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.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sunday Devotional - Faith

"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, October 30, 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, October 29, 2010

Mikayla's Day

Mikayla has a birthday tomorrow.  It is a most special day.  You see, it is the day she goes from a little girl, to a young woman.  This is her 12th birthday.  Mikayla is an amazing young woman.  She is helpful to others, she loves babies, she loves people, she loves to dance, she loves to play piano, and she loves to play the cello.  She has a heart as big as the whole outdoors.
Today was the day that she could take a treat to school for her birthday.  She wanted to make something special.  She wanted to make cupcakes.  She wanted to make Halloween cupcakes.  So, I went to the store a couple of days ago and bought all of the things to make spider cupcakes.  But, when she saw all the things we bought, the little artist in her came out to play.

Needless to say, we did not have just one type of cupcake.  Instead, we had 24 totally unique, (and in Kayla's words) really cool cupcakes.  Her big sister helped her cook, frost and decorate all the cupcakes.  The three of us were up "playing" until 11:00pm to make this day something she would remember.  I hope you enjoy our artwork.

To me, the most joyful part of my world is my family.  They are what lift me up and the give me the strength to carry on.  They let me teach them, and they also teach me.  They make me laugh and remind me that I can have fun.  Life is not all serious.  Being a mother is one of the most rewarding and difficult things I have ever done.  But watching them grow into beautiful young men and women is what makes it so worth while.
Happy Birthday Mikayla.  I love you more than words could ever tell.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Behold: 1. To see with attention; comprehend
Hearken: 1. To listen attentively; to give heed.

Listen: 1. Hear with attention; 2. Listen and pay attention

One of the things that is really interesting about reading the scriptures every morning with my family, is that we get to see how many times the Lord repeats himself when He is speaking to His people.  I am thinking that repetition is one of the ways that He uses to get our attention.  There are three words that have really stood out in our family scripture study this week.  Those words are – behold, hearken and listen.

It would seem, the Lord would like us to make an effort to hear, pay attention, comprehend, listen attentively, and give heed to the heart-changing, life-giving, soul-saving, words of counsel and advice that come directly from Him.

When we behold, hearken and listen, miracles do happen.

I listened last month when the Spirit prompted me to go to the house of one of the Sisters in my ward.  I don't know why I was prompted, but the feeling was so strong that I did not want to say "no".  It did not come at a convenient time.  It came when I was tired, weary, and wanted to rest.  But when the prompting came, I followed it.
I went to this good sister's home, bearing a gift of home-canned, peaches and pears.  She was home and having a very bad day.  She has been ill.  She has been lonely.  She needed a friend.  It was good to visit with her.  It was good to talk about the gospel.  It was good to share our sisterhood.  By going over to her home, not only was I able to give her the encouragement and support she needed, but I felt better for the visit.

Actually, the visit was better than good.  It was a simple, little miracle.  For both of us.

She had been feeling lonely and blue because it was the anniversary of the day her husband passed away.  She did not want to complain to anyone, she just needed someone to talk with, someone to share with, someone who would listen to her grief.  She asked me how I knew.

I didn’t know, but the Spirit did.

The Spirit knew that she needed someone else to turn to.  The Spirit knew that her heart was aching.  The Spirit knew that she needed to feel the love of a sister and a friend.  And, I think the Spirit also knew that I needed those things too.  

I am amazed at the small, everyday miracles that can happen if we will just prepare our hearts and make ourselves willing to serve Him.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Appearance of Things

"The appearance of things changes according to our emotions, and thus we see the magic and beauty in them, while in reality, the magic and beauty are really in ourselves".

I loved this quote when I found it.  It reminded me that we are all responsible for finding the magic and beauty that is around us.  We can't wait for anyone else to make us happy.  That is our own responsibility.  We have to find the magic and beauty inside of ourselves in order to appreciate it in those around us.

