Sunday, August 22, 2010

Ah.... Sunday

After a fitful night's sleep, I awoke around 6:30 this morning and began to ready myself for the long day ahead of me. I was tired, struggling with family problems, and really just wanted to pull the covers over my head and stay where I was until, well, until much later. I hoisted my tired aching body out of bed, ate some honeydew melon, showered, dressed and made it out the door in time to be about ten minutes late (again) for Church. I quietly eased into a seat beside a sweet young mother and her baby daughter.

With gratitude in my heart for at least being there in time to take the Sacrament, I bowed my head in silent prayer. "Please, soften my heart," I prayed. "Heavenly Father, please bless me now." That was all I could think of to pray for. I opened my eyes, and all around me were friends. I was at home, another safe place. I realized that I already was blessed with an abundance of love that I could see and feel. My heart not only softened, I think it melted, just a bit.

Tonight, as I opened up my blog and started typing, a message came to me that I thought I should share with you. It's from Jeffrey R. Holland, one of the leaders of our Church. All of his talks (sermons) seem to strike some nerve with me. My favorite talk of his is entitled, He Hath Filled the Hungry with Good Things. In this particular talk, he is speaking to anyone and everyone, regardless of our situations in life. He extends an invitation to all who hunger and thirst, but cannot be satisfied with the choices being dished out by the vain and foolish servants in a world of pride, greed, and selfishness.

Responding to Elder Holland's invitation requires a desire for change. He said: "Everything in the gospel teaches us that we can change if we need to, that we can be helped if we truly want it, that we can be made whole, whatever the problems of the past." I believe this can happen, but that it will only happen when a need for change is recognized and truly sought after. I love the phrase hunger and thirst. It seems to demand some action to prevent death, either physical or spiritual, or both. A feast can be laid out before us, but unless we reach out to partake of it, we are still left as empty as we were before we took our seat at the table.

Also included in Elder Holland's talk was this: "In spite of life's tribulations and as fearful as some of our prospects are, I testify that there is help for the journey. There is the Bread of Eternal Life and the Well of Living Water. Christ has overcome the world--our world--and His gift to us is peace now and exaltation in the world to come. Our fundamental requirement is to have faith in Him and follow Him--always. When He bids us to walk in His way and by His light, it is because He has walked this way before us, and He has made it safe for our own travel here. He knows where the sharp stones and stumbling blocks lie hidden and where thorns and thistles are the most severe. He knows where the path is perilous, and He knows which way to go when the road forks and nightfall comes. He knows all this ..... because He has suffered 'pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind . . . , that he may know . . . how to succor his people according to their infirmities.' To succor means 'to run to.' I testify that in my fears and in my infirmities the Savior has surely run to me. I will never be able to thank Him enough for such personal kindness and such loving care. "

The small effort (it really was small, comparatively speaking) I made to get myself to Church this morning, and hang in there for the whole block of meetings, was rewarded with an overflowing cup of "spiritual nutrition" to help me "keep on climbing," at least for another week.....

To read all of Elder Holland's talk, just click on, or copy and paste, this link:,5232,23-1-32-24,00.html

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

"Fear Not, I Am With Thee"

One of my favorite Hymns in our Church is, How Firm a Foundation. The third verse goes like this: "Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not dismayed, For I am thy God and will still give thee aid. I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand. Upheld by my righteous, upheld by my righteous, upheld by my righteous omnipotent hand" (Hymns, 85).

If ever I needed strength, help, and to be upheld by God's righteous omnipotent hand, it is now. Although I acknowledge God's hand in my life, I also realize how real and powerful Satan's forces are. While a loving Father in Heaven would have us feel peace and joy, Satan would have us think it is not possible in a world of Light.

I frequently read the news on CNN's online edition. Just a quick glance down the homepage you'll find stories such as, "Attorney says mom to plead 'not guilty' to killing sons," "What could drive a mother to kill," "Topless, painted Miss Universe," [for crying out loud!] "Jessica Simpson wants bigger 'booty'," more controversy over Proposition 8, and my favorite, "Real life Judge Judy in trouble."

