Thursday, March 24, 2011

AN ANGEL WAS BORN


Today an angel was born! I am overwhelmed with gratitude for my mother's mother and my father's mother--and their mothers and all the mothers that came together, chose Christ, came to earth and because of them and the choices they made, my mother on March 24th was born!

To know her is to love her. Cloudy days--no problem! Just invite my mom over for she is pure sunshine. Her heart has one course and she keeps her eyes single to HIS glory.

She is a woman of faith and integrity. Her motives and reasons for what she does and who she is - are pure.

She knew she wanted to have a family and took on motherhood with great courage and determination.

She is truly is our families sunshine! When Mother is around, everything is ALWAYS better!

To my mom, whom I love and hope to become more like-- I LOVE YOU! Happy Birthday MOM! Thank you for being my angel! Thank you for teaching me the gospel! Thank you for loving Jesus Christ! Thank you for teaching me how to pray. Thank you for always believing in me--in all of us! We love you mom!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

PS. Thank GOODNESS God allows some of his choicest angels to be sent here to earth. I know angels are real for lots of reasons...! Biggest proof is I am related to one!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

ONE MORE DAY TO BECOME MORE LIKE THE SAVIOR...

I really don't know how to start this blog, it has been quite the week.

Have you ever battled something, something that you desired/struggled to overcome? I know, pretty silly question for I am pretty sure everyone has felt the sting of their weaknesses, and longing to become better. I can't speak for everyone, but I do speak for myself... battles are going on.

I am going to be quite personal and this is not a subject I freely discuss with most people and surely not on a blog where who knows who might be reading... but it has been quite an interesting week and I feel I must share my thoughts... (ha, it also looks like this is a night of dot dot dots too (...)!

For those who know me, reading this, probably knows that I have been a 4X girl for as long as I can remember. :) Now surely, one has to say that in order to become a 4X girl, you had to first hit 1X 2X and so up to become 4X. Well let me just say again, that I always remember being a 4X girl. My size has been the cause of much fasting, countless prayers, endless tears and pleading to overcome. I know everyone has a vice and what one vice is for someone, probably wouldn't phase the 10 people you pass in the grocery store. But I have learned that to each his own. I have allowed my size to mask "me" in some ways, ha in a lot of ways...

My dad last year mentioned a diet and gave me a little booklet on it. To which my first response and several responses after wards was, "Not for me". Why you might ask? I guess looking back it was pride, more more than that--I just had a negative thought in my mind of what diets do to people and I did not want to have any part of a diet. Now that being said, through the years I have tried countless things. Going without sugar for a full year... exercise, eating more healthy. Obviously not for consistent periods of time or else something would have happened. But right before coming home from the mission, I was given a blessing in which I was promised that I would be able to lose the weight I desired and to keep it off--and that God would change the very chemical makeup of my body if needs be. Again, a struggle with my weight has been my life long burden it seems. So although I had hope in this blessing, it seemed more like a fleeting thought then a reality.

Back to the specific eating commitment--my Dad knows, that I will pray about things. After turning him down about looking into a particular diet, several times, he requested that I at least pray about it. (!) Oh to the Dad that knows his daughter all to well!

I did pray about it, but I was a stink, for I did not care to know/receive an answer. And for the first time since I was 19, I really didn't pray to know, and just went through the motion of asking Heavenly Father so I could tell my Dad that I had prayed about it. My Dad asked me if I had prayed, and I told him that I had, but then admitted that I had not been sincere about it. For a week or so after, my soul was wracked a little with the fact that I had not sincerely asked--a trait in my prayers that although I am not perfect in--I have made it a point to try to be fully sincere in every prayer.

Well, long story short, I did end up praying about this particular way of eating and within a few days had four strong impressions that I needed to committee to doing it. ...and thus started an amazing journey of hell and heaven.

What was/is the commitment? Just a protein and lots of veggie diet. Day one was doable. Day two was tough... and by day three I discovered a truth about myself that I had never realized before. I was an emotional eater. I discovered and knew before that whenever I cried, whether for being happy/upset/feeling the spirit/angry, whatever it was--I could stop heavy, sobbing/red dots on the forehead crying by just putting something in my mouth. Sounds ridiculous I am sure, to some, but it is true. It could be a carrot stick or a cheese stick--what went in did not matter, I just had to put something in my mouth, and I could immediately stop the emotion. At the time of discovering this, I just knew I could stop my crying by eating but did not know the depths as to what I was really doing.

By day three through the fifth day on the diet, I discovered that when I would eat before (when being emotional), I would not just stop the crying, but I could actually turn off dealing with what was heavy on my mind. In a sense, eating, caused it so that I did not have to "deal" with whatever I was dealing with. Now--I don't want you thinking I ate the world away, because I did not. But I did turn to food.

Recently a woman questioned my sister in how she "dealt" with life, where was her "out" if she did not drink or smoke?! The woman who asked, could not believe that my sister would go through the type of job she did/does, without having an "outlet" at the end of the day. I have never had alcohol before or smoked, but I guess in a way for some people it is a way to numb them from what emotions/stresses they are feeling/going through. The woman asked my sister, "What is our out if you don't drink or smoke?!!" To which my sister chuckling responded, "Food and Chocolate!". Oh the truth found in that statement.

