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.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Gratitude for Hope in my Heart

Is the only thing
Stronger than

Isn't that tree beautiful?  Look how it continues to grow in spite of being struck by lightening and having branches broken in the high winds that whip through the mountains.  It continues to flourish in spite of the difficulties that surround it.  It reminds me that there is always hope.  Where one might see only pain, yet life goes on and the green comes.  Home cometh in the morning.  

There have been so many things in my life that I am afraid of.  I have always been afraid of heights, I am afraid of the dark (really, the outside kind that doesn't have street lights).  I am afraid of bad things happening to those that I love.  I am so afraid of not being good enough to live in Heaven.  I am afraid of disappointing others.  My fears are many and vast.  I have had a lifetime to put them together.

But, in spite of all the fears, I find that I still have hope.  Hope that this life is not the end.  Hope in a better tomorrow.  Hope that somehow, things will work out for the best.  Hope that my children will choose the right.  Hope that we will know happiness.  So much hope even in the fear.

We all have things in life that we are afraid of.  Things that make us shiver in the night (or even the day).  The only thing that gets us through the fears is to find hope somewhere deep within.  Hope will get us through the night until the light burns bright again.  Hope will endure.  

Monday, November 24, 2014

Memoir Monday - Thanksgiving

Memory is a way of holding onto 
the things you love, the things you are, 
the things you never want to lose. 
-- Kevin Arnold (From The Wonder Years)

My memories of Thanksgiving are pretty much the same for each year.  My mother was not someone who experimented with things.  She liked it to be the same, year after year.  So, Thanksgiving for us was getting up in the morning to help pull apart the bread for the stuffing.  It was dressing up and saying grace.  It was having turkey and stuffing and putting as much into the bird as she could make fit.  It was making cranberries and sweet potatoes.  (I never did like those as a child).  It was biscuits and gravy and wine around the table.  
I still remember my first taste of wine and how it was bitter to my taste buds.  I think I was 11 that year.  My brother and I gave our glasses to my sister because she was the only one that liked it.  I think my step-father bought it in a jug!   
We would smell the cooking all day and could hardly wait to have the first taste.  I always liked the dark meat because it was juicier to me.  I loved the mashed potatoes too.  They were real and not from a box.  
Thanksgiving was a day of family.  I don't really remember going over to anyone else's house, but I do remember people coming over to ours.  I remember the way a turkey smells when it is cooking and the way the cranberry sauce simmers.  I remember the loud whoosh the oven makes when I learned to light it with a match under the pilot.  It used to scare me and my mom used to laugh.  I remember that she always seemed happy for thanksgiving.  
Thanksgiving for me is not full of bad memories.  It is full of smells and noises and laughter and good tastes.  Still today, I make gravy like my mother did and I make stuffing and my own cranberries.  I have even learned to make sweet potatoes in a way that we like.  When ever I see them, I remember mom eating them and loving them.  
I love memories of the holidays.  Even though there were some not so good times in there, the memories and clean and happy.  It is a season of the year that I really enjoy.  It is a time we labor for those whom we love the most.  Hopefully providing them with memories that they will have when they are older.  
Those things I never want to forget.  

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sabbath Day Scribblings - Gratitude to be a blessing

Your greatest test
is when you are able 
to bless someone else,
while you are going 
through your own storm.

The Lord didn’t say, “Tend my sheep when it is convenient; watch my sheep when you aren’t busy.” He said, “Feed my sheep and my lambs; help them survive this world; keep them close to you. Lead them to safety—the safety of righteous choices.  
Every single unselfish act increases our spirituality so that we can hear and serve the Lord better.  It increases our ability to become the hands of the Lord, so that He can use us to help His children.  It not only helps us to bless others, it helps us to heal from our own storms.  It provides us a way to feel the touch of His hands in our own lives.  It helps us to find the light when we are surrounded in our own darkness.  

