Bye Bye May!

May has come to end. It’s amazing how time has flown this month…like most months. Overall, May has been very good to us and we’ve had lots of adventures. I just posted about about our trip to Jackson we took at the beginning of the month. That was amazing. I can’t say I recommend it because I don’t want the beautiful little town to get even more crowded :D.

We celebrated my sister, Stefi’s birthday when we got back from our trip and went to eat at Hu Hot. She loves her Asian food. Happy Birthday Stefi! A few days after we returned home, Josh got sick and not just sick but strep throat. 😦 He was pretty incapacitated for a little over a week. Fortunately, I didn’t get strep. He did share some of his bug with me, but I am doing much better.

Josh wanted a new phone as an early birthday present because his battery was dying. Our carrier had a really good deal going on and we both ended up getting new phones with really great cameras. That will explain the random pictures in this post. 🙂 We also got a free virtual reality headset with the phones and Josh thought my reaction to it was pretty funny. I think I looked like goofball…I also posted pictures of my family doing it as well a little further down.

It was nice celebrating the wonderful moms and women our life for Mother’s day. We are both blessed with really amazing mothers. We babysat my niece, Kendra Fae, and that was an adventure because she was teething. Before she got ornery, I put little snacks all over the ground and watched her army crawl all over the place to eat them. She loves food! It was hilarious to watch.

Josh and I also picked up my Mom and sister, Stefi, from Colorado and introduced them to an amazing Italian pizza place in Salt Lake City, Settebello Pizzeria where we had pizza, canolis, and gelato! Oh so yummy.

Also in the Decker news, I gave my notice to my current employer after 2 years and I am going to joining the Airstream of Utah team. Thank you Dennis and Laura! I’m going to be the Marketing Manager. Even better, I get to work with Joshy again. I’m really excited about this new opportunity!

From Squire to Airstream. Thank you both for being so good to us!

Josh and I finally felt well enough to have a date night! We tried a new restaurant by our house in Provo called Cafe on Fire, they serve Persian Kabobs. Really interesting…and pretty tasty. My favorite was the steak. After dinner, we walked to a really good ice cream place called Roll With It. They make the ice cream combo you want right in front of you and then roll the ice cream up and put whatever toppings you want. It is pretty unique and SO yummy.

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Josh and I decided to take our virtual reality (VR) toy to both of our families and watch them experience it. It is pretty trippy. In general, Josh’s family had better reactions, especially his parents. They were pretty jumpy. 🙂 Sadly, I didn’t take any photos. My family was pretty calm but Joseph gave us the best show and took off the goggles part way through because he was scared of the roller coaster. Thanks for the entertainment Joseph! 🙂 I took pictures of my family doing it because I thought we would get pretty good pictures after doing this with Josh’s family.

Stefi doing VR- It didn’t even phase her.
Mamita doing VR- She got a little nervous, but she was tough
Joseph doing VR- Funny kid
Quincy doing VR- She was braver than Joseph
Dad doing VR- Just chillin’
Kendra just watching everyone do it.
I had to plug in a couple of Kendra Fae pictures from that visit too!- Love that cute little face!
Little Schroeder (ina)

Memorial day weekend was really relaxing and productive. I’m so grateful for all those who served in our military and have protected our freedoms.

We have been still getting over a little sickness but it was fun to have 3 day break. We also celebrated Memorial day in the morning with my parents and had breakfast at Cracker Barrel. I felt like it was a very American thing to do. I think it would be fun to do that in the future. On Sunday, the day before Memorial Day, Josh ran into an old missionary friend and his wife. We invited them over for our BBQ the next day. We cooked ribs, baked beans and bacon, and garlic mashed potatoes and then we had root beer floats for dessert. SO YUMMY! It was fun to hear more about Josh’s LDS mission in New York.

Memorial day ribs!
Memorial day spread
Ribs and us- Also side note and cool feature about our phones is that you can talk to the camera to take a picture, no button required. Super cool!
Rib selfie again

And that’s a wrap!

