Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Souvenirs from Brazil

I ran across this message written for the benefit of our loved ones just before we left Brazil. I thought it might be well to share it here. I truly feel that our mission to Brazil was a time of much growth for me. I know that it was a time of sacrifice for our children as well and we became more aware of their love for us. We are grateful that Families are Forever and we are especially grateful for our family. Here, then, is our “gift” to them from Brazil:


We thought and wondered and prayed about bringing souvenirs and gifts home for all of our family. We really didn’t know what you would like and didn’t want to fill up our bags with meaningless trinkets. So we are following President Hinckley’s ten suggestions for gifts to take back home--these are the things that we have learned while serving here in Brazil:

* We bring to you a greater knowledge and love of God, our Eternal Father, and His son, the Lord Jesus Christ. We have a firm testimony that they know and love us individually and bless us according to our individual needs.

* We have developed an even deeper knowledge and love for the scriptures, the word of the Lord. Personal messages of inspiration, hope, and love are embedded in the scriptures for each one of us. They have inspired us and they will continue to inspire and direct our lives because we will never stop reading and searching the scriptures. We especially love the Book of Mormon which is another testament of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We love reading the Book of Mormon and will be finished reading it by the end of this year as our Prophet, President Gordon B. Hinckley, has asked us to do. We have been reading it verse by verse, first in English, then in Portuguese.

* We have an increased love for our children and grandchildren. We have been humbled at the love and service and support that has been provided us. We are so grateful for this blessing in our lives of a wonderful family.

* We grew to love the people in Brazil, and to appreciate their culture. We discovered that they are warm, caring, and wonderful people—both in our BelĂ©m Ward and the neighbors who greeted us each day as we walked to and from the Mission Office. We learned much from them, especially that our Heavenly Father loves all His children no matter what part of the world they come from. We learned that even without becoming fluent in their language, they loved us and made us feel welcome and needed. We also loved associating with the Elders and Sisters who qualified themselves to serve our Heavenly Father by laboring in the mission field. We watched their diligent efforts as they planned and worked to bring the gospel to those who are searching for the truth. We especially appreciated the Elders who helped us so much both in the office and with personal endeavors. They helped make calls to arrange for services and appointments that we have needed and could not accomplish on our own because we didn’t have enough language skills. We learned that the happiest missionaries are those who work hard and put forth every effort to be successful. They love and enjoy what they are doing and enjoy their associations with one another. It was such a treat to see their joy as they interacted during conferences, transfers, and other occasions when they were together.

* We have gained an appreciation for hard work and the rewards of serving our Heavenly Father. As President Hinckley has said, “Nothing happens unless we work.” When we first arrived, I wanted to turn around and go back home. I am grateful that we stayed for we learned much and grew from sacrificing for the Lord and His children. We have especially gained a greater appreciation for our great country and what it offers us. In spite of the difficulties and struggles that the United States of America may have, it still is the greatest country in the land.

* We have received the assurance that the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is always available to us. We have discovered that sometimes it is necessary to be still and listen to that quiet, still small voice. We have appreciated the guidance and direction we have received, especially in the quiet hours of the night when fear was making its stand. We want each one of you to know how important it is to live so that we can have the Holy Spirit as our companion. The comfort and peace that came through this association made all the difference in the world to us (especially me) all during our mission.

* The next gift is the blessing of teamwork. We worked as a team both at home and at the office which brought us peace and contentment and deepened our love for one another. What joy it is to know that we are united in our desire to love and serve the Lord.

* We have learned the value of personal virtue. We have always known that we can, to a large extent, control the thoughts that occupy center stage in our minds. There is much comfort in that knowledge, in addition to a great sense of empowerment. Agency, or the right to choose, was God’s gift to us from the beginning. That agency begins with the thoughts we choose. Therefore, choosing to surround ourselves with an environment filled with wholesome reading material, sights, sounds or conversation provides us with a firm foundation on which to build integrity and virtue.

* The faith to act. Faith begins with hope and ends with charity, or the pure love of God. Real faith leads us to righteous action. We discovered that it is so much more satisfying to act in righteous ways, rather than to re-act to negative consequences occuring at times as a result of our choices and at other times because of outside circumstances.

* The humility to pray. We have power available to us that is greater than we can ever imagine. The Lord is there for us. We know that He guides us. He magnifies us. He protects us always if we let Him. He has always been there for us our whole lives, but He has especially blessed our lives during our mission. We will never stop praying for we know it is our very lifeline.

