Saturday, November 22, 2014

Our Family Photo :)

I thank my younger sister for taking our photo last week on a freezing cold (27 degrees) and windy (but beautiful) day at the Provo Temple.  It was very appreciated!  We haven't had a family photo for quite some time and this was an important occasion for us; being a few days before Andrew departed to serve as a missionary.

Family Photo - November 2014

Friday, November 21, 2014

Sadness and Joy in Sending Andrew On "Mission"

Who posts both their sadness and great joys on-line for the whole world to see?  I usually don't.  I keep a lot of things to myself.  Some of them are too sacred and private to share and others' are just private family matters.  But, sometimes it seems needful to reach into cyberspace to share something we've experienced and learned. 

Interesting how that works, isn't it?

"Elder Garvin"
I sent my only son off yesterday, to serve the Lord.  He will serve as a full-time missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes referred to as Mormons) for two years and then return home to finish his schooling, to work, and to marry and have a family. 

Approximately 88,000 other families have or are going through something similar to what we've recently experience as they've sent their beloved children, siblings, parents or grandparents off on similar journeys.  (This is the current number of missionaries serving in all parts of the world at their own expense, sacrifice and out of love for their God and their fellow man.)  They serve out of their own desire to love, bless, lift and teach the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ on the earth.

This morning I wondered what Hannah might have felt as she'd sacrificed her ALL to prepare her most precious of all gifts; her only son, for service to her Lord, Savior and King.  I think that I might have felt a bit of what she might have felt and I know that my love and understanding of her was greatly increased because of my own experience.

I cannot post even a small part of what I have been through with this precious son of mine.  What mother could?  Who, besides a loving mother, could possibly know of all the sacrifices of raising a child unto the Lord?  Who knows of the dedicated life from birth to adulthood; the care, worry, concern, pain, joys, work, chores, teachings, life lessons, hardships, tears, insights, meals, laundry, housing, finances, personalities, friends, outings, family prayers, devotionals, scripture study, bedside visits, tucking-in, lullabies, homework, questions and answers, maturation, hygiene, illness, wellness, spirituality, personal growth and progress, scouting, service projects, employment, education, heartfelt hugs, laughter and sorrows?

This son was (and is) most precious to me.  He came pre-wired to be who he was.  His heart was tender.  He was sincere as well as funny, and...he blessed my life tremendously.  Through him I learned to be more patient and loving, more aware of the needs of those around me.  From him I learned to laugh more, work harder and listen when he intently needed to be heard. 

I'm deeply grateful that he has chosen to serve the Lord.  I am grateful he was worthy and willing.  I'm also going through the sadness of separation. It's real and it's important to process through.  Yet, I wouldn't have it any other way.  I feel more blessed than sad and more grateful for the sacred events that lead up to his departure than I can even express. 

I'll miss him a lot.  What mother wouldn't?  We give our all to prepare them for life in the Lord's service. With that sacrifice comes the greatest joy (truly) as well as the sadness of missing someone you love and the most sincere prayers for their safety, well-being, and growth.

I just have to say that having just gone through this I have a new appreciation for the blessings, joys, and longings of sacrifice - that I haven't had before.  My depth of gratitude for the Lord's plan has increased astronomically.  His plan is for the greatest happiness for His children.  And, that happiness comes as a cost; our willingness to give our all so that someday, we can have His all.  Oh, what a beloved gift this is!

"If we give our all, we will get His all from the greatest of all." Last line in Jesus Christ, Gifts and Expectations

Do you know one reason why righteous mothers love their children so much? 
Because they sacrifice so much for them. 
We love what we sacrifice for and we sacrifice for what we love."  

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

I'm in Complete Support of Traditional Marriage

So, Amber is currently working on a special project in the casting department at BYU or LDS Motion Picture Studio.  She loves it.  She worked for them before her mission and is grateful for this new opportunity.  She's not sure how long it will last and she plans to go back to BYU-Idaho in January (best place for her for college right now) but we feel it a blessing for her to get this position and are grateful for answers to prayers.

