Remember to savor your life's cupcakes!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mary, mother of Christ

(Final installment of the Women of the Christmas story)

I am Mary, and yes, Jesus is my son. Indeed, blessed am I among women. My story is an old one-told and retold from before time began and once again now. It is a story of spirit rather than history, and it's simple and inspiring truth must and will be manifested by the holy spirit rather than by the words of men.

It is a sacred thing-motherhood; whether it concerns the Christ Child, or any one of the precious spirits sent here to the earth. For the pure and undefiled love of a mother for her child brings mankind closer to appreciating the love of God.

Like other mothers, I hoped, dreamed and prayed for the benefits of the child I loved. I prepared meals, swept floors, straightened beds and picked up toys. With him I enjoyed and exalted, sorrowed and wept, learned and grew. He taught me of life and of love~partly because he was the Christ, mostly because he was a child. For me, his mother, he was often a child~reaching, blooming.

It was true what Luke said of me~that after the birth of my son. after the shepherds had come and bore witness to the divinity of my baby, I sat quietly in the soft light and kept all these things and pondered them in my heart.

I was the only mortal alive who knew how I had conceived the Son of the most high. I had been told who he was and what he would become and yet, as I looked at him lying in the manger, he was a tiny babe, needing food and comfort and care. I pondered often and sometimes painfully, and yet, came to a full understanding only when I stood at the foot of his cross. For on that evening in April (celebrated by us on Christmas) was born more than a child. There was born a way of life. The personification of love; the hope of the world form the beginning of time until the end of time. i who conceived him, who nourished him, cared for him and watched him live-and die-give you my solemn word that he was blameless and pure-that he lived to teach and dies to save you. That he was and is and always will be the Son of God. I, Mary, know it to be true.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Innkeeper's Wife

(5th installment of the Women of Christmas)

For generation, my husband's family have been keepers of an inn here in Bethlehem. And now, together, we do the same. Ours is a small inn-humble and unpretentious; nevertheless, it is as clean as we can make it. It is not a large town, this Bethlehem of Judea, endeared to Jewish hearts as the birthplace of David and that of the prospective Messiah.

When came the time of the tax rolls, the proclamation of Caesar Augustus that there shall be a taxing, sleepy Bethlehem was not itself. It's quiet streets were choked with dust and filled with the voices of tired, hurrying people. Though our inn was filled to the rafters, I escaped for a moment to my yard. I stood, gazing down the street, studying the faces. I saw a donkey being led by a strong young man. He was obviously fatigued and yet, different somehow. There was pride in that face. And dignity. He was a poor man and yet, I have seen passing my door great men of the world, with much less nobility. And then I saw the face of the young woman riding the donkey, exhausted and great with child. If the man leading the animal had about him an air of royalty, this surely was a queen. Her face was drawn with fatigue and her simple robes. powdered with a light fine dust, and yet there was no trace of discontent, no shadow of complaint, no faint inclination to murmur. Slowly they came closer and stopped before me. Quietly the young man asked for lodging and my heart fell. The couple drew from me a desire to comfort and serve. I knew that within that hot, crowded, noisy and odorous inn there was no room, no single corner fit for the birth of a child--any child--especially this child. My mind raced. My own room? Impossible. It was crowded already with my own children and members of my family that had come to pay that same tax. The sheds behind the inn? No. But, there was a stable, the shelter we kept for our animals in the recesses of the hills behind the inn. There would be clean sweet straw, open areas to admit freshness and light, but most of all, peace and privacy. And so it was to a humble stable I led them-these two extraordinary young people. I then left them to rest and returned to my work at the inn.

