November 26, 2018

Merry Christmas 2018

Dearest Friends and Family – This is such a wonderful time of year, our favorite, as we do all we can to pause and give thanks for all the wonders and beauties of life. Chief among these is our love for Jesus Christ upon whom we rely on daily. Without Him, we would not have the strength to make it through the difficulties of life or have hope for what is to come in the life following this. We wish each of you, our dearest friends and family, all the best this wonderful Holiday season and pray that we may we each be His.

































































This was a big year for Joey as he and his sweetheart Maggie Weaver were sealed together in the Payson Utah LDS Temple. Their wedding brought us all so much joy and we could not be happier for Joey’s choice. Maggie is an angel, soft-spoken, witty, grounded, with a real gift for art. We are thankful to have a new Shearer in the family and are proud of them both. Joey continues to work full time for Verizon Wireless as a Solutions Specialist while attending Brigham Young University, studying Psychology. Maggie is a full time student at Utah Valley University, studying Art, and is just starting to teach art lessons in her spare time. Together, they teach the 15 year old Sunday School class in their Church congregation.

































































Maddy continues to work at Galaxie Lighting as a Customer Service Representative and enjoys all that she has learned there about sales and guest relations. She continues to sing and act and audition for local performances, and even started taking tap dancing lessons this year. She will be a featured soloist in the upcoming production of Rob Gardner's "Lamb of God" in March. Maddy serves in her Church congregation as the Ward Music Chairman, selecting the hymns and music numbers for the weekly Sacrament and other meetings. She has also become quite the chef this year, mastering the art of the french macaron.

































































































Jeni continues to be the rock of our home, keeping us all grounded in the teachings of the Savior. Though her health is still a struggle from day to day, she continues to minister to and bless the lives of all who come to see her. We are grateful for the good days we have with Jeni which more than make up for those that are not so good. She is selfless, always putting the needs of others above her own. She helped coordinate a wonderful Halliday family reunion in Southern California this year which was well attended and many memories made.

































































Ro recovered from last year’s broken foot and ended up running several more half and full marathons this year, rekindling a love for the sport from his early childhood.  In May, he had the privilege of speaking about forgiveness at the BYU Women’s Conference, a cherished experience. Ro wrote another hymn arrangement this year which will soon be found on iTunes and YouTube. He also celebrated five years at Sbarro, where he works as the Senior Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer and enjoys eating the product more than anything. Ro just began his fifth year as bishop in his Church congregation and is thankful for the opportunities it has given him to be of service to others.

May 03, 2018

2018 BYU Women's Conference 

Today I had the honor of speaking at the BYU Women's Conference on the Savior's gift of forgiveness. It has been an emotional experience over the last six months getting ready. I was so grateful for my good friends and family who came to support me and give me encouragement. The full text of my talk is below.




































Forgiveness - A Complete Gift

Rohan K. Shearer, BYU Women's Conference, May 3, 2018

Introduction

Two days ago I had a dream. I was skiing down a very steep mountain when an Olympic sized jump appeared out of nowhere and I went off it, flying high through the air, completely out of control. I somehow landed comfortably in an isolated pine tree, grateful that I had not crashed, only to look down and notice a lumberjack revving up his massive chainsaw. This dream accurately reflects my mental state over the last 6 months as I have prepared this talk. There have been some extreme highs and some terrifying moments of doubt and fear. For the last six months, I have thought a great deal about you. I knew that there would be many other offerings on campus at this same hour, and that those of you who would choose to be here would be looking for something specific, prayerful perhaps that you would hear something that would bring you much sought-after relief, peace, comfort or healing. Some of you may be wondering if you can ever be forgiven by the Lord for something that took place in your past. Some of you may be struggling to forgive someone who has caused you significant suffering. And some of you have been forgiven by the Lord and forgiven by others, yet you have been unable to forgive yourself. I earnestly seek the help of the Holy Ghost so that we will be able to learn together, rejoice and be edified.1

