Category Archives: Christmas

Christmas Elves Follow-Up


You’ll remember the delightful Christmas Elves that dropped off a goodie basket at our house?  (the young men and women in our church)

Well, one of the goodies in that goodie basket was so good, and so simple to make, that I did something I haven’t done in years!

I located a recipe for it on the internet, and then not only did I make some, but I shared them with others!  Wow!  🙂

I used to do stuff like that all the time, back when I was a stay-at-home mom.  But now that I have a job outside the home, there is just not much time left for other things, especially the non-essentials.  😦

But, these are so quick and easy, it only takes minutes to do and they look very festive and taste so good!

They are Rolo pretzels with peanut M&Ms!

I bought the little waffle pretzels and laid them on a cookie sheet.  Put one Rolo (chocolate-covered carmel) on each.  Bake at 350 degrees for 3 minutes.  Top with a peanut M&M.  Let cool.  Viola!

These are fast, delicious, and can be topped so many ways.  I even made some on rice crackers with colored mini marshmallows on top so they’d be gluten-free.  Also delicious!

Thank you, Christmas Elves, for such a wonderful treat that jump-started my “homemade” gift-giving efforts again!  🙂

An Extra Special Christmas Season


For an extra special Christmas season this year, consider joining along in the “Light the world. In 25 ways. Over 25 days” initiative by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ primary organization.  They have put together suggestions of things that children can do daily to celebrate and share the Spirit of Christmas in December.  Check it out at Mormon.org/downloads.

And of course, teens and adults can participate as well!

“‘We are reminding children that Jesus Christ is the light of the world,’ said Sister Joy D. Jones, Primary General President. By participating in the “Light the World” initiative, children can do the things that help them not only come to know, but also emulate, the Savior.

“’We love the children,’ she said. ‘We have faith in them to be lights. We see their potential and it is grand.’…

“Serving others is ‘not a burden, but a way of life,’ explained Sister Jones, noting that she hopes this campaign will help families realize ‘we don’t do anything without Him.’

“‘When children share their light, they give a beautiful Christmas gift, said Sister Bingham, First Counselor in the Primary General Presidency. ‘You can give a Christmas gift of service—the most powerful gift you can give.’

“Sister Cordon said children can be involved in the campaign in simple ways without spending money. As they do, their hearts will change and they will have different expectations of Christmas; instead of wondering what they will get this year they will say, ‘What are we going to do for someone else today?’

“’We need to bring the Savior into our hearts and into our families,’ she said….’We are all trying to walk the same path that He walked,’ added Sister Cordon.  ‘We are trying to see others the way He sees them,’ said Sister Jones….finding ways to light the world will not be hard.  ‘There are so many sad people in the world.’

“‘These things come natural to children, who are so full of love and compassion,’ said Sister Bingham.”

How about it, are you game?  🙂

Moving Away From Grouchy


I noticed that I’m becoming more negative and grouchy.  I think a large part of that may be too much media exposure!  TV, radio, social media, newspapers, internet, etc., etc., etc.  😦

Almost constant bombardment from every direction to all the terror, problems, and negative side of life adds up to really drain a body.  It becomes easy to form opinions, jump on or off the bandwagon, start discussing with everyone you meet what the latest gut-wrenching and horrifying news-breaking issue is, and get caught up in the downward spiral of negativity, hopelessness, anger, fear, and even apathy as you reach overload and must disengage somehow.

I started losing sight of what I love to advocate for most – that there are innumerable good and positive things all around us!  We just have to take a moment to pause, look around with a new set of eyes, and see the many ways people reach out to help others, the great innovations and ideas that improve life, the inspiring and uplifting moments in life that help us to become grounded and fill our depleting spiritual, mental, and emotional reservoirs.

So I am moving away from grouchy by changing my focus.  And by remembering that which is of most worth to me in my life: that God lives and, as we are reminded by that beautiful carol every Christmas season, “God is not dead nor doth He sleep!”  We have someone we can turn to for help and guidance and who will never leave us alone.  🙂

Remember


Our Christmas tree is still up.  Why?  Because we are still noticing it!

Our thoughts on the matter have always been that we put it up early to help bring the spirit of Christmas into our home, and we leave it up until we notice that we aren’t noticing it anymore.  (obviously it is not a real tree)

I love having it up.  It is so beautiful.  Its effect softens me as I look at it.

The other morning I had a moment while I was waiting for something or other, and I lite the Christmas tree lights and just stood, gazing at it.

Seeing the colorful lights, the silver/white and gold garlands, the shiny and varied ornaments caused wonderful stirrings within my soul.

Then I started noticing the individual ornaments.

Remember the kids when they were young?  There’s one with the whole Primary class, teacher included.  What a nice idea.

There’s one I sent to my father while I was on my mission in the country where he was born.  What a sweet remembrance it brought, I’m glad I inherited it.

There are a couple given to our family by my parents.  Every one of us received one of the cute little animals doing different things plastic “toy” ornaments.

Here are some shiny ones we got our first Christmas.  We were afraid the tree would be pretty bare, but then my boss had brought some decorations to work he didn’t want anymore and we had enough to make the tree come alive.

There’s one that my mother-in-law made and gave us so many years ago.  And on and on and on!

Such nice memories! What a beautiful way to remember the good things that have happened.

This is why our Christmas tree is still up.  🙂

Christ’s Atonement and Grace


My mother sent me a beautiful article about Christ’s atonement and grace.  It is entitled, His Grace is Sufficient, and was given by Brad Wilcox in a devotional at Brigham Young University on July 12, 2011.

In his talk, Brother Wilcox (what we members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints call each other since we are all children of God) explains that rather than looking at the atonement and grace as Jesus making up the difference after all we can do, it is much more akin to a mother providing music lessons to her child.

The mother pays the piano teacher, she pays the debt in full.  So she can ask for something from her child.  What does she ask for?

That the child practice.

Does the child’s practice pay the teacher?

Does the child’s practice pay back the mother?

No to both.

Practicing is how the child shows appreciation for the wonderful gift his mother provided.  It is how the child takes advantage of the opportunity his mother is giving him to live his life on a higher level.

And the mother doesn’t receive happiness by getting repaid for the lessons, but by watching her gift being used, to see her child improve his life.

If the child complains that her requirement to practice is unreasonable and too difficult, it may be because he doesn’t see the big picture the same way that she does, how much better his life could be if he chooses to live on a higher level.

It is the same with Jesus Christ.  He paid for our sins, satisfying the demands of justice.  Therefore He gives us His requirements – to follow Him and keep His commandments.  He invites us to live on a higher level.

If we complain that His requirements are unreasonable and too difficult, it may be that we do not see the big picture in the same way that Christ does, how much better our lives could be if we choose to live on a higher level.  We have not comprehended what He is trying to make of us!

We try and try to follow His commandments – not as a punishment nor even as payment for what He suffered for us.  The purpose of His rules, His requirements, is to change us, to bring us to a higher level.

We are not earning our way into heaven; we are learning heaven.  We are preparing for heaven, practicing for it.

The purpose of grace is to change us.  Remember not only what Jesus saved us from, but also what He saved us for – to be like Him and to enjoy all the blessings and happiness that He has!