Friday, December 24, 2010

The Three Trees: By Russell Arben Fox

This is a Christmas story I remember my family reading when I was little.  Reading it really reminds me of Christmas and all that it stands for.  I thought I'd share it... :0) Merry Christmas!

Once upon a time, three little trees stood in a forest high on a mountain, dreaming of what they would be when they were grown.

The first little tree looked up at the stars twinkling like diamonds in the night sky. “I want to hold treasure,” it said. “I want to be filled with gold and decorated with jewels. I will be the most beautiful treasure chest in the world!”

The second little tree looked down the mountainside at the ocean far below. “I want to be a strong sailing ship,” it said. “I want to travel mighty waters and carry powerful kings. I will be the strongest ship in the world!”

The third little tree said, “I don’t want to leave this mountaintop at all. I want to grow so tall that when people stop to look at me their eyes will raise up to heaven, and they will think of God. I will be the tallest tree in the world!”

Years passed, and the trees grew. And then one day, three woodcutters climbed the mountain.

One woodcutter looked at the first tree and said, “This tree is beautiful! It is perfect for me.” With a dozen swoops of his axe, the first tree fell.

“Now I shall be made into a beautiful treasure chest,” thought the first tree. “I shall hold marvelous treasures!”

Another woodcutter looked at the second tree and said, “This tree is strong! It is perfect for me.” With a dozen swoops of his axe, the second tree fell.

“Now I shall sail mighty waters,” thought the second tree. “I shall be made into a strong ship fit for powerful kings!”

The third tree felt its heart sink as the last woodcutter approached. It stood straight and tall and pointed bravely towards heaven. But the last woodcutter never even looked up. “Any kind of tree will do for me,” he muttered. With a dozen swoops of his axe, the third tree fell.

The first tree rejoiced when the woodcutter took it to a carpenter’s shop. But the carpenter was not thinking about treasure chests. Instead, he cut and carved the tree into a simple feedbox. The once-beautiful tree was not filled with gold or decorated with jewels. It was covered with dust, and filled with hay for hungry farm animals.

The second tree rejoiced when the wookcutter took it to a shipyard. But the shipbuilder was not thinking about mighty sailing ships. Instead, he hammered and sawed the tree into a simple fishing boat. The once-strong tree was too weak to sail the ocean. It was taken to a little lake, where every day it carried loads of dead, smelly fish.

The third tree was confused when the woodcutter took it to a lumberyard, where it was cut into strong beams and then left alone. “What happened?” the once-tall tree wondered. “All I ever wanted to do was stay on the mountaintop, grow tall, and make people think of God.”

Years passed, and the three trees nearly forgot their dreams.

But then one still and silent night, golden starlight poured over the first tree, as a young woman placed a newborn baby into the feedbox.

“I wish I could make a cradle for him,” her husband whispered.

The mother squeezed his hand and smiled as the starlight shone on the clean and shining wood. “This manger is beautiful,” she said. And suddenly the first tree knew it was holding the greatest treasure in the world.

And then one humid and cloudy day, a tired traveller and his friends crowded into the small fishing boat. The traveler fell asleep as the second tree sailed quietly out into the lake. But a thundering storm arose, and the second tree shuddered, knowing that it did not have the strength to carry so many passengers safely through the fierce wind and rain.

The tired traveler awoke. He stood up, stretched out his hand, and said with a strong voice, “Peace, be still.” The storm stopped as quickly as it had began. And suddenly the second tree knew it was carrying the King of heaven and earth.

And then one terrible Friday morning, the third tree was startled as its beams were yanked from the old lumberyard. It flinched as it was was carried through an angry, jeering, spitting crowd. It shuddered when soldiers nailed a man’s hands and feet to her. It groaned as the man cried out in agony and died. It felt ugly and harsh and cruel.

But at dawn the next Sunday, on the first Easter morning, the earth trembled with joy beneath the third tree, and it knew that God’s love had changed everything.

It had made the first little tree a beautiful treasure chest. It had made the second little tree a strong sailing ship. And every time people looked upon the third little tree, they would think of God.

That was even better than being the tallest tree in the world.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Family is so fun! No matter how crazy and ridiculous you may be they love you!  I love my family and wouldn't trade them for anything! My family is interesting... we are FAR from perfect, but we all accept each other and love each other in spite of our many shortcomings.  Sure we get upset and I won't lie and say there isn't drama...because there is... a lot of drama.  But somehow we all love each other.  This means standing up for each other, accepting each person for who they are, and enjoying being around them.  I can honestly say that my family does all of these things.  I know that in this day and age a statement like that is far from true in many families, which is why my family is so special to me.  I love my whole, big, crazy family! <3 <3

I wish....

