I threw this on on Sunday as we literally ran out the door to choir practice. I usually only bother with one outfit a day and thus for exactly zero be-reverent-by-wearing-church-clothes-all-day reason, I end up wearing church clothes all day. Unless you count pajamas, which I usually put on right after getting home (which is usually around 5pm, mind you).
In any case, this past Sunday, all four of us slept in and when we awoke, frantically realized it was time for choir. D was going to just go by himself, but it was our Christmas program that day, so we decided to just get the kids out the door as fast as possible. And let me tell you, we were out the door with both kiddos, driving out of the parking lot, in a slight drizzle, breakfast and even the camera in hand (this was another one of those worn-multiple-times outfits of which I was determined to get a photo), in 15 minutes (obviously, there was no makeup to be had). This is impressive, friends.
Like many, I'm still reeling from the knowledge of Friday's events. Like many, it's tricky to put into words exactly how I'm feeling, exactly how much I want to hold my little ones close and never let go. Like many, I've felt a mixture of grief, anger, sympathy, and fear these last couple of days. I don't often discuss my faith on this blog, but it is incredibly important in my life. In our church, I teach a lesson to the women's group once a month. I was originally scheduled for last week, but we were out of town and I asked to switch, but keep the same lesson. That meant that yesterday's topic was forgiveness. I'm obviously not the parent of one of those dear children. I haven't lost a child or sibling or friend. I didn't know that young man or his family or their grief. Yet I believe the timing of this lesson was a tender mercy from a loving Father in Heaven to remind those in our little community of some important blessings we can enjoy, especially during this Christmas season, because of the birth of a babe in Bethlehem. I'm grateful I could prepare a special program on Christmas and forgiveness, even if I was by no means one of the most affected. If you've been feeling the melancholy of the last few days as I have, I hope the below messages can provide comfort and peace to you as they have to me.
"Dr. Sidney Simon, a recognized authority on values realization,
has provided an excellent definition of forgiveness as it applies to human
“Forgiveness is freeing up and putting to better use the
energy once consumed by holding grudges, harboring resentments, and nursing
unhealed wounds. It is rediscovering the strengths we always had and relocating
our limitless capacity to understand and accept other people and ourselves.”5
the beautiful hills of Pennsylvania, a devout group of Christian people live a
simple life without automobiles, electricity, or modern machinery. They work
hard and live quiet, peaceful lives separate from the world. Most of their food
comes from their own farms. The women sew and knit and weave their clothing,
which is modest and plain. They are known as the Amish people.
A 32-year-old milk truck driver lived with his family in their Nickel Mines
community. He was not Amish, but his pickup route took him to many Amish dairy
farms, where he became known as the quiet milkman. Last October he suddenly
lost all reason and control. In his tormented mind he blamed God for the death
of his first child and some unsubstantiated memories. He stormed into the Amish
school without any provocation, released the boys and adults, and tied up the
10 girls. He shot the girls, killing five and wounding five. Then he took his
This shocking violence caused great anguish among the Amish
but no anger. There was hurt but no hate. Their forgiveness was immediate.
Collectively they began to reach out to the milkman’s suffering family. As the
milkman’s family gathered in his home the day after the shootings, an Amish
neighbor came over, wrapped his arms around the father of the dead gunman, and
said, “We will forgive you.”1Amish leaders visited the
milkman’s wife and children to extend their sympathy, their forgiveness, their
help, and their love. About half of the mourners at the milkman’s funeral were
Amish. In turn, the Amish invited the milkman’s family to attend the funeral
services of the girls who had been killed. A remarkable peace settled on the Amish
as their faith sustained them during this crisis.
One local resident very eloquently summed up the aftermath
of this tragedy when he said, “We were all speaking the same language, and not
just English, but a language of caring, a language of community, [and] a
language of service. And, yes, a language of forgiveness.”2It was an amazing outpouring of
their complete faith in the Lord’s teachings in the Sermon on the Mount: “Do
good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.”3
“Come unto Him, all ye that labour, come unto Him that are
heavy laden, and He will give you rest. Take His yoke upon you, and learn of Him, for He is meek and lowly of heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”
“Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for
he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the
Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin.