Evening came, and following it, the night. That night. The night foretold for centuries, hoped for. Prayed for. For on that night made glorious by a burning and brilliant star was born in my stable-the son of God, the redeemer of all mankind, the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ. I saw him, lying still and small, in a common manger. I stood by while humble shepherds bore witness that it was indeed the Messiah. I stood in the shadows and gazed at the radiance of his person, the indescribable look of joy, peace, and love that transfigured the face if his mother and that of Joseph. I was there. I saw him.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Wife of Shepherd

My husband is a shepherd. We go into the fields and there, together, we watch the flocks. There are those who say we are poor, that of the many who come and go, wander and stay in this beloved and ancient land, we are the lowliest, the most humble. Humble-perhaps. Indeed, it is what we desire. But, poor? If only I could give you the eyes to see, the heart to feel the incredible beauty of those ageless Judean hills, the deep peace and contentment we've found in the land of unspoiled solitude. For there a miracle unfolded before us while abiding in these fields. That single night when the worlds and eternities stood still and witnessed the birth of Jesus the Christ.

And I was there. It was I who stood with my heart and soul singing, while the glory of the Lord shone round about. The glory of the Lord-there are not words to describe it. It was like...the very first dawning of all creation, and every dawn thereafter, glowing and melting into one--shimmering, shining, throbbing. Awesome and frightening. We were sore afraid. But then came the voice-clear, piercingly sweet, beautiful beyond description, "unto you is born this day in the city of David, a savior, which is Christ, the lord." And then, suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, saying, "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace good will toward men."

I saw what I saw. Wolds without end, it cannot, will not change. For the humble, it is easy to believe as we believed what we heard that night. And because we believed, we went and did see the child lying in the manger. Poor? Ours was a divine gift, a sacred treasure to be kept deep within the heart, pondered upon, cherished and then to be told in great reverence in the quiet of the night to my children and they to their children, generation to generation, forever.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Mother of Joseph

(3rd installment of the Women of Christmas"
(My personal favorite)

I am the mother of Joseph. Joseph is a quiet man, strong and steady, with wonderful eyes--kind and gentle and warm. When he enters out home in the evening, with the clean scent of new wood about him and the tiny shavings still clinging to his robe, the room fills with his presence. It becomes a place of peace and contentment. And while he is not given to much laughter, he has nevertheless, a slow sweet smile that transforms his face and warms the hearts of those around him. He is a good man, my Joseph, with a deep and abiding faith in God and the strength to keep His laws. And so it was, when he thought the law had been broken, his eyes spoke of the pain his lips could not and shadows filled this home where had been only love and light.

Suddenly, amazingly, heartbreakingly, Mary was with child. It was not to be believed. Not Mary. And yet it was so. I had only to look into the face of Joseph to know the agony--to divorce or --send away the woman he loved. Joseph was torn with pain and I suffered with him. And then, like a miracle, the shadows were gone. What was said in that moment when a messenger of the Lord spoke with my son is for him alone to know. But the purpose was clear--this woman most dear was to become even dearer. Mary of Nazareth, most blessed among women, was to become the mother of the Messiah. With strength and dignity, filled with faith and the desire to give his Mary as much protection and devotion as possible, Joseph married her immediately and my heart swelled with pride.

You see, of all the souls in heaven, the Lord had his choice of the man to serve as the earthly father of his only begotten son. It was Joseph who would walk with Him through the hills and streets and into the synagogues for evening prayers. My son, Joseph, the carpenter, was to be the earthly father of Jesus, the Christ, Savior of the world. Joseph, my son.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Mother of Mary

(second installment of the women of Christmas)

I am the mother of Mary. It was my daughter--young, sweet, pure and ever obedient-to whom Gabriel appeared; my daughter to whom he said, "Hail, thou are highly favored, the Lord is with thee, blesses art thou among women."

In common with other daughters of Israel, Mary had contemplated with joy the coming of the Messiah through the royal line. She knew that some Jewish maiden was yet to become the mother of Christ. But was it possible that the angel's words to her had reference to this supreme expectation and hope of the nation? She had little time to turn these things in her mind, for the angel continued: "Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found favor with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb and bring forth a son, and shall call his name Jesus. He shall be great and shall be called Son of the Highest."

