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







Thursday, October 31, 2013

Change

Life can certainly change in a heartbeat for anyone. I think I forget that sometimes. But today there was a reminder that came and stared me in the face.

My phone rang early. After chatting with my son for a bit, I asked what was new in his life.  He had called to share the news that someone we have both known for many years had died last night. The person who died actually lives in the town I live in, not where my son lives. I wondered how he had gotten his information. The word spread on Facebook.

The man who died was really not that old, 69. He had, however had a very challenging time, mentally for over two years. A couple of different diagnoses were offered, but the bottom line is that for whatever reason, he had dementia. His family worked hard to provide good care for him as long as they could keep him in his own home. One of his daughters took a hardship semester off from her studies at a university and came home to help out. But eventually, it became necessary for him to have more specialized care.

The last few weeks have been difficult as his family has had decisions to make regarding his care again. For him to stay locally and receive the specific care he needed was simply not affordable. He was in a facility an hour and a half away, temporarily, until something more suited to his needs could be located. His wife has had so much to deal with, yet has risen to each occasion with faith, courage, and kindness. Though burdened and frustrated, she was not angry. She did not place blame on anyone's shoulders. She just collected information and worked to solve each problem, as they came.

She was truly his advocate.

In a matter of hours, this father of nine slipped through the veil into heaven and his family's lives will never be the same.

I have thought about this family today. My heart is filled with sympathy for them. And yet I also believe that there is life after this life. I believe that Heavenly Father is in charge of this world and the next. He knows His children and loves them. There is a plan for each of us and when it is time for us to leave this world, Heavenly Father calls us home.

Because I believe, I am also feeling gratitude for this family's blessing. Their husband and father, who has been burdened with a mind that did not function well anymore, has been released from bondage. His aging body is now replaced with one that functions easily, pain free. He has graduated from the education of earth life and moved on.

I cannot imagine how difficult it has been for my friend to watch her husband suffer and fail. Each visit is a reminder of what is lost. Grief and mourning for the loved one are often present. Loneliness for the companionship and support once present, but now gone, is huge. She spoke of the loss of communication and the challenge of having no one to help her make decisions anymore.

Because of her faith, my friend will continue to carry on as she has in the past. I do not suppose it will be easy. But I know she will.

And she will succeed.

Because she also believes.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Harvest

This morning the air outside feels different and the wind is whipping leaves through the air. I suppose it had to come sometime, but I am not sure I am ready for the beginning of the colder weather where I live. It has been a truly beautiful fall. The leaves have gently turned in their vibrant green summery clothes for red, yellow, and orange dresses. This morning they are dancing along the grass, blowing into the windows, and flying from yard to yard.

The raindrops come and one wonders if snow will be close behind.

We have already begun the fall clean up and been visited by Jack Frost. Our garden is nearly bare of vegetation, though somehow the weeds survive almost any kind of attempt at intervention. The tomatoes are now in jars, ready for another day. I pickled dozens of cucumbers. We ate all our fresh green peas. The red potatoes have been filling our plates and our bellies for months now. We ate all the corn, gathered the squash and devoured the strawberries and raspberries. My husband even dug our carrot crop. I think that there were five of them. Not bad when you consider that we planted them twice!

I enjoyed the harvest of the garden that we planted five-ish months ago. It is such a learning lesson to plant the seeds that turn into the food that we eat. A waxy store tomato never tastes as good as one fresh from the garden. Fresh corn tastes far superior to any that has been canned or frozen. A garden cucumber is almost as good as a candy bar. Almost.

There are things we do not try to grow anymore. Failures taught us that broccoli did not grow here without the companionship of little lovely, green, wormy caterpillars. Though I thought I had picked them clean, I found floating little, cooked worms which seemed so unappealing to me. Cauliflower was also not a success. We have had minimal success with melons as well.

For several years we purchased cucumbers plants, growing and healthy and put them in the ground to die. No matter what, they just did. Then we would go to the store. Buy some cucumber seed. Replant. We got smart. Now we skip right to the plant the seeds in the ground step. Saves on frustration.

There is much to learn about life from the law of the harvest as well. The scriptures teach us that we reap what we sow. I want to take that too literally sometimes. I want the harvest to be immediate. When I work hard, I want to see the fruits quickly, patting me on the back. When I sow seeds of kindness, I am stunned to have those seeds sprayed with rudeness and discourtesy. After planting creative seeds, I would really appreciate someone acknowledging that what I have created is at least sort of tolerable. When I go out of my way to serve someone, I would like to be shown appreciation in return.

