When faced with life's challenges,
it is Important to Remember
that although Daniel was saved from the lions,
he was not saved from the Lion's Den.


Monday, October 31, 2011

Failing to Forgive


I witnesses such a sad situation a few months ago.  Time has passed, and I think that I can talk about it a little.  There was a woman in my town.  She seemed nice to most of us.  She had friends in town and there were people who went places with her and were friends with her.  We never saw any family though, and heard rumors that she was estranged from them.
This woman died quite suddenly. Her children (imagine the shock of her neighbors and friends when they saw them coming into her home!) came and sold or gave away, literally everything.  When it was all gone, they left as quickly as they came.  They never had a memorial service or a funeral for their mother.  They had her cremated and that was all.
One of the woman's friends told me that her children would never talk with her.  That the mother had made some terrible mistakes many, many years ago.  She tried to make amends, but her children would not have anything to do with her.  She changed her life, started over, wrote letters, tried to visit, sent apologies, all to no avail.  They could not forgive her past mistakes.
Now, I don't know what this mother did.  I only know that she did try to change, and that her children could never accept her apology.  They could never acknowledge her efforts or her repentance.
I thought this was so sad.  I know forgiveness is hard.  I know that it can hurt.  I know that it can be a one of the most difficult things that we ever do.  Nevertheless, I also know that the person it benefits the most is ourselves.  When we forgive, we acknowledge the atonement of the Savior in our own lives. We remind ourselves that He really did suffer, bleed and die for our sins.
Forgiveness is all about freeing up and better using the emotions and feelings in our lives that cause us to feel hate, despair, anger and resentment.  It is about learning to use our strengths and understand and accepting not only other people, but also ourselves.
I have learned that it doesn't take much of a man or a woman to find fault and belittle others.  It does take a man or a woman to strengthen others and help them find the light of the Savior that runs through their lives.
The atonement truly brings us peace and comfort in our lives as we strive to be ever closer to Him.  May we each do a little less judging, and a little more loving to all that we come in contact with today.  

"If we can find forgiveness in our hearts for those who have caused us hurt and injury, we will rise to a higher level of self-esteem and well-being."James E. Faust



This is part of Meditiation Monday over at Living a Big Story.  Write your post and come and join us!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sabbath Day Scribblings - You Matter To Him


"My dear brothers and sisters, it may be true that man is nothing in comparison to the greatness of the universe. At times we may even feel insignificant, invisible, alone, or forgotten. But always remember—you matter to Him! If you ever doubt that, consider these four divine principles:

First, God loves the humble and meek, for they are “greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

Second, the Lord entrusts “the fulness of [His] gospel [to] be proclaimed by the weak and the simple unto the ends of the world.”  He has chosen “the weak things of the world [to] come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones” and to put to shame “the things which are mighty.”

Third, no matter where you live, no matter how humble your circumstances, how meager your employment, how limited your abilities, how ordinary your appearance, or how little your calling in the Church may appear to you, you are not invisible to your Heavenly Father. He loves you. He knows your humble heart and your acts of love and kindness. Together, they form a lasting testimony of your fidelity and faith.

Fourth and finally, please understand that what you see and experience now is not what forever will be. You will not feel loneliness, sorrow, pain, or discouragement forever. We have the faithful promise of God that He will neither forget nor forsake those who incline their hearts to Him.  Have hope and faith in that promise. Learn to love your Heavenly Father and become His disciple in word and in deed.

Be assured that if you but hold on, believe in Him, and remain faithful in keeping the commandments, one day you will experience for yourselves the promises revealed to the Apostle Paul: “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”

A Simple Moment - One Fall Day

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, October 28, 2011

Five Minute Friday - Relevant


On Fridays around these parts we stop, drop, and write.
For fun, for love of the sound of words, for play, for delight, for joy and celebration at the art of communication.
For only five short, bold, beautiful minutes. Unscripted and unedited. We just write without worrying if it’s just right or not.
Won’t you join us
    1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
    2. Link back over at The Gypsy Mama and invite others to join in.
    3. Most importantly: leave a comment for the person who linked up before you – encouraging them in their writing!
OK, are you ready? Give me your best five minutes on:

Relevant…




Definition of RELEVANT

1  a : having significant and demonstrable bearing on the matter at hand
    b : affording evidence tending to prove or disprove the matter at issue or under discussion 
         
    c : having social relevance
2   : proportional, relative

START

It is so easy in this busy life to forget what is really relevant.  Sometimes, it seems as if there is not enough of me to go around.  The word relevant, reminds me of Mary and Martha.  They both wanted to do good things.  It was important to Martha to have a clean house, and a good dinner.  It was important to Mary to sit down at the Savior's feet and listen to His words and teachings.  Both things were good, but one was better at that time and place.  I struggle with relevance.  With doing good at the right time and place.  With remembering that there can be two or three goods and not just one, and that I need to choose the better part.  I struggle to spend my time, not with every good, but with the best good. With the good part and not every single part.  I struggle to remember, not what is relevant right this minute, but with what is relevant for the bigger picture.  I struggle to remember that His time, is not the same as my time.  That just because I can only see the dark thread in the tapestry, does not mean that my entire life is made with this one thread.  The dark times are relevant to the light.  The tapestry of my life is made of hurts as well as joy.  I struggle with knowing that the pieces of my life, good and bad, are relevant to the whole that I am becoming.  I want to be Mary, but often find that Martha and I have so very much in common.

