Monday, December 14, 2015

James and Agnes Flake

 James Madison Flake (1815-1850) and Agnes Haley Love Flake(1819--1855)            
Each lived only to be 35 years old

What if James and Agnes Flake would not have opened their Mississippi door to the missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Saints?
What if James and Agnes would have decided to not be baptized yielding to pressure of family and friends to not do so?
What if James and Agnes would have not sold their home and land at a sacrificed price and freed their slaves to move more than 670 miles to join the Saints in Nauvoo?
What if James and Agnes, after two years in Nauvoo, would not have left a new home to move again over 300 miles to Winter Quarters, Iowa?
What if James and Agnes would have said in Winter Quarters after losing three of their six children, “We won’t move again, more than 900 miles to the Salt Lake Valley.
What if James and Agnes would have said to Brigham Young after two years in the Salt Lake Valley, “We are just getting started and James can’t accept your call to look for where Church members can settle in California”?
What if Agnes, when informed of the death of James would have said, “That exempts me and my children from the prophet’s call to relocate in San Bernardino; another move of more than 600 miles?”
What if Agnes would have accepted the offer of her brother to return, with her children, to the family home in North Carolina agreeing to, “All you have to do is give up your Mormonism.”  She assured him that would never happen.  Her dying counsel to her children was to always live true to the faith.
Now, nearly 175 years later, more than 15,000 descendants honor James Madison and Agnes Haley Love Flake for being steadfast and immovable, for keeping their covenants, and becoming the foundation of our eternal Flake Family.
Will we, their posterity, carry the torch they so brightly carried?  Will our testimony of the gospel continue to sustain us as it did them?

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Mule

                                     The Mule

William Jordan Flake, who founded Snowflake, believed a deal is a deal. He also believed in returning kindness.  He made a deal with James Stinson for the purchase of the Stinson ranch that became the Snowflake town site in July, 1878.  The purchase included land, water rights, a grain crop ready for harvest, farm equipment, a small home and six mules. In exchange, Flake gave Stinson 450 head of Utah grade cattle, delivering 150 head each fall for three years.  
When the deal was completed, Flake asked Stinson if he was satisfied. Stinson said, “I am perfectly satisfied but I want to keep a special saddle mule.”  Flake responded, "No, the mule was in the trade.  It belongs to me so pull your saddle off.”  Stinson said, "Let me keep the mule and you pick out five cows that you want to keep.  "No, a deal’s a deal," said Flake, "the mule is mine.”

With tears in his eyes, Stinson pulled off the saddle and handed the neck rope to Flake.  Then as Stinson walked back to pick up his saddle, Flake stopped him and said, "Stinson, we have done a lot of business the last three years and all of it was done without the scratch of a pen.  Through it all you have shown that you are a man of honor.  For a long time I have wondered how I might show my appreciation to you for all you have done for me and my people.  I want to present this mule to one of the squarest men I have ever met."  Flake handed to rope back to Stinson who saddled the mule and rode off without a word.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

