Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Turning Points

On BYUTV, a show called "Turning Point" examines the turning points in the lives of individuals; the defining moments that shape their lives

Here are a few of my turning points.

Turning point 1, Primary Songs:
As a little girl in primary, three of the songs that we used to sing especially inspired me.  I know now that the feelings I had were from the Holy Ghost, working in me.  As you click on the links and hear the songs, cannot you feel it, too?

Dare to Do Right
Dare to do right; Dare to be true.
You have a work that no other can do.
Do it so bravely, so kindly, so well,
Angels will hasten the story to tell.

Dare to do right; Dare to be true.
Other men's failures can never save you.
Stand by your conscience, your honor, your faith,
Stand like a hero and battle till death.

Dare, dare, dare to do right.
Dare, dare, dare to be true.
Dare to be true.  Dare to be true.

Stand for the Right,
Our Prophet has some words for you,
And these are the words, "Be true. be true."
At work or at play, in darkness or light,
Be true, be true and stand for the right.

 Keep the Commandments
Keep the commandments, keep the commandments.
In this there is safety; in this there is peace.
He will send blessings, He will send blessings.
Words of a prophet, "Keep the commandments.
In this there is safety and peace."

These songs deeply stirred my soul and hearing them prompted me to commit in my heart to always stay true to Jesus Christ and His prophet.

Turning Point Two, Hold to the Rod:
When I was 14 years old I began attending The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' seminary.  I attended all through high school.  One year we studied the Old Testament, another year the New Testament, and another year the Doctrine and Covenants, but that first year I attended, we studied the Book of Mormon.  Early in the year we read and learned about the prophet Lehi and his vision of the tree of life.  In his vision, the tree of life represented Eternal Life, the privilege of living with God and our families forever.  Lehi dreamed that he ate the fruit of that tree and it filled him with happiness.  Some of his family came to the tree and ate the fruit, and some would not.  Lehi also saw others making their way along the strait and narrow path that lead to the tree of life.  Then there arose a mist of darkness that covered the path and many were overcome by the darkness and were lost.  Others succumbed to the mocking cries and pointing fingers of people calling from a great building that represented the pride of the world.
But an iron rod went along the path and some clung to this rod with all their might.  By doing so, they were able to keep to the path, even through temptation and mockery, and pressed forward till they reached the tree and ate it's fruit.  Lehi's son, Nephi, gave the interpretation of the vision.  He tells us that the mists of darkness are the temptations of Satan, and that the iron rod is the word of God.  Nephi tells us that if we will hold fast to the word of God, we will overcome the temptations of the devil and eventually gain Eternal Life.
When I heard this story, I realized that what I want, more than anything else, is to reach Eternal Life and partake of it's fruits of joy and love.  I thought to myself, "Read the Book of Mormon every day?  I can do that!"  I determined then to read the word of God daily in order to overcome darkness and gain eternal life.  Since that time I've tried diligently to keep this commitment.  I firmly feel that reading from the Book of Mormon every day as a teenager kept me on the right path even through the lonliest days of my adolescence.

