Monday, May 21, 2012

My Little Brother's Wedding

My "little" brother Ryan got married in the Los Angeles Temple (of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) on Saturday, and Eric and I had the privilege of attending. 


We were actually married in the same temple 13 years ago, so it was an extra sweet day.  (Grace took this nice photo from the back of the temple.)

  

My mother, after 53 years of raising eight children, is finally an "empty nester." When I reminded her of that, she said, "But I don't want to be.  I want my children all around me, staying the night, making cookies, going to the park . . . I miss all of you."

I loved spending the day with her.


Here's a photo of Ryan and his wife, Cassie, right after the wedding.  Ryan found the most darling bride.  I'm so excited to have her as my sister-in-law. 
 
Weddings in the temple are fairly small (about 50 guests attended this one.)  Many of my friends at the reception wanted to know more about what happens during a temple wedding, so I thought I'd explain a little bit about it here.

In our church, we believe that the temple is literally the House of God.  It is very sacred to us, and those who enter need to be members of the Church in good standing (meaning that our actions reflect the principles we believe).

A temple wedding is actually referred to as a temple "sealing," which means the couple is sealed together for time and all eternity--not to be separated by death.

Ryan and Cassie were sealed in a "sealing room," which looks similar to this:


They knelt across the altar, and a person who holds the authority was able to talk with them for a few minutes about their marriage covenants and then perform the ceremony.  This takes just a few minutes, and the wording of the ceremony is beautiful--pointing us toward the most meaningful, purposeful parts of our lives.

If you'd like to read more about temples, this link is a good one.

Here are the three men in my family: my dad and my brothers Ryan and Robert.

 

We spent some time taking photos after the sealing, and I've included a few of them below.

Here's Cassie and Ryan . . . with my mom and dad and Ryan's seven siblings:

 

The happy couple with my mom and dad:


"Just the 10 of us." 


Almost all of us:



And this is one of my favorite photos EVER.  Growing up with five sisters and two brothers was heaven to me.  It still is.


Here are the grandchildren who were there that day. 


This is me and my sister Page.  She's 18 months older and about 4 inches taller, but sometimes our children (and friends) get us mixed up. 

 

After the sealing, my husband and children and I spent a few minutes in the Visitor's Center across from the temple.  (It's open to the public.)

I've always loved this beautiful Christus:


And they have some new exhibits that help teach the importance of family:


This section focused on serving others:




I was amazed at this photo of a newly-dug well.  Simply incredible.


There was also a lovely "living room" with wonderful, touching videos about family life.


Here is a brief video of one of the other exhibits I loved:

video

I loved the entire day at the temple and Visitor's Center.  It reminded me of how much God loves His children--all of them.  And I felt so peaceful as I contemplated what it is that God wants me to become.

We teach our children the principles we believe, but we encourage them to sincerely study and learn about others' beliefs, as well.  We know that God does His work through people of all religions, and as we grow in mutual respect for one another, we are more fully able to serve God. 

I have lots more photos from the day, but I'll just post two more.

One of my favorite moments of the day was at the reception, when I looked over and saw Ryan dancing with my mom.  I don't know why it struck me so much, but seeing my sweet, 76-year-old mother dancing with her very last child touched my heart.


I just think about the number of hours she and my dad have spent raising us.  They have honestly devoted most of their lives to our family.  I had to run over and snap this photo:


I really love my family.  And I'm so grateful for the time we were able to spend together this past weekend.  (Welcome to the family, Cassie!)







Tuesday, May 8, 2012

When You Dare to Dream

I'm feeling excited this week . . . particularly for my friend Whitney Johnson, whose thoughtful, remarkable book, "Dare, Dream, Do" has launched online and in bookstores around the nation. 

I was privileged to receive an advance copy of the book (a section of my "Mommy is a Person" post was published in it), and I have been reading a little bit each night.  "Wow" is all I can say.


Whitney has been on our Advisory Board at The Power of Moms for the past couple of years, and I learn so much by watching her.  We've only met once,

but when I read her blog (Dare to Dream), and as I read the wealth of information in her book, I somehow feel like she really knows me.  

Whitney understands that desire we each have to become our best selves, to try hard things, and to consider that perhaps the "pie in the sky" ideas we've been pushing to the side actually need to happen.

One quote from this book that I love says this:

"God calls you to the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet."  -Frederick Buechner

That is exactly how I feel about my work strengthening families.

Another quote included from The Maiden King says, "For thousands of years, a powerful voice was a mark of personhood.  The longer the person stayed in the underworld (plunged to the depths of sorrow, for example), the more powerful the voice."

Sometimes I feel like I've been "in the underworld" for years.  It's a beautiful underworld--full of 2 a.m. feedings, the sweet chatter of babies, and volumes of precious experiences--but now that my youngest is starting kindergarten in the fall, I can see how incredibly challenging it has been.  

So many mothers feel like this.  They have so much to say, so much to write, so much to offer the world.  But they have to hold back for the sake of their families and wait for the right time to tell their stories.  

My planner is full of little notes and ideas that are just waiting to be shared, and as I ponder the quote above, I am excited to think that all the long hours of working, thinking, praying, and waiting have actually strengthened my voice.  And now that my time is opening up a bit more, I'll be able to "emerge as a powerful voice for change in the world" (p.25 Dare, Dream, Do).

All of us can do this.

So thank you, Whitney--for caring so much about the women around you that you would be willing to put together this book of insight, wisdom, and encouragement.  

And honestly, if you haven't yet ordered your copy--this book is well worth the read.

Love,
April

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