Thursday, July 23, 2015

Happy Days Of '47 - "Forging A New Frontier"~

Each year Utah has a Days of '47 parade honoring the Pioneers that settled in the Salt Lake Valley. The first company entered the valley on July 24th, 1847. They traveled over the plains more than 1300 miles. I have several ancestors who made the trek west by wagon and or handcart. 
These hardy pioneers were very brave and true to the faith that brought them here. I loved to read the stories of these special ancestors of mine. 
Today I wanted to share a short story from the life of 

My Great Great Grandfather Michael McMillan with
 My Great Great Grandmother Mary Brown~

When Mother and Father left for American in 1863, all of mother’s family, nine of them, was with her all being Mormon converts. Father was alone in his family. He left a broken hearted mother as two of her sons had left for America two years before and she never expected to see any of them again,…and she didn’t. Father was born in Cloughcorr County, Antrim, Ireland, in 1841. He moved to Scotland with his family when five years old and lived in a place called Terent, East of Edinburgh ten miles. Mother was born in Midlothen about twelve miles from Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, in a small town called Stubhill, April 16, 1838. They were baptized in the L.D.S. church in Scotland. Grandfather Brown (was) taking quite an active part there having street meetings, his daughters singing and passing out tracts. Mother and Father met at Uncle Neal’s and Aunt Janet’s Wedding; and became sweethearts. Leaving Scotland for America on May 26, 1863, they arrived in Liverpool on May 28th and were married that evening by an Elder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, a justice of the peace who was on a mission from Manti, Utah. They went on board the Sunnyshore the next day. But it did not pull out to sea until May 30 and was on the ocean nine weeks. They landed in New York a very happy family after their long voyage. They traveled by train from New York to St. Joseph Missouri, then down the Missouri River by boat to Omaha. On their voyage by water, the water was so shallow they had to walk until they encountered deeper water. They remained in Omaha for one week preparing for their journey across the plains. They came with the Fullmore Train, with Samuel White as captain. Father was assigned an ox team to drive. Father did not know the first thing about hitching them up and did not know which side to put them on so mother tied a strip of red calico on one of their horns so he would know which side to hitch them on. After traveling for several days they had a very bad electrical storm. An independent freighter who was traveling with them was stunned and four out of ten of his oxen were killed by lightening. This was not considered a total loss as the company needed meat. Mother had the privilege of riding on the wagon with father, but let her mother ride and she walked the entire distance across the plains. They arrived in Salt Lake City on the sixth day of October 1863. Uncle Willie and Uncle Neal, having been here two years before, met them in Salt Lake City and took them to their homes in Cottonwood, now Murray. Uncle Willie had two adobe rooms and let Mother and Father have one. But they did not stay there long as they had three children so they needed their rooms. So Father went down the road about half a block and made a dugout in the side of the hill, which they lived in until they could build the adobe room. The room had a square hole in the back of it with no window and nothing but a dirt floor. They had no furniture, used boughs for their bed. Sister Mary was born there. They used to cook with a fire place, turn their biscuits over Mother’s hope chest and each sat on one end and ate them. Father worked very hard, working wherever he could get flour, bacon or anything for pay, sometimes a little molasses and that was his pay. By another year they got a cow, a pig and built on another adobe room. When brother Neal was born, in two years January 20, Mother had learned to milk the cow. Father had not learned to milk. He went to work in the field,…grubbing sagebrush and trying to clear the land so as to make a better living all the time, and he succeeded. Mother did the chores and when Neal was three days old the cow was brought to the door and mother went out and milked it in zero weather. When John was born, October 4, 1868, they had two rooms and a stove, and Mary was able to help mother a little so she would work with father in the field whenever she could. Next came Margaret, born June 24th, 1870. By this time things were much better. Janet was born July 7, 1872. By this time Father had sold some mining property in Little Cottonwood Canyon and they built the home that now stands in Murray. In 1874 Michael was born there, May 3, 1874. The house was not nearly finished. All this time Father and Uncle Neal Sr., had located a gold mine in Tintic, called the Scotia, meaning Scotch, with four or five others, and they sold it and got money to finish and furnish the new home. James was born there June 28, 1877.
Contributed By Corinne Edwards 

