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.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Grandma's Wood

by Patricia Pitterle

Grandma's wood
is stacked on the side porch in even rows
one on top of the other.
They are covered with a roof
and surrounded on three sides
by sturdy walls.
The heavy work of putting the logs in place
is often done during the heat of summer.
Grandmother often tells me
how preparation can prevent
many a hardship from becoming a disaster.
She relies upon the wood
for the warmth that it provides
against the bitter cold that will surely come.
When the wind whistles through the trees,
and the snow finally falls upon the mountain
the logs remain dry and protected
from even the fiercest weather,
and Grandma remains
safe and secure in her winter home.

I too,
try to make preparations
against the winters of trial
that will surely come upon me in this life.
The work is often difficult
and must be done when the spiritual strength of summer
is yet upon me.
I must gather the wood of faith
to meet the hardships.
Collect Hope in a brighter tomorrow,
and surround my heart with Charity toward my brothers and sisters.
I must shelter and protect myself,
with the strength of testimony
so that I can withstand
the buffetings and fierceness
of Satan's winds and storms.
When the preparations are complete,
I remain safe and secure
in the true knowledge and love
of my Savior,
Jesus Christ.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Faith and Hope

We can have hope now because of what He did then.

The prophet Mormon understood difficulty in his own life.  He clearly taught us that faith and hope go hand in hand.  

Moroni 7:40-42
And again, my beloved brethren, I would speak unto you concerning hope. How is it that ye can attain unto faith, save ye shall have hope?

And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise.

Wherefore, if a man have faith he must needs have hope; for without faith there cannot be any hope. 

What is hope?  It is certainly much more than just wishful thinking.  Hope comes from faith in Jesus Christ. He has already overcome the world and has promised that He will wipe away our tears if we will only turn to Him and believe in Him and follow Him.
Hope comes as a result of faith. If we would build our hope, we must build our faith.
Faith in the Savior requires more than just belief.  It requires work.  Faith grows as we work to keep the commandments throughout our lives.  From the Bible Dictionary we read that “miracles do not produce faith but strong faith is developed by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ; in other words, faith comes by righteousness."

 Helaman 5:12
And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.

When you get to the end of all the light that you know and it's time to step into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing one of two things will happen: either you will be given something solid to stand on or you will be taught how to fly.
Edward Teller

Saturday, August 28, 2010

A Simple Moment

This Moment

A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from our lives.
A simple, special, extraordinary moment.
A moment that brings a smile to my lips, and joy to my heart.
A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Rise From the Ashes

I am posting over at Mormon Mommy Blogs today.  I hope you take the time to read and enjoy!
Rise From the Ashes

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Special Day

Once upon a time, there lived a young woman.  Most of the time, she felt more like the "old woman in the shoe".  She had six children, all teenagers or teenage want to be's.  She worked, she worked and she worked.  Three jobs most of the time just to support herself and her children.  Life was pretty hard, but they were happy. 
One day, she decided that she needed to do something for herself and so she started taking ASL.  For those who might not know what that is, it is simply American Sign Language.  She took the classes from the missionaries from the deaf branch.  It was fun, she met people, she went to the brach to church every once in awhile, and she felt like she was doing something positive in her life. 
One evening at class, the elders decided to do pantomime for different phrases and activites.  The young (or not so young) mother decided to do a tightrope walker.  So, she did.  As she was walking on her imaginary tightrope, she feel to the ground and caught herself using her wrists.  One of her arms immediately bent at the wrong angle.  She was embarassed, but did not want anyone to know that she was hurt, so she went back to her seat and sat down.  After five minutes or so, she hurt so much that it made her stomach upset and she went to get a drink and discretely observe the damage.  She realized that her arm was broken. 
Still not wanting to cause a problem, she went out to her manual transmition truck and drove herself to the hospital.  (You really do not want to know how this was accomplished!).  When the X-rays were done, the arm was set in a half cast and she had to call a friend to drive her home.  By this time, the arm was in agony and her other arm was starting to hurt also.  After five days, she had to go see a specialist to have the arm set in a cast.  She could not move her other arm and the doctor asked her why.  Upon hearing the story, he immediately sent her back to X-ray where it was discovered that she had not one, but two broken arms.  (Oh yeah, it gets even better than this!  Read on).
Now she was seriously depressed.  Her bishop decided she needed to do something constructive with her time instead of crying about it, so he sent her to a Single Adult Conference.  You should understand that she did not like these activites.  They were not usually fun.  People were not always nice.  And she was just find single, thank you very much!  Nevertheless, being an obedient sister (in most things), she did has her bishop asked and went to conference. 
The talks were good, the people were mostly nice, and she started to have a good time.  Now came the hard part.  A special dinner had been prepared for all the single adults.  Everyone was in line to serve themselves.  Here was this slightly battered mother trying to figure out how to hold a plate and scoop up the dinner with no hands available when right next to her appeared a kind hearted man who offered to help, got both his dinner and hers and led her to a seat.  They discovered that they had friends in common, places in common, and ideas in common. 
It was an eventful conference!  I must admit that I really hate saying that I met my husband at a Single's Conference, yet that is exactly where and how I met him.  He has always been and continues to be an amazing and loving man. 
Yesterday, was my anniversary.  It was the 16th year since my husband and I were married.  We have been through a lot during our years together, but he loves me in spite of myself.  I am truly blessed.  I have discovered that love (helped by a couple of broken arms, an adament bishop, and a loving Heavenly Father) can be found at the most inopportune moments when you are least expecting it.  I have learned to trust and treasure the blessings that I am given.  I have learned to be thankful for the trials, for it is when we overcome them that we find our greatest joys. 
My husband is truly an amazing man.  He cares for me, he teaches me, he cherishes me.  He accepts me just as I am, whatever my size and shape, and never acts like he sees less than perfection.  I am so thankful for the blessing of his love that surrounds me in every part of my life.

