Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Change for Alan

Sunday, Alan was released from the Bishopric so that he could be called to be the Stake Employment Specialist!! Kind of ironic I know!! Since he is unemployed!! However he is more than qualified because of his jobs in the past. That is exactly what his background is - working for the State(Workforce), and New Horizons - helping people find training and employement!! But it's probably my fault he has this new calling because of all of my prayers and pleadings to Heavenly Father to help Alan find a job!!

There are some neat experiences Alan has had that I would like to remember in my journal so here we go. Both Bishop Tillman and the High Counselor that issued the calling, told Alan that the Bishop said no twice, but that the Stake was persistent and so then Bishop said, o.k, but I'm not happy about it!!

Alan loves this man (Bishop Tillman) and has loved serving with him and being his counselor and support!! They have severed together for 3 1/2 yrs and it was an emotional goodbye for both of them. But they kind of just smiled as they got pulled away from each other after Sacrament Meeting with people needing to talk to each of them...."Changes come and we just keep moving forward"

Also, Sister Tillman came up and thanked Alan for all the behind the scenes that Alan did that made her husbands job easier!! I know that meant a lot to Alan as well.

This experience reminds me of When Alan was released as Bishop Fair's counselor in Wichita, Kansas to be put on the High Council, Bishop Fair and Alan were neither one happy then either!!
Our Stake President in Kansas said to me once, "I cannot prophesy about your future, but if I could Sis Brown, it would be that you will always be behind the scenes taking care of things at home while your husband fulfills his Priesthood callings!"

I'm not sure if I appreciated that comment at the time, but I sure do now! Its a very high compliment. And I know that I learned the "not complaining" about how much my husband is gone doing any calling he has had from my mother!!-- whether its Scouts that takes him away from home and family the most including family vacations and all we have is girls or Bishopric -- We choose to only see the blessings.

My mother always handled everything at home while my father served and I never heard her complain. My father was a Bishop, a Counselor in the Stake Presidency of 2 stake presidents in a row, Young Men's President, Scouting - all ages, etc... I could go on, but I'm sure you get the idea. Mother never complained about his absence and we all supported him.

Alan, early on in our married life was Elders Quorum President when he was working full time and going to school full time - but he did it and he did it well. This is one of the many things that I love and appreciate about my husband. He is a doer. Someone you can count on. A worthy Priesthood holder, who will accept any calling he is given and go full out with it!!

And I am happy to be the wife and mother at home taking care of things behind the scenes, so Alan can serve!!

Playing Cards! Movies! and Books!

Playing Cards is one of my most favorite things, next to seeing movies and reading books!! With our nephew Steve here we had fun this weekend by playing the Brown traditional card game of Shang-hi!! We wanted to spend some time having fun with him because - hooray, he leaves on Thursday to go get his family from Chicago and move them here to Allen, Texas. Which means he will no longer be living with us! We are very happy for him. I will say he has been the perfect house guest!! Since we were going to be playing cards, I gave Alan his Valentines Day present early!! Notice the cards, they have our family picture on them!! Thanks I actually gave these same decks of cards to the girls and John for Christmas presents and they loved them. I was able to get them 1/2 price before Christmas. But didn't feel we should get us some right at that time, but when the kids came after Christmas and we got the cards out, they were shocked that we didn't have any of our fun family photo cards. So that has been corrected!! Happy Valentines sweetie!!

Also this week Aland and I were able to see a couple of movies. Alan and I went to see on Wednesday afternoon "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" I liked it and thought it was incredibly sad in some places. Alan didn't enjoy it at all. It was not what we thought it was going to be, but I'm glad that we went.

Thursday night my girlfriends and I saw "The Iron Lady" which once again, was not what I thought it would be but was incredibly good. So amazing. I kept expecting to see Meryl Streep, but all i saw was Margaret Thatcher!! An amazing performance!!

Then Friday, Alan and I both had been waiting impatiently for the movie "One for the Money" by one of our favorite authors, Janet Evanovich. Her Stephanie Plum books are laugh out loud funny and they made the 1st book into a movie - there are 18 in all!! I read one of the Stephenie Plum books to Alan while we were traveling somewhere in the car - I think it was number 10. He loved it so much and thought it was so funny that he went back and read all of them and has kept current with the new releases. We really enjoyed the show!! They never have enough time in the movie to really develop some of the characters that we wish they could have, but all in all we enjoyed it very much!!

