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.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

Most people remember Memorial Day.  They spend time together as families.  They are picnicing, barbecueing, fishing, and enjoying each others company.  Most people even know and remember that Memorial Day is a day to honor the men and women who have served in our armed forces. Memorial Day is a day to honor those that have died in war, for those who have fought, and for those who are still fighting. Here is a little extra information about how Memorial Day got started.

The first Memorial Day was on May 30th, 1868. It was called "Decoration Day," and was created by civil war general, John Logan. Gen. John Logan wanted the day to help mend the relationship between the North and the South after the Civil War.  Remember that war was the one where brother killed brother and Father fought against son.  We needed to mend and repair the relationships if we were ever going to be United again. 
Why did he choose May 30th?  I was so inspired and impressed when I found the answer to that simple question.  General Logan chose May 30th for two reasons. The first because it was a day that no Civil war battles had been fought on, and second reason was because he thought that flowers would be in bloom all over The United States.  He thought that he would make it easier for people to be able to visit their dead and decorate the graves. 

Decoration Day (or Memorial Day as it later came to be known) was celebrated for over 100 years, but it wasn't until 1971 that it became an official holiday.

Memorial Day today, is a day that Americans pause to remember the sacrifices of all service members who gave their life in defense of this country throughout our history. They are truly the heroes of our past and have provided for our future. For us to set aside a day seems to be such a small commitment in comparison to the huge sacrifice they have made. It is only fitting that we honor the lives of those who fell and celebrate their sacrifices as well as their commitment.
For only we the people of this great country can assure that those who died did not die in vain. That through their sacrifice a nation was born, and stood before mankind as a shining example for all people of this world to honor and value.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
- John McCrae

Today, may we remember those who have served and those who are currently serving in the military.  Whether we agree or disagree with the war, these brave men and women go to battle often because they believe in freedom and liberty for all men, wherever they may live.  My heart goes out to all of those who have loved and lost someone in the Military.  May you know that they are not forgotten, that their service was not in vain, and that they are loved and appreciated yet today.  May our hearts be turned to our ancestors who fought valiently for freedom and for liberty.  May we remember them today with love and thanksgiving. 

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Do you have time?

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is about Naaman.  He was the captain of the hosts of Syria.  He was a great and an honorable man.  But he was also a leper.  During that time, lepers were considered outcasts and were not allowed to be with the people who were clean. 
Naaman's wife had a servant that was an Israelite.  She told Naaman's wife that if Naaman were with the prophet Elisha, he would be healed of leprosy.  After much negotiation, Naaman brought his horses and his chariots to Elisha's house.  I am sure that he thought he was an important man and that the prophet should stop everything he was doing and meet him.  However, Elisha sent his servant to Naaman. 
The servant told him to go and wash in the river Jordan seven times, and his flesh would return to him and he would be clean.  Naaman was very angry.  Not only had Elisha thought that he was important enough to see, but now he was being asked to wash in the Jordan river.  Naaman said:  "Are not the rivers of Damascus better than all the waters of Israel?  May I not wash in them, and be clean?"  So he turned and went away in a rage.
Naaman surely understood what the Lord wanted him to do.  But he did not want to do it.  He had a hard time believing that such a seemingly small thing would cure his disease.
Naaman's servants pled with him:  "If the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it?"  Faced with no choice accept to suffer and die from leprosy and to be an outcast all the rest of his life, Naaman traveled to Israel and washed himself seven times in the Jordan River according to the words of the prophet Elisha.  And after he did that small thing, he was completely healed.  (2 Kings 5:1-14)

Today, as in the times of Naaman, one may be great, honorable, wealthy, noble, and mighty, but still be spiritually lost.  In our homes, we have rooms for nearly anything.  We have a room to prepare food in, a room to dine in, rooms to sleep in, rooms to entertain company in, and even rooms to watch TV.  Yet so many of us are like like Naaman was, and in all we have, we can yet find no room for Jesus Christ.
In our busy lives, we have time to work, time to play, time to be with family, time to watch television, time to check our emails, time to make phone calls.  But do we make time, as Naaman eventually had to learn to do, to follow the council and teachings of the Prophets and apostles?  Do we make time in our very busy lives to welcome the Savior in? 

This week, let us remember to make a space for the Savior in our homes and our lives so that He can heal our hearts and even our homes.  Let us remember Him in all we do and allow Him to mold each one of us into the person that He needs us to be.  Let us remember the story of Naaman.   

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Do you diet?

So, I have mentioned once (or maybe twice), that I have been dieting.  I have been doing it for a total of three weeks and have lost ten pounds.  It is a hard struggle.  But there are some very important concepts that I am learning along the way. 
The first, is the importance of water.  This cool, refreshing beverage is essential to me in my desire to lose weight.  I have to drink 64 oz of water every day, whether I want to or not.  I have found that to be more of a struggle than nearly anything else that I am currently doing.  I thought it would be easy.  I thought that I was already drinking that much.  Well, I thought wrong and it continues to be an ongoing struggle. 
The second concept is that you do not have to be hungry to diet!  Yep, that is completely true.  No matter what type of diet you go on, you should not be hungry.  If you are hungry, you are going to eat the things that you shouldn't just so that you can feel full.  The problem for me is that I eat for other reasons than simply hunger.  I am learning how often and when and what I should be eating.
The third, and most important concept of all is simply that I have been eating all the wrong foods in the wrong amounts for nearly my entire life.  That can be just a little bit depressing.  But it can also be very eye opening.  I am hoping, as I learn more and more about what is healthy and what is not, that I will develop strategies to keep the weight off permanently. 

We live in a world of instant gratification.  If we want food, we drive through the window and pick it up.  There is no mess and no fuss.  We get whatever we want to, no matter how healthy or unhealthy it might be.  We drink Soda pop like it was water, even though it isn't.  We have turned aside from the things that are healthy to chase after the things that are "good". 
We live in a world where we can buy nearly anything we want on credit.  You can have it all now.  Never mind the payments or the paybacks.  You can order it and use your credit card and never, ever, want for anything.  We have forgotten that Christ is the bread and the water in our lives.  We are supposed to live by His words and teachings.  We are supposed to recognize the importance of His blood in our lives. 
We are, very simply, eating all the wrong things in this world.  We are pursuing those things which will not bring us lasting happiness. 
I have tried to diet before, but I have failed because I kept looking at it as something I had to do.  Not something that I wanted to do.  I looked at a diet like it was depriving me of my life.  Does that sound familiar? 

