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, June 30, 2016

What I learned - Always Retain a Remission of your Sins



"In his spiritually stirring farewell sermon to the people he had served and loved, King Benjamin described the importance of knowing the glory of God and tasting of His love, of receiving a remission of sins, of always remembering the greatness of God, and of praying daily and standing steadfastly in the faith.1 He also promised that by doing these things, “ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with the love of God, and always retain a remission of your sins.”"
 Elder Bednar has quite a way with words!  I loved this talk.  It reminds me that we need to do what is right and be obedient so that we can have the spirit of the Lord to be with us.  As we feel the comforter in our lives, we will also be blessed to know that we have a remission of our sins.  What a beautiful and wonderful blessing that is. 

In mortality we experience physical birth and the opportunity for spiritual rebirth.  We are admonished by prophets and apostles to awake unto God, to be “born again,” by receiving in our lives the blessings made possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. With His help, we can stand spotless before God at the last day. 
The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead. He is a personage of spirit and bears witness of all truth. In the scriptures, the Holy Ghost is referred to as the Comforter, a teacher, a witness and a revelator.

Part of partaking of the blessings of the Holy Ghost involves participating in sacred ordinances.  These ordinances allow the blessings and powers of heaven to flow into our individual lives.  What a blessing I have found in participating and coming to know that heaven is real!

Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins “is the introductory ordinance of the gospel” of Jesus Christ and must be preceded by faith in the Savior and by sincere repentance. Baptism provides and initial cleansing of our soul from sin.  It really is one of the first steps on our journey. 

The baptismal covenant includes three fundamental commitments: (1) to be willing to take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ, (2) to always remember Him, and (3) to keep His commandments. The promised blessing for honoring this covenant is “that [we] may always have his Spirit to be with [us].”
“Baptism [by] water … must be followed by baptism of the Spirit in order to be complete.”  As the Savior taught Nicodemus, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”  I think sometimes we forget the spirit part of this.  Just being baptized does not lead us to conversion.  It is the spirit that does that.  It is the spirit that leads us home. 
The principles of repentance, baptism and receiving the Holy Ghost are all connected.  The Savior Himself proclaimed, “Now this is the commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day."

As members of the Lord’s restored Church, we are blessed both by our initial cleansing from sin associated with baptism and by the potential for an ongoing cleansing from sin made possible through the companionship and power of the Holy Ghost.  It keeps happening over and over, as long as we repent, we can be forgiven.  We don't just get one chance at forgiveness, we get a multitude of opportunities to change. 
The sacrament is the third ordinance necessary.  That we might more fully keep ourselves unspotted from the world, we are commanded to go to the house of prayer and offer up our sacraments upon the Lord’s holy day. The sacramental emblems are sanctified in remembrance of Christ’s purity, of our total dependence upon His Atonement, and of our responsibility to so honor our ordinances and covenants that we can “stand spotless before [Him] at the last day.”

 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Wordless Wednesday - New Hair!



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, June 28, 2016

The Sum of our Sins


 
This is important!  How we identify ourselves can set us up for either success or failure.  I tend to dwell on the mistakes that I have made.  I worry a lot.  I stew about things.  I have a hard time putting it all away.  Satan would have us believe that there is no way back for us.  That repentance will never happen.  That whatever it is that we have done is too horrible to ever receive forgiveness.  That is not what the Lord says though. 

2 Peter 3:9 
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

I love that Heavenly Father wants us all to come to repentance.  He wants us to come home to Him.  If He chooses not to remember our sins, why do we persist in doing it?  He chooses to grant us the mercy of forgiveness, why do we throw that gift right back into His face.  I am talking to myself a lot here.  I know that I am guilty of not forgiving myself.  It is a great comfort to know that the sum of my sins do not define who I am.  
I am so much more that any mistake that I have made.  I am so much more than my past.  I can choose to change at any time.  I can repent, receive His grace, and find my place with Him.    


Monday, June 27, 2016

Stand Where it is Shining


A few years ago, we were camping on the Rim and it was pretty cold.  Even with the camp fire blazing, the air was chilly.  One of the girls was complaining about how cold she was, and her bother told her that if she wanted to be warm, she needed to go stand in the sunshine.  So she did, and she warmed up and spent the rest of the day happily playing in the crisp mountain air. 
I wonder how often I forget in my own life, that if I want to feel the light on my face, I need to stand where it is shining.  It doesn't do me any good to stay indoors, or sit in the shade.  If I want the light in my life, I need to bask in it.  I think the Savior works the same way for us.  If we want to feel His light in our lives, we need to stand in His influence.  We need to do what is right, we need to read and listen to His words, we need to obey His commandments. 
We all have times that we question and struggle, He has never told us not to question things, but in with the questions, we still have to be willing to step into His light.  We have to give Him the chance to answer. 
When I think of the way the Savior dealt with questions during His life here upon the earth, I don't recall an instance where he turned anyone away.  He might have sat and thought about it for a moment.  He might have given an answer that they did not want to hear, or that they did not understand at that time, but He always answered them. 
He does the same thing today.  I have received many answers to prayer.  Sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes it is no, and sometimes it is not this moment.  Sometimes I don't want the answer I am given, especially when it is painful.  But there is still an answer if I am willing to hear it. 
He wants to be part of our lives.  He suffered for our sins.  He knows our names.  He loves each and every one of us, but if we want Him in our lives, we have to walk into His light.  When we do, He will be there waiting.  His light will touch our hearts, and bring peace to our troubled minds.  His light will be the light in the darkness that cannot be hid.  It will enfold us in the arms of His love. 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Sabbath Day Scribblings - One Body


“But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
“And if they were all one member, where were the body?
“But now are they many members, yet but one body.
“And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.
“Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:
“And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.
“For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked:
“That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
“And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.”
—1 Corinthians 12:18–26

Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Spirit of Fear




I forget this way too often.  I forget that Heavenly Father does not put fear in my heart.  I forget that He loves me.  I forget that He wants me to be happy.  Sometimes, I am trying so hard, that I don't realize when His voice stops, and Satan's begins to intervene.  I seem to be filled with fear and worry.  Fear that things won't turn out the way they should, fear that people will believe the worst instead of the truth, fear that others won't like me, or my family.  There are far too many fears to name. 
I needed this today to remind me that the voice of God is never in the spirit of fear.  His is power and love.  When I imagine talking to my Heavenly Father, I imagine a voice filled with love.  Filled with understanding, filled with compassion and forgiveness.  I can't for a minute imagine Him yelling at us, or calling us names or berating us for our lack of being perfect.
When I imagine the voice of God, He is my father welcoming me home.  Welcoming me into Grace, welcoming me into His presence, welcoming me into the arms of His love. 


Friday, June 24, 2016

Memorable People




I have several jobs and hobbies, and have seen people behave in all different ways.  I have seen kindness by strangers when none is expected.  I have seen love in the eyes of those who are saying a last goodbye, I have seen adults throw better temper tantrums than any two year old, I have seen the couple who have been married for over 70 years, still holding hands on the way out of church.  I have been blessed to see people at their very best, and people at their. well,  "not so good". 
One of my memories is taking someone to the hospital who had a chronic illness.  Her husband pretty much blew her feelings off.  He wasn't in a hurry to help her, he didn't want to go with her.  It broke my heart.  I could not help thinking about the difference between him and my own husband. 
My husband deals with everything about me.  I have chronic migraines.  They are not a lot of fun, and they seem to happen at all the most inconvenient times.  I get them especially bad on vacations.  For some reason, my body pulls out all the stops and they haunt my every fun moment. 
the thing is, John never criticizes me for them.  I know that if I needed to go to the hospital, he would not leave me there alone.  When I have been afraid, it is his shoulder that I cry on.  When I feel hurt, he is there.  For me, love means being there for everything.  It means being available for the hard times and the good times.  It means wanting to be a part of my life even when I am sick and hurting.  It means loving me even when I am most unlovable. 
My point for this isn't how blessed I am, it really is how we need to be careful what face we are presenting to those we love.  Are we available for them even when it is not something we want to do?  Are we happy for them?  Do we love them in spite of themselves?  I think we can all benefit from sharing a little more love in the hearts and lives of those around us.  I would pray that each one of us is always a little kinder than we need to be.  I would hope that we are each more forgiving than we wanted to be.  I would believe that we can all be just a little more like Him. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

What I learned - The Sacred place of restoration


Christ said to His people in Jerusalem:
“And other sheep I have,
which are not of this fold.”
“I am the good shepherd,
and know my sheep,
and am known of mine.”