We are currently dealing with a possibly long and difficult illness in our family.  It has been a real struggle over the past couple of months to try and keep a positive attitude and to hope always for the best.  We have struggled to make choices that were in the best interest of the person involved.  These choices have included trying to do this without a lot of medical intervention. 
Monday, we had to change tracks and decide to go with the medication.  It has not been an easy decision.  Medication has risks associated with it that we have been unwilling to take.  However, emotionally, it is now time.  So, today, we started the first pill. 
Probably, if you saw our family, you would not realize what is wrong.  You would probably not even realize who it was that had the problems.  But they are still there.  Hopefully hiding somewhere under the surface until they can be dealt with.  Some days are easier than others.  Some days are highly visible, and some days are less obvious to the eye, but all days bring their own kind of pain. 
One of the speakers at Time Out For Women, spoke about finding out her son had a serious illness.  Her name is Amanda Dickson.  She talked about when she found out her son had this disease, she took him from the doctor's office and went out into her car and cried.  Then she got out of her car and opened the back door to buckle him into his car seat.  He happily smiled up at her and as she looked at him she thought to herself, "This is the worst thing that could happen!  This is what I was so afraid of?  This boy is the same boy I loved five minutes ago when I did not know what was wrong.  None of that has changed.  I still love him and he is the same boy he was five minutes ago".
I loved that statement.  It is so true.  Each of my children are the same to me as they were when they were little children.  I love them all, no matter what sickness they have had, no matter what choices they have made, no matter how they have dealt with their disappointments and adversities.  My love surrounds them always.  I pray that they will always know that and know that I love them just as they are.

One of my favorite stories is "The Velveteen Rabbit" by Margery Williams.
This is a short except from the book.

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"
"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."
"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.
"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."
"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"
"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

I have discovered that Love is the most important thing any of us have to offer.  It is truly a gift of the heart.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Music of Time Out

One of the best parts of Time Out for Women, is the music.  There is just something special about it.  I was able to hear a singer for the first time.  I fell in love with his voice and his music.  He is a national Broadway touring performer and his name is Dallyn Vail Bayles.  

I had never heard of him before, but found out right before I went to the conference that he went to school with my Son-in-law.  He sang for us all evening on Friday night.  He had many absolutely amazing songs, but I must admit that one of my favorites was this one.

How Can I Keep From Singing?

By Robert Wadsworth Lowry

My life flows on in endless song;
Above earth’s lamentation
I hear the sweet though far off hymn
That hails a new creation:
Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear the music ringing;
It finds an echo in my soul—
How can I keep from singing?

What though my joys and comforts die?
The Lord my Savior liveth;
What though the darkness gather round!
Songs in the night He giveth:
No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that refuge clinging;
Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth,
How can I keep from singing?

I lift mine eyes; the cloud grows thin;
I see the blue above it;
And day by day this pathway smoothes
Since first I learned to love it:
The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart,
A fountain ever springing:
All things are mine since I am His—
How can I keep from singing?

The message of the song echoed within my own heart.  It made me want to find the music and sing it for myself.  I can't give you the song.  You will need to buy the CD for that, but I can give you the words.  I hope that they touch your heart as they did mine.  They express everything that I feel about music.   

Isaiah 49:13 

  • Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the LORD hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted.

D&C 128:22 
  • Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad. Let the earth break forth into singing....

May we each praise his name in all we do, and may we raise our voices in singing.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sunday Devotional - We can fly

Isaiah 40:31
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, 
they shall walk and not faint.

Sometimes, life is so busy, and I feel so tired and weary.  I love this scripture because it reminds me that if I put my Heavenly Father first, He will hold me up and give me the strength I need to complete my task.  He helps me to remember that, through Him, I am enough.  

Saturday, October 23, 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, October 22, 2010

God Whispers

One of my favorite scriptures of all time is actually found in the Old Testament. It is in: 
1 Kings 19:11-12

And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake:
And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
I love the fact that the Lord is found after all the other loud and obvious choices.  It reminds me that God is found in the still small voice.  It reminds me that God doesn't shout, He whispers.

God Whispers
by Patricia A Pitterle

 A child,
Alone in the night.
A face in the window glass,
No comfort in sight.
A quiet prayer
Hastily said
With eyes tight shut
And heart pounding.
God whispers
To her soul.
Finally, gratefully,
Peace fills her heart and
She slips quietly into sleep.

A young woman,
Struggling to find
Answers to her questions
In a world full of
doubts and fears.
A pleading prayer
That she might know
She is loved
Quietly uttered
Behind closed doors.
God whispers
His subtle words
Into her heart
She knows He is there
And feels His gentle peace.