I have served for the last nearly four years as a bishop. My ward in Spanish Fork, Utah is a large one; nearly 600 members with two nurseries, over 100 young men and young women, wonderful middle-aged couples, and a Senior Citizen apartment complex. Our ward covers all the demographics of life and I have seen forgiveness at play in each. I have learned that forgiveness is a gift. In fact the word “forgive” is derived from the Old English words “for,” meaning complete, and “giefan,” meaning gift.2 So by definition when we “forgive” someone we are extending to them a gift, a complete gift. I picture in my mind that this gift is an actual present, decorated beautifully, and that once unwrapped, it is filled to overflowing with redemption, mercy, understanding, peace, kindness, comfort, a willingness to move on, compassion, and relief. In our time together today, I’ll focus on three ways that this complete gift, this beautiful present made available through the Atonement of Jesus Christ can be given and received more abundantly in our lives. I’ll focus first on the gift of forgiveness we receive from Jesus Christ, then second, the gift of forgiveness we give to others, and third, the gift of forgiveness we can and should extend to ourselves.

Gift #1 – The Lord’s Gift of Forgiveness to Us

When I was much younger, living in Seattle, Washington, one of my favorite things to do after coming home from school, after raiding my dad’s secret candy drawer, was turning on our very small color TV and watching “The People’s Court.” I loved hearing the theme song play as each case was introduced and all present, including me, would rise as the Honorable Judge Wapner entered the room. I felt like the weight of the world hung on every word. Judge Wapner was the ultimate authority. I knew, even at a young age, that you did not want to be on the wrong side of one of his verdicts. Now I don’t know about you, but I do not like courtrooms. A few years ago, I was a defendant in a trial, representing my company in a very trivial matter. I had all the information I needed, and we were in the right. Yet I could barely look the judge in the eyes. I was shaking and when it was my turn to speak, my voice was barely audible. Now if I’m that terrified in such a small matter in a courtroom here on earth, I can’t imagine how much of a wreck I will be in that Heavenly courtroom, where the case will be over the state of my soul. There, Jesus Christ will stand at the great bar of judgment and an accounting will be made of my life. I don’t know if I’ll have all the information I’ll need. And I definitely won’t have been in the right for much of my life. And, by myself, without representation, my confidence will wax very thin.

Some of us picture the Savior like Judge Wapner, one with complete authority, someone we don’t want to mess with, one who has power over our lives and will demand justice if we are in the wrong. We see Him as exacting and requiring perfect obedience. And of course, since none of us are without sin3, we might be terrified to face Him and thus feel doomed, cast off forever, and without hope.

Sometimes we forget that one of the foundational truths in the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that the Savior is merciful and has a forgiving disposition.4 He is not a Judge Wapner. In fact, listen to Elder Holland’s description of the Savior in a courtroom setting. He said that “Jesus Christ knew the predicament we as mortals would all be in, knew our helpless state as a result of the fall, and knew the judgment we would not be able to endure. It is as if the judge in that great courtroom in heaven, unwilling to ask anyone but himself to bear the burdens of the guilty people standing in the dock, takes off his judicial robes and comes down to earth to bear their stripes personally.” 5 Can you imagine Judge Wapner doing this, casting judgment on the guilty party, then throwing off his judicial robes to take their place and pay the punishment himself? My grade school jaw would have dropped to the floor. It would have been so out of character for the show and out of character for this unsympathetic world we live in, yet this is exactly what the Savior does for each and every one of us.

Though mercy cannot rob justice6, Jesus Christ satisfied the demands of justice required of you and me and extends to us complete forgiveness if we will but decide to be His.7 Instead of thinking of God as a “divine referee trying to tag us off third base,” 8 let’s remember that “God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” 9 Yes, He is the grand and great judge. But He is also our Savior, Redeemer, Mediator, and Advocate. 10 He pleads our case, judicial robe cast aside.

