When faced with life's challenges,
it is Important to Remember
that although Daniel was saved from the lions,
he was not saved from the Lion's Den.


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Bigotry

 
Oh, how appropriate this quote is today.  I try not to be political on my blog or in my postings.  I try and keep an open heart and mind toward others and their beliefs and values.  But, with everything going on today all over the United States, I feel the need to address this.  There are too many things going on that are hate related. 
Hate is always wrong.  I amazes me that we spend so much time judging others, that we forget that Heavenly Father has commanded us to love them.  I have a hard time with the things that have gone on in Virginia.  I have a harder time with the acceptance of the things that are currently happening in Oregon and even in Utah. 
Don't get me wrong, I believe in free speech, but I also believe that the right to swing my fist ends where you nose begins.  Why, in this day and age, do we find it necessary to hurt others?  I get that your beliefs are different from mine, I understand that our ancestors come from different places with different ways of looking at things, but that does not excuse unkindness or outright aggression.  It does not excuse the taking of another's life or freedoms because of beliefs. 
I do not like violence.  I do not advocate it in any way or for any reason.  I especially do not like the ugliness that is spreading across our country.  I have friends from all races, and from all denominations.  I have friends who are gay and straight.  I am well acquainted with many different ways of viewing things.  I am also very embarrassed that anyone could believe they are better than someone else because of our uniqueness. 
I am not black, but I have suffered prejudices in all its ugliness.
I am not gay, but I too have been judged because of things I do differently.
I am religious, but don't believe that my right to believe that way should interfere with your right to believe however you see fit. 
My thoughts are that we should spend more time looking for ways in which we are the same, and less time looking for ways in which we can judge each others differences.
In Utah and Oregon, there are people who are putting posters around schools against other races.  There are people who want to say they are superior to others.  It actually causes me physical pain to think that someone else's children see these things on a daily basis, and believe, even if for only a minute, that they might be right.  It makes me sick to my stomach that there is anyone who would cause injury and death to another because of differences in the way we look, or believe, or are.  
I am also an EMT, and have seen  that we all bleed red.  At the very heart, we are the same.  God created each of us in His image.  He does not only claim one people, one nationality, one group, one belief.  We are all His.  Maybe, it is about time we started acting like it.   

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Accidental Believers

 
I have found this one to be more true than I ever imagined.  Belief is a personal matter, but if you don't study and learn and grow, your beliefs will change.  If you don't have a personal testimony, there will come a time when it will be easier to not believe.  There will be times when others will sway you with their arguments or opinions. 
All my life, I have had a testimony that God loves me.  I can't even begin to explain why I felt so strongly about that.  Perhaps it is because of the fear I had as a child,  seeing a face in the window that terrified me and praying so hard for it to go away.  Feeling the comfort and knowledge that is was gone and I was safe.  It never seemed to matter what church I was going to either.  My testimony at that time was not built upon a church.  It was built upon a Savior.  It seemed to me that I could find Him anywhere if I looked hard enough. 
I think that might be why my testimony today is so strong.  It is because I have looked for Him and believed in Him no matter where I was or what I was doing.  When I searched for Him, I found others who taught me of His love.  When I needed Him, He was there.  He didn't take away the bad things in my life, but He was always there so that I did not walk the path alone. 
I have learned that I have to look for His influence in my life.  He does not shout out to me.  He does not appear beside me to save the day.  Mostly, He is just there.  Comforting my journey, lighting my way, reminding me that I am loved and needed and enough. 
The world would have us believe there is no Savior, that He is a great myth.  That there is no righteousness or unrighteousness.  That we don't need a God in our lives anymore.  I have even heard that we have outgrown our need for Him.  But I say, He is there waiting for you to hear the still small voice.  He is there to carry you forward when your footsteps falter with fatigue and weariness.  He is there to heal your heart and make you whole. 
We never outgrow our need for acceptance and love.  We never outgrow our need for understanding and peace.  We never could possibly outgrow our need for Him. 

