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.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Webs of Sin

by Patricia A Pitterle

The spider web
stretched between the front posts of the house,
almost invisible
in the shadow of the porch.
I, with my mind on other things,
took the shortcut to the door
and walked right through the middle
of the sticky threads.
They clung around my legs
and during my hurry to brush them off
I neglected to see the spider
still holding on,
and felt the sharp sting of it's bite
upon my arm.

Often, I have found
when trying to take shortcuts
in my life,
that Lucifer's webs
also lie somewhere in the shadows.
Invisible at times
to my heart and mind,
but still very, very real.
When I become entangled
in their stickiness,
they too,
are hard to remove
and in the process
I feel the sting and bite of Satan's touch.
How grateful I am that the Master's hand,
greater by far than teh healing
of our earthly physicians,
can cleanse the wound and ease the pain
and I find myself whole
once again
through faith, repentance,
and the greatest gift of all,
His eternal love.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Rain Coat

Storms, in my Arizona home, are rare and wonderful events.  A couple of years ago, during a particularly bad thunderstorm, I took the day off and drove the girls to and from school.  I was watching all the children through the windows of my car as they walked on their way home.  I saw most of them with raincoats and umbrellas.  Some of them had their rain coats opened, some of them were dragging their coats behind them, and some of them had them tightly shut against the wet weather.
They knew the path to take.  It was traveled every day.  Some wondered along it, easily distracted by the novelty of a spring storm. They stopped to investigate anything that caught their interest.   Some of the children wondered and stomped through every mud puddle they could find, until they came forth from them filthy and covered with grime.  Some of the children walked around the puddles and never ventured into them.  Many of them just could not resist the temptation of getting just a "little bit" wet.  They would put the toe of their shoe into the puddle and swish it around a little.
Interesting isn't it?  To watch children and the things that they do.  They are ever a lesson in agency and accountability to me.  They made their choices about the mud that day and so do we.
We are just like all those children walking a path in the rain.  We can choose to walk into or out of the mud as we journey through life.  Some of us are easily distracted from the path.  We wonder around and try different things without ever finding those things that matter most.  We lose our way in the mists of darkness and sin.  We choose to venture off the path that leads to eternal life and choose the one that leads to the large and spacious building instead.
Some of us will try the "little things" and just put our toes in, never understanding why we feel unclean from that point on.  Mud can be so hard to get off of us, and so is sin.
Some may stomp through the mud of this life and cover themselves in it.  They only want to have fun right this minute.  They never understand that their loving Heavenly Father has so much more in store for them if they would just repent and follow Him.
Some dawdle along, sure that there will be tomorrows enough to live their life righteously.  They can choose to do what they want now, and repent tomorrow.  Many of them learn to their sad dismay that tomorrow seldom comes in quite the way we thought it would.
Some of us wear our "Whole Armor of God" like the children wear their rain coats.  We wrap it tightly around us and allow it to be a shield and a protection to us.  We chose to avoid the temptations and sin of the world, knowing that even a small taste can have serious consequences for our spirits.
All of life is filled with choices.  It is up to us to choose the path that we would travel.  We may not be able to choose the obstacles we face, but we can choose our destination and keep walking toward our goal.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Cool, Clear, Water

Oh how I love a family day trip!  Especially when it involves food and fun and water!

We had to start the day with a road trip, and then a picnic!  There is just something about eating all the food outside that makes it taste, well, better!

The girls were so excited to be here, that they called a family truce and decided to have a day where they all got along!  It was amazing!

We found a great place along the creek, where the water started out shallow and just kept getting deeper.

And colder!

And just so much more, well, fun!

Until they were all swimming like a bunch of little fishes!

Well, almost everyone.  The others were enjoying the peace and quiet that comes from a wonderful day in the woods by a peaceful stream.  I suppose, you can't wish for more than that.

Water, it is such an amazing thing to experience.  It gives us pleasure, enjoyment, satisfaction and life.  I am sure that it was no accident that the Savior is referred to as "living water".
In John 4:14, the Savior taught that “whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”
The Gospel of Jesus Christ heals broken hearts, brings meaning into lives, binds loved ones together forever, and brings great joy.
The faith of our fathers is full of hope and joy.  It is a gospel that gives us wings to fly.
As we learn to embrace the Gospel more fully, we are filled with wonder and love.  Our Savior proclaimed, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”   John 10:10
He wants us to have abundance!  He wants us to be happy!  He wants us to be a joyful people!

