Category Archives: church

Aunt Sue, Bees and Miracles

For several years I had strong spiritual promptings to keep bees. As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints I attributed the impressions to our principles of self-reliance and emergency preparedness. I didn’t act on those promptings until early in 2010 as I was talking with my sister Sue (known to many as Aunt Sue from her close association with our 6 children). I don’t recall how the conversation turned to beekeeping, but I learned that she was having the same spiritual promptings. And so we took the plunge together and bought 2 hives, bee suits and equipment and 2 packages of bees. We drove to upstate New York to pick up our bees and equipment and began our journey to honey heaven.

On July 5, 2011 I got a call from my sister telling me she was just diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. I cried. A lot. I knew nothing about leukemia or its treatment, but as we spoke I began to receive some very strong promptings from the Spirit. Sue would be OK. All would be well. I would be a bone marrow donor for her. Was that even a treatment for leukemia?! I didn’t know, but the promptings that day were powerful and undeniable.

We later found out that without a transplant she might only have six months to live. They started chemo treatments immediately. My wife Ruth cut Sue’s hair in preparation for her losing it all. And so, I did learn that a bone marrow transplant was indeed a treatment for leukemia and I was soon tested to see if I was a close enough match. The doctor told us they test for certain “markers”. There had to be a match of at least six of those markers for them to even consider me as a donor. Off went my blood to the lab. About a week later I received a call from Sue. The results were back, I was a ten out of ten match, very very rare. I cried. A lot. And the Spirit confirmed what it had already told me.

The week before the scheduled transplant I drove to Hershey Medical Center two and a half hours each way every day for a week to get shots that would increase my white blood cells. The shots worked so well I could feel my spine throbbing in the night causing me to moan and groan in pain. After two nights of pain I asked if there was anything they could do for the pain. “Oh sure, no problem!” (WHY did I wait 2 days?!)

The day of the transplant arrived and I was hooked up to “la machine” for 6 hours.


They needed something like a million cells and after 6 hours they took a count (however they count those kind of things). 1, 2, 3, 4…3 million it is!

Now the transplant… kind of anticlimactic. But then the intense final chemo treatment and I’ve never felt so helpless watching my sister hallucinate and suffer in pain. But all went as well as could be. While many others passed away even after their transplants my sister hung in there.

Sue has not been without complications and difficulties, but remains cancer free for over 3 years now. But what does this have to do with bees?

Sue’s primary occupation prior to the leukemia was a full time massage therapist. Giving massage 6 days a week had taken a toll on her and while battling cancer she wouldn’t be able to handle that much physical effort any more. Through her association with other bee keepers and people in the community she found there was a market for raw local honey. And so for the past several years Aunt Sue has transitioned from massage therapist to The Bee Lady and has for the most part been able to provide for herself because of…bees.

Hindsight is twenty-twenty they say. Indeed in this case it is. Because of spiritual promptings years before the cancer came, and because we acted on those promptings Heavenly Father has provided for Aunt Sue in a miraculous way.

Al who know my sister know the incredibly beautiful person she is. Heavenly Father has given Sue great blessings, and Aunt Sue blesses all she comes in contact with.

I don’t know why Heavenly Father offers miracles to some while others suffer on intensely, but I testify that our Heavenly Father knows us and loves us. If we pay attention we will see His hand in all that we do. If we act on the promptings of the Holy Ghost he will bless us abundantly.
-Bob Woolley

 

I’ll Show You My…

Welcome to the October edition of our Mommy Blog Collab. This month Katie, and I are joined by Tracy and Dara. Pop on over to their blogs and get to know them as well. I hope you all are enjoying getting to know us better as each month we delve into a new topic opening our lives up a little more. This month we are on a different topic. I’ll Show You My Religion.

We have had a few diverse posts showing you in our collab how different we are. A few months ago we posted about our tattoos. Katie and Tracy showed us their tattoos with enthusiasm and excitement, even talking about more they hope to get in the future. Then there was my post…. I don’t have tattoos, members of my family do, I don’t.  We remain friends and I like to think our differences make us better friends as we can explore more aspects of life by talking openly and casually with each other. We aren’t always sprinkles, lollipops and rainbows but we are real. We listen.

What is a religion? Many words are synonymous with religion such as faith, belief, worship and church. Religion is the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods, according to the Oxford online dictionary.  Sounds simple enough… let’s dig a bit deeper into that definition on a personal level.

I am a Mormon.

