Easter 2014

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Yesterday, we spent a quiet day in San Diego by attending church and then looking out at the beautiful ocean and listening to its thunderous roar as the waves crashed against the jagged rocks and sandy shoreline.  We celebrated the atonement and resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ by reflecting on His life and the many sacrifices that were given for mankind.

Saturday evening we ate at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants called Cocina Miguel’s which is located in Old Town at  2444 San Diego Avenue, San Diego, CA 92110 (619-298-9840).  As we waited for a table, I began taking pictures of the succulent cacti that surround the restaurant. There was a beautiful cactus with bright red flowers and very sharp thorns. I thought it was a cactus of stark contrast.  It had these bright red, delicate flowers and the thickest thorns that looked like they definitely would not bend easily under extreme pressure.

I found a little bit of information about the plant that I took pictures of at the restaurant.  I seriously didn’t know the name of the species or any details.  I thought it was an interesting plant and it reminded me of the thorns that might have been used to make the crown of Christ.  I certainly didn’t know the name of the plant which is Crown of Thorns. If you would like to find out more about this plant you can click on the link: Crown of Thorns

“……The common names allude to the legend that the crown of thorns worn by Christ at the time of his crucifixion was made from stems of this plant. Interestingly, the stems of this plant are pliable and can be intertwined into a circle. There exists substantial evidence that the species, native to Madagascar, had been brought to the Middle East before the time of Christ.

The Crown of Thorns is a woody, spiny, climbing succulent shrub with shoots reaching a height of 6 feet. Leaves are found primarily on young growth, and the plant may defoliate completely if put under moisture or temperature stress. Subsequent growth will bear new leaves. The plant flowers nearly all year, and especially in the winter. The flowers are small and inconspicuous, but the brightly colored modified leaves (bracts) found just beneath the flowers are quite attractive. Most Crown of Thorns plants in cultivation have red bracts. A variety with yellow bracts exists, but is not very popular……..”

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He is Risen!

Today is Easter Sunday, April 20, 2014.  We are in beautiful and sunny San Diego on vacation.  However, we want to remember our Savior, Jesus Christ and all that he has done for each and everyone of us.  I love the thought provoking scenes in this video that helps the viewer visualize what Christ had to endure when He came to earth.  I am most thankful for Christ’s atonement and resurrection for me.

He is Risen: John the Beloved’s Witness of the Resurrection

The Apostle John provides his eyewitness account of the last events in the Savior’s life and his Resurrection. (13:22)

his Easter activity is for the children, especially my own grandchildren.  I hope they will always remember the true meaning of Easter.

Seven Days Till Easter

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You and your family can learn about what Jesus did while He was living on earth. Begin the Sunday before Easter. Each day, read the scripture, do the activity, or sing the song (or another song on that topic). Then cut out and paste in an empty box the picture of Jesus that matches the scripture story. When all the boxes are filled, Easter will be here!

Day 1
Heavenly Father sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to be born on earth.

• Luke 2:4–7
• “He Sent His Son” (Children’s Songbook, 34).
Day 2
Jesus was once a child. We can be like Him by being good and kind.

• Luke 2:40, 52
• “Jesus Once Was a Little Child” (Children’s Songbook, 55).
Day 3
Jesus kept all of Heavenly Father’s commandments, including the commandment to be baptized.

• Matthew 3:13–17
• “When Jesus Christ Was Baptized” (Children’s Songbook, 102).
Day 4
Jesus performed many miracles, like healing people who were sick, helping blind people to see again, and making a storm stop.

• Mark 4:36–39
• “Tell Me the Stories of Jesus” (Children’s Songbook, 57).
Day 5
At the Last Supper, Jesus asked His disciples to partake of the sacrament as a way to remember Him. When we take the sacrament each week we too can remember the Savior.

• Luke 22:19–20
• Talk to your parents about something you could do to help you think about Jesus during the sacrament this Sunday.
Day 6
Because Heavenly Father and Jesus love us, Jesus came to earth to suffer for our sins so we can be forgiven and return to Heavenly Father.

• Luke 22:41–44
• What is something you can do today to show Jesus that you are thankful for His sacrifice?
Day 7
After being in a tomb for three days, Jesus was resurrected. Because He was resurrected, we can be resurrected too.

• John 20:15–17
• Luke 24:36–40
• “Did Jesus Really Live Again?” (Children’s Songbook, 64).
You can listen to the songs in this activity at lds.org/music

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Have a glorious Easter.

