January 21, 2013
Janae Bingham, Utah, “Father's Blessing”
It has been a longstanding tradition in our home to begin each new school year with a father's blessing, and it is something our children look forward to. They are quick to remind us that they need their blessing at the beginning of each school year. This is a tradition that was started in my home as a child, and I have fond memories of my own dad giving me these father's blessings. They always brought me strength and comfort. As we began our own family, my husband and I decided to continue this tradition with our own children. This photo is of our last child, Jace, getting his blessing just before starting kindergarten. My husband always makes a special effort to be in a white shirt and a tie when he gives a blessing, and I know that the reverence and respect he shows for the priesthood is noticed by our children. During this particular blessing, I glanced up at Jace, as mothers are prone to do, and my heart was touched by the sweet look of concentration on his face. Our typically active five year old was very quiet and reverent through the entire blessing. I know he could feel that this was a special and sacred occasion. When the blessing had ended, I quickly grabbed my camera and asked them to “hold that position.” To my joy, they cooperated! And what made me even happier was that the expression of concentration on his face is the same one that he had during the blessing. It was one of those moments I was so thrilled to have caught on camera.
January 7, 2013
Candace Read, AZ, “Temple Reflections”
A few years ago, I found a friend, Mary Bartschi, in Tucson, Arizona. We were kindred spirits and shared our hearts. She was worried about her daughter Ashley, who was struggling with her self-esteem in her special education class. Mary felt she needed to homeschool her. I love teaching children and doing homework. It is such a satisfying way to build a relationship. I asked if I could help.
Eventually, I took Ashley on little field trips while Mary cared for her other six children. We practiced technical living skills. As we drove, I had her read a map to find our way. We went out for lunch so she could practice with money and interrelationship skills. I even taught her how to put air in a tire. We both loved it. We had such a need for each other. My children had grown, and I missed their childhood.
We enjoyed our outings so much that I asked her parents if I could take her to the Mesa Arizona Temple to do baptisms and to see the temple lights. She was so beautiful in her white clothing, with dark hair and big brown eyes. What a peaceful, reverent feeling we had! It was a time I will always cherish. While my husband continued to do other ordinances, Ashley and I strolled through the temple gardens. We admired the Nativity scene with the lambs in the fields. There were other scenes, like Isaiah prophesying of Christ, and Mary and Joseph traveling with their donkey. It was all so heavenly. The air was sweet with the fragrance of the flowers growing in the gardens.
And the temple was magnificent! We waited patiently for the sun to fall just below the horizon, offering its transcendent glow. I set up tripods, one for Ashley and one for myself. I taught her how to take a beautiful picture of the temple with her camera, and I used my camera with a higher resolution to take this photograph.
It could possibly be the best picture I have ever taken. It has such a reverent glow that reminds me of such reverent feelings.