Jesus Christ holds within His hands a beautifully wrapped gift. It is complete. And when opened, it is full of redemption, mercy, understanding, peace, kindness, comfort, a willingness to move on, compassion, and relief. Whatever mistakes we’ve made, however far we’ve fallen, however hopeless we feel, we can be forgiven completely. President Boyd K. Packer testified that “Save for the exception of the very few who defect to perdition, there is no habit, no addiction, no rebellion, no transgression, no apostasy, no crime exempted from the promise of complete forgiveness. That is the promise of the Atonement of Christ.” 11 Let us each turn more fully to Him today, pivoting, repenting if necessary, making whatever changes He requires, in order to receive this most generous and complete of all gifts. Without exception, “Those who will repent and forsake sin will find that His merciful arm is outstretched still.” 12

Gift #2 - Our Gift of Forgiveness to Others 

I work for a global restaurant chain and after visiting one of our restaurants recently, I returned to my car in the parking lot but the key fob wasn’t working. Thinking the battery had died, I tried using the actual key, but that didn’t work either. As I was fiddling with the lock, I noticed some strange objects in the back seat that I had not put there. I was startled, thinking someone had broken into my car! Then I realized that that my car was several rows away and I was the one doing the breaking and entering. Not my finest moment. I am convinced that when it comes to forgiving others and following the Savior’s teaching to “love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you,” 13 too often we are trying to do so with the wrong key and thus we fail in our attempts.

For example, some of us try to use the key of time, promising that we’ll be ready to forgive at some future date, when enough time has passed. Some of us try the key of evidence, saying that we’ll forgive once the offending party has changed sufficiently. And some of us even try the key of justification, claiming that we’re not required to forgive because the offense has been so great. None of these keys will unlock the door to forgiveness, yet the Lord made it clear that there are no time restrictions, no qualifiers, and no exceptions to His commandment to forgive all. 14 I have come to understand that the grand key to forgiveness is gratitude. President Uchtdorf taught that “Gratitude is a catalyst to all Christlike attributes.” 15 If the ability to forgive is a Christlike attribute, and I believe it is, then gratitude is a catalyst, an initiator, a key to being able to do so. In fact, this connection between gratitude and forgiveness was taught clearly by the Lord when answering Peter’s question “Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?” 16 You remember the parable that followed Peter’s question.

A man is brought in front of a King for his time of reckoning and is required to pay the debt he’s accumulated, ten thousand talents, around a billion dollars in today’s currency, a debt the man couldn’t begin to repay. Instead of commanding this man and his family to be sold off to pay the debt, the King is sensitive to his pleading for mercy, is moved with compassion, removes this man’s shackles and forgives the debt completely. The man then departs, but immediately sees another that owes him only a hundred pence, about $100, and instead of offering the same mercy he was just granted, lays hands on this person’s throat and casts him into prison. The King hears of this and demands that the man return to his presence, saying to him “I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:  Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?” This man is then delivered to the tormentors to pay all that was due. The Savior then closes the parable by teaching Peter: “So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.” 17

As I read this parable in preparation for this talk, I realized something that I had never before considered. The reason why the man was in debt in the first place is not even mentioned. It is irrelevant. This parable is about the condition of the heart and its willingness to forgive, regardless of the size or nature of the offense against it. It is about being grateful for the mercy we’ve received and then giving that same mercy to others. We, like the servant in the parable are forgiven a debt that can never be repaid, that which the Savior’s Atonement covered, the wages of sin and death.18 Yet we, like the servant can forget to be grateful for that gift, and then we find ourselves running around with our hands on each other’s throats, casting each other into prison (so to speak) for their debts or trespasses against us, things that pale in comparison to the great debt that we have been ransomed from. 19 The Savior said we should forgive from our hearts. So how does our heart compare to the heart of the King?

