Friday, December 30, 2011

Prayer request please....

A family in our ward just found out their 6 year old son Caleb has Burkitt's lymphoma a very aggressive cancer. Fortunately it is treatable, but because of the nature of the cancer, the treatment will be intense and aggressive as well. This cute family has some tough times ahead.

I think it has hit me hard this week because I too have a 6 year old son who is friends with Caleb. Caleb has been to our house to play, he has a smile and energy that light up a room. He has so much personality and charisma. In fact he reminds me a lot of my 6 year old personality wise, they both have a gleam in their eye and a disarming smile. Caleb is strong and will get through this.

Please keep their family in your prayers and thoughts as they have been thrown into a very hot fire. Below is a story about some women in a Bible study group who learned more about the "refiner's fire". It is beautiful and has helped me multiple times..... my dear friend Lisa (who has been in the center of the refiner's fire for years) introduced me to it several years ago.

The Refiner's Fire---Author unknown

There was a group of women in a Bible study on the book of Malachi. As they were studying chapter three they came across verse three which says, "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." This verse puzzled the women and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God.

One of the women offered to find out about the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible study. That week the woman called up a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest in silver beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver. As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that, in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest so as to burn away all the impurities.

The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot - then she thought again about the verse, that He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver. She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. For if the silver was left even a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.

The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, "How do you know when the silver is fully refined?" He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's the easy part -- when I see my image reflected in it."

If today you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has His eye on you and will keep His hand on you and watch over you until He sees His image in you. AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!

"For Christmas is a beautiful time of the year. We love the excitement, the giving spirit, the special awareness of and appreciation for family and friends, the feelings of love and brotherhood that bless our gatherings at Christmastime.

In all the joyousness, it is well to reflect that Christmas comes in three levels:

Let’s call the first the 'Santa Claus level.' It’s the level of Christmas trees and holly, of whispered secrets and colorful packages, of candlelight and rich food and warm open houses. It’s carolers in the shopping malls, excited children, and weary but loving parents. It’s a lovely time of special warmth and caring and giving. It’s the level at which we eat too much and spend too much and do too much–and enjoy every minute of it. We love the Santa Claus level of Christmas.

But there’s a higher, more beautiful level. Let’s call it the 'Silent Night level.' It’s the level of all our glorious Christmas carols, of that beloved, familiar story: 'Now in those days there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus…' It’s the level of the crowded inn, and the silent holy moment in a dark stable when the Son of Man came to earth. It’s shepherds on a steep, bare hill near Bethlehem, angels with their glad tidings, a new star in the East, wise men traveling far in search of the Holy One. How beautiful and meaningful it is; how infinitely poorer we would be without this sacred second level of Christmas.

The trouble is, these two levels don’t last. They can’t. Twelve days of Christmas, at the first level, is about all most of us can stand. It’s too intense, too extravagant. The tree dries out and the needles fall. The candles burn down. The beautiful wrappings go out with he trash, the carolers are up on the ski slopes, the toys break, and the biggest day the stores in the entire year is exchange day, December 26.

The feast is over and the dieting begins. But the lonely and the hungry are with us still perhaps lonelier and hungrier than before.

Lovely and joyous as the first level of Christmas is, there will come a day, very soon, when Mother will put away the decorations and vacuum the living room and think, 'Thank goodness that’s over for another year.'

Even the second level, the level of the Baby Jesus, can’t last. How many times this season can you sing 'Silent Night'? The angels and the star and the shepherd, even the silent, sacred mystery of that holy night itself, can’t long satisfy humanity’s basic need. The man who keeps Christ in the manger will, in the end, be disappointed and empty.

No, for Christmas to last all year long, for it to grow in beauty and meaning and purpose, for it to have the power to change lives, we must celebrate it at the third level, that of the adult Christ. It is at this level–not as an infant–that our Savior brings His gifts of lasting joy, lasting peace, lasting hope. It was the adult Christ who reached out and touched the untouchable, who loved the unlovable, who so loved us all that even in His agony on the cross He prayed forgiveness for His enemies.

