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, March 31, 2011

What I Know For Sure

Linking up with Mama Kats Writing prompts today.



What I Know For Sure
by Patricia A Pitterle

I know as sure as darkness falls, 
Each and every night,
With the coming of the dawn,
Will shine the morning light.

I know no matter how strong the winds
That blow upon my life,
The Lord with send the calm and peace
And guide me through the strife. 

I know that hurt will fade away,
And that true faith will start
To mend and teach to love again
A tender, broken heart.

But most of all I know that sin,
And sorrow and doubts and fears,
Can all be healed, washed clean again,
Through His gift of blood and tears.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wordless Wednesday


Linking up for Wordless Wednesday over at MMB.
Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Love where you are


This Sunday, I heard a talk and it reminded me of a moment in my life.  About six years ago, I was in a very different job.  It was hard for me, I was unhappy, I did not like what I was doing.  I used to come home at night crying because I was so unhappy.  My husband (who has always loved me and supported me) wanted me to quit.  The problem was that I had nearly 20 years working for the same company, and I was the main support for our family.  There was no way that I could walk out.
So, we started to pray.  We prayed that I would find a job where I could work and be happy.  We prayed that our family would be safe.  We prayed that Heavenly Father would guide us.  Within a week, a job posting came out for a small town up in the mountains.
This town was somewhere that we drove through several times each summer.  It was a place that we had often dreamed of retiring to.  It was in the mountains, in the cool pines, and in a small town.  I asked my husband what I should do.  He said simply, "put in your application".  I worried about what he would do, but he promised that he could work anywhere and it would not matter.  So I sent my application into the personnel office.  I waited, and after several months, I still had not heard anything.  By this time, I knew that I had to do something, so I started putting in for lots of different jobs and I kept praying and I planned on doing whatever my Heavenly Father wanted me to do.
I interviewed several times and no one hired me.  I was pretty discouraged.  Then I had two interviews back to back.  One was for the job in the small town, and one was for a job two miles from my house.  I thought that I wanted to one close to my house because I would not have to move, my husband could keep his job, and I would be closer to my grand-children.
It was a few months later before I was finally offered the job that I have today.  I was so worried about it.  I had people who told me that I wouldn't like small towns.  That my children wouldn't get a good education.  That they had more of a chance of being on drugs and getting pregnant.  That they would never get into good colleges.  In short, all I heard about the upcoming move was that it would be negative for my family.
To make matters even worse, the housing market crashed and houses weren't selling.
We had never stopped praying, and we felt so strongly that we needed to proceed with the move.
So we did.  I moved up first, John sold the house (which sold the first week in a market where homes weren't selling)  John worked until the fall and then moved up with me and the girls.  We discovered that we love small town life.
We discovered our family time again.
We discovered that mom could be calm and peaceful.
We discovered that God would provide a way.
We discovered great teachers and wonderful friends.
There are bad things about living anywhere.  But I really believe that our own attitudes make or break the place we choose as home.  Our Heavenly Father wanted us to live in this small town, and He opened doors and provided the way for it to happen.  The most amazing thing that I have learned is simply to trust.  To believe that He knows what is best for us.  And to trust that He will calm the winds and waves of the storm in our lives.
The most important thing that we have realized in all of this is how much joy there can be in living and learning together.  For me, trusting my Heavenly Father has made all the difference.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Dancing

So today, I am posting over at MMB.  It is a story about my youngest daughter Anya.  Hope to see you there!!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

You Must Believe


"God expects you to have enough faith and determination and enough trust in Him to keep moving, keep living, keep rejoicing. In fact, He expects you not simply to face the future (that sounds pretty grim and stoic); He expects you to embrace and shape the future--to love it and rejoice in it and delight in your opportunities... God is anxiously waiting for the chance to answer your prayers and fulfill your dreams, just as He always has. But He can't if you don't pray, and He can't if you don't dream. In short, He can't if you don't believe."  ~Jeffrey R. Holland~

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A Simple Moment- Three Sisters, Three Friends


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, March 25, 2011

Behaving Badly



"Speak when you are angry,
and you'll make the best speach you'll ever regret!" 
Dr. Laurence Peters


Today was not a good day!
I had a customer this morning who was very angry with me.  To start with, they called on the phone and wanted personal information.  I can not give that information over the phone.  It has to do with privacy laws and it is something that is just not done.  She got angry on the phone and started yelling at me and telling me how rude I was.  Then she came into the office.  It just escalated from there.  She would not let me say why I couldn't tell her.  She would not let me explain.  She just proceeded to tell me how I obvously don't like my job, I have no business being in customer service, and I must be a truly miserable person. 
This has bothered me all day.  I love my job.  I love being in customer service, and I don't think I am miserable (at least, not most of the time). 
In thinking about this today, I can't help but wonder how many times does my own personal state of mind, my own attitude, impact how I approach others and what I say to them (especially when they might be telling me something that I don't want to hear). 
I believe that getting angry is one of Satan's most effective tools.  It is a cunning part of his strategy to dissociate anger from free agency.  He works at making us believe that we are victims of an emotion that we cannot control. We often hear, “I lost my temper.” To “lose something” implies “not meaning to,” “accidental,” “not responsible”, we might be careless perhaps, but “not responsible.”