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Gratitude for the things we were told

Who told you that you were__________?

When I was a child, I don't remember being told "I love you".  I do remember being told that I was the fattest.  That I was loud.  That I was just like my father.  I remember more of the negatives, because that seems to be what I was called the most often, or maybe, those things are just the easiest to remember.  

Remember the old saying, "Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me".  I am here to tell you that is one of the most untrue statements ever spoken.  I don't remember all the times I was hit or beat up, but I remember the names I was called.  I became self-conscious because those names taught me that I could never be good enough.

The kids at school also called me names.  They called me so many that I never felt like I was liked.  I was made fun of and bullied.  I was ignored and got in fights that I didn't want to be in.  I had to wear dresses to school everyday because girls weren't allowed to wear pants and we weren't allowed to wear shorts under our dresses.  I hated dresses.  Looking like a girl was not something I ever did well.  

I have been told for much of my adult life that I have "chicken legs".  Hence, I never wear shorts and rarely even wear capris.  Even in the heat of summer I wear jeans or long dresses.  
As a mom, I did not want my children to go through anything like I did.  They did anyway.  Not by my, but by the other children. They have been bullied.  They have been ridiculed.  They have been unwelcome and they have been called names.  

I have one daughter with Tourettes and it has been hardest for her.  One thing that I have come to understand is that people don't think before they speak.  They will blurt out anything.  They will say anything.  They don't even realize how much it hurts.  

My point for writing this is that God has never called you those names.  He doesn't bully.  He doesn't make fun of you when you aren't listening.  He loves you even if you turn away.  He loves you even when no one else seems to.  He empathizes with you.  He has compassion for you.  He wants you to live with Him again.

My point is that we need to work on telling ourselves the things that He would want us to hear.  "You are beautiful".  "You are loved".  "You are needed".  "You have skills and talents".  "You are amazing".  "You are enough".   We should be casting out the words that we would not even tell our own worst enemies and replacing them with things that we would tell anyone.  The truth is not always the way we see it.  Sometimes we think we are the things we have heard.  

Friday, November 21, 2014

Five Minute Friday - Gratitude for being noticed

Today is Five-Minute Friday, one of my favorite days of the entire week.  This is a time where a group of us join together and just write for five short minutes without worrying about whether it is just right or not.  Then we link back over at Heading Home with Kate and try and make a difference with our words.  Today the Prompt is:



What do you notice in the world around you?  Do you notice the ugliness, or the blessings?  Is the glass half full?  Or half empty?  Do people love you or hate you?  
We all want to be noticed.  We want to be remembered, to be appreciated and most of all, to be loved.  Being noticed is so much more than visibly seeing something.  It is to connect to it with you heart.  Being noticed is being understood, not for what you can do, but for yourself.  Being noticed is powerful.  It can take a bad day and make it change to a good one in the blink of an eye.  
For years, I have gone to my daughters track meets.  They have all run in track, and not a single one is very fast.  As a matter of fact, they usually cross the finish line in last place.  I got very good at being able to find those girls on a field covered with hundreds of other kids.  I also go very good at noticing when they beat their own scores.  
One of the things we have gone over is how track is a competition against yourself.  You don’t have to be the best.  You just need to work on getting better every week.  Some weeks were hard.  They would come in last and be so upset.  But gradually, they learned to notice other things: how they felt physically, if they lost weight, if they did better than the last time, how their friends did.  They learned that coming in first was not the only goal.  Sometimes the goal was simply to clap and cheer for someone else.  They learned that finishing the race was the most important thing of all.
What a great life-lesson it has been for them.  They learned to participate even if they weren’t the best (or in the top for that matter).  They learned that trying is more important than winning.  And they learned to improve one moment, on second, one step at a time.   Perhaps it is something that most of us need to learn ourselves.  The only person we should ever compete against is the person we were yesterday.  Comparison is totally the thief of joy.
I have also noticed what amazing young women I am blessed to be a mother to.  I notice when they hold their heads up, their arms out and when they walk with Him.   

