A Yearning For Home

I was asked to talk this Sunday. I really don’t like to speak in front of people. Here is my talk:

What does it mean to yearn? Yearn: verb, meaning: have an intense feeling of longing for something typically something that one has lost or been separated from.

What do you yearn for? Just think about that for a few mins. In the talk by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, A Yearning for Home, he talks about how a dog that was separated from his family on a vacation somehow found his way back to his family a trek of over 2,000 miles! Many animals have an innate ability to find their way home. These animals have a yearning for home, something pulls them back.

I grew up in western Montana in the Missoula valley, that’s home to me. When we drive west and get close to those mountains, I feel a little tug on my heart and mind and I feel home, even though I haven’t lived there for 26 years. We’ve lived here in Glendive for nearly 17 years and when we have been on vacation and come back I have a sense of home, but it’s not quite the same feeling I have for where I grew up. I’m not sure if my children will feel that tug or pull for here that I feel for the mountains of western Montana, or if they will be more like their dad: home is where his family is.

Our spirits have a yearning for home too, that heavenly home we all shared before we came to this earthly home. In his talk, President Uchtdorf says: “I believe that every man, woman, and child has felt the call of heaven at some point in his or her life. Deep within us is a longing to somehow reach past the veil and embrace Heavenly Parents we once knew and cherished.

Some might suppress this yearning and deaden their souls to its call. But those who do not quench this light within themselves can embark on an incredible journey–a wondrous migration toward heavenly climes.”

He also says: “God knows your every thought, your sorrows, and your greatest hopes. God knows the many times you have sought Him. The many times you have felt limitless joy. The many times you have wept in loneliness. The many times you have felt helpless, confused, or angry.

Yet, no matter your history–if you have faltered, failed, feel broken, bitter, betrayed, or beaten–know that you are not alone. God still calls to you.

The Savior extends His hand to you.

If you will hear Him, He will speak to you this very day.

When you walk the path of discipleship–when you move toward Heavenly Father–there is something within you that will confirm that you have heard the call of the Savior and set your heart toward the light. It will tell you that you are on the right path and that you are returning home.”

President Uchtdorf offers two reasons we should return to the Lord. And I quote: “first, your life will be better. This does not mean that our lives will be free from sorrow. We all know of faithful followers of Christ who suffer tragedy and injustice–Jesus Christ Himself suffered more than anyone. Just as God makes the “sun to rise on the evil and on the good,” He also allows adversity to test the just and the unjust. In fact, sometimes it seems that our lives are more difficult because we are trying to live our faith.

No, following the Savior will not remove all of your trials. However, it will remove the barriers between you and the help your Heavenly Father wants to give you. God will be with you. He will direct your steps. He will walk beside you and even carry you when your need is greatest.

The fires and tumults of mortal life may threaten and frighten, but those who incline their hearts to God will be encircled by His peace. Their joy will not be diminished. They will not be abandoned or forgotten.

Those who heed the inner call and seek God, those who pray, believe, and walk the path the Savior has prepared–even if they stumble along the path at times–receive the consoling assurance that “all things shall work together for [their] good.”

Second,God will use you. “On your journey back to Heavenly Father you will soon realize that this journey isn’t just about focusing on your own life. No, this path inevitably leads you to become a blessing in the lives of God’s other children–your brothers and sisters. And the interesting thing about the journey is that as you serve God, and as you care for and help your fellowmen, you will see great progress in your own life, in ways you could never imagine.

Perhaps you don’t consider yourself all that useful; perhaps you don’t consider yourself a blessing in somebody’s life. Often, when we look at ourselves, we see only our limitations and deficiencies. We might think we have to be “more” of something for God to use us–more intelligent, more wealthy, more charismatic, more talented, more spiritual. Blessings will come not so much because of your abilities but because of your choices. And the God of the universe will work within and through you, magnifying your humble efforts for His purposes.

No matter your position in your community or in the Church, God will use you, if you are willing. He will magnify your righteous desires and turn the compassionate actions you sow into a bountiful harvest of goodness.”end quote.

