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, January 31, 2011

Spiritual Manners

“Follow me,” Jesus said, and Simon Peter and Andrew left their nets and followed him. Just like these humble fishermen who became Christ’s disciples, we, too, seek to follow him. He performed miracles, healed the sick, raised the dead, turned water into wine, showed us how we should live, and was an example for us in all that He did.
He has said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” John 14:15
and, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” John 13:35.
How can we show our love for Jesus and for one another?
We all have opportunities to be good examples in our homes, at work, at school and in all areas of our lives.  We come in contact with the public in many places.  The store, the Post Office, church, and neighborhood functions are just a few of the places others come in contact with us.  We show others what we believe by the the words we speak, but mostly by way that we behave.  If we are minding our "Spiritual manners" than we are treating others as He would treat them.  We are helping them as he would help them.  We are being His hands here upon the earth.  How we treat others goes a long way toward setting an example.  Setting a positive example involves love and respect for others as well as a tolerance for their differences.  It is often easier to be kind to others (or even strangers) than it is to be kind to our own families.  When we are tired or ill (or in my case, under stress), are we patient with a crying child, are we understanding of a thoughtless spouse, are we trying to be more like the Savior?  Or are we more concerned for ourselves?
1 Peter 3:8  "Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:"
I found it interesting that the scriptures tell us to be courteous. Respect and courtesy go hand in hand with reverence for the things of the spirit.  As we learn to have compassion, understanding and courtesy, we learn who we are and who we can be.  As we remember who we are and act accordingly, we also learn charity, which "doth not behave itself unseemly" and which will help us love others as the Savior loves each one of us.  
"Manners are like the zero in arithmetic.
They may not be much in themselves,
but they are capable of adding
a great deal of value to everything else". 
 Freya Stark

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday Devotional - Charity

The pure love of Christ

I have started this post twice already, but I did not post what I wrote (maybe later this week!).  I woke up this morning and knew that I wanted to write something about charity.  I did a search and found the short video you will see below.  It says exactly what my heart wanted to say.  Today, may we each work just a little bit more in loving those around us.

Mother Teresa, a Catholic nun who worked among the poor in India most of her life, spoke this wonderful and profound truth: “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” The Savior has also admonished us, “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.”

President Monson said: "There is a serious need for the charity that gives attention to those who are unnoticed, hope to those who are discouraged, aid to those who are afflicted. True charity is love in action. The need for charity is everywhere".

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Simple Moment - Static Cling

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, January 28, 2011

Never, Never, Never give up

I grew up watching Charlie Brown cartoons on the local television stations.  Yes, I am rather old.  We did not have VCR's or DVD's or rentals.  (Heaven forbid!  I must have lived with the cave men!)  We had to wait all year until the show that we liked came on the network again. 
We used to get the TV Guide in the mail, and my brother, sister and I would go through it and circle the shows that we wanted to see.  Charlie Brown was one of the shows that we could all agree on. 
I loved that bald-headed kid!  His wisdom is totally amazing to me, even after all these years.  One of the classic scenes in of the Charlie Brown movies, was the one you see at the top of this post.  The picture is of Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown.  No matter how many times Charlie Brown tries to kick that ball, he always ends up with the same result - he is flat on his back, looking at the sky as Lucy pulls the ball and makes him fall and than laughs as she holds it high in the air.  But, though it happens over and over again, he NEVER gives up!

I have found that life can be quite a bit like a Charlie Brown comic strip.  It doesn't always give us the things we want.  We don't always get the things that we hoped for or wished for.  Our dreams don't always come true.  Our heart can get hurt.  Our knees can become feeble.  Our hands can hang down in discouragement.  Sometimes, we can feel as if there are no happily-ever-after's to be found. 
But hope can make a difference, one situation, one task, and even one person at a time. 
Even when you feel as if there is not a lot that you can do to change unhappiness or problems that surround you, remember that you can always do a little. 
And that one, small and simple little bit, can make all the difference in someone else's world as well as your own.
Expect to have your hopes fulfilled.  Expect to have joy in your day.  Expect to have your prayers answered in wonderful and joyous ways.  Expect your heart to be lifted and your tears to be wiped away.
The winters in our lives will not last.  After the freezing storms have come and gone, and the cold (finally) disappears, we will see and bear witness in the promise of His glorious spring. 

"All human wisdom is summed up in two words -
wait and hope. "
Alexander Dumas

Thursday, January 27, 2011

What is a Friend?

