I promised myself I'd finish my shopping by October this year, and though I didn't make it, it did make things a lot easier overall getting some things done earlier. I don't like to forget anyone, but usually time and money contraints force you to cut out many. This is my list this year, for example, and it is overwhelming, and quite impossible! But I'm a list maker- yep I am! Here's all my groups in no order whatsoever: (this is for me for next year- you can skip)
-Women I visit teach
-People Pat home teaches
-Various Family Groups
-Exercise Group friends
-my presidency (Stake YW)
-My own family!
-People I go to Stake meetings with
-Dr's, Fireman, Police
-and Christmas cards to all!
It's do-able. Especially with my nearly two grand in car repairs this month. Not! I won't even do 75% of these people on my list. But I did better this year than any year I can remember! That's something right? Do I get points for having great ambitions?
What's helped a lot this year is not getting as sick as in the past. I think our daily green smoothies and taking care of our health has really helped a lot. Sam hasn't missed a day of school, and Dallas and Evan only two days. Several times I've felt a sore throat starting, which for me is usually the beginning of weeks of misery, only to find it disappear completely! Yea for strong bodies!!!
I wasn't going to make Christmas treats since I've not really done it for years, but the kids wanted to take some to their primary teachers, so since I had to make them, I figured I'd make enough for several ward friends. I made two kinds because they each make TONS of cookies: the Mullen's snickerdoodles, and Molasses-Ginger cookies since they taste like Christmas to me. I already had baggies that I bought on clearance years ago and it all worked out really nicely.
Still I was up late into the night bagging and tagging them to give out the next day at church (my only available day). In the morning, I woke up with only 10 minutes to get ready, I almost just skipped church I was so tired. But I knew that I would regret it, so we hustled and made it there not too late.
And then the blessing came; the best speaker in a long time. Every message was wonderful, every speaker excellent, but one really stood out yesterday. I don't even know who he was, but I've heard him before and always thought highly of him. He compared his sacrifice leaving home as a young missionary to serve in Germany for 2 years and how he'd never been so cold in all his life- how he was cold the entire time- and homesick- and out in the streets all day. It was his "great" sacrifice for God and mankind.
He said "great" with some sarcasm, because though his sacrifice was great for him, it pales in comparison to Christ, who left the heavens where he was a God and with God, to forget everything about who he was. He was not to be born in a sterile hospital, or to a royal, wealthy family with the best of everything, but to a poor mother in a rude stable meant only for animals. As an infant, he was completely vulnerable, during a military occupation (Rome over the Jews), to a despot leader (Herod) who subsequently murdered all the infant boys in the land just on the chance that, in this net, he could catch the Christ child.
He went learning line upon line throughout his life about his true identity and true mission- to do the will of the Father- and the great sacrifice that would be required of him to SAVE US ALL.
Even at the age of 12, he knew he must be 'about his Father's business', and by about age 30, he gave up family and the normal comforts of life completely to setting up a church and serving the endless throngs of people seeking his wisdom and healing. He knew we would need his parables, his example, and his perfect love.
And though he wished he did not have to, he drank to the bitter end of the cup, and finished his work on the earth. Because of this, he knows every pain, every heart ache- he knows exactly how we feel it, for he felt it too. Once someone told me that each persons life and sufferings and sins passed before him one by one until he had suffered for each one of us in turn- and used his Godhood not to escape feeling that pain, but to help him to live through it; the pressure being so great he bled from every pore.
I could not possibly convey everything in the talk, but the man giving it never looked down at notes, never stumbled, and it was not memorized. He just spoke from his heart, the feelings of his heart for the Savior. He also quoted wonderful Old Testament prophecies of the coming Messiah. He was looked forward to and promised, since the days of Adam. This was God's plan since before the earth was formed, and we all shouted for joy to be a part of it. As God tells us in Moses 1:39 "For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." (meaning mankind), and in John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life."
Anyway, I've been joking lately that I just want to forget about 2013, because except for Charles being born, it has been awful. Most months were me being in pain and surgeries. If I could choose, I would give birth to my all kids over again several times before I would ever do this surgery again. I should have followed my instinct and run out of that hospital. It is beyond words to express, and yet I have much to be grateful for. It broke my heart to hear of a friend who went through much of a similar, if not worse surgery, and I wish neither she, nor I, nor my Savior, nor anyone else ever had to experience that. But we did. And life goes on. As the Savior said in John 16:33 "In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
Every day is a gift. I'm glad I didn't miss the messages on Sunday due to Christmas busy-ness. I needed them! And I really cannot dismiss this year. I have been working on some great (to me) experiments with many things in my life. The things God's been teaching me about modesty and motherhood, what I listen to and all the great Christian stations out there that have helped me as a mother and wife, to love my husband and family better, and the continuing saga of schooling my children, exercising, and the things I learn in the scriptures. Life is good.