Sunday, February 28, 2016

Week of February 22 - 28, 2016

Highlights:

Spiritual
I missed my Wednesday morning temple session. I was totally exhausted and tried to get up at 4 am and get ready but I was beat! Dee and I attended the Wednesday evening session together.


My visiting teacher came on Monday and we had a great visit! I completed my visiting teaching on Wednesday and had great visits with Linda and Yvonne. My companion was ill and couldn't come.Our home teachers came Thursday evening, and then one, our bishop, came back again to assist dad in giving Cameo a priesthood blessing.

I am reading both the Book of Mormon and the Ensign magazine and am in Third Nephi 10.

I indexed some naturalization records from Ohio this week. So far, I have indexed 2771 records this year.

Family

The Wilkins Family
The Wilkins are busy with play/musical practices and having cough contests in the vehicle while mom is driving. Sam proclaimed the new pup Aunt Amber is fostering as "mine!".

The Ethan Rice Family
Ethan and Kaylee were here when I arrived after pack meeting on Tuesday. We had a fun visit and Kaylee and I played in the playroom.Then influenza hit their home with a vengeance. Cameo was so sick. When they came by on Thursday night, Kaylee was feeling warm and ended up vomiting on Grammy (Really, it didn't bother me. I have had that happen SO much in my life!). Ethan also went to the dentist on Wednesday and needs a root canal and crown. No Fun!They all were down with this virus, with fevers, aches and pains all weekend. Cam went to two doctors who were out of influenza culture kits but this all surely must have been the flu that is rampant in Arizona. We took them some dinner on Sunday evening. Poor Cameo had to work that day, and Ethan and Kaylee were home trying to recover.

The Doran Rice Family
Doran was blessed to pick up some synthetic grass at a HUGE discount that someone decided they didn't want.
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I see a monkey in the lower center of the pic, so I know Kooper was helping too!

Amber was an awesome Mommy and went on a field trip with Kelsie.
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Morgan
No news from Morgan this week.

Kayty
Kayty finally went to her endocrinologist on Monday. Instead of the continuous glucose meter I thought she would have, she has more blood work to do and a re-order and re-entry into the meter program, or something like that. Doctor did notice the low glucoses on the meter that I use when I find her low and got on her case. Tuesday, she had a day off work and headed to the lawyer with all the bills from her arm break to turn in.She ended up stopping at a furniture store liquidation and purchased a new bed, which meant the rest of OUR day was spent going through stuff, taking things down and hauling them out. Dad ended up picking up her new bed. She and I worked on the beginnings of putting it together, and Ethan and Dad finished it. She spent the rest of that night and week rearranging.
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She painted this and added the stickers.

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Kayty completed some paper work for her lawyer on Sunday so hopefully her law suit can conclude.


Total saves this week:2

The Nathan Rice Family
Nathan and Jessica are busy as ever with school! Jessica is taking some tough classes since she is nearing the end of her program, and they are made more difficult being online classes. Nate is still working hard at calculus and seems to be understanding a bit more as he goes. He loves his physics and machining classes. I facetimed with Annalee on Sunday and I did see those two new teeth. She is beginning to get some more blonde hair on top and is very, very interested at discovering who this strange lady is in the phone!

Work
Dad has his annual group meetings in Tempe this week. I remember four years ago that he couldn't spend time with all of us after Nate got on the plane to go to the MTC because he had to be at those doggone meetings. He drove to Tempe four times this week.Twelve to fifteen hour days are not unusual now and Dad is usually totally exhausted at the end of the day.


Dad's Garden
He ate lettuce, snow peas, beet, carrots, chard this week.

And the missionaries wanted service to do, so they cut and stemmed while Dad got them placed on the dehydrator racks. 
Dad's Truck
No work on the truck this week.

Year of the House
I finished painting the living room on Monday night.

I also put tile in the cubby hole shelves (a light slate looking peel and stick) so the books can be put on and removed without destroying the shelf, and got all but one done (this was the final one to paint). Finished it on Wednesday. This is the final product:

Minus my shelf decor which won't go up for a couple of weeks. I want to let the paint fully cure.

I am so pleased with the boring, beautiful beige!

I finished painting the front porch ceiling, though we need some brown paint to repaint the trim pieces. There were so many cracks and crevices that I made sure paint was on and in everything!

I also started painting our bedroom ceiling. I wanted nothing to do with that Kilz primer, so I tried the Home Depot paint with primer. Worked amazingly!I got it over halfway painted. I did not realize that it is difficult to balance on a bed and paint. I didn't fall or anything, but I ended up straining my back strictly from the balancing.

Other highlights
A friend in another ward by ours gave us their rooster. It started as a chick and didn't turn out to be a hen, and their HOA is complaining about the noise. His name is Kip. We shall see how he works out.

