Let There Be Peace on Earth and Patience For All Mankind

In our modern times, patience is all but lost as our society encourages entitlement and instant gratification. Thank goodness for Christmas. Patience, one of the eternal virtues that great characters are built upon, is part of so many memories of Christmas past and present. We all know the stories of sneak peeking into Christmas gifts because it just seemed too hard to wait until Christmas day, only to destroy the fun on the real holiday because the surprise was ruined. The Christmas gift tradition is a beautifully magical reminder of the sweet joy that comes from waiting. 

For centuries, prophets foretold of a Messiah that would come to save all people. The believers waited. There was no other choice. Patience, after all, is part of having faith and believing. Christmas day was the day of the prophecy, the day all the patience of believers paid off. As we count the days until Christmas on advent calendars and wrap gifts for future opening we are literally rehearsing the faith and patience practiced by believers leading up to the coming of our Lord over 2000 years ago. 

War-Time Christmas 

Sometimes Christmas day brings unexpected challenges and tears. However, those Christmas days have their own kind of magic too as they teach patience in a different way. 

The love contained in Christmas has the power to turn tears of sorrow into tears of gratitude. 1942 was a tearful Christmas for many families who were missing their loved ones due to World War II. Farrell and Beverly Pond had been married for about a year when Farrell was drafted into military service. Soon after, Beverly found out that she was expecting their first child. 

Farrell and Beverly were each looking ahead to an empty Christmas without their true love by their side. At the time Farrell left for military service, the two lovers promised to write to each other every single day that Farrell was away; and they did for three long years. This simple plan to stay connected, devoted to and focused on each other daily, kept them deeply loyal and committed to each other no matter how far apart they were. They built faith and hope in each other as they patiently wrote their letters each day. 

Beverly: “Christmas is just another day for me this year, but I will surely be thinking of you, my darling, and my fingers just itch to open your package. That will be the only fun I’ll have.”

Farrell: “Honey, I’m not expecting anything for Christmas, but I’m getting a little bit anxious to open your box. You have surely got me wondering. No matter what it is I’ll be so happy to have it, because all your love came with it.”

His loyalty to his love and principles encouraged Farrell to agree to working barracks guard duty on Christmas  Eve and Christmas day instead of going to town to drink and let loose like many of the other soldiers did that year. 

Even though Farrell was unable to regularly attend church in the army, he was a very devout believer and felt that getting drunk on Christmas was not the right way to celebrate the birth of the Savior of the world. He wanted to have a calm Christmas and think about his “beloved eternal wife”, even though he didn’t get a chance to talk to her that day. Farrell said that he couldn’t even enjoy watching a show with other soldiers because he didn’t enjoy anything unless his beloved Beverly was seated next to him.

Farrell: “Honey, every time that I’ve been to a show, which is twice, I have had, and still have, a guilty feeling because I hate so much to do anything without you…It is more punishment for me to to go to a show without you, darling, than it ever would be staying in the barracks. I love you so much and nothing is enjoyable when you aren’t with me. I’d so much rather sit and write to you.”

He longed for his wife and married life, and did all that he could to live in a way that would please his wife and God. 

Farrell: “The best relaxation and amusement for me is just to write to you, honey, and keep my bunk and shelf and floor clean, keep my clothes clean and neat and all my personal belongings kept as they should go. Because I know that you would want them in ‘spick and span’ order if I were home, and I don’t feel decent if they aren’t”

They each practiced patience by thinking of and encouraging each other instead of pitying themselves too much. They often testified to each other of the truths they held dear to remind each other, and themselves, that they could endure this trial with the hope of eternal happiness. 

Beverly: “I hope you won’t let yourself get too homesick sweetheart, as I know it’s a terrible feeling. I think I’ve felt the same way many a night since you left. But all you can do is think of the glorious time when we’ll be together again, honey, and of our eternal and undying love.” 

Farrell: “Tonight I can picture you right now. 8:00 pm M.W.T., darling, being out at Dad’s and ‘helping Sasie’ with the dinner…You can never imagine how I miss you tonight, our second Christmas since our being so happily married in the temple of our Heavenly Father. For the first time, I really dread Christmas to come too. I never dreamed I would want you so much, darling, as I do this Christmas and each day that passes. Honey, I love you so much that if I could be with you tonight I would give anything in the world.” 

Christmas day was filled with tears for both of them.

Beverly: “Oh darling, I can’t tell you how I feel today. Everyone is so very good to me, and yet I can’t enjoy any of it without my beloved sweetheart. I keep wondering what kind of day you are having this Christmas, honey, and I’m certainly missing you. Every once-in-a-while the tears just won’t stay where they should, but I always feel better after my hankie gets them…Such an eternal love as ours can never die, my darling, and surly there has never been a love any greater than our love for each other. God, in all his goodness, will surely bring us together very soon, sweetheart.” 

