“The dead enter and pass among us in living love and in memory.” –Wendell Berry

We are just a few last weeks away from returning to our home and to our children in Orem.  I feel their hearts pulling me home.  It’s almost time. My missionary mother’s heart longs to be here, but my mother’s heart longs to be with them.  It has been hard to miss them growing up, graduating, getting married, and having children–without us near.  But as I look back at these last 3 years, away, I can see the blessings that have been poured down on our family.   I am grateful–so grateful I tremble.

As I have watched them band together and love each other I have often wondered about heavenly intervention, the kind that fills in the gaps and spaces left open with our absence.  I often feel the love from dear ones who have gone before, encircling our family, wherever we each may be.   Their faith fills us, as a family, and strengthens ours.  I love feeling their presence in our lives.

The hymn pronounces, “Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven.”  Sacrifice strengthens faith, and faith strengthens families.  That faith pours down through the generations and fills us.  I am so grateful for my children and new grandchildren and for my dear ancestors and loved ones who pass among us in love.

Wendell Berry expresses it in this way:Wendell Berry, and so the young are taught

Last Christmas, passing along Christmas traditions to our next generation:2017-12-30 Christmas (24)

Family love and food around the table:2017-12-31 Christmas (68)2017-12-31 Christmas (70)2017-12-31 Christmas (73)

Generations in living love:2017-12-31 Christmas (80)

I love being a mother.  I love these memories of Christmas and I love that soon we will be together again.  I love those who have gone before us.  I love those who will come after us.  And I love all the missionaries who surround us here.  I tremble with gratitude.

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What a secure thought! What a day in which to live!

Jeffrey R. Holland

“What a terrific time to be alive!

The gospel of Jesus Christ is the most certain, the most secure, the most reliable, and the most rewarding truth on earth and in heaven, in time and in eternity. Nothing—not anything, not anyone, not any influence—will keep this Church from fulfilling its mission and realizing its destiny declared from before the foundation of the world.

Ours is that fail-safe, inexorable, indestructible dispensation of the fulness of the gospel. There is no need to be afraid or tentative about the future.

Unlike every other era before us, this dispensation will not experience an institutional apostasy; it will not see a loss of priesthood keys; it will not suffer a cessation of revelation from the voice of Almighty God. Individuals will apostatize or turn a deaf ear to heaven, but never again will the dispensation collectively do so.

What a secure thought! What a day in which to live!

If there are some bumps along the way while waiting to see every promise kept and every prophecy fulfilled, so be it. If you haven’t noticed, I am bullish about the latter days.

In nothing could I have more faith than I have in God the Eternal Father, in Jesus Christ His Son, in Their redeeming gospel, and in their divinely-guided Church. Believe. Rise up. Be faithful. And make the most of the remarkable day in which we live!

–Jeffrey R Holland, Facebook post May 27, 2015

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Mother’s Day 2018

2018-5-13 Mother's Day (1)2018-5-13 Mother's Day (2)2018-5-13 Mother's Day (3)2018-5-13 Mother's Day (4)I love my family.  I love my family.  I love my family.  I love my family.

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A Mother’s Job

“A mother is not a person to lean on, but a person to make leaning unnecessary.”
— Dorothy Canfield Fisher

I am grateful to be the mother of a strong capable independent daughter.

2015-6 Claire, Greg Olson Art (9)

Dorothy Canfield Fisher

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Will it smother her??

2018-5-2 DfG flannel (6)Whenever I have a free minute, I throw some Days for Girls flannel in the wash.  Today I washed, dried and folded somewhere between 30 and 40 bolts while we planned missionary transfers.  We’ve been on the road for the last month or so, so this was a delightful day for me, at home.

After one of my trips to empty the dryer and load the washer, I returned to the office where John and his assistants were at work.  One of them keeps a little red book in his shirt pocket where he often writes things Pres Lewis says, like big vocabulary words, or like quotes he wants to remember.  Today I caught him writing this in his notebook:2018-5-2 Transfer Planning (4)What a lovely demise that would be!!2018-5-2 DfG flannel (3)2018-5-2 DfG flannel (2)In the coming weeks and months, this flannel will be cut and sewn into feminine hygiene pads for girls in developing countries.  Most of this batch will be going into the most rural corners of Zimbabwe, where it will bless the lives of hundreds of beautiful girls.  Just the thought of it makes me So Happy.2018-5-2 DfG flannel (5)

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Ensign Frank Blair asked the right question

I listened recently to a talk given by Elder Larry Y. Wilson.  He told the story of Ensign Frank Blair during the Korean War.

