What a wonderful Christmas season! We are blessed to have the love and support of so many great people and it became so evident over the past few weeks. A secret Santa really set the tone with beautiful gifts, food and cards for the 12 days of Christmas. Each evening the kids would get excited anticipating that knock on the door and what the new day would bring from our secret Santa. Preparing for Christmas is a lot of fun for a parent. I know that Portia is an extremely resourceful, hard worker that goes to great lengths to make Christmas a special time of year for our family. I fell way short of the standard that she has set and the thought of adding a secret Santa mission seems impossible! Not sure how you did it but thank you! Someone from our neighborhood generously provided a wonderful turkey dinner with everything that you could imagine to go with it. Both of these gestures brought a great spirit of love and gratitude to our family and it was much appreciated. Whoever you are, I hope that you read this and know that you made Christmas bright.

The kids and I had fun speculating as to who it may have been. We literally had it narrowed down to several hundred people that would do this for us anonymously. There are so many incredible people in our lives that could, would and have blessed our lives in addition to so many others around them. We’ve had the good fortune of living in 5 or 6 different wards over the past few years and have come to know so many people that love our Savior and are striving to love and serve him through service and kindness to those around them. Know that we love and appreciate you. There is definitely a special feeling that comes from receiving an anonymous gift. The beginning of 3 Nephi touches on this.

1 Verily, verily, I say that I would that ye should do alms..; but take heed that ye do not your alms before men to be seen of them; otherwise ye have no reward of your Father who is in heaven.
2 Therefore, when ye shall do your alms do not sound a trumpet before you, as will hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward.
3 But when thou doest alms let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth;
4 That thine alms may be in secret; and thy Father who seeth in secret, himself shall reward thee openly.

Family and friends made it possible for us to visit Portia just prior to Christmas. It was a long drive and the weather was terrible but it was so good to see her and watch her hold her kids! It brought peace to everyone to know that we’re all moving along and looking forward to being together again and that even though things seem distant and difficult our family is good, strong and worth fighting for.

Our family had a wonderful holiday season visiting family and spending times with cousins.  It was highlighted by our visits with Portia.  The Temple covenants that we made close to 20 years ago are real. Our family is comforted, strengthened and sometimes carried for a divine purpose.

Know that your acts of kindness and words of encouragement provide strength and support. Portia isn’t able to check Facebook or the blog but know that I forward any comments to her and that she really appreciates them because it helps her feel connected to friends and family.