Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Trimming the Tree

November 21, 2013

Christmas in Italy is a little different.  At home in Utah, we never turned the lights on the tree until after Thanksgiving.  Italy doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving so Christmas decorations are already showing up everywhere.  In fact, I've seen two purple trees for sale already.  My granddaughter would love that since purple is her favorite color.

Some of the elders came to the villa one morning for a meeting and then stayed long enough to help assemble the Christmas tree and string the lights on it.  A couple of days later, two of the sisters came to the villa on their P-day and helped decorate it.  Voila!  Now we're all ready for Christmas--although I'm not really sure what it will be like this year with no family here.

Like all missionaries, I'm a little nostalgic right now.  In the past, we have always done the Twelve Days of Christmas for someone.  This year we will be doing another round of zone conferences and will hardly even be in Rome at all this month.  When I was still at home, my favorite thing to do for Christmas actually began long before Christmas.  Each year Michael and I gave each of our children and their families an "advent basket".  It contained a family gift for every day beginning on Thanksgiving night and ending on Christmas Eve.  Each day they got to choose a gift to open.  I loved it when my grandchildren called and said "Nana, we opened ____________ today".  It was the highlight of my day to hear the excitement in their voices.

This year we have nearly 200 missionaries to love and care for, but I still miss my own children and grandchildren.


  1. Well as a parent of a missionary in the mission, know my wife and I am so grateful for you and President Waddoups and your service to the missionaries and to the people of Italy. We pray for our missionary, all the missionaries and for both of you daily. I hope the Savior and our Father bless both of you and your family beyond measure for your service. I think of D&C 31. I love verses 1-6 but all of it is wonderful in terms of family and missionary service. I love how the Savior says "go from them only for a little time, and declare my word, and I will prepare a place for them (your family)." What a glorious promise. I know these verses carried me when I served over 28 years ago. Thank you for your service on your blog which also allows us loved ones a way to stay connected outside of their emails to our missionaries and what they are doing. Please know it reaches non-members of my family (I am the only member) causing questions and opportunities to discuss and we are only 1 of 200 families of your missionaries. So I hope it is a Happy Christmas season and a Merry New Year and I truly hope many of the missionaries have a "White Christmas."

  2. Thanks for the cry-fest! Days like today make me also think back on past years! We missed having you around today but were thankful we could skype with you this evening! We love you so much! Thanks for being such wonderful parents and for always setting such a great example for us in everything you do.

  3. Yup, I'm right there with heather. Having a cry fest too. Love you lots and loved skyping yesterday. Sorry I left near the end. I had to go in the other room and have a good cry.

    It was a great thanksgiving though and it was SO wonderful to be surrounded by loving family members. Thank you for raising me in a loving family. I've been blessed my whole life from your example.

    We got home from Idaho today (we got a hotel and stayed 3 days), then put up our Christmas tonight. It was fun.

    I've been thinking how amazing it was that you did those advent baskets all those years. You are exceptional in every way.