Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

Well, here is the New Year’s Eve and we are sitting at my families home, playing games and just hanging out together. How grateful I am for the past year, lots of things have transpired and many lessons have been learned. Thank you so much for the part you have played in my life. I hope you are enjoying the holidays!

Recipe for a Happy New !

    Take twelve fine, full-grown months; see that these are thoroughly free from old memories of bitterness, rancor and hate, cleanse them completely from every clinging spite; pick off all specks of pettiness and littleness; in short, see that these months are freed from all the past—have them fresh and clean as when they first came from the great storehouse of Time. Cut these months into thirty or thirty-one equal parts. Do not attempt to make up the whole batch at one time (so many persons spoil the entire lot this way) but prepare one day at a time.

    Into each day put equal parts of faith, patience, courage, work (some people omit this ingredient and so spoil the flavor of the rest), hope, fidelity, liberality, kindness, rest (leaving this out is like leaving the oil out of the salad dressing— don’t do it), prayer, meditation, and one well-selected resolution. Put in about one teaspoonful of good spirits, a dash of fun, a pinch of folly, a sprinkling of play, and a heaping cupful of good humor.  ~ Anonymous

Cheers to a New Year and another chance for us to get it right.  ~ Oprah Winfrey

“Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.”  ~ Benjamin Franklin

“Here’s to the bright New Year, and a fond farewell to the old; here’s to the things that are yet to come, and to the memories that we hold.”

Friday, December 30, 2011

How did I ever do this with 4 children?

Today I flew to Utah, as I was seated in the planes and watched the people get on with their little children, I wondered how in the world I did it with 4 children when we flew from Seattle to West Virginia ( back in the day )? I don’t really remember very often having any problems with the kids. They each had their little back packs that were filled with little treasures and snacks. They were so excited to see their Grandparents, that they were really good the whole 6 hour flight. Still I wonder now, how in the world I did it. No wonder my back hurts so much! Smile

As I tried to get my luggage off the carrousel and realized that I will pay for that for days to come (with my back), I realize that I am getting older and not quite as strong as I use to be. Traveling is much harder than it used to be years ago, that is for sure. Oh well, I am here and so hopefully my back with rest, and I will get a chance to spend some time with my family and friends while Jeff takes the kids on to Idaho and off to college.

This is the beginning of our Empty Nesters adventure. It is exciting, it’s a bit sad, it’s hard to believe that time has gone by so fast. So I guess we should say…let the adventure begin! The only thing that would make this trip better was if all the rest of the kids and grandkids were here!

Need to head to bed, good night dear friends.

“The great thing about getting older is that you don't lose all the other ages you've been. “   ~ Madeleine L'Engle

“To keep the heart unwrinkled, to be hopeful, kindly, cheerful, reverent - that is to triumph over old age.”     ~Thomas Bailey Aldrich

“You can't hide your true colors as you approach the autumn of your life.”    ~ Author Unknown

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Alice and the Cheshire Cat Dilemma

"Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"

"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat.

"I don't much care where---' said Alice.

"Then it doesn't much matter which way you go," said the Cat

"---so long as I get somewhere," Alice added as an explanation.

"Oh, you're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."

Lewis Carroll

The word casual, means without purpose or cause. If you can casual in your idea of a destination, then which road doesn't matter much. Living your life with your feet planted firm, refusing to move, or allowing the least amount of freedom you'll get nowhere, not somewhere. Likewise if you are casual with your paths, you'll get somewhere, but not in the time you wish it. Most people are like Alice, lost in the world. They have no destination and find themselves wandering anywhere.

Popular belief is that the uncertainty of a path or road so to speak will lead to trials, pain and heartache. Yet they fail to see the strength, experience and power that comes from triumph of such things. Job 23:10 "But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold." Lessons we learn help us on that overused metaphor 'the path of life'.

“That's the reason they're called lessons, because they lesson from day to day.” ~Lewis Carroll

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Felt like I was going back in time!

I was counseling with a  young girl one time and the strangest thing happened. After we had talked for quite a while, and when I felt like she truly had understood where I had come from and what I had been through; and the same for me about her…then I felt like she needed a hug. It was one of the strangest feelings. I almost felt like I had gone back in time and was holding Little Lynn (yes, like a younger version of myself). I wanted her so much to believe that she would live through all this trauma she was going through. That she could believe that someday she would grow up and marry an incredible man,  and have a wonderful and safe home and family. As this sweet girl and I were hugging, I told her what I was feeling and then  she through her emotions said “ and I feel and hope that I am hugging my future self, I can only hope to grow up and have your life someday!” Wow, that was a weird but neat feeling. You couldn’t have told me when I was her age, that my life would have turned out like it did. I couldn’t imagine most of my young life, that anyone would want my life, much less me !

Yet here I was some 40 years later since my abuse, and I was helping another sweet girl who was trying to make sense and survive her own abusive home and relationships. Abuse comes in all different varieties, it comes in and out of families. It comes to rich and poor, from religious or non religious homes and families. It comes to young and old. The truth is Abuse should never happen and if it does, it is vital to seek help, take a stand if you can and set your boundaries. Once you finally see the light of day, your eyes start seeing clearer. It is amazing how your eyes just seem to adjust in the darkness over time. But when you finally see or feel the light, it is vital that you run toward it, stay close to it or whoever you feel you can trust, and who has that light inside them self. Light is powerful, it is enlightening, it is hopeful, and it helps you see a much broader perspective.

I found this article that talked about emotional abuse, here is a part of it! 

“There is not such thing as only being emotionally abused - I have heard many horrifying stories of physical abuse and the most damaging aspect of the physical abuse is the emotional abuse it causes - when we say "I was only emotionally abused" it is the disease minimizing the trauma we experienced.  Emotional abuse is underneath all other types of abuse - the most damaging aspect of physical, sexual, mental, etc. abuse is the trauma to our hearts and souls from being betrayed by the people that we love and trust.  The other types of abuse can add more levels to the healing necessary but the bottom line is the emotional abuse and it's effect on our ability to Love and trust ourselves.  In fact, being only emotionally abused can sometimes make it much harder to get in touch with our issues because it isn't always blatant and obvious. Some of it was very subtle - some of us were abused and shamed by the way they looked at us or said our name or did not see or hear us - on a daily basis." -

Emotions are a vital part of our being.  We can not be whole and healthy without having an emotionally honest relationship with our self.  We can not know who we Truly are if our relationship with our own emotional process is twisted, distorted, and repressed.  Body, mind, and spirit are three parts of a four part equation.  Emotions are the key to healing our broken hearts and wounded souls.” 


So if you are in an abusive situation, please know there is help out there. Please know there is someone out there that you can connect with, who like you has been there themselves. Then stay strong, keep trying and soon you will be free and happier than you could ever imagine. I know this  because I lived in the darkness of abuse for  years, this life and light I have now… have made the struggle and fight all worth it.

Good night dear friends!

“Information is light. Information in itself, about anything, is light.”   ~Tom Stoppard

You don't develop courage by being happy in your relationships everyday. You develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.”   ~Epicurus

  “As we do at such times I turned on my automatic pilot and went through the motions of normalcy on the outside, so that I could concentrate all my powers on surviving the near-mortal wound inside.

Sonia Johnson

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

This is a quiz!

I can’t remember where I read this…sorry! It was from an elderly person, sharing what they had learned about life and people. I thought it was interesting, I also thought how I act in all four of those situations!

Good night dear friends!

I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he she handles four things:

…a rainy day

…the elderly,

…lost luggage,


…tangled Christmas tree lights.

I've learned that making a 'living' is not the same thing as making a 'life.' I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands.You need to be able to throw something back sometimes. I've learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you.But, if you focus on your family, your friends, the needs of others, your work and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you.I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one. I've learned that every day, you should reach out and touch someone. People love that human touch -- holding hands, a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I've learned that I still have a lot to learn. 


“Experience is a hard teacher. She gives the test first, the lesson afterward. “   ~Anonymous

“Each morning the day lies like a fresh shirt on our bed; this incomparably fine, incomparably tightly woven tissue of pure prediction fits us perfectly. The happiness of the next twenty-four hours depends on our ability, on waking, to pick it up.”  ~Walter Benjamin

The Milkman Lesson

Ok, I realize this is a long story but I loved the Grandmother’s wisdom in it!  We need to all remember this wisdom….I won’t spoil it, I will tell it again to you after the story. Enjoy!

Angel on a Doorstep

When Ben delivered milk to my cousin's home that morning, he wasn't
his usual sunny self. The slight, middle-aged man seemed in no mood
for talking.
It was late November 1962, and as a newcomer to Lawndale, Calif., I
was delighted that milkmen still brought bottles of milk to
doorsteps. In the weeks that my husband, kids and I had been staying
with my cousin while house-hunting, I had come to enjoy Ben's jovial
Today, however, he was the epitome of gloom as he dropped off his
wares from his wire carrier. It took slow, careful questioning to
extract the story from him. With some embarrassment, he told me two
customers had left town without paying their bills, and he would
have to cover the losses. One of the debtors owed only $10, but the
other was $79 in arrears and had left no forwarding address. Ben was
distraught at his stupidity for allowing this bill to grow so large.
"She was a pretty woman," he said, "with six children and another on
the way. She was always saying, 'I'm going to pay you soon, when my
husband gets a second job.' I believed her. What a fool I was! I
thought I was doing a good thing, but I've learned my lesson. I've
been had!"
All I could say was, "I'm so sorry."
The next time I saw him, his anger seemed worse. He bristled as he
talked about the messy young ones who had drunk up all his milk. The
charming family had turned into a parcel of brats.
I repeated my condolences and let the matter rest. But when Ben
left, I found myself caught up in his problem and longed to help.
Worried that this incident would sour a warm person, I mulled over
what to do. Then, remembering that Christmas was coming, I thought
of what my grandmother used to say: "When someone has taken from
you, give it to them, and then you can never be robbed."
The next time Ben delivered milk, I told him I had a way to make him
feel better about the $79.
"Nothing will do that," he said, "but tell me anyway."
"Give the woman the milk. Make it a Christmas present to the kids
who needed it."
"Are you kidding?" he replied. "I don't even get my wife a Christmas
gift that expensive."
"You know the Bible says, `I was a stranger and you took me in.' You
just took her in with all her little children."
"Don't you mean she took me in? The trouble with you is, it wasn't
your $79."
I let the subject drop, but I still believed in my suggestion. We'd
joke about it when he'd come. "Have you given her the milk yet?" I'd
"No," he'd snap back, "but I'm thinking of giving my wife a $79
present, unless another pretty mother starts playing on my
Every time I'd ask the question, it seemed he lightened up a bit more.
Then, six days before Christmas, it happened. He arrived with a
tremendous smile and a glint in his eyes. "I did it!" he said. "I
gave her the milk as a Christmas present. It wasn't easy, but what
did I have to lose? It was gone, wasn't it?"
"Yes," I said, rejoicing with him. "But you've got to really mean it
in your heart."
"I know. I do. And I really feel better. That's why I have this good
feeling about Christmas. Those kids had lots of milk on their cereal
just because of me."
The holidays came and went. On a sunny January morning two weeks
later, Ben almost ran up the walk. "Wait till you hear this," he
said, grinning.
He explained he had been on a different route, covering for another
milkman. He heard his name being called, looked over his shoulder
and saw a woman running down the street, waving money. He recognized
her immediately -- the woman with all the kids, the one who didn't
pay her bill. She was carrying an infant in a tiny blanket, and the
woman's long brown hair kept getting in her eyes.
"Ben, wait a minute!" she shouted. "I've got money for you."
Ben stopped the truck and got out.
"I'm so sorry," she said. "I really have been meaning to pay you."
She explained that her husband had come home one night and announced
he'd found a cheaper apartment. He'd also gotten a night job. With
all that had happened, she'd forgotten to leave a forwarding
address. "But I've been saving," she said. "Here's $20 toward the
"That's all right," Ben replied. "It's been paid."
"Paid!" she exclaimed. "What do you mean? Who paid it?"
"I did."
She looked at him as if he were the Angel Gabriel and started to cry.
"Well," I asked, "what did you do?"
"I didn't know what to do, so I put an arm around her. Before I knew
what was happening, I started to cry, and I didn't have the foggiest
idea what I was crying about. Then I thought of all those kids
having milk on their cereal, and you know what? I was really glad
you talked me into this."
"You didn't take the $20?"
"Heck no," he replied indignantly. "I gave her the milk as a
Christmas present, didn't I?"
By Shirley Bachelder

"When someone has taken from you, give it to them, and then you can never be robbed."  ~ Somebody’s Grandma

Christmas gift suggestions:

To your enemy, forgiveness.

To your opponent: tolerance.

To your friend: your heart.

To a customer, service.

To all, charity.

To every child, a good example.

