Visiting the Gray Family in Minnesota!

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Larry and Marie Gray

After our Fabulous Family Reunion in Pennsylvania, we flew to Minneapolis to visit more relations there.  My grandma Ruby Lundquist Smuin has a sister named Elsie Gladys Lundquist.  Aunt Elsie has a daughter named Frances, who was my mom’s first cousin.  Frances will be 89 next month.  Her husband, Wally was a family historian, who left boxes of his work behind.  I was interested in finding some original photos that he published in some of the histories of our family written many years ago.

So, we planned a trip to visit Frances, her son Larry and his wife Marie, and their son, Matthew and his family.  We had 2 wonderful days, talking, sorting and discovering treasures.  I am so grateful for my family and for the bonds between us.

The first thing I noticed in Larry’s home is this wonderful collection of our ancestors:2018-8-6 Visiting Frances Gray MN (2)2018-8-6 Visiting Frances Gray MN (3)Here is the key to who’s who:2018-8-6 Visiting Frances Gray MN (4)Frances is living in this assisted living center in Columbia Hills, MN.2018-8-6 Visiting Frances Gray MN (5)My dear Aunt Frances!2018-8-6 Visiting Frances Gray MN (7)2018-8-6 Visiting Frances Gray MN (10)2018-8-7 Visiting Frances Gray MN (1)We spent 2 days going through generations of histories.2018-8-7 Visiting Frances Gray MN (3)2018-8-7 Visiting Frances Gray MN (7)

Here is one of the best treasures we found–pages from a scrapbook kept by Frances’s mother, Elsie.  In it were original photos of her mother, my great-grandmother, Grace Honor Bushman Lundquist.2018-8-7 Elsie's Photos (1)I had never before seen this photo of Grace Honor Bushman Lundquist.  She died at age 38, leaving 8 young children.2018-8-7 Elsie's Photos (5)Here are more photos of their family.  My Grandmother Ruby is in the top left photo in the white dress.  These photos are a slice of my family’s history.  I am so happy to get to see these.  Larry is letting me take some of these treasure home to digitize for the family.2018-8-7 Elsie's Photos (2)2018-8-7 Elsie's Photos (3)Monday evening Marie prepared a delicious dinner and we met their son, Matt and his beautiful family.  Both Larry and Matt are serving as Bishops right now.  They are good and busy men.

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Erin, Rachel, Ellie and Matt Gray

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2018-8-7 Visiting Frances Gray MN (19)What a gift it is to be connected to families.  This last week of reunions has felt like a slice of heaven on earth!

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A Bushman Family Reunion

John and I have just returned from a Bushman Family Reunion in Pennsylvania, where we celebrated the lives of my 3rd Great-grandparents, Martin and Elizabeth Degen Bushman.  Martin Bushman was born here in 1802.  His parents, Abraham and Ester Frank Bushman were also born here in the 1760s.  The Bushman families had land in Gettysburg and Lancaster County.  It was thrilling to walk where they walked and visit many of the cemeteries where family members rested.

We began our trip in Philadelphia, where we visited Independence Hall and the Old Town.2018-8-1 Philadelphia (25)We also visited the docks where my 5th Great-grandpa, Hans Heinrich (John Henry) Bushman landed when he came to America in 1753.  He fought in the American Revolution.2018-8-1 Philadelphia (74)We visited Gettysburg, learned about what happened there, and visited the farms of my ancestors.2018-8-2 Gettysburg Trip (11)Here is an account of 10-year-old Sadie Bushman, of Gettysburg, who helped comfort a wounded soldier:2018-8-2 Gettysburg Trip (18)

This is a photograph of surgeon Benjamin Lloyd:2018-8-2 Gettysburg Trip (42)2018-8-2 Gettysburg Trip (23)This is one of the saws the surgeons used to amputate limbs:2018-8-2 Gettysburg Trip (25)2018-8-2 Gettysburg Trip (26)

