Friday, April 30, 2010

Mary Webster

Saturday, April 17, 2010 ~ There is a funeral starting as I type these words and while I am not there physically, my heart is. This post may take a few days to write. How do you sum up your relationship with someone who has touched your life so profoundly? And the thing is, I know that I was not an isolated case. I know the chapel will be filled and so many more like me who can not be there.

Mary and Wayne Webster are second generation orchardist in the Hood River Valley where I grew up. The Webster family and orchards have been foundational in the development of our small town. If there was such a thing as rural royalty, they would have been it for the valley. As a kid, I thought they could be royalty because of their financial standing. As I grew older and saw their example, I understood they were royalty because of their character.

My first memories are of Brother Webster as the Bishop of our ward. My first memories of tithing settlement are with him. I think my testimony of tithing first started with the good feelings I had after our family met with him.

I became more aware of Sister Webster as I grew older. There was a time with things were financially tough for my family and the church helped us out with food. My mom would let them know what we were in need of and an order would be placed. The problem was that sometimes not everything would come. I remember once the order came and while the peanut butter arrived, the bread did not. Mary showed up a bit later with shopping bags filled with bread and a bunch of fresh produce.

With 6 kids and many a health problems, my mom was not the most organized of housekeepers. And she liked to sew and had a great weakness for fabric. Sister Webster saw a need and talked to my mom. For the next few months she and another sister from church came once a week for 3-4 hours and helped my mom wash, catalog and organize all of her fabric. When they were done, my mom had a 3" binder with bits of fabric stapled to the pages listing the yardage and what box it was in and there were 67 apple boxes of fabric sitting on new shelves. I really can't explain what that service meant or how she endeared herself to our family. In her quiet way and with her cheerful smile, she never judged my mom, but she truly inspired her to do better, to be better. My mom would work extra hard on cleaning the house the night before the "sisters" were coming. She taught my mom, but she also taught us girls even though we were never there (they would come while we were at school.) Each of us have our own fabric and things organized much the way Mary taught my mom.

A few months after they finished the fabric organization, our home caught on fire (the dryer had an electrical short.) It was an extraordinarily hot fire that melted the appliances. The smoke and water damage were severe and most of the house was lost. A day or two after the fire, Bro. Webster called my dad and asked him to stop by the house, that he had some clothes to give him for us. My dad stopped by expecting a bag of clothes by the door. Instead, Bro. Webster took him into his bedroom and opened his closet and told him to pick some suits. In the end, my dad left with more than one suit, his size, straight from Bro. Webster's closet.

In the weeks following the fire, a mammoth mountain of charred remains grew in our front yard as we emptied the house to begin reconstruction. I know that my parents were beginning to worry about how we were going to afford the bill to the dump to get rid of it and how many trips/Saturdays it was going to take. Then one day, it was gone. The Websters had brought in a dump truck and their own orchard work crews and spent the day taking care of it. Not only did they pay for the truck and the dump bill, they paid their workers' wages even though they were not working in the orchard. A bit later, that same crew was paid to sheet rock our house. We moved in that evening. Looking back, I honestly do not know how we would have made it through that time without the Websters. They were angels and the gratitude I feel still makes tears trickle down my cheeks 24 years later.

Over the years, the Websters annually arranged (and I believe sometimes funded) for the performing groups from BYU or Ricks College to come to our little tiny town. Lamanite Generation, Ballroom, Young Ambassadors, Folk Dancers, Showtime Company, and all the choirs came over the years and everyone from miles around came. I was a senior in high school when Showtime Co. came and I LOVED it. I cried when they left and that day walked into the guidance office at school to figure out how to go to college. I spent the next few nights writing essays for every scholarship. I called Mary Webster for tips on how to get to Ricks as her son Scott was a year ahead of me at school and he was there. Four months later, I was a freshman at Ricks College. I applied for the crew and made the cast for Showtime Company. Over the next two years I traveled all over the British Isles and the US with that company. A huge, huge blessing in my life that started from their selfless efforts.

As a single adult, I got a call from Mary one day asking me if I would be in a melodrama for the next ward activity. She was in charge of the Ward activities at the time and they were AMAZING. She figured out ways to involved every. single. person. in the ward. I especially remember the New Year's Eve dance that she organized. It was a night in Paris - complete with a city scape, the Eiffel tower, flower shops, sidewalk cafes, and street lamps. We worked for days setting it up and I had so much fun. I couldn't believe the work and detail she put into every little thing.

