Thursday, December 31, 2009

Balancing Life!

Balance, that truly is the greatest challenge in life! Learning how to balance your time, your emotions, your energies and on and on. I read a quote yesterday that seemed to be written just for me, it went like this...

"LIFE IS A BALANCE OF HOLDING ON AND LETTING GO!"

That is the balance that I have been working on this past month and really trying to focus on today. When you have a child leave home, no matter why they are leaving... you start to question things. Many of the questions that I am asking myself this morning, are the very same ones that I asked myself when they were little and left for their first day of school.

DID I TEACH THEM EVERYTHING THEY NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE WORLD?

DO THEY KNOW WHO THEY ARE AND WHAT IT EXPECTED OF THEM?

WILL THEY BE A GOOD CITIZEN AND MAKE A POSITIVE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD?

WILL THEY REMEMBER TO SAY THEIR PRAYERS AND STAY CLOSE TO THEIR HEAVENLY FATHER?

HAVE I TAUGHT THEM TO BELIEVE AND HAVE ENOUGH CONFIDENCE IN THEMSELVES?

HAVE I WARNED THEM ABOUT ALL THE DANGERS IN THE WORLD, AND WILL THEY HAVE THE SELF CONTROL TO STAY AWAY FROM THEM?

DO THEY BELIEVE IN THEMSELVES AND HAVE CONFIDENSE AND A HEALTHY SELF-ESTEEM?

HAVE I TAUGHT THEM HOW TO BE HAPPY?

HAVE I TOLD THEM I LOVE THEM ENOUGH?

 

All the WHAT IFS are still roaming around in my head, but I am trying to push them out and remember this quote... "THE ARE OF MOTHERING IS TO TEACH THE ART OF LIVING TO CHILDREN." ~Elaine Heffner

Yes, I hope I have taught Lauren enough? Actually, I sometimes believe that my kids have taught me so much more about life, than I ever taught them. What a blessing!

"While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about." -Angela Schwindt

 

Ok, I need to remember to just BREATH!!!!!  She is on her way...the sky's the limit!  Wish me luck!  :)

"Whether your daughter is still a little girl or a grown-up woman, she'll always remain as your girl and will hold a special place in your heart." ~Unknown

"Why does it take a minute to say hello
and forever to say goodbye? "

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Sometimes Motherhood hurts!

Today we tried to get all the last minute things together for Lauren to leave. She had help from Krystal and Amy packing and repacking, weighing and re-weighing...can't go over 50 pounds! I was grateful it was a busy day so that I didn't really have time to think about it. We celebrated her birthday ( early ) so that we could all be together for that too!

The reality of her leaving is beginning to sink, now that my living room is full of luggage and her room is getting more empty. I can do this....right? Well, the only thing that does my heart good is knowing that she is ready and excited to go. She wants to get on with the rest of her life, for that I am grateful and excited.

Watching her tell her sister Amy and the girls good-bye tonight though started the tears again. I am going to bed, maybe if I sleep my heart won't hurt sooooo bad! I know....this too shall pass, but it hurts!

“Motherhood is the greatest potential influence either for good or ill in human life. The mother's image is the first that stamps itself on the unwritten page of the young child's mind. It is her caress that first awakens a sense of security; her kiss, the first realization of affection; her sympathy and tenderness, the first assurance that there is love in the world.”

A Day In Washington

So good-bye dear Lauren, good luck and I pray that you will remember to keep looking for all the beautiful things in life! Life really is good!  We love ya!

Goodbyes are not forever.
Goodbyes are not the end.
They simply mean I'll miss you
Until we meet again!

~Author Unknown

"Love is missing someone whenever you're apart, but somehow feeling warm inside because you're close in heart."  ~Kay Knudsen


"The reason it hurts so much to separate is because our souls are connected."  ~Nicholas Sparks

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

What color of glasses are you looking through?

Before I start, I wanted to let you know that my blog should be fine and up and running now. We had some technical difficulty and I think we had about five posts that couldn't be read. All of them should be available now. Thanks for your patience and for my dear friend that helped figure it out!

A dear friend sent me this quote today and I thought it was very thought provoking, it goes like this...

"Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle!"

It makes you stop and think, but more important than focusing on the person fighting and struggling, it made me think of how each of us have our own things that we have to work on or learn from in this life. I used to say that I am fighting to keep my body from getting cancer again. I realized by saying that, I am giving cancer way too much power. Instead of looking over my shoulder every minute worried and scared, I instead need to focus on staying as healthy and grounded as I can, so that my body and immune system stay strong. The greatest tools we can ever have is...faith, peace and happiness. Confidence that if we do all that we can to stay healthy and strong, we will be able to handle whatever comes our way.

Adversity although, it is never really popular or sought after, is however an incredible teacher and one of the things it has made me do, is look at others with a different color glasses Instead of the color judgmental.... I know see through the color ....compassion, you get my point?  When I see a mom struggling or fighting with her child at the store, I now remember some of my toughest days with my 4 little ones and realized, I have been there or could have been there. When I hear about a person who seems to always be sick, in the past I would wonder if they are really sick or just think they are. I now realize that being sick a lot, is not usually a choice most people want to make and looking from the outside in ...you could say the very same thing about me and my life. I used to look at people who still have their Christmas lights up in February and wondered why they were being so lazy that they couldn't take them down?  That's just plain tacky. However when I was diagnosed with my first cancer in December 2001, we were so involved with that tragedy hitting our family, that we didn't take Christmas decorations down until April. Now I look at lights up that long and wonder if someone in there home is too sick or too worried to think about them. Yes perspective is a wonderful thing!

We all need to stop and check the color of glasses that we are looking through. The other vital thing we need to remember is this quote...

"We do not see the world as it is. We see the world as we are."  ~ Talmud

I think this is important because there will be times when what we think and what we see, may not really be reality, all I am saying is to stay open, listen to what your heart and gut say, take in consideration that maybe your perception of something could be wrong. Life is hard and it it totally about learning and growing. I hope we all will stop and try to see life through the right glasses at the right time. Be open to change. Be willing to be an OBSERVER SELF, we all can get stuck and in habits that aren't healthy. Remember change is good.

Thanks for your continued friendship and helping me to remember to check my glasses often!  Good night!

"I've learned that two people can look at the same thing and see something totally different."

"I've learned that our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become."

Monday, December 28, 2009

Heartbreaker

Motherhood even though it is has been my full time job for almost 27 years, still I find aspects of it that are hard for me. Some things you get used to, and others still hurt your heart every time. For example... a kid leaving home for the first time! That is one that is very hard on a mother's heart, especially if you like the kid! :) Lauren is heading to college in 3 days and I cry when I go to sleep thinking about it and I wake up and do the same. I know you are probably thinking, this is your third child you should be used to it! But I am not. I remember it just like it was yesterday when we dropped Amy off to college and when Brad left for school too! I just knew that my heart would break in two!

I remember a dear friend of mine who was getting ready to send her first and only child off to kindergarten. She would cry when she would just talk about it, I assured her that she would some how make it past this, and soon enjoy her time for herself and the growth that she saw in her child. She did survive and now, has another child to go through that again with. That is what motherhood is all about though. You do live to tell about it, but then there is always another situation or child to go through it again with. Yes, motherhood is NOT FOR SISSIES !

Those of you who are reading this and are EMPTY NESTERS, have already been there and done that. I could sure use your advice. I am not quite there yet, but still this is part of the process that will get me ready when Jeff and I have an empty house. I am grateful that my son and daughter-in-law have moved in with us for 4 months while they do their internships here. So I lose one and gain two....I am not complaining!  Still having Lauren leave is going to put a empty spot in our home and our hearts, she was a handful to raise up until she became a teenager, and then she has been a real treat to have around. ( Most kids do it the other way around, but Lauren was never quite like anyone we had ever met! :) So please bare with me as I try to go through this next challenge in my life as a mom.

I hope soon my blog will be up and running again and we can stay in touch. I pray that the holidays were memorable for each of you and that  you were able to enjoy the true meaning of Christmas. Thanks for being my friends and family.

 

" Do not pray for tasks equal to your abilities, but pray for abilities equal to your tasks. Then the performance of your tasks will be no miracle, but you will be the miracle."