Well, by day five on the diet, I found that the mental emotions I was going through--I now had to deal with because I did not have the option of going to my blanket cover of food. I learned much about myself that first weekend on my new eating style/pattern. I learned how I was NOT involving/turning to God as I should have been.

(Now, for those of you freaking out at this point, breath. I eat, I am healthy, and I am fully aware of what the word of wisdom teaches. I am grateful for the truths found there. Please know that my actions to do this diet are inspired and I feel I have been led by God in this area of my life...:) )

The next two weeks on the diet, left me with no where to turn but on my knees. I know, this is probably a real duh for most people. But I had no idea I was neglecting turning to God by eating away/not having to deal with my emotional stresses, whatever they were.

All this happened back in June.

At the end of Dec, I stopped doing the diet consistently. I still did it, but if I had a little extra whatever, it was fine. At the time, I had been working for months to build up jogging--and that will have to be for another post in sharing the miracles that took place in my life there. But I see God's hand in what changes I made with my eating at that time.

Soo, where does that leave me now and why in the world would I write this so far?!!

Well, in the last month I have been trying to get back on consistently doing the diet as I had been doing it last year... and it seriously has been kicking my bum. Now, what I am about to share, I don't expect anyone to understand the deep dark inside workings of me, but for whatever reason I am to expose my most awesomest (I know that is not a word, but it should be! Has a fun ring to me. ;)) weaknesses.

Wanting to finish my journey with getting my body to become the instrument I hope it to be, physically for my children, my husband, and most importantly a tool for God, I have been trying to get my life back on this specific diet, to finish out a life long pursuit. And for a lot of reasons I could name, I just could not stay consistent as I was trying to get back on. I could not stay committed. I pleaded, again with dedicated fasting and time on my knees asking/crying for help to recommit myself. I want to overcome "my" natural man.

In the temple last Tues, I opened, as I often do when I find I am in a state/area to ponder, to Moroni 7. Knowing and wanting to overcome the natural man--and having discovered that the key to overcoming one's self is Charity, I turned to the wonderful check list Moroni goes through with Charity. And there right there in front of my eyes--was an awesome key to what I was dealing with/lacking! Vs. 45 "And charity suffereth long..." I WAS NOT keeping that "check" in the list of Charity. I went through the other items in Vs. 45, and for the most part was constantly striving to keep them, but for that moment in my life, I was not remembering the "sufferth long" commandment of having charity. I left the chapel and the temple that day, determined to do better in keeping that charge of Charity and in a sense be a little kinder/give a little slack to the battle I was fighting.

On my battle raged... good in the morning, failed sticking with my commitments at night.

My Pblessing directs me to continue in my habit of studying the scriptures for I will find the word of the Lord there, but also, "They will be a great blessing into (my) life especially in times of trial and tribulation."
...

This last week I was reading in Alma 14. Alma and Amulek have had to witness the burning of many righteous women and children. Women and children who would not give up their faith in Jesus Christ. They then, Alma and Amulek, are bound and were hit upon their cheeks and were eventually cask into prison. The Judges, lawyers, and teachers in the land came to question them in prison, but Alma and Amulek did not answer their questions, but in awesome humility/patience remained quite.

Over and over, one by one, the Judges, lawyers, and teachers came and smote Alma and Amuleks' cheeks. These evil men gnashed their teeth and while spitting upon the two held bound said, "How shall we look when we are damned?" For many days they suffered in the prison without food or water. They were bound with strong cords and their clothes were taken from them that they were naked. Beating after beating came, until finally--the Lord's timing became perfect.
25 And it came to pass that they all went forth and smote them, saying the same words, even until the last; and when the last had spoken unto them the power of God was upon Alma and Amulek, and they rose and stood upon their feet.

26 And Alma cried, saying: How long shall we suffer these great afflictions, O Lord? O Lord, give us strength according to our faith which is in Christ, even unto deliverance. And they broke the cords with which they were bound; and when the people saw this, they began to flee, for the fear of destruction had come upon them.

27 And it came to pass that so great was their fear that they fell to the earth, and did not obtain the outer door of the prison; and the earth shook mightily, and the walls of the prison were rent in twain, so that they fell to the earth; and the chief judge, and the lawyers, and priests, and teachers, who smote upon Alma and Amulek, were slain by the fall thereof.

28 And Alma and Amulek came forth out of the prison, and they were not hurt; for the Lord had granted unto them power, according to their faith which was in Christ. And they straightway came forth out of the prison; and they were loosed from their bands; and the prison had fallen to the earth, and every soul within the walls thereof, save it were Alma and Amulek, was slain; and they straightway came forth into the city.

29 Now the people having heard a great noise came running together by multitudes to know the cause of it; and when they saw Alma and Amulek coming forth out of the prison, and the walls thereof had fallen to the earth, they were struck with great fear, and fled from the presence of Alma and Amulek...
This story has always touched me, as I am sure it does every reader. The patience these two men exude is not just inspiring but encouraging.

