During April 2018 I will be blogging about my memories as MOM OF 6 from A to Z . These challenge posts will also be found at Random Thoughts and Tender Mercies http://marcysrandomthoughts.blogspot.com/

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Slow Down, Slow Down, Be Still

This morning during our primary class (Sunday school for children)  lesson time, one of our eight year old students asked "How can you tell when the Holy Ghost is talking to you?"  What a very very good question.  So we stopped to discuss this important question with the other students in the class.  One young man brought up that the Holy Ghost can put answers in your mind and in your heart.    I mentioned that I love taking some time in bed every morning to just be still and think about problems and questions that I have, and often times I feel the Holy Ghost bringing thoughts to my mind of things that I should be doing or even answers to questions that I have about work problems or my family or other things in my life.  It came up that often times we don't have time in the mornings to be still and think and listen to what the Holy Ghost might be trying to teach us.  Hopefully we are finding time to read scriptures and to pray, and to take the time to slow down and be still.  Hopefully as parents we have taught our children to take the time to slow down and be still and listen to the promptings of the Spirit.  Hopefully we have allowed them and encouraged them to not be too busy, and that they can have the time to slow down and be still and listen.

Tonight I took the time to listen to the World Wide Devotional broadcast where Elder D. Todd Christopherson, a latter day apostle of Jesus Christ was the main speaker.  As part of his talk and presentation, he shared this Youtube video of the singer Sissel singing the song "Slow Down" that she performed at The Tabernacle Choir Pioneer Day Concert in July 2019.  It seems more than a coincidence to me that I've received this very important message not once, but twice today:

Source: Youtube  #Sissell #tabchoir #SlowDown
Slow Down - Sissel (2019 Pioneer Concert with the Tabernacle Choir)

Slow down, slow down, be still
And wait on the Spirit of the Lord
And know that he is God

Slow down, slow down, be still my child,
Be still and wait on the Spirit of the Lord.

May we all find the time to slow down and listen during these busy, sometimes confusing times!!

Sunday, December 8, 2019


The past week or so has been a time of feasting here in our neck of the woods.   Of course we very blessed in our household, and rarely lack for good things to eat, but Thanksgiving really is traditionally the beginning of several months of especially good food.  We've tried to cut back on making quite as many rich and sweet foods the past few years, but we still manage to eat quite well.

This year we had four of our children here for Thanksgiving dinner, along with significant others.   For many of them our four pm dinner was the second dinner of the day, so since I always tend to cook 3 to 4 times or more of what we actually can be expected to eat in one meal, we have had plenty of leftovers of turkey and stuffing and sweet potatoes and cranberries and pie to feast upon all week long.   Add into the fact that most of the crew left town on Friday and my DH entered the hospital for observation and testing (nothing life threatening or anything), on Monday, that left plenty of leftovers to last the week.  Of course it isn't pleasant to repeat the same meal every single day of the week, so we added in pizza and burgers and sloppy joes and even some macaroni and cheese to liven things up a bit, topped off by an evening of KFC.  (No, I didn't do much cooking this week!)  DH also shared some of his tasty hospital food  . . . yes, it was tasty . . .  and I had some samples of shrimp, salmon, and tomato basil soup with grilled ham and cheese.   So I have been doing some great feasting of physical foods this week.  And though I won't be preparing masterful gourmet meals very often during the next month, I'm sure that we will not lack for good food every day.

This morning in our regular Sacrament Meeting worship service, one of our speakers reminded us of the importance of feasting upon the words of Christ.  Even though I might have done a better job of feasting on the scriptures during this busy past week, I have had some good moments of spiritual nourishment too.   I just happened to finish reading the book of Jacob in the Book of Mormon this week, including Jacob's recounting of the prophet Zeno's allegory of the tame and wild olive trees in chapters 5 and 6.   I'm sure I have read this section of scripture nearly 100 times, if not more, but for some reason it really resonated with me this week.  My synopsis cannot do the story true justice, but for those who may not be familiar with the story . . . The master of the vineyard, in an attempt to save his olive trees that are not producing good fruit, has his servant graft in in branches of wild olive trees, which for a time works, and the trees begin to produce good fruit.  Before long all of the trees again revert to producing bitter fruit, and the master despairs, but the servant does even more serious pruning and grafting from tame back to wild, and manages to get the trees to once again produce good fruit which is gathered and saved.   In the end, it is known that all the vineyard will be destroyed, but much good fruit is produced and saved due to their efforts.

