Eve was the First Women’s Libber

So for 2022 my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is studying the Old Testament. So we just studied the Creation and the Fall of Adam and Eve in Genesis, as well as in the Pearl of Great Price.

The Fall used to be one of those things that totally confused me as a teen. Why did God give Adam and Eve two different competing commandments? That didn’t seem fair, according to my pubescent brain that still only thought in black and white. Why did Adam and Eve have to disobey a commandment in order for the plan of salvation to move forward? Isn’t that saying it’s OK to disobey as long as you get the end result you want?

The answers have slowly come as I’ve grown up. Some of the parts of the answer comes from the Book of Mormon, for 2 Nephi 2:22-26 says:

22 And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end.

23 And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.

24 But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.

25 Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.

26 And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given.

Part of the answer came from this talk given by Beverly Campbell, linked over here. She later developed this talk into a whole book. If you haven’t read it, please go read the talk as a Cliffs Notes summary of the book.

Eve and the Choice Made in Eden
Image Credit: deseretbook.com

I love that she points out that Eve’s choice to eat of the fruit was a courageous choice. Eve gave up her comfort of living in a paradise, in order to ultimately be more free, to be liberated of her static, perfect, yet boring state, so that she, and all of us, could receive all that Heavenly Father has in store for us, to become like Him. We have to have a body, knowledge of good and evil, and family, to become like God. We couldn’t have all of that unless they partook of the fruit.

I wrote the following in my book, Tree of Life Mothering Vol. 1:

“…much of the domination of women and the resulting need for the feminist movement came from the historical misunderstanding of Eve’s choice to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. Many, many people have ‘blamed’ her for the condition of the world, the perceived mess involved in this imperfect mortal world, and transferred this blame to all women. On the contrary, she is not to be blamed, for without her, we would not even be born. She is to be praised. She was the first stateswoman, and, remarkably, a tree is involved in her dramatic act.”

I have a friend who recently said, “I used to think the feminists were a bunch of angry women. Then I got married and had children. Now I understand what they were talking about!”

I know, right?!

There’s nothing like being a mom to finally understand the universal plight of women and to see why some women felt a need for “women’s liberation.” I had read in a college textbook B.C. (before children) that women all over the world and throughout time have done most of the world’s menial work, without pay or recognition. This wasn’t even a “Women’s Studies” textbook. I think it was a textbook about the environment. Anyway, it wasn’t until after I had children that I resonated with that statement. Suddenly I was thrust into a world where no adults recognized what I did, at all hours of the day and night, except for once a year in May, which is hardly commensurate for all my work. All of you moms reading this know what I’m talking about.

Anyhoo, here is more from my book (click on the tab “The Book” above, then Chapter 3 if you want the endnotes, i.e., the sources referenced to by the superscript numbers):

The original tree of life is the Tree of Life that grew in the Garden of Eden. We read in Genesis 2:9, “And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.”

The Bible also tells us in Genesis 2:17 that God told Adam and Eve, “Of all the trees in the Garden of Eden, thou mayest freely eat, but of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” So they were told they could freely eat of all the trees, except for the Tree of Knowledge. If they ate fruit from that tree, they would surely die.

Adam and Eve had also been commanded to be fruitful and multiply (in Genesis 1:28), in other words, to have children. There was a glitch, though. They could not have children in this paradisiacal state. The Bible does not tell us why. It is not because sex is unclean and therefore could not happen in the Garden of Eden. Sex is part of God’s plan for the purpose of uniting husband and wife and creating offspring, and therefore is clean and wholesome when performed in the bonds of marriage. It is not because Adam and Eve were not married, for Joseph Smith told us that Adam and Eve were married in the Garden of Eden. In 1835 his exact words were “marriage was an institution of heaven, instituted in the Garden of Eden.”9  Joseph Fielding Smith corroborated this statement. He said, “The transgression of Adam did not involve sex sin as some falsely believe and teach. Adam and Eve were married by the Lord while they were yet immortal beings in the Garden of Eden and before death entered the world.”10

So the Bible does not tell us exactly why Adam and Eve could not have children in the Garden of Eden. We know they were married and therefore could have children and be morally clean. The Book of Mormon contains this statement by Father Lehi about Adam and Eve (see the scriptures above, 2 Nephi 2:22-23).

