"...but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer." 3 Nephi 22:8







Wednesday, October 31, 2012

National Archives

We had only a little while to spend in the Natural History Museum and it was in the afternoon so we were not able to see the animals come to life.  Next time we plan to make sure we get there at the appropriate time to see the live action.


This elephant really is huge!
The dinosaur skeletons were also very large and the huge room that held the display of countless skeletons was 'alive' with people.



                       


The cursed Hope Diamond was surrounded by interested spectators.  It is huge and beautiful, but I wondered if it would be nearly as interesting if it weren't surrounded by stories that really make it appear that ownership is not a good thing!

The last thing we did this day was to head to the National Archives. Fortunately for us the tourist season was waning as the lines to see our country's most significant historical documents can be really, really long.  We still had to wait before we were admitted into the heavily guarded area where we were able to see the original Declaration of Independence, The Constitution of the United States, and The Bill of Rights.  Only about 20 people are admitted at a time, yet the area was filled with people who linger to read this sacred documents.  I knew that we were already past the suggested deadline to leave Washington D.C. so I tried to sneak in between visitors to see these documents but it was difficult to do. People who had waited to view these documents were very territorial so I quickly learned that you just get in line and do the best you can because even though a small group of people were being allowed in at intervals of time, people didn't leave.  These documents that charted the course of our nation were important to everyone I saw.

Photography is not allowed around these documents, yet I saw a teenage girl with her cell phone out, suspiciously appearing to take photos.  I was not the only one who spotted her.  She was warned from a short distance by a very large, armed guard.  She tried really hard to be sneaky and carried on with her cell phone camera.  The guard was not fooled.  I thought to myself something like "What an idiot" thinking that a man with a large weapon is not to be messed with.  Eventually two guards seemed to have sufficient impact on her to put away her phone.

We visited a number of things on our trip that had a sacred feeling for me.  As we walked past the Magna Carte on our way towards the heaven inspired documents that started our nation, I felt that sacredness descend.  Even though there was a large group of people devouring these documents with their eyes, there was a hushed feeling of reverence, respect, and awe for these guarded, preserved records.  I heard my son explain the significance of each document reverently to his young daughter.

What a blessing to live in a country, founded on religious principles.  Modern scriptures teach us that Heavenly Father inspired righteous men to create these documents so that all who live in this country could be blessed by principles of freedom as long as we choose righteousness.

Somehow all the political rhetoric seems meaningless compared to that!  


Monday, October 29, 2012

Singing Testimonies

There are many things in this world that trouble me. Crime is rampant.  Poverty abounds. War and natural disasters ravage the earth. During this season of campaigning, the lack of civility at times seems to swallow us up. It could be easy to become cynical and see little that is good around us.  At moments, we can all fear for the future of our community, nation, and country. 

Last night I saw the future in an entirely different light as I was privileged to attend a Missionary Fireside in Logan, Utah. A very large congregation attended this fireside held at the Institute of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The stage was filled with the smiling faces of the members of the Latter Day Voices and the Institute Choir who shared their testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ and the power that comes into their lives as they read and study the Book of Mormon. 

Faces radiated with faith as they sang about the messages contained in this holy book of scripture preserved for our day by a loving Heavenly Father who knew that we would really be in need of its council and warnings.  It was obvious that these institute students believe with all their hearts in the message of the Book of Mormon.

Testimonies were shared in word as well by a number of institute students.  They shared how the Book of Mormon blesses their lives by strengthening them in times of trials, guides their daily lives, and draws them closer to the Savior Jesus Christ.

One student bore his testimony of the Savior's Atonement, His crowning achievement. The choirs then sang "O Divine Redeemer" pleading with the Savior for His mercy.  This angelic choir sang with intensity as they individually petitioned their own personal cause before the throne of the Savior.  None of us is without sin.  We all need His mercy desperately!  The faces of these faithful choir members clearly demonstrated their own personal desires to invite the Savior and His mercy into their lives.

Another testified regarding the visit made by the Resurrected Christ to the American Continent after His death and resurrection.  It is truly amazing to me that Christ ministered "one by one"  allowing all of the multitude to come forth "one by one" to feel the wounds in His hands and feet and thrust their hands into the wound in His side so that they could not only see with their eyes but feel with their hands that truly He was the Resurrected Son of God.  Then they cried out with one accord, "Hosanna! Blessed by the name of the Most High God!"  3 Nephi 11:15-17.

