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.


Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sabbath Day Scribblings- The Tomb Was Empty


I heard a story at the Easter Cantata yesterday from one of the speakers.  He likes to say "hi" to people.  He says it many different ways but likes to make sure that he connects with those around him.  He told of a time that he said to someone else, "What's the good word?"  The man looked at him and than replied, "The tomb was empty".  
My friend had to think about that for a moment, and than he said, "You are right, it was and it is".  
So my message on this beautiful Easter Sunday is simply that the tomb was empty.  Jesus is resurrected.  He lives again and loves us.  

John 20:11-17

11 But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre,

12 And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.

13 And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.

14 And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.

15 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.

16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.

17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.

I Know That My Redeemer Lives

1. I know that my Redeemer lives.
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, He lives who once was dead.
He lives, my ever living Head.
He lives to bless me with His love.
He lives to plead for me above.
He lives my hungry soul to feed.
He lives to bless in time of need.
2. Lives to grant me rich supply.
He lives to guide me with His eye.
He lives to comfort me when faint.
He lives to hear my soul’s complaint.
He lives to silence all my fears.
He lives to wipe away my tears.
He lives to calm my troubled heart.
He lives all blessings to impart.

3. He lives, my kind, wise heav’nly Friend.
He lives and loves me to the end.
He lives, and while He lives I’ll sing.
He lives, my Prophet, Priest, and King.
He lives and grants me daily breath.
He lives, and I shall conquer death.
He lives my mansion to prepare.
He lives to bring me safely there.

4. He lives! All glory to His name!
He lives, my Savior still the same.
Oh sweet the joy this sentence gives:
I know that my Redeemer lies.
He lives! All glory to His name!
He lives, my Savior, still the same.
Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives:
“I know that my Redeemer lives!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Five Minute Friday - Broken

This is my favorite time of the week.  Just breath and write.  What more could you ask for?  Especially when the prompts make me think about all those things in my life that are most important.  Want to join our favorite free writing exercise of the week? It’s easy and open to anyone.

 

1. Write for 5 minutes flat on the prompt: “Broken” with no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.

2. Link back over at Lisa Jo's place and invite others to join in.

3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to please visit the person who linked up before you and encourage them in their comments.

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

Broken…


START

She plays in the sandbox with her broken toys, yet loves them with all her small heart and doesn't want to see them go.  They are wrapped in casts of first aid tape and lovingly cared for.  It is not her fault that they are old and have been broken.  She loves them anyway and makes dresses for them out of balloons and wrap around material. 
 Someone gave her new toys once.  But the price for those things was so high.  It broke her heart and her spirit to have that happen, so now, finally, she found the courage to give them back and she plays quietly with the old friends that are broken too, just like her.
Life goes on, she is resilient and proud.  She struggles through many trials and finds herself broken again and yet again, put together with invisible tape and pins much like her dolls when she was small.  She still feels broken.  Friends are hard to make.  Her walls are built again and again with the glue of broken trust and promises.  She doesn't trust enough to take them down. 
She finds love and acceptance in the lives and hearts of her children.  They start to mend the broken places inside her and she learns to give to them those things which were lacking in her life.  She learns to give love and acceptance as the glue to hold them together, knowing a Mother's love will help them in their journey and their trials. 
 Finally, she is ready and comes at last to Him.  Laying the broken pieces of herself in His hands.  Trusting Him to find the way to make her who she needs to be.  He takes all the broken parts of her life and mends them with His peace, His acceptance and His eternal love.  For the first time in her life, she finds herself standing whole and warm in His blessings.
 Life can be a difficult journey. Each of us can be broken along the way.  We have heartbreak, tears, sorrow, sin and despair.  Only He can take those broken things and put our hearts together once again.
Only He can change those hearts into something that we never imagined before.
Only He understands the price we paid along our path.
Only He can forgive, and love us in spite of our brokenness and make us whole.
I am not broken anymore.
I am whole in His love.  

STOP

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Turning a Mess into a Message



 I saw this saying and loved it.  My life has been hard at times.  The road has been rough and difficult.  I know that when I am in the middle of my trials, I sometimes think He isn't there. He isn't listening.  He doesn't know my pain.  
But time passes, the healing does come, and I find myself grateful for the trials in my life. They are the things that have made me strong.  They are the things that have given me faith and hope and courage to press on.  I find that whenever God has allowed a trial in my life, there always follows blessings.  There has always been something that I needed to know.  It might be moments, days or even years later, but I have discovered that He always gives me a gift along with the test.  
It is not always something that I think I want or need (as a matter of fact, I often wish it wasn't there!) but there comes a time when I am grateful for the experience.  I know, that if I could go back now and not have those hard things in my life, I would not change them. Because every single one of them have helped me in some way.  
He has the ability to truly HEAL our hearts if we will just let Him.  He can help us find strength and gratitude for the blessings and the trials.  Sometimes, trusting Him and His timing are the hardest things we will ever do.  I know, He will never let us down.  He will stretch us, and make us grow in ways we might not want, but when all is said and done, we will always be the better for it.  
I know that I am.  
I am content to be a message,
A testimony, a triumph, and a victory.
And I am content to be His.  

