Saturday, January 16, 2016

Back to school again...

Here I am resurrecting my blog for the purposes of completing an assignment.

Last summer, in June maybe it was, I received a new church calling. I am a counselor in the Relief Society Presidency in the Kimball Stake in Mesa Arizona. Metzie Phelps is our President, an amazing lady I am happy to socialize with.  Lottie Montgomery is the 1st counselor, and I am the 2nd, and Maelynn Warren was the secretary... she has since moved from the stake and we'll be getting a new counselor this weekend.

In the fall, we attended the ward conferences in our Stake - and as part of the 3rd hour meeting, the RS Presidency was asked to share some time with the Pathway missionaries in the area, as they made a presentation to each ward.  So, I heard the Pathway message 7-8 times in a few weeks.  The Pathway program is run through BYU-I online, and is a way for individuals in the LDS church to attend college and finish their degree at a greatly reduced cost.  Pathway students attend a gathering each week, and work online to complete a religion class and another class ( general studies, English, Math) for 3 semesters and then they may matriculate on to BYU-I online.  As I heard this message again and again, I started getting that nagging that it was time for me to complete my schooling.

A little background, I attended the University of Wyoming starting in 1985, after I graduated. I had a scholarship that paid for my tuition, and so that determined I would go there.  (there's a little irony in that I had initially thought I would attend Rick's College in Rexburg, which eventually became BYU-I.  ) After 3 years of UW, I began the next fall semester, and was a little frustrated - hadn't found that special guy, and was struggling a little in my major.  My dad had once told me that he thought I would go on a mission, and I resisted that idea.  At the beginning of the semester, I prayed and told Heavenly Father, that if I didn't meet someone by the end of that year, THEN I would consider going on a mission.  Well, of course, He had different plans.  Sometime in September, or October, I was sitting next to Sister Hurst, the bishop's wife, during sacrament meeting.  I was not sitting by my friends, so perhaps I was more open to the Spirit. During that meeting, I got the distinct impression that I needed to go on a mission.  I didn't really WANT to go, but after that, I knew that the Lord wanted me to go, and so I did.  I had my mission call by Thanksgiving, and on February 1, 1989, I entered the MTC to head to the England Leeds mission.  Not a bad way to derail the finishing of college.

When I returned home, it was to Mesa Arizona. My family had moved there from Wyoming in May of 1987.  So, it was far from Wyoming, and I had no money to return to college.  I began working at waitressing again, and found a position with a bank soon after that.  I met my sweetheart Mark Brown in the fall of 1991 in a singles choir, and we married in August 1992.  I worked full time in the banking industry for many years, as Mark finished his schooling and he became an accountant.  Our beautiful children were born along the way, Brennan in 1994, Jessica in 1997, and Mallory in 2001.  I loved taking care of my husband and children, and working, though occasionally the thought would come of someday finishing my degrees.  I was established in my profession, and was making good money, so it wasn't terribly important at the time.

Fast forward a few years, and a wrench was thrown into my plan of my happy family life.  My dear Mark was diagnosed with a Ewing's Sarcoma tumor in his calf, in May of 2012.   After two and a half years of battling that awful cancer, he died in October of 2014.  I was fortunate to have been working part time during those few years, as he was working at Banner in Healthcare Finance to support our family, and therefore able to spend a good amount of time taking care of him and our family.  I was also fortunate upon his passing to have the means to pay off our mortgage, and therefore our monthly budget wasn't as strained with only my salary.  I was approached by my employer, a non profit tuition organization, to work full time, and receive insurance benefits, which I accepted and am grateful for.

So, now, as I have sent my Jessica off to college at Utah State University in Logan, Brennan has returned from his mission in Sweden and started classes at Arizona State University, and Mallory is a freshman at Mesa High School, I found myself ready to continue my education again.  I am certain that the time was not right when my children were younger to complete my degree - it would have taken me away from spending time with them, and also the time I had to be with my sweetheart.  I do believe that the Lord had a hand in that. I have begun this classwork through Pathway, one of the assignments is to Put it All Together, and I am going to do my best at that.  (hence the resurrection of the blog...)

The lesson assignment for the Religion class, The Book of Mormon, was 1 Nephi 1-5.  Now, I probably couldn't count how many times I have read those first five books of The Book of Mormon. Probably more times than I've read the END of the Book of Mormon.

The Book of Mormon contains accounts of many people who lived in ancient times, beginning with Lehi and his family. They left Jerusalem after the Lord warned them to leave, after Lehi prophesied to the people concerning their iniquity, and they sought to take his life.  Lehi had four sons, two of whom were murmurers, not so happy with what their father was requesting them to do, and two of whom were more righteous, and willing to follow their father, and they knew he was following the Lord.

So, Lehi, took his family and departed into the wilderness, by the Red Sea. They left behind their home and property, and many belongings. The older sons, Laman and Lemuel, were not so keen at having to have left all their things, and called their father a visionary man.  1 Nephi 2:12 says they "did murmur against their father. And they did murmur because they knew not the dealings of that God who had created them."  On the flip side of that coin, Nephi was more in tune with the Spirit of the Lord.  Verse 12 in the same chapter -  "I, Nephi, being exceedingly young, nevertheless being large in stature, and also having great desires to know of the mysteries of God, wherefore, I did cry unto the Lord" - he was more open to the teaching of his father, because he had faith.

As we discussed these few chapters in our class gathering this week, we talked about the difference between these brothers.  We decided that it came down to Pride... Laman & Lemuel were very prideful.  Perhaps being the older brothers increased their pride, and they apparently enjoyed the wealth that their family had accumulated.  So, it was quite a blow to them when they had to leave it all behind.  (They were later sent back to aquire some of those belongings, but it wasn't the easiest task to complete. )   On the other hand, Nephi and his brother Sam were much more humble.  They were not ruled by pride. They had faith and believed in the words that their father had prophesied, and knew that he would do the best for their family.

I am looking forward to a more in-depth study of the Book of Mormon. It has been a few years since I have studied it individually, or with my family. As our children grew and more involvement in school and work came about, we weren't as diligent with family study time.  I am thankful for the opportunity to learn, to teach and to share the things that I am learning with my family and others.


No comments: