"they left us something more precious than silver and gold..."

Thursday, December 30, 2010

i'm not afraid to admit it...

yeah, that's right, i'm not afraid to admit it...admit that as i was taking down christmas decorations, i got all teary eyed. mostly when i started peeling off the cute christmas cards off my cupboards where i post them throughout the month...my eyes were all moist. i can't believe another december has come and gone. i especially luv to hear from all our friends and family and see the special pictures & messages. i know some of you may be thinking, "no she certainly must have been teary eyed because she was CLEANING up the mess & clutter that december sometimes brings into our homes", but if you truly you know me, you know i like to clean (call me Cindy...Relly = Cinderella). the truth is, the christmas spirit is such a special spirit and i hope that it can linger throughout these next 11 months, even if we don't have the tinsel, stockings, christmas nativities, gingerbread houses, candy canes, gift wrapping paper & bows strewn throughout our houses.
we had a great pre-christmas get-together with the kesler's up in blackfoot...we had delicious soup & salad, lots of fun conversation, cousins galore, a late night of zumba up in IF & a drop by visit to my sister-in-law misty's who is due any day with baby #4!, a quick get-a-way to destinations inn for my anniversary & an 80 minute massage (11-years, luv ya cam!), scrumdidliumpsous bundt cakes (cooked by yours truly) - let's just say...they were gone before dinner started :), perfect presents (thanks again marva lu!) and a special family home evening presented by papa kesler himself ("okay kids...lets pretend like you are in church and really try to listen to this message" says the grandpa of 18 grandkids under the age of 8! they really did listen amazingly though!)
christmas eve at the freeze fam...we had such a fun night together...sub sandwiches, chips & dip, our own little sparkling ciders, a great round of "cameron's game", pillowpets & jammies from nanny, classic $10 gift exchange with all the freeze side of the family, some cute presents from mom, and the very traditional reading of the 'night before christmas'...my dad has been doing this same book/audio reading since i was 8 or 9.
"merry christmas to all & to all a good-night!"

looks like we all made the
Santy Claus was really good to us this year...
vannah got her american girl doll (complete with many accessories)!
lucy got her snowglobe (if you only knew the obsessions...)
jilly got herself a little rocking chair...
i was also surprised by a beautiful painting by bonnie rochester... santy you shouldn't have, but obviously i am glad you did because i luved it and cried! haha
christmas morning always brings another special tradition and so many memories flood into my heart...my grandpa freeze always felt so grateful for all my grandma did during the month of december and was pretty quick to admit, he didn't do much at all to aid in the hustle and bustle because of his work responsibilities. so to make up for it, every christmas morning he took the family out for lunch/dinner, thus my grandma did not have to cook or worry about cleaning on christmas day. this tradition has continued on throughout the years...as a little girl, i remember hoping to get a special outfit to wear out to lunch and was excited to take one or two of my new presents with me to show my cousins & grandparents. my dad has carried this tradition on, it was great to go out with our family and eat at the marriott. no cooking or cleaning...just great conversation, yummy food, natalie cole playing on the television dad had brought into our private room, planning for the upcoming year, and smiles of relief as we all felt pretty great about pulling another christmas together!
this is one of my favorite pictures of the month...i really do hope the christmas spirit can last with us throughout our 2011 year...here is a great message by Dean Hughes on how to make this possible in your life.

After we put Christmas away…

January is such a great month. It feels downright stimulating to lay off the rich foods, clear the sugar from our veins, work up a sweat on the old stationary bicycle – and feel so righteous about it. January is also that wonderful time when I’ve worn out my desire to go to the mall ever again. Every day that I don’t charge a penny on my credit card, I feel like I’m bringing a healthy balance back to my life & checkbook. (SO much joy for doing so little!). It’s that dark, cold time of the year (at least in the Northern Hemisphere), when we may feel some cabin fever, but sleep comes so naturally. It’s great to go to bed a littler earlier, turn on the electric blanket, and curl up like a big old bear (we’ve even stored up the extra fat to sustain us through the hibernation). I just hope, as we throw out the dried-up Christmas tree and store away all our decorations, that we don’t put away Christmas entirely—that is the best part of Christmas.

We seem to care more for others during the holidays and make special effort to express those feelings with our cards, our greetings, our donations to those who are not as blessed as we are. And then, for some reason, we act almost as though those expressions were part of our over-indulgence, and we seem to withdraw to a spirit that isn’t nearly as generous. It almost seems as though we’re a little embarrassed now, in the cold of winter, for all that warmth we shared. Do we think it got a little too cheesy, a little too over the top? What is we took a treat – a healthy one – to all our neighbors now or in April or September? Would people think we had gotten all weird on them or something? How did we get started with the idea that we should be what we really ought to be in December and then pull back and wait again for eleven months?