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

GRRRR...I Hate It When The Spam Takes Over!


Is it me?  Or is the spam out in bloggerville getting worse?  I don't like to have comment verification because I know it can be a pain to use, but there has not been a single day in the past month that I haven't had to go and delete spam comments.  I think they are getting much worse!  Especially on the older posts where I think they are hoping I won't notice.
I am not interested in visiting explicit websites, and I certainly don't want my readers to see that on my blog.  I consider this personal, because this is my personal space to write my thoughts, my ideas, my feelings and my love of the Savior.  I don't want anything on here that detracts from that.  I looked up blog spam and found out that it is called BLAM for short.  Gotta love the name, but not the beast. 
So, I am going to use it on my blog today to make a point.  I think Satan attacks us all in multiple, incidious ways.  His ways can look innocent.  The opportunity to "do something fun", "belong to the crowd", "have friends", even the possiblities of searching the web are all ways that he can find your weaknesses and work on your internal destruction. 
It is amazing and even scary to me, the power that he has to find the good in the world and corrupt it.  None of us are immune to his own personnal form of Blam.  It is not true that "the devil made me do it" (even if we wish that were the case).  It is true that he knows our weaknesses and puts the temptations in front of us so that we can possibly fail.  It is true that he wants us to fail.  But it is never true that he "makes" us do anything. 
It is important to note, that although we wish often that our choices were someone else's fault, we still get to choose what we do.  We can choose to follow others, or we can choose to stand alone, or we can choose to lead those around us to all that is right and good.  In this life, we still get to decide if we want to follow him (Satan) or our Savior Jesus Christ. 
Satan's promises are false.  He doesn't want our happiness, he wants our eternal misery.  He wants us to fail to live with our Heavenly Father, in any way possible.  He wants to promise us anything he can to make us more like him.
Jesus Christ's promises are sure.  They are eternal.  He never breaks them.  His purpose is to help us find true happiness.  The kind that lasts forever.  The happiness we receive when we make good decisions, when we follow the right course, when we come home to Him.  He wants us to be the people we should be, because He loves us and wants the best for us. 
We all make mistakes.  At times, we all choose a path that is not right.  That is where the wonderful, sweet spirit of repentance comes into our lives.  We might not be able to have a "do over" moment, but we all get to choose whether we want to continue sinning or whether we want to come back into the fold of God.  We get to choose the end of our own stories. 
Satan would have you believe that you are never good enough.  That you have made too many mistakes, that you can never be clean.  He would have you think that you can never be forgiven.  But Christ has promised you His forgiveness.  And His promises are sure and lasting.  They are not lies.  So, no matter what mistakes you have made, you can become clean again.  But first, you have to be willing to give up the sin, let it go, and move forward. 
It is our choice whether we follow Satan's Blam or whether we follow the Saviors Iron Rod.  It is our choice whether we choose to walk away from our sins, or whether we hold fast to them.  My question to you is simply, what sin are you willing to give up to get closer to Him? 
The Choice has always been yours.
Joshua 24:15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

I Rember I Am His

I Remember I Am His
by Patricia A Pitterle

I remember 
Scraped knees,
Skinned elbows,
And bruised Hearts.

I remember 
Laughter,
Tickle monsters,
And love.

The hard times
And the good times
Are twisted together
Into one cord of memory.

Intertwined
Into a rope
Of family strength
And unconditional love.

No matter what
Our past has been
We can start today
And make a new future.

And so, I also remember
His grace, His hope,
His mercy, His forgiveness
And His redeeming love.

I remember 
Answers to my prayers,
Comfort to my heart,
And peace in my soul. 

I remember
No matter the trial,
No matter the hurting,
He will heal my heart and soul.

There is no sin,
No hurt, no heartbreak
That the Savior 
Cannot make right.

Our pain and suffering
Are forever engraven
On the palms
Of His merciful hands.

Our sins
Are washed away
In the healing power
Of His sacred blood.

I pause and remember
That I am also His child.
He loves me and with His grace
He makes me whole.  


Monday, March 25, 2013

A Slower Pace


"Adopt the pace of nature:  
her secret is patience."  
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Nature is so amazing to watch.  Every year, we do a garden in our back yard.  My husband built a greenhouse out of PVC pipe and plastic.  We have to plant the seeds, nurture the seeds, keep them warm and make sure that they have enough sunlight to grow.  It can be so hard to look at the garden day by day and not be sure if you did it right. To not know if the seeds are going to every come up out of the soil that you have tilled and planted.  We wait impatiently to see if anything is going to grow, and then what is going to make it.  Nothing I do or say will speed up the process.  It happens exactly how it was meant to happen.  Some years, we get lots of lettuce and spinach, and some years we get more corn and beets.  My first year, we got radishes and weeds.  We just can't be sure what we are going to get because the weather here is so undependable, the garden doesn't always like the late cold and frosts, and we are still learning to garden at a high altitude.  No matter how much I want it to hurry, so that it gets past the fragile stage, it never does.  Everything depends on patience.  Gardening is all about waiting.  Nature has patience that ignores all my rushed intentions. 
God has promised us that everything has a season and a purpose.  Sometimes, in our very busy lives we would do well to remember that example.  We would do better to display a patience of love; to savor each moment; to slow down in our journey; to smell the roses and to celebrate this marvelous garden that we call life. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sabbath Day Scribblings -Congratulate yourself for what you did!




