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.
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 →
Everyone who knows me knows that I love a great adventure. Adventures are exciting! They usually mean new experiences, new people, or new places. And I like new.
Recently my husband and I had a grand adventure in Europe. We peddled through Salzburg with the ‘Sound of Music’ floating through the air, climbed the steep path to a fairy tale castle, explored mid-evil cities, enjoyed Mozart concerts, and stood in awe of the Austrian Alps. We missed trains, caught the wrong trains, and got off a train at the wrong stop. An estimated two-and-a-half-hour drive became a six hour guessing game of “Where in the world are we????”. We ate the best Wiener Schnitzel in Vienna, tasted delicious Czech dishes in Prague, and tried every pastry we could find in Bavaria. We met wonderful people, some more indifferent, and one very impatient train attendant. We walked for miles and miles a day exploring little villages, picturesque countryside’s, and majestic old cathedrals. We rode Segway’s over cobblestone streets, watched white stallions perform, and shopped. We got up in the morning when we pleased and dropped into bed at night when we wanted. It was the vacation, and adventure, of a lifetime. Continue reading →
Tis the season. Not for decking the halls and trimming the tree (though that is right around the corner) but for our daughters and sons. They’re leaving the structure and security of our homes and venturing off to the halls of ivy covered buildings to begin not only their college career, but also their lives as autonomous adults.
We raised six children: three girls and three boys. We have pushed six baby birdies out of the nest. It got easier and we got better at it with each one spreading their wings. Below is a list of ten things we talked with our daughters about before they left our home. Continue reading →
50%? 75%? 90%? Just how obedient is obedient enough? Saul and some sheep will show us.
I taught the Old Testament twice during my seminary teaching. It was both intimidating and exciting. There are so many wonderful stories with so much application to our lives today in those ancient pages. One of my favorites is found in the book of First Samuel, and I’d like to remind you of it now.
Per the Lord’s instruction, the prophet Samuel has called Saul to be the first King of Israel. Scripture records that Saul was:
“…a choice young man, and a goodly: and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he:…” 
At one point the Lord gives King Saul a very clear command:
“Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.” [1 Samuel 15:3]
He departs with his forces to fulfill the task. The scriptures record what happens next this way: Continue reading →
I quickly weary of all the male bashing from many women in society today. I don’t agree at all that females are demeaned by a gentleman opening a door for them, offering his arm or hand as a means to help steady their steps, or motioning for a lady to enter through a door before he does. To me those things are gallant and show respect. I do believe that women are as capable as men, but not divinely designed equally across the board. There are wonderfully intentional differences.
I tire even more quickly with the few shrill, or low murmuring, female voices from within the ranks of our Church members who feel they are diminished by the role God gave his daughters, not including the holding of His priesthood. The ‘bearing’ of children must be seen by them as somehow lesser than the ‘bearing’ of the priesthood. In this they are misguided at best. Each gender has a divine purpose assigned, as a son or daughter of God, as revealed in ‘The Family: A Proclamation to the World.’ As the Creator, God defined the proper and perfect roles for His children.
The ‘bearing’ we each do in our divine roles as women and men, requires the support of the companion and opposite role for its best success. Continue reading →