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







Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!

My testimony of things spiritual  has grown over the past year. I am sure it has not grown enough, but it is alive and growing. I am grateful to be blessed by my testimony of The Savior Jesus Christ. It blesses my life and strengthens me as I live, breathe, and walk through this temporal world. I believe that He is The Living Christ, The Only Begotten Son, and The Redeemer of the World. I believe that He is the life, the light, and the hope of the world. I believe the Heavenly Father loved us enough to allow the Atonement to take place, to provide a way back for each of His children. I cannot fathom how that all takes place, but I believe anyway. I trust God and His plan of salvation. This plan is the only way to return to our premortal home.

I believe in apostles and prophets. They represent Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ on the earth today. President Thomas S. Monson is the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He is out prophet today. I honor, respect, and revere him. I believe he is inspired. I also believe his counselors and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are also prophets, seers, and revelators. I am grateful for their wisdom and instruction.

I am grateful for scriptures. I appreciate opening The Book of Mormon and reading from its pages. I am often able to recieve insight and inspiration as I read. I love reading about Christ in the gospels in The New Testsment. I desire to follow His path.

I believe the Prophet Joseph Smith was inspired, guided and directed to bring forth the restoration of The Gospel of Jesus Christ and The Book of Mormon. He died a martyrs death, sealing his testimony which his blood.

As Christmas approaches, I add my witness of Christ to the testimonies of hundreds of thousands who have gone before me. Jesus is my Redeemer.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Lesson of the Pine Trees

Today I spent some time tying up some loose ends, running some errands, and hitting the local grocery store to snag a few needed items. Lining the walkway to the entrance of the store, on both sides, were tall pine trees of differing varieties. As I walked towards the door, I let my sniffer run wild, drinking in the scent of the trees. It was a delicious smell! I lingered to drink in the different fragrances of the trees.

I have always preferred real Christmas trees in almost every aspect over artificial trees. I stood firm for many a year against the artificial kind for our home. Even though the needle clean up was genuinely annoying, I considered it to be a price worth paying to have the real deal, a genuine, somewhat freshly chopped down tree, in our home.

Some years the needle clean up was better than others. Obviously the trees in those years were somewhat fresher. But some years the cleanup was downright challenging and seemed to last for months, as stray needles were found in odd places around the house almost until spring. The needles found their way into nooks and crannies and bare feet. No one seemed particularly thrilled to be the target of a sharp, pointy needle from a long gone Christmas tree.

Eventually, we succumbed to the artificial tree lifestyle. There are definite advantages to an artificial tree. When one owns a fake tree, it can be put up anytime. It has only to be located, hauled into the house, and assembled. Over the course of a number of Christmas seasons, an artificial tree is a money saver as well. Though artificial trees also drop needles, they are simply annoying,  not deadly weapons. Many fake Christmas tress are very beautiful. They can also be fairly simple to assemble. Our current tree is pre-lit, a boon to speeding up the installation process. No more checking each light strand to see if they work, bulb by bulb. A simple plug in here and there and the tree is ready to go.

But an artificial tree is just that. It is not real. Though beautiful, it is a fake, and minorly has that appearance. But an artificial tree lacks the genuine fragrance that comes with a real Christmas tree. And I miss that smell!

For a season or two, I had a really great smelling candle. It was so good it could be deceiving, for a moment or two. But I have never found a good candle since. I soon tire of the candle scent. But, I cannot ever once remember getting tired of the earthy, woody, Christmas tree smell that danced through our house. It was real and warmed my heart as it gently wrapped me up inside.

After my shopping was completed and I left the store, I again walked between the two rows of stately pine trees, patiently waiting to be taken home and decorated. The smell quickly tickled my nose and sucked me in. Slowly I walked through the trees, inhaling their fragrance, letting it move gently into the core of my being. It was in many ways the highlight of my day.

As I loaded the groceries into my car and headed home, I began to think about the lessons from the pine trees. So many things in life are not real. They are counterfeit. They are fake. They are phony. We spend money creating and acquiring things that are not real. I have a pine scented candle on a warmer as I write to imitate the fragrance of a genuine, God created pine tree.

Satan is an expert counterfeiter. He is well rehearsed and well experienced. His phony plan and deceitful words have floated around since before this world was created. He knows how to deceive us all. There is no way for us to give his plan a whirl and succeed. We are not nearly as experienced or clever as he is.

Things that are real and true and good come from God. He is Love and Light and Truth. Heavenly Father has no desire to trick or confuse us. He sent His Only Begotten Son to the world to show us the way. He allowed Jesus Christ to suffer and bleed from every pore in the Garden of Gethsemane. God loved us all enough to allow men to crucify His Son. The love of our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ is real. It lifts, builds, guides, and strengthens us. Through Their love and mercy, we are carried through the storms of life. We are strengthened in our own weakness, fear,  and loss. They are there, waiting for us to come and seek.

Just as the scent from a genuine, real honest to goodness pine tree makes all the difference; Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are the difference.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Prince of Peace

We live in a world filled with turmoil, trouble, and trials. It is a fallen world and thus these are all really a part of what we should expect to find around us. It should not surprise us or catch us off guard. But it does. We are surrounded with people who challenge us. Experiences which challenge us. And even things that challenge us. In our desire to be 'in control' of our lives, we struggle and strain to make sense of things that we simply cannot control at all.

It may be easier for some than others to come to terms with things that cannot be controlled. But for some it is just dang hard. For example let's take the weather. Are there times when we long to control or accurately predict the weather? Are there things that the weather can spoil very quickly in our lives? Do we ever find ourselves planning around the weather? Meteorologists spend tons of money and tons of time learning to predict the weather. Expensive equipment provides up to the minute information to predict the weather. And sometimes they can. But sometimes they cannot. In a heartbeat a tornado or hurricane can change its course and slam into unsuspecting weather 'experts' putting their very lives in peril.

So it is with Satan. He can twist and turn everything around us, instantly putting our very lives in danger, spiritually. He is cunning, crafty, and carefree. He is sneaky, deceitful, and clever. Satan is downright more experienced than any of us. He is an expert at what he does.

So, I ask myself, why do I continue to allow him to tempt and torture me? Sister Sheri Dew of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints told us that we should shun Satan for the snake that he is.

On the other hand there is a lot of good in the world. There is much to be thankful for and to appreciate. Though this can be an incredibly busy season, it can also be a Joyful season as we think of the real reason why we celebrate Christmas.

It is because of Jesus Christ!

Several weeks ago as I found myself drowning in the busyness that I had imposed on myself, well mostly anyway. I discovered I needed to impose some changes in my focus. It was time to look more to The Savior of the World, to think of Him. To find new ways to increase my faith in Him and more ways to honor Him.

I made two decisions. First I decided that I wanted to memorize "The Living Christ." This special document is the testimony of prophets and apostles who now live on the earth. It is their testimony of Our Savior Jesus Christ. It is inspired, profound, and filled with power. It bears witness of who Christ is and what He came to earth to do. It also testifies to truths about the pre-existence, this life on earth, and the life to come when we return to Heavenly Father.

At first it was so very difficult for me to memorize any of it. It took great  mental effort. But then it became just a little easier. My goal was to memorize this by Christmas day, in honor of Christ's birth. I also hope that as I spend time memorizing, every single day, that my faith will grow in The Savior and Redeemer of the World. I hope my heart changes, even a small degree or two towards becoming more as He is. Someday, I want others to see "His image in my countenance."

I also refocused on reading The Book of Mormon, a Second Witness of  Jesus Christ, every day! 

These are both works in progress. But then, so am I!

They testify that Jesus Christ is real and living. He is the Son of God.  Heavenly Father loved us enough to send His only Begotten Son to this earth to Atone for all the sins of mankind, if we would sacrifice our pride, repent, and come unto Him. He is waiting with His arms wide open, ready to receive each of us.

Because He is the Prince of Peace.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Gratitude

As the day our country has chosen to give thanks approached, I am overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude for all the blessings that Heavenly Father has provided for me. My heart swells with gratitude for the good children that blessed my life, for their spouses, and for the grandchildren who joined their lives. I adore them all! Each one is unique and special to me. My only wish is that we could spend more time together.

I am profoundly grateful to have a husband who works to provide so much for us. We are truly blessed! We have a roof over our heads and food on our table. We can purchase fuel for cars that take us where we need to go.

I am profoundly grateful for my parents who paved the way for me, sacrificing daily that I might have opportunities that they did not. I am grateful for their parents and the generations going back for their contributions to the quality of my life. I am grateful to pioneers who crossed the plains of this land so that religious worship could be a part of my life. Also I feel immense gratitude for founding fathers, rebellious soldiers, and faithful principles who started this country, blessed by God.

I appreciate modern day pioneers and soldiers who serve and explore the current world, striving for excellence, knowledge, truth and freedom.

I am so grateful for eyes that see, ears that hear, and a heart that can feel. I am grateful for my mouth that tastes and speaks and for my respiratory system that allows me to breath. I am grateful for legs that I may walk and hands that allow me to feel, hold my grandchildren, and to write words. What a blessing it have a mind and the ability to think, learn, and problem solve.

I am blessed by technology every moment of my life. I appreciate indoor plumbing and central heat. I adore clean clothes provided so readily by my washing machine and dryer. I appreciate a freezer and refriferator that store food. I have lived without both. It is much better this way. I love my stove, oven, and microwave, which I use daily.