These are special gifts that we would like to pass on to each member of our family, for they will last for eternity. We are still continuing to work on them every day and are grateful for the joy and success that we have had. We are grateful for the success and joy that we see in your lives. May each one of us commit daily to live these gifts to the fullest, so that we can endure to the end in righteousness.


It was nice to review these thoughts that were recorded while we were yet on Brazilian soil. Our mission changed us in ways that yet endure. We learned things about ourselves that we could have discovered in no other way.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sunday Thoughts

"To have faith in Jesus Christ means to have such trust in Him that we obey whatever He commands. There is no faith where there is no obedience."
~Elder L. Whitney Clayton, October 2001 General Conference
I had an experience this past week that scared the beejeebers out of me. Our eyes are a most precious commodity, and I cannot tell you how important they are to me. I was driving my granddaughters home after a pleasant time going to a movie and enjoying dinner at The Olive Garden afterwards. I noticed a light flashing in the corner of my right eye whenever I turned my head to check traffic.
At first I told myself that it was merely a reflection from the lights on my glasses. But as time went on during that trip home, the flashes occurred more and more frequently. By the time I dropped them off, I had a very hollow feeling inside. To be quite certain, I took my glasses off before I resumed my journey home, and quickly turned my head from side to side. My worst fears were confirmed.
Upon my arrival at home, I shared this unsettling news with my dear husband. Together we decided that we should call our eye doctor first thing in the morning about the matter. How grateful I am for the Priesthood he holds and I asked him for a comfort blessing, which he gave to me. I was comforted immediately and was able to sleep peacefully through the night.
The next morning we called the doctor only to find that he was out of town. They called another doctor and arranged for me to see him. This doctor was an opthalmologist who specializes in surgery and diseases of the retina. It was comforting and disconcerting all at once to be seeing a specialist.
He examined my eyes very carefully after fully dialating them. Miracle of miracles, he said that what had happened to me was a normal part of aging. Some of the vitreous gel that fills the inside our eyes may thicken or shrink and pull away from the back wall of the eye causing floaters. The flashing is caused by the vitreous gel rubbing or pulling on the retina.
Right now I am okay. However, it is a time to be very watchful of lightning bolt flashes or severe and extended flashing or myriads of new floaters. He will follow up with me next month.
It is a time for increased faith and trust that all will be well with my eyes. He has not limited any of my activities and has suggested that there are no vitamins that will cause the floaters to disappear. So, I pray that nothing else will go wrong, that the flashes will diminish and leave entirely, and that there will be no more new floaters.
It is also a time for gratitude for all the blessings that are evident in my life.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Cancer of the Lawn—Wild Morning Glory

I have been waging a small war on the wild morning glory that is rampant in our little garden plot and is threatening to take over the lawn. I remember one morning looking out at the little white/pink flowers dotting about ¼ of our back lawn thinking that it would take two of us about an hour to get rid of it. What. a. laugh. We worked for 2 ½ hours and we cleared about half of it. The problem is that it sneaks along the ground down under the taller grass or will crawl up fences or tomato plants or other taller plants. The twisting taproot can extend down as far as 15 feet so it can survive the winter very nicely.

I found out that its real name is Convolvulus arvensis or field bindweed. I was listening to a garden talk-show on the radio where people can call in with their gardening questions. The listener asked about the best way to get rid of the bindweed in their yard. The one-word answer to this question was to MOVE.

The second option for getting rid of it was to “discourage” it. This means keep getting rid as much of the plant on top of the ground as you can. The objective is to make the vine draw on the nutrients from the taproot until it has dissipated all its energy. Oh, yes, and don’t forget that you can’t just throw these weeds to the side of the garden. Oh no, you don’t want to do that because they will just take root again—this is a very hardy, opportunistic weed. I can go out and gather half a plastic bagful of weed in about five-minutes time—and not move from the spot I’m working on. My knees don’t take kindly to kneeling much anymore, so I have to bend over or for more extended lengths of time I have to just sit on the lawn to do my weeding. It is a very daunting task for one person, so I just do what I can.

I don’t know if it is my imagination or not, but I have noticed more and more lawns and yards sporting this particularly vicious weed. Our community had a parade as part of the Fourth of July celebration. I couldn’t help noticing that the lawn where we were stationed to view the parade was almost totally taken over by the bindweed. It had smothered most of the lawn which is now almost totally bindweed.