A young man from India shared his testimony of the Book of Mormon and the impact it had in his life.  He had considered himself a skeptic, setting out to prove that the Book of Mormon and therefore the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints as well could not be true. Instead He was baptized the day before the fireside.

An  18 year old convert shared his personal conversion story, choosing to be baptized after he was of age to sign his own documents because of the great opposition to his baptism by his parents and family.  What a hard spot to be in to have to choose between faith and family.  He indicated that his parents accepted his choice to be baptized better than he expected but it has definitely strained their relationship.  His desire is to be an example to them, always.

A bubbly young woman shared her eight year conversion story. For those years she had many LDS friends surrounding her, but it was reading The Book of Mormon that changed her life.

Several hundred missionaries sang praise and gratitude to Heavenly Father for His gift of the Scriptures.

My heart sang with them.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Smithsonian

After visiting the White House we were heading to the Smithsonian Museums when an large, armed security spoke in a threatening manner, "Step away from the curb. Now!"  Frozen in fear, we weren't even sure who he was talking to so we looked around.  Yes, he was definitely talking to us.  "I need you to step away from the curb.  Now!"  His voice sounded menacing as he guided us, with weapon in hand away from the curb towards the fence surrounding the lawn.  He continued to clear everyone from the street and sidewalk in the vicinity with his stern, authoritarian manner.  We had no inkling of what was happening, but were somewhat relieved to see that we were not being singled out, arrested, and hauled away to jail.  Suddenly a caravan of large, black, SUVs  with darkened windows screamed around the corner, exiting the White House onto the street.  They drove fast enough that wheels screamed as they took the curve.  It happened so quickly that I did not count how many or identify what kind of vehicle we were seeing. There was no way to identify who was inside.  Seeing the speed with which these vehicles were driving I could see the need for the street and sidewalk to be cleared

There are so many Smithsonian Museums to visit and so much to see in each museum that it is difficult to decide where to begin.  Our time was limited and we opted to begin with the American History museum. 

Archie Bunker's chair.

Our granddaughter with Dorothy's Ruby slippers from the Wizard of Oz.  The slippers appeared to be larger than I expected them since they are supposed to be about a size 5 1/2 B. These shoes are speculated to be the pair worn most by Judy Garland during the shooting of the movie.  This was a hard place to get a photo.  Lots of people waiting here with cameras.


The Scarecrow's hat and shoes.



                           

Baseball memorablia.


 Abe Lincoln's top hat.









A very large doll house!



 Kermit the Frog and the original Muppets.

 










TV Memorabilia including Howdy Doody, the Lone Ranger, Mickey Mouse Club and Captain Kangaroo.

Another really hard place to get a chance to see the exhibit included information about the first ladies of our country.  Inaugural gowns and other clothing and personal items were displayed.  The crowd here was huge!

I loved this museum!  There was way more to see than one can see in a day! 

Photos courtesy of Gary Johnson.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Institute Fall Fireside

On Sunday, October 4, 2012 we drove to Logan, Utah for another fabulous fireside sponsored by The Utah State University Institute of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This fireside was held in The Spectrum and was very well attended. 

We traveled to hear our son sing with the combined Institute Choirs who as usual did not disappoint us.  These dedicated, well prepared singers again brought their talents to fill this immense facility with music, singing praises to our loving Father in Heaven. Their testimonies of the Gospel of Jesus Christ shine on their faces and through their music. These faithful choir members obviously spend hours rehearsing, since we have never seen them use any music. They appear to follow the instructions of their directors as if with one voice.  Their music was beautiful and inspiring!

Elder Gregory A. Schwitzer of The Second Quorum of the Seventy was the speaker at this fall fireside. I personally found his message to be inspired and profound.  He taught of the need to develop Self-Discipline in our lives.  Even though the largest portion of the congregation were students, his message was equally applicable to anyone who is on the path towards discipleship.

He shared five suggestions for us to incorporate into our lives to aid us as we strive to discipline ourselves.

1. Develop an Understanding and a Commitment to Integrity.
     He encouraged a commitment to civility and fidelity and talked about the importance of being honest with others as well as ourselves, including giving the right impression of the facts.  He taught that it is vital to avoid distorting facts to paint a picture that does not coincide with the truth.  It is incorrect to twist the facts to suit a personal agenda.  We should be absolutely truthful not only to others but to ourselves.  We should not be found rationalizing our choices or behavior as this is in itself a form of dishonesty.  We should be living a moral life.

