A few words about Claire

2015-5-16 JerusalemLook who’s preparing to go to Jerusalem!!  Claire got a big white envelope this week accepting her into the BYU Center for Near Eastern Studies, contingent on one last interview.  I’m pretty excited for her.  I did the same when I was about her age, in 1979 before the Jerusalem Center was built.  It was the best semester of my student life, living and studying in Jerusalem.  We lived at the Ramat Rachel kibbutz and spent 6 months traveling and studying there.  It was life-changing.

Last year Claire spent a semester in Vienna.  When I was young I was an exchange student in Germany.  It’s kind of fun to see her following many of the same paths I took at her age.  We’re different in many ways — I’m an old fuddy duddy mom– and she’s cool and smart and stylish, but we seem to seek out the same kinds of opportunities.

I loved the beautiful card she painted for me on Mother’s Day this year, and the sentiment inside of it: 2015-5-10 Mother's Day (1)2015-5-10 Mother's Day (2)

Find yourself in someone else

Yes, I am seeing parts of me in her, more and more as she grows up and goes out into the world.  We have our differences (she loves math and stats and calculus and hard things, she likes to clean her room, she moves really fast, and she multi-tasks about ten times more than I do), but we have our similarities too, as she mentioned in the card.

There are other ways we are alike:  we don’t do make-up or primp, (we get ready for our day in 15 min or less, shower included), we like fabric, we write every single day in journals, we love photography, we organize and mobilize people, and we fill our plates very full.  It’s pretty fun to watch our lives unfold, side by side.

And it’s fun to look back on the paths we’ve taken, from the time Claire was a little girl.  A few days ago Claire had a very fun reunion with 2 childhood friends, Abby and Haley, who enjoyed a tea party in our back yard many years ago.  These beautiful girls are grown up now.  What adventures await them!  What fun it is to watch the choices being made and think about what lies in our futures!2015-5-17 Tea Party Girls

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The Payson Temple Open House

Payson Temple 4

If you have never been inside a Mormon Temple, below is a link for a beautiful photo tour.  This Payson Temple is about 20 minutes south of where we live.  Before temples are dedicated, they are open to the public for a short time.  We’ve visited the open house in Draper three times now with family and friends.  This temple is exquisite!  World-wide there are 173 LDS Temples in operation, under construction, or announced.  This Payson Temple is the 10th largest temple in the world, made from the finest materials.  Marble from Portugal and Spain, Mahogany from Africa, tapestries and fabrics from Italy.  It’s absolutely beautiful.  Please enjoy the tour!Payson Temple 5


Payson Temple 1 Payson Temple 2 Payson Temple 6

Here we are with the Sissokou family, our friends from Mali:Payson Temple with Anounou's Family


Why Latter-day Saints Build Temples

Temple of Harod

A Commandment with Blessings

From the days of the Old Testament, the Lord has commanded His people to build temples-sacred structures where He could teach, guide, and bless them. For example, the Lord told the Israelites to build a portable tabernacle that would be their temple while they traveled in the wilderness (see Exodus 26-27;40:35). Additional Old Testament references to temples are found in 2 Chronicles 5:1-14; 7:1-2 (Temple of Solomon) and Ezra 3:1-13; 6:3 (Temple of Zerubbabel).

Israelite Ark of the Covenant

Portable Tabernacle

The Lord told the Israelites to build a portable tabernacle that would be their temple while they traveled in the wilderness  (see Exodus 26-27: 40:35).

When Jesus Christ was on the earth, the only existing temple was known as the Temple of Herod. Jesus was often found in this temple (see, for example, Luke 2:40-49; Matthew 21:10-14).

After the rejection and deaths of Jesus’s Apostles, there were no temples on the earth for many centuries. When the gospel of Jesus Christ was restored in the early 1800s, the Lord again commanded His people to build temples (see D&C 88:119; see alsosection 95). The earliest temples of the restored Church were built in Ohio, Illinois, and eventually in Utah. Today, the Church has 140 operating temples around the world. Regardless of the place or time period, temples are the most sacred place on earth-a place where earth and heaven meet and where we feel close to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

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Some thoughts on Mothering and some of the best questions I ever asked.

1996, August (2)I found a list of things I once jotted down for someone who asked for my advice on mothering.  Here they are in no particular order:

Be a cheerleader, not a servant.

Teach children to function independently.

“Try another way.”

