This post may be a bit late, but here it is, nonetheless.
There is a woman who I have had the privilege of knowing for the last 4 years or so of my life. She has been an example of kindness, goodness, love, caring, charity, service, and a disciple of Christ. This woman and her husband took me in for 6 weeks while I anxiously waited for my mission call. While I was living there, I got to see the every day living of this phenomenal wife, mother, grandmother, and friend. Alice showed me an example of how to live a Christ-centered life in a humble, every day way that didn't require flash or praise from anyone. She lived her life the way she did because of her testimony and desire to do what was right, not for the praise of others. I got hugs all the time from her, and I know that she was genuinely interested in the things we talked about, and our conversations were meaningful to me then, and precious to me now.
When I moved back to Utah after my mission, I got to see a completely new, and amazing side to Alice. Her true love was battling for his life, and she was (if it was possible) more dedicated to Joe. I saw every time I was over at their house her love, concern, and devotion to her eternal companion. In the midst of this, she still made sure that her kids and grandkids knew without fail that they were fiercely loved by this amazing woman.
After Joe passed on, I got to see yet another part of Alice. She showed strength, dignity, and faith that still inspires me. I feel blessed to have been able to witness the example of this woman.
Recently, Alice joined Joe to continue their eternal life together. I was able to go to her funeral, and to be uplifted by her children. I am inspired to be a better person because of the lessons, memories, and examples shared by her children and family. She lived her life humbly and would probably be upset at me for going on and on about her so much. Anyone who met her knows of her incredible capacity to immediately love. You never left the house without at least one big hug and an expression of love whispered in your ear. I have seen Alice live her life in a way that you KNOW, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that Alice knows and loves her Heavenly Father and her Savior, Jesus Christ, and was striving each day to become like Them. I am privileged to have a real life example of the believers.
Even now, I get to see the legacy Alice (and Joe) left in the Raynes children. I see love and concern and the genuine desire to do what is right and best for everyone. I am blessed to have my part in their lives.
Here is what they shared about their mom:
Alice Nielsen Raynes, age 63, passed away peacefully November 9, 2011, surrounded by her eternal family.
She was born March 31,1948, in Provo, Utah to Vernon C and Olive Nielsen; she was the oldest of eight children. Her childhood was happy and filled with love. She graduated from Granger High School; kind and fun, she was voted by her student body as the Lady Lancer.
While attending BYU, Alice met Joe, her Prince Charming—it was love at first sight. They married in the Salt Lake Temple on May 27, 1969. They have ten children, all redheads like their parents. Being a mother was central to Alice’s life. She was a constant example of Christ, especially evident in the nurturing of her family.
Life is all about choices, and Alice humbly made the right choices. Alice always chose kindness. If you have met Alice, you have felt the Savior’s love. She never said an unkind word about anyone. She loved others the way the Savior asked us to love—unconditionally and without reserve.
She chose to have ten children. They were born to a mother who cherished them and their differences, a mother who was constant in her love, guidance and example. All of her children know secretly that they are their mother's favorite. Her grandchildren also felt her never-ending love. She spent every moment she could with them, cuddling and "smell-kissing" them. Her home was always open and everyone felt welcomed and known by her. She was a mother to all.
Alice chose lifelong learning and had an amazing mind. She graduated from BYU with her Bachelor's Degree and used it every day in raising her children. She participated on the BYU Ballroom Dance Team, and could rumba and cha-cha like no other. She read voraciously, played and graciously won all trivia and word games. She was a master of the English and Spanish languages. She was an accomplished tailor and clothing designer. She sewed each of her daughters’ wedding dresses, each one custom made. She drafted designs for her homes, and Joe built them—for her.
Alice chose music as her talent and love. She played the piano, organ and cello with incredible aptitude and found great joy in music. As a teenager, she took organ lessons at Temple Square in the Assembly Hall. She instilled a love of music in her children, and was happiest when they were singing. She shared her talent by happily accompanying vocalists. There was always music playing in her head. Joe would often ask her what song was in her head and she would name the song and composer and hum him a few lines. Heaven will be richer because of her music.
Alice happily chose to serve; spending her days in constant service of others. She was a proud and faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. She magnified her every calling, serving as Relief Society President, temple worker, organist, and in a myriad of auxiliary positions at both the ward and stake level. She spent thirty years playing the organ weekly in the temple, offering peace through music.
Alice chose to follow Joe to the distant corners of the earth. Wherever he was, running water or no, Alice was by his side. When her eternal love and companion in life was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, Alice chose optimism and faith. She led her family with her example of turning to Christ and finding strength in Him.
She chose to be humble. She chose to be loving. She chose to be charitable. And her children watched and learned. They know where to turn for peace because they watched their mother find it in Christ.
We choose now to honor her legacy by being happy, ever-serving and faithful.
Alice Nielsen Raynes is preceded in death (by only 10 months) by her adoring husband Joseph Lincoln Raynes, and her parents, Vernon C and Olive Nielsen. She is survived by her ten children: Janelle (Nathan) Gerber, Michelle, Denise (Paul) Pitcher, Alison (Marshall) Smith, Melanee, Stefanie (Nate) Farnsworth, Jonathan (Daniela), Danielle (Bryan) Kennedy, Derrick (Alexa), David (Sydney), and 17 & 8/9 grandchildren. She is also survived by her siblings: Ruth (Tom) Rich, Chad (Karen) Nielsen, James (Giana) Nielsen, Kathleen Nielsen, John (Gayla) Nielsen, Lillian (Sterling) Clark, and Jocelyn (Michael) Goldberg.