I notice. 


Now it is your turn.  What can you write in your own short Five-Minutes?  Don't forget to link back over to Kate's Place with the rest of us.  

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Gratitude for Choice

May we be filled with gratitude
For the 
Right of Choice.
Accept the 
Responsibility of Choice,
And ever be Conscious of the
Results of Choice."
Thomas S. Monson

Sometimes, it is hard for me to be grateful for choice.  Maybe it is that I really wish that I could go backwards and not make the same mistakes.  I with there was a way to erase the past and put it so far behind me that I can't find it anymore.  I think that the hardest person for me to forgive is always myself.  Today I am trying to be grateful for the right of choice.  I know that it is the only path that we follow.  
When I am busy wishing that someone would tell me what to do, or make the choice for me, I realize that that would really fill me with resentment and even anger.  I don't want others to choose for me, I just want to do the right thing, at the right time and for the right reasons.  I know that although I get to choose, I don't get to choose the consequences.  Those are there whenever we make our choices.  
Today, I want to feel gratitude for the God-given gift of free-agency.  He didn't just "make" me do anything.  It is all my choice.  I sometimes don't understand His wisdom, I often don't understand His mercy, And I can't even begin to understand His grace, but I know it is there.  I know He loves me through all the bad choices as well as the good ones.  I know that He is there. As I fill my heart with gratitude, it helps me to choose to be a little bit closer to Him.  And that is one choice that I am so very happy to make.  

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - Christmas is Coming!

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.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sabbath Day Scribblings - Thankful Hearts

Colossians 3:15-17 

15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. 
16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 

17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
I love this season of Thanksgiving for all things.  It is a beautiful time of year.  This year especially, I am trying to let peace rule my heart.  I am trying to give thanks in all things.  I have so much more than I can ever deserve.  May your hearts also be filled with thankfulness on this beautiful day as we each seek to follow Him.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Gratitude to Embrace

This is the path
God has made for you.
Embrace It!

Too often, we look at something that someone else has and wish for it.  We don't see the things are our own path that make it wonderful.  We see the mud and the rocks and the trials and the difficulties.  We don't see the vistas and the views and the mountain tops and the miracles.  This is my path, in all its craziness.  This is my opportunity to grow and to become.  This, right here and right now, is my very own chance to shine.  
Don't minimize your dreams because of what you wish.  Find a way to embrace who and what you are.  Remember that the Father loved the prodigal.  He forgave him and never gave up on him.  I don't believe He gives up on any one of us either.  
So embrace your path, embrace yourself.  Take a little bit of joy in the spot where you are right this minute.  I am betting, as you do, you will find the amazing blessings that He has given you.  I know that I have.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Five Minute Friday - STILL

“Be still, and know that I am God” 
(Psalm 46:10).

Today is one of my favorite days of the week.   It is Friday.  It is a day when a bunch of people link up together over at Kate's Place for a Five-Minute Friday.  The rules are simple;  write for five minutes on the prompt, no editing - no worries, link up over at Heading Home with Kate, leave a comment for at least one of the people who linked up before you.  See, no problem at all.  
The prompt this week is:



My head pounds, my heart races, the what's, where's, when's, how's and what if's race through my mind in a loud cacophony of sound that I can't seem to still.  I can't slow down the beating of my heart.  I can't stop all the thoughts from racing around (like the ferris wheel at the State Fair), in my mind.  I can't stop thinking and I can't seem to just be still.  
I feel anxiety and depression like a dark stain on my heart.  Every waking moment, I fight to feel peace.  I fight for the still moments.  Sometimes, it is hard to focus on His words with all the noise in my head.  It is hard to find His peace in the chaos.  
The world races around me.  Everything seems to be moving way too fast.  Where can I turn for peace?  Where is my solace?  I open the books with His words.  I find one of my favorite stories.  I start to read.  I breath in and muscles start to relax, and breath out the tension of the day, then breath once again.  
Slowly, I start to calm.  
I find my center.  
I seek His words.  
I feel His peace.  
I am still.  


