Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Years Resolutions are Important

Well, I just got back from vacation and with that and Christmas the house is in a complete uproar! But I'm taking a break from cleaning it for a minute to think about my New Year's Resolutions. I love this time of year. I love to evaluate areas where I can improve and set goals for the next year. I'm like most of you and only consistently keep my resolutions for a few weeks (or days maybe). But I feel like the process of making and trying to reach goals is important even if we're not always successful in keeping them. In the evaluating process, we stand back and look at the way we are living and see if it's in accordance with the way we'd like to be living. Then we try to make up the difference through the goals that we set. That process allows us to at the very least become aware of the ways we can change, even if we don't always consistently change every day. As long as we stand back and evaluate often enough (and probably once a year isn't enough) and progress a little bit every time we do, then we'll stay on the path to reach our goals.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Joy to Everyone

This is a beautiful music video that reaches across cultures in a wonderful spirit of Christmas. It was created by the BYU school of Music. The site is: http://www.joytoeveryone.com. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Smarter than a 4-year-old?

Today I spent about 30 min trying to open the door to the church. It was snowing and cold and Curious George was with me. We even came back home to get instructions from Daddy as to which key to use and which direction to turn it. C.G. kept insisting it was the other key. Finally, I was about to give up and have Brandon come open the door for me. As I was calling him, C. takes the other key, puts it in the lock and opens it on the first try! When I came home, I told Brandon. He didn't know the other key even worked in that door. It just goes to show that sometimes the faith of little children can move mountains!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Great Preschool Ideas Site!

For Mom's of toddler and preschool age children, this is the site for you: http://www.ideasforpreschoolers.com/

My sister created this site and she's put links to all kinds of pages with free and low-cost ideas to do with preschoolers. There are coloring pages, flannel board stories, learning pages, etc. Here's a quote from her blog:
"Ideasforpreschoolers.com is not necessarily about my ideas (although I have added a few) but about bringing all of the ideas from all of the great preschool sites out there together in an organized manner. This site is for children from 18 months to 5 years old.

In the top left column there is a link called "Learning Activities". If you click this you will see all of the things your child should know before going to kindergarten (as stated in the World Book Encyclopedia and Learning Resources). I then went through this curriculum and created a page for each and ideas on how to teach that particular subject.

I also have pages on specific "Game Types". So if you are looking for a file folder game, felt board story, coloring pages, dot to dot pages or paper doll templates, this would be the place to go.

On this site you will also find several links to websites that have craft ideas for preschooler, nursery rhymes and other preschool songs, audio stories, and more."
This is a great site! Check it out!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Jesse Bear Tales

Jesse Bear likes to climb. He climbs on the table, the piano bench and anything else he can get to - the higher the better. Unfortunately, he hasn't learned about gravity yet. He's fallen several times, but the effects have been softened by our carpeted kitchen and mom's arms (yes I guess there are benefits to carpet in the kitchen). After he fell again the other day, I got a bright idea. Here's what our kitchen looks like now:
Jesse Bear also loves to touch and taste. The brighter and shinier the better. So Christmas ornaments with dangerous hooks have been a problem for us this year. Here's my solution to that:
A little goofy looking only half decorated, but it beats the worry & maintenance otherwise!

Nativity Scene

Children are what makes Christmas sparkle! Curious George likes to use the members of the nativity as action figures. They have all kinds of adventures. The other day I noticed that he had added two additional characters to the scene.
I guess ya never know! They could have been there!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Meaningful Gifts

Giving is always important, but the Christmas season tends to bring out the desire in us to give even more. When we act on that desire to give and share with others, we feel good inside. That feeling is often described as the spirit of Christmas. While giving is better than not, meaningful giving is even better. Some ideas of meaningful gifts include:
  • Gifts that satisfy a need
  • Acts of service, giving of yourself
  • Gifts that show your love or support
Here's an experience that happened to me when I was in college that taught me a lot about meaningful giving. It was the Christmas season which of course means that it's also finals time and students are very busy. I woke up one day very sick. I was supposed to study with a study group later on that day, but I was too sick to even get out of bed. All of my roommates had left earlier that morning so I was alone. I went back to sleep and woke up a few hours later to the phone ringing. It was my study group calling to find out where I was. I told them I wouldn't be able to make it because I was sick. A little while later, I heard a knock at the door and there was my study group. They brought me some food and did all the dishes in the sink. After making sure I didn't need anything else, they left to study. It was such a simple gesture, but it meant a lot to me. My friends took care of my needs - they brought me food, they served me by doing the dishes, and most important, they showed their love and support to me. Their gift of love to me was akin to the love shown by Jesus Christ to those around him. Jesus was always about doing good and serving his fellowmen. He performed acts of meaningful service and love everywhere he went.

Sometimes it's hard to think of meaningful gifts. It takes time and effort to find out needs and try to meet them. There are plenty of reasons and justifications that we can come up with for not giving. But giving is what we should do. No matter how much we have or don't have, we can always give. Sometimes the best gifts are as simple as a kind word or a smile. Let's cultivate and attitude of giving this Christmas season and look for meaningful gifts that will bless those around us.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Looking Outward

I read a talk yesterday that was given by one of our church leaders, Dieter F. Uchtdorf. I thought it was really important especially during this Christmas season.

"As we lose ourselves in the service of others, we discover our own lives and our own happiness. President Lorenzo Snow expressed a similar thought: 'When you find yourselves a little gloomy, look around you and find somebody that is in a worse plight than yourself; go to him and find out what the trouble is, then try to remove it with the wisdom which the Lord bestows upon you; and the first thing you know, your gloom is gone, you feel light, the Spirit of the Lord is upon you, and everything seems illuminated.' In today’s world of pop psychology, junk TV, and feel-good self-help manuals, this advice may seem counterintuitive. We are sometimes told that the answer to our ills is to look inward, to indulge ourselves, to spend first and pay later, and to satisfy our own desires even at the expense of those around us. While there are times when it is prudent to look first to our own needs, in the long run it doesn’t lead to lasting happiness."

I loved this! It's very important to remember. Many of us are feeling (or will feel) the pinch of the economy, which may lead us to look inward and forget about those around us. I love what he said about finding someone in a worse plight than us (and there's always someone) and helping them out. This will help dispel our own troubles and help us be happier. It is counterintuitive, like he said, but I've experienced the happiness that comes from serving others and I know it really does work. Service and Love and Giving really does make us happier.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Are Mormons Christians?

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. For those of you not familiar with the name, you may have heard the term "Mormons." This term comes from The Book of Mormon, one of our canonized books of scripture.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, one of our church leaders, has said "there [are] two principal reasons The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is accused, erroneously, of not being Christian". He notes that the two reasons are:
  1. "Our view of the Godhead" - as three separate, physical beings
  2. "Our assertion that God continues to speak His word and reveal His truth, revelations which mandate an open canon of scripture".
He has given a detailed explanation about both of these topics in the following talks:
  1. "The Only True God and Jesus Christ Whom He Hath Sent"
  2. "My Words...Never Cease"
To quote from the Book of Mormon, "And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins." (2 Ne. 25: 26)

We believe in Jesus Christ. He is our Lord, our Savior and Redeemer. During this Christmas season, may our hearts be turned toward Him. Let us be more loving and kind and giving as He has taught us.

If you are interested in learning more about Jesus Christ and his role as the Savior of the world, please see http://jesuschrist.lds.org.