My first Blue and Gold Banquet of this time serving as a den leader was exhausting. I arrived early, as we were asked, and began setting up chairs. I ended up hauling over 60 chairs around tables. I am an old lady! Then I put tablecloths on tables, when the four male leaders of Bears and Webelos came and helped. It seems two older sisters are in charge of the Wolves, and men are in charge of the other dens. This looks not so good for day camp. I really can't spend hours in the heat of June, whether day or evening. Anyway, I started dishwater for forks while awards were being given out, and then dried dishes and pitchers, and helped clean up. I was there nearly three hours and came home exhausted! I did receive my "Trained" patch, too. 


Not so highlights
 Dad had a dental appointment this week. Two cavities! This man flosses and brushes ALL the time. No figuring teeth. I had not written down my next cleaning appt and apparently missed it in December. They called our old home phone number and didn't even send a note making sure we were alive. Go figure!

My phone ended up going through the washing machine. I can receive calls but cannot send texts, make calls, or even see pictures. We will have to remedy this situation soon but it's just too much to think about now. Nano went out and got her own smart phone, so I can use her old one when I run in case a creeper tries to grab me, but I won't use it on a regular basis because it's just like Dad's flip phone and that doggone thing makes me crazy!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Week of February 15 - 21, 2016

Highlights:

Spiritual
Dad had President's Day off. (First time ever!) The Phoenix Temple was open on a Monday morning for the only time in the year...on President's Day. So he was able to attend the first session of the day there. I attended the first session of the day on Wednesday, and Dad attended the final session of that day.

Week was filled with talk preparation.I did get to Helaman 16 in my Book of Mormon reading and I also began reading the March Ensign magazine.

I indexed but neglected to write down my total names for the week.

Family

The Wilkins Family
We received our first LDS Living Magazine, a gift from the Wilkins Family and we are enjoying it. Thank you so much. Adam did a superb job at a school project this week...


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 To quote Allison:
"Adam's advisory had to try to recreate famous paintings/photographs using makeup and props. His expression had us all in tears."

The Ethan Rice Family
Dad spoke with Ethan on Sunday after the blog was posted. He had gotten to drive with his coworkers to the ocean, so he was able to see the Atlantic Ocean. Warmer than the Pacific. He was having a good training and will need to attend another one in a few weeks somewhere in the upper midwest. Cameo took a day off work on Wednesday and she and Kaylee went to the Phoenix Children's Museum. They had a lot of fun, and ended up taking a surprise trip to the airport that night to pick up Ethan. Yes, he got to take an earlier flight home. They spent Thursday as a family, got ready to head to Cam's Aunt Bobbi and Uncle Bud's Ranch, and left Thursday night with the other guys for a great weekend of family and hunting (for the guys, anyway)

The Doran Rice Family
Doran took vacation days Thursday and Friday for preparing and going on the Javelina Hunt. Amber had a dog adoption event and had fun with both Kelsie and Kooper while Doran was away.

Morgan
Morgan and Christy visited on Monday night to pick up an extra door lock we had.Morgan thought he had to work on Friday, but his boss gave him the day off at the last minute, so Christy drove him out here and he drove up with Doran and Dad on the javelina hunt.We met one of Christy's daughters, Kaylee, at Grandma's Valentine Dinner.

Kayty
Kayty's favorite day of the year is the day after Valentine's Day. Yummy Chocolate Hearts at half price!! She enjoyed Family Home Evening and Bachelor. Tuesday through Friday, she worked. She missed her Friday endocrinologist appointment, so it was rescheduled for next week.

Total Saves This Week:2

The Nathan Rice Family
Nathan and Jessica are busy students. It's midterm time and Nate did well on his physics exam and was taking his calculus exam on Friday. Jessica had some mandatory volunteer work on Friday (not criminal or anything, but for a class of hers. ) Annalee turned five months old this week, and now has two teeth, though it's not possible to get a photo of them, since her tongue is stuck out every time her mouth is opened. They both spend a lot of time doing homework and studying. Annalee has been up late at at night with tooth troubles and has meant for two tired parents.

Work
Dad had Monday off (holiday) and Friday off (javelina hunting) so he had a three day week. He pruned trees: ours and the neighbor's branches that were over our yard (which angered the HOA president next door and involved very kind police who calmed him. Dad picked up the branches in their subdivision and assured him that his landscapers would make sure the limbs don't come over our fence and dump leaves), prepared for his hunting trip, cleaned and hauled, and even jumped into the pool to cool off after hours of work. The rest of the week included days that are now 150% of what they used to be, with a lovely letter stating there would be no raises this year.


I was blessed with a two day week. Cameo took vacation days Wednesday and Friday. Such a treat since I have SO much painting to do here! We started with week outdoors. Warm temperatures make outside so nice! We got out of my car, dropped her stuff off on the sofa, and headed straight out! Swing, slide, sand were our home for quite awhile. We played indoors, did a couple "C" activities,




 and then went to visit a lady that dad gets manures from.It was like a farm! She saw horses and goats and chickens and turkeys. We didn't see the wild rabbits that were so friendly to us on an earlier visit, but everything else was amazing!







We just enjoyed playing on what ended up being our last day for the week.


