Lehi Loved His Sons – 2 Nephi 3:1-3

You can read 2 Nephi 3:1-3 here. You can also find the rest of the Blogging the Book of Mormon entries here.

Context and General Information

  • Shortly before his death, Lehi spoke with and blessed each of his sons. In 2 Nephi 3, we read of what Lehi said to his youngest son, Joseph.
  • Lehi prayed that the land (the promised land) would be consecrated to Joseph and his seed.
  • Lehi also prays that the Lord will bless Joseph forever.

Lehi Loved His Sons

So…as I’m studying today, I know that there is a lot that we could learn from this chapter. There are a lot of intellectual things to research. There are exciting prophecies to consider. Sometimes I wonder why I thought I could “blog the Book of Mormon.” There is no way that I can be exhaustive in this study.

So, I have to remember that I can’t even try to explore every little thing in the Book of Mormon. Instead, I need to simply study that which the Spirit is prompting me to study.

Of course, we benefit the most when we study as the Spirit guides. Not only that, but when we study as the Spirit guides, then our study may look different at different times. Perhaps the Spirit will guide us to notice a topic. Maybe the Spirit will guide us to find out more about the history and context of a chapter. Who knows. It depends on day to day.

As I read through this chapter today, I keep feeling overwhelmed by the great love that Lehi had for his children.

lehi-people-arrive-promised-land-39644-gallery

One
In 1 Nephi 1:1, we read

“I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father;” …

“Yea, I make a record in the language of my father, which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians.” – 1 Nephi 1:1

Here, we read that Lehi taught his sons. Lehi taught his sons how to read and write. According to Nephi, Lehi taught them all he could. Such teaching would only be undertaken by a father who loved his children.

Two
Time and time and time again, Lehi pled with his sons – that they would choose faith and righteousness. He named the valley where they camped Lemuel, and the river that ran through the valley he named Laman, so that they would be reminded to be steadfast and continually righteous.

This pleading, like his teaching, was motivated by Lehi’s love for his sons.

Three
Lehi’s love for his sons wasn’t wrapped up only on them – in some kind of unhealthy way. Not only did Lehi love his sons, but he loved his wife. When she was having a hard day, he didn’t get frustrated with her. Instead, he kindly comforted Sariah while they waited for their sons to return from getting the Brass plates.

This behavior from Lehi to Sariah shows Lehi’s great love for his family.

We read:

“And it came to pass that after we had come down into the wilderness unto our father, behold, he was filled with joy, and also my mother, Sariah, was exceedingly glad, for she truly had mourned because of us.” – 1 Nephi 5:1

You know, in the past, I’ve always focused on Sariah’s gladness because she had truly mourned for her sons. But here, we also read that Lehi was filled with joy.

It would have been a sacrifice for both Sariah and Lehi to send their sons back to Jerusalem. They had just recently fled because people wanted to kill their father. It probably wasn’t all that safe for them. Not only that, but the sons of Lehi had to travel through a desert wilderness. I imagine that they worried. Maybe Lehi didn’t mourn, but this doesn’t mean that he lacked concern or worry for his sons who were on a difficult journey.

Four
Another interesting manifestation of Lehi’s love for his sons comes when he talks about his vision of the tree of life. First of all, during the vision, when he partakes of the fruit of the tree of life, he immediately desired to share it with his family. We read:

“And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also; for I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit.” – 1 Nephi 8:12

Lehi was also deeply concerned for Laman and Lemuel. I’m sure it must have been a difficult conversation, but he voiced his worry – that they didn’t partake of the fruit in the dream. We read about this exchange between father and sons:

And he did exhort them then with all the feeling of a tender parent, that they would hearken to his words, that perhaps the Lord would be merciful to them, and not cast them off; yea, my father did preach unto them.” – 1 Nephi 8:37

I love that phrase: with all the feeling of a tender parent. Truly, Lehi loved his sons – even though they were sometimes wayward and rebellious.

Five
Throughout 1 Nephi, we read of times when Nephi and his family conversed in the tent of their father.

Maybe this isn’t important, but it is a touching concept to me. There was a place, even when they were homeless and wandering in the wilderness, where Lehi and his family convened and discussed various things.

Truly, Lehi loved his sons enough to spend so much time with them.

Six
Lehi loved his family enough to repent. While in the wilderness, when Nephi broke his bow, the hunger (and stress, and difficulty, and years) got to Lehi. He broke down and he murmured. I truly cannot imagine what Lehi was going through.

And yet, he had a special witness of Christ. He was expected to keep a higher standard of faith and devotion to the Lord.

After murmuring, Lehi loved his family and the Lord enough to repent. Here’s the thing: I know what it is like to get frustrated. Often, when things aren’t going your way, and you are frustrated, the last thing you want to do is give up the frustration and anger.

Yet, Lehi humbled himself. He repented. He ate humble pie in front of all those he had led into the wilderness for those years. This selfless decision actually kept the entire company alive.

It seems like a strange way to express our love, but perhaps it is one of the most important things we, as parents can do for our children. We can repent. We can give up our pride. We can let go of anger and other issues. And instead, we can lead our family in the love of the Lord.

Seven
Lehi blessed his children. We have been reading of these blessings in the last few chapters. Lehi loved his children enough to teach them and bless them.

Up to his dying day, he was teaching his children, guiding them, praying for them, and blessing them.

What’s the deal

Okay…so what’s the deal with this. It’s cool that Lehi loved his children. I don’t know if it was worth an entire blog post. Maybe not.

But maybe we can learn from him for ourselves. Am I teaching my children? Am I pleading with them? Am I letting them into my “tent,” where they can ask candid questions? Am I a tender parent? A goodly parent?

What can I do to be more like Lehi???

  • I can listen to the Lord
  • I can boldly teach my children all that I know
  • I can make big sacrifices even if they seem to be difficult – knowing that we are in the hands of a God who loves His children more than I love mine.
  • I can be patient with my children and with my spouse.
  • I can repent when I make a mistake.
  • I can endure – loving, guiding, and teaching my children until my dying day.

Zoram – A True Friend – 2 Nephi 1:30-32

You can read 2 Nephi 1:30-32 here. You can also find the rest of the Blogging the Book of Mormon entries here.

