Wednesday, December 30, 2009

the stone cutter

Once upon a time in Japan, there was a poor stone cutter named Hofus who used to go every day to the mountainside to cut great blocks of stone. He lived near the mountain in a little stone hut and worked hard and was happy.

One day he took a load of stone to the house of a rich man. There he saw so many beautiful things that when he went back to his mountain he could think of nothing else. Then he began to wish that he too might sleep in a bed as soft as down with curtains of silk and tassels of gold. And he sighed: "Ah me! Ah me! If Hofus only were rich as he!" To his surprise, a great voice was heard: "Have thou thy wish!"

When Hofus returned home his house had become a palace filled with beautiful things. Hofus decided to work no more, but he was not used to being idle and one day as he sat by the window he saw a carriage dash past with a prince inside. It was drawn by snow white horses.

When the stone cutter saw this, he began to feel unhappy, and he sighed: "Ah me! Ah me! If Hofus only a prince might be!" And again the same voice that he had heard on the mountain answered: "Be thou a prince!"

Straightway Hofus was a prince. He had servants dressed in crimson and gold, and for a short time he was happy, but one day, as he walked in the garden, he saw that the flowers were drooping, the grass was dry and brown. And when he rode out he felt the hot sun burn him in spite of his umbrella.

"The sun is mightier than I," thought he, and then he sighed: "Ah me! Ah me! If Hofus only the sun might be!" And the voice answered: "Be thou the sun!"

Straightway the great sun he became. He burned the grass and rice fields. He dried up the streams.One day a cloud came and rested in front of him, and hid the earth from his sight. He was angry and cried: "Ah me! Ah me! If Hofus only a cloud might be!" And the voice answered: "Be thou a cloud!"

Straightway a cloud he became. Then day after day the cloud dropped rain. The rivers overflowed and towns were swept away. Only the great rocks on the mountain side stood unmoved midst the flood. The cloud looked at them in wonder, then he sighed: "Ah me! Ah me! If Hofus only a rock might be!" And the voice answered: "Be thou a rock!"

Straightway a rock he became. Proudly he stood. The sun could not burn him and the rain could not move him. "Now, at last," he said, "no one is mightier than I."

But one day he was wakened from his dreams by a noise, "tap! tap! tap!" down at his feet. He looked and there was a stone cutter driving his tool into the rock. Another blow and the great rock shivered; a block of stone broke away.

"That man is mightier than I!" cried Hofus, and he sighed: "Ah me! Ah me! If Hofus only the man might be!" And the voice answered: "Be thou thyself!"

And straightway Hofus was himself again, a poor stone cutter, working all day upon the mountain side and going home at night to his little hut. Yet, he was content and happy and never again did he wish to be other than Hofus the stone cutter.

thanks to my sister for posting this story. i love it. this is a lesson i need to be content and happy as myself.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

christmas, birthday, new year's...tis the holiday season!

christmas has come and gone.

it's hard to believe how quickly time flies! i don't think our christmas could have been any more perfect. little buddy loved his gifts, hubby loved his gifts (he got the die hard movies and we watched the first on christmas, the second last night, and i'm pretty sure #3 will be tonight), i loved my gifts, and although little princess had no clue what was going on she sure was stinkin' adorable. the kids got felt reindeer antlers in their stockings and they were soooo cute wearing them. (if you know us then you should definitely check out our private blog or my facebook to see the pics, it's worth it, i promise.)

i got new clothes using gift cards to fit my post-baby body. i've been pretty disgusted with the way i look. i'm going to be trying out a local gym for a bit to see if i like it. i really need to start exercising again. i also need to stop eating junk and drinking soda. this i say as i sit here with a ginger ale and a box (yes, i said box, as in LARGE box) full of christmas candy. i know it is totally and completely unrealistic for me to decide to stop eating junk right smack in the middle of the holidays, so i'm not even going to attempt.

yesterday my little sister got married. i can't believe i have two little sisters who are married now. it was a long day, and freezing cold, and we got lost on our way from the ceremony to the luncheon which was about 40 miles away. tonight is the reception. i hope the weather is okay, it takes about 40 minutes to get there in perfect weather....snow may be a problem.

oh, did i mention today is my birthday? well it is! i'm getting old. i'm 24 now. hubby put a candle on my cake that was an over the hill candle, said too old to count on it. i guess it's because i don't have enough fingers and toes to count up to 24. hubby gave me a $50 gift card to get some clothes which was awesome, and i got a watch, and my in-laws gave me a gift card to olive garden (yummmmm) and it's been a pretty good day so far. slept in a bit, took a short nap, watched most of monty python and the quest for the holy grail, cuddled with my baby, and got two cakes. wooo! (remember that whole not cutting the junk out until after the holidays? yep.)

i hope you all have a great new year's. any fun resolutions? i refuse to make resolutions because i always fail. it's jinxed with setting myself up for failure. but i know it works for other people. i'll be chowing down and going to bed early. yay for 2010!

