2018’s Things to be Grateful For – Part 3

In the continuous spirit of gratitude, I would be severely ungrateful if I didn’t talk about the Gospel. Part 1 and Part 2 have come before this, if you’d like to read those as well. Belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ and having the knowledge it has given to me is a huge blessing. I could probably go on forever about the blessing it has brought to me but I’ll only focus on a few specifics from recently.

Prior to this past October’s General Conference,  I felt that I needed to prepare myself. A feeling that I have never felt before. I have never felt the need to prepare for General Conference but this one I did. I decided that I should listen to the previous General Conference talks from April. I wouldn’t really say that too much jump out at me or slapped me in my face with revelations but it truly got my excited and ready mentally and spiritually for conference.

This session of General Conference had me in tears with gratitude of the outpouring of love and acknowledgement of our trials from our Heavenly Father. Talk after talk reminded me of His love. Words of reminder of my Savior’s sacrifice and the assurance that He knows what I feel in my darkest time of sorrow and pain. All blessings poured out to me through words spoken by His chosen leaders.

I also attended (for the first time) the General Women’s Session. President Russell M. Nelson’s talk spoke every word straight to my soul. He started off by talking about mothers but quickly followed with this, “Please note that anytime I use the word mother, I am not talking only about women who have given birth or adopted children in this life. I am speaking about all of our Heavenly Parents’ adult daughters. Every woman is a mother by virtue of her eternal divine destiny.” This of course pulled the plug out that was holding back all of my tears and emotion. He goes on expressing his love and appreciation to the women in the church, admiring our strength and faith.

He ended his talk by saying, “My dear sisters, we need you! We ‘need your strength, your conversion, your conviction, your ability to lead, your wisdom, and your voices.’ We simply cannot gather Israel without you.” To hear a prophet of the Lord say I am needed was something that I didn’t know I needed to hear. It was a blessing that came in calmly and subtlety and if I had chosen to not go and listen, I would have missed it.

I am so wonderfully blessed by the Gospel from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am proud to say that I am a member of His true church. I am blessed with the knowledge of families and the Plan of Salvation. I am grateful for all of the prophets, past and present, that have allowed for the knowledge of His gospel to be here at this time. I am grateful for the scripture and the continuous revelations that guide His church. I am blessed to be called a daughter of a loving Heavenly Father who does know my struggles and knows that I can conquer everything He has allowed placed before me. I am blessed, truly blessed by His Gospel!

 

 

 

 

How has religion blessed your life?

Comment below.

2018’s Things to be Grateful For – Part 2

I decided that 2018’s blessing couldn’t fit in to one post so I figured I’d spread them out. All of the was triggered from thinking of the hymn, Count Your Blessings. You can read Part One here.

I definitely can’t look back on this year’s blessings without talking out our families. Nate and I are blessed with a HUGE family that surrounds us. Between the two of us we have 4 living grandparents, 7 parents, 23 siblings, and 58 (and counting) nieces and nephews. That’s a pretty big cheering section and support group on just this side of the veil,with an infinite amount on the other side offering subtle comforts and guidance.

I’ve written previous posts about our moms, dads, siblings, and about my favorite person in the whole world. Honestly all of the worlds in existence couldn’t touch the love and gratitude that I have for the wonderful family that surrounds Nate and me. Each day I am reminded of my Heavenly Father’s love for me through a family member.

A simple, yet stark realization of the blessing of my family came just recently during our recent trip to Kauai. Nate and I were moseying through a farmer’s market with our niece, Mina. Out of nowhere she expressed to us that she wished she was our daughter. She then went on to explain that the reason she wanted to be our daughter is so that we wouldn’t have to keep trying to have a baby. She reasoned that she would just be our daughter and solve all of problems. Sound seven-year-old logic, right? Nate and I just giggled and went on eating our frozen sugarloaf pineapple. Later when explaining this to her mom, her sister, Celia, piped up saying, “She’s right Aunt Kay-kay, you don’t need kids because you have all of us!”

