Friday, January 23, 2009

Be Thou An Example of the Believers

This has always been a favorite scripture of mine and now it's the YM & YW Mutual theme for 2009.

“Be thou an example of the believers,
in word, in conversation,
in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”

General Young Women Presidency

Elaine S. Dalton (center), president; Mary N. Cook (left), first counselor; and Ann M. Dibb, second counselor

The General Young Women Presidency of the Church invited all the young women to join them this year in doing three things that can give them strength and help them be a better example to their family and friends. The YW presidency is leading the way by their example. I am not a young woman and I'm not serving in the YW program, but I want to join them in representing this great truth. I will do what they ask and be better for it:

1. Pray everyday.

2. Read the Book of Mormon everyday.

3. Smile everyday

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

History Made - President Barack Obama

I listened to President Barack Obama's inaugural speech this morning. I'm so HOPEFUL. I am so PRAYERFUL. I want life to be better for my family, America, and the world. President Barack Obama's final statement and I join with him in his declaration,

"God Bless America!"

Friday, January 16, 2009

"I Like You Teacher..."

The vacation is over and I started subbing again. I got 3 1/2 days this week. In the past I have come home and expressed my angst when I have encountered what I refer to as a "horrific" day. During those difficult times I wonder if I'm even an influence, but then there are always those golden moments that make my heart sing and cheer me on.

Today I had a half-day with a first grade class. The teacher had everything outlined and prepared, but also left a note giving me the option of fitting in some music. I have substituted this class several times. The children know me and are happy to see me. First graders are all about music and especially activity songs.

There was one little girl that was new. She had joined the class after Christmas break. She was quiet, obedient, and happily participated in all the songs even though many were new to her.

I dismissed the class at the end of the day. The new little girl with her long dark hair and pretty dark eyes eagerly approached me before going home. She said, "I like you teacher because you teach me singing." I smiled. You can imagine how I felt. I thanked her and was happy to inform her that I would probably see her again and that we would sing again. She was pleased and left.

We should see each other again. Her teacher knows me. I volunteered in her classroom ten years ago when she was Janna's first grade teacher. Every week I would provide a little music segment when I came to help. Now she makes a point to ask me to substitute her class hoping that I will add a little music and fun while I am there. I believe the children I teach now, then, and through the years, even though it's rarely verbalized, think:
"I like you teacher because you teach me singing."

"Music is the universal language of mankind."
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Outre-Mer

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Season Wrap-Up

Snuggies for Christmas!

 Family Pallbearers at La Verne Cemetary
La Verne, California

Dorothy McMullin Reynders
December 4, 2009

Sammy with other family members went on three different hikes
over Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years.

Beautiful weather!

Billy graduated with his Masters in Education from ASU,
December 17, 2009.

Billy, Baby Ryan, and Chelsea
Here for Christmas from Arizona.

Cassie and the boys moved back to Lancaster.
Now living with their Poppy Reynders.

Cassie's new baby, Dexter
 He's home too.

Celebrated Jeremiah's Birthday

Cheers to a new year
and another chance
for us to get it right.
~Oprah Winfrey

It's the end of our holiday. School starts next week.
Hope you have a great 2010!

Our family wishes you all the best!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Family from Yosemite

For Christmas 2008 we decided not to have the usual gift exchange and declared that we would contribute to The Family from Yosemite, which is a compilation of family stories. The book started some years ago with an initial college paper by Billy. Rick eventually caught hold of it and the ball started rolling from there. This tradition of writing a story will be our gift. It will be our legacy.

It was very enjoyable listening to all the stories on Christmas day. As we talked with one another about our memories over the holiday, it was said many times, "That should go in The Family from Yosemite." I'm very much looking forward to next Christmas, wondering what everyone will write.

The following was my 2008 Christmas contribution:

"Maybe We're Just an Ugly Family"
By Martha Reynders Blair

Submitted to The Family from Yosemite
December 25, 2008

In 1997 Rick was preparing to leave on his mission. We knew our family would never be the same with the launching of our first child so of course, we wanted to have a family picture taken. It wouldn’t be just any family picture, but a professional photograph etching a moment in time of our family’s history.