At first, I thought this talk was "just" about the restoration.  Don't get me wrong, I love the restoration.  I love the fact that Heavenly Father loves us enough to not leave us alone.  He cares so much about us that He gave us the gospel in our lives so that we could become closer to Him.  So that we could follow Him, so that we could have a prophet to lead us and guide us. 
However, what I loved about this talk was that this wonderful man had questions about the gospel.  He followed the teachings, but he still wondered and studied and tried to find the answers.  What I love is that eventually, after he was ready, the spirit gave him the answers he sought.  That is an important concept.
We all have questions.  We all struggle to find answers.  We all want to know the truth.  We all are children of God and He loves each and every one of us.  I love that the answers came.  That, after the struggle, the answers were given.  I love that peace and understanding filled his heart and mind.  I believe that Heavenly Father loves each and every one of us.  He wants us to question.  He wants us to ask, He wants us to be willing to wait and receive the answers. 
Perhaps, the waiting is every bit as important as the learning.  The questions are important.  The answers will come.  He really does love us. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Wordless Wednesday - Jasper


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, June 21, 2016

With God



I forget this truth sometimes.  But, with Him in my life, it is good.  I am blessed.  Life is full of promise.  It is easy to focus on the problems and troubles.  It is easy to get distracted by all the bad in the world.  It is easy to be overwhelmed and over burdened.  It is easy to forget the God is good and that He wants us to have joy. 
For me, the simple messages are the best.  It is a way to remember what I might forget.  It is something that gives me a little more strength, a little more determination, and a little more willingness to endure. 
Today, I want to remember that God is always good, and that life was made to be good too.  No matter what is happening around us, there are always blessings if we will only turn our faces toward the light. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

If you listen





I have heard Paul Cardall speak, I have heard him sing.  He is pretty amazing.  What I really love about him though, is the things he has overcome.  How he keeps on being positive in spite of the trials he faces.  How he relies on his Heavenly Father to get him through it.  I am trying to be more like that. 
I try and listen.  I search.  I pray.  But I have a very hard time believing that everything is going to be OK.  I suppose it is a trust issue on my part.  I hate having bad things happen, and there is this part of me that believes they are going to keep happening, over and over again.  There is a part of me that believes I deserve the bad things and not the good.  There is a part that feels like I am being punished. 
I think there are times when we all feel that way.  When the prospect of grace is just too overwhelming to even begin to comprehend.  When our sins haunt our hearts and disturb our rest.  When perfection is something we should be obtaining.  Sometimes, it is as simple as what my mind thinks it knows and what my heart believes. 
Today, I am trying to convince myself that everything is going to work out alright.  Maybe, just maybe, I will do it.

AMAZING GRACE

Amazing grace how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now I'm found.
Was blind but now I see.
'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.
When we've been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Then when we first begun.
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now I'm found.
Was blind, but now I see

Friday, June 17, 2016

Where are you sitting?