April Hath Put the Spirit of Youth into Everything

To quote William Shakespeare, “April hath put the spirit of youth into everything.” April has always been one of my favorite months because I love the spring time and sunshine and…I was also born in April. Even though this year I wasn’t too thrilled about that fact, because I turned the big 3-0…Fortunately, my husband, family, and friends showed me how much they loved me even though I became an old lady… 😉

Josh and I decorated our letter “D’ outside our door. It’s very festive of spring and baseball, 2 seasonal musts!
Josh and I went to Settebello’s in Salt Lake City for my birthday. It is an Italian wood fired pizza place and it was delicious!!! We splurged and even ordered cannolis.
Josh’s pizza at Settebello Pizzeria
My pizza, I wanted to capture every moment of this delicious food and this super fun date with my Joshy.
Movie night with the Deckers- Watchin’ Rogue One. They also celebrated my birthday with yummy pizza also. Later that week, my family took us out to Happy Sumo so I could get my other favorite food, sushi for my birthday. That was an adventure, Kendra Fae knocked over the water glass and soaked Josh and me. Fortunately, the sushi and company made it better.
My work softball league started and Josh played (I have been out with tendonitis in my arm). #slugger
Getting ready to bat
Freezing my butt off and getting ready to coach bases because I couldn’t play with my arm injury.
The Browns came to visit (briefly) *happy/sad face* We met up with Brigham City because they were attending Mitch’s brother’s wedding. It was so fun to see them!!
Davy trying to hold Kendra! So cute!

 

Josh and I got free Jazz game tickets from my work. We rode the train up to the Salt Lake after work. It was a really fun game and the Jazz won! It was also Josh’s first NBA game he’s been to. Love those first times!
Outside Vivint Arena and waiting for the train

 

Our really awesome nose bleed seats!
Go Jazz!
The lighting was terrible, but you get the gist. Fun game!

Best Valentines Day Ever!

Valentines Day was so special. It was simple, but very thoughtful. Josh made me a yummy breakfast of stuffed french toast before I went to work and gave me my valentine gift. He is so kind. We were so full from breakfast we skipped lunch, which was fine because Josh made a beautiful, filling, and delicious dinner of lobster and steak. See below, it’s okay to drool. It was so yummy and I was in lobster heaven and Josh was in steak heaven :). Afterwards, he went on a treasure hunt for him for his presents and we just relaxed in the evening. It was a wonderful day and I’m grateful I was able to spend it with my special Valentine, Joshy!

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A Surf & Turf Valentines dinner, made by Joshy. He’s SO romantic!
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Happy Valentines Day!

On Valentines Day I always love to read this message called “And the Greatest of These is Love” from Gordon B. Hinckley which he gave at Brigham Young University in 1978, this is my favorite part of the talk, but I will share the link as well because it such a special message. Happy loving!

“On this day, when I was a little boy, we traded paper hearts at school, and at night we dropped them at the doors of our friends, stamping on the porch and then running in the dark to hide. Sometimes we would tie a fishing line to a valentine, and when the would-be receiver would go to pick it up we would pull the string. That happens in life with some of us.

Almost without exception these valentines had printed on their face the words, “I love you.” I have since come to know that love is more than a paper heart. It is the very essence of life. It is the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. But it is not at the end of a rainbow; it is at the beginning, and from it springs the beauty that arches across the sky on a stormy day. It is the security for which children weep, the meat and drink of youth, the adhesive that binds marriage and the lubricant that prevents devastating friction in the home; it is the peace of old age, the sunlight of hope shining through death. How impoverished are those who lack it, and how rich those who have it!

For most of you here today, it is one of the reasons for your presence on campus. You are here because of the love of your parents, whose interest is your present and future happiness. You say you are here to gain an education, and I hope that is true. But in your hearts you know you are also here to find a companion, that someone with whom you hope you can fall in love, later marry, and then live happily with forever after. This is not an idle, idyllic dream. It happens. I know it happens; I have experienced it. And you know it happens and you hope and pray it will happen to you.

I am one who believes that love, like faith, is a gift of God. I agree with Pearl Buck, who said: “Love cannot be forced, love cannot be coaxed and teased. It comes out of heaven, unasked and unsought” (The Treasure Chest, p. 165).

