Wednesday, December 23, 2015

In the Air there's a Feeling of Christmas

Two Things I am Grateful For:

1).  My kids for having dinner started and the house picked up by the time I got home today.  That always makes me happy!  Thank you.
2).  FaceTime and Skype!  I absolutely love that we get to actually see our Missionary in two days.  I'm so excited!!
From the Camera:
I always wondered how Santa was able to reach every single home across the world.  Now I know!  

From the Craft Room and Things I Love:
Here is the tutorial for folding those Christmas tree napkins I love so much!  Enjoy!!!
From the Heart and Spirit:
From the Kitchen:
For today's recipe we are posting a video of the
Red Velvet Poke Cake.
I thought it looked super yummy and had to share.  Enjoy!
From the Schmidt's:
I've had the chance to talk to several people who live or work in New York this week and they are in total shock that the weather has been so warm there!  In fact, they tell me it's been in the 70's there.  They said it doesn't feel like Christmas without the snow.  When I told them how cold our winter has been (okay colder than usual) they couldn't believe that Arizona was colder than New York, Michigan, Ohio, or even Pennsylvania....just to name a few states. This was posted on Facebook today.  So crazy, isn't it??

This to was posted on Facebook and I thought it was super cute and I had to share.  Love it! 

Today was a pretty amazing day.  My "blue period" has come to a bit of an end.  Thank goodness!  I always knew it would go away.  Work has been super busy, but not so out of control that we wanted to run from the building screaming.  We  still have a week left of 2015, so that could still happen.  Let's hope it doesn't.  Since our new desks arrived in our offices it's taken some getting use to.  I wish I could share photos with you, but I can't.  I have to say, it's a nice change to be able to stand up and do my work.  I find I work faster when I am standing.  Imagine that! 
I came home from work today and the kids had dinner nearly finished and the family room was picked up.  No Christmas totes hanging around anymore.  Love it!  I love Christmas and everything about it, but I will admit it is nice when I am able to get all the extra things put away and my house is back in order....or at least somewhat in order.  It hasn't been in complete order since Kevin returned from the hospital and I don't think I will see it back in order anytime soon.  About a year or two ago Danielle and I started to collect a few things she wanted to see at a future wedding reception.  Some of those things have found their way into my bedroom, extra room, living room, and garage.  I guess my home will not officially be back in order until after her big day.  I have to say, when I think of a wedding and the reception I get to the point that I cannot breath and I get anxious and have a mini panic attack.  Crazy isn't it?  All those years of thinking about what my daughter's wedding day would be like, and that day is coming closer and closer.  I thought I would be ready, but I really don't think I will ever be totally ready for this in any and all the ways that I can think of.  It just hardly seems possible that she will get married and have a family of her own someday.  It's a happy thought, but also bitter sweet as well.  This certainly takes some getting use to, but it's all good!  Besides.  She is getting married in the Temple.  That makes me a happy Mom!  I can't wait for that day...and to add another photo to my wall of Danielle the day she goes through the Temple for the first time, with the card she will get, if she will let me have it.  I have both of my son's cards in the picture frame with their photos.  So we will see what Danielle decides to do.  Either way, we will commemorate that day with photos none-the-less.
With tomorrow being Christmas Eve I get to work an earlier shift at work.  I am super excited about that!  That means I will make it home before dark tomorrow.  Yay!  And that is the silver lining!  Love, love, LOVE that!!!
Now, let's talk Christmas!!
Keeping Christ in Christmas...Several years ago, in a Relief Society lesson, we sang several Christmas songs from our church hymns and some from the Primary songbook too, and we watched a video of the life of Christ.  It was beautiful!  There was a song we sang that I was not familiar with about Joseph, and it really made me think about his lot in life as the mortal father of the baby Jesus.  In fact, I've thought about that this past week.  About the entire story of the birth of Christ.  In fact, it brings added joy to my own Christmas by focusing on these things and I've decided to start writing these thoughts and feelings that I have about the Savior during the holiday down.  In fact, this would be an awesome idea for a Family Home Evening, and everyone could start writing down their thoughts and feelings about Christ and the Christmas season and they could be like President Eyring's Gratitude Journals.  A simple message could be shared about His hands in our live, that would be a good starting point for each of us to begin.  We could write one experience, thought, gratitude or whatever down and then, on Christmas morning, those things could be shared aloud with the family.  Just imagine the spirit that could be shared on that day!  Putting thoughts on paper could be powerful in helping us all to focus on the true meaning of Christmas!
This next idea comes a little late, but it's seems to be the theme I am going with this year, and we are keeping the peace and trying to increase the love this Christmas.  We call it Simplify!  If holiday rituals cause you more stress than enjoyment, it's time to omit them.  Get rid of those that are simply obligations and continue with the traditions that everyone looks forward to!  Now, don't get me wrong....we do not in anyway say that our Christmas rituals are something we do not look forward to.  Let me explain....we are simply needing to simplify our activities merely because Kevin is just not up to it this year.  Now, he has opted to stay home alone while the rest of us enjoy the festivities, BUT...that simply cannot happen!  If he cannot go, or because he isn't up for it, then changes needed to be made to make sure that Kevin was included and a part of our celebration.  Him staying home was NEVER an option primarily because he can't do that.  No way, no how!  I digress.....let me get back to my thoughts here....