“He made me mad,” is another phrase we hear, also implying lack of control or agency. This implies that someone else is accountable for your feelings.  No one "makes us" mad. No one "makes us" angry. There is no force involved.  Becoming angry is a conscious choice, a decision.  By virtue of the fact it IS a choice, we can also make the choice not to become angry. We get to choose!
To those who say, “But I can’t help myself,” there was an article in Reader Digest by author William Wilbanks.  He responds: “Nonsense.  Aggression, … suppressing the anger, talking about it, screaming and yelling, are all learned strategies in dealing with anger.  We choose the one that has proved effective for us in the past. Ever notice how seldom we lose control when frustrated by our boss, but how often we do when annoyed by friends or family?” (“The New Obscenity,” Reader’s Digest, Dec. 1988, 24).  Mr. Wilbanks then went on to tell the story about when he was in his sophomore year, he tried out for the high school basketball team and made it. On the first day of practice his coach had him play one-on-one while the team observed. When he missed an easy shot, he became angry and stomped and whined. The coach walked over to him and said, “You pull a stunt like that again and you’ll never play for my team."  For the next three years he never lost control again. Years later, as he reflected back on this incident, he realized that the coach had taught him a life-changing principle that day: anger can be controlled.

By this short true-story, we learn that we really are dealing with learned behavior, either our own or someone elses.  Anger is simply yielding to Satan’s influence by surrendering our self-control. It is the direct cause of road rage on the freeway, flare-ups in the sports arena, and violence in our communities and our homes.
Unchecked, anger can quickly injure tender hearts and feelings.  In our last stake conference, I heard a reference to one of or past Prophets, President David O. McKay.  He spoke on this subject and once said,

“Let husband and wife never speak in loud tones to each other, ‘unless the house is on fire’” (Stepping Stones to an Abundant Life, comp. Llewelyn R. McKay [1971], 294).
I love that phrase!  I wish I could say that I have never raised my voice in my home.  I am working on it though.  It matters to me how I sound to those that I love the most!  I can control many things.  But I cannot control someone else's perceptions.  I can't control their happiness, or their misery, I can't control whether other's like me or not.  I can't control how they perceive my phone messages, or what they say to my employees.  The only thing I can control are those things that I am directly responsible for.  I can control my own tone of voice (although I can't control what anyone else "thinks" they heard).  I can control my own response.  I can control the fact that I am angry.  We can choose not to become angry. And we can make that choice today, right now.  I can let go of the anger and move on. 

"Whatever is begun in anger, ends in shame." 
Benjamin Franklin

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Where are your feet?


Our standards are determined by the Lord,
Not by the direction of the Wind.

Many years ago, I used to be a letter carrier.  This is the person who delivers letters to your house everyday.  My route was in a very old neighborhood, with small houses and doorslots at every address.  This means that I walked through yards, over fences, around bushes, shrubs and trees, and finally arrived at the house where I would have to stuff the mail into a tiny slot in the door. 
Don't get me wrong, I totally loved my job, even with all the things that I had to watch out for.  We used to be required to "finger" our mail.  All this means is that we had to go through the letters when we were walking.  We had to have the mail ready to put in the slot when we got up to the door so that we did not waste time and energy.  I did this job day in and day out for eleven years. One of the most difficult accidents that I have ever had to recover from, came during the day when I was simply fingering the mail. 
I was in a hurry (extra mail takes extra time) and walking fast.  I arrived at the door slot, stuffed the mail inside and turned to go, already fingering the mail for my next delivery and not paying enough attention to my feet.  Suddenly, I stepped off the porch, into the grass which was hiding a hole just a few inches deep.  This should have been a simple step down and out, except that I did not see it coming.  That one, small step, complete twisted my ankle.  I collapsed to the ground in amazing amounts of pain.  Lets just say that I would rather not repeat the experience.
Anyway, I had a severe sprain on my ankle that required the use of crutches for a few weeks and left me unable to deliver my route until I was mostly healed.  That one, tiny, small, mis-step, caused pain, agony, and suffering that lasted for weeks.  In actuality, it lasted for over a year as I developed the tendency to roll that ankle again and again over the course of many long months.  I finally had to wear an ankle brace and high top shoes until I was able to strengthen it enough to cease having problems with it again. 

One of my favorite quotes is by Abraham Lincoln and says simply: 
"Be sure to put your feet in the right place, and then stand firm". 

I could have avoided so much pain by following that one peace of prudent advice. 