Ensign Frank Blair

During the Korean War, Ensign Frank Blair served on a troop transport ship stationed in Japan. The ship wasn’t large enough to have a formal chaplain, so the captain asked Brother Blair to be the ship’s informal chaplain, having observed that the young man was a person of faith and principle, highly respected by the whole crew.

Ensign Blair wrote: “Our ship was caught in a huge typhoon. The waves were about 45 feet high. I was on watch … during which time one of our three engines stopped working and a crack in the centerline of the ship was reported. We had two remaining engines, one of which was only functioning at half power. We were in serious trouble.”

Ensign Blair finished his watch and was getting into bed when the captain knocked on his door. He asked, “Would you please pray for this ship?” Of course, Ensign Blair agreed to do so.

At that point, Ensign Blair could have simply prayed, “Heavenly Father, please bless our ship and keep us safe,” and then gone to bed. Instead, he prayed to know if there was something he could do to help ensure the safety of the ship. In response to Brother Blair’s prayer, the Holy Ghost prompted him to go to the bridge, speak with the captain, and learn more. He found that the captain was trying to determine how fast to run the ship’s remaining engines. Ensign Blair returned to his cabin to pray again.

He prayed, “What can I do to help address the problem with the engines?”

In response, the Holy Ghost whispered that he needed to walk around the ship and observe to gather more information. He again returned to the captain and asked for permission to walk around the deck. Then, with a lifeline tied around his waist, he went out into the storm.

Ensign Frank Blair on ship

Standing on the stern, he observed the giant propellers as they came out of the water when the ship crested a wave. Only one was working fully, and it was spinning very fast. After these observations, Ensign Blair once again prayed. The clear answer he received was that the remaining good engine was under too much strain and needed to be slowed down. So he returned to the captain and made that recommendation. The captain was surprised, telling him that the ship’s engineer had just suggested the opposite—that they increase the speed of the good engine in order to outrun the storm. Nevertheless, the captain chose to follow Ensign Blair’s suggestion and slowed the engine down. By dawn the ship was safely in calm waters.

Only two hours later, the good engine stopped working altogether. With half power in the remaining engine, the ship was able to limp into port.

The captain said to Ensign Blair, “If we had not slowed that engine when we did, we would have lost it in the middle of the storm.”

Without that engine, there would have been no way to steer. The ship would have overturned and been sunk. The captain thanked the young LDS officer and said he believed that following Ensign Blair’s spiritual impressions had saved the ship and its crew.

Ensign Blair did not just ask the Lord to solve his problem. He asked what he could do to be part of the solution. Likewise we might ask, “Lord, what do I need to do to be part of the solution?” Instead of just listing our problems in prayer and asking the Lord to solve them, we ought to be seeking more proactive ways of receiving the Lord’s help and committing to act according to the Spirit’s guidance.

You can read or listen to the entire talk here:

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2018/04/take-the-holy-spirit-as-your-guide?lang=eng

I can’t stop thinking about this story, and how I can be better about praying to be a part of the solution, rather than just turning things over to God to take care of.  I do that a lot.  I will work on being better at this.

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Nobody else can

Fred Rogers

From Life’s Journeys According to Mister Rogers, pp. 30-31

Yo-Yo Ma is one of the most other-oriented geniuses I’ve ever known. His music comes from a place very deep within his being. During a master class, Yo-Yo gently led young cellists into understandings about their instruments, their music, and their “selves” which, some of them told me later, they would carry with them forever.

I can still see the face of one young man who had just finished playing a movement of a Brahms cello sonata when Yo-Yo said, “Nobody else can make the sound you make.” Of course, he meant it as a compliment to the young man; nevertheless, he meant that also for everyone in the class. Nobody else can make the sound you make. Nobody can choose to make that particular sound in that particular way.

Nobody else can live the life you live. And even though no human being is perfect, we always have the chance to bring what’s unique about us to life.

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