Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Mother's Heart

Woke up this morning to a semi quite house. Lee and Lauren left this morning to fly back to college, I am sad to have them gone and yet excited to see them going on with their future. The heart of a Mother is something that is hard to explain. It seems impossible to be able to have it break more than one time, but oh it does, many times to be exact. Then the joy that it feels when a Mother has her children return home is a feeling that is unexplainable. But for now, at least the beginning of this coming New Year...I will remember to be grateful for the time I do have with my family and at least I still have the rest of my family here for 2 more days!
We got to spend most of the evening with the girls and John and Amy. We had dinner, set off fireworks and watched a movie together. I was glad that we headed home early because I am battling to not catch the cold that everyone else has already. I need to head to bed.
Happy New Year dear friends and good night!

 
I thank GOD every day for the 2 children he blessed T with...Mel Baby # 3...I know I know...I fear I am to old...but we have SO much love...and we really want another...Children are such blessings..Sept 2011
 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Daddies and their little girls

Loved this article about Daddies and their little girls! So true, girls need their Dad!
Hope you enjoy it! Good night dear friends!

What Little Girls Wish Daddies Knew

Girl holding hand sepia2I’m spending the morning waiting for my car in the repair shop. Four men in flannel (I missed the flannel memo) and I sit around smelling tires and inhaling exhaust fumes while an enchanting little fairy is in constant motion around her daddy. She climbs on him, giggles, turns around, and then she’s back to twirling on the tile.
She’s bouncing and spinning around in her pink frilly skirt. Her black cable knit tights are sagging around her tiny knees, and her puffy coat makes her arms stand out further than is natural. To top off the ensemble is a shiny crystal tiara. It’s been tacked down to her head with what appears to be about 60 haphazard bobby pins.
She’s probably four years old. So little, so vulnerable. She doesn’t seem concerned about it as she sings about teapots and ladybugs in her black Mary Janes. I feel myself tear up as I watch her. I tear up as I watch him watch her. She could not possibly know at four what impact this man, his character, or his words will have on her for years to come. And, maybe he doesn’t know either.
So, to all the daddies with little girls who aren’t old enough yet to ask for what they need from you, here is what we wish you knew:
1. How you love me is how I will love myself.
2. Ask how I am feeling and listen to my answer, I need to know you value me before I can understand my true value.
3. I learn how I should be treated by how you treat my mom, whether you are married to her or not.
4. If you are angry with me, I feel it even if I don’t understand it, so talk to me.
5. Every time you show grace to me or someone else, I learn to trust God a little more.
6. I need to experience your nurturing physical strength, so I learn to trust the physicality of men.
7. Please don’t talk about sex like a teenage boy, or I think it’s something dirty.
8. When your tone is gentle, I understand what you are saying much better.
9. How you talk about female bodies when you’re ‘just joking’ is what I believe about my own.
10. How you handle my heart, is how I will allow it to be handled by others.
11. If you encourage me to find what brings joy, I will always seek it.
12. If you teach me what safe feels like when I’m with you, I will know better how to guard myself from men who are not.
13. Teach me a love of art, science, and nature, and I will learn that intellect matters more than dress size.
14. Let me say exactly what I want even if it’s wrong or silly, because I need to know having a strong voice is acceptable to you.
15. When I get older, if you seem afraid of my changing body, I will believe something is wrong with it.
16. If you understand contentment for yourself, so will I.
17. When I ask you to let go, please remain available; I will always come back and need you if you do.
18. If you demonstrate tenderness, I learn to embrace my own vulnerability rather than fear it.
19. When you let me help fix the car and paint the house, I will believe I can do anything a boy can do.
20. When you protect my femininity, I learn everything about me is worthy of protecting.
21. How you treat our dog when you think I’m not watching tells me more about you than does just about anything else.
22. Don’t let money be everything, or I learn not to respect it or you.
23. Hug, hold, and kiss me in all the ways a daddy does that are right and good and pure. I need it so much to understand healthy touch.
24. Please don’t lie, because I believe what you say.
25. Don’t avoid hard conversations, because it makes me believe I’m not worth fighting for.
It’s pretty simple, really. Little girls just love their daddies. They each think their daddy hung the moon. Once in a while when you look at your little gal twirling in her frilly skirt, remember she’ll be grown one day. What do you want her to know about men, life, herself, love? What you do and say now matters for a lifetime. Daddies, never underestimate the impact of your words or deeds on your daughters, no matter their age.
Found the article HERE:

 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Be the good

I once heard someone say to another person " why are you always so happy? " There are terrible things going on in the world and many things to scare you to death out there and you are still happy I just don't get it?" I remember her response so well... " I think it is a lot easier to be happy than sad or mad all the time. It makes me feel better to be positive than negative, that takes a lot of energy. Guess I just like looking for the good!"
I remember that for many years, it made me realize that I too think that is true. I would much rather be around half full people who are upbeat and positive, than those who never see the good in anything and are always negative about everything! Those people are very draining to say the least.
So when I read this quote...it made me remember that girl's comment.
Some days I don't do as well as others, but most of the time, I do feel a lot of gratitude for the feeling of contentment. Thanks to many of you who bring such good energy and happiness in my life!
Good night dear friends!
Gorgeous, clever sign

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Small Miracles, Big Blessings!

