Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

May today be filled with fun, family, and the remembrance of our Savior and the wonderful gift He gave to each one of us; His life and the gift of eternal life and the chance to return to live with Him someday.
Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

Tonight is Christmas Eve. The story for this night is the real story of Christmas found in the scriptures.
Luke 1:26-38, 46-47
Luke 2:1-20
Matthew 2:1-14

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Candle for Jesus

by Kim Hiatt Day in 2006
Luke carefully held the tiny slip of paper in his hand not yet daring to fold it open. "Oh please," he thought for the hundredth time, "please, please let it say Wiseman."

Luke had reluctantly agreed to be in the Sunday School Christmas Pageant. He had initially felt shy and foolish, but after hearing the Nativity Story from the Bible for the first time he changed his mind. Sister Bates, his Sunday school teacher had read them the story last week. She read it with feeling and humility. He never remembered hearing it before and kept re-playing it in his mind. How could a king like Jesus be born in an old barn with a bunch of animals? If he was the Son of God, why in the world would he be placed in a manger with straw instead of a real cradle? How ever did the Wisemen find him by following a distant star? Weren't the shepherds plenty afraid when the angles appeared out of nowhere?

When sister Bates outlined the Nativity Program, she made it clear that every single one of them would have a part. Luck was mighty reluctant, until the parts and costumes were described in detail. As Luke listened to all the information, he kept pulling at the threads in his worn and tattered overalls making the hole in his knee even bigger. He was so tired of wearing secondhand, shabby clothes from the mission barrel. He couldn't recollect a time when he had actually put something new on--something crisp, colorful and completely his own. Old shoes a mighty too tight or big enough to need newspapers shoved into their toes to keep from slipping and sliding inside them, frayed jackets cast off by some luckier soul than he made their way into his traveling knapsack, and he was plenty weary of making do with the mall. He was long since used to not fitting in with everyone else--ways the new kids, the poor one, the drifter who wouldn't be staying long. But somehow since he was settled here with the likelihood of staying put for a few months, Luke would give about anything for a new pair of overalls and a change to feel like he was as good as anybody else.

As he clutched the paper tightly, he knew again that he wanted to be a Wise man. He wanted to be a king and to wear the rich gowns of velvet and a fancy crown. He wanted to be important and of course, wise. Having followed the magnificent star, he wanted to present the baby Jesus with a beautiful and costly gift of frankincense or gold. He had imagined himself walking stately and regally to the stage, all eyes upon him, carefully carrying his gift with pride and purpose. He could see himself bow before the little manger feeling grand and royal inside. He had replayed this scene in his mind over and over this past week, and he was surprised at how much it mattered to him. He wanted to be a Wiseman and he wanted ti bad!

He didn't want to open the paper, didn't dare find out what was written upon it. He slipped out the side door of the small chapel into the crisp cool air and headed around the back. HE settled himself down on the ground between two trees for a moment's privacy and quiet away from all the children and chaos inside. Still carefully clutching the small paper he thought about the last few weeks he had been staying here with his great Aunt Meg. His dad had found work in Canada with a logging crew and had needed to leave him behind. It had been just him and his dad these past few years since his mama had died. His dad spent many hours seeking employment and then working long hours on a job finally found. The many doctors' bills from mam's illness and trying to stay afloat during these hard times hadn't been easy. They had moved around a lot, and Luke was often alone. He felt pretty disconnected from folks as it was hard to bother getting to know people that you would likely as not soon be leaving. It was easier to keep to himself, and he shuffled though each solitary day like a sleepwalker in his own life.

Luke tried to remember his mam and how good it felt to have her love him so .He tried so hard to remember her warm smile and generous affection. His memory of her was slipping away like dry sand though his fingers and could only be captured now in brief snatches--snatches that left him feeling empty and desolate afterwards. His dad's grief and loneliness had made him distant and gruff and he was always away. Luke thought he was a disappointment and a burden to his father, and there weren't many words between them. Luke felt alone...he felt insignificant and invisible. There was a hollowness that loomed inside and seemed to color the world in various shades of gray. Luke didn't think much of himself or much of the world around him either. He considered himself to be the loser that everyone else seemed to see and found caring about anything getting tougher. SO he was surprised to feel so intensely about being a Wiseman in this pageant as it seemed a good while since he had felt much of anything at all. These thoughts brought him back around to the little slip of paper form the drawing that had gone on earlier inside. He closed his eyes tight, took a deep breath and slowly unfolded it. After several seconds pause, he finally opened up his eyes to read the word, "Shepard." He was devastated. He angrily wadded up the sweaty paper and tossed it in front of him in disgust and disappointment. Why in the world did he imagine for a moment that something fine and extraordinary would happen to him? Of course he was a shepherd...a grimy, poor, shabby shepherd with a bunch of dumb sheep. Nothing special. Probably just one of the many kids in the pageant that they had found a stupid part for. What food he had been to actually hope for something good, to think that his place was any different than all of the rest, to think that he had a chance. He was mad as the dickens, and mostly at himself. Stupid pageant anyway. He just wouldn't be in it, wouldn't go back to Sunday school either, no matter that he had promised Aunt Meg when she took him in.
He walked home with his hands deep in his pockets and his mind whirling with discouraged thoughts. HE wasn't in a hurry to arrive home to such solitary quarters and didn't want to answer his aunt's questions about the practice. Aunt Meg had been a nurse for many years and was now retired, living alone. She was efficient, no nonsense and certainly not accustomed to children. She was fiercely devoted to the Bible and had reluctantly taken him in as her Christian duty. Luke knew she was trying ,he had felt her soften towards him the last week or so. She read the Bible each evening to him, and while he resisted it at first, he flt more and more drawn to listening to the stores about Jesus. Just who was this Jesus that he distantly remembered his Mama telling him about? He was amazed at the stories of him healing the sick, the blind and the lame. How he seemed to care about everyone! He wondered about some of the the parables and the unlikely souls Jesus befriended. He would lie in bed at night thinking about him, questioning why he was often scorned and driven out and how he seemed to love everyone regardless. Luke vaguely remembered his mam's prayers and how she had spoken of him with love and reverence. He found himself curiously listening during Bible reading to capture the essence of his mam's devotion. But wait. . .he didn't want to think about his now. . .it only reminded him of the Christmas pageant, and he certainly wasn't about to think of that!

Luke walked into his aunt's kitchen, pasted the bread and milk she had waiting for him and wearily went upstairs to his tiny bedroom. As he lay shivering in bed, he thought of his dad. He wondered if he would be home for Christmas. Christmas hadn't been much of a big deal these last few years, and when Aunt Meg suggested that they soon cut down a Christmas tree, he had felt genuine surprise at such an offer. "Stupid Christmas. . stupid everything," the reoccurring thought that kept hammering itself in his mind. Just what did anything even matter at all?
The next several days Luke was an even more solitary figure. He withdrew into his oversize jacket and tried to pretend that he wasn't even in it. He went though the motions of everyday. . .of going to school, even of going to Sunday school, but then walked right back out the door after Aunt Meg went into her own class. He didn't make and attempts to answer the questions of his school mates and barely mumbled in reply to his aunt. Who knows how long this might have gone on until an evening a few days later when there was a knock at the door. Sister Bates, sensing his need and disappointment, stood holding a candlestick bringing also a genuine love and goodwill that Luke hadn't felt in a very long time. With concern and kindness in her eyes, she placed the candle in Luke's hand and told him how important a true shepherd really was, caring for each and everyone of his sheep. How they patiently looked after their flock to keep them safe - even had them numbered in their conscientious are. That a goo shepherd would even die for his flock, just as Jesus did for us. she described how the angels appeared to them first, proclaiming the glorious birth of our Savior and singing praises to him. That the shepherds were afraid in the beginning, but then they hurried to find the hold child to kneel and worship him. After wards they hastened to spread the good news to others. The good news of the Savior's birth! She explained that during the pageant, the shepherds would come in carrying a lighted candle. The candle would symbolize that Jesus is the light of the world. That he was born to rescue us from the worries, the struggle and darkness of this life, and bring us to everlasting light.

Sister Bates explained that the shepherds would all gather around the baby Jesus, carefully holding their candles while the nativity story was finished and the congregation sang several songs. Luke pondered all of this, trying not to be the slightest bit interested, nor feel the intensity of her compassionate gaze--yet also trying to push past the thick wall of indifference and let her kindness in. Sister Bates took both of his hands in hers and looked intently into his eyes, "We need you in our pageant Luke," she declared with feeling. "You need to carry this candle, this light, for Jesus." After several seconds pause, she smiled, and as she turned to leave told him she also wanted him to keep the candlestick afterwards. . .to remind him of being a shepherd and the significance of the light. Strangely comforted, Luke held the shiny candlestick later that evening. IT was one of the few things he even owned, and he was still surprised that she had really given it to him. Carefully holding it he felt the first stirrings of renewed hope. HE felt a lightness within that was new to him. He thought again about what it represented. He remembered his aunt had read something bout Jesus saying "I am the light of the world," and although he didn't understand it then, he felt it now. He could somehow feel that light surrounding him here. HE smiled to himself. . .and didn't even know why.

