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

Thursday, September 29, 2016

He can make us whole

We are all broken.  No matter if it "appears" like we come from perfect families.  No matter if others know our burdens.  No matter what people think of us, or how they judge us.  No matter what sins or mistakes we have made in our messy, mixed up lives.  We are still broken.
Life is messy!  No matter what we do, things will go wrong.  Sometimes it is because of someone else's choices, sometimes it is because of our own choices, and sometimes, it is just a part of living life.  It is easy to play the blame game and look for someone else to be at fault for our problems. 
I think most of us really WANT to be good people.  We want to make the right decisions and do the right things.  We really want to live a good life and make things better for ourselves and our families.  But no matter how hard we try, things invariably go wrong.  And just like our children's play toys, we become broken in the process. 
One of the biggest reasons that I am so very grateful that there will only be one person who judges me.  He knows my life story.  He knows the wrinkles on the paper and the tears in the book.  He knows that I am doing the best I can with what I have been given.  To me, it isn't always enough, but in Him, I find hope that it can be. 
And so, I turn my life over to the Master Carpenter of us all.  He can shape me, mold me and even build me to be the person I was meant to become.  He can take my trials and turn them into blessings.  It is still hard.  But I believe He doesn't just make a difference in my life, He makes ALL the difference. 
He can overcome our individual and collective broken-ness. He can mead our hearts and heal our pain.  He can bring blessings out of sorrow.  He is the Good Shepherd, and the Divine Redeemer. 
He can and will make each one of us whole. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

It is not a stop sign

Problems are not stop signs, they are guidelines. - Robert H. Schuller

This is one of my biggest difficulties.  I think that problems are something I am supposed to stop.  I think there is something inside of me that tells me when I am having  problems, I am not loveable.  They become more like punishments rather than stepping stones to another life.   
Somehow, I have been looking at the problems as a sign that I am not good enough.  There is a small part of me that believes that I deserve the troubles that I am faced with.  I am realizing that I am asking the wrong questions.  I am asking "why me?" instead of  "why not me?"
What makes me different from everyone else?  We all have our share of trouble in this life.   When we are in the midst of our battles, it is easy to get caught up in how difficult they are.  We all have heartbreak, we all have messiness, we all have life changing events.  We all have trials that nearly overwhelm us.  We are all faced with things that are hard to bear. 
My trials are not better or worse than yours.  But they are different.  They are hard for me right here and right now.  And you don't know what it is that I have gone through, am going through or will go through in my life. 
But He does.
He does not allow us to experience problems to stop us, but rather to change us.  He doesn't cause our problems, but He does allow us to make our own choices.  He allows those around us to make their choices too.  I have gained strength and compassion with the problems I have encountered in my life.  I cannot say that I am grateful for them, but I am grateful for the overcoming of them.  I am grateful for the person that I have become.  I am grateful for the life changes that I have made with His guidance.  I am working on changing the way I look at my own problems. 
If I look at them as guidelines, what are they leading me toward or away from?  What do I need to learn, or what can I learn from the situation?  Often, I can't change the problems, but I can change the way I am viewing them.  I can change how I perceive them.  I can change myself. 

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Other Serenity Prayer

I like this one.  I do a lot of beating on myself nearly everyday.  I think I can mask, most of the time, what is going on inside, but I struggle every single day.  I try and be pretty open about depression and anxiety.  I have suffered from those for most of my life.  It started when I was very young and got so much worse over time.  It can be so hard to talk about in today's world, although I do think it is getting better (or maybe it doesn't bother me so much what others are thinking!) 
I love that there are so many resources available for help today.  Much more than I had in the beginning.  I love that, as hard as it can be, there are those who actually try and understand.  It wasn't long ago, that I was criticized for professing to be religious, but still suffering from depression.  Like somehow those two things can never go together.
I am not perfect.  I have come to the conclusion that I might never be.  I can't do it all by myself, and I was never meant to.  It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes the love of God to help each and every one of us.  I believe that He loves me, and in ways that I can't possibly understand, that will someday be enough.
I think that depression is the thorn in my side that I am trying daily to overcome.  I have been blessed to be surrounded with people who love me.  Who are there for me when I have bad days and good ones, because this disease is about both.  Every single day is not bad, neither is it good.  It just is a day, with weakness and strengths and the overcoming of hard times. 
I am working on doing better.  Some days, it is all I can do to get dressed.  Some days I stay in bed.  Most days I work and function like a normal person.  This is my normal.  Sometimes I escape to have a good cry, then I pick myself up and put one foot in front of the other and walk forward. 
I know that God loves each and every one of us, even me.  He knows how hard this journey is for us.  He knows our strengths and our weaknesses.  He knows when we are lonely.  He knows when we feel broken.
He is the great healer.  He will bind our wounds and hold us close as we make the journey home.  We are never alone.  He has walked the way before us.   He will walk it with us.  He loves us in all our pleading and breaking and tears.  His heart always, always reaches to embrace us. 
He knows your name.
He knows your journey.
He knows you.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sabbath Day Scribblings - Daughter of God

"As daughters of God we are each unique and different in our circumstances and experiences. And yet our part matters—because we matter."

