Dad’s Best Dating Advice–How to cut the tail off a dog

Dog tail

I was single for a very long time. During that time, there were a fair number of boys in and out of my life. Sometimes those boys wanted to stay longer than they were welcome, and, being a soft-hearted person, I always had trouble moving them along to date someone else.

One time I was complaining to my dad about this problem. With his practical farmer’s wisdom, and in his slow deliberate manner, I received the only piece of dating advice he’s ever given me:

“When you have to cut the tail off the dog, don’t do it an inch at a time.”

I’ve never forgotten that advice. I’ve hearkened back to it many times over the years. I never expected I’d hear his words again in my mind as a missionary, but they are sounding in my mind almost every single day as we move through this last 6 week transfer period here in the Washington Yakima Mission. It is a heart-wrenching emotional time as we say good bye to loved ones almost every single day.

We have almost completed our one-on-one interviews with each of our 160 or so missionaries. John spends about 45 minutes with each one and I get to visit with their companions. Each time we sit together, we know it’s the last time we’ll do that here. That makes for sweet and emotional visiting.

Every time we drive out of an area for the last time, we are also saying good bye in our hearts. Goodbye to the potato fields of Othello and the mint fields in Royal. Goodbye to the corn and peas and dairies and wheat. Goodbye to the hay being harvested in windy Ellensburg fields. Farewell to the dramatic river gorge in The Dalles and Hood River. Goodbye to quaint Ephrata. Goodbye to beautiful Wenatchee, with the river running through it. Goodbye to each mountain pass, with pines and melting snow. Farewell to the spectacular river valleys on the road to Omak and back, lined with vineyards and orchards. Goodbye to the Bald Eagles and hawks and cranes and water fowl. Goodbye to the wide open spaces and spectacular sunsets. Good bye to the mesmerizing wind turbine sentinels on strategic mountain passes. Good bye to semi trucks filled with bins full of apples, traveling the highways with us every week of the year. Goodbye to the incredible old barns of central Washington that look as if they had stories to tell.  And good bye to the beautiful orchards all around us, expectant now as the fruit grows and ripens.

I have tried to capture some of these things in pictures and words as we’ve traveled and lived here, but nothing really captures the love I feel for this place. It runs deep in my soul, as does the love I have for the hundreds of members and missionaries who have served here with us.

Perhaps it’s best to cut this tail off an inch at a time–my heart would not be able to endure it happening in a single whack.

Here’s how the emotional goodbyes have been happening, day by day these last 6 weeks:

9 May Our Last Transfer Begins
8 May Farewell to the Calls (served with us 3 years)
8 May Farewell Dinner for the Calls with the Pendleburys, Royals and APs
11 May Last Super MLC
15 May Last Doctrine of Christ training, Mission Home
17 May Last interviews in Toppenish (4), Zillah (2), Sunnyside (2)
18 May Last interviews with the Yakima Zone (22)
19-20 May Last Stake Conference in The Dalles
21 May Farewell to Elder & Sister Farrer in Royal
22 May Last interviews in Wenatchee (14)
23 May Last interviews in Chelan (2)
23 May Last interviews in Brewster (4)
23 May Last interviews in Omak (8)
23 May Last drive through our northern parts
24 May Last interviews with more in Wenatchee Spanish (8)
24 May Last interviews in Ellensburg (10)
25 May Last interviews with the Yakima Valley Spanish Zone (16)
25 May Farewell dinner Thompsons, Calls, Van De Venters at Cowiche Canyon Kitchen
29 May Last interviews with the Selah Zone (16)
30 May Last interviews in Othello (8)
30 May Last interviews in Royal City, Mattawa (6)
30 May Farewell dinner with the Allred Families in Royal
31 May Last interviews in Moses Lake (16)
1 June Farewell to Tyson Allred and our Royal home away from home
1 June Last interviews in Moses Lake (4)
1 June Last interviews in Ephrata (10)
1 June Last interviews in Quincy (2)
1 June Farewell dinner with all the Stake Presidents, wives and Elder & Sis Stapleton
5 June Last Mission Leadership Council (28)
6 June Last newsletter created
7 June Last north Zone Conference (98)
8 June Last south Zone Conference (95)
9 June Farewell dinner with the Mission Presidency and wives in Selah
10 June Farewell to the Englewood Rama
11 June Office Staff party with all the couples who’ve served here
12 June Last interviews The Dalles (12)
13 June Our exit interview with Elder Whiting, Salt Lake

And we are not finished saying good bye. Here are our coming farewells:

13-15 June Last transfer planning with APs
13 June Dinner with the McBeans (Days for Girls leader)
15 June Yakima 2nd Ward 60th Birthday Party, farewell to our ward
16 June Last transfer calls
16 June Last Days for Girls event in Yakima
16-17 June Last Stake Conference in Moses Lake
18 June Last departing group arrives, final dinner
19 June Last departing group breakfast and airport
19 June Last arriving group comes, orientation
20 June Last transfer
20 June Last night in the Mission Home
21 June Move out of the Mission Home
22 June Lunch with the Office Staff and APs
25 June Last staff meeting
25 June Dinner with Darrell and Sheila Smart, neighbors
28 June Last trip to the airport. Jackmans arrive
29 June Last drive out of Yakima

My heart is full, but it sometimes feels like it’s being emptied. The miracle is, the love never ever seems to run out. When love goes out of me, it is always replaced with more. Always.


