Monday, September 29, 2008
Part of the normal FHE routine is to go over the weekly schedule. This week's shouldn't be too bad, although now that I think about it, it's not empty either (math league practice, temple trip, Personal Progress activity, Court of Honor, dentist, doctor and car appointments, Pampered Chef party, eagle service project and general conference).
We've had a month now of just two kids at home, and I'm surprised that it really is different! I've been comparing this school year to the one we had ten years ago. Here's what that was like:
Weston was high school on a modified traditional schedule. That means he started school mid-August, had three 2-week breaks during the year and finished mid-June.
David was in middle school on a year-round schedule (Red Track). No school in July, November and March.
Brad and Jeff actually had the same schedule as David, but at the elementary school.
Steven was in kindergarten. The school didn't offer any morning class for Red Track, so he went on Yellow Track and didn't have school in August, December and April.
Michelle was in Joy School two mornings a week from September through May. (I decided having a kid-free morning occasionally was better for my sanity than having all the boys on the same track. That turned out to be a wise decision!)
This was the year where every morning I had to check the calendar to see who was in school and who wasn't. And we discovered an unforeseen bonus of having one-on-one time when someone didn't have to go to school and everyone else did. While I hope I never have to deal with six kids and five different schedules again, now that it's in the past, it was actually a memorable year!
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Magnify calling to persuade people to come unto Christ.
We must be on guard constantly. Even those who are obedient can succumb to temptation, and it starts in our heart and thoughts. President Harold B. Lee said, “Testimony isn’t something you have today, and you are going to have always. A testimony is fragile. It is as hard to hold as a moonbeam. It is something you have to recapture every day of your life.” (Church News, 15 July 1972, p. 4.) The word of God can heal the wounded soul. Obtaining riches leads to pride leads to persecuting others. Seek the kingdom of God first and you can break that cycle. Be a good example to your children.
Feast upon God’s love. Repent and worry about your own sins, not others. They (the Lamanites)sin because their parents didn’t teach them, but you (the Nephites) don’t have that excuse. Be a good example to your own children. (notice the repetition from chapter 2!) President Monson taught: ”Parents, live your lives in such a way that your children will find you an example worthy of emulation” (April 2005 general conference – and he gave a whole talk filled with good advice).
Search the prophets. Listen to general conference. Build our lives upon the foundation stone Christ. Cross reference to Matthew 16:15-19 – revelation is our rock.
Chapter 5 answers the question asked in chapter 4: "How can those who reject Christ make him their foundation later? It's through the scattering and gathering of Israel, missionary work and repentance. Olive Tree Chart
Repent, have pure hearts, Elder Ballard's "O be Wise" talk (see Mosiah 12:27)
Jacob “could not be shaken” when his testimony was challenged. Am I that strong? The scriptures testify of Christ. Peace and the love of God come into our lives as we search the scriptures.
What a great example Enos is! A lot of people compare him to Alma and Saul and talk about his wickedness, but that opinion bothers me (and your dad). We think Enos shows how even those who are trying to keep the commandments need to hunger for repentance. We ALL need to be forgiven of our sins, and that takes “wrestling.” Before his wilderness experience, Enos had listened to his father “often,” he knew that God could not lie, he knew that whatever he asked in faith would be given him, he knew that the Lamanites had to repent on their own – his prayer for them was that the records would be preserved. First, we take care of our own repentance, then we expand our prayers to include our family’s welfare, and then we plead for everyone else. (See Elder Hale's talk.)
Those who have faith have “communion with the Holy Spirit.” Jarom wrote the same thing as his father Enos, that they were “continually stirring [the people] up unto repentance.” We should be grateful our prophets and leaders keep repeating the same counsel.
Keeping records is important, even if it’s just a little information. “Come unto Christ.”
Words of Mormon
God knows all things, and he directs his prophets. (See D&C 3.)
Friday, September 26, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Do you have any idea what this is a picture of?
I thought about having you guess, and maybe I still will, but I'll go ahead and tell the story anyway (which ought to give it away).