James Madison Flake's final words, posted by Braden

I read this today on FamilySearch. It's James Madison Flake's "final words" to his descendants. I rather enjoyed it, so I thought I'd post it here. We had a very grounded, spiritual, and well-spoken grand-/great-/great-great-grandfather.
To my children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and their descendants
Dear Children,
I would like to tell you how much I love you and how solicitous I am for your welfare and happiness in this life and the life to come. It has been my sincere wish to live long enough to superintend your education and see you fairly well started on this perilous journey of life. This I have been able to do for my children, for which I am thankful. The coveted pleasure of doing this for my grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be denied me. I do not wish to leave you any great patrimony, and even if I did it might prove to be a curse rather than a blessing. Since I leave you nothing more substantial, I felt it prudent to call out of my limited wisdom and experience some plain and simple maxims which, if practiced, I am sure will make you estimable members of society and prepare you for that eternity whose shadow ever encompasses your footsteps.
First I want you to revere God and keep his commandments. Unite with the Church and attend faithfully to your religious duties. Avoid all pomp and bigotry in religion. All true religion is embodied in one word…Charity; the charity that embraces God with one arm and all humanity with the other. All else is counterfeit. Above all things be truthful, then you will be honest, and these two constitute the cardinal virtues of a good life. Be industrious. Labor assiduously and complete with thoroughness whatsoever you undertake. Indolence is the mother of poverty, unhappiness, and crime.
Practice economy, without being miserly. Give according to your means worthy objects of your charity...and be sure they are worthy. Pay as you go. I repeat... pay as you go. This is the true secret of success. The percentage you give to your creditors will make you bankrupt if you go into debt. If possible, secure for yourself a competence, without striving to become rich, Get no wealth at the expense of your conscience. If fortune should favor you, in your prosperity do not forget the poor and the needy. Be temperate in all things. Touch not Tobacco nor the intoxicating bowl. It is full of vice, violence, misery, and poverty. I beg you, touch it not.
Govern your temper. It is a fiery steed, and unless put under severe discipline, will carry you into all manner of difficulties. Coolness is the beliast of a wise head. Avoid all affectation and dissimulation. Be natural and sincere. Have the courage to say "NO" where your honor and integrity may suffer. Economize your time; do not procrastinate. Remember you cannot recall a single moment of your life. There are no pauses in the steady ceaseless revolutions of the ponderous wheel that hurries you onto the end. Make sure then, of each moment, and out of it extract something from your moral, intellectual, or financial progress. Recreate your minds with manual labor and your bodies with study. Remain at home nights. Let me entreat you not to mingle with the gossiping crowd on street corners or in some other den of iniquity. It is of such company that bad habits are contracted and moral depravity has it's origin.
Obey your Mother in all things. She understands your rights and duties, and will make no unreasonable demands of you. Strive to make her happy and her life in this world pleasant.
Last of all revere your country and obey her laws. Cherish her institutions of freedom and the rights of man. If those should be threatened, sacrifice your lives rather than see them perish.
I might multiply indefinitely the minor duties of life, but I hope that by the observance of these maxims, a higher faith, a broader patriotism, and a sublimer philanthropy than my own might be actuated. I am sure they will. God knows how sincerely I yearn for such a consummation. If only I knew that you would grow up into perfect manhood and womanhood I would die content. On each recurring anniversary of my death I desire you to read this creed and obsolve that you will observe these simple maxims and precepts renewed with fidelity, and as you read them, may they be to you as a message direct from my celestial home in that eternal city where I hope to take up my everlasting abode. May God bless you who read this and preserve you from all harm and save you finally in Heaven is my parting benediction. Farewell...
Your affectionate Father,
James Madison Flake

