Friday, September 25, 2009
On our way to the temple
I'm just going to dive right in.
I typed this up this morning to document our journey so far:
John and I just celebrated our 12th anniversary. We were married September 20, 1997. Our 1st child, Jeremy, was 6 months old. Our first date was October 1, 1994. We knew of each other in middle school, but became friends in high school through my friend Terrill. I have told those stories in other settings, papers, hopefully a book one day.
The past was filled with ups and downs. Now we look to the future, our future. I think I have always hoped and prayed that this would happen. I have always been a spiritual person. John and I were both raised in LDS families. We both went to church when we were younger and stopped going around the age of 15. We would go here and there though on occasion.
While John was in the Navy, we lived in Mayport, Florida and San Diego, California. During those times away from family and friends, we welcomed many missionaries into our home(s). It was nice to have something positive, friendly and familiar in our lives. We went to church once in awhile. It was not always easy to choose to spend our time at church when our time together was so limited. John was gone a lot and Sundays were sometimes his only day to be with us. By this point we had 2 girls, Tristan and Jessica.
John would always talk about maybe going back to church when he got out of the Navy. In 2006, we bought our 2nd house in Utah. We are currently there now. This neighborhood is amazing. When we first moved here we immediately saw how great the people were. Many people were willing to help the moment our moving truck arrived at 7:00 in the morning. Some men went to work late so they could help us. There were even small children carrying boxes to where they needed to go. I had just given birth to a surrogate baby and I couldn’t help much. It took John and his sister about 2 full days to load that moving truck. Our new neighbors had it unloaded in about an hour. We were so impressed with this little town we had moved to.
We started to get to know people in the church a little bit. They were all so sweet and wonderful. We went to church 2-3 times a year. We went to a few activities and the church helped us in many ways.
At the end of October 2008, John got out of the Navy. I had recently become pregnant with twins as a surrogate. By the way, surrogacy is a very spiritual experience for me and has brought me closer to God. I was not feeling good very often, but we managed to go to church once or twice between Fall and Winter. The Draper, Utah temple had recently been built and we attended the Open House with John’s parents and our kids. I had been on bed rest and still had to take it easy. I could not walk much, so they had to get me a wheelchair. (this happened everywhere we went, Walmart, Home Depot, I spent a good amount of time in wheelchairs during that pregnancy) It was a nice experience to enjoy the beauty and peacefulness inside the temple. It was so nice to share that as a family.
As Spring came and I got nearer to delivery, we went to church a few more times. It was hard though, because I was getting very big and uncomfortable at this point. I was on bed rest in December for a little bit and then again in March/April. I started going into labor in early April and I wasn’t due until June. I was put in the hospital on strict bed rest for a week. On April 15, 2009, there was no stopping those babies. I had a c-section and was happy to see that the babies were healthy. I was in the hospital for a few days and then home for recovery.
The next few weeks were hard as I tried to recover physically and emotionally. I was happy that the babies would be with their parents, but a lot had gone on during that pregnancy and delivery and it was exhausting. John suggested we start going back to church about once a month. I said sure.
Well, once a month turned in to once a week. I think John wanted it more for our kids then for ourselves. But the funny thing is, that our kids were sleeping over at one of the grandparents house every other weekend and we were still going to church with or without them. We started talking about getting the kids baptized. The age for that is 8 and our oldest kids were 12 and 9. It was hard to get them baptized at 8 because of the military. We were either living out of state and wanted to get them baptized in Utah with our family, or we were living in Utah but John wasn’t around long enough to schedule a baptism. It just wasn’t lining up right. Also there was the question of who to baptize the kids?
We started having the missionaries over to teach the kids. It was a nice refresher for John and I and we learned some things along the way that we had either forgotten or not realized. The missionaries asked who would baptize the kids? We started the discussion again. They asked if maybe John could do it. John didn’t think he could get ready in time. We had already waited to have them baptize and he didn’t want to hold them back any longer. The missionaries told him that it probably wouldn’t take as long as he thought.
