Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Gives Hope

Dear Loved Ones:


It’s nearly the end of 2009 and we wanted to end the year with Hope that 2010 will be the Best Year Yet!

We gained another Grandaughter this year, adding some Joy to our posterity. (We now have 4 Grandaughters and 3 Grandsons! )

We are hoping that you’ve had a great year and enjoyed a truly Merry Christmas!

We long to be serving another mission, but circumstances have prevented us from doing so. Therefore, we look forward to the New Year and to the possibilites which keep us focussed on worthy goals.

Our hearts are tender as we ponder our blessings that are a result of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the atoning sacrifice of our Savior. All that we are and all that we hope to be is because of Him! We love sharing the Gospel and teaching the Temple Preparation Class! We love the many experiences that have graced our lives through our genealogy work for others! We love praying for dear friends who are serving the Lord across the world! We want to be like you!

We send you our love and wishes for all good things to come you.------ Errol and Hollie Bevan
 
Our INSPIRATIONAL FAMILY focus is by Pres. Spencer W. Kimball in a First Presidency Message 'The Gospel Vision of the Arts':  "With regard to masters, surely there must be many of the quality of Wagners (Richard Wagner, 1813–83) in the Church, approaching him or yet to come in the future—young people with a love of art, talent supreme, and eagerness to create. The best has not yet been composed nor produced."
Photo of Spencer W. KimballImage via Wikipedia

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Friday, December 18, 2009

What Shall We Give?

The MERRY CHRISTMAS TREE Card











  Our INSPIRATIONAL FAMILY focus is a quote from Pres. Howard W. Hunter:  "The legend of Santa Claus, the Christmas tree, the decorations of tinsel and mistletoe, and the giving of gifts all express to us the spirit of the day we celebrate; but the true spirit of Christmas lies much deeper than these.
Find the True Spirit of Christmas
If you desire to find the true spirit of Christmas and partake of the sweetness of it, let me make this suggestion to you. During the hurry of the festive occasion of this Christmas season, find time to turn your heart to God. Perhaps in the quiet hours, and in a quiet place, and on your knees—alone or with loved ones—give thanks for the good things that have come to you, and ask that His Spirit might dwell in you as you earnestly strive to serve Him and keep His commandments. He will take you by the hand and His promises will be kept.”
Gospel Classics: The Real Christmas.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Cheer IS Contagious

Great Papa came home with a new Fiber-optic Angel for the top of the Revelation Tree in the Family Room. He was going to stand guard while I first stepped on a kitchen chair and then stepped up to stand on the bar stool to try place the Angel on top, when Wonder of Wonders! My partial-assistant exclaimed that I was going to fall, so just wait and let him do it! (Well, that's exactly what I wanted him to do!



And so momentarily, we were all excited to be together and working cohesively to spread the Spirit of Christmas throughout the house!

Great Papa also is very excited about the new LED lights and came home with a strand that he put on this little tree that stands in the window by the front door.

This is one of two HOLLY and IVY wreaths that we hang outside on the Front Door and in the Porch:                                                                                The HOLLY and the IVY,

When they are both full grown
Of all the trees that are in the wood
The holly bears the crown
O the rising of the sun
And the running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ
Sweet singing of the choir

The holly bears a blossom
As white as lily flower
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
To be our sweet Saviour
 the rising of the sun
And the running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ
Sweet singing of the choir

The holly bears a berry
As red as any blood
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
To do poor sinners good
O the rising of the sun
And the running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ
Sweet singing of the choir 

The holly bears a prickle
As sharp as any thorn;
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
On Christmas Day in the morn.
O the rising of the sun
And the running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ
Sweet singing of the choir

The holly bears a bark
As bitter as any gall;
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
For to redeem us all.
O the rising of the sun
And the running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ
Sweet singing of the choir

The holly and the ivy
Now both are full well grown,
Of all the trees that are in the wood,
The holly bears the crown.
O the rising of the sun
And the running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ
Sweet singing of the choir  
And of course, the fabulous fiber-optic Pointsettia bush that Carolyn gave to Great!  The picture doesn't do it justice. The fiber-optic lights are very intense and beautiful. We love sitting and watching the colors change because it's soooo beautiful and peaceful in one great, grand, glorious display of colored lights! Truly Heavenly!

Remember, I mentioned that we were only momentarily united in enjoying the Christmas cheer that envelops you as you decorate and ponder the different Christmas symbols.

Our Cheer was interrupted with, "Aren't you done getting stuff out, yet? How many more boxes do I have to put away in the garage?"

Well, what do you think? Do you honestly think I'm done finding things to decorate?

