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







Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Gratitude

Tis a good day to be grateful! 

Many days are not perfect, perhaps even most days. There are moments of challenge, disappointment and discouragement in almost every day. During any one day so many things can happen that one can easily experience at least a half dozen emotions from joy to fear and everything in between. How long I hold onto those emotions can make all the difference in the world within my soul.

If I hold on tight to fear, it will become a frightening day. If I hold onto the feelings of disappointment, my day will probably remain disappointing. If I hold onto the sweet feelings that come with offering service, those sweet feelings will linger and color my day.

Today is a day of all those things and more. But I choose today, at this moment to focus on gratitude and feel that in my heart. I want to be grateful!

I cannot be everywhere I want to be at the same time this week. I cannot do all the things that are important to me. It is just not possible. Some hard choices and sacrifices have been required. And I could choose to hold onto those feelings of being heartbroken at the loss I feel.

But would it help?

I want to be grateful today that I am so blessed. I am not stranded somewhere in the middle of crossing the plains in the heat of summer or the blast of winter. I am safe, warm and dry in my own home. I have access to water, air, electricity and food. I am just fine.

My washing machine and dryer have served me well today, as I will soon have cleaner fresher clothing to wear.

I am grateful that as we watched dangerous weather systems approach our far away family, the storm faded before it did the serious damage that was expected. Tornado season is just beginning and it brings grave concern into my heart for my family who live among the plains. But I am grateful that each time the tornados have come very close, my loved ones have been protected.

I am grateful that I have things to do that stretch me and help me learn and grow. Though at times these moments of stretching are painful, I recognize that I came here for just such things - to stretch and become something different.

It is a day to be grateful for the beautiful spring season when the world I live in awakens with new life and color. It reminds me of the Resurrection of the Savior Jesus Christ who rose from death, conquering that plague for us all.

Today I am blessed with eyes that see and ears that hear. My hands serve me constantly as I work at living life. My legs and feet serve me as I climb up and down the stairs a dozen times a day. I have a heart that beats and lungs that breath. I believe that I take them for granted and rarely think about how easily and automatically they work.

Tis a day to be grateful for the blessing of prayer. I can call upon Heavenly Father often. And I do. I am grateful that I do not have to take a number and wait or schedule a busy appointment. He is always there.

Today is truly a day for me to be grateful!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Blessed ByThe Temple

I feel so blessed to have a temple close by so that I can be there in about 45 minutes. The temple stands as a beacon of light for me. Being in the temple brings me a feeling of peace and comfort. As I walk back into the world after temple service, I find that the world looks more beautiful. Colors are brighter and I more clearly see the majesty of God's creations.

As my children grew up and flew away from home, I prayed often for them to live in the valley of the temple, because I wanted their lives to be blessed by the presence of the temple. I believe that the presence of a temple brings goodness and light to all in its midst. It is a symbol of faithfulness and invites God into our midst. A temple takes a stand against the adversary. At this season, all of my family live within a valley of the temple. Some are closer than others. Some are in seasons where temple service is easier to squeeze into busy lives. And I am grateful that Heavenly Father has answered that prayer, for this season.

As I looked at my list of things to do a few of weeks ago, it registered that I had an unexpected day off from work. What a treat! The long list of possibilities began to trickle into my mind. And as the trickle began to turn into a raging torrent, the impression came that I should attend the temple. I have many family names prepared and waiting for the opportunity for me to serve them in the temple. So, I tucked that idea away as the days passed, planning on spending some of my day in the temple.

But the day before, I began to have second thoughts. First thing in the morning as I started my car, the check engine light came on. Again! That was the first flicker of 'maybe I should not drive to the temple tomorrow.' Was it safe to drive the car to the temple? 

The second and slightly louder flicker came as I realized that I had a very sore neck. It hurt a lot. It felt like a stiff and immovable object. I considered it could be unwise to be driving if I could not turn my neck to see other vehicles on the road. And the excuses continued to pour into my mind. So many things to do and so little time.

The final thoughts that poured into my mind came as my husbands schedule for that day changed and bought more fluctuations. I climbed into bed that night, certain that I would stay home instead.

But upon awakening, again the impression came that I needed to be in the temple. I did not know how it would work out. I did not know if my attending the temple would interfere with my husband's day as it was stacking up. It appeared that there was a chance he would only be at work for part of the day. If he came home early, would he want to go to the temple too?  Should I wait, just in case? Would he be too tired?

But the impression came again and I packed my bag before he left and told him I was seriously considering attending the temple. There was simply no way for him to know what his day would bring and so I filled the gas tank in the car and headed to the temple. In my mind I had a plan of what I needed to accomplish in the temple that day. The plan worked!  Not exactly as I had mentally mapped out, but I was able to accomplish the goal impressed on my mind.

As I served my ancestors in the temple, I realized that my neck was no longer stiff. I could move it with ease. As I drove home from the temple, I realized that it not only moved easily, it no longer hurt at all. I wondered if it would begin to hurt again as days passed. But it has not.

My second blessed miracle for the day occurred as I started my car in the parking lot to return home. The check engine light did not come on. Nor has it since.