“I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is
required to forgive all men;”
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, my servants, that inasmuch
as you have forgiven one another your trespasses, even so I, the Lord, forgive
would like to recount a story told by Kenneth J. Brown, who was serving as a
U.S. Marine in Japan following the dropping of the bomb. His moving story about
a Japanese Christian he met at Christmastime in Nagasaki is as follows.
“I watched him turn from the street and climb the path
leading to our shelter. He was groping, hesitating. As he came near he folded
his umbrella and stood quietly a long moment. His thin coat soon dampened from
the cold rain that was falling from the same sky that had brought death to
nearly half his townspeople three short months before. I concluded that it must
take some special courage to confront one’s conquerors without invitation. It
was little wonder that he hesitated.
“His polite bow to me was no bow of submission. Rather his
squared shoulders and lifted head let me feel as if I were looking up at him
even … though I towered over him a foot or more. I recall being disturbed that
I hadn’t yet become used to the near sightless eyes of those who had looked
heavenward that morning when the bomb dropped. …
“… I respectfully asked if I could be of service. [In his
clear English] he introduced himself as Professor Iida. …
“‘I am Christian,’ he said. ‘I am told this is the head
minister’s office. Are you a Christian? It is good to talk with a follower of Christ; there are so few Christian Japanese.’
“I took him to the inner office of the division chaplain and
waited while the two men conversed. Professor Iida stated his request briefly.
He was a teacher of music in a Christian girls’ college until it was closed by
imperial command. … He had been imprisoned because of his professed
Christianity. After being released he had returned to Nagasaki and continued his
music instruction in his home even though it was forbidden. He had been able to
continue a small chorus and would be pleased if … they [could] sing a concert
for the American Marines.
“‘We know something of your American Christmases,’ he said.
‘We should like to do something to make your Christmas in Japan more
“I felt sure the chaplain would give a negative reply. Our
unit was one of hardened fighters, four years away from home, who had fought
the enemy from Saipan to Iwo Jima. … Yet there was something about the man that
bespoke sincere desire to do a good deed so that … permission was granted. The
concert would be Christmas Eve.
“The rains had stopped and a calm settled over the atomic
bowl reminiscent of the calm that night long ago. The concert was well
attended; there was nothing else to do. The theater … had been cleared of its
fallen roof and men were sitting on the jagged walls. The usual momentary hush
fell over the audience as the performers filed on stage. …
“The first thing we noticed was that they were singing in
English and we became aware that they didn’t understand the words but had
memorized them for our benefit. Professor Iida had taught his students well;
they sang beautifully. We sat enthralled as if a choir from heaven were singing
for us. … It was as if Christ were being born anew that night.
“The closing number was a solo, an aria from ‘The Messiah.’
The girl sang with all the conviction of one who knew that Jesus was indeed the
Savior of mankind and it brought tears. After that there was a full minute of
silence followed by sustained applause as the small group took bow after bow.
“Later that night I helped Professor Iida take down the
trimmings. I could not resist asking some questions that propriety forbade but
curiosity demanded. I just had to know.
“‘How did your group manage to survive the bomb?’ I asked.
“‘This is only half my group,’ he said softly, but seemed
unoffended at my recalling his grief so that I felt I could ask more.
“‘And what of the families of these?’
“‘They nearly all lost one or more members. Some are
“‘What about the soloist? She must have the soul of an angel
the way she sang.’
“‘Her mother, two of her brothers were taken. Yes, she did
sing well; I am so proud of her. She is my daughter.’ …
“The next day was Christmas, the one I remember best. For
that day I knew that Christianity had not failed in spite of people’s
unwillingness to live His teachings. I had seen hatred give way to service,
pain to rejoicing, sorrow to forgiveness. This was possible because a
babe had been born in a manger [and] later taught love of God and fellowmen. We
had caused them the greatest grief and yet we were their Christian brothers and
as such they were willing to forget their grief and unite with us in singing
‘Peace on earth, goodwill to all men.’
