Apr 27, 2013

Call Me Sentimental

Several weeks ago, my parents decided that it was time to downsize, and move to a condo. Although I know this was a great move for them, I was not prepared for the wave of emotions I would feel as we went through all of their things and tried to downsize their stuff to fit in the condo.  They have lived in their home in Bountiful for 27 years, and they have been married for almost 60 years, so as you can imagine they have accumulated a lot of things throughout the years.  Their home in Bountiful was also my home for my senior year in high school, and then Tony and I lived in their home for about 18 months while they were serving in Brazil for the second time. (Just in case you were wondering the spots on the carpet are probably from my kids during those 18 months.) Each time I was at their home helping them go through things, I found things that it just seemed wrong to part with.  So I always came home with more things to try to find room for in my home.

Christmas decorations were one of the first things we sorted through.  As box after box was going to go to DI, I saw the decorations that we have been putting on the "downstairs" Christmas tree since I was a young child in Brigham City.  I had to fight back the tears as the memories came flooding back, and I brought home a small box full that I will be adding to my tree even if they don't match! On another day we found a Smokey the Bear pillowcase that I used when I was little, and our baby blankets that we used throughout the years when we were sick. All these things just seemed to be an instant link to the past. This has not been an easy thing for me; I will miss their house, miss their amazing yard, miss their patio breakfasts.

The condo is different, but it already feels homey.  Perhaps it is because the people that live there are what makes it home.

Apr 14, 2013

Personal Epistles

Photo from Deseret News

I so loved General Conference, the weekend always passes by so quickly, too quickly.  I love time spent with my family learning from prophets.  I love watching my children grow and learn to love conference as well.  Elder Holland gave a talk a while ago about conference.  He said, "If we teach by the Spirit and you listen by the Spirit, some one of us will touch on your circumstance, sending a personal prophetic epistle just to you."  Isn't it amazing how that works?  If we go into conference with our hearts prepared we will hear what we need to hear.  The best part of conference though is that the learning and personal epistles can just keep coming if we will study and listen to the talks.  Just in this past week I have learned lessons from talks that I hadn't thought much about originally.  I have also received confirmation of the truths taught, and been prompted to share parts when I was talking to my children.  What an amazing blessing conference is! 

I loved this quote from Pres. Packer, "I have come to know that faith is a real power, not just an expression of belief. There are few things more powerful than the faithful prayers of a righteous mother."  This quote became even more important to me on Tuesday. My missionary daughter was just sent temporarily to the Jackson, Mississippi mission while she awaits her visa.  I could hear in her voice when she called that she was struggling a little, but using all of her faith to move forward.  I prayed earnestly that the Lord would bless her with the comfort she needed.  As we got her first letters from Mississippi, and then Louisiana (she is currently serving in West Monroe, LA) I was immediately comforted as I read them . She talked about how at home she had felt in the mission home, how she had enjoyed being with the new sisters, and how much she loved the Mission President and his wife.  Then when she got to her area, her companions took her shopping and while they were at Wal-Mart they started talking to a lady, and ended up giving her a Book of Mormon.  The lady said she "thanked God that he placed her in Wal-Mart at the same time" so that she could meet them.  Then she was able to go to a member's house for dinner and get some food that she enjoyed a little more than the MTC.  All these experiences helped my somewhat frightened daughter feel at home in a strange place.  The funny thing is I hadn't really thought about this as being in response to my prayers until Alexis herself pointed it out to me.  We happened to be online when she sent the email from her new area, so I sent her a little note in hopes that she would get it immediately.  I said "It was so fun to get your email today!  Love your attitude.  You are amazing.  You remind me of Elder Holland’s talk-leading out with your faith not with your doubts."  Then just a few seconds later a little response came back that said, "Thanks Mom! You are amazing too! I love you so much! I'm so grateful for your example to me and the comfort and prayers you have given me. As they said in General conference there are few things more powerful than the faithful prayers of a mother. I love you and I hope you have a great week!"  As I read those words I realized that my prayers had been answered in many ways.  

Amazingly enough that wasn't the only experience that blessed my life through words from general conference.  I have drawn strength from, been touched, and learned truths several times this week already.  Sometimes I feel that I don't have the capacity to take in all the Lord would have me learn, but I am trying! 

One more quote from General Conference that I loved from Pres. Uchtdorf, "Spiritual light rarely comes to those who merely sit in darkness waiting for someone to flip a switch. It takes an act of faith to open our eyes to the Light of Christ."  So many great things to learn, so many favorite quotes to go on my quote calendar.  I am so grateful for the spiritual refueling.  I needed it!