But sometimes the law of the harvest has a slower timetable. The returns do not always come in this life. Because of the law of agency, we cannot control how anyone else will react to the seeds we choose to sow. There is no guarantee that anyone will see my acts of service or kindness the same as I do. They may not appreciate my efforts at all.

Sometimes it is a challenge to not become cynical, deciding to dish out what seems to come my way. It is hard to control my tongue and sometimes my tears. For a moment it seems that it would feel better if I return in kind what is given me.

In weakness, I confess I sometimes do.

But I am trying to hold on. I want to plant the seeds that will pay dividends of eternal worth. I am grasping onto the words of the Master who promises that He who knows all is an honest paymaster and always pays His debts. I believe Heavenly Father sees things so differently than I do that He will know how to make all the things that seem so wrong for the moment seem so right. I believe that holding on to faith in Jesus Christ and His Infinite Atonement with all my heart will help me conquer the stains of my own sins.

I believe that someday the Master of the harvest truly will see that what as we sow, we shall reap.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Friendship

I hear that life is busy from almost everyone. I believe it is really true. I find I can always be busy too. It is not hard. There are so many things available to do, to see, to read, to go to, and to participate in, that it can simply be overwhelming just to think about it all. Making choices of what to do and when to do it, seem to be an almost full time job. Sometimes choosing what not to do is even harder.

Today I am wondering about choices a little bit. I realized today that I needed to let go of another friendship. At least I thought it was a friendship. But it occurred to me that I was perhaps the only one who did. I have kept investing my time, energy, concern, and caring into another person. Today, it occurred to me that perhaps I was the only one who cared enough to do that. It made me sad to realize that I only hear from this friend when she needs something from me. It has not always been that way. But now it really is.

I really do not know when it changed and I certainly do not know why. Except that I hear again how busy life is. My guess is that she will never even notice that things are different. She will also not know how hurt I am at this moment. Because I believe that we each already have a different view of what our relationship is.

I remember many years ago when someone commented to me that we wear our busyness like a badge of honor. In our minds, it makes us seem and feel more important to be busy or at least to be able to tell others how busy we are. After all, how valuable and important is someone who is not busy? I thought a lot about those words then and decided that I did not think I wanted to 'wear busyness as a badge of honor' to indicate to those around me that I was too busy to be kind or too busy to help or too busy to listen.

What is it that fills life so full that we are really too busy to be available for a friend? or a sister? or a neighbor?

When someone is in need, am I really too busy to be there for them or has busyness become a quick, easy, and automatic excuse that is given?

All these thoughts and more have crossed my mind as I realized, again, how few people I really have in my life who care genuinely about me. My phone rarely rings unless someone has something that they want from me, to help them out. I cannot remember the last time someone called me, just to see how I was.

I was reminded of my friend again who wanted to spend time with a sibling who lived far away. They would be in town and called to arrange a time. Turned out the sibling was just too busy. Sorry. My friend was pretty hurt by that experience. She would have loved to make time to see this same person if the tables were turned, she told me. I know that she would. She would have cancelled almost anything that would interfere with even a short visit.

Many people still would. But it seems that there are far fewer people that are willing to cancel or reschedule things in their life to accommodate the needs of others. They are just too busy!

I am certain that I too am guilty of this exact same thing. I can easily get caught up in my own world and my own projects and my own problems. I always have a book to read. I always have a quilt project to work on. I always have laundry to do and a house to clean. My work is never done!

But are those always the most important things to be doing, really?

I wonder.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Words

Two years ago I played the piano for the children in our church as they participated in a church meeting with short talks and many songs. These children had practiced for many months to sing these songs for the congregation. They had been taught much about what the songs meant. This was their opportunity to share their budding testimonies of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I spent hours practicing with the children as they prepared to sing. The rehearsal held the day before the program seemed long and difficult as bugs and kinks were worked out. Children grew restless and weary. Teachers and leaders also tired of the challenge of rehearsal. But on Sunday when it was their turn to speak and sing for their parents, the children gave all they had. They sang and smiled. They spoke with faith and testimony. They even sat with a little more reverence.