I had a list of things to accomplish for Wednesday and Friday, and ended up getting way more done than I had planned. 


Dad's Garden
Doing well! Everything is growing!

Dad's Truck

No truck work this week.

Year of the House
Living room is entirely painted!


( Well, minus one cubby hole shelf and behind dad's rock cabinet. I need help moving a turntable and the rock cabinet) Wow! What a job! Those cubby holes in the shelves took nearly a gallon of paint to get every single surface painted. I made two extra trips to Home Depot this week, just to get paint.

Other highlights
This was my first wolf cub scout meeting this week. Seven great and very active boys. Sister Angie Day kept them busy every minute. We have Blue and Gold Banquet next week and in March, I am responsible for all the cub den meetings. Lots of prep coming up!

Dad took his first swim this week. It was cold and he wasn't in the pool for very long, but he got in after he had trimmed trees and hauled the branches.

The guys went Javelina Hunting. Cam sent me this on Friday...
Here are some more









Last Saturday, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died suddenly. He was a strong voice for the Constitution and interpreted it as the men who wrote it intended. His passing may mark a significant change for the worse in our legal system and our country as a whole. I read this quote from him yesterday and found it very worth sharing:

"God assumed from the beginning that the wise of the world would view Christians as fools…and He has not been disappointed. Devout Christians are destined to be regarded as fools in modern society. We are fools for Christ’s sake. We must pray for courage to endure the scorn of the sophisticated world. If I have brought any message today, it is this: Have the courage to have your wisdom regarded as stupidity. Be fools for Christ. And have the courage to suffer the contempt of the sophisticated world." 

Justice Antonin Scalia 

Grandma's Valentine Dinner was on Sunday the 21st. Yummy meat loaf, potatoes and cheese, cauliflower and cheese, heart beets, salad, cooked carrots, root beer, and Cameo's cake, divinity, hershey kisses and heart shaped cookies for dessert. 



 
 
Not so highlights
After Kaylee left, we got a call from a member of the bishopric asking us to talk in church...in six days! A week of childcare, work, painting, hunting, cub scouts, etc. made for little talk prep time. We did survive and there is NO nicer feeling than when a talk you have given is DONE!

After I had painted all I could in the living room, I decided to be a sweetheart and prime and paint the front porch ceiling. Oh, my heck. That primer stunk to high heaven!!! It was lucky I was outdoors or I certainly would have suffered some brain damage! And that stuff was awful to work with. I had a huge dropcloth down, covered all I could with plastic and that stuff still was everywhere, including all over me. I told Dad that he was in charge of the rest of the priming in the house!!

Talks Dad and Mom Gave In Sacrament Meeting on Sunday, February 21, 2016

Mom's Talk


Come Unto Christ
How Oft Would I Have Gathered You

I love reading the Book of Mormon. I read every day, and when I reach the end of Moroni, I begin again in First Nephi. I am not a scriptorian by any means, but I learn a little bit more each time I read, and each time, something touches my heart in a different way.

One of my favorite passages that I read is found in 3rd Nephi Chapter 10.

This was during Christ’s second time speaking to the multitudes after his death.
  There had been hours of silence,  when the voice of Christ again came .

O ye people of these great cities which have fallen,   who are descendants of Jacob,    yea, who are of the house of Israel,    how oft have I gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings,    and have nourished you.
 And again,     how oft would I have gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, yea, O ye people of the house of Israel,    who have fallen;       yea, O ye people of the house of Israel,       ye that dwell at Jerusalem, as ye that have fallen;     yea, how oft would I have gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens, and ye would not.
 O ye house of Israel     whom I have spared,     how oft will I gather you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings,      if ye will repent and return unto me with full purpose of heart.

I love when I read that. And similar references are found in Matthew and Luke in the New Testament, and in the Doctrine and Covenants

We have hens. Years ago, we had both hens and chicks.I used to enjoy watching that mother hen as she taught her little ones: how to eat food and drink water, to scratch the ground for what might be hidden.When anything startled that mother, she would make a certain clucking sound and those chicks would come running to the safety of her wings. They would also sleep under the warm       cover of her wings at night. She was their teacher, their refuge from the storm, their safety. She would do anything and fight off anyone to protect them. 

Jesus Christ is there for us. As he said, “How oft have I gathered you….”  “How oft would I have gathered you…”  “How oft will I gather you…”

I find that as we begin to make more of our own choices in life, we often think that life will be like a class syllabus:If we do this, and this, and this, we will be rewarded with the grade we worked for.
A + B = C
Sometimes life does work out that way.
But sometimes, though we are obedient, we refine our lives, we repent and correct our mistakes,    the things we worked for, we hoped for, we wanted and had envisioned for our futures do not work out that way.
Sometimes, we suffer consequences of our own choices.
Sometimes, we must suffer the consequences of choices made by those we love.
Sometimes illness strikes. That illness may be chronic and something we will have to live with each and every day. Sometimes that illness will take our life, or the life of someone we love very much.
Sometimes a career comes to a halt.
Always these experiences, these disappointments, these changes in course are part of our process of learning to become more like our Heavenly Father.
We have a choice when these adversities occur:
We can turn away from Christ. We can allow our heartbreak and sadness turn to anger and rebellion.
Or, we can turn to our Savior, who is ready to gather us in His loving arms and give us strength to find our way through to a new path.
Elder Donald C. Halstrom said in a General Conference address in 2010:
“In the most difficult circumstances of life, there is often only one source of peace.      The Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, extends His grace with the invitation  ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest’. He further promises, ‘My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.’”