These women were my women:2018-8-2 Gettysburg Trip (29)2018-8-2 Gettysburg Trip (30)

Here is another treasure we found in the Gettysburg museum:2018-8-2 Gettysburg Trip (32)2018-8-2 Gettysburg Trip (33)Here I am at Samuel Bushman’s home, which still stands in the battlefields of Gettysburg:2018-8-2 Samuel Bushman Home (14)2018-8-2 Gettysburg Trip (83)2018-8-2 Gettysburg Trip (154)

I finally got to meet a dear friend, Ellie Johnson.  We’ve corresponded over the years about Elizabeth Degen’s Bible.  She inherited this treasure and brought it to show.2018-8-4 Lancaster Co family sites (119)2018-8-3 Breakfast, Reunion Presentations (49)Ellie is showing this Bible to Richard and Claudia Bushman, our special guests.2018-8-3 z Musical Production (9)

We visited the Rock Ford Plantation, where all of Martin and Elizabeth’s children were married.  Our family members were tenant farmers on this plantation.

2018-8-3 Rock Ford Plantation (151)2018-8-5 z John's Photos (24)2018-8-3 Rock Ford Plantation (66)Our group participated in the dedication of this memorial for our family members here.2018-8-3 Rock Ford Plantation (86)

We also enjoyed visiting Amish country–their markets and their farms.  2018-8-3 z Amish Country (13)2018-8-3 z Amish Country (41)2018-8-3 z Amish Country (68)

Another highlight of the trip included a musical tribute to Elizabeth Degen Bushman that had us all in tears.2018-8-3 z Musical Production (28)2018-8-3 z Musical Production (15)

And we visited several cemeteries where our family members were laid to rest.2018-8-4 Lancaster Co family sites (95)Cherry and Bernard Silver, dear friends:2018-8-4 Lancaster Co family sites (108)

The Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Lancaster, where Henry Bushman and Barbara Trout were married in 1764.  They are my 5th Great-grandparents.2018-8-4 Lancaster Co family sites (121)2018-8-4 Lancaster Co family sites (136)

Another special guest, Elder John K. Carmack joined us.2018-8-4 Lancaster Co family sites (235)Historians, Claudia Bushman and Cherry Bushman Silver:2018-8-4 Lancaster Park Lunch (31)

Visiting family grave sites at the Willow Street Mennonite Church & Cemetery:2018-8-4 Lancaster Co family sites (95)2018-8-4 Lancaster Co family sites (97)2018-8-4 Lancaster Co family sites (100)

Finding other family burial grounds in Amish farm lands:2018-8-4 Lancaster Sites (5)2018-8-4 Lancaster Sites (8)

I loved Ever Single Minute of this family reunion.  I have returned home with a heart full of love for my ancestors and for their descendants.  I met so many cousins!  More than 200 family members from all over the country attended.  I was the only one there representing Jacob Bushman’s line.  He is one of the sons of Martin and Elizabeth, I love them, and their families, now more than ever!

I’m posting all of my photos on the Martin and Elizabeth Degen Bushman Family Organization Facebook page.

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I Was Given A Gift

Jesus art 1

Today John and I went into our local Orem Costco to pick up some food, now that we’re home again. The parking lot was full of cars and there are new town homes surrounding it.  The mall nearby has had a face lift and now includes a splash pad for children. There seems to be more traffic and more people everywhere we go. We’re trying to get used to all the changes.

As we went into the store warehouse, we passed the customer service and information desk. The same people who were there 3 years ago, were still there, taking returns and answering membership questions. It caused me to pause and consider where my life has taken me these last 3 years–to Washington and back, and through the hearts of 100s of missionaries and friends there.

I could have been standing behind one desk, or sitting in one chair, or talking to the same small circle of friends. Instead, I feel like I’ve been to heaven and back. I’ve met people and I’ve seen things and I’ve felt things that never would have happened had I stayed here. I occurred to me that I was handed a Gift in the invitation to go and serve in another place, away from my home and family.

