Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells

Two Things I am Grateful For:

1) A shortened work week!  Love that!
 
2) My glasses!  My eyes have been so sore these past couple of days and the only thing that brings me some relief are my glasses.
 
From the Camera:
 
We just got new desks at work on Monday and wouldn't this be cute to do for next year?  I'm going to have to keep this in mind when it comes time to decorate.  So cute!!


 
From the Craft Room and Other Cool Things I Love:
 
Isn't this Frosty the Snowman super cute?  Love it!  

From the Heart and Spirit:
The "WHITE ENVELOPE" is brilliant!  I think we will be adopting this tradition. 
Christmas Story: 
For the Man Who Hated Christmas 
By Nancy W. Gavin
It's just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree.  No name, no identification, no inscription.  It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past ten years.
It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas.  Oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it—overspending and the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma—the gifts given in desperation because you couldn't think of anything else.
Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth.  I reached for something special just for Mike.  The inspiration came in an unusual way.
Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was on the wrestling team at the school he attended.  Shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church.  These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes.
As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler's ears.  It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford.
Well, we ended up walloping them.  We took every weight class.  Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, "I wish just one of them could have won," he said.  "They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them.”  Mike loved kids—all kids.  He so enjoyed coaching little league football, baseball and lacrosse.  That's when the idea for his present came.
That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes, and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church.  On Christmas Eve, I placed a small, white envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done, and that this was his gift from me.
Mike's smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year.  And that same bright smile lit up succeeding years.  For each Christmas, I followed the tradition—one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on.
The white envelope became the highlight of our Christmas.  It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning, and our children—ignoring their new toys—would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents.  As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the small, white envelope never lost its allure.
The story doesn't end there.  You see, we lost Mike last year due to dreaded cancer.  When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up.  But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree.  And the next morning, I found it was magically joined by three more.  Unbeknownst to the others, each of our three children had for the first time placed a white envelope on the tree for their dad.  The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing to take down that special envelope.
Mike's spirit, like the Christmas spirit will always be with us.

From the Kitchen:


Lemon Cream Cheese Bars
Ingredients 
cooking spray
2 (8 ounce) packages refrigerated crescent roll dough (such as Pillsbury® Recipe Creations®), divided
2 lemons, zested and juiced, divided
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3 tablespoons white sugar
Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.
2. Press 1 can crescent roll dough into the bottom of the prepared baking dish, stretching to the edges.
3. Mix the zest of 1 1/2 lemons and juice from 2 lemons together in a bowl. Beat cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar into lemon zest mixture using an electric mixer until smooth and creamy; spread over crescent roll dough layer.
4. Unroll the second can of crescent roll dough and layer over cream cheese mixture, gently stretching dough to the edges. Brush melted butter over crescent roll dough layer. Mix remaining lemon zest and 3 tablespoons sugar together in a bowl; sprinkle over butter.
5. Bake in the preheated oven until top is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Allow to cool for about 20 minutes. Lift dessert from baking dish using foil; transfer to a cutting board. Cut into squares, leaving on foil. Return dessert to the baking dish and refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour.

From the Schmidt's:

It's only Tuesday and I feel like I have worked a lifetime!  This week is kicking my butt!  I don't know what the deal is!  My eyes are killing me.  I don't know if it's because of the eye strain or if it's because my eyes are dried out from the heater running at night in the house.....or a combination of things.  One eye is red and it hurts.  Arg!  I can't wait for that to go away!
 
I have to admit, I have a bad attitude right now.  In fact, I have had a bad attitude for the last several days.  I'm just tired of doing everything I can and it never being enough, and things not getting any better, but getting worse in some ways.  I'm so frustrated!  Then when I come home worn out from work and can barely see straight my family will not pitch in to help me out.  Now, don't get me wrong.  They help out, but today I an feeling especially frazzled and needed a hand and everyone acted like I was asking them to cut of their arms, legs, and give me all their prized possessions or something.  I was so mad!  This isn't the first time that's happened and I'm sure it won't be the last.  Then when I needed support from my husband he wasn't there because I snapped at him too.  Arg,  again!!  I keep telling myself that this soon will pass, but I am having a hard time believing that thought lately. 
 
See, I told you I had a bad attitude. 
Bear with me.....
 
I.  Need.  A.  Vacation.  Or.  Something. 
 
I will say this.  Thank goodness for people like my therapist because she helps me to get through some of this garbage and helps me understand a lot.  For example:  My husband has made a decision that I didn't understand or think was a good one at the time.  The reason I didn't totally agree with his decision was because he was going against all that we believe and are taught to value.  When I saw my therapist recently she questioned my going against my husband's decision.  She, of course, asked me if I was ready to go back to the way certain things were and my answer was no!  She then said that I needed to embrace the decision my husband has made and leave things alone, and that this decision was a good thing and going back would sink our figuratively speaking..."overloaded ship".  She is absolutely right, of course, and I value her input.  I guess I never really realized the sinking ship analogy in quite this way before.  I will admit that this decision has been a breath of fresh air and I do appreciate that whole-heartedly!!  Thank you doc!
 
Enough about that for now....
 
In an effort to preserve my already sore eyes, I am going to have to call it quits here my friends.  I do want you to know that my blog serves as an outlet for me.  A way to share some things I enjoy and to help work through some things I may be dealing with on a daily basis.  In a sense, this is therapeutic for me.  I hope you don't mind??!!  I will say this,...working through my feelings in the few short words above has helped to put me on the upward swing.  And that is a good thing!  As I contemplate a few thoughts words from my mother come to mind.  My Mom has a way of rallying around me, calling me to action without me even knowing what she is doing.  Well, with all that our family has been through recently she did what she does...again!  She reminded me that these experiences will be something I will be able to use to help someone else in the future.  Of course, I know this, but you know how it is when you go through certain things.  You get tunnel vision and it's hard to see the silver lining sometimes.  I have to admit I have really been trying to take a step back and see that silver lining.  To try and see the good and not the bad.  I will admit, it hasn't always been easy.  But, today, in the back of my mind my Mom's words are playing over and over again in my mind.  I wonder if that means that I need to pay close attention to the events in my life so I learn what I need to learn, or that someone is going to need to hear what I know in the near future?  I do not know the answer to that question, and my answer could be both, pay attention and get ready.  All I can do is try to stay focused and watch for the signs ahead, another words...pay attention to the promptings received from the Holy Ghost.  What a blessing it is to have that precious gift in my life!  Enough said.
 
It's late and I need to get to bed.  Take care my friends and we will talk again soon.
From the Missionary:

It's time to play "Where's Curtis" again!  The mission had a Christmas devotional and these are the photos that we found Curtis in at the luncheon after the devotional.  Santa (the Mission President's son, who is in Junior High, in a Santa suit) came to visit the missionaries and everything!  Apparently one of the young women from the Mission President's home ward in Texas collected gloves or every missionary and sent them with a candy cane and the story about the statue in Germany of Christ without hands.  The poem talked about the statue and how each of us serve as the Lord's hands as we serve others.  
They also had a photo booth for each companionship to have their photo's taken.  They had to hold up a sign that said, "He was born so I........"  and the missionaries had to complete the sentence.  The last photo is of Curtis and his companion.    
 



Quote of the Day:
 
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