Life often plans for me a hole or two along that way that, if I am not watching for, will trip me up.  It takes a conscious effort to make make sure that I avoid the pitfalls along the way.  The right choice often requires that you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm in that choice and follow it through.    Each of us stands for something.  It might be strong or not strong.  It might be good or not so good.  But we stand for things simply by the decisions that we make every day. 
Let us arm ourselves with faith and stand firm in our convictions.  Let us never forget that we are building a foundation for our family upon the rock of our redeemer.  Let us put our hand in our Heavenly Father's grasp and stand for His principles and His teachings.  He will help us as we stand firm in defense of our homes and our families in the world today. 
Helaman 5:12
And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hope

I am trying something a little different today and linking up with Mama Kat's writing prompts for this week.  This one was to write a poem about hope.  Believe it or not, it is a lot harder to write from a prompt as opposed to writing what I feel at the moment.  


HOPE
by Patricia A Pitterle

In this life that I am living
Things don’t always work out
Quite the way I planned.
Sometimes, it is as simple
As a choice gone wrong.
Often, it can be
More complicated than that.
Other people get involved,
I get my feelings hurt.
Trials happen,
Tears fall,
Disaster beckons
and despair leers over my shoulder
like the neighborhood bully
from my childhood.
But, through it all,
A glimmer of hope
Anchors me to the people 
Most important
In my life.
With grasping tentacles, 
Hope clings tightly
To those that I love.
Hope for the future,
Hope for the present,
Hope for love lost
And love found.
Hope gives me the courage
To keep trying
No matter how rough
The road I am traveling on
May be.
Hope gives me the confidence
To continue on
Into the twilight
Of tomorrow’s dreams.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Gnomeo and Juliet



Today has been a good day.  The girls and I left the cold mountain (it was snowing when we drove out of our driveway last night) and came down to the desert for a couple of days.  Miracle has been sick, and so has my daughter Lori, so the zoo trip that we planned did not happen.  Instead, we have just relaxed, watched TV, and finally, tonight, I took all the girls and my sweet little two year old grand daughter to the movies.  We went and saw Gnomio and Juliet.  I thought it was a fun movie.  I especially loved the ending.  It follows much of the old Romeo and Juliet line.  Two different "families" at war with each other.  The feud has been going on so long they can't even remember how it started or why they hate each other.  Sometimes one side gets "ahead" in the war, and sometimes the other one does.  There are some members on each side that are meaner, and cheat more.  They keep adding fuel to the fires by their attitudes and their behavior.
As I  watched this animated cartoon movie with the girls, I couldn't help but think how like this we can be sometimes.  I have known people who hate, people who make fun of, people who are always angry.  I have known people who love to stir things up, people who gossip, people who spread rumors, people who don't like others because of race, color, nationality, or beliefs.  I have known people who criticize and belittle those around them.
It amazes me how people who profess to be sons and daughters of God with one breath, are so willing to find fault and belittle one another with the next breath.  As I watched a silly, little, cartoon type of movie, I couldn't help but reflect on how these funny little gnomes are like real people.
The lesson is to look behind appearances, open up your heart, and learn something new.  I think when we are willing to do that, we will find out how much we really have in common.  How little are our differences and how much love can truly heal.
So today, reach out to someone who is a little different than you.  Someone who needs you, but might not even know it.  Someone who needs the love and compassion from one of Heavenly Father's  earthly angels.  No matter what our differences, our hearts can join together and we can help make the journey just a little easier for each other.  I can't help but think that maybe that is what life is really about after all.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Learning to Swim


When I was much younger, I did not know how to swim.  Actually, if truth were told, I did not want to try.  I was afraid of the water.  I just knew if I let go of the edge, I would drown.   When I was eleven years old, my mother married again to a rather interesting man who did not know much about raising children.  He came from a rather harsh school of life himself, so I suspect it is not surprising that he treated us the same way he had been treated. 
One afternoon, we were visiting my grandmother in California and swimming in the pool at her apartment.  Mike decided that I needed to learn to swim and promptly picked me up and threw me into the middle of the deep end.  I was terrified!  I was crying!  I was a mess!
He stood at the end of the pool with his arms folded and told me that I had better learn to swim because he was not going to come in a get me.  So, I dog paddled furiously, bearly treading water, and made my way (finally) to the edge of the pool.  I think I swallowed most of the water in there, and I know it made my stomach hurt later on in the day.  But I did swim!  I actually made it to the edge.  Along with lots of tears, there was born in my young mind a great feeling of pride and satisfaction that I could really do it.  I could work around my fear and succeed. 
It was one of the best lessons I have ever learned.

