Monday, November 30, 2009

Receiving Revelation From Heaven

We were able to enjoy another Thanksgiving Feast after Church yesterday and spread out our focus of giving thanks.  Yesterday, also officially marked the beginning of turning our hearts to the Christmas season (even though we decorate with Christmas all year) and to think of what we can give and what we have to give to others.

Following the theme of yesterday's Gospel Doctrine Class for Sunday School, we gives thanks to know that the Heavens were opened by the Prophet Joseph Smith as he ushered in this last dispensation before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ!  We give thanks for the continued succession of Latter-day Prophets who commune directly with the Lord! 

Which brings us to our INSPIRATIONAL FAMILY focus for today is a quote from a First Presidency Message entitled Continuing Revelation by Pres. James E. Faust , who when speaking about Present Revelation said:  "The ninth article of faith continues: “We believe … all that [God] does now reveal.” For some strange reason it seems easier for many to believe the words of dead prophets rather than those of living prophets. In our lifetime we have been favored with ongoing communication from the heavens, which have been open to the prophets of our time."
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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Heavenly Embellishments

Every so often, I just have to create something - anything with lots of joyful colors!

When the kids were growing up, I would buy volumes of beautiful silk flowers and then using my glue gun, I glued the pretty flowers to everything in the house that didn't move.  I even gathered 6-8' tall weeds and glued flowers on them to make large art pieces to hang on the walls with the vaulted ceilings.  Other flowers ended up being glued to picture and mirror frames and even others were glued to lamp shades, baskets (hanging or not), and even stacks of old books with ribbons for an antique effect. Our children were mortified!

But I found it soooo exciting! Everyday, I found something else that needed to have a glued-on flower!

Obviously, it looks like I've found something new to decorate and embellish! 


And, as you can tell, I'm having loads of fun!




Our INSPIRATIONAL FAMILY thought is by Pres. Dieter F. Uchtdorf :  "The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul. No matter our talents, education, backgrounds, or abilities, we each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before.


Everyone can create. You don’t need money, position, or influence in order to create something of substance or beauty.


Creation brings deep satisfaction and fulfillment. We develop ourselves and others when we take unorganized matter into our hands and mold it into something of beauty—and I am not talking about the process of cleaning the rooms of your teenage children."


Here's the link to the slideshow that I created. (I removed it from our Home Page because it was taking so long to load because of the large images.)
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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Heaven Visited Stansbury Park Today

We just arrived home from the funeral service of John Edward Jones and wanted to express the feelings in our hearts. John’s parents live down the street from us. You may have heard John’s name in the news lately – both local and national – as he is the young 26 yr. old man who died in Nutty Putty Caves. John’s body cannot be recovered and the caves will be permanently sealed as his tomb, with a memorial marker placed at the opening of the cave.

The tragedy of his being stuck upside down and the hundreds of rescuers who sacrificed to try and save him has been widely published in newspapers, across the Internet, and in local and national TV news broadcasts.

What I want to address is the incredible witness I received when reading the Jones’ Family Statement that was published, and then again, that same witness today during the funeral service today.

Here's our comment to the Newspaper yesterday as a prelude to our thoughts today:
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bevanmission  Comment 11:46am - Fri Nov 27th, 2009

Thank-you for publishing the family's statement! We are praying that the Lord will comfort the Jones family at this time and in the days ahead. And in reading of their great faith in the plan of salvation for forever families, we find that the Lord is using them as an example to the rest of us in feeling His great Peace while enduring life's struggles. Their expressions of love and gratitude and concern for others emulate the reality of being encircled in the arms of His love.

God bless the Jones family for their grace and loving example of faith as they live through this heart-break!
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Today, while many see his death as a tragic accident, it is clear that this young father was called home by our Heavenly Father! We will never know why some have short times on earth and others a lengthy, drawn out life. The Spirit was overwhelmingly clear that his time on earth was completed. It was clearly evident that John was given the gift from the Lord to be able to use his death as a missionary opportunity to help bring souls unto Christ, in the same manner that John lived his life while on this side of the veil.

