During April 2017 I will be blogging about my Courtship Memories from A to Z . These challenge posts will also be found at Creation and Compassion http://marcyhowes.blogspot.com/

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Favorite Traditions and Favorite Presents

source from Facebook

Yep.  Christmas is over for another year.  It has been a good one with time spent with family, and friends, presents and favorite traditions.  As I am blessed to be working in the education field, I still have a few more days of vacation to enjoy at home with my dear daughters, and hopefully a bit of time with DS1 who was also here on Christmas Day. 

December was a bit hectic this year, but filled with good things.  DH and I were blessed with a long weekend trip at the first of the month to visit DS2 and his wife and to meet Dear Grandson 1, who we hope to legally welcome into our family when his adoption is finalized in a few more months.  (Thank you DS1 for the wonderful birthday gift!!).  The weather was almost perfect, and our hosts and DGS1 were even more perfect.  We visited, saw a few sights, met up with my dear sister and her family, did a bit of shopping, enjoyed some great meals, and just got to know little DGS1!  

The weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas were fewer than usual this year, and my shopping and other Christmas preparations were put off for even longer than usual, but DH and I spent one nice weekend together enjoying his company party, doing some shopping for gifts, and then enjoying another wonderful birthday gift from DD3:  tickets to a Christmas Concert performed by The Piano Guys.  If you haven't heard them, you need to.  You're in for a treat!





After that wonderful weekend, things really got hectic with work and final Christmas preparations.  Children started arriving home for the holiday, I had the chance to visit a good friend and neighbor who has been laid up for several weeks with a broken foot and help her do a bit of cleaning and organizing.  I was able to bake some goodies and deliver them to neighbors and friends, taking a few minutes to visit with people I don't often have the time to talk with.  I even was able to prepare a few cards to send in the mail (I still have more to complete and send out belatedly).


Before we knew it, Christmas Eve had arrived.  There was a fast and furious shopping trip (or two, or three) for a few last odds and ends, and then I was on my way to my home town to retrieve my dear parents so they could spend Christmas Day with our family.  The kids helped clean and prepare more of our favorite Christmas treats, we had a fine turkey dinner on Christmas Eve and spent an hour or so singing favorite Christmas songs and reading the Christmas story from Luke 2 and from Matthew before hanging our stockings and sending everyone off to bed.  Christmas Day was full of gifts and more goodies, a bit of snow on the ground and on the roads, talking with DS2, DDIL and DGS1 via phone, a spiral sliced Ham and cheesy potato dinner and  and some long winter naps too.  Dear Mom and Dad are now back in their own home and their own beds, DH has seen a doctor for some cough medicine and other prescriptions to help with a mild case of pneumonia, DS1 has gone off to visit with friends, and we've had a nice get together with extended family with the requisite white elephant gift exchange and even more goodies.

It hasn't been a perfect Christmas (is there even such a thing???).  There has been illness and other challenges to face and the gifts were not extravagant, but to me it has been another wonderful Christmas.  I have enjoyed music, been able to give and share with others both with time and service and material gifts, I have had time and visits with family and loved ones, and I have had time and opportunity to reflect on the greatest gift of all:  The gift of the Son of God.

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Bible

I'm grateful for the Bible, words of the Prophets, and the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Inspiration from the Holy Ghost

I'm grateful for Inspiration from the Holy Ghost.  In our Sacrament Meeting this morning, our Bishop spoke to fill in for the previously assigned speaker who became ill during the night last night.  He gave a wonderful talk at the last minute.   (I'm sure he was inspired by the Holy Ghost, and was able to draw upon many things that he has studied and learned recently and in the past).  One of the points that he mentioned was that if we could really see and understand how often the Lord helps us throughout each and every day without us even asking, we would be truly amazed.  This inspiration comes into our minds and our hearts through the means of the Holy Ghost, by the gift of the Holy Ghost that we received after we were baptized.

I know that I consciously rely on the help and inspiration of the Holy Ghost often.  When life gets overwhelming; when the to do list gets way too long for me to accomplish it all, I often find myself finding a place for a quiet prayer, even if it is just in my mind, asking for help.  If I can just take the time to listen for a bit, I almost always know the direction that I should take or which task I should tackle first.

One of the most important times that I have relied upon the inspiration of the Holy Ghost was when my DH asked me to marry him.  It is a rather long and involved story, but to make a long story short, I did have other options both of the times (yes, both) that DH proposed marriage to me.  The first time I chose to not accept, as I had made some other commitments that involved the next few years of my life.  The second time I knew that I really wanted to marry my DH, for many wonderful reasons including that the facts that I thought he was incredibly handsome and good and kind and hardworking, and  that I knew that he loved the Lord and wanted to serve him and others throughout his life.  I also knew that I needed to receive confirmation from the Lord, through the Holy Ghost, that my desire to marry my DH was a good choice.  I had studied things out in my mind for nearly two years, but I needed the confirmation that my choice was good and right.  So I fasted and prayed about my decision, and my DH did the same.  I received the strong, comforting affirmation that our decision was a good one.  I knew through inspiration from the Holy Ghost that our decision was right.