We had a goal to baptize the kids and for John to be the one to baptize them. As we went through the process I jokingly referred to my husband as John the Baptist. There were certainly struggles along the way. Even though it was hard at times, we had never felt happier. I didn’t even know we could be happier. I thought we had a great marriage, I thought I was a very happy, positive person. I didn’t expect such a new level of happiness, pure joy. People were telling John that I just glowed. I was so proud of John and how far he had come and how far he had brought us as a couple and a family. I was so proud that he was the one to get us to that point.
John was finally ordained a priest and the kids were baptized July 18, 2009. We wanted to baptize them on John’s birthday, but it was on the 20th, which was a Monday. We figured it would be better to baptize them on a Saturday, so that more people could come to the baptism. What an amazing day. I couldn’t believe it was happening. I was so proud of our little family, so excited for the kids. I was blown away by the support we had. I’ve never seen so many people at a baptism. That room was as full as it could be. It was overwhelming in the most wonderful way. The Sprit was so strong.
Our next goal was the temple. Who knew that this year would be filled with so many wonderful experiences? Who knew that this is what we’d be doing at this time? It was so exciting to be heading in such a positive direction. We noticed little changes throughout our family and our families. There was more of an overall peace and happiness at home. I was feeling God smiling down at us. We were becoming closer to members of the ward and making some great friendships. We were getting to know people better that we already knew and meeting more great people along the way.
We were going to be taking a temple preparation class and John suggested that our friends, Jake and Sariah Buntjer be the ones to teach us. We have enjoyed meeting with them each week. We hope that we have found a long-lasting friendship with them. We also got to know a new neighbor across the street, Robert Nakagawa. I hope I spelled that right. He is a new convert and has been doing the temple lessons with us. He has brought so much to the lessons. It’s been great to be around him and his enthusiasm and love for the gospel.
One evening, we watched a really neat movie about temples. John was tired that day, so he didn’t see all of it. We ended up watching it at home a week or 2 later with my mom and our kids. We would stop and discuss things during the movie. At one point, our daughter Jessica who is 5 said, “Mom, I really like the temple.” I said, “Me too.” She said, “Do you want to know what I like best about the temple?” I said, “Sure.” She said, “The part where the light was shining up at Jesus.” I said, “Oh. Where did you see that? Was that in the movie? I don’t remember that part.” She said, “No, I didn’t see it in the movie, I saw it when we were in the temple.” What an amazing experience for a little girl. I was so happy that she had experienced something like that. She can’t wait to turn 8 so she can get baptized.
In August 2009, we had the opportunity to go to a temple dedication for the new Oquirrh Mountain temple. This took place at our Stake Center. We watched the broadcast there of the actual dedication. We were told that during that time, the church itself would be a temple. Wow, what an amazing feeling. I absolutely felt like we were in the temple. I have been like a sponge recently, just absorbing it all. I have been so spiritually open and available for spiritual knowledge and experience. With that, I have also been able to focus more on other things. My life seems a little less chaotic.
Anyway, one particular talk really stood out to me at the dedication, it was by President Uchtdorf. He told of Sanford and Thomas Bingham, the brothers who settled the area where the temple now stands. This stood out to me because John is related to the Bingham family.
I found this on another blog. Apparantly she is also related to the Binghams:
(found at http://christinescorner23.blogspot.com)
” The Bingham family joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Vermont, later joining the saints who gathered in Kirtland, Ohio and later Nauvoo. When the saints began their exodus to the west, the family joined; Father Erastus was a captain of ten wagons in the Daniel Spencer Hundred, the second company of pioneers. The eldest son Sanford who had been crippled from birth, made the trip on horseback, driving cattle along the way. He and his bride, Martha Ann, were married by Parley P. Pratt in Nebraska and it was their job to supply the company with milk and butter. His younger brother, Thomas and several other brothers joined the Mormon Battalion along the route and rejoined the company to enter the valley in September 1847.