Don't we sometimes look at living the Gospel of Jesus Christ as something that prevents or keeps us from doing the things we want to do?  Don't we sometimes look at it as a "diet" from life, instead of as a way to live a fuller and more enjoyable life?  Don't we sometimes view obeying our religious beliefs as something that ties us down instead of as the one thing that really lifts us up? 
I have learned that the things that are most important in life today, will be the same things that are most important tomorrow.  Our Heavenly Father does not change His teachings or His principles.  Instead, He softens our hearts and teaches us how to improve our spiritual health.  He is there to guide us on our journey.  All we have to do is be willing to "diet" from the influences of the world, and follow Him. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Tank of Lobsters

Have you ever noticed the Lobsters in the grocery store?  They can usually be found (alive) in a tank over by the seafood.  They are all bunched together and seem to be getting along pretty well.  The next time you are in the store, look at the lobster tank.
Notice that it isn't very deep.  And notice how many lobsters are inside.
In the Chinese grocery store in Phoenix, there is not even a lid on the tank.
My girls love to look at the lobsters (actually, they love to look at fish in any store, as long as they are alive!).  You will find the lobsters all grouped together in the same area of the tank.  We were at the store once when one of the store clerks was filling the tank with new lobsters.  The girls hung back.  They were afraid that the lobsters would get out, chase them around the store, and pinch them.  The clerk had them come over and look at the tank.  He told them to notice that it wasn't very deep.  Then he showed them that one lobster was taller than the tank of water that held them all.  He then told them that as long as there are several lobsters in the tank, none of them would ever escape.  He took the time to show my little girls how, when one lobster starts climbing up the tank, the others cluster around and pull him right back into it.  It kind of gives a new meaning to the old phrase, "One for all, and all for one!"  If the tank gets low on the amount of lobsters inside it, than the lobsters might be successful in their escape attempt.  But when there is a group, they don't work together to get out.  Instead, they work together to keep each other in.

I have noticed that people can be a lot like lobsters in the tank.  There are times when, instead of lifting each other up, they are busy pulling each other down.  We can be so concerned with appearances, that we forget to be concerned for each other.  We can be so competitive about the silliest things.   Who has what calling, how many children you have had, or even how many times you went to the temple.  Sometimes it seems like I am judged on what others think is important.  And not so much on what really matters. 
I think the New Testament says it best:

Matthew 22:36-40
"Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 
This is the first and great commandment. 
And the second is like unto it:  Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets".
So, before you say what you think you want to say, or tell someone else what you think you want to tell.  Think about the lobsters in the tank and ask yourself what it is that you really want.  And remember that none of us can see into the heart of another.  We don't know what they are really like.  We don't know if they have truly repented.  We don't know their tears or their heartache, or their trials.  We only know what it is we think we see.     

Ask yourself, are you loving your neighbor as yourself?  Or are you too busy pulling the lobster back into the tank? 

Monday, May 24, 2010

Somebody is watching!

Just in case you think they are so busy that they are not looking!
They manage to see everything you do.  She watched Grandpa feed the chickens, so she had to go outside after he was done and feed the chickens too.  She stuffed grass through the chicken wire.  The chickens love Nora!

And Nora loves the chickens!

She watched Grandpa relax for his birthday.

She had to relax a little too!

And then, she had to walk a little bit in his shoes, just to make sure that they almost fit!

Seems to me like these sweet little ones are always watching and copying what we do.  Not what we say; not what we mean; but what we really do.  Perhaps we need to remember that they want to be just like the people they love the most.  Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, we all have an influence.  The question we need to be most concerned with is simply this; What type of influence do I want to have?   

Our beloved prophet, President Monson, has said:  "Perhaps your battle cry might well be the charge given by the Apostle Paul to his beloved Timothy: 'Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.'"  1Tim. 4:12
Then he went on to leave us with a code of conduct to help us in our journey today.  This code is given to guide our footsteps safely through mortality and to the celestial kingdom of our Heavenly Father. The code  conduct consists of  four parts:

• You have a heritage; honor it.

• You will meet temptation; withstand it.

• You know the truth; live it.

• You possess a testimony; share it."

And above all, remember that you are an example.  You are appreciated, needed, and loved.  Just as our sweet Nora watches all that we do, so do other children watch you.  May your choices lead them to the Savior and His love. 

The Little Chap Who Follows Me

A careful man I ought to be; A little fellow follows me;
I do not dare to go astray For fear he'll go the selfsame way.

I must not madly step aside, Where pleasure's paths are smooth and wide,
And join in wine's red revelry~ A little fellow follows me.

I cannot once escape his eyes; Whatever he sees me do he tries~
Like me, he says, he's going to be; The little chap who follows me.

He thinks that I am good and fine, Believes in every word of mine;
The base in me he must not see, The little chap who follows me.

I must remember as I go, through summer's sun and winter's snow,
I'm building for the years to be, A little fellow follows me.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Turning their hearts

We were so blessed this weekend to have our grand-daughter Nora, come stay with us.  Her mom and dad took a short trip and we were asked to watch her.  We weren't too sure how she would do, but the weekend was amazing.

  She was happy,

She was crazy!

And she needed a bath!  
Three, or even four, times a day!

This was Papa John's big birthday weekend, so we barbecued chicken, made homemade pizza, white chicken chili and (of course) cheesecake!  It was a wonderful weekend and I will be sorry to see it go.  There is nothing quite like babysitting your own grand-children to remind you of those things that are most precious of all.  This sweet little angel taught me how life goes on.  The things we do are important and everlasting.  And perhaps the most precious thing of all, is that all the love you could ever ask for can be found in squishy hugs and sticky kisses.  Or as Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz says, "There's no place like home!"

“Because love is the great commandment, it ought to be at the center of all and everything we do in our own family, in our Church callings, and in our livelihood. Love is the healing balm that repairs rifts in personal and family relationships. It is the bond that unites families, communities, and nations. Love is the power that initiates friendship, tolerance, civility, and respect. It is the source that overcomes divisiveness and hate. Love is the fire that warms our lives with unparalleled joy and divine hope. Love should be our walk and our talk.”
Dieter F. Uchtdorf,  "The Love of God,"  Ensign, Nov. 2009, 21

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Grandfather

There is an old story told about a Grandfather.  I am going to retell it to you today.

A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and a four-year old grandson. The old man's hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered. The family ate together nightly at the dinner table. But the elderly grandfather's shaky hands and failing sight made eating rather difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor. When he grasped the glass often milk spilled on the tablecloth. The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess. "We must do something about grandfather," said the son. I've had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor. So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner. There, grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner at the dinner table. Since grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl. Sometimes when the family glanced in grandfather's direction, he had a tear in his eye as he ate alone. Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food. The four-year-old watched it all in silence.