More than just their example and service, Mary and Wayne Webster have deeply influenced my life. He was the Patriarch who gave me my blessing. I was the second blessing he gave - his son was first. I know that they helped financially so that I could serve a mission. When I was married in the temple, they paid their orchard crews to landscape their already beautiful yard and hosted our wedding reception.  They attended my mom's funeral and a few months later, their son shared this story at Wayne's funeral. He said that as he was helping his dad into the car after my mom's grave side service that his dad said that he didn't know how much longer he wanted to be around. All of his friends were passing on. I was so stunned to hear that. That he considered us, my parents, our family his friends. Even though we were such different economic circles, we were not a service project to them. We were dear friends.

Mary passed way this past week.  I am so happy for her. She and Wayne are together again and I know that my mom will so happy to see them. I am crying, but they are happy tears. My dad heard the news yesterday and changed his plans to drive 4 hours one way to attend the funeral on behalf of our family. I so wish that I could go home today. To be at the funeral. To pay my very deepest respect to an amazing woman. To mourn with her 8 children and 32 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren. Biologically, we are not related, but I love her as deeply as a mother, sister, and dear friend. Instead, I record my experiences with her and publicly thank her for everything she did for me and my family. Next to my family, the Websters have had the most profound effect on my life. So many things that I hope to be were first shown to me by her example. Literally.

Goodbye sweet Sister. Until we meet again, God be with you~

Here is a link to the tribute her family wrote on their business blog - The Fruit Company

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Notebook Memories - Things I always want to remember...

Ryan singing to himself in bed tonight - "The hills are alive with the sound of music La, la, la, la, la." He has the song stuck in his head and has been singing it off and on for the last week or so. Tomorrow night is opening night for his school musical "The Sound of Music" (Yeah Savanah!) and the choir has been practicing during his choir hour.

This reminds me of last year when he was singing all of the songs to Mama Mia! all the time because my friend Alisa played it all the time when she gave him a ride to my school everyday. 

Gotta love when good music gets stuck in their heads!

And on that note - ;)
let me share with you Ryan's science project. I have 3 glass jars in my bedroom window right now with 3 styrofoam cups full of soil under them. One has my iPOD ear bud just above the soil and the little seedling is listening to hymns all day. Another has Ry's ear bud from his MP3 just above the soil and is listening to everything on Ry's MP3. The third is listening to silence. We plug in the devices in the morning and the seedlings listen all day and then I recharge them at night. He is measuring the effects of music on plant life. Is it wrong for the mother in me to be rooting for one seedling over the other? I will let you know the result in two weeks when he finishes the project. 

Tonight the scouts started working on their Physical Fitness Merit Badge by running 1 mile - 2 1/2 laps around our church and parking lot. One boy in the group fell a lap behind and was struggling a bit to finish. He passed the other boys who had just finished and started on the last lap. After a few minutes, three of the boys who had just finished and were still breathing hard, got up and ran the last lap with this boy. One boy ran behind him with his hand on his back pushing him while the other two boys ran along side. As the four passed me, I listened to these sweet young men encouraging him on, "Come on dude, you can do this. Think of those linemen, we gotta outrun those linemen. Hey, look, we are almost there, you're doing it! Don't stop now, you can do this." Ryan and another boy were about 3/4 of a lap ahead of this boy so they didn't run with him until the very end but as he got closer to the line, they ran out to meet him and cheered him in. I was so proud of these young men tonight and felt privilege to see a glimpse of the men they are becoming.  

A few years ago someone pointed out to me the difference between teenagers and youth. They noted that the leaders of the church ALWAYS  use the term youth. We all know what connotations the word teen or teenagers brings up. We discussed the difference with the word youth. Youth is encouraging, hopeful, active, full of life and ambition.  Youth implies leadership, respect, goals, and solutions. Teen is, at times, a disparaging remark, implying troublemaker, disrespect, lazy, and uncommunicative and is usually followed with a sigh or an eye roll or both by adults. I have remembered the conversation and try hard to always use the term youth. I even call my 3rd graders young men and young ladies. 

Tonight, these 12 yr. old young men really touched my heart. 

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Miscellaneous Blessings

So grateful:
  *for unexpected financial miracles, especially the ones that meet needs only known to the Lord and me.
  *for my homeschooling experience. Grades K - 3 are now supplementing with the phonics program I used. Also, the established pattern of mom directed education is proving very helpful in the afterschooling that we are working into our schedule.
   *Excellent friends who spend their time to help me and even more importantly, talk to me.
   *Ryan's science project. I hope we both learn something. More to come on this later.
   *for the sweetest sisters ever who worry about me, check on me, pray for me, and encourage me.

Gathered in this past week - a year's supply of TP.

Life is good...

Monday, April 5, 2010

In Defense

Of the Lemon Bar recipe - When you decide to half a recipe, it is a good idea to half the lemon juice. Especially if you only put in half the sugar.

Of Ryan- He did try to clean up the 1/2 c. syrup off the carpet. He did make his own dinner and how many 12 yr. old boy really clean up after themselves? He did do the additional school work I require without complaint. And he did start a load of laundry. The first time I asked.