I'm thinking it's okay to share that this project has to do with interviewing a large variety of people of various cultures and religious backgrounds about their views on traditional marriage.  It's a topic for our day and one to which much thought has been given on both sides of the issue.

If I were ever interviewed I'd express my deep and complete support for traditional marriage and let me tell you why.

I grew up in a stable home.  My parents loved each other and they loved us as children.  Since I didn't know differently I guess I thought that everyone else had it pretty much the same.  But I was wrong.  As I've grown and learned and been more educated, and as I've gone out into the world and met and talked with people from all walks of life, I've come to see how blessed I was to have the upbringing that I did and how it not only shaped my world view (a great gift) but how it helped me establish a firm foundation in the word of God and the teachings of Jesus Christ.

God wants us to be happy.  He has provided ways for us to experience that, and, has instructed that ' most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ'.

I KNOW this to be true for myself.  Anytime I've strayed from the path, or even rebelled in a slight manner, I've found only lack of peace, unhappiness, and even misery.  That is no way to live and I don't want to have any part of it.  I like to feel peace, joy, love and other 'fruits of the Spirit'. 

When I've lived according to true principles, as revealed through Prophets of God, (Amos 3:7) I've found those fruits and they are indeed pleasant and joyful.

Anyway, my own marriage was not filled with this love.  It was difficult and even miserable at times.  I longed for the connection that my parents had; the love that they shared, the kindness, patience and even long-suffering that they displayed for us as children.

I believe in traditional marriage because it is the best way to find love and happiness.  I still believe in it because I know for myself that anything other than that - does not bring the bonding, stability, and security that is needed to raise a successful family.  It's lonely if only one person is trying.  It's hard if one partner does not want to make the marriage work. 

But, that being said, there is always hope.  We can all change.  And, children do best when they have two parents to love and rear them.  I know for myself that children need both a father and a mother for their health and well-being.  Each parent plays a role for the child that the other can't.  I know this and have often longed for the day when my children would see how kindly a good man can treat his wife, how thoughtful he can be, how helpful he can be to the children in caring for, providing for and protecting them.

I couldn't play both roles.  I tried but then realized that no matter what I did - I could only do my own God-given role which was mostly to nurture, love, teach, train, and care for.  The things I lacked would have to come from other sources or go unmet.  Sadly, many went unmet, but, we turned to the Lord and He helped us through them all.  He is our Father, after all, and who better to turn to than a perfect parent who knows the way - especially through the rocky terrain?

I will defend traditional marriage all the days of my life if needs be.

I believe in it and I look forward to the day when I will have it.

Until then, I will continue my role as a mother and will continue to encourage others' to do the best they can to make their marriages be as whole and healthy as they can, loving and forgiving one another, showing forth an increase of love as a cushion during challenges, and repenting and forgiving each other as imperfect, yet full of promise, human beings.

Yet, we must also know that sometimes, because of abuse etc. one parent must take the children and flee for safety.  Sadly, this is true.  And any abuse is too much.  But, if a couple can make it work - through repentance, forgiveness, love, support, wholesome values etc. traditional marriage is the best way to find completeness, happiness love and joy.

I appreciate and support traditional marriage as ordained by God.

Here's more about how to find happiness in family life:  The Family: A Proclamation to the World

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Andrew is Going on a Mission!

Amber returned home from serving in the Virginia, Chesapeake Mission, over a month ago, on Oct. 7th, to be exact.  The following day (miraculous circumstances) Andrew, age 18, received his call to serve in the Nampa, Idaho mission.  He is thrilled!  He'll be entering the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, on November 19th.  That's in just eight days from now.

I don't post about my family all that often.  When I read other people's blogs about their families - it sometimes seems that their lives have all been roses - and few thorns.  Perhaps that's because most of us don't like to air our dirty laundry in public (well, some people do) or that we like our privacy and are grateful to not be in the limelight (like me.)

But, I've been doing some major sole-searching these past few months, wondering what my 'mission' or 'calling' in life is going to be in going forward.  I've wondered what the Lord would have me do to lift and bless and help others'.  How could I make this world a better place - even if only by small means and for one person at a time?

