Homeschool Conference!!!

Look at all those beautiful little feet two people can create!

Look at all those beautiful little feet two people can create!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The "No" Parent...

Tonight I was told I am the "No" Parent...
what a crappy thing to hear.

WARNING: 
This is not going to be one of my happier posts...so if you are looking for a bunch of joyful thoughts, this may not be the place...
tonight this blog is all about pouring out my heart and trying to find solace in this hard place called Motherhood.

Why can't I just close my eyes and not worry about my kids so much? 
Why does my heart have to hurt and feel concern? 

Why do I find myself comparing me, as the Mom, and my family to other moms and other families?  Why do I feel like I'm just not cutting it???

Yes, I've whined like this before...
I know, it's not pretty,
but
sometimes it just happens...
and tonight
my heart needs to dump.

We hear all the comments that people spout off about how kids will always turn out just so,
as long as we do all the right things in raising them. 
If we take them to church
and we read to them at night
and we say our prayers together
and we have meals together as a family
and we play with them
and tell them how much they mean to us
that all will turn out in a "happily ever after" sort of fashion. 

WELL...
I haven't been perfect
BUT I am going to say that I have given it my all, I've done EVERYTHING I've been able to do...

I've poured my entire heart and soul into these kids that were sent to me. 
I've loved them all the time,
even on days that they felt less than lovable...
I've held them,
I rocked them to sleep every single night of their little lives,
I pray for them,
I hug them,
I tell them I love them,
I really do try to be the best Mom I know how to be...

but guess what,
that's not always enough...
sometimes they still don't really like you...

and guess what else
it really hurts when that happens

and guess what else
nothing anyone says or does makes it any easier.

My heart doesn't stop worrying
my heart doesn't stop wishing that they thought I still made the world go around, just like they believed when they were little tiny people.

It really stinks when one of those little children,
that aren't so little anymore,
look at you with rolling eyes and a look of utter disgust in their face...
I wish I could wipe that memory from my mind like I can wipe away words from my white board, but I can't...it's right there, vivid and yucky!

To be told from your kids how much they hate their life, or how living in this house sucks, or how they never get to do anything, or that they are "the one" who has to do everything, or to hear the words I did tonight ~ "You are the No Mom...you always say no!" 

And then to have the "No Parent" comment confirmed by my husband.
To be fair, I told him he was acting more like the friend than the parent...

Sometimes we say things we wish we could take back. 
Why does this have to happen between husband and wife when things are already so hard in the Mom and Dad department???  We are okay, hard times do come when raising kids, especially when you don't always see eye to eye, but we communicate well and we'll tackle this one just like everything else...but right now, my feelings are just a little too achey.

Dang, I just wanna give up. 
I can't,
but I sure want to!
I want to get in my car and just go have a little vacation doing something I want to do.
If what I am doing is turning out so crummy in the eyes of my family, then by all rights, I should be out doing something else ~

I could be walking along the beach ~
but when I say that,
I instantly feel empty at the thought of being there without my kids...
beaches are where our kids build sand castles and run out to chase the waves,
beaches are for smiles and giggles and shovels and pails,
they are for covering each other with sand until a mermaid appears before our eyes...

What am I ever going to be without being the Mom. 
It's all that I really know how to do.,..
and
apparently I am doing a pretty crappy job of it...

Yes, pity party filled with all the tears you could ever imagine happening right here, right now!!!

When I look around at other families
(I know I'm not supposed to be doing that, BUT I do!)

It "Appears",
that is the magical word here...
because how do I really know, it's just my perception of their life. 
Anyway, for the sake of my story,
it appears that all is rosy and peaceful. 
Then I look at what they are doing as parents and I think to myself,
"Well, I am trying to do the same sorts of things,
so WHY? 
Why is there all this strife and struggle happening?" 

It's that dang thing we've all been given...
and my kids are choosing to exercise it...
you can call it what you may ~
agency or free will ~
We've all been given this,
it is our right to exercise
and it is good
but it also makes it really hard to be the Mom sometimes.

When I fear that one of my children are straying from the path that I believe will lead them to happiness, what do I do?
Do I just sit by and watch?
Do I jump in and try to fix it all?
Do I attempt to force them to do it my way?
Do I try to bring everything to a screeching halt?
Do I keep saying no or do I say yes and hope for the best?
Do I tighten or loosen the Momma strings?

I just want them to be happy.
I just want them to be safe.
I just want them to be living the life that is best for them.
I just want them...
that's what it is ...
I just
want
them.

I want to hold them and not allow them to grow up...
maybe that is why I say no.

