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, February 28, 2011

Sometimes, we get sick

This weekend, has been a long and difficult one.  I ended up getting a stomach bug and have been in bed for the past couple of days.  Sickness is never fun, especially for someone who does not slow down, or take it easy for very long.  I often wonder if sickness is the way Heaven makes me take it easy for a moment or two.
One of the things I was thinking about is how trials are like this sickness in my body right now.  Some things happen to us because of our own choices.  Some things happen to us because of others choices.  And some things happen just because it is part of life, and we were never promised an easy road.  I know (if I am honest about it) that when the trials in my life are at their most difficult, I learn so very much.  My faith increases, my mind and heart become more spiritual, and I become closer to my Heavenly Father.  After everything is over, I can look back and even be grateful for the difficulties that have been present in my life.
I am learning that there are many more choices in life than I ever thought there could be.  Sometimes, the choices are easy.  They are things that have definite right and wrongs.  My mind and heart are drawn easily toward one or the other.  Sometimes the choices are harder.  It might be a choice between two rights, or even a choice between two options that I would like to do.  But, my life is filled with choices.
One of the most important that I have come to recognize is the choice in how I act.  I can't pick my trials.  They have a habit of picking me and surprising me, but I can pick what I do about them.  I can pick whether or not I am happy.  I can chose to be calm and peaceful.  I can choose to be trusting and faithful.  I can choose to be the type of person that I have always admired.
So, as you go through your own trials today, remember that you too have choices.  You might not want to make them, I am not promising that they are easy, as a matter of fact, I can pretty much guarantee that they will probably be hard.  But, they are still your choices.  They are still your chance to have input and decision into your own life.  I know that it is a relief for me to know that the things around me aren't always completely out of my control.  It is enough for me that I can have some decisions to make.  I get to decide the most important thing of all, and that is my own attitude and actions.

Charles R. Swindoll 
The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude to me is more important than facts.... We cannot change our past...we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our attitudes.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Devotional - He will not leave thee

Hebrews 13:5  Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

In the fall of 1847, nine-year-old Joseph F. Smith; his widowed mother, Mary Fielding Smith; and his uncle Joseph Fielding were camped along the Missouri River on the way to Winter Quarters. The next morning they discovered that their best team of oxen was missing.
Joseph F. and his uncle searched long and hard for the oxen, becoming “soaked to the skin, fatigued, disheartened and almost exhausted.” Joseph F. said: “In this pitiable plight I was the first to return to our wagons, and as I approached I saw my mother kneeling down in prayer. I halted for a moment and then drew gently near enough to hear her pleading with the Lord not to suffer us to be left in this helpless condition, but to lead us to recover our lost team, that we might continue our travels in safety. When she arose from her knees I was standing nearby. The first expression I caught upon her precious face was a lovely smile, which discouraged as I was, gave me renewed hope and an assurance I had not felt before.”
She cheerfully encouraged Joseph and his uncle to sit and enjoy the breakfast she had prepared and said, “I will just take a walk out and see if I can find the cattle.” Despite her brother’s protests that further searching would be fruitless, Mary set out, leaving him and Joseph F. to eat breakfast. She encountered a nearby herdsman who indicated that he had seen the lost oxen in the direction opposite to her course. Joseph F. said, “We heard plainly what he said, but mother went right on, and did not even turn her head to look at him.” She soon beckoned to Joseph F. and his uncle, who ran to the spot where she stood. There they saw the oxen fastened to a clump of willows.
President Joseph F. Smith later said, “It was one of the first practical and positive demonstrations of the efficacy of prayer I had ever witnessed. It made an indelible impression upon my mind, and has been a source of comfort, assurance and guidance to me throughout all of my life.”  Life of Joseph F. Smith, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith (1938), 131–34.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Simple Moment- Beautiful Girl

This Moment

A single photo – no words 
 capturing a moment from our lives.

A simple, special, extraordinary moment.

