Last year, at the end of November, I decided I needed a change of heart. I had been through some difficult circumstances, and I needed to re-train my mind to think positively about others and to re-teach myself to be more optimistic about life. So, I had an idea to start my "25 Days of Christmas" blog posts. For each of the 25 days, I highlighted a person on my blog. I wrote positive thoughts about each individual and good memories I'd had with each person. And it truly did my heart much good!
It has been one year since I posted THIS, the intro to last year's "25 Days". And what a difference a year makes! I'm in a much healthier place now--spiritually, mentally, and physically. I feel like I've finally worked through everything that was troubling me, and I can actually say that for the most part, I kinda like myself. And good thing too, since I'm stuck with me!
I'm going to do my 25 Days of Christmas again this year, but for a totally different reason. Last year, I did it to help myself in the process of changing my hard-heart. This year, I'm doing it to spread the love that I feel for others. At the October 2008 General Conference, President Thomas S. Monson gave a talk about Finding Joy in the Journey. His talk has inspired me for this year's "25 Days". I know that his words are full of truth, and I want to share some of them with you. In his talk, he said...
"One of the most inevitable aspects of our lives here upon the earth is change. At one time or another we’ve all heard some form of the familiar adage: "Nothing is as constant as change.” Throughout our lives, we must deal with change. Some changes are welcome; some are not. There are changes in our lives which are sudden, such as the unexpected passing of a loved one, an unforeseen illness, the loss of a possession we treasure. But most of the changes take place subtly and slowly. Day by day, minute by minute, second by second we went from where we were to where we are now. The lives of all of us, of course, go through similar alterations and changes. The difference between the changes in my life and the changes in yours is only in the details. Time never stands still; it must steadily march on, and with the marching come the changes.
This is our one and only chance at mortal life—here and now. The longer we live, the greater is our realization that it is brief. Opportunities come, and then they are gone. I believe that among the greatest lessons we are to learn in this short sojourn upon the earth are lessons that help us distinguish between what is important and what is not. I plead with you not to let those most important things pass you by as you plan for that illusive and nonexistent future when you will have time to do all that you want to do. Instead, find joy in the journey—now.
Stresses in our lives come regardless of our circumstances. We must deal with them the best we can. But we should not let them get in the way of what is most important—and what is most important almost always involves the people around us. Often we assume that they must know how much we love them. But we should never assume; we should let them know. Wrote William Shakespeare, “They do not love that do not show their love.” We will never regret the kind words spoken or the affection shown. Rather, our regrets will come if such things are omitted from our relationships with those who mean the most to us.
Send that note to the friend you’ve been neglecting; give your child a hug; give your parents a hug; say “I love you” more; always express your thanks. Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved. Friends move away, children grow up, loved ones pass on. It’s so easy to take others for granted, until that day when they’re gone from our lives and we are left with feelings of “what if” and “if only.” Said author Harriet Beecher Stowe, “The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone". Let us relish life as we live it, find joy in the journey, and share our love with friends and family. One day each of us will run out of tomorrows."
Aren't those beautiful and inspiring words? I truly treasure the prophet's counsel, and I truly love this particular talk. I've read it and re-read it multiple times, and I've watched the Mormon Video about it over and over. Each time I do, I'm filled with thoughts of love. And I want to share the love that I feel for you, with you. I don't want to have my 'words left unsaid' or my 'deeds left undone'. I think this is the perfect time of year to share my love, too. Do you know what the first gift of Christmas was? It was love. Pure Love. Love is a beautiful gift. And I intend to give it, to spread it around, along with some Christmas cheer!
The people I will be featuring in my "25 Days" this year are the people who commented on my blog post "Be a friend, Be a buddy, Be a pal, Be a chum". (p.s. it's not too late to add your name--just click on the comments for that blog post and type in your name!) It's the same way I chose the people that I wrote about last year, too. Unfortunately, for those of you who were highlighted last year, and commented on my random post again this year, I won't be featuring you again--because I am trying to spread my love to as many people as possible. So, here's a list of my loved ones I featured last year. The words I wrote then are still true today. Just click on the name to read all about them!
1st day of Christmas: Josh's aunt LINETTE
2nd day of Christmas: my friend GINA
3rd day of Christmas: my friend EVE
4th day of Christmas: my friend HEATHER
5th day of Christmas: my friend CELYN
6th day of Christmas: Josh's cousin JODI
7th day of Christmas: my friend DEBRA
8th day of Christmas: my sister TAWNA
9th day of Christmas: my friend CANDISE
10th day of Christmas: my friend SARA
12th day of Christmas: my friend CHRIS
13th day of Christmas: Josh's sister TIFFANY
14th day of Christmas: my friend D'NEILL
15th day of Christmas: my friend MARIE
16th day of Christmas: my friend EMILY
17th day of Christmas: my sister-in-law JEN
18th day of Christmas: my brother MICK
19th day of Christmas: my sister-in-law BREANNE
20th day of Christmas: my sister TRINA
21st day of Christmas: Josh's brother-in-law SCOTT
22nd day of Christmas: my sister TABBI
23rd day of Christmas: my high school classmate AMY
24th day of Christmas: Josh's uncle DENNIS
25th day of Christmas: my husband JOSH
Starting tomorrow, and continuing to Christmas Day, I will be featuring one person a day on my blog. I am looking forward to sharing my thoughts and feelings about each of them with you, and I hope you enjoy reading about my loved ones, too!