The next few days felt much different to Luke. He didn't feel so alone inside. He looked at the world around him and there seemed to be colors again. HE was friendlier to his class mates and felt more genuinely interested in the life around him. Cutting down the Christmas tree a couple of days later with Aunt Meg, and then hauling it home in the snow was pure magic! She herself seemed happier and went about humming Christmas carols and baking Christmas cookies with a merriment that was a surprise to all. Even his old overalls didn't seem to bother him as much as they had before, and he hardly noticed the holes. OH sure, he still wanted to be Wiseman, and during practices later in the week, he felt twinges of envy as they came in nobly dressed with such finery and carrying their beautiful gifts. But it was okay. The coarse brown robe that he wore didn't seem so bad. He kept remembering all Sister Bates had told him about the shepherds. But oh how he did long for such a beautiful offering to give the baby Jesus. That bothered him a lot-it just didn't seem fair that the shepherds didn't have anything to give. HE knew what not having anything felt like, and it seemed a little king born in a stable ought to receive something more.

Christmas Eve and the night of the pageant finally arrived. Luke adjusted his head piece nervously as the crowd of people made their way into the cozy church decorated with festive pine boughs and ribbons. He felt excitement inside, as he had never participated in anything so fine. He listened to the music of the organist as if hearing it for the first time, and everything seemed to come alive for him as the Christmas Nativity was performed. HE really felt for poor tired Mary, and for kind Joseph, so concerned and anxiously trying to find a warm and safe place for her in the inn. He watched in awe as the glittery star was raised over the baby Jesus, who was the small baby brother of another shepherd, as if the true majestic star of the east was actually in the night sky. And as the shepherds reverently make their way to his bedside, carefully carrying the important lighted candles, his heart seemed ready to burst. As he knelt before this little one, it was as though he was before sweet baby Jesus himself. He felt in awe, and as if he was truly one of the privileged ones to behold the Lamb of God and be a witness of his birth. As his eyes locked with the little fellow in the manger bed, it was suddenly as if his own magnificent miracle was unfolding within. For with that tiny gaze he felt a powerful love and warmth he didn't know was possible. It utterly surrounded him and give him such a sense of peace and joy. In this instant he knew Jesus really did know him, that indeed the Good Shepherd knew all of his sheep. Luke somehow knew that his worries, loneliness, sadness and insecurities were entirely know to him--that he was aware of and had compassion for how hard things had been. He also felt that Jesus knew how really important and wonderful he was! That in his eyes he wasn't anything close to a loser. . .what a dear and pleasant surprise! Luke felt as if all of heaven was smiling down at him as this rush of light and love penetrated his soul. He felt his mama's warm affection once again take hold of his heart, mingled with this amazingly strong love from Jesus.

Luke hardly noticed as the Wisemen came and laid their fine gifts by the manger, so intent was this sweet exchange between him and the baby. As he was aware of the lowly animals about, and the hushed feeling present, it occurred to him that Jesus was born in a humble stable, this king of heaven and earth, because he came to know us and love us for who we are and not for what we do, where we live, how we look or what we have. As the congregation joined in singing the sweet Christmas hymns of praise and adoration, Luke was oblivious to it all. Oblivious even to his father's presence at the back of the chapel, whose tear filled eyes, for the first time in a long time, truly beheld his sweet son on the stage. Nothing could compare to the majesty of this moment when Luke truly saw himself in the eyes of the Savior. It was like coming home, and somehow he knew that nothing would be the same for him again. That even his dad returning. . even the new overalls that Aunt Meg had saved for and had carefully wrapped under the tree couldn't stop this moment of knowing who he was. For carrying this light had dispelled all of the darkness, and as the pageant ended, he knew that he would take it with him. Even after secretly leaving his gift of the candlestick carefully nestled at the mangers' feet among the ornate gifts of the magi, he knew that the real gift would be going forward with all of the the light he could muster. Going forward as a shepherd--looking after and caring for others, and spreading the good news of Jesus and his wondrous light.

"I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep." John 10:14

"I am the light of the world, he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." John 8:12

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Christmas I Remember Best

by Rheuama A. West
It should have been the worst, the bleakest of Christmases. It turned out to be the loveliest of all my life. I was nine years old, one of seven children, and we lived in a little farming town in Utah It had been a tragic year for all of us. But we still had our father and that made all the difference.
Every year in our town a Christmas Eve Social was held at the church. How well I remember Dad buttoning our coasts, placing us all on our long, homemade sleigh and pulling us to the church about a mile away. it was snowing. How cold and good it felt on our faces. We held tight to one another, and above the crunch of snow beneath Dad's feet we could hear him softly whistling "Silent Night."
Mama had died that previous summer. She had been confined to bed for three years. So Dad had assumed all mother and father responsibilities. I remember him standing me on a stool by our big round kitchen table and teaching m to mix bread. But my main task was being Mama's hand and feet until that day in June, her own birthday, when she died.
Tow months later came the big fire. Our barns, sheds, haystacks and livestock were destroyed, It was a calamity, but dad stood between the disaster and us. We weren't even aware of how poor we were . We had no money at all.
I don't remember much about the Christmas Eve Social. I just remember Dad pulling us there and pulling us back. Later, in the front room around our pot-bellied stove, he served us our warm milk and bread. Our Christmas tree, topped by a worn cardboard angel, had been brought from the nearby hills. Strings of our homegrown popcorn made it the most beautiful tree I had ever seen-or smelled.
After supper, Dad made all seven of us sit in a half circle by the tree. I remember I wore a long flannel nightgown. He sat on the floor facing us and told us that he was ready to give us our Christmas gift. We waited; puzzled because we thought Christmas presents were for Christmas morning. Dad looked at our expectant faces. "Long ago," he said, "on a night like this, some poor shepherds were watching their sheep on a lonely hillside, when all of a sudden. . ."
His quiet voice went on and on telling the story f the Christ Child in his own simple words, and I'll never forget how love and gratitude seemed to fill the room. There wad light from the oil lamp and warmth from the stove, but somehow it was more than that. We felt Mama's presence.
We learned that loving someone was far more important than having something. We were filled with peace and happiness and joy. When the story was ended Dad had us all kneel for family prayer. Then he said, "Try to remember, when everything else seems to be lost, the greatest thing of all remains; "God's love for us". That is what Christmas means. That's the gift that can never be taken aways."
The next morning we found that Dad had whittled little presents for each of us and hung them on the tree, doors for the girls, whistles for the boys. But he was right, he had given us our real gift the night before.
All this happened long ago, but to this day it all comes back to me whenever I hear "Silent Night" or feel snowflakes on my face, or--best of all--when I get an occasional glimpse of Christ shinning in my 90-year-old father's face.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Most Beautiful Thing

The side of the path were covered with rugs of white snow. But, in the center, its whiteness was crushed and chummed into a foaming brown by the tramp, tramping of hundreds of hurrying feet. It was the day before Christmas. People rushed up and down the path carrying arm loads of bundles. They laughed and called to each other as they pushed their way through the crowds.
Above the path, the long arms of an ancient tree reached upward to the sky. It swayed and moaned as a strong wind grasped ti's branches, and bent them toward the earth. Down below a haughty laugh sounds, as a lovely fir tree stretches and preens it's thick green branches, sending a fine spray of know shimmering downward to the ground
"I should think," said the fir, in a high smug voice, "that you'd try a little harder to stand still. Goodness knows you're ugly enough with leaves you've already lost. If you move around any more, you'll soon be quite bare."
"I know," answered the old tree. "Everything has put on its most beautiful clothes for the celebration of the birth of Christ. Even from here I can see the decorations shining form each street corner. And yesterday some men came and put the brightest, loveliest lights on every tree along the path--except me, or course". He signed softly, and a flake of snow melted in the form of a teardrop and ran down his gnarled trunk.
"Oh indeed! and did you expect they'd put light upon you so your ugliness would stand out even more?" smirked the fir.
"I guess you're right," replied the old tree in a sad voice. "If there were only somewhere I could hide until after the celebrations are over, but here I stand...the only ugly thing among all this beauty. If they would only come and chop me down." and he signed sorrowfully.
"Well, I don't wish you any ill will," replied the fir, "but you are an eyesore. Perhaps it would be better for us all if they came and chopped you down." Once again he stretch he lovely thick branches. "You might try to hold onto those three small leaves you still have. At least you wouldn't be completely bare."
"Oh, I've tried so hard," cried the old tree. "Each fall I say to myself, 'this year I won't give up a single leaf, no matter what the cause', but someone always comes along who seems to need them more than I," and he signed once again.
"I told you not to give aways so many to the dirty little paper boy, "said the fir. "Why you even lowered your branch a little, so that he could reach them. You can't say I didn't warn you then."
"Yes, you did at that," the old tree replied. "But they made him so happy. I heard him say he would pick some for his invalid mother."
"OH they all had good causes," mocked the fir. "That young girl, for instance, colored leaves for her party, indeed! They were your leaves!"
"She took a lot, didn't she?" said the old tree, and he seemed to smile.
Just then a cold wind blew down the path and a tiny brown bird fell to the ground at the foot of the old tree and lay there shivering too cold to lift its wings. The old tree looked down in pity, and then quickly he let go of his last three leaves. The golden leaves fluttered down and settled softly over the shivering little bird, and it la there quietly under the warmth of them.
"Now you've done it!" shrieked the fir. "You've given away ever single leaf! Christmas morning you'll make our path the ugliest sight in the whole city!" The old tree said nothing. Instead, he stretched out his branches to gather what snowflakes he cold that they might not fall on the tiny bird.
The young fir turned away in anger, and it was then he noticed a painter sitting quietly a few feet form the path, intent upon his long brushes and his canvas. His clothes were old and tattered. His face wore a sad expression. He was thinking of his loved ones and the empty, cheerless Christmas morning the would face, for he had sold not a single painting in the last few months.
But the little tree didn't see this. Instead, he turned back to the old tree and said in a haughty voice, a least keep those bare branches as far away fro me me as possible. I'm being painted and your hideousness with mar the background.
"I'll try," replied the old tree. And he raised his branches as high as possible. It was almost dark when the painter picked up his easel and left. And the little fir was tired and cross fro mall his preening and posing. Christmas morning he a woke late, and as he proudly shook aways the snow from his lovely branches, he was amazed to see a huge crowd of people surrounding the old tree, ah-ing and oh-ing as they stood back and gazed upward. And even those hurrying along the path had to stop for a moment to sigh before they went on. "Whatever could it be?" thought the haughty fir, and he too looked up to see if perhaps the top of the old tree had been broken off durning the night.
Just then a paper blew away from the hands of an enraptured newsboy and sailed straight into the young fir. The fir gasped in amazement, for there on the front page was a picture of the painter holding his painting of a great white tree whose leafless branches, laden with snow, stretch upward into the sky. While below lay a tiny brown bird almost covered by three golden leaves. And beneath the picture were the words, "The Most Beautiful Thing Is That Which Hath Given All." The young fir quietly bowed its head beneath the great beauty of the humble old tree.
*SJohnson I'll answer your question after I'm finished with the 12 day of Christmas stories I'm doing. Thank you for your question.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Why Jesus is Better than Santa Claus