Sometimes people talk about our mission like it was a great sacrifice and a noble thing we did. That’s not really true. Serving a mission is more like an offering given, a small offering. But God’s economy is vastly different from ours. We may think we are giving, but the reality is that we received WAY more than what we gave. We returned changed, with hearts brim full of hundreds of loved ones we never would have known and we had experiences that have changed who we are. I’m grateful for this incredible gift!

Posted in Thoughts and Insights | 3 Comments

Beach Reading, Newport 2018

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I’ve just spent 3 years without having time to read a book for fun.  I’ve really really missed reading.  I love books.  I love love love books.  I didn’t have much time to throw together my beach library box this time–we left town a few hours after our church meetings on Sunday July 8th, but here are the books I dove into this year at the beach with their Goodreads summaries:

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10 July,  Precious and Grace (Ladies’ Detective Agency) by Alexander McCall, 227 pages
In this latest installment of the beloved and best-selling No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, Precious Ramotswe and Grace Makutsi help a young woman on a quest to find someone from her past.

Changes are afoot at the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, where Mma Makutsi, who has recently been promoted to co-director, has been encouraging Mma Ramotswe to update to more modern office practices. However, an unusual case will require both of them to turn their attention firmly to the past. A young Canadian woman who spent her early childhood in Botswana requests the agency’s help in recovering important pieces of her life there. With only a faded photograph–and, of course, some good old-fashioned detective skills–to guide them, Precious and Grace set out to locate the house that the woman used to live in and the caretaker who looked after her many years ago. But when the journey takes an unexpected turn, they are forced to consider whether some lost things may be better off unfound.

Busy as she is with this challenging investigation, Mma Ramotswe can always be relied on to come to the aid of her friends–who seem to have a special knack for landing in hot water. Mr. Polopetsi, an occasional assistant at the agency, has made an ill-advised business decision that may lead to serious trouble. And next door at Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors, Fanwell, the junior mechanic, has become helplessly attached to a stray dog who proves to be a bigger responsibility than he can handle. With Mma Makutsi by her side, Mma Ramotswe dispenses help and sympathy with the graciousness and warmth for which she is so well known, and everyone is led to surprising insights into the healing power of compassion, forgiveness, and new beginnings.

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11 July, The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt, 264 pages
In this Newbery Honor-winning novel, Gary D. Schmidt offers an unforgettable anti-hero. The Wednesday Wars is a wonderfully witty and compelling story about a teenage boy’s mishaps and adventures over the course of the 1967–68 school year in Long Island, New York.

Meet Holling Hoodhood, a seventh-grader at Camillo Junior High, who must spend Wednesday afternoons with his teacher, Mrs. Baker, while the rest of the class has religious instruction. Mrs. Baker doesn’t like Holling—he’s sure of it. Why else would she make him read the plays of William Shakespeare outside class? But everyone has bigger things to worry about, like Vietnam. His father wants Holling and his sister to be on their best behavior: the success of his business depends on it. But how can Holling stay out of trouble when he has so much to contend with? A bully demanding cream puffs; angry rats; and a baseball hero signing autographs the very same night Holling has to appear in a play in yellow tights! As fate sneaks up on him again and again, Holling finds Motivation—the Big M—in the most unexpected places and musters up the courage to embrace his destiny, in spite of himself.

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12 July, You May Already Be A Winner by Ann Dee Ellis, 345 pages
For fans of Ali Benjamin’s The Thing About Jellyfish and Katherine Applegate’s Crenshaw comes the humorous and heart aching story of one girl’s struggle to keep hope alive for her and her younger sister in Sunny Pines Trailer Park.

Twelve-year-old Olivia Hales has a foolproof plan for winning a million dollars so that she and her little sister, Berkeley, can leave behind Sunny Pines Trailer Park.

