Sunday, September 25, 2011

Forget Not. . .

I almost didn't get to attend the Relief Society Broadcast this past Saturday night. I was scheduled to work. But luckily, my assistant manager was willing and able to switch shifts with me.

I cannot even really begin to express how uplifting and inspiring the talks were for me.  It has been a very emotional, difficult week for me and the calm, peaceful feelings of the Spirit were just what I needed to bring the week to a close. I thoroughly enjoyed every single talk. I especially loved President Uchtdorf's talk. He is just so kind, so gentle, so easy to listen to. Actually, I think I like the whole Presidency equally.

Sometimes, after these types of meetings, I come away feeling really overwhelmed at all the things I should be doing that I'm falling short at. I feel like I'm never going to be able to "make it" because I just can't get all the gears in motion at the right time, at the right speed and in the right direction! But this time, I came away feeling empowered. Feeling like I was on the right track and I just need to keep moving forward. I feel like I can do this! Like I can succeed!

If you weren't able to attend the broadcast, you can read about it here. And President Uchtdorf's talk is also at this link in it's entirety. I knew as soon as I heard him talking, that I was going to need to design something to go along with his talk. The designs were already rattling around in my brain. I wasn't surprised that I wasn't the only one as a few cute designs started popping up on Facebook. So, today I got to work! Hope you like it.

I think my favorite part of the whole talk was the section on the "why" of the gospel. I have always felt that understanding why we do the things we do is so important. Understanding why we do it, changes the way we do it! Whatever "it" is. I know that there have been times in my life that I have done something simply because it was the "right" thing to do. But I also have gone into it with a desire to understand the "why" behind the commandment, the task, or whatever "it" may have been. And I believe that because of my willingness to be obedient before I fully understood the "why" coupled with my desire to understand put me in a position where I was able to be blessed with a clearer understanding--a testimony--of the principle. I know that I could never had made it through some of the experiences that I have had without being blessed with a deeper understanding.

I fully believe that our Heavenly Father is preoccupied (as Elder Maxwell once put it) with one thing. And that is to "bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man" (see Moses 1:39). Every trial, every blessing, every thing we experience is with that one goal in mind. While some days I lose sight of this goal and stumble, it is my goal also to be able to obtain "immortality and eternal life" and to help as many as I can to obtain it also!!

I hope that we can all remember to "forget not" these very important things that will help us and help those we are privileged to associate with as we move forward. Forward and never backwards. Onto "immortality and eternal life!"

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Keep the Faith!

I'm not really sure why I cannot get better at being consistent in writing on this crazy blog thing. Know that I have thought about things to write. A Lot! It's just finding the time to sit and write. Then there's the whole "make it look cool" aspect (that all my friends that blog do so well) that I just never seem to get right! I'm thinking right now, we're just lucky that I'm finding a moment in my craziness to jot down a few of my many random thoughts!! And I'm just assuming that you're feeling it's a good thing that I've posted another random posting. I mean, you must want to read what I write or you wouldn't have even clicked on the link to be here!! (thanks, by the way!)

So recently, I had a very dear friend say her final goodbyes to me and all the people that she loves. It has been (and still is) a difficult time, to say the least. It has been a time for me to do a lot of pondering, praying, reading, and all that kind of stuff! On one of the last days that I had to spend visiting with my friend, I kept thinking about a specific scripture. It was something my Mission President use to say all the time. He never really said goodbye when he was done visiting with you. He would simply say, "Keep the Faith". I kept thinking about the scripture where this originated from and how Paul was saying that he had kept the faith after a long, difficult ministry. So I looked it up to see if it was really something that would be relevant (have you ever had a scripture come to your mind in relation to a situation, only to look it up and find that it isn't really what you were thinking it was? Well, I had to see if this would be one of those times). The scripture is in 2 Timothy chapter 4. Here's what I read:

For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me:

It fit this situation to a "T". My friend had indeed fought a good fight. She has battled kidney failure for many years. She endured two transplants that her body eventually rejected and a third transplant just wasn't in the plan for her. Over the years, I have had the privilege to witness her faith buoy her up. And not just her, but all those around her! She set the example for me to follow of one who is willing to keep the faith at all time, in all places and in all circumstances.

It was clear that she knew that her time to return Home had come--that the time of her departure was at hand. She accepted that without fear. Without anger. Without regrets. And it is a comfort to feel certain that truly a crown of righteousness awaits her. I hope that I can live my life so that when the time comes for my departure I can say with confidence that I have fought a good fight, that I have finished my course and that I have kept the faith!

As we read this scripture together~my friend, her husband, me and my husband and other friends that had gathered--the Spirit bore witness that she had indeed finished her course. All that she was to do had been done. It was her time to depart us here and return Home where she would find many more loved ones waiting for her. Including a son and a brother. Her husband ask that I design something that he could have hanging in his home with this scripture. Here is the result of his request (please excuse the watermark with my copyright).

I have had this printed up and will deliver the framed piece to my dear friend's husband tonight. I hope and pray that it can bring peace and hope to his heart and fill his soul with determination to fight the fight that lies ahead of him, to finish his course and keep the faith!!

May we all find it within us to
"Keep the Faith!"

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Circle of Life

March 9, 2011 would've been my Dad's 90 birthday! He's been gone for just over 3 years now and I have missed him. I have often thought of advice that he would give me if he could as I have tried to make decisions using the wisdom that he helped me obtain over the years. My Dad was a good man, although at time a little misdirected. He always gave good advice. He was definitely not without his flaws--but none of us are! My Dad taught me to be true to what I professed to believe. He taught me that anything is possible with a lot of determination, hard work and faith in God. I miss my Dad and hope that the things I do will make him feel proud.

March 9th is also a day that one of my friends had her baby. It was a good day to have a baby! I was so happy when she told me that I could come to the hospital and take pictures for her. There is just something about a newborn baby that seems to put this crazy, chaotic world at peace--even if just for a moment. I created a slideshow with the images that I took, but for the life of me, cannot get it to load up here! If you're on Facebook and are my friend (or a fan of Merrill Design & Photography) you can see it there. Here are a few samples from the session. I hope that as you look at these, you will feel the peace that I felt as I worked with this new addition to our earth!