Marriage Isn't for You: It's for the One You Love

29 March 2010

Video: The Secular Church - Elder Neal A. Maxwell



"In 1978, the late Neal A. Maxwell (former Apostle in the Mormon Church) delivered a powerful and prophetic sermon at Brigham Young University concerning what he called "the secular church."

In this talk he predicted the rise of irreligion as the new state religion and prophesied that the important moral issues of life, family, marriage and religious rights would become subjects of intense persecution by the Secular Church.

Although he does evoke a few examples from the Book of Mormon, Elder Maxwell's talk is a message and a warning to people of all faiths."



28 March 2010

Hey,Hey,Paula's Challenge for the Week March 28, 2010:




I am going to challenge myself this week to do something kind for another person.

I challenge you to do the same!

It could be as small as picking up trash in your neighbor's yard to preparing a meal for someone who is ill.

Please return and report on how you met the challenge and the affect it caused!

21 March 2010

Hey,Hey,Paula's Challenge for the Week



I am going to challenge myself today to sit down 
and write at least one letter and at least one card
and mail them the old fashioned way with a stamp
and via the US Postal service!

I challenge you to do the same! 

In this age of technology, letter writing is becoming
a lost art. My elderly step-mother loves to get letters
and so do I! 

Please return and report on how you met the challenge
and the affect it caused!

20 March 2010

Journal Entry from the Past Triggering Tears 30 August 2003


Do you ever have those days where you find yourself in tears and kind of numb? When there’s a taste of null and void in your mouth and to have one straight thought can’t be mastered?

My son in law lost his brother this past week in a work related accident and my family members find themselves reminded of how it was six years ago when we lost our son Michael in a car accident. I want to call his mother and give her my regards, but then I get teary and realize I would not be any good at this point. Just thinking about talking with her brings back the memories of our own experiences. My oldest daughter and I talk on the phone and our voices crack as we clear our throats, as the memories flood back and time is once again turned back.

There are little things that can set me off, as I find myself listening to the radio at a red light and the memorial song to Notorious Big "I'll Be Missing You" comes on. Him and Michael died the same year, 1997, along with Princess Diane. Michael's friends requested we play it for the service and we did, as we left the chapel. It was a perfect song for this setting and time.

Every step I take, every move I make
Every single day, every time I pray
I'll be missing you…

Thinking of the day, when you went away
What a life to take, what a bond to break
I'll be missing you...

When I run across my mother's handwriting whether it be on a letter I have saved, a recipe she wrote out or perhaps a card she sent to say "Happy Birthday", I find myself running my fingers across the dried up ink to see if I can still feel the pulse of her emotions as she wrote that message that I still treasure to this day. I remember her calmness and how she was the true matriarch of our family and cared for all us children and my father while he served in the Air Force. I have learned much from her example and each meal I prepare or task I do, reminds me of her and the way she taught me or at least tried to teach me the correct way. I, being my father’s daughter, on the other hand tend to be a little defiant at times and do things my own way. Usually, my results are not as good as her’s. And once again, a lesson is learned, even through the veil.

When I went to visit my family in North Carolina recently, my sister brought out photograph albums and old memories. She had safely tucked away the baby clothes, now aged yellow with time, that my mother has sacredly kept all these years of our moving and growing up. We compared pictures with clothes to decide what was whose. She lets me bring the coveted treasure home with promises to keep them safe and to clean them, as I am able.

As I look at my “good intention project pile” beside me, there lies these tiny, infant clothes placed on top of “Michael’s White Box”. The box that holds the last mementos of my son which were given to me by the funeral home. Sympathy cards and funeral announcements fill the box that is only opened when I need to be assured that I still have that part of him left with me. His military dog tags and a beautiful guest registry with a peace dove adorning its’ blue covering quietly rest inside, along with important papers and a surplus of pictures I had duplicated for friends and family.

He is casually sitting in a seat at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri, home of his beloved Cardinals. A beautiful smile fills his face and you can see the happiness that radiates this day as he is with Molly, the only girl he ever truly loved. I have wished him a lifetime of “Mollys” when I remember how happy he was at that time. And then, my vision is blurred by this sacred “trigger” as it brings on happier times when the world was calmer and life seemed to be perfect.

An old Jim Croce song from 1975 comes to mind titled “Time In A Bottle”. Michael and Annette were small and we lived in North Carolina when that song came out. I remember it well.