Mormon is the nickname given for a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. LDS, LDS Church, Mormon Church; these are all synonymous with the Church. Where did the Mormon nickname come from? I’m glad you asked! The long in the short of it, we believe the Holy Bible to be the word of God, in the proper and correct translation given from God. There has also been a second record located and translated in these latter-days. The records follow families from Jerusalem as they escaped under the direction of God in the early years of the reign of King Zedekiah. The bible traces the history of the Jews, while these new records follow the families who left Jerusalem and eventually came to the Americas. Much as the bible follows and recounts the history of many people over a long period of time, this other record does the same. Think of it as prophets keeping a journal of the church and people. These records were compiled by the last righteous man of the people, a man named Mormon. He abridged the records together creating one book. This book is called The Book of Mormon. As this book is unique to our religion we are given the nickname Mormon. This is the average, as opposed to the short,  in the long of it so to speak. You may obtain your own free copy of this book here.

Who are Mormons? What do we believe? Basic and simplistically put members of the Church are Christians. There is a lot of information available if you want the facts and statistics. Here and here are a few. We do not practice polygamy. Most likely the information you have from watching TV shows, movies or plays is an inaccurate depiction of modern day Mormons. The exception to this is Meet The Mormons, real people, real life, not a reality show.

Where do I fit into all of this?

Well I was born into the Church, meaning my family were active members of the Church, attending and practicing their faith. As a baby I received a baby blessing in front of the congregation during Sunday worship, Sacrament meeting. Eight years later on a Saturday in December I was baptized a member of the Church, of my own free will.

This is similar to a confirmation in the Catholic Church as we are now accountable for our own actions and decisions, as far as our knowledge has allowed. I have been thru a rebellious stage in my life where I did not live up to my own moral standards and beliefs. By the time I met AJ I was a practicing, full-time, active member of the Church again. We married in a civil union then a year after he joined the Church, and was baptized, we were able to enter the Salt Lake Temple and be sealed together for time and all eternity as husband and wife as well as to our children. 

Our lives are normal, we are regular people living in a normal house in the middle of nowhere PA (also known as the Poconos). Each Sunday we attend services as a family. Sacrament meeting is comparable to mass, or communion. We partake of the Sacrament, think last supper, and are taught Gospel Doctrine by other members of the congregation. Sunday School is less formal. The adults have separate classes from the kids for the remainder of services. The third hour adults attend a second class but are taught in groups of men and women. The women attend Relief Society and the men are in a Priesthood class. The children are in Primary for Sunday school and auxiliary classes. Teenagers have a Sunday school class followed by Young Women and Young Men/Priesthood classes. There are also other activities during the week and get togethers throughout the year. All classes, meetings and organization are lead by members of the Church in a volunteer capacity. Our Scout groups, the youth leaders, even our ward leaders are volunteers. These volunteers are asked to serve in these capacities as a calling from God.

Every Sunday we have service. Every six months there is also a Church wide broadcast to the world. This broadcast is from the Church leaders in SLC,UT providing guidance, admonition and direction for members and the world. While there are guidelines and direction given all religion is individual.

Like other aspects of life, there are ups and downs, high points and challenging moments.  I do not know everything but I will continue to strive to learn and improve myself. I am a work in progress. I do know and believe my religion is a part of who I am. While I do sustain and follow the guidance of our Church leaders, I seek God as an individual. My relationship with Him and His son, Jesus Christ are very personal. I believe He speaks directly to me giving guidance and council as I ask and listen. The Holy Spirit guides and prompts when I am worthy.

One of my favorite quotes is framed with a picture of Jesus, “I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it.”

I welcome any and all questions and comments about my post and religion. Please do so  respectfully.

If you wish to join us in this month’s blog collab post, tag back to this post or comment below. Interested in future topics of I’ll Show You My? Reach out to myself or Katie.

LDS Semi-Annual General Conference

The first weekend of April and October are when we as a family and members of The Church of Jesus Christ have the blessed opportunity to hear from our church leaders; the prophet, apostles and other leaders address the world. Saturday and Sunday the Lord’s anointed speak to the world in a total of four general sessions and a session for the men. The women’s session is held the weekend prior. What an amazing opportunity to be spiritually, mentally and physically uplifted.

For as long as I can recall we have sat as a family watching the live broadcast of the semi-annual conference. Over the years I was able to attend many sessions in Salt Lake City, originally at the tabernacle building in Salt Lake City Temple Square and later at the newly built conference center across the street.

The first time AJ and I met in person was actually a general conference weekend in April 2009. We attended a Saturday afternoon session in person and watched others at my mom’s house. AJ was not a member of the church at the time and I recall him commenting how he thought there would be more prophecy given. He has since come to learn and love the words spoken. Listening to these wonderful men and women speak the words the Lord wants us to hear is an amazing opportunity and provides such strength and uplifts me. If you have never listened to or seen a session of the Church’s conference I encourage you to do so by going to the Church’s website here. There is much to be learned and reminded of regarding our Lord’s plan for us, His children.

As the weekend proceeds I will post other notes, thoughts and family traditions, including the much desired conference rolls, yum!