Being an aunt and uncle to 58+ kiddos is a HUGE blessing. Whether it’s conversations with three-year-old Kona explaining to me why Super Why is the best to two-year-old Bash splashing me as he floats along with me in the ocean. Signing with my niece, Alyce, telling her how beautiful she is and hearing her say my name for the first time. Mikayla’s face when she opened the ukulele we helped buy for her. Hearing Wheels on a Bus with additional verses that include me saying “hi handsome” and Nate saying “let’s go get ice cream” by Cason. My constant supply of key chains from Lillie. The swarms of kiddos that plow into Nate and I for hugs each time we show up to family parties. All of these and more are beyond priceless to both of us.

I could honestly go on and on with examples of the blessing our family is to Nate and I. They truly are the hidden strength pushing us forward each day through each trial we face. We are blessed so greatly to have a wonderful power that surrounds us all. To our family reading this, thank you doesn’t seem to cover our gratitude for you all.

 

What are you grateful for this year?

How has your family blessed your life?

Comment below.

 

2018’s Things to be Grateful For – Part 1

This year I have been a horrific blogger, OY! It’s definitely been a year filled with A LOT of ups and downs. At times it’s felt like more downs then ups. I feel like that’s probably how most people feel though as they trudge through trials.

Just this past week I caught myself being a Debbie Downer following a humidity induced bad hair day (or days…) or throwing up bright blue puke into a bush. I found myself just wishing to be home. Then luckily, I opened my eyes and mentally slapped myself in face to acknowledge how fortunate I was to be here. You see Nate and I along with my sisters with their hubbies and kiddos have been in Kauai, Hawaii with my mom, stepdad, and all of his family for over a week. So yes, while I have looked like a windblown poodle, I have spent countless moments with family sharing memories and experiences that are priceless.  And yes I also threw up vibrant blue bark in a bush, it was following delicious shrimp tacos and Hawaiian Shave ice and snorkeling (albeit too soon after eating in not so smooth water) with Nate for his first time ever.

I think that’s why this morning I felt prompted (or pushed) to ponder the words of the Hymn, Count Your Blessings. For those who aren’t familiar with the song, here are the verses:

  1. When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,

When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,

Count your many blessings; name them one by one,

And it will surprise you what the Lord has done

 

  1. Are you ever burdened with a load of care?

Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?

Count your many blessings; ev’ry doubt will fly,

And you will be singing as the days go by

 

  1. When you look at others with their lands and gold,

Think that Christ has promised you his wealth untold.

Count your many blessings; money cannot buy

Your reward in heaven nor your home on high.

 

  1. So amid the conflict, whether great or small,

Do not be discouraged; God is over all.

Count your many blessings; angels will attend,

Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

 

Chorus. Count your blessings;

Name them one by one.

Count your blessings;

See what God hath done.

Count your blessings;

Name them one by one.

Count your many blessings;

See what God hath done.

 

I think it is pretty safe to say that this year, to be honest the past several years, Nate and I have been “tempest tossed” with our crosses feeling quite heavy and at times impossible to bear. It’s been so incredibly easy to just stop in our tracks, sit on the trail, head slumped, and just cry out to our Father in Heaven in prayers of grief, pain, and even anger for all of these trials that have been placed before us. That’s why, like the chorus says, I’ve decided to count some of our blessing this year.

I will start my counting with the continuous blessings that tithing has oh so slyly blessed our lives this year. Confession time, over the six and a half years of us being married we have been horrible about paying tithing. It always boiled down to us scraping by paycheck to paycheck. A situation I feel like a lot of people feel like they are in these days.

Now up until this year, I have had ZERO testimony of tithing. When I got my first job at 15 I paid my tithing out of duty instead of faith. Every Testimony meeting  when a single mom of three bore her testimony about how choosing to pay tithing over a bill had miraculously triggered a check arriving for the exact amount needed for that bill just in time, just seemed like one of those things that would never happen to me. Tithing was just a thing you did because you were supposed to. Silly teenager Kayt, if you only knew! HA!