 
I like this one for two reasons; the first is because we tend to judge ourselves at our very worst and compare ourselves with those around us at their Sunday best.  The second is because of the history of church pews.  A long time ago, pews were contracted and purchased individually.  They were adorned with family crests and designs.  The more wealthy you were, the better your seat.  Royalty had seats in the very front of the church.  As time went on, you no longer owned your church seat, but you rented it.  Depending on what you could afford, your seat could be good or bad.  If you had no money, you brought your own stool and sat in the back, or even stood in the back if you did not have a stool. 
Today, the pews are not bought, nor the seating assigned, but there are still people who will tell you that you are sitting in "their" seat if you happen to change places by accident.  I know that I have struggled to teach my children that there are no assigned seats in church, we sit where ever it is open.  It can be hard for them because they all have set places that they prefer to sit. 
When I read the quote above, I can't help but think of all the times we judge each other based on what our individual perceptions are.   
Do we participate in judging ourselves or others based on what seat we are sitting in?  Do we judge someone harshly because they are not in church?  How about if their beliefs are different than our own?  As for me, I am grateful for our differences.  I am grateful that it is not my place to judge.  I can welcome all with open arms and a loving heart.  I think the Lord will judge us more on how we behave than on where we are sitting. 
There is an old song sung by Kenny Rogers that I used to listen to.  It is very thought provoking and I think it fits this well.  I hope you find some wisdom in it too.
 
 
A Little More Like Me

It was an April night and I was right
Then out on the town
The show was at the Palace
So we all went on down.

We all had a ball as I recall
But now it seems absurd
As the madness raged upon the stage
He didn't say a word.

He was a little weird and we all feared
He wasn't one of us
He didn't drink, he didn't smoke
And he didn't even cuss.
You'll see him now and then
With a bunch of men hanging 'round the sea
And I'm sure I would have liked him more
If he were a little more like me.

It was a Spring each day
The clouds were gray
Look like it might rain
We thought about the night before
I was so ashamed.

When I heard what they had done to him
Stranger I have known
But as drunk as we all got last night
It's a wonder we got home.

He was a little weird and we all feared
He wasn't one of us
He didn't drink, he didn't smoke
And he didn't even cuss.
You'll see him now and then
With a bunch of men hanging 'round the sea
And I'm sure I would have liked him more
If he were a little more like me.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Fighting against my shadow




Sometimes, I feel like I am fighting against my own shadow.  Twisting and turning in a battle against my two selves.  There is the part of me that is fine.  That does okay, that gets along with others.  I would call it my Sunday face.  The face the world sees.  The one that people think they know.
Then there is the shadow me, the me that lives deep inside, the me that no one else can see.  The me that isn't really real, but feels that way.  It is the me that judges myself too harshly, the one who sees all my darkness, the one who can never forgive herself.  The one who struggles and juggles and tries.  The one who fails.  Sometimes if feels as if I forever and losing that battle.  I am forever failing.  And even if it is supposed to be imaginary, it really doesn't feel that way. 
I have decided that we all battle against our own shadows.  We all struggle to become what it is we think we want to be.  We all try our best and, at times, end up failing miserably.  Thank goodness that there is one who doesn't fail.  There is one who takes all those trials of ours and, through grace, makes our brokenness whole once again. 
I have learned that we are all broken in some way or another.  We all struggle to define ourselves.  We all come up short.  It is only as we draw closer to the Savior that we truly find ourselves.  That we start to see the shadow is only a shadow.  It is not real, and it never will be.  Who we are is so much more than that shadow person. 
Like the shadow in Peter Pan, whom Wendy sewed together with a needle and thread, the shadows of our beliefs are absorbed and then sewn together with the Savior's love, until what we have left is so much more than we ever thought was possible.  Our damaged bits and pieces are mended in His expert hands.  We are put back together one thread of love at a time, until we stand before Him whole at last. 
We can't do it.  We never have been able to do it.   But He can.  As we draw closer to Him, He embraces our hearts and changes us, until in the end, there is no more shadow, we become only His. 

Wednesday, June 15, 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, June 14, 2016

Forever???


Alice:                      How long is forever?

White Rabbit:     Sometimes, just one                                   second.

I have a standing joke with my husband.  He tells me it feels like we just met yesterday, and I tell him, it feels like forever!  He is completely serious, and so am I.  He thinks that after 21 years of marriage, it feels like we just met and are still in love.  I think that I am so comfortable in our relationship, that it feels like forever, and I am so happy with that.  Neither one of us are wrong in our opinions.  It is amazing to me to be accepted and loved exactly as I am. 