He continued:
“Throughout the world and among the membership of the Church, there is great joy
and great pain. Both are part of the plan. Without one, we cannot know the other.
‘Men are, that they might have joy’    and      ‘…for it must needs be that there is an opposition in all things’ are not contradictory; they are complementary.  In describing how he felt when he turned to the Lord, Alma the Younger said, ‘My soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain.’”

Sometimes, we are overcome with major trials. And then sometimes, we allow small matters to become big.

There is a story of Symonds Ryder 
Heard about the Church          Met with Joseph Smith and was so touched by that experience that he joined the church                   He was ordained an elder and called to serve a mission   In his call letter from 1st Presidency they had misspelled his name by one letter                     Caused him to question his call and those who issued it      chose not to serve the mission fell away from the church        This soon led to hatred and intense opposition toward Joseph and the church Symonds led an angry mob that pulled Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon from their homes in the middle of the night where they were tarred and feathered   
                  
In less than ten months, he went from eager convert to mob leader. 

No matter how big…or how small…the challenges, disappointments, offenses, and sadnesses are in our lives, HOW we respond can reset the course of our life.We can turn away, or we can turn to the One who loves us: Jesus Christ.He is there, ever ready to gather us in His loving arms.
He is there to heal our broken hearts.He is there to give us strength to love and encourage those who may have hurt us, or who disappoint us.He is there to help us care for those who need our help.


There was a story told by Phillip Allred in Meridian Magazine.
“A group of young college students were helping measure range damage after a wildfire raged across the prairie outside their university town. As they walked over the expanse of blackened earth, they noticed a cluster of small smoldering mounds. One of the volunteers was particularly interested in the unidentifiable heaps and asked one of the more experienced range managers what they were.
“This veteran of many range fires replied that he had seen this phenomenon on a few occasions and suggested that the young man turn over one of the piles. He did. To his great surprise, several sage grouse chicks ran out from under the upturned mound. He was fascinated. How incredible, he thought, that these little chicks had known to find and run underneath this mysterious shelter.
“The young man asked what the mound was and how the chicks knew to take refuge there. To his amazement, he was told that the smoldering heap was the remains of their mother. When there is danger, the mother hen…calls out to her young ones and stretches out her wings for them to run under and find protection in her embrace.”

The hen in the story was the only chance those chicks had for safety.  She, being willing to spare her own life, had gathered them up under her wings to herself.At the point of terrible pain and death, when she still might have saved herself, she chose to stay through the ordeal.Just as she literally uses her body to protect and save, Jesus Christ literally uses his body to protect his children from spiritual destruction. Christ and his Atonement are always available.


Our youngest son, Nathan, chose to serve a full time mission. He left nearly four years ago for ten weeks in the MTC and then to South Korea.
Second week in the MTC, he started having horrible headaches          tried everything           drinking more water                cutting sugar (a great hardship when the BYU Creamery brought treats weekly)      Priesthood Blessings

I received our Ensign during that time, and sent him the words of David A. Bednar from a talk entitled “The Atonement and the Journey of Mortality.” These words gave Elder Rice strength to endure those headaches that continued nearly every single day in the MTC, in the mission field of South Korea, and even after he returned home. The answers and help came months later, after he married and went to Idaho for school. 

Elder Bednar said,
“Most of us clearly understand that the Atonement is for sinners.I am not so sure, however, that we understand that the Atonement is also for saints-for good men and women who are striving to become better and serve more faithfully.We may mistakenly believe we must make the journey from good to better and become a saint all by ourselves, through sheer grit, willpower, and discipline…

“The gospel of the Savior is not simply about avoiding bad in our lives; it is also essentially about doing and becoming good.”

He shared an example of one in the scriptures who knew and depended on the Savior’s enabling power. 