Make a list of the things that you all look forward to and enjoy them!  If it doesn't make the list, it's time to eliminate it from the busiest time of the year. I have a friend that loves to write a Christmas brag letter each year.  One year she felt overwhelmed with being a mother of a out of control teenager and the thought of the letter was weighing her down to the point that she wanted to scream!  Finally, she made the decision to not write a letter that year.  After the initial, "Super Mom doesn't write annual brag letter" guilt was over, she felt a weight lifted and has never written another one since, and she still says to me, "I'm still alive!"  So, if baking cookies, writing brag letters, or decorating five trees is more than you can do this year, eliminate!  Simplify!  Christmas can still be wonderful without the Christmas village set up in the entry way.  This year, I've only used about 1/3 of all of my Christmas décor and I am LOVING the simplicity of it all!  And there's still plenty of décor!  Just think of it....if you simplify, you'll have more time for love for your family.  Love for others.  And love of the whole Christmas experience too! 
And last but certainly not least....
Have you ever sat with a bunch of ladies, especially those blessed with the wisdom of many years, and asked them to share their favorite Christmas memories?  You should ask them that question sometime because you just might be surprised by their answers. 
 I remember one sweet ladies story and I was shocked to hear the details that she could remember because she was nearly 90 plus years young!  She started her story explaining that she was about 18 in 1926 and he mother was ill before Christmas.  Her mother gave her the task, as the oldest child at home, to take about $10 to town and buy gifts for everyone of the children.  She shared that this was when we did all the Christmas shopping the day before Christmas. 
She told us how she'd taken a wagon to town and found the perfect wind-up toys for her brothers and sisters, in great detail.  She went on to say that when she was done buying for each of the several children in the family and her mother, there was only about fifteen cents left to buy herself a little something.  And she couldn't remember what she bought for herself.  But then she shared that the presents were showing in the back of the wagon as she pulled up to their home.  So they decided to just have Christmas right then and there.  They stayed up late that night playing and then when they woke the next morning, the children played more with their wind-up toy and other gifts.  Still, she could not recall what her own gift was. 
She confessed that she was a bit blue on Christmas morning because there was nothing there for her, but she enjoyed so much watching her younger brothers and sisters play and excitement.  Later that day, her married brother and his wife came bearing more gifts for everyone.  Then, she said, "he brought this and that, (in detail) for each of my brothers and sisters.  And he even brought something for me!  I finally received a Christmas present and it just made me so happy.  I'm sure that I loved it.  But, I can't remember what it was".
Without even realizing it, as she shared her own memory of being a poor child of a widowed women at Christmas, she shared the true meaning of Christmas with us.  Her joy did not come from the gift that she didn't think she'd even receive.  Her joy was seeing the happiness of her brothers and sisters.  She got it!...way back in 1926, she captured it and she probably didn't even realize it. 
My family doesn't even know this, but I kept lists on my phone this year.  Lists and lists and lists.  On my calendar and all of the festivities and activities planned for this month too.  While it is all important and it all matters.  But, this dear sweet "young" lady comes to mind every time and enlightened us all that day as she shared her memory and she has enlightened us all, in a most illuminating moment....not one lit with lights and tinsel, but one lit from the light of her heart.  It's not about the presents, the celebrations, the decorations, or even the lights.  It's really much more simple than all of that.  I'm hoping I can keep this dear sweet lady and the valuable lesson she shared in my mind and in my heart this year, and in years to come.  I'm hoping I can keep her thoughts with me while I am stuck in traffic or standing in a long line at a store or gift-wrapping late at night or assembling gifts or making more lists and checking them twice....not just during Christmas, but all year around.  Enough said.
It's now, 11:00 p.m. and my alarm clock will be going off tomorrow at 4:30 a.m.  Yikes!  I really should call it quits tonight.  I sincerely hope that your holiday is merry, bright, and full of all those things that make this season special for you and your family.  I will be taking a some time off to celebrate and enjoy my family during this Christmas holiday, but I promise to be back soon.  Take care friends and we will talk again soon.
From the Missionary:
Hey Everyone!
I have received the packages and everything.  The Ward sent one, as well as Grandma Zimmerman.  Thank you everyone!  I appreciate everything everyone has done for me and can't wait to open them all!  How are all of you?  This email, I feel, is kind a pointless since I will see you all in a couple of days.  My companion and I were thinking of calling around 00:00 here so 00:00 your time.  Does that work?  Sorry it's such late notice.  My companion has to do two calls because his family situation is interesting.  Anyways, let me know if that works and I will see you all Friday!  :)
Elder Schmidt
sent from my iPad
Quote of the Day:

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