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Monday, September 26, 2011

Grandchildren: Chapter 4

September 20th was my oldest granddaughter, Kerry Lois Leavitt's, 15th birthday. Kerry is a beautiful 15 year old. She is taller than me which isn't hard to be. She appears to have a lot of self confidence and seems to get along with everyone.

I took this picture of her at her brother's pancake breakfast. She was unaware that I was taking it.

She attends young women's and is actve in the church. She is the second oldest of five children.

She is looking forward to when she is 15 1/2 so she can get her driver's permit.  She will make the  second youth driver in her family. 

Below is a picture of her with her family.  This picture is a couple of years old so she's not as tall here. But she is still beautiful.

Kerry had been able to attend EFY (Especially For Youth) for the last couple of years.  She has made new friends and had testimony building experiences at EFY.  A little information on EFY:

"EFY is a youth program with the objectives to encourage, assist, and guide youth participants (ages 14–18) as they strive to “come unto Christ.” EFY creates a setting where youth have the opportunity to develop spiritually, physically, intellectually and socially. EFY programs are held throughout North America every summer and are attended by more than 50,000 youth. Sessions are primarily supervised by young-adult counselors between the ages of 20-25 who are positive role models for the youth. All sessions are directed by adult instructors.

  • Scripture Study
  • Devotionals and Firesides
  • Family Home Evenings
  • Dance
  • Testimony Meeting
  • Variety Show
  • Much more …"
I wish the church had an EFA (Especially For Adults). That would be so cool to be able to experience things like the youth do.

Kerry has a wonderful smile. Her whole face lights up. Sorry, the picture is a little blurry.  Sometimes my phone doesn't take the best pictures.

I love Kerry and her wonderful, lively, loving spirit.  She is one of the strongest spirits that is needed for this day and age. She is a great example to us all.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Grandchildren: Chapter 3

My second oldest but my tallest grandchild, Justin Andrew Leavitt, had his 17th birthday on September 13th. Here are some pictures from his birthday celebration.

We had an ice cream sundae bar so everyone could make their own.  It was delicious. Actually too delicious because yours truly ate too much.

He enjoyed visiting with his friends and family . . .

 and then relaxing afterwards.

Justin is, as his mother puts it, our gentle giant.  He's at least 6 feet 2 inchs and he is a gentle soul.  Justin knows what he wants and again, as his mother states, marches to the beat of his own drum.  Speaking of drums, Justin played drums in the school orchestra during middle school.  High school had a lot of demands if you belonged to the orchestra so Justin opted out of orchestra because he has a lot on his plate this year. Besides going to seminary at 6:00 am he works at Smiths throughout the week too. But he has a great talent for the drums.

Justin is a spiritually strong and humble young man which is an extremely important attribute to have especially during this day and age. We believe the strongest spirits have been saved for the last days and that is proving to be true.  Justin is definitely one of those strong spirits. He has made his home with us along with his family.  I, for one, am thrilled to have him here.

I admire Justin for the great respect he shows people, especially his parents and grandparents.  I love his laugh and his sense of humor. It seems to run in the family.

He is a senior in high school this year. Wow! It's hard to believe. I know that he is planning on going on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when he turns 19. He was interviewed by the Bishop and has a recommend to do baptisms for the dead for the next year. He's also on the Stake Youth Committee and will get a chance to speak in church quite often.

I love and appreciate Justin so much.  He is a great blessing in our lives.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Grandchildren: Chapter 2

September 9th was my youngest grandchild, Laila's, birthday. She turned two.  Yes, she was born on 09/09/09. I guess you can say that is her claim to fame.  Laila is a little angel.  She is extremely smart. She knows most of her letters, knows how to count at least to 11 or 12 and recognizes most her numbers. She is extremely expressive for a 2 year old. She talks up a storm and makes everyone laugh to listen to her talk. Some of it you understand, some not, but usually you get the idea of what she needs you to know.

Her mother reads to her every night and Laila loves books.  She also loves Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, Tinkerbell, coloring, playing with her stickers, puzzles, horses, climbing in and out of things, cupboards and drawers and what's in them and so many other things.

Laila had a very cute birthday cake.

She and Winnie the Pooh enjoyed her cake.

The it came time to open presents. Holy cow there's a lot of presents!

She had a ball opening her birthday presents. This first one is an afghan I made for her.  Her bedroom is purple so I made it to match.

Other presents:

She calls me Maka and Dean papa.  She couldn't say grandma and grandpa clearly and so that's how they came out of her mouth.

Everytime she leaves our house after visiting she has to have three or four of us walk her to the car.  I understand she does that when she visits other relatives homes too. She also loves hugs and kisses and usually gets and gives quite a few and she already has an endless imagination.

She is a delightful addition to our growing family.  I don't think we are done yet as Becky and Greg would like to have more.  Grandchildren are indeed a great blessing.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

In Times of Sorrow and In Times of Calm

September 11, 2001, is a day that not only will Americans always remember but the world will remember. Today marks the 10 year anniversary of that unforgettable day. So many people from all walks of life lost their lives that day.  And everyone was affected in some way by the loss that America experienced.

