Saturday, November 18, 2017

Maui Outings - Mostly free and Family Friendly

When my kids were in Preschool the teacher asked us if we would share some of the things we enjoyed doing with our kids.  I wrote down several in just about 5 minutes and some of the other Mom's really struggled to think of many, so I thought I would share:

1.  Hawaii Nature Center - Maui Natural Living Eco Museum
2.  Iao Valley - Take your hiking sandals and a swim suit for playing in the stream
3.  Heritage Gardens - Learn about other cultures, make leaf boats and follow them along the stream, catch tad poles, have a picnic
4.  Maui Tropical Plantation - Feed the Ducks, Ride the Train, Get Ice Cream, Watch the zipline
5.  Ride the Bumper Boats at the Maui Extreme Sports Park, there is also miniature golf, rock climbing and a trampoline.
6.  The Maui Ocean Center is always a treat, buy an annual pass if your local!
7. for lots of GPS treasure hunts all around Maui
8.  Olinda Forest - Nice Loop hike and you can Build a fort with sticks and pineneedles
9.  Waipoli Forest - Beautiful Views, long grass, cows and a frisbee golf course
10.  Alii Lavender Farm - Scavenger Hunt, Lavender scones, Tea and Lemonade
11.  Keokea Park for the bumpy slide and then go to:
12.  Grandmas for Breakfast and Treats
13.  Walk or Ride Thompson Ranch Road - bring your Dog, go for sunset
14.  Makawao Forest is a bikers heaven.  Pump track for the little ones and single tracks for the big ones.
15.  Launiopoko Beach Park - Great protected pool for the little kids and fun waves for the big kids.
16.  Mama's Fish House beach has fun tide pools and is protected for swimming at lower tides.
17.  Baby Beach on the west side, west end of front street is great for little ones.
18.  Baby Beach on the North shore is a protected pool for good for lap swimming and playing.
19.  Kihei Skate Park.  Roller Rink open Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights.  Free Admission.  Skate Rental $5.
20.  Pacific Whale Foundation in Kihei - the big Blue house - has educational programs for kids.
21.  Bike Path behind the Airport and Kanaha
22.  Hana Lava Tubes
23.  Giggle Hill Playground
24.  PoilPoli hiking, permit camping, playing in the woods.
25.  Hosmer Grove in the Haleakala National Park has, a day hike, bird watching, camping and chilly weather.
26.  Haleakala National Park - spy the Big Island, look at lava rocks and feel like you are on the top of the world.
27.  Snorkle down by La Perouse Bay - Try a snorkle boogy board for the little ones.
The Crew a few years ago ...
28.  Find a good hill and go cardboard sliding.
29.  Hookipa Beach Park to see the Turtles
30.  Invite a friend...have a great time!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

My Kids are getting Older

June 4, 2015 Sydney and Ethan left Maui alone to fly to Arizona.  They are heading to Especially For Youth.  Also known as EFY.  My Mom and Dad are down from Flagstaff to pick them up.  They drove down from Utah to be with them.  Think they are excited?  I think so!

Sydney graduated this year.  She is 16 and she graduated a year ahead of her classmates.  She is pretty awesome.  She knows how to work hard and she knows how to accomplish big things! She loves to spend too much time in the bathroom.  She loves to cook and bake amazing things in the kitchen.  I am always out of butter and peanut butter.  I think I have lost weight since she has left, but I miss her goodies.  She had called or texted almost every day that she has been gone.  She loved EFY.  She went on her first date while she was staying at Jonathan and Josie's house.  She seems like a different girl there.  No allergies there!?

Ethan has not called.  I have called him, but he is perfectly happy without me.  I am glad.  He is such a nice kid.  He had fun at EFY too, but I don't know anything specific, he keeps all his memories safely tucked inside his head.  He did say that he bought a yo-yo from a boy there who was an amazing yo-yoer.  Is that a word?  I think he danced at EFY because Sydney said that everyone was dancing.  He has been with his cousins in Flagstaff all this week and I know that they have had such a great time.  I am so grateful for my brother Jonathan,  and my sister in law, Josie and my parents for giving them such a good time.  We are very blessed to have such great people in our lives.

Ember, Sophie and I have had lots of fun too.  We went camping at Hosmer grove this week and my girls sure love to camp.  They became Haleakala Junior rangers and ate berries and we found a spring and they collected eucalyptus tops and made a fairy hat store.  They are a joy to be with.

Blessings of the Temple and Amy's Temple Poem

Troy and Ember 2014
This is from a talk I gave in June of 2015 in Sacrament Meeting in Maui Hawaii, Makawao Ward.

Blessings of the Temple

Aloha brothers and sisters. It is my privilege today to talk on the blessings of the temple. On Easter Sunday this year President Monson gave a beautiful talk on the blessings of the temple, he spoke of how many new temples are being built, how many were dedicated, But the most impressive thing that he spoke about was the every day comfort that he has knowing that he and his wife Frances are sealed together and that he will be reunited with her again.

I think this is a common thread of comfort that weaves us together as members of the church. I think it is also one of the glowing doctrines of the church that brings so many into the Gospel. The idea that we can be with those that we love throughout this life and in the next brings immeasurable consolation.

I know that personally whenever I have a friend who loses someone dear to them and they do not have the gospel, their lack of knowledge in this principle increases their pain and loss tenfold.

The ability to be sealed to our family is probably my favorite part to share about the gospel.  Working as a nurse I have shared it at many bedsides and I have shared it with those that are about to pass on. I have witnessed the calming influence that this knowledge can bestow up on someone in their last hours of life. The simple words of it's okay to go, you will see your family again, and everything will be alright, is often all it takes to take fear out of someone's eyes and bring comfort to their hearts.

My words to these patients are true, but proxy work is required for these people to receive their ordinances. How long will they have to wait?

I believe in simple things. I believe that life is simple. I also believe that we complicate life by not choosing the simple and sure path that Jesus Christ has prepared for us.

The first and most basic covenant of the gospel is baptism.  It is offered as a cleansing, as a gift, as in entrance onto the pathway to eternal life.  At eight years old we can choose to enter onto this path. For those of us lucky enough to have been raised in the church it is a simple and logical step forward. For those of us who learn about the gospel later in life, giving up things that we have chosen, that complicate our lives, baptism becomes a more difficult choice but nonetheless worthy or important.

