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Janice Hardy

Janice Hardy

The Divine Role of Motherhood

I have women in my life who live in all kinds of circumstances. I know women who have never married, women who have no children of their own, women who have struggled mightily with infertility, women who have suffered numerous miscarriages, women who have lost a child to death, women whose children have strayed and broken hearts. I know single mothers, widows, seemingly perfect moms and moms who struggle daily just to deal with life. I know moms who coach every team, always volunteer to be room mother and have fresh baked cookies after school everyday. I know moms who read scriptures for bedtime stories and sing their children to sleep. I also know moms who feel blessed to have survived another day and spend long hours through the night worrying about all the things they did wrong that day and wondering why they can't get it together. I know women who have passed on from this life whose influence with their family is felt on a daily basis. They know she is there and still loving them and encouraging them. I know working moms, moms who have the privilege to stay at home with kids, moms who struggle with those decisions. I know adopted moms, great moms, good moms and some moms whose children number in the 100's but they have never given birth.

Today I speak to every woman I know, in every circumstance.

Shari Dew said

When we understand the magnitude of motherhood, it becomes clear why prophets have been so protective of woman's most sacred role. While we tend to equate motherhood solely with maternity, in the Lord's language, the word mother has layers of meaning. Of all the words they could have chosen to define her role and her essence, both God the Father and Adam called Eve “the mother of all living” and they did so before she ever bore a child. Like Eve, our motherhood began before we were born. Just as worthy men were foreordained to hold the priesthood in mortality, righteous women were endowed premortally with the privilege of motherhood. Motherhood is more than bearing children, though it is certainly that. It is the essence of who we are as women. It defines our very identity, our divine stature and nature, and the unique traits our Father gave us.

Elder Matthew Cowley taught that “men have to have something given to them in mortality to make them saviors of men, but not mothers, not women. They are born with an inherent right, and inherent authority, to be the saviors of human souls and the regenerating force in the lives of God's children.”

Motherhood is not what was left over after our Father blessed his sons with priesthood ordination. It was the most ennobling endowment he could give his daughters, a sacred trust that gave women an unparalleled role in helping his children keep their second estate.

Again from Shari Dew

For reasons known to the Lord, some women are required to wait to have children. This delay is not easy for any righteous woman. But the Lord's timetable for each of us does not negate our nature. Some of us, then, must simply find other ways to mother. And all around us are those who need to be loved and led.

As daughters of our Heavenly Father, and as daughters of Eve, we are all mothers and we have always been mothers. And we each have the responsibility to love and help lead the rising generation. How will our young women learn to live as women of God unless they see what women of God look like, meaning what we wear, watch, and read; how we fill our time and our minds; how we face temptation and uncertainty; where we find true joy; and why modesty and femininity are hallmarks of righteous women? How will our young men learn to value women of God if we don't show them the virtue of our virtues?

Every one of us has an overarching obligation to model righteous womanhood because our youth may not see it anywhere else.

Every one of us can mother someone beginning, of course, with the children in our own families but extending far beyond. Every one of us can show by word and by deed that the work of women in the Lord's kingdom is magnificent and holy. I repeat: We are all mothers in Israel, and our calling is to love and help lead the rising generation through the dangerous streets of mortality.

As mothers in Israel, we are the Lord's secret weapon. Our influence comes from a divine endowment that has been in place from the beginning. In the premortal world, when our Father described our role, I wonder if we shouted for joy at least in part because of the ennobling stature He gave us in His kingdom. The world won't tell you that, but the Spirit will!

I have grandchildren here in the valley and in Utah and Wyoming. Everyone of these kids have a mother who is perfect for them, but more than that they have access to generations of mothers. Each one has almost daily access to a grandmother and a great grandmother. Each one has at least one Aunt with no children of her own who loves them, teaches them, supports them in all their activities and is always available to them. Each one has a primary teacher who makes them feel like they are her most favorite child in the world. Each one of them has been the recipient of attention and example and gifts from moms visiting teacher. Each child has been chosen by the primary music leader to be a helper and received a hug or pat or a kind word that made them feel special enough that Nana needed to hear all about it.

Though it is primarily their mothers responsibility to raise them and nurture them and teach them who they are, these children are blessed to have the example and love of many mothers. These mothers will be remembered and loved and praised by these children for all of their days. The influence of these bonus mothers will be eternal!

My mother in law hasn't had children in her home for many years, but she still is very much a mother.

She worries when her daughter works too many hours or when her son says he's very tired. She still makes many of her daughters clothes. When my daughter can't find things that fit right, grandma's sewing machine starts up. When Easter rolls around the great grand daughters have new dresses and blessing gowns and every child, grand child and great grand child has a quilt or two.

She always has a candy jar in the kitchen for the little ones who run in and out. When my son comes down around his birthday there isn't even a question of whether or not she'll be making his favorite dinner of chicken wings done 3 ways! Saturday mornings she is up earlier than any other day, she has to make sure the door is unlocked and the pancake batter is made because the great grands will be bursting through the door fresh out of bed, hair flying all over but ready for breakfast! Her syrup tastes better than anyone else's despite the fact we all buy the same brand.