Now it is your turn.  What can your write in your own five minutes?  Don't forget to link back up with the rest of us over at Kate's place!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Gratitude in my Flaws

I have too many flaws 
to be perfect,
but I have too many blessings 
to be ungrateful.

Yes, I really needed this thought today.   I think it is good to remind ourselves that even if we are not perfect, we all have blessings.  A long time ago, I had a councilor who told me that "There was only ever one perfect person in the world, and you are not Him!"  Those words were eye opening today.  I tend to stress about most things.  I try and choose what is right, but continue to make mistakes.  Where most people might grade themselves on an A - F scale, I grade myself on a pass / fail scale with passing as perfect and anything else as total fail.  
In stead of judging all my faults, I try and remember my blessings.   I have to remind myself when things are difficult, but it really is okay to not be perfect.  It really is okay not to make straight A's in every aspect of my life.  In spite of all my many imperfections, I have too many blessings to be ungrateful to God.  
This month, as we try and observe Thanksgiving, I want to remember and be thankful that I am flawed, and that is totally fine.  I believe that Heavenly Father does not expect me to be perfect just yet.  I think that He loved me and He knows me exactly as I am.  I believe that He knows me by my name and accepts me in spite of myself.
May we each find gratitude for our flaws.  May we learn to love ourselves in spite of them.  We are all imperfect, but He loves us anyway.  He blesses us even in our imperfection.  

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - Gratitude for Fun!

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.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Gratitude for Courage

Above all, we must realize that no arsenal,
or no weapon 
in the arsenals of the world,
is so formidable 
as the will and moral courage
of free men and women.  
It is a weapon
our adversaries in today's world 
do not have."  
Ronald Reagan

I come from a family of military people.  The above picture is my sister and brother in their respective uniforms.  Today, I just wanted to take a moment and thank all those who have served as well as the ones who are currently serving in the military.  I am so grateful for their courage and values in our world today.   I am thankful that I enjoy freedom and liberty because of all those who have defended our rights and privileges.  
I love the above quote by Ronald Reagan.  I think it says a great deal about the young men and women who serve our nation.  I lived on a military base for years and will forever be grateful for that experience that taught me so very much.  I know of their personal sacrifices.  I know of their hardships and difficulties.  
Most of all, I am very aware of how much they have given and continue to give to bring peace and freedom throughout the world today.  May we all recognize and be grateful for that unselfish gift in our behalf.  
So, in between the cookouts and the errands today.  Let's give all our military the honor that they so richly deserve.  May they know how grateful we really are for their sacrifice and service.  

Monday, November 10, 2014

Memoirs Monday - Gratitude and Hope in Adversity

"Keep the faith.  The most amazing things in life tend to happen right at the moment when you are about to give up hope".