A moment I want to pause, 
savor and remember.

A moment that brings a smile to my lips, 
and joy to my heart.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Inadequacy, I am doing it.

"Do not allow yourselves to be made to feel inadequate or frustrated because you cannot do everything others seem to be accomplishing. Only you and your Father in Heaven know your needs, strengths, and desires. Around this knowledge your personal course must be charted and your choices made."
~Marvin. J. Ashton

This simple quote, really struck home to me today.  In our busy world, I find it so easy to feel inadequate.  There are so many things that need my attention.  There are so many good things worth doing.  Somehow, I don't have the time or the energy to keep up.  In my life, I have discovered that my choices are not so much between good and bad, rather they are between good and good.  Like Mary and Martha, I am constantly struggling to choose the good part, the best part, the part that my Heavenly Father would have me choose.  

Thank goodness that facts and the truth can be vastly different realities. While the facts of life may be saying you're too short, too heavy, too far in debt, your house is too small and your kids don't even love you, the truth is our adequacy, worth and value is never, ever, never determined by anything external.

I challenge you to tear down the lies that say you aren't good enough, smart enough or gifted enough to do what your Heavenly Father is asking you to do. He knows who you are, and what you are capable of.  No matter what the world appears to be saying of you or no matter what your situation appears to be, remember that you are a child of God and He loves you.  
Satan would have us believe many lies, but especially 
The lie: Because of our weaknesses and failings, God is continually disappointed in, frustrated with, and even angry with us.  There is no way that such a perfect person could love someone us imperfect and sinful as I am.
But the TRUTH is more simple than that: 
God loves each and every one of us and rejoices in us because we are His children.  If we will only turn to Him, He will guide us, and lead us home.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Calvin and Hobbs

“You know Hobbes,
sometimes even my
lucky rocketship underpants
don’t help.” – Calvin

I read this today and forgive for saying this, but it made so much sense!!  I have had a week that I hope not to repeat very soon.  Suffice it to say that I was needed, although maybe not quite in a way I would have preferred. 
I received a phone call on Sunday morning to go to a friends house, she was having chest pain and did not want to call the Fire Department, so I got out of bed, got dressed, (called the fire department anyway), and met them at her house.  Then I drove 45 minutes away to the hospital on snowy, icy roads.  I brought a book, stayed all day, and visited as well as helped where I could.  I came back for several hours each day for the next few days. 
My sweet friend had to have stints put into her heart, so it was quite the interesting event.  Her family lives far away and I am the close one that they trusted to make the calls, check with the doctors, and make sure that she has the home care that she needs.  Her daughter and son were very worried, and it was a relief to them to know that I was staying with her as much as possible.
She hates it when other people worry about her.  She thought she was fine by herself, and she thought that I needed to be home with my family.  She truly loves me, I know that!  But, I see in her a vision of myself.  I think that we all want and desire to be independant.  We want to do it "alone".  We want to succeed because we were strong and determined, (or at least, I know that I do).  But as I have struggled with this week, I have also learned that Heavenly Father sends others where and when they are needed. 
You see, when the phone rang, I answered it out of a sound sleep and came instantly allert. I talked with her, made my decision and acted on it all without even getting out of bed.  I was dressed in less than a minute and running out the door.  I KNEW it was serious, and I knew that she needed to go to the hospital immediately.  I can't explain that feeling, but I was absolutely sure of it.  Everything I have done this week was done out of love, compassion and with a deep sense of knowledge that it was exactly what I needed to be doing. 
This week, I have learned that, if we truly listen, He will use us to help others and to bring them peace.  I have learned how important it is to trust those feelings and perceptions.  My heart is full of gratitude that I was able listen to that still small voice, to believe and trust in the feelings that came, and that everything contrived to provide a way for me to do what needed to be done.  Life is full of miracles.  Sometimes, we just have to look around us to find them.  We recognize them as miracles when we acknowledge the hand of God in our lives. 

