Monday, December 31, 2012

New Years Eve and in Reflection

Before children, New Years Eve was an evening to go out dancing or out to eat with my sweetie and a much anticipated kiss at midnight.  Once the children came along New Years Eve became a night of movies, games and finger foods.  It was tradition.  As my kids are moving on, my Eldest in the Air Force, my Missionary Son in Georgia and Ladybug spending her New Years Eve at a Church dance, KT and I will be left alone.  We are now the old people barely able to stay awake until midnight.  Well, provided I have enough caffeine from my diet Cherry Coke, I can make it.  I reflect on the past, our life, accomplishments, experiences, the children.  Of course, it is not the end, but the beginning of anew.

As I am reflecting, let me tell you some of my favorite posts of 2012....Let me know if you liked them, too.

I Pressed Submit
Thirty-Two Steps
Thirty-Two Steps...continued
It's All Good
Minimalism and Christmas


Friday, December 28, 2012

On Vacay...

Hey!  Long time no see!  If you've wondered where I am, wonder no further.  I have been on Vacay.  Not in the physical sense for the most part, but in the mental sense.  Things got pretty busy around here with Christmas and Military Man home for the Holiday.  I'll resume blogging really soon.  Just wanted to check in...

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas.


Monday, December 24, 2012

Goodbye Pear Shaped Thoughts

Today is my last day blogging at Pear Shaped Thoughts
as they are closing up shop.  Today I am sharing a personal 
Christmas story.  If you are actually reading blogs today, and 
would enjoy a little Christmas story, stop and by.
As always, I appreciate your comment ♥.

Merry Christmas Eve...

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Dealing with the Stress

Let's face it...the holidays can be stressful.  I've been trying to minimize and decrease the stress factor.  One of the best things I do for myself is I don't give up working out during December.  This really manages my stress level.  Plus I feel healthier, and I don't feel as guilty indulging in a cookie or two, or three.  You get the idea.  This was my running record last December.  I'm not perfect, but I really tried to get out as often as I could.  This year looks fairly similar except I'm working in some yoga classes, too.  Christmas should not be stressful!  I'm working on being balanced spiritually, emotionally and physically.

I kind of like the idea of a pedicure...Hmm, that would be relaxing!  

What do you do to manage the stress?  

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


When I say the word flexibility, you are probably thinking of the yoga classes I've added this December.  But, no, I am not talking about the Yoga class I'm taking.  I am, however, talking about my own personal flexibility...not digging in my heals for traditions sake.  I figure this is all part of simplicity.  Getting rid of my expectations, flexibility with traditions and just going with the flow.  Things are going to be different around here...When I say around here, I mean here at my house this Christmas.  And, I seriously think I should get the Gumby Award!  Just sayin'.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Dealing with the Guilt

Part of my simplification was cutting out Christmas cards.  It takes time and thought to write a letter, sign address all the envelopes and the money to mail all the cards.  I've done it probably every year since I've been married...except for this one...And let's face it, sometimes people just don't get my sense of humor.  But, now I am feeling guilty!  It's true!  As the cards are beginning to come in, and I enjoy the updates and pictures from family and friends, I feel bad that I'm not sending to them, as well. Sooooo, to assuage my guilt I bought some lovely cards on clearance from dayspring.  The cards may be late, but they are coming.  At least I can feel like I'm simplifying because I caught them on a really good sale.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Miguel's Missionary Moment

"You know something that has been on my mind lately is the Book of Mormon.  I have been thinking about what it has meant to me on my mission.  It has been answers to prayers, to questions of faith.  It has strengthened my testimony.  I have not missed a day without reading at least one verse for the time I have been out.  I read the Bible, too, it is important, but I can say this book alone has changed me.  This book is not something I believe is true anymore, it is something I KNOW.  I had so many doubts when I got out here about my purpose but the Book of Mormon, as I seriously studied it, changed it all.  I know the Book of Mormon is true.  I know that it testifies of our Savior Jesus Christ.  I challenge anyone to not let a day go by without opening these good books."