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Charles Edmund Richardson

Charles Edmund Richardson

Charles Edmund Richardson was born 13 October 1858 in Manti, Utah.His high purpose in life was set very early by the fine example of his parents & the magic of his mother's stories. At three years of age, his favorite story was of the "Disappointed Devil". In response to his often-repeated request for the story his mother related, "When you were nine months old you fought off attacks of several bad diseases, just like a big man. But when Brain Fever sneaked in, it almost got the best of you. When Patriarch Isaac Morley came to administer to you, he said, 'The devil stands with outstretched hands to snatch this child off the earth because of the good that he will do.' But Heavenly Father healed you, & the Devil was disappointed. My son must keep the devil disappointed by always doing what is right."
Many other times during his life, Charles Edmund had occasion to know that his life was spared by a power superior to his own. Once he heard a voice say, "Don't let it kill him." Upon one occasion his life was preserved through inspiration given to Frederick Walter Cox (his biological father) of Manti. It happened en route to Brigham City, Arizona. Brother Cox gave him a bottle of consecrated oil & said, "There was a special manifestation at the temple today during the consecration of this oil & I was inspired to give it to you, as it would be needed."
The need arose in Circle Valley Canyon, Utah, when a cow caught Edmund with her horn, & ripped a great gash in his lower abdomen. When no one felt equal to sewing the wound, Edmund did it himself, using some eight stitches. Just before closing the wound, he filled it with the oil, the only remedy he had. The next day, after administration, using part of the oil, Edmund was able to resume the journey. Again, the devil was disappointed.
From the Brigham City United Order, Edmund & his brother, Sullie, learned the art of community living, & mastered skills in many trades, which later proved useful in Old Mexico.
From Brigham City, Edmund was called to fill a mission to the Indians. Here he learned to speak the Spanish language. He translated the hymn, "O My Father", into Spanish. This translation is still used by the Church (1968).
After filling a second mission & marrying two wives, Sarah Louisa (Sadie) Adams & Sarah Rogers, Edmund moved to Colonia Diaz, Chihuahua, Mexico. In January 1896, he received a mission call to England. However, this call was subsequently changed to that of acting as Legal Advisor to the Colonists in Old Mexico, & at the same time preaching the Gospel to the citizens of the Mexican Republic.
In answer to this call, Charles Edmund enrolled as a law student at the University of Mexico. According to his brother, S.C. Richardson, he completed a four-year course in two years & graduated with honors.
Through a series of circumstances, Edmund became the only attorney for the colonists. This required much travel between widely scattered colonies & between Municipal, State, & Federal courts. All transportation between the Municipal headquarters of Casas Grandes, Janos, & La Ascencion, was effected by means of team & buckboard over 60 or 75 miles of ungraded dirt roads. There was train service to State & Federal offices at Chihuahua City & Mexico City, but from Colonia Diaz, the nearest railroad station was at Guzman, 40 miles distant. To take Edmund to the train & meet him on his return meant a 160-mile drive with team & buggy. All of this was in a manana (tomorrow) country, where it was most difficult to get a case through court without many delays.
This is what Anthony W. Ivins referred to, when he said that Charles Edmund Richardson, who had all the qualities of a great leader, would have gone far in the Church, if his mission had been such that he could have remained in one place long enough to execute routine Church duties.
Many testimonies are given of Edmund's ability as a lawyer & of his fidelity to his calling. A fellow colonist said, "As a lawyer in old Mexico, Edmund Richardson knew his stuff. I have heard the Mexican lawyers say, "If Edmund Richardson is on the other side we will not take the case." He could quote more law & give them the volume, page, & paragraph, than they could read." Because of his great memory, Edmund could study his cases as he drove back & forth between destinations & have them prepared both carefully & prayerfully, when he presented them at court. Thus his name grew to be received with deference as the "Jefectura".
Brother Dan Skousen said, "No one will ever do for the colonists what Edmund Richardson has done. He filled his mission faithfully & well. He knew how to handle the Mexicans, & they knew that -right or wrong- they would receive justice." True it is, that his cases were so technically set up that when used as precedents, they make it possible, even now (1968), for the colonists to live in Mexico. On this & other missions Edmund served some 20 years, never missing an opportunity to preach the Gospel.
Edmund successfully applied his ingenuity & resourcefulness to many other facets of the Mexican Colonization Project. He taught both day & night school, the night subjects being Spanish & points of law. He operated a blacksmith shop, as it was so necessary in those days to keep farm machinery in operation. Here he manufactured everything from wheels & wheelbarrows to fool proof hobbles for animals. The windmill he built, including the pump, worked successfully for years irrigating his & his neighbors gardens & orchards. He built the first water-powered grist mill in Mexico; operated a shoe repair shop, a drugstore, & a cheese & butter factory, which were modern for those times. He was reputed to be the second largest cattleman among the Mormons in the District.
He surveyed, engineered, & built a canal with enough fall to bring the underground water to the surface like a spring, then deliver it to his ranch. When the canal was destroyed by the largest flood ever experienced in the valley, he installed the first gasoline pumps used in Northern Chihuahua.
Yes, Charles Edmund Richardson stood tall among the other stalwarts who pioneered the settling & maintenance of the Mormon Colonies in Old Mexico.
The following character sketch volunteered by Brother Frederickson of Colonia Diaz is worthy of attention: "Brother Edmund Richardson, a student of merit, utilized all his spare time for study. His overland trips were made with a team, buckboard, & a book. He never forgot what he read, & could quote the book & page of his source material. He spoke both Spanish & English fluently. I remember that his interesting & enlightening sermons were second to none, & were enunciated clearly & loud enough to be heard by all. He had the best control of his temper of anyone I ever knew. Once while he was fencing his property, an angry stockman, who favored open grazing, reviled him with abusive language & used every foul name at his command. Richardson went calmly about his work, remarking, 'If you get any pleasure out of calling me such names, just go ahead.' Even when the cattleman threatened to strike him with a shovel, he laughed him out of it. He was regular in his habits, going to bed early & rising early, & he liked his meals on time. He was a friend to everyone, the poor, the sick, & especially to the young people. He often helped them materially, as well as with counsel & advice. Many a poor family enjoyed Christmas better because Brother Richardson helped Santa put dolls & other toys on the community Christmas tree."
Above everything else, Charles Edmund prized his testimony of the Gospel, his membership in the Church, & the Priesthood, which he held. He also considered it a privilege to follow the counsel of those in authority over him.
Edmund Richardson was a family man. In Mexico, he married Caroline Rebecca Jacobson & Daisy Stout. He had 36 children of his own, & raised two orphan children. That his four families loved & enjoyed each other, & lived with a minimum amount of friction was due to their fervent religious convictions, unselfishness, & the wise counsel & just dealing of the husband & father. The love & harmony he fostered remains with the family.
Even now (1968), after the death of all the parents, the children remain united in deep bonds of affection & high purposes in life. The Richardson families sponsor an annual family reunion, where they fraternize socially & also stress temple work for the dead & encourage genealogical research. The children stand proxy for hundreds of baptisms for the dead. This makes them temple-minded, so that there are few marriages outside the temple.
At one of these reunions, a visitor spoke of his surprise & satisfaction at not finding any drinking, smoking, profanity, or vulgarity among the 500 family members assembled. He said he found doctors, lawyers, college professors, schoolteachers, successful farmers & businessmen. Along the religious line, he found Stake Presidents, Bishops & Counselors, missionaries, & workers in all organizations of the Church.
If a man's success can be measured by the love, devotion, esteem, & high ideals of his family, then Charles Edmund Richardson is highly successful. His four wives, thirty-six children, & his numerous posterity, down to the third generation, say, like Nephi of the Book of Mormon, "We are born of goodly parents."