Friday, December 25, 2009

christmas carol for december 25th

merry christmas! have a wonderful holiday!

have yourself a merry little christmas, performed by judy garland

Thursday, December 24, 2009

christmas carol for december 24th

this one is one of my all-time favorites. please take the time to really listen to the words of this one. it is based on a true story, which you can read about here.

have a very merry christmas. hold your family close and thank god for each other.

christmas truce, performed by collin raye

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

best christmas movies of all time

Welcome, Christmas, bring your cheer. Cheer to all Whos far and near. Christmas Day is in our grasp so long as we have hands to clasp. Christmas Day will always be just as long as we have we. Welcome Christmas while we stand, heart to heart and hand in hand.

top ten christmas movies ever (in no particular order):

1. white christmas: i cannot even tell you how much i love this movie. i adore bing crosby. his christmas music has been a staple every year that i can remember. i always end up with the song "sisters" stuck in my head, and a warm fuzzy feeling in my heart.

2. a charlie brown christmas: i have already talked about my love for this movie.

3. a christmas story: do i really need to say anything about the joy this movie brings? the red ryder bb gun. ("you'll shoot your eye out!") the leg lamp. (his major award....careful, it's frag-eeeee-lay....) the pink bunny suit. the tongue on the pole. i just love that movie.

4. home alone: just watched this one the other day, in fact. it's funny how my view of this movie has changed now that i'm a mom. i still love the ingenuity of kevin.

5. christmas vacation: i remember watching this movie as a kid and only understanding about half of it. now i'm an adult and i fully understand everything in the movie and laugh my rear off every time i see it. when we were younger my sisters used to LOVE quoting the dinner scene, mostly aunt bethany and uncle lewis.
(you know, this one:
Clark: Since this is Aunt Bethany's 80th Christmas, I think she should lead us in the saying of Grace.
Aunt Bethany: [turns to Lewis] What, dear?
Nora: Grace!
Aunt Bethany: Grace? She passed away thirty years ago.
Uncle Lewis: They want you to say Grace.
[Bethany shakes her head in confusion]
Uncle Lewis: The BLESSING!
Aunt Bethany: [they all pose for prayer] I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands/ One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Clark: Amen.)

6. the santa clause: one of disney's best. tim allen does a fantastic job as santa. and the way they portrayed the reindeer, the elves, the north pole, the list checking: it's all spot-on. i suppose one of my favorite things about this movie is seeing the transformation tim allen's character makes. i love the change of heart movies.

7. the preacher's wife: i have never seen the bishop's wife, which is the original. i remember seeing the preacher's wife, however, and falling in love with it. we taped it (on VHS, remember those?) and i watched the grainy tape over and over again. i love the romance in it, the restoring of a beautiful marriage, the music (oh how i love that christmas gospel music!), and the christmas spirit. i mean, come on, denzel washington and whitney houston are in it. could it possibly be anything less than awesome?

8. mickey's christmas carol: this is one i watched over and over again, every year as a kid. with a million versions, adaptations, spoofs, and retellings of dickens' "a christmas carol," from serious films to "the flintstone's christmas carol," it's hard to pick just one. i think this one is my favorite because it's so nostalgic to me. and who better to play scrooge than scrooge mcduck?

9. it's a wonderful life: see my post about this beautiful movie from last year.

10. how the grinch stole christmas: another christmas movie staple. this book is amazing and so is the movie. what a great story. it teaches us that "Maybe Christmas (...) doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas... perhaps... means a little bit more!"

christmas movies i don't really care for:
jack frost--weird. weird animation.

jingle all the way
--arnie at his most obnoxious. and sinbad, to boot. ugh.

little drummer boy
--i've never liked the little drummer boy song. that pa-rum-pa-pum-pum stuff just rubs me's a great story, but i don't care for the movie.

polar express
--i was a bit disappointed in this one. could have been so much better. one of the best christmas books ever...i wasn't surprised that i was disappointed.