"Love works in miracles every day:  such as weakening the strong, and strengthening the weak; making fools of the wise, and wise men of fools; favouring the passions, destroying reason, and in a word, turning everything topsy-truvy."  Marguerite De Valois

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday Devotional - You are not alone

"There are those among you who, although young, have already suffered a full measure of grief and sorrow. My heart is filled with compassion and love for you. How dear you are to the Church. How beloved you are of your Heavenly Father. Though it may seem that you are alone, angels attend you. Though you may feel that no one can understand the depth of your despair, our Savior, Jesus Christ, understands. He suffered more than we can possibly imagine, and He did it for us; He did it for you. You are not alone."

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Simple Moment - The Musician

A Simple Moment

A single photo – no words 
 capturing a moment from our lives.

A simple, special, extraordinary moment.

A moment I want to pause, 
savor and remember.

A moment that brings a smile to my lips, 
and joy to my heart.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Nutella Mini Brownies

Our family discovered these tasty little treats on someone else's blog by accident.  We can't seem to get enough of them and I have been making them every weekend for the past three weeks.  I even made them to hand out to the ladies after my lesson last week.  They disappeared without a single complaint (and there were none left to take home either!)  Anything that good deserves a place in the archives of my blog.  I hope you love them as much as we do!

Nutella Mini Brownies
  • 1/2 C Nutella spread
  • 1 Lg egg
  • 5 T. Flour
  • 1/4 C Hazelnuts (I used chopped walnuts)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a medium bowl whisk until completely blended
  3. Line a mini muffin pan with paper liners
  4. Fill the muffin liners with the batter (approx. 3/4 full)
  5. Sprinkle with nuts
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Toothpick will come out moist with crumbs attached.
  7. Cool completely (if your kids will leave them alone) on a cooling rack and serve immediately.

Word of warning, I double this recipe (quadrupled it for church) and never manage to save any until the next day.  a single recipe would give you approximately 24 of the little gems, double would be 48.  They are tiny (about the size of a truffle) and pack a lot of flavor in every bite.  Don't let the ingredients fool you.  These are practically perfect in every way!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Choice and Accountability

The greatest battles of life are fought in the silent chambers of the soul.
--David O. McKay--

When we first moved to this small town in the mountains, I immediately loved it.  but it wasn't long before I discovered the one thing that I really don't always like about it. It is a very small town.  When one of my girls first got into trouble at school, I heard about it at the Post Office before she ever got off the school bus in the afternoon.  If one of them are fighting with their friends, I hear about the fight, what was said, what was done, and whose fault it probably is, long before the child tells me herself.  It has been a very difficult thing for me to get used to.  
There are also some good things about it.  When someone gets an award at school, everyone who sees them congratulates them by name.  They see their school teachers at church, at the store, or in the local restaurants.  The entire school turns out to the sporting events (and so does most of the community).  When your child succeeds at anything, everyone knows and is happy for them.    
Every choice we make has consequences.  Probably, many of them are not quite as immediate as they are in my small town, but they are there nevertheless.  I think it is important to realize that we all get to choose much more in this life than we think.  We choose how we will react, what we will say, what we believe, what we hope and even what we dream.  Most of all, we get to choose our own attitude about how we are going to cope with whatever trials and difficulties come our way.    
I have learned in my life that we all make choices.  Some are good choices, and some are bad ones.  I have also learned that we have a loving Heavenly Father who does not love the sin, but completely loves the sinner.  He can forgive us where others might struggle to do likewise.  He knows when the heart is repentant and the soul really wants to come home.  He is the reason that I can look through my past, toward a better and brighter future.  He is the reason that I treasure my choice.  

"When you choose the first step on the path, you also choose the last".

