Tuesday, February 17, 2009

LDS.org - New Era Article - No One Will Ever Know

LDS.org - New Era Article - No One Will Ever Know

For all you old Olde Oaks folks, here's an article from Elder Ellis that appears in the February 2009 New Era.


Weekly Update: Cooking Club

REMINDER: Cooking Club will be meeting at the Lewis' home at 7pm on
Feb 19th (Thurs). Claudia will be instructing on how to make

Monday, February 16, 2009

FYI: Crochet and Knitting Instructions for Newborn Hats

In the upcoming Stake Relief Society Enrichment Meeting, we will be making hats for newborns down at the Medical Center. If you would like to get a head start, here are the instructions:

Crochet Hats for Newborns

Materials: Soft, 3-ply baby yarn in color of your choice
(sparkly thread tends to be scratchy)
Size G crochet hook
Darning needle

Directions are given for small. Changes for medium and large are in parentheses.

Row 1: Chain 35 stitches

Row 2: Single crochet in second chain from hook and each remaining chain across until end of row. Chain 1 and turn.

Rows 3-42 (med—44 rows; large—46 rows):

Working in back loops throughout, single crochet in each single crochet to end of row, chain 1 and turn, repeat. At this point, the piece should measure 7½ inches from the first to the last stitch, and 8 inches (8½ inches for med; 9 inches for large) from the first row to row 42 (med—44; large 46).

Rotate: Turn the whole piece 90° so that what once were sides are now top and bottom, and what once were top and bottom are now sides. A ribbed effect should be evident.

Working along the top of hat, single crochet in first ending row stitch, skip next row*, single crochet in next ending row stitch, repeat from * across, ending with single crochet in last single crochet.

Optional Tassel

Chain 12, turn, slip stitch in next single crochet, chain 12, slip stitch in next single crochet, repeat from # across.

Finishing: Fasten off leaving 20- to 25-inch tail. Using a darning needle, weave tail through top of final row. Pull to draw closed. With wrong sides together, secure closure with a whip stitch. Using a whip stitch, sew back seam with remaining tail. Fasten off and weave end through whip stitch.

Knitted Hats for Newborns

1. Cast on 60 stitches
2. Knit 2, pearl 2 for 6"
3. Knit 2 together, pearl 2 together
4. Pearl one row
5. Knit 2 together
6. Pearl one row
7. Knit 2 together until you have 8 to 10 stitches
8. Pull yarn through remaining stitches and sew together
A little pom pom on the top is up to you

A more legible pdf version can be found here.

Sisters in Zion: A Special Thanks

I wanted to take a moment to thank all the sisters in the ward who provided service to the Johnson family in this difficult time for them. As we prepared for the luncheon, there were so many sisters wanting to help, it was difficult coming up with things for them to do.

I can't tell you what a relief it was to me to know everything was 'under control' because of the fabulous sisters of the Olde Oaks Ward. Every one of you came through for me. So, whether you brought in dinners to the Johnson home, helped with the luncheon, participated in the memorial service, provided childcare for others so they could attend, or provided some thoughtful service known only to a few, thank you. Your kindness is deeply felt.

Eve Lechaminant keeps the wee bits entertained.

These are probably the best disciplined children I've ever seen. I never knew five children could be so still.

They also serve who sit and wait: (l-r) Marjorie Ricker, Lorraine Ricker, and Verlayn Keller wait for the guests to arrive.

At the last minute, I looked at the bleak gym and said, 'Can you make that look—better?" The ladies were up to the challenge. Using spare wicker baskets and residual flowers, they whipped the place into shape in nothing flat.

April bullied us into standing still for a picture. She wanted something more than the empty gym and table settings. Go figure.

My peeps (at least, those who couldn't escape April's camera): (l-r)Jeanette Schadler, Donna Corbin, Penny Freeman, Rosalyn Davies, Lucy Stern.

The lady behind the camera, April Lewis. She really is as charming as she looks. (Yep, April. I grabbed this from your FB album.)

Blog of the Week: Let Us Prepare

From an email my sister sent me, I found "Let Us Prepare", which is a blog focusing on many different aspects of emergency preparedness. this blog to this handout, "Let There Be Light". which is very nicely done. Debbie Kent has done a fantastic job cataloging and evaluating various heat/power source options for when electricity is lost. This has obviously been compiled for a colder climate and would require a bit of re-prioritizing (less firewood, more propane/gasoline for generators, etc), but it's a fantastic reference. For future reference, should the above link cease to be available, I have uploaded this handout onto our download site, and you can find it here.

