Thursday, February 7, 2013

Having Faith in Christ

Sunday was testimony meeting at church. I love hearing people tell about their blessings and how faith in Jesus Christ had enriched their lives. I was deeply touched by our dear friend Ewan Mitton's testimony. She told about how she rallied her family to have faith that their tiny great grandchild would be healed of a serious heart defect that required intricate surgery. She said, "I told the family that we needed to trust the healing power of Jesus Christ, which means we pray with real intent, not doubting, but visualizing the blessing being fulfilled." Her testimony was powerful. And the faith of their family was realized and the baby made it through the surgery and is thriving against all the odds.

It reminded me of my own grandmother, Pearl Saunders. She was a woman with remarkable faith who taught us to trust the Lord. She experienced miracles in her life from exercising complete faith in Jesus Christ. It was because of her that years ago I memorized the scripture from Proverbs 3:5-6: "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths." It has become my motto.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Be Faithful, we Never Know

Saturday we attended Lincoln Dastrup’s funeral. About ten days ago he was killed in a plane crash, he was the pilot. Three other men were also killed. They were friends in a private plane on a business trip. So sad for all their families. Because it was a closed casket, the family did a graveside burial service a few days after the accident, mostly for family only. Then the funerals were planned, each family planning their own, and attending each others. Quadruple sorrow.

One of the speakers at Lincoln’s funeral was an instructor pilot who taught and flew with Lincoln many times. He said Lincoln was one of the most skilled pilots he’d ever flown with, very careful in every way. We just never know what can go wrong. The report we read said that they suspect that sudden fierce winds pulled them down right after take off.

We know the Dastrup family well. Several years ago we were their home teachers when they lived here in our ward. We love this family, and never lost touch with them after they moved away. His oldest, a son, is 31 and his youngest, a daughter, is 16. Five children in all. They each spoke at the funeral and it was the sweetest thing ever. We were so touched by the love they have for their father, and what a great and loving father he was to them They laughed and cried as they shared their memories. He had filled their young lives with so much fun and yet expected great things from them. He taught them the gospel through his righteous living and his private conversations with them. They will miss him terribly but have a sure faith they will see him again. We scanned these photos from his funeral program.

His wife, Linda, is a gem. We adore her. This is so tragic for her. What a good, and loving wife and mother she has been, and always serving in the Church, too. A couple of years ago she had us come and speak at their young women’s camp they held at their nearby ranch. It was a sweet experience. Linda and their youngest daughter Haley were models for our illustrated poem on adoption, when she was just a baby. Though she’s not adopted, she and Linda were the perfect models.

We never know how long we will be on this earth. All we can do is the best we can do, love our families and serve the Lord. Lincoln left a great legacy of both for his family. Funerals make us think, they put life in perspective, clarifying that the Plan of Salvation the Lord has provided is the greatest comfort and blessing there could ever be. My new motto: Be faithful, we never know when our time will come.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Happy Times in Williamsport

One of the great blessings we enjoy from accepting invitations to speak at firesides around the country is making new friends. Many of these newly formed friendships are the kind we want to last forever. That's what happened this past weekend in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

Before we received the call from President Hoffman, their stake president, we hadn't even heard of Williamsport and didn't know anyone there. Pres. Hoffman's enthusiasm for strengthening marriages and families in his stake was compelling. He asked if we would present a marriage fireside on Saturday evening for all the couples, then do a youth and parent fireside on morality the following Sunday evening.

His select committee of amazingly "pumped" people, who devote their lives to helping families and marriages, were a thrill to meet and work with. Oh, my goodness, did they ever know how to promote this event! It was exceptionally well attended, with many bringing their friends of other faiths. Our hearts filled to overflowing after the presentations as these appreciative attendees hugged and thanked us. We felt so rewarded for being there. What a blessing it is to serve in this incredible Church!

One of the greatest treats of all was staying with Pres. and Sister Hoffman. They are parents of eight children, 16 years old down to two, with a set of identical twin girls second in line. We witnessed the gospel in action in this home. The love these children show to each other is exceptional. They said, "We have to be each others best friends because there's not many LDS kids at our school. Hardly any." The love these teens show to each other and to the younger ones is so heartwarming. Of course, we know they were on good behavior because we were there, but you can't program the younger kids to "be nice" for a whole weekend. But they were. We were lovingly smothered with hugs and kindness from all of them at just the right times, and left to rest when we needed privacy.

