Saturday, December 25, 2010

Joy to the World

Today is Christmas! So what am I doing blogging on Christmas? Well, I wanted to share one thought with you--a quote that I cannot forget and cannot read without feeling the deep love that should always be felt on the day we remember the birth of the Savior of the world. The words are those of a beloved prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley, and I can hear his voice in my head when I read them:

"He whose birth we commemorate this season is more than the symbol of a holiday. He is the Son of God, the Creator of the earth, the Jehovah of the Old Testament, the fulfillment of the Law of Moses, the Redeemer of mankind, the King of Kings, the Prince of Peace. . . .

" 'And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!

" 'For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father--

" 'That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God.' (D& C 76:22-24)."

"This is our testimony to all mankind. It is our gift and blessing to the world. He is our joy and our salvation, and we will find Christmas of greater meaning in our own lives as we share these truths with others.

(Gordon B. Hinckley, "What Shall I Do Then with Jesus Which Is Called Christ?," Ensign, Dec. 1983, 5)

I have no doubt in my heart that these words are true. There is no joy like the joy that comes through the promises given by and through our Savior.

Merry Christmas from my home to yours, from my heart to yours. And may you feel the joy that comes only through Him.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Deepen your joy

To share a favorite quote of mine with you:

"Men and women who turn their lives over to God will find out that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, raise up friends and pour out peace. Whoever will lose his life to God will find he has eternal life."

-Ezra Taft Benson

Wishing you all of these blessings and more this Christmas and in the New Year.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Joy in Service

This Christmas season has been a busy one for me. There has been a little more added stress then usual due to some responsibilities at church. I feel like I have lost some needed time while trying to figure out my new church responsibilities, but it does not matter. I have been able to take some time to serve this month. I was able to help sew stockings for homeless children and I wrapped presents for "Toys for Tots." They were both a blast. They are new activities I want to make yearly traditions.

Christmas is a time where it is easy to get caught up in the material and forget about what it is about, but Christ is the reason for the season. Christ taught us how to serve others and so in the season especially it is important to serve others. I have loved it. It has made me really appreciate what I have and the community I live in. It has helped me relax for a bit and relieve some built up stress. It is so worth it. I highly recommend doing some service on your own and with you family around Christmas. I am totally adding them to my list of traditions. Check in our community. I am sure there is something going on. Seriously, all you have to do is look to find a great service opportunity.

You too can find joy in service. Try it!

Joy in the Journey - Every Day

Just so we can get it out of the way, yes I did - again! - immediately think of pop music references when I started thinking about JOY this week: this one and this one. I know, I'm such a dork. Really, I promise, I don't plan it this way!


Joy just seems like a very particular kind of happiness, don't you think? Joy is something you jump and shout for, cry tears of and get completely filled to bursting with. Everyone finds joy in different places, but wouldn't it be grand to find it everywhere? I thought of that as I folded the small mountain of laundry that somehow got lost in last week's busyness. And then I thought again, as I have many times since he said them, of the words of our prophet:

If you are still in the process of raising children, be aware that the tiny fingerprints that show up on almost every newly cleaned surface, the toys scattered about the house, the piles and piles of laundry to be tackled will disappear all too soon and that you will—to your surprise—miss them profoundly.

And then I went back and re-read all of his words that day, and remembered that it is possible to find joy everywhere, if only we will see it and be grateful. Lately, and especially in the last few weeks, it's been my prayer and my goal to sort out the important things from, well, everything else. It shouldn't have been surprising that as I've put those most important things at the top of my list, I've found more joy in every day:

This is our one and only chance at mortal life—here and now. The longer we live, the greater is our realization that it is brief. Opportunities come, and then they are gone. I believe that among the greatest lessons we are to learn in this short sojourn upon the earth are lessons that help us distinguish between what is important and what is not. I plead with you not to let those most important things pass you by as you plan for that illusive and nonexistent future when you will have time to do all that you want to do. Instead, find joy in the journey—now.

We all find joy in different places, but we all find it in the same way:

... realize what is most important, [...] express our gratitude always
and thus find joy in the journey.

