Saturday, December 31, 2011

We Done Good! 2011 in Review

Weve clapped and cheered, encouraged, pushed and at times even drug one another along to success throughout this glorious year of 2011.
Here are just a few of our reasons for cheering

- Rodrigo Daddy, DaDa, Amorcito
  • Stayed positive and focused after being laid off from his job
  • Finished 14 classes for a total of 42 credit hours while working part-time and maintained at the lowest a 3.0 GPA
  • Started his first Documentary film
  • Shot his first feature film scene
  • Completed his first half-marathon (Utah Valley Marathon)
  • Discovered the punishment your body will heap on you if you dont train even one block before completing a half-marathon J
  • Was the witness for both my Moms sealing and my sealing to my parents.

- Karmen Mama, Mommy, Amorcita

  • Ran my first 5k since getting married and having two children.
  • Was the escort for my Mom on the day of her temple sealing.
  • Was proxy for my sister Caprece to be sealed to our parents.
  • Completed a half-marathon for the first time since the one I completed with my sister nearly 8 years ago.
  • Trained through rain, sleet and snow.
  • Gave a talk in sacrament meeting (in Spanish) for the first time in 7 years.
  • Re-learned The Living Christ and expanded our Easter traditions
  • Had the most Christ-centered Christmas I have had since I can remember
  • Had my faith increased significantly in the Lords plan for me and my family
  • Made from scratch both my boys costumes for Halloween
  • Saw the Mormon Tabernacle Choirs Christmas Concert Live –
  • Learned about letting others grieve their own way even when it hurts me.

- Joaquin Joaquiny
  • Learned to swim, dive and basically act like a fish
  • Learned to read
  • Played a champion soccer spring and fall season
  • Gave his first talk in Spanish
  • Learned all the songs for the Primary Program in Spanish

  • Was the cutest ring bearer ever for his Uncle Diego and Aunt Brielles wedding
  • Did his first Family Fun Run with Grandmommie Jacqi and Abe
  • Received his first library card
  • Helped Mommy make Christmas goodies to deliver.
  • Rode a four-wheeler for the first time with his cousins Chancey and Jayd
  • Went and saw his first live play with Mommy Seussical The Musical

  • Graduated from Head Start

  • Received his Purple belt in Karate

  • Was a knight in shining armor for Halloween

  • Went sledding for the first time
  • Hiked in the mountains and had a picnic with Mommy

- Ezekiel  Zekey, Zeke

  • Bowled for the first time and whooped our booties.
  • Ate broccoli and asparagus and fell in love with them both
  • Potty- trained himself J
  • Started school (head start)
  • Learned to write his name
  • Rode a four-wheeler for the first time with his cousins Chancey and Jayd
  • Learned to doggie paddle.

  • Went sledding for the first time

  • Learned to ride a bike
  • Hiked in the mountains and had a picnic with Mommy

  • Turned 3
  • Never ceased to amaze us with his hilarious thoughts and faces

  • A pirate for Halloween - Captn Sparrow says he

- As a Family -

  • Toured the famous Esmeralda  from Daddys home country of Chile

  • Attended the beautiful wedding of Diego and Brielle

  • Had loads of fun with Anita, Fernanda, Gaby, Camila, and Daniela
  • Visited abuelos in Arizona
  • Drove the aspen loop and collected leaves
  • Grieved the loss of a pregnancy

  • Hugged a lot
  • Laughed often

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

O' THAT I WERE AN ANGEL (Talk 12-18-11)

Simon Dewey "And His Name Shall Be Called"
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

Recently I've been thinking about what it would have been like to be one of the shepherds? To hear the angel proclaiming the birth of the Savior? To see the star shining in the night sky? To kneel at the cradle of this sweet newborn boy who was the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. How would I have felt? I have often longed for the opportunity to have been there on that glorious night. I think I would have felt like the Christmas hymn says, "Come let us adore him." I love these words come and adore. But how can I adore him when I was not there? I can remember Him. D&C 20:77 ... that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him  ... remember His words, remember His promises, the words and promises that are still true 2000 years later.

Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

His names bear witness to us of what He is and what He promises. There are many names He is known by, but today I want to remember just a few, the promises they bring and how my life has been blessed by Him.