For me, forever is more of a concept.  I love that forever can be a second, a minute or even a lifetime.  I love that my husband has taught me what it means to be loved and wanted and needed.  I love that forever to him has not even come close to happening, but forever to me means that I cant imagine life without him in it. 
We are told this life is but a moment.  I keep trying to remember that these hard, difficult moments don't last long, literally a moment in the eternity of time.  So, though they feel like forever in that one moment, they are really not. 
As hard as life has been the past few years, I know that time does pass, that wounds heal, that the Savior has mercy and grace and that all things work together for my good. 

Monday, June 13, 2016

The Chicken and the Egg




I raise chickens and goats and dogs and ducks.  It is a crazy mixed up world at my house.  But this little thought is so true.  We eat the eggs that our chickens lay, and the life that might have grown from the inside is definitely ended.  But, when our hens are sitting, they stay on the eggs and keep them warm and the chicks hatch by pecking their way out of the shell and into the world.  There life begins. 
I love how this metaphor shows us that great things always begin from inside.  You have to be honest inside, before you can be honest outside.  You have to be happy inside, before you will find happiness outside.  You have to be spiritual inside, before you will find God on the outside.  It is what we focus on inside that really matters. 
They say that you can't sin without thinking about it on the inside first.  You have to desire it and dwell on it.  It makes repentance so much harder.  I think that great things ,and also small things begin on the inside of ourselves.  Life is hard enough.  We are surrounded by bad news and negative behaviors.  If we don't fix ourselves on the inside first, we will be overcome by the forces that are all around us. 

I love the old quote that says:
All the water in the world,
however hard it tries,
can never sink the smallest ship,
unless it gets inside.
All the evil in the world,
the blackest kind of sin,
can never hurt you
one least bit,
unless you let it in.

So today, I am going to try just a little harder to protect the life that is within me.  To protect that spark of divinity that dwells in my heart.  I am going to focus on strengthening myself from the inside instead of waiting for someone else to do it from the outside.  From the inside is life.  Life is a gift from God.  He knew exactly what we would need to be strong and live with him today.   He has made us great from within.  We are His children.  He loves us.  He wants us to be closer to Him.  Perhaps that is really what we need to remember. 

 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Sabbath Day Scribblings - Children of God



D&C 46:26 And all these gifts come from God, for the benefit of the children of God.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Dear Abby




I love this definition of maturity.  I even remember reading it long ago.  Most of it is easy to understand and to do.  Some of it is harder.  I am pretty sure there are those among us who never master it.  For me, the hardest might be to be able to bear an injustice without wanting to get even.  Somehow, in my mind, I want things to be "fair".  I want those who have wronged me and my family to "pay".  Don't ask me what I want them to pay, because I honestly don't know, I just want everything to be fair in my life.
I am trying to reach a point where "fair" doesn't matter anymore.  Where I can trust God to met out justice and mercy in the amounts required for the other person to be able to repent and still know they are loved.  That is important to me.  I know in my own life, that I want a second chance, (sometimes even a 3rd or a 4th).  I know that I seek and want to have forgiveness.  I know how much it hurts to have people believe the bad things about me that they do.  I know, that change is possible for all of us.
It is the wanting to get even part that I struggle with.  Sometimes, I wish that I could open up the head of the offender and put inside the knowledge of what they have done.  Do they know and understand?  Or does it totally escape them?  There is a part of me that believes if they knew, they would stop making those decisions.  They would be sorry.  They would change.
However, in many instances, we have to be willing to accept an apology that we will never get.  We have to love even when we don't want to.  We don't have to like what someone does, but we do need to love them in spite of themselves.  For me, I don't get angry very often, but when I do, it can be difficult to let it go.  My focus right now is on letting go of the anger, and frustration, and the hardness of my own heart.  Letting it go and letting God have the problem.  Letting Him find the reasons to forgive.  Remembering, that no matter how I feel, we are all, each and every one, His children.  Letting Him soften my own heart and fill me with His love.