My life has not always been easy.  It has been better than some and worse than others.  I has been up and down and pretty much all around.  Yet, I have received some of my greatest blessings in the middle of my hardest trials.  
I thought that I would never be loved.  My experience taught me that every man in my life would eventually leave me.  I had real problems with my own self-worth and with hope.  I really struggled with whether or not God loved me.  
Many years ago, I was a single mom with six children.  They were are are amazing.  We worked hard together and took care of each other, and they have always loved me.  Even when I forget.  I was diagnosed with cancer in my ovaries.  The doctor scheduled a complete hysterectomy for the next week.  I was heartbroken.  Even though I had six children, I had always imagined more.  Now I was going to lose even that gift.  
I went to my bishop and he gave me a blessing.  In our church, we receive blessings for worthy Priesthood holders to help in times of sickness and need.  In the blessing, I was told that I would be completely healed and that the Lord had more children for me if I lived worthy. 
I went back to the doctor the next day for all the preliminary testing before the surgery.  I asked the doctor if he would check and be very sure before he took anything out.  He promised that He would.  He reran all the tests and checked everything.  The next morning I received a call from his office to come in.  He reran the tests again and told me he was really sorry, but someone must have made a mistake because everything kept coming back clean.  I did not have cancer.  I did not need a hysterectomy, I did have a cyst that needed to be removed from off my ovary.  It was done with a simple surgery that did not require a hospital stay.  
I knew without a doubt that my Heavenly Father loves me.  He answered that prayer many years later with the birth of a daughter that we named Miracle.  She is the answer to prayer and the gift to me from a loving Heavenly Father.  
We can't always see the end of our trials.  It was 10 years before I was married again.  I had honestly decided that I would not marry and that the blessing would be answered with Step Children, or possibly in the next life.  I did marry a wonderful man who had two children of his own.  Imagine my surprise when I had three more girls starting when I was 37 years old.  I have never been more blessed.  
Together, we have 11 children.  I have learned the blessings of "yours, mine and ours" and I have learned to have gratitude for my trials.  Without them, I would never realize how often Heavenly Father answers our prayers.  I would not realize the depth of His love for each one of us or how much He desires to bless us.  Keep your faith.  The blessings really do come after our trials.  

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Five Minute Friday - Turn

Today is Five minute Friday, we really, I have been gone this weekend, so for me Friday has become Sunday, but I decided to participate anyway.  This is the day when a group of us get together over at Kate's Place and share our own stories in just five short minutes.  The rules are easy:  Write in five minutes flat without caring about whether it is just right or not.  Go over to Heading Home and link up your post.  And visit the person who linked up before you to share a comment about their writing.  See, easy.

Today the prompt is:



Inevitable Light
by Patricia A. Pitterle

Every way I turn
There's a path to take
And each step becomes
A choice I make.

As each road beckons me
From the right to stray,
I look to His light
To guide my way.

Seeking His inevitable light.
Searching for His peace.
Knowing that He loves me
And His love will never cease.

As I turn from path to path
Some grey, some light, some dim,
Some look right and call to me,
Only one leads to Him.

As I turn to make my choice
Along life's stormy ways,
I find His light within myself
To brighten all my days.

Seeking His inevitable light.
Searching for His peace.
Knowing that He loves me
And His love will never cease.

My feet step out upon the path
Of bumps and pain and strife
Knowing that He walks with me
And guides me through this life.

When darkness comes and I can't see
He takes me by the hand
And leads me through the hardest times
Through all life's shifting sands.

Seeking His inevitable light.
Searching for His peace.
Knowing that He loves me
And His love will never cease.


So, now it is your turn,  What can you write for your own five minute Friday?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Gratitude - Day 6

What seems to us as bitter trials
Are often blessings in disguise.
Oscar Wilde

In my life, I have known many trials.  Sometimes, I agonize over them and wish them gone.  They have seemed too bitter to bear.  Yet, looking back, I can say that there have been so many blessings that have come into my life because I went through those trials.  
A few years ago, I lost my best friend because of a terrible falling out.  I felt betrayed and abandoned.  I wasn't sure that I would ever make another friend.  Honestly, I wasn't sure that I was worth the effort for anyone to befriend me.  You should know, that I don't make friends easily.  It can be very hard for me to reach out to people enough to trust.  
The blessing was in learning to reach out to strangers, I found friends that I never knew were there.  People who would stand by me in my sorrow.  People who would support me in my grief.    Women who cared for me with all my many faults.  In my trial, I found great blessings with what has become some of the best friends I have ever had in my life.  Had I not been in that place, I would have completely missed out on their love and compassion.  
I have found that Heavenly Father never gives us a trial that doesn't have hidden blessings.  I am who I am today because of the trials that I have borne.  Today, I am thankful for my trials.  Each and every one.  No matter how much I cried on the journey, the ending is so much better than I ever imagined.  I am sure that there will be more trials in my life.  Hopefully, I will be able to keep the gratitude in my heart and the understanding of His mercy and His love.  He truly knows what we bear.  He will help us through.  
One of my favorite scriptures says this so much better than I ever could,

“And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.“The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?"  Doctrine and Covenants 122: 7-8

May we continue to walk in His ways and trust in His words.  And may we truly see our greatest blessings.  

