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.


Saturday, April 30, 2016

He Can Make Us Whole



The reality of the Resurrection of the Savior overwhelms our heartbreak with hope, because with the assurance of that truth, comes the assurance that all the other promises of the gospel are just as real. 
We know that He has the power to cleanse our sins.  We know that He has borne our pain, our infirmities, our hurts and our anguish.  He knows about the injustices that we have suffered. 
In Alma we read:

11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.

We know that He has risen from the dead and that He has healing in His winds.  We know that He can make us whole no matter what is broken within us.  So today, in all our sorrow, I hope it helps to remember that He really does know.  ‬

Friday, April 29, 2016

Patience to understand


I have a hard time waiting.  I want it all explained.  I want know exactly what I can and cannot do.  I want to understand everything.  I am not very patient.  However, I am learning that I take in things so much better when I wait until the Lord teaches me to understand.  I can accept many things on faith, that is not a problem for me.  But I really like to understand.  To have that witness.  To be able to explain. 
There are so many things that make it hard to understand what is going on.  There are people I love who don't live the way that I would wish them to.  There are children who are not being raised in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  There are those who are bitter and angry, and blame me for their own sins.  I really don't understand it at all.  So my prayer is for the Lord to give me patience until that time comes.  Honestly, I am not even sure it will come in this life.  I am not sure it will happen in the moment when I think I need it, but I am trying to put my trust in Him that it will all work out in a way that is the best for everyone involved. 
I am starting to figure out that it is not necessary to understand everything.  Sometimes, the Lord is waiting for my perspective to change.  Sometimes, I need to learn something for myself before I can even begin to understand.  Sometimes, my own feelings need to change.  Sometimes, I need to forgive before I can move forward.  All I can say, is that I know the Lord will help me to understand in His own time.  It might not be now, but someday, I will understand. 
I have been doing a lot of reading.  I have a psychologist now who is helping me to work on some things.  It has been a hard road.  But in my reading, one of the things that has happened recently is that I am starting to understand that the Lord does not give us all the answers.  He expects us to question and ask and look for them ourselves.  It makes me wonder if part of the learning is in the seeking. 

Luke 11:9 - 10
9    And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

I believe that we will come to find the answers.  I believe that He wants us to find them.  He wants us to learn and grow and seek and become.  He wants us to have patience to wait until we are ready to understand. 


Thursday, April 28, 2016

What I learned - Keys and authority



Where are the keys and authority of the priesthood?
by Elder Gary E. Stevenson

So this talk was a little harder for me.  I don't know exactly why, but I know that there is something that I am supposed to learn from it.  I loved his story about losing his keys after skiing for the day.  About how the car was waiting there to be turned on and warmed up.  I can totally sympathize with this one.  I have lost my keys too many times.  Once, I even had to walk to work in the cold and snow because my daughter had my keys and took them to school.  I was a little grouchy about it, although his family seems to have handled it much better than I did. 
You don't realize how important keys are until you lose them.  I love the fact that we have the keys of the priesthood upon the earth today.  I too, have a testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the wonders that have been restored to us.  I love how Elder Stevenson talked about some of the Church History sites.  Our family has also visited many of them and felt the spirit that surrounds us there.  I love learning about history, especially church history.  It makes it all so real for me and it strengthens my testimony by learning more about the great men and women that lived before me. 
I love how he councils the youth to do missionary work, attend the temple and go forward with faith.  For me, the last example is really key to this life.  We don't always understand what is happening or even why, but we each have to sometimes go forward with faith even though we don't understand.  It is so hard, but when we do that, we learn so much and I find in my personal life that my testimony grows and my faith is strengthened if I just keep moving forward. 

"I testify that priesthood authority and priesthood keys start the engine, open the gates of heaven, facilitate heavenly power, and pave the covenant pathway back to our loving Heavenly Father.
I pray that you, the rising generation of young men and young women, will “press forward with a steadfastness in Christ,”12 that you may understand that it is your sacred privilege to act under the direction of those who hold the priesthood keys that will unlock blessings, gifts, and powers of heaven for you".  Elder Stevenson

