Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Hope and faith. And don't forget charity!

This morning I read a quote that said, "Hope has a way of being self-perpetuating. Hope breeds faith. And faith produces miracles."

In conjunction with that, I just happened to finish reading the Book of Mormon again this morning. As I read in Moroni, chapter 10, I thought about the above quote from Tito Momen.

In Moroni 10:20, it says, "Wherefore, there must be faith; and if there must be faith there must also be hope; and if there must be hope there must also be charity." Moroni teaches how hope, faith and charity are all related. It is clear that they each depends upon the other. You really cannot have one without the other. They help each other to grow, to be more effective and to produce miracles. Moroni even goes so far as to say that without each of these gifts (hope, faith and charity) one cannot be saved in the kingdom of God! (Moroni 10:21)

This caused me to ponder, "What do I have hope in?" "What is my faith is doing for me, for my family and for those for whom I have a stewardship over because of my calling." And, "If I possess this charity that Moroni talks about and do I truly use it to bless our lives?"

The results of my morning pondering: I find myself feeling "acceptable", but with MUCH to learn and a long road to walk still. I find myself contemplating the importance of enduring. Of not giving up, of thinking I've done enough. Although I think it is good to look back on my life and see how far I've come and what I've been able to do for good, I also vehemently support the idea that one cannot justify sitting back and not continuing in good works because of all that he/she has done in the past.

I am grateful to be able to say that ever since I was brought back into activity as a youth, I have not gone inactive again. I am grateful to say that ever since I received my first temple recommend and was endowed, I have always held an active temple recommend. But I am quick to acknowledge that I have not been able to so this alone. I have been given many wonderful people and experiences to help all along the way. I also am quick to acknowledge that I am weak and prone to wander. Prone to falter. And understanding that fact coupled with recognizing all the Divine providence that has been in my life brings such a feeling of gratitude to my Savior and for the Atonement that my heart fills to capacity and my eyes become wet with emotion.

Hope. Faith. Charity. I could study daily these things and still not exhaust my need to learn more!

Saturday, November 9, 2013


Earlier tonight, I found myself wanting to do a status update on Facebook that would describe some of what I was feeling at the moment. As I searched for the right words and began to type, I found myself deleting the words and starting over. After the third time, I gave up and decided not to post anything of any real significance after all. In fact, I simply stated to all my Facebook-world friends that I had started and erased my status update three times! The response I got was a little unexpected and caused me to wonder if I should have just posted my original thought in the first place. As I started to explain myself on a public forum, I decided that maybe here would be a better venue. Much less attention given here and a more selective audience who I know won't roll their eyes and scoff at my thoughts. I mean, if you're reading this, it is because you chose to come to this particular site and read my random thoughts. You had some amount of understanding of what you were getting yourself into! Whereas on Facebook, it just shows up in front of your face whether you really wanted to read it or not!!!

So what did I want to post on Facebook that never made it there? You can only continue to read if you promise not to roll your eyes! (Or at least don't tell me that you rolled your eyes!)

I just wanted to say how sometimes, when I contemplate my life, how giddy it makes me feel inside. To realize simply that Heavenly Father knows and loves me! I think about people in our society who society has deemed as "important". And many of them truly are important. But they don't know me or really care about me as an individual. But Heavenly Father...He knows me! And he LOVES me!! And It fills me with all kinds of wonderful feelings to know this. So much so that sometimes I just want to announce it to everyone I know! And I want with all my heart for everyone I know to also be able to know this for themselves. But I am so limited and flawed and selfish. And I fall very short when it comes to doing my part. Yet--HE STILL LOVES ME ANYWAY!! It's so amazing! It's so humbling. It's so motivating! 

And why, you may wonder, would I not put that on Facebook? Don't judge. . .or don't keep reading! I don't want someone who doesn't know this for themselves to feel like I think I'm better than they are. Or feel badly and get discouraged. I don't want someone to feel like I'm trying to be all preachy and stop wanting to be my "friend." 