I didn't even know that I was a no mom,
I really try to be
the happy, joy filled "yes" mom
that makes smiles come to the faces of my kids,
but I guess I'm not.

I should be happy that my kids are not out doing horrible acts,
they are not committing crimes,
or offending anyone,
or causing problems,
they are just rebelling a little
and pulling away a lot
and I am desperately pulling just as hard as I can to keep them close
and safe...

I'm not a good mom for older kids.
I've got it down for the little ones,
but it is so much harder when they want to be independent
when they want to go out there and explore
and become
and grow
and get ready to go...

Thanks for listening to my heart
I don't know who you are
I don't know if you've ever felt these same feelings
or thought these same thoughts
or cried these same tears...
I don't know if you've ever prayed with all your might
and worried that it just might not be enough
but had the faith to believe it just had to be...

I wonder if you knew what to do
I wonder if your heart felt peace
or worry and concern
I wonder if I will feel this with each of these children
if some will be easier
and some harder
or if it is just one of the things that moms get to go through...
and I wonder just how many tears these eyes of mine can hold.


Friday, December 21, 2012

Revisiting Joy....

Is it safe to be JOYOUS???

This was a post I wrote some time back...
Yesterday I had three different comments in various forms come to me regarding the words that I shared then.

SOOOOO...
I was a little curious why this post all of a sudden brought about the "feelings" that it did,
why 3 in the same day???

I went to that post,
I read it,
I cried,
I smiled,
I laughed,
I cried a little more,
then I hugged my husband
and thanked him for who he is
and what he has done for me for the past several months.

Then I just pondered...
....
....
...
...
...

so many things to ponder,
so many thoughts,
so many tender feelings,
so much growth
and understanding about myself,
hard things
and
happy things
and
enlightening things...

Even though life is still not really "back to normal" ~ whatever that means...
I am doing well...
I am happy,
I am content,
I laugh everyday,
I smile everyday,
I count my blessings everyday,
I try to remember how far I've come ~ in so many ways,
how much I've learned.
How much this "trial" ~ if we should call it such a nasty name ~
has helped me to feel a little more alive
it has helped me to focus on some of the things that I've put off
because I was too busy
too pre-occupied with "life"
too caught up in all the stuff that needed to be happening.
or that I THOUGHT needed to be happening...

I'm certain I've mentioned this before,
but it is amazing that when "we put out there"
that we are tired,
that we need a break,
that we wish life could just slow down a smidge,
when we wish that we had just a moment to stop and smell the roses, if you will...

that those very wishes may be heard
and then answered
and we may feel a little shocked
even mystified
that the "things" we had asked for ~
even though we didn't REALLY mean them (at least not in their entirety)
come to pass...

Such is the life I have been living for the past 6 + months...

and after re-reading my post (Is it safe to be joyous?)
I was overcome with emotions I did not expect to feel.

For Heaven's Sake,
I wrote the post...
why did it move me so?
why did I lose sleep over the words that I shared months ago?

Why did I read it as though I had never read the words before?
Why did I feel as though I was in some one elses shoes reading the story of another struggling woman?
I was so surprised at my feelings...
yet so grateful for them...
so grateful I had taken the time to pour out my heart ~
as hard as it was.
How grateful I am that maybe in some small way, my words will help some one else.

And today,
as I am contemplating
BIG things
in my life
and trying to move forward
leaving all the fear behind me
wishing to not just "fit in"
but to
STAND OUT
by doing anything
and everything
my heart leads me to do...
I am grateful that I re-read the words I shared then...
because some of them had grown dim in my mind,
some I may have even disregarded...
BUT
today
I feel renewed
and I remember
and
I look forward to all my days ahead of me
knowing
that
It
IS
SAFE
To Be
JOYOUS
and
my heart is so full of it!!!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Keeping it alive...


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 Christmas time. In all of the joyousness it is well to reflect that Christmas comes at 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 the shepherds on steep, bare hills near Bethlehem, angels with their glad tidings, the 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 dies out and needles fall.
The candles burn down.
The beautiful wrappings go out with the trash,
the carolers are up on the ski slopes,
the toys break,
and the biggest day in the stores for the entire year is exchange day, December 26th.
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 day, very soon, when Mother will put away the decorations and vacuum the living room and think, “Thank goodness that this is 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 the 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 Christ,
creator of worlds without number,
who wept 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 - that all mankind can celebrate Christmas all year and all life long.

by William B. Smart, Messages for a Happier Life

I loved this story and how it touched my heart...
I love the first and second levels of Christmas so very much!!!
I truly believe I could linger in them forever...
they feel magical and blissful to me, but it is really the third level that does change hearts and makes a difference.




