I think the key is the parents. Actually, I'm certain of it. These are parents who are at times pushed to the limits of being busy. Dad, the stake president, is an orthopedic surgeon and mom is full-time mother with her hands more than full. Still she teaches early morning seminary for a dozen or so kids (attending a couple of different schools), and they do it at their home. And get this, the dad makes breakfast every morning for these seminary kids! With three of the kids being theirs, it ensures that they all get a good breakfast before rushing off to school after seminary. He said, “It keeps the kids coming, so it’s well worth it.”

The thing we noticed that brings peace into their home is that the parents use a soft voice. Did the kids need correcting at times while we were there? Yes, but it’s all done gently, calmly. What a concept! You know the scripture, “ A soft voice turneth away wrath”— I think it must be their motto. Consequently the kids don’t fight and yell at each other, even though at times they press the patience of the parents. Like, “It’s our kids who are five minutes late to seminary, not the ones who drive from a distance.” Sounds normal to me. They’re not perfect, but they certainly are on to something that’s definitely working. To see this family you can go to their blog at They are evidence that big families are definitely a good thing. These eight children will be a blessing to the world as they move into adulthood. In fact , they already are as they reach out to help others in their community, being a bright example of Christ-like love to all who see them.

We are still marinating in the joy of our visit to Williamsport, for sooo many reasons.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Brilliant Blessing

This is a good day, and it was just confirmed to be even better than it was as I looked out my window and saw the gift the setting sun was giving me. I can't see the sunset from my vantage point, but across the street in perfect view is a small garden with a variety of flowers and plants nestled among the rocks. The bush is on fire with glowing color as the rays of the sun splash across it's Autumn leaves. It's breathtaking! And the red, pink and yellow blossoms are equally blessing my gaze with their brilliance. Soon they will be gone, but for now they are all mine to fully enjoy.

It has lifted my spirits immeasurably and caused me to express gratitude to God for this glorious little piece of His earth that exists right out my window. I think I can get back to life now with a smile on my face and a feeling of hope in my heart. All is well, at least for this moment. I'll take it!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Cherished Moment in Primary

Today I did Sharing Time in Sr. Primary. It was such a sweet experience. I had really prepared for this. I wanted the kids to do one of their Faith in God requirements, to write their testimony. So I began by telling them that we were going to do something today that was very sacred, so they needed to be very quiet and reverent, and that no one must say a word unless I called on them. You could have heard a pin drop. They were riveted.

I had the kids open their Faith in God books to page 14, My Testimony. Then I had two of the 11 yr old girls come up and help me post pictures on the board. I told the children to watch silently and think what these pictures had to do with a testimony. Pictures were of Christ, Joseph Smith, Pres. Monson, a child praying, a child being baptized and one being confirmed, our nearest temple (Provo), and a copy of the Book of Mormon.

Then I asked them what each meant regarding a testimony, and I bore my testimony. They were completely quiet and reverent. It was so amazing. Then they were each given a pencil and instructed to write their testimony in their book. I had a few small tablets of paper for those who forgot their book, which 5 did. Out of 30, I think that’s impressive. These kids are catching the spirit of this program.

While they wrote, the pianist played quiet hymns. Every child was writing. One little boy, age 8, who has an ADD problem and rarely sits still, barely moved. When it came time to write, even he began writing. To me it was the most beautiful sight, seeing these sweet children that I am growing to love so much, so reverently writing their testimonies. The Spirit was there and I think everyone present felt it.

When the time was up the president and I gave them little cards with the picture of Christ at the Second Coming, and I testified once again that He lives and He will come again to the earth. This picture was to help them remember their testimony of Him.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

"Faith in God" is a Gift

I have a new calling in the Church. When I say new, I mean new. It was created out of a need. It seems the Faith in God award program for Primary children ages 8 - 12 needs some help. So our ward Primary presidency created a Faith in God Coordinator job and I’m it. One read through the Faith in God books, one for girls and one for boys, and I am hooked on this program. My mind is racing with ideas to help these precious children live these principles and receive their awards. I’m having a lot of fun with this, working with them, their parents, and leaders.