This is the Christ, creator of worlds without number, who wept, Enoch tell us, because so many of us lack affection and hate each other–and then who willingly gave His life for all of us, including those for whom He wept.

This is the Christ, the adult Christ, who gave us the perfect example, and asked us to follow Him.

Accepting that invitation is the way–the only way–to celebrate Christmas all year and all life long." -William B. Smart, Messages for a Happier Life.

May you find the true joy of the season as you see the magic in your children's eyes, as you serve others and most importantly as you pause and reflect on the 1st gift of Christmas. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son". (John 3:16)

Monday, December 19, 2011

She'll always be my baby....

I have one daughter. She is 4 years old and pretend play and using her imagination are what she does right now. She is constantly in "play mode". She loves dress ups, her dollhouse but what she REALLY loves is baby dolls, I mean really really loves them, she has about 12 of them. She has such a nurturing heart and loves to take care of them. She sleeps with about 4 of them and tucks the rest of them into their various beds she has made for them. She takes after her mother in this regard as I loved to play with dolls too as a girl.

So for Christmas guess what she wants (may or may not be this exact doll pictured)? My husband has wondered out loud several times why she NEEDS another baby? Well honestly she doesn't NEED one that's for sure, but she is getting one.

The method behind my madness is this....I want to encourage her playing with dolls for a couple of reasons. First I am thrilled that she is playing with baby dolls and not wanting Bratz dolls or Monster High dolls etc... She is so little and will grow up so fast, I want her to stay as innocent and young as possible for as long as she will stay little. Secondly, I hope she chooses to be a mother someday. I hope her love of nurturing stays strong...she already has a "mothering heart" and I want to encourage that as much as possible.

So yes we will introduce baby doll #13 (or 14 or whatever the number) on Christmas day and she will give as much love to that dolly as to the others and I will love every moment watching her do it (and will most likely join in her play:)!

Besides, there's nothing like the smell of a new doll on Christmas...

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas stories

One of our favorite Christmas traditions is reading a Christmas story every night before bed. I am always looking for a good one so....this week at our book club this week we talked about our favorite Christmas stories (mostly for children)...I compiled a list and thought I'd share.

Snowball Soup by Mercer Meyer
The Gift of the Magi by O’Henry
Christmas Day in the Morning by Pearl Buck
The Littlest Angel by Charles Tazewell
Bear Stays up for Christmas by Karma Wilson
A Christmas Dress for Ellen by Thomas S Monson
Christmas is not just once a year by Heinrich Boll (a short story more for adults than children)
The Best Christmas Pageant ever by Barbara Robinson
The Three Trees by Angela Elwell Hunt
Christmas Oranges by Linda Ethers
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski
Merry Christmas Big Hungry Bear by Audrey Wood
Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner
Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

What are your favorite children's Christmas stories? I'd love to add to this list.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Just laugh Mom...

Last night I was tired...sooo tired. My husband is gone most Tuesday nights teaching an Institute class for the young single adults so I was flying solo. Not only was I tired, but a bit grumpy as well. I wanted kids in bed so I could relax and fall asleep.

I sent them up to brush teeth and climb in bed. From all the noise upstairs I could tell it wasn't happening. I started to march upstairs to be drill sargeant Mom. This face greeted me. He told me he had put on 13 shirts and 5 pair of shorts and said, "Look how buff I look!" I started to scold a bit, but then I looked at him and I started to smile and was trying to hold back the laughter. He noticed it being the extremely observant child he is and said, "Come on Mom just laugh!" So I did. It was a fun moment and lightened my mood.

I was able to go upstairs and be a happy Mom putting my kids to bed. Thank you son for being my comedic relief (he often is!)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Middle of nowhere....

If you are every having a hard time being patient with your children, two things rest assured will help that:

1. Watching them sleep
2. Listening to them pray

This morning my 6 year old said the absolute sweetest prayer. He said, "Please bless those who live in the middle of nowhere that they will find peace and comfort and be warm and have something to eat."

Not sure where he got the phrase "those who live in the middle of nowhere" but he is very concerned about them. Maybe we need to figure out a way to do service for those inhabitants of "the middle of nowhere".