Monday, September 30, 2013

Bike Wreck

Just what every mother doesn't want to hear...

"Dear Mom,                                                           
I had a bike wreck this week. I was being very foolish and riding without my handle bars, which I will never do again by the way, but I went over the handle bars. I scraped up my side and elbow pretty bad. I am fine though so don't worry about me at all. I am perfectly healthy now, just waiting for the scabs to heal up. I cleaned the wounds very well. All the training you gave me came in handy. I went into shock when I got in the apartment, but because I was a Boy Scout I knew to just lie down and I was fine...I know that Christ lives. I feel a lot of support from Heaven, I feel like it is because people are praying for us. Thank you so much for that. Have a great week y'all!!
Love, Elder Freeman"

Eeesh! I'm glad he's OK. It reminds me of the THREE times I was almost killed on my mission. 1) Almost run over by a train  2) Had a bike wreck myself   3)  Almost squished between two buses while riding my bike. 

Gratefully, I trust Seth is in God's hands. I love the part about having been a Boy Scout so he knew what to do. :)

Friday, September 27, 2013

Genealogy Joy

Last fall I finally found the native homeland for some of my German ancestors. This particular branch of my family on my father's father's side came from the beautiful Moselle River Valley in western Germany.  I cannot possibly describe the joy I have felt in preparing many of their names for temple work. Some of their surnames are Kelsch ((Cölsch/Koelsch), Peil (Beyl), Weber, Junck, Schlaegel, Rether, Keip, Schantz, Reichman, and Laux.

Today I went to the temple with the names of four of my great grandmothers (two 6th great grandmothers and two 7th great grandmothers to be exact). The feeling I had while I was in the temple was so moving that I was unable to control my tears. One of the women helping me was also so moved that she unable to control her tears. The two of us just kept crying. They were tears of joy and profound peace. The feeling was so intense that it was overwhelming.

I had five years of German language study in junior high and high school. I made sure that we pronounced the names of my German ancestors properly. I told one of the women helping me that these were German names. That's what started her crying. As I was leaving, this woman pulled me aside and with tears still in her eyes, told me her son is currently serving as a missionary in Germany. I told her I had a son serving in Georgia. She told me how much she missed her son. I sensed her deep love for him and of her sacrifice in supporting his service. Knowing that God's blessings are real and profound for the living and for our deceased ancestors makes all of our sacrifices bearable. To serve our ancestors and serve God in these ways are blessings in and of themselves.

I wish everyone could experience the peace found in the temples of God. It is so beautiful and very real. Heaven must be such a wonderful place. I look forward to meeting my ancestors there someday when I pass on. They have become very dear to me.
The first ancestors I discovered came from Cochem.
This is a picture of Cochem on the Moselle River
 and of the Cochem Castle in Rheinland, Germany.
I have since discovered ancestors all along the 
Moselle River south to Trier and on both sides of the river.
It seems like such a beautiful place.
I'd love to go there someday.

I'm sitting here on my window seat looking at a spectacular sunset over the great Salt Lake. As I was eating dinner this evening, I thought about my afternoon with Hannah and Nathan. As I held Hannah on my lap, I thought about my "great grandmothers." I thought about how much I love my granddaughter Hannah. There is a special bond between grandmothers and their granddaughters. It's supposed to be that way. Someday I will be a great grandmother to Hannah's daughters. I don't know them yet but I feel as though I already love them. I suspect that's the way my great grandmothers felt about me today. I thought I could feel their love for me. That's what had me crying. It might sound strange but I know it's real. 

Today I reached back in time towards my ancestors. I also reached forward in time towards my own descendants. I feel surrounded by love on both ends. What a lovely day.
 Tonight's sunset.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Always Smiling

Seth has a perpetual smile. 
It's nice to see he still has it.
I love this picture of him tracting.
He's on the Lord's errand,
doing the Lord's work. :)

A little something from this week's email:
"Dear Family and Friends,
This was a good week in our ward. We did a lot of finding because we are looking for more investigators. We had [a lot] of contacts this week and we saw a lot of blessings. We tracted into a former investigator, she wants us to come back and teach her and her son. That was a great blessing. We also had a lesson with a nice man  and his family. We taught just him last time and this time we asked to teach his whole family...My companion is doing great. He is a wonderful companion and he is working hard and learning a lot...I am going to be working on the Christlike attributes of patience and charity in the coming weeks...Being on bikes is fun. It is hard work though. We are always tired but we keep on working. Georgia has so many hills, I think that is the part that makes it challenging...I hope you all have a great week!".........(For Mom) "I got the package, and the letter. Thank you so much for your advice. It really touched me to remember the sacrifice of the missionaries who taught you. :) P.S. you're great mom!!!"

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

35 Years

I woke up this morning and looked at the clock. I saw the time...6:08. I saw that it said TUE so I knew it was Tuesday and then I saw the number display underneath that...9-17. Then I smiled.