In our church, (The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) the Youth groups often go on Pioneer Treks. These treks are with handcarts. They go to remote areas and travel per handcart about 10 plus miles a day for 3-5 days. They are placed in families with a Pa and Ma and various ages of youth. In the evenings they stop and stay overnight in tents. They play pioneer games, eat pioneer food, and there is always pioneer dancing. These youth come home with a new appreciation for the life of a pioneer. They do this in Stakes all over the world. My daughter, who presently lives in Australia is preparing for a trek in October. Her husband and her will be a Pa and Ma. They have three daughters that will go on this trek with them but will be placed in different families. Some of the things these teenagers learn is how to sacrifice, be unselfish, work in unity and cooperation. They make life long friends within their families. They also learn alot about endurance as they face their hardships together with courage.  At one point all of the young men and men leaders leave the women for what they call the women's pull. Here there is a steep incline or other difficult area the women are to push and pull the loaded handcart  without help. Often times the women have to encourage one another to keep going and they love to sing pioneer songs to bring them courage to make this difficult pull. It is truly a profound tearful moment when they complete this pioneer experience. The men and boys tell of the tears that flow as they watch the women coming up the trial. The youth come back with strong testimonies of feeling the spirit of this experience.  It is an awesome program. 
A Picture of a Youth Group on a trek~
A Women's Pull~
To be a pioneer is not just for the past. It is part of our own future. Our world truly does need pioneers. Those who will go forth an pave the way for a brighter future. 
Elder Dallin H. Oaks said the following: "It is not enough to study or reenact the accomplishments of our pioneers. We need to identify the great, eternal principles they applied to achieve all they achieved for our benefit and then apply those principles to the challenges of our day". 
Elder M. Russell Ballard stated: "The Lord isn't asking us to load up a handcart; He's asking us to fortify our faith...He isn't asking us to die a martyr's death; He's asking us to live a disciple's life".
President Henry B. Eyring recently said: "God got the Pioneers through, he'll get us through. 

Following the Pioneers by Dallin H. Oaks~
Pioneer Trek~Short History~
You can learn more about the Day's of '47 Parade Here~
Take a moment and look up an ancestor here.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Our Walk With The Savior~