Some of you have taken classes to prepare you the better for that hoped-for time. They may help qualify you, and each of us needs all the help he can get. But I am inclined to agree with Sydney Harris, the columnist, who wrote:

One of the grand errors we tend to make when we are young is supposing that a person is a bundle of qualities, and we add up the individual’s good and bad qualities, like a bookkeeper working on debits and credits.

If the balance is favorable, we may decide to take the jump [into marriage]. . . . The world is full of unhappy men and women who married their mates because . . . it seemed to be a good investment.

Love, however, is not an investment; it is an adventure. And when the marriage turns out to be as dull and comfortable as a sound investment, the disgruntled party soon turns elsewhere for adventure, . . .

Ignorant people are always saying, “I wonder what he sees in her,” not realizing that what he sees in her (and what no one else can see in her) is the secret essence of love.

Entering a marriage calmly and rationally is like dancing a bacchanal calmly and rationally; it is a contradiction in terms. It takes into account everything except what is important—the spirit. [“Love and Marriage,” Deseret News, 18 October 1977]

I had a friend who decided that his would be a scientific marriage—one built on the qualities of his wife, rather than his feelings for her. He lived in California in a large ward and a large stake where there were many attractive girls his own age. In the pursuit of his quest he made a chart. At the top of each column he set down some worthwhile quality such as beauty, education, ambition, a wealthy father, and so forth. Then down the side of his chart he wrote the names of all the girls he knew. He then graded each, and rated them in numerical order—1, 2, 3, 4, and so on. He proceeded to make his conquest.

Expectantly, he called Number 1; she refused to go out with him. Number 2 also had an excuse. Number 3 gambled on one date, the last; and he ended up marrying Number 4. A year later someone sent me a copy of the local paper in which my friend gave notice that he no longer would be responsible for debts incurred by his wife. Divorce followed shortly after that. Forty years have passed and my once-burned and loveless friend has never remarried.

I think of two other friends of about the same vintage, a boy and a girl. I knew them in the years of high school and university. He was a boy from a country town, plain in appearance, without money or apparent promise. He had grown up on a farm, and if he had any quality that was attractive it was the capacity to work. He carried bologna sandwiches in a brown paper bag for his lunch and swept the school floors to pay his tuition. But with all of his rustic appearance, he had a smile and a personality that seemed to sing of goodness. She was a city girl who had come out of a comfortable home, but she would never have qualified for a beauty contest. Her face was freckled, but she made the most of what she had in the quiet but attractive manner of her dressing and in the way she fixed her hair.

Something of magic took place between them. They fell in love. No one could understand why. There were far more promising boys for her and far more beautiful girls who might have interested him. But these two laughed and danced and studied together through those years. They married when people wondered how they could ever earn enough to stay alive. He struggled through his professional school and came out near the top of his class. She scrimped and saved and worked and prayed. She encouraged and sustained and when things were really tough she said quietly, “Somehow we’ll make it.” Buoyed by her faith in him, he kept going through those difficult years. Their children came, and together they loved them and nourished them and gave them the security that came of their own example of love for and loyalty to one another. Now forty-five years and more have passed. Their children are grown and are a credit to them, to the Church, and to the communities in which they live.

Recently, while riding a plane from New York, I walked down the aisle in the semi-darkness of the cabin and saw a woman, white-haired, her head on her husband’s shoulder as she dozed and his hand clasped warmly about hers. He was awake and recognized me. She awakened when we began to talk. They, too, were returning from New York, where he had delivered a paper before one of the great learned societies of the nation. He said little about it, but she proudly spoke of the honors accorded him. Forty-five years ago people without understanding had asked what he saw in her and what she saw in him.