Happy Anniversary Honey!  You are amazing! 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Are You a Special Teacher?

I love this story.  I looked it up on Snopes.com and discovered that it is not true.  It was a fictional story to make a point of how important teachers are in the lives of their students.  It really doesn't matter to me that it is a work of fiction.  I love it anyway.  It inspires me to be just a little bit better when I get those children that drive me crazy.  (Literally, of course).  I hope that the message inspires you as much as it has inspired me.

Jean Thompson stood in front of her fifth-grade class on that first day of school in the Fall and told the children a lie.
Like most teachers, she looked at her pupils, saying she loved each of them the same, that she would treat them all alike.
But that was impossible for there in front of her, slumped in his third row seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard.
Mrs.Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed he didn't play well with the other children, that his clothes were unkempt and that he constantly needed a bath. And Teddy was unpleasant. It got to the point during the first few months that she would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X's and then highlighting the "F" at the top of the paper.
Because Teddy was a sullen little boy, no one else seemed to enjoy him either. At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child's records and delayed Teddy's until last. She opened his file, and found a surprise.

His first-grade teacher had written, and I quote, "Teddy is a bright, inquisitive child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners. He is a joy to be around."

His second-grade teacher had penned, "Teddy is an excellent student, well-liked by all his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle."

His third-grade teacher had noted, "Teddy continues to work hard but his mother's death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best but his father doesn't show much interest and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren't taken."

Teddy's fourth-grade teacher had commented, "Teddy is withdrawn and doesn't show much interest in school. He doesn't have many friends and often falls asleep in class. He is tardy and could become a more serious problem."

By now Mrs. Thompson realized the extent of the problem, but Christmas was coming fast. It was all she could do, with the school play and all, until the day before the holidays began and she was suddenly forced to focus again on Teddy Stoddard.
Her children brought her presents, all in beautiful ribbon and bright paper, except Teddy's, which was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper of a scissored grocery bag.
Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one-quarter full of cologne. She stifled the children's laughter as she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume behind her wrist.
Teddy Stoddard stayed behind after class just long enough to say, "Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my mom used to."
After the children left, she cried for at least an hour. On that very day, she quit teaching Reading, Writing, and Speaking. Instead, she began to teach Children. Jean Thompson paid very particular attention to one they all called "Teddy." As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. On the days when there would be an important test, Mrs. Thompson would remember that cologne.
By the end of the year he had become one of the highest achieving children in the class and, well, he had also somewhat become, the "pet" of that teacher who had once vowed to love all of her children exactly the same.

A year later, she found a note under her door from Teddy, telling her that of all the teachers he'd had in elementary school, she was his favorite.

Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still his favorite teacher of all time.

Four years later, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he'd stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would graduate from college with the highest of honors.
He assured Mrs. Thompson she was still his favorite teacher.

Four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor's degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still his favorite teacher but that now, his name was a little longer. The letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, M.D.

The story doesn't end there. For there was yet another letter that spring. Teddy said he'd met this girl and was to be married.
He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit in the pew usually reserved for the mother of the groom.

And on that special day, Jean Thompson wore that bracelet, the one with the rhinestones missing.
And on that special day, Jean Thompson smelled the way Teddy remembered his mother smelling on their last Christmas together.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sabbath Peace - When Saw We Thee?

Matthew 25:34-40 
“Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
“For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
“Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
“Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
“When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
“Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
May the words of one of my favorite hymns penetrate our very souls and find a place in our hearts:
Have I done any good in the world today? 
Have I helped anyone in need? 
Have I cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad? 
If not, I have failed indeed. 
Has anyone’s burden been lighter today 
Because I was willing to share? 
Have the sick and the weary been helped on their way? 
When they needed my help was I there?
We are surrounded by those who need our hands, our attention, our encouragement, our support and our love.  It doesn't matter if they are family members, friends, or strangers.  We are the Lord's hands here upon the earth.  We are His earthy angels.  
What have I done for someone today?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Simple Moment

This Moment

A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from our lives.
A simple, special, extraordinary moment.
A moment that brings a smile to my lips, and joy to my heart.
A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Running the race

We were able to go to Utah back in April for my Son-in-laws graduation.  The blossoms were in bloom all through the downtown Provo area.  The girls loved it and so did I!  It was for the last time, (although we didn't know it then) because the kids are starting off on a new adventure in Kansas.  While we were there, my sweet daughter Emily ran her very first half marathon.  

She has been training for this moment for months.  She has been running, exercising, biking and getting her body ready for the race.  She has had injuries and set backs.  Things that happened to her that would have made it easy for me to quit.  But she has persevered and kept training. 

This was her big day.  The moment that she had been waiting for.  The day was cloudy and cold.  It was April, yet it felt like snow.  None of that deterred Emily from her task.  She did her warm ups, and got ready for the race.  She ran side by side with her husband for the entire 13 mile journey.  Together, they ran down by the Utah lake and back through Provo. Together they mastered the hills and the valleys.  Together they got wet in the icy rain, but they kept running. 
Emily finished the race in just over two hours.  Much faster than I would have ever made it!  She wasn't first, she wasn't last, but she finished in the time that she had set for herself.  She did not stop.  She endured the journey and crossed over the finish line side by side with her husband Matthew, surrounded by the clapping and cheering of her loving family.



The gospel that is so much a part of us, is a way of life, not just on the Sabbath, but each and every day.  It is hard work.  It is not about taking the easy, comfortable road.  Living the gospel requires us to set aside those things which might endanger our relationship with our Heavenly Father and His son, Jesus Christ.  It requires us to make better choices.  It requires promises and commitments from us.  We may not always understand the "why" of the journey, but we need to be willing to do it anyway.  The gospel requires us to run patiently, up hill and down, through the rains of adversity and the snows of trials.  Most of all, it requires us to keep going no matter how hard the journey seems to be, and no matter how much we would like for the cup to be taken from us. 

In the race of life, we must remember that we are not running to win, we are striving to endure the journey with faith and courage.  We must remember that we are never alone.  Always, Someone Else is running at our side.  We have been promised, “I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up” (D&C 84:88).
If we would do the things that we need to do, we must keep our minds and hearts on the Savior.  We must remember that we are running His race, not our own. 
We each have to finish our own race, just like my dear, sweet Emily Jane. We have to keep moving onward.  He will build us, lift us, and magnify us on our journey.  We can call out encouragement to each other, but we need to keep walking, keep running, keep striving, keep serving and keep accepting new challenges.  He wants us to finish our journey well. He wants us to return back to Him.
With the Lord, nothing is impossible, The goal is not to win the race, but to run it in honor and dignity, in testimony and worthiness.  The goal is to keep moving forward. 

Luke 1:37  For with God, nothing shall be impossible.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My Office Door

My office is decorated from years of foreign exchange students.  They like to bring gifts.  Most of them have an oriental theme to them and we don't have any free walls at home, so I took them to work.  I love looking at the world map on my wall and all of the treasures from all around the world that I have on display.  This is one of my favorites.  It is on red silk and the picture does not even begin to do it justice.

I work at the Post Office.  I get so involved with work, that it is easy to forget to be where I need to be, when I need to be there.  Sometimes I forget to remember those that are most important to me.  Hence the office door.  Several years ago, I started to hang the kids pictures on my door.  It serves as a constant reminder of those things which are most important in my life. 
When I get involved in work, I look up from my desk and there are those sweet letters and pictures to help me remember why I am here and what I am doing.  The pictures were all done over the course of a couple of years.  They never fail to bring a smile to my lips and joy to my heart. 

I wonder why she drew me as a round circle????  Can you see the resemblance?

