Today is our last day of Christmas break.

And here’s my question about that sad little fact: Why in the world start on a Thursday of all days? It just makes more sense to me to just wait ’til next Monday.

But I guess we’ll take advantage of what we get and I’ll leave here with more Christmas reminiscing:

These two girls got serious this year about earning money to buy each other Christmas gifts.
They put their heads together and thought and thought. They asked for a list of jobs.

And then they worked. A lot.

Our house sparkled.

But they still didn’t have enough money to buy what they had in mind.

All this coincided with my lamentation over the last month about how much I miss teaching Joy School right now. Joy School at Christmas time is my favorite. The songs, the activities, the messages you get to teach, the program for the retirement home that you create…I love Joy School. And Lucy has never really done the real deal because she has her own special preschool.

So although it didn’t cure my overall desire to be teaching, I suggested the next-best thing: have Grace and Claire do the teaching.

They jumped at the chance.

They invited a few girls over for two days in a row and went to town creating the lessons and activities.

This was a game where each girl got a turn to be “Santa” and handed out toys while the other girls “slept.”

And I think this next one is when they ALL wanted to be Mary from the nativity and ride on a donkey so Grace and Claire let them all do it.
The ottoman made a great donkey.

Of course, my heart melted as they taught.
And even more when we headed to Target with their hard-earned money clutched tight in their little fists and I got to watch them pick out great sibling gifts. (more about those back here)

Just to echo the last line of one of my fav. Joy School songs: “the very best part of Christmas time is the presents you give away.”

Yeah, I think that’s right. Because as we know, when we serve and give to others, we’re serving God.

How I hope these kids will really let that seed plant in their hearts and bring them the joy of giving all life long.

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  1. I know I just commented but at the risk of sounding stalkerish, I really love your blog/family/love/faith.

    When you popped up on my side bar with a new post this morning, I was giddy. A sure sign of a new favorite read.

    Happy Wednesday!

  2. The Joy School seems so cool! I need to read more about it and see how I can implement it in my home.

    Oh, and Omaha Public Schools started back on Tuesday. The other local public school starts tomorrow as well…I thought that was really weird, esp. for the poor teachers!

  3. What a joy to see your kids look for ways to bless others, and by the smiles on their faces, they were blessed as well!
    You are such an encourager!

  4. Hi,

    I discovered your blog a few months ago and I love coming back every week to know what you have been up to. I found in this blog community so much inspiration.

    As a mother of a now teenager who feels the need to double-check every picture that ends up in the family photo album (and then makes me hide all the ones where she thinks she doesn't look her absolute best), I was wondering if your children have an opinion on what makes it to the blog or not.

    And to answer your question, it is a little odd starting school on a thursday. But nothing surprised me anymore: for a few years now, the two first days of school have been half-days followed by a three days week-end.

    Sorry for any grammar mistake, English isn't my first langage!

    A reader from Montréal, Québec (Canada)!

  5. I come here on the recommendation of my friend Naomi from Seven Cherubs. If she says you're her favourite blog, I just know I'm going to love you to.

    This post was a beautiful, heartwarming place to start.

  6. Hi! I'm a big fan of your blog. I am interested in Joy School for my kids (my oldest will be three in March) but I'm not sure where to find other moms who may be interested in collaborating with me. I posted on the fb page a couple months ago and no takers so far. Do you have any suggestions as to where we can find other moms who want to do this, especially for those of us moms who aren't of the LDS faith? Thanks!

  7. Jill, check They may be able to hook you up with people in your area who are interested. It's the BEST program ever, so I hope that helps you find a group!!

    Love, Shawni

  8. Thanks for getting back to me, Shawni, I know you are busy. I tried your suggestion and I'm having some issues sending feedback to them, for some reason, but I'll keep trying the facebook way on the valuesparenting fb page. In the meantime, if you hear of any moms in your area who want to collaborate in the next year or so, please feel free to give them my email address ( I'm in Chandler but willing to travel anywhere in the East Valley. Thanks and Happy New Year!! 🙂

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