Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day is full of tradition. It is a time for our family to get together and remember those who have gone before us. It is also a time to gather and have good food and conversation. One thing we always know we will be doing this weekend is taking a trip up to Huntsville, UT with my parents. Usually we will meet up with some of the other Johansen family members and have a BBQ after we visit the cemetery. So, that is what we did today.

I am trying to be more "artistic" with my photo's (Ashton's friend, Lisa has inspired me to try to take better photos), so bare with me. And hopefully within the next few months you will notice an improvement!!

Also, I wanted to mention an article I read in the Deseret News that inspired me. Here is the link:,5143,705306328,00.html. It is about Brad Jencks, a soon-to-be graduate of Bingham High School, who decided to find out where his ancestor's were buried at the Bingham Cemetery. The cemetery was run down and had many graves that were unmarked, and many with broken headstones. As his Eagle Project he decided to make a difference by finding out who was buried where and find out the history behind all the people (not just his relatives), along with replacing the headstones that were broken, or putting headstones on the graves that were unmarked. Brad said, "I learned that each person buried there was a real person who lived a life just like you and me." It is a fabulous story and very inspirational. I would like to be more like Brad. What a great example!

Also, in Young Women's on Sunday Sister Dykman read a story that I found interesting. Here it is:

“Great-Uncle Benjamin had died over 30 years ago and some of his belongings were packed away in the old trunks in the farmhouse attic.

“ ‘I wonder why Grandpa saved [Great-Uncle’s things] for all these years,’ John grumbled as he helped sort through it with his mother and sister. Grandpa had died a few weeks before and Jennie Lynn, his only surviving daughter, and her two children had come to clean out the old family home.

“John threw a shapeless felt hat into a large barrel in the center of the room. ‘Man, do you ever wonder if your family tree has blight attacking its roots? I mean, what in the world would they want to save all this junk for? Look at this old dilapidated book for instance: Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded. Brother!’

“ ‘That,’ replied his sister Alice calmly, ‘is a copy of the first English novel ever written. Kindly place it carefully in the “save” box.’

“ ‘Well, what about this? A partially used notebook? Who in their right mind would save that? …’

“Jennie walked over and looked at the book John was holding. …

“ ‘Can you make out what it says?’ Alice asked, joining her mother and brother.

“ ‘Easy,’ John replied as he sat down and started to read, skipping pages here and there.

“May 4, 1888 …

“ ‘Hey, it looks like a diary or a journal or something!’

“May 4, 1888: Mother locked my violin in the cedar chest again this morning. She says it’s too big a temptation for me before the cows are milked. She’s right, I suppose. It’s a good thing the other boys are more diligent than I or we’d never be able to feed all eight of us from these few acres. If Father were still alive we’d manage better.

“September 3, 1888: Mr. Carter told Mother today that he has taught me all he knows and I need a more advanced teacher. There is a Sister Kendall over in Coalville who is supposed to have played at one time with the Philadelphia orchestra before joining the Church and moving west. Mother promised I could ask her if she would take me as a pupil. The only trouble is going to be how much she will charge for lessons. I am to be allowed to take charge of the chickens and keep the egg money to pay for my music. …

“April 8, 1892: I realized today that there are three things I love better than all else: the Lord, my family, and my music. And I know now that the love of one thing does not necessarily preclude the love of another. When they’re all good things, they all go together.

“December 1, 1892: It’s terribly late, but I can’t sleep. I’ve been copying music all evening with Mother’s help. I’ve been asked to travel down to Salt Lake to audition for a place with the territorial orchestra. …

“March 5, 1893: After several weeks of practicing interspersed with hours of prayers, I went down to Salt Lake and auditioned. Mr. Dean, the conductor, told me I was the most accomplished violinist he had heard west of Denver. There probably aren’t too many west of Denver that he has heard, but Mother was pleased when I told her. I am to be in Denver for rehearsals early in the fall, and I’ll be earning enough to keep myself plus a little to spare for Mother and the others. Sunday in sacrament meeting I’m to play the Mozart selection I learned for the tryouts.

