Merry Christmas Everyone

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Honestly,  I completely lack computer skills.
You would think I could do anything,
just because I am married to a man who does
amazing things with the computer. Instead I find
myself with high expectations and less than desired
results with my ability.    Here is the newsletter I wrote.  
Too bad you can't click on  it to enlarge it to read.  
I am sure Shaun could fix this, but in matters of priorities,
this is not going to make the list, so I either not post it or I
can just be creative with my frustrations.
So I will just cut and paste most of it.

We hope this last year has been good to 
your families and you. 
We are thankful for each of you who have 
touched our lives, one way or another. 
May this next year be wonderful for each 
and every one of you.

Mr. M turned five this summer and was so excited for
 kindergarten. His teacher says he is well behaved and 
on task at school. He is friendly and helps others. He 
also started soccer this year. It was neat to watch him 
play and see the game begin to click inside his head. 
One week he learned the art of stealing the ball and 
roceeded to take the ball from everyone, including 
his teammates. Luckily, we fixed that issue and all 
seemed to have a great time anyway. Matthew is also 
a avid learner. He comes home and WANTS to do 
homework. It is not unusual to see him trying to read 
a book well beyond his ability. To him nothing is 
impossible and so I watch and am always amazed.

Little A. is now in 3rd grade and loving it. Math 
and science are some of her favorite subjects at 
school. She keeps herself busy with piano lessons 
from Grandma, activity days with church, and 
running around with mom to everyone else’s 
activities. She is also hoping to start violin in 
January. She loves to help everyone at home. 
Whatever hobby someone is doing, there you 
will find Abigail. Whether it is soccer, running, 
crafting, yard work, or cooking, she is always 
willing to help out.

Miss A. is in 10th grade this year and did 
cross-country for the second year in a row and 
tennis last spring. She is also helping her dad 
and coach create their own off road cross country 
course. We have found she can clear blackberries 
with great determination. She loves to craft and 
has pretty much taken over her mother’s crafting 
supplies. She also this last fall developed her own 
line of craft stamps. Check her out at Aside from her crazy 
busy life, she is always willing to lend a hand and 
is a great help to her family. 

Shaun - not too much has changed with him. He 
takes each day as it comes. Some days are hard 
on him pain wise, others somewhat better. Even 
in pain, he has determined to not let it define him. 
He has taken up spearheading the running/walking 
path in our community. It is something our 
community and schools lack and he has dreamed 
of doing this for quite a while now. Thankfully he 
is recruiting volunteers for the labor and we hope 
all will be up and ready by summer.

Denise- as for me, I run people around, cook and 
clean. I am cheering on the sidelines. Trust me, I 
am plenty busy with all of the kids’ activities and 
yet I loving every minute of it. It seems the days 
are flying by and all too soon these wonderful children 
will be gone. For now, I am cherishing today 
(even the mountains of laundry that comes with 
these wonderful people I get to share my life with).

Quote at bottom  (good quote, but had a hard time copying it.)

“Christmas is what we make of it. Despite 
all the distractions, we can see to it that 
Christ is at the center of our celebration.” 
President Thomas S. Monson


Some one is wanting a beard

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

One day I made pudding for after lunch.  I dished up two bowls, one for me and one for Mr. M.  I went to check some email and  a little while later he came into me laughing and asked that I take this picture.

So maybe I was not so thrilled, but he sure was and in reality it was kinda cute too.


A Tribute to a sweet 5 year old boy

Sunday, December 4, 2011

It is no secret that there are people who come into our life and leave you never the same.

As I taught a primary class of the 4 and 5 years for 5 different groups of children. There are a handful who have taught me gospel lessons that I will never forget. This little boy was one of them. To have taught him, I am truly grateful to have felt of his sweet and wiggly spirit. I wish I could have just one more day with this boy when he was five. Oh, the hugs and words I would say to him.

Here is the lesson I learned from him that I hope to never forget. His birthday is January 28th. I had decide to sew a scripture bag with pocket for each of my kids and he was the first birthday of my class. He was a wiggly boy and it was often hard to tell if he was listening or even interested in what I was teaching.

So I made this bag and placed a BOM in it to give him. However, I was afraid he would think the gift was dumb so I also brought him a small bag of candy too. I gave both to him and he just held the scripture bag and had the hugest smile I had ever seen from him. The candy meant nothing to him, but the scriptures and the bag did. All through class he just sat there with a big grin and looked at his new scripture and bag.

