Sunday, January 14, 2018

Reminded

When my mom and Dad were here for Christmas my mom reminded me of something and I want to write it here so I remember it.

In November 2005 we went to Maine for Thanksgiving. Part of our visit included taking Liz to see the Nutcracker. We know the people who run Maine State Ballet and we were able to take Liz to meet the SUgar Plum fairy and the Nutcracker prince.

IN preparation for this nigh we had talked with Liz lots about going to see the Nutcracker, and we had played some of the well known music for her, so it would be a little familiar.

That night we got dressed up. Grandma put cute curly ribbon in Liz's hair and we bought a fun ornament. Liz sat on Grandma's lap as the ballet began.

After several songs and dances the traditional "March" music began to play. Liz turned to grandma and said, "Grandma! It's the Nutcracker!" IT was at that moment that it all clicked!





Friday, December 22, 2017

Merry Christmas!


Dearest Friends and Family,
This year has been a big one at the Chantry house. The kids are growing up so fast and doing so many great things. It has been a year of challenges, but also of many unbelievable experiences. Through it all we have felt the guiding and strengthening hand of the Lord, and we feel so abundantly blessed. Here are a few highlights:

Liz (16) - Now a junior in high school, she attended her first prom in April, she has excelled in music receiving an award for a band score that she wrote, and she composed and wrote lyrics for our stake pioneer trek which will take place next summer. Perhaps the most memorable was representing the USA in Budapest at the World Youth Goalball Championships. She met (and played against) teenagers from all over the world! She and the Utah team also took silver at Goalball Nationals in November.

Nathan (15) - Now a sophomore in high school, he has his drivers' permit (we couldn't be more excited for a second driver!), continuing with violin and started running cross country. He ran on the JV team this fall and worked so hard that he was even able to run at a regional race in Arizona. He ran his best race ever. He is taking challenging classes and doing great in school.

Michael (13) - An eighth grader, he is part of the junior high jazz band. He loves playing the trumpet and has come a long way this year. He was invited to create a youth ensemble to play several carols at our Stake Music of Christmas (for church). He invited ten youth who played various instruments, they practiced weekly for over a month and they sounded great when they played on Sunday. He does great in school and still loves anything he can build.

Megan (11) - sixth grade, our last year at the elementary school. She has grown so much (both in height and ability), she is motivated and responsible and a great problem solver. For the second year in a row, she was the first student to finish all 20 books for Battle of the Books. She loves to read and is looking forward to the battles in the spring. She is so excited for opportunities that will come when she turns 12 in March.

Jen was able to go to Budapest to watch Liz play. She also had the chance to do a lot of sightseeing. It was amazing to watch Liz have such great experiences, and to have some new experiences of her own. She is also doing lots of math tutoring this fall and loves it. Brian continues his work at BYU and takes such good care of this crazy family of ours. He teaches by word and example, and helps each of us to be better each day. We welcomed Brian's parents home from their 23 month mission in the Philippines, and we spent some time in the east with Jen's family. We are grateful for the chance to see family throughout the year.

We have felt the Light of Christ fill our lives this year, and hope that you, too, can feel the peace and joy that comes because of our Savior Jesus Christ.

Merry Christmas!
Brian, Jennifer, Liz, Nathan, Mike and Megan Chantry


Sunday, November 26, 2017

Thankful . . . from A to Z

My mother-in-law sent us home after Thanksgiving celebrations with a "I am thankful for" paper. There were 26 spaces, each with a letter of the alphabet next to it. I took some time after kids were in bed to fill it out. They took some time Saturday to fill out theirs and we had fun comparing answers. It was a fun way to think about our blessings.

A - Ancestors - Parents, Grandparents and generations who have come before to make the many blessings of my life possible.

B - Brian - What would I do without such a wonderful husband!

C - Children - I sure love my kids and I am grateful for the opportunity of motherhood.

D - Date Night

E - Education and Employment - WE are so blessed!

F - Family and Friends - so many people bless our lives. They lift and help and strengthen.

G - Games - Such a fun way to spend time with family.

H - Home - Protection for the storms, both of weather and of challenges of the world.

I - Ice Cream - Yum!

J - Jesus Christ - My Savior and Redeemer

K - Kisses (and other ways to express love)

L - Lakes and Oceans - Being around water is so peaceful

M - Math (and Music)

N - Night - a time to rest and rejuvenate

O - Opportunities for Growth - whether they come through challenges or exciting experiences, we have had many opportunities to try new things and improve this year.