Friday, June 30, 2017

Heartache


Sometimes, I get so caught up in the chaos that is my life, that I do not look for ways to serve others.  I forget, for a time, that serving others is really also something that makes me feel better about myself.  This week, there were a couple of friends who needed me, and I stopped what I was doing and went and served. 
I have found that service is rarely convenient.  It almost never comes at the right time in my life.  It is usually something I have to drop everything else for and just go and do.  It can be so much easier to just lay in bed and wallow in my exhaustion. 
Funny thing though, when I finally get up the courage to just do it, I find myself with more energy and more love and more compassion than I started out with.  I find myself wanting to help even more. 
One of the things we are doing in Primary this year is teaching the children to "dare to choose the right".  They are each challenged every week to dare another child to do something that is right and kind and good.  Then the next week they get to tell who they dared, what they asked them to do, and whether or not they did it.   They also get to put a gumball in a jar to show all the "good dares" that they have done. 
They seem to get really involved in it and some of the dares are simple, but some have actually been pretty complicated.  So, this week, going with that theme, I am going to dare you to serve someone else.  Help to ease their heartache.  Help them to bear their sorrows.  You can choose what you do.  It can be as simple as a phone call, or a visit.  You can make a dinner or a dessert, or even a loaf of bread.  
Whatever you decide to do, put a little bit of yourself into it.  I promise that as we seek to serve others, our own doubts and fears and even pain becomes a little bit easier to bear.  
Give it a try!  I dare you!   

Thursday, June 29, 2017

What I learned - Our Good Shepherd


Jesus Christ, our Good Shepherd, finds joy in seeing His diseased sheep progress toward healing.

"We get a glimpse into our Heavenly Father’s character as we recognize the immense compassion He has for sinners and appreciate the distinction He makes between sin and those who sin. This glimpse helps us have a more “correct [understanding of] his character, perfections, and attributes” and is foundational to exercising faith in Him and in His Son, Jesus Christ.
The Savior’s compassion in the face of our imperfections draws us toward Him and motivates us in our repeated struggles to repent and emulate Him. As we become more like Him, we learn to treat others as He does, regardless of any outward characteristic or behavior".

I loved this talk, especially since he used one of my favorite books and plays as an analogy.  He quoted from Les Miserables.  I especially liked how he compared sin to a disease, and how the Savior does not withdraw from disease even when it is terrible to look upon.  I loved how he reminds us that the Savior is a healer.  He truly has compassion for each one of us.  And in ways we don't understand, He know what we are going through and what we need. 
As children of God, we also need to learn to model His behavior in our own lives.  We need to reach out to those who are suffering and learn to love them in spite of what they have done.  We need to seek others out so that no one feels alone, or lonely or lost. 
I have a friend who is going through a very difficult time right now.  She does not feel as if anyone understands and she does not want to be a burden on others.  I too, have felt just that way, but there is joy in giving and joy in receiving.  Allow others to be blessed by helping you through the hard times.  Be there for them in their own difficulties.  As we seek to love one another and help one another we can become more like Him. 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Wordless Wednesday - Happy Girl

 
 
A single photo 

– no words –
 
capturing a moment from our lives.
A simple, special, extraordinary moment.

A moment
I want to pause, savor and remember.

A moment
that brings a smile to my lips, 
and joy to my heart.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