The abundant life is a spiritual life. It is a life where we recognize the blessings that we are given and where we are willing to feast at His table and drink from His living waters.
Believe with all your hearts that He loves you, that He is mindful of you, that He wants you to return to Him.  All is not lost.  No matter what has happened in your life, the waters are there for you to immerse yourself in.  They are pure and clean and refreshing.
May each one of us drink deeply and often from the living waters of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Our True Identity

Remember who you are.  Remember where you came from.  And remember who you want to be.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Upon This Rock

We were privileged to go to the beach last weekend.  The girls loved it.  One of our favorite parts of the beach was "The Rock".  This was a rather large rock up on the shore.  The younger girls would run out into the water and wait for the waves.  As the wave covered their feet, they would run as fast as they could onto the safety of the rock.  

Ready, Set, Go!

Hurry, hurry, hurry, it is going to get me!

Ohhhhh, Safe at last!

Isn't life just a little like this beach day?  We get tumbled about by the waves of our trials.  We sometimes get stuck in the sand.  We trip and we fall.  But we can be safe at last when we anchor ourselves on the Rock that is our Savior Jesus Christ.  

Psalm 40:1, 2
  • I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.
  •  He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.
There is an old Christian hymn that says it so well.  

"My Hope is Built on Nothing Less"
by Edward Mote, 1797-1874
1. My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus' name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

2. When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

3. His oath, His covenant, and blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When every earthly prop gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

4. When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found,
Clothed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne!
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Attitude! Oh My!

"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude to me is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than success, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, gift, or skill. It will make or break a company...a church...a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past...we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our attitudes. "
~ Charles Swindoll

Isn’t that a great quote! Life is all about choices. We may not be able to choose what happens to us, but we always have the choice in how we react to that action. I am trying to be better at choosing a good attitude in everything I do. It can be important in every aspect of life.
For instance, I teach primary. I have the 3-4 year olds and they are a handful. I could have said no, it certainly is not the most fun I have ever had, but, I did not say no. I said yes and I am teaching. The children like me, I like them. It has it's difficulties, but it also has it's rewards. These are some of the same children I had in nursery a couple of years ago and they still remember me. They are pretty great kids. I am actually enjoying it and them.
Just think, if you say no all the time, you have less of a chance of having those “oh, ah” type of moments. You know, the moments when every thing clicks inside you and you KNOW exactly what you need to be doing. I believe that Heavenly Father blesses us when we try our best. Even if we are not our own idea of what is best, he blesses us and teaches us to be better.

  What are you going to do?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Bumper Stickers

I was driving down the highway today, and I saw the bumper sticker on the car in front of me.  I am sure it probably has some political motivation to it (only because the other 25 sayings on the car were all political), but for today, I am going to talk about it by itself.
The bumper sticker said, "Who Would Jesus Torture".

Just think about that for a moment.  I did, and I like to think that I learned from it too.  How many of us get angry?  I know that I do, sometimes even more than I would like to admit.  I don't get very angry with the kids, or my husband usually.  Where I get angry is with other people.  Those amazing strangers that I see out in public places.  The way they behave in the store, the way they drive or cut me off, the way they act in public, the way they yell at me in the Post Office. 
Sometimes, I just get angry at the unfairness of it all. 
One of the activities that I sometimes endulge in is the "what if" activity.  I like to imagine what would happen if they actually got what they deserve.  What if the ceiling fell on the person who yelled at me, what if that speeder got in a wreck, what if the store manager kicked them out of the store for bad behavior.  Oh yeah, "what if's" are such a nice dream sometimes.  But then I thought about the bumper sticker, and I wondered if my "what if"s" aren't a way of imagining torture for someone else. 

I wondered if the Savior would want those things to happen to any of His children.  I wondered if perhaps, He knows why they behave that way.  He knows the pain within and without that they are going through.  He knows about their bad day, or week, or even year.  He knows who died, who is hurting who and who is so depressed that they don't want to be here any longer.  He knows all the hurts, pain and sorrow that those poor, unfortunate ones are living with now. 
I began to see that my "what if" game was really not living like the Savior would have me live.  It is not teaching me to be kind, patient, loving and compassionate.  It is feeding the anger within my heart that I am supposed to be repenting of.  It is helping me to behave worse than my potenial would suggest.
So, my challenge to you today is not to play the "what if" game.  I have discovered that I need to be like the Savior inside my heart as well as outside in my behavior.  Only then, can I start to see others as He already knows them to be. 