This is a story that will be added to our Christmas Book that we pull out each year; sharing stories nightly through the month of December is a treasure that I look forward to and cherish. 
I have hope that the stories we share with our children will last in their hearts and that by keeping the Spirit of CHRISTmas alive in our home, a difference will be felt by all who live within these walls.


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Awesome Stuff...

Let's try it!  A gratitude jar filled with memories...

Saw this and thought to myself ~
"What a marvelous idea...
I'm so gonna make this happen for myself and for our kiddos!"

The best part about this idea
 is that it will cause us
to focus on all the super wonderful moments
of our day
and then jot 'em down...
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this!!!

It's sad that we "forget" so easily all the awesome stuff that happens...

This will be such a wonderful gift to ourselves...
and will serve as a beautiful reminder that life is good!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

On the first day...

In honor of 12/12/12 and the Twelve Days of Christmas,
I challenged myself
and each of our children
to ponder
and then write down
12 things
they are Thankful to God for...

This is something we typically focus on around Thanksgiving,
but this just feels right to revisit.

The tough part will be to narrow my list to just 12...
my problem has never been with ingratitude;
I could go on and on and on and on and on with all that I am truly grateful for, I have been richly blessed in this life and
I choose to focus on my blessings,
it keeps me smiling each day!

So, the song that comes to mind that is just replaying itself over and over is ~

"On the first day of Christmas,
my true love gave to me..."

maybe that is because the things I am grateful or thankful for I really do believe have been given to me...God or Heavenly Father (however you wish to refer to Him) has blessed my life in the richest of ways. 
Sometimes those blessings are revealed through trials, and at other times through rays of sunlight and smiles...
but He is always there giving me what He knows I need to become who I am to become.

So back to it...here is my list:

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...
The blessing of a husband who treats me as a Princess each day of my life.
He is my Knight in Shining Armor and I KNOW he was a gift to me, he was given to me to help me smile each day, he was given to me to help me see me the way he does, he was given to me to help me make my dreams come true, he was given to me to help me work through the trials I would face in this life, he was given to me as a reminder that good does exist in this world!

One the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...
one little baby girl
and another baby girl
and then a little baby boy
and one more baby boy
and another tiny little baby boy
and then another sweet baby girl
and finally one last little baby girl...

On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...
Arms and a Body to hold that dear husband of mine close
and to rock those sweet little babies each and every beautiful night.
This body He gave me allows me to do all I could ever dream of,
the only thing that limits me...is me ~ He sent me here to show Him and myself what I could and would do. 
The best thing I believe I could do is to use this body to Love those He sent to me
and to love the body I was blessed with.

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...
The best friends I could ever dream of having...
those that I could laugh with
cry with
run with
dance with
and talk endless hours with...
he gave me friends for every season of my life.
He gave me a heart big enough to love each of them for who they are
and to cherish the time (limited as it may be) that I have with them.

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...
Parents who have always loved me and supported me.
A mom who showed me how to love my family through the service I could share with them, a mom who taught me the value of taking care of myself, my family and my home, a mom who is always there, a mom who I treasure and am thankful every day of my life for, a mom who is so much more than just a mom...she is my friend!
A dad who showed me what hard work is, a dad who taught me to play baseball in the backyard and run for all I was worth, a dad who tried with all his might to turn me into the boy he never had, a dad who has softened into one of the sweetest men you will ever know.  A dad that I am so grateful I can call My DAD. 

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...
A sister that I could grow up with...
a sister that I could learn life lessons with...
a sister that even through all the hard times and the battles we've had to endure is still present in my life and more importantly in my heart...a sister that I love and cherish and am so grateful to have close by.  A sister that I hope to spend countless hours of happiness with in the very near future!

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...
A mind with which to think
and to dream
and to imagine
and to create.
A mind that allows me every opportunity in the world.
A mind that is alive and vibrant and full of life and wonder!

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...
flushing toilets,
hot showers,
curling irons and hairspray and lip gloss,
and at the end of a hard day
hot bubble baths with beautiful candles and dark chocolate.
(Do you like how I squeezed a whole bunch all into one...that still counts, right?)

On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...
Wonderful kitchen tools
and the desire to create in that wonderful room in my home!
I am so thankful for all of the delicious foods we have to choose from,
I love the colors of food
and the smells
the various textures...
I love spices and how they make food just JUMP to life!
I love the fun I have in my kitchen with my family.
I love the smiles and the oohs and aahs that come after a yummy meal has touched their happy little taste buds.

