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Memories of Memorial Day

I’ve been thinking about Memorial Day recently.  I’m the daughter of a Battle of the Bulge survivor/veteran, and the mother of a member of the US armed forces, a veteran of multiple deployments to the Middle East.  Several of my high school classmates left this life in the jungles of Vietnam, while others returned home.  I understand the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day, and the original reason for these holidays.  That said…

As a child, Memorial Day included remembering family members who have died, too.  With the cemetery close to our home, it was just a walk to “visit” Grandma and Grandpa, and, in time, Uncle Walt.  In more recent years, uncles and aunts have joined them, as has my sweet sister, Marilyn.

Memorial Day four years ago is especially memorable to me, and to some of my family, who were there with us.  The story of that day was written by my daughter, Jenn, shortly after Marilyn passed away two months later.

It was Memorial Day 2013; and Matthew and I were going to meet family members at Elysian Gardens Cemetery to place flowers on the headstones. For once, the weather cooperated and was sunny with just the right amount of wind. Matthew was initially more excited about seeing his Great-Grandma, PoPo (Wayne), and Marilyn.

As Marilyn was having a hard time with the side effects of chemotherapy, she wisely chose to stay in the car. With the car parked in the shade and the two front windows down, it provided a great place for her to see everything going on in comfort. I went over and stayed by the car with her, talking about anything and everything, watching all that was going on.

Everywhere you looked, headstones had been decorated with flowers, teddy bears, flags, and pinwheels. Remember I mentioned that there was just the right amount of wind? Well, all those pinwheels were happily turning in breeze, displaying quite a rainbow of colors. Being a typical four year old, Matthew couldn’t contain himself, he just had to stop all those pinwheels! He would stop one of them and go to stop all the others; only to race back to the original because it was turning again. Back and forth he ran yelling, “Stop turning! No, stop it!” and other things. Marilyn begin to laugh and not a small laugh either. This was laughter that I had not heard from her for many months; and hearing it made me laugh. We laughed until we were breathless and had tears in our eyes, which only served to make us laugh more.

Poor Matthew, he never did get all those pinwheels to stop turning, but what he did accomplish was something so much greater. For a brief moment in time, Marilyn was completely free of all her worries and cares, setting aside the physical and mental problems.

He gave me something too. He gave me the perfect memory of Marilyn to keep in my heart and his, the sound of her laughter that was as joyful as those pinwheels turning in the breeze. 

And so it is, that pinwheels spin in my front yard, as well as in cemeteries around the country this weekend.


While Monday may be the day set apart for remembering those who gave their lives in the service of our country, it is also a day I remember those who have gone before me, who await my arrival, someday, in the presence of the Father, where all tears and sorrows have passed, and joy is found.


Let there be no question where I stand…

temple with family (Seattle Temple, Bellevue, Washington)

The family is central to God’s plan for His children.  On September 23, 1995, President Gordon B. Hinckley, in his message at the General Relief Society Meeting, read The Family, A Proclamation to the World.  In that proclamation are these words:


“By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families.  Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.  In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners…We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God.”  (emphasis added)


I do not need to be ordained to the priesthood to enjoy the blessings of the priesthood, because my husband has that role and responsibility.  Priesthood used as God commands does not belittle me, or make me a “second class citizen.”  Indeed, it lifts me up.  No man or woman may receive the greatest blessings from the Father alone.  Exaltation requires the joint efforts of both man and woman.  The blessings available for me and for my husband are the same.  Only the requirements and responsibilities along the way are different, as defined in the Proclamation.


Early this year, I was asked by a young mother about the question of ordaining women.  She wanted to know how a woman could feel the need to receive the priesthood.  I, too, had had that question.  I studied the scriptures, went to the temple, and read about both sides of the question.  As I read, I received a greater understanding of my role as a woman, and a testimony that I can do everything in this life the Father wants me to do without being ordained to the priesthood.   Indeed, to aspire to the priesthood would be to counsel my God.  His plan is perfect.


In her book, Women and the Priesthood, Sheri Dew said:


“There are four key truths related to women and priesthood that are crucial for both men and women to understand.

  1.  The Father’s plan and the Savior’s Church are designed to qualify all of us – both men and women – for exaltation.
  2. Priesthood keys are the manner through which the Lord authorizes and disperses His power and authority throughout the Church for both men and women.
  3. In the temple, both men and women are “endowed with the same power, which by definition is priesthood power.”  (M. Russell Ballard, “Let Us Think Straight,” BYU Campus Education Week devotional address, 20 August 2013; see also D&C 109:15)
  4. Neither a man nor a woman may receive the highest ordinances of the priesthood or be exalted alone. “


I am not a second class member of the Church.  I pray, teach, expound scripture, and serve in a presidency of women leading the children of the Church.  I am entitled to seek and receive revelation within the realm of my stewardship, just as the Prophet receives revelation for the entire Church – which is his stewardship.  Without me, my husband cannot receive all the blessings available within the Church, nor can I without him.  We are equal partners, with different, but equally vital, responsibilities. Women are at the center of His plan for His children.  No individual has been born on this earth, except through a woman.