" You never know what a girl is worth, you'll have to wait and see;

But every woman in a noble place, a girl once used to be." ~ Thomas S. Monson

“ The whole process of raising a family is one of perfecting our own lives. That which we transmit consciously and unconsciously to our children in their rearing in the home and in the community must be the best within us.”  ~Henry D. Moyle

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Technical difficulty

My blog site is having some difficulty and so we are working on getting this fixed. I am sorry for the inconvenience.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Money can't buy happiness!

I thought this was a perfect topic since we just experienced Christmas and I am betting, you realized like I did ...that the best part of Christmas had nothing to do with money!

A friend of mine received a book from Hallmark for Christmas called ...SECRETS HAPPY PEOPLE KNOW. I was impressed with one of the quotes that was in there. It was called...

MONEY CAN'T BUY HAPPINESS (really it can't) the cans and cannots of MONEY

$ Money can buy  you a bed, but not sleep.

$ Money can buy you books, but not brains.

$ Money can buy you food, but not an appetite.

$ Money can buy you fitness equipment, but not fitness itself.

$ Money can buy surface beauty, but not inner beauty.

$ Money can buy you a house, but not a home.

$ Money can buy you medicine, but not health.

$ Money can buy you amusement, but not happiness.

$ Money can buy you watches and clocks, but not time.

"He is richest who is content with the least."  ~ Socrates

I hope after reading this, you will remember the importance of things that money can't buy like...Peace, Happiness, Health, Love and on and on.

I pray each of you had a wonderful Christmas, thanks for being part of our blessings which make us truly RICH!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Most memorable Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all of you!  I would like to share one such Christmas miracle that happened to our family over 20 years ago.

We moved from our home in Huntington,West Virginia to Kirkland,Washington in the fall of 1988. Jeff was a geologist and the coal industry took a down turn and Jeff was laid off from his job at the engineering firm. We decided then to take a leap of faith and to move our little family (which then included Brad and Amy) clear across the United States for a whole new beginning.

Jeff found a temporary job till November then right before Thanksgiving they did layoffs again. I remember well the words of my mother right before we left “ do you know what you are doing, moving so far away from family and friends, what if things don’t work out there?” I guess there was a bit of pride in us after a few weeks of being unemployed and realizing that impact it was going to have on the upcoming Christmas, but still I didn’t want to call our family and tell them that we needed help, they had already helped us so much. We had fasted and prayed fervently before we moved and we knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is where we were to be and was the needed change that we were looking for.

Jeff did odd jobs for people and I made and sold gifts from our home but still it just wasn’t enough. Washington was a much more expensive place to live compared to West Virginia.

We prayed and worked but I didn’t know for sure how Christmas was really going to happen. On December 1st our Christmas Miracle began…. There came a knock at the door that evening and by the time we opened it, no one was there. But on the door step was bag of groceries. December 2nd after it was dark while we were eating dinner the door bell rang. By the time we got up from the table and to the door, once again our visits had disappeared but we found a $20.00 cashier’s check in our wreath on the door. As so the miracle went on and on each day of December. Hard as the children tried, they could not catch our Christmas Angels. Some nights it was a treat, money or food but I just remember the overwhelming feeling of being loved and watched over by my Heavenly Father and those around us (who we barely knew!)

As Christmas day came closer, the cupboards were getting bare and I remember kneeling one night and asking Heavenly Father to help us figure out how we could possibly provide any type of Christmas for Amy and Brad this year. I even left the cabinet doors open before I went to bed, just in case he thought we might have more food than we did. I knew we were doing all that we could, now we were trying to have the faith that we needed to realize things would work out somehow.

The day before Christmas was Sunday and we were up getting ready for church when there was a knock at the door. It was a man who asked if this was the home of Jeff and Lynn Woodard. He introduced himself and said that he was a member of the Lion’s Club and that he had a delivery for us. He then asked Jeff to come to the car with him to help carry things in.

I will never forget the feeling as this STRANGER made trip after trip into our home with boxes of food, and rapped presents for each of us. How could he have known? We didn’t know anyone that belonged to the Lion’s Club? We thanked him over and over before he left and all he said was “ I hope your family has a very Merry Christmas’ and then as fast as he came he left.

I just cried as I watched Amy and Brad dance and laugh as they put the presents under the tree. I remember well the look on Jeff’s face, I knew his pride was a bit hurt- that he isn’t the one who provided for us that time, but he also was very grateful and humble that his family had been blessed. That night after church and the kids were put to bed, I put the rest of the food in our cupboards (which were now full ) and as I picked up a present under the tree, I saw what was written on the tag and I began to cry. It just said TO… A 5 year old girl and the next one said TO…a 2 year old boy.

I vividly remember all my life when our family would be part of a giving tree, where you pick a card off the tree and by a present for that person. We never knew who they were but only their ages and we would take special care trying to pick the perfect gift that we thought they might like and need.

But this time was different, this little 5 year old girl was my Amy and that little 2 year old boy was my Bradley. How could I ever repay these anonymous givers? Then it hit me, receiving is much harder than giving. It was almost embarrassing to have someone give you so much. I sorta wanted to say to them, “you don’t’ have to leave that much food or that many presents just a few would do” but that is not what you say. You say thank you and let them receive the blessings and joy that come from giving.

That night I realized that Heavenly Father had heard the prayers of a young desperate mom, I knew He knew me personally and if I tried to do all that I could to live righteously, that he would always take care of us.

It reminded me of the quote…."God always hears our prayers but it is usually through Others that He answers them."

I promised that day that we as a family would never forget the kindness and service of others and that as long as we could that there would never be another Christmas that we didn’t try to do the same for someone else.

What a difference it has made in my life and I believe in the life of each of our kids when we ask What did we give for Christmas?

"The only real blind person at Christmas-time is he who has not Christmas in his heart." ~ Helen Keller

Thursday, December 24, 2009

There's just one more sleep till Christmas!

When my kids were little, they loved to watch the Muppets Christmas Carol. One of the their favorite sayings from the movie was "there's only one more sleep till Christmas!" So here we are now Jeff and I seeing the next generation coming up. We are beginning to now share the same movies, stories and traditions with our granddaughter Angie. It is really neat.

Today is Christmas Eve and we have a few things to get ready for tonight, so I am going to write my post now. I wanted to share one of our most memorable Christmas Eve's. It was 15 years ago and kid's loving call it The Year Mom Lit Herself Up For Christmas!

I had been to a  Christmas dinner the week before and I was so impressed with the idea they used to help teach the true meaning of Christmas, that I thought it would be a neat tradition to pass on to my family. Our kids were young, Lee was just a year old, Lauren was 3, Brad 8 and Amy 11. We had already done all our regular Christmas traditions and everyone had their jammies on, teeth brushed and prayers were said. We all gathered in the kids room and I had everyone sit in a circle and I gave each one, a candle and a plate, we turned off all the lights and I had just my candle lit. I then asked each child "what is one thing that you could do for someone this Christmas" when they shared their idea then I lit their candle with my candle. Then we would go to the next person. After we were all finished I told them to look around the room, it was no longer dark but well lit with all of our candles. The point ...if every person did one good deed for someone for Christmas ( which is sharing the Light of Christ) , then the world would be a much better and brighter place!

As we are trying to have a spiritual moment, I noticed that Brad and Lauren were fighting. I looked over and Lauren kept pulling her candle on the plate closer to her. Brad would then scold her and then push the candle further away from her. Then she would fuss at him and then pull it closer. I was frustrated because I really wanted my kids to understand how important service is at Christmas. I leaned over Brad and pulled Lauren's candle away from her, while I was doing that I told Brad, "She just doesn't know how dangerous fire is". I had no more said that, then Brad yelled  " Mom, your sweaters on fire", sure enough when I leaned over Brad's candle to push Lauren's away, I caught myself on fire.

I always wondered how I would react if something dangerous or tragic happened? I just sat there and in seconds my whole sweater was on fire, all I can remember was... Amy yelling " Stop, Drop and Roll" over and over. Brad ran out of the room screaming, Lauren just bawled and I just sat there stunned. Finally Jeff ran over and started beating on me saying "I've got you Lynn". He continued to beat me until the fire was all out. We then said a silent prayer that things didn't get any worse and tried to put the kids to bed. The sad part was instead of having visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads....all they could think about was the fire department! They kept saying " Mommy, do we have to do that tradition again next year?" "We don't want to lit candles any more!"  "Why didn't we call 911?" "Will you catch yourself on fire again" 

They were so upset and crying that we like to never got them to sleep. When I finally got them settled and came downstairs with Jeff... he was laughing so hard. I don't think I have ever seen him laugh like that.  When he finally could compose himself, all he said was... "Only you Lynn, could take such a spiritual idea and turn it into a child's nightmare!"  