I have been able to use the internet for many things.  I blog, I facebook, I research, I write, I learn.  They are all wonderful things for me to be able to do.  I must say that I love the ability to research and find the answers to nearly any question (although, I will be the first to admit that you need to check your sources carefully). 
That being said, one of the things that I have been most appreciative of is the ability of the internet to help me find people.  I have found many wonderful people who have meant a great deal to me at different times in my life.  I have been able to reconnect in many ways.  Sometimes it is just a Christmas card, or a facebook status, sometimes it is more meaningful to both of us. 
However, I have to admit, that along with the pleasures has come a little pain.  I was able to find someone that I had thought of many times through the years.  We used to be best friends.  I spent time at her house, she occasionally spent time at mine.  We shared, we trusted, we played, we gossipped, we cared for each other. 
Then boys entered the picture and things changed.  Overtime, we drifted apart.  We both married and moved to other States and other locations.  We kept in touch for awhile, but then addresses were lost, and there was no way to contact each other any more. 
Enter the internet.
One of our mutual friends found me on facebook.  I started communicating and found her through him.  I was so excited.  Through our writing, we set up a time to talk on the phone.  We talked that one time and she told me that she lost touch because, when I was a teenager, I was always so needy.  That hurt, that really hurt!  It made me so sad that someone I remembered with gladness, didn't see and remember me the same way. 
It has been a couple of years since that conversation, and I have had a long time to think about it.  No excuses here, because she was actually right.  During the time that I thought we were friends, I was needy.  I didn't have many friends, I did not have a close family.  There were a lot of pretty bad things going on in my life.  So I am pretty sure that I was clingy, and moody, and probably very, very needy. 
But, in reflecting on this, I have come to realize that perhaps we all are.  There are times in our lives when each one of us is in difficulty and trials.  When we need others there to help lift us up and carry us through on part of our journey.  That is one of the reasons that we each need friends in our lives. 
Friends help us to feel useful, loved, cared for, and complete.  They help us to see ourselves through slightly different eyes.  They teach us to be social, adaptable, and helping individuals.  Friendship teaches us to give and to take at different times.  I think it teaches us to be more Christlike and Sisterlike in our relationships with others.  Friendship brings us so many blessings.  I am grateful that she was willing to be a friend at a time in my life when I needed someone to be there for me.  I am also sorry that she was unable to look through the years and find the me that I have become. 
I have discovered through this simple, hurtful moment, that I have indeed, come a very long way.  I am not the young girl that I was then.  I have endured the hurts that life has handed me, I have learned from the experiences and grown in courage and conviction through the years.  I know and believe in myself.  Best of all, I now know that my Heavenly Father loves me, He knows exactly who I was then, and who I have become. 
I have also learned that we can never completely erase on our own past.  We need the Lord to do that for us.  I can't fix the person that I used to be.  I can only change the person I am today.  I want to be the person that people remember with love.  I want to be someone that people want to be friends with, someone they want to be around. Those things I can do now, here, today.   Today, I have learned to be a better friend. 
Elder Ronald A. Rashband, while speaking at a CES fireside, said:
"It would be difficult to exaggerate the importance of being good friends. Becoming such friends is not always easy. Ralph Waldo Emerson gave great counsel when he observed, “The only way to have a friend is to be one.”  And the old cliché “Birds of a feather flock together” is still true. To have friends who live high standards, who stand for virtue and goodness, who are faithful and true to their covenants, you must be such a person to them.

In this world where there is so much sleaze, permissiveness, and immorality, having good friends will go a long way in ensuring our ability to withstand the evils of this, our day".
It was the Savior who said to His disciples, “Ye are my friends” (D&C 84:63).
It was the Savior who taught his Apostles, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
It was the Savior who beckoned all to: “Come unto me” (Matthew 11:28). I
It was the Savior who reminded Joseph Smith while he was in the liberty jail, “Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands” (D&C 121:9).

Jesus Christ is our example in every part of the Gospel as well as in the ways that we should lead our lives, and that includes friendship.

May we each go forth today and be better friends to those around us.  May we truly change from who we were, to who we need to be.  

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Sweet Baby!

Today, I am linking up for Wordless Wednesday over at MMB.  Hope to see you there!

