Celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ by watching this beautifully done Nativity Video.
To your happiness,
On this Christmas Eve, I hope you will enjoy this video of O Come, O Come Emmanuel.
While I was raising my children, we always had a little spiritual program Christmas Eve night followed by fun, songs or games when we were at our own home. We had a traditional dinner of enchilada pie (a tradition that began with Grandma Mary Jane Kilgore), tossed green salad with Ranch dressing, tortilla chips, and Uncle Chuck Murphy’s Salsa most years. Grandma Kilgore’s Lemon Cake drizzled with a lemon glaze usually followed.
I remember the year my mom was passing away from kidney failure caused by congestive heart failure and who also had cancer. My Marissa was praying that she would be with us until Christmas. I said something like, “Oh no, Sweetheart, we need to let her pass when she’s ready. It’s not good for her to stay with us all that time until Christmas.” I quickly went to the copy shop and made paper copies of songs we could sing around my mom’s bedside.
Shortly thereafter, we sang Christmas Carols to her and got to pre-celebrate our last Christmas together with song and with love in our hearts for that gentle, kind, loving, other’s-focused soul whom I was privileged to call my mother. I know that that was a very sacred time for all of us. Earth and heaven seemed very intertwined.
I’m grateful that Jesus Christ was born, filled His mission on earth, and was resurrected—overcoming both physical and spiritual death and bridging the gap for us between earth and heaven again. Making it possible for us to also return, as He did, to live with our Heavenly Father once more. Because of Him, death will have no sting, and I will be able to see my mom, dad and other friends and family again someday. For me, in Christ, there is both hope and peace. I am very grateful.
Here’s our recipes in case you’d like to try them.
Grandma Mary Jane Kilgore’s recipe from Lawry’s.
We use this on Christmas Eve.
Lawry’s Enchilada Sauce Mix packet Ripe olives
1 pound ground beef or ground turkey 1 can tomato sauce – 8 oz.
1 medium onion, chopped 6 corn tortillas
1 clove garlic, minced 2 cups shredded cheese
2 T. margarine or butter 2/3 cup water
1 tsp. Salt ¼ tsp. pepper
In a saucepan combine Enchilada sauce mix, 1 can (8 oz.), 2 ½ cups water. Blend well. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside.
Sauté ground meat, onion and garlic in the margarine or butter. Stir in Enchilada sauce, olives, salt and pepper.
Butter corn tortillas. Layer in buttered, round Pyrex casserole dish in this order:
Repeat until the 6 tortillas are used, and pour the remaining sauce over all.
Pour 2/3 cup water at the edge of the casserole into the bottom.
Cover the top with the rest of the cheese. (We use Cheddar cheese)
Bake in a 400 degree oven for 40 minutes. Serves at least 6.
UNCLE CHUCK MURPHY’S SALSA
We use this on Christmas Eve, too.
1 packet Italian dressing mix 1 medium can chopped or sliced olives
1 small can diced green chili 3-4 green onions
2 fresh tomatoes, diced cilantro to taste
1 large can diced tomatoes 1-2 cups grated Jack cheese
Empty diced tomatoes into a bowl. Add dry Italian dressing mix, diced green chili (to taste), fresh diced tomatoes, olives, and green onions. This mixture can sit in the refrigerator at least ½ hour or more to blend flavors. Add cilantro and grated cheese just before serving.
I also found myself busy make Ham and Egg Souffle (that sets overnight)
to pop in the oven first thing in the morning.
HAM AND EGG SOUFFLE
1 dozen eggs 2 tsp. Salt
12 slices white bread 3 c. cubed ham
4 c. milk 3 c. Cheddar cheese
1 ½ tsp. Dry mustard
Beat eggs until fluffy. Cut crusts from bread: cube. Place bread in a 9 x 14 inch Pyrex (buttered) dish. Add 4 cups milk to eggs. Dissolve l ½ teaspoons dry mustard in a little water and add to egg mixture. Add salt and chopped ham: mix. Pour over bread. Let set overnight. In the morning, add 3 cups Cheddar cheese as a topping and bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes.
This was started by H. Aileen Calton (my mom) as a traditional Christmas morning breakfast. Many family members now serve this with a cinnamon roll, orange slice, and orange juice, apple juice and/or hot chocolate with marshmallows. Place it in the oven while the gifts are being opened and breakfast is ready at just the right time.
Note: Aileen obtained the recipe when Carolyn was young in a Church Relief Society Visiting Teaching handout which was prepared for delivery to each ward (congregation) member by their Visiting Teachers.
Helaman said to his sons:
And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.
Enough said today.