“The words of Miss Iida’s song testimony would not be
stilled, ‘Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows.’ They seemed
to echo and re-echo over the half-dead city that day.
also I knew that there was a greater power on earth than the atomic bomb.”
I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.
I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.
And in despair I bowed my head:
"There is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men."
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men."
Till, ringing singing, on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men!
(Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)
"I think [forgiveness] may be the greatest virtue on earth, and
certainly the most needed. There is so much of meanness and abuse, of
intolerance and hatred. There is so great a need for repentance and
forgiveness. It is the great principle emphasized in all of scripture, both
ancient and modern. Somehow forgiveness, with love and tolerance, accomplishes
miracles that can happen in no other way."
when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified
him…Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”
Later when I was
living in the Portland, Oregon, area, an urgent call came from a valued friend who
had been bedfast for nearly a year.Now his condition was critical.
He told me his family
doctor had informed him earlier that afternoon that his life was nearing its
end and that it was now only a matter of a day or two, or perhaps a week at the
most, until he would expire.Then
he remarked: “The strange thing about this whole matter is that the doctors
still do not know what is wrong with me.They just know that I am dying.Tonight I just felt that I wanted to visit with you before I prepare to
meet my Maker.”
While continuing our
conversation, I received a divine insight real problem was.“Brother,” I responded, “I believe I
know what is wrong.”He seemed
startled, but genuinely interested, as he urged, “Please tell me.”
“You’ve had a number
of very serious hurts and disappointments in your life,” I said, “that have
filled you with bitter resentment.Many of these have never been resolved.”He seemed incredulous and somewhat apprehensive as he
inquired, “What do you know about them?”
“Not a thing,” I
replied, “unless you tell me about them.I only perceive that you have been deeply hurt many times.Yet you have never forgiven those who
were responsible for these offences.”
“Well, I must admit,”
he countered, “that I have had some pretty bitter experiences.But since I accepted the gospel, I
believe that I could forgive those who were responsible if they asked for my
“But that is not how
the principle of forgiveness works,” I said.“When any serious grievance takes place, the Lord requires
us to forgive the guilty party the moment the infraction occurs, if possible.”
“Recently, I heard of
an experience that was conducted [at the rattlesnake farm near Salem, Oregon],”
I said.One of the caretakers took
one of his large rattlesnakes and put a forked stick behind its head so it
could not coil to strike.Then he
began to tantalize it with small chicks and other food.The snake kept trying to coil
unsuccessfully, and venom dripped quite freely from its fangs.Within minutes the snake stiffened and
died.The caretaker then
commented that a rattlesnake can stand just about anything except its own
venom. When it cannot discharge the venom as fast as it is produced, it
dies of its own accumulated poison.”
suggested to my friend that his own condition somewhat paralleled that of the
snake: “When you have any resentment, hurt, bitterness, or hatred in your
heart, regardless of the cause, if you do not get rid of it at once through the
spirit of forgiveness, the hatred will continue to fester and grow and
increase, since that is the basic Law of the Harvest. Unless contained,
these negative feelings will finally consume and destroy the person who harbors
them. This is what has been troubling you and what, even now, has brought
you to the point of death.
began to sob unashamedly. In the process he removed his nightshirt and
showed me his bare back. I had never seen a back like this, not even in
the concentration camps of Europe. Across his back were large
crisscrossed scars that were scabbed over with ugly flesh. Some of them
were so deep a person could almost lay his arm in them.
related to me how his father used to come home occasionally in a mean,
drunken stupor. His temper would flare up and he would take a heavy whip
from the wall and flog whoever was within reach. This whip, a “cat o’
nine tails,” was leather with several strands. At the end of each strand
was fastened a large brass ball with metal spikes that could tear the hid off
occasion my friend was the victim. Just fourteen years old at the time he was whipped into unconsciousness. How long he lay on the floor he did not know, but as he regained
consciousness, he found himself lying in a pool of his own blood, with his back
fairly torn to shreds. He managed somehow to crawl from his house and he
vowed he would never return.
point I interrupted, “You’ve kept that promise, haven’t you?”