Context and General Information

  • Lehi has finished speaking with Nephi’s older brothers. Now, Lehi speaks to Zoram.
  • Zoram is a true friend to Nephi.
  • Because of the faith of Zoram, he and his seed will be blessed. Nothing, other than iniquity, will harm or disturb their prosperity.
  • If Zoram will keep the commandments, then the Lord will consecrate the promised land for the security of his seed.

Zoram – A True Friend

I love this scripture.

“And now, Zoram, I speak unto you: Behold, thou art the servant of Laban; nevertheless, thou hast been brought out of the land of Jerusalem, and I know that thou art a true friend unto my son, Nephi, forever.” – 2 Nephi 1:30

I think that I would like to do a study on the idea of “friends.”

First of all—a definition: A friend is one attached to another by affection or esteem.

We don’t really know much about Zoram and Nephi and their friendship. We know how it began – Nephi impersonated Laban to get the plates, and then when Zoram discovered the deception, he started to run. Nephi subdued Zoram, made an oath with him, and Zoram agreed to be free and go with Nephi and his family to the promised land.

It’s a pretty exciting “how I met my friend” story.

Later it is mentioned that Zoram married the oldest daughter of Ishmael. Other than that, we don’t read much about him in this specific record. (Which is fine. I understand that this record isn’t meant to satisfy little curiosities. Nephi’s record focuses on the ministry and gospel.)

That is, until here—in 2 Nephi 1.

And what a blessing this friendship is—to both Zoram and Nephi. I don’t know what Zoram’s life was like before going into the wilderness, but the fact that he was willing to leave Jerusalem and go into the wilderness with a man who had just slain and was impersonating his master may say a lot about his life in Jerusalem. (By the way, I also think that the Spirit comforted Zoram in this decision).

Even though we don’t read much about Zoram, we do know about Nephi. He is taunted by his brothers. So often, people get frustrated with Nephi – saying that he was some kind of know it all or a pesky younger brother. After studying the Book of Mormon so many times – and especially as I’ve blogged the Book of Mormon, I just don’t feel this way.

Remember how Nephi’s brothers treated him:

  • They beat him with a rod.
  • They tied in him up in the desert.
  • They plotted to kill him.
  • They were angry with him when he broke his bow.
  • They tried to throw him into the depths of the sea.
  • They tied him up on the ship for days.

They were jerks!!!!!!!!

Now – think about Nephi. In any circumstance when he had control over his brothers, he never sought it. They tried to worship him, and he told them not to worship him, but to honor their parents and to worship God.

Over and over again, we read that Nephi was constrained to speak to his brothers. Do you think…do you actually think that he wanted to? Look at that list above. He knew what would happen when he faced them and said what the Spirit commanded. He knew that they hated him – for no rational reason. He knew that once he bore testimony, they would only get angrier, and then would try to take his life.

But he obeyed God.

If I put myself in Nephi’s shoes, I can’t imagine wanting to say a single thing to my brothers. I would imagine that the charges to bear testimony to them would have felt burdensome. Plus, it seemed to destroy their relationship each time. It’s hard to bounce back from an experience where your brother ties you up to leave you to die in the desert. It’s hard to feel trusting when your brothers beat you up with a rod. It is hard to keep a positive vibe in a relationship with brothers who try to persuade the rest of the people in the party – that you have been keeping alive – to kill you!

I imagine that Nephi didn’t want to be known as a pesky, meddling, know-it-all brother. I imagine he would have been just fine not dealing with the ramifications of his testifying, pleading, and persuading them to do what is right. I imagine he would have felt tremendous relief not to deal with them at all. But the Lord loved Laman and Lemuel. So, he commanded Nephi to testify, to warn, to help them—even when they rejected him and threatened him.

Okay…I’ve gone on for too long. I know that we’ll probably talk about this one more time in the future. But I just want to say, that I feel tremendous joy knowing that the Lord sent someone Nephi’s way that would fill the void left from the rocky relationship with his brothers – Zoram.

Nephi’s relationship with his brothers was toxic. There was nothing that Nephi could do about it. But, he didn’t have to suffer in the wilderness or in the promised land alone. He had a friend – attached by affection and esteem – in Zoram.

may flowers

***

A few scriptures on friends….

“A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” – Proverbs 18:24

Like the relationship between Zoram and Nephi, a true friendship can be kinship. Our friends can be like brothers or sisters. What a privilege and comfort. And what do we need to do to have relationships like these? Be friends.

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” – John 15:13

The greatest expression of love and friendship is the willingness to lay down his life for his friends.

Here’s an interesting thought – this is the kind of love that Nephi had for his brothers. He was willing to lay down his life – at their hands to testify to them. He was willing to deliver the Lord’s message to them, even though he was threatened so many times.

Nephi’s life was never required, but I feel confident that Nephi had an idea of Laman’s and Lemuel’s reactions any of the times he had been compelled to speak God’s words to them.

“A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” – Proverbs 17:17

This scripture seems especially appropriate for Nephi. His friend, Zoram loved him. Where Laman and Lemuel were his adversaries.

It’s kind of sad.

***

I’m sorry.

I feel like this post may be all over the place. But, I’ll just end by saying that I’m so grateful to know that Nephi had a friend in Zoram. Familial relationship can be difficult sometimes. This has been true since the beginning of time. And it was especially true for Nephi.

God, however, is a God of miracles and tender mercies. I’m sure that Nephi had no idea that day, when he subdued Zoram, that he was finding a true friend forever.

flowers on the trail

Personally, I have been so abundantly blessed. First of all, none of my siblings want to kill me. And while I really value my relationships with my siblings, I have also been incredibly blessed to have a variety of friends. The Lord has guided me on a very interesting path throughout my life. I have moved many times and in many places. But along the way, the Lord has always given me a friend. In the dark times of my life, my friends have been like the stars in the sky that can light my way. In the good times of my life, my friends have been like little wildflowers on a trail – brightening my path.

Personal Priesthood Responsibility – Russell M. Nelson

Today, I’m studying the talk Personal Priesthood Responsibility, by Russell M. Nelson. He gave this talk in the October 2003 Priesthood Session of General Conference.

***

I don’t remember this talk a single bit. I’m not a bearer of the Priesthood. Personally, I’m more than okay with that. Usually, I don’t really read much of the Priesthood talks. I kind of feel they are directed for another group. But since I’m trying to read all of these talks, I decided to include the ones addressed at Priesthood sessions.