So, for some reason, procreation could not happen in this static, immortal condition of the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve therefore faced two choices:

1. Not eat the fruit, and therefore remain forever in the garden, and not have children, or

2. To eat the fruit, and therefore die (be evicted from the garden/God’s presence, which is spiritual death, and also be subject to physical death). But, there was some good news. The good news was that they could then have children, and ultimately have the opportunity to become as God is because they would have knowledge of good and evil.12

President Joseph Fielding Smith wrote, “The Lord said to Adam that if he wished to remain as he was in the garden, then he was not to eat the fruit, but if he desired to eat it and partake of death he was at liberty to do so.”13 This concept is not widely understood. It adds a key element to the story of the Garden of Eden, to the comprehension of why the Fall was a good thing and actually a necessary thing. Another way of looking at it is to say that God told Adam and Eve that if  they wanted to stay in the garden, they were not to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge.

The flip side of this statement by President Smith is that if they wanted to leave the garden, then eating of the fruit was necessary. I believe that Eve wanted to further the plan of salvation for Heavenly Father’s children. As Joseph Fielding Smith also explained, “This was a transgression of the law, but not a sin in the strict sense, for it was some thing that Adam and Eve had to do!”14

This understanding is supported by two insights from Beverly Campbell in the book Eve and the Choice Made in Eden. Campbell spoke to a scholar of the Hebrew language, Dr. Nehama Aschkenasy. Her conversations revealed that the full meanings of two words in the Bible, command, and beguile, have been lost in the translation process of the Old Testament from its original Hebrew language. By understanding the full meaning of these two words, we gain enormous light to better understand the partaking of the fruit as a noble step taken by Eve and Adam, not a sin.

Aschkenasy explained to Campbell that the translation of the word command as used in the Creation story was from a “different verb form, whose usage connotes a strong, severe warning, perhaps a statement of law, that was possibly temporary in nature, so that at some future, unspecified time it might not apply.”15 To help us understand this idea, Campbell gives the example of parents telling a child not to touch a hot stove or cross a street alone. When parents tell their children not to do these things, are they telling the child never, ever to do these things for the child’s whole life? No, of course not. The prohibition holds until the child is ready with full understanding and maturity to deal with hot stoves or watching for traffic.

The same holds true for the commandment to Adam and Eve about not eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.  There would be a time when, with greater light of the consequences of their actions, the choice to partake of the fruit would be a good thing. Not just a casual  “good thing,” as Martha Stewart says, but really, the best, most important thing that they could do, for it furthered the plan of salvation for the all of the spirit sons and daughters of our Heavenly Parents by allowing these spirits to gain mortal bodies and be tested. The ramifications were so great, however, that this choice had to be a choice deliberately made by Adam and Eve. This is why in Moses we read that Heavenly Father told Adam and Eve, “nevertheless, thou mayest choose for thyself.”16

Aschkenasy also examined the original meaning in Hebrew of the word that has been translated to beguile in the English King James Bible. It does not mean “to deceive,” but instead “it indicates an intense multilevel experience which evokes great emotional, psychological and/or spiritual trauma.”17

Satan’s offer to Eve to eat of the fruit did not result in him tricking her, and in him thwarting Heavenly Father’s Plan. Rather, Satan acted as an unwitting catalyst in furthering the Plan. He offered the fruit to her, hoping she would partake because he wanted her to die or be separated from God. Of course, this was not according to the lie he told her. He told her, “Ye shall not die, but shall be as the gods, knowing good from evil.” Here is the half-truth. She could become as the gods, by knowing good from evil, but he did not mention all the pain, suffering, and time it would take, not to mention the fact that she would die and be separated from God for a time. Nevertheless, she knew it was the best choice.

I believe that she partook because she had studied the situation and was fully aware of the consequences. I am guessing that she must have done this by communication with God. Perhaps you can think of some deal offered to you that you accepted, not because of what some other guy was  telling you, which might not be true,  but because you knew for yourself after much study and prayer what you were  going to get out of it. For example, you didn’t buy the used car because of the shifty salesman’s hype, but because you read Consumer Reports and recognized the good deal.

This is akin to Eve’s story. She wanted to courageously further the plan of salvation by ushering in mortality, so that all of God’s spirit children could have joy, so they could be “free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon. . .”18 Most stunningly, Eve was the very first human rights activist and advocate for women’s liberation, as well as men’s! Her name should be praised forever more. She was the first stateswoman, as she took the first step to improve the state or condition of all mankind, with eternal consequences.