Turning Point #3:  Praying about the Book of Mormon.
At the end of the Book of Mormon, the prophet Moroni makes us a promise:  "And when you shall receive these things, I would exhort you to ask God, the Eternal Father in the name of Christ if these things are not true.  And if ye ask in faith with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost."
As I read from the Book of Mormon daily throughout my teenage years, I would feel the Holy Ghost would quietly testify to me that the words I was reading were true.  However, though I prayed each time I came to the end of the Book of Mormon, to have a special manifestation from the Holy Ghost of the book's truthfulness, the manifestation didn't come.  This didn't weaken my faith, and I waited for the day when Moroni's promise would be fulfilled in my life. It was in springtime in 1989 when I was living back at my parents house while Brian was in basic training in the army, that I received my answer.  I was a young mother, Cassandra my oldest was a year old, and it was a fast Sunday.  Once a month we members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints fast (abstain from food and drink) and pray for 24 hours.  I find that when I fast, I have the Holy Ghost with me more abundantly on the day of my fast as well as throughout the month.  Fasting helps me to forget myself and focus on Heavenly Father and His son, Jesus Christ.  On this particular fast Sunday, and I am convinced that it was no accident, I finished reading the Book of Mormon just as I neared the end of my fast.  I was alone in my room, and as always at the end of reading the book, I knelt to pray and asked my Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ if the words I had been reading all these years were true.  Then the Holy Ghost entered into me more strongly than I have felt before or since and filled me with such joy that it seemed to physically lift my heart in my breast.  One word, "Yes!" filled my soul.  I knew then as I had never known before that the Book of Mormon is true.  This experience cemented my faith so that I can say with conviction that I know that Jesus, of whom the Book of Mormon is a witness, is the Christ.  I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints is the fullness of His gospel restored to the earth through Joseph Smith.   I know that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet called by God to lead and guide this church.  I know that because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for me and for all mankind, I will gain the Eternal Life I seek if keep the commandments, repent when I sin, and remain true to my Savior, His church, His prophets, and my covenants.  This is my testimony and I give it in the name of the Savior, Jesus Christ, amen.
P. S. I still read the Book of Mormon daily!

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Amazing Lily

Our amazing grand baby, Lily, rolled over last week!  That's right, you heard it here first, folks, and it's the absolute truth.  Here are pictures of the wonderful child.


October is going by too fast!  Do you realize that Halloween is only 7 days away?  AAARRRGGGGHHHH!  No, I am not practicing my pirate yell for Halloween; that was a cry of frustration.
Anyway, fall break has already come and gone again.

The best part about fall break was that Jon and Matt came home to visit!  The second best part was the wonderful things we got to do.

Wednesday was Italian day with a trip to our favorite Italian restaurant for dinner.

Thursday was shopping day.  Jon bought lots of clothes, Matt bought a shirt, and Miriam bought a sweater.  Thomas and Katrina went along for the ride.  We had pizza for lunch and then Brian, Jonathan, and Thomas went shooting.  That night, Brian and I went on a long walk.

Friday was Japanese day.  First we met Brian's sister, Renee and her husband, Don, and their grandson Donny at the park.  We saw a snake, ate KFC, and had fun talking.  While some of us were talking, Brian and Don were at the toys with Thomas and Donny.  There was a Japanese woman at the toys with her kids and Brian got to speak Japanese with her which Brian loved because he went to Japan on an LDS mission thousands of years ago, and hasn't gotten to speak Japanese much since.  He was so happy to find out that he could still converse in Japanese.  Then, later that day, after Thomas left for a camp out and  Brian took Miriam driving around the lake and back,  Jonathan wanted a ride to his friend's house an hour away, so Brian and I drove him there that night.  While we were gone we tried out an amazingly authentic Japanese restaurant.  We ate sushi and tempura and Brian got to visit much of the time with our Japanese server.  Brian was in Japanese heaven.

Saturday was painting day.  We painted the upstairs bathroom.  Yay!  It looks so nice in there.

Sunday was the Sabbath; we went to church and then we drove Matt back to college; a two hour trip.  That night I had a meeting for my church calling.

So that was our fall break and now we're broke.

Oozing With Talent

Very few people know just how talented I am, so today I am going to enlighten you all.
Here is my list of amazing talents:
Let's start small--I can say the alphabet backwards.  Amazing, I know.  But wait!  There's More!
I can wiggle my wig.  (Hard to explain this one.  Maybe I should post a video!  It's kind of like wiggling your ears, but your hair wiggles instead of your ears and looks like you have a wig).  Not impressed enough yet?  Okay, how about this:
I am a champion sneezer.  While others sneeze once, maybe twice at one sneezing, I rarely sneeze less than 3 times in a row.  My average sneezes at one sneezing is 5, I often sneeze 7, and my record is 8.  When I sneeze, no need to say, "bless you" because with a talent like this, I am obviously abundantly blessed already.  Still underwhelmed?  I saved the best for last.
I can recite "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" word for word.  Okay, there it is, now I've gone too far, and you are jealous.  I am so sorry.  Just try to forget all this amazingness and return to your hum drum life.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Week of Family

Well it's been a wonderful week.  One of the highlights was when Cassandra sent us this picture of our cute little grand daughter, Lily, watching football with her dad, Emerson.