I use a computer or a portable device and the internet, almost every day. I would be lost without them.
I appreciate telephones, emails, television and radio. I listen to music on CDs, mp3s, and over the internet almost daily.

I am grateful for my siblings who continue to teach and strengthen me today.

I am profoundly grateful for my testimony of Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son Jesus Christ and the influence of the Holy Ghost. I am grateful for scriptures and modern day prophets. I am grateful for technology that allows me to access and use words by ancient prophets as well as President Thomas S. Monson who is God's living spokesman. I am profoundly grateful for the ability to pray anytime, anywhere, and as often as I would like.

I know this list is incomplete, but that does not mean my gratitude is not deep, sincere, and heartfelt!









Friday, November 21, 2014

The Goldfish

A recent experience taught me a lesson that was perhaps only applicable to me. As I pondered this experience, The Holy Ghost taught me a little bit about goldfish. Over the years we have had a number of different fish in our home. Sometimes we had more expensive fish but often we had goldfish because they were inexpensive. We could afford to buy one for each child that wanted one for a small amount of money. We always intended that they survive. We tried our best to provide the proper care for them. We tried different containers and different foods. I cleaned the bowl regularly. I always de-chlorinated the water. I never let the bowl run dry. I did everything that I knew to do to keep them alive. But eventually, one by one, they would be floating at the top of the bowl.

They all died!

The Spirit told me that though I had done the best I could, I really had not provided them with the environment that they needed. Goldfish are actually considered to be a fairly hardy fish. In the appropriate environment, they can grow to be very large, as much as a foot long. They can also live as long as 43 years. But not at my house.

But the lesson for me was the need for the appropriate environment for a goldfish. Without the appropriate environment, the fish did not have a chance to survive. Chlorine in the water can be deadly to a fish. Fresh water fish do not do well in salt water. Feeding fish what they need and when they need it is also essential to their survival.

A goldfish needs to be continually encircled with the right kind of environment.

So to it is with us. We need to be encircled in the right kind of environment for our survival. For us the environment is not water, but the principle is still the same. We must choose to surround ourselves with things that will keep us healthy emotionally and spiritually. A little salt can be absolutely poisonous to a goldfish. It does not take much.

How much of an emotionally or spiritually polluting substance is poisonous to a soul?

How much can we absorb from these pollutants?  How do they affect us? How long will we pay the price for taking in the things that will poison our souls? How many swear words compare to a pinch of deadly salt?  How many acts of unkindness compare to the microscopic amount of chlorine?

When we think of surrounding ourselves in an appropriate environment for our spiritual and emotional health, what does that look like?  Does it look like a rain shower trickling drops of water here and there over us, hit and miss? Is it more like a bathroom shower where we still get sprinkled, but have some control? We can move around to make sure that all our spots get touched by the water. We can even identify the most needed spots and give them a little extra. Is it like sitting in a tub. Some of us is surrounded. But then some of us is not! 

When I think of being surrounded in the appropriate environment, like a fish, I think back to swimming in a pool. I was never a terrific swimmer, but I did enjoy the water. At times I swam mostly underwater, but it was difficult to really stay under very long. I also rolled myself  into a ball and did underwater summer saults. That too was short lived.

But these experience are a good visual for me to remind me what it means to surround myself in the appropriate environment spiritually and physically. They also remind me that I have a very long way to go.

Thankfully because Heavenly Father is still teaching me through the power of The Holy Ghost, I must not be a hopeless case. He must think I am still capable to learn and change and grow. Because He wants me to have every opportunity to return to live with Him, God has also provided me with a Savior who atoned for my sins.

But it is up to me to give more thought and effort to choosing the environment I surround myself with.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Big Miracle

It seems that I am always in need of miracles! Maybe everyone else is too. I do not know because I have very little conversation with others about their miracles. I guess maybe I should! It just seems that often our miracles are more personal and private and we choose not to broadcast them among the world.

I am continuing to look for miracles of all sizes, shapes, and varieties. I believe that Heavenly Father would appreciate my noticing all the good things that He does for me. I think He wants me to see the blessings and gifts He gives. I also believe He would like me to recognize when my prayers are answered, or my problems are solved, or when my stress is replaced by His peace.

Because I appreciate being thanked by others, whom I have helped or served, I believe Heavenly Father would also appreciate hearing expressions of gratitude from mw. As so many other things in life, this is a continual work in progress. I want to be grateful. I want to express my gratitude more freely, but I am far from perfect.

I really am working on it!

At times, though it seems to be such a huge hurdle for me to be grateful in my trials. My mind wonders so often, how can this be good for me? Or how can this be good for my son or my daughter or my friend. I think of Job who never stopped thanking God for the blessings that were given to him, even as his temporal world was falling apart at his feet. Job never faltered in his faith and praising of God, at least according to what I have read in the scriptures.

Wow! Job and his faithfulness is amazing!

I do not know if I will every come close to his example, but I am really trying to 'practice' gratitude in the trials that life brings. I am strengthened by words of prophets that I listen to and read as they remind me that trials are a part of this life. Some trials we bring on by our own choices, but many trials are just because we live in a fallen, mortal world.

Some trials also come to us because of the choices that other people make. I think these can be some of the hardest trials for me to face with faith and appreciation. The choices of others can cause much pain and suffering. This is hard to bear with a smile. But sometimes they are just annoying or irritating. Either way, I am not very good at this one at all.

The burden that feels so heavy on my shoulders today is one that just comes because of life in general. It is really not my personal trial either, but the heavy trial of someone who means the world to me. I have prayed and fasted and prayed and fasted over this burden and have seen very little movement. At times it becomes way too heavy for me to bear, yet I realize it must be much heavier for the person I am concerned for.  When I feel my faith begin to waver, I remember a Book of Mormon story and ask that God will also help me in my unbelief.

This burden seems really heavy for me now, and I find my faith is not as strong as I would wish it to be. So today is one of those days when I am asking for help from heaven to strengthen me in my unbelief.

I believe in Heavenly Father. I believe in His Son Jesus Christ. I believe in the desire Heavenly Father has for the success and happiness of His children. I believe He sends angels to comfort, strengthen, and light the way for us. I believe God sends blessings and miracles unknown and unseen as well as recognized and appreciated.

I believe!  I believe! I Believe!

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Sinking Ship

Someone I know well is currently working for a company that can be described as a sinking ship. When he first went to work for this company, it was very healthy financially. At first the company was growing and making money almost faster than they could handle. Expectations were that this company would last a long time and my friend would probably work there until retirement. As CFO he dealt with sums of money that staggered my imagination. And the company grew and flourished, for a time.

But, it did not last. A few things went wrong here and there. The owners began to bicker and quarrel. Power and money began to separate men who had once worked well together. Soon mudslinging and backstabbing entered the scene. It started to not be very pretty. The employees of this company were majorly unaffected by this power pull for a season.

But it did not last. The owners began to drag employees into the dirty laundry pile of accusations and discontent. This was difficult for employees, to not only see and hear the mudslinging, but to be drawn into it, and eventually to become its victims. The company began to flounder and it was almost always a challenge to meet the enormous payroll. The CFO was often caught in the middle. When there was not enough money for supplies and payroll, he frequently became the scapegoat.

For many months, the CFO could see the handwriting on the wall. He did his best to explain reality to the bickering owners. He worked with the bankers to keep the company doors from closing permanently. And for his efforts to save this company, he received unkind words, disrespect, and blame. He worked longer hours and lost more sleep and became more frustrated. And the owners became more demanding, more rude, more disrespectful, and more critical.

As the CFO reviewd the situation with weary and troubled heart, it became clear to him that this company could only survive, if the backbiting, mudslinging, contenious, selfish behavior of the owners would stop. If they were to cooperate, work together, and reach for the common good of the company, the CFO believed the company and all it's employees could be saved.

But the owners could not play, share their toys, and get along. One day the reality hit the CFO that it was simply not in his best interest or the best interests of his family to continue working for these selfish contentious owners. When another opportunity came along, he jumped at the chance. The owners of the sinking ship were not happy that he was leaving since it 'put them in a bind." Bankers were far less happy since the CFO was the only person they believed that they could trust. But now, the CFO finds comedy as he has listened to these grown men plot and plan to get all the toys and all the bucks.

As I have listened to the story of the sinking ship, I find it quite an education in the tactics of Satan, the architect of contention, back biting, mudslinging and selfishness. Satan uses tools to deceive us all and he uses them well. His tools are irresponsibility, blame, and lack of accountability. Contention never turns out well, because it is one of his favorite tools. His tool bag is filled with many other demeaning tools. Power over others works well. So does bullying, ditching, mocking, and belittling.

These tools can apply in any relationship or any situation. The separate and divide us. They allow us to isolate ourselves and insulate us from the hurt we cause others. They allow us to put ourselves above another as we climb the ladder reaching for recognition. In order for us to be better than someone, we also have to diminish another.

Satan is good and has millennia of practice with his tools. They are counterfeits to the tools of a loving Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ. To achieve Their purposes, they use tools identified as love and kindness, respect, and service. The goal here is instead to unite and build, bless and strengthen.

I have witnessed and experienced many a contentious situation throughout my years, but this real life 'sinking ship' has more clearly identified the results of contention for me. It is so very sad to see how effective Satan's tools have been as others watch the ship, slowly but firmly sinking into the depths of the sea of disaster.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Everyday Miracles

I believe that I fail to recognize the everyday miracles. My eyes are more trained to watch for the big ones. No one taught me that or said that was the way to view miracles specifically, but I think I created that thinking over my lifetime. For several years I have tried to retrain my thinking processes and have prayed that my spiritual eyes would be opened so that I could see the miracles more readily. I have worked at looking for the miracles more often in my life as well as in the lives of others.

