Monday, August 31, 2015

Live after the Manner of Happiness

It's been so great to have Joseph home.  They recreated this photo this week.  This gives my Mama heart much joy!  (Wish we had Aunt Cori in the background on the present time photo, though!)

Mary at work!  She works at a dry-cleaning place and is officially a "detailer".  She's grateful for this job.  She works four days a week, about 6-8 hours a day.
I taught my first Lightfeet Zoning class this week!  I first conceived this idea about a year ago, and it's really great to see it come to fruition.  I feel really good about how it turned out.  I have 5 people taking the class, and it's super rewarding to see their excitement and growth.

Jesse had a birthday this week!  This is her birthday "selfie".
 I had a miracle happen this week when I sent her birthday package.  The postal worker said it would arrive a day late, and I said a prayer that it would arrive a day earlier, and it did!  It was truly a tender mercy!  Here Jesse is with her District.  Jesse said she is wearing a dress that she found for $5 at a thrift store.  (She had to find some new clothes because she put some clothes in a dryer and they shrunk!)
Here is an excerpt from her letter last week.  It was part of a letter she sent to her MTC companion.

 During sacrament meeting the talks were going on and I was on fire learning about God and how he wants for us to have "all that he hath" (DC 84:38) and so many people don't believe that! They think it is blasphemous that we say that we can become like God! What kind of a loving Heavenly Father is he if he doesn't want us to have everything and more that he himself has. An earthy father wants his son to grow up and have more than he ever had. It is ONLY possible through the Atonement and Jesus Christ's boundless mercy and love for us. Rom. 8:16-17 talks about how we are "joint-heirs" with Christ meaning that we will inherit the same glory as he, IF we choose to walk the same path. Of course we can do NOTHING without the Father's power. Even Jesus said, "I can of mind own self do nothing... I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me." (John 5:30) We have the power to receive revelation and know what the Father would have us, and our investigators do! Look up Revelation in the Bible Dictionary- ever since reading that I felt like my studies have improved. Something it says is, "The principle of gaining knowledge by revelation is the principle of Salvation." We cannot be saved (or help others be saved) without revelation. Oh how great is our cause! I find more and more joy in it every week. I always like to pray and call upon the powers of heaven to assist us in the work. God is willing to give to us. We cannot put mortal restrictions on a perfect and omnipotent God.

This week we had the Street Dance!  Oh my word, I love this event!  Tanner, Mary's friend, has recently bought lights for his own DJ business, so he brought these over to try them out.  They were great!  We had a good turnout.  Joseph and Mary had friends come from the singles branch.  It's always good to have older kids there because they are not afraid to dance!  :)

Mary calls this picture a "sibling" dance because Nic and Becca are practically part of our family, so Joseph dancing with Becca and Nic dancing with Mary is a sibling dance.  ha ha  I love it that we caught Todd & Kristie in the background dancing with Abby.
Here's Libby and Joseph getting some swing on!
After the dance and all the clean up, this crew ended up on the front porch talking.  For the first time ever, that I can remember, it stayed warm through the whole dance.  Usually we are freezing by the time the dance is over, but it was still perfectly pleasant this time.  I loved this - we were all relaxed, talking about the dance, laughing and just generally glad to be together.  Of all the memories from this dance, this one will be my favorite.
Joseph brought the couch cushion out originally for Becca, but it soon became a joint pillow.  Jesse and Josh are going to laugh at this.  No surprise, huh guys?
I almost left them all there when they were all asleep, but they woke up when I opened the door to go in.  I love Joseph's smile here!

Josh called with some great news last night:  The district in which he was first a Zone Leader in El Salvador has been made into a Stake in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!  This is wonderful, because it means the area has grown enough, with enough priesthood leadership in the wards and branches to become a Stake.  Josh was thrilled!

Libby started up soccer practices for the first time this week!  She was sore of course, and took to the backyard with a soccer ball to start juggling.  Go Libby!  So fun to see a girl with a soccer ball around our house again.  I've missed that!

Libby is also milking Lilly on her own every day now.  I'm so proud of her for doing this!  She set a goal to have this happen, and it took two years (or more?) to put it into effect.  She gets about 3/4 of a quart a day.  Bruce has started making our dairy kefir with this goat milk, and it is so good!  It tastes SO much better, almost like a yogurt instead of such a strong kefir taste.  It's actually palatable!

Peter had another rough week in soccer because he pulled a muscle in his back during Monday's game.  I was finally able to give him a Raindrop yesterday, so I'm sure that will help.

Joseph bought another car!  He went down to Tom's lot again and bought a Ford Focus.  When he went to open the lock later that afternoon, the key wouldn't open the lock on the door!  Bummer...  So right before the street dance, he and Nic went over to Erica's, where the car was parked, and used a wedge and mallet to get the door open enough to open the lock!
 I told Joseph, "Way to pick your frineds!"  (Nic is a good friend to have - there's no doubt).

We also had a wonderful time attending Gabby's baptism this week.  Gabby is Joseph's age, and we have known her since she was on Joseph and Josh's U-10 soccer team that Bruce coached.  Occasionally her Mom asked if we could give her a ride, and we got to know her a little bit better that way.  I have had a special connection with her ever since then, so I was so happy that she was befriended by members of the Young Single Adult branch here in our town and started going to Church.  Joseph invited her to come over to our house for the last three lessons with the Sister missionaries, so I was privileged to be at the lessons where she accepted the invitation to be baptized.  When I think of how this will change her life, and the blessings that will come not only to her but her future family and children, I just want to get on my knees and thank Heavenly Father from the bottom of my heart for his love for her and all His children.  The gospel brings so much joy and peace into families!  I witness of that, and give thanks unto God for his tender mercies.  The Spirit was present in abundance at her baptism.  Melanie and Denise gave wonderful talks.

I'm so grateful for the presence of the Holy Ghost, what I often refer to as "feeling the Spirit".  I say feeling, but it is more than just an emotion.  I feel it in my heart and also my mind is filled with what Joseph Smith called "pure intelligence".  In Doctrine & Covenants 8:2 it says, "Yea, behold, I will tell you in your heart and in your mind, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart."

Paul teaches in Acts 15:8-9, "And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;  And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith."  This scripture helps me to understand that feeling the Spirit, or the Holy Ghost, is a sign that we are on the straight and narrow path, because God is purifying our hearts by faith in the process.  I treasure being able to feel the Spirit.  It fills me with peace and happiness, filling my heart with gratitude and love, sometimes almost to where I cannot bear it.  Julie B. Beck said, "The ability to qualify for, receive and act upon personal revelation is the single most important skill that can be acquired in this life."  As I have honed my skill in this area, my life has improved in every way, such that I truly do feel that I live after the manner of happiness.

What about you?  Would you like to join me?

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