Wednesday, December 24, 2014

I love to see the temple

Rachel is home.   It feels pretty good to have a child home.  (She is 23, but still my baby) The first of the faithful four missionaries to return home with honor is adjusting to non-missionary life.  Jerry and I are adjusting to a home with an adult child.  She is doing well, and is making plans for the future.   She is  still our "Rachel", but wiser, more articulate and so, so strong in her testimony of Jesus Christ and the restored Gospel.  We are so thankful for her dedication in serving and testifying in Michigan for the last year and a half.  Families are so important.  As I wait for the rest of my children to come home from their missions, I am reminded of the eternal nature of families.  I think about the recent dedication of our own Ogden Temple and the reason for temples.  

Temples are sacred places where we go to learn , to ponder our existence and to be united with our families. How blessed we are to have one ten minutes away!

Last May, JoAnn Taylor (Jerry's mom ) was sealed to her husband and children in the Brigham City Temple. Temples are also  places where we go to make promises with God.  Unlike regular church buildings, only those who are prepared and who hold a special recommend of worthiness can enter into this holy place.  However, everyone can feel of its power and beauty.  

We learn about our relationship with God, and our purpose here on earth.  "And that all people who shall enter upon the threshold of the Lord's House may feel Thy power and feel constrained to acknowledge that Thou has sanctified it and it is Thy house, a place of Thy holiness." D & C 109:13

We believe that families can be sealed together for time and all eternity, that relationships will not be lost through death.  "Families are forever!"

JoAnn was not sealed to her husband at the time of his death  in 1993.  She was active in the LDS faith, but had not received her endowment.  The endowment is a gift that one receives in the temple that empowers you and helps you to prepare for eternal marriage.   She did not show a great deal of interest in doing so until a wonderful Bishop asked her to read the Book of Mormon, to develop a testimony of its truths.  She was very supportive of her children, and as each one of them married in the temple, she sat in the waiting room.  She was very much her own person, but when she finally believed something , she believed it with her whole heart. She developed that testimony. (She later told me that the Book of Mormon was a "real page turner")  She called one evening as I sat in the living room on a chilly  December night.  "Would your family like to join me next Saturday in the Ogden Temple as I receive my endowment?" she asked innocently...   Well, I could have been knocked over with a feather! (as my mom used to say)  We were so happy, and so we met there in the temple a few days later and witnessed her covenanting with her Heavenly Father.  All of her family who had recommends were there to rejoice with her.

And then...this last May for her 85th birthday, her wish was for her family to be sealed to her for all eternity.   Jerry and his sisters joined her in being sealed together around the alter in the temple.  Most of her grandkids were able to attend.  Jamie Kartchner (JoAnn's granddaughter in law ) knelt in proxy for Julie, who died in 1991,  Jerry knelt in proxy for his Dad and they were made an eternal family.  It was a beautiful Spring day, and will remain forever a beautiful memory in my mind. I am in awe of my mother-in-law and her faith and devotion to God and Family.  She is truly an example of courage, of diligence and conviction of one's ideals.  She has become not only my husband's mother and my children's grandmother, but my dear friend.  I look up to her for so many things, and especially for her desire to be charitable, kind and faithful.  She is such an example to those who have the privilege to be acquainted with her. 

JoAnn with some of the great grandkids

Jerry Taylor, Jackie Taylor Kartchner, JoAnn Taylor and Jan Taylor Stauffer 

                                                                          The family!

JoAnn and some of her grandkids

Why we build temples

                                  Ben took this video with his drone camera.  It's beautiful!

The blessings of the temple are many.  When I asked Jerry what powerful statement I could make about the temple, he replied with, "The temple is a good place".   Yup, he has always been a man of few words.  But he is  absolutely right about that statement.  There are many good places in our lives that give us sanctuary from the world, and  teach us things about ourselves and our potential.  The temple is a place where we can be magnified, purified, sanctified, strengthened , sealed, ennobled, and perfected. There are other places that are holy and reverent, but the temple allows us to see beyond this earth life and see what lies beyond in the eternities.  I am so grateful for my belief that at this time of year when families are convening to celebrate Christmas, my mother, father and brothers who have passed away are also celebrating.  I cannot embrace them physically, but I know of their love for us.  I am looking forward to being reunited with them someday, and it is in the temple that I often feel them close.

I am reminded of Christ this Christmas Eve, and his atonement for all mankind that made it possible for us to live after this life is over.  I am humbled to know that He knows each one of us.   He was not just a mortal man;  He is the Son of God.   The apostle Paul prayed in behalf of the early Saints, "That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith, that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth and length, and depth, and height; and to know that the love of Christ , which passeth knowledge that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God  (Ephesians 3:17-19)

    Merry Christmas everyone!!  May you all feel His love in the coming new year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

I remember a Christmas..

Christmas Memory "Emily and the Barbie Crayons"

When my children were young, Christmas was such an exciting time for me!  It meant that I got to experience the magic of Christmas through their eyes, and I loved every minute of it.  I lived vicariously through every first snowfall, the smell of each new Christmas doll, and their shining faces as the Christmas tree was put up.  It was almost better than being a child because the giving of presents was so much better than the receiving of them. 
One year, my friends and I decided to make a special present that would totally overwhelm and delight our little girls.  Barbie houses were all the rage, and we decided that no cheap cardboard constructed houses would be acceptable.  We trudged out to my friend’s workshop after kids were in bed to build these unbelievable doll houses.  Night after frigid night, we drove on icy roads to huddle in the cold to carefully construct beautiful houses.  They were gorgeous, with tiled roofs, and real carpet.  We painted the wood, and pasted in real wallpaper.  They were one of a kind, and we could hardly contain our excitement and anticipation as we visualized our daughter’s joy.  This would be a Christmas to remember!
That morning, I positioned my husband carefully with the camcorder to capture the magic that our daughter would feel as she gazed upon the most amazing dollhouse to ever behold.   She woke, and with her siblings made a beeline into our living room where Santa had left his treasures.  She tripped gaily past the magnificent dollhouse to where she picked up her Christmas stocking.  She could hardly contain herself as she picked up a package of 69 cent Barbie crayons, and shrieked with pure delight, “Barbie Crayons, I have always wanted Barbie Crayons!!”  We tried to get her to notice the huge gift that would be the envy of all her little friends, but she continued to gaze with adoration on the box of crayons, examining each one, and demanding a coloring book so she could try them all out.  She did eventually play with her dollhouse, but that Christmas morning taught us all about gift giving, and the magic of childhood. Our children can be happy with so little, and the true spirit of Christmas was forever enhanced by the recording of our little girl reminding us what giving is all about.