Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Resolutions...Not Really For Me

This post is personal but for the sake of keeping a journal, I think I'll include it.

I know for New Years everybody has resolutions that they'd like to accomplish for the following year, ie. losing weight, finishing school, new career, having kids, etc. I don't know why but I've never been too much a fan of resolutions, probably because I never reach them or care after the first few weeks.

I do however, like goals. I think they're more reachable (if that's even a word), they have more meaning, and they're more personal. Every Sunday I tell myself I'm really going to do better at my personal scripture study and then find myself the following Sunday promising the same thing. This year I have decided to be different. I've never studied along with the Sunday School lesson, ever in my entire life (no, not even when Lance was teaching in Charleston, I'll admit), but this year I'm going to. I believe the new book to study is Doctrine and Covenants (someone correct me if I'm wrong) and to ensure that I'm focused and getting something out of every weekly lesson, I'll read everyday right along with the manual like I'm supposed to. That's going to be one of my goals, because ever since I've been married I just lean on Lance's reading. Right, like I'm going to get something out of verses I haven't read! When I was single I read and read, and couldn't read enough, I just starved for it. For whatever reason, being married makes me lazy and I lean on Lance too much. So I'm going to set my goal and actually achieve it this time.

The second goal I have is to read more. I've recently finished a series by Anita Stansfield and I could not set the books down, they were fantastic and engrossed every part of me. I am now reading a book called The Peacegiver by James Ferrell and so far, it's excellent. I look at our stacks of books and compare them to our stacks of DVDs and came up with this conclusion: I have seen almost every single DVD we own, but I've not read more than one shelf of books on our five-shelved bookcase. That's pretty sad and pathetic! We have wonderful books, most of them very educational and spiritual in nature, being written by prophets. Why have I not picked one up to even glance at the title? I am losing so much knowledge in letting my brain being sucked into TV and DVDs. I honestly don't watch that much TV (besides The Office, I try not to miss an episode) but I don't do that much reading either. How foolish of me! That's goal number two, to read more.

Another goal I want to set is to get my jewelry making going into an actual business. I love to design and make jewelry, thanks to Amelia who taught me in Charleston. It's a stress reliever, it's creative and time consuming. Seriously, I don't know if I've ever sat at a table for 9 hours straight and not complained about it, than when I'm beading. I have a few ideas of where to start so I'll keep you all updated as I progress in that direction.

Believe it or not I used to play the piano really well. I absolutely loved it, my whole being was consumed in the piano. I started taking lessons when I was 13 and continued for 4 years until my first year of college. My teacher was awesome, I loved the songs he picked for me to practice, I loved the way I felt when I played and heard piano music, it was my passion and I practiced for 3-4 hours every day. But then I focused on college and boys and didn't practice a whole lot, matter of fact I lost a lot of what I had known. Therefore I am now a piano loser which brings me to goal number four: to keep up my practicing so that I can play more than the hymns and Mary had a Little Lamb.

I think four goals will more than keep me busy and bustling. I love this quote by Elder M. Russell Ballard, "I believe you can train yourself to become a positive thinker, but you must cultivate a desire to develop the skill of setting personal worthy and realistic goals. I am so thoroughly convinced that if we don’t set goals in our life and learn how to master the technique of living to reach our goals, we can reach a ripe old age and look back on our life only to see that we reached but a small part of our full potential. When you learn to master the principle of setting a goal, you will then be able to make a great difference in the results you attain in this life."