We all have things in life that scare us.  Sometimes, it is something that actually happens to us or those we love.  Sometimes it is our own fears of what might happen.  Being afraid is part of our human nature.  But with this experienced, I also learned that being afraid does not have to keep us from learning and growing.  It does not have to hold us back. 
Anciently, the Lord spoke to Isaiah and said, "Fear not, for I am with thee".  (Gen. 26:24).   The Lord was very clear and direct in His speaking.  Yet, fear still surrounds us today.  It stiffles creativity, saps our strength and weakens our faith.  It causes doubts and mistrust.  It is a completely negative emotion. 
“Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee. …

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Tim. 1:6–7.)
I don't think that there are any among us that has not felt fear at one time or another in our lives.  There are so many things to be afraid of.  But I think it is important to realize that fear itself can cripple us and keep us for accomplishing those things in our lives that we want and need to do.  I love that the Lord does not give us the spirit of fear.  But He gives us love.  Fear is the opposite of faith, and the opposite of hope.  The power of His love tells us that we are sons and daughters of God.  We have a purpose in our lives here. 
We can overcome fear, doubt, discouragement and worry through the sustaining power of love.  Love of family, love of friends, love of the gospel,  and the greatest love of all, that of our Savior Jesus Christ. 
Let us find strength in the strength that comes from Him.  Let us find peace in the peace that He taught.  And let us find His love in the multitude of blessings that surround us. 

Many of our fears are tissue-paper-thin, and a single courageous step would carry us clear through them. ~Brendan Francis

There is much in the world to make us afraid. There is much more in our faith to make us unafraid. ~Frederick W. Cropp

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sunday Devotional - Joy in the Journey



"This is our one and only chance at mortal life—here and now. The longer we live, the greater is our realization that it is brief. Opportunities come, and then they are gone. I believe that among the greatest lessons we are to learn in this short sojourn upon the earth are lessons that help us distinguish between what is important and what is not. I plead with you not to let those most important things pass you by as you plan for that illusive and nonexistent future when you will have time to do all that you want to do. Instead, find joy in the journey—now."

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Simple Moment - Yoda - Tiny and Mighty

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.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Fasting - Isn't very fast

Does fasting make you HUNGRY?
If so…
"Feed" yourself spiritually
"Feast" upon the scriptures

We are a family that tries our hardest to do the things that are right.  Most of the time, it is not easy.  As a matter of fact, trying to choose the right can be downright hard!  One of the more difficult things that we do is fast.  I taught a lesson on fasting in Relief Society a couple of months ago.  So, since I was teaching, I often use the things I am learning on my own family.  We talk about the different principles and how to live them together.  
My youngest daughter listened to the lesson, then she came over and climbed on my lap, put her arms around my neck and whispered in my ear.  "Mom, do you remember when I was still a little girl?" 
(I smiled because she is still pretty little to me).  
"Of course I do Nie nie, why?"  
"Well", she said, "I used to think that fasting wasn't something you did.  It was just something that meant the day went by really, really fast!"
I laughed at her.  "Does the day still seem to go by fast?"
"Oh no, mom, sometimes it is really, really slow."

I love my children.  They are so good about trying to do their best.  Sometimes Sundays can be very slow when you are hungry and you want to eat.  But, this gave us a wonderful opportunity to talk about fasting for others and fasting with a purpose.  We have been able to fast for family members and for each other.  The girls have been able to see prayers answered and lives changed.  They know that fasting is hard, but it is also something that can bring the Spirit into our lives and help those we love.  
Fasting has to be with a purpose.  We usually find someone to fast for.  As we turn our hearts and prayers toward others, we are blessed in our own lives.  This year has been an amazing experience for our entire family as the girls have added their own fasts and prayers to those who need them.  They have been able to see and experience the results of their own simple faith. Sundays have become a day of joy, worship and family for us.  Sometimes they go a little slow, but other times, it is a day that passes very, very fast.
  
Fasting without a purpose is called starvation.  
It serves no spiritual purpose. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Finding Joy in the Journey