One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor. He asked the child sweetly, "What are you making?" Just as sweetly, the boy responded, "Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and mama to eat your food from when I grow up." The four-year-old smiled and went back to work. The words so struck the parents that they were speechless. Then tears started to stream down their cheeks. Though no word was spoken, both knew what must be done. That evening the husband took grandfather's hand and gently led him back to the family table.

For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with the family. And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled.

Children can be so perceptive!  Their eyes see everything you don't want them to, their ears hear everything you say (need I say the things that you don't want them to hear!), and their minds process those things that they see and hear until they absorb your teachings and influence in thir lives.  They learn best by watching what you do and say.  Which is why they often behave like you behave and not so much how you tell them to behave.  If they see us behave patiently and provide a happy atmosphere at home, they will also imitate that same attitude in their lives.  Isn't it amazing!  We have the power to teach them to become so much better than we are if we just take the time.  We can teach them to have the God given attributes that we are striving for if we will only work on implementing those things in our own lives.  

Let us all be wise builders and role models to these sweet little ones sent from above. Take care of yourself, and those you love,each and everyday!  Those we love are infinitely more precious than any possessions which we might acquire.  May we remember, everyday, to let them know how much they really mean to us.  May we remember, that someday rarely comes.  Today is the day to let our families know that we love and honor them.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

What do you "see"?

There is an old story told to children, that I love.  It is supposedly from India and written a long time ago.  It is the story about six or seven blind men (depending on the version you read).  I am going to tell you the story as I know it.  It is one of my favorite parables. 
Seven blind men lived along time ago in a small village up in the mountains of India.  They were all good friends and they spent their days discussing different things about the world they lived in.  One day, someone in the village mentioned seeing an elephant traveling on the outskirts of the huts.  All of the blind men immediately became animated.  You see, none of them had ever "seen" an elephant before, so they asked to be taken to the elephant to find out what it was. One touched the side, another the tusk, another the tail, another the leg, another the trunk, another the ears, and another the knee.  After their tour they got together to discuss what they had "seen."
Oh, an elephant is just like a wall, said the one who had touched it's side.  No, it is like a rope, said another who had touched the tail. The third man proclaimed them both wrong and told them that the mighty elephant was like a column holding up a roof.  (This was the man who touched the leg).  The forth man (who touched the trunk) stated, that it was just like a snake!  All wiggly and squirmy.  The fifth man had felt the large open ear and stated that an elephant was just like a fan. The sixth man touched the long curling, sharp tusk and declared that the elephant must be a mighty hunter because it was shaped exactly like a spear!  The seventh man fell against the wrinkled, gnarled knee and stated that the elephant was very like a tree. 
All seven of the blind men "saw" a part that was really there.  But with only their hands to guide them, they couldn't see the entire picture of what they were really looking at.  These men went back to their village and argued long into the night over what an elephant really looked like.  Each had his own opinion.  Each one knew that he was right.  And though they argued loud and long about it, and none of them were entirely right, still none could convince another that they were even partially wrong.  Each man could feel a part of the elephant, and believe that they have the whole of the elephant, however in reality they only have a part of it, and not one of them could have the whole elephant.
Since we can see an elephant clearly, we know what each of the men described.  We know that, even though they were each partially right, they were also completely wrong about what an elephant really looks like.
Our vision is more clear because we can see the whole picture.  Our knowledge is not based on a little part. 

We see each other much like the blind men saw the elephant.  We see one piece, one part, one moment.  I might see your church self, but not your mom self.  I might see your anger, but not your kindness.  You might see me in my Sunday best and compare yourself at your very worst.  But we cannot see the whole of each other.  It is hidden from our view.
The only one that can see the whole picture is our Heavenly Father.  He does not judge us with a partial knowledge, or with only a part of what is in us.  He judges us based on the entire picture.  What is inside and also what is outside.  He judges our intentions, our thoughts, our feelings, our past experiences, our present.  In short, He is the only one that can possibly have the entire picture.
Before we are tempted to judge another, maybe we should ask ourselves if we aren't behaving just a little like the blind men "seeing" and elephant.  Maybe, we should support each other a little more and judge each other (including ourselves) a little less.

I love the quote from Mother Teresa that says, "If you judge people, you have not time to love them."

In 1Samuel 16:7 we read, "But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward
appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart".

May each of us remember to judge a little less and love each other just a little bit more.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Enduring your labor!

First of all, I am posting today over at Mormon Mommy Blogs.  I even included my recipe for the easiest and best apple butter ever.  I hope you enjoy it.  http://mormonmommyblogs.blogspot.com/

Today is my son David's birthday.  I won't tell you how old he is, but I will tell you that he is happily married and has four wonderful children.  Two boys and two girls.  They are amazing.  I thought for my post today that I would tell you about my labor and his birth.  Not my usual writing, but it is important, and a miracle in itself. 
D.J. is my third child.  The other two before him were born early.  One at six weeks and one at four weeks.  No one expected me to be able to carry a baby to term.  When I was pregnant with D.J., we were very involved with the missionaries in the area.  I made them milk, (it was freeze-dried and we all liked it), took them places, hosted discussions in my home, let them use my washer and dryer and any number of other things you do to help young men who are away from home on their missions. 
I went into labor six weeks early, while I was at church.  I was pretty upset, because we knew this baby would be small.  My husband and the missionaries gathered with me in a vacant classroom and gave me a blessing.  One of the missionaries gave the blessing.  He blessed me with heath and strength and that I would be able to endure my labor.  I thought at the time that was interesting, but was glad that I would get through it.  Little did I know.
We went to the hospital where I was in labor.  They admitted me and decided to try and stop the labor.  They were actually successful, something they had not been able to do with the other children.  I was put on bed rest and sent home.  I had to go back to the hospital several times to have the labor stopped.  I had contractions continuously ranging from mild to hard. 
Finally, after four weeks, they did an ultrasound on the baby and said I could go ahead and deliver him.  They took me off of bedrest and off of the medications.  I kept having contractions, but now, they weren't doing anything.  I had never carried a baby to term before.  Finally, two weeks past his due date, the doctors decided to induce me before the baby got too big.  After being in labor for over eight weeks D.J. was born.
I truly learned the meaning of "enduring my labor".
To this day, we laugh about that.  The next three children were all born early.  I never carried one of them to term.  Only that one pregnancy at that one time with the blessing of a young missionary.  I know that Heavenly Father answered his prayer.  He didn't answer it in the way that I wanted, but he did answer it.  I know that there was a reason that I needed to be able to endure the labor.
In our lives, there are often answers to prayer that do not happen in quite the way we planned.  We think that we need one thing, and Heavenly Father sends us something else entirely.  Looking back, we can see that the gift we received was exactly the one we needed at the time.  But we won't recognize that until much later.  Today, I am thankful for the gift from my Father in Heaven.  I know that He is always mindful of us, His children.  He loves us and He wants us to be happy.  May you trust Him enough to let Him answer your prayers in just the way you need.