There are times in your life when something happens that we can't explain, but often we don't pay much attention to it, or don't count it as a blessing or a Miracle when ...it actually is! I think there really are a lot of miracles in the world that happen on a daily basis, but we are so busy that we don't even notice or recognize it.
The other night was one of those moments. It was late and we were downstairs watching a movie. Lauren had just come down stairs and said she was putting on some water for some herbal tea and wondered if we wanted any. After she went upstairs a few minutes later, I heard her yell " oh no, oh no! " I asked what it was and then instinctively knew I needed to go upstairs right away. The whole kitchen was filled with smoke and she had a very scared look on her face as she was running water in the sink. I asked what happened and she replied " Mom, I turned on the wrong burner and there was a towel on the hot burner and it caught on fire, luckily I came up when I did and got the towel in the sink before it caught anything else on fire."
 I quickly reminded her to always yell  FIRE if that happens again, and then we spent the rest of the night opening up every window and door to get the smell out. The only problem was that it was freezing outside but we couldn't take the smoke smell.
Then not long after all of this ...we realized our smoke detectors didn't go off. When we checked all of them 2 were broke, one didn't have a battery in it, and the one in the garage wasn't even attacked. I couldn't believe that we hadn't check it recently. Not long ago at least a couple of them were working! Then after reading the packages on the new smoke detectors, we found out that they only have a life of 10 years and then you need to replace them....really? We have lived in this house for 11 years! It was a small thing but one that could have had devastating effects!
It dawned on me the next night when installed all the new smoke detectors, I realized how blessed we were that there was only a small fire to remind us to take care of something that could have been critical in 100 different situations. I am grateful for that small miracle, that reminded us to check the little things in life!
Good night dear friends!
Thank you for mine I needed it. Dale you have brought a lot of happiness into my life lr

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Perfect Gift!

Yesterday I got one of those Christmas gifts that you can't buy and that you could never even have wished for. One of my dearest friends surprised me and came by. I didn't know that she had flown in for a family Christmas and so they took a chance to secretly visit me on their way to the airport. We only got a few minutes but oh what a PERFECT CHRISTMAS GIFT that was. Then for an added bonus, her daughter, new little granddaughter and her husband and son-in-law...all came too! The baby was beautiful as her Mother. How sweet to be able to connect with these dear friends...it has been years since we have seen each other. It was really neat and I still am smiling from it! Thank you dear friend, for giving me one of the Best Christmas Gift EVER!!!

"I think as you grow older, your Christmas list gets smaller, and the things
you really want for the holidays can't be bought!"
 
A few other gifts that can't be bought...
The joy of teaching your grandchildren the importance to giving to Others who are in need, at Christmas time!


Snow for the holidays!
The way the house looks with Christmas lights on at night!

The happiness and curiosity of my grandchildren. Sharing the excitement of a Magical Christmas with them!

 
Christmas gift quote via www.Facebook.com/BedeempledBrain
 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas traditions

Thought this was perfect for the season! Traditions...what I like the most about them is how they make you feel and how everyone looks forward to them. Then on the other hand, I am learning as the kids get older and grow up and have families of their own, traditions have to change and new ones begun...guess that is called LIFE huh?
Good night dear friends!

7-Eleven trips, Chinese food and other unusual Christmas traditions!

