Today I got to spend some time with these two while their parents went to a wedding. Here are just a few of the delightful things they said:
For quite a long time they were both entertained by combing my hair and putting make-up on me.
Ayden: "Nana, we need to put some make-up on you so Papa will like you."
I took Ayden to school at 11 am, but when I told him we needed to get ready to go he said: "But I don't want to go to school today, I want to stay and play with you, Nana."
While Ayden was at school Sophie and I went to Target. She insisted on having a new "litstick" (I wish I could write it so you would know how darling it is when she says it!) We got a "lip smackers" chapstick with three so she could give the purple one to me, the orange one to her "brudder, Ayden" and keep the pink one for herself.
We shared a cheese pizza at a table in Target and she asked for the fourth or fifth time if we were going to "Nana's house." When I said "no, not today," she said knowingly, "cause it's far far away." I asked if she liked my house and she said, "your house is SO beautiful, Nana!" "Thanks, Sophie, what do you like best at my house?" "Your toy room!"
See, all those fisher~price.com online shopping trips ~ all worth it!
Sophie explained to me that: "My Daddy is Logan and my Mommy is Mary and my brudder is Ayden and that is all my famwily."
We also spent a considerable amount of time playing:
"Nana, you're the baby and I'm the Mommy."
Sophie is a very kind and gentle Mommy, and she says "thank you" and "you're welcome" spontaneously whenever it's appropriate. That's how I know she has wonderful parents!
Thursday, April 30, 2009
This is my cute nephew Brent who is serving a mission in Brazil. His Dad and sister keep a blog going for him about his adventures as a missionary. We're trying to up his readership - just for fun and to give him a boost. So stop on by Brent in Brazil and make a missionary's day!
Monday, April 27, 2009
We went on a Tahitian cruise last week! I feel very blessed since my husband has never been attracted to the idea of a cruise (he's not fond of water or nature) and I didn't think I would get that experience. Tahiti is truly an island paradise and experiencing a cruise ship to five of the islands was a dream come true for me. I will post pictures, but they cannot come close to the true beauty we saw. It was lovely to be with my husband, have no responsibilities and experience another part of this amazing earth God created for us. Rich was able to finish writing a book he's been working on in our air-conditioned stateroom with the diet coke flowing. I was able to snorkel, soak up the sun and swim with stingrays and reef sharks. A great time was had by all!
This is our cruise ship, the Paul Gauguin, named after the famous French Post-impressionist artist who spent years in Tahiti. As Rich put it: "He left his wife and five children to paint half-naked women in Tahiti, clearly he should have a boat named after him."
Our stateroom was on Deck 7 (8 is the top) and four balconies from the back of the ship.
The cruise ship has smaller boats called "tenders" that take passengers into the pier on the main islands or to smaller islands, called "motus" to spend some time on the beach or snorkel. These native Tahitians would wait in their kayaks to get into the wake of the tender and "ride" it. It was fun to watch them ~ beats having a real job.
This is one of the motus I went to ~ perfect white sandy beaches with warm water for swimming and coral and tropical fish to see when snorkeling. You can see our cruise ship in the background. This was near the island of Bora Bora.
One of the amazing things about Tahiti is the many colors of the waters, from turquoise and aqua to deep navy blue ~ of course I was in paradise - just shades of BLUE!
On one of the motus I took a picture of these hermit crabs. You don't often get to see the inhabitants of seashells walking around on the beach.
We took a tour on a glass-bottomed boat ~ Rich's form of snorkeling (you don't have to get wet) This is the same view I saw of coral and tropical fish when snorkeling but I didn't have a waterproof camera.
On the way to a motu we stopped in shallow water and our guide got in the water with the tame sting rays and reef sharks.
In this one you can see there was a storm just to the left of the setting sun.
One of my favorite things was the night we had a star party from the top deck of the ship. I got to see the sky in the southern hemisphere, which I have never done before! Notably, I saw the "southern cross" which is the "north star" to the southern hemisphere pointing the way to due south. I also saw "alpha centauri," the star closest to the earth, which can only be seen from the southern hemisphere. It was also fun to see the zodiac constellations along the ecliptic that I know, from a different perspective.