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Merry Christmas To All

Lance and I don't send out Christmas cards yet and we're pretty much out of time to send them if we had any. You know, getting all the addresses and fighting lines at the post office isn't an ideal Saturday for me. So, here's a picture of us with Santa when we went to the South Hills to see the lights. We hope yall are happy and healthy and wish you the absolute merriest this Christmas. We love you all!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Two Sicklings

Why is it that people don't get as sick in tropical climates as opposed to dry climates? That's a question I would like answered because we have now been in ID for four weeks and I've been sick twice and Lance once...ugh! When we lived in Charleston, we were sick maybe once a year. Maybe. Then we move to the cold, dry desert and are hit with every virus imaginable. Why us? Seriously, I want to know what it is about different climates that make viruses more prone to survive/spread. My hypothesis is the humidity. Probably not true, but until someone can prove me wrong or right, that's my assumption. Humidity=good health. (Although that doesn't always account for good hair days). Not to over exaggerate how miserable my sickness was but here's the list of things I missed out on: the ward Christmas party, Kempton gave his homecoming talk in church, Kempton sang in the college ward, Kempton sang at the MV Chorale concert, and the family dinner with most of Lance's siblings. Ugh...being sick is the worst!

Before I got hit with a serious wave of nausea, Lance and I took a little drive to the South Hills to see "The Lights." There's a house in the South Hills owned by the Wojciks that decorate like mad with Christmas lights. Every tree, shrub, telephone pole, square inch of grass, etc. is lined and covered with millions of Christmas lights. The road is up on a little hill with a circular driveway around the property so you can brave the weather and walk around or stay in the warmth of the car and drive the circle. It's so beautiful! They have every character light you can imagine from M&M's to Winnie the Pooh to exotic flowers to martini glasses. This year one portion of the yard was orchestrated with classical music - so cool! They transformed their garage into a display for a mini village that's all laid out so professionally, its way awesome! They also have a pet camel that you can feed carrots to. Anyway, its a very magical, cold, freezing, did I mention cold? but a magical place to see. And all for free!

I'm starting to get a little frustrated with blogger because this is the third time I've tried to update our blog but for some reason it won't let me download pictures. So until I can figure out what the problem is, the pictures will have to wait.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Tribute to Kempton

Lance's younger brother and baby of the family, Kempton, came home from his mission on Wednesday. He served in the Neuquen, Argentina mission and the following pictures depict a few happenings from the past two years. I don't know any names or places so the pictures will have to suffice.

Everybody patiently waiting at the airport for his arrival. The whole Cox family was there except for two that belong to Allison. (My flash wouldn't work in the airport so this didn't turn out too well, sorry).

Hugs to Mama Donna.

Ben Pratt, Kempton, and Lance.

The whole crew.

The following pictures are the Argentine people Kempton served, companions, transfers, baptisms, etc.

(regarding missionaries) "For the most part they are young—handsome young men and beautiful young women. They are vital and alive and enthusiastic in their work. They are not easily daunted or discouraged, although they know discouragement from time to time and in a very real way. They are dedicated and committed to the work to which they have been called. They are led and directed and inspired by a great group of mission presidents whom they come to love almost as they love their own fathers. They fortify one another, and develop wonderful associations—friendships which continue throughout their lives. They have been called by the spirit of prophecy and revelation, and their devoted efforts bring a constant infusion of new blood and new life into the Church."

"Furthermore, young men and women who serve missions are never the same. They return home with qualities and strengths that seem to come from no other experience. They know, as they never knew before, that this work is true and that it is the most important work on the face of the earth. They return home with a desire to continue to serve. They have established a foundation on which to grow in future responsibility."

"We need more missionaries. We could use another ten thousand now. Anyone who feels we have enough knows not whereof he speaks. I remember listening to reports from the Area Presidencies of the various international areas of the world. Those reports indicated the magnitude of the work we must do. For instance, in one area we have only 270,000 members out of a total population of 640,000,000. “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few.” (Matt. 9:37). Now, brethren and sisters, what can we do? The mandate of the Lord is upon us. It is our responsibility to carry the gospel to the people of the earth. Marvelous things are happening. Yet more wonderful things can be brought to pass. May we be faithful in building the kingdom we love and in doing the will of Him who is our Savior and who commanded us to teach the gospel."

-President Hinckley

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Recent Random Pictures

There's actually been a lot going on lately despite my sparse posts, so here's a few random photos of what's been going on.

