Well, hello everyone!!! Whoever is out there reading this, which, much to my chagrin are probably a select few. BUT those few are very dear to me, that's all I can say!!! Anyhow, we are back!! And what a trip this was. I can't even begin to put the proper words here to explain the magnificence, the beauty, the sweetness and the Spirit of this Church History Site trip. First of all we went on our own. We began in the cradle of the restoration. Palmyra. This place felt really sacred. The Sacred Grove was my favorite spot, it gave me a feeling of peace, or longing for home, of knowledge that Joseph did indeed see God, the Father and the Son, Jesus Christ. It was indescribable. We stayed in the grove for at least an hour, talking of the things that happened here, also of Jon's experience in that Mission. Also, of the great testimony Jon has of that place. It was very sweet there and I felt and received some very special things there. The Temple is built directly east of the Sacred Grove, right next to the Joseph Smith Farm. and Wow, what a sight. Joseph, I'm sure, saw that Temple there and was assured in every way of what was to come in that special place. The Temple inside was so special. Every window has the sacred grove in stained glass. The man who was commissioned to do the windows asked if he could do all the windows in the sacred grove and Pres. Hinckley said it could not go over budget but if hw got a donor, then he could do it. He got a donor. This temple is a small one, but so gorgeous inside. I really wanted to stay in that part of the vineyard longer. I'm sorry I'll be back tomorrow, I'm starting to crash and burn, been up since 2:30 a.m. this morning traveling. Sooo.......
I've been reading quite a lot of articles on marriage as of late as Nate put me on to a website he was given in school that is really helpful. It's called www.smartmarriages.com. Every day they send out articles to read and ponder concerning marriage, especially in today's world. It is all about teaching couples how to increase the behaviors that predict success and extinquish the behaviors that predict failure. I write this, because of pondering a statement, that endurance to the end is false and if your marriage is based on that then get out now. Well, since hearing that therre have been articles stating quite the opposite and I'm so glad I read them. I have been married now for 35 years. And I can tell you firsthand, successful marriages takes lots of hard work, takes time, and it takes encouragement of this very sacred endeavor. (Now, those of you who are reading this, if you think for one minute this is directed towards anyone, then you must be feeling guilty, so my advice, don't!! Because this is facts and truth being presented and much of it I have been contemplating as to the comment I overheard up above.) Marriage is in trouble, among all groups of Americans. The divorce rate is down slightly-about 1/3rd of all first marriages will end in divorce after 10 years of marriage-but it's not time to pop the champagne bottles. Marriage rates are down even more sharply. Fewer Americans are marrying today than anytime in the past, and cohabitation is on a sharp increase. If you look at the factors that predict who will marry and who will divorce, then Mike and I didn't have a very good chance. I was 19 and he was 21 when we got married. Basically still teenagers, whose divorce rates are sky-high (nearly half of all teenage brides divorce within 10 years). His father was a construction man and my father a Pharmeceutical Rep and enterpreneur. His family was always struggling to make it through the week on their paycheck and lived in the hard, rough areas of L.A. and mine was in the middle class, living in beautiful La Jolla. We both went to college, but after marriage I went to work and he kept going and then Lara came along. So according to the statistics just those few mentioned issues cause a lot of problems. So why are we still here? I'll tell you right now, by refusing to give up on the relationship, when when thing were tough. And I'm not saying, that we didn't feel like it, because at times we did. But I must say, EVERY marriage goes through patchy periods. Ups and Downs. EVERY ONE!!! I remember one of our Church leaders saying, if someone says they don't disagree, then they are either not talking or they are dead!! I had to laugh, because it is important to keep perspective. But then we have 4 kids. They said that if you have kids, we owe it to them to do everything in your power to work it out. (of course, physical abuse, drug addition or severe alcohol abuse can't be tolerated. but most marriages that end in divorce don't do so because of these factors.) Marriage is one of the most effective anti-poverty programs there is. But according to this article promoting marriage is an uphill battle today. Especially in a disposable society. Don't like washing dishes or diapers? Replace them with paper, which can be thrown away. Last year's car isn't as shiny or cutting edge as the new ones? Trade it in. Debt here we come. The wife is getting a little fat or the hubby is losing his hair? There's always someone younger, better looking or more successful out there. In the past there was social stigma attached to divorce. Now, the pressure on married couples is not to settle for anything less than perfect spouses and uninterrupted bliss. Marriage isn't like that. It's hard work. Traditional marriages vows recognized this. Spouses pledged to honor each other in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, until death. The Catholic Church still used this pledge. But the trend today is to write hip, even funny, vows, which aren't really vows at all, like these suggested on a popular wedding Web site: "I promise to always make your favorite banana milkshake," Or "I promise to split the difference on the thermostat, as Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston did when they married. And look how long that union lasted. Marriage is a serious-dare I say, sacred-endeavor, It is also the foundation of our society. If children are to thrive, we must do more to encourage and celebrate marriage. I'll be doing my share this week.