I saw this on YouTube today, and it caused me to think back to the time when I would drive my second son to work. I love this song by Wayne Watson, and we would have it in the car–playing on the CD player.
I especially like the lyric, “Can’t change what’s happened ’till now, but we can change what will be.”
In a world full of turmoil, what a great reminder!
I love inspiring music, and I make it a habit of playing things that uplift my soul and remind me of who I am and why I’m on the earth.
Consider your favorite songs today. How do they lift and build you?
Remember, your choices today INfluence Generations!
I’m reflecting, with deep gratitude, on the loving service given to me and my children by MANY family members and friends during our times of deep distress last year.
My sweet youngest daughter, Marissa, was in crisis, and her oldest brother and second sister moved into quick action to get her from Arizona to Colorado. They took her directly to the hospital where I met her and stayed with her there. She was immediately placed on suicide watch. I remember, so well, her courage to do what it took to work through her anxiety, face her fears and to slowly, but steadily, release her depressed thoughts. Somewhere amid the gloom, she wanted to live and to create a better life–and that desire and determination won out over her despair.
We shared a room for many months, she got a job at TJ Maxx, got her Colorado license to do hair and began working as a stylist and makeup artist at a salon with the support of so many friends here in CO. She bought a little truck, and today she and her friends are moving into their own place! Small, deliberate steps created SUCH a huge miracle in her life!
Sincere service and Gratitude for service rendered are, indeed, heavenly qualities and gifts. The feelings I feel right now touch me deeply. Helping others while having a sincere heart and real intent adds up to making a huge difference in our world.
There are still so many wonderful people in our world, including Marissa’s friends, hospital staff, counselors, and friends here in Colorado, who, through their loving support during that tumultuous time, helped to keep my daughter safe and alive. I will be forever grateful for the loving, supportive, much-needed service of those who rose to the occasion, gave of themselves, and allowed me to still have the blessing of having my youngest daughter near. AND the untold sacrifices of my sweet Lisa, during and persisting through the months of Marissa’s recovery and continuing now are beyond measure and will be forever embedded in my heart. Jon and Lisa opened their both their home and their hearts, and no, it wasn’t always easy. The prayers and other enduring devotion to family shown by my other children and their spouses are also acknowledged.
The divine in me recognizes the divine in you,
INspired Action Step: Let us be grateful today for at least 3 people who have touched our lives in a meaningful way. Let us notice and be grateful every day for those people who bless us, help us and cause us to want to contribute positively to the lives of others as well.
My sweet friend has recently experienced the death of her mother. She is a woman of faith (not losing faith), yet I know times are really tough for her right now. Many of us have undergone other trials– finances, health, frustration, discouragement and more that is spoken of in this video. My heart is deeply touched by this topic. I hope it will help you or someone you love.
Below are comments from Henry B. Eyring. I hope you will take 5 minutes to watch Mountains to Climb.
“Now I wish to encourage those who are in the midst of hard trials, who feel their faith may be fading under the onslaught of troubles. …
Finding faith in the Lord Jesus Christ will help us have the power to endure and overcome even the hardest trials in life.
If the foundation of faith is not embedded in our hearts the power to endure will crumble.
Acting on even a twig of faith allows God to grow it.
That particle of faith, most precious, that you should protect and use to whatever extent you can, is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Lord has promised, “I will not forsake thee.”
Comments are welcomed under this post on my Facebook site.
See what surprised me on my Family Coat of Arms. Visit my HealingYourFamily Blog today.
Wow. I gained insight today as I read about a man named Gadianton “who was exceedingly expert in many words.” He used flattery, others bought into it, and it turned out to be more destructive through its ripple effect than could ever be imagined!
I concluded that it’s important that we DO NOT CONFUSE FLATTERY, which is insincere praise, WITH EMPATHY, which is a sincere seeking to understand another’s situation or feelings.
I realized that many good-hearted, empathetic people in our day may confuse flattery with empathy. Many stay in more-than-difficult situations because they see what seems to be good in another person and think it’s empathy, when underneath, in the heart of the other, there is deceit and calculated choices. Destruction is brewing.
Developing the quality of discernment is important in our lives today. Discernment is keen perception or insight. To me, this must be coupled with the influence and insight that comes from God into our own hearts, so that we may see clearly and know clearly what to do next in our lives and in our relationships.
The influence of good-hearted people is needed in our ever-darkening world. We must continue to shine the light of our positive influence without fear of being used and abused. To do this, I can see that discernment is needed, so we do not become prey to those with deceitful desires and self-centered, destructive purposes in their hearts.