How do we feel this tug, this yearning? What helps us to return? President Uchtdorf stated:

“Our beloved Father in Heaven has given us the Light of Christ. And deep within each one of us, a heavenly stirring urges us to turn our eyes and hearts to Him as we make the pilgrimage back to our celestial home.

This requires effort. You cannot get there without striving to learn of Him, understanding His instructions, earnestly applying them, and putting one foot in front of the other.

You cannot just float in the waters of life and trust that the current will take you wherever you hope to be one day. Discipleship requires our willingness to swim upstream when needed.

No one else is responsible for your personal journey. The Savior will help you and prepare the way before you, but the commitment to follow Him and keep His commandments must come from you. That is your sole burden, your sole privilege.”

May we all strive daily to reach for the Lord, to feel the yearnings of our heavenly home and work toward a joyous homecoming.

I want you to know I do have a testimony of this gospel that Jesus is the Christ that he came to earth and made the ultimate sacrifice for us and that he was resurrected and that he lives.

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Talk December 16, 2017

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The Gift of the Magi

The Gift of the Magi

by O. Henry

One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty-seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas.

There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl. So Della did it.

When Della finished her cry, she attended to her cheeks with a powder puff. She stood by the window and looked out dully. Tomorrow would be Christmas Day, and she had only $1.87 to buy a present for Jim. Her Jim. Many a happy hour she had spent planning for something nice for him. Something fine and rare and sterling-something just a bit near to being worthy of the honor of being owned by Jim.

Suddenly she whirled from the window and stood before the looking glass. Rapidly she pulled down her hair and let it fall into its full length.

Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in which they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim’s gold watch that had been his father’s and grandfather’s. The other was Della’s hair.

So now Della’s beautiful hair fell about her, rippling and shining like a cascade of brown waters. She did it up again nervously and quickly. Once she faltered for a minute and stood still while a tear or two splashed on the worn red carpet. On went her old brown jacket; on went her old brown hat. With a whirl of skirts and with the brilliant sparkle still in her eyes, she fluttered out the door and down the stairs to the street.

Where she stopped the sign read: “Mme. Sofronie. Hair Goods of All Kinds.” One flight up Della ran, and collected herself, panting.

“Will you buy my hair?” asked Della.

“I buy hair,” said Madame. “Take yer hat off and let’s have I sight of it.”

Down rippled the brown cascade.

“Twenty dollars,” said Madame, lifting the mass with a practiced hand. “Give it to me quick,” said Della.

Oh, the next two hours were rosy as she ransacked the stores for Jim’s present.

She found it at last. It surely had been made for Jim and no one else. There was no other like it in any of the stores, and she had turned all of them inside out. It was a platinum watch chain, simple in design, properly proclaiming its value by substance alone and not by ornamentation–as all good things should do. It was even worthy of The Watch. As soon as she saw it she knew that it must be Jim’s. Quietness and value–the description applied to both.

Twenty-one dollars they took from her for it, and she hurried home with the eighty-seven cents. With that chain on his watch Jim might be properly anxious about the time in any company. Grand as the watch was, he sometimes looked at it on the sly on account of the old leather strap he used in place of a chain.

When Della reached home, she got out her curling irons and went to work. Within forty minutes her head was covered with tiny close-lying curls that made her look wonderfully like a school-boy. She looked at her reflection in the mirror long, carefully, and critically.

“If Jim doesn’t kill me,” she said to herself, “before he takes a second look at me–but what could I do with a dollar and eighty-seven cents?”

Jim was never late. Della held the watch chain in her hand. She heard his step on the stair and she turned white for just a moment. She had a habit of saying little silent prayers about the simplest everyday things, and now she whispered: “Please, God, make him think I am still pretty.”

The door opened and Jim stepped in and closed it. He looked thin and very serious. Poor fellow, he was only twenty-two–and to be burdened with a family! He needed a new overcoat and he was without gloves.

Jim’s eyes were fixed on Della, and there was an expression in them that she could not read. It was not anger, nor surprise, nor disapproval, nor horror, nor any of the sentiments she had been prepared for. He simply stared at her.