We both enjoyed the guest lecturerers they had on the ship. We heard from a marine biologist about the dolphin populations in the islands. And we learned about Tahitians lived 200 years ago, when they were discovered by Europeans, and the real story of "Mutiny on the Bounty," from an archaelogist/anthropologist.
The last day I just took pictures of flowers around the hotel where we stayed before catching the flight home.
In case you're interested, here are some facts about Tahiti. It is in the same time zone as Honolulu, just fours hours earlier than Utah. It is the same distance south of the equator as Hawaii is north of the equator. The flight from Los Angeles to Papeete is eight hours. We went to the five of the islands in the archipelago of the "Society Islands:" Tahiti, Moorea, Raiatea, Bora Bora, and Taha'a
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Last week Laura and Alan took Alan's parents and Connor and Abby on a short trip to southern Utah. And we got to keep Andrew at our house! He is a perfect baby and we had a wonderful time together. He's a great sleeper, always a nice touch. He loves Annie dog. We had fun stroller ride/walks with Annie and we played toys and went to Target. He played with Papa Rich in the evening. He's not saying many words, but definitely makes his wishes known with a combination of signs and grunts ~ I think he's well on his way to the teenage boy grunt language. He's just adorable and we're so happy we got to enjoy him for three whole days!
We went to Layton on Saturday for the 10th annual Easter Egg Hunt in Mary's neighborhood:
Laura is talking to Andrew and Connor as they wait for the hunt to begin
Papa Rich and his granddaughters ~ they're pretty excited about the Easter Egg Hunt! Papa is just happy that he has a lovely beverage!
I was getting some major snuggles from these two!
About a month ago the Bishop (my dear husband) asked me to speak in Sacrament meeting on Easter Sunday. I had been thinking about my talk for some time, but didn't actually sit down to the computer to organize my thoughts until Friday afternoon. Imagine my surprise on Friday evening when I was catching up on blogs and read My Dear Husband's latest post which was basically the talk I had prepared for Easter Sunday! I guess great minds think alike. Here's my talk:
Easter Sacrament Meeting Talk
April 12, 2009
Last year around this time through the blogging world I became interested in some of the ways that other Christian religions celebrate the Easter season.
I learned about Lent, which is the six-week period before Easter the purpose of which is to prepare the believer through prayer, penitence, almsgiving and self-denial for the commemoration of Christ’s sacrifice and victory over death. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and continues for forty days (minus Sundays) until Easter Sunday. Forty is a significant number. It is the number of days that Moses was on Mount Sinai with God; it is the number of days of continual rain during Noah’s time. It is the number of years the Children of Israel wandered in the wilderness. And most significantly, it is the number of days that Jesus fasted in the wilderness before beginning His earthly ministry. During the forty days of Lent, we can choose to think more about Jesus and His atonement and willingly sacrifice something that will bring us closer to Him. I had a spiritual experience this year in choosing what I would give up for Lent and I felt Heavenly Father guided me to make a choice that has brought me closer to Him and helped me to think about and prepare for Easter.
Another term that I have become familiar with is Maundy Thursday. We are all familiar with Good Friday, the Friday before Easter when we remember the suffering of Jesus on the cross as He died for our sins. Maundy Thursday refers to the Thursday before Good Friday. This day is important to Christians because of the three significant things Jesus did on this day:
1. He washed the disciples feet
2. He instituted the sacrament
3. He suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane
The dictionary gives the following definitions of the word “Maundy.”
1. The sacrament of the Lord's Supper.
2. The ceremony of washing the feet of the poor, esp. commemorating Jesus' washing of His disciples' feet on Maundy Thursday.
3. The alms distributed in connection with this ceremony or on Maundy Thursday.
The origin of this word is significant as it is from the Latin phrase—“novum mandātum” meaning “new command” referring to Jesus’ words to the disciples after He had washed their feet. Jesus said:
“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
The Washing of the Disciples’ Feet
The account is found in John chapter 13. I would like to share with you the story as written by Carol Lynn Pearson in her poem entitled:
He Who Would Be Chief Among You
And he rose from supper,
Poured water in a basin,
And washed the disciples’ feet.
