True Gifts of Christmas--A Family Tradition

In 1988, I was called to serve as a counselor in a bishopric for the first time. My remarkable bishop taught two principles that I have never forgotten. 

First, Jesus is the Christ. Every day of our lives, we must reflect his love, his mercy, his sacrifice, and especially his Atoning gift that he gave to us all by our actions and service to others. 

Second, charity. This bishop believed in always showing love for our fellow man through giving ourselves in unconditional service to others. Serving the people of our ward was a top priority, so I was not surprised by the idea this bishop had for our first Christmas as a bishopric. 

In October, just a few months after we had been called to serve, the bishop wanted to bring these two principles to the people of our ward through a Christmas gift. The main purpose of one meeting was to think of specific ways we could serve the members of the ward and teach them of Christ. Since our first Christmas as a bishopric was only a few months away, the bishop wanted us to conceive a gift that we could give to the members of our ward to help them focus on the Savior during the Christmas season.  He asked us to go home and pray for inspiration for ideas on what we could do. 

Life Isn't Fair

This post originally appeared on Hearts of Zion. We post it here with the author's permission. 

Five years ago, a month before my 25th birthday, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor called an acoustic neuroma. It was slightly larger than the size of a golf ball (which is huge in terms of a brain tumor). Due to the tumor pressing against my brain stem the doctors had concerns that the tumor could prove to be fatal and would need to be removed as soon as possible. My oldest son was two years old, and my daughter was just 6 weeks old. Needless to say, it was a time of immense stress and fervent prayer.

So many questions flooded my mind. What will this mean for my family? For me? What will the rest of my life look like? What if the doctors concerns were realized and it was fatal? How could I leave my husband alone with our two babies? The questions of the unknown were overwhelming. Most days leading up to the surgery were spent trying to keep busy in effort to keep my mind off of the reality of what was happening but would usually land in a puddle of emotions.

The surgery was complex and would required two doctors and over eight hours to complete. Following the surgery I spent a week in the ICU and hospital. When it was time to go home, I would have been happy to never go to a hospital for the rest of my life. But after only two days of finally being home, I was rushed back to the hospital for another emergency surgery due to complications from the first one. I was so disheartened.

Lessons Learned as a Bathroom Usher for the Star Valley Temple Open House

During the October, 2011 Semi-Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Thomas S. Monson surprised the worldwide membership of the church when he announced that a temple would be built in Star Valley, WY.

My shouts of joy may have been heard from as far away as College Station, TX where I lived at the time. Though I was not raised in Star Valley, my parents moved there soon after I married and my family quickly adopted it as home. My wife and I never could have imagined at that time that one day, our family would also call Star Valley home and that we would experience the construction and dedication of a temple in our midst.

In connection with these events, I was blessed with several opportunities to serve as an usher during the Star Valley Temple open house. For my part, I simply had to express a desire to serve. Exactly where and when would be determined by those with the responsibility to organize the assignments.