Let's just say he was the only child to get candy this year. He taught me the gospel is the greatest gift to anyone, even at such a young age. He taught me there are no substitutions for the sweetness of the true gospel. He taught me to love him even while wiggly. I cherish his smile. He was truly a sweet boy.

About three years ago, I saw this young man have a brief desire to turn somethings around in his life. It was at this time that I felt the impression to tell him the story of his beautiful smile and how it touch my life. In middle school his childhood smile seemed to not be as prevalent and I missed it. Sadly, I never took advantage of that opportunity to tell him. After all, teenagers don't remember their primary teachers they had at five, especially when they don't want anything to do with the church. I said nothing, and soon my opportunity went away. I will always regret not speaking up. For not taking to risk of sounding dumb.  I don't think it would have change us from having a funeral, but I think he deserved to know that he had made a difference in my life.

On Nov 25, 2011, he passed away.  I don't know why he felt he needed to go, but I do know there will be those who will miss him dearly.  At his funeral there were around 300 present.  His high school brought over 2 school buses of students who wanted to be at his funeral.  Many spoke of his greatness and endless potential.  Teachers spoke about how he could ace a test without ever taking notes.  He was so bright that notes were never needed.  I heard how he scored so high on his SAT test that he was receiving 2-3 college application letters a day.  His mother told me that his score was among the top in the nation.  If only he could have held on  for just another year or two, perhaps there might have been brighter days for him. However,  he is safe now and without the trials that plagued him here.  Though his body is dead, his spirit is alive.  Somehow,  it would not surprise me if some of that 5 year old spirit that I knew, is not more prevalent now.   I know he is in good hands now and free of pain.
I can not say I really knew him as the sixteen year old that he was, but I did know and love that boy as a five year old and those memories are very dear to me.

Now that he is gone, he has yet again taught me another gospel truth.  That I need to cherish all those I teach in primary,  for they are important to Heavenly Father and to their families.   No one knows the trial these wiggly small ones will face in the near future.  My testimony and my love is all the more important to share.  No matter how they behave,  we want them to be here at church and we want them to taste of their Savior's love.  Because of Alex,  I want to be a better teacher.   I want to look around me and reach out to the wandering and the lonely.  Today I looked around me at church and prayed to know who the Lord wanted me to reach out.  Today I saw two, but I wondered if there were more and I saw them not.  I wondered if my eyes were blind to the lonely and the sad.

Thank you Alex for your brief blessing in my life.   May you be a blessing now to those in your midst. 

A Tribute to Alexander Benjamin Maxwell 
January 28, 1995 to November 25, 2011

*Permission to post pictures and this tribute was granted by his mother.


Christmas Advent 2011

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Advent Calendar 2011

I do an advent each year. Most years it is done nightly by candlelight.  Scripture, 4-5 songs and a Christmas story.  This year I thought I would mix it up  a bit by having a theme.   I thought I would share our plan for this year. This was adapted from an advent I found on Sugardoodle.  We will also still read some stories too, as this is a favorite part of our tradition.  

Each of these below is put in a handmade box and place on our tree.  This year the boxes are all gold and silver.  Here is last years advent here on my craft blog.

O = Ornament
S = Scripture
T = Theme for that day
A = Activity

DAY 1:
O: Christmas Tree
S: John 3:16; Moroni 7:22-23
T: Represents eternal life, evergreen needles point heavenward
A: Sing "O Christmas Tree", "I'll be Home for Christmas"

DAY 2:
O: Mary 
S: Luke 1:26-38
T: Gabriel visits Mary
A: Sing "Silent Night", "Mary's Lullaby", "Picture Christmas"

DAY 3:
O: Joseph
S: Matt. 1:18-23
T: Joseph's dream
A: Sing "Picture Chrstmas",  "When Joseph Went to Bethlemhem"

DAY 4:
O: Instead of an ornament, they find the chocolate gold coins
S: Luke 2:1-5; Micah 5:2
T: Caesar's tax/Bethlehem
A: Sing "O Little Town of Bethlehem", "Once Within the Royal City"

DAY 5:
O: Baby Jesus
S: Luke 2:6-7; Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 9:6-7
T: Birth of Jesus
A: Sing "Away in a Manger", "Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel"

DAY 6:
O: Instead of an ornament, they find a cocoa packet
S: Luke 2:6-7 (again!); Matt. 25:31-40
T: "no room in the inn" vs. "I was thirsty--and ye gave me drink"
A: Drink cocoa and let kids choose a family to serve on "red bow day" below....

