Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye to Gramma

This is the only race worth running.
I've run hard right to the finish, believed all the way.
All that's left now is the shouting—God's applause!

With mingled sadness and great joy we announce the homecoming of Sharon Carle Morningstar.  Sharon drifted from this world in the early morning of December 31, 2011.

She is missed.

She is loved.

And now we rejoice that after a race run well and a life lived full she is basking in God's applause.

We appreciate your prayers and will post more information about arrangements as those details are decided. 

No man ever saw God and lived. And yet, I shall not live till I see God;
and when I have seen him, I shall never die.
John Donne

Friday, December 30, 2011

WanYing's Stocking

WanYing's stocking was completed before she woke up on Christmas (Eve) morning, so that counts as done on time right?  Sigh.  It was a bit of a rush to the finish line (nothing like pulling out the sewing machine at 11:30 on Christmas Eve Eve), but I'm pretty happy with WanYing's stocking.  I love that with both of the girls' stockings we were able to give a nod to the flags and cultures of their birth... in snowman form.

I think that snowmen-on-felt is my medium :)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Fa La La La La

Amid some of the tough stuff going on, we still had a blessed and super-fun Christmas and especially reveled in celebrating our first Christmas with WanYing!  It sure feels great to have a photo of all six of us wearing the traditional Christmas tie dyes.

Since we celebrated Christmas day on the slopes, we opened presents on Christmas Eve.  Word to the wise - it's really easy to talk your kids into skiing on Christmas, even if it's a crappy snow year, if it means they get to open gifts a day earlier!

Here are my favorite pics from Christmas Eve:
The kids are allowed to wake up whenever they want and open their stockings.  So we woke up (at 7 - hallelujah!) to stocking-wrapping-strewn chaos and kids happily playing with their activity books.
WanYing's super-nutritious Christmas breakfast of a sprinkle donut and astronaut ice cream (from her stocking)
Setting up for our traditional Christmas reading from Luke and reenactment of the nativity story
As is traditional (in our family), it got violent.
The blue puppy was WanYing's addition to the creche.  WanYing wisely kept her distance from the melee and focused on the peaceful blue puppy and sheep in the flocks by night.
Time for gifts!  Girls + dolls + Christmas = pure magic
Sasha, WanYing, and Belle "help" Grammy open her gifts
I love this shot.  Sasha was actually just excited about her Disneyland Kinect game, but it looks like she's about to take WanYing out... and for some reason that amuses me.  Probably because (for once) that's not actually the case.
Seldom has a child been this excited about getting a case of toe warmers for Christmas.  But I defy him to say that he's cold next time we ski!
Buddy's favorite gift of the day - his very own can of Easy Cheese.  Yes, we are all repulsed (and a little fascinated) by this photo
I'm not sure who's more excited about Daddy's new camera, Daddy or Sasha!
A new camera for Daddy to take video on the slopes and paragliding!  It's a bold look, but I think he pulls it off well
I guess that if Ben can be excited about toe warmers, Sam can be excited about a chess timer, right?
New squeaky shoes!
Ben is very excited about tickets to go see Jamie and Adam in the Mythbusters Live tour in January!
But nothing can match his excitement for his new skis!  He tackled us all in gratitude.
Dinner time!
Buddy models a fine crown and the dried corn, a Pennsylvania Dutch dish and family tradition.
The gals model the crowns from their Christmas crackers
WanYing has some crown issues, but manages to maintain the cuteness
Time for Christmas Eve service!
And a special Merry First Christmas to the newest Morningstar!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Tough Stuff - A Prayer

Father, I'm learning firsthand that a dying family member is tough stuff. The feeling of pending loss is sharp right now. And as the misery of death meets the hope of eternity I feel bullied, pushed around by such extremes in emotion. I am not ready to lose this woman so dear to me. But I am ready to give her to you.

I smile as I think of her and Paul together proclaiming that:
This is the only race worth running. I've run hard right to the finish, believed all the way. All that's left now is the shouting—God's applause!
Oh, God, welcome my mom home with applause.  Greet your daughter, whole and vibrant, with a smile and a bear hug.  Show her the joy that her life has been to you, to her family, to all who love her, to all she's loved.  And show her the eternity you've been preparing for her, an eternity blazing with adventure, bright with your wide-open presence.

Comfort those left behind.  As we release in turn wife, love, friend, mother, sister, Lord, come into that emptiness, that angry gap.  Soothe and fill.  Be sweet and gentle and perfectly strong within each of us.  Sustain.