And if we stay on the gospel path, the next covenant choices that we will make come at a time when we are just being blessed with many worldly freedoms. Adulthood, all of its glory and all of its responsibilities. We live in a world where there is much criticism of those who choose to stay on a moral and clean path. It takes a strong individual to firmly grasp the rod and not look back. The covenants that come next are those of the temple endowment.  They are bold and beautiful. They are simple yet sweet. They hold many promises and bestow many blessings.

I can see the wisdom of the Lord in the council from our prophet to give Our missionaries the opportunity to serve at a younger age.  These youth have Less time to become entrapped in the snares of satan and more time to employ the blessings of the endowment.

Parents this is a wake up call to us. We already have an awesome responsibility to teach the gospel to our children but now we have to have them temple ready almost by the time that they graduate from high school. The council that we hear over and over in stake conference, General conference, and even in our relief society and priesthood meetings to:
1. Hold family prayer
2. Have family scripture study
3. Hold regular FHE
Needs to be implemented and regarded as sacred responsibilities.

I would like to add to that counsel a 4th and 5th bit of advice:

4. We need to demonstrate a love for the temple and the covenants that we make there.
5. We need to love our husbands and our wives unconditionally. We need to treat our marriages with a divine attitude striving to see them as eternal works of art. Molding, creating, changing and adapting.

Our children need to See us striving to keep our temple covenants so that they will have the courage and the strength to do the same.

I have 2 nephews and one niece that are at the missionary service age.  One of my nephews has been called to England and my niece was just called to the Philippines.  I am grateful for their examples.  My nephew Griffin took 6 months to muster up the courage to press submit.  He has a sweet girlfriend who told him that in order for her to accept his hand in marriage, he needed to serve a mission!  She is the catalyst for his spiritual growth and I am grateful for her encouragement.  Young woman, you know that I love you and I am very aware of your influence for good in this world. Do not under estimate your influence for good with the young men that you date.  You too can be a catalyst. I took my nephews girlfriend to dinner last time I was in Oahu and told her how grateful I was for her steadfastness.  I believe that in about two years they will be ready to start exploring the path to a temple marriage. 

My other nephew needs the same kind of girl friend.  He has not yet found his path, but he has good parents and a good foundation to build on. 

My niece has just finished her 1st year of college and as she was preparing to pick out classes for her next year she found that she was suffering from a stupor of thought.  She recognized the sign and decided to explore another path.  Prayerfully she sought the lord and although she had never considered serving a mission, she felt the promptings to go, and obediently submitted her papers.  She leaves in August!

What do missionaries  have to do with the blessings of the temple?  The missionaries are sent out to actively search for and teach those ready and willing to accept the gospel. 

In Matthew chapter 28 it is recorded:

19 ¶Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

We are missionaries too. Each one of us. We have a great work to do because there are so many friends and loved ones on the other side of the veil, waiting for you to prepare their names and take them to the temple. You May not know them yet, you may not even know they exist, but they know you and they are waiting for you to find them.

“For this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” (1 Peter 4:6.)

President Joseph Fielding Smith taught that -
There is no work connected with the gospel that is of a more unselfish nature than the work in the House of the Lord, for our dead. Those who work for the dead do not expect to receive any earthly remuneration or reward. It is, above all, a work of love, which is begotten in the heart of man through faithful and constant labor in these saving ordinances. There are no financial returns, but there shall be great joy in heaven with those souls whom we have helped to their salvation. It is a work that enlarges the soul of man, broadens his views regarding the welfare of his fellowman, and plants in his heart a love for all the children of our Heavenly Father. There is no work equal to that in the temple for the dead in teaching a man to love his neighbor as himself. Jesus so loved the world that he was willing to offer himself as a sacrifice for sin that the world might be saved. We also have the privilege, in a small degree, of showing our great love for Him and our fellow beings by helping them to the blessings of the gospel which now they cannot receive without our assistance.

So why is baptism the third principle and first ordinance of the gospel?

(1) It is in the similitude of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and of all others who received the resurrection.

(2) Baptism is also a birth and in the similitude of the birth of a child into this world.
                                    (3) Baptism is literally, as well as a figure of the resurrection, a transplanting, or resurrection from one life to another--the life of sin to the life of spiritual life.

When we are baptized Each person, as he enters the waters of baptism, takes upon himself a covenant.

In the waters of baptism we covenanted that we would keep these commandments; that we would serve the Lord; that we would keep this first and greatest of all the commandments, and love the Lord our God; that we would keep the next great commandment, we would love our neighbor as ourselves; and with all the might that we have, with all the strength, with all our hearts we would prove to Him that we would “live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God;” [D&C 84:44] that we would be obedient and humble, diligent in His service, willing to obey, to hearken to the counsels of those who preside over us and do all things with an eye single to the glory of God.
So as you ponder upon this baptismal covenant which we have made and we remember the parts to love our neighbor and to consecrate our time and our talents to building the kingdom of God, it should be easy for us to take some of that consecrated time and spend it in doing temple work. Not just going to the temple but of finding the names of those Lost family members and friends that are anxiously and happily waiting for you to do their work on the other side of the veil.
Brothers and sisters this is now going to sound like an infomercial because I have recently been called as a new family history worker. I have dabbled in family history for many years and never has family history been as fun and rewarding as it is now. The church has a web site program called family search and is a collaborated effort between anyone out there who is doing family history. So that means that can watch your family tree grow with just a few entries. It is wonderful, it is humbling and in so many ways it seems magical. I would love to help you get started,there's more than one of me out there - family history workers that is, and any of us would be happy to watch the spirit of Elijah touch your heart and fill you with joy.

Then, you will see that you will always have friends waiting to go to the temple with you because they will be the friends on the other side of the veil.
I had the opportunity to do a temple session last month and as I was waiting for the endowment session to start, I took a mental inventory of myself. My thoughts and my feelings, I realized that I had been carrying some sort of weight, a sadness to some degree.  I remembered that the sadness of been there but the reason it came to my mind as I took my personal inventory was that the weight or the sadness was gone.

In trouble there,
I go to seek,
A Peaceful calm,
a healing psalm,
The ancient hand,
To dry my cheek,
Words familiar,
A hymn of rest,
This mortal life,
To give my best.
Soft shoes upon,
The carpet tread,
Bringing new hope,
To those now dead.
The peaceful calm,
It fills my soul.
The healing Grace,
quiets the offending toll,
Of time not spent,
With charity.
Forgive me Lord,
I pray to thee.
With my whole heart,
I now can see,
The joy we seek,
Our one desire,
Is waiting under the temple spire.

Amy K Anderson

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Scripture Scavenger Hunt

This was my last Mutual activity.  I made 3 different routes / searches and divided the kids into 3 teams.