It looks pretty intense!

 Also we got to talk to both Matt and Jon off and on this week, and it looks like they will both be home for fall break, so we are looking forward to having them here on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

The other three kids wrote a bit about what's going on with them these days, so here are their comments with my own added in.

Hi, everyone.  This is Miriam.  I'm participating in two choirs. I'm in the concert choir, and the auditioned women's choir called Sorelle Voce. We had a concert on Friday the fourteenth called the Fall Choral Showcase. It went pretty well.
Commentary from Marci:  Miriam failed to mention that her beloved, long-suffering mother spent 6 hours on Friday hemming 9" off her double-skirted choir dress, so that she would be ready to perform Friday night.  She also forgot to mention that the singing was divine and that she was beautiful.  Also, Miriam is taking driver's ed--Finally!

I don't have a picture of Miriam in her choir dress, yet.  I wanted to take one of her right now, but she just woke up and says she doesn't look good (pishaw!), so here she is in women's choir last year.

Katrina--I recently participated in a Shakespeare Competition. It was a lot of fun!  I also am involved in other drama activities like Drama Club Council. I'm in choir as well. I hope that you're doing well and I hope to see you all again soon.
Commentary from Marci:  For the Shakespeare competition, Katrina was part of an ensemble group who did a scene from Pericles.  She played the goddess Diana and did a beautiful job.  Every judge singled her out with positive comments.

Katrina is on the right.  Isn't she beautiful?

Thomas-- I am in the student council. I am also in the jazz band; we are going to have an October concert soon. In student council we are preparing for our second dance of the year. We in the student council go help the kids in the elementary school with sports and other activities. We do this once a week.  This is Thomas, signing out.
Commentary by Marci:  Thomas is a wonderful trumpet player and we cant wait to hear his first jazz band concert.  He enjoys student council, and I enjoy watching him serve others.

Brian and I have had a nice week full of work and family time. Saturday we worked hard in the yard with the kids, getting it all ready for winter.  Also on Saturday, we finally went out on a date where we ate Mexican food, and bought Brian four sweaters.

Well, that's it. Life is Beautiful!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Date Night?

Brian and I are supposed to be out on our weekly Friday night date right now, but we were so tired, we fell asleep instead.  Now we are sitting in bed, each on our own computers.  So much for togetherness!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Thought for the Day

Repenting + Forgiving = Healing

This Week

This has been quite a week.  First of all, we went from hitting 90 degrees last week to having snow this week.  Fall has officially arrived!  Knowing the bad weather was coming on Thursday, we tried to enjoy the good weather while we had it.  On Monday, we bought Jay Dogs and enjoyed them on the grass at the foot of the University.

Backyard Fun
On Tuesday, we had what was probably our last back-yard meal of the year.  Miriam and I made potato salad and chicken sandwiches .

Knowing the snow was coming, on Wednesday, Brian, Miriam, Katrina, and I drove up to see the fall colors while we still could.  It was cold and rainy, but we had fun.

  Thursday it snowed.

Katrina and Shakespeare!
Katrina left Thursday morning for Shakespeare competition, so the rest of the week was just Brian, Miriam, Thomas, and me.  Weird.  We went from having 5 kids home in the summer to having only 2 home the last part of this week.

My Parents
 Thursday was also my dad's birthday.  I spend a wonderful hour talking to him on the phone about conference, gardening, family, mountain lions, etc.  I then spent another wonderful hour talking to my mom on the phone talking about them coming here to watch the kids when we are on our cruise in November, them coming here for Thanksgiving, family, crochet, etc.  What a nice evening!

