Friday, April 30, 2010


About two weeks ago – okay, maybe three – I put one of those car fresheners in our 15-passenger family van.

It was to fragrance the air of the unmistakable smell of active, energetic children.

I think the packaging said that the freshener is supposed to last SEVEN weeks.

Here we are three weeks into it and all I have is this yellow tree decoration hanging in my van because no yummy vanilla smell exists at all.

In fact, I am afraid to put a name to the fragrance it is now emitting!


Because my children have sniffed every. single. bit. of the good, sweet air out of it!


Every time we get in or out of the van, they have to take a little sniff.

Sniff. Sniff.

Sniff. Sniff.

And now our van is back to smelling like a locker room.

Because, as you well know, I have SEVEN boys and ONE girl and adding that up equals SMELLY VAN!

Which makes me deliriously aware of what people may think if, by chance, they risk their very lives to ride in our family van.

Not like they would.

But maybe they would.

And if they do, then they will know how much our family s.t.i.n.k.s.

Stinks to High Heaven.

Which made me remember a story told by a Relief Society president.

She was a high school teacher.

Well, she was more than JUST a high school teacher. She was the Home Study teacher – you know the one who oversaw the students who school from home.

Usually because of emotional or social problems or teenage pregnancy.

Things like that.

She would go and make home visits regularly to these students to give assignments and collect the ones that were due.

Those visits helped her to assess each student’s progress, as well as their home environment.

But there was one student who didn’t want her coming into his house.

So she would meet him at the school or in his front yard to give testing or check up on him.

She found out that this student was a young man who recently began to go back to Church and had recently enrolled in seminary - the only class on campus he took.

He was trying to live what he was being taught in those classes.

He was trying to be worthy to use the priesthood he had been given.

And after many months this student finally told his teacher why he didn’t want her to go into his home.

It was because his mom smoked!

And he was so extremely self-conscious of it!

For the smell covered everything.

It covered him!

Which made attending seminary everyday and Church every week so difficult and embarrassing.

And so to his Home Study teacher, in whom he could confide, he said, “I am so afraid people will smell the smoke on me think that I stink!”

To which this wonderful woman – my Relief Society President – responded, “You know, if each sin had a smell, none of us would smell nice. In fact, ALL of us would stink!”

So today, when I saw that overdue air freshener dangling in my van, I was reminded of how much I stink.

And why I have a Savior.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Are you there?

Today I was in the bathroom, locked away and out of sight, when I heard a little knock on the door.

It was my five year-old daughter.

"Mom?  Mom?" she called in desperation.

"Yes." I answered.

"Are you in there?"

"Yes.  What do you need?"

There was a long pause. "Um, nothing.  I just wanted to know where you were."

Then I heard her skip off, happy that I was near.

I've done that same thing this week - while praying.

I didn't need anything.  I just needed to know that Heavenly Father could hear me.

I just wanted to know that He was near.

And when I knew He could hear me, and when I heard it in my heart, I got off my knees and went about my day.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Credit Score

Here is what I found out today.

Two people can be married for almost two decades, have shared the same checking and savings accounts for the same amount of time, have joint credit cards and auto loans and mortgage loans and come out with completely! different! credit! scores!

Makes me think that even in the covenant of marriage both partners need to keep the commandments, live the gospel, serve, sacrifice, consecrate.  But when it comes right down to it, one cannot depend on the other to get them into God's kingdom.

While the sum of two definitely equals exaltation, it is the individual who determines what place he or she will take in God's kingdom.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tidbit Tuesday - Charitable Motherhood

"And then there was the harried mother who said that one of her acts of charity was to allow her children to live one more day."

-Mary Ellen Edmunds

Monday, April 26, 2010

Surround Sound

I am blessed (and cursed) to hear in Surround Sound.

Blessed to hear Every. Little. Thing. That's. Happening.

The two boys arguing over who's turn it is to be at bat. . .

The radio left on in the downstairs bedroom . . .

The one boy pounding Coldplay's Viva La Vida in mezza-mezza forte. . .

The dog barking furiously at the mailman . . .

The three boys playing chase down the hall, around the kitchen and out he back door with a Whoop and a Holler. . .

The dryer's buzzer going off . . .

The one girl whispering to herself about princesses and hairdo's and sparkly pink lip gloss while looking at herself in the mirror. . .

The cell phone vibrating with a text from my husband who's on his way home and says he loves me . . .

And the one boy that's asking - for the sixth time - what's for dinner!