1.  Bishop  D&C 68:14
2.  Baptism  Matthew 3:16
3.  Food  Genesis 6:21
4.  Gate  Isa. 26:2
5.  Glass  1 Cor. 13:12
6.  Grass  D&C 124:7
7.  Light  D&C  6:21
8.  Maintain 1Chr.  26:27  (Cleaning closet)
9.  Mother  Prov. 23:22
10.  Assignment Card

1.  Tree  3 Nephi 4:28
2.  Tithes  Alma 13:15
3.  Tent  Mosiah 2:5-6
4.  Street  Alma 26:29
5.  Curtain  Isa. 54:2
6.  Bible  2 Nephi 29:3
7.  Geneology  1 Nephi 6:1 (family history room)
8.  Quench  1 Nephi  17:29  (drinking fountain)
9.  Clean Hands  2 Nephi 25:16  (Soap dispenser)
10.  Assignment Card

1.  Light  Gen. 1:3
2.  Nursery  Psalm 8
3.  Sacrament  D&C 20:46
4.  Doorpost  Deut. 11:20
5.  Hour  John 12:27
6.  Plain Garments  D&C 42:40  (baptismal clothes)
7.  Choir  2 Chr. 29:28
8.  Music and Dancing  Luke 15:25  (stage)
9.  Nursing  Isa 49:23  (mothers lounge)
10.  Assignment Card

The first card gets handed right to the groups.  The last card had an assignment to share one attribute about each person in their group that they admired.  They had to complete this with an adult leader.  Then we handed out popsicles for a treat.

The kids did this really quickly.  Hide them harder or do more if you need a longer activity.  We did a mothers day song practice to fill in the time.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Par Core

I am an Allen.  What this means is I often fall into the category of having more "balls" than brain.  I have to back this up with the fact that I am reasonably athletic and I grew up watching my 2 older brothers push the limits in every area known in the recreation world.  They are both still alive and walking although they are showing some signs of aging.  My younger brother has also proven that he can play just as hard and suffer the consequences of lack of judgement such as not seeking medical attention for a broken ankle that will most likely hurt for the rest of his life.  But all in all they are a fun and adventurous group of nice guys.  But not examples of safety.

Saturday Troy and I took the family to black rock to play and jump off the rock.  We jumped and jumped and then these two old guys came up and one of them did a back flip.  I was impressed.  I have done thousands of back flips…on a trampoline.  But the thought had been formed, the idea developed and the lack of judgement confirmed.  I needed to flip off that rock!

My turn came.  I got to the edge, turned around, and froze.  I could not do it.  I turned back around and jumped straight down.  I landed with some disappointment.  I really wanted to do more.  I knew I had more in me, so I climbed back up.  Again I got to the edge turned around and could not bring myself to jump.  So I turned and faced the water and front flipped...

I closed my eyes as I rotated through the air.  I had done it!  I had thought about the jump, the flip, but not the landing.  I did not open up, I did not stop turning.  I hit the water with my face.  Pain slammed through my frame.  I was frozen face down in the water for what seemed a long time, then I turned my body over and brought my face out, but I could not breath.  My lungs would not respond to the logic of my brain.  Then I thought, if the air will not go in, blow out.  It worked.  I could blow out.  Then the new air came in.  The pain was excruciating.  What was I thinking?  I must look like an idiot.  I am an idiot.  I am not a diver and apparently I am not a flipper.  I need diving lessons or a new brain.

The pain is going away.  I can swim again.  I am not broken, thank God.  My face feels like I just jumped off a cliff and landed on it.  Oh wait, I did!

Let me back up to September when I was just having my first Cross Country practice for Pukalani School.  Ethan came to help me coach and he decided to jump off a wall and try to land on a fence rail that was in front of a steep hill.  He cleared the fence and landed on the hill and broke/ fractured/ badly sprained his ankle.  The doctors could not tell from the x-ray (welcome to medicine in Maui) but it hurt very bad and he was on crutches for several weeks and I lost my assistant coach.

Troy and I gave him a lot of grief over his lack of judgement after that "Jump".  Ethan - I take it all back.  It's in your blood.  You are an Allen.  

Pray that God will bless us with more brains and soft landings.

Christmas Letter 2014

The Anderson Family continues on,
Healthy, Happy and Strong.

Happy Days to you,
and Merry Christmas is our song.

We sing with joy,
that our days with peace will be filled,
and love upon all will be sealed.

Sydney still swims with grace,
upon the piano she keeps the pace.

Ethan uses fin and board,
upon his uke he plays a chord.

Ember loves to smile and charm,
she holds a violin upon her arm.

Sophie keeps up with the rest,
always reminding us that she is the best.

Troy and I are still in love,
Enjoying this family sent from above.

2014 Merry Christmas


I have been blessed to be gifted many amazing friends.  Today after reading their blogs, I felt the intense desire to update mine.  So for an easy post, I am going to post my Christmas letter.  But have no fear.  There is more to come.  So much more...