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Wordless Wednesday - Play


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, April 26, 2016

Vulnerable

 
I love Ernest Hemingway. He has a way with words. And he also manages to make me feel like I have virtues instead of vices. I have been wounded so much in my life. I mean, really wounded. I have had physical problems, emotional ones, mental ones and even spiritual crisis in my life. I have felt vulnerable in so many aspects.
I used to wish to be an ostrich, who could hide my head in the sand and not notice what goes on around her.  I wanted desperately not to see the bad and the ugly in the world.  No matter how hard I tried, I always was forced to lift my eyes and see what I was surrounded by. 
Trust me, I haven't always liked it either.  There is so much ugliness in the world we live in.  So many things that threaten our salvation and our sanity.  So much wrong and so much evil.  But, being forced to see has also shown me that there are many things good about the world we live in.  There are amazing, loving people out there.  There are people who stop to help pull my car out of the snow.  There are people who pray for my children and grandchildren, even though they do not know them.  There are people who follow promptings and show up when we least expect them, but really need them the most. 
So, I take comfort is these words, and I know that, deep down, I really am good people.  I love beauty in all its forms.  I have courage and take risks for the ones that I love.  I believe in telling the truth and in doing the best that I can.  I also believe in the commandment to sacrifice.  I am not perfect.  I am so far from it that at times, I am very discouraged.  But I am a daughter of a loving Heavenly Father.  I may be vulnerable, but through Him, I will not be destroyed. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

Imagine what we could accomplish


I love this one.  Life is hard.  No matter what is going on for each one of us.  My trials are not your trials, they are mine.  To me, they are hard enough.  Imagine what we could do for each other if we quit comparing ourselves to anyone else and just accepted each other and loved each other.  As is, no holds barred, short-comings and all.  What an amazing thought. 
I look at the world today, and it scares me sometimes.  There are so many people who hate and want vengeance.  There are people who convince themselves that they have been wronged and slandered.  Maybe, they have, but wouldn't it be better if we could just get along?  Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could actually be the adults that we profess to be and stop being unkind, unthoughtful, uncaring and even just plain mean. 
What a difference we could make in the world around us, if we could just accept each other and love each other through the hard times.  Sometimes, wouldn't it be especially meaningful if we could treat those in our own families that way.  Have you ever noticed how much easier it is to get angry with someone you know, rather than someone you don't?  Yet the ones we know deserve our love and acceptance even more than strangers we might meet. 
As we have done foreign exchange students over the years, I have learned to love deeply those with differing beliefs.  I have learned to see their countries through their eyes.  I have shared their food, and their hopes and their dreams.  In teaching them, I too, have been taught.  I have been uplifted.  I have been loved.  I have been so blessed in the sharing of good with them. 
So today, let us try to be just a little more Christ-like in our day to day living.  Reach out a hand, give a smile, help your neighbor, be a friend.  We really can change our small corner of the world.  So, let's bring a little light to the darkness and fill the world with more love and peace.  I know we can do it.  I know I can change this little piece of heaven here on the earth.  I think it might even be worth the extra effort. 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Sabbath Day Scribblings - You are a Child of God



John 13:34-35
34  A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
 35  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
 
 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Controlling the Way you Respond



The last three years or so, have been hard.  There are so many things in my life that I absolutely have no control over.  Things that happen through no fault of my own, yet I am drawn out of my comfort zone and into exactly where I don't want to be, like a fish on a line, I even feel sometimes like I might be someone else's dinner!
Live can be very hard.  It doesn't change just because you want it to either.  I often find myself feeling out of control with my world.  There are people who act as if their greatest desire in life is to make me as miserable as possible. 
One of the things I am learning is that it is impossible for others to make you miserable.  It is also impossible for them to make you happy.  We are in total control of those emotions.  We choose to let others influence us, for good or bad.  We choose to let them have that kind of power over us. 
In my struggle with the demon depression in my life, I am trying to learn that I don't have to be in control of anyone else but myself. Sometimes, others actions affect me, but there is nothing that I can do about it.  One of the biggest problems that I have is that I want to be in control.  When something is wrong, I want to fix it and have it be right.  When someone is unjust, I want to show them the error of their ways and have them change their actions.  It has been incredibly hard for me to learn to let go of the monkey that belongs on someone else's back.  Especially when it has to do with my children.
I struggle with a great desire to be happy and to see those I love happy too.  But I am learning that my happiness is not dependent on the choices that others make.  I can be happy even though someone hates me.  I can be happy even though I am wronged.  I can be kind even in the face of unkindness, and most of all, I can feel gratitude to my Heavenly Father, when there is a lot around me to not be grateful for.  I am learning to find joy in the small things.  I am learning that He really does know what is going on and that He knows I am innocent of accusations and others bitterness. 
I am learning that I am not always in control of someone else.  I am in control of how I respond to them.  I get to choose to hate, or to love.  To hold a grudge or to forgive.  To be angry or loving. 
I have the power to choose, and that is helping me to change. 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Consistently Becoming

