Monday, December 27, 2010

We all have a part in the Christmas Story

Here is a little Christmas poem I wrote for my Primary kids!

To live a life as pure and clean as little Jesus did, 
is hard to do for me and you,
we make mistakes and sin.

But when we make a promise to take upon his name--
to hear his charge to change our hearts, 
and let his spirit in....
we will shine as brightly as the star on Christmas night,
and guide all those around us to his pure and perfect light.

And like the holy angels, who sang about his birth,
we can tell the story of his coming to the earth.
We can kneel before him, as the lowly shepherds did,
and give our hearts and all we have
like the wise men gave their gifts.

We were not there that holy night, to hear the angels sing.
But we're here NOW to share the LOVE of our
Savior, Lord and King!!

The Christmas Grump!

I was really  grouchy on Christmas day this year!  I just couldn't get into the fun and excitement.  I tried, but my heart was somewhere far away.  I felt like I wanted to burst out bawling and throw myself into bed for the remainder of the day.  I was completely lonely in a house filled with people I love and I felt like there was no one who could understand how I was feeling.

I felt burdened with weird emotions, frustrations, annoyances and hard feelings that I just couldn't shake.  The more I felt them, the angrier I got with myself for feeling so weird and for choosing Christmas day, of all days to throw my inner pity party.  It was a lame party....let me tell ya.

Just the night before I had made a personal commitment to be more grateful for all of the good and "not so good" in my life, and here I was, already feeling sorry for myself and finding it most difficult to be happy on the happiest day of the year!

Tyler dropped me off at home in the afternoon to put the girls down for their naps, and then he quickly returned to his parent's house to play games and hang out with his family!  I was trying my hardest to hold all of my emotions down, just waiting to let them burst after he shut the door, but he paused on his way out to thank me for the Christmas gift I had given him this year (which was very sweet of him), and I couldn't hold it in for another second and burst into tears!  I wouldn't even accept his offer for a hug and just told him to go.

I had a good, hard, deep cry letting out all of my sadness and bitterness.  Sadness and bitterness that had a million origins. I didn't even know all of it existed until then.  When I look back at it, I can see that it had been building up for a long time, little aches and pains in my heart that I didn't really know what to do with, so I'd just grit my teeth and try not to lash out in anger.
After my cry I just sat on the couch thinking about how I was feeling.  Why was everything hurting me like it was?  I still don't know for sure.  What I do know is that sometimes life just does.  People are imperfect and we ourselves are imperfect, and sometimes our expectations don't line up with the desires and behavior of others.  People hurt us without even meaning to, and the unfortunate truth is some people are just a little too selfish.  It's all okay though, because we are learning.  We are all in need of repentance and forgiveness and on that day when we celebrated the birth of our Savior, I realized once again, just what he means to me.  How constantly I need him, and how all of the sadness and bitterness he took upon himself, was to allow me the choice to leave it with him, and not have to carry it all on my own.

Truly something to celebrate!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Fine and Fancy

When I was a little girl, my mom used to tell me I'd need to marry a wealthy man to please my taste for pretty and expensive things!  She used to say it with a tone in her voice that made me feel badly about my love of all things fine and fancy!  

As I've grown into a woman, I realize I don't need a wealthy man, but rather a man who loves the fact that beautiful things speak to my heart and when possible, honors my desire to be surrounded by that beauty.

For quite some time, I have admired a work of art entitled "For This Child I Prayed" by Elspeth Young.  It is a moving depiction of Hannah and the baby Samuel from the bible.  I have always loved the story of this brave woman who longed for the role of motherhood and promised the Lord that the child would be his, if he would just bless her with a son.  What a faithful and beautiful woman Hannah was!  I love a good story of feminine strength!!

This piece of art expresses something I feel deeply as a mother! It warms my heart with all of the joy and gratitude I feel for the babies I love!  It is more than art.  To me it is a masterpiece and whenever something touches me this deeply, I long to have it in my home.