The kids are with her in the garden eating carrots fresh out of the earth almost as fast as she can pick them. They help her pick strawberry's and pull the onions and line them up to dry. Her house is where they plant their perfect jack o lantern pumpkins, where they go to play with the special toys when they just need a minute! It's where they go to hold bunnies and feed chickens learn how a bee makes hunny.

Her pantry is where everyone shops, it's shelves are full of the bounty of her garden and she'll teach you how to can it all too.

Her influence will always be felt.

My sister in law has never married, has no children of her own, but she has many children. She has been my childrens best friend, chauffeur, teacher, late night movie popcorn maker, the host of endless game nights. She has taken them on numerous trips and made hundreds of memories. She's their photographer, their tie dye t-shirt maker, the one who is always up for a party or a snuggle or a quiet story. The one who always knows when its ok to say yes and when to say go ask mom first. She is the one who buys a car based on how many kids she would like to take on vacation, who opens her home for all family occasions. She is the one who always buys the 4 pack of Season tickets to Tuachan because there will always be kids begging to go with her. She is the one who always says, yes I will be there, yes I will help you, tell me what you need I'm on my way. She has been with them through countless moves, trips to doctors, running errands and hikes in Zion.

There are things the kids do not even talk to me about or ask me to do because they are Kimmy things! I hear, don't worry mom I asked Kim, Hey mom, Kim and I are doing or going or are planning......she is a major part of the their lives. She is the one who has opened her home to nieces and nephews and let them live there until they are ready to move on. Now the next generation of my family is learning all about the Kimmy factor. Two of the kids live with her and she is very much the second mom. She is adored and abused every bit as much as their mom. The Wyoming kids come to see Kimmy, Nana is a side effect! Kimmy is the one ready with the giant cardboard box and the crayons, the one with a giant driveway and sidewalk chalk, the one with sprinklers and giant yard toys and a fridge that just oozes yummy things, not to mention an entire cupboard full of delicious treats. Kimmy is the one who takes them to the beach, she is the one they pile on at movie time. Kim is fun, Kim is love, Kim is easy acceptance. They know her and they love her.

Kim is a high school teacher, the primary organist, a visiting teacher, a beloved daughter and care taker of her parents, a neighbor, a friend, a sister, and she serves in the Relief Society. She has endless opportunities to mother, to lead, to be the example of faithful womanhood.

My youngest daughter has had the feeling that she may not have the opportunity to marry and have children in this life, but though the thought makes her a bit sad she tells me of the example of her Aunt Kim. She has learned from her that there are many ways to mother, many ways to help others through this life that will bring great joy to her life. She has learned from her that you become educated, you find your lifes direction, you continue to serve and be faithful, you remain close to your family and your Father in Heaven and you will have joy!

Of all the things I admire about Kim and love her for, the example of how to live your life with joy is my favorite.

Elder M Russell Ballard said

There is no role in life more essential and more eternal than that of motherhood. While women live in homes under many different circumstances, all are beloved of god, and he has a plan for his righteous daughters to receive the highest blessings of eternity.

The work of nurturing children has eternal significance and it can be exercised throughout life whether or not a woman has a child.

President Uchtdorf said

If you are a mother, you participate with God in his work of creation not only by providing physical bodies for your children but also by teaching them and nurturing them. If you are not a mother now, the creative talents you develop will prepare you for that day, in this life or the next.

Elder Holland said

To the women within the sound of my voice who dearly want to be mothers and are not, I say through your tears and ours on that subject, God will yet, in days that lie somewhere ahead, bring hope to the desolate heart. Ultimately no blessing shall be withheld from the faithful, even if those blessings do not come immediately. In the meantime we rejoice that the call to nurture is not limited to our own flesh and blood.

While not all women have the opportunity to be a mother, god does entrust all women with the divine responsibility of mothering, nurturing, and guiding his children. You are not alone in this divine role. You are partnered with Him, our all knowing and loving Heavenly Father.

Satan has declared war on motherhood. He knows that those who rock the cradle can rock his earthly empire. He knows that without righteous mothers, in all their forms, loving and leading the next generation, the kingdom of God will fail.

The world teaches that becoming a mother is simple biology. A clump of cells divide, form body parts, but that lump of clay isn't even human until it takes it's first breath.

God would have you know that those dividing cells will become the temple that a unique spirit will dwell in. That spirit will come fully formed, with it's own personality, needs, desires and talents. It then falls upon the mothers in his life to teach, train, discover those talents, encourage and love that child.

Motherhood is a sacred calling and has been our calling since before our birth and will be our calling long after this life. In the Celestial kingdom our most sacred title will be that of mother.

Remember that motherhood defines our very identity, and the unique traits and gifts our Father gave us. Those gifts are not wasted on any woman who chooses to nurture, love and lead.

Shari Dew said

Every time we build the faith or reinforce the nobility of a young woman or man, every time we love or lead anyone even one small step along the path, we are true to our endowment and calling as mothers and in the process we build the kingdom of God. No woman who understands the gospel would ever think that any other work is more important or would ever say, “I am just a mother,” for mothers heal the souls of men.