I have a dear, dear friend that I have walking with three times a week for years, and have been friends with, served with in Young Women for years, gone to lunch with often and shared many deep thoughts and feelings with for years! She has a deep love for others and an understanding of human nature like no one I know. She has wonderful qualities as a person. She always can see the eternal perspective! She thinks she has many weaknesses, she makes fun of herself, and she has down days like we all do! But the one thing I have to say is, I am going to miss her so much for the next two years. She and her husband are leaving on July 16th for a mission to the Helsinki, Finland Temple mission. I have literally gone through the whole process with her, listening to all the details since the day they even thought they wanted to go on a mission. And now they are only a couple of weeks away. Today we went and bought three pairs of shoes for her and she got fitted for the first time for a proper brassiere! That alone was a good thing. We had a great time. Last week we found two beautiful Temple outfits for her that will wash and wear the entire two years and still look new. We were so excited about her find at White Elegance. I told her today, I'm going to miss her so much I might get depressed. Who will I chatter with and share all the things we are learning in our classes or Institute? Who will I get to listen to and feel a connection with like her??? She laughed. But I really will miss her. She has made my life more meaningful and rich. I look forward to when I'll receive her emails and letters of this mission. The one they have been so looking forward to for quite some time. And then,again I will be enriched and inspired. Then they will come home for a while and then go again. And this time maybe Mike and I will be ready to go. Thank goodness, we have a few years to correct, to grow, to lift, to change and all those things that will prepare us for the one thing I feel I owe the Lord in no uncertain terms. And that is to share His gospel to whomever He thinks I can. So, Gerri, I have many wonderful friends, but YOU hold an extremely special and important place in my life. Many Many blessings to you and Ralph.
I was listening to a talk given by Sister Susan Tanner, General YW President and one thing struck me that she said today. There are 3 people who are hugely influential on our Young Women today other than their parents. Can you guess what three they are???????? 1) Older Sibling. 2) Grandmothers. 3) Young Women Leaders.
Wow, one more week and we take off for Rochester, New York to begin our Church History route on Saturday. Just Mike and I!! Doesn't that sound intriguing? We've been planning on this for quite sometime and the time is nearing. I have been working on our itinerary for a while today and looking more thoroughly at the historic sites and the travel time,the weather, the reservations needed or not needed. We will fly into Rochester and go directly to our hotel, then off we go to check out some sites for awhile before dark. Sunday will be church and sites. Monday we will be going to a Temple session at the Palmyra Temple, absolutely gorgeous!! Then over to Niagra Falls for a Maid of the Mist Boat ride. Then we plan to drive over to Painesville, Ohio right outside of Kirtland. Kirtland has many interesting sites there where much of Church History occurred. We plan on two days there, inasmuch, as there is much to see all over the place. Then we are driving into Cleveland and staying the night and hopping a plane to St. Louis. As soon as we get to St. Louis we are driving up to Keokuk and staying the night, but before we drop our heads we will go over to Carthage Jail. Then on the 22nd and 23rd it is Nauvoo, the City Beautiful. Taking in a Temple session at the beautiful Nauvoo Temple and the many shows and homes there. Fred and MaryJane Fuller are missionaries there and we are staying with them. The time will just fly by and then off to St. Louis again only to fly home early Sunday morning. All I can say is this is thrilling to have such an opportunity to see up close and personal all that we read about in the Doctrine and Covenants and study in Church History classes in Institute. I think I'll go to bed now, I'm already tired, but oh so grateful for this trip to finally come to fruition!!
