Wednesday, December 26, 2018

The Book of Mormon

In October's General Conference, during the General Women's Session, President Nelson spoke to the sisters about the gathering of Isreal.  Earlier in the year, he spoke to the youth about the same topic and gave them three invitations.  In the women's session, he issued four invitations to the women of the Church, one of which was to read the Book of Mormon.  With the invitation came a wonderful promise.  He said,
I invite you to read the Book of Mormon between now and the end of the year. As impossible as that may seem with all you are trying to manage in your life, if you will accept this invitation with full purpose of heart, the Lord will help you find a way to achieve it. And, as you prayerfully study, I promise that the heavens will open for you. The Lord will bless you with increased inspiration and revelation.
As you read, I would encourage you to mark each verse that speaks of or refers to the Savior. Then, be intentional about talking of Christ, rejoicing in Christ, and preaching of Christ with your families and friends.  You and they will be drawn closer to the Savior through this process. And changes, even miracles, will begin to happen.
This morning the announcement was made regarding the new Sunday schedule and home-centered, Church-supported curriculum (two hour church). You, my dear sisters, are a key to the success of this new, balanced, and coordinated gospel-teaching effort. Please teach those whom you love what you are learning from the scriptures. Teach them how to turn to the Savior for His healing and cleansing power when they sin. And teach them how to draw upon His strengthening power every day of their lives.
I accepted this invitation, and yesterday, on Christmas, I finished reading the Book of Mormon.  I had underlined the scriptures and passages that spoke of Christ, but I took it a step further.  I also underlined words of Christ, when he's speaking to those in the scriptures, and also passages that show his interactions with and assistance to his followers.  I wore down a colored pencil with all the underlining I did; my Book of Mormon is orange throughout.  While I have done this same exercise before, because I was trying to make my scripture study focused on Christ, I was struck, again, by what a powerful witness of Christ the Book of Mormon really is.  It's obvious to me that God is involved in our lives, that He loves us and wants to bless us.  So many times it says, "If ye keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land."  Who doesn't want to prosper?  I know there are those who don't want God the Father and Jesus Christ to be a part of their lives, but I certainly do.  My Book of Mormon reading and focus have also helped me keep Christ in my Christmas celebrating.  I am humbled by Christ's love and feel the power of the Spirit in my life as I try to be more like Him.

I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God.  I know its teachings can lead us back to our Heavenly Father.  I know that when I read in it every day, my days are better.  I know that the Book of Mormon gives us power and, as the Primary song says, "keeps us safe from sin."  I am committed to continue to read as a family every day because I feel the strength it brings to my life, and I want Brandt and Blythe to have that same strength through the challenges they face.  Life is better when God is involved in it, and I want Him to be central in my personal life and in our family life.  I want the miracles President Nelson promised could be ours by talking of Christ, rejoicing in Christ, and preaching of Christ.  I want increased inspiration and revelation, especially within our family.  I will continue to read and study the scriptures so these blessings can be mine and ours.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Eternal Families

Kent and I had a marvelous experience at the temple today.  We went to do sealings with David, Sharon, and Lee.  David had lots of Barrus family names and had them organized into family groups.  Recently, the temple made a change so that if you bring in family names, they will seal multiple children to parents at the same time, provided you have enough patrons.  We had only three women initially, but we had six men, meaning we could seal two daughters or three sons to parents at a time.  While I know that every time we seal a child to a parents, we are creating an eternal family, seeing more than one child being sealed at the same time really struck me. 

At the end, Sharon pulled out a family that had four sons and two daughters.  While the parents were being sealed, I walked down the hall and found a man waiting with his wife and asked him if we would come and help us be a son.  They both came, so we had enough men to do the whole family at the same time.  With the parents at the head and foot of the alter, and with six of us acting as proxy for the children, we surrounded the alter, filling up all the space, and sealed the whole family at once.  It left most of us in tears.  It was so moving to be part of sealing that family, uniting them forever together.  The men in our session who were not related to us were all young, in their early twenties, and looked clean and fresh and good, and the whole session was just fabulous.  It was truly a moment where our testimonies of temple work were both strengthened and reaffirmed.  I know "families can be together forever through Heavenly Father's plan," and I'm grateful for that testimony and that blessing that is effectual in my life.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