If I could save time in a bottle
The first thing that I'd like to do
Is to save every day
Till Eternity passes away
Just to spend them with you

If I could make days last forever
If words could make wishes come true
I'd save every day like a treasure and then,
Again, I would spend them with you

But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do
Once you find them
I've looked around enough to know
That you're the one I want to go
Through time with

If I had a box just for wishes
And dreams that had never come true
The box would be empty
Except for the memory
Of how they were answered by you

The world lost Jim Croce shortly after he wrote that and other memorable songs. Fortunately for us, the memories and the words live on and in today’s world of technology we can find Jim’s voice once again on Amazon.com and I find myself wishing I could find a “Michael.com”.

But, there’s not, and I remember his face and his voice calling me “Ma!” He is sitting right beside me and gives me one of his famous hugs, as I try to type and get to the last word of my humble, throat grabbing thought and emotion. They say it gets easier with time… I don’t know who “they” are, but “they” must have never buried a child.

So today, I cry for many women. One, would be my son-in-law’s mother, Wilma. I remember how she tried to comfort me when I experienced the same agony and emotions, while trying to be strong for others. I cry for my daughter who once again experiences the hurt all over again, as she wears her hat of the strong wife, mother and daughter-in-law that she needs to be right now. For the step-mother who loved him as her own and his sister and all the others, men and women, who knew his smile, his touch and his life.

We can not “put time in a bottle” or create a living “.com” site for those who have passed where we can see them and communicate freely. But, we can take these precious memories and these triggers and savor each second and each smile and know that in the eternal rhelm of things that life is eternal and families will be together forever someday.

And then, ever so gently, another “trigger” comes to my thoughts…

I have a family here on earth. They are so good to me.
I want to share my life with them through all eternity.

Families can be together forever Through Heavenly Father's plan.
I always want to be with my own family, And the Lord has shown me how I can.

The Lord has shown me how I can.

Journal Entry from the Past 11 May 2003




This morning I am awakened to breakfast cooking, but no one is here but me and the house is closed up. Boy, those hash browns sure smell good!! My son Michael has sent me a Mother's Day message through the veil. He passed away six years ago this month, May 31 at 24. Perhaps my mother is helping him and the two children I lost to miscarriages.

On my shelf I admire my cards from my children. There's a new one from Annette and Calla and a past one from Michael, that I bring out to join the others every year. Now, we are all together again. Families are forever.

Happy Mother's Day to you all! May you be blessed this day and always with all you stand in need of. God Bless you with the scent of roses and with abundant love in your heart and a day of eternal blessings.

19 March 2010

Journal Entry from the Past 19 Mar 2003

Leonard Erskine Clark
22 Mar 1933 - 5 Jun 2006
My Traveling Buddy... I miss him
I can hear him laughing, "I'm having a ball over here!"


Today would have been Michael’s 30th birthday. My friend Leonard made the long road trip with me back to Burlington to take him his new flag, as I have come to do every year since March 19, 1998 the year after he died. 

Then it was on through Nauvoo and then Keokuk to take Mom her’s as well. On the way back, as we left Ottumwa, it was announced on the radio that war had officially bagan in Iraq. We just sat in silence as we listened to the newscaster. Wow… What more can one say…?

Journal Entry from the Past 17 Aug 2002



I have noticed recently on a website that I belong to that many have written of losing loved ones in their lives and how it has affected them and those around them. I just wanted to take the time to put my thoughts to pen and see if I can share with you some of my knowledge of the eternal rhelm. I don't have all the answers. All the answers have not yet been revealed to us. It is not time. But, when He feels the time is right, we will know. We just need to have patience. A blessing from God? I know so. 

I recently attended a memorial service to honor the life of my friend Dale Fisher. It was a beautiful service filled with memories, music and testimonies of the life he lived here on the earth and the life he is now living on the other side of the ever-so-thin veil in the Spirit World. His life now is one that is pain free, worry free and filled with eternal bliss. He still has to work. Sorry, no rest there either. But, it is a different kind of work. It is doing the work of our Father in Heaven and teaching those who have never had the opportunity to learn about our Savior, Jesus Christ, while they were here on the earth. 

