Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A Firm Foundation

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 I lay in the hospital bed looking with joy and pride at my hour old daughter. It had been thirteen years since I had had this opportunity before, and as my son used to say “We’d been a-hoping and a-praying for this little sister. She was looking at me with her big round grey eyes, her perfect mouth formed into a little OH! I could just hear her thinking, “Who are you? What happened? I’m not so sure about this.” Besides that look of surprise I could see a little touch of trepidation.
What could I teach her as she started her earthly journey?
I believe that before we are born, our spirits live in a beautiful garden like world. I can’t imagine masses of strange atoms and mists just floating around waiting to be formed into a mass created by surprise.
I believe our spirits used to live with a God, our Heavenly Father, and that he created a world for us; that we are created in his image. That He has arms, and legs, and a head, and eyes, and ears. I believe he wants us to be in His world; to talk to him in prayer; to want to please Him as we do our earthly father and mother.
I believe we are here for a purpose; to learn how to be good and strong; to be helpful and kind; to serve each other.
In the April, 2016 issue of the Ensign Magazine, Jesus Christ, Our Firm Foundation  by Elder Donald L. Hallstrom
The author writes,
“We live in a world that can be confusing—if we allow it, it can cause us to forget who we really are. President Thomas S. Monson has stated:
‘Mortality is a period of testing, a time to prove ourselves worthy to return to the presence of our Heavenly Father. In order for us to be tested, we must face challenges and difficulties. These can break us, and the surface of our souls may crack and crumble—that is, if our foundations of faith, our testimonies of truth are not deeply embedded within us.’”
Elder Hallstrom continues,“
In addition to making covenants with God, we should be willing to make commitments to ourselves, to spouses (or to become a spouse), to friends, and to those with whom we serve…. Self-discipline can be defined as the ability to live consistently with our vision and commitments. Developing self-discipline is essential to progress because it seamlessly connects learning and doing. Ultimately, the strength of our spiritual foundation is shown by how we live our lives, especially in times of disappointment and challenge Possessing a firm foundation is the ultimate protection from the buffetings of the world.”

One of the sister wives of my great -great grandfather, Parley P. Pratt was Mary Ann Pratt
Mary Ann Pratt married Parley P. Pratt in 1837. Upon moving to Missouri, USA, along with other Saints, they endured horrific persecution. When Elder Pratt was taken, along with the Prophet Joseph Smith, by a mob in Far West, Missouri, and imprisoned, Mary Ann was confined to bed, gravely ill, while caring for two small children.
Later, Mary Ann visited her husband in jail and stayed with him for a time. She wrote, ‘I shared his dungeon, which was a damp, dark, filthy place, without ventilation, merely having a small grating on one side. In this we were obliged to sleep.’
After Parley’s release from jail, Mary Ann and her husband served missions to New York, USA, and to England and were among those who made “the final weary gathering to Utah,” as she described it. Elder Pratt ultimately died a martyr’s death while serving another mission.

Despite this tumultuous life, Mary Ann Pratt stayed true. She powerfully stated, “I was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints … , being convinced of the truthfulness of its doctrines by the first sermon I heard; and I said in my heart, if there are only three who hold firm to the faith, I will be one of that number; and through all the persecution I have had to endure I have ever felt the same; my heart has never swerved from that resolve.’”

 (The women of Mormondom Edward Tullidge)

I hope that I will be able to continue to endure the challenges that I face in life and that my heart to will never swerve. I hope I am teaching my daughter that same faith.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Blessed are the Peacemakers


Mathew : 5 9  tells us
 “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”
But how can we achieve this goal if people around us refuse to let us. Do we just capitulate and go with the crowd instead of standing up for our beliefs to keep the peace?
Years ago when my family and I moved to Southern California, we went innocently to church expecting the warm loving acceptance we enjoyed in the congregations we had left. We were disappointed. My daughter asked one child after another at the playground if they would like to be friends. Their answer?..”No we already have friends.” I decided that every person who moved into the congregation after we did were going to find friends in us, and we worked hard at it.