Hardened by the heat of a desert sun,
Comfortable with cutting trees
And turning them to tables
In Joseph’s shop—
That with a wave could stop
The troubled sea,
Could touch a leper clean, or triumphantly turn death away
From the loved daughter on Jarius’couch—
That could gesture the heavens open—
Poured water in a basin
And washed the disciples feet.
The lesson lies unlearned
But to a few,
Who trust the paradox
And hear the call:
“He who would be chief among you,
Let him be the servant of all.”
After explaining the example he has just set for His disciples Jesus says, “If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.” Jesus gave us the perfect example of how to serve one another and promises that happiness will come to those who follow His example.
The act of washing the disciples feet not only is an example of service; it shows us how to be humble.
Elder Joe J. Christensen has said:
“Don’t be like the young, handsome, enthusiastic elder who asked me on the first day he arrived at the MTC in Provo, “President, do you know what my major goal is in my mission?” Of course I didn’t know. He said, “My main goal is to become assistant to the president of my mission!”
How much better it would have been for him to have said something like this: “President, the main goal I have on my mission is to be a worthy representative of the Lord Jesus Christ. I want to serve Him with all my heart, might, mind, and strength. I would be happy to serve in whatever part of the mission and in whatever assignment I am given. I just want to serve.” Joe J. Christensen, “Ten Ideas to Increase Your Spirituality,” Ensign, Mar 1999, 58
We actually had a fine missionary who was an example of this. During the first week we were on our mission we had many tasks to be done that were not all related to missionary work as we were moving into and getting settled into the mission home. I apologized to Elder Glover for asking him to move furniture and he said, “It’s okay, Sister Rife, I came to serve.”
How wonderful if we all remember that one of the important reasons for our coming to this earth is so that we can follow the Savior’s example of loving service. Perhaps when we are asked to do something we don’t really think is our job or is beneath us we can answer with humility “I came to serve.”
The Institution of the Sacrament
On that first Maundy Thursday Jesus also instituted the ordinance of the sacrament. Elder David B. Haight has said, “the most complete account of Christ’s introduction of the sacrament is the witness of Nephi, the disciple.” We can read it in 3 Nephi18:3-11.
“And when the Disciples had come with bread and wine, he took of the bread and brake and blessed it; and he gave unto the Disciples and commanded that they should eat.
And when they had eaten and were filled, he commanded that they should give unto the multitude.
And when the multitude had eaten and were filled, he said unto the Disciples: Behold there shall one be ordained among you, and to him will I give power that he shall break bread and bless it and give it unto the people of my church, unto all those who shall believe and be baptized in my name.
And this shall ye always observe to ado, even as I have done, even as I have broken bread and blessed it and given it unto you.
And this shall ye do in remembrance of my body, which I have shown unto you. And it shall be a testimony unto the Father that ye do always remember me. And if ye do always remember me ye shall have my Spirit to be with you.
And it came to pass that when he said these words, he commanded his Disciples that they should take of the wine of the cup and drink of it, and that they should also give unto the multitude that they might drink of it.
And it came to pass that they did so, and did drink of it and were filled; and they gave unto the multitude, and they did drink, and they were filled.
And when the Disciples had done this, Jesus said unto them: Blessed are ye for this thing which ye have done, for this is fulfilling my commandments, and this doth witness unto the Father that ye are willing to do that which I have commanded you.
And this shall ye always do to those who repent and are baptized in my name; and ye shall do it in remembrance of my blood, which I have shed for you, that ye may witness unto the Father that ye do always remember me. And if ye do always remember me ye shall have my Spirit to be with you.”
I know that the promise of the sacrament ordinance is true. Whenever we remember Him, when ever we think of Him, whenever we pray to the Father in His name we can feel His Spirit in our hearts.
