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.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Writers Workshop - How I hate Labels

Writing Prompts:
    • Choose a prompt from the list of writing prompts provided that inspires you most.
    • Write.
    • Go to Mama Kat's and paste the URL from your post into the list of links that will be displayed…this way anyone can click on your post thumbnail and head over to your place to see what you wrote.
To view more detailed instructions on how this weekly meme works, check out the Writer’s Workshop FAQs.

Writing Prompts:
1.) What type of flowers would be in a bouquet that best describes you?
2.) A memorable fishing trip.
3.) Yuck. Food Poisoning
4.) 10 things you would do if you didn’t have to work.
5.) What’s your stance on ‘labeling’? Were you labeled as a child? Have you labeled your own children? How do you feel about this?
Wordle: LABELS

I chose number five.   This is my stance on Labeling.

Labeling, it is all around us; nearly everywhere you look.  Just listen to the little girls on the playground at school.  It starts as young as six or seven and continues on well into adulthood.  I think we have to be so careful what labels we give people, even those we love.  Our children hear enough negatives from the kids at school, from those who don't like them (or like you either).  Their world is filled with "not being good enough".  There are invisible labels in every TV show and every song on the radio.  Sometimes, the labels can be positive, but often, the labels mess with our heads and have negative connotations for our emotions and feelings.  We are bombarded on every side with the expectations of who we should be, instead of acceptance  of who we really are.  I think that any label given to tease or shame or put down, should never pass our lips.  Anything we say about someone should be said in love and kindness.  I love Mother Therese's quote that says:  "If you judge them, you have no time to love them."  I think that labels are a form of judging, and take away from the wonderful, awesomeness that every single son and daughter of God possesses.  They remind us of who we are not, instead of who we really are.  I think, I am choosing not to let the labels be in control of my life.  I have heard them enough.  Now it is time to hear Him.

Galations 5:22
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
"The Church is not a place where perfect people gather to say perfect things, or have perfect thoughts, or have perfect feelings. The Church is a place where imperfect people gather to provide encouragement, support, and service to each other as we press on in our journey to return to our Heavenly Father.
Each one of us will travel a different road during this life. Each progresses at a different rate. Temptations that trouble your brother may not challenge you at all. Strengths that you possess may seem impossible to another.
Never look down on those who are less perfect than you. Don’t be upset because someone can’t sew as well as you, can’t throw as well as you, can’t row or hoe as well as you.
We are all children of our Heavenly Father. And we are here with the same purpose: to learn to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves."  Joseph B. Wirthlin
Love Is The Way
by Patricia A Pitterle

I'm too short.  I'm too fat.
I'm too thin.  I'm too tall.
I'm too shy.  I'm too loud.
I don't talk at all.
I'm too young.  I'm too old.
I'm too serious.  I'm too quaint.
The voices condem me
For not being a saint.

Whose are these voices
Yelling loud in my head
If I listen, I hear things
Better not ever said?
What do they know?
What do they see?
What makes them so sure
They are better than me.

They can't see my heart
Or the sweet Spirit's touch   
They can't hear the whispers
Of a soul filled with such  
Sadness and aching
And longing for love
Seeking safety from darkness
From the Father Above.

They can't hear the words
Of a short, simple prayer.
Coming straight from the heart
Filled with love that is there.
The words speak compassion,
Kindness and delight
Until I behold
A world filled with His light. 

They can't see my faith
In the judgements of sin.
They can't know how it hurts
Always watching them win.
They don't listen to hope
As it swells in my breast
Praying for friendship
In my deepest distress.

To them, I am a burden
I'll never be right.
They want me to go
All alone in the night.
They want to keep perfect
Their own little place
They have forgotten
They too, need His Grace.

Each of His children
Have struggles and cares.
Each one fights a battle
In a world that's not fair.
Each one has burdens
Yet, in His eyes
Each one has worth
No matter their size!

So take a deep breath,
Breathe in and breathe out
Now listen to His voice
It's quiet, don't shout.
He will tell you the things
That He wants you to know.
To keep you on the path
That will help you to grow.

Life isn't easy
He has never said so,
But He's promised the burden
Is His, let it go.
Be kind to His children
Remember, Love is the way
That we can return
To be with Him some day.  

