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.


Friday, June 30, 2017

Heartache


Sometimes, I get so caught up in the chaos that is my life, that I do not look for ways to serve others.  I forget, for a time, that serving others is really also something that makes me feel better about myself.  This week, there were a couple of friends who needed me, and I stopped what I was doing and went and served. 
I have found that service is rarely convenient.  It almost never comes at the right time in my life.  It is usually something I have to drop everything else for and just go and do.  It can be so much easier to just lay in bed and wallow in my exhaustion. 
Funny thing though, when I finally get up the courage to just do it, I find myself with more energy and more love and more compassion than I started out with.  I find myself wanting to help even more. 
One of the things we are doing in Primary this year is teaching the children to "dare to choose the right".  They are each challenged every week to dare another child to do something that is right and kind and good.  Then the next week they get to tell who they dared, what they asked them to do, and whether or not they did it.   They also get to put a gumball in a jar to show all the "good dares" that they have done. 
They seem to get really involved in it and some of the dares are simple, but some have actually been pretty complicated.  So, this week, going with that theme, I am going to dare you to serve someone else.  Help to ease their heartache.  Help them to bear their sorrows.  You can choose what you do.  It can be as simple as a phone call, or a visit.  You can make a dinner or a dessert, or even a loaf of bread.  
Whatever you decide to do, put a little bit of yourself into it.  I promise that as we seek to serve others, our own doubts and fears and even pain becomes a little bit easier to bear.  
Give it a try!  I dare you!   

Thursday, June 29, 2017

What I learned - Our Good Shepherd


Jesus Christ, our Good Shepherd, finds joy in seeing His diseased sheep progress toward healing.

"We get a glimpse into our Heavenly Father’s character as we recognize the immense compassion He has for sinners and appreciate the distinction He makes between sin and those who sin. This glimpse helps us have a more “correct [understanding of] his character, perfections, and attributes” and is foundational to exercising faith in Him and in His Son, Jesus Christ.
The Savior’s compassion in the face of our imperfections draws us toward Him and motivates us in our repeated struggles to repent and emulate Him. As we become more like Him, we learn to treat others as He does, regardless of any outward characteristic or behavior".

I loved this talk, especially since he used one of my favorite books and plays as an analogy.  He quoted from Les Miserables.  I especially liked how he compared sin to a disease, and how the Savior does not withdraw from disease even when it is terrible to look upon.  I loved how he reminds us that the Savior is a healer.  He truly has compassion for each one of us.  And in ways we don't understand, He know what we are going through and what we need. 
As children of God, we also need to learn to model His behavior in our own lives.  We need to reach out to those who are suffering and learn to love them in spite of what they have done.  We need to seek others out so that no one feels alone, or lonely or lost. 
I have a friend who is going through a very difficult time right now.  She does not feel as if anyone understands and she does not want to be a burden on others.  I too, have felt just that way, but there is joy in giving and joy in receiving.  Allow others to be blessed by helping you through the hard times.  Be there for them in their own difficulties.  As we seek to love one another and help one another we can become more like Him. 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Wordless Wednesday - Happy Girl

 
 
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.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

