Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tidbit Tuesday - Golden Moments of Adversity

"Into each of our lives come golden moments of adversity. This painful friend breaks our hearts, drops us to our knees, and makes us realize we are nothing without our Lord and Savior. This friend makes us plead all the night long for reassurance and into the next day and sometimes for weeks and months. But, ultimately, just as surely as the day follows the night, as we remain true and faithful, this strange friend, adversity, leads us straight into the outstretched arms of the Savior."

- Glenn L. Pace

Monday, June 28, 2010

War and Modesty

Frankly, the "war chapters" in the Book of Mormon have always been a challenge for me to understand.

Bring on Isaiah . . . but The Book of Mormon War Chapters?!?!

However, I am getting better about listening to and learning what the Spirit wants me to understand as I studying the word of God.

So the other night, while I was studying, I was AMAZED to learn about the importance - the LIFE SAVING IMPORTANCE - of modesty.

Modesty in the War Chapters.  Who would have thunk?

These ideas are taken from Alma chapters 43 and 44.

First of all, Mormon illustrates the stark physical difference between the Nephites and the Lamanites during this scene with Captain Moroni and Zerahemnah.

The people of Nephi, obedient to Captain Moroni, were prepared with breastplates, arm-shields, shields to defend their heads AND (to top it off), they were dressed with thick clothing.

The army of Zerahemnah, on the other hand, did have swords, they did have bow and arrows, they did have stones and slings, but, they were naked . . . well, okay, they did have a skin girded about their loin, but that didn't hide the fact that they were still naked!

Their cohorts in crime - the Zoramites and Amalekites - were not naked (thank heavens).  However, somewhere along the line they had missed the memo to bring along their weapons.  So they had clothes but no breastplates.  No shields.

Interestingly, Mormon says that the Lamanites "were exceedingly afraid of the armies of the Nephites because of their armor - notwithstanding their number being SO MUCH GREATER than the Nephites."

So here is this GINORMOUS army of Lamanites - "immodestly" dressed for war, so to speak - against this modest army of Nephites. 

So these armies battle it out and soon, the Lamanites find that the are beign overpowered.  They come together.  They meet and there is this dialogue between Captain Moroni and Zerahemnah.

Captain Moroni:  Zerahemnah, we, the Nephites, will prevail! We will do so because of our religion, our faith in Christ, our rites of worship (We have made and we keep sacred covenants, you know, that is why we are dressed so modestly), our church AND by the sacred support we have received from their wives and their children.

Zerahemnah: Ha. We don't go to your church or believe in your faith.  We don't believe that God has helped you.  NO!  It is because of those ridiculously thick clothes you are wearing and that extra stuff you brought along - the breastplates and the shields - that protect you.

Okay.  Stop right there.  Let us just assume for one moment that we are as skeptial and as faithless as Zerahemnah in the reasons why this small Nephite army would prevail over the enormity of the armies of the Lamanites.  Let us just suppose that God's hand had nothing do with the success of Moroni's army.  What, then, would it say to us about modesty?

I think I could say that modesty alone could save lives!

But modesty, coupled with making and keeping sacred covenants, becomes virtue.

And virtue - a prerequisite to enter into the Lord's house - gives strength for one to make and keep and live sacred covenants.

It's what Captain Moroni explained to Zerahemnah in 73 B.C.

It's what Church leaders are exhorting us in 2010 A.D.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Instead of . . .

This summer I have foregone the list of things I would like to do.  Ahead of it I have placed the list of things my children would like to do.

So just this week alone:

. . . instead of finishing a quilt - I taught my 12 year old how to sew a button on his shorts.

. . . instead of thinking about starting a personal fitness program – I’ve taken eight kids and a dog to the park, and also weathered six hours (minus the dog) at the outdoor pool.

. . . instead of making chocolate truffles for me to stash and enjoy (fitness program for sure!) - I’ve made granola, peach cobbler, yogurt pies, chocolate pudding and three Costco trips just for the demo foods!

. . . instead of assigning summer homework – I’ve taken children to the library three times this week!

. . . instead of sitting home Wednesday night, we went and enjoyed ourselves at an outdoor wedding reception! It was overflowing with chocolate éclairs, chocolate covered strawberries, chocolate and caramel wrapped pretzels, complemented with a very, beautiful bride and a very, happy groom!

. . . and instead of checking off a Saturday to-do list, we attended a baptism, ate until we almost popped, and had our very own private rock concert!  I savored every. delicious. moment. of forever friendships.

Next week I’m going to be all about numbers - including of how many loads of laundry I do in one week!!?!
. . . I'm afraid the number may surprise even me!