If the Lord had called him home in his sleep, or in a car accident, would other’s have been drawn to his cause? Probably only a few outside of his family and close friends. But now, because of the story of his entrapment with the heroic efforts by his rescuers, his story – his unfailing testimony of the Savior and his desire to always be a missionary, has now been sent abroad to touch hearts, invite the Spirit, and share Gospel truths!

What a miracle! Such a miracle! What a blessing to know by the Spirit of the Lord’s ways! What a privilege to have been in attendance at this young father’s memorial service, to feel the touch of heaven and the sweet tender Spirit that attends when being encircled in the arms of His love! What a wonder to have heard and known that the Chapel was full of those from both sides of the veil!


Our INSPIRATIONAL FAMILY focus today come from
 Pres. Thomas S. Monson quoting Pres. Ezra Taft Benson: 
Thomas S. Monson. Photo by Brian Tibbets (tibb...Image via Wikipedia

Photo of Ezra Taft BensonImage via Wikipedia

 "Temples really are the gateways to heaven.” He said: “May we remember always, as we [visit and work in these glorious temples], that the veil may become very thin between this world and the spirit world. I know this is true.” He declared, “It is well also that we keep in mind that it is all one great program on both sides of the veil and it is not too important whether we serve here or over there, as long as we serve with all our heart, might, mind, and strength.”

Today, we had a glimpse into Heaven and the Lord's work that is, indeed, carried out on both sides of the veil!
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Friday, November 27, 2009

Blessings From Blogging?

Our sweet daughter informed me that our Blogs are too long, too wordy, and too boring. Basically, just too much! This gave me pause to ponder: Why am I Blogging? Up and till 3 weeks ago, I rarely looked at a Blog and I definitely wasn't interested in writing or posting anything.

But, then a Ward neighbor asked for my help while she was preparing for her Sunday School Class on Missionary Work, saying that a recent Ensign had a 6 page article on using the Internet for Good. ('Finding and Sharing the Gospel Online')

So, we began our Blog and (as my sister noted) entered the world of Blogdom and here we are today.

We've realized that our posting good things that we like further influences our thoughts and actions. As we post pretty pictures of beautiful vistas, our attitudes are in awe of God's handiwork. When we post photos of the Savior, our hearts are drawn to Him in remembrance. When we share music, we feel wrapped in and encircled in the arms of His love.  And when we add selected images of our family, we remember our eternal covenants that promise we can be together forever as an eternal family.

Are we, then, blessed from our Blogging efforts? Yes. The blessings and sweet spirit have been good for us. Such that we will continue, whether anyone else is reading this or not. If you do join us, we hope that you will find at least one thing that will uplift you and make you feel as if you've had a glimpse of heaven.

Our INSPIRATIONAL FAMILY focus actually comes from a quote by Hugh Nibley, "The books that men keep on earth are matched by books kept in heaven: Adam’s heavenly Book of Remembrance is duplicated on earth by a Book of Life, “the record which is kept in heaven … or, in other words … whatsoever you record on earth shall be recorded in heaven. For a book of remembrance we have written among us …”

and so we WELCOME you, to our BOOK of REMEMBRANCE!! 

Love, Errol and Hollie
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We Are Grateful For Our Extended Family

This year, 2009, we enjoyed our day of Thanksgiving with the family of our son-in-law, giving our mutual grandchildren both sets of their Nanas and Papas together, side by side. And of course, with Great and Great Papa, our grandkids were able to enjoy a 4 generation celebration!


4 Generations with Great and Great Papa and both Nanas and Papas


3 Generations of Ray's


       4 Generations: Atkinson, Bevan and Ray's   


Our INSPIRATIONAL FAMILY focus is from Elder Robert D. Hales in his talk 'Couple Missionaries: Blessings from Sacrifice and Service' :  "We cannot meet our family challenges without the blessings of the Lord; and when we sacrifice to serve as full-time missionary couples, those blessings will flow...“Your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.”  Counsel with your extended family and your bishop or branch president." 
 