There is Room


I really love to listen to Elder Holland speak.  He reminds me of the person that I should be.  I do not like it when people judge me, and I also do not like it when I find myself judging others.  I used to look at people and judge myself by what I perceived them to be.  I have learned that is not a true estimation of me (or them).  I have found some amazing people who do not fit whatever standards that I set for myself.  It does not make them less or me more.  I should only ever judge myself against myself.  Who I want to be, against who I really am. 
I love this quote because there are so many people with questions.  I have questions.  I have always had questions.  It is just that, as I grow older, I am more willing to wait for the answers.  I guess I am looking forward to the next life when all the answers will be there for me to find.  
When I was younger, I wanted everything to be mapped out for me.  I wanted the answers to be written somewhere that I could read and find.  I thought that every single thing was in black and white.  There were no grey areas in life.  It was either wrong or right.  No in-between.  Now I know better.  There are so many shades of grey that I am surprised when I do find my own answers.  I am learning that it is perfectly OK to see things differently than anyone else.  It is fine not to be on the same page as long as we can reach across the distance and be tolerant and understanding.  
I am learning that kindness means a lot more than being right.  And that it can make all the difference in acceptance and love.  I have learned that we don't have to have all the answers to just love each other.  
None of us have all the answers, and every single one of us have questions about doctrine, gospel, scriptures, commandments and even trials and blessings.  Some peoples questions are more intense than others.  Some struggle to understand what is happening and why it is happening.  Some struggle with things that have changed.  Others struggle with the questions of why bad things happen to good people.  
I think the point of this is that the closer to God we become, the less we will need to know every answer.  Sometimes, it is OK to wait for a while and see what happens.  Sometimes answers come after we have our own experiences.  Sometimes answers come through prayers, or friendship, or reading the scriptures,  Sometimes, the answers may never seem to come.  
There are so many things I used to need answers to.  And some I have actually received.  Others I am still working on.  But the one thing I have learned is to not let the things I don't understand cause me to doubt the things that I know are true.   
There are things that I know as surely as I know the sun will rise and the night will come.  There are even more things that I don't know.  
So hold on and remember that someday, we will have the answers to everything we want to know.  The time will come when I suspect that we will look back and wonder how we ever doubted.  When we will see the hand of God through every moment of our lives.  When we will realize that He did not cause the bad and that he walked through it with us every step of the way.  
For me, I refuse to doubt my faith.  For me, church is for all of us imperfect sinners.  It is the place I go when I need to feel comfort and faith.  For me, there is room in that inn for each one of us.  

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Do we Complete or Compete

 
We live in a very competitive society.  I know that my work environment is competitive and sometimes, even my church environment is competitive also.  One thing that really has helped me, is to find things that I love about whatever I am doing.  When I manage to love my own life, it makes it easier not to be jealous about something that someone else has. 
I will use church as an example.  A few years ago, I was called to be in the young women's presidency.  I have never worked with the young women before and all three of my girls were there so I really loved it.  I went out of my way to do the job to the best of my ability and was so excited to be there.  I was there less than a year and was called back to the primary as a teacher.  I couldn't help but think I must have done something wrong. 
The young women's president assured me that she tried to keep me, but the primary needed me more.  Understand, I have been serving in primary for more years than I can count.  I was 14 when I was first called to teach.  I love the primary, but I really love doing something different once in awhile.  I also don't believe in turning down a calling, no matter how disappointed I might be, so back to primary I went. 
I ended up teaching autistic children, something I had never done before.  I also ended up filling in for other teachers when they did not show up.  I discovered that I had a talent for teaching a lesson with little preparation.  So many years of teaching have helped to make me, in some way, familiar with the lessons.  I tried to always be willing to do anything that was needed without complaining.  Then, in the summer of last year, I was called to be the primary chorister.  This is perhaps the only calling in Primary that I haven't had the privilege of doing.  I wasn't sure how it would go, or how qualified I would be.  I struggled to find my own place in the teaching and singing time.  Then I realized, that I did not have to be like any other chorister the kids have ever had.  I could be myself and teach them to love music. 
So, I am not competitive with anyone else for singing.  I do things my own way.  We have bells and egg shakers and scarves.  We have learned more songs this year than ever before.  I made leading batons for them to "help" me and learn new things.  I love this calling.  I love these kids.  In short, the more competitive I am not, the easier it is to find my own place.  The easier it becomes to make singing time and happy time for these children. 
I have made books with the songs in them for the teachers and enjoy involving them in the singing.  The children have really blossomed as we learn together that they are pretty much capable of learning anything, (and even singing it loudly!). 
I am learning that by completing others, it makes my own calling so much easier to do.  I love having this place of completeness in my life.    It has taken me a long time to get here, even if the only person I was competing against was often myself.  As I allow the support and encouragement of others to surround me, I recognize the miracle of harmony in my life.  I am learning that Heavenly Father really does know where I needed to be.  I am grateful that I allowed Him to lead the way. 
 