Digital photography really hadn’t come into play in most of the private sector. The studio we filed into was definitely of the old school. We really wanted to look our best, but our dress and where we selected to have our photo taken were telltale signs of where we were financially.

Our children knew full well the importance of this photo. They
too wanted to look their best. We went into a room and were strategically placed by a photographer that unfortunately did not build our confidence. You could tell he was nervous with our big group. There were eight of us, Sam wasn't born yet. We steadily went through the ritually of snapping photo after photo. Again, we were all so hopeful in spite of the circumstances. Surely there would be at least one good picture of our family.

Weeks later we got the happy call, our proofs were ready!
I anxiously perused through all our samples, but was disappointed to see nothing to my liking. As anyone well knows, I can be incredibly picky and a perfectionist to the extreme. I try not to be, so as I walked out of the studio with proofs in hand, I told myself that maybe it was just me. Surely everyone else in the
family will see a picture we can be content with.

Hugh looked through the pictures with a similar reaction, nothing looked good. The children took turns too, eyeing each photo, but no one was impressed. Finally Billy came home. He approached the table filled with our display of pictures. His mannerism showed confidence, certainly he would find the photo of our family that we could display proudly.

He picked up one proof at a time and with disbelieving disgust set each picture aside in a pile, even so, he showed a hope that there would still be a few pictures to pick from in order to select the final photo. He went through everyone and then back to the reject pile. He looked and looked and shook his head with a sigh of disillusionment, and then with calculated dismay stated his unfortunate conclusion, “You know, maybe we’re just an ugly family.”

To this day when we look at photos, you’ll hear family members comment:

“Oh, that’s my favorite!”

“This picture is hilarious!”

“Oh, that’s a good one.”

“I’ve always thought that was a great photo.”

“I remember when that happened.”

And always there is the infamous line,
“Maybe we’re just an ugly family.”
The informality of family life is a blessed condition that allows us to become our best while looking our worst.
~Marge Kennedy

Monday, January 5, 2009

Cousin Rendezvous

Rick and Annie are cousins who use to spend time together in their growing up years at family get togethers, but now they are grown. Both are the oldest children in their connected cousin families. They each have their own family now. Rick living in Okinawa and Annie in Star, Idaho.

Because they were both traveling during the holidays they had a rare opportunity to rendezvous at my parent's house. Rick's family, Janna, and I converged on their home for a brief 30 minute encounter. It was fun to see their children interact with each another. We took pictures and talked briefly about the latest news. Then it was hugs and kisses and the Spiel's were off to visit more family and indulge in other holiday fun like the Utah vs. Alabama Sugar Bowl game. We're grateful for the happy time we had with them.

Rick and fam - Okinawa
Annie and fam - Star, Idaho
Rendezvous point - Lancaster, California

"Cousin to cousin we’ll always be,
Special friends from the same family tree."

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

I'm posting my first recipe and it isn't one of my tried, true, and traditional recipes, but a new one I made tonight. You're probably wondering why I would indulge in such a decadent goodie. I am suppose to be losing weight, but we're watching a movie and playing games and I thought a treat would just add to the fun. Happy New Year, it's a keeper!

Chewy Chocolate Bars

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon salt

Melt chocolate chips with milk; set aside. Cream butter and brown sugar until soft; beat in eggs. Blend flour, rolled oats, and salt into creamed mixture. Spread half of batter into greased 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Spread chocolate mixture on top of batter. Spread remaining batter over chocolate layer. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Cool and cut into bars.

From Christmas at Home with Mary & Martha: Stirrin' Up Chocolate and Joy, published by Barbour Publishing, Inc. Used by permission.

"I never met a chocolate I didn't like."
Deanna Troi in Star Trek: The Next Generation
Janna, the next generation that's all about chocolate.