For us, Elder Hales' words resonate with memories of our heart-felt gratitude for our Extended Family who financially supported us during our two year mission that we served in Madrid, Spain.  We will forever be grateful for their profound sacrifice and unselfish lovingkindness to us!  How we love them!
Family. Mural in lunette from the Family and E...Image via Wikipedia
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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Medley of Hymns of Gratitude


In case you haven't noticed, I NEED music! Why? Because certain melodies invite the Spirit. Certain harmonies stir feelings in my heart and make me feel as if I'm encircled in the arms of His love. Certain musical phrases help me to remember the eternal courts on high where I know I dwelt with Heavenly Parents. Certain notes remind me of my gratitude for the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. AND Certain songs and hymns echo the choirs of angels singing "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of Creation! Oh my soul, praise Him, for He is thy health and salvation! Join the great throng, Psaltry, Organ and Song, sounding in glad adoration!" "Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy way and defend thee. Surely His goodness and mercy shall ever attend thee.  Ponder anew - What the Almighty can do, Who with His love doth befriend thee.  Praise to the Lord! Oh, let all that is in me adore Him!  All that hath breath, join with Abraham’s seed to adore Him!  Let the “amen” - Sum all our praises again, Now as we worship before Him." This Thanksgivin
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - MARCH 31: (FILE PHOTO) Th...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
g, our INSPIRATIONAL FAMILY focus is 'AN GRATITUDE OF GRATITUDE' by Pres. Thomas S. Monson: "This is a wonderful time to be living here on earth. Our opportunities are limitless. While there are some things wrong in the world today, there are many things right, such as teachers who teach, ministers who minister, marriages that make it, parents who sacrifice, and friends who help. We can lift ourselves, and others as well, when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude. If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues. A favorite hymn always lifts our spirits, kindles our faith, and inspires our thoughts:   'When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed, When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, Count your many blessings; name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.'   Well could we reflect upon our lives as individuals. We will soon discover much to prompt our personal gratitude. First, there is gratitude for our mothers. Second, let us reflect gratitude for our fathers. Third, all of us remember with gratitude our teachers. Fourth, let us have gratitude for our friends. Our most cherished friend is our partner in marriage. This old world would be so much better off today if kindness and deference were daily a reflection of our gratitude for wife, for husband. Fifth, may we acknowledge gratitude for our country—the land of our birth. When we ponder that vast throng who have died honorably defending home and hearth, we contemplate those immortal words, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). The feelings of heartfelt gratitude for the supreme sacrifice made by so many cannot be confined to a Memorial Day, a military parade, or a decorated grave.  Sixth and finally—even supremely—let us reflect gratitude for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. His glorious gospel provides answers to life’s greatest questions: Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where does my spirit go when I die? His called missionaries bring to those who live in darkness the light of divine truth...He taught us how to pray. He taught us how to live. He taught us how to die. His life is a legacy of love. The sick He healed; the downtrodden He lifted; the sinner He saved. Only He stood alone. He is our Master. He is our Savior. He is the Son of God. He is the author of our salvation. He beckons, “Follow me.” He instructs, “Go, and do thou likewise.” He pleads, “Keep my commandments.” Let us follow Him. Let us emulate His example. Let us obey His word.
 By so doing, we give to Him the divine gift of gratitude."
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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Our Joy Abounds

Here is our newest Grandaughter!  Isn't She Truly a Blessing from Heaven!!  It's also very true that when you 'Share your love with ev’ryone, --- your joy will abound!'


Thus, Our INSPIRATIONAL FAMILY thought is a song written by someone who also grew up in our old Modesto Stake in California:
'Look Inside'

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Gloria in Exelsis Deo

Our newest Grandaughter has arrived on earth! And this video just seemed to capture our joy and excitement!  


SALT LAKE CITY - APRIL 2:  (FILE PHOTO) Thomas...
Pres Thomas S Monson
Our INSPIRATIONAL FAMILY focus for today is by Pres. Thomas S. Monson in speaking about 'GIFTS':


 

"First, the gift of birth. It has been universally bestowed on each of us. Ours was the divine privilege to depart our heavenly home to tabernacle in the flesh and to demonstrate by our lives our worthiness and qualifications to one day return to Him, precious loved ones, and a kingdom called celestial. Our mothers and our fathers bestowed this marvelous gift on us. Ours is the responsibility to show our gratitude by the actions of our lives.

My own father, a printer, gave to me a copy of a piece he had printed. It was entitled “A Letter from a Father” and concluded with this thought: “Perhaps my greatest hope as a parent is to have such a relationship with you that when the day comes and you look down into the face of your first child, you will feel deep within you the desire to be to your child the kind of parent your dad has tried to be to you. What greater compliment could any man ask? Love, Dad.”

