Christmas 2013

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas was wonderful.

With my Mom's side of the family we have this wonderful tradition that I love. We reenact the nativity scene every year. When I was little I was always the angel, and now that I'm older and some of our family doesn't come, we're missing about four kids, and four people in the nativity is a lot! So even all grown up I still dress up. And you know your man loves you when he dresses up too. One of the reasons I love our nativity is my uncles, they're always laughing and cracking jokes. So when you think of the nativity you may think of reverence, I think of jokes with everyone laughing and smiling with a little reverence mixed in.

This year we were Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus.

I am a very sentimental, dramatic person. As I was thinking about how Mary would have felt, I thought she must have been like every other new mother plus the extra weight of responsibility of raising the Son of God, the Savior of us all. As a new mom, I can see it now, "I know that he's the Christ, but I just want a break from people visiting! All I want is a nap!" I can only imagine how she loved this baby, and how she wanted to take care of him, when in the end it would be Him taking care of everyone, including her. Just as a normal mom, trying to get him to go to sleep, and this little baby just crying. 

I wanted to sing Silent Night. As Mary to baby Jesus, I thought lullabies help Jacob, Mary probably sang to Jesus too. 

Jacob was ready for sleep and wouldn't stop crying. So I shushed and rocked him while everyone read their parts, and my uncles cracked jokes. Through the pregnancy and birth (even though it was pretend, I didn't like it), the shepherds, the wise men, the angel, Jacob cried. And then it was my turn to sing.

It may sound corny, but I felt a calm fall on the room even amidst the laughter. I really felt like Mary, singing to baby Jesus. And as I sang Jacob closed his eyes and stopped crying, finally falling asleep. 

For the first time I could connect with Mary and Joseph. As I sang the words took on a new meaning. 

Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin, mother and child
Holy infant so tender and mild…
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace

Silent night, holy night
Shepherds quake at the sight
Glories stream from heaven afar
Heavenly hosts sing alleluia 
Christ the Savior is born,
Christ the Savior is born

Silent night, holy night
Son of God, love's pure light
Radient beams from they holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus Lord at thy birth,
Jesus Lord at thy birth.

I'm so grateful for my Savior and my God. I'm so grateful God loved us enough to send His perfect son to die for us, to show us mercy because we are imperfect. I'm grateful that Christ chose to suffer for our sins so we don't have to. It's not fair that He had to do that for us, but I'm glad He did. 

I love Christmas. Celebrating the birth of someone so important in my life, and the lives of so many others. I hope that we can keep the "spirit of Christmas" in our hearts every day. To be Christlike, kind, loving, patient, honest…

Happy Birthday Jesus
-Love, Courtney

Seminary Scriptures

Saturday, December 7, 2013

When we moved into our home we loved all of our neighbors…


almost all of them.

The one behind us? Well, lets just say he was odd, and not in a good way. And the large number of loud and annoying dogs that had to proclaim their existence to the world all the time did not help his case. And don't forget that the fence is rotting more and more everyday…we asked him for the past two years if we could split the cost to build the side that we share…and no reply. Often times his nasty little dogs got into my yard, terrorizing me and my dog. Let me tell you, it's very not cool to not be able to go into your backyard for a day. 

So one day not to long ago Vivian and I were doing new member visits, and what do you know, new members had just moved into the house behind us! 

I was so confused.

I thought if he had moved he would have taken all of his dogs, right? But they had been there every day…

Turns out his ex-wife had moved into the house, and he had moved out. She and her mother are less active members! And they also have lots of dogs (which are not as annoying, but explains why there was never a lack of dogs). 

You never know about people, or if the story they tell is true, but what they told me of my prior neighbor is pretty bad. For example, not paying the mortgage and now they are so far into the hole that they can't climb out. Also, it's in their divorce papers that she can't take her children to any church activities and if she does he can file for full custody. 

So it just kind of sucks. It's nice to have good people behind us now, but how they got there is not at all ideal.

So we've been inviting them over for Family Home Evening. It's one day out of the week, usually Mondays, where we get together as a family and have a spiritual lesson, activity and dessert. We love having them in our home, enjoy their company and the spirit they bring into our home. 

This last week she mentioned that they didn't have a set of scriptures in their home. Now to me, that's very sad. Sure, they're online, but it's nice to hold a book in your hand and mark your favorite passages, turn the pages etc. When you go to seminary you get a cheap set of scriptures to use for the four years. That was my second set of scriptures. My first set was given to me when I was eight, a nice brown leather set with my name on the bottom right corner. This first set I loved, they were all my own. This second set is where I really learned to love what I learned from them. I gained my own testimony through these. I marked every scripture that helped me understand things better, like my Savior. I learned to rely on the word of God through them. They were really special to me, but I haven't used them since high school. I got my third set right after high school, from an old friend who is unfortunately not my friend anymore. I don't really know what happened to our friendship, but I definitely wish I could go back and do somethings different. He gave me my third set, a nice blue leather with my name in the bottom right corner. My fourth set will have my married name on them. 

I didn't want to give any of my sets away, but I didn't want them to be without when I had so many. I don't know about you, but the best gifts are the ones that really mean something not only to the receiver but also the giver. 

I don't know if I've adequately described how special this was to me, to give a gift so special and have it be so appreciated. 

But it's not just my seminary scriptures, it's the scriptures in general. The Word of God is special and important to me, and I should share it more often. Reading them, searching them, pondering them, and learning from them has made me a better person, a happier person. 

If there's something missing in your life, maybe you're looking for this

Anyways, share what you love with those you love. 

Halloween Scarecrows and Pumkins

I know this is way late, but it's to cute not to share. 

 These are the gifts I made for my neighbors. I have great neighbors. They are kind, thoughtful, caring, and fun! So when things like holidays come up I like to do something small to let them know how much we appreciate them for being good people. Robbie helped me find this idea online! I drew and cut out the black characters. I'm an artist! :)
 Really easy to. Cans, paper, stamps, popsicle sticks, and a candle. And wha-la, when you light the candle the shadow of the character appears on the wall!
 Instead of a pumpkin, we recycled a milk can and used glow sticks. It looked better in the dark. It's a teenage mutant ninja turtle, in case you couldn't tell.
And our neighbors gave us a pumpkin outfit, and so we decided to be scarecrows to compliment our darling little man. 

Hope everyone had a great halloween! Here's to many more costumes.