Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Eve Miracle

I asked my children what they would like us to do as a family to serve others.  Jackson, our 10 year old said, "Why don't we go caroling!!"  I said, "Great idea!"  I started to name off the kind and sweet people and neighbors we could visit, but then my husband suggested 2 of our grouchy neighbors.  

Let me give real examples from each of these "grouchy" neighbors:

Grouchy #1:  Before we even moved in, she told the painter we had no business living there if we had children.  Her son told us never to come by because she's "old and grouchy."  I thought I would change her mind and visited her to let her know that we are a "good" family and that she could call us anytime if she needed something.  She got so mad that I had come over that she began to shake and said that people shouldn't visit each other.  

Grouchy #2:  She came over to our house just about a week after we had moved in to tell us that she didn't want our children stepping foot in her yard because they would be a liability for her.  We have a backyard of about 2 feet from behind the house, so it's quite difficult to honor her request.  We obliged after I told her the request was ridiculous.

Now, Abe wanted to bring cookies and sing to these 2 neighbors too!!  

We started on our caroling journey and after several moans and complaints of cold hands and falling socks, I told the kids we needed to have a prayer so that the Spirit would be with us as we shared our Christmas message.  

We prayed mid-way in a neighbor's driveway and went directly to grouchy #1's house.  Jordan, our 7 yr. old played the guitar to "Away in a Manger", and Tyson, our 9 yr. old played the trumpet to "Joy to the World."  No one came to the door, so we started to walk away when suddenly her door opened!!  I was the only one left standing there.  Nervous, I started singing alone until the rest of my family joined me.  Many thoughts were running though my head, "What would she say?  Was she mad?  Did we wake her?  She's cold I'm sure!!  She had told us not to visit!"

But, despite my worries, with a smile, she said, "I was just watching 'The Christmas Carol,' and I couldn't believe it that I had real carolers at my door.  I have never in my whole life had carolers come to my house."  Never in her life had carolers?  She has lived at her house for 55 years, and she is much older than that!  She spoke humbly, and she was obviously very moved by the experience.  Without lingering, we wished her a very Merry Christmas, gave her a plate of cookies and a balloon flower and went on our way.

Shocked that we had been the only carolers of her life, we went on to Grouchy #2's house.  We started to sing.  She opened her door in her pajamas and looked out in surprise at the 8 of us singing and playing instruments on her doorstep in the dark, cold night.  After we finished our songs, she said, in a choked up voice, "I needed that."  Again, without lingering, we wished her a very Merry Christmas and went on our way.

What a miracle that these 2 "grouchies" were touched deeper than I ever thought was possible in their "stone cold" hearts.  Maybe they aren't so stone-cold after all.  Maybe the little things matter.  Maybe I should put more faith in continued efforts of simple acts of love.  As we continued caroling to the rest of our neighbors, we felt joy knowing we hadn't left the others out.  

I am so grateful when God allows us all to be instruments in His hands.  It was Jackson's idea to carol, Abe's idea to include the least friendly people on the street, my idea to pray for the Spirit to accompany us, and all the children's willingness to share their vocal and instrumental talents.  I thank God for the  miracle that unfolded simply because we chose to listen to each other as a family.  God is speaking to each of our hearts hoping we will listen so that all of His children may have the opportunity to feel of His love.  

Sunday, December 23, 2012

God Took My Cold Away

I haven't written in here for several months because I couldn't find where it was!!  Silly me... I don't know much about computers.  There are so many miracles I need to catch up on, but I'll just have to start with today's miracle.

Miracles are constantly taking place!!  I feel an urgency to write them down because God is blessing us all in so many ways.  Sometimes we feel down and forget to "see" what He is doing in our lives.  I feel like the more we recognize them before the Lord, the more He is willing to open our eyes to all of the ways He is guiding our life.  He is ALWAYS there.

                                                        Today's Miracle
I had my tonsils taken out last Monday.  That day, and one by one, almost all of my children dropped to the couch with fevers and bad head colds.    I was worried I would catch it because I was already dealing with so much pain, dizziness, and exhaustion from the surgery.  Well... I caught it, and it was just as bad as I thought it would be.

By Saturday I was a mess...  My eyes were constantly draining and my nose was running so badly that I had a kleenex practically hanging on it.  Because my surgery hurt so bad, my sneezes violently gushed out as my hair flew around my face.

Saturday night I told Abe that I wouldn't be able to go to church because I was too contagious and in too much pain.  I was sad because it was Christmas Sunday, Abe would be singing, the kids would be singing, and I had prepared gifts for my Primary Class.  I really didn't want to miss it.

I prayed to God, and asked Him to help me to be able to go.  Sunday morning I woke up really late expecting to not feel good enough to go.  I of course was hurting all night from the surgery, but I didn't have any symptoms of the head cold!!  I didn't have to cough, blow my nose, sneeze, or anything of the sort.  I was shocked!!  I quickly got ready in record time, and we raced out the door.

On the way, I said another prayer that we would arrive in time for Abe to sing in the first choir number.  Miracle number 2:  Right as we were walking in they announced for the choir to go up front to sing.  It was a beautiful morning, and I thank God for the opportunity to be at church praising His son, Jesus Christ, on the Sunday before we would celebrate His birth.

Friday, May 25, 2012

May 25th

1.  We have 9 children living with us for the Summer.  Abe was able to take time off work so all of us could go to the park today and play tennis and football.  Some of the kids rode their bikes while I ran.  It was really a beautiful day, and Jayden even slept while Abe and I played a whole tennis set.  I needed that time with my hubby.  The miracle is that the day went so smoothly.  