Hmmmmm! Maybe we ought to let Convolvulus arvensis take over, then we wouldn’t have to mow or water or worry and we would still have some sort of ground cover. This is just a thought. The old “if you can’t lick ‘em, join ‘em” philosophy.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Continued Story of our Flight to Brazil

I wanted to continue the story of our flight to Brazil. It was long and it was stressful and I thought it would never end.

How grateful I was that my dear husband was in the seat beside me during the 13-hour flight from Atlanta to Brazil. Try as I might, I could not sleep. The Brazilian teenagers were constantly on the move milling around in the plane and loudly talking, talking, talking—in Portuguese. We had been tutored in Portuguese for several months prior to our leaving, but our command of the language was seriously lacking. So, while listening to their conversations might have been somewhat entertaining under the circumstances, not understanding the language turned it into distressing noise. I realized that my feelings of isolation would have been total if I had not had my husband to consult and converse with.

They did quiet down and sleep for several hours when they turned the lights of the plane down. However, that did not help me—blessed, comforting sleep still eluded me, except for short snatches measured in minutes. It was some of the longest 13 hours I have ever had to endure. How grateful I was when we finally touched down.

When we left the plane, the Brazilian pilot said some very kindly words to us as we passed by him to move down the stairs to the tarmac. We realized we were going to board a shuttle to take us to the Guarulhos Airport building. I can’t remember how far away the building was, but I remember it taking several minutes to travel there.

When we entered, we could see a very long line of passengers, weaving back and forth in the controlling dividers; all waiting to go through customs. A family from the U.S. in front of us was very concerned because they only had about an hour before they were to board their connecting flight to continue on to Manaus, Brazil, where they were going to pick up their son who had completed his two-year mission. What a pleasure it was to actually be able to talk to someone in English.

We were at the end of the line and accepted the fact that it would take quite awhile to complete this process. I knew this was our “hold-the-breath” part of entering Brazil since we could be singled out to have our luggage searched. When a Brazilian Airport employee came up to us, asked to see our passports and then motioned us to follow him, my only thought was that the worst was about to happen—a luggage search. We dutifully and reluctantly followed him, and what gratitude filled my heart when we realized he was ushering us to.the.front.of.the.line. I only felt a little guilty about our “crowding in” and we subsequently sailed through customs. It seems that Brazilians have great respect for those who have lived on this planet for a quite a while—you know, those of us who are older. Never have I been quite so glad that I was “older” than at that wonderful moment when our passports were stamped and we walked on through to begin our sojourn on Brazil soil.


Monday, August 18, 2008

A Small Miracle

Our mission for our Church to Brazil was in 2004-2005. One of the first things we did in preparation was to purchase a digital camera so we could record some of the memories we created there. However, after nine months into our mission, our apartment was entered and among the things that were stolen from us was our laptop computer, our flash drive with all the backups from that computer, and the memory card containing all the pictures we had taken during those first months. The police were ineffective and so our things were lost and gone forever (a story in and of itself).

Thank goodness I had the camera with me, so we didn't lose it. We began to take pictures once again. I have to admit I was not as persistent as I had been in the first months, but the ones I took were very important to us.

At the end of my mission I became ill and struggled through the last two months to the end. I did manage to save our pictures to a disk to bring home with us. Unfortunately, when we arrived home, I realized I had not labeled the CD with the pictures. As I put all the disks into the computer one by one, the message was that each was unreadable. I had given an empty CD to one of the missionary elders, and I became convinced that I had inadvertently given the CD with my pictures on it to him. So, again, I thought I had lost all these pictures.

I recently got a brand new computer and was upgraded in the process from Windows 2000 to Vista. I started having a little thought keep nagging at me to go through those "empty" CDs again. I began to wonder about the possibility about an incompatibility between Windows 2000 and the XP version that was on the mission office's computer. That was one of the reasons I got a new computer in the first place, because I was working with a program that was no longer compatible with Windows 2000.

I said a fervent prayer and asked to find those pictures on one of the still "empty" CDs. I put the first one in, but no pictures were there. The second one came up and I shed tears of joy as I saw my pictures pop into view.

It was a small miracle of great proportions to us and we are so very grateful.


Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sunday Thoughts

"Kind words not only lift our spirits in the moment they are given, but they can linger with us over the years. . . .Kindness is the essence of greatness and the fundamental characteristic of the noblest men and women I have known. Kindness is a passport that opens doors and fashions friends. It softens hearts and molds relationships that can last lifetimes. . . Kindness is the essence of a celestial life. Kindness is how a Christlike person treats others. Kindness should permeate all of our words and actions at work, at school, at church, and especially in our homes."
Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin
As I have contemplated establishing a blog, I thought I wanted to write about everyday occurrences and my thoughts about them. However, all that seems to come into my mind to post about has to do with the experiences we had on our mission to Brazil. So, I decided that that will be the point of my blog—at least for now. Also, because it is my blog, if I happen to want to vent about discuss current affairs or pertinent happenings in my life, I’ll do that too.
I remember flying out of Salt Lake City, Utah, feeling a little sad to be leaving home. But my dear husband was by my side and we were having this adventure together, so the sadness left and excitement took its place.

We had packed half of the vitamin supplements and medication that we would need for the 18 months that we would be gone. I was a little concerned that we would have our suitcases checked by customs upon our entry into Brazil, but we needed those supplements for our well being. So we pressed on with much faith that our needs would be taken care of (more about this later).

I can’t remember much about the stopover in Atlanta, Georgia, so it must have been pretty ordinary. Ordinary, that is, until we boarded the flight for Brazil. By then, it was evening. Our seat assignments were very strange in that we were separated by about 8 rows; I was concerned about that but not overly concerned as it looked like there were going to be plenty of extra seats on the plane. I just figured that when we got on our way, my husband could come back to where I was sitting.

That is, I thought that until the last minute, when the plane was taken over boarded by a large group of Brazilian teenagers—my estimate would be about 30-35 of high-energy kids. The empty seats were filling up fast and I was filled with dismay bordering on terror at the thought of a 13-hour noisy, nighttime flight without my husband by my side. There was one empty seat to the side of me and I began praying in earnest that it would remain empty. My prayers were answered, for as we prepared to lift off the seat was still empty. I staggered walked forward until I caught my husband’s eye, and motioned him to come back to me. It was the beginning of 18 months of the Lord’s tender mercies for His children.
I'm feeling good about deciding to chronicle our experiences and adventures in Brazil. It was certainly a life-altering time for us and the growth that we experienced continues to ripple forward. It is one of those cases of not knowing where the alternate road would have taken us had we made different choices. We only know that our lives have been greatly enriched through our mission to Brazil and we are forever grateful.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Looking Back

Three years ago this month we were counting down to the end of our mission to Brazil. From time to time I will be sharing experiences from our time there. In a way it seems like a dream, but having some of these thoughts and happenings written down help to bring all those memories back.

You may not believe me when I say that when people talked about cockroaches, I thought they were talking about little nuisance bugs (with the emphasis on little). Part of the education I received in Brazil was an introduction to the real deal--The Cockroach. Arrrgh!

Now when people talk about cockroaches, I can nod my head and sympathize completely. Here I share my major encounters with this big (emphasis on big) pest:

I met a cockroach for the first time at the mission office. I always thought cockroaches were little nuisance bugs that got in your cupboards and generally made life miserable. Well, I saw for myself firsthand that cockroaches are pretty big and quite ugly and very fast. This cockroach scuttled out from behind one of the desks, but as soon as he knew someone was after him, he took off. President Urry finally found his hiding place, chased him out and dispatched him.

If I hadn’t seen that first cockroach, I wouldn’t have realized that the big, ugly thing that I spotted in our courtyard was a cockroach. I quickly found a rolled up newspaper and though he was fast, I caught up with him and smacked him until I was sure he wasn’t going anywhere. I noticed a couple of other dead cockroaches at the same time.

Finding them in the courtyard was bad enough, but then I met one in our apartment (shudder). I got up in the night to make a trip to the bathroom. In the pale glow of the nightlight, I could see a fairly large dark object on the floor in front of the bathroom sink. I wondered if Elder Gross had inadvertently dropped something, but I felt a need to be very cautious. I stood in the doorway trying to decide what it was and what I was going to do. I finally turned the hall light on and could see the ugly thing just sitting there. Three times the thought came to me to just stomp on it, but three times everything inside me said an emphatic “no!” I hated to let it out of my sight, but finally bolted down the hall to the kitchen and found the can of RAID. When I got back to the bathroom, I was grateful to see that it had not moved. However, the minute I sprayed it, Mr. Cockroach took off like lightening disappearing behind the door and I squealed in shock and surprise.