I remember a United Way director who said that Americans love to buy turkey for a single mom with kids at Thanksgiving or Christmas, even though she would be helped much more by a case of peanut butter in August – and that’s when no one thinks about her. Interesting. “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem, How still we see thee lie. Above thy deep and dreamless sleep, the silent…” It sounded good, didn’t it? When I was a bishop, I once had our chorister do all Christmas songs during a sacrament meeting in July. I told our members that we always say that we want to keep the spirit of Christmas with us all year, but we won’t work very hard to do it. The songs were just a little reminder. Maybe we should sing them all year.

To celebrate Christ’s birthday, we eat too much and spend too much, and we feel guilty about it. It feels good to return to some austerity. We vow not to get so carried away next year. Suppose we actually did that? Suppose we cut back on some of the eating & spending next year but began right now to spread out the spiritual side of Christmas to every month of our year? It may sound a little too idealistic, but don’t we actually know people who do just that? The fact is, there are those around us who need us every month of the year, and we need them. We also need Christ – his Spirit – with us, always. I think this should be the year we make some changes. Let’s do this year right, and then make next Christmas the fitting conclusion to a year full of kindness & generosity. I’m serious. We can do it.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

TROLL tHe ancient YULE tide cARol....

you've got to be NUTS not to LUV this time of year...
if only i could have a taken a picture of the GRISWOLD lights that adorn our house at this time...different colors, mid-strand blinking lights and of course the ever so clever drop from the gutter to the tree and the wrap around (please tell me you are imagining this!). but what is so wonderful about this time of year, is often see through the eyes of children...the imagination, the excitement, the love, the magic, the energy...and i can't get enough of it!
one of the things i luv most about the christmas holiday is sending and receiving christmas cards...i luv to reconnect with friends across the miles who have made an impact on our life...because i really do love and appreciate the value of friendship. we had the chance to go up to Temple Square in Salt Lake yesterday with my college roommate and dear friend, Lindsay. it is so fun to be able to live closer to her...she is a great mother to 3 cute, charming, fun loving, clever, energy packed! boys and i am so lucky to have her as a friend (i think she is pretty lucky to have me to, seeing that i set her up with her husband rion :)! she is also a fantastic photographer! she has been a great friend to me throughout the past 10 years and i have always valued the friend she has been to me...true, FUN, forgiving, happy for me, a cowgirl at heart, understanding, hard working, honest, strong in her faith & testimony of the gospel of jesus christ, and real.
temple square on a saturday, mid-december...um yeah, probably about 30,000 people there BUT the weather was great & the atmosphere was pristine & beautiful.
lucy, vanny & vienn!
we were so glad our friend Summer & her girls came up with us!
lindsay's JACE & my JILL...JACE & JILL!
sisters. vannah & lu.
we had dinner at the spagetti factory at trolley square!
another highlight of the month was our night out to the FESTIVAL of Trees...what an amazing event! Hundreds of gorgeously decorated trees on display for sale - all proceeds go to the Children's Hospital. Some trees sale up to 10's of thousands of dollars. they also having dancing groups performing, singers, events for the kids, food, and beautiful quilts on display as well! thanks emma & linds for introducing us to a december MUST!
talking to one of santa's elves...
the bubble machine...
"and THIS is my aunt linny!"
what else have we been up to in december...
- stuffing our christmas envelopes & mailing out christmas greetings
- celebrating the Advent like it's nobody's business...what a beautiful tradition filled deep with meaning, love, peace, & recollection. i really wanted to start something this year for our family that is an opportunity to daily focus on our Savior...his birth, life, and His Second Coming. the girls have loved the lighting of the advent candles...i complied a family book for the whole month that has different scriptures, quote, questions, activities...it's simple & perfect for our family...we do it anytime during the day - sometimes breakfast or dinner...sometimes mid-day, sometimes we read scriptures, sometimes we talk about topics, like HOPE. we are really excited to be able to grow into this tradition as a family.
- celebrating cam's birthday, a night out a koi & some delicious sushi
- decorating the tree & of course the angel on top...our tree is quite the sight...the ornaments are on the upper half of the tree due to jillian's cute little hands! also we have had to be creative with space & lack there of...hence the stockings tied to the back of our chairs at the dinner table (thanks for the great tip on good morning america!)
- a couple christmas crafts (as crafty as i can be, which is not much!)...the girls & i made a family advent countdown.
- trying not to get daily headaches and avoid total breakdown...yes im in love with christmas but that doesnt mean i am super woman/mom and dont get extremely frazzled, occasionally short with teh girls ("I KNOW SANTA IS WATCHING YOU!!! TRUST ME, "HE" IS!!"), and overeat on all the christmas goodies. but hey, who doesn't luv the holidays!
last, but cetainly not LEAST, we have been doing a little of this as well!!! hope you like the video!