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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve Cuddles

Today we spent several hours delivering food and presents to families in the valley. Afterwards, we ate some good Mexican food, albeit, not so authentic. After coming home I helped Mom make a double batch of ris a l'amande, wrapped presents, and helped prepare breakfast for tomorrow - Oven Apple Pancakes! Yum! Then we headed over to the Morgensen's, my former seminary teacher and bishop, for a little Christmas party for the ward. We saw some dear friends, socialized and laughed, before heading home. We were running around getting ready for bedtime when I heard Ashley crying in the bathroom. She was being uncooperative because "I'm so cold!" So I grabbed a warm fleece blanket and went down the hall. When Victoria got Ashley's new pull-ups on, I wrapped her up in the blanket and carried her out to the living room where the kids were getting ready to open their presents from Grandma and Grandpa before going to sleep. As I carried her out there, Ashley reached over and kissed me on the collarbone. I remembered once again the love of God and the blessings I have in abundance. How blessed I am!
I held Ashley tucked in her little blanket while she opened her present. I should note here, Mom and Dad buy the grandkids the same presents every Christmas, new pajamas. Last year, I watched Hannah, Brynne, Logan and Kenna open theirs. When I asked Hannah if she wanted to guess what the presents were, she looked at me like I was an idiot and said, "PJs, Aunt Sarah." So, it made me giggle that as little Ashley slowly and carefully picked off the bow and peeled back the wrapping paper, she kept whispering, "I don't know what it is...I don't know what's inside." Pajamas! Surprise! She was so thrilled. We put them on straightaway and she gave me more kisses. She was quite happy by then and content to sleep in her new, warm pj's from Grandma and Grandpa.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

As I'm sitting here munching leftover Ris a l'amande, I'm thinking about a Christmas miracle I just experienced with my friend Hsin Yao.

This is the 2 of us writing letters for my roommate Nicole's club, Stand for the Family. I met Hsin Yao when she was Sister Cho, serving in Ukiah. She started her first semester here at BYU this Fall and has been drowning in school, but did a great job finishing a huge workload. Tonight we had a couple spare minutes to sit down and talk and exchange presents. As poor college students, they weren't much, but they meant a lot.

Last week I found a sweet little nativity set of Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus that I picked up and wrapped. I felt that I should give it to Hsin Yao and have been trying to find time in our busy schedules to give it to her. Well, tonight we made the time! When she opened it she got really excited. Like, REALLY excited. I was thinking, the poor girl doesn't realized what an inexpensive little gift that is, when Hsin Yao told me that she had been pondering the purpose of Christmas and had decided to get her very first Nativity set. This afternoon when she was in the bookstore she almost bought the very set that I gave her, but something stopped her, and told her that someone had already gotten it for her. She paused and said, "It wouldn't be Sarah? Nah." But decided not to buy it all the same. I was afraid maybe the surprise of the gift had been a little spoiled, but Hsin Yao kept told me that this present was precious to her and let her know how aware God is of her. She says that she will tell her family about it every year when she puts it out. How awesome is that?

That's not the end, however. It was my turn to open my present, so I'm going to tell you about what I've been learning in Physical Science. I know, totally logical. Anyways, so this last unit we've been learning about the solar system. What especially interested me was the life cycle of stars, how they are born, their progression, etc. Then, reading and hearing about the star that appeared at Christ's birth, I realized that that event was prepared years in advance. The star was actually born hundreds, maybe millions, of years ago, but it took all that time for the light to reach us so far away. It made me think, maybe Christ created that star, and when He did, He said, "You will shine at my birth." Interesting, right?

So, I opened the card that Hsin Yao wrote for me and she wrote this:

About the star that led the shepherds to Bethlehem, Elder Maxwell said, "God had to place that star in a precise solar trajectory in orbit centuries before it shone that night so brightly over Bethlehem...In like manner,...each of us has been placed in precise human orbits, in order to light up the landscape of life for our fellowmen. We must be like that star and do our duty and be where we're supposed to be and do what we are supposed to do...that star shone for the glory for God. When you and I accomplish what we have been sent to do, we shine in glory of God. We light the way."

It is a beautiful message, and it complemented my musings of the past few weeks. God knew the ponderings of my heart and sent me the message He would have me learn. I am grateful for a Father in Heaven who is aware of the challenges two of His daughters face and send them to each other prepared with His love. Hsin Yao received what she needed from God through me, and I received what I needed from God through her. It was a true manifestation of God meeting our needs through other mortals. I love my Father and am thankful for the chance to have been an instrument in His hands, and I know that He watches carefully over His beloved children. May we let God guide our lives that we may shine in His glory and guide His children.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


I find myself with 15 minutes to kill, so what do I do? Write, of course. Brilliant. I've been hanging out with Jelaire's companion from the mission, Bethany, who is visiting from London. I feel the frequent urge to respond to questions and comments with "Cheers." Hopefully I don't sound like an impostor or something.

Today I will be taking my Italian final. It's scheduled from 8 to 10pm. (Yeah, ick is right) Some of the people in my class asked to meet a couple hours before so we can review the vocab. I just hope they were kidding when they said I would be leading the review. To be honest, I'm not really concerned about this test, I've been studying for the class all semester and doing well on the quizzes. The test that I AM concerned about is my Physical Science class. I do not like this class, at ALL. I strongly dislike classes concepts that I don't understand. I think it's called intolerance. I'm working on fixing that...Fortunately my friend Kevin is aware of my dislikes and came over last night for an hour to help me study. As an airplane pilot he loves physics, and I feel like I'm starting to understand it a lot better. Such a good teacher. I got all excited to study, then my friend Israel came over and distracted me for an hour. But I'm not complaining.

I will be home in a week! I fly home on Monday then I get to play with the family for almost 2 weeks! San Francisco for a couple days, ocean, redwoods, RELAXATION! This is going to be amazing, the longest vacation I've had for a long time. I don't have to worry about school or work, just work on recovering from the semester and enjoy my family 100% Yay!

Alright, time to jet over to the class for some review before the exam. woohoo...