Monday, March 26, 2007
Brianna was dying to try out a full-size ski and she looked great on it. Colton is the one and only person that I have ever taught how to ski that pulled out of the water on the very first try and skied several hundred yards! Way to go! Doug inaugurated the season with a 5 lap ski and Kyle even remembered how to ski after 15 years.
Sunday, March 25, 2007
Saturday, March 24, 2007
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
So as we were driving to Orlando and Brianna got a challenge of silence, I rode along thinking and laughing to myself about our talkative bunch. Not many minutes went by, I am thinking about 2 or 3, when she suddenly blurted out, "Look! The Temple!" I responded that I love to see the Temple because it reminds me of when we were sealed together. However, she sat very quietly in the back seat. "Brianna?" I questioned. "I am not supposed to talk," she responded a bit woefully. "But you just blurted out,'The Temple.'" "Yes, I know, but that was an urge."
We had a good little laugh about that.
But all the rest of our trip, I just kept thinking about how wonderful it is to have a Temple urge. And I pray that she always keeps it!
Monday, March 19, 2007
I scanned through my blogs from the past year tonight. I am surprised by all the things that have happened. I am delighted how my gardens have grown. I am grateful for my family and friends blogs because I love sharing these moments with them most evenings.
Yeah for blogger!
Sunday, March 18, 2007
If today was Monday and not Sunday, I wouldn’t be nervous because I would be standing in front of my second grade class saying: Today I am going to tell you about two special K words. They are knowledge and kindness. They are very different, but sometimes they go together. First, I am going to tell you a couple of stories about my family. I am not going to finish them just yet, but you might be able to figure out the ending which I will tell you later. Second, we will read some scriptures in the Book of Mormon together. Then we will talk about the K words some more. This is the first story:
As part of our holiday mail, I received a letter from my cousin, Sonia. She told about her son’s mission call. Shortly after he turned in his missionary papers, he received a telephone call that told him to report to the MTC in Provo to get his mission call in person. This was not a problem for him because he was a student at BYU nearby. However, his parents wanted to be part of the experience, and they live in Idaho Falls 250 miles away. If they got in the car and drove, they could barely just make it in time. Sonia was worried that it might be a prank so she called the church offices. She learned that there is a person for “special cases” and her call was forwarded. The “special cases” person reported that yes, it was in fact true, that her son would be receiving his mission call at the MTC that afternoon and, by the way, would they please bring his passport. Sonia’s son, Elder Davis, was called to serve in the Bangalore, India mission. (Apparently, the church had just received a couple of missionary visas and they wanted to use them immediately as these windows don’t stay open for very long.)
We had a conversation at my house about places we don’t want to be. I said that the last place I would want to live is at the Space Station, but my husband said he would rather live at the Space Station than in India.
But what if…my whole family and all the people that I loved were going to the Space Station? Would I then be willing to facedown my fears and go? Or what if the Lord asked me to go to the Space Station? These are thought provoking questions for me.
A few years ago, two of my daughters served a mini-mission in Miami. When they returned, I was furious that the mission president sent them to such a dangerous part of the city. They heard gunshots in their apartment complex and were overwhelmed by the filth that they encountered. I later spoke to the mission president about it. Okay, my daughters were home safe, but those places weren’t safe for the regular sister missionaries either. The mission president let me know that this was an experience that my girls needed to have.
I am going to read in Mosiah chapter 28.
“Now the sons of Mosiah took a small number with them and returned to their father, the king, and desired of him that he would grant unto them that they might, with these who they had selected, go up to the land of Nephi that they might preach the things which they had heard, and that they might impart the word of God to their brethren, the Lamanites—That perhaps they might bring them to the knowledge of the Lord their God, and convince them of the iniquity of their fathers; and that perhaps they might cure them of their hatred toward the Nephites, that they might also be brought to rejoice in the Lord their God, that they might become friendly to one another, and that there should be no more contentions in all the land which the Lord their God had given them. Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble. And it came to pass that they did plead with their father many days that they might go up to the land of Nephi.
When I read these scriptures, I remind myself that this would be like my children asking me if they could go and preach the gospel to the Bloods or Krips or the newer gang from El Salvador MS13.
A few chapters later we read:
“And the Lord said unto them: Go forth among the Lamanites, thy brethren, and establish my word; yet ye shall be patient in long-suffering and afflictions that ye may show forth good examples unto them in me, and I will make an instrument of thee in my hands unto the salvation of many souls.”
Joseph F. Smith said, “If we can lend a helping hand to the oppressed, if we can aid those who are despondent and in sorrow, if we can uplift and ameliorate the condition mankind, it is our mission to do it, it is an essential part of our religion to do it. Charity is the greatest principle in existence.”