Farrell: “I received so much today that I was truly overwhelmed, darling. The agony of opening the packages and not being able to thank everyone face to face, most of all you my sweet darling wife, was almost unbearable…Your sweet card, darling, brought tears to my eyes because of those words ‘For there are memories we two alone can understand and there are ties that bind us close’…I want to show you each thing that I unwrapped and to kiss you and thank you so much for what you have done for me and what you and your love means to me, darling. More than a few tears have been shed by your eternally loving ‘cubby,’ darling, this Christmas, honey.”

However, behind the tears was patience and hope for better times to come and gratitude for blessings that they noticed in their lives despite their circumstances. Farrell even noticed that their relationship had a chance of improving under the circumstances since they were focusing so much on each other. 

Farrell: “Under the circumstances, darling, may the year bring you happiness and joy, and my prayer is that we will be reunited in the early months of the year. We should be doubly happy and thankful because of the coming of our baby in a  few months…We have truly been blessed in spite of the present world conditions, honey. Our love has grown so much and seems to have grown more since my being in the army, darling, and more because of the blessed event to come to us soon. I hope, my darling, that you had a Merry Christmas. I miss you so much, Beverly dear, and Christmas this year won’t have a joy or happiness for me or you either that we had had on other Christmases that we have been together. Each of the years at Christmas has shown how our love has multiplied for each other and this year is another year only of greater love and affection than all the others put together, darling. Life is so empty and meaningless when I’m not with you, because you are so sweet and loving to me…”

Beverly: “The Lord will hear and answer our prayers I’m sure, darling, and may he always bless you ‘till we are together again…”

Patience is a hopeful thing that ultimately leads to more gratitude and inner peace. 

Beverly: “I certainly pray that it won’t be another year before you are home and there’s ‘peace on earth, goodwill towards men.”

Farrell: “Happy New Year to the sweetest girl that has ever breathed the breath of life, my wonderful, darling, wife. God bless and be with you, Beverly dear, and Jr. too for your eternally loving husband, Farrell.”

Farrell and Beverly survived the years apart during the war and went on to be madly in love throughout their married life. They focused on enduring the war and each Christmas apart with patience and hope and after the war they were blessed with a truly happy, one-of-a-kind marriage. As I read their letters each week with my dad, their son, the lesson of patience and long-suffering that Christmas symbolizes has been engraved upon my heart. Patience is a rare virtue in these selfish times, but those who possess it, are truly blessed with happiness and hope during the hardest of times. 

To improve your marriage and in increase your patience at home come to this online event. 

Are Traditions a Source of Peace or Stress?

Traditions are much more than activities we regularly do for fun or foods we regularly eat. After all, traditions make up a large percentage of social small talk and family discussion, and they help us get to know each other. Traditions set us apart from others as they demonstrate our uniqueness, individualized family experiences, and memories. However, traditions don’t just set us apart, they also unite us. Traditions tie us to other people through a deep sort of bonding that no one else can fully understand. Families, who originate and often recreate traditions, have a connection that runs deeper than personality or common interests. Enduring family relationships are rooted in memories created during  the planning and participation in family traditions.

Family relationships are formed as families establish daily routines, such as, family prayers, mission statements, after-dinner clean up and other family work. On a weekly basis, many families create lasting bonds and memories by diligently planning and having family activities, family meetings, and attending regular events together. Yet, seasonal traditions, especially the ones associated with holidays, are powerful in fostering lasting memories, because of the extra special nature of the tradition and the anticipation it involves.

Family traditions are so magical that they transform us all into children again. During a 2023 Christmas Devotional, Gerrit W. Gong said, “Part of the magic for Christmas for me is to be a child and an adult at the same time. We delight as an adult in what once delighted the child we once were. We delight with the child as we create and recreate memories and traditions together.”

Holiday traditions, whether good or bad, lay a foundation for connection and communication patterns for our lives. The traditional experiences of our past, whether unifying or dysfunctional, influence our identity and bonding habits. They can promote enduring joy or family-oriented anxiety. 

Distress Over Traditions

Maybe this anxiety is why some people worry over creating family traditions and even sometimes hesitate to recreate traditions from their childhoods. On Today.com, Connie Lissner wrote an article called “Creating Family Traditions is a Bad Idea.” In her article she suggested that since children sometimes push back against seasonal traditions that parents should consider discontinuing those traditions. She even suggested bribing children to participate in traditions by having all seasonal traditions include gifts. Neither one of these ideas will solve the problem of entitlement, selfishness or complaining behavior in the family. They are simply placing a bandaid over a deeper problem. 