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - Beautiful Day

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.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Gratitude - Day 3 - Memoir Monday

It is not happy people who are thankful,
It is thankful people who are happy.

Now that my 31 days of writing is over, I thought that I would get back on track with some of the things that I normally write about.  Today, I wanted to share what Thanksgiving means to me.
I have had to learn about Thanksgiving the hard way.  I was divorced when my older children were young.  Thanksgiving became a time of sharing where everyone went different directions on different years.  Eventually, we were able to get it worked out, but not without all of us giving up something.
I learned that Thanksgiving is not a single day.  It is an attitude.  It can be any day or any weekend that I need it to be.  I learned that we could have Thanksgiving on Sunday instead of Thursday, that we could juggle the times between different families and that the thing that was most important was that we would all be together.
Over the years, I have given a lot up to try and keep my family together.  It was not always easy, sometimes it was more difficult than I ever imagined, but I think for the most part, we have succeeded.  We have learned that dinner does not always include turkey (especially if we are tired of it) and that it can be anything we want it to be.
Some years we dress up and some years we don't.  We have burned the turkey before, and had the fryer not work and had to pressure it one year.  We have even had fish sticks once because that was all we could afford.
It helps me so much to not think of Thanksgiving as a single day, but more as a season and an attitude.  We all pitch in and find something we love to bring and share and make and take home.
This year, our Thanksgiving will be on Friday after I get off work, instead of on Thursday.  We are having company that can't come until then.  So, we will do something else on Thursday.
For me, the best part of all is being surrounded by those that I love.  It is feeling a part of something that is bigger than myself.  It is being thankful and appreciative for the blessings that we do have, rather than the ones we don't.
Being thankful every single year, is a choice.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Gratitude - Day 2 - Sabbath Day Scribblings

Doctrine & Covenants 78:19
And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Gratitude - Day 1

November is Thanksgiving and it is one of my favorite holidays of the year.  There is something about food that makes amazing memories.  This year, I want to focus on having gratitude for the tender mercies of my Heavenly Father.  I have so many blessings and I want to share a few of my thoughts.

Help us to see 
What is there,
Instead of
What isn't

My girls are amazing.  I am so thankful for them.  We have never spent a lot of money on costumes.  We usually make everything or outfit everyone with thrift store finds to become who they want to be.  All of my children have loved Halloween.  This year the girls made their own costumes and I did not even help.  They made their tutus and tied their shirts and painted their hats and glued on mustaches.  They had an amazing time, and that is what I think Halloween is all about.  Having fun.
I am not one of those people who goes crazy about the meaning behind the holiday.  To me, it is a family day.  It is a day to have fun and make caramel apples and just enjoy each other's company.  I am so grateful for these girls who make it easy to smile and laugh.  
I should say, that I am so thankful for each one of my children.  They all go overboard for halloween and have way too much fun!  Most of them make their own costumes.  I have one who sews elaborately inspired creations.  I love to see their individual takes on all of this.  
When the older kids were young, we never had money for store bought, and they had to use what they had around the house, or be a mailman.  That was the choice.  A couple of them had to be mailmen, and that was all it took.  After that, they managed to come up with amazing ideas!  
I am so very thankful for the memories that my children have given me.  When I see kids dressed up and having fun, it makes me laugh.  I am laughing at all the times we did the same things.  I am laughing at the robots and the hedgehogs, and the potato sacks.  I am laughing at the memories.