This does not mean that we have never had hard times, disagreements, or sadness in our married life.  It also does not mean that I wasn't nervous in the few months after our official engagement before we were married.  I did still have some pretty rough days and nights worrying about and second guessing my decision.  I was very glad that I had received that strong spiritual confirmation that my choice to marry my DH was a good and correct one, or I seriously may have backed out.  And that would not have been a good thing.  Nope.  Not good.  I was able to reassure myself several times that my decision was a good one, and we were able to move forward.  I had received a confirmation from the Holy Ghost.

I am very grateful for inspiration from the Holy Ghost.  And  . . . I love and appreciate my patient, faithful
DH!

But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.  
But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong; therefore, you cannot write that which is sacred save it be given you from me.
     D&C  9:8,9

Verily, verily, I say unto thee, blessed art thou for what thou hast done; for thou hast inquired of me, and behold, as often as thou hast inquired thou hast received instruction of my Spirit.  If it had not been so, thou wouldst not have come to the place where thou art at this time.
Behold, thou knowest that thou hast inquired of me and I did enlighten thy mind; and now I tell thee these things that thou mayest know that thou hast been enlightened by the Spirit of truth;
Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter?  What greater witness can you have than from God? 
      D&C 6:14, 15, 23

Friday, November 21, 2014

Co-Workers

I'm grateful for outstanding, wonderful co-workers.  I feel so blessed to be able to work surrounded by people who work hard, have great attitudes, and care about their work and the students they serve.  And each other.  I couldn't ask for better friends or a more supportive environment in my little department.

I'm grateful for all of the people that I have met and worked with throughout the years in my job.  I have met and come to know so many people from many cultures, backgrounds, and walks of life.  Each one has unique perspectives and talents and abilities to share.  The better that I get to know each individual, the more I grow to love and appreciate them.  It is an affirmation that overall and deep down all people have divine attributes and qualities.  Deep down, In my experience, all people have a true desire to do what is good and honorable and to help other people.  It makes my heart glad.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Temples and Temple Blessings


I'm grateful for temples, covenants, and the blessing of being sealed eternally to wonderful family members from the past, the present and the future days to come.  I love the blessing of being able to attend often.  I'm grateful to live so close to so many temples.  Whenever I enter a temple, I feel just like I'm coming home.  It's restful, it's peaceful.  My mind seems more alert and receptive to thoughts and ideas, answers to questions and problems I may be facing.  I feel more in tune to the Lord's spirit and to what He wants me to be doing.  I feel loved.  I go as often as I can to get my regular dose of love and courage and inspiration.

I also love going to the temple because of the people who are there.  I am so grateful to the many volunteers who give up of their time each week to work in the temple.  Almost every time I visit I see a friend or neighbor who volunteers at the temple.  Every time I go I feel such a strong love and connection to the other sisters and brothers who are there.  I know they are all my brothers and sisters.  Every time I go, I also feel the presence of so many of my dear brothers and sisters who have already departed from my life.  I know they are there to receive their own blessings and endowments and sealings, and to love and support all of us from the other side of the veil.  They are our guardian angels, many are our own ancestors and family members.  There is no where else on this earth where the veil is so thin.  I love, love, love the Temples!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Joseph Smith and The Book of Mormon

I'm grateful for the prophet Joseph Smith and for The Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ.

It is nearly impossible to explain how important Joseph Smith has been to this world. The best way would be to read his testimony, which you can find online by clicking on his name in the opening sentence to this blog post.  I read the post of another of my favorite bloggers (Joycelyn) not too long ago  who suggested that one way to solidify your testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith is to record yourself reading aloud his personal testimony.  As a full time missionary over 30 years ago, I had the privilege of reciting from memory, in Spanish, portions of Joseph Smith's testimony every time I taught investigators the first discussion.  I can still recite parts from memory in Spanish, even though I have rarely done so since.

I know that Joseph Smith was visited by God, our Heavenly Father and his Son, Jesus Christ.  I know that he was given the direction and the power and authority to restore the Church of Jesus Christ to the earth.  I know that Joseph Smith was given the responsibility to translate and publish the sacred ancient record that we know as The Book of Mormon.

This week I was reading in another one of my ( one of many) favorite chapters from the Book of Mormon:
2 Nephi  32.  If you haven't read it lately, I challenge you to pull out your Book of Mormon and read it, or else click right over here (2 Nephi 32) and read it online.  It will be well worth your time.

2 Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.

