Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas 2008

We had a wonderful Christmas this year. We have experienced the gracious giving of so many friends and family. A few days before Christmas, we found an anonymous gift bag full of candy and $200 on our doorstep. On one occasion while gathered together at my mom's for our weekly Sunday meal, someone had slipped $100 into my coat pocket. At another time, I discovered another wad of anonymous cash, this time $200, as we were getting our coats on to go home. On Christmas eve, after spending the evening with my siblings and their families as well as my parents, we pulled into our driveway only to discover that 'Santa' had left gift bags for each of us and a shiny gently used bike for James. I immediately knew that 'Santa' was our next door neighbors who are very poor monetarily but very rich in generosity and kindness. I was very touched as we brought our gifts inside as the beautiful snow silently fell. They who had so little to give to their own children, still found a way to sacrifice and give to our little family. We are so thankful for the spirit of charity-the pure love of Christ. We have been blessed abundently by family and friends this Christmas season. It really has been the best Christmas ever.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Book of Mormon Goal

When I was about eleven (sixth grade), I made a promise to Heavenly Father that I would read the Book of Mormon every day. Since then, I've managed to finish the book by the end of December and start over back at Nephi in January. This year, I've fallen a bit behind and I'm still about 100 pages from the end. I've been reading like crazy (7-10 pages a day) so that I can complete the Book of Mormon for another year. I'm only posting this for accountability purposes. That reminds me, I haven't read yet today.

Friday, December 19, 2008

'Tis the Season

This has been a really crazy month. Adam was laid off and then was in a flurry trying to complete end-of-semester projects and papers and, of course, finals. We've been so blessed financially by anonymous and no-so-anonymous gifts of money and food. We even received ten dollars from my sweet widowed visiting teachers. How nice is that? It's very humbling to be on the receiving end of such generous service especially when some of the money has come from people that have very little themselves. (How do you argue with an 80 year old grandma and her twin sister?) Needless to say, our lack of funds has forced me to focus more this year on the true meaning of Christmas. I've caught the spirit of Christ as we have been served so graciously and taken care of.
It's neat to watch James' reaction to Christmas this year. He gets so excited whenever he sees Christmas lights or trees or lawn ornaments, etc. The thrill and joy of the season is evident on his little face and in his twinkling eyes whenever he catches a glimpse of holiday lights or snowmen. It makes the season even more enjoyable now that he sings 'I am a Child of God' all day long. I never thought that Christmas would be as fun as it was when I was a kid, but having children really brings the magic and wonder back to Christmas. I love it! It's also really fun to have a baby this time of year. I can hold Ruby and imagine Mary as she held the infant Christ. She must have been a pure and valiant soul to be given the overwhelming responsibility to nurture and care for Heavenly Father's Son, her Messiah and Savior--knowing exactly what His fate would be. She was there on Calvary, enduring every mother's nightmare, unable to leave her Son when He needed her most. She loved Him from infancy--nursed Him, taught Him to walk and talk, dressed His wounds, and taught Him the gospel. She was one of the few that did not forsake Him. She had faith in Him and trusted in His divine mission. I can't begin to imagine all that she witnessed in her life. "And Mary kept all of these things and pondered them in her heart."

James burned his hand last week on my mom's curling iron. He just grabbed hold of the hot end and burned all five fingers and most of his palm. He screamed in agony for nearly an hour and a half while we went to the doctor's office and waited for the Tylenol with coedine to kick in. I'm so thankful for modern-day drugs. I felt so helpless holding him while he writhed in pain. There was nothing I could do to alleviate it. Nothing hurts like a burn. Thankfully, today was his last check-up and the doctor said everything looked good and he wouldn't have any scarring or permanent damage. Poor little guy.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Favorite Ornaments

I look forward to putting up the Christmas tree every year. Over the years, I've collected ornaments from my various travels so for me, decorating the tree recalls pleasant and wonderful memories and whisks me away into quiet reverie. I wanted to share a few of my favorites. I collected the above ornament during my last trip to Nauvoo. It is a replica of one of the star windows which graces the top of the Nauvoo temple. Nauvoo is one of my favorite places in the world.
I found the little guy below in a small Christmas shop in Berlin around the corner from Checkpoint Charlie. He's traveled thousands of miles in my backpack with me. He makes me smile and radiates German tradition.
I found this little bird at an outdoor Christmas market during my first trip to Germany on the streets of Frankfurt. She's such a pretty little bird and, it's hard to tell, but her wings are made of wood.

I found this little Waterford crystal angel while perusing the multi-tiered Harrod's of London. She was one of the few items I could actually afford. When I look at her, I can almost smell the fresh-roasted nuts that wafted through the streets of London, warm and delicious.

This is my favorite and most cherished ornament. When Adam I were still dating, (I guess technically we were broken up) he decided to backpack around Europe. He bought this for me in Venice- all hand-blown glass. It is so beautifully delicate and intricate. It amazes me every time I look at it and hold it. It is a wonderful momento of our courtship.

I would love to see some of your favorite ornaments and stories behind them!

Monday, December 1, 2008


I love this book! For those of you that are unfamiliar with the above book, it is the new nursery manual. We decided to use this for our family home evening lessons. Until this little book came along, we rarely held family home evening because we just didn't know how with such little children. These lessons are so great and don't require a lot of preparation. You can easily adapt them for older children as well. We finally feel like FHE is some-what effective. James loves the songs and the pictures that accompany the lessons and calls it his 'Jesus book.' I know many of you have small children and need new ideas for family night. This has worked for us and at a steal of a deal for $5.50 (and FREE shipping) on you can't go wrong.