After reading the account, to my minds eye, I beheld myself-- with walls of crumpled prison around me. All my vices, my natural man, the struggles and afflictions I was currently being haunted with, were like those offensive judges and lawyers-- and those offenses and vices were crushed in the fall of MY prison walls. My bands had been broken and I had been given deliverance/power and strength by/through Jesus Christ's atonement. I was stepping out of MY once prison. I was stepping out, I, through/by Christ had conquered the afflictions and now with peace, determination, and faith, was moving on....

This vision came to my mind and I was moved and desired to see the vision a reality. I left to work stirred with determination. I received a blessing from my brother... I was reminded that God has placed people in my life to help me and that I should confide in them... so I called in the troops. I prayerfully sent out texts of requests asking for prayers in my behalf. So stirring was the vision that I also felt to ask a friend at work who is an artist, if she wouldn't mind drawing up a stick version of my vision. I told her not to spend much time on it, but that I wanted a girl, surrounded by a fallen prison, walking/moving forward with confidence, determination, peace. This morning, the lovely Savanna Rodriguez had this beauitful (WAY MORE THEN MY EXPECTED STICK FIGURE REQUEST) sitting on my desk with a sincere note attached. I was overwhelmed and deeply touched. I loved that she added light rays! I love that the girl although warn from the bonds that held her captive, she did not let affliction overcome her... There are so many reasons while I love this picture! It is hanging in my cube. Thank you, THANK YOU Savanna!

Why do I share any of this?! Like President Eyring stated a few years ago in conference that his experiences where not just for him, but that he was to write them down. Most people know me to be incredibly private when it comes to my personal inside items. Sharing the gospel and insights given--NO PROBLEM, as long as they don't involve my personal struggles and weaknesses! ;) I know, I am a little messed up.

But this story and chapter of my life, although not finished, has had a sweet plot thicken. I have been sustained by amazing prayers. And I am fully committed back to my commitments. I am feeling the bands and shackles of my natural man start to melt away, and slowly for this particular prison, I am seeing the walls start to crumble. And like the girl Savanna so graciously and beautifully drew, I am moving forward with confidence, determination, peace, and an extra measure of faith.

At the beginning of the year, Jan first, I knelt in prayer and sought heaven to know what goals I should be working on this year. One of the two was to "overcome the natural man". Oh the wisdom of God. For at that moment, I did not feel like the natural man was a battle I was dealing with. ... Oh the wisdom of my God!

I know that Satan would have me stay as I was, turning to any source but Jesus Christ to deal with my emotions/stresses/afflictions of the day. But oh the healing rescue of the Savior's atonement! Oh to be able to turn to Him. He is a great carrier of the things of the heart, of the things of the soul, of the things mentally and emotional and physically that we go through. "Oh Jesus, Pilot me!" "Oh Jesus, lover of [MY] soul...let me to thy bosom fly."

On Sunday a Brother Wing from the high council came and spoke and reminded everyone there that we should thank Heavenly Father every day for the Sabbath day and thank him every day that we get/have "one more day to become like the Savior."

Where will this journey take me?! Your guess is as good as mine! But coming from an always used to be size 28 to now almost a size 16--I testify that God will can help us full fill our deepest desires. That prayers really do strengthen and can support/sustain others, Jesus overcame all prisons built, all bands that bind, all afflictions/struggles of the mind, body, spirit, and heart... He gives us strength to stand and go froth. Charity suffereth long, and is Kind... Christ suffereth long, is kind, envieth not, is not puffed up, seeketh not his own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no eveil, rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth. Christ beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things! Someday I hope to be able to put my name in front of such a scripture.

Jesus is the Christ!! He came to not only rescue/make a way for the world to repent and get back to the father, but He came to make away for me to repent and overcome my natural man!

Thank you Savanna for your picture!! Thank you for all those who have offered prayers up for me. Thank you to my parents and my family, who have been patient/loving and supportive as I have strived for personal commitment. And thank you LUKE for your brilliant drawing of my "priesthood hunk"! :)
Last night at FHE Luke showed me some pretty amazing sketches of these guys in full armor holding swords. One even had blood all over it. Quite gruesome.

I asked Luke if he could draw me a "priesthood hunk!" I told him he could even have a sword, because I love the symbolism of what a sword stands for in the scriptures. At the end of FHE, this is what his interpretation of a "priesthood hunk" was. Mind you, I think he is 10, and I am pretty sure he doesn't know what "hunk" means... so this is what he envisioned "priesthood" to mean. Suit, tie, sunglasses, and The Book of Mormon! !!! Seriously Luke, I could not have more perfectly drawn an interpretation of the things that mean the most to me in searching for my priesthood hunk!!!

Needless to say, I LOVED the picture! It hangs on my front door!

Well, I think that is as about as personal as one should get for a whole year! :) ha ha, just kidding.

The Church is True!

Thanks to an awesome plan from a loving Heavenly Father, and His mercy through His Son, I am committed! And I feel I have been given power to stand.

Onward and upward! I rejoice in My God! My Rock--my Salvation--MY literal REDEEMER...!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

"ALLERGIC TO MEAN PEOPLE"

So Brytt and Jinger had a couple in their ward that just had their baby son die. He was four months old, the couples second child, and was about four months old. He died from sids. I knew that with Brytt being the EQ President, he was going to have a busier weekend, and it just worked out that I could take Ironman and Brynner-Bean up to the cabin for a little sleep over. Let me tell you--I have had an amazing weekend!