I know that I'm kind of a "one-track-mind" kind of person. I tend to get fixated on things. I tend to see everything in my life through whatever spectacles I am wearing at the time. And right now in my life, I am pretty fixated on spiritual, gospel related things. It sometimes drives my kids crazy. But truth is, when I'm fixated on something, it is very personal to me. I don't want to put such things "out there" to be judged and scoffed. But here, on my little blog that only a few ever read, I feel safe. So--Thank you for reading this. Thank you for not judging or scoffing! Thank you for choosing to read my random and often non-sensical thoughts!

It's good to have good friends! ;-)

Friday, November 8, 2013

People Watching and Recurring Lessons!

I had a moment of clarity today that has stayed with me. I had a moment where I was just sitting and watching people around me. I have always liked to sit and observe others. People are fascinating! As I was observing everyone, I felt like I could see everyone's flaws. People seemed to be broken, sad, and troubled. I felt like I could feel their longing to be accepted, loved and needed. I became keenly aware how much I was just like them as I contemplated my own mortal state and my many weaknesses and insecurities. Then, in an instant it seemed, I was filled with the knowledge that each and everyone of us are known and loved by our Heavenly Father. And I felt so strongly the truth that each and every one of us, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, can be perfected. We can be mended, given joy and peace and whatever we need to overcome! Eternal Life is the promise. It is what God intends to give us if we will have it. 

As I think about this more, I feel deeply the importance of loving and not judging those around us. It is so easy to judge others. And so many reason why we slip into that mode. Personally, I find myself doing it when I am feeling insecure. But it is wrong. And I am finding there is one sure way to stop it. I ask myself what does God feel about this person? What does God feel about me? And the answer is simple. HE LOVES THEM! HE LOVE ME!! We are each, individually, so very important to Him. We are His children. We are valued and needed. 

Look around you. Who do you see? Whoever you see, remember that he or she is a valued child of God and He loves them! Find a mirror. Who do you see? A valued child of God and He loves you!

This reminds me of an experience I had while on my mission. It had been a long, difficult day. We had not had a lot of success in our search that day for people to teach. On the way home, on the subway, I began to feel sorry for myself and frustrated that things were so difficult. Then, for some reason, I thought of the song, "I Am A Child of God" only, as I looked around at the people sitting quietly on the train, I found myself singing, "She is a child of God, and He has sent her here." It changed everything! These were not people who were out to make my life miserable. They were His children. He knew them. He cared for them and He asked me to be there to help them in whatever ways I could. It was not be done on my terms though. I had to learn to do things His way. I had to learn to submit. 

And here I am now, 25+ year later, still being taught the same lessons! I guess I shouldn't get too frustrated with my own children when they don't learn the "lesson" right away either!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Inquiring of the Lord

Yesterday morning, as I was sipping on my Shakeology/Breakfast, I opened up my scriptures to read a little. These days, I do most of my reading on my iPhone or iPad rather than in my regular scriptures. I typically make sure that I've read at least one whole chapter each day. But for some reason, the last time I read, I stopped only a few versus into the chapter before updating the bookmark. So today, I started in the middle of a thought, as it were. And after only one sentence, I had to stop and ponder for the rest of the time what I had just read and what I felt I had just been taught!

In this verse, Mormon simply states, "immediately after I had learned these things of you, I inquired of the Lord concerning the matter." 

At the moment that I read this sentence, I did not remember just what was going on nor exactly what Mormon was referring to having just learned. However, I was jolted awake as I thought about a divine principle that seemed to be before my eyes. I didn't take the time at the moment to read more and  see just exactly what was going on -- I was too wrapped up in other thoughts. Here's the lesson I learned.

Basic and simple--whenever I am taught something, I have the right to inquire of the Lord concerning that which I have been taught. To know if it is true. To know what the Lord would have me know concerning it. I thought of the scripture in Nephi (one of my favorite scriptures that I often quote to myself) where he is talking with his brothers who were a bit frustrated about Lehi's dream and the interpretation of it. They could not understand what it meant. And Nephi asks them thee question of all questions: "Have ye inquired of the Lord?" (1 Nephi 15:8). I love this. Whenever I feel frustrated about something I don't quite understand, I often remind myself that I should inquire of the Lord by quoting this to myself. "Have ye inquired of the Lord?" Often when I visit with others, when I have good, heart-to-heart talks with my children (which actually does happen on occasion!), I always try to invite them to go to the Lord in prayer, to "inquire of the Lord concerning the matter." I know that I can promise them that as they do so -- sincerely and with pure intent -- the Lord will guide them and provide answers for them. 

