Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas from the Pews

Dearest Family and Friends,

Merry Christmas! We hope it is a wonderful one full of the Spirit of Christ, love of family, and company of those you love.

We have had such an amazing year! In May, Brad finished his first year of law school at BYU. He did wonderfully, and was able to work at the Supreme Court of Utah and then at a great firm in Phoenix, Fennemore Craig. With just finishing another semester, we have another year and a half of law school, and we are definitely looking forward to being done.

I continued to work with at-risk kids in the Alpine Summit program and teach piano lessons. I also graduated from ASU in June with a degree in Family and Human Development. I just walked last week and it was wonderful! I will not be returning to the Summit program in January, and leave feeling a little bitter-sweet about the decision.

In June, we celebrated our first wedding anniversary. It's hard to believe how fast time has flown! What a wonderful year it was, and we are looking forward to many more.

Our most exciting part of the year, of course, was finding out that we will be welcoming a new baby girl into our home in March 2015! We could not be more excited, happy, and grateful. She will definitely be one spoiled little girl.

It has definitely been a blessed year and we are looking forward to all that 2015 will bring.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Christmas Thought

Merry Christmas, everyone! I am sorry that I have been MIA on the blog, but we have been enjoying our family time in the wonderful state of Arizona, and blogging hasn't been a priority this week.

This morning, as I studied my scriptures, I was brought back to the same thought I have almost every year at this time... who am I in the Christmas story? Every Christmas, we all have the opportunity to decide what to make of Christmas and I think there is a perfect parallel between our decisions and that first Christmas story.

So who am I? Who are you?

Mary: Understanding, blessed, faithful, willing and wanting to do all that God asked of her. Contemplating the miracle that is Jesus, "pondering it in her heart." Are we like Mary? Do we seek to be the best we can so as to be worthy of the presence of Christ? To we marvel at the miracle of His birth, life, suffering, sacrificial death, and resurrection? Do we seek to be with Him this Christmas?

Joseph: Kind, compassionate, wanting to do what is best, willing to take a back seat to the miracle of Christmas. I imagine Joseph concerned about every comfort for Mary and the Christ Child. He was faithful and trusted in God and His word. Are we like Joseph? Perhaps not understanding all that is Jesus, but wanting to, willing to, and moving forward with faith?

The InnKeeper: Busy, preoccupied, unaware. I like to think of the innkeeper as a kind man who was trying to do good and help others, but was so wrapped up in good things that he overlooked the most important thing. He was full. He had already taken in more guests than he had room for. He just couldn't do any more. He was stretched to his limit. Was he one who the shepherds ran to to tell of the coming of the Savior? Did he feel shame? Regret? Did he wonder how he could have missed the most important guest of all? Are we like the Innkeeper? Busily running from here to there to prepare the "perfect" Christmas for our loved ones, complete with beautiful gifts, deliciously tantalizing food, joyous carols, and twinkling lights, but missing the most important piece of CHRISTmas? Do our children care more about Him, or the gifts under the tree? Do we notice the needy people around us or are we too busy rushing to our next dinner party?

The Angel: Joyously proclaims the truth. Are we like the angel? Do we already know Jesus and want to make it know to the whole earth? If we know, are we singing His praises. Do we join with our "host of angels" to sing hosannas in gratitude for the gift of the King?

The Shepherd: Humble and prepared to receive truth. Once they learned of the Christ child, they ran to see Him, to know Him. They left their work and all that they knew to come to know Him. And then, when they had felt the Spirit witness to them that Jesus truly was the promised Messiah, they went and told all who would hear. Are we like the shepherds? Do we keep ourselves in a way that will allow for Heavenly truths to be given us? Do we leave all that's necessary in order to know Jesus? Do we then tell our friends, neighbors, and even complete strangers about our Savior?

Wisemen: Waiting and watching, going in the moment to find the Christ child. Traveling far distances over a long period of time, watching for the signs of His location. Are we like the wisemen? Doing whatever it takes to find Christ in Christmas? Looking for Him in all things and seeking Him, regardless of challenges and obstacles?

So who are we? With Christmas fast approaching, it is not too late to readjust. To stop worrying about the gifts, the food, the lights, the trees, and the parties, and remember
Please take 3 min to watch this beautiful video.
What will you give to Him this Christmas?
What will you give because of Him?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Christmas Lights

Brad and I love Christmas lights.
There is something almost magical about them and they really help me get into the spirit of Christmas.

Two weeks ago, we went to the lighting at Riverwoods and it was so beautiful. They had live music, a visit from Santa, and roaming elves. We even enjoyed a free carriage ride!

Last week, after a wonderful Thanksgiving trip to Idaho, we stopped in Salt Lake City on our way home to see the lights on Temple Square. Brad had never seen them before and it was so much fun to experience that together! If you are in the Salt Lake area, we definitely recommend a visit. 

We met up with my cousin Ashley and her husband Phil and had a great time spending the evening together and basking in the beauty of Christmas.

As I look at these beautiful lights, I am reminded of number of things. Mostly of the light of the star that proclaimed the birth of the Christ child. I love Jesus Christ and am so grateful for all that He did for me and for each one of us. Christmas lights remind me to seek out the Savior, just as the wise men sought Him out by following that Christmas Star. As Christmas draws near, I hope we can remember Him and seek His light and love. Then may we share that light and love with others, as He would have us do.

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