Saturday, December 22, 2012

New Christmas Tradition in Our Home... :)

That's right... There is a new Christmas tradition starting in my family's home. Not entirely new, but with a new twist. Come on over  to my other blog today and find out all about it! :)

Merry Christmas!
Corine :D

Reflections at Christmas Time...

I read a blog post recently in which A Middle Aged Mormon Man reflected upon the old Christmas movies played in the 60's and 70's. He wrote of the anticipation he and his siblings had as they ran to the daily paper each day, looking for the magic of the season to come alive through THE Christmas shows. What did he say they were? Ah yes, he called them "The Big Five..."

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

Santa Claus is Coming to Town!

Frosty the Snowman!

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

A Charlie Brown Christmas

M.A.M.M. reminded his readers of a few things: It was a big deal back then to watch these shows. When the time came it wasn't just one or two family members watching it here, and another two there... The whole family watched them TOGETHER, because there were no DVD's or VCR's and "you only got one shot!" If you missed the ONE showing, you would have to wait until next year! And he emphasized the point in his title, "You've Got One Shot, Charlie Brown!"

At first when I read that post I reflected on how technology has made it so easy to watch movies and shows that sometimes half the family watches something in one room while the other half watches it in the other. "Family time" really is harder to come by these days...

But a couple nights ago something wonderful happened. And now, the post I read that day reminds me of a something else...

My family and I watched Once Upon a Time together. It almost came on while Mindy and Miles were both at work, then Dausen reminded us that they weren't home yet, so we should wait so they can see it with us. We waited. Once everyone was home and we were all together we watched several episodes (first night of school break - party night!). I fell asleep during the final episode so missed a bunch of it.

The next day I decided to watch the one I missed. When it was over, Dausen reminded me that I might want to turn it off or rewind it for Levi to see what he missed when he fell asleep - that way we could wait again for everyone to be home and all continue watching it where we left off together.

I just realized - I was taking for granted that my family was not taking something for granted (I hope you're not confused...) 

When I read that post, I didn't even realize that my family DOES have a show that we watch, ALL watch together - even though we watch it from the internet - even though we are all behind the production of the show and could watch multiple shows per night and still have more waiting for us - even though we don't have a specific night or time that we watch it - even though we  have never discussed this with each other and made the formal decision to not watch the show without anyone else in the family - we all wait for everyone to be present to watch it... (Thanks, Dausen; you're awesome! :)

Though we may know we are blessed and notice blessings, oftentimes we have many more blessings we don't notice right away. Sometimes we need to LOOK for the blessings so we can see them, appreciate them, and not take them for granted...  

As I celebrate Christmas time this year things are very different for me. My husband works a late shift now. While he sleeps, our son leaves for school. Before our son returns home, he leaves for work. We turn in to bed before he returns home from work. We miss our family time together - especially during the Christmas season. I can mope about not having as much time together as usual - or I can be thankful that I can't take family time for granted any more...

I can't take it for granted...

Sigh. :)

Another thing I can't take for granted is the fact that I have but one chance to raise my family to the lord. ONE chance. Once they are grown and gone my chance is up...

This year, the thing that seems to matter most to me is simply to help my family feel the spirit of Christ in their lives. It is to carry on without my husband and invite the spirit of Christ into our home. I love that we have traditions that last all year. Traditions that we do in our home as a family. I love that after family gospel study a teenager will volunteer to give a prayer - without me saying a word about it. Each one of them know the routine and participate fully - all of them... I only pray that we never take that for granted...

This is what I desire for Christmas. I desire to BE an influence my children - for good - to be a greater light to them - to inspire them to study their scriptures more and pray more sincerely and fervently than ever before... I pray for each person in my family to feast on the words of Christ, and to KNOW Him, and Love Him, and Desire to love and serve as He does. Then, it can feel like Christmas all year round. :)

Merry Christmas!
Corine :D

Five Ways to Help Youth Have Spiritual Experiences
Rediscovering the Christmas Spirit
2012 First Presidency Christmas Devotional
Christmas Site
Free Christmas Songs to Download
Mormon Tabernacle Choir Website

PS. I'm having so much fun preparing for Christmas! :D I sewed until 2:30 in the morning. :o And today I get to do a little more baking and shopping with my family. :) I'm so thankful for this beautiful - and miraculous Christmas Season! :D

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Yup, Santa Claus Does Exist... :)

Santa Claus is coming to town! :D

I just need to take a moment to rejoice! :) 

Thanks, Santa! I'm glad you exist! ;) More importantly, I'm thankful that you remind us that Christ exists, and that the spirit of kindness  selflessness, service, giving, generosity, forgiveness, love... well, they exist too - in the spirit of Christmas...

