Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas Eve!

I celebrated Christmas Eve by going to Sundance for quick 1 hour of cross-country skiing - my first time this season. It was beautiful and a good workout for certain muscles that haven't been used for nine months and I loved it. Being on the snowy mountain takes me to my happy place. I listen to movie soundtracks and the swelling orchestral music just seems to fit with the scenery. It's going to be a great day!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Music

I love Christmas music

Really, I love all of it. I have a special fondness for Handel's Messiah. (which you can read about here) This year I have especially loved Kurt Bestor's instrumental versions of Christmas carols, which I've had in my CD alarm clock all month. Thanks to Chelle's blog I've been listening to Sarah McLachan's Wintersong and adding it to my favorites.

When we were on our mission in Korea for the 1st and 3rd Christmases we had each zone into the mission home for a Christmas zone conference. In my message to the missionaries I told them about some of the Christmas carols that I love and then played them on CD. I don't know if it was meaningful to them, but it was meaningful to me to prepare it and to share it with them.

I was listening to the Forgotten Carols in my car the other day; my favorite is "The Shepherd." I found myself weeping tears of testimony as these words were sung:

I knew that as the world
moves on through time,
there would be more stories just like mine
about the souls who've chosen to believe
in something that they never got to see.
And do you think you'll join us
though you've not seen a thing?
you were not there in Bethlehem
Nor heard the angels sing.
but if you feel the spirit in the air,
then, just like me, you'll know that
He was here . . . He was here.
The King of kings and Lord of lords was here,
He was here . . . He was here.
And He will come again, for He was here.

I love Christmas music
because it brings the Spirit testifying of Him whose birth we celebrate.

A Christmas Carol

It has been "A Christmas Carol" season for me. It started with reading the book for our book club, and being the discussion leader. I thoroughly enjoyed refreshing myself on Dickens' orginially wording, which sometimes gets lost in all the adaptations. (This is a pet peeve among the Rife family; we don't like it when movies or plays change from Dickens' verbage - it's the best, so just stick with it!)
Of course, the best part of the story is the message that we can change and improve with the help of the Spirit. But Fred's words to his uncle Scrooge are also profound:

"I am sure I have always thought of Christmas-time, when it has come round--apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that--as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!"

During the course of the month I have watched this version:
I really love the song from this movie entitled "Christmas Children" by SheDaisy on their Christmas album

And this version:

Which is a newer musical with Kelsey Grammer, and I love musicals!

And this version:

with Patrick Stewart, not a musical - but Jean Luc Picard - HELLO!

And this Rife Family Favorite:

Our favorite part is when Fezziwig makes a speech at the party and the two muppet hecklers say:
"It was pointless, it was obvious, it was dumb, . . . it was short - we loved it!"

And then last Saturday we continued our tradition of seeing the play at:

It is so fun to include the next generation in this fun outing.
Last year was Connor's first year

And this year Ayden got to come

Logan, Ayden and Mary

Michael and Alysha
Karrissa, Joe, Jenny and Trevor - it was Trevor's first time

The whole family:(Brian and Michelle both had to work - don't be confused, this is Anna, Brian's girlfriend, with Todd)

The best quote from Ayden as we were leaving the theater, said to my Mom:

"Grandma, why do they have real people, don't they have a TV?"

And just today my dear husband was watching this 1938 version:

I'm grateful that God inspired Charles Dickens to write this amazing Christmas story to remind us all that we can change and improve through the guidance of the Spirit - that is the glad tiding of Christmas as the angels told the shepherds:

"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour,
which is Christ the Lord

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Todd Rusty is 22!

Our fourth child and second son, Todd Rusty Rife, turned 22 yesterday! We had a dinner celebration for him with the family on Sunday so he could enjoy his birthday with his friends.

This is a really lame-looking cake; it is a spice cake with cream cheese frosting (as requested by the birthday boy) and it did taste great even though it doesn't look very pretty.

