" I believe in manicures. I believe in overdressing. I believe in primping at leisure and wearing lipstick. I believe in pink. I believe that LOVING is the best calorie burner. I believe kissing. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles." ~Audrey Hepburn

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Instrument: Part 3

My father in law is the bishop in their ward. Sunday night after dinner Casey, his parents and I were in the front room talking when their was a knock at the door. Kendall looked out the window and saw a young teenage girl running away, he smiled. Pam opened the door and stuck to the door was a white envelope with the words "Bishop Van Wagoner" written on the front of it. Pam yelled "Thank You" to the unknown deliver and gave it to Kendall. We all just at there as he opened up the envelope and watched as he pulled about a dozen gift cards and a two page letter. At first he read it to himself. Then as tears starting streaming down his face we urged him to share with us. He was so touched he couldnt even read the letter aloud the 2nd time. So Pam read and we all teared up as she read to us a story about a family that USE to be in their ward. A family who 15 years ago this Christmas was going through some extreme hardships. They had a family member in the hospital whom the outcome didnt look well for and little ones that were going to go without Christmas that year. 15 years ago, the Sunday before Christmas there was a knock on their door. When they opened the door, they found a plain white envelope duct taped to the door. Inside there was $300 worth of gift cards to spend on their children that Christmas. You can imagine their surpise and gratitude.
The gift 'Bishop Van Wagoner' received that night was the same gift that young family received all those years ago. Except, there was 1 differance.
It wasnt for him.
The unknown family has made a tradition out of the gift they received 15 years ago. Now that their financial situation has changed, each year they tape a white envelope to the current bishop of that wards door the Sunday before Christmas, with $300 worth of gift cards for him to hand out to families in his ward that are in need that Christmas.
- Casey and I were in awe. We drove home that night wishing we were in a position to help someone that way. One of the neatest things about that tradition to us, was the fact that their young girl delivered that envelop and that she new EXACTLY what was in side. What a great example.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Instrument: Part 2

Casey and I had a great Sunday. One day, Ill get all of our festivities from October through Christmas on here - one day.
I always look forward to the Sunday before Christmas, lessons are always so amazing. Relief Society especially. There is a certain woman in our ward who I think is one of the most spiritual people I have ever met. No matter if she is giving a talk, a lesson, a thought or even the prayer...she always gets me crying. There is something very speical about her. She stood up to give the closing prayer in Relief Society and I couldnt help but think "guarentee I cry" (just because she is saying the prayer haha) oh no, she immediantly said, "I want to share a quick story if you all dont mind." She told us how a few days back she had talked to her mother and her sister on the phone and how both had asked if she was ready for Christmas. She wasnt. In fact she didnt have any presents for the kids yet. That night she decided to make a midnight run to Walmart to pick out a few things. Money is a little tight for them and she had a certain amount she was to spend. There was a gift that her son wanted to get for her daughter. She found it on sale...luckily. She waited in line for 30 minutes and when it was her turn the checker looked exhausted. Blood shot eyes and moving so slowly. She watched the items prices as they were scanned. They item from her son to her daughter went by and the price listed $20 instead of the sale price of $12 - she kindly informed the the checker "Im sorry, but I thought that item was on sale?" the checker looked up at her and replied "Do you still want it?" She sat there for a moment adding the items up in her head with the extra $8 now added trying to figure out if she was going to have enough money to get the couple of items she was purchasing. She couldnt help but think about the people behind her who were patiently waiting for their turn to be checked out. And then continued adding. The man behind her kindly took the gift and said "I will get that for her" She quickly turned and looked at him saying "no, its okay." He put his hand on her shoulder and stated "Let me get it for you. I've never had kids and I need the blessing for getting this for you."

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A thought on being an instrument.

My step dad is in the hospital, he went in for an outpatient procedure on Tuesday and in the process, the procedure caused a 2 1/2 inch tear in his esohpagus. He is by far one of the strongest men I have ever known, it hurts to see him in pain. Sometimes I feel like my family cant catch a break. But in reality, dont we all feel like that? "If it's not one thing, it's another" is a statement I have heard so many say. But why is it that these "one things" or "another" things bring so much heart break to those we love and to those we dont know? Those who share my same faith can share that growing up and even now, that we were taught that the Lord will never give us anything that we cant handle. I do indeed believe this to be true. In those moments, I find that I am growing the very most. My most spiritual moments are when I am in a room by myself pouring my heart out in prayer. Its the tender mercies of the Lord that get us each through those dark and scary moments, I live for those tender mercies.
There are so many of you (myself included) who have been through so much this year, I think that each of us know that our challenges are not over and at times will be even more difficult than we could have ever imagined. Satan will bring you down if you let him! I hope you find, that in your darkest hour - a tender mercy will lift you and that you will let Him help you find the extra strength to go on.
In this season of Christmas and remembering its true meaning, let us remember this qoute:
“Disciples of Christ throughout all ages of the world have been distinguished by their compassion. … In the end, the number of prayers we say may contribute to our happiness, but the number of prayers we answer may be of even greater importance. Let us open our eyes and see the heavy hearts, notice the loneliness and despair; let us feel the silent prayers of others around us, and let us be an instrument in the hands of the Lord to answer those prayers”.
I hope that each of us wont get caught up in the hustle and bustle of Christmas, and to really take the time to remember what it is really all about - I hope I can be an insturment and help to answer someone else's prayer.