Nephi and his brothers had returned to Israel to bring Ishmael and his household.
As they returned to the wilderness, his brothers and others rebelled, tied him up, and planned his destruction.Nephi prayed, “O Lord, according to my faith which is in thee, wilt thou deliver me from the hands of my brethren; yea even give me strength that I may burst these bands with which I am bound”

Elder Bednar points out:
“Nephi did not pray to have his circumstance changed. Rather, he prayed for the strength to change his circumstances.And I believe he prayed in this manner precisely because he knew, understood, and had experienced the enabling power of the Atonement"

And so it was for Alma and his people being persecuted by Amulon.Alma did not pray to have their afflictions removed.He knew he was an agent of the Lord, and he prayed for the power to act and affect his situation.Their burdens were made to feel light so they could fulfill their responsibilities with ease.It says in Mosiah 3:19
“And putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of live, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.”
And Alma and his people “did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.”
The Atonement of Jesus Christ gives us strength and power to do things that we NEVER could do on our own.
Elder Bednar concludes with these words:
“The Savior has suffered not just for our iniquities, but also for the inequality, the unfairness, the pain,  the anguish, and the emotional distresses that so frequently beset us. There is no physical pain, no anguish of soul, no suffering of spirit, no infirmity or weakness that you or I ever experience during our mortal journey that the Savior did not experience first. You and I in a moment of weakness may cry out, ‘No one understands. No one knows.’ No human being, perhaps, knows. But the Son of God perfectly knows and understands, for He felt and bore our burdens before we ever did. And because He paid the ultimate price and bore that burden, He has perfect empathy and can extend to us His arm of mercy in so many phases of our life. He can reach out, touch, succor-literally run to us-and strengthen us to be more than we could ever be and help us to do that which we could never do through relying upon only our own power.” 

“How oft will I gather you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, if ye will repent and return unto me with full purpose of heart.”

Testimony
           


Dad's Talk

Come unto Jesus 2-21-2016

You, me, and everyone in this world has the same desire: to be happy; to enjoy this life. We think the same thoughts; those that make us happy. We have the same dreams of what we think will make us happy. But what is this happiness? Many people are very happy and satisfied in the life they have and they do not feel the need to search more. How do we know when we have reached the greatest happiness and joy that we can obtain? I know I ask a lot of questions, it is how I find answers.

It is only when we have found comfort and peace in the in the teachings, or of understand the teachings of our Savior in the way that our Savior wants us to know, understand and demonstrate in our lives that we can be truly happy. This is the message of the Gospel, which means Good News.  As Paul wrote, “How shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher.” Romans 10:14

I have heard, and I have believed, and I have called on our Savior. My parents used to drop my sister and I off at a small Methodist church located at 32nd Street and Roosevelt. The preacher there was kind and did a lot of nice things for me. He gave me a set of pigeons and I raised them.  He taught me about Jesus and I believed him. When I was eight years old, he gave me this Bible and I read it. I learned to call on Heavenly Father and I said my prayers nightly. Maybe it was just the faith of a kid, yet this faith carried me. Though my sister and me did not attend that little church very often in our teen years, I still had the faith which carried me for another nine years when the missionaries came to our home and taught me and my family the gospel. The preacher was sent: Elders Smith and Barber. And they gave me this Book of Mormon. I read it, and I called on God to know if it was true. And, much like Joseph Smith, I knew that God knew that I knew that the Book of Mormon is true and the word of God and I also could not deny it without offending God.

This is my story of “Coming to Christ”.

Actually, this was the beginning of my testimony. There are simple steps. Though simple, these steps do require desire, effort, hope and work on our part and determination to finish..

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland stated in his talk “how to come unto Christ”, that there are several steps for each of us to perform in order to come to Christ. These steps are not complicated, yet, nonetheless, they do require an effort on our part.

1.     First Step: We need to begin with a molecule of faith. As Alma says, “If you can no more than desire to believe…” What can cause us to desire to believe? Belief in Christ has to be something that we want.  The spirit touches us and makes us feel good; it makes us feel right; it makes us happy. Happiness is an incentive to want to believe. Alma says, “…exercising just a small particle of faith, giving even a small place for the promises of God to find a home…” That is enough to begin with. This is the first principle of the gospel: 1. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Suzzy and I are the Stake Baptism Coordinators, which is a big word for you are in charge of preparing for and conducting the monthly Stake 8 Year Old Baptismal Service, typing the program and afterwards, washing the baptismal suits. We see these young boys and girls each month coming to be baptized. They know what they are doing and they are happy. They do not have doubts. They have been taught. They have felt good and they want the blessings that come from making this covenant. 
This brings us to the second principle. Repentance.
2.     Second: Repentance is necessary, as it is what changes us from the man I am to the man I should be. We must change everything we can, including everything that was any part of the problem.

Elder Robert C. Gay, in 2012 stated, (quote) “…what the Savior is asking of us: We are to give up all of our sins, big or small, for the Father’s reward of eternal life. We are to forget self-justifying stories, excuses, rationalizations, defense mechanisms, procrastinations, appearances, personal pride, judgmental thoughts, and doing things our way. We are to separate ourselves from all worldliness and take upon ourselves the image of god in our countenances.” (unquote)

