"As we make Christ the center of our lives, our fears will be replaced by the courage of our convictions."
"As we make Christ the center of our lives, our fears will be replaced by the courage of our convictions."
This is not your traditional list of things to do, just a random bunch of things that I have wanted to share and in no particular order.
My cousin and her husband, along with other members of his family started a book subscription company last year (maybe it was even the year before that.... how embarrassing that I don't remember). Joining has been on my list of things to do since the beginning and today I finally signed up. Hooray! I love books, not new for anyone who knows me. I adore children's books the illustrations and colors are magical. I can't wait for our first box to come. Bookroo wraps the individual books. Loaf is going to love it!!! If you want to read one of my favorite posts from Jane go here: 8 Princesses You Might Actually Want Your Daughter to Emulate. Of course there is a very sweet one about my uncle: Thanks Dad!
2. Scripture journal: patriarchal blessing (scripture format)
The link I had originally from this "scripture journal (odds and ends post) is no longer working so I finally got around to finding a couple of new ones. I have saved the templates and will just add one if the links end up not working in the future, but for now you can download a couple of different templates here at "personal progress helper" and "scripture my blessing".
3. a small clip from an interview I did at the RootsTech conference in February
It was shown on twitter, a platform I hardly use (there are just so many different ways and not enough to do everything) and I'm not sure how to add it here, but hopefully this link will work.
4. Family Search page
Months ago, can't remember when, there was a little blue bar at the top of my familysearch page (after I logged in) to try a new look and features. I can't tell you how much I love the left column featuring the memories and sources people add to their ancestors pages. I love seeing what my family (close and distant) adds and the memories shared bring a greater connection. I also enjoy learning about how I am related to the ancestor.
The record hints is another great feature and did you notice there is a to do list that you can add to. Love a good to do list.
5. Visual History
I finally decided on a new format for the next volume in my visual personal history (see this post and this one) It's ridiculous the amount of time and testing I spent on deciding on a notebook and in the end just grabbed one from the cupboard without looking just to get started. It's really silly, but it's one of my quirks. My old notebook is a moleskine classic blank notebook, which is 5"x 8.5". The paper was very thin, but it worked out and I adore what was created. Still loving the Koi watercolor set .
Even though I had plenty of beautiful sketchbooks here at home I ordered 4 that I had heard wonderful things about from other artists. I will admit that I'm a little nervous to use the ones sitting in my drawer. The paper is so lovely and what if I mess it up, or rather when I mess it up. It's irrational, but nonetheless it's a struggle.
Handbook (Global Art Materials 5-1/2-Inch by 5-1/2-Inch Drawing Book). It's really cute and the paper is lovely, but I decided not to use it because the 5x5 seemed a little small right now.
Pentalic (hardbound sketbook 7 inch by 7 inch) I wasn't sure about the square, because a square has always been hard, but in the end I decided on this one to branch out and work with a different format. I also liked the bright white pages.
Kikkerland, Leuchtturn (5-inch by 8-1/2 inch soft cover) I had read reviews that Leuchtturm was a great alternative to moleskine with a little better paper quality. They felt the same and I was looking for something different so I am using this for my brush calligraphy practice.
Moleskine Art Plus Sketch book (7-1/2-inch by 7-1/2-inch soft cover) I did like the heavier weight of this paper and the cahier and functionality of the sketchook is something I'm excited to work with at some point, but in the end the perforated, detachable pages made me decide against using this particular album.
I will post the remaining pages of my first notebook next week. I've gotten a couple of requests to a video walk through. If there is a quiet moment in the house I will try to record something. It's really fun to see it all together.
"One woman who had been through years of trial and sorrow said through her tears, 'I have come to realize that I am like an old 20-dollar bill—crumpled, torn, dirty, abused, and scarred. But I am still a 20-dollar bill. I am worth something. Even though I may not look like much and even though I have been battered and used, I am still worth the full 20 dollars.'"
He has been begging all day for me to let him ride his bike to the store, the neighborhood, anywhere. I keep telling him there are things that need to get done, putting him off. I can't understand my hesitation, at his age I was biking all over, why am I not able to be brave and let him do this simple thing. I finally call John. He's always good about helping me brave, knowing how to quiet my fears.
