In honor of my beautiful daughter Whitney, who is serving a mission in Houston, here is my FAVORITE version of my FAVORITE Christmas song. Ever. Listen to it ONCE. Listen to it TWICE. Listen to it ALL. DAY. LONG. and if you can find the time, watch the movie where it was originally performed. Check out THE PREACHER'S WIFE, starring the lovely Miss Whitney. Houston, wearing a bevy of stunning coats and hats, and of course, my main man, Mr. Denzel. Washington, also wearing a fabulous coat throughout, and sporting those dazzling whiter-than-white pearly whites. It's a FEEL GOOD, FEEL GREAT, FEEL FABULOUS, HOLIDAY TREASURE that will rock you into the holiday season. Come on everybody sing, "Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy...Joy To The World!"
Saturday, December 5, 2009
When I was a girl I loved The Nutcracker ballet. Sometimes my mother would take me to a live production. Sometimes I would watch it on tv while Mikhail Baryshnikov leaped and spun and jumped and twirled all over the land of the sugar plums. I dreamed of being Gelsey Kirkland so I could be spun and twirled by the aforementioned manly-man of the ballet. My first born daughter bears his name as her middle. It was magical when I took Whitney and Cassidy to their first Nutcracker, even though Cassidy was nearly scarred for life by the appearance of the evil Mouse King with glowing red eyes! Every time I hear the opening strains of Tchaikovsky's Waltz of the Flowers it takes me to a better place and time. A time of wonder and fantasy, artistic beauty and amazing talent. Tonight I visited a local production of The Nutcraker by the Idaho Ballet Theatre, featuring guest artists from the Utah Regional Ballet. For two hours I was again transported back into that land where candy reigns supreme. In the finale, when the Sugar Plum Fairy and her handsome cavalier pas de deux it give me chills. I don't want it to end. I want him to hold her in that final pose forever. I know the moment he puts her down, the show is over and it's back to reality. So, if you're looking for something to bring magic and wonder to your holiday season, escape for awhile to the the land of nutcrackers and mice and waltzing flowers and dancing snowflakes and the Sugar Plum Fairy. If you can escape with Mr. Baryshnikov, even better. Even more. Magical.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
"Take your broken wings and fly into the night." Don't depair. I'm not trying to change the lyrics of another Beatles tune. This is a shout out to all of my literary-minded besties to find some time this month to read one of my all time favorite books, A RED BIRD CHRISTMAS by Fannie Flagg. You won't be disappointed. It's tender, funny, poignant, and even has a bird with broken wings flying into the night! It will lift your spirits and make you soar with happiness. Read it today. Available on line at Barnes and Noble, or for $9.88 at Sam's Club!
Friday, November 27, 2009
...Dinners. How do you measure...measure a year? This year, my season to measure dinners was the month of November. Autumn is my season to spend a few hours each Friday cooking and serving at our local soup kitchen. It's one of those things I look forward to. I like the feeling that I can give back to my community with just a small sacrifice of my time and a little bit of cooking creativity. Some of my menu items included soup and sandwiches, shepherd's pie, salmon croissants, and all-the-turkey-and-fixings-leftovers-you-can-eat! Over the past 4 weeks myself and approximately 40 volunteers served lunch each Friday to approximately 614 people. That's an average of 153 people per day. Multiply that by 7, and you get 1,074 for a weekly total. Multiply THAT by 52 weeks in a year, and we will have served approximately 55,874 people by years' end. I often wonder as I see the same patrons return, day after day, week after week, month after month, season after season, if there is any hope that someday their lives will improve for the better. I don't know the answer to that. I only know that my opportunity to serve at the soup kitchen puts my own life into a greater perspective.I'm grateful each day of every season for so many things that I can measure in my life. My family and friends, food a plenty, a comfortable home, health, and happiness. The knowledge of a loving Heavenly Father who blesses me beyond my deserving. I'm thankful for 'daylight and sunsets and midnights' and yes, even the opportunity to serve those 'cups of coffee.'Multiply the number of meals served by the number 2 and the minimum number of cups of coffee that we serve over the course of a year is 111,748. Next time you have a few extra of those five hundred, twenty five thousand, six hundred minutes, take a moment to pause and reflect on what you have. Then step outside of the box and find something to do for someone who may have less. You'll find the minutes you spend serving will fly by!
