Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Miracle of Life

It's been a long time since I've posted anything on my blog... mostly because (don't laugh at me) I couldn't remember how to get to it. But I've had a lot of things come to mind lately that I've wanted to share. For those of you who aren't aware, I was married in the temple, sealed for all eternity to Joseph Richins, the love of my forever on June 17, 2010. Since then, we've moved to Provo, UT to finish up our educations at BYU. I am now 7 months pregnant with a beautiful baby girl to come around June 24, 2011--real close to our first anniversary.

When thinking about the miracle of this little life growing inside of me, I've thought a lot about how many women have carried children throughout the ages and about the love and responsibility of mothers. When thinking about what to name my baby girl, I thought about the strong women in my family and my respect and gratitude for them (after all, without the women in this world, none of us would be here!). My thoughts immediately went to my grandmother Juanita Belle Fishburn (maiden name PACK). Joseph and I decided on the name Elena Belle Richins for our little one, because we want her to be strong like my grandmother and have the same good qualities she had.

It's amazing to see how family traits really do get passed down the line. I inherited my love for reading from my maternal grandmother, Alice Humphrey (maiden name GREENE). My musical talent comes from my dad's side of the family, from my grandpa Obie and grandma Juanita. And I've realized that, upon merging families through marriage and having a baby of my own, that I get the pleasure of seeing who my children will take after when they grow. Luckily for me, there are plenty of amazing people on both sides of mine and Joseph's families. I can't wait to see who she becomes, my little Baby Belle.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Doing Temple Work

I was happy to go to the temple on Friday (April 2, 2010) with the love of my life, Joseph Richins. We went to the Provo, UT temple, where he led me around to the back and proposed to me. Of course, I said yes. The best part was, however, that we were able to go inside the holy temple of the Lord and do work for my ancestors. It was a truly wonderful and uplifting experience, to sit beside the man I love and be baptized and confirmed for my family members. He was baptized and confirmed as well. Here are the names of the ancestors we were able to do baptisms for:

  • John GREEN (son of James Riley GREEN and Katharine EVERHART)
  • Cerintha GREEN (daughter of James Riley GREEN and Katharine EVERHART)
  • Jerusha GREEN (daughter of James Riley GREEN and Katharine EVERHART)
  • John David GLASS (son of John C. GLASS and Viola Virginia GREEN)
What a happy day it was, not only for me, but for my ancestors, waiting for their temple work to be done. I'm so thankful for the blessings of this gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that my ancestors are happy in Christ.

Budget Cooking

Having had grandparents who grew up during the Great Depression, and being a poor college student, myself, I wanted to learn more about ways to cut back, and how to save money while still providing good, nutritious family meals. Luckily for me, I took a food preparation class this year, which taught me a lot about wise money spending and budgeting, how to shop for food, how to prepare the food, and how to make it look and taste good, while still being good FOR you.