But recently I have let other things cloud my vision and I have not been exercising my spiritual eyes to look for those miracles enough. And I think that I need to change that. It is difficult to be grateful for things we do not recognize. I want to recognize the hand of the Lord in my life as well as in the lives of those that I care so much about.  But it is not about Heavenly Father tapping me on the shoulder and telling me that I just witnessed a miracle. I have not yet once received an email or snail mail notification that a miracle has occurred. That is not the process.

The process is also not about testing God. You know the 'if I see the miracles, then I will believe.'

I believe the way the process is intended to be is instead, first I believe and then I look and watch and pray and wait for the miracles to come.

What kind of a test of faith would it be for me, if I only choose to believe after the miracle comes?  That is a test for God, not me. God is already complete. He has already passed the test. He is infinite in wisdom, power, and knowledge. The test is for me, not Him.

So I am trying to be more diligent in this test. I know I have a long way to go. I believe in miracles. I believe they surround us without our recognizing them or appreciating them.

And I ask myself what good is a miracle if no one notices?

Parents do so much for their children. They do if out of love and because they want their children to be happy, safe, and successful. Most parents also want their children to have more opportunities, more stuff, and more of everything than they had. For example, my children grew up in times that were very hard for us financially. Sometimes we had no money for food. Food really was a luxury at times, as was gas for a car, or badly needed shoes. Sometimes we were cold and hungry. From my perspective, my children have had enough experience with financially difficult times. I do not feel that they need to learn and experience anymore from those kinds of situations. I want to take away their financial tests and trials. I want them to sail financially through life in ways that I could not. I want things to be better for all of them and their families.

But financial struggles comes to them. At times they are expecting it and prepared. But it often broadsides them, just as it does me. And I am hurt along with them and wonder why?  They have already been there done that in our home. Why do they have to face it again and again and again?

And I watch and I pray and I fast for the miracles to come.

Waiting for the big miracles can be a slow process and at times frustrating. My patience wears thin and I wonder why - again!

But when I 'practice' looking for miracles, it can be amazing to see the things that are just hanging around, waiting for me to notice.

Food is no longer a luxury!  That is a miracle!  Though we are still careful what we buy, we always have access to food. I have food in my fridge and in my pantry and in my storage. Until yesterday, I also had food in my garden. Because I have lived with so much less, every day that we have so much food really is a miracle.

I can fill up my gas tank, anytime I need to. Though the price of gas nearly gives me a heart attack at times, I simply fill it up. Another everyday miracle.

It is miraculous to me to stand under a hot stream of water in my own shower, in my own warm bathroom in my own house. For many people around the world, access to water is miraculous. Add in the fact that we have central heating and our own structure to live in and I think some might even be jealous of me. They too are miracles that I take for granted every day.

If I were a pioneer, how would I feel about hot water, central heating, and a home to live in?  I try to be grateful for those things, everyday. For anyone who crossed the plains or who has been homeless, they really are miracles.

Though I am still weak in ability to recognize all miracles, I do have the desire to be more aware, more grateful, and more patient in waiting for the miracles. Because Heavenly Father provides me with so many miracles, I want to be more grateful. So to all the world and all of Heaven today I say, "Thank you for the everyday miracles!"

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Blessing of Music

I am a huge fan of good music. Always have been. Always hope to be. Music can change my mood in a matter of moments. Sometimes for the good and sometimes not so much. I have appreciated music as long as I can remember.

It seems easy to remember the songs I learned as a small child attending primary. Though many of those songs are still sung, I do not often hear them, except in my mind. My Mother sang a lot as I was growing up. I still remember many that I heard her sing. Some of my favorites were probably famous once, but not anymore. I loved to hear her clear soprano voice as she sang Baggage Coach Ahead, Stay in Your Own Backyard, Two Little Boys and my favorite, Grandmother's Old Arm Chair.

My Grandmother Wilcox sometimes sang the same songs. That was also wonderful. But my favorite times to hear her sing was with her sisters. When those ladies got together, their voices blended in absolute harmony. Their eyes twinkled and danced as the belted out the words, Granny left you nothin' but the Old Arm Chair. I think they enjoyed singing together even more than I enjoyed listening to them.

Christmas music was always a bit magical to me. I loved the tree and the lights and decorations. Certainly the gifts were great to receive. But it was the music that made Christmas special to me. Still does. I have many a favorite holiday tune. One of them is Sleigh Ride. I remember how different, peppy and joyful it sounded to me when I first heard it. It seemed a delightful contrast to the more sacred Christmas songs.

From the time our children were very small, we played music for them and around them. At night when they were tucked into bed, a cassette player provided them with music to fall asleep to. Each of my children learned to play the piano. They did not all want to, but they learned. Some enjoyed the piano. Some enjoyed other musical instruments. We were exposed to flutes and saxophones. We attended band concerts. We attended orchestra concerts too. We had violins and one son also played the cello. We attended choir concerts too. I loved that my children liked to sing.

I hope that music enriched their lives, because it has enriched mine!

In recent years I have become acquainted with the music of Rob Gardner. It was one of our sons who introduced us to this music. I find much of his music to be beautiful and truly reflects what I am feeling in my heart. The words and music of some of my favorite Rob Gardner music tell the story of The Savior, Jesus Christ. I have listened over and over and been strengthened by the message of his music.

"Hosanna, Hosanna, Sing praises to God." That is how I feel. I want to sing praises to God The Eternal Father for all He has done for me. I also want to sing praises to His Beloved Song, Jesus Christ. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is the only hope that I have to return to live with Heavenly Father when this life is over. I am a flawed and imperfect being. I make mistakes every single day. Only the Infinite Atonement can cleanse me from all that is amiss in my life.

Christ is the Resurrection and the Life. Rob Gardner's words teach of Christ, "He that believeth in me, though he was dead, yet shall he live." 

These words feel true to me. I believe Christ is the only way. He is my Savior and my Hope. My heart sings, "Hosanna, Hosanna and blessed He'll ever be called. Hosanna, Hosanna sing praises to God, our King our Deliverer, our all!"

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Glimmer of Faith

Some weeks are just more difficult than others. We all have them. Sometimes we may have an inkling that one is coming. Little warning lights or bells signal, "danger ahead" and we brace ourselves, preparing for the onslaught. At other times, there is no warning and we feel like life has broadsided us again. In our naïveté we are totally unprepared and caught off gaurd as we find ourselves again, knocked to our knees.

It may not matter which way the rough patch comes, with or without warning. It is still a rough patch. The nature of our lives does not allow us to walk both paths, to the end, and then come back and select which one we feel has worked out best for us. Truth is, when we reel from one problem to another, there is usually not even enough time to think about anything. The only thing I know to do is to hold on, until the path finds a smooth spot.

At times I find myself broadsided from multiple angles. There may not be a resting spell between some of those patches.

It happened again a few months ago. I felt like I was reeling to and fro, at the whims of others. I felt like a pin ball in a pin ball machine, knocked back and forth, aimlessly. My life was spinning out of control. Some of what came my way was not deliberate, I know that. But some of it, not so sure. But either way, it has been a rough time and my recovery was a bit shaky.

I often know things that will help to heal my soul. Experience sends me to those tools that bring peace. But there are times when I have to look a little harder and dig a little deeper. My heart has hardened. I feel it as a rock, heavy in my chest. I long to shut out the world and the pain of unkindness and disrespect. And again I dig a lttle deeper.

What a blessing to be able to go to my knees. When feeling alone and abandoned, Heavenly Father will be there. It may take many trips to my knees before the peace comes. It is wonderful that God does not keep office hours!  He is always there and available.

I sat by a struggling friend for awhile in church one day. She told me that she was feeling really restless and could not sit still. Then she asked how I could be so calm. Because of the setting I refrained from maniacal laughter at the irony. I had mentally been desirous to run, screaming, from the room. I let her peek inside my heart and assured her, it was an act.

An adorable, blonde, very curly haired toddler sat with his family in front of us. He was in and out and up and down. He squawked and complained and wiggled. He ran off at every opportunity. He did not want to be there either! Eventually, his behavior became a full blown tantrum. I leaned closer to whisper  to my friend. "I feel just like he does," I said. "But I am just not as cute as he is." She smiled. I think she understood because I think we both felt like having a tantrum.

Yes, I think throwing a tantrum might make me feel better. And sometimes I still really want to. I want to throw something, or yell at someone, or maybe even run away from home. Though I look like an adult on the outside, sometimes I think I am very much like that adorable toddler on the inside.

But instead, I attempt to bridle my tongue and my emotions. I seek for tools to help me deal with sorrow, hurt, and heartache.

I seek comfort in music and the words of scripture. I listen to a favorite speaker. I pray on my knees and in my heart. I search for gratitude and the return of the voice of The Spirit that brings peace. I think of others who endure more than I, as I hold on to one glimmer of faith.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Gratitude for Prophets

I love the two days of learning that bless my life during General Conference. Every six months members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints gather to listen and learn from wise men and women who have been asked to speak and teach from The Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. Because of technology, these sessions come into my home. I just turn on my television and conference is there. I can listen over the internet. I just turn it on and it is there. I can carry my portable device with me and listen in any room in my house. For me it is miraculous.