I love rainbows.  Those always remind me of my Heavenly Father and that His promises are sure.  They remind me that I have made covenants with Him and He will honor His side of the covenant as long as I honor mine.  They also remind me to take joy in the simple things that surround me. 

This is what happens when I leave Miracle in charge.  She gets a little carried away by the rules!  I think that the world we live in is full of distractions.  It is so easy to get caught up in doing the wrong thing.  The thing that is not important.  My office reminds me of the things that are most important of all.  May you also be surrounded by something that reminds you who you are and what you need to be doing.  And may we all go forth and be what we need to be. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I HATE Apples!

What do you do when one of your children decides they don't like something anymore?  Especially something so essential to the school lunch box as apples!  That is the delemma I found myself in earlier this week.  My daughter decided that she doesn't like apples anymore.  This is not a good thing when my refridgerator is full of them.  So, can you guess what I did?  I got out my old fashioned apple peeler, corer, and ring maker, and put it on the counter.  Three sets of eyes followed my every movement.  Than, I took an apple out of the fridge and proceeded to put it on the apparatus.  Immediately, Mikayla rushed to take over the task. 
And so we made apples a new treat.

We found a new way to enjoy an old snack.  Kayla peeled and cored and made apple rings from the first apple.  Oh yeah, it was fun!

Mikayla discovered that there is something good about nice and neat and sweet.  And it really seemed to make them taste so much better!  Remember all those apples that I mentioned were just sitting in my fridge?  They are gone now.  So, tonight I have to take the long trip to the store to buy a few (or a lot) more. 

There is something comforting in doing things the old fashioned (or might I say, FUN) way. 

I have found that life can be a little like Mikayla's feelings about apples.  Sometimes we seem to get stuck in a rut and we can't seem to remember why we loved what we were doing before.  I know that every once in awhile, I can't seem to remember why I love being a mom.  The whinning, crying, fighting, messes, arguing, fixing, breaking, wonderful things that seem to blind my eyes to the actual reality of the situation.  We get so used to seeing the same things every day, that we forget why we enjoyed them in the first place.  The rut gets bigger and we can't seem to see our way out. 
I have found that a little dose of fun can go a long way toward fixing most of the problems.  I think that is one of the reasons that Family Nights are so precious to us.  We learn to have fun together.  We play games, we listen, we learn, but most of all we laugh!  And I remember why I love my family so much.  Their endless supply of giggles and laughter give me the strength to carry on for another week.  A little laughter helps me look at things just a little bit differently. 
The apple is still an apple, but for some reason, it is so much more appetizing when it involves a little fun. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

First Day of School

So, school started last week and my three littlest children put their book bags together, got out their new clothes, and willing walked with their dad down to the bus stop at the end of our dirt road.

They were (and still are) so excited to exit the house, that for the first (and probably the last) time this year they leaped out of bed at 5:30 am, gathered round the couch for scriptures, ate breakfast, got dressed and were wiggling around to get out the door before the appointed time of 7:00am.
Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's off to school they go!

My sweet Miracle is in 8th grade this year and over at the High School.  They had to move all the Jr. High kids there this year until the construction is done.  Since Miracle is in 8th grade, she will not be going back to the Jr. High next year.  It is an interesting time for us dealing with High School with everything else.  I am so proud of her though.  She has just accepted what is and moved on.  She had me talk with all her teachers about the medical problem, but she acts as if all is well, and most of the time, she convinces me that it is.

Marvelous Mikayla is in 6th grade this year.  She is at the middle school and loving her new teacher.  She is so excited to learn and do well.  She loves Orchestra and works hard at the cello.  She is very good too!  She  watches out for her little sister at school and helps everyone.  She loves being back with her friends after the summer break.

Adorable Anya is finally out of grade school and into middle school.  She went into 4th grade this year and was so excited to go.  She works very hard to get good grades and all her teachers love her.  4th grade is a lot different than elementary school here.  Since 4th grade is at the middle school, the expectations are higher and it is not as much fun!  (That is what Anya tells me everyday).  My guess is that most of us would love to go back to the days when life was full of fun!