“Jim darling,” she cried, “don’t look at me that way. I had my hair cut off and sold it because I couldn’t have lived through Christmas without giving you a present. It’ll grow out again–you won’t mind, will you! I just had to do it. My hair grows awfully fast. Say ‘Merry Christmas!’ Jim and let’s be happy. You don’t know what a beautiful, nice gift I’ve got for you.”

“You’ve cut off your hair?” asked Jim, as if he had not arrived at that fact yet.

“Cut it off and sold it,” said Della. “Don’t you like me just as well, anyhow? I’m me without my

hair, aren’t I?”

Jim looked about the room curiously. “You say your hair is gone?”

“You needn’t look for it,” said Della. “It’s sold, I tell you—sold and gone, I tell you. It’s Christmas Eve, boy. Be good to me, for it went for you. Maybe the hairs of my head were numbered,” she went on with serious sweetness, “but nobody could ever count my love for you.”

Out of his trance Jim seemed to quickly wake. He enfolded his Della in his arms.

Jim then drew a package from his overcoat pocket and threw it upon the table.

“Don’t make any mistake, Dell,” he said, “about me. I don’t think there’s anything in the way of a haircut or a shave or shampoo that could make me like my girl any less. But if you’ll unwrap that package you may see why you had me going a while at first.”

White fingers tore at the string and paper. And then an ecstatic scream of joy; and then, alas! a quick feminine change to tears and wails, necessitating the immediate employment of all of the comforting powers of the lord of the flat.

For there lay The Combs–the set of combs, side and back, that Della had worshipped long in a Broadway window. Beautiful combs, pure tortoise shell with jeweled rims–just the shade to wear in the beautiful varnished hair. They were expensive combs, she knew, and her heart had simple craved and yearned over them without the least hope of possession. And now, they were hers, but the tresses that should have adorned the coveted adornments were gone.

But she hugged them to her, and at length was able to look up with dim eyes and a smile and say: “My hair grows so fast, Jim!”

And then Della leaped up and cried, “Oh, oh!”

Jim had not yet seen his beautiful present. She held it out to him eagerly upon her open palm.

The dull precious metal seemed to flash with a reflection of her bright and ardent spirit.

“Isn’t it a dandy, Jim? I hunted all over town to find it. You’ll have to look at the time a hundred

times a day now. Give me your watch. I want to see how it looks on it.”

Instead of obeying, Jim tumbled down on the couch and put his hands under the back of his

head and smiled.

“Dell,” he said, “let’s put our Christmas presents away and keep ’em awhile. They’re too nice to use just at present. I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs. And now, suppose you put dinner on.”

The magi, as you know, were wise men—wonderful wise men—who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. Of all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.

#lighttheworld #christmasstory

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What is a mother?

1) the female parent of a child, 2) one who bears children, 3) one who raises, influences, cares for, loves and nurtures a child or children.

When I think about what shaped me into the mother that I am, I reflect on those mothers in my life and my history. Of course my mom, was and is a huge influence in my life, but there are others who helped to mother me. When you take the best of what your mom has to offer, one can’t help but know that they took the best from their mothers too, so who I am goes back to those mothers in my family history. I think we also take a little bit from all the mothers who we come in contact with too. So my friend’s moms, grandmothers, and my mother in law have also influenced me.

My grandmothers: Grace Flynn and Lucile Booher influenced their children and me when I had the opportunity to spend time with each of them. My gramma Grace was a quiet strength who kept a very clean house, had beautiful roses and always made sure her family was fed before her. Gramma Booher a more vocal woman who kept a tidy house that was filled with the materials to make anything. They grew an enormous garden and fruit trees, she bottled food. She taught me it is important to spend time with family. She drove and always made sure we had time with Gramma Grace who didn’t drive. Because of her example, I did my best to make sure my children got the chance to know their only living great grandparents.