Friday, June 10, 2016

I Like Living




I love this quote.  Probably because it comes very close to describing my own life.  There have been times when I really questioned why I continued on, but I have to admit, there are certainly more times when I am glad that I did. 
Some of you know that I have suffered from depression for most of my life.  It has been an ongoing battle for me.  Depression makes you forget the good things and only focus on the bad.  You lose the ability to reflect on life overall.  Mostly, your focus shifts to only remembering those things that hurt you. 
I have had so many people in my life who judge me because of the depression.  As a child growing up, my nickname was "Sad Sack".  Not very uplifting, but if I am honest with myself, it was probably pretty accurate.  I remember as a teenager feeling as if I had no worth.  At one time, I wanted to end it all.  I was tired of fighting.  I was hurting, I was angry, I was sad. 
My life was changed by a friend who cared enough about me to spend time giving me someone to talk to and vent with.  He also helped me to overcome some of the negativity in my life.  I will love him forever for that.  For many years, I truly felt that he was the big brother I never had.  He married an amazing woman who has loved him for a very long time.  He has a beautiful family and is a great example of love in action.
Through his love, I was able to find value in myself and reach out to others.  I was able to love and be loved in my life.  I have been blessed with a wonderful husband and beautiful children.  My husband is very much like my adopted big brother.  He loves me unconditionally, just as I am, with all my faults and failings.  He doesn't take initiative to point them out to me either!
I believe that our lives change and become better when others care about us.  When we allow them to help us, guide us, walk with us in our journey.  I have depression, but I also have many, many friends who have walked with me in this journey of life.  They lift me up when I fall, they comfort me, they move me, they are joy in my soul. 
I have learned that life is hard for us all.  We all have trials and difficulties along the way.  Some are worse than others, but I know that the ones I have help me to be closer to God.  Live is amazing.  It is incredible.  I think of all the things that I would have missed if I had ended it all those years ago.  I think of the people I would never have known or the joys I would never have experienced. 
Life is to be savored, the bitter and the sweet, all of it together in a mixed up, messy, and amazing experience. 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

What I learned - To the rescue, we can do it!


The Lord has provided all of the tools necessary for us to go to the rescue of our less-active and nonmember friends.

The Savior clearly understood His mission to rescue our Heavenly Father’s children, for He declared:
“The Son of man is come to save that which was lost. …
[For] it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.”  This talk is about rescuing our brothers and sisters, our children, our families and our friends.  We rescue them by bringing them to Christ.  By teaching them His teachings, by living in His ways.  We don't give up.  We trust the Lord to help us do it.
One of the things I enjoyed about this talk is the stories.  Some were sad, but all were uplifting.  The one that sticks in my mind is about the brother of Elder Alejandro PatanĂ­a.  He was on a fishing boat and went out to sea, there was a hurricane warning and they were coming back to shore when they found another boat in trouble.  They tried to tow them to shore and sent out an SOS call for immediate assistance.  In the way that governments do, the rescue was delayed until there was a plan and all aboard both boats perished.  The moral is to not delay. 
I believe that there are so many people out their that need us.  When we are hurting, we want the pain to go away fast.  Those who are lost and lonely want the same things.  Rescuing isn't just about bringing others to Christ, it is also about letting them feel Christ-like love in their lives again.  It is reminding them that they are important and valued.  It is helping them to know that they are children of God and that they have been and always will be His. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Wordless Wednesday - Happiness Is....



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, June 7, 2016

Cleanliness next to Godliness???




I love the magic 8 ball.  I have waited years to have the house learn to clean itself!  Problem is, that doesn't seem to happen.  I think the 8 ball has a better chance of being part of my life, at least it feels that way. 
I have heard all my life that Cleanliness was next to Godliness.  Somehow, in my brain, I seem to have associated that with having a clean house, a clean yard and even taking a shower.  I don't think anymore that is what the Lord was talking about. 
This life is messy!  It is supposed to be.  But when the Lord is talking about clean in Isaiah, He is speaking of SIN.  Not your house.  Sometimes we get way too wrapped up in the appearance of things.  What it looks like.  If your house is clean, does that mean your soul is clean too?  I don't think so. 
Don't get me wrong.  I would love to have a clean home, but that is not the life I am living right this minute.  So, one thing at a time and breath.  I will work on my soul first and line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little, I will slowly work on the rest. 
I have learned that what you appear to be is not necessarily who you truly are.  Sometimes that is good.  The only person who can judge us is our Heavenly Father, and He judges our hearts.  Thank goodness for that!  Because if He judged my house, I would definitely be a total failure!!  Magic 8 Ball and all. 