The blog itself offers information and videos on a smattering of various subjects, but her best features are her "challenges", such as, "this week, prepare to be stranded in your car overnight in a snowstorm." She then gives a list of the articles a family would need to store in their vehicle to survive such an eventuality. Again, climate differences have to be factored in, but for folks with preparedness priority paralysis, this blog provides a much needed nudge into your baby steps.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Lucille Johnson's Funeral: Final Details

Tuesday, February 10, 2009: 
visitation at Earthman Resthaven Mortuary and Cemetery, 6-8pm.  Please note the change in time from previous information provided.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009: 
viewing at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the Louetta building, 9-10:30am.
funeral services, 11:00 am
internment at Resthaven, by invitation
Family luncheon, approximately 1:30pm

Please note: previously scheduled visiting teaching interviews have been postponed for a week or two.  However, days of the week and time of your appointment will remain unchanged.  Watch your email or Olde Oaks Weekly Update for further information.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Penny Freeman
Gratitude is the essence of joy.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Preach My Gospel: Sister Lucille Johnson

A dear sister in our ward passed away today. She was an amazing lady with a powerful testimony of the Gospel. She wore out her life in preaching it and I greatly admire her for her testimony, her faithfulness, and her dedication to the Lord. When I reach my 85th year, I pray I may look back upon my life and know I have served the Lord to the best of my abilities, that as I am sure is the case with Sister Lucille, the Lord will welcome me with a profound 'well done'.

I wrote the following narrative as part of a letter to my son who was then serving in the California San Bernardino Mission, dated September 3, 2008. I wanted to share it here as a tribute to her and the life she led as the Lord's good and faithful servant.

I had an interesting experience last Wednesday that I wanted to tell you about. I went and sat with Sister Marsha Johnson’s mom, Lucille, while she went out to do RS stuff. I sat with her a couple of hours and chatted with her or listened to her stories the entire time. She told me her conversion story, which I’m certain you’ve heard, but she also told me lots of things I didn’t know.

Sister Lucille was born in Oklahoma, but when her mother died when she was nine, her father moved the family to Arkansas which was where he was from originally. Then, when her father died, her grandmother kept the boys but sent herself and her sister back to Oklahoma to live in an orphanage. When she was fifteen, she ran away to find her sister who was living independently. From there, she went to live with her uncle and worked on his farm, which she finally felt was home. She is 84 years old, so it was the height of the Great Depression when all this was going on, and she in the heart of the Dust Bowl.

As so many people did, she ended up married and in California. Her marriage didn’t last, as to use her words, ‘he was too handy with his fists’, and she refused to put up with it. As a young single mother, she got a job as a police officer and worked at La Jolla guarding submarines. Her brother had taught her to shoot when she was a child, as it was their job to go out hunting and bring home meat for the table. She told me she loved guns, (there were times she wanted to turn one on her abusive husband), and was the best sharp-shooter on the whole base, except for her instructor. She could light a match at twenty paces, which Brother Ricker refused to believe was possible until he went out to prove it to himself. She smiled when she recalled how hard they tried to do it because if one tiny lady could do it, certainly they could as well. She thought that maybe, perhaps they had finally done it.

She worked at the submarine base for about five years, and then decided to go back to her family in Arkansas. She traveled all across the country by herself, with her three children in tow. Then, she met her second husband, they married and moved to Houston. I think her oldest children were pretty much grown by the time Marsha and her brother, Randy, came along. At least, Marsha very rarely mentions them, and I was really shocked to learn of Sister Lucille’s first marriage and her children.

Anyway, when Marsha was about eight, the family was living in Houma, Louisiana, which is on the coast, about sixty miles southwest of New Orleans. Her husband worked in the oil fields there, and she worked as the chief bookkeeper for a chain of five grocery stores. Niggling questions about the Bible continued to vex her. When she asked her pastor questions, first he said, ‘we must have faith’, then came ‘I don’t know’, until finally he said, “You know, Mrs. Johnson, you really are becoming a problem.”

That was when she started investigating other religions, but none of the pamphlets or other information her friends had to offer gave her any satisfaction. One day, she mentioned this to one of her friends who happened to be a less active Mormon (I’m certain because of her isolation) and happened to have a Joseph Smith pamphlet in her car. Sister Lucille took it to be polite and after her friend left, went to the trash can to throw it away. That was the last thing she recalled until she found herself sitting at her kitchen table reading the pamphlet, the hair standing up on her head, it so electrified her. She knew that moment it was true and told her friend as much. She begged her for more reading material, but her friend told her, “No. You’re ready for the missionaries.”