P - Priesthood and Prophets - The power and authority of God has been restored to the earth

Q - Quiet time to ponder

R - Reading - Learning from great literature

S - Scriptures - Feast Upon the Word of God

T - Temples - Families CAN be together forever

U - Umbrellas - Protection from rain, especially when I am dependent upon public transportation and a storm comes

V - Vacuum and other labor saving devices - they sure make life easier

W - Water - Clean and Plentiful!

X - X-rays, MRIs and the many miracles of modern medicine

Y - Yellow and other colors that make me happy

Z - Zippered sweaters and coats that keep me warm!

I am so very grateful for abundant blessings that have been poured upon me! Life is good!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

IBSA Goalball World Youth Championships

The IBSA Goalball World Youth Championships started with the opening ceremonies. It was so neat to see all of these athletes and coaches together. This is the biggest tournament we have ever been too, and it was amazing to see the 11 countries that were being represented. It was amazing to hear the athletes' oath and to hear the games declared open. 


Liz was in this big group. You can see her in the bottom right corner of this photo.


And she is about half way down this photo, about 1/3 of the way in from the right.


Here she and her team are leaving, and I snagged a picture of her before we left for the hotel. They got to enjoy dinner with all of the athletes.



There were a few nerves for the first game against Spain, but it was nice to be there early enough to laugh a little and take a few pictures. 


It was truly amazing to watch Liz and her team play, and it really took a while to sink in that this was a world stage! Just a really cool experience.  USA beat Spain 7-3, and it was great to start off with a win.




Day 2 brought a game with Germany. I love this picture of Liz and her coach. Rachel is one of her coaches here in Utah, and it was wonderful knowing she would be coaching in Budapest. She knows the game and coaches really well.




We ended with a 5-5 tie against Germany. It was a hard fought game.


Day 3 was tough, with losses to Russia and Australia (spoiler alert - Australia ended up taking gold and Russia took silver). It was hard to end pool play with these two tough losses.


But it was on this day that I got a text from Liz telling me she found a piano. She told me that while she was playing, the German boys team had come up and started talking to her, asking about her music and if she had heard some songs. What a cool experience! Piano is always a way for Liz to relax, and have it be an ice breaker to talk with some new people was great!


Day 4 was another tough day, with a loss to Brazil. They were first in the other pool (and ended up taking third in the tournament.) There were some tears, knowing now that they could not medal. We gave hugs and said quick goodbyes. That afternoon I knew Liz had cheered up when her coach texted that she had been playing piano for the South Koreans that afternoon. 

Friday would be the last day of the tournament for the USA. There would be two games. We wanted the girls to go out with a great day of play, and if they won both games they would end up fifth for the tournament. 

It was a good day of goalball for the USA girls. They seemed more relaxed, they communicated better than they have all week. They had good defense. Things came together nicely.  We were excited that they beat South Korea 11-1. They would have one game off, then play in the game for fifth place.

In between games Liz was playing piano again. I got to watch her a little bit. One of the girls from Israel approached, but never seemed to get the courage to actually talk to Liz. Our last game was against Israel. The USA girls did great to pull out the win. But the best moment was after the game. After the teams shook hands Liz and this dark haired girl stayed on the court for quite some time talking animatedly. Liz later told me that she asked, "Are you the piano girl?" and said that they talked for a while about music. It was such a cute moment. I am so glad I had my camera out.


So proud of this girl of mine!


USA girls - 5th place - 2017 World Youth Championships


A picture with some of the members of the team from South Korea. Our girls saw them at the mall.


With teams from Germany and Australia. I loved that Liz got to interact with teens from all over the world!



Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Home

"The sure provisions of my God
Attend me all my days;
O may Thy house be mine abode,
And all my work be praise!
There would I find a settled rest
(While others go and come),
No more a stranger or a guest,
But like a child at home."

We sang this hymn as part of stake conference last month. I was stuck by this last verse, particularly the last couple of lines. I was so touched by the message, of wanting to feel at home in the presence of God and the Savior, like a child who feels the comfort and safety of returning home.

I have been thinking about my kids, and my role as mom, a lot. The kids are growing up so quickly. One of the things that hit me this spring is how hard it sometimes feels to get everyone to the necessary appointments/activities/meetings. It gets particularly tricky when they each have different places to be at the same time. I certainly couldn't do it without countless friends and neighbors who help so willingly. My older kids are becoming more independent and have taken big steps in getting where they need to be independently. Liz is a pro on the bus route between home and school (and even took the train to Goalball practice without me). Nathan and Mike walked home from school most days, and even Megan has a little more freedom getting around the neighborhood. When they are out and about I am grateful for cell phones because I know they can get in touch with me when needed. When they are gone I feel a subtle unease that is alleviated once everyone is on their way home. There is not much better than knowing my kiddos are home and safe. Peace comes over me as I sit and know that they have all returned after their adventurous days. 