We all need to learn of Him and decide what path we wish to take and realize that all the decisions we make have eternal consequences. A blessing from God? I know so. I read here of people who are hurting and have lost all faith and belief that there is a God. I hear stories of the trials and tribulations that many experience and in doing so, are looking for answers. "Who am I?", "Where did I come from?", "Where am I going after this life?" Many of us search for our identity and that journey can take us in various directions and to a variety of answers. Some are awesome while other bring sorrow.

If you are reading this, and wondering these things, just know the following statements to be true. A blessing from God? I know so. You are a child of God. He loves you. He created you in his image. He will NEVER give up on you. He wants you to succeed in this life. He has such wonderful plans in mind just for you as an individual and your family as an eternal unit. Life will not always be easy. Some will seem to struggle more so than others. But, we are each one accountable for ourselves and our actions. 

As parents, we are responsible to teach and train up our children in the lessons of right and wrong. If we error, there is a way to correct the error. The Savior died for our sins. We don't need to carry them with us forever like rocks upon our shoulders. We only need to repent and work to do not let these errors happen again. There is a way out. Why did He make that possible? It goes back to the first two sentences, "You are a child of God. He loves you." A blessing from God? I know so. 

I want to share with you a series of very special experiences that strengthened my testimony of these things I have written. These experiences are special to me and I love to share them with anyone who wants to know answers or needs to hear of my testimony. When I look at the whole story, I see how the Lord prepared my family and I to get through this and go on. A blessing from God? I know so. 

My son Michael was killed in a car accident early Saturday morning, May 31, 1997 at the age of 24. He lived 300 miles away from me in Burlington, IA with his father. On the Friday night prior to this, I had driven and stayed overnight at my brother's in Ft. Madison, IA, which is 20 minutes away from Burlington. My youngest daughter, a friend's daughter and I were on our way to the dedication of the St. Louis Missouri LDS Temple. We were going to make it a long weekend, which would include a trip to Six Flags. Michael didn't know I was there and I called his father to let him know we were in town and that I would like to see Michael before we left for St. Louis. He informed me that Michael was out with his friends, but that he would leave him a note and he wrote down my brother's unlisted number, which he otherwise did not have. I was only 20 minutes away, not six hours. A blessing from God? I know so. 

Early the next morning, I was talking to my friend Ceci on the phone and we were interrupted by the operator who said that she had an emergency phone call from Mike F. and would we please give up our line so he could call through? I of course thought it was my son, a Jr. not his father the Sr. His father then called and told me I needed to get to Burlington quickly, as Michael had been in a car accident. He didn't tell me any more other than to come to his brother's house and not the hospital. 

My brother drove me there and while traveling made the statement, "You know, in situations like this, we need to understand that the worse may have happened." From the moment I got into his vehicle, I began praying for answers. Through the Gift of the Holy Ghost, I then received the personal revelation, and replied to him, "either he is already gone or we will have to make the decision to "pull the plug". I knew he was gone. But I knew that he was just fine where he was. A blessing from God? I know so. 

When we got to his dad's brother's, we were met by his dad, his uncle and wife and their pastor. It was then they gave us the news. After tears and explanations as to what happened, I immediately went to the kitchen table and sat down with pen and paper to put together a funeral service and make arrangements. I only got through this in the calmest possible way possible, by the "Comforter" enveloping my body in the compassion and love of our Father in Heaven. A blessing from God? I know so. 

One of the first things that came up was life insurance to pay for a funeral. Did Michael have any? He had just changed jobs two weeks before this happened and new coverage would not have started yet. Who to call on Saturday? So, I called his present employer to tell them of his loss and to ask them. No, he had none with them. So, I got to thinking about Motorola where he had worked before. Would someone be there on Saturday? So, I called and got ahold of a supervisor of the day shift that was indeed working. He said he would get ahold of the Human Resource person and have her call me. So, a little while later, she called. She had made a special trip into the office to check the records. Yes, he was covered. Matter of fact, his life insurance expired that day, May 31. A blessing from God? I know so. 

Because it was an accident, it would pay at double indemnity (value) and Michael had made his dad and I equal beneficiaries. Our son literally got his parents on the path to better financial stability. We were able to pay for his funeral expenses and we both were able to pay off bills and put a down payment on a house. A blessing from God? I know so. 

At the funeral, the soloist was singing a hymn called, "Families Can Be Together Forever". When he was singing the second verse, chorus, I literally heard my son singing at my right shoulder,

"Families can be together forever, 
through Heavenly Father's plan. 
I always want to be with my own family 
and the Lord has showed me how I can. 
The Lord has showed me how I can." 