To yourself, respect.   ~ Oren Arnold


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

The Story of the Christmas Guest
by Helen Steiner Rice

It happened one day at December's end
Some neighbors called on an old-time friend.
And they found his shop so meager and mean,
Made gay with a thousand boughs of green.
And old Conrad was sitting with face ashine.
When he suddenly stopped as he stitched the twine.
And he said "My friends at dawn today,
When the cock was crowing the night away,
The Lord appeared in a dream to me.
And He said, 'I'm coming your guest to be"
So I've been busy with feet astir,
Strewing my shop with branches of fir.
The table is spread and the kettle is shined,
And over the rafters the holly is twined.
And now I'll wait for my Lord to appear;
And listen closely so I will hear,
His steps as he nears my humble place.
And I'll open the door and I'll look on his face."
Then his friends went home and left Conrad alone,
For this was the happiest day he had known.
For long since his family had passed away.
And Conrad had spent many a sad Christmas Day.
But he knew with the Lord as his Christmas guest,
This Christmas would be the dearest and best.
So he listened with only joy in his heart,
And with every sound he would rise with a start,
And looked for the Lord to be at his door.
Like the vision that he had had a few hours before.
So he ran to the window after hearing a sound,
But all he could see on the snow covered ground
Was a shabby beggar whose shoes were torn.
And all his clothes were ragged and worn.
But old Conrad was touched and he went to the door
And he said, "Your feet must be cold and sore.
I have some shoes in my shop for you.
And I have a coat to keep you warmer, too."
So with grateful heart the man went away.
But Conrad notice the time of day
And he wondered what made the dear Lord so late,
And how much longer he'd have to wait.
Then he heard another knock, and he ran to the door,
But it was only a stranger once more.
A bent old lady with a shawl of black,
And a bundle of kindling piled on her back.
But she asked only for a place to rest,
a place that was reserved, for Conrad's great guest.
But her voice seemed to plead, "Don't send me away,
Let me rest for awhile this Christmas Day."
So Conrad brewed her a steaming cup
And told her to sit at the table and sup.
After she had left, he was filled with dismay
For he saw that the hours were slipping away
The Lord had not come as He said He would
And Conrad felt sure he had misunderstood.
When out of the stillness he heard a cry.
"Please help, me and tell me - Where am I?"
So again he opened his friendly door.
And stood disappointed as twice before.
It was a child who had wandered away,
And was lost from her family on Christmas Day.
Again Conrad's heart was heavy and sad,
But he knew he could make this little girl glad.
So he called her in and he wiped her tears,
And he quieted all her childish fears.
Then he led her back to her home once more.
Then as he entered his own darkened door,
He knew that the Lord was not coming today,
For the hours of Christmas, had all passed away.
So he went to his room, and he knelt down to pray.
He said, "Lord, why did you delay?
What kept You from coming to call on me?
I wanted so much Your face to see."
Then softly, in the silence, a voice he heard.
"Lift up your head - I have kept My word.
Three times my shadow crossed your floor.
Three times I came to your lowly door.
I was the beggar with bruised cold feet;
I was the woman you gave something to eat;
I was the child on the homeless street.
Three times I knocked, three times I came in,
And each time I found the warmth of a friend.
Of all the gifts, love is the best.
I was honored to be your Christmas guest.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Feeling our hearts with joy this Christmas!

We have been feeling a little sad this Christmas because Brad and Krystal can’t come to share it with us. Our cousins are far away and well, just because of life…some of our regular traditions are going to have to change some.  We were feeling a bit lonely, especially after the times when our house has been so full and busy on other Christmases. So tonight we received a big blessing. We had a dear friend of ours, who needed a place to stay for the holidays and so…without any notice, we are going to have one more for this wonderful season. I feel we have been blessed, even though we are helping her out. She in turn is helping us out, because we stopped thinking about ourselves and starting thinking of all the things we can do with and for her. All of my kids immediately just started putting things into action, I didn’t have to tell them anything, there was just a need and they automatically began to fill it! How proud I was tonight when my family made this sweet girl feel like…she was a part of our family and was always suppose to spend Christmas with us. It is true, the best way to stop feeling sorry for yourself is to serve someone else! So I have to go because we have lots of preparations to make for Christmas!

We are so grateful for this season of the year. We are thankful for the gift of Jesus Christ in our lives. We truly have relied on His peace and strength many times this past year, how grateful we are for His example to us. We never have to wonder what we need to do, He showed us the way.
Yes, this is the most wonderful time of the year!

Well, there is just one more sleep till Christmas, so good night dear friends!



Christmas… that magic blanket that wraps itself about us, that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance. It may weave a spell of nostalgia. Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer, but always it will be a day of remembrance -- a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved.  ~ Augusta E. Rundel

“Christmas Eve was a night of song that wrapped itself about you like a shawl. But it warmed more than your body. It warmed your heart…filled it, too, with melody that would last forever.”   ~ Bess Streeter Aldrich

“The greatest gift is a portion of thyself.”  ~ Emerson

We are going to need one more stocking!

I have to admit that some of the greatest Christmas memories I have ever had, was when I was pregnant. I guess it is just that I seem to relate (in a small way) what Mary must have gone through. How she did what did, under those circumstances is amazing to me. And I can’t imagine all the things that must have gone through her mind when she found out that she was to be the Mother of the Christ child. I love in the scriptures when it says in Luke 2 : 19 …’But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.’

As a parent on many occasions and even before my kids were born, I prayed that their life would turn out much better and safer than mine. I prayed to know how to raise them and understand them. I prayed for the strength and courage to make the right choices myself, so that they could look to me for help and an example. That hasn’t always been the case but I really do try. Motherhood is a huge responsibility but looking back over those almost 30 years, I have to say that I wouldn’t change anything because hard as it was….I have never experience such great joy, as when I held my kids in my arms. What incredible little people they were …even way back then.

So when we received this photo of our sweet daughter in law, pregnant with our first grandson…it made my heart happy all over again. How grateful I am that my Heavenly Father has let me live here on the earth long enough to meet and get to share life with these wonderful grandchildren. We are soooooooo excited for this new little guy to come be part of our family, we can hardly wait!!!

A dear friend of mine came to my house the other day with her 3 cute little girls. They mentioned how many stockings there were on the mantle and asked who they were all for. When I said my family, the one little girl said “ wow, you have a lot of family”, I felt like crying ….yes I have a lot of family,  in other words you could say that I am rich, very rich because of my many family and friends, it doesn’t get any better than this! So now I need to make one more stocking for our little Hezekiah!

Good night dear friends!


(Photo by … )

“Before you were conceived I wanted you. Before you were born I loved you. Before you were here an hour I would die for you. This is the miracle of Mother's Love“   ~ Maureen Hawkins

‘A mother's joy begins when new life is stirring inside... when a tiny heartbeat is heard for the very first time, and a playful kick reminds her that she is never alone”   ~ Author Unknown

“Being a mother means that your heart is no longer yours; it wanders wherever your children do“   ~ Author Unknown

Friday, December 23, 2011

O Holy Night!

I remember when I first heard this little girl sing, it seemed almost impossible that, that voice could come out of such a small little girl. It was amazing,  she is soooooo talented.

Not a better way to  use your talent than to share the true meaning of Christmas!

  Hope you all are enjoying the true meaning of Christmas.

Good night dear friends.


  "The true spirit of Christmas is love"   Linda Willis quotes

  "It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself"   Charles Dickens

  "This is Christmas: not the tinsel, not the giving and receiving, not even the carols, but the humble heart that receives anew the wondrous gift, the Christ."    ~ Frank McKibben quotes

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Jeff and I were discussing the other day how great traditions are for the holidays, and yet how hard it is to watch the kids get older and start their own families and their own traditions. Sometimes we wonder why things have to change, and yet that is just life. I remember Jeff and I having quite a few discussions Smile about who’s house we were going to for Christmas, and some times we didn’t always agree. I really wanted to spend it with my family, and Jeff felt the same about his. So you try to juggle the time between both families and keep everyone happy. Then finally the kids get old enough to tell you that they don’t want to go any where for Christmas, but want to stay at their own house. Yes life, traditions and everything else changes throughout the years, and so we need to some how learn to Go With The Flow!

We have tried to start some new traditions so that it would make up for the ones that we seem to have to change, some times that works and some times it doesn’t.  One of the traditions that we had when I was a  kid , and is still a great memory for me… was our Rotating Christmas Tree! Yes, I said ROTATING, it went all the way around, with the lights and music. I remember just laying under the Christmas tree and just watching the ornaments go by with the icicles too. I remember Mom insisting to put each icicle on separately, we weren’t to just take a bunch and throw them on. It seemed like a pain at the time, but when the tree was all decorated, it did look magical.