With gentle submissiveness and humble acceptance the pure young virgin replied, :Behold the handmaiden of the Lord. Be it unto me according to thy word." My daughter's promised Son was to be the "Only Begotten" of the Father in the flesh, as it had been abundantly predicted.

That child to be born of Mary was begotten of Elohim, the Eternal Father. He was of right to be called the "Son of the Highest."

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The mother of John

(Each day I will highlight a different woman from the Christmas Story)
I do not know who wrote this so I cannot give credit where credit is due...sorry...

I am Elizabeth, the mother of John, called the Baptist, the cousin of the girl Mary. The miracle of my conception, the strange and wonderful things that occurred in the life of my husband, the life and death of my son--all are most wondrous and filled with the power of the Lord. Were there time, I would tell you of it all. But there is no time and so I will share with you only one small moment most precious to me that lifted my spirit and made my heart overflow with gratitude for the goodness of God. Within my body I carried a child. As my cousin Mary came to my door I felt my babe leap within me, as the Holy Ghost bore solemn witness that the chosen mother of the Lord stood before me. I returned her greeting with gratitude and reverence: "Blessed are thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb."


She responded with one of the most beautiful and glorious statements of praise known to mankind. "My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God, My Savior. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden; for behold, from henceforth al generations shall call me blessed."

God had granted to an ordinary woman the privilege of a personal witness that this was indeed the Christ--Savior of the World.

I bear you this day that same witness.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

another story of angels

Another story that was posted on Facebook by a friend...Thanks Britney.

"I went on a date with a friend last night. While we were walking to the restaurant he stopped and talked to a homeless woman and offered to buy her dinner. He bought her dinner and then gave her his coat which was worth at least $150."

"He truly lives the gospel and what it stands for; Props to my homie Jared for staying true."

Jared-i don't know you but props from me too! Another reminder that angels do live among us. Thanks for your example.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

took this gem from a friends facebook posting...

We were given two hands to hold. Two legs to walk. Two eyes to see. Two ears to listen. But why only one heart? Because the other was given to someone else for us to find.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wrong Number Miracle

(Doug found this story)

She could hear the desperation in the voice on the message left on her answering machine. It was 5 a.m. on the day before Thanksgiving, and the caller, Lucy Crutchfield, was leaving a message for her daughter telling her that she would send money for groceries, even though she'd have to miss a mortgage payment to do it.

But Lucy had dialed the wrong number. Instead of getting her daughter, she got Virginia Saenz, a real estate agent from the San Diego area.

The message broke Virginia's heart. She did the only thing she could think of. She called Lucy back. She told Lucy that the number she dialed wasn't her daughter's and then told her she didn't need to worry anymore. Virginia volunteered to buy the groceries Lucy's daughter needed so that Lucy could pay her mortgage.

Virginia then called Lucy's daughter and asked her what she needed. All that was asked for was milk and eggs. That furthered Virginia's heartache. She felt that if one was asking for only milk and eggs, they probably needed so much more.

So, Virginia went grocery shopping on Thanksgiving morning with her 14-year-old son in tow to tell her what kids liked to eat. They bought food for a Thanksgiving dinner and enough groceries to get Lucy's daughter through the end of the month.

Angels do live among us.

"I have spoken . . . of heavenly help, of angels dispatched to bless us in time of need. But when we speak of those who are instruments in the hand of God, we are reminded that not all angels are from the other side of the veil. Some of them we walk with and talk with—here, now, every day. Indeed heaven never seems closer than when we see the love of God manifested in the kindness and devotion of people so good and so pure that angelic is the only word that comes to mind."

"May we all believe more readily in, and have more gratitude for, the Lord's promise as contained in one of President Monson's favorite scriptures: 'I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, . . . my Spirit shall be in your heart, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up' (D&C 84:88). In the process of praying for those angels to attend us, may we all try to be a little more angelic ourselves—with a kind word, a strong arm, a declaration of faith and 'the covenant wherewith [we] have covenanted' (D&C 90:24). Perhaps then we can be emissaries sent from God." (Elder Jeffrey Holland -October 2008 General Conference)