Friday, May 19, 2017

Bad news comes with a loud bang!


Psalms 112:7 He shall not be afraid of evil tidings:
his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord.
 
I keep getting bad news.  Sometimes it follows me around like breathing.  I went to the dr. this week and found all kinds of problems.  I am pretty sure most (and maybe even all of them) are related to stress.  I know that I feel exhausted.  I know that I am struggling, I know that the depression and anxiety that are my constant battles have been rearing ugly heads on a regular basis.  Sometimes life is just plain hard.  Sometimes it throws you a curve ball that you really didn't plan on dealing with.  You would think after the craziness of the last 4 years, I would be used to curve balls.  Instead, I am exhausted and wish I were an ostrich that could hide my head in the sand and just pretend it was all perfect.  I have learned that the bad news in my life comes with lots of loud noise and confusion.  It can be so overwhelming that I can't hear the quiet whisper of the good things to come.  I love that scripture in Psalms.  Don't ask me how I found it today.  I just turned the page and it was there.  Promising me that I don't need to be afraid of evil tidings.  I just need to fix my heart and trust the Lord for the rest.  I just need to breathe in and out and let it go.     

Thursday, May 18, 2017

What I learned - Our Father's Glorious Plan

Our Father’s Glorious Plan

April 2017 General Conference

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Wordless Wednesday - Mikayla Joy


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, May 9, 2017

Silence and Smiling


I am working on this.  Silence as an answer.  I get frustrated when people yell at me and behave badly.  I want to lash out with words to wipe the smirk off their face.  I know that I cannot, but I get very tired of two year old temper tantrums in the supposedly adult population of the world I live in.  I am exhausted by the bad behavior of others.  I get equally exhausted by the frustrations of my teens who are getting ready to get out of school.  It is finals, field trips, graduation, senior projects, senior trips, concerts and activity after activity after activity.  Culminating in a wild summer with cousins and the other daughters summer earning money by babysitting. 
This week, I am working really hard on responding to negativity with silence and a smile.  I just have to make sure that they do not perceive my smile as laughter.  That could get me in a whole different mess.  It could also heighten the misunderstandings that already surround me.
Today, I am smiling more and frowning less.  It does seem to make a difference.  Maybe, not so much in the way others behave, but definitely in my own level of stress, and my own feelings of peace.  It helps me to breath.  I makes those bad moments seem, no so bad after all. 
I am not sure that silence is always the best answer, but I am sure that I should use it more often.  People really want to be listened to.  They want to explain what is wrong.  So, even when I know, I am trying harder to give them the chance to put it into their own words.  The chance to express themselves.  The chance to hear their own voices in all the noise that surrounds us.
Now, if only it worked for getting my teenagers to do the dishes.......

Monday, May 8, 2017

Not what you think I said


This one gets me into trouble on a regular basis.  So many times, in my work or even at church, people think that they understood something I said that I never meant the way they heard, and can't even remember saying.  Take work for example.  I had someone get really angry with me because he said that one of us told him it was fine that he didn't renew his box.  Problem is, none of us would ever say that because if you don't renew your box, you lose it and the lock gets changed and the mail gets sent back to sender.  It really is not a choice we have.  The computer system tells us when to close a box and what boxes to close.  With nearly 3000 PO Boxes, it is not something that I can even begin to remember. 
That is just one instance of a big misunderstanding.  I seem to attract those like some people attract flies.  Even if I don't say it, it is always, always, always my fault.  I have been very stressed lately.  At work, we are two clerks down and I only have four to begin with.  We are working weekends, holidays and early mornings.  Mostly I am just tired.  And people sometimes (or even often) take advantage of that. 
My boss told me today that there is light at the end of the tunnel.  So, hopefully that means the hiring process is moving along at a nice pace now.  The wheels on this bus seem to move oh so slow!
I cannot believe how exhausted I really am.  Of course, it probably doesn't help that I run for the fire department nearly every night, and there are so many things going on in my personal life. 
My husband is having surgery on Friday, My daughter is graduating at the end of the month.  I am behind on getting the announcements out and on doing her collage for her pictures for her friends.  She is also getting ready to go on her senior trip and thinks she needs new pants with everything else. 
Sometimes, I know that I say the right things, but people just hear what they want to hear, and they don't hear what they don't want to.  It is so hard for me to say no, but when I do, people don't believe that I mean it.  I must be easy to convince that I am wrong or something.
This week, I am trying a little harder to take care of myself.  I am writing, I am reading my scriptures, I am trying to be kind even when I say no.  It doesn't always work, but it helps if I am not quite so frustrated with the life that I am living.  I just don't cope well when I feel like those around me are taking advantage of me.  So, this week, I am only going to be responsible for what I say, and not for what they want to hear.  I am only responsible for what I mean, and not what anyone else perceives.  I am only responsible for me.  