The other day while we were relaxing and watching tv, my dear husband said that some caramel popcorn would sure taste nice. That was a pretty easy wish to grant, so the next commercial break I got out the hot air popper and started making some. I had noticed the last couple of times I used it that this wonderful wedding gift is showing it's age and isn't as reliable as it used to be, but most of the popcorn does pop so it hasn't been replaced yet. Anyway, this particular time as I was spinning the bowl to keep the popped corn from falling out on one side, a kernel escaped and came flying at me. It landed on my neck and then fell down my shirt. It was HOT and I'm sure I looked very funny jumping around trying to get it off of me. Fortunately, no one was looking, so there's no photographic proof of those antics. However, I finally understood why in the lessons for pre-schoolers where you spread the blanket and let the popcorn pop in the middle they warn you to keep the kids away. Flying popcorn kernels are dangerous!!
Here's the recipe - from my college roommate Allison - and it is delicious!
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup butter or margarine
1/3 cup light corn syrup
2 batches popped popcorn (one of these days I'll measure it, about 2/3 cup unpopped)
Combine sugar, butter and corn syrup in small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Boil for two minutes, then pour over popcorn. Stir well and turn onto waxed paper to set up. Store in a tightly covered container. Note: can use white sugar and desired food coloring for “holiday” caramel corn.
Then we took advantage of only having 3 people at home and used her Chili's gift card for dinner before Mutual. She wanted the wait staff to sing to her, and they did. We spent the next day decorating the living room with balloons and crepe paper and hung a paper palm tree in the entry. Then she had a blast with her friends. One game they played you might even adapt to a group date or activity. All you need is a hula hoop. One person loops it over their arm then everyone holds hands in a circle. The object is to send the hula hoop around the circle while keeping hands held. You have to step through it and then kind of flip it over to the next person. They had a lot of fun with that. (The original idea was to do it as a relay with two teams, but we only had one hula hoop and they were fine with just seeing how fast the whole group could do it.)
So, sorry you weren't here for the festivities, but you would have been banished to the video game room anyway.
Monday, September 22, 2008
As a teenager I had the privilege of receiving my patriarchal blessing from my grandfather, Vernard L. Beckstrand. One of my favorite lines read “You shall always know exactly what you should do, where you should go, and how you should conduct yourself.” That brought me a lot of comfort as I faced the major decisions that come with growing up. So, fast forward to 1994 and the funeral. Uncle Kraig spoke on how Grandfather loved being a patriarch, and particularly telling people that they could always know what to do. I was crushed! That thought was supposed to be just for me! I felt just plain ordinary, and I didn’t like that feeling. In discussions with cousins afterwards, I learned that they had the same feelings – that that statement brought them tremendous comfort and support, and it was a little disheartening to learn it was shared, but even that, in the end, was kind of neat as well.
(3 brothers - Thane, Shelley, Kraig)
Several months later I was reading 2 Nephi 32 and verse 5 popped out at me. “If ye receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do.” That’s how Grandfather could make that promise to all of us. Heavenly Father made it to all of us. We can all always know what to do and where to go and what to say, if we will just keep the commandments so we’re worthy of the Spirit’s guidance. So, once again, my attitude changed. I am really grateful for this principle, and I’m extremely glad it’s not limited to me. It’s nice to know that everyone can have this blessing.
(Shelley's grandchildren - 1994)
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Some keys to understanding Isaiah:
· Understand Jewish prophesying and culture
· Have the spirit of prophecy (Rev. 19:10)
· Live in the last days
· Use Nephi’s explanations
It takes both grace and works to be saved. Don’t harden hearts. “The right way is to believe in Christ and deny him not.” (repeated twice!) “I have spoken plainly that ye cannot misunderstand.” That’s a lofty goal for all of our communication.
2 Nephi 26
Christ gives us words which we should follow or do. The proud and wicked will burn. The righteous – those who look to Christ with steadfastness - shall not perish. Destruction comes when we cease to have the Spirit with us. Developing charity helps us want to labor for Zion and help ALL come to Christ.
2 Nephi 27
God is a god of miracles. He is unchanging and omniscient.
