Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Thankful Heart

In the midst of all the hustle and bustle this weekend, make sure you tell those around you how much you love them. Be aware of what you've been blessed with and take the time to pay it forward. We all have something to be thankful for ... even those pesky things in life that we think we'd be better off without!

I posted this "poem" last year and love it so I'm doing it again in honor of Thanksgiving. Here's to remembering the blessings behind everything in our lives.
I Am Thankful For ...

Sunday, November 24, 2013

BLOG TOUR for "Carol of the Tales and Other Nightly Noels"

Carol of the Tales and Other Nightly Noels: An Advent Anthology, Volume 2 

Christmas carols capture the spirit of Christmas, and Carol of the Tales and Other Nightly Noels brings beloved carols to life like never before. Throw your cares away with the tales from sweet silver bells. Find out how Santa Claus dabbles in time travel, and feel the redemption of a dying wife's parting Christmas gift. Experience all this and more in these heartfelt, entertaining tales donated by a team of authors from across the country, working together for a good cause. The proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated toward Autism research and advocacy.

Anthology authors include: Shirley Bahlmann, C. David Belt, Rebecca Carlson, Loretta Carter, Madonna D. Christensen, Danyelle Ferguson, C. Michelle Jefferies, Theric Jepson, Ryan Larsen, Angie Lofthouse, Betsy Love, J. Lloyd Morgan, Janet Olsen, Teresa G. Osgood, Brian Ricks, Jennifer Ricks, Peg Russell, and Michael Young.

Carol of the Tales is the 2nd book in the Advent Anthology series. Both anthologies are available in paperback and Amazon Kindle formats from 

Purchase “Sing We Now of Christmas”:
Purchase: “Carol of the Tales”:

To kick off the release of the second anthology, a Christmas concert will be held at American Fork Junior High on December 7th, 2013. The concert will feature the Saltaires Barbershop Chorus. All proceeds from this concert will be donated to charity as well. Purchase: Tickets for the Concert:

Blog Tour Giveaway!

Use the rafflecopter below to enter to win wonderful prizes, such as tickets to the concert and copies of the anthology. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Other Blogs on the Tour:

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Make Time For The Magic

When we focus on what matters most and take the time to feel
the love and joy the holidays bring, the magic becomes real.
~ Stacy J. Coles

Well, Halloween is over. Let the Christmas season begin! ... Oh yeah, we still have Thanksgiving to prepare for. It's hard to remember when every store is decked out in Christmas garland and silver-and-gold-metallic ornaments.

Now, don't get me wrong ... I LOVE the Christmas season. I am one of those who could listen to Christmas music and watch my beloved copy of "It's A Wonderful Life" 365 days a year (if only I had the time!). But, the commercializing of this sacred holiday can make even the most organized person feel too rushed and preoccupied to feel the magic that should surround us this time of year.

Every day we find ourselves overwhelmed with work, school, kids, practices, games, recitals, meals, laundry ... as good as it all is, the "busy" in life can take its toll on our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Add on to that the great expectations and hefty price tags of the holidays, and it often becomes too much for many. It's heartbreaking when I hear people say that they hate this time of year and can't wait until it's over. When you break it down and get to the nitty-gritty of "why", you find that people don't really hate Christmas, just the stress, financial burden, and anxiety that goes along with it.

So, let's take a step back this holiday season (yes, that includes Thanksgiving!) and think about why we celebrate in the first place. We need to have a gratitude attitude and remember the reason for the season. We need to take time to enjoy our family members and make memories that we will cherish forever.

So, how can we feel the magic of the season and not get so overwhelmed with the commercial aspect that we want to shout "Bah Humbug" instead of "Happy Holidays"?

During the month of November:
  • Encourage each family member to write down ~ daily or weekly ~ what they are thankful for. 
  • Keep these "thankfuls" in a container. 
  • Pull them out on Thanksgiving Day. 
  • Put your "thankfuls" on a tabletop tree as ornaments ~ a great Thanksgiving centerpiece.
  • Put your "thankfuls" in a journal/scrapbook so you will always remember how blessed you are.
  • Pay it forward. Once you realize how much you've been blessed with, do something ~ as a family ~ to give back. It could be making/taking a meal to a family in need, collecting your old coats and gloves and taking them to a homeless shelter, or taking a plate of goodies to your local police and/or fire department.
During the month of December:
  • Sit down as a family and read the scripture account of the birth of Jesus Christ. 
  • Relieve some financial stress by setting a budget and sticking to it.
  • Give homemade gifts.
  • Do a service project as a family.
  • Write letters/Christmas cards to missionaries, family members, and/or hospital patients.
  • Bake yummy treats as a family.
  • Build a snowman.
  • Go see lights.
  • Go sledding.
Making time for family and focusing on the true spirit of the holidays will keep our hearts and minds open for the magic that we all want and deserve to feel this time of year.
Make Time For The Magic