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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Celebrate the Season


For the past 10 years, I have been privileged to sing in the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square in Salt Lake City.  One can perform for up to 20 years, or age 60, whichever comes first.  I was set to retire in April of 2020, but the Pandemic interrupted that plan. The choir's television broadcast each Sunday morning was never interrupted, though, as the choir had years and years of performances and specials that they could re-broadcast.  Music and the Spoken Word has had a continuous broadcast every Sunday since 1927, now in its 93rd year, broadcasting to over 2000 television and radio stations around the world.

This beloved choir has had a 20-year history of epic Christmas programs, broadcast each Christmas season on PBS television stations.  Live performances are filmed, then broadcast the following year.  Last year, though, with no live performance in 2020, a composit of concerts over the years has been put together for the 2021 season.  Choir members were able to sing together, in a way, in this virtual choir.  Each of us recorded ourselves at home, listening to a track, and emailed our recording.  I make my appearance for the very last phrase, at 2:21, "Christ, the babe, was born for you." just in time to fade out on the soloist's shoulder.

And then, cautiously, last October, we resumed "regular" rehearsals.  Anyone returning to the choir must be fully vaccinated.  Covid testing is required prior to every rehearsal or performance.  After a few weeks, live broadcasts began again, with little or no audience, and still taking precautions.  Only a couple of people have tested positive for Covid since October.  I'll get to sing yet another Christmas program, another General Conference and Easter concert with weekly broadcasts until retirement on April 24th, 2022.

What a blessing and honor it has been to be able to raise my voice and sing with this magnificent choir - uplifting, inspiring music, messages of hope and peace and praise.  It has been such a joy!  I will relish every moment.

~the Momma

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Mother's Day 2021 ~ Fill the World With Love


This screenshot from today's broadcast of Music and the Spoken Word caught me in a close-up, singing the words, "Did I fill the world with love my whole life through?"  

That is the question, isn't it?


Mother's Day has been a tough one for me in the past; thinking of my own mother who died of cancer at age 59 ~ gone now for over 20 years. Thinking of my own mothering - feeling inadequate, and sometimes overwhelmed and wondering if I did enough. Did I support and encourage them enough?  Did I love them enough?
   
Stott Family, circa 1991:  Three one-year-olds and one three-year-old

We had some intense child-rearing years - our son was two when his triplet sisters were born. It was busy, it was loud, but it was fun and fabulous too.  

Now we have one thirty-three-year-old and three thirty-one-year-olds!  All grown up with families of their own - we have added three spouses, 3 dogs, 6 chickens, a cat and almost three grandchildren to the mix!  






Blessings, blessings.  And the lyrics to this song have extra meaning today.

Fill the World With Love
In the morning of my life, I shall look to the sunrise.
At a moment in my life when the world is new.
And the blessing I shall ask is that God will grant me
To be brave and strong and true,
And to fill the world with love my whole life through.

In the noontime of my life, I shall look to the sunshine,
At a moment in my life when the sky is blue.
And the blessing I shall ask shall remain unchanging.
To be brave and strong and true,
And to fill the world with love my whole life through

In the evening of my life, I shall look to the sunset,
At a moment in my life when the night is due.
And the question I shall ask only I can answer.
Was I brave and strong and true?
Did I fill the world with love my whole life through?

~the Momma

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Timeless Messages of Hope and Praise

It is Well With My Soul

With the world on hold because of the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square has not gathered together since March 13th of 2020.  But the music goes on every week, just as it has for the previous 92 years!  As a member of the choir, it has been a little bit heartwrenching to give up that portion of my life, of raising my voice in unity with 359 other singers every Thursday for rehearsal and every Sunday morning for the live broadcast.  

It has been a blessing though, to watch Music and the Spoken Word every Sunday morning and include it as part of my home worship service.  At first, it was difficult not to burst into tears with each and every heartfelt song!  But, in a way, having that stirring music fill my soul has softened the blow, as I know each and every other member of the choir has had those same yearnings to sing together.  And we can sing along from home.  The choir's messages each week have continued to buoy me up and bring a feeling of peace.  I still catch glimpses of myself each week and remember the words and the feelings as I sang lovely anthems, beautiful hymns, uplifting, positive, hopeful, inspirational messages. 

The choir will probably be one of the last groups to reconvene after a "herd immunity" has been established in the world.  The very nature of singing together, sitting so close, projection and forceful diction to achieve the ideal sound will restrict us from gathering.  So, I will continue to hope for the best and to sing along, to practice in the shower and in the car so that when we do reconvene, I'll be able to perform once again with this lovely group.

~ the Momma

Monday, April 12, 2021

What's for Dinner? Special Occasions

 Looking back through photos, I started to get hungry!  Here are a few of our family's favorite delicious dinners for St. Patrick's Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, or whenever!

~~ Crock-Pot Corned Beef ~~
Steamed Cabbage, Carrots, Potatoes & Onions

What is it about this annual St. Patrick's day meal that just tastes so. darn. good!?  Must be the briny sauce from the corned beef poured over the veggies.  Just follow the directions on the Corned Beef package, and steam the veggies separately.  Delicious!