Sometimes children can feel that they have outgrown a tradition or that they would rather do something else with their time, missing the significant point of a family tradition. 

Family traditions aren’t meant to please only one person, they are to unify the group. They create a unique memory that represents the family identity and includes the whole family. Of course it would be perfect if everyone liked participating and found pleasure in the tradition every time, but that isn’t likely to happen since we can’t control the choices or processing of others. So, when push-back happens ask yourself, “What is the purpose of this family tradition? Is the purpose important enough to emphasize even if one person is not having a good time this year? Is it okay or even healthy for one family member to not get his way sometimes?” Sometimes being part of a group involves looking at the bigger picture and not thinking only of yourself and what you want. Bonding is grounded and family identity is established when families create traditions and stick to them. 

There are other reasons people don’t like the idea of family traditions. Some people have had bad experiences with traditions that have left them feeling distressed, neglected, or even abused. If sarcasm, prejudices, aggression, and put-downs are part of family traditions, then it’s no wonder that a person might start to think of family traditions as toxic or hostile environments. These family traditions can potentially pass on unhealthy behavioral patterns that will last for generations. In such cases, it could be best to make new family traditions or have open conversations about how to help the family traditions hit the mark for family unity in the future.  

What We Lose When We Lose Traditions

Gerrit W. Gong said, “A Christmas memory recalled, is a Christmas memory made anew. Christmas memories become traditions.” (Christmas Devotional 2023) When we lose a treasured tradition we lose some of the beautiful family memories that lead to identity, security and hope during difficult times ahead. Memories build traditions and traditions make memories. 

Memories get lost when we give up or lose family traditions. When the memories get lost the opportunity to increase a sense of family identity through tradition is also lost. Family traditions offer families who have had relationship problems the hope for healing relationships and greater happiness in the future.  It gives families a  chance to push aside problems, and to focus on family the way they intentionally want to be as a family. When we stop having traditions we potentially destroy the chance for families to deliberately unify about something when they normally wouldn’t. 

How can a certain game, pudding, Christmas decoration, or bedtime story really do that much good? If the same attention is paid to that item or moment, then that item or moment, when repeated is a reminder of old days and joy in relationships. For some people it likely sounds liberating to adapt to life changes and abandon old traditions. 

However, traditions are roots of identity that our children return to again and again as they go through life. We don’t want to lose that. Maybe those temporary selfish complaints are a sign that a tradition needs to change, but they could also be the sign that they need to just invest more in the tradition instead of looking at traditions through an entitled lens. Before you change a treasured tradition, ask yourself, “Am I changing this tradition into an even better tradition for my family, or am I giving up an important tradition that makes us who we are?” 

How To Create Healthy Family Traditions 

Since family traditions are so foundational, it’s worth the effort to establish healthy family traditions for seasonal holidays. Here are four steps for creating healthy family traditions. 

First, work on yourself. The way we feel about ourselves can directly impact the way we interact with and feel about others. If you don’t like a family tradition or are struggling with family interactions, ask yourself, “Is there anything about my own thoughts or behavior that I’m not seeing which I could work on to improve the situation?”

Second, you don’t need to do every new tradition you hear about. I know that some people struggle with the “fear of missing out” more than others, but don’t overwhelm yourself or your family by attempting too many traditions. 

Third, explain to your children why you want to use traditions from your childhood so that they get some buy-in too. You love the traditions for a reason. Share your stories with your children so that they know what you are trying to recreate. 

Fourth, get input from the family about traditions too. Be sure to be open enough with your holiday tradition schedule to allow for time to try new foods and experiences. Maybe try one new thing each year and see if it turns into a tradition. If it doesn’t, no worries, you still have all those other wonderful traditions, like the fruit cake that everyone loves and the family Christmas Eve talent show. 

We all know people who struggle at Christmas time because they either don’t have anyone to relive family Christmas traditions with anymore, or they had such bad experiences with toxic family traditions, like family aggression, that they dread this time of year. This is very unfortunate since traditions are so foundational to each one of us and contribute to our vision of ourselves.  Perhaps this year is a great year to start a new tradition by inviting someone outside the family group to be part of a special family tradition. Maybe opening our arms and sharing our treasured traditions could be just the thing someone needs to have hope for family traditions again. 

Merry Christmas! 