Elder Haight also said:
“Significant is the fact that the Son of God commenced His earthly ministry with an ordinance—baptism—and ended His ministry with an ordinance—the sacrament. Both bore record of His death, burial, and resurrection.”
(David B. Haight, “Remembering the Savior’s Atonement,” Ensign, April 1988, 7)
Sometimes I like to read this quote by Robert Millet during the sacrament that helps me to remember and understand the purpose of this ordinance:
“In ancient Israel, the Aaronic priest officiated at the sacrificial altars in behalf of the people. He offered bulls or lambs or doves as a blood offering to atone for the sins of the men and women of the congregation. It was not the blood of the animals that saved them (Hebrews 10:4) but rather what the blood stood for—the precious blood of the Messiah that would be shed in the meridian of time. If the people brought their offering in the right spirit, presented it to the priests, and repented fully of their transgression, a remission of sins followed. In our day, the Aaronic priest likewise officiates at the holy altar. We go to church, present our offering—a broken heart and a contrite spirit (3 Nephi 9:20; D&C 59:8)—and the priest officiates in our behalf. It is not bread and water that save us but rather what the bread and water represent. If we can attend sacrament meeting with a broken heart and a contrite spirit (meaning that we are repentant and eager to rid ourselves of our sins), focus our thoughts and our feelings on the atoning offering of Christ our Savior, and covenant once again to keep the Lord’s commandments and plead for his strength and goodness to enable us to do so, then healing and cleansing take place. It is as though we can enjoy a rebaptism every Sabbath. Participation in the ordinance of the sacrament is an occasion for meditation, introspection, self-analysis, and covenant renewal. It is an important reason for attending sacrament meeting.”
(Millet, Robert. Alive in Christ. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book, 1997, pg 141-42)
He Suffered the Sins of the World in the Garden of Gethsemane
In Matthew 26:30 we read the next thing Jesus and His disciples did following the sacrament: “And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.” It is not surprising to know that as Jesus faced the hardest thing He would do as Savior of the world, He began by gaining strength from a hymn. Music, especially hymns and spiritual music has the power to bring the Spirit of peace to us in our trials.
In the revelation given to Joseph Smith in March of 1830, the Savior, Himself, describes the suffering he experienced in the Garden of Gethsemane on that Thursday evening.
“Therefore I command you to repent—repent, lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger, and your sufferings be sore—how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not.
For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;
But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;
Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—
Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.”
He then commands us to repent and gives these comforting words of instruction in verse 23:
“Learn of me, and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my Spirit, and you shall have peace in me.”
I hope that this Easter Sabbath we might take time to reflect on the three significant acts of Jesus on the Thursday before His death and subsequent resurrection.
I hope that we will remember to walk in the meekness of His spirit as we follow His example of service and humility He set for us in washing the feet of His disciples.
I hope that we will better prepare ourselves each Sabbath to renew our baptismal covenants by partaking of the sacrament, instituted on that day.
And I hope that we will ponder on the wondrous gift of the Atonement that Jesus wrought for us in the Garden of Gethsemane. How happy it must make Him when we repent and use this gift in our lives so that we can improve and become more like Him.
In a world that is seeking happiness and peace, I can testify on this Easter Sabbath that both come only through Jesus Christ.
Monday, April 6, 2009
For the first time in 18 years (since I started having daughters that were YW or had a YW calling) I didn't go to the YW General Meeting:(
The last two days I've read the talks from the most recent YW General Meeting for my sacred grove/scripture study. WOW! They were powerful talks and I felt the Spirit while reading them. I know they are true words, and so inspiring and uplifting! I'm glad that Sister Cook invited "all women who desire to join us in this cause of virtue to complete the new Personal Progress experiences and project for the value of virtue." I will heartily join in that invitation!
Sunday, April 5, 2009
We had a wonderful Conference Sunday. ALL of our children and grandchildren were in our home! That is a red-letter day! We even got a picture with everyone together, but it's on Laura's camera so I'll post it later. Here are lots of pictures of our delightful family day:
Two darling girls playing in the backyard - who knew that office chairs make great riding toys?!
And on the trampoline
Gymnastics on the front lawn: