The Eternal Family

Peaceful mornings

What comes first, wife or mother?  Well, wife of course.  At least here in my home.  I know that it doesn’t seem like that on many occasions, but wife is truly my primary focus.  You may think… well, you should focus on your children first.  There are hours upon hours in the day that I get to focus on the children, but only so many minutes that I get to focus on being a wife.

The alarm rings… it’s five twenty in the morning.  I struggle out from under the covers to slap that horrid bell and let me sleep for nine more minutes.  It blares again, slap.  The third time I manage to switch it off and I fumble my way to the bathroom.  It’s five thirty-eight.  Who wants to be out of bed at five thirty-eight?  Not a single person.  I don’t care if you are a morning person. . . if you could sleep until six, wouldn’t you?  Of course you would.  (If you wouldn’t, you just shoosh.)

I make my way to the kitchen and flip on the light switch and blind myself for a nanosecond while my eyes adjust, the sun isn’t even up yet.  Open the pantry, grab my husband’s lunch pail and open it up.  What can I toss in there this morning to just be done with this routine?  Ice, water, Gatorade, soda, granola bar, cheese round, chips, dessert… still no sandwich.  Why do I have to make a sandwich?  The sun isn’t even up yet.  Miracle Whip, lunch meat, cheese block, bread. . . gently spread on just the right amount of dressing, three slices of honey ham, cut some cheddar cheese, place it on.  Done.

No, not done.  I pick the cheese knife back up and cut the sandwich lovingly in half and get out the sandwich bag.  I place the sandwich neatly in the bag, zip it closed and place it on top of everything else to prevent it from getting squished.  I love my husband.  This is one of those moments where I get to be a wife first.

The children are still snoozing, and I know my husband loves when I make time for him.  IMG_1500bwEven when that time is just the three seconds it takes to cut a sandwich in half.

You see, I will always have children, but they will only live here with me for a short time in this life.  They each get their time with me, but when they are all grown and begin their own families, I will be here in our home with my husband.

We will sit side by side and share a sandwich.  A sandwich cut in two.


The Eternal Family

How horrible am I ?

Well, let me tell you how horrible I am.  If you are reading this, you are about to be inundated with blog posts for the next week and a half.

I went to class last night, and realized that writing in my blog is my capstone project for Fundamentals of Religion 200, and that I have not been working on the project at all.  As you can tell, from the lack of blog posts.  So, here I am.

I have been doing really well about reading or listening to my scriptures every day, but what I really want to share is a project that I just finished up for my religion course.

I began the project by taking the five love languages quiz for myself.  I then had my two teenage daughters and my husband take the quiz to discover which way each of them felt love.  Armed with this knowledge, I set out to love each of them each day for two weeks in a manner in which they felt love.    I then wrote in my journal each day how I loved each of them.

Let me just say, do not do this the same way I did.  Go ahead and have your family take the quiz.  But DO NOT try to focus on three people at the same time.  I feel as if the project was a failure, but I still learned.

Next up… loving each of them one at a time for two weeks.  Obviously, I am going to make sure that I still love all of my family members, but I am going to focus on getting better loving them in a way that they need one at a time until I have it down.

Husband… here I come. Watch out!


2 Nephi

2 Nephi 33

2 Nephi 33 is the last chapter in 2 Nephi, as I said in my last post, I am super sad that it is coming to an end, but all things must at one point.

Verse 3 has hit home for me.  “But I Nephi, have written what I have written, and I esteem it as of great worth, and especially unto my people.”  I, Samantha, have read what Nephi has written and I esteem it as of great worth, and especially unto my family. Verse 3 continues; “For I pray continually for them by day, and mine eyes water my pillow at night, because of them; and I cry unto my God in faith, and I know that he will hear my cry.”  For I, Samantha, pray continually for my family by day and I cry on my pillow at night because of how much I want for them and how much I worry on their behalf; and I cry unto Heavenly Father in faith knowing that he will hear my prayer and pleas.

Nephi then shares some of his soul with us again and he tells us that he has spoken harshly of sin, which is indeed true.  There is no place in this world or in the hearts of men for sin, we must repent and come unto Christ.  I particularly love verse six which reads: “I glory in plainness; I glory in truth; I glory in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my soul from hell.”  Nephi shares so much of himself in his writing and I love his words.  The words of Nephi are glorious to my soul and they are indeed plain.  He continues to tell us that if we believe in Christ, that we will believe in the words which he has shared with us because they are the words of Jesus Christ and that these words are meant to teach all men to do good.

