The Watchman

The Watchman

Friday, March 30, 2012

We Thank Thee O God For a Prophet

 Come listen to living prophets

I am so excited for General Conference this weekend.  It is an extra special time to gather with my family and listen to the words of council from our church's General Authorities.  I never fail to find something that inspires me, uplifts me or challenges me.  Usually it is all three.

This conference is especially exciting because Wil (aka Elder Wixom) will be singing with the MTC choir during the Saturday afternoon session. (2 PM MDT)  I am excited to look for his little blonde head and see if he has changed as much physically as he has grown spiritually during his time in the MTC.  It is amazing that a month has already passed.  In just 25 days, he heads for Japan.  We look forward to sharing that experience with him through his letters, emails, and phone calls.

This weekend I am excited for him to have the opportunity to sit in the presence of a prophet of the Lord and feel his spirit in person.  That is such a special experience.  I remember when I was attending Ricks College (now BYU-Idaho) more than a few years ago and a group of us traveled to Salt Lake City to attend a session of General Conference.  At the time, Conference was held in the Tabernacle, so the seating was on hard wooden benches and we were squished together to maximize occupancy.  Even though I do not remember what was said during that meeting, I do remember the joy that filled my heart when the prophet entered the building and we sang "We Thank Thee O God For a Prophet".

Wil's seat is going to be cushier and his view will be closer, but the Spirit will be the same.  How grateful I am for the Prophet today, Thomas S Monson.  The words of wisdom he provides are what are needed for us at this time.  In 2010, President Monson spoke at the graduation ceremony for my alma mater, Weber State University.  He shared a quote by Mary Anne Radmacher that has meant so much to me: Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I'll try again tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

One Smooth Stone

I guess a benefit of being sick for so long when you're me is that I get the time to do all those little tasks that I would normally put off indefinitely.  One of these for me is filing.  Today I tackled the "To Be Filed" pile that sat in the corner of my office.  In my mind "the pile" had become a mountain.  In reality, it was more like a molehill and only took a couple of hours to sort and put away.  It is nice to have things sorted again.  It was also fun to look through many of the things that had been thrown into "the pile".

One of the things I found was a quote.  I don't remember why I had printed it off.  It was with my cousin's obituary, so it might have had something to do with his funeral, but there was no other clue.  In fact, I had to resort to Google to even find accreditation.  The quote is from Liken the Scriptures - David and Goliath.  This is one of a series of movies designed to teach children (and adults) on how the stories we read in the scriptures can be applied to our lives today.  These videos have been favorites of our family since our boys were young.

In recent weeks, I have had some close friends who have been struggling with trials in their lives.  I know how grateful I was when I have struggles to have friends to talk to.  I have tried to return the favor by being there to listen and assist where I can; sometimes that is all we can do.

I am also grateful for my knowledge that I have a Heavenly Father who loves me and knows me and that Jesus Christ, my brother, sacrificed His life for me.  Each Sunday, I am blessed to be able to share this knowledge with the girls in my Sunday School class.  It is an honor and a privilege that their parents trust me with this responsibility.  I feel very blessed.

So all these thoughts went through my head today as I reread this quote.  It is a prayer that I will keep in my heart.

"One smooth stone is all I need to fly straight and true and not lose speed.  If the edges are rough, it'll go its own way; I need one smooth stone today.  the task is great, the odds are small, but the righteous aren't always the big and the tall.  With God on my side I am never alone.  All I need is one smooth stone.  We all have our wills and we all have our plans, but God gives us more than we understand if we're willing to go through the storms He commands and be one smooth stone in His hands.  One smooth stone will be plenty today, but at times the wind changes and stones go astray.  god has many prepared but He calls just a few; so I'll find more than one stone too.  One smooth stone is what I'll be so the Lord can do what He wants with me.  I'll prepare myself to be worthy to stand and be one smooth stone in His hands.  I'll prepare myself to be worthy to stand and be one smooth stone in His hands."

Monday, March 12, 2012

Days In the Sun

Have I mentioned how much I love living in Southern Utah?  In case you have missed my extolling of the beauty of the scenery, the many recreational opportunities and most of all the weather, then let me say it again - This is the best place to live!!!!

I am an outdoors girl.  I love the sun.  I don't need toys to enjoy my time outside, I am completely happy sitting on my patio soaking up the sun.  There is nothing like enjoying a sunny day with a good book and a cool drink, unless it is a walk through the hills enjoying the changing colors of autumn.

Last weekend our friends, the Bees, came from northern Utah to visit and escape from the wintery cold.  They were also delivering the truck we had purchased, but that was really just an excuse to soak up some much needed Vitamin D.