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Sacrament Talk 2013

Aloha Brothers and Sisters,
I am very grateful to have the opportunity to talk to you today. I am also very humbled by the topic and the Holiday which we are celebrating today. Easter is one of my favorite Holidays. I love the colors, the spring time themes, the baby animals and the simplicity of the Egg. The egg is a world wide symbol of Easter. Officially adopted by the christian religion a few years back. It represents life and that is what we are celebrating today. Easter is a celebration of life. It is a celebration of Christ's resurrection. It is a celebration of Hope. It is a celebration of deaths defeat. We are so blessed to live in this time when the world has witnessed literal resurrection.
In all recorded history prior to the birth, life, crucifixion and resurrection of Christ there was no one else resurrected from the dead. All death was an eternal slumber. The sting of death was heavy, lonely, oppressive and unending.
I want to gently review the last 10 days of Christ's life. Each day could be a focus of great discussion so please bear with me as I highlight the points that will help illustrate our focus today.
If we go all the way back to Bethany, a suburb of Jerusalem, and go to the house of Jesus's friend Lazarus, the very same friend that Jesus raised from the dead, you will remember that Mary took some very costly oil and anointed the feet of Jesus. Judas Iscariot who later betrays Jesus asks why she is not selling the oil to help the poor. Judas did not really care for the poor, but his intent was evil and selfish, to possibly steal the oil for his gain. Jesus replies that “the poor always ye have with you, but me ye have not always.” This was his first warning to them that things were going to change.
Next was Jesus's triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Christ tells his disciples to go and get him a donkey. He even tells then that the donkey will have a baby and to bring it along too.
Why did Jesus want to ride in on a donkey? We can turn to the Old testament and read from Zachariah 9:9:
9 ¶Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy bKing cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.
Remember that the old testament was the scripture at this time. The new testament had not been written yet. Do you think that some of the people recognized what was happening? I think they did because they started spreading their garments in his path and cutting down branches to lay before him. The people cried hosanna and followed him as he made his Triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
The next day Jesus was hungry and he saw a fig tree with leaves but no fruit so he cursed the tree and it withered away. He continued on to the temple where he became angry because of the filth that had defiled his fathers house. He overthrew the tables of money changers and Jesus taught: Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves Mark 11:17
Do you think that the fruitless fig tree was a symbol of the fruitless people that were corrupting the temple?
Christ was teaching a great lesson in purification in preparation of the coming of the ressurection.
The chief priests and scribes were getting very upset with Jesus, because they had been profiting from the trade going on at the temple.
Now once the money changers were out, there was room for miracles. The blind and the lame came in and Christ healed them. The people again shouted hosanna and again the chief judges were sore displeased because of the attention Jesus was getting.
Good easter questions:
What cleaning do our temples need? What fruits are we bearing?
Jesus then gets questions from chief priests and Pharisees. Jesus is pretty blunt in telling them that they are not humble and that they did not value the knowledge that they preach. He tells them that they are hypocrites. This makes them madder and they want to lay their hands on him, but they fear the multitude of people.
Jesus continues teaching and the disciples gratefully continued recording his teachings. He gave some famous parables like the 10 virgins, the parable of the talents and the goats. These were full of learning on preparation for the second coming. I don’t know how much his disciples understood, but we are still learning from them and they give us hope.
Hope of our resurrection.
It is almost passover now in our timeline review of Jesus's life and he asks the disciples to find a place to keep the passover meal.
The passover is another great scripture story and it is very symbolic of Christ. He is the Lamb that was slain so that we could escape death.
Now the pharisees have not gone out of the picture. They are still very much upset by Jesus and they want to destroy him.
It is important to remember that the passover meal is the Last Supper. At this meal Jesus teaches so much:
  • He washes their feet.
  • He explains that one of them will betray him.
  • He teaches them the sacrament
  • He comforts them
  • He gives then the commandment to Love on Another.
  • He teaches about the Holy Ghost
  • He then prays for his disciples, and prays for each of us as we believe.
These are all easter gifts to ponder on.
After dinner Jesus took his disciples to a garden, it was a garden that he went to often. He asked them to wait for him and he took Peter, James and John with him. He told them that his heart was very sorrowful and he asked them to stay and keep watch. Christ prayed unto the father;
And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt. Mark 14:36
An angel came to strengthen him and again he prayed:
And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
He doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world; for he loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw call men unto him. Wherefore, he commandeth none that they shall not partake of his salvation.
It was after this horrible experience, where Christ suffered unimaginable pain to redeem us from our sins, that Judas shows up with a multitude and betrays Jesus with a kiss. This was the pre-arranged token that Judas had given the priests, scribes and elders so that they would know which man was the Christ. Christ had descended low in the garden, but he had lower to go to finish the work of the atonement.

The mob laid their hands on Jesus, his disciples fled and now alone and in the dark of the night they led him to the house of the high priest. It is interesting the note that at this time in Jewish law, it was illegal to arrest a person in the dark of the night. Caiaphas, the high priest finds him guilty of blasphemy, and they bind him and take him to Pontuis Pilate the governor. Pilate questions him but does not find any fault with him, so he tries to let him go, but the voice of the people is strong and they call for the thief barbaras to be released and Jesus to be crucified.

Next Jesus is sent to be scourged. Scourging was a horrible form of punishment or torture where the victim was whipped with several cords of leather with bone or metal wrapped on the ends. These were to catch the flesh and tear it as the victim was scourged. The typical sentence was 40 lashes.

After enduring this, our precious savior was mocked as they placed a purple robe on his back and pressed a crown of thorns on his head, saying “Hail, King of the Jews” He was then led away to be crucified on the hill of Golgotha which ment the place of a skull.

The next hours of recorded history are some of the most uncomfortable events to read. Spikes would driven into his hands and wrists, then into his feet. Some mocked him and others “bewailed and lamented him” As he was lifted up upon the cross Pilate wrote “Jesus of Nazareth King of the Jews” on a sign above his head.

Christ in this agony asked his father to forgive those who crucified him, comforted those that were weeping and made sure his mother was looked after by one of his beloved disciples. Even in his extreme agony he was thinking about serving and loving others.

The earth became covered in darkness, Christ endured unimaginable pain and trusted in his father in Heaven even as his father had to withdraw his spirit. Then Christ said “Father into thy hands I commend my spirit” and his earthly life came to an end, because he chose to die. He had the power to live, he choose to die so that we can live!

His body was given to Joseph of Aramathia who had a new tomb, where he lay Christ's body. To Christs friends, he was gone. His end had come and his eternal slumber had started.

After Christ's body had been placed in the tomb and wrapped in linen, the door to the tomb was closed and even sealed with guards placed outside to prevent anyone from stealing or disturbing it. The sealing and guards were ordered by Herod upon the request of the chief judges. The following was the sabbath day and nothing much of note happened other than I imagine that it was a time of great mourning among the followers of Jesus. Then on the third day, being the first day of the week, some women came to the tomb with spices to to dress the body of Jesus.

They found the door of the tomb rolled away and two angels that asked the very important question “Why seek ye the living among the dead?
He is not here, but is arisen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee,
Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. Luke 24:5-7
Imagine your self, filled with grief, finding the body of your friend missing and angels telling you that he has risen? What joy, what absolute light and happiness would fill your soul, your heart and your eyes!
Mary Magdalene was the first recorded to see the resurrected Christ. There in the garden outside of the tomb they shared the tender moments that redefined the eternal outlook on the separation and finality of death.
The woman ran sharing the news with the disciples. The news that Jesus was alive. This is the news that we are still called upon to share. The joy of this knowledge fills our hearts just as we fill our easter eggs, the promise of life after death for one and all is as real and possible as a precious baby chick that comes out of its protective egg.
John recorded in Chapter 20 verse
31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
28 Behold, hath the Lord commanded any that they should not partake of his goodness? Behold I say unto you, Nay; but all men are privileged the one like unto the other, and none are forbidden.

8 Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise.

Today I stand before you and I testify that I know that Jesus is alive, that he broke the bands of death. I know that I will live again after I die. The gift of the resurrection is given to all men and all men will live again. It is our privilege and responsibility to share the joy of our knowledge with those we love”
I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Friday, January 25, 2013

My Dad

My wonderful Dad turned 69 yesterday.  
His family motto is WORK HARD AND PLAY HARDER.  
Here are 69 memories that we have shared:
Love you DAD!

1.  Riding together on the Vespa.  The wind in my face and your strong arms on each side of me.  I always knew good things were in store when we went out together like; Doughnuts from Angels Bakery!

2.  Being carried under the branches of the trees in the front yard.  The air was cool, the sky was dark except for the stars and your body was warm.  You calmed my fears, tickled my face with the leaves and tucked me back in bed.

3. Dancing.  Oh how I love to dance with you!  In the kitchen, in the living room, on the boat, at my wedding...anywhere.

4.  Laying under the stars at Lake Mary and listening to classic love songs, sung by the pop singers of your generation.  I still love 50's music.

5.  Holding on to your legs while hiding under the driving console of the barge while you captained our vessel through the raging storms of Lake Powell.  I was never scared knowing you were at the helm.

6.  Pulling off your socks at the end of one of your long work days.  It was so hard to get those socks off those big feet!

7.  Sitting on your back while you read the newspaper lying on your stomach.  

8.  Having you help me with math and thinking that I would never be as good at math as you were.  Never understanding your way of solving the equations.

9.  Sitting on the gas tank of the Motorguzzi and driving on the freeway - fast - across town to eat a hot fudge Sunday from Swensen's.  Remember the coupons?

10.  Going skinny dipping at the lake with the whole family and screaming from the pinching shark.

11.  Airplane rides.  

12.  Riding on the disk with you.  Again holding on to your strong arms, doing circles, falling down, doing it again.

13.  Very early I have a memory of you and I snow skiing at McMillen Mesa.  It was dark and I was standing on your skis.  I would put my foot in the middle and touch the snow as we zoomed down the hill and my foot would fly back.  That was fun!

14.  Going out sledding at night is one of my fondest memories.  We would get so tired walking back up the hill and then you would come out with the vespa and tow us up the hill, our hero!

15.  When we were tired of sliding the hill, you would tow us all over on the sled behind the vespa.  I can still taste the exhaust.

16.  Hiking through the woods with Jonathan and Mom and we would search for the perfect bent over pine tree.  Then Jonathan and I would climb on and you would bounce us so high.  Best ride ever!

17.  You always had pink baby lotion on your work bench.  I thought that was so cute that my dad had pink lotion on his bench.  It was probably the cheapest one at the store and it just lasted for many years!

18.  You always tried to teach me perspective in drawing.  I could still use some lessons.

19.  I remember when Boomer ate my hamster.  It was horrible and I was hysterical.  You took what was left and in the dark night buried him in the woods.  When you came back and told me that he was okay now and that he was up in heaven.  I had peace.

20. I still remember sitting in church next to you and holding hands.  Your hands are always warm.

21.  We raced up the hill to Nana's house once.  You could run so fast.  I knew no one could run as fast as my dad.  I was about 6.

22.  You rode your bike to Sedona all the time.  You let me come when I got a 10 speed for Christmas one year.  I was about 8.  You would help push me up the hills and remind me that "what ever goes up must come down".  Life is kinda like that and downs, you helped me learn to roll with it and enjoy the ride.

23.  I wrecked on that bike ride and had the most road rash I have ever seen.  I was not happy.  You had gone ahead and I screamed to call you back.  You came back for me and got me back on the bike.  We nursed our way to the spring where you helped to wash me up.  You taught me that when you fall down you get back up and you don't ride on the edge of the road when there are cinders all over the side.

24.  I remember watching Invasion of the body snatchers and Invasion of the killer bees with you late at night.  I still like to stay up late with a good movie or a book.

25.  You place your finger to your teeth when you are reading a good book.

26.  Disneyland.  Going on thunder mountain over and over.

27.  Eating at the Hacienda.  Me:  Cheese enchilada I loved the salad garnish in the enchilada sauce.  Sopapilla's for dessert!

28.  Not being able to spell.

29.  You bought me a ring when I had Sydney.  I gave it to her when she turned 13.  It has 3 Sapphires because she made our little family 3.  It has 4 diamonds for the men that will be a part of her life:  Her Heavenly Father, her Earthly father, her Grandfather and her husband.

30.  You sent Mom to help me every time a had a baby.  You knew I needed my Mom.

31.  You love all my kids and they adore you.  Stories.

32.  I can still picture you rocking Ethan to sleep.  You would sing him Bobba cha bobba cha wa wa and dance.  He fell asleep every time.

33.  You bought a trampoline and told Jonathan and I that it was just for you and mom to exercise on.  We believed you for a minute, but then we took over.  I don't remember ever seeing you bounce on it, but we had hours of fun on that thing!

34.  Riding our bikes up on Appalachian and playing the red Barron and the blue bomber.

35.  Telling me that I could not get my drivers license until I could:  Change a tire, clean and gap a spark plug, check and change the oil.  There may have been more.  I have rarely been so motivated to learn.

36.  Arm exercises while driving.  Good time management.

37.  You drove GG to California after she passed away.  You said she was with you the whole time.

38.  I loved watching you kiss mom in the Kitchen.

39.  You could get mom to taste something sweet even when she was trying to be good by just telling her to try it and then spit it out.  She would.

40.  You starting walking to work through the woods.  I had ridden my bike up that way a few times and I loved comparing stories with you.

41.  Sitting on the side of Highway 89 for hours while you went to get gas.  I don't know why we ran out, but I guess you may have wanted to push the limits a bit.  I do that with things too.

42.  Hiking in Sycamore canyon.  Getting lost and having the most amazing adventure ever.

43.  Getting poison oak and suffering together.  Learning to be tough.

44.  Remember when we decided to race mom and Jonathan home from the top of Mt. Elden.  We hiked down and they drove.  We went down Pete's dragon and I got to do a lot of sliding.  I got a big hole in my pants.  That was fun, I don't remember who won.

45.  Going to baskin robbins and you would always get nutty coconut.  Jonathan would get bubble gum and then want to trade.  You were nice and you would trade him.

46.  Day old doughnuts at Safeway.

47.  One morning we went out for a bike ride.  We decided to get breakfast at a little Mexican food hole in the wall that you said mom would never go to.  I felt like a rebel.  It was yummy!

48.  You do not like to play games much, but I do remember learning to play blackjack at the kitchen table with poker chips.

49.  You came out for a visit once and I was feeling a little insecure about my parenting abilities.  I asked you if you thought I was doing okay.  You reassured me, told me I was doing fine and gave me a hug.  I have felt much better since then.

50.  Accentuate the positive, and don't mess with mister in-between!

51.  Orange juice flavored water.  Good resourcefulness.

52.  Watching you disk at sunset with the sun shining through the water from the spray.  You always looked so happy and content.

53.  MaryAnn no ski, MaryAnn can ski.  If you love them, tease them a little.

54.  Mutt.  Call it like it is.

55.  Lake Mary evenings and cooking on the hibachi.  Music.  Checking out the dam.  Catching snails. Looking for eagles.

56.  Riding bikes around Mormon Lake Lodge.

57.  Playing catch over the houseboat with the light sticks.

58.  Anything you can do I can do better.

59.  We took a family trip in the white van when I was about 16.  I think we went to Oregon.  It was a lot of driving and everyone was taking turns at the wheel.  You gave me a chance to drive while everyone was sleeping.  I was excited but then I became very nervous as I realized the speed I was supposed to maintain while I had the responsibility of every one's lives in the back.  You sat with me and made sure everything was going smooth.  It was a fun trip.

60.  Picking blackberries in Oak creek, eating berries in Utah, oh! and the peaches!

61.  Riding to Sedona in the Baby seat and you picking me flowers as we flew down the road.

62.  The end of the school year picnic that the ward had every year was fun, but you were the best dad there because you would actually play with us and get us spinning so fast on the tire swing.

63.  You taught me many things but one of them is not to stand in front of the referigerator with the door open.  I still expect to hear your voice yelling from the living room if I stand there too long.

64.  You had a tattoo booth at the ward halloween parties.  My favorite pictures were the ones with a heart around the word Mom.

65.  You can start singing a song from almost any sentence.  You have a wonderful voice.

66.  Remember hiking up to Bridle Vale falls in Telluride and singing I stand all amazed, with most of the right words.  You taught me to sing strong from my heart.

67. You let me help you rewire the cabin cruiser that was sitting in the driveway.  It was winter and cold so the tarp was on and the soldering iron was our only heat source.  I was amazed that you knew how to do what you were doing.  I thought you were the smartest man alive.  That was a fun boat.

68.  You love my husband and you are his friend.  You taught him to windsurf and how to do so many other things.  I am so grateful that you hired the young boy that needed a job.  I needed to get him trained.  I love thinking about all your adventures together and I look forward to many more.

69.  You always made me feel like I could do anything, because you knew you could do anything.  You are always game for any adventure, any vacation, any work and any type of play.  You work hard so you can play harder.  I am your daughter, in optimism, in work and in play.

Happy Birthday Dad.  Lets go make some more memories.

Hugs and Kisses,

Thursday, December 13, 2012

2012 Christmas Letter

Merry Christmas to all our beloved Family and Friends.

It is with a happy heart that I sit down to reflect on this great year and its accomplishments. I recognize that nothing would be possible without the Savior, and it is this reason that we celebrate his birth and his life. I know that he lives. He is the fuel in all that I do. I strive to be better each day as I follow his example and learn to love as he loves us.
We send our love to all of you!
Troy marches on at the head of our family. He is always encouraging us to do our best and challenge ourselves. He still works hard with our business and he plays hard: biking, stand up paddling and learning to kite surf. He is a great dad, always taking the kids out to play. He gets the good husband comment too, because he is a good guy and I am am lucky to be his wife. He has also been taking Spanish classes all year and he is hoping to get an opportunity to visit a Spanish speaking country really soon.

I have been trying to keep up with my crew and their passion for living and playing. I started and coached a Cross Country team at our Elementary school this year, which was a great experience. I also trained and competed in the TriLanai which was lots of fun, especially because my Mom came and watched the kids for Troy and I over the weekend. I started working again, doing home health care - very part time, but enjoyable to use my degree again. I am serving in the Young Woman Program at church now and that is fun because Sydney is in the group and we have a lot of fun.

Sydney is 14 and in 9th grade. It took me about 9 months to come to terms with the fact that I have a beautiful high schooler in the house. (And that we have to get up so early for Seminary.) She is a perfect teenager except that she is very responsible, diligent and self motivated. She still swims on the Maui Dolphins swim team as well as the High School swim team. She played volleyball this year, charms the piano, draws really well, gets good grades, dances hula, and rides her bike like a champ.

Ethan is 12 and in 7th grade. He got glasses this year which are really cute as well as helpful. He came in 6th in one of his surf competitions this summer, competed in a couple of Mountain Bike races, and he really enjoys skate boarding. He also swims, but only because his mom makes him. He is a really good boy as well as very nice. He attracts all the kids in the neighborhood, so our yard is rarely empty and he never suffers from being the only boy in our family. Ethan is also a good student, plays the piano and the ukulele and he is a good brother to his sisters.

Ember is 8 and in 3rd grade. Pretty as can be, Ember is very creative. She is always making something and in the middle of one project, she is thinking of the next. She designed and sewed her own skirt this summer as well as hand sewed several little bags. Ember is a great big sister, always helping Sophie do fun things. Ember continues to study the violin and played for our church Christmas party. In her school class this year she is excelling at the recorder as well as at her grades. She also did a couple of mountain bike races this summer, dances ballet, ran cross country and she has started competing in the swim meets!

Sophie is 5 and in Kindergarden! She was not too sure about school for the first few months, but she is starting to enjoy it. She was chosen to participate in the the school choir and they competed in the Na Mele Competition. The songs are all in Hawaiian and she frequently uses Hawaiian phrases in our conversions which is pretty cute. Sophie is an amazing Mountain Biker and competed in her first race. She also ran in one of the cross country races this year. She is all girl until it comes to competition, then she is all business. She is very excited to be a reader and she is working very hard at school. She loves ballet and she is also a great artist, filling up the house with her art work.

Thank you all for filling our lives with your love and friendship. Have a very Merry Christmas.
Troy, Amy, Sydney, Ethan, Ember and Sophie Anderson 

2011 Troy's Christmas Letter








Monday, December 10, 2012

Grandma Rosie

One of the highlights of our year was having Troy's mother come out for a visit.  We affectionately call her Grandma Rosie.  She came out to enjoy our crazy schedule and see the kids.  We all loved having her and we were sad to see her go.

 Ethan wanted her to teach him to make sour cream enchiladas.  Yum!!!

 We took a day and went to the aquarium. 

Sophie's Student of the Month Lunch.

Talk: Charity The Pure Love of Christ

Charity is one of the most beautiful facets of the gospel.  It is amazingly simple but in order to understand how to live each day with the pure love of Christ emanating from us, we must become passionate about the topic and study our own complex natures so that we can remove behaviors that are not loving and kind.  We can then add in actions,thoughts and deeds that fill others with our shared charity.

As a young woman in high school I was blessed with a very good friend.  We spent a lot of time together as well as with each others families.  My friends name was Celeste and she had a Grandma that lived across the street from her.  We all called her Gram and she was the best kind of wonderful.  Gram could find the good in anybody or in anything.  Gram was a wonderful example to me in giving charity through kind words to everyone.  I could walk into Grams house feigns weighted down by all the pressures and insecurities of a teen age life and 30 minutes later I could emerge knowing I was worthy to experience all the good things in life and that they would all happen.  She had such a wonderful gift, her charity also known as love is still a part of who I am.

Why was Gram so able to see the good in everything?  I know it was because she practiced.  She had endured many hardships in her life, one being loosing her mother at a very young age.  This did not defeat her, it helped her have compassion and empathy.  She truly spent time each day building people up and sharing the pure love of Christ.

Why do we call Charity the pure love of Christ?

The gift of charity comes from the Savior.
Charity is there because Christ is here.
Charity endures into the darkest night through difficult trials and on into the sunshine because Christ does.
God so loves us that he gave his only begotten son, Christ.
Christ loved us so much that his infinite atonement made it possible for us to return back to our heavenly home, and into the presence of God's pure love.  Pure love.  No gall, no bitterness, no scarcest, just warn fuzzy love.

In Moroni 7:45-47. Moroni recorded the words of his father Mormon, who was a very good man and a righteous king.  Mormon promises us that such love, the pure love of Christ is bestowed only upon true followers of Jesus Christ.
Christ loves us and that is how he hopes we will love each other, with a pure, unjudgemental love.

I found a talk by Elaine S. Dalton on Charity.  She gave the talk at BYU Woman's Conference and it is a beautiful Talk.  I am going to share some of it with you.  Here is the link to the full text:

Sister Dalton tells the story of two little girls were born 12 weeks premature. One of the girls weighed two pounds and was struggling with problems ranging from breathing issues and troubling blood-oxygen levels and heart-rate difficulties. Her sister was two pounds, three ounces, and was considered the stronger of the two.
When the twins were a little less than a month old, the smaller of the two girls went into critical condition. Her nurse recounts that “she began gasping for breath, and her face and stick-thin arms and legs turned bluish-gray. Her heart rate was way up. Her parents watched, terrified that she might die.” The nurse did all that she could, and nothing seemed to work. She then remembered a common procedure that was used in parts of Europe that helped struggling premature babies that was called double-bedding. After the parents gave permission, the nurse put the two babies together in one incubator, hoping it would do some good. “No sooner had the door of the incubator closed than [the struggling twin] snuggled up to [her sister]—and calmed right down. Within minutes [her] blood-oxygen readings were the best they had ever been since she was born. And as she dozed, [her sister] wrapped her tiny arm around her small sibling”

I love this true story because I think it is what we can do for others. It is what we, as sisters, can do for each other, what wives can do for husbands, what husbands can do for wives and both can do for their children, and what each of us can do for everyone in the world. We are all God’s precious children; each of us is beloved. We are here to become like Him—to follow His example, the example of His Son, and to become as He is as we do as He does. 

In order to possess true charity, each of us must come to know and understand several things. First is our identity—who we are and who we have always been. The Young Women’s theme is true doctrine: “We are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us, and we love Him.” His love is infinite and eternal. He loved us so much that He sent His Son to make it possible for us to return to Him once again. When we understand our identity, then that understanding defines all of our relationships. As C. S. Lewis said, “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal”.

“There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal”

Second, we must be pure. Moroni’s final words to each of us in these latter days—a generation he literally saw—exhorted us to “come unto Christ, and lay hold upon every good gift, and touch not the evil gift, nor the unclean thing” (Moroni 10:30). His exhortation or warning to us was to be pure and virtuous! He was an eyewitness to what happened to a society who had lost their faith, hope, and charity because they had lost their virtue and purity. Why did he exhort us in this manner? Again, it is part of His message on charity and gaining eternal life and the need to “lay hold upon every good thing ... until the coming of Christ” (Moroni 7: 25). Why? That “when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; ... that we may be purified even as he is pure” (Moroni 7:48). The principle is never changing—purity cannot come from an impure source. Moroni teaches us that “a bitter fountain cannot bring forth good water; neither can a good fountain bring forth bitter water” (Moroni 7:11). Thus, pure love cannot come from an impure source. In order to possess pure love, we must be pure and virtuous! We are developing patterns of thought and behavior, and they must be based on the highest moral standards. And our personal purity in thought and action will entitle us to receive the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost.

So that’s third—since charity is a spiritual gift that is bestowed upon us, it comes as a result of the reception of the Holy Ghost. And since the Holy Ghost is given only to members of the Church, it follows that the fruits and gifts of this Spirit are given in their fulness to Church members. Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught this principle: “Men [and women] must receive the gift of the Holy Ghost before that member of the Godhead will take up his abode with them and begin the supernal process of distributing his gifts to them....Thus the gifts of the Spirit are for believing, faithful, righteous people; they are reserved for the saints of God” (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith [1985], 370–71).
And fourth, as we make and keep our covenants, the promises those covenants contain will help us become as the Savior and bit by bit, week by week develop the ability to love as He would love, until we will become possessed with charity at the last day. This is a process, not an event. And so we must continually, daily, step by step, keep moving in that direction, always remembering Him and keeping His commandments.

Practicing just like Gram did.

Charity is a spiritual gift that is bestowed from the Father to all who are true followers of His Son, Jesus Christ. The gift of charity comes because of the Savior’s infinite Atonement. It is more than outward actions—more than casseroles and canned-good donations; it is a condition of the heart. This I also know: it is a gift that is earned, sought after, and does not come easily because it is in direct opposition to the natural man or woman. It is bestowed, and it doesn’t come without patience, practice, repentance, and purity—but it comes. President Ezra Taft Benson described the process this way: “The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of people, and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1985, 5; or Ensign, Nov. 1985, 6). Charity can not only transform us; it can transform the world. Imagine what it would be like to live in a society that was constantly striving to possess this heavenly gift. It would be a Zion society! And Zion is the pure in heart—pure hearts, pure people, pure love!