Sunday, May 7, 2017

Sabbath day scribblings - A God of Love


Luke 9:51-56King James Version (KJV)

51 And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,
52 And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him.
53 And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.
54 And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?
55 But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.
56 For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.
See also President Deiter F. Uchtdorf's talk, Perfect Love Casteth Out Fear.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

What I learned - His daily guiding hand

His Daily Guiding Hand
April 2017 General Conference
By M. Joseph BroughSecond Counselor in the Young Men General Presidency

 
 
"Heavenly Father knows what you and I need
better than anyone else".
 
 
 
This talk was comforting to me. 
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf explained: “Our Father in Heaven knows His children’s needs better than anyone else. It is His work and glory to help us at every turn, giving us marvelous temporal and spiritual resources to help us on our path to return to Him.”
Listen to those words: Heavenly Father knows what you and I need better than anyone else. As a result, He has developed a personal care package suited to each one of us. It has many components. It includes His Son and the Atonement, the Holy Ghost, commandments, scriptures, prayer, prophets, apostles, parents, grandparents, local Church leaders, and many others—all to help us return to live with Him someday.
I love the idea of a care package from a loving Heavenly Father.  Something is included in it that we will all need.  I am trying to teach someone about this care package and answer their questions about the gospel as they struggle with a fledgling testimony.  What a beautiful thought, that Heavenly Father has given us something that is unique and just for us.  That He knows and loves us individually. 
He talks about the commandments being part of this care package.  That they are there to protect us from harm.  Most of the troubles that I have seen in my life, come from at least a partial failure to keep the commandments.  Why is it, when we do wrong, we want forgiveness and pardon?  But when others do wrong, sometimes we want someone to say that we are better than they are?  Sometimes, people act like the commandments apply to everyone except ourselves. 
I love that Heavenly Father wants to bless us.  He wants us to come home.  He wants us to believe that we can. 
My favorite part was when he states: 
"Perhaps Heavenly Father’s greatest care package component is described in these words: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son.”
To teach us all that we must do, Jesus Christ led the way by giving the perfect example that we must try to emulate. He pleads with us with arms outstretched to come, follow Him.9 And when we fail, which we all do, He reminds us, “For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent.”
What a wonderful gift! Repentance is not a punishment; it is a privilege. It is a privilege that leads and guides us. No wonder the scriptures declare that we should teach nothing save repentance".
I wonder how many of us look upon repentance as a gift?  It is not a punishment for bad behavior.  It is our chance to change and come back to God.  It is our welcome home into His enfolding arms. 
In my pride, I wish that I were perfect.  I wish that I did not need anyone else to help me get back to Heaven.  I wish I could say that I DESERVED to go there.  But I know my sins better than anyone.  I know that I will never get there on my own.  I am so thankful for a loving Heavenly Father, who gave His some Jesus Christ, that I could have the opportunity to live with Him again.  There is nothing in me that deserves His love.  He gives it unconditionally and in spite of my worst behavior.  Daily in my life, I see His guiding hand leading me, guiding me and walking beside me as I struggle to find my way.  How blessed I am for His loving care package that is designed to get me safely home again. 