As we make decisions we will never be ready to make, Lord, be all that we are not.  Give us eyes of wisdom and clarity to make choices for Sharon's care and choices for her release.  Grace those with her with peaceful rest when it is their time to rest and with strength and energy when it is time for action.

Father, let my mom die with the peace and joy with which she lived.

What we know right now:

My mother-in-law, Sharon, has been fighting stage 4 ovarian cancer for 5 years and God has blessed each member of our family with more sweet time with her than we ever imagined. And now, at least to all human eyes, it looks like it's time to say goodbye to Gramma for now. The cancer that her body, mind, and spirit have fought for those years has grown into her brain, her liver, her lungs, her heart.  It appears that the radiation treatments from November to control the growth of the brain tumors weren't as effective as hoped and the lesions have caused bleeding in her brain.

Her pain level has increased over the past few days and last night the family decided to take her to the ER to help control the pain.  Blessedly, the staff at the hospital has been able to make her comfortable.  The family and hospital staff has decided to move her to a hospice facility adjacent to the hospital.

We don't know how much time we have with Sharon, but based on her decline over the past few days, it seems like her time here will be measured in days or maybe weeks.

Steve's dad Spike and sisters Sandy and Susie together with their families are together with Sharon in Maryland.  We're loving on them from Utah.

How We Spent Our Christmas

Sure, we could have woken up early on Christmas to have a big family breakfast and open presents and play with our new toys and video games all day... but why would we want do that when we could open presents on Christmas Eve and enjoy a a beautiful, un-crowded Christmas on the slopes!?
Don't ask me how you fall asleep in a backpack while Mommy is skiing, but this girl managed to get a pretty good nap in the great outdoors today!
Ben was very (very) excited about the new skis he got for Christmas, and he did wonderfully on them!
Daddy and Sasha take the lift up
Mommy and WanYing going up, up, up
Sash decides that it's time to do some skiing... and then decides that it's time to make snow angels... with her face
Ok, ready to ski again!
I can't imagine a prettier view for anybody learning to ski!
Our littlest skier is doing such a good job on the slopes... now we just need to convince her that controlling her own speed is a good thing
Merry Christmas to all!
We had a very merry, very white Christmas - hope that yours was just as grand.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

From all of us to all of you, Merry, Merry Christmas!
Let grace, mercy, and peace be with us in truth and love from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, Son of the Father!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Sharing Joy with the World

Hey, look who's on today's WACAP Impact blog!  That's one cute gal, and we are sure glad to be able to celebrate this Christmas as a family of 6!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tis the Season to Start Singing

Ben: I was singing in a choir for a very long time.  About two whole church services.  But it was fun.  The best part was the cookies at the end of the second service and I lost count of how many donut holes at the first service.

My favorite song to sing was Joy to the World because it was pretty easy and we got to sing the whole thing.

Ben:  At school I sang in a choir, just like at church, except for no donut holes and no cookies.  We sang Frost the Snowman in Spanish (Mi Hombre de Nieve) and we also sung Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree.  I was waving to my sisters in this picture.

Sam:  In my class we didn't sing, but rather did How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  We divided it up into lines for everybody in the class and gave the Grinch and Cindy Lou Hoo to two lucky people.  My best line was probably, "Then the Grinch very nimbly stuffed all of the bags up the chimbly."  And afterwards our teacher gave a couple of multi-color Rice Krispie Treats because it's Christmas.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Extreme Dental Hygene, cont.

Four kids.  Ten toothbrushes.  And the odds that they have actually brushed their teeth on any given evening?  About 50/50.

I guess I shouldn't complain too much - at their last dentist visit, Daddy had twice the number of cavities as all the kids combined!

Still, a toothbrush to kid ratio greater than 2:1 feels excessive.

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Little Light Reading

Well, at least someone's learning to be a better parent...

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Eve Service

Calling all Utah County dwellers! Mark your calendars for the CenterPoint Church Christmas Eve Service - 6-7 pm next Saturday at Orem High

Our annual Acoustic Christmas candlelight service (well, glowstick-light service, since we can't have candles in the high school) is a beautiful way to celebrate our Savior's birth.  And this year you just may see the reappearance of the Morningstar banjo after a few years of dormancy (yes, that's a 3-year-old Sam in this photo).  So if you're looking for a whole new heap of blackmail material on Jamie, you know where to be from 6-7 pm on Christmas Eve!

Hope to see you there, and Merry Christmas!


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