So needless to say it was a great idea, but maybe not the best one for a family of little children! It actually was quite a few years before the kids would even let me buy a candle. :) Now it is one of their favorite funny Christmas memories.

But in my defense... it was a great idea and not a bad suggestion for all of us to realize just by touching one person's life in a positive way, we would make the world a better and brighter place. So hopefully each one of us will try this Christmas and this new year... to share the light of Christ with someone else by our service and kindness to them. Have a wonderful Christmas Eve! Good night dear friends!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Peace on Earth

Another couple of quotes I heard at church on Sunday were about Peace. I love Christmas, I love the feeling in the air. I hope all of you have some peace in your hearts and homes this night!

I found online a message about Christmas and it said..."Simplify your Christmas by embracing the spiritual side of the season. The gift of Christmas isn't wrapped up in presents or parties. The gift of Christmas is Jesus Christ, the only Begotten of the Father, the Son of God.  As you follow Him, you put people first.  You may spend less money on --and more time with --the people you love. You may lose yourself and you many find everything else that matters."

I like the suggestion from Howard W. Hunter about this Christmas:

"This Christmas mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a letter. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Manifest  your loyalty in word and deed. Keep a promise. Forego a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Apologize. Try to understand. Examine your demands on others. Think first of someone else. Be kind. Be gentle. Laugh a little more. Express your gratitude. Welcome a stranger. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love and then speak it again."

"May Peace be your gift at Christmas and your blessing all year through!"  ~ Unknown

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sorry about that!

I just took a look at my posts from the past few days, and realized that I actually repeated one last night. My kids came in from Idaho and so the house was full and I wanted to get my post done early, so I could be with everyone. I did love that story but didn't mean to put it in there twice! Sorry

What an experience that would be!

I always liked the story of THE CHRISTMAS CAROL where Ebenezer Scrooge gets a second chance to see the opportunities that he missed in his life. Wouldn’t it be great if all of us could have such an experience?

First the chance to go back and see our past, to understand a little more about circumstances, ourselves, our thoughts and our habits. Understanding and recognizing our past is vital ---in the process of change.

Then if someone could show us the present, it would be like someone videotaping our everyday life, our choices, our actions, our thoughts , and our behaviors, I am sure after truly seeing ourselves in such an honest way, that we may be more eager to change.

Then of course then having the ability to see the future, I think this might just be the hardest one to watch. To see what will happen in our lives IF we don’t change our ways now. Yes, the Christmas Carol is a wonderful reminder that it is never too late to change.

Fortunately, as we know, Ebenezer Scrooge changed his life for the better. He then says “I am not the man I was.”

Wouldn’t it be great if this Christmas season, something would touch our hearts and our lives in such a way that we would actually change for the better? Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to say to ourselves “ I am not the man or the woman I was, I am now someone kinder, better, happier, and more giving?

Yes, Christmas is all about Change, it is all about Christ and the changes that he made in this world … just by his actions.

I liked how Thomas S. Monson explains why the Christmas Carol is so popular...

“I personally feel it is inspired of God. It brings out the best within human nature. It gives hope. It motivates change. We can turn from the paths which would lead us down and, with a song in our hearts, follow a star and walk toward the light. We can quicken our step, bolster our courage, and bask in the sunlight of truth. We can hear more clearly the laughter of little children. We can dry the tear of the weeping. We can comfort the dying by sharing the promise of eternal life. If we lift one weary hand which hangs down, if we bring peace to one struggling soul, if we give as did the Master.”

We all probably won't have such a dream ourselves, but there is no reason that we can't slow life down enough, to really take a hard look at our thoughts, dreams, actions. To see if we truly are living a life that Christ would be proud of. I sure hope we are, and if we aren't... I pray that we will make the necessary changes to make this attitude of Christmas a reality. Merry Christmas dear friends!

"I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach. Oh, tell me I may sponge away the writing on this stone!"
- A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

Monday, December 21, 2009

Perspective is a wonderful gift!

When I read this story, I thought what a powerful reminder that perspective is a wonderful gift. I hope after reading this that we will try to keep our priorities in order. I also hope all of you are enjoying this Christmas Season!

The story is about a man named Phil Garland, his wife, Shirley, and their two children, Polly and Junior. Phil was disgruntled on one particular Christmas Eve because he had just lost his job. His financial situation had been difficult enough even when he was working; now it seemed impossible.

That evening Shirley tried to include Phil in some of the Christmas Eve activities with Polly and Junior, but Phil just grumbled at the price of the gifts. He reminded Shirley that in their difficult financial condition they really couldn’t afford gifts. He said Christmas was overly commercialized anyway. Eventually Shirley helped Polly and Junior get ready for bed. Then, with tears in her eyes she went to her bedroom.

A few minutes later she heard Phil calling from the hallway. He yelled for her to go get the pliers. “I’ve stepped on a needle.”

Shirley brought the pliers, and Phil clamped the jaws on the needle protruding from his foot and pulled. Out came half of the needle! He and Shirley discussed the possibility of his going to the hospital that night to have the other half of the needle removed. But Phil assured her it could wait until morning.

The next day, Christmas, Phil drove to the hospital but paused outside the door. Somewhere he had heard that if you get a tiny piece of metal in your body and do not remove it, it could eventually move to one of the vital organs and cause death. For some reason Phil decided to leave the needle fragment in his foot and take the consequences, whatever they may be. He drove home and told Shirley that everything had been taken care of.

From that moment Phil believed his life might end at any time. He really didn’t know if he was going to live from one day to the next, and so he decided he would try to make the most of life each day. That Christmas there was a definite change in Phil. He treated Shirley with much kindness and spent time playing with Polly and Junior. Christmas Day was the first day in a long time that Phil felt truly close to his family.

Tomorrow he might be dead, but today he would enjoy the important things in life. And, strangely, money no longer seemed important.

Tomorrow did come, and Phil Garland again found himself alive. For the second day he was especially considerate to his wife and children, because it might be the last day of his life. Each day thereafter Phil spent more time with Shirley, Polly, and Junior, taking odd jobs daily to support his family.

The story, “Precious Jeopardy,” ended, as it began, on Christmas Eve, one year later. The Garlands’ celebrations contrasted sharply with those of the previous Christmas, because Phil was happy and at peace. He had lived long enough to celebrate Christmas with Shirley and their children.

On Christmas Eve Phil played a few games with the children. Then the family exchanged a few small gifts each had made during the year. During those months Phil had made a beautiful walnut sewing cabinet for Shirley, and she wept at his thoughtfulness when he showed it to her.

As the clock struck midnight, Shirley handed Phil her gift—a small box containing a tiny fragment of steel pierced through red velvet. It was the other half of the needle Phil thought was in his foot. The story ends with Shirley in tears, asking Phil’s forgiveness. She had found the other half of the needle a few days after he had his accident, but had secretly kept it because it had, in a sense, given Phil back to his family.

Phil, gratefully realizing how his life has changed since the previous Christmas, puts his arms around Shirley and tells her not to cry—it’s Christmas!

A story written by Lloyd C. Douglas (U.S. Lutheran clergyman and novelist 1877–1951) entitled “Precious Jeopardy: A Christmas Story.”

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Brotherly love!

I heard a couple of beautiful talks today at church during our Christmas program. The message was incredible and so I wanted to share it with you.  This story illustrates the Savior's mission and is told by Margaret Nadauld:

"When our twins were only about 5 years old, they were just learning to ride their bicycles. As I glanced out the window, I saw them speeding down the street on their bikes going very fast! Perhaps they were going a little too fast for their level of ability, because all of a sudden Adam had a terrible crash! He was tangled up in the wreck, and all I could see was a twist of handlebars  and tires and arms and legs. His little twin brother, Aaron, saw the whole thing happen, and immediately he skidded to a stop and jumped off his bike. He threw it down and ran to the aid of this brother, whom he loved very much. These little twins were truly of one heart. If one hurt, so did the other. If one got tickled, they both laughed. If one started a sentence, the other could complete it. What one felt, the other did also. So it was painful for Aaron to see Adam crash! Adam was a mess. He had skinned knees, he was bleeding from a head wound, his pride was damaged, and he was crying. In a fairly gentle, five-year-old way, Aaron helped his brother get untangled from the crash, he checked out the wounds, and then he did the dearest thing. He picked the brother up and carried him home. Or tried to. This wasn't very easy because they were the same size, but he tried. And as he struggled and lifted and half-dragged, half-carried his brother along, they finally reached the front porch. By this time, Adam, the injured one, was no longer crying, but Aaron, the rescuer, was. When asked, "Why are you crying, Aaron?" he said simply, "Because Adam hurts." And so he had brought him home to help, home to someone who knew what to do, to someone who could cleanse the wounds, bind them up, and make it better--home to love.