Jesus means "Jehovah is salvation." I've always known that is because of Him that we all can live again, but it was through the loss of my sister, that I began to be truly grateful for this promise.

I was blessed with a sister, just one. No brothers only the two of us. She was more than a sister, she was my best friend, my example, my cheerleader. We are only 14 months apart and so, close in age but also in spirit. We did everything together and people often asked if we were twins. We shared secrets, goodies, and trials, but most of all we shared a passion for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We heard the plan of salvation for the first time together. We were baptized the same day and served missions at the same time. So when she died unexpectedly it broke my heart and I felt very lonely, but at the same time grateful, very grateful for the promise of Jesus.
Alma 11:43 The spirit and the body shall be reunited again in its perfect form; both limb and joint shall be restored to its proper frame, even as we now are at this time; and we shall be brought to stand before God…
I know that the child of Bethlehem is Jesus the Christ. Because he died and rose from the dead ... there is no victory for the grave, and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ.

Prince of Peace -

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Anytime I would go to my grandmother for her direction on how to handle a problem in my life, her advice would always be "How do you think the Savior would handle this?" Then she would remind me of a small portion of the Sermon on the Mount. The world defines peace as the absence of disturbances, but the Prince of Peace does not offer a life without conflict. He is offering us a way to overcome conflicts. He is offering us "a more perfect way" to bring peace not only to our own lives, but to all around us.

43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt alove thybneighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44 But I say unto you, aLove your benemiescbless them thatdcurse you, do egood to them that fhate you, and gpray for them which despitefully use you, and hpersecute you;

I know it is through living these principles that we receive the peace that He offers. I testify that this child born in a manger among the "mean and lowly" is the Prince of peace, peace in this life and the one to come.

Redeemer and Savior

Mosiah 27:28-29
28 Nevertheless, after awading through much btribulation, repenting nigh unto death, the Lord in mercy hath seen fit to snatch me out of an ceverlasting burning, and I am born of God.
29 My soul hath been aredeemed from the gall of bitterness andbbonds of iniquity. I was in the darkest abyss; but now I behold the marvelous light of God. My soul was cracked with eternal torment; but I am snatched, and my soul is dpained no more.

This gift of redemption is not reserved for big sins, but it is a gift that gives us the opportunity to change. It is an opportunity to recognize within ourselves the things that separate us from God and to rid our lives of these things.  It gives us the opportunity to be “born of God” and to receive His image in our countenances. When we are tired, and fall short of what he knows we can be, does he send us away or leave us?  No, He calls us to Him.

Matthew 11:28-30
28 Come unto me, all ye that blabour and are heavy laden, and I will give you crest.
29 Take my ayoke upon you, and blearn of me; for I am cmeek anddlowly in eheart: and ye shall find frest unto your souls.
30 For my yoke is aeasy, and my burden is light.

I echo his call with ... Come and let us adore Him.

His promises are sure. He will not fail us. We belong to Him and He will not forsake us. Nephi was a wonderful example of faith in His promises and he was rewarded.
3 Nephi 1:12-14
12 And it came to pass that he cried mightily unto the Lord aall that day; and behold, the bvoice of the Lord came unto him, saying:
13 Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the asign be given, and on thebmorrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be cspoken by the mouth of my holy prophets.
14 Behold, I acome unto my own, to bfulfil all things which I have made known unto the children of men from the cfoundation of the world, and to do the dwilleboth fof the Father and of the Son—of the Father because of me, and of the Son because of my flesh. And behold, the time is at hand, and this night shall the sign be given.

My kids have a nativity set that they love to play with. The manger  has a place on the top for an angel. While I was cleaning I noticed that it wasn’t the angel who had put on the top but one of the wise men.  As I thought about it I also realized I had seen one of the shepherds in the place of the angel as well. I was struck by the idea that the Magi and the shepherds had a turn to proclaim the birth of the Savior as did the angels. Most importantly, we all have the opportunity to declare like the angels the joy of birth of the Savior. I'm not sure that Alma sinned in his desire to be an angel. Although we may not have the voice that is the sound of a trumpet to declare the reality of his birth and life, we do have a voice. Our voice is the life we ​​live. When we share our testimonies, when we magnify our callings, when we love "one of the least of these" we are proclaiming to the world that He was born that He lived and that He still lives today. I leave these promises, His promises, the Child of Bethlehem; born long ago, now the King of kings and Lord of lords may we always remember him in his sacred name, even Jesus the Christ. Amen

Sunday, December 11, 2011

"...On the Morrow Come I into the World..."

