Thursday, December 11, 2014

Christ's Love


 







December is a hard time of year for me. There were a number of years that I didn’t even want to put up a Christmas tree.
When he was fourteen, my nephew died from leukemia. I remember my sister saying, “How can we even celebrate Christmas?” I put my arm around her and told her that we did it for the other children.”
This came back to haunt me a number of years later when my own son died on December 14th. The last thing I wanted to do was decorate for Christmas. While we were away for the funeral our neighbors came into the house and left a little Norfolk pine decorated with candy canes, and little red ornaments. It was cute and it was enough.
I did decide that I wanted to put a little more Christ into our Christmas though and bought a small nativity; just Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus under our little tree. Every year for many years I added a figurine or two from the designer. First the shepherds, then the three wise men, sheep, a cow, a donkey, even three cats, till I had a complete set.

In the December 14 Ensign President Dieter F. Uchtdorf says

“When we think of Christmas, we often think of giving and of receiving gifts. Gifts can be part of a cherished tradition, but they can also detract from the simple dignity of the season and distract us from celebrating the birth of our Savior in a meaningful way.”

Think of the simple yet dignified way our Heavenly Father chose to honor the birth of His Son. On that holy night, angels appeared not to the rich but to shepherds. The Christ child was born not in a mansion but in a manger. He was wrapped not in silk but in swaddling clothes.
The simplicity of that first Christmas foreshadowed the life of the Savior. Though He had created the earth, walked in realms of majesty and glory, and stood at the right hand of the Father, He came to earth as a helpless child. His life was a model of modest nobility, and He walked among the poor, the sick, the downcast, and the heavy laden.

Though He was a king, He cared neither for the honors nor the riches of men. His life, His words, and His daily activities were monuments of simple yet profound dignity.
Jesus the Christ, who knew perfectly how to give, set for us the pattern for giving. To those whose hearts are heavy with loneliness and sorrow, He brings compassion and comfort. To those whose bodies and minds are afflicted with illness and suffering, He brings love and healing. To those whose souls are burdened with sin, He offers hope, forgiveness, and redemption.
If the Savior were among us today, we would find Him where He always was—ministering to the meek, the downcast, the humble, the distressed, and the poor in spirit. During this Christmas season and always, may we give to Him by loving as He loves. May we remember the humble dignity of His birth, gifts, and life. And may we, through simple acts of kindness, charity, and compassion, fill the world with the light of His love and healing power.”

My sister and I have each been doing a project a month this year. We trade months choosing projects. Her choice for December was to do a service a day till Christmas. Even just a phone call or note to a friend counts. One of mine was to help a high school student in Virginia with a paper for a class. She was interviewing different age groups, economic groups etc. on “What’s the meaning of life” I said the meaning of life is to give life meaning.

May you enjoy the spirit of Christ this Christmas and make a difference in someone’s life.


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Gaining Stregnth



 






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  Last week I was taking a medical test. On the wall in    front of me was a Native American proverb, which I liked  so I wrote it down, and lost it. I remember that it was on adversity.  I have spent the week looking on-line for a quote like it. Some interesting ones I have found are:

Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents, which, in prosperous circumstances, would have lain dormant.
~ Horace 65-68 B.C. ~

Pain by itself is merely pain, but the experience of pain coupled with an understanding that the pain serves a worthy purpose is suffering. Suffering can be endured because there is a reason for it that is worth the effort. What is more worthy of your pain than the evolution of your soul?
~ Gary Zukav from "Seat Of The Soul" ~

The truth is, that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.
~ M. Scott Peck ~

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.
~Helen Keller ~

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.
~ Viktor Frankl - from Man's Search For Meaning ~

The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.
~ Moliere

When it is dark enough you can see the stars
-Charles A. Beard, American Historian (1874-1949)

Ideologies separate us. Dreams and anguish bring us together.
 Eugen Ionescu 1909-1994) French playwright & dramatist

It seems like there is so much adversity in our world today. Some mornings I think about pulling the covers back over my head till tomorrow comes. My sister told me of a dream that she had once.

“I had a dream sometime ago, still vivid. Youth and children were drowning in a pool on the side of an old volcano. The pool's attractive warmth, colors, and flowers stemmed from a very dangerous source deep inside the mountain. The youth seemed to know they were in trouble and their arms broke the surface of the water reaching up to be rescued. I had only to grasp their forearms and they were able to pull themselves out of the pool and run down the grassy slope to safety. But the babies on the other side of the pool didn't know they were drowning. Toddlers and infants lay below the surface in a complacent sleep. Adults enjoying the day and a picnic by the side of the pool didn't want to go into the water to help. Finally one woman in a white dress said she would stand by the side of the pool and hold the children as they were handed up. She hugged and nurtured the little one until it could stand on its own. I woke up before all the children were rescued.”

There are several interpretations one could give this dream, But I think I will choose, “ There are many people who are facing adversity in their lives today. I want to be one of the ones nurturing, comforting, and helping. We can’t do everything, but we can do something.”