Elder M. Russell Ballard
"Be An Example of the Believers"
October 1991 General Women's Meeting 


"To you who feel harried and overwhelmed and who wonder whether you ever will be able to run fast enough to catch the departing train you think you should be on, I suggest that you learn to deal with each day as it comes, doing the best you can, without feelings of guilt or inadequacy. I saw a bumper sticker the other day, sisters, that may say it all:

"'God put me on earth to accomplish a certain number of things. Right now I am so far behind, I will never die!'

"Remember, sisters, we all have our own challenges to work out while passing the tests of mortality, and we probably often think ours are the most difficult. Recognize limitations; no one can do everything. When you have done the best you can, be satisfied and don’t look back and second-guess, wondering how you could have done more. Be at peace within yourselves. Rather than berate yourself for what you didn’t do, congratulate yourself for what you did."

Friday, March 22, 2013

Five Minute Friday - Remember


Whoo-Hoo!  It's Friday, and I can't wait to share it with you!  Now, set your timer, clear your head, for five minutes of free writing without worrying about getting it right.
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back over here at Lisa Jo's Place and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..
OK, are you ready? Please give us your best five minutes on:::

Remember…




START

I remember when life seemed so simple.  When the only problems that I faced were the mean kids down the street, and whether or not I could watch the scary movie after my bedtime.  I remember picking the roses off the bushes for the kitchen table, and climbing the tree outside my back door.  
I remember going up all the way to the top until the branches were too small to stand on any more, then rocking gently in the wind, back an forth, until the darkness came and it was time to go inside.  I remember walking to school, both ways with every other kid in the area.  The only kids allowed to ride the bus were the ones that lived two miles or more away.  
I remember my first kiss, my first date, my first license, and the first time I drove in California all by myself. 
(I was 17).  I remember each and every one of my children, the way they looked when they were small.  Their smiles, their tears, there trials and their love.  How I remember the love!  I remember the hugs and kisses, the homemade gifts, the snuggles and the smiles.  I remember all the nights on the paper route where they helped me earn the money that we needed to live.  
The most important things that I remember are the family times that we shared.  The road trips before we could afford DVD players in the car.  The times we stopped at every memorial on the road, (the kids thought it was to play, but it was really for me to have a break).  I remember counting cars and cows, and singing at the top of our lungs to Ray Stevens and the Beach Boys.  
I remember being loved.  I remember being wanted.  I remember the times that made it all worth while.  

STOP

Now, what can you remember in just five minutes?  Don't forget to go over to Lisa Jo's and join us! 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Some Days We Crash and Burn


Philippians 4:11,13Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
My daughter started out at the top of the hill on a beautiful snowy day.  She was excited to sled with her sisters.  We had gone as a family to a near by perfect sledding site.  (This site shall remain secret!)  The girls started out at the very top and went right through all the powder to the very bottom.  
Anya, being smaller than the rest, flew off her sleigh and tumbled more than halfway, end over end, and came to rest in a bush covered in snow.  Thankfully, she was not hurt at all and stood up, dusted off the snowsuit and went back to the business of having a great day.
We all have those days when we crash and burn on the hill.  The hill might not be filled with snow, it might not be as soft, or as pretty as the one my daughter tumbled down, but it is a hill nevertheless.  
I have done my fair share of the "crash and burn"  in my life.  I have made mistakes, felt great heartache, been hurt, afraid, lonely and alone.  But my young daughter taught me something this day. 
 
Sometimes we just have to dust ourselves off and get back to the business of having a great day.  

Isn't that so simple?  So, that is my message today.  We get to choose whether or not we stay at the bottom or work our way back to the top.  We choose to dust ourselves off and try a little harder to be a little bit better.  We choose to be happy right now and right here in this moment of our lives.  Whatever happens, we choose.  
"So often we get caught up in the illusion that there is something just beyond our reach that would bring us happiness: a better family situation, a better financial situation, or the end of a challenging trial.The older we get, the more we look back and realize that external circumstances don’t really matter or determine our happiness.We do matter. We determine our happiness.You and I are ultimately in charge of our own happiness.We shouldn’t wait to be happy until we reach some future point, only to discover that happiness was already available—all the time! Life is not meant to be appreciated only in retrospect. “This is the day which the Lord hath made … ,” the Psalmist wrote. “Rejoice and be glad in it".  Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Pride, Who Is Right