A Morning Snowshoe

I spent the morning snowshoeing with my friend Kim Daw.  She hikes all the time, and I began hiking with her a couple of times a month in March.  We mostly go up Rock Canyon which is close and beautiful, but occasionally go elsewhere.  She hikes right through the winter, using either snowshoes or crampons, and today I joined her.  We went up to Big Springs and did a long hike, probably about three miles round trip.  We used snowshoes because at the top of the trail, the snow was deep.  It was incredibly beautiful, quiet, and a wonderful way to get exercise and commune with nature.  The air was crisp, but we were working hard enough to sweat; when we stopped, I got cold.  While we can't do much about winter, we can certainly embrace opportunities to revel in outdoor winter activity, making the whole long cold dark period more enjoyable.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Being in the Temple

Now that Brandt has turned twelve, he has been able to go to the temple.  It's been a treat to be with him there.  Today we had a sweet experience doing baptisms for the dead all together, although without Blythe who isn't yet old enough to go to the temple. 

We've had a ward challenge, during the month of November, to find a family name and then take that name to the temple and do the work.  While I had found several people identified by Family Search, I wanted to find some DeMartinis.  Mom and I went to the Church genealogy library in Salt Lake in October, because we needed help in how to proceed in our research.  I was helped by a very knowledgable man who put me on to an Italian website of civil records.  From his instruction, I was able to find three generations of ancestors--my great-great, great-great-great, and great-great-great-great grandparents!  It was thrilling and fulfilling to find them.

Today, at the temple, Kent baptized me and Brandt in behalf of some of these ancestors.  I thrilled to see Brandt being baptized by his dad.  I thrilled to be baptized by Kent.  I felt my dad's presence as we began the saving ordinances for his family.  I'm confident he has been working with them, teaching them the gospel, sharing with them the joy of being an eternal family.  I know the work we do in the temple is powerful and real and that by being there, we are becoming saviors on Mount Zion.  I felt the Spirit so strongly during our time there, and I am grateful for the Lord's love, and the blessing of making convenants with Him for ourselves and for our kindred dead.  I truly love being in the temple, and I love being there with those I love the very most in life.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Dogsitting Business


Blythe and her bestie Ellen Mason have started a dog care business.  Blythe has been BEGGING us for a dog for some time now (like years), and as we have yet to give in and get her one, she's doing the next best thing and offering her love of canines to the general public.  For a nominal fee, Blythe and Ellie, "The Dog People," will walk, play with, arrange a puppy play date, let come for a sleepover, or groom your dog.  They have absolutely no experience whatsoever when it comes to grooming, but they can walk, play with, and feed dogs, so I guess that's adequate.  They have designed a website all by themselves, with their services outlined and well as personal information about them and Lilly and Emma Bradford ("staff members").  The moment the website launched was rather raucous!  So, if you live in the Pleasant View neighborhood of Provo and are looking for someone to care for your pooch, I've got a very responsible young woman or two who would be overjoyed to help you out.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Halloween Celebrating

On the 31st day of Halloween we had a sugar high, over and over again!  It maybe wasn't as bad as it could have been, but then maybe it was.  It was certainly a fun day for one and all.

The pre-school morning routine got significant readjustment today as I helped Blythe put herself together with her costume.  She was Pippi Longstocking this year, and Pippi's hair was a challenge.  I had to figure out how to do flippy-up braided ponytails, spray it all red, and add some freckles to her cheeks and nose.  It took some time, but we sent her out the door looking not entirely like herself--just right for Halloween. 

Brandt, now in middle school and somewhat over the whole Halloween thing, which he's never liked anyway, went to school dressed normally.  In a nod to the holiday, he did wear a jack-o-lantern hat, but that was all.  He could have dressed up, but didn't.

Mikayla volunteered in Brick's class for his Halloween party.  She's having babies in the new year, and wanted to help in the first half of the year.  So I had Cora and Kal.  We went to Macy's for dry ice because I was making root beer later in the day and didn't want to forget the dry ice and have to run all over the valley trying to find some like happened last year.  We wandered around the store, visited with a neighbor we ran into, and then played at our house for a bit when we got through. 