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Teenage boys. They liven up our home whenever they visit. They put up with my quirkiness and tolerate Phillip's jokes. They have spent hour upon hour playing with Eli. They have been there to bring a sparkle to Cassidy's eyes, a smile to her lips, and even once in awhile, wipe away a tear or two. However, from the day the boys started walking through our front door, I knew it was inevitable. The time would come when their footsteps would no longer echo across the hardwood floor. Their laughter would be stilled and their smiles would become a mere memory in my minds' eye. The day would come when they would leave behind the world of friends and fun and girls and good times. White envelopes start arriving almost monthly, bearing the words, "You have been called to serve as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." Every time an envelope is opened, we prepare for one more goodbye. These young men are ready to serve. They are willing to go where He wants them to go. They are the best of the best. With Honors. We have been privileged to have them in our home on more than one occassion and I am confident that each and every one of them will be 'the Lord's missionaries, bringing the world His truth." I am grateful each day for the friendship and respect they have shown Cassidy. Her heart breaks a little each time someone says 'farewell'. She knows they are making the right choice. The only choice. She supports them. She also knows she will miss them. We will miss them, too, but are so proud of the journey they are about to embark on. I thank them for the example they are to Eli. He watches every move they make. He wants to be like them. He, too, wants to be a missionary.
Those footsteps are now and soon will be echoing across sidewalks and pavements and dirt roads and hardwood floors in faraway countries and cities across the United States. Their laughter will be ringing in someone else's home and those winning smiles will be spreading the good word of God. They will be teaching in languages new and languages familiar, but they will be teaching with the Spirit and they will all rejoice as they 'bring save it be one soul' into the gospel of Jesus Christ.As two more of the 'best of the best' prepare to depart this week, I wanted to wish them one last 'good-bye and good-luck.' You will be in our prayers always. May God be with you as you go forth to harvest. The field is white and you are ready to serve!
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Everyone who knows me knows I love Elvis movies. There's just something about them that makes me happy. Maybe it's his sly-come-hither stare with those deep blue eyes. Maybe it's his jet black hair. Maybe it's all the cool dancing and great singing. Maybe it's the fact that half of the time they end up on the beach. Guys with surfboards and girls in bikini's. Singing and eating, eating and singing. One of my all time favorites is "Clambake". Great movie, great beach scene, great song with great lyrics:
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
I went with Eli's class on a picnic in the park today. I've got two words for my son.
Chick. Magnet. During lunch he was surrounded by a table full of girls. I counted them. There were nine. Conversations ranged from , "Eli, remember, we're going to play together after lunch." to "Eli, don't forget, I'm your partner in the relay race." to my personal favorite from Eli's gal-pal Evelyn. "Mrs. Sorensen, Eli is my best boyfriend. We never fight. Ever. We could practically get married since we never fight. Ever." All in good fun, but it gets even better. I notice that during lunch, people keep bringing Eli treats. Jenny gives him an Airhead. Adri gives him an extra juice box she brought, 'just for him.' Not to be outdone, Evelyn reminds me that 'Yesterday I brought an extra juice box for Eli. He is my best boyfriend." There are Ding Dongs from Marley, an offer of Cheetos from Kate, which he politely declined, and a delightful bagel with Nutella, which he also politely declined. I'm not sure if he's running some type of illegal lunch-time-snack-scam, or if they are literally trying to impress him, but it was quite comical to watch. If it's like this at 8, what will it be like when he's sixteen? I can't even begin to imagine!
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Last night we took Eli to see a local stage production of SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS. When he was four our family went to see it at The Playmill in West Yellowstone. His only memories of that particular show were a few guys and girls singing on stage, 'Heidi's Famous Fudge', and the bat we found outside our hotel room. Suffice it to say, he was actually looking forward to the show this time. For your reading pleasure, here is an "After-the-show" closing night review, compliments of Eli, almost 8 now, and preparing to become a seasoned theater critic.
There you have it. SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS through the eyes of Eli. He gave it 'two thumbs' up right before he drifted off to sleep. For the record, I have to agree with everything he said. He was right on the money. I hope he can be this objective when he reviews my production of ANNIE in one month. Maybe I should start buttering him up now with lots of popcorn and root beer!
Monday, September 21, 2009
I just got back from a pre-birthday lunch with a friend. We went to Sizzler. We wanted to have the salad bar. The lady helping us at the cash register was not very friendly. While we were ordering our drinks and waiting to pay, the man behind us asked the crabby cash register girl to describe the 'bistro sandwich.' She kind of growled at him and said, "I'm a vegetarian. I don't eat meat. I've never tasted meat. I have no idea what the bistro sandwich would taste like. You'll have to ask the other girl at the other register." And then, to finish off this lovely conversation, she concludes with, "You're probably wondering why a vegetarian is working in a steak house. Well, I don't even know the answer to that myself!" Go figure. I'm still speechless. And also meat-less, since I really only did eat the salad bar. And no ice cream!
Saturday, September 5, 2009
...and now that's she's gone, she has taken her sunshine with her.
Cassidy left for college on Monday. Today is Wednesday. I have been composing this blog in my head for months now. Wondering what to say. Dreading the day I would actually have to say these two words. "She's gone." Some days I wonder, 'tell me, how am I supposed to breathe with no air, no air, no air?' My throat closes up every time I allow myself to think what it is going to be like for her not to be here. With me. Telling me her secrets. Laughing about Gilmore Girls and random Lorelai-ism's. Sharing her 'Stella-Fashion-Sense.' Reminding me that David Archuleta WILL be my future son-in-law. I miss more laughing. More secrets. That certain tone in her voice when a 'special' someone calls on the phone. And there are several. Special someone's. I miss her purse on the counter, and her shoes in the doorway, and her books spread randomly in every room of the house. I miss her early morning bathroom mess and the scent of her perfume. I miss her 'goodnight, mom, I love you.' I. Miss. Her. So. Much. 'I try to say goodbye and I choke. Try to walk away and I stumble. Though I try to hide it, it's clear, my world crumbles when you are not near.' Saying goodbye to one girl was hard enough. Saying goodbye to both of them is even harder. From the moment I first held each of them in my arms I knew that this day would come. I never expected it to come so soon. The day when there were no more girls in my house. Texas is so far away. Eighteen months (now only 15!) seems like an eternity. The distance from our driveway to Cassidy's apartment is only 25 minutes. And yet, it, too, seems like an eternity. Evan and Jaron give meaning to my feelings every time they sing, 'I can't take the distance. I can't take the miles. I can't take the time until I next see you smile." I miss their smiles. Both of them. I also want the best for my girls. Higher education. Adventures and world travel. Old friends and new. Broken hearts and dreams fulfilled. Husbands and families. Happiness to 'eternity and beyond.' All in due time. Allowing them to experience life involves letting them go. In the spirit of 'chin up' and 'things will only get better' and the obvious, 'it will be such a great experience for her (them, as in Whitney, too) I will share with you what "I know, I know, I know..."