Have you ever tried to play piano?  I have, and it is HARD!  As far as I have ever found out, it is not possible to just sit down and play something without ever having played the instrument before.  You have to practice for years.  You have to work at it, and really love it. 
I tried to give my girls the gift of piano.  They are better than they used to be, but none of them have really ever played it like they could.  It is not what or who they want to be.  It is what I wanted them to be. 
On the other hand, I have a daughter who has never done any art in her life.  In our small town, there are no art classes in school (unless you count graphic art, which she never had an interest in).  She was a singer, and she loved it, but when she went to college, she decided to try something completely new and picked art to study for one class a day. 
The amazing thing for me is to see her blossom and grow in her art.  She loves it.  It is so fun to watch her practice different mediums and grow as she experiments with something that she loves. 
Everything that we want to become in life takes practice.  As we work on the things that we want to become, we become a little better each day.  We can work on any of the traits and attributes that we would like to better utilize. 
Imagine if we all became a little more kind, compassionate, loving, willing to serve, and even more grateful.  Think of the difference we could make in our own part of the world!  Just remember that we need to work at those things every day.  I believe that we all have something that we can work on that will make us better.  I know that I do.  As I seek to become, I am hoping that I find peace in following Him. 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

What I learned - I am a child of God


The soul that on Jesus 
hath leaned for repose
I will not, I cannot, 
desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell 
should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, 
I’ll never, no never,
I’ll never, no never, 
no never forsake!

This talk was good for me in my present time.  I think that it can be easy to forget who we really are, and where we come from.  We are surrounded by a world that is filled with busy things.  It become easy to focus on those things instead of who we are.  I loved how Elder Hailstorm asked the questions: 

"When difficult things occur in our lives, what is our immediate response? 
Is it confusion or doubt or spiritual withdrawal? 
Is it a blow to our faith? 
Do we blame God or others for our circumstances? 
Or is our first response to remember who we are—that we are children of a loving God?

For me, I find myself blaming.....well, myself.  I rarely point fingers at others.  Instead of having doubts, or blame or sacrificing my faith, I usually sit and think about what I should have done, or could have done to change those difficult things.  Somehow, without anyone else pointing fingers, I find myself questioning my own thoughts and actions.   
It isn't a blow to my faith, it is a blow to my own worth.  
So, this week, I am working on remembering that I am a Child of God.  That He loves me, exactly as I am right this minute.  That my sins are forgiven and that He knows my name.  
This week I am working on my immediate response.  I am working to ensure that I  remember who I am, where I am from and where I am going. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Wordless Wednesday - Sports!




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, April 19, 2016

Trust


Don't trust everything you see.
Even salt looks like sugar.

One of my favorite April Fools jokes used to be putting salt in the sugar bowl, at least it was until I got in trouble for it!  It wasn't near so much fun when my friends played that one on me.  I really like my sugar.  Darn, somethings just don't taste that same with salt!!  But I learned.  We really can't trust everything.  We can't find all the answers on the internet, or on TV, or even in books.  We live in a society where so many things are available to us at the touch of a button.  We can listen to music, watch movies, even learn a foreign language, all with the flick of the wrist. 
Life is amazing.  But you really can't believe everything you see and hear. 
If we could peek inside the devil's toolbox, I am certain we would see many things that are designed to lead us astray.  He is filled with deception and lies.  He works at taking those things from us that we hold most dear.  He attacks our families, our beliefs, and our values.  He introduces his own ideas and lies all around us. 
Satan leads us astray, not by the things we do so much as by getting us to believe the things that aren't true.  He overwhelms our senses with so much noise and distractions that we can't find the truth in the world around us.  He teaches us that truths are really falsehoods and that falsehoods are the "new" truth.  He teaches us that no one cares or loves us.  He teaches us that the sugar is salt.
We are bombarded with evil and wickedness.  It surrounds us.  It is part of our culture, part of our lives.  It is in everything we see and do.  It is hard to separate ourselves from it.  If we are not careful, it can even seem impossible.

That is why it is so important to follow the voice of the Spirit in our lives today.

President Faust said that following the voice of the Spirit requires patience in a world that demands instant gratification. It is quiet, peaceful, and subtle in a world enamored by that which is loud, incessant, fast-paced, garish, and crude. It requires us to be contemplative while our peers seek physical titillation. . . .
. . . This solution of listening to and following the Spirit may not be popular; it may not get us gain or worldly power. . . .
We must learn to ponder the things of the Spirit and to respond to its promptings. We must filter out the static generated by Satan.
Hearkening to the “voice of the living God” (D&C 50:1) will give us “peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come” (D&C 59:23). . . .
I believe and testify that our spirits are special spirits and were reserved until this generation to stand strong against the evil winds that blow, and to stand straight and upright with the heavy burdens that will be placed on us. [Faust, “The Voice of the Spirit,” p. 10]

As we seek to stand strong, we need to be willing to listen to the still small voice as it seeks to guide us.  We have to recognize the deceit and find the peace that is promised.  We have to still the deafening noise and falsehoods.  We have to separate the sugar and the salt and find His truth.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Give God Your Weakness