One look at your smile and I could see the light shining everywhere. 
-- Aladdin - The King of Thieves.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

It Has Been a Long Weekend

So, I feel like I disappeared from off the face of the blog world for awhile.  Even though it was only for a few days.  I received a phone call Friday morning, that told me one of my adult children was in the hospital.  I packed up my overnight bag, left my family at home, and headed down to the valley.  It doesn't matter to me how old my children are, there are still times when they need me to be there for them.  He was in the hospital all weekend, sick with the flu.
He has diabetes, so it is a concern when he gets sick, and he had kidney failure about six months ago, so it was an even bigger concern.  So, down I went.  It kind of pulled me out of my comfort zone and forced me to remember all the many things that I have in my life to be grateful for.
After spending time with him, he finally got out of the hospital and is doing fine.  It has been a tough year for him.  Sometimes he still asks me "Why me??"  As I have thought about it this week, I think I found the answer in an old poem that I memorized many years ago.  I hope it helps you through whatever your own trials might be today.  We all have them.  Some of them are easy to see, some are hidden deep within and rarely shared, but that doesn't mean that they aren't there, that we don't hurt, that we don't feel despair.
Remember that everyone you meet is walking their own journey.  Just because the path doesn't look quite the same as yours, doesn't mean that it doesn't have pitfalls and trials.  It is not an road for any one of us, but it is exactly what we need in order change our hearts and our lives and return to Him.

           The Road Is too Rough
                                                    by Olga J. Weiss
"The road is too rough," I said,
"Dear Lord, there are stones that hurt me so."
And He said, "Child, I understand,
I walked it long ago."
"But there's a cool green path," I said;
"Let me walk there for a time."
"No child," He gently answered me,
"The green path does not climb."
"My burden," I cried, "Is far too great,
How can I bear it so?"
"My child," He said, "I remember the weight;
I carried My cross, you know."
But I said, "I wish there were friends 
Who would make my way their own."
"Oh, yes," He said, "Gethsemane
Was hard to bear alone."
And so I climbed the stony path,
Content at last to know
That where my Master had not gone,
I would not need to go.
And strangely then I found new friends,
My burden grew less sore;
As I remember – long ago
He went that way before.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Snow and Ice

For the past couple of weeks, we have had snow.  All the roads have been covered, the roofs covered in white, the driveways are slick and icy, and the trees wear a shimmering crown high up in the boughs.  I love the way that snow changes the landscape, the way it glissens, and the way it changes my perspective.  I love and appreciate seeing all the different seasons throughout the year.  (Something that I never had when we lived in the desert).   But, along with all the beautiful white stuff, comes the cold, the ice, the fog, and even more of that bone chilling, windy cold air.  It has seemed to me like I just can not get warm enough this year.  We have the fireplace, heaters, and blankets, but somehow, I am still cold. 
One of the things that I have really had to learn with this winter season is that, if I can change my focus to something else, (and wear a sweater or a sweatshirt), I can forget about the cold and find the beauty in each day.  I can forget about my longing for spring and color blooming everywhere, and instead appreciate the here and now. 

I have learned that it is easy to get complacent in our own lives.  We see the same things day in and day out.  We have the same family living under our roof, the same child who listens and picks up, the same husband who fixes lunch (or maybe doesn't fix lunch), the same house to live in, clothes to wear, and food to eat.  Sadly, the same old things cease to look like blessings in our eyes, and instead start being something we expect to have instead of a blessing to have. 
Take the snow for example.  When it is fresh and new, it looks magical.  It makes everything around us look like a wonderland.  I love to see the faces on my girls when we all go play in the snow together.  It brings joy to my heart and to their eyes.  What a blessing for us to spend time having fun together, instead of doing our normal, everyday, living together things.  However, that same snowfall, also means that we have to make several trips to the woodpile each day, we have to shovel the driveway, and sometimes even walk to work because of the ice in the road.  It can take away the magic that I found earlier in the morning if I do not keep my focus on the good instead of on the perceived bad that comes from snow.  The snow has not changed, instead the way that I am looking at it has changed. 
I have learned that blessings are a lot like snow.  When they are new and fresh in our eyes, we see them and recognize the Lord's hand in them.  We know He has answered our prayers to bring us to this point.  But when the blessings become a common, everyday occurance, we start to forget the magic.  The blessing is still there, but we are focusing our attention on the perceived negative, instead of being grateful for that which we really do have. 
I have discovered that, for me, changing my heart to one of gratitude, profoundly affects the world around me.  When I approach my life as something to be truly thankful for, I find more and more things that really are blessings in my life.  I have found God's hand in the world around me in so many more ways than I ever thought possible.
So today, my challenge to you is to simply look around you.  List the things in your heart and mind that you are grateful for.  Write them in your journal, or even on a notebook page and hang them where you can see them often.  When you start to doubt that you are blessed, go back and look at your list.  In my life, I have found that some of my greatest trials are responsible for bringing me some of my richest blessings.    