 
photo 3Every year, a few days before Christmas, my family walks into a superstore and with Mom and Dad’s help, our children scatter and purchase pre-budgeted presents for one another. They bob and weave like spies to avoid detection, hiding in clothing displays or playfully posing as mannequins.
We meet up front when we’re done, purchase and triple bag the inexpensive gifts, then head home. It’s a highlight of the Christmas season that dates back more than 30 years to my own childhood with my own siblings.
Other traditions have persevered, as well. Just as in my childhood, all presents are opened one at a time as we go in a circle around the room. Candy and fudge fill the countertops and it’s the only day of the year the kids don’t have to ask before diving in at any point throughout the day. The stomachaches are tradition, too.
These might be a little unusual, but they belong to us, no different than prized photos or inherited heirlooms. Over time, these quirky customs, no matter the time of year, become the vibrant colors of our family memories.
How about you?
Meet the Armstrongs of Strasburg, Va. This family says Christmas isn’t complete without a trip to 7-Eleven for a soda and a chat with the employees. The tradition began 14 years ago in Washington state when a family friend had to work and the Armstrongs visited to cheer her up with cookies and a smile. Even now with the children grown and a grandchild on the way, the tradition will play an important part of their 2013 Christmas Day.
The Shumways of Snowflake, Ariz., love Christmas movies. Their favorite is the classic “A Christmas Story,” and Dec. 24 isn’t complete until the family has enjoyed their traditional dinner at a Chinese restaurant. The family has moved through the years and the exact restaurant has never been important, as long as the family is gathered around a table with rice, noodles and a lot of laughter.
The Becks of Omaha, Neb., put a spin on a more common tradition. Like many, each member of the family receives new pajamas on Christmas Eve. But the Becks don’t just put on their new PJs and hit the hay; they hop in the car and drive around town to admire the Christmas lights. Even Mom and Dad don the new duds in public.
When living in Texas and Iowa, Laura Leigh woke at 1 a.m. to open presents with her family. One year, her mother told the children to go back to bed because their grandmother would be visiting later that morning and they needed to wait for her. “Just then the phone rang,” Leigh said. “It was Grandma wondering where we were! So we all piled in the car and went the few blocks to Grandma’s house to give her an official escort.” Thanks to a spunky grandmother, the 1 a.m. tradition lived on.
Dennis George of Woodstock, Va., likes burning the midnight oil, too. For more than two decades, George and a few friends and family call people after midnight to be the first to wish them a Merry Christmas. What started once after they’d finally finished putting toys together under the tree has turned into a tradition. “I have one aunt and cousin in particular that looks forward to it every year. When the phone rings, she doesn’t even say ‘hello’ any more. She says, ‘Merry Christmas!’ ”
When Jennifer Cox of Mountain Home, Idaho, was a little girl, her mother burned her hands badly with bacon grease just days before Christmas. “Both hands were wrapped in bandages and she couldn’t do much,” Cox said. “Dad had to cook dinner and made homemade pizza instead of the big meal. It was so easy and relaxed that we repeated it the next year. Twenty years later, my twin brother and I still carry on the tradition in our own families.”
For Elizabeth Blight and her family in Berryville, Va., this tradition might not be decades old, but what it lacks in longevity, it makes up for with wackiness. Several years ago, an uncle was dating a woman with a son named Timmy and the generous Blights purchased a few Christmas gifts for him. “Unfortunately, Timmy wasn’t at the family get-together,” Blight said. Then, at the end of the evening, the family forgot to send the presents home with the boy’s mother and the gifts ended up in the Blight’s decoration storage. So, the next year, the boxes went back under the tree. By then, however, the couple had broken up and Timmy was long gone.
Undaunted, the family has put the presents back under the tree each year waiting for a Timmy Christmas miracle, imagining one day he would show up at their door in search of his presents from years ago. “In 2013,” Blight said, “we finally got our Timmy Christmas miracle, though it was not in the way we thought it would be! One of our family friends had a premature baby a couple weeks before Christmas and he is a miracle baby. His name? Timmy.”
Maybe I should ask my children what they will recall about their childhood Christmases. When they’re 22, 32 or my age — 42 — will they remember the gift they got? The gift they didn’t? Or will they remember slashing and dashing through Target like top-secret CIA agents, hiding gifts in shopping carts and eating Cherry Cordials for breakfast on Christmas morning?
I suppose I know the delicious answer — my stomach hurts already.
I read the article HERE:

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

What a wonderful Christmas, and we didn't want to let it end, without telling all of you how very much we love and appreciate you!
We miss all of our family this time of the year! 
 
Lauren Woodard's photo.
 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Miracles!

Well, there is only one more sleep till Christmas, and so we are going to go spend it with our granddaughters! Oh we just can't wait till Kai gets here, but know that he is happy and excited to be with his other grandparents and great grandparents....pretty neat!
Loved this story because it reminds me that what we all remember about Christmas Pasts, is usually the love and miracles that happen in our very own families!
Hope you and your families have a wonderful Christmas!

Christmas I remember best: Christmas miracles and blessings!