Oh, and by the way, Happy Birthday D.J.!  You are a joy and a blessing in my life.  And your were so worth waiting for.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Eagle and the Chicken

A fable is told about an eagle who thought he was a chicken. When the eagle was very small, he fell from the safety of his nest.  A chicken farmer found the eagle, brought him to the farm, and raised him in a chicken coop among his many chickens. The eagle grew up doing what chickens do, living like a chicken, and believing he was a chicken.  
A naturalist came to the chicken farm to see if what he had heard about an eagle acting like a chicken was really true.  He knew that an eagle is king of the sky.  He was surprised to see the eagle strutting around the chicken coop, pecking at the ground, and acting very much like a chicken.  The farmer explained to the naturalist that this bird was no longer an eagle.  He was now a chicken because he had been trained to be a chicken and he believed that he was a chicken.
The naturalist knew there was more to this great bird than his actions showed as he "pretended" to be a chicken.  He was born an eagle and had the heart of an eagle, and nothing could change that.  The man lifted the eagle onto the fence surrounding the chicken coop and said,  "Eagle, thou art an eagle.  Stretch forth thy wings and fly."  The eagle moved slightly, only to look at the man; then he glanced down at his home among the chickens in the chicken coop where he was comfortable.  He jumped off the fence and continued doing what chickens do.  The farmer was satisfied. "I told you it was a chicken," he said. 
The naturalist returned the next day and tried again to convince the farmer and the eagle that the eagle was born for something greater.  He took the eagle to the top of the farmhouse and spoke to him: "Eagle, thou art an eagle.  Thou dost belong to the sky and not to the earth.  Stretch forth thy wings and fly." The large bird looked at the man, then again down into the chicken coop.  He jumped from the man's arm onto the roof of the farmhouse. 
Knowing what eagles are really about, the naturalist asked the farmer to let him try one more time.  He would return the next day and prove that this bird was an eagle.  The farmer, convinced otherwise, said, "It is a chicken." 
The naturalist returned the next morning to the chicken farm and took the eagle and the farmer some distance away to the foot of a high mountain.  They could not see the farm nor the chicken coop from this new setting.  The man held the eagle on his arm and pointed high into the sky where the bright sun was beckoning above.  He spoke: "Eagle, thou art an eagle!  Thou dost belong to the sky and not to the earth.  Stretch forth thy wings and fly." This time the eagle stared skyward into the bright sun, straightened his large body, and stretched his massive wings.  His wings moved, slowly at first, then surely and powerfully.  With the mighty screech of an eagle, he flew. 
(In Walk Tall, You're A Daughter Of God, by Jamie Glenn, pp. 22-4.)

I love this story!  It has so many meanings to it.  But the one I want to focus on today is that our Heavenly Father is the naturalist.  He knows our potential and what we CAN become.  He knows that we are not and never have been, meant to be chickens.  If the opinion of others is the only one we listen to, than we will not ever reach our divine potential.  Have you ever noticed, that when you want to do something right, when you want to be your best, others seem to be right there to try and talk you out of it.  They would encourage you to stay right where you are.  To stay in the barnyard where it is safe.  To be just like everybody else. 

Long ago, the famous author Charles Dickens wrote of opportunities that wait. In his classic book entitled Great Expectations, Charles Dickens described a boy by the name of Philip Pirrip, (he was usually called, Pip). Pip was born in unusual and sad circumstances. He was an orphan.
He wanted so much more from his life.  He wished with all his heart that he were a scholar and a gentleman. Yet, no matter what he did, all of his ambitions and all of his hopes seemed doomed to failure.
Don't we each feel just a little like Pip some days?  Don't we each think about these things from time to time?  Don't we hope for something better as we go through our journey?

The story continues that one day a lawyer named Jaggers, from London,  approached Pip and told him that an someone unknown had left a fortune to him.  The lawyer put his arm around Pip's shoulder and said to him, “My boy, you have great expectations.”

We all have "great expectations"- not as a result of someone that we do not know, but rather, as a result of someone we know very well- our Heavenly Father.  Great things are expected of each one of us.
Life’s journey is not traveled on a pothole-free highway.  There are plenty of  obstacles and trials for each of us.  Our journey is instead, a pathway that is filled with changes and turnings.  We are forced to constantly make decisions.  To make them wisely, we must have to courage to become the eagles that the Lord  has ordained us to be.  We must have courage to climb, to fly, and to soar.  Sometimes, we need to have the courage to say, “No,” and sometimes we need the courage to say, “Yes.”
We choose whether we stay in the chicken coop, or whether we are willing to become all that the Lord would have us be.  It is our decisions that determine our destiny.

Monday, May 17, 2010

I might need to call for help!

I heard a talk yesterday that touched my heart and made me think.  The message was truly wonderful. I pondered it for most of the day and I wanted to share it with you. 
The story (in this case it happens to be true) was told by a man who was called to the ER to help do an emergency surgery on an older gentleman who needed a hip replacement.  The man was in a tremendous amount of pain and having a hard time with being moved for anything during the preparation for the surgery. 
The man required several people to lift him and place him on the gurney to go to the surgery room and he started yelling, "I need my cell phone, I need my cell phone, I NEED my cell phone!"  There were doctors and nurses and orderlies gathered around the gurney and they looked at each other with puzzlement on their faces.  This man was soon to be unconscious and would not even hear the phone ring!
Finally, the doctor took the gentleman's hand and said, "Sir, I don't think that you will need that today."  The man replied, "Yes I do, I might need to call for help!"