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity.... It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow."  ~Melodie Beattie

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Music In My Life

My parents love to sing and play different instruments. My father plays the saw, the bones, the spoons, the scrubbing board, and a few other odds and ends that were once something else in the house besides a musical instrument. (Somewhere I am sure I have a picture of him in his crazy saw hat).  My mother plays the guitar and the banjo, and several other old fashioned instruments as well, all things that she has played and practiced at for years.
That is the real secret. She has played and practiced for years.  She has been working hard at her instruments since she was very young.  She has had lessons, practiced, taught, belonged to music groups, and incorporated music into nearly every part of her life.  When she married my father, she took him along with her and he had to learn to play something.  He likes to play the things that get the most attention and that are the most fun.  My mom often says that she spent years learning to play and people will not even notice what she is playing once my dad gets started with his ordinary non-instruments that have become instruments.  I love the fact that she has found a way to take something she loves and make it part of what she does daily.
How totally amazing is that???  
It is such an example to me, that we can live those things that we love.  It is a part of who I am.  And it is part of the reason that I blog.  I too, love music, and I love quotes and thoughts and writing and scriptures.  So, those are the things that I put in my blog.  I love finding things the Lord has said and making them a part of me.  I love bringing those thoughts and feelings to life through the things I write and the things I do.  I have learned through practice, that if I want to feel the spirit stronger in my day to day living, I have to look for it, find it, and cherish it.  I have learned that in the small, simple, ordinary, everyday things, there is often a message.  Heavenly Father doesn't shout it from the roof tops.  He doesn't speak with a loud voice.  His message is often soft and quiet.  It is sent to heal my heart and clear my mind and brighten my life.  I, like my mom and dad, have learned to find the music of the Lord in the most ordinary places.  

"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." -Psalm 119:105

"And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not." -John 1:5

This song is one of my favorites that my mom and dad sing and perform.  It is a very old song from the 1800's.  I love the message of the words and I love the tune when it is sung. The message that I learn from this is that we each have the responsibility of being a light along the shores of life.  We never know when what we do, or say,  will have an influence upon others around us.  We never know how we might be able to reach out and change someone's life for the better.  We never know how our simple example can influence others and help them on their journey.  

Let the Lower Lights Be Burning
Philip P. Bliss 1838 - 1876
Brightly beams our Father's mercy
From His lighthouse evermore,
But to us He gives the keeping
Of the lights along the shore.

Chorus:  Let the lower lights be burning!
               Send a gleam across the wave!
               Some poor fainting, struggling seaman
               You may rescue, you may save.

Dark the night of sin has settled,
Loud the angry billows roar;
Eager eyes are watching, longing,
For the lights along the shore

Chorus:  Let the lower lights be burning!
               Send a gleam across the wave!
               Some poor fainting, struggling seaman
               You may rescue, you may save.

Trim your feeble lamp, my brother!
Some poor sailor tempest tossed,
Trying now to make the harbor,
In the darkness may be lost.

Chorus:  Let the lower lights be burning!
               Send a gleam across the wave!
               Some poor fainting, struggling seaman
               You may rescue, you may save.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Slipping and Sliding!

Today, I am linking up over at MMB for Wordless Wednesday.  
Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

He Holds My Hand

Today, (well actually yesterday) I am posting over at MMB.  I hope you enjoy reading it today.  I will be back here tomorrow with another posting.  Have a wonderful day!!

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Nursing Home

Last year for Christmas, our small community choir went to the local (40 minutes away) nursing home to sing to the residents.  We had about 20 elderly people in the room that the nurses pushed and lead there for the program.  When we started singing, I noticed that five or six of the guests, were already asleep, several others were singing their own songs, off key and loudly out of tune.  But they all seemed to be having a good time, even if they were doing something else!  There were just a few that actually seemed to be listening and smiling.  The funny thing was, after we were done, even the ones who had been sleeping wanted to hug us and hold onto our hands.  They wanted the contact with other human beings.  They wanted the joy that comes when we feel appreciated and loved.
Do you ever feel as if no one appreciates you or loves you?  The wonderful thing about Heavenly Father is that He sees every part of  your life.  He knows exactly who you are and loves you in spite of yourself.  He doesn't miss a single part of our lives.  If everyone around you seems to have "dozed off" or is singing to a different tune, you might want to check again.  If you look deep into your heart, I think you will find your Heavenly Father sitting there watching and waiting.  He knows the songs of your heart. He knows the ones you long to sing.  He knows the person you are to be.  He loves you unconditionally.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunday Devotional - A Widow's Mite