2 Nephi 28
Wo unto the wise and the learned and the rich and the proud. Beware of Satan’s tools of not only dissension and anger, but flattery and pacification. God is always waiting for the repentant soul. Christ should be our foundation. We are given knowledge little by little – what we do with that knowledge determines what will be given to us in the future.
2 Nephi 29
The Book of Mormon contains God’s words. There are other records as well. Will we be prepared to accept them when they are made known to us? “I command all men to write the words which I speak unto them.” How am I doing at recording (writing) the words God speaks to me?
President Hinckley taught: “Emma was to be a teacher. She was to be a teacher of righteousness and truth. For the Lord said concerning this calling to her, “thou shalt receive the Holy Ghost, and thy time shall be given to writing, and to learning much.” (D&C 25:8) … To you women of today, who are old or young, may I suggest that you write, that you keep journals, that you express your thoughts on paper. Writing is a great discipline. It is a tremendous educational effort. It will assist you in various ways, and you will bless the lives of many—your families and others—now and in the years to come, as you put on paper some of your experiences and some of your musings.”
2 Nephi 30
Nephi testifies of the Book of Mormon. I do too.
2 Nephi 31
God speaks according to our understanding. We receive “line upon line, precept upon precept” (D&C 98:12). The doctrine of Christ is to follow him and do what he does – faith, repentance, baptism, gift of the Holy Ghost, endure to the end.
2 Nephi 32
Answers question of “What should I do after baptism?” 1) study the scriptures, 2) pray always, and 3) listen to the Spirit.
2 Nephi 33
Elder Gerald Lund said - Nephi taught, “When a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men.” Elder David A. Bednar noted the use of the word unto: “Please notice how the power of the Spirit carries the message unto but not necessarily into the heart. … Ultimately, … the content of a message and the witness of the Holy Ghost penetrate into the heart only if a receiver allows them to enter.” Why just unto the heart? Individual agency is so sacred that Heavenly Father will never force the human heart, even with all His infinite power. Man may try to do so, but God does not. To put it another way, God allows us to be the guardians, or the gatekeepers, of our own hearts. We must, of our own free will, open our hearts to the Spirit, for He will not force Himself upon us.
My words are written to persuade you to do good, to learn of your fathers (or mothers), to believe in Christ, and endure to the end. (2 Nephi 33:4)
And I'm grateful for children who have that testimony and share it with me. I'm grateful they didn't wait until they were 30-something to do something about it. And I hope they always remember how they received that gift. Here are some reminder jogs for their siblings. One of you shared in a seminary devotional that the very first time you read 1 Nephi 1:12, you felt the Spirit and knew the whole book was true. Another one of you, as you were going to bed after Halloween festivities, announced that you were going to finish reading the Book of Mormon for the first time that night. The next morning I asked if you had done so, if you had taken Moroni's challenge, and if you had gotten an answer. Three quick questions, three nods of the head - not even vocal answers as I recall - but I knew you had your answer by the light streaming from your eyes, and that strengthened my testimony as well.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Wetzel enjoyed his football season that fall. After graduating from Denver South High School in February of 1927, he traveled to join his family in southern California.
“While in Utah I made a brief detour to Ogden having been invited by Louise and her sweet mother to spend a few days with them. As a poor little country kid I was overwhelmed and a little frightened by their beautiful mansion. They had planned a special dinner party in my honor, and had invited a number of Louise’s high school friends to join us. A most embarrassing event occurred when I fumbled a dish of mustard pickles which landed butter-side down on the beautiful white linen tablecloth. I was horrified and felt like a country bumpkin, but lovely hostess that she was, Mother Eccles moved in swiftly to clean up the mess and reassure me that no lasting damage had been done.” (Looking Back, pg 22)
In California, Wetzel secured employment and tried to adjust to his new surroundings. “In Denver I had been a big frog in a little puddle. In California I was a very small frog in a big puddle. My ego was punctured, but it was a wonderful lesson in humility.”