We live in trying times.  We live in a world that doesn't what us to know who we are are or what we stand for.  A world that runs on an entirely different set of priorities than most of us are trying to run on.  A world that puts ~ your status, how much money you make, how you dress, how you look, what your weight is and what your job is ~ well above all the things about you that truly matter.  Sometimes, I think that we can be our very own worst enemies.  We can do more damage to ourselves because we buy into the worldly views around us.  For me, there are some very simple points that "the world" works on to help us wreck our own lives.
  1. Get us to pick on and squabble with one another.
  2. Confuse us about who we really are.
  3. Keep us from understanding the Atonement
They are all so easy to identify, but not so easy to stop.  We have to learn to control our own unruly tongues.  Do you participate in gossip around your neighborhood or even in your church?  Do you listen to others who tell you about what they "know".  I will tell you that one of the most important things I have learned living in a small town is that the neighbors seem to know everything!  Even the things they don't know, they are happy to make up and add to, for someone else's benefit. 
I have also learned that there are usually three sides to any story.  Your side, my side, and the facts.  The facts have a bad habit of being scarce where gossip is involved.  Women are nurturers by nature.  We can do so much good if we will just nurture and care for one another. 
I use a simple test to monitor for this in my own life.  Just see today as you go about your business, how often you are tempted to say some snotty, little, thing about someone else.  Then don't say it.  I think that every one of us deserves to feel accepted, nurtured and loved.  What we really need is to hear from others, "Don't worry, you can do it!"
The opposite of criticism is an outpouring of love and support.  How would your family react if they received this from you instead of nagging, yelling, or even ordering?  (and yes, I have been known to behave that way from time to time).  How would your life change if you had the love and support that you needed today?  How would your life change if you gave that same love and support to those around you? 
We need to know and believe that we are daughters of God, first and foremost.  We are here to do His will and follow His example.  We are princesses of a Heavenly King!  (I totally love that concept!  I think all girls, and women too, should be treated like princesses).   You are not and never have been anything or anyone else.  Knowing who you are, helps guide us to know what things in our lives are most important.  When we are confused, we chase after the things that the crowd follows.  We lose our way in the confusion of the world.  It is like being in a maze, searching and searching for the way, but unable to find it.
John 14:4-6
And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
For me, part of understanding the atonement is to realize that we only need to look toward our Savior to find the way home.  He is the WAY.  He will lead us.  He wants us to come to Him. 
I have learned that one of the biggest mistakes we make is the failure to forgive ourselves.  For me, forgiving others is not that hard.  I get mad, I think about it, I forgive and it is gone.  But forgiving myself, that is the problem.  I hold grudges against my own mistakes in ways I would never do to another. 
I know what the Atonement was for.  I know that Christ lived and died for me, but somehow, there seems to be this part of me that thinks it must have been for everybody else.  Somehow,my understanding of that wonderous miracle, doesn't apply to myself. 
I struggle with that one on a daily basis.  I make mistakes daily.  I should know better.  I should do better.  I should be better.  Often, I think that part of understanding the great miracle of God's love is showing more kindness to myself.  And so, in this difficult struggle, I tell myself, "There has only ever been one perfect person in the world.  And you (insert your name as I insert mine) are not Him". 
So today, be a little kinder to yourself.  We are all learning.  We are all growing.  We are all trying.  Just because we are not in the same, exact place, does not mean that we are not individually doing our best.  Finding joy in the journey is a process.  It is learning to put the things that are most important first, and allowing the others to find their place.  It is the process of accepting that we are all imperfect people in a trying, difficult, challenging, destructive, fault-finding, belittling, and unforgiving world.  We are all trying to change it to be just a little bit better than it was before we came here.  Let us all follow Him, let us listen to His words, let us practice His example. Let us find joy in our own journey as we seek to be more like Him.  

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Women - Leading By Example


I love to read the history of pioneer women.  I take notes everywhere I go and I use them when I write my blog.  Often, the notes prompt me to go home and look up more information.  Such was the case when I first heard about Emmeline B Wells. 
This was a righteous woman who had many, many trials.  The more I read about her, the more amazed I am at her ability to persevere and overcome.  She married three times, and lost all three husbands.  She also lost her first baby soon after he was born.  She was a convert to the church when she was 14 years old.  She went to Navoo with the saints and then went on to Salt Lake City.  Later in her life she was called to head up a grain program for the chruch.  She was so successful at it, that the first grain to come to San Francisco after the great fire in 1906, arrived from Salt Lake City.  Also, the church was able to sell some of the stored, surplus grain, during  World War One to the United States.  She received a personal visit and Presidential Commendation for her efforts from Woodrow Wilson. 
She was a lobbyist from Utah and championed the cause of women's sufferage.  She was a writer and later on, became an editior of a Mormon Women's magazine in Utah.  She also belonged to many of the more prevalent women's organizations of that day, and associated with women from all walks of life all over the United States. She lived to be ninety three years old and was active all her life, both in the church and in the community of women. 
As I read snippets of her history, I was able to learn from her example.  In spite of all her trials, she never let them get her down.  She just kept on doing what she felt was right.  She lived in a very different world than we do today.  In her time, there were many things that women could not do, yet she did not let that stop her from helping others.  I hope that I can be more like her in my life.  That I could see a need, catch a vision, and work to fill it.
I wonder what she was like?  How she spoke, and how she sounded?  I wonder what types of things she said and did for those around her.  I know that she was independant and self supporting.  I know that she was a true leader for the many women who looked up to her.   
When I look at her example, I can see the power that one woman can have to change her own corner of the world.  It wasn't easy, it probably wasn't very fun, but it had lasting consequences for all the rest of us that have come after her. 
A life-size bust of Emmeline sits in the Utah state capitol building, the lone woman among men, to be honored for over seventy years of service and dedication. The simple inscription states: "A Fine Soul Who Served Us."
She wrote many poems as well as articles and was well known for her written word.  One of her many poems which I like states:

"My  life  has not been  all  calm  and  serene,
But  storms  and  clouds  were  thick  upon  my way;
Yet  here  and  there  sometimes  would  intervene
Bright  hours  of  sunshine  in  the  darkest  day.
And  so I've  traveled  on, and  sought  to be
Some  help  to  other  wanderers  like  me."