I read quite a few years ago about a group that gave micro loans to desperately poor people in other countries to help them begin a business that would bring them the ability to become self sufficient. But these loans were only available to women. The reasoning was, that women will first provide for their families, then their neighbors, then their communities. The gifts of motherhood allow women to reach out to all those within their influence and touch lives for good.

President Gordon B. Hinckley stated that

“God planted within women something divine.” That something is the gift and the gifts of motherhood.

Eve set the pattern. In addition to bearing children, she mothered all of mankind when she made the most courageous decision any woman has ever made and with Adam opened the way for us to progress. She set an example of womanhood for men to respect and women to follow, modeling the characteristics with which we as women have been endowed: heroic faith, a keen sensitivity to the Spirit, an abhorrence of evil, and complete selflessness.

We all have these gifts, building upon them, learning to use them to serve others is the choice we make.

I found something that was quoted in a general conference address, it was attributed to a christian womans blog. It states:

Motherhood is not a hobby, it is what God gave you time for.

The divine gift and gifts of motherhood are what we were created for, motherhood is all it's forms. There is no nobler calling.

President Bensen said

In the sequence of events as set forth in the scripture, God first created the earth, and the earth was without form, and void. He then separated the light from the darkness, and the waters from the land. Then came the creation of vegetation of all kinds, giving the beauty of trees and grass, flowers and shrubs. Then followed the creation of animal life in the sea and upon the land.

Having looked over all of this, he declared it to be good. He then created man in His own likeness and image. Then as His final creation, the crowning of His glorious work, He created woman. I like to regard Eve as His masterpiece after all that had gone before, the final work before he rested from his labors.

When the doctrines of our divine role and purpose are truly understood, they bring peace and purpose to our lives.

In all your circumstances, look around you, who needs you? Who needs your influence? Who needs your love, your shoulder, your example? How can you use your divine gifts of motherhood to mother those that you bore and those that you bear with? How can you teach, dry a tear, share a laugh? Will you use your gifts to build the kingdom around you? Will you share your light and your heart and your love with those who need it? Will you learn to cultivate your divine gifts of motherhood so that when your blessings become full you will be ready to receive them?

Shari Dew said

If the day comes when we are the only women on earth who find nobility and divinity in motherhood, so be it. For mother is the word that will define a righteous woman made perfect in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom, a woman who has qualified for eternal increase in posterity, wisdom, joy, and influence.

I pray that we may all learn of, cultivate and use our divine gifts of motherhood, whatever our circumstances are. I pray that we will teach our sons and daughters of these divine and sacred gifts so that they too will cultivate them and use them for the good of those around them.

I hope that for many days to come we will look around us at all those who have mothered us, who have helped us mother, who have shown us how to mother, who have used their divine gifts in our behalf and thank them and then pay it forward.

The influence and power of mothers is a strong and powerful force, gifted to all women by a loving Heavenly Father to use in service to all his children. May we use it wisely.

We slept in a bit this morning if 8am is sleeping in, which I guess for us really is. We had to be checked out by 11am which meant we could take our time and we did. We showered and dressed and cleaned up our things leaving the luggage in our room for the bellman……boy do we sound fancy! We hiked back over to the food court for breakfast, oatmeal for me and you guessed it…..a breakfast burrito for Adam! There are other places to eat but this is good and so darned convenient!

Adam decided that my water bottle hadn’t quite been enough for us both yesterday so he found a gift shop and got him one. When he filled it at the water station he just put the papers inside into his pocket. Later while waiting for a shuttle he took the paper out and read it, it said for your safety wash thoroughly with soap and hot water before using. So I took this picture in case he died…..IMG_20161120_105323723_HDR and for some weird reason it gave us the giggles.

We had until 3pm to be back on the train for the return trip so Adam had planned the day and the shuttle rides down to the minute! We did a couple shuttle transfers to get to where we wanted to be which was the red route out to Hermits Rest, but the rides were so great it all felt like part of the vacation instead of just transportation. Just riding down the road there is lots to see and the shuttle drivers are great sources of information and fun. On the shuttle over we got out a few times to see things. Pima point is beautiful and has the rare reputation of you being able to hear the river run far below.IMG_20161120_111912721IMG_20161120_111933547You really can hear the river if it’s quiet around you, very cool! And oh yeah, I like traveling with this guy, he’s fun, well I like doing anything with this guy…..

While we stood listening to the river we watched a bunch of ravens soaring below us, yes below us. It was kind of weird watching birds fly from above them, it’s not supposed to be like that in real life. It was quite a beautiful sight! Although I had to remind Adam that when some of those ravens were in a tree above us at the wildwest show he was not happy to see them, he was quite sure they were going to bomb us.