Sunday, May 17, 2015

life history: Family visits to Church Pageants and Historic Sites


Jay and I were always looking for wholesome activities for our children.  One of the things that we enjoyed during with our family was attending the Church Pageants and visiting the Church Historic sites.

Our first summer while in Dental School in Chicago we took advantage of a short vacation to travel to Nauvoo.  The Nauvoo Restoration was just beginning and we heard about the Heber C, Kimball home being restored to how it originally looked by the grandson of Heber C. Kimball.  We also saw the Flake home belonging to my great great grandfather James M. Flake who was the first from the Flake line to join the church.  The home was just across the street from the temple and needed lots of repair.  The home was torn down shortly after we were there.

We left dental school in 1963 with three little girls and spent the next year in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania which was close to the Susquehanna River not too far from where John the Baptist appeared to Joseph Smith and restored the Aaronic Priesthood and the authority to baptize.  We returned to Lewisburg on our “M & M” trip in 1977 on Ray’s 8th birthday.  He was baptized by his Dad in the Susquehanna River.  Another memory of that same “M & M Trip in 1977 is that when we visited the Aaronic Priesthood monument we went down to the Susquehanna River.  Rauna lost her shoe in the stream of water and went running after it.  We were afraid she was going to fall in the river too.
On our way to Pennsylvania in August 1963 we stopped in Palmyra to attend the Hill Cumorah Pageant and then got to see it again on our way back to Arizona after our year in Pennsylvania.  We attended the Hill Cumorah Pageant with our children in 1977.  We visited Nena and Arnold in Missouri and left Margie, Melvin and Dean with her.  We met them at the end of our trip at the Nauvoo City of Joseph Pageant as it was then called.  We purchased the soundtrack from the City of Joseph Pageant and played it over and over with our family.  We had all of the songs memorized.

We visited Council Bluffs and Winter Quarter’s when we went out on June 25, 1982 to an engagement party for Miriam and Tony.  The Becks took us over to the Cemetery and Visitor Center. This was a good opportunity to show our children the faith and dedication of the grandparents who sacrificed so much for the church. 