A woman grown
Struggling to find 
His voice
In a world overwhelmed
With noise and confusion.
She drops to her knees
In heartfelt prayer
Seeking to know
that He is there.
She turns to her scriptures
And finds His words.
God whispers
Quietly into the darkness
Leading her in the direction
Of His peace.

We come,
Each and every one,
 To find the answers 
For our troubles.
We seek Him
In the mountains of trial
And the valleys of despair.
His voice is not a loud one.
It can be easily overcome
with worldly noises
that get in the way.
But God whispers
His words to our hearts
If only we will ask, listen,
 And hear Him.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Holiness to the Lord

At the Time Out For Women in Phoenix Arizona, I loved Wendy Watson Nelson's talk on living our lives as if we were striving to have the plaque in front of the Temple that says, "Holiness to the Lord", engraved  upon our souls.

What does the word Holy mean?  The Dictionary defines HOLY as:

  1. exalted or worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness and righteousness
  2. divine
  3. devoted entirely to the deity or the work of the deity
  4. having a divine quality : venerated as or as if sacred
She challenged us to ask ourselves, "What would a holy woman do in this situation"?
How would a holy woman greet her husband when he came home from work?
How would a holy woman treat her children?
How would a holy woman deal with hurt? Anger? Frustration? Or loneliness?

When you ask yourself what a holy woman would do, picture yourself with the Savior in the same room with you. What would you do with Him watching over you?
Here challenge continued with asking us to practice being a holy woman for three days. You only have to choose one activity per day to be holy in. You need to choose it and do it however a holy woman would do it. It can be as simple as fixing dinner, or playing with your children after school. It just needs to be one activity that you will do as if the Savior were with you.
So, for this week, I have been struggling to be holy. The activity that I picked was the time directly after I come home from work. It is the time when I am usually the most cranky. I have been wanting to change that with my children for a long time. So, when I come home from work in the evening, I am asking myself, what would Jesus do if He were here? How would a holy woman treat her children? What would she be willing to do for them? I have been taking more time to just enjoy them. To be with them. Somehow, I think a holy woman would appreciate what she has as blessings in her life. I have decided that maybe I have been taking my blessings a little bit for granted. I think a holy woman would honor them for the gift that they are in her life.
What changes would a holy woman make in your life?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Are you a Success

This past weekend was so amazing to me.  I am sure most of you thought I was taking a vacation from blogging. I wasn't really.  I was actually in Phoenix AZ attending a Time Out For Women event.  It was Amazing!  Seriously!!  I left feeling so uplifted and filled.  I want to share a little with you.  There is no way that I can do the entire conference justice, but I can and will try to give you my favorite talks from it.
The first speaker was Virginia Hinckley Pierce.  Let me just say that no matter what you have heard about her, it wasn't nearly good enough.  I loved her talk.  She talked about success and how good women always have a desire to know if they are succeeding in life.  She talked about using two questions to determine success.  The first is:  Have I trusted Christ?  And the second question is:  Have I used the atoning sacrifice enough to help build His kingdom?
"Growth comes as we constantly try to achieve that that is just slightly out of reach".  Gordon B Hinckley
We can tell if we are achieving success in our lives because of two things.  This is the part of the talk that I loved because it gave me hope that I might be on the right track.
The first way is that we are beginning to lose our disposition to do evil.  This means, as we become more successful, that our very desires change.  We desire to be less like the world, and more like Him.
The second way to tell if we are starting to become successful is:  Are we beginning to see things as heavenly Father and Jesus Christ see them?  Are we beginning to hear His voice instead of the voice of the world?
So, when we look at the world around us, are we looking with eyes of judgement, or eyes of love?  Are we seeing the world at it's best, or our worst?  
Peace, Joy and hope are available to all those who learn to measure success properly.  
She also talked about our propensity to compare ourselves to each other.  We need to get completely out of the business of comparison.  When you are comparing, you can always find somebody that has it better than you do, and somebody else that has it worse.  Comparison doesn't make sense.  It is a way of distorting the "facts" and highlighting the fiction.  
Success is not about how many children you have, how much money you make, whether you are a stay at home mom or whether you need to hold down a job to help support your family.  Success is not measured by what callings you have held, or how many of your children went through the temple.  In the manual "Preach my Gospel" the missionaries are counseled to "Avoid comparing yourself to other missionaries and comparing their outward results to yours".  Your success is measured more accurately by your commitment.  Your willingness to teach people, and your willingness to love people.  
When we go to the Temple to make covenants, we don't ever answer for our children, we don't answer for our husbands.  We only answer for ourselves.  At some point we are all accountable for our own decisions.  
She told of a conference that she was speaking at.  One of the sisters was driving her to the airport and they had a wonderful visit.  Partway there, the sister turned to her and said, "I feel so bad that the Lord doesn't trust me".  When asked what she meant by that, this good sister replied, "I have never been in a presidency"
Sister Pierce than said, 