***I know that she knows that her redeemer lives. I have watched her spiritually mature over the years into a wise and willing servant of her Heavenly Father. She knows that He loves her. She listens when He speaks to her. She obeys. He has great promises in store for her. She is preparing now for a marvelous and wonderful future. Her path is straight. Her feet are solid. She will always be there when He says, "Come, Follow Me." I am greatly blessed. I know that she knows.
p.s. Lest I have made this blog too sentimental, I have hidden different song titles and lyrics within my words. Find the most; win a prize. A special cd burned just for YOU. Full of great 'goodbye' songs to make you cry. Make a comment on my blog to play along, or e-mail me with your guesses. firstname.lastname@example.org Have fun! And remember to promise me that sometimes, you will think of me.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Here is something that is really bugging me. A. Lot. I love PSYCH. I love Shawn. I love Gus. I love Lassie and Juliet and Shawn's dad. My greatest humorous moments each week come from watching these 'psychic' detectives solve random crimes and mysteries. I have nicknamed Shawn the "Lorelai Gilmore of Detectives" because, he, too, has the gift of witty reparte, never-ending pop culture references, and a quirky fashion style that I enjoy. A. Lot. HOWEVER, here's my gripe. I also love the theme song. A. Lot. I want it for my ringtone. I want it on my i-pod. I want it. Bad. In a Michael Jackson way Bad. Here's the glitch. It's written by the one of the writers on the show and performed by his band, "The Friendly Indians." It's also not available. It hasn't been released AT THIS TIME! Why, exactly, is that? And don't you find it kind of an oxymoron to be in a group named "The Friendly Indians" when you aren't even friendly enough to release your really cool song? I'm just wondering. In the meantime, enjoy the lyrics. I'm sure you can sing along, because the tune is running through your head. Just like it is mine. All. The. Time.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
...children will listen." These are the lines from a song I love from INTO THE WOODS. Don't mistake me loving this song to mean I love this musical. I don't. But I was reminded of it's lyrics the other night during auditions and it brought me to this post. So, now, parents, for YOUR listening pleasure:
Friday, August 14, 2009
Yesterday Eli had two friends from school over to spend the day. They are, respectively, Christopher and Hannah, who are, coincidentally, twins. We went to McDonald's for Happy Meals and then to the local park for a picnic and some playing. On the way there a popular song came on the radio. You may or may not be familiar with this particular tune. It's by one of Cassidy's all-time favorite groups, The All-American Rejects. The cd was given to her a few months ago as a thank you gift. One of the songs is called, "Gives You Hell" (only using this term once, so from here on out, fill in that blank with this *!+#) Eli has never liked this song. Whenever we listen to it he asks us to turn it off. He doesn't like the "H" word. Growing up with lots of car-singing in our family, I have always told the girls, "If the word is innappropriate, just don't sing it!" Apparently, Eli doesn't even want to hear it. So, when it came on the radio he hurriedly told his friends, "We are turning this off. It says the "H" word." Our little friend Hannah didn't skip a beat, but continued the conversation. "Eli, let me just demonstrate how you can sing this song without saying *!+#. Whenever you hear the word, just open your mouth and make a loud noise like this--HONK!" She then proceeded to HONK throughout the entire song, accompanied by two boys, both deciding that if honking sounds are good for girls to use in place of the "H" word, then of course, belching and farting sounds would be just right for boys to use! I'd be willing to bet that The All-American Rejects won't be calling us anytime soon to replace their back-up singers. And for the record, I think that I, too, will now be turning it off when I hear it on the radio. I'm not sure I can stand another chorus of "Hope it gives you (HONK-FART-BELCH) *!+#
Monday, August 3, 2009
" Money can't buy me love." Unless it starts and ends with these four words. Rock Band. Beatles Edition. Arriving soon at a store near you. 9-9-09. If My Love knows what's good for him, we'll be celebrating my 47th year singing, 'na na na na na na, Today is your Birthday...na na na na na na" with my new toy. Everyone should Come Together and play with us. I. Can't. Wait. The only thing that would make it better would be if John and Paul could join us. Oh, yeah. John is dead. I'll settle for Paul. If anyone can arrange that, just let me know. In the meantime, brush up on your Beatles lyrics and get ready to sing-a-long with the Fab Four! (Joy, Phil, Eli, and Cassidy)I'm fairly certain that with A Little Help From My Friends we will be using this wii game Eight Days A Week!