Santa lives at the North Pole...
Jesus is everywhere.

Santa rides in a sleigh...
Jesus rides on the wind and walks on the water.

Santa comes but once a year...
Jesus is an ever present help.

Santa fills your stockings with goodies...
Jesus supplies all your needs.

Santa come down your chimney uninvited...
Jesus stands at your door and knocks, and then enters your heart when invited.

You have to wait in line to see Santa...
Jesus is as close as the mention of His name.

Santa lets you sit on his lap...
Jesus lets you rest in His arms.

Santa doesn't know your name...
Jesus knew our names before we did. Not only does He know our names, He knows our address too. He knows our history and future and He even knows how many hairs are on our heads.

Santa has a belly like a bowl full of jelly...
Jesus has a heart full of love.

Santa offers HO HO HO...
Jesus offers health, help, and hope.

Santa says "You better not cry"...
Jesus says "Cast all your cares on me for I care for you."

Santa's little helpers make toys...
Jesus makes new life, mends wounded hearts, repairs broken homes and builds mansions.

Santa may make you chuckle but...
Jesus gives you joy that is your strength.

While Santa puts gifts under your tree...
Jesus became our gift under your tree.
Jesus became our gifts and died on a tree.

We need to remember WHO Christmas is all about.
We need to put Christ back in CHRISTmas,
Jesus is still the reason for the season.

Yes, Jesus is better, He is even better than Santa Claus.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Christmas Prayer

by Robert Lewis Stevenson
Loving Father, Help us remember the birth of Jesus, that we may share in the song of the angels, the gladness of the shepherds, and the worship of the wise Men.
Close the door of hate and open the door of love all over the world. Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting. Deliver us from evil by the blessing with Christ brings, and teach us to be merry with clear hearts.
May Christmas morning make us happy to be Thy children, and the Christmas evening bring us to our bed with grateful thought, forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus' sake. Amen

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Dime for a Present

Bobby was getting cold sitting out in his back yard in the snow. Bobby didn't ware boots; he didn't like them and anyways he didn't own any. The thin sneakers he wore had a few holes in them and they did a poor job of keeping out the cold. Bobby had been in his backyard for about an hour already. And, try as he might, he could not come up with an idea for his mother's Christmas gift. He shook his head as the thought, "This is useless, even if I do come up with an idea, I don't have any money to spend."
Ever since his father had passed away three years ago, the family of five had struggled. It wasn't because his mother didn't care, or try, there just never seemed to be enough. She worked night at the hospital, but the small wage that she was earning could only be stretched so far. What the family lacked in money and material things, they more than made up for in love and family unity. Bobby had two older and one younger sister, who ran the household in their mother's absence. All three of his sisters had already made beautiful gifts for their mother. Somehow it just wasn't fair. Here it was Christmas even already, and he had nothing. Wiping a tear from his eyes. Bobby kicked the snow and started to walk down to the street where the shops and stores were.
It wasn't easy being six without a father, especially when he needed a man to talk to. Bobby walked from shop to shop, looking into each decorated window. Everything seemed so beautiful and so out of reach. It was starting to get dark and Bobby reluctantly turned to walk home when suddenly his eyes caught the glimmer of the setting sun's rays reflecting off of something along the curb. He reached down and discovered a shiny dime. Never before has anyone felt so wealthy as Bobby felt at that moment.
As he held his new found treasure, a warmth spread throughout his entire body and he walked into the first store he saw. His excitement quickly turned cold when salesperson after salesperson told him that he could not buy anything with only a dime. He saw a flower shop and went inside to wait in line.
When the shop owner asked if he could help him, Bobby presented the dime and asked if he could buy one flower for his mother's Christmas gift. The shop owner looked at Bobby and his ten cent offering. Then he put his hand on Bobby's shoulder and said to him, "You just wait here and I'll see what I can do for you." As Bobby waited, he looked at the beautiful flowers and even though he was a boy, he could see why mothers and girls liked flowers.
The sound of the door closing as the last customer left jolted Bobby back to reality. All alone in the shop, Bobby began to feel alone and afraid. Suddenly the shop owner came out and moved to the counter. There, before Bobby's eyes, lay twelve long stem, re roses, with leaves of green and tiny white flowers all tied together with a big silver bow. Bobby's heart sank as the owner picked them up and placed them gently into a long white box. "That will be ten cents young man." the shop owner said reaching out his hand for the dime.
Slowly, Bobby moved his hand to give the man his dime. Could this be true? No one else would give him a thing for his dime! Sensing the boy's reluctance, the shop owner added, "I just happened to have some roses on sale for ten cents a dozen. Would you like them?" This time Bobby did not hesitate, and when the man placed the long box into his hands, he knew it was true. Walking out the door that the owner was holding for Bobby, he heard the shop keeper say, "Merry Christmas, son."
As he returned inside, the shop keepers wife walked out. "Who were you talking to back there and where are the roses you were fixing?" Staring out the window, and blinking the tears from his own eyes, he replied, "A strange thing happened to me this morning. While I was setting up things to open the shop, I thought I heard a voice telling me to set aside a down of my best roses for a special gift. I wasn't sure at the time whether I had lost my mind or what, but I set them aside anyways. Then just a few minutes ago, a little boy came into the sop and wanted to buy a flower for his mother with one small dime. When I looked at him, I saw myself, many years ago. I too was a poor boy with nothing to buy my mother a Christmas gift. A bearded man, whom I never knew, stopped me on the street and told me that he wanted to give me ten dollars. When I saw that little boy tonight, I knew who that voice was, and I put together a dozen of my very best roses. " The shop owner and his wife hugged each other tightly, and as they stepped out into the bitter cold air, they somehow didn't feel cold at all.

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Holy Night to Remember

By Sharon Espeseth
As northern Canadians we share many memories of cold winters. At Christmas time, I often reflect upon one particular evening of a prairie winter in the early sixties. Thought the frost was cruel, the reminiscence is warm.
We were students at college in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, most of us living away from home for the first tie. Hanging a few strips of tinsel in our rooms didn't relieve the feeling of homesickness that had oven taken our dorm. What could we do to bring on the Christmas spirit, stave off our longing for home and maybe brighten someone else's life? One of my friends suggested going caroling. That was it! Every student at our small college was rousted out for the occasion. No auditions. No voice lesson. No excuses. Warmth of spirit was the only requirement. And our enthusiasm served as an electric soul-warmer for those who seemed lacking in spirit.
We divided into groups so our music would resound over most of our college town. The group I joined had nothing resembling four-part harmony, but we could collectively make a joyful noise. Bounding boisterously and carrying a tune in our hearts, we made our first call. "Deck the Halls," we tra-la-la-ed.
Soon we discovered that caroling brings a variety of responses. When you carol for people you know, you can be sure of open doors and open hearts; when you carol for strangers, you can't be sure of what kind of reception you will get. Some folks remained in the safety and coziness of their homes, watching and listening passively though living rooms windows. Others cautiously propped the door open enough to hear us, but not enough to let in the cold - or their unknown guests. Some flung wide their doors and sang along; other watched in silent reverie.
One of the stops on our journey was a three-story apartment building. With no intercoms or security cameras to deter us in those days, we walked right in .Starting our performance in the basement, we sand mostly to closed doors. After a couple of songs we headed for the main floor. Two doors swung open. One door way framed a young couple, obviously expecting a child. In another doorway, two preschoolers clung to their parent's legs. Surprise? Wonder? Curiosity? Their faces seemed to ask, Who are these strange, bundled-up people? And why are they doing this?
We sang "Away in a Manger" for the young ones. We continued with "Oh, Little Town of Bethlehem" for our seemingly appreciative gathering. Mounting the stairs to the third floor, we burst into "It Came upon the Midnight Clear," a song that suited the night.
One door on the top floor creaked open. A stately gentleman, grey-haired and thing, held onto his doorknob. He became our audience of one. As we murmured about what to sing next, the elderly fellow asked, " Would you come into our apartment and sing for my wife? She's bedridden. I know she'd love to hear you. My wife used to be an opera singer, " He added proudly, "and she's always loved music,"
All eight of us stepped timidly into the couple's tiny, crowded bachelor suite, Books, records, china, antique furniture and mementos whispered stories to us. I reminded myself not to stare for fear of invading their privacy. This was their home, their sanctuary and hallowed place where the old-timer watched over his fragile partner. Her silver bed-mussed head made only a small dent in her pillow.
Without a word, he adjusted his wife's headrest so she could see and hear us better. Then he gave a nod. Our voices rose and warbled through "Hark the Herald Angel Sing." Had our voices been given extra grace and beauty for this occasion? Perhaps they had - we sang rather well for such a motley, impromptu crew.
A smile flickered on the lady's gaunt, wrinkled, yet beautiful, face. Her eyes sparkled softly. Tears rolled down her cheeks. Her husband requested "Joy to the World" and "Silent Night," two of her favorites. As we finished our performances, her eyes closed. Now the man shed his own tears. Quietly we turned to leave, closing the door softly on the housebound couple.
The winter moon and stars shone down upon us. It had become a silent night, a holy night, for we had been in the presence of love that was gentle and mild. All was calm; all was bright as we headed back to our residence. We had found, and maybe even given ,the Christmas spirit.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Two Babies