And now, my beloved brethren, I perceive that ye ponder still in your hearts; and it grieveth me that I must speak concerning this thing. For if ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray, ye would know that ye must pray; for the evil spiritteacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray.
 But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul.
2 Nephi 32:3, 8, 9

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Clementines and Orange Juice

I'm grateful for Clementines and Orange Juice.  I grew up with a mother who strongly believes  in a dose of orange juice every single day.  And I have been blessed to be able to continue with that tradition almost every single day of my life.  I don't drink a full cupful every day, mind you.  That can be a bit too much sugar, and too much expense if you have a large family.  But, a little quarter to half cup of orange juice every single day in my humble opinion does a much better job of keeping the doctor away than an apple a day.  (Not that I have anything against apples, but I do prefer oranges and bananas to apples most of the time.)

Now clementines, you know, those tasty little morsels of oranges that have become very popular in the past decade or so . . . I'm very grateful for clementines too.  They're just the right size for a bit of tangy sweetness after lunch or dinner, fit nicely in a purse or a lunch bag, are highly portable, and this time of year they are abundant and affordable at the local grocery store.  Yep, I'm grateful for clementines!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Thrift Stores and Hand-Me-Downs

I'm grateful for Thrift Stores and Hand-me-Downs.  I love being able to find great quality clothing for small prices.  We have several great thrift stores in the area, and even though sometimes it takes some time, I can almost always find something that will work for me.  The thrift stores are also a wonderful source for books, sometimes games and movies, toys, and even kitchen supplies and linens.

Our family has also been blessed through the years with hand me downs and hand me ups.  Recently my younger, taller, (and thinner) sister has blessed me and my girls with some of her excess clothing.  Not all of it works for us, but what doesn't we can pass along to someone else.

Some years ago a friend shared her testimony with me of how blessed her family had been for being faithful in paying tithing and providing service in the church.  They were by no means wealthy, but had always had sufficient clothing for their large growing family, and usually only needed to purchase shoes and socks and underclothing firsthand.  We haven't always been quite that fortunate, but we have received many wonderful articles of clothing for our family from other friends and family members throughout the years.   I know that sometimes children may have negative experiences as a result of hand-me-downs, but as far as I know, my own children have never experienced any seriously negative feedback from their clothing blessings.




Sunday, November 16, 2014

Scriptures, Hymns, and Living Prophets

What would our world be like without scriptures, hymns and Living Prophets?  I shudder at the thought.  I have been blessed to have all of these be a part of my daily life since I was a child, especially on Sundays, but readily available to enjoy whatever day of the week.   The question is, am I taking advantage of what I have been blessed with?

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Central Heating

I am so very very grateful for central heating.  The blessing of being able to turn up the heat with the touch of a button and enjoy the warmth of the air blowing upon my cold feet and working to dispel the draftiness of the house and the car, and even sometimes the workplace!   (It's usually not terribly cold there either.)

I'm grateful for Central Heating!  and hot and cold running water, and electricity!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Shoes

I'm grateful for shoes.  I'm grateful for new shoes, and old shoes.  I'm grateful for comfortable shoes.  I'm also grateful for warm stockings, for warm coats and sweaters and blankets.  Especially now that the weather has turned colder.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Chocolate

So I have been hearing rumors of chocolate shortages caused by drought, disease, and an increased world-wide demand for chocolate.  We have been seeing prices for chocolate soar, and truth be told, I have had to ration myself a bit lately.  But, I do still manage to find at least a little bit most days.  I've blogged previously about chocolate.  I know there are some who avoid it, and I probably tend to make a bit bigger deal of it than I really need to.  I really could live without it if I needed to, but so far I have been blessed to have a life often blessed by chocolate.  And I am grateful.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Letters From My Mother

I'm grateful for handwritten letters from my sweet Mother.  She has been a faithful letter writer all of her life, to her own parents, siblings, and to us children.  As the years have progressed, the volume of letters leaving her pen has slowed, but today I received a wonderful handwritten note from her.  I treasure the love that she sends!


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veterans


I'm grateful to this wonderful man who served our country during World War I.  I'm also grateful to all who have served and who are currently serving.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Board Games

I'm grateful for Board Games.  Growing up I was blessed with parents, grandparents and siblings who enjoyed playing a good board game on a leisure summer day or winter evening.  It started with Uncle Wiggly and Candy Land, then Sorry, and then Monopoly.  Later there were many games of Clue and Risk.  These days our family tends to prefer Trivial Pursuit and Scrabble, or strategy games like Empire Builder, Settlers of Zarahemla (we don't own Catan) or most recently, Shadows over Camelot.

DH played many a strategy game in his youth and young adult years, but unfortunately I'm not quite the gamer that he is, and so he has had to wait for his children to become adults to have a family full of competitors.  And, also unfortunately, most of the children are now scattered.  Fortunately, they do sometimes return home, and occasionally we can be persuaded to have a family game night or too.  And, even though I have at times in years past loathed the game times as I was almost always the last man out or the loser, I do enjoy an evening or two or a day or two filled with family game time.  We are indeed blessed.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Primary

I'm grateful for Primary, our church's organization for children.   I have spent more than half of my life attending primary each week, first as a child on Tuesday afternoons after school, and for many years since as a teacher or leader.  I love teaching children.  They love back so unconditionally.  I love the primary lessons and the primary songs.  I love and appreciate all of the wonderful teachers and leaders who have shared their testimonies, time, talents, and love with my own children over the years.  I love the wonderful teachers and leaders that I am now blessed to visit and associate with and learn from in my current stake primary calling.  I love that the Lord has prepared such a wonderful organization to assist parents and families in teaching our children and preparing them for the challenges of life in the years to come.  I'm grateful for the wonderful songs that help us all to learn and remember simple gospel principles and ingrain them into our souls.