Traveling in the Car to Utah is when I read the Hunger Games to Alan. Which he as read on his own twice more and cannot wait for the movie to come out in March!!

I've started a new series of books -The Jack Reacher Novels- I'm on book 5 now and have really enjoyed these even though they are kind of a "guys book" I like the intrigue and mystery and the solving of the crimes.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo 2012

It was pouring down rain, and yes, we drudged through it to be at the Rodeo Tuesday night!! Three important reasons: 1) it was Susan G.. Komen for Cure night at the Rodeo where everyone involved including the riders, and horses were in pink!! 2)Barbara is a breast cancer survivor and so we go to celebrate that and yell, clap, and cheer when she gets to stand up as a breast cancer survivor!! And 3) It's just a lot of fun to watch!! It brings back childhood memories of when we owned horses in Colorado and went frequently to Rodeos with my parents!! And quite frankly, because Aileen loves it!! She loves horses. When in High School she use to go to "Wings of Hope" in Burleson, Tx and not only loved riding the horses but the grooming of them as well. So as you can see, this would be the reason we would go pouring rain or not!!

My nephew Steven Brown came with us.

Alan was sick this night, so my friend Shawna came with and as you can see in the background, Barbara's sisters, Tootie, Beverly, and Bev's husband Ronnie were there as well!! As well as Bev's daughter Diana and her family, and Tooties two girls!! (not pictured, I'm sure they are so sad. lol)

Dad and Barbara!!

Also there was Barbara's son's Chris and his girlfriend Ashley, and David and his two kids Emmalin, and Landin.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Barbara's birthday party

It's always so hard to know what to call your stepmother! Stepmother or Stepmom always brings up pictures of Snow White, Cinderella and a bunch of other Disney characters that do not bring positive or loving connotations. Having lost my mother later in life and I'm not now being raised by Barbara, Mom seems wrong as well. And so I think of her as my "other Mother". The Mother who I have on earth right now because she is married to my Dad. And who could ask for a better "other Mother"? No one I promise you. Aileen loves Grandma Barbara and for that I am truly grateful. Barbara and I were also friends before Dad starting dating her and married her, so in this sense my Stepmother is truly my friend - what a gift. So it was my pleasure to have a little party to celebrate her birthday with our family! Thanks to everyone who could come.

Opening presents...

Barbara and David

The birthday cake - and bday flowers

Barbara and her sisters Tootie and Beverly

Grandma Barbara and Aileen

Tootie's Girls - Lauren and Taylor

Elizabeth and Lois - Art was there too!

Alan and my nephew, Steven Brown, who is living with us until his family can move here from Chicago - has a job in Dallas! Yay! More family close by!!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Here we go....having too much fun Visiting Teaching again!!

We just can't help it!! We have too much fun Visiting Teaching! We love our girls and we love each other as companions - so it is a win, win, situation!!

Lacey Lassiter had a birthday in December, but with holiday hub bub we told her we would celebrate in January! We also had Anita Williams who had a birthday in December so we celebrated it in January too! I didn't get pictures of Anita opening her presents, but we went by Tuesday night and gave her the lesson and her presents!! Too fun. Mary Arrington was there to watch, listen to the lesson, and have fun too!

Then Wednesday we took Lacey out for lunch, brought cupcakes, and presents and invited Becky along for lunch, gave them both the lesson and had a great visit and loved our lunch!!

What a great way to spend the week!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Sarah's Baptism

Last Weekend we went to Atlanta, Georgia for my niece, Sarah Hauser's Baptism. It was a wonderful weekend and we were so glad we went. We traveled down on Friday, Jan. 13th, and since we are not superstitious, it was a safe and fun trip! We had Dad along with us so that was awesome. But he got to stay longer and fly back on Tuesday!! I had to be home Monday afternoon for work!

When we got there it was 3:00 am so we dropped everything inside the hotel and went to bed!!

Ruth had planned a delicious brunch for us at her house and we all went over to eat and to see everybody for the first time in a long time!!

Sarah and her aunts and mom. We were so happy to be with our sister again!!

Elizabeth and Sarah have a special bond!! Elizabeth sang at her Baptism "If the Savior Stood Beside Me" a beautiful arrangement sang beautifully!

All dressed and ready to go to on her special day!!

At the church before.

Sarah asked me to give a talk on the Holy Ghost!!

Sarah asked Grandpa to speak on Baptism.

Afterwards her Aunts took her on a shopping spree!!