In 1994, two Americans answered an invitation from the Russian Department of Education to teach morals and ethics (based on biblical principles) in the public schools. They were invited to teach at prisons, businesses, the fire and police departments and large orphanage. About 100 boys and girls who had been abandoned, abused, and left in the care of a government-run program were in the orphanage.
They related the following story in their own words:
It was nearing the holiday season, 1994, time for our orphans to hear, for the first tine., the traditional story of Christmas. We told them about Mary and Joseph arriving in Bethlehem. Finding no room in the inn, the couple went to a stable, where the baby Jesus was born and placed in a manger. Though out the story, the children and orphanage staff sat in amazement as they listened. Some sat on the edges of their stools, trying to grasp every word. Completing the story, we gave the children three small pieces of cardboard to make a crude manger. Each child was given a small paper square, cut from yellow napkins I had brought with me. (No colored paper was available in the city.)
Following instructions, the children tore the paper and carefully laid strips in the manger for straw. Small squares of flannel, cut from a worn-out nightgown as American lady was throwing aways as she left Russia, were used for the baby's blanket. A doll-like baby was cut from tan felt we had brought from the United States. The orphans were busy assembling their manger as I walked among them to see if they needed any help. All went well until I got to one table were little Misha sat -- he looked to be about 6 years old and had finished his project.
As I looked at the little boy's manger, I was startled to see not one, but two babies in the manger. Quickly, I called for the translator to ask the lad why there were two babies in the manger. Crossing his arms in front of him and looking at this completed manger scene, the child began to repeat the story very seriously. For such a young boy, who had only heard the Christmas story once, he related the happenings accurately until he came to the part where Mary put the baby Jesus in the manger.
Then Misha start to ad-lib. He made up his own ending to the story as he said, "And when Mara laid the baby in the manger, Jesus looked at me and asked me if I had a place to stay. I told him I have no mamma and I have no papa, so I don't have any place to stay. Then Jesus told me I could stay with him. But I told him I couldn't because I didn't have a gift to give him like everybody else did.
But I wanted to stay with Jesus so much, so I thought about what I had that maybe I could use for a gift. I thought maybe if I kept him warm, that would be a good gift. So I asked Jesus, 'If I keep you warm, will that be a good enough gift?' And Jesus told me, 'If you keep me warm, that will be the best gift anybody ever gave me. " "So I got into the manger, and then Jesus looked at me and he told me I could stay with him--for always."
As little Misha finished his story, his eyes brimmed full of tears that splashed down his little cheeks. Putting his hand over his face, his head dropped to the table and his shoulders shook as he sobbed and sobbed.
The little orphan had found someone who would never abandon nor abuse him, someone who would stay with him-FOR ALWAYS. I've learned that it's not what you have in your life, but who you have in your life that counts.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Pattern of Love

By Jake Smith
I didn't question Timmy, age nine, or his seven-year old brother Billy about the brown wrapping paper passed back and forth between then 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 and Billy, whose father was out of work. After giving them the allotted $4 each, we began our trip. At different stores I make 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 shoes 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," the said.
Billy explained that it was a pattern of the 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?" said Billy.
Then Timmy saw the price on the box. "They're $16.95" he said in dismay. "We only have $8."
I looked at the clear and he cleared his throat. "That's the regular price," he said, "but they're on sale; $3.98 today only."
Then with shoes happily in hand the boys brought gifts for their mother and two little sisters. Not once did they think of themselves.
The day after Christmas the boy's father stopped me on the street. The new shes 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 tow sons," I replied. "They taught me more about Christmas in one evening than I learned in a life time."

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Season for Giving

by Camille Gleason
There are many things to be remembered, and lessons to be learned during the Christmas Holidays. Some of the lessons come in ways we never expected.
Last year at this time I was living aways from home. I lived in one of the nation's biggest cities by myself and didn't have many friends. I was dreading the Christmas holidays because I knew I would be alone and there was no way I could afford to make the cross country trip home. I worked downtown in one of the nation's most busy and secured buildings. Every morning I got on the Metro and had a 45-minute ride into the city. At night I would get on the Metro again and have another long journey home.
This routine happened day and day after day. I was thankful to be in the nation's capital, and counted my blessings daily for the opportunity I had to be out amongst the leaders of the country. But I couldn't help but feel extremely loneliness as the holidays came, and I couldn't get the Christmas spirit to set in my heart. It just didn't seem like the same holiday without Mom's sweetbread and pies, Dad reading the Christmas story, and my sisters gathered together laughing in one bedroom on Christmas Eve. I longed for the comforts of the snowy mountain valley, and the sound of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir playing over the loud speakers in the various stores in town. This Christmas would be different and there was nothing much I could do about it. Or, so I thought.
As I got off the Metro every morning, and walked the five minutes to my office, I passed people who had made their home on benches outside. They never asked for anything from those who passed them quickly. Often I saw them drinking a cup of hot coffee or hot chocolate, but that probably kept them warm fro just a few brief moments., I wondered how they were surviving the cold air. IT seemed to break through every one of my bones each time the wind blew; and I had on a warm coat and ear muffs. I saw these friends of mine every day and would make what I thought was my contribution; a simple smile when we made eye contact.
The Christmas season was fast upon me and there was still no feeling of it in my heart. I heard the Christmas songs, the mall parking lots were always full, as occasional snow fell to the ground, and there were Christmas specials on TV every night. But still I felt something was missing. I couldn't put my finger on it. I remember one night feeling lonely and cold and almost lost, and then in my mind a vision of my friends on the benches outside my office came into clear view. As I caught hold upon that thought, I realized that with the help of Heavenly Father, I didn't have to feel alone anymore; nor did I need to feel sorry for myself. Something hit me that night and changed my whole attitude for the season.
I went right to the kitchen and started baking. The smell of banana bread and my mom's sweetbread filled the air. IF I couldn't have it homemade from her kitchen, I would have it from mine.
The next morning as I walked by my friends on the street, I passed out loaves of banana bread, hot out of the oven. It may have warmed them a little bit, but I was on fire inside. I found myself smiling all the way up the elevator to the 8th floor. I hummed Christmas song all day. That night when I left my office, I saw another man who had made him home across the street. I had noticed him before sand saw the smile he always gave those who passed him by. He was like my other friends; never asking for anything. Seeing him warmed my heart and I felt a desire to heed the call of the savior. The thought of the Babe in Bethlehem filled my heart and my mind and I knew that there was more that I could do than just deliver banana bread. "When saw we thee a stranger..." sounded in my ears. I thought of the Savior as I looked at this man and knew that at one time the Savior felt his cold, his hunger, and his pain.
The next day on my lunch break, I went to this man and delivered a bag full of Christmas treasures. A new blanket, gloves, and ear muffs to protect him from the cold air. warm bread to feed him physically, and a copy of the the Book of Mormon to fee him spiritually. There were other things i that gab, which now I don't remember. I can imagine that they kept him warm that winter, but what I received by giving those gifts to him, will keep me warm for a lifetime.
Christmas is a season of so many things. I always thought of it as a time to spend with my family; eating Mom's pies, laughing with my sisters, and listening to my Dad read to me. Although I still longed for those times, I came to realize that Christmas is so much more. It is a season for giving and reaching out to those who may feel lost for forgotten, It is a season to forget yourself, and do as the Savior --that Babe born in Bethlehem -- would do. It is a season to remember Him and remember His great message, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." I won't ever view Christmas quite like I used to. I am not in that city, or amongst those friends anymore, but i won't ever forget the lesson I learned from their kind smiles and Christ-like faces.

Monday, December 13, 2010

12 Days of Christmas, The Big Wheel

I hope you are having a wonderful Christmas season so far. I know that we are. There are 12 days until Christmas so it's time for my annual 12 days of Christmas stories. Each day I'm going to post a new Christmas story for you every day until Christmas. I hope you feel the true spirit of the season as you read them.


