When I was a little boy we lived in the old Bowman Home just west of the mill. Because of the presence of the food supply of the mill our home was surrounded by many, many birds of all kinds but the English sparrows were the most abundant and obnoxious. We called them Chippies. They were everywhere and they especially liked to nest there. When our house was built they left holes all along the back for the rafters of the porch. Since the porch had not been put up the holes were especially made for the chippies to use for nests. Every hole was filled with every thing for nests feathers being predominant. Nests were constantly in use during the spring summer and fall months they either had eggs or little chippies in them. They were infested with tiny mites and even sometimes came into the house to the disgust of mother. We boys always had good flippers (sling shots I think they are called now) We always had our eyes peeled looking for a good flipper stock. In those days any old tube was made of good rubber not like now when they are made of synthetic rubber. Our prime targets were the Chippies but we were not the only ones that hunted them many sparrow hawks lived in the vicinity and had good pickings at our place. Also the Butcher Birds (Loggerhead Shrike) took their toll of the younger ones, just learning to fly. Those butcher birds have a very sharp beak they can slice a finger wide open with just one quick slash.

Well back to the original subject. The Chippies naturally became the lowest of all of the Lords creations. When we were taught in Sunday School that "Even a Sparrow cannot fall without the Lord noticing it and taking it into account." I Remember being very impressed with the love of our Heavenly Father for all of his creatures. I thought that if He can even love a Chippy then his love was extended to all of us and all creatures. I began to feel guilty about hunting the birds and soon outgrew my enmity for the Chippies. As I grew I knew for sure that my Heavenly Father loves His children and that all things were created for the benefit of us His children.

I began to understand that all the cammandments and His teachings were for our benefit and not to restrict us or hold us in subjection. Life is given to us to enjoy it not to be just a trial to get through and receive our grand reward. The joy is in the living of life on this earth yes even the work and the sadness when it comes. The reward of this life is the Joy of Living and the love that we give and receive along the way. This gives new meaning to the parable of the laborers and their hire. Those of the first hour he agreed to pay them a certain wage then sent thme out to work. Later he hired others and at the last hour he hires others giving them a chance to work. At the end of the day he decided to give all of the Laborers the same wage. Of course those of the first hour didn't think that it was fair after all they had labored all the day long and received the same wage as those of the last hour. I believe that the ones who labored only the last hour just received their wage but missed the main purpose of the day. They missed the joy and satisfaction of the work of that whole day. They missed all of those hours of accomplishment, growth and progress. Those who complained didn't seem to have made their labor a labor of love and receive the joy of laboring with their might. There is no wage to equal the joy of a job well done and the love and satisfaction gained from serving the Lord with all our heart with no thought of reward or monetary gain.

Again it is not what we are called to do that matters to us but how we do it and the entent of our hearts as we live what we are called to do. Let us not miss the rewards of this life by looking only for our reward in Heaven. Enjoy the most menial labors of this life especially if it is changing daipers and nurturing our children. We can turn even the drugery of things into a satisfying labor of love. I am thankful that I was hired at the first hour and have not missed the rewards of the long day of labor. I have enjoyed the days of hard labor with farming tools but even more I have enjoyed the work of the Lord among the people of the church in little branches and one on one contacts representing the Lord in His Church. I thank Him for the privilege of working in small branches of the Church. It is now my great privilege to represent the Lord in giving His blessings to those who come with a desire to receive a Patriarchal Blessing from the Lord. Let us savor and appreciate the rewards of the labors of this life Making them a labor of love and filling our hearts with joy and love.

The Lord has told us that we must learn to love our Neighbor as ourselves I have always thought that our closest neighbors are the members of our family. A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and four-year-old grandson. The old man's hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered. The family ate together at the table. But the elderly grandfather's shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor. When he grasped the glass, milk spilled on the tablecloth. The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess. "We must do something about Grandfather," said the son. "I've had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor." So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner. There Grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner. Since Grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl. When the family glanced in Grandfather's direction, sometimes he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone. Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food.

The four-year-old watched it all in silence. One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor. He asked the child sweetly, "What are you making?" Just as sweetly, the boy responded, "Oh, I am making a little bowl for Papa and Mama to eat their food in when I grow up." The four-year-old smiled and went back to work. The words so struck the parents that they were speechless. Then tears started to stream down their cheeks. Though no word was spoken, both knew what must be done. That evening the husband took Grandfather's hand and gently led him back to the family table. For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with the family. And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled.

Children are remarkably perceptive. Their eyes ever observe, their ears ever listen, and their minds ever process the messages they absorb. If they see us patiently provide a happy home atmosphere for family members, they will imitate that attitude for the rest of their lives. The wise parent realizes that every day the building blocks are being laid for the child's future. Let's be wise builders.

When I was growing up if anyone needed a place to stay they were always welcome in our home. That tradition and attitude carried over in our home and now our children are the same way in their homes.

Let us expand our capacity to love by loving and serving our family members first then let it expand to our neighbors. The Lord loves us and we must learn to love him by learning to love our neighbors as ourselves. This is the only way to happiness in this life. Selfishness never was happiness and we cannot find joy by thinking only of ourselves and our wants and desires. I testify that the Lord our Heavenly Father loves us and we must love him through loving his children as ourselves.