"The National September 11 Memorial is a tribute of remembrance and honor to the nearly 3,000 people killed in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center site, near Shanksville, Pa., and at the Pentagon, as well as the six people killed in the World Trade Center bombing in February 1993.

The Memorial’s twin reflecting pools are each nearly an acre in size and feature the largest manmade waterfalls in the North America. The pools sit within the footprints where the Twin Towers once stood. Architect Michael Arad and landscape architect Peter Walker created the Memorial design selected from a global design competition that included more than 5,200 entries from 63 nations.

The names of every person who died in the 2001 and 1993 attacks are inscribed into bronze panels edging the Memorial pools, a powerful reminder of the largest loss of life resulting from a foreign attack on American soil and the greatest single loss of rescue personnel in American history."

I found the above at I would love to go see this memorial but I'm not sure if I'll ever get that chance.

The following is an article I found online that says everything that I feel and believe. I could not say it better. Thomas S. Monson is the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He is the Lord's Prophet here on earth today.

9/11 destruction allowed us to spiritually rebuild


"The calamity of September 11th, 2001 has cast a long shadow. Ten years later, many of us are still haunted by its terrible tragedy of lost lives and broken hearts. It is an episode of anguish that has become a defining moment in the history of the American nation and the world. This week, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, along with Tom Brokaw, will pay its own homage to the unforgettable events of September 11, 2001.

There was, as many have noted, a remarkable surge of faith following the tragedy. People across the United States rediscovered the need for God and turned to Him for solace and understanding. Comfortable times were shattered. We felt the great unsteadiness of life and reached for the great steadiness of our Father in Heaven. And, as ever, we found it. Americans of all faiths came together in a remarkable way.

Sadly, it seems that much of that renewal of faith has waned in the years that have followed. Healing has come with time, but so has indifference. We forget how vulnerable and sorrowful we felt. Our sorrow moved us to remember the deep purposes of our lives. The darkness of our despair brought us a moment of enlightenment. But we are forgetful. When the depth of grief has passed, its lessons often pass from our minds and hearts as well.

Our Father’s commitment to us, His children, is unwavering. Indeed He softens the winters of our lives, but He also brightens our summers. Whether it is the best of times or the worst, He is with us. He has promised us that this will never change.

But we are less faithful than He is. By nature we are vain, frail, and foolish. We sometimes neglect God. Sometimes we fail to keep the commandments that He gives us to make us happy. Sometimes we fail to commune with Him in prayer. Sometimes we forget to succor the poor and the downtrodden who are also His children. And our forgetfulness is very much to our detriment.

If there is a spiritual lesson to be learned from our experience of that fateful day, it may be that we owe to God the same faithfulness that He gives to us. We should strive for steadiness, and for a commitment to God that does not ebb and flow with the years or the crises of our lives. It should not require tragedy for us to remember Him, and we should not be compelled to humility before giving Him our faith and trust. We too should be with Him in every season.

The way to be with God in every season is to strive to be near Him every week and each day. We truly “need Him every hour,” not just in hours of devastation. We must speak to Him, listen to Him, and serve Him. If we wish to serve Him, we should serve our fellow men. We will mourn the lives we lose, but we should also fix the lives that can be mended and heal the hearts that may yet be healed.

It is constancy that God would have from us. Tragedies are not merely opportunities to give Him a fleeting thought, or for momentary insight to His plan for our happiness. Destruction allows us to rebuild our lives in the way He teaches us, and to become something different than we were. We can make Him the center of our thoughts and His Son, Jesus Christ, the pattern for our behavior. We may not only find faith in God in our sorrow. We may also become faithful to Him in times of calm."

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Grandchildren: Chapter 1

I've decided to post about each of my grandchildren around their birthday time.  I'm going to start with my youngest grandson, Nickolas Wade Leavitt. His 10th birthday was on August 31st.  He is the youngest of three children in his family. Nick is a cheerful, happy and smart young man and makes friends easily. He had to start a new school this year since he and his family moved in with us. He made friends right away. From what I can tell he is obedient to his parents and seems to want to please them. His middle name is the same as my second son, Wade Phillip Leavitt.  Wade only lived 5 months upon this earth, so my oldest son, Drew and his wife, Chris, decided to remember Wade by giving Nickolas his first name as a middle name.  I was very touched when they revealed what they were doing.

Nick likes and has been active in cubscouts.

With a lot of hard work and support from his parents and leaders he received his Bear just a few days before his 10th birthday.

He is now a Webelo and has an awesome Webelo leader, Travis Millet, who was in attendance when Nick received his bear. You can see Travis from the back in the pictures above.  He is wearing the blue striped shirt.

Nick is a Lego lover.  With his birthday money he was able to add to his Lego collection.

I love Nick and his sense of humor.  He takes life as it comes and seems to roll with the punches. It's a treat to have him in our home now along with his family. They add so much to our home. I am so proud of Nick and know he will grow into an awesome priesthood holder, missionary and father when the time comes.