As school has started and my girls are busy with the changes that happen in the fall and winter,  I am reflecting on the changes that happen in each of our lives.  We (our family) have seen so many things happen this year.  We have seen miracles, and trials.  We have seen improvements and setbacks.
No matter how much we would like for things to stay in one place, they continue to change.  I have found (in my life at least) that when change happens, it helps if I can be a little bit cheerful about it.  It helps if I don't dwell on the problem as much as I dwell on the blessings that come from the overcoming of the problem.
Change is all around us, but whether it lifts you up, or tosses you down, largely depends on how you want to deal with it.  I get to decide how I am going to handle the changes in my life.  It doesn't mean that I don't cry once in awhile, or have a bad day.  What it does mean is that I try very hard not to have more than one or two of those days in a row.  Sometimes, the best time to smile is when you don't feel like it.  It doesn't change what is happening, but it changes the way I feel.  And, after all, if I am going to go through it anyway, I might as well get a little bit of joy out of it.
Through each of our lives, we must deal with change.  Some changes are as welcome as the spring warmth after the winter snows.  Some changes are not welcome at all.  Some changes are sudden and the world seems to stop while we learn to accept, some changes are subtle and quiet and happen almost without our awareness.
This is our one and only chance at mortal life.  The older  I get, the more I realize how quick and fleeting are the moments here.  The more my awareness shifts to the things which are most important of all.  May we cherish those who are in our hearts and homes and express our love for them in both word and deed.    May you realize, as I have done, that the most important thing is not the words that we speak, or the mistakes that we might have made.  The most important thing can be found in the actions that we share.  The kind, gentle touches, the squishy hugs, and the sweet, sticky kisses.
The most priceless thing of all to give, is simply your heartfelt love.    
When life hands you changes, are you ready?

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Last Day of Summer

Summer is almost a thing of the past.  We took our friend Laura to the airport so that she could fly home to Germany.  We had a wonderful visit and a month of memories.  We already miss her and can't wait for her to come back in another year or two. 

For our last, official day of summer, we drove down to the valley of the sun where the temperatures went over 110 degrees and the heat practically melted the pavement.  We stopped in, hot and tired, at Aunt Therese's house and said hello to her wonderful pool.  The kids practiced jumping and diving and swimming until the temperature went down to 90 degrees and we had to head back up the mountain.  They, of course, fell asleep immediately and slept nearly the whole way home.  For them, it was a very short three hour trip.

Miracle has had a tough month and it was so wonderful to see her splash and play for the day and just forget about everything going on.  She is such an amazing young lady who has taught me a lot about trust and faith and taking things in stride.
Anya had a wonderful time playing even if she can't swim.  I have failed to have that one very important thing taught to her.  Where we live, there are no pools and no place for her to learn.  The closest pool is 45 minutes away and I have not been able to organize my time to squish in the swimming lessons.  As you can see, she never lets anything stand in her way of playing in the water!  She is calm and cool and happy.  She literally just lets life float on by.  

Kayla took the time to put on goggles and swim underwater.  She loves doing that and is quite good at it.  For her the day consisted of a time to hold your nose and jump!  She never looks back.  She just keeps going forward and having fun.  Kayla is all about being busy and enthusiastic.

Most of all this day included plenty of opportunities to smile!

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
  1. To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
  2. A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
  3. A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
  4. A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
  5. A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
  6. A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
  7. A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
  8. A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
And so I have learned that in the midst of adversity there is still time to rejoice and laugh and play.  There is still time to be thankful and to praise.  There is time to serve and to be served.  Our Heavenly Father knows so much more than we do.  Who am I to say that trials should never happen.  I have learned that years from now, when I look back I will see His hand in every part of my life and the lesson that I will learn, will be worth it.  May we each set time aside in our busy lives to reflect with gratitude on our many, many blessings.  We all have them, sometimes we just have to be willing to be thankful before we can really see.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Simple Moment

This moment.

A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from our lives.
A simple, special, extraordinary moment.
A moment that brings a smile to my lips, and joy to my heart.
A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Garden

The Garden
by Patricia A Pitterle

Spring came
And the small, empty plot of ground
Lay waiting to be tilled and planted.
Our family
Planted row after row
Of garden vegetables
Hoping for a harvest in the fall.
We started off with much enthusiasm
And diligently tended
To the never ending tasks
Of watering and weeding.
As the season continued,
We slowly neglected our duties one by one,
And allowed the garden to become 
Unkempt and forgotten.
When the time for the harvest had come
We found, to our disappointment
That the only thing to grow throughout the weeds
Were radishes, too hot to eat.

Our lives are much like this tiny garden.
We come to earth, needing to be filled with good fruits.
We till and plant, row by row, the things of eternity.
The more care and nurturing
We give our budding testimonies,
The more abundantly they grow.
However, Satan too,
Has been busy sowing
The seeds of worldly weeds
Around our carefully cultivated seedlings.
If we neglect our duties
To our spiritual growth
We shall find the weeds of wickedness and evil
Growing up around us.
And we will surely reap disappointment
Because we did not continue with faith
And endure to the harvest.
By the fruits of our labors
shall He truly know us.

