About Me

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Merry Christmas

This is probably my last post before Christmas. We are leaving tomorrow for my sister Cyndi's house. It should be a very nice holiday. Friday Jeff and I are going to the Washington D.C. temple to help the youth do baptisms. On Saturday we are spending the day with Jeff's mom and his Aunt Rita. On Christmas Eve my whole family is spending the night at Cyndi's and waking up Christmas morning together. It will be the first time we've all been together for a Christmas Morning since Anna was born. I am so excited. And then Christmas day we are going to Jeff's Aunt Karen's to spend the day with Jeff's Dad and his Grandparents, Aunts, Uncle and cousins. It will be busy and hectic but I know it will be worth it.

I am sorry that I have not been as diligent with my stories as I promised. There are some really good ones that I've read but been unable to get on the computer. My kids have just loved the time we have spent together in the evenings and I think the stories have really helped them (especially for Anna) get into the "Christmas Spirit" a little sooner. It has definitely been a success, and I am excited that we will have a new Christmas tradition to look forward to every year.

Mostly, I wanted to post today to let everyone know how much I appreciate having them in my life. I hope you all have a very merry Christmas!

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Cobbler and His Guest

A Yuletide Legend, by Anne Mucollum Boyles

There once lived in the city of Marseilles an old shoemaker, loved and honored by his neighbors, who affectionately called him "Father Martin"

One Christmas Eve, as he sat alone in his little shop reading of the visit of the Wise Men to the infant Jesus, and of the gifts they brought, he said to himself. "If tomorrow were the first Christmas, and if Jesus were to be born in Marseilles this night, I know what I would give Him!" He rose from his stool and took from a shelf overhead two tiny shoes of softest snow- white leather, with bright silver buckles. "I would give Him those, my finest work."

Replacing the shoes, he blew out the candle and retired to rest. Hardly had he closed his eyes, it seemed, when he heard a voice call his name..."Martin! Martin!"

Intuitively he felt a presence. Then the voice spoke again..."Martin, you have wished to see Me. Tomorrow I shall pass by your window. If you see Me, and bid Me enter, I shall be your guest at your table."

Father Martin did not sleep that night for joy. And before it was yet dawn he rose and swept and tidied up his little shop. He spread fresh sand upon the floor, and wreathed green boughs of fir along the rafters. On the spotless linen-covered table he placed a loaf of white bread, a jar of honey, and a pitcher of milk, and over the fire he hung a pot of tea Then he took up his patient vigil at the window.

Presently he saw an old street-sweeper pass by, blowing upon his thin, gnarled hands to warm them. "Poor fellow, he must be half frozen," thought Martin. Opening the door he called out to him, "Come in, my friend, and warm, and drink a cup of hot tea." And the man gratefully accepted the invitation.

An hour passed, and Martin saw a young, miserably clothed women carrying a baby. She paused wearily to rest in the shelter of his doorway. The heart of the old cobbler was touched. Quickly he flung open the door.

"Come in and warm while you rest," he said to her. "You do not look well," he remarked.

"I am going to the hospital. I hope they will take me in, and my baby boy," she explained. "My husband is at sea, and I am ill, without a soul."

"Poor child!" cried Father Martin. "You must eat something while you are getting warm. No, Then let me give a cup of milk to the little one. Ah! What a bright, pretty fellow he is! Why, you have put no shoes on him!"

"I have no shoes for him," sighed the mother sadly. "Then he shall have this lovely pair I finished yesterday." And Father Martin took down from the shelf the soft little snow-white shoes he had admired the evening before. He slipped them on the child's feet...they fit perfectly. And shortly the poor young mother left, two shoes in her hand and tearful with gratitude.

And Father Martin resumed his post at the window. Hour after hour went by, and although many people passed his window, and many needy souls shared his hospitality, the expected Guest did not appear.

"It was only a dream," he sighed, with a heavy heart. "I did not believe; but he has not come."

Suddenly, so it seemed to his weary eyes, the room was flooded with a strange light. And to the cobbler's astonished vision there appeared before him, one by one, the poor street-sweeper, the sick mother and her child, and all the people whom he had aided during the day. And each smiled at him and said. "Have you not seen me? Did I not sit at your table?" Then they vanished.

At last, out of the silence, Father Martin heard again the gentle voice repeating the old familiar words. "Whosoever shall receive one such in My name, receiveth Me...for I was an hungered, and ye gave Me meat; I was athirst, and ye gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took Me in...verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these, ye have done it unto Me."

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Son

I know, I know it has been a while. I've been reading my kids stories buy I have totally been slacking at posting. It has just been crazy. One sick kid after another and then I've been sick, and last weekend was hectic. I promise to try and be better. Enjoy this story though...

