Happiness is living a holiday song.

1.  Oh, the weather outside is


But the fire is so


2.  Silent Night, Holy Night

All is calm, All is bright

Round yon virgin, mother and child, holy infant so tender and mild.

3.  Once again as in olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more

4.  I’m gettin’ nuttin’ for Christmas
Mommy and Daddy are mad.

I’m gettin’ nuttin’ for Christmas
‘Cause I ain’t been nuttin’ but bad.

5.  Oh, there’s no place like
home for the holidays
‘Cause no matter how far away you roam
When you pine for the sunshine
Of a friendly face
For the holidays, you can’t beat
Home, sweet home

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.  Here’s wishing you a blessed and very happy New Year!!


General Conference Book Club Week 13: Elder Cook

As the new year approaches, my wheels have been turning. I feel a natural pull to “organize every needful thing,” and set responsible goals.  I’m not talking about exercise and diet and cleaning out my closets (though they admittedly maybe should be high on my list), but to see if the way I live my life matches up with the things I really believe are most important.

I chose for this week a talk by Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve because it helps remind me where my greatest responsibilities (a.k.a. “stewardships”) lie.  I’m hoping that as I study it this week, it will help me to focus on what matters most as I set my goals and try to create places for righteous patterns in my life.  The talk is called “Stewardship — A Sacred Trust.,” and was delivered during the Sunday Afternoon session of conference.

“We try to do what is right because we love and want to please our Father in Heaven, not because someone is forcing us to obey.”

“I would suggest that if we think about giving an accounting of our actions to the Savior, our rationalizations will be seen in their true light.”

“My hope is that each of us will review individually and as families the stewardships for which we have responsibility and accountability.”

You can read it here, or watch it here, or listen here.  It’s also on page 91 in the November 2009 Ensign.  (Go here if you’re new to the General Conference Book Club and would like to learn more about it.)
I’d love to hear your thoughts about how this instruction can help us shape our goals.

Christmas, Mary, and motherhood

By Jeffrey R. Holland:

I’ve thought of Mary, too, this most favored mortal woman in the history of the world, who as a mere child received an angel who uttered to her those words that would change the course not only of her own life but also that of all human history: “Hail, thou virgin, who art highly favoured of the Lord. The Lord is with thee; for thou art chosen and blessed among women.” (JST, Luke 1:28.) The nature of her spirit and the depth of her preparation were revealed in a response that shows both innocence and maturity: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” (Luke 1:38.)

It is here I stumble, here that I grasp for the feelings a mother has when she knows she has conceived a living soul, feels life quicken and grow within her womb, and carries a child to delivery. At such times fathers stand aside and watch, but mothers feel and never forget. Again, I’ve thought of Luke’s careful phrasing about that holy night in Bethlehem:

The days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and [she] wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and [she] laid him in a manger.” (Luke 2:6–7; italics added.) Those brief pronouns trumpet in our ears that, second only to the child himself, Mary is the chiefest figure, the regal queen, mother of mothers—holding center stage in this grandest of all dramatic moments. And those same pronouns also trumpet that, save for her beloved husband, she was very much alone.

I have wondered if this young woman, something of a child herself, here bearing her first baby, might have wished her mother, or an aunt, or her sister, or a friend, to be near her through the labor. Surely the birth of such a son as this should command the aid and attention of every midwife in Judea! We all might wish that someone could have held her hand, cooled her brow, and when the ordeal was over, given her rest in crisp, cool linen.

But it was not to be so. With only Joseph’s inexperienced assistance, she herself brought forth her firstborn son, wrapped him in the little clothes she had knowingly brought on her journey, and perhaps laid him on a pillow of hay.

Then on both sides of the veil a heavenly host broke into song. “Glory to God in the highest,” they sang, “and on earth, peace among men of good will.” (Luke 2:14, Phillips Translation.) But except for heavenly witnesses, these three were alone: Joseph, Mary, the baby to be named Jesus.

At this focal point of all human history, a point illuminated by a new star in the heavens revealed for just such a purpose, probably no other mortal watched—none but a poor young carpenter, a beautiful virgin mother, and silent stabled animals who had not the power to utter the sacredness they had seen.

How true it is that many of the greatest moments of motherhood are quiet and sacred.  Since most of ours are not accompanied by stars and angels, they are often unnoticed by the rest of the world, but not by God.  Mary’s most admirable quality to me is her trust in God, and her willingness to do what he asked of her even when it seemed nearly impossible.  Christmas is certainly about our Savior, Jesus Christ, but like most things worth honoring, it began with a righteous mother.

Merry Christmas!  Have a peaceful, happy and blessed celebration.  May you feel the Spirit of Christ and also, like Mary, a desire to be a woman who puts her life in God’s hands.  What better gift can we offer?

General Conference Book Club Week 12: Elder Hales

Maybe I should have taken a break this week from GCBC, but I figure: What better time than Christmas to focus on the Savior?  or what other week of the year needs more extra effort for quiet, peaceful reflection?

So, please join me this week in studying the talk by Elder Robert D. Hales, of the Quorum of Twelve apostles.  The talk is called “Seeking to Know God, Our Heavenly Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ,” and is from the Saturday afternoon session of conference.  I like how this talk lays out the basic doctrines about the nature of God and His son that we often take for granted, not realizing how powerful and rarely-understood they are.  And mostly I loved his closing testimony as I felt the depth of his love for Jesus Christ, and remembered my own.

“The light of belief is within you, waiting to be awakened and intensified by the Spirit of God.”

“I testify that the way to know the truth about God is through the Holy Ghost.”

“With your own testimony of God, you will be able to bless your family, your posterity, your friends, your own life—all those you love.”
You can read it here, or watch it here, or listen here.  It’s also on page 29 in the November Ensign.  Please share some of your thoughts in the comments after reading the talk.
(Go here if you’d like more information about this General Conference Book Club.)

Christmas wake-up call

I cried.  I love Christmas.

You can still jump in to our 12 days of Christmas challenge (better late than never, right?).  And if you’ve been participating, please share some of your experiences there.  Good things happen when we spread some kindness in one-woman-at-a-time bulk.  🙂

And here are a couple Post-its to show off a few blog posts that have inspired me lately.

1.   Mommy J, who usually blogs over at Mommy Snark wrote this fantastic post as a feature over at MMB:  “I am mother.  That is enough.,”  which echoes so nicely what “Diapers and Divinity” really means to me.

2.  Heather of the EO wrote a post called “Ours” this week, and wow.  Just wow.  She captures so beautifully the shock and awe we feel when we become new mothers.

3.   My friend Molly, shared with me this post that her sister-in-law wrote for national adoption month.  I think it does a lovely job of highlighting the triumphs, challenges, and divine role of adoption.  I’ve often thought about how the Lord uses adoption into the Tribes of Israel in order to make his covenants and blessings available to all his children everywhere.  Parent-child adoption is a beautiful symbol of how this works and is recognized in God’s great plan of salvation.

4.   Another friend, Shantel, wrote this post recently, “Come Let Us Adore Him,”  about how she was able to overcome the Christmas blues and grasp the meaning of the season.  And when I say meaning, I mean some really cool insight into the symbols of the nativity and their relationship to doctrines of Christ.  It is awesome stuff.  A little long (like I’m one to talk), but if you stick it out, I promise you’ll feel enlightened.

Do you have any favorite posts you’ve read (or even written) lately?  Share them in the comments.