Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Love being in the Primary

From July 2011 to October 2012, I served as the senior primary chorister at my church.  At first I was terrified of the calling since I was in charge of 20-25 minutes of singing time every week with little to no direction as to what I needed to be doing.  Sr. primary is difficult because on a typical week there are just 4 girls and almost 20 boys.  However, I came to love that calling.  It was demanding, but SO MUCH FUN!  We played so many fun games including: battleship, "Don't Eat Pete", Boomwhackers, and the best game ever: a costume dress up game where the kids get to choose a costume item to put on any adult in the room.
Last fall, I was expecting a baby and was afraid that I would be released from the demanding calling once I had a newborn baby.  I told the primary president and the bishop not to release me from my calling if the only reason to release me was the baby, I would make it work.  I had only been in for a few months and really wanted to do it for much longer.  So I took one month off last February and then juggled my baby with the help of some great women in the ward.  (Really who doesn't want to hold a baby for a half hour? I had plenty of volunteers.)
Our primary program was last September.  The kids did a great job.  Then one Sunday in October, I said to my husband, "You know how last year I felt like I didn't want to be released? Well, I don't feel that way anymore.  If they released me now, I think I would be okay with it."
Then just two days later, I got a phone call from a counselor in the bishopric.   He wanted to meet with me and my husband.  He told me that the primary presidency was being reorganized and asked if I could serve as the 2nd Counselor in the Primary Presidency.
I don't want to share this to boast, but quite the opposite.  I want to share this with you to tell you of the tender mercies of the Lord.  He knows each of us and is aware of our desires.  He sends us the Holy Ghost as a guide which teaches us and leads us.  I know that the feelings I felt about my callings were sent from God.  He was letting me know, before I was called, that it would be okay to move on and that more good things were to come. 

Serving in the Primary Presidency has been very busy and eye opening.  There are a lot of things to do in the primary.  I get to be the counselor over the cub scouts!  At first I didn't want to do it, because I have no boys and didn't know what in the world it entailed, but the other counselor doesn't have boys either.  I am excited to be helping with the cub scouts.  It will be fun, the Pinewood derby is this month and the Blue and Gold banquet is coming up.
I still get to help out with singing time.  Last week, the new chorister was sick, so I got to fill in for her.  This past month has been super busy with getting all of the teachers called and ready for the new year.  Yet, I never knew that being in the Primary would be so much fun. 

Last Year's Nursury
Jr. Primary
Sr. Primary

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lucy Mack Smith

Tonight for the Relief Society Birthday Dinner I was Lucy Mack Smith in the little program. I really didn't have to to much, just wear a bonnet and give a little talk about her life. I spent most of the day paraphrasing a talk by Jaynann Payne and turning it into first person. Lucy Mack Smith was an amazing, faithful, strong, woman. Here is the part I gave tonight:

Good evening, my name is Lucy Mack Smith. I was born July 8, 1775 just after the battles of Lexington and Concord to Solomon Mack and Lydia Gates Mack. As a child, I loved to hear my father tell of his adventures fighting in the French and Indian wars and the Revolutionary War.

When I was young, my father was away on sailing and business expeditions for many years, yet returned home impoverished. But even though my family lacked material possessions, and wilderness conditions precluded an education for the children, my mother provided a rich spiritual and cultural atmosphere for us.

As the youngest of eight children, I was dearly loved but not spoiled. When I was in my teens I was able to nurse my two older sisters during their illnesses. Both Lovisa and Lobina died within months of each other and were in their late twenties. Their deaths left me with many questions about religion and I deeply felt that my spiritual needs were unfulfilled.

Feeling depressed, I went to live with my brother Stephen for a while in Tunbridge Vermont where I met a tall, gentle-voiced young man named Joseph Smith. After a year’s acquaintance, we were married on January 24, 1796. We were greatly blessed when my brother and his business partner each gave us $500 for a wedding present. A thousand dollars in those days was a huge sum of money, for land could be bought for a dollar an acre.

