Monday, December 19, 2011


Remember when I said I was lacking Christmas Spirit? I found the remedy. (I know this blog has been kinda "churchy" lately. Well, I am a Mormon. It can't be helped. ;-))

I was in charge of teaching the Christmas lesson to the kids at church this year. I didn't do anything elaborate. We just discussed the Christmas Story.

I brought this picture:Painting by Liz Lemon Swindle She owns the rights to this. Not me.

Something about the beauty of this image, the simplicity and wonder of the birth of our Savior, my daughter playing the best star a nativity has ever seen, and teaching a room brimming with excitement and pure faith of innocent children eagerly anticipating Christmas hit me. I left church feel incredibly blessed and, dare I say it, happy. I am part of something more grand in life and my role, no matter how small, is needed.

My Christmas cards were sent this morning. I am planning to wrap presents tonight and we are going to bake tomorrow.

Yet another tender Christmas mercy this year thanks to the true meaning of Christmas.

Elisabeth as the Christmas star.

Side note: Lance claims the camera on the iPhone is just as good as our regular camera and almost as good as a DSLR. Ha ha ha ha ha. That is funny. Nice try, Lance. I am still keeping a DSLR camera on my wish list and I am sure that even though I am not trained in the professional art of persuasion, I will win this battle and that camera will be under the tree in a year or two.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Spirit

Putting up lights outside our house? Just exhausted even thinking about it. Wrapping my presents (my most favorite thing in the world to do during the holidays) A necessary evil this year. Baking the usual goodies? Not wanting to take the time for me to either A) Eat them and ruin all my hard work on losing weight B) Throw them away so I won't eat them or C) Give them away to others who will most likely throw them away. Sending out Christmas cards? Procrastinating it more than anything.

Buying gifts? Well, that is something that still thrills me. I love to give gifts immensely and no matter how I feel, there isn't anything that can't be smoothed over (even temporarily) by a little retail therapy.

We are in need of some serious Christmas Spirit here. Luckily, we got the tree up the day after Thanksgiving and the house mostly decorated, visited Santa twice already, and attended our ward Christmas party. For my little girl and baby boy, I am trying. I really am.

Elisabeth is going to be the star in the Senior Nursery's nativity this Sunday. She is thrilled beyond words and keeps talking about dressing up in her costume and being the star that led the shepherds to the baby Jesus. Now if that doesn't warm your heart, I don't know what will.

The good news is that Elisabeth doesn't realize she is missing the usual "traditions" and is so enchanted with the holidays. Simplicity is all we can do this year as we are learning to juggle new responsibilities and I try to get out of my fog I am in. Luckily, simplicity still holds wonder and awe for her.

A Christmas mercy, I suppose.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

It's better to look up.

Last week I was one worship service at my church away from . . . Well, I don't know what. But it wasn't good whatever it was. The two words that were constantly going through my head were "I quit." I quit serving in my calling at church, I quit going to church and sitting alone with my kids, I quit being a wife and a mother whose husband is gone as much as mine. Now - I don't really want to quit any of these things. But, I am smart enough to know something had to change because I couldn't keep doing what I was doing.

A friend came over, prompted or not I do not know, and talked about this talk that was given during General Conference, an bi-annual meeting our church has. The basic message: It is better to look up.

So I did. I got on my knees and prayed. I needed help and it was time to ask. And ask I did. I asked my husband for advice on what to do. I asked a friend from book club to take Carsten during Sunday school so I could teach without having to chase him around. I asked two women with either grown kids or teenagers to see if my family could join them in their pew on Sundays.

This Sunday we sat with a family of two of the kindest adults I have ever known and four of the most helpful teenage boys I have ever met.

My kids were entertained the full hour and a half without one person crying or having to be taken out. I actually was able to listen to the speakers. I was able to teach the kids during Primary (Sunday school for the kiddos) without any anxiety. And I didn't cry.

Well, I didn't cry until I called my friend to thank her for letting me sit with her family. Those were tears of immense gratitude.

I know there are people out there with bigger problems than mine. People are homeless. People are starving. People are losing loved ones. People are sick and dying. I realize someone may read this and say "Really woman? You are wasting my time whining about this?"

Today these things didn't matter, though. My problems are real to me. And, I have a Father in Heaven who heard my pleas, guided me to answers, and reminded me once more that I am His daughter and He loves me. All I had to do was ask.

Things are starting to look up.