In 1950 our church burned down. Some said Old Walt was careless, letting the wood stove get too hot. We held church in the Riverside gymnasium or in Brother Miles’ new skating rink and dance hall, until our new building was finished. Thankfully, the foundation for our new brick church was already underway.
Our family was in the midst of a personal crisis, also from fire. We were harvesting potatoes near the house when our beloved very smart brother Paul, almost 5, determined he would assist in burning the cottonwood tree stumps piled in the pasture. He got matches from the top shelf of the cupboard, then jiggled the handle of the locked farm tank until he collected gasoline into an old can. About half of it spilled onto his new Levis.
When he struck a match, his gasoline-soaked clothing exploded. Miraculously Paul was able to run to a nearby hydrant and douse the flames, although the steam made his burns worse. The fact his jeans were so new likely helped slow the flames somewhat.
Mother was off on a short errand, and no one was in the house, so with wisdom far beyond his young age, and impossible odds, he made it to the field.
My potato-picking partner and I were working nearest the house so it was our sad duty to render first aid. I saw his torn wet jeans and mildly reproved him, thinking he’d climbed through a barbed wire fence and then fallen into the irrigation ditch instead of going by the road into the field. No, he hadn’t fallen in the ditch, he said in a sad little voice, so unlike his usual boisterous manner, and no, he hadn’t crawled through the fence. He just kept repeating, “I hurt me. I hurt me.” I was 15, and didn’t realize how badly he was hurt, as the poor frantic child in a semi-state of shock danced in pain.
We had no choice but to quit work — a real no-no at harvest time when every minute counted, not only for farmers but also for us with what we could earn.
When I finally realized his new jeans were burned, not torn, I chided him for getting matches, and sternly told him he must never do that again, as I began searching for burn ointment. Thankfully, Mother returned from her errand and knew immediately just how seriously he was hurt. It was a long six miles into Blackfoot, Idaho, to the doctor. We picked no more potatoes that day.
The next weeks were a blur and daily reports from the hospital weren’t good. Mother went alone to Idaho Falls for his first skin graft surgery on Thanksgiving Day. We questioned the holiday timing but appreciated the doctor’s willingness to take the first available opening at the larger hospital. We could only hope the skin graft would be successful.
As Christmas approached, Mother quietly suggested Christmas might be sparse, but since we weren’t used to lavish gifts that didn’t seem so unusual. We’d already pooled our meager harvest earnings for our individual family gifts. It was Mother’s next words I would remember.
“With your sister at BYU plus hospital and doctor expenses, money is tight. You ought to know what kind of man your father is. The bishop brought a sizable check to be ‘used as needed.’ Your dad kept it a few days and then gave it back, telling the bishop to use it for someone in need. It would have meant a better Christmas, but I agree with his choice.”
I’d seen that check for $100 in the cupboard where money was kept from items sold such as a calf or hay, until deposited. It was the bishop’s personal check, not a church check. It felt good to know he understood our difficult times, but felt better knowing we could make it on our own.
I have only one other memory of that Christmas. The doctor was jubilant when one tiny patch of pink new skin formed just below Paul’s knee. Once a small area began to grow, new skin would spread like tiny islands that would eventually connect. It would still be weeks before this energetic little boy would walk, and there would be lifetime scars. Yet we could not know one day he’d place in the top four runners in an Idaho state track meet, but the beginning of healing was our Christmas miracle.
Oh yes, and Old Walt sat in the back row each week in a suit when our new church was done, since he had no chores on Sundays. We learned there are many kinds of miracles.
Found story HERE:
 

Santa's Workshop is BUSY!

Well, Santa's workshop is busy, busy, busy and this elf is just heading to bed. If you could get a ticket for sewing too fast, I would have gotten one tonight! :)
I am happy, because our son Brad, his wife Krystal and my grandson Kai are in Washington tonight. They flew in to spend Christmas with her Dad and Mom. I don't know why, but it just feels good to know they are only a few hours away and in the same state, and will be here to our home... a few days after Christmas. I am glad that they get to see her parents. They too have been excited to have them. I mean look at this sweet boy sneaking behind the Christmas tree...wouldn't you be excited too?
Good night dear friends, hope you are soaking up every bit of the Christmas Spirit that is out there

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Greatest Gift


My dear sister in law sent this sweet story to me, it won first place in the Women's Day Christmas contest in the 1980's. I spoke in church today and so this is what I began my talk with.
       It was but a few short days until Christmas in 1966.  Two young
elders of the Mormon church walked the streets of Laredo, Texas,
knocking on doors in search of someone who would listen to their
gospel message.  No one, it seemed, in the entire city had time to
hear the teachings of the Savior, so intent were they that the
celebration of His birth should suit their own purposes.

        Filled with discouragement, the two young men turned their
backs to the approaching twilight and began the long walk home.
 Retracing their steps of the afternoon, they came upon a low, wind-
swept riverbank.  Jutting from its brow stood the barest means of a
shelter, constructed of weathered wooden slats and large pieces of
cardboard.  Strangely, they felt moved to go to the door and knock.

