Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

Today as we visited two cemetaries and saw the beautiful and colorful display of flags and flowers, my heart overflowed with deep and sincere reverence for the millions who have fought for the cause of liberty and freedom and the millions more who received the news that their loved ones would never return home. Though a "thank you" may be trite, you have blessed the life of this one girl!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Heed and Diligence

The morning after the Lord commanded Lehi to embark on a “journey into the wilderness,” Lehi awoke to find “a round ball of curious workmanship” placed in right smack-dab in front of the door of his tent.

Placed there by the Lord to guide Lehi and his family

The ball, as we know, was called the Liahona.

And it worked according “to the faith and diligence and heed” which Lehi and his family gave unto it.

Eventually, that ball helped to lead them to their promised destination.

Nearly 500 hundred years later, a man named Zeezrom inquires of the prophet Alma how “he might know more concerning the kingdom of God.”

Instead of Alma giving Zeezrom the Liahona, he gives him some timely counsel that serves well for me to understand.

1. The mysteries of God are made known to MANY! However, those who know are laid under strict command (perhaps under covenant?!) that they do not make those mysteries known.

2. Those who give unto God their heed and diligence (notice the same wording used by Nephi in describing the successful workings of the Liahona), He will impart His mysteries unto them.

3. Those who HARDEN their hearts receive a LESSER portion of His word.

4. Those who SOFTEN their hearts receive a GREATER portion of His word.

5. Those who have a LESSER portion will soon know nothing of His mysteries.

6. Those who have a GREATER portion will receive more and more until they know them in full!

7. When one has no portion of God’s word, they are then taken captive by the devil and led down to destruction. And this is what is meant by the chains of @#!*% !

And speaking about those “chains of @#!*% ,” it is important for me to remember that RIGHTEOUSNESS is THE KEY!   Personal righteousness is what binds up, thwarts, and usurps Satan’s power. It’s in keeping God’s commandments and in resisting iniquity (heed and diligence) that “the very powers of @#!*% [can be] shaken FOREVER; yea, the devil would [then], NEVER have power over the hearts of the children of men.”

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Tender Moments

Last night we took the time to visit my husband’s father’s grave site. He died 16 years ago.

Though our children have never known their paternal grandfather, our time at the cemetery was tender.

After cleaning off the headstone and placing bouquets of home-grown peonies and irises, my children began noticing the headstones of others who were buried nearby.

“Mom,” expressed one child, “this is the headstone of a little boy.”

“Look here,” directed another, “this man was 87 years old when he died.”

And yet another, “Did you see that this family left Diet Coke and chips for their mom?!”

I watched them as they reverently and curiously took their time in that cemetery, walking from headstone to headstone picking up flowers and bouquets that had fallen due to the wind.

It was so out of character for these eight children who are naturally loud and easily bored most of the time.

I even spied my four year old carefully spinning a pinwheel as he knelt close to a decorated grave.

I stood with my ten year old son at his grandfather’s headstone.

He stared at it for a long time.

“What are you feeling?” I finally asked.

“I like this place. . . but I also feel sad.”

I could see tears welling up in his eyes, so I slowly put his head into my shoulder.

A few second later he pulled away and placed one of his treasured Indiana Jones Legos character on the headstone.

“It’s the best one I have,” he said, as we turned and walked slowly back to the van.

Friday, May 28, 2010


The other day we were driving in the van when my four year old son exclaimed, in a VERY loud and VERY exuberant voice, "Mom, this is SO awesome!"

"What's so awesome?"

"I've got TEN fingers and TEN toes!"

Rendered Useless

The other night I had a headache that hurt so severely it literally rendered me useless.


I HATE feeling useless. Ineffective. Unproductive.

But the pain - the throbbing, determined, blatant pain - just stabbed and protruded way beyond my will and I found myself doing things I don't normally do . . .

Like only being able to read three or four verses of scripture instead of being able to study them and then, going to bed early.

So my only hope was to sleep it off because my headache mocked the weakess of Tylenol and Advil.

But the power of the hope was in the companionship prayer my husband and I have each night.

For as my husband knelt next to me, holding my hand as I lay in worried pain that the headache would overtake my ability to sleep, his prayer of faith encompassed me with peace.