But first she has to:
– Fix the swamp cooler and make dinner and put Berkeley to bed because her mom is too busy to do all that
– Write another letter to her dad even though he hasn’t written back yet
– Teach Berk the important stuff, like how to make chalk drawings, because they can’t afford day care and Olivia has to stay home from school to watch her
– Petition her oddball neighbors for a circus spectacular, because there needs to be something to look forward to at dumb-bum Sunny Pines
– Become a super-secret spy to impress her new friend Bart
– Enter a minimum of fourteen sweepstakes a day. Who knows? She may already be a winner!

Olivia has thought of everything . . . except herself. Who will take care of her when she needs it? Luckily, somewhere deep down between her small intestine and stomach is a tiny voice reminding her that sometimes people can surprise you–and sometimes your family is right next door.

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15 July, Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall, 308 pages
The summer of 1963 begins like any other for nine-year-old Starla Claudelle. Born to teenage parents in Mississippi, Starla is being raised by a strict paternal grandmother, Mamie, whose worst fear is that Starla will turn out like her mother. Starla hasn’t seen her momma since she was three, but is convinced that her mother will keep her promise to take Starla and her daddy to Nashville, where her mother hopes to become a famous singer—and that one day her family will be whole and perfect.

When Starla is grounded on the Fourth of July, she sneaks out to see the parade. After getting caught, Starla’s fear that Mamie will make good on her threats and send her to reform school cause her to panic and run away from home. Once out in the country, Starla is offered a ride by a black woman, Eula, who is traveling with a white baby. She happily accepts a ride, with the ultimate goal of reaching her mother in Nashville.

As the two unlikely companions make their long and sometimes dangerous journey, Starla’s eyes are opened to the harsh realities of 1963 southern segregation. Through talks with Eula, reconnecting with her parents, and encountering a series of surprising misadventures, Starla learns to let go of long-held dreams and realizes family is forged from those who will sacrifice all for you, no matter if bound by blood or by the heart.

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18 July, Varina by Charles Frazier,  356 pages
In his powerful fourth novel, Charles Frazier returns to the time and place of Cold Mountain, vividly bringing to life the chaos and devastation of the Civil War.

With her marriage prospects limited, teenage Varina Howell agrees to wed the much-older widower Jefferson Davis, with whom she expects a life of security as a Mississippi landowner. He instead pursues a career in politics and is eventually appointed president of the Confederacy, placing Varina at the white-hot center of one of the darkest moments in American history—culpable regardless of her intentions.

The Confederacy falling, her marriage in tatters, and the country divided, Varina and her children escape Richmond and travel south on their own, now fugitives with “bounties on their heads, an entire nation in pursuit.”

Intimate in its detailed observations of one woman’s tragic life and epic in its scope and power, Varina is a novel of an American war and its aftermath. Ultimately, the book is a portrait of a woman who comes to realize that complicity carries consequences.

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19 July The Graveyard Book Neil Gaiman 312
After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod’s family…

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20 July,  A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story by Linda Sue Park,  121 pages
A Long Walk to Water begins as two stories, told in alternating sections, about a girl in Sudan in 2008 and a boy in Sudan in 1985. The girl, Nya, is fetching water from a pond that is two hours’ walk from her home: she makes two trips to the pond every day. The boy, Salva, becomes one of the “lost boys” of Sudan, refugees who cover the African continent on foot as they search for their families and for a safe place to stay. Enduring every hardship from loneliness to attack by armed rebels to contact with killer lions and crocodiles, Salva is a survivor, and his story goes on to intersect with Nya’s in an astonishing and moving way.

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21 July,  Paperboy by Vince Vaster,  224 pages
An 11-year-old boy living in Memphis in 1959 throws the meanest fastball in town, but talking is a whole different ball game. He can barely say a word without stuttering, not even his own name. So when he takes over his best friend’s paper route for the month of July, he knows he’ll be forced to communicate with the different customers, including a housewife who drinks too much and a retired merchant marine who seems to know just about everything.

The paper route poses challenges, but it’s a run-in with the neighborhood junkman, a bully and thief, that stirs up real trouble–and puts the boy’s life, as well as that of his family’s devoted housekeeper, in danger.

