Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas . . .

Twenty five days down and ten more to go at the Festival of Lights. What a joy it has been to be a part of this beautiful tradition at the Visitors Center. It is such a amazing feeling to spend the days surrounded by so much happiness. Everyone who walks through the doors is in the holiday spirit and so much fun to be with. Every day is different; a different crowd, a different performance, but each day is so special and wonderful.
The Visitors Center
Every once in a while I get one of those killer headaches and that happened last Sunday. I woke up with it and stayed in bed and finally got over it around noon and got ready and headed for the VC for my shift. I was feeling wiped out, but my headache was pretty much gone. Sister Olsen, the director's wife told me to go home and I really didn't want to.. She insisted and walked me out to my car and told me to go home and rest, so that I would feel better the next day.  Well I came home and watched a Christmas movie on TV and was bored... I really wanted to be at the VC.  But I did as I was told and rested and on Monday I was up and running again.

Tuesday the three of us ( Sister Wege, her sister & me) picked up Sharon and we all went to visit Mary Turner and Princess McCurdy. Sharon is their visiting teacher and we wanted to go with her. Sharon is feeling much better, but she still struggles with major health issues, she has had lupus since she was 19, and has many issues due to that. Her spirit is so strong and her wanting to help and be of service to the sisters in the ward is amazing.  When we went to Mary's she wasn't home, Princess didn't feel up to a visit. So we took Sharon to lunch at 5 Guys.. When we were sitting there a group of "8" of our missionaries showed up for lunch too.. It is so cool to see them, since I get to feed them at the VC and visit with them each night, I know most of them.  They are such a valiant group of young men.
 I found out today that the very first sister we visited when I arrived on my mission passed away. Ethyl was such a fantastic woman that I always loved to visit. She was such an influence to so many people and was so generous and gave service to everyone. She taught high school chemistry & calculus until she retired, she also taught seminary for 14 years and  then she served a mission for the church in Bolivia, when she retired from teaching. When she returned from her mission after extending for "3" years she was called to serve in the Spanish ward as the Relief Society President. She loved the Spanish people. She had a wonderful sense of humor and was such a joy to be with. She will be missed here, but I know that there is a party in heaven with her in the middle of it.. Goodbye were truly loved.  

 Friday I attended the memorial service for Ethyl. I went south to Waldorf alone, since Sister Wege didn't know Ethyl. Ethyl had given explicit instructions for her service. It was to be bi-lingual with an interpreter so that the Spanish people who attended would understand also. The service was so Ethyl, and the stories shared by those who spoke were great. Her last request was that she wanted to go out in a pine box aboard a beat up red pickup truck with the windows down and Spanish music playing as they drove to the cemetery.. So that is what she got, ( although it wasn't a pine box, but a beautiful wooden casket). (picture on my blog). Ethyl was one special lady.. and will be missed by so many, but I am sure she is organizing things in heaven..


Sister Wege and her sister Marrianne and I took Tigi to lunch on Weds. She really looks forward to it and so do we. We then know she is getting some good food and there are always at least 2 to go boxes for her to take home for later. I just love her and can't wait for her to be able to move to a facility that will take care of her so that her health can improve. Her only desire is to get a kidney transplant so that she can do the many things she has on her to do list.. She is such joy to be with and I love being able to spend time with her.

With Marrianne outside the VC

When we visited Barbara this week, she surprised us by saying that she not only read the two chapters we were going to read together and talk about, but she read the next one also and she loved it so much that she read it several times. It was about the 10 commandments and she said it was very inspiring to her and she loved reading it. She also told us all about her visit to the VC and how much she loved it all. The lady that took her last week is going to take Barbara again on the 29th and she is so excited to go again.

 The performances this week at the VC have been wonderful.

  • Voices of Triumph choir from the Alfred Baptist Church.: The Alfred Street Baptist Church is one of the DC-area’s oldest and most prestigious Protestant churches, and its choirs are among the most talented and sought-after. The Voices of Triumph Choir, also known in the church as the Early Morning Choir. It was such a fun concert, they really had the audience involved. 
Voices of Triumph Choir
  •  Paul Cardall: Award wining musician, author & lecturer. Paul Cardall had been living with congenital heart disease for over thirty years. He was born with only a single functioning ventricle or half-heart. In August 2008, with his heart failure, Cardall was listed for a heart transplant. After waiting 385 days, he received a donated heart via transplant on September 9, 2009. He is so inspirational and loves the Lord and just wants to give back by performing his beautiful music. His concert was so marvelous, I just love to listen to him play the piano.

  • Shenandoah Jr. Strings: is a group of 30 student-musicians, ranging in age from 5 to 15, who play violin, viola and cello. The program was founded 15 years ago by Nadine Moehlenkamp, a much-respected children's violin instructor in Northern Virginia. Such a talented group of musicians..Very talented
  • A musical nativity featuring the Antoniak Sisters: The performers in this group were from our area and the wards we serve in. The choir sang songs depicting the birth of Jesus.
  • Jessica & Katelyn Lyons - Violinists : They were Amazing ! 17 year old Jessica Lyons and 14 year old Katelyn Lyons are two of the DC-area's most talented young musicians. Each has studied violin with some of the world's great teachers and performers. They both have won numerous prestigious awards and competitions, and performed in some of the worlds' great music venues. Their beautiful treatment of Christmas music was so inspiring.. Loved it so much, I think they were better than Jenny Oaks Baker..
  •  Todd Thatcher : Todd Thatcher, one of the most gifted vocalists to perform at the Visitors' Center, returned for his 15th yearly performance to the Festival of Lights by popular demand. His wonderful interpretation of Christmas standards have become a tradition to which people from throughout this area look forward with much anticipation. His accompanist was amazing and I wish he would have a performance all by himself.
Todd Thatcher
  •  Pacheco Family: From Northern Virginia, is arguably one of the Country's most talented musical families. their beautiful singing voices, and their ability to artfully play musical instruments, puts them in high demand for performances throughout the year.

 May each of you have a wonderful Christmas & cherish the love that is felt this time of year. May your life overflow with blessings that are prosperous and eternal. It is my prayer that we might each have these feelings of love and compassion through out the coming year and that every path may lead to peace.

  * * * * *

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. ”
Norman Vincent Peale

 Merry Christmas

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