Friday, December 30, 2011


So a few weeks ago I received a text inviting me to come watch some of my old young woman give sacrament talks in their ward. I was deeply touched and of course didn't want to miss the opportunity! It has been several ward changes and different callings since I served in young womens... but the girls were just as amazing as before and even more so!

It was amazing to hear their testimonies of Jesus Christ and their conviction the the gospel. It just so happened that one of the presidencies I served in--all of us in the presidency were present. I beamed with pride as I listened to them bare their testimonies. Nothing on my end, but truly can there be a sweeter gift to a past leader then seeing that the girls she loved so much, have still chosen Christ in their life?! It was a very sweet and a rewarding Sunday.

We decided that we needed to have a get together, so tonight was the night. We laughted hard and played a picture game, then exchanged our favorite quotes with each other. BAD x-leader--I kept the girls way to late and their poor parents have had to stay up all night waiting for them!

My heart is full. I really love these girls. Becca was able to come and we sure missed having Amy.. but we decided we will just have to do a temple trip all together.

Truly choice daughters of God.  It was a choice evening.  Thanks girls!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011


So this picture is a bit silly--and it is missing Kiss, Tay, Nyk and Cars and the kiddos--but there is a LOT of love here!! The holidays were wonderful! Perhaps I can post some thoughts a little later on that. I LOVED having Christmas on Sunday this year. I would opt for doing it on Sunday every year for surely the spirit of the day was enhanced by attending and singing the songs that celebrate Christ's birth and life here on earth. It was magical.

Yesterday I was back studying in the gospels and was impressed by the story of the man that brings his son to Christ for healing. (Matt 17, Mark 9, Luke 9.) The Father comes kneeling (Matt 17:14) before the Savior. I know there are LOTS of applications with this story. Beautiful ones... but the one that I was impressed with as I read last night--was the struggle BEFORE the deliverance/relief.

In Mark's version: "And they brought him [the guy's son] unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming." And Luke says: "And as he was yet a coming the devil threw him down, and tare him."

WELL ISN'T THAT THE TRUTH!! When I can see the "light" at the end of the tunnel, or I am on the path of coming to the Savior/willing to give up a weakness, addiction, a whatever-- "AS" I am yet coming... the devil and/or my natural man has a hay day and throws me down and tries to have one last attempt at taring me down. At breaking me so that I will not finish my journey/Commitment to Christ.

My great home teacher shared with me that his Mission President told him that the toughest struggles for someone will come right before their mission and right before getting married. Because so much good can come out of both decisions, why wouldn't Satan try his hardest to distract, tempt, lead away, discourage, beat down on the soul who is trying to make such a step?! Satan is no dummy. But either is our God!!

In Mark 8, the story of a blind man is shared. The blind man was brought to the Savior... and then an interesting thing happens. Christ who can do anything, "took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town;". Christ did not heal him right there in the city. And perhaps there it was too dangerous for him to heal in the city, so he took him out to be away from vultures who would try even harder to end his ministry... but the concept is beauitful. Christ HAD the power to do it then and there--but chose to lead him by the hand to a different place BEFORE healing him. There are times in my own life, where I know I can be healed, and I am at the feet of the Savior--but in HIS wisdom and Mercy and his perfect understanding which I usually don't comprehend or see--I am led on a journey to where I can be healed. Even if my healing comes in the form of just having my heart more concrete to Him--even if my infirmity/struggle is not taken away... my resolve and determination can be fortified and strengthened. Sometimes the burden is not taken off the back, but "The Lord shapes the back to bear the burden placed upon it." -- President Thomas S. Monson.

Christ can take us by the hand and even with our "blindness" lead us along to the place where he can heal us... whatever "healing" he has in store... not our will, but Heavenly Father's will be done...  

So many applications for life! As we turn to the Savior, as others help bring us to him, or we choose to head towards him ourselves--SATAN WILL NOT LET US GO WITHOUT A FIGHT! Seeing Christ enter into our life (meaning, us making the steps to come to him) Satan will be ticked off and will try to "tare" us and push us to the ground and have us wallow in the foam of discouragement, of frustration, the foam of bitterness, of doubt, or resentment or of pride. BUT the Savior can take us by the hand, even in our "blinded" state, and although he might not choose to heal us in the current area of our life, he will lead us to the place where he sees best to provide the opportunities to help us see what he would have us see.