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22 July,  News of the World by Paulette Jiles,  211 pages
National Book Award Finalist—Fiction

In the aftermath of the Civil War, an aging itinerant news reader agrees to transport a young captive of the Kiowa back to her people in this exquisitely rendered, morally complex, multilayered novel of historical fiction from the author of Enemy Women that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust.

In the wake of the Civil War, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels through northern Texas, giving live readings from newspapers to paying audiences hungry for news of the world. An elderly widower who has lived through three wars and fought in two of them, the captain enjoys his rootless, solitary existence.

In Wichita Falls, he is offered a $50 gold piece to deliver a young orphan to her relatives in San Antonio. Four years earlier, a band of Kiowa raiders killed Johanna’s parents and sister; sparing the little girl, they raised her as one of their own. Recently rescued by the U.S. army, the ten-year-old has once again been torn away from the only home she knows.

Their 400-mile journey south through unsettled territory and unforgiving terrain proves difficult and at times dangerous. Johanna has forgotten the English language, tries to escape at every opportunity, throws away her shoes, and refuses to act “civilized.” Yet as the miles pass, the two lonely survivors tentatively begin to trust each other, forming a bond that marks the difference between life and death in this treacherous land.

Arriving in San Antonio, the reunion is neither happy nor welcome. The captain must hand Johanna over to an aunt and uncle she does not remember—strangers who regard her as an unwanted burden. A respectable man, Captain Kidd is faced with a terrible choice: abandon the girl to her fate or become—in the eyes of the law—a kidnapper himself.

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22 July Home of the Brave Katherine Applegate 265
Kek comes from Africa. In America he sees snow for the first time, and feels its sting. He’s never walked on ice, and he falls. He wonders if the people in this new place will be like the winter – cold and unkind.

In Africa, Kek lived with his mother, father, and brother. But only he and his mother have survived, and now she’s missing. Kek is on his own. Slowly, he makes friends: a girl who is in foster care; an old woman who owns a rundown farm, and a cow whose name means “family” in Kek’s native language. As Kek awaits word of his mother’s fate, he weathers the tough Minnesota winter by finding warmth in his new friendships, strength in his memories, and belief in his new country.

Bestselling author Katherine Applegate presents a beautifully wrought novel about an immigrant’s journey from hardship to hope.

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The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine (No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency #16) 209
by Alexander McCall Smith
In this latest installment of the beloved and best-selling series, Mma Ramotswe must contend with her greatest challenge yet—a vacation!

Business is slow at the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, so slow in fact that for the first time in her estimable career Precious Ramotswe has reluctantly agreed to take a holiday. The promise of a week of uninterrupted peace is short-lived, however, when she meets a young boy named Samuel, a troublemaker who is himself in some trouble. Once she learns more about Samuel’s sad story, Mma Ramotswe feels compelled to step in and help him find his way out of a bad situation.

Despite this unexpected diversion, Mma Ramotswe still finds herself concerned about how the agency is faring in her absence. Her worries grow when she hears that Mma Makutsi is handling a new and rather complicated case. A well-respected Botswanan politician is up for a major public honor, and his reputation is now being called into question by his rivals. The man’s sister has contacted the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency to investigate these troubling claims, but, as in so many cases, all is not as it seems. In the end, the investigation will affect everyone at the agency and will also serve as a reminder that ordinary human failings should be treated with a large helping of charity and compassion.


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Homecoming Talk –Sis Lewis 8 July 2018

Here are the notes I spoke from in my homecoming talk on Sunday.  These clips are a few of the highlights from talks and trainings I’ve given during the last 3 years.

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Lessons Learned

God has a plan for us, each individually. He knows us inside out.
In a world where Heavenly Father can turn an apple blossom into an apple, imagine what he can do with someone like me!
If we ask for help or understanding, He will answer.
God’s answers are not always instantaneous.
Often He uses time to teach lessons and reveal new things.
God’s answers are personal and efficient.
God is never wrong. God is never late.