At the first of this year though, I really felt strongly that I needed to make tithing our priority.  I immediately thought, “Kayt are you crazy? Here we are trying to save every penny for IVF and you’re wanting to just take 10% out the equation?” But I sat down anyways and spent almost an entire day going over our income and bills and really truly looked at our careless spending each paycheck and realized that 10% to our Father wouldn’t even come close to what we allotted for ourselves each paycheck. Excel spreadsheets make it pretty hard to hide things like that. I found myself feeling foolish and slightly ashamed for not doing it sooner.

Through that process, I was able to also see that if we cut out a few things like dialing our cable back to just internet, we were able to send $100 straight to our IVF savings EACH paycheck. That ended up putting $1,600 into our savings prior to our IVF adventure (which eventually I will write about.) That in itself was a blessing. Just the idea of even having a savings account has never crossed either of our minds because we always felt so tight each paycheck.

Also, earlier this year we got a letter from the State of Utah. Pretty much it boiled down to back in 2015 we overpaid our state taxes (or something along those lines.) After extensively looking in to the legitimacy of this letter, we sent the proper identification required to the state. Sure enough a week later, a check for about $800 arrives in the mail from the State of Utah treasury. Are you kidding me? It totally happened, I paid our tithing and we got a check. I was dumbfounded! This was only after about two months of diligently paying. TWO MONTHS!?! That again was $800 that went straight to our IVF fund with minimal effort on our parts.

I could honestly go on and on about how tithing has blessed Nate and I this year. From Nate having money left on his desk multiple times from co-workers, old missionaries buddies donating to our GoFundMe, family members giving up their Christmas for us, to our car payment dropping over $100 a month. Looking back, there’s been small little reminders of our Father’s love, acknowledging our small sacrifice to Him every single month.

Just counting these blessing is enough to make my heart burst with gratitude to my Father in Heaven. I can now say that I have a testimony of tithing. I know that it is one of the simplest forms of sacrifice we can make to show our love and appreciation to our Father. He has given us life, this earth, and every other blessing and all He has asked in return is 10%.

 

Blessings from tithing

My Guide To Better Hair

Anyone that knows me, knows that my hair changes frequently. Over the past year, my hair has gone from light brown to blonde to red to now dark brown and purple. To say my hair has been every color in the book is completely an understatement. With all of this change, most of which was not done gently, my hair has taken a beating. Even more recently, infertility treatments have taken an even bigger toll.

So, over the past several years, I have done heavy research on proper hair care techniques, tips, and tricks. Some have worked others have flopped. I thought I would share some of my insights. I’ll preface all of this by saying, I am not a hair care professional. All of this is my opinion so take it as you will.

Reevaluate your hair products.

When I started really digging into why my hair was so unhealthy, I took a look at what I was using on my hair. I did quite a bit of research about the “No-Poo” way of life. As promising as it sounded, after about two months of trying it out, it wasn’t for me. My hair wasn’t surviving the transition. The drastic change left my hair incredibly brittle and there was not enough coconut oil and other deep conditioning treatments in the world that could keep my hair afloat.

When I finally threw in the towel, I decided to breakup with sulfates instead. Sulfates like Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) are the chemicals that give shampoo the satisfying bubbles and suds we’ve all come to love. They also are what get your hair all squeaky clean. So why ditch them? In most cases, the get your hair TOO clean. They can strip your hair of its natural oils that it needs to be healthy causing dandruff, scalp irritation, breakages, etc. They also wreak havoc on colored hair. Sulfate free shampoos like these are some of the best. I personally use L’Oreal Ever Pure Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner.

Choosing the best conditioner for your hair type is crucial. If your hair is thinner, a very heavy deep conditioner will do more hair than good. Lightweight conditioners or even just a spray leave-in are your best bet. For more dry and damaged hair, a deeper more nourishing is necessary. Deep conditioning treatments are for added conditioning are should be used as a regular conditioner. When my hair was more damaged, I was doing a deep conditioning treatment like coconut oil or Hask Argan Oil Deep Conditioner , every other wash. Now I am doing them about monthly.