For Thanksgiving we ate dinner with Lance's family and had dessert with my family. There weren't too many people left at my parent's house by the time we got there so Lance and I played a few games of ping pong, air hockey, and foosball.

Last night my youngest brother was set apart as a missionary for the church and today headed for UT for the MTC. This was our final good bye, he'll be serving in the Zurich Switzerland mission.

Scott and my dad - goofballs!

This is my youngest nephew, Quentin and me. Isn't he so cute?

Towards the end of November our niece Sage turned 4 years old and had a birthday party. We went bowling (I'm pretty sure Sage beat my score), had pizza, and this delicious pretty princess cake Stephanie made. Isn't she talented?

This is a hair bow/clip holder I made for Lance's sister Allison. She's finally having a girl after three boys and I wasn't able to make it to the shower. Thanks to my Charleston ward for giving me the idea and also the simplicity of the project. I think I redid it about three different times until I liked it.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Bragging Rights

It has been so much fun to be 2500 miles closer to our families for the holidays. We were able to spend Thanksgiving with both our families and are looking forward to Christmas being the same. I wanted to give a shout out to all my in-laws and let them know how much I really appreciate and love them.

Alright, I wanted to do more than a shout out to them, I wanted to brag about them. There's one thing in particular that I'm so blessed to be able to enjoy around them and that is music. Every single one of them are musically inclined, I've seriously never met a better pianist than my Mama Donna, and never a better singer than Lance's sister Jerusha. And when Lance and Kempton sing together, it makes you all warm inside because their voices blend so well. Most families will stay up late at night playing video games or watching movies, but the Cox's stay up until 2am and sing together while Mama plays. I love it! I feel the spirit so strongly whenever they're singing, whether its Phantom of the Opera or Come Thou Fount. I could sit and listen for hours and hours to them and never tire.

One Christmas tradition they have is called the Christmas Sing where everyone gets together and sings the entire book of The Reader's Digest: Merry Christmas Songbook. If there's a particular song that happens to be some one's favorite, then we sing all the verses. Between the good company, fantastic music, great holiday treats, and the occasional solo, this is one of my favorite days of the year. I'm particularly looking forward to the Christmas Sing this year because all of Lance's siblings will be home for the first time in a few years. Believe me, I'm no singer but I love this tradition! If there's a way I can post a video of it (or of Jerusha) then I'll do that as well.

Monday, November 24, 2008

As Of Late

I haven't posted in quite some time which just isn't like me so apologies to everyone. I've been so overwhelmed with getting settled into our new place, unpacking, putting everything away, cleaning, and trying to get over a cold. This illness is driving me nuts, I'm so stuffed up I can hardly breathe and yet can't be two feet away from a box of tissues. Sigh. I'm just feeling lazy and tired. You know what I mean, nothing sounds good to eat, I have no desire to cook, shower, get dressed, look good, or even move from the couch. Ugh, being sick is the pits. Luckily whatever I have is mild so I'm hoping to be on the mend soon.

In the mean time, Lance is away talking to Reynold's and/or White's so we'll see about a job when he gets home. He's also going into the college to get registered and start this seemingly daunting task of school. I'm supposed to be organizing the house while he's away...don't tell him I was here and haven't got anything done today. Oops!

My younger brother and the baby of the family, Scott, spoke in church yesterday as he leaves for the MTC next week. He did such a great job, I'm so proud of him! Seriously, when did he grow up? He's got so much potential and is going to be such a great missionary. I'm so excited for all the people he'll meet and the experiences he'll have both good and bad. He's such a great example, I'm rooting for you Scottie!

My younger sister and Lance's older sister came into town yesterday from school. It's been so awesome to catch up on the past several months and be around family, to see how big all the nieces and nephews and the sad realization of just how short I really am. I'm glad to be with family during the holidays but I must acknowledge how much I miss our Charleston family. Just last year Lance and I sat around a large table at the Henriod's with all our friends around. It was so much fun eating, laughing, chatting, and playing Rock Band. And Lindsay, the food was absolutely divine!