This talk is pretty self explanatory (based on its title). It’s about the personal responsibility that priesthood bearers have. Today, I’m just going to ponder a few things from the talk. This might seem a little disjointed. I hope you don’t mind.

The Strength of our Faith

President Nelson stated:

“…[T]he strength of the faith within each of us is developed individually, not as a group.” – Russell M. Nelson

I feel like the recent changes of our church meetings reflects what President Nelson taught in this quote. We can’t rely on the church, the Relief Society, or our Priesthood quorums to give us faith. We must develop our own faith. Obviously, I do think that we can learn from others. We can be taught by others. We are blessed by the testimonies of others. But ultimately, we must do the work of increasing our own faith.

President Nelson taught:

“Only as an individual can you develop a firm faith in God and a passion for personal prayer. Only as an individual can you keep the commandments of God. Only as an individual can you repent. Only as an individual can you qualify for the ordinances of salvation and exaltation.” – Russell M. Nelson

How can we increase our own faith? Experiment on it! Try living the gospel. Pray. Keep the commandments. Repent. Search the scriptures. Read good books, magazines, blogs. Increase our knowledge and then we apply that knowledge. Listen to the little nudges of the Spirit, and then trust in God!

Our Most Important Responsibility

President Nelson stated:

“Throughout life you will have a wide variety of duties and responsibilities. Many of these are temporary and will be relinquished upon your release. (You probably won’t object to your release from a call to pull weeds at the welfare farm.) But you never will be released from responsibilities related to your personal and family development.” – Russell M. Nelson

family in sedona

I know that this quote resonates with me because it means so much to me. It is so easy to get caught up in all of our duties and responsibilities. I don’t want to suggest that many of the “other” hats we wear are not also important. But I do think that it is so easy to overlook ur most important responsibilities – our personal and family development!

I know it’s easy for me as a mother to feel guilty sometimes when I spend time working out or doing things for “me.” Yet these are vitally important not only to my own spiritual and physical health, but also to the health of my family!

It is easy to get so busy with our callings, jobs, hobbies, etc that we can overlook the simple needs of our own children and spouse.

We will never be released from these relationships. They matter more than the many other things we will do in our lives. Of course, it’s not an “either / or” kind of a thing. The Spirit can guide us to understand what the needful thing is for each of us to do. The Spirit also will help us to understand that the needful thing for us to do will change from day to day and season to season. But it is important for us to keep the perspective that we will never be “released” from the responsibilities related to personal and family development..

Living True to Personal Promptings and Commandments

President Nelson:

“We are to be true and faithful and live by every principle and doctrine that He has given to us. We cannot compromise a revelation or a commandment committed to our charge.” – Russell M. Nelson

This last part is really standing out to me today. We cannot compromise a revelation or a commandment committed to our charge. I want to think about that for a moment. How might I compromise revelations or commandments given to me???

I found a definition of the word compromise – to make a shameful or disreputable concession.

Do we ever do that? Make a shameful concession of the revelations that have been committed to our charge? And if so, why do we do that?

I’ll give you an example. Forgive me if this has already come up in other blog posts recently. It’s been on my mind a lot. In my Patriarchal Blessing, I’m warned – to keep the Word of Wisdom. Now, I don’t go out and drink alcohol. I don’t drink what we consider “hot drinks” (coffee, etc.). I don’t smoke. I don’t use illicit drugs. Whatever. I’m not special—there are a lot of people like me. I’m keeping the word of wisdom, right?

Well…maybe and maybe not.

I have to admit, even though I have studied the Word of Wisdom, I haven’t always done the best to pay attention to the majority of it!!! I have always found a way to justify eating plenty of meat daily. I have always found a way to justify not eating many fruits and veg. I have always found a way to justify treats (it’s my birthday, it’s Halloween, it’s national chocolate chip cookie day!!!)

Recently I have started counting macros. I want to lose some weight. I have followed a pretty conventional path as far as macro counting goes. I was consuming about 1 gram of protein per POUND of lean muscle mass. In other words, each day, I was supposed to be consuming 136 grams of protein.

That’s a lot of protein.

It’s really hard to consume that much protein without eating meat. So I was eating meat.

Actually, it’s hard to consume that much protein without eating a lot of meat. So I was eating a lot of meat.

I was doing this for a few months, and things were going well enough physically. But then, it started getting really hot outside, and I was starting to have issues with my heart – shortness of breath. Dizziness. Etc. It wasn’t going away, and I set up an appointment with my doctor.

In the early morning before my doctor appointment, I was even having chest pain. What do you do when it is 3 AM, and you are dizzy, short of breath, and having chest pain? Bargain with God!

I felt frustrated. What should I be doing?! Why was my heart acting up?! Should I be eating more protein? Less protein? Saturated Fat? Low Fat? Keto? Paleo? Vegan??? What was I supposed to do? There is so much conflicting advice. So many people have said so many different things. The still small voice spoke an impression to my Heart – God only said ONE thing.

I realized, I didn’t need to listen to all of these other doctors, scientists, etc. I just needed to put my trust in the commandments of God! It didn’t need to be a mystery! And I knew it. I have known the Word of Wisdom my whole life. And then, when I received my patriarchal blessing, I was given an even clearer emphasis/warning on this revelation – Always follow the Word of Wisdom!

Yet I had compromised this revelation and commandment committed to my charge. I vowed to keep the W.o.W from that point on. And I have. Oh…by the way – it only took a few days of keeping the word of wisdom: dialing down the protein, the calories, and amping up the veggies, fruits, with a backbone of grains…and guess what – no more dizziness. No more palpitations. No chest pain. And I’m losing weight really easily now. I’m at the beginning of this journey, but pretty excited to see where it is headed.

But the point is – we do this! We compromise our personal revelations and commandments. Sometimes I think that we accidentally downplay how important these things are because we usually call them: promptings or impressions. But they are personal revelations and commandments! If we don’t follow through with the promptings, impressions, personal revelations, and personal commandments we receive, then we cannot expect to be led by His Spirit in the future!

I’m grateful for this reminder. Sometimes it is scary to follow a personal prompting, revelation, commandment, or impression. Why is it scary? Well, I guess because it’s an act of faith. Was that the Spirit or was it just me? … often goes through my head. I let myself doubt my impressions, then I ignore them. Or allow myself to be distracted. And then, I miss the opportunity, the blessing, the protection, or whatever it was the the Lord was offering.