As explained earlier, this bringing forth of children could not have happened in the Garden of Eden. President Joseph Fielding Smith said, “He (Adam) partook of that fruit for one good reason, and that was to open the door to bring you and me and everyone else into this world, for Adam and Eve could have remained in the Garden of Eden; they could have been there to this day, if Eve hadn’t done something.”19

Eve demonstrated public virtue, a willingness to do what was best for everyone involved, not just herself, by sacrificing her own personal comfort if she selfishly stayed complacently in paradise. She gave up her own contentment for the joy of all the human race. As Robert L. Millet said, “Because the Fall (like the Creation and the Atonement) is one of the three pillars of eternity, and because mortality, death, human experience, sin, and thus the need for redemption grow out of the Fall, we look upon what Adam and Eve did with great appreciation rather than with disdain.”20

Millet quotes two other authors as saying, “The fall had a twofold direction—downward, yet forward. It brought man into the world and set his feet upon progression’s highway.”21  As Enoch declared, “Because that Adam fell, we are.”22 No wonder Eve is glorious and exalted. She has a rightful place in the Celestial Kingdom. According to Doctrine and Covenants 137:5, Adam has attained the glory of the Celestial Kingdom. Eve would have to be there also, since one can only go there sealed in marriage to a husband or wife.23

After Adam and Eve partook of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, their bodies became mortal, subject to death and sin, and they were separated from God. This is the Fall of Adam. At this point, it would not have been a good thing to follow the invitation to eat of the Tree of Life, because then they would have lived forever in their fallen state, separated from God eternally. Therefore, God placed cherubim and a flaming sword before the Tree of Life to keep them from eating of the fruit.24

Adam and Eve were sent from the garden into a world full of weeds and were told to work for fruit, both the fruit of the earth, and the fruit of the womb. In latter-day scripture we learn that they were taught that a savior would come, Jesus Christ, to redeem them and allow them to return to Heavenly Father’s presence. “And in that day the Holy Ghost fell upon Adam, which beareth record of the Father and the Son, saying: I am the Only Begotten of the Father from the beginning, henceforth and forever, that as thou hast fallen thou mayest be redeemed, and all mankind, even as many as will.”25 Thus Adam and Eve found a new, symbolic Tree of Life from which they could partake. This is the personal, metaphoric Tree of Life which each of us, sometimes unknowingly, is searching for; the only source of eternal life and joy.

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Books I Want to Read for 2022

Planted
Image credit: deseretbook.com

For my Relief Society meeting today we discussed these two talks from General Conference:

A House of Sequential Order by Vai Sikahema. You can read it here.

&

One Percent Better by Michael Dunn. You can read it here.

Those are great talks to begin 2022!

The RS teacher mentioned a book I’ve never heard of before, shown above. She says that she’s heard that General Authorities hand it out to everyone they can, like a missionary tract. So I decided to add it to my “to-read” list for the new year and share the whole list here.

Here’s a description of Planted:

“For all its advances, our secular age has also weakened ties to religious belief and affiliation, and Latter-day Saints have not been immune. In recent years, many faithful Church members have encountered challenging aspects of Church history, belief, or practice. Feeling isolated, alienated, or misled, some struggle to stay. Some simply leave. Many search for a reliable and faithful place to work through their questions. The abundance of information online can leave them frustrated. Planted offers those who struggle—and those who love them—practical ways to stay planted in the gospel of Jesus Christ.”- deseretbook.com

“An entirely honest and entirely affirming treatment of the challenges facing LDS believer. Mason brings a historian’s training and sophistication together with a disciple’s compassion and sensitivity to bear on an urgent topic. The result is a provocative and inspiring framework for faith.”—Fiona and Terryl Givens, authors of The Crucible of Doubt: Reflections on the Quest for Faith

“Patrick Mason has carefully listened to the diverse community of Latter-day Saints. He has heard the love and the faith as well as the bewilderment and the pain. This book is his moving response. His deeply intelligent call to mutual understanding and his compelling invitation to faith and fellowship have had a transformative effect on me.”—David Holland, associate professor of North American religious history, Harvard Divinity School

Sounds sooooo good right?! I’m going to read it! Who’s with me?

Then someone in the same class today gave me another suggestion by sharing this title below with the class:

Free of Me: Why Life Is Better When It's Not about You
Image Credit: scribd.com

Now for some books I started last year (or, ahem, the year before) and didn’t finish:

Marilla of Green Gables: A Novel
Hind's Feet on High Places

Then these I found today look so good as well:

Believing Is Seeing: A Physicist Explains How Science Shattered His Atheism and Revealed the Necessity of Faith
The Power of a Praying® Mom: Powerful Prayers for You and Your Children
Image Credit of the two above: scribd.com

For my homeopathy studies I want to delve into the three volumes of John Henry Clarke’s Dictionary of Practical Materia Medica. The first volume of the three volumes is shown below:

Paperback A Dictionary of Practical Materia Medical (v. 1) Book
Image Credit: thriftbooks.com

For more of my holistic health studies I want to finish this one below, also one I started last year.