Super Mario

Sometime ago my oldest son recorded to VHS the Super Mario game he was playing.

The other day I walked into the family room to see my youngest son - with a Wii controller in hand  and no console in the room – pretending to play this pre-recorded video game.

He was so excited to tell me what was going on as he moved with the controllers and bounced with the music.

As I watched him - both he and I knowing full well that he really wasn’t playing the game - I wondered what the angels sometime think of me when I pretend to do things that matter.

Or when I do things that don’t pertain to Him or to my salvation.

Not surprisingly, that same night as I was studying, I found this statement by Bruce R. McConkie:

"There may be those who have special gifts and needs to serve in other fields, but as far as I am concerned, with the knowledge and testimony that I have, there is nothing I can do for the time and season of this mortal probation that is more important than to use all my strength, energy and ability in spreading and perfecting the cause of truth and righteousness, both in the Church and among our Father’s other children."

I guess my observation was for me.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Cherry Tree

There is a cherry tree in our back yard.

Even though it is an old tree, it is a new cherry tree to us.

For we moved into this, our new house, the end of last fall.

So from the very end of the last frosty morning of winter to the warm summer morning of today, I have watched as this tree has developed leaves, buds, fruit and color.

Dangly, round green fruit are gradually developing into the deep reddish cherries that I remember eating without reservation and much consequence as a child.

My children have never seen the wonder of fruit growing on a tree.

So they are mesmerized by these half green, half reddish balls, hanging so daintily.

It is more difficult NOT to pick them and feel them and taste them, then let them stay until they are deep, deep red and fully ripe.

“Can I please just eat this one?” my daughter asks.

Which is fine, I suppose.

Until she brings another and another and another to eat.

“Is it that hard to wait until the harvest?” I ponder. “They are just cherries.”

But my daughter has never seen a cherry like this before.

Growing and changing colors right before her eyes.

The wait is just too hard to endure for a five year old.

And I find myself understanding that in the planting and sowing and reaping and harvesting of my life, I get impatient, too.

Demanding tastes of fruit not yet ripe and asking a wise, experienced Father, “Can I please just have this one right NOW?”

Perhaps, through my daughter, He is asking me, “Is it that hard to wait until the harvest? You know that it will be much more than just cherries.”

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Justice and Mercy

Someone recently observed that through the course of time and experience as a Navy Seal and a police officer, his father had had to become emotionally detached from individuals and situations in order for justice to be served.

Another friend of mine, a juvenile defense attorney, is super-emotionally involved with each of his clients and their situations in order for mercy to be granted.

As I contemplated these fascinating ways of dealing with others, I thought about God.

For God is Just.

It could be fair to say that God IS Justice.

But God is also Merciful.

God IS Mercy.

And in all of His perfectness, He can execute Justice with every, single, deep, emotion He feels when He offers His unending Mercy.

Oh, He is Wonderful!
Wonderful to me!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tidbit Tuesday - Another Thought From MEE

“Wisdom comes from experience, and experience sometimes comes because of a lack of wisdom.”

-Mary Ellen Edmunds

Monday, June 21, 2010

Play Out Our Salvation?

The following conversation can be heard at least once a week in our home:

Children: Work!  Work!  Work!  All we do is work!

Me: We don't always work. But, we do work FIRST, play LATER.

Children: But working is SO boring!

Me: I know it may seem that way right now, but working is good for you!  It helps you to learn.  To grow.  To understand.

Children: Agh! Why do you say that every the time?

Me: Because it's true.  Do you remember what the Lord says, "This is my WORK and my glory?"  Notice He doesn't say this is my PLAY and my glory.

Children: We knowwwwww!  You tell that to us all the time, too! GOSH!

Me: I tell you because we don't PLAY out our salvation, we WORK out our salvation. Playing will NOT get us into heaven.

Children (Big, deep cleansing breath sigh): So what this means is that we have to WORK today before we PLAY?

Me: Umm, has it changed from yesterday?

Children: No.

Me: Then let's get to work!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


One of the hardest things for me as a mother with children is trying figure out the whole consequence thing.

I find that in giving consequences I am either too harsh or too lenient.

When I am too harsh I have to re-evaluate my objective, ask for forgiveness and chalk it up to experience.

When I am too lenient I find my children not repentant enough which then makes me want to give out a too harsh consequence, which results in reevaluation, asking forgiveness and wondering if I’ll ever learn from my experience?!

Another thing about giving children consequences is that many times their consequence becomes my consequence.

Take for example the frequent reminder to a four year-old NOT to pour his cup of milk when handling a FULL gallon jug.

Because this little boy is so independent, he pours anyway.

