Wednesday, June 24, 2009

At Aspen Grove #2; Out And About / Judy

I've had fits trying to get these pictures on the blog, so I hope I'm on my way now. Of course I still can't write between the pictures so I'll just have to show them then say what they are. First one shows Peter at the end of a busy day. Next is Teri's daughter, Gracie I think, holding MaryRuth's Rachel,the newest cousin. Third is Jen and Uche with Grandpa. Fourth is Lloyd holding Luke, I think, talking to Tony. Fifth is a rare moment of leisure between activities. Then finally, Christopher and Jonathan riding things.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

All Because Two People Fell In Love / Lloyd

Our 2009 Family Reunion--Ben was performing in Les Miserables and couldn't join us.

There’s a little shop and garden that Judy and I enjoy whenever we visit Cambria on the Central Coast. It features aromatic herbs and gardens and fun odds and ends. On our last visit we purchased a wooden heart that reads: All Because Two People Fell in Love. We’ve hung it next to our family photo.

Beginning at Thanksgiving each year I meditate and pray about my central focus for the coming year. Two years ago it was “Love your wife and meet her needs.” That year I was afraid that I might lose her to illness. She was exhibiting symptoms which seemed a lot like congestive heart failure--very frightening. Several months later she was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and began to improve with treatment.

This second year the answer was, “Make Judy the center of your life.” After 50 years of dating and marriage I would have thought that these themes were solidly in place. Apparently not at the level Heavenly Father knows we need to achieve.
When I was hospitalized in Frederick, MD with clinical depression, Bishop Glen Tayler told us that other couples working through similar difficulties turned on each other and mostly split up. He said that in contrast Judy and I held on tighter and our marriage was strengthened. 

There was a time just before my hospitalization when I said something about divorce. Judy responded: This marriage isn’t about you or about me or even about us but about our commitment to the institution of covenant marriage and there will be no more talk about divorce. That’s just sick thinking. Subsequently we’ve learned that should I ever have these negative thoughts again it’s symptomatic of illness and we need to stop, drop, and roll; i.e. seek immediate professional help.

The most powerful unit in the universe is a covenant marriage--consider worlds without end. It doesn't take much to figure that Satan will do all he can to drive a wedge between husband and wife. It might even be his main focus. Whenever any of us feels negatively toward our wife or husband let there be red flags waving and alarms blaring: Run, don't walk. This is spiritual, perhaps physical or emotional pathology. Get help now. Don't claw at each other or turn inward--cutting yourself off from the other; rather hold each other tight and live.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

At Aspen Grove, #1 In The Dining Room / Judy

These are a few pictures from the dining room, where we were always able to see everyone three times a day and do a lot of visiting. First is Michael with Tony's family. Next is some of Ron's family, then the cousin's table and finally Jonathan holding Luke with Grandpa.

I can't express how wonderful it was at this beautiful place in the mountains to be with all of our extended family! Unlike the many stories you hear about families, ours all like each other and even get along. And it doesn't matter what the configuration is--we just enjoy spending time together.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Our Unique Family Cultures / Lloyd

Of our nine children, we have one son who has yet to marry. He wants to find a woman who not only loves him but is also willing and able to raise a family safely in the entertainment world, his chosen profession.

His brothers and sisters each met just the right person and together developed family cultures unique to themselves and totally appropriate to meet the escalating challenges that have been thrust upon their families. And they are happy.

We have encouraged our children to marry within our religious faith and qualify to be sealed as a couple by priesthood authority in an LDS temple. Thus God provides wonderful blessings and protections to their marriage and family now and recognizes them as a unique family unit in eternity.

After 50 years of dating and marriage Judy and I are personally acquainted with the significant influence of this sealing power and associated blessings and could desire no less for our children and grandchildren.

We understand that the woman for our son may yet be a non-member. Two of our sons-in-law were raised in wonderful families and didn't find the Church until they met our daughters. These men have become active and perceptive priesthood holders--wonderful husbands and fathers.

Queen Esther (Hadassah) in the Old Testament was wife to the king of Persia and not a cookie-cutter Jewess in her time, (translate: not a Molly Mormon). Every February or March (14th day of Adar) Jews around the world celebrate Purim to commemorate how Ester saved the Jews in Persia from annihilation. The Lord placed her in a nontraditional family to preserve his covenant people.

Rachel Esplin, who was raised LDS in Blackfoot, Idaho, clearly articulated at Harvard University her ability to discern between narrow cultural prejudices and the gospel as Christ intends us to live it. (If you have not seen her presentation, here's the
link.) She and her husband will likely provide a healthy and unique culture for their future children.

We have always been excited to meet the distinctive and remarkable young women and men that our children have brought home to meet the family.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Between Bitter Rebellion & Beaten Resignation / Lloyd

"No man [woman] ever lived his [her] life exactly as he [she] planned it. There are things that all of us want that we don't get. There are plans that all of us make that never move beyond the hopes of our hearts. There are reverses which upset our fondest dreams. There are many things in life beyond the present power of anyone to alter or to answer or to understand. And what we cannot understand we shall have to accept on faith until we do understand. In any case, rebellion isn't the answer. But neither is hopeless resignation. Resignation may retreat too far, but somewhere between bitter rebellion and beaten resignation there is an effective fighting ground where a man [woman] can make the most of whatever is. Where he [she] can still face each day and do with it whatever can be done." (Richard L. Evans, quoted by Lloyd K. Newal during lecture at Aspen Grove Family Camp, 4 June 2009)

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