Fortune, pt. 2: Legacy

Remember this post?  It’s {past} time for the continuation…

John Tanner’s sons were described as “generous, plain-speaking and long-lived”.  All good qualities in my eyes.  :)  Leonard J. Arrington, a Church Historian, studied the history of the Tanner family.  He says “Each has a separate story to tell, but in the activities of the family as a whole, we can see their contribution to the Church. They consistently contributed to the growth of their communities; they served long and faithfully in their local wards and provided children and grandchildren who sat in the highest councils of the Church. Consistently devoted and hard-working, they gave their families economic and spiritual security and left an honorable legacy of commitment that has not decreased with time.”  What a blessed legacy!

Spiritual and economic security for my family?  Sounds like good goals to me.  How does one go about insuring that?

Some things we are doing now to help provide spiritual security:

* Family Home Evening

* Personal and Family scripture study

* Personal and Family prayers

* Sunday evening interviews – complete with setting goals.  We currently interview two groups – older children/younger children every other week.

Spiritual security – definitely something we’ve been working on and will continue to do so.

Economic security?  Not as much.  How does one do that?  I think a lot of it comes down to the example we set as parents and the skills we teach our children (much like the spiritual security).  Where are our priorities?  Do we always pay tithing first?  Do they know we set aside savings?  Do they see us budget and know money is spent in different categories?  Do they see sacrifices being made now and realize it brings blessings later?  I have some work to do…

While studying more about the Tanner family I came across two examples with qualities I want to emulate.  May I share?

[Read more…]

Fortune, pt. 1

I had some thoughts I wanted to blog, but it really needs some background first.  Hence, a three part series… on the topic of fortune.

Some of my favorite stories growing up were family history ones.  I loved hearing about John Tanner, my fifth great-grandpa and his conversion story.  He lived in upper New York and was one of the area’s leading entrepreneurs.  He probably would have stayed there permanently  if he had not met the missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  John was a Baptist lay-minister who went to hear the missionaries speak – from what I understand, he wanted to protect his Baptist brethren from false doctrine.  He had open sores on his leg that could not be remedied, but was stubborn (a family trait – perhaps? maybe we’ll go with strong-willed…) and told the doctor that he would rather leave this world with his bad leg than have it amputated.  So, that evening, he propped his leg up in his cart and went to hear the missionaries speak.  John left that evening with a Book of Mormon and a desire to know the truth.  A few days later one of the missionaries (Jared Carter – the other missionary was Simeon Carter) visited his home.  Jared “administered to John, and commanded him to rise and walk in the name of the Lord.  [John] never used his crutches again.”  He was baptized that very night, along with his wife.  He walked three quarters of a mile to do so – after months of not walking on that leg.  (all quotes from “The John Tanner Family” by  Leonard J. Arrington, Church Historian, March 1979 Ensign)

John’s story is full of generosity and consecration.  He sold his farms, hotel, orchards, thousands of acres of timber and an island and proceeded to give his all to the church.  Some in loans, some in donation.  The large things he helped with were the Kirtland Temple and the church-sponsored bank, the Kirtland Safety Society.   Before he left on a mission in 1844  he met  “Joseph Smith on the streets of Nauvoo, he gave the Prophet his note for $2,000, signed in Kirtland in 1835 to redeem the temple land. The Prophet asked what he wanted him to do with it, and Father Tanner said, “‘Brother Joseph, you are welcome to it.’ The Prophet then laid his right hand heavily upon Father Tanner’s shoulder and said: ‘God bless you, Father Tanner, your children shall never beg bread.’”

I remember my mom claiming that blessing and prophecy – knowing it was intended for generations.  And it has been fulfilled – many generations over.  We never went hungry growing up.  We had a bountiful garden – my grandparents a flourishing orchard and farm – and a whole section of our basement always filled with food.  We were and continue to be so very blessed.  I have to wonder if perhaps this promised blessing is not one of the reasons my family so throughly loves food.

When I was younger I imagined what it would be like to be wealthy.  To have our own island (because, of course, we would have inherited it) and to live a rich life.  Especially when I found out that the property John Tanner owned back then is now worth more than $250 million dollars – that’s a huge sacrifice.  Then I thought about the blessings we would have missed out on if John Tanner had never heard the missionaries.  The abundant life that the gospel brings.  To know the joy of family and the purpose of our life here.  The knowledge of eternal families, a living prophet on earth today, temple worship and the peace it brings.  To experience serving and loving others – there is no comparison.  Once again I thank my Heavenly Father for a generous, big-hearted great-grandpa that knew where real treasure lies.