"And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.
And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.
And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:
For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living".  Mark 12:41-44
In the time of Jesus, a mite was a copper coin worth only about one-eighth of a cent.  Rabbinic law specified that the smallest amount a person could cast into the treasury was two mites.  This poor widow gave the least that was permitted, but it was probably the most she could afford.
When you look at this from a spiritual perspective, that little bit was worth more than all of the others who put in much more money.
Too often, in this world, we judge others by their income or possessions.  We judge by what they can contribute.  But Christ sees things differently.  When we give what we can, it will somehow be enough.  He judges our hearts and our intents, not our pocketbooks.   

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Simple Moment - Warming up to Grammy

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, January 13, 2011

Closer than your breath!

I heard that term today, used to describe a feeling.  I loved it.  Think about it for just a moment, "Closer than your breath".
 I have learned in my life that there are times when I experience Heavenly Father's nearness to me. I feel His welcoming presence.  I feel His love.  I know that He is watching out for me.
There are other times, when He seems so far away.  When I come to know the loneliness of feeling alone.  I have come to realize, that the Lord has not changed locations.  He is still there, still close, still waiting for me.  I might have changed my distance from Him.  I might have my own agendas and purposes that take me away from His spirit.  I might forget what it feels like to be near to Him.  I might even forget that I want to be near to Him.  
I have found that it helps me to spend time looking for Him in my everyday life.  It helps to acknowledge His guiding hand in my many blessings.  I spend time everyday trying to decide what is in His plan for me, what I need to do, and how I should be doing it.
I have also found that I can find Him even more often when I sit back and am quiet.  I find Him in the silence of the scriptures, in my meditations, even in my reading.  I find Him as I find the beauty that surrounds me in photography.  I find Him in my prayers each night and morning, I find Him in the songs I sing, I find Him in the quiet of a peaceful walk, or even in my heart when I take the time to reflect, relax, and just breath.
I have come to see, that sometimes I am reaching so hard to find the miraculous that I totally miss all the miracles that surround me.  All the simple, ordinary, everyday miracles that make life worth living.  I have found that when I count my blessings, I can find Him in all of them.  When my trials have been worse than I believed I could ever bear, He has always been there, closer than my breath, waiting for me to reach out to Him.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Shrek Principle

I love movies.  We generally don't go to them, we usually buy them when they come out in DVD because it is cheaper for us to buy the movie than it is for us to go to the movie in the theatre.  Oh well.  This past weekend, we all sat around and watched Shrek.  Now, I know that some of you like it, and some of you don't.  I am not trying to get in a discussion about the good, the bad, and the inappropriate.  Although, if you want to, that is perfectly find with me.  I actually enjoyed this final episode a lot.  Probably because it reminded me of some great principles to point out to my kids.  In the last episode of Shrek, I found so many things that reminded me of life.  Only in cartoon form.  In this movie, there is a brand new and very wicked villian.  His name is Rumpelstiltskin.  This character misleads Shrek into signing away a day of his life.  Consequently, he ended up unknowing signing away the day he was born.  For lack of a better way to describe it, this character sends Shrek to an alternate dimension where the ogre never met Fiona, and all the major characters have a slightly different personality.  Shrek was tired of family life and wishing for things to be different.  He wanted things to go back to the way they were before he ever had children.  He wants to be a "real ogre". 
Shrek makes a terrible decision and signs a contract that takes away one day from his past.  A day that he won't even remember, in exchange for one day of being a "real ogre".  The entire movie is about Shrek's quest to get back the one thing that was most important and he had never even realized it before.  That one thing was true love.  It was Shrek's happily ever after.  The movie continues with Shrek trying to get back everything that he had so casually thrown away.  He might have been tricked, but he realized that it was his own fault.  The movie ends with Shrek embracing his friends and family and holding a new found appreciation for everything he has.  He starts living truly, his own "happily ever after". 