To better protect my hair, I also invested in a good leave-in conditioner. Leave-in conditioners provide additional moisture and protection to your hair. They are also good for people with thin hair to use in place of normal conditioners if they leave your hair feeling too heavy. After reading a lot of reviews, I chose It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-in Plus Keratin. It also acts as a heat protectant which I love about it. This is the most expensive part of my hair routine at about $30 for a bottle however it does last me about six months.

Lastly, I use a type of hair oil/gloss. I have used argon oils in the past and while I liked them, I felt like for my hair they built up too quickly after a couple days leaving my hair stringy at the ends. When it comes to oils/glosses that I put on my hair, they need to do three things. I want them to absorb into my hair, nourishing my ends and strengthening them. They also need to add additional protection to heat styling products. Lastly, they have got to give my hair that healthy shine we all love. I currently use Kenra Silkening Gloss, which does all three like a champ. To get it at the best price I get through Amazon’s Subscribe and Save. A new bottle shows up on my door step ever four months so I never go without. Eventually I will transition to something with less silicones (when I get brave enough to stop using them) in it but for now this is my go to.

I do use other products too like a dry shampoo, mousse, hairspray, and molding paste, but I use them VERY lightly and don’t hair too much effect on my hair’s health.

Reevaluate the frequency you wash your hair.

How often do you wash your hair? For me, I only wash my hair one to two times per week. I even have specific days that I have set that I wash my hair. It’s usually Wednesday and Saturday nights. If I hit Wednesday night and my hair still feels clean then it usually does not get touched until Saturday. I’m crazy, I know. Why do I do this? Because for my hair, it is what it needs. If I were to wash my hair more frequently, my scalp would overcompensate by flooding my hair with an excess of oils making my hair greasy and sprouting a plethora of zits along my hairline. For most people, this seems like impossible to go so long between washers. Trust me, I felt the same way once. I used to be an every other day and sometimes an everyday washer. I loved my hair feeling clean and fresh. I justified it because I had “greasy hair.”

Did you know that a good chunk of people with “greasy hair” are actually not washing their hair properly? Over washing strips your hair of its oils, so your scalp overcompensates by producing more and more. Hair needs a certain amount of oils to stay healthy and strong but too much leads to unsightly grease ball hair.

For those who want to start washing your hair less, it does take time to reassure your scalp that you are starting to be kind to it. When I started my transition, I went from every other day to every third day. I did this transition before dry shampoos were a thing and I would suggest doing it without the aid of them as much as possible. Think of it this way, you are trying to convince your body that it is producing too much oil, if you use a dry shampoo that absorbs the oils then your body will just keep on producing more. Pretty counter-intuitive if you think about it, right? Look into ways to hide your transition with certain hairstyles, thick headbands, or hats if needed. Like I’ve said, it takes time and A LOT of patience.

Are you washing your hair incorrectly?

I don’t doubt that all of us know how to wash our hair, after all it’s not rocket science, but have you actually stopped to think about what each step affects your hair?

Shampooing your hair is the step that is meant to clean any excess oil, dirt, and product build up. If you are like me and use styling products sparingly, the main focus of your shampooing should be on your scalp. Think of it this way; if you are cleaning your house you do not spend equal amounts of time, effort, and cleaning supplies in each room. Rooms like the bathroom and kitchen which get messier, need more cleaning attention. The same is for your hair. Most of us do not need to apply any shampoo from the middle to the end of our hair because they are not as dirty. The only shampoo that touches my ends if the what washes down it when my hair is rinsed. My scalp on the other hand gets scrubbed thoroughly.

Conditioner is meant to do just that, it’s meant to condition, soften, and nourish your hair. With conditioner, it should only be applied to your actual hair NOT your scalp. If you have a dry scalp, conditioners are not your solution. Specific scalp treatments are your best solution. Applying conditioner to your scalp could also be a big factor if you have greasy hair. Also, give your conditioner enough time to actually penetrate your hair. My best practice is to apply conditioner liberally and clip it into a bun while I finish showering and then rinse it out at the very end of my shower. This gives my hair long enough to soak all it needs to from my conditioner before rinsing.

Not rinsing your hair adequately can also do more hair than good. The purpose of washing your hair is to do just that, wash it. If you are not rinsing out your shampoo and conditioner enough, they will leave build up on your hair causing your hair to feel heavy, greasy, and even dirty. You should rinse your hair until you cannot feel any of it left. After shampooing, I rinse for about a minute and conditioning about 30-45 seconds. If you have thick hair, rinsing your hair in sections helps make sure you’ve rinsed properly.

The way you dry your hair can be causing a TON of damage. Using your regular towel to dry your hair is big cause of frizz and static with your hair. Microfiber towels are some of the best for your hair. They are softer and gentler. However, if you are a cheapskate like me; an old t-shirt is your best bet for drying your hair. What I do, is gently squeeze excess water out of my hair. DO NOT wring your hair like a towel or rub it between anything – that will break your hair. If my hair it still dripping heavily, it will carefully use a towel to get my hair to stopping gushing water down my back then grab an old t-shirt to do the rest. Since I’m usually allowing my hair to airdry, I pull my hair up with the shirt (like you would with a towel) until it is damp.

The last step in washing my hair, is applying hair products. I apply my leave in conditioner, a small amount of mousse (on my roots and mid shaft), then oil – in that order when it damp. Applying them when your hair is super wet, is just a waste of product and will mostly come out of your hair while it dries. I give the leave-in conditioner at least a full minute to soak it while finger combing it to evenly distribute it throughout my hair before applying anything else. Overusing products can also be the reason your hair feels dirty sooner. Leave-in conditioners should allow your hair to feel soft and easily untangled but not slimy. Products like mousse or gel should allow your hair to hold your style and not make it feel heavy, crispy, or hard. Oils and glosses should be applied sparingly and mainly on you ends; hair should feel soft not oily.

Invest in alternate ways to style your hair.

My name is Kayt and I am a heat styling addict. I use some type of heat styling product on my hair at least five days a week. Horrible, I know. That is why I do so much to care and protect my hair. However, I am making strides to be more and more friendly to my hair in the way I style it.

The first step I took was to eliminate blow-drying my hair. By allowing my hair to air dry then style it, cut the amount of heat applied to my hair by half. When my hair is longer, I allow it to dry overnight. If it is damp in the morning (and I’m not in a rush for time) I put my hair up in large Velcro curlers for it to dry. This allows my hair to dry straighter and smoother than when I air dry, cutting down on the amount of heat styling even more. One product I am dying to try are the Sleep Stylers and when I do, I will definitely write a review on them. You can also try different no heat ways to style your hair like these ideas.

Learn when you can just touch up your hair and the right temperatures to use. If your hair looks halfway decent only touch up the other half. There’s no point to redo every inch of your hair if parts of it still look decent. Even better it the bottom portion of your hair still looks good, just pull the top half up. The top parts of your hair that are more predominant receive the most heat damage because those are the parts we all obsess over making them look perfect. Invest in styling tools that allow for temperature adjustment. Touching up a curl requires less heat then initially curling it. Start with a lower temperature and adjust if needed. You’ll be surprised how “cool” you can style your hair with.

Switch up your hairstyles. If you do your hair the exact way every day, you are doing the same damage over and over to the same parts of your hair. If you wear your hair down every day, try adding at least one day with an up do. YouTube tutorials are a huge help to learning new styles. They take practice but are worth it. When in doubt, ponytails and braids are always a good bet.

Invest in your hair.

My best advice I can give anyone with regards to their hair is to find a good hairstylist. Hairstylists are about a dime a dozen and a poorly trained one can decimate your hair in one go. I speak from experience, DO NOT do anything drastic with your hair with a hairstylist you don’t have experience with. You are asking for trouble. Also, if you do not trust your hairstylist, don’t go to them. Your hairstylist should be knowledgeable, keep up on trends, and is constantly expanding their knowledge. I am blessed with a wonderful hairstylist that plays along with all of my changes and cautions me when I am pushing my hair too much.

Even if you are someone who doesn’t color or style your hair, you still need a trim regularly. The frequency all depends on your hair. I currently get my hair cut every five to six weeks. Like I’ve said, my hair takes a beating and needs trimmed often. If you are worried about cutting too much length off with your trims, ask your hairstylist for a dusting. Dustings are when run parallel down small sections of hair, lightly trimming split ends while leaving you length untouched.