As I listen, The Holy Ghost bears witness to me of the truth that I hear. I am fed. My hungry and needy spirit is nourished. I hear words that are inspired and come from men and women who have studied, and prayed and fasted to know what Heavenly Father wants to be said. It must be somewhat intimidating to be asked to speak not only in front of this massive congregation in the Conference Center, but also to the world. But I am not able to detect fear or nervousness. I hear words filled with faith and power and testimony. I see  preparation and peace and confidence.

I believe it is confidence in the power of Heavenly Father.

Listening to wise counsel helps me refocus my own compass. I hear a few things that I may be doing fairly well at. I hear some things that I am struggling with. I hear things all over the spectrum in between. I can carry out my own self evaluation. I can see where I need to work and where I need to begin again.

I am reminded of the need for kindness. Jesus Christ was infinitely kind. His kindness had no bounds or limitations based on circumstances that can easily affect my ability to be kind. He fasted for forty days and forty nights and His kindness did not fail. He was weary from serving and teaching others and His kindness did not fail. Even when He was spit upon and scourged, and nailed to the cross, even then, His kindness did not fail.

If I want to be more like Jesus, I need to work on being more kind.

As I listened to Sunday morning's session of conference, I was reminded of the blessing of having prophets. I heard three different speakers talk about prophets. They bore their testimonies of the importance of having living prophets who speak to us today, and teach us the things that we need to know and learn and do. I felt their words sink into my heart. I needed to be reminded that when the prophet speaks, I want to obey.

Because I grew up in a home where the Gospel of Jesus Christ was taught, I have always believed in prophets. I still remember the shocking news that President David O. McKay had died. He was the only prophet that I knew. I am not sure, but I do not think it had ever occurred to me that a prophet would actually die. But in the order of God's church, a new prophet is prepared and steps up to lead and teach.

I received my own personal witness that President Thomas S. Monson is truly God's prophet on earth, today. President Monson arrived at a rodeo arena, in a golf cart, for the Youth Celebration the night before the Twin Falls Temple was dedicated. As He arrived, the air was charged with The Spirit of the Holy Ghost. And I knew!

I am grateful for the miracles of today that allow me to listen to words of prophets seers, and revelators frequently. I am grateful that technology allows me to participate and learn over and over again.

And I will.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Technology: a Blessing for My Family

The first official day of fall has passed and I am wondering where the summer went. Much of it was fairly normal life with work to be done and weariness at the end of the day. But during it all, we had one really sweet week with our family. It was all completely wonderful and it went way to fast. It seemed that in a the blink of an eye it was over.

It seemed like a nearly perfect week to me, only nearly because we had one family who was far away. We wanted them to be here and they wanted to come. But sometimes things just do not work out that way. But thanks to technology, we had a really good opportunity to connect over Facetime. It was so fun to see the cousins talking to each other, showing each other things and sharing lives. We hope next year it will be all face to face instead, but Facetime and Skype connected us when we needed to be together.

I am always green with envy of families who live closer together, so they can see each other often and be a big part of each other's lives. Some families are together once a week for visiting, games, and food. Some families travel on vacations together. They never miss being together for the big life events. When crisis and sickness arrive, family is immediately there to pick up the slack and help carry the load. When sickness hits in our family, I am far away and often never know.

It makes me so sad!

There are moments when I want to shout, "Not Fair!" But then I remember that we are really still very blessed. We are not pioneering families who leave each other behind, never knowing if we will see or hear from each other again. We are so blessed with technology that we can connect quickly and easily. I take it for granted because it has become such a big part of my life.

I frequently carry a cell phone in my pocket. It does not ring very often, but it sure comes in handy!  It rang yesterday when I was in a situation that made it difficult to answer. I returned the call from my car, learned how important that call was, and blessed the invention of cell phones. It came in handy the day before as the bearer of other important information. I am a lousy texter!  I am slow and my fingers crawl across the keys. But in many a circumstance it has been not only the best means of communication; it has been the only means. Though our phone is ancient and worn, it has saved us from many a difficult moment and carried much good news.

Email is a great means of communication!  I check my email frequently. I am always delighted to receive an email from a friend. But an email from family is a priceless treasure. I love to receive not only the latest news but the latest pictures!

We are still tied to our landline phone as well. They too spend hours in silence. There are days however when we run the batteries completely dry. What a blessing to talk with far away family and catch up on life. It is wonderful to hear their voices and their stories and be part of their lives for a small moment. I love to talk to my children and their spouses, but also with my grandchildren. Lately it does not seem like any of that has happened nearly enough.

Occasionally we even send and receive snail mail among our family. Though it is slow, it is delicious to receive. I savor each card, picture, and note.

We can also drive or fly to see our family and they can do the same. We do not have to climb aboard a buckboard,  covered wagon, or a stage coach to jostle across the miles to be together.

Today, I am profoundly grateful for the many ways that technology blesses my life as it allows me to spend time with my family. I am grateful for the goodness of my family and how they live their lives. We can and do cross the miles with our faith and prayers, uniting to ask for blessings on each other. We join together in a common cause to create a world of peace and righteousness. When trials come, help is just a click or a phone call away.

Together we pray for miracles!  And they come!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Voices

I live in a world where there are many voices. At times it is difficult to know which voices one shoild listen to. Some voices are loud and noisy. Some are more subtle and soft. At times it can feel like I am swimming in voices, telling me what to buy, where to go, and who to be. Voices come from good sources and bad. But again, it can be difficult to decipher truth.

Voices come from the radio. They suggest songs one should like, activities to participate in, and products one must purchase. The television is also loaded. Most stations fill the airwaves with commercials. But also with images. Commercials are loaded with images that can make one feel inferior to the expectations of the world.

A conversation with a friend really got me thinking about voices. After our conversation, I feared that something that I had said may have sounded hurtful to her. I had definitely not intended that, and had in fact been trying to spare her an unneeded challenge. But I was concerned about what I said, and how it might sound.

So, I went to talk to her again, to make sure I apologized to her. She explained that she knew exactly what I meant and was not offended in anyway. I was grateful that I had not upset her. She explained that she did not think it was possible for me to offend her. My reply was that if that were so, it was because of the condition of her heart. My friend then said something so very kind to me that a few tears slipped down my cheek. She said that she did not think it was possible for me to offend her because I was a good person.

Hers was a voice that I want to listen to!

So often the voices that I seem to hear send different kinds of messages. I am never smart enough. I am never kind enough. I never have enough money. Some voices tell me that I am not a good person. They say that is am selfish and unkind. Other voices seem to scream that I do not look beautiful because I do not look like a model. Because I do not use certain products or wear certain clothes or have an expensive haircut, I am less than everyone else out there.

Voices tell me that I do not have an opinion worth hearing or any good ideas or that I am not smart enough to make my own decisions. There are voices that tell me that my time is not as important as other people's time, because I am not as important as they are. Voices tell me that I am not worthy of spending time with or being included.

Sorting through the voices can be painful and challenging. Who does one believe?

I am grateful to my friend who told me I was a good person. I do not think I hear enough of that kind of voice. But I do not think I am that kind of voice often enough either. I am grateful to learn from her.

I am also overwhelmingly grateful for the Still Small Voice of The Holy Ghost. I do not think I hear enough of that voice either.

It is a great time for me to work more at hearing This voice of Inspiration. It is a great time for tweaking my life a bit more to invite and encourage the presence of The Holy Ghost more frequently into my life. But it is also a perfect time to also be more aware of the voice that I share with others.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Crystal Ball

I often wish I had a crystal ball at my immediate disposal. There are so many difficult decisions to make. Research can help eliminate some choices or clarify my thought processes. But often the answer is still not clear to me. It feels a bit like we face the 'darned if you do and darned if you don't' scenario.

Seems like this has been one of those seasons. We move one step forward and two steps back. Or maybe even more. It seems difficult to relax and rejoice in one conquered problem, because it is immediately replaced by another or even by several.

I find it challenging to face so many financially costly decisions in this season, but they do not seem to be ending. We sort of made big progress with one yesterday, to be faced by a new, unexpected one this morning. Again, it feels like one step forward and two step backwards.

There are occasions when eventually one can actually see the blessing afterwards. But not so much, yet. Just continually swimming through the quagmire of breaking, wearing out, leaking stuff that we own.

It started in February, I think. Our furnace quit working. This is not the first time of course, but was definitely more serious. And of course, it was the coldest week of the winter. Several hundred dollars later, our furnace worked enough to make it through the winter, but with severe warnings. If it quits again, it is terminal. Should we have put in the new parts? Should we have replaced the furnace? Who knows?

I need a crystal ball!

With winter facing us in a few months, do we take the chance that the furnace may make it through the winter? Do we replace it at our own convenience, now? And, if we replace the furnace, is it a good time to acquire central air conditioning? Should we spend the money? Should we wait? Who knows?

I need a crystal ball!

I have already mentioned our dinosaur computer. So we spent hours looking for a new computer. Our children with computer expertise avoided our calls after awhile. They were just as sick of it as we were! What brand should we buy?  How much money should we spend? What kind of processor would serve us best?  How much memory do we need?  Who knows?

I need a crystal ball!

So we ordered the computer. Next day the ice maker in the fridge stopped creating ice. Should we spend the $150.00 plus for a new ice maker? Should we use ice trays for the rest of our lives? Could we try to fix it ourselves?  Who knows!

I need a crystal ball!