May we never forget the bumper sticker,
"Who would Jesus torture?"
And may we never be either and active, or an inactive part of another's pain and despair.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sedona - A little bit of Heaven

Sometimes, we all need to have a little fun.  I am going to sneak in a few pictures of a recent family fun outing that we have had.
We have a friend of ours with us for a month.  Her name is Laura.  She lived with us for a year as a foreign exchange student.  We enjoyed our time with her so much, that she came back to visit us this summer.  We decided, because she won't get to visit us very often, that we would go to some of her favorite places.  The first place she wanted to go was Sedona, Arizona.

Now, in case you have never been there, the rocks really are red.  Most of the time, they even look more red than this!

They can also be white, and black, and brown, and just beautiful!

This formation is called Madonna and child.  It is next to the Chapel on the rock and is one of my favorite places to see.  Can't you just imagine Mary holding her infant child?

One of my favorite parts of Sedona, is how the vegetation grows nearly everywhere.  It grows in sand, in dirt, and if you look closely enough, you will see that it puts down roots even through solid rock.

It surprises you with it's simple tenacity to endure.  With it's ability to acclimate to the harsh, high-desert conditions.  There is no running water next to these green areas.  They get their moisture from the rock and the rain (which doesn't fall nearly often enough!)

I love the way that the plants and animals adapt to life in this beautiful place, providing a beauty all their own.

When I think about Sedona, I think about the ability to bloom where ever I might be planted.  To take whatever I am given and make it beautiful.  To endure my trials with faith, strength and willingness.  To give my Heavenly Father something of myself that only He can make beautiful.
May we each remember to be just a little like one of my favorite pieces of Heaven on Earth, Sedona.

And may we also strive to have just a little bit of fun on our journey!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Devastation from Within

Until I moved to my mountain home, I had never heard of a bark beetle.  The bark beetle is not very big.  It is only about 1/8th of an inch long or about the size of a single match head.  The beetles attack trees by boring through the bark and laying eggs. When the eggs hatch,the larvae feed on the soft inner bark. Also, the beetles introduce a “blue-stain” fungus that spreads and clogs the water conducting tissues in the inner tree and hastens the death. Once the insects mature, they leave the infested tree and travel to a new one. Usually, they travel only a short distance, but they are capable of moving up to ½ mile or more.

Normally, the insects only kill about 2% of the trees.  The sap in the adult pine and juniper trees will push the beetles out.  But, sadly, we have had several years of drought in our forests.  The loss of trees can be as high as 90% in some areas.  Especially on the south facing slopes.

If you take a close look, you can see all the gray, dead trees on the mountain.

This is what a bark beetle can do.

They are named "bark beetles" because they live and feed underneath the tree's bark. People often wonder how such a small insect can kill a tree. A single beetle alone cannot kill a tree. The key is the condition of the tree and number of beetles that attack it. While stressed trees are the most susceptible, even healthy trees can be overcome by a "mass attack" from many beetles. 

The adults bore through the bark, mate and lay their eggs. When the eggs hatch, the numerous larvae then begin feeding on the inner bark, girdling the tree. Additionally, as the adult beetles colonize the tree, they introduce a blue stain fungus that blocks the water conducting cells. This prevents water from getting to the tree crown. As a result, the foliage begins to fade from green to light green or yellow and finally changes to bright red as the needles die. Eventually the red color fades as the needles begin to fall off the tree and you are left with a colorless dead tree.

Such a tiny insect that has helped to cause the death of literally millions of trees in the Arizona and New Mexico areas. One simple, little, uncontrolled insect.