Easy to say, not so easy to do.  I see my own weaknesses.  They seem huge to me and so very overwhelming.  They are not something that I want to keep, and yet I seem to hold tight to them like they are priceless heirlooms.  Why is it so hard to let go of those things about myself that I don't even like?  In my mind, I don't want to keep them.  I want to turn them loose and let them go.  I want to turn the over to Him. 
Yet, I think there must be a part of me that clings to the old because they are familiar and even comfortable seeming.  They are like well worn shoes.  Not fashionable at all, but familiar and easy to wear.  Maybe it is better the weakness that I know than to risk appearing even weaker with something that I have never tried. 
All I know for sure is that it is so very hard to give them up to Him.  I wonder if I own weakness like it is a part of my very self.  I think I want to let it go.  I think I am ready, but then, I am like a child and try and hide the weakness behind my back and hope He doesn't see. 
Silly of me, He sees everything, but He leaves me to it and waits for me to let it go.  I am learning that part of letting go is to put my trust in Him.  To be willing to turn something loose, for something else that I can't see yet.  It is to be ashamed, and be willing to not hide it anymore.  I have a hard time with things that I am ashamed of.  They haunt me like yesterdays that I can't quit having nightmares about. 
Shame is something that is hard for all of us.  It gets inside and doesn't let us go.  We keep reliving and yearning for something that we never knew.  But, the thing is, He already suffered for our shame.  He already forgave us of the sins that we committed.  He already knows all the reasons that we feel the shame.  He knows, and He loves us anyway.
I haven't figured out why it is so hard to turn over my weaknesses.  I know that He loves me, I know that He already knows all my secrets.  I guess, I just don't want to see the disappointment in His eyes, or feel it in His actions.  Heaven knows, I feel it all the time. 
Part of this life is in learning to trust, to believe His words, to find the faith to go forward instead of back.  It is to know that He will give you strength.
One of my favorite scriptures on the subject is found in the Book of Mormon. 

“And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them” (Ether 12:27).

His grace is sufficient.  What a marvelous promise to us.  His grace.  I can let go of weakness for His grace.  I can let go of fear and shame.  I can find my strengths through His grace.  I can do all things through Him.  It is enough and more.  I am never alone. 



Saturday, April 16, 2016

Standing With God

 
It is so easy to stand with the world.  I can look at my own life and see all my mistakes.  I can see the things that I don't do enough of (or maybe even at all!)  I can see the need to pray more, read my scriptures more, study more.  In short, I see all my faults and failings.  Sometimes, it is easier to focus on those things than on the things I may actually be doing right.  We have as story in the Book of Mormon about Lehi.  It is called Lehi's dream.  In the story, there is a large and spacious building that calls out to those who are living and partaking of God's word and love.  Many people are led astray by the others in that building.  They feel ashamed that they are partaking of the fruit of the tree.  The wonder away from the straight and narrow path and are either lost, or join those in the great and spacious building. 
In todays world, that building is probably bigger than it has ever been.  There are so many people who are willing to lead us away from following the Lord.  There are so many conflicting ways and so many good things we can do.  We don't even have to be doing bad things, we just don't have to be doing the best we can do. 
God is not dead.  He never has been.  I know that He doesn't always answer the way that I would like Him too, but if I wait long enough, He always answers in a way that is best for me.  He allows me trials, that I might find joy in the overcoming of them.  He shows me people who hate, that I might learn not to behave in the same way.  He shows me forgiveness and mercy, that I might give those to others around me. 
In short, He gives me blessings each and every day and all things testify of Him.  I would so much rather be found standing with Him, that against Him.  As easy as it is to walk away, the only thing that prevents us from coming home to Him is our own pride.  His arms have always been opened wide to welcome us back. 
May we all be found partaking of the fruit of His love.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Soft-Hearted

BEING SOFT-HEARTED DOES NOT
MAKE YOU A WEAK PERSON. 
IT TAKES COURAGE TO STAY DELICATE
IN A WORLD THAT IS SOMETIMES CRUEL.

I am very blessed.  My husband, is one of the most soft-hearted people that I know.  He is kind, he is loving, he does what needs doing, and usually, he doesn't even complain about it.  He even puts up with me.  I think that might make him nearly perfect!  Seriously, I think that staying soft-hearted can be one of the hardest things we ever do.  We live in a crazy, mixed up world, a world that thinks that men and women should be exactly the same.  A world that rewards the courser attributes.  A world that thinks that kindness and compassion are weak. 
I know this personally, because those things have caused me a lot of trouble in my own experience.  Those traits are ridiculed and criticized.  They are not wanted in the business world that I work in.  It makes it hard to keep those things which are important, but not acknowledged or rewarded, as part of your life. 
I think that we have enough anger in our lives.  We have enough hardness, callousness, and bitterness in the world.  Maybe, just maybe, we need a little more tenderness, nurturing and soft-heartedness.  Maybe we need to try and develop those traits that are a little more gentle and caring.  Maybe we need to change what we are looking for in our personal lives.  Maybe, we just need to be a little more accepting of those God-given traits that are within each one of us. 
We are made in His image.  I think that He wants us to be soft-hearted, compassionate, and caring toward one another.  I think He wants us to be more like Him. 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

What I Learned - A child's guiding gift


At times we may all feel as if we are drowning. Life can be heavy. We live in “a noisy and busy world. … If we are not careful, the things of this world can [drown] out the things of the Spirit.”

