Bethany Packard is absolutely in love with her wonderful husband, Chad. They live in the Dallas, TX area where they raised six amazing children and operate a business. They have 18 terrific grandchildren. At age 49, they were called to serve a full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as a 'Senior' couple, and assigned to the Russia Moscow Mission. Leaving their family and business - before they were retired - took faith, but it also created the opportunity for God to perform many miracles in their lives. She loves music, interior design, cooking, sports, fall, and macaroni & cheese.
The small bus that served as both hearse and family transport vehicle slowed to a stop in the middle of the cemetery. My first observation was how lovely it was, in a wild unkept sort of way. We stood on the road as the small wooden casket was pulled from the bus floor and lowered onto a cart. We walked behind the caretakers as the cart was pushed away from the bus and into the plots.
As we walked we passed several small picnic type tables along the road. Chad and I wondered to each other what the purpose of those might be. Continue reading →
I stank. Everyone around me stank too. In fact the whole area stank. But each of us, including sweet Paula and Juliette whose homes were destroyed by hurricane Harvey, were feeling the joy that being served and serving brings.
I’d like to share with you the experience I had this past weekend as my husband and I traveled down with 30 others from our Ward in the Dallas area down to south Texas to assist in the mucking out of homes, thousands of them, that have been damaged or destroyed by the terrible flooding that accompanied this storm. I don’t do so to draw attention to myself, but I want to share the beautiful experience it was. I also recognize that thousands of wonderful people— not of our faith and of no faith at all— have rallied to the aid of all those affected. I cannot speak to their experiences, but I can tell you how members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints are responding. And it’s beautiful for all involved. Continue reading →
It was a large gathering. John calls it “a great multitude.” They had come to listen to the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth, hoping to see another miracle. They were not disappointed. Christ had the 5,000 sit on the grassy ground. He took five barley loaves and two small fishes offered by a lad, blessed and broke them, and the disciples distributed the baskets of food to the crowd. When all were filled, the remnants were gathered up, 12 baskets full. John records that those who witnessed the miracle then said, “this is of truth that prophet that should come into the world.” 
The next day the multitude followed after Him. When they confronted Him about why He had left, He answered that they were more concerned with the food that He had provided than His message. Then came the beautiful sermon on the symbolism of the manna from heaven to the Children of Israel.
“I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead…I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever…”
The crowd was mostly frustrated with this teaching. It was to be spiritually discerned, but they could not receive it. When they realized that their physical need, their bodily appetite, was not to be satisfied again, they lost interest. John sadly records,
“from that time many of His disciples went back, and walked no more with Him.” Continue reading →
One of the great blessings we received while serving in the Russia, Moscow mission was the wonderful association we had with other Senior Missionary Couples. When we got together our conversations were most times centered on our families at home, and especially our grandchildren. We were several years younger than the other couples serving with us, had fewer grands to brag about, and less experience grand-parenting to share, so we listened and learned. Many had special traditions they did with their ‘grands’, as groups or individually, they felt helped create a special bond between them. By the end of our mission we had formulated a plan of our own and GRAMP CAMP was born. It has been one of the best things we’ve ever done for our children, and theirs.
All hands on deck…
Sister Joy D. Jones General Primary President
Sister Joy D. Jones, General Primary President, spoke about the type of group effort and support needed to raise “A Sin-Resistant Generation” ….
“Fortifying children to become sin-resistant is a task and a blessing for parents, grandparents, family members, teachers, and leaders. We each bear responsibility to help.”
We agree with this, and work to be involved in the lives of our grandchildren. For those who live close by we attend some of their events, go on grandparents dates (usually to a movie), and get together at each other’s homes for eating, swimming, and playing games. Those who are distant get facetime chats, small packages in the mail, and occasional personal visits. I’m sure your grand-parenting looks very similar.
Our desire was to create time to do more in-depth relationship building and gospel teaching. Time where we could really build up their parents and support what was being taught them in their homes. For us, GRAMP CAMP fills that bill. It’s a time for teaching, listening, talking, playing, and so much more – and it’s just us and them.
When I was a teenager there was a 7-Eleven convenience store seemingly on every corner. You couldn’t drive a couple of miles without passing one of their establishments beckoning you in for a Slurpee. They were everywhere. Back then I had no idea that each and every time I saw their green, orange and red sign there was a message there for me, a spiritual reminder hidden in plain sight.
Do you remember 7-Eleven’s slogan? If you’re my age you certainly do. It is often cited in the advertising industry as one of the most memorable slogans ever……
“Oh, Thank Heaven for 7-Eleven!”
Who knew that there in the store’s name, signage, and slogan was a message of spiritual encouragement, an invitation to remember the marvelous atonement performed by our Savior, Jesus Christ. I’m sure the company has no idea what their advertising is helping me, and soon you, to remember.
Nestled midway through the Book of Mormon, is the record of a once-rebellious young man – who after full repentance and a total conversion to the gospel of the foretold Savior of the World, Jesus Christ – was transformed into the mighty government and prophet leader Alma.
In chapter seven of Alma is recorded his teachings to the people of Gideon concerning the Saviors birth, His mission – culminating in the fulfillment of the atonement by His bearing the sins of the world and loosing the bands of death – and the promise that those who repent, are baptized, and keep the commandments of God will inherit eternal life. After his own life experience, Alma speaks with power, and I’m sure great gratitude of the miracle of the Savior’s gift of the Atonement. Listen to his words:
“You’re one in million!” Who doesn’t like hearing that phrase spoken from a husband or friend? We all want to be special and recognized.It’s lovely to feel that in a sea of others, we stand out to that person, that we have risen above the crowd to them. That’s nice.