We prospered on our farm in Tunbridge for about six years and were blessed with the births of Alivin and Hyrum. In 1802 we moved to Randolph and opened a mercantile establishment. While there, I was struck with a cold that developed into tuberculosis after weeks of fever and coughing. Joseph was grief stricken, for the doctors all said I would die. I prayed with all the fervor of my soul and made a covenant with God that if he would let me live I would serve him. I heard a voice say: “SEEK AND YE SHALL FIND; KNOCK, AND IT SHALL BE OPENED UNTO YOU. LET YOUR HEART BE COMFORTED; YE BELIEVE IN GOD, BELIEVE ALSO IN ME.”

The power of healing and faith was also taught to me when my young daughter Sophronia was critically ill for nearly three months and the doctors despaired for her life. When she stopped breathing altogether, I grabbed her and paced the floor, praying fervently. Those present told me that it was all of no use that my child was dead. But Sophronia gasped for breath and lived as my prayers were answered.

My prayers were also answered when Joseph, Jr. had a typhus infection in his leg and had to undergo three excruciating operations. Joseph told me “Mother, I want you to leave the room, for I know you cannot bear to see me suffer so; father can stand it, but you have carried me so much, and watched over me so long, you are almost worn out.’ Then looking up into my face, his eyes swimming in tears, he continued; ‘Now mother, promise me that you will not stay, will you? The Lord will help me, and I shall get through with it.”

This miracle did happen as he went through the surgery and was able to recover quickly but as a result he was lame for several years and walked with a slight limp the rest of his life.

I was interested in religion from an early age and searched earnestly for the truth. After Joseph Smith, Sr., had become disenchanted with attending any church meetings because of the warring and discordant atmosphere, I prayed that he would find the true gospel and accept it. I received a beautiful dream that brought reassurance that Joseph would hear and accept the pure and undefiled gospel of the Son of God at some future time.

Looking back at the years when Joseph had his first vision and was translating the Book of Mormon I felt that the heavens were moved in our behalf and that angels were watching over us. I love the Book of Mormon and bare powerful testimony of its truths to all who will listen. Once a man called out from a crowd of several hundred: “Is the Book of Mormon true?” I replied:

“That book was brought forth by the power of God, and translated by the gift of the Holy Ghost; and, if I could make my voice sound as loud as the trumpet of Michael, the Archangel, I would declare the truth from land to land, and from sea to sea, and the echo should reach every isle, until every member of the family of Adam should be left without excuse. For I do testify that God has revealed himself to man again in these last days, and set his hand to gather his people upon a goodly land, and, if they obey his commandments, it shall be unto them for an inheritance.”

I was once chosen to lead a company of eighty saints from Waterloo Branch with only my two young sons to assist me. During the trip there arose some contention to which I replied, “Brethren and sisters, we call ourselves Saints, and profess to have come out from the world for the purpose of serving God at the expense of all earthly things; and will you, at the very onset, subject the cause of Christ to ridicule by your own unwise and improper conduct? You profess to put your trust in God, then how can you feel to murmur and complain as you do! You are even more unreasonable than the children of Israel were; for here are my sisters pining for their rocking chairs, and brethren from whom I expected firmness and energy, declare that they positively believe they shall starve to death before they get to the end of their journey. And why is it so? Have any of you lacked? Have not I set food before you every day, and made you, who had not provided for yourselves, as welcome as my own children? Where is your faith? Where is your confidence in God? … Now brethren and sisters, if you will all of you raise your desires to heaven, that the ice may be broken up, and we be set at liberty, as sure as the Lord lives, it will be done.”