My first experience with charity came as a primary child. We sang a song in those days that I still remember well.
Five pennies make a nickel, two nickels make a dime, ten dimes can make a dollar, how we’ll make it shine. It’s for the little children, who cannot walk or run, who have to lie in bed all day and cannot join the fun.
We sang it most weeks and each week we were asked to bring two pennies to primary for each year of our age. It was for the Primary Children’s Hospital.
We are all probably very familiar with THIS, more restrictive, definition of charity that is actually benevolent giving.
However, we learn in the Bible Dictionary that Charity is the highest, noblest, strongest kind of love; the pure love of Christ. It teaches us in very strong language that it is NEVER used to denote alms or deeds or benevolence, although it may be a prompting motive.
So CHARITY is an attribute and not an act.
I had mixed emotions about developing this attribute. I think that is because I thought of Charity as ACTS. Maybe you can relate with some of my feelings. Service acts take time. How will I fit more things into my life? What if I have to do things, I don’t actually want to do?
My husband worked in Argentina for many years. People would often ask me when I was moving to Argentina. I would answer that the only person who could get me to move to Argentina was the prophet. In the end, that proved to be a false statement because eventually, my husband talked me into moving to Buenos Aires. In spite of all my fears, in spite of all the pre-conceived notions, that experience has been one of the highlights of my life.
Remembering that experience, I should have faith that if I developed the attribute of Charity, I would find the peace and joy promised in the scriptures to those who earnestly strive for it.
Certainly the possessors of this attribute are promised great blessings. We are told that it “covers a multitude of sins” and without it “we cannot be saved”.
I know that moving as far away as the Space Station would be insignificant compared to being separated from my family forever. So I realize that I want CHARITY and I need it.
What is it? and How can I get it?
From the scriptures, it certainly appears that the prerequisite for this attribute is cleanliness, which is not surprising. From there I found that Charity has two arms.
Knowledge and Kindness…the two k words.
Lately, I have been teaching my second grade students to add and subtract sophisticated numbers, and sometimes they need to use tools that are called borrowing and carrying. My students want me to teach them a pattern that will work in every scenario. I want them to understand the numbers so that they will know what to do when.
Heavenly Father wants me to understand his children so that I will know what to do when. Isaiah teaches us that we have to “learn to do well”. The knowledge that we need, will probably be different for each of us. The important thing to remember, is that we need to seek for knowledge, as part of our quest for charity.
Satan putteth it into [our] hearts to anger. In the scriptures, kindness manifests itself with words like “love thy neighbor as thyself.” In any case, it is often doing something for others that they cannot do for themselves.
When Elder and Sister Nelson came to Orlando, my husband and I were invited to a small luncheon with them. After lunch, both Sister and Elder Nelson talked with the group for a little bit.
Sister Wendy Nelson told us that that day was actually the birthday of Elder Nelson’s first wife Dantzel. Wendy spoke about getting to meet Dantzel someday and how she is getting to know her through the lives of the family members. Wendy also told us that Dantzel was a member of the Tabernacle Choir for over 20 years. And then she told us that she would like to honor Dantzel on her birthday and asked us if we would her help.
Evidently twice a year, before each conference session, the members of the choir are asked to do four things to prepare for general conference.
1. They are asked to prepare a question that they would like answered during the conference session. (Sister Nelson actually spoke with the sisters quite a bit about this during the morning session.)
2. They are asked to fast and pray about it before conference.
3. They are asked to go to the Temple.
4. They are asked to do an anonymous act of service…something that requires some level of sacrifice.
Wendy Nelson asked us to help her honor Dantzel by committing to perform those four items before conference. It was a beautiful tribute, the spirit was very strong. I made a private commitment to acknowledge her request.
Then Elder Nelson spoke. He was very surprised by what his wife had said and done. He told us that HE had not mentioned that today was Dantzel’s birthday. In fact, he told us that it had been on his mind all day. He was very moved by her consideration and thoughtfulness.
As I have thought back on that experience, I realized that there was a perfect example of charity. She used her knowledge to be extraordinarily kind. It was obvious that even an apostle of the Lord needs charity.
This was a great lesson for me about how charity can infuse our relationship in the family.
A week ago, the youth of our ward were asked to be participants in a stake youth service project. As I walked along the trails with the girls, they said to me, “Sister Carter, do you think that we can do this again?” They knew that the stake leaders had committed to certain service tasks that day. In the goodness of their hearts, they got up early on a Saturday morning, even though they probably got to bed much later than normal on Friday night, to be part of that inspiring event.