~~ Three-Cheese Ravioli (made with Gyoza Wrappers) ~~
 Homemade Bolognese Sauce & Basil/Pistachio Pesto



Evan was surprised it tasted so delicious! OK, this was an experiment, but judging from the quick disappearance of it at dinnertime, we'll be sure to repeat.  Recipes are from the 3rDegree Bakery's HOME COOKIN' Cookbook.  This one is good for any day of the week.  We tend to do Italian dishes on Sundays.


~~ Garbage Can Dinner ~~
 Severed Toes (Sausages)
Steamed Potatoes, Carrots, Mushrooms, Onion, Broccoli, Cauliflower
Dijon Mustard



Quickest meal in the West! Load up the steamer with a little water in the bottom, then comb through the fridge or garden for everything you can steam together, plus a few Polska Kielbasa sausages.  A little butter, salt & pepper, and a sprinkle of dill on the top, with a side of Dijon mustard, mmmm! The perfect meal on a Sunday afternoon, or for Hallowe'en.👻



~~ Thanksgiving Feaste ~~
Mediterranean Salad with Tomato, Artichokes, Cucumber, Feta & Ranch Dressing 
Lemon-Baked Braised Cornish Hens
 Freshly Mashed Idaho Russets with Cream, Butter & Nutmeg
 Balsamic-Glazed Carrots & Parsnips
Fresh Fruit Compote with Citrus Zest


This is the layout of a feast with two of my sisters who came for a mini Hen Party/Craft Day.  It wasn't quite Thanksgiving, but we laid out a fun spread and enjoyed delicious food and a fun time together!  We didn't use recipes, just grabbed stuff out of the refrigerator to put the dishes together.  Oh, yum!



Now, this post is making me hungry!  I wonder, what's for dinner??

~the Momma

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

The Joys of 2020

December 2020 marked our 35th anniversary, and what a year it has been! The worst of times has definitely brought out the best of times. For all of the challenges of this year, it has been an amazing year of incredible major firsts in our married life:

* Home Worship.  

With the shutdown of large gatherings due to COVID restrictions, it has been especially poignant to do our scripture study and worship together at home.  Sunday mornings would normally find me downtown Salt Lake City at Temple Square to rehearse and sing with the Tabernacle Choir for our weekly broadcast of "Music and the Spoken Word."  I was set to retire from the choir in April of 2020, but still being able to watch re-broadcasts from home has been a blessing in disguise.  It's as though my mission has been extended!  When the choir does reconvene, I will get to perform one more live broadcast. Meanwhile, I'll continue to sing along and we'll continue to include the broadcasts as part of our home worship services.

* Lake Powell Houseboat Vacation.  

Lake Powell in Southern Utah is one of the largest man-made lakes and is visited by over 2 million people every year.  I had never vacationed there, and Evan hadn't been since he was a teenager.  We joined friends from Choir; Joan, Janet, and their husbands pooled in for groceries and gas, and enjoyed a few days on Joan's houseboat.  It was amazing!  The lake was beautiful!  We spent many hours exploring some of the 2000 miles of shoreline, and took a hike to Rainbow Arch.  Evan and I are not real water skiers, but we did take a great tube ride!  What a treat!  We LOVED that vacation!  See more photos HERE.


* Bobsled Ride! 

The 2002 Winter Olympic Games were held here in Utah, and venues for many of the events were held near where we live, including the Ski Jump and Bobsled venues.  These are now training facilities and even offer tubing down the ski jump site and rides in the bobsled!  For a mere $85 per person, we got to strap in and take an exhilarating, terrifying 1.014-kilometer ride with 14 curves and up to 4 to 5 times the force of gravity all in around 1 minute. Well, our driver did slow down a tiny bit so a squirrel could cross!  Happy 65th birthday to Evan, indeed!



* Built a House together.  


Starting December 21, 2019, we joined 9 other couples in a co-op and began building 10 houses together in a program called Self-Help homes.  Each family committed to working a minimum of 35 hours per week until all 10 homes were complete.  We were each trained on our various tasks as we went along, and Evan and I did the majority of building the staircases and doing the finish carpentry work.  I became very good at using a miter saw, cutting the 2 x 4s for framing, and I cut nearly every stair tread and riser, and each piece of baseboard. casing and shelving for each home.  I installed the baseboard in 9 of the 10 homes, but by the last home, my knees were shot!  It was an incredible experience to build these homes together; building a neighborhood, building friendships!  We finished on August 24th!  We love our new home and I"m so proud of all of us!  See the full album HERE

Finished houses:

* Empty Nest.  


Our single daughter decided it would be a good time to move to Hawaii.  After 33  years of kids at home, it has been an adjustment, but we're learning to enjoy each other more and more, and depend on technology more and more to keep us all connected! 

* Rock Crawling in Southern Utah.  


Because the company Evan works for has done so well in this time of Covid-19, and as a team-building activity, his boss treated the entire company and their spouse/significant other to a trip to Moab, Utah for a rock-crawling adventure!  We had never done anything like this and it too was exhilarating and terrifying at times.  As we made it over the first couple of vertical climbs up and down, we came to trust the trail and the vehicle and really enjoyed ourselves!  Beautiful country!




We stopped at Dead Horse Point on our way home the following day.  


All in all, I think we have spent more time together this year than any year prior. Here's to more wonderful adventures!

~The Momma

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