I thought of that as I returned to my seat on the plane. And I said to myself, their friends of those days saw only a farm boy from the country and a smiling girl with freckles on her nose. But these two saw in each other love, loyalty, peace, faith, and the future. Call it chemistry if you will; maybe there was a little of that, but there was much more. There was rather a flowering of something divine, planted there by that Father who is our God. In their school days they had lived worthy of that flowering. They had lived with virtue and faith, with appreciation and respect for self and one another. In the years of their difficult professional and economic struggles, they had found their greatest earthly strength in their companionship. Now in age they were finding their peace, their quiet satisfaction together. And beyond that they were assured of an eternity of joyful association under covenants long since made and promises long since given in the house of the Lord.”

https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/gordon-b-hinckley_greatest-of-these-love/

Christmasing

Merry Christmas! Josh and I had a wonderful Christmas with our families. We spent Christmas Eve with my family and Christmas day with Josh’s family. We had a nice long break and also got a 4-day weekend. Our families were so good to us and spoiled us rotten. Josh also spoiled me rotten. I just love him! I didn’t get a lot of pictures, especially at the Deckers, but I did get a few. Happy Christmas break!

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Christmas welcome home Eli breakfast with the Deckers
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Josh made 2 cheesecakes to bring to our families. This one is White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake
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The Mohrman family opening presents
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Nana and Kendra
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Grandma Mohrman & Joseph & Quincy
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The goober, Stefi, who wouldn’t look at the camera
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Oompa & Kendra
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Josh posing in his fancy Star Wars pants
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Josh and I made a Hobbit Hole for our traditional gingerbread making contest.
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In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit- Hobbit Hole
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In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit- Hobbit Hole
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Joseph & Quincy building their gingerbread house
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Stefi building her gingerbread house
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Building time
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Joseph & Quincy’s beach shack
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Stefi’s morbid abominable snowman igloo scene. Supposedly this one won–I disagree.
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All the gingerbread houses
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Christmas morning! #bedheads

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On the Twelfth Day of Christmas…

Christmas is here and I thought the best story to share would be the story of why we even celebrate Christmas. I’m so grateful that Jesus Christ was born, gave his life for us, and lives again! Merry Christmas everyone!!

The Christmas Story told by Luke

“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Cæsar Augustus, that all the world should be taxedAnd all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judæa, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the innAnd there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the LordAnd this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.” Luke 2

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6, 2 Nephi 19:6

Here is the end of a Christmas message by Elder Henry B. Eyring I wanted to share, “Angels, shepherds, and Wise Men sought and found peace from their faith in Jesus Christ. So will you. The Savior’s birth is the gift that makes it possible for the Father to give us “peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come.” We shouted for joy in the spirit world when we heard of that promise. Peace and joy come to us again when we hear words sung proclaiming that God’s loving promise was kept:

All is calm, all is bright. …
Glories stream from heaven afar;
Heav’nly hosts sing Alleluia!
Christ, the Savior, is born!

I pray that peace will come and abide with each of us as we remember, love, and worship our Heavenly Father by keeping our covenants with Him. May we always remember the service and kindness Jesus Christ gave during His mortal ministry—and resolve to do the same.” https://www.lds.org/broadcasts/article/christmas-devotional/2016/12/gifts-of-peace?lang=eng

On the Eleventh Day of Christmas…

I can’t believe it’s Christmas Eve already. This story isn’t really a Christmas story, but it’s a parable about knowing who we really are. Christmas reminds us that we are children of a Heavenly Father who sent his eldest son, Jesus Christ to sacrifice his life for us so we can one day return and live with Him, our families, and our Heavenly Father again. We’re not just human beings, we are children of God. “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (Romans 8:16-17).