These are Troy’s grandparents: Bob and Dorothy Herrin. When we lived in Vegas, I would take my kids: Cody, Shantel and Savanna over every Wednesday for lunch with Nana and Papa and then we would stay and visit and play with them for an hour or two. I’m not sure if they remember, but I do, and I tell them. Cody and Shantel remember playing with the toys that they had. Toys that their dad played with when he was little. Toys that their kids can play with when they come to visit at great grandma and grandpa Keiser’s. Nana took me under her wing and taught me the love crafting things. She would take me to the craft day at church, helped me make cards and shared her knowledge with me.

My in laws: Bob and Mary Keiser, live close and they help and teach and influence me and my children in many ways. We share recipes, tips on crocheting, she has helped me tie a quilt, taught Shantel to sew. She teaches and influences as she can, we take what we need from that.

My mom, Myrna Flynn, what can I say about this woman? She is amazing, strong, determined, independent, faithful, patient, bold, she is a fixer. She has taught me to be strong, independent, confident, to cook, and bake. She taught me to have fun, to enjoy life, that you are only as old as you feel, that I can do anything, and not to stress too much. She had 8 single births and has 34 grandchildren and almost 7 great grandchildren.

She is the one I call when I need to talk, to complain, to ask how to do this or that. She will do all she can to help those she loves. She is not huggy and kissy and she doesn’t get to emotional, but you know where you stand with her. She is not perfect but she is my mom and I would not be the person I am without her influence and that influence that has trickled down from her mom and all the moms that shaped her and her mom and her mom and so on back in time.

I hope that my daughters and daughters in law can take all the good that the moms in their lives can give and become the best moms they can be.  That they can see how each generation has something to offer, something that they can take and make their own and pass that on to their children and keep the cycle moving and growing and ever learning.

Thank you mom! I love you!

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My dad turned 80 on the 23rd of March. We planned and pulled off a surprise party for him. All of my siblings were able to make it! 🙂 That’s a big feat, there are 8 of us. The last time we were all together at one event was when our Gramma Grace passed away 10.5 years ago.  Looking around the house at all the people I got to thinking; “what a legacy my parents are leaving.”  (Be sure to click on the hyperlinks.)

When I think of  a family tree, I see it like this, with roots and branches. Our forebears are our roots, our children are our branches, and we are the trunk — that which links the two together.

So lets back this story up a few years…….

One day Sam met Lucile, they liked each other and in 1930 they married.  They had 4 children: Duane, James, Edgar and *Myrna. They raised their children well.

Meanwhile, Willard met Grace and soon they were married in 1934. They had three boys:  *Daren, Lawrence, and Lonny. They raised their boys up right.

Daren met Myrna and they were married in 1958. Over the course of 22 years they had eight children:  Colleen, Sean, Martin, Brandon, *Carrie, Ryanne, Clancy and Megan.   

Now each of these children married and have children as well:  (Colleen)- Hosanna, Hokan, Maja, Anders; (Sean)- Shannon, Samuel, Kelsie, Trever; (Martin)- Brandon, Adrianna, Kenneth, Andrae, Charles, William; (Brandon)- Stephanie, CX, Khyle, Kodyn; (Carrie)- Cody, Shantel, Savanna, Robby, Scott, EmmaLece; (Ryanne)-  Javin, Orissa; (Clancy)- Grace, Livia, Stella, Collett, Brooks; (Megan)- Shaylee, Liam, and Clara. This next picture is not all of the grandchildren, but a pretty good chunk of them.

A few of the grandchildren are married and have or are expecting children: (Hosanna)- Layla, Jemma, ?; (Stephanie)- Alaina; (Cody)- Fae; and (Shantel)- ?. Hokan is getting married on the 31st. Our simple tree is turning into quite a forest. 🙂

We weren’t raised in the lap of luxury, but we had what mattered most, love.  At the party, most of the grandchildren in attendance sang and played the song Daddy’s Hands for Grumpa. It was questioned as to why they didn’t sing a song about grandpas, the reason is that our children are more musically inclined than their parents. 🙂 When the song was finished, we took the opportunity to share a special memory, or a saying of our father’s that has stuck with us. What an awesome thing it was to share our memories with our parents and siblings. 