I am very excited to celebrate Christmas with my family! :) And this year I have a constant prayer in my heart that the spirit of Christmas will grow in the hearts of my family and reside there, all year round...

Merry Christmas!
Corine :D

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

This is Christmas - Howard W. Hunter

In case any of you are looking for fabulous decor for the Christmas season - and an opportunity to help a young man serve on his mission...

I saw this on a blog recently. A woman sells 16X20 prints of these on her etsy shop to pay for her son's mission. I'm inspired by this to think of something beautiful I can make and sell to earn money to pay for my kids' missions (missions coming soon). For now, I'll promote this lady's etsy shop and help you with your shopping. :) Just click on the photo to get to her etsy shop!

By the way, the words in the photo above are the words of Howard W. Hunter. They read...

This Christmas, 

Mend a quarrel. 

Seek out a forgotten friend. 

Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. 
Write a letter. 
Give a soft answer. 
Encourage youth. 
Manifest your loyalty in word and deed. 
Keep a promise. 
Forgo a grudge. 
Forgive an enemy. 
Try to understand. 
Examine your demands on others. 
Think first of someone else. 
Be kind. 
Be gentle. 
Laugh a little more. 
Express your gratitude. 
Welcome a stranger. 
Gladden the heart of a child.
Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. 
Speak your love and then speak it again.

Christmas is a celebration, and there is no celebration that compares with the realization of its true meaning—with the sudden stirring of the heart that has extended itself unselfishly in the things that matter most.

Howard W. Hunter

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Christmas Spirit...

Just before Thanksgiving this year, it snowed. Just as snow does with small children, my youth got excited. :) "It's snowing! It feels like Christmas!" OK. So, maybe they weren’t the only ones exclaiming with excitement. ;) The next thing I knew, we were all sitting down together to watch a Christmas movie! :D

Thanksgiving Day came and went, and so did the snow. And we temporarily stopped watching Christmas movies. It stopped feeling like Christmas. I didn't like it. We hadn't gotten that Christmas spirit feeling back into our home. We hadn't found time to decorate yet either. How does one get that Christmas feeling back – without snow, decorations, or celebrations? ;o

In the story of The Grinch who Stole Christmas - Betty Lue saw Christmas being "celebrated" all around her – which, for Betty, only made it feel less like Christmas. “There has to be more to Christmas than this!" She exclaimed. And upon seeing people purchase piles upon piles of gifts, she asked, "Isn't this a bit much?  It all seems so Su-per-fi-lis?” As you already know, in her search for Christmas, Betty Lue extended a hand of friendship to "the one who needed it most"...

I saw a Christmas video on recently. 

It was the goings on of a family. In the kitchen, the parents did the dishes together as they discussed finances and how they would purchase gifts for Christmas.  In the living room a couple of teens were seen looking through magazines and telling each other what they wanted. And wondering all around the house gathering things and taking them to her own bedroom - was a little girl who had created and decorated a manger scene.

These little girls both found Christmas... It may be helpful to contemplate what we can learn from them...

The church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is doing a Christmas campaign in New York. On billboards, taxi's and buses there are big signs and pictures stating what Christmas is. Some of them tell just one word, others 3, and the messages that are electronic, giving room for more explanations of what Christmas is have four words for Christmas. First they say "Christmas is"... then they give the definitions of Christmas: "Christmas is, LOVE, FAMILY, SERVICE, JESUS CHRIST"

Last December (2011) President Thomas S. Monson gave a talk now known as The Spirit we feel at Christmas Time. In that talk Monson said the following...