So why do I forget that I do so much better when I listen to it all in High Definition with the help of the Holy Ghost?!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Comfort Foods

I have comfort foods!

My Winter Comfort Foods
Hot Cocoa made with REAL cream and bittersweet chocolate
Chocolate, vanilla and tapioca puddings
Soups - Ooh, do not get me started!
Hot, out-of-the-oven, homemade bread!

My Summer Comfort Foods
Homemade Ice Cream
Ice-cold, freshly-squeezed lemonade
Anything grilled

My Anytime Comfort Foods
My homemade Fudge Brownies topped with chocolate chips and toasted walnuts
Homemade Chocolate Cheesecake
DR Beans with Brown Rice
Dark Chocolate Chex Mix

My Everytime Comfort Food
Feasting on the Word of God

I know, I know. I HAD to go and include some spiritual thing in my list of comfort foods. But it is true! I don’t know what I would do without my daily scripture study. Seriously.

There are several reasons why.

One being, I need ALL the help I can get! And I figure God's help is the BEST help for me these days!

Secondly, I NEVER come away from my study without having learned something. Something I can change.  Something I didn't know.  Something I need to know.  Something I need to teach.  Or something I just may need in the future.

Third off, I found that feasting on the word of God is the only food I can get fat on and feel so good about it!! Jacob says it as plain as day:
"Come,  . . .every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and he that hath no money, come buy and eat; yea, come buy wine and milk without money and without price.

Come unto the Holy One of Israel, and feast upon that which perisheth not, neither can be corrupted, and let your soul delight in fatness (2 Nephi 9:50-51)."
Which leaves me with my Spring and Autumn Comfort Foods: General Conference!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Drawing the Line

Some years ago for Easter, a friend of mine ordered 25 chicks online.

After several sleepless nights of chirping chicks, her husband told her that if she didn’t do something he was going to have to draw the line somewhere.

Her response?

“Draw the line? Draw the line? I am your wife! I would never cross the line, so there is no line to draw!”

Friday, April 23, 2010

You're a Chicken

The other day I was given 15 dozen eggs!

So, today, along with figuring out how to eat and give-away 180 eggs, I’ve been thinking about chickens.

When I was young we had chickens.

The eating part of the eggs – delicious!

The gathering part of the eggs – dangerous!

Dangerous because chickens have ‘a pecking order.’

Somehow, as the hens cluck around and peck at grain and find worms, they also figure out amongst themselves a plan.

A plan to choose one special chicken.

And one hen is singled out.

One hen becomes the target.

And from that time on, all the other chickens peck at her.

Pecking out feathers. . .

Leaving her exposed . . .

And naked. . .

Or sometimes blind in one eye. . .

Which may mean nothing to us-

Unless, of course, we are the one chicken.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Very Last Chapter

Today, as a family, we read the very last chapter of the Book of Mormon.

Moroni chapter 10.

The chapter that contains the promise for the entire Book of Mormon.

The promise, that in reading the book, that we will remember how merciful the Lord has been to us - from the time Adam Fall, to the great and infinite sacrifice, to the Resurrection, to the Restoration, until THIS very day - that we can and should ponder these things in our hearts.

And after so doing, we are invited to ask God - in the name of Christ - if these things are not true.

And if we ask - with a sincere  heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ - He WILL manifest the truth of it unto us, by the POWER of the Holy Ghost.

And just as a reminder, Moroni adds, that it is by the POWER of the Holy Ghost that we may know the truth of all things.

Is that NOT amazing?

I still remember the very first time I finished reading the Book of Mormon - all by myself.

I was 13.

I was given the challenge by my father.

And because getting a challenge does something to my adrenaline, I took it upon myself to show him that I could do it!

Little did I know that his invitation would change my life forever.

The night I finished reading Moroni 10, I went outside for some fresh air.

It was raining.

For me, the rain was a symbol of Living Water.

And that rain would not have meant anything to me if I had not accepted the challenge to read the Book of Mormon.

And this morning, as we finished reading Moroni's final words, my mind went back to that rainy night when my heart was filled with the Holy Ghost, telling me that these things ARE true!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Quail Ha Ha

The other day my kindergartener and I watched a quail waddle its way across our yard.

We were close enough to see its beautiful markings, including it's wonderful feather that sticks right up from its head.

Needless to say, I was mesmerized.

After a few moments of silence, I whispered to my son, not wanting to scare away the bird, "Do you know what type of bird that is?"

