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.  :)