My performance at the piano was less than perfect. I did the best I could, but perfection, it was not. I was keenly aware of my own mistakes and allowed a certain amount of insecurity and self criticism to enter. Escaping from the chapel quickly, I breathed a huge sigh of relief, moving on with other responsibilities of that particular day, trying to shake off my own, obvious to me, public musical errors.

Someone, whose opinion was quite important to me, totally dismissed the effort I had given at the piano. While the program was totally about the children, I too had given my all. I had spent just as much time preparing as any child. I had spent hours writing musical bridges from song to song, attempting to create smooth musical transitions. For some this is a simple task, but for me it was difficult. Though lacking perfection, I guess I believed my efforts perhaps had earned some words of acknowledgement.

I was wrong.

The dismissive words I heard sunk deep into my heart, ripping and tearing at my self esteem. I was stunned and crushed at the attitude of this person whose opinion of the program was simply that it was way to long. Not one word of kindness, support, or acknowledgement of anything anyone had done or said that was worthwhile. It sounded as if the entire program was simply a complete waste of time.

I did not initially realize how cutting the attitude and words really were to my soul. Wounded I buried them deep, hoping that their pain would dissipate in time. I continued to play the piano for the children every Sunday as they sang until a new assignment was given. I tried to play my best each week, concerned that nothing I did would distract from what these little ones were learning. I moved on to play the piano for the women of our congregation. Again, trying to give the best I could give. I arrived early to play prelude and instead of visiting after meetings, I was at the piano playing postlude, week after week.

But I did not play the piano at home anymore. The joy was gone. The music of my soul had died. My piano was only opened when someone else wanted to play; a son, a daughter, a grandchild. If pianos have feelings, I suppose mine felt ignored because it was. Occasionally someone has asked me to play for them to sing. I opened my piano to practice and rehearse. Then closed it was, until the next time. My granddaughter asked me to play a piano solo for her baptism earlier this year. I could not tell her no. Again I opened the piano and began to prepare. Finding nothing that felt just right for her, I selected and arranged familiar, appropriate music, just for her. I spent hours preparing to give my best.

Then the piano closed, again. For months.

Again, I have played only when asked to by others. Not for me.

Crossing the imagined barrier has been a difficult journey for me. There is still heartache and sorrow surrounding this experience. It may not ever totally disappear. But I decided to no longer be controlled by the words I heard. I have recently reopened my piano and begun to play.

It is a difficult barrier to cross, for me. The message I received was that playing the piano was a complete waste of time. While there is no possible way for me to know what was intended, I clearly understood that I had no talent or skill and should stop wasting time.

As I have opened up this painful wound, begun to drain out the puss, and remembered, I have wondered why we choose to be so unkind to others. When we really know that none of us is perfect, why are we so anxious to point it out to each other. Sometimes the words we speak are clearly painful. Sometimes the hurt comes because of the words we choose not to speak. We withhold compliments, controlling them with an eye dropper. Praise can be painful to give. Because we are so human, we often fear that by elevating others a notch or two, our position is lowered. We seem so concerned with not letting anyone acquire any sense of pride that we keep them ground to a powder of nothingness.

The truth is that no matter what it is that I might think I am fairly good at, there will always be someone who is better. Though my house is often fairly clean, I have a sister whose home will always be cleaner. While I can write a musical bridge with blood, sweat, and tears I have a brother who can whip out a five minuter. While I take a stab a writing occasionally, my sister is published. While I have a modicum of musical skill, I have a brother who was a music teacher. Each of my children is smarter than I am, thank heavens. I hope they will also be much richer as well. Someone will always be faster, smarter, or stronger. Someone will always read it better, sacrifice more, pray more fervently, and spend more time serving. There will always be a better teacher, quilter, organizer, and piano player.

Because none of us knows what burdens another is carrying, we have no way of knowing how our words may cause them pain.

Today I want to choose more carefully. I know I need the help of heaven on this quest.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

We have a cute, lovable older couple in our neighborhood who are pretty much home bound because of health issues. Their children live far enough away that they can only visit on weekends. They help with chores and grocery shopping, and other immediate needs. These neighbors have some help from the medical community and occasionally this couple calls on neighbors for help, but mostly they seem to take care of each other. In visiting with the wife last week, she expressed concern about getting their cornstalks into the garbage, so I decided I could help them out with that. So I hauled my freshly emptied garbage can to their back yard to load in their cornstalks, to be surprised by the husband hollering at me not to do that. Stunned I listened to him and sheepishly drug home my garbage can, a bit puzzled I carried on with my day.

