Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Fifteen Years

Fifteen years ago, today, I walked into those walls about to embark on the greatest adventure of my life.  Was I ready?  Probably not.  But I had youth, naivety, and a positive attitude on my side.  I thought I was invincible - and perhaps I was.

Today I decided to go back for a visit.  It's still as beautiful as ever.  The room where I sat waiting in my wedding dress is still there - unchanged in the past 15 years.  However, when I looked in the mirror I noticed that I had changed.  How did that happen?  I have a few more wrinkles and gray hair.  My skin is not as youthful nor as glowing.  But I would like to think I've changed in positive ways as well.

I'm more confident in who I am.  I'm more focused on the Lord in my life.   I'm a mother now and nothing could be greater than that.  I would like to think that I have more wisdom and strength now than I had those few years ago.

Perhaps I will come back again in 15 years to see how I've changed then.  However, at that visit, I may have to ask them to have their mirrors checked.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Journey of Les Misérables

The past three months I have been on an adventure.  Not the kind that can be catalogued in scrapbooks and pictures, but the kind that can be felt in your heart and in your life.  I read Les Misérables!

I have to start by saying that this book is HUGE  - and at times I was rather discouraged and frustrated.  But as I persevered and eventually made it through I realized that it was worth the read and a book that I am grateful I brought into my life.  

Truthfully, there are just too many great moments to share, so I decided that I would share my 5 favorite moments of the book and the musical.  Did I mention that I went to see the musical?  Yes!  Yesterday - the same day that I finished the book.  So, while most of my adventure came through the book, it was still a wonderful ending to be able and watch the musical with all it's heart wrenching music.  Without further are my top moments.

1.  Fantine.  Not necessarily Fantine as a whole, but her motherly instinct to put her child first.  Every decision she makes is based on her child and how she can support Cosette.  As she sells her hair, I was upset - as she sells her teeth I was bawling.  I don't know that you can express the love and devotion that a mother has for her child, but Fantine's story does a wonderful job of portraying it.  "This candle illuminated her countenance.  It was a bloody smile. A reddish saliva soiled the corners of her lips, and she had a black hole in her mouth.  The two teeth had been extracted."  Broke my heart.

2.  Little Gavroche.  A child born of two of the most reprehensible people.  Yet still he manages to portray all that is sweet and innocent in youth.  He is kind, he is helpful, he is funny - all while surviving and living on the streets of Paris.  His morals are perhaps not what they should be, however he has never been taught.  Gavroche is youth that has yet to be molded and formed into any one type.  He is still innocent. Hugo states that, "All crimes of the man begin in the vagabondage of the child."   It is our responsibility to teach our children - they all start out sweet and innocent like Gavroche.  It is up to us to help mold them and form them into something good.  Little Gavroche died while helping others and with a song on his lips...and I do believe I threw my book across the room at this point.  I just couldn't read any more of the brutality and abuse of children.  I needed a break to go love on my own children.  Such a precious gift from God. 

3.  "Bring Him Home" - Jean Valjean's feelings at the time of the barricade are vastly different between the book and the musical.  In the book he doesn't much like Marius - Marius is the person that is going to take away Jean Valjean's reason for living (Cosette).  However, in the musical he refers to him as the "son he might have known."  Vastly different feelings, and yet I can't help but love this song.  It is heart wrenching, it is tender, and it is beautiful.    It was once played as prelude music at the funeral of a friend, and I have never been able to look at it the same way since.  A beautiful prayer to the Lord advocating for the life of another.  We all have an advocate that I'm sure prays to the Lord for each of us.  Some day we will all go home to God and yet we will not die, but we will live!  I think of this every time I hear this song.

4.  Jean Valjean.  How can you not love this character.  His complete conversion to the Lord and his changing of his life.  He no longer has a desire to do evil....well, I guess I can't really say that.  There are times when Jean Valjean debates his options - should he turn himself in to save another, or should he keep quiet to save a town? - but in the end he always makes the choice that is most in keeping with his beliefs in God.  I think the fact that he agonizes over decisions makes him more human - none of us can make large life changing decisions in the blink of an eye.  They require meditation and prayer.  However, the one thing I wish Valjean could have done was forgive himself.  He was always forgiving others and yet he never seemed to be able to forgive himself.  He felt that all the bad things that happened to him were his due because of his past.  I just wish he could have fully understood the significance of the atonement and forgiven himself.