God is hastening HIS work.
This is HIS work not ours.
We are His servants.
He is with us in this work.

The Doctrine of Christ is simple, pure, delightful, and life-saving.
The Holy Ghost speaks with the tongue of angels.
The Holy Ghost speaks to our understanding.
The Holy Ghost speaks the words of Christ.
These words are given to us as a gift.

Missionary work and Family History work are the same (ministering and saving), the people are just in different places.

President Russell M. Nelson:
Too often we split the Lord’s work into parts we think are unrelated. Whether it is preaching the gospel to nonmembers, serving with new converts, reactivating less-active members, teaching and strengthening active members, or performing family history and temple activity, the work is indivisible. These are not separate. They are all part of the work of salvation. Those on the other side of the veil rejoice and shout praises when their descendants accept or return to the gospel, for they know that their descendants are now able to perform vital temple ordinances in their behalf, linking together generations who have passed. (Seminar for New Mission Presidents, 2014)

Writing in a journal is Important.
To live and not have written, save one’s name
Or never to have lived, is much the same.

Leave yourself behind in ways that those who come after you will know you and love you. Then perhaps you will be granted access to them in their times of need. (Might not the reverse be true?)

Ron Barney:
If you do not write your story, your name will be obliterated from the human record and you will not speak from the grave. You will not have any influence on those who come after you. Those who write about the things they have done and learned in life have a huge impact on posterity. Write your story. You have overcome things your children need to know about.

If we don’t remember something, it’s like it never happened.
If we don’t remember someone, it’s like they never lived.
As long as there are words, nobody need ever die. –Betsy Byars
When a person dies, it’s like a library burns down.

Records are Kept and Preserved
We have scriptures because of the faith and prayers and desires of every prophet and disciple of Jesus Christ who has written of Him.
They recorded messages for their loved ones and for us today.
They testify of Christ. This is their gift to us, it is His gift to us.
As we add our testimonies to theirs (or Layer our Testimonies), we can have great power and an outpouring of the Spirit when we teach.

Be the Means Alma 37:7
“And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls.”
Let your Actions and your Words be the Means (Alma 37)

First seek to obtain my word
The years I lived in Africa taught me that
you can’t draw water from an empty well. We must Learn, Study, and Prepare.
If we learn WHAT to teach, the Spirit can help us know HOW to teach.

Doing vs. Being
We are human beings, not human doings.
Let your goals be focused on who you need to BE more than on what you want to DO. Then make yourself available to go where you’re needed.

Church is not a building. It’s a gathering of believers. It’s a place where we can participate in what Paul calls “the work of the ministry” (Eph 4:11).

Faith is a gift.
Bruce R. McConkie:
One of the gifts God has promised to all who earnestly seek Him is faith. Faith is a gift of God bestowed as a reward for personal righteousness. It is always given when righteousness is present, and the greater the measure of obedience to God’s laws the greater will be the endowment of faith.

Loving as Jesus Loves:
Someone once said, “The withholding of love is the negation of the spirit of Christ, the proof that we never knew him, that for us he lived in vain. It means that he suggested nothing in all our thoughts, that he inspired nothing in all our lives, that we were not once near enough to him to be seized with the spell of his compassion for the world.”

We determine the degree of our likeability.
We can do practical things that make us more likeable.

On getting along with a companion:
(Pres Lewis’s favorite line from Adjusting to Missionary Life, p. 37):
“Your companion’s behavior makes perfect sense to him or her, even if it doesn’t to you.”

We Internalize Things, like Music, Words and Actions
I’ve noticed that music and lyrics to songs lodge in our minds without our consciously thinking about them or memorizing them. Years later we hear a song and still know the words. They are in us, a part of us.

I believe this is also true with words. If we read the words of Christ in the scriptures, His thoughts go into our minds and in time, we begin to think His thoughts, they become part of who we are and we begin to act like He acts.

