"Oh remember, remember . . . I urge you to find ways to recognize and remember God's kindness."

President Henry B. Eyring

Thursday, May 21, 2009

"The Last Waltz" vs. "I Wanna Hold Your Hand"

I read a book review on Meridian Magazine a couple of months ago on the book “The Last Waltz” by G.G. Vandagriff. I was intrigued because I learned that she is of Russian German descent and wondered if there might be a genealogical connection perhaps to my father’s people.

I never start a book without first turning to the last page about the author. I know it’s considered weird, but I have always been wary of whom I let sing or read to me. I grew up in a home of constant contention and probably as soon as I could read I found solace in books. They were so often my only, and always my best friends! The “Little Princess,” “Secret Garden,” “Pollyanna,” “Wizard of Oz,” and later “Anne of Green Gables,” “Girl of the Limberlost” and other such sentimental books (in today’s vernacular “cheesy” or “sappy”) were such sweet escape. But, as soon as I was old enough to be assigned reading and found that so much of it could depress or frighten me (I’d had enough of that in real life) I learned to be wary. I found and will always believe that “we are what we eat” both physically and spiritually! I guess that is why I just couldn’t and still don’t like the Beatles. Most people, my children especially, think I am pretty weird for this---a child of the 60’s who does NOT like the Beatles? Everyone I know still likes the Beatles! And hey, I remember watching their d├ębut on T.V. and I’ll admit that I thought their “bowl” haircuts were kind of cute and everyone I knew was swooning over them. But, I made the fatal mistake of reading about them. How could I ever trust immoral drug addicts to sing to me? I learned to keep my opinions to myself because in the 60’s you could be stoned for not liking the BEATLES! But I’m over 50 now so . . . It’s kind of like going to the grocery store without my makeup on---doesn’t matter because no one is looking anyway. But I digress. This blog post is not about the Beatles.

After reading about the author and checking out her website (http://www.ggvandagriff.com/) I read the book---all 591 pages of it! It is a sweeping saga of romance and war that frustrated me at times. The protagonist was a good, kind young woman who showed incredibly poor judgment in the beginning, with life-long consequences! I know my dear young people I’m being wary or weird again, but that’s why I can’t get into the Twilight Series. Bella’s dangerous naivety drives me CRAZY! I’m not very patient with that, considering I don’t even trust the Beatles. But, back to “The Last Waltz”---throughout this saga from World War I to the beginning of World War II, Amalia Faulhaber found herself torn between three men. You have no idea who she will end up with! Just when her life seems to be reaching a point of blissful happiness . . . well, with 591 pages you can imagine.

Though, at times, I felt the book was too long, it does move along. Being painfully ignorant of the history surrounding Europe during World War I, I found that I had to look up some of the geography, i.e. mainly Prussia and its relationship to Germany. But, if a book inspires me to further research well that’s a good thing! And, I learned some great lessons about politics. Lessons that, quite frankly, leave me with a chill as I watch the very foundations and principles of our own blessed nation being changed before our very eyes. It has been said that if we cannot learn from history we are destined to repeat it. For my grandchildren’s sake, I HOPE not.

Probably most readers will not be as frustrated with the protagonist in the beginning as I was, but in the end I found myself cheering her on, and the final third of the story really kept me turning the pages! This is definitely a must read!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Another Tender Mercy

My goodness, how much I get done by getting ready for the day EARLY! My back is sore but my heart is full! Each year we have tried to do at least one thing to improve our yard. This year I wanted to get the brick like edgers to finally do some nice edging around our grass and shrubs. Well, I can't complain because we did get a fence and I really am grateful for it. But, oh human nature, we long for that which we cannot have.
This recession is really getting to Ron's business. He is under so much stress. He works twice as hard for about half the money. It's hard to take a 50% cut in pay and we wonder where it will end, but oh, I'm so grateful we have an income and a deed to our home! As I was working in my flower garden I felt a little sad I couldn't have the nice manufactured edging as I pulled some weeds out of the makeshift rock edging I did in front of my porch. As I looked at the rock I realized I really do love the copper and granite and dark and blonde colors in it. In fact I intended to match those colors in edging. I got a sudden idea to gather more rock from my yard. Yes, we have the stoniest ground! I thought of the picturesque stones walls we saw in England and realized that people built them from the rocks they had to clear from their land to farm. They used what they had and it was charming. Well, I've spent the morning gathering rocks. Mostly little rocks. And, I've made an edging. The LORD provided the materials! As I worked I thought about how the rocks were like people, all sizes and shapes. Some plain, others colorful and beautiful. But together they make a fine edging. Most of them were living in obsurity, half buried, just waiting to be discovered and appreciated! At least I appreciate them!
May 5, 2009 (New Fence)
March 9, 2009 (Old Fence)

What a difference 2 months can make!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Kate's Blessing

Our Precious little Kate was blessed on Sunday! I was so proud of my Brian for the beautiful blessing and expression of faith and testimony that he gave his third little child! They are a wonderful little family!