What struck me this reading, was that it doesn't really matter if the trees were wild or tame to begin with, or even to end with, but that the wild grafts helped the tame, and the tame grafts helped the wild, and all at some point brought forth good fruit.  It doesn't really matter to the Lord if we are biologically of the house of Israel or adopted in through belief in Jesus Christ and covenanting to follow him.  What does matter is our fruits.  The results of our daily lives and actions.
"By their fruits ye shall know them."  Matthew 7:20

And, I also realized, possibly for the first time, that the recounting of this story immediately proceeded some of Jacob's final words to his people and to us, which includes one of my very favorite scriptures of all time: 

"O be wise, what can I say more?"   (Jacob 6:12)

Sunday, December 1, 2019

End of November Gratefuls

Sunday December 1, 2019 

I'm grateful for a long weekend and the Sabbath for a day of rest.   This week and especially this weekend has been busy, but full of blessings, so even though I didn't take the time to post every day this long Thanksgiving holiday weekend, I would like to record some of the blessings of the weekend.  I should have taken a few photos, but, as usually didn't think to do so.

Wednesday during the day I had the opportunity to go with several of my co-workers to help sort clothing donations at the Gail Miller Resource Center, a fairly new homeless shelter in our metropolitan area.  Others of our group helped with serving lunch and meal prep for Thanksgiving Day breakfast.  That night was of course the pie baking evening, and we ended up with 6 homemade pies for Thanksgiving Day.  DD3 arrived after midnight and said hello and goodnight before heading off to bed.

Thursday morning we slept in for a bit, did some reading, shoveled the snow off the driveway and sidewalks and then with the help of the daughters put the turkey in the oven and cleaned and set the table and fixed all of the side dishes . . . cranberry sauce, dressing, creamed corn, baked yams and apples, mashed white potatoes, gravy, tofurky, and green beans.  DD4 brought the rolls and at 4 pm we gathered with four of our dear children and their significant others for our Thanksgiving feast, games, thanksgiving tree, visiting, and pie.  We even got a few photos of the grandkids and their parents celebrating at their home back in the east!

Friday was another day of snow, sleeping in for a bit, assembling our traditional Holiday Kisses advent chains,  (see this post about Christmas Traditions), more snow shoveling, a bit of laundry, and several trips to the airport.  No we did not do any black Friday shopping, but I did stop at the closest grocery store for more bread and milk and cookies and chocolate.   Then it was a drive to the airport to drop of DD3 and her boyfriend so they could fly to visit with DD2 for the remainder of the weekend.  Then there were more games and visiting with DS1 and his wife before a midnight trip to the airport to pick up a dear niece who has come to visit with her grandparents this weekend.  We haven't seen her for a couple of years, so it was good to have her spend the night with us.

Saturday included a pancake breakfast and a drive with dear niece to the grandparent's home, a bit of shopping, more snow shoveling and more laundry and more visits with DS1 and wife before their flight back home.  Yes it has been busy, but good to have a few extra days to pack in all the busyness.

And today is a day for church, remembering our Savior, practicing Christmas songs with the choir, and reflecting once again on our bounteous blessings and the coming Christmas season.  Wishing all of you gentle readers and loved ones many many things to be grateful for!


Sunday, November 24, 2019

More Thanksgiving Gratefuls

Monday November 18th:

I'm grateful for email, cell phones, and internet, and other technology that allows me to stay in touch with family and friends all over the world.   Our third grandchild was born this past week, and even though circumstances prevent us from visiting right away, we have been blessed to see photos of our new little grandson and his family, and to talk to them and check up on how they are doing.  We have friends and relatives all over the world, many whom we haven't seen for many years, yet we can keep in touch with them through social media and benefit from their talents and friendships and feel their love.   So much better than a slow boat letter that would have had to suffice a century ago!

Tuesday November 19th

I'm grateful for the sun, moon, and stars, sunrises, sunsets, and everything that provides us with light and warmth.  I don't always take the time to stop and enjoy the sunrise and the sunset . . . life gets pretty hectic sometimes and I always feel like I'm fifteen steps behind where I should be, but sometimes I do take the time.   Driving DD1 to work in the mornings allows me some time to notice and enjoy.   Good facebook friends often share their photos of amazing sunrises and sunsets that they have captured.  Others, professionals, often share their photos too. This photo of the Milkyway galaxy over Yellowstone is amazing.  I love the NASA photos that are available to all to see.