Seems like that was the beginning of days filled with challenges and annoyances.

Does it ever feel like no matter how hard one tries to serve and work hard and sacrifice, the only thing one can see coming back in their direction is unpleasant, challenging, or disappointing?  Seems a little bit that way to me since the cornstalk incident.

One thing after another has seemed to attach itself negatively to my life. I keep working at shaking them off, but when I stubbed my toes on the corner of the cabinet early this morning, after dragging myself out of bed, sick, to fix my husband breakfast, it seemed like the last straw. In my mind I heard the words 'no good deed goes unpunished.' I think that might really be how I feel right now.

Now I am certain that my list of difficulties and disappointments will seem like nothing to others, but they are mine and I intend to whine about them for a moment or two. Fixed a meal, took over an hour, someone turned up their nose at it. Went to a meeting that is usually valuable, uplifting, and enriching. Instead it was long, drawn out, discouraging and disappointing. Expressed interest and concern over someone's life. Received hostility in return. Major challenge with husband's employment. Several nights of little or no sleep. Several days of sickness.  Spent hours working on a gift for someone. Now that it is done, don't like it much. Probably won't give it as a gift. Worked on a simple sewing project for someone else. Picked part of it out three different times. Took hours to finish. Was not all that proud of it when it was done either. Because my refrigerator has an unpleasant odor, cleaned it out. Still stinks! Cross words with someone. Spent several hours reading a book before it hit me, I do not want to read this book. Delivered several items to someone as a service. First thing I heard back was that I forgot something she wanted. Struggling really hard with the preparation of a lesson for Sunday. Gave into temptation and ate chocolate donuts, yes, more than one.

There are more, but it just feels like I cannot do anything right now that does not have a negative impact. Simple things go wrong. Quick things take long. Kindness seems to backfire. Service seems unappreciated.

If I continue to dwell on all the negative things in my life, I know it will continue to drag me down. It will muddle my thinking, discourage me, and keep me from putting one foot in front of the other-trying to move forward.

Truth is I am very blessed. I have a roof over my head and food on my table. We do not live in a cardboard box. We are not homeless. While I cannot have everything I want, I have everything I need. No one in my family has been in a car accident. No one is in the hospital. We have the ability to purchase groceries, because my husband is employed. I have a house that is warm and plumbing that bring us water. I have access to a car that can take me where I need to go. I have working appliances and technology at my fingertips. I have faith in Heavenly Father and in His Son Jesus Christ. I have access to his word through scriptures and living prophets.  Where I live is relatively safe. We are not plagued with tornadoes or hurricanes. We are not surrounded by warfare, bombs, or missiles  in our neighborhood nor have I had to send my children off to war.

This list could also go on and is actually much longer than my list of difficulties and disappointments.   I want to refocus and see these things.

But maybe I will do that tomorrow, I think that for today, I will eat another chocolate donut and crawl back into my bed.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Blessing of Tithing

Today I visited with my daughter by telephone.  What a treat!  She is far away and thanks to the miracle of telephones we can talk and share and laugh and complain to each other.  And we did!

This life brings us all challenges.  They don't all come wrapped in the same kind of paper or packaged in the same size box, but they come.  Different seasons of life bring different kinds of trials but I don't know of anyone who has escaped difficulties in life.

As we visited, I was reminded of a lesson I learned many years ago about my own trials. Life seemed to be a constant financial battle for my family. My husband worked as a teacher and though he worked long hard hours, his salary rarely seemed enough to provide for our family of eight. We did the best we could but discouragement and disappointment seemed frequent visitors.

We attended our church meetings regularly, serving as best as we could to build the kingdom of God. We sacrificed our time and grew our talents as we organized meetings and taught lessons. Because we have seen miracles happen by living the law of tithing, we faithfully continued to pay an honest tithe every month. It was always the first check written and we lived on what was left. Deductions for taxes and health insurance seemed to shrink our income before our very eyes. At times what was left just could not cover our normal living expenses.

Because of our faith in Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ, we forged ahead month after month, paying our tithing in full to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We placed our faith and trust in God that we would be taken care of. We worked our hearts out in serving where we were asked to serve and I waited for the miracles to pour forth upon us.

