Monday, December 7, 2015

Oh Holy Night, the Stars are Brightly Shining!

Two Things I am Grateful For:

1). Kevin's health.  Last week was a rough week.  He was having some issues at the beginning of the week and then things changed to a whole new issue towards the end of the week and he wasn't eating.  Kevin's appetite has changed so much since his SCI and he has already lost quite a bit of weight.  So, Going without food for three days isn't a good thing.  Thankfully, he is finally eating again.  

2). Good kids who have gone out of their way to help me today and tonight.  I appreciate them so much.

From the Camera:

The other night when Danielle was over we ran a quick errand together.  While we were driving Lexi grabbed my phone and the two of them began taking a few goofy selfie shots and they knew as soon as they did it that they would all end up here...on the blog, of course.  ~smile~smile~
(sorry for the poor quality)

From the Craft Room & Other Things:

Danielle and I are making these cute trees.  What do you think???

From the Heart and Spirit:

LDS daughter of 'Peanuts' creator Charles Schulz talks about father's commitment to family, wholesome entertainment

By Morgan Jones, Deseret News

Charles Schulz believed that America likes decency.
It is an idea that may seem far-fetched in a society that embraces edgy and vulgar entertainment on a daily basis. But according to his daughter, Amy Schulz Johnson, the creator of the “Peanuts” comic strip “never swore a day in his life.”
“He always said, ‘“Rats” covers everything,’” Johnson said. “That’s why he always had Charlie Brown say ‘Rats’ when things went wrong.”
It's also why in the nearly 18,000 comics Schulz published between 1950 and 2000, the "Peanuts" characters never uttered anything objectionable.
It would seem that Schulz’s faith in America was not misplaced. Although he died of colon cancer in 2000, Schulz will earn $40 million this year, placing him behind only Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley in posthumous earnings, according to Forbes. Friday marks the release of “The Peanuts Movie,” which is projected to earn more than $56 million at the box office during its opening weekend.
Still, perhaps more important than money earned or the number of adoring fans, past or present, is how a man is remembered in the eyes of those who knew him best. It takes only a few minutes speaking with his daughter to recognize that Schulz’s comic strip characters were a reflection of his own personal character.
Johnson, who lives in Alpine, remembers her father as "a normal, nice dad who was a good person" and a man who always had time for his children. Schulz and Joyce Halverson, Amy's mother and Schulz's first wife, created an environment that Johnson compares to "living at Disneyland." She witnessed the impact her father's character and the childhood he provided had in the lives of others. It was her parents' influence that prepared Johnson to later join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Now a mother of nine, Johnson said Schulz never talked about himself or his profession and would stop everything he was doing when his kids entered his office. His availability led her to conclude that he didn't have a job.
“I distinctly remember walking into the room, where he would be in the middle of drawing a strip, and he would immediately stop drawing,” Johnson recalled. “He would say, ‘Hi, Amos,’ and would just sit and talk to me; therefore, I assumed he was never busy. He never acted like he was too busy for any of his children.”
The Schulz family lived on 28 acres in Sebastopol, California. Over the years, the Schulzes added a swimming pool, baseball fields, a park and a golf course, making it a place where their children — and their friends — wanted to be.
“Some of my friends didn’t tell me until they were in their 40s the things that were happening in their homes,” Johnson said. “And … I can’t really word this properly, but they said, and this had everything to do with Dad, that coming to our house every weekend is what saved them emotionally. … Seeing a normal, nice dad who was a good person helped them survive what they were going through themselves. … Our home was a shelter from the storm for them.”
