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, March 30, 2017

What I learned - Trust in the Lord

In Proverbs 3:5–6, we read this counsel:
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart;
and lean not unto thine own understanding.
“In all thy ways acknowledge him,
and he shall direct thy paths.”
Every six months, we have General Conference.  One of the sessions the week before is a session for the women in the church.  This was the first talk and was titled Trust in the Lord and lean not.  It was given by Bonnie H. Cordon who is the second councilor in the Primary general presidency.  I loved her entire talk, and couldn't help but ask myself if I am leaning away from the Savior. 
She first described what leaning means:   "In English the word lean has a connotation of physically listing or moving to one side. When we physically lean toward one side or another, we move off center, we are out of balance, and we tip. When we spiritually lean to our own understanding, we lean away from our Savior. If we lean, we are not centered; we are not balanced; we are not focused on Christ".
The words touched me and taught me.  I love that leaning means we are not centered, that we are off balance.  That very much describes some of what I am going through. 
She then suggested three ways in which we can increase our knowledge and trust of the Savior. 
1.  First, we can come to know the Lord and trust Him as we “feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do."
2.  Second, we can come to know the Lord and trust Him through prayer. What a blessing to be able to pray to our God! “Pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart.”
3.  Third, we can come to know the Lord and trust Him as we serve others.
Three simple things, yet they can be so hard to do sometimes.  I struggle with finding the time necessary to do everything that I think I "should"  be doing.  Perhaps, I am just doing too many of the "Good Things" and not enough of the "Best Things".  Perhaps, it is time to go back to the basics and try just a little bit harder.  Instead of trying to leap, I need to do baby steps.  In stead of trying to do everything, I need to just focus on a few best things.  I need to work on trusting Him and little bit more and not leaning on myself quite so hard.   

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Wordless Wednesday - Kansas City

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, March 28, 2017

Stop Worrrying

It is not easy for me to stop worrying.  I worry about everything:  Being late, being early, having money, not having enough money, work, school, the cars, the phone, the bills.  You name it, I have probably worried about it. 
It is sad to me to even try to think about how much of my life has been spent in worrying.  My stomach in knots, but brain whirling, my heart beating fast.  I think I may worry just a little too well!
Take this week for example; I have an 18 year old teen.  She is a really good girl.  However, she went to see a friend in Holbrook.  The road there is a good one, but there are way too many accidents along it late at night.  I planned on her being home by 9:00.  In reality, it was after 1:00 in the morning when she came in.  She did text, so it is not like I didn't know where she was or what was going one, but I couldn't sleep. 
Finally, after tossing and turning, I went out on the couch and watched a TV show.  I stayed up until she arrived home (safe at last!) and then was up for about 40 minutes later to get my anxiety under control.  Six hours of sleep later, and it was time to get up to start the Sabbath day. 
I was exhausted!  Then 6 hours of sleep Sunday night and back to work.  After a very long day (about 14 hours) I came home and finally went to sleep at 9:00 again, only to wake up at 3:00AM to worry and not go back to sleep.  I really have to find a way to stop this!!
Worry is not my friend. 
I know this quote is true, even if it is so hard for me to remember.  I have seen the Lord's hand in my life when things don't work out the way I always planned they would. 
I had so many dreams as a child.  Ones where I was a surgeon, or a rocket scientist, or an astronaut.  I dreamed things that did not come true.  Somehow, I never saw myself quite where I am today.  Yet in all my dreams, I could never have seen the blessings that I would be given instead.  I think that I am right where I need to be.  So, when plans don't work out, when the road is uphill, when everything and everyone seems to conspire against you, have faith.  I believe the Lord's plans for us are so much bigger than anything we could dare to dream. 

Friday, March 24, 2017

No Act of Kindness

Oh, how I love this one.  I love the way that it puts love and kindness together in one simple explanation.   I have come to learn in my life, that it is impossible to have real love without kindness; and the more kind we are to those around us, the greater our ability to love increases.  I have been growing and learning my entire life, and sometimes, kindness still eludes me.  It is easy enough to be kind when others are kind in return, it is so much harder when we are in the position of making a point, or needing information, or wanting control.  There is a part of me that is starting to see most unkindness as a means of control;  Over others, over our environment, even over life itself.
I may not be capable of, or even have the opportunity to do great things in my life, but I am capable of doing small things with great love in every aspect of the life I am living.  Even a smile can warm someone else's heart on a bad day.  Life is hard for every. single. one. of us.  Maybe at different times and different places, but it can still be very hard.  My new goal is to not make anyone else's life harder than it needs to be. 
When I think of great acts of love, I think of those who have dedicated their lives to healing the hurt of others.  I think of Jesus Christ, Mother Theresa, Gandhi, Joan of Arc, Madam Curie, and there are so many others that I can't even begin to name them all.  But none of them did one thing for one day.  They spent hours, days, weeks, months and years in the service of people.  So acts of great love don't usually happen in one moment.  They are happening around us every day through the small acts of kindness done toward others. 
I want to reek of kindness in everything I do and every action I take.  I am tired of being hurt and angry.  I am tired of being depressed and anxious.  I am tired of worrying and stressing over the next good thing I need or want, or even that someone else needs or wants from me.  For too long, I try and be kind to those who are in and out of my life, but somehow I miss out on being kind to those who put up with me and love me in spite of myself.  They need to come first, not last.
I wonder why it is so hard to keep them in "first place" in all my doings?
So, I am going to keep trying to be a little kinder and a little gentler to those around me.  I am going to try and treat them the way that they deserve.  I am going to try not to give them the leftovers of life.  I am going to try to give them many small acts of kindness with great amounts of love thrown in.  I am going to remind them of what they really mean to me. 

