Hi I'm Candee
Since my children and grandchildren live a state away, I like to stay in touch with them through family photos. My favorite thing to do is to make photo books about their lives, and vacations we share together. Also, I belong to a camera club. I enjoy trying to be creative to surprise others, and I enjoy admiring their artwork. Photography is a medium through which I build relationships, exercise, and enjoy the out of doors.
Why I am a Mormon
I am so grateful to be a Mormon. I have challenges in my life, but I have learned to live with them and rise above them. By following the counsel and guidance of our priesthood leaders from Home Teachers to the Prophet, we have avoided so much heartache and sorrow. I am bipolar. I was diagnosed at age 38, when my sixth child was 15 months old. Although I will have this illness for the rest of my life, I know that I will not be like this forever. Christ laid down his life and was resurrected so that we may become as he is. I have learned that through strict obedience I can lead a healthy, normal life. I take my medications faithfully. My husband goes to my doctor with me to be sure that we both understand what he wants me to do. Even with the illness I feel I have been a successful mother. I was able to nurture and teach my children, and be sensitive to their day to day experiences. In May 2010 we lost a little 15 month old grandchild. We love him dearly and miss him. The gospel helps us bear our sorrow. We know that through the resurrection of Christ and our sealing covenant that he is ours. We will be able to raise him from his infancy in the millennium - - - he is so-o-o Cute! He delighted us here, and he will delight us there. My main testimony is that the gospel of Jesus Christ works. It has answers for everything we experience here on earth. It can help us work through our sorrows, and intensify our joy. It's the only way to live.
Can you think of a specific challenge in your family that Gospel Principles helped overcome?
When I was losing my mother to death, I was full of grief. Even though I didn't want to, I began to swear. We had a family home evening where I told our children that even though I am their mother, it is wrong for me to swear. I asked them to pray for me, and to help me by not tempting me, and to bear with patience while I tried to get past it. I prayed, read the scriptures, attended Church, received the Sacrament, and searched for answers. Finally General Conference came. Our prophet, President Monson, spoke of enemies. He said that hate and anger are foes difficult to overcome. My mind reflected upon a verse I had read in the Book of Mormon. Jacob 3:1 But behold, I, Jacob, would speak unto you that are pure in heart. Look unto God with firmness of mind, and pray unto him with exceeding faith, and he will console you in your afflictions, and he will plead your cause, and send down justice upon those who seek your destruction. When I remembered this verse, I felt like I was full of light and joy. I felt healed from my afflictions.
What has helped develop greater harmony in your home?
Our first son liked to push to find the limits. I was constantly enforcing rules and consequences, both positive and negative. I decided that on Saturdays I would take him somewhere that he could be a child with a minimal number of rules. We would go to a different park each time. As he got older we would go to museums or the state capitol. Our excursions were very enjoyable. I used this time to admire his characteristics, and let him know I approved of him. It helped him be easier to work with at home. Now we have fond memories, and we continue the tradition with our other children, and grandchildren.
How has your knowledge of the Plan of Happiness changed/benefited your life?
I have a severe case of bipolar disorder. The Plan of Happiness has been an anchor to my soul to bring me through my darkest days into a life of peace and happiness. I know that I am a daughter of God, and that if I live worthily, I can return to His presence and be like him. I know that in relation to eternity our life here on earth is but a brief moment. I won't be like this forever, just while I'm here on earth. This is a time of testing and trial to see if we will be true to God's commandments. I want to be faithful. When I am resurrected I want to be gloriously beautiful. As part of my faithfulness I take my medications every day. They help me be stable so I can lead a meaningful life. I like to work at the computer because it helps me to focus. I like to participate in Mormon.org, index records for genealogy, do personal progress, search the scriptures, email, facebook, and I like photography. I like to make beautiful and satisfying pictures. The process of editing pictures and making them beautiful soothes me. As a result of my illness there are many things I cannot do, but the Lord compensates. I've been able to increase my talents and share them so my life is beautiful and meaningful.
What have you done successfully to shield your family from unwanted influences?
Interesting question. I took my daughters to a fast food restaurant in the downtown area of a large city. Some young people were sitting at a booth discussing their thoughts on intimacy in street language. I had never heard such ideas. I looked at my daughters and asked if they had ever heard anything like it. My high school daughter said, "That's just what we hear at school." I was amazed. None of my children had ever brought it home. There are three things I think that have protected our children from unwanted influences. 1) family scripture and prayer. The Book of Mormon has a powerful spirit with promises. Unwanted influences conflict with the Spirit of the Book of Mormon, and enable our children to discern what is truth, and what is not. 2) Church on Sunday, the Sacrament. Each week we repent and try to do better. We have a personal time with our Savior to reflect upon whether our lives are in harmony with gospel teachings. 3) General Conference. Our prophets and apostles bear pure testimony of the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ. They teach us how to withstand the evils of our day.
Why do Mormons go on missions?
My husband and all six of our children, two girls and four boys, all served missions. We raised our children by reading the Book of Mormon every day, going to Church, and listening to General Conference. These activities invite the Holy Ghost to bear testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel. With this burning in our hearts we become so full of gratitude for the gospel in our lives that we want to share it with others.
Can you talk about the missions of the Church and your participation in them?