Johnson refers to her adolescence as “wonderful, happy and clean-cut.” She often tells people, “If you think Utah Valley Mormons are sheltered, you should’ve been a Schulz!” Johnson believes the Schulz residence was a place where God's influence could be felt because “the Spirit is in homes of goodness.”
Johnson feels her home life prepared her to join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when she was 22 years old. She summarizes her conversion with a quote from LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley, who said, “We say to the people, in effect, you bring with you all the good that you have, and then let us see if we can add to it.”
“I see my life as taking all the good that I had, how I was raised from this great mom and dad, and then adding the gospel to the family that my husband and I are raising,” Johnson said.
Johnson learned about the LDS Church while dating a Latter-day Saint. The Word of Wisdom caught her attention because the commandment to abstain from alcohol was something she already observed. Her parents never told her not to drink alcohol, but because they never drank, she didn’t either.
“Our great life prepared me because I didn’t have to change much of anything,” Johnson said.
Upon learning that Johnson is a member of the LDS Church, some have commented, “I knew your dad was a Mormon because all of his strips were always so decent.”
While Schulz did not believe in the LDS faith himself, he was always supportive of his daughter. When Johnson opened a full-time mission call a year and a half after she was baptized, she immediately went up to her dad’s office. She announced, “Dad, I got my mission call. I’m going to England.”
“He got up from his desk, walked around to where I was standing with his arms outstretched, gave me big hug and said, ‘Even Jesus didn’t get to go to England,’” Johnson remembered.
Schulz spoke at her mission farewell, and as his daughter served, Schulz never missed a week of sending handwritten letters that Johnson now considers her biggest treasure.
“It’s funny because if I read you parts of them, you would think that my dad was a stake president in our church or something,” Johnson said. “He would have the most beautiful things to say about Christ and the scriptures.”
Schulz's support for Johnson continued when she was married in the Oakland California Temple. Schulz stood outside the temple on a cold and windy day, waiting for his daughter.
“He would never want me to feel anything but happiness for my new life,” Johnson said.
He also attended the Mount Timpanogos Utah Temple open house with Johnson in 1996. And once, as Johnson's daughter, Stephanie, played hymns on the piano in a room full of Schulz’s family, he leaned over to Johnson and said, “Isn’t it too bad that you and I are the only ones who can appreciate this?”
Today, Schulz’s legacy lives on in the lives of his children and grandchildren. Johnson is particularly proud of her brother, Craig Schulz, and his efforts to honor their father with the release of “The Peanuts Movie,” which he wrote and produced along with his son, Bryan, and friend Cornelius Uliano. The film is a four-generation family affair as Johnson’s grandson, Micah Revelli, provides the voice of “Little Kid.”
“They absolutely have it perfect,” Johnson said. “You just want to reach out and grab these characters. You want to jump through the screen and live in their neighborhood. They’re all just so beautifully done.”
Johnson says her brother fought to maintain the wholesome quality of the "Peanuts" brand, avoiding any kind of bathroom humor or innuendo.
For 50 years, Schulz offered something decent, and the world loved it. This weekend, "The Peanuts Movie" will test the appeal of Schulz's work once again.
When asked whether the movie is something her father would endorse, Johnson answered without hesitation: “He’d be immensely proud; he’d be stunned.

