Tag: Christmas

The Giver of Holy Gifts

The Giver of Holy Gifts

The Giver of Holy Gifts by the BYU Museum of Art. This slightly larger board book, produced by the BYU Museum of Art, is a beautiful introduction to sacred art with prose that is at once accessible and inspiring to the youngest reader: “He gives you 

It’s beginning to look a lot like (a Finnish?) Christmas

It’s beginning to look a lot like (a Finnish?) Christmas

This year we are adding a little more Finnish Christmas into our celebration. (Why Finland? That’s where Lane served his mission! We love Finland, even though none of the rest of us have been there yet.) We normally put up our fake Christmas tree, but this 

A late Christmas present

A late Christmas present

He is the GiftWe just got a letter from Elder Livi, dated 12-25 (2015). Even after a month, it was such welcome news and made my day! (We have been thinking about him in particular this week, since he turned 19 this week, and just today baked some cookies in his honor.)

He wrote,

Thank you so much for everything y’all did for me for Christmas. My companion told me it was one of the best Christmases he ever had. I was really surprised cuz I didn’t think it was really special because we weren’t with family, there wasn’t even a real tree (just one made of green sticky notes I made the night before while he was asleep), and besides the stocking, there [weren’t] really any presents under the tree (I gave him [a few new items he had still in his suitcase] cuz he needed some.) But that made me realize something. I already knew Christmas didn’t come from a store, that you didn’t need presents all over the floor; and though family is important for sure, I too, like the Grinch, discovered its a little bit more. (Just call me Dr. Seuss, Jr.)

Christmas is about serving and making memories and helping others feel the Spirit of Christ. I’m sure y’all know, but the church made a video for this Christmas called, “He is the Gift.” (El es la Dádiva). But what you don’t know probably is that it’s more than just a spiritual video and a social media campaign (but for sure I would have tweeted #ShareTheGift/#ComparteLaDadiva). Missionaries were given cards [he included one] to hand out…I’m pretty sure all the missionaries in the world did it. We didn’t baptize anyone, but we contacted solely with that card all December, and taught some lessons because of it, and shared the video with everyone we visited. 

There’s a Coldplay song (no, I didn’t listen to it) that says, “When you’re still waiting for the snow to fall, doesn’t really feel like Christmas at all.” But as I saw how happy my comp was that morning, I looked back and realized I had been sharing the Spirit of Christ the whole season. And that is what my Christmas was all about.

P.S. I still miss eggnog A LOT. 

I love you guys so much! Here’s to hearing from you soon, and to everything going well in the new year. Can’t wait to hear about school and sports and concerts/recitals and fun experiences! Thanks for all the support and love you’ve shown!

He also wrote me a thank you note, which really made me happy. Ah, I hope he keeps writing me letters when he gets back from his mission! I love being a missionary mom!

Christmas children’s book picks

Christmas children’s book picks

We have an entire shelf in our home library for Christmas books. Picking just a few to highlight is hard! Too many that I love! So I just pulled some that are at the top of my list. The Trees of the Dancing Goats by 

Christmas Chronicles

Christmas Chronicles

Whether you’re a Santa Claus believer or not, this tale is truly delightful! Better yet, you can listen to a wonderful audio recording of it for FREE on Classical89.org! The man who reads the story has a lovely accent. It sounds just like a nice 

A Christmas Carol, for free

A Christmas Carol, for free

christmas-carol-375x210_0I love listening to audiobooks when I houseclean, drive, and exercise. I love playing them for my children when they are sick, driving together as a family, or going to bed. I especially love audio books when they are FREE!

The Christmas Carol is a book that I don’t tire of hearing. I was delighted to find out that an audio version is available free for the listening online!

Just wanted to share!

