As I have opportunity to visit with neighborhood families, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances, the underlying commonality that we all seem to have is that life is frequently filled with challenges. Many days can be difficult, and just as we surmount one hill, another arises in a different direction waiting to be climbed. Such is life. I so appreciate the council of President Holland in our recent Regional conference where he shared comments about learning from the challenges of the past, our ancestors, the pilgrims, pioneers and early Latter Day Saints.
I look around my home and realize that while I do not live in a castle, far from it indeed, my home is filled with treasures. Treasures that are close to my heart. Each little item, knick knack, doo-dad, trifle, trinket, objet d'art, a precious memory and a lesson learned, a reminder of encouragement from a life lived, challenges overcome, hard days come and gone from the past.
A grandfather and grandmother, their young children, with already a lifetime of military service in their mid thirties, charged with the rebuilding of a city in Japan after the bombings that ended world war two. Some of the furnishings they acquired there, I now have to grace my living room, now worn and almost threadbare.
"The White House Cookbook" dated 1923 came to me from another grandmother who was raised with her 15 brothers and sisters in a little two-room, dirt-roofed house, then raised her own 9 children in a home just twice that size. What a luxury that must have been.
My own parents, who sacrificed much over the years, working frequently 2-3 jobs to provide for their young family, their dining room table which today stands in my kitchen, where we gathered on special occasions, uncles, aunts, grandparents, cousins each traveling from far away, to enjoy holidays and special occasions gathered around a common table. It's where my little ones learned to sew on buttons from their grandmother, did their homework, built houses of cards and played family games. We all still gather around it today, to celebrate holidays, special occasions and to play family games. What a treasure.
And now as I look around me each day, I can see my treasures. Treasures of my heart and home, and remember the challenges of the past. Knowing that even in the good 'ol days, life was full of challenges and blessings that come from seeing them through.