Our rotating tree was the hit of the neighborhood when we lived in the city, and the talk of all our friends when we moved to the country. Dad looked as we got older for the rotating Christmas Tree Stand, but they went out of business. People couldn’t believe we had a tree stand that you could put a live tree in with water, and it had a place for the lights to plug in ( and no the cords didn’t get wrapped around the tree ) plus, it played 5-6 Christmas songs, it was magical that was for sure.

Then when our kids were all little, my Mom and Dad called one night and told us that he found the Rotating Christmas Tree Stand at Sears, and he ordered 5 of them and was having them sent to our homes. I remember the first time we put our tree in that stand, I felt like the years had melted away and I was a little girl again. This stand you had to use with an artificial tree and it didn’t play music but still… it was magical and a wonderful tradition from my family, it was one of our best presents ever!

Our rotating tree stand made us happy for quite a few years and then it broke and since then we haven’t found another on, it makes me sad each year when we put out our Christmas decorations and I realize we don’t have that any more, what a fun tradition. Oh another funny thing that happened when we received our rotating stand from my Dad was, as the kids helped me decorate the tree, I sorta stuck some of the (not so pretty ) ornaments to the back of the tree. Then when we were all finished and turned on the tree, I laughed to myself when I realized I had put all those ornaments together, and so when that side of the tree came around well….let’s just say we had to intermix them in with all the rest of the ornaments to make it look pleasing to the eye! Smile

So as I sit here tonight, trying to figure out just what traditions we are going to keep or change this Christmas Eve, I look at the tree and remember how many wonderful traditions we have had throughout the years, things may change, but the love of our family doesn’t , nor the meaning of Christmas … that is what we need to remember.

Good night dear friends!

" The perfect Christmas tree? All Christmas trees are perfect!" -- Charles N. Barnard

"Remember, if Christmas isn't found in your heart, you won't find it under a tree." -- Charlotte Carpenter

"Whatever else be lost among the years, Let us keep Christmas still a shining thing: Whatever doubts assail us, or what fears, Let us hold close one day, remembering Its poignant meaning for the hearts of men. Let us get back our childlike faith again." -- Grace Noll Crowell

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I love this story!

Of course you have heard me say that that a million times before but…I love this story also! I actually love anything to do with Christmas don’t I?

Hope you enjoy it! Merry Christmas dear friends and good night!


Christmas Star

This was my grandmother's first Christmas without grandfather, and we had promised him before he passed away that we would make this her best Christmas ever. When my mom, dad, three sisters and I arrived at her little house in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, we found she had waited up all night for us to arrive from Texas. After we exchanged hugs, my sisters and I ran into the house. It did seem a little empty without grandfather, and we knew it was up to us to make this Christmas special for her.

Grandfather had always said that the Christmas tree was the most important decoration of all. So we immediately set to work on the beautiful artificial tree that was kept stored in grandfather's closet. Although artificial, it was the most genuine looking Douglas fir I had ever seen. Tucked away in the closet with the tree was a spectacular array of ornaments, many of which had been my father's when he was a little boy. As we unwrapped each one, grandmother had a story to go along with it. My mother strung the tree with bright white lights and a red button garland; my sisters and I carefully placed the ornaments on the tree; and finally father was given the honor of lighting the tree.

We stepped back to admire our handiwork. To us, it looked magnificent, as beautiful as the tree in Rockefeller Center. But something was missing.

"Where's your star'" I asked.

The star was my grandmother's favorite part of the tree, for it represented the star of Bethlehem that had led the wise men to the infant Jesus.

"Why, it must be here somewhere," she said, starting to sort through the boxes again. "Your grandfather always packed everything so carefully when he took the tree down."

As we emptied box after box and found no star, my grandmother's eyes filled with tears. This was no ordinary ornament, but an elaborate golden star covered with colored jewels and blue lights that blinked on and off. Moreover, grandfather had given it to grandmother some fifty years ago on their first Christmas together. Now, on her first Christmas without him, the star was gone, too.

"Don't worry, Grandmother," I reassured her. "We'll find it for you."

My sisters and I formed a search party.

"Let's start in on the closet where the ornaments were," Donna said. "Maybe the box just fell down."

That sounded logical, so we climbed on a chair and began to search that tall closet of grandfather's. We found father's old yearbooks and photographs of relatives, Christmas cards from years gone by and party dresses and jewelry boxes, but no star.

We searched under beds and over shelves, inside and outside, until we had exhausted every possibility. We could see grandmother was disappointed, although she tried not to show it.

"We could buy a new star," Kristi offered.

"I'll make you one from construction paper," Karen chimed in.

"No," Grandmother said. "This year, we won't have a star."

By now, it was dark outside, and time for bed, since Santa would soon be here. As we lay in bed, we could hear the sound of snowflakes falling quietly outside.

The next morning, my sisters and I woke up early, as was our habit on Christmas day - first, to see what Santa had left under the tree, and second, to look for the Christmas star in the sky. After a traditional breakfast of apple pancakes, the family sat down together to open presents. Santa had brought me the Easy Bake Oven I wanted, and Donna a Chatty Cathy doll. Karen was thrilled to get the doll buggy she had asked for, and Kristi to get the china tea set. Father was in charge of passing out the presents, so that everyone would have something to open at the same time.

"The last gift is to Grandmother from Grandfather," he said, in a puzzled voice.

"From who'" There was surprise in my grandmother's voice.

"I found that gift in grandfather's closet when we got the tree down," Mother explained. "It was already wrapped so I put it under the tree. I thought it was one of yours."

"Hurry and open it," Karen urged excitedly.

My grandmother shakily opened the box. Her face lit up with joy when she unfolded the tissue paper and pulled out a glorious golden star. There was a note attached. Her voice trembled as she read it aloud:

"Don't be angry with me, dear. I broke your star while
putting up the decorations, and I couldn't bear to tell
you. Thought it was time for a new one. I hope it brings
you as much joy as the first one. Merry Christmas. Love,

So grandmother's tree had a star after all, a star that expressed their everlasting love for one another. It brought my grandfather home for Christmas in each of our hearts and made it our best Christmas ever.


Christmas is the day that holds all time together.”  ~Alexander Smith

“May the spirit of Christmas bring you peace,
The gladness of Christmas give you hope,
The warmth of Christmas grant you love.”
~Author Unknown

Here is Christmas music at it’s best!

This was simply amazing, what talent…don’t you just love Christmas music, Christmas lights and Christmas love? It is simply the best!!!

Good night dear friends!

“The earth has grown old with its burden of care But at Christmas it always is young, The heart of the jewel burns lustrous and fair And its soul full of music breaks the air, When the song of angels is sung.”
– Phillips Brooks

”After silence that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.”  ~ Aldous Huxley

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Thinking of Others first!

I loved this Christmas story. How I respected the Mother for what values she had taught her son. Don’t we all hope that we have taught our own kids, these very same values and virtues?

Any way it was great, hope you take the time to read it. Good night dear friends!