If you want A-lister hair then prepare to pay the A-lister prices. Well not always. Invest in haircare products that have heaps of good reviews. Not all expensive products are worthy the hype; however, some are. That’s where research comes in. Also, not all products will be beneficial to your hair. A good person to ask about products will be your hairstylist. They will (hopefully) recommend products that will be good for your specific hair type and not just ones that are being sold at the salon.

Along with good haircare products, the tools you use on your hair can also be helpful or detrimental to your hair. Brands like GHP and CHI, are some of my favorites though you will pay a pretty penny for them. Recently I purchased a GVP (Generic Value Product) blow-dryer and flat iron from Sally Beauty Supply store and for the price I think they are pretty comparable. GHP and CHI are probably still better, but for not paying over $150 I’m pretty happy with them. When buying a new styling tools, do your homework. There are so many factors to consider and not all tools are good for all hair. Thicker and more coarse hair needs higher temperatures than fine hair. Since you will hopefully be buying these every five years or so, it’s best to splurge a little.

Vitamins can play a big role in the health of your hair. Omega 3, 6, and 9 are all great for your hair. They are said to increase strength, shine, and length. My favorite brand is Barleans Total Omega Swirl in Orange Cream. Biotin and prenatal vitamins are also said to benefit your hair. Both of which I take. I take the prenatal and omegas for my infertility and not for my hair. Now since taking these, my hair has become stronger and healthier but I have also made the majority of the changed I have talked about as well. So, whether they work miracle; the jury is still out for me.

In conclusion, I’m not an expert. These are all just things I have learned in my journey from fried hair to on the verge of healthy hair. I am always exploring new tips and tricks in attempt to not only better my hair but to also improve my health.

Have any tips, tricks, or advice that you’ve learned, comment below.

A girl named Whisper

When I was a little girl, during my nightly prayers I only ever consistently prayed for three things. The first was for my parents to remarry, second for a horse, lastly was for a little brother or sister. Thankfully my loving Heavenly Father didn’t grant me the first, but blessed me with two sets of parents. He did however, bless my with the other two.

When I was ten years old, my dad and step mom sat each of us down and break us the news that our family of eight was going to be nine. I think out of all my siblings, I was the most excited. A baby sister. FINALLY!

I spent nine months reading every age appropriate (maybe a few too graphic) books about pregnancy and babies. Every ultrasound picture I giddly stared at, counting every excruciating month until she was born.

Finally in January 3, 1999; a pudgy cheeked little girl named Whisper was placed in my arms. I was a big sister! She was named because my parents feeling her “whispering” to them for years. The best blessing I could have ever prayed for.

Over the years that red faced baby girl grew into an adorable, curly haired blondie in Wranglers and little pink cowgirl boots. There were times that she was a complete hellion and terror but still my baby sister. I confess to teaching her every single bad thing my siblings taught me. There were times when I babysat, I’d get sweet justice for having to babysit her by sending her to bed early and eating ice cream and watch tv without her.

Flash forward to now, my baby sister is a stunning (landlocked mermaid) 19 year old. She has grown in to the most spunky personality. She has so much talent. I know that the day she spreads her wings, she will do wonderful and amazing things.

Happy birthday my beautiful baby sister. I love you more than anything. You are the best answered prayer and I do not know what I would do without you in my life. I haven’t always been the best big sister but I hope that I have been the best I can. Now that I am an old married lady, I know I’m not around as much but I hope you know that I will always be there for you and be your biggest supporter. I pray that 2018 will be your best year yet!

Love you Whisper Pearl!

Just a little Christmas Magic

The past few years, I’ve grown in to quite the pessimist around Christmas. The joy and lights replaced by stresses and bills. The amazing food and goodies replaced with counting calories and cutting carbs. No more heart racing excitement at the crack of dawn. No more strained ears listening for sleigh bells. It truly seems like nothing pulverizes the magic and wonder of Christmas like being an adult does.