I hope, if you do not appreciate this type of cartoon humor, that you will listen to the lesson of the movie. I have come to see the value in this tale.  Life happens to all of us.  It has it' ups and downs, gives and takes, joys and sorrows.  Sometimes, it can be so hard!  Sometimes, we can get so involved with the existing in it, that we forget to be involved in the living of it.  We forget to look and find our own "happily ever afters".  There was a time in my life, when I dreamed a different dream.  I saw happily ever after as having a perfect family, all doing the correct things, serving in the perfect callings, having a husband who supported me and loved me, having a clean house, well-behaved kids who worshipped the ground I walked on (ok, that might be a slight exaggeration!), having people look up to me, being the very best friend, and never making any mistakes. 
Times have changed.  I have had to change my dreams into something a little more realistic.  Don't get me wrong, I would love to have all those things, but I have realized that my "happily ever after" doesn't contain only dreams.  It contains people that I love, who love me back and need me in their lives.  It contains messy, busy, happy, working, bickering, arguing, and loving people.  I did end up with a husband who supports me and loves me, and sometimes my kids even like me too.  But when I think about a life without any of those hard things, I think that I would be missing out on the greatest blessings of all. 
To me, the Shrek principle is looking around you and realizing what you HAVE.  It is seeing your blessings for what they are. It is dealing with the mountain of diapers and laundry and realizing that you are not going to be in exactly this place forever.  It is realizing that our greatest blessings can sometimes be our most difficult trials.  Each of our "Happily Ever After's" will be unlike anyone else's.  It doesn't do us any good to compare our own lives with those around us.
So, today, I am making a vow to appreciate my own life.  To realize what I really have.  To see all around me, those marvelous gifts that God has given me.  My "Happily Ever After" has always been here.  It was just up to me to open my eyes and see.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Love One Another

I can't help but be sorry and upset over the things that happened in Tucson Arizona on Saturday.  No matter what your political views, no matter what you believe or don't believe, it is so sad to think that a human being is capable of doing something of this magnitude to anyone else.  
I try never to be political on my blog.  I am not a very forceful person when it comes to what others believe and preach.  I have my own beliefs, but I completely support the ability of each of us to choose for ourselves.  
I love and support many in my own family who choose to believe differently than I do.  We live in a country that is supposed to support a variety of different opinions and beliefs.  That is what makes this nation such a wonderful place to live.  It is the diversity, the struggle, the opinions, the support, the freedom to choose.  It shouldn't matter what your political views are, what your religious views are, what issues you support or what party you belong to.  It only matters that people died and were injured through no fault of there own.  
So today, I want to post something simple to remind us that love for all of Heavenly Father's children is what is most important.  Be kind.  Life is often hard enough without us being responsible for injuring anyone else.  
May each of us make one simple decision today that make life just a little bit easier for someone else.  My we smile a little more, hug a little more, be slow to anger, be more tolerant, be kinder in our doings with our fellow men.  May we grieve just a little for the loss of innocence and dreams. May we spend a moment and mourn with those who mourn and comfort those who stand in need of comfort.  May we remember for a moment that we are all Americans.  We are all mothers, fathers, daughters and sons.  We are friends, neighbors and concerned citizens.  We are sons and daughters of a loving Heavenly Father.  

"Love is the only force that can erase the differences between people" ~ Gordon B. Hinckley

"In this life we cannot do great things.  
We can only do small things
with great love."  Mother Teresa

"It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped.  Each time someone stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, they send forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance."
Robert F. Kennedy 
USA Senator (New York) & 1968 Presidential Candidate (1925-1968)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sunday Devotional - The Lord Knew Joseph Millett

"Joseph Millett, with his large family, was suffering through very, very difficult times. He wrote in his journal:
" 'One of my children came in and said that Brother Newton Hall's folks was out of bread, had none that day.
" 'I divided our flour in a sack to send up to Brother Hall. Just then Brother Hall came.
" 'Says I, "Brother Hall, are you out of flour?"
" ' "Brother Millett, we have none."
" ' "Well, Brother Hall, there is some in that sack. I have divided and was going to send it to you. Your children told mine that you was out."
" 'Brother Hall began to cry. He said he had tried others, but could not get any. He went to the cedars and prayed to the Lord, and the Lord told him to go to Joseph Millett.
" ' "Well Brother Hall, you needn't bring this back. If the Lord sent you for it you don't owe me for it." '
"That night Joseph Millett recorded a remarkable sentence in his journal:
" 'You can't tell me how good it made me feel to know that the Lord knew there was such a person as Joseph Millett' (Diary of Joseph Millett, holograph, Archives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City).
"The Lord knew Joseph Millett. And He knows all those men and women like him, and they are many. Theirs are the lives that are most worth recording.
"This rank and file of the Church—150 years of them—have brought the truth to this generation. It is planted where it is most likely to bear an abundant harvest—in the hearts of the ordinary people."

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Simple Moment - Family Heart to Heart

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, January 7, 2011

The Gift of the Atonement

I would be so remiss in speaking about gifts if I did not speak about the atonement.  It is certainly the most amazing gift I have ever been given.  I have become so grateful for the Atonement and for it's ability to, not only clean me from my sins, but also to heal my heart.
I would have thought, much earlier in my youth, that cleaning me from my sins was impossible.  I know that I thought that I could never be good, pure, clean and forgiven.  No matter who we are, we have burdens and baggage that come from living, from making mistakes, from misunderstanding, from sin, from failure.  We each have things in our lives that have happened to us that we feel we are responsible for and that we can never be forgiven of.  Surely, I have told myself way too often that I am not good enough, smart enough, repentant enough, or perfect enough.  No matter how hard I try, I now know that I will never be enough - by myself.  It is only through the atonement of Jesus Christ that I can have hope and joy and peace and forgiveness.  
The older I become, the more I realize that I need to depend on Him.  And the more grateful I am for the gift He has given each of us.  There are many who are discouraged with the trials of their lives.  There are many whose hearts are aching, who are crying out for strength, healing, love, and compassion.  There are many who struggle under the burdens of depression and despair.  Sometimes, I find myself in exactly that place.
To each of us our Savior gives this loving invitation:
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart:  and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light”  (Matthew 11:28-30)
May we each remember the healing power of the Atonement.  He loved us so much that He sent His Son to suffer, bleed, and die for us.  When I hold my own child and think of that kind of love, I am completely overwhelmed with the utter magnitude of His blessings.  
He knows our heartaches.  He knows our anguish.  He is there for each one of us, and like the good Samaritan in His parable, when He finds us wounded and beaten by the wayside; when others have walked on by and ignored our pain, He binds up our wounds and cares for us.  The healing power of the Atonement is there for each one of us.   
"If any has stumbled in his journey, there is a way back. The process is called repentance. Our Savior died to provide you and me that blessed gift. Though the path is difficult, the promise is real: 'Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow' (Isaiah 1:18)."  Thomas S. Monson, "Preparation Brings Blessings," Ensign, May 2010, 66

“Brothers and sisters, one of the great consolations of this Easter season is that because Jesus walked such a long, lonely path utterly alone, we do not have to do so. His solitary journey brought great company for our little version of that path—the merciful care of our Father in Heaven, the unfailing companionship of this Beloved Son, the consummate gift of the Holy Ghost, angels in heaven, family members on both sides of the veil, prophets and apostles, teachers, leaders, friends. All of these and more have been given as companions for our mortal journey because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the Restoration of His gospel. Trumpeted from the summit of Calvary is the truth that we will never be left alone nor unaided, even if sometimes we may feel that we are. Truly the Redeemer of us all said, ‘I will not leave you comfortless. [My Father and] I will come to you [and abide with you].’ ”  Jeffrey R. Holland, “None Were with Him,” Ensign, May 2009, 88
Each of us will taste the bitter ashes of life, from sin and neglect to sorrow and disappointment. But the atonement of Christ can lift us up in beauty from our ashes on the wings of a sure promise of immortality and eternal life. He will thus lift us up, not only at the end of life, but in each day of our lives.
“Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God … giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might, he increaseth strength. … They that wait upon the Lord shall … mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isa. 40:28–31.)  Bruce C. Hafen, "Beauty For Ashes", Ensign, April 1990, 7.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Gift of Talents

When I stand before God at the end of my life,
I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, 
and I could say,
'I used everything you gave me'. 
Erma Bombeck

by Patricia A Pitterle

My book room
is filled with books.
Many are like
old and well worn
friends, that I have
visited with
and enjoyed
throughout my childhood.
Each one
testifying of hands
which have lovingly
picked them up,
to be read again
and again.

Some are more recently read
and their pages
have been creased
only once or twice.
Still others
are used simply
as points of reference.
And there are yet a few
whose covers still creak
when they are opened
for they haven't been used at all.
their lessons and enjoyments
are still hidden
from my view.

Each person
is a little
like my book room
and the books within
are individual talents.
Some are old and well worn
testifying of much use.
They have brought joy
to those around us.
Some are more recently developed
and have only been used
a few times
we have not yet found confidence
 in our ability to use them.

Others are used
simply as a point of reference,
Sitting on the shelf
of our existence.
We look for them
in ways
few and far between,
their depths are still,
as yet, unexplored.
Still others
have never been used at all
the benefits and knowledge
to be found in them
are still hidden from view.

Each one of us
are just a little
like a book room.
Within the pages of our lives
are written
the gifts that we have been given.
Presents from Him who lives above.
Those gifts are talents
slightly used,
and hidden.
What are you doing
to find them within yourself today?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Gift of Faith

"Choose faith over doubt, choose faith over fear, choose faith over the unknown and the unseen, and choose faith over pessimism".  Bishop Richard C. Edgley

"When you have come to the edge of all light that you know
and are about to drop off into the darkness of the unknown,
Faith is knowing one of two things will happen: 
There will be something solid to stand on
or you will be taught how to fly". 

Many of the things that I believe in, are challenged and often dismissed in today's world.  The reality of the Savior, His atonment, the gospel, the commandments, obedience, and service are all critized and ridiculed.  As I look around at the messages that the world has for us today, I worry about what my children are faced with.  I worry about their testimonies in the world that we currenly live in.  I worry that the confusing, doubt and fear will be too much for them to deal with.  I worry that it is too much even for many in my generation. 
I have learned, that although is might be the way of our world today, we can still choose how we react to it. When our beliefs are challenged, we can develop and strengthen our knowledge of God.  We can learn His will for us.  We can come to know Him.  This is our opportunity to choose.
Because of all the conflicts around us today, I have made a choice.  It is a choice of peace and protection.  It is a choice of faith. Even in the midst of adversity,  I can choose to believe and live my life just a little better.  I have a very good friend who is a professed atheist.  He does not believe in God at all.  He has often told me that he doesn't understand how someone as smart as I am can fall for organized religion.  I used to get in many "discussions" with him over all of this.  Finally, one day, the answer was given to me.  I looked at him and said, "Friend, if you are right and I am wrong, if there really is no God, no life after death, no eternity, than who have I hurt with my life?  What decisions have I made that would matter?  If you are right and I am wrong, there will be no regrets, so it won't matter how I chose to live my life.  On the other hand, if I am right and you are wrong, you will have some explaining to do when I see you again". 

Faith requires each of us to "act as if" we have knowledge.  We have to act "as if" we know that it is possible.  I love the fact that the Savior said, “Come unto me” (Matthew 11:28) and “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Matthew 7:7). These are action verbs; come, knock, seek, find. They are choices that we each have to make.  So, I have decided to choose faith.  I will choose faith over fear, doubt, and unbelief. 
Because of faith, I have personally witnessed pain replaced with peace; sin replaced with repentace; grief replaced with joy; and trials replaced with hope. 
  • Because of my faith, I can work through the trials of my life with peace and assurance that He is in control and knows what I need. 
  • Because of my faith, I can turn my doubts and fears into hope for a better tomorrow.  
  • Because of my faith, I can be obedient in the things I do not understand. 
  • Because of my faith, I can choose to live the principles that I know are true.  No matter how hard they sometimes are.  
  • Because of my faith, I can know that I have a loving Heavenly Father who wants me to return to Him. 

 We each of the opportunity to choose how we will live, what we will do, and who we will follow. 
As for me, I choose faith.   


 The Faith of A Child
- Author unknown-
The father, a well digger,
Strong was he,
And as loving and kind
As a father could be.

And Mary his daughter,
Just five years old,
Was very much dearer
Than millions in gold.
To Mary her father
Was big, grand and nice,
So each had a treasure,
Beyond any price.

One day to the well,
Little Mary was sent
To take daddy’s lunch,
How gladly she went.
But when she looked down,
Not a thing could be seen.
The well, like a pocket,
Was dark as could be.

The father saw Mary
And heard her voice, too,
But made not a sound,
Just to see what she’d do.
She dropped to her knees,
The dear little soul,
And called down, “Oh, Daddy,
Are you down this hole?”

“Why, yes Mary darling,
I’m here at your feet,
Just drop my lunch
For I’m ready to eat.
Just let it go easy,
I’ll catch it all right.”
She did and she saw
It fall out of sight.

“Why Mary,” said father,
“There’s enough here for two,
Now this is the thing
I would like you to do.
You jump down here to me
And we’ll eat it together,
Down here in the cool
and away from the weather.”

“Oh, daddy, I’m afraid,
I can’t see you at all,
Be sure now you catch me
And don’t let me fall.”
‘Twas just for a moment
She wavered in doubt,
Then closing her dear
Little eyes she jumped out.

In the darkness, yes,
That was the test,
She trusted in faith
To her father’s request.
And both were so happy
He kissed her and smiled
Because of the sweet
Trusting faith of his child.

“Oh, sweet little Mary,
You put me to shame,
How often my Father
Has called me the same,
But because it was dark
I turned back in doubt.
Refusing the call,
Though his arms were stretched out