Merry, merry Christmas! May you find joy in the season and then keep finding it every day.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Finding JOY

Where do you find JOY during this Christmas season? 

I'm going to admit right now that I have had a harder time this year finding that special feeling because of a very busy schedule.  My days are packed with meetings and violin lessons to teach plus a home to take care of and all that comes with trying to create a meaningful and special Christmas.  I find myself so caught up in what has to be done that I forget to stop and feel why it should be done and my reason for doing it.  Then there is trying to decide if it even needs to be on my list.  Even though the busyness is always going to be there I have found that in order to find JOY in what I am doing I need to make sure the task is meaningful and from my heart. 

I found JOY this year:
  • the moment we began to play the Hallelujah chorus for a large sing-a-long audience and could hear the JOY coming from every voice.
  • after creating my list of things to make for gifts and imagining their reaction.
  • dropping off cookies to neighbors and friends.
  • seeing the Young Women I love open up their Christmas gifts and love what had been made for them.
  • spending an entire weekend with my family just playing in the water.
  • dancing in the kitchen with my kiddos to their favorite Christmas tunes.
  • making Santa cookies and caramels with my husband.
  • decorating our tree and seeing it sparkle.
  • finding Payton stuffing our stockings with love notes and secret messages.
  • standing next to my husband and my sister while we caroled to our neighbors.
  • sewing up over 300 stockings  for those in need in a small room filled with women who love to serve.
  • any time I sit in front of my fireplace and stop to think about what's really important.
  • playing my violin in church.
  • listening to our prophet speak.
  • cooking for people I love.
  • having guests stay in our home and seeing them be amazing with our kids.
  • creating a Christmas card with my dad and seeing him work his magic.
  • seeing a family who is hurting be uplifted by voices who love and pray for them.
  • "White Christmas"
  • finishing something for a new special member of the family.
  • making plans to see family.
  • shopping for our kids
  • seeing magic happen every time a Ho Ho Ho fills the air.
  • smelling a Christmas candle and wearing cozy socks while working on a gift.
  • knowing what I believe and why we go through this craziness to make things so special.
  • being still and seeing JOY just appear from everywhere.
What brings you JOY this time of year?


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ornament Overload

When I was growing up, we used a figure of speech in our family that basically said "You're using/you have too much _______!" It went something like this. My dad likes lots of salad dressing on his salad, so my mom would say, "Why don't you have some salad with your dressing?" We'd all chuckle about it and that was that. I recall hearing "Why don't you have some cereal with your milk?" (I love milk - especially a lot on my cereal) or "Why don't you have some hair with your hairspray?" (it was, after all, the 80's). We sometimes still say it just for old time's sake. So, do you think I should have some tree with my ornaments?

At dinner tonight, my husband said, "We don't have a tree with ornaments on it. We have a mass of ornaments with a tree somewhere underneath." Decorating the tree is probably my favorite part of "decking the halls." That and setting up my nativity on the fireplace mantel. I know I have a ton of ornaments, and I get more every year, and every year when I get them out I think I should leave some off. But how do I choose which ones to leave in the box when the rest of them get to come out and show off their cuteness/beauty/funniness/sweetness? I can't choose, so they all come out to play.

This poor tree has been around a long least 10 years. What say we spring for a nice big one at a day-after-Christmas sale? Then I'll have to get more pretties so I can "have some ornaments with my tree."

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Looking Good Last Minute

This is what my dining table looks like right now (okay, make that two days ago when I started writing this post), in the middle of making a bunch more of the ornaments I made for our exchange. I don't have a photo of a finished one, alas (I didn't have one two days ago, and since then have been down-to-the-wire finishing them before rushing them off to my daughter's school for her teachers so I still don't have a photo of one finished)!

Here's the best I could do ... you get the idea, yes?

Super cute, super easy, and totally not my idea. Go on over here to find the tutorial, along with completed-ornament photos.

Things I did differently:
- I zig-zag-stitched the bottom of the skirt, because I love a raw edge but I don't love the thought of the whole thing unravelling.
- I used my sewing machine to make the gathering stitch - just set it to the biggest stitch, gently pull the ends of the thread, and voila!
- I also stitched the skirt together at the back, with right-sides together and then turned it right-side out. Then I stitched the top of the skirt closed, mostly to hold the gathers in place.
- I didn't use any beads, just embroidery stitches to embellish the top. I also just stitched a loop of yarn to the top for hanging, because I'm too impatient to spend time on fashioning a tiny hanger out of wire.