Happy Listening,

Liz 🙂

 

Green Christmas (reusable gift tags)

Green Christmas (reusable gift tags)

I think the term “green” is interesting, because in our house, “being green” is simply practical, everyday living. There are many things we do all the time in a big family to reuse, save, and recycle because it makes sense and saves us money! We 

SOS: The important game, Owen Hartle, and angels among us

SOS: The important game, Owen Hartle, and angels among us

Last Sunday, Anna brought a Duplos box she had made to the kitchen counter. “I want to show you the game I made,” she told me. Curious, I watched as she pulled out one yellow sticky note after another, followed by an explanation of why 

MF: Merry Christmas 2014!

MF: Merry Christmas 2014!

IMG_4090bIt’s the most wonderful time of the year…for family year-in-review letters!

This year I asked each of my family members to give me their top three 2014 favorites. Favorite parts/moments/whatever. (I asked Elder Livi to give me his top 10, just ’cause I wanted to know.)

Here are their responses, with my added behind-the-scenes commentary. (Sorry to skirt brevity. I love details.)

Sarah: 1. Bear Lake. Where we held our Livingston family reunion. That’s where this year’s family photo, above, was taken. Bear Lake is called the “Caribbean of the Rockies” and for good reason. It is a GORGEOUS lake!. 2. My cabin birthday weekend. She had tons of fun with her apartment roommates and friends in her BYU ward last year, and they went to one of her roommate’s family cabin in Idaho for her birthday. 3. EMS (Emergency Medical Services). She is a supervisor in her EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) job on campus and is getting some good experience to prepare her for medical school.  She visited Anna’s classroom on Anna’s special birthday sharing day and taught the children about being an EMT. They made her a very nice thank you booklet, which made us all smile (and laugh!). My favorite story about her EMS job involves me having to pick her up from work before Thanksgiving vacation. If you want a good chuckle, ask her to tell you the story!IMG_9466 - Version 2

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IMG_9468Elder Livingston: (aka #Reppinthe801 #ThisIsRealLife #ElderLivi #PostedByMom) He gets 10 ’cause we love hearing as much as possible from him. We can’t wait to Skype again on Christmas Day!

  1. Learning Spanish
  2. Stronger testimony
  3. Meeting people. creating relationships for life.
  4. Lots of bro time. [This one made me laugh the most! Life in a family with 5 sisters!]
  5. Loving the scriptures.
  6. Getting to know Peru
  7. Being challenged every day.
  8. Learning discipline.
  9. Setting a good example.
  10. Becoming who I really want to be.P1050318

Julia: 1. Minyoung moving back. 2. Getting to eat lunch with Dad at his office a lot. 3. Getting closer to Nate before he left and writing to him. Having a brother leave that you love was really a challenge. Julia felt it keenly when he graduated early and left mid-year. She wished he could have been at the high school with her a little longer. So it isn’t just the missionary who makes a sacrifice! But she is happy he is there. She loves to hear from him, and I love to hear everyone’s laughter when we listen to his email audio files or read his letters.

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Rebecca: 1. Skyping Nate. 2. Bear Lake. 3. Cinderella. Many people came up to me after seeing Rebecca perform as the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella last month. They loved how she portrayed such spunkiness and personality. I replied, “She wasn’t acting. That’s who she really is!” Our favorite line was “Poof!” Most people don’t know that very fun side of Rebecca because she is often reserved and quiet. My favorite moment on opening night after she sang her first song was looking over to see tears running down Lane’s face. Seeing her up on stage singing took me back to her first Suzuki singing recital with Debra Bounous. She looked happy and (pretty much) at ease. It’s who she is. Loved it.

Fairy Godmother

Eliza: 1. Skyping Nate. 2. BYU Summer Dance Camp with Rebecca. They got to sample a bunch of different types of dance, and to their delight, they had a FABULOUS time learning a bit of clogging, MDT (musical dance theatre) dance, ballet, yoga, Bollywood-style dance, and modern. They came home and taught us some choreography. 3. Going to the Oreichtas in Phoenix. “Oreichtas” means “gathering” in Irish, and it’s a competition where Irish dancers go. Eliza was invited to dance on a team, so we took this chance to go because it meant we could be with extended family that we love to see. That was the part of this trip that Eliza was most excited about!