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My achy, breaky heart

Today, is a hard day.  My heart hurts.  My breath aches. My eyes are filled with tears.  I just want you to know that many people struggle.  Some people never see the hurt, or the pain that they cause.  Some people don’t realize what they do.  Some people don’t know or understand what mean-ness is all about.  At least, I like to hope that they don’t.  I like to think that they wouldn’t make these choices if they really knew. 
So today, I am going to talk about my little pioneer.  She is going through a hard time.  She has a disease that makes her different from the other children her age.  She was diagnosed a little over a year ago.  It has not been easy for her. 
I remember the day we went to the doctor’s office to try and find out what was going on.  We knew something was wrong.  We had never seen anything like this before; neither had the doctor.  That doctor called another doctor, who called another doctor and so on.  They kept sending us to new doctors.  It seemed as if no one on the mountain could diagnose the problem. 
Finally, we found a pediatrician that knew what to look for.  She sat down and talked to my little sweetheart, and promised that we would find out what was wrong.  She told her that the first thing she was looking for was a brain tumor.  That was a shock.  It made it the hardest day ever, but she sent us to the hospital for all the tests, and had us wait for the results.  She called us within an hour to give us the news that the results were negative.  We were so relieved.  We wrapped our arms around each other and cried tears of joy.  We both decided that we could deal with anything now that that was out of the way.
So the doctor referred us to Phoenix Children’s hospital to a specialist.  They were able to diagnose the disease.  It was not one that I ever thought possible.  We hoped that it would go away; we wanted it to go away; we prayed that it would go away; but it did not.  It was still there every night when she went to bed, and every morning when she got up.
I have never known anyone to handle it as well as this child.  I have been able to realize that nothing has changed really.  She is still the same child that I have always loved.  She is still just as beautiful, just as strong, and just as amazing as she has always been.  Maybe even more so, because now I see what she must go through to just try and fit in.  Now I see what she must endure.  Now I am starting to realize just how much I admire and respect her.  Most of all, I am starting to realize just how much she must mean to our Heavenly Father.  He knows exactly what she needs to develop into the daughter that He needs her to be. 
But still, I would take away high school if I could.  I would endure it for her.  I would wish that her heart did not hurt every single day.  I cannot; but I can love her; I can support her, and I can always remember who she is and what she can become.  I can’t “fix” things, or take away her trials.  I can only hold her while she cries and remind her that she is loved and wanted and needed exactly the way she is.  In spite of her disease that continues to make her different from her peers.
I think we could handle the disease.  It is not the worst thing to ever happen.  But, it is the bullying, the name-calling, the un-acceptance, the people who think that she can just “decide” to stop and everything will be well.  The people who don’t see the problem on most days, so on a bad day, they think she is faking.  The teachers who don’t help her to learn, the school who tries to ignore it and hopes that I won’t cause any problems. 
It is all the little things concerning how others see her and treat her that cause the most hurt with this.  It is hard enough to be a teenager without having others continually tell you and show you how different you are. 
So, my point, none of us can possibly know exactly what anyone is going through.  None of us can walk in their shoes, or feel their pain.  Sometimes, we can experience something similar, but we are each unique.  We need to be so careful what we say to others.  It is the things that we say (or sometimes don’t say) that do the most damage. 
I can tell you from personal experience that I don’t remember near as much of the physical abuse that I suffered as I remember the words that were said to me time after time.  It is the words that come back to my head when I am feeling blue.  It is the negative statements that come back to haunt me and that find a hold in my heart. 
Talk to your children about differences.  Just because someone is handicapped or acts differently, doesn’t mean that they can’t be hurt.  It doesn’t mean that they are not “normal”.  It doesn’t mean that they don’t feel, and need, and laugh, and cry.  It doesn’t mean that they are not human, with all the emotions and thoughts that go with that wonderful blessing. 
Talk to your children about kindness.  What it means, what it is, and how it works.  Teach them that words can make a difference to someone.  That being included can mean so much to someone who is not part of the group.  Teach them that it is never Ok to be a bully.  That it is never ok to poke fun or tease.  Teach them the golden rule and how it applies to each one of Heavenly Father’s children. 
Most of all, teach them that every single one of us are children of a Heavenly Father who loves us.  He knows our differences.  He knows our challenges.  He knows our pain.  He alone knows the price we pay to be different. 
May each of us strive just a little harder to be just a little bit better to all those who are around us.  May kindness be more than just something we preach.  May we always remember that we are His hands, His eyes, and His heart while we are hear upon the earth.  
Too often, we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. ~Leo Buscaglia
And one more for you to remember:
During my second year of nursing school our professor gave us a quiz. I breezed through the questions until I read the last one: "What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?" Surely this was a joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Before the class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our grade. "Absolutely," the professor said. "In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say hello." I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy. ~Joann C. Jones
I am also joining up with Life Unmasked for this one.  Write a post, or post a picture or a poem that talks about how you really feel.  Then join us over with Joy at Joy in this journey, to link up and share. 
Life: UnmaskedIt is a new writing prompt and I already think that I will love it. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