beauty and the beast: the enchanted christmas
--beauty and the beast is my favorite disney movie of all time. i didn't like this one, it just wasn't the original and i'm sure that's why. besides...a villain that is an organ chained to a wall? weird.

how the grinch stole christmas (with jim carrey)
--again, not the original. and i'm a rather picky carrey fan. some of his movies i love and some i hate.

more recent christmas movies i liked:
four christmases--funny. i liked both reese witherspoon and vince vaughan in this movie. add on top of that tim mcgraw, robert duvall, sissy spacek, jon voigt, jon favreau, dwight yoakam and kristin chenoweth? great.

muppet's letters to santa--this was on tv last week and i loved it. of course, anything with the muppets is just fantastic. i loved rizzo and pepe, as usual, and fozzie bear told stupid jokes, and kermit and miss piggy argued and made up, and gonzo was as weird and lovable as ever.

christmas movies i loved as a kid:
the muppets' christmas carol--again, love anything with the muppets.

santa claus is coming to town
--this one is my favorite of the "classic" rankin-bass movies. i always loved "knowing" where santa claus came from, how he came to be who he is--at least from the rankin-bass perspective.

emmett otter's jug band christmas

mickey and co. christmas cartoons--
my favorite? the one where mickey chops down his tree with chip and dale still living in it. pluto didn't care for a couple of chipmunks in his house too much! i also loved the one where donald duck builds a snow fort to have a snowball war with huey, dewey, and louie, complete with flaming snowballs. these were on the tape before

mickey's christmas carol
so they hold the same sentiment for me.

rudolph the red nosed reindeer--another good rankin bass movie.

ernest saves christmas--used to watch this one a ton. i remember being intrigued by santa's bag in this movie.

winnie the pooh and christmas too--that lovable bear and friends, especially tigger. pooh bear tries to save christmas when their letter to santa doesn't make it. so cute.

christopher and holly--ever seen this one? obnoxious teddy bears that come to life. but i loved it.

other notable christmas movies:
the nightmare before christmas--tim burton...i know i've talked about this one before. (i loved it before it became trendy! so there!) i usually refer to it as my halloween movie but it is a great christmas movie, too.

edward scissorhands
--tim burton. i ADORE tim burton. and johnny depp is fabulous as edward.

--i normally don't care for will ferrell, but this movie is just hilarious.

LDS christmas movies i love:
luke 2--a very short film, only about five minutes, but extremely powerful. it leaves me in tears every single time. i would HIGHLY recommend taking the few minutes to watch this.

mr. kreuger's christmas--another great movie starring jimmy stewart. about 25 minutes.

christmas carol for december 23rd

carol of the bells (instrumental), performed by 2002

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

a letter to dr. laura

very thought-provoking. thanks to hubby to sending me the link.

Debating Dr Laura Schlesinger
By Unknown Original Author
Dec 19, 2009 - 7:35:16 PM

This was received in an email and a copy of it was found here. It relates to broadcaster Dr Laura Schlessinger, about whom you can read here. Genuine or just plain witty, it is nevertheless interesting.

Dr Laura Schlessinger ("Dr Laura") broadcasts a 3 hour long, radio program each weekday on a network of over 500 radio stations in the U.S. and Canada and has an estimated audience of 20 million people. She holds a Ph.D. in physiology (study of the functions of living matter), not psychology as some assume.

In her radio show, Dr Laura Schlesinger has said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following response was posted on the internet and is best regarded as an essay clearly meant for a wider audience than just Dr Laura. It is a general reminder that many belief systems pick and choose their way through biblical teachings in determining what is "right" and "wrong". Authorship has been attributed to several, but remains unconfirmed.

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination... End of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them.

1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighbouring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of Menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is, my neighbours. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

5. I have a neighbour who insists on working on the Sabbath.Exodus 35:2. Clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination - Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there 'degrees' of abomination?

7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle- room here?

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16.Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I am confident you can help.

Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

Your adoring fan.

christmas carol for december 22nd

the gift, performed by martina mcbride and collin raye

Saturday, December 19, 2009

as if being a mini-van mom could get ANY cooler...

check out what hubby got me! i think those stick-figure families are kind of cheesy (no offense if you have one) but i looooved the skull family. how cute is this? i'm the envy of all the mini-van moms in the neighborhood, let me tell you.

portable north pole

this is awesome. create a personalized video for your kids, where santa talks just to them. santa knows his/her name, age, where they live, their hair and eye color, what they asked for for christmas, and what they have done to be good. how great!

you can also personalize it for an adult who has been naughty or nice. i did one for hubby, in which he was naughty for leaving his underwear on the floor and peeing in the shower. HILARIOUS. (the ones for adults is a bit longer.)

check it out--it's great for an adult or a child!

see hubby's video here.