Because of Him!

This beautiful video was produced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

It tells why Christ is important in all of our lives. I hope you enjoy watching this very moving video. Enjoy and I wish all of you a meaningful and blessed Easter.
And remember it is, “Because of Him!”

BECAUSE OF HIM
Jesus is the Son of God, our Savior and Redeemer. Because of Him, death is not the end, and life takes on new meaning. We can change, we can start over—and we can live again with God. This Easter, celebrate His life and discover all that’s possible because of Him.
THE MEANING OF EASTER

The sun rises up over the vast cityscape of Jerusalem, lighting the white limestone walls of the old city and creeping over buildings. Just north of the walls, a garden sits undisturbed.

Shortly, a throng of tourists will arrive and take their spots on the benches overlooking the garden. Some will descend the steps to the lowest point in the garden, quietly duck through a door carved in stone, and stare reverently into a hollowed portion of the rock where a body was laid to rest about two thousand years ago. As they leave, they will notice a sign on the door: “He is not here, for He is risen.”

The tourists don’t come to the Garden Tomb because this is where they hope Jesus was buried; they come because they hope this is where Jesus did what had never been done before—He lived again.

God sent Jesus to earth to teach us a better way to live. Though His ministry lasted only three years, His teachings have influenced billions for nearly two millennia. But the greatest gift Jesus gave to us was His life. He paid the price for our sins, died on the cross, and rose from the dead—providing a way for each one of us to return and live with God someday.

St. George, Utah, Good Times…………

 

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Our neighbors Bob and Barbara have become very dear friends of ours.  They invited the “fishing buddies” and their wives to St. George for a wonderful getaway.  We had a phenomenal time and the most delicious homemade food by some very talented cooks. Each couple was in charge of a meal for each of us to enjoy. Milt and I served barbecued Tri-tip steak, glazed and grilled pineapple, maple glazed carrots, a relish tray with carrots, celery and zucchini with a yogurt dill dip, a delicious green salad full of all kinds of fresh vegetables, baked potatoes and fresh berries for dessert with a brown sugar whip cream topping. It was delicious and there were plenty of leftovers for yummy steak sandwiches for the next day’s lunch.

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We went to the St. George Temple on a very rainy and cold morning. When we came out of the temple the stormy skies had cleared up and the sun was shining through the trees making for a stunning sunburst in the photographs and it turned out to be a beautiful day.  While we were in St. George we had snow, hail, rain and sunshine all in 3 three days time.  In Salt Lake the weather was snowy and cold so we did have a little reprieve from the winter.  We would like to thank Bob and Barbara for their hospitality and their friendship.

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”– Marcel Proust

General Conference, April 5 and 6, 2014

General Conference is a renewal session for your soul.  Every year, twice a year, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints meet together to listen to messages prepared by the leadership of the church.  The meetings take place in Salt Lake City in The Conference Center that holds 21,000 people.  Throughout the world others can watch conference through multiple social media sources such as Facebook, twitter, you tube, The Mormon Channel and much more.  What a wonderful time of communication levels we live in.  We have a stewardship to use these resources for good and uplifting messages.

WEB Layout April general conference 2014

The Piano Guys & The 7 Wonders, Second Wonder

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The Piano Guys just posted the second video on their world tour at Rio de Janeiro.

The Mission: How Great Thou Art

We’ve set an ambitious goal to film in front of all Seven Wonders of the World. We started with the Great Wall of China (link). As our tour of Brazil approached we set our sights on our next Wonder: Christ the Redeemer. This incredible piece of art soars 10 stories in the air, stretches 100 feet wide and weighs 1.4 million pounds (630,000 kg). But even more impressive is that it was built in the 1920’s on a peak of a sheer 2,300 ft. (700 meter) cliff overlooking Rio de Janeiro.

Not far from this inspiring statue are the Iguazu Falls – a natural Wonder of the World. Made up of 275 waterfalls that stretch across 1.7 miles (2.7 km), to match the amount of water that flows down these falls you would need 2 million people to each pour a quart of water every second.

As we considered what piece of music would be worthy of such incomparable locations we looked to songs that have been composed or used to praise Jesus Christ, for whom the statute was built and who billions believe created all the natural wonders of this world. We wanted to combine the melody of the heartfelt hymn of praise “How Great Thou Art” with one of the most beautiful melodies ever written – the theme from the movie “The Mission” (“Gabriel’s Oboe.”) “The Mission” is a movie that powerfully depicts the lives of men that lay down their lives for others. It was also filmed at Iguazu Falls. “How Great Thou Art” praises God and all that He has done for His children on this Earth. The two harmonize so beautifully with each other, both musically and thematically. As we played these pieces in front of the Christ Statue and Iguazu Falls we felt an overwhelming sense of wonder, peace, and joy.