That went as you would expect, but when it came time to the family to be baptized, they told her they must drive some distance. When they got there, they went to a specific house and into a back room which had a huge wooden box in it. It had originally been a crate in which they shipped oil field machinery, but they had painted it, I assume water-proofed it, and built ladders ‘coming and going’, as Sister Lucille put it. If they wanted a ‘real’ baptismal fount, they were told they must drive to New Orleans, which was a major trek at that time and in that undeveloped part of the state. In that crate she was baptized, as was her husband, and he baptized their daughter, Marsha. They were the first members of the Church ever in Homer, Louisiana. The rest is history, but it’s that history I want to tell you about.

As it happened, Sister Lucille was, as I said, the head bookkeeper for five supermarkets. As she required them, she would choose the sharpest and best cashiers from those stores and ask them if they wished to learn bookkeeping. Of course, they all jumped at the chance, she trained them herself, and soon Sister Lucille had a whole pool of bookkeepers working under her. One could say she was a woman of some influence.

After she joined the Church, as she put it, she ‘couldn’t keep it to myself’. She preached the Gospel to anyone who would listen, and every single one of ‘her girls’ joined the Church, as did their families. Before long, they had a branch up and running which filled her entire living room and burst out of it because neither could her friends keep the good news to themselves. As she said, she did the preaching and her husband did the baptizing.

In those days, the Church didn’t just build a chapel because it was needed. The saints had to come up with a big chunk of the money, and $1000 1960-dollars was a hefty amount. However, that is how much the Johnsons ultimately contributed to the building fund for their ward house. They quite literally built the Kingdom in Houma. They lived in there some years. It’s where she and Marsha ultimately call home. They eventually moved away to follow the work, but when they left Houma, their branch was well on its way to full ward status and the meeting house was eventually built. She told me that whenever they drive through, they have to see that chapel because they feel so much a part of it.

Needless to say, Sister Lucille takes great pleasure in relating this story and in contemplating just how many people she brought into the gospel. Of course, there is absolutely no way of telling just how far her testimony reached, for every single one of her girls remained steadfast in the Gospel and raised their families to do the same. When one considers how many missionaries must have been sent out into the world and how many children raised their own in the gospel as a result of their parents’ conversion, the influence of Sister Lucille and her husband staggers the mind.

And all this because one sister whose hardship and distance prevented her from regularly attending church meetings kept in her glove box a Joseph Smith pamphlet and was not too timid to share it. I asked Sister Lucille whatever became of her friend, if she starting coming back to church when they had established their branch, but she told me after she attended their baptism, she moved away and then died shortly thereafter. She never knew the results of her efforts.

But, how great must be her joy! When Sister Lucille finally meets her again, how they will rejoice in knowing that through them, the Lord bestowed blessings upon countless numbers. Whenever I wonder if what I am doing is enough or if it is worth it, I consider that ‘less active’ sister and hope that there are more like Sister Lucille who latch onto the truth I try to communicate and cannot keep the good news to themselves. That thought makes all the effort worth it.

So, that’s my homily for today. I hope it inspires you as much as it has me. With juggernauts like Sister Lucille, the Gospel cannot help but fill the whole earth. Like that stone cut out of the mountain without hands, it is unstoppable.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Jesus the Christ: Reflections of Christ

A brand new feature:


There is so much great material out there, I am starting a new weekly feature called "Jesus the Christ" to testify of the divinity of our Savior, such as the video below. If you come across any material, whether text, links, paintings, photography, or multimedia from any source (e.g., if you read a particularly inspiring Ensign article or conference talk, or a bit of music or a program on BYU.tv), or if you have personal faith-building experiences to share, please forward it to me and I will get it posted on this blog.

Deseret Book has created a virtual environment where uplifting videos posted on YouTube can be viewed without any exposure to the less savory which one stumbles upon at times on that site. They have embedded the video below which is a photographic depiction of events in the life of our Savior, Jesus Christ. It was originally shown as a presentation in the Mesa Arizona Temple Visitor's Center, and was then moved to the Joseph Smith Building in Salt Lake City. It is currently on tour throughout the US. Although the link above is commercial and independent of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the video is powerful and a must-see.

More information of the tour, ticket prices, and purchase of the video and music visit reflectionsofchrist.org, or Deseretbook.com.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Blog fo the Week: T F Stern's Rantings: DNA Evidence Supports Book of Mormon

T F Stern's Rantings: DNA Evidence Supports Book of Mormon

Hey, Sisters,

For those of you who were in Fast and Testimony today (and everyone else, for that matter), you might find this blog entry from Brother Stern interesting. I haven't had a chance to see the DVD myself, but it's definitely something that sounds exciting.