        A small, olive-skinned child with tangled black hair and large
dark eyes answered.  Her mother appeared behind her, a short, thin
woman with a tired but warm smile.  In her rich Spanish alto, she
invited the young men to come in and rest awhile.  They were made
welcome and seated on the clean-swept floor.  The little one-room
shanty seemed to be filled with shy, smiling, dark-eyed children.
The mother proudly introduced each of them--eight in all--and each
in turn quickly bobbed his or her head.

        The young men were deeply moved at the extreme poverty they
saw.  No one in the family had shoes, and their clothes were ill-fitting
and in condition beyond mending.  The walls of the little home showed
daylight between the wooden slats, and eight little rolls of bedding
were pressed tightly into the cracks to help keep out the draft until
they were needed for sleeping.  A small round fire pit dug in one corner
marked the kitchen.  An odd assortment of chipped dishes and pots
were stacked beside an old ice chest, and a curtained-off section with
a cracked porcelain tub served as the bathing area.  Except for these
the room was barren.

        The mother told how her husband had gone north to find employ-
ment.   He had written that he had found a job of manual labor
and that it took most of his small wage to pay his board and room.
But, she told the young men, he had managed to save fifty cents to
send them for Christmas, with which she had purchased two boxes
of fruit gelatin.  It was one of the children's favorites and would make
a special treat on Christmas day.

        The next morning, as soon as the local shops opened, the young
men hurried to the dime store and purchased as many crayons, cars,
trucks and little inexpensive toys as they could afford.  Each was
carefully wrapped in brightly colored paper and all were put in a large
grocery bag.  That evening the two young men took their gifts to the
shanty on the riverbank.  When they knocked, the mother swung the
door open wide and invited them in.  They stepped inside and in halting
Spanish explained to the children that they had seen Santa and he had
been in such a hurry, he'd asked if they would deliver his gifts to the
children for him.

        With cries of delight the children scrambled for the bag, spilling
its contents upon the floor and quickly dividing the treasured
packages. Silently the mother's eyes filled with tears of gratitude.
She stepped forward to clasp tightly one of each of the young men's
hands in hers. For long moments she was unable to speak.  Then,
with tears still welling from her eyes, she smiled and said, "no one
ever has been so kind.  You have given us a special gift, the kind of
love that lights Christmas in the heart.  May we also give you a
special gift?"  From the corner of the room she drew out the two
small boxes of fruit gelatin and handed them to the young men.  Then
all eyes were moist.  All knew the true meaning of giving, and none
would ever forget that at Christmas, the greatest gift of all was given.
                                            by Sandra Bateman, American Fork, Utah


 
 
The missionaries offered this dear lady the most priceless gift...

Emily Freeman explains it best like this...
"There is a moment of epiphany after the soul had doubted all it knows, when it begins to reach out for solid answers and firm ground. This moment is defined by one emotion that sustains and creates a desire for change. Before faith or knowledge is found, before joy or happiness is experienced, before the healing begins, one emotion starts to stir from deep within the depths of despair.
It is HOPE!

It was hope that the missionaries shared on that visit to this Mother of eight, hope that life could get better, that people still care and that God had not forgotten her and her family.
Now with this HOPE she stands a far greater chance of being open to hear the message of Peace that these two young missionaries had to offer.

Gerald Lund said...
"As long as we have hope,

we have direction,
the energy to move,
and the map to move by.
We have a hundred alternatives,
a thousand paths and infinity of dreams."

This is the Season of Hope for all of us.

It is a time to become better acquainted with our Savior Jesus Christ.


In 2 Nephi 25:26 we read "we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ...that our children may know to what source they may look"


Now, just 3 days before Christmas ...can we truly say that we talk about Christ, do we rejoice in Christ and do we preach and teach about Christ, to our families?

What type of LEGACY of truth are we leaving for our family?

Do we trust that the Savior will guide our lives the right way?

Brother Jeffrey R. Holland said it best when he said of the Savior " He knows the way, because He is the way!

I love the Christmas Song MARY, DID YOU KNOW? written in 1984 by lyrics by Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene

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?


I am not sure if Mary truly understood all that would be required of her and of her Son,  but I do think she was ready to accept whatever Heavenly Father asked.  In Luke 1 : 38 she replied to the Angel ..."Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it unto me according to thy word."

Will our posterity say that we were full of HOPE, that we were faithful and ready to follow the Savior?

I believe that what these two missionaries saw and experienced on their mission that Christmas night, will never be forgotten. It will be part of their Legacy.

