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More Mormon Musings

Posted by Nancy on July 10, 2008

Who would have thought that getting away for a few days would mean Bud and I would talk about – religion?

First, you have to understand that if there is one topic he never wants to talk about, it is religion.  And while he is not exactly anti-Mormon, he is sort of anti-organized-religion in general.  His philosophy is that religion is fine for those who “need” it, but he is not one of them.

So it came as a complete surprise when he became the latest person to put in his two cents worth on the Sunday activity musings that have been going on.  Oh, we talked about it a bit before, but not like this.  This time he has been telling me his opinion of what the gospel is all about, what its strengths are, and how that relates to raising children to be strong in the gospel and strong as a family.  This is what he wants for us, and he said it.

This is the most meaningful conversation we have had about religion in a long time, and the first time he has really opened up and shed some light on what he thinks about the Church’s teachings.

I have known he is proud of how our children have turned out, and gives their religious training a lot of credit for that.  I have known he likes to “pass” as a Mormon when we go to church historical sites rather than ‘fess up and let them be extra nice to him as a missionary effort.  I know he admires the Church and its members, – but, it’s just not. for. him.

So, his view on our last Sunday’s activities is that the whole day was premised on a spiritual occasion – the blessing of a baby – and the family would not have been together had this not happened.  It was not planned as a family reunion, but as a spiritual event that brought the family together.  To him that distinction is of primary importance.  Had we planned an outing to a public swimming park or paid money it would have been an entirely different situation.

It became a reunion because it was the first time we had all been together in a very long time, and we were celebrating the addition of a new baby.

Bud’s feelings are that the main focus of the Church seems to be on strong family relationships, and the activites of that day helped to accomplish that purpose.  In his mind nothing should have been done differently – no activity was inappropriate under these specific circumstances.  We talked about gathering children into the family, not driving them away with restrictive rules that add nothing to their religious experience.  Nothing drives him away faster than someone being overly zealous.

I respect that.  I respect that he has spent the week pondering on this, as I have.  I respect that he wants his family to live up to the teachings of the Church and have close family ties, even if he STILL is not ready to join the church himself.  I respect his right not to join the Church – if/when he does he will not be lukewarm but will be valiant in his membership because he will have chosen it when he is ready.

It is such progress from where we started when I joined the Church and he wouldn’t even come to my baptism.  It has been accomplished through patience on both our parts, through his support for my raising the kids in the Church, and my tenacity in hanging in there and demanding time for callings and activities that I knew to be important.  Our children worked to develop testimonies and incorporate them into themselves, and now use them to set examples for him.  Credit also goes to all the wonderful people at church who fulfilled their callings and helped the process along.

This whole period of introspection and scripture study occurred because of a statement that some people choose not to swim on the Sabbath because Satan has dominion over the waters, making swimming an inappropriate activity.  I have to admit I had never heard that before.  A poll of my children showed that they had, either on missions or at BYU.  The interesting part is that no one can find any scripture or prophet stating this.

Research by several of us shows it appears to be based on D&C 61, although Satan is not mentioned in it.  Further study on that section shows it was written about a storm on the Missouri River, and the Doctrine and Covenants study guide, authorized by the Church, has no reference to Satan when discussing this section.  Elaine took a D&C class given by the book’s author while at BYU, and he said nothing about Satan and water when teaching this section.  Some students brought it up, but the professor did not.

So, again we are back where we began.  If all recreational activities are forbidden on the Sabbath, swimming is included.  If any recreational activities are permitted, swimming is on the table along with everything else.

As Katie said earlier today, in the 11th Article of Faith we say we believe all men should be free to worship according to the dictates of their conscience.  Then we judge each other in the church.

Good luck in developing what will keep your family close to the Church.  Some things are requirements, but for others I suspect circumstances must be weighed and all families are different.  It is the love of Christ that is unchangeable.

Thus saith the Gospel According to Bud and Nancy.

Posted in Family, Mormon life | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

Happy Anniversary To Us

Posted by Nancy on July 8, 2008

It’s amazing how quickly forty-one years can glide by when you are enjoying life together.  Oh, there were rought spots and tight times, but all in all it has been an enjoyable four decades plus one year.

Wow, that sounds like a long time. 

I feel like the same person I was those many years ago, just with a body that shows the wear and tear.  How can you explain to a young person that who you are, the true essence of yourself, doesn’t change.  We age physically, and we mature intellectually and emotionally, but we still are who we are. 

It’s no wonder the concept of body and spirit is universal throughout all cultures – a body that is only a receptacle for who we really are.  The concept may be refined differently through various religions, but it is there in some form.  It is a true concept, and we know it intuitively.

