Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Incredibly Blessed.....

I am feeling so incredibly blessed right now.  Last night I had an experience I will never forget.  One of my clients was recently diagnosed with cancer and has been undergoing chemo treatments, soon to begin radiation.  I was devastated by when I heard the news as I was touched by how humble and Christ-like he is.  I truly learned to love their family while we worked together (about a year).  I was desirous to do something to make Christmas a little brighter for him and his family.  I worked with his parents to assess needs and did a little sub-for-Santa.  I delivered the presents to his dad so I would not be discovered (after all, that is half the fun!).  I did, however, want them to know that I care deeply for them and was praying for a full recovery - and so, I prepared a Christmas dinner for their family.  What surprised me was how I felt after making that delivery.  I feel so humbled - so completely overwhelmed by God's goodness in my life.  My client is in a wheelchair, having (hopefully only temporarily) lost use of his foot - making him unable to walk.  He has lost his hair, but not his gentleness nor his Christ-like attitude.  They are living in humble circumstances, and while I am not "rich", I am SO blessed.  I cannot stop thinking about how hard life is for so many.  The last nearly 3 years have been emotionally hard for me and certainly years of humbling growth, but nothing prepared me for how I am feeling right now.  I cannot even find the words to express it.  

My desire was to hopefully allow my client a few moments of forgetting - a little taste of joy.  A day to forget about the cancer and share the love of the Savior with his sweet family.  I hope that I have done that, but I was not prepared for the overwhelming gratitude I am feeling right now for all of my blessings.  I have an amazing family, both immediate and extended.  I have a comfortable home and a nice car.  I am warm, I have good food on my table, I do not really lack for anything.  I have a knowledge of Heavenly Father's plan for me and understand to a small degree the gift of the atonement.  I have a job that allows me to provide good income for myself and my family. Money is power - not in a greedy sense, but in that it allows us to bless others - and I am grateful to be on that side of things for now (I also know that can change in an instant).  

I also recently learned that my mother's kidneys are failing and the doctors are giving her 2-3 years.  That was initially devastating news, but I have come to realize what a blessing that is too.  I will no longer think I can say that or do that tomorrow - as we may not have tomorrow.  We all know that, but it creates a real shift when you it gets spelled out like that.  My mother is the glue that holds our family together.  She has touched countless numbers of lives and will continue to do so - she just can't help herself - it is who she is.  I am grateful and privileged to have her as my mother.  AND, sad as I am, grateful for the paradigm shift that this grants me.

I was given a "gratitude" journal from the Relief Society (our women's organization at church) for my birthday and am excited to list 3 things each day that I am thankful for - I have "intended" for years to do that.  

The one thing I know for sure is that I have been far more blessed by my visit last night than my clients' family was. I feel immensely grateful for every little thing.  To my friends and family who are reading this - thank you for touching my life - each one of you influence who I am - some in a small way, others in a very big, life-changing way.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and hoping we will all pause for a moment in the hustle and bustle of the holidays to count our many blessings and have a desire to bless those around us - it may change your life forever..... 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Norwegian Bread

2 cups milk
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar     
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cardamom

Scald milk, add other ingredients and cool.  When lukewarm add 1 pkg dry yeast.  Add 4 cups sifted flour. Beat until smooth; put in large buttered bowl.; cover; let rise to double in bulk (about 2 1/2 hours).  Then stir in 5 cups sifted flour.  Turn out on a floured board and knead until elastic.  Knead in 1 cup raisins and 1 cup chopped nuts.  Knead these in a little at a time.  Replace in buttered bowl; cover and let double.  Knead down; divide in 3 portions, shape and put in greased bread pans.  Cover; let double and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.  Yield: 3 loaves.

NOTE:  My grandmother used to make this every Christmas.  It is divine when toasted and buttered.  Brings back lost of memories for me.  My dad makes it every year now.  Since I have lots of Norwegian blood in me—this is a fun tradition for us!  Hope you will enjoy it yourself!

“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas Is My Favorite!

It has taken me FOREVER to get pics up of my Christmas decorating.  First I had to get a new camera, then I couldn't figure out how to get the pics to my computer (thanks honey!), and then just the normal December chaos!  Christmas is my very favorite time of year and I love everything about it.  The decorating, the baking, the gift giving, the Sub-For-Santa, the family gatherings.....  Hoping you are all getting into the spirit of things and loving the wonderful awe of it all.  May God's blessings be with you and your families.  

My new Willow Tree nativity piece

Funky funnel tree

Part of my "paper nativitiy" - new this year

My "Charlie Brown tree"

My new-this-year Wisemen pic

The full "paper nativity"

advent calendar I made this year

May your 2014 be filled with joy and happiness!