Here is her bounty from the trip!! Remember it was 3 occasions we were celebrating each Aunt..... Christmas, Birthday and Baptism!!

Sarah even picked out the perfect gift for Aileen, when Aileen pushes a button, it spins and lights up an makes different light patterns as it spins.......perfect for Aileen!!

And EVERYONE got "Hello Kitty" PJ's!!!

We played games and had a hoot!! This one made me laugh to see everyone in their headbands, so I had to take pictures!!

Dad's taking to Barbara, couldn't stand being away from her. So crazy to be young and in love!!

Aileen loved being with Aunt Ruth again! She has missed her. They have always had a special bond!

This is as we are saying goodbye to Stone Mountain Park Resort and Atlanta. Headed home to Texas!!

It really could not have been a better trip!!

Thanks Ruth and John for the awesome hospitality! And Alan thanks you Ruth for the Taco Soup recipe you sent me!! It was to die for good!!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Marriott at Stone Mountain Resort, Georgia

The Evergreen Resort at Stone Mountain Park, Stone Mountain, GA.

I will tell more about our trip to Atlanta Georgia, but I have to do a post just on the amazing hotel we got to stay at because my Sister Elizabeth, is so kind and generous!! Thanks Elizabeth, Alan really can't get over that you would do this for us - and frankly neither can I, but Thank you!!!

The front entryway

Elizabeth has to travel a whole bunch for her work. She stays a Marriott's where ever she goes and is a platinum member, with lots of points!! She used these points so that Our family could stay at the Marriott Hotel at Stone Mountain Park Resort in Atlanta, Georgia. It was beautiful and Aileen and everyone enjoyed the atmosphere and amenities!!

The Lobby

Aileen in the Lobby

Our Room

The view from our patio

The outside pool area, they also have an indoor pool and exercise area
Some pictures are from Evergreen

Thursday, January 12, 2012

From Alan

Alan had this very neat observation regarding our son-in-law John, and I want it in my journal, and since my blog is my journal - here it is!!

"Hi John and Marianne,"

"I feel impressed to share with you the special experience I had watching John at the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. I've put off emailing you but the feeling continues so I need to say this. Thank you for raising such a fine young man."

"Watching how hard John worked during the game was impressive. He was all over the field and sidelines making sure the players got what they needed. To see a young man that committed and focused on his future career makes me as Allison's father feel very secure that she made the right decision to marry John."

"At a time when many men are failing to take care of their families, It is very comforting to know that John is focused on a professional career and taking care of his family. I can't tell you how much peace of mind that brings to Lois and I."

"I want you to know that we have NEVER been in any doubt about John. He just keeps showing us how special he really is."

"Just thought you would like to know."

This came back from the Rexes:


"Your note really touched our hearts. Thank you for sharing your confidence in John. He’s a good young man and knows how to work hard – especially on those things he’s passionate about, and this line of work is one of them. We are so grateful that he and Allison found one another. Marianne and I look at each other pretty much every day and thank our Heavenly Father that the two of them love each other and complement one another so well. Thank you to both you and Lois for the great in-laws you are! We know how much you love and care for these terrific kids!!"

"John & Marianne"

Photo of John by Allison Rex Photography

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

#4 down and only one more to go.......

Here is how the Mom's sock turned out!!! I really love it and I can't wait to get it sent to her. Then there was 1........... only one more to go!! Then what will I do with all my spare time?? I'm sure I will come up with something!

This weekend we are going to Atlanta because my niece Sarah is getting baptized!! We are so excited for her and her family and we all cannot wait to get there!! Precious story: When asked who she wanted to give a talk at her Baptism she said Aileen!! Since she can't have Aileen she settled for Aunt Lois, but still, I love that she wanted Aileen! Love that girl!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Saturday Evening with a friend.

Saturday night my friend Becky Wangler came over to visit and work on craft projects together. She was crocheting and I was making Christmas socks, yes still!! I'm almost done with the 4th one and then there will be only 1 more to make. I think I might be a little sad to be done. But I do think I will be ready to take a break and wait a little while to make any more!! ha-ha. I just need to finish the snowman and decorate the tree and we are done!!

Becky Wangler is someone who turns up a lot in my blog, because I am her visiting teacher as well as being friends. I put this picture of the two of us up, because the top I am wearing as well as the jewelry were some of the Christmas gifts she gave me this year!! That's right, I'm her visiting teacher, but she gives me gifts!! Well, I love the color, and as another one of my friends (Rebecca Albright) said to someone who was wearing the same color, "You know that is Lois' color right? You have to pay royalty to her to wear that color!" Lol! I wish it were true. I do feel put together and in style with the whole look! Thank you Becky, for remembering me this year for Christmas!!

