Posts Tagged ‘Sue Gong’

Friday Favorite

September 23, 2011

I know that it is early to start talking about Christmas, but Christmas eve the best day of the year at our house, and I wanted to share some of the family traditions that have made it so special.  We started when the kids were young trying to think of ways to help them think about how to give on Christmas and not get caught up in the unhappiness of wanting too much.  So we encouraged them to give presents to each other and us, and we turned Christmas Eve into the children’s giving event.  We start the evening by caroling, then we come back to the house and have a middle-eastern dinner to remind us of the food that the Savior may have eaten.  After dinner we read the Christmas story together (we used to act it out for years and years.  Gloria Jean was always Mary.  Angela was the angel, and Brian was often the donkey.  Ben was the innkeeper one year, but his heart was so soft that he let Joseph and Mary have a room for the night.)  Then the magic begins with the children’s gifts.  Each child has a special time to give the gifts that he or she has made (or bought if necessary).  We start with a round of appreciations for each giver-of-the-gifts in turn.  Everybody in the family tells about why they love this child.  Sometimes they bring up their favorite memory of this person from the year.  When everybody has given an appreciation, then the child gives out his/her presents one by one, explaining why they chose it, and showing the recipient how the gift works.  This is such a magical experience.  Everyone in the family feels surrounded by love.  And the spirit is so sweet that we do feel like we are in a little heaven-on earth.  Christmas morning, when the children receive the parents’ gifts, always seems like an afterthought.  The children are so much more excited about what they are giving than what they are getting, and the excitement infuses the house with hidden secrets and plans and works weeks before the magic evening arrives.  This special night of giving and receiving love infuses the family interactions with security and well-being for months.  The kind of presents the children give have changed a lot over the years, but we always know that appreciations and giving bring a fullness of spirit to fill our home.


Wednesday Words–Curiosity

September 21, 2011


One of our favorite family poems is “Curiosity” by Alastair Reid.  It’s a fun poem for the children, and still delights the older we grow.  It is full of quirky images and twists of our regular way of looking at things.  And it plays off of the old idea that cats have nine lives.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.  Sue Gong.

may have killed the cat; more likely
the cat was just unlucky, or else curious
to see what death was like, having no cause
to go on licking paws, or fathering
litter on litter of kittens, predictably.

Nevertheless, to be curious
is dangerous enough. To distrust
what is always said, what seems
to ask odd questions, interfere in dreams,
leave home, smell rats, have hunches
do not endear cats to those doggy circles
where well-smelt baskets, suitable wives, good lunches
are the order of things, and where prevails
much wagging of incurious heads and tails.
Face it. Curiosity
will not cause us to die--
only lack of it will.
Never to want to see
the other side of the hill
or that improbable country
where living is an idyll
(although a probable hell)
would kill us all.
Only the curious
have, if they live, a tale
worth telling at all.

Dogs say cats love too much, are irresponsible,
are changeable, marry too many wives,
desert their children, chill all dinner tables
with tales of their nine lives.
Well, they are lucky. Let them be
nine-lived and contradictory,
curious enough to change, prepared to pay
the cat price, which is to die
and die again and again,
each time with no less pain.
A cat minority of one
is all that can be counted on
to tell the truth. And what cats have to tell
on each return from hell
is this: that dying is what the living do,
that dying is what the loving do,
and that dead dogs are those who do not know
that dying is what, to live, each has to do.

Alastair Reid



Tuesday Tip–Scripture Study

September 20, 2011

Hi Ladies!  This week Sue Gong is going to share with us her pearls of wisdom.  Below is her Tuesday Tip:

Do you find it hard to read the scriptures?  Take a tip from Ben.  He says, “I have to read in the morning because by the time my day starts everything is moving too fast.  If I waited I would never get my scripture reading done.”

–Other people say that they take their scriptures to work and read them at lunch.  They say that the important thing is to have a regular time.  Make it a habit that’s hard to break.  Same time.  Same place. Every day.
–One person I know reads the scriptures on her knees.  She prays, then reads, then prays some more.  The scriptures are just part of her back-and-forth conversation with God.
–Another friend of mine reads the scriptures with a pen and notebook in hand.  She says the Lord gives her spiritual messages when she’s reading, and she has to hurry and get them on paper before she forgets.  “It’s a matter of priority,” she says.  “When the Lord gives me his list, I do it first. His work gets done before mine does.  Somehow when I have requests I feel confident that I can make them known to him.”
— One woman writes a scripture on a piece of paper and tapes it to her bathroom mirror.  Every time she enters the room she takes a minute to memorize her scripture.  When she has it memorized, she takes it down and puts it into her backlog pile.  After two or three new scriptures she takes an old one from the backlog pile and puts it up so she can rememorize it.
–An old trick we tried in seminary was to put the scriptures to song and sing them out loud.  It was amazing to hear my own children singing the old seminary scripture songs years after they were out of school.
I guess the lesson is that there as many ways to read the scriptures as there are personalities. What remains the same is the light and peace that floods into our lives when we are reading and praying consistently.  If you have a unique method of scripture reading, please take a minute and add it to this blog.