Friday, July 6, 2007

thai 4th of july

Our house has become the un-official holiday gathering place for our random assortment of friends here in Houston. It started with Easter and has continued with Independence day. We are people lovers. A holiday is not complete without a full house. Our great mix of friends and family always extends to include anyone else who might want to join the festivities. This holiday we had an especialy eclectic mix.

Our friends Kristy and James, along with their kids Issac and Levi are always part of the festivities. James invited some of his co-workers, living in Houston for the summer doing internships, to join us. They are from Thailand and offered to make us some great Thai food that included shrimp, squid, three types of soups and amazing spices. Another family, Aitran, Hugo, Phoebe and Andy, who just recently moved to the area, made some delicious spicy eggplant. Aitran is originally from China but also lived in Vietnam. Her husband Hugo is from Mexico and they have two great kids. Others at the gathering were; Lyle and Emily, along with baby Eva (Emily and Alisa volunteered together at a women's shelter and Lonnie and Lyle went to JR High together), Stephanie and Martin (Lonnie was the teaching assistant in a class Stephanie took in college), Sister Fisher and Sister Kendrick (the missionaries in our ward), Kelly (our neighbor) and Tim and Julia Nuttall (brother and sister-in-law to James and Kristy).

All together there were about 20 people here at the house and way to much food for us to finish. It was a great holiday.

James' coworkers from Thailand- Nee and Niran. They were amazing cooks and took the kitchen by storm. In the end we convinced them to only cook 6 of th 9 dishes they had planned.

The non-stop sampling that took place all day long. The missionaries, Aitran, Kristy and Stephanie .

Emily and Eva, Kelly, Alisa, Kristy and baby Levi.

Everyone took their time in the kitchen, but these four were the hardest working.

Monday, July 2, 2007

helping each other

"The Lord does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs. Therefore, it is vital that we serve each other. The righteous life is achieved as we magnify our view of life, and expand our view of others and of our own possibilities. Thus, the more we follow the teachings of the Master, the more enlarged our perspective becomes. We see many more possibilities for service than we would have seen without this magnification. There is great security in spirituality, and we cannot have spirituality without service!"
--President Spencer W. Kimball

The first time I remember hearing this quote was when I was a missionary, and in line with my missionary assignment, I immediately identified myself as a service giver. As a missionary, I would be a person that would help the Lord meet the needs of others. Even as my life circumstances and roles have changed, I think that more often than not I identify myself as a service giver, that I try to see the needs of those around me and serve them.

As those who know her can attest, Alisa is a wonderful example of service giving. I think that Alisa is inherently blessed with the magnified perspective of life that President Kimball described. She has an ability to see so many possibilities to serve others. I enjoy the privilege of watching her every day in the ways that she builds others, whether it's a listening ear to a friend or visiting someone in the hospital that she just met a week before or babysitting for a relative or friend.

But Alisa and I now find ourselves in a more unfamiliar role, that of a service receiver. Neither Alisa nor I would have expected to need the service of others to help us fulfill our desire of having children, but we now find ourselves in this position. We are receiving service from many who have expressed that they are praying for us. We are receiving service from people who work in or have passed through the adoption process and are providing us with information to best manage the process. A service that we may yet receive could be that one of you knows someone who is placing a child for adoption and helps us make contact with the birth parents. And, of course, an immensely valued service for us would be that of a birth mother who makes the heart-wrenching decision to place her child into our family.

"It is vital that we serve each other." Sometimes we give service, and sometimes we receive. Through it all, we progress together.