Our INSPIRATIONAL FAMILY focus is a quote from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland in a BYU Devotional that he gave years ago, 'Maybe Christmas Doesn’t Come from a Store' :  "As happens so often if we are not careful, the symbols can cover that which is symbolized. In some of our lives the manger has already been torn down to allow for a discount store running three-for-a-dollar specials on gold, frankincense, and myrrh.....But for that very reason, I, like you, need to remember the very plain scene, even the poverty, of a night devoid of tinsel or wrapping or goods of this world. Only when we see that single, sacred, unadorned object of our devotion—the Babe of Bethlehem—will we know why “tis the season to be jolly” and why the giving of gifts is so appropriate."









Saturday, December 12, 2009

Magic of CHRISTmas

This plaque was a gift from our Home Teacher.  We love it!  This year, we are appropriately placing it on display where the presents normally would be placed - below the Christmas tree.  The Fontanini Nativity with Santa kneeling at the Manger before the Christ Child is also, the only icon of Jolly Ol' St. Nick that we use in any of our decorations. 

Our INSPIRATIONAL FAMILY thought is two-fold: 

First, by Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley:  "While there are those for whom Christmas is difficult—particularly those who have lost loved ones and for whom there is now a poignant loneliness—even to these there comes the assurance of future glad reunions made possible only because of the sacrifice of the Son of God, whose birth we commemorate at this season. At this time of Christmas, this season when gifts are given, let us not forget that God gave His Son, and His Son gave His life, that each of us might have the gift of eternal life."


and Secondly, by Pres. Thomas S. Monson:  "'Let us not spend Christmas and let us not observe Christmas, necessarily, but let us keep Christmas in our hearts and in our lives.'  This would be my plea today, for when we keep the spirit of Christmas, we keep the spirit of Christ, because the Christmas spirit is the Christ spirit.  Since that time, the spirit of giving gifts has been present in the mind of each Christian as he commemorates the Christmas season."
Thomas S. Monson. Photo by Brian Tibbets (tibb...Image via Wikipedia

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The Spirit Of Christmas

  This is Our INSPIRATIONAL FAMILY focus:  "A young girl with true Christmas spirit quietly teaches her preoccupied family the true meaning of Christmas. President Thomas S. Monson, Prophet of the Lord Jesus Christ, shares his testimony of how to put Christ back into Christmas."



Thursday, December 10, 2009

Reflections about Reflections

We've so many pictures posted all over our 'frig in honor of our Grandchildren that we thought we'd post our newest picture here. 
This is our Grand- daughter Caitlin's entry in the Reflec- tions Contest: a picture of a horse named Coconut.  (Caitlin is Great and Great Papa's GREAT GRANDDAUGHTER!)


 
 
Great is actually a Master Painter. The very large landscape with the mountains and running water is one of her paintings. She never paints from a photograph and rarely from actual views.  Instead, Great has always painted the views that reflect her dreams, and her hopes about heaven.
 
 
Nana's idea of Reflections is what you see in the mirror.  Look, and you can just see her hand holding the camera. 

She hopes that her Grandchildren will each see themself as a Child of God when they look at their Reflection in the mirror.

She hopes that they will see themselves with Christ and develop His Image in their countenances.
 

 
 
Outside, the view always Reflects God's Handiwork upon the world.  Even when it storms and blankets the earth in snow, how we look at it reflects our attitude about the Lord.  What we see reflects who we are.
Our present view through the glass fence surrounding the pool shows a world of ice and snow. Fresh snow now covers the pool and the lake, making the heavens appear even blue-er and adding magnificent contrasts to God's colors.

Our INSPIRATIONAL FAMILY thought come from Elder Neil L. Anderson, in an NEW ERA article called 'Looking Back and Looking Forward':  "Notice in President Hinckley’s words that he looked both back through his generations—his parents, grandparents, great-grandparents—and forward through his generations—his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. As you can learn to see through the generations—by looking back and by looking forward—you will see more clearly who you are and what you must become."
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Time to Lighten Our Attitude

We were left to ourselves to put up the tree and so only one side is decorated. 

This is our 3rd and shortest tree for our vaulted ceilings. (Notice the symbolism of the 2nd Coming of Christ with all of His Angels - the Angels on His Christmas Tree - being guarded by the Angel with her Sword.)
 Errol 'D I'd' my 18' foot tree and won't even get the boxes out of the garage attic for the 14' tree.  (Both of those trees were wider and fuller and required many ladders - and extra hands to put up and decorate.)
The star on top of this tree is from the REVELATION tree. (I taught the Gospel Doctrine Class at Christmas time one year and we were studying the Book of Revelations from the New Testament.  To visually enhance the scriptures, I decorated a 3' Christmas tree with ornaments matching the descriptions of the various symbols. The TREE was a beautiful representation and the kids grew-up with the REVELATION tree as a tradition in the Family Room.)
This 3' Angel used to reside on top of the 18'and 14' trees.  We attempted to place her on the current tree, but she would lean to one side.  (I like this year's placement with The Sword Of Truth! Actually, it's the Sword of Laban that we brought home from Spain.)