I am continuing my conference talk series.  My councilor challenged me to read one talk a day.  Since I am writing this once a week, I think I will end up reading them a lot more times.  The interesting thing about that is simply that I end up getting so much more from them that way.  This was one of my favorite talks of the conference.  It really resonated with me on a personal level. 

It can be hard in my own life to recognize the spirit.  It can be hard to know if a prompting is really a prompting, or just something you want to do.  I loved how she spoke about teaching our children to recognize the spirit in their own lives.  Sometimes, the only way to know what a prompting feels like is to see what happens when we follow it. 

I believe that all of us have promptings to do what is right.  It can be to visit someone, or call someone, or even send a letter or a note.  It can be simple, or complex.  But a prompting always helps others or even ourselves. 

I have had so many promptings in my life, and the way that I learned to follow them is by the consequences that happened when I didn't!  There were times when I didn't heed the prompting to help and found out later how much someone needed me.  There were times I didn't heed and something happened to one of my children. 

When I have heeded the promptings, I am always blessed.  The knowledge that comes is always that I am loved and that Heavenly Father is mindful of each one of us.  He knows exactly who we are, what we need and He knows our names and circumstances. 

The best way to teach our children to follow promptings is to recognize them in our own lives and follow them ourselves.  Our children will be blessed to learn to hear the voice of the spirit in their own lives also. 

It will be as Elder Richard G. Scott said: “As you gain experience and success in being guided by the Spirit, your confidence in the impressions you feel can become more certain than your dependence on what you see or hear.”

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Wordless Wednesday



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, April 12, 2016

Gratitude in the Waiting


No great thing is created suddenly, 
any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig.  
If you tell me that you desire a fig, 
I  answer that there 
must be time.  
Let it first blossom, 
then bear fruit, 
then ripen.


Life is full of waiting.  It is also full of wonder and beauty.  Sometimes, we are so impatient for what we want, that we forget to find joy in what is already there.  We live in a world where you can get anything you want if you have the money to pay for it.  We get fruits and vegetables from other countries with different climates.  We get whatever we desire at the touch of a button or the click of a mouse.  We can be rude and angry and mean to each other when we are thwarted in our desires.  
In short, there are too many times that we don't act very Christ-like, and nearly all of those times have to do with patience.  I am not always patient.  I wish I could be.  I love the person who speaks softly and never gets angry.  I am someone who doesn't like contention in any part of my life.  
Not at work, not at home, not at church, not even in the store when I am not involved.  
This year, I am trying my best to lose weight.  It is not easy.  It is not fast.  It is pretty much one of the hardest and infinitely slowest things I have tried to do.  I hate that the weight doesn't come off as fast as it went on!  I hate that my body doesn't look the way I envision it.  But most of all, I hate the lack of self control that got me this way in the first place!  So now, I am working on weight.  
For me, the blossoming would be the desire for change.  Seeing the need in my own life.  Wanting it bad enough to try harder to be better.  
We have a cherry tree that does't bear much fruit.  The mountains are a cruel taskmaster and weatherman.  My area gets warm, the buds and flowers come out, and the tree blooms with a beautiful white bouquet.  However, just a few week later, with all the blossoms in full bloom, the weather changes and the blossoms wither and die.  The tree never gets to bear fruit because the blossoms weren't on it long enough.
So, after the blossoms, it bears fruit (if you are lucky!)  After the beginning of the work, you start to reap the rewards.  Hopefully I will see the difference on the scale and in the mirror.  Hopefully my waist will shrink and I will notice.  
Only after the fruit is on the tree does it ripen.  I have eaten unripe fruit.  It does not taste good.  It is too tart and too hard.  So, part of losing weight is to wait for my body to change.  It is to hold fast to what I am doing and hold on to my patience and wait for the finish.  
Only with patience do we see what can happen.  Only time will tell the ending.  
And so, I wait, with baited breath, for the future.  




Monday, April 11, 2016

Being Negative


Being negative, 
only makes a difficult journey
more difficult.  
You may be given a cactus,
But you don't have to sit on it. 
 
Once, many years ago, one of the foreign exchange students we had wanted a picture of herself pretending to sit on a cactus.  I got out my camera, and she pretended to sit, I snapped the picture and she promptly fell on the cactus.  Then, in trying to get herself off, she ended up with many more stickers in her hands, arms and legs, than she would have had.  Hours of painstakingly pulling stickers with duct tape and tweezers later, she was finally able to move a little more freely.  It was one of those experiences that none of us will ever forget, especially her.  
Cacti are not fun to sit on.  They hurt.  Some of them have big stickers, and some have small, nearly invisible ones.  Both kinds hurt.  Both are hard to get out.  Both leave a lasting impression!  We all have difficult journeys.  Just because I am not going through the exact same thing that you are, doesn't make my journey any less harder for me. 
Life is not a competition against each other.  If you get to heaven, that does not mean that I won't get there too.  It is funny how people act that way sometimes.  Like I have to be better than you, or I won't have any chance.  I am so grateful that Heavenly Father doesn't compare us to each other, only to ourselves.  I don't have to be perfect.  I just need to be getting better at things everyday.  He loves me when I succeed, and He loves me when I fail. 
Being negative in our day to day lives, doesn't make our trials go any better.  They don't go away, they don't even get easier.  As a matter of fact, I would venture to say that being negative is a lot like sitting on that cactus.  It only hurts us more.  It leaves lasting impacts and none of them are positive.  When we dwell on the negative, our mind becomes filled with all that is negative around us.  I have learned that it only makes me more unhappy and miserable.  When I focus on the negative, that becomes all I see.  I can't see the blessings that might also be there.  I can only see what my focus is on. 
As I strive in my life to overcome negativity, I find myself more willing to acknowledge the blessings that are also there.  I find myself working a little harder to be just a little better.  I find that my faith increases and so does my humility.  As I focus more on the positive, I find myself more willing to acknowledge Him in every aspect of my life.  For me, that is so much better than a cactus!      

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Love all over again

 
Some days, I really struggle not to be angry, not to hate.  I really have learned in my life that hate is not the answer.  It only poisons the inside of me.  The other person obviously doesn't care whether I hate them or not.  The only person that it matters to is me. 
I believe that we don't have to "win" the race.  All we are supposed to do is to finish it, in honor and dignity, in testimony and worthiness.  We are not racing against each other in this life.  As a matter of fact, I think if we are not at least trying to help each other along the way, it will be much harder to finish. 
We forgive, not for the person who has caused us wrong, but for ourselves.  We forgive so that we are not consumed with the hate and the getting even and the revenge.  We forgive to let go and move on.  Heavenly Father knew how hard it would be.  We all have so many blessing to live for and be thankful for.  Being truly free is letting go and moving on and finding others to love us. 
Forgiving doesn't mean that you have to pretend it never happened.  Forgiving can absolutely be protecting your self and not putting yourself in the situations again. 
I have learned that forgiving for me is when I no longer feel angry toward the person involved.  It is when I can look at them and be sorry for their actions.  It is knowing that there are consequences for everything and believing that I don't have the power to cause the consequences.  It is trusting in God's justice and also His great mercy.  It is believing that He truly knows our hearts and that He knows our lives and our weaknesses. 
I think that I can put justice in His hands and allow Him to take care of it.  For me, that will be enough. 
 

Friday, April 8, 2016

Venting

 
Ouch!  Yep, this one just might be for me.  I have been having a hard time with forgiveness lately.  There are people in my life who have done their very best to make sure that I "pay" for what they perceive are my wrongs.  Problem is, they are not my wrongs.  So, I end up dealing with something that should not be mine to deal with and many, many other people get hurt.  So, I keep asking myself, does Jesus still love them?  The answer would be a resounding, yes. 
As a mother, I know that I love my children no matter what choices they make, no matter what trials they go through, no matter whether I agree or disagree with their life style.  I also know that loving them and accepting them is part of my calling.  I know that Heavenly Father expects that of me.  The problem comes when I am dealing with people who are not my children, who I trusted and cared about, and they manage to find the worst possible ways to hurt me and my family. 
That is really, really hard to forgive.  But having met Brother Cook, I know that he really believes we need to be more Christ-like in our lives.  We need to be less judgmental and more forgiving.  We need to become more like our Savior.  So, as hard as this lesson is to learn,  I know that I cannot vent that anger to others. 
I know that I need to conduct myself more like Christ did every single day.  I know that He did not condemn, even when people walked away, even when they mocked, even when they called for His death and imprisonment.  He loved them through their own anger and weaknesses.  He loved them in spite of themselves. 
I am not perfect, but the more I seek to become like Him, the more I feel impressed to behave likewise.  It is not enough to not say anything.  It is not enough to simmer and keep it all inside.  Somehow, I really need to learn to let it go and Love them anyway.
Remember that Jesus Himself was despised and rejected by the world.  In the Book of Mormon we read about Lehi's dream.  In that dream, those coming to the Savior also endured “mocking and pointing … fingers” (1 Nephi 8:27). “The world hath hated [my disciples],” Jesus said, “because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world” (John 17:14). But when we respond to our accusers as the Savior did, we not only become more Christlike, we invite others to feel His love and follow Him as well.  We set the example.  Maybe right now, they can not see, or don't want to see, but someday, I have to believe, they will. 
Sometimes, true disciples must show Christian courage by saying absolutely nothing at all. 
And that can be very hard indeed. 
 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