The soul would have no rainbow if the eye had no tears. - Tribe Unknown

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Bread of Life


 










I love bread,
Warm from the oven
Spread with real butter
And homemade raspberry jam.
But this morning I sat on the deck--
The 2nd floor balcony
Eating oatmeal and a biscuit from MacDonald’s.
As I waited for the hot air balloons to rise from the midst in front of the Sandias I contemplated  “The Bread of Life”
Jesus said, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever.”(John 6:51)

“Jesus teaches us, his disciples, that we should look to God each day for the bread—the help and sustenance—we require in that particular day.” said Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

“The Lord’s invitation… speaks of a loving God, aware of even the small, daily needs of His children and eager to assist them, one by one. He is saying that we can ask in faith of that Being ‘that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given’ (James 1:5).”

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles invites us “to join in the adventure of the earliest disciples of Christ who also yearned for the bread of life—those who did not go back but who came to Him, stayed with Him, and who recognized that for safety and salvation there was no other to whom they could ever go.”

As we looked to the South where the balloons were supposed to launch my husband suddenly gasped!  Two large black balloons were rising noisily from behind us, in a neighbors yard. Soon dozens of colorful balloons were flying silently from the North unexpectedly.
Life is always an adventure. We don’t know what will happen or like the colorful and black balloons, from which direction it will come.

Do we want to settle for the world’s biscuits or do we want to look for and taste the real thing?

Sunday, September 21, 2014

In Your Dreams



















“Brooklyn!”
Cried Brice, as he ran towards the tree
“Come,
Come and look
At the garden with me.”

 The old owl said, “who?
Brice giggled,
“Not you!”

“There’s a cat, and it’s kitten
Stretched out on a limb.
Here’s a frog eating apples
And there’s juice
On his chin.

Little box turtle
Eating flowers for lunch
Stopped munching daisies
To say “I’ve a hunch.” 

The chickadees sang
Sitting out on the fence
A bird flying  by
Said, “that doesn’t make sense.”

Blue butterflies
Danced in the air
Towards the clouds.
I’ve heard that the butterflies
Do  not like big crowds

A family of owls,
Went to hide until dark.
The toadstools just
Stood there alone in the park.

“OK”, Mommy called
“Now it’s time for your nap”
They begged for a story!”
As they climbed on her lap

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Harvest













Peaches,
Hanging golden globes;
Pears
Swelling, rosy cheeked;
Tomatoes,
Juicy, ripe, begging to be eaten;
Apples
Falling to the ground
With a bounce in their step.
We
Yearning to gather them in,
Savor them.
Our Father
Providing our bounty,
Yearns to gather us too
In His harvest.
Some of us
Are in a pickle!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Overcoming our dragons

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I grew up in a small community whose major employer worked with science. From early childhood through adulthood Science was a large part of my life. One thing that surprised many was that it was a very religious town,

A couple of days ago someone wrote in a town newspaper letter to the editor, “ there is too much road construction here, and too many churches.”

I was taught that there is a God and he used science to create the world. It made sense to me.

The other day I got caught up in a conversation on face book. The subject was do you believe in science or God. Many took offense that I could believe in both.

Another topic was why would anyone prefer an anonymous spiritual being controlling their lives rather than being able to care for their own lives and happiness. Our brains were surely capable of that! 

 

I am grateful that through all the difficult life experiences I have passed through I have had the comfort of the Holy Spirit to comfort me and guide me through.


Jesus Christ promised, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you” John 14:18 He will give us “beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning” Isaiah 61:3. Because Christ suffered the Atonement for each of us, He will not forget us. “Our Savior has taken upon Himself … our pains and our suffering and afflictions so that He can know what we feel and how to comfort us,” said Linda S. Reeves, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency.
Knowing that Christ will comfort us can bring us peace and inspire us to follow His example by ministering to others. President Thomas S. Monson said: “Our knowledge of the gospel and our love of our Heavenly Father and of our Savior will comfort and sustain us and bring joy to our hearts as we walk uprightly and keep the commandments. There will be nothing in this world that can defeat us.”

“How does understanding that the Lord remembers you bring you comfort?” (Sept. 2014 Ensign magazine)
Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
Einstein is probably the best known and most highly revered scientist of the twentieth century, and is associated with major revolutions in our thinking about time, gravity, and the conversion of matter to energy (E=mc2). Although never coming to belief in a personal God, he recognized the impossibility of a non-created universe. The Encyclopedia Britannica says of him: "Firmly denying atheism, Einstein expressed a belief in "Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the harmony of what exists." This actually motivated his interest in science, as he once remarked to a young physicist: "I want to know how God created this world, I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts, the rest are details." Einstein's famous epithet on the "uncertainty principle" was "God does not play dice" - and to him this was a real statement about a God in whom he believed. A famous saying of his was "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Honeymoon


Sand
Creeping through the waves
Sifts between our toes
Freedom
Walking, Laughing,
Singing,
Sunshine Love