Because I get to serve in Young Woman, I thought this story of a young girl's struggle was very appropriate for todays talk: 

“I came from a family of four. My mother was LDS, but my father was intolerant toward the Mormon Church. There was great discord, many arguments, and much bitterness in our home. My parents quarreled constantly, both verbally and physically.

“We paid a price. At sixteen my older brother had been convicted on a narcotics charge and had been placed in a detention home. I was fourteen and headed down that same road.
“I had been baptized at eight and had always attended Sunday School with my mother. Now, at fourteen, I went to church only to get out of the house and keep peace with my mom.”
Then she said, “I’ll never forget the first Sunday some girls from my Mutual class came around to invite me to Mutual. Four girls! Two of them were cheerleaders at ... school [and] the other two ... I had, of course, seen at church and school and knew were popular and well liked.
And then she said, “How I hated those girls! I hated them because they were everything I wanted to be and couldn’t. I was nothing, I was low-class—I knew it and I knew they knew it, too. I hated them all. I took their crummy little invitation note and smugly lied that I’d be sure to make it out to Mutual. Of course, I never went.”
She said, “This story could have ended there. Those four girls had done their duty at the beginning of the year. I had been personally invited out to Mutual and had refused. What more could they do?
“Fortunately for me,” she said, “the story did not end there. In the months that followed, every Sunday one of those four girls would be at my door with an invitation. But she wouldn’t just drop it off and leave. Each girl would stay and talk to me for at least an hour. At first we would talk about the weather and about Sunday School, which were the only two things I had in common with them, and then we would sit through eternal silences.
“Gradually,” she said, “our conversations became closer. The girls always seemed so eager to listen to my ideas and problems. They never yelled at me or called me names. And yet I was still apprehensive and I still disliked them greatly. I never attended Mutual.
“Time went on, yet those same four girls never gave up. They took a special interest in me. They always said ‘hi’ at school and would stop and talk to me. They sat by me in classes. They found out which subjects I was flunking ... and would invite themselves over to study with me.
“I could not understand it. Why me? They knew the things I did—my reputation. Surely they felt my resentment toward them. Why did they keep on trying? I knew I was a lost cause. I felt pushed and cornered, my own conscience hurting. Still I fought them.”

Then she shares, “December 12 was my birthday. My family never made birthdays special. I got a ‘happy birthday’ from my mom and nothing from my dad, and I went through the school day not letting anyone know I was a year older. I planned on celebrating that night by sneaking out and going over to see some friends.
“At 8:00 that night the doorbell rang. I answered it and there stood my Mutual class. One girl had a cake in her hands and another a gallon of ice cream. They were all smiling and suddenly broke out singing ‘Happy Birthday.’ I didn’t even know how to react.
“I went to Mutual twice that month and once in January. But that was all. The three times I attended were great, and I felt a strange closeness toward those four girls, but the social pressure from my other friends was too great and after leading the kind of life I led all week, I just couldn’t face those Mutual girls. Still they befriended me and never judged.
“March 12 was a very dreary day in my life. I came home from school late. I had flunked an exam that afternoon and was very blue. I came home to find my parents in a very heated argument. Knowing how it would be, I went to my room and sat there, numb, just listening. I don’t remember much after that except losing all control.
“A few days later I gained consciousness in the hospital. For three weeks I lay in the hospital, and for three weeks not one of my friends came to see me. Not one! ... Where were they now when I needed their friendship?
“Instead, every day at 3:30 one of those four Mutual girls would be at my side. They were there every day. They brought me things to read, they sneaked in candy, and they brought in a transistor radio for me to listen to. We would do crossword puzzles together, and they would tell me the latest happenings at school. They never asked what happened and I never offered to tell.
“After I got out of the hospital I began to go to Mutual. I finally realized that those four girls who had taken an interest in me really were sincere. Not only had I grown to like them, but now I felt a bond of love between us. My life seemed to be going so much better. I was happier than I had ever been.
“April 2 was a day I shall never forget.... During the final period of school, the principal walked into the room with a note for me. I was to go home immediately. ... What was wrong at home?
“By the time I reached the house I knew something dreadful had happened. I raced through the front door and almost collided head-on with my dad. I looked up into a ghostly white, tear-streaked face.... He was trembling all over and could only mutter, ‘She’s gone, your mother’s passed away.’”

She said, “I was stunned. I turned and I began to run. I ran and ran and my tears mixed with the rain. I ran until I was exhausted, but I did not stop. My face was swollen and my head hurt. Still I ran. Then, suddenly, I saw from the opposite direction someone coming toward me. I paused and wiped my eyes. Could it be? One of those four Mutual girls, the girls who truly cared about me? One of those girls was running through the rain for me. I began to run again, and when we met I threw my arms around that girl and we both collapsed to the ground. I sat there crying, and she cried with me.”
Then she relates, “In the years that followed, I became one with those four Mutual girls. I learned to care, really care about others and to give of myself. I found that by helping others my own problems diminished.
“When the most important day of my life came, I knelt across the altar from my sweetheart and in the reflection of mirrors were those four Mutual girls, ... with tears running down their cheeks. They had made this possible for me.
“I’ll never know why I had been so important to them. Me, a nobody. I can only thank my Father in heaven for those girls and pray with all my heart that there are many more like them in his Church” (name withheld, “‘How I Hated Those Girls!’” in Jay A. Parry, Everyday Heroes: True Stories of Ordinary People Who Made a Difference [2002], 73–77). 

Thank you for being the ones with charity. You are not ordinary, you are the Lord’s elect. You know what it means to make and keep sacred covenants, and because of that you are striving to “always remember him” in your thoughts and your actions (see Moroni 4:3). By your small and simple acts of charity, you are changing the world. Don’t get discouraged; don’t give up. Your light, your love makes all the difference. Will each of you commit today to reach out and light up the life of another person daily? It doesn’t take much, and it doesn’t have to be grand—just a smile, a loving touch, an arm around, a compliment. Will you do that with me?

The world teaches us that it is all about winning. The Savior teaches us that winners help others succeed. The world teaches that we have no responsibility for another’s actions, decisions, or failures. The Savior teaches us that we can change lives, influence choices as we reach out, forget ourselves, and extend a hand of charity. President Thomas S. Monson reminded each of us of this eternal truth when he said: “In a hundred small ways, all of you wear the mantle of charity. Life is perfect for none of us. Rather than being judgmental and critical of each other, may we have the pure love of Christ for our fellow travelers in this journey through life. May we recognize that each one is doing her best to deal with the challenges which come her way, and may we strive to do our best to help out” (“Charity Never Faileth,” Ensign, Nov. 2010, 125). 

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.

(Thank you Elaine!)