Winter is beautiful in so many different ways: Snow-laden fir trees and fields of unspoiled snow, glittering icicles and frost covered twigs, animal tracks criss-crossed through snowy woods, happy snowmen in backyards, tantalizing snowdrifts beckoning to passersby to stop and frolic. I happen to have two favorite kinds of winter days. The first is the image that springs to mind when you hear the song “It’s a Marshmallow World”, the soft fluffy winter day with huge snowflakes falling gently to the ground. A day that is still and quiet because sound is sleeping in the snow. Trees hang heavy, not in weariness but in comfort, like a child curled up on the couch wrapped in a fleece blanket. You stop and stand and let this day embrace you, caught up in a trance that is so comfortable, so magical, so immobilizing you don’t want to break it and almost don’t have the strength to do so. Smoke puffs from chimneys and in the quiet solitude you can almost hear it. The magic lies in the fact that sight and sound become confused, that in seeing the snowflakes and smoke they seem deafening, yet you hear nothing. This day makes you feel cozy and warm even if you’re out in it. Which, by the way, is exactly where you SHOULD be on that particular kind of day. My other favorite happens to be the very day we’re having today, a bright glorious crisp day with the sun shining in a pale blue winter sky, reflected blindingly by sharp white snow. It was incredibly foggy this morning and the trees seems to have clung to some of the clouds, as they are shrouded in thick frost. The cold rushes in your lungs and you feel it invigorating your body as it forces out the over-heated air from your closed up house. Even Cheyenne, our dog, is frisky and exhilarated today. When I let her out this morning she ran and pounced and rooted in the snow, snorting and sneezing.I have been making sugar cookies for the kids to decorate this evening for family night. It’s pleasant to listen to Christmas music in the warm kitchen as the fragrant cookies bake to perfect softness. It’s the kind of day that makes me happy and content to be living in the north again, enjoying the Christmas season as it’s meant to be- (to my northerly upbringing)-surrounded by winter’s gleam of frosty snow. I am filled with love for my children and, for the moment, removed from the challenges of parenthood, caught up in its blessings instead. I am grateful for their health and beauty, for their very childness. Whenever the Christmas music stops Renie says, “Turn on da music!”, and when it resumes she twirls and dances around the kitchen. Devon has hauled the comforter from his bed out to the kitchen so he can hide under it and chase Renie and me around the kitchen saying, “Oooooooo, I’m a ghost!” If we’re distracted and forget to scream he says, “ Mom! Be scared!”. Jesse is contentedly crawling around laughing at his silly siblings. My heart is full. My holiday message to you this season is to find the moments in your life that fill your heart with joy and thanksgiving., and when you find these moments, take another moment to offer a prayer of gratitude to our Heavenly Father for the blessings that are yours. Recognize in these moments that our Father in Heaven knows us and loves us. Remember that He has given us the Greatest Gift, His Son, in a quiet everyday moment like the one we’re experiencing. Understand that in quiet moments of wonder, miracles take place in our lives, just as on the first Christmas night. We send our love to you , not with regret for not keeping in better touch, but with simple gratitude for the moments we have shared in the past. Have a wonderful holiday season and watch for your miracles in the coming year.
I also want to add a bit about my deep and abiding love and appreciation for my handsome and charming husband. He pointed out that even the dog got a shout-out in my Christmas letter but no mention, even indirectly, of him. Lest he and the world doubt my love and devotion to him, I publish this for all to see-
I am blessed to be in the tenth year of marriage to my perfect match. He balances me in so many ways. He is an incredible father, always taking and making time for his children. He works hard for us, but never at the expense of time with us. I am grateful for his priesthood worthiness and his dedication to the gospel. Mostly (and this may seem like my priorities are out of whack), I love that he makes me laugh. I love when he is in a silly mood and I get to hear him giggle. (He'll hate that I used that term- but that's what it is!) So rest assured, I am appreciative and hopelessly in love with my husband!