Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

Well, it is New Year's Eve--we are not big party animals, so we are just home, watching a Suns game, and having a quiet evening at home. I am actually working on a sewing project--we are not the most exciting people out there, but we are glad to be home and to be safe...and that counts for something. I have talked to most of my kids today--they, too, don't have big plans for tonight. I just can't get my mind off what I was doing a year ago. A year ago, I was 3 days away from having surgery, and spending 18 days in the hospital. Of course, a year ago, I didn't know what that all would entail, and I am thankful I didn't know what an ordeal it would be. I am sure that my family didn't have any idea either of what it all would entail--how grateful we are to be a year later, and to have that behind us. Who knows what 2012 will bring...but we are grateful so very much for my improved health, and all the blessings that have come to us this year--the addition of a new son, and of two new grandsons, who make us so very happy. Life does go on, in spite of health issues, and challenging things, and with the help of the Lord, we are given the strength to meet the challenges that come our way.

I am so grateful for the many people who helped us through this tough year--who were there with encouraging words, or funny cards, or with a hug when we needed it. I am thankful for countless acts of kindness--for meals and for rides for my children, and for support in so many different ways. I hope that in this coming year I can be as kind to people as they have been to me. I just feel so very thankful for the gift of life, and for the blessings of my Heavenly Father to me and to my family--to help us through 2011. I am grateful for a new year and for opportunities to serve and to learn and to hopefully grow closer to my Savior, and to the way He lived His life--which was in service always to those around him. May you all be blessed with a beautiful and joyful 2012, and may you have the strength and courage to meet whatever challenges come your way. Hopefully, we'll be there for each other in the coming days and months. Much love to you all, Louise

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Hello and Merry Christmas! I'm sure none of you have time today to be looking at people's blogs, but I thought I would post anyway. We are busy doing last-minute things, but unlike other years, it looks like our wrapping is pretty much done. WOW--that is amazing. We stayed up till 2:00 last night, rather than tonight--maybe some sleep on Christmas Eve. That would be a unique thing.

I have to share some feelings right now. Christmas is a very tender time for me, as it is for so many of you...and it is very tough to not have my children here. I am thankful today for my youngest, Brady, because he still basically likes to be home. It is hard to have children grow up, and get on with their own lives. I know that is reality, but it is a hard reality for me. Last night we had a lot of fun skyping with our daughter, Katie, and her husband, Cody, as they opened their Christmas presents from us. It just hit me this morning that none of them will be home for Christmas this year...and I got very emotional. I now need to go on with my day, and be grateful for all that I have. The holidays are a wonderful time, but they are also a time of sad emotions, when you can't be with ALL the people you love. I guess it's like the Christmas song says, "I'll be home for Christmas...if only in my dreams." May the Christmas spirit be with all of you, and may you know how much I love each of you, and how especially much I love each of my children and grandchildren. I hope they will feel that love over the miles. Merry Christmas to all of you! Much love always, Louise

Saturday, December 10, 2011

"Real Life" Christmas

Well, my last post was the ideal...and today I hit total reality when it comes to the frustrations and stresses of the holiday season. Today I hit the wall, and realized as I do every year, that I am trying to do too much, that I have focused on the unimportant things and let them take over my life...and that I might preach about enjoying all the little things of Christmas, but I too feel the tension and high expectations...and frustrations that everyone complains about! This was my day. I got up, and started working on Christmas cards. Then, I made a trip to Mesa, because I get this meat at a great price, if I buy it in bulk. Then I needed to get home so that people who have bought the meat can come pick it up. Then, my oldest, Jodie, needed to get her hair cut, and buy Christmas presents so we can send them off to her nephews. When we went to take her back to her group home, no one was there, so she continued on errands with me. I went to one store to check out a certain present, and it was about 3 times as expensive as I wanted to I went home, found the same item on Amazon, and it was even MORE expensive there. See, talk about getting caught up in the thick of thin things--that is me totally today. Then, I snapped at my teenager, because I was tired of running everywhere, and I was frustrated that my house is a mess, and because my trees aren't decorated... and all this stuff just goes on and on. Life just hasn't stopped for me today, or maybe I haven't stopped to really live. OBVIOUSLY, I need to take a TRUE reality check, and remind myself that all these things I got hung up on today really don't matter. SIGH--it is so easy to lose perspective, even when your intentions are good. Thank goodness tomorrow is Sunday, and I won't shop and I won't be so busy, and maybe I can regain some eternal, more meaningful perspective. The problem with Christmas is we try to do our regular life things, plus add a whole bunch more on top of that--and it just doesn't work. WOW--this entry was really time of confession! I am way too human, and way too caught up with "stuff." Here's to a better tomorrow...I hope!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Let's Enjoy Christmas!

Well, true to my technological genuis, I posted this great post this morning, but then I did something and lost the whole thing. Even Emily, who always helps me, coulnd't do anything because I had messed it up so badly! Anyway, I wanted to share the words of Music and the Spoken Word, that was broadcast the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I loved the counsel he gave to enjoy the season. So I'm going to share that with all of you.

The Journey to Christmas Delivered By: Lloyd D. Newell
The month of December is a time of joyful anticipation. The sights, sounds, and smells of the season evoke feelings of excitement and wonder. For generations, children—and grown-ups—have used advent calendars and paper chains to count down the days. But does our focus ever become so fixed on the future that we forget to enjoy the journey to Christmas?

This year, instead of just looking forward, let’s also take pleasure in the preparations: in the little, less spectacular moments along the way, even in the spontaneous joys that may, at first, seem like interruptions to our bigger plans. In order to recognize those moments for what they could be, it sometimes helps to slow things down a bit. We may need to shop less and savor more. We might have to dim the bright lights in order to see the stars in the heavens, but if we look, we will find them.

Often it takes a child to redirect our focus. Think of how much children enjoy the present moments, the preparations, and not just the finished products. When helping to decorate the home, wrap presents, or bake Christmas treats, they usually make more of a mess than we would; they might not do it just right, but they also usually enjoy the moment more than we do! Their enthusiasm can be contagious.

A three-year-old girl, wholeheartedly living in the present, exclaimed: "It’s not tomorrow! It’s not today! It’s to-now!” When was the last time you felt "to-now”?

Yes, we are busy. But the days leading to Christmas are not just to be endured. In fact, perhaps they offer more of what the season is really about. The promise of Christmas is everywhere to behold. It’s not saved for Christmas morning. If we have eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to open, we truly can enjoy the journey to Christmas.

I know that December is a crazy time of year,but I like how he says "We may need to shop less and savor more." What great advice! Sometimes it is easier said than done..but I hope that I can take the counsel given, and truly enjoy the journey of Christmas, and not just the day of Christmas. I hope you are all doing well, and that you know I am very grateful for all the people who have helped me in MY journey this year towards better health. Your friendship and support and faith and prayers have been gifts to me all year long. May you be blessed at this time of year. With much love for you, Louise