Today I was blessed to be able to attend the last Primary Sacrament Meeting Program in our stake for this year.  The theme has been Families Are Forever, and we have learned this wonderful new song:

The Family Is of God
Words and Music by  Matthew Neeley

Our Father has a family, It's me!  It's you, all others too:  we are His children. 
He sent each one of us to earth, through birth, To live and learn here in families.

God gave us families to help us become what he wants us to be--
This is how he shares his love, for the family is of God.

A father's place is to preside, provide, To love and teach the gospel to his children.
A father leads in family prayer to share Their love for Father in Heaven.

God gave us families to help us become what he wants us to be--
This is how he shares his love, for the family is of God.

A mother's purpose is to care, prepare, To nurture and to strengthen all her children.  
She teaches children to obey, to pray, To love, and serve int he family.

God gave us families to help us become what he wants us to be--
This is how he shares his love, for the family is of God.

I'll love and serve my family and be A good example to each family member. 
And when I am a mom or dad, so glad, I'll help my family remember:

God gave us families to help us become what he wants us to be--
This is how he shares his love, for the family is of God.



Saturday, November 8, 2014

Bananas

I'm grateful for bananas.  Plantain.  Plantanos.  Guenos.  Patacones. Whatever you want to call them.  However you want to prepare or present them.

Bananas were a staple in our house when I was growing up.  I didn't always appreciate them; sometimes they were too green and a bit bitter and other times too ripe and sticky, but there was almost always a nice banana available for an after school snack or to add to a jello salad or slice over ice cream, or even to make cookies or banana bread with.

About 30 some odd years ago some of you may be aware that I spent almost a year and a half in Colombia, where the food was sometimes not quite what I was accustomed to.  Fresh milk was not available, and to someone raised on a dairy farm, this was quite the adjustment.  But, almost every single day I had access to bananas!  Bananas were a very familiar food and quickly became one small comfort in a land and culture far from home.

Since returning to the states, I have almost always had fresh bananas available in my kitchen.  They don't grow in our area, but the travel well and they store well.  Yes, sometimes they are a bit green and bitter and sometimes they get way to ripe and end up in banana bread.  And sometimes they even end up fried or baked, green or sweet.  I am to this day grateful for bananas.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Employment

I'm grateful for employment and for payday.   Today was a rather long day at work.  Remodeling has begun on the restrooms on our floor, and for most of the day we worked with the background "music" of saws and/or jackhammers working to take out the old tiles and fixtures.  It promises to be a long few months ahead.  Thank goodness for breaks, tylenol, and chocolate.  We have some difficult projects coming up in the next few weeks and months.   Today was pay day, and so this evening has been spent paying bills and figuring out the budget for the week.  In spite of it all, I am grateful for employment, and for pay day! 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Dates With My Honey and Favorite Movies

I'm grateful for dates with my honey.  Tonight we were able to go and see one of my favorite movies and then stop for cheeseburgers and french fries.  It is always my very favorite date.  

Do you have a favorite movie that you have watched over and over again so many times that you practically have it memorized?  If you ask me what my favorite movie is, I will usually answer that it is The Sound of Music starring Julie Andrews.  It first came out when I was just a little girl, about the same age as Gretel in the movie.  I was enthralled by the story, and have always loved the songs.  We now own the movie, and I have watched it many times, and I still enjoy it.  

When the children were young, there were several videos that were played over and over again at our house until we all knew them practically word for word:  The Little Mermaid,  Walt Disney's Silly Symphonies, Robin Hood,  and 1001 Dalamations, to name a few.  Various different versions of Pride and Prejudice are also popular at our house, and much of the dialogue can be recited from memory by various family members.

My very favorite movie can't be seen in a movie theater, and it isn't available on DVD, but right now there are several versions of available  that I can watch almost any time of the day or evening and most days of the week.  This movies is shown at several different locations within a 30 minute drive of our house, and in many other locations all over the world.  It has been interesting during the past few months to watch and compare the different new versions of my favorite movie.  The Dialogue is the same.  I have heard it many times, and could recite much if not all of it from memory, but the different settings and different interpretations of the actors and the directors bring to mind things I haven't considered before.  But most of all I love to have the regular reminder of what is most important in life, and the peace and comfort that I feel.  Yup, no matter how many times I go, It's still my favorite date.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Bananas

Today I am grateful for bananas.  Easily affordable, portable, nutritious, and delicious.  Great alone or with many other foods such as cheerios, milk, ice cream, peanut butter, strawberries, chocolate .   . . . .  raw or fried or baked.