I really want to stop doing this!!!

***

Well, this is another long post, no matter how much I try to shorten them. I’m so thankful for the Prophet. Though today’s talk wasn’t really addressed to the women of the church, there were a few things that I gleaned from the talk. I’m grateful to know that President Nelson is a man who has worked hard to study and learn more about the Priesthood he holds. I’m grateful to know that he honors it and doesn’t abuse his position in the church. I’m grateful, also, to know that we have the priesthood on earth now. I have been blessed by this great power in my life.

“Set in Order Thy House” – Russell M. Nelson

Today I’m studying the talk “Set in Order Thy House”, by Russell M. Nelson. This talk was given in the October 2001 General Conference.

October 2001. Once again, I don’t remember this specific talk, even though I know that I watched general conference. One thing that is interesting to me about this is that I had become a new mother. My oldest daughter was born during the summer of 2001. Even though I don’t remember this talk specifically, talks like these have always impacted me and inspired me to do my duty as a mother.

So – onto the talk.

Larsons at Grand Canyon
At the Grand Canyon

Our Divine Mandate

It’s really interesting to read this talk now – after we have had the changes we experienced last year – to a shorter church time on Sundays. I’m not looking this up right now, but the way I remember it is that this change was made because we are supposed to be a home-centered church.

I also remember after all of those changes and then talks, there was so much excitement – about teaching our families – as if this was a new charge. Reading President Nelson’s talk from eighteen years ago has reminded me that this isn’t a “new program.” God’s kingdom has always been centered on families.

President Nelson stated:

“With the Lord, families are essential. He created the earth that we could gain physical bodies and form families. He established His Church to exalt families. He provides temples so that families can be together forever.” – Russell M. Nelson

Did you notice that – the earth was created for us – so we could gain physical bodies, form families, and learn what we needed to know here. (Aside: this doesn’t mean that I think we extort the earth. We need to remember it is a gift, and we should treat it as such.)

Did you notice, that temples are here so that families can be together forever? My family has been blessed by temples and the ordinances performed therein.

the beginning
Washington, DC Temple – on our Wedding Day

Also did you notice – He established His Church to exalt families. This is exactly what the prophet taught to us less than a year ago! The family isn’t supposed to be “supporting” the church. It’s the other way around! The church is supposed to support the family. We can’t outsource gospel learning to another institution, no matter how good it is.

President Nelson taught:

Not only are parents to cling to the word of the Lord, but they have a divine mandate to teach it to their children. Scriptural direction is very clear: “Inasmuch as parents have children in Zion … that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents.”

That commandment places responsibility and accountability for the teaching of children squarely upon the shoulders of the parents. The proclamation to the world regarding the family warns that individuals “who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God.” Today I solemnly reaffirm that reality.” – Russell M. Nelson

As I write this, I realize that in 2001, we had an apostle of the Lord warn us that we needed to be teaching our families the gospel! This wasn’t the first time we have been warned by the Lord to teach our families the gospel. President Nelson continues:

“In 1833 the Lord rebuked young leaders of His Church because of parental shortcomings. The Lord said:

“I have commanded you to bring up your children in light and truth.

“But verily I say unto you, …

“You have not taught your children light and truth, according to the commandments. …

“And now a commandment I give unto you … you shall set in order your own house, for there are many things that are not right in your house. … First set in order thy house.” – Russell M. Nelson

What To Teach

Okay. It seems obvious. We need to teach the gospel to our children. President Nelson explains more of what that means. He teaches that we should teach our children the following:

  • Faith in Jesus Christ
  • Repentance
  • Baptism
  • The Gift of the Holy Ghost (by the way, these three things would be considered “the law of the gospel!”)
  • The Plan of Salvation (and the Law of Sacrifice)
  • The Law of Obedience
  • The Law of Consecration

I suppose that this isn’t an exhaustive list. But then again, I think that really teaching our children these things could take a lifetime. They seem to take a lifetime to learn!

me with fam and dad
Fun with Grandpa in Sedona, AZ

Why???

Why should we teach our children the gospel? What’s the big deal? Isn’t there plenty of mercy and grace in God’s plan? Doesn’t Christ love us? Why do we need to take this teaching seriously?

Well, first of all, we need to remember what President Nelson taught:

“God has revealed the eternal nature of celestial marriage and the family as the source of our greatest joy.” – Russell M. Nelson

This is why! So we can be happy. This is not a selfish pursuit. Our joy comes as we fulfill the measures of our creation – which includes the relationships we make with our families. President Nelson continues:

“Brethren and sisters, material possessions and honors of the world do not endure. But your union as wife, husband, and family can. The only duration of family life that satisfies the loftiest longings of the human soul is forever. No sacrifice is too great to have the blessings of an eternal marriage.” – Russell M. Nelson

Do we really understand this? I wonder.

A few years ago, I kept a “joy is…” journal. I simply wrote a line or two every day starting with “Joy is…” I tried to find joy each day. I did this for a few years. One interesting thing I found was that one of my most consistent sources of joy was my family.

me and the girls

Yet so many people have been hurt so badly by members of their own family. I know that that some of the deepest grief I’ve felt has been in connection with problems and pains in my family. It is one thing, for example when a stranger lies to you. But when a family member does? It hurts so much worse.

Satan understands this. He understands that families are the biggest source of potential joy. President Nelson explained:

“Parents and children should realize that strong opposition will always come against the work and will of the Lord. Because the work (and glory) of God is to bring to pass our immortality and eternal life as a family, it logically follows that the work of the adversary will strike directly at the heart of the home—the family. Relentlessly Lucifer attacks the sanctity of life and the joy of parenthood.

Satan wants us to be miserable just as he is.” – Russell M. Nelson

Yes. Satan attacks the family. And why? Because he wants us to be miserable. He understands the potential joy to be found in families. He also knows that the potential misery is inversely proportional to the joy (is that making sense). So – if we can feel infinite and eternal joy with our families, then the inverse is also true – we can feel infinite and eternal pain. Satan will always try to tip us toward misery and pain.

Some of you reading this may have felt intense pain at the hands of “loved ones” and family members. My heart aches for you. And I guess the thing I’m trying to say is – there is hope to be found. The Lord can take your exquisite pain and transform it into exquisite joy through His eternal sacrifice.