"My brothers and sisters, finding the real joy of the season comes not in the hurrying and the scurrying to get more done or in the purchasing of obligatory gifts. Really, joy comes as we show the love and compassion inspired by the Savior of the world."

Monson  continued... 

"The Savior gave freely to all. And His gifts were of value beyond measure. Throughout His ministry, He blessed the sick, restored sight to the blind, made the deaf to hear, and the halt and the lame to walk. He gave cleanliness to the unclean. He restored breath to the lifeless. He gave hope to the despairing, and He sowed light in the darkness. He gave us His love, His service, and His life.

"What is the spirit we feel at Christmastime? It is His spirit—the spirit of Christ."

"The Christmases we remember best generally have little to do with worldly goods, but a lot to do with families, with love, and with compassion and caring."

President Monson has given so many talks about service and Christmas and says things so beautifully I'm going to quote him again. In our last Christmas devotional President Monson had this to say... 

“Christmas is not just about tinsel and ribbon – unless we make it so. Christmas is the spirit of giving with no thought of getting. We feel happy at Christmas time because we see joy in people. We forget ourselves and find time for others.”

This definition of how to find that happy Christmas feeling is much like the definition David O. McKay once gave … 

True happiness comes only by making others happy. The spirit of Christmas makes our heart glow in brotherly love and friendship and prompts us to kind deeds of service. It is the spirit of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

And isn't this why we are all either members or investigators of His church? I'm guessing that we all felt the spirit of Christ as we learned about His gospel and watched others live the gospel by doing the things the Savior would have them do. The gospel of Jesus Christ fills our hearts with happiness as we do the things he asks of us – most of which involve sacrifice and SERVICE...

At our last General Conference Elder Daniel L Johnson of the seventy gave a wonderful talk about becoming a true disciple.  I quote, “Those of us who have entered into the waters of baptism and received the gift of the Holy Ghost have covenanted that we are willing to take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ, or in other words, we declare ourselves to be disciples of the Lord.  We renew that covenant each week as we partake of the sacrament, and we demonstrate that discipleship by the way that we live.”

My favorite Christmas traditions - are the ones that make Christmas FEEL like Christmas; these are traditions of service…

Each and every time my family and I experience these traditions, an overwhelming and inexpressible joy comes over me - and I again find myself thinking,

THIS is what Christmas feels like!” I am experiencing Christmas right now…

Thinking of these things reminds me of a couple of my favorite lines in a Christmas song...

It's the hap-happiest season of all (wonderful time)
It's the most wonderful time of the year (most
wonderful time)

I believe the Christmas season is a wonderful, happy time because people, everywhere, whether they realize it or not, are striving to be more like Jesus. They are forgetting about themselves and sacrificing for others

I love the story of the Magi, about a sweet couple who are so materially poor. Each has but one thing of earthly or monetary value. For her, it is her hair. For him, a watch. On Christmas Eve each is desperate to do something kind for the other. Neither has money. She cuts and sells her hair to purchase a chain for his watch. He sells his watch to buy combs for her hair. I laugh at the irony of it while crying over the sweet sacrifice every time I hear that story! This is the spirit of Christmas.

I think we need to train ourselves to think outside the box when it comes to celebrating Christmas – and let the spirit of Christ change us – so we can have that kind of happiness all year long…

To accomplish this, we must stop thinking that the things we do to celebrate Christmas must carry a traditional stamp of Christmas. So often we do only traditional acts of service which carry the “Christmas “stamp of approval – and once the “Christmas season” is over we never do that particular service or activity again – at least, not until next Christmas…

As was mentioned before, the spirit of Christmas is the spirit of Christ... To become converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ is an ongoing process that never really ends. As Elder Johnson mentioned in Gen. Con... to become a true disciple of Jesus Christ takes continual work and consistent living of gospel principles… Having the spirit of Christmas/Christ helps us with the conversion process, because it helps us to follow Christ’s example to love and serve...

President Henry B. Eyring gave a wonderful talk this past October titled The Caregiver. In this talk he quoted Joseph Smith's mother, Lucy Mack Smith, as she spoke to the sisters about what the Relief Society should accomplish - something that we would all do well to accomplish... "We must cherish one another, watch over one another, comfort one another and gain instruction, that we may all sit down in heaven together..."