I quickly turned the bathroom light on and gingerly swung the door back to reveal that he had climbed halfway up the corner of the wall, so I sprayed him again and again. My, they are fast, but he was suffering the effects of the spray and did not go far before he was on his back. And where was Elder Gross, you might ask—well, he slept through the whole ordeal.

The next day was P-day for us so we purchased a package of six RAID traps. We put several out in the courtyard, one in the storage room just off the courtyard, one in the bathroom and one in the kitchen. The cockroach is supposed to be drawn to this trap, walk through it and pick up the poison, then carry it back to infect the nest. They last for three months, and since we put them out, we have discovered only one dead cockroach in the courtyard. Hopefully he carried the stuff back to the nest before he expired.

My next encounter with a cockroach was at the office on Transfer Day. There were missionaries all around and the energy was high. I was busy working with the files. I noticed that someone had left a cookie crumb behind, balanced precariously on the papers of one file (I wonder which Elder it was who did that). I got rid of the evidence and proceeded to take the papers out of the file folder. I was shuffling the papers to straighten them, when something hit my hand and then hit the floor. To my absolute horror, I saw that it was a cockroach. The papers landed on the floor, I had a little squealing attack, and the Elders who were in the office had a good laugh. Then they tried to find it and destroy it, but alas it got away. One Elder made me feel better when he said he had “injured” it. Therefore, I could picture it laying somewhere on its back and thus be able to work without feeling too buggy. A few days later, we walked into the empty, silent office and spotted one lurking in the corner. We were able to get rid of it; whether it was the same one or his buddy I’ll never know.

When we first arrived in Brazil, President Urry warned us not to leave any food out, EVER. He even told us that he wouldn’t use a drinking glass left out from the night before. He explained that bugs (especially cockroaches) carry disease and can sicken someone if they crawl around on your food, or toothbrush, or glass, etc. All I could think of was that it had landed momentarily in my hand on its way to the floor. Ewwwwww!!!


The funniest picture that I have of cockroaches is one I never actually witnessed--just heard about. Some of the Elders related to me that one of the more adventurous Elders applied glue to the backs of two cockroaches and then turned them loose. They would each battle to put their feet to the floor to make their getaway. So first one cockroach, and then the other would overcome to be the runner. I can't even imagine how he could manage to apply the glue except to actually touch them. I've also wondered whatever happened to the two hapless cockroaches, but it still strikes me funny to imagine how they looked in their mad dash.


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sunday Musings

If you live for the next world, you get this one in the deal;
but if you live only for this world, you lose them both.
C. S. Lewis

We watched several of the Americans who won medals in the on-going Olympics last night. We were tremendously happy and proud of their accomplishments, not only for their personal achievements, but as representatives of our country.

I am, however, very sad that so few of our athletes seem to know the words to our National Anthem. Over the years this has been the norm. In past Olympics, some have attempted to sing the lyrics, but gave up in the process. I realize they have just won a medal and they are supremely excited, but in my estimation, it would add to their honor if they could sing along as the Anthem is being played. But perhaps I am asking too much.

My husband and I served a Church Mission to Brazil several years ago. While we were attending a stake conference meeting there, the leaders decided at the last minute to substitute the National Anthem of Brasil for one of the hymns they were planning to sing since it was their Independence Day. I was in awe as I listened and watched the wonderful Brazilian people sing with gusto their national anthem--young children included. You could feel their love for their country as they sang. I especially watched in amazement those young children around us in the congregation, keeping up with the warmly spirited, quite complicated lyrics and never missing a beat. I told my husband, I wish Brazil would win just one gold medal so the World could see them sing their national anthem--for I am certain they could sing along.

Nevertheless, I am proud of the accomplishments our athletes achieve and have achieved through the years. They sacrifice much in order to take part in the Olympics and I admire their grit and determination.


Friday, August 8, 2008

Ode to a Normal Day

When I decided I wanted to enter the blogging world, I thought I would like to begin by posting some thoughts written by someone who is anonymous to me. I received it long ago during a lesson being given at Church. It struck me as rather a profound way to look at life, during those days that are so ordinary they may seem a little monotonous, but especially those days that my path through life gets a little rocky.