Just as one twin helped his brother in need, so might we all be lifted, helped, even carried at times by our beloved Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He feels what we feel; He knows our heart. It was His mission to wipe away our tears, cleanse our wounds, and bless  us with His healing power. He can carry us home to our Heavenly Father with the strength of His matchless love.

"True happiness comes only by making others others happy---the practical application of the Savior's doctrine of losing one's life to gain it. in short, the Christmas spirit is the Christ spirit, that makes our hearts glow in brotherly love and friendship and  prompts us to kind deeds of service.  ~ David O. McKay

Saturday, December 19, 2009

I love Christmas stories

I found this wonderful story that truly teaches us to make the most out of our life and to cherish what we have. I will leave it for you tonight, I pray that you are enjoying your blessings this wonderful time of the year.

It is entitled "PRECIOUS JEOPARDY: A CHRISTMAS STORY" written by Lloyd C. Douglas ( U.S. Lutheran clergyman and novelist 1877-1951 )

The story is about a man named Phil Garland, his wife, Shirley, and their two children, Polly and Junior. Phil was disgruntled on one particular Christmas Eve because he had just lost his job. His financial situation had been difficult enough even when he was working; now it seemed impossible.

That evening Shirley tried to include Phil in some of the Christmas Eve activities with Polly and Junior, but Phil just grumbled at the price of the gifts. He reminded Shirley that in their difficult financial condition they really couldn’t afford gifts. He said Christmas was overly commercialized anyway. Eventually Shirley helped Polly and Junior get ready for bed. Then, with tears in her eyes she went to her bedroom.

A few minutes later she heard Phil calling from the hallway. He yelled for her to go get the pliers. “I’ve stepped on a needle.”

Shirley brought the pliers, and Phil clamped the jaws on the needle protruding from his foot and pulled. Out came half of the needle! He and Shirley discussed the possibility of his going to the hospital that night to have the other half of the needle removed. But Phil assured her it could wait until morning.

The next day, Christmas, Phil drove to the hospital but paused outside the door. Somewhere he had heard that if you get a tiny piece of metal in your body and do not remove it, it could eventually move to one of the vital organs and cause death. For some reason Phil decided to leave the needle fragment in his foot and take the consequences, whatever they may be. He drove home and told Shirley that everything had been taken care of.

From that moment Phil believed his life might end at any time. He really didn’t know if he was going to live from one day to the next, and so he decided he would try to make the most of life each day. That Christmas there was a definite change in Phil. He treated Shirley with much kindness and spent time playing with Polly and Junior. Christmas Day was the first day in a long time that Phil felt truly close to his family.

Tomorrow he might be dead, but today he would enjoy the important things in life. And, strangely, money no longer seemed important.

Tomorrow did come, and Phil Garland again found himself alive. For the second day he was especially considerate to his wife and children, because it might be the last day of his life. Each day thereafter Phil spent more time with Shirley, Polly, and Junior, taking odd jobs daily to support his family.

The story, “Precious Jeopardy,” ended, as it began, on Christmas Eve, one year later. The Garlands’ celebrations contrasted sharply with those of the previous Christmas, because Phil was happy and at peace. He had lived long enough to celebrate Christmas with Shirley and their children.

On Christmas Eve Phil played a few games with the children. Then the family exchanged a few small gifts each had made during the year. During those months Phil had made a beautiful walnut sewing cabinet for Shirley, and she wept at his thoughtfulness when he showed it to her.

As the clock struck midnight, Shirley handed Phil her gift—a small box containing a tiny fragment of steel pierced through red velvet. It was the other half of the needle Phil thought was in his foot. The story ends with Shirley in tears, asking Phil’s forgiveness. She had found the other half of the needle a few days after he had his accident, but had secretly kept it because it had, in a sense, given Phil back to his family.

Phil, gratefully realizing how his life has changed since the previous Christmas, puts his arms around Shirley and tells her not to cry—it’s Christmas.

"It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air."  ~W.T. Ellis

Friday, December 18, 2009

Tragedy

 

I started off my day with a phone call from my brother this morning. He told me that last night one of my cousins died in a car accident. He a husband and father of 4 young children. My heart just broke when I heard that. How do you ever prepare yourself for something like that? I wished we lived closer, so that at least we could help with the kids or something. I do realize the power of prayers though, and so we will pray for his wife, children, mother and family. He certainly will be missed. So tonight, I will dedicate my post to my sweet cousin's family and all those who suffering and hurting this holiday season. These are a few suggestions that I found that might helpful.

If you have lost a loved one, you might be wondering how to cope with your grief this holiday season.

With the first fallen leaf of autumn, we begin to anticipate the holidays ahead. Our senses are acute and take in everything: the smell of turkey roasting and freshly baked pies; the holiday songs playing on the radio; the sound of laughter from our loved ones who have gathered together. But for those of us who are experiencing illness, grief, or the loss of a loved one, the holidays can be a time of sadness, pain, anger, or dread.

The ebb and flow of grief can overwhelm us with waves of memories, especially during the holidays. Grief will also magnify the stress that is already a part of the holiday season. How do we begin to fill the emptiness we feel when it seems everyone else is overflowing with joy? There are some strategies to help you cope during the holidays and beyond.

Strategies for Survival

Offer Yourself Some Grace
The best thing you can do this holiday season is be kind to yourself. Give yourself permission to feel whatever it is your feeling. Don’t fall prey to the belief that you have to feel a certain way or do certain things for your holiday to be “normal.” If you feel sad, allow the tears to come; if you feel angry, allow yourself to vent some steam.

Be Kind to Yourself
Get the rest and nourishment you need. Don’t take on any more than you can handle. If you need to be alone, honor that. If you crave the company and affection of others, seek it out. Do whatever it is that feels right to you.

Ask For and Accept Help
You will need the help and support of others to get through. Don’t feel as though you are a burden. People get immense satisfaction and joy from helping those they care about.

In times of need, other people desire to help but often don’t know how. This is the time for you to speak up and make your needs known. If you need someone to help you with meals, shopping, or decorating, tell them so. They will be delighted to feel like they are helping you in some way.

The same holds true for your emotional needs. Friends and family may feel uncomfortable when it comes to talking about your grief. They may think that you don’t want to talk about it and don’t want to remind you of your pain. Again, you will have to direct them in the best way to help you. If you want to talk about what you’re going through or just want a shoulder to cry on, let your loved ones know.

Find Support
Sharing your feelings is the best way to get through them. You need people you can talk to. Friends and relatives can be a great support to us during times of grief.

Stop the Comparisons
It’s easy to watch other families and compare them to your own. Seeing other families together and enjoying the festivities may make you feel deprived.

Remember That You Will Survive
As hard as it is for you right now, you will survive. You will make it through the holidays in one piece. It may be the most difficult season in your time of grief, but it will pass. And when it does, you will come out on the other side stronger than before.

"The best gift you can give anyone you love, even someone you have lost, is being true to yourself and living your life to the fullest. "

"Love is stronger than death even though it can't stop death from happening, but no matter how hard death tries it can't separate people from love. It can't take away our memories either. In the end, life is stronger than death."

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Loss of a loved one!

