A Savior is Born

Merry Christmas from that Mormon family!

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My feelings about the birth of my Lord and Savior are deep and bring many emotions that make my boys wonder why I’m sobbing, so I’ll save those for another time when they are not all home.

And if you haven’t seen this, you should.

“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.”

Wishing you all peace from the Only True Source,

Sarah

 

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Finding Our Way

They say with age comes wisdom. I’m not sure I’m really old enough to claim I have wisdom, but I have some very beautiful and life-experienced women who I call dear friends from whom I’ve gleaned wisdom. Add in my own life experiences and I might have a tiny bit of insight into real life.

All that to say, one thing I know for sure is we all have to find our own way to Christ and our trials can help us build a deep and lasting relationship with Him better than anything else. I know I wouldn’t have the relationship and trust I do without the challenges I’ve been through.

I had my biggest “come to Jesus” moment when I was really young. I was lost after my father died. I was definitely a daddy’s girl. I would turn to him for love, comfort, answers, all those things a little girl needs. I didn’t know how to do that with my mom, and I never really tried. Add in the fact that he ended his own life, and not only had I lost my pillar, there was anger, abandonment, and guilt. I was a month shy of 13, and the next 5 years were hard.

I ended up in my Bishop’s office a few times. It was a part of my path. Amazingly, my Father trusted that I would find my way. And in one of my most cherished moments, my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, told me He was there.

I felt on fire. My heart was so full of love and joy and happiness, I thought it would explode. I wanted to run and jump and yell and tell everyone!

It changed me.

My experiences are not unique. Everyone has their own refiners fire. Some people (me) are more bull-headed and need to be knocked around a little before we learn our lessons. It seems some of us have a deeper faith and need less time in the refiner’s fire. Some of us haven’t come to the trial point in our lives. But we will all get there. We all get the testing we need to humble us enough to find our way back. For some of us, it might not happen until the next life.

I think my younger brother is one of those in that last group.

I was reading in the Book of Mormon in 2 Nephi 3:34 when I got the phone call about my brother. That scripture quickly became one of my favorites: “O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever.” It helped me understand that he was finally in a place where he would find peace. This was his way to the Lord. He had also been lost after our dad died, and I knew that he was getting the answers he so desperately needed but weren’t available here. He was remembering his testimony and kneeling before his Savior.

I truly feel that our Father loves us so much that He gives us every chance He possibly can to find our way back. And we have to go through the experiences we have in our lives so that we can be like Him and associate with Him on a personal level.

I can absolutely say that I am grateful for what has transpired in my life because those things have made me who I am today. I know my Father in Heaven trusts me, and I trust Him. I might not always understand why, I might question His motives, and I might be mad about some things, but I trust Him.

After all, I can only see my tiny picture, and He sees all of eternity.

 

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Shower in Progress

I have this really terrible habit of assuming projects will be faster than they actually are. Take this particular project, for example.

I had originally planned that we would do this over Thanksgiving break because my husband had the whole week off. But he was gone on a trip for the first two weeks of November and felt that he really needed to work at least half of the week so he didn’t fall too far behind at work.

I figured I could handle that. We had already had our Thanksgiving dinner early with my sister, so I could do the demo and prep work while he worked Monday, Tuesday and half of Wednesday, and then we would get everything done the rest of Wednesday through Saturday. Done. Easy.

Wrong.

See, we have this Thanksgiving tradition I didn’t take into account.

Someone gets sick.

Always.

This year’s lucky participant just happened to be the person whose help I really needed! But, instead, he spent Thursday with a nasty stomach bug.

He rallied some on Friday to help with the plumbing and getting most of the Hardibacker hung, but then we ran into a couple of pieces that must have been a little more “set” than the rest because it took FOREVER to get those sheets scored enough to break.

And then we ran out of energy.

So this is what our bathroom has looked like for the last two-plus weeks.

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Disaster.

Add in Christmas parties and being asked to help decorate for two different events for church, and my poor bathroom has been neglected.

I’ve even been forced to share my boys (admittedly beautiful, but still) bathroom.

So yesterday, I decided enough was enough. I had been able to do the scoring and snapping of a couple of sheets myself, so as long as I didn’t run into any of those impossible sheets, I should be able to hang the last couple of pieces myself.

And I did!

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Progress!

I even got it taped yesterday and bought some pre-mixed thin-set to mud the seams. In between elementary school class parties and middle school choir concerts, I’ll get the thin-set on and paint on the water-proofer.

Then, in our spirit of fun holiday activities, we’ll spend a day next week putting the tile up. We really now how to party.

Merry Christmas to you!

Please take my advice and don’t start a big project during the holidays.

 

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Christmas Trees!

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas tree,

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Your beauty green will teach me

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That hope and love will ever be

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The way to joy and peace for me.

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O Christmas Tree, O Christmas tree,

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Your beauty green will teach me.

(From an English version of the song)

 

No, I don’t have a Christmas problem. Why do you ask?

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Teach Us Tolerance and Love

I’m taught a lot through music. Some people can recall scriptures at a moments notice. I am not one of those people. I have a hard time memorizing scriptures and remembering where they are located and the story behind it all. I’ve been studying my scriptures regularly for almost 20 years now, and can recall small parts of verses, but if I have a specific scriptural though come to mind, I ask Brandon where it is. He always knows.