My view, my goal, my purpose is eternal.  What do I get, as a “Mormon” woman?  I get all the blessings promised by my Heavenly Father to those who faithfully complete their mortal probation.  I get everything – everything the Father will give those who qualify to be joint heirs with His Son.

7 Days of Inspiration…


When I was a teenager, I often accompanied for various individuals and groups as they sang. This particularly included playing the piano for performances in which my parents were involved. My mother often sang in trios, or other groups of women, for church activities. One song I remember very well was My Testimony, by Bettie L. Jones, with flowing music by Muriel C. Ashton. This song has been in my mind every time I have pondered my words for this last “Day of Inspiration.”

I have a testimony, sacred and dear to me.
Something that lies within my soul, one that I cannot see.
When life seems dark and its shadows hide all the brightness of day,
I feel God’s arms around me, leading me on each day.
Trials and tribulations oft have come my way,
But I’ve felt Him near me, and I’ve knelt to pray,..

I know that He lives, He loves me, and desires me to complete this life with honor. He cares about my smallest need as well as my greatest trials. He will never abandon me. I only need to pray to Him. He hears each word, spoken and unspoken. I know He is the Only Begotten Son of the Father, that He came to earth, lived a perfect life, then, offered Himself a willing sacrifice for all mankind. He suffered unfathomable pain in the Garden as He took upon Himself the sins of all mankind, then went to the cross, where He gave up His life. He was buried in the tomb, and rose on the third day, breaking the bands of death. Because of Him, each of us will live again. I know that in these last days, He has restored to the earth the fullness of the Gospel, through the Prophet Joseph Smith. I know that Thomas S. Monson is His living prophet upon the earth today, and that, with those men called as apostles, he administers the affairs of His kingdom on this earth. I know that as I navigate life in an increasingly wicked world, I can hold to the rod, and, in the end, return triumphant to His presence. In a coming day, He shall return to the earth. He shall cleanse the earth from sin and peace shalll be established, with a righteous Governor. One day, I shall see Him, and kneel at His feet. In that day, I will rejoice.

For more information, click here here, here, and here.

7 Days of Inspiration…


How Firm a Foundation


There is one hymn that comes to my mind often, in a variety of situations.  When I was young and learning to play the piano, I wanted to learn this hymn, because of its martial type beat and, to be honest, I thought some of the words sounded funny.  (More about that later.)  As I started to pay attention to the meaning of the words, I realized this hymn is unique.  I am being reminded of the words my Savior spoke, and what He has done, does now, and will do for me.  I am to lean on Him, to look to Him, and follow Him, and He will not forsake me.  He doesn’t promise me an easy life, but promises that whether in sickness or health, rich or poor, wherever I may be, whatever I fear, when I face deep waters and fiery trials, if I lean on Him, He not only will not,  He cannot desert me and leave me to my foes (temporal or spiritual).  To me, this signifies the covenant relationship I have with Him.    When I uphold my part of that covenant, He is bound by His part of the covenant to sustain me.  As the lighthouse provides promise of and guidance to safety for a sailor in a raging storm, He stands steadfast and immovable, waiting only for me to look to Him.   Often, as I have knelt in prayer, the Spirit has whispered words from this hymn to me.   If you want to read the words from the scriptures containing these promises, go to Isaiah 41:10, Isaiah 43:2-5, Isaiah 46:4, and Helaman 5:12.  To hear verses 1, 2, 3, and 7 sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, go here.

How Firm a Foundation

 1. How firm a foundation, ye Saints of the Lord,

Is laid for your faith in his excellent word!
What more can he say than to you he hath said,
Who unto the Savior, who unto the Savior,
Who unto the Savior for refuge have fled?

2. In ev’ry condition—in sickness, in health,
In poverty’s vale or abounding in wealth,
At home or abroad, on the land or the sea—
As thy days may demand, as thy days may demand,
As thy days may demand, so thy succor shall be.

3. Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid.
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by my righteous, upheld by my righteous,
Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.

4. When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not thee o’erflow,
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee, and sanctify to thee,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

5. When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply.
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, thy dross to consume,
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.

6. E’en down to old age, all my people shall prove
My sov’reign, eternal, unchangeable love;
And then, when gray hair shall their temples adorn,
Like lambs shall they still, like lambs shall they still,
Like lambs shall they still in my bosom be borne.

7. The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose
I will not, I cannot, desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, I’ll never, no never,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake!

Text: Attr. to Robert Keen, ca. 1787. Included in the first LDS hymnbook, 1835.


(And, for those who remember the “old” hymn book, it took me awhile to stop wanting to “you who…” and sing “who unto…,”  but the change is good.)