"Yup," he replied, "it's the bird that laughs at us when we walk to school in the mornings!"

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tidbit Tuesday - Atonement

“The Atonement is hardly a shield against sorrow; rather it is a rich source of strength to deal productively with the disappointment and heart breaks that for the deliberate fabric of mortal life. The gospel was given to heal our pain, not to prevent it.”

Bruce C. Hafen
The Broken Heart, Salt Lake City, Deseret Book, 1989, p.59

Monday, April 19, 2010


Today I learned about heartworm.

It's what you learn when a canine becomes a part of your family.

Heartworm is transmitted by infected mosquitoes.  They bite the dog and somehow that intermediate host transmits the parasite and it travels and takes up house directly in the heart.

Adult worms, literally, mess up the heart.  They take over: clogging vessels, interfering with blood flow, supressing blood supply to other vital organs like the kidneys and the liver.

Did you know that most dogs infected with heartworm do not show any signs of it for at least two years?!

And in that two years, the worm could grow up to 14 inches and 1/4 of an inch wide.


Double Ick!

However, I found out that heartworm is 100% (that is cien por ciento) preventable!

And if caught soon enough, it can even be cured!

But treatment is not just a one-time dose.  Medication MUST BE taken once a month for 12 months to protect the dog from this horrendous parasite.

But, if left to itself, the heartworm will take over and kill the dog.

Then I thought about MY heart.

Do I recognize the intermediate host that can pierce my flesh and transmit the disease that could eat my heart away?

Is my heart full of worms?  Full of parasites that will take over and cause my heart to die, but I don't know it yet?


And double ick!

The great news is that spiritual heartworm can be 100% preventable!

But first of all, it requires a heart check!

Alma saw that some of his people, the people in the land of Sidom were "checked as the the pride of their hearts and began to humble themselves before God, . . .watching and praying continually, that they might be delivered from Satan, and from death, and from destruction—"

Preventing spiritual heartworm requires effort.  It requires effort so one will not be destroyed.
It is NOT a one time application.
It requires daily prayer, daily scripture study, weekly partaking of the Sacrament, and regular temple attendance.  It requires that I give ALL I have to Him who has given to us ALL that He has for me!
So today we begin the serious business of preventable treatment for heartworm.
Because canine-ly or spiritually - the cost is SO worth the reward!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Bondage, Passover and Exodus

Three words: Bondage, Passover, and Exodus will clue you in to what part of the Old Testament we discussed during Sunday School.

And upon my studies this week, I really never knew how much I loved the story of Moses.

(The scripture story of Moses, not the Cecil B. DeMille movie story. Although Charleton Heston sure makes a really good Moses!)

So after the final plague – the killing of all of Egypt’s firstborn – the Pharoah lets the children of Israel go, but then I read verses 17 and 18 in Exodus 13 which made me stop, think, and write down some feelings and ideas.
17. And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt:
18. But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt.
Thought #1
After Pharaoh let the people go, God did NOT lead them through "the way of the land . . . that was near."   Instead, He opted to lead the Israelites to the Promised Land the good, old-fashioned long, hard way.  The 40 years-wandering-in-the-wilderness-way.


I think it is for the same reason the Lord - who could have very easily subdued the winter of 1856-57- instead allowed the bitter winter snows to start early that year.

He allowed hardships unfathomable to come upon those early LDS Saints in the Willie and Martin Handcart Companies as a testimony to them and to us, of His goodness and His power.

The Exodus of the Israelites and the crossing of the Sweetwater stand as a witness that God's people - as favored as they are - do not or will not escape hardships, trials, afflictions or sorrows.  But their journey, their experience is one we need to remember, to retain in our hearts, as a reminder of who our Deliverer is!

Thought #2
To continue the thought that even followers of Christ will have their fair share of adversity, we do so harnessed by God Himself.

Webster's dictionary offers THREE definitions that fit so well with this thought!  Harness: 1. to control so as to use the power of (as to harness one's energy) 2. to put armor on and 3. married

1. When we are willing to be led by the Lord, He allows us to use His power.  Priesthood power. The power to act in His name.

2. When we are harnessed by the the Lord, we are clothed with His Armor:  Loins girt about by Truth. Breastplates of Righteousness. Feet shod with the Preparation of the Gospel of Peace. Shields of Faith.  Helmets of Salvation.  Swords of His Spirit.  An army doesn't get more powerful than that!! 

