At one of our meals with the other TNI employees I was blessed to hear the conversion story of Slava, a Russian employee.
He was interested in religion and at first he was drawn to Buddhism. Then he was able to read the Bible and believed in Jesus so he started going to Christian churches to find the truth. He was baptized into the Russian Orthodox church because he believed baptism was necessary, but wasn't completely satisfied.
One day he was riding the subway he read a magazine article about Mormonism and was intrigued. When he got off the train he saw on the back of a newspaper a woman was reading some mention of the Mormon church in Moscow. He said that he frightened the woman because he was so excited to see that information on the paper she was reading. He came out of the subway and went directly to a library to find that newspaper and read the article. He saw that they were having a meeting on Wednesdays at 6 pm and it was then Wednesday and 5 pm, so he went to the place of the meeting. He met the missionaries and heard the first discussion and was given a Book of Mormon. He read it and he and his girlfriend were baptized. Since then she has become his wife and they, along with their four children were sealed in the Stockholm, Sweden temple.
I was touched by his story and wondered to myself if I were not to have been blessed to have been born into the Church, if I would have searched and worked to find the truth as Slava did. I hope I would have. I feel very blessed to have heard his story and to be reminded that God does reveal Himself to all those who truly want to know the truth.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
At one of our meals with the other TNI employees I was blessed to hear the conversion story of Slava, a Russian employee.
Friday, February 26, 2010
I'm excited for him and know he will do well.
But I'll miss him and it seems like such a long ways away.
We really will be empty-nesters.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
I took advantage of having the rental car for the morning and went to:
I was introduced to Trader Joe's in New York with Laura and it is a fun grocery store so I was glad I found one close by.
Then I found a Fresh Produce store in walking distance from our hotel. It's my favorite clothing store; I just love all the bright colors. This is what Trevor texted me when he found out: "You might have to look for a clause in your agreement to not buy clothes until Easter ~ *except if Fresh Produce is in walking distance." I love that man!
In the evening we went to Disneyland. The first thing we saw was that "Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln" is back. It hasn't been there the last couple of times we've been at Disneyland. Rich was very happy and we enjoyed the show.
TNI had Disneyland just for our group from 8 - 11:30 pm. We only lasted til 10, but it was fun to ride some rides with no lines.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
I am currently in Anaheim ~ the home of the "Happiest Place on Earth."
My dear husband has a convention and meetings here all week and I love that I get to tag along.
Today he had meetings all day without me so I rented a car (this is a first for me, 52-years-old and rented my first car!) and drove to the Los Angeles Temple. I have never been there and I really like to go to temples I haven't been to before. Due to the business trips of my dear husband I have been to the following temples: Swiss, Tahiti, Las Vegas, Kona Hawaii, and now Los Angeles. I was hoping to squeeze Newport Beach in this week as well, but it's closed for maintenance :(
So I used my iphone maps to get me to the temple. One small glich ~ I really needed a restroom stop on the way there. I finally just pulled off the freeway and at an exit that I saw had an entrance. I thought I'd just find a gas station or fast food place to make a quick stop. All the signs were in Spanish! After driving for blocks I finally saw a parking place in front of a furniture store and ran in. I used to work at a furniture store, so I'm pretty comfortable at furniture stores and it seemed a safe place to stop. They very kindly let me use their restroom and I was back on my way. And thanks to my iphone I was able to find my way back to the freeway.
The Los Angeles Temple is huge and I was really happy when I saw it looming ahead of me. It was built before I was born! They only have sessions once an hour and the rental car guy told me I shouldn't be trying to come back from LA after 3 pm, so I decided I would do initiatory and then put on a white dress so I could visit the celestial room. I had a lovely time. I safely got back to the hotel feeling quite proud of myself for the adventure.
When I was driving around looking for a restroom and finding my way back to the freeway I thought about all the wonderful saints in the world who have traveled to the temple at much greater expense and inconvenience and even danger, than I ever have. In some small (really, really small!) way I joined them today.
Friday, February 19, 2010
My two new callings got going this week.
We had our first Activity Day on Thursday and it was a great success. Shari did a great job with a "getting to know you game" and making a "thank you" album for the past Activity Day leader. It's going to be fun to meet with these girls twice a month.
And, it was the Stake Camp Kick-off on Thursday evening as well. It's so exciting to find out the Stake theme and color:
(Mutual Theme ~ Joshua 1:9)
Personal Progress PINK!
We are now officially in full swing preparing for camp. And I'm grateful that our Stake doesn't let us start until four months before or I'd be even more out of control than I am! By the way, I've already purchased two pink shirts, one pink hoody, pink polka-dot rainboots and a pink scarf. I will be decked for camp.
