Saturday, December 12, 2009

Teaching and Leading

Our generation has been challenged over and over to take a leadership role in the "return to virtue." No one person can grab modern culture by the horns and reshape it. Not even Hollywood can do that instantly. But a million small choices made by individuals can do what looks impossible. And the fact is, everyone is a leader.

My mom is a veterinarian and shared an interesting insight on leadership. When clients bring pets and kids to the clinic for a check up, the pets and kids often have similar behavior. If the pet is crazy and off the wall, so are the kids. If the kids are quiet and watching and listening, so are the pets. Those pet owners and parents may not realize it, but they are exhibiting leadership. Somehow, the choices they make brings out a certain behavior in their pets and children. Everyone is a leader whether they know it or not.

If people realized the impact their decisions had on the world around them, they could make conscious choices to improve the lives of everyone they interact with. Everyone can be a better spouse, a better friend, better at work, better at community involvement, and better parents.

Teaching our children the gospel of Jesus Christ is one of the most important ways we show leadership. Mosiah and Joseph Smith taught the importance of teaching children. The Family Proclamation is so right in that the worst problems in the world result from the breakdown of the family.

The best way to lead the world is to set an example. President Harold B. Lee stated, " I say to you Latter-day Saint mothers and fathers, if you will rise to the responsibility of teaching your children in the home...the day will soon be dawning when the whole world will come to our doors and will say, 'Show us your way that we may walk in your path.'"

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Power of the Temple

[TONY] One of the mistakes members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints make is that because certain things in the temple are sacred and should not be talked about outside the temple, we speak very little about what goes on inside the temple. This does other members a disservice because many are not well prepared to enter the temple, and it does non-member friends a disservice because they don't understand why we hold the temple so sacred.

To understand the temple, you must understand the last two verses in the Old Testament:
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. (Malachi 4:5-6)
The Temple is really all about casting our minds to our parents and our children. As we look to our ancestors, we know what they went through and how that has impacted our own lives. As we look to our children, we know how our own choices will impact their choices and opportunities.

Being aware of these things can allow us to make choices to improve the lives of generations to come. Steven R. Covey describes this as being a transition generation. We choose to stop the destructive patterns of the past while building on the positive things from our family history.

Orson Pratt once said:
In the latter days, there will be a people so pure in mount Zion with a house established on the tops of the mountains that God will manifest himself not only in their temple, but when they retire to their homes. Behold, each home will be lighted up by the glory of God – a pillar of flaming fire by night” (from Truman Madsen: House of Glory, House of Light, House of Love).

The temple is central to how this happens. In the temple, we learn who we are and what our relationship is to God by seeing a reenactment of the creation and fall of Adam. Symbolically speaking, we are all Adam and Eve and we are all on the same journey. The temple teaches us how to return to the presence of God. While there we make promises to God and each other which will allow us to live a charitable, virtuous life.

As we make and keep those temple covenants, the Orson Pratt prophecy becomes true for our families. Our homes become places of safety in an unsafe world. Our families are fortified against the constant onslaught of selfishness and sin. Our children will have confidence that their parents will stay together through thick and thin.

[JERI LIN] Another important aspect of turning the hearts of the children to the fathers and the fathers to the children is the temple sealing. In the temple, families can be sealed together for time and all eternity. This is why being married in the temple is so important to Tony and me. We're not going to be married "until death do you part." We're going to be married forever.

That's where the inspiration for our blog address came from. EternallyBrown. We're going to be the Brown Family for eternity.

Tony and I love the temple. We want to share the joy found within the temple with each of you. Don't be afraid to ask questions! Also, if you're interested in learning more about the temple, you can visit the website for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or

This video might also help:

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

By Popular Demand

More engagement photos for those of you who wanted to see how handsome my husband-to-be is...

I pretty much love him a lot...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Wedding Giving

Of course we want wedding gifts (and two links to our registries are on the right).  But we are more interested in wedding giving.  Education is the key to so many opportunities.  But far too many have limited access to education. Even the Book of Mormon describes this problem:
And the people began to be distinguished by ranks, according to their riches and their chances for learning; yea, some were ignorant because of their poverty, and others did receive great learning because of their riches. 3 Nephi 6:12
One of the great victories of the modern age is the wide availability of education.  The developing world hasn't reached that goal yet.  So in order to do our part to promote world education, we invite you to donate to the Perpetual Education Fund.  What is it?  Look here to find out.  In short, it provides scholarships to talented individuals worldwide.  And the fund is administered with exactly zero overhead.

Click this link: Donate to PEF to (surprise) donate to the PEF.  And we would like to know about your donations so we can express gratitude for your generosity.  You can decide if we will see the gift amount.