Now I know that some of you are thinking “Yea it all sounds good and looks good on paper, but this is real life. How can I be grateful when everything in my life is falling apart? My wounds are deep and I am hurting.” Maybe you feel like a sister I met with whose husband had committed adultery, thus shaking the foundations of their marriage, their family and their home. Though her tears she said “Bishop - I want to forgive him, but will this pain ever go away?” Those are very tender and difficult moments for a bishop, to say nothing of the extreme difficulty for the person whose world is falling apart through no fault of her own. All I can say is that in these situations, our only hope for comfort, peace and relief is in Christ. Elder Boyd K. Packer once said that it is “(Christ’s) mercy [that] is the mighty healer, even to the wounded innocent.” 20

Through Christ and only through Him, all difficulties and trauma we experience in life at the hands of another can be removed, entirely, completely. If you have been abused mentally, verbally, emotionally, physically or sexually; if you have been cheated on, ignored or abandoned by your spouse; if you have been ostracized or cast off by your closest friends or family; if you have suffered the unexpected loss of a parent, spouse, sibling, child or best friend because of someone else’s negligence; if you have been taken advantage of by someone you had trusted, or “seventy times seven” other difficulties, have hope. Jesus Christ has experienced and overcome them all and stands ready with a beautifully wrapped gift in His hands that He gives to us, with the mandate that we will then give it to the offending party. Now I want to make something clear. If there is abuse or risk of further harm in any way, forgiving another does not mean that you have to return to the scene of the crime. The Lord requires you to forgive but He does not require that you continue to be subject to the misuse of someone else’s agency. You must still be wise and care for the life of your soul. 21 In Latter-day Saint doctrine, that soul is the body and the spirit and both must be cared for. 22 But the peace that comes through forgiveness is sweet, even if other adjustments must be made.

Isaiah testified that the Savior would “preach good tidings unto the meek… to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound… to comfort all that mourn… (and) to give unto (them that mourn in Zion) beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness…”23 When we forgive another, Jesus Christ opens the prison door and liberates the prisoner and when that happens, to our surprise, we will realize that the prisoner was us. When we can find gratitude in our hearts for the Savior’s mercy in our lives, that becomes enough. Simply said, when we recognize that we have been given much, we too must then give. That goes for our glowing fire, our loaf of bread, our roof’s safe shelter and the gift of forgiveness. 24

Gift #3 - The Gift of Forgiving Ourselves

Perhaps of the three gifts being discussed today, the one we seem to have the most difficulty with is the gift of forgiving ourselves.  Too many of us, too much of the time are too hard on ourselves. We think that our sins and mistakes, even ones we’ve repented of, have left a stain on our character that we’ll never be able to wash clean. Feeling thus unworthy, we either distance ourselves from God to dull the pain, we create our own set of beliefs that make that sin acceptable, or we carry the heavy weight of that sin much longer than the Lord ever intended. Yes, we have high standards in the Church. Yes, we are all striving to be like the Savior. And yes, perfection is the goal. But when did we forget that the purpose of our lives here on earth was to learn and to grow, especially from those sins and mistakes. God, in His infinite wisdom, knew from before the creation of any worlds, that we would need help. A Savior was part of God’s plan before Adam and Eve fell. 25 God knew perfection would not be attained in this life and so His perfect plan for imperfect people provided Jesus Christ to overcome the effects of the fall in our individual lives. 26

During my childhood years, I took piano lessons from a sweet elderly lady name Ms. Logan. The highlight of each week was actually the post-lesson trip to Dairy Queen for a double cheeseburger, fries and a blizzard. Going to piano lessons was a major struggle for me, but the encouragement from my mom and the anticipation of that cheeseburger kept me going. One of the reasons I did not like piano lessons is because I made a lot of mistakes, especially during recitals when the pressure was on. The fingers on my right hand were anxiously engaged but the fingers on my left always had a stupor of thought. That did not make for high quality music. While I have improved over the years, I have learned that beauty can come out of imperfection and that imperfections are acceptable to the Lord, as long as we are striving to improve and desiring to be better. 27 Whether it is making mistakes on a piano or making mistakes in life, neither should lead to anyone giving up. Alma taught that “there was a space granted unto man in which he might repent; therefore, this life became a probationary state; a time to prepare to meet God.” 28 Nephi taught that our days were prolonged so that we would “repent while in the flesh.” 29

