Sunday, 23 December 2012

"An Unexpected Gift"

Yesterday my husband and I were browsing Christmas Messages on Youtube-surfing and video-browsing is one of our favourite activities to do as a couple - usually ones of the hilarious variety - but I especially love it when we find ourselves on either of the Church websites, watching awe-inspiring and uplifting captions of people's lives from all over the world.

As we were browsing for videos that would help us remember the true meaning of the season, we came across this particular video:

I just wanted to share this video as it touched my heart to the very core. I have never experienced anything like the woman depicted has, and I hope I never do, but my soul was touched by the Spirit.

What a privilege it is to be able to celebrate the birth of our Saviour; to reflect on that most joyous occasion, and to remember His purpose here on the Earth; to save each and every one of us.

"You and I may cry out 'No one understands. No one knows.'
But the Son of God perfectly knows and understands.
He can reach out, touch, and strengthen us."
Elder David A. Bednar
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
I just want to personally testify of the truth of this quote. I know that for many people this Christmas will not be easy. The world is in tumult. Every single day another devastating piece of breaking news is recorded across the globe - and even more pieces of devastating news are breaking our hearts.
My thoughts and prayers are with all those who will be battling through this Christmas - whether suffering the recent loss of a loved one, the hardship of marital separation, homelessness, financial struggle or debt, sickness or injury, loneliness - whatever is may be, my heart aches for you all.
Please know that God is near you, you are watched over, you are loved, you are prayed for; your Saviour is holding you.

Friday, 21 December 2012

My Grandpa.

November 11th this year fell on a Sunday. Every Remembrance Sunday in my parent's ward they sing Jerusalem as the Intermediate hymn. There used to be a wonderful older lady in the ward who could play that hymn off-by-heart, and so magnificently it would bring you to tears. Sadly, that wonderful lady passed away this last year.

Little did I know that the responsibility of playing the beloved hymn was about to fall on me. 

Me? I felt as though I couldn't decline, even though I could spot even from where I was sitting at least two pianists who were, I felt, far more talented than myself. I heard a tiny voice whisper to me that it would be the right thing to do. I had no idea why. 

I sat on the pew, studying the music I had just been handed; trying to figure what parts I could miss out without too much notice, whilst still upholding the majestic nature of the piece. I turned to my husband and nervously smiled; I looked around the room and couldn't spot my parents anywhere - they usually sat with us during this meeting. I asked my husband if he knew and he broke the news that my Grandpa had been taken sick; they had gone to visit him. 

My heart dropped to my ankles; my dear Grandpa was 91 years old. My chest tightened. I wanted desperately to ask "How sick? What happened? Where is he?" But knew that Pete wouldn't have those answers. All he knew was that he'd had surgery earlier that morning, and it had not gone to plan. 

My palms started to sweat, and my throat began to ache with held-back tears. Meanwhile, the meeting had started. I knew I had a while before I would have to play; maybe I could find somebody who would happily fill in for me, due to the circumstances. But a quite voice in my chest told me that I would play; all would be well. 

I shut my eyes tight and began to offer a silent prayer to my Heavenly Father; "Please let Grandpa be okay. Please let Grandpa be well. Please let him be all right." I filled my heads with happy thoughts of Grandpa; how much life he still had in him; he couldn't die; he was far too young at heart; he would not die, not for a long, long time yet. 

My moment came, and I nervously walked toward the piano. My heart was pounding in time with my footsteps; my hands make the music flutter in my fingers. I sat to the piano, arranged the music, and took a deep breath - but just before I pressed my fingers to the sounding keys, I offered one last silent prayer to my Father in Heaven; "Let Grand know how loved he is." 

I never thought that I would play the piece as well as I did. I felt as though I was hardly even looking at the music; my head swam around and around with thoughts of Grandpa, and how he himself had fought in the Second World War. It seemed too strange to be coincidence that I had been asked to play, and that my own Grandfather - a war veteran - had been taken sick on this Remembrance Sunday. Hot tears quickly trailed my cheeks as I played the closing bars of the music. The cadence rang through the Chapel, and carried on ringing in my heart as I returned to my seat.