I am so very very grateful for the Sun, the warmth and energy and life that it provides to us all.  I love the Sun!!

Wednesday November 20th

I'm grateful for wonderful neighbors.  Tonight I was able to visit several of our dear neighbors with another long-time friend and neighbor.  All three of these ladies are not only fun to chat with, but great examples to me of love and dedication to family and service to others. 

Not too long ago we enjoyed a Saturday afternoon block party where almost every single house on our circle was represented.   Yes we are quite a diverse bunch when it comes to what we do for work, age, size and make up of family, and religious and social beliefs, but every single person is a good person with much good to give and share with the world.  And we had a good fun time until the rain came and it became too cold.  I'm grateful that I know my neighbors and I'm grateful for all they do/have done for me and my family over the years.

Thursday November 21st

I'm grateful for the Bible, The Book of Mormon, and other scripture and teachings of our prophets.   We are so blessed to be able to read the words of both Modern and Ancient Prophets and to have their examples and teachings to help us through the challenges of this life.  Not only is there great knowledge and wisdom in these books, but reading them can bring peace.   For the past several years I have struggled with mornings, especially the darker mornings when the days are short.   It takes me some time each day to adjust from whatever dreamland I have been enjoying or living in during the night to the current challenges of life.   Reading from the scriptures is one of the best ways that I have to help me ease through this transition and into the reality of the coming day. 

Friday November 22nd

I'm grateful for all of my wonderful In-Law family.  I love my DH very much, and was attracted by his handsome self, kindness and intelligence from the very beginning, but I was also attracted by his wonderful, talented, loving and caring family.  Tonight DD1 and I were able to spend an hour or so with my wonderful, sweet mother in law.  I love this talented woman very much and am so blessed to have learned much from her example.  I'm very grateful to be a part of this great family and to share in their heritage. 

I'm also very grateful for the wonderful people that my DH's sisters have married and those that my own siblings have married, as well as my beautiful, gracious, kind and talented daughters in law.  With all of my In-Laws, I have been very much blessed all the way around!

Saturday November 23rd

I'm grateful for Temples!  Today for the first time this month I made it to the Temple, the 9:20 am session at the Jordan River Temple.  It was a live endowment session, but not quite full.  Busy, but not too crowded.  I was able to do the endowment session in behalf of a distant cousin on my Willie/Odell line that was born in Peekskill, New York in 1886.  No, I didn't do any family research for this name other than check on familysearch.org and the name was suggested as a relative needing their work done.  MY DD1 completed the baptism and confirmation over a year ago, I did the initiatory work last September, and then the endowment today.

I love the time that I can spend in the temple.  Temples are my favorite destination no matter where I might be living or visiting.   In the temple I feel closer to God and my Savior than anywhere else on this earth.  I also feel closer to my parents and grandparents and others who have passed from this life to the next. Temples are the house of the Lord.  Temples are a place of learning, a place of service, a place of love and a place of peace.  I am so very grateful for Temples and the peace that they bring to my life!

Sunday November 24th:

I'm grateful for life, for the chance to grow and learn from my mistakes, and for the Atonement of Jesus Christ.   I'm sure that I have had learning and growth experiences all throughout my life, but it almost always seems like the struggles that I am currently facing at any particular time are among the hardest that I have ever faced.  Hopefully this means that I am learning and growing?  Hopefully I'm not always forgetting and regressing and repeating the same types of mistakes over and over again.

I'm grateful for the knowledge that hard things and struggles and temptations and trials and pains really are one of the main purposes of life.  The purpose of life is to learn and to grow.

I'm especially grateful for the atoning sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  Without his loving and willing sacrifice for each one of us, the purpose and plan for life and growth would be for naught.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Last Week's Gratefuls

So, I haven't been very good at posting my gratefuls on the blog for the past 10 days or so, but I have been making taking the time each evening to carefully consider what I am grateful for each day and put up a quick facebook post.  So here is the list to get caught up:

November 7th:   I'm grateful for sleep.  Let's face it.  I'm mortal.  I'm not so young anymore.  I can't always do it all.  But, when the day is done, I can come home, go to bed, and get some sleep so I can be rested and rejuvenated and able to tackle the tasks of tomorrow!