 Friday I visited my sister, Elizabeth, and we worked on our plans for a Noah's Ark puzzle.
Friday night, Brian and I went out with our good friends, Stacy and Jake, and Miriam and Thomas watched their kids which was very sweet of them.  Brian and I and Stacy and Jake had a ton of fun.

Saturday, Brian and I went to the ground breaking of the new temple, Miriam and I painted a cat and made greeting cards at Super Saturday, and Brian and Thomas went shooting.  Saturday night, Thomas went to the football game with Jonathan, who was in town visiting a friend, and we went to see a great comedy show at the university.  It was so fun!

That was our week.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Charity in My Sleep

I woke up this morning at 4:30, which is common for me.  I wasn't happy to be up so early, but still it's nice to have some time to study in the quiet.  I made a goal from yesterday's conference to again study the verse in Moroni chapter 7 verse 45 that defines charity, so I went there to read.

 After reading, I wanted to follow Elder Scott's counsel to memorize a scripture, so I tried to memorize this one.  It was cool because, I'd memorize a line or two, fall asleep, memorize more, and fall asleep again.  I say it was nice because, one, I needed more sleep, and 2, it's kind of a comfy drowsy way to memorize.  I'm not sure, however, that it's a real effective way, so lets see how I did:

"and charity suffereth long and is kind and envieth not and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, and is not puffed up, thinketh no evil, rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth.  Endureth all things, hopeth all things, believeth all things.

Okay, now to compare it to the real scripture:
And acharity suffereth long, and is bkind, and cenvieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easilydprovoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Well, I think I meant to write "is not easily provoked" when I wrote "is not puffed up" the second time, maybe.  I forgot "thinketh no evil.  It also gets a little dicey at the end.  Well, I'm getting a bit tired.  Maybe I'll work on memorizing it some more so that I can get additional sleep...

Charity Defined

After hearing Elder Scott's conference talk on reading the scriptures yesterday, I wanted to study Moroni chapter 7 verse 5 in the Book of Mormon that defines charity.
Wow, it sure encompasses a lot of things!  It is very telling to read through each aspect of charity and evaluate my life to see where I need to improve.  I wrote down what I think each characteristic of charity means.
For "and charity suffereth long" I put the following:
Is patient--  I'm not real good at this, especially yesterday when I let my kids dip candles and they got wax on 7 dishes.  I got pretty upset, but whose fault is it really--the kids who were doing what I told them they could do, or the mom who forgot to tell them that wax doesn't wash off with soap and water???  AND who didn't supervise the candle-ing!
Waits upon the Lord  I love the scripture in Isaiah chapter 40 verse 31 that says the following:
 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; theyshall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
How am I doing on that one?  Well, life gets so hard that waiting on the Lord is pretty much how I even survive.  Still, sometimes I forget and then I'm pretty miserable.
Bears criticizm  Not so good at this one, ask Brian!
Turns the other cheek  Like when Miriam dripped dish water on my head yesterday, did I let her do it again?  Did I refrain from chasing her around the house and from wrenching the drippy thingy from her hands and dripping it on her own head?  Um...of course....not.

Any way, that's just for "suffereth long".  I did that for all of the aspects of charity.
I don't think I came out so well, but I am still trying!

Conference Sunday

It's conference Sunday.  Yay!  Four hours yesterday of listening to prophets of the Lord speak, and 4 more hours today.  It doesn't get better than this!  Except that it does because then the Ensign magazine will come in the mail and all the talks will be written in there so that we can study the words some more and live by them for the next six months, when they'll all speak again.  After listening to yesterday's conference, I made lots of goals, but my over-arching goal is to study and live by all the words I heard.

 I know that Thomas S. Monson really is a prophet of God, and that the 12 apostles are special witnesses of Christ.  They tell us what we need to know now.  And I personally need to know a lot.  In fact, I wrote down three questions before conference started that I wanted answered in my life.  So far, two of the three have been answered.  I also had other questions answered that I didn't write down.  I love the general conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints!