Monday, December 20, 2010

Early Christmas

We had an early Christmas this year.

JoDee and Maryle arrived Thursday night. They went to the temple with us and afterwards we went to the Victor Village Inn where Mike works. We ate wings and Mike and JoDee sang karioke. Amber was also with us it was a lot of fun. Friday night Mike and Amber came over and we played games. We sure love to be with you kids. Thank you for being you.

Our two daughters sequestered themselves down in our basement for several hours with paint and glue and pictures they had printed off of the computer and made us an early Christmas present which they presented to us before they left. They said they didn't want us forgetting any of them while we are on our mission. They even left room for us to add more pictures as the expected grandbabies arrive. A picture of the finished work of art is below. Isn't it wonderful!
We said goodbye to JoDee and Maryle at 6am Sunday morning and drove up to Ogdensburg. The roads were great. We picked up one sister, Diane, for church and had another family come that we had invited last week. Diane has been inactive until the sister missionaries tracted her out a week ago. Last Sunday was her first time back to church in about 7 years. Yesterday she read a scripture in the Sacrament meeting Christmas program! She is excited to be back.

The Christmas presentation on the birth of the Savior was a collection of scriptures foretelling the birth of the Savior and an account of His birth. It was written by our branch president and he had almost every active member of the branch reading a scripture and being part of the presentation. We sang about five different Christmas hymns interspersed with the readings. It was a wonderful sacrament meeting and everyone felt the spirit. There was an investigator there, also, for the first time and two of the members knew him and one will be picking him up for church next week. We think the branch is making some progress. We feel that this was also an early Christmas present. We just love it here !

We hope you all have a joyous Christmas together. We know several families will be together in Utah and we are excited for you. May you all find love and kindness and remember the great blessing of the Prince of Peace. We miss you all but are too happy here to be sad about it.

Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 13, 2010

For Unto Us A Child Is Born

4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Jud├Ža, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior which is Christ the Lord
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

We pray that all of you will take time to ponder in your hearts the great blessing we celebrate this time of year. We can feel with wonder and awe that the Savior actually came to earth and lived and taught and suffered and atoned for us all.

We love you all and pray daily for you.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Is It Christmas Yet?

Last week we put up the Christmas tree and wrapped all the presents for our family. Yesterday we watched the 1st Presidency Christmas Devotional. Afterwards we looked up "The Mansion" by Henry Van Dyke, printed it out and read it. We then understood why President Monson reads that every year. It is a thought provoking story about a man who unlike Schrooge in the Christmas Story, was very wealthy and generous, but very careful to make sure he got the best "return" on his donations. You all may want to read that.
Susan decided the little angel tree top didn't work, so she tatted a star for the top. You can almost see it in this picture. We also made new tissue box holder for the temple. The old one looked terrible. Here it is below. Susan taught Paul how to stitch the pattern and he did half of the squares. Made the project go twice as fast.It is winter here!!! We got 10 inches of snow last night. We didn't go to the branch over the weekend because of the threats of lake effect snow. We may have had trouble getting home if we had gone. We went instead to the Fairport ward.
While at church we were again reminded of the power of loving people within a ward. We do not know how we would have raised our children without the help of the saints in each of the wards we lived in. We are very grateful and hope you also experience this great blessing in your families lives. We cannot return to our Heavenly Father alone. It is only as we lift and help each other that we can all make it back. As you accept callings and then do your best in each of them we widen the family circle to include the ward family and we help ensure there are no empty chairs there either.