I awoke the next morning ALIVE and well! 

And my headache was GONE!

Which made me think about the story of a certain man who was rendered useless as he fell among thieves.

Men who beat him and stripped him of his clothes and left him half-dead.

As as he lay there, unable to do anything for himself, with capable others passing by, there was one who had compassion and stopped to help.

Binding up his wounds.

Taking care of him.

And rendering him once again useful.

Allowing this certain man to go on his way and doing likewise.

As will I.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tidbit Tuesday - Burning Bush

"Earth's crammed with heaven and every common bush afire with God.  But only he who sees takes off his shoes - the rest sit round it and pluck blackberries!"

-Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Monday, May 17, 2010

Happy Happy Joy

Tonight I read to one of my sons the story of Lehi’s Dream found in Book of Mormon Stories.

He was so intrigued that eating the white fruit from the tree would make someone happy. Because of his curiosity I asked him why he thought Laman and Lemuel didn’t eat the fruit.

His answer was, “Because they didn’t want to be happy.”

“Why?” I pressed further. “Why do think they didn’t want to be happy?”

He thought for a moment and replied, “I guess they had been grumpy for so long they liked being that way.”

I continued, “I think you’re right! How do you feel when you are mad? Do you want to hurry up and feel happy?”

“No!” my son responded, shaking his head.

“Why?” I asked.

“Because I want to feel mad for as long as I like!”

OUCH!  I'm sometimes guilty of feeling that way, too!

A missionary, couple serving in Nauvoo, sent me a most delightful way to remember what JOY represents.

They wrote:

"This sign is our visual aid for today.

"The graphic is to remind you that to experience JOY you have to follow the big “O” of obedience and that is why it is red.

"The big “O” is flanked by Jesus and You.

"That combination brings all of the Joy that we wish for."

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Photographic Memory

Today while I was in my Family Search, Family History Sunday School class, someone asked if images could be posted on the New Family Search.

The answer was, "Not yet."

Then I got to thinking about the photo pedigrees my mother-in-law has put together for her children - all those pictures of grandparents and great-grandparents etc. etc. 

And how stressed she gets if she can't find a photo of someone in the family.

My thought is that obviously there will come a moment in time when photos won't be available because there just wasn't that technology way back when and then well,  the photo pedigrees will just have to be a pedigree.

And then I thought about Joseph Smith.

Right before his death there was a daguerrotype made of him. (A daguerrotype was the early method of photography). It is the only "real" image we have of him, as historians believe.

Then my memory went to my mission.  We had flip charts back then and one of them was an artist's depiction of The First Vision.

And when we got to the part of sharing our thoughts and testimony about Joseph's prayer in The Sacred Grove, more often than not the person hearing the story for the first time would ask, "Is that a photograph of him seeing God?"

Back then, I found that question a bit amusing and confusing.  Didn't they hear that the year was 1820 - not 1920?  1820 was so non-technological. . .

So back to the question if images could be posted into New Family Search (I really am trying to bring this full-circle), my thoughts came to the fact that we have a photograph of every. single. Latter-day. prophet. with Joseph's being the only one with disputes (whether or not it looks like the death mask etc. etc. etc.)

But the point I wanted to make is, the WHOLE, ENTIRE, story of the Restoration - from Joseph's First Prayer to his death - requires complete faith in the God to know that these things are true.

No one was with him the that grove of trees that spring morning of 1820.  No one took a photo of him coming out of the grove.  No one could vouch that he was even there . . .

But anyone can know if these things are true.  Anyone can know the Joseph Smith is a prophet.  And they can do it without seeing a photo of him - by the POWER of the Holy Ghost.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


We just got through watching (and re-watching) the Brady Bunch episode when Bobby kisses Millicent.

My younger children fell apart with out-of-control laughter when Bobby sees fireworks.


So after about the fifth time they watched that episode, my six year old son cornered me.

Son: “Mom, do you really think Bobby saw fireworks when he kissed that girl?”

Me: “I don’t know, but I see fireworks when I kiss Dad!”

Son (in complete disbelief and disgust): “You see fireworks when you kiss Dad?”

Me: “Well, okay, I don’t actually see fireworks, but I feel fireworks sometimes.”

Son: Mom, you are such a liar!

