Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Dreaded Organ

So about six months ago I was called into the Bishop's office. I was released from my calling as Laurel advisor and asked to be the Ward Organist. Interesting enough, I don't play the organ. The Bishop explained that the new organ we had was actually an automatic organ. He said his 3 year old could do it. Well, if a 3 year old can do it, than most certainly I can! Of course, he said with a smile, "You will actually be more of an organ operator." So I accepted, but I was still hesitant.

I had a quick organ lesson by the stake organist...who by the way showed me the organ shoes I could purchase if I really got into it! I most assuredly told him that I was just an "organ operator" and wouldn't be purchasing the shoes. Being an organ operator involves dialing up the hymn on the computer and pushing a series of buttons to start the intro and to start each verse.

The first Sacrament meeting I played, there was a glitch. The organ stopped playing on the second verse. It started again on the 3rd and then stopped again on the fourth verse. Because I do play the piano, I quickly started playing, but since I don't play the organ, the pedals were not involved and it sounded like a very half ditch effort at best.

A few weeks went by where everything went well, but you can never trust an organ too long. Once again, it betrayed me. The hymns are dialed up by a computer. When I went to dial up the hymn, it was all in Spanish. I quickly shut the organ down, while the congregation...and me...waited for it to reboot. When it finally did, it began playing "Joy to the World" February no less. The organ was redialed and began playing the hymn. It played the introduction and then continued on to the verse....only it wasn't the was the introduction again. AAAAGGGGHHHH! The substitute chorister stopped the singing and said, "Let's start over." And so we did.

Well, along comes April. Things seem to be going well. Until today. Every song the organ belted out was off tempo. My poor sister Ginger is the chorister. She is just waving her arm to the music. Three quarter notes are held for one count notes are held for three counts. It was a disaster.

The one thing I can say is that I make sure that everyone knows I am not an organist and I am not the one screwing up. It is that blasted organ. During the prelude, I will start the organ and then go get a drink of water. Or during the hymn I will itch my nose or turn the pages of the hymn book to the next hymn. Anything so the congregation knows I am not responsible!

Sometimes people say they move to get out of callings. I am not moving to get out of this calling...but it is definitely one of the benefits of moving :) I can say that I don't get flustered when this happens because the last five years of my life have made me no stranger to embarrassment. I am now so use to embarrassment that I just take it all in stride. It is just one more story I will have to tell in the coming years. But I will say, with my whole heart, that I will celebrate next week when I play that *#%@ organ for the very last time. Sorry people in the ward...the entertainment will be over!!!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Young Women's General Broadcast

We were so happy to receive tickets to go downtown to the Conference Center for the Young Women's General Broadcast. It is such a wonderful feeling to be among so many great young women. It was wonderful to listen to our leaders speak to us. They really care about our happiness and want us to know how loved we are.

Brooklyn and I sat in the section of the conference center designated for the Deaf. They have two televisions there - one has an interpreter on it and the other has captions. It was fun to sit by those girl and I loved how they sign the hymns because many of them do not use voice at all.

It was also so nice for me to be able to share this evening with Brooklyn. Usually we are invited to the stake center to watch the conference via satellite transmission, but without captions Brooklyn doesn't know what is being said. Once we had an interpreter come to sign for us, but they turned the lights down so everyone could see the screen and Brooklyn couldn't see the usually we just watch it on tape delay on the television that night. I have always felt Brooklyn missed out on the spirit that is there when all the Young Women are joined together. Going to the conference center gave us the best of both worlds. We felt the spirit of being with the other girls and she was able to "hear" the words which were being spoken.

We also loved sharing this evening with Ginger and Bailey. They had never been before so it was wonderful and exciting for all of us.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

March Madness!

When most people hear the words "March Madness" they think of college basketball. But for our family it was just a March filled with many big things.

As most know, we are a basketball family and the kids both had stellar years with their teams. Brooklyn attends Summit Academy Jr. High. Their team took first place in the charter school basketball tournament this year. They had amazing coaches and learned so many wonderful skills.

In Church Ball, Justin's team also took first in Regionals. Thanks to Matt Lym for doing a great coaching job. He always looked so calm, like he was sitting on the front row of an NBA game just taking it all in. The boys showed great teamwork and they were a joy to watch.

One of the other really great things that happened for our family is that Justin was ordained to be an Elder in the Melchizedek Priesthood. His papa ordained him. It was wonderful to have so many men that have influenced his life for good stand and put their hands on his head and bestow upon him this great gift.

The following week Brooklyn was scheduled to have her second cochlear implant surgically put in. Because Justin had been ordained to be an Elder he was able to give her a blessing before her surgery. This was a beautiful bonding experience and I think something they will both treasure in the coming years.

Brooklyn had her cochlear implant surgery at LDS Hospital on March 29, 2010. There is a 5 week healing period, and then she will be able to have the external piece mapped and attached. This implant is newer and has some wonderful features. She will be able to hook her ipod directly into it and it has a telecoil which may allow her to hear on the phone. We are excited to see if this brings new benefits to her. It is a long process, so even though some things will show immediately, most we won't know how well they are working for many months.

Many exciting things are happening in our family right now. I think 2010 will turn out to be quite an adventurous and great year! Stay tuned :)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

California Lovin'

February was great! I was able to take my two kiddos to California. We did a road trip and it was a blast. We stayed in an amazing resort in Carlsbad overlooking the ocean. We did all the typical things:

The Beach

I love the ocean. I love the sound, the smell, the feel. I love that it is so expansive and that you feel like you can see forever.


The kids and I did our volunteer time so we each got a credit for going to Disneyland. We volunteered for 2 hours each at the Living Planet Aquarium. Justin got in free and Brooklyn and I put our $72.00 towards an annual pass. The park was near empty and we did everything we wanted to do at Disneyland and California Adventure in 7 hours. It was great!

Knotts Berry Farm

Our friend Lupe took us to Knotts Berry Farm. This park was also near empty. It was so relaxing. The kids did some really scary rollercoasters. I did a couple of the not-so-scary ones. It was a great day topped off by dinner at TGIFs.

The San Diego Temple

Justin, Brooklyn and I went to the temple to do baptisms for the dead. We started out by eating lunch in the cafeteria there. We then went to the baptistry and a member of the Temple Presidency came in and talked to us. We were the only ones here too. The kids then did the baptisms for their grandparents, great grandparents and great great grandparents. It was wonderful. This side of the family all came from Nebraska. I know because Brandon is serving his mission there, many doors were opened so that people I had been looking for the past 16 years were easily found. There was a wonderful feeling there and it was special for each of us to do these family names.

And a whole lot of relaxing.

California is our most favorite place to vacation. After the trip was over I asked the kids, "If you could change one thing, what would you do different?" They both said, "Nothing!" I felt the same way - it was perfect.