Never forgiven your father for that flogging, have you?” I next inquired.
guess not,” was his reply. “But if dad
were to ask for forgiveness, I think I could forgive him now.”
concerned,” I said, “that you still don’t understand the underlying principle.
You have had the divine responsibility of forgiving your father from the
moment that you regained consciousness, so that the healing power of
forgiveness could come into your own life and relieve you of this terrible burden.
In doing so, you might also have started the process of healing for your
father as well. But because you have continued to nurture this
resentment, it has festered and grown until it is literally consuming you.
In addition, I feel you still have a number of other resentments against
others that likewise have never been resolved. These are adding to your
burden and hastening your untimely death.”
then recalled numerous other cases throughout Canada, Montana and the Pacific
Northwest, none of which had been resolved.
does your father live?” I asked next.
I knew, he was living in North Dakota,” my friend responded. “I haven’t
seen him or been in touch with him for over forty years.”
finished talking, I invited him to sit
upon a chair so I could give him a special blessing and outline for him what
must be done. In the blessing he was instructed to get out of bed the
following morning, take his wife, and drive to his father’s home in North Dakota,
with the assurance that his father was still alive. He was also to drive
to the homes of all the other people against whom he had resentments, no matter
where they lived.
“In each case he was to ask for their forgiveness
for having harbored resentments against them. “Don’t go there and try to
persuade them to beg for your forgiveness,” I admonished. “Rather, your assignment
is to ask their forgiveness for your having failed to make a reconciliation
these many years.” The blessing outlined how he was to ask for such
forgiveness. In addition, I blessed him with the necessary strength to
accomplish this task successfully.
About four or five weeks later my friend stopped his
car in our driveway. As he stepped of his car, I greeted him with,
“Brother, you’re a well man now, aren’t you?”
“Yes,” he responded, “I haven’t felt this good in
began to relate to me his experiences. He told me about his aged father,
who was now in his eighties and nearly blind. When his father came to the
door, he inquired in his usual gruff manner, “Who are you?” My friend
informed him that he was his son. Still rather brusquely, his father
responded, “Well, what do you want now?”
answered: “Dad, I have come home to ask for your forgiveness. For years I
have held a bitter resentment against you for what you did to me when I was a
young man. I had no right to feel resentment toward you. Can you
forgive me for holding a grudge all these years?”
that his father looked stunned for a moment. Then he broke down and cried,
threw his arms around his son, and sobbed, “Son, I’m the one who should have
asked for your forgiveness, but I didn’t have the courage. Can you
friend added: “You know, we made a complete reconciliation. The
spirit of peace and forgiveness flooded both of our lives. I had a
similar experience in every home I visited, as you directed me to do in my
blessing. Today I am a happy, healthy man. I’m at peace with myself
and with my Lord.” “Within
six months, my friend was the third-highest sales producer for the large life
insurance company he represented. Just before Christmas he and his wife
were called to go on a special mission to New Zealand. More than thirty
years later, as far as I am aware, he is still very much alive, enjoying life
and serving his fellow man.”
(Frederick and June Babbel, To
Him that Believeth)
Rev'rently and meekly now,
Let thy head most humbly bow.
Think of me, thou ransomed one;
Think what I for thee have done.
With my blood that dripped like rain,
Sweat in agony of pain,
With my body on the tree
I have ransomed even thee.
In this bread now blest for thee,
Emblem of my body see;
In this water or this wine,
Emblem of my blood divine.
Oh, remember what was done
That the sinner might be won.
On the cross of Calvary
I have suffered death for thee.
Bid thine heart all strife to cease;
With thy brethren be at peace.
Oh, forgive as thou wouldst be
E'en forgiven now by me.
In the solemn faith of prayer
Cast upon me all thy care,
And my Spirit's grace shall be
Like a fountain unto thee.
At the throne I intercede;
For thee ever do I plead.
I have loved thee as thy friend,
With a love that cannot end.
Be obedient, I implore,
Prayerful, watchful evermore,
And be constant unto me,
That thy Savior I may be.