Yesterday as I was leaving work to go pick up the kiddos, I met a gal in the parking lot whom my company had just hired that week. Her name is Mel. In the short 10 mins that we were chatting she told me that she had just joined the church two years ago. She was in Idaho and walking towards a church and the missionaries stopped her. As she spoke of her conversion and her devotion to the gospel as a mother of five, I could not help be excited and I am sure she might have thought I was a bit odd for smiling as big as I was.

Mel told me that her son would be getting baptized today. She shared with me that when he was putting together the program he asked her to give the talk on the Holy Ghost. She said she was taken a little bit back by that and asked him if he didn't want one of his Auntie or Uncles to give the talk to which he responded, "Well I will pray about it mom, and then I will let you know." Well sure enough the next morning as they were getting ready for school Kobe said, "Mom I prayed about it, and you are to give the talk on the Holy Ghost". Oh if I could have been such a faith-filled eight year old!! Mel was honored and humbled at her son's determination/sure knowledge.

As Mel told me her story I felt I just had to be at the baptism. In my mind I wondered how I would be able to drive down from the canyon in time and if Ironman and Bean would be okay with going with me. I told her I wanted to come to the baptism to which she said she would love to have me. She was going to texted me the address.

I drove home curious how my next 16 hours were going to pan out.

Mom called as I got home. The roads were bad to the cabin, scariest she has ever experienced it. Dad thought his 4 wheel drive went out in the truck. The message, for the first time in a year, "Don't Come!".

I called Brytt and Jinger. Ironman decided to have a date night with his dad, but little Brynnlee was all about coming and over still. She came over and it was fingernail painting and the Broadway musical of Cinderella. Had I known that my plans were going to change, I would have had Kenzi and Afton come over for a big party too!

Brynner was so fun to watch as the musical came to the end and Cinderella finally got to hook up with the prince. She climbed all over my couch and put her hands over her mouth as she giggled with obvious approval that they finally got to be together. The best thing about being four is that you can act such a way and it is okay, because this 28 year old felt the same way inside! I however, might have some frowns had I climbed all over the couch and put my hand up to my mouth while giggling! ;)

I put Brynn down and in her prayers she said, "please bless bryndi and her running". I admit I almost opened my eyes at her words. Could she possibly know that her running (meaning jogging, because I really don't run) was a battle at the moment? I smiled at the thought that surely she had heard this prayed in her own home, and to know that my Brother and Sister-in-law have been praying to strengthen me in my goal, was/IS humbling. After prayer Bean was out like a light.

Six AM this morning I heard, "Doe a deer a female deer..." I crawled into her bed at 6:30 and listened to her talk the morning away. I pointed to a picture on the wall where the Savior is looking directly out and smiling. (One of the very few pictures that shows such a side of Christ, that I have found). I asked Bean who it was, and she said, "Jesus... (pause) Guess what, I love Heavenly Father and Jesus more than anyone else." The comment was so direct and matter of fact. To which I replied to her that I did too.

Then our morning of getting ready for the baptism was filled with, "Bryndi, you will get married this year, and when you do I think you should have a girl. You can name her after me." She made this comment several times and then said, IF I had a boy first I could name him Ireland, but if the girl came, she was sure the best thing to be would to name her Brynnlee. (Well at least I would have approval that she wouldn't be upset with someone else having her same name! ;)

We worked on a mini-scrap book that I had from my mission and she thought I told her it was a "scratch-book". So after drawing on the different pages, she said, "You know Aunt Bryndi, it is a Scratch book, so you have to scratch it." She turned the little book over and started scratching the paper with her nail. I had to contain my laughter and nod a very serious approval that I agreed.

I told Bean that I needed to put some clothes into the dryer for grandma, to which she replied, " We could do the laundry for grandma and that is called 'sneaky service'".

But my all time favorite comment at my kitchen table was "My mom is allergic to sugar. I am allergic to mean people. I think that is a good thing to be allergic too." I told her I was allergic to mean people too! oh crack me up.

We sat and waited for everyone to show up to the baptism. When Mel finally came in I recognized a heaviness on her heart. She looked a little dismal, with some deep burden. ???

Kobe's aunt gave a great talk on Baptism. She had him hold up two weights straight out and told him to keep his arms up. (I loved that the weights were pink so to hold Brynn's attention.) :) Kobe's arms started to fall a little and his Aunt talked about how the Savior will help him/us carry his/our burdens and the covenants that he/we make. She then had a few of his family members to come up to help him carry/keep his covenants. Awesome-Brilliant talk!

Kobe and his father went to go get in the water, and Mel motioned for me to come and sit next to her. She told me how she didn't have any family there, and just that morning she had called her family (In WY I believe) to tell them about her son's baptism, to which they responded that surely Mel was going to hell and ended the phone conversation. She was trying to hold back her emotions and I could tell she was trying to not feel hurt. I understood more fully why the Lord has had me go. I threw my arms around her and told her I was her family and she did have a sister there! I silently thanked God for allowing me to step into such a roll and for providing a way for me to be there.