I believe the same is true of kind things we do, our actions–if we act with kindness, in time, we become a kind person. If we act positive, we become positive. Like music and words, our actions, change who we are. They change our being.

As thy days may demand, so thy succor shall be
Sitting on a stand in a Stake Conference, we stood to sing “How Firm a Foundation.” I was exhausted and wondering what would come out of my mouth when my turn came to speak.
As we sang: “As thy days may demand, so thy succor shall be,” I knew all would be fine.
Succor is always given. Always. It matches every demand.

Missionaries are Remembered
I found an 1898 obituary of a man named Elisha Davis, written by his son that told me that in 1839 Elisha left on a mission the day after he was baptized, dressed in a pair of thin calf skin boots and suit of homemade clothing, without underclothes or overcoat. He traveled on foot 300 miles across the Allegheny Mountains into Pennsylvania. He said, “The Spirit of God kept me warm.” Elisha and his companion, Henry Dean found and converted Martin and Elizabeth Bushman, in Lancaster County. They were baptized May 10, 1840.
Elisha’s name is remembered in my family.

And OUR missionary’s names will be remembered in the same way by each person they taught. All future generations of faithful descendants and family members will speak the names of our missionaries with reverence and with honor. They probably have no idea of the magnitude of the goodness they’ve started by converting just one.

They may or may not have had any recent converts at the airport when they left. They may never even know the extent of their influence when they went home.
But someday they will be shown in full detail the lives they changed while serving in Washington as a missionary.
Next month John and I will be traveling to Lancaster County, where Martin and Elizabeth were baptized. I am grateful for Elisha Davis. (178 years ago)

There are many ways missionaries have taught me to describe repentance:
Change, Progression
Following Jesus Christ
A Purification Process
Change of Heart
An Action to show Faith
Stop Sinning
Don’t do things that Hurt or Harm
Continuing Course of Correction
Turning Your Will to God
Godly Sorrow
Choosing to Act
Keeping Commitments
Keeping Commandments
Movement Towards Good
Relying on Jesus Christ

FOMO = The Fear of Missing Out
FOMO can make it difficult for us to appreciate our current circumstances and environments. Elder Bednar invites us “to embrace what the Lord has blessed you with and to act in faith. Do not take counsel from your fears.”

What manner of language?
Language matters. Grammar matters. Being articulate matters.
Words are powerful.
In 1 Nephi 5 Sariah, Lehi and Nephi are described as complaining, comforting and speaking, each with a different “manner of language.” The difference is HUGE. We can learn from the outcome in their examples.

Take the Plunge!
Every time missionaries saw a river (which happens a lot in the WYM), I hope they remembered my words: Take the Plunge!
Dive in with all your heart! Don’t hold back. Be completely obedient.
That’s when the blessings flow!

Obedience is not a negotiation process. It is an alignment process.
The purpose of obedience is not to negotiate with Heavenly Father about what we want Him to do, rather it is to find out what He would have us learn and do.

Serve from your Strengths.
Find your gifts and talents and use them every day.
Use your Patriarchal Blessing to help you identify your spiritual gifts, other gifts and talents, blessings you’ve been promised, admonitions and warnings.
Your strengths are part of the Lord’s storehouse, from which He draws to bless His children and build His kingdom. A crucial part of missionary life is to cultivate gifts and consecrate your strengths to help others come to Christ. Focus more on what you do well than on what you do wrong.
As you do this, you will Be a tool for the Lord, and an instrument in His hands. We each have specific gifts He needs us to use to help others come to Christ.

God is not a distributor of answers. He’s a creator of situations leading to the exaltation of man.

Enduring to the End = Learning from experiences over time
If Heavenly Father did not require endurance to the end, then there would be no internalization of events in our lives over time. They would just be simple, surface experiences and we would move from one to the next without much thought.
We may not always know what we are learning at the time of an experience.
Things unfold.
Sometimes experiences only make sense later.
Sometimes we will see things later that we didn’t see at first.
Often, what we learn comes only after we record, remember, reflect and revisit an experience.
He teaches us, not once, but over and over again as we return to things we’ve learned with added maturity or after additional experiences.
Enduring to the End means being able to say, “Next time I’ll do better.”