STOP

Now, what can you write in just five minutes?  Hope to see you over at Lisa Jo's, sharing your relevant thoughts with the rest of us!    

Thursday, October 27, 2011

22 Things I Have Done!



Choose a prompt, post it on your blog, and go over to Mama Kat's to add your name to the link list on her blog post. 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.) Last week we wrote about what we have never done…this week write a list of 22 things you HAVE done.
2.) Write about the last item you looked for. Why did you need it?
3.) Something that scared the Hell out of you when you were a child.
4.) Describe something you did with your spouse when you dated, but that you’re now “over”.
5.) Do you have little ones dressing up for Halloween? It’s time for a costume share! What are they going to be?
Of course, I had to choose number 1 this week since I did the things I have never done last week.  So, here is a list of the things I have done.


What I've Done

22.  I have climbed cliffs in Yosemite National Park.
21.  I have stood on the North edge of the grand canyon at Taroweep and looked straight down to the      Colorado River.  (I crawled back from the edge too!)
20.  I have driven from one side of the country, to the other.  From the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic. 
19.  I have camped beneath a Giant Sequoia, and felt as if it went straight up to heaven.
18.  I have stood on the shores looking out to Niagra Falls and felt the spray in my face.
17.  I have been in a hurricane.
16.  I have been in a flood.
15.  I have housed students from all over the world.  (And never learned to speak a different language).
14.  I know American Sign Language.  I took three years of classes to learn it so that I could speak to my employees who were deaf.  
13.  I graduated High School early, but did not go to college until after I was older.
12.  I received my bachelor's degree when I was 39 and my Master's Degree when I was 41. 
11.  I gave birth to nine children.  Six girls and three boys.  (I have never, ever regretted it!)
10.  I have painted oil paintings that hang in my house.  
  9.  I love to sing.  
  8.  I have sang on the radio.
  7.  I learned to dance in high school, and received the award for the most improved dancer (that simply meant that I wasn't any good when I started, but I became tolerable).  I gave up dancing once I got out of school.  
  6.  I have been on television.  It was not an easy thing.
  5.  I have loved and lost and learned to grieve and let go.   
  4.  I have received answers to prayers.
  3.  I have seen miracles.
  2.  I have learned, that no matter what problems we face, we are all children of God and He loves us.
  1.  I am a mother, a wife, a sister, and a friend.   I am simple and complex.  I am learning and growing and being.  I am enough in Him.    

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Modesty is alive and well

Modesty is not only an ornament, but also a guard to virtue.
I saw this poster the other day and I really liked it!  With all the mixed messages out there available to our young women, it is so refreshing to see something that has a good message about modesty.  


It made my heart sing, just a little, to see the bar for morality raised just a little bit higher!

"Modesty in dress and manner will assist in protecting against temptation. It may be difficult to find modest clothing, but it can be found with enough effort. I sometimes wish every girl had access to a sewing machine and training in how to use it. She could then make her own attractive clothing. I suppose this is an unrealistic wish. But I do not hesitate to say that you can be attractive without being immodest. You can be refreshing and buoyant and beautiful in your dress and in your behavior. Your appeal to others will come of your personality, which is the sum of your individual characteristics. Be happy. Wear a smile. Have fun. But draw some rigid parameters, a line in the sand, as it were, beyond which you will not go." -President Gordon B. Hinckley, 2004 from a talk entitled, "Stay on the High Road"

"Sisters, be careful how you dress. I'm not here to give you a dress standard. Just dress in such a way that if the Lord came tomorrow and called a meeting together and invited you to attend that you would feel comfortable to a be in his presence" -Elder M. Russell Ballard Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles At a fireside in Salt Lake City Tabernacle on Sunday September 19, 1999 to students in the University Wards.

I can't do everything

Once upon a time, so many years ago.  There lived a very young mother who really wanted to show her Heavenly Father that she loved Him.  She learned to bake bread and cakes, and take them to all the neighbors.  She learned to have the missionaries over for dinner often, and to keep them fed when they were hungry.  She learned to read her scriptures and find answers to her prayers.  She learned to listen and hear the still small voice and follow it's promptings.  She learned, in her own small way, to make a difference in the world around her.
One of the most difficult challenges that she faced was to follow the council she was given in regards to a particular book of scripture.  The challenge to take one book in every single available language and to give them away, whenever a person would be met that spoke that language.  There were 30 of those books that year.  I actually thought that I would never manage to give them all away.
It took me just over 25 years.  I would put one of them in my car and when I heard someone speaking a foreign language, I would ask them what language that was.  Eventually, I gave every single one of them away.  The very last book was in Korean.  It sat on my shelf for years, and I did not believe that I would ever find a home for that.  One year, we had a foreign exchange student living in our house.  She was going through the bookshelves for something to read and came across that old Korean Book of Mormon.  She started crying, she was so grateful to see the words in her own language.  So, she took the last book home with her when she left.  Until that moment, I think that I forgot about my promise to find homes for all those books, but I totally remembered it when she hugged it tight against herself and I saw the joy in her eyes.
I learned so many lessons from that challenge in my life.  I learned that prayers are not always answered right away, even if your heart is in the right place.  I learned that the most daunting tasks can be completed with a little time, effort and faith.  I learned that He always knew who needed those books much more than I did.  How else can you explain the Samoan that I met at the gas station when I only had a Samoan book in my trunk, or the Swedish family that we met in a small diner on the way to North Carolina?
He knows what we can do if we will only follow His path for us.  If we will just believe in Him and in our ability to follow.  A little faith and trust (and a book or two or thirty) can completely turn your life around.

