave us over the phone is what it turns out to be.
Today I sat in on GP Kidz and had a blast. It grounded me in the simplicity of the gospel and yet, how children need to be constantly taught, reinforced, encouraged, and repeat in order to learn the gospel. When I sat down and began observing, I found myself easily participating without feeling weird or odd (like I do when I at times play with the kids or use my "reading voices") and I could really not only envision myself serving there but really throwing myself into it like I did when I was working outside the home. I'm totally excited.
However, when we watched the video for the sermon today - Steve and I were both a bit surprised. Perhaps a TBM reader (if I have any left at this point) will be able to answer this - but there were clips from the temple movie in the video.Shocked is perhaps a bit of an understatement. To be clear - not clips from inside the temple but rather, from the movie (the creation part specifically) that is played during the endowment ceremony. The music seemed to be the same as well. It was quite the "flashback" from our church seats in a school cafeteria back to the silent sensations of the temple. Since the LDS church created the endowment movie with their own actors and equipment - I assumed that the media used (clips from the movie, music) was hidden away due to it's "sacredness". Again, just to be clear for any LDS readers - the clips were not from inside the temple - it was very clear that it wasn't, but the clips of creation were the exact same ones used in the movie. It just puzzles me.
Pastor Devin announced today that Grace Point has surpassed the goal set of $25k for Vision 2008 - we're currently at $40k. I almost cried I was so excited.
I feel like I've been pretty faithless lately. I didn't fully believe that GP would raise $25k and when I told Steve this, he sat there shocked because he didn't believe that GP would raise less than $50k. Also, the homeless have been driven out from behind our store for quite some time (before Thanksgiving). Yet, I feel so pressed to be serving them. Where some of them are hiding out is very secluded and/or unfamiliar to me and so I don't feel safe going there. Yet, part of me wonders if I had more faith in God's sovereignty to protect me, if I would go anyways.
Finally, looking forward to this new week. So much is going on! Going to start Christmas crafts with the kids - like making our own special wrapping paper and picture frames, etc. One of our Hommel specialties is a family portrait. But the way we "present" it is very unique. I don't have any pictures of a frame that we made for our family, but this past January we made one for our best friends who moved to CA. (No copying if we have mutual friends to whom we give gifts to!)
So this week we're going to start tackling the various picture frames we want to make. We always have a blast creating them and imagining how happy they'll make the people who receive them. Makes me want to go get started right now!
At GP, we're also serving the homeless this weekend - totally excited about that and our vine is this coming weekend too, incredibly pumped about that. I want to fellowship more but seem to becoming more shy everyday (hard to believe eh?).
Almost forgot to mention this as well - guess what finally came in the mail? A letter from the First Presidency (of the LDS Church)... More later.
Anyways, whew! Upload I think is completed for now. Can't wait to start my Christmas projects!