The Big Wheel
In September 1960, I woke up one morning with six hungry babies and just 75 cents in my pocket. Their father was gone. The boys ranged from three months to seven years; their sister was two. Their dad had never been much more than a presence they feared. whenever they heard his tires crunch on the gravel drive way they would scramble to hide under their beds. He did manage to leave $15 a week to buy groceries. Now that he had decided to leave, there would be no more beatings, but no food either. If there was a welfare system in effect in southern Indiana at the time, I certainly knew nothing about it.
I scrubbed the kids until they looked brand new and then put on my best homemade dress. I loaded them into the rusty old '51 Chevy and drove off to find a job. The seven of us went to every factory, store and restaurant in our small town. No luck. The kids stayed crammed into the car and tried to be quiet while I tried to convince whomever would listen that I was willing to learn or do anything. I had to have a job. Still no luck.
The last place we went to, just a few miles out of town, was an old Root Beer Barrel drive-in that had been converted to a truck stop. It was called the Big wheel. An old lady named Granny owned the place and she peeked out of the window from time to time at all those kids. She needed someone on the graveyard shift, 11 at night until 7 in the morning. She paid 65 cents an hour and I could start that night.
I raced home and called the teenager down the street that baby-sat for people. I bargained with her to come and sleep on my sofa for a dollar a night. She could arrive with her pajamas on and the kid would already be asleep. This seemed like a good arrangement for her, so we made a deal. That night when the little ones and I knelt to say our prayers we all thanked God for finding Mommy a job. And so I started at the Big Wheel. When I went home in the mornings I woke the baby-sitter up and sent her home with one dollar of my tip money-fully half of what I averaged every night.
As the weeks went by, heating bills added another strain to my meager wage. The tires on the old Chevy had the consistency of penny balloons and began to leak. I had to fill them with air on the way to work and again every morning before I could to home. One bleak fall morning, I dragged myself to the car to go home and found four tires in the back seat. New tires! There was not one, no nothing, just hose beautiful brand new tires. Had angels taken up residence in Indianan? I wondered. I made a deal with the owner of the local service station. In exchange for his mounting the new ires, I would clean up his office. I remember it took me a lot longer to scrub his floor than it did for him to do the tires.
I was no working six nights instead of five and it still wasn't enough. Christmas was coming and I knew there would be no money for toys for the kids. I found a can of read paint and started repairing and painting some old toys. The I hid them in the basement so there would be something for Santa to deliver on Christmas morning. Clothes were a worry too. I was sewing patches on top of patches on the boys pants and soon they would be too fat gone to repaired.
On Christmas Eve the usual customers were drinking coffee in the Big Wheel. These were the tuckers, Les, Frank, and Jim, and a state trooper named Joe. A few musicians were hanging around after a gig at the Legion and were dropping nickels in the pinball machine. The regulars all just around and talked through the wee hours of the morning and then left to get home before the sun came up.
When it was time for me to go home at seven o'clock on Christmas morning I hurried to the car. I was hoping the kids wouldn't wake up before I managed to get home and get the presents from the basement and place them under the tree. (We had cut down a small cedar tree by the side of the road down by the dump.) IT was still dark and I couldn't see much, but there appeared to be some dark shadows in the car-or was that just a trick of the night? Something certainly looked different, but it was hard to tell what. When I reached the car I peered warily into one of the side windows. Then my jaw dropped in amazement. My old battered Chevy was filled full to the top with boxes of all shaped and sizes.
I quickly opened the driver's side door, scrambled inside and kneeled in the font facing the back seat. Reaching back, I pulled off the lid of the top box. Inside was a whole case of little blue jeans, sized 2 -10! I looked inside another box: It was full of shirts to go with the jeans. Then I peeked inside some of the other boxed. There was candy and nuts and bananas and bags of groceries. There was an enormous ham for baking ,and canned vegetables and potatoes. There was budding and Jell-O and cookies, pie filling and flour. There was a whole bad of laundry supplies and cleaning items. And there were five toy trucks and one beautiful little doll. As I drove back through empty streets as the sun slowly rose on the most amazing Christmas Day of my life, I was sobbing with gratitude. And I will never forget the joy on the faces of my little one that precious morning.
Yes, there were angels in Indiana that long-ago December. And they all hung out at the Big Wheel truck stop.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tis the Season

I am so excited for tomorrow. Tomorrow starts the first day of Christmas! We start our advent calenders, we even have a new one this year. I just finished it today. We also get to start our stories. Every night we read a Christmas scripture, read a Christmas story, and sing a Christmas song. It is so much fun and it really makes the season more wonderful. It has helped my family feel Christ more in our Christmas. I am so thankful for the seasons, this season, Christmas. I love everything about it. The decorations, the music, the magic, the spirit, the celebration of Christ's birth. I hope tomorrow is a wonderful start for your holiday season too! Oh and thank you for letting me share with you all of the things I was thankful for this month. :]
Happy Holidays!!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Cousins

Tonight I am thankful for my cousins. I grew up with over 70 first cousin, just on my dad's side of the family. There are 8 girls my age. It was a blast growing up with so many girls to play with. We would spend weeks during the summers at each others houses. One time all of us spent a week at our Grandma's house. It was so much fun being together and being with Grandma on the farm. We even got to bottle feed a little calf that had lost her mom during labor. Tonight one of my cousins that I was the closest to, we went to high school together, came over with some of her siblings and some of my siblings. We played games until way too late, but it was a lot of fun. It's those simple things that matter the most. The relationships in our lives that mold us to become the people we are today. I am thankful for the family I grew up in and the friendships I still have with my extended family members. What a blessing that is in my life.

To the End

I thought it would be only fitting to post things I was thankful for until the end of the month. Even though Thanksgiving is over that is no reason why we can't still be thankful every day. Now that doesn't mean that I'll be posting every day after November. But this is a tender mercies blog and tender mercies are things that I am thankful for, so you're not getting rid of me that easy.
So.....
Saturday I was very thankful for naps. We had had two days of playing with cousins, aunts, and uncles, and staying up way too late. I hit a major wall. I was extremely grateful for my husband for letting me take a 2 hour nap so we could get back together with family for dinner and more games late into that night.
Sunday, yesterday, I was thankful for church. We had a wonderful sacrament meeting that focused on the Temple. I was able to remember being in the temple with my husbands family and the special time that that was. I was also thankful for my calling. I have one of the harder callings, nursery. We have 16 little ones, 18 months to 3 years old, in there and it's not always easy. They can get really crazy and out of control with lots of crying for their parents on top of that. Yesterday was a really hard day. Most of the children were extra hyper, but for some reason I didn't get a head ache. I didn't get frustrated. Yes it was crazy, but it was okay too. I didn't come home wanting to crawl into my bed to get some of my energy back. I was thankful that it was nice Sunday to reflect on the Savior and His sacrifice for us.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Love of a Sister

Today we, my husband and I, had an amazing experience. We were able to attend the temple with almost all of his siblings and his parents. That is always a wonderful experience but today it was even a little more wonderful. My mother-in-law is a convert to the church. Her sister passed away a year ago. Right before she died she asked my mother-in-law to do her temple work for her. So that is why we all went to the temple today, to be there with my mother-in-law while she did this amazing work. I was also able to do some work for a relative of mine that was born 280 years ago. We were in the temple for almost 4 hours. It was an experience that I will never forget. Families can be together forever!! I am so thankful for that knowledge.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Extended Family

In my family we rotate sides of the family for the holidays. For example this year we went to my husbands side of the family for thanksgiving and then for Christmas we will be with my side of the family. It has worked out so nicely. And is just so happens that everyone on both sides of the two families are on the same schedule too.
Before we ate today at my in-laws, we all went around and told what we were grateful for. I was so glad to be near the end. There are just so many things lately that I've been thankful for. When it was my turn I got a little emotional, a little embarrassing to tell you the truth. I told them all what I am going to share with you today, the thing I am most thankful for today. I am so extremely thankful for my husbands family. We look forward to the time we get to spend together. We all get along and we're all friends. I love all of his sisters and brothers and their spouses. My children have cousins that are their ages, and even the ones that are older are fun for them to play with. I know I am very blessed. I have friends that do not feel the same way about their in-laws. I love all of mine and I am truly thankful for that blessing in my life.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Am I...

...a good mom? It's a question I ask myself all of the time. I know other mom's have asked the same question before. But it's really something that I struggle with inside, and more so these last few weeks then ever before. I honestly don't feel like I'm the best mom I can be. I'm not judging myself to other moms. I'm comparing myself to me, how I used to be. I don't like the excuse of my poor health, so I'm not going to use it. When it comes to my children I should always be the best mom I can be. That being said, lets get to what I'm thankful for today. Tonight while I was listening to my daughter's prayers she said, "Thank you for the mom that I have." It was so simple. I'm sure that she didn't realize how powerful those words were to me tonight. She is glad that I'm her mom... Me. People can tell you over and over that you're a good mom. That you're going a great job. And while they are saying that, in your head you're saying, "if you only knew, I'm really not", well at least I do that sometimes. But not tonight. All I felt was love. Love from my daughter. Almost as if she was really saying to me, "Mom I love you no matter what. You are doing the best you can." How thankful I am for those simple yet powerful words tonight. On a night I really need to hear them.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Preparedness

Today there have been tons and tons of weather warnings across Utah, where I live. We are supposed to have the biggest storm we've had in several years. Many people were sent home early from their jobs to make sure they were safe. Roads were shut down. Warnings of how cold it will get. I am extra thankful today not only that my husband is home, but that we are prepared. We have enough food, even food that I can eat, in the house. We have fuel for heat and for cooking. What a blessing is it knowing that if something really does come and we really do have this huge storm, we are prepared. We are together as a family. We will be safe.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Funerals

I've been to several funerals in my life time. After the number reached 15 I stopped counting. Funerals can be sad places to be. I've shed my fair share of tears at a number of them. We are after all human and being sad is a part of that no matter what we believe. But they can also be learning experiences and a wonderful place to feel the spirit of our Heavenly Father. Today I was able to attend the funeral of one of my friend's little boy. He was born just 6 months before my youngest, so my heart was a little extra tender at the service to begin with. The spirit was very strong. Testimonies were born. Principles of the restored gospel were shared. There was even some laughter remembering some of the wonderful little things that this little boy did that were funny and cute. It really is amazing going to a funeral of a child or a righteous adult. The feelings that come to do better, to be better. This little boys is with our Father in Heaven. As they said in the service, he came into this world pure and clean and he left it pure and clean. It is now up to us to live our lives clean, and repent when needed, so we can see those little children and the righteous who have passed on before us again. I am so grateful for the spirit I felt at this funeral today. I am thankful for our Savior and His sacrifice so we can return to live with him again. I am grateful for the personal impressions I received because I was at this funeral today.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Oh the weather outside is frightful

I love the snow. It is snowing so much today with lots of wind and even more cold. There really is something magical about the snow, especially before Christmas. I love to put on my sweats, get some hot cocoa, put on a good holiday movie, and cuddle with my children. Today I am thankful that it is Sunday and all of my children are home with me so I can do just that.