Elder Bednar, an Apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (of which I am a member) recently shared a powerful message of filling the earth with light and truth.  He reminded us that all these amazing technological tools have been created for the advancement of the Lord's work here upon the earth - and that all other purposes are secondary (or even can be evil in the wrong hands.)

We each get to do our part by sharing things online that are filled with hope and goodness, light, love, compassion, empathy, truth.  We don't need to participate in the other types of things - of which there are many. Rather, we can focus on helping one another, lifting, caring and sharing.

I feel to do that.  Even if my small little blog reaches a small audience - I know that I am trying to do good things that could make a difference for someone.  And, maybe that someone is only me - but, even then, it's a good thing because it provides a way for me to document a bit about my family which, perhaps, will serve a purpose someday for my own posterity.  :)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Ashley at Bridal Veil Falls

Ashley's working two jobs this summer; one at a retirement home (where she serves meals, cleans-up and...sometimes cleans room.)  Her favorite part about that is the people.  She loves them and has some special favorites.  Because she is a loving person, she sometimes gives hugs.  It's a win-win as they love and hug her back.

Her other job is up at Bridal Veil Falls.  That is such a beautiful and peaceful place.  It's given her opportunities to share a little about the gospel but mostly to just learn to care about people from all over the world.  Bridal Veil Falls is one of the tourist spots in Utah - draws a global audience.  It's been rewarding for her to 'serve' there (that's what it feels to be; service) - as she strives to be kind and helpful, courteous and a good listener to the lonely who travel through on their way to other places.

A few weeks ago a 50 yr. old man, on his bike, going from California to the East Coast, stopped and...visited with her for about an hour.  She said that he thanked her after for talking to him as he said he's alone on the road and...gets lonely for someone to talk to.  It made her feel good to know that she could be a friend to someone who needed one.

Anyway, if you're ever up in that area - (Provo Canyon) you might want to stop and visit the falls.  They are beautiful and unique!  (Also offer are bike rides and river runs.)

Bridal Veil Falls is under new ownership (the owners are GREAT) and...they are working to make it better, clean-it up, and offer new features and services in the future - as they are able to get permission, and funding, to do so. 

A Beautiful Wonder; Provo Canyon, Utah, USA
Hike up to the base of the falls

As the Sun goes down...

Fish pond at the base (feed the fish for a quarter)

Snack Shop

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Ashley's New Job

Ashley started out making soup and sandwiches at a local Zupas a few weeks ago but, after a few days, didn't feel that was the right fit for her.  She worried and stewed and processed through it.  It was difficult for her to approach the boss after she'd made her decision but, when she did, she felt relieved in knowing she was heeding promptings and doing something that she felt was needful.

Amazingly, she was hired at a local Retirement Center the same afternoon that she finished her previous job and...felt excited and at peace when that decision was made.

Happily, she is enjoying this new job.  She serves several meals a day and cleans rooms.  She is coming to know and love the elderly residents, many of whom are lonely and alone. 

Her desire in employment was to do something that made a difference and that was of service to someone in need.  So far, she feels that this job provides that opportunity.

The greatest blessing in all this is that she's learned better about how peace comes when we heed the promptings of the Holy Spirit.  They are there to bless and guide us and their fruits strengthen us to become the people we were intended to become. 

For this, I'm deeply grateful.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Lord will Provide....

I don't always post here as often as I could/should.  It used to be a personal site but has recently morphed into a family blog.  I'm sure that's much more interesting than my previous messages of learning and growth.  :)

We're in a transition stage as a family.  I don't feel to post about that today but will say that it is a trying time and is stretching me more than I had hoped for.  :)  But, I am seeking to put my trust and faith in Him and in all His promises.

And, a beautiful message that my daughter has received twice on her mission recently, once from the member family-patriarch where they've been living (beloved Brother Holloman) and...then again from her Mission President who both reminder her of the Lord's words "The Lord will take care of every needful thing."