Today...I Can Choose
Author Unknown
Today comes with built in decisions, great and small.  The clothes I put on, the road I travel, the people whose lives I touch...in fact, nearly everything in my day depends  on how I choose. Today I can choose to carry the blame myself, or to hold out a helping hand...to shout out loud in anger, or to wait ten seconds...to cloud someone's mind with doubt, or to lift a heart with encouragement.
Today I can choose to count stars or to count mud puddles.  When I go to the store, I can choose to see how much there is to buy instead of how much I have to pay.  When I get stuck in traffic, I can see, in every other car, a person just as important as me. Today, because I live in a free land, there are a thousand things I can choose: The neighborhood I live in, the friends I laugh with, the work I do, the thoughts I think, the dreams I dare. And what I will become, in spite of my fears and failures, in spite of the talents I lack, in spite of all the privileges I never had, depends on how I choose to challenge myself today. For I have power, if I choose, to act instead of complaining...to speak out instead of cherishing a hurt...to seek justice instead of getting even...to love the world instead of waiting for the world to embrace me first. What I choose today may well be the cause of my tomorrow.  Today...I shall live as I choose. 
Let me choose wisely and well...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - I Can Do It

Sometimes, all it takes to succeed is just a little belief in ourselves. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Giving Thanks

Today, I have been wondering about giving thanks.  As always, when I am feeling reflective, I turn to the Savior who is the ultimate example of us all.  I love reading the story of the ten lepers.  The Scripture story is found in Luke 17:12-19
12  And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:
13  And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.
14  And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.
15  And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,
16  And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.
17  And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?
18  There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.
19  And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

I wonder how the Savior felt when only one returned to thank Him.  He did this amazing miracle and they were so excited that they hurried off without even a single word of thanks.  The one who did return to thank Him was a Samaritan.  These were people who did not believe.  Yet, this one man remembered and returned.    I find it interesting that ten were cleansed, but only one was made whole.  I think that this must have been a wonderful and amazing blessing in his life.
Bishop Merrill J. Bateman taught: “In becoming a whole person, the grateful leper was healed inside as well as on the outside. That day nine lepers were healed skin deep, but only one had the faith to be made whole” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1995, 16; or Ensign, May 1995, 14).
The Savior alone knows how help us.  It is to Him that we owe our gratitude.  I think of His great example of strength.  What strength He must have had to almost never be thanked or appreciated.  What strength it must have taken to continue walking with those who did not recognize who He was or what His purpose was in coming.  May each of us take a moment today (or even several moments) to remember those things which we have been blessed with in our lives.  May we each remember Him who helps to bear our burdens and heal our hearts.  May our faith in Him help each of us to truly become whole.  

Washed Clean
by Boyd K. Packer
In ancient times the cry “Unclean!”
Would warn of lepers near.
“Unclean! Unclean!” the words rang out;
Then all drew back in fear,
Lest by the touch of lepers’ hands
They, too, would lepers be.
There was no cure in ancient times,
Just hopeless agony.
No soap, no balm, no medicine
Could stay disease or pain.
There was no salve, no cleansing bath,
To make them well again.
But there was One, the record shows,
Whose touch could make them pure;
Could ease their awful suffering,
Their rotting flesh restore.
His coming long had been foretold.
Signs would precede His birth.
A Son of God to woman born,
With power to cleanse the earth.
The day He made ten lepers whole,
The day He made them clean,
Well symbolized His ministry
And what His life would mean.
However great that miracle,
This was not why He came.
He came to rescue every soul
From death, from sin, from shame.
For greater miracles, He said,
His servants yet would do,
To rescue every living soul,
Not just heal up the few.
Though we’re redeemed from mortal death,
We still can’t enter in
Unless we’re clean, cleansed every whit,
From every mortal sin.
What must be done to make us clean
We cannot do alone.
The law, to be a law, requires
A pure one must atone.
He taught that justice will be stayed
Till mercy’s claim be heard
If we repent and are baptized
And live by every word. …
If we could only understand
All we have heard and seen,
We’d know there is no greater gift
Than those two words—“Washed clean!”