I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, but only more love. ~Mother Teresa

We can do no great things, only small things with great love. ~Mother Teresa

I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do. ~Edward Everett Hale

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sabbath Day Scribblings - Christlike Love



"Love is what inspired our Heavenly Father to create our spirits; it is what led our Savior to the Garden of Gethsemane to make Himself a ransom for our sins. Love is the grand motive of the plan of salvation; it is the source of happiness, the ever-renewing spring of healing, the precious fountain of hope. As we extend our hands and hearts toward others in Christlike love, something wonderful happens to us. Our own spirits become healed, more refined, and stronger. We become happier, more peaceful, and more receptive to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit."

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Simple Moment - A Day At The Pool

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.


Five Minute Friday - Beyond

On Fridays around these parts we join with The Gypsy Mama and we stop, drop, and write.


We write bold and beautiful and free. Unscripted and unedited. We just write without worrying if it’s just right or not.

Won’t you join us?

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here at The Gypsy Mama and invite others to join in.
3. Most importantly: leave a comment for the person who linked up before you – encouraging them in their writing!

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

Beyond…


START

Life can be tough for all of us.  We will each experience moments that turn our lives upside down, shake us up and drop us into places we never thought we would be.  Every single one of us have trials.  Just because you can't see them, doesn't mean they aren't there.  Just because they don't seem difficult to you, doesn't make them easy for me. 
I have learned that often, the most important thing we can do for one another is simply to be a little bit kinder.  No matter what is going on in our lives, if we can just hold on for a few more moments, relief may be in sight, a friend may be found, a change may be made.  Beyond the night, is the morning sun.  Beyond this crashing storm, is the rainbow.  Beyond this heartache, is the comfort and peace.
It helps me to endure if I keep my focus on my eternal Savior.  It comforts me to realize that beyond the pain of this moment, beyond the hurts of this trial, beyond this veil of tears, hope will guide me beyond all the cares of this difficult world and into His sweet embrace. 
Beyond all that I experience and know, He lives.  He knows my needs and my heart and my aching.  With Him walking at my side, I know that I can endure this moment and walk beyond it.  I can go where He needs me to go, say what He needs me to say, and do what He needs me to do.  I can go beyond myself and follow Him.   

STOP
Now, what can you write in just five minutes??

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Haiku and 22 Things I've Never Done



Choose a prompt, post it on your blog, and come back to add your name to the link list at Mama Kat's. 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.) Follow the template She copied from The Pioneer Woman without her permission and list 22 things you’ve never done.
2.) Tell about a time you accidentally “replied all” or sent an email to the wrong person by mistake.
3.) Describe a meal your spouse actually cooks better than you.
4.) Share the story behind your current Facebook and/or Twitter profile photo.
5.) Write a Haiku for Fall and pair it with a favorite Fall photo you’ve taken this year.
This was a great week, and easy for me to write for.  So, I chose two.  The first was number 5, a fall Haiku. 

Fall Haiku


by Patricia A Pitterle

Autumn comes quickly

Painting red, yellow and orange

Brilliance in Shadow.



I am over 50 years old and I also chose to write about 22 things I have never done.  The interesting thing for me about this experience is that I found it so hard to find things that I haven't tried.  It would be so much easier to write about the things I have done, or the things that I have tried to do.  It is harder when I try and write about the things I have never done.  Some were easy.  I have never done them and I don't want to do them.  Others were much harder to think of.    



1.  I have never been off the North American continent.
2.  I have never tried illegal drugs.
3.  I have never smoked a cigarette.
4.  I have never jumped out of an airplane (and I am never going to either!)
5.  I have never been popular.
6.  I have never written a book.
7.  I have never wished that I did not have so many kids.  (Really, truly.  I am so happy that I have a big family).
8.  I have never climbed Mt. Rainier.
9.  I have never owned a house big enough for all my stuff.
10.  I have never been snorkeling.
11.  I have never been para-sailing.
12.  I have never held a monkey.
13.  I have never raced another car.
14.  I have never worn heels taller than 3 inches.  (I am lucky to manage to wear inch high heels at my advanced age!)
15.  I have never met a President of the United States.
16.  I have never built a building.
17.  I have never thrown a party for adults.
18.  I have never stayed in the woods by myself overnight.
19.  I have never owned a pair of red shoes.
20.  I have never owned a bikini.
21.  I have never hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
22.  I have never denied there is a loving Father in Heaven, who cares, who watches, and who wants me to be more like Him. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Pure Fun


Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game.
Michael Jordan

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I am a Christian


This week, I have felt bombarded by those who think they have the right to tell others what I believe.  Everywhere I turn, I find those who do not know or understand.  It seems to have started (this time) with that Texas Pastor Jeffress remarks about the "Mormons".  I have listened to the news reports, as well as the spoofs on TV that just make fun of all religions.  I think it is sad that in this country, in the year of 2011, people are not allowed freedom of religion.  They must conform to more "traditional" beliefs or be threatened and ridiculed.  They must be just like everyone else, or condemned for their choices.  I do NOT belong to a cult, no matter what you have heard.

I am a "Mormon".  I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  I am a Christian.
I just want to say that I have a testimony of my Savior Jesus Christ.
I know that He lived for me, and that He died for me.  I know that He lives today.
I know that the scriptures are true.  I know that I am a child of God.  I know that He cares for each and every one of us.  I know that the scriptures are true.  I read them daily.  I love them.  They are one way that I can draw closer to my Heavenly Father.  I love the Book of Mormon.  It is another testament of Jesus Christ.  It bears witness of His divinity and His love for us.
I pray, I study, I work, I learn, I live, I love, I cry.  I am just like you.

I have pictures all over my house of the Savior.  My children are taught to love Him.  To revere Him.  To honor Him.   We pray every day.  As a family, and as individuals.
I can tell you that I go to church every week, and we don't spend one minute of time talking about what other people believe and how "wrong" or "right" they might be.  I don't picket outside your church, or demonstrate outside your Easter Pageant.  I don't wave signs outside your Christmas lights or your nativity scenes.  I don't honk my horn as I drive down the road so that I disturb your meeting.
I teach my children that there are good people in every religion.  There are wonderful, amazing, kind and loving people that don't believe the same way that we do.  I teach my children to love all men, no matter what their religion might be.  I teach them to look for good people and be friends.  I teach them to think for themselves and make their own decisions.  I teach them to treat others the same way the Christ himself would treat them if He were here.  
If you have questions about what I believe, please ask.  I will do my best to answer and to help you understand.  If you want more information, go and search mormon.org. There are always people on that site that will be happy to answer any of your questions.  You can also go the official church website, LDS.org.  On that site, you will find the scriptures, as well as our conference messages and many of our manuals and books.
The point for me is simply this.  I have been to many, many other churches in my life.  I have studied what they believe.  I have talked with their ministers.  If I want to know about another church, I go to that church, or a person who is a member there and ask questions.  I am hoping that you will give me the same courtesy.
I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints.  I am a Mormon.  I am a Christian.    

And just in case you want to read more about my beliefs today, I am being featured over at The Mormon Women Project where I talk about realizing that my Heavenly Father loves me.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Thou Hast Testified of Me

I was asked to teach this week the New Testament Gospel Doctrine Lesson 38: “Thou Hast Testified of Me” It encompasses the book of Acts 21 - 28.
Can I just say that it was so amazing!  I have learned so much this week from this lesson.  I really want to share it with you too.  I hope that you learn something with me.  
I love reading about Paul.  In the first part of this, Paul has decided to journey to Jerusalem, he is warned many times by disciples and the prophet Agabus that danger and even death await him there.  Agabus also wrapped himself up in Paul's girdle and stated that Paul would also be bound if he went to Jerusalem.  Yet, Paul went there anyway.  

While in Jerusalem, the apostles asked him to be cleansed and serve in the Temple as a proper Jewish-Christian. He agreed and went to the temple. Some of the people saw him and thought he brought a Gentile into the temple. The crowd got angry and turned into a mob, then they attempted to slay him.  Paul was arrested for his own protection and asked if he could explain things to the people.  Speaking in Hebrew, he explained his own Jewish past.  He explained how he used to be bad, and persecuted the Jewish-Christians and finally, he explained his conversion by Jesus in vision.

The Jews were again angered and the soldiers had to take him in.  There, the soldiers chose to question him by flogging.  Flogging was a harsh form of torture, that caused severe injury and even death.  It was often used upon individuals that resided within the Roman Empire. It could not, however, be used on free citizens without Caesar’s approval. Paul noted he was born a free citizen, so, they could not flog him.
He stated that he was a Pharisee and was in trouble because he taught about the resurrection of the dead. Pharisees believed in resurrection, but Sadduccees did not believe there was life after mortality.
I thought that was interesting, and somehow, I have missed that distinction between the two in my previous study.  
That evening, the Lord told him to "be of good cheer" he would go to witness in Rome.  A plot was planned against Paul’s life by over 40 radical Jews, so he was taken by armed guard out of Jerusalem and to Caesarea to be judged of the governor Felix. He is kept in house arrest for two years, even though he was not found guilty.