Yesterday, I received news from friends that 2 people they knew closely... in their lives committed suicide. They were not related cases but still upsetting to say the least. I think, that must be one of the hardest things to happen to someone you know. The shock alone would be hard enough but I think it is natural to wonder if you could have done something, somehow to have stopped them? Although that is natural, it would be easier to have it weigh heavy on your heart if not careful. I guess the best thing we could do is to make sure to truly pay attention to those we love, to what their trials are, their fears, their concerns. Just being more aware of that, I believe could make a huge difference. I also think it is vital for us not to judge these people who have taken their life. The truth is... we can never really know everything about someone. Some times people don't share how bad or fearful they really feel. Some times people who are sad or upset put on a mask, covering up their real feelings. You can't always know that. Also remember that everyone handles problems differently. You can't just look at them and think ...oh I have been there and it wasn't that big a deal. Especially don't judge if you haven't been there before!

Just remember for yourself to not let yourself get so down, discouraged, depressed and desperate without telling someone, sharing your true feelings with someone you love and trust. Life is worth living! Life is all about the trials and experiences we are going through, but no one should have to go through them alone.

Pray each day to know who's life, you need to touch. I promise you that God will send you to these people or put them into your life. Just keep your eyes and heart open for those sweet whisperings of the spirit to guide you. And don't forget to pray each day for those who are struggling, fearful and down, they need our faith and prayers.

Good night dear friends and remember you are loved and appreciated!

A Poem  written by Jocelyn Soriano.

Where would you go
that I cannot follow?
for how long must I wait
until we meet again?
what would I do
in times that I miss you?
where would I go
in times when I long to see you again?
how must I spend
the nights without you?
how do I bear
each morning that you’re not there?
shall I ever smile again?
will I ever laugh again?
will I ever face the world again
knowing that I'm not alone?
why must you leave me?
why must I cry these tears
when you’re not here
to wipe them all away?
why must I suffer
the empty days without my beloved?
why must I dream
without you by my side?
the days shall never be the same again
I will never be the same again
without you
the life of my soul,
the joy of my heart,
the light in my eyes,
the hope of my dreams,
the comfort of my lonely nights,
without you my beloved,
I grieve and cry,
I grope and stumble in the dark,
I weep with all my soul
I desire with all my heart
I let go of all of me that you took away with you
I keep all of you that is in me,
and will always remain in me
wherever I may go
I wait and pray and hope
I will look forward to each brand new day
thankful for all that I've had and will always have
thankful for the sun that shines again
believing and hanging on
believing that life will go on
it can’t help but go on
it shall go on
and in so going
there really is no end
only mornings and evenings
and life that never ever ends.

 

"Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal."  ~From a headstone in Ireland

"To live in hearts we leave behind Is not to die."  ~ Thomas Campbell

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

May we always remember them

I received this poem and photo today on my email. What an incredible reminder it was for me. My oldest brother was in the service and I can still remember how that impacted our family. So tonight I will dedicate my post to all those wonderful, dedicated men, women and their families who are serving our Country and protecting our freedoms. Because of them, we are able to celebrate the Christmas Season .They are our heroes. Merry Christmas to all of you and THANK YOU!


A Different Christmas Poem

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.

The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear..
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know, Then the
sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.

Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

"What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts..

To the window that danced with a warm fire's light
Then he sighed and he said "Its really all right,
I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night."
"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.

No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died at ' Pearl on a day in December,"
Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers."
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ' Nam ',
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.

I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue... an American flag.
I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.

I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall.."

"  So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
"Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son."

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
"Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us."

 

"How often we fail to realize our good fortune in living in a country where happiness is more than a lack of tragedy."  ~Paul Sweeney

"This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave."  ~Elmer Davis

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Bigger than me day again!

Today was a tough day for me. I was hurting so bad last night with my knees that I didn't get much sleep. Today with my knees and my back hurting, I wasn't worth much. So I just laid low. I did however have to do something today that I have been dreading for a couple of weeks. I scheduled my knee surgery for the end of January. I really don't want to have any more surgery, having them both done at the same time is going to make my down time longer. And then to make matters worse, Lauren ( my personal nurse ) is heading off to college. I always struggle to see my kids leave home, but I am grateful for her excitement about college and the opportunity she has to go. Plus, I have to stay focused on Brad and Krystal are coming home to do their internships so.... we won't be so lonely!

I spoke to someone this week about my cancer, it was someone that I hadn't seen in a while and we were just catching up. When I told her that I had a mastectomy, she said that she was surprised that I just didn't have both of them taken off, that is what most women do. If I had a dollar for every person that told me that...I would be rich. I have to remember not to take it personally, especially when it comes from someone that has never had cancer themselves. Then the next question is usually " Do you worry about it coming back in the other breast?" My answer is..it could come back anywhere and I just try to stay on top of the fear and let my faith sustain me. Of course some days that is easier said than done.

I really don't want to hurt any more, I realize I have to have knee surgery. Maybe we could have gotten by with Physical Therapy if I would have come in years earlier the Doctor said, but they didn't hurt that much back then. I am sorry to unload all of this on you tonight. I do however know that I need to face up the fears I have and that some days... it is ok to be a little down.

Thanks for your constant encouragement, friendship, prayers and most important for believing in me. I will try to remember to hum this song before I go to bed tonight. I have much to be grateful for. Good night dear friends.

"Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas"

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Let your heart be light
From now on your troubles will be out of sight, yeah
Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Make the Yuletide gay
From now on your troubles will be miles away, oh
Here we are as in olden days
Happy golden days of yore, ah
Faithful friends who are dear to us
They gather near to us once more, ooh
Through the years we all will be together and
If the fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bow, oh yeah, oh
And have yourself a merry little Christmas now, oh, oh
Faithful friends who are dear to us
They gather near to us once more, oh, oh
Through the years we all will be together and
If the fates allow, oh yeah
But 'til then we'll have to muddle through somehow, oh yeah, oh, oh
And have yourself a merry little Christmas now, ooh yeah, oh, ooh

Monday, December 14, 2009

Our house filled with love, laughter and friends!

Tonight was our Annual Christmas Neighborhood Open House and it turned out great. It was not as well attended as in previous years, but we were grateful for those who did get to come. As I looked around my CLEAN HOUSE (that's one of the perks of inviting people over :), I thought of the song ... The Christmas Waltz.


Frosted window panes, candles gleaming inside
Painted candy canes on the tree
Santa's on his way, he's filled his sleigh with things
Things for you and for me
It's that time of year when the world falls in love
Ev'ry song you hear seems to say "Merry Christmas,
"May your New Year dreams come true"
And this song of mine in three-quarter time
Wishes you and yours the same thing, too

I just love having our house filled with friends, for the opportunity to talk and really connect with each other, as well as do a lot of laughing yes... it was a fun evening! And of course my favorite part was being able to say Merry Christmas to everyone. It does seem like there is more love in the world at Christmas time. You have to admit, wouldn't it be great if everyone, felt like that all year long?

My knees are hurting bad, but that is only because I was up a lot today. It is late and I need to head to bed, I wish our home was big enough to invite all of you over for our Christmas Open House. By the way, that photo isn't of my house, it is too white!  Have a wonderful night and thanks for being an important part of our lives! And don't forget to take the opportunity every time you can... to wish people a MERRY CHRISTMAS!

"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born."  ~Anais Nin


"My friends are my estate."  ~ Emily Dickinson

"A friend is a gift you give yourself."  ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The power of a Mother's faith and prayers!

 

Jesus Praying with His Mother

I read a Christmas article by Mr. Ballantyne, I won't type the whole story for it is too long, but it was so wonderful I thought I would share it with you tonight. Mr. Ballantyne grew up in Star Valley, Wyoming, it was harsh country. The summers are short and fleeting, while the winters linger and chill. This is harsh country. He recounts his memory of a special Christmas...

“Father had a large family; and sometimes after we had our harvest, there was not much left after expenses were paid. So Father would have to go away and hire out to some of the big ranchers for maybe a dollar a day. He earned little more than enough to take care of himself, with very little to send home to Mother and the children. Things began to get pretty skimpy for us.

“We had our family prayers around the table; and it was on one such night when Father was gone that we gathered and Mother poured out of a pitcher, into the glass of each one, milk divided among the children—but none for herself. And I, sensing that the milk in the pitcher was all that we had, pushed mine over to Mother and said, ‘Here, Mother. You drink mine.’

“ ‘No, Mother is not hungry tonight.’

“It worried me. We drank our milk and went to bed, but I could not sleep. I got up and tiptoed down the stairs, and there was Mother, in the middle of the floor, kneeling in prayer. She did not hear me as I came down in my bare feet, and I dropped to my knees and heard her say, ‘Heavenly Father, there is no food in our house. Please, Father, touch the heart of somebody so that my children will not be hungry in the morning.’

