Merry Christmas 2020

Christmas arrived early with kids up at 6 am. Why can’t they be up this early on a regular morning?! Gifts were opened one at a time. The person opening their gift selects the next gift. Learned a trick a few years ago. Each kid has their own wrapping paper, but they don’t know which is theirs. I know, cruel 😂

7500 pieces. Insane
iPhone 11 to me from Keith! Unexpected

After the unwrapping enjoyed a breakfast casserole, OJ and hot chocolate. A few highlights of gifts. New jammies for everyone from Old Navy. A Millennium Falcon Lego. Donkey Kong Country for the Switch, Coat, Beef Jerky, Lightsaber, Allbirds and an iPhone 📱. I was as excited for the iPhone 11 as the boys were for the Lego Millennium Falcon 😂. Nothing compared to the geek level of Keith getting his Darth Maul double blade lightsaber. That is a pretty high level of surprise and Joy.

A simple tradition started a few years back was making a donation to a charity of the kid’s choice. It is wonderful to see them do some research and make their selections each year. Our youngest picked Ronald McDonald House Charities. The other three I was familiar with but as we learned more about his selection this year I was so impressed. Here is a link if you would like to learn more https://www.rmhc.org and a direct link to make a donation to a great non-profit https://www.rmhc.org/donate

Spent the afternoon playing games and watched the movies It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Story. Dinner of Ham, fresh rolls, funeral potatoes and peas! The Power of Christmas still can pause the World for a few hours. A memorable Christmas Season. 🎁

Season of Giving

25 Days of Christmas. A magical time. A Season of Giving concludes on Christmas Eve every year. Always opportunities to give, but Christmas is precious. I love witnessing the best of people. This Project continues to evolve as more peeps join the Circle of the Phantom. The final two drops just completed ✅ The Phantom will return in 2021.

The Week of Christmas

Landed in Ft Lauderdale late Sunday night. Arrived at our destination in South Palm Beach about 45 minutes later. Had some really good roast beef sandwiches for dinner. The staff at the Retreat were so good to us, but we insisted they head off to bed. Not that hard to pick a room. The warm weather feels amazing.

Monday slept in a little, but wanted to make the most of the day. Got a run in early. Enjoyed a huge breakfast. Tennis in the morning, a massage in the afternoon. Cards with Keith’s parents and our friends while the kids played in the Pool. Love this place. So relaxing and quiet.

Game Day Tuesday. BYU vs UCF. Temp was 70 degrees at 7 pm. Cougars were on fire. 21-0 end of first quarter and UCF never could get into the game. BYU dominated UCF in every way. Complete dominance. A very fun night and celebration afterwards. Players sang the fight song and a lot of fun hanging out. Watch this catch https://www.espn.com/video/clip/_/id/30585173 Was Katoa’s catch nasty? Love the commentary from the ESPN peep😂 Just that kind of night for BYU.

Flew home early Wednesday morning. Kids dropped us off at the Warehouse to wrap up the Christmas Project with the Lead Elves. Hearts are definitely full.

Today is Christmas Eve. As the stores close and the World pauses for a few minutes enjoy the moment. Peace is a rare gift. 🎁 I wish you a Merry Christmas!

Christmas Project

BYU will be playing UCF in the Boca Raton Bowl on December 22nd. I wasn’t going to go, but have been talked into it. Very blessed to have a good team that has things under control and are persistent. Staying in South Palm Beach about 30 minutes away from the Stadium.

Up late Monday trying to meet the deadline for the Boston shipment Tuesday afternoon. Hard to imagine this truck has more gifts in a single shipment than we did total our first year. A Commemorative Coin was given to all the volunteers. This is a very big milestone, especially as questionable as the Project was this year with COVID. The departure of the truck was live streamed to the Boston Team. Some things you must celebrate.

Tuesday evening met with the Stake President. Informed I would be released on Sunday as YW President. Hard reality even though I knew was coming, still painful. Discussed the new calling and those I selected as counselors. Will hit 2021 running.

Wednesday night Ward Christmas Party. A virtual event this year. The Youth delivered three gifts to every home in the Ward. Symbolic of the three gifts of the Wise Men. A cartoonized narrator took us on a journey as the gifts were opened, testimony shared and stories told by word and music. The party was quite creative and hopefully others found the experience uplifting.

Thursday afternoon the second truck left for Utah. Last year was our first delivery outside of the area. Such a learning experience figuring out the logistics of making these things happen. Fortunate to have very smart Elves. Egg Nog Surprise to celebrate. Pretty much cleared out all available Egg Nog in the Idaho Falls area 😂. An Elf has to do what an Elf has to do.

Friday morning Keith and I served hot chocolate. In my opinion the butterscotch shot is the best flavor with hot chocolate. Made some scones for the morning snack as well.

Slipped away for the BYU basketball game. A bit too exciting of a finish. Leading San Diego State by 17 at the half they tied the game with less than 2 minutes to go. BYU rallied late with 10. That three was clutch and a dagger to the heart. The Aztecs just couldn’t recover.