The Coat

Heber shivered in the cold.  He wrapped his thin, old coat around him.  It would soon be his birthday, and all he wanted was a warm coat.  He knew it would upset his mother if he asked for one.  They were so poor.  Sometimes they went to bed early because there was no fuel left to keep the house warm.  Sometimes they would go to bed hungry because there was not enough food.  To earn money, Heber's mother would often sew until far into the night, making clothes for other people.

On the day of Heber's birthday, his mother wished him a happy birthday and gave him a beautifully wrapped present.  He opened it up and inside the box was the most beautiful coat he had ever seen.  It was made from the material his mother had from other clothes, but it was new, and warm, and clean and fit him perfectly.  Heber could hardly wait to go out into the cold and feel its warmth.  He was so happy and grateful to his mother.

A few weeks later, Heber was on an errand on an especially cold day.  He saw a boy just his size crying in the cold snow.  The boy was only wearing ragged clothes and had no shoes on.  Heber knew how cold he must feel.  The boy looked longingly at Heber's coat.  Heber stopped and, almost without thinking, took the coat off and gave it to the boy.

That afternoon, Heber' mother saw him wearing his old coat.  She asked him, "What have you done with your lovely new coat?"  Heber wondered for a moment how to tell her.  Then he explained, "I saw a boy and he needed it lots worse than I did, so I gave it to him."

Heber's mother couldn't believe it.  She asked, "Couldn't you have given him your old coat?" 

Heber looked up at his mother, hoping she would understand, and saw her eyes fill with tears.  He threw his arms around his mother as she answered her own question.  "Of course you couldn't, Heber" she said, "of course you couldn't."

Heber had so much love in his heart that he didn't want to see anyone sad, or cold, or hungry.  Jesus was the same way.  Jesus felt great love and compassion for everyone he met.  He wants us to be like him and show compassion for all people.  ~ Heber J. Grant

Matthew 25:40  “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me”

"You will find, as you look back on your life, that the moments that stand out
are the moments when you have done things for others." - Henry Drummond

"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is every wasted." – Aesop

“Only a life lived for others is worth living”. - Albert Einstein

Saturday, December 17, 2011

My red headed Gingerbreads!

I think it is much easier to work hard on something, when you do it for someone you love. That is probably why I have such a fun time making matching seasonal outfits for the girls. I just finished their Gingerbread outfits ( look below), they really like the skirts they can twirl in. And even though they compete in almost everything, they still like having the matching outfits ( go figure ).

Tonight I am sitting here at home alone. Jeff is gone, Lee is out on a date, Lauren is at work and I have Kenny G Christmas music playing in the background…now doesn’t that just sound like a perfect setting to feel lonely in? I am missing my boy Bradley and his wife Krystal pretty bad, I guess that is normal for Mom’s. They live in California and Krystal is expecting their first baby, and it’s a boy! We can hardly wait till he gets here, still how I wish magically we could all be together for Christmas.  I am missing Lauren and Lee already ( and they aren’t even gone yet ). They keep this house full of laughter and fun, it certainly will be quiet without them here.

This time of year I always think of my Mom and Dad (who have already finished their mission here on earth). Oh how I wish I could just pick up the phone and hear my Mom’s voice, I really miss her. She would have loved meeting these cute little red heads! As for my Dad, we weren’t very close at all, but he taught me to love giving and Christmas, that is one time he was always happy. He gave gifts to everyone, he would start from Thanksgiving on… all the way through Christmas. He and Mom were always making gift baskets for everyone, my Dad had a million friends (guess I inherited that from him ). So the holidays were always special, and living on a farm seemed to make everything even more magical. We had our own sleigh riding hill ( that my Dad had cleared and made just for that ). Actually it was for tubing, it was way to steep for sleds. Still everyone wanted to come tubing at the Johnson’s farm. My Mom would have warm Gingerbread cookies ready with Hot Chocolate for everyone.

As we got older Mom would always call to see how many of her kids could make it home for the Holidays, now I find myself doing the same things. I cry when I hear the song…"I’LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS”. Yes, I get very homesick this time of year for my kids, family and friends. So I guess it’s a real good thing that I am going with Jeff and Lauren and Lee  when they head off for college in a couple of weeks. I will stay in Utah while they head off to Idaho, but at least I won’t be here by myself. When we come home to an empty house, at least we will be together.

Many of you who are already Empty Nesters, have shared tips on  how to survive being Empty Nesters and what some of the feelings we will go through, thanks for that advice…it really did help. The truth is though, like everything else…many things we have to just go through (that is where the lessons are learned ), but still it can be tough and I realize that. So thanks for your good advice.

Well, I have got to quit sitting here and thinking to much and get to work, there are lots more gifts to make! Good night dear friends!



“Christmas! The very word brings joy to our hearts. No matter how we may dread the rush, the long Christmas lists for gifts and cards to be bought and given, when Christmas Day comes there is still the same warm feeling we had as children, the same warmth that enfolds our hearts and our homes.”     ~Joan Winmill Brown

“Time was with most of us, when Christmas Day, encircling all our limited world like a magic ring, left nothing out for us to miss or seek; bound together all our home enjoyments, affections, and hopes; grouped everything and everyone round the Christmas fire, and make the little picture shining in our bright young eyes, complete.”     ~  Charles Dickens

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

Friday, December 16, 2011

What I’ve learned.

   I love this story, I shared it with you over 3  years ago, but I really felt impressed to share it again. A beautiful message for all of us to hear and be reminded of.

Good night dear friends!                                                       


     The Wooden Bowl 

  A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and four-year grandson. The old man's hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered. The family ate together at the table. But the elderly grandfather's shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor. When he grasped the glass, milk spilled on the tablecloth.

The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess. "We must do something about Grandfather," said the son. "I've had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor". So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner. There, Grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed their dinners together.

Since Grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl. When the family glanced in Grandfather's direction, sometimes he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone. Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food.

The four-year-old watched it all in silence. One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor. He asked the child sweetly, "What are you making?" Just as sweetly, the boy responded, "Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and Mama to eat your food in when you get old." The four year old smiled and went back to work.

The words so struck the parents that they were speechless. Then tears started to stream down their cheeks. Though no word was spoken, both knew what must be done. That evening the husband took Grandfather's hand and gently led him back to the family table. For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with the family. And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled.

I've learned that, regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they're gone from your life. I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.

I've learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you. But, if you focus on your family, your friends, the needs of others, your work and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you.

I've learned that children's eyes observe more than their ears ever hear and the example we set for them determines their actions.

I've learned that make a "living" is not the same thing as making a "life".

I've learned that every day, you should reach out and touch someone. People love that human touch -- holding hands, a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.

I've learned that people will forget what you said ...people will forget what you did......but people will never forget how you made them feel.

I've learned that life is about people and making a positive difference.

I've learned that you should take care of yourself and those you love - Today and Everyday!

I've learned I still have a lot to learn!  

By Author Unknown


My oldest granddaughter and I have been collecting and wrapping things to take to Sleep Country to donate to less fortunate children. Now I don’t mention this to toot my own horn, but to tell you what  a great feeling it is to do that with my granddaughter each year. As we were wrapping a few pair of gloves, she said “Oh Nana, I worry about those kid’s hands being so cold” I said yes, that is why we are giving these to them. Then the conversation went about the same on each item we wrapped. It does my heart good to see the natural love and concern that children have for others.  It reminds me that we all should have that type of love, concern and compassion for others. I hope Angie ( and Jenny and my grandson to be ) will remember doing traditions like these with their  Nana. I hope they keep that giving heart all year long, and that they will grow up and make the world a better place by being in it!