“When she finished her prayer, she looked around and saw that I had heard; and she said to me, somewhat embarrassed, ‘Now, you run along, son. Everything will be all right.’

“I went to bed, assured by Mother’s faith. The next morning, I was awakened by the sounds of pots and pans in the kitchen and the aroma of cooking food. I went down to the kitchen, and I said, ‘Mother, I thought you said there was no food.’

“All she said to me was, ‘Well, my boy, didn’t you think the Lord would answer my prayer?’ I received no further explanation than that.

“Years passed, and I went away to college. I got married, and I returned to see the old neighbors. Mr. Gardner, now reaching up to a ripe age, said to me, ‘My son, let me tell you of a Christmas experience that I had with your family. I had finished my chores, and we had had supper. I was sitting by the fireplace reading the newspaper. Suddenly, I heard a voice that said, “ Mrs. Ballantyne doesn’t have any food in her house.”

I thought it was my wife speaking and said, “What did you say, Mother?” She came in wiping her hands on her apron and said, “Did you call me, Father?”

“ ‘ “No, I didn’t say anything to you, but I heard a voice which spoke to me.”

“ ‘ “What did it say?” she asked.

“ ‘ “It said that Mrs. Ballantyne didn’t have any food in her house.”

“ ‘ “Well, then,” said Mother, “you had better put on your shoes and your coat and take some food to her." In the dark of that winter’s night, I harnessed the team and placed in the wagon bed a sack of flour, a quarter section of beef, some bottled fruit, and loaves of newly baked bread. The weather was cold, but a warm glow filled my soul as your mother welcomed me and I presented her with the food. God had heard a mother’s prayer.’ ”

Heavenly Father is ever mindful of those who need, who seek, who trust, who pray, and who listen when He speaks. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). God’s gift becomes our blessing. May every heart open wide and welcome Him—Christmas day and always.

The Birth of Jesus

"IF YOU CAN'T FEED A HUNDRED PEOPLE, THEN JUST FEED ONE."  ~ Mother Teresa

"IF YOU HAVE MUCH, GIVE OF YOUR WEALTH; IF YOU HAVE LITTLE, GIVE OF YOUR  HEART"  ~ Arab Proverb

 

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Compassion

I was thinking the other day about what the holidays felt like for me, this time a year ago. My mastectomy had happen just a month prior and I was still sore and very devastated about the whole change and loss that my body was going through. I truly thought that I would never want to see another person again , that I could never want to go out in public. I couldn't believe that life would ever be normal or feel like normal again. I thought as I watched others get ready for the Holidays, how lucky they were that they didn't have to worry about their health. One of the toughest things (and I have mentioned this before) is to keep going after cancer. Trying to find a balance between worry, fear and wondering what the future will bring. Most people were thinking about Holiday parties, shopping and on and on. When I was wondering if my cancer would return, how hard radiation would be? Would I once again beat cancer or would I continue to fight it again and again? Yes, it was a tough time in my life.

Here I am a year later, and actually not doing too bad. I am still tired, sore and uncomfortable from the Lymphodema but all in all, I am doing pretty well. I actually am preparing for our Neighborhood Open House this coming week. I have been doing some shopping and I am getting excited because all of our kids will be home for Christmas this year. And yet, I feel a bit guilty. I just don't want to lose the compassion for those around me who are battling life threatening illnesses. I want to remember them and try to not get so busy that I can't keep in touch with them or continue to visit and write them letters.

I am grateful that I am on the other side, but I  still remember vividly what it felt like. I think it is important to look around among our family and friends who are struggling during this holiday season, whether it be an illness or a loss. Please read this short story and let it be a reminder that no matter what our situation is in life, we can continue to do something for someone... no matter how big or small. Good night dear friends.

 

The Acorn Planter   ~ Brian Cavanaugh


In the 1930s a young traveler was exploring the French Alps. He came upon a vast stretch of barren land. It was desolate. It was forbidding. It was ugly. It was the kind of place you hurry away from.

Then, suddenly, the young traveler stopped dead in his tracks. In the middle of this vast wasteland was a bent-over old man. On his back was a sack of acorns. In his hand was a four-foot length of iron pipe.

The man was using the iron pipe to punch holes in the ground. Then from the sack he would take an acorn and put it in the hole. Later the old man told the traveler, "I've planted over 100,000 acorns. Perhaps only a tenth of them will grow." The old man's wife and son had died, and this was how he chose to spend his final years. "I want to do something useful," he said.

Twenty-five years later the now-not-as-young traveler returned to the same desolate area. What he saw amazed him. He could not believe his own eyes. The land was covered with a beautiful forest two miles wide and five miles long. Birds were singing, animals were playing, and wild flowers perfumed the air.

The traveler stood there recalling the desolation that once was; a beautiful oak forest stood there now - all because someone cared.

 

"How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these." ~ George Washington Carver

"Compassion is a foundation for sharing our aliveness and building a more humane world."  ~ Martin Lowenthal

Friday, December 11, 2009

I AM A MOTHER!

I am reading a book called I Am a Mother by Jane Clayson Johnson, she was the former co-host of The Early Show on CBS and she also served as a network correspondent for The CBS Evening News and 48 Hours. Since becoming a full-time mother and wife, she has written this book about her experiences. I guess I thought about this because when I was traveling I put on my ticket while at the air port, Lynn Woodard CEO. I got a few comments about it. When I was asked what company I was the CEO of Woodard's and Associates, they just smiled when they finally figured it out that I was a full-time mom.

I can't even begin to tell  you how many times in my life someone has asked me what I do for a living or what my job is. When I tell them that I am a full-time mom, they really don't even know how to respond or some have been rude enough to actually roll their eyes.

One chapter in the book that was discussing this very subject had a quote from Former New York Times reporter and Pulitzer Prize nominee Ann Crittenden: "ANY WOMAN WHO HAD DEVOTED HERSELF TO RAISING CHILDREN HAS EXPERIENCED THE HOLLOW PRAISE THAT ONLY THINLY CONCEALS SMUG DISMISSAL. IN A CULTURE THAT MEASURES WORTH AND ACHIEVEMENT ALMOST SOLELY IN TERMS OF MONEY, THE INTENSIVE WORK OF REARING RESPONSIBLE ADULTS COUNTS FOR LITTLE. ONE OF THE MOST INTRIGUING QUESTIONS IN ECONOMIC HISTORY IS HOW THIS CAME TO BE; HOW MOTHERS CAME TO BE EXCLUDED FROM THE RANKS OF PRODUCTIVE CITIZENS. HOW DID THE DEMANDING JOB OF REARING A MODERN CHILD COME TO BE TRIVIALIZED AS BABY-SITTING? WHEN DID CARING FOR CHILDREN BECOME A 'LABOR OF LOVE', SMOTHERED UNDER A BLANKET OF SENTIMENTALITY THAT HIDES ITS ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE?"

The book goes on to say that the truth is--- that Motherhood is a noble, even heroic, occupation.

I am grateful that I have been able to be a full-time mother and grandmother (Nana). It is hard work, some of the hardest ever, but I hope that I will be reminded of it's importance every day and never be ashamed of what I do. I hope that I will keep my head up (when I am asked what I do for a living) and proudly say..." I am a full-time Mother and Nana! We need to remember to take time out to thank our Mothers and Grandmothers, if you are lucky enough to still have them with you. Good night dear friends!

"EVERY LITTLE GIRL KNOWS THAT MOTHERS MATTER" ~Jane Clayson Johnson

"IF WE STOP TO THINK ABOUT WHAT WE DO, REALLY DO, WE ARE BUILDING FOR THE CENTURIES. WE ARE BUILDING CHARACTER, AND TRADITION, AND VALUES, WHICH MEANDER LIKE A RIVER INTO THE DISTANCE AND OUT OF OUR SIGHT, BUT ON AND ON AND ON."  ~ Ann Quindlen

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas is still here!

I arrived home today and my granddaughter came over to see me and it was so cute ...she took me all over my house to show me that Christmas was still here. We had to turn on every Christmas light and make sure the Christmas music was turned up. Can you tell... we are related?  :) Then as I was unpacking my clothes, she started playing on the bed with all my scarves. When my daughter Lauren came in she said " Angie, you look like Mary, baby Jesus' mom."  Then not wanting to miss a photo opportunity, she ran and got Angie a baby Jesus and put her in front of the fireplace and told her to smile. Later when we started to sit down for dinner, Angie came in without all the dress up clothes on and she said " Nana, I not Maryed any more, I am just Angie".