I was....... :P

Monday, December 20, 2010

Sabbath Day

Sabbath means "to rest" in Hebrew. Today our lesson in Sunday school was about keeping this most sacred day holy. I loved the way the lesson was broken down and just wanted to share it because I felt in was rather insightful.

What does keeping the Sunday holy even mean? I guess for me it's the attitude towards the day. Sunday should be treated as a special day to rest and be in the presence of the Lord. Not that the rest of the week isn't for that, but life is hectic! Things get crazy and often times we lose sight of what's important. Slowing down and making Sunday a special day helps me to become closer to my Heavenly Father and focus. I feel like having an attitude of reverence helps to invite The Spirit into my home and life. It shouldn't be like every other day, doing the same activities and things we do everyday (unless you're perfect and listen to nothing but church music and meditate everyday of your life):P It's a day for doing the things that bring you the most peace. For me that's trying not to do things like.... homework, work related things, shopping, cleaning, and my biggest one watching movies or shows I normally do during the week. Not that I watch anything inappropriate or that that's even a bad thing, but I feel like there are things that are more inviting of peace and The Spirit than those things.

It's also a day for personal reflection, and spending time with family and friends. Being together in a time where everyone is in a rush and cities never sleep, is so important. It's essential to take time to appreciate loved ones and slow down to help enforce strong bonds of love and respect. And what a better time to do it? :)

Why is it important keep the Sabbath day holy?
1. Physical/Mental Renewal - Even God needed to rest after creating the world, what makes us think we are any better? Everyone needs physical break to be healthy. I find that during periods in my life when I am not observing the Sabbath I tend to run... and run.. and run and then crash. It seems to me it's better to take once a week to physically renew instead of doing things until you drop! Also, it's been shown in lots of studies (like my scientific qualification there?:P) that performance levels improve when people work, exercise, study ect. six days rather than seven. I feel like I can better focus on things when I'm not neck deep in them ALL the time. Same with life, when I take Sunday to renew myself I can better tackle it's challenges! :)

2. Spiritual Strengthening - In putting the cares of the world aside for a day; I have more time to focus on more important things. It gives me a chance to focus on the Lord without distraction, and be more perceptive to The Spirit. It gives me a chance to create an environment where I can learn and grow in simple moments with the lord.

3. Obedience to the Lord's Commandments - The Lord has commanded his people to keep the Sabbath holy. Personally, I feel like God, who created me, knows more about it than I do! :P In obeying His commandments we show that we love him... I feel like if for no other reason, I want to keep the Sabbath holy to show my love and gratitude to the Lord. :)

The following is my list of Sunday activities that I find help me "keep Sundays special" :)

*listen to spiritually uplifting music
*Reading conference talks from
*Blog about a church lesson :P
*Play an instrument
*Write in a journal
*Go for a walk
*Color or decorate this weeks goals
*Visit the hospital or rest home
*Make a craft
*Make treats for someone
*thank you cards
*talk with an old friend
*Sunday night dinner and cards with my family

The most important thing is for people to understand that different things bring peace to different people. I know that keeping the Sabbath Day holy will make me happy and efficient in the my day to day activities and the Lords work. I know the joy that comes from following the Lords warnings and commandments. :)

Totally unrelated link but I stumbled on it... hahaha enjoy!


Saturday, December 18, 2010


:) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

- Release hormones to regulate your mood
- Increase the number of antibodies that fight infection
- lower your blood pressure
- boost respiratory function;
- exercise dozens of facial muscles

- 72% of people think that those who smile frequently are confident and successful
- 86% of people are more likely to talk to strangers if they are smiling
- Bosses are 12% more likely to promote people who smile a lot*

I feel like smiling makes everything better. Try it. Seriously, when you're walking somewhere look up and smile, you may think it's goofy, but people smile back. And guess what!? You just made their day! Or at least helped them with some of the benefits listed above:)

So SMILE! :)

Stats source: *

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wonderful Women

Read this!
It is so interesting to me that I have so many wonderful women in my life. My mother, grandmother, sisters, aunts, and my best friends. So many times they are under appreciated.  They do so much for those around them and it just amazes me that I have been so blessed to have so many wonderful examples in my life of strong, compassionate women.  

"Heaven's Touch: A Tribute to Women" Featuring art by Greg Olsen has some of my all time favorite paintings and quotations. It's a lovely book and great buy for any woman.  
I challenge anyone who reads this to do something special for a woman who has made a difference in their life.  :) It doesn't have to be exciting or extravagant, but something that lets them know that they are special when things are tough.