Not only that, but this pain can serve as a testimony – that truly the family is of God; that truly Satan is attacking it; that truly one can find great joy within it if we abide the principles taught to us by God.

What Am I Doing???

larsons in arkieland
Christmas in Arkieland

I hope that this hasn’t been a totally boring post. I have actually been excited to read it today.

My family is in an interesting position lately. We have moved around a lot and haven’t really had a stable “house.” But soon, I know that we will be settling down again. When I saw the title of this talk – “Set in Order Thy House”, I wondered will this be about finances, chore charts, and food storage? If so, then what will apply to me right now?

As I read the talk though, I saw that it had little to do with a physical house. Of course it is important to do the practical things to bring order to your house. But when you don’t have a physical house, there aren’t many practical things to do!

Even though my family and I don’t have a physical “house” right now, I can see that I still have to complete this mandate – as setting in order my house has less to do with physical organization and more to do with what is eternally more important – imparting my children with a testimony of God, their Savior, the Book of Mormon, the Church, and our living prophets.

I know that this can be done anywhere and in any circumstance. I’m not a perfect parent, but I’ve been able to teach my children the gospel! Interestingly enough, if we simply try the Lord’s grace comes to our rescue!!!!!!!!!

I have been a woman in a relationship where I was married to someone who wasn’t faithful – to me or to the gospel. In fact, when this talk was originally given (in 2001), this was the exact situation I found myself in. Gospel study in my family at that time didn’t look like the cover of the Ensign magazine. My children were young (infants/toddlers). For the most part, scripture study was attended by me, myself, and I. I would also read my little ones stories from the Friend. But the Lord attended me, and I was blessed with the grace I needed to make it work. What I had was enough.

Gospel study did not save my first marriage. I couldn’t study enough, attend the temple enough, or do enough to make up for the decisions of my ex. This is not how grace works! It cannot trump agency or rob justice. Instead, the Lord’s grace strengthened me, and it enabled me and my daughters to eventually get out of that abusive situation.

It worked.

I have been a divorced, single mother. We had scripture study time, but it did not look like the cover of the Ensign magazine!!! But my daughters and I would read a few verses of scripture each night. We said prayers together. Our house was a mess. Sometimes, my second daughter (Panda) wouldn’t say anything – she would only hiss at me.

We didn’t cover much ground in the scriptures.

And even though we didn’t get through much of the scriptures, and even though my daughters were sleepy and hissing at me, we still snuggled together – them in my lap and tried. The Lord sanctified my efforts with His grace – and it was exactly enough. Those were not easy times, but I look back on them with so much love, gratitude, happiness, and joy.

It worked.

I have been a married mom in a good relationship with a great husband. I’m currently married to a man who honors his priesthood. He magnifies my womanhood. And I understand, poignantly, how blessed I am to experience this blessing. Together, we lead our children in family scripture study. And guess what? This does not look like the cover of the Ensign magazine!!!! Kids fight, roll around, get bored.

But you know what – it still works. We still have those moments when one of our children will say something that will absolutely floor us. They are learning the gospel! The Lord is able to make something out of our meager efforts! The kids are both learning and teaching us. And these efforts have blessed our family – both as a whole and as individuals.

It works.

I have been without a consistent home for over four years. We have had scripture study in our hotels, parents’ houses, condos, cars, bedrooms, you name it. It doesn’t take much. I figure that if Lehi could teach his family in a tent in the wilderness, then we can do it anywhere, too. Most of the time our scripture learning is simple – a few verses and good discussion. But this experience bonds us together – despite any perceive physical limitations. Once again, the Lord always comes through. Just as he took only a few loaves and fishes to feed 5,000, He can take our simple efforts to spiritually feed our families.

So – what can I do? What can you do? Just show up. Just try our best. And just keep at it. Day after day, night after night. We will see the Lord at work in our lives, if we will give Him something to work with. And when the Lord is at work in our lives – we experience joy and peace. Even in these troubled times, we can live in peace with our families.

family

Our Sacred Duty to Honor Women – Russell M. Nelson

Today, I’m studying Our Sacred Duty to Honor Women, by Russell M. Nelson. He gave this talk in the Priesthood Session of the April 1999 General Conference.

Okay…blast from the past time…😁…I don’t remember this talk – as I am a woman and do not attend Priesthood Session (which I’m okay with! I don’t particularly love meetings!) It is interesting to read this talk and then think about my life at that time. I was married at the time to a man who did not honor me or anyone else (including himself…only his appetites, which is actually too bad). And now, I’m grateful to be married to a man who does honor me, our children, his parents, himself, and God. What a difference being married to a good person can make!!!

ANYWAY.

For the most part, when I read or listen to a General Conference talk from the Priesthood Session, I don’t feel much application. Perhaps it is because these talks are directed to a different audience. So, I’ll list a few quotes that I liked from this talk. Though much of it didn’t apply to me directly, it is still a nice talk.

One

President Nelson stated:

“Hence, I warn against pornography. It is degrading of women. It is evil. It is infectious, destructive, and addictive.” – Russell M. Nelson

If you were a member of the church during the 90s, I’m sure you can remember a litany of conference talks warning of the dangers of pornography. It’s interesting – this was before the Internet really became what we know now. Pornography, of course, was available then, but these warnings were prophetic. We are beginning to see now how a culture-wide acceptance of pornography has been problematic and has contributed to other culture-wide problems.

So, I guess what I’m saying is – I like what President Nelson taught here. I know that what he is saying is true. It is destructive, infections, addictive, and degrading. In fact, I think that I’ll take it a step further. It not only degrades the women that President Nelson mentions in his quote. It also degrades those who consume it. And, because it has become so wide spread, I think it also degrades those who don’t consume it because it comes with a lot of collateral damage.

I don’t really want to get into all that detail in this post…other than to say that I found it interesting to read what President Nelson said – nearly 20 years ago. The apostles and prophets to give us warnings that are pertinent to our physical and spiritual salvation – even if we don’t completely understand them at the time.