Paul went to see Festus, the governor of Jerusalem, and also King Agrippa.  
"King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets?  I know that thou believest. Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me . . ." (Acts 26:27-28)
"Personal integrity is vital in the living Church. We forget that Korihor actually believed but was possessed of a lying spirit. (Alma 30:42.) Agrippa believed the prophets, but when it mattered he lacked the courage to say so. (Acts 26:27.) How sad that so many cannot see that to be put out of the secular synagogues for one's belief in Christ is the first step toward being let in the kingdom of God! (John 9:22.) How ironic to see so many so-called free spirits imprisoning themselves in roles that, like Korihor's, cause them to be at cruel war with themselves. How lamentable that when all tongues will confess that Jesus is the Christ in that not-too-distant Judgment Day, there will be so many who were, in mortality, undeclared believers, who were actually persuaded and "almost" so acknowledged openly." (Neal A. Maxwell, Things As They Really Are, p.62)
We had a great discussion here about being almost converted.  About "almost" keeping the commandments, about "almost" worshiping the Lord.

Paul was sent on to Rome.  On the way, the ship was caught in a storm and shipwrecked on an island. Through God’s providence and protection of Paul, all on-board were protected for following his counsel. An interesting event occurred during that time. While putting firewood near the fire, a poisonous snake leaped out of the fire and bit him. All watched to see if Paul fell over dead. To them, he obviously had done something wrong that required punishment from the gods. Instead, Paul shook the snake back into the fire and continued with what he was doing and did not die.  The people then decided that he must be a god.

We know that Paul was not a god, but we also know that he was a true disciple of Christ.  He had the power of the Priesthood with him.  I love the teaching in these chapters.  I love the thoughts that came to me while I was reading them.  We may all occasionally get bitten by fiery serpents in this life.  But through the atonement of our Savior, we too can eternally shake off the ills and pains of this earthly existence.  We too, can be of good cheer and bear our burdens willingly.
Paul was a truly great example of what a Christian should be. 
 "By learning more about Paul, we become more intimately acquainted with the Lord Jesus Christ and with those men whom the Savior has called to be his prophets and apostles" (Michael W. Middleton, "Paul Among the Prophets: Obtaining a Crown," The Apostle Paul: His Life and His Testimony, p. 112).

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sabbath Day Scribblings - The Lord's Hands


"We are surrounded by those in need of our attention, our encouragement, our support, our comfort, our kindness. … We are the Lord’s hands here upon the earth, with the mandate to serve and to lift His children. He is dependent upon each of us."  Thomas S. Monson

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Simple Moment - Oh, That Smile!

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, October 14, 2011

Five Minute Friday - Catch

On Fridays around these parts we stop, drop, and write.

We pour out our hearts and souls to write.  We write bold and beautiful and free. Unscripted and unedited. We just write without worrying if it’s just right or not.  Because, don't you know, it is what is on the inside that counts the most!

Won’t you join us?

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link over at The Gypsy Mama and invite others to join in.
3. Most importantly: leave a comment for the person who linked up before you – encouraging them in their writing!

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

Catch…

GO.....
 
  When my children were little, we used to play catch, nice and slow, rolling the ball back and forth in simple, easy movements.  Sometimes, they would get overly excited and throw the ball at me, thinking I could catch it, only to have it fly out of reach.  Those sweet, little, chubby legs would run fast through the grass until they could get the ball for me, and our game would resume. 
As they got a little bit bigger, throwing the ball replaced the nice easy movements of our "catch" game.  Now we wore mitts upon our hands to protect them from the sting.  The ball started out slow, with simple, underhanded pitches.  Gradually getting faster and faster, until I found times when I could not catch the ball at all.  It would go sailing right over my head, and my child would run quickly to retrieve it, laughing all the while at the klutz that his mother had become.
Soon, I found myself relegated to the sidelines, watching with the other parents, as my children far surpassed my meager skills.  I learned that cheering could be just as exciting as catching.  Screaming their names out loud for all to hear and going hoarse in the excitement of the game.  Hoping that they could see and know how proud I am of them and their abilities.  Oh, I learned to love the watching. 
Today, I find myself once again catching.  My grandchildren have come into my life and brought me back to the slow, easy days of rolling and catching and missing and running.  The movements aren't quite so comfortable anymore, but I find my love for the game has only increased with the march of time. 
Now I see how fast the moments go, and how soon this phase will end.  I see that catching is all an exercise in living.  Catching is part of holding and loving and knowing.  Catching is breathing it all in and feeling the love grow in nice, slow, easy and oh so caught in my heart, moments. 

STOP....

Now it is your turn.  Hope to see you over at the Gypsy Mama's with your own words of wisdom on Catch.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Writer's Workshop - When my Child Cries

Welcome to another fun filled week of inspiration!! Pick your poison...
Then go over to Mama Kat's and link up with everyone else  I will look forward to seeing you there.

This Week's Prompts

1.) A list of ten things you should never ask your spouse.
2.) Write a poem about a memorable Halloween costume.
3.) Speech!! Tell about a time you had to speak or present in front of a group of people.
4.) What was the last thing your child cried about? Write a blog post about the problem in the voice of your child.
5.) A recipe that went all kinds of wrong.