Things I love about Todd:

~He's so handsome, that blonde hair and blue eyes and what great eyebrows!
~He's a hard worker - this wasn't always so, but he's a good employee at whatever his job is and he's kind to help me with whatever I need.
~He loves animals and small children, the sign of a truly kind and loving person.
~He loves his family and wants to be with us and takes his relationships seriously.
~He's funny and a good story teller - that is if you like long stories . . .
~He's affectionate, he always gives me a hug hello and goodbye and tells me he loves me every time we talk.
~He can fix things - I didn't marry a handyman, but I did grow me a couple and I'm grateful for Todd's skills and willingness to share them with me.

We're so glad you're in our family Toddy, T.Rusty Pink, Mr. Pinkerton!

A Significant Trip

Last week when I was going out to the car with an armload of stuff, including my purse, coat and two corningware dishes I was returning after Thanksgiving, I missed the last step in the garage and fell. I was shaky, but not really hurt, except for a sliver of glass in my finger from all the crashing glassware. Michael was home for lunch so I just picked up my cell phone and called him and asked him to come to the garage and help me.

He was there in a flash and so solicitous and kind, getting me a paper towel and tweezers for my finger, helping me up and cleaning up all the broken glass. Later in the afternoon he texted me to see if I was alright and that evening was checking out my sore ankle with his vast knowledge from the Sports Medicine class he's taking.

I was touched by his concern and care, but even more than that, he's been telling everyone about it. Michael is not a very talkative fellow, especially about feelings, so it's been interesting that this experience is so significant to him.

As I've listened to him tell about this experience to other family members and some friends, (his friend, Kenton saw me the next day and asked if I was okay) I've realized that his was a significant experience for Michael because it defines the moment when he changed from "care-receiver" to "care-giver." For the first time he felt protective of his mother as a man.

I love you, Michael and I'm proud of the man you've become. Plus, you're really strong and handsome.

The Kurt Bestor Christmas Concert

The Kurt Bestor Christmas concert has become a family holiday tradition. We all love his Christmas music and it's great to have our children asking when we can go to Symphony Hall. (it feels like we're so cultured) This year we took all our children and their significant others and my parents to the Saturday matinee performance and followed up with dinner at the Olive Garden. It was a cold and snowy day which made it even more Christmasy.

Jenny was our photographer for the day; here's just one shot of the "Korea Gang." You can see more pictures on her cute blog.

Thanks to my dear husband, the chairman of the fundraising committee, who provided this great Christmas memory.

Speaking of Christmas Sweaters . . .

Check out these two:

Michael and Trevor went to Savers on Saturday morning to get these matching Christmas tree sweaters so they would be festive for the Kurt Bestor Concert!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Stockings Were Hung By the Chimney With Care . . .

The stockings are indeed hung at the Rife household. I even added a "T" tag to Jenny's for Trevor. Our children have to share their stocking with their spouse, but don't worry it's "double-stuffed" so no one misses out!

You may have to click on this to read it, but you will seen that I am definitely of the latter type! (And this is apparently an inherited trait, check out the Hammer Christmas House here)

Welcome to the
Rife Christmas House!

Yes, it is a little lame to have an artificial tree outside, but since I can't have a tree in either of my front windows, I just like to have a lighted tree in the front.

The entry with my lovely model, Annie

The Santa Collection

The Christmas Candle Collection

The dining room table

The "other" dining room table with our newest Christmas decoration, the Jim Shore version on Santa worshiping the Christ child - that's what it's all about!

My niece, Karrissa posted all her nativity sets on her blog and I thought it was such a great idea, so here are ours:

The olive-wood set that Laura brought back from her Jerusalem Study Abroad semester

The ceramic set that Sheri Rife gave me and I painted them myself!

The beautiful pearl ceramic set my Mom poured for me years ago.

The Fisher-Price Little People Natvity - so cute and fun for children of all ages to play with!

And last, but not least the beautiful Jim Shore set that Rich surprised me with last year, I just love all the blue and the geometric patterns and colors, and (as Laura pointed out) the baby is sleeping peacefully on his tummy - like all babies should!

I'm getting slower at getting everything out - it took me three days - but I did enjoy it. I loved puttering about my home while listening to Christmas music, bringing the Christmas spirit to my home and my heart.