“I became more interested in California when I met and became interested in a lovely little girl by the name of Doris Youkstetter. However, plans had been set in my mind to follow my brother’s lead and go back to Chicago and get a job and attend art school at night. Anyway, Doris was going to Europe with her Mother and Father for a vacation of several months duration. She promised to write me while she was away and this she did faithfully.” (Looking Back, pg 23-24)
Wetzel & Doris - 1930; their first home; Whitaker family - 1948
Louise also graduated from high school before marrying Robert Glen on October 5, 1930. They raised one son, and eventually settled in San Jose, California.
So what does this have to do with us? I told you this was the long version. Keep being patient! Hint: Wayne was born in Provo. I was born in San Jose.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
For God has given rich brown soil, the rain and sunshine too.
And if we plant the seeds just right and tend them carefully,
Before we know, good things will grow to feed our family."
That's what we were going to do for FHE this week, but I was too tired and the kids were already in their pajamas. So, instead we chose to play Boggle - family night style. That means after each round we had to pick one of our words and turn it into a gospel principle.
- salt - We need to be the "salt of the earth" and show a good example to others
- wo - We don't want to hear "wo unto you" for lying or stealing or anything
- goal - We should set goals and try to improve ourselves
- wars - In the last days there will be lots of wars
- learn - We should always be learning new things
- tower - We should listen to the prophet on the watchtower
- wait - We need to develop patience and wait for the Lord's timing
- sole - Christ should be our sole, or only, foundation
But since I had purchased the tomato plants and seeds on Monday, that still had to be taken care of. We have yet to have success making anything grow in Florida - at least not vegetables, the weeds are coming out of our ears. I think it has something to do with the backwards seasons. You're supposed to plant carrots and beans in May, not September. Anyway, we'll keep trying. Maybe this year is our lucky year!
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Would you believe she did this same job just this month? Only this time it was Steven pulling the form and not Dad!
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Sunday, September 14, 2008
God has done all he can. He expects to reap a good harvest (works of righteousness) from us instead of wild grapes. “Wo unto them that call evil good and good evil, that take away the righteousness of the righteous.” It doesn’t matter what others think – we should do what is pleasing to the Lord. Everyone will eventually receive their deserved reward (or punishment). Show Gratitude!
2 Nephi 16
Isaiah was counseled to preach repentance. He did, yet the people hardened their hearts. Verse 10 is written in an ironic or sarcastic tone. Sometimes our instruction just seems to make no difference, but we shouldn’t give up. We all have inner worth.
2 Nephi 17
“Refuse the evil and choose the good.”
2 Nephi 18
“When pain, tests, and trials come in life, draw near to the Savior. (See Isa. 40:31). Healing comes in the Lord’s time and the Lord’s way; be patient. Our Savior waits for us to come to Him through our scripture study, pondering, and prayer to our Heavenly Father. Great blessings and lessons come from overcoming adversity. As we are strengthened and healed, we can then lift and strengthen others with our faith.” (Robert D. Hales) We have a choice: Christ can be our rock of foundation or a stone of stumbling. Which will it be?
2 Nephi 19
“For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.”
2 Nephi 20 (a chiasmus)
Let the parent be the parent! God knows what he’s doing, and even if things seem unfair and unjust to us now, it will all work out in the end. We are the instruments and God is the craftsman; we should let him choose how to use us, not the other way around.
"I have a little book that I carry with me, where I record the inspiration and thoughts that I receive from the Spirit. It does not look like much, and it becomes worn out and needs to be replaced from time to time. As thoughts come to my mind, I write them down and then I try to do them. I have found that many times, as I have done something on my list, my action was the answer to someone’s prayer. There have also been those times that I didn’t do something on my list, and I have found out later that there was someone I could have helped, but I didn’t. When we receive promptings regarding God’s children, if we write down the thoughts and inspiration we receive and then obey it, God’s confidence in us increases and we are given more opportunities to be instruments in His hands. In the words of President Faust: 'You can be powerful instruments in the hands of God to help bring about this great work. … You can do something for another person that no one else ever born can do.' God treasures those who help His children." --Don R. Clarke
2 Nephi 21
Qualities of Christ-like Leadership: wisdom, understanding, knowledge, reverence, respect, righteousness, faith, kindness, meekness.