These can be made quickly and you can do many at a time - they're a great last-minute gift for a friend, teacher, hostess, or for an ornament exchange. Hooray for last-minute holiday crafting!

Butterfly Wreath Ornament Tutorial

Last night we did our annual Girl's Christmas Get Together and this year we decided it would be fun and practical to do an ornament exchange....just the five of us Praiseworthy friends  The assignment was given that they all had to be made from the things we already had in our home.  Because of my butterfly craziness this year I made these flutter wreaths to give away...and wanted to share a "how-to" with you.  It's was a pretty fun and easy one. Plus it's NO SEW!!!

I first used this Martha Stewart butterfly punch to cut out all my butterflies from my favorite scrapbook papers.  I don't know how many is on each wreath so punch away and save any leftovers for something clever.  I could use these cute little beauties anywhere.  I just love them. 

You will also need some sort of metal ring, a glue gun, some ribbon and for fun, a little bling.

 After you get your butterflies punched out fold them a little bit towards the center so they can fly.  Then put a dot of hot glue on your metal ring and add a butterfly.  Keep doing that until your ring is full.

 Adding the butterflies is the fun part.  I made them go every which way and I put them on both sides of the ring so the wreath would look just a cute from the back.
See...after being all filled up it should look just like a wreath...a very small wreath of course.  Wait! Wouldn't this be really great looking if it was giant sized?  Hmmm... I sort of like that idea. 
I added a ribbon and a bow...

and some bling to a few of the butterfly heads.  I think this makes it look more like a Christmas wreath.  You know those ones that have the berries on them?

 After you have made as many as you need then you can have your party, eat yummy food and just enjoy being together. 

When I get my Christmas boxes out each year I love the ornament part of it and I especially love seeing the ones these girl's have made for me over the years.  Each one has a little story and each one reminds me of the person who made it.  You can see their love in a creative tangible way and that's a huge part of Christmas for me.  It may take a little bit more time to make something for a loved one but it's so worth it.  Hopefully the ones we added last night will provide us with a fond memory of the this past year.  I'm so lucky to have such great friends!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Why I do the Dishes...

**Sorry to be so late on this post--it should have been up on Friday, and I wish I had an interesting excuse for not doing it on time, but my list of things to get done before Christmas is too long to mention here, so just know that I didn't forget, I just flat out didn't get it done! :) So the topic for this week is not dishes again, but I couldn't let the topic of dishes go by without saying something--and I could have said more, much more! 

On the list of things to do, washing the dishes is always present. I rarely write it on my list, along with folding the laundry, because what is the point, right? Once they are done, they must be done again! But I will let you in on one little secret--the trick to preventing dirty dishes from piling up is this: unload! Who would have thought that the biggest culprit in creating a messy kitchen is not actually your hungry children or your busy husband and all the dishes they dirty, it's the clean dishes sitting in the dishwasher preventing you from getting the dirty ones in it! Yes, it takes less than five minutes, but it is the most important step--finishing the job. I don't know why it is so hard for me to get those dishes from the rack and put them in the cupboard, but sometimes I just don't get it done... and that's when the piles start and the cluttered messiness of a well-fed family consumes my counters. But, at least I can look at those piles and know that we've eaten something yummy that day, right?

My husband used to be really great about helping wash the dishes. But then I made a huge mistake--one of many marital mistakes I must admit--and I criticized his dish-washing abilities. I think I said something like, "I'm grateful that you help with the dishes but I think you are the slowest dishwasher I know." He doesn't do the dishes nearly as much now. Lesson learned.

photo found here

Even though I often dread doing the dishes, I often find myself grateful for the time it gives me to think. I feel similarly about folding the laundry. When my hands are busy, so is my mind, and when I get into a rhythm, I find my thoughts are more focused and come more clearly. This is, however, not always the case when little children are present. So I do a lot of dishes and folding at night, after they are in bed.