So I just love the lesson that I learned this morning. I feel like it states very plaining and clearly that I can pray not only to know the Lord's will for me, but also I can pray to have my own testimony and understanding of what is taught to me from anyone, anywhere, anytime! 

Now, I know that there is another lesson in these versus. Mormon is saying that when he was made aware of a certain situation, he went to the Lord to inquire about what the Lord wanted to have done to remedy the situation. And he was given very clear direction. It is my testimony that this is also a true principle. If anything happens around us that we don't agree with, if we are taught anything that we don't feel is right, if we want to have a greater knowledge and understanding of what is right and what the Lord's will is, we can inquire of Him concerning the matter. And, just as Mormon was taught, we too can be taught. 

I love that I know that I can "inquire of the Lord" about anything. About truths I've been taught. About things I don't feel are right. And I can know for myself the truthfulness of Eternal Principles I can know for myself what is right and what is wrong. And I can be guided and directed about how to act and how to help build the Kingdom in my little corner of this world. 

The Lord has given us many gifts. He has also given each of us the right, the privilege and the responsibility to use our gifts to bless the lives of those around us. We will be blessed as we do and we will feel his love more abundantly as we seek to have knowledge and understanding of Eternal Truths. How grateful I am to know this. How grateful I am to have experienced the process in my life. It brings joy and an abundance of love into my life that could come by no other means!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


As Winter approaches I find myself contemplating the seasons of life. 

I do not like Winter!! 

It is, symbolically, a trial for me. 

But I love Spring! 

I love the symbolism of Spring. The renewal of life. I love seeing the landscape come back alive. Grass, trees, flowers--all come back to color my life with beauty. My heart is always filled with gratitude as I am visually reminded of the promise of the resurrection and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. And I know that I would not appreciate the Spring as much if I did not have the contrast of Winter right before it!

I have long been familiar with the strange, always unwelcomed, season of adversity. No more, however, than many I know. We all must encounter it in our lives. I used to think that it would come, be endured, perhaps even overcome, and then pass, never to be faced again. If I could just hold out and come through it with some small amount of faith still intact, then all would be well. Time, and many seasons of adversity later, I know through bitter-sweet experience, that I was wrong!! It is much like Winter. It cycles through and will come again.

It is amazing to me, and I cannot fully understand how it works, but I have learned from my own experiences that adversity in our lives is directly connected to blessings and growth. It is a means of being able to experience, and truly understand, joy! True, lasting joy. 

My dad used to tell me that if I didn't have any troubles in my life I should kneel down and ask God why He didn't love me anymore! Advice that is in stark contrast to the world in general who instead ask God why He doesn't love them because they are experiencing trials. I don't know that the absence of trials is indicative of our Heavenly Father not loving us,  but I do know that the presence of trials does not indicate that He doesn't love us!! 

What is expected of us during seasons of adversity? How do we get through? I love this quote from Deiter F. Uchtdorf that I found in the September issue of the Ensign. Look how he clearly answers both of these questions!

"The question is not whether we will experience seasons of adversity but how we will weather the storms. Our great opportunity during the ever-changing seasons of life is to hold fast to the faithful word of God, for His counsel is designed not only to help us weather the storms of life but also to guide us past them.”

It is through holding onto the teachings of the Savior that we endure. It is what is expected of us! It is the only way to come out on the other side victorious. We don't do it by ourselves. We do it by relying on the Atonement of Jesus Christ and by not turning away from Him! 

I have both experienced and watched those I love weather through difficult seasons. I have never seen someone emerge from such things unchanged. Sadly, not always for the better. There must be a conscience choice made. The choice to come off conqueror. The choice to endure and to better in the end because of it. The choice to accept the Offering of the Savior and take His yoke and allow Him to share the burden, to give shelter, to give strength and hope and, yes, even joy! If the decision is not made and we do not commit fully to it, then we will not gain the full reward that could be ours. The trial is only bitter. We miss out on the sweet. 

