Friday, December 23, 2011

A Christmas Letter

Dear Friends and Family,
Did you notice the perfect family picture that I have attached to this letter? Isn’t it
great? What you can’t see, is the time and money I spent looking for coordinating
clothes, pants that fit and hair bows to match. What you can’t see is the hours I
spent frantically trying to get everyone’s hair combed just right, teeth brushed and
shoes tied. What you can’t see is that by the time this picture was captured, I had
bribed begged and threatened smiles out of my family. What you can’t see is that we
were all pretty sick of posing and saying “monkey”, by the end of the night.
Yeah, that picture may have turned out pretty perfect but believe me, we are far
from. Most days, no one’s hair is combed just right and most days our clothes aren’t
nicely coordinated and pressed.

This year has not been perfect for our family but for the most part… it has been
wonderful. We did have a perfect baby girl in February and she brought with her an
amazing, sweet little spirit that has her wrapped tightly around our hearts. The rest
of us have a long way to go to reach perfection but Cali, has it nailed and hopefully
a little bit of that goodness has rubbed off on the rest of us.

Brylee and Branson are in 3rd grade and spend their days in a class that they love
and running the neighborhood barefoot with their little pack of friends. Each week
the big goal for them is to get a perfect score on their Thursday spelling test. Both
the twins are perfecting their handstands in gymnastics and Brylee ended up with a
few perfect gold medals in swimming last summer. Kaden played on a football team
that was so imperfect that they lost every single game…except one. Even his load
of touchdowns and interceptions wasn’t enough to help the dismal season. Ella is 4
and is in love with anything pretty. She takes long afternoon baths and has a knack
for applying lipstick…perfectly.

Kaden turned 12 in November and received the Aaronic priesthood. In the days
leading up to his Bishops interview he was uneasy and stressed. On the night before
his appointment I sat on the bed next to him to get to the bottom of why he was so
worried about it. We talked for a while and then he looked up at me and asked,

“Mom, do I have to be perfect to get the Priesthood?”

My heart ached for him a bit. How many times have I felt that exact same way? Just
not quite good enough for my blessings, just a bit too imperfect for the countless
gifts that I enjoy. How many times has life felt hard and perfection- just plain out of

A few weeks earlier, Scott and I took our family to one of our favorite spots on the
lake. Just as the sun was setting, we all loaded up and paddled a short ways out onto
the water. The kids had mud stuck between their toes, the boys weren’t wearing
shirts, the girls had ragged waterlogged pig tales, Cali was not wearing a cute head
bow, Scott was unshaved and I had old mascara flaking off underneath my eyes,
but for a few brief moments life was perfect. Scott held up our little point and shoot
camera and captured my favorite picture of the year. Somehow, the imperfection of
it makes it perfect.

When Kaden asked me his tender heartfelt question on the couch that night, I
hugged him tightly around his broadening shoulders and told him that he didn’t
need to be perfect, only worthy and trying.

We stayed up and talked late into the night about sacred promises about repentance
and about the One and Only perfect person to have ever walked the face of the
earth. We talked about our own imperfections and how the Lord uses them to teach
us and show us how to be more like him and how he loves us in spite of them. I
promised him that even though not a single one of Heavenly Fathers children are
perfect, He does give us glimpses of what that feels like. Once in a while the veil
feels thin, Heaven feels close and we can see more clearly His love that is all around
us. This year, we have been blessed with a few of those glimpses; the birth of a
sweet new daughter, Kaden’s priesthood ordination, and 100’s of ordinary moments
where life was so good.

Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness;
and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might,
mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be
perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise
deny the power of God.

We are so grateful for the birth of that tiny infant that came to earth so long ago to
take on all our imperfections, all our sorrows and pain and to give His one perfect
life… for us.

How we love Him for it.

Merry Christmas.


Katie said...

This post is perfect! Have a Merry Chrismtas!

Anderson Adventures said...

Once again you've made the tears start flowing. Love the fun update abs your family picture, well both turned out perfect! Hope to see you soon:)

Denise said...

Julz, I didn't get a christmas card this year and was bummed. So we were at my in laws christmas night and I was looking at their card wall and your family card was there. I ripped it off the wall and asked them if they knew anyone in the photo. They both said no and that they assumed it was for the other person. On the wall it went. I told them that I was sure it was meant for me and that you just sent it to them. Yes, I still have yours. I ran out before christmas and am sending some out late. Lame I know, but whatever. Our photo is one of my favorite because we were at the zoo on Thanksgiving day and my dad said for us to stand in a spot and take a picture and it turned out so great. I was very pleased with it and all of its imperfections, kids looking the wrong way!!

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