“March 11, 1893: Why has this happened now? Why just at this point in my life? After sacrament meeting on Sunday, Bishop Reynolds called me into his office and asked me how the tryouts had gone. I told him that I had been hired, and he asked me if I couldn’t put off playing with the orchestra for a couple of years. He explained to me that before I start earning money, there is something else I owe the Lord. With ‘no doubt’ in his mind that it is the will of the Lord, he asked me to accept a mission call. I know I owe everything I have to my God, and a couple of years away from my violin shouldn’t be too much to ask, but I think it’s giving up almost more than I can bear. Still I knew the uncertainty in my own heart was more dread than doubt so I promised the bishop that if there was any way for us to raise the money, I would accept the call. …

“March 13, 1893: Last night I told Mother about the mission call. She was overjoyed. Father had always wanted to serve a mission, she said, but he had been killed before being able to. Now I could fill a mission in his place. When I asked her how we were going to raise the money, her face clouded. Explaining to her that I would not allow her to sell any more of the land, I told her of the conditional promise I had given the bishop. She looked at me quietly for a moment and then she said, ‘Ben, there is a way we can raise the money. This family owns one thing that is of great enough value to send you on your mission. You will have to sell your violin.’

“March 17, 1893: The promise must be kept, and there is a way. Next Monday, I will go to Salt Lake and sell my violin. If I am able to raise the needed sum for my passage, I will leave immediately on my mission. I have made my decision and I am at peace.

“March 23, 1893: I awoke this morning and took my violin from its case. All day long I played the music I love. In the evening when the light grew dim and I could see to play no longer, I placed the instrument in its case. It will be enough. Tomorrow I leave.

“ ‘That’s it,’ John said unbelievingly. ‘It ends right there. There’s no more. What happened? Did he come back and get another violin? Did he? Was he ever able to play in a symphony orchestra? Mom, do you know what happened?’

“ ‘I don’t know, John,’ his mother responded quietly. ‘I suppose there’s somebody around who does, but I don’t really mind having the story end there. You already know the most important thing about him.’

“ ‘Wait!’ yelped John. ‘Look, there’s a little more writing at the back of the notebook.’ He glanced at the short entry, coughed a little to cover the other sound that almost escaped from his throat, and handed the book to Jennie. ‘You, Mom,’ he said, afraid to trust himself with any more words.

“Jennie took the book, moved closer to the small gabled window to catch the fading light, and looked at the page. The hand that wrote these words was not quite as steady or as firm as the one that started the journal, but the letters were still carefully and evenly formed. She read:

“June 23, 1938: The greatest decision I ever made in my life was to give up something I dearly loved to the God I loved even more. He has never forgotten me for it. Benjamin Landart” (Karen Nolen, “Benjamin: Son of the Right Hand,” New Era, May 1974, pp. 35–37).

I liked this story because it reminded me that keeping a personal journal is interesting, and fun. I love to write in my journal and after hearing this story I felt inspired to write more diligently with more meaningful entries.

Also, on a more personal note, I have been feeling "open" to receiving inspiration. I know that sounds funny, but I am ready to be... better? I think everyone has the potential to serve a purpose that will help others. I don't know what I am going to do, but like I said, I am open to new challenges and opportunities.


BallFamily said...

The pictures turned out really neat. You'll have to teach me some tricks! Looks like you had a fun Memorial Day weekend.

Jasmine said...

your pictures are looking great. You definitely have an eye for it. Thanks for the story.

A few years ago I started to feel the way you're feeling & I've been trying to follow the inspirations, signs, and little pushes in the right direction ever since. I must warn you that when you start really listening to the Spirit, you'll find there's a lot He's got to say. I think if left on my own, I would've been happy to stay in my little corner & not really venture out much. But apparently the Lord has a bigger purpose for me, and I'm genuinely scared but have been blessed more than I can imagine.