Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Heavenly Home

I took these two pictures of our home the day after the Cider Festival.
We borrowed the tractor and the wagon from our friends Lane and Tammy.
We are very grateful for our home and love living here in this wonderful neighborhood.

Having said that, though, it's not the house that brings happiness.  It is convenient, and gives us opportunities to grow and serve in many ways, like the Cider Festival, but it is not the source of our happiness.  I have lived in adobe houses with no indoor plumbing, taking sponge baths instead of showers for months, and been as happy as I have ever been in my life.  When we got married, Bruce often remarked that he didn't have to worry about where we lived, because I would think anything with hot running water was heavenly.  I have seen both extremes, and know that happiness comes from knowing I am a daughter of God, living up to that heritage, and keeping my covenants with my Father - that brings happiness.  Everything else is icing on the cake.  I already wrote about that here.  And I look forward to mansion above, the Heavenly Home, that I know my Father in Heaven is preparing for our family!

Peter's football team won their District Championship, and then they played in the Inter-Valley District Championship, and they won that too!  Peter's # 7.

And a hug from the Momma.  Good job, Peter!  (I love this picture)

After the game we went out and brought in the hay from the Farm.  Peter's friends Tyler and Taylor came to help us.  It's so nice just having to do the lower field!  Saves a ton of time!

Chet, Mary and Libby went to the Temple and took the traditional "group" selfie.  I love this picture too!

Mary, Chet, Nic and I went out to do some more senior pictures for Mary.  We had a great time, and we'll post more later.  Mary's friend Nic is an excellent photographer and I can't wait to see his work!  He certainly had a beautiful subject.  Thank you Nic for your great work!

Peter and Bruce went hunting this week. They didn't see any elk, but Peter shot a deer.

And here's the DOOZY of a bruise that Bruce got from "sighting" his gun before the hunting trip.  Sighting the gun means you shoot it a few times (he shot it five times) to make sure the "sight" you look through on the gun is lined up right.  When he came home form that, his shoulder was swollen up like a baseball.  When he came home from hunting 3 days later, this is what his arm looked like!  That is quite the bruise!  I have been applying Lavender and Helichrysum essential oils - they will help heal up the bruising quickly.

Peter and Bruce got home a day early, and we were so excited to see them.  They had a really hard time the first day.  Strawberry, one of our horses, got a bad cut on her foot in the trailer on the way up, so they weren't able to hike in and set up camp like they wanted to.  Instead, they tied up the animals and then took off hunting.  It was cold and snowy, and they went up and down thousands of feet of elevation.  When they finally got back to camp, which Bruce said was no small miracle, they pulled out their sleeping bags and slept in the back of the truck.  They didn't have the wood stove burning overnight in the wall tent, so their clothes were still frozen in the morning.  Bruce said he almost broke his pants getting into them in the morning.  I ask them all the time, "Now, tell me why you think this is fun?"  But they came home in one piece, with some deer meat to boot.  We're grateful for that!

Chet's farewell was today!  A farewell, in Mormon culture, is known as the Sacrament Meeting in which the missionary gives a talk before going out on his mission.  It is usually attended by a lot of family and friends, although his/her speaking is not the center of the meeting.  It is a regular Sunday worship meeting, and the Sacrament is the most important part of the meeting, and the missionary speaks on a gospel related topic, so the meeting is not about the missionary, but it is really fun to hear him or her speak and bear their testimony right before they leave to serve a full-time mission!  Mary and Chet sang God be With You for a musical number, with me accompanying them.  When they told me that's what they were going to sing, and they were singing together, I thought it was an extraordinarily bad idea, but then Mary told me that Chet felt a prompting from the Spirit that that should be the song, so I honored that.  And then I listened to them sing and gauged if they could really pull it off without getting emotional (or being sappy), and I concluded that they could.   And they did!  They sounded great, and brought the Spirit in.  And then Chet tied it in with his talk at the end, so that was cool.  Chet gave a great talk!  He said, "The Lord is waiting to pour down buckets of blessings on us."  I loved that imagery!  He delivered it so well - no stumbling on words, or external phrases, or mumblings.  I felt his love of the Lord and the work.  He will be a great missionary!

We also had fun FaceTiming with Joshua - meeting his roommate Dan, and talking with Walker.  I treasure every time I can hear Josh's voice, or see his face and talk to him.  After two years of not being able to do that, it is wonderful every time.