His cup becomes full and then runneth over (and over and over).

And although my four year-old does his best in cleaning up the spilled milk, I also pay his price and clean up the milk either with him or after him.

Because if not, the remaining puddles he has missed or the towel that he has used will soon spoil, turn sour and start to smell the house.

Which make me think of how kind and loving and patience the Savior is with me.

For how many times have I done more than just spill the milk? Only to have my mistake run over and over and over?

And even though I try my best to clean it up, it just isn’t good enough, because there are things that are left behind that can sour and spoil and stink . . . my life and everyone else who has been affected.

But there He is - the Savior – who made my consequence His reason for the Atonement.

He who paid the price for me.

To clean up what I can’t do myself.
Eternally indebted am I to keep learning (repenting and forgiving) from my experience.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tidbit Tuesday - Never Say, 'It is Enough!'

“No matter what our trials, we should never say, ‘It is enough.’ Only God is entitled to say that. Our responsibility, if we are faithful, is to ask, ‘What more can I do?’ then listen for the answer and do it!”

-John H. Groberg

Monday, June 14, 2010


"I have somewhat to say concerning the thing which our fathers call a ball, or director—or our fathers called it Liahona, which is, being interpreted, a compass; and the Lord prepared it.

"And behold, there cannot any man work after the manner of so curious a workmanship. And behold, it was prepared to show unto our fathers the course which they should travel in the wilderness.

"And it did work for them according to their faith in God; therefore, if they had faith to believe that God could cause that those spindles should point the way they should go, behold, it was done; therefore they had this miracle, and also many other miracles wrought by the power of God, day by day.

"Nevertheless, because those miracles were worked by small means it did show unto them marvelous works. They were slothful, and forgot to exercise their faith and diligence and then those marvelous works ceased, and they did not progress in their journey. . .

"For behold, it is as easy to give heed to the word of Christ, which will point to you a straight course to eternal bliss, as it was for our fathers to give heed to this compass, which would point unto them a straight course to the promised land" (Alma 37:38-41;44).

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Sacrament and the Stake President

Today our Stake President visited our ward.

His visit made him the presiding authority during Sacrament Meeting.

Before the meeting began I saw him take his seat right next to our Bishop.

A few moments later, when the Bishop stood up to welcome us to Sacrament Meeting, I noticed that the Stake President was no longer sitting next to where the Bishop would sit once the welcome was over.

Quickly scanning the rostrum I located the Stake President.

He was sitting at the sacrament table - between two priests.

In all my years of attending 48 weeks of Sunday Sacrament Meetings a year (minus General Conference Sundays, Stake Conference Sundays, and the Sundays I’ve had to stay home because of personal sickness, post-partum or having to nurse sick children),  I have NEVER - and I mean NEVER - had the privilege of having a Stake President administer the sacrament to a congregation!

As I tried to sing the sacrament hymn the words would not come.

I had to mouth them instead.

And I did such a poor job at that.

For because emotions pressed so intensely, so closely, so sweetly.

My tear ducts gave way to the inner feelings of my heart.

And I easily surrendered to the teachings of the Spirit.

As I watched this man of God tenderly and happily supply trays of bread and water to the members of the Aaronic Priesthood, I imagined that if the Savior were to visit a ward on a Sunday, He would take his place right there, too.

Right there. At the Sacrament Table.

Right there. Blessing and sanctifying His emblems.

Right there. Serving with young priesthood holders who worthily bear His vessels.

Right there. Reminding me, through His example of pure love, why I am to obey His commandments and why I must always remember Him. . .

And on this Sunday, I was taught by the Spirit, through the example of our Stake President, that "he that is ordained of God and sent forth, the same is appointed to be the greatest, notwithstanding he is the least and the servant of all" (Doctrine and Covenants 50:26).

Friday, June 11, 2010

Weapons of Rebellion

One of the covenant people mentioned in the Book of Mormon were the people of Ammon a.k.a. the Anti-Nephi-Lehies a.k.a. Lamanites.

Once they believed in the word of God, “and were converted unto the Lord, [they] Never. Did. Fall. Away.”

And in their covenanting, “they did lay down the weapons of rebellion.”

Up until the other night, I thought their laying down their weapons was because of the covenant they had made NOT to fight anymore.

But not to fight was only secondary to their allegiance and obedience to God and His word.

Alma 23:7 reads: “For they became a righteous people; they did lay down the weapons of rebellion, that they did not fight against God anymore, neither against any of their brethren.”

Fighting against God = wielding weapons of rebellion

Weapons can be gossip, jealousy, murmuring, laziness, sin, pride, immodesty, fear, unfaithfulness, ingratitude, lust.