Help from the Spirit World
Stadium –numberless concourses of loved ones on the other side of the veil are cheering for you every single day. They know you are here. They know who you need to find.

Deliverance is an important word in the scriptures. Follow it. Learn from it.

We can and must Ride Faster!

Technology in the latter days was meant for us!

God wants dedicates, not volunteers. Ministering, not checking boxes.

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A Missionary Gathering in Orem!

2018-7-7 Missionary Gathering.JPGOn Saturday, July 7th, after being home for a few days, we had a glimpse of Heaven.  We invited our returned missionaries and their families over for an afternoon of visiting and food and getting reacquainted.  We haven’t seen some of these friends for 2-3 years!  Many families we’d not yet met face to face.

On Friday, June 29th, as we drove away from Yakima, we were so wrapped up in farewells and goodbyes and all the hard things about leaving people and a place we love, that our thoughts were all tied up in Going, not in Coming.

The drive from Yakima to Orem takes about 11 hours.  That’s a lot of time to sit in a car and quietly process feelings.  It was interesting that about half way home, something started to change.  Our hearts started letting go and we started thinking about who we were Going home to:  first of all our children and our little grandson, and then about all of the 100s of missionaries who have already returned home!  The more we considered who was waiting, the more excited we got.

We planned a gathering of missionaries and their families for Saturday from 5:00 until 7:00, or whenever everyone left.  At 4:30 the missionaries began to arrive.  For the rest of the evening, it was one great reunion of loved ones!  It was absolutely like Heaven.  We also met parents and families of many of our missionaries who have served and who are currently serving.    Come see the joy!

These are just some of the photos (it felt so good to take some pictures again!).  All of the photos I took are in an album on our Facebook page.  I think we had somewhere between 250 and 300 friends who came for hugs and visiting.  It was a magical evening.  We served grilled J-Dawgs with all of their toppings, watermelon, chips and salads.  Our kids circulated with boxes of fruited popsicles for dessert.

We made a list of at least 60 of our missionaries who have already married after returning home.  We had wedding gifts for those who came–we never had time to figure that out from Yakima.  It was really fun to meet spouses and significant others.  And it was fun to meet parents and families of these good missionaries.

What a wonderful day in Orem.  Our hearts are here now, on this side of what we sometimes call “the mission veil.”  It will be another 2 years or so before ALL of our missionaries are home, but so many of the 455 we served with are here now and we can be with them here.  This is a nice shift and we have time and a front porch with rockers waiting to receive friends.

Our Homecoming was Sunday morning in our neighborhood Stake Center at 9:00.  I didn’t take a single photo Sunday.  I just soaked in all the love and hugged as many as I could get to.  It was another perfect day filled with 100s of friends and loved ones.

After church, we had lunch with my brother and his family and my Dad and his wife, who traveled from California to be with us.  It was wonderful to be reunited.  Then we got in our cars with our kids and our little growing family headed to California.  Sunday night we got to St George and Monday we arrived in Newport for 2 glorious weeks at the beach.  Life is good, oh so very very good!


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Death to the Box TVs

2018-7-6 Old TVs to the dump (2)Well, we are a little slow, but we are moving into the new age.  Today we hauled 5 old TVs to the dump.  When I suggested we put them out on the street with “FREE” signs on them, the kids laughed at me.  “You can’t pay someone to take these,” they said.2018-7-6 Old TVs to the dump (3)So off they went, to the county dump, where, by the way, we had to PAY $10 each to leave them.  2018-7-6 Old TVs to the dump (4)2018-7-6 Old TVs to the dump (7)The TV graveyard.  Farewell old friends.2018-7-6 Old TVs to the dump (9)

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