Sin is like that insect. No one starts sinning by committing the most "major" infractions. You don't go from total righteousness to adultery in one simple step. You start by doing one small thing at a time. You might decide you are not happy at church. You might quit serving. You might start wearing revealing clothes, reading women's magazines, watching R rated movies. You will begin to justify your descent. You will find reasons to continue with your activities. You may never quite reach the "major" sin, but you will be lost along the way with all of the little ones that are making your spirit unhealthy. All the "little" sins that are girdling your tree. The ones that keep you from feeling your Heavenly Father's love. Remember that the most important part of "standing strong" is not letting Satan have his hold over any part of your life. You can't fall unless you let him in. The devil never "makes" you do anything. You give away your agency through the choices you make. You choose to invite him under your bark. You choose to let him block the spirit from your life. You choose to listen to him whisper, "you are not good enough. You have made so many mistakes that you can never go back. He doesn't love you anymore. You are so filthy that no one can love you."

"All the water in the world, however hard it tries, can never sink the smallest ship unless it gets inside.
all the evil in the world, the blackest kind of sin, can never hurt you one least bit unless you let it in."

Think for a moment, just who you are listening to. Think about what he really wants. Then ask yourself, just who are you going to believe? Are you going to listen to the one who wants to see you fail, whatever the cost? Or are you going to listen to the One who already suffered for your mistakes? Who knew what you would do? The One who made it possible for you to return home.

Again, the choice is yours. All you have to do is look around at the loss on my beautiful mountains to see the devastation that comes from letting something in. To see the cost of sin.

Look what happens when you let him in.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Road Show by Braden Bell

I am trying something a little different today.  I met someone through Mormon Mommy Blogs who is a new author.  He has recently published his first book (and need I say, that I fervently hope it is not his last!)  The book is titled "The Road Show" by Braden Bell, and you can find it Here on Amazon.  I received my copy a couple of weeks ago, and it took me awhile to get started on it.  I finally had the time yesterday and once I started, I could not put it down!

Yes, my picture is in the trailer for the book.  It was fun to take a few pictures and to be a very small part of this. The song is amazing.  Listen to the words and let them fill your heart.  The essence of this book, for me, is how real the Savior's love is in each of our lives.
I am not going to offer a normal book review here.  There are several available from many of the writers that I am grateful to know.  I am going to say, simply, that I am so awed and amazed at the love of the Savior for us, His children.
This book reminded me of that love.  It made me feel that love in my heart.  It reminded me that the atonement is not only to redeem us from our sins, but it is also to heal our hearts.  In this book, there are five main characters who are battling with different problems in their lives.  Each one of them is at a crossroads.  Alone, they cannot find their way.  The Lord knows this and touches their hearts during a common, extraordinary event.  A ward Road Show.
For those of you that have never participated in one, you can find out all about it through the pages of this short, emotionally-charged, novel.  You will laugh and cry as you recognize yourself in one (or even all) of the characters.  You will feel the pain and the joy as each one finds the Savior's redeeming love.
Each one of us, at times during our lives, feels unworthy of His wondrous love.  As I read this book, I could identify with each of these characters.  I might have had different hurts, or different sins, but I have stood in that same place where they are standing in the pages of this book.
I have felt the anguish and pain of loneliness, despair, and sin.
I have felt the redeeming joy of my Savior's love.
For me, this has become a treasured and wondrous journey.  I will be buying several copies to give as gifts to those I love.

Friday, July 9, 2010

May you be filled with His peace

Take My Life and Let It Be
words by Francis R. Havergal
music by Louis J Harold

Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands, and let them move at the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet, and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee.

Take my voice, and let me sing always, only, for my King.
Take my lips, and let them be filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect, and use every power as Thou shalt choose.

Take my will, and make it Thine; it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own; it shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour at Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for Thee.

Mary Ellen Edmunds recited this short poem in her talk about Peace Amidst the Suffering.  I love that talk. 
This week, I have been thinking a lot about peace.  I have been thinking of all that my Heavenly Father has given me.  Sometimes, I think that we expect to have peace all the time.  We expect to never suffer, to never feel pain, to always have joy.  We forget that the prophets have told us that there must be opposition in all things.  That includes life. 
How would we every recognize real joy if we have never felt real sorrow?  I have come to believe that whenever we are permitted to go through trials, the Lord immediately blesses us for our success and endurence.  Sometimes, it takes only a moment to see the blessing, and sometimes it takes months or even years.  I know, in spite of all that I have gone through, I am richly blessed. 
I know what His spirit feels like in my life, and I know that He cares for me.  I am the person that I am, largely because, of the pain that I have known.  The peace is in the acceptance and the willingness to say, "Nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt".  Perhaps we should work at saying "Nevertheless" a little more often and "It is not my fault" a little less. 

