Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas and Thank you!

So much joy in our home!

The emotions are so close to the surface. Christmas has never meant more to me...because...Christ has never meant more to me.

Such a blessing to have all of our children together and sharing special memories of this past year and expressing our love for all that Jesus has done for us as we celebrate His birth.

We each gave Jesus a gift this year for Christmas. During a special hour on Christmas Eve before going to bed, we shared what those gifts were.We all cried as the gratitude just flowed.

How blessed we have been by the Lord!

How blessed we have been by each of you!

Thank you!

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Miracle of Christ

I love Christmas!

I love that we have a huge celebration to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ. My need for Christ has never been greater. And I'm thrilled to see more and more people turning to Him.

I have witnessed his power in my life and in our family and know that there is nothing He can't do according to His will.

It has been a very interesting, even inspiring last few days.

The news of the Provo Tabernacle burning down was shocking. I personally saw flames raging nearly a full day after the fire fighters had been pouring water for hours on end through their huge fire hoses.

Finally, 36 hours after the fire started, they were able to enter the building to begin the tedious process of finding the fire's cause and also examining the structural integrity of the remaining walls.

I was so moved to see a photo of the firemen holding a picture of Jesus Christ with outstretched hands. This was the first item recovered from the devastated building. The picture was completely charred except for the area immediately around Christ. Seeing this reminded me that no matter what may happen to the physical things around us or what may happen because of trials and challenges of every sort, it is Jesus that matters most. He has all power, wisdom, and strength. He is our Savior. He is our Rescuer. He is the giver of all life and all hope.

That's why Jesus is the heart and focal point of Christmas.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

Provo Firefighters look at a painting of Christ that was burned in the fire. The fire burned the entire image except the image of Christ near the center. Provo City Firefighters continue their work at the historic Provo Tabernacle after the building was destroyed by fire. Saturday, Dec. 18, 2010. (Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)


Sunday, December 12, 2010

"Sparkalies" and Christmas Joy!

Talitha is LOVING all the excitement around our home about Christmas. From the music to the lights, she is fully onboard with this celebration.

Audrey has several nativity scenes on display around the house. I came in the kitchen one morning this week to find Tali playing with one of the little sets that she has adopted for her own. She loves little baby Jesus and likes to keep Mary close by taking care of him.

When it gets dark, she stands by the window looking at all the "sparkalies"--her endearing term for Christmas lights. It doesn't matter how many lights she sees. She just can't contain her delight. Sometimes we'll drive in the car and she'll see the lights in the neighborhoods and just about go crazy trying to take it all in. There's nothing like the enthusiasm of a child at Christmas time. I compare this enthusiasm of children to the words spoken by the angel to herald the birth of the Christ child:

"And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people." (Luke 2:10)

What if we really captured the significance of Christ this year? What if we got so excited just at the thought of Christ that we had to share our joy with someone or we'd pop?!
The more I experience His saving grace and rescuing power, the more excited I get to celebrate His birth. So when I see Talitha filled with more excitement than her little body can handle, I feel joy. Real joy.
So I say, let’s all join our voices this year with angels past and present in expressing the glad tidings of this sacred hymn:
Hark the herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled"
Joyful, all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim:
"Christ is born in Bethlehem"
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Persistence and Good News!

The results of the spinal tap are what we had hoped-- clean!

We are SO grateful Talitha's spinal fluid is cancer-free. The ventricles in Tali's brain are still enlarged but her head has adjusted to this and continues to process spinal fluid without assistance from a shunt.

She keeps us laughing now even when we don't necessarily want to be laughing. The other day there was a "warm dispute" happening in another room between two of Tali's siblings. Talitha--with her awkward walking--made her way into that other room and then in a serious voice asked "what is going on here?!"

How she has picked up so much, so fast and knows how to use it all in context is shocking at times. Not exactly what I was expecting especially after brain surgery and the mute-ism that came with it during those first scary days nearly a year ago.

I heard Audrey say in Church today that because of what she has experienced, she knows now that regardless of how bad or hard things get, Christ has the power to get you through it. That's why you can trust Him....completely. (She said it so much more eloquently it just brought tears to my eyes.)

I've been thinking lately about the many lessons that have come through the blessing of trials. I came across a quote from Napolean Hill that I'd read before but didn't appreciate as much as I do now. It shed new light for me on the scriptures that talk about the need for "opposition in all things" and the necessity to "press forward with a steadfastness in Christ" and to "endure to the end":

"There is no substitute for persistence! It cannot be supplanted by any other quality! Remember this, and it will hearten you, in the beginning, when the going may seem difficult and slow.

"Those who have cultivated the habit of persistence seem to enjoy insurance against failure. No matter how many times they are defeated, they finally arrive up toward the top of the ladder. Sometimes it appears that there is a hidden Guide whose duty is to test men through all sorts of discouraging experiences. Those who pick themselves up after defeat and keep on trying, arrive; and the world cries, "Bravo! I knew you could do it!" The hidden Guide lets no one enjoy great achievement without passing the persistence test. Those who can't take it, simply do not make the grade.

"Those who can "take it" are bountifully rewarded for their persistence. They receive, as their compensation, whatever goal they are pursuing. That is not all! They receive something infinitely more important than material compensation--the knowledge that "every failure brings with it the seed of an equivalent advantage!"

No matter what the trial is, no matter how difficult the road, none of us are alone. God will help us. God wants to help us. There is no end to His power and ability to lift us, heal us, supply us, comfort us, rescue us, and save us.

Now that's Good News!