3. The scriptures are replete with the metaphor of Jesus being the Bridegroom and the Church is His bride.  The price He paid to purchase us, through His suffering so we could return with Him to the Father, is an incredible, humbling symbol of His ability to harness us if we are willing to do all that He requires! (CLICK HERE for a very insightful article on The Marriage Metaphor).

In a world where I face my own personal challenges of Bondage, Passover and Exodus, I am grateful for the strength that comes in harnessing my thoughts, my actions, and my desires with the Lord.

Granted, I may take a long time to figure out where my Promised Land is, but I am sure that He is my Deliverer.  He will lead the way and I submit to His will, I can be harnessed up with His power and His love.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Plaque Attack

Finding really great sayings to put on a plaque or to cut out of vinyl aren’t that hard to find. Here are just five of many I have found while studying scripture:

Many great things are hard to be understood, save a man should inquire of the Lord! (1 Nephi 15:3)

Be like a river – continually running into the Fountain of all Righteousness (1 Nephi 2:9)

The devil cheats souls (2 Nephi 28:21)

Deal justly. Judge righteously. Do good continually (Alma 4:14)

There is nothing in all the land to hinder me from prospering continually, except . . . transgression! (3 Nephi 6:5)

Book Review: The Year of Goodbyes

I read a wonderful book this week entitled The Year of Goodbyes. Taken from the poesiealbum (autograph book) of Jutta (pronounced YUH-tah) Salzberg in the year 1938, who was was a twelve-year-old girl living in Germany during the rise of Adolf Hitler. Jutta’s poesiealbum, filled with writings by her friends and family, sets the stage of what occurred during that year of her life and gives a glimpse of how this young girl felt as political and social views were changing.

This is a beautiful family history story written by Jutta’s daughter, Debbie Levy. And it would be a great read for ages 9-13!

In fact, I think I’m going to read it out loud to my boys!!  Ha - I’ll let you know what they think of that!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Dinner with Children

Today my children decided that they wanted to make and serve a delicious candlelight dinner for my husband and me.

Our oldest is 12.

Our youngest is 4.

And there are six others, all squished in between, who argued for rank in the kitchen.

They suggested a whole list of restaurant meals that would take HOURS to create by someone who actually knows how to make them . . .

So, I told them to go back to the drawing board.

Then out came suggestions for French Toast, Hawaiian Haystacks and Nachos. . .

Umm, we compromised and bought some frozen pot stickers and egg rolls from Costco.

I have to say, two of my boys followed baking instructions pretty well! Restaurant well!

Two others set up a table for two in our library - with a Caramel Apple Pie scented candle as the fragrant centerpiece.

One dimmed the lights, put on Kenny G and closed the French glass doors after the others brought out our food and poured our drinks.

And while we ate, I saw sixteen eyes and eighty fingers pressed closely against the glass.




And then it occurred to me that maybe this was a duplicated scene of some years ago.

Before I had children.

Before I was married.

Maybe I was on a date.

Or in school.

Or at a Church meeting.

And eight spirits up in heaven, on the other side of the veil, stood waiting for the opportunity to receive an earthly body - through me.

Watching very closely.

Hoping in faith that I would remain faithful and worthy to seal their eternal desire in the House of the Lord.

Smiling for the day that they could come down and be mine.

Be ours.

So they could serve us a candlelight dinner on a night like tonight!

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Alma 34:17-28 outlines a pretty good list of things I can pray for, which really gives me no excuse for sputtering out a 30-second prayer!

• I can pray for Mercy. After all, it is His mercy that will save me: Save me from grief. Save me from the effects of sin. Save me from the natural woman that I am, so I can become who He wants me to be - more like Him.

• I can pray for Humility. Humility means being obedient; having a broken heart; being repentant.  It also means not being puffed up with all of those unwanted, self-indulging pride calories.  It means not being offended and being slow to anger.  Humility also means taking counsel from the Lord, not demanding His signs to be MY answers!

• I can pray for my Family, Loved Ones, Friends, People within the realms of my stewardship (leaders, visiting teaching sisters, primary children).  I can even pray people who I don’t know, but feel drawn to by heart.

• I can pray for the Goings-on in my Household. What this means is that Heavenly Father is interested in every aspect of my life. He cares and wants to help me in: Financial Matters. Spiritual Matters. Communication Matters (or, in my case this week, Miscommunicated matters). Relationship Matters. Even in the business of Lost Keys because they also matter . . .

• I can pray for Righteousness for it gives me Power against the devil!

• I can pray for Progress.

• I can pray for Prosperity.

And in all of these, my heart needs to be FILLED (24/7) with prayerful thoughts and desires – for my welfare and the welfare of others!

For, as Amulek cautions, "if ye turn away the needy, and the naked, and visit not the sick and afflicted, and impart of your substance, if ye have, to those who stand in need—I say unto you, if ye do not any of these things, behold, your prayer is vain, and availeth you nothing, and ye are as hypocrites who do deny the faith."

Perhaps the only thing worse than sputtering out a 30-second prayer because I think I don't have anything to say, is being a hypocrite.

I don't want to be a hypocrite.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Magic Wand

A few weeks ago my kindergartener presented me with a magic wand he created out of a tongue depressor and construction paper.

He told me I could use it anytime I wanted.

A few days following, my five year old daughter found it. After examining it for a few moments she asked me what it was.

“Oh,” I replied, “it’s a magic wand your brother made for me.”

One could only imagine her glee as she danced around pointing to things saying “Abracadabra.”

After a few minutes of twirling and pretending, she pointed the magic wand at her younger brother and in a very commanding, matter-of-fact voice said “I want you to repent!”

"No! I don't want to!" he declared, and he ran far away from her and found a hiding place.

Which makes it even more clear that repentance can only come from within.  No one can make anyone repent any more than a magic wand can.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tibit Tuesday - Ouch!

Sarcasm: This is the act of making fun of a person in a clever way. The word originally came from the Greek sarkazein, meaning, literally, ‘to strip the flesh’.

Dr. John L. Lund, Without Offense, American Fork, UT, Covenant Communications, Inc., 2004, p. 30.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Book Review - "Sergeant Nibley, Phd."

I have never chosen to read about WWII.

I know, generally, what happened.

I tremble when I think about what happened that ended the lives of two and a half million Jews, not to mention the thousands of others who were killed in battle.

I know that the war had to do something with Americans, Germans, Russians, Japanese and the French. But I really have no clue about everything else: the strategy, the physical locations of the battles, the generals, the soldiers’ conditions etc. etc. etc.

I suppose my ignorance on the subject has been, clearly, my dislike of the subject of war.

This book, being the first book I have chosen to read about war, was captivating to me.

Alex Nibley, Hugh’s son, used his cinematographic/documentary approach to organize thoughts and insights using photographs and the written word. In so doing, the memories of Hugh Nibley are juxtaposed with other more well-known WWII authors who also had a first-hand account of what was going on.

As with the pioneers who crossed the plains, there is a general picture painted. A general idea of what happened. Perhaps even an overgeneralization, at that.

But once one starts reading the feelings and first hand experiences, the memories of people who lived through history, it is amazing what insights and strength comes from those who recognize God’s hand in all things.

Anyway, I was surprised how engaged I was to read this book! I found myself amazed a one man’s experience – one man’s ability to survive what he saw and observed, and then continue on as one of BYU’s great ancient religious intellects!

Sergeant Nibley, Phd. by Alex Nibley and Hugh Nibley

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Strength and Weakness

Today, during Sacrament Meeting, a brother shared his testimony and suggested that when we encounter one of our personal, human weaknesses, God immediately sends someone with a strength to help us out!

That singular statement brought to my mind NUMEROUS occasions when I have encountered a personal weakness and when the Lord did send someone to help me out.

Many times I didn’t recognize it as such. Perhaps it was because I was looking beyond the person or persons, not realizing THEY were sent from God.

One such experience happened when I was a teenager.

I had made some stupid decisions that very easily could have led me down a road filled with much regret, sorrow and despair.

But the Lord loved me enough to send my parents as a road block. A detour. A stop sign!

Of course I didn’t recognize THEM as someone the Lord would send to help me out in a weak point, because, after all, they were my parents . . .

In fact, I was annoyed by their deliberate infiltration of "my space."  Believing that their objective only made my teenage life more uncomfortable, more unpopular, and clearly unfair!

But now, as I look back, I know that God knew that my parents had strengths in the very areas in which I was weak.

And because of their intervention (a.k.a. their strengths), I have literally seen that that one weakness I once possessed, has become an incredible, immovable strength and testimony to me! For at a tender age, when I encountered a serious, personal human weakness, the Lord immediately sent someone with a strength to help me out!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Repentance Is Like . . .

Some days my sewing is almost perfect!

The machine sews perfect seams. . .

I remember the correct seam allowance. . .

I only need to read the pattern instruction, twice . . .