. Christ referred to the Gospel as... The Good News

How blessed we are this Christmas Season to have this Good news in our lives. May we be more willing to share it with those around us this Christmas season and always, so that they can have what the Savior explained in John 10 :10.. ..."I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly"

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas Spirit

I am giving a talk Sunday about Christmas...one of my favorite topics of course. As I have been studying to find just the right inspiration for my talk, I found this video HERE:

What Shall We Give? - Christmas Music Video I was touched by the small and simple acts that we show to Others that truly make all the difference in the world. Children seem to be born with that type of service and compassion, but it seems to leave us a bit as we get older and what better time than Christmas time to learn it again.
I love Christmas, I love the spirit of HOPE, PEACE and JOY that it brings to the world. Oh why can't we have Christmas every day?

"The real Christmas comes to him who has taken Christ into his life as a moving, dynamic, vitalizing force. The real spirit of Christmas lies in the life and mission of the Master....

"If you desire to find the true spirit of Christmas and partake of the sweetness of it, let me make this suggestion to you. During the hurry of the festive occasion of this Christmas season, find time to turn your heart to God. Perhaps in the quiet hours, and in a quiet place, and on your knees—alone or with loved ones—give thanks for the good things that have come to you, and ask that His Spirit might dwell in you as you earnestly strive to serve Him and keep His commandments" ~ Howard W. Hunter

Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Lists

Today we had snow...love how beautiful it makes everything look.
A dear friend of mine posted this quote the other day and I thought...how true it is!
Well, it is DATE NIGHT, we are going to see the movie SAVING MR BANKS, hope it is as good as they say it is!
Merry Christmas dear friends and good night!

Tis the Season!

A friend came over today and brought us her family Christmas CD, that is what they give others each year. What a wonderful gift to share your talents with others like that. This sweet girl and her family have shared their musical talent so freely with everyone that it truly brings the holiday spirit in our home each year! Thank you dear friend for your kindness and for the wonderful Christmas!

Chalk board sayings for Christmas.  Now if I only had good handwriting!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Ring Out the Old

Alright one and all, my mom went to bed and before doing so handed me her computer. "Here, can you write for me tonight, I'm exhausted". To be fair her back was hurting, and the last words were "Make it Christmas themed!". So here I am, quoting one of the most underrated Christmas Carols. Its a beautiful song about leaving behind the past to create a better future. For all of you fans of the Christmas spirit this is for you. Have a good night and a very Merry Christmas. 

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

~Alfred Lord Tennyson

The Winter Season

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

PATTERN OF LOVE

I think I have shared this story before, but it is great so I thought I would share it again!
Good night dear friend!
 
Pattern of Love
by Jack Smith
                   I didn’t question Timmy, age nine, or his seven year old brother Billy about the brown wrapping paper they passed back and forth between them as we visited each store.
          Every year at Christmas time, our Service Club takes the children from poor families in our town on a personally conducted shopping tour.  I was assigned Timmy and Billy, whose father was out of work.  After giving them the allotted four dollars each, be began our trip.  At different stores I made suggestions, but always their answer was a solemn shake of the head, no.  Finally I asked, “Where would you suggest we look?”
          “Could we go to a shoe store, sir?’ answered Timmy.  “We’d like a pair of shoes for our Daddy so he can go to work.”
          In the shoe store the clerk asked what the boys wanted.  Out came the brown paper.  “We want a pair of work shoes to fit this foot,” they said.
          Billy explained that is was a pattern of their Daddy’s foot.  They had drawn it while he was asleep in a chair.
          The clerk held the paper against a measuring stick, then walked away.  Soon he came with an open box.  “Will these do?’ he asked.
          Timmy and Billy handled the shoes with great eagerness.  “How much do they cost?” asked Billy.
          Then Timmy saw the price on the box.  “They’re $16.95,” he said in dismay.  “We only have eight dollars.”
          I looked at the clerk and he cleared his throat.  “That’s the regular price,” he said, “but they’re on sale for $3.98, today only.”
          Then with shoes happily in hand the boys bought gifts for their mother and two little sisters.  Not once did they think of themselves.
          The day after Christmas the boys’ father stopped me on the street.  The new shoes were on his feet, gratitude was in his eyes.  “I just thank Jesus for people who care,” he said.
          “And I thank Jesus for your two sons,” I replied.  “They taught me more about Christmas in one evening than I had learned in a lifetime.”

Monday, December 16, 2013

What shall we give?