The computer arrived yesterday and is now functional. Yippee for a moment and a half, before we find we have water coming onto the floor under the freshly painted baseboards in our bathroom. Two weeks we have struggled over getting the paper off the walls, repairing,  and repainting... (well mostly my husband) with all the decisions, that go with it. Now, water is coming from somewhere. Is it from the sink? Is it from the toilet? Could it be from the outside faucet or the washing machine on the other side of the wall?  Who knows?

I need a crystal ball!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Birth of Our Nation

The Fourth of July has just passed us by for another year. It is a great day to celebrate the birth of The United States of America and to remember the prices that many have paid over the years for the freedoms we take for granted most of the rest of the year. It is a day celebrated in many different ways. Food, fun, and fireworks are fairly common denominators. But one of the great things about living in The United States of America is that we can celebrate as we choose. There are no mandatory requirements to follow to honor the birth of this nation. We can celebrate as we choose.

I remember many years ago when I was a youngster, my parents choose to celebrate the Fourth of July by painting the living room of the new house that they were having built. I was totally confused by their choice to paint while we went with other relatives to the parade in a nearby city. Why would you not want to go to the parade? And an even bigger question; why would you want to paint the living room?

I did not understand that then, but I do now. You see we worked around our house on the Forth of July this year. We could have gone to the parade in a nearby town, but we did not. We carried on with projects and normal house cleaning chores. My vacuum cleaner had threatened to go on strike because it was being neglected. My kitchen sink was screaming loudly at me every time I came near with words of criticism for letting it become so dirty. But even louder were the words of 'filthy' I heard when I walked into the bathroom.

So I cleaned my house!

We did choose to eat a typical Fourth of July meal which included hot dogs, chips, and watermelon. Our lawn wore a large American Flag for the day, telling anyone who saw that we are proud of our country. We did spend some of the day in relaxation. We watched a movie and played some games; my husband and I. We made the local fireworks part of our celebration. We also watched and listened to the celebrations of others as we located a spot to see the enjoyable display our city provided. We saw even more on the way home because traffic sent us on an alternate route.

Though we did not spend a cent on fireworks, no one cared. Because we did not fire up the barbecue grill, we were not condemned. No one knocked on our door to make sure we were celebrating according to someone else's rules or guidelines. We did not have to dress in specific attire or gather anywhere. We were not required to listen to a speech or patriotic music.

It seems easy to find fault with our country. So many things are not being done my way! If I wanted to, I could spend hours every day listening to talk radio so that I could know what everyone else thinks is wrong with our country. I could join the conversations taking place anytime and anywhere that point fingers at who is to blame and what changes need to be made.

But instead I want to be grateful that I live in a country where I can celebrate the birth of that country in anyway that I please.

I believe that Our Heavenly Father guided the creation of this land for the benefit of religious freedom. Many have given their lives for  the freedoms that I so often take for granted. I believe that God wants to keep this land free so that we can worship Him according to our desires. I believe that though this country may not be perfect, it is better for me than any place else on this earth.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Another Miracle

The last two weeks have brought a number of challenges to not only myself but to others about whom I care deeply. I know, this is life lesson number one. Life is hard. We get to experience disappointments, heartaches, challenges, and loss. We came to earth for exactly those reasons, to experience hard things so that we can learn from them. We cannot rejoice in the good and wonderful things of life, if we do not 'taste' the bitter fruit. It is only because we experience the opposition that we recognize those things that bring us joy.

It is only in making mistakes, learning from them, making adjustments, and trying again that we come to a place of success. If we make a mistake, throw in the towel, and never try again, we find ourselves in a feeling of failure. That feeling of failure can continue to define us, if we choose. We can build on that failure with failure. Or we can pick ourselves up and continue to work for success. There may be a number of failures before we actually reach success. But in the trying we can learn and tweak the process.

But, that being said, I freely admit that I would often like to choose the smoother path. The road with no bumps, crazy turns, or steep hills appeals to me. I often feel that I have suffered enough, or sacrificed enough, or whatever enough. I deserve a nice, smooth road that meanders through the meadows.

It is even easy to look into the lives of others and assume that they are on a toll free road leading them through the very meadow I wanted to explore. And my heart and mind may even scream, unfair! I may start looking for an off ramp that will get me off the rough road I am on so I can find the way to the other road.

A wise man taught that we often fast and pray for our trials to be removed from our lives. We may go to The House of The Lord and serve in the hopes that our trials might be removed. We may beg, plead, and bargain with God in the hope that he will remove our trials. (I am certain I am in this category, totally!) He also taught that there is nothing wrong with this. But he reminded us that we were not sent here to float down the stream of life in a boat, watching the beautiful view along the shore. We came to work, to learn, and to experience. So, if our trials are removed by Heavenly Father, He will just have to give us some new ones.

Again, I found myself on the rough road of life, facing hard challenges and bitter disappointment. And yes, I was on my knees, begging and pleading with Heavenly Father for a miracle. It seems I am always in need of a miracle, somewhere in my life.

And, the miracle came!

I am profoundly grateful for this miracle! It was really a number of miracles wrapped up together in a package, wrapped in miracles and tied with a miraculous bow.

Now, again I am on my knees, expressing my gratitude and appreciation for the miracles received. Though I may fail, I hope my pleading and begging for a miracle will only be exceeded by my grateful heart and it's expressions of praise to Heavenly Father who is the giver of all good things!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Discleship

Recently I have been listening to the Old Testament. I have enjoyed listening as I have cooked and cleaned. Laundered and sewn. Quilted and puttered. It has been years since I have read many of these words. I have heard some familiar stories as well as some that are not so familiar. But most of what I have heard so far was about laws and sacrifices. Expectations of God and punishments. I freely admit that I do not understand about the different sacrificial offerings. There are many and each has a different purpose. They are explained in minute detail. The sacrifices and the details seem to boggle my mind.

Though I do not pretend to have even a minuscule understanding of these rituals, I do understand their purpose. We are Heavenly Father's children sent away to school to learn and grow and try to become as He is. We were happy with His Plan of Salvation when it was presented in a council in heaven. We wanted to achieve the highest blessings that our Father could offer us. We wanted to live with Him forever. We wanted the chance to become like Him.

But to succeed in this we had to come to a fallen planet where life would be hard, disappointing, and challenging. We would not remember who we are or who Heavenly Father is. We would be placed in a world where we were not familiar with tricks and strategies used by Satan to derail God's plan. We would live in bodies that were less than perfect. We could become tired, sick, and die. We would be surrounded with other people who had also forgotten who they are.

We agreed to come to a world where we would struggle with selfishness, greed, and pride. Money and power would tempt us and beckon us. We would see our weaknesses and the weaknesses of others. We would also be subjected to the unkindness of those we live among. But we would also take opportunities to be unkind. Our lives would be filled with opportunities to learn from natural consequences. But we would also be thrust about by the consequences of others. We would be subject to all manner of discouragement, fear, and heartache.

Because Heavenly Father loves us infinitely, His desire is for our success. Sometimes when we are surrounded by life's stuff, we forget that and feel alone. We feel we have failed and may want to give it all up. But God believes in us. His plan included a Savior to rescue us from our own sins. He has already paid the price for it all. Incomprehensible as it is to me, He loved us enough to die for us, so that we might not have to suffer.

All these sacrificial offerings were intended to help prepare hearts to recognize and receive the gifts of the Atonement. They were to teach people about Jesus Christ and His mission on this earth. They were to remind them of who they were and what God wanted them to become. They were teaching tools.

I have been struck by the long list of requirements for these sacrifices and been grateful that my earthly task does not include these, but instead asks of me discipleship.

That is my lifelong quest, to be a disciple of The Savior Jesus Christ. What a blessing it is to me to strive every day to remember Him and who He is and what He has done for me personally. It is miraculous to believe that someone loved me enough to try to save me from this lonely, sometimes cruel world. How wonderful it is to go to my knees when I am lost and broken and talk to Heavenly Father and feel Him there.

Though my path is littered with lots of stuff along the way that I do not want, I can go to the scriptures and read the words of prophets for counsel and help. I can offer as many prayers every day as I want. There is no limit. There is not take a number and wait line. There is no busy signal or back in thirty minutes sign on the door. Though to others my need may not be urgent, God listens with urgency.

I am grateful to be on the path of discipleship, trying to learn who Christ is and how to become who I should be. My progress is slow and small, but I am grateful to know that Heavenly Father is not in a hurry. Because He loves all His children, He has provided us with enough time.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Perspective

Last Sunday we had a wonderful day with our son and his family, who live in another town. We spent the night before and arose semi-willingly to eat the wonderful breakfast our sweet daughter in law prepared. We usually eat cold cereal at our house on Sundays. Our son had to work so it was a very busy morning to prepare her four beautiful children for church. I helped in very minor ways. This mom is used to getting herself and her three daughters ready for church. Her son, dressed himself and even combed his own hair. They looked scrubbed and glowing as we headed out to church.

They live in the country and we were slowed on our trek to the building by a motorcycle and truck who seemed to be in no hurry to get anywhere. But we arrived at the building where they attend meetings in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints every week. We found plenty of empty chairs in the cultural hall behind the chapel and settled in for Sacrament Meeting. This particular day was also Father's Day and the birthday of the youngest member of the family we were visiting. She turned one!

Of course this new one year old quickly needed a diaper change, desperately. Perhaps because it was her birthday, or just because she was tired, or perhaps because she did not want to be in this meeting, she did not last very long sitting in the cultural hall, even with a clean diaper and snacks. Her mother quietly removed her a second time.