Isaiah  1:16-18

16 ¶Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;
 17 Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.
 18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Compliments


Today, my youngest daughter taught me a lesson.  It is one I continually struggle with.  We both sang tonight at the Methodist Church.  Our community is pretty amazing.  They several things a year where different churches get together and share with each other our talents, our service, our love.  It is a very fulfilling experience for me.  I love meeting other people and making new friends.
We sang the song, "Not Too Far From Here".  I struggled with it a bit as it was a higher range than I like and I have been so tired that my voice is struggling a little bit.  She did amazing on all her solo parts and also on our duet parts.  I was so very proud of her and made sure that I told her so.  She told me how happy she was to sing with me and how good I sounded.  I told her that I wasn't that good, but she was amazing. 
She looked at me and said, "Mom, you need to just take the compliment.  I mean it.  You are amazing and you just need to accept it."  She caught me a little flat footed there.  I wasn't expecting the wisdom in her speaking.  But, I have thought about it a lot tonight, and she is so right.  I need to learn to accept a complement.  I need to trust that the person being kind is not lying.  They mean it.  I need to simply say "Thank you," no matter what my personal mantra is telling me. 
Only when I learn that, will I maybe be able to start to build my self esteem up.  Only then will I over come the incessant need to un-compliment myself. 
I love the idea that compliments are gifts.  My sweet daughter gave me a wonderful gift by loving me enough to accept me and want to sing with me today.  What a loving and kind thing to do.  Somebody's hurting, not too far from here.  I am going to work on giving more compliments and meaning them as much as my daughter did.

NOT TOO FAR FROM HERE

Somebody's down to their last dime
Somebody's running out of time
Not too far from here
Somebody's got nowhere else to go
Somebody needs a little hope
Not too far from here

And I may not know their name
But I'm praying just the same
That You'll use me, Lord
To wipe away the tears
'Cause somebody's crying
Not too far from here

Somebody's troubled and confused
Somebody's got nothing left to lose
Not too far from here
Somebody's forgotten how to trust
And somebody's dying for love
Not too far from here

It may be a stranger's face
But I'm praying for Your grace
To move in me
And take away the fear
'Cause somebody's hurting
Not too far from here

Help me, Lord, not to turn away from pain
Help me not to rest, while those around me weep
Give me Your strength and compassion
When somebody finds, the road of life too steep

Somebody's troubled and confused
Somebody's got nothing left to lose
Not too far from here
Somebody's forgotten how to trust
And somebody's dying for love
Not too far from here

Now I'm letting down my guard
And I'm opening my heart
Help me speak Your love
To every needful ear
Someone is waiting
Not too far from here
Someone is waiting
Not too far from here

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Sabbath Day Scribblings - They were Forgiven


Moroni 6:8 
But as oft as they repented and sought forgiveness, with real intent, they were forgiven.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Everything is a Miracle


I have witnessed miracles.  Both my own, and someone else's.  I have come to believe that there is so much in life that can only be explained by miracles.  I choose to live my life surrounded by their beauty.  I witnessed one this week.  It was amazing.  It was sacred.  It was beautiful.  And since I can't share it with anyone, I will share one of my own miracles with you.
Many years ago, I was picking up my children from the babysitters house.  My young daughter was very excited to go home and ran right into the street to go get in the car.  There was a man driving on the street and he was going way to fast to stop.  In my mind, I saw her run over.  My heart felt like it would stop in my chest. 
Somehow, in a way that I can't even explain, that driver saw her and stomped on his brakes.  His car screeched to a stop leaving tread on the blacktop of the street.  She saw the danger and tried to turn and get out of the way.  He hit her right on her behind and knocked her sprawling in the street.  I never in my life imagined that crying could bring such happiness to me. 
She was bruised, but not broken.  He was so very sorry.  We did not call the police, it was not his fault and she was safe in my arms.  My own small miracle of the day.  