And we got to FaceTime with Jesse and her friend Stephen twice this week.  What a miracle FaceTime is, and other forms of video communication.  I'm truly grateful for it.  And grateful for the wonderful friends that surround my children!

I hope the end of this Sabbath day finds you happy and filled with hope.  I was blessed in a special way today, to experience the meaning of turning a problem over to the Savior, and having Him take my burden.  I was different from one moment to the next.  I know the Atonement in real, and that we have a Savior who loves us and wants to help us carry the burdens we are called on to bear.  It is REAL!  I testify of that, in the name of my Savior, Jesus Christ.  He lives and He is real.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Get ready for pictures... Cider Festival and Homecoming!

But first, let me post just some ordinary day pics:

Somehow they ended up sitting on the bar altogether.  Guess it's time for a picture!

Mary and Libby took a selfie at the Temple.
We have a monster chicken!  What in the world?  And at least one Aricana.  Cool!

Now, to the Cider Festival! 
 Cindy, Lorraine and Karen - some of my angel helpers with the donuts!  We made about 250-300 donuts.  My dear friend Sharon came over and helped me get started on making the dough.  Jesse and her friends Peter and Stephen, and Chet and Mary rolled all the dough out and cut them out, ready to fry.  They were yummy as ever!

 Parker is almost as tall as Karen now!
 Friends gathered to visit and enjoy the donuts and fresh apple cider.
 David said he came over just to see Jesse.  He is her "second Dad".  He also listened to Jesse, Peter and Stephen play the piano.  They love to perform!
 Bruce's friend from work, Jonathan, and his wife came to the Cider Festival for the second year in a row.  So fun to see them again!
Sister missionaries, returned missionaries and other friends, hanging out in the shade on the front porch.

We had a wonderful turnout for the Cider Festival and really enjoyed all the wonderful friends who came by.  We drank apple cider tonight at the dinner table.  It was delicious!!

After the Cider Festival was over, I got to sit on the couch and listen to Jesse play the piano, along with her friends Stephen and Peter.  Stephen is a Composition major at BYU, and Peter is a fellow Piano Performance major at BYU.  So can you imagine how heavenly it was to sit and listen and watch them play?!  
Peter and Jesse goofing off.  For BYU piano performance majors, this means playing Listz' Consolation No. 3 with one hand each.  Lovely!

 After they all played, then Peter sight read every song that was put in front of him (as in sight-read it perfectly - it was phenomenal), while Jesse and Stephen sang.  They are both in Concert Choir (and Peter in Men's Chorus), so they sing beautifully.  You could have just floated me right up to heaven, to listen to them sing for probably two hours.  I lost track of time.  Thank you for playing and singing!  It was unforgettable!

The only missing element was wishing Joshua was there to sing with them!

It was Homecoming week at Mary's high school!
Nic, Mary and Chet met at Costco to buy pies for dinner before the Homecoming dance.

 Day date: Cameron, Allie, Chet, Mary, Jenna and Nathan

 Mary at the shooting range for the day date.

Chet picking Mary up for the dance!

 Group shot after the dinner.
 After the dance.

This morning Mary woke up and saw this sunrise, and went up on the roof to take a picture.  She loves sunrises and sunsets.
 PS This was not part of the dance date!!  That was over before 1 am. and they were with a wonderful group of friends the whole time.

After a very eventful week, we were glad for a quiet Sunday.  Church meetings this morning were wonderful.  I cried through all three meetings.  I cry when I feel the Spirit - tears come easily to my eyes.  Bruce bore his testimony today, and it was wonderful.  He testified of the wonderful truths that are found in the Book of Mormon.
I am so grateful for the wonderful Spirit I felt today.  I add my witness to those testimonies borne today that our Heavenly Father is real, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is led by our Savior Jesus Christ through his appointed prophets and apostles.  I am grateful for that knowledge and witness that the Spirit has borne to my soul.

Monday, October 6, 2014

General Conference!

The General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was held this past week.  It happens every six months, on the first weekend of April and October, and oh, how we love it!  There is something about the gathering of the Saints and the privilege of hearing from apostles and prophets and other inspired leaders that warms the soul and gives one motivation and impetus to move forward with peace and hope.  Every time I wonder what they can say that can be better than the last time, and yet I always come away with the feeling that "This was the best Conference ever."  Ha ha  It's because every time we hear exactly what we needed to hear, and it hits the mark.