Friday, July 24, 2009
I am happy to admit Whitney's mission blog is up and running. Before you start phoning the mission president that she is disobeying mission rules, don't. I'm managing the blog, not Whitney. For those of you who are interested in hearing how she is doing, this will be a great place for you to read her e-mails. We will keep her address posted, too, so that y'all can write back to her. I wish we could share her letters as well. Her gift of putting words on paper has always been a pleasure and this mission is no exception. That being said, as her mother, I don't think she would want me to spend all of my time re-typing them, editing them for content (that's HER job), and trying to decide what should be shared and what should be kept 'within the family.' You've heard the statement, "we would all have more personal spiritual experiences if we didn't share them with everyone." This would be Whitney's request. Some things are meant to be shared; other things are too sacred to be shared with the blogging world, no matter how small our reader/fan base it. So, in the spirit of wanting you to know how great she is doing, but also honoring her privacy, we will share what she wants, and keep the rest for her to share when she returns. Visit her sight often. You won't be disappointed. It will delight and uplift you and put a smile on your face. Here is the website: wit-in-houston.blogspot.com. Or, you can always just click on her picture on my sidebar and it will magically take you there. Comment if you like. But mostly, ENJOY!
Friday, July 17, 2009
Lately I don't sleep so well. I have no trouble falling asleep, but then I wake up numerous times, tossing and turning, never fully reaching a state of nirvana. It could be that I gave up Coke and ice cream. It could be that one daughter is embarking on a new adventure and the other is soon to follow with a new adventure as well. It could be that it is 100-plus degrees in our room at night. It could be that there are just too many great re-run episodes of late-night tv. Whatever the reason, I came across a commercial for Ambien around 1 a.m. that struck me as slightly oxy-moronic, to say the least. (Note to readers: Do NOT continue to read if you are a big fan of Ambien. STOP HERE...I repeat. STOP HERE!) Here is a drug that is supposed to induce restful, relaxing sleep so that I will wake up ready to start the day with more energy than Miley Cyrus on a particulary good day. It has me interested until the disclaimers start rolling. "May cause confusion, delusions, and hallucinations." I sure don't need a drug to do that for me. I'm already confused and delusional most days (probably due to lack of Coke) and I spend a lot of time hallucinating that I look better in swimwear than I really do. The part that really loses my interest comes next. "In rare cases, the use of this drug may cause swelling of the tongue, throat, and in some instances, even death." WHOA. Stop right there, Becky! If I want a swollen tongue and throat I will eat ice cream until they are frozen. (Well, not really. Not since I gave up ice cream FOR-EV-ER!) If I want to die, well, I guess I could give up Coke AND ice cream at the same time. But for now, all I really want to do is sleep. I guess I'll resort to counting sheep.
I'm done screaming for ice cream. Phillip and I were invited to an ice cream social/financial planning meeting this week at a local establishment. We don't have much money for anyone to financial plan, but it was free ice cream so we decided to go. When I saw the size of what they were serving I had the weirdest out-of-body experience. I lost all desire to eat ice cream. Ever. Again. Seriously. People all around me were gorging on six and seven scoop sundaes, dripping in caramel and fudge and whipped cream. Some were indulging in mile-high creations of brownies and ice cream and cookies and ice cream and marshmallows and ice cream and bananas and ice cream. I had the odd sensation that I was participating in ice cream voyeurism. It didn't feel right to watch people eat so much ice cream. I ordered a small root beer float, thinking I would be safe with that choice. Think again. It was visually about 15 inches high, filled with scoop after scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream, and foaming over the top with root beer and whipped cream. Every time I would try to take a taste of the ice cream, my straw became a root beer fountain, bubbling root beer up and out and all over me and my surroundings. Never before has my life actually been threatened while enjoying a root beer float. I managed to finish it but just barely. I actually felt so guilty between my eating and observing that I came home and logged 30 minutes on wii fit. I still don't know if that even made a dent. This post is public proof that I promise to remain ice cream and float-free. For-ever. And ever. Amen.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Cassidy's manicure...My friend Kim's pedicure...