On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...
Beautiful things that surround me no matter which way I turn ~
whether they be artwork created by a famous artist or the sweet artwork of a child,
the beautiful music that I am blessed to hear,
the budding flowers,
or the snowflakes falling from the skies.
The sunsets and rainbows,
the smiles of little children,
the birds that fly overhead
or the wonder created by using my imagination.
I am so thankful for this magnificent world and all the creations that are here for us to enjoy.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...
The gift of expressing myself.
The gift of being okay with expressing myself.
The gift of being me and finally loving me.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...
the gift of the Atonement...

the biggest of all gifts.

My Savior died for me and I know with all of my heart, He would have done it for me and me alone if I were the only person on this earth...I am thankful to Him for loving me enough to pay the price for me...to suffer for me...to experience all the trials, heartache and disappointments I would have to go through. He gives me strength and a purpose...He helps me to believe when I doubt.

"The Atonement makes wrong things right"
is a quote that I received from a friend many, many months ago...
it just makes sense and again proves that HIS GIFT is the greatest of all.
With this gift, things that I may do wrong can be made right through repentance.
With this gift, things that others do to wrong me allows me to feel peace because that is His promise.
With this gift, the ugly things in this world, the things that bring tears to my eyes and pain in my heart can and will be made right.
The Atonement is a most priceless gift for each and every one of us, but is often unnoticed or invisible, please always remember how very much YOU are loved.

My gift back to Him will be to live a life in which I share all the love I can with all that I ever meet.

Happy 12 Days of Christmas to you!













I'd really love to do a little cheating about now...
Don't you think we should add a couple extras???

On the 13th day, on the 14th day, on the 15th day...

I feel like I should be listing the 25 days of Christmas...

So so so so many wonderful things to cherish and be thankful for in life...
now I'm challenging you...
you will be grateful you spent the time on this.

I am happy enough to do a little happy dance...don't ya wanna feel that way, too?
Then we could be happy dancin' together!  :0)

Don't Forget...

Let's not forget to focus on what is really worth remembering...

Merry Christmas to each of you!
Photo: Keeping the true meaning of Christmas in our hearts and passing it along to our children is the best gift we can give them.  Merry Christmas!
(found on facebook ~ from The Busy Homeschool Mom)

Friday, December 7, 2012

O Come, Emmanuel

This may very well be one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen...
I could listen and watch it over and over and over...

If your heart is in need of a little Christmas Spirit, take a few minutes to watch this and you will be overflowing!
I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do...

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Texas Grilled Chicken with Lime Butter and Mexican Rice with Creamy Tomatillo and Cilantro Dressing

Oh my goodness...

Are you ready for the yummiest dinner EVER???

This is so tasty that my mouth is actually watering just thinking about it!!!

YOU WILL WANT TO MAKE THIS ONE...don't even give it a second thought, just get all your ingredients together and get busy...you are gonna WOW everyone who eats it, I PROMISE!!!

First, let's make a little marinade and get that chicken doin' it's thing!

Texas Grilled Chicken with Lime Butter

You will need:
4 -5 large chicken breasts,
set them to the side to rest
while you combine the following for your spice seasoning marinade:
(JUST A LITTLE NOTE HERE:
if you are feeding an army, like I do...
You can easily adjust this recipe, just double it.
OR if you are preparing it for a dinner party, quadruple the hummer and make a load of people smile!)
2 Tbsp Cinnamon
2 Tbsp Chili Powder
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
2 tsp Cocoa powder
salt and pepper (probably a tsp of each...or more if you prefer)
5 Tbsp Olive Oil
3 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
Stir together well...then add a little water (just a tsp or so at a time...you just want this to be runny enough to coat your chicken breasts well on both sides)

Coat the chicken breasts and let them hang out for a while...you decide...could be for as little as 30 minutes or so -- up to all afternoon if you stick them in the fridge.
When ready, grill over medium heat -- about 7-8 minutes each side.

Drizzle with lime butter: 
(Don't be tempted to leave this off thinking the chicken will have enough flavor ~ even though it really does ~ but I'm tellin' ya this drizzle is to die for, so take just a minute and throw it together, you'll be so happy you did!)
1/2 C melted butter
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 Serrano Chili, minced
2 Tbsp minced onion
Handful of cilantro, chopped

Mix all together and drizzle away over the top of your grilled chicken breasts...
Garnish with lime wedge and serve with the delish Rice Recipe.

Alrighty...now for that deeeeelicious rice recipe...