Bud and I celebrated by having lunch together since I had a township meeting this evening and wouldn’t be around for supper.  It was nice to spend time together, and we decided it was just as good as going out for dinner.  Maybe better, at lunch menu prices.

I ran home in mid-afternoon to meet with my visiting teachers, those angels from my congregation who check up on me monthly to make sure I am okay.  It was a welcome disruption in the middle of typing up the agenda for tonight’s meeting.  The agenda was so short I was sure we would be out of there within 20 minutes. 

Wrong again. 

It always depends on how many citizens show up with complaints and what issues get bloviated to death. 

The meeting lasted two and a half hours.

We bought a new brush truck for the fire department; we talked about trees on road right-of-way; but first we spent over an hour on citizen complaints.  I have many follow-up phone calls to make this week to try and find answers to the problems.

Tomorrow I am going to Doug’s to help S~ with her flag for girls camp.  I hope we can do a good job and she will be happy with it.

Posted in Family, Mormon life, Township | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Survey Results? What Survey Results?

Posted by Nancy on July 7, 2008

What happens if you have a party and no one comes? How about if you ask for thoughtful insight and no one responds (except Katie, who was disqualifired because she didn’t follow the rules)? Do you assume that everyone really has no opinion, or that they are hesitant to tell you what they really think?

Maybe it just means we each need to prayerfully consider what strengthens our own faith and family and go with that.

I have walked the tightrope of raising my family to be active in the Church while also respecting my husband’s choice not to be a part of it for many years now. Everyone has been married in the temple (except me, of course, but I was already married and expecting our third child when I joined the Church); everyone is raising their children in the Church; everyone is successful in their lives and careers.  I guess I will continue to prayerfully follow the guidance of the Spirit to keep us close as a family.

Meanwhile, life goes on. This is brush pickup week in the township, and after all the storms from the past few weeks the guys have about 100 stops to make. This is the most we have ever had, it will keep the whole road crew busy at least all week, and the calls are still coming in.

The temperature has been in the 80s for three days now and suddenly the petunias are looking good and the vegetable garden is perking up. Let’s hope the weather holds and we end up with something to harvest. All I have to do now is spend several evenings weeding and pruning to get everything in shape.

I attended today’s monthly luncheon held by a local property owners association and learned about several concerns they want the township to address. It is a lovely community with a series of small lakes. They brought several drainage issues to my attention, mentioned a couple vacant houses that need some serious attention, talked about an open house/garden tour they are planning for next year, and in general caught me up on some of their activities. I told them about plans for park improvements that will happen in September, discussed the infestation of invasive purple loosestrife I noticed in one lake, and visited one of the problem drainage areas. It was time well spent.

Bud and I were planning to go to into Amish country later this week to celebrate our anniversay but found all the lodging in the area is already booked. I wonder what is going on there this week? Anyway, now we are trying to decide what Plan B will be. We may just take a map and throw a dart at it and go from there.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=GsfVw9xxoNY 

The above link has had “embedding removed by request” according to YouTube.  It is Weird Al’s Amish Paradise, and it is a humorous, disrespectful, and in some ways sort of accurate view of Amish life.  We enjoy being among the Amish people and are sorry we are having to change our plans.

Posted in Mormon life, Township, Travel | 1 Comment »

The Survey Says…

Posted by Nancy on July 6, 2008

The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, a short story by Mark Twain, had nothing on the Radiator Springs bullfrogs today.  Sean figured out how to catch them this evening and the kids had frog races to see which would get back to the pond first.

They are big, and they are fast.  The kids were screaming encouragement, and I think it was “Trevor” that won.  They had named the frogs, of course. 

The frog races were one of the last activities of our very busy, very satisfying day.

We started at 5:30 a.m. to get to the LDS church near Radiator Springs by 10:00 for the baby’s blessing.  Our extended family increased the attendance there by about 50%, and they were happy to have a pianist for Relief Society and more children for their Primary.  They are a strong branch with good members, but 23 additional people makes an impact on a small congregation.

Elaine is in the Primary presidency, so had to deal with the fallout from our being there.  That included W~ walking in, taking one look at her, and saying, “Why do you have to be here?”   From the mouths of babes…  Wonder if he had some mischief planned, or if he was just curious, or maybe felt sorry for her?

After church some of us went berry picking over by the creek and found two cherry trees with sweet yellow cherries, two varieties of mulberries, and several large thickets of black raspberries.  We ate as we picked and still managed to fill two containers with fruit.   While we were foraging others cooked dinner on the grill and got out the side dishes that had been brought; I made a blueberry buckle for dessert and we all ate till we were stuffed.