You can get your free copy of the Book of Mormon from me, here

Saturday, December 15, 2012

My Husband the Adonis: Pear Shaped Thoughts

Today I am blogging at Pear Shaped Thoughts.
The founders of Pear Shaped Thoughts are calling it quits real soon
Please stop by and leave me some comment ♥ before they are gone.

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Christmas Miracle

I have this story to tell, but it's not really mine to tell.  But, I will tell you anyway...(names have been withheld to protect the identity of the innocent).  Now this story has been passed down from brother in law, to husband to myself which, obviously, is not first hand knowledge.

But once upon a time, in the area called the Midwest  a family dear to us was robbed.  When I say robbed, their home was robbed, trashed and ransacked.  This sweet family, during the Christmas season, had their home and their lives violated in a most disconcerting way.  Gratefully, from what I understand, no one was home at the time or this may be a VERY different Christmas story.  But they still had to deal with the insecure feeling of having had someone break into their home and pick up the pieces and the mess left behind.

Shortly after the robbery, and a report to the police, said robber was in a car accident with a car full of the goods.  The robber was identified through the stolen items in the car.  This sweet family has had nearly everything returned.  How often does that happen?  I mean besides when Miguel had his car broken into and HE got his stuff back.  But, really?  Not very often.  I know Heavenly Father was looking out for them.  Some might say it is Karma or just bum luck for that robber.  But, I know differently.  That was a true blessing...A Christmas Miracle...

And, ye who shall be called nameless, if you are reading...feel free to add more details.  This is all we've heard from Uncle J.  

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Decorating with Simplicity

As I pulled out boxes of Christmas decorations,
I was overwhelmed with the memories of it all.
I was overwhelmed with the amount of it all!
With my 2012 motto being Simplify, 
I decided to simplify my decorating.
Decor totally enhances and helps to immerse
in the spirit of the season.
But, I think the simplicity brings the focus
back to Him

My tree is very simple this year:  
white lights, red balls and snowman ornaments

I have used not even half of what I have.  
Less feels better.  It feels lighter and less burdensome.

My mantel is simple, not ornate.  
My three stockings for my three babies
A snowman (because I have a fetish
And a cute printable you can get here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Decorations & Simplicity

I began decorating over a week ago.
It wasn't a big event, like it has been in the past.  
I have simplified my decorations.  
But, the first decoration to come out was the most important one to me.

It will also be the last to be stored away at the end of the season.

"Born in a stable, cradled in a manger, He came forth from heaven to live on earth as mortal man and to establish the kingdom of God. During His earthly ministry, He taught men the higher law. His glorious gospel reshaped the thinking of the world. He blessed the sick. He caused the lame to walk, the blind to see, the deaf to hear. He even raised the dead to life. To us He has said, 'Come, follow me.'

"As we seek Christ, as we find Him, as we follow Him, we shall have the Christmas spirit, not for one fleeting day each year, but as a companion always. We shall learn to forget ourselves. We shall turn our thoughts to the greater benefit of others"

~Thomas S. Monson~

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Cookies of Love

They were twelve and thirteen years old...these girls who laugh, giggle and love their Heavenly Father.

They wanted to do something special for someone.  What could be more fun than decorating Christmas cookies and delivering them to some special recipients.

That grandma who lost her only daughter this year.  When the girls sang, she cried.  They smiled knowing that they brought her a bit of joy in the sorrow.

Then there was the widow.  Eight young girls on her porch singing Christmas carols and delivering thoughtfully frosted cookies.  Her broad smile and invitation to come in and visit just made their day.

I have so much to learn about joy in service.  
These young girls who I teach, yes, they teach me, too.  

Monday, December 10, 2012

What can I give to Him?

Amongst all the glitter and wrapped gifts during this season of love and joy, I find myself contemplating what can I give Him?  What can I give to Him who gave the ultimate gift, who paid the ultimate price?  My heart yearns to be able to ask Him, what do you want for Christmas, dear Brother?  As I minimize Christmas and the excess it brings,  I do not want to minimize Him.

What Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh can I give Him?  In a sitting down moment, I list what I think I have given Him this year.  I gave Him my son, literally.  I gave Him my son for 2 years preaching the Word of God.  Two years!  Sometimes I miss him so much I cannot breathe.  But is this enough?  I give my Savior my devotion...I am devoted to His words that I read every day.  I am devoted to Him in Testimony as I bear witness of Him and my beliefs on my blog.  And, I am devoted to Him when I serve and love others.

Giving a gift to Christ on Christmas is not a once a year event, it is an every day event.
  • It is life changing and yet it is quiet.  
  • It is thought provoking and it is peaceful.  
  • It is understanding and love.  
  • It is service and allowing others to serve.  
  • I show Him my gratitude as I strive to live in Thanksgiving Daily
  • It is forgiveness of others and being forgiven.  
  • It is being an example to others in thought, word and deed.
  • It is giving up things, even when it is hard, even when it is your son.
Yes, I want to give Christ a gift, not today, but every day.  
What gift are you giving to Christ all year?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Miguel's Missionary Moment

"I'm thankful for this opportunity to serve this mission.  To see people change and be baptized like Jesse and Charles.  But, most of all, to see the change in myself.  It's been hard.  I haven't had the easiest mission.  I've been in hard areas, and I have had a really hard companion.  I have had a hard time being away from home, but it is all been worth it.  I know my success is not measured by baptisms but by my desire and commitment to find and teach everyone I can.  I know that what I'm doing is right, and I am so thankful to be doing it!"


Friday, December 7, 2012

My Compass

I recently went to the mall with my husband.  I know, mall and minimalism of Christmas just DO NOT go together.  But, there are some things you just can't do without at Christmas:  Hickory Farms, Sees Candy.  Yeah, Christmas just wouldn't be complete without those yummy treats.  These are my musings after said trip to the mall.  ...I think we are all born with some sort of an internal compass.  Sometimes we just know the right choices to make or the direction to take our lives.  My husband was born with an internal compass.  While I could sit and tell you about all the good choices he makes, I'm going to tell you about a different kind of internal compass.  He can find his way around pretty much anywhere.  It helps living where there are mountains, some sort of a landmark to help identify north, south, east and west.  He is amazing.  Now, I don't quite have the internal compass that he has and mine looks a little bit like maps on my iphone, just sayin'...But, huge BUT here, put him in a mall and he gets all turned around.  Ironically, that's when my internal compass kicks in...

Why is that?
Happy Shopping...

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Grand Expectations

Are you ready for this?  I have some killer advice.  Just consider it sound because I am old and have lots of experience.  And here it is...."Expectations" has become a dirty word to me.  Especially when it is accompanied by self.  You know, Self Expectations?  I have so many expectations of myself to make the perfect Christmas:  Gifts, pretty packages, treats, experiences, parties, obligations.  All these things cost me sanity.  And, in return this costs my family.

I wrote last year about Flipping the Bird on the whole Christmas experience, and while I didn't actually Flip it the bird, I think a better wording, a less offensive wording, might be letting go of my expectations.  Those self imposed expectations...all the "need to do's" really drive me crazy.  I had just a bit of that guilty nagging feeling the other night, like I needed to be doing more.  So, I've started making a list at the end of the day so I can see that I actually AM accomplishing something.  Take that other evening for instance, this is the list I came up with that actually shocked me:

  • Had a meeting with the young women from church to plan December activities
  • Read Luke Chapter 2
  • Went to church
  • decorated the Christmas tree
  • watched a Christmas devotional
  • visited with some missionaries and gave them a treat
  • worked with my daughter on a church goal
  • prepared missionary son's Christmas gift box to be mailed.  
  • Cooked dinner
Once I realized how much I had actually accomplished, the guilt quickly dissipated   And you know what else?  I'm saving this list and the list from each and every day during this time.  It is so cathartic, it is such medicine to my soul.  If you have issues like me, you know, thinking you need to do more?  My advice?  Write down what you actually do...every bit of it, and let go of those stinkin' self expectations.  I've decided that my family prefers a sane mom who can laugh and have fun than the one who feels like an uptight loser making all her unrealistic mental lists and feeling like a failure.