We must also check our own heart and the methods we use to interact with others. Do we simply use flattery (insincere praise) to get our own way, or are we truly connecting heart-to-heart through empathy. We all long to be loved, appreciated and cared about. Choosing empathy is choosing a path to healthy connections if both parties have empathy in their hearts. Choosing flattery leaves you feeling emotionally flat and alone–even in a crowd.
Reference to Gadianton: Helaman 2:4-14 in the Book of Mormon
Henry B. Eyring is an amazing man. He has been an example to me of humble faith and devotion to God and family. He spoke at the Vatican Summit where faith leaders discussed marriage. The points he listed at the end of what he said are possible to achieve if two people are committed to walking together in love. With faith in God and a commitment to one’s spouse, generations of children can be benefitted and blessed.
I am also a witness of how a single parent can press forward in faith and still influence children for good. We still need to know how to be faithful IN family settings and, by listening to his words, we can help our children gain insight and understanding, too. If you are one that has carried heartache and heartbreak–even from childhood–his words may help you make sense, clearly, of what was missing or what went wrong.
Let’s change the trend of destructive thoughts, words and actions that we carry into marriage and relationships. Henry B. Eyring suggests how it is possible. I encourage you to listen to his words.
I’ve included the link to the text under the video.
I’ve been in a really quiet, INtrospective place for quite awhile, but I decided it was finally time to speak about my recent experiences with adoption in hopes that it will add insight and understanding to my family, friends and others who are adopted, those who are interested in adopting a child or the families of those connected to adoption in any way.
My mother was an adoptive mother, I was an adopted daughter, my daughter is a birth mother and her child is an adopted son…
I am the adopted daughter of James Lynn and H. Aileen Calton. I could not have had better, more loving parents who were perfectly suited to patiently and diligently guide the development of my unique qualities and gentle spirit.
I was taken home from the hospital when I was two days old, and I was introduced to the fact that I was adopted before I can even remember. I came to know, first-hand, the beauties and blessings of adoption. On the other hand, I was also keenly aware that I was “different” from other children because of the way I came into my family, and when I was young, I struggled to understand why someone would “give me away”. It was a closed adoption, and there were no answers for me.
In recent years, I have remembered and investigated some of the beliefs I gathered in my young years. I sought to replace beliefs that were false or mistaken with the truth I’ve gleaned from my adult understanding and perspective of who I really am. I could now see countless ways that incorrect beliefs I took in as a child had replayed subconsciously as scripts that often influenced my daily living. Somewhere, down deep, I had accepted that I was unlovable and unwanted by my birth parents, therefore, along life’s path, early on, I concluded I was simply unlovable and unwanted…period! These thoughts were confusing then painful then repressed, until later in my life when I chose to remember and heal them with the truth.
During this introspection, I learned that my youngest daughter was expecting a child. Unmarried and in one of the most distressing times of her life, the baby had been expected by adoptive parents for a long, long, time, yet the baby was unexpected by my daughter and her boyfriend, and the pain and distress which was embedded in her circumstance were her constant companions for many months. She had worked and supported herself, but she was, at the time, without employment. The ripple effect was that she lost the ability to pay for her own apartment, therefore, she was living with family members.
Full of anxiety, my sweet Marissa wondered if she’d make it through the depth of emotions she felt and all the challenging experiences that accompanied her pregnancy. In spite of all her efforts, the only option that she could see that would bless her little baby was for her to choose adoption. I knew, from her childhood, that once she made up her mind, she would act with conviction and stick to her choice. She had exhausted all possibilities before she made her choice. Now, it was time to act.
And move into action she did.
1) I flew to AZ to help her cross the threshold to LDS Family Services to begin the adoption process.
2) She met her counselor/case worker and found out about the website www.itsaboutlove.org
3) She found out she was having a boy and was delighted. She began calling him Oli.
4) She courageously chose the perfect adoptive parents who decided his name would be Otto (a family name). They happened to be the same parents I saw online and thought would be “the perfect match” but whose names I withheld from Marissa since I knew it needed to be entirely her choice. She chose, and we came to find out that we had both found Matt and Courtney Earl.
5) Marissa continually chose whatever was in the best interests of her child.
6) She stood up to anyone and everyone who did not or would not act in the best interests of Otto.
7) She observed his amazing face and body as she viewed the ultrasound pictures. Through sharing pictures through texts and emails, our family and the adoptive family were able to share in the joy of his new, very real life.
8) Marissa used doTERRA essential oils to help reduce her anxiety.
9) Initially, Marissa thought she would need to choose a closed adoption to get through the pain of releasing her child to the care of other parents, but after meeting Courtney and Matt, Marissa began to see the wisdom in Courtney’s desire to have an open adoption experience. Here is a link to the experience Courtney wanted to emulate with open adoption: Click here.
