Last summer I devoted many hours creating a table to be entered into the 10th International Art Competition sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I entered this competition the last time it was held three years ago with my Temple Chest. It was an amazing experience for me and I was eager to do it again. This year's theme is "Tell Me the Stories of Jesus". This is the name of an old Primary song that our children have sung for many years. I gathered my family members' favorite stories of Jesus and tried to incorporate those stories in the design. I also asked family to help me with ideas of other aspects of the design. My husband, Michael suggested that the legs could represent the four standard works of our church: Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants/Pearl of Great Price. I thought that was a brilliant idea as that is where the stories of Jesus come from. My daughter, Gloriana and I designed the top of the table incorporating everyone's favorite story, and I designed the legs and burned and painted the table. In the making of this table, I received frequent and burning moments of inspiration as to how to proceed. I felt Jesus's spirit with me so strongly that I could actually tangibly feel his presence in the room with me, and members of the family could, too. I was especially touched with the olive branch and olive press design that my son, Murphy suggested. The olive branch symbolizes many things: peace, forgiveness, gladness, and joy. The olive press is a tool used to make olive oil and it is quite a violent process to glean the oil. Gethsemane has been called the Olive Press in that Christ suffered and bled from every pore to atone for our sins. In a talk by Truman Madsen he said, "Jesus is the veritable tree and olive beaten for the light, and that there flows from Him unto this whole earth, and beyond the redemptive power of healing and soothing and ministering to the needy." The olive branch motif that is surrounding the top of the table was a particularly inspired design.
I was so pleased with the outcome of the table and I couldn't wait to enter it into the competition. I have been notified that I have passed the first round of judging from photographs and so my kids in Utah took the table itself to the museum for the second round. I should be hearing any day, so it is a very exciting time. But whatever the outcome, I will never forget the closeness I felt to my Savior as I created a table dedicated to Him. Here are some photos taken by my talented daughter Jylare.