Throughout my life I was able to raise nine of my eleven children to adulthood. I nurtured the budding faith of each with my love of teaching and reading from the Bible and praying and honoring God. I endured a fiery crucible of trial and persecution after the loss of my dear husband in 1840 which followed with more dreadful calamity and greater grief during the next four years with the deaths of four sons, Joseph, Hyrum, Samuel, and Don Carlos, four grandchildren, and two daughters-in-law.

Years after my death, Sister Jaynann Payne once said of me, “Lucy Mack Smith’s example has relevance and inspiration for the members of the Church today; faith to honor our ancestors through genealogy and temple work; faith to teach our children to love and honor God; faith to honor our husbands and the priesthood; faith to hold “never-to-be-forgotten” family home evenings; faith in ourselves as parents and homemakers; faith to endure trials and tribulations with steadfastness to the gospel of truth; faith to give all that we have to help build our eternal family; faith to bear our solemn witness of God’s truths to our families and fellowmen everywhere; and faith to lead those souls of infinite worth, by example and precept, back to their eternal Father and family.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Merry Christmas

This is the first year we have gone to see the lights at Temple Square as a family. My girls loved it. The lights on the trees and the bushes are beautiful, but nothing compared to the grandeur and beauty of the temple. My three year old loved seeing the temple and the large organ in the Tabernacle. My toddler loved seeing Jesus. It is amazing how young children know who he is and are so captivated by him. He is the reason for the season, the reason our hearts beat with love, the reason we are a forever family. Glory to God and Merry Christmas to all.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Grateful for Everything

Yesterday's Sacrament Meeting at church was filled with such a powerful spirit of the Lord. A woman in our ward spoke about her life. She was born in Russia and taken away from her parents due to neglect and abuse and put into an orphanage. Living in the orphanage, she had virtually nothing, but her brother and sister. She was once taught to pray by some visiting missionaries, but religion was not tolerated in the orphanage. She prayed in secrecy but got caught and punished very harshly. Her best friend started playing with some kids who offered her cigarettes, she tried them and didn't like them so they wouldn't be her friends anymore.

Through a miracle, she and her brother and sister were all adopted by a lady in Utah. This was a miracle because nobody was ever adopted while she was there. She came to Utah and was amazed at all of the abundance of things around her. She fell on her knees when she walked into Target, astonished by the size of the store and everything in it. She took an apple and started to eat it (she had to steal everything in Russia). Her new mother stopped her and told her they needed to pay for it first. When they got home from the store, her mother gave the three of them each an apple. She took two of the apples and hid them in their room so they would have food for later. Their mother saw them sharing only one apple and asked where the others were. They wouldn't tell her. She found them and insisted on them eating all of the apples, they would have more food later. They were amazed.

Her mother taught them many things. She taught them about love, family, and the gospel of Jesus Christ. This girl's life has been changed to much. She once had no shoes, now she has more than she needs. She has a nice home, a close family, and a loving husband. I have never listened to someone who had so much gratitude for every thing she has.

Her talk really made me think about the blessings we have in our lives. We are truly so blessed to live in America with so much abundance. I have a family who loves me. I have never been starving for food. I have had everything a person needs. The Lord has blessed my life with so many things.

Her talk reminds me of a book I also read early this month called 'The Silence of God.' It is a book about the first LDS family in Russia. They lived during the Russian Revolution. I don't want to share too much about the story because I think you should read it. It is an amazing story. It really made me think about the blessing of being American, the freedom of religion, and the safety we enjoy here.

This past General Conference, our living prophet, President Thomas S. Monson urged us all to be more grateful and have an attitude of gratitude. "This is a wonderful time to be on earth. While there is much that is wrong in the world today, there are many things that are right and good. There are marriages that make it, parents who love their children and sacrifice for them, friends who care about us and help us, teachers who teach. Our lives are blessed in countless ways."

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to think about our blessings. We may not have the nicest home, the newest car, the latest gadgets, but we have so much to be grateful for.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Temple Blessings

Just 6 years ago I was able to go through the temple to receive many blessings and covenants the week before I was going to be married. Going to the temple is such an exciting opportunity to worthy members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Ladder-Day Saints. It is a beautiful place filled with peace, love, and the spirit of God.