Once those weapons are laid down – buried - put off, like the natural man - I become a righteous daughter of God.

Then "more used will I be" in fighting for His cause.

President Gordon B. Hinckley declared (ooh, how I love this):
"The war goes on. It is waged across the world over the issues of agency and compulsion. It is waged by an army of missionaries over the issues of truth and error. It is waged in our own lives, day in and day out, in our homes, in our work, in our school associations; it is waged over questions of love and respect, of loyalty and fidelity, of obedience and integrity. We are all involved in it—child, youth, or adult, each of us. We are winning, and the future never looked brighter.

"May our God bless us in the work that is so clearly laid out before us. May we be faithful. May we be valiant. May we have the courage to be true to the trust God has placed in each of us. May we be unafraid. “For [to quote the words of Paul to Timothy] God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord” (2 Timothy 1:7–8).

Thursday, June 10, 2010

From Boyfriend to Fiancé to Husband

Today my daughter attended her very first bridal shower.

She is five years old and the bride is her Primary Teacher.

Breathlessly, my daughter counted down the hours until when we would visit with the bride, eat sweet treats and watch all the presents be opened.

This was our conversation in the car on the way to the bridal shower - which was a mere THREE MINUTES away!

Daughter: So will they (meaning the bride and the groom) get married right after she opens her presents?"

Me: Oh no, sweetie.  Today is just a party.  They won't get married for another two weeks.

Daughter (a little confused): Sooo, the guy is not her husband?

Me: Not yet.  Right now he is her fiancé.

Daughter: Fee-on-SAY.  Fee-on-SAY?  What is a fee-on-SAY?

Me: First you have a boyfriend.  Once your boyfriend asks you to get married and you say yes, then you become engaged.  A fiancé is a fancy way to say the boyfriend you are going to marry.  And after you get married your fiancé then becomes your husband.

Daughter: Oh I get it now! You get engaged, you get a fee-on-SAY and then he turns into your husband!

Me: You got it right!

Daughter: And so what is the girl called?

Me: Well, she is called the bride and that's why we are going to a bridal shower.

Daughter (uber excited and very impatient by now): Mom! ARE WE ALMOST THERE YET?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Living and Dying Unto Him

"And the elders of the church, two or more, shall be called, and shall pray for and lay their hands upon them in my name; and if they die they shall die unto me, and if they live they shall live unto me.

"Thou shalt live together in love, insomuch that thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die, and more especially for those that have not hope of a glorious resurrection.

"And it shall come to pass that those that die in me shall not taste of death, for it shall be sweet unto them . . .

"And again, it shall come to pass that he that hath faith in me to be healed, and is not appointed unto death, shall be healed" (Doctrine and Covenants 42:44-46,48).

This week taught me about faith.

About healing.

About the miracle of Life and the miracle of Death.
And God's will.

And I have cried and cried and cried in all my being taught!

One of my friends had MIRACLES happen to her as she was in surgery for her cochlear implant.  CLICK HERE to read her AMAZING story.
Another one of my friends, on his journey back to Father in Heaven, received an ABUNDANCE of miracles as well. CLICK HERE to read about his AMAZING last day on earth.
One friend will continue to "live unto Him."

The other has "die[d] unto Him."
"O how great the goodness of our God, who prepareth a way for our escape from the grasp of this awful monster; yea, that monster, death and  @#!*% , which I call the death of the body, and also the death of the spirit" (2 Nephi 9:10).
I know that God's Plan of Happiness provides the way - the ONLY way - back to God's presence.

How grateful I am to friends who, through the goodness of the Savior's infinite and eternal Atonement, live and die unto Him.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Tidbit Tuesday - Who Deserves the Credit?

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of the deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes up short again and again, because there is not effort without error or shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

-Theodore Roosevelt

Monday, June 7, 2010

Putting God First

As I was thinking about the weight of adversity, there came into my mind this, the first commandment, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me."

Okay, so for the last four decades I was under the impression - a good impression at that - that other gods pertained to things.

Worldly things like body size, Monday Night Football, money, scrapbooking, quilting, Twilight, and believe me, my list goes on . . .

But this last week, my mind caught hold on this thought:

If I put my adversity - my trial, my challenge, my weakness, my hardships - BEFORE God, then I am, in fact, breaking the first commandment.


Because sometimes a trial can consume me.

Overtake me.

Try me in ways that I never wanted to experience.

But the first command from God is that even trials that test my very ability to cope with them CANNOT be placed before Him!

Or they (those ugly trials) become my god.

No wonder the Savior pleads, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

For in so doing we put HIM first.