The Church has One Great Mission with three parts: Perfect the Saints, Proclaim the Gospel, Redeem the Dead. It's all about bringing each of Heavenly Father's children back into his presence. I think that the greatest way to perfect the saints is to raise teenagers. Their quest for independence creates conflict in our lives. The process of loving them as Heavenly Father loves them makes us better people. We learn something of charity - - Christ-like love. We proclaim the gospel by studying, praying, and sharing the gospel with those we meet. Our six children all served missions. I enjoy redeeming the dead through family history research, temple work, and participating in the indexing program - We index records and put them online to help people find their ancestors.
Please explain the part prayer plays in your life?
Prayer is a constant part of my every day life. I kneel at my bedside morning and night. In the morning I thank Heavenly Father for a new day, sunshine, strength and energy. I tell him my plans for the day, and ask for his help. At mealtimes I thank him for my food, and ask him to bless it to give me strength to carry out my activities. At bedtime, I thank him for the day, my family, my wonderful blessings. I talk about how things went, repent, seek to do better, and prepare for the next day. As I go about my activities things come up where in my heart I ask for strength, help, wisdom, the gifts I need each moment, but most of all I just ask for his reassurance that he is with me. Through prayer I know that my Heavenly Father, the Savior, and the Holy Ghost love me very much.
Which of the Savior’s teachings have influenced you in your life?
I love to read the stories of Jesus. I read them over and over to glean different principles from the Savior's mortal ministry. One time I read them to learn how Jesus treated people when he was tired - so I could know how to act for myself. When the hypocrites would try to trip him, he responded with truth. I learned that when people are insincere, if I state the truth that relates to the situation, I confound them. Another thing that gives me great insight is to read the last week of his life. I think that every trial I experience here on earth can find a similar trial in his last week, only his trials were much deeper and more intense. It helps me to know that he suffered all of the weaknesses and hardships known to man so that he can succor us. I find great comfort in knowing my Savior loves me.
How can your talents and gifts bless others?
I really like photography. I want to use my talent to bless lives. I use it in such a variety of ways. Women and girls often feel insecure about the way they look. I like to capture their natural beauty, and show them how beautiful they truly are. I love to photograph my children's families, our family vacations. I like to do family portraits and high school senior portraits. And I like to photograph Heavenly Father's glorious world. I also like to photograph interesting buildings and man-made objects - - It's all about light and angle, and how these combined create interesting statements about the subject. I've used my photography to create newsletters, bulletin boards, photo books, notepads, calendars, framed artwork, and more. I hope that everyone will be uplifted when they see my artwork.
Could you talk about your baptism?
The missionaries taught me the gospel. I learned that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God, and that the Book of Mormon is true. I had a sensation of being drawn towards the waters of baptism. I told my mother that I wanted to be baptized on the way to high school. She later said that the sun shone on my hair and made me look like an angel. My father asked why I wanted to be baptized. I said that I felt it's what God wants me to do. He accepted that. The day of my baptism I woke up early. I had a wide smile on my face that I couldn't wipe off. Everywhere I went people asked why I was so happy. I told them I was being baptized. I was baptized in the evening. It was the longest day of my life. I wore white clothing that they let me use. I stepped down into the font. My best friend's father was there to baptize me. (Earlier when I asked him if he would baptize me, he wept.) He helped me hold my hands so that I held his forearm for security. My other hand held my nose. He sat me down in the water, then laid me back. I was completely immersed. When I came up out of the water I felt so happy. I loved everyone. After I was dressed I was confirmed. They had me sit in a chair. The priesthood men laid their hands on my head. My friend's father told me to receive the Holy Ghost, then he gave me a personal blessing. At the end I felt excited. I kicked up my feet and said, "Wow! I"m a Mormon!"
Please share your feelings/testimony of the Restoration of the Gospel.
When I was young our family belonged to another Church. On Sunday afternoons my father would read a pen and ink illustrated Bible to me. My favorite picture was of Moses. The artist portrayed him as having such bright light radiating from him, that we couldn't see his face. When I went out to play I would think about the prophets, and felt disappointed that I didn't live on the earth with those great men. One day the missionaries came to teach me the gospel. When they showed me the picture of Joseph Smith's First Vision, my heart leaped, and I felt light and joy. It reminded me of Moses. I was so grateful to learn that I do live in a time with a prophet to guide us. Oh, what a blessing to be lead by God through his living prophet who has wisdom that far exceeds my own.
How I live my faith
I have been a faithful, active member since my baptism 40 years ago. I was 17 years old at the time. I have taken the gospel very seriously. When I was a young mother, I took the Church's religion classes. I learned the doctrines. They are solid bedrock on which I can base my life. I took the scriptures seriously. When we were young, preparing for marriage, I was scared. I did not know how we would provide for ourselves or our family. The mother who shared the gospel with me showed me the passage of scripture in Matthew 6 25-34. It shows that if we put the Kingdom of God first in our lives, we will receive all of the things we need. I bear testimony this is true. We were taught by President Kimball that my husband should work to provide for the family, and I should stay home and serve. Another scripture that sustained me was 3NE 1320. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. And - - 2 Nephi 951 Wherefore, do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy. Hearken diligently unto me, and remember the words which I have spoken and come unto the Holy One of Israel, and feast upon that which perisheth not, neither can be corrupted, and let your soul delight in fatness. I stayed home and raised my family. I worked in partnership with God, my husband, and their school teachers. To teach them. More important than ABCs, I taught them dependability, responsibility, consistency, punctuality diligence and perseverance. These qualities have sustained them through school, marriage and occupations. All of our six children are faithful in the gospel, and teaching their children to be faithful. To me, this is supreme success.