{Gedeborg Family – July 2011.  We’re in the middle.  ;)}

Fill in the blank…

Lauri, one of my favorite ladies in the whole world – a beautiful mixture of elegance and spunk -, taught the lesson in Relief Society last month.  She taught from President Uchtdorf’s talk, “Your Potential, Your Privilege”.  It was wonderful to discuss a talk from the Priesthood session and apply it to our lives as women.

I adore this quote:  “As you read the scriptures and listen to the words of the prophets with all your heart and mind, the Lord will tell you how to live up to your priesthood privileges. Don’t let a day go by without doing something to act on the promptings of the Spirit.”

Personal revelation is a blessing we can all seek.  Lauri asked us to each finish this thought:

“If you want a spiritual experience  _______________________________ .”

We then shared ideas and I loved the variety!  Here are quite a few:

* go to the temple

* pray

* go for a long run

* read and study the scriptures early in the morning

* really listen to your children

* do something hard

* ask for a Priesthood blessing

* bear testimony

* act on a prompting

* listen to beautiful music

* stop being busy – just stop…and listen

* read your Patriarchal blessing

* do Family History

* ponder

* acknowledge the goodness of our Heavenly Father

* pray after reading scriptures for truth

* express gratitude in prayer

* give service – especially to the handicapped

* notice beauty and be uplifted

* create something beautiful

* be still

* have more faith and less fear

* remember why challenges are there

* spend time with your children

* create harmony in your home

* sit by a campfire alone

How would you fill in the blank?

The sister closing the meeting mentioned how wonderful it is that the Lord knows us and can reach out and communicate with us individually.  I agree.  What a marvelous blessing!

There are so many thought-provoking ideas – and more out there.   Definitely enough to do at least one daily – and many are things I do daily or would love to do daily already.  I just need to remember to look for those opportunities and then act on the promptings that come.

“The words written in the scriptures and spoken in general conference are for us to “liken them unto [ourselves],” not for reading or hearing only. Too often we attend meetings and nod our heads; we might even smile knowingly and agree. We jot down some action points, and we may say to ourselves, “That is something I will do.” But somewhere between the hearing, the writing of a reminder on our smartphone, and the actual doing, our “do it” switch gets rotated to the “later” position. Brethren, let’s make sure to set our “do it” switch always to the “now” position!

…Let us earnestly seek the light of personal inspiration. Let us plead with the Lord to endow our mind and soul with the spark of faith that will enable us to receive and recognize the divine ministering of the Holy Spirit for our specific life situations and for our challenges…” – President Uchtdorf

Little reminders

*deep breath* & *sigh*

I think the real gift here are all the quotes.

Card reads “There is more to life than increasing its speed – Gandhi”

(Featured in this talk – “Of Things That Matter Most” by President Uchtorf – love it.  And love that General Conference is so soon – about a month now!!  :) )

Quotes are also written on the ticket tags:
“For fast-acting relief try slowing down.” Lily Tomlin
“He enjoys true leisure who has time to improve his soul’s estate.” Henry David Thoreau
&
“Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.” Ovid

{Card and tags made with Le Petite Paperie Provence Papers and Tickets by Carina Gardner, card template from Card Couture vol. 2, by iKari designs}

Independence

**Happy Independence Day!**

Here are a few gems from my scripture study this morning.

‎”Faith of our fathers, we will strive to win all nations unto thee, And thru the truth that comes from God, mankind shall then be truly free.” (hymn #84)  I love that verse 3 teaches us how to win all nations unto God – “we will love…and preach thee, too, as love knows how, By kindly words and virtuous life.”

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free…  For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.”  Galatians 5:1,13

“And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters, for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters.  And under this head ye are made free, and there is no other head whereby ye can be made free.”  Mosiah 5:8

Thankful today, and always, for the knowledge of true liberty and freedom.

**Happy Independence Day!!!  Stand fast.**

Parenting Lesson #3,092

…that I’m learning, but who’s counting.  😉

If the answer is going to be yes anyway, you might as well say it with an exaggerated nod and a sparkle in your eye.

Case in point:

Katey asked for the largest, curvest banana in the bunch.

I answered with my sparkly nod, letting her know I was in on her little secret… and was rewarded with a fruity smile.

Sweet.

