Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Service is a Blessing to the Giver

Today my visiting teacher brought be this beautiful pink rose from her garden.  She shared a message from April 2017 General Conference by Bonnie H. Cordon, second counselor in the Primary General Presidency.  I want to share one of the stories Sister Cordon shared about Amy Wright.

"On October 29, 2015, I found out I had cancer.  My cancer had a 17 percent survival rate.  The odds weren't good.  I knew that I would be in for the fight of my life.  I was determined to give it everything I had not just for myself but, more important, for my family.  In December, I began chemo.  I was familiar with many of the side effects of cancer fighting drugs, but I did not know that I was possible for someone to be so sick and still be alive.

"At one point, I declared chemotherapy a human rights violation.  I told my husband that I was done.  I quit!  I was not going back to the hospital.  In his wisdom, my sweetheart patiently listened and then responded, 'Well, then we need to find someone to serve.'"

What?  Did he miss the fact that his wife wad cancer and couldn't take one more bout of nausea or one more moment of excruciating pain?

Amy goes on to explain:  "My symptoms gradually worsened to where I generally had one or two 'OK' days a month (when) I could somewhat function as a living breathing human being.  It was those days when out family would find ways to serve."

On one of those day, Amy's family distributed chemo comfort kits to other patients, kits filled with items to cheer and to help relieve symptoms.  When Amy couldn't sleep, she would think of ways to brighten someone else's day.  Some ways were big, but many were just small notes or text messages of encouragement and love.  On those nights when her pain was to great to sleep, she would lie in bed with her iPad and search for ordinances that needed to be completed on behalf of her deceased ancestors.  Miraculously the pain would subside, and she was able to  endure.

"Service," Amy testifies, "saved my life.  Where I ultimately found my strength to keep moving forward was the happiness I discovered in trying to relieve the suffering of those around me.  I looked forward t our service projects with great joy and anticipation.  Still to this day it seems like such a strange paradox.  You would think that someone who was bald, poisoned, and fighting for *her) life was justified in thinking that 'right now it is all about me.'  However, when I thought about myself, my situation, my suffering and pain, the world became very dark and depressing.  When my focus turned to others, there was light, hope, strength, courage, and joy.  I know that this is possible because of the sustaining healing, and enabling power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ."

Amy came to trust in the Lord as she come to know Him.  If she had leaned even a little to her own understanding, she might have rejected the idea that she serve.  service enabled her to withstand her pain and afflictions and to live this scripture "when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God."

I am grateful for the opportunities that I have been given to serve others in my life.  Service helps me see the good things in life and count my many blessings. 

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Christmas 2016

It is hard to believe that another years has passed.  This year as we put up our family Christmas tree it brought back memories from long ago.  I decided our tree is a memory tree.  Some of the memories found on our tree that are special to me are reminisced about in this blog post.
 The star at the top of the tree is a memory star.  Our first year in Wisconsin we had one little boy who was about 18 months old.  We had no money so decided to not have a Christmas tree.  Our friend, LaRee Maughn, worked in the office at the Oconomowoc High School.  When school was out for the year she brought the office Christmas tree, lights and all to our home for Christmas.  The top decoration had been taken home.  It look funny without a traditional star on top.  Terry helped me cut out a  six point star from a cardboard box.  We covered it with tin foil and found a picture of the manger from a Christmas card we had received.  This funny Jewish style six pointed star has graced our tree ever since that Christmas in 1971.
 One of the years in Wisconsin the Waukesha Ward Relief Society Homemaking activity was making candy cane bead ornaments for the Christmas tree.  They were simple to make.  Three or four year old children were successful.  We have enjoyed these candy canes ornaments every year since.  Notice the red and green bead candy cane on our tree this year.
While in Wisconsin I had the opportunity to make toy soldier ornaments in homemaking.  These were made out of match sticks and cloths pegs.  They have decorated our tree all these years though some have lost arms in the battles of the Christmas tree with little hands in control.
As our children started school we had Christmas ornaments come home for our tree.  This gold ball is one that Lynn made in Kindergarten.
Gwen has one of her Christmas ornaments still on our tree.
Cheryl brought home this Rudolf the red nose reindeer from Brownies many years ago.   
Weston made this green Christmas tree ornament in second grade.  
Louis made this red Christmas bell ornament in first grade.
Wooden train ornaments made by all 5 of our cub scout sons hang on our tree.  Do you think this one was made by Jonathan?  Some have names on them and some of them don't. 
Daniel brought this ornament home from the primary nursery at church.  Love the picture of him there.
Our children married and started to move away and start their own homes.  They sent home special memories from their new locations.
Our grandchildren have added to our tree.  This snowflake was painted by Kimberly when she was very young. 
The Rudolf was made by Lydia.  Notice she traced her hand to made Rudolf.
Today our mailbox was fulled with one more special ornament and memory from our life.  An ornament made from the wood of our dead apricot tree.  Thank you Joe. 
I have wondered about trading our old Christmas tree for one much smaller but as I look at the memories it contains., I think it is a keeper for another year.

Merry Christmas

And best wishes for the 

2017 New Year

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Man's Work, God's Work

Have you ever wondered what mans work on earth is according to our Father in Heaven?  The Doctrine and Covenants 11:20 states, "Behold, this is your work, to keep my commandment, yea, with all your might, mind and strength."   

God also tell his children what his work is.   The Pearl of Great Price, Moses 1:39, states, "For behold, this is my work and my glory-to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of men."

Monday, November 16, 2015

I was drugged by my parents

Some of my friends shared this thought by Jerry Bright on Facebook today.  I liked it.  In many ways it reminded me of my growing up years.  I guess we did have a drug problem when I was growing up that did affected my behavior.  I must say thank you to my parents for caring about me enough.


When I was asked why we didn't have a drug problem when you and I were growing up I replied,

"I had a drug problem when I was young.  
I was drug to church on Sunday morning.
I was drug to church for weddings and funerals.  
I was drug to family reunions.

I was drug by my ears when I was disrespectful to adults.
I was also drug to the woodshed when I disobeyed my parents, told a lie, brought home a bad report card, did not speak with respect, spoke ill of the teacher or the preacher, or If I didn't put forth my best effort in everything that was asked of me.

I was drug to the kitchen sink to have my mouth washed out with soap if I uttered profanity.  I was drug to the neighbors to help out some poor soul who had no one to mow the yard, repair the clothesline or chop some firewood.

Those drugs are still in my veins and they affect my behavior.
They are stronger than cocaine, crack, or heroine.
If children today had this kind of drug problem America would be a better place."

Written by a concerned citizen

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Week 100 - December 29-January 5, 2015

Monday morning started with a wonderful breakfast at the ANA Crowne Plaza Hotel in Fukuoka. 
President Gustafson and the AP's picked us up and drove us to the Shinkansen (bullet train).  The AP's helped us with our luggage to the gate.  It was so nice to have some one with experience there to start us on our way to Tokyo.
Picture out the Shinkansen window about an hour into our five hour trip to Tokyo.
Tuesday morning we were picked up by friends from Chiba at the Toyoka Inn in Narita.  We all went to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Tokyo temple.  It was a special day of temple service.
After finishing in the temple we road the subway to the large shopping area of downtown Tokyo.
This store had all kinds of wonderful Japanese things in it.  I love the dishes and dolls.  Elder Koberstein liked the swords and Japanese antiques.  Unfortunately our luggage was stuffed full already so we mostly just window shopped.
We walked past the Tokyo Union Church.  It had a manger scene still displayed in their church window.  This is a rare find in Japan.
We went for a walk in the evening and to see at the beautiful Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Tokyo temple with night lights on it.  I love the gold Angel Moroni on the top and the stained glass windows below. 
Wednesday morning we spent in the Tokyo temple and then enjoyed a sushi lunch.
We then went to tour the Tokyo Tower.  This picture was taken from the Main Observation (150 m) deck.  We went on up to the Special Observation (250 m) deck as well.  
It is quite the view of the Tokyo landscape on every side from both decks.
Our final activity in Tokyo was a walk in Arisugawa Park which is across the street from the Tokyo Temple.  The temple was beautiful through the leaves of the trees.
This is a picture of Tokyo Towers taken as we drove out of Tokyo on the way to Fujisawa for our New Years celebration.
On New Year's Day we got up early and walked to a nearby shrine.  It was beautiful with a almost cloudless sky but very cold.  We were able to see Mt. Fuji covered with snow between the homes.
This is the tori (gate) of the shrine we walked to.  Notice the white color and straight lines of the gate.  These or both signs that the gate is Japanese not Chinese.  Chinese gates are usually red in color with curved lines.
Elder Koberstein and I took the opportunity to ring the big bell at the shrine.  I rang first and I was quite surprised at the loud sound the big bell made when you are standing very close to it.
We enjoyed a traditional New Year's breakfast before heading to Hokone to see Mt. Fuji up close.
A snow storm was coming fast.  By the time we got to the lookout points clouds covered most of the Mt. Fuji sadly.  We did get to see snowflakes on the way down the mountain.  We were glad we took the walk earlier and were able to see Mt. Fuji in the distance.
We started our departure day in Japan by running a 5K around our hotel block before breakfast.  My time was not very good but it felt good to get out and jog.  I got all sweaty so guess the workout was good for me physically. 

 We took the 10:30 Toyoka Inn Narita express bus to the Narita Airport.  We were very fortunate that it was not a busy time as we checked our luggage for the trip to Los Angeles International Airport and then home to the San Francisco International Airport.  This is a picture of Elder Koberstein waiting for our flight to America at 5:20 p.m.
It was so exciting to see the Dumbarton Bridge as we came into San Francisco through the plane window.
We are on the road home.  Fun to see the sign for the Bay Bridge and Oakland as we drove from the San Francisco International Airport to our home. 
We had a very special welcoming crew awaiting our arrival. 
Sunday we met with President Westover before Sacrament Meeting.  We were released from our missionary service in the Japan Fukuoka Mission.  What an amazing adventure it has been.  The message of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ is true.  It will bring lasting happiness to all who embrace it.  We have a loving Heavenly Father who wants all of his children to enjoy the blessings the gospel brings.  May God Bless You!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Week 99 - December 22-28, 2014

Monday we had our Christmas dinner celebration Japanese style.  We bought Kentucky Fried Chicken for the Kumamoto/Nagamine missionaries and investigators.  Kentucky Fried Chicken did not have any Christmas cake this year so we make Christmas cake with strawberries, cake, whipped cream and a vanilla ice cream cup. 
We played Panda Chopsticks and Yahtzee and had a spiritual thought.   It was a fun evening.
Tuesday was district meeting in the morning and in the afternoon we went to Yamada Denki to find out how to have out Internet service stop when we leave Japan.  They had the cutest Christmas decorations.  Elder Koberstein is standing with their Santa Claus.

Wednesday evening was our last goodbyes at Eikaiwa.  It is hard to say goodbye as our 23 months of missionary service comes to a close. 
Thursday evening we took the last Elder who came into the Fukuoka mission the same transfer as we did out to dinner with all the Omuta Elders.  They chose Katsu Chicken.   Along with the chicken came all you can eat rice and cabbage salad.  It was an enjoyable evening.
Saturday was the day we said goodby to Kumamoto and drove to Fukuoka for our last day of service in the Fukuoka temple.  It was a wonderful day ending with dinner with two of the missionaries serving in Fukuoka ward.
The Elders chose to have dinner at the Fukuoka Hard Rock CafĂ©.  It is a bit of America in Fukuoka. 
Elder Koberstein and I enjoyed fajitas and the Elders chose hamburgers American style.  
Sunday we attended the Fukuoka Ward.  The number of members attending Sacrament Meeting has really grown over the last year.  It is amazing.  It was fun to say goodbye to old friends we knew from our time serving in the mission office a year ago. 
In the evening we met with President Gustafson and enjoyed dinner in the mission home.  Tomorrow is off to Tokyo by Shinkansen and our trip home begins.  The mission has been an amazing experience for both of us.  We have enjoyed the opportunity to work with the people here in Japan and assist the young Elders and Sisters in the work they do.
Scripture of the Week 
Matthew 2:1-2
Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews?  for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Week 98 - December 15-21, 2014

Monday we had a chili and cornbread party with our Eikaiwa students from the International Center.  I made chili.  They helped me make cornbread and each brought something to share.  It was a feast of many delicious foods.  After lunch we played Panda chopsticks, Yahtzee and then
watched the video "The First Gift" on Mormon.org.  It was an enjoyable afternoon together.
Tuesday was our last YMCA class.  When we arrived at the YMCA we found out that our teacher could not be there so our class had been cancelled.  The YMCA had left a phone message for us but between new and old phones the message was not received.  We got a new phone service provider on Friday and supposedly new phones.  New phones came on Sunday for the missionaries in the Kumamoto Ward.  We went shopping for Christmas cards instead.  On an elevator in the Tsuruya Store we ran into the Kumamoto kumamon.  I had my picture taken with him between floors. 
We enjoy looking at the beautiful Christmas decorations in the mall, shop windows and streets.
We had our last two apartment checks this week.  Thursday we inspected the Kumamoto/Nagamine Shimi's apartment.  They chose lunch at Stamina for their celestial rating.  It is always and enjoyable all you can eat lunch.  Friday we checked the Shimizu/Tusboi Shimi apartment.  They had seen a new restaurant that they wanted to try.  It was a okanomoyaki shop.  It was a fun place were you cook your own lunch.  Above is my lunch before it was cooked.  You stir it up and put in on a hot oiled grill in the center of the table to cook.
The okonomiyaki restaurant was down the street from the castle.  This view always delights me with the dencha's tracks in the center of the street and Kumamoto Castle on the hill.
The Kumamoto Ward Christmas party was Saturday night.  It was a potluck dinner.  I liked this beautiful eatable Christmas tree someone brought.  There was a nice program, Santa (two dancing Santa's) and a dinner.  It is always fun to taste all the different foods brought.

Sunday the Kumamoto Ward gave Elder Koberstein and I time to bear our testimonies in Sacrament Meeting.  Following Sacrament Meeting was a going away party for us.  The people here have been a wonderful support.  They have loved us even though we have a language barrier.  We are all brothers and sister in the gospel and I can feel of their love which makes good byes so hard to do.

Scripture of the Week
Luke 2:6-7
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.