The Truth About Contagion: Exploring Theories of How Disease Spreads by [Sally Fallon Morell]
Image Credit: amazon.com

If I finish that one I want to dive into this one:

Image Credit: amazon.com

Then I want to read aloud to my children at home, or listen to, together these ones below:

Sweet Home Alaska
Image Credit: readaloudrevival.com

This one below is by a homeschooling dad of 12, Doug Flanders, husband of Jennifer Flanders, who blogs at flandersfamily.info.

The Prodigy Project
Image Credit: amazon.com

(All the images below come from scribd.com.)

The Year of Miss Agnes
Once Upon a Wardrobe
Becoming Mrs. Lewis: The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C. S. Lewis

I’m excited that the last three ones are in scribd.com. You can read them in scribd.com too. Go here to learn more about that.

Happy reading in 2022 everyone! What are you planning to read this year? I’d love to hear your plans, so please comment below!

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1/7/22 Tree of Life Mama’s Book of the Week: The Christmas List by Richard Paul Evans

The Christmas List: A Novel by [Richard Paul Evans]
Image Credit: amazon.com

This is the first book I’ve read of the New Year 2022! If you’ve read my blog a lot, you know I love to read Christmas stories in November, December, and January. This is the third our fourth Richard Paul Evans Christmas novel I’ve read this season. It’s one of the better ones. I just love this book!

This is actually the perfect book to top off the Christmas season and start the New Year. That’s because it made me think about the legacy I’m leaving, and what goals I want to set to create that legacy, year by year, and day by day.

At the beginning of the story, James Kier, the main character, has the main goal of making the most money he possibly can, even if he hurts people in the process. His shrewd business practices and meanness leave him with a lot of money but zero friends, a shallow lover who is using him just for his money, and a wife he’s cheating on. Early on in the book, he has the interesting incident of being mistaken for someone else with the same name who dies, so he gets to read his obituary online, along with the comments people say about his character. All negative. One person says he’s a mix of the Grinch, Scrooge, and the Burgermeister from Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town. Ouch! (Remember that guy? He’s the villain in that claymation Christmas special of the 60s. As the oppressively abusive town mayor, he despises everyone and arrests anyone with a toy.)

All those nasty comments are a wake-up call for Kier to repent. What follows is his Christmas List, a list of people for him to apologize to and ask forgiveness from. We see him go to all these people and make amends. It’s fun to “watch” what unfolds as hearts are healed as much as possible with Kier’s newfound generosity.

This is a perfect loose variation of The Christmas Carol, full of transformation, rebuilding marriage and friendships, and redemption. I laughed out loud several times. I listened to it in scribd. That’s how I get so many books “read.” (You too can read a lot of books in scribd. Go here to learn more and sign up.) The narrator in scribd did a wonderful job of different voices for the characters. If you like stories of married love, restoration and happy endings, I think you will like it! I really love that it was about married love for once. All the other RPE Christmas novels I’ve read/listened to so far have been about singles falling in love. So this was a refreshing change.

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1/7/22 Tree of Life Mama’s Game of the Week: Concept

Image Credit: amazon.com

Ready for a new year of new (and old favorite) board games? Here’s my game of the week for the first week of the New Year 2022: Concept.

A simple name for a simple game!

If you like charades and mental processing of words and images, you are going to love this game! It’s basically picture charades. I played it at a game night with some adult friends and loved it so much I came home and ordered it from amazon. We then played it a few times for gameschooling and then again over the holidays when my older son was home. The goal is win points by guessing words or phrases that the another player gives visual clues for. So it’s like Pictionary, but instead of drawing the clues, you use the icon squares on the board.

Image Credit: amazon.com

These visual clues, all laid out on the board, range from concrete things like colors, sizes, and shapes, to abstract things like emotions, titles, occupations, countries, historic events, and more. For example, look at the image below. What pictures would you choose to tell your opponents to guess “Sherlock Holmes”? The green question mark placed by the blue man indicates “male.” Then the green cubes by the next three clues to the right indicate things that describe that topic of man: “character,” “movie, and “title of book.” The next two rows, with yellow and then blue indicators by them, indicate subtopics.

Image Credit: amazon.com

It might take you a few rounds to get the hang of it, but then after that, like I say, if you love charades and processing of pictures and words, you will love it. I love it because everyone can play at once, either as a clue giver or a guesser, and it gives your brain a workout. Each card of suggested words and phrases has three levels of difficulty. I give it 5 out of 5 stars!