Keeping the commandment AND finding the relief - the very peace - only He can provide!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Help Me To Understand

On this day of fasting and prayer I spent a lot of time reading (and finishing) a book that opened my heart to raw emotion.

To pain.

To heartache.

To unanswered questions.

I could feel my heart swelling with a genuine desire to understand.

To understand others whose lives and situations don’t mirror mine.

I have a loved one who is experiencing extreme depression.

She loves her family very much and yet, she so desperately wants to be solitaire. Solo. All alone for a little while. (Well, alone with a stash of really, good dark chocolate).

And sadly, I don’t understand depression . . .

But I do remember the weeks after post-partum and how unsettling the world appeared and how dreadfully insecure I was about the “new” normal that had so suddenly seemed to occur (you’d think nine months is NOT sudden but post-partum makes it seem that way) . . .

So my heart cries out to a Father in Heaven to help her with a burden that seems so difficult to bear, particularly when you feel like bearing it alone.

I have a deaf friend, who, this week, received cochlear implants.

I don’t know what it’s like to be deaf or what transitions will need to take place in order to hear after years of not hearing . . .

But I do know what it’s like to have throbbing, penetrating overnight earaches.

So during this week, I have offered several quiet prayers on her behalf.  That the opposition of her pain will turn to a present-day miracle!

There’s a couple I know who is fighting Leukemia.

He is in ICU. She is by his side as the tug of children at-home and sleep deprivation stalk her.

He went from bad, to a little better, to worse this weekend.

I don’t know what it’s like to be at the side of a cancer patient – in ICU – and still have all the responsibilities of motherhood . . .

But I once experienced a father-in-law on life support with machines doing the work for him and the decision was made to take him off all the machines.

And send him Home.

Back to Father.

And my heart remembers that bitter sweetness and the sustaining power of the Holy Ghost that Sunday in July.

So I pray for God’s tender mercies to continue to manifest in the lives of these faith-filled, Plan of Salvation loving people.  I pray that he can go back home – to his earthly family - and that Father will see him at a later time.

So back to this book I read and finished today.

It peeled open my heart and inserted a great measure of tenderness.

It carved the important message “Try Understanding Others First!” in the deep fissures of my brain.

And it left me with a greater desire to pray with all the energy of my heart to be filled with charity - the pure love of Christ.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Happiness is Our Heritage

Today I had lunch with a friend I haven’t seen in over three years.

It was wonderful to catch up and visit.

I am amazed at her strength.

I am in awe at her complete trust in the Lord.

She has had a history of severe child abuse. Abuse of every kind.

Yet, she has forgiven every individual.

She made a list of names and one by one she was able to forgive each one of them.

And she continues to move forward.

Not that it’s easy.

Not that it doesn’t take time.

Not that on some days she curls up in a ball so she doesn’t have to face the front door.

Because life is hard.

But, she said to me, with her dark eyes penetrating deep into my heart, “Even then, even on those days I pretend to be happy because things ARE so hard - deep down, I am happy.”

“As spirit daughters of our Heavenly Father, happiness is your heritage” is THE message I came away with after listening to President Uchtdorf’s General Women’s Meeting in September 2008.

And after a wonderful afternoon with my dear friend, she testified to me that this is true!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

There Are No Coincidences

For the record: I have found myself in too many “coincidental” situations to believe that nothing happens by coincidence!

So here's my latest experience:

Yesterday, upon arriving at the front doors of the hospital to visit a friend, I LITERALLY ran into dear neighbors who, nearly five years ago, moved to a far away state!

And yesterday, I ran into them at the hospital!!

They were in town for a graduation and stopped by the hospital to visit a family member.

So there we were, right in front of the hospital entrance, catching up on life’s time line since last we shared a back fence and chapel pews.

And I found myself welling with emotion as my heart treasured these dear people who spoke with faith and hope about their current trials.

And they gave me hope - so much so that I wanted to cry. right. there. because what they said is exactly what I needed to feel.

But I didn’t cry.

Yet my heart hung on to every good thing they said and clung to every happy thought offered.

And as I hugged them before we parted – knowing it will really be some time before we see each other again (because seriously, it was p.e.r.f.e.c.t. timing on both our parts to be standing there, together, outside the hospital doors that it could not have been coincidence) - I realized the Lord sent me to hospital so He (through them) could visit me!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tidbit Tuesday - Drift or Steer

“Don Juan, finding himself in @#!*% , looks around at the sophisticated, abundant condition of the place and asks the devil what heaven must be like if things are so good here. The devil replies, “In @#!*% , we drift; in heaven, they steer.”

-George Bernard Shaw