As the girls and I were in the kitchen cooking and coloring this afternoon, the Christmas lights were on , the Christmas music was on the radio and I looked around and realized how very grateful I am that I am healthy enough to be here another year with my family and enjoy all this. Three years ago, I wasn’t sure what my future would be, I wasn’t sure if I would even want people to see me, I felt scared, I hurt, I was discouraged.  I thought I looked like a freak (after my mastectomy ) and I couldn’t imagine how I was going to go to my son’s wedding right after Christmas?  Yes, that was 3 years ago, and I can honestly say life has truly changed or maybe I have changed….my perspective has changed and tonight I sit here and realize how very very grateful I am for all that I have been blessed with….which is a lot!

I just received an email from a dear friend and his wife. He was sharing with us the report of his wife’s health, she battled cancer recently. He told us that her numbers were good and normal and her next blood draw won’t be until March, he said they are now going to take a deep breath and be grateful for her health returning. I know exactly what he was talking about. Those exams are the most nerve racking. You worry about them for weeks before they happen, and you hang on everything the DR says. When you hear everything looks fine or good or normal for now…you feel like jumping for joy! Gratitude is definitely what you feel. All of a sudden the lights of Christmas seem brighter, the music sounds sweeter and life and everything about it….seems more special.

So tonight I express my own gratitude for my health, my family ( but still missing the one’s that aren’t with us ) my friends, our jobs, my home, and all the many other things that I have been blessed with. I do believe that being grateful has helped me in my life, to see what really matters!

I am grateful for this blog, for the chance to daily think of something positive and motivational to share with you. It makes me look deeper at all that I see each day. Thanks for your love and support over these three years, it has been an incredible journey to say the least. Good night dear friends!

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”  ~Melody Beattie

“Be in an "attitude of gratitude" and you will feel yourself blessed beyond counting.”

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Come back to the heart of Christmas!

Sorry that I missed writing in my blog last night, I wasn’t feeling well at all. It seems like we keep passing this junk, back and forth to each other. Jeff was home sick, and the found out at the DR today that he has bronchitis.
Lauren is heading to the DR tomorrow, fun place around here.

I heard this Christmas song on the radio the other day and really loved the words, thought it would be good to read more than once during this Holiday Season. I hope you are able to really enjoy it too! I am hoping that my health improves so that we can do more as a family, right now we are all just laying around like a bunch of boneless chickens! Smile  Didn’t you just get a visual on that one about the Chickens? Smile

Good night dear friends!

outdoor christmas decorations ideas

Come back to the heart of Christmas!

I'm gonna make a wish this Christmas
I'm gonna say a little prayer
I'm gonna stop here for a moment
Before the moment disappears

The world's in a hurry this December
City streets and shopping malls
I wish we could slow down and remember
The meaning of it all

Wherever you are, no matter how far
Come back to the heart, the heart of Christmas
Live while you can, cherish the moment
The ones that you love, make sure they know it
Don't miss it, the heart of Christmas

Let's make it feel the way it used to
Let's find that wonder of a child
You can see the magic all around you
Come on, and open up your eyes

You can find it in the warm embrace of your family
Or calling up a long lost friend
You can even find it in the eyes of stranger
When you reach out a helping hand

Wherever you are, no matter how far
Come back to the heart, the heart of Christmas
Live while you can, cherish the moment
The ones that you love, make sure they know it
Don't miss it, the heart of Christmas

In the shadow of a steeple
In a star that lights the way
You will find Him in a manger
The heart of Christmas has a name

I'm gonna make a wish this Christmas
I'm gonna say a little prayer
Wherever you are, no matter how far
Come back to the heart, the heart of Christmas

Live while you can and cherish the moment
The ones that you love, make sure they know it
Wherever you are, no matter how far
Come back to the heart, the heart of Christmas

Live while you can, cherish the moment
The ones that you love, make sure they know it
Don't miss it, the heart of Christmas

[ Lyrics from: ]

“The best Christmas gift of all is the presence of a happy family all wrapped up with one another.”

“Let's approach Christmas with an expectant hush,
rather than a last-minute rush.”

“It is not the gift, but the thought that counts.”     ~Van Dyke

Monday, December 12, 2011

Happy Holidays to my girls!

Saturday night the girls we sent the girls to the Nutcracker as part of their Christmas gift. Amy is the only one that had ever been there before,  but she was little then.  For Lauren and Angie it was their first time and as you can tell from their faces, they had a wonderful time!


I feel so blessed that we were able to share this with our girls this year. I would have loved for all of us to go together but …they had a great time. I love the holidays and everything about it!

Christmas comes with children singing,
Christmas comes with sleigh bells ringing,
Christmas comes with frosty nights,
Christmas comes with snowball fights.
Christmas comes with Santa Claus,
Christmas comes with snowy floors,
Christmas comes with robins and reindeer,
Christmas comes with a hearty cheer.
Christmas comes with gold, frankincense and myrrh,
Christmas comes with Jesus' birth,
Christmas comes with angels from afar,
Christmas comes with a wondrous star.
Christmas comes now, at last,
Christmas comes, like in the past,
Christmas comes after such a long wait,
Christmas comes and it will be great.
         ~Amy Darnbrook

“It is the heart that makes a man rich. He is rich according to what he is, not according to what he has.”     ~ Henry Ward Beecher

“A child’s life is like a piece of paper on which every passerby leaves a mark.”   ~ Chinese Proverb

“Christmas is not a time or a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and good will, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.”   ~ Calvin Coolidge

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Compassion, Charity and the Cemetery!

When I read this story, it made me cry… but also reminded me of the compassion and charity of others. What a difference that can make in someone’s life! Life is hard, but often those hard blows are often softened by the small acts of charity of others. It made me remember we all could do a little bit more! Good night dear friends!


A Small, Snow-Covered Tree

One day, shortly before Christmas, our third child and first son, Bay, was born. As I said good-bye that evening to my exhausted but joyful wife and left the hospital, the warmth and joy that accompanied the birth of my son overwhelmed the cold chill of that clear December night.

The following December we celebrated the first birthday of our dark-eyed, dark-haired son. The day after Christmas, during an evening of games at the home of my in-laws, our revelry was interrupted by an awful shriek from my mother-in-law: “He’s not breathing!” She had gone to check on Bay, who had been sleeping on her bed, and discovered his cold, lifeless body. We immediately rushed our son to the hospital, attempting CPR on the way. We were grief-stricken to learn that nothing could be done to save his life. He had died from sudden infant death syndrome.

Since then, Christmas has been filled with a much deeper meaning for our family. Each year on Christmas Eve when we take down our other children’s stockings to fill them, one solitary stocking is left on the fireplace mantle. Throughout the remainder of the holiday the stocking serves as a reminder of Bay.

Each year, around the time of Bay’s birthday, my wife and I drive to the cemetery where he is buried. At each visit we find that someone else has arrived before us and placed something on our son’s grave: one year it was delicate, small flowers; the next year, a stuffed bear; the next, a little Christmas tree decorated with miniature ornaments. We have no idea who is responsible; the gifts, which touch us deeply, are never accompanied by a note or card.