So if you are on your path to the Savior, determined to hand over something that is not so GodLike in your life--be prepared that Satan is not going to let you go without a fight!!!  BUT FIGHT YOU MUST--FOR CHRIST WILL TAKE YOUR HAND AND LEAD YOU ON YOUR PATH TO GREATER HAPPINESS, DEEPER CONVICTION, AND MORE FAITH AND TRUST IN GOD'S PLAN FOR YOU... FOR ME! 

Friday, December 23, 2011


Yesterday I stopped in a rush at Kmart to pick up something really quick. The lines were not too long  which I was grateful for because of course I was in a hurry.

As I stood in my line, I looked at the cashier one line over from me. The way Kmart set up their check-out lines, this cashier was basically standing in my line, just facing a different direction. I happened to glance down and noticed that his pants were tucked into his white socks and thought it was a bold style. Our eyes connected and I smiled/half winked at him to say hello. We didn't exchange words because he was already working with a customer but he acknowledged me with a smile back and I went back to getting ready to check out. The woman and man in his line asked him how he was. Very joyfully he thanked the couple for asking him how HE was and that many people don't ask such things. He then proceeded to tell them how great he was for it was Christmas.

I was very pleased to hear such an interaction between sales associate and customer.  With the cashier's  comment of people not being very personal, for whatever reason I looked back at his pants again. But this time instead of seeing the bottoms tucked into the socks, I noticed that the pants were probably three of even four sizes too big of slacks. And they were being held together by a belt. They were black, and I hadn't noticed how big they were before.  My heart dropped. I don't think he was tucking the pant bottoms into his socks for style, but rather to hide how big they were. I was filled with more admiration, love and compassion for this cashier.  My mind seemed to play out several different reasons as to why he would be wearing such large pants...

The rest of my check out was fast. I finished my purchase and walked towards the door, but paused to get his attention.  I know, I was a little creepy I guess, but I waited for him to look over. Which he did and I nodded and sent him a smile. To which he lifted his hand to his brow, saluted me with a nod and smiled back. No words spoken... but I won't forget his optimistic, sincere cheer.  I walked to my car changed.

Sunday one of the speakers mentioned that charity is seeing someone at their full worth. Outside of the scriptures and President Monson's amazing talk on charity (click here) I don't think I have heard a more perfect definition of charity.  Perhaps Heavenly Father in his infinite wisdom and mercy allows us random views/insights into people's lives to help fill in the areas of charity that we have not perfectly fulfilled yet.  Oh the gift to strive and plead for of being "quick to observe".  (Brilliant talk given by Elder Bednar and one of my personal favorites!  Click here to view.) 

I am so thankful God allows us moments to see into the lives of others.  Ever so brief at times, but my interaction with the cashier that wasn't even my cashier...  I most likely will never know his story.  But regardless of circumstances, his attitude reflected love and kindness.  What a great example he was to me! Lesson not lost.

My heart is full.

Three clips to bring the spirit!  The first one--may we all listen to the promptings/impressions of the spirit.  The second one was introduced to me by my friend Steve.  His pastor shared it with him.  The man truly "saw" others worth.  That can be said with the last clip too.

Merry Christmas!  Christ is the reason!

Saturday, December 10, 2011


This morning as I was getting ready for my day, I listened to this experience that Sister Menlove had with her grandchildren.  I remember hearing the story in General Conference, but I don't remember it being so profound.  I was touched.  She recounted:
A few months ago I had an opportunity to take a morning walk on a mountain trail with four of my grandchildren. We each brought a bag so we could collect treasures from nature. As we looked for pieces to put in our collection, we found many different colors, designs, and textures in the leaves and rocks. It was hard to choose. I soon noticed that the children’s bags were filling up. Each leaf the children selected was unique, but because it was late fall, most of the leaves had dark weathered spots, irregular shapes, or faded and discolored parts. Because of this, I was reluctant to add things to my bag. I was looking for a leaf that showed the brightest colors and had no flaws. If it wasn’t perfect, I wasn’t going to treasure it. But this meant that my bag had very little in it.