And so I often remember
The lesson of radishes and weeds.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Holiness to the Lord

This is one of my new favorite stories.  I hope that I can be this kind of a Steward to my Heavenly Father.  I think it is important to not that Brother Moyle wasn't any different from most of us.  He was a simple man who worked with his hands and gave his heart to the work.  He believed in what he was doing and he worked to make sure that he did it well.  That is the thing that is required of each of us.  To be whatever we can be.  To bloom where we are planted.  To give our hearts to our Savior.

"John R. Moyle lived in Alpine, Utah, about 22 miles as the crow flies to the Salt Lake Temple, where he was the chief superintendent of masonry during its construction. To make certain he was always at work by 8 o'clock, Brother Moyle would start walking about 2 a.m. on Monday mornings. He would finish his work week at 5 p.m. on Friday and then start the walk home, arriving there shortly before midnight. Each week he would repeat that schedule for the entire time he served on the construction of the temple.
"Once when he was home on the weekend, one of his cows bolted during milking and kicked Brother Moyle in the leg, shattering the bone just below the knee. With no better medical help than they had in such rural circumstances, his family and friends took a door off the hinges and strapped him onto that makeshift operating table. They then took the bucksaw they had been using to cut branches from a nearby tree and amputated his leg just a few inches below the knee. When against all medical likelihood the leg finally started to heal, Brother Moyle took a piece of wood and carved an artificial leg. First he walked in the house. Then he walked around the yard. Finally he ventured out about his property. When he felt he could stand the pain, he strapped on his leg, walked the 22 miles to the Salt Lake Temple, climbed the scaffolding, and with a chisel in his hand hammered out the declaration 'Holiness to the Lord.' "

These are the panes that were carved on the Salt Lake Temple

When I think of the sacrifice of men and woman like John Moyle, I am amazed.  I think of the love that they had for their Savior.  I know that I want to be like them. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Not Too Far From Here

It is so easy to lose track of those around us.  Our lives are much busier today than they used to be 50 or even 100 years ago.  It is a different kind of busy.  It is the kind that mean you have to go places, do things, take people somewhere, work, go to school functions, go to the store, go to church.  Sometimes I feel as if I spend most of my life simply, "going to". 
Occasionally, I miss knowing what is going on with those around me.  I miss seeing neighbors, friends, and adults who are polite and happy.  I get so caught up in what needs to be done right now.  The girls have piano, homework, chores, flute and chelo practice, after school activities and who knows what will be on the agenda tomorrow.  Sometimes, I get so caught up in what is going on in my own life, that I don't look outside of it as I ought to.  I don't open my eyes and look around for those that might need me. 
My one regret for living in this amazing, busy world, is that it makes it so much harder for us to realize those who need us.  We don't know our neighbors like the pioneers did.  We go to work, come home and we may never see those who live on our street who need the kindness and compassion that we can bring to them.  I recently read a blog about needing help and service and how hard it was to accept that in their life.  One of the commenters  wrote something that nearly broke my hear.  She said that she wished she lived around those who wanted to serve.  That when she needed someone to help, no one came.
So today, my plea is for each of us to take the time to remember, wherever you are, that someone needs you.  That you can be of help and service.  That you are appreciated and valued in so many ways.  Today, I want to share with you one of my favorite songs.  I heard it done by Hillary Weeks and it has become a song that I have taken to heart.  I hope that you do too.
May each of us remember that we are our brother's (and sister's) keeper.

Not Too Far From Here - Kim Boyce (By Faith)
Somebody's down to their last dime,
Somebody's running out of time,
Not too far from here

Somebody's got nowhere else to go
Somebody needs a little hope
Not too far from here
And I may not know their name
But I'm praying just the same
That You'll use me Lord to wipe away a tear
'Cause somebody's crying
Not too far from here

Somebody's troubled and confused
Somebody's got nothing left to lose
Not too far from here

Somebody's forgotten how to trust
Somebody's dying for love
Not too far from here

It may be a stranger's face
But I'm praying for Your grace
To move in me and take away the fear
'Cause somebody's hurting
Not too far from here

Help me, Lord, not to turn away from pain
Help me not to rest while those around me weep
Give me Your strength and compassion
When somebody finds the road of life too steep

Now, I'm letting down my guard
And I'm opening my heart
Help me speak your love to every needful ear
Someone is waiting
Not too far from here
Jesus is waiting
Not too far from here

“We live in perilous times when many believe we are not accountable to God and that we do not have personal responsibility or stewardship for ourselves or others. Many in the world are focused on self-gratification, put themselves first, and love pleasure more than they love righteousness. They do not believe they are their brother’s keeper. In the Church, however, we believe that these stewardships are a sacred trust.”