Here we are climbing on the rocks in Pioneer Park:

Our group of young adventurers

On top of the world

The small Bees on top of Dixie

My sweetie and I overlooking St George

Greg and Cindy soaking up the sun

This weekend, Rick and I went with our friends Craig and Shelly Jacobson to the NASCAR races in Vegas.  I have never been to a race before and it wouldn't have been in my top ten things to do, but going to a race was on Rick's Bucket List, so off we went.  I have to admit, it was a lot of fun.  The weather was perfect and our friends were as awesome as usual.

Me with Shelly and Craig Jacobson

Lined up to start

It's Danica Patrick

Go Danica in the Go car

With my sweetie.  See how happy he is.

During the week, we have been completing yard projects: Planting flower in pots, finishing the garden boxes, spreading rock, etc.  Hopefully with Spring Break this week, we will be able to have the garden area finished just in time for the storm next weekend to water everything.

Our soon to be garden

Friday, March 9, 2012

Every Day Holds the Possibility of a Miracle

One of the things I love most about Christmas and Easter is the reminder that miracles are possible. During Easter we celebrate rebirth and the miracle of eternal life, while Christmas is the celebration of the miracle of new birth. "Every day holds the possibilty of a miracle." I like this, because it reminds me to keep my heart open to what God has in store for us and to remember to acknowledge his hand in our lives.

Since I decided to adopt this philosophy, I am amazed at the miracles I see around me everyday. In my own life, recently a friend of Hunter's gave us a CD with pictures from their high school years. He also handed me a copy of their senior DVD. He told me he had no idea how he had ended up with two copies, but when he was going through things, there it was. I was talking to his mom about it later and she told me that the fact that he had not only the DVD, but an extra copy of their graduation program was a miracle, since she is one who regularly throws out duplicates of mementos collected by her children.

This is only one example of many such similar stories we have heard as individuals have come into our lives to share with us since our fire. Another story I will share is about our advent calendar. Our original calendar was made by my mother-in-law when Jon was two years old. This calendar had been an integral part of our Christmas ever since, even travelling with us when we have been away from home. As I looked to replace it, there was nothing I could find that appealed to my children. Where was the path for Mary and Joseph to travel, where were the wisemen, the shepherds, the angel, the star. Most importantly, where were the scriptures that would be read one a day to tell the Christmas story. When I talked about this with my mother-in-law, she said that she thought she had saved the pattern and would look for it. If she could find the pattern, she was willing to make another one for us. Not only was she able to find the pattern, but for some reason that she could not remember, 14 years ago when she purchased the original kits, she also purchased an extra set of scripture cards and an extra storybook. What a blessing this has been to my children!

Now it is springtime and we have been in our home for a year.  This year has continued to be full of miracles.  Hunter returned safely home from Montana and was able to get into all the classes he needed to at USU.  As funding cuts did away with the scholarship that would cover his housing next year, he was able to find work as an RA (Resident Assistant).  Other things just seem to "fall into place" for our family.

I don't want to sound like we don't have trials or struggles, but it is the trials that make us more aware of the miracles in our lives.

When Wil received his mission call to Japan, I was concerned, yes even fearful, of what this would mean for his health.  We have struggled for so long with his asthma and finding a way to control it.  Finally we had reached a point where even though he had minor episodes, they were quickly resolved with his emergency inhaler and we had not had a major episode in three years.  How I prayed for understanding!! As his mom, who had spent so many hours with him in the emergency room, how was I to help him if he became ill?  Who would be with him? The answer to my prayer was a calm, peaceful feeling that this was where he needed to go and we would see the blessings.  As I learned more about the people he would be serving and the country, that feeling has grown.

Shortly after Wil entered the Missionary Training Center, I received a call from Rick's sweet aunt.  She told me how she had met the wife of the just recently returned mission president of the Japan Sendai mission and through her was able to speak with this gentleman and he had offered to communicate with us and provide any help or information that we may need.  She had also talked to a friend who makes frequent trips to Japan.  This morning I received another call from this sweet aunt.  She let me know her friend had called to ask if there was anything we needed to go to Japan as she was getting ready travel there.  This sweet, concerned, caring aunt finished our conversation by saying, "Aren't I so lucky to have this opportunity?  Look at the blessings it has brought to my life."

To me these blessings are small miracles.  Just as the graduation program that hadn't been discarded or the extra scripture cards for an advent calendar, these sweet and caring individuals have enriched my life and let me know that my Heavenly Father does love me and is aware of my needs, sometimes even before I am.

As we approach Easter, and the celebration of the greatest miracle of all, Jesus Christ's breaking the bands of death, I want to help my children remember to express gratitude for the daily miracles and blessings in their lives.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Science Experiments

Yes, the time for the Science Fair is once again upon us.

Last night, Lela and her dad spent time planting snapdragons in individual pots.  She is now going to try and kill them off by "watering" each plant with a different substance.  So far she is planning on water, Sprite, Cola and juice.  We need to come up with a couple of more ideas since she has six plants.