With a 22 year span between the first and the last child you can imagine that we didn’t all have the same experiences.  For the older childern, dad was home and he worked in radio and television. Colleen recalled a time when dad became quite flustered that no one checked the oil on a regular basis and came in the house saying: “I don’t care what kind of oil you put in there, just put something in!” Because of that, she is very diligent at checking the oil in her vehicles. Sean told of a time he took the car for a joyride with his friend when Dad wasn’t home.  Then while they were out and about, he remembered he had an eye appointment. Sean went on to the appointment and when he came through the door, dad was sitting there. Sean said that he spent the whole appointment thinking:  “I’m dead I’m dead!”  Dad looked at him and said: “I had to ride the bike!” Never take the car without permission even if you are sure your parents are not going to be home! Martin remembered going to work with dad at the radio station, and later driving the truck with him. Brandon remembered a time when he skipped school with Sean and Martin. Unknown to Brandon, the older boys had ratted him out for having skipped school with them. Upon being asked how school was he responded that it was great. (He was like 5 and the older boys would have been 9 and 12). Brandon learned if dad asked you something, he probably already knows the answer.   He also had another memory of getting a bunch of pop out of a vending machine with the same two quarters. The middle kids, didn’t really have a huge opportunity to spend time with dad because he had changed careers and was now a long haul truck driver.  So my memories are mostly of going on the truck with dad in the summers.  One summer, I went trucking with him all by myself. He had a load in Ohio, and it rained a lot there.  We played a lot of backgammon while we waited for the rain to stop. I got BLTs every time we ate at a truck stop and I saved a soda straw from all the places we went. The things I remember him saying, were’t really sayings, but funny songs: Katalina Matalina Hoopingsteiner Walking on a Hogan Pogan Logan was her Name and Kitchy Kitcht Kaimeo. Ryanne recalled having to learn lessons the hard way, but always being reassured of dad’s love after discipline was needed. And also how when she went trucking and they were in Baltimore, dad found every opportunity to drive through the tunnel that goes under the Chesapeake Bay just to watch her cringe. Clancy told of going trucking with dad and playing baseball on the side of the road as well as learning a life lesson about people. He had said something not nice about someone he felt could make more of their life and Dad told him that it takes all kinds of people to make it work. Something dad said one day to Clancy that he remembers is: “if you think it’s right then do it.” It was said after he had asked to do something he knew dad wouldn’t  approve of. He wisely chose not to do it. Now, by the time Megan was in Middle school, dad went from long haul to hauling locally, so she had more of an opportunity to get to know dad. Megan talked about a smell that reminds her of dad, the smell of mechanical grease.  She also remembers being on my horse’s back in the field with dad walking along side, and the neighbor called the horse.  The horse took off and Megan fell, dad carried her into the house. One more thing Megan remembers is how she and dad would run their feet across the carpet and then shock each other. They have a similar sense of humor which might have made mom crazy how they fed off of each other. Megan ended with a grateful heart for the parents we have. Colleen also had a few parting words of love and appreciation for mom and dad. Dad had a few words to say after our stories. He said how he wouldn’t have been able to raise us without my mom. He got a little emotional, it was sweet. He also told a few stories on himself. My mom said that there was a year when dad was gone 360 of 365 days!  Yeah mom is tough and lived a good portion of her child rearing years as if she were a single parent. She is wise and is usually the first person I call when I need to know one thing or another. We are blessed that they are still with us and have been our rocks. They have been married for 58 years. As matriarch and patriarch of our ever growing family, they deserve our respect and love always.

A few more stories were shared here and here.  

Now family dynamics can be interesting. With so many people coming from different backgrounds joining the family, there’s bound to be some disagreements and some hurt feelings. The trick is to see this creation of a new family within the family with a long term perspective.  The perspective we need to have is this:  In the eternal scope of things, does this really matter?  If the answer is yes, then do something about it. If the answer is no, then breathe deeply and let it go. Families are forever and we need to remember that!  It doesn’t matter if you were born into, adopted into or married into the family, it is yours now! There will be times when we think we are right or should be in charge. This can and will cause hurt feelings. If we try hard to think before we act or speak, realize when we haven’t been kind, be humble and forgiving, then these bumps on the road to forever can be overcome. 