I chose to write about number four.  The last thing my child cried about.
We have had so many struggles here lately, and the tears keep flowing.  So, now all I need to do is pick the latest one.  All of this conversation was said with tears pouring down her face.  She really, really had a bad day. 
Mom, I had a bad day at school today.  It's so hard!  I don't like going anymore.  I don't like riding the bus, or being with the kids.  I hate being different from everybody else.  I hate it when they make fun of me and trip me.  I hate being invisible. 
Yes I am!  I am invisible to those girls.  They don't see me, they don't try to see me, they don't want to see me.  I am invisible in school all the time.  They just ignore me.  I am the invisible kid.  I am the one that no one has to pay attention to.  The only time they pay attention is when I don't want them to, when they are laughing and leaving me out! 
Today, I walked by a couple of girls and one said to the other, "why are you twitching".  The other said, "I don't know, I think I have tourettes!"  They knew that I was there.  They knew that I could hear.  They were just being mean.  Someone called me a ________ today and than slapped my face.  They always do that, mom.  They think it is funny.  Someone else called me an ________ because I would not give them a piece of candy.  Why should I have to share when they are not nice to me? 
Tomorrow, know what I'm going to do?  I am going to make a whole batch of cupcakes and only frost three of them.  One is for me, and the other two are for the only people that are nice to me.  Everyone else is not going to get any frosting!!  I know mom, I can't do that because it is mean, but I really, really want to be mean today.
Mom, why can't people just like me for who I am? 
I need to go home and make cupcakes.  Don't worry mom, I will put frosting on all of them.  Can you make it for me?
So, when I have a bad day myself, if helps me to remember that others are hurting too.  Sometimes, so much worse than what I am going through.  They might not cry in front of me, but inside, where it counts the most, the tears are pouring down their spiritual cheeks and their heart is breaking.  Sometimes, we can't see and we don't know what is really going on inside. 
Some people, like my sweet girl, are able to hide those tears and those thoughts.  Some people wear a mask to disquise the hurt inside.  I would venture to say, that most of us have worn a mask at one time or another to hide from the view of those around us.  I have learned that each and every one of us can be hurting and those around us may not even be aware of it because they are having their own trials too. 
All we can do is take a few moments Every. Single. Day., and try and be the kind of person that makes things just a little better for everybody else.  The kind of person that seeks out the alone and the lonely.  The kind of person that brings cupcakes with frosting for everyone, even when they might not be feeling happy and cheerful inside. 
The kind of person, like my sweet young daughter, who really is learning that she is the Daughter of a Heavenly King and she is becoming who He needs and wants her to be.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - I'm gonna get you!

Sometimes your the swimmer, 
and sometimes you are the sea monster!

Life Unmasked - Ten Things About Me

Today, I am joining Joy over at Joy in this journey for her weekly writing of Life Unmasked.  It is an opportunity to take down the masks in our lives and be real with one another.  A chance to open ourselves up for learning and for knowing that not a single one of us is perfect.  It is easy to loose sight of that in the blogging world where you don't actually get to meet people in real life.  (Unless you are extremely lucky and live close together!)  I thought that it sounded like fun to participate and to be "real" for a few moments on Wednesday.  Although, I do always try and be real, I am sure there are things about me that you do not know!  So, here goes, my attempt at reality unmasked!



Ten things about me that you might not know.

10.  I live in chaos.  Yes, you heard me right.  I am so busy that I don't get the cleaning done like I should.  Between working two jobs and blogging and being a mom, there is not much time left to get the oven and the fridge as clean as I would like.  Currently, I am working on the flylady program (See http://www.flylady.net/ for information) and it is slowly starting to make a difference.  Who knows, maybe one of these days I will actually post the after pictures on my blog.  (Don't hold your breath for before shots though!)

9.  I dress for comfort.  I wear my EMT pants everywhere and a comfortable shirt and my crocs.  It can be so bad that my older girls have all threatened to put me on the TV show, "What Not To Wear".  Hopefully they will never embarrass me that badly, but I am always wondering.  Seriously, comfort makes my world go round.  I love blue jeans and t-shirts.  I spill everything on myself and hate ruining clothes that cost money, so I am a totally relaxed non-dressup type of woman.  It makes getting ready to go places so much faster!

8.  I nearly never wear makeup.  I don't like the way it feels or looks on me. I think it makes me look fake, and well, made up.  Occasionally, for a very special occasion, I will wear mascara and blush.  But that is about it. 

7.  I used to weigh 220 lbs.  I have lost ????  (no I am not telling you!) and managed to keep it off, but I would still really like to lose 35 more lbs.  Losing weight is one of the hardest things I have ever done.  I still have all the clothes I used to have, only now they are baggy and don't fit.  It makes me feel good to wear them!  Plus, I really hate throwing good clothes away.  My goal is to clean out the closets before the end of the year and have room to actually hang my clothes instead of stuff them. 