I will leave this with you in the name of Jesus Christ and also my parting word for the end of 2 Nephi, please, pray and ask God if these words are true that you might know for yourself and then go here and read.  Feast upon the words of Jesus Christ. Amen.

1 Nephi

1 Nephi 18

We know that the family of Lehi was in the wilderness for a span of 8 years, and they are no longer there, so we can guess that Nephi and his brothers finish building the ship which they are commanded to build in about 591 BC or so.  Nephi prayed regularly for guidance on how to build this ship and where he should go to get materials.  The ship was done and everyone was humbled before God for the great work that they had completed.  Now, they are at the beach, and I know it’s 591 BC or so, but don’t people go to the beach?  Can you imagine being a beach-goer and seeing this large family camped upon the beach building a ship?  I imagine this is quite a sight!

Upon further direction from the Lord, the family gathers what they need to put on their ship.  I see this much like I see Noah loading up his family and all of the animals prior to the great flood.  “Load up,” is what I say to my family when it’s time to get in the car.  I can see Lehi and Nephi standing at the ramp to get in the ship, herding their very large family on board.  In verse 7, we learn that Lehi and Sariah had two additional children over the course of their journeys in the wilderness; Jacob and Joseph.

Verse 8 is ships ahoy!  And after several days of journeying at sea; Laman, Lemuel and their brothers-in-law begin enjoy themselves a little too much and begin to be very rude.  Nephi, afraid of what the Lord may think of this, speaks to them about their behavior and once again, these men think that they ought to kill Nephi.  I am amazed once again.  I am sure that over the course of my life, I have said “I’m going to kill her” to myself about one of my sisters, but I never meant it and I never actually constructed a plan (or five like that of Nephi’s brothers.)  So the brethren bind Nephi up so tight that he couldn’t even move and they are shown the wrath of God once again.

A nasty storm comes. The storm is mean, and so fierce that the ship is about “to be swallowed up in the depths of the sea.”  It took four days for these men to realize that they needed to repent and let Nephi down from where they tied him up.  And this after Lehi and the young boys Jacob and Joseph and others plead with them to let Nephi go.  Nephi knew and wrote in verse 20 “there was nothing save it were the power of God, which threatened them with destruction, could soften their hearts.”  This is so sad.  It brings tears to my eyes.  We have people like this abundantly on earth today.  People that must be threatened with destruction from their maker in order to choose the right path.  Can you see your wife, (or if you’re female, you) at the feet of others begging and crying and pleading in sorry and prayer to let you (or your husband) to be released?  Feel the power and emotion behind this.  Feel the bond of marriage and feel the love.

When Nephi was released, Nephi went to his knees in prayer, asking for help and praying for God to guide them once again and to please stop this storm.

The Book of Mormon timeline shows that in approximately 589 BC that the ship arrived “at the promised land.”  The family of Lehi debark and set up camp.  They then promptly started to get things prepared for harvest, to grow food for themselves and verse 24 says “we were blessed in abundance.” family-lehi-camped-promised-land-447698-gallery

I am so thankful for the loving family that I have and for living in this time of comforts that we have here on earth today.  I am grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who will always be there when I need Him, which is every single day.  I am grateful to know that He offers second and third and fourth chances.  I am grateful for the Book of Mormon and all that it brings into my life and I am grateful for BYU-Idaho Pathway that I have this opportunity to grow and learn in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  And I write this in His name, my Savior and Redeemer, Amen.

1 Nephi

1 Nephi 15

This week I will be using the study skill called visualize.  With this study skill, I will be looking for the setting (who is there, the time, the place, where and what is going on,) looking for details in the text and asking questions to fill in my mental picture.  I hope that this weeks posts will be helpful to you as you study the Book of Mormon too.

Imagine being in the wilderness with your family for years, sleeping in tents, enduring the weather, delivering babies, having to hunt for your food.  This is the scene where Nephi begins this chapter.  Nephi is in this wilderness and coming around from his vision and he goes to Lehi’s tent.  He comes across his older brothers, arguing again trying to figure out if what Lehi had told them was true.  Nephi says he was grieved because of the hardness of his brothers’ hearts.  Grieved, think of this simple word.  I grieve at the loss of a family member, I grieve at the loss of a friend.  Imagine this pain over the hardness of your brothers heart. I know as a parent, I have grieved over some of the choices that my children have made and I do have three siblings of whom I have good relationships with, but never, have I grieved over their choices.  So, in my imaginations, Nephi’s pain for his brothers is deep and his heart is wounded on behalf of them.  In verse 3, Nephi tells us that Lehi spoke many things that would be difficult to understand unless one asked of God.  Furthermore, in verse 4 Nephi was grieved because of the things which he had seen in his vision, knowing that his brothers would continue in this path that would not lead them to the tree of life.  Nephi was then overwhelmed due to his afflictions and thought that his burden was heavy because he knew that his people would be destroyed; but he regained his strength and was able to speak to his brothers.  He asks his brothers what they are arguing about.