Yup.  I'm grateful for bananas.  

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Monday, November 3, 2014

Vacuum Cleaners and DH

I'm grateful for vacuum cleaners and a wonderful husband that knows how to fix them!   And sometimes he even uses them!  

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sunshine

I'm grateful for light and sunshine, and an earlier sunrise!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Family

Today I am very grateful for my outstandingly awesome family . . . my husband, my children, my daughter-in-law and my new little grandson, my parents and in-laws, my siblings and their families, my aunts and uncles and cousins and their families . . . . I have been very truly blessed!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Walk Tall

It seems that lately what has brought me the most joy has been uplifting music.  Today I was able to attend my fourth Primary Sacrament Meeting program of the year, and once again was fed and uplifted by the beautiful music provided by the primary children.  These particular children were very diverse in their backgrounds and ages, but they all sang out loud and clear and beautifully.  Of course each ward program is just a bit different, and this particular ward had prepared the girls from their senior primary to sing a traditional LDS Young Women's camp song that I haven't heard for a few years.  It was very appropriate to the program, beautifully and willingly sung by these young girls who are full of faith and hope.   I thought I'd share this Utube video of the song, which is nice, but not nearly as beautiful as the singing that I heard earlier today.  



In my search for the video tonight, I also found that there is also a book by this same name, written by Jamie Glenn, who wrote the song.  I've put it on hold at the library so I can read it too!




And, just because I usually need to visually see the words in order to really understand what I am hearing, here are the lyrics as found at lds.org 


Walk Tall, You're a Daughter of God (camp song)

1. Right now I have a prayer deep with in my heart.
A prayer for each of you there is a special part.
That you remember who you are and Him who lives above.
Please seek for Him and live His way;
You’ll feel His love.
 Chorus
Walk tall, you’re a daughter, a child of God.
Be strong please remember who you are.
Try to understand,
You’re part of His great plan.
He’s closer than you know
Reach up, he’ll take your hand.
 2. Long before the time you can remember,
Our Father held you in His arms so tender,
Those loving arms released you as He sent you down to earth.
He said, “My child, I love you.  Don’t forget your great worth”
 3. This life on earth we knew would not be easy.
At times we lose our way
His path we may not see.
But please remember always- please-that you are not alone.
He’ll take your hand.
He loves you!
He will guide you home 

Text:  Jamie Glenn
Music:  Jamie Glenn

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Words From Our Prophets

Two weeks ago we as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and anyone else who cares to listen, had the privilege of listening to inspired messages from living apostles and prophets of God.   LDS General Conference is held twice yearly, during the first weekends of April and October.  I generally take copious notes on a new yellow legal pad as I listen,  marking particular thoughts that strike me as something I need to remember and pay attention to in the coming months.  A total of 10 hours of instruction is available to us via television and internet, or in person if one is lucky enough to have tickets to attend the conference in person.  By Sunday evening I am usually quite exhausted, and try to relax and enjoy some quiet time with my family.

It is almost impossible to remember all that was said and all that struck me as important, but usually there are one or two things that really stand out as to what I need to remember and work on during the coming months.  It has become very popular the past few years to share quotes and memes on facebook immediately following the conference addresses.  This year these are some that have really struck me as important.  First of all is the message from our President and Prophet, Thomas S. Monson:


As you can see, more than one person felt that this thought was important to remember and pass along:


Elder Holland's talk "Are We Not All Beggars?"  was also very touching to me and yielded these two memes:



I have a dear friend at work who doesn't attend church on a regular basis, but she still loves to watch General Conference.  This year she missed out on most of the conference due to some family  situations, but on Monday morning she did ask me about what Elder Scott, one of her favorite speakers, had said.  I of course couldn't remember it right then, so I printed out a copy of his talk for her that night and took it in to work to give her the next day.  I hope it helps her.  I loved his talk too, and here are a few of the things he shared that I want to focus on this year:





And here are two more thoughts that really struck a chord with me:



Of course I believe that all of the talks and messages given at General Conference were inspired message from our Heavenly Father, prepared especially for we his children who are living in this crazy world at this time.  The messages meant for you may not be the same as the ones that were meant for me, but we all have the opportunity and the responsibility to listen and study and pray to know what God wants us to know and to be doing during the next six months.   I challenge you to take some time each week or even each day to review these messages.  Find out for yourself what God wants and needs you to do.  