The cousins enjoyed playing together and had fun jumping on the trampoline, playing pool (as in, on a pool table), swimming in the pond, running foot races around the pond, riding bikes in the driveway, and “helping” Uncle Sean catch frogs.  Sean is excellent with little kids and had some of them croaking at the top of their lungs on the premise that it was attracting the frogs to them.  Too cute.

Most of the adults and some of the kids played games of Bananagrams and Apples to Apples, while a few lucky people managed to get naps.  Katie and Elaine captured highlights of the day on their cameras, and we all had plenty of time to just sit and relax together and talk. 

Such are the rewards that come after many years of raising children.  If you’re lucky they turn out to be people you enjoy spending time with; if you’re very lucky you may even become friends.

The weather was perfect, the whole family was together for the first time since Christams (well, all except H~ who is out of town), and it was a Norman Rockwell sort of day.  We all agreed we should do it again soon and set a date for the first weekend in August.  By the time Bud and I go home it was 11:00  p.m.

Now for the survey, and I really would appreciate thoughtful responses.  Especially from those who are familiar with the LDS faith, but not from anyone who was there today.

 
Which, if any, of the above activities break the Sabbath, and why?

Posted in Family, Mormon life | Tagged: , | 5 Comments »

Running A Tight Ship

Posted by Nancy on July 4, 2008

 

Organization is not my stongest suit.  It may not even be in my deck.

I received phone calls from three of my four children yesterday, asking what the plans are for Saturday and Sunday and what food they should bring on those days. 

I’m used to those calls, but they usually happen when we are having dinner at my house.  That is not happening this weekend, but I guess I’m still the point person for organizing.

That’s what happens when you give birth to more than one child.

Saturday is at Doug’s, with members of the Elders Quorum arriving at 7:30 to help them move into their new house.  Bud and I will be there to help (probably a little late), as will Matt and Elaine.  Drew is at his in-laws’ lake house for a couple days, and Katie and Sean are a maybe. 

Doug has so much faith in all his helpers that he has invited the family to a pool party at his soon-to-be-abandoned apartment  in the afternoon, with hot dogs on the grill for supper.  Maybe it will happen, since a lot has already been moved.

Sunday is at Elaine’s house, with church starting at 10:00 and the baby being blessed.  It will take us almost three hours to get to her branch, so it will be an early morning.  The entire family is showing up for this event (all 24 of us), and there is a pond party and cookout scheduled afterward. 

I am taking appropriate clothes and shoes to go out in the wild and pick berries, then help A~ make some jam.  I’m also taking my sewing machine to help S~ with a flag she needs to make for Girls Camp later this month. 

After calls all around, I think we have the food parcelled out for both days and have some idea of what is going on.  Mayhem.  Bedlam.  Lots of work, lots of fun, lots of faith, lots of family.

Just in case we don’t have enough to do for the weekend, Bud and I spent last evening at Lowe’s and bought a ceiling fan and light for the kitchen, to replace the light that lost its desire to shine forth last week.  I still hit that light switch every time I go into the kitchen, even though there are other lights, and it still hasn’t changed its mind and decided to start working again. 

While we have the ladder in the house to replace the light, we might as well repaint the kitchen ceiling, so we bought paint too.  Maybe we will get the bathroom ceiling done at the same time.  Maybe today will be a very busy day.

I’m scrubbing ceilings today and Bud is putting the light in, then going over to Katie’s to fix her dryer.  Then we paint.  I love to paint.

Busy weekend.  The best kind.  I had better get moving.

Posted in Family, Mormon life, Moving | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

You Might Be a Large Utah Mormon Family If…

Posted by Nancy on June 17, 2008

 

YOU KNOW YOUR SON IS MARRYING INTO A LARGE UTAH MORMON FAMILY WHEN:

  1. The first day you are there they fix breakfast, and cook four pounds of bacon and three dozen eggs.  There are no leftovers.  Most of the family isn’t there yet.
  2. They send someone out to buy milk and say “Just pick up four gallons, I’m short on refrigerator space.”  There are two refrigerators.  They pick up milk almost every day you are there.
  3. There is a funeral the day before the wedding and they fix food for both without breaking a sweat.  Food keeps appearing from their kitchen, like the miracle of the loaves and fishes.
  4. No matter how often you run the dishwasher and hand wash dishes, the dishes are NEVER done.
  5. The silverware drawer looks like it could supply a ward dinner.
  6. There are 49 grandchildren in the family.  The groom’s four children make 50-53, and 54-57 are on the way. 
  7. If you are a kid, no matter how old you are there is someone your age to play with.  Probably several someones – maybe even lots of someones.
  8. There aren’t enough beds, couches, or floors for everyone to sleep on, so some of the kids sleep outside on the hill.  They think it is great fun.
  9. Twelve of the 16 children have served missions (two are still too young), and they have served on every continent except Antarctica.
  10. Everyone gets along, helps with the work, and is proud of the family.
  11. The sealing ceremony is for immediate family only and there are 60 people in the room – including the officiator, who is the bride’s uncle.
  12. You gather the immediate family on the steps of the temple for a photo and this is what you get (most of the grandchildren aren’t here because they stayed home – they couldn’t go in the temple):

                         

The wedding went well, the bride was beautiful, the groom was happy, his kids are thrilled with their new extended family, the reception was wonderful – what can I say except I think everyone on both sides of the family is thoroughly pleased that Doug and Lolly found one another and are starting a life together.  It really seems like a marriage made in heaven.

I want to blog more about our time out there, but tomorrow is another day.  

Posted in Family, Mormon life, Wedding | Leave a Comment »

Our Souls Have Sight of That Immortal Sea

Posted by Nancy on May 14, 2008

I played the piano for a funeral yesterday.  It was for a woman from church, and it was a simple, moving ceremony.  It reminded me of more lines from Wordsworth’s “Ode: Intimations of Immortality.”

    Though nothing can bring back the hour  
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;  
      We will grieve not, rather find  
      Strength in what remains behind;  185
      In the primal sympathy  
      Which having been must ever be;  
      In the soothing thoughts that spring  
      Out of human suffering;  
      In the faith that looks through death,  190
In years that bring the philosophic mind.

The woman’s daughter was understandably distraught, but when it was mentioned she had four other chidlren I couldn’t help but wonder where they were?  How could they not attend their mother’s funeral?

The unfathomable was explained when I found out she had been married more than once, and her four other children lived on the west coast where their father also lived.  He passed away two days before she did.  They had just planned and attended his funeral.

Then the unfathomable became how anyone could withstand the grief of losing both parents at the same time, far apart. 

I am so glad to have a gift of faith, the gift of gospel understanding that puts life, and by extension death, into its proper perspective.  What is a loss to us is an eternal gain for the spirit involved.

I am glad I chose to stay for the whole service, even though I had a township meeting shortly afterward that needed some last minute preparation.  I needed the spiritual affirmation that came from such a simple, heartfelt service celebrating the spiritual progress of one of God’s daughters.

Posted in Life, Mormon life | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

The Golden Ticket

Posted by Nancy on May 13, 2008

It came in the mail yesterday. Not to my house, but to Doug’s house.

What is the Golden Ticket, you ask? 

If you are LDS, divorced, and wanting to re-marry in the temple, you know.  It is the letter from the First Presidency giving you permission to do so.

Doug’s first marriage ended in divorce after 14 years, when his ex switched teams and decided she liked women better.  There had been problems in the marriage almost from the beginning, and this revelation went a long way toward explaining what had been going on psychologically and emotionally.  They had tried counseling, but in retrospect he realizes she only wanted him to go so he could learn to accept the new her and help teach the kids to think it was wonderful.

As Doug said at the time of his divorce, at least he doesn’t have to spend time wondering what he could have done to save his marriage.  Nothing.  Nothing he could have done would have mattered; she was totally embracing her new lifestyle.

Still, it left four upset and appalled kids in its wake who were assigned to split their time evenly between their parents.  That is why I have been spending several days a week at his house for the past three years, being a surrogate mom on the weekdays he has the kids.  Then they’re often all down here on the weekends he has them. 

I have appreciated the time to draw closer to the kids, and the opportunity to discuss gospel principles with them.  I cannot say it has not been problematic at times though, especially in the winter when the roads are bad – I always go up on Tuesday evenings, and have to leave after township meetings that sometimes last till late in the evening.  There have been some pretty grim drives.

But he is now planning on marrying again, to a wonderful woman from out west who comes from a large family and loves children.  They chose the date a while ago, but the temple wouldn’t schedule a sealing room until they had the permission to marry in hand. 

Now they have the Golden Ticket.

Lolly called the St. George temple when they opened this morning at 6:00 a.m., and the wedding is officially scheduled for 8:40 a.m. on June 14.  Hooray!

I took H~ shopping Saturday and found a very feminine white dress to wear that day, but still need to take S~ and Z~ dress shopping.  We also need to buy shoes and jewelry, and decide how they want to wear their hair.  I mentioned to Doug that maybe he could take them out looking, but he said raither plaintively, “I’m just a Dad!” 