Mel gave the talk on the Holy Ghost and it was sweet. I have never watched an eight year old soak up/keep eye contact with his mother so intently before. He soaked up every word she spoke. And frankly, we all did. The spirit was beautiful!

Back out to the car, as I was buckling Brynn in I asked her how she felt. She told me that she felt happy and that she had a warm feeling inside. I asked her if she knew where that feeling comes from. To which she replied she didn't know. I told her that she was feeling the holy Ghost and that Jesus was happy. I asked her if she believed that was true. She told me that she didn't know, but she hoped it was the Holy Ghost. To which I told her I knew it was.

I started to drive, and after five mins, she just started singing primary songs in my car, no request by me! Thank goodness for cell phones that record!

The whole morning/evening left me praising mothers who love and teach their little ones. And surely the fathers and other family members play their special parts... but like Julie B. Beck said, "Mothers who know"(!). I had been reminded to pray and ask the Lord, to love Heavenly Father and Jesus more than anything, sneaky service, be allergic to being mean, warm happy feelings--and more! When I dropped off brynn to her house we brought out parfaits for Ironman and Doogs to eat. Ironman finished and thanked me for the treat. Then he ran and nearly 10 mins later came back with this drawing of a heart because he said, "I drew it for you to thank you for the Parfait". His mother heard him/saw him do it and she was beaming with pride.

Seriously out of the mouths of babes! I stand all amazed!

Jinger filled me in on the funeral. She said that the couple was so strong. The father shared some sacred experiences of the assurances they had received from God that their son's earth life was finished and that him leaving after only four short months was part of the Grand plan. The morning the baby died, both husband and wife, that night, went to the temple together. Oh the strength and example set. Oh the lesson passed on.

My heart is just filled. So beautiful! Has my last 24 hours been!

I understand more clearly why we are told to become as little children--or else no kingdom of God.

Just shots from my phone, but put to Brynnlee's amazingly inspired/spontaneous singing in my car. Well, not too spontaneous, for surely the soul wants to sing when it has been lifted by the spirit as ours had been!
video

PS!! Okay... just a happy note, but three weeks away will be general conference! Oh such a time to be alive! I CAN'T wait!!

The Church is True! Christ is the Redeemer! My Redeemer... !!

Monday, March 7, 2011

THE PRAYING HANDS

So the other day I was going through some mission papers, and found the story of Albrecht Durer's "The Praying Hands". The story moved me. Perhaps it is well known... but I have not heard it, except through a paper/hand out given at a zone conference. Sad to say, I have been doing a bit of research on it tonight and I cannot find if the story really did happen. ??? I do not know, but the the message has stirred my soul and I have felt to post it. Enjoy!
--
Back in the fifteenth century, in a tiny village near Nuremberg, lived a family with eighteen children. Eighteen!

In order merely to keep food on the table for this big family, the father and head of the household, a goldsmith by profession, worked almost eighteen hours a day at his trade and any other paying chore he could find in the neighborhood.

Despite their seemingly hopeless condition, two of Albrecht Durer the Elder's children had a dream. They both wanted to pursue their talent for art, but they knew full well that their father would never be financially able to send either of them to Nuremberg to study at the Academy.

After many long discussions at night in their crowded bed, the two boys finally worked out a pact. They would toss a coin. The loser would go down into the nearby mines and, with his earnings, support his brother while he attended the academy. Then, when that brother who won the toss completed his studies, in four years, he would support the other brother at the academy, either with sales of his artwork or, if necessary, also by laboring in the mines.

They tossed a coin on a Sunday morning after church. Albrecht Durer won the toss and went off to Nuremberg.

Albert went down into the dangerous mines and, for the next four years, financed his brother, whose work at the academy was almost an immediate sensation. Albrecht's etchings, his woodcuts, and his oils were far better than those of most of his professors, and by the time he graduated, he was beginning to earn considerable fees for his commissioned works.

When the young artist returned to his village, the Durer family held a festive dinner on their lawn to celebrate Albrecht's triumphant homecoming. After a long and memorable meal, punctuated with music and laughter, Albrecht rose from his honored position at the head of the table to drink a toast to his beloved brother for the years of sacrifice that had enabled Albrecht to fulfill his ambition. His closing words were, "And now, Albert, blessed brother of mine, now it is your turn. Now you can go to Nuremberg to pursue your dream, and I will take care of you." All heads turned in eager expectation to the far end of the table where Albert sat, tears streaming down his pale face, shaking his lowered head from side to side while he sobbed and repeated, over and over, "No ...no ...no ...no."Finally, Albert rose and wiped the tears from his cheeks. He glanced down the long table at the faces he loved, and then, holding his hands close to his right cheek, he said softly, "No, brother. I cannot go to Nuremberg. It is too late for me. Look ... look what four years in the mines have done to my hands! The bones in every finger have been smashed at least once, and lately I have been suffering from arthritis so badly in my right hand that I cannot even hold a glass to return your toast, much less make delicate lines on parchment or canvas with a pen or a brush. No, brother ... for me it is too late."