Perhaps the greatest gifts we can give are given spontaneously as our hearts are changed...

One day the lord will return again upon the earth. And I believe that one of the things which will help the earth to prepare for His coming is faithful followers of Christ living the spirit of Christ, of Christmasall year long…

As I imagine what the righteous will be like on the day that Christ returns, I envision a people who are close to the spirit. I believe the changes in the way missionaries and youth leaders teach -  by the spirit - is the beginning of a people who are closer to the spirit and therefore more capable of serving the lord and preparing the world for His coming. We can all be a part of this as we make simple choices each day to have the spirit of Christ in our hearts and minds and follow the promptings we receive to serve others.

Christmas is a great time to make such changes in ourselves...   Don't wait to be prompted to serve...  Look around to notice people who are suffering and continually ask the lord, “What would you have me do?”  Listen to the promptings of the spirit. The answers will most likely include many things which are not typical of “Christmas” activities. There will sometimes be no packages or bows in your Christmas activities. But with the unleashing of expectations for how to celebrate Christmas – you will find yourself doing wonderful things you may never have thought to do for Christmas. J I have felt prompted to serve the lord - (as well as family members who have passed on before me) - by doing temple work. I feel prompted to also encourage you to celebrate Christmas by attending the temple.

There is not limit to the number of ways we can celebrate Christ all year long... Visit an elderly person in a nursing home, and keep visiting, not just for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day…  

Ask the Lord what He desires of you. This will constantly change. At some time in your life the Lord may ask you to perform much service outside the home… Other times His desire for you may be as simple as playing with your children more; buoying up your husband or wife; fixing better meals for your family and eating with them all together… The Holy Spirit will speak into your heart and mind and help you to know how and where to serve if you will but ask with a true and sincere heart – Strive to live the true spirit of Christmas and to do what Christ would have you do - rather than just going through the motions.  I have felt a steady prompting to celebrate Christ by going to the temple more and encourage others to do so as well…

Now, I would like to share a few very brief stories of Prophets celebrating Christmas – Notice how untraditional yet wonderful these are – and yet – notice they do services for the sole purpose of bringing laughter, fun, and joy as well as to meet needs…

As a boy, President Thomas S. Monson was celebrating Christmas when his friend asked a startling question, “What does turkey taste like?” He responded that it tasted like chicken, but then he realized that his unfortunate friend had never tasted either. Not only that, but there was nothing in his friend’s house with which to prepare a Christmas dinner. “I pondered a solution,” said President Monson. “I had no turkeys, no chickens, no money. Then I remembered I did have two pet rabbits. Immediately I took my friend by the hand and rushed to the rabbit hutch, placed the rabbits in a box, and handed the box to him with the comment, ‘Here, take these two rabbits. They’re good to eat—just like chicken.’ … Tears came easily to me as I closed the door to the empty rabbit hutch. But I was not sad. A warmth, a feeling of indescribable joy, filled my heart. It was a memorable Christmas.”

In 1876 the St. George Utah Temple was nearing completion. The dedication ceremony for the basement, main room, and sealing room was scheduled for January 1, 1877.8 With Christmas just seven days before the dedication, many in St. George worked frantically to help ensure the temple was completed in time.

President Wilford Woodruff, who served as the first president of the temple, recorded in his journal that on Christmas day the men were busy at work with buzz saws and that 40 women spent the whole day in the temple sewing carpets. They laid carpet and put up curtains.

I believe the most important people we will ever serve will be the ones who call us family... 

One of President David O. McKay’s annual family traditions was to take the grandchildren riding on a bobsleigh pulled by a fine team of horses, “bells a-jingle.” The ride was one of their favorite traditions. President McKay continued it into his 80s. To stay warm, President McKay wore his long, thick raccoon coat and big gloves. The smaller grandchildren rode in the sleigh, but the older ones “whizzed along behind on their own sleds” tied to the back of the bobsleigh. These long-to-be-remembered Christmas celebrations sometimes ended with carols around the piano and singing “Love at Home.”7

There are countless ways to serve, and I will leave it to you to open your eyes to see what needs done, and go to the lord and ask Him what He would have you do. 

