Easter came early this year. I didn’t even get my decorations out until the night before. It’s wonderful and tricky at the same time when General Conference falls on Easter Weekend, as it did this year. Then there are more activities to pack into two days! We as a family have to prepare more on Thursday and Friday. I definitely felt the Spirit over the weekend testifying to me of the Easter message: truth of the Savior’s atonement and resurrection. I loved General Conference, especially Elder Holland’s talk on the atonement. I think we all somewhat wonder as fiery Elder Holland approaches the podium, “What’s he going to say this time?” don’t we? He has always , since I learned this year that his wife is my mom’s second cousin. He told the story of a rock climber who almost plunged to his death on a fall, but was saved by his brother. It was a wonderful analogy of the Savior’s rescue of our possible spiritual death. My speech and debate trained son called this “thematic metaphor.”
We did our Saturday morning chores on Friday morning and then dyed Easter eggs late Friday afternoon so we could be ready for General Conference on Saturday morning (after sleeping in). I planned to have the Easter Egg hunt Saturday around 5 PM. The only one interested in dying the eggs this year was my 9 year old daughter. Maybe because she is the only girl left at home? Her older sister, who I call Virtue, is away at college, along with my firstborn, a boy, who I call Valor. Valor came home for the weekend with a friend from college so they could attend General Conference in person. I love these zealous returned missionaries (RMs). It was later, through the grapevine, Valor’s brother, that I learned that Valor was planning on meeting with a girl to escort to Conference. It’s fun to see this RM son dating, although I am in no hurry for him to get married.
This early spring that came means the dandelions in the backyard are out of control!
Usually dh and I go to his mission reunion but since I am avoiding sugars and starches and other things on a new diet I did not want to go and see all of the tantalizing foods served after the program, brownies and chocolate chip cookies and such. Instead we stayed home and watched a movie for our date. It was Baptists at the Barbecue, which I found free online. We read the book years ago and I thought it was good and funny, but the movie was definitely brain candy. It started out so corny.Towards the end it got more meaningful, but now I am thinking I wish I had watched something deep. I am going to get better at detecting brain candy before I watch the whole thing. Next time we do a movie night, we will finish Mr. Holland’s Opus and then I am going to insist we watch some kind of bonnet movie/Jane Austen story which are definitely not brain candy.
I love being able to see the mountains from my front and back yards. I wanted to focus on the blossoms on this picture, and in the one below I focused on the mountains.
Before Valor left on Easter Sunday to go back to college I got to visit with one of his roommates who he snagged a ride with. For the purpose of this blog, I shall call him Stalwart. Stalwart shared how he got his testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. He said that when he was 15 1/2, the missionaries had been teaching him the lessons. As soon as they taught him the plan of salvation, he felt something different, something wonderful. He said he had the feeling that he was learning something that he had always had a question about, like a missing puzzle piece was finally falling into place. He later learned that what he was feeling was the Spirit. The missionaries set a baptism date for him and asked if that was OK. He said yes. Then Stalwart got baptized and continued to go to church. He prayed for a confirmation of the truth of the Book of Mormon one night, as he knelt in his bedroom. He expected Angel Moroni to walk into his room. When that didn’t happen he was disappointed. He went to the bed and then a few days later he attended church. He had been good at this habit, even though sometimes it meant he had to walk or catch rides with people because his family did not support him going to church. That first Sunday after he prayed, his ward had a changing of the guard with a new bishopric announced. He was sad to see his old bishop be released as this man had greatly helped his family. Stalwart said that when the bishop bore his testimony, Stalwart felt a feeling he ahd never felt before. It was an overwhelming feeling of warmth pounding into his chest, like a ramrod stuffing explosives into a cannon. He started crying as he felt this overwhelming feeling of love and truth. He knew this was an answer to his prayer when he asked if the gospel was true. As he listened to each one of the other men, from the old and new bishopric and then the stake president bear his testimony, he kept feeling those feelings of love and truth and he kept crying. Then once the amen was said, he stopped crying. He knew at that moment that he would continue going to church, pay tithing, obey the commandments, follow Jesus, and serve a mission. Stalwart did end up serving a mission, to Brazil, along with half of all of the other missionaries out there. One of my brothers served there, as well as my husband’s uncle, as well as my nephew. It’s not really half, but I think I heard it’s like 1 out of every six missionaries go to Brazil. I will have to check that stat.
Here’s the 13 year old with the long hair searching for Easter eggs. I am allowing him to grow because of the Shakespeare play coming up, in which he has the lead role. After he gets back from Shakespeare Showdown, I will be delightedly chopping it off. Even though I was born in the 70s, the Brady Bunch long hair on boys look from that time is not my favorite.
I hope you all had a great Easter. My life is certainly far from perfect right now, with a lot of unanswered questions and uncertainties about the future. But I do know one thing. Jesus Christ lives, and He knows each one of us and loves us. His grace allows each of us to overcome all sorrow and pain. If you haven’t yet, read the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ to know of God’s love for you. It brings me great peace. I read the following Book of Mormon scripture recently, and it fits perfectly with Easter. It’s from 2 Nephi 9:3-11:
3 Behold, my beloved brethren, I speak unto you these things that ye may rejoice, and lift up your heads forever, because of the blessings which the Lord God shall bestow upon your children.
5 Yea, I know that ye know that in the body he shall show himself unto those at Jerusalem, from whence we came; for it is expedient that it should be among them; for it behooveth the great Creator that he suffereth himself to become subject unto man in the flesh, and die for all men, that all men might become subject unto him.
6 For as death hath passed upon all men, to fulfil the merciful plan of the great Creator, there must needs be a power of resurrection, and the resurrection must needs come unto man by reason of the fall; and the fall came by reason of transgression; and because man became fallen they were cut off from the presence of the Lord.
7 Wherefore, it must needs be an infinite atonement—save it should be an infinite atonement this corruption could not put on incorruption. Wherefore, the first judgment which came upon man must needs have remained to an endless duration. And if so, this flesh must have laid down to rot and to crumble to its mother earth, to rise no more.
8 O the wisdom of God, his mercy and grace! For behold, if the flesh should rise no more our spirits must become subject to that angel who fell from before the presence of the Eternal God, and became the devil, to rise no more.
9 And our spirits must have become like unto him, and we become devils, angels to a devil, to be shut out from the presence of our God, and to remain with the father oflies, in misery, like unto himself; yea, to that being whobeguiled our first parents, who transformeth himself nigh unto an angel of light, and stirreth up the children of men unto secret combinations of murder and all manner of secret works of darkness.
10 O how great the goodness of our God, who prepareth a way for our escape from the grasp of this awful monster; yea, that monster, death and hell, which I call the death of the body, and also the death of the spirit.