"A bishop is not more valued over a Sunday school teacher".
A primary president is not more valued than a nursery leader".
"Callings are not a marker of success".
Whoa, I really had to think about that one for a minute.  But my heart was singing and knew the answer long before I really heard the question.  I have learned that the promptings of the Holy Ghost will tell you how you stand before God.  You will know where you are and what you need to do.  

Success is trusting Christ and using His atoning sacrifice to become more like Him.  

Sister Pierce ended by quoting a couple of verses from the hymn,"Come Let Us Anew"

O that each in the day of His coming may say,
I have fought my way through;
I have finished the work 
Thou didst give me to do!
O that each from his Lord 
may receive the glad word,
Well and faithfully done!
Enter into My joy, 
and sit down on My throne!
Enter into My joy, 
and sit down on My throne !

Isaiah 49:13 
Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Example

The Example
by Patricia Pitterle

I wasn't there
when He pulled the children
onto His lap
and blessed them.
When He fed the multitude
with a few loaves and fishes.
When He healed the sick, 
raised the dead,
or walked on the water.
I wasn't there 
when He calmed the raging sea,
healed the leper, 
and made the lame man walk.
Nor when He offered all He had
for them,
if they would just believe,
and follow Him.

But I am here now,
and the things He did for them
stand as a testimony,
for He also did them
for me.
I see in His life
an example
of the way that I should live,
and the person that I should be.
He offered all He had to give
for them
and also for me.
If I will just believe,
endure my trials with faith,
and follow Him.

On of the things that I love most about the scriptures is the way those wonderful words apply to my life today.  When I have a problem, if I will take it to the Lord and read my scriptures, I will almost always find the answer that I am looking for.  It is amazing to me, how something written so long ago, is exactly what I need today to get me through my difficulties.  The scriptures are a comfort, a guide, and a strength to me as I struggle to become better each and every day.
I love the quote:  "We live in the present, we dream in the future, but we learn eternal truths from the past".
What have you learned lately???

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sunday Devotional- The missing piece

After having spent a couple of days at Time Out For Women, my thoughts are turned toward having hope in all things.  This morning, I found this video and thought like it said just what I was thinking.
I hope you enjoy the story.

Saturday, October 16, 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.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Today is a Gift

Several years ago, I took the girls to the park. They loved to play on the swings and on the playground. Miracle was just learning to play basketball, and we were watching some of the boys on the basketball court. One of the boys became angry at the others and yanked his ball out of the hands of one of the other boys and said, "If you aren't going to play it by the rules, than I will take my ball and go home!" And he did.

Leaving three other boys in the middle of the court with no ball, he got on his bike and just rode off.

My sweet young daughter looked at me and asked, "Mom, why did he do that? Doesn't he know that it is not very nice?" (In her world, rules were made with being 'nice' in mind.) I told her that sometimes people get angry with each other and make bad decisions. I then watched this young girl take her own basketball over to the boys and give it to them so that they could continue their game.

As I sat there, I thought about what I had seen that day. The impression came to me that we all have choices in our lives. We can't choose our yesterdays. We can't choose the events in the past that have hurt our hearts and our spirits. We can't choose to change something that already happened. But we can choose what we do from this moment on.

There is an old saying that explains, "Yesterday is the past, we can't change it. Tomorrow is the future, it hasn't happened yet. But today is a gift. That is why they call it 'The Present'."

We can decide right now who we will be. We can choose to change what needs to be changed. We can choose to be the type of person that we admire most of all. We can choose to be the son or daughter that our Heavenly Father needs us to be. We can choose to work together in His service, on His ball court.