When we were first married, it was very easy to get to the temple when we wanted to go, so we went often. However, once we had our first baby, it was a lot harder. Going to the temple takes us about 3 hours. I love to go, but it is hard to be away from a baby who needs her mommy for that long.

My husband is now serving as the Ward Clerk and as a part of the bishopric has been challenged to go to ward temple night every month. At first this seemed like an insane request... every month? But over the past few months, we have been able to pull it off. We have been blessed with baby sitters for our girls and have found the time and motivation to get to the temple.

I love ward temple nights now. It is a special time to get together with others in our ward and worship in the sacred temple. I wish more people in the ward would make it a priority.

Today is Stake Temple Day. We are planning to go do initiatory service tonight. I can't be more excited. Temples truly do bring blessings and are a big blessing in our lives.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Rocks or Jewels

The teacher in Sunday School today asked us what reminders we have in our house that remind us of the covenants we have made and the people we want to be. People replied with 'pictures of Jesus' and 'pictures of the temple'. The teacher talked about how we decorate our house can bring the spirit of the Lord into our lives and give us little reminders to do our best and be our best.

My thoughts turned to a reminder I had by my bedside for years, I saw it every night when I went to bed and every morning when I woke up. Two small sandwich bags tied together with a ribbon and with a thought. One bag had a bunch of ugly brown rocks. The other bag was filled with jelly beans. The tag said, "Are you choosing Rocks or Jewels?"

It was a little hand out from the most memorable Young Woman lesson I ever had. However, the lesson was not taught by a young woman leader. It was taught by one of the other Laurel girls in my class who had gone inactive and I had not seen for a few months.

She talked about the little decisions she made of which friends to hang out with which led to skipping school. Each bad decision led to more bad choices leading her farther and farther away from church and the good jewels of life she wanted.

Tearfully she told us that she was pregnant. The father wanted nothing to do with the child and she was going to give her baby up for adoption. We all cried with her. It was a heart felt lesson in which no eye stayed dry. I can still remember the feelings of love from that day.

What are we choosing to do with our lives? Are we choosing rocks or jewels? Do we choose to do things which lead us away from our Savior or are we choosing the better part and coming unto Him?

Many years have passed and I don't know what happened to this friend. She has no idea how much her lesson has touched my life and how long those bags of rocks and jewels sat by my bed reminding me to choose the jewels in life each day.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Gratitude for the Little Things

Sometimes I find it is hard to realize how blessed my life really is. I know I like to say I am grateful for all my blessings, but sometimes feel like I never take the time to really think about what each little blessing is? The other day I was laying in my hammock under the cherry tree thinking of all the many blessing I have in my life. This is how my thoughts went:

Wow, the cherry blossoms are really big and beautiful.

I am so thankful for my Heavenly Father who created such beautiful blossoms on this tree.

I am thankful for the person who planted this tree so many years ago so I can be enjoying its beauty today.

I am thankful it is a perfect tree for my hammock.

I am thankful for this time to sit in this hammock and look at these beautiful blossoms.

I am thankful for whoever made this hammock so I can be resting in it and looking at these cherry blossoms.

I am thankful for a beautiful little girl, who is napping, so I can be in this hammock under this tree looking at these beautiful blossoms.

I am thankful for the baby monitor so I don’t have to be in the house while she sleeps and can be in this hammock looking at these gorgeous cherry blossoms.

I am grateful for this perfect, peaceful, warm, spring, afternoon that I can be looking at the beautiful blossoms on the cherry tree.

The list could go on and on. In that moment I could feel the many small and little blessing that I take most for granted each day of my life. What a wonderful blessing that my Heavenly Father gave to me to have that moment of peace, beauty, and gratitude in my life. (from a journal entry April 2009)