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25 year anniversary trip

Lane and I had a fabulous time on our anniversary trip. It was just what I dreamed of: variety, activity, and beautiful scenery. Paired with simply being with my favorite person/eternal companion, I was in heaven!

We did have a few “hiccups” on our trip, like our lodging not working out that Lane had planned a week’s worth of activities around, and so we switched locations for the rest of our trip. And it turned out to be fabulous! We loved where we went! Victoria B.C. is a simply beautiful location. Heavenly Father answered our prayers for help when we weren’t sure what to do to turn the disappointment into a better memory.

The Boeing Factory in Everett Falls, WA, was one of our first stops on our trip. (Photo credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_Everett_Factory) We were amazed at the size of the building (larger than the Disneyland campus!) and the scope of the enterprise. It is astonishing to think that 6 million parts go into making one airplane. I’m grateful I don’t have to do inventory there. (You have to purchase tickets in advance to go there. Just a heads up…)

Our first night we stayed at Snoqualmie Falls. The waterfalls were gorgeous! We got up early the next morning to watch the sun rise over the falls. We learned that you can hike down to the base of the falls, which we did. The “forest” through which we hiked was so green and lush with such towering trees–I felt like I was walking through a Jurassic Park movie set!

We traveled via car and ferry to Friday Harbor, in the San Juan Islands (Washington state), and loved the views there as well. I love getting to see all these different places the Lord has made!

I have never gone whale watching before: we were grateful to get to see some orcas swimming together! The naturalists aboard our boat took some great photos that they shared with us later.

We enjoyed watching sea planes land and take off from Victoria, B.C.

We had beautiful weather for most of our stay in Victoria, but we were grateful for the rain because they had had so much dryness and fires because of that, that they really needed the rain. Lane got sick with a bad cold the last 4 days of our trip, but it didn’t stop us from enjoying our time together.

We took the ferry from Victoria to Vancouver, B.C., and drove through Langley, B.C. back to Snoqualmie Falls. It was a scenic circle that I would highly recommend to anyone who wants to see some great parts of the Pacific Northwest.

Here are activities we loved: hiking, jogging, reading (I read 1.5 books alone!), walking, shopping, eating, whale watching, biking, taking a sea plane tour, swimming laps, reading a book aloud together, watching a movie and “When Calls the Heart” episodes together, studying scriptures together, discussing goals and future dreams, and going to the Royal Museum in Victoria. We enjoyed the exhibit on Egypt.

We had really wanted but weren’t able to go kayaking and to see the Boutchart Gardens. That’s how trips go: gotta stay flexible!

While we did spend a number of hours in the car, and while Lane was sick, and when we waited for our meals, we read aloud Silent NIght, the autobiography of Sue Thomas. Lane and I love to watch the TV series “Sue Thomas, F.B.Eye” on PureFlix. We learned that the story of her life is far different from the show. Talk about a hard life! Wow! She went completely deaf (nerve deafness) when she was two, and from then on, she underwent incredible challenges, including pain, fear, sorrow, loneliness, struggle, bullying, abuse, financial challenges, academic failure, religious turmoil, obesity and family trauma. She also grew incredibly and saw personal talent development, academic success, friendship, kindness, forgiveness, healing, weight loss, physical fitness, work success, religious discovery, answered prayers, and personal fulfillment.

This book was humbling to read and enlarged my compassion towards her and those who have struggled with pain and difficulty, including those who are dealing with physical, emotional, same-sex attraction, and other personal struggles. It covers lots of serious topics. I would NOT recommend it for young people, although there are some excerpts that would be wonderful to share. Her honesty, faith, determination, and perserverance is truly admirable!

We ate some fabulous meals while on our trip. Here are restaurants we would recommend. Eating out is so expensive! We really splurged for this special trip on some of our meals!

Salish Lodge and Spa (Snoqualmie Falls): The breakfast was amazing! We loved: the hot chocolate with chocolate shavings on top; the “honey from heaven” that is a tradition since 1906, where they pour honey from their own hives on the freshly made biscuits; the waffles with local peaches in season. Our servers were the kindest ever!

Tucker House Bed and Breakfast Inn (Friday Harbor): These guys could write the book on hospitality! We showed up at their place feeling a little “rumpled” after our first experience with the VRBO housing that didn’t work out, and they were so gracious and warm and welcoming! We felt like honored guests! They brought us freshly baked cookies and asked if we had any food allergies and planned a healthy breakfast for us taking special dietary needs into account. It was ALL homemade (including the granola and yogurt) with love and culinary talent. Delicous! Amazing! We were SO impressed!

Mont Royal Bagels (Victoria, B.C.): This is a bagel place that I discovered on my mission in Montreal. We went there on our 15th anniversary and found the bagel place in Montreal and went back again for the temple rededication. We LOVED these bagels and were so excited that they had one on the other side of the continent! Of course we had to come here almost every morning for breakfast. Whole wheat bagels with cinnamon sugar? Um, yes, please!

Rebar Restaurant (Victoria, B.C.): This was a stellar find on our first night in B.C., and we went back again another night for an encore. Their freshly pressed juice was SO GOOD! (We loved the apple, cucumber?, lime, orange? combination. Oh my! I’ve forgotten.) We also had yummy rockfish tacos and monk’s curry. Everything is fresh and homemade with so many healthy choices. Dessert was also worth getting…

Red Fish Blue Fish (Victoria, B.C.): This is a “seaside eatery” which serves up terrific fish and chips and “tacones,” which are tacos in a tortilla wrapped into a cone. I had a great deep-fried yam tacone that had cabbage slaw in it. So yummy!! Lane, who ate a LOT of fish and chips when he lived in England, thought his fare was the best he’s ever had! You do wait a long time in line, but lucky for us, it was a fabulously sunshiny day!

Pagliacci’s (Victoria, B.C.): This fun Italian restaurant is so tiny and cram-packed wall to wall with tables and customers. There is a line out the door and black and white autographed photos on the walls. We enjoyed our spaghetti and meatball and stuffed tortellini, but we also really enjoyed visiting with the young married couple sitting next to us. Of course, we were happy to share our wisdom from being married 25 years! LOL (They were gracious enough to listen to it!)

And here are 2 little tips: If you’re trying to heat up leftovers in a hotel room, try Lane’s method: boil water in an electric coffee pot and stick your leftovers in a mug, placing it carefully in the pot with the boiling water. Comes out piping hot! This was a nice way for us to eat in for Sunday lunch! With a mini fridge in our hotel room, we could save some salad and entrees from too-large serving sizes for another day.

Tip no.2: Bringing along some servings of Grape Nuts cereal in a Ziploc baggie from home made eating breakfast in a hotel quick after we made a little grocery run for yogurt, Lactose-free milk, and bananas. We just got bowls and spoons from room service and washed them out for the next use.

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First day of school

We’ve been in school for three weeks now, but I wanted to write a post about how we celebrate the first day of school.

Clothes shopping

When we go school shopping, we give the children a limited budget (a dollar amount) for one outfit. They can spend all their budget amount on one item or several, but they have to stick within their allotment. They typically wear their new outfit on the first day of school.

Clothing storage

We don’t go out and buy a whole wardrobe because it isn’t practical or cost-effective. The weather is still hot, so the clothes they wore in summer are what they will be wearing for another several weeks, at least. Their birthdays are coming, which is a good time to buy more clothing, if needed. And then Christmas comes, which is another time to get more cold weather clothing. So we ease into things. And we always have used hand-me-downs from our clothing storage. So, with the exception of the oldest children, everyone had clothing to dip into when they grew into the next size!

School supplies storage

I do stock up on school supplies when they are at such good prices. After being in school for so many years with a big family, it’s nice to have supplies  in our “dry storage” room so that we don’t always have to run to Wal-Mart for a poster board at 9 pm when a child remembers they have a report due the next day! I try to buy poster board, glue sticks, science fair boards and other supplies that we tend to go through in bulk when they are on sale. (That doesn’t mean that we still don’t run out! “The best laid plans of mice and men….”)

The best night ever

We have back-to-school father’s blessings. This religious tradition is one of the sweetest of the entire year, and our children love it. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the fathers (who are worthy) have the priesthood authority to give blessings to their children when they are sick or in need of comfort or at special times in their lives, such as starting a new school year. This follows the example the Savior set when he was on earth, and the power and authority of the priesthood that each father holds can be traced directly and literally back to Jesus Christ.

These blessings are when the child receiving the blessing sits in a comfortable chair and Lane places his hands upon the head of that child, speaking the inspired words that come to his mind. (It isn’t appropriate to film blessings or share them publically, so I’m doing my best to describe this special event.) Unless you have experienced this for yourself, it is hard to describe how wonderful it is. It takes a whole evening for the whole family to receive their own blessing, since we stop after each blessing and jot down notes from what we remember. I type up these notes for each child to refer to during the year for comfort and guidance. We do this typically on a Sunday night in the few weeks before school begins.

(Sarah on her first day of kindergarten, July 1999. She was so excited about her Queen Amidala backpack, but maybe not as thrilled about the uniform.)

First day photos

On the first day of school, right after breakfast and scriptures/family prayer, we take a photo of each child. The children are anxious to leave, since they took longer getting ready than typical, so they are rushing to get to school on time! Gotta love that first day zeal!

First night dinner

I love our dinner that first night because everyone gets to tell about their teachers, their classes, and how bored or excited they were, how happy they were to get to have lunch with a certain friend, etc. And I have loved having a quiet day to myself again after the busy summer days!

Back in the [routine] again

I love school starting again, because it always helps to have a routine again. At the same time, I really miss the freedom of no schedules and fun summer activities and family vacation. It just gives us something to look forward to again!

 

 

 

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Cousin Dinner: Fiesta!

We had a college cousin dinner at the end of August, welcoming the cousins back to school. I’d like to remember what we do for cousin dinners so that in the future we can have menu ideas for other large family gatherings!

When Anna and I were grocery shopping, we thought the tiny bananas were so much fun. We put them out as our little decoration and meant to tell the cousins to take one if they wanted, but forgot!

We served soft tortillas (corn and flour) with pork, rice, beans, shredded cheese, lettuce, pico de gallo (homemade!), guacamole, sour cream, chips, and watermelon. We had cookies and brownies for dessert.

The funniest part was that we were all ready ON TIME (a miracle for us when we are preparing these large dinners) but forgot to shred the pork and set it out (it had been cooking in two crockpots on the side)! So everyone started serving their food when we realized the main dish was missing….

We wish we had started cooking the pork the day before so that it was more tender and made that day’s prep simpler. Also, we needed to start heating the tortillas an hour before instead of 30 minutes, so that our tortilla flipper could eat with the rest of the crowd!

Along with the preparation and set up (tables and chairs, meal prep, house cleaning), the biggest time consumer in a large meal is the clean up. We plan on at least two hours. I wish there were a faster way, but it just takes time. The whole affair is certainly worth the effort: we love getting to visit with these wonderful college students and to strengthen our relationships as we visit together!

Just as a side note, Sarah learned this funny acronym for making pico that I can never seem to completely remember (so I just asked her what it is): RGOGSH: Red thing, green thing, onion thing, garlic thing, sweet thing, hot thing (tomato, cilantro, red onion, garlic, mango, jalapeño…and of course salt and pepper).

Here’s a shopping list for future reference:

lettuce
tomatoes
red onion
yellow onion (for the roast, if desired)
cilantro
limes
mango
jalapeño (we often skip this)
garlic
cumin
sour cream
shredded cheese
tortillas (corn and flour)
pork roasts
chips
premade guacamole (Costco) or avocados

To learn more about cousin dinners, go here.

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I Can Only Imagine

Lane and I watched a very good movie this week on our date night: “I Can Only Imagine.”

It’s the true story behind Mercy Me’s hit song, “I Can Only Imagine.” And I’m a big fan of true stories.

Bart Millard grows up with an abusive father, a real-life “monster” who told him he couldn’t follow his dreams and wouldn’t amount to anything. His mother left when he was a child. He tried to become the football star his father once was, but then got both of his feet broken in a game. He had to join the Glee Club at school to cover the credit missed by not being able to play football.

His Glee Club teacher recognized that Bart had a beautiful voice and cast him as the lead in the school musical. He didn’t want to do it, but she wouldn’t take no for an answer. His role in the play was life-changing and led him to believe that he might have a talent for music.

I don’t want to give the movie away, but there are some very powerful messages in this film about the impact of parenting (and people who believe in you) as well as the power of God to bring about real and lasting change in a person when that person sincerely wants to repent and change. It is well-acted by J. MIchael Finley and Dennis Quaid–Bart Millard and his father. I heartily recommend it.

Find out more about “I Can Only Imagine” at Kids-n-Mind.com.

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Bucket List update

(Photos from our trip to England, May 2017)

Ever since Lane gave me a back-to-school blessing after giving the children theirs, I’ve been searching to know what the one new thing is I should learn this year and become expert in.

Revisiting the bucket list

I’ve been pondering a lot of possibilities. Lane suggested I go over my bucket list (the one I wrote when I was 16, I think, and that he framed for me years ago).

Raising a pig?

I noticed on that list that there are a few things I really am no longer set on accomplishing in this lifetime: being valedictorian, doing a back walkover, doing the splits, parasailing, or raising a pig! LOL

In this post, I’m going to list the things I haven’t done yet and those I have either worked on or completed. (I’m not worried about accomplishing all of the things on my bucket list, since I do have eternity, after all, to learn everything!)

✅ = Completed (at least sufficiently for my desires)

🤪 = I can wait until eternity to learn this one

  1. Be a valedictorian 🤪
  2. Study in France or Switzerland
  3. Learn how to needlepoint ✅
  4. Learn how to tap dance
  5. Learn how to decorate cakes ✅
  6. Sew a prom dress [formal] ✅
  7. Learn how to speak French fluently ≈ ✅
  8. Learn a sport (tennis, gymnastics) ✅
  9. Read all of Book of Mormon, Bible OT/NT, Pearl of Great Price, Doctrine and Covenants ✅
  10. Get on pointe 🤪
  11. Read all of booklist books
  12. Finish all 10 Suzuki Violin books 🤪 [I finished 6 of them and learned songs from books 7, 8 and 10]
  13. Learn to make gourmet foods ✅
  14. Go on a mission ✅
  15. Marry in the temple ✅
  16. Learn German
  17. Learn Spanish
  18. Go to China
  19. Learn to fly
  20. Learn to sing properly ≈ ✅
  21. Learn to play piano ≈ ✅
  22. Learn sign language
  23. Learn to do a back walkover 🤪
  24. Do the splits 🤪
  25. Do geneology (complete four generations)
  26. Write a book ✅
  27. Climb a volcano
  28. Have 7 or 8 children or more ✅
  29. Be an excellent seamstress ≈ ✅
  30. Run a marathon
  31. Learn about child psychology
  32. Learn to arrange flowers ✅
  33. Own a boutique
  34. Go to Japan
  35. Design a dress ✅
  36. Have a shop called “Elizabeth M’s” (or have a shop)
  37. Stay in shape ≈ ✅
  38. Write a song ✅
  39. Learn to grow flowers [plant and care for] ✅
  40. Be a study abroad student
  41. Write a children’s book and do the illustrations, too
  42. Take art classes
  43. Make a quilt ✅
  44. Learn to grow many foods ≈ ✅
  45. Learn to cook well ≈ ✅
  46. Go to Egypt
  47. Go to Israel
  48. Study at Stanford and BYU (←✅)
  49. Learn to ski well and safely (black diamonds)
  50. Visit Tutankhamen’s tomb/the pyramids
  51. Raise a pig 🤪
  52. Raise chickens ≈ ✅
  53. Learn about law
  54. Marry a very good man (who may be able to a stake president or bishop or fun loving and righteous enough to be one) ✅
  55. Have an ice cream parlor in my home ≈ ✅
  56. Go parasailing 🤪
  57. Learn to single waterski ≈ ✅
  58. Learn to write calligraphy ✅
  59. Be morally clean ✅
  60. Learn to embroider ✅
  61. Learn to silk screen ✅
  62. Learn to paint (oil and acrylic)
  63. Run a nursery school and have uniforms (design the uniforms) ≈ ✅ (=Family Power Preschool)
  64. Pay tithing on every single penny I earn
  65. Teach a class in something ✅
  66. Travel to Denmark
  67. Travel to Sweden
  68. Travel to England ✅
  69. Travel to Ireland
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Once upon a time, someone taught me that some of the biggest reasons for a person’s outburst are found in the acronym HALT. A person might act out (=misbehave) because they are Hungry, Afraid, Lonely, or Tired.