Our gratitude to Mother for the gift of birth is equal or beyond that owed to Father. She who looked upon us as “a sweet new blossom of humanity, fresh fallen from God’s own home, to flower on earth” and cared for our every need, comforted our every cry, and later rejoiced in any of our accomplishments and wept over our failures and disappointments occupies a singular place of honor in our hearts.


A passage from 3 John sets forth the formula whereby we might express to our parents our gratitude for the gift of birth: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” Let us so walk. Let us so honor the givers of this priceless gift of birth."





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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Keeping the Spirit of Christmas All Year

We believe in Year-round Christmas! With Great's name (Gloria) and being born on Christmas Day and my name (Hollie) it's just a given for our home! Our interior is decorated with Nativity sets, which are on display always.




We have 28 Mexican Nativity sets, 2 Swiss, 2 Italian Fontanini, 1 African, 1 Spanish, and 4 American. 




































We tell our Grandchildren that the Nativity Sets are 'very special' and that they aren't allowed to play with them.



 But, we secretly have warm hearts when we find that small hands have repositioned the Baby Jesus, or changed the placement of the lambs and calves,
rearranged the Three Wise Men and Shepherds, and even moved Mary, Joseph and The Angel. 















It's even more of a treat when we catch them singing their Primary songs as they secretly touch the Nativity sets!  Such treasures for our souls!

Our INSPIRATIONAL FAMILY focus is two-fold: 

First, from Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley

reminding us to 'Be Not Faithless':  "believe that it was he who was born to earth in a manger when there was no room in the inn. Well did an angel ask a prophet who had forseen these things in vision: “Knowest thou the condescension of God?” (1 Ne. 11:16.) I suppose none of us can fully understand that—how the great Jehovah should come among men, born in a manger in a vassal state, among a people who would hate him. But at his birth there was an angelic chorus that sang of his glory. There were shepherds who worshipped him. There was a new star in the east. Later, there were wise men who traveled far to bring tributes of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. One can surmise they touched those tiny hands in wonder and awe as they presented their gifts to the new king."


And, secondly, a reminder about what takes place at Temple Square  the day after Thanksgiving: 

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS ON TEMPLE SQUARE 2009




The Christmas Lights on Temple Square will be turned on Friday, November 27, 2009 at approximately 5:30pm. It is anticipated that they will remain on every evening until about 10:00pm through Friday, January 1, 2010.


Plan on taking your families- your children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren!!
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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Gratitude Keeps Us Focused On The Son

We're still awaiting our Grandaughter's birth. Seems as if she has a few last minute details to attend to before deciding to come to earth While we wait, we've been pondering how grateful that we are every night to discover that we made it through another day! And how wonderful it is every morning we awake to a new day!

 It's a safe bet that Great and Great Papa are also counting their blessings when they awake each morning, too!  Here they are at Errol's Birthday Lunch:
And here we are......       We also had another generation at Errol's Birthday Lunch, but she refused to allow us to post her picture.  There's much to be grateful about in having family living so close to us!
 
 
Our INSPIRATIONAL FAMILY focus is from Pres. Marion G. Romney in a talk called 'The Light Shineth': "For, Jesus continued, ” … before the day of the Lord shall come, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon be turned into blood, and the stars fall from heaven. “And the remnant shall be gathered unto this place. Such are they who, whether resurrected at his coming or still living in mortality, “shall abide the [great] day” of Christ’s second coming. “And the earth shall be given unto them for an inheritance; and they shall multiply and wax strong, and their children shall grow up without sin.".
 
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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Happy Birthday Errol! Everyday IS Heaven With You!


It's been exactly one year since you left the hospital on the day of your birthday! Who could have imagined that the Lord would have kept you alive all those years until modern medicine had advanced to the point that the surgeons could successfully repair your heart! The miracle that the Lord has given you is my miracle, too, as we are eternal companions, side by side together forever. How grateful I am to know that you are my faithful companion! How grateful I am to share the years ahead that will be filled with grandchildren and more!  Enjoy this video - there are many photos that will bring back great memories!!