Two

Another statement from President Nelson:

“An ideal marriage is a true partnership between two imperfect people, each striving to complement the other, to keep the commandments, and to do the will of the Lord.” – Russell M. Nelson

I really love this.

wedding
Homey and Me

There was a time when I guess I liked hearing the Apostles and general authorities say things like women are the best…men you need to appreciate your women. At the time (years ago) I was in a bad relationship – hoping it would get better. I don’t know. I was just into hearing those kinds of “rah-rah” things – hoping that they would have a positive effect on my family at the time.

But over the years, I have wearied of these “women are the best and we need to treat them right” talks. Not that I want to be mistreated. But a few things:

One – Did they do any Good?
Did those talks actually do any good. I could argue both sides (which is usually the case). I think about it like parenting, though. It doesn’t matter if I lecture my children until I’m blue in the face. If the systems I have in place in my family don’t match what I’m saying, then the changes I desire really won’t happen. If I’m just talking, but not changing systems or culture, then it seems like I’m just talking to talk. I can pat myself on the back. And then get back to business as usual.

All of that being said, I think that the apostles meant it. As we have already seen, they are often giving talks that are prophetic in nature – which means that maybe they’re preparing us for changes in the future. Maybe the talks will plant seed that will be the catalyst for future behavioral, cultural, and systemic changes.

That’s all I’ll say about that for now.

Two – It Works both Ways
The real reason I have gotten sick of these sentiments is because I feel like it really works both ways. My favorite quote:

Be excellent to each other. – Bill and Ted.

It’s all pretty simple, really.

Back to the talk, though. I love President Nelson’s quote because it isn’t a prescriptive list of things men and/or women should do. (Yes, there is a list at other points in this talk of ideas on how some men might be able to support the women in their lives…but this quote is just pure!). Instead of this being a checklist, it is the correct and divine principle that should drive our actions as we govern ourselves.

We need to be partners with one another. We need to strive to complement one another. We need to love one another. We need to be excellent to one another. As we do so, as we strive to work together (WE ARE ON THE SAME TEAM!!!) and bring joy to one another, we will succeed. And we will be happy.

Three

President Nelson taught:

“The home is the great laboratory of love. There the raw chemicals of selfishness and greed are melded in the crucible of cooperation to yield compassionate concern and love one for another.” – Russell M. Nelson

People like me like quotes like this. I love metaphors, symbols, and illustrations. I love taking an abstract concept like “home” or “love” and then relating them to something we understand – so that the abstract concept becomes tangible.

home is where the heart is

Not only that, but I love what this quote actually says. Home is the laboratory of love! Our world aches for it. All you need is love! It’s true. So then, we must ask ourselves – how do we get love? How do we create love in our hearts and lives? The Beatles didn’t answer that question for us.

But our Father in Heaven has.

We create loves in our hearts and lives by following God’s plan and commandments. As we turn to Him, we will feel His love. This love will overflow and then turn our hearts to others – His children – our brothers and sisters.

Heavenly Father has also given us an institution – the family – to help us cultivate this love that we need. It may not always be shiny and exciting. The deep love that is cultivated in a family may not be earth shattering like the attraction you feel as you are falling in love with someone new.

No – it isn’t that dramatic.

But, the love cultivated in the home is the kind of love that will make you jump in front of a bus to save that person. It is the kind of love that will change this world. It is the kind of love that gives way to safety, peace, and joy.

***
Okay. I feel like I did a lot of preaching in this blog post. I’ll probably regret it nearly instantly. I hope that you found something you liked here.

Otherwise – I want to say that I know that President Nelson is a prophet of God. Talks like this paved the way to where we are now. If those to whom he spoke (Priesthood members) heeded his words in 1999, then they were safe from some temptations and evils that would become commonplace only a few years later. I’m grateful to be led by a prophet. I know that the apostles and prophets aren’t perfect, but I also know that they are trying their best. It is good for us to pray for them – to pray that God’s message to all of us will make it to their hearts so they can lead us in righteousness.

A New Harvest Time – Russell M. Nelson

Today, I’m studying A New Harvest Time, by Russell M. Nelson. He gave this talk in the April 1998 General Conference.

Reading this conference talk was really interesting. As I just mentioned, President Nelson gave this talk in 1998. What was life like during 1998? Well, I was finishing my freshman year in college. I had an email address, but I didn’t have a personal computer. At the time, when I was in college, many of my classmates didn’t have personal computers, but we made extensive use of the computers at the computer lab in school.

It was a transitional time. This was a time when more and more of the college population was getting desktop computers, but I never saw anyone with a laptop in class. Forget tablets. They hadn’t been invented yet.

In 1998, the concept of the “web 2.0” wasn’t really in place yet. The internet was still this place that seemed to be more or less chat rooms than anything else. Yahoo was making its start, but it wasn’t the source of knowledge. You didn’t go to the internet to settle arguments or look up information.

I think that Google was in its infancy at the point.

I mean, I remember when people starting talking about this google search engine. And slowly, people were migrating from yahoo to google to do their searches. As I write this, I remember when there was this one website called “ask Jeeves.” hahahaha!

The point I’m trying to make is this: President Nelson gave this talk before “Google” became a verb. He gave it before Google was even a thing.

When he gave this talk, he was introducing some new software and cds full of data available for people – if they went to their family history library. To give you an idea of the burgeoning technology, here is a quote from the talk. (It will make you reminisce. It’s kind of quaint and cute…!)

“Many people have joined with members of the Church in efforts to index the burgeoning bank of genealogical information. An example is the 1881 British census. For this project, more than 8,000 volunteers from family history societies throughout the British Isles have transcribed 30 million names. Gratefully, we announce that fruits of this labor are now on fiche and will soon be available on compact disc from the Church’s distribution centers.

We are also pleased to announce that data from the 1880 census of the United States will soon be released on compact disc.” – Russell M. Nelson

In this example, the volunteers were indexing general information for microfiche! and compact discs!

It was a good effort, actually. I don’t want to poke fun at it. About a year after this talk was given, I started to do my own family history work. I was greatly blessed by these CDs and microfiche. I spent plenty of time at the family history library.

I guess that’s what makes this so amazing. Several times in his talk, President Nelson stated that the Lord was “hastening his work.” And He was. Now, 20 years after this talk was given, we can see how it has hastened and grown.

I did a lot of family history work in the late 90s and early 2000s. I had papers, binders, and several floppy discs!

Floppy Disk
Remember These!