We each will have experiences where we need the Savior to walk with us through it. I do believe He does. The past few weeks have been most trying for certain family members, both immediate and extended. Two young people were taken through accidents and one through a long terminal illness. These were precious young ones who had life yet to live; but were taken before their prime. They will miss many precious events that we cherish and hope for our children and grandchildren to experience.  
Meanwhile, we hear see and hear media stories of difficulties and trials many individuals and families go through. We seem to be surrounded by sadness. Yet, this really is why we are here. We are here to be tested and tried. Through our experiences our character can be refined. We can learn those lessons that draw us closer to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Our Savior, our advocate with the Father is near us and will walk with us. I know this to be true from my own life experiences. Because Jesus Christ loves us and aids us; we can feel the comfort of the spirit during trying times. We can experience joy great joy in our lives as we learn to reach up for the Savior. 
I love this quote by Orson F. Whitney: "No pain that we suffer, not trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude, and humility,. All the awe suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called children of God."
Nikki with Eliza - Callahan and Caroline~
This week as I attended the funeral of Eliza our grand niece who was only 10 years old when she passed away. I was deeply impressed as both her parents gave beautiful messages at her funeral. This couple has really experienced a refining fire. They are strong and faithful and have a deep understanding of the "Plan of Salvation"They believe in Eternal Families and that they will be and see sweet Eliza again. They tenderly cared for Eliza for 8 years. She soon lost control of her body early on and was under 24/7 care after the age of 2. She was physically unable to function and became blind due to a rare genetic disease known as Metachromatic Leukodystrophy ( MLD). They believe in Eternal Families and that they will be and see sweet Eliza again. 
Her mind and her hearing had function because she was able to blink responses to some of their questions. They helped her experience everything possible in their limited environment. She went to the ocean and felt the water tickle her feet. She went on rides at Disney land. She attended school and experienced the kindness and compassion of the students in her grades. Eliza was amazing because of all she taught without being able to do a thing for herself. I admire the strength of her parents in providing so many opportunities for her; when they might have easily just taken care of her in their safe home environment. 
Her parents and I agree that Eliza exemplified the preceding quote from Orson F Whitney. 
One of my favorite scriptural quotes is found in Alma 7:12: "And he will take up on him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities."
Here is a favored story by Margaret D. Nadauld:
A simple thing happened many years ago that I have always remembered because it caused me to think about the Savior's mission. although it was just a childish incident, it has some meaning. It happened when our twins were only about five years old. They were just learning to ride their bicycles. As I glanced out the window, I saw them speeding down the street on their bikes going very fast! Perhaps they were going a little too fast for their level of ability, because all of a sudden Adam had a terrible crash! He was tangled up in the wreck, and all I could see was a twist of handlebars and tires and arms and legs. His little twin brother, Aaron, saw the whole thing happen, and immediately he skidded to a stop and jumped off his bike. He threw it down and ran to the aid of his brother, whom he loved very much. These little twins truly were of one heart. If one hurt, so did the other. If one got tickled, they both laughed. If one started a sentence, the other could complete it. What one felt, the other did also, So it was painful for Aaron to see Adam crash!
Adam was a mess. He had skinned knees, he was bleeding from a head wound his pride was damaged, and he was crying. In a fairly gentle, five-year-old way, Aaron helped his brother get untangled from the crash, he checked out the wounds, and then he did the dearest thing. He picked his brother up and carried him home. Or tried to. This wasn't very easy because they were the same size, but he tried. And as he struggled and lifted and half-dragged, half-carried his brother along, they finally reached the front porch. By this time, Adam, the injured one, was no longer crying, but Aaron, the rescuer, was. When asked, "Why are you crying, Aaron?" he said simply, "Because Adam hurts." And so he had brought him home to help, home to someone who knew what to do, to someone who could cleanse the wounds, bind them up, and make it better - home to love. 
Just as one twin helped his brother in need, so might we all be lifted, helped, even carried at times by our beloved Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He feels what we feel; He knows our heart. It was His mission to wipe away our tears, cleanse our wounds, and bless us with His healing power. He can carry us home to our Heavenly Father with the strength of His matchless love. 
I believe we have a Heavenly Father and a Savior who care for each of us personally. I love this thought by Elder Jeffery R. Holland: "I testify of angels both the heavenly and the mortal kind. In doing so I am testifying that God never leaves us alone, never leaves us unaided in the challenges that we face. "(nor) will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man (or woman or child) upon the face thereof to be saved" ( Moroni 7:36). On occasions, global or personal, we may feel we are distanced from God, shut out from heaven, lost, alone in dark and dreary places. Often enough that distress can be of our own making, but even then the Father of us all is watching and assisting. And always there are those angels who come and go all around us, seen and unseen, known and unknown, mortal and immortal."
 I have experienced occasions where I was assisted by earthly angel friends and family. I  had moments when I have felt those from beyond aiding me in my plight. Above all, I have felt the sweet comfort of the spirit lifting me up and bringing solace to my soul. I know the Savior walks with me and and most certainly He with you. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

The Path of Life ~ Death ~ Paradise ~ Eternal Life~

Today as I listened to the funeral services for our beloved Apostle, President Boyd K. Packer; my heart was deeply touched by the many uplifting and heartfelt messages from the speakers and the lovely music. This is the 2nd Apostle who has passed away within six weeks of one another.
President Boyd K. Packer~
Elder L. Tom Perry passed away on May 30th, 2015. I was saddened at his passing; he too was a beloved disciple of Jesus Christ. 
Elder L. Tom Perry~
Both of these men were living Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They went about the world doing good. They truly exemplified the thoughts found in the D&C 81:5; "Wherefore, be faithful, stand in the office which I have appointed unto you; succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees." I have shed many tears at their passing. I have a strong testimony of their divine calling. They are true disciples of Jesus Christ. 
Having been a Hospice Home Health nurse I am familiar with the process of death. I have cared for many who have passed on from terminal disease. The patients that I cared for were different cultures, religions, and a variety of ages.  Because of this special privilege; I have witnessed the passing of my patients. These were individuals and their families that I visited, care for and loved. I had  many spiritual moments when as their spirit left their bodies; I knew they were still alive in the spirit. I spent time comforting their loved ones and friends. Because I believe in life everlasting I was able to see the eternal perspective in these deaths. I still had to grieve myself many times because they had become close friends to me. I sought for through prayer and always received the comfort of the spirit letting me know all was well. 
I know there is a place prepared for those who pass from this life into the Spirit World. I know that our loved ones are near us. I have witnessed communications from the patient to a loved one in the spirit world. I feel that their loved ones surround them and help to prepare them to cross over into that realm. 
The past 10 days have been days of sorrow for myself and my children. My Grandson Michael recently lost his best friend in a Helicopter Accident. It is always hard to hear this kind of news. Losing someone young is very difficult.
Hudson Simmons
Then just this Wednesday evening we were notified that our dear Nephew Callahan and his wife Nikki lost their angel daughter Eliza, age 10 from complications of a disease that has ravaged her body for the past 8 years.
Eliza Williams~
Although I know  beyond doubt there is life beyond death; my heart still mourns for those we have lost. This grieving is part of life; but none the less difficult.  I have been praying for them all to feel the comfort of the spirit in knowing that their love one is just in another room and that the day will come that they will love and hug them again. 