As I start to tell him tears come flooding out and I can hardly talk. I suddenly realize why it's so hard, why I can't let go. My son has no idea what can happen. He has been raised in an environment of safety, love, and respect. He doesn't know the injustice that can occur just because of the color of his skin. This isn't about a bike ride, it's about my inability to protect my children from the cruelties they will face in the world. How can I shelter him from this ugly truth? Is sheltering him good, but how do you prepare someone for the cruelty of humanity?
I want to warn him, prepare him, but how do I that without scaring him. I want him to be independent, to be strong, and to see the good in people. I don't want him to walk around being suspicious to people, I don't want him to live in fear. Where is the balance? Why does there need to be a balance? Why can't we live in love and respect? We are all more alike than different, so why do we focus on the differences when we should be building, helping and supporting one another.
John patiently listened through my tears and said it would be okay and to let him go. He assured me that everything would be fine.
We live in a great place, yes it's a predominately white suburban neighborhood, but kindness and acceptance has been our experience. I am also not so naive to think that they will always be accepted. I worry about the time they start to drive or act like stupid teenage boys. I worry about a million difference scenarios, but for today I will not lose faith in humanity. I can't. I can't live in fear. I can't because my son won't let me.
I sit on the couch in tears trying to explain to him the fears and concerns of my heart, he just smiles and says, "I'll be fine mom. There are cruel people in the world, but I'll be fine and I have hope that people will change. Don't worry mom, I'll be fine." He understands more than I have given him credit for. I know he has had similar thoughts and yet he is still willing to be hopeful and press forward.
As they ride away I decide that I will occasionally track their progress from the app on their phone. I know they call it spying, but for today I am okay with it. This mama is taking baby steps.
When I saw the caller ID from my ringing phone my heart dropped a little. I knew who it was and I suspected it wasn't going to be good.
"Mom, I'm not feeling so well. My stomach hurts and I'm having trouble breathing."
"Son, are you really sick or are you just stressed out about a class."
"No Mom, I'm really sick."
I knew he wasn't. I could tell by the sound of his voice. In the flash of a moment that can feel like an eternity I had a choice to make. Pick him up again or let him work through the challenges that he didn't want to face in the day. Today I chose to let him learn. It breaks my heart when I have to be tough like this. He was mad when he hung up the phone and accused me of not be compassionate or sensitive to his needs. I called John I needed some reassurance that I had done the right thing.
At noon I got another call and I answered with a little trepidation.
"Mom, you don't have to worry about me. I'm feeling much better."
"That's great son. I'm so happy to hear."
Then in the softest whisper, because he was in a crowded office full of his peers, I heard him say,
"I prayed to Heavenly Father and He help me."
Tears sprang into my eyes as I told him how proud I was of him to think about asking God. He wasn't much interested in talking more, he had to go find his friends, but this one little whisper helped make those hard times seem small.
This experienced happened back in October 2015. I quickly wrote it down because I didn't want to forget and I wanted to get a picture of him on the phone, but life got away from me and I just found the post. So I made him pick up the phone and just let me shoot. I didn't tell him why I wanted the pictures I just let him react and the images that followed are wonderful. He has such an amazing smile.
I met Eva last week while attending a ward in Northern Ireland. I was sitting in the back of Relief Society and during the announcements it was stated that they had reached their indexing goal of 10,000 names for the month and to please come join the group on Wednesday evening.
10,000 names? Did I hear that correctly.
Now remember I've only indexed a handful of times and the idea of 10,000 seems incredible. I was distracted the entire meeting thinking about what this tiny ward is accomplishing and that they met every week to work on this project? How did they manage it? How did it get started? Why was it so successful in a place where members were few and so much work needs to be done?
After the meeting I quickly went to the front of the room, sat next to her and asked, "Did you say that you indexed 10,000 names last month?" She nodded and seemed a little leery of this crazy American stranger eager to talk about indexing.
I peppered her with questions. How was she so successful? How did she get people to come, help, and be enthusiastic about helping in this work?
