Merry Christmas 2012

Well here we are just before Christmas and I'm just slowing down to realize I haven't taken time to reach out to friends and family this holiday. This is mainly because David and I took a much needed vacation, the likes of which we never have done, to Kauai for a week, and we got home just a few days ago. It was a gift from my very generous employer, and it was a very special, amazing experience.

I hope to write more about the details and post a few pictures, but that will wait for a future post. I know this is sent automatically to many of my friends and family, and I wanted to tell you how much I appreciate all of you and how blessed I feel to have so many people to love and who I know love me.

The end of this year marks the end of a very long, stressful time for our family. I would not have believed a few years ago that the end of 2012 would find us in our own lovely little home, David working his dream job, all the children doing so well in school and turning out okay despite my inadvertent efforts toward the contrary, and that I am so blessed to have such a wonderful husband who has been my best friend and companion for 24 years. In fact, we celebrate a marriage of 20 years this January.

We have been extremely blessed, and we have been taught a lot, even though much of it has come the hard way–we are slow learners sometimes. I come into this new year with a new desire to be really converted to Christ and to make Him the center of my heart and home. My desire is there, but I need much more diligent to bring about the change after 40 years of more or less selfish habits.

David and I were blessed to hear David Bednar speak recently, and he gave a very powerful witness that our only key to real happiness is to overcome selfishness and truly follow Christ. The adversary would have us turn inward and attend to our own needs, and lick our own wounds, and pity ourselves in our time of trial. But the Savior showed the example and continually turned outward, even in his greatest suffering. It seems like so much to ask when we are suffering, but the Savior knows the truth, that only in losing our life in loving service to others do we find ourselves.

I see now that only when we become a vessel of the love of God are all of our inner holes truly filled. No amount of personal attention, from ourselves or others, can fill any emptiness inside us, but when we allow ourselves to love others and to be God's hands, His love fills us as it moves through us to others, and only then are we made whole.

I can't say I am living this principle very well yet, but I'm only just coming to see it and understand it's truth. But this is my goal for the coming year, to start living the principle more fully.

I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and pray each of you will grow closer to the Savior over the coming days and years and rely on His strength to help you in the trials that come.

All my love to you and your families,

Valerie

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