dear children

It’s New Year’s Day [5 a.m.] and time to write December’s family letter. I think December has been a magical month. At first I allowed my focus to be [overwhelmed] thoughts of shopping, organizing, sewing, crafting, spending, baking and wrapping. I was pretty crabby about it. It was colder than usual the first part of the month — temps only in the single digits — and I made myself pretty miserable. I snapped at a few people and really didn’t enjoy the Season but as things went on I gradually felt more like celebrating. And I did survive. I don’t really understand all the moodiness back then.

The first week was filled with parties and dinners galore. I think I mostly worried about all the food, deserts, goodies, candy, calories and pounds. But somehow I managed to navigate those with success. I particularly enjoyed my brother/sister party and my ward party. Those are the two that involved people I care about. Leonard’s work party was at a great restaurant [by Bridger Valley standards] and the food was superior, but the people were pretty rough-hewn.

I especially enjoyed having company and someone to talk to and laugh with. It get’s pretty quiet around our house and Leonard isn’t the most communicative person I’ve met. He spends a lot of time at work and then a lot of time winding down in the shop or in front of the TV. I have to admit I’ve gotten into that same habit myself. And sitting in front of the TV wreaks havoc with my outlook and my weight/exercise goals. I’ve enjoyed blogging about the ups and downs of trying to get into better physical condition and have reached goals on several levels. It’s been a good distraction.

For Christmas I got some great gifts – pans, a cooking/camping stove, books, perfume I love, clothing, nail kit, jewelry, and pictures. Quite the wonderful assortment of presents; but again, the greatest gift [by the time you get my age] is always family. It brings warm memories of my own childhood family with Mom and Dad. Waiting on the stairs ‘til everyone was assembled and rushing into the living room to see the Christmas display was a highlight of my younger years. [How did Mom manage doing all that for nine?]

This past week I’ve had the added joy of visiting with Tracy’s family, making [more] watches, playing games, shopping, reading, enjoying little Annes and big Fish, just plain relaxing and getting away from work. And this morning Blythe and I are heading to Jackson to play in the snow with Scott and Andie. We’ll see the elk and tube down the hill. Then we’re going to soak in the hot tub at the rec center. The perfect end to a great holiday season. [Movies and food might also be involved.]

Most of all at this time of year I am drawn to the greatest gift of all. I’m so grateful for the Savior and his apparent love for each of us. I can scarcely comprehend all that it involves but I know it’s a reality. I know it’s available if we just turn around, recognize, and accept it. I spent many, many years without the gospel in my life. I was rebellious and thought I had to try every phase of temptation, sin, bitterness and scum around. I dug a pretty huge hole and was miserable. Worse of all, I was convinced I didn’t deserve to have a better life. Little-by-little I was nudged in a direction that gradually led me back to church, scripture study, prayer, love and the Atonement [which I admit I know and understand very little about but can’t deny it’s healing power in my life.] I know I haven’t been the greatest example of these things in your lives but I’m here to tell you right now that, next to family, these are the most important things. I can’t imagine my life without the answers, peace and joy I’ve found in the gospel. My life would be bleak without it.

I love each of you in a special and individual way that only a Mother can distinguish and cherish. You are everything to me. I want, more than anything else, happiness for each of you. Direction. Peace. Joy. Contentment. Love.

Love, Mom

Off to a new year. A new decade! Make it a good one!