I looked at my friend at my right to see if she heard as well, but she was just listening to the soloist. This was a special gift for a mother who was in mourning. After the service, I spoke to the man who had sung and shared with him that I had heard Michael singing with him. He smiled and said, "I felt him there with me." A blessing from God? I know so. 

Michael was not perfect. That night he died, he had been drinking and playing basketball with his friends. He hadn't been to church since he was a teenager and decided to rebel with mom as to getting up on Sunday morning. But, whenever he called me he always closed with, "I love you!" Whenever we saw one another, he always enveloped my 5'6" "motherly" frame with his 6'3" lanky frame with what I have fondly called, "Michael's Hug". A blessing from God? I know so. 

In our religion, we have sacred ordinances that a person needs to accomplish on their journey to "higher and better things". Some of these ordinances can only be accomplished in the temple. If a person does not do them while they are living, they can be done by "proxy" or in their behalf by another member of the same gender a year after they have died. The person who has passed on, still makes the decision to accept this work or not. 

I had Michael's temple work done a year after he died and as I waited for his affirmation to come somehow, someway to know he had accepted this work, I went up to his "proxy" to hug him and thank him for doing this for Michael. When he hugged me back, it was "Michael's Hug"; not the hug of a stranger. Michael had indeed repented and come back to the fold. A blessing from God? I know so. 

Many times in my life, I have been blessed with various situations that have made me stand back and take notice. I have been in situations I thought there was no way out of and done things that I later regretted doing. But, through all of this, once I found out about the "pure love of Christ", I began to see that I could come out of it and I could smile and laugh again. It was then that I came to the knowledge and understanding, that if I do my part and live worthy, that I would indeed be blessed with the eternities with my family. A blessing from God? I know so.

Journal Entry from the Past 20 Mar 2002


Yesterday, March 19, which is Michael's birthday, I decided to make a road trip to Burlington to take him his birthday gift – a new flag for his grave. I try to replace it yearly. He would have been 29.

I prefer to remember his birthday, as it was one of the three happiest days of my life. The day he was called Home, was not a happy day for me, but perhaps for him, as he was released from the trial of life as we know it.

The six hour drive included light rain all the way. I kept praying that it would subside so that when I got to the cemetery it would be dry. But, it continued.

So, I replaced his flag and attached a small angel that was left from another who loved him also many moons ago. We don't know who, but it doesn't matter. It is good to see that others have come to say "hello" and "I remember".

As I stood in the drizzle, talking out loud to him, tears of a humble mother fell freely. This was the hardest time I have had while visiting him. Perhaps this year was the hardest, as I am also going through the empty nest syndrome.

Not knowing what I am suppose to do next, has really set my mind into a state of confusion.
Well meaning friends and family give me advice, but the end decision has to come from me, through the answer I receive from my Father in Heaven. I find if I make decisions from his counsel, then life seems to flow a lot easier, without as many stumbling blocks.

He has always promised it won't necessarily be easy, but it will be worth it. He has never let me down, so I proceed on knowing that He has a plan for me. One that I can and will live with.
Right now, the plan is not clear, but it will come, with time, patience and prayer.

On my way home, I made a quick stop to say hi to Ceci in her cute, new shop and then on through Nauvoo to catch a glimpse of the temple. All I can say is, "wow!" It is gorgeous and so white. White as purity; as He ask us to live our lives. 

Nauvoo is full of hustle and bustle and I thought of the times past when the temple was being built and how it must have looked all a flurry. Exciting times in which we are blessed to live. Should I or would I move back there? If He says I should, then I would.

Then it was on the Keokuk to say hi to Mom and leave her a new flag. Cemeteries have a neat spirit of serenity and are so clean and peaceful. The birds are singing as spring is in the air.

The three hundred mile/six hour drive home gives me more time to ponder the day and life in general. No decisions are made, but I know they will come.

18 March 2010

My Love for the Relief Society


By Lavona Richardson

As we celebrate the birthday of Relief Society today, March 17, 2010, I am thinking about Relief Society and the influence of being a member of this great women’s organization has been in my life.  I first became a member of Relief Society as a student at BYU and now have been a member of that great organization for almost 60 years.