The leaders in the YW organization often volunteer and go above and beyond their written responsibilities. It is inspiring for me to work with these women, and these girls, who show how charity can infuse our assignments and callings.
Joseph Smith said that we need to be kind unto the unthankful and evil.
Sometimes I have students that are very trying. As the year progresses and I get to know them, my perspective changes, often significantly. This helps me to realize that if I knew more about the “unthankful and evil,” I would probably find it easier to be kind.
However, I am grateful for Joseph F. Smith’s perspective that suggests that charity does not require us to set aside discernment.
I feel in my heart to forgive all men in the broad sense that God requires of me to forgive all men, and I desire to love my neighbor as myself; and to this extent I bear no malice toward any of the children of my Father. But there are enemies to the work of the Lord, as there were enemies to the Son of God…Some of our Latter-day Saints cannot tell the difference between a Saint of God, an honest man,
and a son of Beelzebub, who has yielded himself absolutely to sin and wickedness. And they call the liberality, broadness of mind, exceeding love.
Joseph F. Smith continues, While I would not harm a hair of their head, while would not throw a straw in their path, to hinder them from turning from the error of their way to the light of truth; I would as soon think of taking a centipede or a scorpion, or any poisonous reptile, and putting it into my bosom, as I would think of becoming a companion or an associate of such men.
We need to follow his council and live so that we have sufficient light to discern between light and darkness. A contrasting scenario is the
story of the Good Samaritan. As I read a few of the verses, imagine that Christ is the Samaritan.
“But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, (in this particular case the word that is translated as compassion in our Bible actually means a deep gut-level reaction.)
So we might read “Christ, as he journeyed, came to where he was: and when he saw him, he had a deep gut-level reaction.
And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
And on the morrow when he departed, said unto the host, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.
This is a wonderful example of knowledge and love—a perfect example of charity…so how do I get it?
The missionary experiences of the sons of Mosiah also help us understand how to become instruments in God’s hand. “And it came to pass that they journeyed many days in the wilderness.” We must be willing to journey. The sons of Mosiah were willing to step outside their surrounding and do that which was uncomfortable.
Elder Davis is a brilliant young man. He has traveled all over the world with his family and yet the Lord has asked him to go to one of the least-educated and poorest countries on earth. There are only 7 sister missionaries in his mission and they are all Indian. He is grateful to be part of a small group of non-Indian elders that serve. He writes of the beautiful faith of the people he has worked with in Delhi and Goa and Bangalore and Bisak as he shares his knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
God has asked us to journey: go on missions, accept callings, invite someone to church, or help someone in need. We need to be willing to step outside our surroundings and do that which is uncomfortable.
Sister Nelson talked about the importance of fasting and prayer. In pursuit to help their Lamanite brothers, the sons of Mosiah also learned the importance of fasting and prayer. We are told: “They fasted much and prayed much that the Lord would grant unto them a portion of his Spirit to go with them, and abide with them, that they might be an instrument in the hands of God.”
Sometimes we receive bits of inspiration and we follow it. Sometimes we receive bits of inspiration and we mean to follow it, but then life happens and we unintentionally forget the message. Sometimes we receive bits of inspiration and we rationalize another path and ignore it altogether. With so many people and things and ideas competing for our attention, we need to make sure we have a safe place for these important messages. Generally, it is a good idea to write them down, and then do them.
In the October 2005 conference, Elder Faust reminded us, “You can be powerful instruments in the hands of God to help bring about this great work. You are valued and needed. Please be assured that the Lord loves you and has not forgotten you. You can do something for another person that no one else ever born can do.”
Fortunately for Kerstyn Shipley, who is one of my second graders, today is Sunday and not Monday, and she will not be tested by me on anything that I have said here today. I understand why the Saviour taught us to become like little children when I see my class trying so hard to learn the concepts that I am trying so hard to teach them.
Not too long ago one of my daughters was asked to give a talk in Sacrament meeting. She had her choice of faith, hope or charity. I told her go with hope. Most people “get” faith and charity is too daunting.
However, I am grateful for the prompting that Brother Brooks followed in asking me to speak on this subject.
I can testify that I had the most wonderful experience following the scriptures in the topical guide and trying to come to an understanding for myself of this wonderful attribute. I have tried to share parts of that experience with you. I hope to continue on my quest for charity.
I have faith that if we are willing to journey (emotionally or physically), we will increase our knowledge and kindness.
I have hope that ss we fast and pray the “bond of perfectness” which is charity will grow.
When we write down and follow through on the promptings given to us by the Lord, we will have unparalleled experiences that only those who have developed this uniting principle of love in their lives can know.