To notify us, click the box that says "Yes, this is an honor or memorial gift."  And don't kill us.  This is in honor, not in memory of us.  Notify Tony and Jeri Lin Brown.  If you received a wedding announcement, use the address printed on the back of the envelope.  If you need the address, contact us and we can provide it.

Thanks, so much!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


For those of you who don't know...Tony and I, well...we really like countdowns. Like a lot. So, here are the countdowns as of today (November 17).

4 days until TONY is here in Arizona with ME!
9 days until the Turkey Bowl and eating ourselves silly and spending all day telling everyone what we're thankful for (and I assure you...we have a lot to be thankful for).
29 days until I'm done with my first semester of this lousy experience we call college and I'm on an airplane headed for Dallas and I never ever ever have to live with my roommate again.
38 days until CHRISTMAS although we might be a little delayed in all the celebrations because...
39 days until Whitney and Kemp fly in and I get to meet the rest of my most wonderful NEW family!
43 days until we ALL fly back to Arizona and my spectacular family gets to meet Tony's magnificent family.
AND...(and this is where things start to get real exciting!)
44 days until New Year's Eve which is the same day that I get to go to the TEMPLE for the very first time.
AND the most wonderful day of all...
46 days until Tony and I are sealed together for time and all eternity in the Mesa Arizona Temple!
Yep. It's true. We love countdowns.

Monday, November 9, 2009


Of course we had to take these cheesy pictures when we got engaged...officially.

Tony flew in on a Friday night. I picked him up at the airport. He was starving but he wanted to stop by the temple before we grabbed a bite to eat...hmmm...I wonder what he's got up his sleeve... He joked that I knew what it was coming, sothe only element of suprise he had was that he had picked out the ring so I didn't know what it looked like. He sat me down outside the Mesa temple, got down on one knee and asked me to marry him...officially. And then we went to dinner at On the Border. Tony was happy. :)

These pictures are on the couch in my parents' front room. No, we didn't take any pictures at the temple, but I think the pictures are appropriate since that's where we were sitting when he asked me to marry him unofficially.

My mom also took a few pictures before we went to church on Sunday. I miss having him here with me. Two more weeks...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Family Mission Statement

I have heard Steven R. Covey speak several times over the years about having a family mission statement.  Admittedly, I liked what he said but didn't do much about it.  Jeri Lin is reading a book and it suggested the mission statement.  Naturally, now something got done.

So we brainstormed for an hour and a half and talked about what we want to accomplish over the course of our marriage.  After rereading all our notes we found the ideas we like the most, arranged them into a logical order and came up with what I think is a fantastic family mission statement:
We will go to the temple often so we can maintain an eternal perspective and see the best in each other.  We will strive to always be in tune with the Spirit so we can creatively face any challenge.  We will spend time as a family and pursue a healthy, active lifestyle.  Thus, we will all arrive together next year in Zion.
It may seem odd to say that revelation can come from a brainstorming session, but I am convinced that some of our best inspiration will come in just that way.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Engagement Photos

Larry Reeves took our engagement photos last month while Tony was here in Arizona. We had loads of fun. Larry did a great job and captured some great moments. We are so excited to get married. Two months from today!! I think these pictures capture that excitement and show how twitterpated we really are. Life has been so good to us and we have the feeling that it's only going to get better...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

His Side....

I guess I should follow suit and share a little of my side of the story.  Back on a Saturday in 1980, I was born in Amarillo, TX.... Ok, maybe that's too far back.  I'll fast forward a few decades... 

I never went to EFY as a youth, but was recruited by a good friend to be a counselor in 2008.  It was without doubt my most spiritual experience since my mission.  I learned about Nauvoo EFY from friends who worked there at the end of that summer.  I knew instantly that I wanted to be there this year.  I had visited during the Temple open house in 2002 and fell in love with Nauvoo.

I'm too old to be a counselor another year, so the experiences I had in Nauvoo were a perfect way to finish my EFY career.  I guess when a counselor is twice as old as some of his youth, they worry we might not be able to relate that well.  My last week at Nauvoo I had the older group, so some of them were done with high school and would start college the next week - including Jeri Lin.

My focus at EFY is to get my boys excited to serve missions.  So I barely paid attention to the girl counselors, and especially not the participants.  But because of the smaller groups at Nauvoo, I was able to get to know Jeri Lin pretty well.  And I was thoroughly impressed.  But she was young. And from Arizona.  There was no way anything would happen between us.  Still, we had a great experience talking about the temple and Church history and Joseph Smith.