(Joseph L. Townsend, Reverently and Meekly Now)
There is no better time than now, this very Christmas
season, for all of us to rededicate ourselves to the principles taught by Jesus
He came to earth, we have a perfect example to follow. As we strive to become
more like Him, we will have joy and happiness in our lives and peace each day
of the year. It is His example which, if followed, stirs within us more
kindness and love, more respect and concern for others.
Because He came, there is meaning to our mortal existence.
Because He came, we know how to reach out to those in trouble or distress,
wherever they may be.
Because He came, death has lost its sting, the grave its victory. We will live
again because He came.
Because He came and paid for our sins, we have the opportunity to gain eternal
Because He came, we are gathered tonight to worship Him, in bonds of
brotherhood and love.
Dearest Baby Kina,
You're only 2.5 months old and I'm already way behind on these letters to you. Rest assured that while your 2nd child status may delay cute blog pictures, it only magnifies my love.
Goodness me, but you are just the sweetest little baby there ever was. This month, you've turned into even more of a complete angel. You are constantly smiling - both at us and, after staring for a few seconds, perfect strangers. You have this ridiculously happy little grin that is utterly irresistible to anyone who sees it. You especially love to watch what your brother is doing and smile at him. Oh how I love seeing that little smile of yours!
You are also the most patient baby on the planet. While in your first few weeks, you resisted being put down, you are now entirely content to amuse yourself and just look around from your vantage point of the couch or floor. You still love to be held and to cuddle, and still pass out practically the second you get in the baby carrier, but you are also totally fine lying by yourself.
This month, you've also really figured out the sleeping thing. Hallelujah! In your first month, you had some trouble sleeping in your own bed, and far preferred the comfort of ours. We rolled up some towels under your sheet, though, and persisted with a mommy-scented shirt, sound machine, swaddle, and paci, and you're now totally fine in your bassinet, even going so far as to put yourself to sleep after we put you down awake. This is new for me, as your brother loooooved to nurse to sleep. You, on the other hand, are all business when it comes to eating - you eat in 5 minutes flat, pop off, and go to sleep after. So interesting to me how you already have different preferences!
Your relationship with your brother has also progressed this month. You love seeing him, and he's started taking more of an interest in you, fixing your dress when it pulls up, and bringing you your paci. Sometimes he is a little forceful in its insertion, but we're getting there. It's also been such a joy to see your relationship with your daddy grow. Whoo boy, do you already have him wrapped around that tiny little pinky toe of yours. He adores you, and you seem to feel just the same. I can already sense a daddy's girl in the making.
If it's possible, I think you've gotten even more beautiful this month. It's possible that I'm a tad biased, but you really are just the prettiest baby. Everywhere we go, people stop to comment on how you are just such a beauty. And that hair!!
Overall, you are just the sweetest little thing. Your dad and I were discussing recently how your name really is just so perfect for you. Much as we struggled with both your first and middle names, we commented how we really could not imagine anything else now. They both suit you so perfectly, and we now couldn't even imagine considering any of the other options. You bring such a light to our home, as your name implies, and I can already tell the impact you will have on many inside and outside of it. One blessing you've received mentioned that you would have a gift for reading people, and I'm already seeing that in you. You are so special to us, and have expanded our hearts tenfold. I love you, my tina,
Shirt: F21; Cardi: Target; Pants: Old Navy; Boots: Payless
So what if the pictures are a little blurry? At least I managed to take them!
We headed up to our beloved Philadelphia this weekend. Oh, how I love that city. There's just some charm and spunk to it that makes my heart grin. I also got my hair cut from my favorite stylist who is way better than anyone I've tried in DC and boy do I love it. It feels so light and airy and I'm already mourning the day I'll have to wash it. We got to see some of our favorite people and perform in the Messiah, my very favorite. We also hit up my adored Reading Terminal market and then drove back down, hitting NO TRAFFIC along the way, even with leaving at 4pm on a Monday in the rain. And the kids both slept the whole way. It was a good weekend, I'd say.
I know you were missing my lamentations on how it gets dark at noon yada yada and how this makes it next to impossible to take outfit pictures. I'm currently rotating about 4 outfits, none of which I've managed to photograph. So, how about a recipe instead?