I love that concept that each of us is given a “space,” room to improve, a prolonging of our time so that we would do so. It’s part of the plan! Brad Wilcox taught “As we renew our covenants, we are committing not to be perfect like Christ immediately, but to be willing to be perfected in Christ over time. Time is the medium through which the power of the Atonement is made manifest in our lives.” 30 Now I am not saying that we should use that time to delay or procrastinate the day of our repentance,31 but I am saying - let’s be a little bit easier on ourselves when we fall short and let’s use the space we’ve been given to repent and move forward, to laugh at our mistakes if we can, learn from them, forgive ourselves for them and then “go forward, not backward.” 32 Make whatever changes we need to make but then let’s move on. And if those changes don’t stick, don’t give up. We can pick ourselves back up and we can keep trying. And please don’t ever forget that we are not alone in that “space” provided. The Savior promised to be on our “right hand and on our left” 33 to help us “whithersoever [we] goest.” 34 That includes His presence as we “goest” through the repenting, pivoting, and changing process.

I have learned as a bishop that one of the adversary’s greatest tools is discouragement. He thrives in it. He hates hope because he has none, and he hates us. He will do everything he can to convince us that we are not worthy of a clean slate, that any repenting we have done has been insufficient, and that God will always hold our sins against us. He is the father of lies. 35 Can you imagine if Alma the younger or the Sons of Mosiah, or Paul or Peter felt like they had gone too far and stopped trying? The adversary would keep us hanging back, living in our past. But God motivates us to move forward and gives us the strength to do so. Dear Sisters – A beautifully wrapped, complete gift of forgiveness sits at your door. It is from Jesus Christ to you, to give to yourself. It is from a happy you, a forward-looking you, a forgiven you. I plead with you to take that gift and open it. Forgive yourself today for your past, for your mistakes, for the pain you may have caused another, and do so completely. If you have repented, the Savior remembers it no more, and neither should you. 36

Closing

Now, in closing may I share one last very personal experience. I have made many mistakes in my life, both before I joined the Church and since. I have struggled over the years with feelings of guilt and self-doubt, wondering if I truly have been forgiven and then I find myself discouraged and beating myself up over these past mistakes. On one such occasion I was brought to my knees pleading for relief and comfort. As my heart was drawn out to Heavenly Father in prayer, He spoke to my mind in a way that I will never forget. He said simply: “I’ll fix the past, you fix the future.” Tears filled my eyes and the Spirit washed over me. I felt that the Lord was saying to me “Don’t you worry about the past. You have repented. You have changed. You are on my team now and that’s what really matters. I love you. I need you. Don’t look back. You are helpless to change the past, but I am not. I can bring healing and strike what was done from the record. But you must look forward with an eye of faith, with an eye on Me, and live the best you can now and in the future.” I had been presented a beautifully wrapped gift, forgiveness, a complete gift, full of redemption, mercy, understanding, peace, kindness, comfort, a willingness to move on, compassion, and relief. It is a gift I will treasure and use for the rest of my life.

And sisters, that same gift is available to you. Not a year from now, not next week, but today, before you leave this Conference. Please accept it. Please embrace it. I testify of the Savior, Jesus Christ. His atoning sacrifice was the supreme offering which made forgiveness, this complete gift, possible; forgiveness from Him, forgiveness to others, and forgiveness to ourselves. I promise that as we accept and give these gifts, we will find greater joy and a deeper fellowship with the Lord. Life will be sweeter, our peace will be deeper, and our love for the Savior will grow until that final day in which we will kneel before Him with tear-stained eyes and we will thank Him, more than anything for the mercy and forgiveness that He offered to us time and time and time again. That we may look forward to that day with gratitude and forgiveness and hope in our hearts always, is my prayer, in the name of Him who is quick to forgive, even Jesus the Christ, amen.