One of my new favorite stories that I have recently heard is the story of an Indian King who lived a long time ago.  He was a very rich man, but also one who was interested in learning.
The King became obsessed with finding the meaning of peace. He wondered what peace could be and how he could receive it. The greatest learned men in his kingdom were invited to answer the questions on peace. If they were successful, they would receive a valuable reward. Many tried but not one of them could explain how to find peace. At last, someone told the King that he should consult a wise man who lived just outside the Kingdom.  The King was told that the wise man was old and very wise.  He would be the only one that might be able to answer the question of peace. 
The King went to the Wise Man and asked his questions. Without a word, the old man went into the kitchen and brought out a grain of wheat for the King.
"In this you will find the answer to your question," the Wise Man said, as he humbly placed the grain of wheat in the palm of the King's hand.
Puzzled by the wheat, but unwilling to admit his ignorance, the King took the grain of wheat and returned to his palace. He locked the wheat in a tiny gold box and placed the box in his safe. Each morning after he woke from his rest, he would open the box and look at the grain of wheat to seek his answer, but could find nothing.
Several weeks later another Wise Man, passing through, stopped to meet the King.  The King invited him to solve the delimma of the grain of wheat that was so carefully hidden away.  The King explained how he had asked the his question of peace and other Wise Man gave him a grain of wheat instead.  The King than stated that, "I have been looking for an answer every morning but I have found nothing."
The Wise Man said: "Just as this grain represents nourishment for the body, peace represents nourishment for the soul. If you keep this grain locked up in a gold box it will eventually perish without multiplying or providing nourishment.  But, if it is brought out of the box and put into the elements - light, water, air, soil - it will flourish and multiply.  Soon you will have a whole field of wheat which will nourish not only you but also  many others.
This is the meaning of peace. It must nourish your soul and the souls of others.  Peace impacts not only yourself, but all those around you."

May your day be filled with His peace. 

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Meeting Family

The Fourth of July is not just a holiday at our house.  It is an event.  It involves getting up at all hours to serve the community, celebrating, eating, and just plain having fun.  This year was no different.  The three girls and Laura and I got up at 5:00AM and went to participate in this year's Carissa's Run.  The pictures on the website are the pics from last year, but it was fun and amazing anyway.  Miracle, Mikayla and Laura all jogged for the fun run of 2 miles.  Anya and I jogged and walked.  My knees do not think that jogging is such a good idea!  We had to walk fast though.  The run started at 6:10AM and I had to have Miracle over to the high school by 7:00AM.  She was asked to sing the National Anthem for the community flag raising.  She sang a solo with no music.  She did amazing!  (Even if I am slightly biased!)

Once we finished with the music, we all went to the annual Fourth of July Parade down the highway right through the middle of town.  The parade is always a lot of fun for the kids, although this year, they would not allow any water!  Boo Hoo!  Once we finished the festivities, we all walked over to the park and participated in a wonderful play day!

Simple pleasures on the slides!

Playing together in family fun.

Love and laughter.

Oh yeah, family, there is nothing quite like them!  They can be loud, noisy, happy, sad, mad, or just plain onery!  But I have to admit that I love them like crazy and miss them when they are gone.  We are never quite the same without everyone.  You wouldn't know it by looking at this picture, but we are still missing nine members of our immediate family, and several extended family members also. 

I think that eternity is a little like this day with my family.  We will be so excited to finally be together again.  We will welcome each other home, and we will share love and laughter and joy together.  That is what I love the most about this holiday.  It always brings family together again.  No matter where they have wondered, they want to come back home.

Graduation and Agency

Today I am featured over at Mormon Mommy Blogs
It is an article that I wrote just for them and it highlights a very important event in my own family.  I hope that you will take a few moments and read it.  Come back and let me know what you think. 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Beautiful Place

What do you do when you need to hear the still, small voice?

Sometimes, I just have this need inside of me to get away for awhile.  I always choose to go somewhere that I can feel peace.  Somewhere that I can seek out the spirit of my Heavenly Father.  Somewhere that reminds me of my perfect place.