Saturday, September 24, 2016

He Knows All

I am learning that He knows everything about me.  It is not Him that doesn't accept me, it is that I don't accept myself.  No matter how much I forgive others, I have a really difficult time forgiving myself.  Sometimes I feel like it is all my fault. 
Today, I really needed someone.  I haven't been feeling good, I was very emotional, my heart was aching.  I miss seeing people that I love and taking blame for something that I didn't even do.  Heavenly Father knew how much I needed to know that He remembered me. 
I made a blanket for one of my grandsons and he received it in the mail today.  His mom video taped him opening the box and being so excited about getting a blanket from Grammy.  That short and sweet video was just what I needed to remind me that I am loved.  That I am enough just as I am.  I can't control anything that people want to believe, I can only go forward and do the best I can do. 
He made the stars and the moon above, but He also made my heart.  He filled it with love and with caring.  I think the reason that it hurts so much is because I really do care.  I really do want to make a difference.  I really do want those who I don't get to see to know how much I love them.  I want them to know that they mean the world to me. 
Heavenly Father knows my name, and He also knows theirs.  He know what we each need.  Somehow, what I am missing now is just a short moment in the eternity of things.  It doesn't always seem that way, but I know it is true.  Time can seem like it lasts forever, but it is really very fleeting and somehow things will all be made right in the end. 
He knows my heart and my story and my name. 
That is enough. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

You are more

You are more than the mistakes you've made! // Al Carraway LDS Quote:

I love Al Carraway.  She is an amazing woman.  She lived a different lifestyle and totally turned her life around, embraced the gospel and changed everything she knew to become the person that she wanted to be.  I am so impressed with her dedication and her faith.  She reminds me what Amazing Grace really is. 
I have made so many mistakes in my life.  Some still haunt my nightmares, some still come back and remind me that I will never be perfect. Sometimes, in my deepest, darkest nights of despair, I wonder if the Lord's grace really applies to me.  How sad is that.  This amazing Father in Heaven that we have, and I doubt that His grace is sufficient for my sins.  Guilt is my constant companion.  It is not even that I have been terrible in my life.  Mostly, the things have been done to me, yet somehow, I think I should have known better.  I should have been able to stop it.  The five-year-old, should have been an adult.  She should have protected me.  How absolutely ridiculous is that! When I talk these things through, I recognize how silly they sound, but inside my head, it is not nearly so silly. 
I forgive others so easily usually.  Sometimes, I need a little time to stew about it, but eventually, I can see both sides and it is not difficult to forgive.  I do not give myself the same courtesy.  I am not even sure why.  As I go to counseling each week, he points out the unfairness of my thinking.  He helps me to see the bigger picture.  The one that is God-focused and not me-focused.  It is a struggle that I am slowly overcoming. 
I wonder if Heavenly Father thinks I am selfish.  Here He gave His only begotten Son to suffer and die for our sins, and it is like I am saying it is not enough.  I have to learn to forgive myself.  I have to find the power to see the best in me.  No one ever needs to point out my own faults to me, I see them all in living color.  I know how difficult I have been.  I know that I caused my Savior pain as He suffered for me.  I know every single mistake I have made.
But I also know that the sum of me is far more than those mistakes.  I know that with the grace and love of my Savior Jesus Christ, I am whole.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Wordless Wednesday - Baby Love

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, September 20, 2016

Let it Go

Trying to let go, can be one of the more difficult things to do in life.  I wonder sometimes, if I hang onto things simply because they are what I know.  Do I hang on to the past because I am afraid to move forward?  Or do I hold on just because it is familiar to me?  Is it easier to dwell on the past than to look toward the future?  Is it easier to be angry and hate than to just let it go?

My burdens can seem so heavy to bear.  It is hard to hold them all in, and it is harder still to let them go, but I know it is necessary, for my own well being, for my own happiness, for my own piece of mind.