I close with the words of Moroni:
46 Wherefore, my beloved, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—
47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.
48, aPRAY unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become like him, that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure.
If we do these things the peace of God will rule in our hearts and we will be able to see afar off…even eternally
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Monday, March 12, 2007
This is the bag lady that we bought for Pat at the Covent Garden Market. It was a wonderful picturesque open air emporium that we visited on Saturdays. The doll maker used equisite detail and we were completely taken with this bag lady. Pat always said that when she got old she was going to be a bag lady as she liked to collect all manner of bags. We eventually bought a couple of dolls for ourselves that they are all reunited at the top of our kitchen cabinets.
This is a tapestry that Pat and Bruce purchased when they visited us. We made a trip to France and spent one day at Omaha Beach (of the D-day Invasion). In the nearby town of Bayeux they found this tapestry, which we have always loved and think it looks quite nice in the Birdhouse.
The boys divided 12 of Pat and Bruce's sets of china amongst the five of them and we added these bird plates to our own growing collection of china. (We have another three plates on the other side of the door.)
It is bittersweet to have these things...but they hold a special place in our hearts as they did for them. They remind us of these two wonderful people to whom we owe so very much.
Sunday, March 11, 2007
Saturday, March 10, 2007
We went to Dan's Feed and Fuel in Umatilla. I'll have to post a picture of that place sometime, but let's just say that it took me a few years to get up the guts to go into the place, and I only managed it last year because Corky and Carter and Jonah were desperate for baby chicks at the house. Since I had reinforcements, ie Dan and Trish, we braved the place. Having survived, Brianna and I went for the adventure today with these cute little results:
She put a "Peeps Marshmallow" box inside their temporary home as a food trough. It just cracks me up that the chicks find it quite cozy and like to sleep in it!
Friday, March 09, 2007
A few weeks ago, I was checking my account and noticed that all my charges were being forwarded to another account number. Not that I mind someone else paying my bills...but, in the spirit of being honest with my fellowman, I called Citicard. They informed me that some company had their accounts compromised and that I would be receiving my new card shortly.
Hmmmmmmm. I was mostly distressed because I have my account number memorized as it is very convenient NOT to have to go and look up the number when purchasing online or on the phone.
Back to the story--the new cards never arrived. Last week I received a letter that I needed to call and activate my new cards ASAP, but since I didn't have them, I certainly felt like that would be a real comprising situation.
Doug went to the post office today. He pulled out his Visa card and was embarassed to find out that it no longer works. He came home and called Visa. They said that they would cancel the cards we never received and send us out new cards by UPS tomorrow. Unfortunately, we are going to be gone most of the day tomorrow. So, I guess that means we are really looking at Monday.
But...the new card is a temporary card until they can send us our real new card...go figure.
Oh, and by the way, all of our bills that go directly to Visa...they need to be contacted. Because although we didn't cause this problem, or ask for new cards, Visa can't transfer those automatic billings. I had to call and arrange all that! Most of them were nice. I was annoyed at my phone company that is now going to charge me an extra 99 cents a month for paper billing. Hopefully, in the end it will only cost me a few extra bucks, if Visa does, in fact, get us a permanent card.
I just have one question I forgot to ask. Do you think they will reimburse me for the air miles that I am missing out on in the meantime?
Monday, March 05, 2007
This year, for the first time, I have three students who completed the 19 units within a few weeks. I figured there was no harm in letting them go on to the multiplication facts and figured they would come to a quick halt. I truly underestimated the lure of the challenge for these three.
They are now working on their 7's, 8's and 9's. Today after watching the end of a test, I called Max over and said...let me give you a little help. On a piece of paper I wrote:
seven times seven, laying on a line, seven times seven is 49
eight times eight, shut the door, eight times eight is 64
56=7x8 (get it? 5,6,7,8)
He took it off quite happily, and the next time he took the test he passed.
Quite suddenly his math rival appeared at my desk and in the most demanding voice in which he dared to address me he said,
"Why didn't I get the rhymes?"
It just tickled me that these 2nd grade boys who think they are so smart and so tough are begging me for rhymes...love it!
Saturday, March 03, 2007
Baby Belu is looking a little startled in this picture. She was unsure of what to make of Nana who hauled her out of bed every morning for exciting adventures like the one above mentioned. In the end, she turned out to be quite the shopper and rewarded me by learning how to shake her head, and laugh, and au-gooooooo on demand. She was ADORABLE!
Courtney loves her new school and she read me a story about a Grandma who makes sweet potato pie.
It was so much fun hanging out with the family.
But mostly I just loved being THERE with THEM.