A few degrees

I listened to a talk in church couple of weeks ago, and the speaker referenced a talk given by President Uchtdorf in conference a couple years ago. The talk is amazing. I thought I would share just a small portion of it, but I encourage you to also go and read it. He is much better at speaking than I am.
In 1979 a large passenger jet with 257 people on board left New Zealand for a sightseeing flight to Antarctica and back. Unknown to the pilots, however, someone had modified the flight coordinates by a mere two degrees. This error placed the aircraft 28 miles (45 km) to the east of where the pilots assumed they were. As they approached Antarctica, the pilots descended to a lower altitude to give the passengers a better look at the landscape. Although both were experienced pilots, neither had made this particular flight before, and they had no way of knowing that the incorrect coordinates had placed them directly in the path of Mount Erebus, an active volcano that rises from the frozen landscape to a height of more than 12,000 feet (3,700 m).
As the pilots flew onward, the white of the snow and ice covering the volcano blended with the white of the clouds above, making it appear as though they were flying over flat ground. By the time the instruments sounded the warning that the ground was rising fast toward them, it was too late. The airplane crashed into the side of the volcano, killing everyone on board.
It was a terrible tragedy brought on by a minor error—a matter of only a few degrees.
Through years of serving the Lord and in countless interviews, I have learned that the difference between happiness and misery in individuals, in marriages, and families often comes down to an error of only a few degrees.
Oh, could I just tell you how much I loved this, and how much sense it makes to me. Our lives can get off course. Things happen. We make bad choices along with good ones. It doesn't take much to move us off track. As a matter of fact, I have learned that getting off track can be way too easy. You might not even realize it has happened until you realize that you can't get back.
We are surrounded by so many things that can help us, but those same things, if used inappropriately can also be responsible for taking us off the path that leads to our Heavenly Father. Think about the internet for example. I love the internet. I get to blog! I also can look up information and find the things I need to know, and of course, I can shop. But the bad things that go with the internet can cause me so many problems. I can choose to look up and view the wrong type of information. I can shop way too much and spend too much money. I can also waste enormous amounts of time on things that take me away from the people that matter most to me.
We have to be extra careful that all the small things around us that can make life easier and more satisfying, aren't the same things that cause us to go a few degrees off our course back home to our Heavenly Father. Remember that the difference between happiness and misery is often just a matter of a few eternal degrees. And don't forget, (just in case you are not perfect!), just as there are things that can lead you off course, there are also things that can help you get back on course. Repentance is possible. We can change our course and fix what mistakes we have made. It requires courage, but it is so worth it. You are choice and precious to our Heavenly Father. He loves you, now and always.

Not a single one of us can go back and change the past. We can't change the decisions we made, or the mistakes that happened. But every single one of us, can start today and have a brand new ending. It only takes a little courage, and a willingness to be more than we are right now.

Linking up today for motivational Monday over with Laura at Living a Big Story.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sabbath Day Scribblings - You Make It

"The happy life is not ushered in at any age to the sound of drums and trumpets. It grows upon us year by year, little by little, until at last we realize that we have it. It is achieved in individuals not by flights to the moon or Mars, but by a body of work done so well that we can lift our heads with assurance and look the world in the eye. Of this be sure: You do not find the happy life … you make it." President Thomas S. Monson

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Simple Moment - Learning to Play

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, September 23, 2011

Five Minute Friday - Growing

It is time for my favorite part of the week.  A time when I get to be myself, and not think too hard about the words that I want to write.  A time when the creative juices go into overtime and just write.
We write for five minutes flat on Fridays.
We write bold and beautiful and free. Unscripted and unedited. We just write without worrying if it’s just write or not.
Won’t you join us?
    1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
    2. Link back here with the Gypsy Mama and invite others to join in.
    3. Go a little overboard encouraging the writer who linked up before you.
OK, are you ready? Give me your best five minutes on:



The first thing that I think of when I ponder growing is simply watching all my children grow up; tall and strong, bold and free, thoughtful and concerned.  It is seeing them change from babies, to children, to teenagers, to adults.  It is all about watching the process.  Watching them learn, question, go to school, play, work, worry, date, marry and have small babies of their own.  Watching how they meet all of life's challenges head on.  Watching them continue to grow and learn.  It is seeing your child become a husband or a wife; a mother or a father.  It is seeing them change.  It is about holding them tight, and letting them go to grow and learn on their own.  It is about finding the joy in the constant ebb and flow of life.  
Yet, as I think more on this I realize that I too am constantly growing.  Growing up, growing out, growing fat (but never thin!)  Growing in testimony, growing in righteousness, growing in love.  There are so many areas of my life where I find myself learning and growing, more and more, and I realize that growing isn't all about children.  It is about each and every one of us; the sons and daughters of a loving Heavenly Father.  As I learn through my trials, I grow in faith.  As I am challenged, I grow in strength.  As I stand up for those things which I believe, I grow in integrity.  As I learn to love those around me, I grow in compassion and charity.  I am learning that it is up to me to prepare myself for the growth that is a gift from God.  It is up to me to be willing to change and become the woman that He is making me to be.  I choose to turn my heart toward the gift of grace.  I choose to accept Him into my life.  I choose to turn toward eternity.  I choose to come to know Him.  I choose to GROW.


So, what do you have to say in just five minutes?  Come and share and grow with the rest of us over at The Gypsy Mama.  

