So I'm a little behind. But I've been plugging away at this challenge and have been really good about reading every day. In just two weeks, I'll be getting together with my mom and sisters and sisters in law and we'll all be reporting back on how we did on this scripture challenge. I'm determined to finish strong!
Jared and I have been talking quite a bit this past month about family history since that was the topic of our recent Stake Conference and as it was the assigned topic for the ward conference we had yesterday.
I've really pondered this scripture which offers a powerful prophesy for our day:
"Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse." (Malachi 4:5-6)
Usually, when we talk about this passage, we talk about it in reference to doing geneology and temple work. But when I think of "turning the hearts," I also think of the importance of getting to know our ancestors through learning about their stories, their personalities, their struggles, their passions. My heart is far more turned towards the real person who materializes when I know a bit about them than by the simple name and date in geneological records.
So along with working to find more names of our ancestors, as we've been challenged to do by our Stake Presidency, Jared and I have been stepping up our efforts to get to know our ancestors better and help our children do the same. Now that we have afternoon church, the kids and I sit down to have "ancestor story time" at 9am or so every Sunday morning. We're blessed to have a lot of stories my parents have passed on to me from my side of the family and we're working to gather more stories from Jared's side of the family.
Last week, I shared a great story about my great grandmother, Ida, that my mom recently found and sent to me. She was a wonderful woman who prided herself on milking a cow faster than any man and who taught her 10 children to work hard, to be great musicians, to play hard and pray hard. She died of the Spanish flu along with her two youngest babies when she was just 38 years old. My kids were especially excited to hear more of Ida's story because our house is named Ida. The kids chose the name after we looked up all the most popular names back in the 1880's when this house was built and "Ida" jumped out at them - they knew it was an ancestor name, loved when we read the book "Ida B" aloud, liked that it's the first part of Idaho and we love spending time in Ashton, Idaho and Bear Lake, Idaho, and liked that it's not too flowery but still a pretty name.
Yesterday, Jared told the kids a bunch of stories about his dear dad who passed away almost exactly 4 years ago and whose memory we want to keep vibrant for the kids. He talked about how grandpa had the foresight to rally farmers in the area around the expensive and important project of putting in a canal system that has proved to be so important for irrigation in the area. He talked about how grandpa was a wise army captain and bishop and was great at giving advice because he didn't say too much - he just said what was necessary and let things run their course where it was appropriate. He talked about how Grandpa was a member of the state legislature and how he lived in Boise for chunks of time while the legislature was in session and Jared got to go visit him and stay in a cool old hotel with radiators that scared him in the night with their loud clanging.
There was such a beautiful spirit of love in the room as we talked about these stories. Truly, our hearts are turned as we share and hear the stories that are part of the fabric of who we are, stories that inspire us to be better and do better, stories that make us laugh and help us love.