Friday, February 17, 2017

Act Well Thy Part

Because I've had so many lessons over the years, it's not often that I actually hear something new. I've heard the "act well thy part" story taught by President McKay many, many times. However, today's lesson added some new information about the drawings included on the stone near Stirling Castle in Scotland he saw during his mission that help to shed greater light onto the importance of that saying. I thought you might like to be edified as well!

Each symbol in the nine squares of this stone represents a numerical value. Try to identify the numerical value of each shape.

What is the sum of the three numbers represented in the top row? the middle row? the bottom row?

From left to right, the symbols represent 5, 10, and 3 in the top row; 4, 6, and 8 in the middle row; and 9, 2, and 7 in the bottom row.

The numbers represented in any given row, column, or diagonal line on this stone add up to 18. One reason these shapes may have been included with the phrase “What-E’er Thou Art Act Well Thy Part” is that if any of these shapes were rearranged or if their values changed, the rows and columns on the stone would no longer add up to 18 in every direction.

Isn't that cool? Each one of us is important!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Marriage is Ordained of God

I noticed the following article in this month's Ensign - "Teaching the Proclamation to Children" - and decided they had a great idea. So, here are the wedding pictures of our grandchildren's parents and uncles and grandparents and even some great-great grandparents!
We know that "marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children,” and we're grateful for the example our parents and grandparents set for us. We hope we're passing that tradition along to the next generation.
You can find the long version of our courtship story here, but the short version is he called, we went on a date, and a week later we were engaged.

Wayne's parents both served missions in Japan and while they knew of each other during their missions, they really met at a mission reunion back in Utah. There's a story in there about a kimono; ask them about it. I don't have any pictures of their wedding day, which was 25 August 1959 in the Salt Lake Temple, but this one was taken about that time.
While my dad was serving his mission, my grandfather wrote him and told him he'd met his future wife, but he wouldn't say who it was. So, after he returned to California, Dad had to do his own searching. He met my mother at a stake seminary/institute graduation, but she wanted nothing to do with this serious, older man. He didn't give up trying to court her, though, and eventually won her over.
They were married in the Los Angeles Temple on 2 September 1961.
I love my mom's wedding dress!
Here are some pictures and stories from the next generation back:

Arthur and Dorothy met on the ferry to Catalina Island, where he was serving in the military and she was a nurse. They were drawn to each other because neither one was interested in the smoking and drinking of everyone else on leave. They were married in Los Angeles the week after Arthur baptized Dorothy, and they were sealed the next year in the Salt Lake Temple.

Vern was working in San Francisco when his friend's school teacher sister-in-law came to visit for the summer. Claude (the friend) and Mabel* (his wife and Ethel's sister) asked Vern to help her feel welcome, and he took his task seriously. They continued corresponding during the school year and were married in the Salt Lake Temple the next summer. (You can find a few more details here.)

*Mabel is Auntie, and she played a role in helping me meet my future husband as well. I wonder how many other matchmaking experiences she had!

Judge met Doris at church; both their families were members of the Huntington Park Ward in southern California. Soon after they met, Judge followed his plans to attend art school in Chicago, but that was okay because Doris was going to spend several months in Europe with her parents. They corresponded faithfully for a year, and then both returned to California where they dated and became engaged. Judge didn't feel he could support a family on what he was making there, so he went back to Chicago to find work and save money. After a couple of years of not making much progress, he took a job opportunity as a cartoonist for the St. Louis Times. Doris joined him there and they were married in St. Louis. Although disappointed that a trip to Salt Lake wasn't feasible at the time, they were later sealed in the Mesa Arizona Temple. (More details here.)
Left: Dorothy & Arthur, Top Right: Doris & Judge, Bottom Right: Ethel & Vern
Okay, wonderful grandchildren, can you identify the pictures below? Which one is your dad and mom?

Many awesome blessings have come into our lives because of marriage, and more specifically temple marriage. The bonds of family love are real and provide strength to help us navigate trials and challenges. Knowing that someone is on your side and loves you is comforting and peaceful. Having an eternal perspective makes all the difference. I'm so grateful for my eternal family!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Earnest Money

from a symposium paper on Covenant Renewal by Matthew Clayton:

In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul uses a unique Greek word (see 2 Corinthians 1:22) to describe our state in Christ. He says that we have been “given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” The word translated as “earnest” comes from the Greek word arrabon, which in modern Greek means “engagement ring.” When a young man places a ring on his sweetheart’s hand, their relationship changes. She is now promised to him. Likewise, when a follower of Christ is baptized, confirmed, and then receives the Holy Ghost, he or she is the Lord’s. The Spirit is a sign in the present of what is sure to come in the future. Explaining this very same Pauline concept, Brother Millet taught that
the same Holy Spirit of Promise that searches the hearts of men and women, that ratifies and approves and seals ordinances and lives, that same Holy Spirit serves, as Paul indicates, as the “earnest of our inheritance” (Ephesians 1:14). The Lord’s “earnest money” on us, his down payment, his indication to us that he fully intends to save us, is the Holy Spirit. We know that we are on course when the Spirit is with us. We know that our lives are approved of God when the Spirit is with us. We know that we are in Christ, in covenant, when the Spirit is with us. And we know that we are saved when the Spirit is with us. If we live in such a way that we can partake of the sacrament worthily, hold and use a current temple recommend, and maintain the gift and gifts of the Spirit, then we are in the line of our duty; we are approved of [in] the heavens, and if we were to die
 suddenly, we would go into paradise and eventually into the celestial kingdom.[17]
Paul is teaching that God has invested in us. He has put earnest money down for us as a goodwill gesture to show that he is serious about making the purchase (i.e., saving us). If we worthily partake of the sacrament, we can have the Spirit with us. If we feel that Spirit comforting, directing, and enlightening our lives, we can know with surety that we are receiving God’s seal, his affirmation that we are on track.
Image result for last supper prints lds walter rane
In Remembrance of Me by Walter Rane
It is interesting that from Adam to Christ, sacrifice pointed toward the Atonement. When Jesus prepared the Last Supper for his disciples, the bread, representing his flesh, was blessed and then broken (see Matthew 26:26) to symbolize the fact that for millennia people had looked forwardto this time. But since that time the sacrament replaced sacrifice, and people have looked back to remember his sacrifice. This is evidenced in the Book of Mormon: in a setting after Christ’s Atonement had been made, Jesus broke the bread first and then blessed it (see 3 Nephi 18:3). That sequence, which continues today, indicates that although the sacrifice was already offered, it is made holy for us again.

Having the Spirit in this life is the best indicator of our eternal destination. Seeking to keep the companionship of the Holy Spirit is the most important thing we do, thus we meet each week to remember him (see 3 Nephi 18:7). The repetition of this ordinance weekly is vital for us. As we return faithfully each week to humbly take the sacrament we will have the peace borne of the Spirit. The grand secret is that if we have the Spirit, all of our covenants and their blessings are in force. We must be careful not to skip over that vital step in the process. I believe we as a people habitually neglect the Spirit. We neglect not only his influence, but we downplay his role in the process of salvation. In John 6:54 Jesus specifically included eternal life as one of the blessings made available via the sacrament. If this is true, and it is, then why would anyone ever miss a sacrament meeting? This is why it is so crucial for us to seek and retain the Spirit in our life.

President Joseph Fielding Smith, put the relationship between the sacrament and the Spirit into proper context when he taught,
No member of the Church who refuses to observe this sacred ordinance can retain the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Ghost. . . . When we eat the bread and drink the water, we covenant that we will eat and drink in remembrance of the sacrifice which he made for us in the breaking of his body and the shedding of his blood; that we are willing to take upon us the name of the Son; that we will always remember him; that we will always keep his commandments which he has given us. In this act we witness to the Father, by solemn covenant in the name of the Son, that we will do all of these things. Through our faithfulness to these covenants, we are promised that we will always have the Spirit of the Lord to be with us in all truth and righteousness . . . . This covenant we are called upon to renew each week, and we cannot retain the Spirit of the Lord if we do not consistently comply with this commandment.[30]

President Spencer W. Kimball taught us, “Remembering covenants prevents apostasy. That is the real purpose of the sacrament, to keep us from forgetting [what we have] . . . covenanted at the water’s edge or at the sacrament table and in the temple.”

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!

Oh, come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Nativity Countdown #24

I started writing this post a few years ago. I imagine it comes from a little program I have in my files which I wanted to put in digital form. We've used it in the past for a family home evening lesson, but it would also make a great Christmas Eve family program, and is similar to what we did last year with our good friends and their children. Children bring such innocence and enthusiasm to sharing the Christmas story. Every single rendition is beautiful and awesome! And that reminds me of one of my favorite Christmas books - The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. I think it's time to read it again!

The ancient prophet Isiah wrote the following:
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6)

"Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful"

Luke 2:1-5

Luke 2:6-7

"Away in a Manger"

Luke 2:8-14

"Far, Far Away on Judea's Plains"

Luke 2:15-20

"Joy to the World"

Matthew 2:1-6

"We Three Kings of Orient Are" or "With Wondering Awe"

Matthew 2:7-12

"Silent Night"

Friday, December 23, 2016

Nativity Countdown #23

Speaking of little children, I love the Precious Moments figurines, but since they're porcelain, I'm not going to let little kids play with them! This set reminds me of my childhood, and particularly my youngest sister.

I considered pontificating more on light and goodness and the blessings of the Christmas season, but I've run out of time and now my kids are here and it's time to start celebrating. Enjoy your family and friends, and thanks for letting me share my nativities with you.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Nativity Countdown #22

This set we've had for many, many years, and if I recall correctly it was a gift from my parents. I love that it's not breakable! This is the set I've taken to Primary to use as a visual aid for music and/or sharing time, or in class. We never did have a Fisher Price Little People nativity set, but we didn't need one! While that is a terrific set, and maybe someday we'll get one, I like that this one is more realistic and yet is suitable for children.

So, this set reminds me of the importance of music, and of using it to praise and worship God. What Christmas hymns are you getting ready to sing this weekend?