5.  Philosophical Implications.  This book is so full of religious and social philosophy.  Not just claiming a belief in God, but living your life as a reflection of the Lord.  Helping those in need.  The children of the world and how they are a refection of our societies.  There were tons!   But two that stuck out to me are Justice vs. Grace and Freedom.  Let's start with Justice vs Grace.  Javert can not seem to reconcile his past beliefs of justice, justice, justice with this awakening of grace that Valjean has caused.  "He held before him two paths, both equally straight, but he beheld two; and that terrified him;"  In the end, he isn't able to reconcile himself to this new found path of Grace.  So standing between two bridges - one leading to the Notre Dame Cathedral (Grace) and the other leading to the Palais de Justice (Justice) - Javert must give in his resignation to the Lord and he jumps.  
Freedom - what does anyone want but freedom?  These poor sad people wanted nothing more than freedom...and yet it was a long time coming.   There was the French Revolution, then Napoleon, then a few more Bourbon Kings, another Napoleon, and then the Third Republic in 1870.  That's 100 years of civil unrest - all for this little thing called freedom.  : )  It made me think of my own country and our quest for freedom.  It made me realize how lucky we were as a country.  The timing was right and the location was perfect for our own revolution.  Truly, had we been in England trying to break free it never would have happened.  Freedom.  It's programed into our souls.  We will forever be seeking it for ourselves and for others.

Those are my 5.  I know that there are so many other moments and ideas and concepts that could be expanded on, but these were just a few of my favorites.  I really did like Eponine - in the book and the show.  I was disappointed in Cosette and Marius, but they are more likable in the show.  Lots and lots of things to talk about but I have to stop somewhere.  

An amazing experience!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Phillips Family Fourth

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Capturing Memories

Yesterday Elliott went out and bought me a new camera!

Now...we've had quite a few cameras over the years. We buy one, use it until our kids fully destroy it (about 2 years) and then buy another one.

Well, this time we decided to bite the bullet and get a nice camera. He bought me a Canon T2i. I've only had it a day and so far, I love it. I don't have to wait 3 minutes between taking pictures, I can actually get shots while my kids are in motion, and it focuses on what I point it at - all of these are a huge step above our last camera.

I have included some pictures from last night - I just couldn't help taking a ton of pictures. I think my kids are sick of me. LOVE IT!

Aubrey is always willing to pose for a picture -

Even Missy got in on the action-

Brooke and her best friend, Abby -

This is what Leah looks like 90% of the time, filthy -

Daddy took the kids swimming and let me stay on the side and take pictures -

Brooke jumping in, she's a little fish -

William the blue-eyed eel -

Now he's flying through the air. I was able to get about 5 shots from take-off to landing. So fun! -

Leah thinks she can swim...too bad she's wrong -

"Say cheese." - "Cheese!"

Aubrey flipping through the air. A little blurry, but I'm working on it _

Leah running out of the pool to go home -

Brooke's final flight of the night -

Thank you, Elliott! I love it!

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Comedic Stylings of William

A few days ago, William left out all of his Pokemon cards. This isn't the first time that he has done this, so Elliott got upset at him.

William was defending himself saying, "I didn't leave them out! Someone took them out of my room and put them there!"

"Really?" His dad responded. "If someone took them, did you file a police report?"


"Well, if they were stolen than you should have. I'm taking them away for a while."

That seemed to be the end of the conversation - things calmed down and everyone went about their normal routines. However, a few minutes later William walked up to Elliott and handed him a piece of paper, then turned and walked away.

This is exactly what it said,

"I report that my Pokemom cards have bian stolen. I sespek Aubrey, Brooke, and Dad.



Monday, May 2, 2011

Ward Party

One of the things that's great about being members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is being part of a ward family.

We had a "Ward Picnic" last Saturday and it was a lot of fun!

We met at the church pavilion for sandwiches, salads and dessert.

Then, the kids got to play tons of games.

My personal favorite was watching them play red-rover.

Of course, Leah liked the ball game.

...or hanging out with the boys.

Brooke's favorite was "Duck, Duck, Goose!"

But even that got a little crazy after awhile.

At least we ended the night with smiles....

Friday, April 22, 2011

Grandpa Barclay

On April 2, my Grandpa Barclay (or as my kids call him, Papa Barclay) turned 80 years old. To help celebrate, Leah and I flew to SLC and then hitched a ride to Idaho with my mom.

It was great to be able to see almost all of my family - on both sides. We visited with the family in Burley and then stayed at Grandma and Grandpa Kloepfer's house so that we could visit with them.

The evening of the 2nd, all the Barclay family got together and had a huge dinner. It was followed by a wonderful bagpipe performance by Doug - he borrowed mom and dad's scottish garb and amazed all of us as he played.

After Doug, the four brothers all got to talk about their Dad - the life lessons he taught them, the funny experiences they'd had, and the example for integrity that he'd always been.

I loved being able to see all my family, but more importantly, I was grateful for the opportunity to honor my Grandpa. He always taught me that your name stands for something, so you better make it something good. He taught that family sticks together no matter what. And he taught that you treat your wife like a queen because she is your sweetheart and love - Always.

I love you, Grandpa!

All the family

The boys when they were younger

Grandpa with this boys now

Kayla and Tyson

Leah couldn't sit still

Tausha and Andrea

"Doug of the Highlands"

Sweet new baby D'Enna