Me: What?!? Your mother is NOT a liar!  Why would you call me a liar?

Son: Because I can’t see the fireworks when you are kissing him!

Friday, May 14, 2010

We women

We women are funny folk.

We think about things. . . Lots of things.

Lots of things that are important to us.

In General Conference April 2010, Sister Julie B. Beck said, “Life is not calm of most women, and each day seems to require the accomplishment of a million things, most of which are important” (Boy, do I say “Amen!" to that)!

And while we are busy accomplishing, we are also busy thinking.

I know a woman who stays awake at night because the money in her CD account is not giving her enough interest to live on.

I know another woman who is pregnant with her fourth child. She recently moved far away from family and in new surroundings, finds herself fretting if she really will be able to handle what’s up ahead.

I know another woman who is praying that her husband will be offered a job. He has been out of work for over ten months. They have four young children with one on the way.

I know another woman who is anxiously waiting for her floors and carpets to dry after a full night of an overflowing toilet. Once dried, will she need to replace the carpets? What will be the expense? And what about mold?

I know another woman who is camped out in a hospital room with her beloved husband as he undergoes a traumatic umbilical cord blood transplant because of leukemia. She is as faithful as she is hopeful.

I know another woman who is tending to the side of her aged mother, questioning if today will be her mother’s last.

Today I was able to make a final decision on something that has been pressing me constantly for the past three weeks.

Ironically, it is NOT the decision I would have made 21 days ago.

And the most incredible thing is is that it’s okay - because I am learning about personal revelation.

I am learning that even though I want something SO badly, if I place my complete trust in the Lord - allowing Him to lead me where He wants me to go - the final outcome is the right outcome. Especially when the outcome is NOT what I originally thought I wanted.

Sister Beck teaches, “The ability to qualify for, receive and act on personal revelation is the single most important skill that can be acquired in this life. . . Revelation can come hour by hour and moment by moment as we do the right things.”

For me, the POWER of personal revelation – that communication and direction from God through the Holy Ghost to my spirit - can and does change my heart.

The Holy Ghost can take what I think I really want and transform it into an understanding (perhaps not with perfect clarity, but understanding nonetheless) that allows me to WANT what the Lord wants.

From worry about about a low-interest bearing CD account to the uncertain timing of the death of a dear loved one, “promised personal revelation comes when we ask for it, prepare for it, and go forward in faith, trusting that it will be poured out upon us.”

Thursday, May 13, 2010


I've been on vacation from blogging.

In the very back of my mind in the deep parts of my heart, I have wanted to write something - anything, but for the sake of my family, but I had decided to forgo the hour a day for the almost two weeks.

I was surprised to see what happened when I took that hour and put it to "other" things . . .

     Two state reports finally completed by my fifth graders

     Two Pinewood Derby cars designed, cut and painted with my Wolf and Webelo sons

     An all-pink tied quilt for my daughter

     One country report in progress for my sixth grader

     Tending a black eye and a torn ligament in the left thumb of my fourth grader

     Four extra stories read to my kindergartner

     and a FINALLY finished I've-had-this-since-Christmas quilt project! (Phew)

I am amazed what can get squeezed into my time and fill it up - all 60 minutes of an hour of it.

I am also becoming aware of what adds to it and what takes away.

While I love many things and want to do so much, I am realizing that sometimes some things can be - and must be - put on hold for a while.

It's okay to go on a vacation!!

And believe it or not, the world won't stop spinning!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tidbit Tuesday - Another Thought From MEE

"Our Heavenly Father knows the rest of the story."

-Mary Ellen Edmunds

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tidbit Tuesday - The Lord is the Leader

From one of my favorite books:
“Leadership, in the Lord’s view, is the saving of souls. If a leader can turn a person to the Lord, the leader may have given the greatest gift possible. This is also true in families.

“I will never forget a time when the presiding brethren approved the calling of a temple president. As I remember, President Kimball called this good man on the phone to inform him that the Lord had called him to be a temple president. The man was totally overcome. President Kimball told him that he would arrive in his city on a certain day and that if the man would meet him in the temple, he would be pleased to set him apart as the temple president.