That is all...

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

24 Days and Deseret News!!!!

I'm so excited to tell you that my blog was mentioned in an article in Deseret News out of Salt Lake City.  More specifically, my post about the 24 Days of Christmas and my free gift?  You know the one with the scripture, song and story...Yeah, I'm squealing with excitement here.  Emily Jensen wrote an article entitled "Countdowns to Christmas"  She links to my site and even quotes me.  Check it out before my one day of fame is over.  I've always said, "I'm famous on my blog..."

Thanks for the shout out Emily!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Christmas Movies

It is tradition to watch a Christmas movie on Thanksgiving evening in our family.  After we've all eaten our fill and have loosened our belts just a little, we put in a Christmas movie.  In years past, we have watched A Christmas Vacation but this year we watched Elf.

Around November, Ladybug and I like to go through Netflix and put all kinds of Christmas movies in our account and we eagerly await the Christmas movie countdown from networks like ABC Family, Lifetime Movies and the Hallmark channel.  There is nothing I love more than snuggling with my daughter and enjoying some Christmas movies....It's even better if they are romantic Christmas movies.  This is becoming a tradition as the years go by.  I have found that this is a simple way to celebrate the feelings of Christmas and spend time with my daughter.

What kind of Christmas movies do you like 
to watch year after year?  

**This is not a sponsored post.  I just like movies**

Monday, December 3, 2012

Music and Silver Bells

Music does wonders for bringing in the spirit of Christmas.  In my quest to minimize Christmas and my pursuit for experiences and feelings, I would NEVER consider cutting out Christmas music.  Music enhances moods, feelings, evokes memories and just plain makes you happy.  I love hearing different versions of old classics.

Does anyone else find her utterly adorable?
I love her voice!  Enjoy a little dose of Christmas Cheer.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Christmas Devotional

My most favorite Sunday is the first Sunday in December.  Leaders of our Church give a very special devotional and talk of Christ, share sweet Christmas stories, and we listen to lovely Christmas Hymns sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.    This is such a fitting start to the season for us, and has become quite the tradition in my family.  We often decorate the tree that day then top it off with these lovely messages.

You can watch previous years Devotionals online here.  They have 2011, 2010 and 2009.  If you are interested in this years Devotional, you can tune in, too.  The broadcast can be found on BYUTV, or  It will be shown TODAY at 6:00 pm MST.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

24 Days of Christmas and a Gift for You

Since it is December 1st, it is time to start our Christmas countdown.  Everyone has a different way of counting down or advent prior to Christmas.  I shared with you yesterday my goal to read one chapter from St. Luke per day up until Christmas Eve.

Another tradition my family has had over the years, is our 24 Days of Christmas book.  This is a collection of Scripture, song and story to be read each day prior to Christmas.  This is something my kids looked forward to when they were younger.  We would gather around in the evenings and take turns reading from the book.

Recently, I retyped all the stories and songs and made a book for family to enjoy as a Christmas gift.  I got it laminated and bound.  I think it turned out quite nicely.  I have two versions of this book that I compiled.  I have the LDS version, which features some of the primary songs from our children's group and some scriptures from the Bible and Book of Mormon, and I have the non LDS version which features traditional Christmas songs and scriptures strictly from the Bible, since many of my family are not LDS.

I would like to offer as a gift to you, the PDF of my compilation so you can put together your own 24 Days of Christmas.  This is not something I can sell because I am not the author of the stories or songs.  (Well, I am the author of one of the Christmas stories).  If you are interested in a copy of the 24 Days of Christmas book, you can download them from the links to google drive.  

LDS Version,
Non LDS Version or both.

Let me know what you think of them here in the comments.

Happy December 1st!

Bloggers for Christmas

The 36th Avenue

Tip Junkie 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...