I was baptized 35 years ago today. It is a significant day for me. It's personal. It fills me with gratitude to think that God is so kind that He would send missionaries to me to teach me His gospel. I'll never truly understand why everyone doesn't simply embrace the missionaries and their message. It baffles me sometimes. The message they share is from God. Listening carefully, finding out for oneself whether or not their message is true and receiving the ordinance of baptism in the Lord's true church yields such wonderful blessings. It's so simple.

For me,
it's been 35 years of gratitude.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Congratulations And A Thanksgiving Invitation

Congratulations to Gregory who found out yesterday that he passed the bar exam. He is a practicing attorney now. Good for him. He will be sworn in officially at a ceremony in October. Looking forward to it.

After hosting Thanksgiving in my home almost every year for thirty years, I actually have an invitation this year. How delightful. We'll be enjoying Thanksgiving at Sarah's new apartment and I've been assigned to bring the mashed potatoes. That's it...just the mashed potatoes. Is that the greatest thing...just one huge shopping huge anything. Wonder if I will miss it at my house?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Be A Good Neighbor

Sarah and Gregory have signed a lease on a new apartment. They have been living in the basement since the end of April. It's wonderful to have such delightful children be around but it's time for them to move I guess. I'm glad they have had the time to be truly selective in their choice of apartments.

Last night I was on the deck eating a fudgesicle. Nathan, who is three, found me and sat down by me. "I want some" he said. I said, "Nope, not right now." He said three more times, "I want some...share." I said, "Not this time." Then he said, "Be a good neighbor." That did it as I heard Mr. Rogers singing his neighbor song in my head. Nathan was happy and he learned a lesson about sharing and so did I. :)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

OK I'm Biased

These grandchildren of mine

Someone else took these pictures.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

I Love Sundays

I know I've said that before but I just had to say it again. Today was such a wonderful day. I truly delight in being able to attend church on Sundays. It brightens my day, sets the tone for my week, and reminds me of God's love for me.

My neighbor's son gave his missionary farewell this morning in church. He's headed to California to serve an Armenian speaking mission. He leaves on Wednesday. It is my neighbor's first child to leave on a mission. It's a tender time for her and a tender time for me to watch her as she struggles with the bittersweet feelings of getting ready to say goodbye to her son for two years. Her son spoke about sacrifice. He talked about why missionaries sacrifice two years of their time to serve the Lord. I can't help but be continually grateful for the missionaries who sacrificed for me.

Last night I attended the James Taylor concert in the Conference Center.(James Taylor with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir). A member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir who is in our ward gave us the tickets. James Taylor came into popularity when I grew up in the 70's. I cried when I listened to a few of his songs. It took me back to a time of my youth. Having him sing with the choir as his backup singers so to speak had me feeling like I was in a time warp. I thought to myself over and over again while he was singing how grateful I am to have found this church. The blessings I have received because of my membership have been truly overwhelming.

Once again this morning I tried to thank God for the missionaries he sent me 35 years ago to teach me His gospel. I will never get over the feeling of gratitude I have in my life for that blessing.

Happy Sunday.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Missionaries To Dinner

Tonight we had the pleasure of having our own local missionaries to dinner in our home. Every once in a while we get that privilege. I blackened out their last names on their name tags for privacy but the wonderful Elder on the right just arrived in our mission three days ago. He's brand new. His trainer companion on the left has been on his mission for almost a year and a half. They were a delight to have in our home. The newest missionary was as polite as could be and seemed delighted to be serving. I asked his companion last week what they wanted for dinner and he exclaimed "breakfast!" We prepared a 'breakfast for dinner' feast. They were as happy as could be. I told my son Seth earlier in this week's email that we would be having the missionaries for dinner tonight and that we would think of he and his companion knowing that somewhere in Georgia, another kind family was doing the same thing for them.

"And ye shall go forth in the power of my Spirit, preaching my gospel, two by two, in my name, lifting up your voices as with the sound of a trump, declaring my word like unto angels of God. And ye shall go forth baptizing with water, saying: Repent ye, repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." D&C 42:6-7

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Mothers Of A Marked Generation

Early this morning I picked up my friend and her set apart missionary son who who needed a ride. My friend is a single mother and she is a very faithful, very good woman. She is a convert to our church as am I. She has two children, a daughter and a son. They were 8 and 10 years old when she joined the church. Her daughter left for her mission two months ago and is currently serving in England. Her son left this morning for his mission to Spain. My friend sold her car a few months ago to help pay for their missions. That in and of itself is evidence of her love for the Lord and her willingness to sacrifice by loaning her children to Him so that they might be a blessing to others. I picked them up at their apartment at the appointed time and dropped them off at Temple Square where they wanted to take one final picture in front of the Salt Lake Temple before hopping on Trax (Salt Lake's commuter rail) to head to the airport. I was in tears as I watched them cross the street behind me as they crossed the street to Temple Square.

My friend is suddenly an "empty nester" now. I'm sure she never expected it would happen so fast and with such an impact. She is braver than I am and I admire her courage. Her son just graduated high school this past June and this morning she said goodbye to him for two years. I suspect he was on the same flight to Atlanta as 38 other missionaries headed for my own son's mission before he connects to his flight to Spain. My heart is with her today and her amazing son. My heart will ache with hers at this tender time.