The last stop on this shuttle was at Hermits Rest. It’s a cool rock structure whose first life was spent sheltering visitors on the rim and providing refreshment and mule rides to them. Now it’s new life is as a snack shop and gift shop. IMG_20161120_123950916This is the entrance to the short walk to the building. Adam was wondering what happened to cause a big hole in the side of the bell. IMG_20161120_124241056_HDRThis is the building itself. It’s built right into the side of the cliff and all of the structure is original. It looks tiny from this angle but once you get inside it opens up a fair bit into the cliff. IMG_20161120_124540525When you first walk in this fireplace is the first thing you see. It’s huge! Those are real people having a rest in front of it. Off to the left is the gift shop, to the right in the register and snack shop. I looked around to see what might be different that anything we had seen in the other places and I found this! IMG_20161121_071856792I was drawn to her because I immediately thought she looked like a grandmother singing to or telling stories to her grandchildren. Then I looked at the tag on her and learned that she is made in the Navajo tradition of grandmothers whose job it is to teach the grandchildren the songs, traditions and stories of their heritage and she is titled The Storyteller! Because it made a connection to Nana’s Story Time for me I was so excited to have her! It just tickles me so much! Story Time makes me feel like a story teller to tons of kids so this little 3 inch story teller came home with me!

May I just take a moment to talk pit toilets? The park service at the Grand Canyon does an amazing job keeping them clean, relatively clean smelling, well stocked and accessible. I have been in public restrooms with all the fancy running water that was faaaaarrrrrr worse than those pit toilets! I do believe even Kimberly would survive it!

Then we caught the shuttle and about 45 minutes and a transfer or two later we were back at the train depot. We were a little early for the train but not quite enough time to run a couple blocks away for lunch, so we opted to have a snack later on the train and just relax at the depot for a bit.  15135843_1091683944286212_5846219146937188308_n  IMG_20161120_142611193_HDR

IMG_20161120_144337465These were my views from my bench, not a bad place to sit for a bit! IMG_20161120_140344782This was the inside of the depot but since we already had our tickets we only went inside to visit the potty. The depot is the oldest continuous use log building of record in the United States. It really is quite cool.

While I was sitting there I though about other things I learned on this trip.

1. Not nearly enough Americans visit the Grand Canyon! Some of the languages I heard that I could identify were, Chinese, Japanese, German, Norwegian, Swedish, French, Spanish, maybe Portuguese, At least a couple middle eastern dialects, some English and Australian accents, and a few other I just had no clue about. I don’t think we Americans really appreciate the beauty we are surrounded by.

2. There is not enough peace in my life. Since I can’t stop working and life is big and real I really need to find a way or a place to regularly just have peace and quiet. I renews the soul.

3. You are never too old or too infirm to enjoy the world. It may take a little more time, a little more help, a few more arrangements, but you can go if you want to. Lots of older people and people who had a rough time getting around were getting around any way!

We boarded the train and there was Kathy with a K to get us settled, play a few games, answer questions and just be happy. Oh I forgot on the train trip yesterday we had a guitar player come to entertain us. He sang country songs and told jokes. He was young and cute and quite talented. What a great way for him to earn a living!

Cowboy jokes – Did you hear that Willie Nelson died last night?? He was playing on the road again!

                         What do you call a musician without a girlfriend?? Homeless!

He was fun.

On the train ride home we had an older woman who played the accordion and sang old songs. Two little old ladies from Texas really enjoyed that and kept giving her money to stay and sing more!

Our train began to slow down and the conductor announced that the gang had escaped from jail and if the train stopped we would be boarded. Well we looked out the window at Kathy with a K’s urging to see the robbers galloping after the train. While the train came to a stop she informed us we were on the only train that stops to let robbers board! Then she helped us practice our scared screams and terrified faces. IMG_20161120_170710743These robbers looked very much like the dead cowboys from the day before…….funny how that happens.

During the ride before we left the National forest we saw a couple herds of Elk, nice big ones, the kind that would make Aaron cry. Wish you were here, and were allowed to shoot in a national forest…..

We got off the train back where we started, In Williams at the Grand Canyon Lodge. We were directed to our luggage, picked it up and headed to the parking lot. It had been raining a while and it was dark. It continued to rain til we were about back to Kingman. So the one regret we have is that we didn’t have one more day to stay over, maybe explore this cute little town of Williams and travel in the daylight.

We had a quick stop for gas and dinner in Kingman, speaking of places whose facilities are not quite as good as park pit toilets, and then we headed the rest of the way home, this time through Vegas. That’s an easier drive in the dark than the back road. We arrived home about 10:30, unpacked and hit the hay.

It was a good trip, we had a great time, we completely relaxed without a serious schedule for the first time in years. Adam wants to start planning another train trip for next year. Maybe we’ll get all crazy and take 4 days!

Even on vacation there has to be an alarm sometimes, not the fire kind those are bad, but the get up and at them kind you’re going to miss all the fun!

So early this morning we woke to the sound of the alarm. We had showers, packed up and off we went. As we headed for the lobby Adam said he needed a quick duck into the business center to “borrow” a mouse to fix his tablet. He had found a way to fix it and wanted to do it before we left. I knew he couldn’t leave it alone! But within 5 minutes he was back with me and had a victorious look on his face, all was right with the world once again.