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40 Years Commemorating the Revelation on the Priesthood given 8 June 1978

Mali 2012. 001 (823)On 8 June 1978, I was attending BYU when the news of the revelation on the Priesthood reached the airwaves.  The excitement on campus was explosive!  I stood in line at a pay phone in the Harold B. Lee Library, to call home to share the news.  My dad answered the phone in Reedley, out in the packing shed, with all the noise of the packing machines and packers.  I had to yell so he could hear me.  I was So Very Excited and thrilled.

Just 3 years later, I opened a big white envelope with a mission call.  I was assigned to labor in the South Africa Johannesburg Mission.  During that time, I more fully appreciated the gift that revelation was as I taught my brothers and sisters there.

South Africa Mission  (2)South Africa Mission  (3)

After returning from South Africa, I lived in Nigeria, West Africa, for almost 3 more years, teaching and training village health workers in remote villages.  My companion, Mary Ellen Edmunds and I were there in the early days of the Church in Africa.  We witnessed entire congregations enter the waters of baptism as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints grew and began to flourish.  It was amazing to be a small part of that movement.


This week, Mary Ellen posted this about our Nigerian experience:

Good morning on a beautiful Sabbath in June. I want to share my feelings this morning about the commemoration of the June 1978 revelation which extended the blessings of the priesthood and the temple to ALL of God’s children. There aren’t enough words to adequately express my feelings – I wept through the whole celebration… zillions of tears of joy, tenderness, and love. And yes, I remember right where I was (at the MTC) and how I felt. Much of my emotion during the program came because of my time in Nigeria, West Africa, 6 years after the 1978 announcement. I cannot adequately share what I feel about being there. I met Anthony Obinna and his brothers. I saw the chapel they had built with the name of the Church on a little sign in front. My companion Ann and I sat behind Brother Obinna when the first chapel was dedicated in Nigeria – in Aba (where the Temple is now), not too far from our village of Eket. We worshipped with our neighbors in our small branch. And now there are thousands and thousands of members with many stakes and wards. I’m deeply thankful for the influence my dear, dear friends and neighbors continue to have on my heart even though many years and miles have come between us. Oh how I look forward to sweet reunions in a time to come!!!!!  Have a beautiful, beautiful day! Love, MEE

Here we are in and after that meeting:2Nig32517097945_10210905722353402_2298671528927089642_o

Here is a baptism we helped with, in a village far in the bush of Africa, where villagers had found a pamphlet and a Book of Mormon and then waited a long long time for the Church to send missionaries to them.  They called themselves “The Church of Jesus Christ of Monongahela Pennsylvania” because that was the location of the ward stamped on the back of the pamphlet.  On this day dozens and dozens were baptized.  We didn’t have enough white clothing, so the new members went into the bush to change and hand the wet clothing on to the next.  Young boys were baptized wearing only men’s white shirts.  It was a sacred, reverent day, not unlike a day long ago at the Waters of Mormon, as described in Mosiah 18 in the Book of Mormon:

2Nig3212Nig310This is the ward where I lived and served as a Relief Society President much of the time between 1984-1987:


More recently, my husband and I have traveled many times to Mali, West Africa, where we continue to help our friends there, improving the quality of their lives.  A large part of my heart still lingers in all of these places.  These are my friends.  Things in my life were destined to change because of what happened on that June day in 1978.

b. Mali Water (001)e. Mali Medical (6)b. Mali Water (002)g. Mali Faces (35)Mali.2012.Dec.Ann (859)Mali.2012.Dec.Ann (737)Mali.2014.Feb (1657)

A year ago, Elder Bednar organized the first LDS Branch among our friends in Ouelessebougou, Mali.  I will be back there soon.  I am grateful for continuing revelation and goodness that flows to us from heaven.   Today I remember my friends and the blessings we all freely enjoy!

2017-5-23 Elder Bednar in Mali (2)

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Go to the light.

Sunset Orchard

God always answers prayers. When we feel we aren’t getting an answer, we might need to step back and see the bigger picture.

“Darkness is not an indication that there is no light. Most often it simply means we’re not in the right place to receive the light” – Dieter F. Uchtdorf


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Memorial Day 2018: Lewis Yard Care at it’s Best!

2018-5-28 Memorial Day Orem (2)This morning John’s siblings and their families converged on our yard in Orem for Memorial Day, helping to make it ready for our return in a few weeks!  What an excellent service!  Wow, we are so grateful!2018-5-28 Memorial Day Orem (4)The rain gutters at our home and at the Farm House were cleaned and cleared.2018-5-28 Memorial Day Orem (5)2018-5-28 Memorial Day Orem (6)2018-5-28 Memorial Day Orem (7)Uncle Dave oversaw the planting of the vegetable garden.2018-5-28 Memorial Day Orem (8)2018-5-28 Memorial Day Orem (11)2018-5-28 Memorial Day Orem (10)Dead bushes were removed.2018-5-28 Memorial Day Orem (9)And Aunt Barb tackled the ivy that is taking over our home!2018-5-28 Memorial Day Orem (12)2018-5-28 Memorial Day Orem (13)Uncle Jeffrey supervising cousin James up in the tree, cutting out dead limbs:2018-5-28 Memorial Day Orem (15)2018-5-28 Memorial Day Orem (16)

It’s hard to believe we belong to two worlds–one here, and one there.  The closer we get to being there, the stronger the pull.   I wish there were a way to put these two worlds we love side by side, and live in both.  I wish there were a way . . . .

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“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.

Posted in Family History, Lewis Family | 1 Comment

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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