Yesterday, when my daughter was here she got on the computer and before I knew it she had helped me set up this blog. I posted some thoughts that I had recently written because with two little kids "helping" us, I didn't have time to compose my thoughts.

So, without further ado, here is what was going to be my first post:

"It was a routine day--mostly washing, ironing, a trip to the store, meals, and dishes. It was pleasant here and there--a letter from an old friend, my husband's phone call for no particular reason, a half-hour with a good book, some loud laughs with my children at dinner time.

It was irritating now and then--a sticky ocean of spilled syrup, the crying of the tired children, the bathtub that ran over and the snub of a neighbor. It was frightening in some ways--Mom's waning health and increasing discouragement, the big blowup after dinner about homework and learning to accept responsibility, and the guilt that followed my hasty words.

It was blessed with love, in a pig-shaped breadboard made and presented to me by my son, in the wave of tenderness as I watched my cherubs sleeping in soft moonlight, long lashes shadowing their cheeks; in an hour alone at the end of the day with my husband.

Just a normal day!

A normal day! It is a jewel! In time of war, in peril of death, people have dug their hands and faces into the earth and remembered this. In time of sickness and pain, people have buried their faces in pillows and wept for this. In time of loneliness and separation, people have stretched themselves taut and waited for this. In time of hunger, homelessness, and want, people have raised bony hands to the skies and stayed alive for this.

Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me not pass you by in a quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it will not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want more than all the world--your return."

It is my hope that I will always savor every common, ordinary, normal, maybe even a little boring, day.


Thursday, August 7, 2008

What's important?

When I was a child, Santa was so real to me. When my brothers trumpeted the information that he wasn’t real, I was crushed. It was like Santa had died—indeed, it was the death of an illusion and it was very painful to me.
When we married and our family started arriving, we did the Santa thing. However, we never made too big a deal about it—perhaps because of my distressing experience. At that time, it wasn’t “the thing” to get your children’s picture sitting on Santa’s lap. In fact, I don’t really remember making it a point to take my children to see Santa so they could ask him for stuff. I didn’t think it was all that important.
There came a time, however, when my fourth child was getting to the age where children begin to figure things out. Somehow, I knew I needed to make a decision about what I would say about Santa if he should ask me about it. As I pondered my dilemma, I realized that there are many myths we carry on in the world today—the main ones are Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the tooth fairy. If we make a big deal out of these myths and sometimes even lie to our children when they ask, what happens to our teachings about God and our Savior? I wanted my children to learn to love our Heavenly Father and our Savior, who are very real, though they cannot be seen. I wanted my children’s hearts to be touched whenever I bore my testimony about their reality. I wanted them to gain testimonies of their reality for themselves.
If we tell them Santa Claus is real, and he is not; if we tell them the Easter Bunny is real, and he is not; if we tell them the Tooth Fairy is real and she is not; then we tell them Heavenly Father and the Savior are real--and they are--I ask you, what are they to think? What conclusion can they draw? I didn’t want to take any chances in leading my children away from the truth, even a little bit.
I decided if I were to be asked point blank, I would tell the story about St. Nicolas in Holland—how it was the custom for the children to leave their wooden shoes on the doorstep of their homes whenever they entered. On Christmas Eve, good old St. Nicolas loved the children and would go around and leave little gifts in their shoes to surprise them. When the old man died, the parents carried this fun annual tradition forward.
It wasn’t long before my son asked me the big question—is Santa Claus real? Because of my ponderings, I was prepared with my answer. I wondered if I had been prompted by the Spirit. I answered his question with my story and he accepted it and went on his way. I thought that was the end of it—but no, it wasn’t.
Shortly afterward, he had lost something—I think it was some money, but I’m not certain. I remember suggesting to him that we pray to Heavenly Father and ask His help in finding his lost item. He shocked me when he answered, “You’re Heavenly Father!” How grateful I was when I could honestly reply to his astonishing statement, telling him that I relied also on Heavenly Father myself when I needed help. So, we prayed together. When we were finished, I headed for my bedroom and got down on my knees and begged the Lord to answer his prayer. It was a testimony to me and to my son, that he immediately found what he had been looking for.
We continued to do the Santa thing, but as before it wasn’t greatly stressed. I don’t think my children have been deprived in any way. The most important thing to me is to teach the truth about Heavenly Father, the Savior, and about the gospel that has been restored anew to the world. It may not be “politically correct”, but that is my sacred duty.