My time in the temple was sweet and wonderful and everything worked out. Even though I was not certain where I needed to be and what I needed to do with my day without work, Heavenly Father did. Thank heavens He is patient with me and told me more than once!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Had an interesting experience with a person that I work with. We are friendly, but we really do not know each other well at all. We interact with each other only at work and that is limited because our job responsibilities are not even in the same part of the building. I think she likes her job quite well, but has expressed a few times that it does not provide for her needs as well as she would like it to. I also know that she has turned down another job because that employer wanted her to start immediately and would not allow her to give a two week notice. It sounded like it would be more money for her as well as having additional insurance benefits, if she had ben willing to take the job. I admired her loyalty. She expressed her frustration that things had not worked out well. She wondered how the person who wanted her to immediately leave her current job would feel, if the tables were turned and she failed to give adequate notice before leaving his employment.

One day we ended up in the work room at the same time. The work day was nearly completed and we needed a place to hide for a few minutes because all the other common areas of the building were in use for private meetings. Neither of us belonged in those spaces and we ended up in the same spot, with a few moments to kill.

Suddenly my coworker shared a very personal experience with me. Her grandfather passed away late last year. She has felt his loss keenly. She has missed him enough that she has not spoken much about it at all. It is still too tender.

She shared with me a dream that she had recently experienced. She was with her grandfather.  She spent time with him and he told her that she no longer needed to be concerned for him. He was just fine. He did not want her to feel sad or miss him. She saw him in a setting that was familiar, a place where he would really be on this earth. She had seen him there before. He was wearing clothing she recognized. He looked happy. She felt a great sense of peace and comfort.

When she woke from her dream, it felt very real to her, much more real than any other dream. She was wide awake and felt the peace of her dream wash over her. She was relieved and felt that the message of the dream was real.

She shared her dream with her uncle, who also mourned the loss of his brother a great deal. After she shared her dream, her uncle shared a dream of similar nature that he had experienced on the same night that she had. He had also visited with his brother. The dream took place in the same setting. He also recognized the clothing that his brother wore. When he described the jeans, plaid shirt, and hat; my friend was stunned. The clothing he described was exactly the same as what she had seen in her dream.

Her uncle had felt the dream to be more real than any dream he had experienced before. He had received the same message my friend had received. He too, felt the peace and comfort wash over him as he awoke from his dream.

I am not sure why she chose to share her experience with me. Certainly it was a risk to tell anyone of such an experience. We have not talked about our religious beliefs before, ever. We have not talked about life after death either.

But somehow, she seemed to know that I would be interested and believe her. And I do. I told her that I believe in life after death and her experience added to my conviction. I suggested she and her uncle might want to consider recording the details of their dreams, while they were fresh in their minds. I suggested they include the colors and places in details. Write down the feelings and the things you heard, before the memory begins to fade so you can read it as the details disappear.

Sometime, I will ask her if she did.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Looking in the Mirror

What a blessing to live at this time. It is a time of great opportunity and challenge. It is a day of great wealth and great poverty. It is a season of great peace and great turmoil. It is a time of great knowledge and great ignorance. There is much of power and influence among us but also much of humility and kindness.

Many are able to influence and control with wealth and power. But today I am grateful for those who have the ability to influence me with words of wisdom and great counsel, with kindness and peace, with Priesthood Power. I am grateful for prophets of God who live on the earth today. I am grateful to listen to their words and see myself in light of the truth that they share. I am grateful for the technology that allows me to listen and watch within my own home. It is miraculous to listen and read the words again and again, so readily and so easily.

Just days ago I listened to The General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Because I wanted to get all that I could to strengthen and guide me, I prepared for weeks with prayer, fasting, and scripture study. I wanted my heart and my mind to be ready to receive. I asked Heavenly Father that I might know what messages were just for me. I asked that I might receive all that was offered with a softened heart. I prayed that The Holy Ghost would teach me.

And then I feasted!

The music and spoken word were like a banquet for my spiritually starving soul. It seemed the time passed way to quickly and conference was over long before I was filled. But I will be able to feast again and again as I listen to and read the words again and again.

I have begun to look at myself through the mirror of the words spoken at General Conference. It is an interesting exercise to attempt to look at oneself armed with truth. One sees many flaws, weaknesses and errors. One sees words that were said that should not have been said. One also sees words that should have been spoken but were not. It is easy to see things that should have been done that were not and also those that were done that should have not been even considered. It is easy to see all the bad.

But if one looks with truth, one also needs to recognize that all is not lost. There is hope yet as one desires and works at making changes. Though it may be a bit like watching grass grow, it is good to see that one is moving forward bit by bit, choice by choice, toward discipleship. For that is my goal: to be a disciple of Christ.

It could be easy to see only those things that are wrong and sink in a sea of doubt. But prophets of God remind us that even when we try, we are blessed. So as I look at the reflection in the mirror, I also see the things that I am working on. I see the times when I have resisted temptation. I can see that there is a moment here and there when I inched along as I overcame my own selfish desires and served another person. I see that maybe there is hope for me yet.

Even as I see the reflection of my failings, I am buoyed along by my faith and testimony in The Savior Jesus Christ and His Infinite Atonement. For though I am weak, He is strong and has power to save. In the mirror, I see Him walking beside me, letting me lean on Him, and I hear His words cheering me along.