Video by Nicholeen called Creating Family Traditions That Last 

“All Things Bright & Beautiful” An Easter Message

WOW joins in the observance of Easter, or Resurrection Sunday this Holy week with fellow Christians around the globe. Easter is the season of victory, the conquering of death by our risen Lord who affirms our hope in the resurrection of all.

To celebrate, we are sharing two performances from works written by the late 19th century Irish poet, Cecil Francis Alexander. The first work remains a popular Easter hymn, “He is Risen” performed by the Tabernacle Choir. “He is Risen,” echoes the words of the angel to those seeking the body of Jesus at an empty tomb. Alexander’s verses continue on to exclaim, “Death is conquered, man is free. Christ has won the victory.”

The second piece is probably her best-known work today, the poem-hymn, “All Creatures Great & Small” performed by the National Taiwan University Chorus. This work is a tribute to God, the Creator who gifted mankind universally with the beauties of nature. Both hymns celebrate the Divine, who was the great influence in what flowed from Alexander’s heart to pen, paper and love of neighbor. However, it took a loving father to provide the nourishment and encouragement of this fertile ground.

Francis or “Fanny” was a timid girl who loved to pen lines of poetry, but in secret. She developed the habit of hiding her private pages under the carpet of her room. Her prolific writings eventually gave themselves away by an obvious bulge in the rug. Her curious father investigated the disfigured carpet and discovered his daughter’s hidden treasure. He immediately recognized Fanny’s talent and lovingly, desired to encourage her. He constructed a wooden box with a slit on top for her to keep safe her precious work. He also began having her share her verses on Sundays, first with family and then to the occasional visitor, helping Fanny to increase in confidence. Fanny blossomed as a writer due to her father’s love and family’s encouragement, and by age 25 her work was published and quoted throughout the British Empire.

Fanny’s contributions extended beyond her work in the arts, demonstrating the woman of character she would become. She took the proceeds from her work to help construct a school for the deaf and mute in 1846 as well as the Derry Home for Fallen Women. It is said of her that those, “…who knew her best felt that, beautiful as her hymns are, her life was more beautiful still” (Campbell, Hymns and Hymn Makers, 1898).

Fanny’s life is an illustration of a few of WOW’s 14 Principles in action. The first is Divine Power. Knowing God loves us and has a divine destiny for our lives, brings greater meaning and purpose to many individuals, who work diligently beyond self to contribute positively to society. With a desire to share this truth, Fanny published one of the first hymnals for children, which grew to 69 editions in her lifetime.

WOW’s principle #7 emphasizes the importance of fatherhood. The love of an engaged father like Fanny’s can and will flow through both daughters and sons to the spreading of greater good. Her story may induce ache into the hearts of some, because of an absent, neglectful or abusive father, but no matter one’s circumstance, peace can be found for all who seek their Heavenly Father. Fanny’s works are deliberate in leading others to Him.

It was said of Fanny that she was “indefatigable” in her good works. WOW advocates for being our brother and sister’s keeper in our principle #11, Service as a means to help strengthen and lift women & family, community, society, and even ourselves. It is through the quiet and not so quiet giving of our lives that truly make, “All things bright and beautiful.”

Happy Easter!

WOW Teaches Kenyans About Strengthening Families

In 2015 the KCCB, Kenyan Conference of Catholic Bishops, in Nairobi, Kenya asked WOW to send our president, Nicholeen, to train groups of people from all over the nation about how to strengthen family relationships. This year, a little over 3 years later, Nicholeen was invited back by the KCCB to speak at their Humanae Vitae Golden Jubliee celebration.

The KCCB gathered leaders of family organizations and church leaders from all over the country for a one day event where Nicholeen spoke for 4 hours. She taught them about calmness, about being firm but not hitting their children, about skills they could use for family problem solving, and meetings they can use to communicate better with their children. She showed those in attendance how The Family is the Key to the Success of the Humanae Vitae. 

The Humanae Vitae was a document written in the 1960s by Pope John to declare the sacredness of human life. It is the reason Catholics love children so much and don’t believe in abortion or assisted suicide.

Since WOW is also against abortions and assisted suicide practices we were happy to support the dedication the KCCB has to promoting the love and sanctity of human life!

During the 4 days Nicholeen was in Nairobi she spoke to the KCCB group, the KCCB radio station, a Kenyan homeschooling group, and at a fireside for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, as well as having multiple meetings with leaders in the area.

Here is a video made of a few pieces of the fireside by some LDS missionaries. 