November 8th:  I'm grateful for wonderful co-workers!   Today was our annual office retreat where we spent the morning listening to a very knowledgeable and well spoken leader from our workplace who helped us to think about and discuss things that can help or hinder our workplace culture.  We also had a wonderful lunch and some time to relax with some good movies and then time to connect with our own teams and co-workers.   I'm grateful for my job and for those that I work with who are there to do their best and to help out one another, including me!

November 9th:  I'm grateful for automatic dishwashers, clothes washers and dryers.  Some Saturdays it seems like all I have time to do is chores, and I still don't get that much done.   But, where would I be without dishwashers and clothes washers and dryers?  I have no reason to complain at all when I have access to these wonderful modern appliances!

November 10th:  I'm grateful to be a Primary Teacher at our church, where I can teach the 8 and 9 year old children, study and share the primary lessons from the New Testament and my testimony of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and sing the wonderful primary songs that teach the gospel through music.  This Sunday was even extra special as the children presented their annual primary program to their parents and others in the congregation during our Sacrament Meeting worship service, sharing what they have learned this past year through music and scripture.  It has been a good day.

November 11th:   I'm grateful for Information Technology People who are always willing and able to help out and teach less techie people like me.   This month I started an interim position at work taking the place of a co-worker who retired on October 31st.  This means that I've moved to a new office with a different computer, and it has been an almost daily battle to get the "new to me" computer up to speed or adjusted to be able to find and access of my software and browser favorites and online storage files.  I've had to ask for help multiple times from multiple people who have all been very helpful and patient and gracious.

November 12th: Breakfast for Dinner ---  Let's face it, I'm getting less and less excited about planning and preparing dinner all of the time.  I'm working longer hours, there are only three of use here at home now, I don't enjoy cleaning up after myself, and  etc etc etc.  I usually try to prepare dinners with plenty of protein and veggies, low in salt and fat, and . . . . sometimes it's just so much easier to do breakfast!  Tonight we had breakfast burritos; scrambled eggs with bacon bits and diced fresh tomatoes and spinach and cheese served in warmed flour tortillas.   Quick, fairly easy, and an easy clean up.

November 13th:  Prayer ----

November 14th:  Memories ---  This week has brought some sadness as the old family farm which was sold some months ago saw the demolition of the homes of my grandparents, my parents, and my brother.  There was some hope that at least one or more of the homes would be saved as part of the new owner's development plans, but that is not to be the case.   In spite of sad hearts, our family is grateful to have hundreds and thousands of photos of the homes were we were raised, and many many wonderful memories of the decades of family history.

 Barn and Garden September 2017

House and Barn September 2017

November 15th:  Grandchildren --- We just welcomed Grandchild #3 into the world this past Friday on November 15th!   Both baby boy and DDIL are doing well, as are DS2 and GC 1 and GC 2.  It may be a while before we are able to visit, but we are pleased as punch to welcome him to the world and to our family!

November 16th:  Weekends . . . ahh weekends.   There is always a big to do list for the weekend with laundry, grocery shopping, church and family activities etc, but I can usually find some time to sleep in a little, read a little, and just plain relax a little.

November 17th:  Music.  I am so very very grateful for music!!  Classical music, primary music, hymns, contemporary songs, Christmas music!  I love to be able to sing and play and listen to music just about anywhere and any time.  Music comforts, inspires, and calms my soul.

What are your gratefuls this November??

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

I'm Grateful for Ice Cream!

Ice Cream is one of my favorite treats.   I was blessed as a child to have parents who always seemed to have Ice Cream in the freezer.  Sunday Dinner dessert was usually cake and ice cream, Monday night Family Home Evening treats were often Ice Cream, home made ice cream was often on the menu for summer holidays, and Ice Cream was often an after school snack.  Grandma and Grandpa also had ice cream in their freezer, and I've heard rumors that Grandpa was known to serve Ice Cream with breakfast pancakes! Tonight's treat was a snack size drumstick . . . just right to satisfy a craving without eating too much.  Do I have a favorite flavor?  Probably anything with chocolate, nuts and chunks make it even better. 

What's your favorite ice cream?

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

I'm Grateful For Leftover Halloween Candy . . .

Especially anything with nuts and chocolate!

Nuff said.