I am the Mid-Week Relief Society Leader for our ward which means I am the Homemaking Leader or the "party planner".
March 17th is the day the Relief Society was organized way back when so every year, every RS in the whole wide world celebrates that day. Well, I know for sure Leavitt Ward does.
I love Leavitt and all the people here so I thought it would be fun to go back in time and honor the past and present sisters of Leavitt for our party.
Diane Olsen, Nora Olsen's daughter in law made this cake. It has chocolate, lemon and white cake mixes in it. She poured them separately in the pan and so where the flavours mixed, it kind of marbled, but yet there were three distinct cake mixes. Great idea and fun!
This quilt was made in 1959 by Nora Olsen.
The story is below. Her son, Loye has the quilt at his house and was nice to lend it to me so it could be displayed for everyone to see. Nora's granddaughter in law, Char Olsen, daughter in law of Diane who made the cake, had never seen the quilt, but had heard about Grandma Nora's quilt it so she was thrilled to see it!
I grabbed this photo and the photo below from The RS history binder because it has a picture of Joyce, Mark's mom. She is in the front on the right. I'm thinking this was taken in the 70's guessing by the look of their dresses. It might have been taken when she was Leavitt Relief Society President.
This picture shows Mark's Grandma Louise Cahoon, probably taken in the 60's after the Leavitt Chapel was built.
Bloom Where You Are Planted March 16, 2016
“The First Fifty Years of Relief Society: Key Documents in Latter-day Saint Women’s History”.
A Record of Early Latter-day Saint Devotion
The book describes the devotion of women of the early Church with 50 years’ worth of selected documents. “It demonstrates their spiritual conviction, demonstrates how they sought to be women of holiness. It demonstrates how important the temple and community was to their lives. It demonstrates how they attempted to care for the sick and the poor among them.”
It sounds like the women of Leavitt!
“You hear the voices of the women. You feel their devotion and commitment to the Church and to enlivening women with the Spirit and giving them opportunities to carry the kingdom forth. And those sisters did it with all their might causes us to feel the love of these women for the gospel and for each other and for God,”
“They’re not just sunbonnet pioneer women that just kind of trudged along in the dirt with their covered wagon. They were well read. They were
articulate. They knew what they believed in. They knew how to move forward.” “
We don’t really know who we are today unless we know where we’ve been and what we were before. “
This year marks 120 years of the Relief Society in Leavitt with Ann Eliza Leavitt Baker being the first RS President.
I want to read what is on her plaque the up the highway.
In Loving Memory of Ann Eliza Baker
9 Feb 1858 - 3 Jul 1933
" A great humanitarian, whose life of devotion and sacrifice for her fellow men has inspired and blessed many. She travelled these hills, valleys and surrounding towns delivering hundreds of babies and caring for the sick. No storm was too severe to stop her. She walked, rode horseback, in wagons and on stone boats. Her great faith and trust in God saved her from perishing in raging Canadian blizzards. She was away from her family for days at a time and her eleven children were cared for by her loving husband Samuel. Always active in Church work, she was President of the ward Relief for 26 years. Her untiring devotion and service to humanity is unexcelled. Presented by those, which were forever touched by this gracious lady. Her healing hands were a gift of God and so she regarded them, ever praying for the physical stamina to meet the needs of the people she was called to serve. She made God her partner in every endeavor for hers was a life of faith and she met life and death with the character born of that faith. Her strength in adversity, her love for humanity, her belief that the spark of divinity is in all men led her own toward toward that great ideal of service beyond self."
Ann Eliza Leavitt Baker, daughter of Thomas Rowell Leavitt Jr and Ann Eliza (Jenkins) Leavitt, was born in Wellsville, Utah in 1858 where she was raised.
In May of 1890 Ann Eliza, her husband and their 6 daughters left Mendon, Utah for Canada where Ann Eliza’s father, TRL Sr. had moved 3 years previous. They left their comfortable home in Utah with other Leavitt families, driving cattle and horses with chicken crates fastened to the backs of their wagons for 9 weeks.
Ann Eliza had a good sense of humor, was a happy person and had the voice of a nightingale. She was a soprano. Her home was always open and if there was no room in her home (down the gravel road, on the left towards Royce and Marina’s home) to sleep, she opened up the barn. One of her daughters said that she has fond memories of ward Thanksgiving feasts, oyster stew parties, many dances and almost weekly house parties. She read to her children and loved reading books herself. She was a good speaker. She was a midwife. She was a good cook, a cheese and butter maker. She knit socks and lace, made quilts and clothing and made her own rug out of old carpet rages, and of course, there was no electricity and no running water. She had pictures of Joseph and Hiram Smith hanging on her walls. She was very spiritual and unselfish and probably had migraine headaches.
I would say again that she sounds like all the women in Leavitt.
Mention the book by Barb Leavitt.
Mention the quilt put together by Nora Olsen, in 1959, a few years after she was RS president.
” I stuck my neck out and asked if I could have a project to raise money to buy an organ for our new church. Permission was given and my task started. As quilting was my bag of beans, I decided to make a large star quilt and on each star I would write the name of the person who had lived in or loved Leavitt. When I finally got the quilt filled with names and counted the money, $1 per name, I had over $1700 to be matched dollar for dollar by the church making a total of $3400- not only enough to buy the organ alone, but to buy the piano to go with it.” Nora Olsen
While Nora was RS President 115 quilts in one summer were made for the ladies in the ward. Char Olsen carries on this Olsen tradition now, heading up quilt making for us sisters as well as a quilt every year for the Leavitt Fair.