 We went from there on June 30, 1982 to the World’s Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee. We enjoyed the flag raising ceremony.  We enjoyed the Exhibits from the various countries, especially the Japan Exhibit.    It was a wonderful family activity and an opportunity for us to teach our children about the various countries in the wonderful world in which we live.  Jay and I attended the World’s Fair in 1964 in New York City.  This was where “Man’s Search for Happiness” was first shown and was the theme of the pavilion focusing on the plan of salvation. 
Easter 1983 Vernon auditioned for the Easter Pageant held on the grounds in front of the Arizona Temple.  He was selected to be one of the angels.  He had a wonderful experience.  The following year Margie and I auditioned to be in the pageant with him.   We were selected for a special tableau at the end of the pageant that showed Margie kneeling at my knee as I helped her with her prayers.  I made a special lilac and white stripped dress for her to wear at the Pageant.  I can still remember the thrill of being with my cute daughter highlighted in the Pageant.  The following year we auditioned as a family and all of the children that were still at home were in the pageant.  Vernon was serving his mission, Ray and Kenneth were angels, Jay was selected to be the apostle James and we were all part of the apostle’s family.  Margie, Melvin, Dean and Amy all have pleasant memories of the Easter Pageant.  Amy loved the donkey and Dean wanted to be a Roman Soldier.  For the next several years we all participated in the Easter Pageant. A special memory is the time that the wind was blowing so hard that we had to have the missionaries in their dark suits hold down the curtain.  Another year we prayed that the weather would allow us to continue with the pageant.  The wind calmed down on the Pageant stage and we had a wonderful performance. Across the street at Pioneer Park we could see the flag waving back and forth in a very strong wind.  Another year Marlene’s BYU friends came to Arizona to see the Pageant.  The one night that they were here is the only time that I can remember that the Pageant was cancelled.  They were so disappointed. Participation in the Easter Pageant was a wonderful way to teach our children the Easter message.   As we listened to the scriptures telling about the life, atonement and resurrection of our Savior night after night our lives were forever changed.  

Jay and I felt it was important to help our children have as many church pageant experiences as possible.  We made an effort to take them all up to the Manti Pageant on a quick trip.  We delivered the newspapers before leaving for the pageant and were back in town the next morning in time to deliver the newspapers.  Melvin and Tami had tickets for the Martin Harris Pageant just before they were married.  We went with them to the Manti Temple where Tami took out her endowment.  They decided to not go on up to the Pageant so gave Jay and I the tickets so that we could have the experience of another Church Pageant.  We attended the “Come Home to Kanesville’ put on in Miriam and Tony’s area several years.  The last year (2014) that they put on the pageant our grandson Kyle Ellingson was invited to stay with his Uncle Tony and Aunt Miriam and be in the Pageant.  

Almost all of our children with their families visited us while we were serving our mission in Nauvoo and Carthage from 2005 to 2007.   Jay and I enjoyed bearing our testimony to our children and grandchildren in the Martyrdom room at the Carthage Jail.  We enjoyed taking our family to the various historic sites in Nauvoo and giving them the script about each site.  I especially enjoyed taking them on wagon rides where I was the narrator.  

The summer of 2014 Robert and Joann and family auditioned for the Hill Cumorah Pageant and invited me to audition with them.  What a wonderful experience we had camping in an RV in Zion’s Camp close to the Hill Cumorah where we could walk over to the area where the Pageant was performed.  Derek returned from his mission just in time to be in it and was chosen to be Nephi that built the ship and came to the Promised Land.  I told him he got the lead part because he still has that missionary glow.  I enjoyed being in the opening number of the Pageant where everyone came on stage.  I loved the scene when Christ comes to visit his other sheep in America.  I love watching him heal the blind man, calling his twelve disciples, blessing the children one by one and asking to see the records.  I love the quote at the end of the pageant when Moroni says,  “The world will know that in this land thee was a nation that saw the face of Christ.”  I was also cast as a harvest worker where I planted seeds after Nephi and his brothers and families  arrived in the Promised Land.  Another scene I was in a tableau when two hundred years of peace and happiness were enjoyed after Christ’s visit .

I was privileged to again be in the Easter Pageant this year (2015) with Mark and Marlene and their family.  Participation again in the Easter Pageant brought back lots of memories of participating in the Pageant with our family thirty years ago.  I enjoyed being a follower of Christ and listening to the scriptures telling about the life and mission of Christ over and over.  Mark was cast as one of the apostles and Quinn was an angel.  

I am grateful for the Church Pageants and historic sites that we were able to visit.  Jay and I and our children’s testimonies were strengthened by these wonderful experiences as well as our love for the scriptures and Church History.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Wash day memories, by Lavona Richardson

Wash Day Memories

By Lavona Richardson

We would have wash day about once a week and do all the laundry at the same time. We used home made soap that we made from tallow after Daddy butchered a cow and gave us the t allow.   We would make soap outside and use lye being careful to not get it in our eyes.