The right sides are facing together every! single! time!

On those days I find I get more done than I ever expected.

And I feel so good about what I have accomplished. . .

Of course, THOSE sewing days are very few and very far between.

Because most sewing days are more like this:

The children run off with the measuring tape, using it for a jump rope and before I can remember what I need to measure, I first I need to find it . . .

The machine’s bobbin decides it’s going to do its own thing, causing a major backup of clumped-up thread in a millimeter of space . . .

I get side tracked, again, because (DOH) I forget that my children need to eat . . .

I’ve sewn the wrong side of the fabric to the right side of the fabric . . . for the sixth time!

On THESE days, I would have been better off had I started with a seam ripper rather than with a needle and thread.

Which make me SO extremely grateful for seam rippers.

Because repentance is like ripping out a seam.

Because even on my very best sewing day, you will find me with a seam ripper in hand! (It’s true)!

Because as perfect as I want to be, I am so NOT!

And I can make some pretty dumb mistakes.

Sometimes those mistakes cost me.

And those mistakes take some time to figure out.

And sometimes that “some time” is so extremely frustrating.

Because for me, it means I have to undo E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. I have just done for that entire day.

That’s the seam ripper’s job.

To rip out. To remove. To undo everything that’s wrong.

So it can be made right.

And invariably, as I use my little tool, I remind myself that "Repentance is like ripping out a seam."

And my seam ripper is like the Atonement.

For when I rip out the seam and resew and redo, the sewing project I am working on turns out as if I had never made a mistake in the first place.

And even though I MAY remember the mistakes I made, they may fade because I took time to rip out those seams that weren’t done right in the first place.

Repentance is like ripping out a seam and then sewing it back together – making it right and better than it was before, thanks to my seam ripper!

Friday, April 9, 2010

A Taste of Heaven

I attended a temple sealing today.

BTW - It was far more beautiful than any civil ceremony I have ever seen in person or on TV!

I knew the bride. Last year she was only 12 (well, at least it seems that way to me)!

She grew up overnight!

And today she was old enough (and worthy!) to be sealed in the temple for eternity to a worthy young man.

The wonderful thing about weddings is that it brings friends, from afar, together.

I was able to visit a couple who moved from our neighborhood eight years ago!

My husband and I had really only known them for a year. That's only 12 months. A mere 52 weeks.

And yet, this couple is so near and dear to my heart.

As I sat there next to them it felt as if we never did part.

As if we had been together these last eight years.

And I had to catch myself wondering why that is so.

How is it that there are people with whom our hearts knit together in love, in admiration, in gentle affection that no matter how short the earth time of being together, the time apart seems so trivial?

How can that closeness be felt when our earth time together was so immensely short?

I suppose that is the answer of heaven!

For heaven, I believe, is a sweet reunion of loved ones whose hearts have been knit together since the very beginnings of time.

And for some of those knitted hearts, the Lord has allowed earthly paths to cross and intertwine, even if it is for a short time.

So this morning, there in the temple sealing room, my heart swelled in faith-filled gratitude for the taste I had of what heaven will feel like!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Going to the Temple

Four year old son: Mom, what do you do in the temple?

Me: I make and keep sacred covenants.

Son: Cool! 

Me: And what do you do when I go to the temple?

Son: I go to Nana's and eat!  I love it when you go to the temple!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Lusts of the Flesh; Fruit of the Spirit

In 2 Nephi 2:29, Lehi tells his children, that “the will of the flesh giveth the spirit of the devil POWER to CAPTIVATE.”

For a very long time I only supposed what the “wills of the Flesh” could be. Until I took more careful study of some scripture verses that I had overlooked while reading the more "prominent" verses.

In Galatians 5:22-23(the prominent verses), Paul teaches us what "the fruit of the Spirit" means, but right before that, in Galatians 5:16-21 (the verses that enlightened me), Paul counsels: “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” Then he lists what the “lusts of the flesh” are (I’ve added the definitions):