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Believe in Yourselves

How easy is it to get lost in this crazy, mixed up world that we live in?  There are so many voices competing for our attention, that the one inside ourselves gets rather lost in the shuffle.  Sometimes, it can be very hard to hear, and even harder to understand, just who we are.  I think, that there is a part of me, deep inside that really craves to be the same as everyone else.  Sometimes, I would like to be admired, or at least acknowledged for something, anything that is good.   There is a part of me that I am not proud of, that wants to be popular, or at least somewhat in demand.  I wish I did something well.  My house is a mess, my life is even messier, my mind is in total chaos and sometimes I don't know where I am going to find the energy to face tomorrow. 
The hardest voice to hear is the one deep inside yourself telling you that you are who you need to be.  That you are unique.  That you are enough.  That you are being you and that is Okay. 
That is the voice I struggle to hear.  That is the one that screams deep inside my heart and I am so busy trying to be someone that I am not, I can't hear the voice of who I really am.  I am surrounded by the should have, could haves and would haves of the world.  The real me, is drowned out in the crowd. 
I am learning that part of believing in myself has to come from being myself.  You can't believe in someone who is not real.  You can't believe yourself into what is false.  Part of accepting myself is to learn who I really am.  It is asking the hard questions.  The ones that are uncomfortable at times.  The ones that I don't want to know the answers too.  Part of believing in myself is putting aside the falsehoods and the insecurities and acknowledging the person that I really am.  It is finding that person and learning to love her anyway.  It is being myself in spite of everyone else.  It is believing in myself as well as being myself.  It is acknowledging my successes as well as my failures.  It is becoming whom I was always meant to be. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

I Am Not Perfect

I needed this one today.  I am a mom, and grandmom, who wants nothing more that to surround my children with perfection.  I want to be there when they need me, I want to know the things I should say.  I want to know the right thing to do in every situation.  I want my children and grandchildren to never, ever have to endure some of the things that I have had to.  In short, I want every single part of their lives to be better than the life that I have lived. 
It is so very difficult to watch your family have to endure the hard things.  It is so very difficult to have them not listen or pay attention to my stories of the past.  It is really awful to have them say, "It turned out alright for you, so I should be fine".  I just never imagined the amount of excuses that I would hear for my family making the wrong decisions.  I never, ever, imagined that they would still find a way for me to be responsible. 
Life is hard.  No matter how hard we try, Heavenly Father has given each of us our free agency.  He never takes that away, even when exercising that free agency brings heartbreak to your own family and friends.  We live in a world that not only wants everything, they want it right this minute.  Heavenly Father doesn't work in this moment of time.  Sometimes, He needs to wait until our experiences have grown.  He needs to wait until the answer will make sense to us.  He needs to wait until we are ready to listen. 
It is hard to feel alone in the waiting.  It is hard to feel imperfect in a world where you imagine perfection in ever corner.  It really isn't there, but we imagine it anyway, and feel totally incompetent when we compare our broken selves to others in all their imagined perfected glory. 
Funny thing about that though, not a single one of us are perfect.  Not a single one of us are exactly where we imagined we would be.  We are all broken.  We all feel alone.  We all sometimes feel unloved and unlovable.  And that is even OK as long as we can keep in in perspective. 
For the past few years, I have really had to struggle with hating another.  I have had to just learn to breathe when I know her sins.  It has made me angry to think that she still has a temple recommend and that the church does not even know what she has done to those around her.  It is hard, because in her own mind, she is without sin, without fault, without blame.  So she has been allowed to say anything she wants and slander anyone she dislikes.  I would be nice if Heavenly Father would reach out an slap her upside the head.  Seriously!!!
I know he doesn't though.  He needs me to learn to forgive this one.  He needs me to look beyond the moment and find a reason to love.  He needs me to be more Christlike and forgiving.  It is the hardest thing that I have ever done, but oh so very necessary.  Heavenly Father does not tell us to forgive after others have forgiven us.  He does not tell us to wait for and "I'm sorry".  He does not tell us to wait for Karma or fate or anything else.  He tells us that we need to forgive, and if we don't, the greater sin lies against us. 
So I struggle daily in this desire to forgive.  Sometimes, I even come close, but then something else will happen and it all goes straight out the window of my mind. 
I am reminding myself that it is ok not to be perfect.  That that will come with time and prayer and love.  I am reminding myself that there are things that take a very long time to heal.  It isn't easy (Oh how I wish it were), but it is doable.  It will just take more time and effort than I ever imagined. 
I am not perfect, but I can do this.  One moment at a time, one hour at a time, one day at a time.  Until at last the anger goes away and I can accept and love Heavenly Father's child for the reasons that He does. 
Remind yourself that perfection does not come overnight, and might not even come in this life, but it will come.  As I pray, and seek and search and find, it comes.  One single moment at a time. 