 
 
 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Wordless Wednesday - Graduating



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, May 2, 2017

Sharing trials


It is easy to be there for someone else.  It is easy for me to feel needed, wanted and valued.  It might be a great gift for my friend, but it is an even greater gift for me to participate in helping lift them and take care of their needs.  For me, the gift is in the helping.  It is in feeling needed.  It is in doing a good deed. 
I have a hard time letting others do things for me.  I have a hard time in showing that weakness to them.  In being unable to help myself. 
One of the greatest gifts I ever received was done by a loving visiting teacher.  I was pregnant with my last baby and having a very difficult time.  I was sick, I had gestational diabetes.  I was tired, I worked every day, and we had 10 children at the time, most of them lived at home.  Most of them were teenagers who were too busy to help. 
I was exhausted, not sleeping good, and overwhelmed with being pregnant and having a new baby.  My visiting teacher came over, took one look at my situation and proceeded to take all the laundry in the house.  I objected, to no avail.  She took all the laundry home and washed and dried and folded it and brought it back the next day.  I have never in my life had a gift that meant so much to me. 
It was a totally simple act of service and love.  It was not expensive, or even hard, but it meant the world to this very exhausted mother, and I am pretty sure that it was a service rendered that she also never forgot. 
There are times to serve, and also times to be served.  There are times to take care of others, and times to be taken care of.  There are times to ache, and times to heal.  There is comfort in taking care of my friends and neighbors, and also times to be comforted and cared for. 
I am convinced that part of friendship is putting your trust in others to care for you.  It is allowing them to see your weaknesses and give you their own gift of strength.  It is love in action.     

Monday, May 1, 2017

Rock Bottom


I have hit rock bottom a couple of times in my life.  Actually, I have hit it a few more times that a couple.  I have thought each time that it couldn't possibly get any worse.  I have been wrong. 
Rock bottom seems to be the point where I can't possible stand any more pain, right this second.  
I remember being a child and one of the neighborhood kids told me the circus was coming that afternoon.  I wanted to go so bad!  I cried when my mother made me take a nap.  When I woke up, I raced outside, to have the same child tell me that I missed the only circus to come to our playground.  I was devastated.  I just knew that I was never going to see a real circus again.  Of course, I did not know that the child was teasing me.  I only knew that, because of my nap, the much looked for circus, was gone. 
As I grew, I had someone I thought was a friend.  She was kind to me to my face, but talked about me behind my back.  She gossiped and told others that I said things I did not say.  She made sure that I didn't have any other friends.  It hurt me so much when I found out that she was never really my friend.     
There are so many instances in my life when I really thought I had hit rock bottom.  And I suppose that I did at that time.  Each time, prepared me for even more difficult times to come.   If I had only known then a portion of the things I know now. 
My point is, there is always farther we can fall.  There are always worse things that can happen to us.  Perhaps the most important thing of all is to feel gratitude for what we do have. To remember that we are blessed.  To know that we are loved.  Because, in spite of all the moments where we think we have hit rock bottom, there are also the times when we have risen up and shown what we are made of and whose we really are.  There are those times, in each of our lives, when rock bottom is definitely the solid foundation for the rest of our lives. 

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Sabbath Day Scribblings - LOVE


1 JOHN 4:7-11
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he lovedus, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Life - The difficult