On this day, it was a peaceful, beautiful, serene lake.  The woods were filled with birdsong, the water rippled lightly in the breeze, the day was warm and inviting.

I went where peace filled my soul and I could hear the still small voice. 

I love the scriptures in 1 Kings 19:11, 12 that says: 

And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake:

And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.

I use this scripture to remind myself that we live in a very noisy world.  It is hard for us to hear the sweet, simple voice of the Spirit in our lives.  If we do not take the time to find those peaceful moments that we need, how can we ever expect to hear the answers to our prayers?

And my new, almost favorite Old Testament verse is found in Psalms 34:4
I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.

I promise that if you will take the time, when you seek Him, you WILL find Him.  He is listening, He is waiting, He wants to hear from you.  He will deliver you from your fears.  My you find peace in your life and in His solace. 

I Know That My Savior Loves Me
by Tami Jeppson Creamer and Derena Bell

A long time ago in a beautiful place,
Children were gathered ’round Jesus.
He blessed and taught as they felt of His love.
Each saw the tears on His face.
The love that He felt for His little ones
I know He feels for me.
I did not touch Him or sit on His knee,
Yet, Jesus is real to me.

I know He lives!
I will follow faithfully.
My heart I give to Him.
I know that my Savior loves me.

Now I am here in a beautiful place,
Learning the teachings of Jesus.
Parents and teachers will help guide the way,
Lighting my path ev’ry day.
Wrapped in the arms of my Savior’s love,
I feel His gentle touch.
Living each day, I will follow His way,
Home to my Father above.

I know He lives!
I will follow faithfully.
My heart I give to Him.
I know that my Savior loves me.
Copyright © 2002 by Tami Jeppson Creamer and Derena Bell. All rights reserved. This song may be copied for incidental, noncommercial home or church use.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Always Remember Him

Many years ago, I learned to climb cliffs.  It started as a way to fight my own fear of heights.  I can't tell you how many times I would shakenly try and climb a cliff, only to slip and fall down the side of the mountain, usually leaving some of my own skin on the downward plunge.  One of the first principles of climbing that I ever learned was the principle of the belay.  As a beginning climber, I never attempted anything without first being "on belay".  This meant that I was safe.  That the climber who was holding the rope had me in his sights and was protecting me from any fall that I might take.  I grew to love climbing and still have a couple of pictures of myself in my bright pink, trademark, spandex.  (And no, I don't show those to ANYBODY!)

The following quotation has been used a few times by LDS authors and speakers over the last few years comparing the emotion of gratitude rock climber Alan Czenkusch felt towards the man who saved his life to the gratitude we should have towards the Savior who saved ours.

Climbing is a unique sport, presenting mental and physical stress that you learn to overcome by operating close to your limits. Sometimes your limits are higher than you realize. "Of course, you recognize your limits in climbing by falling off the rock," says Alan Czenkusch [leader of Whistepig Climbing School of Del Norte, Colorado]. "However, you're safe because you're on belay." The belay anchor system is the crux of climbing. It allows falls with impunity - almost. The person running the rope does so to protect the climber. There is a great responsibility and obligation to this concept and Czenkusch explains it solemnly. The belayer protects himself by the use of pitons and other devices which give him fail-safe redundant protection. When the belayer calls out to the climber below "On Belay" it means he is set up correctly and has assumed a serious duty and would even give up his own life to protect the climber. Such dedication should allow the person below to ascent with no fear of falling. The mutual trust which allows belaying is part of the camaraderie, the intimacy, the mystique of mountaineering. Belaying has brought Czenkusch his best and worst moments in climbing. Czenkusch once fell from a high precipice, yanking out three mechanical supports and pulling his belayer off a ledge. He was stopped upside down 10 feet from the ground when his spread-eagled belayer arrested the fall with the strength of his outstretched arms. "Don saved my life," says Czenkusch. "How do you respond to a guy like that? Give him a used climbing rope for a Christmas present? No, you remember him. You always remember him."
“The Vertical Wilderness," Private Practice, Nov. 1979, p. 21.

The Savior has always had you "on belay".  He is the one who has His arms outstretched and is saving you from your own sins and anguish.  He is the one who loves you so much more than you can possibly imagine.  He alread gave His life for you that you might have the opportunity to live forever with Him and our Father in Heaven.  How do you respond to a brother like that?  What are you doing to always remember Him?