I have been wondering if our Heavenly Father feels similar feelings about us, his children. He has sent us each into our mortal journey, knowing that we would face difficult things. He has given us lots of direction through scriptures and the words of living prophets. His Son, Jesus Christ, has shown us the way home, and has provided a way to return to the path if we stray. And no matter what we face, through prayer, we can reach out to our Heavenly Father. I am certain that He longs for each of us to return to His presence, to His home. I am sure he wants this more than we can even comprehend.

More than anything, this is what I want for me and for my family. I want us to return, and to feel at home with our Heavenly Father. Similar to our transportation situation, I have responsibility in helping my children know the right path, and doing all I can to teach and lead and love. But I also need to remember that my kids need independence. As they progress on their own individual journeys, they will (hopefully) grow in faith, strength and knowledge, coming to know their Savior as they access the power of His atoning sacrifice in their lives. 


Sunday, January 29, 2017

Service is a blessing

17 years ago today I went to the temple with Brian for the first time. (The night before, during our second date, I had mentioned my plans to go do baptisms early the next morning. Being the gentleman that he is, he offered to go with me so I wouldn't be walking alone in the dark. I may or may not have mentioned it to him, knowing that he would offer to walk with me.)

Anyway, we had a nice walk to the temple, and I was able to act as proxy while Brian confirmed and baptized me. After we had completed the baptisms, the temple workers asked if Brian could continue to perform baptisms for other patrons acting as proxy. He replied with a "Yes", just as I have seen him reply countless times to opportunities to serve that have come since that day seventeen years ago. I changed back into my Sunday clothes and sat on a pew, where I watched Brian (through the glass) as he continued to serve. A temple worker came up to me and said jovially, "We will have him for you in just a bit." I smiled back and honestly said that we weren't in any hurry.

Over the last 17 years I have been blessed to watch Brian serve in many different capacities at church. This service has affected our family in different ways, depending on the specifics of his calling. But one thing has remained the same. He brings a special feeling home with him each and every time he returns from his service. No matter what he has been doing, he carries a special light home with him, and that touches every one of us.

It isn't always easy. I remember a Saturday where he spent the bulk of the day helping someone moving into the neighborhood. I was worried about if we would be able to take care of the necessities of our Saturday. I miss him some evenings, when I would really love to sit on the couch and talk with him, but he has interviews or other things that need to happen that very night. I worry about his burden; the load he carries (so willingly) here at home, his responsibilities at work and at church. The interesting thing is that these are the times when I feel extra blessings from the Lord. He has always helped us to take care of our family, and help us to continue to build our relationship together,

It reminds me a little of the scripture in Matthew 16:25. "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it."

Saturday, January 21, 2017

My Liz

Today a reporter/photographer came to Goalball practice. He is doing a photo story about Liz for the Daily Herald. We have been in contact throughout the week, but this was the first time we met him and he met Liz. His story will focus on her and Goalball, but also to see how she lives her daily life with a visual impairment.

After watching her warm up by throwing the ball back and forth across the gym floor with other players, he came up to me and said, "This may be a silly question, but Liz IS visually impaired, right?" I answered, "yes!" and I tried to give him an idea of what her vision is like, but his question has had me thinking all day.

First of all, I realized in a new way, how comfortable Liz is on the Goalball court. She is confident in her abilities, and is very comfortable throwing and stopping the ball. Her court awareness has come a long way too. I still can't figure out how she knows where she is so well, especially when she has her eye shades on. She has faced challenging (and scary) things through Goalball, and overcoming them has only made her stronger!


Secondly, I have been reminded, that try as I might, I do not understand what Liz sees. I can kind of imagine it, but I have to remember that I don't know! Too often I assume that if I can see it, so can she, and THIS IS NOT TRUE. Just as I have a hard time describing my vision to others, I also have a hard time understanding hers. (But I also remember that I CAN relate to challenges and frustrations she may face.)

Lastly, I cannot help but watch Liz with amazement. I hope this doesn't sound boastful or braggy, because I am truly humbled when I watch Liz and see the way that she lives life. I look at her dedication to music (something that is much more difficult because of her vision) or her love of reading books in physical print form (no matter how small that print is!) or many other things and I am in awe. She puts forth so much effort, and she doesn't let her vision get in her way! She adapts in her own ways, and isn't shy about doing what she needs to in order to see. Mostly I am grateful for her amazing perspective and for the joy that I see in her.

I am so grateful for this amazing girl in my life!