I remember the two years we were in Nauvoo and the opportunity I had to be in the Red Brick Store and reenact the organization of this great organization where it actually happened.  One year we all dressed in our period clothes and reenacted exactly as it happened from the minutes of the meeting.  I felt that I was there in 1842 when the Prophet Joseph Smith organized the Relief Society.  Another year in Nauvoo as we met at the Red Brick Store I was invited to share with my Nauvoo missionary sisters some of my Relief Society experiences through the years. 

I enjoyed serving as a site missionary in the Sarah Granger Kimball home located on the banks of the Mississippi River.  It was here where the idea of a women’s organization to help make clothes for the workers at the Nauvoo Temple first began.  They planned to organize like other women groups of the day but Joseph Smith said it needed to be organized after the same pattern as the priesthood.

Today as I reflect back on the influence the Relief Society has had on my life I think of my mother, Irene Stratton Flake, who served in Relief Society most of her life and always expressed joy at being able to serve.  Her birthday is on March 18th so at our home we celebrated both the Relief Society’s birthday and my mother’s birthday at the same time.  As a young missionary in Mexico I was privileged to help organize the Relief Society in Aguascalientes and Monterrey.  I remember being the translator for my mission mother and going with her to the new areas opened up in the mission to organize Relief Society in the new branches.  I also helped write an article about Relief Society in our mission paper each month.

When I was a young mother with three small children, my husband Jay graduated from dental school and we moved into a new ward in Tempe where we knew no one.  We were there less than a week when Marlene, our 2- year-old daughter, became seriously ill with Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Puerperal.  She required a bone marrow test and lots of extra care.  Sister Mills, my Relief Society visiting teacher learned of our needs and was there to help me with care of our baby and our 3- year- old making it possible for me to spend many hours in the hospital.  She also brought in meals and was so Christ-like in her service.

A few years later Jay was seriously burned.  He required dressing the burns several times each day for several weeks.  Again a sweet Relief Society visiting teacher came to our rescue.  Sister Wiehrdt, a registered nurse, appeared at our door shortly after the incident to help care for the burn.  She came back to our home many more times to dress the burn and care for it.

One time I was assigned as a visiting teacher to a less active sister.  I faithfully went by her home at least once a month but never was allowed in.  Often I would leave a note or a loaf of bread at her door, with no response from her.  After three years of faithfully visiting her each month, one day when I stopped to see her she came to the door and said, “I was praying that you would come.”  Her husband had abused her and she needed to get out of her home.  We were able to get ward members to help her with her special needs.  Shortly after we were able to start giving her the missionary lessons and she started occasionally coming to our church meetings.

While Jay and I  were on our mission in Indonesia I saw Relief Society and its motto “Charity Never Faileth” put into action as I witnesses a sweet Relief Society President of the Bogor Branch, Lily Lee administer to her little group of women and care for their needs.  I was assigned as her shadow leader but instead she taught me about caring for the one.  She planned lessons around the needs of the new members who needed so much and gave comfort and love as she taught and watched over her little flock.  Lily became friends with Hartika as she was investigating the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She was at her baptism and encouraged others to fellowship her in the church, recognizing her special needs in a Muslim nation.  Another member of Relief Society was Esther, who with seven small children never had enough of the material things in life to care for them Lily was always making some special treat to take over to the family for Home Evening and giving them encouragement as they struggled.   I indeed saw love administered in the way I know Christ administed to those He was with.  Lily taught me so much about caring for the one and being an instrument in the hands of God in doing his work in a little branch in a very remote area in Bogor, Indonesia.  One of the things that I enjoyed doing in Indonesia was making “temple cakes” for the 8-year- old members of the branch as they were baptized and birthday cakes for the other members in my little “easy bake oven”.  Most of them had never tasted cake as we have it and no one had ovens.

I memorized the theme of Relief Society and like to repeat it to myself when I am walking or have time to meditate.  It says, “We are beloved spirit daughters of God and our lives have meaning, purpose and direction.  As a worldwide sisterhood we are united in our devotion to Jesus Christ, our Savior and Exemplar.  We are women of faith, virtue, vision and charity who increase our testimonies of Jesus Christ though prayer and scripture study, seek spiritual strength by following the promptings of the Holy Ghost, dedicate ourselves to strengthening marriage, families and homes, find nobility in motherhood and joy in womanhood, delight in service and good works, love life and learning, stand for truth and righteousness, sustain the priesthood as the authority of God on earth and rejoice in the blessings of the temple, understand our divine destiny and strive for exaltation.’

I am grateful to be a member of this great Relief Society organization and join with the other members of the church in wishing it a happy birthday.  Relief Society has made me a better person.   Lavona Flake Richardson

16 March 2010

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Wrong Number

By

Rachelle Christensen




"Wrong Number is beautifully written, fast paced, and full of cliff hangers that make it impossible to put down. Characters and plot are well developed, and Aubree, the main character, had my sympathy and attention right from the first few pages.

Rachelle’s writing is vivid. I clearly visualized each new setting. Even the sounds and smells were vibrant, pulling me in.

I recommend this book for all readers who enjoy mind-wrinkling suspense, well sprinkled with mystery and clean romance." Anne Bradshaw







15 March 2010

What I Believe...


I believe that anyone who has a testimony of the Living Savior needs to share it and do so often.

Sometimes it is hard to sum up one's personality and belief system in a paragraph or two. I just wanted to share with anyone who's interested about the things I hold sacred and believe and know to be true. I am using some quotes because they pretty much sum up what I do believe and have chosen to follow. I am not stating that I am perfect, but I am striving towards perfection everyday; be it through my deeds, works, thoughts or actions or a combination of any and all of the above. This is not meant to debate, argue about or discuss in depth. This is only me, Paula, sharing my value and belief system...

"Love one another as you would have them love you". This is my first and foremost rule of thumb. This not mean I don't make mistakes and that I don't have to pick myself up when I fall. But, I have learned by the things I have been taught, whether they be in the schools I have attended, the good parents who raised me or the religion in which I am now fully engrossed. I know what it means to live in a negative light, to walk the wrong path or to the point of beating my head up against the wall for an unknown reason or cause. I have since learned there is a better life and I can and do desire to be a part of it. I desire to treat others with respect and ask they do the same with me. I am not a bad person if I do wrong; I am not yet refined.

The following is a long post, because after looking it over, I felt there was no way I could chop it up without doing it injustice. Please read it with the positive light in which it has been written.

============

The Family: A Proclamation to the World

The First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children.

All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.

In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshiped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize his or her divine destiny as an heir of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.

The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God's commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.

We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God's eternal plan.

Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. "Children are an heritage of the Lord" (Psalms 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.

The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.

We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.

We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.

This proclamation was read by President Gordon B. Hinckley as part of his message at the General Relief Society Meeting held September 23, 1995, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

============

Many of us here have developed a good and positive relationship with many others. Sometimes we don't always have the same belief system or set of values. That does not mean we are bad people or that we think the other is evil. It means that I respect you and your beliefs and I hope and would wish that you would respect mine.

But, if you write something that I feel goes against the testimony that I have of the Divine Nature of God and His plan and purpose, then I may interject with my two cents. It does not mean I think you are a bad person, it just means I know there is a better way that I believe you and others should investigate, with an open mind and positive attitude.

My reason on being here is not to force my religious beliefs on you. My reason is two-fold; to share my writing skills and techniques with those who are interested and to get to know you as my brothers and sisters in Christ, because that is what we are. No matter if you believe or accept it or not; it is true. We are the children of a Father in Heaven and He loves us - unconditionally. And I, will try to do the same with you. Only I need more patience and tolerance, as I haven't quite mastered all the skills yet that make that happen. But, I am working on it. He knows that. He accepts that. And, He still loves me when I fall. Because that's what He does - unconditionally.

Your Sister in Christ -

Paula

Journey - 19 March 1973 - 31 May 1997...



 

















               
Michael Francis Fullenkamp Jr.


Early in the evening,
a calm Carolina night;
a son was born,
thus began his flight.

From infant to toddler,
to school to life;
his travels were many,
taking all with strife.

Many lives were touched,
many hearts were warmed;
for he was special,
never to be forlorn.

Early in the morning;
a calm Iowa night;
a son called home,
thus ended his flight.

Through a thin veil,
arms open with love;
Once again with Father,
You watch from above.

The memories, the tears,
all cherished with smiles;
Michael you touched many,
while traveling your miles.



Paula A. Tomey-Allen (aka mom)
June 1, 1997

A Child of the Fifties and Sixties...


Paula A. Tomey-Allen

I am reminded of the age I am, and the era I was born in, which was 1950. Ah, the good old days. Things have sure changed since then.

In thinking back amongst the cobwebs I remember things like:

Mountain Dew in a green glass bottle and calling it "Kick-a-poo Joy Juice".

Playing with my black hair "bubble cut" Barbie while my sister played with her blond one.

My sister and I sharing the same bed for years.

Mom being a "stay-at-home" mom and not minding it.

My brothers had newspapers routes to earn money.

All of us kids would collect pop bottles (glass ones) and haul them in our wagon into town from the military base where we lived for the two cents deposit. We would then go to the local Ben Franklin and/or Base Exchange to spend our precious money on things like a quarter pound of Spanish peanuts for a dime.

Sometimes we would even comb the local dumpsters for bottles and find other treasures. (Shh... don't tell mom and dad!)

Having to wear skirts or dresses to school and if it was a certain temperature we could wear pants under them, but had to take them off when we got to school.

Piling us four kids into the back seat of our "Old Gray Dodge" and going to the drive-in with our fresh popcorn in a brown grocery sack. Our younger brother would sit up front with our parents.

Dad and mom got the first pick of the chicken (one chicken) and we got to choose ours by age. I would opt for the back and neck.

Our first TV was a black and white, and
if my parents were to be out for the evening, Dad would mark the TV Guide as to what we were watching.

I remember watching Ed Sullivan, Elvis, the Beatles and others who have since passed. Mickey Mouse and Howdy Doody were favorites after school, if our chores were done.

We wore hand-me-down clothes and lived a very humble, military family, lifestyle.

And, funny, we lived to tell about it.

Getting Back in Touch..



Paula A. Tomey-Allen 

Do you ever have those times when you feel like you are off balance and that your life is taking a wrong turn of sorts? Or, perhaps that you are in a strange territory and not feeling quite like yourself?

I have noticed lately that I have been feeling this way. No, I haven’t gone out and robbed a bank or done anything else illegal, so we can stop worrying about that! It’s just that, I have felt, sort of, like the ole’ “lights on, but nobody’s home” syndrome.

So, recently as I was making my proverbial daily “To Do” list, which by the way never seems to get done, I got to thinking about things in general and how I could get out of this slump? I decided, as I turned on the TV to “just see” if something was on that I could listen to as I piddled around home, that TV wasn’t going to get me anywhere. Same thing happens with the computer sometimes too. The dust balls seem to just grow…

Since I had already decided that since I didn’t care for the silence, I turned on the stereo. As I scanned the stations with my remote I came across a Christian radio station that I listen to once in awhile, but had not tuned into for a long time.

They were playing a version of “You Raise Me Up” by a performer I didn’t know, but I love this song as I had heard it often by one of our favorites, Josh Grobin. Recently someone had done a post about this song, which has such amazing words and meaning, and it had been on my mind ever since I read that post and have been thinking about the words a lot.

So, I left the station on and commenced to putter around doing things like loading the dishwasher and wiping down the kitchen which seemed to have taken on a life of its’ own. As I wiped here and there sorting papers and trashing the endless mound of junk mail that accumulates, I found myself listening to two men having a conversation about fathers and there responsibilities to their children. I found it very interesting and since I am a single mom, I put the counsel to myself as the duo role I play as mom and dad. Even though my children at the time had living fathers, they have lived in different towns than we have most of their growing up and now adult years. We are so blessed they have always had the utmost desire to be an integral part of theirs lives, even though we are separated by divorce and miles.

I continued to listen to them counseling us on the things that we should be doing and how doing these things, simple things, such as spending time with your kids and getting to know them and talking to them and setting a good environment for them were all important things. These were words of wisdom I knew very well and had learned many times over in my adult life. I am sure they were around when I was a child myself, but I was locked into the “me” phase of my life and they surely fell on deaf ears.

In the course of their program they played a talk that was given by a prominent Christian speaker several years ago that related to the topic of raising children and so I continued to listen, as I wiped down doorways and continued to rip up the never ending pile of “You are Pre-approved” junk mail.

This gentleman was funny, to say the least. He had me chuckling and hanging on his every word, as he incorporated stories from his own family life, that we as parents could so relate to. Some topics included, the boy who comes to pick up your daughter for her first date. We still feared that one as I had one not yet married and sometimes I found myself biting my tongue, as I watched and listened to the potential suitors of that time.