Our INSPIRATIONAL FAMILY focus today comes from Elder Marlin K. Jensen in speaking about 'A UNION OF LOVE AND UNDERSTANDING' [which can be said for both husbands and wives]:

"I felt that God was my heavenly Father indeed; that Jesus was my brother, and that the wife of my bosom was an immortal, eternal companion; a kind ministering angel, given to me as a comfort, and a crown of glory for ever and ever.

"Developing Our Capacity to Love

"The teachings of Christ suggest that we should begin our search for an eternal companion with greater concern about our ability to give love than about our need to receive it."

Jesus is considered by scholars such as Weber ...Image via Wikipedia
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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Heavenly Carol for Our Grandaughter's Arrival


Silent Night, Holy Night by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to comfort us while we all await the BIG moment!  Therefore, our INSPIRATIONAL FAMILY focus for today comes from Elder Neal A. Maxwell, "Since faith in the timing of the Lord may be tried, let us learn to say not only, “Thy will be done,” but patiently also, “Thy timing be done.” Hope feasts on the words of Christ, “through patience and comfort of the scriptures,” “written for our learning” (Rom. 15:4), and bolstered by “having all these witnesses” (Jacob 4:6; see also 2 Ne. 31:20). Therefore, whatever our humble furrow, we are to “plow in hope” (1 Cor. 9:10), finally developing “a perfect brightness of hope” (2 Ne. 31:20; see also Alma 29:4)."





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Heavenly Carols Await the Birth of our Grandaughter

PhotobucketOh No! A False Alarm! We were soooo hopeful that the 5 minute contractions would bring Kayloni into the world, but apparently she decided she wanted her Nana to sing some more carols before she arrived! Our INSPIRATIONAL FAMILY focus today comes from Pres. Thomas S. Monson,
Thomas S. Monson. Photo by Brian Tibbets (tibb...Image via Wikipedia


in speaking about "Patience, A Heavenly Virtue": "And then more waiting and patience were required. The afflicted who have patiently waited for corrective help are blessed by these “angels in disguise.”"
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Monday, November 16, 2009

From Heaven to Earth - Welcome, Kayloni!


We're hoping our newest grandaughter is born tonight and wanted to herald her birth with a beautiful lullaby. And while we WAIT, we will ponder OUR INSPIRATIONAL FAMILY thought from Elder L. Tom Perry, "They said, ‘Let there be spring and summer, autumn and winter,’ and it was so. “ ‘Who will redeem the earth, who will go forth and make the sacrifice for the earth and all things it contains? (Elder John A. Widtsoe, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1941, pp. 53–54.) As these spirits have come forth from the council in heaven to take their “turn on earth,” they are still desiring their free agency, and in fact, they are willing to sacrifice for that freedom."
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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Heavenly Colors Even in Winter in Stansbury Park

Falling Leaves Quilt A Blanket Upon the Snow --
Winter has arrived! This wasn't the first snow storm, but this was the one that knocked most of the leaves off of the trees!  The green, yellow and orange leaves are a blanket upon the snow, and the green leaves actually appeared much more vibrant than the color appears in the photos below. If winter could always be this colorful, then perhaps I could think about liking winter!
Thank-goodness these photos were taken first thing this morning! By the time we returned home from church this afternoon, all of the pretty green leaves upon the snow had wilted (probably just froze) into an ugly brown!
How much more important then are the memories of this morning - about how beautiful the leaves looked in their patchwork quilt upon the snow! How blessed we are for taking time to notice God's handiwork!   

This brings us to OUR INSPIRATIONAL FAMILY thought for today, which comes from Elder M., Russell Ballard in his talk, 'Faith In Every Footstep':  "Joseph said, “Build under the point where the colors fall and you will prosper and have peace.”  The identification of this mountain peak, as the Saints entered Salt Lake Valley in July 1847, confirmed to President Young that the pioneers had found their destination, their Zion, in the tops of the mountains..... [Jens] was unable to walk another step and pleaded with Elsie, “Leave me by the trail in the snow to die, and you go ahead and try to keep up with the company and save your life.” Elsie, with her unfaltering pioneer courage, replied, “Ride, I can’t leave you, I can pull the cart.”  Such was the strength and the faith of many pioneer women on the trail."Posted by Picasa





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