There is Room


I really love to listen to Elder Holland speak.  He reminds me of the person that I should be.  I do not like it when people judge me, and I also do not like it when I find myself judging others.  I used to look at people and judge myself by what I perceived them to be.  I have learned that is not a true estimation of me (or them).  I have found some amazing people who do not fit whatever standards that I set for myself.  It does not make them less or me more.  I should only ever judge myself against myself.  Who I want to be, against who I really am. 
I love this quote because there are so many people with questions.  I have questions.  I have always had questions.  It is just that, as I grow older, I am more willing to wait for the answers.  I guess I am looking forward to the next life when all the answers will be there for me to find.  
When I was younger, I wanted everything to be mapped out for me.  I wanted the answers to be written somewhere that I could read and find.  I thought that every single thing was in black and white.  There were no grey areas in life.  It was either wrong or right.  No in-between.  Now I know better.  There are so many shades of grey that I am surprised when I do find my own answers.  I am learning that it is perfectly OK to see things differently than anyone else.  It is fine not to be on the same page as long as we can reach across the distance and be tolerant and understanding.  
I am learning that kindness means a lot more than being right.  And that it can make all the difference in acceptance and love.  I have learned that we don't have to have all the answers to just love each other.  
None of us have all the answers, and every single one of us have questions about doctrine, gospel, scriptures, commandments and even trials and blessings.  Some peoples questions are more intense than others.  Some struggle to understand what is happening and why it is happening.  Some struggle with things that have changed.  Others struggle with the questions of why bad things happen to good people.  
I think the point of this is that the closer to God we become, the less we will need to know every answer.  Sometimes, it is OK to wait for a while and see what happens.  Sometimes answers come after we have our own experiences.  Sometimes answers come through prayers, or friendship, or reading the scriptures,  Sometimes, the answers may never seem to come.  
There are so many things I used to need answers to.  And some I have actually received.  Others I am still working on.  But the one thing I have learned is to not let the things I don't understand cause me to doubt the things that I know are true.   
There are things that I know as surely as I know the sun will rise and the night will come.  There are even more things that I don't know.  
So hold on and remember that someday, we will have the answers to everything we want to know.  The time will come when I suspect that we will look back and wonder how we ever doubted.  When we will see the hand of God through every moment of our lives.  When we will realize that He did not cause the bad and that he walked through it with us every step of the way.  
For me, I refuse to doubt my faith.  For me, church is for all of us imperfect sinners.  It is the place I go when I need to feel comfort and faith.  For me, there is room in that inn for each one of us.  

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Do we Complete or Compete

 
We live in a very competitive society.  I know that my work environment is competitive and sometimes, even my church environment is competitive also.  One thing that really has helped me, is to find things that I love about whatever I am doing.  When I manage to love my own life, it makes it easier not to be jealous about something that someone else has. 
I will use church as an example.  A few years ago, I was called to be in the young women's presidency.  I have never worked with the young women before and all three of my girls were there so I really loved it.  I went out of my way to do the job to the best of my ability and was so excited to be there.  I was there less than a year and was called back to the primary as a teacher.  I couldn't help but think I must have done something wrong. 
The young women's president assured me that she tried to keep me, but the primary needed me more.  Understand, I have been serving in primary for more years than I can count.  I was 14 when I was first called to teach.  I love the primary, but I really love doing something different once in awhile.  I also don't believe in turning down a calling, no matter how disappointed I might be, so back to primary I went. 
I ended up teaching autistic children, something I had never done before.  I also ended up filling in for other teachers when they did not show up.  I discovered that I had a talent for teaching a lesson with little preparation.  So many years of teaching have helped to make me, in some way, familiar with the lessons.  I tried to always be willing to do anything that was needed without complaining.  Then, in the summer of last year, I was called to be the primary chorister.  This is perhaps the only calling in Primary that I haven't had the privilege of doing.  I wasn't sure how it would go, or how qualified I would be.  I struggled to find my own place in the teaching and singing time.  Then I realized, that I did not have to be like any other chorister the kids have ever had.  I could be myself and teach them to love music. 
So, I am not competitive with anyone else for singing.  I do things my own way.  We have bells and egg shakers and scarves.  We have learned more songs this year than ever before.  I made leading batons for them to "help" me and learn new things.  I love this calling.  I love these kids.  In short, the more competitive I am not, the easier it is to find my own place.  The easier it becomes to make singing time and happy time for these children. 
I have made books with the songs in them for the teachers and enjoy involving them in the singing.  The children have really blossomed as we learn together that they are pretty much capable of learning anything, (and even singing it loudly!). 
I am learning that by completing others, it makes my own calling so much easier to do.  I love having this place of completeness in my life.    It has taken me a long time to get here, even if the only person I was competing against was often myself.  As I allow the support and encouragement of others to surround me, I recognize the miracle of harmony in my life.  I am learning that Heavenly Father really does know where I needed to be.  I am grateful that I allowed Him to lead the way.