How grateful I am for children, because they remind us that "SEEING ISN'T BELIEVING, BELIEVING IS SEEING". So tonight I hope you can look around in your home and in your life and still see that Christmas is here. I love the song Where Are You Christmas? It is a beautiful song and it reminds us to make sure that we are don't ever forget the true meaning of Christmas and that we should also keep it in our hearts all year long!

mother_mary_edited-1[1] 

Where are you Christmas?
Why can't I find you?
Why have you gone away?
Where is the laughter
You used to bring me?
Why can't I hear music play?
My world is changing
I'm rearranging
Does that mean Christmas changes too?
Where are you Christmas
Do you remember
The one you used to know
I'm not the same one
See what the time's done
Is that why you have let me go
Christmas is here
Everywhere, oh
Christmas is here
If you care, oh
If there is love in your heart and your mind
You will feel like Christmas all the time
I feel you Christmas
I know I've found you
You never fade away
The joy of Christmas
Stays here in silence
Fills each and every heart with love
Where are you Christmas
Fills your heart with love

"And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more. "  Dr. Seuss

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Leaving

Well today was my last day here visiting with family. I am anxious to get home but have really enjoyed spending time with Shirley. It has got to be good to be around people who make you laugh so often. It seems like every day Shirley and I find more and more to laugh about. I am grateful for the chance to have had this vacation and time to visit with extended family. The thing I don't do well is say good bye, I guess it is because  you never know when you will get the chance to come back. But it has been a wonderful experience and I am grateful for the chance to get a break away for awhile.

So tonight I will leave you with a few quotes and then I have to run and get packing. I get to see Jeff and the kids tomorrow, I am excited.

Family Joys

Christmas is filled with special joys,
And the very best of all
Is contemplating those dear to us,
And the memories we recall.

We often think at Christmas time
Of people, affectionately,
And we realize how blessed we are
To have you in our family.

"It's true that HOME can be many places. It's where we feel at peace in the company of those we love...the places where we are most fulfilled and have a difficult time leaving."   ~ Barb Cahoon

"Christmas is a time when you get homesick - even when you're home."  ~Carol Nelson

"It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air."  ~W.T. Ellis

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Life's Journey

The other day when we were in a store, my sister-in-law saw a plaque that she wanted to get me for Christmas. She said this is the perfect quote for me. We laughed so hard because of the trials and challenges I have had all my life. Here is the quote, see if it reminds you of someone  you know ... and please don't say ME! :)

"Life's Journey is not to arrive safely at the grave in a well preserved body, but rather to skin in sideways totally worn out, shouting: Woo-hoo! What a ride!"

It made us both laugh so hard, she said she just had to get it for me. I hope that even though it seems like my body is falling apart faster than I can fix it, that I can enjoy every minute of my life. I will keep this plaque close so that I can be reminded of the purpose of life!

It is late and I lost the post that I wrote earlier, maybe it just wasn't meant to be?  Anyway, hope you are having a wonderful Christmas season and remembering the true meaning of it! Good night dear friends!

I sometimes think we expect too much of Christmas Day.  We try to crowd into it the long arrears of kindliness and humanity of the whole year.  As for me, I like to take my Christmas a little at a time, all through the year.  And thus I drift along into the holidays - let them overtake me unexpectedly - waking up some find morning and suddenly saying to myself:  "Why, this is Christmas Day!"  ~David Grayson

 

"I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month."  ~Harlan Miller

Monday, December 7, 2009

The perfect day!

I went to go to church yesterday with my family. We went to my new great niece's baby blessing. It was special because this niece 28 years was born and was named her me. Then yesterday at the blessing of my great niece, they named her after my mom.  We then had lunch with all of our family. After that I went and spent a little time with my youngest brother and his family. Those kids are just too cute, I only wish that I lived a bit closer so that I could be a bigger part of their lives. Then late yesterday evening some dear friends of mine, (who feel like an adopted mom and dad to me) picked me up and drove me to their new cabin up in the mountains of Heber City. We had a tough time getting there because it began snowing pretty hard and after awhile you could no longer even see the lines on the roads. It was a bit nerve racking getting there, but oh my goodness it was one of the most beautiful cabins I had ever seen. It didn't look like a cabin at all, it looked like a beautiful ski resort. They have a very large family and extended family and so that has been there gift for all their family to share. We came in, got some hot chocolate, sat in front of the fire and talked. They are such wonderful friends and it is neat because they have such wisdom to share. I realize when I am with them that I feel like I am home. It is hard not to have parents any more at my age.

(This isn't a photo of their cabin but it looked a lot like where I was last night!)

As I crawled up into that king size sleigh bed, I felt like the luckiest woman in the world. I have a wonderful family, I have wonderful friends that feel like family and it's the Christmas Season. When I got up in the morning we had a ton more snow and it was just breath taking to look out the window. I didn't get to stay long because another snow storm is suppose to come in tonight and so my family picked me up after noon, but I felt blessed to have a short time to visit with such dear friends. I only wish I had a lot more time to visit with all my family and friends that are here.

So yesterday really did seem like the perfect day, the only thing that would have made it even better is... to have had Jeff and the kids with me. Yes, even though my life has been tough, I can not deny, the many blessings that I have been given. Thanks for being part of my blessings. Good night dear friends!

 

"Somehow, not only for Christmas, But all the long year through, The joy that you give to others, Is the joy that comes back to you. And the more you spend in blessing, The poor and lonely and sad, The more of your heart's possessing, Returns to you glad."        ~ John Greenleaf Whittier

 

"What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace."        ~ Agnes M. Pharo

Saturday, December 5, 2009

These new little ones!

As I watch these new little ones come into our family I am always amazed to see these nieces and nephews as now Moms and Dads. I look at them and wonder where all the years went, didn't seem that long ago that they were all at our house as toddlers running around. I wonder if they realize what a privilege it is to be parents? It is tough, but oh such a wonderful blessing.

I loved this story and it made me wonder how Mary must of felt with such an awesome responsibility to raise the Son of God. She was a great example to all of us mothers.


During the busyness of this holiday season, my one year old daughter caught a cold that wouldn't seem to let go of her. She had it especially rough at night when she had coughing fits. Being a first time, nervous mom, I brought her to bed with me after a particularly bad cough.

As we were drifting to sleep, she wiggled around and her hand fell across my face, brushed my cheek and rested there. I felt as if an electric current was running through my body. Simultaneously, a picture came to mind of a most beautifully wrapped gift -- gold foil with delightful maroon ribbons. I realized that God had just sent a wonderful message and gift to me about the things I should be focusing on this Christmas.

Amidst all the buying, decorating, and entertaining, I was shown through the simple touch of my child the most precious gift of all.

My baby's touch, this year in 1998, must not be so unlike the touch of another precious child 2000 years ago.

Did his mother feel the same way when his hand brushed against her cheek? His life was to touch the world and affect all of us. Hopefully, with my gentle guidance and love, my baby's touch will affect others as she grows.

I love this Christmas song...MARY DID YOU KNOW?

Here are the words to it, doesn't it go beautiful with this painting? Enjoy!

Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day walk on water? Mary did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters? Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new? This child that you've delivered, will soon deliver you. Mary did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man? Mary did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand? Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod? And when you kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God. The blind will see, the deaf will hear and the dead will live again. The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the lamb. Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation? Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day rule the nations? Did you know that your baby boy is heaven's perfect Lamb? This sleeping child you're holding is the great I am.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Everything happens for a reason!

Today I went with my sister-in-laws to a craft boutique. I know you are probably wondering why I did something like that while I am on vacation?  Actually, I myself sold at craft fairs and boutiques for over 25 years, I started in my first one at the age of 12. I am not recommending that type of life, it is tough on your body but I loved creating and I loved meeting all the people at the shows. Today was another one of those experiences. I was talking to one of the venders today at the boutique and we immediately hit it off. I love meeting new people and learning about their lives and feeling their sweet spirits. I am always amazed at how many wonderful people there are in the world, it seems if you watch the news... you wouldn't think there were any good people left. So I am grateful that I not only got to go see some beautiful creations but meet this wonderful lady.

