Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Opening Night

Tonight, for the first time in history, in Chorley England, just outside of Preston, the British Pageant was performed with a cast of 200+, a choir of 150+ to an audience of 1000+.  It was a packed house.  Our hearts were also packed... with love and joy at the opportunity of being able to share the message of the pivotal role the Brits have played in the bringing forth of God's words to the nation.  The Bible in English.  The immigration to the Americas.  The sacrifice, some even with the cost of their lives, to press the work forward.  What an honor it was to participate in commemorating their contribution to the kingdom of God.   In the final scene the entire cast sings Called to Serve, and the missionaries serving in the Preston MTC (which is right on the temple grounds) all enter the stage and join in.  Then we launch into Redeemer of Israel and I get to hit the high note.  It. was. awesome.  I'm so grateful that my family is here to share this.  Our time abroad has honestly been both the best of times and the worst of times.  This pageant is definitely one of the best of times.

If you are ready for some rad church music, the music from the entire pageant can be down loaded FREE!  I love free. Click on the link below, to expand your heart and mind.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Formal Apology to the Scots

Dear Edinburgh Ward, Scotland, Morrills, Hunters (Helen), and my Ancestors,

Due to a series of exciting events, luck, and most likely destiny, Ryan, Preston, Jade and myself are basically starring in a dance that celebrates the English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh Saints that eventually immigrated to America.  We play a pivitol role in the dance of the Scotts, presumably because we are living in Edinburgh.  Jade is actually a Scot, with the accent to prove it, so her moves are legit.  But the rest of us (Preston, Ryan and I) can almost feel our Wallace ancestors cringe with every amateur step we take.  Even nuttier is that 4 houses down from our home in Bountiful, Utah, USA, lives an actaul Scottish family (the Morrill’s), and the mom in the clan actually teaches Scottish dancing!  As it is prohibited to video tape the performance, many of you may never know just how unprofessional our attempt at traditional Scottish dancing is… but we are having an amazing time, and I promise to exaggerate the quality of our Scottish dancing performance!

Lindsey Joy Smith

You can tell I mean business becasue I have on that white Scottish sash, and am wearing my plaid trousers (a.k.a. "pants" in America.)

Dress rehearsal tonight!

Ryan growing out his beard.  Everyone has a part to play.

Preston and makin a new friend.  Well done, you.

Jade's hair.  Fancy braids and a bun.

We match!

Annie could barely keep still tonight, she is a firecracker!  She got to hold the lamp prop. Cool.

Monday, July 29, 2013

First Run Through

Our first day of running through the lot of the pageant story.  We have been doing pieces and scenes, but not putting them in sequence and not including lights, props, sound, etc.  This was a great chance to see everyone's efforts revealed.  We have much work to go with a full day of rehearsals tomorrow and a dress rehearsal in the evening, but there is light at the end of the tunnel now.  My blessed children were very patient today with the waiting, and the instruction to stay right next to us and to stay quiet for 14 hours.  Someone is getting ice cream when this is all over.

There was a very strong spirit in the last scene and cannot wait to share it with our Edinburgh Ward friends, who are driving down on Saturday.

Truth Will Prevail!

An spontaneous dance party erupts in the lunch room among the kids and teenagers, and of course me who still has the moves but not the lungs to keep up with the party. Bummer.

Dad and Annie coloring during a scene rehearsal we are not in.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Church in a Tent!

What a difference a day makes!  Today was loads better then yesterday: 1 part: a change in schedule as it's Sunday, 9 parts: a change in my attitude.  We are simply part of something that is going to be epic, and epic adventures always begin with unsurmountable odds and struggles.  Church in a tent was rad.  Having my eldest son pass the sacrament was also rad.  A little more free time today also made for a happier Smith family.  My favorite bit so far?  The singing.  Because a showy crowd is gathered together, when it comes time to sing a hymn, no one is shy.  We belt out every song with the energy of... Annie Joy Smith.  She really has loads of energy.  Things are coming along. After sacrament meeting, the little kids were whisked away and the rest of the cast practiced the music for the pageant.  Tonight we had a wonderful fireside, highlighting the pivotal role that the British Saints in helping the church go from Hunted by mobs to thriving in the Salt Lake Valley.  Epic.  We get to be part of something epic.

Jade posing with her favorite book.  She is silly and fab.

After sacrament meeting held in the pageant theatre.  Preston passed the sacrament and talks were by a recent convert and the pageant photographer.

Annie and Si hangin out after church.

Cal and Owen playing after church today.

Annie setting the tables for dinner.

Jade and Lindsey cooking dinner.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Saturday's Warriors

Here's the deal.  Pageant practice makes for kind of a long day.  This is the very first year of the British pageant, and though things seem to be coming along nicely, there are very many kinks that will most likely be worked out for the next cast/ next year.  There are 23 scenes in the show (all named after religious reformers/ pioneers of the time), and just tonight, 3 flippin days into this show, we finally got to see the list of scenes.  Confusion abounds.  There isn't a great deal of things for the kids to do, and there have been absolutely no activities aimed at the youth to help them get to know each other and bond.  I am being critical, I know.  Ryan's Hill Cumorah Pageant experience is not being repeated here in the British Pageant, which leaves us trying to connect the gap for our kids between what we thought this would be like, and what this actually is like. Days like this make Ryan and I wonder why we decided to sign up to participate in the first place.  We wanted our family to make memories.  We wanted to celebrate the roots of our religion.  We wanted to share the gospel. We wanted our testimonies of Jesus Christ and His church to expand.  In spite of today, these goals are still achievable. I know things will come together.  They always do when we are trying to do Heavenly Father's work.

Lunch. PBJ and Bananas.  

This is the favorite item here at the temple: The soda machine that stocks real American rootbeer.