2. Put Your Living Environment in Order. (ouch!)
     When the Savior Jesus Christ invited us to "Follow Me," he was inviting us to be clean and model our homes after the House of the Lord.  I thought about the Twin Falls Temple and the shining crystal chandelier which was cleaned earlier this year.  Relief Society sisters took the entire chandelier apart and cleaned every single crystal. In my mind I see the absolute cleanliness that is maintained there.  I have a long way to go to catch up!

3.  Practice Consciously the Skill of Self Denial.
     We should eliminate activities and things from our lives that do not contribute to our eternal progression.  We need to choose our entertainment more carefully and let go of more worldly activities.  He counseled regarding movies, videos, television, video games, and sports as being potential things in our lives that do not lead us to Christ.  He spoke out against pornography.  Self denial is our cross that we bear.

4.  Identify and Attach Ourselves to a Higher Cause than Ourselves.
     He suggested that we should "be like unto Christ." We are to change ourselves from belonging to the Church to instead be Christ's.  Elder Schwitzer said that the Church is You!  It is our self denial that helps us keep our covenents and pledges.  We need to be able to say, "I don't do that because that just isn't me,"  and mean it!

5.  Learn to be Obedient.
     Once we make the commitment to be obedient, we need to practice the skill of being obedient.  Commandments are a reflection of our reltionship with Christ.  Sin is a relationship destroyer but obedience is a relationship strengthener. (this applies to all relationships!) If we love Christ we will be obedient. Teaching little children to be obedient will help them prepare for a better relationship with Christ. 

Elder Schwitzer asked us to consider how much self discipline we want to have in our lives.  He asked us to consider how we use our time and even the small things that we may be overlooking.

He asked us to each consider how we can apply this mesage to ourselves and in our famlilies.  Elder Schwitzer asked this question, " What will change the way I behave?' 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The White House

I have never been through so much security in my life as I was on our trip to Maryland.  Of course one expects all the security at the airports traveling across the country and back.  But to park!  Yes, when we went to Washington, D.C. we had to show our driver's licenses and have the van inspected before we entered the parking garage.  When we returned to retrieve the van, we had to show our driver's licenses again plus all our belongings went through the xray machine and we were also scanned.  Every time.  My poor driver's license, which I might add is new this spring, is now bent from being carried in my pocket so much.  We went through similar scanning in a number of buildings we entered.

White House security is even more strict.  We had to request help from a United States Congressman to assist us in securing a permit to visit the White House several months in advance. All our personal information was submitted for security clearance.  About ten days before we left for Maryland, we received a White House permit with instructions and a time to arrive.  You miss your time.  You miss your tour.

We traveled through heavy rain and traffic to arrive in time to park and run to the security checkpoint for our tour.  Again, we showed our driver's licenses to be checked against the list of approved visitors.  There were six of us going through this checkpoint.  And one of us failed!  How could that be - we had jumped through all the hoops and yet one was pulled aside because of a clerical error.  This family member remained calm and unruffled as a security guard escorted him to a tent in a totally different direction, to wait while another security clearance was run. He was not alone.  There were probably eighteen other people in the same tent, guarded and waiting.

We were told it would be a few minutes before our missing member would be able to join us, so we started to wait outside for him, but found our umbrellas lacking so headed into the White House.  There is almost nothing that you can take into the White House.  Yourself, your ID, a cell phone, (which will be confiscated if you use it), and an umbrella.  No cameras, no food or liquid.  No diapers, no strollers, no backpacks, no purses.  Again we went through heavy security with xrays and body scans. Which should be simple, right? Part of us went through security but again one was stuck on the outside with a stubborn umbrella which refused to be closed. Can't send an open umbrella through an xray machine.

Our group, minus one finally made it into the White House to wait.  Some of us were pretty wet and some of us were pretty tired (children), and at least one of us was pretty worried.  I watched as each person entered the door, anxiously waiting for our lost child. The wait was longer than a few minutes but ended happily.

And our tour began.  It is a self guided tour through a limited amount of the White House.  There are lots of pictures to look at of previous White House residents and their guests.  We saw dishes used by previous Presidents of our country.  Artwork and statuary were plentiful.  Many paintings were so high on walls, and behind barriers so that there was no way for me to identify them in anyway.  The rooms were interesting and ornate.  A guide was in each room to answer questions.  But for the most part - I had no idea what to ask.  I did ask about the bountiful bouquets of flowers in each room - were they always there. The answer was yes.  They are changed about every three to five days.  They were striking.