Listening to the Spirit and the Ensign

Today in my Gospel Doctrine Class we had a great discussion. And as we were talking about Lehi and his family leaving Jerusalem, being in the Wilderness, going back for the brass plates and then going back for Ishmael and his daughters, a story which can almost be quoted by heart word for word by most members of the church we have studied it so many times and started reading the BOM so many times, that I wondered if there were new insights left to discuss. Now I live in an excellent Ward and even if we would have just discussed the stories exactly as we always have, there would have been great participation and new insights. But as the teacher I do feel some responsibility to find some on my own. I always pray to Heavenly Father, that I will be lead by the spirit when studying the lesson and studying the scriptures for the lesson, and that my class will have their love of the Savior and their testimonies strengthened by the lessons each week. And I did feel that I had some thoughtful points that maybe would be new insights.

Another part of this story is that Our Bishop bore his testimony today about how wonderful the new Ensign for January is and encouraged us to read some of the articles in it. At this point I had not taken the plastic sealed covering off of the Ensign until I came home from church tonight, I'm a little embarrassed to tell you. But it is true.

In wanting to leave on a spiritual note at the end of my lesson, I felt inspired to read 1 Nephi 7:17-19 which talks about Nephi being bound with bands by his brothers and that he prays that the Lord will "...give me strength to burst these bands with which I am bound... and it came to pass that....the bands were loosed" and it goes on to say that a daughter of Ishmael and Ishmael's wife and one of his sons pleaded his case. As I was standing there the spirit told me that I should share that this is a type of simile/metaphor of the atonement. That with whatever sin, addiction, or struggle we may have that has bound us, that if we pray we can have these bands loosened. And that we do have the Savior who does and will plead our case with The Father, and I bore testimony of this.

Well, when I got home, I took off the plastic cover over our Ensign and started reading the articles when lo and behold on page 47 in the article entitled "Finding Answers in the Book of Mormon" Susan Lunt of Utah, USA tells how she turned to the Book of Mormon to help her with her addiction to food. And quoted this very block of scriptures and how she felt something shift inside her when she read those verses.

Even though at first I thought, Oh, my gosh, everyone is going to think I read this and then took credit for it.....I then realized what an amazing experience to have a prompting from the spirit and what an answer to my prayer it really was that What I felt when reading those verses out loud to the class was indeed a real insight a real prompting from the Holy Ghost and was indeed a very spiritual way to end my lesson.

We our Children of a loving Heavenly Father and he does answer our prayers and helps us magnify our callings so that we can bring the Holy Ghost and the spirit of our Heavenly Father and Savior in the classroom with us. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Printing large photographs at kinkos

(Hard to take a picture of a picture without the flash showing I took a couple to give you the idea, I hope)

I did something at Kinko's for one of my Sunday School lessons and I have gotten more questions about how I did this then almost any other thing I have ever done. So I thought I would share.

We had our family pictures taken over the summer. And we got a DVD with all the picture options on it with a release form from the photographer to show that I had permission to print them wherever I wanted i.e. Walmart, Kinko's etc...

I took the DVD to Kinko's to the self help area and then asked for help - so they only charged me the $5.95 or $6.95 (can't remember which) if you do this yourself. I used a picture that was already B&W, but even if it is color it will only print B&W. And any color photo that I have had printed turns out nicely as a B&W. I think Kinko's has another way to print in color large sized, but I have never done this, but might be worth asking the question though. And as stated before I had copyright permission to use the picture with me so they could see I had permission to print it out.

You go the machine that copies architect blue print size copies. You say what size you want to print - I did 24 x 36 but you can do any size 16 x 24 maybe even 36 x 36. But I knew they had frames for 24 x 36 so that is the size I made so I didn't have to have a custom frame. I got the frame on sale for $25.00 so the whole picture cost about $32.00. You make sure the settings on the machine are for photo. And then you print it out and it looks just like a large photograph. But its a copy on copy paper!

You can also take a 8x10 photograph/picture and just slide it through the machine on the same settings - choose your size of paper/and make sure it is on photo -- and it prints out large size copies. So you don't have to have a DVD, but I think the picture is better qaulity because it came straight from the DVD.

It's one of the coolest things I have done in a long time!!