I find this one to be so true.  And it helps me to work on keeping many things that are prideful out of my life.  We all like to be right.  It makes us feel that we might be worthy of more.  That we might be better than someone else.  And, I have to admit, that I am way too good at convincing myself that I am not good enough.  So, I have to ask myself, is this right?  I have to separate myself from the action and then ask if it is right and good, or do I just want it to be?
Pride is not a sin that only happens outside the church, or only to to others, it also happens from within.  It is initiated in our minds and hearts as we deal with the daily challenges of living the way we know we should.  We are all susceptible to pride.  Today we live in a world full of external influences. We are admonished in the scriptures to be “in the world but not of the world.” In other words, we are supposed to live with those who choose differently than we do, but we are also supposed to keep our standards and morals.  The evils of the world can bring sorrow and tragedy whenever we do not protect ourselves against their influence.
May we echo the words of the ancient prophet Nephi:
“I know in whom I have trusted.
“My God hath been my support. …
“O Lord, I have trusted in thee and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh”
(2 Ne. 4:19–20, 34).
Pride and reliance on man can be replaced with trust in the Lord.  We have to work on it, learn what to keep and what to eliminate from our lives.  We need to seek the right in all that we do and say.  We need to learn to be a little more like Him.  

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Light The Way


"The same God that placed that star in a precise orbit millennia before it appeared over Bethlehem in celebration of the birth of the Babe has given at least equal attention to placement of each of us in precise human orbits so that we may, if we will, illuminate the landscape of our individual lives, so that our light may not only lead others but warm them as well."
Neal A. Maxwell, That my Family Should Partake, pg 86

I love this saying.  How wonderful to know that God is mindful of us.  That He has placed us exactly where we are for a purpose.  That that purpose is known.  I am reminded that all the things in my life have led me to this one point in time and to this one place in all the world.  
He knows my experiences, my heartaches, my overcoming, my despair, my needs, my reaching and my love.  He knows every single thing about me, and loves me in spite of myself.  Because of that, if I allow Him too, He will use me to help others who may need the compassion and comfort that I am uniquely able to give.  If I allow Him too, He will place me where and need to be.  
I am so very blessed, but sometimes, even with all those blessings, it can be hard to not feel discouragement and pain.  Sometimes it helps if I can just step back for a moment and look closer at the blessings instead of the trials.  Sometimes it helps to really look for things to be grateful for.  Sometimes it helps to acknowledge His hand in our lives.  
One of the greatest blessings that I have been given is that of prayer.  The opportunity to talk with our Heavenly Father, one on one, at any time of any day and at any moment.  It never ceases to amaze me how, with all the multitude of things going on in the world, Heavenly Father still has time to answer a small and simple prayer.  
The answer is not always yes.  Sometimes, it is not now.  Or it might even be not ever.  Sometimes the answer is No.  Sometimes the answer is yes.  But there is always an answer.  I am learning that part of having faith in my Heavenly Father is to simple have trust in His timing.  He has promised me that all of this will be worth it.   

Doctrine and Covenants 112:10 
Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Our Own Fridays

“Each of us will have our own Fridays—those days when the universe itself seems shattered and the shards of our world lie littered about us in pieces. We all will experience those broken times when it seems we can never be put together again. We will all have our Fridays. But I testify to you in the name of the One who conquered death—Sunday will come. In the darkness of our sorrow, Sunday will come. No matter our desperation, no matter our grief, Sunday will come. In this life or the next, Sunday will come.”
― Joseph B. Wirthlin

This has been a year of Fridays.  They can be so overwhelming, maybe even more so because I don't feel comfortable talking about it.  I am learning to endure Fridays.  For most people, Friday can symbolize the end of the week.  A time to prepare for fun and rest.  A time of relief.  We call those days "Friday Light" around here.
For me, Fridays have become more difficult.  There is nothing light about them.  They are days of stress and anxiety.  They are days of not knowing how anything is going to turn out.  They are days when I am so totally not in control.  Fridays are like my first crochet project.  None of the stitches turned out right.  The blanket was crooked and did not look good.  I had to take out all the stitches, days and days of work and struggle, and start all over again.
Perhaps, that is why I need these Fridays.  These days of trial.  These days of pieces and unraveling, like yarn from my project.  These are the days of preparation for new beginnings.  The Savior gave up His life on a Friday.  He knew that Sunday would come.  He knew that in the darkness of death, was a new beginning, a new Resurrection.   He knew that He would yet live.
So, during these Fridays in my own life, I think of Him.  I think of His love and His promises.  And I know that Sunday really will come.  I may not be in control, but He is.  I may be weak, but He is my strength.  I may lack trust, but He knows me and teaches me and directs my path.
In my very broken-ness, I know that Sunday will come.  


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sabbath Day Scribblings - Why Worry?