I have always told my children that in the end all we really have is family. Friends come and go, (a few stick with you through thick and thin) but family is connected by roots and branches weaved together to create a tight mesh that holds us together. Love strongly, forgive freely and set your sights on the future.

The legacy we want to leave behind is one of love!

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New Beginnings 

Emmy gave a talk at New Beginnings tonight. (New Beginnings is a welcoming for the girls turning 12 this year and moving into the young women’s program.) The leaders and some of the older girls give talks to introduce the new girls to the young women’s theme:
And teach them about the virtues listed in the theme. It also helps reaffirm them to the older girls, it’s a good review for everyone.

Each virtue has a color associated with it:

EmmaLece was asked to give a 3 minute talk on one of these virtues. Em gets really nervous speaking in public and she really didn’t want to do it, but she sat down and started to research and write her talk.  She got a good start. Her dad read it over and said he would look up a few talks on the subject that she could read and maybe use some of one to add to what she had written. 

When she got home from school, her dad had found a good talk for her to read and hopefully use in her talk. She read over it and when I arrived home, I helped her pick and choose parts of the talk then she typed it up. After reading it through she had about a 5 min talk ready to go.  

We arrived at church and she was becoming nervous, trying to remember to breathe deeply and be brave.  The leaders gave their talks and then the young women got up in turn and gave their talks. EmmaLece continued to have increasing nerves as the other girls gave one and two minute talks. She really didn’t want to do it, but we smiled at her and gave her encouragement.

She wore a dark purple blouse to represent her virtue.

She got up and shared her talk: 

I was asked to speak on integrity. In a talk titled “True Blue, Through and Through” by Sheri L. Dew, she says: “Today I want to talk with you about a virtue that is just plain smart and that will have as much impact on your happiness, your peace of mind, and your ability to fulfill your life’s mission as any virtue I can think of.

It is a virtue that will ultimately make you or break you. It will make or break you as a husband or wife, father or mother, brother or sister, colleague or friend or leader. It will make or break your career. And most significantly, it will make or break your efforts to achieve exaltation. For it will define your relationship with God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost.

This is a virtue that every man or woman of God must come to possess in increasing degrees. It is a virtue found in every true follower of Jesus Christ.  

 It is the virtue of integrity.

We tend to define integrity as honesty. And without question, it includes that. But telling the truth is just the beginning of integrity.” Close quote. 

The dictionary defines integrity as the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. What are moral principles? Moral principles are good standards. So, integrity means the quality of being honest and having good moral standards. 

Integrity is the foundational virtue upon which all other virtues are dependant. It is the first rung on the character ladder. Where there is integrity, other virtues will follow. Where there is no integrity, other virtues have no chance of developing. (Sheri L. Dew- True Blue, Through and Through)

President Joseph F. Smith called integrity “the cornerstone of character” (4 April 1897 General Conference). And President Gordon B. Hinckley spoke of integrity this way: “Men and women of integrity understand intrinsically ( in an essential or natural way) that theirs is the precious right to hold their heads in the sunlight of truth, unashamed before anyone” (Standing for Something, 29). 
Sheri Dew has seven suggestions to help us become men and women of integrity:

“1. Decide today, once and for all, that you will be worthy of trust-the trust of family and friends, colleagues and business associates, and most of all, the Lord. The more the Lord trusts you, the more knowledge and power He will give you. The Holy Ghost is not able to inspire or endorse the words or actions of someone who is not true and who can’t be trusted. So decide now, today, once and for all, that at all cost you will be a man or woman of integrity who can be trusted.

2. Have faith that the Lord can and will help you, and then diligently seek His help. Challenges that test our faith are almost always opportunities to strengthen our faith. So believe the Lord will help you, and then diligently seek after His help.

3. Make covenants and keep them. In other words, do what you say you will do. This begins with keeping the covenants you made at baptism and again in the House of the Lord, and then being precisely, completely true to those covenants.