6.  I love crafts.  I have a lot of unfinished projects around that I am waiting to have time to finish!  I have a couple of quilt tops for my grandkids as well as pictures that I made, ect.  It is hard for me to find all the time that I need to just get things done.  Now that I have my craft room back, I am hoping that I can make some real progress in this area.  Mostly with quilting.  I really want to be able to make every one of my children and grandchildren a quilt. 

5.  I get my feelings hurt so easily.  I cry when people don't like me or want to be around me.  It is worse when I respect and like them.  I know that my skin is thicker today than it used to be.  (You can't survive in the business world without that thickening process), but sometimes I can't help wishing that we could learn to be just a little kinder to those around us.  I have learned that just because you can't see trials doesn't mean that they aren't there in abundance.  Often, the very worst things we will go through in this life and nearly invisible to everyone else. 

4.  I LOVE BOOKS!  No seriously, I really love books.  If you want to know my perfect vacation, it would be by the beach, under an umbrella and in the middle of an amazing story.  Of course, part of that vacation would include oodles of family, but there would also be time for books.  I am rarely without one somewhere on my person or in my car, and I read ever spare moment that I get.  Lately, I have been doing so much writing, that I have neglected my reading.  That has been difficult.  For a large part of my life, books were my friends.  They brought me comfort and taught me all kinds of things.  I still have a hard time with digital media.  There is something so comforting about turning pages and reading a good old fashioned novel.

3. My family means the world to me, but often they are the ones that get left out first. It is almost like I expect them to understand what I am doing and how much I need to be doing it. I expect them to not mind sharing my time and my attention. I expect them to make allowances for me. I am learning that they have wants and needs too and that those usually mean I need to be present a little more often. I have learned that love isn't something you just say. It is a verb. An action word that requires doing on my part. Showing your family that you love them is so much harder than just telling them, but also so much more rewarding.  I also know that I love each and every single one of them.  No matter what decisions they have made, they are still mine.  I pray for them, cry for them, and want what is best for them.  They each hold a piece of my heart. 


2.  My husband is amazing.  He gets his own paragraph!  Seriously, he married me at a time in my life when things were incredibly difficult.  I had a lot of baggage.  I was broken.  I was ashamed.  I was not well.  Yet, he came in, took care of me, and loved me through all the problems.  He loved my children, his children and our children.  He tried his best to be whatever we needed him to be.  I know it was not easy.  He is not perfect, but he is perfect for me.  He has never once, in all our married years, criticized me for not being enough.  He loves me exactly as I am and in the place that I am in.  He just loves me. 
 
1. I love the gospel. It is something that I did not grow up knowing. I find that I crave the things that make me closer to my Heavenly Father. I want His spirit in my life, and I really want to know that I am doing OK. I have faith for many things, but always could use more. One of the biggest things I lack is patience. I don't want to wait, I want it right now! The older I get, the more I realize how much more we learn as we get older. I realize how much having the gospel in my life means to me. I realize how much I want to return to Him. I realize that He is my rock and my redeemer.  I have come to realize that all happiness comes by Him and through Him.  There are so many things that I can't do right, but with Him by my side, I am learning to be better each and every day.  And through Him, I know that somehow, in ways I don't yet understand, I will be enough.   

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Search, Ponder, and Pray



My small family gets together every morning to read the scriptures.  Currently, we are reading the Old Testamen and the Doctrine and Covenants.  It is hard work.  It can be frustrating some mornings when he girls are tires and falling asleep in various positions on the couch.  It can be difficult when the fighting breaks out or the whinning.  It can be hard when I don't want to get out of bed. 
The funny thing that I have noticed though, is that we are all getting so much out of studying.  I thought the Old Testament would be so hard, and that they would not understand what they are reading.  Turns out that is completely untrue.  They actually pay attention while they are pretending to be asleep.  They are learning and growing as we read and study together.  The best part of this is that they seem to really love to do it. 
I am surprised on many mornings when I would be prone to wallow in my bed, but get up and come in the living room to discover that all three girls are there a head of me.  They are sitting on the couch with thier scriptures opened and waiting for their dad and I to join them. 
I am learning that we don't have to understand every single word in order to feel the spirit in our lives and in order to have the desire to read it again.  I am learning that discussing the stories and the scriptures brings a tone of peace and harmony in our home.  There always seem to be the little "gotcha" scriptures.  The ones that make me sit up and take notice.  The ones that help me teach a point or help with a difficulty.  The "Ah Ha" moment if you will. 
For us, those little moments are what makes reading so very enjoyable.  Those times when we see everything start to make a difference in their lives.  So, my challenge to you today is to take one half an hour every morning and just read out loud to your family.  Gather them around and heap up big tablespoons of the Spirit to start off your day.  I think you might be surprised at the difference that few minutes can make. 
Don't expect it to be perfect.  I can pretty much guarantee that it won't be.  But do expect it to change you life.  Because I can also guarantee that it will. 

We live in the present.
We dream in the future.
But we learn eternal truths
From the past. 