To all who suffer, to all who hurt inside, to all who feel discouraged, worried, afraid or lonely, I say never give in.  Never quit.  Never, never give up.  Never surrender.
Never allow despair to overcome your spirit.
Embrace and rely upon our Savior Jesus Christ, who is the Hope of Israel.  The love of Christ shines forth in all darkness, comforts all sorrow and brings peace to every heart.
Remember always, no matter what your trials, that you ARE loved.  That He knows your name.  He knows your heart.  He knows you.  He loves you in spite of anything you have or have not done.  He takes care of all things and He will take care of you.  He knows what you need.
He is your Savior, your Redeemer and your friend.

Matthew 6: 28-34
28  And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

From the Inside


If an egg is broken by outside force, 
life ends.  
If broken by inside force, 
life begins.  
Great things always begin 
from the inside. 

This year has been a hard one for me.  I have never realized how strong I would need to be.  I never knew how much I would need to change.  I thought that I would never be in this place.  Yet, here I am.  
The outside forces in my life are raging all around me.  I have come to realize that the only way to survive the outside forces in my life is to work on the forces within.  I have had to find a strength that I did not know I had.  I have had to learn to change the very heart of me.  
I have struggled in that change, in learning to trust in Him.  I want this to end, my way.  I want it to all be over right now.  Instead, I have had to learn that I am not in control.  That I am not in charge.  That I can not protect.  
I have had to turn myself around from the inside out.  And He has been with me every, single step of the way.  He hears me when I am crying, He hears me when I am afraid, He hears me when I am alone.  
He is the inside force that makes my life begin.  He is the great thing inside my heart.
Psalms 102:1-2
"Hear my prayer, O Lord, and let my cry come unto thee.
Hide not thy face from me in the day when I am in trouble; incline thine ear unto me: in the day when I call answer me speedily".

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Five Minute Friday - Rest


Time for my favorite day of the week.  Oh yeah, it's Friday.  Now, set your timer, clear your head, for five minutes of free writing without worrying about getting it right.
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back over at Lisa Jo's and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..
OK, are you ready? Please give us your best five minutes on:::


Rest…

START

I look in the mirror and I see bags under my eyes.  Spots of darkness that bear witness to my inability to sleep.  I have tossed and turned through the night unable to turn off my mind.  I worry, I think, I imagine the worst, and I worry some more.  
I know that life can be a hard journey.  I know that it can hurt.  I know that we can each stumble and fall.  But now, right this moment, everything adds to my worry.  So, I don't sleep and I don't rest.  
Until now, I wasn't even aware of how tired I am.  I sat down with a cup of hot herb tea and let the peace of the early morning hours fill me.  I hold on to the promise of rest.  I hold on to the comfort of peace.  My thoughts turn to Him.  
I know that He is in control.  I know that He knows what I need.  I know that He will help me through this moment and into the next.  I know that He is there.   But most of all, I know that He will bear my burdens and help me along the way.  
Matt. 11:28-3028 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
And so I learn, that He is exactly enough.  He is my strength and my peace and my rest.  

STOP

Now it is your turn.  What are you going to write with your own five minutes?  Don't forget to link back up over at Lisa Jo's with the rest of us.  

Simple Things


"All the great things are simple, 
and many can be expressed in a single word:  
freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope."  
Winston Churchill

What are we without the simply great things in life?  Without all those single word great things.  Not only the few listed, but things like trust, compassion, forgiveness, tenacity, strength and love.  Without all those things what are we?  Isn't it amazing that our existence can be described with a few simple words?  That all our hopes and dreams come down to the simplicity of one word answers?
But isn't it also true that the bad things can also be described in one word.  Things like: evil, grouchy, mean, dangerous, disrespectful, discourteous, ugly, spiteful, and uncaring.  I can thing of so many more.  The point is that we get to choose the words that describe us.  We choose every day to the truly simple things that we do.  We choose when we are helping our neighbor, listening to a friend, hugging a child, or fixing a meal for our family.  We choose to be that person that they will remember.  We choose the words that we become.
For me, the most simple thing about this is that our past doesn't necessarily determine our future.  It is up to us to decide to change.  Yes, change is hard, just like going to physical therapy and working out my arm is hard right now.  Learning to bend my elbow and stretch it is hard right now.  Sometimes change hurts.  But we get to decide whether we want to stay the same, or grow.
As for me, I am choosing to work at it.  One simple word at a time.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Heaven is Filled With....



