This Easter weekend was filled with awe and first time experiences for us.
On Friday, my Dad celebrated his 88th birthday. The week prior had not been a very good one as his health has been deteriorating and earlier in the week, the Ottawa Heart Institute said that there was nothing that they could do for him, or would do for him. His heart is so weakened that any kind of treatment they can do for (his kidneys) could possibly kill him. Of course I have my own theories which tend towards my beliefs in Canada's socialized health care; but I'll keep them to myself here.
But on Friday, my Mum said he was doing better and that he had a really good day. Two nights before I spoke with him, and quite literally, it broke my heart. He could not string together a single sentence without having to take a long, deep breath between words. I'd never heard him sound so bad.
However, true to form; he and I were able to make each other laugh. Call it a coping mechanism on my part, whenever things start to get too dire and dark, I tend to find something to make someone laugh and alleviate the moment. It seems Dad has become like this in his wise years.
So we are on the phone, and understand that both my Dad and I have hearing impairment, but his is much worse than mine. And we're talking about the lovely Easter Pageant that Ben and I will be attending the following night on the grounds of the Mesa Arizona Temple (http://www.easterpageant.org/), and I tell him "Next year you'll have to..." he interrupts me and says, "What's that Leyla, you're going to go have sex now?!" That ended the conversation as we were both laughing so hard.
The following night, Ben and I went to the Easter Pageant with a woman we've just met and the missionaries. We had a great time and afterwards went over to Denny's for some hot chocolate... wouldn't you know it, their hot chocolate machine was broken down. But the company was great and as we were about to rap things up, a blast from our past walked in. A former friend who we'd not seen in about five years came running over with all the gossip of her life over the years.
We were looking forward to the 180th Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this weekend. It was the first time that Conference occurred on Easter weekend since 1999 and won't occur again until 2016.
Part of our preparations include getting as many snacks as possible to keep Ben awake through all sessions. As he has sleep apnea and narcolepsy, he falls asleep easily.
Saturday morning, we got up early, I made French toast for breakfast and we set in to watch conference on BYU-TV (one of the advantages of living in this part of the world).
President Monson opened conference with a wonderful message, much laughter, and the opening of the Spirit. The day progressed well and the messages most inspiring. As we came towards the close of the afternoon session, Ben tapped me lightly on the arm, "I think we might have a baby bird."
Our budgies had five eggs which Lucy had been well incubating for the past month or so. In fact, she'd taken SO long in incubating that we wondered if they were duds or not.
But sure enough, we could hear the definite "peeps" of a baby. Later I opened the nest and saw the little critter. SO tiny it was, about the length of the first digit of my index finger. And SO ugly it is cute; naked of feathers, with big black dots that seem to take up its entire head (where the eyes are).
Sunday's sessions were very inspiring also, although with snacks almost all gone, it was a bit of a battle keeping Ben awake for the entire four hours.
After the final session, as we were preparing to head next door to our neighbours for Easter dinner, I had a little lay down with the cats. Well, Sayge has put on a tremendous amounts of weight and I thought she was shaking the bed while cleaning herself. The bed was literally moving back and forth and I was starting to feel a bit "sea sick". I looked down and saw her and Ainey both looking up at the ceiling fan; obviously she was not responsible for moving the bed. So I said out loud, "Well if you're not moving the bed, who's moving the bed then?!" As if the clear air would answer me back. Then it stopped.
I looked up at the ceiling fan and saw that the chain and fob were swinging back and forth.
I called Ben and told him that I thought we might have had an earthquake. Of course, he didn't feel anything so didn't think that that was what it was.
Well, immediately I started to think that I should get back on my blood pressure meds ASAP cos I was getting vertigo even while laying down... that's pretty bad.
A half hour later, I finally got round to turning on CNN and learned about a 6.9 magnitude earthquake in Northern Mexico (and while I was watching, they increased the magnitude to 7.2). I immediately told Ben. And yes, the reports DID say that it was felt in Southern California, Northern California, Seattle, and... Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona! YAAY! I am NOT crazy and I didn't have vertigo!!!
Glad to learn that I was not the only one who thought she was crazy when I asked my neighbours at the party later if they had felt it; two had, two had not. The two who had thought that they were going crazy too.
Easter weekend this year was awesome. There is something about having General Conference, my Dad's birthday, the birth of a new life, and an earthquake on this sacred time of year that makes one feel edified, glorified, and know of God's existence. In all these blessings and experiences one can't help but feel turned towards the Lord, and align oneself in thinking of the glory of so many experiences in one weekend and think of the sacrifice that He made for us, His resurrection, and our knowledge that we too can live after death and become resurrected.
This weekend, we were counseled to not make others feel unwanted, unloved, or judge others. We were taught against judgment but to (seemingly contradictory) use excellent judgment in making decisions. We were told that it is not a matter of "if" trials would come to us, but rather "how" they would come and how we choose to react to them. In the midst of trial and tribulation, we can find solace in our Lord and Saviour, and know that we are never alone.
And we were warned of the dangers in our midst's; such things as negative imagery that we can so easily view, hear, and watch how such seemingly innocent shows are being invaded by small, but spiritually deadly words, actions, and views.
What was really amazing was that we were counseled that we are in the last days and that we have been taught that in the last days we would be plagued with wars, rumours of wars, earthquakes, and the water levels rising and many deaths. In the past three months, there have been two great and devastating earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, and a great tsunami which hit the Samoan islands. Not two hours after conference ended, it was most interesting to not only hear about, but to feel the earthquake in Northern Mexico.
A sign of the times? I think that we are in a place in history where we can no longer ignore the signs around us. Maybe the Mayan calendar is right, and we should expect the beginning of the end in 2012. From a documentary I saw last year, they believe that 2012 will just be the beginning and by 2016 our world will be completely different from the one we live in today.
As we were counseled this weekend, in the midst of trials and despair, it is then that we need to seek to the peace and solace of the Lord and our Heavenly Father, for it is truly only in Them that we will be able to be armed with the fortitude to continue and "get through".
There was a lot of lessons which left me pondering this Easter weekend. I hope that you too had a wonderful one, that you were blessed with much to ponder and that you too, were edified.