 So are we to be perfect? We are to be as perfect as we can. Christ spoke “Be ye therefore perfect, even as I or your Father in heaven is perfect.” We can be as perfect as we desire to be, through the means of repentance, effort, work and help from the atoning sacrifice of the Savior.  It may not be easy, but it will be worth it. We will be rewarded in our journey and we will become happy as we come to Christ. Repenting and giving up things we enjoy are not easy. I say things we enjoy, because we want to be happy and probably would not do incorrect things or have incorrect thoughts if we were not rewarded in some way. That reward: for some it might be fun or pleasure, for others it might be power or wealth or other desires. Whatever the reward it is held as a means of leading us to continue in the incorrect actions. We will have to develop the desire to not gain pleasure from them any more. But we ill need to have Gods help to overcome them. Some things we cannot do on our own and we may think “I did it all myself without Gods help” Our very difficult weaknesses needs God’s help and God will help us in a way that we know that God helped us to overcome. When we know that God helped us when we could not, that will increase our conversion. Much like when ancient Israel was fighting their enemies, God put them in situations where their enemies even 400 to one outnumbered them order for them to know that is was God who saved them. The people of Israel knew that God fought their battle and without God they would have lost.  As with our weaknesses we will be lured repeatedly to enjoy them again and again as we build a hard heart trying to do it ourselves. Moroni stated in the book of Ether. “If men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men. My grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for it they humble themselves before me and have faith in me then will I make weak things become strong unto them” When we rely on God, we will build our faith, testimony and gain confidence as we overcome. We will gain strength and, perhaps, we will come to dislike our favorite sins when we realize what blessings they have kept us from. They have kept us from spiritual growth, Godly learning, true happiness and they have stolen our precious time.

I watched The Odyssey by Homer several times when I was young, a spell binding movie of a man’s experiences and over coming trials as Ulysses makes his way home after a war. One if Ulysses trails he becomes overcome with pleasure while on an island and does not realize how many years have passed by. He comes to his senses when he understands the waste of life giving into distractions and pleasures. Ulysses overcame his weaknesses when realized that his true happiness was to be back with his wife and family. We too may come to realize the waste of time, effort, money, and our life when we are lost in worldly adventures and not working towards perfection. For me, a lot of growth came when I freed up time and used that time to read the scriptures and other books written by our prophets. I have learned a lot.  I have increased my knowledge and testimony and conversion. I can say that it has changed my life for the better. Learning of ancient people has given me a better understanding of human behavior. It is easy to see the correlations, over time, of how the ancient Israelites, Nephites, Jaredites, and those before the flood behaved, and how people behave today. People really have not changed much we still have desires and want to satisfy them. Some today still seek for the same Worldly or the same Godly things.

3.     Third, we are to take upon ourselves His name. We just had a season of worldly pleasure, excitement, pride, fun and camaraderie. I saw it on the news and Facebook. Many chose which team to take upon themselves. Many may have change names as this contest progressed to an end, for this year, of course. There are rituals associated with taking their favorite teams name upon themselves. Game attendance, shirts, feasts, devotion to broadcasts are other ways people show allegiance.  Elder Holland said (Quote), “There are ways to take upon ourselves the identity of Christ and we begin by taking upon ourselves His name. That name is formerly bestowed by covenant in the saving ordinances of the gospel. These start with baptism and conclude with temple covenants, with many others, such as partaking the sacrament, laced throughout our lives as additional blessing and reminders.” (Unquote).  As Nephi stated, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism—yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel.” 2nd Nephi 31:13.

I cannot think of a better team to be on. As Nephi stated, “…Follow the Son with full purpose of heart.”  Lift others and share your experiences. Be the “preacher” to bring others unto Christ. Elder Henry B. Eyring said, (quote)  “Those who have truly come unto him, they strive to become like him. They begin to try to do unto others as they know He would do” (Unquote).  

The late Marvin J. Ashton shared this insight from an inspired leader: “The best and most clear indicator that we are progressing spiritually and coming unto Christ is the way we treat other people.”
 Our Savior spoke of what behavior we should have. In the Parable of the Sheep and Goats. 31 ¶When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
 35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
 41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
 42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
 44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
 45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. Matthew 25:31 – 46.
What keeps me believing? What keeps me motivated to come unto Christ? Just as Alma talked about a particle of faith to desire to believe and to plant a seed, and to nourish that seed we must do that. I found that for me to stay active in this church, I had to continually nourish my testimony. A few months after being baptized I found myself missing meetings and finding other things to do on Sunday. I realized that I had quit reading the Book of Mormon. I started reading again and I finished the book I have continued to read and the Book of Mormon and other scriptures. We pray to talk to God, when we read his scriptures God talks to us. I also received strength and desire by following the prophet. Our prophet is God’s spokesperson on earth. It does not matter who provides Gods direction to us as we must live by every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God. If we receive this direction either directly from God or the Prophet, it is the same. In addition to attending church the other way that I feel like I am coming closer to Christ is by helping other, attending the temple, paying my tithing and in a nutshell doing what God asks me to do.  Am I perfect, no I am not. We are taught to be perfect by our scriptures, our leaders and by the spirit which teacheth us.We must listen and obey.
What does God really want to give us? We must know in order to desire and to work for it.
What can happen to our society or us by taking upon us the name of Christ?  Several societies have highly benefitted and others did not. The first record that we have of a wicked society that came to Christ was the people of the City of Enoch. These people started wicked and after receiving the gospel that was taught by Enoch, this people became so righteous that the population of the City of Enoch was taken from the earth. These people had the priesthood; they were taught by a prophet and took upon themselves the name of Christ and came unto Christ. The city of Salem was wicked and after preaching by Melchizedek, they came to Christ and were also taken up. This group also had the priesthood and a prophet. Moses understood that he was to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt to become another righteous city to be taken up. Wonderful things happened to this society, they had God’s hand protecting them, many miracles occurred, God met with 73 of the Elders of Israel in a conference where they saw him. The people asked to also see him. God was going to show himself to the entire camp of Israel. Yet they could not leave their worldly ways and rebelled and told Moses that they did not want to be in the presence of God. Not only were they not taken up but instead had the higher priesthood taken away and you know their story.

Could we have as an individual or society Come to Christ as dearly as first two groups? Is this God’s desire for us?

Doctrine and Covenants 93:1 states “Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am;”.

Brothers and Sisters, the promise is there. I cannot think of a greater motivation to Come to Christ and behold his face. President Paige in last weeks Stake Conference stated that we couldn’t have a testimony or conversion of a principle until we live the principal. President Paige’s example was about elders not having a testimony of Home Teaching. In John we read “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” John 7:17. We have examples to guide help us come unto Christ. Our Savior has shown the example, lived the life, provided the incentives and has rewarded us for coming unto him and taking upon ourselves his name.

Everyone here that is baptized used his or her agency to take upon himself or herself the name of Christ and to come unto him. If we are not there as yet, it is up to us to chose to start with the desire and faith repent and improve and to take upon ourselves his name and come to Christ. If we have lost our way, then so many times in the scriptures this one word tells us what to do “remember”. Remember the testimony we once had if lost, remember the wonderful witness of the Holy Spirit that let us know that Jesus lives, he is our redeemer, He stands at the head of His church and directs His work by his living Prophet.

I know that God lives, I have had too many miracles in my life, too many answers to prayers. The more I learn the more I know that this Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is God’s Kingdom on earth. Christ has restored his Kingdom through the Prophet Joseph Smith, restoring the priesthood, the keys and all things to act in God’s name. I have a firm testimony that our prophet today is guided by our Savior and speaks the words that our Savior wants him to speak. May we all come unto Christ.

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Week of February 8 - 14, 2016

Highlights:

Spiritual
On Tuesday morning, I saw this and it nearly took my breath away:
“The sweetest experience I know in life is to feel a prompting and act upon it, and later find out that it was the fulfillment of someone’s prayer or someone’s need. And I always want the Lord to know that if He needs an errand run, Tom Monson will run that errand for Him.”
~Thomas S. Monson.
Oh, how many times has someone been that answer to my prayer...and how many promptings I have received that have benefited someone I love very much. I had not thought of it as 'running an errand for the Lord' before...

I began my Wednesday at the temple in a wonderful endowment session and Dee ended his day there doing the same thing. Thursday evening, we went and spent over an hour doing family sealing work.

We had a great stake conference on Sunday and heard wonderful talks on making time for scripture study and prayer, serving our neighbors, building a testimony and the atonement in our lives.

I am in Helaman 6 in my scripture reading. 

I have indexed 2575 records so far this year.

Family

The Wilkins Family
They had a good week. Still working on purchasing their house. Allison now has a part time job working at the temple keeping it sparkling clean. I have done volunteer cleaning at our temple once. Each stake is assigned a week here, but there are also three full time people that make sure there is not one spot of dust on anything. It is quite a difficult and sacred job to do. Nicest place in the world to work, too.Allison told me on Sunday that they are required by their lender to take a nine hour home buying course. A pain, maybe, but hopefully they will learn a lot and that it will be worth it.

The Ethan Rice Family
Cameo caught the respiratory virus everyone has had, and only worked till 1 pm on Monday and took Tuesday off to rest. While she was off Tuesday, Kaylee started throwing up...and did so all day. Mommy had a respiratory virus and Kaylee had a tummy virus, which kept them home Wednesday too. Kaylee called on Saturday and sounded good. I heard from Wade that even Ethan was sick out in Atlanta this week. Tummy bugs are no fun!

Kaylee and Cam made and decorated cupcakes on Saturday...
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The Doran Rice Family
Busy week. They went to find Valentines on Thursday evening and the stores were bare. Doran came to the rescue!! (So doggone proud of that guy!)
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They had fun on Valentine's Day too...
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Morgan
Morgan called on Tuesday night and is doing well. He has someone special in his life and is very happy. He has been working as a weld fitter and in the future will be trained to weld. Pretty awesome! He might even get to go to Texas to work for a few weeks.We were able to meet his new girlfriend Christy on Saturday.

