Friday, December 26, 2008

Stories of Grandma

Today is the day of my dear Grandma's memorial service. Although I am sad to miss it, my heart is full of wonderful stories of moments with her.

My earliest memories begin with Sunday afternoon tea in her home. As a little girl, I was made to feel as welcome as any of the adult guests. There was something about Grandma's way that made me feel like a princess. She would pour my tea in a special china cup and give me one of her delightful homemade cookies. She would then pull out the baby dolls and blankets and assure herself of my comfort before visiting with her other guests.

As I grew older, I had opportunities to spend more time with Grandma. I will never forget the walks we used to take around her small rural community. My legs would have to work twice as hard to keep up with her brisk pace, yet the chats we had in those walks were precious. The evidence of her love for her Savior and those around her was very clear.

She loved serving others, and this was most exemplified in the quilts she made. Every one of her children and grandchildren received a beautiful quilt from her. Every new born baby in her family and church were blessed by a soft blanket, lovingly crafted at the hands of Grandma. Many children in foreign lands were also blessed as Grandma quilted hundreds of baby blankets to be sent via missionaries overseas.

Grandma served others even in the last days of her life. Along with creating soft, cuddly blankets, she would bake lots of cookies. She was always ready to welcome company with a warm cup of tea to her small retirement village apartment, and at the age of ninety-two she chose to bless others without consideration for herself.

Grandma is a hero of mine. As she enters Heaven's gates, she will hear the voice of her Savior proclaim "Well done, good and faithful servant." She has blessed so many lives, and I count it a great privilege to have known her.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

I Love Christmas!

The Christmas season is upon me with all of its tastes, sounds, colors, and experiences. Reds and greens fill my home with festive color. Yummy treats and holiday favorites are prepared. Cookie dough is rolled out by small hands and cut into holiday shapes. Sprinkles and frosting cover the table after cookie masterpieces have been prepared....

Gingerbread houses are constructed from tasty confections while sticky fingers enjoy the labor...

Beautiful memories are made of times like these. Times that are somewhat messy and very busy, but times that are full of love and laughter. Flour covered floors, frosted table legs, sparkled carpets are some of the messes left behind after so much creativity. Yet the wonderful time spent together remains imprinted upon my memory long after the messes are cleaned up. It is my favorite season of the year!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Beauty and Ideals

Tonight I sit and contemplate the hectic schedule of the season and find myself overwhelmed. I am tempted to throw my hands in the air and give up, yet something inside me stirs me to create beauty amidst the chaos. Although I am weary, I am encouraged by the words of another idealist, Sarah Clarkson. By her thoughts I am motivated to press on. I have new vision for creating beauty and memories for my family this Christmas. I know it will take hard work and sacrifice to continue with special traditions, but the cherished relationships and hearts moved toward worship are worth every effort.

I encourage you to read Sarah's thoughts on ideals at her blog, The Itinerant Idealist, and may you find encouragement to add beauty to your life this season as you seek to keep Christ in Christmas.