The Eagle and the Chicken

A fable is told about an eagle that thought he was a chicken. When the eagle was very small, he fell from the safety of his nest. A chicken farmer found the eagle, brought him to the farm, and raised him in a chicken coop among his many chickens. The eagle grew up doing what chickens do, living like a chicken, and believing he was a chicken. A naturalist came to the chicken farm to see if what he had heard about an eagle acting like a chicken was really true. He knew that an eagle is king of the sky. He was surprised to see the eagle strutting around the chicken coop, pecking at the ground, and acting very much like a chicken. The farmer explained to the naturalist that this bird was no longer an eagle. He was now a chicken because he had been trained to be a chicken and he believed that he was a chicken. The naturalist knew there was more to this great bird than his actions showed as he “pretended” to be a chicken. He was born an eagle and had the heart of an eagle, and nothing could change that. The man lifted the eagle onto the fence surrounding the chicken coop and said, “Eagle, thou art an eagle. Stretch forth thy wings and fly.” The eagle moved slightly, only to look at the man; then he glanced down at his home among the chickens in the chicken coop where he was comfortable. He jumped off the fence and continued doing what chickens do. The farmer was satisfied. “I told you it was a chicken,” he said. The naturalist returned the next day and tried again to convince the farmer and the eagle that the eagle was born for something greater. He took the eagle to the top of the farmhouse and spoke to him: “Eagle, thou art an eagle. Thou dost belong to the sky and not to the earth. Stretch forth thy wings and fly.” The large bird looked at the man, then again down into the chicken coop. He jumped from the man’s arm onto the roof of the farmhouse. Knowing what eagles are really about, the naturalist asked the farmer to let him try one more time. He would return the next day and prove that this bird was an eagle. The farmer, convinced otherwise, said, “It is a chicken.” The naturalist returned the next morning to the chicken farm and took the eagle and the farmer some distance away to the foot of a high mountain. They could not see the farm nor the chicken coop from this new setting. The man held the eagle on his arm and pointed high into the sky where the bright sun was beckoning above. He spoke: “Eagle, thou art an eagle! Thou dost belong to the sky and not to the earth. Stretch forth thy wings and fly.” This time the eagle stared skyward into the bright sun, straightened his large body, and stretched his massive wings. His wings moved, slowly at first, then surely and powerfully. With the mighty screech of an eagle, he flew.

On the Tenth Day of Christmas…

Only 3 more days to go until Christmas. Here’s a story I enjoy.

Story of the Three Trees

Once upon a mountain top, three little trees stood and dreamed of what they wanted to become when they grew up.

The first little tree looked up at the stars and said: “I want to hold treasure. I want to be covered with gold and filled with precious stones. I’ll be the most beautiful treasure chest in the world!”

The second little tree looked out at the small stream trickling by on its way to the ocean. “I want to be traveling mighty waters and carrying powerful kings. I’ll be the strongest ship in the world!”

The third little tree looked down into the valley below where busy men and women worked in a busy town. “I don’t want to leave the mountain top at all. I want to grow so tall that when people stop to look at me, they’ll raise their eyes to heaven and think of God. I will be the tallest tree in the world.”

Years passed. The rain came, the sun shone, and the little trees grew tall. One day three woodcutters climbed the mountain.

The first woodcutter looked at the first tree and said, “This tree is beautiful. It is perfect for me.” With a swoop of his shining axe, the first tree fell.

“Now I shall be made into a beautiful chest. I shall hold wonderful treasure!” the first tree said.

The second woodcutter looked at the second tree and said, “This tree is strong. It is perfect for me.” With a swoop of his shining axe, the second tree fell.

“Now I shall sail mighty waters!” thought the second tree. “I shall be a strong ship for mighty kings!”

The third tree felt her heart sink when the last woodcutter looked her way. She stood straight and tall and pointed bravely to heaven.

But the woodcutter never even looked up. “Any kind of tree will do for me,” he muttered. With a swoop of his shining axe, the third tree fell.

The first tree rejoiced when the woodcutter brought her to a carpenter’s shop. But the carpenter fashioned the tree into a feedbox for animals.

The once beautiful tree was not covered with gold, nor with treasure. She was coated with sawdust and filled with hay for hungry farm animals.

The second tree smiled when the woodcutter took her to a shipyard, but no mighty sailing ship was made that day. Instead, the once strong tree was hammered and sawed into a simple fishing boat. She was too small and too weak to sail on an ocean, or even a river; instead, she was taken to a little lake.

The third tree was confused when the woodcutter cut her into strong beams and left her in a lumberyard.

“What happened?” the once tall tree wondered. “All I ever wanted was to stay on the mountain top and point to God…”

Many, many days and night passed. The three trees nearly forgot their dreams.

But one night, golden starlight poured over the first tree as a young woman placed her newborn baby in the feedbox.

“I wish I could make a cradle for him,” her husband whispered.

The mother squeezed his hand and smiled as the starlight shone on the smooth and the sturdy wood. “This manger is beautiful,” she said.