 
This one has real meaning for me.  I know that in my life, I have spent too much time trying to copy the people that I admire and respect.  Cutting my hair like them, dressing like them, picking up on their words and phrases.  It was much worse when I was younger and so insecure with the girl that I was, and even more insecure with the young woman I was becoming.  
The sad part is that inside, I am still sometimes that girl.  I still want to be liked.  I want people to admire me and my family.  I want to be like the other families in our small community, that everyone looks up to.   I want my children to be liked, respected and popular.  Intellectually, I know that popularity isn't everything, but in this community, it really seems to make or break the kids.  People here think that bullying doesn't go on in our town or our schools.  We are talking really big city here.  My daughters graduating class two years ago was 31 students.  So, I think that bullying is even harder in a small town.  If you are not with the in crowd, than you are out, and no one will be your friend. 
It breaks my heart to watch my girls go through this.  It causes so many emotional problems.  My love isn't enough for them.  They want the acceptance of their peers. 
I have grown older (yep, think grey) and now it is not so important to me what "everyone" thinks.  The elusive "everyone" really does not exist.  It still matters what they say though.  For some reason, it is not what is done that is the most difficult for me to handle, it is what is said.  I remember the words long after the deeds. 
I am content with just a few close friends.  I think if I had any more than that, the guilt of not being able to be there for "everyone" would overwhelm me.  I am very grateful for my friends who support me and help me through the hard times.  I am not as grateful for those whom I thought were my friends, but they turned out differently.  I suppose High School lives on in some peoples lives.  As for me, I am so glad that part is long over. 
The reason I love the quote above is because it reminds me that Heavenly Father made me who I am.  He did not make me to be another Mary or Martha or Eve.  He made me and placed me in this place because I can do some good.  I can learn and grow and become more like Him.  He does not ever want us to be "everybody else".  He has always intended that we would be ourselves, with our own talents and blessings.  Most important of all, He loves us exactly how we are right now.  With our makeup off, our hair straight (or frizzy in my case), and our clothes wrinkled and worn.  It isn't the face that we show to the world that He sees.  It isn't how we did on someone else's test that matters.  It is who we are becoming and what He needs us to be. 
So, don't be a poor example of anyone else.  Be your own unique self and know right now that you are loved. 
 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

What I learned - Gathering the Family of God

Gathering the Family of God

April 2017 General Conference

"You see, the names “brother” and “sister” are not just friendly greetings or terms of endearment for us. They are an expression of an eternal truth: God is the literal Father of all mankind;"
Now, I should tell you that a large part of the talk concerned Genealogy and  finding our ancestors.  Turning the hearts of the hearts of the children to the fathers.  I am trying to learn to do family research, but right now, I am absolutely sure that my daughters are much better at it than I am.  So, I am struggling to do that. 
For me, I loved the talk most because he mentions a loving Heavenly Father who really does want us to return to Him.  That is such a contrast from the angry God that I grew up knowing.  I love feeling like there is hope in my own journey. 
I love that we were not sent here in the dark.  That each one of us has an innate sense of right and wrong.  We may choose to ignore it, but it is there. 
We may choose not to be gathered "home", but it is a choice we will each make.  It doesn't depend upon our birth.  It depends on our own choices while we are here.  There are millions of Heavenly Father's children who have not had the chance to hear about Jesus Christ and his sacrifice for us.  They don't know anything about the atonement.  But they are not penalized for that.  They also will be given the choice to decide. 
That is what I love about the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.  It shows me, always and in every way how much our Father loves us, and also how individually He knows us. 
It reminds me, that He wants us to come Home. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Wordless Wednesday - Little Red Head




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 25, 2017

Touching Heaven



“To love another person
is to see the face of God.” 
- Victor Hugo, Les Miserables 
  
Oh how I love this play!  It is amazing and this is one of the most sensitive and profound statements in the entire play.   It reminds me that He is very aware of us, and whether we admit it or not, He is in everything around us. 
How many of you remember holding your very first baby?  The love that filled your heart and mind.  The all consuming, I would do anything and everything to give her or him the best life possible.  The physical need to hold the baby close and protect them from any harm.  The look of absolute trust and love in that baby's eyes.  Those eyes that seem to see into a world you were not privy to.  Those eyes that looked into yours and drew the very breath out of your lungs.  Those eyes that reminded you of eternity and beyond. 
I am amazed when I look into the eyes of a child and they look back at me in trust and love.  I literally feel God's love in that small gaze.  I feel His trust that He would give me the responsibility for one of His most precious children.  I wish we could hold on to that.  How I wish I could remember that moment when the child is talking back, not listening, yelling or even calling names.  I wish, that for that moment, I could recall God's gaze of love. 
Life happens, time passes, and each one of us have bad moments.  Looking back, there are so many things I could have, would have, and should have done differently.  So many ways to show God's love for each and every child.  But there are also so many ways that I did things right!  So many changes that I made to give my children a better life.  So many sacrifices and heartaches in the name of love.  So many things that I will never regret. 
Maybe, that is why I love being a Grandmother so much!  This is my moment to appreciate the love that I have been given in my own life.  It is my chance to be what each of these precious gifts, needs.  It is to be old enough, and mature enough to recognize God's face in the face of others, even when they are cranky or challenging.  It is to watch my children become amazing parents and grow and learn and do so much better than I did.
When we look for God's eyes in the eyes of those we love, we will find His love for us gazing back.  
We will find His peace and His joy.
Most of all, we will find His healing and His Grace.     