So. Enchiladas. In my book, either totally mediocre Mexican or really really delicious. These fall into the latter category. Filled with veggies and beans, so they're not super heavy, and not bursting with oodles of cheese. The sauce takes more time than the canned "enchilada sauce" gunk, but it's far from gunk. In fact, I regularly want to just scoop it up by the spoonful and eat it straight.
Black Bean, Sweet Potato & Portobello Enchiladas with Roasted Poblano Sauce
Roasted Poblano Sauce:
1 poblano pepper
2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. paprika
2 cups crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped + extra for garnish
10 oz. sliced portobello mushrooms
1/2 onion, diced
extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups black beans
2 sweet potatoes, diced
some shredded kale (optional)
16-20 corn tortillas
1-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
fresh tomatoes or pico de gallo, for serving
Sauce: Char poblano under the broiler, turning once or twice, for 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside
to steam for 10 minutes.
Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium
heat. Add the onion, garlic, salt, cumin, chili powder, and paprika. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables have
softened, about 5 minutes. While vegetables are cooking, peel poblano, discard stem and seeds, and chop roughly. Add to the
saucepan along with the tomatoes, water, and chopped cilantro. Cook, uncovered, at a steady simmer, until the liquid
has reduced slightly, 10 to 15 minutes. Puree using an immersion or
stick blender until smooth.
Filling: While sauce simmers,
place the mushrooms, sweet potatoes, onion, and kale (if using) in a single layer on a rimmed baking
sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast,
stirring halfway through, until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes total. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in
beans. (I cook dry beans and add in however much looks good. If you do this, you'll need more salt than with canned beans.)
Preheat oven to 375F.
Assemble: Spread 1/2 cup of the
sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish (I usually need 2 pans). Place a skillet over medium
heat. Warm in skillet
for 20-30 seconds per side (can also warm in the microwave). Spread 3-4 tablespoons of the filling down the middle of the
tortilla and roll it up to enclose the filling. Place seam-side down in
the baking dish. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and filling.
Spread the remaining sauce over the enchiladas. Top with shredded cheese.
Bake in preheated oven, uncovered, until hot, about 15-20 minutes.
Serve with fresh tomato or pico de gallo and garnish with cilantro.
Oh. And just because.
Um, anyone know how to rotate pictures in blogger? There's probably an easy fix, but I'm too tired to figure it out right now...
I love traditions. Not just Christmas ones, but for the 4th of July, for Halloween, for the prophet of our church's birthday...you name it. But Christmas ones have a special place in my heart.
I feel like the last few years, Christmas has sort of sneaked up on me and it gets to be halfway through December and I haven't really had time to reflect and I'm frantically trying to brainstorm gift ideas and before I know it, Christmas is over and I've given nary a thought to that whole reason for the season business. This year, I've made a conscious effort to plan out all of our Christmas things in advance, I have the vast majority of my presents purchased/assembled/wrapped, and it's been so lovely to just sit back and enjoy the season.
I also love finding and starting new traditions, and I certain you all have some good ones. Doesn't matter if it's an old post or new - just share, read, and enjoy!
Making ridiculous amounts of food (as much from scratch as possible) for Thanksgiving.
(picture stolen from sister)
Participating at least minimally in some of the Black Friday craziness.
Going to get a tree and putting up decorations the weekend after Thanksgiving.
Daily Activities - lots of family time involving these activities:
Listen to and sing Christmas songs
Pull a piece of paper out of our Advent calendar bag with scriptures listed on it (taken from here and here) and read them as a family*
Read a Christmas talk given by a leader of our Church from our Advent binder (if anyone wants a list, feel free to email me)
Open a wrapped Christmas book each day (we got some from the library since we don't have 25)*
Put a little paper "present" by the nativity each time someone does something nice (as our gift to the Savior)*
Do you ever rewear an outfit because you really like it but forgot to get pictures (or because it starts getting dark at approximately noon and there is no possible way to get pictures before that)? Yes, well, I think I wore this outfit five times. And I, uh, washed it every time. And never multiple days in a row. You'd be friends with someone who only wore one outfit ever, right?