Bibliography

1. D&C 50:22
2. Dictionary.com, “Forgive”
3. 1 John 1:8
4. Joseph Smith, comp., Lectures on Faith (1985), 42
5. Book of Mormon Student Manual, 2 Nephi 19:6-7
6. Alma 42:25
7. Matthew 19:21
8. Elder Holland, Look to God and Live, General Conference OCT 1993
9. John 3:16-17
10. See D&C 29:5, 32:3; 45:3; 62:1; 110:4
11. Boyd K. Packer, The Brilliant Morning of Forgiveness, General Conference OCT 1995
12. Boyd K. Packer, The Reason for our Hope, General Conference OCT 2014
13. Matthew 5:44
14. D&C 64:10
15. Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Grateful in Any Circumstances, General Conference APR 2014
16. Matthew 18:21
17. Matthew 18:23-35
18. Romans 6:23
19. Hosea 13:14, Matthew 20:28
20. Boyd K. Packer, The Reason for our Hope, General Conference OCT 2014
21. D&C 104:37
22. D&C 88:15
23. Isaiah 61:1-3
24. LDS Hymn #219, “Because I Have Been Given Much”
25. Abraham 3:27
26. See Jeffrey R. Holland, Be Ye Therefore Perfect, Eventually, General Conference OCT 2017
27. See Brad Wilcox, His Grace is Sufficient, BYU Devotional, 07/12/2011)
28. Alma 12:24
29. 2 Nephi 2:21
30. Brad Wilcox, The Law of the Gospel, BYUI Education Week, 07/31/2015
31. Alma 13:27
32. D&C 128:22
33. D&C 84:88
34. Joshua 1:9
35. John 8:44
36. D&C 58:42

December 21, 2017

Merry Christmas 2017

Dearest Friends and Family - It is hard to believe that another year has passed and here we are celebrating Christmas again. As we get older, we recognize how much we cherish these times together as a family. We love this season of the year more than any other as it seems like the world slows down just long enough to enjoy the spirit of Christmas and the spirit of Christ upon which Christmas centers. We love the Savior and we are so thankful to God for sending Him. We rely wholly on His matchless life and example, including His marvelous Atoning sacrifice which gives us endless hope and comfort during difficult days. Like you, our greatest desire this coming year is that we can be His; His servants, His helpers, His advocates, His witnesses, His followers and His disciples. We wish each of you, our dearest friends and family, all the best this Christmas and a wonderful new year.

Joey returned home from his two-year LDS mission in North Carolina in September, having served the people there while speaking English, Spanish and Swahili. He will be attending BYU Provo in January and plans to study Mechanical Engineering. He is also working full time at Verizon as a Solutions Specialist so if you need any phones or accessories, come and see him at the Spanish Fork branch! He launched a debut album before his mission, “Beneath the Glass,” which is available on iTunes and he plans to record a follow up album this coming year. Joey is serving in his singles ward in the Elders Quorum Presidency.





Maddy completed her Associates Degree this year, having studied Vocal Performance for one year at the University of Utah and then one year of General Studies at UVU. She is currently working at Galaxie Lighting as a Customer Service Representative and enjoys the computer work and interaction with customers. Maddy continues to sing and serves as her Ward’s Music Director. Last Christmas she sang the Soprano part of Handel’s Messiah with the Payson Chorale. Maddy also played “Wednesday” in the Payson Community Theater’s musical production of “Addam’s Family” this year and had rave reviews.
























Jeni is still the cornerstone of our home. While her health continues to be a challenge, she presses forward with faith. Despite her trials, she continues to serve and help so many people, even if that means them coming over and sitting on the bed and just being with her. Jeni had several months this year where she was able to be up and about, including the month of Joey’s return home which was a blessing for us all. Jeni was also the mastermind behind some minor home remodeling and decorating this year. She has such a gift for finding beauty in life, whether it’s in home d├ęcor or in the lives of those around her. Jeni loves serving in the Church, even if that’s just through a text or phone call to see how others are doing. Her love for her family, her friends, for life and for the Lord are inspiring to all. Nothing brightens one’s day more than a smile or laugh from Jeni.
























Ro had his own health challenges this year. In addition to several back issues, during a half-marathon in October he fell and fractured his left foot and unwisely chose to finish the race. His reward? A nice medal and a walking boot for three months. Ro wrote another hymn arrangement this year which can be found on iTunes and Youtube. He also celebrated four years at Sbarro, where he works as Chief Administrative Officer and eats more than his share of pizza and strombolis. Ro loves serving in the Church and especially enjoys his time with the young men and young women in his local congregation.










































December 17, 2016

Merry Christmas 2016

What a busy few years these have been for our family! This is our first blog update since August 2014 and our first Christmas Blog-card since 2013. We are so thankful that in all circumstances we've been in, Jesus Christ has been our greatest help and strength. We love His gospel and it guides and directs our lives each day. At this special time of year where we celebrate His magnificent birth and condescension, we pray for God's choicest blessings to be upon you and we wish you a wonderful Christmas and the happiest of New Years.