Image credit: amazon.com

It’s definitely a keeper for your library of games. It even comes in a jr. edition, solely focused on animals!
The regular game above is for ages 10 and up, the jr. game below is targeted for under 10, especially for kids who can’t read yet, but the whole family can play it together.

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Five Books to Help You Thrive During the Winter Doldrums as a Mom

The Lifegiving Home: Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming

It’s that time of year, when, if you are a mom/housewife/homeschooling mom, life can seem pretty glum. The excitement, bounty and colors of fall are over. The sparkle and anticipation of Christmas are past. What can we look forward to besides the Resurrection? With the cold of winter likely to force most of us inside, unless you have all-season ski passes, it’s good to be reminded of the following. We can look forward to strengthening old or building new family traditions out of ordinary days, eating yummy food, serving others, and reading new books, even in the seemingly blah month of January. It’s all about hygge, folks! If you don’t know what hygge is, go over here. Here are five books to help you as you settle into a hygge winter!

First is the book above. I listened to this one last year. I saved it for every Saturday to listen to while I did chores. Ooh, it’s just delightful! Written by the mother and daughter team of Sally and Sarah Clarkson, it just oozes family togetherness. You can read a semi-review of it here. As I wrote about it over there, it’s like a mashup of the Food Nanny/Bobbsey Twins/the Duggars and the Little Women March family of Louisa May Alcott fame. It has monthly suggestions of family traditions, all Christian-based. You can listen to this as an audiobook in scribd. Learn about scribd here.

Then this book below takes the monthly idea of family traditions even further for moms like me who practice the faith of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It also has ideas for daily routines involving family prayer, family scripture study, and mealtime.

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The Lifegiving Table: Nurturing Faith through Feasting, One Meal at a Time

The top two books pair well together, and so do these next two. The Life Giving Table is also by Sally Clarkson. Again, like The Life Giving Home, it follows a monthly theme, with lots of recipes. If you feel bored by the simple routines of fixing meals, this book will help you recapture mealtime magic. Watch Babette’s Feast, (learn about that movie here) read the above book, and then get more recipes in the book below.

I read of some blogger somewhere who has a child whose goal is to fix all the recipes in the Pioneer Woman cookbook above. This is not a whole foods book, but you can easily adapt the recipes by using whole foods/real foods ingredients and soaking your grains. It’s just so fun to drool over these full-color photos and read Ree Drummond’s comments about all her recipes. Fun, fun, fun! The step-by-step photos and directions make it easy for beginning/children/teen cooks to follow. My own children, even my teen boy, love to use recipes from this book.

The Read-Aloud Handbook: Sixth Edition by Jim Trelease - Used (Very Good, ex-library) - 0143037390 by Penguin Publishing Group | Thriftbooks.com

Then if you want food for thought, and motivation to give your children food for thought, read the classic above by Jim Trelease, about the benefits of reading aloud to your children. Here’s a video presentation by Mr. Trelease.

Happy hygge-ing this winter to all of you! Winter is not just for Christmas!

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My Year of 2021 in Books

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Wow, what a year 2021 was! I dropped the ball at the end on this blog, with my Christmas countdown. With Christmas and a son’s wedding to plan and execute, I just could not keep juggling everything, hence falling off the end of the blogosphere map. Then I had to take a figurative long winter’s nap to recover. That meant not blogging. Anyway, all that’s over so I have more time. Christmas over, wedding over, year over, more time! Yay!

I’m celebrating by blogging about all the books I read last year! I’m super excited that I read on average more than one book a month! Yessssss!!!!!!

Let’s start with the book above. I read it in January 2021. What a wonderful book to read in the dead of winter in Utah! It’s about a family of mom, dad, and 5 kids who spend more than a year “boatschooling,” living and homeschooling aboard a catamaran, and sailing the Caribbean. It’s fabulous to feel warm, even if it is vicariously, while reading this book, dreaming of fair skies, warm seas, and seafaring.

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This one was for my church’s Sunday School 2021 year. Now we are doing the Old Testament from the Bible. I’ll be sharing videos about that this year.

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My review of this book is here.

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2021 Countdown to Christmas Days #19, 20, and 21: Three Christmas Books to Read

Image Credit: amazon.com

Alas, I find my life so busy that I haven’t blogged each day to do a proper countdown to Christmas, of one thing each day. Oh well. Today I’ll cover three days in one fell swoop, again.

Let’s talk about three great Christmas reads, one for Sunday Dec. 19, one for yesterday Dec. 20, and one for today, Dec. 21.