During a particularly trying financial struggle, my faith begin to lag and I began to wonder where our tithing miracles were. Why were they not showing up at my door and filling my life with new found financial ease? Where were the tithing blessings?

It was long enough ago that I do not remember how much I whined and complained to Heavenly Father. But I am certain that I squawked plenty. But still no large sums of money arrived in my mailbox. The monthly paycheck did not grow. Expenses did not stop coming. I could not understand. I was doing all I knew how to do.

Picking up a pen and paper I began to calculate the cold cruel reality of our situation. On paper there was simply no way to make ends meet. I began to explore again the possibility of getting a job which would require day care expenses for two children. I calculated and juggled numbers. I could see that my working would probably only net an additional $100.00 a month, if things went well. It was never worth it to me to send my children to day care for that small sum so I picked up my chin and went back to work cooking from scratch, baking our own bread, cutting our hair, and doing all I could think of to stretch our meager funds.

One day as I stood on my front steps, listening to the woes of another mother, my miracle happened. No money was involved. Our circumstances had not changed. But my perspective did. This mother was telling me about the car accident her teenage son had just been involved in. He was not seriously injured, but had required some hospitalization. The car was totaled. It was not his first accident that year. Another son had also totaled another vehicle. Financially they were reeling and her concern for the safety of her teenage drivers was now huge.

It was then that Heavenly Father taught my much needed lesson. "You are looking in the wrong place for tithing blessings." My mind filled with understanding that my teenage drivers were safe, unharmed because of faithful payment of tithing. Not only had we not incurred additional financial liabilities because of wrecked automobiles, our insurance was not being increased. But most importantly, my children were being watched over and protected.

What a humbling moment for me as I recalled my whining, complaining, and questioning of Heavenly Father. I would gladly trade the safety and protection of our children for money any day, without any doubt.

My heart still fills with gratitude to this day as I think of the lesson I learned. Heavenly Father does not see as I see, with limited vision. He sees all and knows all.

Thank Heavens!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

All Over the World

There is a climate of unrest and fear all over the world. So many seem dissatisfied with life. Rebellion is widespread. Seems that everyone wants change. Within the confines of my own country, the words leaders say to, and about each other appear arrogant and demeaning. Words are casually tossed about without any appearance of concern for how they sound or what they mean. Sometimes the words they speak actually seem to diminish the speaker. Rumors and mistrust are rampant. Leaders have ravaged the coffers and trust of the common man. In a nation where government of the people, by the people, and for the people seems to be in serious jeopardy, one would wonder, how bad could this get?

Yet, there must be hope among us. I have listened to the words of prophets, apostles, seers, and revelators who addressed audiences all over the world through the General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in recent days. Members of this church sustain fifteen men to lead, teach, and receive revelation for us today. These men walk the walk and talk the talk as best as they are able, that Jesus Christ would have them speak. They are men of honor, integrity, and humility.

I was privileged to hear the words of each of these men as well as talks from other wise, honorable men and women who also prepared to teach through fasting, study, and prayer. I was spiritually fed words of faith, hope, comfort, joy, and peace. I had not realized that my spirit was so near to starvation, until midway through this conference. I soaked up the words and bathed in inspired music.

Much of what we hear from conference is really not new. We have been told before to be kind, considerate, patient, and tolerant. Prophets have taught for generations that we should be prepared for any emergency as much as we are able. I grew up with food storage. It is not a new idea to be good neighbors or to honor the differing beliefs of others. Certainly repentance is not reserved for our day. We hear again and again that we need to read the scriptures and get on our knees and pray. Meekness and humility are taught in the bible.

I must need to hear it all again, since I am still a work in  progress. The Savior has taught that we must be as He is. I hope I am somewhere on that road to becoming, but I may still just be inches from the start. Certain that I need reminders and wake up calls and blaring truth, I listen and read the revelations again and again. I have miles to go, but I am willing to try. For me General Conference is not just about reminders and instructions. There are moments of praise, encouragement, and cheer leading as we are reminded how truly blessed we are. They rejoice with us in small victories.

All over the world there are men, women, and children who are suffering. They are lost and feel overwhelming hopelessness as they navigate a difficult life without faith in the Savior Jesus Christ. They have never heard of The Atonement. They have no idea that Heavenly Father loves them. The Holy Ghost is unheard of. They feel abandoned and alone.