But I have some news for you…… if you STAND for:
the divine role of womanhood
traditional marriage between one man and one woman
the traditional family unit as the basic and most fundamental unit of a civil society – husband and wife lovingly raising their children together
the sacred role, and wonderful responsibility given to women to mother their children
the divine role of men as holders of the priesthood of God, husbands, and fathers
all as defined in The Family: A Proclamation To The World, and
unashamedly sustain the Lord’s Prophets, Seers, and Revelators
you’re not one IN a million, but one OF many millions! In fact, one of approximately 6,000,000, worldwide! The Relief Society of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is one of the oldest and largest women’s organizations in the world. One in six million doesn’t mean you’re not special, you are, but being one in six million means you’re not alone. You are part of a powerful large voice for good, and right, and truth. Continue reading →
We had always told our children that when they were in college we would pay for the expenses of their tuition and books if their grades reflected what we all knew was their best efforts. For each child, there was a differing expectation, but the formula was the same across the board – your grades at ‘this’ level = our continued financial support.
One of our children thoroughly enjoyed their first semester at BYU-I to the point of being invited not to return after the holidays for the next semester. (Apparently, the school had their own formula too!) This child came to us fretting over their situation. After they had a few serious phone conversations with the powers-that-be in Rexburg they were told they could return, but on an academic probation. The child came to us so happy and relieved for the opportunity extended for a second chance at the school.
Love = No Tuition
After congratulating them and encouraging their serious commitment to further studies we asked the question, “So, how are you going to be paying for this next semester’s expenses?” We reminded them of our financial arrangement and their celebratory mood quickly ended. If they were going to return to BYU-I, they were going to be paying for it. It would have to come out of their savings and we left the decision of returning to school prior to their mission, or not, to them. Continue reading →
I did a lot of marching this past weekend, and I’ve heard many other women did, too.
It all began Saturday morning and my MARCH went like this:
I MARCHED downstairs early that morning and went straight over to my husband bent down and interrupted his DIY Network viewing with a great big toe-curling kiss. I rubbed my hands on his head as we smiled at each other. I’m thankful that our love is still growing and that he wants to hurry home each night after work to be with me.
I MARCHED out the front door, with my husband beside me, for a lovely fast-paced three-mile walk. We talked about all sorts of things and enjoyed some good exercise. I’m thankful for my body and try to do what I can to keep it healthy and strong.
Next, I MARCHED outside to do some yard work. The rain we had during the week had stopped and the wind had dried things pretty well. We trimmed our roses together and talked some more. I love making our home a beautiful place inside and out. I think it shows the Lord, and my husband, that I’m grateful for the things they have both provided for me.
After that, I MARCHED into the kitchen to make us a delicious fajita lunch. I love cooking. I especially love cooking for my husband and family. I find joy by serving them that way. I’m lucky he’s not a fussy eater
I cleaned up and I MARCHED off to the movies with my boyfriend – who also happens to be my husband – where we sat hand in hand watching the show. We are very protective of our relationship. Date nights, or afternoons, have been a must for us.
Home again I MARCHED into the game room where we played several rounds of our family’s favorite card game Nertz with our youngest daughter. Her beautiful family of five are temporarily living with us before they move. They’ve been with us for a couple of months now. It’s wild, and crazy, and loud, but I’m happy we have the extra time with them and the ability to help. I’m even more glad they felt comfortable enough to ask us.
Twenty-six thousand! You read that right. There were twenty-six thousand hanging crystals to individually clean, by hand, on the massive and breath-taking chandelier that floated above our heads in the Celestial Room of the Dallas Texas temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It took eight volunteers a combined thirty-five to forty hours over two days to accomplish the task.
As I stood on scaffolding wiping each crystal with alcohol and water-moistened white cotton gloves I marveled at all the cuts made to the once solid blocks of crystal creating the prisms. Those prisms would refract—meaning divide or split—the light from one central source and scatter it in multiple directions in many beautiful colors. One light would become many points of light.
Across the hall from where I was working was the largest of many sealing rooms in the temple. It also has a beautiful chandelier, hanging over the altar in the center of the room where many a couple had knelt to commit to each other and the Lord, and be married for time and sealed for eternity. When the crew working on it had finished and the chandelier was lit I heard a gasp from that room. Turning to look I saw the lowered chandelier absolutely sparkling. It was so beautiful. It was so brilliant. Glistening, the prisms shared the light that filled them in hundreds of ways with all those around them. Immediately I saw a gospel application. Do you? Continue reading →
It was their first day in their new home. The young mother stepped through the maze of unpacked boxes as she made her way to answer the knock at the side door. There on the porch stood a tiny bit of a woman, a long ponytail wound and pinned up around her head. She introduced herself as Delores Fizzy, the next-door neighbor. She was smiling with extended arms. On one hand rested a large plate filled with a two-layer chocolate cake, in the other hand a small blue book – The Book of Mormon.
Choosing the neighborhood for their first home was a big decision for Don and Marlene Grabow. When they had decided on a house they went up and down the street to meet the neighbors and get their impressions of the neighborhood and its families before they purchased it. The opinions were unanimously positive, though many included an interesting caution – a Mormon family lived in the home directly next door to the one the Grabows were considering. Those giving the caution seemed to think that might be negative, but to Marlene, it was an opportunity to learn more about the beautiful choir she had long admired, though she knew nothing of the beliefs of the church to whom the choir belonged. So when the Mormon neighbor made her delivery that first day, Marlene thought things might get more interesting than she had anticipated. Continue reading →