We left our luggage in the lobby with the bellman……yes we had a bellman….no he didn’t wear a cute uniform with the monkey hat, just the lodge shirt…..oh well. The lodge would transport our luggage for us to our next hotel in the Grand Canyon, so we left it there and went back to the café for breakfast, also included in the package. They had some good stuff, eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, biscuits and gravy, an omelet station, fruit, cereal, all kinds of things. We had our fill then headed out to the other end of the complex to the bleachers to see the wild west show!IMG_20161119_083730404_HDR On the way I had to take this picture with a surprisingly willing person…….IMG_20161119_072637480.

When we arrived we were greeted by the sight of a tiny old woman dressed as an elf and proud of it! Apparently she does this sort of thing for the lodge every year and loves it. She walked around greeting people but seem to think the horses needed someone to talk to too, so off she went. IMG_20161119_084415100

The show was corny as heck but very amusing, the cowboys were really playing it up and my goodness what a job to have! There was a poker game full of cheating, some lies and tall tales, some accusations of horse thieving and a good old fashioned shoot out which the Sheriff won handily, although he cheated badly. My favorite part of the show wasn’t even part of the show! The horse pictured by the elf was badly in need of a snooze. She was doing some serious nodding off, the kind where your head wobbles and then jerks up, then she’d stumble a bit and twice she tried to lay right down but was brought up short by the reins. It was sad and funny! The cowboys kept going over to slap her rump to wake her up but she wasn’t having any of that, she was tired!

So show over, we board the train. IMG_20161119_091450266_HDRIt’s quite a long train, 3 coach cars, about 4 1st class cars and then a few luxury cars. In the luxury cars your wine is uncorked at your seat and your lemonade is poured into your chilled glass from a pitcher……..we were in coach…..there was ice water and a café car with soda… was so great!

The train ride to the Grand Canyon was part of the package and really the whole reason why I chose this vacation. Adam loves to ride trains! It’s a 2 hour 15 minute ride to the canyon, it only covers 65 miles but the train goes up hill and down and has many curves to negotiate so the ride is slow, and we loved it! IMG_20161119_092137903

We were welcomed by Kathy with a K who was our PSA or passenger service attendant. She introduced herself by telling us her name was Kathy with a K because that’s what everyone calls her so please call her Kathy with a K…..K? It seemed very important to her.

She was very pleasant, a little too cheery, but full of information! There were maybe 20 of the seats filled so she had plenty of time to help each one individually and because we were part of a package she knew we were coming! She pulled out a map she had marked for us, IMG_20161121_123815514 she had marked the trails, how long they would take to hike, our hotel, sight seeing, shuttle buses, water stations, gift shops, everything and more you could ever want to do on the south rim. It was quite detailed.

For most of the ride we just enjoyed ourselves. It was pointed out to us that the railroad tracks run right along the old stage coach route, the ruts are still plainly visible, we even saw an old building that was used as a stage coach transfer station. The old telegraph poles and lots of the wiring are still there, that was cool too. There was cattle, Elk, pronghorn deer who apparently wont jump a fence they go under it! I would have to see that. We even passed by Santa’s village! They did a good job of that I can see why the kids looked so excited when they came back. Adam pointed out that next to the village was quite a large pile of coal……wonder who gets that?

The landscape changed around almost every corner. We went through flat lands and then into the Kaibab National forest and the huge ponderosa pines. Did you know that the the female trees smell like vanilla and the males smell like butterscotch? Kath with a K tells us we can remember which is which because men are always in the scotch! I don’t know any men who are in the scotch, but I will remember that. It kind of amazed me that there were people living among the trees in a national forest, but there are a few places that pre-date it so they got to stay. Near the end of the ride there is an ancient looking place, log cabin a couple small out buildings and a solar panel. It used to be a uranium mine but has been closed for decades. The original owner sold it to the old couple who live there now back in the 70’s and there major enjoyment in life now is to set out on their bench and wave to the train twice daily! They look like a couple old pioneers just grinning and waving at all the people whizzing by in the contraption on the tracks. We all waved back! Kath with a K has never talked to them but feels like they are her grandparents she see’s twice a day, she makes sure everyone knows their story and waves.

The train arrived at the Grand Canyon south rim and we got off and went straight to our bus tour. Nice bus, great driver and guide. He took us to places closed to private cars and I was feeling all privileged until we realized the next day that the shuttle goes there to…….but he was a good guide and gave us a lot of info that the shuttle drivers do not. We stopped at Hopi point and spent some time looking out and learning and reading all about it, IMG_20161119_121715304then back on the bus to Mohave point and hung out there to do more of the same. Mohave overlooks the Bright Angel trail, which is the most common trail for people to hike to the bottom. We spent some time talking about our experiences when we were younger hiking to the bottom and back up, we were not sorry to not be doing that today! We could see people on the trail and we almost shed tears of joy that it was not us! It was a great experience, but not one we need to repeat. Looking down, you just can’t imagine hiking all that way or that it’s even really possible. We also kept thinking that even being right there, on the edge, it all still looked very much like a mural just so perfect and surreal. IMG_20161119_121735967When we hiked the canyon the focus was on the hike, we had never explored the south rim and had no idea how much was there to see and do. There are many trails both long and short, rim walks from a couple to several miles, museums, visitor centers, great stuff! Our guide told us that as you hike down you pass through 5 of the 7 life zones. As I understand it each zone consists of different climate, animals, plants, things like that, so going from top to bottom it’s quite a physical as well as mental adjustment if you’re paying attention and looking. He also told us that they lose about 20 –25 people every year, mostly due to exposure, people going about unprepared or doing stupid things, but some fall over!