Below is a brief update on the Shearers if you're completely bored and have nothing better to do.



















Joey, 19, is serving as a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Raleigh, North Carolina, speaking Spanish. He has had a wonderful experience so far and loves the people. Not only has he learned Spanish but he is also now learning Swahili. He is serving as a Zone Leader in Wilmington and has about nine months left of his two years before he comes home. Click here to read his weekly updates and see pictures on his mission blog. He will attend BYU when he returns and plans to study Mechanical Engineering. Though still our "Joekster" he has grown up into a very kind, compassionate, service-oriented, wonderful man.
























Maddy, 21, attended the University of Utah for her Freshman year of college, studying Vocal Performance. She had the privilege of touring Paris and Spain as a member of the Chamber Choir. Click here to read about their first place award in a prestigous International Competition in Tours, France. She is now finishing her Associates Degree at Utah Valley University and plans to head back to the University of Utah next year to finish the music degree. Click here to see Maddy performing at one of her vocal recitals. Maddy has continued to mature beyond her years in her understanding of people. She is a champion for the underdog and loves to serve and help others in need. She has developed a talent for crafts and decorating that we have all enjoyed. She also went to the Temple this year to receive her endowment and had a wonderful experience. Lastly, she added a new companion, a 3 pound Schnorkie named Otis.



















Jeni continues to be the cornerstone in our home. Though her health is still up and down, she somehow finds ways to serve and bless the lives of those who come to see her. She is always quick to deflect praise or compliments to others and has enormous compassion for those who are suffering. Jeni serves in the Church in the Relief Society helping oversee Visiting Teaching. Jeni and Ro celebrated their 22 year wedding anniversary this month and are so grateful for each other. Jeni lost her mom, Kaye, nearly three years ago to Breast Cancer. They were best friends and Kaye was regularly at our home caring for Jeni and spending time with her, especially on the difficult days. We all miss her terribly but are grateful for her legacy of service, her testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and her love for Christmas, all of which now Jeni carries on.
























After a 15 year career with Wendy's, Ro has switched from burgers to pizza, having spent the last 3 years working for Sbarro, a global restaurant company, as their Chief Administrative Officer. Almost all of Ro's jobs since college have been food related. No surprise there. Ro dabbled in gourmet cooking several years ago but has not updated his cooking blog since 2013. Click here to see his favorite recipes. He now spends any spare time he has running. After several full and half marathons this year, it's an understatement that Ro has caught the bug. He still plays the piano, publishing a new hymn arrangement this year (click here to listen), and continues to serve as the bishop of our local congregation, finding great joy serving the individuals and families there.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from us all!

Ro, Jeni, Maddy and Joey Shearer

August 30, 2014

Joey - Seventeen

Joey celebrated his 17th birthday earlier this week and we celebrated with a trip to the City Creek mall with Maddy, Grandpa Mike and Steve for dinner at the Cheesecake Factory and a present of a custom shirt at Brook's Brothers. Earlier in the morning his friends Gordon and Ammon kidnapped him and took him to breakfast at about 5am. It really is amazing to me how quickly Joey has grown up. He still has the same smile and fun personality but he's matured into a fine young man.









Joey - Senior Year

We can't believe how quickly time has gone with Joey now starting his senior year. He has grown up to be a wonderful young man, very respectful and gentlemanly and he has a style all his own with nice shoes and a blazer almost every day at school. He is kind to all and looks for ways to serve others. He's also very outgoing and can strike up a conversation with anyone. We're looking forward to seeing how his final year of school goes before his plans to head off on a mission next year at this time.