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Writer's Workshop - Where I am from

Writing Prompts:

Choose a writing prompt from the list provided that inspires you most.


Go over to Mama Kat's and paste the URL from your post into the list of links that will be displayed…this way anyone can click on your post thumbnail and head over to your place to see what you wrote.

Writing Prompts:

1.) Your crazy in laws.
2.) Where I’m From poem. Copy this template and fill in the blanks.
3.) Share a family favorite childhood recipe.
4.) A time you felt wronged by a teacher.
5.) Your top ten Fall Fashion favorites.


I am from shoebox dollhouses, homemade doll clothes, and imagination, from  Mrs. Beasley and Little Kiddles.
I am from the too small, rented duplex, with the white washed rooms, from Harry Street and bear feet.  From dirt alleys and sandboxes.
I am from the gravel driveways, the prickly, pokey saguaro cactus landscapes and the shade trees growing tall and strong in the back yards of my friends.
I am from singing at the top of my lungs off key and out of tune and stubbornness, from Grandma Gunder and Granny and Grandpa Chlarson and from Shirley and Lynn. I am from Pioneer stock.
I am from the laughter with my brother and my sister, from the tears when we got into trouble, (seemingly, way too frequently).  I am from hopes in a brighter tomorrow and from fears that my life will never change.  I am from the wonder of childhood, and the ecstasy of growing up.
From "you're too fat and "do your ears hang low, do they wobble to and fro".
I am from bits and pieces of many religions and from finally finding my place at last, not just in a religion, but in a life.  In a life that puts my Savior first and teaches me to walk with Him.  It is welcome change for being blown back and forth and moment by moment.  I am from loving no matter what and in sneaking out my bedroom window to go to church.  I am from changing my life from a sad, lonely existance to those things that matter most of all. I am from hurt and pain, and grace and forgiveness.
I’m from Oregon and England, Tamales and oatmeal cake.
From the time my brother and I drank water from the mudpuddle while playing cowboys and indians (and became very sick!), and the babysitting box that I made for myself with toys and games for the children that I took care of when I started earning my own money, and the nights when I tried to help my sister quit sucking her thumb by giving her mine instead.  (Sadly, that did not work for her). 
I am from the pictures kept in a small cardboard box inside my mothers safety deposit box, to the pictures in the two sticky photo albums of my childhood and the one photo album that I made with my own hands when I was in seventh grade.  In it, I placed the only five pictures of myself as a child that I have today.  When I see them, I see parts of me that look just like my children did, and my grandchildren do now.  It reminds me that I am just a little bit, in them, and they are from me. 
I am from a hard life, but one in whose cycle I have managed to break and not carry on.  I am from strength and courage and faith and hope.  I have become love, with feelings that bubble up and out and fill the hearts and lives of those around me. 

I am also linking up with Bigger Picture Blogs for Writer Me.  Come join us with your own rendition of Where I am From!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Things We Learn From Scriptures

I am linking up today with Bigger Picture Moments to share a moment of the week that is part of the Bigger Picture.  Hope to see you there!

My family gathers together in the mornings (at 5:30am) to read the scriptures together.  This year, we are reading the Old Testament.  I am determined that my girls will not leave my house without having read all of the standard works.  It is important to me.  I want them to love the words or our Heavenly Father.  I want them to find answers to their prayers in the scriptures, as well as to learn from those that have gone before.
This morning was a hard lesson, and I wasn't sure quite how to discuss it with them.
We were reading in 2 Samuel and came to the 13th Chapter. It is the story of David's daughter Tamar, and her half-brother Amnon. David had several children, three of whom are crucial to this story at this time. The names of the children are Amnon, the son of David and Ahinoam; and Tamar and Absalom, the son and daughter of David and Maacah. 
Amnon became infatuated with his half-sister Tamar. He became involved in a plot to have her physically. Through a series of horrible events, he was able to accomplish is task and raped her. Once he had finished, the scripture says:
Then Amnon hated her exceedingly; so that the hatred wherewith he hated her was greater than the love wherewith he had loved her. And Amnon said unto her, Arise, be gone.
Tamar was defiled and would be unable to marry in Israel.  So she mourned as if she were a widow.  Her brother Absalom vowed revenge and waited and planned for two years until he was able to, finally, kill Amnon.  
This entire story is so sad.  Somehow, I missed this story in my study of the Bible before.  I missed the grief that became such a part of David's life. I missed reading about Tamar.  I missed how her brother treated her and than despised her for his own actions.  
What a piling up of sin upon sin this became.  It destroyed Tamar's virginity and possibly her chance at having a future family.  It destroyed David's family. It produced burning hatred and great sorrow.  All of this from the thoughts and actions of one man.  All of this from selfishness and lust.  
It makes me wonder how often this happens in life today.  Women are exploited by men and than the men despise the women instead of themselves.  How ironic.  The same thing continues to happen today.  All I have to do is look at the commercials on TV, or even the TV programs themselves to see the blatant way that women are looked at and expected to become.   
I had a discussion with my daughters about how people who make bad choices can't bear to be around each other.  How lust is never, ever love.  It only pretends to be for a short time.  We talked about how important it is to keep the commandments and to honor each other in the way we treat each other.  We talked about how important it is to continue to do what is right no matter what others might tell us.  
We also talked about sin and the possibility of forgiveness.  We talked about Tamar and how she did nothing wrong.  She was not at fault for the decision of her brother.  She was still innocent.  Then our discussion progressed to the things that girls are asked to do today.  To the challenges and the problems with living today, in a society that seems to have forgotten where they came from, and who is responsible for all of our blessings.  
I am sharing this because, although it was a hard scripture to read, it has sparked much discussion in this houseful of girls.  It has made them ponder and study and talk together about what is right and wrong, what is acceptable and what is not.  
The scriptures have been a blessing, in spite of the hard subject matter.  I think that is what matters most of all.  We are all learning, whether we are new students, or a little bit older, the scriptures have messages for each one of us to share and learn.  
What are you learning today?