Now about those who do stupid things……our tour group was mostly good, but there was one lady who insisted upon going out beyond the rails and sitting on a ledge at every stop so she could kick her feet over the cliff. Her husband would calmly watch her and then proceed to thank her for “not doing those dumb and stupid things we talked about on the bus”, she just laughed at him. There was one family who had quintuplets! There looked to be about 3 and they were all playing along the rocks and edges. There were parents and what I assume was an aunt but no one seemed too worried. I hope they all made it home!

Next stop was the Maswik lodge. It’s an older building but well kept, certainly not a fancy lobby but it’s also there that right off the lobby you have a huge food court and that’s worth it. We checked in, had some lunch. I had a Navajo taco, now I ask you, what food court have you been to that would offer a Navajo taco and it would be tasty??? Adam had a burrito, he just can’t pass up a burrito of any kind. Then we hiked a bit to get to our room, the buildings are quite spread out over a fair amount of property. We freshened up a bit, made sure our luggage had been delivered and then headed back up to the lodge to catch the shuttle. We took the blue route as instructed by Kathy with a K to go clear out to almost the farthest end of the rim to the main visitors center. It was interesting but not as much as we had thought. Some of the exhibits close by 3:30 pm which was a weird time so there wasn’t too much to see. They did have a movie about the canyon though that was really worth seeing. It’s about 20 minutes long and well done. The night before Adam and I hadn’t really gotten much sleep so being in a theater, in the dark, sitting quietly, with a narrator with a smooth voice……we almost stayed for one more showing just so we could catch a nap!

By now it was coming on dinner time and we were tired, we had seen a lot and it was dark so we decided to have an early night. Back to the food court for cuban sandwiches and soup, tasty! Then a hike back to our room. Adam set up the tablet once again only to find that the wifi was very weak and slow and I wouldn’t be able to unload anything anyway, cell signal was very poor too. Oh well! Secretly I believe I was more than a little pleased. I really was looking forward to blogging about this for our memories, but having to unplug for 3 days was truly a treat we needed and rarely have a chance to do. So an early night was had by all, and boy did we need it!

Total disclosure here, it’s been a while since I have written much of anything and I’m feeling pretty rusty, so be prepared for some rambling!

I’m pretty excited about contributing to the travel section, it means we actually went somewhere! For this trip alone I had the experiences and I’m not living vicariously, woohoo!!

Friday morning dawned bright and early for me, later for Adam. When he finally woke up it took me about 10 minutes to pack a bag, he took about an hour. Now in fairness to him he does have to decide what gadgets and cords and chargers and such to take and then what will actually fit in his bag and just how much weight will it hold, then readjust 12 times. I’ve learned to just sit and wait, he’ll get done eventually and when we arrive we’ll have everything we need, and then some.

Finally we left the house about 11:30am. It had been a very stressful and long few days at work, apparently we put out “we’re leaving town vibes” that bring everyone and their dog to the office door, so I felt a little uneasy leaving town. I had asked Adam to drive us out on the North Shore Rd and I’m glad I did! Within 10 minutes of being on the road you’re heading out of civilization. It’s a long winding road for about an hour. We passed maybe 10 people, the weather was perfect, the sun was shining, once again I was amazed by how beautiful the desert is and how it changes around every corner. The stress began to melt away and I thought it was the perfect way to start our trip.

We headed to Arizona which meant we were going to pass over the new bridge built downstream from Boulder Dam some years ago. I had seen pictures, I had talked to people who made a special trip after it was built just to see it and drive over it, so I have to admit I was looking for a bit of a ta-da! Nope. You drive up to and onto it without every really knowing you’re on it! The cement sides are tall so you can’t see over and all in all it was very anti climatic! Nice road, very much easier and faster to travel than going over the Dam, but eh.

So we drove onto Kingman AZ. Now from other blogs the family has written I have developed a firm belief that stopping at Walmart is a travel must. It’s not really a vacation without it. So we found a Walmart. We needed some tags and a lock for our suitcase since it would be handled by the travel company more than us and we needed a potty break. Now walking into Walmart I learned something, a desert rat is a desert rat, no matter which desert you are from. The temperature was about 60 degrees which I thought felt great, but most of the people were walking around with jackets, hoodies, scarves and even full blown coats. I got all sweaty just looking at them! The next thing I learned was that although the people looked to be of average height it must have been an illusion, because I have never seen since short toilets in all my life! I know it’s a lot of TMI but my knees haven’t been that close to my nose in some time. How short are these people??

We stopped in at Carls’ Jr for a quick lunch, then gassed up the truck and we were on the road again.

I learned something about being in the middle of nowhere Arizona, you can build your house on any angle, anywhere, out of anything. We saw all kinds of ragtag “buildings” and I do use that word loosely. They were built of stones, trash, the odd board, even license plates.