I was struck by what I did not hear in General Conference. Even though our government is in 'shutdown' mode, I did not hear any words of fear or panic. In fact, I did not hear a single one of these well prepared speakers mention a single word about the situation of the government of our nation. I did not hear one word of criticism or fault finding with leaders who some may consider to be self serving. I did not hear anyone tell us to rise up in rebellion against our government or the leaders of any land. I did not hear cautions to store up weapons or flee to the hills. Even though we were taught that we needed to be prepared, I felt it was more about our own personal, spiritual preparation.

All over the world there is dissatisfaction and turmoil. But I did not hear any mention that it was time to rise up and rebel. Instead, I heard words of peace and righteousness, kindness and consideration, hope and faith. Instead of teaching it was time to look out for number one, there was counsel to go out and serve. Instead of words that it is time to arm ourselves to fight the enemies who attack our country, I heard it was time to use the tools of prayer and scripture study to prepare to battle the evils of Satan with righteousness. Instead of creating a panic for improved food storage there were words of encouragement to spend more time storing up treasures of knowledge and faith.

When newscasters make it sound like the sky is falling in and commentators talk in rhetoric, when leaders talk in jargon and misconception, when mind games and deception seem to be the conversation of the day, we shake our heads in confusion. We ask ourselves, "Who do I believe?" As fear rises and we feel there is no one left to trust, we can remind ourselves that we can always trust in God and those He has called to lead and teach and bless.

All over the world, the words of prophets and apostles still sing with clarity and truth. All over the world God's children hold on with faith and hope. All over the world men, women, and children unite their voices in prayer and praise to Heavenly Father, His Beloved Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost who walk with us daily as we attempt to navigate the quagmire of confusion and the quicksand of despair.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Priorities

Deciding what to do and when to do it can be overwhelming. Once I decide what is most important to do and then do it, something often happens to bring me up short. I should have done it differently. Deciding what my priorities should be is just plain hard. Of course, there seem to be those days when I tell myself that I have to do this or that I have to go there. It really feels like someone else is setting my priorities for me. But some days I just do not want to do the things on my to do list!

Because I struggle so much with managing my own life, I do not want to come off sounding like an expert or a know it all. But sometimes I do wonder about how other people decide on their own priority list.

A friend, who would be  traveling, learned she would be visiting in a city near where a sibling resided and tried to arrange a time to visit. She called and left a message in advance, anxiously expecting a return phone call to arrange time together. But the phone call came too late. Hurt and disappointed, she wondered how her sibling could be so busy with other things that she could not spare any time at all to visit. She wanted to say "I miss you. I love you."

I was reminded of my own experience some years ago. I too was traveling and would be close to a relative I had not seen for some time. I would be available off and on for nearly a week. I called early to see if a time to meet up could be arranged. Immediately I learned that my relative was way too busy to see me for the next couple of days. If juggling the schedule freed up anytime near the end of my stay, "I'll let you know." I returned home, never seeing my relative.

It was kind of hard not to be hurt for both my friend and I. Hard to accept that other things are more important than making family connections. It would be unfair for either of us to assume that the things that kept us away from our relatives we unimportant. We do not know. It would also be unwise to criticize another's list of priorities. But I think we have both spent some time on self reflection and asked ourselves the question, "Is that how I make others feel?"

I sure hope not and I know that she does too. What if I told someone who traveled from far away that I was just too busy and we never had another chance to connect. I think I would feel pretty horrible.

Many years ago someone I know made a difficult decision to not attend the funeral of a grandfather. Life was just too busy and other things seemed to be much more important. Knowing what was on the person's plate, the family totally understood. No one considered it selfish at all. This person had taken good care of grandpa during life, serving with love and kindness. All knew it was not an easy decision to make, either. Years later regret was expressed at that decision. But sorrowfully it was too late.

Each us of is mortal with no written contract for a certain number of days or years in which to live our lives. There is no guarantee that we have more than today. Accidents and illnesses arrive and change our priorities for us, unexpected and uninvited.

Today, I am grateful for a friend who shared an experience that I can learn from. Everyday is a new day and I want to be more careful as I set my own list of priorities. I want to be more concerned about people than projects. I want to make more connections that really matter.

Even though life really is a balancing act, trying to keep all the balls moving through the air at once. I want to become a much wiser juggler.