Friday, June 3, 2016

Which Path To Take


When I was girl, I read pretty much everything I could get my hands on.  Even Alice in Wonderland.  I had a hard time getting into the book, I think I was too old when I finally found it, but one thing about it that I have always loved is the eternal principles that are written within it's pages.  The Cheshire Cat was one of my favorites with his quirky wisdom.  In my adult life, I have found this one to be particularly true. 
There have been times when I could not decide where I wanted to go.  Or even when I did not make a choice.  I have found that the path really didn't matter because I didn't have a destination in mind. 
There have been other times when I knew exactly what I wanted and I was willing to do what I needed to get there.  The path was very important to me.  One of those times would be graduating from college.  It mattered to me that I received a degree.  As much as I would have loved to major in music or nursing, I chose business because that is what I am already practicing.  It made sense to major in something that I was using and would continue to use.  I worked hard to get my bachelors degree and continued on until I finally received my MBA.   I was  before I finished school.
The path mattered because I wanted my children to know that you can do anything you set your mind to do.  I had  children and still managed to finish school with honors.  It took much longer than I ever imagined, but I think it was worth the work and effort.
We all have choices to make in our lives.  At anytime there are myriads of paths to take.  There are choices to make.  There are mountains to climb.  The point the Cheshire Cat was making to Alice, is that she needed to decide where she wanted to go before asking for directions. 

Heavenly Father is willing to lead the way for us if we ask, but I have learned that it works better if I have a direction in mind before I ask Him.  I plan the way and He opens the opportunity.  Moving to the mountains was like that for me.  I did everything I could do first and then took it to Him.  He opened the way and there was never any doubt that this was where we belonged. 
It can be hard to live in a small town, but it is much easier when I have the confidence and assurance to know that He sent me here. 


Thursday, June 2, 2016

What I learned - Whoso receiveth them, receiveth me


“And [Jesus] commanded that their little children should be brought [to him]. …
“And … he took [them], one by one, and blessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them.
“And when he had done this he wept.”

I love the listen to Elder Neil L. Andersen.  He is a really good speaker and he always has something to say that hits home for me.  This talk for me, is about how much Heavenly Father loves children, all children.  It is about how much they need love and acceptance no matter what their family is like.  
This one hit home for me because I have had children who weren't accepted because they were different from the rest.  I have a daughter who really struggled as a teenager and the young women leaders came to me and told me that she was not welcome at young women's.  It was devastating to me because by taking away any chance of friendship with those who could be an example to her, these well meaning women drove her right out of my arms and into the friendships with those who would mistreat and abuse her.  
I have many more instances of those well meaning people who mistreat and misjudge children ewho are different.  I love that Elder Anderson talks about the children and youth who do not come from picture perfect families.  Who are raised in foster care, or by single parents.  He talks about how much need we have for sensitivity in our dealings with others, especially the youth.  
  
President Thomas S. Monson has said: “Help God’s children understand what is genuine and important in this life. Help them develop the strength to choose paths that will keep them safely on the way to eternal life.”  Let’s open our arms and our hearts a little wider. These youth need our time and our testimonies.

I love that Elder Andersen talked about how we need to reach out to the youth who feel alone, left out, left behind and outside the fence.  He does not say that we should ignore them or cast them out.  He talks about how much Jesus loved the children.  In every instance where he blessed children, I never recall that He said to only bring Him the perfect children.  He said to bring the little children to Him.  He blessed them all.  He loves them unconditionally, no matter what type of family they come from. 
May we all be just a little more like Him as we seek to include all the children and the youth around us.  May we not judge them just because they don't come from perfect families.  May we seek to help them and to welcome them with open arms and loving hearts.  May we always let them in.       

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Wordless Wednesday - Beauty among the Thorns



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.