12.23.2013

Celebrate the Restoration

My 6-year old came to me and said, "I think I know why we celebrate Christmas."

"Oh, really, why?"

"Because of Joseph Smith."

Ha!  I had to laugh a minute...and then set him straight on the REAL reason we celebrate Christmas.



However, we do get to honor Joseph Smith at this time of year.  Today is his birthday!  So, every year we do take a moment in our home to remember the prophet and his contribution to the Lord's plan in restoring His gospel upon the earth.  We enjoy the great blessings of the Priesthood, temple ordinances and the Book of Mormon because of this great man.

12.17.2013

Honey Hot Cocoa


Holidays are the worst when it comes to cutting out sugar.

But, you just cannot have Christmas without hot chocolate!

Because I am trying to even stay away from the sugar-free stuff, I decided to try my own hot chocolate recipe.  I am the only one in my family who likes it.  But really, I love it!

I guess on the measurements until it tastes just right, so experiment as well to find what you like. Here is about what I put in:

8-010 oz. hot water
2 tsp. cocoa
1/2 -1 TBSP honey
1 1/2 tsp. dry milk

The milk makes it just a bit creamier.  Adding the honey all just depends on how sweet you want it.  So, just start with the cocoa and add however much you want of anything else.  I think I'm going to try some peppermint flavoring in my next cup.

Enjoy!

12.16.2013

What Shall We Give?



Merry Christmas!
May we all believe a little more, give a little more and LOVE a lot more this year! 

12.13.2013

Mormon Women: Exemplary Disciples & Important Witnesses



I was so struck today by the Visiting Teaching message for this month.  Yes, it was on the role of Jesus Christ as our Savior, but I was most impressed with this statement:

"In the New Testament we read of women, named and unnamed, who exercised faith in Jesus Christ, learned and lived His teachings, and testified of His ministry, miracles and majesty.  These women became exemplary disciples and important witnesses in the work of salvation."

"Exemplary disciples" and "important witnesses."  My first thought when I read that quote was, "These women are still needed."  My companion also pointed out that she appreciated the unnamed women...those who tirelessly served and followed the Savior without worldly recognition.

In each sphere of influence there is great power when women stand strong against the wiles and temptations of the adversary.   With so many wonderful opportunities vying for our attention, it's easy to downplay our important role as LDS women.  No matter how hard we try not to be, our very presence in the world is different than others.  Not better, just different as we are endowed with power and a positive influence in the world.

I had a friend once tell me, "I met a girl at the park the other day and I could just tell she was Mormon before I even met her."  We have an influence unlike any other and we can to rise to that privilege and responsibility.

Elder Christofferson also reminds us of our most important role, that of being mothers in the home.  He says, "...a mother can exert an influence unequaled by any other person in any other relationship.  By the power of her example and teaching, her sons learn to respect womanhood and to incorporate discipline and high moral standards in their own lives.  Her daughters learn to cultivate their own virtue and to stand up for what is right...A mother's love and high expectations lead her children to act responsibly...be serious about education and personal growth, and to make ongoing contributions to the well-being of all those around them (CR Oct. 2013, italics added)."

There is so much joy in womanhood if we but embrace our God-given abilities, characteristics and gifts! I am so grateful for the reminder this Christmas season to strive to become an "exemplary disciple" and "important witness" of our Savior and His life.  This will be at the top of my New Year's list!

 - - - - - 

"My plea to women and girls today is to protect and cultivate the moral force that is within you.  Preserve that innate virtue and the unique gifts you bring with you into the world.  Your intuition is to do good and to be good, and as you follow the Holy Spirit, your moral authority and influence will grow."
 - - Elder D. Todd Christofferson - - 

12.11.2013

Best Ever!


Who would have thought I'd say I felt the spirit while listening to "What Does the Fox Say?"  Seriously!

Last night our gift of service was to attend the Buddy Club talent show.  The Buddy Club is a club at school for friendshipping those with mental and/or physical handicaps.   My sweet daughter B has joined this club and continually inspires me with her empathy for those who are so challenged.  When she told me about the talent show coming up I quickly added it to our gift list.


That very well could be the very best activity we do all season.  The sweetness of these wonderfully special children was just joyful to watch.  The two boys who performed the Fox song were hilarious, so innocent and unabashed.  No shame!  Others got up to sing solos.  One young man performed a dance where he just moved his fingers and turned around once in awhile.  There was an amazing clogger in the group and a natural comedian with amazing voices impersonations.  

That night, watching those children, helped me to more completely embrace the Christmas spirit.  