Today, I have learned that sometimes the best way to heal a broken heart is to give it away to those around us who need our efforts and our love.  I hope that we will each find a little bit of the courage and tenacity of this wonderful pioneer woman.  

Monday, March 14, 2011

Poisoned by Degrees


One of my favorite scripture stories is in the Book of Mormon.  It is the story of Amalikiah and Lehonti.  (See Alma 47).
In this story, Amalikiah, who was a Nephite dissenter, takes the Lamanite army and goes after Lehonti.  Amalikiah is sent after Lehonti to force him and his men to go to battle against the Nephites.  Lehonti and his army flee to the top of a mountain where, they build a fortress and prepare to stay there for a long time.  Amalikiah tries to get Lehonti to come down out of the fortress.  Three times Lehonti says no.  But the fourth time, Amalikiah comes almost to Lehonti's camp and makes such a good offer, that Lehonti doesn't refuse to meet him.  The deal that he makes is that Lehonti will come down off the mountain with all his men and surround the Lamanite camp.  Then Lehonti will take over the entire army and make Amalikiah the second in command.  No one will know that Amalikiah ever betrayed the King of the Lamanites.  Everything proceeds as planned until after Amalikiah is made second in command.  Then (not surprisingly) Lehonti is poisoned "by degrees" until he dies.  Now Amalikiah is the head of the entire Lamanite army.
For me, the point to this story is that Satan is very much like Amalikiah.  He does not give up easily.  He will try and get us to come down from our higher ground.  Lehonti was safe until he came down just a little way to meet Amalikiah.  Satan will likewise continue to make offers to us that sound so good.  Here a little, there a little, until soon we find ourselves compromising our standards and making choices that do not have eternity in mind.
He might promise us wealth, or happiness, or even prestige and power.  The sad part is that he never has any intention in giving us the things that will really be of benefit to us.  His intentions are to bring us down and than poison us a little at a time by desensitizing us into thinking that moral standards are not important or relevant in today's society.  Lehonti was well positioned on the top of the mountain, yet it took Amalikiah only four tries to get him to come down.
Could it be that this same type of thing is happening today?
Could it be that we are easily deceived by false role models, by seductive advertising, by worldly concerns?  Could it be that we first tolerate, then accept and finally embrace the worldly ways?
Could it be that we need to remember who we are and where we come from?
We need to look at what is going on around us and get rid of the poison in our lives.  We need to turn away from the evil influences that are everywhere and remember that only He can heal us from the poison. We need to remember that we are children of a loving Heavenly Father.  We need to remember that we are encircled about in the arms of His love.
He cares for us.
He wants us to be happy.
He wants us to return to Him.
 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Blessed With Miracles


"I delight in the examples of those in the scriptures who walk by faith on their earthly journey. Each time I walk with Abraham and Isaac on the road to Mount Moriah, I weep, knowing that Abraham does not know that there will be an angel and a ram in the thicket at the end of that journey. We are each in the middle of our earthly path, and we don't know the rest of our own stories. But we, as Abraham, are blessed with miracles."

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Simple Moment - Growin up!

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, March 11, 2011

Encouragement


A few weeks ago, I heard another story in church.  This one was about a classic pianist and composer.  His name was Ignace Jan Paderewski (1860-1941).  
He was an amazing composer and had a brilliant career as a concert pianist performing all over the world.
As the fictional story goes, he was preparing to give a concert one evening when a group of admirers came to the concert hall. One of those was a mother with her young son.
The young mother was talking with her friends and the young boy got bored with the conversation.  The boy left his seat and wondered away.  He found himself on stage with a beautiful grand piano.  He sat down on the bench and started playing Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star on the keys.
The curtains parted and a spotlight lit the grand piano and the small boy. The mother looked up and spotted her young son as he was playing softly.
Paderewsky quickly walked up behind the boy on the piano bench, sat down beside him and put his arms around the boy and began playing along with the child as he told him to “Go ahead, keep playing, you're doing great. That's it, keep it up. You're okay.  Come on keep going.” The audience was mesmerized as the master played alongside the novice. When they finished, the audience exploded in applause.

Even though that story is probably pure fiction, (Ok, so I am a pessimist at times)  there are some great lessons that we can still learn from it. A lot of the things we do for our Heavenly Father are probably like this small boy's attempt at "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star", in the concert hall all by himself, but when our Master and Savior comes in, the music we make together can be totally amazing.  We need Him as we go through this life.  We need His wisdom, mercy, strength and Love, to see us through to the end.  No matter how little our best seems on the piano of life, He can step up beside us and make it wonderful.  It is His talents that bring out the best in us.  Together with Him, we can be all that He needs us to be.  