This music video is not meant to exclude anyone that does not believe in God. We hope that it instead promotes spiritual feelings that can be felt by all – gratitude for a beautiful Earth, for life, and for joy.

A wise man once said, “If we thought of life as a gift, we might not demand nearly as much from it. And if we lived more graciously, giving of ourselves more freely to the well-being of others, many of our personal concerns would disappear, and life would become easier for all.”

We respect all beliefs and opinions, but we hope that in the comments everyone can set aside religious differences and instead focus on building each other up – through gratitude, inspiration, kindness and mutual respect.

Thank you so much for watching! We are grateful for you!

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The 7 Wonders and Number One: Kung Fu Piano: Cello Ascends

 

 

Piano Guys

I have always been a huge fan of The Piano Guys.  They are a local Utah group of everyday Dads.

They have a wonderful sense of humor and their concerts are so enjoyable.

Last December we went to their Christmas concert at The Energy Solutions Arena in downtown Salt Lake City.

I definitely would go to another concert.  At the concert, the group mentioned that they had filmed the first video of their quest to play at all of the 7 Wonders of the World.

They showed the video of The Kung Fu Piano: Cello Ascends to the audience.

I loved it and knew I would have to do a blog post about the Piano Guys.

About “Kung Fu Piano: Cello Ascends”
Since ThePianoGuys began, it has been our impossible dream to put a grand piano on the Great Wall. People laughed at us when we said we were determined to do it. It is done. All of us at ThePianoGuys would like to dedicate this music video to the visionary behind it all and the man whose dream this has always been: Paul Anderson.

About “Kung Fu Piano: Cello Ascends”
Since ThePianoGuys began, it has been our impossible dream to put a grand piano on the Great Wall. People laughed at us when we said we were determined to do it. It is done. All of us at ThePianoGuys would like to dedicate this music video to the visionary behind it all and the man whose dream this has always been: Paul Anderson.

ALL THE SOUNDS YOU HEAR WERE CREATED BY THE CELLO, PIANO, AND ASIAN PERCUSSION

THE STORY:

Yes. That is the Great Wall of China. No. It’s not green screen.

It is difficult to detail each of the many miracles that were stitched together in time turning this dream into actuality. Master Oogway, himself, said, “A destiny is not realized until we let go of the illusion of control.” To say we made this happen of our own accord would be to fall victim to this illusion. An invisible hand guided us, for which we are eternally grateful. This was a life-changing experience for us.

We’d like to thank the main players in this story that made it possible:

Our managers at DSW, David Simone and Winston Simone; Sony Masterworks, and especially to the woman that climbed every wall that stood between us and The Wall: Ivy Song.

When we found out we had been granted a permit to film on The Wall we were intimidated by the prospect of choosing what song to write. A pop song arrangement seemed irreverent! We talked about writing an original tune, but we wanted something more relevant. We’re big fans of the Kung Fu Panda movie series (and we’ve all got kids that love it too.) We had what we call a “chills up” moment as we listened to “Oogway Ascends” from the soundtrack. Steve was inspired to figure out how to create a sound on his custom electric cello (named Bruce Lee) that mimicked the Chinese fiddle (Erhu) and the plucked instrument, Guqin. As we often love to do we wanted to include a classical influence. There are over 30 million piano students in China. That’s more people than the entire population of Australia! It’s probably safe to say the great Polish pianist/composer Frédéric Chopin has more groupies in China than anywhere else. We had been working on an arrangement of his Prelude No. 20 (nicknamed “Chord” or “Funeral” Prelude). It fit the theme and the vibe of Oogway’s “Ascension” AWESOMELY (as Po would say). Between it all we wanted a bridge that sounded like a Kung Fu battle. Once the concept had solidified the song seemed to write itself.

We only had a day to film. Wow. Capture the epicness of the Great Wall in 12 hours or less? Add in the challenges of weather (lighting), limited equipment and crew, and, of course, the people climbing the wall – many were very nice and stayed back as we filmed, but we couldn’t keep everyone off which eliminated a lot of shots. We wished we could have done so much more, but we’re grateful for what we were able to do.

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