Every year I feel like I get a little better at the holidays. This year, we got our Christmas cards out before Christmas. We had our presents (for our kids) wrapped on time…and didn’t have to stay up until the wee morning hours on Christmas Eve to get it done. I made sugar cookies with the kids and we delivered them to friends. I helped Carter write and deliver his first letter to Santa. I started prepping for Christmas Eve dinner a few days in advance so it was less stressful on Christmas Eve. We started a new tradition of Christmas morning crepes because they’re soooo much easier than the cinnamon rolls I used to make. We did our first family reenactment of the nativity, and this was my favorite thing about our entire Christmas season.
And yet, there are so many things I wish I could have done better. I have a constant, nagging feeling that I’m not doing enough. I want to follow Light the World better. I want to tie Christmas more closely to the Savior, and make sure my kids know the true meaning of the holiday. I want to do more service with my family. I want to make more crafts. I want to help my kids make presents for others. I want to make gingerbread houses (we got some kits for my parents but they are still in boxes!)…and on and on. Continue reading “The Big Christmas Post”
A few weeks ago, President Hancock (side note: a man who gives me hope in the Church, and whom I deeply admire) asked me to speak at the adult session of stake conference. Talk about whatever you want, he said. I felt honored, blessed, excited and overwhelmed. I would be camping with my family for most of the time I had to prepare, and the conference session fell on same day as Carter’s fourth birthday party. It was a veritable outpouring of blessings (and work!) in a short period of time.
Preparing for the talk was perhaps the greatest blessing of all. I hauled my quad to Colorado as we camped all over the state, reading scriptures and swatting mosquitoes each night by lantern light as the kids slept in our tent. It was a welcome reminder that there is no excuse for shallow scripture study. Deep and meaningful scripture study connects my Spirit with God and gives me power. Recommitting to make my daily scripture studies more meaningful…starting now.
As I prayed fervently for inspiration, the Spirit guided me to study specific topics and read the book of Matthew. I didn’t receive any clear direction for my talk for several weeks. Instead, the Spirit seemed to tell me, as long as you are spending time asking for answers and searching the Word, inspiration will come. Continue reading “My Stake Conference Talk: Willing to Be Disturbed and Willing to Disturb”
A dear friend shared this C.S. Lewis quote on Easter Sunday and it resonated with me deeply:
There is a stage in a child’s life at which it cannot separate the religious from the merely festal character of Christmas or Easter. I have been told of a very small and very devout boy who was heard murmuring to himself on Easter morning a poem of his own composition which began ‘Chocolate eggs and Jesus risen’. This seems to me, for his age, both admirable poetry and admirable piety. But of course the time will soon come when such a child can no longer effortlessly and spontaneously enjoy that unity. He will become able to distinguish the spiritual from the ritual and festal aspect of Easter; chocolate eggs will no longer be sacramental. And once he has distinguished he must put one or the other first. If he puts the spiritual first he can still taste something of Easter in the chocolate eggs; if he puts the eggs first they will soon be no more than any other sweetmeat. They have taken on an independent, and therefore a soon withering, life.
The young child could be Carter; the words of the poem might sound more like, “pink planes and ding dings and candy for me. My testimony in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.” Continue reading “Chocolate Eggs and Jesus Risen”