Monday, November 25, 2013

Jesus Once Was a Little Child

While talking about the amazing Visitors Center, I want to record memories of an art exhibit that was there until the end of October. There were 21 paintings by a local artist named Rose Dall. She called it “Jesus Once was a Little Child,” taken from the title of a primary song.  Beside each painting was a description she had written explaining the symbolism she put in each one.  Here are some photos we took of four of the paintings:

 Flight 1

On the left is “Flight.”  It depicts the holy family’s flight into Egypt.  The cacoon shape of Mary’s veil symbolizes protection.  The solid visual unit of the family in white symbolizes the white worn in the temple and the eternal nature of families.      

Prophet, Priest, and King

To the right  is one titled “Prophet, Priest, and King.”   The title comes from the hymn, “I Know that My Redeemer Lives.”  There are three gifts. Gold is a kingly gift to the royal house of David and to the King of Kings. Frankincense is a priestly gift, which priests burned in the temple, symbolizing that the power of the priesthood comes from Christ.  Myrrh is a bitter resin, used for embalming the dead, and in healing.  It is a symbol of the bitter cup of the Atonement and crucifixion, and the sweetness of resurrection.

Young Prince in Egypt “Young Prince in Egypt”  That phrase usually refers to Moses, But Christ, who came out of Egypt, is the true prince of Egypt.  This painting shows him returning from Egypt and foreshadows his triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.

Young Carpenter

“Young Carpenter”  Each tool in this painting has symbolism.  I particularly like the symbolism Rose Dall gave a couple of  them.  “The triangle and wood plane represent straightness and trueness in keeping covenants; the compass divider, in the hands of the Boy Savior, signifies that Christ is indeed the Creator of the world.”

Being in the Temple everyday, I am beginning to see many more symbols of Christ and His mission of redemption.  CHRISTMAS celebrates his birth!  The LIGHT we see in the eyes of children all around us at Christmas reminds us of the LIGHT of CHRIST, and that He once was a little child, too.  And except we become as a little child, we cannot enter the Kingdom of God!  Christ’s mission was foretold long before his birth.  We too came to earth with a mission – to follow Him and bring others to Him as well!  He invites, “Come unto me!”  That pathway always goes through the temple!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Why I Believe!


Not a bad question to ask every once in a while.  Why DO I believe the things I believe?  How committed am I to the things I believe?  Every 3rd Sunday of the month, there is a fireside program in the Visitors Center auditorium called “Why I Believe.”  Several hundred visitors come each time to hear a prominent member in the metro area talk about why and how they came to believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Before the speaker, three recently baptized members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stand up and share their enthusiasm for their new-found beliefs.  Then they ask for any really new members in the audience to stand up and, when a microphone is handed to them, tell their names and when they were baptized.  There is such a feeling of love and support from the audience for all these new members.  Last Sunday night (Nov 17) was no exception. (This is a picture of part of the foyer in the Visitors Center.)

The guest speaker that night was Jenny Oaks Baker—WOW!  It was exceptional!  She is a renowned concert violinist and mother of four and lives in northern Virginia.  She talked about how through the process of developing her musical talents as a child, she learned many important Gospel truths.  During her talk she played several pieces, starting with “Amazing Grace,”  one of my favorites! She told about how she had been nominated for a Grammy award, and had walked the red carpet, but that nothing compared to the glorious feeling of worthily walking the halls of the temple dressed in white. Then she played “I Know that My Redeemer Lives!”  She talked about the tough decision she had to make when she was prompted by the Spirit that it was time for her to leave her position with the National Symphony, and be a stay-at-home mom.  Then her four children, ages 5 to 13, played an arrangement of “I Am a Child of God” on the piano, violin, cello, and guitar.  It was wonderful!  We can’t wait to hear Jenny Oaks Baker again when she performs in December.  I wonder if she will bring her 4 children to perform again.

Why do I believe????  Jesus said, “I am the light of the world:  he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness.”  (John 8:12)  When I am in kind of a dark mood,  all I have to do is put on a CD with hymns about the Savior, like George Dyer’s “How Great Thou Art,” and the darkness goes away—He is MY light!  I believe BECAUSE of the light!