7 Days of Inspiration…

Today, I want to post about the connection between the Law of Sacrifice in the Old Testament and its foreshadowing of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ in performing the atonement for all the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve.  As a seminary student many years ago, I had a phenomenal Old Testament teacher.  There seemed to be no formal curriculum at that time, and each teacher taught the scriptures as they chose.  I was a senior in high school.  Bro. Rudd took seriously his responsibility to teach us the Gospel.  We didn’t learn just the “scripture stories.”  We learned the doctrine taught in the scriptures.  This was released time in Utah, and we received high school credit for Old and New Testament classes, so this “counted.”  One project required us to use the directions given Moses for building the tabernacle in the wilderness, and draw a detailed scale floor plan of that structure. Then we learned about the tabernacle as it pertains to the temples built today.  He prepared us to enter the temple at some future day.  Each lesson was taught through the lenses of the application in our lives.  I gained a great love for the Old Testament that year.

Fast forward a few decades. The curriculum for Sunday School this year is the Old Testament, but my bishop asked us to read from both the Old Testament and the Book of Mormon. Currently, I’m reading Isaiah and Alma. The Atonement is a constant topic in both books. I found this message that connects the two books of scripture I am studying. A beautiful explanation of the foreshadowing of His sacrifice in Old Testament times, and the symbolism I should remember as I partake of the sacrament each week.


Something to remember this Sunday…

7 Days of Inspiration – a second post for today

I shared a favorite message this morning (I am an EARLY riser on school days, which means tomorrow will be the last super early post.  I’ll move it back about an hour for a few weeks of summer vacation!).  However, this is too important not to post a second time.  This is the answer to the three biggest questions of life.

1.  Where did I come from?

2.  Why am I here?

3.  Where do will I go after I leave this life?

The answer is here.

I testify that these things are true.  Knowledge of this plan brings happiness into my life, even in the midst of the storms I face.  One day, I will see my Savior and kneel at His feet, because of this wondrous plan.

7 Days of Inspiration…

June, 1844 – Carthage Jail, Carthage, Illinois

The Prophet, Joseph Smith, asked John Taylor to sing A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief for him.  I remember reading these words when I was a young girl, and understanding them, as best a young child can.  The words have taken on new and deeper meaning as I have lived and grown older.  (Words found here.)  The past few mornings, I have awakened with words from different verses of this hymn running through my mind, reminding me of how He expects me to live.  I have had experiences this week, after which the Spirit whispered that I was, indeed, serving Him as I served His children.

1. A poor, wayfaring Man of grief
Hath often crossed me on my way,
Who sued so humbly for relief
That I could never answer nay.
I had not pow’r to ask his name,
Whereto he went, or whence he came;
Yet there was something in his eye
That won my love; I knew not why.

2. Once, when my scanty meal was spread,
He entered; not a word he spake,
Just perishing for want of bread.
I gave him all; he blessed it, brake,
And ate, but gave me part again.
Mine was an angel’s portion then,
For while I fed with eager haste,
The crust was manna to my taste.

3. I spied him where a fountain burst
Clear from the rock; his strength was gone.
The heedless water mocked his thirst;
He heard it, saw it hurrying on.
I ran and raised the suff’rer up;
Thrice from the stream he drained my cup,
Dipped and returned it running o’er;
I drank and never thirsted more.

4. ‘Twas night; the floods were out; it blew
A winter hurricane aloof.
I heard his voice abroad and flew
To bid him welcome to my roof.
I warmed and clothed and cheered my guest
And laid him on my couch to rest,
Then made the earth my bed and seemed
In Eden’s garden while I dreamed.

5. Stript, wounded, beaten nigh to death,
I found him by the highway side.
I roused his pulse, brought back his breath,
Revived his spirit, and supplied
Wine, oil, refreshment—he was healed.
I had myself a wound concealed,
But from that hour forgot the smart,
And peace bound up my broken heart.

6. In pris’n I saw him next, condemned
To meet a traitor’s doom at morn.
The tide of lying tongues I stemmed,
And honored him ‘mid shame and scorn.
My friendship’s utmost zeal to try,
He asked if I for him would die.
The flesh was weak; my blood ran chill,
But my free spirit cried, “I will!”

7. Then in a moment to my view
The stranger started from disguise.
The tokens in his hands I knew;
The Savior stood before mine eyes.
He spake, and my poor name he named,
“Of me thou hast not been ashamed.
These deeds shall thy memorial be;
Fear not, thou didst them unto me.”

Text: James Montgomery, 1771-1854

I love the new Mormon Channel video.  Maybe I love it more, because the stars are two “old guys,” and while my mind doesn’t agree, my body is definitely approaching their age.  Watch it here.

What are you doing the hours you are not attending church?   If you are not attending church, why not give it a try?  To learn more about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, go here.