But it also includes being fair and square with others. Here is a sample checklist: Do you do what you say you will do, or do you often make excuses for not coming through? Will you rationalize taking advantage of someone else if it is to your advantage? Are you doing your own classwork? Do you give your best effort at work or just put in time? Do you pay a full tithe? Are you really living the Honor Code? Would you date your best friend’s boyfriend behind her back? Are you honest with those you date, or are you leading someone on because no one better has come along and you don’t want to sit home Friday night? Are you straight with your parents about how you spend their money? If you could improve your chance for graduate school by cheating, would you do it? What DVDs do you watch and web sites do you visit when you’re alone? Are you honest and moral in the dark of night as well as broad daylight? Are you true to those who have trusted you with their love and confidence? Are you living worthy of the kind of man or woman you hope to marry, and of the children whom our Father will entrust to your care?

4. Stand up for what you believe. In fact, look for every opportunity to do so. Don’t be showy or loud about it, and please don’t ever criticize or judge others in the process. But relish every opportunity to stand for something, to be true to what you know is right.

5. Expect your integrity to be challenged. Metaphorically speaking, be on the lookout for Potiphar’s wife. She will show up again and again. Be ready to leave your cloak in her hand and flee again and again, because Satan won’t tempt you just once. Moses had to resist Satan’s temptations four times. And he had to tell Satan to beat it four times before he finally left–and that was after ranting and raving, weeping and wailing, and exposing Moses to the bitterness of hell (see Moses 1:19-22).

6. Don’t give up. This is a lifelong process. No one except the Savior will live a perfect life, and no one is perfected in a day. It takes time and sheer work to develop and refine our integrity. Heber J. Grant said it this way: “I know of no easy formula for success. Persist, persist, PERSIST; work, work, WORK–is what counts in the battle of life”

7. Covenant–or perhaps I should say, renew your covenant–with our Father and His Son to do what you came here to do. For doing what we agreed to do premortally is the ultimate expression of our integrity.

There is no such thing as slightly breaking a law–whether a law of the land or a law of God–because even a slight breach of integrity opens the door for Satan.” Close quote.

The color that was chosen for this value is purple, so when ever you see the color purple, think of integrity. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ amen.

By the time she made it to the last point, she was a bit teary but she made it through to the “amen” and ran for the bathroom.  I followed her as did one of the leaders and her best bud.  They gave her hugs and told her what a great job she had done.  Everyone was impressed with her ability to do just what she had been asked to do. She is working on developing the virtue of Integrity! We are so pleased with her accomplishments. 

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I’m getting a new title…

It has been a while since I blogged and a lot has happened.  Life moves quickly and we can’t seem to slow it down at all! (Here’s a quick overview of the last few years…)

Three children have graduated from high school!  How does this happen?

Cody graduated in 2013

Cody served a mission in Buenos Aries, Argentina from Feb 2014 till July 2015.

Shantel graduated in 2014

Shantel joined her Aunt Colleen and cousin, Maja on a trip to Hawaii.

Savanna graduated in 2016

Savanna excelled in sports and academics, visited a college and made a plan (at least for a year!). She took a once in a lifetime trip to Australia with Down Under Sports and competed in a multi-nation track and field meet in the discus and the shot put. What an experience she had.

My other three children have grown up as well: Robby is a junior now. He excels in sports, academics and music. He spent two summers at Scout camp working and learning. He took a trip to Washington DC with the NRA and had a wonderful time. He is considering joining the Marines.

The twins: Scott and EmmaLece are in the 7th grade!

Scott tried wrestling and although he never won a match, he had a great time and plans to join the team again.  He loves playing the drums and feels the rhythm of life everywhere!

EmmaLece loves to sing and competed in the music festival earning a superior rating on her solo! She broke her arm.

This year has been especially busy. In February Cody got married!  That resulted in a 900 mile (one way) trip to the happy event.

Savanna graduated from high school with honors.

We learned we are to be grandparents come November, thanks to Cody and Megan. (The ultrasound says it’s a girl!)

Shantel got engaged and then married in August. Closer to home only about an hour and half drive to Medicine Rocks State Park.