What has happened to our society?!

When you look at the news reports in general you can see where the world's priorities lie. Yesterday, I was appalled by one of the "news" stories on the homepage of CNN. I know it was "entertainment news," but still.... Please, tell me I wasn't the only one who saw the cover of The Rolling Stone magazine plastered right there, complete with a naked woman sandwiched between two naked men with what appeared to be blood splattered on them. The caption read, "Rolling Stone reveals the joys of vamp sex." Call me a prude, but there was nothing joyful about that preview of coming attractions!! Or distractions might be the correct word to use. I'm still in shock over that one........

Where is God's hand in any of the garbage? It isn't. When we allow ourselves to get caught up in the "thick of thin things," we are left on our own. None of the things we see around us will be here forever, but our families will be eternal, never ending.

I've been struggling a lot lately with my emotions over issues that are beyond my control. It finally occurred to me, today, that I was putting my trust in man more than God. Men (and women) will lie, cheat, steal and even kill their own children. The news reads like a story from the Old Testament sometimes, where the people had become so wicked that Jehovah wiped them off the face of the earth and started all over, almost. What will become of our posterity if we ourselves don't break free from the chains of a troubled world that is spiraling out of control?

On a more positive ending, here are the words to the seventh verse to How Firm a Foundation:

The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose
I will not, I cannot, desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I'll never, no never, no never forsake!
OK. I'm done with my preaching. Those were obviously some thoughts I needed to get out, so there you have it. Thanks for indulging me. See you again soon!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Four Months Later.....

MY DEAR SWEET MAMA, I've thought about you every day since you've been gone. There was so much I should have told you when I had the chance. It probably doesn't matter much right now, to you, but it does to me.

I should have told you how much I admired your courage, strength and perseverance. You went at everything with all the energy you had, and got it done. When you started something, you finished it. Laziness was not in your daily schedule. I learned a lot about hard work from you and Daddy. It certainly paid off for the two of you. Maybe someday it will for me, too.

I know you had a hard life, but you didn't let it stop you from looking to the future while taking care of the present. When anxiety and depression became your companions you pushed ahead in spite of them. You accomplished more in one day than some of us do in a month, even from your wheelchair. You always did the best you could with what you had to work with.

When you sensed your days on earth were coming to an end, you took care of all the important issues that you could. You left beautiful messages for each of your children to keep and read as a reminder of your love and care for us. I have mine memorized......

Sometimes I can hardly believe you are not here. Even though I know I will see you again, I still miss you so badly that I hurt. I want to feel my check next to yours and smell the soft scent of peppermint on your breath. "I love you SO much!" still echoes through my mind when I think of you. I heard you say it so many times, just like that.

I didn't do nearly enough to show my love to you, to spend more time with you and let you know how important you were and are to me. As you watch me from where you are, I hope you will be pleased with your efforts to teach me the things you knew would help me survive and find happiness in this life.

I love you with all my heart.

Save me a place beside you at your Table!

Blowing kisses to you, Mama.......

Thursday, August 12, 2010

My Safe Place

"Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away."-Dinah Craik

In times of distress, sorrow, and anguish of body and soul we all need a safe place to go -- a place where the door is always open and we are welcome at any time of the day or night. A place where kind words of understanding and patience envelope the brutal forces of this life and send them far away from our aching hearts.

When our faith is wavering, the faithful come forward to steady it for us until we can do it for ourselves again. As we are falling, strong gentle hands catch us before we've reached the total darkness of despair. They stay with us until we can walk, back to where life is beautiful and light again, no matter how long it takes.

My safe place beckons me to come, to rest from my labors, to unload the heavy burdens from my heart and mind, to restore what has been lost and set out on my journey, once again.

Friendship and compassion reign supreme, in my safe place. It is a place where hearts are "knit together in love and in unity." Wounds are tended to and tears are dried with a cloth torn from an endless tapestry of caring and unspeakable wisdom.

I have visited this safe place often, especially lately. And, although the burdens are heavy and hard to bear, I do not bear them alone.

Of this, I am certain.