Resolutions, Anyone?

"A man should never be ashamed to admit he has been in the wrong, which is but saying in other words, he is wiser today than he was yesterday." ~Alexander Pope

I happened upon this thought today and it struck a chord with me. I think I'm getting better at this as I get older, but it's still something to work on and I love the perspective given. I'm going to make sure it's on my list of things to improve on this next year.

Others? I want to do better with scripture study [not reading, study], put more effort into my Primary calling and develop more love and patience for all the children I associate with.

What about you? Any thoughts for 2009?


Christmas Has Left the Building [almost]

We had a wonderful family Christmas, including [but not limited to] the Christmas Eve buffet [with more food than any 12 people could ever begin to take down], the famous Mason pajama race [Natalie won the race for the adults, for the first time ever, and the childrens' race was won by Ben!] and of course listening to the Christmas story and singing songs together.

Christmas morning was wonderful. It was great just watching the faces of the children and the adults as everyone realized [through the thoughtful gifts they received] just how much they are loved. A sad/happy part for me was when Mason finished opening his last gift and totally broke down: "I want to open more presents!" -- it was the saddest yet funniest thing I've seen in a long time. Christmas really is for the children.

We did fun things together: played some in-home laser tag, we bowled, we roasted hot dogs and marshmallows over a campfire at a small-town trail of lights [and loved it - -this will be a regular Christmas event from now on] and we hung out at home, talking and spending time together. We watched the cousins enjoy each other and we shared time and feelings with each other.

I don't think I ever remember seeing as much trash and recycling build up in such a short time! Today is trash and recycling day and we still have trash bags in the back yard as well as recycling sitting in the house because the [huge] bins were both full. Someday we'll catch up, I'm sure of it!

I remember reading a bumper sticker that said something along the lines of this: "A cluttered desk is the sign of a creative mind" -- and if that's true, my house must be the home of a genius.


*[picture: not my house, we have much more trash than that!! Via flickr]


Almost There!

With all the hurry and rushing I've been doing, I was grateful yesterday to recall a thought that I had saved some years ago:

"For most of us, sadly, the spirit of Christmas is 'hurry'. And yet, eventually, the hour comes when the rushing ends and the race against the calendar mercifully comes to a close. It is only now perhaps that we truly recognize the spirit of Christmas. It is not a matter of days or weeks but of centuries - nearly twenty of them now since that holy night in Bethlehem. Regarded in this manner, the pre-Christmas rush may do us greater service than we realize. With all its temporal confusion, it may just help us to see that by contrast, Christmas itself is eternal." ~Burton Hills

I need to take a moment in this frenzied last period before Christmas to stop and consider and be thankful : for that miraculous birth so long ago, for His life and example, and then for the ultimate Christmas gift -- the gift of eternal life.

Christmas is eternal. I know all of us will receive wonderful gifts this year but my Christmas wish is that we all find a quiet time and place to stop and reflect and be grateful for the one gift that we all share in.

Merry Christmas!


A Smile for the Day

I don't spend much time at Starbucks -- [one thing I do know is that they have fabulous caramel apple cider!] -- but this one gave me a smile today.

Hope your day is smiley too!


Christmas Surprise

"I truly believe that if we keep telling the Christmas story, singing the Christmas songs, and living the Christmas spirit, we can bring joy and happiness and peace to this world." ~Norman Vincent Peale

Oh, he's right!

Last night, as I was home watching TV [with all the outside lights on, the inside all decorated and the Christmas tree lit, the combination making me feel Christmassy], the doorbell rang. When I opened it, I was surrounded by 15 of our Primary Activity Day girls and their 3 leaders. They were singing Christmas songs, and began with my new favorite, one we have learned in Primary, "Baby in a Manger".

Mark joined me at the door while they sang several more songs, and we stood there [of course] with tears in our eyes. What a perfectly beautiful sight, these sweet girls that I have been with in Primary for 3+ years now and their leaders whom I love equally as much as I love the girls.

After they sang, they handed me a beautiful plate of Christmas goodies, and then decided we all needed a group hug, right there on my doorstep.

What a lovely way to finish a day -- Christmas music, much-loved children and Primary leaders, and a group hug.

A perfect way to end a day. Thank you!!


The Best Gift

'The giving of gifts is not something man invented. God started the giving spree when he gave a gift beyond words, the unspeakable gift of His Son." ~ Robert Flatt

I did some more shopping this morning, then came home to go back through my lists, checking to see what more there is to do. Christmas is less than 2 weeks away and I'm starting to feel slightly stressed about getting it all done. In my mind, I was frustrated over what is still undone -- until I remembered what it's really all about.

It's not about finding the perfect present. In fact, it's not really about the presents at all. It's not about the lights, or the buying. It's about love. It's about sharing. It's about kindness and friendship. It's about Jesus, that baby in the manger, literally the greatest gift ever given.

My thoughts slowed me down. There's still a lot to do, but now I'm thinking of the poem by Christina Rosetti -- "What can I give Him? I give Him my heart." And that's what I can give my loved ones and friends. My heart. Sure, I will give them the gift I picked out, bought and paid for, but mostly what I want them to know is how much they are loved, and how important they are in my life.

Jesus was the perfect example. He was a teacher, a doer of loving deeds, and a friend. That's what I want to be to my loved ones.

And that's what I want them to receive this year, along with their gift. The knowledge of that love and the remembrance and gratitude for that miraculous birth and life, so long ago.

That's Christmas.


Snow -- in Austin?

"Snowflakes are one of nature's most fragile things, but just look what they can do when they stick together." ~Vista M. Kelly

After a day with near record-breaking temperatures [I think we were in the high '70's yesterday], last night it surprised all of us by getting dramatically colder very quickly -- and even coming up with some sleet/snow.

When I got up this morning, the house was freezing, and outside, there really was some snow on the ground. Still is, actually. If I had a camera, I'd take a picture. But just imagine it: yesterday, a high in the mid '70's, and right now, it's 34 degrees, aiming for a high of 52. And snow on the ground.

I guess it is December after all!

[photo via flickr -- actually taken last night, just not by me]


Christmas Gift-Giving

"A gift is pure when it is given from the heart to the right person at the right time and at the right place, and when we expect nothing in return." ~Bhagavad Gita

Gift-giving is hard -- I always want to give the perfect gift but this thought has stuck with me and I really believe the most important message appears at the end: that we expect nothing in return.

The gift itself probably doesn't matter, as long as it comes from the heart and with no strings attached. I love it. [the above pic made me smile -- that's Mark and I for sure!]

picture via jasonlove.com


"My" Children

"Let your eyes light up when your children are around. Laugh more. Tell them how empty and quiet it is when they're not there. Enjoy the things they bring to your life." ~Valerie Bell

This is a beautiful quote. It uses the words '
your children' but I think of it in terms of grandchildren and Primary children [and really, I guess I think of all of them as 'my' children because of the love that I feel for them]. I missed church Sunday because of the flu, and what I missed the most was being with the children. I love each of them so much and I love having that weekly opportunity to let them know that.

Primary is a gift. It's a chance to share my testimony, my love for the children and the gospel, and to open my heart and life to a whole new group of children.

I will be back there on Sunday and I can't wait!


Feeling Better

I'm thankful that this flu both Mark and I have had doesn't seem to be as long-term as the strain Mason has had.

We're both starting to feel better. Finally.

[picture via flickr]