I write that quote at the top of my daily notebook to-do list EVERY morning.  It's been the reminder I've needed that the Lord is in-charge and that if we put our trust in HIM - we will be delivered out of all our trials and troubles and afflictions.

That deliverance may end up being and looking different that we originally planned, but, His promises never fail.  And, if we are seeking to be on His errand and to put Him first in all things, then ...His promises are sure.

Oh, what a gift and blessing that is.

Thank you Rocky Mount, NC, for all you have done for my daughter.  Better yet, thank you,  Lord, for calling her there amongst these wonderful people who she has come to know and LOVE deeply.  It's been a great blessing that she didn't know was possible a year ago when she entered the MTC.  She just knew she wanted to serve Him and that He would provide the way and means for her to do so.

Now, she knows some of the reasons she's done what she's done and been where she's been and she has felt an even deeper sense of gratitude for the goodness of God, His love for all His children, and His desire to have them come home unto Him.

What a glorious joy this is! 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Easter Dresses

Growing-up we 'celebrated' Easter in a way that was very meaningful to me.  We didn't ever do the 'Easter Bunny' (for which I am actually very grateful) but we did go on a family picnic and 'roll Easter Eggs' down the BYU Hill.  (If you wonder about that tradition we found out later that our future sisters-in-law had the same tradition in their family.  I don't know where it started but, we weren't the only ones who did it.)  :)

But, even that wasn't what Easter was about.  Our Sabbath worship of the Savior was.  I remember a few times where I got a new Easter Dress for the day.  It was a real treat in our home of eight children on a teacher's salary (Dad taught at BYU) and, for some special reason has stayed with me.

In our home the Sabbath was a special and important day.  We tried to always keep it holy.  We didn't go outside and play like some of our friends did, rather it was a time to be home with the family and to study the scriptures, ponder, pray, have father interviews from time to time, serve others' and do sabbath activities and family dinner together. Mom usually had hymns playing in the background as we went about our day.  Often we'd congregate in the living room and read and study side-by-side.

The reason I share this today is that it's Easter Week; a very meaningful time for many of us.  It's a sacred time to ponder more deeply on Christ, His life, His purpose, His mission and His death and Resurrection.  Sometimes we cannot express in words the depth of our love for Him but we can honor him by the way we live our lives and the things we do to emulate His example and remember Him this week, and always.

To me, a simple Easter Dress as a child was the beginning of my understanding of the holiness of the Day and the sacredness of our worship.  The dresses were pretty to me and Sabbath appropriate but also simple.  They weren't to 'show off' - rather to remind me of the specialness of the occasion and to walk to church reverently with thoughts of Him and the renewal of life that He had provided.

I love my Lord.  He has provided the means for my 'escape'.  He has overcome all things and given me the opportunity of new Life.  I honor revere and reverence his Holy Name.  My we think of and worship Him during this Holy season.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Oh, Those Aching Bones… :)

I don't know if bones can really ache but….many other body parts seem to be able to.  :)  Today is one of those days for me.  I can't even begin to share all that has happened recently, but, today, after many needful things being attended to, I'm ready for bed early and it's not even 6:00 p.m.  :)

I think that somedays are just like this.  We have to get things done in order to get ready for other things needing to be done.

We try to live simply and to reduce the workload with our 'maximizing' skills and letting-go and balancing etc. yet, perhaps these challenging days are the reminder that we're not always in control and…trials may come even when we're trying to do the best that we can.

I'm teaching an adult Sunday School lesson this week on Moses and the Exodus.  As I've prayerfully studied and pondered the material and the scriptures I've learned some personal and profound lessons.  I'm still learning them as I go but…one thing that I'm really thinking about are the Israelites.  Why did or didn't they heed their great leaders' inspired counsel.  Why did they need that refining time for so long?  What happened that caused them to obey or neglect weightier matters?  Were they aware of what was really going on?  Or, is it only us, in hindsight and with scriptural documentation, that we know the full story?

Are we like them?  Do we heed Prophetic counsel?  Are we willing to give up everything to enter into a greater and far more promised land?  Or, are we hanging on to things that are keeping us trapped on stuck in the things of this work?