Now here’s a very fun side note. I was hoping to find a good example of a child who is really into working on the suggested activities, but had not mentioned it to anyone yet. And BAM! I open my email from our son in Wyoming, Paul, the father of six of our grandchildren, and here’s what he wrote (Kaylyn is his 10 year old daughter, Hailey age 4 and Jaxon age 2 are the two youngest):

“Your new calling sounds fun. Kaylyn, just last night got out her Faith in God book and did several of the requirements, she even led the song for family night. She did this all on her own. She told me this morning that she took Hailey and Jaxon on a walk yesterday afternoon and wondered if that counted as a service project. I told her that it certainly did, especially if she did it without being asked. She said that she did, so I told her to count it as a service project to help her mom.”

I was so pleased with this email that I had to call Kaylyn and tell her I was going to use her as an example to our Primary. Her response was so rewarding. She said, “I love working on my Faith in God. It’s fun!” Then she told me she was learning her Articles of Faith, which is part of the program. I said, “Okay, tell me one.” She rattled off the first one, then I said, “Now tell me the fourth one.” She thought a minute then recited it nearly perfectly. I congratulated her and said, “Will you call me each time you learn a new one and say it to me?” She was pretty excited about that and said, “Yes!”

It’s so rewarding when callings transfer into creating close relationships with your family. This calling is going to be fun for more reasons than one. Now I’m thinking of writing a song about it.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Nothing Like Being Grandma

This little girl, who used to climb in bed with me early in the mornings and kiss my cheeks all over when I would visit them, has somehow turned 18! Little Jade is all grown up. Talk about a “Sunrise, Sunset” moment, this is it. It happened too fast.

Jade and her four siblings live too far away. It should be against the law. Instead of flying to Oklahoma for her high school graduation we decided her gift from us would be a flight here for a one-on-one with Grandma and Grandpa. She was delighted— a chance to get away and be spoiled. With a number of fun-loving cousins here to enjoy from time to time (thank you, Rebecca, for coming just in time), she has had a ton of fun. As for me, I have cherished every moment with her since she lives so far away.

She loves the musicals and wanted to watch “Newsies” with me one afternoon. So, of course, we watched it. Now I know what heaven is—it’s Jade snuggled up next to me on the couch watching the DVD as she sings along with every, and I mean every, song. She knows them all. I loved every minute. When that’s over she has another idea. Grandpa walks in and she says, “Grandpa have you seen ‘The Princess and the Frog’? We hadn’t. “Oh, you just have to see it with me!” So off we go to Red Box, come home with the DVD, fix popcorn and the fun begins again. This time both grandparents enjoyed the fun of hearing her sing and wiggle in rhythm throughout this jazz-filled adorable movie. She’s right, it’s a good one. But would it be as good without her to watch as we watch it?

Another day she helps me with dinner and shares her testimony of Christ, and expresses her thanks for a great senior year of seminary. Could there be anyone more wonderful than her teacher Brother Torrie? I’ve never met him, but from all she says I think he must walk on water. He reached into her heart and wound the gospel firmly around it. And I love him for it.

Among the many activities we arranged, we gave her a fun party with Lundberg cousins, took walks around the Provo Temple, time at Perrys’ where Janice taught her the new song “He Loves Me” I wrote with Janice for our granddaughters, a shopping trip to Park City outlets with cousin EmmaLee, husband Brandon and baby Jaymz, baptisms with cousin Brooke at her favorite Oquirrh MountainTemple, a trip to Tami’s horse ranch, a piano concert with the Saunders clan to hear Aunt Delma play, a visit to beloved 89-year-old Aunt Fern, a couple of over-nighters here with cute-cousin Rebecca, and a fun double date arranged with and by yet another cute cousin, Melissa, who knew the prefect “righteous hottie” for her blind date. Jade said, “I like these Utah boys, they are so respectful and good, and they know how to have a fun time the right way, and they’re so cute. I think I want to marry one of them some day.” At this age, the grass is always greener away from home. She hopes to come to school out here after a year or two of college there. I’m in favor!

Just thinking about her flying back home brings tears to my eyes. I will miss her terribly. This gift for her has been a treasured gift for me. Thank you, Heavenly Father, for blessing us with grandchildren like Jade, and the 14 others whom we also adore and look forward to a spoiling on some special occasion for them. But for now I’m content to bask in the happy light of Jade’s incredibly fun visit.