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Look carefully...at the seemingly small moments...in the constant shaping of souls.- Neal A.Maxwell
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Years ago, 4 or 5 year old B came running into the house Christmas afternoon wanting to know why Santa had given him one gift [a scooter I believe] but had given the neighbor boy multiple gifts [an electric scooter, an MP3 player, a portable DVD player, DVD's and video games].  "You have brothers and the neighbor doesn't," I responded.  B thought for a moment, said, "I'll take brothers!" and went back out to play.


This Christmas Eve I was talking to my neighbor while she was making a huge batch of goldenrod eggs.  She currently has 2 grandchildren, a grandchild-in-law, 3 dogs and 2 turtles living with her.  Even more people were coming for dinner that evening.  While we were talking we would be interupted by a phone ringing or a dog barking.  After one interuption she laughed and asked how I could stand coming over.  She knows I love her.  She knows I love her family.  I don't know if she fully knows how grateful I am to be included as family.


Our church hosts an annual Nativity festival where 700 - 1000 nativites belonging to community members are displayed.  During take down this year my friend asked what I kept smiling about.  I pointed to all the people disassembling, boxing, sweeping.... I told her it was fun to be part of such a big family effort.  Likewise when, after the elementary school production of "The Grinch", the principal asked the audience to help put the gymnasium back together by stacking chairs, pushing in bleachers, taking down decorations...


At times people confuse one of my best friends and I for each other.  When are together we are often asked if we are sisters.  I like my friend's recent reply, "Yes, we're sisters seperated before birth."


United at or seperated before birth, like B, "I'll take family."


More Favorites

Yesterday I spoke too soon. 

E has spent most of the past 15 Christmas Eve evenings with us.    She is chronologically in her 60's but developmentally still a child.  E loves routine so we try to do the same things each year: eat dinner, listen to Christmas music and drive through a huge light display a local business sets up annually.  This year E seems to have had some physical issues that caused her to not smell very good, even from a distance.  15-year old C and 11-year old B did not bat an eye.  B entertained E with some animated Christmas decorations while C helped my husband and I get dinner on the table.  After dinner the boys played Wii in the back room while the adults listened to music in the front room.  When it was time to take E home, via the light display, I went to the back room and told the boys they could stay home if they chose.  It was not even a question to them.  They jumped up, ready to pile in the van.  Their kind, commentless, willingness to participate was a gift on par with J's journal. 

My Favorite Gift

It's not Christmas and I have opened only gift but I already know it is my favorite.  My missionary son, J, started a journal the day he left (18Jul12).  He has written in it every day through 21Dec12.  He shipped it priorty mail as a Christmas gift to the family with a card that says in part, "I knew it was going to be hard to be away for 2 years so I decided to write in my journal everyday and send it to you for Christmas so you could live the mission with me."  The mailing also included four little taped packages.  The card continues: "The individual gifts are all things I found while out walking.  I gave each of you something that reminded me of you.  Dad: the Hollywood token because of his many stories of California.  Mom: the game token because she always liked to play games.  C: the 50-cent piece because I remember he used to collect them a long time ago.  And B: the lucky pennies because he was always good at finding them."

This is a hard Christmas for me.  With my mom gone, my dad alone and J away.  I am so impressed J knew in July what I would need in December.


My laugh for the day:  J closed his card with: "Thank you for all your letters and the gifts.  The letters are one of my favorite parts of the week.  I plan to buy one of those tree air fresheners, hang it and put the presents under it."


Merry Christmas!



Timely article

15-year old came home from school yesterday and informed me that talk of school shooting threats for 21Dec12 were rampant.  Unfortunately 11-year old was within earshot at the time.  11-year old immediately asked, "Do I have to go to school tomorrow?"  After a reminder to 15-year old to remember his audience when speaking he and I talked to 11-year old.

There is evil in the world.  Bad things happen.  Accidents happen. Proper precaution is important, living in fear, however, is not beneficial to anyone. 

That evening I asked 11-year old to choose a magazine story for us to read.  He selected "The Light of the World", (Friend, Dec12 http://www.lds.org/liahona/2012/12/the-light-of-the-world?lang=eng )  The true story began by telling that a classmate of Erin's had died in a car accident. 

"Now she [Erin] didn’t feel excited for Christmas. She felt worried all the time—scared to get in a car, scared to be apart from her parents, scared to leave her house in case something bad happened to her while she was away. All the Christmas lights on Temple Square couldn’t erase the worried feeling inside her. How could she be happy in a world where she wasn’t always safe?" 

11-year old looked up at me in surprise.  He could relate to how Erin was feeling.  We contined reading.  Erin was listening to a narrator tell the Nativity story. 

“The story ended, and a recording of the prophet’s voice came over the loudspeaker. He bore his testimony and read a scripture from the Bible: “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22).

“Erin’s heart beat faster. She said the words again in her mind, trying to remember them. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

“The scripture said that everyone would die—young people, old people—everyone. Erin knew that, of course, but she hadn’t thought about it much before. She thought she was too young to think about such things. But she wasn’t too young to have a testimony of the truth: because of Jesus Christ, everyone would live again. That’s why the shepherds and Wise Men rejoiced. They understood what Jesus had come to earth to do.

“Erin looked from the little stable to a window in the visitors’ center behind the nativity scene. Inside the building a light shone on a large statue of Jesus stretching out His scarred hands. Erin thought about the little baby in the manger and how He grew into someone who had all power. And yet He chose to sacrifice His life for her. He had been born so she could live again. No matter what happened, Erin could feel safe in Jesus’s love."


11-year old and 15-year old went to school today.  Two police officers were standing at the door of each school - proper precaution.  I am awaiting to hear the report of the day.


Consider also

In the conversations ensuing in the wake of the recent shooting tragedies the desensitizing nature of graphically violent video games should not be ignored.


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