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.