When I hinted to my mother-in-law that I knew her secret, she denied responsibility. The following year while she and my father-in-law were serving a Church mission abroad, we again found that someone had placed a gift on our son’s grave. Even after inquiring with other family members and friends, we were unable to solve the mystery.

Ten years after our son’s death, a series of snowstorms prevented us from traveling short distances. As a result, our annual visit to our son’s grave site was delayed until several days after Christmas. When we finally made it, we saw a small, decorated Christmas tree, mostly buried in the snow, standing bravely at the head of Bay’s small grave. The effort it must have taken for someone to get to the cemetery through the heavy snowfall overwhelmed us. Tears streamed down our faces as we realized that someone still shared our grief and loss.

After that, we were more resolved than ever to discover the identity of our benefactor and thank him or her for showing us such compassion. But as we reflected more, we realized that whoever was doing these acts of kindness did not want to be identified. We decided to allow our friend to remain anonymous. We replaced our need to thank our friend with a desire to simply live better.

It is now harder for us to speak ill of or criticize any of our friends or family members, because any one of them may be our anonymous friend.

Often while doing service, my wife and I pause to examine our hearts: are we doing good things to be seen by others or for the pure love of Christ and of our fellowmen?

For us, charity—humble and never seeking its own—is symbolized by a beautifully decorated Christmas tree, half-buried in snow, resting in a quiet cemetery.   ~By Darrell Smart    Ensign, Dec. 2008

“Act as if what you do makes a difference.  It does.”  ~William James

“Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little.”  ~Edmund Burke

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Great Date Night!

I was pretty worn out by this evening, so when Jeff suggested that we go to the movies for our Date Night, I said yes right away!

We went to the movie Hugo, it was amazing and a great movie for everyone. Not often can you say that about very many movies.

Hugo tells the tale of an orphan boy living a secret life in the walls of a Paris train station. When Hugo encounters a broken machine, an eccentric girl, and the cold, reserved man who runs the toy shop, he is caught up in a magical, mysterious adventure that could put all of his secrets in jeopardy.

The message behind it was absolutely inspiring…

Hugo Cabret: I'd imagine the whole world was one big machine. Machines never come with any extra parts, you know. They always come with the exact amount they need. So I figured if the entire world was one big machine, I couldn't be an extra part. I had to be here for some reason. And that means you have to be here for some reason too.

I hope you might get to go see it for this Holiday Season.  Good night dear friends!

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.”   ~ Albert Einstein

“A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams.”  ~ John Barrymore

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”   ~ Walt Disney

Thursday, December 8, 2011

There are Christmas Angels everywhere…this time of the year!

I can relate to this story because the same type of miracles happened to our family, when we had only lived here in Seattle a couple of months. Jeff just lost his job before Thanksgiving, so things were looking very bleak. I remember even opening my cabinet doors ( just in case God thought there was more in there than I was reporting ). Then from December 1st till Christmas Day, we had Secret Christmas Angels at our door each day, at all different times…so we never caught them. Still each year we try to be someone’s Secret Christmas Angel, for we know how life altering it can be, and we are forever grateful for them.

Enjoy dear friends! Night!

'The Christmas Angels'

It was December 23, 1993. For a single mom who was going to college and supporting my children completely alone, Christmas was looking bleak. I looked around my little home, realization dawning like a slow, twisting pain. We were poor.

Our tiny house had two bedrooms, both off the living room. They were so small that my baby daughter's crib barely fit into one room, and my son's twin bed and dresser were squeezed into the other. There was no way they could share a room, so I made my bed every night on the living room floor.

The three of us shared the only closet in the house. We were snug, always only a few feet from each other, day and night. With no doors on the children's rooms, I could see and hear them at all times. It made them feel secure, and it made me feel close to them -- a blessing I wouldn't have had in other circumstances.

It was early evening, about eight o'clock. The snow was falling softly, silently, and my children were both asleep. I was wrapped in a blanket, sitting at the window, watching the powdery flakes flutter in the dimming light, when my front door vibrated with a pounding fist.

Alarmed, I wondered who would stop by unannounced on such a snowy winter night. I opened the door to find a group of strangers grinning from ear to ear, their arms laden with boxes and bags.

Confused, but finding their joyous spirit contagious, I grinned right back at them.

"Are you Susan?" The man stepped forward as he held out a box for me.

Nodding stupidly, unable to find my voice, I was sure they thought I was mentally deficient.

"These are for you." The woman thrust another box at me with a huge, beaming smile. The porch light and the snow falling behind her cast a glow over her dark hair, lending her an angelic appearance.

I looked down into her box. It was filled to the top with delicious treats, a fat turkey, and all the makings of a traditional Christmas dinner. My eyes filled with tears as the realization of why they were there washed over me.

Finally coming to my senses, I found my voice and invited them in. Following the husband were two children, staggering with the weight of their packages. The family introduced themselves and told me their packages were all gifts for my little family. This wonderful, beautiful family, who were total strangers to me, somehow knew exactly what we needed. They brought wrapped gifts for each of us, a full buffet for me to make on Christmas Day, and many "extras" that I could never afford. Visions of a beautiful, "normal" Christmas literally danced in my head. Somehow my secret wish for Christmas was materializing right in front of me. The desperate prayers of a single mom had been heard, and I knew right then that God had sent his angels my way.

My mysterious angels then handed me a white envelope, gave me another round of grins, and took turns hugging me. They wished me a Merry Christmas and disappeared into the night as suddenly as they had appeared.

Amazed and deeply touched, I looked around me at the boxes and gifts strewn at my feet and felt the ache of depression suddenly being transformed into a childlike joy. I began to cry. I cried hard, sobbing tears of the deepest gratitude. A great sense of peace filled me. The knowledge of God's love reaching into my tiny corner of the world enveloped me like a warm quilt. My heart was full. I fell to my knees amid all the boxes and offered a heartfelt prayer of thanks.

Getting to my feet, I wrapped myself in my blankets and sat once again to gaze out the window at the gently falling snow. Suddenly, I remembered the envelope. Like a child, I ripped it open and gasped at what I saw. A shower of bills flitted to the floor. Gathering them up, I began to count the five, ten, and twenty-dollar bills. As my vision blurred with tears, I counted the money, then recounted it to make sure I had it right. Sobbing again, I said it out loud: "One hundred dollars."

I looked at my children sleeping soundly, and through my tears I smiled my first happy, free-of-worry smile in a long, long time. My smile turned into a grin as I thought about tomorrow: Christmas Eve. One visit from complete strangers had magically turned a painful day into a special one that we would always remember...with happiness.

It is now several years since our Christmas angels visited. I have remarried, and our household is happy and richly blessed. Every year since that Christmas in 1993, we have chosen a family less blessed than we are. We bring them carefully selected gifts, food and treats, and as much money as we can spare. It's our way of passing on what was given to us. It's the "ripple effect" in motion. We hope that the cycle continues and that, someday, the families we share with will be able to pass it on, too. -- Susan Fahncke

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”      ~Anne Frank

“We can do no great things, only small things with great love.”     ~Mother Teresa’

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It's not”   .  ~Dr. Seuss

Perfect Child …is there such a thing?