She smiled at me with the wisdom of someone who has endured much and understands only as experience can understand. She said that like everything it started with a calling with just her and has slowly increased. They have about 5-10 people each week (some work from home) and as I looked around at this tiny congregation, thinking about the massive sized ward I attend, I was even more impressed by the number of people involved. She was quick to talk about how wonderful the people in her group were and how amazing it was this past month to have reached their 10,000 goal because they have 4 women in the group with severe dyslexia and they were all working on Old English documents that are challenging in their own right.
It inspired me to think about the obstacles being overcome, the determination to continue even when it's hard. It left me feeling hopeful at the great things that are happening through seemingly small means. Then she said, "Last month, June it was 10,600. May, over 16,000 names. April was lower with 11,000."
Can you imagine what they will accomplish in one short year? Imagine the families that can be connected because of their work.
It gives me new motivation to do a little more than I am doing right now. So many of you have written to me and said that you index one batch a day. That is awesome and inspires me to do try a little harder. This upcoming World Wide Indexing Event is a great way to get started, a deadline or event is always a good thing for me. Some of my best work is done with a deadline looming. I know I've already written about this (here and here), but as I come to understand with greater wisdom the importance of the work of family history I will continue to write and share what I learn.
My dad recently shared this quote:
"If the veil were lifted off the face of the Latter-day Saints … and they could see and know the things of God, this whole people would lose all interest in the riches of the world, and . . . their whole desires and labors would be directed to redeem their dead.” (President Wilford Wooddruff, Introduction to Family History Student Manual, (2012), iv–2)
I know there are so many obstacles and things that clamor for our attention and our lives. I understand that you can't do everything and that time is limited. I understand that when someone says family history your mind can shut off and you can groan saying, "not again." I have said and felt it all before, but our leaders are right and the changes and miracles I've seen have become cherished moments in my life. I am a different person because I know the stories of my ancestors. I am changed because I am finally searching out and connecting more family members.
On Sunday John and I returned from a two week long tour of the United Kingdom. We traveled with two backpacks with clothing and a messenger bag for the electronics, my journal and some applique. John had a couple of days of business in Ireland and England so we made a vacation of the work. We have never gone away for such an extended period of time and I worried about the children, but the older girls took care of everything here at home and created some wonderful memories for their siblings. It was tremendous blessing for us that they would be willing to help us.
I initially took a picture of my feet on a cobblestone street to send to my trainer because I had managed to successfully navigate a difficult, for my ankle, event. I had been worried that my injured ankle would not be able to withstand the constant walking and difficult terrains we were planning to see. Not to mention the fact that I didn't know how my arthritis would be effected with the elevation and long flight, but with each passing day and each new surface I decided to document in this simple way our trip. Historically it was also a great way to remember the tiles from the 13th century, or the wood flooring in a beautiful 15th century estate.
I walked paths that for centuries others had trod. I stepped on stones that were formed 50 million years ago. Ours was a journey of seeing the wonders of the land and history of places that are rich in culture. Together we learned about the lives of the privileged and the the poor. We learned about geological events and how wars shaped not only the landscape, but the culture of the people.
I sat among the elite in a black tie affair in my simple Birkenstocks (the limitations of traveling with a backpack) and learned the rules of Gaelic football. I saw vistas the made me weep from the beauty. My feet were tired, my ankles and knees often sore at the end of the day, but I thanked a merciful Father in Heaven each day for the strength and health to be able to spend this time with my darling husband.
I will never forget this grand adventure. I will cherish the gravel pits and sandy beaches. I will appreciate with greater knowledge now some of what my ancestors gave up coming to America and the beautiful landscape that must have filled their memories. Hand in hand we walked along the streets of nobility and the paths of the farmers talking about our lives, our children and our faith. This time together was a treasured blessing and one that I am so thankful to have experienced with my best friend and two pairs of shoes.
All photos were taken with my cell phone. More photos to come.
"The Son of God perfectly knows and understands, for He felt and bore our burdens before we ever did. And because He paid the ultimate price and bore that burden, He has perfect empathy and can extend to us His arm of mercy in so many phases of our life. He can reach out, touch, succor—literally run to us—and strengthen us to be more than we could ever be and help us to do that which we could never do through relying upon only our own power."
"Selective obedience brings selective blessings, and choosing something bad over something worse is still choosing wrong."