Despite how ancient this sounds, when I was doing my family history work, there were several older individuals who had a hard time adjusting to the changes in technology. They had their family group sheets, pedigree charts, and literally crates full of papers. Things really were changing, and many of the older individuals who were at family history centers doing the work were excited to see someone young like me because I wasn’t afraid of computers, and that was the direction that family history work was headed.

So – I did all of this work, and then in 2005 I got divorced. I had to start working, and I had two young daughters. I didn’t have the time to go and pour through microfiche and records. I had to work and support a family. Family history work was put on hold for about 10 years. (Between divorce, working, getting married, and then having new young children).

During that time the church started their huge indexing effort, and I helped. I wasn’t doing my own family history work, but it was so easy to sit down at my laptop (yes…I had a laptop by then, and a desktop. And THIS BLOG!) and index a few names.

Then, a few years after the indexing thing was really getting popular, I had more time to do family history work again. I sat down and started fiddling with the new family search website. There was a learning curve. It wasn’t the same as the old PAF program. I kind of complained to my husband because it felt a bit cumbersome to go through my records. I was trying to prove a point to him about my frustrations, when I found the name of ancestors that I hadn’t previously known! It wasn’t just a name. This was a major lead of individuals on a family line that I had previously thought would be a “dead end” until I had the opportunity to physically go to Ireland. (haven’t gone…maybe one day)

I was experiencing the amazing fruits of the Indexing effort. Family History work has changed. It’s pretty amazing and exciting. And I’ve spent way too much time talking about this.

The point is, most of President Nelson’s talk is a little outdated. It is, if nothing, a fun walk down memory lane – nostalgic for the times of CDs and computer programs that weren’t web based.

Despite some of the outdated parts of President Nelson’s talk, the core of it is timeless. It is an eternal principle that guides the entire family history effort. President Nelson explained how Elijah and others came to the first temple built in this dispensation and entrusted special keys of the priesthood authority to the restored Church. President Nelson explained that Elijah came to “turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the children to their fathers.” Additionally, President Nelson explained:

“Elijah came not only to stimulate research for ancestors. He also enabled families to be eternally linked beyond the bounds of mortality. Indeed, the opportunity for families to be sealed forever is the real reason for our research.” – Russell M. Nelson

This is why we are prompted to do family history work. It gives us the opportunity for us to be sealed to our families forever.

And why is that so important? Why do we need to be sealed?

This is how the blessings of heaven flow. They flow through our family – through generation to generation. Think of the “birthright.” This has always been a pattern in the Lord’s church.

We have been taught:

“…I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine.” – Doctrine and Covenants 38:27

I know that when we think of being “one” we think of being kind to one another – of being united. And it’s true. Let’s think about that in regards of the Spirit of Elijah – we can be one, united, sealed, with our family. This is the ultimate in being “one!” And through these covenants, we are also sealed to and made one with the Lord.

“I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was crucified for the sins of the world, even as many as will believe on my name, that they may become the sons of God, even one in me as I am one in the Father, as the Father is one in me, that we may be one.” – Doctrine and Covenants 35:2

The Spirit of Elijah will turn our hearts to our fathers and mothers. It also turns our hearts to our children. I have a testimony that when we let our hearts turn to our past and future, we receive meaning and purpose to our present. We will begin to understand our identity. We will be filled with love and hope.

***

I have a testimony of temple work and having our hearts turned to our parents and children. President Nelson stated:

“And I cherish my membership in this Church, to which both of his parents were converted in Denmark about a century and a half ago.” – Russell M. Nelson

This stood out to me because my own great-great-great grandparents converted in Denmark.

Frantz Christian Grundvig Family
About 1864 – Emigrating to the United States

When they joined the church, my great-great-great grandfather served a mission, and then he took his family to the United States to live with the Saints. The journey was difficult. On the boat to the U.S. 25 of the children aboard died from a measles outbreak, but my own great-great grandfather was spared, only three or four children made it. He overcame measles and made it to the U.S. safely, a young boy at the time.

To get passage across the plains, they had to come up with money – which meant that they had to sell everything they had of value- including his and his wife’s wedding rings. They gave everything up because of their faith and their commitment to the commandments of the Lord.

As they travelled across the plains, my great-great-great grandmother was stolen by the Indians, and then never seen again. My great-great-great grandfather and his son made it to Utah without her.  When they made it to the Salt Lake Valley, they were half starved and without clothes, but my great-great-great grandfather came to the Salt Lake Valley with an extra souvenir –  an arrowhead that was 3 3/4″ wide at the top was lodged into his hip.

These are my kindred, and I feel a closeness to them despite the years that distance us. Of course, I have never met them. I only have the stories that were left behind and collected by their children and grandchildren – including my own grandmother.

I feel inspired by their pioneer spirit and willingness to sacrifice everything to live the dreams that were inspired by their faith in the Lord. I know that their choices have blessed me immensely. I’ve had a blessed life and the gospel because of the sacrifices they have made.

Their sacrifices inspire me to do the family history work and temple work that they may need. Their sacrifices also inspire me to make similar sacrifices for my family. Understanding my family helps me to understand myself. It helps me to understand my purpose on earth. It helps to bring me meaning and joy in life.

It’s such a blessing – to be called to hasten the work of the Lord and do the family history and temple work we have been called to do. It may be hard at times. It requires a lot of research and time, but I truly believe that we are the real beneficiaries as we take on this work in faith.

***

It has been so interesting to read this talk and then think of the legacy that is already being laid by President Nelson. Here he is introducing new programs and technology of the church. (He has done a lot of introducing of new things since he has been prophet!) President Nelson was well acquainted with family history work for years before he would become the prophet that would call the youth to be a battalion for the Lord – in gathering Israel. I can see how the Lord has prepared him for this moment. I know that President Nelson truly is a prophet of God, called to lead us at this time.

Grandma

I’ve been thinking about writing a post since Friday. And honestly, I should have written this post a long time ago.

This is how I think of my Grandma
This is how I think of my Grandma

This is my Grandma.

She passed away this Friday.

Grandma and Me
Grandma and Me

At the beginning of my life, I had a very close relationship with my Grandma. I was born in San Francisco, and my Grandma lived only a few hours north. My mom wasn’t married to my biological father (there was no man in the picture at my birth), so when I was born, it was just my mom, my grandma, me, and my mom’s roommate Doris.

Women.

Strong Women. And a little baby.