“How can you fix that?”

“Why do you think that happened?”

“What could you have done differently?”

“Let’s figure that out.”

“You’re really good at that.”

“How did that make you feel?”

“How can you find out more about that?”

“Which is healthier?  Why?”

Use a soft voice.

Be free with back rubs and warm embraces.

Technology is important.  Keep up with it.

Read.  Read.  Read.

“What book shall we read next?”

Be the best possible example you can be.  Always.

I’m putting these suggestions out there for my kids to see someday when they have their own kids.  They worked well for us.  My kids are pretty amazing people.  I hope theirs will be the same someday.

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“Bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light”

Hawkes Funeral May 2015This morning we attended a grave side service for our neighbor’s granddaughter who was born still this week.  As we stood, under umbrellas, surrounded by their family members and friends, I felt a warmth inside that transcended the solemnity of the moment.  Frances May did not take a breath of life here, but she lived and returned to her Heavenly Father and loved ones on the other side who welcomed her home.  Though heart-breaking for her father and mother, we all felt an out-pouring of love there, in that sacred spot as her grave site was blessed and dedicated and as her family said farewell.

There is a touching scene described in the Book of Mormon where a group of believers gathered at a beautiful body of water to be taught about Jesus Christ and baptism in His name.  They had fled from wicked men who sought their lives.  As they were taught by the prophet, Alma, they learned about covenants we make at baptism.  Here is the account in the book of Mosiah, chapter 18:

 And now, it came to pass that Alma, who had fled from the servants of king Noah, repented of his sins and iniquities, and went about privately among the people, and began to teach the words of Abinadi—

 Yea, concerning that which was to come, and also concerning the resurrection of the dead, and the redemption of the people, which was to be brought to pass through the power, and sufferings, and death of Christ, and his resurrection and ascension into heaven.

 And as many as would hear his word he did teach. And he taught them privately, that it might not come to the knowledge of the king. And many did believe his words.

 And it came to pass that as many as did believe him did go forth to a place which was called Mormon, having received its name from the king, being in the borders of the land having been infested, by times or at seasons, by wild beasts.

 Now, there was in Mormon a fountain of pure water, and Alma resorted thither, there being near the water a thicket of small trees, where he did hide himself in the daytime from the searches of the king.

 And it came to pass that as many as believed him went thither to hear his words.

 And it came to pass after many days there were a goodly number gathered together at the place of Mormon, to hear the words of Alma. Yea, all were gathered together that believed on his word, to hear him. And he did teach them, and did preach unto them repentance, and redemption, and faith on the Lord.

 And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;

 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—

 10 Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?

 11 And now when the people had heard these words, they clapped their hands for joy, and exclaimed: This is the desire of our hearts.


I have been thoughtful this week as I’ve visited with many women at our different Days for Girls events around the valley.  Something almost magical happens when you bring women together, hand them fabric, scissors, irons, or sewing machines.  They go to work, but as they work, they visit.  And I listen and embrace them as their stories unfold–  stories of heartache, broken homes. wayward children, financial difficulties, unfulfilled dreams, or unexpected outcomes.

Yesterday I received an email from one of my dear helpers who wrote about our event the night before, “There was one woman, probably in her early 40s, tucked in the back corner all night ironing 4.5″x5″ squares in half. At the end of the night when I collected her work she told me with tears in her eyes that she had had a long, hard day at work and wasn’t going to come, but changed her mind. She has a lot of her own problems but after hearing your presentation her problems all seemed so small in comparison. She was really grateful for the opportunity to come lose herself in service and thanked us for taking time to come to their ward.”

The day before, after teaching a quilt group about DfG, an older woman asked if she could tell me her story, then she led me out of the room and into the hallway where she described the hardships in her life that began when she was 3-6 years old and sexually abused by an uncle.  He also prostituted her and her sisters to his friends.  With tears in her eyes, she said, “I understand the pain girls go through when their dreams are destroyed.  Please put me to work and let me help girls who suffer.”

We leave every single event grateful we came.  Everyone leaves feeling that way.  I always enjoy watching the faces of young women or stressed mothers who come because they are told to or feel obligated to.  They are usually the last to leave, and they help us pack up our cars and boxes and fabric and donations.  A few nights ago a cute young girl made me promise not to leave before she returned.  She took 2 friends, and raced to Walmart to buy underwear for girls they didn’t know somewhere on the other side of the world.  She and her friends wanted to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light.2015-5-5 Pleasant Grove Manilla 5th Ward (36)

I reflect often on the covenants I made when I was baptized many years ago.  We promise to take upon us His name, we are willing to bear one another’s burdens, mourn with those that mourn, comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places.

Giving service brings us together and gives us opportunities to share and talk and unload and lift and encourage and comfort.  When we take upon us the name of Jesus Christ, we try to do what he would do if he were here.  He loved everyone.  He lifted and he blessed.  I see that happening around me every day by amazing home-town women who try their best, and serve others.

This morning, in the rain, I thought about these women around me, about my neighbors and friends, and about promises I’ve made and how I might be better at fulfilling them.

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Happy Mother’s Day from Aaron in Chile 2015!

2015 5-11 Skype in Chile
Oh, How we Love this Missionary!  Missionaries serving out in the world are allowed two phone calls home each year.  One on Christmas and one on Mother’s Day.  We were thrilled to see and hear Aaron Sunday.  He’s doing a fantastic work, and loving every day.  Here we are on our end:2015-5-10 Mother's Day

Here’s an interesting report from this week’s letter:

Cool experience of the week:
So on Monday we were looking for old investigators from the area book in a really poor part of our sector, and as i was reviewing a couple papers, Elder Lopez told me to look up and there was a bunch of black smoke billowing up from the next passage over.  So we went over to take a look and the second story of a wooden house was up in flames!  All the people were freaking out and the ladies were all crying and people were running around.  Elder Lopez and I started helping them, running into the houses next door, taking out all of the chairs, tables and sofas.  The fire was so big and HOT! soon, then next house caught on fire and since all the houses here are made of wood, the houses behind also caught on fire.  Elder Lopez and I were running around, trying to help with what we could.  the firemen came with he big hoses and sprayed it down, but it probably took about and hour or more to take out.  In total, 5 houses burned down, and Elder Lopez and I left soaking wet haha from all the water there.  We went back in the night to offer service, so hopefully we can help out the families that lost things (nobody was hurt in the fire)  Maybe it was God opening up the doors for the gospel to enter into the hearts of more of his sons and daughters.

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LDS Missions in Washington and our Mission Home

WA Missions 2

We’ve been having a lot of training meetings and homework assignments the last few weeks.  It’s keeping us very busy.  One of our meetings this week was in Salt Lake at the Missionary Department where I noticed this map on the wall.  It shows the boundaries of all the missions in the Northwest.  Ours is Yakima, stretching from a corner of Oregon to the Canadian border.  It’s nice to see the place where we’ll be living on a map like this.  We are getting more and more excited to go and more and more sad to leave.  Such mixed feelings every day–it’s not easy.

They have secured a lovely Mission Home for us in Yakima.  Last week they got the key and the facilities manager and helpers will be working hard to furnish and prepare our new home before we arrive on or about July 1st.  Here’s what our next home looks like:

2015-4 Yakima Mission Home on Zillow (1) 2015-4 Yakima Mission Home on Zillow (24) 2015-4-30 Yakima Mission Home (53)

It is fun to consider all the wonderful experiences we will have there, as I look at our yard and home here, trying to memorize every shrub and flower.  Yesterday Heidi mowed all 5 lawns here–took her awhile.  It’s a big job keeping up with things.  We have to be prepared to just walk away and trust the kids will take care of things while we’re gone.  I hope they enjoy it as much as we have.

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Our Women, Our Mothers, Our Daughters

Our Women by GBH

Happy Mother’s Day, to mothers around me, to mothers who went before me, and to mothers who will follow me.

Today I am thinking about my ancestral mothers.  The direction they faced influenced the direction I face.  I am grateful for them and for that.  They were amazing women.

A prominent non-Latter Day Saint historian named Wallace Stegner wrote of the Mormon pioneers, “That I do not accept the faith that possessed them does not mean I doubt their frequent devotion and heroism in its service. Especially their women. Their women were incredible.” (The Gathering of Zion: The Story of the Mormon Trail, 1992).

With that thought, I am also thinking about the daughters, granddaughters, and great granddaughters who will come after I am gone.  I think carefully about which way I face.  I choose my direction prayerfully, deliberately, and with conviction.  I hope someday those who will follow feel my love for them and my interest in their lives and choices.  It is my hope that they will know, without question, which way I face.

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