This sweet angel was given to us by our daughter as a surprise to place on our current tree.  But, alas, since I was a one person decorating committee this year, I couldn't make myself stand on the ladder on a high enough step to reach the top.  It was toooooo high and I seem to have a balance problem and always fall. (In fairness, I had a partial-assistant who stood on a bar stool to sort of throw a few angels up at the top, but we don't consider his effort worthy of calling it actual help!  And I single-handedly had already managed to get the Star on top!)  Our Angel theme continues in front of the Salt Lake Temple to remind us that it IS THE PLACE where Heaven comes to Earth.  (This photo is also for our one son's benefit who has been making light of his mom at work. Now, I ask you, does this look like the poor child really had it bad growing up in a deluge of green and gold?)  I added green candles this year to add a Christmas theme to Christ.  A fiber-optic Angel on the Entry Hall Door that requires many batteries from Great Papa's endless supply that he maintains for all of his wonderful toys.  (Thank-you GREAT PAPA!  There's a countdown on the Blog so that you can see how many more days I will be turning on her lights!)


Our INSPIRATIONAL FAMILY focus today is from Pres. Thomas S. Monson in his Conference address 'For I Was Blind, But Now I See':
" The lights in the building almost immediately went out.
But back came to me the stranger—
his lamp was glowing fine;
He held the precious flame and lighted mine. 
Perhaps the moral of this poem is simply that if you want to give a light to others, you have to glow yourself."
President George W. Bush (left) meets with the...Image via Wikipedia

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Hope Springs Eternal

There are some experiences that are not ours to tell and yet their footprints deeply and personally affect our life in that it becomes our story, too.
There are some events that seek to tear the very fabric of faith from our heart, only driving that faith forward with a sustained power from unseen hands.
There are some trials that seem overwhelming with an anguish that consumes until the sweet peace descends, surrounds and encircles you in arms of His love.
There are some days when broken hearts find the love that heals.
There are some moments when Peace trumps hurt; Hope squashes doubt; and Charity enters in.
There are some feelings that only Heaven knows.
There are some pains that can be made whole.
There is always someone who understands.
There is Comfort and Joy to be shared.
There is life ahead with happiness to be enjoyed with beloved family members.
Our INSPIRATIONAL FAMILY thought is one of love, hope and enouragement from Pres. Thomas S. Monson in his Apr 2009 Conference Talk 'Be Of Good Cheer':  "His life was brought into compliance with the teachings of the Church, and he once again felt hope and joy."
Thomas S. Monson. Photo by Brian Tibbets (tibb...Image via Wikipedia
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Monday, December 7, 2009

Heaven AND The First Presidency Christmas Devotional


Heaven attended the First Presidency Christmas Devotional last night!
I watched on the Internet for the very minute when the Devotional was available at the Church's NEW MEDIA link so that I could watch, listen, and devour the sacred music again! The link became active about midnight (actually right on the dot!) and in the quiet hours of the night, with the stars brightly shining through our vaulted glass windows, I listened again and heard again and felt again!
It was so wonderful that I didn't want the feelings that were being written on my heart to stop!


It was soooo incredibly spiritual!


You won't want to miss this opportunity to hear it again for yourself: 


and then Click on "For Unto Us A Child Was Born".  You will hear what you first think to be an old favorite that you've heard before. But, it's NOT the same! Listen to the incredible way the choir punches the moving note phrases and then emphasizes the smooth note phrases!  It's as if there is an angel beside every choir member on their right and on their left bearing them up and singing with them!


Then, Click on "O Holy Night".  Listen to the incredible counter melody of the violin obligato with the Heavenly voices of the Choir! This was the first time that I had ever heard this amazing Wilberg arrangement and while listening to it, I was able to perfectly hum the violin's melody as it played, as if I had known and heard it 'before' making my listening experience one that almost parted the veil.

Now, Click on "Silent Night" and listen to the chimes and harp; listen to all the voices; and listen to the orchestration.  Your heart will become tender and your spirit will feel that Holy Gratitude that is ONLY born of the Spirit.


Our INSPIRATIONAL FAMILY focus comes from Elder Russell M. Nelson in his article in the Dec 2009 ENSIGN, 'The Power and Protection of Worthy Music':  "Music has power to provide spiritual nourishment.  It has healing power.  It has the power to facilitate worship, allowing us to contemplate the Atonement and the Restoration of the gospel, with its saving principles and exalting ordinances. It provides power for us to express prayerful thoughts and bear testimony of sacred truths."
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Saturday, December 5, 2009

Five Perfect Loaves and Brownies Instead of Fishes

Unlike his forefathers before him, Great Papa has chosen a different hobby at 77 yrs old:  BAKING!  Now, mind you, he doesn't just do any old baking from any old recipe.  First, he studies on-line (yes, he's very computer and Internet savy!) and even orders Books so that he'll make a perfect product.