Then she wrote me this letter after EFY that had me thinking, "What if?"  I realized that if I didn't do anything to pursue her, some snot-nosed guy at ASU who had barely gotten home from a mission might.  So why shouldn't I give it a shot? 

Once I flew out to spend a weekend in Arizona I was ready.  My dad has always said, "You Mormon kids sure do date weird."  Maybe so.  But after spending a couple of days with Jeri Lin and her family, I knew I wanted to marry her.  Apparently, I came late to the game.  She knew before I even got there.  So on my 29th birthday, we were sitting on her family's couch and asked if she wanted to get married.  Best question I ever asked.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Her Side

I guess we've talked about how crazy in love we are but we haven't really told you the whole story yet. Here's my side...

The week before I went to EFY this past summer I was joking with a friend. I told her I was gonna go to EFY and steal me a counselor. We laughed. It was so not going to happen. I showed up at Nauvoo on August 10th. I met my roommates (crazy teenage girls) and met my counselor, Jentri. The girls asked, of course, what she knew about our boys. Her answer was that she didn't know but that our guy counselor's name was Tony, he was from Texas, and he was old. Great...

Well, we went to meet the boys. I wasn't impressed. BUT...there was a handsome counselor wearing a silly cowboy hat. He had a belt buckle and he talked funny. BUT...he was old. Oh well...poor Jeri Lin wasn't going to find herself a husband at EFY this year.

That week in Nauvoo was one of the best of my entire life. I gained a greater testimony. I learned what it was really like to ask the Lord a question and to get a direct answer from the Spirit. Tony and I didn't spend a whole lot of time together those first two days. He was more interested in helping his boys than he was with being my friend. BUT...Wednesday rolled around and we broke into groups to tour Old Nauvoo. I was going to go with Jentri or Tiffanie but then I went with Tony. I have no idea why. My feet just went that way and I didn't argue. That's when we really hit it off. In my mind, Tony was fast becoming one of my very best friends. I had found someone I could relate to. Someone who loved the gospel as much as me, if not more. Someone who was wanted to teach me about the temple. Someone who would sit and answer questions whenever I had them. BUT...I knew there was no way it could ever be more than just friends. He was old! All week he kept telling me how frustrated he was that all these girls coming into the singles ward were like ten years younger than him. He was so not all. Period.

Before I left Nauvoo on Saturday morning I wrote Tony a quick note, thanking him for everything he had done for me and wishing him the best in life. Nowhere in that note did I hint at any sort of feelings I may have had for him. That wasn't the purpose of the all. Period. He'll tell you differently I suppose. To him, that note gave him the courage to pursue something. I hadn't been home a whole day before we were chatting on facebook and he was flirting with me..."If only you were five years older..."

I knew I wanted to marry Tony before he ever flew out to visit me. He kept saying, "I need to come out there. I know how I want this to work out but we need to spend some time together..." I kept thinking, "Hurry up and get out here. I know you'll figure it out..." Sure enough. He did. We were sitting on the couch in my parents' house the Sunday before he left and he said, "Do you wanna get married?" Yes. Yes, I do...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Ten Weeks!

In ten weeks we get married! Preparing for a wedding is work.

But it is actually a great way to learn to work together. A week ago I was in Arizona with Jeri Lin and her family. We had a lot of work to get done that week. We looked for an apartment, did engagement pictures, and did gift registries among other things.

Thinking about apartment hunting and gift registries, those tasks are work. Doing either alone would be pretty dull, but doing them together was so enjoyable. One of the most important things in a marriage is to be able to work together and have fun doing mundane things.

Life is full of mundane things, but finding joy in them is the secret to a great life.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Pure Heart

1 Peter 1:22 says, "see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently."

I don't think I really knew how to love someone like that until Tony came around and I feel like I still have a lot to learn. I remember the first time I told him I loved him. I really did love him, but I look back and think, "I had no idea!"

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Beginning Life

It seems like you can't really begin life until you have found that someone who you can go through it with. There have always been decisions and trials and goals that I couldn't achieve alone. Whether it was work, opportunities to serve in the Church, or just building a home, I always felt like I couldn't do certain things alone.

I had to look in the most unlikely of places, but I finally found her. And we get sealed in the Mesa Temple on January 2, 2010!

This blog will have info updates as we prepare for the wedding and will become our family blog after the wedding.

Crazy In Love

I found him...the one I want to spend eternity with...the one who makes me laugh...the one who's going to keep me sane when the kids start showin' up...

Eleven weeks from today and we'll be in the temple together, being sealed for time and all eternity. Who cares that we've only known each other for a little over two months? We know we're crazy and we like it that way...

I love Tony Brown. He's so good to me--everything I always wanted and everything I didn't know I needed...

Life has never been better.