Monday, January 9, 2017

2017

It a new year! 2017 has dawned! 2017 is already reminding me that I am not getting any younger. My 20 year High School reunion will hit, my first born will turn 18 and well its a bit shocking.

But so far I am feeling awesome becasue I cleaned out the boys room, all my girls closets and drawers, the fridge, the pantry and I even deep cleaned the kitchen. Hid your stuff people!

I feel better when I have less and when my house is clean.

Anyway, I've been thinking about a few things and maybe you could call them New Years resolutions. I wrote this on our family chalk board last week:
































I just really think that the Lord wants us to do whatever it is we have to do with love. If we need to correct a child, talk to a spouse about a difficult issue, get up in the night with an infant, ask a teenager to do their chores for the millionth time, address a problem at work or with our kids teachers or even a clerk at a store. I even think he wants us to do our mundane work, dishes, laundry, dusting, carpooling--with love. Love for the people who make the messes and love for our body that allows us to work. I know I don't do all things with love. And sometimes I even do things with annoyance and frustration. I really want to do more of what I do everyday with love.

And then there's this:







































Doesn't that just sum it all up? If we did this everyday we could change our lives. I think I can try. As long as we are trying a little harder to be a little better we will always be moving in the right direction--step by step closer to the Lord, more like Him and more of what He wants us to become.

Happy New Year!



Sunday, January 8, 2017

Christmas

I loved Christmas this year. Its NEVER perfect and there are always things that I wish I could pull off that I just cant but for the most part it was peaceful and beautiful and I felt happy.

For some of November and all of December we were all busy helping Branson with his Eagle project. He decided to help a church congregation out in Mesa meet the Christmas needs of some of their families. These families live in Section 8 housing and it was so wonderful to watch Branson organize gifts, clothing and gift cards for 4 whole families.

One of the mothers is undergoing chemo therapy and Branson's heart seemed to be especially drawn to her and her three boys. He wanted everything to be just perfect for them. With the help of so many amazing friends we were able to fill our front room with tons of gifts and seeing that pile grow and watching Branson keep it all organized was as good as it gets.

We delivered the gifts on the 23rd and we drove home quiet, peaceful and full of thanks for our beautiful life and for the chance to help others.
































My other most favorite moments were during the Heywood family Christmas Eve program. When Scott and I were first married I was told that Christmas Eve was a big deal for his family and I quickly fell in love with the traditions and spirit that we enjoy on that special night each year. There are a few key points.

One: Dinner...of course.

Two: The program and nativity. The kids get to play their instruments and we sing Christmas hymns while the little ones (and big ones) dress up for the nativity.






























I loved this years donkey like no one has ever loved a donkey before...







































Three: The bells!

After the music, nativity and scriptures we play the bells. Scott's Grandma started this decades ago with her children and now we carry it on and I look forward to it every-single-year. Everyone gets a bell, and we have charts with songs and their corresponding notes and we clink those bells with all our hearts.






























Four: The 12 Days of Christmas. This tradition centers around Scott's Aunt Maureen. Oh how we love our Aunt Maureen! Maureen plays and we sing and she tries to play faster than we can sing and it is the most fun ever. For some reason I had such a feeling of joy come over me this year while singing The 12 Days of Christmas. I love my Heywood family. I love these traditions and I am so thankful that my kids get to be a part of it. The song is loud and crazy but MAN was the spirit in the room ever so strong. Heaven was not far.










































Five: Christmas T-shirts and PJ's. Every year we all get a matching T-shirt drawn by my talented brother-in-law Brian. The kids get so excited to see what creative thing he comes up with every year.







































After that we hug and snap pictures and head home for the night. Easily the best part of Christmas for me is Christmas Eve with my Heywood family. Oh how I love them and feel so thankful for Scott's Grandparents who began these beautiful traditions and for his parents who continue them. They inspire me to be better. I always want Grandma Mag to look down and be proud of us and I know she is with us when we clink those bells and pull on our new jammies.




























Christmas Day is such a giant mess but I love just being with my little family and soaking in the joy of our Savior and all He does for us. I always give a scripture devotional before we open a single gift and we share our testimonies and pray together. And of course its always so fun to watch kids open gifts.










































And doesn't it just always feel so right to end the Christmas season with the New Year? Jesus Christ IS renewal and so it is wonderful to clean up the mess and begin anew. We loved hosting the twins friends and some extra cousins. Now we are back to school and real life and you know what? I like real life too so its all good!