Thirty two years ago I was blessed to have the opportunity to serve a mission for my church. I loved being a missionary. Being able to share my testimony of Christ was such a great experience for me, and even a greater experience to talk about Christ during the Christmas Season.
 I guess that is why I love Christmas so much...people seem to speak about Christ without hesitation, and everyone seems a bit more Christ like in their service and patience with others!
 I served in Salt Lake City, Utah and on Temple Square, and that too was an incredible experience. To hear the Tabernacle Choir in person was unbelievable. I can still remember what it felt like to hear them sing the Christmas songs that I love so much.
Here is a video that let's your hear the choir and also has a sweet Christmas message.
It makes me stop in the middle of all the hustle and bustle, and see what I would give the Christ child for Christmas this year.
Enjoy dear friends!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=0FSQuHDIsVw

 HERE:
I LOVE this picture of Mary with Baby Jesus.  It really shows Mary as a REAL mom and Jesus as a REAL baby!  He's nibbling on her shoulder and she's huddling close to His little face.  BEAUTIFUL that God made Jesus in such a perfect authentic way as a child.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Christmas Open House Tradition

Annual Neighborhood Christmas Open House
16 years ago, we thought for Christmas that it would be nice to open up our home to our friends and neighbors for a Christmas Open House. Just a chance for us to get to know each other better and to share some Holiday Joy. Since most of our family leaves far away, this became really important for us to thank those neighbors, teachers and friends who had become like family to us.
I was grateful for friends and the kids plus Jeff for helping out so much, it would be hard to do on my own. I think we had about 70 some people come through this year, it was a blessing to have the time to reconnect with all our friends ( if only for the evening ).                                         

Some of you could not come and so I thought I would show you the photos of our home that Lauren took before it started. I just love decorating our home for Christmas. Love the spirit that all the lights, decorations, nativities and service give at Christmas time. It truly is the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. Of course ... not every year has been like this for our family, there have been some really hard Christmases,  so I am grateful for the years that are good!



lds Christmas quote - see others at http://lds.about.com/od/christmas/tp/christmas_quotes.htm  and  http://www.ldsquotes.com/tag/christmas
 I pray that we will remember to be GRATEFUL this Christmas season, and go about Doing Good like the Savior did!
Good night dear friends!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Art of Giving!

I love this article that I read today. What a wonderful reminder for this Christmas Season!



THE ART OF GIVING  by Lori Huff Goldade
Some people have very little but give everything.
Whenever I reflect upon this joyous time of year, I remember a Christmas from long ago when I learned the art of giving.
I was in the fourth grade, and my friends and I were filled with holiday excitement. As was customary in our class, we drew names for the Christmas gift exchange. I hoped that the cute boy across the room had drawn my name. Another boy named Paul sat behind me. He often came to school with unclean clothes and dirty hands. My friends and I had made no effort to befriend him.
When the day of the big party arrived, the teacher distributed our gifts. The package I received was large and appeared to be hastily wrapped. Anxiously I tore off the wrapping paper. Inside was the book Lassie Come-Home. It wasn’t a clean, new copy as I might have hoped but had worn, frayed pages and a stain on the cover. Dismayed, I quickly hid it in my desk. Then I noticed something else hidden in the wrapping paper—a rattlesnake rattler in a pill bottle. On a name card was carefully written “From Paul.” In tears, I ran to the girls’ restroom.
Embarrassed, I remained in the restroom until the party was over and then hurried home. My mother, seeing my tear-stained face, asked about the Christmas party. I expressed to her my disappointment about the gifts. My mother lovingly put her arms around me, looked sadly into my eyes, and then taught me a great lesson. She told me that Paul, most likely too poor to buy a gift, had probably searched through everything he had at home for a meaningful present and, after much thought, had probably chosen some of his most prized possessions to give to me.
Again tears came to my eyes, but not because I hadn’t received something I wanted. This time they came because I had been so selfish and had not accepted the best gift given that Christmas. I had rejected a gift of love and sacrifice.
Some people have much and give very little. Others have little and give everything. Whenever I am tempted to be critical of another’s offering—whether it is of time, resources, or effort—I try to remember that some give all they can, just as in the account of the widow who “did cast in all that she had, even all her living” (Mark 12:44). The art of giving is to give all that you can, even if it is only two mites.
I didn’t express it as a fourth grader, but I am grateful for Paul’s Christmas gift of sacrifice and love.
Merry Christmas dear friends!
 
Christmas

Friday, December 13, 2013

Will you start the Christmas Jar tradition?

Many of you know that one of my favorite Christmas Traditions in our Christmas Jar that we do each year. I received the book when it first came out 9 years ago and ....now it is one of our most prized memories of Christmas. If you haven't read the book...you should, it is simply amazing.
I even give the Christmas Jar Books as wedding gifts, hoping that will become one of their first Christmas traditions. It comes in paper back too and is very affordable. I hope you can enjoy the Spirit of Christmas that this book will bring into your homes.
Night dear friends!