Fun

Yesterday, being with my husband and my children, was so much fun. We didn't got to Disney Land. We didn't go on a huge vacation. We didn't even do something little like go bowling. We were just together. And just being together can be a lot of fun. Fun is when you are happy. Fun is when you are together. I am grateful for the fun moments in my life.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Mothers

Do mothers ever stop helping their children? I don't think they do, which is a good thing. Yesterday when I came home from the temple my mom, who was watching my children for me, had cleaned my house. Little did she know I needed to have it cleaned before going to see my husband for the weekend with my children today. I am so thankful for that little service she did for me. It has made this morning so much easier without all the stress of cleaning, and packing, and getting the kids ready to go. Oh how I am blessed to have her for a mother!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Post Mortal Life

A friend I grew up with lost her little boy to brain caner this week. Their story and their strength has been amazing to watch and follow through this difficult time for them. They found out about the tumor about the same time they found out she was expecting their second child. The doctors didn't give him much time to live, but that little guy hung on. He was able to spend a few weeks with his little sister before moving on to be with our Father in Heaven. Time is so precious. Today while I was in the temple doing sealings, I couldn't help but think about this little family and their situation as I looked in the mirrors that go on for eternity. Even though my heart aches for this family and the pain they are going through, I am extremely grateful for the knowledge and testimony I have that we will be with each other again. There is life after death. Little Rex is free from pain and in a much better place. And all of that is possible because of our Savior, His sacrifice for us, and the sealing power we can receive in the temple.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Scriptures

It really is amazing how much peace you get when you read the scriptures. Today I am particularly grateful for them because I read what I needed to hear. It wasn't like I opened them up to a random page and my prayer was answered. It was simply the next place in my reading and it was what I needed to hear to night.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pre-Mortal Life

In the church that I belong to, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we believe that we existed before coming to this earth. One of the reasons we came to this earth is to get a body. I've mentioned before that while my children eat breakfast I read them stories from a magazine my church puts out called The Friend. This morning we read a story about a child who had cancer and how his friends sold their toys to help pay some of the bills his family would have to pay. After the story I talked to my children about service and really how to serve someone. Later I saw that my youngest bed was made, he is only 2. I told him he did a good job, then he said that his older brother did it. I loved that my oldest did a service for his little brother. But that's not the point for this post. Anyhow, I'm not quite sure how the subject changed from service. Sometimes you never know with little kids. :] But it changed to talking about Grizz. Grizz was my sister-in-law's dog. My oldest talks about Grizz a lot. He and my daughter loved that dog. He died while we were all camping as an extended family. It was a hard loss for many of the grand kids. My daughter asked if Grizz was happy. I said he was and he was probably playing with Merrill. Merrill is my sister-in-law's, the same sister-in-law, son who passed just minutes after he was born. My daughter asked more about him. My husband and I were lucky to be there at the hospital and see him just a little while after his passing. We were able to hold him and I took some pictures of him. So I looked up the pictures and showed them to my children this morning. Merrill was born and passed exactly one month, to the day, before my daughter was born. We talked about how they would have been the best cousins. That made her smile. Then we talked about Heaven and how I'm sure she was with him before he came to earth. She asked if she would ever get to see and play with Merrill. I told her she would. She got so excited just thinking about being able to see him again. It was a special moment for me. I was able to share that part of my testimony with her. I know that we lived with our Heavenly Father, our friends, and our soon to be family members before we came to this earth. We knew them. We interacted with them. I believe that with all of my heart. I am grateful for my testimony of the pre-mortal life and that I could share that with my daughter this morning.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Humbled by a Child

Tonight while listening to my oldest son's (6 years old) prayers I realized again how amazing he is. Each night he thanks Heavenly Father for many different things. Things such as: "the person who invented plastic, wood, trees, animals, the person who invented metal, the wind, school." The list goes on and on and he does this every night. It's not a new thing. But what I noticed last night is that each night it's something different. He doesn't say the same things night after night. He really thinks about them and I truly believe that he is thankful for them. In his prayers he says so many things that he is thankful for and he doesn't ask for many things. It helped me look at the prayers that I'm saying and difference between what I am saying I am thankful for, my blessings, and what I am asking for, the things I feel I need. I am grateful for a son who taught me a lesson tonight. He taught me to tell my Heavenly Father more of the things that I am thankful for, my blessings, then the things that I feel I need.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Partners for Eternity

It doesn't seem fair sometimes that my husband works hard all week long away from his family, then comes home to a very sick family that he has to take care of too. He sure has been through a lot being married to me, especially these past few years. I asked him a few weeks ago if he knew that he would go though all of this with me would he still have married me. His answer was yes because it has brought us closer. He even said that he wouldn't have changed anything. I agree with him it really has strengthened our marriage and our love for each other, this long and continuing trial. How lucky and grateful I am to have him as my eternal companion, my partner for eternity.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

When it rains....

So now on to today's post on what I am thankful for. To start off with my mom again, she slept on the couch to take care of the kids during the night so I could sleep. When I got up she was deep cleaning my house. My realtor had called late last night and wanted to show the house and she said it would be okay. I would have said no way for sure. My kids have been much better today, I am so grateful for that. I love to see them smile, laugh, and eat again. I'm thankful that I don't have the chills anymore, my temperature seems to be down, and I can sit up today. Oh and the pain medicine I'm taking takes the edge off of the aches and pains. The last two time we've shown our home we have been sick, or just out of the hospital. When it rains it pours and then somehow it still works out. Today it worked out once again because of my parents and their help. They were supposed to go and help my sister and her family move today. They, and I, were blessed because they had so many neighbors, some they had never even met before, come and help them. Because of that my mom was able to stay and help me. I am grateful for those people I don't even know who helped my sister so I could be helped too.

So Sick

I'm writing this post for yesterday, the 12th, even though today is the 13th. Yesterday I woke up really sick. I had been up with my 5 year old daughter, she was really sick too. Then we found out that my 6 year old son was also sick. I don't remember getting that sick that quickly. So I called the doctor as soon as they opened to schedule 3 appointments. The day just got worse and worse. By the time we were at the doctors I thought I was going to die from the pain everywhere and I couldn't get warm. My daughter was feeling pretty much the same way. Well when we were finally seen, her temp was 101*, my son's was 99*, and mine was 105*. And we all had strep throat. The whole time we were at the doctors I tired so hard not to start crying right there on the spot. I went to the pharmacy and it was over an hour wait to get the medicine. There was no way I could wait. I couldn't do it anymore. So I got in the car and called my mom, crying of course. She left work right away and by the time we got home my dad was there to help too. My husband is working this weekend and there was no way I could have taken care of any of my children without their help. My mom cooked and cleaned and took care of the kids while my dad ran errands and got the medicine for us. Heavenly Father lets us go through trials but He is always there to help sustain us through the trial. I am thankful for my parents and their undying devotion to me (I hope I can be half the parent they are to me to my children) and for my Heavenly Father that continues to send angels to help me.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Cooking/Baking

I love to cook. I love to take a recipe and make it more healthy. There is something about the challenge to get something to cook the same way but with different, more healthy ingredients. It's a little more easy to do when you are just cooking on the stove top, but when it comes to baking, it really is a science. If you don't believe me just go take a class in college. I had to take a bunch of classes on that very thing. One was even called 'Food Science'. So it's fun for me to be able to bake something and have it turn out. I am thankful for the energy and strength to be back in the kitchen cooking, baking, and experimenting. I am thankful for that small thing that brings me joy.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Love of a Child

My oldest is in 1st grade. He loves to be able to read and write on his own. I think it makes him feel grown up. I love it because I found this hanging on the door to my bedroom. Today I am grateful for a son who loves me even when I'm not a perfect parent. This made my day!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Family

I come from a larger family. I grew up with 5 brothers and 1 sister. I loved it! Of course we fought and had our moments just like every other family does, no one is perfect. But we also had our fun moments too. I have so many fond memories growing up. I love that now when we are older we are close. We get together at least once a month to celebrate birthdays and have a little party. We are a party family. What I am particularly grateful for today is that the family I grew up in is always there for me and my family now with my husband and children. There has always been a since of security with my family. Growing up my Dad used to say that our home was a safe haven. No matter what, you knew that you could come home and you were loved. No one would make fun of you or judge you. It still is that way. I hope that my children, and their friends, will feel that in our home as they grow up, that our home will be a safe haven full of love and the spirit of the Lord.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Rain