My husband and I were just fine with our grandchildren. There were a few trips to the drinking fountain and the bathroom. Seemed perfectly normal to us. Then the Ziploc bag of goldfish crackers spilled all over the cultural hall floor. Slightly noisy and plenty of crumbs but not a problem. Every single cracker had landed on the floor, but was quickly allowed to swim safely into the bag. Then it was time for the marshmallows to spill. Again, not convenient or messy, but more quiet than the goldfish had been. They too were retrieved and returned to their home. Once again, marshmallows escaped their bags and I found myself bending over in my chair to gather them a second time.

It was then that things began to unravel. Our daughter in law had brought a number of craft items to display for Relief Society. She will be helping other ladies create similar crafts next weekend so they want to see what they are making. One item had not been tucked safely in the bag with the rest. I had carried this into the cultural hall myself. It was a glass jar on a pedestal, filled with gumballs. It was colorful and cute as the dickens. It had rested undisturbed under my chair the entire meeting, until about five minutes before the meeting was to end. One grandchild carefully opened the glass jar, by removing the lid and removed a gumball. Not a sound was made and I helped him replace the lid as I continued to rescue run away marshmallows. Another child suddenly discovered the need for a gumball if a sibling could have one and removed the lid a second time to retrieve several gumballs. I saw what was happening but was not quick enough switching from my marshmallow rescue mission, when there was the loud sound of the glass jar hitting the cultural hall floor. I am sure it echoed and everyone in the cultural hall and chapel heard the sound of the jar as it broke free from its pedestal. But it was so quickly followed by the sound of dozens of gumballs fleeing the jar and rolling across the floor that it is hard to be sure.

Gumballs make a lot of noise when they hit and roll across a shiny, hardwood, cultural hall floor. Who knew!

All I could do was laugh!  It took great self control to keep my head down as I grabbed for gumballs along with everyone else near by. I wanted to laugh loudly and irreverently. This was the finale to a comedy of clean up errors. The guilty party wanted to cry. She might have; had anyone paid attention to her. But we were too busy laughing inside and grabbing handfuls of gumballs on the outside. Another grandchild looked puzzled at me. She wondered if my movements indicated that I was crying. She seemed surprised and relieved that it was laughter on my face. It was hilarious to me!

As we left the meeting, I told my husband that I did not think this congregation would be inviting us back anytime soon. We were a huge distraction.

Had this happened twenty or thirty years ago or had it been my children, I would have cried. I would have been so embarrassed. We might have had to move to a new town. But I can see it differently now, because my perspective is different.

As I have thought of this experience it occurred to me that perhaps it is like that for Heavenly Father. He sees things so differently than I do. His perspective is whole. complete, and all encompassing. He sees the beginning from the end. He knows my past and my future.

I wonder if sometimes He finds my tragedies to be hilarious and all He can do is laugh!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Dinosaur

Technology is a big part of life. I use it every day. Every clock in my house is digital, except for the watches we wear. Computer technology controls our microwave, stove, and our cars. We have a cell phone. Though it is many years old and has no camera, it has served us well. Many days this phone goes totally ignored, unused, and neglected but it is our only access to long distance. Rarely do we leave home without it. It provides a good safety net. Many of our adult children own nothing but cell phones. So we talk from cell phone to cell phone. I can text. I just don't do it very often. But I am glad that I can. In an emergency, it is a great way to communicate.

I have an IPAD. Someone wonderful gave it to me. I use it frequently for so many things. I have quick access from any room in my house to the internet for researching information and email. I listen to music, books, and pod casts frequently. I have used the timer, the weather app, and listened to scriptures. Last week I needed to make a trip to a place I had no clue how to find. The map app gave me excellent directions.

But we have a dinosaur in our house. It is not in the best of health and is declining. Our computer is old. It is a dying breed. We have a computer with Windows XP operating system on it. Shocking I know that we would be so slow to jump on the bandwagon of new technology and that we did not upgrade sooner! Now support for out dinosaur has ended. And the search for a new replacement has begun.

It has not been a secret to me that this computer on which I now type is old and slow. It has been the giver of many a frustrating moment, especially in the recent past. That same trip to somewhere I was clueless to find brought with it some computer frustrations. I decided I should print a map with the directions to where I needed to go. Though it was only about a twenty minute drive each way, I truly could not envision where it was or how to get there. A map seemed like a simple, quick tool to ensure that I would not get too lost. I had an appointment to meet someone. Getting lost did not seem helpful.

I went downstairs and sat at the dinosaur and proceeded to bring up a map program that I have used many times. It would not do what I needed it to do without upgrading or adding on new stuff, cuz yes, my stuff is old. I tried another program to get directions and found the same issue. Because my time was now quickly passing, I agreed so I could print the darn directions and leave.

But it did not turn out that way at all. Things began to happen to my computer. It was as if it was possessed. All of a sudden my browser was gone, totally, and a new browser was in it place. That would have been no problem, but this new browser would not access the internet. An error message was all I ever received. It could not access a single website. Now being rather computer illiterate, I was totally clueless what to do. But I had to leave.

I quickly wrote down the directions I needed from the IPAD and found where I needed to be, easily. That problem was solved.

But I returned to a sick dinosaur.

Off on and throughout the day I fiddled with it, trying to identify what in the heck happened and how in the heck to fix it. I researched a few things on the IPAD and by the end of the day, most of the damage was undone and internet access was restored.

Now I realize of course, that many of my family, perhaps even my grandchildren, could have solved my problem much more quickly, but perhaps one of the reasons the computer and I have our moments of struggle is because it is one dinosaur talking to another!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Enabling Power of the Atonement

I realize that I am very slow to learn sometimes. It frustrates me, but I try not to give up. Everything in life does not require the same amount of study and sacrifice. I hope that I figured out after the first burn that the stove is hot and should not be touched. I also believe it did not take too many shocks with a plug in an electric outlet to learn that electricity can cause quite a jolt. Scalded hands are a quick way to learn that the hot water heater is turned up too high.

Some lessons have been learned very easily by the experiences of others. Because I know someone whose hand and arm were shredded by a lawn mower, I keep my hands far afield from the blade - always. A relative was burned severely by a sparkler, yes the relatively harmless fire works kind. I know that they can be dangerous. I watched one motorcycle accident and learned that I probably should not drive one of those dangerous beasts.

But I am constantly trying to learn more about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Some seasons have found me rather complacent about learning spiritual truths, which of course I am not proud to admit. But during other seasons, I find myself on a quest, because I cannot learn to live what I do not know and understand.

My current quest is to learn more about the Atonement of The Savior Jesus Christ. I have read many articles. I have read many scriptures. I have read a few books and I am always on the look out for more. I have listened to many talks. I want to know more about the Atonement and how it can help me change my life.

Because I was blessed to attend BYU Women's Conference again this year, I found myself feasting on words about the Atonement. I wanted to hear it all. More than once. It was hard to pick and choose. It was sad to miss the talks that I could not attend. But I felt so blessed to spend two days listening and learning from others about The Atonement. I want to hear it all again and again. Technology will probably provide me with an opportunity to listen to some of them again, but not nearly soon enough. I just cannot seem to remember it very well.

On Sunday I listened to a talk that I have heard before, several times. Nothing that was said was new. But something finally clicked in my mind. I read several other talks that reinforced this same concept in my mind with an understanding that has been missing for me.

I am so grateful!

I have such a new appreciation for Jesus Christ and His Infinite Atonement. I can now see more clearly the many ways that my life has been blessed by the Enabling Power of The Atonement. Some of them large and some of them small. I can understand how Grace has blessed my life as I have been able to do things that were definitely beyond my own capacity. I have seen how my burdens were carried when they felt so heavy on my shoulders. I can see how flashes of inspiration have come in a moment of need and often before. My vision has changed and enlarged. I have more clearly seen the comfort that has come through the Atonement's Grace.

Though this knowledge has blessed my life immensely, it also reminds me how little I really know. It propels me forever forward on my quest.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Gratitude of Mothers

Mother's Day has come and gone. To tell the truth, it caught me unprepared this year and perhaps this post will not be meaningful to anyone, but me. But it is a good exercise in gratitude for me to ponder about the Mothers who have influenced me for good. And if I do not take advantage of the opportunity to express gratitude, how will anyone know that I am grateful? Even Heavenly Father appreciates hearing the words of gratitude that we give to Him who created us all.

I am infinitely grateful to Heavenly Father who blessed me with wonderful children. They have changed my life. I have been educated by them. I have been molded and refined by them. And it continues to be so. I had the incredible privilege to phone chat with each of the six wondrous souls who still teach and strengthen me with their faith, testimony, and example. I hope I am never too old to learn from these wise adults who are doing all they can to be good parents, citizens, and disciples of Jesus Christ. I adore them all.

I was blessed to have a talented mother, who would not let life define who she was. She instead defined life by her drive and ambition to conquer the hard things that came her way. My Mother served with all her might in the things she was asked to do. It wears me out just to think about her life and her good works. Though she was told there were things she could not do, she proved so many wrong and did them anyway. I am infinitely grateful for the sacrifices of my Mother in my behalf. I look back with moments of regret that I did not serve her or honor her adequately when I had the chance. My Mother was a lady. Today, as I realize how blessed I was to have her be my Mother, I appreciate and honor her.