I have found, that the older I get, the more the past intrudes on my present possibilities for happiness.  Yet, somehow, as easy as it has been in my life to forgive, I am struggling to continue to do so.  I know that forgiveness is the only way for me to be truly happy, but when bad things happen to me, I find it much easier to forgive, than when they happen in the lives of my children and grandchildren.

Burdens can be so heavy.  I feel exhausted so much of the time.  I know that I need to let them go.  I need them to dissolve or fly away somewhere else, anywhere else besides my own head and heart.  And so I struggle just to let them go.  To not hold them tight to my heart.  To not be angry or hurt.  I struggle to give them away.  To forgive. 

I let them go so that I can be free. 

Monday, September 19, 2016

A Merry Heart

I love this one.  I need to remember it.  Breathe it in and make it a part of me.  I want to have a Merry Heart.  One that puts others before myself.  One that helps others to feel comfortable and welcome.  Someone who people want to be around, and not someone who people want to avoid.
The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that “happiness is the object and design of our existence” (Teachings, 255).
That’s why our Heavenly Father’s plan is so often called the great plan of happiness. I don't believe that we are supposed to be serious all the time, or even most of the time.  I can be a very serious person, but when I let go and laugh at myself, it feels so good!  Happiness is part of our nature, as it is part of God’s nature. As Alma taught his son Corianton:
And now, my son, all men that are in a state of nature, or I would say, in a carnal state . . . are without God in the world, and they have gone contrary to the nature of God; therefore, they are in a state contrary to the nature of happiness. (Alma 41:11).
We are born with a naturally sunny, optimistic, cheerful disposition. Think of how a baby smiles and laughs and coos.  Feeling joy and happiness doesn’t mean we’re always laughing our heads off, it doesn't mean that we take everything lightly, although, laughter is very therapeutic! President James E. Faust has said: “Don’t forget to laugh at the silly things that happen. Humor . . . is a powerful force for good when used with discretion. Its physical expression, laughter, is highly therapeutic”   He’s right! When we laugh hard, our heart rate speeds up, the circulatory and immune systems are stimulated, and more endorphins are produced.  We feel better, we feel happy.  I have spent so many years not knowing how to laugh.  I am enjoying this time of my life when I am learning to appreciate the light heartedness that can come with being Merry. 
May we each find within us our own merry heart!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sabbath Day Scribblings - Every Man is given a gift

D&C 46:11- 26 
11  For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is  given a gift by the Spirit of God.
 12 To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby.
 13 To some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world.
 14 To others it is given to believe on their words, that they also might have eternal life if they continue faithful.
 15 And again, to some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know the differences of administration, as it will be pleasing unto the same Lord, according as the Lord will, suiting his mercies according to the conditions of the children of men.
 16 And again, it is given by the Holy Ghost to some to know the diversities of operations, whether they be of God, that the manifestations of the Spirit may be given to every man to profit withal.
 17 And again, verily I say unto you, to some is given, by the Spirit of God, the word of wisdom.
 18 To another is given the word of knowledge, that all may be taught to be wise and to have knowledge.
 19 And again, to some it is given to have faith to be healed;
 20 And to others it is given to have faith to heal.
 21 And again, to some is given the working of miracles;
 22 And to others it is given to prophesy;
 23 And to others the discerning of spirits.
 24 And again, it is given to some to speak with tongues;
 25 And to another is given the interpretation of tongues.
 26 And all these gifts come from God, for the benefit of the children of God.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Women of Faith

This one is so true.  Women, throughout the modern world have fought to become more like men, and they have succeeded only too well.  As the years go by, it gets harder and harder to find the differences between us.  I think that is sad.  I believe that being a woman is a gift.  It is an amazing journey.  In all our struggles to be "equal" we have lost our ability and willingness to be different.  We have lost our uniqueness.  In our willingness to gain what we think we need, but have lost so much of what we were.  I will never understand how willingly we have changed from women of God to women of the world.  I wish that every single Daughter of God, could understand how unique she is, how valuable she is, how loved she is.  I will never understand why, as women, we are so willing to judge one another harshly, to put each other down, to criticize and condemn.  We have to stop trying to be worse than we are.  We have to love each other, lift each other up and share each others burdens.  Women of God can never, ever, be like women of the world.  We are so much more. 