Years ago, there was a very wealthy man, who with his devoted young son, shared a passion for art collecting. Together they traveled around the world, adding only the finest art treasures to their collection. Priceless works by Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet and many others adorned the walls of the family estate.

The widowed elder man looked on with satisfaction as his only child became an experienced art collector. The son’s trained eye and sharp business mind caused his father to beam with pride as he dealt with art collectors around the world. As winter approached, war engulfed the nation, and the young man left to serve his country. After only a few short weeks, his father received a telegram. His beloved son was missing in action. The art collector anxiously awaited more news, fearing he would never see his son again and sure enough he received word that his precious son had died while rushing a fellow soldier to a medic.

Distraught and lonely, the old man faced the upcoming Christmas holidays with anguish and sadness. The joy of the season that he and his son had so looked forward to would visit his house no longer. On Christmas morning a knock on the door awakened the depressed, old man. As he walked to the door, the masterpieces of art on the walls only reminded him that his son was not coming home…As he opened the door, he was greeted by a soldier with a large package in his hands. The stranger introduced himself to the man by saying, “I was a friend of your son. I was the one he was rescuing when he died. May I come in for a few moments? I have something to show you.”

As the two began to talk, the soldier told of how the man’s son had told every one of his, not to mention his father’s love of fine art. “I am an artist,” said the soldier, “and I want to give you this.” As the old man unwrapped the package, the paper gave way to reveal a portrait of the man’s son. Though the world would never consider it the work of a genius, the painting featured the young man’s face in striking detail. Overcome with emotion, the man thanked the soldier, promising him that he would hang the picture above the fireplace. A few hours later, after the soldier had departed, the old man set about his tasks. True to his word, the painting went above the fireplace, pushing aside thousands of dollars worth of art. His task completed, the old man sat in his chair and spent the rest of Christmas gazing at the gift he had been given.

During the days and weeks that followed, the man realized that even though his son was no longer with him, the boy’s memory would live on because of those he had touched. He would soon learn that his son had rescued dozens of wounded soldiers before a bullet stilled his caring heart. As stories of his son’s gallantry continued to reach him, fatherly pride and satisfaction began to ease his grief. The painting of his son soon became his most prized possession, far eclipsing any interest in the art, for which museums around the world clamored. He told his neighbors it was the greatest gift he had ever received.

The following spring, the old man became ill and passed away. The art world was in anticipation that with the collectors passing and his only son dead all of his paintings would be sold at auction. According to the will of the old man, all of the art works would be auctioned on Christmas Day, the day he had received the greatest gift.

The day soon arrived and art collectors from all over the world gathered to bid on some of the world’s most spectacular paintings. Dreams would be fulfilled this day; greatness would be achieved as many would claim, “I have the greatest collection.”
The auction began with a painting that was not on any museum’s list. It was the painting of the man’s son. The auctioneer asked for an opening bid, but the room was silent.
“Who will open the bidding with $100?” He asked. Minutes passed, and no one spoke. From the back of the room came a voice, “Who cares about that painting? It’s just a picture of his son.” “Let’s forget about it and move on to the good stuff,” more voices echoed in agreement.

“No, we have to sell this one first,” replied the auctioneer. “Now, who will take the son?” Finally, a neighbor of the old man spoke. “Will you take ten dollars for the painting? That’s all I have. I knew the boy, so I would like to have it.”

“I have ten dollars. Will anyone go higher?” called the auctioneer.

After more silence the auctioneer said, “Going once, going twice, gone,” the gravel fell. Cheers filled the room and someone exclaimed, “Now we can get on with it and we can bid on the real treasures!” The auctioneer looked at the audience and announced that the auction was over. Stunned disbelief quieted the room. Someone spoke up and asked, “What do you mean, it’s over? We didn’t come here for a picture of some old guy’s son. What about all of the paintings? There is millions of dollars worth of art here! I demand that you explain what is going on!” The auctioneer replied, “It’s very simple. According to the will of the Father, whoever takes the son…gets it all.”

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Create a Christmas Story

I thought it would be fun for my kids to have some silly stories mixed in with my "uplifting" stories for Christmas... so I found this website where you can personalize a story with your child's name and interests. It is super cute, and I know my kids will be really surprised when I read them. If you would like to personalize a story for a child you know just click on the title of the post!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Christmas Travelers

I thought this was kind of neat. I love to read things about the three wise men. I'm starting to run out of stories so if you have any to share I would love to read them...Thanks

Christmas recalls the story of travelers propelled by the unhurried rhythm of their animals:

We three kings of Orient are
Bearing gifts we traverse afar,
Field and fountain, moor and mountain,
Following yonder star.

Why did these wisemen undertake such a journey?

A tall astronomer, advisor to the Persian king, springs from his midnight vigil in the palace courtyard. "Casper, come! Look along the rod I've sighted toward the constellation of the Jews." Casper peers into the blackness. "Do you see it? That brilliant star is new tonight! It must signify the birth of a mighty king."

A soft whistle escapes him as he spots it. "There it is!" He's talking rapidly now. "I've read ancient Hebrew scriptures which tell of this ruler's star."[1] Rising, he announces, "We must see him. We must go!"

Traversing the caravan routes of Persia, Babylon, and Syria for 1,200 miles, they ford broad rivers, pass ancient cities, cross barren deserts. Three months they trek westward, day after day, "following yonder star."

In Jerusalem they inquire, "Where is he that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and are come to worship him."[2] Worship? So the Babe is more than a king!

Now they follow the shining star till it rests over a simple Bethlehem home. At early dawn neighbors gather to watch the richly- robed travelers dismount. Joseph meets them at the door.

"We've come to see the child, the King." The wise men fall before the Babe, faces to the floor, royal counselors doing homage, worshipping the Christ child. Outside, their servants unload weighty chests from the camels and set gifts before the King. Heavy fragrances of frankincense and myrrh mingle to fill the room as one by one the boxes are opened.

A touch of the boy-child's tiny fingers, a final longing look, and the men rise to go. Camel bells soon fade in the brisk morning air.

We, too, travel at Christmas, visiting family and friends. Yet, like the wisemen, the most important journey we make these hectic holidays is to draw nigh Jesus himself with the gift of our hearts.

"Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgement and justice in the earth."
Jeremiah 23:5

Monday, December 04, 2006

God's Shepherd

The frost of forty winters had etched deep lines into the shepherd's face. Having spent his entire life outdoors on Bethlehem's hills, he was old at forty -- and cold. The hillside where he sat this day was cold, too, and he pulled his mantle close about him to block the wind.

Every so often he would shift position, not out of discomfort so much, but from a sense of unease, anxiety, crowdedness. Instead of hundreds of sheep with whom he felt quite at home, this hillside was flocked with people -- thousands of them -- listening attentively to the Teacher. They could hear him fairly well, except when the wind whisked away his words.

Tobias ben David (pronounced da-VEED) was the shepherd's name, though people called him Toby. His flocks were in good hands this week, cared for by his grown sons, but Toby had left them to listen to Jesus of Nazareth. Today the Teacher was talking about salvation, how God came to save his people from their waywardness and sins, to rescue them and gather them close.

Now Jesus' illustration turned to sheep. Toby felt better. He knew a lot more about sheep than people.

"The good shepherd," Jesus was saying, "lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand who doesn't own the flock runs away when he sees the wolf coming, but not the good shepherd...." One night, years ago, the men Toby had hired to watch the flock with him fled when they saw a mountain lion roaming the hills. But Toby had stayed. Shepherding was his livelihood. He knew the sacrifices that good shepherding required. He knew about defending defenseless lambs. He knew about putting his life on the line for the sheep. That's what good shepherds did.

Jesus continued, "Suppose you have 100 sheep and when night comes one is missing. What do you do? You leave the 99 sheep all safe together and then climb the hills, looking, searching until you find the lost sheep. Then you pick him up, put him on your shoulders, bring him down the hill to the camp, and ask your fellow shepherds to rejoice with you."

"Your heavenly Father is like that," Jesus said. "When you have lost your way, he will rescue you and save you and never give up on you until he finds you -- and you find him."

Toby's heart was racing. He felt a lump in his throat. He understood. Toby had combed the hills for lost sheep, not stopping, not quitting. He knew the joy of discovery, of rescuing the sheep from a thicket, of bringing it back and celebrating with his friends. He had been that kind of shepherd.

But he also knew how it felt to wander off, feeling lost, aimless, trapped. Clueless about where he was and where he was going. Flailing about, struggling to climb out of what seemed like a steep ravine. That's why he came today to hear the Teacher, hoping to regain the faith he had felt as a child, a ten-year-old child.

His mind spun back to the evening of his tenth birthday. Like nearly every night, he was out on the hills with his dad or his uncles, caring for the sheep. The stars were brilliant, dancing in the black sky. But suddenly an overpowering bright light flooded the hillside. A voice boomed out, "Behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people. For to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord!"

A savior, a rescuer -- shepherds' work. He had often wondered about the boy-child they discovered that night, lying in a manger, just as the angel had said. Toby had knelt down and worshipped the baby who bore the world's destiny upon his tiny shoulders. What had become of him, this baby? By now he must be thirty-something. Had this savior saved anyone yet? Rescued anyone? Could he rescue me from my aimless existence? Toby wondered.