Perhaps my own 'aching bones' today are an additional resource for my own understanding.  How well am I doing at all the things I know to be true?  Am I willing to let some things go in order to focus on the weightier matters?  I hope so.  That is my sincere and continued quest.

Maybe my tired body is just wanting me to rest so that I can think about these things; the ones that matter most and that mean the most to me.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

We Moved....AGAIN :)

So, yes, we made our 15th move in 15 years.  It wasn't our first choice but, then, what really has been in our lives?.  :)  Yet, we're extremely grateful for the Lord's guidance and know that He always has a plan for us, always, even if we can't see it or don't know quite what it's going to be.

Over the years of trials and tribulations I've come to receive a beautiful gift from the Lord.  It's that of being able to be more at peace despite the challenges and to have a greater understanding that all things will work out.

This gift has actually taken a lot of hard work to attain. 

Some gifts seem to be natural abilities.  Others are talents or interests to be developed with hard work.  This particular one seems to be the latter.  The efforts go unnoticed to those around yet, 'in the silent heart' are the workings of the Spirit and many hours spent in meditation and prayer.

As a family, and individually, we don't know what is ahead for us.  But, we do know that we haven't been forgotten.  And, we do hope to provide a labor of love to those around us wherever we go and whatever we feel to do.

The greatest blessing in life is the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  He truly is our companion of peace, strength, compassion, understanding and....hope.  We always know that we're going to be okay when we feel His peace that 'passeth all understanding".

Friday, March 21, 2014

Andrew is Off to Youth Activity

Do you ever wonder, when you send your child off, if they'll return safely?  Sometimes we know they will and we feel peace. But, other times, we just can't be so sure.

Today is one of those days for me.  Andrew, 18, is off to a church activity up the canyon.  It's an overnighter in the girls' camp cabins and…I'm sure it will be beautiful and good.  But, it's going to be very cold and…Andrew isn't as prepared as I'd like him to be.

But, being a mother is also a balancing act of knowing when to say things and what to say.  Andrew is a good boy and he is usually quite responsible.  Yet, being 'tough' he thinks that he'll be fine with his sleeping bag - when I wanted him to take two (putting one inside the other.)  I also thought he should take the recommended foam pad but he didn't want to appear to have too big of a bag to haul around.

Aren't we funny as a people sometimes?  We'd rather be miserable and cold and uncomfortable - than to lug too much stuff around and maybe be mocked?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Simplify Your Home

I've been an 'organizer' for as long as I can remember.  As a child I wanted things to be neat and orderly.  I'd spend hours organizing things, labeling drawers and cleaning out containers.

My Mom loved my help and has, to this day, expressed appreciation for my skills in that area.

Well, as I've raised my own children and lived in various places and homes, I've realized that the BEST and most important thing any of us can do is to SIMPLIFY the amount of work.

This means that when a child outgrows clothes, toys, books etc. we pass them along to someone else who can then use them.

It also means that we get rid of as much clutter as possible.  We do that by reducing the amount of mail that comes into the home (call and cancel unwanted magazines etc.), find places for things and put them there.  Hang up shelves or racks for book bags and coats.  Get a laundry basket for each bedroom and a garbage container.  Teach children to put their things away.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

FRESH STARTS and "Resolutions" - Lessons from Enos

Holy One of Israel  - Simon Dewey
Who doesn't like a new beginning?  A 'Fresh Start'?

As we contemplate a New Year we can see it as a new beginning if we've left the old behind.  But, if we drag it (the old baggage) along it's hard to make that 'fresh start'.

Over the years I've heard many ideas, lectures, thoughts, talks etc. about goal-setting and new year resolutions.  Yesterday, on the news, I heard about 'commitments' instead of 'resolves'.

Either way, from a gospel perspective I may see things differently than some.  Yes, goals can be good, resolutions can be motivating or helpful, but…without the help of the Spirit, they may not be soul-changing.  And, that's my idea of goals that really matter.