Savanna went off on her new adventure: college 9 hours away!

The twins turned 12 in July and were able to go to the temple this past Saturday (September 10, 2016) for the first time. They had a good experience and we had a memorable drive home. Somehow the cap to the coolant was off and the engine overheated. We spent a good 45 mins on the side of the freeway until we were rescued and able to head on home.

So on to this new title: Grandma! I’m still not sure how I feel about that?! I want a cool gramma name, that much I do know. As I think on this new title, I think of what a grandma is and how can I possibly live up to that? What comes to mind first when you hear the words Grandma and Grandpa?  The faces of all the grandparents I’ve had or borrowed come to mind and all the things they did for me. What they taught me and how they shaped who I have become is in the forefront of my mind.  What have I got to offer?  How will I be an influential part of their lives? How will these future grandkid remember me?  Am I ready for this? (Not that I have much of a choice! Hahaha! I am excited to watch my children experience this new adventure:  Parenthood!)

Who were my grandparents and what did I learn from them?  I had my Grampa Sam and Gramma Booher and my Gramma Grace.  Admittedly, we spent more time with my mom’s parents than with my dad’s mom. I do wish I had gotten the opportunity  to know Gramma Grace better, but she didn’t drive and I guess it was more work for us to get to her house. Whatever the reason, we didn’t go often and she passed away many years ago.  It may be what motivates me to want to be an approachable involved gramma.  My Gramma Booher drove and she saw the importance of us at least getting to know gramma Grace some. She would take us over for a few days visit.  My opinion of her was a very quiet, private person who kept a very tidy house and grew beautiful flowers.  Gramma and Grampa Booher, on the other-hand, were adventurous; taking road trips, going fishing or out to cut wood. They grew a huge garden, gramma bottled a lot of stuff and made us clothing and quilts.  She was a robust little woman who knew what she wanted.  She was talented and she shared what she had with those around her.  My grampa was funny and fun. We learned how to chase the neighbors cows away with a slingshot and a water hose. We learned how to sing the alphabet backwards and all about bottle hounding (Collecting old bottles and how best to display them for maximum color.).  Gramma tried to impart her knowledge to us, patiently teaching how to sew (Sadly, she gave up on me, I did manage to make a duck pillow!). I think it was Gramma Grace who attempted to teach me to crochet (I wasn’t very good or patient with myself and it took me until I was in my 20’s to give those skills another go.)

When I got married, I gained another set of grandparents: Bob and Dorothy Herrin (Nana and Papa). What a wonderful cute couple they were.  We had the opportunity to live rather close to them (In the same city! What a treat, to visit my grandparents, as a child it was about a 3-4 hour drive!) I was determined to to get to know them to not take them for granted. I hoped to make memories for my young children with them.  I made it a point to take them at least once a week for a lunch visit.  I went to craft days with Nana and learned with her. She was a very talented lady (a lot like gramma Booher). I was sad to leave Vegas knowing it would not be often we would get to see them. Sadly, the twins never met Papa, we never got the chance to take them to Vegas before he passed on. Nana came to Montana to visit and ended up living out the rest of her days here. All of my children were able to spend time with her and help to care for her in her last years.  It was hard to see age take it’s toll on her, but I hope that my children learned compassion, service and love for their great-grandma.  I hope that they have learned that grandparents deserve respect and admiration and love for they are the matriarchs and patriarchs of our family.  They paved the way for us and them and for their future children.  Age is a vicious thing! When we are young we dream only of growing up and doing more and when we are grown we yearn for our youth.

As I approach the cusp of this new adventure, I want to be all of these grandparents best qualities. I want my children to be able to see the many great and wonderful qualities that their grandparents have. I want my children to love, cherish, respect and enjoy making memories with their grandparents. I want my children to honor their grandparents living or not. I want them to remember that grandparents are the make-up of their parents and thusly of them.  When my children look in the mirror, do they see them smiling at them in love and pride for who they have become?  Becoming a parent and a grandparent is carrying on a legacy of love, sacrifice and service. I reach for this new title with excited shaky hands and a prayer that I will be the best of all that came before me!

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