Of my parenting attempts - We had family prayer this morning and scripture study (and an actual discussion). Hopefully that weighs out that Family Home Evening will be a prayer in the car and a late baseball game tonight.

My favorite quote from General Conference -
"The end will be better than the beginning."

Sunday, April 4, 2010

By the Way...

The Weight Watcher's friendly Lemon Bars are the tart ones.

You won't want to eat them.  My tongue is permanently puckered.

He is Risen!

Today is filled with music. I played the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah first thing and then have played all the joyful hymns I can find. Today is filled with pure joy, a few happy tears and smiles.  

 1 The afirst day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet bdark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the cstone taken away from the dsepulchre.

  2 Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other adisciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the bLord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.

  3 Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.

  4 So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.

  5 And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in.

  6 Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie,

  7 And the anapkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.

  8 Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.

  9 For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must arise again from the bdead.

  10 Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.

  11 ¶ But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre,

  12 And seeth two aangels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.

  13 And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.

  14 And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and asaw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.

  15 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.

  16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, aMaster.

  17 Jesus saith unto her, aTouch me not; for I am not yet bascended to my cFather: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my dFather, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.

  18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.

  19 ¶ Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were aassembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and bstood in the midst, and saith unto them, cPeace be unto you.

  20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his ahands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they bsaw the Lord.

  21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my aFather hath bsent me, even so csend I you.

  22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:

  23 Whose soever sins ye aremit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.

  24 ¶ But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.

  25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the aprint of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.

  26 ¶ And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.

  27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and athrust it into my side: and be not bfaithless, but cbelieving.

  28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.

  29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast aseen me, thou hast believed: bblessed are they that have not seen, and yet have cbelieved.

  30 ¶ And many other asigns truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not bwritten in this book:

  31 But these are awritten, that ye might bbelieve that Jesus is the cChrist, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have dlife through his ename.

I love that Christ appeared to Mary Magdalene first. I don't know why, but the story is so simple, so tender. I can never read it without tearing up. All of the emotion in that one word, Rabboni.

Luke 24

I love that Christ appeared to the disciples in the closed room and that each Sunday, I remember that moment when the priesthood close the doors to the chapel and we silently partake of the sacrament and, as we remember Him, He manifests himself unto each of us. 

I love Thomas' story and the Saviors gentle chiding to believe. I love how the Savior reaches out and helps our unbelief. 

I love the many ways Christ appeared - the garden, the closed room, traveling on the road, descending from heaven and the many times he appeared. I think often of discernment - would I have recognized him? Most likely not. These people had righteous hearts who had lived and walked with him and they did not see him at first. I do not think myself more spiritually mature than them. But another question follows that one - will I recognize him when he comes again? I hope with all my heart the answer is yes. And to that end, I study discernment. I look for the good in others. I am trying to think and ponder and prayerfully see

I love how the graves are torn open. I imagine the impatience of the last few moments for these people waiting to be resurrected after such a long time. I imagine the moment that I will see my mom again. Her earthly body taught her spirit so many things and I am grateful for all of those blessings. But I also can hardly wait to see her glorified and perfected body. To see her not only walk but run. 

I made Resurrection Cinnamon Rolls (pictures and instructions are at the end of this insanely long post) for breakfast. I have spent the morning reading all of the accounts of the resurrection and the burial and resurrection chapters in "Jesus the Christ." We will watch the "Lamb of God" dvd and maybe even the "Easter Dream" dvd sometime today. I have re-watched some of the apostles testimonies on youtube - I especially love Elder McKonkie's last testimony "The Purifying Power of Gethsemane". I first read his testimony in Spanish on my testimony and still have some of the words memorized in Spanish. 

There are many activities that we did not get to do this past week. The LOA (love one another) poster where we write love messages all week long to each other. The Service Star where we do quiet acts of service for each other and leave the star to tag the another person. The many stories to read together. I will record my testimony in my journal today and I will write Ryan a letter today and for this year, it is enough.

We are having a first today - leg of lamb for dinner with potatoes, green beans (NOT Green Bean casserole - yuk!), salad and lemon bars for desert. I have never made Leg of Lamb (good thing for and I have never made lemon bars for Easter before, but I really like the idea. They are bright and sweet and a joyful color. They remind me of the sunrise and the joy that came this beautiful morn.

I hope that each of you have a joyful Easter. That you experience those moments of pure joy when you feel all of your loved ones, even those who have passed on, close to you. That you feel the Savior close to you. That you feel the miracles of the atonement, of the resurrection, of today.

All my love,

Resurrection Cinnamon Rolls~

Make rolls. Or go buy Rhodes Texas Rolls and let thaw/rise overnight.