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Letting Go


I heard a wonderful story on Sunday and I wanted to share it with you. 
There was once a man walking along a difficult path.  The path progressed along a dangerous cliff edge.  The wind came up and blew the man right of the edge and over the side of the cliff.  The man managed to grab hold of the ledge with one hand and was clinging to the side of the cliff unable to help himself. 
A voice came to him and said:  "Do you believe in God?"
The man replied, "Yes, I do."
The voice came again, "Do you believe that He made the wind?"
The man instantly replied, "Yes, I do."
The voice replied, "Do you believe that the Lord can use the wind to blow you back onto the cliff?"
The man said, "Yes, I do."
Then the voice came again and said simply, "Then let go."

I have come to discover that often, the hardest thing I ever do is to let go.  To believe with my whole heart that God can and will handle it for me.  To believe that He will help me and guide me.  To believe that He does know who I am, where I stand, and exactly what I need. 

If you look to the right of this article on my blog, you will see that my word for 2011 is "Release".  I read a blog before the first of the year that talked about the problem with New Years resolutions.  As someone who has always tried to make them (and failed miserably at keeping them), I was very interested in finding something that would work for me. 
The premise is that you simply pick a word that means something to you.  And then you try to incorporate that one word into the different aspects of your life.  The word I  chose was release.  It is to help me remember to let things go.  That I don't need to worry or fret over everything.  That I just need to breathe and release it. 
So far, it is working for me.  This story reminded me of my word for this year and how important it is for us to "Let go and let God".  I have learned that the times I struggle the most are the times when I want to have total control.  Those are the times when my hand is grasped onto the ledge and I really need to let go.

"Some people think that it is holding on that makes us strong - sometimes it is the letting go".
   
"Breathe, 
let go,
and remind yourself
that this very moment
is the only one you know you have for sure."
Oprah Winfrey

"When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be."
-- Lao Tzu


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Wild Woman

Celebrating Wordless Wednesday today.  

Life is like a mirror,
we get the best results
when we smile at it.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Ninety and Nine

Tonight, I found this message on one of my CD's and it touched my heart and made me long to share the sweet message.  I found this version on you tube and I love it because it is sung by Michael McLean and he is the one who wrote it.  I think there are two messages here.  One is that we all need the Savior.  Each and everyone of us need Him in our lives.  No matter how good or bad our lives have been.  We depend  on Him.  But the other message is equally as important.  We are all His.  He loves us.  He knows our trials.  He knows our hearts.  He knows what we have done in our lives and what we are doing.  He knows we are part of the ninety and nine.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Trusting the Lord



A long time ago, in another place and another land.  There lived a king.  His name was King Nebuchadnezzar.  He commanded that a large statue, made entirely of gold be constructed. Once it was finished, he commanded all the people to gather together.  They were told that when they heard certain music play, they were to fall down and worship the image. Anyone who did not do that would be immediately thrown into a fiery furnace.
All the people did as they were commanded except for three young men who were Jews.  They refused to worship anything or anyone that wasn't God. 
Angered, the king commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego (the three young men) be brought before him.
The king asked them if the charges against them were true.  The three men not only admitted it but added:
"If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.

But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up."
King Nebuchadnezzar became even angrier. He commanded that the furnace be heated until it was much hotter than usual.  Then he commanded that the strongest and mightiest men in the army throw Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego into the firey furnace.  The three faithful men were bound and thrown into the middle of the furnace while the king watched.
Because of the heat from the furnace, the flames slew all of the men that had thrown Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego into its mouth.
All of a sudden the king stood up.
“Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” he asked.
“True, O king,” replied his counselors.
Then the king said, “Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”
Then he went near to the mouth of the furnace and called to the three Jews to come out. When they came, King Nebuchadnezzar could see that the fire hadn’t burnt them at all. Not a hair was singed, no clothing was scorched, not even the smell of smoke from the fire could be detected on them!
King Nebuchadnezzar said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him.”  (See Daniel 3)
I love this story.  It teaches me many things, but perhaps one of the most important is that God does love His children.  He knows their trials and difficulties and He cares for and loves each one.  I am amazed at the strength of these three young men who were able to say that God could deliver them, but they were also able to say that if He did not they would never worship any other Gods.  What a wonderful and faithful testimony on trusting our Heavenly Father.  To me, it is another testimony of  being able to say, "Nevertheless, not my will but thine". 
I also love the fact that even when they were in the fiery furnace (most especially when they were in that furnace) they were not alone, for He walked and talked with them there.  In my life I am very aware of my Heavenly Father's love for me.  I feel His love in the tender mercies that so often surround me.  I have felt His spirit in so many good things that have happened and continue to happen to me. 
By contrast, I have also felt His love and been sustained in my trials and adversities. Some of my burdens have weighed me down in spite of my desire to endure.  As a matter of fact, it is through the most difficult experiences in my life that I have come to have a greater dependance upon the Lord.  It is in those trying times when I have felt an even richer outpouring of love and comfort from Him.  It is during my greatest needs, in my own earthly furnace of despair, where I have come to feel a closeness to Him.  I know that He is often carrying me along.  I know that He comforts me and gives me courage and strength to go on.  I know that I can trust Him to help me figure things out. 
I know that I am a daughter of a loving Heavenly Father, who loves me and I love Him. 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

You Are My Hands


“Christ knows how to minister to others perfectly. When the Savior stretches out His hands, those He touches are uplifted and become greater, stronger, and better people as a result. If we are His hands, should we not do the same?”