And suddenly the first tree knew he was holding the greatest treasure in the world.

One evening a tired traveler and his friends crowded into the old fishing boat. The traveler fell asleep as the second tree quietly sailed out into the lake.

Soon a thundering and thrashing storm arose. The little tree shuddered. She knew she did not have the strength to carry so many passengers safely through with the wind and the rain.

The tired man awakened. He stood up, stretched out his hand, and said, “Peace.” The storm stopped as quickly as it had begun.

And suddenly the second tree knew he was carrying the king of heaven and earth.

One Friday morning, the third tree was startled when her beams were yanked from the forgotten woodpile. She flinched as she was carried through an angry jeering crowd. She shuddered when soldiers nailed a man’s hands to her.

She felt ugly and harsh and cruel.

But on Sunday morning, when the sun rose and the earth tremble with joy beneath her, the third tree knew that God’s love had changed everything.

It had made the third tree strong.

And every time people thought of the third tree, they would think of God.

That was better than being the tallest tree in the world.

The next time you feel down because you didn’t get what you want, sit tight and be happy because God is thinking of something better to give you.

On the Ninth of Christmas…

Christmas is getting closer. Here’s the ninth story!

Trouble at the Inn by Donohue

For years now, whenever Christmas pageants are talked about in a certain little town in the Midwest, someone is sure to mention the name of Wallace Purling.

Wally’s performance in one annual production of the Nativity play has slipped into the realm of legend. But the old-timers who were in the audience that night never tire of recalling exactly what happened.

Wally was nine that year and in the second grade, though he should have been in the fourth. Most people in town knew that he had difficulty keeping up. He was big and awkward, slow in movement and mind.

Still, Wally was well liked by the other children in his class, all of whom were smaller than he, though the boys had trouble hiding their irritation when Wally would ask to play ball with them or any game, for that matter, in which winning was important.

They’d find a way to keep him out, but Wally would hang around anyway—not sulking, just hoping. He was a helpful boy, always willing and smiling, and the protector, paradoxically, of the underdog. If the older boys chased the younger ones away, it would be Wally who’d say, “Can’t they stay? They’re no bother.”

Wally fancied the idea of being a shepherd in the Christmas pageant, but the play’s director, Miss Lumbard, assigned him a more important role. After all, she reasoned, the innkeeper did not have too many lines, and Wally’s size would make his refusal of lodging to Joseph more forceful.

And so it happened that the usual large, partisan audience gathered for the town’s yearly extravaganza of crooks and creches, of beards, crowns, halos and a whole stageful of squeaky voices.

No one on stage or off was more caught up in the magic of the night than Wallace Purling. They said later that he stood in the wings and watched the performance with such fascination that Miss Lumbard had to make sure he didn’t wander onstage before his cue.

Then the time came when Joseph appeared, slowly, tenderly guiding Mary to the door of the inn. Joseph knocked hard on the wooden door set into the painted backdrop. Wally the innkeeper was there, waiting.

“What do you want?” Wally said, swinging the door open with a brusque gesture.

“We seek lodging.”

“Seek it elsewhere.” Wally spoke vigorously. “The inn is filled.”

“Sir, we have asked everywhere in vain. We have traveled far and are very weary.”

“There is no room in this inn for you.” Wally looked properly stern.

“Please, good innkeeper, this is my wife, Mary. She is heavy with child and needs a place to rest. Surely you must have some small corner for her. She is so tired.”

Now, for the first time, the innkeeper relaxed his stiff stance and looked down at Mary. With that, there was a long pause, long enough to make the audience a bit tense with embarrassment.

“No! Begone!” the prompter whispered.

“No!” Wally repeated automatically. “Begone!”

Joseph sadly placed his arm around Mary and Mary laid her head upon her husband’s shoulder and the two of them started to move away. The innkeeper did not return inside his inn, however. Wally stood there in the doorway, watching the forlorn couple. His mouth was open, his brow creased with concern, his eyes filling unmistakably with tears.

And suddenly this Christmas pageant became different from all others.

