Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

Last week we showed you a picture of this house in Palmyra that had everything for Halloween.  This week they added even more.  All of the following pictures are the same house and yard.  You might say they go "over the top".  Thought you might enjoy this and your kids can also tell you what you need to do for next Halloween.  You are welcome.  You don't have to thank us.
The obligatory goblin graveyard.

The monster and his pumpkin with the family name on it.

Halloween train with coffin.

Funeral hearse and driver

Black widow spider, web and gargoyle on the porch, with the skull and crossbones gate
 you have to go through to get your candy.

Pipe organ with the witch

Monday, October 24, 2011


Winter Is Coming
We are fully into fall here.  The colors are out and it is getting cooler.  We are afraid that winter is coming.
Who would of thunk it.
Here is a picture of Scott's memorial tree at Fairport high school.  It is a sugar maple and is doing well.  We love how the colors start at the top of the tree and work their way down.  It is a late bloomer this year.  Most of the trees are done now.

Here is a home in Palmyra.  We pass it everyday on the way to the temple.  Some people really get into Halloween here.  The house has been covered with a plastic front to make it look like a castle.  You can barely see the gargoyle on top of the porch roof.  At night his eyes light up red. 

Changes in the Branch
This past weekend has come with significant changes to our assignment.  The young girl we were teaching is moving to Michigan.  We will not be able to visit any more with them.  We feel we may have made some progress with helping her and her mom to understand some gospel principles.  We hope their new ward will be able to pick up where we left off.  Hopefully they will have activity days that she can enjoy.  We did not have those in our branch.

We have five college freshmen in the branch this fall.  One of the young women is a non-member friend of one of the young men.  She had gone to seminary with him in high school but had never attended church.  Her parents are active catholics and would not allow her to go.
The young people have not missed church for the past month.  It has been fun getting to know them.  Last week we rode with them from the branch to the stake conference meeting in Jamestown.  She indicated that she was ready to start taking the missionary lessons since she turns 18 in two weeks.  Then she won't need her parents permission for baptism. 

Yesterday we taught her the first discussion.  We have no young missionaries in the branch so we get to teach.  We have also been released from teaching the youth Sunday School class and are now teaching the Gospel Essentials course.  It is composed of primarily this young lady and her friend.  This Sunday we taught a lesson from the Gospel Essentials book that prepared her for the missionary lesson we taught after church.  On Sunday her friend was also set apart as a Stake Missionary.  He is planning on going on a mission next year.  We will be including him in presenting the missionary lessons. 

We are so looking forward to this opportunity.  We really enjoyed teaching the first lesson and are excited about preparing her for baptism.  When we challenged her to read the Book of Mormon, she showed us she has already read most of 1Nephi.  She also gave a very beautiful, personal prayer at the end of the lesson asking Heavenly Father for the courage to learn and know of the truthfulness of what we were teaching.

We trust all of you grandchildren are preparing for your missions.  You will find that nothing makes you happier then helping someone else learn about our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. 

God Bless You All

Monday, October 10, 2011

Pearl of Great Price

President Sherwood shared a thought in prayer meeting at the temple Friday evening that I think is worth considering.  He told a story that is a take-off on the parable of the pearl of great price. 

A man seeking goodly pearls found one of great price.After he found it he went and sold all that he had in order to purchase it.  The man treasured the pearl for its perfect beauty and luster and after a while decided that he should build a box to hold the pearl and to display it.  He got the best wood he could find, delicately carved a beautiful design on the top, finished it carefully and polished it to a beautiful shine.  Then he lined the box with velvet and edged it with gold.  Placing the pearl in the box, he admired his work and was very pleased with it.  Every time he looked at his pearl, he also admired the beautiful box it was in.  After a time he began admiring the box more and more and noticing the pearl less and less until finally, he saw only the box.

President Sherwood likened the box to the temple and the pearl to the sacred ordinances that are performed inside.  He warned us to not let performing the ordinances become so commonplace to us that we stopped treasuring the beauty and majesty and priceless value of those ordinances.  I was touched by the Spirit as he spoke and committed to pay more attention to the ordinances, but I didn't know how graphically the story would be illustrated for me that very evening.

My first assignment after prayer meeting was that of being a greeter at the temple entrance.  My duties were to welcome and direct our guests coming into the temple to do the sacred ordinances.  It was also my duty to help preserve the sacredness and reverence of the temple by encouraging our guests to whisper, turn off their cell phones and check cameras.

While I was there, a bus full of tourists came to the temple and casually dressed tourists roamed the grounds taking many pictures.  After a while, one of them came into the temple wanting to see the inside.  As kindly as I could, I explained to him that we were a working temple, dedicated to the Lord and not a "site" to be visited.  I told him that he would be more than welcome to come back later and do an ordinance.  He said that they didn't have time for that and walked out.  A few minutes later, two women from the tour came in dressed in capris and tennis shoes with cameras around their necks. One said that she just wanted to take a quick picture inside and then she would leave.  That, of course, is not allowed.  At the same time the other one pushed past me saying she just had to see those beautiful stained-glass windows from the inside and firmly planted herself about five feet inside the foyer facing the doors and refused to budge until her "need to see the windows from the inside" was fully satisfied.  Shortly after that, another man dressed in shorts came in holding a temple recommend and said he had a recommend and therefore he had a "right" to look around inside the temple.  I wondered if the Lord had been standing there at the door of His house, if that brother would have barged in, uninvited, and said the same thing to Him.  Finally, a group of them came to the door and two men, each opened one of the doors as wide as possible so the whole group could look inside.  One of them said, "Ok.  We won't come inside, we'll just stand out here and look.  I said I was sorry, but we have been asked to keep the doors closed.  There were no more attempts to come inside.  I felt bad and thought they had no time for or interest in the Pearl, they only wanted to see the Box.

Two hours later, another tour bus full of people arrived at the temple, had appointments and came dressed in their best, reverently, to do the ordinances.  They waited patiently and cheerfully for a turn in our small locker rooms to change into their temple clothes.  They then went quietly about doing the ordinances.  Some to sealings, some to initiatory and most to do the endowment. 

My last assignment for the night was in the locker room where I watch as they all finished their temple work.  Again they waited cheerfully for a turn at the lockers and didn't seem to mind how crowded it was.  I thanked each one for coming as they were dressed to leave and almost without exception, they expressed to me their gratitude for the privilege of coming here to do these beautiful ordinances.

I couldn't help comparing these two tour groups.  One group came to see the Box and took home many beautiful pictures of the temple.  The other group came to see and treasure the Pearl.  Each one of them took home no pictures, but took the Pearl, safely tucked away in the depths of their hearts.

Lets all seek the Pearl.