His newly found instructions told him that he needed to weigh his bread dough and surprise! A new digital postal scale is delivered at the front door. Just what was required to weigh those loaves!

Here's a photo of his perfectly weighed and measured bread dough as it's rising:

Just so you know that he's serious, he dons his farmer overalls so that he has access to all of his possible required gadgets and tools.  The next photo shows him hand-washing his whole-wheat grinder and Bosch Bread Dough mixer while his bread is baking:


He wants you to know that he still has perfect vision - except for the close-up things due to the age of his eyes: hence, the All-A-Dollar magnifying glasses so that he can see any missed spots.

Here's Great Papa basting his 5 Perfect Loaves!


OOOOPS! He can't get the bread out!



Aaaaaaah!!!! Perfection!  5 Perfect Loaves AND the Chocolate Chip Brownies that he baked yesterday:



And if you were here, he'd give you some fresh home-made warm Bread and a Chocolate Chip Brownie on the side:



(Great preferred that I not take any pictures of her as she had just washed her hair and it wasn't curled yet.)

Today's baking experience kind of reminds us of the 5 Loaves and 2 Fishes, reminding us that it is ONLY the Bread of Life that can fill us and warm our hearts!

Our INSPIRATIONAL FAMILY focus is from Pres. James E. Faust, 'Five Loaves and Two Fishes': "Some months ago, as Elder Spencer J. Condie and I were in the Salt Lake airport, we unexpectedly met a devoted and faithful couple who have been friends for long years. This couple has spent a lifetime of service, meekly, faithfully, and effectively trying to build up the Church in many places in the world. Elder Condie noted, “Isn’t it remarkable what people with five loaves and two fishes do to build up the kingdom of God.” This kind of quiet, devoted service to me is surely a fulfillment of the word of God “that the fulness of my gospel might be proclaimed by the weak and the simple unto the ends of the world, and before kings and rulers” (D&C 1:23). Today I would like to speak of those of us who have only talents equal to five loaves and two fishes to offer the Savior to help feed the multitudes.

In our time, we seem to have forgotten the miracle of the five loaves and the two fishes in favor of the miracles wrought by the mind and hand of men....With this great knowledge has come also some skepticism about the simple and profound eternal truths taught in the miracle of the loaves and of the fishes—namely, that God rules in the heavens and the earth through his infinite intelligence and goodness.



We are also to understand and remember that we too, like the lad in the New Testament account, are the spirit children of our Heavenly Father, that Jesus is the Christ, our Savior, and the Redeemer of the world. We believe that in the centuries following the establishment of his kingdom upon the earth, the doctrines and the ordinances were changed, resulting in a falling away and the loss of the keys of priesthood authority from the earth. A miracle even greater than that of the loaves and the fishes was the vision of the Prophet Joseph Smith, who saw the Father and the Son in the Sacred Grove near Palmyra, New York. Subsequently the keys, the priesthood, and the saving ordinances were restored in their fulness, and Christ’s church was reestablished in our time. Thus God has again “fed” us and filled our “baskets” to overflowing.

It has been said that this church does not necessarily attract great people but more often makes ordinary people great. Many nameless people with gifts equal only to five loaves and two small fishes magnify their callings and serve without attention or recognition, feeding literally thousands.

....What is the central characteristic of those having only five loaves and two fishes? What makes it possible, under the Master’s touch, for them to serve, lift, and bless so that they touch for good the lives of hundreds, even thousands? After a lifetime of dealing in the affairs of men and women, I believe it is the ability to overcome personal ego and pride—both are enemies to the full enjoyment of the Spirit of God and walking humbly before him.....

What of those who have talents equal only to two loaves and one fish? They do much of the hard, menial, unchallenging, poorly compensated work of the world. Life may not have been quite fair to them. They struggle to have enough to hold body and soul together. But they are not forgotten. If their talents are used to build the kingdom of God and serve others, they will fully enjoy the promises of the Savior. The great promise of the Savior is that they “shall receive [their] reward, even peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come” (D&C 59:23). The one who had only two talents was able to say, “Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.” Thus said the Lord, “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter … into the joy of thy lord” (Matt. 25:22–23)."


Oh, how we need today's focus! The snow is really here and the lake is frozen!

Kind of looks like when hell freezes over!  Cold and Winter are NOT good things at the Bevan Resort! It's a good thing we have Warm Bread and Chocolate to comfort us with heavenly thoughts!