My grandmothers were also incredible women. I have wept bitter tears of sorrow for the burdens that they were required to carry. In differing ways, each of my grandmothers was treated with a great lack of kindness and a load of disrespect, which they neither earned or deserved. Unlike me, they bore it silently, with grace and dignity. I am in awe of their composure and kindness in the face of the challenges they endured. I am also sorrowful as I ponder on my own lack of kindness toward them in this life. Though young and foolish, there was no excuse for my own unappreciative behavior. They were women of faith, hope, courage, and kindness. These women too were ladies.

One of the greatest blessings in my life is that the Mothers of my grandchildren have made the choice for Motherhood to be their full time career. Today, that is rare. I cannot adequately express how I honor them for the choice that they have made to sacrifice so much because of the love they have for the little darlings that are so important to them in their lives. Though there are others who could provide good care for my grandchildren, I stand firm in my belief that no one else can fill the shoes of their own Mother. I know that Motherhood is not easy. Many Mother's cannot remember the last time they had an uninterrupted night of sleep, or an uninterrupted shower, or an uninterrupted phone conversation. Though they have slaved over a hot stove and served a hot meal, they usually eat cold food. Life can be a constant car ride and a constant state of confusion. But these Mothers love their children infinitely. Today I am blessed because of their goodness.

There are other women who have Mothered me over the years. How wonderful it is that there are women who help us as we grow along life's path. I am grateful for the influence of these women who are my sisters, my friends, and my examples.

Today, I think of a Heavenly Mother and wonder what it is like to be Her. I wonder at the sorrows that may fill Her heart and the tears She may shed because of unkindness in the world, for I think She loves are Her children. Mothers weep with their children in their heartache and loneliness. I wonder about Her sense of humor. Does She laugh at my silliness? Does She shake Her head as She watches me run head first into disaster, again? Does She miss us as much as we miss Her?

Monday, May 5, 2014

Kindness

Sometimes it seems that kindness is fading in the world around me. Rudeness has reared its ugly head and chased away common courtesy and concern for others. But recently I watched a very kind person serve another, even when there were differences of opinions and different visions of a situation.

I was invited to a baby shower. This was not what I would consider to be a typical party. Most baby showers that I have attended as either a guest or recipient were all planned by the hostess or hostesses. The person being honored did not spend any money or time planning the party. They just showed up. But this was not the case.

It was the first baby shower given by the hostess. She had a grand vision for the event. She wanted to plan the shower that she never had. And it seemed over the top. When her budget ran dry, she asked for financial help from the mother to be. During the discussions, the mother to be also agreed to provide some of the food and the juice that would be served. Soon the commitment included arriving early at the facility to set up and remaining after the shower to clean up.

The shower was lovely. I hope that the hostess went away feeling that her first baby shower was successful. I hope that she will choose to create other showers in her future. But I also hope that she has learned some things that will serve her. And perhaps the mother to be as well.

The mother to be was infinitely kind as she provided prizes and food. She hauled food, stacked chairs, set up the room, and filled the food platters. She smiled through it all including the cleaning up part at the end. She was weary, but wanted her friend to succeed.

All she really wanted was to arrive for a simple baby shower.

Last week I was the object of the kindness of others. It filled my heart with such gladness to see others who were willing to go out of their way to help me solve a problem or two and adjust their lives to include me. For me, that is a rare occurrence. Because of their kindness, the impossible became not only possible, but doable. I cannot remember the last time I was showered with such kindness. For the first time in a very long time, I felt that I belonged somewhere and that I had value to someone. Phone calls, emails and Facebook messages flew among us as details fell into place. I was offered an abundance of help and ideas.

We do not live near each other in proximity. The women who served me live in Provo, Sandy, Draper, and Melba. But they are my neighbors just the same. They are also my family. These women then served me by listening to me. A rare treat as well in my life. On occasion they at least acted like I might possibly have something valuable to say. I felt that I was worth listening to. I might have even offered something worth laughing about.

We laughed with each other and shared our hearts. We worked together to meet each others differing needs. We ate, and we giggled, and we learned.

But mostly I think I learned about kindness from the five women who blessed my life. Thank you friends! I hope you each know who you are and that you lifted my heart and my soul.

When I read this yesterday I thought of each of you.

"In the end all that  matters is kindness."

Monday, April 28, 2014

I Believe in Miracles

I believe in miracles!

Today, I am thinking about the goodness of Heavenly Father as He watches over my family. I am grateful that among life's challenges, difficulties, and disappointments there are also huge blessings and miracles that come our way. I am very appreciative that my children are wise and strong in their faith in the Savior Jesus Christ and filled with determination to serve Him. They are kind, friendly, and helpful to others. They go out of their way to include, involve, and encourage others. Their hearts are filled with the desire to live lives patterned after the Savior.

They are amazing people, who bless my life with their words and deeds. I admire, adore and appreciate them all.

They are my teachers!

Because they are so important to me and because they are such good, honorable people, it is very challenging for me to watch them struggle. I weep when they weep. I hear the sorrow, disappointment, and frustration in their voices. And I want to spare them the pain that comes with this life.

But I know that this life is filled with things that challenge us and make us struggle. That is part of the plan that Heavenly Father has put into place for us all. It is not intended that we sail through this life unscathed by the mortal experience. It is intended that we learn and grow and become more as Christ is because of the things we experience.

It is intended that we exercise our faith to make it grow. It is intended that we get on our knees and pray frequently. It is intended that we pray in our hearts always. It is also part of the plan that we learn to be grateful during those things that take us to our knees, not just when the trial has passed us by.

My mind and my faith tells me all this as I sit on the sidelines and watch my family face the challenges of life. There is so little that I can do to help them. My wisdom is so limited that there is nothing that I can say that will solve their problems. There is little that I can say to comfort or help them. But I try!

I can pray for them. And I do, often. Though I do not know the answers, I believe that Heavenly Father does. Though I do not understand the timing, Heavenly Father does. And because I believe, I continue to plead with Him on behalf of my family members. When there is nothing else that I can do to help them, I can always pray.

Prayer may not help them in ways that anyone can see. It may not hasten an answer to a specific need or challenge. It may not immediately bear the fruit that I would desire. But I believe it can be an avenue of strength during the hard moments of any trial, not only for them but for me also.

And I need all the help I can get!

I have seen the miracles as they come. I rejoice in miracles and express my appreciation to God for those miracles. It is a joyful moment when I am able to clearly recognize the hands of a loving Heavenly Father guiding and blessing my family members.

To Him I say thank you for all the miracles in our lives!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Opposition

Perhaps it only happens to me. I do the best I can to plan life and work the plan. Then the world happens and the plan can fall apart, right before my very eyes. It may be that the things that interrupt my plan are really good and worthwhile. Some of the things that interrupt may really be a whole lot better than what I could have planned.  It is easy to see the blessing of those wonderful things that alter my plan.

But sometimes the interruptions are not so wonderful. They may in fact be challenging or even difficult. While it is easy to be grateful for those things that bump into life that are good, it is more challenging to smile when the things that can alter life are hard.

This life is in so many ways about opposition. Good and bad. Hard and easy. Right and wrong.

It is not always difficult to determine how we feel about many of those choices. There may be a lot of 'gray' area involved or there may be too many good choices. It can be difficult to decide which choice has the best possible outcome when there are so many good options. There are also times when it seems easy to make the right choice because there appears to be only one good choice.

But sometimes decisions are just so hard to decide.

I set a personal goal at the first of this year to work on having a happy heart and to smile more. To some people this may seem silly. But I had my reasons. I have actually worked on being happy every day for many years. But I wanted to step it up and do more. I have known some people that are naturally very happy. I envy them. Sometimes happiness is work for me.

There have been many things that have come along to 'rob' me of happiness since I set that goal, but I have continued to pursue my goal. There have been days when it has been very hard to feel genuine happiness, but I have 'practiced' smiling until my heart got the message. I have practiced smiling while driving in the car. I have practiced smiling while doing mundane chores. I have practiced smiling when my mind wanted to speak words that did not match my smile.

Again, this goal was put to the test as I found myself facing several large, challenging projects and deadlines last week. Added to that was the opportunity to be sick. In bed sick.

Though I found it difficult to smile through the sickness, I did manage to be where I needed to be and do what I needed to do. Many things that I could have done were left undone by the time the week was over. There were probably some things that were not done as well as I might have liked. Some things took me much longer, because of illness. But the deadlines were met and the challenges faced.

As I face a new week, I am grateful for those things I was able to do last week, when I just wanted to stay in bed. I am grateful to be reminded that opposition is part of The Great Plan of Happiness that Heavenly Father presented to us in the pre-mortal existence. I am grateful to be reminded that I can go to Him because it is His plan and plead for help when I face opposition.

I am grateful to know that Heavenly Father will help me, because He wants us all to succeed!

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Atonement Makes All the Difference

Sometimes life hands me some interesting experiences, that just seem to come from nowhere and broadside me. That does not mean that they are necessarily bad either. Just unexpected or even weird. I had one of those strange and even weird experiences last month. I could not have planned it, nor would I. It truly broadsided me and has really made me think a lot about The Savior Jesus Christ, and The Atonement.

I had an opportunity to visit with a man, younger than I and almost a total stranger. He came to me, broken and upset to ask questions about death and dying. His father was dying and he knew that there was nothing he could do to hold back the oncoming train of death. He found himself in a position to make decisions for his father, from whom he had been estranged. He had many family members who did not agree with the decisions he was making. He did not know if he was making the correct decisions either. He did not know what his father wanted for sure, because he was unable to speak, or control many body movements. ALS was ravaging his father's body, devouring almost all his physical ability.