More than 450 years have passed. By now, Albrecht Durer's hundreds of masterful portraits, pen and silver point sketches, water-colours, charcoals, woodcuts, and copper engravings hang in every great museum in the world, but the odds are great that you, like most people, are familiar with only one of Albrecht Durer's works. More than merely being familiar with it, you very well may have a reproduction hanging in your home or office.One day, to pay homage to Albert for all that he had sacrificed, Albrecht Durer painstakingly drew his brother's abused hands with palms together and thin fingers stretched skyward. He called his powerful drawing simply "Hands," but the entire world almost immediately opened their hearts to his great masterpiece and renamed his tribute of love "The Praying Hands." The next time you see a copy of that touching creation, take a second look. Let it be your reminder, if you still need one, that no one - no one - - ever makes it alone!!!
--(Unknown)
---

"The “Praying Hands” are much, much more than just a work of art;
They are the soul’s creation of a deeply thankful heart—
They are a priceless Masterpiece that love alone could paint,
And they reveal the selflessness of an unheralded saint.
These hands, so scarred and toilworn, tell the story of a man
Who sacrificed his talent in accordance with God’s plan—
For in God’s plan are many things man cannot understand,
But we must trust God’s judgment and be guided by His Hand.
Sometimes He asks us to give up our dreams of happiness,
Sometimes we must forego our hopes of fortune and success.
Not all of us can triumph or rise to heights of fame,
And many times what should be ours, goes to another name—
But he who makes a sacrifice, so another may succeed,
Is indeed a true disciple of our blessed Savior’s creed—
For when we give ourselves away in sacrifice and love,
We are laying up rich treasures in God’s kingdom up above—
And hidden in gnarled, toilworn hands is the truest art of living
Achieved alone by those who’ve learned the victory of giving;
For any sacrifice on earth made in the dear Lord’s name,
Assures the giver of a place in Heaven’s Hall of Fame—
And who can say with certainty where the greatest talent lies,
Or who will be the greatest in our Heavenly Father’s eyes!"

—Helen Steiner Rice
http://lds.org/ensign/1981/06/sacrifice?lang=eng

"I [will] be my brother's keeper;
I [will] learn the healer's art.
To the wounded and the weary
I [will] show a gentle heart.
I [will] be my brother's keeper-
Lord, I [will] follow thee." -Hymn 220

Thursday, March 3, 2011

MEET MY BROTHER

So this isn't really fair, I have three AMAZING blood brothers and Marshyl already got his own post a while back, but I am in need of writing down what he has taught me.

Marsh is recently without work, and he and his wonderful wife, whom I happily claim as blood by marriage, have had their share of challenges. Just a few weeks ago their little Garrett became very ill. They took him in to the docs, and the docs, not seeing a case this bad in the valley--had him immediately life-flighted to Primary Children's Hospital. His stats were not good and there he stayed for almost a week with Jen by his side. The first night when Marsh and Jen found out just how bad their little guy really was, they wept together knowing that had they waited another day to take Garrett in, he probably would have passed away. There was some intense feelings for sure.

Many prayers went up. A nurse had some oil on him and helped Marsh give Garrett a blessing. Miracles!

In all the mist of their awesome challenges, I started to worry a bit about mouths to feed, no job, helicopter bills--and in family prayers our concerns for/in behalf have of Marsh and the need for a job, and for Garrett to get better, were ever present. With a somewhat heavy heart for my amazing brother--he sure put me in my place!

On the day they came home with Garrett from the hospital he stopped by my place. THERE IS NO WAY ONE CAN WORRY after talking to such a man filled with complete faith and trust in God. I am the sister, who should be good and encouraging and building up, and yet every time I leave my brother's presence I am uplifted by his complete surrender and confidence in God's plan for him and his family. Have you ever been around someone that could infuse faith into your soul, simply because you were in their optimistic presence?! Well that is Marshyl. His faith is steadfast in Christ. And as a result, he has caused my faith to be strengthened.

These set of pictures perfectly display Marshyl's nature! Brytt and Thayne are just as much a ham as Marshyl is, but they need a little prompting to make it come out. Marshyl is just this way by nature! ;)





My heart is filled with gratitude to Hillary, my good friend at work, who recently told me that she came to the conclusion that she knows that God is aware of her body and the pain that she is in constantly. And that if it [a body that functions nicely] was somehow part of the plan, she would surely not be suffering and would be healed. But with awesome faith she trusts and knows that God knows she is suffering. He knows she is in pain, and He will help her deal with/through the pain. And by him not taking it away at this time/not in the plan--proves that He has a plan for her, because she knows she would be healed if it was not part of the plan. Oh the wisdom and the faith of this girl. She has taught me lots.

NEW JERSEY

I recently had the impression that I needed to fly to New Jersey for the weekend. The timing was incredible because the weekend suggested to my mind/heart was not great timing. Plus not to mention that I haven't been back to New jersey since the mission. But I felt impressed to go and I know better than to fight.

It was great to see Marcel! What a kid! He got more than he bargained for getting to hang out with me for four straight days. We had quite a few happy miracles. We ate at this little dinner joint three different times and we all fell in love with our waitress Samary. She loves her family. And I was very impressed with the love she expressed for them. In the very way she spoke she reminded me of how a Christlike mother is and I hope to be.