Later, as I thought about this experience, I realized that I had cheated myself of much delight and happiness that could have been mine. I didn’t appreciate the uniqueness of the objects because I was looking for what I had deemed perfection. My grandchildren had been wiser than I had been. They had savored the odd shapes and spots on the leaves. They giggled at and enjoyed the brittle crispness of the dying leaves, and they delighted in the soft, faded colors. They filled their bags with happy treasures to take home. We can fail to see and enjoy the unique happiness and beauty in each day if we are so focused on our desire for what we want instead of what the Lord has designed for us. (For full article click here.)
Now there is a lot to say of what am I "filling" my earthly bag with.  We are told that we are to go in search of a pearl of great price, and when we find it, we should sell all that we have to obtain it.  But I am thankful for this sweet reminder of seeing/finding the joy in life rather then seeking/only focused on the "perfectness" of something/anything!  I surely would have only placed the most beauitful and most perfect leaves in my bag as well!!  What if God did that?!  Only picked out the perfect and flawless children to communicate with/and or to love?  Well he would only have one Son in that bag, namely Jesus Christ.  But yet, I know that God treasures each of us!  Even with our unique flaws/imperfections.

Sister Menlove's story reminded me of a morning I had in May with Ms. Mia Bella.

It was cold, and cold, and lifeless, and did I mention COLD?! :)  Mia and I went outside to "see" what we could see.  No leaves, brisk wind, mud and dirt everywhere.  Needless to say the morning would not be counted as one of my top 10 beautiful mornings-- or so I thought!

Mia was running around and playing in the dirt.  Having such a fun time.  She would find an obstacle of sagebrush in her path and then only with the confidence that graces an adventurous two year old she would try stepping over the brush. It was fun seeing her confidently lift her leg and with a glance towards me that seemed to say, "Did you see how high I just lifted my leg?!" When she landed her footing successful, she would squeal and flap her arms in delight.  I was trying to be the responsible "aunt" in keeping her out of the more muddy spots, while allowing her the freedom of roaming around where she chose to.

Again, this morning was nothing to talk about for it was pretty bleak.  Or was it?

At one point I got close to the ground for kicks and giggles of wanting to capture the perspective of  a two year old footstep.  I captured a lot more than a shoe! 

My bleak/lifeless morning changed in an instant to breath taking yellow and gold spread splendor!  The ground was literally covered with hundreds of smaller than dime flowers.  They were EVERYWHERE!  Mia had discovered them before me! (The picture of her above crouching down is of her capturing one of the flowers.  If you look closely to her right you will see a littering of yellow. Click on the picture and you will see even better how there are flowers everywhere!) 

My morning changed!  Not because God put leaves on the trees and dried up all the mud.  But rather He allowed me to see, what I had failed to see... His beauty!  His hand! His sunshine! I expected to see it in the warmth of the air and in the hoped for "life" in the trees.  He however, had provided it just inches off the ground.

A guy on Sunday shared a quote that his mission companion shared with him.  "Perspective brings patience."  So eternal perspective, when viewing things as they really are--the "bigger picture" patience is provided.  Well my inches off the mud view provided a new perspective. As well.  Like Sister Menloves discovery of missing out in all the joy and treasures she could have enjoyed had she not be so focused on perfection, I too could have missed the most beauitful display/arrangement of sunshine right above the mud!


A friend shared her despair as tears fell from her cheeks.  With life's changes she could not believe that God had taken so many things away from her.  I asked her if she had thought of all the things that Christ had done for her, to which she responded that she could not think of one thing he had done for her.  (It was like living Elder Oak's talk from General Conference for myself.)  My sweet friend, with tears of anger and tears of sorrow, grasped for any form of happiness, but sadly she was convinced that her happiness would only be found in her boyfriend coming back and her getting to "just live" her life how she wanted, without guilt or responsibilities.

I tried to share with her the hundreds of yellow flowers that marked and covered the path... but one must come to discover what is literately growing out of the "muds/hardships" of life for themselves.  She saw only what I saw at first... a lifeless, cold, bleak morning, and in bitterness and with anguish of soul her tears continued to flow.

