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Time for a thoughtful post!
Later this month, the daughter of some close family friends is getting married. Her bridal shower was the other night and I wanted to get her something special. I started looking around my house for things I was given as a wedding gift, 38 years ago, that I still use. Of course, there are just a few things that have stood the test of time and speaking of time, one of the gifts that I noticed first is this clock that we received as a gift from some of my relatives.
Throughout our marriage, this clock has hung on our kitchen wall wherever we have lived. For 38 years, it has faithfully ticked away the hours, minutes and seconds of our lives. I can only remember having to change the battery 2 or 3 times over all of the years that we have been married. (My memory may be failing me, but seriously, changing the battery doesn't happen very often!)
As I thought about the fact that this clock has been the one that I have looked at the most when I needed to know if it was time to pick up my children from school, or if it was time to start dinner, or time for my husband to get home from work or time to leave for church. I started to feel a little bit nostalgic about all of those little moments that this clock has been there for. I began to think about what a precious thing our time is and how often I have wasted it or under appreciated it. I thought about some of the little memories that are only fleeting little moments, just seconds long, that will always stay in my heart. Such as the laugh of a baby, a surprise hug or kiss from a child or my husband, a moment of dancing to the music or singing along with it, and so many more little treasures that have happened in this life of our marriage. When I look at this clock, it represents the precious time with those I love and my recognition of how quickly the time passes.
I believe that this life is just a tiny part of my existence. I believe that our spirits are eternal and that our lives will continue after death. In our religion, we believe that we can have an eternal marriage and not one that ends at death. So, while time is such a precious commodity during this part of our lives, eventually, in the eternal realm, time will mean nothing as we experience the joy of being with those that we love, forever, including those that have gone before us. But, making the time in our lives now count for good is very important to us if we want to reach that celestial place.
As I think about our friend's daughter and her fiance, just starting out together like my husband and I did 38 years ago, I feel so happy for them and for all of the moments in time that they will be seeing in their lives as time progresses. I decided that a clock would be the best gift I could give her for her Bridal Shower. (I think this is the one I got for her! I also love this one or this barnwood one.) I wrote her a note to tell her how I feel about it. She may think I am just being a little silly and mushy. You may be thinking that as well. But, I feel blessed that time has brought me to this place in my life where I feel thankful for the times of my life and excited for others to be able to have their own experiences and I pray that they will use their moments wisely so that one day they can cherish those moments as I do.
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I have had a lot of reasons to brag to you about this young man recently. He graduated from High School and was awarded his Eagle Scout Rank, and now he has received and accepted a mission call for our church. I will reveal where he is going later in the post! It is so exciting! But, first I want to address some questions about missionary service in our church that people often ask me.
3 Reasons why LDS Youth Serve Missions:
"And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
That is just one of the places the Savior gave this instruction. We believe that his instruction to preach his word is still in force today. So, our youth begin at an early age to prepare to know and understand the gospel well enough to teach it to others. For young men who are given the Priesthood, it is an obligation to keep themselves "physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight", as taught and said so well in Boy Scouting, in order to be able to be ready to fulfill their duties as a Priesthood holder. If they are prepared and have a desire to do the work, they will choose to serve a mission. Missionary service is always an individual choice. For young women, it is also an individual choice, without the Priesthood duty attached to it.
Young men and young women are equally prepared to be missionaries throughout their lives, as they receive Gospel instruction in the home and at church that is centered on Jesus Christ. When they reach the age of 14, they begin to attend Seminary everyday where they study the scriptures in depth for 4 years. They also are given opportunities to serve others, such as the sick and elderly. The Young men serve and officiate in the ordinance of the Sacrament on Sundays. They are also given chances to speak and teach during these teenage years. All of these experiences help them to learn the Gospel and to gain confidence in their ability to teach it and know what they are talking about. As they go through these processes, they learn to love Jesus Christ and their Father in Heaven and develop the desire to serve.
"But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another."