The Mandalorian Season 2 Finale was insane. Watched while eating pizza and wings and OMG! Seriously OMG!!! You will not believe it. MIND BLOWN! Surprised the Elves with smoothies tonight to wrap up the day.

Saturday morning trip to Costco. Daughter came along to buy steaks for the Elves BBQ. Fortunately beat the shopping crowd, but I guess it’s not common to see two women dressed as Elves pushing a cart with 60 steaks through Costco. I see the humor in it now. Explains the WTF stares. Another milestone this year, the interest the Foundation operates off of for the first time has a surplus. This year Santa showed up personally and every Elf got a gift. I am grateful after four years we were able to give back. Great things happen because of the goodness of people.

Sunday I was released and also spoke in Church. That is hard. Not recommended. Spoke on Faith, Hope and Charity from Moroni 7. Guess being the new Bishop’s wife I was an easy target for the Christmas message. A thought I shared Change the way a man sees the world, you change his World. I guess ultimately the way I see the Pure Love of Christ is being aware. This gift of Charity cannot operate from a place of selfishness. Like the Priesthood you cannot bless yourself with this Love it must be given. As we do so it changes us. This is the process of Sanctification.

Wrapping up our service this Season the Miracles have been ever present. A few include 22 job placements, a donation surprise, not a single volunteer came down with COVID. The Light is shining a little brighter as Hope may have been discovered anew by a few. It is not so important in what we do, just that we do something. May Peace and Joy be with you this Christmas!

Butterbeer Surprise

Wednesday the YW came to help wrap gifts for service. Afterward, back to the Homestead for hot chocolate and to share Christmas memories. Keith had the YM over for S’more by the fire. A few extra heat lamps and they stayed pretty warm out there bundled up. Set up the outdoor movie screen and they watched the animated Grinch movie then stargazer with the telescope. Sounds like it was worth being out in the cold.

Someone shocked us today with a $1000 donation to our Christmas Project. I loved that a couple of the Volunteers got to experience this. Not an everyday occurrence for sure.

Friday afternoon the boys came down to the Warehouse to help. Made Scotcharoos and Rice Krispy Treats with green and red M&Ms. I really appreciated them being here with me. Busy Elves making hot chocolates for evening. The smiles are contagious. Keith showed up with a few of his friends with a delivery of Butterbeer! I think that was the most animated I have seen the Volunteers, coming to get their bottle of Butterbeer 😂

A little background here. Keith makes his own Rootbeer. Started as a hobby a long time ago. Over the last few years it has become a serious thing. He has mentioned a few times branching out into Orange, Grape, Cream and Cherry sodas. Even mentioned trying to make Butterbeer but he often says something and then it’s awhile later after you forget about it when he springs something on you. I will admit it was pretty awesome. This opens all kinda of possibilities for the Halloween Event in 2021.

Saturday Elfed until 3 then came home to watch the BYU basketball and football games. A few friends came by to have Hoagies for Game Day. After a few disappointments by BYU this past week they looked really good. Some restored faith lol. The black uniforms are growing on me. A win helps 😂

Go Cougars!
The Black Uniforms

The Christmas Season is a magical time of the year. For some not so much for a variety of reasons. Many are lonely, ill, have lost loved ones, jobs or the Holidays are a depressing time. When hard circumstances surround us it can be difficult to see far. I want you to know you are loved. Never forget that. A couple of tricks I have learned and others have shared with me to pass along. Look outward. Find a simple way to lift another. A phone call, text. smile all go a long way. Putting someone else first strengthens us in unexpected ways. Write down what you are grateful for. Appreciation expands our vision. Go out of your way. Shovel someone’s driveway, send an anonymous note, anything as doing elevates our mental disposition. Here is a link to a song I like that really reminds me of what’s going on around us right now. Matchbox 20 – These Hard Times https://youtu.be/zMCx9Pu3rKY Here are the lyrics

Morning falls like rain into the city life
There goes another night
Losing my breath in waves
Knowing that ever crash is bleeding the hourglass
And taking the strife, from all our lives. Everyone keeps talking
They promise you everything
But they don’t mean anything. We may loose our focus
There’s just too many words
We’re never meant to learn
And we don’t feel so alive. Say goodbye, these days are gone
And we can’t keep holding on
When all we need is some relief
Through these hard times
Through these hard times. Move your hands in circles
Keeping me hypnotized
The power behind your eyes. Move around your bedroom cursing the naked sky
You should be here tonight
But you stay alone and cry. Say goodbye, these days are gone
And we can’t keep holding on
When all we need is some relief
Through these hard times
(Whoa) There’s something missing
(Oh whoa) You’ll never feel it but you
(Oh whoa) You’re gonna feel it when it’s gone
When it’s gone. Say goodbye, these days are gone
And we can’t keep holding on
When all we need is some relief
Through these hard times
(Hey) these hard times
(Oh no, no) hard times
Hard times. Say goodbye, these days are gone
Say goodbye, these days are gone
These days are gone.

I love the Christmas Season. Perhaps it is because I get lost in the Miracles. Keep it simple and be blessed.