My brother had a significant dream back in 2003:
"I had a dream a little while ago in which I was going to class when I began to feel quite thirsty. So I went to the drinking fountain and took a long drink, but as I did so I noticed that I couldn't feel the water in my mouth or throat. I drank again, again I felt nothing. Slightly irritated I got a large bottle of water and proceeded to empty its contents down in my mouth, I still felt nothing and I was becoming more and more thirsty. This was becoming quite aggravating so I left my class and found myself walking outside to a grass field which had sprinklers watering the lawn. I was sooo thirsty. So i went to the sprinkler and started to drink. Arrrgggg! Again I couldn't feel the water and I just go thirstier and thirstier. What was going on! As I was about to try the water in a near by gutter, I woke up. With an extremely dry mouth I got out of bed to get a drink. As I held the glass I stared at it for a while, trying to give it the impression that if I couldn't feel the water as I drank, it could enjoy being flung against the wall. I tipped the glass to my mouth and drank. YES! The water was cold against my throat, the thirst slowly dissipated. There are times in my life when I thirst, and I have found there are sources that cannot satisfy.  I am learning that there is only one true source for living water, Christ. He not only extends his water, He also pleads for me to drink. As I drink I am filled with his spirit and I find an increased capacity to feel and love. He knows how to quench my thirst because He too has thirsted like me. He causes springs of faith and hope in my driest times. He is the true fount, the fount of every blessing. I know He lives, loves and will lead me home if I will follow." -- Brytt Cloward
When we chatted it came down to the fact that she really did want to live her life the way she wanted to, and not have to keep commandments or put Christ in it.  The amazing beautiful thing about this life-- is that we can choose just to do that!  God will never force us to follow Him, or have faith in His son. But I echo the words of my brother that I too have found that there are sources that cannot satisfy.  And ultimately "there is only one true source of living water, Christ."

So I get to choose what goes in my bag!  May I fill it with the things that matter!  May I see what I couldn't see before in noticing the beauty of mud grown flowers!

To my dear friend-- God loves you.  And there is joy to be had even on seemingly bleak mornings.

May we see, what we couldn't see...!

Jesus lives!

Thursday, December 1, 2011


25 Days seems a fitting number...

I always ponder about this time of year. And I know it is like beating the same drum, but I can't help stop thinking about what CAN happen with someone this time of year. Sadly, I learned of a suicide of a young teenage girl last week on or right after Thanksgiving. I learned of a friend who has a few family members that have been also contemplating suicidal thoughts and at times quite struggle with who they are and their very existence. I am not to judge, for I know not their thoughts or their struggles. I know not the anguish of their soul or what Goliath is staring them down. I know not.

But this I do know...

There is a loving Father in Heaven who sent His only Begotten son to not only die for us but also to live for us! And at this Christmas season--wouldn't it be something if we chose to live for Him?!

At this time of year, if one will allow, one can be filled with joy, with more kindness, patience, temperance, understanding. Mens hearts can naturally be turned outward and there is NO LIMIT to the amount of good one can do during the holidays. There is NO limit to the influence. There is no limit to the hands that can be served. The smiles that can be given and the burdens that can be lightened. Satan KNOWS this! He knows because of the time of year it is--there is greater chance, that IF someone will reach outside themselves their influence/good acts/kind words could triple and multiply by 7 times the normal JUST BECAUSE of the time of year it is!

So, if I were the adversary and I knew all that one could do for Jesus Christ at this time of year... Why not put ALL my efforts, demons, devils, discouragement on an individual and just get them to focus on them looking in instead of looking out.  To focus on self instead of focusing on others.  IF I can just get someone to not care about the season and to be caught up in the business and the parties and all the obligations, the shopper rush, the longing/ the $$$ debt-- If I could just help cause them to forget the WHY behind Christmas... Well shoot!  I think I would make a pretty convincing plan for Satan to stamp with his approval of what to do with his Troops this Christmas! 

But it doesn't need to be that way.

I have read a few beautiful things in the last 5 days that have caused me great reflection.