We try to teach our children from an early age to love their fellowman. We are not always perfect at it, but we try. Think about this. When there is something in your life that makes you extremely happy and you know that it makes your life better in so many ways, don't you want to share that thing with the people you love? And, if you know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ will help to bring love and peace to a very conflicted world, doesn't that motivate you to share that good news with anyone who hasn't received it? I have seen my children feel the excitement of realizing that they have something true and wonderful in their lives and want to share it with others. The shine in their eyes when they tell me about their opportunities to share their love of God with others makes my heart fill with joy. That joy is why I am sharing this post with you today! That is why these young missionaries work and save their money to be able to go and serve for 2 years. They aren't paid to go on missions! They pay their own way! They live on very little as they go out to preach. They also go where ever they are asked to go. They don't get to pick the place they go. They have faith that the Lord will send them where they are needed. I recently heard one young man, who had just returned from is mission in Uganda say, "I didn't go halfway around the world to live like that in order to teach a lie, I was teaching truth." I found that very profound
I am so excited to tell where Jacob is needed! Wait for it...
So....Are you excited to hear where Jacob is going? Cote d'Ivoire in West Africa! Oh my gosh! Can you believe it? Luckily he took French for 4 years of high school. He wasn't great at it, but it should help him as he goes to the Missionary Training Center in Ghana for about 5 or 6 weeks before heading off to Cote d'Ivoire. We have so much to do to get him ready! Shots, Visa, we've sent for his passport already, clothes! He leaves December 19th, so we will be busy, fitting it all in with the holidays. Yup! He leaves before Christmas! But, we will make sure he enjoys all of the fun leading up to it. As long as he gets some Florida Fudge, I think he will be happy!
Stay tuned to find out more about the Ivory Coast as we do! If you want to know more about our church and our missionaries, be sure to click on www.mormon.org/.
I am home from our church's girls camp! It was a lot of fun, yet a lot of work! We were in a beautiful area of Arizona, with lakes, streams, tall pines, billions of stars and bumpy roads. As you can see from the photos above, I loved being by the water. There weren't too many days when I could just sit and dip my toes in the water, but I did it when I could. We thought that there was going to be mostly cool temperatures up there, but a high pressure ridge over AZ made it very warm. We were thankful not to be in the 120 degree weather of Phoenix, though. And, the rain that came a couple of times helped to cool things off.
When you are working with a bunch of teenage girls and their leaders, there are bound to be some tears and frustrations to deal with. The first day we were there, as my partner leader and I tried to get the girls busy doing their tasks, I found myself getting frustrated less with the girls and more with some of the other adult chaperones. I knew that it was because I was tired from the long day of getting up there and the long weeks of preparation. I hated feeling irritated like I did. It was silly and I knew that I didn't want to ruin my entire week and possibly the week of everyone else by being a grouch. I needed a positive attitude and fast!
"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
That was the theme of camp this year. I knew that I lacked wisdom. I needed to know the best way to lead my girls. I needed to know the best way to connect with the other leaders and how to be positive and humble and to have a good attitude. So, that evening I poured my heart out in fervent prayer. I knew that the only way to change how I felt was to change myself. So, I prayed and then I got some sleep! The next morning, my perspective had changed and the fun of camp really started. I tried harder to talk to people one on one to understand them and share good times. I especially tried to connect with people who I was feeling self conscious around and I learned that they are just real people, too and I didn't need to feel bad about myself at all. I had nice conversations with the girls and listened to their ideas and feelings. They often helped me to feel less worried or confused about our schedule and the way we needed to be organized. One of my girls had given us a daily devotional idea that went as follows: "Compliment, don't compare. Look for Christ in others." I tried to implement that in my perspective. I tried to find the good attributes in everyone. My partner, Jazmin, also helped me in that area. She noticed good qualities about people and pointed them out to me, too. The answer to my prayers came quickly and life was so much better.
Here are some other great things about camp:
Camp was such a great experience and although I started to feel my age as I walked over all of the bumpy ground and dealt with high altitudes, I am so glad I went and learned the things I learned. Even old ladies like me have a lot to learn! What a blessing these girls have been to my life this summer!
Even if you don't have the opportunity to go to a church camp like I have, there are a lot of lessons to learn by being in the great outdoors and by turning our thoughts to our Heavenly Father who blessed us with the beauties of this earth. I hope you can take the time to get out in it, turn off the electronics and just commune with the Spirit and with your loved ones and remember what is really important in life!
P.S. The camp bags I made were a hit!
Creators of Hot Cocoa Bombs! (copyrighted)
Helen Reynolds: Mother of six children , grandmother to nearly nine and counting! I love to cook, craft and create things and I especially love doing that with my family, So, when my lawyer daughter, Lindsey, and my artist daughter, Madalynn, and I came up with the idea of Hot Cocoa Bombs, this blog was born. Read more about us here!
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