There is something about the rain. I doesn't make me feel gloomy. I think it makes the world look beautiful and clean. The colors of the leaves darken but seem more vibrant at the same time. When it rains I want to get on my comfy clothes, make some hot carob, and snuggle with my children while watching a good movie. The rain is peaceful and relaxing. All the dirt gets washed away. Rain is also fun. I remember when I was younger my mother and then later my brothers would drive me in their car, find the biggest puddles, and then make the biggest splash with the tires. I am grateful for the rain! I am also grateful for repentance and that we can be clean again like the rain makes the world clean.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Testimony Meeting

You can strength your testimony in the bearing of it, but I also gain strength from hearing others bear theirs. It's not an easy thing telling people some of your more personal feelings, especially when it has to do with the Lord (that is one reason I have this blog anonymous). Those feelings are so tender and some are so sacred that they should only be shared when prompted to. So when others feel that they should share something I love to hear it and I love how it strengthens my own testimony. Today I am grateful for testimony meetings.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Husbands

Today I am grateful for my husband. I know that sounds cheesy, but it's true. There is a calm I feel when he is home. Even my kids seems to be happier. Not quite as calm, they love to wrestle and play with him, but happier. What would I do without him. I love every minute that we get to spend with him on the weekends.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Temple

Today I am very grateful for the temple. Today I went for a reason I've never gone before. I've been before to get answers to prayers, to do service, to feel close to the Lord, even to go because I just needed to go. But today I went because I needed the strength of the Lord. I needed His strength to be able to listen to the answers I was getting and the strength to carry them out. Also something I didn't realize until I was in the Temple is that I haven't been my best self. I know it's hard to be your best self when you're not feeling well, and people tell me that all of the time. But I don't think there is any excuse for me, I need to be better and be my best self more often. While I was in the temple I felt I was my best self. Some things happened that I was able to help others and do things (I can't tell you more than that) and I felt like I used to fell all the time. I need to get back to that place. I am so grateful I live close to many temples.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Food

Food, it's something a lot of people really don't think that much about. They eat when they are hungry and that's that. Well I think about food all of the time. I watch cooking shows on T.V.. When I'm board I even look up recipes on line or in cook books. I love to read them. I love to try and figure out ways to change them to make them more healthy, if that's possible. Sometimes it's not possible, but I still like to try. So today I am thankful for food. And even more than that I am thankful for the times that I get to eat food. I don't get to eat food all of the time because of my health. So when I do I am extremely grateful, and so is my body. :] Today I had two wonderfully delicious meals. I know Heavenly Father loves His children when I see all of the wonderful foods in all their varieties He has created just for us.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Thankfulness Time

I know in years past I've written everyday saying what I am thankful for during the month of November. I wasn't going to do that this year, just do one weekly post of the things I had been grateful for. Kind of like I did last year. But I'm finding myself, at least yesterday and this morning, a little down in the dumps. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because I'm in pain and no one seems to know the answer for me. But enough of that. I DON'T want a pity party!! There are two things that I am so extremely grateful for.
The first is the holiday season. I really am so excited for it! I have to restrain myself from turning on the Christmas music. I just love it! I love the spirit that it brings into our home each holiday season.
The second is, I truly am grateful when my pain is manageable so I can be a mom. Somehow, I'm not quite sure how, I get the things done I need to when they're really important. Like this morning, waking up from only a few hours of sleep still in pain, I was able to get my kids breakfast, read a story to them from the Friend Magazine, help get them dressed, said family prayers, and they were off to school. Even now the pain is manageable. It is those tender mercies from the Lord that I am grateful for. While going through this long trial I am supported and helped through it.
I feel better now. It's amazing how looking for the good in things, your blessings, can really help lift your mode. Have a wonderful day full of thanks!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Missed one

Yesterday I was able to go to Sacrament Meeting. One of the talks was on Gratitude. While listening to the talk I remember something I had no mentioned in my last post. It's a harder one to be thankful for but I'm going to say it. I'm thankful, and it was a blessing, that our house hasn't sold yet. It's really difficult to say because it's so hard living away from my husband so much, and we're coming up on our year mark. November 1st of last year he started his job (But we didn't put the house on the market until the spring). If we would have moved already I know that this last time of being in the hospital would have been much harder than it was. It truly was a blessing no matter how hard things can and have been being apart.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Angels

I know it's been a long time since my last post. I had an unexpected trip to the hospital last Monday and ended up staying most of the week having tests and surgery. I will spare you the extremely long details. Besides the reason for this blog is to share with you the blessings and tender mercies the Lord continues to send me. Well these past two weeks I've received more than I could ever truly say thank you for.
One of the first blessings is that last week when I was in the hospital my children only had school for a few days and then it was fall break. When I had to make my first trip to the hospital my husband was home with me and continued to stay with me for most of the week. My wonderful neighbors took my children to and from school for me. My mom and dad watched my children until my mom got sick. Then my 2nd mom (in-law), who happened to be in town, was able to watch them for a couple of nights. Not once was I worried about them. I knew they were in good hands. The specialist I was assigned to just happened to be the number one expert on the surgery I needed to have. So not only was he able to diagnose me properly but my husband and I knew I was in good hands for the surgery.
After being home this week and trying to recover, which is taking longer than I thought it would, the blessings keep pouring in. Almost every day I've had someone stop by wanting to know what they can do to help. I've had neighbors call to tell me I was in their prayers and or they put my name on the temple prayer roll. I've had people taking and picking my children up from school for me. Dinners have been brought in every night, even food that I can eat. My children have been able to go for lots of play dates at friends homes when I needed to rest. People have gone grocery shopping for me and run other errands for me. We had a showing on our home today. My mom, dad, sister, and sister-in-law have come over to my home all week cleaning here and there to help me get ready. My brother came and mowed the lawn for me. I truly don't know what I would have done this week without my parents. My husband calls me from work several times a day to see how I am. I am blessed. I have amazing people, really angels, surrounding me. Life is hard. I've been through a lot, but I am also very blessed and truly loved by my Heavenly Father.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Conference 2010

I didn't get to watch all of Saturday's sessions this year, so I recorded them. I am so excited to watch the ones that I didn't get to hear or see. The talks that I got to listen to were so amazing! I really felt the importance of keeping my children safe from the world, making sure that my relationship with my Heavenly Father is where it should be, making sure that I'm doing the things I need to being doing to have the spirit of the Lord (Holy Ghost) with me at all times, remembering to say thanks to the Lord not just think it actually praying my thanks to him, and how important it is to be doing the best things and not just good things. A couple of Sundays ago there was a regional conference where I live. We were told that the pioneers who came across the plains to settle Utah had it hard, but that is nothing compared to what we are going to face in the future. I also felt a little bit of that urgency while watching conference this year. Things are going to get harder and if I'm not close to my Heavenly Father and His spirit I won't be able to hear the promptings to help my family be safe. It is amazing how much Heavenly Father loves us. He loves us so much He sent us a living prophet to help guide and direct us. If you didn't get a chance to hear or watch conference, if you never have, or if you're just curious as to what it is, go here.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Scriptures

For the last 2 and a half weeks I've been sick again. This time was a doozie one. Lots of pain. Lots of trips to different people trying to figure out what's wrong with my body. Feeling frustrated once again because I fell off the ladder again, and this time it was further down then I've been in a very long time. One night about 2 weeks ago I went to read my scriptures. I felt like I needed to look up health and related topics and read those scriptures instead of my normal reading. I came across one in Alma 46:40. The last part of the verse says, "because of the excellent qualities of the many plants and roots which God had prepared to remove the cause of diseases, to which men were subject by the nature of the climate." Then another one in Doctrine and Covenants 42:43 where in the middle of the verse it says, "shall be nourished with all tenderness, with herbs and mild food." Those two scriptures really hit me. I felt like I needed to start researching herbs more. For the next few days I did some reading, but not much. It's hard to do anything when you're in pain and feeling sick. Last week the feeling came again to go and buy the ones I had researched. So I did. For the last 4 days I have felt so much better. I've been able to eat food again. I'm gaining a little bit of weight back. My trial isn't over yet, but I am being helped through it. My Heavenly Father loves me and is helping me. It's been extremely hard and it might get harder. For now I am so grateful for the health that I have and for the inspiration that came to help me.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Confrontations

Confrontation, it's a word that makes some people cringe and others it doesn't bother. For me, at least I thought, it was a word that didn't bother me. When I was in college and I had a problem with a roommate I would go and talk to her. I didn't have a problem with it. I like to speak my mind, in a nice way of course. I liked to talk about the problem, solve it, and be done with it so we could move on. Well this last year I've had a few horrible, terrible, make my soul shrink confrontations with a person. It was so bad in fact that I would get, and still do, anxiety attacks just thinking about having to talk to this person. I've prayed and prayed to have love and understanding for her. Help so that I can communicate with her. Anything I could do to make it better, I prayed for. Well twice this past week I've had to talk to her. The first time my blood starting pumping and I could start to feel the anxiety coming, and then it was a pleasant conversation. She said what she needed to. I listened and reflected. She understood my side of it. Things were just fine. It was almost a weird feeling. I was more that just a little thankful for it. Then tonight another conversation took place. My blood started pumping, but not as fast as it would in the past. I listened and reflected and she didn't understand. I talked calmly trying to help her see that I understood and then tried to say my side. Then when I thought that things were going to take a turn for the worst, the person who was there listening stepped in. He helped her to hear what I was trying to say. He helped her to understand my side of it. I am so extremely grateful that I was helped. I know it was divine intervention. The stress alone from trying to communicate with this person has almost been unbearable. So to have someone tonight rescue me was a tender mercy from my Heavenly Father. He knew I needed the help. Now I see that I need to pray that I can communicate better. I need be able to say things so that what is in my head will come out of my mouth, with kindness I hope. I know I have a problem, and I'll work on it. And right now I'm just thankful.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Watching Over Me