Does he get a pass?  Hmm.  I want them to look nice, so I guess he can stay home and the girls and I will have fun.  At his expense.  And he gets to take I~ out and find a new suit and white shirt.

This next month is going to be wonderful, preparing for a wedding, school ending, Drew and Kelli coming back, life swirling around with new chapters opening.  This has already been such a busy year, with a birth, an adoption, and a move already accomplished.

I am so happy for Doug and Lolly, and for the kids.  Oh, and let’s not forget the possibility of new grandchildren in the future!

Posted in Family, Mormon life, Wedding | 1 Comment »

A Heartfelt Happy Mother’s Day

Posted by Nancy on May 11, 2008

Go to pray, my daughter, and before all else, pray to God for your Mother; for her who gave you your being, in which the loveliest half of her existence has survived; who sheltered in her womb your young soul, a piece of celestial flame; and dividing life into two parts, she took the bitterness and gave you the honey.                                                                 

                                                                                                     Gabriela Mistral

 

Mom

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.  I miss you.

It was five years yesterday, and the more time passes the more I long for one more opportunity to talk with you.  I’m glad for all the time we did have, and am comforted to know that one day we will meet again.

                 BOUND

There’ something strangely false in our

Assured, complete goodby,

For love’s the blood in the flesh of the soul

And the soul will never die.

     

So – friendly, fondly as I may

In God’s approving view,

I’ll call across eternity

For messages of you.

                                                                                           Carol Lynn Pearson                 

 

On this day, set aside to honor mothers, I give thanks not only for my mother but also for women in general.  It is they who provide homes for their chidlren, who create civilization, who put flesh to the bones of history.  I look through my genealogy and see many strong women; I look closer and see grandmothers who sacrificed for their families.  

May we never lose sight of the concept of sacrifice.  May we never lose sight of  the benefit of our work on the next generation, instead of measuring everything in the now and the personal.   

May every child have a mother who cares.

                                         

Posted in Family, Mormon life | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Love Is In The Air

Posted by Nancy on May 8, 2008

Wow, it’s time to take inventory.  Life is creeping up barrelling down on me too fast!

Doug gets married five weeks from Saturday – FIVE WEEKS! – and I haven’t even begun to get ready. 

Well, I did do one important thing two days ago, and that was ponder on when my temple recommend* expires.  I was pretty sure it was later this year, but better safe than sorry, right?  Yipes!  This month!  I need to make some appointments to get a new one – FAST!

I have also been checking plane tickets to Las Vegas, since the wedding will be in St. George and the reception in Hurricane.  Bud and I just need to make a final decision on whether we want to spend a little extra time being tourists while we’re there – catch a show in Vegas, tour some national parks, go up to Salt Lake to visit Drew and Kelli, etc.  I think we are coming down on a pretty conservative agenda, maybe go out on Wednesday and back on Sunday. 

And no, we aren’t being hard-hearted by not going up to visit Drew.  That will be his last week of class before finals, then he is moving back here.  He says he doesn’t need help packing because they never unpacked most of their stuff when they came back from the six month stint with Microsoft in December, plus we will see them for the wedding festivities.

Since the reception is out there and I am mother-of-the-groom, my responsibilities are minimal.  Just contact the bride’s parents and arrange a rehearsal dinner…  What the heck?  How can I have not remembered this nicety until now? 

  1. Maybe because I have previously either been mother-of-the-bride or already known my kids’ in-laws-to-be before such momentous occasions occurred? 
  2. Maybe because I am getting senile in my old age? 
  3. Maybe because I am just socially inept?
  4. Maybe because there is no such thing as a rehearsal dinner for a temple wedding, because there is no rehearsal?
  5. Maybe because I have just had too much going on in my life for too long?
  6. Or, the ever popular, all of the above?

Hmmm.  Probably #6, but I’m not admitting it. 

Anyway, last night I got the requisite phone number and tonight I will make the first overture.

Once everyone’s back there will be a reception July 19.  I will make the cake for that one, and there will be help from friends in Doug’s ward.  Lolly and I need to get together on what else is wanted and needed.

Meanwhile, looks like I will have to make myself go shopping (mother-of-the-groom always requires a new dress) and I am busy with the kids.

*Mormon temples are not used for normal worship services, but for conducting sacred ordinances such as weddings.  To enter a temple one must show they are a member in good standing, and that is done through interviews which grant a temple recommend. 

Posted in Family, Mormon life, Wedding | Tagged: | 1 Comment »