How well I remember washing the different batches in the washer with the whites first and ending with the work pants.  After the clothes  agitated in the washer we would put them through a wringer to a rinse water and then a second rinse water that had bluing in it to make the clothes whiter.   We took great pride in having white clothes.   Finally you would put the clothes through the wringer for the last time and put them in a clothes basket to take out to the clothes line.  I would always hang diapers together, towels together and sheets on the front lines.  Sometimes the clothes would be frozen stiff  almost before you got them on the line. If it started to rain we would rush out to bring it the dried clothes before they got wet again. 

After bringing in the dried clothes we would sprinkle the clothes to iron and roll them up and put them in the washer where they would wait for us to iron them.  We couldn’t wait too long or they would get moldy. 

Wash day would usually end by draining the water from the washer and wash tubs and then mopping the floor.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Full-time missions served in the Jay Richardson family!

Jay and Lavona
Jay- (1)  Western States Mission, (2) Indonesia Jakarta Mission, (3)  Illinois Nauvoo Mission
Lavona (1) Mexican Mission (2) Indonesia Jakarta Mission (3) Illinois Nauvoo Misison
            13 children (2 deceased) 66 grandchildren and 30 great grandchildren

(1) Miriam  and husband Tony Beck- Italy Padova Mission
             (1)Kasey- Brussels Belgium/Netherlands Mission  and wife Emily with two children Jimmer and Jeffrey
            (2) Skyler-Rio do Janeiro North Brazil Mission with wife Rebekah  and two children, Alicia and McKay (one more expected in June)
            (3)Carrie and husband  Bret  Anderson-California San Bernardino with children Brian, Davis, Annie and Mary
            (4) Dallas-Ohio Cleveland Spanish Speaking Mission  and Lauren
            (5) Colby- Bulgaria Sofia  Mission  and Kelsi and daughter Shae
            (6) Jamie and Garrick Gaffney - Bulgaria Sofia Mission
            (7) Kayla
(2) Marlene and husband Mark Ellingson-Spain, Madrid Mission
            (1) Melanie and husband Nate Hopkins –California Oakland Mission with children Rachel, Christian, Joseph and Annalie (New baby expected in May)
            (2) Bonnie and husband Spencer Stradling-Michigan, Lansing Mission with children Kyson, Ashlyn, Ackensah, Brig, Lainee, and Jemma (new baby expected in June)
            (3) Jordan-Argentina, Bahia Blanca Mission  and wife Kaitlin with children McKae and Beckett
            (4) Dallin-Argentina, Resistencia and wife Laura with daughter Maylee
            (5) Carl-Albania, Tirana Mission
            (6) Gary-Nebraska Omaha Mission and wife Katie with daughter Maggie          
 (7) Rebekah –Guatemala, Guatemala City South Mission  and husband Daniel Free –Florida, Fort Lauderdale  Mission expecting baby in July)
            (8) Jaron-North Carolina, Raleigh Mission
            (9) Emily-California, San Fernando Valley Mission
            (10) Quinn
            (12) Tyler
            (13) Ryan
(3) Rauna and husband Fred Mortensen- Switzerland  Geneva Mission
            (1) Adrianne-Uruguay Montevideo Mission
            (2) Erin and husband Dantley Frehner-Florida Tallahassee Mission with children Maland and Koen
            (3) Carinne-Argentina Cordoba Mission
            (4) Parker-Paraguay Asuncion Mission
            (5) Nathan-Chile Santiago East Mission
            (6) Chelsea
            (7) Jamie-New Jersey Morristown Mission
            (8) Dale
(4) Joann and husband Robert Hancock-Guatemala Quetzaltenhango Mission
            (1) Camille- Nauvoo Performing Mission  and husband Jason Millar –Florida Tampa Mission with children Lincoln, Parley and Brighton
            (2) Travis-Taiwan Taichung Mission and wife Holly
            (3) Braden-Russian Samara Mission  and wife Lauren- Singapore Mission (with baby expected in October)
            (4) Derek-Brazil Cuiaba Mission
            (5) Janae-Taiwan Taichung Mission
            (6) Evan
            (7) Levi
            (8) Spencer
            (9) Preston
(5) Vernon-Venezuela Maricaibo Mission  and wife Connie
            (1) Alison and husband Robert Clawson-Denver Colorado Mission with children Abigail and Emily
            (2) Melissa-Florida Jacksonville Mission 
           (3) Hyrum- Taiwan Taipei Mission
            (4) Joseph
            (5) Rebecca
            ( 6) Benjamin
            (7) Rachel
            (8) Bethany
            (9) Mathew
            (10) Daniel
            (11) David
            (12) Mason
(6) Ray -Tokyo North Mission
(7) Kenneth-Scotland Edinburgh Mission  and wife Jennifer
            (1) Jared-Chicago Illinois Mission
            (2) Marcus
            (3) Elizabeth
            (4) Adam
            (5) Andy
(8)  Donald (deceased)
(9) Dale deceased)
(10) Margie -Chile Santiago West Mission and husband Russell Reese-Spain Madrid Mission
            (1) Lucy
            (2) Jay
            (3) Heidi
(11) Melvin- Russia Samara Mission   and wife Tami
            (1) Kaitlyn
            (2) Betsy
            (3) Lauren
            (4) Tanner
            (5) Carter
            (6) Logan
(12) Dean-Indiana Indianapolis Mission   and wife Jennifer
            (1) Devyn
            (2) Brielle
            (3) Phoebe
(13) Amy

