I know this post is a day (almost two days) late, but I'm not giving up the dream just yet. At least for now, I am going to keep writing! So this week has been very, very close to bliss. I SO love my family! I also SO love Christmas! The only thing that put a damper on our life was all of our health. My dad is still in kidney donation recovery mode, Desi got her wisdom teeth out on Tuesday, and the rest of us are passing around sore throats and colds. Desi said our house has been a "war hospital". Well, it's been a pretty wonderful war hospital considering how great a week we've had.
Last Monday Deseret, Liberty, Hyrum, and I stayed up talking around the Christmas tree for ages! (It's kind of our thing. After we read the scriptures as a family and all say goodnight and get ready for bed and such, the four oldest kids congregate by the Christmas tree to write in our journals and do our individual scripture study. Well, that night we got talking and it was the best thing. Sister Fina'i called them "Deep and Meaningfuls". This was definitely a deep and meaningful. We talked about the future, the past, our family, the gospel, our failures and insecurities, and our hopes and dreams. All four of us cried. It's been kind of weird because since I've been home I've visited lots of wonderful people and seen lots of friends, but my best friends in the world are my siblings (including the two youngest who were asleep). I will always have them and they made this week a party.
Tuesday I went to the dentist and prayed and prayed that I wouldn't have any cavities after not going my whole mission. Well I guess Heavenly Father loves me, because I didn't have any! I also went to the eye doctor and got a stronger prescription of contacts that I know I've been needing. I LOVE them! I've decided that getting contacts or glasses is like accepting the gospel. You don't know how much you've been missing until you do it. It's been great. Then that night we watched "It's a Wonderful Life" (of course, for Christmas). More than ever before, I just cried and cried. I love that movie!
Wednesday my sore throat was the very worst! We had a Christmas present wrapping extravaganza and then it was the Wells Ward Party that night. Our ward though! It's a good one. I was involved in the presentation deal they had at it. It went well. I got to hold Raven (my temporary cousin that is living at my aunt Olivia's). I just carried her around and had the best time. I've missed holding babies!
Thursday I was sick again and I worked for my dad again. I also took Hyrum to Elko to a Spring Creek get together with the Dyers who used to live in our stake. They are a great family.
Then the rest of the week all blends together all being Christmas! On Christmas Eve, my very organized mother had us all draw a sibling partner to help do some Christmas cooking. Morgan and I made the breakfast casserole for Christmas morning and we did a gosh darn fantastic job! The Christmas Eve program at Grandma and Grandpa's was just wonderful as usual. We all got dressed up, ate soup and bread bowls and cookies and drank egg nog and wassail. I attempted to play a piano solo (my voice was still to messed up to sing very well). I played "Away in a Manger" but it wasn't nearly as good as Liberty's. That girl is AMAZING! At the end of the program all the cousins got on their white flowing angel costumes or towels and bathrobe to be shepherds. We do it every year and we turn out all the lights except the Christmas tree. We play Manheim Steamroller's "Silent Night" and someone (this year it was me) reads the Christmas story in Luke 2 while all the cousins stand and form the nativity. The spirit was so strong. Then my dear, dear Great Grandma Jaynes gave the closing prayer. She is like Sister Toaripi or Chasidy . . . her prayers are powerful! I could just feel the presence of deity in that room.
Christmas morning was wonderful of course. Lots of excitement and joy and wonderful gift giving. Everyone in my family has a new BYU "Reppin the Y" shirt (from Desi) and a New Zealand momento of some kind (from me). We are all spoiled rotten I'm pretty sure. Then, I loved going to church on Christmas day! It felt like the perfect thing to do to. Deseret spoke beautifully and so did my aunt Jennifer. She shared that her favorite Christmas memory was investigating the church through December when she was in college and staying up late to feast on the Book of Mormon for the first time ever. How wonderful is that?
Our family got a great new board game (Ticket to Ride) for Christmas and if the Johnsons are anything, we are competitive! We've been going hard at that.
I'm just so blessed to have the wonderful family that I do. The heart of it is in this house right now, keeping warm from the freezing -8 degrees cold outside. Some of it is peppered around Starr Valley and Elko County. Some is across the state line over in Utah. And some is across the ocean, across the world, in Aoteroa (New Zealand). The spirit of Christmas is the spirit of Christ. The spirit of Christ is the spirit of love. Well, I can definitely feel that spirit. I will sing "Hosanna" to my Heavenly Father for sending his only begotten son to the earth to save us all of sin and shortcoming and sadness.
"Peace on earth, goodwill to men!"
Sister Clarissa Johnson