From the Kitchen:

Chicken Parmesan Casserole
2 lbs cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts (shredded or cubed)
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
¼ cup fresh basil, finely chopped
2 cups favorite pasta sauce 
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
2 oz Parmesan cheese, divided (I didn’t actually measure this, I just sprinkled some on!)
3.5-5 oz bag of croutons, roughly crushed (I used a garlic and cheese flavor)

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
*Spread the cubed chicken across the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish (lightly sprayed with cooking spray) in a single layer. 
*Sprinkle the garlic, red pepper flakes and basil evenly over the chicken. 
*Top chicken with the pasta sauce in an even layer.
*Sprinkle 1 cup of the Mozzarella and one ounce of the Parmesan evenly across the top. 
*Add the crushed croutons, then remaining cheese.
*Bake, uncovered, for 20-25 mins or until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly.

From the Schmidt's:

Here is a stocking stuffer idea....
When you purchase your stockings stuffers, include a couple of the mini serving size boxes of your child's favorite cold cereal.  They can open them and snack during the gift opening instead of just munching on candy and treats at six in the morning, or earlier.  They will love it and they will have something to keep their tummies in check until you are ready to serve breakfast or maybe brunch.  

Today I have been thinking about how my parents were introduced to the church and how my in-laws were too.  My father was in the military and two missionaries knocked on our door one day.  They spent a lot of time at talking at the door until one day my parents let the missionaries into their home.  After several discussions my parents were baptized.  I was probably about 4 or 5 years old.  I remember attending church and Primary with my parents and those missionaries.  It's been about 43 years since that time and as a result of the time spent with those two missionaries several years ago members of my parents posterity are now also active in the church.  Because of the acts of kindness decades ago, my life today is completely different than what it would have been otherwise.  

My husband's parents have a similar story, but their story begins with the kindness of determined members and Priesthood leaders.  My FIL joined the church because of their efforts and now four generations, are active members of the church today.  One of those generations received their membership in the church due to the work done in the temple by younger family members.  

What we do today does indeed impact others.  Not just through fellowshipping church members.  One simple gesture can make a difference in someones life, can change a person's attitude, their self-esteem, the way that they look at their world or even their future.  During the holidays, it's so much easier to be thoughtful and kind to others.  But, do we consider that we can make a difference in the life of a stranger just as much as we could those that we know and love?  It doesn't even have to be a big impact, but it can make a difference.  Let the person with three items go in front of you in the grocery line.  Or the mother who's kids are touching everything in sight and whining.  Or open the door for someone.  Or give them the good parking spot and walk a few extra feet.  It won't hurt.  Make a difference.  

Not to toot my own horn, but to share something that made my day.  Last Saturday evening, I was at the grocery store.  The young lady in line ahead of me was just barely out of high school and was there with her two young children.  She looked exhausted and was more concerned about putting me out to wait for the clerk to check her out because she was paying for her groceries with her WIC vouchers.  I could tell she was ready to go home, but she offered to let me go ahead of her.  When I saw her little ones I told her to go ahead and I would wait, no problem.  As she was leaving she thanked me and I said, "You are doing a great job with those kids."  I could tell she really loved them and was very attentive, plus everything she purchased was fresh fruit and veggies.  Her entire continence brightened up with a big smile.  She said, "You don't know how you just made my day.  Seriously.  I've had the worst day ever.  Thank you so much!"  I walked out to my car feeling just as good as she did!  We never really know the impact that we have on others, but it is a good reason to try a little harder.  Enough said.

Blog Challenge Question:  
What's your favorite Christmas song??

Oh, there are so many Christmas songs I enjoy to hear or sing that this could be an entire entry in and of itself!  One of my favorites this year is this....

Mary Did You know by: Pentatonix

I also enjoy anything by Michael Buble

Mannheim Steamroller's Deck the Halls is a good one too.  Carol of the Bells is a good one!  Collin Raye has a great Christmas album that I was truly amazed by.  I could listen to that for a while too.  One of my favorite Christmas memories were the times that I got to sing the Hallelujah Chorus each year at the end of  my High School Choir Christmas performance.  We worked so hard on that song each year and I was always amazed at how well we did each year.  (if I do say so myself.)  Another favorite Christmas memory is singing all the Christmas Hymns in church each Sunday.  I love that!!!   The only thing I do not like about the Christmas music you hear on the radio are those artists that seem to try and reinvent the song and end up totally ruining the song.  Once that happens, it's all over and I have to change the station.  

Hope you have an awesome night!  Take care friends and we will talk again soon. 

From the Missionary:

Below are a few new photos of our son, Elder Schmidt at some recent meetings.  Here is a little clue, Curtis is in all the photos but the last two.  Can you spot him out??

I included the last two photo so you could see his Mission President and his wife, along with the Assistant's to the President.  
We know Curtis really enjoys his new area in Connecticut and all of his roommates.  We also know that the Lord has decided that changes need to be made.  How those changes will effect our son or if at all, we will find out more next week, until then.....
It has been a busy eventful week!  We had specialized training with all the district leaders and their companions.  MLC was held on Thursday this month followed by Train the Trainers meeting on Friday.  That means it's transfer time again!  The weeks go by so quickly.  Next Tuesday we will welcome 17 new missionaries and say goodbye to 17 amazing missionaries on Thursday morning.

Quote of the Day:

 photo ae61ba47-7d78-4151-a87a-fbdf53851081_zps246d8efb.png
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