Ryan, celebrating his triumph in doing his dance moves correctly.

Owen and this string disc game. It held his attention for about 8 minutes, 8 blessed minutes.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Day 2 in Preston

We are actually not in Preston.  The Preston temple is technically located in Chorley, England, but whatever.  Here's the day through the lens of the camera.

The temple housing is also right next to the MTC in England.  I hope they call me on a mission...

Here we are.

I'm modeling the tent that we will perform in.

Every church meeting house is similar.  We are standing in front of the stage.

Owen getting his costume.  What a looker.

The cast is divided into districts.
Two men, Jim and Nick are our district leaders.
They rock are fab and even know our names. Impressive.

Annie with a play dough tongue.  Not many scheduled activities for the kids to do during the down times, so the kiddos have to get creative... 

The First Ever British Pageant

The Smith family, plus the welcome addition of a family friend Jade, joined 150 other crazy Mormons to be a part of the inaugural British Pageant. It is the epic story of the Christian Saints in the Uk that were converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ in the thousands, and eventually made the migration to Utah to join their fellow saints in America. No rest for the Smiths.  Day one was incredibly long with an early morning wake-up, a drive down to Preston, England, and a jam packed orientation day to kick off our 10 day stay here.  (not a typo, a whole ten days... yikes, that's a long time.)

The primary kids getting some instruction on their dance for the intro.

Most US pageants are done in the fresh air outside, but since the UK has unpredictable  weather, a giant tent has been erected.  Jade, Preston and I are waiting for some instruction.

Ryan and I are in a couples dance at the beginning.  We rocked the rehearsal, and might ditch our day jobs to become pro dancers.

Passport Panic!

It's hard to properly express the panic that one might experience when realizing that their non-refundable international flight leaves in about 12 hours, and that the passport legally required to make that journey possible is M.I.A. Right around 9:00pm last night my sweet twin sister discovered that her passport was not in her black bag where she thought she had placed it.  I have no idea how she held it together and didn't fling herself into an all out panic.  And to make matters worse, we had a fantastic lightning thunder storm last night that completely knocked out our internet.  So Lesley, Hillary, Ryan and I did the only things we could do: say about 400 prayers, search my car 53 times, unpack and repack 11 times, and eventually head over to the church across the street to access it's still working internet.  We attempted to call the US consulate and the airlines/airport (unsuccessfully) and finally fell asleep, secure in the knowledge that we had really done everything we possibly could have done to locate that stinkin legal document.  We were hoping that God would perform a miracle. Bed time was post 1:00am, with a sunny rise at 6:00am to attempt a few more desperation calls... And then it happened... We got a hold of the airport lost and found on Skype...

 "What day were you last here?"

------"Wednesday, July 17th"...

"What is your name?"

------"Lesley Jane Holman Howe"

"We've got it"

------we gasped so loudly, like on the show the Price is Right, a "you've won a new car" kind of a gasp.  We double checked to make sure that we weren't dreaming.  And we got our miracle.  First, my sisters came to visit me in Edinburgh, Scotland. Second, my Lesley was able to return on her scheduled flight to her clan in Az, passport in hand.  Hillary flew to her brood in CO.  What a day... a day of miracles.

***** This post is for Wednesday, July 24th, 2013*****

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Wallace Monument

My last full day with my lovely sisters.  We drove back to Edinburgh yesterday from Inverness, and stayed just outside the city.  The to do list today was Wallace Monument, our last souvenir shopping trip, and attempting to locate Lesley's lost passport....

Leaving our hotel.  Finally, after 7 days of straight sunshine, my sisters got some rain. Our stay was lovely that culminated in an awesome sauna and hot tub party.

In the Wallace monument. His real sword.

The sword is huge, which leads experts to believe that he was at least 6'6" tall.

Finally at the top, 249 steps to get there.

Lunch at Nando's.

Lesley on the Royal Mile.

Two of my best friends in the entire world!

*** This post is for Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013.***

Seeing Nessie!

Today brought us to Loch Ness, and Lesley swears she saw Nessie 5 times.  Hillary actually fed her some leftover sandwich from our rubbish lunch.  Apparently, the water monster is fond of soggy coleslaw.  Who knew.

This is a picture of where we stayed last night.  So pretty, right on a loch.

Our scottish breakfast.  Hillary and I aren't terribly fond of black pudding, but Lesley wants it to be her new middle name.

Les and Hill learning at the Loch Ness Museum.

Hillary, the heeland coo.

Lindsey, the heeland coo.

You guessed it, now Lesley as a heeland coo.

No real sisters trip can happen without matching outfits. 10 points to Hill for picking these up!

A shot of the castle ruins just off of loch ness.

*** This post is for Monday, July 22nd, 2013.***

Monday, July 22, 2013

Sisters Scottish Road Trip!

Best way to spend a Sunday? At church people, at church. Me with my daughter, a family friend Jade, my sisters Lesley and Hillary.  Beautiful one and all.

A family shot.  Dressed to kill.

We have Scottish ancestors in Argyll.   Here we are on a rock in Argyll.

Lesley and Hillary pictured in front of the infamous entry house on the Scottish series Monarch of the Glen.  Lesley spent a great deal of time doing "Scottish research" by watching this show in preparation for her visit.  What a diligent student.

The bridge that lead up to the lairds house on Monarch of the Glen.

Lesely is doing her happy touchdown dance... but why?

We were illiegally trespassing to get this shot!  High quality sisters trips usually include an element of lawbreaking.  The private drive was about 1 mile long, and we were sweating bullets the entire time.  
Our Sat Nav also kept saying "turn around if possible." Good things come to those who persevere.

Five star dinner at the Monarch Church Ruins.  Amazing.

Spinich Chicken with Mushroom Risotto

*** This post is for Sunday, July 21st, 2013.***