This year started the same as always. Frigidly cold and dark drives to work long hours. Traffic, horrific traffic! Excruciating long lines at EVERY store. Everything just started to feel superfluous.

Finally, about two weeks ago it hit me, why in the heck have I been letting every miserable non-magical part of my surroundings ruin this joyous time of year? It’s not my surroundings’ responsibility to make me feel the holiday spirit. The presents, music, endless sugary treats, lights, etc. are just unimportant fluff. It comes every year “… without ribbons. It [comes] without tags. It [comes] without packages, boxes or bags… What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” I had been focusing on the sparkle and glitz, ignoring the real true spirit of the season. HE is the true spirit of Christmas.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And Suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of heavenly host praising God, and saying,

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men.

Luke 2:7-14

Today is a day set aside each and every year to think back to a tiny baby boy, born in a stable to a pure and virtuous, virgin mother. He was place in a humble manager instead of a glorious and splendid, golden throne. To the humblest of situations came our Savior. He came without ribbons, bows, packages, or bags. Just a peaceful and still night in a stable.

Instead of thinking about what I was going to GET this year, I began to think about what I could give to Him in return. Of course, all of this realization came while cleaning my house on a Monday when Nate was gone to work. As if to further cement my epiphany, Faith Hill’s rendition of Little Drummer Boy came on my Pandora station and hit me like a ton of bricks. Let me state this for the record, up until that moment I have LOATHED that song. In my opinion it was a stupid song that pa rum pum pum pum-ed just a little too much.

With the “pa rum pum pum pums” removed this is what it says:

Come they told me,

A new born King to see,

Our finest gifts we bring,

To lay before the King,

So to honor Him,

When we come

Little Baby,

I am a poor boy too,

I have no gift to bring,

That’s fit to give the King,

Shall I play for you,

On my drum?

On my drum?

I play my drum for Him

So to honor Him

Mary nodded,

The ox and lamb kept time,

I played my drum for Him,

I played my best for Him,

Then He smiled at me, Me and my drum

When we come. Me and my drum.

So, there I sat down on my grubby kitchen floor and actually listened to the lyrics. My heart burst as tears streamed from my eyes. The thought came plain and clear to me, “What would I have brought as my gift to Him?” No presents would ever equal His wonderful gift He gave to all mankind. What could a “poor boy” like me give to Him?

This spurred a change in my heart. My little Grinch heart must have grown three sizes that day. It renewed the magic that I’d been missing around this time of year. I began to look at everything with renewed appreciation. The time spent with family and the ones I love, outweighed any present that I could be given. Reading a book to my nephew while he sits on my lap or signing “I love you” to my niece from across a noisy room; became more precious gifts for me to give than toys.

With this new appreciation for the Spirit of Christmas, I hope to journey forth in to 2018 with greater faith in my Heavenly Father and His son, Jesus Christ. Instead of wallowing in self-pity because of all the trials around me, I pray that I can focus on giving a gift back to Him by spreading His love.

I wish to all of you, the purest and most magical Christmas day. Remember, He is the reason for the season.

When did you most feel the true Spirit of Christmas? Comment below.

Need ideas on how to spread the true meaning of Christmas? Click here.

If There Were Better Words For “Thank You”

My heart is incredibly full of gratitude and shear humility. Since my post, A Little Way Down The Road, Nate and I have received an outpouring of love and kindness. From offerings of fundraisers to generous gifts from family, we are both so overcome with gratitude that our hearts are burst to the brim with love.

I’ve never been good with talking to people face to face, possibly because of my introvert tendencies, so if I have seemed ungrateful I am deeply sorry. For all you amazingly kind and Christ-like people out there who have reached out to us recently; know that if I was unable to verbally conveying my humblest of gratitude to you, please know that I am severely thankful to your kindness and generosity. You all have made this monumental burden an easier load to bear.

So, to those who are fundraising, donating your Christmas gifts, slipping us cash like a shady under the table transaction, cutting and coloring my hair, planning Spaghetti dinners, etc. know that Nate and I (and future kiddos) are deeply grateful from the bottom of our hearts!