Mar 31, 2013

Easter Sunday

When I was 16 years old, I heard Elder Bruce R. McConkie give this talk.  It was his final testimony before he passed away.  Honestly I had never been a huge fan of his talks growing up, they usually went right over my head.  When he started speaking this time it was different though.  As he bore his testimony of the Savior, I sat riveted to my chair.  I consider that moment somewhat of a life changer for me.  I wanted to have a testimony of my own of the Savior; a strong testimony that would sustain me and enable me to say that I wouldn't know my Savior any better than I already did when I was in His presence.  On this Easter Sunday as I reflect on the Savior and my testimony these many years later, I realize there is much that I still want to and need to learn, but I can say that I know that my Savior lives.  I know He died for me and was resurrected.  A little girl that I tutor was talking to me on Thursday.  Her mother had died some time ago, but Thursday was her birthday.  This girl showed me her birthday card to her mother.  In it she wrote, "Mom, will I ever see you again."  It broke my heart that she even had to wonder.  The glorious message of this Easter season is that HE LIVES, and because of this we will all live again.  How grateful I am for this knowledge-I know that my Redeemer lives! 

Mar 25, 2013

Visa Delays

Feelings about visa delays. :)
All day we have been looking forward to getting a phone call from Alexis from the airport before she left for Australia.  A little before 6pm we got what we thought was that call.  Unfortunately she was calling from the MTC.  Her visa did not arrive in time.  She told us in this quick phone call, that most of the missionaries headed to Australia had been temporarily reassigned to missions in Washington and Oregon until their visas come through.  But Alexis and her cousin Annie Tanner and just a few others were still scheduled to leave.  The status of their visas was that they were at the consulate, because of this they thought they would get the needed information today and still be able to leave tonight.  At about 2:30 this afternoon they came into their classroom to give them the news.  They will be staying at the MTC until next Monday, hoping that the visas will come and they can still go to Australia next week.  If not is is possible that she will be temporarily reassigned as well.  We are praying it comes!!  As we were talking to her I was listening with that Mom ear to see how she was handling this.  She sounded fine, happy, peaceful.  She even said that she and her cousin both had the strong impression that they had more they needed to learn at the MTC, and that this was what needed to happen.  Sometimes I am overwhelmed at the amazing faith my daughter has.  It was so fun to talk to her, even if the news was a little disappointing.  She is definitely still the same girl I sent off too-her closing comments were, "I"m going to be here another whole week, so send lots of packages!" 

The Lord is the in the details of our lives though.  I received confirmation of this yet again after Lexie called.  I make a conference quote calendar every six months with quotes from the current conference.  The quote for today, that was chosen long before I knew when or where she would be serving, was this- "The Lord's delays often seem long; some last a lifetime.  But they are always calculated to bless.  They need never be times of loneliness or sorrow or impatience." -Pres. Eyring
I am sure that this delay will bless Lexie's life.  It is also a little blessing that her other cousin going to Australia goes into the MTC on Wednesday, so perhaps these three cousins can have a little reunion there before they leave.

Mar 19, 2013

Temple Trips

   When Lexie came home after the semester ended, we decided that we would try to go to as many of the temples in Utah as we could before she left for her mission.  She went to the Provo Temple before the semester ended, and we went to the Bountiful Temple a few times in November and December.  Then starting in January we went to the Salt Lake Temple, the Draper Temple, the Manti Temple and the Brigham City Temple.  In February we attended the Mount Timpanogas Temple, the Jordan River Temple and the Logan Temple and the week before she left we went to the Oquirrh Mountain Temple giving her a total of 10 of the 13 temples in Utah.

This was such a great experience for me.  Not only did I get to spend a lot of one on one time with my daughter, especially when driving to Manti, but the sacrifice of time to get to these temples that were more than a few minutes away, made the experience seem even more sacred to me.  Sometimes I feel like I don't appreciate the temple enough because I can be there is just over 10 minutes.  When we had to plan and adjust our schedules to go to these temples, I found myself focusing more on what a blessing it is to go.  Tony joined us at three of the temples, and we made it an extended family excursion to the Brigham City temple with a trip to Maddox afterwards.

It was so fun to see all the different temples.  I love all the beautiful chandeliers! I think my favorite chandelier is found in the Oquirrh Mountain temple though.  The temples are all exquisitely beautiful and so serene, but yet each was unique in one way or another.   Some are full of pioneer history, others are new construction.  It was such a rewarding experience just to see them, but that only scratches the surface of the blessings.  I have felt peace in my life that I haven't felt before, I have learned more about the temple and it's blessings.  Now the goal is to continue the attitude of reverence for the temple throughout the year so I can continue to have these blessings in my life.  And who knows, maybe I will drag Tony to the other temples in Utah this year so that I can go to all of them in one year.

Mar 15, 2013

My Stripling Warrior

The last month is pretty much a blur in my mind.  Getting ready to send Alexis off Wednesday, added onto all the normal things we do around here, makes for blurs.  Truly though this has been a wonderful experience, and although I am sad that I won't see her for 18 months, I have felt and still feel an overwhelming sense of peace that she is exactly where she needs to be.

I committed to reading the Book of Mormon in 60 days with Alexis before she entered the MTC (I finished Wednesday morning before she left!), and it was very interesting in this reading how so many of the scriptures applied to missionary work.  I am sure they were there before, but they were much more powerful as I was reading them while helping Lexie prepare to serve.  Ammon and all the sons of Mosiah, Alma and Amulek, all the Nephi's- what amazing missionaries.  What great things we can learn from them and their examples.  One of the stories that was particularly meaningful to me was the stripling warriors.  These young men who were faithful and courageous who obeyed every command with exactness changed the outcome of the war with the Lamanites.  At times when the rest of the Nephite army was ready to give way, the stripling warriors remained strong inspiring the whole army.  As the missionary age has now been lowered, the Lord's army of missionaries if now even younger.  They don't fight with a metal sword, but with the sword of truth. As I read these chapters again, I thought of my own stripling warrior that I was sending out.  I thought of Pres. Monson's announcement and how I felt and continue to feel an excitement and power as the Lord is hastening his work.  Elder Holland said, "There is an enthusiasm, and excitement, a zeal right right now that is unlike anything I know of in recent years."  I feel it too,  the excitement has permeated our home and hearts. As I think of all the great youth that have responded to this call necessitating the creation of 58 new missions, I feel abundantly blessed to have a daughter out at this time.  I pray that, and have confidence that even though she is young,  her mind is firm and she will put her trust in God continually (Alma 57:27).

The three "Australians" on Sunday

Sister Benjamin and her grandparents on Tuesday night
 The last few days with Alexis were wonderful and emotionally draining, I feel a bone deep exhaustion.  Her farewell was Sunday, we had an I love Lexie Family Home Evening and did most of her packing (not fun), Tuesday we did family pictures and she and her cousin were set apart, then Wednesday we took her to the MTC.  We are missing her already, but would never want her to be anywhere else. I am grateful for a loving Heavenly Father that helps us do hard things, and even some how helps us to be happy while we are doing them.  I am also grateful that He allows us to love so deeply that we do miss our loved ones while we are temporarily separated.  In the mean time I can't wait to get that first letter to find out how she is handling the MTC ( yes, I miss the instant gratification of texting!) and surviving the food that she says she won't be eating (she said, Mom I have helped fix that food-there is no way I am eating it).  I know she is in good hands, the BEST actually.