I pray that when the spirit prompts us to do a kind deed for someone, especially if it is as simple as stopping by to visit someone – we will heed the call to serve.

We are his hands. As we heed the prompting to serve we become his faithful disciples.

I say these things humbly in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen...

PS. These are notes I took in preparations for a talk I gave in Sacrament meeting today at church. The topic was celebrating Christmas through Service.

...Wishing you wonderful Christmas celebrations! 

Corine :D

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Resolving Marital Conflicts

“It is only with true love and compassion
that we can begin to mend what is broken in the world."
Steve Maraboli

Hi. J It is interesting to me that this morning I felt quite frustrated and sad, only to become quite happy shortly after. It only took a moment of reflection to realize that the times I feel happiest are always followed by some type of adversity. It is like the overcoming is what makes life sweet. J Honestly, the opposition – the feeling of sadness – makes the feeling of happiness that follows SO MUCH GREATER and so much MORE APPRECIATED.

It is also interesting to me that most of the past month has been going so smoothly that I have had nothing to write about and no strong emotions to get me thinking - until today - when things seemed to temporarily turn sour. Now I feel inspired to write! :o 

Miles and seldom argue any more. But this morning we had an argument that was tough to mend. As a result, a piece of my life began to feel BITTER. And just as I began to feel bitter I immediately recalled a statement I heard in General Conference recently; “The challenge we face, is to experience the bitter, without becoming bitter.”  (I LOVE THAT!) Upon remembering this I immediately resolved not to allow myself to become bitter.

I also resolved to face my challenge with the faith, courage, and the Christianity that a follower of Christ should face challenges with. This meant I had to resolve the conflict I had with my husband. And I had to treat him the way I wanted him to treat me (Hmm... The golden rule. Kids have all the answers. ;). It meant that since I was the one with the idea of being a peacemaker – I had to be willing to kindly make peace even if he wasn't yet on board with the idea of doing so (we all have to take our turns at being the one to initiate love and healing; know what I mean?).

So I prayed, read my scriptures, prayed some more to get myself in the right frame of mind, then went to my husband and asked him to talk with me and work with me to resolve things. He wasn’t on board at first. It was somewhat challenging. But I was determined to make peace and resolve an issue. I strove to make it my first agenda to understand HIM and place his needs ahead of my own. When he was discouraged I let him know I was not. I also told him, “I did not get married to fail in my marriage. I did not have children to fail as a mother. I did not start a family to fail. And I will not give up at resolving this family conflict.” I think he sensed my sincerity and determination because that is when he seemed to take courage and jump on board… J And let me tell you... I'm not always this awesome ;) and it felt good to do good! :D

Miles and I talked until we came to an understanding and created feelings of peace, love, and hope – for both of us. The progress we made was amazing! :D We are better individuals and a stronger couple now. We have a new goal; we are more positive and optimistic. We see things more clearly. We are becoming better people. :D And we are both filled with happiness, hope, and love.

PS. Miles and I have learned that when it comes to marital conflicts; either we both win, or we both lose. When we argue it isn’t him against me or me against him. It isn’t about who is right or wrong. It’s about US against the conflict. It’s about coming to a solution, conclusion or understanding together. THAT is one very big principle which has helped us to win in battles of resolving conflicts...

Is there something that you and your spouse have found that helps you to resolve conflicts? I'd love to hear about it in the comment section! :D

PS. I hope your life is good and that you are enjoying the Christmas Season! J

Hoping you feel Loved and Loving,
Corine :D

Sunday, December 2, 2012

My Other Blog is Taking Over!

I just realized, my other blog is taking over! I'm sure I will still post here, but for today I'm just here to tell you I posted on my other blog  ( :o And that may just happen a lot from here on out.

That's it. Come on over to my other blog and read about my husband's 50th birthday celebration. I also posted about Thanksgiving. I still have some catching up to do. I'd like to post about my last visit to see family and hope to find time for that soon.

TTFN! :)
Corine :D