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Tribute to Grandmother Flake on the celebration of her birthday:

March 18, 2015

Dear Family,

My thoughts are of Keith today on his birthday.  I know that Jodi and his family in Snowflake are helping him have a good birthday.   What a great blessing for Mother and Keith got to celebrate their birthday together for many years. 
I am so grateful for my mother and for the wonderful childhood I had.  What a blessing for me to be reared in a Latter-day Saint home where we were taught the gospel.  

I have so many memories of my mother that it is hard to get them on paper.  These are in no particular order but just as I think about them. 

 The great love that Daddy and Mother had for each other and the joy they had being together.  They liked to go on trips together and my memories are that Daddy always came first in her life.  Mother always did everything she could to make Daddy happy—fixing special meals when he had stomach problems, traveling with him, being his scribe, etc.  ·
  Mother was a great helper to Daddy when he served as Bishop—she helped with tithing settlement from the big desk in our living room, gave parties to the servicemen when they came home on furloughs, etc.
   Mother had several businesses that she ran from our home where she could first be our Mother and then add to our family income and give service to others—bookstore, picking up and delivering dry cleaning, writing for the newspaper, ordering movies for the twice weekly ward theatre, etc.  ·

   Mother was always interested in our activities—I remember all her help  when I was married and coming back to Chicago to help our when my first baby   was born.  She was always there for all of us when we needed her.
  Mother was the one that wrote us each week while we were on a mission, at BYU, etc.  Daddy would sometimes tell her to tell us something but she was the one that kept the correspondence going.
 Mother and Daddy came and picked all of us up from our missions when we had successfully fulfilled our missionary assignment.  They let us know how happy they were that we had served well.
 One of the biggest motivations that I had to do well was the motivation to make my mother proud of my activities.  I always enjoyed reporting in to her and wanted to make the report a good one.   Even at 95 years of age she was interested in each one of her children, grand children and great grandchildren.  She knew each one of us and our activities.  She loved to visit about what we were all doing.   
 Mother had a keen mind—just a month or so before she died she was saying the Articles of Faith and naming the presidents of the church.  She would go down listing all her grandchildren and great grandchildren and knew them all by name.  She graduated top of her class out of High School and in those days not many went on to college.  She worked hard at NAU to put herself through to get her teaching certificate. 
 Mother was a people person.  She had lots of friends and always remembered what they were involved in and would visit with them about their interests.  She knew everyone.  I could ask her about anyone and she would know if or how they were related and their interests, etc. 
Mother loved the temple.  She enjoyed her temple friends and being involved.  She especially liked to help with the new brides, and liked to help with the temple weddings of her daughters and granddaughters. Even though she didn’t speak Spanish she learned the temple ceremonies in Spanish and made lots of friends with the Mexican people that would come to the temple. 
 Mother loved books.  She enjoyed her home bookstore and always provided good reading material for all of us as we were growing up.  Whenever I had been away from home for a length of time one of my first stops upon returning home was to see what the new books were and made plans to read them.  ·
 I can remember of always having family prayer as we were growing up and home night before it was promoted by the church.  I remember cookouts on the hill, taking lunch to the cowboys, performing for the family in the “lodge”, etc.   Christmas and Thanksgiving were big holidays in my growing up years.  The races to the tree have been carried down to our children and grandchildren.  I remember the big Thanksgiving dinners. 