I had a moment or two of calm, and then I got a call from Andrea Lucas (she who was with us yesterday) who needed some help finishing up moving out of her apartment.  She was still miserable from her oral surgery yesterday, she was working alone, and she didn't have enough boxes.  She's moving to Washington and trying to get everything she owns in a minivan.  I helped maneuver boxes and loose items into small spaces in the van, while encouraging her to make the final push before they came to check her out of her apartment at 4:00pm.  I had to leave her at 3:00 because my children were coming home from school, and I had to make root beer for the neighborhood hot dog party, but several kind people stepped in to help, and she got everything done. 

I made root beer in the kitchen sink (the coolers were in the sink, not the root beer directly) and tried to ply the children with something healthy to eat before they went off to do their trick-or-treating.  "Have a crunchy!" I kept saying.  It all fell on deaf ears.  Shortly before 6:00pm, Kent and I took the root beer down to Nelson and Hilary Davis' house.  They were hosting the hot dog party at their house.  The Hills have done it for years and years and years (like over three decades), but couldn't make it back from St. George, and asked if anyone else was willing to host.  Hilary volunteered, then wisely asked for donations of food from all the rest of us.  So smart.  It's a super fun tradition in the neighborhood and we don't really want it to stop, but it's a big job and should be shared.  We were happy to contribute the root beer, and happy to eat a hot dog and chips to start the evening off.  I love visiting with our neighbors.

On the way home, we stopped at the Seamon's house for a churro and at the Stice's for a donut.  So much super celebrating!  We spent the rest of the evening handing out candy, as the children came in and out periodically.  Blythe trick-or-treated with Lilly and Emma Bradford, and Brandt trick-or-treated with Paul and Kevin Moreland.  For the evening's activities, Brandt "dressed up" like a weatherman from the Weather Channel who did ridiculous fake reporting.  He put on a beany, made a small hand-held microphone, and a blue jacket.  They had a great time and returned late in the evening sacks full of candy. 

The Johnsens came to our house early and did a bit of trick-or-treating.  They were happy to see us, and we were happy to see them.  As frequently happens by the end of a long day full of activity, the children were very tired as they came back from candy gathering.  Cora stomped in and said, emphatically, "Grantie Kake, I take a bubble bath!" and stomped upstairs.  She was retrieved before she could start filling the tub, and went home for a bubble bath at her own house. 

In other reporting, Blythe and all the fifth and sixth graders got to go Classic Skating to roller skate.  Blythe said it was super fun and she had a great time.  I wasn't there, so no pictures.

 And on a final note, we did go across the street to see Jim Cutler's pumpkins.  He did the Munsters and the Addams Family themed pumpkins which were all amazing, as always.  He also carved a Chris Baird pumpkin, our dear friend who died in June.  He was her home teacher for many years, and she loved his pumpkins, and he carved her face, then had her looking towards all the pumpkins.  I thought that was very sweet.  No pictures of that, either.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

On the 30th Day of Halloween

On the 30th day of Halloween we carved pumpkins for the porch.  A couple of weeks ago, we went to select pumpkins.  I'm happy to report that I didn't need a pumpkin intervention this year.  We bought a very reasonable number of gourds.  It has been warm this month, and I discovered that a couple of the pumpkins had molded, leaving big chunks black and mushy.  We couldn't carve the big one Brandt had selected, and one that I had chosen, but we had smaller ones that worked for him and me.

Here's how the carving went.  Brandt hacked away at his pumpkin on his own, free-handing a face complete with unibrow, zit, big smiley mouth, and mustache.  Blythe wanted a pattern, and when I couldn't find our book with pumpkin carving patterns, she had to look one up online and then had to have lots of help from me to realize the pumpkin of her imagination.  I carved a small white squash to look like a ghost, and we left the rest to moulder and ooze a bit.  It was a fun FHE activity and gave the front porch an even more Halloween-y feel that before.

Now, before tomorrow, I need to find some votives to put inside.
Pictures courtesy of Andrea Lucas, my friend, who was hanging out with us today following surgery on her mouth.