Friday, September 16, 2016

Tell them

I sometimes don't tell the things that are in my heart.  I think that it is easy to take people for granted.  It is easy to think they understand me so well, that they know what I am thinking and feeling.
I hold my words inside, instead of pouring them out, from one heart to another.  I keep the good things locked tight, instead of pouring those words and thoughts and feelings into someone else. 
I grew up hard.  I grew up early.  I learned more about the evil in the world than I ever wanted to know.  I learned that wishes never come true and that heartaches are a part of life.  I learned that words are often unkind and that they can give us some of the most lasting hurts.  The ones we never forget. 
I have often thought that because of my own experiences, maybe I have left unspoken way too many positives in the lives of those I love.  I needed to say "I love you" more often and harsh words so much less.  When I think about how much my Heavenly Father loves me, I want to have more patience and kindness for those here who also love me.  I want to never be responsible for leaving words unspoken that should have been said.  I want to make a difference for the positive in their lives.  I want to always remind them that they are loved and needed and have value in this life and in the next.  I never want their hearts to be broken by what I did not find the courage to say. 
So for today, I want to speak words of love.  I want to cherish the amazing people in my life that I call my family.  They are truly the ones who bless my life.  I love them today and always. 

1 John 4:16 
And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Nothing you can do

There is nothing you can do
to make God love you anymore,
and there's nothing you can do
to make Him love you
any less. 

Oh how I needed this one today.  Sometimes, I have a hard time believing that I am worth loving.  I know all my faults and all my failings.  I know all the mistakes and the hurt and the anger that lives inside.  There is a part of me that has a hard time believing that God could possibly love someone as imperfect as I am. 
Funny thing is, that when I look at someone else, I don't see the same things at all.  I see people who are doing the very best they can do.  I see mistakes that are being overcome.  I see repentance and sorrow and genuine remorse.  I see the possibilities of change. 
I look at my own children and love them so very much.  They mean the world to me.  One of the hardest things to bear is when they remind me of all my mistakes.  (If you have grown children yourself, you will know what I mean, if you don't, well, it is coming!)  I already condemn myself for not being the best parent.  I already know what my failures are.  It hurts more that they remember them too. 
If I could go back and do anything at all, it would be to be a better parent.  I did as well as I could with the knowledge that I had, but I know that I could have been so much better.  I think that we all feel that way sometimes.  The hard part is recognizing that is not the Lord speaking for us.  He truly does love us with all of our mistakes and failings. 
I know that I love my children no matter what type of mistakes they make.  I love them no matter what they do.  I might want them to do better, but I will love them no matter what.  I think that our Heavenly Father, who is a much better parent than I will ever be, loves us even more than I am capable of loving my own children.  It makes sense to me that there is nothing we can do that will make Him love us any more or any less. 
I love the part of this that reminds me, He will never love me less.  He loves me exactly as I am. 
I am not enough by myself, but in Him I will be all He needs me to be. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Wordless Wednesday - Blessings

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, September 13, 2016

Life Lessons

Oh, how I have learned.  Sometimes, I get caught up in the things that are going wrong.  They can be overwhelming.  Then I focus on all the things that have happened and all the mistakes that I have made.  Eventually, I come back to the thought that I have learned from them all.  The mistakes and the hurt are the things that have given me understanding and tenacity.  Life goes on, sometimes up and sometimes down, but never just middle of the road.  We are either running or falling or picking ourselves up from the mud, but I know that I am certainly never bored. 
And so I learn, moment by moment and day by day.  I learn and grow and become someone that I never imagined I would be or could be.  Often, in the darkness of the night, I find myself remembering the child that I used to be.  What happened to all those hopes and dreams?  What happened to all the wishes from dandelions and stars?  My heart has been shattered, my eyes poured tears, my thoughts have been deep and dark, but that little girl has learned, and learned some more.
There have been times when I would have wished for changes.  Times when I cried as if my heart were breaking (and it was), times when I didn't want to breathe or go on or dream ever again.  I have learned to keep going, no matter how rough the road, you just keep walking one small step at a time.  This life is but a fleeting moment of our eternity.  I realize that even more now than I ever have before.  And although there is pain, there is also joy in the overcoming of it.  Although there are hurts, there are also healing and love. 
We can choose to focus on all the bad, or we can choose to embrace the good.  We can choose for the sacrifice not to have been in vain, or we can choose to live those dark moments over and over again.  For me, the past is not worth the price of my present and my future.  I am choosing to let it go. 
I am choosing to look forward instead of back.  I am choosing love instead of anger and hate.  I promise it isn't easy, but I am learning, and that is what is most important after all. 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Sabbath Day Scribblings - The Refiner's Fire

Some time ago, a few ladies met in a certain city to read the scriptures and make them the subject of conversation. While reading the third chapter of Malachi they came upon a remarkable expression in the third verse. “And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.”

One lady's opinion was that it was intended to convey the view of the sanctifying influence of the ...grace of Christ. Then she proposed to visit a silversmith and report to them what he said on the subject. She went accordingly and without telling the object of her errand, begged to know the process of refining silver, which he fully described to her.