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Happy Fourth of July!

“Liberty is the right to choose. Freedom is the result of the right choice.” - Anon

Sunday, July 4th, marks the 234th anniversary of America's independence from Great Britain. America's independence was declared on July 2nd by the Continental Congress and adopted on July 4th in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The first Independence Day celebration took place the following year on July 4, 1777. By the early 1800's the traditions of parades, picnics, barbecues and fireworks became the way to celebrate.

Did you know??????

  • The major objection to being ruled by Britain was taxation without representation. The colonists had no say in the decisions of English Parliament.
  • In May, 1776, after nearly a year of trying to resolve their differences with England, the colonies sent delegates to the Second Continental Congress. Finally, in June, admitting that their efforts were hopeless; a committee was formed to compose the formal Declaration of Independence. Headed by Thomas Jefferson, the committee also included John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Philip Livingston and Roger Sherman. On June 28, 1776, Thomas Jefferson presented the first draft of the declaration to Congress.
  • Only 2 people signed the Declaration on July 4, 1776. Most signed it in August of that year and the last one didn't sign it until 1781.
  • While the British were our adversary back then, the United Kingdom is our 6th leading trade partner today.
  • Ben Franklin had wanted the turkey to be the national animal, but was out voted by Adams and Jefferson who chose the bald eagle.
  • One US President was born on the 4th of July (Coolidge) and three died on that date (Adams, Jefferson and Monroe).
  • The names of the signers were withheld from public for more than 6 months because they could have been put to death for treason.
  • The first Independence Day celebration west of the Mississippi occurred at Independence Creek and was celebrated by Lewis and Clark in 1805.
  • There were 27 grievances listed against King George III in the Declaration of Independence.
  • There is no record as to why the colors of red, white and blue were chosen for the flag.
  • Thomas Jefferson, the primary author of the Declaration went on to serve as Governor of Virginia, Secretary of State, Vice President and President.

 “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and success of liberty.” John F. Kennedy

Friday, July 2, 2010

A Tribute to an Amazing Teacher

When I was young, we had a Young Woman's President called in our ward.  For anyone who might not know what that is, she is a woman who is in charge of all the teenage girls.  It is her job to help us, mold us, uplift us and teach us to be better than we imagined.  It is a pretty big responsibility and I am ashamed to say that I had to get much, much older before I could come to fully appreciate her dedication to us.
I met Sister Adams before she was given the opportunity to work with all the Young Women.  She lived in a house next door to my friends that I babysat for.  They had six children, and Sister Adam's was their grandmother.  She was very nice and would help me if I needed it.  I was surprised when she was called because, usually they called young, just married women, or women with kids that were our age.  She was the first "elderly" teacher that I ever had. 
Sister Adam's went into the calling with enthusiasm for each of us.  She would listen to our ideas for activities and try and encourage us to do things that were not too difficult for her.  Nevertheless, she approached every activity with energy and enthusiasm.  She took us shopping, taught us lessons, helped decorate for weddings, took us hiking and even went camping in the snow, in a tent, with a bunch of complaining and freezing 17 year old girls.  I think she should have earned some kind of medal for all that we put her through.
In spite of everything she did, there is one thing that really stands out to me when I look back and remember her.  There is one thing that has influenced every other part of my life.  That most simple and precious thing is simply that I knew she loved me.  My life as a teenager was very hard.  Along with my personal difficulties came the ones that most girls seem to be challenged by.  I only had one or two friends in school.  I felt alone and lonely.  I did not know how to make friends.  And most of all, I did not think that I was worth anything to anyone. 
Sister Adam's never cared what other people thought of me.  She gave me opportunities to grow and learn.  She helped my testimony to strengthen, and she kept loving me through all the heartache.
Today, I am amazed when I look back and remember her.  So, my thought for you today is not to think that you are too old or too weak or too frail to serve.  Our Heavenly Father knows exactly where we need to be.  We may not realize until many years later why He put us there.  My prayer is that we can each be a "Sister Adam's" to someone else.  That we can be willing and able to do the task that is asked of us.  Believe me when I say, You can make a difference!

I love the quote that says,
"To the world, you may only be one person, but to one person, you may just be the world!" 
You are amazing!