I love to see how people's lives interconnect with each other. Like this dear lady and I, we have never met before and yet we had things and experiences in our lives that instantly connected us. I do think that if we took the time to get to know people a little better that we would realize we have a lot more in common that we realize. It is by having these same experiences that make us connect with each other. I have known all my life that everything happens for a reason. I don't think most things are luck or coincident's. I do think we meet certain people at certain times in our lives for certain reasons. I do believe that we miss many of those reasons and opportunities because our lives are so rushed. I think many times we are addicted to HURRY! ( ME INCLUDED ) But the most memorable times in my life, have been when I slow down, breath and really notice the things and people around me.

I hope during this holiday season that we can remember the life of the Savior, He was all about the ONE! The one person, the one miracle, the one lesson, the one reason He came. How grateful I am that we have a season that celebrates that. I only wish that we would remember amidst the hustle and bustle to take time out to connect with the ONES that we are suppose to meet in our lives.  Thanks to all of you who have been connected to my life, that truly is what makes life rich and worth living!

 

"LIFE IS FULL OF BEAUTY. NOTICE IT. NOTICE THE BUMBLE BEE, THE SMALL CHILD, AND THE SMILING FACES. SMELL THE RAIN, AND FEEL THE WIND. LIVE YOUR LIFE TO THE FULLEST POTENTIAL, AND FIGHT FOR YOUR DREAMS."  ~ Ashley Smith

“Everything happens for a reason. Every action has a reaction. Always remember that what's meant to be will always find a way to come about.”

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The feeling of home, family and love!

I flew in last night to Salt Lake City, Utah to come and visit my family that is here. One of my niece's had her first baby and so Aunt Lynn needed to come and see her. I also got to stay with my sister-in-law Shirley who is the closest thing I can imagine what a sister feels like. I have some friends that I feel that close to too and it is a wonderful feeling. Since I never had sisters, I can only wonder what it is like. Shirley was one of my room mates during our college years and quickly became one of my best friends. I thought that if I introduced her to my brother... then if they got married, she would get to stay in the family and we would always be together. It worked and we have been close ever since. That was over 30 years ago!

It is always hard for me to leave home, I worry about the family and what I need to be doing but...as my kids get older and more responsible, it is getting less stressful. I was grateful that I finally healed from the flu, so that I could come and see everyone, the icing on the cake is...that it's Christmas time!

My mom died 9 years ago today, I sorta feel in some ways, that I am trying to take her place in these kid's lives.I get sad to realize that they don't have a grandma or great grandma on our side. My mom was big about being with her family, she loved each new daughter-in-law, new baby, new husband or wife that came into our family. Like I mentioned before, one of her all time favorite Christmas songs was I'LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS.  As I spent the day with this new little great niece,and as I saw how excited my other niece's were that I was here, it did my heart good. I only wish that I was that close to all my nieces and nephews but I do think at least they know that their Aunt Lynn loves them and would do anything for them. Yes, as I felt how much they loved and missed me today, I realized that HOME is more than just one place, it is wherever your family is and I felt blessed to be so loved. So tonight, I thought I would learn a bit more about my mom's favorite song and remember to try and follow in her footsteps of staying close to her family. I miss my mom, I miss that see never got to meet so many of these sweet little ones that have come, since she has been gone. She was a proud grandmother and mother, everyone knew that about her. And so... I am trying to be the same.

I hope at this wonderful time of the year that we will try to show are appreciation for our family, the love that we have and also be grateful for the homes that we have made. Good night dear friends!

I'LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS

I'm dreamin' tonight of a place I love
Even more then I usually do
And although I know it's a long road back
I promise you
I'll be home for Christmas
You can count on me
Please have snow and mistletoe
And presents under the tree
Christmas Eve will find me
Where the love light beams
I'll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams
Christmas Eve will find me
Where the love light beams
I'll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams
If only in my dreams

In 1943, this song joined "White Christmas" to become one of America's most popular holiday songs. The recording by Bing Crosby shot to the top ten of the record charts that year and became a holiday musical tradition in the United States. The idea of being home for Christmas originated in World War I when soldiers at first thought that the war would be quick and they would return by Christmastime. This inevitably did not happen, hence the line "if only in my dreams".

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Did you know?

I saw the other day a You tube clip on a Christmas program and part of the program was an actor who  told the story of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who wrote one of our Christmas Songs. I didn't know the back ground of a song that I already loved so much. This is just part of the story but if you want, then check it out to read the whole story later. I am just impressed that someone who had something so tragic in their live, kept his faith and then took the things that he learned and used them to benefit others. What a beautiful song and an inspirational story.Hope you enjoy and I hope you are getting the decorations out and have your Christmas music playing every day....I do! ( Of course I have been listening to it for over 6 months...but don't tell my family!)

 

I heard the Bells on Christmas Day, the Song and the Story

Over the years, listeners and singers alike have noted that I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day is at once both joyful and mournful. The words to the song were written in just such a setting:
On Christmas day, 1864, the beloved poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow received word that his son, a soldier in the Civil War, had been wounded. Just two years before, Henry had lost his wife in a fire. As this devout Christian man sat alone with his grief, on the most joyful of Holy Days, he penned words of hope to challenge his own despair. He called his composition Christmas Bells. Little did he know that those words would someday be set to music and become a blessing to millions of people around the world.
I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day was set to music by composer John Baptiste Calkin in 1872. An updated arrangement was written in 1950 by Johnny Marks who also wrote Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.


I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day
I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.
And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.
Till ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good will to men.
And in despair I bowed my head
'There is no peace on earth,' I said,
'For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.'
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
'God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men.'

"Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful."  ~Norman Vincent Peale

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Anger

I read a story the other day about Anger, it made such an impression on me I thought  I would share it with you. There was a story in the article that the writer included, to help us fully understand his point. The story was about a young couple who met at a University and after a year of dating they got married. By the time they graduated and returned to their home state, they were expecting their first child and the husband had employment in his chosen field. The wife gave birth to a baby boy. Life was good.

When their son was about 18 months old, they decided to take a short vacation to visit family members who lived a few hundred miles away. The was at a time when car seats for the children and seat belts for adults were scarcely heard of, let alone used. The three members of the family all rode in the front seat with the toddler in the middle.

Sometime during the trip, the husband and wife had a disagreement. Their argument escalated and became so heated that they were eventually yelling at one another. Understandably, this caused their young son to begin crying, which the husband said only added to his anger. Losing total control of his temper, he picked up a toy the child had dropped on the seat and flung it in the direction of his wife.

He missed hitting his wife. Instead, the toy struck their son, with the result that he was brain damaged and would be handicapped for the rest of his life. The writer goes on to say that this was one of the most tragic situations he had ever encountered. He never saw this couple again but knew that they were struggling, the pain, hurt and regret was tearing their marriage apart.

He went on to repeat the quote..."ANGER DOESN'T SOLVE ANYTHING. IT BUILDS NOTHING, BUT IT CAN DESTROY EVERYTHING."

I guess this article hit me hard after I have been watching the news about the murders of the 4 police officers. I thought how tragic things like this are and all because of hatred, anger, and selfishness. I know we all get angry at times when things don't turn around our way or life happens differently than we plan, but I think the whole message of this article was about learning to control our anger. To work on our relationships, try to better them, be more patient in them. I believe that we as the parents, set the example for our kids...it is vital that we try to keep the commandments and try not to harbor animosity toward others. We need to be peacemakers in our homes and in our lives. Then he ended with the scripture " BY THIS SHALL ALL MEN KNOW THAT YE ARE MY DISCIPLES, IF YE HAVE LOVE ONE TO ANOTHER." (John 13:35)

So since it is December 1st, I thought it would be great, to each day try and add a lesson that Christ taught while He was here on earth. I pray that we all will try harder to bring peace into our homes and into our lives and the lives of those we associate with. I believe it is VITAL! 

"SPEAK WHEN YOU ARE ANGRY AND YOU'LL MAKE THE BEST SPEECH YOU'LL EVER REGRET." ~Dr. Laurence J. Peter

"HOLDING ON TO ANGER IS LIKE GRASPING A HOT COAL WITH THE INTENT OF THROWING IT AT SOMEONE ELSE; YOU ARE THE ONE WHO GETS BURNED."  ~ Budda