Just then the wind caught Jesus' words and blew them Toby's direction. "I am the Good Shepherd," Jesus was saying, "who lays down his life for the sheep. Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me," he said with warmth and joy full on his face, "for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."

I wonder? thought Toby as he felt big tears begin to roll down his cheeks and into his beard. I wonder? thought Toby as joy and the certainty of God's love began to fill his heart until it seemed like he would explode. I wonder? thought Toby, if this Jesus is the little baby I saw that night, the Savior of the world? Yes, thought Toby, he must be.
by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson

"The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill made low; and the crooked straight and the rough places plain. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed."
Isaiah 40: 1-4

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Gift of the Magi

This story is a request of Jeff's. His favorite Christmas story is "The Gift of the Magi" by O. Henry. He will be reading the story to the kids tonight. To read it just click on the title of this post.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Trouble At The Inn

For many years now, whenever Christmas pageants are talked about
in a certain little town in the Midwest, someone is sure to
mention the name of Wallace Purling. Wally's performance in one
annual production of the nativity play has slipped onto the realm
of legend. But the old-timers who were in the audience that
night never tire of recalling exactly what happened.

Wally was nine that year and in the second grade, though he
should have been in the fourth. Most people in town knew that he
had difficulty in keeping up. He was big and clumsy, slow in
movement and mind. Still, his class, all of whom were smaller
than he, had trouble hiding their irritation when Wally would ask
to play ball with them or any game, for that matter, in which
winning was important.

Most often they'd find a way to keep him out but Wally would hang
around anyway not sulking, just hoping. He was always a helpful
boy, a willing and smiling one, and the natural protector of the
underdog. Sometimes if the older boys chased the younger ones
away, it would always be Wally who'd say, "can' they stay?
They're no bother"

Wally fancied the idea of being a shepherd with a flute in the
Christmas pageant that year, but the play's director, Miss
Lumbar, assigned him to a more important role. After all, she
reasoned, the Innkeeper did not have too many lines and Wally's
size would make his refusal of lodging to Joseph more forceful.

And so it happened that the usual large, partisan audience
gathered for the town's yearly extravaganza of beard, crown,
halos and a whole stage full of squeaky voices. No one on stage
or off was more caught up on the magic of the night than Wallace
Purling. They said later that he stood in the wings and watched
the performance with such fascination that from time to time Miss
Lumbar had to make sure he didn't' wander on stage before his

Then the time came when Joseph appeared, slowly, tenderly guiding
Mary to the door of the Inn. Joseph knocked hard on the wooden
door sat into the painted backdrop. Wally the innkeeper was
there, waiting.

"What do you want?" Wally said, swinging the door open with a
brusque gesture.

"We seek lodging."

"Seek it elsewhere," Wally looked straight ahead but spoke
vigorously. "The Inn is filled."

"Sir, we have asked everywhere in vain. We have traveled far and
are very weary."

"There is no room in this Inn for you." Wally looked properly

"Please, good Innkeeper, this is my wife, Mary. She is heavy
with child hand needs a place to rest. Surely you must have some
small corner for her. She is so tired."

Now, for the first time, the Innkeeper relaxed his still stance
and looked down at Mary. With that, there was a long pause, long
enough to make the audience a bit tense with embarrassment.
"No! Be gone!" the prompter whispered from the wings.

"No!" Wally repeated automatically, "Be gone!"

Joseph sadly placed his arm around Mary and Mary laid her head
upon her husband"s shoulder and the two of them started to move
away. The Innkeeper did not return inside his Inn, however.
Wally stood there in the doorway, watching the forlorn couple.
His mouth was open, his brow creased with concern, his eyes
filling unmistakable with tears.

And suddenly the Christmas pageant became different from all the

"Don't go, Joseph," Wally called out. "Bring Mary back." And
Wallace Purling's face grew into a bright smile. "You can have
my room!"

Some people in town thought that the pageant had been ruined.
Yet there were others....many, many others...who considered it
the most Christmas of all Christmas pageants they had ever seen.

-By Dina Donahue

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace."
-Isaiah 9:6

Friday, December 01, 2006

Happy December

December is here! I cannot believe it...it is 70 degrees outside right now, and it is supposed to get warmer. It does not feel like December.

I found my first story to read to my kids today...I have had some trouble finding enough stories, so I am saving the better ones for closer to Christmas, and hopefully I'll find more along the way. I am also reading a "Christmas" Scripture to them in the mornings.
To read the story of the day just click on the title of this blog ("Happy December"). Enjoy!

"Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."
Isaiah 7:14