30 December 2012

The Ghost of Christmas Past

This morning-- wait, this afternoon. I didn't even wake up until noon. I love winter break!-- I went through all of the Christmas newsletters that mom has sent out. She's been doing this since 1993 and she talks about each of the kids and the year's highlights. I thought I would share with you
Eric: 1993-Present
(Illustrated Edition)
so that you can see how much I've really changed.

1993, Christmas at grandpa and grandma Autrey's farmhouse off Route 66 in Missouri:
Clockwise from top left: Katie, me, cousin Tiffany; Me and grandma; Me; Sometimes I played dress-up with my sisters; Damian and me at Bass Pro Shops in Springfield; Christmas morning. Me, dad, Gail, Damian.
From the newsletter: Eric is a big three year old who talks and sings non-stop. We go from fits to fits of laughter with him.

1996, (Mom wasn't always consistent),
Momma Linda in her traditional spot under the tree distributing gifts. And me. Being an awesome six-year-old.
From the newsletter: Eric sang his first solo in sacrament meeting the Christmas just prior (1995)..... Eric's enjoying life. He sings, and plays with friends, loves our cats, and knows all the neighbors better than all the rest of us combined. He's the neighborhood socialite. We enjoy him lots. We hope the neighbors do, too. 

Top: going around: Nick, Katie, Damian, Momma Linda, dad, me.
I was ill this Christmas and "stopped the drips" by shoving tissue up my nose. Cute and creative.
From the newsletter: Eric (7) finished up kindergarten last spring and as of fall, became a full-time student! Celebration time for this mom! He loves school, and it's so fun to see him discover reading! I love it when he reads me bedtime stories (yes, he reads to me!), and stops to chuckle at the funny antics of Dr. Seuss Characters and others.

Even at a young age, I was a master at photobombing. Me, grandpa Liebhardt, Nick, Katie.

From the newsletter: Eric, our youngest, is eight now. He was baptized just a couple of months ago and is in the second grade. He loves reading and all kinds of other stuff- mostly playing with his friends. 

I couldn't find any Christmas photos from that year. Mom said "Maybe our camera was broken." I found this gem and figured it symbolizes my favorite part of Christmas: Family. Me, Katie, and Nick laughing in Katie's bed.
From the newsletter: There isn't anything on me specifically. Except that I'm nine. And played the days away with Nick during the summer.

2000, my first trip to Disneyland occurred around Christmastime.
All aboard! Big Thunder Mountain Railroad! LtoR: Gail, dad, Damian, Katie, Nick, me.
From the newsletter: Eric (10) is in 4th grade and still loves reading. Have you all read the Harry Potter series? Eric devoured those as quickly as he could. He just keeps busy with friends and I'm still attempting to teach him the importance of picking up after himself. I wonder if this is a hopeless task sometimes. But he's just so dang HAPPY all the time!

Dad, Momma Linda, me, Nick, Katie.
From the newsletter: Eric is in the 5th grade this year. It is his turn to have the longest commute to school, but he's a good sport and rides the bus. He also took up a string instrument this year. He's learning to play the violin at school.

One of our favorite holiday pastimes is playing games such as Settlers of Catan. LtoR: Gail, Katie, me, Nick, Damian, Tandy.
 From the newsletter: Eric: 7th grade, improving on the violin, reading, reading, reading, science camp graduate from the past 3 summers, archeology camp, Life scout, happy camper, hiker, and movie buff. 

Me and Katie. We sang in the Messiah that year. 
 From the newsletter: Eric is in the 8th grade. He is progressing in music. His other grades are good, too, overall. He had in interesting comment when we questioned him about some missed assignments on his grade sheet. He said, "The overall grade is good, and just so long as I'm grasping the concepts, it's okay." Hmmm. He's going to be one we're going to watch more closely in the future. For now, we watch, listen, and enjoy as he sings and plays. 

We had another Disneyland Christmas this year. LtoR: Damian, me, Braeden, Hercules, Seth, dad.
From the newsletter: Eric is still here at home, ran cross country, and performed in a school play, Grease (as the nerd). He also got to be in a small independent film called (Nerd)² [pronounced "nerd squared"] as a nerd. Is he being typecast? He's still singing and fiddlin'. 

Christmas cuteness. Mom, grandpa L, grandpa and grandma A, me.
 From the newsletter: Mom just talked about all the fun trips everyone went on. I didn't go on many because I was being awesome working at Taco Time. Woot.

Me unwrapping a gift and Seth.
From the newsletter:  This newsletter was actually written by me from mom's point of view. I did it like a newspaper with different sections. The Arts and Entertainment section is this: Our family sure has been busy going to concerts and plays... mostly Eric's. In February, he was a supporting actor in the silly western play "Westward, Whoa!" More recently in November, he was cast as Tevye in "Fiddler on the Roof." He did an amazing job singing and acting, but it was nice to get it over with and breathe! And, of course, his orchestra and choir concerts keep us busy. In September, he played his first big recital and did very well.... You might say that we support the arts... through Eric.

The Christmas card we sent out. Our family is growing!
 From the newsletter: We didn't have one this year.

The Christmas card from 09.
From the newsletter: Eric has gone away from home  for a couple of years. He left in September and is serving a mission in the Washington DC North mission. He is in Maryland, serving the Lord, working hard and loving it from what we can tell from his letters.... Eric did manage to graduate from high school- whew! Last one through! And he managed to squeeze in that Eagle Scout award at the very last minute, too.

I was on my mission for Christmases 2009 and 2010. Me and Elder Hutchison. I was chubby then. Wow. I actually sent out a Christmas card with Elder Hutchison, but I couldn't find a copy to share here. Oh well.
 From the newsletter: {We love to visit our kids and grandkids in:} Maryland--Eric, though we only visit him via email and letters since he's serving a mission.

Christmas card from 2011.
 No newsletter... 

This year's Christmas card. Nick's wedding reception in July.
Again, no newsletter 

But I do hope you enjoyed this, especially the blast from the past pics. Those made me laugh.

I sincerely hope all y'all had a wonderful Christmas and that you were able to enjoy the Spirit of this special season.

12 December 2012

Headline-worthy News

I love being a music major.
I love creating and interpreting art.
I love performing (except when I get performance anxiety... which is too often).
I love the faculty and staff in the music department.
I love teaching. Being a teacher is, in my humble award-winning opinion, one of the most noble professions.
I love the students that I have the pleasure of teaching. Such nice kids.
I love the way music makes me feel.
I love the way my music makes others feel.

For the past few weeks, I have been thinking about life.

My goals. 
My plans. 
Short term. 
Long term.

Where I want to be. 
What I want to do. 
What type of impact I want to make.

So I thought about the attributes I have. 

What I am I good at? 
What makes me happy? 
What can I see me doing?

As soon as I started at SUU, I applied and got accepted into the music education program. I have made so many great friends and memories. The faculty and staff really care. And they even decorate the music building for Christmas. I love it! 

But sometimes good things end. 

As I thought about my major and my career path, something didn't feel right. I felt doubt and uncertainty.

So I did what any Christian would do: I prayed. I did some research. I sought guidance and counsel from God about my uneasy feelings. 

The heavens did not open and tell me what to do. In fact, I became more restless about where I was going in life. 

A couple weeks later I made a decision: I am changing my major. To Hotel, Resort, & Hospitality Management. 

Upon making that decision, I felt so good! Those uneasy feelings of doubt and uncertainty went away and I'm at peace. 

Here's a good talk to read on the subject: http://magazine.byu.edu/?act=view&a=2536e

So. Life changing news.
Awesome, happy, wonderful, peaceful life changing news.