Mexican Rice with Creamy Tomatillo and Cilantro Dressing

Ingredients for Rice:
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 large white or yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small can chopped mild green chiles
2 C Brown Rice
3 1/2 C chicken stock
salt and pepper

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat...toss in onion, garlic and green chiles.  Cook until onion is soft, about 5 - 10 min.  Mix in rice, stir about 2 minutes.  Add chicken stock, bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and cover...cook until rice is tender and broth is absorbed.  (BROWN RICE takes a little longer to cook, so be patient...it is so much tastier than white rice, you'll be glad you tried it!)
Turn off heat and let rice rest covered for about 5 minutes, then add dressing and toss...then serve alongside your Texas Grilled Chicken!

Ingredients for Tomatillo and Cilantro Dressing:
First I'll give you the "real" recipe...
Then I'll give you "MY FAVORITE VERSION"...
both are super yummy!!!

2 C Mayonnaise
2 C Sour Cream
Bundle of fresh Cilantro, washed and with stems removed
3-5 Tomatillos, quartered
1 garlic clove
2 green onions
1 Serrano chile, seeded and chopped
1 tsp salt and pepper
2 tsp Cumin
3 Tbsp fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until nice and smooth.
Give it a little taste, if it still needs a little extra zing, add in a bit more lime and possibly another pinch of salt and pepper.

Now for MY FAVORITE VERSION!!!!
Substitute the Mayo for Vanilla Bean Ice Cream...
You gotta try it, it is so, so, so divine!!!

It's actually a GREAT thing when you run out of certain ingredients...
that's when the magic happens!!!
I love "creating" in the kitchen...the things we can come up with are remarkable!

I do hope you'll love these recipes...they are some of my favorites...I've done a lot of tweaking to get them "JUST SO" ~ feel free to do the same if you desire.  :0)


And the Magic has begun...

Only 20 more days!!!


So many wonderful things to fit in...
right now, it's time to finish up our paper snowflakes...love, love, love making these with my kiddos!!!

Tomorrow, we'll be whipping up a batch of these adorable snowmen!!!

Is it any wonder, I LOVE this time of year???

So many fun things to do with so many fun kids...

Our paper countdown chains are up,
and the creations are appearing EVERYWHERE!!!

(along with the creations, come huge messes...
papers here and there
yarn spread throughout the house
stickers stuck to every surface
glue residue on the counters
scraps of fabric and cotton scattered
and my personal favorite --
my floor glitters and shines like no other...
pretty magnificent!)

We have so much more to do...
here's a small sample of the fun we've been having!
Stinkin' cute, huh???


December is the perfect month to be as creative as your heart desires...
keep watching...
I'm sure I'll be doing a little show and tell throughout the month.  :)

A gift for you...

During this busy time of year, I wanted to give you each a special gift…


Since I can’t drop in to each of your homes, I thought I’d share some special quotes of Christmas and the beautiful Spirit that accompanies this wonderful time of year.

My hope for you is that you will sneak in a little time to sit and relax and to soak in the wonder of Christmas; that life will not be so busy that you will breeze past all that is lovely and peaceful. It is so easy to do as we prepare for all the festivities of this season…pamper yourself a little…grab a cup of cocoa, a nice soft blanket and wrap yourself up in the wonder of all that is to come ~ you deserve it!!!

Wishing you a beautiful Christmas full of all that makes your heart smile!

Love, Stacey

“When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things - not the great occasions - give off the greatest glow of happiness." Bob Hope

“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful."

“It comes every year and will go on forever. And along with Christmas belong the keepsakes and the customs. Those humble, everyday things a mother clings to, and ponders, like Mary in the secret spaces of her heart.” Marjorie Holmes

“Were I a philosopher, I should write a philosophy of toys, showing that nothing else in life need to be taken seriously, and that Christmas Day in the company of children is one of the few occasions on which men become entirely alive." Robert Lynd

“What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace." Agnes M. Pahro

“And when we give each other Christmas gifts in His name, let us remember that He has given us the sun and the moon and the stars, and the earth with its forests and mountains and oceans--and all that lives and move upon them. He has given us all green things and everything that blossoms and bears fruit and all that we quarrel about and all that we have misused--and to save us from our foolishness, from all our sins, He came down to earth and gave us Himself.” Sigrid Undset

“If you desire to find the true spirit of Christmas and partake of the sweetness of it, let me make this suggestion to you. During the hurry of the festive occasion of this Christmas season, find time to turn your heart to God. Perhaps in the quiet hours, and in a quiet place, and on your knees—alone or with loved ones—give thanks for the good things that have come to you, and ask that His Spirit might dwell in you as you earnestly strive to serve Him and keep His commandments. He will take you by the hand and His promises will be kept.” Howard W. Hunter

…I realized that tradition is priceless, whether you have a small family, a large family, or no family. Tradition doesn't have to be logical; it only has to emphasize the light of Christ and his everlasting love.”