As I drove home, I saw another friend of mine, Diana. She was walking with her son as he walked to school. She's always out walking somewhere. I think he's in 8th grade this year. She is a wonderful mother and a very good woman. I thought about the sacrifices she makes daily preparing her son to serve the Lord in a few short years when it's time for his own mission. Before she knows it, it will be her turn to say goodbye to him when he leaves to serve somewhere in the world. She served herself in Korea many years ago.

I also thought about Nels' Mom. From the first time I met her years ago, she has always struck me as a very good mother. She is not a member of our church yet she supports her son's decision to serve the Lord as a missionary in Alaska. She also willingly, albeit hesitatingly, said goodbye to him knowing she wouldn't see him for two years. What courage and love she exhibited.

The missionary that left this morning is #7 of 8 who left from our ward since April. My good friend and neighbor who lives across the street from me is the mother of our last missionary (#8) to leave until next summer. He leaves a week from tomorrow to serve an Armenian speaking mission in California. She and I spoke last evening contemplating the mixed feelings of joy and sorrow of sending our sons off to be a part of the Lord's ever growing missionary force.

There are many other mothers who have said goodbye to their sons and daughters this summer or who are about to do that very soon. Our missionary numbers have swelled recently from about 58,000 to almost 75,000. We are mothers of a marked generation. We have been blessed with the privilege of raising an army of righteous sons and daughters who willingly volunteer their time and give their hearts to serve Christ and preach His gospel. I am humbled to be one of many. Perhaps we shed tears together as we say goodbye but mostly we share the simple common bond of loving motherhood.

I think of Hannah from the Old Testament. She has always been an amazing example to me of faithful sacrifice. She willingly gave her son to the Lord when he was just a child. She said, "Therefore also I have lent him to the Lord..." 1 Samuel 1:28. I also am reminded today of the scripture from Alma 53:20-21 "And they were all young men, and they were exceedingly valiant for courage, and also for strength and activity; but behold, this was not all—they were men who were true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted. Yea, they were men of truth and soberness, for they had been taught to keep the commandments of God and to walk uprightly before him." In Alma 56: 47-48 we learn that this band of "stripling warriors" as they were called,  "had been taught by their mothers that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them." They said, We  do not doubt our mothers knew it." Mothers play such a crucial role in teaching and rearing their children.

Today is a tender day. I am reminded of God's graciousness in blessing me with two wonderful missionary sons. I also feel tremendous gratitude to Him that I had a daughter serve as a missionary. I am part of a growing cadre of mothers who serve the Lord by sacrificing in our own ways by "lending" our sons and daughters to the Lord to serve Him and His children. may God bless us all.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor Day BBQ And Seth Update

 We had a small Labor Day barbeque Saturday evening.
Small, simple, good food...
good company.
Good cook...
great family.

Seth seems to be doing pretty well on his mission. It appears his training period is over this week and he will be training a new missionary. Here are a few updates from the last few weeks:

Last week's tongue in cheek humor: "There is a spider that lives in the front of our bedroom. I have named it Theadora. Theadora lives next door to a few other spiders, but she is the one I have made the best bond with. I usually hate spiders, but Theadora is the first spider I have ever had a mutually beneficial relationship with, so I let her hang around. She provides a few things. First of all, the best way to not get hobo spiders, is to have lots of other spiders living in the house. Secondly she is far away from my bed, so the more bugs she eats there, the less food there is for spiders on my side of the room, and therefore, less spiders by me. She made these little egg sacs. One day, all the little spiders came out. There were like ten of them. I got to watch them as they started their adventures in life. Some of them ran into the spiders next door and got eaten. Others went far away from home, and I am not sure where they are now. One stayed around. (sad story Theadora actually died, but now her child has taken her place in the room.) I feel like the pig from Charlot's web."

From two weeks ago:
"I have learned a lot this week about teaching from the scriptures, teaching by the spirit, and asking effective questions. I am starting to understand the direction to treasure up in my mind the words of life and then it shall be given me what to say. I am feeling much more confident as a missionary. Being senior companion for a day was pretty fun. I really liked it." 

This week: "Transfers are in two days. I am excited and sad at the same time. My companion  is leaving to be a zone leader in the Sugar Hill Zone. I will be staying in here. I don't know who my companion is going to be yet though. What I do know is that they are taking away the car, which is totally not OK!!! Alright, it actually is OK because I will be super fit by the end...I am doing well. I love you both so much. Thanks for being such good parents! You both mean so much to me."

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Mormon Church

Today I was wondering how many people Google the words "Mormon Church" out of curiosity. I wondered what answers they come up with. The actual name of our church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Many people know us or have heard of us as the Mormons however. I wonder how many people actually know that "Mormon" is really just a nick name. Our church just released a series of videos introducing who we are and what we believe. I'll see if I can add them to this blog to help anyone who does just happen to Google "Mormon Church" looking for information, a means of giving them honest answers to their questions. There are actually 12 videos that play in succession one after the other included in the following video that do just that.