I  have plenty of plastic dishes--they are a must with young kids, aren't they? I don't know...I grew up drinking from real glasses, glass glasses. And now I must be spoiled, but I really don't like drinking from anything else. Jason and I received four crystal classes as a wedding gift and we don't save them for special occasions, we use them every day. And my mom always has nice, heavy, ceramic dishes.  I have tried using Correlle Ware for about a year now, and it's just not the same. It might be practical, but it doesn't give the same satisfaction to a meal as a beautiful ceramic plate does. Feed me macaroni and cheese on a Correlle plate and it's just mac 'n cheese. Put it on a solid ceramic dish and that simple meal is transformed into something gourmet! As someone who enjoys cooking and loves to feed people, the satisfaction of a meal is so much more complete when it looks as good as it tastes. Beautiful dishes can add a lot to the presentation of a meal. And cleaning them is so much more enjoyable too!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Room

I mentioned that I would post pictures of my little girl's room when I got a chance.  They are over on my personal blog.  Let me know what you think.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Hog Trough

Growing up I lived in Colorado. My parents were from South Dakota so all my Grandparents, Aunts, Uncle's, and Cousins were there. Really, my parents and Uncle Al were the only ones to really the state. South Dakota was where we went on vacation. When my Grandpa was alive, one of his favorite places to eat was at "The Hog Trough." It was really the Royal Fork Buffet in Rapid City. Which I have just found out has closed. Anyways, that is where we would go. My grandparents loved it, and since it was a buffet there were no doggy bags. Well my grandpa, he had a great slight of hand. He would pack some food up in the small bowls, one on top of the other, and wrap them in napkins so they would not spill and put them in my grandma's purse. I am pretty sure they also had some of the flatware from there too. My grandpa was a hoot. Every time we would feed the cats at my Grandparents house we could not help but think of Grandpa since the cat dishes were stolen from "The Hog Trough." He left that legacy with my family.

My brothers have kept the tradition alive. My husband and I have a matching set of Chili's mugs. We got one for our wedding from one brother, and one for my birthday from the other brother. Seriously, they crack me up. Now I have my own stolen mugs that remind me of him and my brothers who stole them. It was an unexpected gift but oddly very meaningful.

Do any of your dishes have an odd story to tell? Please share?
Oh, and please don't go and start a stollen dish collection. That is illegal. :)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Save Everything

Growing up in Small-Town America, I used to spend a good chunk of my summers in Even-Smaller-Town America with my grandparents. In addition to weeding the garden, watching summer rainstorms out the big front window, swimming at the high school pool, camping at the ranger station, building clubhouses out of cardboard boxes (only to watch them disintegrate in the above mentioned rainstorms), I helped my grandmother clean out her china closets. I've talked about my Granny before, but I hope you'll indulge me once again. .

She put a lot of trust in a clumsy 11-year-old girl to carefully take all of the dishes out of the cabinet and all of the salt and pepper shakers and tiny tea sets out of the corner glass-front closets. I'd heard stories about them, where they came from, who gifted them to my grandparents, how old they were, and yet I never tired of hearing them.
All of the dishes sat atop linen doilies with a crocheted border out of thread so tiny it made my eyes hurt to try and pick out what stitches she used. We removed them from the cabinets, washed them, starched them and layed them out on old pillowcases and pinned around the edges to keep their shape. The "play room" as we called it looked like a snow storm had come through with all of those doilies resting on the floor like giant snowflakes. Granny always told us to stay out of there so as not to disturb them before they were dry, but when she wasn't looking I'd tiptoe in between them just to get a closer look or touch.
Each dish was hand washed, dried and put back to rest in its cabinet until they made their appearance at Thanksgiving and Christmas. My Granny treated everything she had as if it were a prized possession. Living through the Great Depression I'm sure had much to do with her conservationist approach to living.
We loved drinking out of her special little fancy glasses, later realizing that they were these glass bottles that once contained various cheese spreads used to make her holiday cheese balls.