The following spring, Sanford and Thomas were given the assignment to tend the livestock in the canyon southeast of the Salt Lake Valley. While there, the brothers discovered rich mineral deposits but they were counseled by President Brigham Young that they should continue their farming and herding, as this is what the people needed. The canyon proved to be an ideal place not only for cattle and farming, but cutting timber. Within a few years, Archibald and Robert Gardner were directed to build a sawmill nearby and wagon-loads of timber were taken from the canyon’s hillsides including most of the wood used to construct the roof of the Salt Lake Tabernacle.
Though the Bingham family never benefited financially from the rich copper, gold, silver and lead later mined in the canyon, Pres. Uchtdorf reminded us they were spiritually strengthened by following the words of their prophet and leader. He shared the story of when Indians broke into the cabin where Martha Ann was alone with the children, busy ironing. Pres. Uchtdorf said that her tenacity, courage and confidence protected her and the Indians left without harming them. Family lore says that she was so upset when they sat on her freshly ironed clothing, that she grabbed their hair and threw them out. Whichever way, those Binghams were strong people and greatly blessed.”
I don’t remember if it was before or after the dedication, but we were at Lagoon recently and visited Pioneer Park where the famous Bingham Cabin is now located.
We weren’t sure which temple we should go to for our sealing. We were considering the Oquirrh Mountain Temple since it was new and close by. However, I don’t always like to do the “new and popular” things. When I heard that talk though, I knew we had found “our” temple.
I would like to mention some other interesting facts about the Oquirrh Mountain Temple.
This is taken from the temple website:
”The spire of the Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple was installed atop the temple on July 11, 2008, immediately followed by installation of a gold-leafed statue of the angel Moroni.
Lightning struck the angel Moroni statue atop the Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple on Saturday afternoon, June 13, 2009, during the public open house. The powerful bolt of lightning blackened Moroni's trumpet, arm, and face. A replacement statue was installed on August 11, 2009, 10 days before the dedicatory services began.
The ordinance room murals in the Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple were painted by artists who were called as "art missionaries" for the Church.
President Thomas S. Monson dedicated the Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple on his 82nd birthday. The crowd gathered for the cornerstone ceremony spontaneously sang him a birthday song. For the first time in Utah's history, church was cancelled statewide on August 23, 2009, to allow members to attend the dedication of the Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple without conflict.”
We finished our last temple lesson last night, September 24, 2009. We are 2 weeks away from our goal of being sealed together as a family in the temple. We were hoping to go through on September 20 for our anniversary. However, this year that was on a Sunday so that wouldn’t work. We certainly didn’t want to wait another year. So we tried lining it up with our 1st dating anniversary of October 1st. But we figured it’s always easier to get everyone together on a Saturday. So we were going to choose the closest Saturday which would be October 3rd. However, General Conference is that weekend, so the temples will be closed. We are now hoping to go through on Saturday October 10th. That is a good date, because our wedding anniversary is a combination of our birthdays. My birthday is September 10th, John’s is July 20th, so we got married on September 20th. Well our first date was October 1st and my birthday is on the 10th, so October 10th is a combination of the two.
John still needs to become an Elder and receive the melchezadik priesthood. That should be happening this Sunday.
I would like to mention I believe this is all happening at the best time for us. I mean I think it means more now than it would have before. We had to go through other experiences to appreciate what we are going through and about to go through. Things lined up for us recently. I think it started with moving to Eagle Mountain, then, John getting out of the Navy. Also, John had to want this as well. It wouldn’t have meant anything if he was “just doing it for me”. John was lucky to have been able to get a job here. Money is a lot tighter, but we’ve never been happier.
Notes on pictures:
The picture of the temple is one I snapped passing by on Bangerter Hwy. It was a shot looking back.