What I learned - Where Two or Three are Gathered


If you listen with the Spirit, you will find your heart softened, your faith strengthened, and your capacity to love the Lord increased.

I love General Conference, for those of my friends who are not LDS, it is a weekend filled with spiritual nourishment.  Talks that help me get through my life.  No matter what I am facing, there is always some hidden gem inside the talk for me.  I decided that once a week, I will share some of the things that I have learned there.  I hope they help you with your own trials. 

Where and when we feel the closeness of the Savior depends on each of us. He gave this instruction:
“And again, verily I say unto you, my friends, I leave these sayings with you to ponder in your hearts, with this commandment which I give unto you, that ye shall call upon me while I am near—
“Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (D&C 88:62–63).
 
For me, probably the most important part of this talk was the reminder that He is near.  He wants us to ask.  If we do not feel close to Him, it is not because He has pulled away, it is because we have.   He talked about the parable of the sower and how well the seeds did depended on the ground that they fell on.  He talked about how devious Satan is, that he tries to lead us a stray by telling us that belief is childish and not important. 
 
I just went to counseling the other day, and my counselor brought up much the same things to me.  I have seen how Satan works in my own family.  I have seen how he destroys and damages those I love.  It is so hard for me, with all the amazing testimonies that have been part of our lives, how easy it is to walk away simply because something doesn't make sense right this moment. 
I have learned to work on patience in the waiting.  I am not perfect at it, but I am working on it.
 
I love my Heavenly Father and His son, Jesus Christ.  I believe that they will guide and direct us if we will ponder and ask.  I believe that they are near, if we just open our hearts and let them in.   
 
 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Wordless Wednesday - Me and My Honey

 
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, April 5, 2016

Don't be impressed


This is one that we all need to be aware of.  It is easy to be impressed by what we perceive others have accomplished.  It is easy to look at the visible signs of success and wish that we had the same.  But those things that we can not see, are so much more important.  I know that when I am having problems myself, it is the simple things that bring me the greatest blessings.  The kindness of a stranger, the generosity of a friend, the integrity of someone who finds something I have lost, and last, but not least, the humility of those around us. 
Our world is impressed by all the wrong things.  We look at success as something that is physically tangible, instead of something within.  We use things to determine whether or not we are worth something.  We use money, status, toys, titles, business, even people to show that we have worth.  The thing is, worth is not determined by what you have.  It is determined more by what you do. 
Once, a long time ago, I had a job interview.  The interviewer asked me what I could bring to that office.  I told him of all the things that I have done in my career.  He replied, "I don't want to know what you have done in the past, I want to know what you will do for this office to improve it". 
I learned from that interview.  Our past really doesn't matter as much as we think.  Our current status really isn't important.  There are more important and pressing issues for each of us.  I prefer to think of it as: what can I do to change what is going on around me for the better.  What can I bring that is different and unique.  I have learned that kindness is always welcome, there is never enough integrity to get things done, humility goes so much farther that pride, and generosity brings some of my greatest joys. 
I hope that we all start to become impressed by the things that matter most, instead of the ones that really aren't that important.  Remember that you are truly better than you think you are. 

Monday, April 4, 2016

Giving up


Giving up your goal
because of one setback,
is like slashing the other three tires
because of one flat.
 
Have you ever felt like giving up?  I have.  I have wanted to crawl into bed and stay there.  I have wanted to never move again.  I have wanted to avoid all people and all situations that make me uncomfortable.  I suspect I can be rather like and ostrich and wish that I could hide my head in the sand and just not have to deal with it all. 
I am learning to do the hard things in life.  I am learning not to give up completely, no matter what kind of curves live throws.  I am learning that not all people are good.  Some of them are pretty bad.  Some are so willing to hurt others and to make false accusations and to spread lies and gossip in their wake. 
Even those people deserve forgiveness.  Not for themselves mind you, but because I can not participate in the hate and anger.  It affects me way too much and hurts my spirit. 
As I seek to become more Christ-like in all my dealings with my fellow men, I find myself more willing to forgive.  Trusting might be a little harder, but the forgiveness takes the burden off of me and places it squarely back on the person who is responsible. 
I think that too often, we are willing to give something up because it is hard.  It is easier to give in and let go, than to fight to keep it.  I am trying to remember that just because one of the tires in my life is flat, does not mean they all are.  It just means that I have one setback, one moment of tragedy, one short time of grief.  It means that I can still move on and I can still survive.  
I am trying to learn to trust He who has promised me that all will be well.  I am seeing that miracle come to past.  It might not ever happen in my time, but it does happen in His.      
 