Friday night Marcel had the impression we needed to go into New York for a young single adult conference. By the time the impression came--we were looking at getting to New York at almost 10. But on our train ride over, I met this amazing girl, Allison (the one on the Left), who had just finished several months backpacking all over. We only chatted for 10 mins, but I found a friend! I was impressed with her. Since coming back we have chatted a little and she stated something so profound, "The only thing is...what happens if you know (or think you know) what you should be doing, but are holding yourself back- because of fear of failure or even fear of success? The 3 month journey I was on was meant to help me figure things out.... I guess it did, but now that it's time to take action, I'm not sure I'm ready... It'll all out, but man, sometimes it's hard to have such patience, not to mention faith." I don't know what Allison's views are on God, but surely this girl has got some deep reservoirs. I think she has more faith than she knows. If Marcel would have not taken the step of faith and gone into New York for the brief moment we stayed at the conference--my 10 mins/new friend with Allison would have not happened. WINDOWS of time! God's hand can be seen everywhere! Thank you Marcel!! And THANK YOU Allison!

Sunday brought about the crazy of all days. Marcel and I left early to get to New York to help make the 900+ sandwiches needed for the Young Single Adult conference. For the evening, we were going to head over to Sister Ortiz's home to teach family night and eat her amazing Dominican food! She said she would invite a few families over from mission times.

After our WONDERFUL sacrament was over (I heard four different stake president's speak and it was amazing) we left to make the trek back to New Jersey so we could make the dinner appointment I had set up. When we walked outside, Marcel felt uneasy and said we needed to go back to the Testimony Meeting which would be starting in mins. After some battling/figuring out impressions we went up and I texted Sister Ortiz that I would be 30 mins late or so to dinner.

Testimony meeting was great and Marcel and I were both curious as to why he had been prompted to stay. The meeting went an 1 1/2 and after it was over we hurried to get to pen station. Marcel and his long legs and me trotting in heals and a skirt to keep up! :) Looks like I was going to be an hour late to the dinner appointment. Gulp. But all along knowing/trusting God had a plan.

While on the train back to New Jersey, I had the impression I need to open my mouth and talk. Okay--so most people know I don't really have a problem opening my mouth, but this particular time I told the Lord that if I did, on the subject I was being prompted to talk about--the subject matter would make Marcel quite passionate about not to mention I didn't feel like I had any grounds to speak on the subject I was going to bring up. But again, "open your mouth". What will I say, "Open your mouth". So I did just that, and sure enough Marcel became very passionate about the subject. So passionate in fact that we missed our train stop to Newark. When he realized we had missed the stop, he jumped up and we both started hurrying through the train to make the next stop at a little window opening of time. Marcel was quite bothered about missing our stop and could not believe that he had missed it. This was the first time, of a life time traveling on the trains that he had ever missed a stop.

We were in Elizabeth now, which although closer to our already an hour late dinner appointment but still, by waiting for another train we were 45 mins away from getting back to my car- and then another 30 mins after that driving to the appointment. Marcel asked me if we should wait for a train and backtrack, or if he should have his friend Blaine (this is Blaine) come get us. We opted for Blaine. Marcel called him and told him to come pick us up at the Elizabeth chapel. He told me he didn't think Blaine would be there for 30 mins.

I could not figure out all the impressions. And I kicked myself for setting up a dinner appointment with the Ortiz's. I pondered over why I had not been warned/prompted not to set it up, but it felt okay when I did. I called the Ortiz and told them our situation. They already had eaten dinner by this time and were just waiting for us to come. Again, to the dinner appointment/party I had set up.

Marcel and I had time to kill to walk to the Elizabeth Chapel. So I took his arm and we strolled down the allies together. Being in heals and a skirt-in the hood, in the dark may have made normal girls scared, but being with Marcel I felt totally protected. I was not worried at all. We walked through some pretty dark areas, and finally came into a parking lot where these two kids were Skateboarding. Marcel asked them if they would like to hear a message about Christ. I was surprised when they said they would listen. Then--all the craziness of the evening and all the promptings we followed but didn't understand why--all added up! Domingo and Jose had been prepared by God to have that discussion. At first Jose (the one on the left,) wasn't interested and was just politely listening but that changed towards the end of the conversation. Domingo (on the Right) is a very deep kid. He had done a ton of thinking on his own. I don't think I have ever met more respectable 16/17 year-olds in my life. I surely wasn't like that when I was 17. We talked for a good 15 mins and then all walked over to the church to meet up with Blaine. It wasn't until we were mins away from the church when I realized what God had given me. Here I was back at the Chapel that Jean after he had joined the church, brought Adele, and through his mighty prayer brought Marcel to the chapel to be baptized.
!!!!

Yes I felt like crying, and that night in my room I did my fair share of it. I told Domingo and Jose that it was not just chance that we had met. Domingo has had the missionaries over to his home before to meet with his mom. It was such a crazy thing, I had a name tag on and was blessed to meet Marcel. Marcel later had a name tag on and now both finished missionaries, were teaching the gospel together to Domingo and Jose... in the city/the very Chapel that Marcel made his first covenants with God! The chapel I had come to love for 7 1/2 months. But had not been back to in over six years. God truly is amazing!