Growing in Wisdom…

This is JB’s Father’s Day present.  Growing in Wisdom by Simon Dewey.  Jim Bob oh-so-subtly hinted that he would love this painting for any holiday:  a birthday, Christmas or 4th of July (okay, he didn’t go that far 😉 ).  He did make it very obvious that he loved it and showed me where he would love to hang it even.  :)  I thought it was a perfect painting for Father’s Day.  I love how gentle Joseph is as he studies with Jesus.  Jim Bob pointed out that they are in his workshop – all the carpenter tools around and hanging in the background.  Yet Joseph is taking the time to teach and learn.  JB wants to (and does) do the same – and I adore him for that desire.

Sunday School started with us describing ways we show love.  Smiles, hugs, & kisses were quickly named.  Followed by service, compliments, words of appreciation, teaching, listening, taking time, sharing, respect, sacrifice, protection, and forgiveness.  There were a few that wouldn’t have come immediately to my mind – but definitely show love and I’m glad they were mentioned:  restraint and God-like correction.  Perfect for Father’s Day–thinking of how often my own father has shown love in many of those ways.

We were then asked to select just one of those ways and think of a time when Christ showed love in that way.  And in a very real way Christ is also a father figure when we take on his name.  There were so many scriptures that flooded into mind.  Jim Bob mentioned restraint, how with the money changers in the temple Christ showed serious restraint.  He had the power to completely destroy them, yet he did enough to show displeasure with their actions in His Father’s house.

The one that stood out to me was taking time.  In 3 Nephi ch. 17 Jesus is visiting the Nephites on the American continent.  He is about to leave and in verse 5 they looked “steadfastly upon him as if they would ask him to tarry a little longer with them.”  He does!  And for more than just one more bedtime story.  He heals their sick, and prays with them, and blesses each of their children.  He then says “Behold your little ones.  And as they looked to behold they cast their eyes toward heaven, and they saw the heavens open, and they saw angels descending out of heaven…encircled those little ones about…and did minister unto them.”  That is a true principle I have seen in my own life.  As I look to my little ones, my eyes go towards heaven.  They teach me so much about our loving Father in Heaven and Christ.  The love that They have for us.  The love that is present for each individual.

One of my favorite parenting quotes:  “God will send aid to no one more readily than He will send it to a child–and to the parent of a child.”  {Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Created for Greater Things, p. 141}  Happy Father’s Day to all the Fathers in the world.  May you be blessed in your efforts to grow in wisdom and to share that with each of your children.

(p.s.  If you read Simon Dewey’s bio linked above you can read another loving, encouraging Father story.  All about another Joseph {Joe to friends} –  a London bus driver that painted in the evenings and gave his five-year-old son Simon a roll of wallpaper to fill with sketches.)

bonne buche 2

Thinking on happy unions… one reason for my parent’s successful marriage is that they have always had mistletoe hanging in their home.

Year-round.

Multiple locations.

One right over the kitchen sink for whomever is washing the dishes.  😉

These photos are from their mission apartment when we were there on Mother’s Day.  :)

 

Tending Wildflowers

A set of cards about growing wildflowers… and love. Each has a homemade paper–wildflower seed infused piece that can be planted.

{Tutorial for homemade paper here at Family Fun’s website.  Instead of drying it as a sheet I put the pulp into cookie cutters and then popped out and dried that way. A little messy and a lot of fun!}

Quotes:
Left card–
“A single wildflower,
Given with love
Is better than
A dozen perfect roses
Given with indifference.”
– Anonymous

Right: “Where you tend a rose, my lad, a thistle cannot grow.” – Frances Hodgson Burnett

This is one of my favorite quotes of all time, from “The Secret Garden”. I first came across it, over a decade ago, in Seminary.  Each morning we wrote in a notebook.  There was always a quote or scripture on the board and we would write our thoughts about it first thing while everyone was gathering.  The Secret Garden quote is one that stuck with me.  It doesn’t hurt that it was easy to memorize.  :)  This inspirational quote is true in all aspects of my live.  If I can learn to tend a rose – in my thoughts, actions and words, then a thistle cannot grow in the same place.  Love that principle.  The constant tending is where I need to focus.  A drowning every week or month doesn’t work the same as constant watering and love.  And those little weeds?  So much easier to get rid of than after they have had time to take root.

