What a wonderful season! We are not a wealthy family, but this year felt so rich. First I have to back track to December 1st---where the best gift began to unfold.
|Russell Family Fundraiser Photo|
Something I hadn't considered when I started this fundraiser was that it would go over the 17th...my birthday and the anniversary of my dad's passing. I felt a wave of not sadness so much, but solemnity, reflection and a weariness that day. I felt close to tears so many times as I felt the significance of being able to raise money for a dad fighting cancer during the 5 year anniversary of when my dad lost the battle with his. It was bitter-sweet---and much more sweet than bitter. That night of my birthday thought a lot about my dad---the many things I loved, admired and missed about him and suddenly I felt purged of any criticism and judgement of my dad that I had ever struggled with. I felt like I had finally made use of the atonement in this context of mourning and forgiving, and being forgiven. I felt so close to my dad that day. I knew his spirit was present and I knew this all was a gift...my birthday present from my wonderful earthly dad and a loving Heavenly Father to heal as I served someone else' dad. BEST BIRTHDAY PRESENT EVER. I looked back and realize that every year since my dad has passed there has been something spiritually special that takes place on or around my birthday and I know we share that day in a special way. By the way the end total to the fundraiser was over $1200...it was amazing.
|An eclectic fabulous group of friends!|
Oh at our party we did a craft---I realize probably all the other crafty people in the world has probably made this craft, but this was the first year I tried it and I am in love with it--such a cool way to create home-art.Simply put, what it is is modge-podging a picture onto a canvas. The effect looks great and it's much cheaper even than framing a picture and I think looks pretty darn good. Here is one I made at home for our family. I had bought this print of Christ (we didn't have one in our house yet and we really wanted one). It was 11x14 and I knew a nice frame like it deserved would be spendy. The print alone was $40 (a big chunk to us) so I stupidly/bravely decided to put it on canvas. First I painted the canvas to look like wood (dark brown and black) then I modge podged the print in the center. It began to buckle and curve (the print) and I was so stressed that I had just ruined it! Luckily I was able to coax it flat with a hairdryer and constant stroking, but it was scary. Probably won't try it with a print again, but it turned out pretty good. Liv and learn... ;) I did make several for Christmas presents for friends with their own family pictures or cool pictures and quotes. Awesome (inexpensive) gift.
|This years' picture before shrunk down and made into magnets!|
|Finished Magnets--bad pic, they look clear in real life.|
The coolest home-made gift I made this year though I think is the one I made my mom for her birthday. I got the idea online (of course--just like all these others) and made it on Picasa...love that program! My mom loves it! I am going to re-print it after my sister Lucia has her baby so it doesn't just say 'baby girl'. Not having an excess in money is good....we have to get creative.
|Now Sugar, now corn syrup, now chocolate--dash away all!|
Apparently Santa was happy with his cookies cause the boys got to wake up to some lovely gifts under the tree. The best was the Radio Flyer wagon for Dallin. All the boys enjoyed playing with that. I spent the day gobbling up a book in between nursing a migraine (too many late nights during the 'break'!) and playing board games with the boys. Preston was enamored with his first piece of the electronic world (an Mp3 player) and Eli persuading all to play pick-up sticks and checkers with him. Dallin saw the unattended stocking and illustrated his quickness at grasping at great opportunities when they arrive---much to the chagrin of his older bother Preston:
|Seizing the moment (and the chocolate!)|
Oh wow---that was a huge post. I am exhausted and dreading my alarm waking me up to teach my 6Am class. However, this was worth it. I am not going to edit it now, but I am going to post it anyway. I do notice the MANY typos and errors in my other posts, but you know what? I am not a perfectionist. I want to remember things and not have things look perfect. So I am sorry about the many annoying typos that I have yet to correct. I'm sorry. Please graciously overlook them. It reminds me of a cool post I just read:
Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're Doing Something.
So that's my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody's ever made before. Don't freeze, don't stop, don't worry that it isn't good enough, or it isn't perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.
Whatever it is you're scared of doing, Do it.
Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”
― Neil Gaiman