A New Sense of Awe!

My sister Ann has a really great post---The Purpose Driven Life. It's so worth visiting her site today! She's the "a really private person" blog!

I wish I'd known some of these things when I was younger and raising my family. I could have saved myself a lot of pain. I seem to be inundated with new insights all the time. Sometimes I think I am growing personally more now than I ever did when I was in the middle of all the child-rearing. I tended Brian's little ones the other day and marveled as I always do at their enthusiam and excitement about life. Not so very long ago I thought that I would not experience that sense of awe in new things until the next life. But, lately I've found a new sense of awe at discoveries inside myself. Isn't it wonderful to be OLD!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Sealed To Live

I believe in Christ; he is my King!
With all my heart to him I’ll sing;
I’ll raise my voice in praise and joy,
In grand amens my tongue employ.

These words, from a hymn text written by Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, are a powerful reminder to the Latter-day Saints of the testimony of this special witness of the Lord Jesus Christ. On Friday, 19 April 1985, Elder McConkie, 69, died of cancer in Salt Lake Citv. Less than two weeks earlier, he had risen from his sickbed to bear his final testimony of the Savior in general conference: “I am one of his witnesses, and in a coming day I shall feel the nail marks in his hands and in his feet and shall wet his feet with my tears. But I shall not know any better then than I know now that he is God’s Almighty Son.”

We had our Stake Conference last Sunday. A former Stake President of ours related a story about Elder Bruce R. McConkie. Fifteen years after his death his wife told this story in a sacrament meeting. Elder McConkie did not want to die and he had done everything he could to live. He was so ill for conference that his doctor said to his wife that she had a dying man here and could not let him go, that he would surely pass out at the podium on national television in front of tens of thousands of people. He told his wife that he felt he must go to bear witness again of Jesus Christ, and so he did. Those of us old enough to remember will never forget his amazing testimony. It is still one of the most poignant memories I have of general conference. Even to almost the very last he would get dressed every day and try to function. Just before his death he asked Elder Packer to give him a blessing. Elder Packer blessed him (and I am paraphrasing) to stop fighting the will of the Lord. After he left Elder McConkie asked his wife if she knew what had just happened. She said that yes, he has just sealed you to death. Elder McConkie then immediately went into his bedroom, folded the bedspread as he always did, put on his pajamas, and there he stayed until he died. In that act he had completely yielded his will to that of his Heavenly Father.

As many of you know, ten years ago just two months after my son died, I had open heart surgery for a large hole in my heart. Many of the doctors and nurses asked if I’d had children and were amazed that I had five healthy deliveries. They said I could have had a heart attack or stroke each time I gave birth. The first wife of an older gentleman in our ward died from a stroke at the age of forty because of a hole in her heart, which doctors could not repair at the time. When she gave birth to their only son she did have a heart attack and the baby’s oxygen was cut off. Though the baby lived he had severe brain damage---yet I lived, and my babies were healthy.
I have had so many instances of small strokes or T.I.A.’s. Some were so frightening that I knew, I really knew, that something was terribly wrong with my body. From the most severe of these episodes I could literally feel myself slipping, being pulled away and I wondered if this way my time to die, yet I lived. And during this talk I asked the question, “Why did I live?” The thought immediately came that for now I was “sealed to live” that the Lord wants me to LIVE!

I don’t get up very early in the morning. I haven’t found a really good reason to these past ten years. As I listened to this story I had the thought that if the Lord wants me to live, then I should show the same faith as Elder McConkie. Instead of remaining in my pajamas till late in the morning, that I should dress right away for the day because the Lord wants me to live! I don’t know why. I live a very ordinary life. But I do live! And I have the thought that maybe---just maybe if I get dressed and I’m ready, the Lord might have some good I can do each day. So this is my resolution, and I’m telling all of you so that you will encourage me to get ready for each day early and listen for the whisperings of the spirit that I might be directed to do some small good.

Well, I did it this morning! Yes, I was dressed before I published this and all morning I have been singing “Have I Done Any Good In The World Today.”