She is very nice and is being a great influence in Morgan's life. He is already in better clothing and shoes and is working toward getting his driver's license and clearing up all that old stuff in his driving past.
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Kayty
Monday, Kayty had a good day at work and went to "Bachelor" that night. Tuesday, she had a job interview at an insurance company, which turned out to be a Multi Level marketing scam. Ugh! She headed to Paulden, near Prescott, to visit friends on Thursday.
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 A blind date had been set up, so she doubled with this couple. She drove to Prescott and back, had to pay for her own movie ticket and dinner and movie snacks, and the guy didn't even say goodbye. Kayty has come in contact with so many church guys that have spent their time not learning manners. Anyway, she spent the night there, and on Friday, stopped at the Out of Africa Wildlife Park on her return trip.  (You get in free in your birth month.)

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 And why she needed a pic of this creature I will NEVER understand...

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She later said that this was a new cage for this creature. He had to be moved because there was a black widow in his original one. Who ever knew black widows could be deadly to snakes??


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She had to work both Saturday and Sunday this week.

Total saves this week: 3

The Nathan Rice Family
Nathan made it through a rough school week. Calculus is tough! Physics is tough! And he told me the classes he is taking the next semester, which include some horrible math class and Chemistry. He will be able to stay unemployed for that semester, which helps with two students and a baby in the house. Annalee had been a fussy girl, and Tuesday night, they discovered that her first tooth had finally broken through.



I wonder what goes through those sweet little minds when they experience tooth pain. They must be so confused!

She enjoyed her Valentine's Day gift from Grammy and Papa...

We talked on Saturday night and he is still working hard on that doggone Calculus.

Annalee is loving her walker that looks like a car, though she is not a very good driver and keeps crashing into things. 
Happy Valentine's Day from Annalee in Idaho!

Work
Dad's days started every day at 6 am and then his 6:30 meetings. Every day. Same group. Same questions. How much are you saving at company x? Team meetings at the end of those, but not every day. He visited suppliers, worked with his team members to progress on this Project Normandy, and did company assessments.On Friday, the 'powers that be' decided it was too much work for him to be both a captain and a crew member, so his suppliers are being assigned to others and he is a full time captain. He was very relieved.

My week included laundry, cooking, dusting, vacuuming,painting the entryway (hurray...I love it!)
more of the same, helping in the garden, grocery shopping, picking up key limes, shopping, paint prep in the living room (corners, by base boards, etc. so when I can paint I can just use the roller on the rest.), trash, helping in the garden a little, and some great jogging!

Dad's Garden
Dad got the pepper garden filled with sand, mulch and got it ready to plant bell peppers and other peppers in. I even helped turn it over and mix in the mulch and minerals.





Dad's Truck
Nothing this week.

Year of the House
As I mentioned, the entryway is painted. I was just wanting something more neutral, so I got paint to match the family room/kitchen and painted.




Next is the living room, but that will have to come in pieces, since there is a LOT to paint!

The most EPIC of the week was my bedroom ceiling, which went from this

Through this






To this

 Plus they finished the bathroom ceiling skylight cover up...And redid the front porch ceiling which had been peeling off.



It looks so nice!! and when I was cleaning up, the smell of drying joint compound brought back so many memories of building this house and little Allison and Ethan toddling around, with Doran in a playpen while we painted and did all we had to do.

Other highlights
 We made eggrolls from this dude...



I got a new sugar cookie recipe from a friend who is an expert at everything baking! I am going to try this, but I am sharing now...

I get more compliments on these. And they are even better when done in a Bosch. They are soft and tasty but easy peasy to roll out. Chill the dough at least 4 hours but better to do it overnight. That's what I do. And make the dang things thick so they stay soft! But that's just me...and lots of thick butter frosting. And my secret ingredient in the frosting is lots of anise extract! Yum! Oma’s Best Ever Sugar Cookies
1 & 1/2 cups (3 cubes) butter, softened
1 & 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla
2 Tablespoons milk
4 cups flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cream together butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add milk, mix well. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir into creamed mixture, blending well.
Chill at least 4 hours or overnight.
On lightly floured surface, roll half of chilled dough (keeping other half in frig) to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut with desired cookie cutters and place on ungreased cookie sheet. (I use parchment paper)
Bake in 375 degree pre-heated oven for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from pan and cool before frosting.
FROSTING
1 cube butter, softened
1/4 -1/2 teaspoon anise or other flavoring
Food coloring (optional)
1 - 16 ounce bag of powdered sugar
Enough milk to make a stiff, spreading consistency
Mix all ingredients and mix well. (If using more than one color food coloring, separate frosting into smaller bowls and add coloring)


I met with my co-leader, Angie Day, and learned about my cub scout duties. She has only served in this calling one month longer than I have, so we are learning this new program together. I spent a couple of hours on Pinterest and found lots of things and some great handouts that helped me understand the new program better. No More Arrow Points. No more tortuous arrows to sew on scout uniforms. Best thing ever!


Not so highlights
For my new cub scout calling, I spent nearly five hours listening to training and answering questions. Totally NOT my idea of fun!