Adultery: voluntary sexual intercourse between a man or woman not his or her husband or wife
Fornication: voluntary sexual intercourse between unmarried men and women
Uncleanness: morally impure; unchaste; obscene; dirty; filthy; foul
Lasciviousness: expressing lust or lewdness; exciting lustful desires (read Elder Holland’s April 2010 General Conference talk)
Idolatry: excessive devotion to or reverence for some person or thing
Witchcraft: black magic or sorcery
Hatred: a strong dislike or ill will
Variance: discrepancy; divergence
Emulation: desire or ambition to equal or surpass; rivalry
Wrath: intense anger; fury; rage; any action carried out in great anger especially for punishment
Strife: contention or competition; the act or state of fighting or quarrelling; struggle; conflict
Sedition: stirring up of discontent, resistance or rebellion against those in power; revolt
Heresy: a religious belief opposed to the doctrine of the Church or the rejection of a belief that is part of the Church dogma
Envying: A feeling of discontent and ill will because of another’s advantages, possessions; resentful dislike of another who has something that one desires
Murder: unlawful and malicious or premeditated killing of one human being by another
Drunkenness: intoxicated
Revelling: boisterous festivity

Following a lengthy list of things that will surely put us on the path to Captivity and Death, Paul shares those things that can give us Liberty and Eternal Life. He gives us a list of nine, a.k.a the “the fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23): Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith, Meekness, Temperance.

President Marion G. Romney said this: “Earth life is a period of trial for every person of two mighty forces pulling in opposite directions. On the one hand is the power of Christ and His righteousness. On the other hand is Satan and his fellow travelers. Mankind, in the exercise of their God-given moral agency, must determine to travel in company with the one or the other. The reward for following the one is the fruit of the Spirit—peace. The reward for following the other is the works of the flesh—the antithesis of peace. If we would have peace, brothers and sisters, we must make up our minds to pay the price of peace."

I have made up my mind that I will pay. the. price. of. peace!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tidbit Tuesday - April 6

"April is truly a historic month in which we commemorate two of the most important events in the history of mankind: the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and the reestablishment of his church and kingdom here upon the earth in these, the latter days. Members of the Church also believe that Christ was born on April 6 in the year 1 b.c. (See Doctrine and Covenants 20:1.)"

"How fitting to commemorate the organization of the Church and the resurrection at the same season! The resurrection makes it possible for us to come forth from the grave, and the Church with its saving ordinances enables us, according to our faith and faithfulness, to enjoy exaltation and eternal life."

President N. Eldon Tanner
Ensign, April 1971, p. 2

Monday, April 5, 2010

Liberty and Life; Captivity and Death

Here are some things I learned as I studied 2 Nephi 2:26-29:

Jesus Christ redeems ME from The Fall.

Redemption from The Fall means I am free.

Free Forever.

Being Free Forever is this:
• Knowing good from evil
• Acting for oneself vs. being acted upon by another
• Understanding that consequences follow laws

For right now, I am Free in the Flesh. Being Free in the Flesh means:
• I have available to me ALL the tools I need to make my choices, for my life, in whatever situation I find myself.
• I can choose LIBERTY and ETERNAL LIFE
• I can choose CAPTIVITY and DEATH

Liberty and Life; Captivity and Death. It’s what earthly war is ALL about. It is what was fought for in Book of Mormon times; it what was fought for during the Civil War. It is what is being fought for today!

It is why the War in Heaven is still in progress.

Liberty and Eternal life point to Jesus Christ.

Captivity and Death point to Lucifer.

So here are two simple things of what NOT to do if I want Liberty and Eternal Life (these are written out for me to remember):
1. Do not choose eternal death
2. Do not give into the wills of the Flesh (which will be Wednesday’s blog)

Because in so doing, we limit our potential, we limit our becoming and he who is so miserably miserable will make us miserable still . . .and I really can’t stand it when I am miserable!

And here are four things I MUST do to receive Liberty and Eternal Life (because it is just not awarded to anyone and everybody (btw – this has also been written out for me, because just avoiding the above two is not good enough)! I must:
1. Look to the great Mediator
2. Hearken to His commandments
3. Be faithful to Him and His teachings
4. Choose eternal life.

And the Holy Ghost will help me get there. I am not alone.

And that is worth a big SMILE (Spiritually Minded Is Life Eternal – see 2 Nephi 9:39).

General Conference - 6 Words

General Conference is a Spiritual Symphony!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

Of all the days that could bring mankind joy in the pain, faith in uncertainty and hope in tomorrow - it is today, Easter Sunday!

I know that Jesus lives.

His resurrection - and our resurrection, for that matter - is as sure as the sun rising.

His love broke the bonds of death.

His righteousness shattered the chains of sin.

His mercy extends beyond anything I can comprehend.

He heals.  He helps.  He lifts.  He saves.

And I love Him.

My brother, Jesus Christ.