There have been 30 other wonderful RS Presidents in Leavitt. I wish I could tell a story about each one of them because they all have a story, just like each of us.
I just want to briefly go through the list of our previous Relief Society from this ward. ( I know that when I mention some relations to these women I will never ever be able to connect those of you who are connected).
Maybe have women raise their hands if they know they are directly related to them or through marriage. marriage.
Ann Eliza Leavitt Baker-Sister of Frank Leavitt, the first Bishop of Leavitt. Mark's distant relative on his mom's side.
Mary Alice Shaw—Ann Eliza Leavitt’s sister in law, wife of Thomas Rowel Jr.
Olive Glenn-Exceptional organist and taught the boys to lead music.
Louise A. Cahoon-- Mark’s grandma. Canned 40 chickens and 400 cans of meat by hand power. Potato project.
Ella Broadbent Leaviit--Boyd Leavitt and Sharon Bevan’s grandmother and also Mark’s great aunt. War years. 22 quilts and 600 items for the Red Cross.
Pearl Redford--Nora Olsen’s sister in law.
Nora Olsen--Dee and Loye’s mother. See above
Audrey Walburger--Served a large dinner to the Rotary Club to probably to raise funds for the new chapel.
Alice Olsen--Calvin Olsen’s mother. Carried out her calling without a drivers license for a car or wagon. Her husband faithfully drove her everywhere.
Amy Williams--Nadine’s grandmother. Did a lot of Red Cross items
Beth Prince--Everyone in the ward got another quilt. She made you feel like you were the most important.
Ruby Beazer Leavitt--
Phyllis Leavitt—Compassionate Service. Gave many hours helping those who were sick or mourning the loss of a loved one.
Thelma Quinton--Connie’s mother in in law.
Ruth Bevans—mother of Brent Bevans, grandmother to Ty and Matt
Tekla Heninger—Colynda Duce’s mother
Shauna Smith and now Cyndy Zemp.
These RS Presidents are all such wonderful women that shared and continue to share their talents with us. But aren’t we all wonderful women? I think so. I know so! We all have some Ann Eliza in is. I think when we read stories of our ancestors and the early saint and pioneers, we tend to think that we “could never do that”.
We are no different than our ancestors that came before us. Some of us have come from far away distant lands to live here. Francois from France, Stephanie Dixie from Australia and lots of us from different provinces and the states. Some of you have lost loved ones at an early age and we all have struggles. Some are outward and some are personal, but we all struggle and have our very own circumstances.
I think of Michelle Murray moving from British Columbia to Leavitt. Her and Dale had two small children, no job, not a member of the church yet and didn’t know a soul. Of course Michelle had trials. It was hard.
Yet, we are all here and I think I am safe to say that we all love Leavitt and wouldn’t be anywhere else, (despite the weather). We are not that different from Ann Eliza. We are remarkable women too. We really are!
We read to our children. We sew, knit, grow gardens and do canning. We make our own bread. We make quilts for our families and for those around us. We make jewelry, we work to provide income for our families when we would rather stay home. We volunteer our time in the community, we take care of our families, we cook and clean. We serve in the church, in the temple, go on missions while leaving our families for months and years, sacrifice our time for others, We drive tractors to feed our cattle. We deliver babies, We build things for our homes, we raise chickens and share our eggs with neighbors, We beautify our homes, We share our talents in various ways including singing and/or musical instruments. We write stories to be published, We journal. We take meals to those in need. We visit the sick and lonely. We babysit for our neighbors, we pray for each other, We volunteer. We donate blood. We sit by a child or loved ones bed bedside and pray for their recovery. We pray for ward and community members. We listen. We teach each other by example and by word. We nuture. We give. We serve. We make the best of our given situations each day. We move onward and upward every single day even when it’s hard.
We are all different in the very best way possible. Isn’t that great? What if we were all the same? Our stories would be the same. Our trials and triumphs would be the same. How are we to learn and grow if we all live the same lives. Isn’t variety the spice of life? I love to take pictures of wildflowers, and how boring would it be if Shooting Stars, or Buffalo Beans, or Old Man Whiskers were the only flowers growing on the prairies.
So let’s look back at our lives, our garden of life with all of its variety and be happy. Let’s count our blessings and be grateful for our lives and continue to bloom for families and those around us. We all matter and we all make up this wonderful community. Leavitt and Beazer wouldn’t be the same with even one of us missing.
YOU LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE POSSIBLE WHEN YOU HAVE FAITH IN YOUR JOURNEY, BELIEVE IN YOURSELF AND STAY DETERMINED.
Explain the activity. Character traits, strengths, good things you see them do. Mention why you love them or maybe what you have learned from them.
Visit sisters afterwards….Berdene, Marilyn, Lexi, Anna Louise, Audrey, Tracy Apperspach….
(I was working at the temple (women's clothing) and a sister who works on the men's side suggested I do a blog post of the activity and I thought that was a great idea! )