Glad to hear about your adventures hiking and about the Rasmussens coming to visit. (Could you get Brooke Small's email/address?).
I've actually thought a lot about Patriarch Small lately, and about when I received my Patriarchal Blessing. It was a beautiful Saturday, May 3rd 2008. Patriarch Small and his wife were preparing to leave on a mission and this was one of the last weeks he would be giving blessings. Normally he would have given it to me on Sunday but dad was leaving for a business trip Sunday morning at 8:00. I remember Patriarch Small getting up every Fast Sunday to bear his testimony. Always simply and brief, but with power that left you without a doubt that what he said he knew. I studied the Old Testament and accounts of Patriarchal Blessings found in there. I didn't really know what to expect. I simply knew I needed to prepare myself as best I could and trust the Lord and His servant who would bestow this blessing.
Patriarch Small invited me to bear my testimony. And so, for the first time I bore my testimony aloud--to my mom, my dad, and Patriarch Small. I don't remember what I said. I do remember that I felt that what I said was true. I had always known in my head they were true. I said they were. But now I had testified. I felt the "swelling motions" that Alma speaks of when we allow the word to have affect on us....Just like in times of old, the patriarch laid his hands on my and pronounced blessings and declared my heritage as a daughter of the house of Ephraim. I went home with my heart full and with a solid peace. A peace that is not one of this world but comes only from living the Gospel of Jesus Christ and receiving the blessings found by being an active part of His kingdom. I remember one of my sisters acting as if it was any other day. Nothing too special or different. That day may not have been any different from any other for me as well if I had cast away the blessing as a thing of naught. But because of what I felt and heard that day I determined in my mind to become that daughter of God that He sees me as.
I believe Patriarchal Blessings are one of those hidden treasures spoken of in the scriptures dependent on our worthiness and diligence. For me it is an assurance that God is there, that He loves me, and that He cares about me every step of my journey--before this life, during this earth life, and the awaited destiny that awaits me hereafter. The Priesthood is a very real power that is exercised according to our faith, by those in authority to do so within Christ's church. I cannot express how thankful I am for having its constant presence and influence in my life.
When a best friend, mother, mentor, teacher, or sibling's words of assurance fall short my Patriarchal Blessing is there as the voice of God speaking directly to me. I may or may not have a miraculous experience as I read it but I do feel the Spirit every time. God is able to assure me that all the little but hard things I'm doing will be worth it. They are worth it. Now! My small efforts that seem to be leading nowhere are constantly drawing me to my Savior.
How sad Our Savior must have felt as many only sought His "super-powers" and the miracles they brought, seeming entertainment for self-indulging onlookers. How great His joy must have been when He could simply spend one-on-one time with Mary and Martha, when he spoke simple words of assurance to multiple parents that their child would be alright. How great must have been His joy in when He took children "one by one" to bless them. How great was and is His joy in the individual. How happy He must be sending small, simple, tender mercies each day. Some to help us out of a slump. Some as answers to prayers. I like the ones most of all that He sends simply to tell us "I love you". Christ performed the awe-inspiring sacrifice, the Atonement. Because of that wonderful miracle wrought by the power of the Priesthood we can change. We can become His work and glory. Remember it was the little acts of love He did from childhood up that prepared Him to perform the greatest act of love. It was resisting the lesser temptations of the devil that enabled Him to submit His will to the Father, rather than set aside the bitter cup. So it is with us. Our daily decision to resist evil, our daily decision to do good, they are what will prepare us for greater things to come.
What is something small someone has done for you that has affected you for days or years after?
P.S. Could you send a copy of Gma McNeece's and Papa's Patriarchal Blessings?
P.P.S I'll write a hand-written letter with specifics from this week :)
P.P.P.S. I love you!!!!!!