Grandma, my cousin, and me...I'm the baby looking for an escape route.
Grandma, my cousin, and me…I’m the baby looking for an escape route.

When I was about two, my mom got married to my dad, and then we moved to Houston. I didn’t have as much interaction with my Grandma after that.

Yet I have memories. We took a few trips out to California. She and my Grandpa made a few trips to Houston. My grandma would write us letters. She would send us books and tapes where she read the text out loud, so we could listen to her tell us a story. She made me a quiet book when I was a baby. And she made me a quilt.

Grandma and Grandpa on their Wedding Day
Grandma and Grandpa on their Wedding Day

Even after my parents got divorced, my dad would always remark about my grandmother, his ex-mother-in-law, “She’s a pretty amazing woman.”

And she was.

She could do it all. She knit, crocheted, quilted. She cooked and cleaned. She gardened. She raised a family and she was a breadwinner throughout most of my mom’s childhood – in a time when most women didn’t work outside of the home.

I remember Grandma coming out to Houston when my brothers were born. She’d clean, cook, and help my mom…all while crocheting baby blankets, tying quilts for my sister and I, and doing some small renovations in our house. Even though I didn’t understand everything that went into what she was doing, I remember that I loved having her there. And I remember that she never seemed too tired. She never complained. She worked, worked, worked, and we reaped all of the benefits.

This is another favorite picture. Doesn't she look like a feisty, fun girl?
This is another favorite picture. Doesn’t she look like a feisty, fun girl?

In some ways, my grandma seemed kind of no-nonsense. She had such a work ethic. Yet she was also absolutely hilarious – in the kind of quiet way that sneaks up on you. She was so practical, so matter of fact.

One time, when I was an adult, my Grandma was visiting me while I lived in Utah. We headed to Target to buy her a shirt. I was helping her look for something that she might like. I found a shirt, and thought it was very basic, it had something printed on it – some kind of label or brand. I honestly can’t remember.

She said, “What’s that, written on the shirt?”
“I think it’s the name of the brand.” I replied.
“Well, I’m not getting that. They don’t pay me to wear their clothes.”
“It’s a good price, though.”
“I’m not a walking billboard,” She said, and she found a plain, coral tee shirt that suited her much better.

I appreciate this outlook more and more every time I think about it.

So Pretty.
So Pretty.

After living in Houston for about 14 years or so, when I was a teenager, we moved to Pennsylvania – which happens to be even further away from California. We didn’t see my grandma for a really, really long time.

So much attitude. I LOVE IT!
So much attitude. I LOVE IT!

My grandma endured trials. So many trials. She was very poor, in a material sense, throughout most of her life. My Grandpa had a difficult upbringing of his own, and suffered from his own vices as a result. My grandma had to pick up the slack most of the time.

She suffered through the death of a son (My uncle died of cancer in his early 20s), she suffered through the death of four of her grandchildren. Yet she remained faithful and determined. She never seemed to complain or feel sorry for herself, despite experiencing true grief.

Grandma as a Child
Grandma as a Child

When I went to college, I moved to Utah. I was able to have more experiences with her – anytime she came to Utah for a family reunion, or when I would visit her in California. I tried to make more of a relationship with her by writing her letters and talking to her about family history. I was an okay granddaughter back then even though I hadn’t been geographically close to my grandma for so many years.

I went to California when My grandparents celebrated their fiftieth anniversary.

Fifty Years
Fifty Years

I went to California a few years after that, when my Grandfather passed away.

Grandpa
Grandpa

And then, a few years after the death of my Grandpa, my Grandma had a stroke. I don’t know who was most devastated by it – my grandmother, or her children and grandchildren. Everything about her changed.

The stroke didn’t effect her physically as much as it effected her mentally. It’s amazing how the brain works – how much we take it for granted. She had a lot of trouble speaking and communicating. She knew what she wanted to say, she knew how to say it, but it wouldn’t come out of her mouth.

She was a different woman.

It was a shock to all of us, but I think maybe it shocked her more than anyone else. She had always been so capable, and now, she was struggling with the most simplest of communication.

Despite this trial, she still bore such a strong, moving testimony of the Savior and the Gospel. Though her speech was slurred, her simple testimony that “This book, the Book of Mormon, is good,” was powerful and clear through the Spirit that accompanied her conviction.

She still worked hard. She came to my house when my first daughter, Tiger, was born. She held and rocked the baby, sang “I am a child of God,” and crocheted Tiger’s blessing dress.

She made progress and was able to keep living on her own. I stayed at her house once, shortly after she got this little (six-pound) dog, Millie. It was so cute. Grandma would clean, and garden, and cook. She would walk the dog, then hold it in her lap while complaining to it, “Someone needs to teach you to work. This is still one of my favorite memories. Hilarious.

Grandma and Grandpa
Grandma and Grandpa

More time passed, as did more strokes, and more difficulties, and then eight years ago it was determined that she would move away from California and to Pennsylvania to live with my mom.

She hung on for eight years. With each passing day, clinging tighter to her memories and her family history.

It was all so hard for her at the end, which almost makes me angry. I’m not angry at God or even Grandma. It’s just that general sense of anger – the kind that actually gives you the strength to persevere, in spite of your challenges.

I’d like to think that I inherited that stubbornness from her.

Maker's Gotta Make
Maker’s Gotta Make

I recently moved to Hawaii, and all of my stuff is still on the mainland. My sewing machine – in storage. My crochet hooks – in storage. My knitting needles – in storage. My art supplies – in storage. My embroidery floss – in storage.

Hawai’i is paradise, but at night, I need something to keep my hands busy. I finished a small project I was working on, and I’ve been craving making something.

I was telling my mom about this, and she laughs. “You can’t just watch T.V. You always have to do something.”
“Exactly!” I agreed. “I like watching a movie or show at night, but I can’t just sit still and do it. It drives me crazy.”
“You’re just like Grandma.”

It was a true compliment.

I hope that I’ve inherited a fraction of her faith, strength, work ethic. I know that I haven’t inherited her green thumb, but I hope that I’ve inherited her hands that make, that produce, and serve.

You know, actually, I do feel it. I feel like a part of her is in me, and I know that a part of her is in my children, too.

I’m so grateful for mothers and grandmothers. Women. I’m so grateful for my Grandma. This world was a better place because of her.

I only hope to honor and uphold her legacy.