University of Utah



Maddy has chosen to attend college at the University of Utah. She was accepted into their School of Music as a Bachelors of Music in Vocal Performance. That means that the majority of her classes are music related which she's very excited about. She also received both academic and music scholarships to attend. We moved her into her single room dorm last week and she just finished her first week of classes. It was a bit overwhelming for her but we're so proud of her determination and resolve. And she made it into their prestigious Chamber Choir and was one of just a few freshmen to do so!









August 27, 2014

Kaye



Earlier this year our wonderful Mom and Grandma, Kaye passed away of breast cancer. Though she had been very sick for some time, nobody knew that she had been suffering from cancer. By the time we found out, she was gone in less than 24 hours. Below are some wonderful pictures of her as well as the obituary that Jeni wrote. We miss her terribly. She lived an incredible life of service and faithfulness. She was also so kind and caring to all that she met and she never liked to talk badly about anyone. She always treated me like her own son and Maddy and Joey like her own as well. She leaves a legacy of love for the Lord, love for others, love for music and love for her husband Mike. In the last few years of her life she personally wrote comments in a copy of the Book of Mormon for each of her kids, personalized for them. We think now that she must have known she was going to pass away but she only hinted at that a few times. We can't wait to see her again.

Here's the obituary...

Kaye Ficklin Halliday, beloved wife, daughter, sister, mother, grandmother and friend, passed away peacefully, surrounded by her family on January 29th.

Kaye was born on July 22, 1951 in Spanish Fork, Utah. She is the oldest of five children of Freddie Ficklin Jr. and Phoebe LaRae Isaac. Kaye attended Granger High School and then Brigham Young University where she was on the International Folk-Dancers team. While at BYU, she met Michael Vere Halliday and they were sealed for time and eternity in the Salt Lake City Temple on June 25, 1971.

Kaye loved spending time with Michael and they were an example of Christlike marriage throughout their over 40 years together. Almost every Friday night they went on a date as if they were still newlyweds and they held hands everywhere they went. Kaye also loved to spend as much time as she could with her six children and 11 grandchildren. She loved reading with them, teaching them, playing games and attending their activities and performances.

Kaye loved music. She loved to dance and she loved to play the piano. She even taught piano lessons for many years in her home. It’s no wonder that so many of her children and grandchildren sing, dance and play various instruments.

Kaye’s testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ was her most valued possession. A true scriptorian, Kaye spent hours searching and studying the scriptures and the writings of Prophets and Apostles. Her thirst for knowledge was unquenchable and she shared all she learned with her children and grandchildren. Kaye served faithfully in many Church callings throughout her life. To Kaye, it wasn’t where you served but how and she was an example to all in that way. Kaye never broadcasted or boasted about the service she was giving. She just quietly went about doing good, ward after ward, home after home, person after person, one by one. Kaye attended the Temple faithfully and always brought the peace and comfort of the Temple into her own home.

Kaye spent countless hours working on her family history and loved sharing stories of her ancestors. She loved having family over to show charts and pictures and talk about their lives. She was also active in the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers program with her mom for many years. She was always so proud of her heritage and enjoyed sharing her patriotism for this Country and land which she adored.

Kaye will always be remembered for her contagious laugh, her ability to forgive, her unconditional love for everyone she knew, her missionary spirit, her sacrifice of time and talents for good, and for her love of the Lord. All who knew Kaye will greatly miss her.

Kaye is survived by her husband Michael, her mom, Phoebe LaRae Isaac, her brothers Robert and Terry Ficklin (LeAnn), her sister Karla Wallentine (Scott), her six children, Jenifer Shearer (Rohan), Rebecca Halliday, Bob Halliday (Carin), Trent Halliday (Whitnie), Scott Halliday and Steven Halliday, and her 11 grandchildren, Maddy, Joey, Elise, Gage, Mason, Brynn, Lea, Halli, Pagelynn, Emma and Makenlie.

We can only imagine the wonderful reunion as she was welcomed home by her many loved ones including her dad Freddie and her brother Randy.

In lieu of flowers or gifts, donations are being accepted. Please visit kayehalliday.blogspot.com for more information.