As I listened, I was once again reminded that I have a very loving Heavenly Father who loves me unconditional. He is always there and he will never leave me; ever. I had been so very fortunate to have had the father that I was blessed with at birth still with me today, to listen when I needed an ear and to tell me that he loves me and that he is so proud of me and my accomplishments in life. He passed at the youthful age of 86 years, and he still had a heart of gold and the compassion of a Saint. I have learned many lessons from his life and his wonderful example.

So, I decided that I needed to step back and re-evaluate my life and what was possibly putting me in the slump I had recently experienced? I realized that my life is as I make it. I am the sole proprietor and decision maker for how or what I do in this life that I was so graciously given 50 plus years ago. The talk shows and the shopping malls will most likely be there tomorrow. If they are removed something else will replace them. But, my family is one of a kind and they won’t be here always. They may leave this existence before I do or I before them. What’s important is that I make the best of the moments that we have while we are here, together.

I firmly believe that “Families ARE Forever” and that I will be with mine into the eternities, but I need to make the most of this earthly time as well.

So, as I look at my “Daily Balance Scale” where I measure importance and mundane, I once again am reminded that, family, my most precious eternal gift, must always comes first and foremost. Without them, I am nothing and I don’t like having nothing, weather it be in my bank account or my life. But, my bank account, I can’t take with me when I leave, whereas, my family I can and I will. Because my family, is the single, most important, eternal gift I have.

Object Lesson – Clarity...



Paula A. Tomey-Allen

Awhile back, I had to replace two light bulbs in my kitchen ceiling and in doing so also had to clean the filthy globes that had not seen a bath for quite awhile. It is amazing what can accumulate up there over a period of time!

Well, being the person I am, I like to teach and in doing so I like to use object lessons to make a point. So, as I was washing out the greasy, dusty globes with hot, sudsy, lemony, water I thought about instances in our lives and how sometimes they can relate to this situation.

Sometimes we get so cluttered with everyday happenings and we tend to get stuck in a routine that we often don't take the time to stop and clean off our "glasses" and see what is out there for us that we are not seeing because we have a clouded or obstructed view. When, I put the new bulbs in and turned on the light switch, it was so bright that I only need to use one light now, instead of the two that I had been using for quite a while as I sit here to work on the computer and do my research.

Now, pages are brighter, ancestor's names are showing up better in my family trees. It will be nice when I cook or entertain for dinner. Or, perhaps, bring out the sewing machine to work on a mending project

The same works for us when we take the time to get rid of the gunk in our lives and work with a new view or perspective. It is important to stop often and take a look at our situations and ask how we can improve a process or a communication skill we may have become lax with?

I think to myself, when was the last time I actually mailed a real letter in my own handwriting to someone instead of using the now conventional e-mail? When was the last time I actually went to visit someone in person and shared ideas and stories instead of calling or once again, sending an e-mail?

My step-mother is up in her years and lives far from me. We talk on phone, but it does become frustrating as her hearing and cognitive skills aren’t as sharp as they use to be. She loves to get mail and often will say, "Write me a letter so I can make sure I am understanding you right."

So, the next time you go to jot a note to someone that goes to a Yahoo or Hotmail address, or whatever service you use, why not take the time to find some stationary, an envelope and a stamp and a pen and sit down and write a pen and ink letter that actually says better and more personal, "Hi! I was thinking of you and I wanted to send a special touch." For fun, add a touch of confetti. My grandkids love it, as do most adults.

Life is too short for being so uniform. Sometimes, we have to change what has become tradition, like those mass Christmas letters and take the time to start early, like now, and write an individual note to those we care about when we prepare our Christmas cards.

My mother had the prettiest handwriting and I love it when I run across a letter or card from her in her handwriting. My son sent few cards and letters during his short life, but I savor every one, especially because I can look at his handwriting which brings him just a little bit closer to home. Just a little bit clearer.

Take time, to make time...

One Drop of Oil...













Paula A. Tomey-Allen

One drop of oil,
Upon my head,
With Priesthood blessings,
While tears I shed.

Strength that comes,
From Words from Thee,
Through anothers voice,
I listen and plea.

For a better time,
Or a better plan,
One drop of oil,
To help me stand.

Thou Abounding Love,
Comforting my soul,
While warming my heart,
And filling my bowl.

One drop of Blood,
How it touches my life,
And will help me to,
Live though the strife.

So fill my lamp,
Full to the top,
And I will prepare,
For Your next stop.

One drop of oil,
Upon my head,
A daughter of God,
And now I am fed.