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Simple Moment - Happy Birthday Sadie Rose

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, March 4, 2011

Hanging on a Limb


Many years ago, my son, DJ, was trying to be like his big brother.  They were climbing a tree in the back of my sister's yard and daring each other to go higher and higher and jump off the limb and out into the ever increasing distance to the ground.  They started at about three feet and continued to work up the tree.  I, of course, was visiting in total unawareness with my sister INSIDE the house. 
One of the kids ran screaming into the house to tell me that DJ was stuck in the tree and going to fall.  My sister and I ran out the door to find my son way too far up in the air hanging onto a branch for dear life.  We could not reach him and were trying to figure out whether or not a ladder would work when my brother-in-law came out the door and stood underneath DJ and told him to let go.  The small, terrified boy made the mistake of looking down and promply held on all the tighter. 
I was slightly panicked (ok, probably more than slightly) and wanted to know what we should do.  This man said simply, "Just wait, he will come down pretty soon now".  What!!  Wait!!  You have so got to be kidding, right??  He was not kidding.  A few, short (seemingly eternal) minutes later, DJ let go of the branch and dropped into his Uncle's waiting arms.  Safe and finally on firm ground, the boy ran off to continue playing. 

I chuckle when I remember this story now.  I think that too often I resemble this in my own life.  I sometimes want to do things that others are doing.  Things that are not necessarily wrong, but are also not things which are "safe". They are not the things that bring me closer to my Heavenly Father.  It might be as simple as too much television, or too much computer time. In short, too many selfish pursuits.  These pursuits often leave me holding onto a limb and trying not to fall.  Sometimes the things we want are not the things that the Lord would want us to have.  Often, the things that the world is doing are not the things that we should be doing.  We might need to make the decision to do the thing that is right, rather than the thing everyone else is doing. 


Luke 12:16-21
And he spake a parable unto them, saying , The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:
And he thought within himself, saying , What shall I do , because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?  And he said , This will I do : I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.
And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease , eat , drink , and be merry .
But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be , which thou hast provided?
So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.
I found a new favorite quote yesterday that goes so well with this. 
"Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm."  Abraham Lincoln

I hope that each of us remember, during our times of doubt and insecurity, the Lord is standing there ready to catch us, but first we have to be willing to let go of the world and trust Him.  I hope that I am always standing firm on the Lord's side of the line and not dangling dangerously just out of reach. 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Difference One Day Can Make


Today, I was remembering one of the most vivid memories of my entire childhood.  I grew up in the desserts of Arizona.  Back when I was young, we did not have air conditioning and so it took planning to stay cool in the heat of summer.  One of our favorite things to do as small children, was to go with our mother and her friends to spend the day at the lake. 
We would drive for what seemed like forever (although in reality, it was probably just over an hour) to get up to the lake.  Then we would all unpack our things, take out the picnic lunch, and go play in the water of the lake. 
The lake we went to most often was called Canyon Lake.  When the dam was put into the canyon, the water filled up and made a fairly large and deep lake.  The one problem with the lake was that you could be walking in water that was about waist deep and all of a sudden you would drop off the edge into the deep part of the lake.  I am sure it made swimming with small children very interesting. 
I remember going often to the lake.  We swam on inner tubes from old cars and trucks.  I did not know how to swim myself, so a tube was my constant companion.  One sunny day, I was around five years old and I was swimming and playing by myself in the water and managed to drift a little away from everybody else.  In my splashing around, I slipped from my tube and went under the lake water.  I tried to swim up to the top, I really did, but I was still two to three feet under the top of the water and could see the cliff drop down into murky blackness. 
Suddenly, I saw my mother's yellow swimming suit.  She swam down into that muddy lake water, grabbed hold of me and hauled me out, coughing and sputtering, and crying with relief. 
Today, I still remember the feeling of nearly drowning and not being able to help myself.  I remember that vibrant yellow bathing suit.  Today, yellow is still one of my favorite colors.  Most of all, I remember the wonder and relief that I felt that my mother would know where to find me and manage to save me. 

Life can be so much like that murky lake water.  We struggle to do things on our own.  We want to try things our own way.   We want to be able to be independant and experience the world around us.  We want to try and the things that we have heard about, or the things that our friends are doing.  We can't see the cliffs and the dangers that are waiting for us to slip.  But our Father in Heaven can.  He knows exactly where we are in all of this mess that is sometimes life.  He knows exactly what we need and He knows how to help us.  We just need to trust in His teaching and guidance.  We just need to listen to His words and read His scriptures.  They will help us as we are treading the water of life.  And sometimes (maybe even often) those scriptures, those words of God, are the very things that will pull us from the murky blackness.