Many things will transpire the next couple of weeks so I'll be sure to post again. I do have pictures to share but again, this goes back to the whole lazy/sick/leave-me-alone phase, so check back soon.

Monday, November 17, 2008

My Rock

It has been an extremely difficult week for me. Between living without our things and really missing our Charleston friends and ward, I had a few melt downs. I've been really trying to stay optimistic and positive about this move but it's been rough.

However, it is a new week. I'm going to really try hard to stay happy and look for the good in every let down or frustration. I'm so grateful for a loving and patient husband who feels my pain and joy in everything. I'm grateful for his faith when I need to lean on him during times like this. He's my rock, thank you Sweetie.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A side note, I moved the halloween pictures to the bottom for anyone that still wanted to view them.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Weary Travelers

I apologize for not posting anything lately. I'll keep this short because there's too much to talk about and not enough time for explanations. We have arrived in the lovely desert of Twin Falls, ID after a LONG 5 day trip of 2500 miles across the country. Did I mention it was long? It was extremely long. Oh and another thing, it's FREEZING here!! Luckily we were able to stay with a few friends along the way that we hadn't seen in a while; Josh and Laura in MS, and Brice and Tawni in UT. Thanks so much, you guys are life savers! I didn't take any pictures because we didn't see or pass anything that was too note worthy along the way. I probably won't post anything for a while because I have tons to get done the next several weeks, or maybe I will since blogging has become a great hobby of mine and is a great stress reliever. I already miss Charleston and all our friends there. Not to get sappy and all (but then again you saw what a mess I was on Sunday so I guess I don't have too much dignity left after that), but I love Charleston dearly and especially all of our friends. For those that I didn't get to say good bye to personally, I love you guys! We definitely will be back to visit, that's a promise. Oh Charleston, I love you so!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween Party

Last night we had a pretty sweet Halloween/Going Away Party. All thanks to Becca and Spencer for volunteering their house, we seriously couldn't have done it without you guys. I'll just put on a slide show so yall can see every one's costumes. Thank you all for the finger foods and your awesome company. We're honestly going to miss our ward and all of our awesome friends. I'm tearing up just thinking about leaving but I love you guys!

One of the activities we did was a Darth Vader pinata for the kids. We figured they'd be all hyped up on sugar and sweets from trick or treating, we'd give them a trick instead of a treat. Unfortunately the pinata came down after only 8 swings so we yelled for the kids to get the candy. Boy, were they in for a surprise! We thought of something healthy/nasty the kids wouldn't appreciate too well, so we filled the pinata with lettuce and carrots, some were pretty disappointed but others still ate the vegetables. It was hilarious! I recommend this to all parents in the future, it was a hit! (No pun intended).

We had a game of scary charades but we somehow misplaced it throughout the course of putting up our decorations. It seriously is too bad because I really wanted to see someone act out mortician (I was hoping in the back of my mind that someone other than Lance would draw it). Since that game was missing in action we told scary stories with a flash light and all. I couldn't get a very good picture of it because of the flash and if I didn't use the flash, the picture was quite blurry. Enjoy all the pictures, we had a blast!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Change of Life

A lot of people don't like change. They're in their own little comfortable bubble and if anybody bursts that bubble, they don't know what to do and all of a sudden their lives are chaotic and in all sorts of distress. Not me. I love change! I thrive off it, I have to consistently have it to survive. I told Lance I don't know if I could ever handle buying a house because after about 2 years I'd want to move again. We're nowhere near buying a house stage of life, but we are moving 2500 miles next week. I really enjoy moving because it changes every aspect of life. Where we work, go to school, where we live, shop, drive, what ward we're in, what callings we have, the culture, the climate, the people we interact with everyday. I love all of that. But, change is hard. I think that's why most people don't care for change, because its hard and requires effort and a little bit of faith. Change effects the way we think because of our surroundings and because of the people we interact with. That to me is a miracle.