It wasn't until Christmas, the very end of my 18 month mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, that I really read and caught the spirit of the account of the Savior's birth in the Book of Mormon. I discovered it that particular year in large part due to a re-enactment that we did as a mission for our Christmas Party. At that time I had already read the Book of Mormon several times but I think it took a little longer for the account of His birth in the Book of Mormon to reach me because traditionally my family, as does most every other, focuses all of our traditions on the account in Luke. I am so thankful for that detailed and beautiful account in Luke as well as the bits and pieces I receive from the other gospels but now that I have a family of my own I want my children to have the benefit of both beautiful faith promoting accounts of the birth of our Lord and Savior.

In the Spirit of this endeavor we are having our first "Book of Mormon Birth of the Savior Pageant"this year. I think they have arrived at an age of some understanding and of course are excited to dress-up and act out the parts. It will include the prophesy by the prophet "Samuel the Lamanite" (Helaman 14) as well as the great trial of faith that Nephi and "the believers faced on the prophesied day of the Savior's birth (3 Nephi 1). We are going to invite another family over as well so we have plenty of actors for each part. I will be sure to post pictures of the finished production.

I am beyond grateful for the faith of "Samuel the Lamanite" who had the courage to teach the very unpopular truth at the peril of his own life and for Nephi and "the believers", who even unto near death, never wavered in their testimony of the fulfillment of the prophesies and signs of the birth of the Savior. I feel that it is their story that I can now most relate to as we like they watch for the signs of His coming. I hope to be able to always look to that day, as did they, with hope, faith and peace.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Guest Post - Ezekiel Diaz

I'm gonna leave this here. It is Zeke's very first guest post :) xfdfftfcfddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Easter 2011

Is there really such thing as a perfectly posed family picture :) I love this one because we are all doing something just a little quirky...that's us quirky :)

Me and my sweet wonderful crazy boys!!!

Those same boys with my sweet wonderful crazy hubby! :)

We have a tradition of creating a "Jesus wall" each Easter as we remember the events of the last week of the Savior's life we place the picture on the wall. This helps us to continue to ponder these things throughout the week. Each year we add to this. This year was very rewarding as my 5yr old, Joaquin was able to tell us the events of the Savior's last week.
We also added some great books to our collection.

We added the tradition of setting the table with our very best and setting a place for the Savior. This I did to remind us that He lives and that He will return to the earth some day. Setting a place for Him is my way of teaching my children of the reality of His eventual return. It is also my way of conveying that we are inviting Him to be with us now and always.
I came up with our tradition following loosely the beautiful Hebrew tradition of the Passover Seder. Due to the sacred nature of this tradition for the Jewish faith I only took what I thought would show respect to this tradition.

We added a little easter fun with our center piece too.

Monday, May 2, 2011

We Do Hard Things - Part II

The good thing about evaluating yourself is the opportunity to grow, to change, to become what you know you can and should be. Knowing that I wasn't pushing myself to excellence in very many things helped me to see the so called "obstacles" or more like excuses that I was using to take the easy road. And if, "I do hard things", then is there any obstacle or excuse that can or should or could keep me from reaching the best within me? (Insert a big resounding NOPE here :)

I decided the first thing I had to do was to choose an area in my life in which I could achieve excellence but wasn't. I chose getting fit. As I pondered all these things I realized some very important things. First, I have to define what excellence looks like in detail so that I know it when I reach it. Second, only I can define for myself what excellence looks like. And lastly, the only person I should compare myself to is well, myself.

I have always been a person that values exercise and eating well but pregnancy wasn't easy for me. I worked full time with both pregnancies and was all too happy to accept complacency :) in my exercise habits. I am living with the consequences of that complacency now. The positive is that I have lost all of the "Zeke weight" but I still have most of what I gained with Joaquin. So, what does excellence in fitness look like for me, Karmen?