Laman and Lemuel tell Nephi that they do not understand what Lehi had meant regarding the natural branches of the olive tree or about the Gentiles.  Nephi asks them kindly “have ye inquired of the Lord?”  Having love for a sibling is quite wondrous, and I have never used the same words that Nephi did with his brothers, but I know many times over the past couple of years, I have said to my sisters “turn it over to the Lord.”  I can imagine myself in Nephi’s shoes.  He wants to be able to help his brothers, but he knows his brothers have to be willing to help themselves too.  Here along the side is a not so great IMG_0107picture of myself, my three sisters and our father.  Each of us have had our own burdens and trials throughout our lives to this point, but we are family, and I know that if one of us were truly grieving for another, that we would all be grieving.

Laman and Lemuel then tell Nephi that God has not made things known to them.  I ask, is it God’s responsibility to tell us everything, or is it our responsibility to learn?  We are the children, He is the Father.  He tells us that if we ask, we shall receive, if we knock it shall be opened.  But if we do not ask or do not knock, what have we? Nothing is the answer, we have nothing.  Nephi asks his brothers why they don’t keep the commandments of the Lord and why they have allowed their hearts to be hardened.  He follows this by asking if they remember the things that the Lord said: “If ye will not harden your hearts, and ask me in faith, believing that ye shall receive, with diligence in keeping my commandments, surely these things shall be made known unto you.”   This seems pretty simple to me; follow the rules, ask your Father in faith and you will have the answer that you seek.  I know that this doctrine is true.  I have been in the shoes of Laman and Lemuel, I have doubted and then have remembered my Heavenly Father and turned to Him and the Savior and had my questions answered.

Nephi is so full of love for his brothers, that instead of waiting for them to humble themselves before the Lord, he answers the questions that they have.  Can you visualize the patience and love radiating from Nephi as he explains to his brothers what will become of their extended families in the future?  Can you see the confusion on the faces of Laman and Lemuel as they begin to comprehend the plan of God?  Can you feel the Holy Ghost wash over Nephi as he tells them of Jesus Christ and His ministry and manifestation to their grandchildren?

I had to take a break from writing this post to build a couple of castles with my toddler.  As I come back and she is sitting behind me smashing the castles to pieces, I read 1 Nephi 15:14-15.  They read: “And at that day shall the remnant of our seed know that they are of the house of Israel, and that they are the covenant people of the Lord; and then shall they know and come to the knowledge of their forefathers, and also to the knowledge of the gospel of their Redeemer, which was ministered unto their fathers by him; wherefore they shall come to the knowledge of their Redeemer and the very points of his doctrine, that they may know how to come unto him and be saved. And then at that day will they not rejoice and give praise unto their everlasting God, their rock and their salvation? Yea, at that day, will they not receive the strength and nourishment from the true vine? Yea, will they not come unto the true fold of God?”  As I read these two verses, I was  overwhelmed with a warm feeling of love that brought tears of joy to my eyes.  I can envision myself there, I can feel the love of our Heavenly Father and our Redeemer.

This chapter continues on with Nephi patiently explaining the meaning of Lehi’s vision to his brothers. He tells them in plain words about the tree of life and of the rod of iron. He then continues to tell them with “all the energies of my soul” to keep the commandments they have been given.  Can you see the stress in Nephi’s face as he pleads with his brothers to be Christlike, to be obedient and loving?  Have you ever had a conversation with a loved one that brought you to your knees simply pleading with them, with all of the energy of your soul for them to follow the light?  I can out myself there, I can feel the power standing next to a prophet of God.  How does it feel to watch President Thomas S Monson deliver a talk on conference Sunday?  I know that I am completely uplifted and my soul delights in his word.  I can not imagine the joy that I could feel if I were actually in the conference center let alone, standing next to him as he plead for eternal safety for a family member.

Needless to say, Nephi continues to explain patiently and kindly to his brethren the meaning of Lehi’s vision and thus this chapter ends.

Tomorrow we will still be in the wilderness, but some great things will come about.  I hope you read then and remember some of the wonderful messages from General Conference this weekend.  Don’t forget to “ponderize.”

I write this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.