I loved this Christmas story because it reminded me that most children aren’t perfect, and most parents are either. But there is such a thing as Perfect Love, that’s what we all need a little more of in our lives and in our families. I smiled as I read this story and remember how some of our kids acted in church, it is comical now… but really wasn’t then. Still children seem to teach us daily and for that I am forever grateful!
This post is late because I have been sewing most of the evening. I really think I was suppose to be an ELF!  Still it is late and so I closed up the workshop, this Elf is tired ( happy but tired). Night dear friends!

'Heaven and Angels Sing'

At the Christmas Eve church service, I sat with my two boisterous grandchildren, ages three and five. Their parents sat in front of the church to present a nativity reading titled "Silent Night." They had warned the children to behave. I had warned the children to behave. With scrubbed angelic faces and Christmas wonder in their eyes, they looked like model children posing for a magazine holiday spread. I indulged myself in a few moments of pride.

Alec pinched Aubrey. I was grateful that the organ thundered into the first hymn just then, drowning out her yelp. I grabbed her hand before she could return the pinch. During the Lord's Prayer, Aubrey shredded the program I had given her to color on. The crayons had already rolled under the pew. I watched bits of paper fall on the carpet like snow. I would help her pick it up later, but for now the naughtiness I was allowing kept her occupied and her brother quietly admiring.

We were enjoying an uneasy truce when their parents stood to deliver the reading.

"Mommy!" Alec yelled.

She frowned, and he sat back in his seat.

"Silence," my son said to the congregation. "Think for a moment what that word means to you."

My daughter-in-law signed his words. Earlier that year, she began to use her new signing skills for the benefit of the few hearing-impaired members of our church.

Alec said a naughty word, thankfully too low for many to hear. I scowled at him, shaking my finger and my head. Aubrey grinned. Then she proclaimed, every syllable enunciated perfectly, in a clear voice that carried to far corners of the sanctuary, "Alec is a potty mouth!"

Everyone stared. I was too stunned to speak. My son and his wife looked at each other. But instead of anger, I saw surprise.

My son set aside his script and told another story. He told about their daughter being born profoundly deaf. He talked about four years of hearing aids and speech therapy with no guarantee she would ever learn to speak plainly. He talked about the rugged faith that kept the family praying she would have a normal life.

He said Aubrey's outburst was an answer to prayer: the first perfectly enunciated sentence she had ever spoken.

From the back of the room, a lone voice sang the last line of a beloved Christmas Carol: Hark! The herald angels sing, Glory to the newborn king.

While the congregation sang four verses of the unscheduled hymn, my two little angels wiggled in their parents' arms, adding laughter and giggles to the joyful Christmas noise. -- By Carol Stigger

”It is Christmas every time you let God love others through you... yes, it is Christmas every time you smile at your brother and offer him your hand.” 

~Mother Teresa


”Let us keep Christmas beautiful without a thought of greed, that it might live forevermore to fill our every need, that it shall not be just a day, but last a lifetime through, the miracle of Christmas time that brings God close to you.” 

~Ann Schultz

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Holiday cheer

Today was a day full of holiday cheer. I started off teaching Day # 9 of the 12 Days of Christmas in the Quilt Shop! WE have really had a lot of fun with this project. I love the ladies and all the different ideas that they share with me too. Then when I came home, my daughter Amy was working on her Tree Skirt and then she put Jenny down for  a nap. Jeff was home sick, with a very nasty cold ( I keep telling him NOT TO SHARE), that is usually opposite of what we say in our home but I meant it this time. I need to stay healthy during the holidays if I can.

While Jenny was sleeping and Amy was quilting her tree skirt, Angie and I decided to go up stairs and do some cooking. I explained to her…how good chicken noodle soup is for you when you have a cold, so she said that is what we should make Poppa tonight, so we did. She is such a big helper and so much fun to be around. I told her about my Mom and how she used to make Chicken Noodle soup, she then asked questions about her, I got teary eyed because it was 11 years ago that she passed away ( oh how I wish she could have known these sweet grandkids of ours). I truly miss her every day!

Next we decided we needed some homemade cornbread to go with that big pot of home made soup. Then we decided to set the table with all the Christmas dishes ( I learned a few years ago, that life is too short not to use the good dishes…so we did). Then Angie made our Christmas Center piece. You can probably close your eyes and imagine it, Christmas music playing in the background, the smell of Chicken Noodle Soup and fresh Cornbread in the over, the table set with our Christmas best…yes, there was a lot of Holiday cheer in our home today and I was thankful to be here to enjoy that!

I hope you too are able to get into the spirit of the season! Good night dear friends!

“The best Christmas gift of all is the presence of a happy family all wrapped up with one another.”

“The way you spend Christmas is far more important than how much.”   --Henry David Thoreau

“The joy of brightening a child's heart creates the magic of Christmas.”   --W. C. Jones

Monday, December 5, 2011


I have to admit that I am a firm believer in TRADITIONS! I love that we have certain traditions in our home, they make me happy, they make me feel safe. It also feels good to see the next generation getting involved in our time honored traditions. Today my granddaughter and I went and cut Holly down from someone’s tree ( yes, we did get permission first ). Angie is 5 and everything about the holidays and traditions are quite magical to her. She was so excited to get the holly and then help me come home and decorate the front porch with holly and pine boughs ( something I do each year ). Tonight was our Annual Neighborhood Christmas Open House, we have had these Open Houses for I think this was our 18th year, maybe 16th…can’t quite remember?  But it has been a Family Tradition of ours and we love it. We have always felt like it is important to get to know your neighborhood and to let them get to know us. What a joy it has been to have our house full  ( literally ) with Neighbors and Friends who mean the world to us. Since we moved away from our home and family in West Virginia, over 23 years ago, we have really come to appreciate these neighbors and friends who have become like FAMILY to us. What a wonderful night, what a wonderful tradition.


Another tradition that we started since the kids were little was matching Christmas stockings. We started out with some knit ones that we bought, they were different prints but still the same style. As our family grew, I realized the chance of getting more of those same stockings would be slim…and it was! So 3 years ago, I decided we should have matching stockings for everyone and that I could make them and quilt them. The kids love the stockings, of course I made them extra big, but with all ten on the mantle there isn’t much more room, so when our little grandson arrives in March, we are going to have to put all the stockings a little bit closer, we don’t mind though…at least they match! Smile 


One tradition that we started (after we became grandparents ) was the Christmas Mice! We read or tell the story of the Night Before Christmas and talk about ‘not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse’, then I tell them how many Christmas mice I have hidden in the decorations, and they have to go find them. It is fun to see them look all over the house for them. I got a few more mice to add to my collection this year.

Well, it is late and I am more than beat…but sooooooooooooooo very happy and grateful for my life and how blessed and rich we are with friends. Sometimes during the holidays, life gets busy…but I hope I never get too busy to tell all of you how very much I love and appreciate you in our lives!

Guess I had better go turn off all the Christmas lights and head to bed. Good night dear friends!

“Family traditions counter alienation and confusion. They help us define who we are; they provide something steady, reliable and safe in a confusing world.”    ~SUSAN LIEBERMAN,

“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