Sometime during the upcoming Spring Break, Emily and I are going to build a robot.  I am hoping to convince her brother, Hunter, to help with this project while he is home visiting.  He has had more experience building robots than his dad and mom combined.  If that doesn't work, maybe he can show her how to make Gummi Bears scream.

This morning, Rick and I decided to conduct a little experiment of our own.  We bought a treadmill a few weeks ago and last night Rick was finally able to find the connection that had come loose in shipping that wasn't allowing it to operate.  This morning he was showing me how everything worked on it.  It really does have a lot of bells, buttons and whistles - literally.  One of the features is built into the handles.  By holding on to them, the treadmill will measure your pulse rate.  Rick demonstrated by having me hold onto the handles while standing still.  Resting pulse per the machine was 74.  Then he started nuzzling my neck.  That number shot up to 98 in seconds.  Guess we proved that the man can still get my heart racing.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Love and Marriage

Over the weekend I started a post about marriage.  I will admit that it was mainly driven by the frustration I am having over a situation within my extended family.  After reviewing it today, I determined that it was not something I wanted to publish.  The act of writing down my feelings and seeing them in black and white was very cathartic though and helped clear my head and regain my focus.  I am still frustrated by the situation, but know that there is nothing I can do about it and those involved don't want to listen.

Through this process, I have also developed a greater appreciation for my marriage and the lessons my husband and I learned from our parents that have helped us.

1. Marriage is for eternity.  Today marriage is often looked at as disposable.  Our shared knowledge that our marriage is not till death, but can be eternal helps Rick and I look beyond today. We have a shared purpose.  Our mutual faith in a loving Heavenly Father has helped us  through many trials that I do not believe we would have weathered if not for an eternal perspective.

2. You need to have trust.  I don't mean the "I trust you till you prove me wrong" type of trust.  I mean that trust that is built through long-term communication and observation.  When Rick and I were first married, he left for military training.  By the time he had finished with the training, we had known each other for only 3 years (including dating, mission and military).  When I went to pick him up in Georgia, some of his "buddies" tried to convince me that he had been carrying on with a local girl.  Eventually, they admitted they had been just trying to see how I reacted and they had been disappointed because I hadn't gone all insecure female banshee on Rick.  Why, because I knew he had made a commitment to me and he would honor that commitment.  He knew the same about me when faced with similar rumors on returning home.

3.  No secrets.  A friend told me the story that when she was dating her husband, he showed her his divorce papers from his first marriage.  She said she would have never even thought to ask, but he had done it to show that his life was an open book.  Whenever someone tells me they want to tell me something, but I can't tell anyone, I tell them to not tell me then.  I tell Rick everything.  In our professional lives, we both deal with protected documents and privileged communications.  It is understood that there are no other secrets in our marriage.  My internet browsing history is open for him to review and the occasional joke is also allowed.

4. Be each other's biggest support.  Everyday we are faced with those who try to bring us down.  The knowledge that I can come home and find unconditional love and interest helps make the hard decisions easier. A supporter does not dictate or lecture, but can offer an alternative perspective when needed.

5. Spend time together.  A favorite TV show, a walk around the block, a trip to the grocery store all allow time to reconnect, hold hands and let one another know that they have priority in everyday life.  Never pass up an opportunity to say "I love you".

We have asked our children to not marry someone until they have dated that person for a year.  If a year doesn't seem feasible, at least to go through the major holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas) as a  "couple".  By the time Rick and I were married, we had known each other for over two years, including his LDS mission. We had spent many hours discussing potential problems to our relationship and how to avoid them or formulating a plan of action in overcoming them.  We learned how to fight fair, or rather discuss our disagreements.  We learned each other's fears and insecurities, as well as each other's strengths and opinions.  We set goals for ourselves personally, goals for us as a couple, and goals for our future family.

I know it is because of listening to the advice we received from our parents and extended family and learning from their example that our marriage has been able to be as strong as it is.  This knowledge is a gift we hope to give our children and allow them to apply it as they desire.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Beginnings and Endings

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.  (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

This verse of scripture has often given me hope that I don't have to do it all now.  Life has an order and our happiness comes from finding that order for us and embracing the season of life we are in now.  I fully believe that  if we do that, we will be happy.  We will be able to remember the past without regret, find joy in our present and look forward with hope to the future.  This doesn't mean that there won't be sadness and struggles along the way.  It is another truth that it is through opposition that we can also grow.

I have shared this before, but it is always worth repeating: “Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he’s been robbed. The fact is that most putts don’t drop, most beef is tough, most children grow up to just be people, most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration, most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. Life is like an old time rail journey…delays…sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling burst of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride.” ― Gordon B. Hinckley