She saved styrofoam "plates" that brought donuts home from the store bakery. Aluminum foil was washed and reused countless times. If a plate were to break, she glued and glued and glued it until it was more glue than plate. Her 9x13 aluminum pan (she called them "drippers" which I still don't know the origin of, but I like calling it that) had a tiny hole in it, and she plugged it with a little piece of a dish towel - good as new!
I could go on and on, but what I take from these experiences is how she saw the good in something that to others seemed unusable. That's how she was with her family too. This month marks the eighth anniversary of her passing. I was a newlywed of less than a month when she died, and I've always been afraid of forgetting her. Thankfully, the memory of her is kept alive in the few dishes of hers that I now have, an occasional dream, and I think in the way I approach my own life, and how I'd like to do so even more.

And to share part of her with you, here's one of her famous dishes she used to make. If you like maple bar donuts, you will die over this because it's all that and more! This was always in the kitchen waiting for us after we made the 12-hour drive for Christmas. I think she even made it in the plugged-up-hole-dripper...that made it taste better!
Maple Nut Cake
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 pound walnuts, chopped
1 cup milk
1/2 cup shortening
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. maple flavoring
Mix well with enough flour to make a stiff dough (thicker than boxed cake mix but thinner than banana bread dough consistency), about 2 cups. Spread in greased and floured 9x13 pan, and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. When cool, spread with 7-minute icing.

7-Minute Icing
2 egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. maple flavoring
5 TB water
1 1/2 tsp. light corn syrup

Cook all ingredients except flavoring in double boiler seven minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, add flavoring and frost cake.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Importance of a Happy Hodge-Podge

Just like the rest of my house, my collection of dishes has been thrown together over time with very little thought other than "ooh, I like that!" It ends up feeling like a bit of a hodge-podge at times, but when I look at them like this it just seems to work. It's a hodge-podge, but it's a happy hodge-podge. Every one of them is important to me, and it makes me happy just to look at them, and I'll tell you why:

These are the dishes that we use every day. They're at the very center of every meal we share, and that makes them Important. We've had them since we got married, and I still love them.

This is just one piece from a set of serving dishes I received from my grandmother when she had to sell her house for something smaller. She'd had them since her wedding in 1939, and that makes them Important.

I don't remember if my mother received china for her wedding. But I do know this is the china we kids grew up with. It came out every Thanksgiving and Christmas, and most of it survived 8 children and 30-something moving vans. The pattern is not one that I would have chosen, but it still comes out at my house on special occasions, because my dad bought it for my mom when they were newly married and he was overseas, and that makes it Important.

I saw these little cups and saucers at Goodwill a few years ago. There was a big set of them, and I was so tempted to buy the whole thing I loved them so much. But I already owned enough teacups and my kitchen didn't really have space for any more, so I allowed myself to buy just 4 cups and saucers. A few weeks later I spotted the same cups in my dear friend Cortney's house - she had seen them at Goodwill, too, and bought a few for herself! That sort of synchronicity between friends is what makes these dishes Important.

This cup is one of two given to me by another friend who was downsizing her things just before she left for a year and a half in Amsterdam. It reminds me of her, and it reminds me of traveling, and it reminds me of new experiences and being brave, and that makes it Important.

And this one was handmade by my mom when she decided to learn pottery. It makes me think of her, and learning new things, and it's pretty, and that makes it Important.

Of the rest of them, some might have similar stories that I don't know about since I bought them second-hand. Some of them are reminders that plastic can be pretty. One of them is my egg-dish, which I just love because ... well, because I do. And that makes it Important, too.

How about you? What's the story of your favorite dish or set of dishes?

Monday, December 6, 2010


I love this time of year!  I love the smells and the sparkle and the bustle of it all.  I love the anticipation I see in my kids...okay, in me... and the gift giving process.  I love the shopping and the making and the tons of decorating.  Is this starting to sound a little bit Dr. Seussy?  Sorry!  I have Christmas cards on the brain.   What I really love is the entertaining.  I get all silly and Jennish about setting a pretty table with dishes that make me swoon. 

