Thursday, December 3, 2009
The Best Gifts
Hi all. Sorry I've been remiss in posting to my blog this past week. I've been enjoying some time with loved ones, and to me, that's what the holiday season is all about. I'd like to add something further as we now face the onslaught of Christmas time: in my opinion, the best gifts in this life cannot be obtained with money. The best gifts are from the heart.
That said, I'll tell you a little bit about what took place in our family this past Thanksgiving holiday. Two of our sons were here for the occasion, Kris, and Devin, and we had a great time cooking up some family favorites, like huckleberry pie.
We eventually gathered around our dining room table for the traditional feast and after offering humble gratitude for the tremendous blessings in our lives, we savored all of those culinary delights.
We enjoyed our time together as we consumed delicious food. And yes, the turkey worked its yearly magic and most enjoyed an afternoon nap after the kitchen was restored to some semblance of order.
Since everyone's schedules were crazy this year, we celebrated Thanksgiving in spurts. Two of our sons had to work on the dreaded "Black Friday." One had to work a short shift on Thanksgiving afternoon. Our other son, and his wife and tiny daughter, spent Thanksgiving Day with Kristen's family in Wyoming. We were scattered here and there, and yet I sense in some ways, we've never been closer in spirit.
We've seen wonderful blessings take place in all of our lives this past year. Blessings of health, employment, and spiritual growth. For these items, we will be forever grateful. Myself, I will be treasuring precious words that my children presented to me on Thanksgiving Day. Most of the credit for this gift must be given to my husband. Kennon decided to surprise me this year with what he is calling a new tradition. During the days before Thanksgiving arrived, he had contacted all of our sons, asking them to write a paragraph about their mother. He encouraged them to include reasons why they were thankful for me. On Thanksgiving Day, I was presented with an envelope that contained three separate paragraphs that will be added to a special collection I've been keeping through the years. Inside a large envelope that resides in the safety of my cedar chest, I have kept items that mean the world to me. Among other things it contains a handwritten letter from my father that I received a week before I married Kennon; my patriarchal blessing; the testimonies our sons recorded one night for Family Home Evening; and now these wonderful notes that I was given last week. All are treasures that I will read and reread in the years to come.
I will freely admit that my sons and husband made me cry on Thanksgiving Day. ;) They were happy tears. As I read through the notes my sons had written, my heart turned to mush---I believe that was their intent. ;) Can I just say that notes like these are priceless gifts? Keep that in mind as the mad rush continues toward Christmas Day. As I stated earlier, the best gifts are indeed from the heart.
Our Thanksgiving holiday stretched over the weekend. Derek, Kristen, and Aari swung by on Saturday night. They had opted to take the loooonnnggg way home so they could spend some time with us before they headed to their abode on Sunday afternoon.
It was great to see them. We visited, enjoyed more good food, and played hilarious games, like Apples to Apples. Throughout it all, Aari tended to steal the show. She is so fun right now. She's a little over 14 months old and she embraces life with gusto. She runs everywhere and she is learning to talk, which is often a hoot. We keep a stash of toys in a large plastic tub just for her enjoyment and she has learned that it contains fun things like this singing frog puppet.
Aari already loves books and she enjoyed looking at a new one with her mother, while seated in a chair her father had loved as a youngster.
The next day, we all got ready for church, another way to express our appreciation for all that we've been given. Here's a shot of Aari running up and down the hall with Daddy, to get the wiggles out her system. She actually behaved quite well that morning. Sitting quietly for a lengthy bit of time is challenging for little ones. (Sometimes it's challenging for older ones, too. ;)
All in all, this past week has been filled with good food, laughter, and love. It was a great way to kick off the holiday season and we're looking forward to the exciting days ahead. May the coming days be charged with those things that mean the most, and may we all keep in mind what the true Christmas Spirit is all about.