Monday, September 19, 2011

What Love Really Is

"Life in abundance comes only through great love." Elbert Hubbard 

Have you ever wondered what love really is?  I know there was a time in my life when I did.  I could not understand what was wrong with me, or why love seemed to totally elude me.  I always wanted to be the person that was married for 75 years, to the same spouse.  The wife who knew what made her husband happy, the little old lady walking down the street, holding her husbands hand and still, very much in love.
I wanted to be the mom who had the house that every other kid in town wanted to live at.  I wanted to be happy, loving, caring, calm and quiet.   I wanted my kids to love being with me.  I wanted them to have fun and to laugh a lot.  I wanted them to believe that I was nearly perfect.
I had a lot of growing up to do, and a lot of discovery about myself to do also.  Sadly, none of those dreams have come true for me.  I am still learning how to bridle my passions, how to not be annoyed when I am interrupted, how to enjoy homework, arguing, fighting, pushing and pinching.  I have come to find that love is not at all like I dreamed, but is even better than I ever imagined.  I have come to learn what love really means, as well as some of the things that it is not.  Let me share just a few of them with you.
Love is not a feeling. No matter what the poetry says, no matter what the books you read say.  Love is a verb.  A verb is an action word.  An action word requires some type of action on our part.  It is not passive, (Though we often act as if it were).
Love is not something that we fall into, or out of. It is not a crack on the pavement, or a deep hole in the ground.  It can not take any action on it's own.  It needs us to make it work.  It is a willingness to change, a willingness to serve.
Love is an accumulation of many, tiny, small acts of service.  It is the little things that are done for the ones that we care about.  It is a choice we make, to put someone else's needs about our own. It is learning to be unselfish, caring and kind.  But, it’s even more than that; love is a sincere desire for the other person’s happiness.
Love is changing diapers in the middle of the night, fixing dinner, reading stories, reading scriptures, prayer, cleaning up after others.  It is doing the laundry and the dishes.  It is going to movies that are not your favorite, and watching "Tangled" 300 times in a month, and snuggling down with a sick child when you would rather be doing something else.  Love is knowing that you are holding hearts in your hands, and not doing things to damage them.  Love is choosing not to be angry or cranky. Love is honor and respect for one another.  It is understanding that we are all different.  It is allowing hearts to mesh together, while the edges grow and become what we were meant to be.
The most important thing about love that I have learned is that it is a gift.  Both a gift that you give to another, and also a gift that you give yourself.  It is finding the strength within to forgive the hurts that you will surely suffer.  I believe that it is important to love yourself, to forgive yourself, to realize and accept that you are not perfect.  I believe when we are humble, we are more open to finding love in all the right places.  A lasting love, the hand-holding, walk you across the street, kind of love.  A love that is nurtured and that grows from your heart right into eternity.

“Because,” words by Edward Teschemacher (1902).

Because you come to me with naught save love,
And hold my hand and lift mine eyes above,
A wider world of hope and joy I see,
Because you come to me.

Because you speak to me in accents sweet,
I find the roses waking round my feet,
And I am led through tears and joy to thee,
Because you speak to me.

Because God made thee mine, I’ll cherish thee
Through light and darkness, through all time to be,
And pray His love may make our love divine,
Because God made thee mine.

I am linking up today for Meditation Mondays over at Living a Big Story.  Hope to see you there with your own meditation for the week.  