I saw the above book at my public library and decided to take a chance on it. So far I like it. I’m always looking for new Christmas stories. It’s a collection of short stories from some well-known authors and some not well-known, of LDS fiction. Here’s what amazon.com says about it, “A beloved season of festivity and tradition, Christmas heralds the creation of treasured family memories and inspires our hearts to turn to the tender recollections of the past. In Remembering the Joy of Christmas, more than a dozen of the finest authors in LDS fiction have joined together to craft a heartwarming compilation of their own personal accounts of Christmases gone by. From the magic of one family’s inspiring Twelve Days of Christmas to a miraculous holiday spent in a hospital waiting room, each poignant story demonstrates a simple truth: it is not the lights or decorations that are central to a joyous holiday season. The true meaning of Christmas comes in focusing on the spirit of the season.”

Image Credit: amazon.com

I got the above book because Sarah Mackenzie of readaloudrevival.com recommended it. The author, the one and only Tomie dePaola, shares memories of his Christmases, from the time when he was three, in 1937. He grew up in Connecticut with an Italian father, an Irish mother, and three siblings. Sarah is a Tomie dePaola fanatic, I’m just mildly interested in him. I still have a Tomie book that I got in first grade (from the Scholastic Book Club, remember that?) about clouds. So his name as an author does bring back fond memories of my childhood. You don’t have to be a fan to enjoy this book. If you love anything to do with nostalgia, American history and culture of the mid-1900s, or family life and Christmas, you will enjoy this book. It’s just fun to peek through a window into history and see the wonders and delights of being a child at Christmas, with his glorious descriptions of his own memorable holidays. I love the decorations his mother used, how his family was the first to have a TV in their town, and the year he got a bountiful supply of art materials from Santa Claus when he was 8 or 9. You just feel the generosity of the Christmas spirit of family and friends oozing from these pages. More for adults than children, but ages 10 and up will probably like it too.

Image Credit: amazon.com

I’m reading aloud this one above while the kiddos do dishes every day. It’s a mashup of A Christmas Carol with The Nativity Story. Interesting! We’re not very far into it but so far it makes me wonder, how is this going to pan out? Will Tiny Tim be healed by Baby Jesus? Will Ebeneezer be visited by the herald angels as the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present, and Future? While reading it tonight, one of the boys had to leave the room so I stopped reading it. I was surprised that my daughter, who hadn’t noticed her brother leave, asked me to keep reading. She’s such a tough audience to impress with stories, so that request to keep reading is high praise for this book.

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2021 Countdown to Christmas Day #17 and #18: Celestial Gifts for Dads, Kids, and Others

Zyllion Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager - Kneading Massage Pillow with Heat for Shoulders, Calf, Legs, Feet, Hands, Home, O...
Photo Credit: amazon.com

OK to make up for yesterday’s missed countdown blogging and to blog for today I’m sharing more Celestial Gift ideas. I did ideas for moms/grandmas over here. All of these can be found on amazon because amazon was invented for people like me who hate to shop at the mall and need things in two days. It’s too late to order from anywhere else and get it in time for Christmas.

My brain is too tired to categorize these gifts for dads, teens, and little kids. So I’m just lumping them all together. I am not paid to blog about any of this, and none of these links are affiliate. I’m just sharing what I think is cool.

First off, the shiatsu massage pillow above from Zyllion. Such a gift from heaven! The red ball-shaped things heat up and rotate, kneading sore muscles into total bliss. Do like I did two years ago and give it to your husband with the intent of sharing, of course, hee-hee! I’m using one right now as a I blog! You can also use it in your car with the cigarette lighter. It sure saves energy when you and your husband are both so tired at night and you want a massage from each other but don’t want to give one :-).

Sponsored Ad - BMAG 120 PCS Magnetic Building Blocks, 3D Magnet Building Tiles, STEM Construction Building Set, Stacking T...
Photo Credit: amazon.com

I saw these magnetic tiles at my sister’s house years ago and loved them. Of course I had to get some too the next time Christmas rolled around! I’m excited for my grandchildren to play with them next week when they are in town for the holidays! (They are knock-offs of the original, much more expensive tiles called Magna Tiles.)

I love gathering around a fire to chat with family and friends. Give this gift below of light and warmth that encourages heartfelt conversation. We’ll start with the smallest (translation = least expensive) possibility for this and go upwards in size (and price).

