During April 2018 I will be blogging about my memories as MOM OF 6 from A to Z . These challenge posts will also be found at Creation and Compassion http://marcyhowes.blogspot.com/

Monday, March 31, 2014


Testimony of Truth from A to Z

Atonement of Jesus Christ

For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; 
But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;
Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit --and would that Imight not drink the bitter cup and shrink--
Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.  

During the last hours of his earthly life, Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, performed the greatest act of service that has ever been, or ever will be done in the history of this world.  During those hours in Gethsemane while his apostles waited and watched, and then slumbered, he suffered the pains and sorrows and sins of every human who ever has or ever will live.  Thus he knows each of us intimately and personally.  He can continue to succor and comfort and support us whenever we turn to him; and to forgive us when we repent.  What greater gift could he have give us?  Because of his suffering, his atonement, his service to us, and because of his love for us, he has given us the chance to change our ways, and improve our lives.  We can learn to serve as he serves, to love as he loves, and to become as he is.

At times our efforts to become the person we want to become, to be complete, or perfect, we become discouraged and are tempted to give up on ourselves.  We can't do it alone.  But, with the help of the Atonement we can reach these lofty goals.  It won't come all at once, but one day at a time.  As we seek out and follow the example of our Savior, and accept his help and guidance, we can become complete.  We can become the perfect people we were meant to be.

These are they who are just men made perfect through Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, who wrought out this perfect atonement through the shedding of his own blood.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Joy

Today's Five Minute Friday Prompt is Joy.   How could I ever pass that up?  The main rule is to write for five minutes about one one word.  So here it is:

Joy.  Man is that he might have Joy. (2 Nephi 2:25) The Book of Mormon)  So of course, that means that God intends for all of his children, men, women, and children, to experience joy, not only in this life, but in the life to come.  That is His plan for us, His whole purpose in providing this life experience for us all:  That we can learn all we can about this wonderful, challenging world, gain experience, including sorrow and pain and even death, and all along the way experience moments of joy!

I was blessed by my wonderful Mother and Father to be given the name of Joy as my middle name.  It has been a reminder to me, a person who has a tendency to look a the negative side of things, to remember to search out the good things and blessings in life.  And to appreciate them.  Yes, we do need to experience the hard things and even bad or evil things at times, but this opposition is very important as it helps us to truly appreciate and enjoy the wonderful good things.   Joy.  Friends, family, faith, hope, charity and love.  Joy.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Stake Conference

This past weekend we have enjoyed two sessions of one of the best Stake Conferences I have ever attended.  There are seven wards or congregations of approximately 300 people of our church here in our neighborhood, and we meet together in a Stake Conference twice each year.  
This past weekend we were spiritually fed.  We were taught.  A new Stake Presidency was called and sustained.  Personal examples of faith were presented to us.  Neighbors and stake leaders shared their testimonies, and many shared their personal experiences in finding the truth of the gospel, being taught and fellowshipped, and being able to receive their temple blessings and make their temple covenants. 
We were personally taught by general authorities who are called and directed by living prophets, and the congregation listened intently.  I don’t ever remember being in such a large congregation or audience where the attention was so rapt and the spirit so peaceful.  We were gently admonished as to what we need to do better.   One thing that I learned with clarity is that I need to become a better friend.  A true friend is someone who has eaten at your table.  I have been very negligent in this area for many years.  My children, parents, in-laws, siblings and some of their families, the missionaries, and a few of my children’s friends have all eaten at my table over the years, but it has been many years since I have invited neighbors or other friends to eat with us.  I need to repent.  I need to be a better friend. 
We were reassured and comforted.  We have received promises.  Everything will be all right.  Everything will work out ok.  The storms are coming.  We have seen the breezes, but the storms are coming.  But everything will be ok.  We all worry about family members and loved ones.  We were reminded and promised that those who have been sealed to us in the Temple of the Lord will be returned to us.  Everything will work out ok.   The music was wonderful.  The spirit was strong.   Feelings of peace and comfort and love abounded. 

After it was all over I just wanted to stay and soak it all in.  It was wonderful.  It was awesome. But, life goes on, and we can’t just sit and keep on feasting.  Eventually we need to get up from the table and get back to real life and back to work.  Hopefully we can carry the peace and the hope and the wonderful strength that we received with us, at least a little bit.  Hopefully it will still be with us when the challenges and difficulties arise, as we know they will.  And hopefully we can each do a little bit better and be a little bit better every day than we were the day before.

Sunday, March 16, 2014


I'm really not a huge fan of board games.  I grew up as one of the youngest of six children and have many memories of always losing to older siblings when we played Monopoly and Risk and even Sorry or Candy Land.  But, I know that it is good for kids to play games, (I've played countless games of Memory over the years) and playing games is a good way to foster family togetherness, and we have a ton of games at our house, so we often play games.  Scrabble is possibly one of my favorite board games, because, yes, sometimes I come close to winning, and occasionally I have even been known to win a game of Scrabble!   Even with my family of voracious readers and exceptional writers!  Such was the case a few weeks ago when DD3 was in town for her friend's wedding.   

When the kids are all together for holidays or vacations, we usually try to play at least one game of Scrabble along with an assortment of other of their favorites such as Settler's of Zarahemla (our version of Settlers of Cattan), Pitt, Uno, Empire Builder (unfortunately now out of print), Scattergories  Apples to Apples, or Trivial Pursuit.  It's rather quiet right now as DD4 just left to go back to school after her spring break, so I don't think we'll be playing any games here tonight.

What are your family's favorite board or card games? 

Monday, March 3, 2014

A Little Dirt Never Hurt

Finally, an evening without previous obligations, rain, or cold.  I spent several hours out in the garden tonight digging in the dirt and planting a few peas and carrots that I found in my stash of seeds.  I was back in the house by 7pm as there was no longer enough light left to see what I was doing.  But next week Daylight savings time begins, so I should have even more time to plant, as long as the weather and other obligations cooperate!  I won't enjoy getting up in the dark again, but that won't last forever.  Spring is on its way, and there's plenty of work in the dirt in store!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Simple Things

Sometimes the simple things in life are the very best.  We've had a variety of sicknesses, colds, and viruses visiting our household the past few weeks, and I've been grateful for simple little foods that are quick and easy and comforting:  crackers, hot apple cider, ginger ale, instant pudding, tapiocca,  ramen noodles, hot cocoa, cream of wheat, toast, oatmeal, quesadillas, eggs, grilled cheese, and baked potatoes among others.  I'm grateful for microwaves, electricity, warm blankets, hot and cold running water and indoor plumbing.  I'm grateful for clothes washers and dryers and dishwashers and local grocery stores, instacare and 24 hour pharmacies and dedicated and competent people who work there.  I'm grateful for working cars with heaters.  And loving family members.

Hope you all have a happy and healthy weekend!