A month or so ago, Tyler surprised me with this very painting and reminded me that enjoying the things that move your heart is an important part of this life.  Wealthy (which he is in so many ways), or not, my sweetheart has blessed me with many beautiful things over the years, and I love him so deeply for that.

I was reading a book about Marjorie Pay Hinckley a short time ago, where she tells a story of one of her travels to a distant and not so prosperous land.  She entered the tiny, modest home of a family and saw up on a high shelf a simple pitcher filled with plastic flowers!!  It put a smile on her face to see a mother doing her part to beautify her home.....even if it is with one vase of fake flowers!

As women, we put the final touch on our home, and creating a place of warmth and beauty is a part of utilizing our creative power!  "Fine and fancy" is in the eye of the beholder.  What is beautiful to me may not be to you.  The point I am trying to make here though,is that it's okay to love something beautiful.....that is what we were created to do!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Great Gratitude Experience

I am on a quest for complete joy and connection in my life, and I've had a brilliant idea!  This is a brilliant idea for MY situation and MY needs, but I think it applies to everyone and I want to share it and invite everyone I know to join in!

I am calling it "The Great Gratitude Experience of 2011", and my goal this new year is to blow my gratitude into a great big epic ball of energy that will heal myself, my family and the whole world!!! 

A little too ambitious?  Perhaps, but I honestly feel that if we can put more focus on giving thanks to God and those around us for what we DO have, amazing transformations can take place in our lives and I am set on proving that to myself in this next year of my life!!

2010 has been a beautiful year for me!  I think I can say I am a better version of myself now, having experienced this year!  I have so much to be grateful for.....we all do, and it serves us a great deal, to look for those things and then actually give thanks for them!

"Do we want our homes to be happy? If we do, let them be the abiding place of prayer, thanksgiving and gratitude"  
~President George Albert Smith 1944  

And who wants a happy home?  Hello.......all of us!
"Gratitude is a Spirit‑filled principle. It opens our minds to a universe permeated with the richness of a living God. Through it, we become spiritually aware of the wonder of the smallest things, which gladden our hearts with their messages of God's love. This grateful awareness heightens our sensitivity to divine direction. When we communicate gratitude, we can be filled with the Spirit and connected to those around us and the Lord. Gratitude inspires happiness and carries divine influence."  
~Bonnie D. Parkin  2007

By being grateful, we become better people, and the beautiful thing is that it opens us up to receive those things we actually are lacking or desperately needing in our lives!

So here is my idea!

1- Buy yourself a journal, or notebook or stack of paper, and the first assignment is to simply write out exactly what you wish your life could look like.  This is your big chance to vent about all of the things that are lacking in your life, but instead of writing about what you don't have just write up a description of the way you want your life to look!  Include the type of person you wish to be as well.

2 - Find yourself a "Gratitude Buddy", someone who wants to participate in this with you.

3 - Everyday at some point write down at least 5 things you are grateful for that day.  

4- When you say your prayers be sure to give thanks to Heavenly Father for the good things you have noticed during your day!

5 - Once a week email or text your list from the week (up to 20 things) to your Gratitude Buddy, and they should email their list to you.  What this does is hopefully create an energy of optimism in your life.  If you want to, you can email your list to a whole group of people!

6 - At the end of the year look at that first page you wrote, about all of the things you hope for, and see how much closer you are to having that life, and to being that person!!
My guess is that it will "surprise you what the Lord has done"! (Count Your Many Blessings)

We don't need to dwell so much on what is lacking in our lives, or how badly we feel things are going, or the ever popular....I'll be happy when....statements! It seems like we spend too much time discussing all of our problems and disappointments with those around us, which isn't always bad, it is good to have friends to lean on and support us through trials, but what if we shifted our focus off of our lack and placed in on our blessings?  I guarantee our desire to complain will go down, and we will be blessed beyond what we think possible!!

"And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more."  ~Doctrine and Covenants 78:19

So are you with me?