I have been reminded recently that so many of the seemingly big problems in family life can be solved relatively quickly if we are praying for help and look for simple, practical solutions to the smaller and real–not perceived–problem.

For example, this morning one of my children was responding in anger to me and to their siblings. It wasn’t until this child was about to walk out the door for school that the real reason for their concern came to light: they were feeling overwhelmed with their second language teacher speaking in the second language (an immersion setting), and they weren’t understanding what the teacher was saying. They were afraid that they wouldn’t do well in the class and would continue to not understand.

Once I had that information, I invited that child to pray and to exercise their faith that they would be able to learn the language and come to understand their teacher.

Then I prayed for help. I had two thoughts come to mind, and I decided to act on one of those ideas. I texted an older sibling who speaks that second language and lives close and asked if he would come and tutor his sibling once a week. He cheerfully agreed! I texted the younger sibling. When my other child got home from school, they were so much happier about the situation and had hope that things would work out with the help of their sibling.

Over the past 25 years, I have seen that most problems can be resolved rather quickly through prayer and considering our resources:  What can I do to help this child or myself? Who else can help us? What resources might we need to help this child? I have found that Heavenly Father is quick to help us when we are trying to do what He asks and when we go to Him for help.

I am even reminded of when I was very sick and didn’t know what what wrong. The doctor didn’t have an answer. My husband didn’t know. I didn’t know. We went to Lane’s parents’ home with our children for Christmas. My mother-in-law said to me, “You just need sleep.” I thought she was grossly oversimplifying the situation because of how ill I was and how desperate Lane and I felt, but, in large part, she was exactly right. I had been sleep-deprived for months, and when a person doesn’t get sufficient sleep, their physical, mental, and emotional capacity begins to suffer. Add changing hormones adds another degree of challenge to that equation! So sleep was in my opinion at least 50% of the solution! The other 25% (or more) was certainly a lack of regular exercise, and then figuring out how to deal with the stress I felt over finances and other business challenges was probably the other 15-20%. I think I had very high expectations for my capacity while “running on empty”–so that was probably the other 5-10%. Those are my guesses as I look at what was happening and what we did to heal.

I wish I could always remember in the heat of the moment of a person’s anger to patiently listen and then, when the time is right, ask what they are really worried about. And THEN I can figure out how to help.

HALT: Hungry, Afraid, Lonely, Tired. Good thoughts on postponing judgment when someone is upset or acting out!

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Christopher Robin

We loved getting to see Disney’s Christopher Robin last week on our family vacation, in the theater where we were told that Dolby sound was first used, on Main Street in Heber City, Utah.

We loved the sweet message and warm humor in the film. Everyone left feeling happy. I love it when you can go see a movie as a family and there isn’t a single uncomfortable moment that you wish you hadn’t seen! You know you’re feeling happy when you leave with your arm over the shoulder of your family members. 💗 Let’s see more of these kinds of movies, Hollywood!

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New favorite musical!

We wrapped up our summer by going to see a musical we’d never seen before: Daddy Long Legs. The book is an old favorite of mine; the musical was just fabulous! We were surprised to discover that there was only a 2-member cast, and it worked wonderfully for this story. Scout Smith (Jerusha) and David Paul Smith (Jjervis Pendelton) were stellar in their roles. The Hale Center Theater does a phenomenal job in such a small space. I continue to be in awe of the talent that is in our area! The singing, acting, costuming, music, and scenery were all stupendous. Even Lane was laughing and enjoyed it: now THAT is saying something!

We loved it so much that we have been listening to the album all week!

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Mother-daughter moment in Midway

God has sweet surprises awaiting us as mothers. These “golden moments” often come as unanticipated, unplanned gifts along our way.

Lead company

Anna and I ended up being the “lead company” for our family vacation this past week. While others in our family had work and commitments to keep before they arrived, Anna and I drove up to Midway with the food from our fridge (and some from the grocery store), our game basket, a few books and magazines, and our luggage to arrive earlier. I brought our whole fruit basket from the kitchen counter and stuck it in the car. We ended up with a half-day together all to ourselves before the rest of the family arrived. This was a special treat that we hadn’t expected!

Süss Bakery

We were pulling into town when we drove past a cookie shop that someone had told me about once. We stopped to see what it was like. Wow! What a bakery! They had samples of every cookie that you could try, and they invited us to taste as many cookies as we wanted. Since we were both hungry, we happily accepted their offer! Talk about delicious cookies: after our tasting, we decided upon a dozen (one of each flavor) to bring back to share with everyone.

Setting up home

After we got to our hotel, we piled the Costco insulated bags, grocery sacks, suitcases, game basket, fruit basket, and box of cookies onto a luggage cart and hauled it to our room. It took both of us (one steering in front and the other pushing from the rear) to get it there! We popped the box of cookies into the freezer until Friday night (when Sarah would arrive) and started setting up “home.” Anna arranged everything beautifully in the kitchen. (Somemtimes I bet it’s nice, when you’re the youngest, to not have everyone else around so you can do what others take over and do when they’re there.)

Back to town

Once we were all done, we got back in the car and drove back to town. Midway is tiny and utterly charming. We stopped at the little grocery store to buy Anna’s fruit drink and then visited a consignment shop, a quilt store, and an interior design studio before heading back to the hotel.

Girlfriend’s quilt shop

We really loved the quilt store, oohing and aahing over the beautiful fabrics. A store like that is just heaven to me! All the brightly colored cottons, the rainbow of felted wools, the spools of jumbo ric rac, the bolts of ultra soft minkey and bamboo flannel, the gorgeous hand-pieced quilts on display, the hundreds of spools of thread…it’s a dream! And another delight was getting to visit with the women working there! We selected some lightweight gauze to make swaddling blankets to give as baby gifts, two of which are for Anna to learn to sew on for one of her Young Women Personal Progress projects.

Dessert first

We went back to our place and got ice cream at the hotel bakery for pre-dinner dessert, and then ordered a hamburger and fries to share (the gelato was very generously scooped!). Anna cleaned up while I set up the computer so that we could watch the Face to Face broadcast while eating our dinner. We enjoyed watching the broadcast together while eating dinner (and some popcorn!) and then watching part of “Relative Race” (which was so touching!!) until the rest of the family arrived and we had family prayer and went to bed.

Putting away my phone

Anna commented to me how fun it was just to be the two of us, and my heart echoed her feelings. It is so nice to have one-on-one time with each child, and sometimes in the busyness of day-to-day life, I forget. I realized, as I was responding to some texts while we were together, that I wanted to put away my phone and listen to her talking to me, and that as I did, I was so grateful to get to her her thoughts, and to have this gift time to connect with her.

Critical years

Our children our growing up, and I have seen that time goes SO much faster than I could have anticipated. I only have 6 years left with Anna. It will go so quickly. These are critical years for us both, and I want to have times like these. I am so grateful the way the Lord helps provide nurturing times, golden moments that strengthen our family relationships, one child at a time.

 

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Which way should we go?

As I was getting ready yesterday and pondering the next verses I read in 2 Nephi 5, this picture came of mind of some signs I saw yesterday which pointed in every direction.

Which way do we go?

This image reminded me of the multiplicity of choices I have as a mother for both myself and my children at the crossroads of a new school year: how will we can spend our time to learn and grow and acquire new skills and relationships?

This year I have prayed and waited until we have all had our back-to-school father’s blessings to really make decisions with the children about their time. I’m still not sure of a number of things as I wait for the children to make their choices. They are at an age where they need to pray and decide as well–it isn’t all up to me.

Learning to be industrious

In 2 Nephi 5:15-17, Nephi says he taught his people to “build buildings, and to work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores, which were in great abundance.

“And I, Nephi, did build a temple; and I did construct it after the manner of the temple of Solomon save it were not built of so many precious things; for they were not to be found upon the land, wherefore, it could not be built like unto Solomon’s temple. But the manner of construction was like unto the temple of Solomon; and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine.

“And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did cause my people to be industrious, and to labor with their hands.”

My desires

These verses brought me back to my crossroads stance. I, like Nephi, want our family to be industrious! I want us to learn to get up early, to go to bed early, to learn to use our time and available resources wisely, to serve others and grow in compassion, to work hard, to be learn to do well in what we undertake. And so we need some inspiration to know which choices and activities will help us on our journey.

I was thinking that Nephi had already accomplished so much in his young life to that point, including retrieving the plates, marrying, becoming a father, providing food for his entire extended family, taking his family across a desert, and building a ship in a new way different but better from what was typically done in his day. He knew how to WORK, and to work without complaining.

It takes a team

Now, I’m thinking that Nephi didn’t do all these things by himself. Obviously his parents had taught him and supported him in his endeavors, lending their wisdom and energy and faith. He also worked in cooperation with his siblings, even though his older brothers very uncooperative. Somehow, through the grace of God, he was still able to accomplish what God asked. And once he was married, his wife would have been a huge influence on his work, allowing him to get up and face another day when he felt overwhelmed, and probably counseling him on hard choices or nurturing his faith when he felt discouraged. She might have prepared meals for him, allowing him and others to have energy to acomplish their work for that day. She would have taken care of their children, and perhaps some of the children were old enough to work on the ship. Certainly by the time they were building the temple and their new homes, the children would have been old enough to participate.

And so Nephi would have had a leadership role as well as a hands on role, as I imagine. He didn’t build the ship or a city or a temple by himself: he would have directed the effort as well as participated in the building of it himself, I bet.

Building together

So I picture our family symoblically building a ship or a temple, so to speak. We are developing skills and acquiring knowledge that is going to help us do God’s work and progress on our journey to help others and strengthen our relationships and bless the lives of people around us as we focus on doing God’s will in our lives.

Using our resources

We have to use the tools available to us: what does God want us to learn this year? Who can teach us about that? Is there a class we could take or someone who could mentor us? We have books and digital tools to assist us: which print literature or videos or apps or online classes can help us?

That’s what I’m thinking about this weekend and praying for help and inviting our children to pray to know that what they are choosing to do is right for them at this point in their lives.

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