Monday, February 15, 2010
So, my "no home decor purchases until Easter" is off. But it's my Valentine's gift, so it's okay. (I know, it still sounds like a rationalization, but I'm just going with it. Plus I'm still not buying clothes and I've been off sugar and pop for two weeks ~ minus the holiday weekend, but back off tomorrow!)
Now I'm in the process of gathering stuff, then there will be painting and when it's done I will post pictures.
P.S. We will miss Todd. He is a pleasant soul and helpful in the handyman department.
Today I was at the Mount Timpanogos Temple at 8 am for a volunteer cleaning assignment. Last time I did this I worked in the baptistry, This time I was on cleaning third floor, the ENTIRE third floor. Once again, it was a lot of hard work that I'm counting as a trip to the temple AND aerobic exercise.
I spent most of the time with a woman from another stake. I asked her how many children she has (three) and mentioned that my baby turned 18 yesterday. She stopped cleaning and looked at me saying: "You don't look old enough to have an 18-year-old!" I assured her that I was and that in fact, my oldest is 31. She said, "I thought you were in your thirties." Then I found out that she is younger than Laura, so I could be her mother! This was definitely the highlight of the morning. (although vacuuming the celestial room was nice, but this was the last thing I did and I was pretty tired by then)
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Sunday we had a family dinner for Michael's and Jenny's birthdays. Michael turned 18 on Valentine's Day and Jenny will be 21 on Wednesday. These are my youngest children ~ I must be old!
Friday, February 12, 2010
I like February 12th.
It's Abraham Lincoln's birthday. My dear husband loves Abraham Lincoln.
It's the anniversary of my baptism in Oslo, Norway in 1966. But I've blogged about that before.
This February 12th I drove to Layton in the morning. I was thankful that the roads were dry and I really enjoyed listening to the radio. I switched between music stations and talk radio (a trick I learned from my husband, who NEVER listens to advertising on the radio). I felt grateful for the radio and really just enjoyed listening to it, a little rocking out and singing along, a little feeling smarter by listening to talk radio.
When I got to Layton I got to stay with Sophie and Ayden while Mary went to a doctor appointment. That's always fun and entertaining. When Mary got back we took the kids to lunch at McDonald's. Then we went to Hobby Lobby and a couple of other errands. I love Hobby Lobby! Mary was shopping for decorations for her nursery and I was shopping for decorations for the newly vacated room in my basement. (more on that and why I'm shopping for home decor even though it's not Easter yet ~ later) The kids also HAD to spend their Valentine money! We finally got back to Mary's and started painting the nursery at 4 pm (the REAL reason for my visit). I was reminded that I really do LIKE painting. Actually, Mary had already started the painting, so we just finished it up and got most of the decorations in place. (Mary will post pictures on her blog soon, I'm sure)
One funny thing: when we were driving around in the car every time Sophie wanted my attention she'd call out: "Nana, N-A-N-A," spelling my name. So cute!
I dropped the kids off at their cousins' house on my way home since Mary and Logan had a date planned and sped home to spend the rest of the evening with My Dear Husband. He waited for me to get home and we went out to get a bite to eat together.
So, to recap:
Driving my nice car, listening to the radio
Playing with the gkiddies
Visiting with Mary
Shopping for home decor
Dinner with Rich
It's all good!
Sunday, February 7, 2010
I got released a couple of weeks ago as Relief Society Secretary. I loved serving with the sisters in the presidency and knowing all the sisters in the ward. My new callings are:
YOUNG WOMEN CAMP DIRECTOR
ASSISTANT ACTIVITY DAY LEADER IN PRIMARY
It's a fairly well-known fact that I LOVE all things Young Women and especially CAMP. The YW president is Karen, who was Camp Director the first year I was YW President, and then my counselor after camp, so we've just switched roles and it's so fun to be working with her in YW again.
I've never worked with the Primary girls aged 8-11 on Activity Days before, but I'm very excited to be with these sweet girls twice a month. And I get to assist Shari, my dear friend and just released RS President, so it will be fun to spend time with her again and expand our friendship in a new way. And two of the Primary girls will be joining us at camp!
I love having a church calling. It's one of the best things about being a Mormon. You get to serve and have a stewardship and get to know and love more people.
It's all good!
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Today Kathy and I went to Ladies Day at Sundance Nordic Center. We rented skate skis (we usually do classic cross-country skiing) and took a lesson. Skate skiing is harder to learn so we've never tried it. But we often see skate skiers on the trails and the way they ski looks so graceful and fun, so we thought we'd give it a try.
It was really fun ~ but such a workout! It requires more effort than classic but there's a great "glide factor," which is exhilarating. I just may have to invest in skate skis at some point!