How many times are we like that older gentleman in our own lives.  There are people around us who know how to help and they even want to help us, they care about us, they want us to succeed, they are trying, to the best of their ability, to take away the pain or make it bearable.  And we, who are in the midst of adversity, can't see that they are there to help.  We can't see or understand that they might just be the answer to our prayers.  All we see and know is that we are hurting, that we feel so alone, that no one could possibly understand, and that life is perhaps even a little (or a lot) unfair. 
How many times do we turn away from the help that is offered because it doesn't meet with our expectations?  How many times do we cling to the past comforts just like this older man was clinging to his cell phone.  The cell phone was not going to be able to replace his hip, and let's face it, it was not going to be able to take away the pain either. 
So, what are you holding onto that you think makes you feel safe, but probably isn't what you need at all.  What are you clinging to that you need to let go of? 
Are the things that you are clinging to, leading you toward, or away from the Savior?  He knows what you need in your life.  He knows what you need right this moment.  He is holding your hand.  He will send you the help that you require to get you through, and most of all, you are never, ever alone. 
Remember, if you need to call for help, He doesn't require a cell phone. 

Where can I turn for peace? Where is my solace
When other sources cease to make me whole?
When with a wounded heart, anger, or malice,
I draw myself apart, Searching my soul? …
He answers privately, Reaches my reaching
In my Gethsemane, Savior and Friend.
Gentle the peace he finds for my beseeching.
Constant he is and kind, Love without end.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

When Necessary Use Words

“The peril of this century is spiritual apathy. As the body requires sunlight, good food, proper exercise, and rest, so the spirit of man requires the sunlight of the holy Spirit; proper exercise of the spiritual functions; avoiding of evils that affect spiritual health, which are more ravaging in their effects than typhoid fever, pneumonia, or other diseases that attack the body” (Gospel Ideals [1953], 360).

This has been an interesting week for me.  To start with, I began a real, honest to goodness, diet.  I must admit that it has been far from easy.  I fell OK, but I do miss some of my favorite things.  Ice Cream probably comes to mind the most.  I might not have eaten it all winter, but right now, it is a serious craving!  Perhaps I should start at the beginning in explaining this new resolve.  
I have been unhappy with my weight for a number of years.  I don't diet often, but did cut back on what I was eating and increased the exercise I was getting.  I have lost 40 lbs since I moved up into the mountains.  That was not a small feat, but it was relatively easy and painless.  Mostly, I just quit eating seconds and started buying small things instead of large or king-sized portions.  Kid portions work very well and still allowed me to feel like I was "normal".  However, time not being my best friend, I seem to have stopped losing weight and stayed right where I am currently for the past year.  I haven't gained any more weight, but I am not losing it either.  
Have you ever noticed how you can look in the mirror and be totally shocked about what you see?  I always feel like the real me is hidden somewhere inside the person that I have become.  When I imagine my spirit, it is not and never has been, "fat".  I finally decided that I am going to have to do something a little more concentrated that I have in the past if I want to lose this weight.  Once I get it off, I think I can keep it off and maintain.  It is the getting it off in the first place that is so difficult.  
I have a good friend who used to be about my weight and size.  She went on a dedicated diet a year ago.  She lost 55 lbs and now wears a size 4 in clothes.  I have known her before, during, and after her diet.  She did not talk about it at all until she had lost about 30 lbs and everyone started noticing.  It took her 5 months to lose all the weight and reach her goal.  She has kept it all off for the rest of the year.  I am really proud of her and I know that it is quite a victory.  
I was in the valley on business with her all week.  It is one of the reasons that I did not blog very much this past week.  (I don't have easy access to a computer or the internet when I am not home).  We were finishing up our Stamp destruction detail and counting all the remaining stock before taking it to destruction.  She talked to me about her diet and what she is doing to keep herself at her current weight.  Somehow, I ended up trying her food and her diet for the past week.  I have lost 5 lbs.  So, with a new found conviction, I have joined the ranks of dieters everywhere.  So far, I am not cheating.  Hopefully, I will be able to say that in a few weeks!  
I am blogging about it because, if there is one thing I have learned about myself, it is that I need to be accountable in order to be successful.  I need to feel as if someone will notice.  Maybe, someday in the not so distant future, I will do a before and after photo!  (Maybe not as I hate being in pictures!  I much prefer to be the one taking them!)
Now, what in the world does dieting have to do with the gospel?  
Sometimes, in our lives, we all stray away from the truth.  We add little things we learn and incorporate them into our habits and teachings.  We sometimes pick things up that we enjoy doing, but those things aren't good for our spirits.  For instance:  We might watch suggestive movies; we might enjoying reading suggestive books; we might spend too much time doing things the world values and not enough time doing what the Lord would have us do; or we might not treat our family quite the way we know we should.  There are so many more things, but I will start and stop with these four.  You can make your own list for the things that you might value that are not healthy for you.  
These things that we do, might not be as terrible as other things that we can think of. After all, it is not pornography, it is not R rated movies, it is not working in other countries and leaving our children with nannies, it is not like we are abusing our children or our spouses.  It is just that we are not doing some of the things as well as we could be doing them.  We are making choices that don't add to our progression here on this earth.  We are making choices that contribute to our spirits becoming unhealthy.  We are taking things into our spiritual bodies that we don't want or need to be there.  Sometimes, we need to go on a spiritual diet. 

President George Q. Cannon (1827–1901), a counselor in the First Presidency, had something to say about our recreation:
“The mania for recreations of various kinds which has seized upon many of the people is harmful in several ways. It unfits them for the regular duties of life. It renders them restless and impatient of proper restraint. It obstructs business. It tends to contract habits of dissipation. It throws our young folks into the company of persons whose society should be shunned. It cultivates worldliness. It conducts to many evils, and the spirit of purity, temperance, holiness and peace will not abide in resorts such as have been established for the purpose of enticing the Saints into folly. …
“We have no disposition to deprive either young or old of proper amusement. It is necessary to perfect health and rational enjoyment” (Gospel Truth, sel. Jerreld L. Newquist, 2 vols. [1957–74], 2:147).

 We need to focus on the things that are most important of all.  And the funny thing that I have learned, is that when you focus on what is most important, you find that the other stuff doesn't seem to matter quite as much as it used to.  May each of us reflect on what we need and strive to change our lives so that we can do those things that matter most of all.  

"Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words."  
St. Francis of Assisi

Friday, May 14, 2010

Along with the good...

Ohhh, what a week.  I told you all about the trip to the Gila Valley Temple last weekend, but I really did not tell you everything about it.  I am going to add to the story today.  One of the things that I have noticed about going to the temple is that if something can go wrong, it probably will.  Someone will fall, someone will cry, someone will need me, someone will argue and fight.  It just seems to be that way, and we do much better if we just expect the difficulties and deal with them. 
I have often wondered why that happens.  I have thought a lot about it throughout my life and have come to the realization that Satan does not want me to go to the Temple.  He would much rather that I stayed home.  He would much rather that I did not get the spiritual nourishment that I so desperately need in my life.  I have come to realize that he will do anything he can to "ruin" the experience for me. 
Our trip to the Gila Valley was no exception to this rule.  It started out hard.  We wanted our son Josh to go with us, but he did not want to go.  So, the rest of us went without him.  It was a four hour drive each way.  We went through the forest, the mountains, the canyon, and the desert.  We so a little of all the different regions in Arizona.  We listened to books on tape and talked about the temple.  We arrived there with no additional disappointments.  We were able to walk around the grounds, take pictures and take the girls inside.  We were able to go to dinner afterward. 
I brought my amazing new camera along for the ride.  We took several pictures at the temple and along the way home.  On our journey, we went through the Salt River Canyon, which has some pretty amazing views.   It is not quite as impressive as the Grand Canyon, but it comes pretty close in it's own way and has a lot of beauty.  We saw several cars that had gone off the windy road over the years.  It costs too much in time and money to tow them back up the steep sides of the canyon.  So, some of them are still down there.  The girls decided that they had to get out and look at the various stopping points to see if they could find any cars.  As they told me, "It is so sad!"
While they were looking for cars, I decided to go hiking down the canyon a little way.  The view were drawing me close to the edges of the cliffs in my hunt for the "perfect" picture.  I was hiking along toward a particularly inviting vista when I heard a distinct rattle.  Yep, you guessed it.  It was a three foot long black Arizona Timber Rattlesnake.  It was right by my leg.  I leaped into the air, screamed at the girls to run to the car, and kept backing away from the snake.  For some reason, he was very aggressive and kept coming toward me.  Finally, I threw caution to the winds, and ran up the hill to the car.  I did not get bit, but of course, my husband wanted to see the snake, and than he wanted me to go back down and take a picture.  This is one time I told him "NO".  Not that it did any good.

I will never understand the fascination that men have with snakes!  There was another woman with her husband, child and dog there.  She was with me every step of the way!  We were up on the ledge yelling at the boys to leave the snake alone.  My husband is there telling me how it can't strike farther away than it is long and all the boys were trying to get a picture.  I was waiting for the thing to fly and have men for dinner! 
Anyway, it was a rather traumatic end (for me) to a very great day.  But, you have to admit, that it was definitely an interesting way to try and ruin the day.  I am just thankful that the snake didn't manage to bite us.  Most of all, I am thankful that we went and felt the spirit that day and were able to share it with our children.  I suspect that I will have a few more dreams about black snakes and husbands before I am able to put that part of it completely behind me! 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Learning to Walk

Have you ever seen a child learning to walk?  They start out by holding on to everything.  They have to keep their hands on the walls, the furniture, their toys, and even their parents.  They will walk around the room, holding just one finger of your hand.  They are not completely holding on, but they are not quite ready to stand alone.  They keep working at it, and soon, they are toddling and than running down the hall.  Sometimes, especially when they are first learning, they fall.  They might get a few bumps or bruises, but they keep trying until they finally have it right.  Soon, they are walking much further and faster than you imagined they could.  And we rejoice in their efforts and accomplishments.   

Isaiah 43:1-3

But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.

When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.

For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour.

One time, when I was much younger, I was sitting in church and the teacher of the Gospel Doctrine class said that when we read the scriptures, in order to make them more personal, we should insert our own name into the passage.  This was the passage he used to make his point.

So, it is your turn to try.  Put your name in this scripture and hopefully, you will see and feel, as I do, that your Heavenly Father truly knows you and loves you.  He is mindful of you and also all your difficulties.  He will walk with us and guide us on our way.  He stands with us, much as we did when we were parenting our own children as they were learning to walk.  If we reach back, He will be there. 
I have a very good friend and we were discussing points of this doctrine earlier this week.  She brought up the point that Heavenly Father will actually give us more than we can possibly bear alone, but He will be there, walking with us, helping us through our difficulties and holding us up as we continue onward in our journey.

No matter what difficulties you are facing, take the time to turn toward Him.  Remember that the scriptures were written for us, today, in this time and place.  Make them personal to you.  He can and will answer your prayers.    I am sure that He too, rejoices in our efforts and our accomplishments.  And by the way, just in case you have forgotten, you are never, really, alone.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The student Directors

We had a concert last week for the choir that my daughter and I are singing in.  All week, we had several four-hour long practices.  We went over everything as it was all required to be memorized and that can be quite difficult when you are my age!  I thought I would never accomplish so great a feat!  Ten songs, all memorized.  Both the words and the music easy to understand and exactly what the director wanted. 
We also have two student conductors.  They are both majoring in music and are leaving to go on to a University in the fall.  They each composed or arrainged a piece of music for the choir to sing.  These songs were very important to each of them.  The music was so important to these two young men that they made us practice their pieces over and over and over again!  Miracle was pretty frustrated because she thought we needed to work equally on all the music.  (Her sense of fairness is highly developed!) 
Miracle asked me why we were spending so much time on them.  I explained to her that they had wrote these pieces and wanted them performed in the best way possible.  They had sweated over the music, re-wrote the music several times, listened to the music probably thousands of times, and agonized over the placement of each note, word, dynamic and pause.  They each knew what they wanted the music to sound like.  They knew what message they wanted to come across.  Their minds knew, but they had to get that knowing into sound.  They not only wanted the piece to be perfect, they wanted us to sound perfect.  They wanted us to be amazing!

Sometimes, we, as mothers, can be just like these student conducters.  We know all the good things about our children.  We know what their potential is, we know what they are, and we have a glimps of what they can become.  We want them to be the nearly perfect vision that we have of them.  I used to tell my older children when they were much younger, "I am going to love you no matter what choices you make.  You could be in jail and I would visit you and love you.  But my job as a mother is to help you become the kind of person that other people will also love.  I am supposed to teach you to behave in a manner that will show the rest of the world what kind of person I know you really are."
  Sometimes, in our quest to teach our children how to be, we may be just like those two student conductors in music.  We may forget the "encouragement" part that goes along with mothering and focus completely on the correction part of mothering.  We just might forget to acknowledge the successes and spend a little too much time remembering the mistakes. 
In my own quest for perfection, I sometimes forget that my children are not in the same place yet.  They are still growing, learning and becoming.  They are still improving day by day.  And just like that music composition, they will get there, as we continue to love them, validate them, and pray for them. 
Our children are our greatest composition masterpieces.  Let us remember and celebrate what they are now as well as what they can become. 

"The mother, more than any other, affects the moral and spiritual part of the children's character. She is their constant companion and teacher in formative years. The child is ever imitating and assimilating the mother's nature. It is only in after life that men gaze backward and behold how a mother's hand and heart of love molded their young lives and shaped their destiny."- E.W. Caswell

"The noblest calling in the world is that of mother. True motherhood is the most beautiful of all arts, the greatest of all professions. She who can paint a masterpiece or who can write a book that will influence millions deserves the plaudits and admiration of mankind; but she who rears successfully a family of healthy, beautiful sons and daughters whose immortal souls will be exerting an influence throughout the ages long after painting shall have faded, and books and statues shall have been destroyed, deserves the highest honor that man can give."- David O. McKay

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Day At The Temple

 Saturday was a wonderful day!  We drove for four hours to go to the open house at the Gila Valley Temple.  That is the newest temple in the state of Arizona.  It is located in the eastern part of the state in the Safford / Thatcher area.  The drive was long, but so worth it!  We were able to enjoy ourselves driving through parts of Arizona that we don't usually see. 
The drive was beautiful.  We went through the Salt River Canyon.
 We were amazed at the beauty and the majesty of the cliffs.

We arrived at the temple.  We started at the meeting house just across the parking lot.  We watched a video about the importance of temples on the earth.  After the presentation we walked across to the temple.  We entered through the front door and started our tour. 

All of us had to wear protectors on our shoes.  This is Anya getting the white footie covers on her shoes.  She was so excited to go through the front doors.
All the girls loved the tour.  They were reverent throughout and thrilled with the murals that are in the temple.  The artists involved did an amazing job.  I admired many of the paintings and love the simplicity within the walls. 

The best part of all was when the girls gathered outside the celestial room and peaked through the door.  Three little mouths dropped open in awe.  It was so amazing to see the exact same expression on all three of their faces.  They all looked completely alike for that moment.
They were able to walk through that room in wonder, awe and reverence.  It was a white room decorated with taste and elegance.  The chandelier dropped down in the center of the room.  It is all done in crystals and they sparkle in the light.  Each one looks like holds a miniature rainbow of color inside the crystals.  All three girls have decided that they want to come back there someday. 

For me, it was the best part of my mother's day weekend.  I was able to teach my children what forever really means.  They were able to walk through the halls of the Holy Temple and know that that is where they wanted to be.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Women of Strength and Courage

I found this video this morning and I loved the music.  I also loved the fact that no woman is left out.  Today is mother's day, but most important of all, it is a tribute to women everywhere.  No matter who you are or what trials you have borne.  No matter what you have endured or what choices you have made.  No matter at what place in God's plan you find yourself.  You are a daughter of God.  Today is a day to be honored.  Somewhere at some time, you have touched someone's life in a positive manner.  It may be your children, it may be your grandchildren, it may be nieces and nephews, it may be neighbors or friends.  It may be someone that you do not realize you have helped.  But on this journey that we call life, it is not possible not to be an influence.  The only question is what kind of influence are you going to be.
May each and every one of you, no matter what your circumstances, have a wonderful, glorious Mother's day!

"Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord." Psalms 3:24

"And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: For my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 2 Corinthians 12:9

Friday, May 7, 2010

Get up and dance!

 My sweet little Anya was having a bad day.  We call it a bad hair day around here.  Her friend had come over to play, and ended up playing with her sister instead of her.  She was feeling pretty sad and left out.  I was typing at the computer and trying to get things done, and started to tell her that she just needed to find something else to do.  But I looked up at her tear streaked face and stopped myself.  I did not know what to do.  I did not know how to make it better.  For whatever reason, I got up and grab her by the arms.  I am sure she probably thought she was really in trouble.  I just spin her in a circle and then I spin her around the room and she is flying, laughing and dancing with me, while I am singing at the top of my lungs off key and very much out of tune!  We dance around the living room, we dance around the kitchen, we dance into my bedroom and back out again.  We dance and we dance!  She ends up in a heap on the floor laughing at me.  She calls me a "really weird mom", but that is OK, I know that I probably am.   But oh my toasted, twisted toes, did we have fun!

So, here's the lesson I'd like to share with you today.
My all time favorite saying is simply, "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it is about learning to dance in the rain".   Sometimes, we get so caught up in the living of life, that we forget to take a little time to enjoy it.  Sometimes, I am so serious.  I forget how much my children need to dance.  I forget that part of my job as a mother is to take the time to show them that we can make choices to be happy even when we are sad.  It only took five minutes of my time, but she learned to laugh that day.  She skipped outside to play with the other girls.  The tears were gone.  The crying was over.  The storm had ended.  The situation didn't change, but her perspective on what was important altered just enough for her to learn to dance in the rain.  (And maybe, just a little bit around the house too!) 

You never know what you can do until you get up and dance! 

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Happy Mother's Day, Mom

There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one." ~Jill Churchill

Today, I want to celebrate mothers.  All of them.  The ones who have little children, the ones whose children are grown, the birth mothers, the adoptive mothers, the step mothers, the aunts, the neighborhood 'grandmothers'.  I want to celebrate the women who have the strength to share a little of their love with children everywhere.  We, as women, have the ability to change our world, just by doing the things that we do best.  Some women will not have children in this life, but that will not make them any less of a mother.
If someone in your life has made a positive difference, let her know.  Let her know that you have been blessed because of what she shared with you.  For those whose mothers have gone before, remember them with love and gladness.  Their best traits live on in you.  This mother's day, let us rejoice in the love of our Heavenly Father who gave us the ability to love and nurture one another.   

And Jean, don't ever forget that you are amazing!  You have been a mother to me in all the ways that matter most.  I love you, I admire you, and I wish I were more like you!  Thank you for being there for me during all the difficult times in my life.  It has made a world of difference. 

"Noble and great. Courageous and determined. Faithful and fearless. That is who you are and who you have always been. And understanding it can change your life, because this knowledge carries a confidence that cannot be duplicated any other way."
Sheri L. Dew

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

What are you made of

Anthony Brandt once said, "Other things may change us, but we start and end with family”.  What a wonderful thing to remember.  We learn many things from our families.  Whether they are good or bad, we still learn.  We can choose to be just like those we love, or we can choose to be different.  But in the end, I think that families matter most of all.  I know that my greatest life's lessons were learned in my family.  Both the family I grew up in, and the family that I gave birth to.  There are always trials and difficulties.  Sometimes, we imagine perfection as no trial.  We imagine everyone getting along.  We imagine that there is no arguing, fighting and thrown cereal on the floor.  And perhaps, someday, it will be that way.  But for now, I cherish the memories that I have made and continue to make.  I cherish the love, the song, and the laughter.
When I was a young girl, we were required to learn some of the Mother Goose nursery rhymes.  I could recite and sing many of them, but there were some that were more fun than others to use.  One of the ones that I remember most was very simple and to the point,

What are little boys made of?
What are little boys made of?
Snakes and snails, and puppy dog tails,
That's what little boys are made of.