“Certainly there are times when getting the family together to read the scriptures does not stack up as a spiritual experience worthy of a journal entry. But we must not be deterred. There are special times when the spirit of a son or daughter is just right and the power of these great scriptures goes down into their heart like fire. As we honor our Heavenly Father in our homes, He will honor our efforts.”
Neil L. Andersen

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sabbath Day Scribblings - Give Me All

This has been all over the internet this week, and it is a message that I have always loved.  Remember that Heavenly Father knows, exactly, who He needs you to be.  It is not always easy, but it is always, always worth it.  


"The Christian way is different: harder, and easier. Christ says “Give me All. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don’t want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down. I don’t want to drill the tooth, or crown it, or stop it, but to have it out. Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked—the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: my own will shall become yours.”  C.S. Lewis

Saturday, October 8, 2011

A Simple Moment - Water Baby!

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, October 7, 2011

Five Minute Friday - On Ordinary


Want to join The Gypsy Mama and me in the fun of just writing and not worrying if it’s just right (or on time) or not?
    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 all out encouraging the writer who linked up before you.
OK, are you ready? Give me your best five minutes:

On Ordinary…



or·di·nar·y
Adjective:
With no special or distinctive features; normal.
Noun:
What is commonplace or standard.
Synonyms:
common - usual - regular - normal - habitual - customary


START
I am an ordinary woman.
Washing clothes, washing faces, washing hands;
Cleaning messes, picking up chaos, touching worlds.
I hold dreams, hold hands, hold faces and hold hearts
Wrapped tightly in my love.
I work, I play, I laugh, I cry, I love.
Oh how I love.
Sometimes it hurts so much to love them.
It hurts to see them ache, to see them cry, to see their pain.
But I cling tightly to them,
Holding them fast,
Seeking to shelter and protect,
Seeking to guide and to nurture,
Seeking to change their world and make it better.
I dry their tears, give them hugs and receive millions of butterfly kisses,
Knowing that all things must pass,
Children grow, life goes on,
Time flies, even when we would slow it down
And make it stop.
I have dreamed of being great; of accomplishing amazing things.
In spite of those dreams,
My life,
Is so often filled with ordinary.

The ordinary wants of children,
Ordinary prayers,
Ordinary work,
Ordinary disappointments,
Ordinary hopes,
And most of all, ordinary love. 

I am an ordinary woman, teaching my children how to be
Just a little bit extra-ordinary.
And that has made all the difference.


STOP

Now it is your turn.  What can you write today for just five minutes?

Writer's Workshop - Message On Facebook

Welcome to another fun filled week of inspiration!! Pick your poison... then jump over to Mama Kat's and join us for another week of writer's workshop fun.

This Week's Prompts

1.) Share a disagreement you're having with someone and let your readers be the judge!
2.) Tell us about your song.
3.) Share a Halloween craft.
4.) Slow dancing with boys...talk about one of your first school dance experiences.
5.) I have no idea where the following message originated from, but it's been floating around Facebook for the past week...who does it make you think about?:





So, for this prompt, I picked number five.  I know that I saw this message, not just once but several times over on facebook. There are good things and bad things about it.  I do think that too often, friendships can be way too one-sided.  It is so easy to get so caught up in what you think you want, that you forget to look at what you really need.  You get caught up in trying to please everyone else, and forgetting that a relationship is really two-sided.  You have to please yourself too.  
I am not sure that I completely agree with this statement.  I have learned, that sometimes, you have to make the effort first.  You have to be willing to put yourself out there and possibly get hurt.  It would be nice not to worry about those who don't worry about you, but there is no way that I can tell myself that following this piece of "advice" is something that would make me more like my Heavenly Father and His son.  There is no way that I can justify my own behavior because of the unkindness or lack of courtesy of someone else.  
I think we are responsible for our own behavior.  I think that even when others cannot bring themselves to do the right thing, it does not make it right for me to choose not to do the right thing.  I think we are supposed to make spaces in our heart for those who walk into our lives.  Whether they stay in our hearts might be another matter, but we have to be willing to risk and love if we want to change anything.  
Our Savior Jesus Christ said: "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another. …“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

Love one another. He did not say to only love those who love you first. I think we are here to learn to become more Christlike, not to learn how to be more selfish and self-centered. I think it is important to not get distracted by what others would have you do, but only to be focused on what you should be doing. On those things that are virtuous, lovely. of good report or praiseworthy. To see after the good and the righteous in your life and to let go of the sorry and pain.
I think a true badge of honor is not what someone else thinks of us, but it is what we think of ourselves.

I want to be kind to everyone
For that is right you see.
so I say to myself, remember this,
Kindness begins with me.

When I stop worrying about what others can do for me, and make Jesus Christ the center of my life, my minutes, my hours, and my days start going better and I find myself filled with joy. Our Savior taught us about kindness and living a righteous life. He loved all, and served all, no matter what they did to Him.
President Thomas S. Monson taught us how to interact with our peers and everyone we meet when he told the young women of the Church, “My precious young sisters, I plead with you to have the courage to refrain from judging and criticizing those around you, as well as the courage to make certain everyone is included and feels loved and valued." Thomas S. Monson, “May You Have Courage,” Liahona and Ensign,May 2009, 125