So I took a couple of opportunities this last week to make use of my knowledge.
  1. Easter Dinner: Family traditions are important. Unfortunately, for the last few years while I've been in college, Easter traditions have kind of fallen apart, as I've been away from my family and home. So this year, I decided to start my own Easter tradition, by inviting my friends over for a big Easter dinner. I have a love for food, and for feeding people--a love I share with my late Grandma Fishburn, who never let a soul leave her home hungry. I also have a love for German Potato Salad--a recipe my Grandma Humphrey made every Easter, which came strait from Germany when my great great grandmother, Kunnigunde Grethlein, brought it with her when she moved to America in the late 1800's. Combining my love for family, friends, and food, and with my grandmothers in mind, I organized an amazing meal for everyone to share. We had 11 people total who shared in the meal. I made a ham, German potato salad, and peanut butter bars to go along with the salads and vegetables brought by three of my friends. Joseph and I (my fiancé) made homemade bread to eat with the meal as well, and coupled that with my roommate's homemade blackberry freezer jam. The total cost of what I spent to make my part of the meal could not have been more than $30, which, when feeding 11 people AND having leftovers, is a pretty good deal. I used coupons for the food, so that definitely helped. As we ate together in my little living room, we talked about our lives, and some of our family's Easter traditions. Truly, special holiday gatherings are something to be shared with friends, especially when family's not around.
  2. Magnificent Meal: In my food class we had the opportunity to create a "Magnificent Meal" for our final project and lab. For each person in our group, we could only spend $2.50 per person in creating a family meal to share. We were able to pull it off, making cream cheese enchiladas and black beans, with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, and sour cream to go with it. We added a sprig of cilantro as a garnish, and made horchata to drink. Clearly it was Mexican themed. For dessert we had chocolate dream pie--a chocolate pudding pie with whipped cream mixture and a shortbread crust on the bottom. It was really delicious, and hard to believe that we made it all for only $2.51 per person (we went over by a penny with our costs).
As I made these meals I thought about my family, and the importance of family meal time. And as I did my best to practice money-saving techniques, I feel connected to my grandmothers, who worked to hard to save money while caring for their families (especially since my Grandma Fishburn had 8 children to take care of, and still managed to feed anyone else who dropped by). I feel better prepared for when I get married and start having kids. I know the things I need to properly feed everyone, and make it enjoyable, too.

For the final part of my food-cooking experience, I asked my mom to gather some recipes for me that have been used in my family (from my grandmothers, great grandmothers, and even my Aunt Sunee from Thailand!). I want to start a collection of recipes--family recipes. I have a lot of handwritten recipes from my Grandma Humphrey that I want to type out and put in a book, along with recipes from my mother, Grandma Fishburn, and traditional recipes from each country of origin I can trace my family back to. It's the perfect way to remember where I'm from, and to share my love for food and family with every meal.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A New Beginning

I'm starting out on this journey of a blog. I can't guarantee that any of it will turn out alright. I can't even guarantee that it will be interested, insightful, or informative in any way. My only goal for this site is to bring myself closer to those who have gone before me.

This is my Family History blog. What has started out as a project in school takes on new meaning as I learn about my family, and yearn to help others search for their ancestors. Truly, the sealing power has been restored--families can be linked together forever, throughout the eternities, because of the Priesthood and the sealing power restored through Elijah in these latter-days.

For those of you who have stumbled upon this site and have no clue what I'm talking about, I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, otherwise known as the Mormon church. I'm proud of my faith. I have a firm testimony in the Lord, Jesus Christ, and have built my life upon Him, as it is He who gives me strength. I love God, and I love His restored gospel. I also love my family, and so I am happy to know that I can spend forever with them, through this gospel of Christ.

In the LDS church, we take a special interest in Family History (or Genealogy) because of our knowledge of the eternal nature of families. Malachi 4: 5-6 states: "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 I come and smite the earth with a curse." We have been taught in our church that our ancestors cannot be saved without us, neither can we be saved without them. This directly ties with the scripture in Malachi, and helps us to turn our hearts to our fathers, our ancestors who gave us life, and help them by performing sacred ordinances for them, such as baptism, in temples across the world. These ties created in the temple last for eternity, meaning we stay as family forever.

It is my goal to locate as many of my family members as I can, and do the work for them. They cannot do it for themselves, but since God is merciful and gracious, He has allowed for a way to redeem the dead, to allow those who have passed on to be baptized in His name through a living proxy, and to, therefore, reap all the blessings that come from living in accordance to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Job asked, "If a man die, shall he live again?" (Job 14:14) and we know that the answer is "YES!" Because Christ died and rose from His tomb on the third day, we all shall live again, including our ancestors.

I love my family, and I want to be with them forever. As I come closer to them through this Family History work, I encourage everyone else to do the same. There are people waiting to receive these blessings, and we're the ones who can help! This is a great and noble work, and I know that I will be blessed as I embark upon this journey--one step at a time.