Monday, August 24, 2015

Because I Have Been Given Much

This beautiful girl turned 20 years old this week!  This picture is a month old, taken the first day she got to her mission, with her mission president and his wife.  I just love this picture of her!  It's hanging on our fridge so I see it every day!
Jesse was born at home at 2:12 pm in Poulsbo, Washington.  We were so happy to have a girl!  She was 8 lbs 2 oz, my smallest baby.  Libby told me the other day that it was only recently that she learned that 8 lbs for a baby wasn't small.  haha  Jesse was a wonderful baby, so happy and content.  When she was sixteen months old she got nicknamed "Spastic bumper car" by Aunt Angie, who was single and visiting at the time, and a little overwhelmed by three little kids running around.  (I was too).  From spastic bumper car to piano performance major and "very, very good missionary", Jesse is an incredibly accomplished individual, and genuinely good to her very core.  I love her so much and miss her deeply!  Although we have very different personalities, we communicate well, and have learned much from each others' strengths.  She helps me be a better mother, and a much better person overall.  Well, just to keep it real, she basically demands it.  Ha ha.  It's true, is it not, familia mia?

Happy Birthday Jesse!!

The first day of school came so quickly this year!  Libby is going to a different school than Peter for the first time in her life.  Thankfully she has a great circle of friends around her so she doesn't feel alone.  She said this of her first day of school, "It was awesome!"
Mary was beside herself that Libby was wearing a t-shirt on the first day of school.  But Libby held her ground.  Her t-shirt says "Dancing in heels should count as a superpower".  Joseph was beside himself that Peter was wearing a Boca Juniors shirt (a soccer club in Buenos Aires) the first day of school, so he went and got him a Racing (pronounced in Spanish) shirt to wear.  I had to laugh over that one! It's funny how it was Mary and Joseph that were fussing over the kids, not me.  This is good - this is how it should be.  :)
Mary has been driving Peter and Libby to school every day.
Sibling Selfie:
She said it was super weird to leave Peter in the parking lot on his first day of high school and drive away.

She's not going to college until January, so it strange to have everyone else starting school and she's not.  She is working every day at the dry cleaner's, so she stays busy.
Joseph hasn't been working this week, at least not for pay.  He HAS been working around our house.  Wow - what a huge help he has been.  We had a dump truck full of wood chips dumped on our driveway to cover landscaping and he moved most of it last week.  Imagine his dismay when we had another one dumped yesterday!

We also had a family move in with us this week!  A friend of mine that is nine months pregnant and her seven children ran into some very difficult circumstances this week and needed a place to stay.  Like Ephraim K. Hanks, we were able to say, "We are ready now."  Joseph had to move his things out of the back bedroom, but he had no problem with that.  He went through Peter's room and took out about 3 bags of old clothes before he would move into that bedroom.  Ha ha!  I don't think Peter even knows.  So we've had an adventure here this week having this family here.  The older kids in the family are Peter and Libby's age, so they have had fun with them here - playing card and video games.  It's been a blessing for me to be able to reach out and serve.  I repeated to my friend over and over this week, "This is why this house is here."  It is to be a gathering place.  I've known that from the get-go, so it's no surprise.  This is what we've been preparing for, and also what we've done in the past.  This is the fourth family to live with us, which makes me rally happy.

Joseph went to the Temple this week with some of the young adults from the YSA branch.

On Thursday I went over to my friend Lori's house and picked up some peaches.  We traded for the canned peaches (this is a miracle), and she had extra ripe peaches that she wasn't going to be able to can, so she gave us half a box of them.  This was such a blessing, because I hadn't been to the store for awhile, and we were doing fine except for fresh fruit.  What a blessing!  Here is Libby's peaches with a little too much sugar on them!  