************
"It is our opportunity and our responsibility to follow the example of Jesus in loving our neighbors, and that includes those with disabilities." - - First Presidency Message on Disabilities - - 

12.09.2013

Christmas Stories Again

Last year I posted some of our favorite stories for Christmastime. Here are a few more...for the older crowd:

A true classic and must read for all!

I read this for my kids, first half in 2011 and second half last year.  I was actually amazed at how well they followed the story with the older English language.  

This is our choice for this year.  I'm excited to play the music after each chapter and think my kids will love it. 

Charles Dickens wrote this for his own children.  
Sister Hinckley would read this every year to her children.


This is absolutely my FAVORITE Christmas story. 
If you haven't read it, do it now!  

12.06.2013

Agh! 14 Years!!


My son is 14 today! 
FOURTEEN!

This son of mine is rock solid.  I could count only a handful of tantrums from this kid.  Even his teenage mood swings are so short-lived I could hardly even acknowledge them as such.
John has always idolized his dad!
From the time of a little boy JW was very conscientious of doing the right thing and being obedient.  Sure, he's still an older brother who likes to show his love through teasing and occasional "love taps," but overall he strives to protect, teach and love his younger siblings.  There's a reason he's the oldest.


Bright, gifted with music, and kind-hearted this kid is a complete joy to be around.  And he's going to make some wife pretty happy someday.   When I'm making dinner he'll come up and say, "Can I do that?" He completely takes over in the kitchen.  And this year he took on his more crowded schedule with ease!


HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MY BOY!  

12.04.2013

Decisions for Eternity

Can I just tell you I am loving the talks from General Conference?  Each time the messages just seem to get deeper and deeper.  Maybe I'm just growing up and paying more attention.  Either way, I love it.

It's interesting to me how each talk can be so applicable to the situation of each of God's children.   So personal and individualized.  The quotes and thoughts that stick out to me are not going to be what others hone in on.  There is going to be one talk that just speaks directly to each of us if we but listen and seek to learn. 

I found an interesting quote in an unlikely place which caused me to think, yet again, of my own marriage.  Elder Nelson spoke on making righteous decisions and paying attention to every choice we make.  While speaking in the context of morality concerning marriage issues of the day, he says this, "Marriage between a man and woman is God's pattern for a fullness of life on earth and in heaven.  God's marriage pattern cannot be abused, misunderstood, or misconstrued." 

Beyond the obvious of chastity before marriage, the pattern of multiplying and replenishing the earth, and the pattern of gender relationships what else does this pattern contain.  My  mind and heart caught on the phrase, "marriage...is God's pattern for a fullness of life on the earth and in heaven."   Really?  Am I experiencing such fullness in my own marriage?  I wonder. 

Later, Elder Nelson states, "The Savior's way of life is good (love that!).  His way includes chastity before marriage and total fidelity within marriage." 

Fidelity is defined as "faithful adherence to obligation or duty; honesty; loyalty; reliability."  Which implies that it's much more than just being sexually faithful to your own spouse.   In creating this "fullness of life" that Elder Nelson talks about, am I honoring my husband?  Am I loyal?  Am I reliable?  Am I being faithful to my end of the deal to fulfill my duty as a loving wife?

These are all questions I've been simmering on today.  They make me want to be more attentive to his needs rather than seeking my own needs to be met.  It's just funny to me how a talk on making decisions would lead me to ponder on my marriage.  Must be what I needed to hear from that talk.  :-) 


"One day each of us will stand before the Lord in judgment. We will each have a personal interview with Jesus Christ.  We will account for decisions that we made about our bodies our spiritual attributes and how we honored God's pattern for marriage and family." 
 - - Elder Russell M. Nelson, Decisions for Eternity, CR Oct. 2013 - -

12.02.2013

a happy day...

"A happy day is when my only engagement is my family."  
 - - Abigail Adams - -

I love this quote and it totally sums up our week of Thanksgiving.  Granted, yesterday erupted in overtired complaints and contentions...but overall we all just enjoyed a break from anything other than FAMILY.  There is so much to be grateful for.  I hope I can keep that grateful spirit with me as we head into the hustle and bustle of December.




To add to the craziness, for our countdown/advent we decided to make it "25 Days of Service."  Most days this month the kids will "open" a service activity for the day.  This holiday season we will decorate Grandpa's apartment, visit a newly made widow, clean another family's bathrooms, have the missionaries over for dinner, and do a secret act of kindness for one another.  Hopefully this will add to the holiday cheer rather than adding more of the unnecessary to our already filled days. 

Happy December!
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