Our teacher taught us an important principle: Wherever you look is where you will go. If you look at a tree or the deep snow on the sides, that's where you will end up. Your body tends to just go wherever you are looking. Several times she would say to me as I was concentrating on my skis or the trail, "Look up, Janet." Amazingly, when I did look up, I skied better. That is certainly true in life as well, wherever we focus our attention is where we will end up.
Life lessons from skiing - who'd of thought?
Friday, February 5, 2010
at 11:44 AM
I have weaknesses. One of them is spending too much money on clothing for myself and decorations for my home.
I like the concept of Lent, giving up something to become someone better.
After the excesses of the Christmas season, (did I mention that my dear husband really spoiled me?) I thought I'd start Lent early this year. Instead of waiting until Ash Wednesday (February 17th this year) to give something up, I decided that I would not purchase any clothing or home decor from Christmas until Easter. If you know me, you know this is a tough one! I honestly don't need a thing ~ I have enough clothes to probably last the rest of my life, and my home is completely decorated, in fact, some may say "over-decorated." And yet I do so enjoy shopping for these items.
Mostly, it has been a matter of training myself to not even go where I would be tempted. That means avoiding the clothing/home aisles at Walmart and Target, my favorite hangouts.
I succumbed in January. I went to the Provo Craft outlet, because it was next door to Simply Splendid where I went to get a birthday gift for my sister. I bought these two lovely topiaries with little blue pansies:
From the outside, don't they look great on either side of the gothic arch candle holder my sister gave me?
From the inside, see what I mean about the cluttery, over-decorator?
In February I had a couple of weak moments in Target and bought some clothing items. Once when I was by myself, but I had some Target gift cards from redeeming credit card points, so I rationalized that it was kind of like "extra money." (This goal really isn't about the money as much as me having self-control, so that really was a rationalization) And then again the next day when I was with Jenny. That night I was in bed reading, feeling really disappointed in myself. The clothes in my closet were mocking me, not making me happy. The book I was reading was "Weakness is Not Sin," by Wendy Ulrich, where she teaches that the remedy for weakness is humility (Ether 12:27) and the remedy for sin is repentance.
Now I'm not sure whether my purchasing of things I don't need is a weakness or a sin, probably both, ~ but I realized that I could repent by being humble and returning the clothing items I bought to the store. And so I did. And I felt free.
And now on to Easter with my integrity mostly intact and my resolve firm.
This week I read this article about blogging and it got me thinking about why I blog. My first blog post lists the reasons I started a blog.
I like to think that my main reason for keeping a blog now is that it's a good way to record my and my family's life that is faster, easier and cheaper than scrapbooking. (Although I am still going to scrapbook Christmases, finish Michael's books and complete 2005-2007 in the family albums ~ my goal is to finish these before Michael graduates in May!)
But honestly, it has become more than that. It's kind of a journal of my feelings, insights and testimony. I do keep a handwritten journal every day as part of my "sacred grove" time. Sometimes I write a lot, sometimes I just record what scriptures I read that day. I like that I can post on my blog an essay about something I've been pondering on. It helps me to put it down in writing that hopefully makes sense to others and maybe my great-grandchildren will read it online someday and know me better.
I have to admit there is a little vanity involved. (Alan was right) I like to think that I have something important to say and that it might be impressive or helpful to others. But, I also agree with an article my Kieth Merrill, the Mormon filmaker (which, unfortunately I cannot find on Meridian Magazine's website, which is where I read it) where his response to people who say that Mormon artists are practicing priestcraft by selling religious arts, is that artists do not create with a profit in mind, but they create because the thing (writing, music, art, film) is IN them and it needs to come out. And so many some of my posts are about things inside of me for which my blog is an outlet.
And it touches my heart when sweet friends say they've missed my blog when I take a little break. (Thanks Clyda and Barbara!)
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
And when someone breaks our wings . . .
We simply continue to fly . . .
On a broomstick.
We are flexible like that.
at 10:22 PM
I realized that there was no mirror in the Teddy Bear room. The one that matches that bedroom set hangs over a dressing table that doesn't fit in the room when the crib is up. I rearranged two walls in the Teddy Bear room and hung the mirror.
Edgar Guest said it best:
Write it down, when I have perished:
Here is everything I've cherished
That these walls should glow with beauty
Spurred my lagging soul to duty
That there should be gladness here
Kept me toiling, year by year . . .
Every thought and every act
Were to keep this home intact.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
I'm grateful that the groundhog saw his shadow and we have six more weeks of winter, because six more weeks of winter equals:
I'm keeping my skiing log on my other blog.
It is also Candlemas Day. According to the gospel of Luke, Mary and Joseph took the baby Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem forty days after his birth to complete Mary's ritual purification after childbirth and to perform the redemption of the firstborn in obedience to the Law of Moses. It's been forty days since Christmas, a nice day to remember.