Saturday, July 30, 2016

Welcoming in the WEEKEND!

Let's start off with a few Random Questions.......

1.  On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your summer so far? Why? 
(1=eh and 10=best summer ever)

It's been a strange summer so I'm going with a 6.  Not awful, but definitely not the best ever. 

2. July 26th WAS National Aunts and Uncles Day. Did you have many aunts and uncles growing up? Were you especially close to any one or maybe all of them? Are you an aunt? (or uncle for the men who join here on Wednesdays) Share a favorite memory relating to one of your own aunts or uncles or relating to a niece or nephew who call you Aunt (or Uncle).

I had a couple uncles, but sadly we rarely lived near one another until my Grandparents moved from Michigan to Arizona.  Then we got together all the time and I got to know my Mom's brother.  When I was younger my Dad would tell me that I had several Great Aunts and Uncles on his Mom and Dad's side, but they all lived back east and I don't recall getting to know know.  My Dad was also adopted as a baby, but after I was married he got to know his birth mother and all of his siblings.  Now I have an Aunt and a lot more Uncles, and they live really close to us too.  Well, California.  That's a lot closer than the east coast. 

Now a days, my children have 5 Aunts and 3 Uncles.  4 of their Aunts live right here in the valley and 2 of the Uncles too.  The other Aunt and Uncle live in Utah and we don't get to see them as much as we would like to.  I love that my children have extended family close and that they enjoy spending time with all of their Aunts and Uncles.  It's a good thing.

3. What's your favorite food dipped in chocolate? What's your favorite food dipped in cheese?

A Dairy Queen soft serve vanilla cone would be my favorite food dipped in chocolate. I love how it hardens on the cool ice cream-yum! Thursday, July 28th Dairy Queen will held a Miracle Treats Day, and $1 (or more) from every Blizzard sold was donated to Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. So the company I work for had all kinds of Blizzards brought in for all of the 2500 employees that work in our building.  We do a lot of charity work while we are at work.  In fact, we get 8 paid hours a year to go out into the community to do exactly that.  Sometimes the events comes to us and we get to spend a day sewing things like backpacks or pillow cases for kids instead of working.  I love that benefit.  So, the Dairy Queen Ice Cream for Miracle Treats Day is just another way my employer gets involved and give back to those in need.  Love it!   

4. When were you last astonished by something? Explain.

I'm going with the current election season and will leave it at that.
5. Surf board, paddle board, ironing board, Pinterest board, score board, clip board, bulletin board...which board have you most recently encountered?

Well not an ironing board-ha! I'm going with Pinterest board, because I have spent a little time lately looking for some ideas on a few craft projects I want to work on.  You know, the wreath I want to make using some of the moss I have left over from the wedding.  I want to make a fairly big one to hang above the couch and on those big white doors behind the couch.  I'm going for a slightly different look in the living room these days.  No more tan and burgundy in the living room.  I'm changing it up with black, brown, some white, and a hint of a breezy ocean blue/green....but a very small hint.

6. What's your favorite story from scripture? Why that story?

Oh, that is an easy one.  I have always LOVED the story of Abinidi from the Book of Mormon.  I will never forget walking through the new Conference Center in Salt Lake and seeing the life size paintings of Abinadi shackled with chains standing before King Noah.  We were walking along touring the new building and we had walked passed many of the Book of Mormon paintings already.  But when I came within feet of this huge painting of Abinadi I just burst into tears.  Seeing that painting brought that story to life for me.  


And for those of you that do not know the story of Abinadi, here it is in a nutshell.......

Although Zeniff was a righteous ruler, his son, King Noah, was the opposite.  "He had many wives and concubines, and he caused his people to commit sin and that which was abominable in the sight of the Lord" (Mosiah 11:2)  He also laid a heavy tax on the people to support his own indulgences and dismissed his father's righteous priests so that he could instate his own lazy and idolatrous ones.  The Book of Mormon devotes a page and a half to describing all the ways in which Noah was a bad king and a wicked man, which is a lot considering that the pages were first written by chiseling the words into metal plates and then were whittled down to include only the most important information.  

In the midst of all this wickedness Abinadi came forth to prophesy.  Abinadi didn't necessarily want to go into the middle of people who were committing sin and tell them that what they were doing was wrong, but he went because the Lord commanded him to go.  He went to warn the people that if they didn't repent, bad things would happen.  He went to let them know that there was a way for them to avoid being conquered by their enemies and subjected to bondage.  

Of course, Noah was not only one of the chief proponents of all the wickedness, he was also the king, and, as such, he had a lot of clout.  His response was, "Who is Abinadi, that I and my people should be judged of him, or who is the Lord, that shall bring upon my people such great affliction?"  Not only did Noah think himself better than Abinadi, he thought himself better than God.  He commanded the people to bring Abinadi before him so that he could kill Abinadi.  Now you would think that if it was only Noah who was wicked but that the people were righteous, that they would refuse to bring an innocent man to his death.  But it says, "the eyes of the people were blinded," so they "sought from that time forward to take him." 

Because Abinadi was a wanted man, he stayed away for two years.  I'm sure he had no desire to go back and preach some more to people who wanted to kill him, but the Lord commanded him to do so.  He went back in disguise and began to prophesy again.  The Lord told him to tell the people that if they did not repent, their consequences would include the following: They would be smitten with sore afflictions, famine, and pestilence.  They would be brought into bondage, smitten and driven by men, and they would be slain and then eaten by dogs, vultures, and wild beasts.  They would have burdens lashed upon their backs and be driven like beasts of burden.  There would be hail and insects sent to destroy their crops.  Finally, the Lord would utterly destroy them off the face of the earth.  Extremely. Dire. Consequences.  

Did the people listen?  Did they fear the wrath of the Lord and decide to repent?  No.  They were angry.  They carried Abinadi before the king and complained about him.  They boasted in their own strength and felt that they were invincible. 

King Noah cast Abinadi into prison while he and his priests counseled about what to do.  Since they didn't have and real crimes to charge him with, they decided to cross examine him to see if they could get him to slip up and say something criminal.  But "he answered them boldly, and withstood all their questions, yea, to their astonishment" (Mosiah 12:19).  One of the priests asked Abinadi to interpret a passage of Isaiah for them.  I think the reason he asked is because the passage mentions that a person who brings good tidings is blessed.  The priest was subtly saying that Abinadi was bringing bad news to them, which wasn't welcome.  If he wanted people to like him, he should bring good news instead.  I imagine all the priests laughing amongst themselves at their own cleverness of condemning Abinadi with one of his own, precious scriptures.  But Abinadi's response threw it right back in their faces.  He said, "Are you priests, and pretend to teach this people, and to understand the spirit of prophesying, and yet desire to know of me what these things mean?" (Mosiah 12:25)  He told them that they were supposed to be priests, which meant that they were the ones who were supposed to understand the scriptures and interpret them for the people.  They should not have been asking him to interpret a scripture for them.  They should have been the ones who were righteous and hearing the voice of the Lord and calling the people to repentance.  They should have been wise, teaching the people righteousness.  He admonished them for committing sin themselves and for causing the people to sin as well.  Finally, he reminded them of the commandments and promised that if they kept the commandments, they could be saved.  

At this point King Noah decided that Abinadi must be crazy.  (It's crazy to want to keep the commandments, right?)  He told his guards to take the crazy man away.  But Abinadi was full of the Spirit of the Lord.  He rebuked them with, "Touch me not, for God shall smite you if ye lay your hands upon men, for I have not delivered the message which the Lord sent me to deliver."  Abinadi knew that the Lord would protect him until he had completed his mission.  "The people of King Noah durst not lay their hands on him, for the Spirit of the Lord was upon him, and his face shone with exceeding luster" (Mosiah 13:5).  As Abinadi continued to preach, reminding them of all the commandments and prophesying of Jesus Christ, he said, "I perceive that it cuts you to your hearts because I tell you the truth concerning your iniquities" (Mosiah 13:7)

In the end, Abinadi did interpret that afore-mentioned Isaiah passage for the priests.  The person who is blessed for bringing good tidings is the one who testifies of Christ.  The Book of Mormon records more than five straight pages of Abinadi prophesying and testifying of Jesus Christ.  When he finally finished his message, King Noah commanded that Abinadi be put to death. 