President Spencer W. Kimball once said, "God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs." I know that to be true. I gained a testimony of that when my health problems first started. I was watched over so well by Heavenly Father through those around me, and I let them. It was very humbling and a huge blessing not only to me personally, but also to my family. So why is it that now when I need help is it so hard to ask, to think about asking, or even let people help me?
Yesterday was not a good day for me. I woke up at 2:30 am with extreme pain and it continued for the rest of the day. After about 5 hours I finally brought myself to call my dad to come over and administer a priesthood blessing. I didn't know how I was going to make it through the day. I had so many things on my list of stuff to do, and I knew I was in no shape to do hardly any of them. Then my mom called and didn't ask, just told me how she was going to help. Then my dad said what he was going to do. One of my friends moved her life around to help me. My sister called me later and solved yet another problem. Even though I didn't ask or even think of asking for help, my family and I were taken care of. Heavenly Father truly does watch over us. He carries us through our trials of learning and experience. I am reminded of what President Thomas S. Monson once said, "Don't postpone a prompting; rather, act on it, and the Lord will open the way." I don't know what I would have done yesterday if my family members and friend hadn't acted on what they thought they should do. I am extremely blessed!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Remember

As humans we are far from perfect. Like I said before it was extremely hard and very humbling for me to submit to God's Will for me and my family. As a human I continue to struggle inside myself. I have to keep reminding myself of the peace that I've felt lately. The peace that comes when you say to yourself, "Let go and Let God". He really does know what is best, and like I've said before who I am to argue with him. Sometimes I wish I didn't have the voices in my head that tell me to doubt, that tell me that I know better. He knows better, not me. So once again I can see how important it is to remember. Remember the answers that have been given. Remember the peace that has come. Remember that God does love us and He does want what is best for us. Remember all the times that that has been true. Remember is a very powerful word.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Teaching

After posting yesterday I was thinking about the difference in my home. There have been so many wonderful opportunities to teach the gospel to my children lately. Last Monday for family night we talked about, "Miracles come to those who have faith". Then Tuesday morning when I was reading them a story out of the Friend Magazine it was on Daniel and the Lions den. I was a little taken back at how well the two went together. The next few days there were little moments here and there with more stories and chances to teach. It was a wonderful feeling being able to teach my children that principle of the gospel. A nice tender mercy from my Heavenly Father.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Lesson Learned

The spirit has been much stronger in our home this past week. I had almost forgotten how much I love that peaceful feeling. I function so much better with it. I never want to be without it again. It was a panic feeling trying to get it back after my feelings of anger. I am so thankful for the lesson, there truly is opposition in all things.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Weakness

I know it's been a long time since my last post. Almost a month in fact. I'm sorry about that, more than you know. I've been going through something. Something that I wasn't sure I was going to share with you. As hard as this will be, I feel that I need to. I'm not perfect, far from it in fact. And sometimes it's hard to let people see your extreme imperfections.
A couple of Sundays ago there was a talk given on the scripture Either 12:27. It says, "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." This is a scripture that I've heard many times growing up in the LDS church. But on this Sunday I learned something new about this scripture. The women giving this talk brought up something that I have never noticed before. In this scripture it doesn't say weaknesses it just says weakness. I have always assumed that it was plural. She pointed out that we are all weak because we are away from our Heavenly Father. We are weak because we are spirits having a human experience. This had a lot of meaning to me and I'll explain that a little later. Now I need to tell you what has been going on with me.
Just after my last post I went through a hard couple of weeks. We still haven't sold our home so our family is still split up with my husband being gone all week and coming home most weekends, but not all. It was getting more and more difficult. Then one weekend the stress of it was just too much to handle. It was a Sunday afternoon and I had to leave. I took a drive to be by myself. I took somethings to read. I was mad. I was frustrated. I was so many things at one time I just started to sob. I sobbed more and harder than I had for quite some time. Then I decided to read. I read a Conference Talk. It was from a few conference ago and the talk talked about getting blessings for doing what was right. I don't think I was in a place where I could really understand that because at that moment it made me more mad. I needed to get my feelings out so I started to write them down. As I was writing I realized that I was mad at the Lord. Mad because my husband and I had done what was right and I couldn't see the good in it. We had prayed about what we should do. We even turned down a job because we didn't feel right about it when there were no other job offers we could see. Then when my husband interviewed for his current job we felt very good about it. Even before he was offered the job, we knew he was going to get it because we had felt so good about accepting it. So why now, after doing what was right, are we not being blessed? Why is our family separated and having to struggle so much? These are some of the questions that I wrote down. Then there were more and more tears with pleading for understanding. After about an hour and a half and after I started to calm, did I started to recall some very important things. The first one was we, I, have always been taken care of. No matter what has happened in my life I have been blessed and guided by my Heavenly Father. I started to remember specific times in the past when Heavenly Father guided me and things turned out wonderful and just how they should. Remembering those times helped me to calm down a little more. They start to take away my some of my anger. Next I remembered the past few years and how blessed my family and I have been. And even now going through this long and hard trial we are being blessed. It was a very humbling experience for me to go though. Not once in my life have I been so upset with my Heavenly Father (which is one reason this is hard for me to share with you). I felt so much remorse. Who was I to get mad and upset? I don't know everything. I can't see everything. I wasn't having the faith I needed, I had lost it. I had lost my way. So for the next couple of weeks I tried to repent. I pleaded on my knees to the Lord. I went to the Temple. I had tried very hard to soften my heart, to come to the Lord. To feel His forgiveness. Then I started to feel the forgiveness a little here and a little there. The love of the Lord once again entered into my heart. I started to once again see the tender mercies that He continues to give me each and every day. I had stop seeing them. I had become blind to them because of weakness.
When I heard the talk given on Either 12:27 it became more clear to me. I was weak, and weaker than I had ever realized. I need now more than ever to come to the Lord. The only way I can make it through this trial, this separation, my family is having is with the help and strength from my Father in Heaven. I am weak. I need to be more humble and I'm working on that. I don't know how things will turn out, but I'm trying to have more faith in my Heavenly Father. I've changed my prayers. Not only do I pray for increased faith but now I pray for the strength to endure this trial. I know my Heavenly Father loves me. I am truly grateful for His patients in me as I struggle through this earthly experience.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Weather

This week I'm in the middle of a little camp that I'm doing for my children and some other children too. It was scheduled to rain all week long. We have been so blessed! On Monday it didn't rain until after the second session was finished. Then it was really hot yesterday when we played in the water. So even in the weather I can see tender mercies from the Lord. Really I've been blessed with good enough health so far this week. At some moments I didn't know if I would be able to do it, and then somehow, with the help from the Lord I was able to do it. So far it has a huge blessing not only for me, but for my children and also for the other children at the camp. I have been amazed at how it has also blessed their lives. I truly believe that the Lord inspires us with ideas to bless our lives and the lives of others.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Technology

Who would have thought that I could be blessed by technology? Okay that sounds really weird saying that because we are blessed every day with technology. But really this blessing was a little different. I've never shared this with you but I have other blogs. One specifically speaking, is a health food type of blog. I post healthy, but very yummy, recipes and talk about things that could help people with their health. I usually am really far ahead on my posting, but lately I've been behind with all of the fun summer activities we've had. This next week I'm doing a kids camp and will not have the time to do posts every day. So I needed to get a head again. Our Internet has been a little hit and miss for a few days, so it's been hard to get ahead. Then two days ago it was on for most of the afternoon. I was able to get everything finished I needed to. When I was done, the Internet stopped working and was completely out for almost two days. It was so nice not to be stressed about my posts and be able to do things with my children and also get stuff ready for next week. It may sound like a little thing to you, but it was a huge blessing for me. A wonderful tender mercy.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Phone Calls

Yesterday I was struggling emotionally. I don't know what it was, I'm not quite sure what set it off. I had talked with my husband early yesterday morning and told him that I was in a funk. I usually don't get to talk to him more than twice a day. Once with our children to say hi, read scriptures, and say prayers. Then later after they're in bed so we can say our couple prayer together. So when I got to talk to him in the morning it was a nice surprise, it was something that I needed. Through out the day I really tired hard not to think. I tried to stay really busy, to keep my mind from wondering. But there were those moments where thoughts started to creep in. Where in my mind I would have conversations with my self telling me all of things I was doing wrong, what a bad mother/person I was, etc, etc. Those moments where you almost loose it. And then the phone would ring, and it would be my husband just wanting to know how I was doing. Instantly I would feel better. Of course I would have to explain to him that I almost lost it again and was on the verge of tears, but he was there to comfort me. I don't know if he'll ever know how much that meant to me. I know that my Heavenly Father does. And I'm sure it was Him giving my husband the thought to call me, knowing he and only he was the one who could bring me some comfort at that time. I am so grateful. I am loved.