I adore all things white.  I have it in every room.  I remember looking at pottery barn catalogs when I was in high school and dreaming about how my home would one day look.  * Little did I know that those prices would keep their simple white furniture out of my home.  That is not the point.  To me the perfect room has a whole lot of white and a little bit of some other color.  I think it's fresh and inviting and clean and so easy to change for the season or for my mood.  I have started to collect white serving ware to help whiten up my kitchen. I paint just about anything I can get my hands on white.  One of these days I'll get pictures up of Sadie's room and our bedroom.  I'm pretty sure I am obsessed!  It's in my Christmas tree and is a big part of all of my quilts.  I love when it snows because it brightens and cleans up a icky looking winter mess.  I can be really fickle when it comes to favorite colors and because it changes so often I like having that white canvas in most of my rooms to do small adjustments to.  Some think that white is boring.  I think it' be cheesy...magical!  Among the many white things in my home I have a particular favorite, especially at this time of year.

Enter my prettiest tiny collection of dishes...

I think I mentioned my china before and how it's become one of my most favorite treasures but I have to just tell you how grateful I am for my mother and her understanding of what china really means to a wife and mother.  I registered for it after my wedding, out of registration regret - not doing it when I should have, and my sweet mom lovingly gets me a little bit of it every birthday, anniversary and at Christmas. My husband thinks it's fairly pointless to put an expensive plate on the table, only to have it covered up with food and then wishing all night long for it to make it safely into a locked cabinet.  I, on the other hand, find it to be comforting and timeless.  It seems like having kids has changed our whole home to plastic and having this one nice breakable adult thing helps me feel grown up when I need to be.  I have so many memories of setting my mom's and even my grandmother's table with their own fine china.  I want that for my Sadie.  I want the moment those dishes make an appearance to signify a special occasion, to sparkle things up a bit, and then one day I want to pass it, or at least the tradition of it, on to my children. 

I believe that giving china as a wedding gift use to be a big tradition and I wonder why it's fizzled out.  Was it a fad?  Did it become a pain to find?  I guess if you are a practical thinking person, like my cute husband,  these types of things just don't really matter.  Thank goodness I am not a very practical person.  I love that they came from my mom.  I love that they are me and that I picked them out to last forever.  I really love that they are white.  I can't wait to bring them out again this Christmas. 


Friday, December 3, 2010

A Mother's Comfort

image found here

I remember on my 26th birthday thinking to myself "This feels good! I am enjoying getting older and I am finally comfortable in my own skin!"

Almost a year later I can say that I don't feel that way all the time, but more than any other time in my life, I am comfortable with who I am. There are times when I wish I could be more...more...well, more of something else. But wanting to be different is usually wanting to be better, and that is good.

Lately I have realized that I not only want to be better, but I  need to be better at giving comfort. My husband was sick a couple weeks ago, and I found that my way of dealing with it (and when I mean dealing with it, I mean taking care of the kids by myself for a week as he required us to be extra quiet while he worked from home, slept every other hour of the day, and occupied our normal living space while doing it),  was to just leave him alone. Did I offer to bring him anything he might need--cough drops, tea, ibuprofen? Nope. Did I hug him or scratch his back or rub his throbbing head? Nope. I was no source of comfort whatsoever! Yikes!

When my kids start to cry, often my first reaction is to say, "Oh, come on! Toughen up a little and stop crying!" I think this has developed over time as the result of parenting a whiny, over-dramatic little girl. But then again, maybe I'm just not sensitive to the kind of comforting she needs.

Yesterday we were in the car on our way to a music lesson for my four-year-old. I had several other errands to stop and do along the way. Somewhere between the post office and the bank she began to cry about the clothes she was wearing. They were making her uncomfortable and she could not be consoled. I tried reasoning with her--I reminded her that I had warned her about her clothing choice before leaving the house. I was kind of glad to see the realization of my words coming to light--but the reasoning power of a four-year-old is not quite strong enough to override the power of physical discomfort. Her cries were clear, "I'm uncomfortable, mommy! I don't want this!"

So while I was initially bent on making this a learning experience for her, I realized that what she might learn was not what I intended. Rather than learning that she should listen to her mother, in her state of discomfort what she might learn is that mom just doesn't care.

But I do care. So I pulled the car over and did what I could to make her comfortable. The crying stopped, driving resumed, and comfort was found in a few moments time.

