I was invited to speak at the Selah Stake Girls Camp this evening up at Camp Zarahemla by Clear Lake. We finished interviews in Toppenish and headed for the mountains!
I wish I could have been there all day today, because they had groups of girls working on Days for Girls kits all day long! I got there after the girls had finished, but these leaders couldn’t stop working! They showed me what they’d done and how much they’d accomplished and I was Thrilled! Thanks to Toni McBean and all these good women who are teaching our beautiful girls to see beyond their backyards. They are so willing to help others and keep girls in school. What a gift they are providing for girls they will never meet! Thanks to all. (I hope to get some photos from the camp ladies soon of the work the girls did.)Dinner time–a potato buffet!Here is today’s schedule. I was the Guest Speaker at 8:00.Pres Lewis is preparing for the new missionaries, reading their application forms and info sheets. He’s also trying to figure out the areas we need to re-open after consolidating several areas this last month when so many went home.Power Hour speakers after dinner:Here is the amphitheater where they had me speak. It was so fun to be here with the girls. The theme of this camp was “I’m the one who writes my own story.” Each group had a different book theme and activities. I asked if I could talk to the girls about Journal Writing, one of my favorite topics.The book backdrop on the stage:Here are some of the notes from my talk:
Selah Stake Girls Camp 10 Aug 2017
“I’m the one who writes my own story.”
recite My Story by Lex de Azevedo
I’m the one that writes my own story.
I decide the person I’ll be.
What goes in the plot, and what will not
is pretty much up to me.
And just in case I need to erase,
it was figured out before.
A thing called repentance can wipe out a sentence,
a page or a chapter or more.
Ev’ryone that writes his own story
now and then will make some mistakes.
But given some care, they needn’t stay there.
And this is all that it takes.
You must know you’ve done wrong, and so
you feel very bad and then,
don’t try to hide it. Do try to right it,
and vow you won’t do it again.
This book of mine is very important,
and so someone is waiting right there,
To help with my story, He’s been here before me
and always as close as a prayer.
We will write each day and night,
and do it well and faithfully.
A wonderful story of sadness and glory.
It’s written by Jesus and me.
A wonderful story of sadness and glory.
It’s written by Jesus and me.
I’ve thought a lot about the prophet Malachi, the last prophet in the OT, who’s prophecies show up in every single one of our standard works in Epic Moments:
“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 the whole earth be smitten with a curse (Malachi 4:5-6) (or utterly wasted at his coming D&C 138:48).
These words have been repeated in every dispensation of time, to every people.
I used to think they meant that at the end of the world, we’d see nuclear fallout with peoples eyes falling out of their sockets and flesh falling from bones.
Now I think it means something very different.
A wonderful storyteller name Donald Davis said, “We are what we remember.
If we don’t remember something, it’s as if it never happened.”
When we write in our journals or record our stories, we are literally Saving Lives–the lives of those who live in those stories. When the memory is gone, it’s as if those events never happened, or those people never lived. It’s like our lives or theirs are utterly wasted.
If I try hard my whole life and I learn things, and make mistakes and repent and try again and learn more things, and then I die, leaving no record, my life is of no worth to those who come after I die, because they will not know me or know what I learned.
We must save these lives, ours and those who have gone before us.
Sid Lieberman, another famous storyteller said, “Everyone has a right to exist.”
People exist in stories and in journals and in photos.
Who can tell me one thing you know about one of your ancestors?
We often talk about the Spirit of Elijah in relation to Family History work. When I do FH work, I feel my heart turning to my fathers and ancestors and I feel that they are aware of me when I notice them. If I don’t pay attention them, they don’t pay attention to me.
We live in a wonderful day where it’s easy to capture memories and record them.
How many of you have written in a journal this week?
How many of you have taken a picture this week?
So, when you write and record things about your life, you are preserving your life, so it won’t be Utterly Wasted. You are helping fulfill Malachi’s prophecy in a way that turns the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to the fathers/ mothers.
I often sense the presence or influence of those loved ones (fathers/mothers) who have gone before. In most cases, I never knew them here, but have learned to love them since.
Some I feel especially close to and I feel them particularly near.
One day it occurred to me that it’s when I’m paying attention to them that I feel them paying attention to me. It’s like they’re given permission to be near me. Perhaps because I love and care for them, they get to return love and care for me in a way I can feel it. That never happens with the ancestors I don’t know.
MAYBE if we write in our journals today, our future descendants will get to know us and love US and maybe long after we are gone, they will get to feel Us near them!
That’s one of the biggest reasons why I write in my journal. I want my children who will never know me on earth to know me and to know why I lived the way I lived. I want them to know why I went to girls camp, why I read my scriptures, why I try to be good, and why I went on a mission. I want them to know how much I love my Savior Jesus Christ. I want them to know ME.
And if they know ME, maybe I will get to hover near THEM!
In that day, maybe they will feel ME because they have my words and they know me!
Journals are Very Important. They are part of God’s Plan.
We should write about the things we do and the things we believe.
I’ve spent a good deal of time in libraries and archives reading journals and histories of people who lived near where my ancestors lived. My 3rd ggpa and his family lived in Nauvoo, where they were the Prophet Joseph Smith’s neighbors.
Sometimes I read things in the journals of others that changes me and how much I love my ancestors. A man named Joseph Lee Robinson who also lived close to Joseph and to the river made such a journal entry one day, describing the living conditions in Nauvoo in those days. I have never forgotten his words.
My great-great grandmother, Charlotte was born in Nauvoo in 1840. I often think of her curled up in her bed at night and wonder.
Joseph Lee Robinson Journal:
“When we arrived in the city of Nauvoo [Aug 1841], I soon found my brother Ebenezer. He had a house for us to go to. It was a big log house near his printing office. Ebenezer was the printer for the church. (He was writing the Church Organ,) so had built a large two-story house. The top floor was used for his home and the bottom for the printing press. It was near the river, not far from the Prophet Joseph’s home. The worst enemy we found here was the long-tailed rat, that would bite the lips and nose[s] of our little children while they slept.” (Page 6)
That one sentence someone else wrote in their journal helps me love my ancestors more. They did hard things for me. I love them because I know what they did. And because I know them, I feel them close to me now.
We write our stories to preserve them.
If we don’t write our stories, our lives are wasted.
I know this is true.
Ronald O. Barney, of the Church History Department: If you do not write your story, your name will be obliterated from the human record and you will not speak from the grave. You will not have any influence on those who come after you. Those who write about the things they have done and learned in life have a huge impact on posterity. Write your story. You have overcome things your children need to know about.”
[Give the Girls Journal Prompt Bookmarks with Ron Barney quote on the back]
Anything Worth Saying
About Any of These Today?
Good humor, jokes
Emotional high or low
Work, job, coworkers
Happenings to family members
Money, finances, purchases
House, home yard
Any visits? Visitors?
Important phone calls
Mail sent or received
Church or religious beliefs
New insight, idea
Community service, good deeds
Anyone help you?
Witness historic happening?
Today’s headline news
New plans, goals
TV, radio, movies, music
Hobbies, talents, sports
Deaths, birthdays, weddings
Things you are grateful for