Monday, January 17, 2011

Forward

Of course there is no going back, but only forward. Rather than dwelling on the past, we should make the most of today, of the here and now, doing all we can to provide pleasant memories for the future.
-Thomas. S. Monson


The following YouTube Mormon Message and talk given by Elder Holland correspond so well and have reminded me how I want to start 2011 and how I want to live my life, looking forward. Enjoy.

Look Not Behind You ~ YouTube Mormon Message
Genesis 19:17

The Best is Yet to Be ~ Talk given by Elder Holland

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Years 2011!

It was a Merry Christmas


December 23rd

This year, for the first time ever, the Castletons enjoyed Christmas in Arizona at the lovely estate of Rachel and Dean Delap :) It was a splendid time had by all, beginning with a Castleton Family Christmas Concert for Rachel and Dean's friends in Rio Rico and Nogales. Featured numbers included favorites like Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming, Past Three O'Clock, and Coventry Carol, as well as some newer additions including Rogers High School Jazz Choir's version of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. It was so nice to sing together.



December 24th

On Christmas Eve, some of us took a Trip to the Boarder to find something fun and different for the White Elephant Exchange. Needless to say, there were some really great finds!



Bethlehem Dinner

Besides Christmas Caroling, for which without, our Castleton Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas :), Bethlehem Dinner is a special, looked forward to part of celebrating our dear Savior's birth. Since we were kids, mom and dad would put white sheets over everything, lay out a long piece of wood, and light candles throughout the downstairs basement living room... Well, they'd invite others to participate as we turned off the lights, sang Christmas carols to candle light, and enacted the Christmas story in Luke while Dad read it for us. Dinner consisted of a great assortement of dates, cheese, crackers, figs, olives, nuts, tabouli in pita bread, grape juice, water...hopefully close to what they might have eaten. Dad would always remind us that Mary and Joseph were very tired and hungry as they came to the stable where Mary would birth the Lamb of God, the Savior of the World. So, we could do with waiting a bit to eat as we remembered the Holy story. We would imagine the shepherds, the wise men, the beautiful bright star leading their way, and all those who came to see and worship the Christ child. Someone was usually a donkey, at least one angel, and others played the rest of the parts. During some years, neighboring children would play the parts as we got a little big for the roles. But, now it has come full circle and our children will play the parts that taught us to love the story of the first Christmas.



After dinner and caroling, we had a bit of recorded fun...enjoy :)

A little Trumpet mixing with the Ivory Keys
~ Below is a YouTube link to a great piece played by Abbs, Joel, and Joe. I hope you can access them this way. For some reason I couldn't upload them properly to the blog.


Dancing the Night Away ~ More YouTube links to some awesome footage of Christmas Eve dancing that made us all laugh til our stomachs hurt.

Part 1: Quite the show from Joe & Abbs
Part 2: Amazing moves from Joe, James, Mary & Abbs
Part 3: Sass from Joe & Abbs
Part 4: Teaching Abbs how to keep it right here...


December 25th

Christmas morning gave me a beautiful gift with Abbs, the Christmas Elf, taking me on a lovely run in the morning sun. She really got me through the that. Thanks Abbs! And she never complained through all my out-of-shape panting!


We came back for a morning full of fun times with the fam as Lena and Caleb gave us our stockings and gifts...with the assistance of course from a special red and white capped elf, and his other helpers :)


Hope you enjoy the pictures...it was so fun, I had to include a bunch. I love the pictures of Elena and Caleb with their BYU t-shirts on down below. They are such beautiful kids with great parents. They really took their job seriously...well both jobs really...the one of giving out gifts and the other of opening gifts! :)


Now, of course, Christmas doesn't need tons of presents under the tree to be wonderful...no, the time together, laughing while we opened gifts or watching the kids open theirs and play, or even listening to each other talk of this and that...the combination of all that is enough to make the day wonderful, with warm feelings to accompany the memories in years to come...but there were gifts given this Christmas and truly, the fact, that opening gifts got us together in one room, joking with each other, teasing and laughing at one another, interested in what wordage
Dad would use on his tagged gift that he and mom gave each of us...that really made the morning meaningful and fun. It seems to be like that every year...and that's why I love the tradition of presents under the tree. Mom's and AA Laura's well stacked stockings with oranges, dried bananas, almonds, and of course some hot chocolate from dad...that doesn't hurt my experience either :)

There were some pretty wonderful gifts, soft gifts, hard gifts, incredibly creative and meaningful gifts, and then some darn right practical and funny gifts, ahem, the batteries, one in every accompanying present to that lucky receiver!

Awesome Aunt Laura made little glass place holders with pictures of us as kids way back when, for Rachel and Dean (she was their Secret Santa this year :) ...and well, as I said, there were so many gifts, great, fun, wonderful gifts that I can't name them all.

I will mention a special gift I received from my Secret Santa, Abby. It is the picture below of a wooden frame she painted and decorated with pictures of Christ from an old calendar that mom had given her. She is so creative! There couldn't have been a better gift for me, thanks :)










And thank you to all my family for the fun love you all share with each other and me. Being able to Skype with those not in Arizona and singing and playing games with each other really blessed my Christmas this year.



Voyage of the Dawn Treader

We had another very special event, on Christmas Day afternoon... we managed to get 10 of us gathered together and off to Nogales to see Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. And, having arrived there 37 minutes early [we should all pat AA Laura on the back for that one!] we had time to sing carols to some of the moviegoers! The movie was incredible, and afters, some of the local moviegoers thought we should sing again. Here are two YouTube clips a lovely listener took:








Now, time for some close ups on little Isaac and lucky baby holders...can the little one be more perfect? :)









Here is a fun little show with Elena and Caleb dancing to Joel's piano playing...they loved his music!

video


December 30th
Can you guess what this is? :)


Scripture Study with the family...you have to watch for Caleb's face at the end of this clip...it's classic funny Caleb!

video

Happy New Year to all ~ 2011!
May it be full of all the experiences you really need.