Lakewood police officer says little boy's kindness restores hope


Posted on December 16, 2009 at 5:47 PM

LAKEWOOD, Wash. - A Lakewood police officer, who wishes to remain anonymous, said he was inspired to write the following Christmas letter earlier this week.

The officer credits one small boy's donation of support to the Lakewood Police Department as the big reason he has regained hope for this holiday season.

The officer sent it to friends, family members and other law enforcement officers.

A Tukwila police officer received the officer's permission to release it to the public:

I'm not much for writing Christmas letters, and in fact this year, I didn't even feel like making the effort of buying and addressing Christmas cards at all. I'm sure you all have heard of the terrible tragedy that occurred here in Lakewood two weeks ago today - four of our officers, four people that have become my friends over the past 5 years as we all worked here together, were gunned down as they sat in a coffee shop. Three fathers and a mother - all of whom were dedicated to their jobs and their families - now dead. The grief at our station and in our community has been overwhelming and we have all now just barely begun to process what this means for our department and for police departments all across our state and nation. Several times since this event happened, police agencies have responded to reports of individuals across King and Pierce Counties causing commotions and claiming to be planning to kill more officers. We do our best to maintain our composure and continue to do our jobs the best that we can.

It is hard not to remain bleak and jaded with these events so fresh in our minds. But something happened today, just 20 minutes ago, which made me want to send out a Christmas letter. I'm here at work and was just out in our secure parking lot helping another officer load collection bins into his car to take to a local Lakewood Police Independent Guild fundraiser event. I heard a woman, standing with a boy who couldn't have been more than 3 or 4 years old, calling, "Excuse me…." through our locked gate. She had apparently been trying to get to our front counter but found no one there, it being Sunday, and had just happened to see us in the parking lot. I walked over to her and saw that the little boy was holding a plastic baggy containing a dollar and some change, and was clutching a well-worn stuffed dinosaur.

The woman told me that her son, AJ, had seen the stories on tv about our 4 slain officers. She said that they had driven to our station all the way from Kingston because her son was so intent on helping the children of these officers. I opened the gate and the boy handed me the plastic baggy containing all the money from his piggybank and a note on which he had written "AJ….From me to Pleec. I Love You." And then, with tears in his eyes, he handed me his stuffed dinosaur. AJ's mom explained that he wanted to give the children of the slain officers the most precious thing that he owned, and that was his dinosaur, Bruno.

I told AJ that I would take the money that he wanted to donate, but that I thought the best thing he could do for the children of our 4 officers was to keep Bruno safe with him but to keep those kids in his heart when he hugged his dinosaur. He agreed and gratefully took Bruno back from me and held him tightly as if he never wanted to let him go again.

We have seen many, many acts of generosity and kindness over the past 2 weeks. We have hugged more friends and strangers than we could have ever imagined and have mended broken ties with people we haven't talked to for years. Yet nothing has touched me deeper, or given me more hope for the future, than AJ and his stuffed dinosaur. I gave AJ one of our department challenge coins, explaining to him that we only gave them out to the bravest and most deserving people we came across. I hope he will realize someday how much more than a dollar and some change he gave to me and to the Lakewood Police Department today.

So anyway, none of that is about Christmas, but it is about hope and love and I thought it was appropriate to share this holiday season.

I hope this letter finds all of you well and eager to spend the holidays with those you love. Squeeze everyone a little tighter and hug them a little longer today because life really is precious. Merry Christmas!

christmas carol for december 19th

santa claus is coming to town, performed by the supremes

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

what christmas is all about

the christmas countdown:
15 days!

can you believe we only have two and a half weeks until christmas? i sure can't. time has gone by so quickly.

i went christmas shopping this morning for my hubby. i scrounged every penny, nickel, dime, and quarter i could find, headed over to the wal-mart and dumped them all in the coin counter. $8.31 later i was in business. the kids "helped" me find something for him. i just love shopping for my loved ones, trying to figure out what it is they would really like and imagining their reactions on christmas morning.