Quentin L. Cook, “Stewardship—a Sacred Trust,” Ensign, Nov. 2009, 91

Monday, August 9, 2010

A Little Place


I asked the Lord, "What shall I do?"
And my love flowed warm and free. 
Then He pointed me out a tiny spot 
And said, "Tend that for me." 
I quickly relied, "Oh no, not that. 
"Why no one would ever see. 
"No matter how well my work was done; 
"Not that little place for me." 
The word He spoke, It was not stern, 
He answered me tenderly; 
"Ah, little one, search that heart of thine. 
"Are you working for them or me? 
"Nazareth was a little place, and so was Galilee."

I sat in Sacrament meeting this past Sunday and listened to the speaker talk about serving and fulfilling callings.  I felt inspired to listen and learn from his teachings.  I think that I have been so guilty of this from time to time.  I want, need, and even like to be noticed.  I like when people remember me, talk to me, or notice if I am not there.  I love to sing and speak in church.  I love to teach and lead.  But, I also love my Heavenly Father too much to refuse a small, insignificant seeming calling.  I believe that He has given me everything, and who am I to try and tell Him how to teach me!  
Case in point.  A few years ago, my husband and I were called to teach the nursery.  I have no idea why I was called!  I have raised all my children past nursery age, I have held, rocked and changed more babies than many others, yet, my bishop called us to the nursery.  So, we accepted and went to church week after week, to this one small plot of ground way in the back from any body else.  
We rarely heard what was going on, since we were both in nursery, the Priesthood and Relief Society announcements were completely missed.  We were part of the Primary, but since we did not see any of the other teachers, we did not feel like we were part of anything.  We met and kept track of the parents of the children we were responsible for.  We served in that calling nearly two years.  
It was hard for me, yet the blessings have been amazing because of it.  My sweet husband has never been outgoing.  He is reserved and quiet.  He doesn't like teaching.  He doesn't like speaking.  For years, every bishop we had despaired of finding the right place for him to serve.  One where he would learn and grow.  In the nursery, the kids did not care how well he spoke, they just cared that he had arms to hold them and a lap to sit on.  He found that he could teach a five minute lesson.  (That was as long as I could get them to sit still).  He found that the children loved him, and did not judge him because of what he might have been.  After two years we were released.  I was immediately called into the Primary to teach the three year olds (those same sweet nursery children) and my husband now teaches the High Priests.  
Yes, that is right.  My sweet never talk or teach husband is now teaching (and might I say even enjoying) a class.  Heavenly Father knew just where he needed to be in order to prepare him for other things.  Some of my most earnest prayers have been answered with that one, small, seemingly insignificant nursery leader calling.  

So, the next time you are asked to do a job that you don't want to do, ask yourself these simple questions:
Who are you serving?
Why are you serving?

Hopefully you will find your answers.   

Matt 20:27-28
     And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:
     Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, 

     but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Is this what I really wanted???

Well, most of you know that I have been dieting like crazy and managing to lose some weight.  It is ALL about starvation, and no fast food!  Seriously, this is the hardest thing that I have ever done.  I am doing it for myself;  no one else has asked me to or even encouraged me too much in this endeavor.  As a matter of fact, when I make an observation to my husband, (you know the kind), like "does it look like I am losing weight yet?  He just looks at me over the tops of his glasses and simply says, "You look fine to me".

Seriously????  Fine????  Here I am, giving up all my favorite foods and I only look "fine"?

Weight loss can be so frustrating!  This is such a long process.  I have been doing it for just over two and a half months now.  I have lost 25 lbs, (that is FIVE bags of sugar I might add), but I still have so far to go.  I never thought that losing all that "baby fat" would be so difficult.  I am not sure what I thought actually.  I had so many excuses about why I wasn't losing any weight right now, that I failed to focus on what I could do in order to slowly lose the weight I wanted.  Instead of looking at short-term milestones, I focused so far in the future that I never had the strength to start at the beginning.  I think that I had decided I would lose weight after I was 90 (or 100) and certainly not until chocolate did not taste so good anymore.
Instead, here I am.  Middle aged, overweight, under-exercised, and well on my way to who knows how many diseases.  My knees creek, my belly bulges, and I have no muscles anywhere.  I am not sure what made me decide to do something about it.  I only know that I have several close friends who have recently lost several sizes and have managed to keep it off.  I finally allowed myself to be talked into doing it because I really want to succeed at this one area of my life.