You can see these Highlights from General Conference on youtube or watch, listen to, and/or print the full versions of each message here at lds.org.   Enjoy General Conference, and may the Lord guide each of you during the coming months and years.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

With Joy Each Heart Will Swell


COME YE CHILDREN OF THE LORD
 Come, ye children of the Lord,
Let us sing with one accord.
Let us raise a joyful strain
To our Lord who soon will reign
On this earth when it shall be
Cleansed from all iniquity,
When all men from sin will cease,
And will live in love and peace.
 Oh, how joyful it will be
When our Savior we shall see!
When in splendor he'll descend,
Then all wickedness will end.
Oh, what songs we then will sing
To our Savior, Lord, and King!
Oh, what love will then bear sway
When our fears shall flee away!
All arrayed in spotless white,
We will dwell 'mid truth and light.
We will sing the songs of praise;
We will shout in joyous lays.
Earth shall then be cleansed from sin.
Ev'ry living thing therein
Shall in love and beauty dwell;
Then with joy each heart will swell.
Text: James H. Wallis, 1861-1940
Music: Spanish melody; arr. by Benjamin Carr, 1768-1831

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Stand Ye In Holy Places

Rendering of redesigned Ogden Utah Temple.

" Every foundation stone that is laid for a Temple, and every Temple completed according to the order the Lord has revealed for his holy Priesthood, lessens the power of Satan on the earth, and increases the power of God and Godliness... "

To Do Lists



Don't Be Discouraged.  You do more than you think.  Click on the above link to see an awesome video.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Summertime Gratefuls



I have been very negligent this summer in posting about my gratefuls and tender mercies.  I came across the above meme on facebook yesterday, and tonight have decided to catch up a bit and post some of my summertime gratefuls tonight:  (I promise to be more regular with this blog from this day forward)


  • DD3 graduated with her BA degree and was offered a good full time job!
  • DD2 graduated with her Master's degree and was able to safely move herself halfway across the country to be near her family!  And get her old job back!
  • DD4 found a great summer job in a wonderful National Park where she gained work experience, new friends, and had time to relax, recreate, and rejuvenate after a successful freshman year in college!
  • DD1 received a promotion at work!
  • DS1 and his girlfriend were able to spend a very fun long weekend with us in July!
  • DS2 and DDIL were blessed to bring a brand new baby boy home from the hospital at the end of August!  If all goes well they will officially adopt in about 6 months!
  • We celebrated my Dear Father's 90th birthday in May!
  • We celebrated with my dear parents as they served as the Grand Marshals of my hometown's annual Fiesta Days parade!
  • We celebrated with DH's Mother's annual July Family Party!
  • I was able to spend time with each of my siblings during the summer!
  • We were able to procure a brand new red Volkswagen Jetta and now have reliable transportation!
  • We have received much needed rain to help water the gardens and lawns!
  • We have dined on fresh strawberries, blackberries, cherries, green beans, tomatoes, peppers, basil and squash from our own garden.  The potatoes and carrots and beets and corn look promising too.
  • We celebrated Labor Day weekend with all four dear daughters who helped us with a massive cleanup of the family business!!
  • We have been blessed with random acts of service from wonderful neighbors!
  • And much much more.  
We're very grateful for the new Jetta!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Sing, Sing a Song

(I've just got to include a meme here, borrowed from
 https://www.facebook.com/PaulCardallMusic/photos/a.10151563242176497.1073741828.33992686496/10152225682796497/?type=1&theater)

Tonight I had the pleasure of attending an evening of music performed by many of my neighbors.  The evening was sponsored by our local church and  included participants and audience composed of  members from seven different local congregations, and families and friends of course.  It was a wonderful evening of music, mostly vocal, but also included piano, violin, guitar, organ and even the xylophone.  From Rogers and Hammerstein to Bach to Phantom of the Opera . . . most of the numbers were fun, popular and upbeat, and all who were there came away feeling uplifted and happy.  Of course it didn't hurt that there were cookies and socializing afterwards.  Sometimes I think I don't get enough of that kind of interaction with my neighbors.  But the best part by far was the music.

I believe that we all need music in our lives.  It feeds our souls.  It inspires.  It comforts.  It expresses thoughts and feelings that often cannot be expressed by mere words.  I was blessed to have a musical mother who sang to me and filled our home with music.  We were give the opportunities to learn to play the piano and other instruments.  My mother was and is an accomplished violinist and was concert mistress of her university orchestra.  It has been a few years since she was able to play much, but I know it is a talent she will possess forever.  She took piano lessons as an adult and sang with the church choir for most of her adult life.

We have tried to provide our own children with similar opportunities.  I have taught the very basics of the piano to each of them, some have been able to continue with private lessons on different instruments, and we have encouraged them to participate whenever possible in school and church musical groups and programs.  My DH is also a great lover of music and has exposed our family to many different genres of music through his collection of vinyl and CDs, now stored digitally.  Years ago we enjoyed season tickets to the symphony, and would even take the one of the children in turn with us to certain concerts.   We have loved the treat of satelite radio that came with our new vehicle for the past several months.  We have tried to sing as a family whenever possible, sometimes with more success than others.  I guess what I'm trying to say is, I need to make a more concerted effort to not only listen to good music on a regular basis, but also to practice, perform and/or create music on a regular basis. I highly encourage and challenge each of you to do the same. Sit down at a piano, pull out a guitar, (or trumpet or clarinet or violin, or even a recorder) and if nothing else, sing at the top of your lungs while driving or in the shower.  Yep,  Sing, Sing a Song!!