My beloved Grandpa, Reginald Farrant, passed away that evening, surrounded by many of his children; his wife at his side, and I am sure, many more angels waiting to welcome him into the next life.

As I thought of my Grandpa passing that evening, I felt a warmth in my heart and a confirmation of all that I know of the Plan of Salvation.

My Grandfather was an incredible man, and the more I learn about him the more I love him, and the more respect for I have for him.

I have no doubt that he is happy, safe and well where he is at this time; I have no doubt that he is teaching the Gospel like he has never taught before.

My Grandpa's passing was the first experience I have had with death since Seth passed away. The feelings of grief and mourning were still so raw that experiencing another death in the family opened up so many unhealed wounds. It was a difficult time. But, I found so much comfort in one thing; someone I knew so well in this life is finally able to be with him. Another member of our Church. Someone that he is sealed to. Someone who can be an incredible example to him, just like he was to all who knew him when he was alive.

I have no doubt that Grandpa is close to Seth, and that my little boy was one of those angels waiting to welcome him through the veil.

But as this wonderful Christmas season approaches, I am ever so mindful of those who are missing someone; in particular, my wonderful Grandma. Her and Grandpa had been married for over 50 years, had 9 children, 32 grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren with even more on the way. What a life to have lived! And this will be my Garndma's first Christmas without my dear Grandpa holding her hand. My heartfelt prayers will be with her especially this Christmas.

And to all those who are missing someone they love, however young or old, however many Christmases have gone by without them here; 

always know, that they are never too far to whisper to them a 

"Merry Christmas"

for they will always hear.

{For my beautiful Grandparents - I love you both so much}

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Christmas is coming...

...And I am getting fat - it's wonderful.

Not because I have eaten too much Christmas cake, but because Peter and I are having another baby :)

I have been holding the news very close to my chest, but now I feel it's about time I tell people that I haven't just eaten all the pies; I've eaten all the pies and I'm growing a baby.

That might help to explain why I haven't blogged in a while...This subsequent pregnancy has been hard; physically, mentally, and emotionally. Every time I have tried to write over the passed couple of months, it ends up in tears, and just hurts so, so much.

But I have been inspired. I was blessed over the passed couple of weeks to be able to help out a friend with her business blog; she has written some fantastic festive posts! Her wonderful words, stunning pictures, and the spirit with which she produced each and every post have just inspired me to get back into the swing of it!

I must admit, facing this Christmas will be the hardest of all. I have been making cards and gifts to keep myself occupied and always busy with something "Christmassy" to do, but I often found myself reduced to tears with my heart and arms aching - if my little boy were still here my Christmas crafts would be very different; our tree would be riddled with "Baby's First Christmas" baubles, a stocking bearing his name would be clung to the mantle, our cards would be signed from "Peter, Lucy & Seth", and instead of being decorated with a solitary snowflake, there would be place for a first Christmas family picture.

I think of these things and my heart swells, my throat closes and my eyes water, all with grief and mourning for the loss of so many possible memories.

But Christmas is my absolute favourite time of year; it's a time of celebration, joy, giving, and love. A season to celebrate the birth of our Saviour; to remember Him and all he did for us. It is a season to be jolly, happy, bright, and joyous. So I have decided, that despite my many current anxieties and burdens that I must carry, I will make the season bright! I will create and leave memories of a Happy Christmas, of a little growing family who are trying to put themselves back together after a really tough year. Instead of focusing on what we are lacking, or who we are missing this Christmas, I will focus on all that we have; wonderful friends, forever families, baby on the way, and an abundance of blessings great and small.

I am hoping to create a few dedicatory posts this Christmas; to a couple of special people, and to the season itself.

I do not doubt that this year has been tough for many; many sad things have had to come to pass, but I do not intend to let that riddle my Christmas. This festive season we shall cherish all that we have, and lift the Spirits of those who are in need; just because we can.