Or, we can choose to take our ball and go home. Who do we want to serve? The choice is left to each one of us. One of my favorite scriptures expresses it better than I ever could: 

"And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord". Joshua 24:15

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Different Street

One of my favorite poems is this:

Autobiography in five short chapters
by Portia Nelson

I walk, down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in
I am lost - I am helpless
It isn't my fault
It takes forever to find a way out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in the same place
but, it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in - It's a habit.
my eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

I walk down another street.

I love this poem because it is so much like my life.  Life is a learning process.  Somehow, I don't seem to always get the message quite as soon as I should.  I seem to make the same mistakes, over and over, until I finally try another way of approaching the problem.  Have you ever done that?  Made the same mistakes and kept hoping for a different result?  Have you walked down the same street over and over?
I have found that I am tested and tried in the same types of things until I finally walk down a different street.   Patience is a perfect example.  I keep getting tested in that area until I finally manage to control my temper.  Or even until I finally manage to not have a temper at all.
I am ashamed to admit it, but one of my greatest weaknesses used to be swearing.  I never said anything particularly terrible, but I was not speaking the way I should.  This finally became very important for me to overcome.  I prayed, I fasted, I worked on it.  I even used substitute words.  I kept walking down the same street and falling in the same hole.
Finally, I discovered  that I needed to take myself out of the situation where habit interfered with my desire to not swear.  If I was going to lose my temper, I went into my room until I was calm.  I went into my office at work and counted to ten and stayed there until the peace came.  It was not easy.  I had to learn that putting myself in the same place elicited the same unwanted response.  I had to learn to walk down a different street.
Today, I am much happier.  I am not perfect, but I feel good about my language now.  For the most part, I am not ashamed for my children to hear me speak.  I know that they also see I am walking on a different street.  I know that they have seen the power of change in my life.

Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.

None of us can change our past.  It is gone into the whisper of time, but each of us has the power to change whatever we are and become whoever we would like to be.  I can promise that it won't be easy.  But I can also promise that it will be worth it.  

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A little bit of Heaven

OH. MY. GOODNESS.  Seriously, these are amazing.  I was able to try this recipe this weekend for a grownup version of no-bake chocolate cookies.  They are very high on my list of "must make again soon" type of cookies.  As a matter of fact, the girls were fighting over the last cookie this morning.  Really, I made a double batch and they did not even make it through two days with a house full of girls and hormones.  Oh well, maybe next time I will hide them in my bedroom!!

Here is the recipe for Nutella No-bake Cookies

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 and 3/4 cup sugar 
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1/2 cup Nutella
  • 3 cups rolled oats 

  1. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine butter, milk, sugar, and cocoa.
    Bring to a boil stirring constantly.  Reduce heat and continue to boil for 3 minutes, still stirring.
  2. Remove from heat and add Vanilla
  3. Add Nutella
  4. Add oats and mix well.
  5. Drop quickly onto waxed paper and allow cookies to cool and set.
Word of warning, Beware of Fingers!!  They are everywhere!

Have you ever wondered how we are so much like a batch of cookies.  Heavenly Father can take us, in all our raw materials, with all our imperfections, and mix us with others so that, together we balance and complement the others.  I am thinking of my family right now.  With all of the fighting, laughter, hormones, hiccups, sorrows, trials, and love; somehow we blend together into something that is so much more than we could ever be as individuals.  My children and my husband remind me frequently of who I am and exactly who I want to be like.  They are my encouragement, my support, my enthusiasm, and my determination.  When things go right (or wrong) they are right there beside me to help me on my course.  So today, eat a cookie (or two) and spend a few moments being thankful for the blessings that bind us together.  

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Voice of the Spirit

I found this one this morning and really loved it.  I hope that it means us much to you as it does to me.  My we each strive a little harder to be a little better and may we become more attuned to the Spirit of God.

Isaiah 65:24  And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.

President Spencer W. Kimball said, “It would not hurt us, either, if we paused at the end of our prayers to do some intense listening—even for a moment or two—always praying, as the Savior did, ‘not my will, but thine, be done.’ (Luke 22:42) 

May we strive always to listen and learn of Him.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

This Moment - The Cello

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, October 8, 2010

Try a Little Kindness

"Spread love everywhere you go: first of all in your own house. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next door neighbor... Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting."
~Mother Teresa

The Wise Woman's Stone
A wise woman who was traveling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream. The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food. The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without hesitation. The traveler left, rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime. But a few days later he came back to return the stone to the wise woman.

"I've been thinking," he said, "I know how valuable the stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me the stone."

I love the quotes of Mother Teresa.  She was an amazing woman.  Her quote on kindness is especially meaningful to me.  We live in a tremendously busy world. We seem to always be going somewhere or doing something.  We take the kids places, we volunteer, we get involved, we work, we play, we teach, we hope, we dream and we pray.  There are so many things that demand our attention that it is easy to forget to focus on the things (or the people) that are most important. 
This simple quote reminds me that I don't have to be able to invest a majority of effort, money or time into making the world a better place.  All I need to do is to try a little harder to be a little kinder to those around me.

How about you?  Do you remember who you really are?
When that driver cuts you off on the freeway?
When the neighbor doesn't clean up her yard?
When the line is long in the store?
Or even when people don't notice you at church.

We can all improve the world around us by remembering that each one is a child of God and He loves us.  No matter whether we have good days, or bad ones.  No matter our mistakes or our whining.  He still cares for us.  He still suffered for us.  He still atoned for each one of our sins. 

I think that kindness, for me, is a small way of remembering and acknowledging His sacrifice. 
May we each try just a little harder to treat all those around us with just a little more kindness. 

"Sometimes when we are generous in small, barely detectable ways it can change someone else's life forever".  Margaret Cho

Who's life are you changing today?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Life Is A Freeway

The Freeway
                                    by Patricia A Pitterle

My friend and I 
were driving down the freeway
in the late afternoon.
The traffic
slowed to a stop
and we sat there, 
and waiting,
for everyone else to start moving again
so that we could travel home.
The traffic inched forward slowly
and our car, 
like a small boat moving
in a vast sea,
seemed to make 
little noticeable progress.
Until finally
we became aware 
of familiar objects
and eventually reached
our destination.

Funny, isn't it?
How life 
is like that freeway
with starts and stops 
along the way,
And just when we want to pick up speed
and go somewhere
we can't seem to get past
another bumper.
We dream,
we hope,
and we plan
for tomorrow.
A time when we can go forward
with no bumps or bruises,
no accidents to set us back.
foot by foot,
mile by mile,
we cover the distance 
and arrive 
home at last.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Posting at MMB

Today, I am posting over at MMB.  It is a slightly different topic for me and falls under the heading of safety and preparedness.  Two things I really am passionate about.  I hope you enjoy the article, and most of all, I hope you learn something from it that will benefit you!

Mormon Mommy Blogs

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Weak Things Can Become Strong

Today was a hard day. My daughter could not control her tics at school. Her friends made fun of her, which made her more upset and gave her more and more tics. She did not want to stay at school or go to choir. I told her that she needed to go and that we would work on finding other distractions.
As we traveled together in the car, we had time to talk about this "thorn in her side" that she has been given. We talked about the things she could learn from it. How it has already increased her compassion for those who are dealing with daily differences in their lives. We talked about how, even though she looked "different" on the outside, she is still the same person on the inside today as she was a few months ago before all these things started happening. We talked about how Heavenly Father always blesses us with blessings when we are asked to endure a difficulty.
We talked about how He does not cause the difficulties to happen, but He will allow us to endure them so that we can learn and grow. We talked about the changes that she is already making in her life because of this trial. How she has a need to defend others who are being teased and put down. How her heart goes out to them and how she has a desire to make things better for them in their struggles.
We all have Weaknesses, or things that we don’t like about ourselves. Sometimes the weaknesses, or trials, are visible to those around us, and sometimes they are completely hidden from others.  All through our lives, we constantly try and overcome those weaknesses. No matter how much we each try to do, we can't seem to overcome them by ourselves.

In the Book of Ether in the 
Book of Mormon, the Prophet Moroni tells us of how he too, struggled with his own weaknesses. When he turned to the Lord with his concerns over his weaknesses, the Lord said unto him:
“And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.” Ether 12:27

I love that scripture.  It is so comforting to me to know that the Lord will make the weak things become strong for us.  I do not believe that the weak things are sin.  I believe that they are unique challenges that we have all been given.  They are things that will test us and stretch us and help us to become who we need to be.  These are the things that will help us to change our hearts and become more like Him.

"Sometimes, in spite of all we do to “make weak things become strong,” the Lord, in His infinite wisdom, does not take away our weakness. The Apostle Paul struggled throughout his life with “a thorn in the flesh,” which he said served to humble him “lest [he] should be exalted above measure” (2 Corinthians 12:7). Three times Paul asked the Lord to take away his weakness, and three times the Lord declined to do so. The Lord then explained that His grace was sufficient for Paul and that, in fact, His strength was actually “made perfect in weakness.” Then Paul wrote, “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
“Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9–10).
Like Paul, we can find positive meaning in weaknesses that are not taken away. Surely nothing is quite as humbling as having a weakness that we cannot overcome but must continue to struggle with throughout our life. Such a weakness teaches us, in a very personal way, that after all we can do we must rely on the grace of Christ to make up the difference.
As we humbly submit our will to the Lord’s, we find that our weaknesses can indeed become sources of strength if we put our trust in Him.” Making Weak Things Become Strong, Anne C. Pingree Second Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency

May we strive today to be a little kinder to those around us who have their own struggles and difficulties.  May we be a little more compassionate to those that are "different" and may we always remember that they too, are children of God.  May we remember, that inside they are just like us.  They have wants and dreams, they need love and caring, they want to belong.  May we take a moment and try to make the world just a little better as we strive to accept those differences.   And, as I found this picture, I remember that He knows the thorns we each carry in a very real way.  He is aware of those trials you bear.  He knows your heart.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Working Together

"Coming together is a beginning.
Keeping together is progress.
Working together is success."   Henry Ford

Tonight, I came home from work and found my teenage daughter outside by herself trying to dig holes to put the flower bulbs in.  I should preface this by telling you that a couple of weeks ago, we were shopping together at one of the stores and found flower bulbs on sale.  These are the kind that you have to plant right before the frost and they do not grow until spring. 
She is a great salesman, and talked me into buying four boxes of different bulbs.  They were all different kinds, but each needed to be planted.  It has been a busy couple of weeks and I have not had time.  The canning has demanded every minute of spare attention so that I could get it done, and there is still more to do.  She has asked a couple of times, but realized that I was overwhelmingly busy and so has allowed the planting to be pushed to the side for more important endeavors.  Finally, today, she decided that she could wait no longer.
I arrived home after a long day at work to find my sweet daughter out in the front yard with a trowell and the boxes of bulbs.  She had dug five holes and still had nearly 30 more to go.  But, I must admit that she was really working on it.  I decided that she did not need to be out there by herself and sent her to the backyard for a shovel. 
Together we dug a few more holes.  We talked, we laughed, we shared company.  Soon, the other two sisters came riding up on their bikes from a friends house.  They immediately parked the bikes and ran over to help.  Soon, we had all the flowers planted and the holes filled in and the ground watered.  With all of us pitching in, what was a daughting project, became a time of enjoyment and togetherness.

Isn't it amazing how the difficulties in life can be worked through with a little bit of team work. 
One of the major stresses on families today is that the individual, (whether it is a child or a parent) sees himself or herself, rather than the family, as the center of life.  When we are involved with focusing on ourselves, and not on the larger vision of bringing the family together, it can and often does lead to contention.

We have to work together to make our family succeed. But, it’s not something we can do simply by chorees and assignments. It isn't about perfection or lists.  It’s a matter of the heart. We have to have, in our hearts, a desire to make each other happy.
It is that desire which will strengthen us and help us as we journey through our lives. 
Sometimes, we need to put down the business of the world and take time to plant a few flowers. 

A job worth doing is worth doing together.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sunday Devotional - Continue in Patience


 "Patience serves as a protection against wrongs as clothes do against cold. For if you put on more clothes as the cold increases, it will have no power to hurt you. So in like manner you must grow in patience when you meet with great wrongs, and they will then be powerless to vex your mind."  Leonardo Da Vinci

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A Simple Moment - Family Time

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.