First off, look at this amazing mini portable firepit, designed by two dads in Maryland. It’s called City Bonfire. You could just use cardboard and paraffin wax in a tuna can but that doesn’t look or sound nearly as glamorous does it?

photo credit: amazon.com
Best Choice Products 22in Steel Fire Pit Bowl, Outdoor Portable Folding Firepit, Small Wood Burning Bonfire Pit, Camping B...
Photo Credit: amazon.com
Solo Stove Bonfire Fire Pit - Smokeless Large 19.5 Inch Stainless Steel Outdoor Firepit | Portable Backyard Natural Wood B...
Photo Credit: amazon.com

If your motto is “Go big or go home,” then the Solo Stove Firepit above is the one you’ll want. It’s $299 on amazon, and looks amazing! No smoke!

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This hammock looks wonderful. Get a bunch so you can give to every outdoor adventurer in your life.

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Photo Credit: amazon.com

This ball chair encourages more healthy posture while sitting. Great for those who have lots of desk work.

Grill Armor Oven Gloves – Extreme Heat Resistant EN407 Certified 932℉ – Oven Mitts/Pot Holders for Cooking, BBQ, Grilling, Baking, Camping, Fire Pit, Smoker & More – Grey
Photo Credit: amazon.com

These heat-proof Oven Armor barbecue gloves might encourage someone in your house to grill more, which would be awesome, right?!

Spirograph Original Deluxe Spirograph Art Set
photo credit: amazon.com

Was I ever happy to find this blast from my past while thrifting last month! It’s Spirograph! I loved this toy as a kid. Seeing it brings happy memories. The blue “desk” inside is not that sturdy so I just draw the designs on a table. I ditch the tacky stuff to supposedly keep the plastic pieces in place. This one is a reissue of the original from the ’70s.

Fashion Plates is another blast from my past. I remember my grandma giving this gift to my sister one year.

Fashion Plates Classic Styles
Photo Credit: <a href="http://"Fashionamazon.com

While we are talking about toys from my childhood, I may as well promote the Hoppity Ball. So fun!

AppleRound Space Hopper Ball with Air Pump: 28in/70cm Diameter for Ages 13 and Up, Hop Ball, Kangaroo Bouncer, Hoppity Ho...
Photo Credit: amazon.com

This game below is made by the maker of Code Names. It looks like Pictionary but more fun, because everyone draws and guesses at the same time. Here’s what amazon’s description says, “In Pictomania each player is assigned a word to draw. Your goal is to guess the other players’ words while drawing your own. That’s right: Everyone is drawing and guessing simultaneously! No one has time to draw a complex masterpiece. The player who can sketch the essence of a word with a few lines will have more time to figure out the other players’ drawings.The simple scoring system rewards you for a drawing that is easy to guess as well as for guesses made quickly and accurately. But regardless of your score, you are certain to get a laugh out of your fellow players’ drawings.” Sounds hilarious!

Czech Games Pictomania
Photo Credit: <a href="http://"Czechamazon.com
CGE Czech Games Edition Thats A Question
Photo Credit: amazon.com

I’m so excited about the above game! It’s under the tree for a certain someone in our family. It looks like it combines strategy with getting go know people by prompting conversations with questions. It promotes creative thinking because you get rewarded by asking tougher questions. It also uses cute squirrel tokens.

Sponsored Ad - LifeStraw Personal Water Filter for Hiking, Camping, Travel, and Emergency Preparedness
Photo Credit: amazon.com

If you’re looking for some practical items, the LifeStraw fits the bill. It’s a water filter in a straw. Use it to drink from any body of water as a straw, knowing the filter is at work so you won’t get sick. How practical is that?! I love it! Such a great gift for the prepper in your life or for your own family so you can start to feel like one.

【2021 Newest】RunningSnail Emergency Crank Radio,4000mAh-Solar Hand Crank Portable AM/FM/NOAA Weather Radio with 1W Flashli...
Photo Credit: <a href="http://"【2021amazon.com

Last but not least, another item for prepping. It’s a combo radio/cell phone charger/flashlight that you can power with solar energy or by hand cranking. Another item that is under out tree! My family never reads my blog so I can confidently share this without spoiling the surprise.

I’ll conclude by pointing you all to my “My Three Gifts Guide” outlining one of my Christmas traditions. It simplifies the gift-giving for sure!

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Countdown to Christmas Day #16: Celestial Christmas Gifts for Mom

The Pioneer Woman Garden Stainless Steel Double Wall Vacuum Insulated Maverick Tumbler with Sliding Lid, 20 oz, Turquiose ...
Photo Credit: amazon.com

Need some last-minute gifts for mom, your mother-in-law, or Grandma? Oprah has her Favorite Things every year, here are some of mine, dubbed Celestial Christmas Gifts. I’ll do a separate post in the next few days for Dad, the whole family, and the kiddos.