I am sure that those few moments will prove to be a more significant learning experience for me than for my little girl. And I'm sure it has to do with the fact that I've been thinking about the idea of comfort all week, but in those few moments I realized that I need to be better at giving comfort. I need to be better at physically comforting--if my children are physically uncomfortable, they will be able to find the emotional comfort that I want them to feel. I want to teach them to be comfortable with me, to be comfortable with who they are, and to be comfortable being exactly that person when they are with me.

It doesn't matter how comfortable I am with myself, my example will be lost if my children are not able to feel comfort with and from me.

Maybe it's not just a matter of being comfortable with who I am, but what I am--and I am forever a mom.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


When it comes to comfort, there are so many ways to look at it. My thought today was "Where do I find comfort?" I love my home. There are things about it that make it warm and inviting. I am currently working on making curtains for the front room to make it warmer and inviting. I want to have a comfortable home. Somewhere I can raise my kids and not have them worry about what could break and walking on egg shells, that they can make a mess and it will be okay. I want them and their friends to be comfortable here now, and when they get older. As well as I want my friends to be comfortable here. I have lived here for a year, I have wall space that needs to be filled, a lack of furniture, etc, but I really don't care because I know some day it will all fill up. My kids have lots of room to run and play. Comfort is not just what I have materially, it is how I try to live my life. I want to be a warm person. Sometimes I can be cold, but it is life. We all have our bad days, trust me. I just hope my children can find comfort in my home and feel safe here, whether it be a good or a bad day.
Where do you find comfort?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Comfort and Joy

Happy 1st of December! Today at our house we're starting up a few advent calendars to count down to Christmas. One of those traditions is a binder of stories called "A Story A Day Until Christmas." I may have skipped ahead to tomorrow in sharing this short story with you, but I thought it fit in so well with our weekly theme of comfort. Enjoy.

The Faded Blue Blanket

Fred Bauer

The most frightened shepherd that night was little Ladius, just ten years old. He cowered behind his three older brothers when the blinding star lit the hillside. When the angel appeared, he hid behind a huge rock. Yet after Ladius heard the glad news, fear left him, and he limped back to his brothers, who were planning to set out for Bethlehem.

"Who will tend the sheep?" asked Samuel, the oldest at sixteen. Ladius, leaning against his shepherd's crook to support a crippled foot, volunteered, "I'd only slow you down. Let me stay with the sheep." He wet his lip as he talked. The brothers weakly protested at first, then made plans to go.

"We must each take a gift," said Samuel. One brother chose his flint to start a fire for the Christ child. Another picked meadow lilies to make a garland for the king. Samuel decided on his most precious possession - his gold ring.

"Here - take my blanket to him," said Ladius. It was badly worn, a faded blue with patches. "No, Ladius," said Samuel, tenderly. "The blanket is too tattered to give even a beggar, let along a king. Besides, you will need it tonight."

The brothers departed, leaving Ladius alone by the fire. He laid his head upon the blanket and buried his face in his hands. Tears forced their way between his fingers, but soon the hush of night soothed the boy's heartbreak. The world in silent stillness lay.

"Are you coming, Ladius?" called a voice. Standing nearby was the same angel who had brought the news. "You wanted to see the child, didn't you?"

"Yes," nodded Ladius," but I must stay here."

"My name is Gabriel," said the angel. "Your sheep will be watched. Take my hand, and bring your blanket. The child many need it." Suddenly, Ladius was outside a stable. Kneeling by a manger were his brothers. Ladius started to call out, but the angel lifted a finger to his lips.

"Give me the blanket," Gabriel whispered. The angel took it and quietly covered the baby. But the blanket was no longer faded. Now it glistened like dew in the brilliance of a new day. Returning, Gabriel squeezed Ladius's hand. "Your gift was best, because you gave all that you had.

"Wake up, Ladius, wake up!" The boy rubbed his eyes and tried to shield them from the glaring sun. Hovering over him was Samuel.

"Did you find him?" asked Ladius.

"Yes," replied Samuel, "but first tell me why you were sleeping without your blanket."

Ladius looked about with wonder. The faded blue blanket was nowhere to be found.

May you all find yourselves giving and receiving an abundance of comfort and joy.