Sing "12 Days of Christmas", "Drummer Boy"

DAY 7:
O: Angel
S: Luke 2:8-14
T: "Good tidings of great joy"
A: Sing the Angel songs--"The First Noel," "Angels We Have Heard on High," "Far, Far Away," "Hark the Herald Angels Sing..."

DAY 8:
O: Shepherd
S: Luke 2:15-20
T: "Let us now go to Bethlehem"
A: Sing "O Come All Ye Faithful", "Far, Far away on Judea's Plains", "The Shephard's Carol"

DAY 9:
O: Bells
S: Psalms 66:1-2
T: "Make a joyful noise"
A: Sing "Joy to the World", "I Heard the Bells", "Silver Bels"

DAY 10:
O: Candle
S: Luke 2:25-38; John 8:12
T: Simeon and Anna ("a light to lighten")
A: Sing Christmas carols by candlelight tonight everyone pick one song each

DAY 11:
O: Wisemen
S: Matt. 2:1-12
T: Seeking Jesus
A: Sing "We 3 Kings"

DAY 12:

O: Star
S: Helaman 14:1-6
T: "A new star arise"--a Heavenly promise to ALL of God's children
A: Drive around to look at Christmas lights in the neighborhood

Sing "Stars are gleaming", "Samuel Tells of Baby Jesus", " O Holy Night"

DAY 13:
O: Oxen
S: Abraham 4:24-25; Isaiah 1:3
T: Savior as Creator "Ox knows his master"--do we?
A: Bundle up good and go on a walk together to appreciate His other creations!

Sing "The Nativity Song"

DAY 14:

O: Donkey (that carried Mary)
S: Matt. 21:1-9
T: Triumphal Entry
A: Sing "He Sent His Son",  "The Nativity Song"

DAY 15:

O: Candy Canes
S: Ezek. 34:11-16, 31
T: Jesus will seek out His flock
A: Give away a Book of Mormon/Church video to a nonmember family today!

Sing favorite Christmas songs

DAY 16:
O: Red bows
S: Isaiah 61:1-3
T: "BIND UP the brokenhearted"/ tied in bonds of brotherhood....
A: Put red bows on tree, and n top of a treat that you deliver to someone who needs to be loved

Sing "We Wish you  a Merry Christmas", "Deck the Halls"

DAY 17:

O: (Today they just find the scroll in the box), but it's EGGNOG day!
S: D&C 38: 17-20
T: God's blessings to His people--"land flowing with MILK and honey"
A: Drink eggnog and take turns expressing a blessing you're grateful for

O: Candy Canes
S: Ezek. 34:11-16, 31
T: Jesus will seek out His flock
A: Give away a Book of Mormon/Church video to a nonmember family today!

DAY 18:
O: Stocking
S: Luke 10: 38-42
T: Do we "sit at His FEET" or are we busy with parties?
A: Discuss how we can think of Jesus and serve Him

Sing " I stand all Amazed"

DAY 19:
O: Gingerbread men
S: John 6:28-35
T: "Bread of Life"
A: Make Gingerbread men/house

Sing " A Holly Jolly Christmas", "Frosty the Snowman" 

DAY 20:
O: Holly/Mistletoe
S: Mosiah 3: 5-11
T: Red berries/ green thorns-- "blood cometh from every pore"/crown of thorns
A: Hang mistletoe above the door

Sing favorite songs about Jesus

DAY 21:
O: Snowman/ icicles
S: Isaiah 1:18; Revelations 3:5
T: Forgiveness ("white as snow")
A: Sing "Let it Snow!" or make snowman/snow angels, cut out snowflakes....

DAY 22:
O: Poinsettia
S: D&C 49:22-28; D&C 133:46-51
T: Second Coming ("blossom as the rose," "red apparel")
A: Make or buy a poinsettia and display in a prominent place

DAY 23:
O: Pannetone (or fruit cake)--pannetone or favorite Christmas treat
S: D&C 135:3
A: Sing happy birthday to him and eat his birthday (fruit) cake

DAY 24:
O: Gifts
S: James 1:17-27
T: "Every good gift from above"
A: Think of a meaningful gift to give to Jesus this year