Yesterday, June 7th was definitely an eventful day! The one event that stood out of a prayer being answered regularly was Mike's UPS truck catching fire and burning to the ground and NOONE was hurt! I guess that sounds like an exaggeration but you must see the pictures of it! Mike and his loader had just finished loading the truck at about 8:00 a.m. in the morning, ready to go and deliver. It also had been gassed up the day before, so it did have a full tank of gas in it as well. And as always, his truck is crammed from top to bottom. Just as Mike had left and was walking away as was his loader, a loader from the car next to his, screamed "FIRE!" Now, realize that these trucks are tightly parked right next to each other, just inches in fact, because a loader loads about 2-3 trucks at a time in the morning. As she screamed fire this package she saw in the Mikes' truck ignited or flashed, burned her a little, and then the entire truck went up in seconds. Everyone in the center went crazy and started to yell get out, but there was Mike walking around his truck taking pictures!! He got some incredible pictures on his cell phone, I'll see if I can learn to put on pictures. Anyhow, it was an inferno, destroyed Mikes truck, the roof caved, the windows blew, the sides all burned out and the load itself was now ashes. The two trucks beside his was destroyed as well, but fortunately the loads inside were not damaged. Needless to say, all drivers were held outdoors until the fire department cleared the area, so everyone was out late delivering and Mike and two other drivers had no truck, so they had to find them trucks. The funny thing is Mike had just said to the supervisors "What do I have to do to get a new truck?" just last week. Oh boy, what a way to get one. The moral of the story is, that really he was SO protected, that all around that center was protected, no one was harmed, and so little was lost. It could have been a huge disaster as those trucks are filled with hazmat! Thankyou Heavenly Father for my husband's protection. I'm not ready to give him up!! I am so grateful to still have him!!! I love him.
So I guess I'm on a kick of writing about the little special things that happen during the day that have to do with one or more of my grandchildren that I notice. Yesterday was a very special birthday of my favorite grandson #1, Brayden Michael Preston!!!! He turned 6 years old, ALREADY! But what a special, incredible kid he is. Last week Jon brought the boys over here to celebrate his birthday with us, his cousins, aunt and uncle! It was so fun! Those kids love to play and run and chatter together! It is a wonderful sight to watch them play. I love that Brayden will call and want to come over when the girls are here! The girls adore those boys and always ask if they are coming over again and again. I called Shana's cell, they were busy, so the voicemail picked up and I sang away a Happy Birthday song to that sweetie, but by the end of the day, while I was in class Brayden called and left a cute message with his precious little voice!! I just love him so much. AND I am so grateful that he is my grandson!! What can I say???? I have the bestest grandchildren in the world!!!!
SO today was a very hard day for me in that when I came home from class, I didn't have any little footsteps running and calling "Mamah, mamah!!" Look at this, or watch or come here!!! So it was very quiet, except for Daisy greeting me, for which I am very grateful for! So now it is going back to being quiet, going about my business, doing my thing etc. etc! Those kids make me feel so happy, they make me smile in what they spend their time doing all day. I found a multitude of things around that reminded me of them immediately. First they left me, dad and Nate letters, thanking us for being here, then I found all these drawings of princesses and sunshines and little girls!! Then I found a few things they left, a piggy bank, a box, a book of Mormon, and few stuffed animals. So when I see them I think of them. It is really withdrawal to say the least! They, meaning, all my grandchildren are tender mercies of the Lord, no doubt. I really understand my mother and how she felt with my children. How much she loved them, worried about them and felt so connected to them. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be with them and be a part of their lives. They are so welcoming and so want to be with us here. And I love the kisses I get all of the time from adorable little faces. So, Lara, the messes, well they were nothing compared to that. The messes can be cleaned up! I love you, Mom