First off, I am a sucker for anything Pioneer Woman. Her patterns are just so gorgeous! So I hope the adult females on your list will love them too. On top of my Celestial Gifts list of Pioneer Woman items is this double insulated tumbler, pictured above. I got this from my girlfriends for my birthday this fall. It is so amazing! I’m not a coffee drinker, but I love warm drinks like carob, Postum, and Pero, and hot lemonade, with a sweet saltiness to them. Even plain warm water tastes good to me on cold winter mornings. This insulated tumbler keeps hot liquids hot for at least 30 minutes. Even leaving your hot drinks in your cold car in this tumbler for 3-4 hours will result in your drink still warm. Get it for your favorite warm drink lover today! I use a stainless steel straw with it. It fits perfectly in the little slot on the lid. Best of all, the tumbler fits exactly in the cup holder of my Toyota Sienna minivan. Such harmony in my life has not existed until now! My Mason jar with a straw in the lid never quite fit in that cup holder.

The Pioneer Woman Vintage Floral 1.7L Electric Kettle Model 40972 by Hamilton Beach
Photo Credit: amazon.com

Now how do you get the water hot in a jiffy? With a Pioneer Woman Electric Teakettle of course! I got this gift for my birthday from my oldest daughter three years ago. She knows her mother so well! I still use this every day and love it! Give both the gift above and below together and you will be forever loved by the recipient, if she’s like me, and wants to drink warm drinks to warm up!

The Pioneer Woman Charming Check Plush Throw, 50" x 72", Red
Photo Credit above and below: walmart.com

I love, love, love these Pioneer Woman plush throw blankets. They are lightweight yet so cozy and soft! If you are a purist, you probably won’t like them as they are 100% polyester. Sometimes I just cast my purism to the side for such pretty coziness!

The Pioneer Woman Sweet Rose Polyester Plush Throw, 50" x 72"
Back to the Roots Water Garden, Self-Cleaning Fish Tank That Grows Food, Mini Aquaponic Ecosystem (Great Gardening Gift & ...
Photo Credit: <a href=”http://"Backamazon.com

This microgreens fish tank looks so cool! Grow greens and have your pet fish at the same time!

Oooh, what about this foam massage roller from Amazon to give those aching muscles some good relief from rubbing? Oh the lusciousness!

How about some games? Big girls want to have fun too! Find all of these on amazon. All these photo credits of the games below belong to amazon. Here are some of my favorites:

Sushi Go! The Fast Playing Card Game - Gamewright Games .HN#GG_634T6344 G134548TY29082
Hasbro Gaming Scattergories Board Game

Scattergories is a great game everyone can play at the same time. If you can find it in the Bible edition, it’s even better, in my humble opinion. I got mine for $1.50 thriting! It’s just so fun to hear what people come up with as they stretch their creative thinking muscles.

The Game of Scattergories (Bible) [ THE GAME OF SCATTERGORIES (BIBLE) ] byCactus Game Design ( AUTHOR ) ON Aug, 24, 1998 [...

Concept Party Game | Award-Winning Board Game | Team-Based Guessing Game | Fun Family Game for Adults and Kids | Ages 10+...

Concept is like visual charades. So fun!

PlayMonster The Game of Things...

I also love The Game of Things for getting to know people better.

Storyworth is a wonderful gift for people who want to get their family history recorded and need some help. The recipient gets one question emailed a week to reply, about his or her life story. Then at the end of the year Storyworth puts their responses into a book and mails it.

How about some spirit-centered gifts?

Book of Mormon Parallel Events Timeline: Book of Mormon Parallels, Joseph Smith Foundation
Photo Credit: josephsmithfoundation.org

I love all the stuff at the Joseph Smith Foundation shop. Go here and check them all out! I especially love the Book of Mormon timeline poster that shows parallel events in our day.

I love all the stuff at the redheadedhostess.com shop. It just looks so delightful!

An Audible Membership and/or Scribd.com membership would probably thrill anyone, especially an audiobook lover.

Last but not least, there’s Amazon Prime Membership for a busy mama.

Merry Christmas and happy gifting!

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2021 Countdown to Christmas Day #15: A Message from Our Prophet

President Nelson, the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has a special message for us below. I love that he mentions that so many of us are burdened with fear and uncertainty. He says some of us are waiting for “the lights to turn on again.” I also love that he encourages us to give acts of service and love to others, so that we can feel and see the light of Jesus Christ.

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