I also learned that there isn’t a building inspector who cares to travel hundreds of miles to make sure something complies with code, see above.

The next thing we learned was that Arizona roads can be pretty rough. Long stretches of road were full of potholes and whatnot that made it a rough ride. Then you would come upon s bit of road being worked on and it got better for a while. I believe this to be an ongoing issue since about every 50 miles there was a lone piece of road equipment and a porta potty alongside the road.

All these observations made for great giggles and conversation, what better way to pass the time.

A little past Kingman Adam finally began to sing with the radio, that’s always a good sign. Because he is a man and can only do one thing well at a time I knew if he wasn’t singing he was stewing or worrying or trying to resolve an issue or planning out the next work thing, so singing was good! After that I knew all would be well and I continued my observations of our surroundings!

I learned the desert is vast and diverse. I love our little valley, surrounded by the mesa’s and the mountains. I love our red rocks, our lake, our green fields our purple sage. I love the drive to Mesquite as you come off the mesa and see it open up to your view. But these were different views, different desert and I loved it too.

We started to gain some altitude and the rolling hills and the juniper bushes became plentiful. We thought it was quite amazing that these bushes no matter how tall they get looked perfectly pruned and planted in clusters. It always amazes me that you are out in the middle of nowhere with no real easily visible vegetation and yet there are cattle doing quite well thank you. The desert provides the grasses and morning glory and every the sage to grow beef on, it’s quite amazing. Then we travel higher and the junipers fall away and we start to see pine trees, ponderosa pines I believe. They start out a little small and get taller and taller. A desert forest is very unlike a California forest or even a Cedar mountain forest and from Alison tells me it’s very different from the East Coast, but none the less, a beautiful forest.

Finally, after about 4 hours on the road we arrived in Williams Arizona after dark. We were tired, but happy, the trip had been a good one. It was after dark, but this time of year that’s very early. I had purchased a trip package that had us booked at the Grand Canyon Lodge. Kind of a fancy place but not too posh. The lobby was probably the fanciest one I’ve ever been in, huge fireplace at least a 6x4 foot opening and a couple feet off the ground, a whole wall of stone reaching about 14 feet high at least. An amazing huge chandelier that had crystal snowflakes hanging from it, gorgeous woodwork, an enormous decked out Christmas tree, it was pretty nice.

I guess I hadn’t done a ton of homework on this trip because I was unaware that the reason they were so ready with the Christmas décor was that they were running a polar express train out to Santas village twice a night. When I found out about that I felt some what better about all the grownups running around in feety pajamas……..some complete with ears and tails……a little disturbing, but the kids in their pj’s sitting around the lobby writing letters to Santa and being lifted up to the big mailbox to deposit them was pretty darn cute! We should do a polar express with the little ones.

We got all checked in and headed across the drive to the café. It’s a big buffet that’s run by the lodge and our meals there were included in the package. It will accommodate 350 people so it’s big but well laid out, we didn’t feel crowded. The food had pretty good variety and tasted good. I especially enjoyed the chocolate fudge cake with ice cream! That’s a keeper! The had a long train that ran the perimeter of the room too and it was fun to watch. I think we liked it as much as the kids in the room did.

After dinner we decided we were tired and we needed an early start the next day so we headed back to our room. Adam had just taken his shoes off when the fire alarm started wailing! It took us a minute to realize what was happening, it felt a little surreal. So shoes and jackets went back on and we hunted down a stairway and tried to find our way out. Now the way it works is that Adam has always had a kind of magical ability to navigate and get his bearings, he always knows where he’s parked the car, where the stuff I want in the store is, all sorts of good things like that. It failed him big time! He found a stairway but it led us to some unknown maintenance area whose exit signs lied! So while we were supposed to end up in back of the lodge we ended up somewhere at the side of the building where employees were gathered and gave us funny looks. We walked around until we found the front of the place, found a bench and waited for the wailing to stop. It was about 31 degrees and there was a stiff breeze blowing and I don’t own a real coat, so that was a bit exciting. After about 20 minutes we had the all clear and in we went. There was a rumor that a child had pulled the alarm, maybe he thought it was for Santa?

Back in our room Adam wanted me to start this blog post, he was kind of excited about it too. He pulled out his tablet and keyboard to get it set up for me and found that it had frozen up.He got frustrated and proceeded to try and work on it and I forbade it! He was on vacation for pete’s sake, he shouldn’t be working on a stupid computer!!! He did set it aside, although I was not dumb enough to believe that his brain wasn’t working on a solution. Then it was off to bed!

I did have some pictures for you but they got deleted, I’m not the techie one……sorry.

I was asked to speak on the scriptures. What does that mean, Scriptures?

The term scripture usually means written documents. But for us as Latter Day Saints, the concept of scripture has two complementary definitions. first, a narrow view that includes only the standard works as the scriptures, and secondly, a broader definition that includes all revelation from God as scripture. both of these are authoritative, since both are viewed as coming from God.