Monday, April 24, 2017

Walking into a Church


Billy Graham has said many times: “Walking into a church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than walking into a garage
makes you a car.”  

I love, love, love this saying.   It reminds me that we are made up of what we DO, and not so much because of where we ARE right this minute.  It also reminds me that Christians are more than just beliefs, they are designated by their behavior toward every one of God's sons and daughters.  It reminds me that my family is more than just my biological family or my church family.  My family encompasses friends, neighbors and even those who are hard to love.   
I suspect, that at various times in our lives, we are all a little hard to love.  I also suspect that there are times when each one of us behave in a very unchristian-like way.  We want to be a BMW, but instead, we are more like the common gremlin!  No matter how cool the outside looks, inside we are what we are.  And that person shows through, no matter how we disguise the outside.  Who we become, is the result of our choices. 
We all get to choose the person we become.  We do it each day through hundreds and thousands of individual decisions that we make.  We may not choose exactly what happens to us, but we choose how we react to it.  We might not get to choose the path we are on, but we choose what we see and what we realize.  We choose how we see the world that is around us.  Every choice we make brings us farther away, or closer to, the person that we want to become. 
So, maybe walking into the church doesn't make you Christian, but choosing to stay there, choosing to change, choosing to become, does.    And for me, the most wonderful part of this is that, although we can't change the past, every one of us has the ability to rewrite our futures.  We start today and use the Atonement for our good.  We repent, we grow, we change, we become. 
Isn't it wonderful, that we have a Father in Heaven, who loves us enough to provide a way for each of us to arrive home.  Our paths might be different.  Our pasts might be completely opposite, but none of us are forgotten on this journey.  He cares for each of us individually.  He gives us what we need to grow, and allows us to experience joy in our journey, no matter how rocky the path.   

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sabbath Day Scribbling - God Is....

1 Chronicles 22:18
Is not the Lord your God with you? and hath he not given you rest on every side?

Friday, April 21, 2017

Overwhelm the World

 
Today, I am asking myself what little bit of good is it that I am doing?  There is a part of me, that wants to do great things.  Sometimes, I really want to be an amazing person in this world.  I look at the people I admire and they have all done so much for the world around them.  Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, Mother Theresa, Rosa Parks and so many others.  I love reading about women who have changed their own little piece of the world.  Women who made a difference in their lives by the many, many little things they did. 
I love the quote that says to "change your own small corner of the world".  I may not be able to change everything, or even most things, but if I can make it better for a few, than I will be a part of something that means so much more to me.  I believe that we each can play a small part in overwhelming the world with kindness and love, with goodness and righteousness, with hope and peace.  I believe that we can start to change things just by changing ourselves.  We can make a difference one single act at a time.  Together, we become overwhelming. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

What I learned - My Peace I leave with You

 
The Lord promised peace to His disciples
as He was about to leave them.
He has made the same promise to us.
 
This was an address given by President Henry B. Eyring.  I loved the sweet promise of peace.  "My message tonight is a simple one. We have all felt peace tonight. All of us would like to feel such peace often within ourselves, in our families, and with the people around us. The Lord promised peace to His disciples as He was about to leave them. He has made the same promise to us. But He said that He would give peace in His way, not in the world’s way. He described His way of sending peace:
“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:26–27)."
 