God's Only Begotten Son.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter Cookies

For the past several years, we have used this “object lesson” on the night before Easter, just before our children go to bed. My children look forward to the retelling of this story every Easter Sunday!

1 cup whole nuts (pecans or walnuts work the best)
1 teaspoon vinegar
3 egg whites
1 pinch salt
1 cup sugar
Zippy bag
Wooden Spoon

1. Preheat oven to 300 degree F.

2. Put egg whites into a mixing bowl. Eggs represent life. EXPLAIN that Easter is the season we remember when Jesus gave His life for us. Read John 10:10-11.

3. Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 teaspoon vinegar into a mixing bowl. EXPLAIN that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross, He was given vinegar to drink. Read John 19:28-30.

4. Sprinkle a little bit of salt into each child’s hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. EXPLAIN that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus’ followers. It also can remind us of the bitterness of our own sins. Read Luke 23:27.

So far, the ingredients are not very appetizing. They don’t taste very good by themselves or even all together.

5. Add 1 cup sugar. EXPLAIN that the sweetest part of this story is that Jesus died for us because He loves us. He wants us to know that we belong to Him. He wants us to live with Him again. Read Psalms 34:8 and John 3:16.

6. Beat ingredients on HIGH until stiff peaks are formed. EXPLAIN that the color white represents how pure we can be before God when we repent of our sins. Read Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3.

7. Place nuts in zippy bag and let children beat them with a wooden spoon to break them into small pieces. EXPLAIN that after Jesus was arrested, He was beaten by the Roman soldiers. Read John 19:1-3. Fold broken nuts into the mixture.

8. Drop by teaspoons onto a wax-paper lined cookie sheet. EXPLAIN that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus’ body was laid. Read Matthew 27:57-60.

9. Put cookie sheet in oven. Close the door and TURN THE OVEN OFF!!

10. Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door. EXPLAIN that Jesus’ tomb was sealed. Read Matthew 27:65-66.

11. GO TO BED! EXPLAIN that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus’ followers felt despair when the tomb was sealed. Read John 16:20, 22.

12. On Easter morning, open the oven! Give everyone a cookie! Notice the cracked surface. Take a bite . . .

The cookies are hollow. On the first Easter morning, Jesus’ followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. Read Matthew 28:1-9.

Testify of the sacrifice and Atonement of Jesus Christ.

Happy Easter!

1st Session General Conference - 6 words

The Word of God gives hope.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Book Review - "Mistaken Identity"

On April 26, 2006 a terrible automobile accident happened in Northern Michigan. Killed in the accident were five students from Taylor University. One female student survived. This book tells the story of the Van Ryn and Cerak families, both God-fearing, God-loving families who dealt with the reality that seems only dreamed up by Hollywood.

Because Whitney Cerak was misidentified as Laura Van Rynn, the Cerak family buried the girl they thought was their daughter, while the Van Ryn family camped out at the hospital for five weeks following the accident with the girl they thought was Laura
This book is a gripping, emotional reality of how each family dealt with the accident, the death and the recovery of Whitney Cerak; and how God’s hand can still be seen and felt in the most devastating of all circumstances.

I was uplifted by the faith of both families, their forgiving hearts, and deeply moved by their complete devotion to God and His will.

Whitney's sister Carly, set the stage for me when she discovered that her sister was found dead at the scene of the accident.  In her own words she said:
“Okay Carly, here is the big test. Do you love God even though your sister is dead? She looked up at her friends, tears running down her face, 'God is still good,' she said. 'This accident didn’t change that at all.'”
This book sustained and increased the deep awe I have for a loving, generous, merciful Father in Heaven who watches over and comforts all His children!  It gave me an even deeper appreciation for the Comfort of the Holy Ghost - that He is as real as the air we breathe!

As much as this book is one of tragedy, it is an incredible story of love and hope, and of commitment to the Lord.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Love and Marriage

The other night my four year-old son wanted me to play a game of Nerf basketball with him. He wanted to go downstairs to one of his brothers’ room while I wanted to play upstairs near my husband, since I hadn’t seen him all day.

Son: But why do you want to play by where Daddy is?

Me: Because I love him!

Son (with a kindergartener taunt): If you love him, why don’t you marry him?

Me (smiling): I did!

Son (giggling): You married Dad?

Me: Of course I married Dad.

Son (still giggling): Did you marry Dad because you love him?

Me: Yes.

Son (more serious in tone): Do people get married because they love each other?

Me: Yes . . .

Son (with a face of total disgust): But I don’t wanna love a girl!