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Peter: 1. Skiing with Nate. 2. Skyping with Nate. 3. Bear Lake. Peter got a nice “Nike swoop” cut on his cheek at Bear Lake when he fell off the inner tube (or was it the knee board?) when being pulled behind the boat, and the waterski rope cut across his face. It hurt a lot, but with a Fire Chief uncle to treat it and a priesthood blessing for comfort, it healed quickly and didn’t keep him down from the fun. There’s no scar, but if there were, it might have felt like a bit of a trophy. It just helped him feel like Nate with his rugby scrapes.

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Anna: 1. Bear Lake. 2. Cinderella. 3. Winter. (She was a great friend to both older and younger cousins at the reunion. I love that she chose watching Rebecca perform in Cinderella as one of her top 3! Winter is her favorite season of the year, and she is really hoping she gets to learn how to ski this year!)

Anna Rebecca Fairy Godmother flowers

Liz: 1. Time with God. I have spent a lot of time with God in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep or have problems weighing heavily on my mind. I’ve felt near Him in the temple when I’m really needing more inner peace. I’ve reached out to Him and Him to me while I’ve read the scriptures. He leaves me feeling lighter and more full of hope to face my challenges. God is real. He is there. I’m so grateful. 2. Time with others*. I love to be with Lane, my children, other children that I teach, my mom, extended family, missionaries, and friends. It is time spent with others that brings me hours of happiness and joy!!  3. Time with myself. I have been so grateful this year for QUIET time to myself to do things I love, like reading, writing, and exercising. I really loved getting to take a couple ballet classes, and I really loved getting to sew Julia’s prom dress and Anna’s Halloween costume. What a gift!

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Lane: 1. Liz 2. Liz 3. Liz. I asked him for other responses, and he would give me none. I said the children might feel bad. He said he’d add them at number 4. Maybe he thought I needed to feel loved when I asked him. It worked!

Flowers from Lane

That’s a wrap: our Top 3. Did I say 3? 3 times 9=27 plus a lot of added details. Hope you found yourself in there, because you are. You are part of why we have had such a happy year and been able to travel through the trials. Thank you for your example, prayers, encouragement, love, help, and kindness. Thank you for believing in us and helping us in our testimonies, health, school work, jobs, church and community service, and recreation. You are God’s hands in our lives. When we celebrate 2014, we celebrate YOU in it.

Merry Christmas and our BIGGEST wishes for a Happy New Year!

Love,

The Livingstons 🙂

*Here are the details of spending time with others, which were too long to include them above! But if you’re interested, here they are: Lane: the top of my list. Being with him keeps me sane,  steady, balanced, feeling loved and laughing. I love getting to travel with him for business once in a while, even if it’s just for 36 hours to California. My children make life so rich! With them I love to cook, read, fold laundry, drive (if I’m the driver, tee hee), sing, eat, walk, bike, swim, watch movies, weed the yard, shop, play board games, hike, roll down green grassy hills, practice music or tennis, sled in the backyard, shoot hoops, teach to ski, and dance in the kitchen. I love to send them packages, write to them, listen to joys or challenges via audio recordings via emails from Peru, pick them up from campus, proofread their papers, help with dinner dates, read their conversation journals, and watch them perform. I love the one-on-one time and the whole-family time. Another place of joy for me is spending time with other children who are not my own at the elementary school, at Activity Days, in Primary, while teaching violin lessons, and when the teenagers come home from lunch with my older children to hang out on the weekends or eat lunch mid-day.  I really love to spend time with my mom eating lunch out or at her home, visiting with extended family on their visits to Utah, at reunions or cousin dinners, working with the sister missionaries in Miami, or being with friends while visiting teaching or walking, chatting on the phone, or texting. Thank heavens for texting!

Committed to simplifying this Christmas

Committed to simplifying this Christmas

Sometimes I get overwhelmed easily. With a multitude of details ever-present in my mind, I tend to get bogged down in what I’m not accomplishing and what seems to loom ahead endlessly. Which means that November and December, on the tail end of back-to-school (August/September),