“Don’t go, Joseph,” Wally called out. “Bring Mary back.” And Wallace Purling’s face grew into a bright smile. “You can have my room.”

Some people in town thought that the pageant had been ruined. Yet there were others—many, many others—who considered it the most Christmas of all Christmas pageants they had ever seen.

On the Eighth Day of Christmas…

Here’s the eighth story. It’s a great story about service.

The Gift of Love by Thomas S. Monson

When I was a very young bishop, in 1950, there was a tap at my door and a good German brother from Ogden, Utah, announced himself as Karl Guertler.

He said, “Are you Bishop Monson?”

I answered in the affirmative.

He said, “My brother and his wife and their family are coming from Germany.  They are going to live in your ward.  Will you come with me to see the apartment we have rented for them?”  On the way to that apartment, he told me he had not seen his brother for something like 30 years.  Yet all through the holocaust of World War II, his brother, Hans Guertler, had been faithful to the Church—an officer in the Hamburg branch.

I looked at the apartment.  It was cold; it was dreary; the paint was peeling from the walls; the cupboards were bare.  What an uninviting home for the Christmas season of the year!  I worried about it and I prayed about it, and then in our ward welfare committee meeting, we did something about it.

The group leader of the high priests said, “I am an electrician.  Let’s put good appliances in that apartment.”

The group leader of the seventies said, “I am in the floor covering business.  Let’s install new floor coverings.”

The elders quorum president said, “I am a painter.  Let’s paint that apartment.”

The Relief Society representative spoke up, “Did you say those cupboards were bare?”  (They were not bare very long, with the Relief Society in action.)

Then the young people, represented through the Aaronic Priesthood general secretary said, “Let’s put a Christmas tree in the home and let’s go among our young people and gather gifts to place under the tree.”

You should have seen that Christmas scene, when the Guertler family arrived from Germany in clothing which was tattered and with faces which were drawn by the rigors of war and deprivation!  As they went into their apartment they saw what had been in actual fact a transformation—a beautiful home.  We spontaneously began singing, “Silent night!  Holy night!  All is calm; all is bright.”  We sang in English; they sang in German.  At the conclusion of that hymn, Hans Guertler threw his arms around my neck, buried his face in my shoulder, and repeated over and over again those words which I shall never forget:  “Mein brudder, mein brudder, mein brudder.”

As we walked down the stairs that night, all of us who had participated in making Christmas come alive in the lives of this German family, we reflected upon the words of the Master:

“Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”  (Matthew 25:40)

On the Seventh Day of Christmas…

I first learned this story by watching a short film about it. It’s a sweet story about selfless service. Happy reading!

Christmas Day in the Morning

by Pearl S. Buck

He woke suddenly and completely. It was four o’clock, the hour at which his father had always called him to get up and help with the milking. Strange how the habits of his youth clung to him still! Fifty years ago, and his father had been dead for thirty years, and yet he waked at four o’clock in the morning. He had trained himself to turn over and go to sleep, but this morning it was Christmas, he did not try to sleep.

Why did he feel so awake tonight? He slipped back in time, as he did so easily nowadays. He was fifteen years old and still on his father’s farm. He loved his father. He had not known it until one day a few days before Christmas, when he had overheard what his father was saying to his mother.

“Mary, I hate to call Rob in the mornings. He’s growing so fast and he needs his sleep. If you could see how he sleeps when I go in to wake him up! I wish I could manage alone.”

“Well, you can’t, Adam.” His mother’s voice was brisk. “Besides, he isn’t a child anymore. It’s time he took his turn.”

“Yes,” his father said slowly. “But I sure do hate to wake him.”

When he heard these words, something in him spoke: his father loved him! He had never thought of that before, taking for granted the tie of their blood. Neither his father nor his mother talked about loving their children–they had no time for such things. There was always so much to do on the farm.

Now that he knew his father loved him, there would be no loitering in the mornings and having to be called again. He got up after that, stumbling blindly in his sleep, and pulled on his clothes, his eyes shut, but he got up.