The tour seemed rather brief, perhaps because it takes so long to actually get to the tour. I found it interesting and worth my time. I am glad that we got to see the White House.  Again, I learned how little I know about so many things in my own country.

I would love to post our photos of the White House tour but - No cameras, no phots!

Monday, October 15, 2012

The National Mall

One of the first things that I learned upon arriving in Washington, D.C. is just how little I know about the history of our country.  And I kept learning it over and over again.  I actually think that is a very good thing to realize knowledge is lacking, whetting the desire to learn more.
 
We knew before we left home that there was no way for us to see it all.  We would have to work together to choose our priorities and hope to see as much as we could in the time we had.  Anything we didn't get to see, would have to wait for another day. So we began walking the National Mall at the Washington Monument.  This monument is magnificent but because of earthquake damage, we couldn't enter, but I understand the view is spectacular from the top.

I have always been a fan of Abraham Lincoln and so I mentioned that seeing that monument would be a personal priority.  And it was!  I found the Lincoln Memorial a to be a reverent place for me.  Even though I knew it was large, I really had no concept of its actual size or its majesty.  In many ways, this was something that I never expected to see in my lifetime.

Being totally unaware of the World War II Memorial, I was a bit awestruck by the beauty and reverence that it inspired within me.

                                                          

Also inspiring was the Memorial of the Korean War.  It was so realistic, that I almost felt like I was really there with the soldiers, fighting in the jungles of Korea. We sat nearby this memorial, eating our lunch.



We crossed the Potomac River and learned that it is much farther to walk than we expected.  But it was a beautiful day and I am glad that we did it.  The view was spectacular from the bridge.  As we neared Arlington Cemetery I was awestruck to realize how large and expansive it really is.

We could have spent hours there, but we didn't have them to spend.  My visit was much to short, but reminded me again, how little I know.  Again, sacredness was present here as I pondered on the sacrifices made for me by these total strangers. 

We completed our day on the National Mall by riding the Metro, underground, a first for us all, to retrieve our car.  The weather was perfect for our day of learning and seeing.  My mind and heart was opened as I was reminded of the divine intervention in the creation of our country.  I am filled with gratitude for our creator, who has blessed us so richly with heritage and hope.  My mind is thirsty to increase my knowledge about the birth and history of this country.

In so many ways, it was a perfect day!



The view from the Lincoln Memorial - and our grandkids!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Family

Life is good!

One of our sons and his family has lived in Columbia, Maryland for almost two years.  It is far away and we don't get to see each other very often except over Skype.  We talk often as our son is faithful in calling us every other week.  The connection we have with them is strong and we know much about each other's lives.  But it isn't the same as being with them.  They used to live a short three ours away and we saw them multiple times a year.  Sometimes at their house and sometimes at ours.  We have spent Thanksgiving and Christmas and birthdays with each other when possible.

We have missed them!

So we traveled about 2200 miles to see them.  We chose to cover the majority of that distance in the comfort of an airplane.  Our flights were relatively straightforward and painless, but long.  Our drive to and from the airport was also uneventful, however somehow the 'to the airport drive' seemed much quicker and more exciting than the trip returning home.

It was pure joy to see our family! It was hard not to stand there in the airport traffic and hug the stuffings out of them all.  It seemed so long since we had been together.  They were here just over a year previously, but a lot can change in a year.  Fortunately for all of us our love and friendship was not one of those things that changed.

I felt like I was treated like royalty.  For the duration of our stay, we were taken care of by this kind loving bunch of people in such a positive way that I will always treasure the memories.  We were chauffeured around the area in comfort, wherever we wanted to go. I felt like I was eating in a different restaraunt every night.  They had planned and prepared for us, giving us the best that they had to offer.

I am so grateful for their kindness!

Moving from the desert of Salt Lake City, Utah to the rainy, forresty hills of Columbia brought some initial challenges for this family.  They have adapted well, creating a good life for their family. Each has friends and associates involved in their lives and activities.  Driving has become comfortable and familiar.  Dentists and doctors have been selected.  Shopping spots are well known.