"Our eternal happiness will be in proportion to the way that we devote ourselves to helping others" --George Albert Smith

"It is better to walk with God in the darkness than without him in the light." --Maria Speidel

... the Holy Ghost "satisfies and fills up every longing of the human heart, and fills up every vacuum.  When I am filled with that soul is satisfied, and I can say in good earnest, that the trifling things of the day do not seem to stand in my way at all.  But just let me lose my hold of that spirit and power of the Gospel, and partake of the spirit of the world, in the slightest degree, and troubles comes; there is something wrong.  I am tried, and what will comfort me?  You cannot impart comfort to me that will satisfy the immortal mind, but that which comes from the Fountain above.  And is it not our privilege to so live that we can have this constantly flowing into our souls?" --Eliza R. Snow (from Daughters in My Kingdom)
Jesus Christ shared with those recorded in Matt and Luke to "love your enemies, do good to them that hate you"... and He shared the same counsel with the Nephites when he visited them after his resurrection.  I think He is trying to help us see and make a point that we need to be loving!

But how can we love, if we are hating?  How can we bless if we are only cursing back? How can we do good if we close off our heart?  And how can we sincerely pray for those around us if we are not inclined to sincerely pray in the first place?  No wonder Christ gave such timely council!

I came across a letter that my mom shared with me back in 2006. It was a letter that Uncle Dave had written to Grammy dated July 16, 2006. He was sharing with her about Luke 18 and what it takes to be a profitable servant. He then started reflecting a little on a few areas of his life and wrote that, "...and occasionally [I] don't keep some of the commandments. (I'm usually okay with the Ten, but have occasional problems with the Two Great Commandments, such as wrong priorities, unkind thoughts and words, ect.)" !!!!

  • Love the Lord thy God with all your heart - NOT KEEPING = wrong priorities.
  • Love your neighbor as yourself - NOT KEEPING = unkind thoughts and words, ect.
Brilliantly stated! Thanks Uncle Dave! (Ha you may not have known that your sister was sharing your stuff with her daughter--but now you do!  ;))

I have reflected over those words... what are my priorities!

President Spencer W. Kimball said:
“Jesus … taught us how important it is to use our time wisely. This does not mean there can never be any leisure, for there must be time for contemplation and for renewal, but there must be no waste of time. How we manage time matters so very much, and we can be good managers of time without being frantic or officious. Time cannot be recycled. When a moment has gone, it is really gone. The tyranny of trivia consists of its driving out the people and moments that really matter. Minutia holds momentous things hostage, and we let the tyranny continue all too often. Wise time management is really the wise management of ourselves”  
Time cannot be recycled!

SOOO --- 25 Days!
(Not that it should only last 25 days, but goals/habits are measured with marking points...)

I would like to issue a challenge to anyone who is up for it.  For the next 25 Days--LET'S work on a "birthday" gift for the Savior.  That is to:

1.)  LOVE enemies... 
Those we have grudges towards.  Those who we feel have wronged us so we, sometimes unknowingly, withhold our love from them. Those who are in the checkout line and take their own sweet time... :)
2.)  BLESS them that curse...
That could mean, driving with a smile when someone does less than considerate actions with their car.  Serving someone that it would be easy to keep on moving.
3.)  DO GOOD to those that hate...
Forgiving is a good thing to do. Being slow to anger is a good thing. Slow to judge... living with giving people the benefit of the doubt... Smiling especially when it is so natural to not to car/want to be noticed... Focusing on others, choosing to be happy/positive-- all GOOD things to do. 
4.)  PRAY for others...
In a time when Satan will strive so hard to tempt us with thoughts of ending our life- only focusing inward, dwelling on what we can't see/don't have rather than seeing all we do have... If Satan can tempt us to not pray, and especially for others because we have given up or just stop caring... I say he has a pretty good plan!! Prayers can MOVE mountains!  (The faith in one's prayers..:))

SOO--What will your gift to Christ be this year?  Will you give Him 25 days?!!!  Will you give Him, in the form of doing it to/for others-- LOVE, BLESS by serving/noticing/caring, DO GOOD and PRAYING?!

What a "Birthday" (in the time of year when the world celebrates his birth) gift we could give!

The choice is ours...!

25 DAYS!!!