Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Couldn't wait tonight.

I just had to post. My heart is so full of gratitude. This has been an interesting Christmas season for us, and we have received so many blessings. I think we have been doorbell-ditched about 15 of the 23 days of December with gifts and treats. But tonight, we found a turkey, milk, eggs, oranges, and so much more on our doorstep. I hope that the people who have blessed our lives know how grateful we are to feel their love. We talked tonight with our kids about how we didn't know who was leaving things for us. It could be anyone we meet. And that means that we need to show how grateful we are by the way we treat them. They could be our "secret Santas"! You never know! That made a real impression on me. And the fact that people are truly generous and kind. If you are reading this, secret Santa, THANK YOU! We feel so loved and blessed. We hope we can be as kind to others as we have been treated. I think that would be the greatest "thank you" of all.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Let it snow (and snow and snow)!

Today is the first day of the Christmas break from school, and the weather cooperated beautifully. We woke up to a pretty dark day (I admit I didn't roll out of bed until 8:45 am), but I didn't think much more of it. Then as I was helping the kids through their chores, I happened to look out the window. WOW--the snow was coming down in huge flakes. It took us a while to get to the playing phase of our day, and by the time that came, we all went outside to play. So far, we've made our own sledding hill and TWO snowmen! Sarah went out for the first time and wasn't too happy unless Mommy was holding her. I even took her down the sledding hill a couple of times. I just LOVE snow days around here. William said to me, "I hope we never move to where there is no snow." I have to admit that I agree with him. Our next door neighbors put both of our snowmen to shame with an enormous over-6-feet-tall specimen. I will have to post pics today...we'll see if I have it in me to tear myself away from all the white stuff outside.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I LOVE Christmas traditions...

Problem is, I can't get any to stick for more than 30 seconds.

I have grand ideas, dreams really (or maybe delusions), of a Christmas filled with meaningful traditions that bring us closer to what this season is all about--LOVE, JOY, PEACE. Sometimes we hit love; we have moments of joy; but we rarely experience peace.

It seems that everything just seems thrown together. I think a lot about how I want things to go, but I live a real life (unlike in my dreams) and things don't happen the way I hope they will. I would love to have traditions that build my family and bring us together without losing my mind.

Having said that, we do have one tradition that seems to stick in our family. And mostly because it revolves around sugar: Gingerbread (well, graham cracker) houses.

We seem to do it every year. We do it the way my family (and Yamashitas) did it, not the way the Johnsons did it (much to Larry's chagrin). I just can't get into real gingerbread. (I know, I know, it is not just about me.) He lights up when he tells stories of his mom's waxed paper patterns and crushed-hard-candy-stained-glass-windows. Hopefully, I will be able to do that for him some day. But for now, it is all about simple and how much candy my kids can cement to some graham crackers. Maybe I'll become Martha Stewart-Johnson later in life (yeah, right).

This year, Auntie Nikki helped Lauren make a princess castle that Lauren promptly called "AWESOOOOOOME." William made a split level roof house that had a perfect spot for Santa and his sleigh (and Santa guards, and a fence, and a garage for extra candy--not even glued down, just a repository). Hadland "borrowed" Uncle Treas' tallest-spire creation to add to his ALCATRAZ. Basically it was his creative answer to all the broken graham crackers (he just piled them up on top of each other and glued them together in a haphazard fashion). He worked longer than anyone and has become this generation's answer to Uncle Nathan--candy junky extraordinaire.

I'm going to post this and add in pictures as soon as I can.

But back to the initial question--how have you incorporated traditions (I'm not being picky here--just ANY tradition will do) into your holidays? What has worked? What hasn't? What have you learned to do without and what can you not live without? I would LOVE some help on this one.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thought for today

I was visiting teaching yesterday (program where 2 women visit and talk about the gospel with another lady in the congregation), and I literally stumbled across my thought of the day. It has occupied much of my thinking time in the last 24 hours, and I thought I would share it:

"The gospel of Jesus Christ has the divine power to lift you to great heights from what appears at times to be an unbearable burden or weakness. The Lord knows your circumstances and your challenges. He said to Paul and to all of us, 'My grace is sufficient for thee.' And like Paul we can answer: 'My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me' (2 Corinthians 12:9)" ("Have We Not Reason to Rejoice?" President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Ensign, Nov. 2007, 19).

Amazing. Take a minute to think about that. I guarantee it will make your day happier, more purposeful, and blessedly more humble.

Have a merry day!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Christmas is coming...

The goose is getting fat!

That's ok, as long as no one mistakes me for a goose!

Do you like the new background? I am LOVING the star, although it always kind of shocks me when I first see it. That's not a bad thing--gets me a-thinkin', ya know?

I am excited for Christmas. This is a lean year, so I am looking forward to experiencing a less-commercial season with my family. Wish us luck! (and please forward any of your great ideas/experiences with less presents/stuff)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Secret Givers

I am trying to have some sort of "Christmas" thought each day throughout December. I haven't missed a day yet! Pat myself on the back, you know? Tonight we read the perfect story about a little boy who learned to think more about what he could give rather than what he would receive because his family had started "doorbell ditching" Christmas gifts and surprises to people in their neighborhood. It was perfect because we had a chance to do just that--leave a treat on the porch and run. Although I am quite aerobically fit, I left the ditching and running to our able-bodied boys. What fun! You gotta love an immediate object lesson, right?