But music is so different for me. Music sticks with me. Music is the language of my soul. And there can be so many gospel principles found in one song. One of my favorite hymns gave me a line to ponder last weekend.

In humility, our Savior,
Grant thy Spirit here, we pray,
As we bless the bread and water
In thy name this holy day.
Let me not forget, O Savior,
Thou didst bleed and die for me
When thy heart was stilled and broken

On the cross at Calvary.

Fill our hearts with sweet forgiving;
Teach us tolerance and love.
Let our prayers find access to thee
In thy holy courts above.
Then, when we have proven worthy
Of thy sacrifice divine,
Lord, let us regain thy presence;

Let thy glory round us shine.

For a long time, the first two lines of that hymn are what ran through my head when I was having a hard day with my boys, or the fighting was getting out of hand.

This weekend, another line stuck out to me. I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and saw a post from Humans of New York:

“I’ve never been in a relationship. I haven’t even told my parents that I’m gay. I was sitting with my mother at dinner the other night, and a gay couple walked by holding hands. She said to me: ‘I don’t know why they have to do that in public.’ I didn’t say anything. But I was looking at her, thinking: ‘How do I tell you that’s what I want more than anything?’”

As I read it, the line “Teach us tolerance and love” came to my mind.

What if a part of the way we become more like our Father is to learn tolerance and love for the actions and choices of others?

Moroni 7:47 says, “But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him”.

Then consider this, another favorite of mine:

“We often equate charity with visiting the sick, taking in casseroles to those in need, or sharing our excess with those who are less fortunate. But really, true charity is much, much more.

“Real charity is not something you give away; it is something that you acquire and make a part of yourself. And when the virtue of charity becomes implanted in your heart, you are never the same again. …

“Perhaps the greatest charity comes when we are kind to each other, when we don’t judge or categorize someone else, when we simply give each other the benefit of the doubt or remain quiet. Charity is accepting someone’s differences, weaknesses, and shortcomings; having patience with someone who has let us down; or resisting the impulse to become offended. … Charity is refusing to take advantage of another’s weakness and being willing to forgive someone who has hurt us. Charity is expecting the best of each other.” (Marvin J. Ashton)

If charity truly is the pure love of Christ, and this quote is a very small definition of true charity, then what do we have to learn about tolerance and love?

Jesus said the second great commandment is to “love thy neighbor as thyself.” Love is the great healer of all. “Love is the beginning, the middle, and the end of the pathway of discipleship. It comforts, counsels, cures, and consoles. It leads us through valleys of darkness and through the veil of death. In the end love leads us to the glory and grandeur of eternal life.” (Joseph B. Wirthlin)

Obviously, there are some horrific and tragic choices being made that can’t be tolerated, and they will receive their judgement at the bar of God, but we are commanded to love. Love essential to our own salvation.

Love always wins.

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A Quick Plumbing Retrofit

I do have some progress photos of the plumbing I did in the shower. Honestly, this is the part I was most afraid of, but it was the easiest.

Just like when changing out a faucet, you have to turn off the water, but there is no handy shut-off under the sink for this. You have to turn off the water to your whole house. You really want to make sure you have all the pieces you need so your house can have water returned ASAP. Ask me how I know this. Yeah, experience. Quick (not quick) trip to the store in the middle makes for a long time you can’t wash your hands or flush a toilet or get dinner started while you’re waiting for the missing part.

Anyway. You have all your pieces. (The guy at my local lumber store was extremely helpful in getting it all figured out for me. Take pictures of what you’re doing with you.) The water is off. Let’s get this party started.

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Here is what I started with. I would have been happy to keep a two-handle faucet, but they barely exist anymore, so I had to go to a single-handle. That’s what got me into this particular mess.

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This is your friend. It’s called a pipe cutter and it’s fun to use! I had to disconnect all the brackets (again, learned the hard way) that were attaching the pipes to the studs so I could get this to turn around on the pipe. The pipe goes in right where my index finger is and tightens down so the blade can cut through.

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Cuts are made and I’m using a burr remover called for by the SharkBite company. If I had the skills and knowledge, I could have soldered copper fittings, but that is waaaaay out of my skill set, so I went for these amazing fittings. My helper at the lumber store also said I could rent a crimper and save myself some money, but, again, I wouldn’t have had a clue what I was doing, so these fittings made me feel MUCH more confident in my amateur plumbing job.

If you’re doing this project, watch this video.

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This is what the fittings look like on the current copper pipe. They just slid right on.

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I transitioned to Pex pipe. And you sure can cut Pex pipe with this same pipe cutter. They advertise a specific cutter, but it was $12 or so, and if I can get away with what I have, I sure will. My father-in-law replumbed his 100-year-old house using Pex, so I knew it was a good choice.

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Some measuring, a couple of cuts, and a few more fittings later, I had my new faucet plumbing installed and the fitting ready for the new shower head.

It seriously was super easy. I only had to call my father-in-law once to ask about cutting the Pex.

I ended up using eight fittings and two 5ft sections of Pex. I could have gotten away with this cheaper, but peace of mind is worth a lot.

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