What are little girls made of?
What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice, and everything nice,
That's what little girls are made of.

 I love these nursery rhymes, although it sounds to me like the person who wrote them was just a little partial to the girls!  It always brings a smile to my lips when my children and grandchildren act just like the children in the poem!  My personal experience has taught me that most children have a few traits from both of these examples.  Not a single one of us is entirely sweet, and not every boy is rowdy and rambunctious.  But we are each children of a Heavenly Father, who loves us.  I am so blessed with the children in my life.  No matter what their choices, I love them.  They mean the world to me.  I want them to be happy.  I want them to know their worth.  I want them to realize how much they are loved. 

Rosaleen Dickson said it best, "Whatever they grow up to be, they are still our children, and the one most important of all the things we can give to them is unconditional love.  Not a love that depends on anything at all except that they are our children."

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A double rainbow!

The other day, we were driving in a storm.  It seems like lately I have seen more than my fair share of them.  The good part was that it was a rain storm and not a snow storm.  I think we are all just a little ready for the winter to be over and the spring to arrive.  We finally drove out the other side of the storm and into a clear blue sky.  Well, halfway clear anyway.  The sky was blue on one side and cloudy on the other.  We drove into an area that the storm had passed through earlier.  Everything was wet and glistening in the aftermath of the rain. 
As we were driving along, Mikayla looked out the window and saw a double rainbow in the sky.  She was so excited and I must admit that it was beautiful!  She couldn't believe that there were two rainbows right together.  She made sure that she pointed them out to all of us. And we each took a moment to admire them. 
I love rainbows, and have wondered what causes them.  I can never see them without smiling.  I love to watch the wonder in the eyes of the children as they gaze at a rainbow.  I found out that weather conditions, specifically rain followed by intense sunshine, are all that is needed to produce these glorious displays of arched color.

A rainbow, scientifically explained, is a spectrum of light formed when the Sun’s rays shine onto water droplets in the Earth’s atmosphere. The result is an arc of intense color of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.
And why might you ask, is the rainbow always in the shape of an arc? It’s because the Earth’s atmosphere is curved. While rain is the most common form of water forming a rainbow, a light mist can also produce the same result. (I remember my days as a child in the sprinklers making rainbows to run through). To me, the most interesting thing about a rainbow is that it doesn’t exist in any particular location. It is the position of the observer in respect to the Sun’s location that makes it visible.
Think about that for a minute. In order to see a rainbow, you have to be in the right place at the right time. That’s what makes seeing them so special.  It is something that I can see, and my neighbor, a few houses away might not see the same thing. 
Have you been fortunate enough to see a double rainbow?  It is an amazing sight. It is a sight that draws you in. It almost makes you look.  It begs you to take a second glance and than maybe even another.  It is so unusual to see.  I don't recall seeing a double rainbow before.  This was my very first one, so I knew that it wasn't an everyday event.  I just had to come and use my trusty computer to look up the reason why we see rainbows, and especially, a double rainbow. 
I learned that double rainbows happen when the sun is shining very brightly and the rain clouds are very dark. A second, much fainter rainbow will be seen above the normal rainbow.  The colors of the second rainbow are the reverse of the first rainbow.  I did not notice the reverse colors in the rainbows we saw, I wish I had known to pay attention to that detail.  I had to learn that from a book, but it is an amazing thought.

I can now see that my life is, in and of itself, making the conditions for a spiritual rainbow.  We all have clouds and sun, rain and shine in our journeys. We each have trials that make the way seem hard.  They block the blue skies of pleasure from shining each moment.  The rain of tears can seem to block out the spring and make you feel like every day is a winter of sorrow.
" Life is like a Rainbow; You need both the sun and the rain to make its colors appear."  Those arching colors always signify promise.  The rain will end.  The clouds will fade away.  The sun will shine again. 
We might be given the rain, but it is up to us to let the light shine through the clouds of our lives in order to make all the colors appear.  After the trial, comes the blessing.  After the storm, comes the rainbow. 

When we have both sun and clouds in our life, we have the opportunity for brilliance!

No vision and you perish;
No ideal, and you're lost;
Your heart must ever cherish
Some faith at any cost.
Some hope, some dream to cling to,
Some rainbow in the sky,
Some melody to sing to,
Some service that is high.
―Harriet Du Autermont

Today, may you seek and find, your rainbow! (And I am hoping it is one of the amazing double rainbows that I love!)

Monday, May 3, 2010

A Message about Nie Nie

This message is about a fellow blogger.  I follow her everyday.  She has been an inspiration to me in the ability of faith to help us find our way among the difficulties we all face.  She has faced more than most.  I hope this touches you as it has touched me.  I have been following her blogs for the past few months.  Somehow, I found her and she has inspired me to be better and to try harder.  She writes three different blogs.  The one about her life can be found here:  http://nieniedialogues.blogspot.com/  The others can be linked from that page.  I hope she inspires you. 
The video was put out by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  May I be as much of a strength to those around me as this one woman has been for me.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Mormon Mommy Blogs

Today, I am guest posting at Mormon Mommy Blogs.  I have a lot to write about this week, right now I am unpacking and I am NOT murmuring about it! 


Saturday, May 1, 2010

What do you Remember?

Since the activities surrounding my week have all been focused on my Son-in-law's graduation, I thought that I would give you a short quiz for today.  Don't be too intimidated!

  1. Name the top five gold metal winners in the last olympic games.
  2. Name the last five women who won the title of Miss America.
  3. Name the past five Superbowl winners.
  4. Name the last five Nobel Prize winners.  
  5. Name the five richest people in the world

The point is that none of us remember the headliners of yesterday.  Whatever they have done is in the past.  The applause dies, the awards gather dust on a shelf, the certificates are put away in a long-forgotten scrapbook.  The people that we might have thought were winners are buried and gone.

Here is another quiz for you.

  1. Name five teachers who influenced you for the better.
  2. Name five people who made you feel appreciated and valued.
  3. Name three friends who taught you something you will never forget.
  4. Name three people who have helped you make it through difficult times.
  5. Name five people that you love to spend time with.

Did you do a little better with the second quiz?  Remember that the people in your life that matter the most are not the ones with the credentials from the world.  They are not the ones that the world admires and reveres.  They are not the ones with the most awards, the most money, or the most newspaper articles written about them.
The people in your life that matter the most are simply the ones that care.