We talked for awhile about his situation and how he felt to be doing all he could to represent his father, based on the words his father was once able to speak. His family were very outspoken, standing against him. He doubted his ability and his decision making capacity.

And I listened.

I asked this young father, whose name I did not know, what he believed happens when we die. He told me that death is the end. Then there is nothing. His father on the other hand believes in God and life after death. Even though he did not believe as his father, he supported his father's beliefs and had requested help from the ministers of the church that was important to his father. What a kind thing to do, to provide the comfort that meant so much to his father, regardless of his own beliefs. What a tender way to cherish and express his love and devotion to his father in his last days on this earth.

This young man appears to me to be a good and kind man. He loves his children and his wife. He is trying to become a better person so that he can be a better husband, father, and son. He is working and taking classes to get a degree in the hopes it will lead to a better life for the people he cares about. But he does not believe in God, any kind of God. He does not believe in life after death.

My mind has been drawn to that thought over and over. What kind of life would I lead, if I believed that there was nothing left after death? I think I would be so totally selfish and reckless. What would one have to loose? I would do only those things that make me happy. I would spend all the money I could on me. I would eat anything I wanted, anytime I wanted and not care. Why be kind? Why spend my time serving? Why sacrifice? Why spend time in church - any church? Why not make myself the most important person in the whole world to me?

I would live my life very differently, if I did not believe.

But the truth of the matter is that I believe in Heavenly Father who loves me and looks out for me. I believe He blesses me and carries me in my trials. I believe in a Savior, namely Jesus Christ who willingly suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane and died for me on the cross on Golgotha, so that I might be saved from my own foolishness and folly. I believe that in that Atonement there is hope for a sinner, such as I, to return to live with Heavenly Father who is infinitely patient and merciful, not only with me but with all of us.

I believe that Heavenly Father weeps with us and mourns with us.I believe He listens to our prayers and our pleadings anytime and anywhere. I believe He is anxious to hear our prayers and our gratitude. I also believe that I am often unaware of how much He does for me and how many times He has rescued me. I believe it must be very painful for Heavenly Father when I am ungrateful and whining. Yet, I do not believe He turns away from me so that He does not have to listen to me.

Because of His great love for me, He does all of this and more, everyday!

The Atonement makes all the difference!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Wind

The scriptures are filled with experiences and stories of people who have great faith. Noah built an ark because God told him to build an ark. Nephi built a boat because the Lord told him to build a boat. Samuel stood on a wall to preach repentance because God sent him to teach the people who hated him. Thinking about it, none of those seem to be projects that very many of us would volunteer for. But because of their great faith, they were able to choose to be obedient.

I know some people who have great faith. They also do things that most would not volunteer for, because they are asked. And because of their faith. Sometimes the results of their faith are obvious and apparent, because we can see them with our eyes. I know someone who  needed a new bed. Because of her faith, prayers, and the goodness of Heavenly Father it appeared. Brand new, set up in her bedroom, queen size. To my knowledge, no one ever accepted responsibility for providing the bed.

Sometimes the evidence of faith and prayer is the gift of healing. It may be that faith is seen when someone is miraculously spared from a fatal car accident. It may be seen when a family is preparing for the opportunity to send a missionary and there is not enough money to pay for that mission. Faith is seen in prayers and searching for answers to where that money will come from. The answer could be a job promotion. It could be help from family members. It could even be in the ability of the family to live on less money.

Faith may be seen when on a difficult day the phone rings and a friend asks, "How can I help you today?" It may be evidenced when someone shows up at the door and says, "Heavenly Father sent me to you. Can you tell me why I am here?" Or it could be that because of the faith of others, we make the phone call or knock on the door, knowing that we were sent by God to fill a need.

I am trying to 'grow' more faith. In the Book of Mormon there is a story about the brother of Jared who has great faith. Because of his great faith, he is able to see the finger of the Lord. For several weeks now I have pondered on these scriptures and wondered how does one grow that kind of faith. What is required? How do I begin? Is it even possible for someone like me to grow that kind of faith.

Perhaps I do not ever need to 'see' with my natural eyes. But I do believe my faith is not as strong as I want it to be. So I am trying to help it grow.

I am not sure I have all the elements that I need or that the mixture is quite right. But I am happy to tweak the formula anytime. I am choosing to spend more time on my knees, more time in the scriptures, and more time studying other inspiring resources.

This week our community was pounded by great gusts of wind. We were without electricity for much of the day. Trees were toppled and roofs blew away.

Perhaps it may not seem sensible to anyone but me, but the strength of that wind increased my faith. Heavenly Father is controls the wind, which blew over garbage cans and storage sheds. His wind blew garbage through the streets and bark from our flower beds. I could physically see His power and His strength. I could see how in charge of the world God is. I could feel my complete dependence on Him.

The physical evidence of His power enabled me to see and think differently about what He can do. Though the wind was powerful and created damage in its wake, it reminded me of how powerful God is and how much good He brings into my life.

His power makes the impossible seem more possible!

I am learning an interesting lesson from the wind.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Broken

I decided that I wanted this year to be a good year. Notice the word "I" in that first sentence. You see it would appear that somehow the memo did not make it around the circle of people who are part of my life. I know, hard to believe. I could make a case that since I decided that I wanted to create a happy year the universe would line up with me and start sending me all good things. Or at least not so many challenging things. So far, I think there has been a major communication flaw in the system.

That does not mean that nothing good has happened. Many good things have. Given the appropriate effort, I could come up with some of them. I do not suppose I would ever remember them all. I may not even recognize them all, because my perspective can be out of whack. But I am certain I could make a list of good things. Even miracles!

But this has been a week of challenges. Hard things for me personally. Hurtful memories. Hurtful experiences.

And I feel broken!

No, it is not the first time. And it may not be the last. Because I have I felt broken, defeated, and hopeless, it seems difficult to keep up the goals I made for myself at the beginning of the year.

But I have not yet given into defeat!

I have risen from my bed every morning to face the world. I have tried to smile more through the difficult moments. I have carried on with normal daily activities. I have conquered some hard projects. I have pushed outside my comfort zone.

And I have gone to my knees!

I believe in prayer because I believe in God. I believe that when I talk to Heavenly Father, no matter where I am, He will listen to me. I have prayed in many places throughout my life. I do not think that it matters where I am or who I am with or what I am doing. I can still pray. The door to heaven is open. Heavenly Father is there for me.

This year I wanted to demonstrate a greater willingness to be humble and teachable. I decided I wanted to participate in more frequent kneeling, meaningful, listening prayers. Thanks to the bombardment of life, I have exceeded my own goal of kneeling prayer. I am still working on the meaningful and listening part.

For me, that is the good news that keeps me hanging on. When there is no friend or family member or even acquaintance who cares, or is available, or has the time. Heavenly Father is waiting. He does not check His watch because He has another more important appointment. He isn't half listening during the television commercial. There are no impatient tapping toes or drumming fingers. I do not hear him interrupt me while I a speaking.  He does not point out why what I am saying is wrong before I have even finished saying it. He does not storm from the room in anger or turn His back and walk away while I am talking. My prayers are not answered with a tirade of criticism or profanity. No rolling eyes, unpleasant groans, or other annoying noises come my way.

He is always there and when I need a friend, He just listens!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Obedience

There are so many things in life I need to do better. One of them is obedience.

This was brought to my mind as I remembered an experience many years ago. I was a member of a young women presidency in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We were planning an activity for the young women, as a presidency. I believe it was New Beginnings. As plans came together, we each suggested our ideas. Some ideas were accepted. Some ideas were not. The president listened willingly to each suggestion and they were discussed freely and openly. We all seemed to be in agreement until the planning neared an end. The other counselor seemed set on one of her ideas. After it's discussion, the president kindly rejected the idea. Carefully she explained the reasons she would not approve and I thought the issue had ended. But this woman would not let it go. She continued to plead her case. But to no avail. The president stood behind her decision. For whatever reason, the counselor again would not accept the decision of the president. Matter-of-factly she informed us all that it would be happening. She would make it happen. She would make all the arrangements and cover the financial cost. End of discussion.

I remember how shocked I was by her attitude. My belief then and now is that the president has the final stay. While it is certainly easier if we can all agree, once the president has made the decision, it is time to get behind and support that decision.

That definitely does not mean that we should do anything illegal, immoral, or that goes against our own standards of belief or values. But this was not that kind of issue. For me, it was not a big deal. But it had suddenly become one.

My recollection is that the meeting was over and it felt rather awkward and uncomfortable as we parted company. I was stunned by the defiant attitude of this woman. It was puzzling to see her behavior and wonder what was driving her to open rebellion. For her this was a very big deal.

I was never involved in any further discussion of the matter. The evening came and went. She did indeed carry forth with her desire. In essence, she won the victory. Or did she?

As I have pondered this experience, I have envisioned myself in my own acts of defiance. I have seen me battle for my own cause and agenda. Believe me when I say it is not often pretty. I can behave just as this woman did. Maybe even worse.

It has been a good reminder for me about obedience.  And my need to repent and change. I can be found muttering and complaining with the best of them. I can grumble and gripe and murmur. I can stand in opposition.

I believe we are lead by a prophet of God, who speaks for Heavenly Father. I believe that when a prophet of God speaks, we should listen and obey. Yet, my actions do not always match my beliefs.

Scriptures teach that obedience is the first law of heaven. I guess that is a very good place for me to begun!