1. Exercise has to be consistent (at least 4 times a week) and constant - a lifetime habit even during hard times, no especially during hard times.
2. The type of exercise I do must push my body in a way I haven't has to be hard, it has to be work, it has to be a test.
3. When it becomes easy I have find new activities that test my physical limits.
4. The side effects are weight loss not the goal.

A body that can perform daily functions without tiring, has energy to play with my children, that can tirelessly serve others this is what excellence looks like for me, Karmen.

Interestingly, last night Rodrigo was talking to me about the very same thing regarding his own life. He too wants to leave a legacy of reaching for excellence to our children. It is easy to become complacent when the only person you really answer to is yourself. But remembering my boys and how I would want them to be helps me to push myself.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

We Do Hard Things - Part I

I went running for the first time in well, who knows when, yesterday. One of the many things I love about running/walking is that it gives me time to ponder. No, I'm not an motivational tune mp3 carrying exerciser. Not that there is one thing wrong with it. I just prefer taking note of the beauty of the things around me and pondering.

This first day back to a life of exercise caused me to ponder....well, the importance of exercise and even more the importance of pursuing a life of excellence. It seems today we live in a world of complacency. The temptation isn't to fail or do poorly but well to only push ones self enough to achieve mediocrity. This got me to thinking about the things I am "inadvertently" teaching my children. You know the things you don't set out to teach them but they learn from your own attitudes, habits and behaviors. I asked myself if I strove for excellence in the things I pursued or was I just happy to complete the tasks given me or that I take on?

I couldn't help thinking of our recently adopted family theme. "We do hard things" When I introduced the theme to my boys I explained to them that we tackle challenges and that when things are tough we think positively knowing that if we work hard and are patient we can and will be able to overcome or accomplish anything. After all that talking I had to take a long hard look at myself. I did a self-evaluation and realized there weren't very many things that I pushed myself to achieve excellence in. I wasn't doing hard things....

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Cooking with Caprece - Warm Bacon Cheese Spread

The first time I had this recipe was on a visit at Christmas time with Caprece and her still small but ever so sweet family. It was the holiday season and we were all the time whipping up yummy things to snack on while we visited with family and friends. This wonderful one landed on the New Year's Eve Menu - we love snack foods for New Year's Eve fixins. It was comfort food at its finest, warm, bread, cheesy and bacon to boot. How can you go wrong with that combination? We ate it with everything...celery, carrots, crackers, chips, and pieces of warm crusty bread until it was gone...every last warm cheesy bite. Note* This was over several days - it re-heats really well - not all at once :) Although it was yummy enough to do just that.

I have since made it several more times for parties and celebrations and it is always a hit. I love it when something is easy AND DELICIOSO! Que Rico!

(I didn't take pictures when I made it....silly, silly me :) I'll post some the next time I make it.

Warm Bacon Cheese Spread
  • 1 round loaf (1 pound) sourdough bread
  • 1 pkg. (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups (12 ounces) sour cream
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese (I use sharp but it is your preference)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 pound sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled (I am not a fan of cooking bacon - the smell lingers far too long - so I use pre-cooked bacon pieces - you can find them in the salad fixins section of the grocery store)
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
Assorted Crackers, vegetables, and chips.

Cut the top fourth off the loaf of bread; carefulliy hollow out the bottom, leaving a 1-in. shell.

I cut the bread crosswise like this and then pull each piece out gently. You want to be gentle because you are going to cube the bread to be used for dipping. After I remove the pieces then I just continue to hollow out the bread until I have a 1-in. shell. Cube the removed pieces and place in a ziplock to keep fresh until later. Take the lid (the top of the bread that you sliced and cube it as well so it can be used for dipping).

In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese. Add the sour cream, cheddar cheese and Worcestershire sauce until combined; stir in bacon and onions. Spoon into bread shell. Place lid pieces back on the top of the shell. Wrap the shell in a piece of heavy-duty foil or double wrap with regular foil, Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour. Serve with crackers, veggies and reserved bread cubes. Yield: 4 cups.

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