                                     

I love this simple statement.  It reminds me that we are all sinners.  That none of us are what we seem to be.  It reminds me that we each have things to repent of, and that we shouldn't judge others who are having difficulties are challenges.  
I heard a great idea for a talk the other day.  It was simply, STOP IT!    When you start looking at anyone else and justifying your own sins, STOP IT!  When you judge someone else by comparing them to others, STOP IT!  When you think that you are better than someone else, STOP IT!  When you think that anyone's sins are worse than yours, STOP IT!
None of us have the right to judge anyone else.  We haven't walked in their shoes.  We haven't endured their trials.  We haven't felt their pain.  Somehow, in a way that many don't understand, our Heavenly Father loves us all.  He has provided a way that we can return to him.  That is through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and repentance for our sins.
Each of us want to be forgiven.  Each of us need a second chance.  Aren't we blessed that our God is a God of Second Chances and New Beginnings?   Isn't it wonderful that Heaven is really filled with those who have been forgiven, as well as those who are able to forgive?  Through Christ, all mankind may be saved.  With Him anything is possible.  So, think for a moment about that wonderful love and forgiveness and start applying it to everyone you meet.  We all have a chance to be a blessing to those around us.  We all have the opportunity to give others their own second chance.  If you are holding onto a grudge or a hurt or a missed opportunity, let it go.  God will heal you if you will just let Him.  



Monday, March 11, 2013

Amazing Grace



I heard this story today about the author of the Song "Amazing Grace".  It has always been one of my favorite hymns.  Yet, I never realized the story behind it.  What a gift to hear it for the first time.
His name was John Newton and he lived in England back in the 1700's.  He served on ships for many years.  He was a bit of a rebel and served on many vessels, but he eventually became Captain of his own slave ship.
He was not a religious man, however, on a homeward voyage, while he was attempting to steer the ship through a violent storm, he experienced what he was to refer to later as his “great deliverance.”  He wrote about it all in his journal and talked about how when all seemed lost and the ship would surely sink, he exclaimed, “Lord, have mercy upon us.” Later, he reflected on those words and how the ship was able to come into port in spite of the losses and storm.  He began to believe that God had delivered him and that grace had begun to work for him.

He changed his life at that time, quit his swearing, and preached of his conversion.  He continued in the slave trade for a time after that experience, although he justified this by treating his slaves humanely from that point on.  I was glad to find that he finally abandoned the slave trade in 1755 and became someone who actively preached against slavery for the rest of his life.
He later became a minister and was responsible for helping to write a book of hymns for his church in Olney, England.  The book was called the "Olney Hymns" and the first edition contained the hymn Amazing Grace.  
The original name of the hymn is Faith’s Review and Expectation.  It later came to be known as Amazing Grace.

Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound)
That sav’d a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears reliev’d;
How precious did that grace appear,
The hour I first believ’d!

Thro’ many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promis’d good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease;
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who call’d me here below,
Will be forever mine.

To me, this is the story of how a lost soul can change his life.  Most of us have not done anywhere near the things against other humans that this man did, yet, starting with one simple miracle, the Lord helped him to change and to eventually turn his life completely around.  That is the miracle of His Amazing Grace.  He has suffered and died for each of us, no matter our sins, they are in His Hands.  If we want to, if we desire to, if we repent, we too can return to Him.  What a wonderful message.



"My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things:
That I am a great sinner and that Christ is a great Saviour!"
-John Newton


John Newton’s Epitaph:

JOHN NEWTON, Clerk [preacher]


Once an infidel and libertine
A servant of slaves in Africa,
Was, by the rich mercy
of our Lord and Saviour
JESUS CHRIST,
restored, pardoned and
appointed to preach
the Gospel which he had
long laboured to destroy.
He ministered,
Near sixteen years in Olney, in Bucks,
And twenty eight years in this Church.


Written by John Newton, it is engraved on a marble plaque in
St Mary, Woolnoth, UK.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sabbath Day Scribblings - A Daughter of God





In the movie, A Little Princess, there is a beautiful scene that I find so enlightening. The scene involves Miss Minchin, a terrible governess and Sarah Crewe, a recent orphan.
Miss Minchin: Don’t tell me you still fancy yourself a princess? Child, look around you! Or better yet, look in the mirror.
Sarah Crewe: I am a princess. All girls are. Even if they live in tiny old attics. Even if they dress in rags, even if they aren’t pretty, or smart, or young. They’re still princesses. All of us. Didn’t your father ever tell you that? Didn’t he?
We believe that all women are daughters of God. We believe that we are literal spirit children of a Heavenly Father who loves us and we love Him.  We believe that He knows us.  He knows our sins, He knows our pain, He knows our hearts.

All women are daughters of God.  We are daughters of a King who has not and will never abandon us. On days when I am depressed and hurting, on days when everything goes wrong, I pray. I pray to know that He is there.  I pray to know that He cares.  I pray that He knows my hurting.  Without exception, I have felt His love.  I have felt His compassion pour down into my heart and my soul.  I know He is there.  I know He lives.  I know He listens.
The things around me might not change.  The difficulties might rage, the trials might still be there, but my ability to understand and endure grows.  My ability to have faith in His timing increases.  Through these difficult life experiences I have gained a testimony of a loving Heavenly Father, who, just like Sarah Crewe’s father in "A Little Princess", has told me that I am a princess. All girls are.  All women are.
I am His.  He holds me in the palm of His hand.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Five Minute Friday - Home