Our grandson was just beginning to walk the last time we saw him.  Now he is busy, curious, and chatty - repeating new words he hears with ease.  His own personality shines crystal clear.  One unfortunate mishap occurred for him during our visit.  He did a major face plant in the parking lot of Hobby Lobby.  I was his walking companion and feel totally responsible for this mishap.  It sounded awful when he hit the pavement and he bled profusely.  Once the intial trauma had passed, this little trooper sat stoic, buckled into his car seat, and never uttered a peep on the lengthy drive home.  He was so brave! So was his mother.  She was the driver and remained calm and capable through the ordeal.  Once cleaned up the wound was smaller than expected and covered by a bandage.

Our grandaughter, who could read before she was three, is now in kindergarten.  Her mother walks her to and from school each day, nearly half a mile each way.  She has grown and changed as well.  Her face is losing the little girl look and she is beginning to show signs of great beauty.  She is outgoing and friendly.  She is intelligent and learned.  She is a great conversationalist. She is thoughtful and kind. She has a thirst for learning and misses very little.  What a treat to have her with us as we traveled about seeing the sights.

Each of these children is polite and well behaved.  They say please, thank you, and your welcome readily and easily.  They are obedient to their parents, who love them and teach them and spend time interacting with them.  They encircled us into their lives for a few days.

And I miss them!

Monday, October 8, 2012

The New Truck

Sometime ago my son traded in his truck.  I was so stunned because he loved his truck so much.  But he had felt impressed for a week or so that he needed to do that.  I thought that feeling came because the truck was going to break down and he couldn't afford to repair it.  I don't think that he said that exactly, but that is what I thought he meant. Later we talked about his green truck again and he clarified for me that the feeling had not indicated that something was going to go wrong with the truck at all.  Just that he needed to trade it in on a less expensive vehicle. 

And he did!

He told me again that when he had that persistent feeling day after day, he just couldn't ignore it.  As hard as it was, he was obedient to the impressions he received from the Holy Ghost.  As we talked, he indicated that trading in his truck had saved them about a hundred dollars a month or maybe even a little bit more.  He was working as a resident at ISU in the pharmacy program and his wages were very minimal.  It was just about enough for his family of five to starve to death on.  He worked every possible shift at any pharmacy he could throughout that year of residency, just to keep food on their table.  As we talked, he expressed his gratitude that the hundred dollar a month less between his truck payment and his car payment, plus the gasoline savings had been enough for them to survive. 

As we talked, I knew that he still missed and longed for his green truck.  It was so much handier to take his dog out for hunting training.  A truck is way more convenient when hauling tools and wood, which he did often. It was so much more fun for him to drive!

Even though he was sad about giving up something that meant so much to him, he was profoundly grateful to be able to take care of his family.

Things have changed markedly for our son and his family. The residency is over and he now works full time for a pharmacy.  And he has a new truck!  I am so happy that he does. I don't fully understand it, but for some, a owning a truck makes a huge difference in how they view the world.  I have seen it before and I am seeing it again.  Some guys love their trucks!

I too am profoundly grateful!  We are so blessed to have a Heavenly Father who watches over us.  Miracles happen all the time around us, if we look for them.  They are there.  He sends us inspiration through the Holy Ghost to guide us, to teach us, to protect us, and to help us.  We are free agents and can ignore messages from the Holy Ghost, but if we listen and obey, the blessings come.

I am grateful that the Holy Ghost told my son to trade in his green truck and that he listened and obeyed.  I am grateful that he recognized the message and the messenger and walked by faith.  I am grateful that he was willing to give up something that he really wanted for something he wanted more.  And the blessing came. 

Sometimes we have to wait a long time for the opportunity to see the blessing of being obedient to the prompting of the Holy Ghost.  Maybe we don't recognize the blessing because it comes wrapped in a package that is different than we expect.  Maybe we don't realize how blessed we are because we miss many hardships along the way because of our obedience.

But it doesn't matter.  The Lord is bound.  If we are obedient, we are blessed.   

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Come Into The Light

My friend has been through a challenging experience.  I know, because I have done what she has done. She helped move her aging parents from their home to a place where they could have more help.  I remember well so many of the things that led to our parents moving to an assisted living facility.  We did not empty their home until they had both gone home to Heavenly Father, but it was physically and emotionally demanding.  It was so hard to decide what to do with all of the stuff that represented a lifetime of living. Many of their belongings were wanted, but many really had little value to anyone of us.  I think we may have all ended up with some things that we aren't sure why.  Maybe we just couldn't part with them.

For my friend it has been different since they are emptying out her childhood home with the help and direction of parents. The home will soon be demolished.  Decisions cannot be avoided or postponed. 