From the very beginning, my husband has not wanted me to do this.  He likes the shape I am in, (round is a shape, right?).  He loves to cook and enjoys sharing his many culinary marvels with me.  I must admit that I have been way too spoiled!  He makes the best homemade bread and pasta dishes around.  And we are not even going to TALK about the cheesecake!  Now that I am on a serious diet, the only things he cooks that I can eat are grilled meats and vegetables.  The vegetables are not his favorite thing to make.

The same things that I love about him when I am fat, are the things that drive me crazy about him now!  He thinks I look fine just the way I am.  He thinks that I don't need to do this.  He thinks I should be happy with the body I have been blessed with and not keep wanting one that I haven't got.

When all is said and done though, I need to lose this weight for me, and that is probably what is making the difference.  I am not losing it for anyone else.  I have to stay focused in order to succeed, and most of all, I know that this crazy husband of mine will love me whatever the shape I am in!  (That includes the newer, skinnier model that I am working toward).

We should all have goals for ourselves.  Things we do for no one else.  Oh, don't get me wrong, others might benefit from them, but they should predominately be our dreams, our desires, our goals.   Success comes after we have made the decision to change.  It comes after the work, the sweat and the tears.  Success comes after the trial.  In my case, success comes after I give up the desserts.  It comes after I give up the food that I love.  For me, it comes after I change. 

Almost half-way there!!!!
five bags of sugar lighter than before!
"Unless you change how you are, you will always have what you've got".  Jim Rohn  
(And you might even have a little something extra!)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

After the Trial of Your Faith

Oh my, we have had a difficult year this past year.  We have had different illnesses, accidents, trauma, depression, finally culminating in a difficult illness for a child.  We have been privilaged to witness not just one, but several miracles.  I don't say that lightly, and I haven't written about this because it was personal.  I don't like to put too many personal things about others on my blog, but I would be ungrateful in the extreme if I did not document my blessings.
I think that one of the hardest things we are asked to do in this earth life is to trust.  We are asked to trust in Him.  To trust that He has our best interests at heart.  To trust enough to say, "Nevertheless, not my will but thine be done".  That simple word, "Nevertheless" can say so much!  As a mom and a grammy, I have wanted to shoulder those burdens myself.  I have wanted to take away the trial.  To keep those tender little ones (and even sometimes the bigger ones) from suffering.  The very hardest thing that I have ever done is to simply say "Nevertheless" and mean it. 
Our Heavenly Father, who can see the ending of the path as well as the fragile beginning, has asked us to Trust in Him.  To believe in His words, to keep His commandments, to follow Him.  And so, in my inept, wondering way, I try and follow as best I can.  I try and remember to trust in the fragile bond that holds us together.  I try and remember that families really are forever and a separation is only for a moment.  It is not really "good-bye", but more like, "I will see you soon".  We have had righteous priesthood holders gather around our sweet loved ones and annoint a head and offer a blessing.  Priesthood power is REAL!  It is amazing to have that witness of our Heavenly Father's love.  He did not leave us alone to fumble about as best we could.  I have certainly realized just how much of a blessing life can be and how very precious and fragile it is. I do know that Heavenly Father is watching over us and that we are always in His care. I am so thankful for the priesthood in my life and for the men that my boys have become. I am so thankful that they could stand in a circle and give a blessing.  I am thankful for their love and support of each other.  I know that we are always in God’s hands and that He does love us and bless us continually. May you always realize how very much you are loved!

After The Trial Of Your Faith
by Patricia A Pitterle

When life's burdens seem to surround you,
And worldly cares bring you down,
Let the Spirit enfold His love 'round you
Look up, keep your thoughts heaven bound.
For a wise and glorious purpose
You were born in this time and place.
Endure the trials of this moment
With faith, you will win the race.

Press on through your trials and heartaches
Ride past all life's bitter storms
For after the trial of your faith
Will come a new and glorious morn.

Steer through the wind and waves of trial
Hold your course, head for the light.
Let the Spirit be your beacon
Clasp the Iron Rod and choose the right.
Look ahead, after the darkness
Will shine the morning sun
You have received His promise
With the Lord, your victory is won!

Press on through your trials and heartaches
Ride past all life's bitter storms
For after the trial of your faith
Will come a new and glorious morn.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Modesty Freckle

I am posting today over at MMB.  Hope you enjoy it!  Mormon Mommy Blogs