A beloved Apostle, Elder Russel M. Nelson, gave an outstanding message on death entitled: " Doors of Death"  which gave me great comfort as I read it today. I thought I would share a few thoughts from this talk. 
"Death separates "the spirit and the body which are the soul of man. (D&C 88:15). The separation evokes pangs of sorrow and shock among those left behind. The hurt is real. Only its intensity varies. Some doors are heavier than others. The sense of tragedy may be related to age. Generally the younger the victim, the greater the grief. Yet even when the elderly or infirm have been afforded merciful relief, their loved ones are rarely ready to let go. The only length of life that seems to satisfy the longings of the human heart is life everlasting. 
Irrespective of age, we mourn for those loved and lost. Mourning is one of the deepest expressions of pure love. It is a natural response in complete accord with divine commandment: "Thou shalt live together in love, insomuch that thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die." (D&C 42:45). 
Moreover, we can't fully appreciate joyful reunions later without tearful separations now. The only way to take sorrow out of death is to take love our of life. 
Our limited perspective would be enlarged if we could witness the reunion on the other side of the veil, when doors of death open to those returning home. Such was the vision of the  of the psalmist who wrote, "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints." (Ps.116:15.)
The first station in postmortal life is named paradise. Alma wrote: "Concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection - Behold, it has been made known unto me ...that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body,...are taken home to the God who gave them life....
The spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace. (Alma 40:11-12.)
There will be a resurrection and Immortality. Physical death is only temporary. 
"Our resurrection will not be an end but a new beginning....After judgment comes the possibility of eternal life-the kind of life that our Heavenly Father lives....It is available to all who prepare for it, the requirements of which have been clearly revealed: "Ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and all men. Wherefore, if ye press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life." (2 Ne. 31:20.)...
Loving relationships continue beyond the doors of death and judgment. Family ties endure because of sealings in the temple." 
This Eternal perspective provides peace "which passeth all understanding.: (Philip. 4:7.)"
I know that all of those in whom have passed that we have loved; we will see them again. These thought brought me great comfort and peace. 
This is one of my favorite poems concerning this subject~

Friday, July 3, 2015

Summer Starts And Independence Day Is Here!

What is happening to our world and to this great country? I feel very disturbed by all of the conflict going on here at home and in other countries. We are all children of a loving Heavenly Father. We are all spirit brothers and sisters. We lived among each other in the Premortal life before we were sent here by our Heavenly Parents to obtain bodies and experience earth life.
We all have agency to choose how we act or react to the multitude of experiences that we will have while on this earth.  There was a war in Heaven before we came to earth and now it continues on down here. I find that so sad. 
I have noted in the last few weeks so much being hotly debated on social media. Why can't we all just get along? Yes, we all have different opinions and beliefs. There are so many issues out there. There are political issues, religious debates, racial struggles, and the desires within the LBGT community.  I think we should agree to disagree and then just be kind and patient with one another. I think we can stand for what we individually believe and at the same time have loving concern for others who have different beliefs. 
This great country was founded on freedom. We all desire to be free men and women. I am hoping that we might take the counsel above and "Be a little more kind, more patient, more loving, more optimistic, more giving, more compassionate and more charitable. 

This year on the 4th of July may I invite you to join me in making the commitment to cease our contentions and help to support and keep the Constitution of the United States viable. May we continue to be a free country where as individual we have our agency to choose for ourselves the path we want to take. May we protect this freedom.

A quick view of our special moments in June - 2015
On June 13, my dear husband and I celebrated our 48th Wedding Anniversary.
 We had a great weekend together. 
We traveled to a near-by Canyon and had a great picnic.
We had a fun Birthday Party for our Son Sean on June 27th- It was a great afternoon with this family. 

May you all have a wonderful 4th of July Celebration - 
My sweet husband and I are traveling to my home town to celebrate the Fourth of July. 
They have a great Parade and the last one I attended was 50 years ago. 
I was also in the parade as a young girl so here is a picture of that wonderful event. 


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