Mother was a good cook.  She made great rolls, pies, carrot pudding and cinnamon rolls.   I remember the Saturday night cinnamon rolls after the house was clean and ready for Sunday and we had our Saturday night baths and maybe a movie at the ward movie theater. I remember coming home to the aroma of freshly baked bread.

 Some of my family has commented that I am looking more like my mother every day.  This is to be a great compliment.  My hope is that I can live my life so that Mother and Daddy will be happy with my activities and that I can endure faithfully to the end of my life like they did and that all of our posterity will honor their name and their lives by the way they live their lives.  Thank you Mother and Daddy for your great example and for the opportunity we have now to celebrate your 108th  birthday anniversary. 

I hope that you can feel my love for each one of you.

 Lots of love now and forever,
Mom, Grandma,  Lavona

 Lavona Flake Richardson  

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

My thoughts on Relief Society Birthday celebrated today:

Dear Sisters,

As we celebrate the Relief Society Birthday today I am grateful to be as member of this world wide sisterhood.  .  Membership in this organization has greatly influenced my life.  I am grateful for my Keating Ward Sisters and I look forward to attending Relief Society with them each week.  

My mother served for years in the Relief Society presidency in the ward where I grew up.  I could see how much she cherished her experiences in Relief Society.  Mother’s birthday is on March 18thjust the day after the Relief Society Birthday.  As a child I thought they were having a birthday party for her.

I became a member of Relief Society when I enrolled as a 17 year old at BYU.  This helped fellowship me and not feel lost in a big university. 

As a 20 year old missionary in Northern Mexico I helped organize the Relief Society as we opened up new areas to missionary work.  I wrote a letter for Relief Society in our monthly mission newsletter.  We didn’t have stakes yet in Mexico so the mission was responsible for all of the auxiliaries.  I also translated for the wife of the mission president as we went to various conference meetings.

I felt the sisterhood of Relief Society as a newlywed in Chicago where I was far from home.  The sisters of Relief Society gave me love and help when our first daughter was born and I didn’t have family around.   In Pennsylvania Jay was called to be the branch president and I supported him by strengthening the Relief Society.  They had lots of fruit in Pennsylvania.  The Relief Society sisters helped me learn to can and I spent the year there doing lots of canning to help out my food storage.

We bought a dental practice in South Phoenix and moved to Tempe with three little girls under the age of four.  We had just arrived in our new ward in Tempe when our second daughter became very ill and needed to be hospitalized.  Again the Relief Society came to our rescue when the Relief Society sisters took care of our other little girls so that I could be in the hospital with my daughter and brought food into our home.  Most of all they let me know that they cared about us and that we were loved.  Another time we had a bad house fire and Jay was badly burned.  A Relief Society Sister came daily to change the dressings on my husband’s burns. 

One of my favorite callings in the Church is teaching the Relief Society lessons to the sisters in my ward.  I have learned so much as I have studied the scriptures and prepared to teach. 

I feel privileged to be given the responsibility of being a Relief Society visiting teacher for over fifty years and have made the visits assigned to me each month.   One time we visited a sister assigned for three years each month without ever being allowed into her home.  One month when we came we found her needing help from an abusive husband.  Her first words as we knocked on her door were “I knew you would come”.  I am happy that we were there to assist her. 

We were assigned among other things in Indonesia to be shadow leaders for the little branch of Bogor.  I helped the Relief Society president organize her visiting teachers and went out with her to show her how to visit teach.  I learned from this sweet sister who had so much compassion for the members of her branch.  

After our mission in Indonesia we served a mission in Nauvoo.  I was privileged to be at the re-enactment of the founding of Relief Society in the red brick store for two different years.  We all wore our pioneer dresses and I felt like one of those sisters that were present when the prophet Joseph Smith organized the Relief Society and said that the organization of the Church was not complete until the Relief Society was organized for the women of the church. 

I remember that the women in Relief Society when it was organized said that they were going to do some extra ordinary things.  I feel that they have as the sweet sisters in the various Relief Society organizations where I have lived have done extra ordinary things in the impact they have been on my life.  I like the words of Lucy Mack Smith, “We must cherish one another, watch over one another, comfort one another and gain instruction that we may all sit down in heaven together.”  The Relief Society organization is helping me in striving to do that.