And then on the night before Christmas, that year when he was fifteen, he lay for a few minutes thinking about the next day. They were poor, and most of the excitement was in the turkey they had raised themselves and mince pies his mother made. His sisters sewed presents and his mother and father always bought him something he needed, not only a warm jacket, maybe, but something more, such as a book. And he saved and bought them each something, too.

He wished, that Christmas when he was fifteen, he had a better present for his father. As usual he had gone to the ten-cent store and bought a tie. It had seemed nice enough until he lay thinking the night before Christmas. He looked out of his attic window, the stars were bright.

“Dad,” he had once asked when he was a little boy, “What is a stable?”

“It’s just a barn,” his father had replied, “like ours.”

Then Jesus had been born in a barn, and to a barn the shepherds had come…

The thought struck him like a silver dagger. Why should he not give his father a special gift too, out there in the barn? He could get up early, earlier than four o’clock, and he could creep into the barn and get all the milking done. He’d do it alone, milk and clean up, and then when his father went in to start the milking he’d see it all done. And he would know who had done it. He laughed to himself as he gazed at the stars. It was what he would do, and he musn’t sleep too sound.

He must have waked twenty times, scratching a match each time to look at his old watch — midnight, and half past one, and then two o’clock.

At a quarter to three he got up and put on his clothes. He crept downstairs, careful of the creaky boards, and let himself out. The cows looked at him, sleepy and surprised. It was early for them, too.

He had never milked all alone before, but it seemed almost easy. He kept thinking about his father’s surprise. His father would come in and get him, saying that he would get things started while Rob was getting dressed. He’d go to the barn, open the door, and then he’d go get the two big empty milk cans. But they wouldn’t be waiting or empty, they’d be standing in the milk-house, filled.

“What the–,” he could hear his father exclaiming.

He smiled and milked steadily, two strong streams rushing into the pail, frothing and fragrant.

The task went more easily than he had ever known it to go before. Milking for once was not a chore. It was something else, a gift to his father who loved him. He finished, the two milk cans were full, and he covered them and closed the milk-house door carefully, making sure of the latch.

Back in his room he had only a minute to pull off his clothes in the darkness and jump into bed, for he heard his father up. He put the covers over his head to silence his quick breathing. The door opened.

“Rob!” His father called. “We have to get up, son, even if it is Christmas.”

“Aw-right,” he said sleepily.

The door closed and he lay still, laughing to himself. In just a few minutes his father would know. His dancing heart was ready to jump from his body.

The minutes were endless — ten, fifteen, he did not know how many — and he heard his father’s footsteps again. The door opened and he lay still.

“Rob!”

“Yes, Dad–”

His father was laughing, a queer sobbing sort of laugh.

“Thought you’d fool me, did you?” His father was standing by his bed, feeling for him, pulling away the cover.

“It’s for Christmas, Dad!”

He found his father and clutched him in a great hug. He felt his father’s arms go around him. It was dark and they could not see each other’s faces.

“Son, I thank you. Nobody ever did a nicer thing–”

“Oh, Dad, I want you to know — I do want to be good!” The words broke from him of their own will. He did not know what to say. His heart was bursting with love.

He got up and pulled on his clothes again and they went down to the Christmas tree. Oh what a Christmas, and how his heart had nearly burst again with shyness and pride as his father told his mother and made the younger children listen about how he, Rob, had got up all by himself.

“The best Christmas gift I ever had, and I’ll remember it, son every year on Christmas morning, so long as I live.”

They had both remembered it, and now that his father was dead, he remembered it alone: that blessed Christmas dawn when, alone with the cows in the barn, he had made his first gift of true love.

This Christmas he wanted to write a card to his wife and tell her how much he loved her, it had been a long time since he had really told her, although he loved her in a very special way, much more than he ever had when they were young. He had been fortunate that she had loved him. Ah, that was the true joy of life, the ability to love. Love was still alive in him, it still was.

It occurred to him suddenly that it was alive because long ago it had been born in him when he knew his father loved him. That was it: Love alone could awaken love. And he could give the gift again and again.This morning, this blessed Christmas morning, he would give it to his beloved wife. He could write it down in a letter for her to read and keep forever. He went to his desk and began his love letter to his wife: My dearest love…

Such a happy, happy Christmas!

THE END