In the first definition, we would include only what we refer to as the scriptures, or the four standard works: the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. These constitute the canonized, authoritative corpus of revealed writings against which all else is measured. President Joseph Fielding Smith taught, “My words, and the teachings of any other member of the Church, high or low, if they do not square with the revelations, we need not accept them……We have accepted the four standard works as the measuring yardsticks, or balances, by which we measure every man’s doctrine” (DS 3:203)

In the second definition, we view scripture as synonymous with such terns as “inspired” or “divinely revealed”. Speaking of those who have been called and ordained to proclaim God’s word, section 68:4 of the Doctrine and Covenants says: “Whatsoever they shall speak when moved upn by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the work of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation”.

In this light, we hold in high regard the words of church leaders at all levels. Especially authoritative are the official pronouncements of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who we have sustained as “prophets, seers, and revelators”. Their writings and addresses, particularly in general conference, are cited frequently as guides for living and for authoritative interpretation of doctrine. Statements issued by the First Presidency represent the official position and policy of the Church.

Joseph Smith taught that “ a prophet was a prophet only when he was acting as such” HC 5:265. So, the words of prophets carry the force of scripture only when they are uttered under the influence of the Holy Ghost. We freely acknowledge this divine influence in their teachings and counsel and consider it a privilege to be instructed by them. We view their inspired direction to be scripture in the broad definition and strive to live our lives with it.

While the church views its scriptures as a canon in a strict sense, they are not viewed as closed. The doctrine of continuing revelation is one of the fundamental beliefs of the Church. As was expressed by Joseph Smith in the 9th Article of Faith, “We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God”. While accepting “all that God has revealed”, whether canonized in the scriptures or not, we also believe that revelation continues to enlighten the leaders of the church. We believe that the heavens are not closed, and that God continues to “pour down knowledge from heaven upon our heads” D&C 121:23

Forthcoming revelations are expected to include both ancient truths restored and new truths uncovered, and will be added the scriptures. Some parts of the Doctrine and Covenants were added during the lifetimes of many here today.

Additionally, the scriptures specifically foretell of the restoration of many books that will make known plain and precious things taken away from the world. Over twenty of these are mentioned in the existing scriptures, including the book of Enoch and additional account of the events on the Mount of Transfiguration, the fullness of the record of John and of visions about the end of the world, the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon, which includes the vision of the brother of Jared, the brass plates, a more complete record of the teachings of Jesus Christ to the Nephites, and perhaps most startling and voluminous will be the records of the lost tribes of Israel.

How or when these scriptures will come forth is unknown, beyond the general belief that further revelations will come in the Lord’s time when people repent, exercise faith, and are prepared to receive them.

And in practice, we view certain other texts with special respect, based on their use, each with its own measure of authority. For example, exact prayers are specified for baptism and for the Sacrament. Other authoritative texts and words – with differing levels of authority – include messages of the First Presidency, temple ordinances, patriarchal blessings, the hymnal, handbooks for priesthood and auxiliary organizations, and manuals for teaching in the various ward organizations.

How blessed we are to have so much scripture easily available to us. Previous generations have not been so fortunate. In the middle ages the Catholic church actually forbid the laity from even possessing Bibles. They decreed: “No one may possess the books of the Old and New Testaments…..and if anyone possesses them he must turn them over to the local bishop……so that they may be burned”

Today Scriptures are plentiful. Ours is a time of fulness, including “things which never have been revealed from the foundation of the world” (D&C 128:18). 2Nephi 27:11 says, “and the day cometh that the words of the book which were sealed shall be read upon the house tops; and they shall be read by the power of Christ; and all things shall be revealed unto the children of men which ever have been among the children of men, and which ever will be even unto the end of the earth”.

thus, just as there will continue to be many more church members, families, wards, stakes and temples – later on, there will also be many more nourishing and inspiring scriptures.

And we enjoy easy access and availability to the scripture that only a few years ago was the stuff of science fiction. Besides our printed copies, we have the digital access of the internet. We can sit down at our computers, or pull out our tablets and phones, and have instant access to the vast library of scriptures, conference reports, church magazines, devotional talks, and other writings of the Prophets and General Authorities. We can listen to them as audiobooks as we travel down the road. We have access to scripture anytime, anywhere.

the corpus of LDS scripture is substantially larger than the of the canon of most other religions. the work “canon” is used infrequently when speaking of LDS scripture, in part because it connotes finality, completion, closure.

the perpetual unending character of LDS scripture, a corpus ever augmented by living witnesses in a setting of prophecy and testimony, is a sign and symbol of the LDS faith.

The Jewish Philosopher, Martin Buber wrote, objecting to the views of the Torah as a closed world, “To you God is one who created once and not again; but to us God is He who “renews the work of creation every day.” “To you God is one who revealed Himself once and not more; but to us He speaks out of the burning thornbush of the present….in the revelations of our innermost hearts-greater than word”. This statement captures much of the spirit of the LDS approach to scripture.

As Latter-day Saints we believe that the world has seen only the beginning of the great doctrinal and scriptural restoration whereby God will “gather together in one all things in Christ”. Heavenly and earthly records of all dispensations are to be gathered together and nothing shall be withheld.