* * * * * *

The final number in the concert tonight was "Distant Land (A Prayer for Freedom)"  by John Rutter.   It so much expresses my feelings about our world lately:



You really should read the lyrics!

Read more at http://www.lyrics.com/distant-land-a-prayer-for-freedom-for-chorus-lyrics-john-rutter.html#ZHOSs7QjOii7WA1d.99

John Rutter - Distant Land Lyrics

Monday, August 11, 2014

31 Years With My Honey


Today is the 31st anniversary of the day DH and I were married.  In honor of the occasion I pulled out my old wedding album and scanned a few of my favorite photos which have never before been exposed to the world wide web.  This is us posing by a famous old olive tree next to the Salt Lake Temple, a very popular setting for wedding photos back in the day.  If I remember correctly, the tree was damaged by the famous Salt Lake Tornado a decade or so ago and is no longer there.  This is one of my favorites of our wedding photos.  


And here is a meme that has been floating around on facebook for the past few weeks.  It just fits perfectly in this post, because my DH is one of my greatest blessings, and I enjoy the gift of his love and service to me every single day. 



This is another of my favorite wedding day photos.  I loved my wedding bouquet, especially the orchids and the pink baby roses.  If I tried to save it, I no longer know where it is.  After  seven or so moves in the past 31 years and six children, mementos  like the bouquet just didn't make the cut.  Notice also the beautiful shiny wedding rings.   Of those we only have my wedding band remaining.  DH's wedding band is probably somewhere on a New Jersey baseball field, and my diamond is also somewhere in New Jersey.  We pulled off a fireplace mantle in search of it before one of our moves, but could not find it.  We've talked about getting replacement rings someday . . . .but . . . so far have made other gift choices instead.



Yes, we did have a finely decorated car to send us off properly on our honeymoon . . . but I don't think the decorations made it all the way.  Just say'n.  :)



And here are two of my favorite photos from the honeymoon to Yellowstone and Jackson Hole Wyoming.

Yup.  I love this guy!  He doesn't often chew bubble gum, but I still love traveling with him and will go with him just about anywhere he wants to take me.  Happy Anniversary  DH!

P.S.

For your further reading enjoyment, here is the very first blog post I ever wrote:

And another post about our 26th wedding anniversary trip, a gift from our children:

And another post about my wonderful DH:



Monday, August 4, 2014

I. LOVE. SUMMER.

I Love Summer.  I always have and I always will.  I'm not apologetic about it.  It is by far my favorite season, and closely followed by Spring.

 Yes, there have been years long ago where the days of freedom and play grew old and I looked forward to the new clothes and school supplies and returning to the structure of the classroom and learning and reuniting with friends.  But the best times for me are when the skies are blue, the sun is hot, and the plants (yes, even the weeds, sigh,) are growing strong.

This summer has been different from any other for me.  The children are all adults, and most are working out of state.  We have had no major road trips, vacations, or reunions.  I miss the days of taking a passel of kids to the lake or the pool or the park and the library.  I even miss the days of trying to sneak in some work and keeping all of the chores and laundry done while trying to keep kids busy, productive, entertained and happy.  This year there have been small, quiet get-togethers with smaller than usual extended family groups for the July holidays, and my father's 90th Birthday back in May.  I have worked full time all summer long for the first time in my life (unless you count the summer where I worked and lived at a family camp . . . that was almost more enjoyment than work if you want to know the truth).  I have spent most of my time at work or in the classroom (last minute decision to take an evening class) and the weeds have run rampant in the garden between the infrequent rain showers and the almost daily watering (moving the hose from spot to spot in the yard in the gathering dusk.  No automatic sprinklers here!  :).  The garden is rather pitiful, but we have had a bountiful crop of strawberries, cherries and blackberries (and not nearly enough time to do them justice)  a few peas, and some promise of peppers and tomatoes and carrots and hopefully some squash and corn and beans.

But  . . . I STILL LOVE SUMMER!  I enjoy every possible moment of my lunch hour out in the heat and the sunshine.  I love trying to tackle the weeds and the sprinklers and the lawn mower.  I love driving in the middle of the day with the windows down, the very warm breeze blowing through my hair, the fluffy white clouds on the horizon contrasting with the deep blue of the sky.  I avoid air conditioning whenever possible, and only tolerate it on the muggiest days or to appease those around me who find no comfort in the heat.    I try not to notice that summer is slowly creeping to an end, because, I LOVE SUMMER and want it to stay around for a long long while.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Hallelujah

So, I woke up this morning singing the Hallelujah Chorus in my head.  I'm not sure why it's there, but I guess it's a good thing.  There could be worse things running through my mind. It is a beautiful day (in spite of the heat) and just a great day to sing Hallelujah!