Jesse got to go! 

She didn't actually get into the Conference Center but she and her friends, Peter, Steven, and another boy I don't know, watched it from the Joseph Smith Building. Isn't this a great picture!  I love it.

For me, there was a definite theme to the conference, and that was personal spiritual preparation, and part of that was the reiteration of the role of the prophet and the Church.  Elder Ballard used Brigham Young's analogy of "staying on the Old Ship Zion."  One speaker talked about Joseph Smith and his role in the restoration.  In that same session, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang "Praise to the Man", and it was so beautiful!  I am happy that we named one of our sons Joseph. 

I love the Prophet Joseph Smith.  I know he was and is a true prophet, called of God to restore the gospel and Jesus' true Church to the Earth.  When I think of why and how I know this, I have two main reasons: 1) Every single time I have ever been a witness or participated in a telling of the Joseph Smith story, including the First Vision, I have felt the Spirit pour over me and witness to my soul that it truly did happen how Joseph said it happened, and that God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ did indeed visit Joseph Smith in what has since come to be known as the Sacred Grove; and 2) I have seen for myself the fruits of Joseph's Smith's work, and it is good!  The Book of Mormon, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, both fruits of Joseph's work, are good, and I am so grateful to have them in my life.  They have shaped who I am and how I live, and it has been a great blessing to me and my family.

One of my favorite talks was given by Elder Jorg Klebingat.  He asked, if we were to have an interview with the Savior in one minute, how would we feel?  I would feel so happy I would probably melt in a puddle on the floor.  I would certainly fall to my knees.  Elder Klebingat then went on to address those who do not feel they are ready.  What a great list of "to-do's"!  I have in my own experience faced many of the things he listed and have made good progress on them, and that is why, I suppose, that I felt joy at the thought, and not unworthiness.  I am not unaware of how much I need to change, but I am aware of the love that Jesus has for me, and I have great hope in His Atonement and His ability to change and heal me, in every way.  I loved how Elder Klebingat spoke of repenting with joy.  Yes!

There were so many other talks that were amazing.  I urge you, if you did not have a chance to hear this Conference to click on the link above and read or listen to the wonderful talks given.  You will be inspired!

On Friday the kids were out of school.  Everyone slept in, except for Dad, who kindly went to work to provide for our family.  (Thank you Bruce!)  In the afternoon, Libby and Mary went to the Temple to do baptisms for the dead.  We also had our friends Regina and Austin come over with their three little girls.  Libby showed them the animals, including Buttercup, the calf, the goats - Buck and Lilly, and then we went next door to the pasture of our neighbors and saw Mackee and Stormy.  It was fun!

Saturday night, Peter, Mary and Libby went to a Ballroom Dance Performance.  They had a good time and performed well!

Sunday evening we had Chet's family over for dinner.  It was great to finally meet them after hearing so much about them from Mary.  Before they came, Mary and Libby cleaned and cleaned and cleaned the downstairs part of the house.  It was awesome!  Mary impressed me with her top to bottom cleaning skills.  The Norwex cloths helped.  I signed up to be a Norwex consultant recently, and we've been having fun getting experience using their cleaning products.

We ate dinner with Chet's family and then talked for awhile and played Great Dalmudi.  They are fun game players!  Apparently Chet is a gamer and wins at almost everything.  He loves to play Risk!  So that might be interesting in the future to meet up with my brothers.   Ha ha!

This week is our Cider Festival!  We are gearing up for that.  Friday night Bruce, Libby and I went out to the orchard and gleaned tons of apples off the ground.  They were big beautiful apples just sitting there.  The trees had been recently picked, so these apples were perfectly fine.  We will add some Thieves essential oil blend to the cider in case there is anything harmful in the cider, but I don't expect there will be.  Bruce and I also went out Saturday morning and got some more.  Whew - I finally feel like we have enough apples, which is the biggest worry of the Cider Festival!

Jesse said she is coming up with Peter and Steven - I'm so excited about that!  Josh can't come because it's in the middle of the week.  (So sad about that).  We are having it in the middle of the week because I had a very strong impression that this is when it should be.  It will be interesting to see if  we know why later on, but for now, I have made it a habit of following impressions of the Spirit, and have been blessed by it so far.  :)

Have a great week!