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sabbath Day Scribblings - We are not perfect

"The Church is not a place where perfect people gather to say perfect things, or have perfect thoughts, or have perfect feelings. The Church is a place where imperfect people gather to provide encouragement, support, and service to each other as we press on in our journey to return to our Heavenly Father.
Each one of us will travel a different road during this life. Each progresses at a different rate. Temptations that trouble your brother may not challenge you at all. Strengths that you possess may seem impossible to another.
Never look down on those who are less perfect than you. Don’t be upset because someone can’t sew as well as you, can’t throw as well as you, can’t row or hoe as well as you.
We are all children of our Heavenly Father. And we are here with the same purpose: to learn to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love our neighbor as  ourselves."  The Virtue of Kindness, Joseph B. Wirthlin, April 2005
Mark 12: 30-31
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Simple Moment - No More Braces

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, September 16, 2011

Five Minute Friday - Joy

Oh, it is my favorite time of the week again.  Won’t you link up with us?  The rules are simple, and I think you will find that the rewards are great!

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link up over at The Gypsy Mama and invite others to join in.
3. Go a little overboard encouraging the writer who linked up before you.

OK, are you ready? Give me your best five minutes on:



I am learning a lot about Joy this year.  Both what it is as well as what is isn't.  To me, joy is not only happiness.  It is not something that you only feel when everything is going great.  It is not something that only appears once in a while and is fleeting and then gone. 
Joy, to me, is something you feel when you have done all that you can do, and you accept, release, and let go of your difficulties.  You turn them over to the One who can bear them for you.  You give them up and allow Him to take them from you.  It is what you feel in spite of those trials. 
Joy is more than happiness.  Joy is the ultimate sensation of well being.  It is knowing that you are in harmony with your Heavenly Father teachings and commandments.  It has nothing to do with what we possess.  Joy comes from what a person is not from what he has or appears to have.
Joy makes my heart sing.  It gives me assurance that I am not alone.  It does not doubt, it does not judge, it is a moment when I love with my whole heart and soul.  It is a moment when I am close to Him and feel Him close to me. 
Feeling joy does not mean that you will never have trials.  But it does mean that you will have to ability to walk through them, learn from them, and have joy in spite of them.


Now it is your turn.  Write for five minutes then come back and join us here.  I can't wait to see what you think of JOY.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Writers Workshop - Hurt Feelings

Joining up with Mama Kat's today for her weekly writer's workshop. Hope to see you there! Feel free to join us for another fun filled week of inspiration!! Pick your poison...
This Week's Prompts

1.) Locked out. 
2.) Write about a time you wanted to disappear.
3.) An inappropriate time to laugh. 
4.) A time you hurt a friends feelings. 
5.) Advice to new mothers.

I chose number 4, to write about a time I hurt someone's feelings.

It was a couple of years ago and I was talking to some friends about a book that I had been reading. The book talked about things that we can do to get closer to our Heavenly Father. It talked about changing things in our lives in order to be His people. One of the things it talked a lot about was things we can do to show respect and reverence. The book also mentioned what was appropriate to wear to church, and what was not. It talked about choosing not to wear "beach attire" to worship the Lord in, and how our dress should always reflect our love and veneration for our Heavenly Father and His Son.
I was talking to a couple of the people at my work, because they were in positions to understand the author and to tell me what they honestly thought. I wasn't sure what I thought of it, and I thought some of it might be just a little harsh, but I could see the point in dressing up for Sunday. Sometimes, I can be one of those people that don't like being told what to do. I don't like having to admit that I might be wrong. And I must admit that I was guilty of wearing the so called "beach attire" myself from time to time. Especially the jean skirts and flip flops. I have always been one to be comfortable whenever possible.
However, one of the women that I work with was going to a funeral that day.at my church. Unbeknownst to me, in her truck she had a jean skirt and flip flops to wear to the service. Although I was not talking to her, or about her, she heard our conversation and took it as being judgmental and as belittling how she dressed.
She was devastated, upset, and hurt that what she had wasn't good enough to go to the funeral of a friend in our church. She was upset because she felt as if we were not only judging her, but condemning her because her beliefs were different than ours.
Let's just say it was not a good day. For any of us. I apologized, but the damage was done. It was many weeks before she forgave me for my insensitive remarks. I felt terrible. Although I truly did not mean to hurt her and was not talking about her or to her, nevertheless, my remarks caused her pain and drove a wedge between us.  
I would never have knowingly or willingly hurt her. I have learned from this experience. I am much more careful what remarks I make and who might overhear when I am making any remarks at all. I am not perfect, but I am trying and learning and working on it.
I do think it is important not to hurt the feelings of others. We can't always prevent it, but if we are a little more conscious of what we are saying and who is overhearing, I think we can better avoid offending others.
I have been hurt enough in my life with the words and deeds of others. I don't like to, or want to, be the person giving the hurt, unintentional or otherwise. I do not expect others to be like me. I don't mind or notice what other's wear to church. I think you make the decision to do what is best for you and your family.
I have changed the way I dress, not because of a book, but because I want to show my Heavenly Father that He is always worth the extra effort it takes for me to dress up my physical body as well as my spiritual one. I have learned that I don't have to talk about my decision. It is not necessary to ask anyone else what I should or shouldn't do. It is not and never will be my place to judge anyone else (thank goodness!).
I have learned that one of the most Christlike things we can do for others is simply to love them and accept them, no matter how they are different from us. We teach by example much better than we will ever teach by words and mistakes. So, when I think something is right, I will simply model that behavior and let others pick up on it as they choose. That is the best way that I know of to teach. It is the way the Savior taught, after all. If we all worked on sharing a little more of His love, and a little less of our own judgement, the world would be a better place.

Mother Theresa once said, "If you judge them, you have no time to love them."

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What 911 means to me

It was hate 
that drove the planes
into the twin towers
on that September day.

It was hate 
that made a group of men
hijack another plane
and fly it into the pentagon.

It was hate 
that sent yet another plane
filled with people
to their death in a farmer's field.

made the decision
to bring death and destruction
to our home, our nation, and our world.

It was love 
that brought strangers together
on that fateful 
September morning.  

It was love 
that gave them courage
to help each other
through the inky blackness.

It was love 
that sent fireman
and policeman up into the smoke
for strangers.

It was love 
that gave strangers courage
to band together and stop
more senseless murder of innocents.

It is love
that reminds us 
every single year
of the sacrifice of heroes.  

It is love
that gives us the courage
to change our nation
and our world.

It is love
that lifts hearts out of tragedy,
brings compassion to the aching
and healing to our souls.

It is love
that makes a difference.
Indeed, it makes
All the difference.  

Monday, September 12, 2011

Teaching Chastity

I am linking up with Laura over at Living a Big Story blog for meditation Mondays.  This is what I am thinking about this week!

I am a relief society teacher.  This means that I teach the women in the church one Sunday every month.  This month, the lesson was on chastity.  That is a really hard subject for me, and I studied and prayed a lot to be able to teach it.  I struggle with it, because it is such a hard subject to teach my children about.  I know how I feel, but I struggle explaining how very, very important it is to follow that one teaching.  I spent so much time over the past four weeks preparing to teach this.  I read the teaching of the Prophets, the scriptures, the manuals and prayed often that I would be able to teach in a manner of love and understanding.  
I have found within myself, a renewed purpose in living a virtuous life.  I have seen the blessings in my own life that come from following this commandment, as well as the sorrows that come when we do not.  I have learned so much in the preparation for this, and I am sincerely grateful that I was able to study and prepare to teach. 
I am not going to share everything with you, but there are a couple of things that I thought were very beneficial.  I  loved these two quotes: 

Virtue is a word we don’t hear often in today’s society, but the Latin root word virtus means strength. Virtuous women and men possess a quiet dignity and inner strength. They are confident because they are worthy to receive and be guided by the Holy Ghost.” Elaine S. Dalton

I so agree, we need more virtue. We have enough of everyone trying to be just like everyone else. Sometimes it seems to me as if we live in a world where we are taught that the only thing that matters is to do exactly as we want. We are supposed to be just like the women that the world has determined are beautiful. We are judged on the way we dress, the way we look, the way we are different. 
I think that chastity has a lot to do with modesty. Not only in the way we dress, but in the way we think, in the way we act, in our very expectations. The only way to live a virtuous life, is to decide that is the way we want to live, and than keep the commandments that will enable us to have that type of life. Virtue is a decision. It is not an accident.
Modesty is also a decision. It is not only how we cover ourselves, it is also how we interact with others, how we speak, and how we conduct ourselves in all our doings. Modesty is not just in clothing, but in attitude. I think that we all need to look at each other (as well as ourselves) in the way that Jesus would look at us if He were here. He would look at us as children of a loving Heavenly Father. As brothers and sisters. As disciples and friends.
I do have a testimony of the importance of living the law of chastity. I know that we are only truly happy when we are keeping the commandments and following the teachings of the scriptures. I know that our Heavenly Father loves us and cares for us, and wants us to live with Him again. I know that "If there is anything virtuous, lovely, of good report, or praiseworthy; we seek after these things". I know that living a life within the bounds that the Lord has set is the only way that we will find true happiness.

Margaret D. Nadauld, Young Women General President said: “The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough popularity; we need more purity. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue.” (“The Joy of Womanhood,” Ensign,Nov. 2000, 15).

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Five Minute Friday - In Real Life

Today, I am writing about five minute Friday.  It is a little late, but I still wanted to participate!  So, write for a few minutes and then link up your five minutes over at The Gypsy Mama about connecting in real life.
    1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
    2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
    3. Go a little overboard encouraging the writer who linked up before you.
OK, are you ready? Give me your best five minutes on:

In Real Life…


It is so easy to pretend that everything is fine, that all is well.  It is easy to pretend that your heart doesn't ache, or you aren't disappointed, or everything is just the way it should be.  It is easy to appear to others to be perfect in some way.  Real life, comes to all of us, no frill, no masks, no pretending.  It is what it is.
Sometimes that truly is wonderful, and sometimes it is just hard and difficult.  This week, real life has seemed to sneak up and bite me when I wasn't looking.  I think that I usually live in the real world, but I also think that I can forget what is important until I am faced with needing to choose.  This week the choices came in ways that I had not planned on or expected.  
I am not always an animal person.  Don't get me wrong, I like animals, I really do, but I don't usually find myself getting too attached.  However, we have a couple of dogs that we have gotten for the girls.  One is nearly two years old, and the newer one, is only 6 months.  One is a boy, and one is a girl.  One is mellow and grouchy, the other is hyper and loving.  They are a yin and yang in our family.  We are grown to like them and appreciate them in our lives.  
This week, they both got Parvo.  I have never had an animal get this disease before.  It is not a nice one.  It makes for very sick dogs.  Yoda (the boy) has had all his shots, and he was still so very sick!  Gracie, the girl, is a rescue puppy, and I did not know that she did not have all her shots.  She was so sick that I wasn't sure she was going to make it.  Real life is giving your dog liquids every two hours, day and night.  It is taking care of them, nurturing them, and knowing that they really can't help it if they are sick.  It is praying for them and doing all you can for them and hoping against all hope that they make it through.  
In Real Life this week, I have seen sickness and the overcoming of it.  I have learned to appreciate just the small simple act of being greeted at the door and having an animal so happy to finally be able to lay at my feet and wiggle under my fingers.
In Real Life, it is the simple, quiet joys that have come to mean the most.


Now it is your turn.  What can you write in your five simple minutes?

Writers Workshop - Ordinary Heroes

Today, better late than never, I am writing and linking up over at Mama Kat's for her weekly writers workshop.  Hope to see you there too!
Now it’s your turn!
Mama's Losin' It
Choose a prompt, post it on your blog, and go over to Mama Kat's to add your name to the link list. Be sure to sign up with the actual post URL and not just your basic blog URL (click on the title of your post for that URL). For good comment karma try to comment on the three blogs above your name!!
The Prompts:
1.) Write about a time you shoved someone.
2.) If you were a hoarder, based on your personality…what would you hoard? (better yet, ask someone who knows you well, what they think you would hoard).
3.) First day of school pictures…let’s have’em!
4.) 911 memories.
5.) Your summer recap in a poem and pictures.

I chose to remember my 911 memories.  I have been struggling to write this, and may tweak it a little more yet!

Ordinary Heroes
 by Patricia A Pitterle

What does it mean
To be a hero?
In my lifetime I have seen
Ordinary heroes,
Walking among us.
Men and women
Who, in times
Of trial and distress,
Put their lives on the line
And stepped up to help others.

Perhaps, One of the
Best known examples
Of the sacrifices
Made by ordinary people
Happened not so long ago,
During a time
When people rushed from place to place,
And heroes seemed to be people
Found only in the history books
Of the past.
The day dawned
Bright and beautiful,
Full of blue skies
And normal people
Living ordinary lives,
Heading out their doors,
And off to work.
It was, after all,
Just another ordinary, summer day,
In America.

I too, left for work
In the darkness
Of that September morning,
Never thinking
That my life would be so changed.
Never knowing
That my heart would be so touched
By those who lived and died
During that terrible tragedy
In New York City. 

At work, we listened
To the morning news
When the report of an “accident”
In New York City
Made us pause and gather
At the television, where we watched
As American Airlines flight eleven
Slammed into the ninety-third floor
Of the North Tower of
The World Trade Center.

We went back to work,
Each one of us thinking
Of the adversity that
The people in New York were facing.
Soon, we were called again
And we watched with horror
As United Airlines flight 175
Dove directly into the South Tower.
No longer could we convince ourselves
That this was ‘only an accident’.

We watched, riveted,
To the news reports,
As the smoke rolled,
Deep and black, into the sky.
We saw the people struggle
Through the murky haze
One by one,
Staggering into the clean air
Of the safety zone.
Survivors, coming from Ground Zero.

We rejoiced
With each life saved,
Then sat in stunned disbelief
As the two towers fell,
One after another.
Thousands of tons
Of concrete and steel
Tumbling like so many
Children’s building blocks,
Crashing to the ground.

The morning continued
With even more bad news
Two more planes were hijacked
One, American Airlines flight 77
Crashed into the pentagon,
Killing even more American citizens.
The other plane
Crashed into a farm field
Because of the sacrifice of those
Who gave their lives that others might live.    

Two columns of smoke
Billowed up into the sky that day,
Yet, out of the ashes
Of all those tragedies 
Rose a new generation of heroes.
Ordinary and yet, extraordinary.
Men and women who stepped up
And chose courage.
They walked through their own fears
To help others. 

Normal, everyday,
ordinary people, working together
In the midst of adversity,
To change a nation and touch a world.
That is the lesson of 911.
That is what it means to be an American;
Someone who cares, who shares,
Who rescues, who gives,
Who does his job every single day.
An extraordinary hero.