I have been blessed with a good life.  I have a wonderful family, and a very blessed heritage and situation in life. I have recently been reading the book Fresh Courage Take, by Dean Hughes, his third book in a series based on the early days of the LDS (Mormon) church and the trials of the Mormon pioneers.  This latest book tells of the men who volunteered to be a part of the Mormon Battalion of the US Army headed to the War with Mexico.  Though none of the men lost their lives in Battle and they were able to earn much needed money to help the saints who had been pushed out of Nauvoo, they faced much hardship, many died from other accidents and illness, and most crossed the southern US desserts in dire straits without adequate food and water and clothing, many ending up absolutely barefoot for the last months of their march and subsequent journey by foot to the new settlement in Utah.  These men also left their wives and children behind with only tents and wagons to live in and fend for themselves during the cold and illness at winter quarters and their own trek across the plains.

Parts of the story were very hard for me to read as I think of my own blessings.  I have ancestors who lived through these times and went through similar experiences to those of the characters in this book, and each generation since then has worked hard to provide their posterity with a better life. So, yes, I do have reason to be singing Hallelujah.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

3rd Annual International Hug a Convert Day



For those of you who may not be aware, June 1, 2014 was proclaimed as the 3rd Annual International Hug a Convert Day by Middle Aged Mormon Man, one of my favorite bloggers.  To celebrate, all throughout this week Middle Aged Mormon Man has been posting conversion stories of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Each story represents someone finding, and accepting the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ - and then acting on it.

In his first post of the series CELEBRATING CONVERTS: HERE WE GO…  from last Sunday, Middle Aged Mormon Man explains a bit about why he likes to celebrate new converts and their courage in accepting the gospel.  The stories themselves are amazing, and I've been enjoying them all week long.  You just might enjoy reading them too!

MAN HUGS STEVEN KLAUSER
Hugs for Kathryn Porter
Man Hugs for Chris Staggs
Hugs for Mona Anderson
HUGS FOR “BRUDER” HELMUT WINTERSTEIN
HUGS FOR ANNETTE HENNESSEY
HUGS FOR MARGARET FLOYD
HUGS FOR HEATHER MILLER
MAN HUGS FOR PHIL STRINGER
HUGS FOR PAULA ARCHER
HUGS FOR ANDREA DRAKOS (AND AN EXTRA HUG, TOO)
HUGS FOR SUSANNE BROWN
HUGS FOR BRUCE & SHARON COHEN
HUGS FOR CARON ANDREWS
HUGS FOR DEBBIE & MEL BIRCHER
HUGS FOR ANNE MAXSON
HUGS FOR ABBY FALLS
HUGS FOR MATT NEWMAN (FROM ACROSS THE POND)
HUGS FOR KESSA BOHMAN
HUGS FOR MAYUMI ATHAY
MANLY HUGS FOR KEVIN HAMLET
HUGS FOR DEBBIE JOHNSON
MAN HUGS FOR ROBERT T.
HUGS FOR MEGAN (MEGGIE) RIANDA
HUGS FOR ZAIDA VAN SYCKLE
HUGS FOR DENISE DEL MUNDO
HUGS FOR DUSTIN BURNHAM (WITH THE REQUISITE BACK SLAPS)
HUGS FOR KATHRYN ILES
HUGS FOR VALERIE STEIMLE


Monday, May 19, 2014

Reflections on A to Z Challenge


Well, my procrastination on getting this post written means that I have missed signing up on the official Blogging from A to Z April Challenge Reflections Linky, but I'll go ahead and write this post anyway, and hopefully some of my new blogging friends will find it.

I really wasn't planning on participating in A to Z 2014 as April is usually a pretty full and busy month in my house.  Last year I found that I spent so much time writing my posts during April that I missed out on a lot of prime gardening time, and I didn't want that to happen again.  Then it occurred to me that if I used my yard and my garden as the theme of my blog posts, I might be more motivated to both work in the yard and get the posts ready.  So I set up my list of topics for the posts on Creation and Compassion and I tried to do as much in advance as I could.  Of course  I found that I just had to have current photos, and so there wasn't a whole lot I could write ahead of time.  At the last minute I decided that I wanted to do a series of posts about what I believe to be true on Random Thoughts and Tender Mercies and I was off to a crazy, fun filled month of gardening, taking photos, and blogging every day after work, and trying to visit a few new blogs every day too.  I've found some wonderful new blogs, some new blogger friends, and Grammy Staffy even featured me in one of her posts, Y is for You!  Thank you Grammy Staffy!  That was very exciting!

But, the last two weeks of April brought visits from dear children, graduations, weddings, etc, and I just couldn't keep up any longer!!  I have drafts of my final week of posts, but I just couldn't do it all and still enjoy all of the activities and visits with my family.  So, I quit.  For a time.  The drafts of the missing posts are still here, and I may just post one or more of them occasionally in the weeks and months to come, just because.  I may just revisit the garden every so often too and show you a bit of how things are coming along.  Right now it all looks pretty sad because I've been neglecting it too!   But there you have it . . . my reflections on the 2014 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.

 If you would like to meet some of the other Blogging from A to Z participants, you can find them here and read  Other reflections on the A to Z Challenge