Monday, March 13, 2017

We all go through stuff

I needed this laugh today.  It reminds me that every single one of us have problems and difficulties.  What might have me overwhelmed and completely underwater, might be just a puddle for you.  None of us are alike.  And, just because I handle my stuff differently than you do, doesn't make either one of us weak or unfaithful. 

I had an experience several years ago that I remember.  I was really struggling with depression.  (sometimes I think that struggle is pretty much never-ending)!   One of the people that I worked with expressed criticism that I could profess to be a woman of faith, and yet not seem to have to faith to view my own world differently.  It was pretty devastating at the time, as I really do try and strengthen my faith every chance I get.  However, I have learned that the amount of faith you have, does not destroy depression and discouragement.  Sometimes it can help you through the process a little bit faster, but it does not destroy it. 
I really have wished and prayed and studied, hoping that somehow faith would overcome this thorn in my side, but the answers have been slow in coming.  This is something that I have struggled with all my life.  As much as I wish I could put it aside, I have learned that it is constantly with me.  Having faith, does not and never has lessoned the depression.  Having faith, gives me the strength to push through even when my head can't see the way.  It gives me the chance to overcome my fears and my nightmares.  It doesn't change the problem, but it does change me. 
We can't judge anyone else by our standards.  What may seem as naught to you, might be a huge gap to me.  What might take all my strength to walk across, might just take you a hop and a skip.  I have learned that my problems are not worse than yours, and yours are not necessarily worse than mine.  Our problems just are.  They are a result of our choices, others choices, or just something that life has given us to endure.  As we struggle through them, we will find the blessings.  Maybe not quite how we imagined, but they will be there. 
I believe that I have a loving Father in Heaven who has not left me here to be alone in my trials, but rather has sent those along the way to give me the courage to keep marching on.  I believe that we all go through "stuff", and that stuff gives us purpose, compassion and understanding.  Sometimes, okay, oftentimes, it is very hard, but still it can be done.  We can get through anything as long as we know that He has us by the hand and does not let go.  We can walk on through Him.  We can make it because of Him.  In our trials, We can become His. 

Friday, March 3, 2017

Every Single Scar

Image result for happiness quotes

I have felt his way for a very long time.  There are things in my life that I could wish away!  But when I really stop and think about it, all those things have led me to this place right here that I am living. 
One of the most important things I have learned about trials, is that the Lord never gives us a trial without also providing a blessing for us.  Often the blessing is not noticed for a time, but that does not negate the fact that it is there.  I do not believe that God causes bad things to happen to us.  I do believe that things happen for one of three reasons:

1. Our own sins.
2.  The sins of others.
3.  It is part of living our lives.

Yes, I like to simplify things.  But it helps me in the long run to NOT blame God. 
Sometimes, we suffer because of our own choices.  Driving and texting and getting in an accident is one way.  I know of people that it has taken nearly a year to heal from injuries received while texting and driving.  That is a lot of consequences to be faced with, for anyone. 
Sometimes we suffer because of the choices of others, jealousy, hate, envy and even murder all can be the cause of crimes against us that were not our fault.  I don't believe the Lord causes anyone to murder or be violent.  Nor do I believe the "devil made them do it".  Rather it is the consequences of a very bad choice on their part that leads to a very bad outcome for someone else. 
We also suffer because it is life.  We get sick, we get hurt, we have disease.  I have depression and anxiety, no because of anything that I have done to myself, but because it is life and that is how I cope with it.  It doesn't mean I have to like it.  It does mean that I need to know my own limits.  Something that I am realllllly trying to learn.

I am grateful for my scars.  I am glad they are over and that I am not still going through them, but they truly have made me into the woman I am today.  Many of them have given me the courage to fight for others.  I have become independent and strong.  I expect a lot of myself.  I work hard. 
There are also things that I have learned that I wish I could unlearn.  So, I am working on those.  You really CAN teach an old dog new tricks!  For me, I want to learn to play.  I am trying to do more games with my family.  I am not a game person.  Life has taught me to be serious more than silly and that is not the type of Grandmother that I want to be.  So, I am trying to learn and grow in other ways. 
We can all have gratitude for the lives that we are given and the people in our lives that help us to become our best selves.  I am not sure that I have to be grateful to those who have hurt me or the ones that I love, but I can work my hardest on forgiveness and trust that in the end, somehow in ways I don't understand, we will all be made whole.