As we visited, I was struck by something that she said.  Over the last several years as she has returned to visit her parents, she has felt that her childhood home had become so dark. There was so little light that it has bothered her.  Now her parents have moved into a freshly painted,  newly recarpeted, window filled apartment that is filled with light.  She commented on the remarkable change that she has seen in both her mother and father.  Her mother has become an early riser, dressed and ready for a new day with a smile.  Her father is making new friends for the first time in years and years.  They seem to have far more energy and be much happier.

My friend commented that maybe that house hadn't been good for their family.

As I listened to her talk about her parents move into the light, I thought of the Light of the Savior Jesus Christ. 

His Light changes us!  It lifts, builds, and strengthens us.  It motivates us to be better than we are.  His Light opens our eyes and enlightens our minds.  When we invite Jesus Christ into our lives, we live differently.  We are more aware of others and their needs.  We are kinder to others and less likely to be as self-centered.  We use our time differently.  We make different choices.  The world looks different, more beautiful and filled with wonderous things. We are not only more willing to serve other people, but anxous to do so. The Light of our Savior creates a desire to live in peace, not wanting to hurt others.  We are less easily offended and much quicker to say I am sorry.  His Light fills our hearts with gratitude. 

As I heard my friend talk about how the light had changed her parents, I realized how grateful I am to have a Savior who beckons me to Come Into His Light!

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Grass is Always Greener

Some years ago I had an experience that taught me a lot about how we perceive things.  I was friends with two particular ladies, who were really just acquaintances with each other.  I knew them both quite well.  I spent a fair amount of time with each. I chatted on the phone regularly with these friends. I knew about their spouses and children.  I was aware of things in their lives that were going well and things that were not.

Sandy and I had spent a fairly lengthy phone call commiserating with each other about life and its disappointments.  We each had lots to say.  It had been a tough time for this friend.  She was feeling pretty low and picked on.  I no longer remember any of the specifics of her trials at this particular season, but I am rather certain that money was a continual struggle for her as she tried to juggle their incoming dollars to cover the constant needs of her family.  I was in the same boat so I suspect that there was a lot of discussion regarding money.  It is possible that being a mom was also challenging her a great deal.  How could it not? Perhaps she was upset with her husband.  Maybe something had broken down in her home.  Her car may have been in the shop.  All I remember is that she was having a hard time.

Together we had a pity party.  We hadn't reached the point of wallowing yet - but were working up to it, I am sure.  Sandy felt that her life was hard and that nothing worked out well for her.

Several days later, Misty called to share the challenges of her life. Again, I have no recollection of her particular list of gripes that day either.  It was a long laundry list of normal life things, mostly not so good.  We all have them and from time to time, we take them out and hang them on the clothesline to air them out.  It feels so good to share!  Strength to go on comes, when someone listens with love.  We find we have the capacity to take our troubles down off the line and carry them for a while longer when someone else recognizes the weight of our load.

No one can pick up my laundry basket of trials and carry them but me.  And I know that.  The same goes for each of these friends.  They didn't want me to take away their laundry list of problems and carry them off into forever for them.  They just needed someone to hold the laundry basket handle and walk with them for a little while, lightening the load with love and laughter.   

Then Misty said something that totally caught me off guard.  After she had unloaded her basket of trials, she commented on how perfect life seemed to be for Sandy.  I was stunned.  I had just heard how imperfect Sandy's life was, from her own mouth.  I wasn't sure what to say.  So I asked Misty what it was that she meant.  With absolute sincerity, she told me that she saw that Sandy had the perfect marriage. She truly believed that to be true.  Sandy had children who did no wrong, were super talented, invovled and excelling at everthing. She raved about Sandy's house, and her job, and her sewing, her garden, her everything.  Then she told me that she thought that everything in Sandy's life just worked out for her effortlessly.

I new that Sandy would disagree with Misty's assessment of her life.  But Misty was honestly expresssing how she saw the life of another compared to her own. I didn't know what to say - but it was not my place to share the trials of one friend with another.

I have often thought of this experience since then.  We don't really know what goes on in the lives of other people.  We typically only see them at their best.  We don't see the dust in the hidden corners of their homes or their lives. We really don't have any idea of the burdens others carry.

Sometimes when my laundry basket of trials gets heavy, and I find myself comparing my burden to that of another, I think of my two friends.  I laugh as I remember that none of us has a perfect life.  I remember that even though I am not that thrilled with the trials of my life, I realy don't want anyone else's either.

So I pick up my basket and carry on.