2 Nephi 22
Give praise unto God, or “Sing unto the Lord; for he hath done excellent things.” Verse 2 is a mini Chiasmus (Hebrew poetic form):
A – God is my salvation.
B – Jehovah is my strength.
A – He has become my salvation.
2 Nephi 23
God will destroy the wicked (Isaiah gives an awesome description) – yet he’s merciful to the righteous.
2 Nephi 24
Just be patient, eventually the Lord will give us rest, from sorrow, fear and bondage. At times it may seem as if Satan has all power, but he really doesn’t, and someday we’ll see his sad state and say, “Is this the man that made the earth to tremble?” Remember the meaning of Lucifer? After his rebellion, his name was changed to Perdition which means destruction.
Friday, September 12, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
"The Lord does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs. Therefore, it is vital that we serve each other. The righteous life is achieved as we magnify our view of life, and expand our view of others and of our own possibilities. Thus, the more we follow the teachings of the Master, the more enlarged our perspective becomes. We see many more possibilities for service than we would have seen without this magnification. There is great security in spirituality, and we cannot have spirituality without service!
"In serving others, we “find” ourselves in terms of acknowledging divine guidance in our lives. Furthermore, the more we serve our fellowmen in appropriate ways, the more substance there is to our souls. We become more significant individuals as we serve others. We become more substantive as we serve others—indeed, it is easier to “find” ourselves because there is so much more of us to find!
"The happy and abundant life begins from within and then moves outward to other individuals and to our communities. If there is richness and righteousness in us, then we can make a difference in the lives of others and in our towns, just as key individuals have influenced the lives of each of us for good and made us richer than we otherwise would have been."
-- Spencer W. Kimball
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Monday, September 8, 2008
(#1 - South Weber UT, #2 - Antioch CA, #3 - Pembroke Pines FL, #4 - Brandon FL)
When we dedicated our current house, we started the evening by singing “Bless this House.” What a beautiful message it has. And whenever we need a reminder, we can just turn on the cd again. I love the feeling in our home.
"Bless This House"
Bless this house, O Lord, we pray,
Make it safe by night and day;
Bless these walls so firm and stout;
Keeping want and trouble out;
Bless the roof and chimney tall,
Let thy peace lie over all;
Bless this door that it may prove
Ever open to joy and love.
Bless these windows shining bright,
Letting in God's heavenly light;
Bless the hearth a-blazing there;
With smoke ascending like a prayer;
Bless the folk who dwell within;
Keep them pure and free from sin;
Bless us all that we may be,
Fit, O Lord, to dwell with Thee.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
The Lord doesn’t move away from us, we move away from him.
2 Nephi 8
The Lord’s law is our light. If we write it in our hearts we don’t have to be afraid of “the reproach of men.” God’s righteousness lasts forever. He wants to comfort us. Look for joy and gladness and thanksgiving and music. The strength of Zion is the priesthood (D&C 113:7-8).
2 Nephi 9
Rejoice! “O how great the plan of our God!” Delight in righteousness. The righteous will have joy forever. Remember to hearken, repent, be baptized, have faith, and love the truth. Be prepared for judgment day. Don’t waste your time on earth. Knock and the door will open. Don’t labor for things of no worth. Be productive – think eternally. We have a duty to teach these things to others.
2 Nephi 10
We have to choose a side – God’s or Satan’s. “We are either for the Church or we are against it. We either take its part or we take the consequences. We cannot survive spiritually with one foot in the Church and the other in the world. We must make the choice. It is either the Church or the world. There is no middle ground. And the Lord loves a courageous man who fights openly and boldly in his army.” (Bruce R. McConkie – see also Rev. 3:16-17)
“Cheer up your hearts” because you have the gift of agency, which is given us to “reconcile ourselves to the will of God.” “As we learn in these scriptures, the fundamental purposes for the gift of agency were to love one another and to choose God. Thus we become God’s chosen and invite His tender mercies as we use our agency to choose God.” (David A. Bednar – see also Moses 7:32-33)
2 Nephi 11
Scriptures are given to lift up our hearts, bring us joy. 2 Nephi 11:4 and Moses 6:64 both state that EVERYTHING in the world can be a type for Christ. One memorable seminary lesson I shared these verses and got a lot of disbelieving looks. So I had each student just pick something in their vicinity (pencil, Kleenex box, Gatorade bottle, paper, etc.) and share with the class how it could remind them of the Savior. It was gratifying to see the light bulb go off as they realized they COULD make a connection – and they were pretty good ones too. For example, when we make a mistake writing with a pencil, we can use the eraser to fix it. If we make a mistake in our lives, we can use Christ’s atonement to make it better. It happened to be a red-colored Gatorade which reminds us of the blood of Christ. We use Kleenex to help bring us comfort when we have a cold; Christ is always there to comfort us as we go through trials. We can use this principle as a way to keep our baptismal/sacrament covenants. As we go through the day, look at the objects around us and think of how they can remind us of the Savior.
2 Nephi 12
“Cease ye from man.” When we turn to outside sources - put our trust in man, ourselves, work for riches and honor, etc. - we become spiritually empty. The Lord promises that the proud will eventually be made humble. So, we should go to the temple as often as we can to learn of God’s ways and be strengthened spiritually.
Nephi 13 & 14
First Nephi/Isaiah reminds us of the effects of sin in our lives, then the blessings that come after repentance. “The stay and the staff” equals foundation and support. When we are unrighteous, we lose that – because we lose the Spirit’s guidance which is how we feel God’s support. I also liked the phrase “the show of their countenance doth witness against them.” Remember Elder Anderson’s talk? What does our countenance witness for us?
You don’t have to tell how you live each day;
You don’t have to tell if you work or play;
A tried and true barometer stands in its place—
You don’t have to tell, it will show in your face. …
If you live close to God and His infinite grace—
You won’t have to tell, it will show in your face.
(Anonymous – quoted by Elaine Dalton)
Finally, our homes can be “a place of refuge, and a covert from storm and from rain.” The world is a noisy, busy place. I love having a peaceful home!
Saturday, September 6, 2008
And then here's the whole family when Scott was 6. He's the one on the right in the front.
Scott was one of the groomsmen at our wedding. He's on the right again.
And then he got married himself - to beautiful Tamara.
We were all together for Thanksgiving in 1996 at our home in California.
And then they came to visit us for Thanksgiving in Florida in 2005.
Scott actually did TWO eagle service projects. After completing the first one, he decided it shouldn't really count because it was Mom's idea. So, he came up with his own idea and did that. I think that epitomizes his character. He's hardworking, honest, dependable, and a host of other wonderful qualities. Happy Birthday to my big little brother!
Friday, September 5, 2008
For some reason this morning I remembered something I hadn't thought of in years -- Thrifty ice cream cones. (Of course I didn't remember that name, but a simple search for a picture of bubblegum ice cream brought it to mind.) What I did remember, though, was going with my sister to the drug store around the corner to buy an ice cream cone for 5 cents. If we felt like splurging, we could get a double scoop for 10 cents! As I recall, my favorite flavors were chocolate mint chip and rainbow sherbet, although not on the same cone. What a fun summer-time activity!
The bubblegum flavor, which was invented around 1970, is a different memory. I was introduced to that flavor (probably not at Baskin-Robbins, since theirs is pink and I remember blue ice cream) by my Aunt Cheri. I would carefully save all the bits of gum until the ice cream was gone, and then chew them. I still don't like "chunks" in my ice cream - it's supposed to slither down your throat.
I think maybe I remembered this because of the price contrast. This week we took the family for ice cream at $4 a scoop. For our anniversary dinner two weeks ago, I chose a beautifully sumptuous and luscious Peach Melba Sundae for dessert. The only problem was I was too full from dinner to really appreciate it - scoops of both peach and raspberry ice cream with fresh raspberries and raspberry sauce smothered with whipped cream and topped with a burnt sugar garnish. It was even worth the hefty price. I wish I had taken my camera to get a picture of it. But I did find a picture of what Wayne chose - Banana Cheese Cake. Mine was bigger and prettier.
So, there you have just a few "ice cream" memories. I could probably start a whole new blog on the topic. I think it just might be my favorite dessert!