One of King Noah's priests was named Alma.  He was a young man, but he knew o the wickedness which Abinadi talked about, probably because he had participated in it.  He believed Abinadi's words, and he pled with the king to let Abinadi go.  This only made the king angrier.  He cast Alma out, and then sent servants after him to kill him.  But Alma was able to flee and hide, and he spent his days in hiding writing all the words that Abinadi spoke. 

King Noah cast Abinadi back into prison so that he and his priests could counsel together to try to find a charge against him.  They decided that he had committed blasphemy by saying that God Himself would come down to Earth to atone for the sins of man.  King Noah told Abinadi that he would be put to death unless he would recant, but Abinadi refused to recall his words because he had spoken the truth.  He warned them that if they killed him, his blood would stand as a witness against them at the last days.  This did worry King Noah a little.  He knew he was doing murder if he killed an innocent man, and he thought about releasing Abinadi.  But the priests convinced the king that Abinadi must be slain.  They bound Abinadi and burned him at the stake.  In the last moments before he died, while he was being consumed by the flames, Abinadi prophesied that many of the people would suffer the same death because they believed in the salvation of God.  He also prophesied that King Noah would be hunted, taken by his enemies, and would suffer death by fire as well.

I absolutely LOVE the story of Abinadi because even though he knew he was going to be killed, he remained true and faithful to what he knew to be right and kept the commandments of God.  What an awesome example of enduring to the end.  If there were to come a time in your own life where those who believed in Jesus Christ and His Gospel were persecuted and even threatened with death unless they would recant and deny the truth, what would you do?  Would you be able to hold strong to your beliefs even if you were threatened with being burned at the stake?  What if your children were threatened with torture and/or death unless you recanted your beliefs?  What would you do?  These are some of the things I think about when I read and re-read the story of Abinadi.  Then I think of the people living in Muslim countries who quite literally would be killed if they became Christians today.  I know of a lady who's family is from such a place and who are devout Catholics.  When I asked her about this, she said her family has been Catholic for many many generations now and that is not an issue for their family today.  But what about her not so distant relatives?  Did they live in fear?  Did they die because of their beliefs?  I want to ask, but I don't want to bring up something that might be difficult and painful for her to talk about.  I cannot imagine such a place and it makes me appreciate the freedoms I have by being born an American and for living in the land of the free.  

7. If you were to travel from the east coast to the west coast in your own country, which five cities would you most want to see?

I wish this question asked which 50 cities I'd most want to see. Five is too hard!  The Mormon in me wants to take the route the early Mormon Pioneers took when they headed out west and ended up in Utah.  I also want to see where Joseph Smith grew up and visit the Sacred Grove.  Then I want to go see the Kirkland and Nauvoo Temple sites.  BUT, then the United States citizen in me wants to go and visit all the east coast sites our founding father's started out in.  Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington DC, and then New York and Connecticut and Massachusetts too!  I want to see all of these places!  Then my fascination with the south would take me to Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky and Tennessee too. There's no way I can just name five cities....and I won't do it!  

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Lexi posted a picture of the San Diego temple on Facebook today. 

 That little girl is going to one of the Temples I want to see.  I hear it is just beautiful inside and out.  She will be home soon.  She comes home today.  She sent me a message the other day to tell me that our Stake President's car was rear ended on their way to San Diego.  That can't be good.  She said no one was hurt, which is awesome.  I just hope their ride home is smooth sailing and they all return home safe and sound.
Curtis updated his profile photo on Facebook with this....

He still looks good and super happy!  Love that smile!

I haven't got as much done as I wanted to get done today.  Kevin and I were going to get up and go to the library to return some books and to a Kinko's today, but he isn't feeling well and didn't want to venture out.  So, I ran a quick errand and did some work online.  I think I will just renew the books online instead of taking them back today.  I'd rather not run around in this heat and humidity right now.  It rained last night so that's the reason for the humidity.  I love the rain, but HATE the sticky feeling after it rains.

I also haven't got as far as I wanted to get on my redecorating project in my living room and dining room.  I might get going on that later today.  I still have LOTS to do before the big reveal, but I'll get there.  More to come.  Gotta go make it happen.

Take care my friends and we will talk again soon.

Serve believe create love
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