Christmas Jars tradition celebrates 9 years of miracles


christmas-jar-photo-2013When my novel Christmas Jars, was first released in 2005, our goals were modest. We aimed to sell a few books and inspire readers to experiment with the tradition for themselves. On a personal level, I hoped to reignite the spirit of Christmas in my own heart and home.
In 2005, it was about a book.
Nine years later, it’s about a movement of miracles.
For the uninitiated, the tradition is simple and works for anyone and any size family. Simply place an empty pickle, peanut butter, jam or other Mason jar on your kitchen counter or desk at work. Each day, every member of the family drops their spare coins into the jar. Even in this day of electronic money and debit cards, you’ll be amazed at how quickly a few shiny pennies and a quarter will accumulate into real change.
drake-jar-2013When Christmas arrives, gather with your family, church friends or officemates and select someone who might benefit from a little boost. During the last nine years, based on thousands of emails and anecdotes, we’ve calculated that by the time a jar is given away, the average Christmas Jar holds just more than $200.
For many of us, $200 is the difference between keeping the lights on and paying for prescriptions. For too many, it could be the difference between young children experiencing disappointment or a moment of magic on Christmas morning.
Don’t take my word for it. Read just three recent submissions to our Christmas Jars Story Library. These are real people, real jars and real stories. For some, they’re miracles.

North Ogden, Utah
“My husband is a seminary teacher and loves his students and is loved by them. Just after school started, the headaches he had been experiencing for a long time suddenly escalated and became unbearable. It was discovered he had blood and fluid on the brain. After waiting for it to be re-absorbed, he finally had surgery to drain and release the pressure. He was in the hospital for most of a month, and is still recovering at home, but still even a shower exhausts him. The doctors have said this is akin to having a stroke and will take time to heal. His students and former students are all so wonderful and have done many things to cheer him up. He so wants to be back and they so much want him back. Time will tell if and when that will happen.
“Anyway, last Sunday night, we heard a knock on our door, and when I answered it, no one was there. Then, some time later, we again heard a knock on the door and this time, when I answered it, there was a huge (I mean, HUGE) jar on our front step. It took a lot of work to get it inside, because I couldn’t lift it. I weighed the four bowls I had filled with the coins and cash and it all totaled up to about 80 pounds! No wonder I couldn’t lift it. This is such a wonderful thing that will help to pay the doctor’s bills that are still coming in and help with physical therapy. We can’t begin to express our love and thanks for this act.”
St. Joseph, Minn.
“Our family has been through one of the most difficult years ever this past year. First, our daughter was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. In the midst of it, I lost my job. While I eventually found work, it hasn’t been enough to provide for our family.
“On Thursday, I spent an hour in specific prayer — at Eucharistic adoration — praying that God would provide some sign of hope. I felt very near despair.
“So, you can imagine our surprise at finding our first Christmas Jar on our deck last evening (a day after praying). The large jar had the initials ‘C.J.’ (Christmas Jar) written on it.
“We are filled with joy and hope and are in disbelief of some anonymous person/family’s generosity, and how God provided during a particularly difficult week when we most needed it.
“The jar had a little note on the top of it. We immediately prayed as a family, in thanksgiving for the gift, and prayed for the intentions of those who had so generously given to us.
“I cannot explain the hope that this act has given all of us. God is so very good, and acts through each of us. To whomever left us the jar, please know of our gratitude and prayers.”
Tacoma, Wash.
“Hey my name is Josh and I’m visiting my family out here in Las Vegas and last night my aunt went to leave the house to go somewhere and she opened the door and found a jar full of money and a book with your name on it. I’m not (sure) if you dropped it off but i do wanna say THANK YOU!! Thank you for your generosity for this. My aunt is goin through a hardship right now ’cause she got laid off on her job and she’s having a hard time trying to figure out how she’s gonna pay rent and keep a roof over her and her kids’ heads. This was a huge blessing for her and as soon as she seen the jar she came in crying. We just know that this is an act of God and we give him the glory for this.”

Will you join the movement?
Those new to the tradition might say, “That’s a nice idea, but it’s too late for this year. Maybe we’ll start a jar in 2014.”
Why wait?
With Christmas still two weeks away, there’s plenty of time to gather change in between those couch cushions, clanking around in your washing machines or accumulating in your car’s cup holder. You could even bend the rules by adding some cash or going to the bank and getting rolls of coins to get the jar started.
In the final days before Christmas, make a list and prayerfully choose a recipient for your jar. Often the need is financial, but sometimes it’s also spiritual and emotional. People need to be seen, and the jar has a miraculous way of seeing people.
Give it a try. You might just find the jar isn’t just about giving away spare change — it’s about finding the change in you.