I loved this entire talk.  He reminded us again and again that the Holy Ghost is a comforter, but often the comfort that he brings is done in the Lord's way and not in the way we might expect or think we need.  Often, we serve to fulfill the needs of others.  We become truly His messengers as we seek to follow Him.  We are guided to those who need the comfort of the atonement and of the Savior in their lives. 
He talked about charity and what it really means.  Basically, it is the pure love of Christ.  I think it means to truly serve others without expecting anything in return.  It is in serving that we learn to love.  It is in nourishing those whose lives are filled with sorrow, that we learn to become more like Him.  I love that he Holy Ghost affects what we see when we look at others and also what we think. 
It is not about judging.  It is about loving each other as our Heavenly Father loves us.  May we each seek to hold that unity and love in our hearts. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Wordless Wednesday - Happiness

 
 
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 18, 2017

Happiness is not a goal

Image result for happiness quotes
 
This was a different way of looking at things for me.  When I think of being happy, I tend to think of it as something I will be in the future.  After the kids are grown, after the bills are paid, after this trial is over.  I don't usually look at it as something happening right this minute.  In ways I don't always understand, we are all chasing a dream.  We all want to be happy, and even more important, we all want to be happy right this minute.
This simple quote made me think for a moment.  What if happiness really isn't the goal?  What if it is supposed to be something that we all experience along the way.  There are times when I have been incredibly happy.  When I felt really good about what was going on in my life.  There have also been times when I have been caught up in depression and despair.  Times when happiness seems to be completely out of my reach, and when I am absolutely sure it will never come to pass. 
What makes the difference between those two extremes?  I would have to say that it is my own state of mind.  It is how I am experiencing the world around me right at this moment.  It is what I am focusing on, what I am hearing, who I am being.  The difference is within myself.  It is looking at whether the glass is half full, or half empty.  It is realizing that it is the same glass and it has water to drink just waiting for me to partake.
So, if happiness isn't the goal, what prevents me from being happy all the time?  What is stopping me from experiencing joy right now in my individual journey?   That is an answer I am pondering and studying.  It is the question that I really want to know.  With all the trials in my life, I am pretty sure that they are not over yet.  So, there is going to be more times of anxiety for me to go through.  I would really like to change the anxiety into at least a few times of happiness.  I would like happiness not to be something I am chasing, but something that is happening right now, inside myself. 
Perhaps it is a matter of realizing that happiness isn't the same thing as "fun".  Happiness isn't necessarily laughing and giggling throughout the day.  I believe that happiness is that calm, peaceful feeling you get when you know you are doing the right things for the right reasons.  Happiness for me, involves faith and trust.  It is in knowing that everything will work out just the way it is supposed to.  It is the peacefulness that I feel after a trial has passed and I have survived.  Happiness, is a state of being. 
 
 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Language most Foul



I had a terrible experience with this one today.  I had a customer come in and call me so many horrible names that it was just, well, insulting, as well as unnerving.  I don't think I have been called so many names since I was a child.  It flipped me back to the hurt girl that I used to be.  I am pretty sure I didn't even respond correctly. 
I am not someone that swears.  I used to could say that my children never heard me say a swear word, but I went through a time a while back that changed that.  I do know that it was a very hard habit to break.  It took a lot of perseverance and thinking about my words to change it.  I made me pause before I replied. 
That being said, I have never said the words that I was attacked with.  People who think words don't hurt, have never lived a life where they had to be afraid.  The words have always come, either before or during, abuse.  So for me, the words pack a little bit of a punch. 
It impacted every single one of us at work, and had the rest of the customers standing against the wall while this not gentleman engaged in a tirade. 
I was embarrassed for him as well as myself.  Number one, he doesn't know me if he thinks those words even begin to describe the person that I am.  Number two, well, his vocabulary is a little bit lacking.  Definitely on the side of baser things.  How terrible it must be if that is the only way he knows of to get his point across. 
So, just in case you wondered, a little swearing doesn't make me feel bad.  I get it that people are trying to make a point and sometimes a swear word feel better.  But, calling people names, especially the baser ones is not by any stretch of the imagination appropriate.  It is not kind.  It is not accurate.  It is not true.  And probably, the most important thing of all, it is not even necessary.