yesterday packages started arriving filled with gifts i have ordered for my family. i get so excited, so giddy when i see those packages and get to open them up! it's a gift for me, too, getting to wrap them. right now there isn't a single thing for myself under the tree, and only four things for my stocking, but you know what? i really don't care. when i think about my babies opening their presents, when i think about santa visiting little buddy, and when i think about the few things i was able to get hubby, it's enough christmas for me. christmas truly is about giving, and now that i'm older, that i have a family of my own, i really understand that. i scrimp and save every penny that i can to give my loved ones christmas. and hubby works so hard and sacrifices so much for the same thing.

christmas is about giving--and about the one who gave the ultimate gift. last night one of my very favorite christmas shows was on tv. charlie brown's christmas. i just love charlie brown and the peanuts characters, but i especially love their christmas special. every time i watch it i get tears when linus gives his speech, about what christmas is really about. christmas is about Christ, about his birth, his life, his sacrifice for us.

so merry christmas, charlie brown, and to all of you. here is linus' speech for your enjoyment:

christmas carol for december 9th

what child is this, performed by carrie underwood

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Monday, December 7, 2009

pearl harbor day 2009

it has been sixty-eight years since the japanese attacked pearl harbor. many, many years before i was born, before my parents were even born. and yet it was a vital day in the history of our nation.

my great-grandfather served in world war II. he was drafted, as an engineer to build bridges, and left his wife and children (including my grandfather) at home. in december of 1942, my great-grandfather was one of the 700 soldiers that was carried across the atlantic on the queen mary.

i was in third grade when my great-grandfather died, and i have very few memories of him. about a year before he passed, my family took a vacation to california and visited the queen mary in long beach. while there, my dad related the few stories he knew about my great-grandfather. when we returned i asked him about it as well. my grandfather rarely spoke about the war, as many soldiers don't. it was a terrifying and horrific experience. i do vaguely remember him talking a little to me about his trip on the queen mary. one of my most vivid memories of him, however, was only a few months before his death.

it was a snowy december day in 1993. it happened to be the first sunday of the month, which in the LDS church is fast and testimony meeting. members of the congregation are invited to bear their testimonies at the pulpit. by this time my grandfather was 81 years old and had difficulty walking on his own. as far as i could remember my grandfather had never gotten up to bear his testimony. but on this day, he did.

he slowly made his way up the aisle leaning heavily on his cane. when he came to the few stairs up to the pulpit he needed the assistance of our bishop and one of his counselors. when he reached the pulpit, looking frail and worn out, it seemed the entire congregation was silent. my great-grandfather began to cry. and then he spoke. he started to speak of a cold december day, exactly fifty-two years before, on december 7, 1941. pearl harbor. for him, it was a day he could never forget. the day more than two-thousand people were massacred. he spoke of his sadness for that day in 1941, and even more so for that day in 1993, when very few remembered, and no one spoke, about pearl harbor. i wish so badly that i could remember his exact words. all i have is that image in my head, watching him walk to the front of the church, and seeing him cry. at seven years old i did not understand.

several times my husband has said to me that september 11, 2001 is our generation's pearl harbor. i will never understand the fear, the sadness, the uncertainty, the anger that accompanied that day in 1941. i do, however, understand the fear, the sadness, the uncertainty, the anger that accompanied 9/11.

and now, today, on december 7th, 2009, i do not remember from experience, but i remember in my heart.

christmas carol for december 7th

coventry carol, performed by the westminster cathedral choir

Sunday, December 6, 2009

art class

the fruits of my first art class. i'm happy about the way it turned out and wanted to share!

christmas carol for december 6th

one of my favorites....

Breath of Heaven (Mary's Song) by Amy Grant


I have traveled many moonless night
Cold and weary, with a babe inside
And I wonder what I've done
Holy Father, you have come
And chosen me now
To carry your son

I am waiting in a silent prayer
I am frightened by the load I bear
In a world as cold as stone,
Must I walk this path alone?
Be with me now
Be with me now

Breath of heaven
Hold me together
Be forever near me
Breath of heaven
Breath of heaven
Light up my darkness
Pour over me your holiness
For you are holy

Breath of heaven

Do you wonder as you watch my face
If a wiser one one should have had my place
But I offer all I am
For the mercy of your plan
Help me be strong
Help me be
Help me


Breath of heaven
Breath of heaven
Breath of heaven

my christmas gift to you

starting today, i will be posting one of my favorite christmas carols every day. christmas music is one of my favorite things about this season, and i love hearing the same songs year after year. i hope you all take the few minutes every day to listen to each song i post, and just sit and feel the happiness and joy that comes along with this season. merry christmas to all of my wonderful readers! if you have any favorites and would like to suggest them to me, leave me a comment!