Understand Your Christmas Identity


Christmas is full of symbols and characters that inspire us and that we can relate to. We all want to be Santa for someone each year, so we look for needs that we can meet anonymously — just like he would. Some of us relate to Rudolph. We feel different, but know that our difference is just what the people around us need to accomplish their goals. Some of us are the Littlest Angel, so we give our best for Christ even though our offering seems small and humble. Some of us have had or are having a change of heart like Scrooge or the Grinch. Who are you this Christmas?

As I ponder the true meaning of Christmas, I can’t help but delight in the profound comprehensiveness of the characters in the nativity story. Everyone can relate to one or more characters in the story. When we see the birth of Christ through their eyes, it strengthens our own identity and roles.

Due to the uniqueness of the love and sacrifice of the Holy Family, I’m not going to compare any of us to them. It is true that we could each have moments when we have to trust in the Lord for help with our personal missions, and sometimes we don’t feel adequate for what we’re called to do in our lives. But, I think it makes more sense to examine the other characters in the nativity story who honor Christ just like many of us try to do.

The shepherds were the most ready to receive the Christ child. They spent their lives serving and nurturing the flocks and thinking about what was most important in life. When ‘the call’ came to see the Savior, they went straightaway to see Him and proclaim of Him. Is that you?

The Wisemen were smart. They were well read and often sought after for guidance. They had gained all the glories of the world: money, status, power and learning. Have you received some of these things?

They believed in the prophecies they read from the Bible and for years sacrificed their time, their money, their energy and their lives to travel far to visit and worship the Christ child. They were the wise ones of their day. But instead of worrying about what others thought of them and how much they know — as wisemen often do — they focused on gaining more light and truth by seeking out the Christ, no matter how long it took. Are you a wise one?

The sheep didn’t understand everything that was happening, but they felt the spirit of the love of Christ and reverently followed the ones who had an angelic witness and prophesied of His divinity. Are you a sheep?

The inn keepers are sometimes given a bad image. They are often seen as the ones who turned away the Christ child. I don’t think the inn keepers were villains. In fact, I think even the greatest among us could fall into the “inn keeper trap.” This trap is called stress. During this busy time of census, the inn keepers “had a lot on their plates.” They were helping people get lodgings, taking care of details, and putting out the never-ending “fires” that happen when there are many house guests.

The inn keepers would be making food, getting beds ready, answering questions, and trying to keep the inn tidy while so many people were underfoot.

When Joseph came knocking on the inn keeper’s door it was just one more detail to check off the inn keeper’s list. Can you just see the mental list? Answer door and get rid of more work that needs to be done. Check.

The inn keepers were in survival mode. They weren’t evil; just busy. Worshiping and serving the Savior didn’t make it on the list; that’s all. Are you an inn keeper?

The gentle donkey risked his life through fatigue and likely some starvation to carry the holy family and protect the life and ministry of the Christ. He worked hard and didn’t complain. In the story, most people likely see the donkey as a prop, but he actually helped move the work of the Christ forward without being acknowledged. It wasn’t his story. He wasn’t the focus, but he was vital to bringing to pass the full mission of the Savior. He was silent and sturdy, dependable and obedient. Are you the donkey?

No matter which character you resemble most, you can choose who you will be from here on out. We all know who we are meant to be. There is something inside of us that whispers to our hearts the truth of who we are and what God wants us to do with our lives. Happiness comes when we find that piece of our identity and fulfill it.

Identity is a huge part of who we are! It’s about unifying our thoughts and actions with who we know we ought to be. This Christmas, as we live our many roles with love, let us see ourselves as part of Christ’s story. As part of the never-ending lessons learned from that glorious nativity!

Merry Christmas!

The Peck Family

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Christian Mother’s Innovation Helps Girls Grow In Faith


At a recent mother’s event I met Sara, a mother who acted on a feeling to make beautiful dolls for girls that promote faith too. 

Years ago, I was frustrated as a mother that the American Girl dolls my daugther and all her friends wanted to have were part of a company who changed it’s values away from family and faith toward trendy, changing values. So, when I met Sara I was inspired. I don’t have little girls anymore, but I immediately saw the value in her idea to make dolls that promoted her vaules instead of the values of trendy society. Here is a short article written by Sara about her dolls and her mission to make the world a bit better. 


Do you have any little girls in your family? If so, you are probably aware of the 18 inch doll craze they all seem to go through. I became aware of it when my oldest daughter was six or seven years old. It seemed that almost every little girl we knew either had an 18 inch doll or was asking for one. My little girl was no different. I began to think it would be a great idea to use little girls’ love for 18 inch dolls as a fun and creative way to teach them more about God. I imagined creating doll characters based on my seven- year old and a few of her friends.