I love Friday's.  Not only is the toward the end of my week, I get to participate in my favorite writing challenge.  Five Minute Friday over at Lisa Jo's.  Now, set your timer, clear your head, for five minutes of free writing without worrying about getting it right.
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back over on Lisa Jo's site and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..
OK, are you ready? Here is my best five minutes on:::

Home…



START

Many years ago, home seemed like it ought to be a place.  Somewhere to go, somewhere to return to, somewhere to be loved.  That place for me was always Arizona, with it's cactus, baking hot days, beautiful winters and cooler nights.  I loved the smell of the air after an Arizona thunderstorm and the beauty of the evening sunsets in all their glory and magnificence.  I left Arizona, got married, had children, and still it seemed like that was home, so I came back and felt welcomed here. 
As I aged, I found the heat became too hard on me and made me sick.  I was exhausted all the time and when we had the opportunity to move to the mountains and the snow and the cold and all those things that I never grew up with, we took it with gratitude.  This is a different Arizona then the one that was home for so many years.  Dearly loved nevertheless and home to me now.
As time has passed, and my family has grown, I have come to find that home is not a single place.  It is not  a brick and mortar house.  It is not a neighborhood or a town or a city or even a state.  Home, to me, is more like a web with all these invisible strings that attach me to those I love.  For me, home is family, with all its many faces, with all its mistakes and arguments and making ups.  Home is wherever they are.  Home is my daughter and her family in Missouri.  Home is my other daughter and her family in Kansas.  Home is still in the Valley of the Sun with my many other children and their families that are there.  Home is in Prescott with our son.  Home is in the mountains with our three young daughters.  Home is the web of family that ties us all tightly together.  The sharing, the caring, the smiles, the tears, the laughter, the fears, the anger, and most of all the love.  Home, for me, can be anywhere as long as it is with the ones who mean the most to me.  As long as it is with family.  Home is Love.  

STOP

Now, what would you like to write for just five minutes?  Don't forget to link back up with the rest of us over at Lisa Jo's.  I can't wait to read you there!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

I Worry About ....



Sometimes, I worry about what I write.  I worry about what others will see in my words.  I worry that they will find fault or belittle me.  I worry about getting hurt.  I worry about my heart.  Sometimes, people are not kind.  They say mean things and write even worse.  They criticize my mistakes, and condemn that which I hold sacred.
There are many who don't understand me.  They don't understand how I could feel so strongly about His love.  They don't understand how I can find His grace in all the sadness and despair that surrounds us.  I have learned that He is always there, but we choose to reach out our arms and bring Him closer.  It is our own walls that we need to let down.

Isaiah 49:16 
"Behold, I have graven thee 
upon the palms of my hands; 
thy walls are continually before me".

He has already suffered and died for us.  He knew what we could become and He knows what we need to do.  The reality of getting hurt doesn't give us a good reason to draw away.  It doesn't give me enough of a reason to close myself off.  It is not a reason in my life to stop trying to do good; to keep trying to make the path just a little easier for others.
The reality is that we all get hurt sometimes.  We all hear things that aren't true or aren't kind.  We all occasionally get comments that we would rather not have.  We see people we would rather not see.  People yell at us, or accuse us, or say things that hurt us.  That is just part of life.  We can't change their actions, we can only change ourselves to be more like Him.
I write because it is a joy to me.  I speak in public for much the same reasons.  It is my way share the love of my Savior that I feel in my heart.  I put down my thoughts and my testimony and hope that someone, somewhere needs the things that I write, but I have learned that even if they don't, I still need to write.  I need to write for myself.  I need to stand for what I believe in.  I need to bear witness of Him in all my words and actions.  I need to share those things that are most plain and precious to me.  I need to remember that I AM graven upon the palms of His Hands.  

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

An Uncertain Sound


1 Corinthians 14:8 "For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound,
who shall prepare himself to the battle?"

I heard this particular Scripture on Sunday.  I don't think that I ever noticed it before, but it made so much sense to me.  Sometimes it is so hard for others to understand us.  It seems as if, no matter what we say, they understand only what they want too.  The actual meanings of our words are lost inside their heads.  The trumpet of our speech makes an uncertain sound in their ears.  In everything we do, we must find the way to speak clearly.  We must make sure that we are not only heard, but that we are understood.  
It is easy to be offended by words.  I have learned it is especially easy to be offended when we think that we have a grudge to hold, or we are unforgiving or unrepentant toward others or even ourselves.  But I have also learned that being offended is a choice.  It is an action word.  It is not something that just happens to us, we choose to let it.  
That is the hard part, learning that it is our choice to take offence.  We want it to be someone else's problem.  We want it to be someone else's fault.  We want to judge someone else as "the person wearing the black hat", or the person who is less worthy.  Instead, we need to look inside ourselves and find what it is that makes us offended.  What it is that is giving off the uncertain sound in our own minds?  
Now, I am not saying that there is never a time when someone is trying to offend you.  That my friends, seems to happen all to often.  People get angry, they get hurt, they say things that they don't think about and don't always mean.  I wish that everyone of us could be just a little kinder to those around us; just a little less willing to pass judgement and condemnation; just a little more concerned with thinking things through before we speak.   
There is an old saying that goes something like,
"I know you think you understood what it was you thought you heard me say, but I am telling you that what you think you heard is not what I meant".  
I wish I could count the number of times that I have inserted my own foot in my mouth and said something that I regret.  Or even worse, the number of times that someone has not understood what I meant.  
I know that I can't change being hurt, sometimes, that just happens, and I can't change what anyone else thinks about me or feels about me, but I can my willingness to be offended and my willingness to forgive, even if they don't ask it of me.  I can change my own heart.  And that will make all the difference.  