“But Sir,” she said, “do you sit while the work of refining is going on?” “Oh, yes madam,” replied the silversmith, “I must sit with my eye steadily fixed on the furnace, for if the time necessary for refining be exceeded in the slightest degree, the silver will be injured.”

The lady at once saw the beauty, and comfort too, of the expression, “He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.”

Christ sees it needful to put His children into a furnace. His eye is steadily intent on the work of purifying, and His wisdom and love are both engaged in the best manner for them. Their trials do not come at random; “the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”

As the lady was leaving the shop, the silversmith called her back, and said he had still further to mention, that he only knows when the process of purifying was complete, by seeing his own image reflected in the silver.

Beautiful example! When Christ shall see His own image in His people, His work of purifying will be accomplished.

Author Unknown

Saturday, September 10, 2016

I don't think I'm perfect

“Too late, I found you can't wait to become perfect, you got to go out and fall down and get up with everybody else.”
― Ray Bradbury, 

I go to church nearly every Sunday, rain or shine, sickness and health (well, not sickness if it is contagious).  I help when I am able, I reach out to others, I stretch myself.  In short, I do all the things that I think perfect people might do, the difference is that I know how very far I fall short.
Not everyone likes church.  Not everyone likes the people.  Not everyone wants to spend their Sundays sitting on a hard bench and listening to other people speak.
I have found that my week goes better when I am willing to sacrifice that small amount of time.  When I am willing to gather in His name and with His love.  Don't get me wrong, things don't always go all right.  We are human after all.  Sometimes we don't like others, sometimes we are angry, sometimes we hold grudges, sometimes we resent others, sometimes we feel lonely and weak and afraid.  But I go in spite of myself, and in spite of those who don't like me.  I go to worship a Heavenly Father who loves me.  I go to find forgiveness and to turn my heart to him.
This past Sunday, we had two really amazing speakers.  They talked about repentance and forgiveness.  The spoke about a loving Heavenly Father who truly loves us and knows us each personally.  It was such a comfort for me.  I loved hearing them speak about choosing not to be offended.  About loving one another and forgiving each other, because we are human.   I used to never have a hard time forgiving.  My problem was that I forgave too easily and endured the consequences as if they were mine alone.  It took me a very long time to understand that forgiving was not forgetting and that we could forgive and still protect ourselves from future harm. 
Now, sometimes I am very closed off.  I am afraid to trust and afraid to love.  In short, I am afraid of being hurt.  Of having valuable pieces of myself thrown back in my face.  And so, I listened and I learned, and I continue to learn and grow.  I am amazed at how the simple things can mean the most.  I know I have heard those words before, but Sunday, I could swear they were just for me.  And so, I will try to reach out, and try to forgive, and try to quit worrying about whether or not my fingers are going to get burnt! 
I am going to choose to live in the here and now.  Moment by moment, step by step, until I arrive Home at last and am safe in His presence. 
Life has thrown me lots of loops along the path, but I am learning, maybe a little slowly, but learning nevertheless.  I am not perfect, and I am not trying to be, I am just falling down life everyone else and struggling to pick myself up and move forward.  One small step at a time. 

Friday, September 9, 2016

The Blessings Will Come

This can be a hard one for me to remember.  Yet, I have found it to be so true!  Especially in the past few years of my life.  As hard as things have been, as upset as I have been, as angry and hurt as I have been, there are still blessings.  I find them on a daily basis.  They are often in the little things, but they are definitely there. 
Blessings can be as simple as a text message from a friend, a smile, a shared tear, they can be big or small, but there are completely recognizable, at least they are when we pay attention.  I would be remiss in acknowledging my blessings, if I did not also acknowledge the hand of my Heavenly Father in my life. 
With as hard a life as I have been "blessed" with, it is easy to overlook the blessings when I am not focused on them.  It is always a little bit easier to find the negative, rather than the positive in life.  We are surrounded by negativity.  It is in everything we watch and listen to.  On the other hand, we have to really try and remain positive through it all. 
When I only look at the negative, I find myself being caught up in the mess of depression.  I judge myself more harshly, I fail easier, I find all the faults instead of the promises.  When I focus on the positive, I find myself surrounded by that also.  I find the beauty in the moment, I find the gift of friendship, I discover how uplifting it is to smile. 
When I focus on the positive, I realize that I love life, in all its messy bits and pieces.  I love the hope and the prospects of the future.  I love seeing the divinity in the eyes of His children.  I find myself drawing ever nearer to Him.