Peter had his first soccer game this week!  He played on the JV team as center defender.  He got about 15 minutes of playing time, which is good considering that he played all this week during practice with a pulled muscle in his right quad.  On the way to drop him off, he did an Interface canopy (from the AMSTAR modality by Sharon Plaskett) over his leg.  And I also said this to him:  "Peter, Heavenly Father can heal you from this injury.  If you pray in faith, He can heal you immediately, if it is His will.  But if not, there is still a lesson you need to learn from it, and it will continue to be that way until you have learned the lesson you need to learn."  He got out of the car and went on his way.  During the game, he took a shot on goal with his right leg, and only missed by a foot or two!  I was surprised to see him shoot with that right leg (his dominant one).  After the game, as we were walking across the field, Peter had his arm around me (which he often does) and he reported, upon me asking about his muscle, that it didn't hurt at all.  He played the game and it didn't hurt at all.  Let me be clear that this was a complete change from just the day before at practice. Truly a miracle took place!

Peter got a new school shirt yesterday, just in time for this picture!
Mary and Becca got invited to a "Black Tie Affair" in Boise by Mary's friend Ben, and before they went, Peter decided he needed a kiss on the cheek.  And can you believe these beautiful girls?!  They had a great time at their party.  So thankful for their high standards.
Joseph went to the local Rodeo with his friend Andrew.  Unfortunately they didn't get in because it was sold out.  
Hunter, Beau and Joseph eating cucumbers at Church.

I listened to the devotional give by Elder Neil A. Andersen of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles at Education Week at BYU.  This is a quote from his talk:
"As evil increases in the world, there is a compensatory spiritual power for the righteous.  As the world slides from its spiritual moorings, the Lord prepares the way for those who seek Him, offering them greater assurance, greater confirmation, and greater confidence in the spiritual direction they are traveling.  The gift of the Holy Ghost becomes a brighter light in the emerging twilight."
I witness that is true in my own life as I have felt guided and directed in so many ways this week.  I can see the hand of the Lord so clearly in my life.  And I do ask for it.

And this is why I ask, even about the most basic decisions that I need to make.

1) Pray always.  It says this phrase 14 times in the standard works.  Here is one of the verses:  
"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 32:9)
2)  Jesus said, 
"And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him."  (John 8:29)  
How?  How did he know what would please his Father?  The answer must be that he prayed always.

3) "Ask, and ye shall receive..." (Doctrine & Covenants 4:7)  This is repeated no less than 7 times in the scriptures.  Jesus repeated this admonition because he knew it was true.  He asked and He received, and He commanded us to do the same for our benefit.

4) And finally we have the parable of the unjust judge as a guide.  
"And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;  Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.  And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.  And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.  And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?  I tell you that he will avenge them speedily.  (Luke 18:1-8)"
Sometimes we put mortal limits on our Heavenly Father, thinking that He has time limits, attention span limits, patience limits, etc.  It's understandable, because it's hard from mortality to fathom something limitless, but God has none of those limits.  He wants us, from our mortal standpoint, to think we are "wearying" him.  He commands it, He admonishes it, He invites it.  

5) Oh, and as I'm thinking about it, how about this?
"If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?  (Luke 11:11)"

The oft repeated opposing view is to quote this scripture, 
"For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward." (Doctrine & Covenants 58:26)
Notice that this scripture does not say, "it is not meet that you should ask in all things", in fact the scriptures say just the opposite, as noted above.  So what I take the scripture to mean is that we should be asking BEFORE the Lord has to command us, which gives us even more impetus to be asking, through prayer, always.  And He says just that in this verse,
"But ye are commanded in all things to ask of God, who giveth liberally; and that which the Spirit testifies unto you even so I would that ye should do in all holiness of heart, walking uprightly before me, considering the end of your salvation, doing all things with prayer and thanksgiving, that ye may not be seduced by evil spirits, or doctrine of devils, or the commandments of men; for some are of men, and others of devils."  (Doctrine & Covenants 46:7)
There are no accidents, and Heavenly Father has woven an intricate web of experiences that are tailored exactly for my learning and good, and I am so grateful!

Sometimes there is a tendency to become paralyzed by this, the thought that every single decision has a consequence and is important.  Thankfully, as we pray always, and learn the skill to qualify, receive and act upon personal revelation, we can be guided every step of the way.

Photo credit:  Mary Holmstead 

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