I do not welcome adversity any more than I welcome Winter! However, I know that to have the Spring, there must be a Winter! For without it, truly, Spring would not be so glorious!! So, with Winter quickly approaching, I will prepare for it. And, in like manner, I will prepare for seasons of adversity, knowing that my loving Heavenly Father has provided for me counsel and other resources "designed not only to help [me] weather the storm. . .but also to guide [me] past [it]."

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


September 10, 1988. My wedding day. Twenty-Five years ago!

A lifetime ago! 

So much has changed in our lives over the years. Eight children. Grandchildren are beginning to join our family. But, I wonder, have I changed?

I'm twenty-five years older. I have experienced things I never wanted to experience. I have seen things that have caused me to stand in awe of all that our Creator has done for me. I have felt things deeper than I ever dreamed possible. I know things I never imagined that I could know! But I still feel like I have so much to learn. Still so much to do. 

I know I have changed. I have matured. I have had experiences that have allowed me to grow spiritually, emotionally, and (I must face the facts) physically! 

I think back on the years that have passed. Some already fading into a vapor of time forgotten. How did the children grow up so quickly? How did the time go by without me noticing?! 

Regrets? How can there not be regrets?! And yet, the sting of knowing that I could have done things better is soothed by the comfort that only the Atonement can bring. 

Together, we have remained faithful. True to the covenants we made in the House of the Lord so long ago. Promises that were made have been kept, and though we have stumbled and faltered, we stayed by each other's side and lifted, pulled and pushed each other through the difficult times. Times that would have been impossible without each other. Times that would have been meaningless without each other! 

The trials, the overwhelming pain, and sorrows that we have passed through stand in stark contrast to the blessings, the love and the immeasurable joy that we have also felt. And all these together have served but one purpose. To bring us, together as a married couple with our children, closer to Him who meekly bore all things so that we could one day be crowned with glory. His mercy. His love. His Infinite Atonement has made it all possible!

There is not room enough in my heart to hold the gratitude. There are not words adequate enough to describe the joy. I stand all amazed at the love, the mercy, the complete acceptance and unconditional love of the Savior.

Yes! I know I have changed. And with me, the Love of My Life has also changed. We have changed together and we are growing together. We are lucky. We have worked hard to get where we are. We are blessed. We are determined. We love each other more than we love ourselves. But, most importantly, we love our Savior more than we love each other. And we walk together on a path that leads back to Him. Back to where our family can be together. Forever. 

September 10, 2013. My twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. It came and went without much fanfare. But somewhere in Heaven, there are angels rejoicing and cheering us on. Onward, ever onward! Eternity is waiting and we are marching forward, hand in hand with our Savior!

Monday, September 2, 2013

A Lesson on the Principle of Repentance

I don't write much. I don't have many "followers" and I don't do a lot to promote this blog. But I still keep it because every so often, I have the need to share something with a wider audience than that which reads my journal (which consists of me). So for anyone who happens to read this, thank you!

Recently, my daughter and I went to the church to help with the cleaning assignment. We were a little late getting there and found that most of the things that are routinely done were being taken care of already. So I said that we would clean some walls. It was brought to my attention that there was some food that had gotten spilled on a wall in one of the classrooms. I went to clean it only to find that it had hardened onto the wall and I wasn't able to wipe it off easily. I sprayed the food with the cleanser and then went to find something I could scrape it with. That didn't work so well though because the razor blade I obtained was also scraping off the paint. So I sat patiently. I sprayed the food. Waited. Then wiped. It was a tedious process and it took a long time. As the food dissolved and I was able to wipe it away, little by little, I had time to ponder this process and my mind thought about the Atonement and what a great gift repentance is.

Just as it would have been easier to clean the food up when it first got spilled, so it is with our sins if we repent right away. The longer we wait, the harder it is. However, the healing power of the Atonement is like the cleanser. We must apply it and then let it soak into our souls. It may take time. More time than we would like. But the result is we are clean. The stain is removed. Applying the healing balm of the Atonement is the key. There are many in our lives who can help "wipe" the stain clean but we must first open our hearts to the Atonement and be willing to repent.