Jim Bob and I put the quote on our wedding invitation (hidden behind the main photo as a bonus. 😉 ) to remind us that a marriage is worth tending:

The wildflower cards above are wonderful as anniversary or everyday giving.  I’m thankful for the reminder to refocus, recommit, and continue on in love.

{Credits:  All by Cosmo Cricket:  Earth love paperselements and candy candyEarly Bird paper packMr. Campy paper pack}

Chrysalis & Consecration

{Seeing as it is Fast Sunday, testimonies have been on my mind.  Besides the sacrament, the things I miss the most from Sacrament Meeting, when I’m home with sicky little ones, are all the testimonies that are shared.  I have had a lot on my mind the last few days and wanted to put part of it in writing. For our family and friends, for future family, and for myself.}

One of my resolutions this year is to read C. S. Lewis everyday.  It has been one of the easiest resolutions ever.  I adore his writing.  I do not have any trouble starting my morning study time with Jack.  I read that is what his family and friends called him.  I want to be in that group.  Which leads me to the next question – Do you think there will be a huge line in heaven waiting to meet him?  I imagine so.

The easy part is being motivated to read his writings.  The hard part is sometimes understanding.  His writings are a lot like Elder Maxwell‘s to me.  I read a paragraph or two over four or five times.  And then I feel like I might be catching a glimpse of what they are describing.  And the glimpse is so worth the effort.  I read “Mere Christianity” a few years ago and adored it.  “The Four Loves” is waiting on my headboard.  What I am reading now is “A Year with C. S. Lewis” that Jim Bob gave me for our anniversary.  It is a few paragraphs a day from various books that C. S. Lewis has written.  Perfect for me.  It leads right into my scripture study time.  With these excerpts, my wish list of books is growing.  I love his style of writing and sense of humor without overdoing.  I would be happy to read a few paragraphs of C. S. Lewis every day for the rest of my life.  And that is a sign of a good resolution.  :)

Last Wednesday I read an excerpt from C. S. Lewis’ last sermon (1956):

“For it is not so much of our time and so much of our attention that God demands; it is not even all our time and all our attention; it is ourselves. … He will be infinitely merciful to our repeated failures; I know no promise that He will accept a deliberate compromise.  …For He claims all, because He is love and must bless.  He cannot bless unless He has us.  When we try to keep within us an area that is our own, we try to keep an area of death.  Therefore, in love, He claims all.  There’s no bargaining with Him.”

While reading Enos this week I realized how his story applied as well.  In verse 9 it tells how Enos “…did pour out [his] whole soul unto God…”  His whole soul.  He didn’t hold anything back.

Jim Bob taught in the Elders Quorum today.  The talk was Elder D.Todd Christofferson’s “Reflections on a Consecrated Life”.  I read it this morning.  The whole talk is wonderful and fits right in my thoughts for the week.

“True success in this life comes in consecrating our lives –that is, our time and choices–to God’s purposes.  In so doing, we permit Him to raise us to our highest destiny.”  Later in the talk he says, “A consecrated life is filled with work, sometimes repetitive, sometimes menial, sometimes unappreciated but always work that improves, orders, sustains, lifts, ministers, aspires.”  Does that not sound like a mother?  I need to focus on the last half.  Yes, my work is sometimes repetitive and menial, but I am improving, ordering, sustaining, lifting, ministering and aspiring.  Ooh, I love it.  I love all those verbs.  A consecrated life is full of action and recognizing that action.

Elder Christofferson also quotes the film, Man’s Search for Happiness. “A prophet of God has said: ‘Men are that they might have joy–a joy that includes a fullness of life, a life dedicated to service, to love and harmony in the home, and the fruits of honest toil–an acceptance of the gospel of Jesus Christ–of its requirements and commandments.”

While reading that quote I realized that a fullness of life only comes after we fully give ourselves to God.  I feel as if I am in a constant chrysalis state.  Just learning and developing.  Changing and refining.  Big changes, little changes.  I think that is partly what this life is for.  I am thankful for my Savior that makes those changes possible.  Sometimes it is hard work.  I need to remember – the end result is so promising!

Can you imagine though, if that caterpillar decided to go into a chrysalis, but not quite all the way?  Just leave out a little bit of it’s “old self”?  I’m not sure of the science involved, but I think the transformation would not take place.

I want to fully give myself.  To consecrate my life to God’s purposes.  And to someday fly.

{chrysalis photo by Christian Meyn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net, butterfly photo by Federico Stevanin, at FreeDigitalPhotos.net}

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