Monday, November 18, 2013

It’s a lone and dreary world . . .


hoppy bugHave you ever seen anything like this????  I have personally killed several of them here in our apartment!!!  And yes, the picture is actual size!  Thinking it was just a big spider the first time I saw one, I got a big wad of toilet paper and went down to grab it.  Ha Ha!  It jumped up and away.  So I tried again, and he jumped again!  Good grief, crazy spider!  So I got a shoe and whacked it!  SUCCESS!  Next time I saw one I went straight for the shoe, and GOT IT first try!  Ed still hadn’t seen one, but told me I needed to leave them alone, since spiders eat other bugs.  Well, he should know that in my world, spiders, or any other bug, are welcome to be outside, but NOT IN MY HOUSE.  So I will keep a shoe handy! It wasn’t long before he finally saw one, and went after it as it hopped under our bed.  He looked and saw it stuck to the underside of the bed! 

Well one night when we were at the neighbors, someone mentioned something about hoppy bugs, and asked if we had seen them.  I was pretty sure I had!  So Ed googled “hoppy bug” and found out that they are not spiders, but camel crickets from the Rhaphidophoridae family.  They like dark places and their legs are sticky so they can hop up and stick on walls, furniture, (and under beds)!  He read that sometimes they have been known to nibble on fabrics, so Ed agreed that they weren’t welcome here.  Well, we saw a couple more, and Ed was successful in the attack using a fly swatter. 

We forgot about them until the other day, when Ed saw one in the hallway to our bedroom.  Out with the fly swatter, but the hoppy bug GOT AWAY!  And we couldn’t find him.  That night we had been in bed about 20 minutes, not quite asleep, when I felt the sheet tickling my arm.  I straightened the sheet, then felt it again.  Fixed the blankets again.  Then remembering the lost hoppy bug, I told Ed I wondered if he was in our bed.  No, couldn’t be.  Trying to go to sleep, but imagining sharing the bed with a hoppy bug, I thought I felt something again, and moved my hand across—and touched something!  I shreaked and threw back the covers and jumped out of bed and turned on the light!  (Yes, Ed woke up)  I searched the bed and the floor, but no sign of a hoppy bug.  Finally getting the courage to get back in bed, I tried once again to go to sleep.  No problem for Ed, but sleep wouldn’t come for me, so I got out of bed, turned a little light on to check for hoppy bugs on the floor, shook out my slippers just in case before putting them on, and went into the kitchen.  I decided if I found a little something to eat, maybe it would break the spell and I could finally go to sleep.  At this point there were only 5 hours of night left!  About 30 minutes later I headed back to the bedroom, and immediately saw this blurry (no contacts in my eyes!) image on the floor in front of our closet.  Without a second thought I pulled off a slipper and whacked the image.  YES!  It had been a hoppy bug, and I GOT him!  Into the toilet he went!  And back into bed for me! 

Sleep did come before too long, but not until I had laid there pondering what had just happened.  Couldn’t help but think about the “lone and dreary world” which Adam and Eve entered when they were cast out of the Garden of Eden.  I was pretty sure that along with the briars and thistles to torment man, there were also things like hoppy bugs!  The lone and dreary world is the world we live in today and it is all part of a loving Heavenly Father’s plan to help us grow, that we might know good from evil, and experience joy in this life.  That by using our agency and choosing to align our will with God’s will, we will be able to abide His presence when we have finished our work on this earth.  Sleep tight!  And don’t dream of hoppy bugs!




Sunday, November 10, 2013

Let there be light!


Tis the season for celebrating Jesus Christ, the Light of the World!  The lighting inside the temple is designed to remind us of the Light of Christ, especially in the Celestial Room.  We love to be in there to feel and ponder His light and love.  And now we are getting very excited to see the temple grounds all lit up for the holidays.  They call it the “Festival of Lights,” and it begins when the lights are turned on December 1!  The Visitors Center will also be elaborately adorned with lots of huge trees decorated in various cultural themes and an amazing crèche display. 

On Monday November 4, all of the temple missionaries got to play a small part in all of this by stringing lights on bushes and shrubs.  We did bushes and shrubs, because they didn’t want us up on ladders.  We strung thousands of lights.  On the taller bushes, the lights are 6 inches apart and on the shorter ones they are 4 inches apart.  The day started out cold but it warmed up by the time we were done.  We put up just a few of the 600,000 lights that people will see.  Most of them are put up by the grounds crew.  Stay tuned for pictures when the lights are turned on! 

IMG_3197-3 IMG_3214-2

This is the 36th year for the Festival of Lights.  It goes from December 1 to January 1, 2014.  Every night there is a performance in the Visitor Center Auditorium by a well-known local group or individual.  Some of those performing this year are the Capital Carillon Bell Choir, the Mormon Choir of Washington DC, McDonough High School Madrigals, the Washington DC Temple Orchestra, Olney High School Concert Band, Jenny Oaks Baker, Rockville Swing Band, and Chinese Children Dancers.