It was a fun daydream to develop in my mind while I completed the tasks of diaper changing, feeding, and the other jobs that went along with caring for my two youngest daughters who were both still infants. That is all it was – a daydream – for almost two years, until one day I mentioned it to a friend. She loved the idea and encouraged me to make it a reality. An encouraging word from a friend – that’s all it took. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29

It was clear that this was God’s project right from the start. Not only did He prompt my friend to encourage me that night, but He lined up every event that followed. From leading me to friends who offered sound business advice, to answering my prayers for help with the huge task of writing stories for each doll character, to providing me with a business partner, Shane Hodges, who had what I lacked – God has been in charge of Girls of Faith from the beginning.

Besides the Christian theme of Girls of Faith, another thing that sets our dolls apart from any other on the market, is that they are made in America. Being able to create and develop the only toy vinyl doll that is made in America is further proof of God’s working.

Our first doll, Audrey, is based after my oldest daughter. In her story, Audrey reaches out to a new girl at her church school. As she tries to share her faith with her new friend she learns that although she may not have all the answers she can make a difference in someone’s life by simply sharing the love of Jesus. Having three daughters myself I know the social struggles little girls go through. Our goal with this doll is to encourage girls to be inclusive in their friendships, and by doing so they can be living examples of God’s love.

Our second doll, Hannah, is based after one of our good friends, Hannah Truckenbrodt. In her story, Hannah is forced to get out of her comfort zone and make a bold move for God. The story concludes with her making a decision for baptism. Our hope is that this character will inspire little girls to follow Jesus no matter the cost.

Our third character will be released soon, and her story tells of a little girl with big plans for the future. She is inspired by stories her grandparents tell of their missionary adventurers. This story will help little girls understand that they don’t have to wait until they are grown to do big things for God. There are plenty of missionary opportunities surrounding us each day.

Creating Girls of Faith has been an exciting and educational journey so far. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.” God has continuously built the next step in this “staircase” at just the right time and I can’t wait to see what He has in store for Girls of Faith. You can read more about our story and see our beautiful dolls at www.girlsoffaithdolls.com.

The Christmas That Made My Heart Melt

Child holding baby doll

“Look what I got for Christmas,” said my friend Megan as she held up a single serving package of crackers with a small red stick for the spreadable cheese.

At eight years old I was shocked. There I was holding my new doll and standing next to my doll’s stroller. Immediately I knew I needed to rejoice with my friend for her treasure and try not to draw attention to my more expensive gifts. I put the doll in her stroller and said, “Wow, those are so yummy! You’re lucky.”

Never before had I realized that my family was richer than other families. My father was a school teacher and my mother babysat other people’s children to help make ends meet for our large family. I always thought we were poor. But here was a person I knew, and she had the smallest Christmas gift from Santa Clause I’d ever seen.

I told my mom about this experience, and the next year we decided to do something nice for Megan and her family. I lovingly picked out the best doll we could afford. We planned to surprise her on Christmas by anonymously leaving it at her house. However, the doll I was getting was still more expensive and more fancy than hers.

Somehow in my little heart I had decided it was good to give to others after I had taken the best for myself first. It made logical sense to me that the best way to give to charity or others was to see what you wanted or needed first and then give what you didn’t want or need to someone else. This way there was no waste and everyone received something.

For years, this semi-charitable philosophy was the basis for my giving. I felt good about myself for giving to others and not wasting all the stuff I didn’t want. Then a very young boy taught me that my selfish version of giving was missing the mark.

And the Children Shall Lead Us

Quinton, my oldest son, always had a big heart. He continuously looks for ways to help and serve others.

When he was three years old, Quinton begged for a Buzz Lightyear toy because of his excitement in seeing it in a recently released movie he loved. This toy was expensive and not the kind of toy we normally splurged our meager funds on. However, after seeing the toy appear on repeated birthday and Christmas wish lists, we eventually relinquished and purchased the toy for his fourth birthday.

Quinton’s joy was just what we had hoped for. He slept with the toy and played with it daily.

The following December I read my son a story called the Christmas Scout. It’s a family favorite about a young scout who selflessly gives his Christmas gifts away to poor children. After reading this story, our young family decided that we wanted to give to the poor. I knew the local thrift store had an evening set aside when they allowed poor families to choose from the nicest items for their family Christmas presents. I suggested we contribute what we could.

Immediately Quinton ran to his room and started looking through his clothes and toys. He had many nice, like new items he had never used. We thought any of these items would be suitable. And, of course, they wouldn’t hurt our family at all to give them away because he obviously didn’t need them.

After we had collected a generous amount of items, I sat down to admire my kind, young boy as he played with his toys. I loved that he was so easily inspired and more than willing to think of others and act. As a side benefit, I got to do some pre-Christmas dejunking, which was a tradition of mine as well.