Well, the miracles still go on. Blaine had been in Roselle Park at Marcel's house. He could not get a hold of us all day and figured he would keep his appointment with Marcel, but was rather ticked that Marcel had not answered his phone. When he left Marcel's place, he had the impression to go to the Elizabeth Chapped. He thought the idea was completely random. He doesn't go to that chapel, the city had nothing to do with anything we had done all weekend. He pushed the thought from his mind. 2 mins later Marcel called him and told him we were stranded and needed him to pick us up at the Elizabeth chapel. :) Coincidence? I think not!

Because Domingo and Jose had stopped skateboarding to chat with us, they were pretty cold. Blaine and I gave them a ride to their house. Domingo recounted for Blaine how we had met and made the comment he felt like we were sent from God with a message. He also commented a few different times that he was impressed with how optimistic Marcel and I were. I have never had a comment quite like that before.

We challenged Domingo and Jose to pray and ask God if he really lives. We promised them that if they would pray and ask, we know that they would receive an answer. We also asked them to pray about meeting us and what we shared with them, to ask God if it was true. They said they would pray. They got out of the car, and I asked Blaine if we could have a quick prayer. My heart was overwhelmed with deep gratitude.

Then it was a rush to the 2 hour late dinner appointment! What a blessing it was to find the Ortiz's had the missionaries over. And because they were over, they went through with the dinner. OH my heart thanked God for taking care of the situation. I felt so bad, but all things worked out. Sister Ortiz invited over two of my favorite member families from that area--the Massey and the Curry families. My heart was ready to burst. Six years will do a lot to families. The Curry's who could not have children have now been blessed miraculously with two of their own children! Miho Massey and her little family--are so grown up. It was so late, and they all needed to go home because they had already been there for several hours, but our moments together were tender.

Brother Curry was curious to see that I was "still" cheery. He made a sincere comment about how he wondered if that was just how I was before because the mission did that to me, but seeing me six years later and almost 30 years old he now knows that, nope, the mission probably helped magnified those feelings, but cheery is part of who I am. (Now don't be thinking this is all a great thing! My poor husband has to deal with a wife that can smile and be very pleasant at any waking hour in the morning. If he is a grumbler in the morning and takes time to shake sleep from his mood--he and I are going to have our work cut out! I will allow him a cloud cover attitude with hopes that he will let me keep the sunshine. ;) )


Monday came and I spent the morning with my perfect hosts! We just sat around and chatted. I thanked Sister Ortiz for her patience in the night before. She admitted that she couldn't figure why I would set up a dinner party and then wouldn't even show up. But she understood how God sent Marcel and I to meet with Domingo and Jose. A meeting, that has impacted my life in many ways. She was kind.

I said good bye to my choice friends and drove to go be with Marcel and Blaine before I had to fly out. The whole weekend was filled with impressions on how I need to "be" with Marcel and where he was. I have never felt so intrusive to someones personal space. Especially when it was me to set up being there and took over his weekend plans. Thankfully Marcel was happy to have me there, but it was still hard and all weekend I battled trying not to ask the Lord why he had sent me. Even on Monday, again the impressions came to be with Marcel. 15 mins before I had to drive to the airport, 4:45 pm, Marcel was doing some things on line and I was getting my personal study in. I opened up to Alma 8 and received an answer from God that whatever the reason was, he was pleased and I accomplished what he sent me to New Jersey for. My cheeks were wet and I hoped Marcel would not see my tears.

Oh and I won't even go into the miracles getting me home. Truly god is aware of us.

Citlalli picked me up from the airport and took me home. By 2 am I was back home and I was saying my prayer for the night. I sang a hymnn first, and came to a verse of scripture that I looked up to see if I could find the statement in the hymn supported by the scripture. Instead, I found yet another scripture that had basically said what Alma 8 told me. I wept again.

My Trip to New Jersey taught me that I murmur and show an awesome lack of faith. Yes, I still went to New Jersey you can say, and we followed impressions, but if you give a gift and don't give it with your whole heart--it profits you nothing. My murmuring inside myself was as good as just killing my faith. Lesson learned.

Marcel surprised me this Sunday when I woke up to this text..."Hey i decided to get rid of all my rap music because the way i been using it hasn't help me draw closer to Christ not that I feel it is wrong But I do not think it will do much good to help me anyway i figured it might make you happy to know." We had listened to Rap music all weekend. I did not feel it was my place to say anything. I could not understand how it could do "good" for his soul, when I felt mine was being weighed down. But here he was telling me that he didn't think it brings him closer to Christ--so he is giving it up. :) You could not have found a more tearfilled smiling while kneeling in gratitude girl than me that morning! Marcel is becoming "soft" again! I love that kid!

Well how about them apples for a really late post! Moral--follow your impressions, even if they wipe out a savings account, cause you to miss your best friend's BYU performance and your favorite earthly dad's 60th birthday bash--even if you are told to open your mouth or stay for a meeting...don't let doubt and fear squash your faith. God has a plan! The question comes down to for me, Do I trust God and his plan or don't I? And if I don't trust the plan, why not? It is tried and true and God defiantly sees the bigger picture.

To everyone I met in New Jersey, it was amazing! Thank you for adding to the trip.