Sunday, April 3, 2016

Sabbath Day Scribblings - The Final Outcome


I love this one, it reminds me that He knows what is needed. 
He Lives.  That is the truth.  The outcome is assured. 
He conquered death, He rose again, He Lives. 
And because He lives, we can have hope in the future. 
And I believe, the future will be glorious!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

The Reward


Some people find fault
like there is a reward for it.

Living in a small town is hard.  I love it though, although it can give me trials I never imagined.  Everyone pretty much knows your name.  They know your religion, they know your mistakes, they know when you are having problems.  And so many people love to gossip.  I know that it is the same in a larger city, but the difference is I didn't have to hear what they were saying about me.  I didn't have to realize the lies and the jealousy, and the mean-ness.  It was still there, but I could go home every night and escape into my own small part of the world. 
Here, when someone doesn't like you, I can pretty much guarantee that you will see them everywhere.  There are only a couple of restaurants in town, and only a few stores, and a few places to get gas or rent movies.  I can't move out of my house with out being reminded that there are those who do not like me.  
I have been snarled at, yelled at and even flipped off, all by people that I know.  That is hard for me.  I try hard to like everyone.  I suppose that I try hard to be a people pleaser, but that can be very hard when you see people at their worst every day.  I tease my girls that I always know their mistakes before they even get off the bus in the afternoon.  I am not kidding either.  Although there are days when I wish I was.  The hardest thing for me is when I hear things that aren't true coming from people that I thought I could trust.  
Over the past couple of years, I have had to really change who I trust and in what areas of my life I choose to give that trust.  I have had to realize that everyone does not want to be my friend.  Some people are not happy unless they do their utmost to make me miserable.  So, the only way I can survive is to pretend that I do not care, or I do not know what they are doing. 
Naiveté is bliss.  That might sound bad, but it get me through the roughest times.  Sometimes, you just have to act as if everything is fine and you don't realize that anything is wrong.  Sometimes, you just have to pretend that all is right with the world and everyone is good.  Some peoples greatest reward is succeeding in proving you are less than they are. 
So, it works to let it go.  To decide that it is not going to change you life.  To choose to not let it tear you down.  To believe that you are more than they could image.  Sometimes, you have to acknowledge yourself and not worry about what others think.  There is no reward for thinking the worst of any of Heavenly Father's children. There is no reward for finding fault.  The reward is in loving others in spite of that.  The reward is in treating those around you as His. 

Proverbs 11:9
"An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbour:
but through knowledge shall the just be delivered".

I will be content to wait for knowledge. 
     

Friday, April 1, 2016

We make a lot of Mistakes


I make a lot of mistakes.  I struggle with many things.  But, I have to admit, I would much rather be around others who make mistakes and admit them and talk about them, than to be around those who can do no wrong. 
I am so blessed to have a few good friends.  I am blessed to have those around who will grumble and complain about their own problems and then willingly listen to mine.  I am blessed to have wonderful women in my life who have shared their hearts with me and allowed me to share with them. 
When we share one another's burdens, we become closer to them, more accepting, and even a little safer in our own disclosures.  There is not much that I would be uncomfortable sharing because they accept me for exactly who I am right this minute, and encourage me to become better. 
I have found that the best friends are the ones who allow you to be comfortable in your own skin.  They allow you to cry, and mourn, and to just be yourself, in all your agony.  I have come to understand that the best friends don't just listen to you, they also share a part of themselves with you.  It helps me not to feel worse because I might have perceive them to be better than I am.  It helps me to understand that we are all human.  We all struggle.  We all cry.  Sometimes, we are overwhelmed.  But good friends help you find your center.  They help you get your focus.  They love you through your very worst times. 
My friends share their own mistakes.  I need that.  I learn from them how to handle the trials in my own life.  Sometimes, I am so sorry for them and I realize through them how blessed I am that I am not going through those same things too. 
Love is amazing.  We have the power to lift each other up to be the Daughters of God that we were meant to be.  None of us can walk this life alone.  Sharing the love with imperfect sisters is one of the most fulfilling parts of my life.  They help to make me feel whole.  They remind me everyday that I am loved, needed and never really alone. 
I can be strong, because they hold me up and give their strength to me.  They strengthen my knees when they are weak, and hold up my arms when they hang down.  They pray for me, fast for me, and love me. 
I am richer because they are in my life.  I am blessed.