'I've been waiting such a long time for today.' I wanted to hear my friend Wayne's voice one last time as he announced the Melaleuca Celebration fireworks. Thanks to the beauty of radio and saving things FOREVER, Wayne was right there in the nighttime sky...praising America and making us believe for just a few brief moments that Saturday in the Park is indeed, 'a real celebration.' I'm pretty sure my good friend Wayne was right there with us, watching from above this time, instead of from down below. I think that's why the fireworks glowed just a little bit brighter and little bit longer this year. Happy (late) Birthday, America! Drive safely, Wayne!
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Stir it up a little more. Place a marshmallow on the stick. Start to roast it. Catch a few on fire to see how long it takes a marshmallow to melt.
Remove stick and marshmallow from fire. Find some graham crackers. Find some chocolate bars.(We prefer Hershey-brand ONLY)
The sign says it all...minus the part that should say, 'get ready to pull over to the curb, give us your luggage, hug your kid, and send her on her way'. I know some people don't like this method, but for us it was just right. She is ready to get busy. No need to prolong the inevitable.
Pre-tears Eli. This one rips my heart out. The real scene following this was even more emotional.
And off she goes on a new adventure. Ready to share the gospel with the people of Houston. To borrow from the Brothers Gibb, a line from their song "WORDS" which closes this chapter for awhile, as another page turns to a new beginning for our Queen of English, our Grammar Goddess, our own Sister Whitney Mikell Sorensen. "Smile an everlasting smile. A smile can bring you near to me." One look at that smile and I know she will always be near. to. me.
Friday, June 19, 2009
When we lived in Utah they announced the building of the Mt. Timpanogos temple. It was an exciting time for everyone in our area. We knew that we would all have a chance to be a part of this amazing experience. Each child in our primary was given a picture of the new temple to place in their rooms and our girls were no exception. All primary children were also given the chance to paint their names on rocks to be buried in the foundation of the temple. Whitney put her name on one rock. Cassidy put her name on another rock. Then we waited and waited while the temple was built. We would take long Sunday drives up the road to see how it was progressing. Whitney would always remind us that her name was a part of this temple; 'her temple.'The day the temple was finished was so exciting. Phillip was able to act as a security guard; I played the organ during one of the open house sessions. Whitney was old enough to sing during the open house with the children from our ward. We took our girls several times to the tours and each time they were in awe with the beauty and spirit they experienced there. When Whitney and I attended the dedication on a cold October afternoon, she expressed a sincere desire to return someday to this temple; 'her temple.'
This week that goal became a reality. We made the trip to Utah to visit her doctor one last time before the mission and took a few hours out of our day to attend the Mt. Timpanogos Temple together. It was such an honor and privilege to be seated next to my beautiful daughter during the session. I'm sure her heart remembered back to a time when she was a young girl, excited to be inside a temple for the first time, awed by it's beauty and touched by the spirit. Now, as she prepares to go forth and serve, I am reminded that, just like that rock with her name on it beneath the Mt. Timpanogos temple, she has a very firm foundation. She has lived her life preparing to go where the Lord wants her to go. She has remained worthy and faithful and firm in her commitment. She will be greatly missed by so many here in Idaho, but the people of Houston will be blessed even greater by her presence. When the days seem long and the work seems hard, I hope she will remember these words: "Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not dismayed, For I am they God and will still give thee aid. I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand. Upheld by my righteous hand." Sister Sorensen, go forth and serve. Remember your firm foundation and you'll do just fine!