Monday, March 4, 2013

A Day For Pizza

BE YOURSELF AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE!


We had the Elders over for dinner Saturday night, along with our very good friends.  Everyone's favorite meal at our house is pizza.  You see, it is completely homemade, including the dough.  There are so many toppings on it that I usually have to eat mine with a fork, although the girls tend to not want theirs built with quite as much "stuff", they do have their favorite toppings.  They just prefer the simpler variety with cheese, pineapple, tomatoes and Canadian bacon.  The adults like pretty much everything, including a good dose of spinach and jalapenos. 
 John always starts with the little ones and they pick what they want on their half of a pizza.  Pizza choices are a very big deal in our family.  The girls consider that entire half their very own and they don't like to share.  They hide the leftovers in the fridge for lunch during the week.  They know if mom sees them, she just might, (in a fit of weakness you understand), eat those pizzas.  John made the missionaries their own pizza and then made several different types of pizza for the rest of the adults.  We don't mind sharing, so there were lots of variations to select from.
Miracle and her best friend each put their half of pizza on their plates to keep them "safe".  It is crazy around our house at pizza time.  I keep trying to tell them that they don't need a whole half of a pizza, but they insist that it is their very own because dad said so. 
Miracle also made "oohy, gooy" brownies for dessert, as a tribute to my taste, as I don't like them crunchy.  We talked, we laughed, we tried to steal pizza from the girls plates.  Life is so wonderful when you are sharing it with friends and family. 

Isn't it amazing how everyone is so different?  We are a lot like those toppings on our pizzas.  We are each just a little or a lot different than everybody else around us, and no matter how hard you try, no two slices are exactly the same.  Not only are we different, but each of us has within us something that others need.
Have you ever been able to say exactly the right thing to someone when they are hurting?  Have you ever been a comfort or a blessing to another?  Have you ever been in just the right place at the right time to give someone a helping hand?  I know that I have been.  It is an amazing feeling.
It can be hard to remember that we are supposed to be unique.  We are supposed to be ourselves.  We do not need to be just like everyone else.  Heavenly Father has put us in this place at this time to be a blessing to those around us.  We each have unique gifts.  Things inside us that are the essence of who we are.  Those things about us that make us different than anyone else. 
We all live such busy lives.  Yet, in our very "busy-ness", we are different.  We are each a Son or Daughter of God.  He loves us and we love Him.  But I do not believe that He expects us to be just alike. Like the toppings on a pizza, together, we can be so much more.  He made us different.  He made us unique.  He made us wonderful.   

“To be yourself in a world
that is constantly trying to make you something else
is the greatest accomplishment.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson



Friday, March 1, 2013

Five Minute Friday - Ordinary

Here it is, Friday again, and one of my absolute favorite days of the week.  This is the time that I get to take a few moments and write because I love to right, without worrying about whether it is just right or not.  Now, set your timer, clear your head, for five minutes of free writing and join me over at Lisa Jo's for five minutes of fun.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back over at Lisa Jo's and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you and encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..



OK, are you ready? Please give us your best five minutes on:::

Ordinary…

START

I look in the mirror and see a plain face, small eyes, grey hair, glasses and wrinkles.  I still have a few freckles across the bridge of my nose and my eyes vary between the colors brown, yellow and green.  I don't wear makeup often, and I don't fix my hair with curlers and irons.  I am a wash and wear kind of woman.  I see someone who is so ordinary that there is nothing about her that stands out.  Sometimes, it surprises me when I see that woman in the mirror.  The inside me does not have wrinkles and shadows under her eyes.  She knows what she wants to be and how to become that person.  The inside me is spiritual and looks for God in everything.  Even in the sadness, He is here with me.  The inside me knows I am not alone even when the outside of me is crying.  The inside me is serious about most things, concerned over many things, worried about nearly everything, caring of others, and giving when I see a need.  The inside me loves fiercely and desires to protect those around me.  The outside of me is ordinary, so much so that I blend in with any crowd and always look like someone that others know.  But the inside me is unique.  She looks through her Father's eyes and sees His wonder, She hears His words, and feels His grace.  And she knows in her heart that He has made her in His image.  And perhaps, that is not so ordinary  after all.     

STOP

So, now it is your turn.  What can you write about ordinary in just five minutes.  Don't forget to go over and link up with your own Five Minute Friday.