“Some days later, President Kimball arrived at the temple. He bore his testimony that the Lord had called this man, and he set him apart as the temple president. After he had finished, he told the new temple president that he loved him and that the Lord would bless him. Then he began walking toward the door. The man panicked and said, ‘Wait, President Kimball, what instruction do you have for me?’

“President Kimball said, ‘Well, the Lord will bless you. You will do just fine,’ and began walking down the hall.

“The man, now with great urgency, came trailing after the prophet, begging him, ‘President, what do I know about the temple? What is I have a problem with the cafeteria or the sprinkler system or with some of the temple workers?’

“President Kimball said, ‘Well, if you have any problems like that, feel free to call the Temple Department.’

“This man now realized that President Kimball really was going to leave. In the parking lot as the prophet was stepping into his car, the man pleaded, ‘President, please, I don’t know what I ought to do.’

“President Kimball said, ‘The Lord has called you and the Lord will assist you. Seek Him and you will know what to do.’

“Not satisfied, the man continued, ‘Don’t you have any specific counsel for me?”

“Finally President Kimball said, ‘All right, if you want some specific counsel, I will give you some. It wouldn’t hurt you to lose about thirty-five pounds. May the Lord bless you, president.’ Then his car drove off.

“This new temple president was just flabbergasted. He went back into the temple struggling with his feelings and wondering why President Kimball had handled the situation that way. The man had no alternative but to do what he should have done in the beginning – fall on his knees and plead with the Lord for help. This good man, this humble man, did exactly that and became a most effective, loving and spiritual mission president.”
Gene R. Cook
From Raising Up a Family to the Lord, Salt Lake City, Deseret Book, 1993, p. 147-149

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Original 12 Apostles and 12 Disciples

It is interesting to see how families were a part of the Apostleship and the Discipleship in the Early Church.
The Original Twelve Apostles (See Matthew 10:1-10)
 1. Simon Peter
2. Andrew
       Peter and Andrew are brothers
3. James
4. John
       James and John are brothers; sons of Zebedee; known as the Sons of Thunder
5. Phillip
6. Bartholomew
7. (Doubting) Thomas, aka Didymus
8. Matthew (wrote the book of St. Matthew)
9. James
10. Judas (not Iscariot) aka Thaddaeus
       James and Judas (Thaddaeus) are brothers
11. Simon
12. Judas Iscariot

The Twelve Disciples (See 3 Nephi 19:4)
1. Nephi (wrote Third Nephi)
2. Timothy (Nephi raised him from the dead)
       Nephi and Timothy are brothers
3. Jonas (Nephi's son)
4. Mathoni
5. Mathonihah
       Mathoni and Mathonihah are brothers
6. Kumen
7. Kumenonhi
8. Jeremiah
9. Shemnon
10. Jonas
11. Zedekiah
12. Isaiah

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Routineness of it All

"We all have the choice whether to see the mundane or the beauty.

"Most of the time, our family life is dangerously mundane.  Most of the time, we are in the living room, plopped on the couch and it all seems pointlessly ordinary.  Now and then we get flashes - we feel tapped into a very intense parallel universe of unbearable feeling.  But we do not hang out in that state of connected grace for very lone. We tend to forget about it.  We are back on the living room couch.  We ask, What is it all for? So we could sit on the couch together doig nothing particularly significant?

"Do not be fooled by those incredibly orfinary stretches into believing it is not something profound.  Do not be fooled into forgetting about the special moments.

"We all undergo this trial.  We are tested by this very situation.  Routinely.  The routineness of this test is part of its trick" (from Why Do I Love These People by Po Bronson).

So today, I tried real hard to look beyond the routineness of it all while . . .
- cutting seven boys' heads of hair
- watching four additional children (making it 12 children all under the age of 12)
- shopping for milk and bread (the cashier really asked me if we were having a breakfast party because I was buying so much for this family of 10 we have)
- doing two full loads of dishes in the dishwasher
- washing seven loads of laundry (and it's still NOT done)
- saying family prayer

And you know what? There is beauty all around!

Beauty to seen, beauty to be heard, beauty to be felt - and all while undergoing this "trial" of being routine.

And tonight, before I go to bed, I will thank Heavenly Father for it.

For giving me the experience - even if it is mundane.

For today, I really tried to enjoy the ride!