I cannot say enough about how great moving to Charleston has been for us as husband and wife, but specifically for me. I have a whole new outlook on life and the gospel. I am so much more open minded and "free." I feel like a completely new person and I'm honestly scared to leave Charleston because I don't ever want to lose the things I've learned. I don't ever want my memory to fade of all my experiences here and the things I've come to learn and love. Yes, I'm terrified at the thought of moving away. I still love change and because of change alone, I'm excited to move. I often ponder of the things I'll be faced with in the next few years whether good or bad, and wonder how certain things are possible? But I leave it all in the hands of the Savior. He is my Maker and the Creator of heaven and earth. Surely if anyone knows, He does.

I really love this quote by President James E. Faust,"Each new day that dawns can be a new day for us to begin to change. We can change our environment. We can change our lives by substituting new habits for old. We can mold our character and future by purer thoughts and nobler actions. As someone once put it, “The possibility of change is always there, with its hidden promise of peace, happiness, and a better way of life.”

Sunday, October 26, 2008

What A Week

This past week my parents and younger brother and sister were in town visiting for 5 days. It was a lot of fun and due to too many pictures in a few jam packed days and lack of time, I will only include a few details. The first few days we spent in Charleston. We toured the city, the Aiken-Rhett house, Drayton Hall Plantation, Provost Dungeon and Old Exchange Building, Fort Sumter, Calhoun mansion, went on a walking ghost tour, shopped at the market and ate out a lot. WHEW!! It was definitely a busy week to say the least.

I wanted to post this story about the Hunley, a submarine that was commissioned in July 1863 and never found until 1995, only four miles off the coast of Sullivan's Island (next to Charleston)..........ok so I just summed it up for you but really, read the caption that's on display at Ft. Sumter seen below.

On the ghost tour we walked through parts of downtown as we listened to (mostly) true ghostly Charleston lore. I loved every bit of it and most tour guides will tell a tourist anything because lets face it, tourists are gullible and will believe anything. But after we got home, Lance and I looked up the stories and indeed they are true. This picture is in the Circular Congregational Church graveyard. This is the oldest grave in Charleston, buried in 1695 (the round brick tombstone). In the 17th century all of the building material was brick because stone had to be imported from Europe, therefore this unusual tombstone was made of brick. (Just FYI, most buildings downtown have stucco over the brick with lines scored in the stucco to give the appearance of stone). I thought this was so cool to see the oldest grave in the city, way awesome!
Do you see the sign with the arrow pointing to the brick wall? This is part of the original brick wall that surrounded the city in 1703 and is located underneath the Provost Dungeon. The city was eight square blocks, had a mote and a draw bridge and the wall was primarily for protection. I found it unbelievable that something so historic is still around over three centuries later.

Thursday we drove up to Asheville, NC to pick up my sister at the airport and toured the Biltmore Estate. Yes, ginormous doesn't even come close to describing this house and because its so large, I couldn't fit it all in one picture.

This is the largest privately owned home in America built by George Vanderbilt completed in 1895. He inherited all his money from his father and grandfather who made their money in the railroad industry. George's father was a brilliant businessman, doubling his fortune in only 8 years and in today's money that calculates to over 96 billion...............in 8 years.....................can you imagine? The house is 175,000 square feet or 4 acres, whichever way you want to look at it. His property sat on 125,000 acres and he planted over 3 million trees. The house was equipped with all the 19th-century novelties such as elevators, forced-air heating, centrally-controlled clocks, fire alarms and an intercom system. I must say it is expensive to visit, but this is our second time going and definitely well worth the trip. It's astonishing and completely mind boggling. It's definitely something you have to see in person because the grand size and detail of every nook and cranny has to be viewed in person, pictures don't do it justice. This is a sneak peak of a picture of the grand dining hall I found on the internet (pictures are not allowed in the house so it wasn't my camera).
The three amigos - me, Scott, and Christine - we had an awesome time together!

Waiting for Mom and Dad to get done shopping at the gift shop.

My mom and dad on the bus ride back to the parking lot from the Biltmore. I think Dad got a second wind of energy.

Sunday, October 19, 2008