9a) I was continually amazed and deeply grateful for Courtney’s ongoing kindness to Marissa. I could tell she had wonderful qualities of character which had been developed over a lifetime. Through their communications, Courtney and Marissa became close. They developed their own bond of love. Matt was amazing, too.
9b) My own children had been so blessed by their Grandma and Grandpa Calton, who were my adoptive parents, that our family was perfectly prepared for creating a positive experience with the adoption of Otto—even through any pain and the unknown connected to how it would really feel at the time Marissa transferred the care of Otto to the Earl family. It was all a mixed experience, that’s for sure.
10) Otto’s delivery was near. I flew to AZ. Marissa and I went to the doctor, and he scheduled her to be induced.
11) My children who lived in AZ and I had a get-together with Courtney and Matt on the Saturday night before Otto’s delivery.
12) We had fun, ate Mexican food, and had a cake with Marissa’s, Courtney’s and Matt’s names on it. They gratefully received gifts from us for their new and growing family. One of the gifts I gave them was a family tree that I designed (see note below text) that listed Otto as their son and Matt and Courtney as parents (with Marissa’s full approval, of course).
13) After fun, food and conversation, Courtney, Matt, Marissa, a friend, and several members of our family along with Tifa, Marissa’s dog, went on a walk to see if it would encourage the beginning of labor.
14) When Matt and Courtney went home, doTERRA essential oils were used to also encourage labor.
15) Scared and excited, too, Marissa and I headed for the hospital Monday morning. As mother and daughter, we were ready for the inevitable—both the sorrow of the eventual parting and the extreme joy of meeting the amazing little boy Marissa had loved and cherished and cared for since the moment she knew of his existence.
So, most of our Arizona family members stepped fully into the experience of delivery, and the placement of Otto into the care of Courtney and Matt.
Everyone experienced both joys and sorrows and processed their independent feelings, yet in spite of it all, I knew that the best and highest good was being served for everyone. I trusted that we were all under the continuing watchcare of a loving God who had a perfect understanding of the “bigger picture” for Otto’s life, Marissa’s life, Courtney and Matt’s and their extended families lives, and our families lives, too. I trusted God, as creator and deliverer of us all.
Courtney did a wonderful job of recording in words/documenting the experience we all shared together in the hospital. Click here to read what happened and see pictures, too.
Labor was easier than Marissa expected it to be, and yes, as Courtney put it, sometimes we even “laughed until we cried”—including Marissa. As difficult as her journey was, Marissa is grateful and has, at times, been filled with joy. Through her experience with Otto, I observed her remember what true love really feels like.
Marissa posted this on Facebook the night the adoption papers were signed at the home of her oldest brother and sister-in-law:
“We signed the adoption papers tonight. … Such a bittersweet time. I’m so happy with how everything went and how wonderful and supportive everyone has been. I couldn’t be happier with the beautiful couple that will be raising my son. They love him so much and I couldn’t possibly have chosen anyone more suited or deserving. I am so incredibly lucky to have found them, and I have fallen in love more and more every time we have been together. I’m so happy I will get to watch him grow and be a part of his life. I have never in my life felt anything close to how much I love this little boy. It’s so unreal. He is by far the most amazing thing to ever happen to my life, and every moment has been worth bringing him into the world.”
Being adopted myself and watching Marissa’s loving care and tenacious protection of Otto during her pregnancy and her care for him (shared with Courtney and Matt) during Marissa’s days in the hospital has helped me to see and know first-hand that some amazing birth mothers, without a doubt, DO deeply love and tenaciously protect their babies, and this is a definite act of LOVE—even though some adoptees may falsely conclude that they were not loved at all.
On Otto’s birthday, Courtney posted this message on Facebook:
“Otto Joshua was born to the beautiful and selfless super-woman, Marissa.
She honored us by choosing us to parent and raise him and so joined our families forever.”
Ours is a continuing story of love and connection that will go far beyond Courtney and Matt driving away from the hospital with Otto. They have become part of our family, and we have become part of theirs. Through the amazing model of open adoption that Courtney had the insight to embrace, we will all be learning, growing and loving—all for the best and highest good of little OTTO who, without knowing it, is helping many hearts heal and have an abundance of joy.
Download your free 8 1/2″ x 11″, 2 generation, Family Tree Chart, a smaller version of the one I gave the Earls, by leaving your email address at www.FamilyTreeQuest.com This is my website. Please accept the 2 generation Family Tree Chart as my gift to you.