As I was looking at my son and appreciating him, I noticed he was playing very thoughtfully with his Buzz Lightyear toy. He was carefully looking it over. After a few minutes of this he looked up at me and said, “Mom, I’ve taken really good care of Buzz, huh?”

“Oh yes, Quinton,” I said. “You are so careful with him. He looks just like new and should be a good toy for a long time.”

At this point Quinton looked back at his beloved Buzz and seemed to ask himself a deep question.

Then, looking back up at me, he said with an enormous smile, “Mom, we didn’t put Buzz in the box for the poor children. He’s the best toy I have and he’d make them very happy. He makes everyone happy.”

While I was trying to determine how to process this shock and what to say, my young son joyously took Buzz to the box and made him comfortable among the other toys and clothes.

My son smiled at me, and I wanted to cry. I was holding back the tears. His childlike love and goodness were incredible to behold. However, I think I was also tearing up because I didn’t know how to handle the situation. I had scrimped and saved for that Buzz Lightyear toy. I even had to convince my husband that it would be a good thing to buy. But now, quite unexpectedly, my son was willing to give it up for a good cause just like that.

“Maybe he doesn’t realize there won’t be another Buzz toy given to him,” I thought. I decided I had to let him know.

When I told Quinton, he looked up at me with his large blue eyes and said, “But Mom, isn’t it right to give something someone couldn’t get for themselves? Isn’t that the point?”

“Well, yes, but you wanted that toy for so long, I hate to see you lose it. You’ve already given the other children so many nice things,” I reminded him as I tried to get him to change his mind.

I felt so conflicted. Here I was caring about a toy and money, while at the same time also wanting my son to feel the joy of giving with such love and charity. “Okay,” I said. “It’s your choice.”

I assumed he’d start playing with Buzz again and forget about the idea of donating him. But he didn’t. After a couple of months of Buzz being at his side night and day, Buzz was now permanently in his donation box.

Two days later we dropped off our donation box. I again reminded Quinton he wouldn’t get another Buzz Lightyear, and this was his last chance to rescue his beloved toy.

“Mom, think how happy the little boy who gets Buzz will be,” he assured me as he picked up the box and walked it to the drop-off point. He set the box down, picked up Buzz one last time, gave the toy a quick hug, and said something to the toy. Perhaps Buzz’s parting words to Quinton were, “To charity, and beyond!”

Quinton was all smiles as he returned to the car with a light heart and a quick step. I was fighting back the tears of joy and pain as my heart melted. “We should do this every year, Mom. I like knowing that someone will be happy on Christmas because of me,” he said in his sincere, committed voice tone — which he often used when discussing important matters.

At this point I reflected on that Christmas so long ago when my friend Megan was so excited to get her cheese and crackers, and I was so blessed to get to anonymously share some Christmas joy with her.

I realized as we drove away from the thrift store that the size of the person doesn’t determine the size of the heart. My small son’s heart reminded me that true joy comes when we give our best and not worry about the rest. This little principle is not just for Christmas presents. Each day we live 24 glorious hours. They are a gift to us. The way we live and give of ourselves during those hours is the way we give back to God. True happiness comes when we love enough to give our best and not worry about the rest.

Merry Christmas!

Here are some other Christmas Stories we enjoy and some of our fun family traditions you’ll love.

“Say What We Want or We’ll Make Your Life H*ll”

Fiery Sunset

This is an accurate sub-heading in an article, Iowa Bureaucrats Force Trans Bathrooms On Churches, Forbid Non-PC Preaching on thefederalist.com  website. The article reveals Iowa’s Commission on Human Rights new SOGI regulations. The new regulations place churches under a “public accommodation” banner with stiff fines for those who do not comply.  We knew the intention of anti-discrimination law was meant to FORCE THE KEEPING OF FAITH PRIVATE, but this egregious tyranny reaches even into the private religious domain, which is unconstitutional as well as disturbing. Click HERE to read the article.


Review of “How Do You Kill 11 Million People?”

Review by Phyllis Kimpel


This video based on Andy Andrew’s book made a strong impression on me.

   It begins with asking, “How did Hitler get elected that led to the killing of 11 million people?”  The answer was that he lied to a nation. It quotes Hitler, “How fortunate for leaders, that men do not think. Make the lie big, make it simple, keep it simple and eventually the people will believe it.” In Hitler’s autobiography, Mein Kampf  it said, “The great masses of the people will more easily fall victim to a big lie than a small one.” This book was widely read by the German people at the time. The masses either believed Hitler’s lie or ignored it.