2.  After the park, all 11 of us went to a play at the Civic.  At intermission, the director came up to us and praised all 9 children for being the best behaved children.  The other director said whenever she worries about what to do with her one child, she just says, "WWRMD."  She said that means, "What Would Rachel Mills Do."  I'm grateful that God allowed me to hear those complements on me as a mother because it gave me courage to be more patient as a mother.  I believe that it is a miracle that God knows just how to encourage us through others.  I'm grateful to those that choose to listen to what God puts in their hearts.

3.  I can't stop looking at Jayden and appreciating the miracle that he is for finding his way to our family.  I thank God every day for our perfect miracle.  I know that he was meant to be ours.  Before we adopted Jayden, very frequently people would blatantly ask me if my kids were adopted.  Our first 5 are biological, but I always worried about our child's feelings when we would adopt.  It's so interesting that everybody stops to look at Jayden's beauty ,but not a single person has asked me if we adopted Jayden.  I'm not trying to hide the fact that he's adopted by any means; adoption is a beautiful miracle to me.  I just don't want Jayden to have a daily reminder that he came to our family in a different way than our other children.

4.  Today, I was upset with one of our children's choices, and I'm so grateful that I was able to stop and listen to the Spirit guiding me in my decisions on how to discipline.  It's a miracle to me that we really do have the Holy Ghost guiding us on the small details of our days if we choose to listen.

5.  Today, I read the perfect story during my personal Spiritual study.  It was just what I needed to read to understand how I can grow closer to my Savior.  If I hadn't chosen to take the time to read; I wouldn't have found the answers to my prayers.  God speaks in miraculous ways, I just have to remember to always make the effort to listen and study His words.  I'm so grateful I did today.

6.  I just received some enlightenment by reading my other miracle entries for today....  I think I need to listen more... There is greater room in my heart to love if I take the time to listen.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

May 24th, 2012

1.  Throughout the day I pray for even the simple things.   We have 9 children for the Summer, and  I wanted to take them all on a bike ride today.  One of the bikes wouldn't work; the chain kept falling off.  I said a prayer to know how to fix it, and the simple answer came that all it needed was WD40.  I'm not good at fixing anything, so I needed that help from God.  It was a miracle that we were actually able to go.  It was a wonderful day.  We stopped at the lake and had a picnic and then came back home.  Our children are sooo much fun to watch.  They are truly warriors for righteousness and goodness.  They are thoughtful of others.

2.  It was a miracle that I didn't spend a lot of money at the bike store fixing all of our bikes like I was planning on doing!  All of the bikes worked without hardly any work.  I had been frustrated for several days when I couldn't ever get to the bike store in time to do the major fixings.  God helped me to be wiser, and I'm thankful he didn't provide the time for me to do what I wanted to do.  I'm grateful that so often He steps in to guide us in a direction we think is frustrating when He is actually answering another prayer of ours in the process.  He knows what will give us a deeper happiness.  That is why I love to start my day with personal spiritual study, a prayer, and also family scripture study.  I give God the invitation to help my feeble mind throughout the day.

3.  It is a miracle that God gave me such a wonderful husband that would teach me so many things and be strong at the times and in the areas I need the most.  Sometimes I wonder how it is that God loves me so much that He brought Abe to me.  God's hand was definitely involved with our getting back together again after my mission.

4.  Jackson left his "buddy" in the woods tonight at dance class because he was helping some girls find their way out of the woods.  Then, however, he made the mistake of going off alone to find his brothers and Makis who was his buddy.  All the kids came out of the woods, and Jackson was not with them.  I was very scared and prayed that he would find his way out quickly because he does get confused easily  with directions (like me).  God answered my prayer and helped him to find his way.

5.  I took all the kids for ice-cream, and I was trying to hurry to make it for the $1.00 short shakes because the sale ended at 4pm.  We had made several wrong turns, and we were losing our time.  I prayed, and we made it to Culvers just in time...  at 3:58pm.  That was a very happy miracle!!:)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Pictures of My Beautiful Miracles

In our church, we have a Stake President.  Two weeks ago we had a conference where he shared a very miraculous story.  In the story the father felt that he was given special miracles not just for himself, but also for him to share with his children and those around him.  President Witt challenged all of us to write down our daily miracles.  He suggested that the more we did this, the more our eyes would be opened to what God really is doing in our lives.

In my effort to start this challenge, my mind swarms with all of the wonderful miracles that have recently taken place and the miracles that have taken place in my lifetime.  I want to write them all down at this very instant...  I can't do that right now...  so I will just begin with today.  Maybe I will return to them little by little because God really is GREAT.

May 22, 2012:  Rachel

1.  I feel especially grateful for my husband and children.  What a miracle to have each one.  It is a miracle to me as I watch them interact.  Tonight I was told how respectful and well-manered they are at church.  I of course was pleased to hear that.  Then, when we came home, Jordan and Tyson (who like to get on each other's nerves the most) decided to create a special handshake to show they are buddies.  YES!!  I love to see my children work as a team.

2.  Today I watched out the window as my children ran free in a field of grass.  It is a miracle that they can see the simple beauty of this Earth.

3.  There is a family that I have been very worried about.  I love them dearly, and I have been worried that they do not know how loved they are.  I hadn't seen them for a long time.  We went to tonight's church activity, and they were there with smiling hearts and happy faces.  I had agonized and prayed for this family for weeks.  This made me realize that sometimes I feel frustrated when I can't resolve problems.  God showed me that He cares about His children even more than I do.  I can trust that if I have done all I can do to love someone, I can then leave it in His hands to pass on that message of love.  He is doing all the background work.  We can't see it; we just need to be patient and trust that He wants ALL His children to find happiness and peace.  God is working miracles in the lives of those we love.  I can pray for those I love with confidence that He is listening and taking care of them.