I love to write. My escape from the mundane, drudgery, monotony, and the world of boredom is a blank sheet of paper. There I can make time come alive. I can repair what’s broken, celebrate the good, and mend what needs fixing. For me, even in my weakness and deficiencies, writing breathes life into my being and captures timeless experiences that can be relived again and again, offering great satisfaction. I realize that writing alone isn’t life. Even so, words heal, strengthen, and inspire abundantly. It’s my connection to all that resides on this earth, my witness of God’s hand in our lives. Though speckled with tedium, the world is vivacious, beautiful, and vibrant. Prose captures that.
Think of the scriptures and the simple verses that give hope, pledge faith, and build confidence in the midst of despair. Feel patriotism grow as we read the Gettysburg address and stand beside a brother. Our family cherishes papers and drawings created by its children and displays samples on the refrigerator or on Grandma’s desk per the tender note written with love. We fill our files with these treasures and store boxes of memorabilia with these gems because memories resonate family and evoke tender emotions that validate our existence, further enabling us to share our gifts.
Ancestry.com recently announced the retirement of several websites, including Mycanvas.com, a favorite of many family history buffs. When I think of the implications of such a change, I am shocked. Many contributed considerable time and effort and treasured memories to build a personal and family history of sorts to leave for their posterities such a legacy.
Then I wondered about my own canvas. What have I done with the talents the Lord has given me to benefit others and create a heritage of my own for my family? How have I used my abilities to build, unite and strengthen those around me and leave a timeless legacy for my posterity? That’s an interesting question and worthy of exploration.
I could always count on my dad to help me, support me, and provide encouragement and inspiration when I needed it most. He is sorely missed, but interestingly, you see his influence every day in the lives of those he affected, the people he touched, his children and family.
Interestingly, I spent the other day helping my mom. In many ways it was a delight to be with her. We visited, reminisced, ate a delicious lunch together, and worked side-by-side like the thousands of times before over the course of a lifetime. I wasn’t amazing like my dad, who could install all needed facilities. Like my older brother Gregg who can fix every problem, I couldn’t. It was obvious that I didn’t work as quickly or get as much done as younger brother Jeff. But the amazing thing I realized is that those criticisms came from me alone. Mom had nothing but accolades for the wonderful job I was doing. She praised me for lifting, moving, and trying. Even though my efforts are far inferior to others, Mom doesn’t think so. She built me up and made me feel like the most important person on earth.
That, my little family, is a virtue, a gift, a legacy—one I hope to leave with you that you can pass on to your children and their children and so on into perpetuity. The heirloom you carry on will bless you and your family and magnify your talents. The good you will do is an opus forever and ever.
My canvas is not finished yet, and it is exciting to rise every morning to see what treasures will reveal themselves in the coming day. One thing I know for sure in our family is that my efforts are worthwhile and valued. I am loved because I am a member of a family. And so are you.
“No other success can compensate for failure in the home.” ― David O. Mckay
“The most important of the Lord’s work you will ever do will be the work you do within the walls of your own home.” ― Harold B. Lee
God gave us families to help us become what he knows we can be.
You truly are my finest work.
In 1989, Walter Penning formed a consultancy based in Salt Lake City and empowered his clients by streamlining processes and building a loyal, lifetime customer base with great customer service. His true passion is found in his family. He says the best decision he ever made was to marry his sweetheart and have children. The wonderful family she has given him and her constant love, support, and patience amid life's challenges is his panacea.