   At the time the total German population was 79.9 million people. Less than 10% of the population actively campaigned and worked to bring about Hitler’s change. The vast majority of the population, fathers, mothers, ministers and teachers avoided the uncomfortable truth of what was happening around them and around them.  The Nazis even started targeting the children. By that time they were too late to do anything about it.

   The German people tried to distance themselves. Every Sunday the German people could hear the train and its whistle bringing the Jews to the camps. Since they knew the time the trains would pass by they would start singing at that time to drown out the screaming noises.

The video points out that speaking the truth is the least we should expect from our political leaders. It is a beginning to solving our problems. It asks, “What are our standards for being led? Is it alright for a guy to lie to us even if his intentions are good? Who are the bad guys and who are the good guys? Do we judge the bad guys by their actions and the good guys by their intentions? If so, how can we tell the difference?” The most dangerous thing is, trusting a liar. The movie said, “Have you ever noticed that if we lie to our leaders, it is a felony but if they lie to us, it is politics?”  

  The video ends by asking, “Is lying to be elected acceptable? Would truth be a starting position to solve the nation’s problems? Where are we headed? Can you hear the whistles and wheels coming down the track? How loud are you singing?”

   I think of  April 30, 1789, when George Washington was first inaugurated as the first president of the new nation of the United States of America and after the inauguration, George Washington led a group of people to St. Paul’s Chapel from the Federal building in New York and dedicated America, as a nation to God. In his inaugural address he said, “No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men, more than the people of the United States.”

    If the first leader of this nation credits God for it being established, what would God think of this nation now? John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

   The citizens of his nation were meant to have freedoms and certain unalienable rights set out by the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution. We as a people have become complacent and now we are in a position where our freedoms of religion, parental rights and the moral rights of our children are being threatened by the laws that have been established. What has been our moral conduct before all this happened? What laws supported them? Why? Was it for personal gain, pride, power or greed? What do we need to do to change things so that we are secure of our rights?

    Thomas Jefferson said, “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.” We as citizens have no one to blame but ourselves for not being more involved in the choosing of our leaders and the establishment of our laws.

    I pray, as a “people of good conscience” that we be more involved in the affairs of our government and nation.

Click here to see the video!

A Year To Remember For The Utah Legislature!


This year WOW was actively engaged in the Utah Legislature fighting to protect religious libertites, parental rights, family, and rights of conscience.  There were a lot of bills and resolutions this session that are worth talking about.  

The biggest topic on Utah capitol hill for the past few years has been what to do about the anti-discrimination bills that keep pushing language that would not protect religious liberties.  WOW has fought dilligently for the past three years to protect religious liberties. 

SB99, SB100, HB322, SB297 and SB296 were a handful of the bills that asked for religious liberties or anti-discrimination legislation or both.  Of these bills SB296 and SB297 passed.  This last bill was a balanced bill calling for anti-discrimination in housing and employment, but also calling for protection of religious liberties.  

During this legislative session the LDS church spoke out in favor of SB296 and SB297undoubtably making a positive influence on their passing. The ACLU opposed these bills. WOW was very disappointed that HB322 did not pass as it was a very good bill for protecting religious liberties.  

There was an exciting bill stating that parents must opt their children into sex ed. classes now.  This is a great precaution to take to protect the consciences of children and religious freedoms as well as parental rights.

HB48 passed.  This bill prevents some uses of powdered alcohol.  This is good news. 

WOW was opposed to HB391 the death with diginity (assisted suicide) bill. Luckily this bill did not pass. 

WOW was opposed to HB134 which was a homeschool tax credit bill.  We felt that this bill would potentially lead to regulation of homeschooling families in the future leading to possible violations of parent rights, and it is not a fair bill to other families who don’t have children in public schools and won’t get credits.  This bill did not pass. 

SB175 unfortunately passed.  It was a bill designed to create a school safety help line for children.  This hotline will be promoted to children.  The calls will be taken by unknown people at the University of Utah and parents will not be told if their child calls the number.  We have not been able to determine what kinds of advice or services can be offered by the unknown people at the college.  We see this bill as a very possible violation of conscience and a definate violation of parental rights to help their own children.  We felt it would be better to adopt a plan to teach children to talk more with their parents and teachers instead of take more tax money to refer children to strangers whose morals are not known. 

These were some of the big bills we watched and chimed in on.  But, there are always some kind of ridiculous bills like this one.  Did you know that in Utah code it says it is against the law to ride a bicycle with no hands?  Some things are not meant to be made into laws.  

It is important that we all stay as informed as possible so that we can stand up for the principles and values we hold dear.