Roll a large marshmallow in melted butter and then cinnamon sugar.

Roll bread dough around the sugared marshmallow.

Pinch close.

Roll in melted butter and cinnamon sugar.

Bake in oven 350 degrees for 10-15 mins. 

Be forewarned, this pan will need to soak. 

"He is not here for He is risen."

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Day 7 - The Sabbath

My feelings on this day are intense relief that it is over. "It is finished." His pain is over. It is difficult to walk through all of the moments of the atonement at one time, especially when I have been reading and studying and preparing up to that moment. Most of the time, I just look at one part at a time and I tend to keep an emotional distance from the pain. Christmas and Easter are the two times a year that I prepare and purposely walk through every moment of those last days and let the emotions pour through me.

 John 16:20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your asorrow shall be turned into bjoy.

I love these words of Christ. As I said, my overriding feeling is relief that it is over yet my heart is heavy for the sorrow for his family and disciples. I have an inkling of how long and dark and sad and numbing this day was for them. I also imagine the pure joy of those in the Spirit World. To see him, walk and talk with him for some, for all to feel the chains of death fall away. 

Today we will read a bit about the Jewish Sabbath and I have a dramatized cd of the story beginning with Joseph of Arimathaea begging Pilate for Christ's body that we will listen to this morning. The following are our readings for today:

Matthew 27:50-66

50 ¶ Jesus, when he had cried again with aa loud voice, yielded up the ghost.
51 And, behold, the aveil of the temple was brent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did cquake, and the rocks rent;
52 And the agraves were opened; and many bbodies of the csaints dwhich slept earose.
53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the aholy city, and appeared unto many.
54 Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.
55 And many awomen were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him:
56 Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and aJoses, and the mother of Zebedee’s children.
57 When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named aJoseph, who also himself was Jesus’ bdisciple:
58 He went to Pilate, and abegged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.
59 And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,
60 And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great astone to the door of the bsepulchre, and departed.
61 And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting aover against the sepulchre.
62 ¶ Now the next day, that followed the day of the apreparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate,
63 Saying, Sir, we remember that that adeceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.
64 Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the lastaerror shall be worse than the first.
65 Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can.
66 So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.

46 ¶ And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I acommend my bspirit: and having said thus, he cgave up the dghost.
47 Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a arighteous man.
48 And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and returned.
49 And all his acquaintance, and the women that followed him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things.
50 ¶ And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a acounsellorand he was a good man, and a just:
51 (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God.
52 This man went unto Pilate, and abegged the body of Jesus.
53 And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a asepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid.
54 And that day was the apreparation, and the sabbath drew on.
55 And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the asepulchre, and how his body was laid.
56 And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and arested the sabbath day according to the commandment.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Days 5 & 6

The Last Supper-
For the last nine years we have had a Passover meal and read the events of the atonement and crucifixion. We have a Bethlehem dinner on Christmas Eve and a Passover meal just before Easter. Many times I have almost talked myself out of having the dinners. They are a bit of work and we are not Jewish. Yet every time I am so grateful that we took the time and created the memory.

We eat on the floor with pillows and candlelight. We use a common wooden bowl and eat with our fingers and with pita bread. 
Bread, couscous, and lamb (huge hit this year)

Parsley, romaine, roasted egg, raisins and carrots.

Haroset - My favorite. Apples, almond & walnuts, cinnamon and grape juice. The apples and nuts symbolize the bricks and straw and the grape juice symbolizes the blood of the jews that was split to bind them together as they lived in slavery. 

We also had grape juice to drink. 

Candlelight dinners are so special. We talked about the symbolism of the parts of the meal and the story of the Israelites. The discussion turned to Christ's last supper, the garden, the arrest, the "trial", the scourging, the crucifixion, the suffering, the end, the purpose and the joy. Tears poured down my cheeks and Ry hung on every word. He came around and sat next to me, held my hand and wiped a tear or two of his own. 
Matthew 26:36-39
36 ¶ Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called aGethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and bpray yonder.

  37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and abegan to be sorrowful and very heavy.

  38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is aexceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and bwatch with me.

  39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and aprayed, saying, O my bFather, if it be possible, let this ccup pass from me: nevertheless not as I dwill, but as ethou fwilt.

Doctrine & Covenants 19:16-19

16 For behold, I, God, have asuffered these things for all, that they might not bsuffer if they would crepent;

  17 But if they would not repent they must asuffer even as I;

  18 Which asuffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might bnot drink the bitter cup, and shrink—

  19 Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and afinished my preparations unto the children of men.

There is so much to the story, so many details with lesson not to be missed. I love that we can celebrate this holiday for a few days, that it is not over yet. 

Step by Step

Day 20 Stumbles - Temptations - For a while I've wondered about personal temptations. It has felt like Satan wasn't really worri...