It is the political season now.  And again you can just feel the hate being thrown around by the candidates and the public in general. The candidates who are taking the high road and being peacemakers are losing and dropping out leaving us with the hostility to deal with. I feel like this vibrant exciting country is dying a slow death.
This month has been a sad one for us. It feels some days that our neighborhood is in a “them against us” situation. “We paid more so we expect exclusivity! “ ” We need to keep the riff raff out. ! “ “You are rude and argumentative” if you don’t just do what I say without questioning the reason. “Mom he’s looking at me” from our childhood.
I feel like I live around a bunch of six year olds!
What have we always been taught by our mothers?
Love one another
Share
Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.
Don’t be a bully
Stand up for your rights
Always leave your surroundings better than you found them
If you have a problem, pray about it.
Smile, don’t yell

I love to hear the men’s choir singing the hymn 
School Thy Feelings
by Charles W. Penrose, 1832-1925. (c) 1948 IRI

 School thy feelings, O my brother;
Train thy warm, impulsive soul.
Do not its emotions smother,
But let wisdom's voice control.
School thy feelings; there is power
In the cool, collected mind.
Passion shatters reason's tower,
Makes the clearest vision blind.

May you fill your life and the world around youwith peace

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Try


 








I quilt.
I’ve been doing it for twenty five years now. And though I’m getting older and my eyesight and endurance are getting weaker, I think I’m improving. But I also dabble occasionally in other areas which is getting me in trouble now. If I try I can do a baby quilt in a week, paint a picture in a morning, and write a poem  in a few minutes. The trouble is, I can’t do any of them with instruction from someone else’s ideas.  I need my own inspiration. 

I believe we are put here on earth by a loving Heavenly Father to learn and increase our talents. Of course we need guidance and instruction to find those talents and help them grow.

But it’s hard to try to see into someone else’s mind. Give me a first line and I will write a story. Give me ten words and I will write a poem. But, write a song to the tune in your head without hearing it is hard. It reminds me of the wise men  being called into the office by the king Nebuchadnezzar  and asked to give an interpretation of his dream. And by the way the king can’t remember the dream. Daniel did succeed however because he went to the Lord in prayer and asked.
  
When we have a task do we  sit down and just do it or do we figure the best way to accomplish what we want. That depends on our skill level, experience  and desire.
I can sit down and create a meal out of what is on hand because I know what things taste like. How much cumin do I want (4 shakes) how much vinegar, (half a splash).
But my husband wants a recipe to follow. My son on the other hand says,” I wonder what sage would taste like in chile!”
As we go through life we are going to have opportunities and challenges. If we always have a prayer in our hearts and a willingness to try we can bless the lives of those around us and make our part of the world a better one.

Friday, January 22, 2016

The Ancients




Bending her limbs towards the ground

The old tree sighed.

Only two remained and she

Was badly misshapen.

A cold wind

And age

Had dismember the other branches

Gophers gnawed at the gnarled old roots

But still

She had managed one last small harvest

Can I try again?

One more year?

Do I have the strength?

Sixty seven years

My tree and I

But we had the sweetest apples.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

global warming

 






                                  There’s a cabin in the woods
With a snowman standing guard
Watching over sledding children
In the run.

And the bells are ringing wildly
From the little country church
Frigid air is crackling loudly
Oh what fun!
If this isn’t what you’re seeing
If the weather’s turning  warm
Come out west because its snowing
Where’s the sun?

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Who Needs Me?

 
 










My sister told me earlier this month that she was the compassionate service leader in her church congregation now and asked what she was supposed to do? I told her she had to make a quilt for every new baby that was born into the congregation. She said, “I quit!”
Of course I was kidding her. I happen to love to make quilts and give them to people for love and comfort.
One woman I know kept asking what she had to do to get one of my quilts. I said, “Have
A baby.” As a fifty year old with two teenagers that was not in her plans. Then on Christmas Eve her dear husband had a stroke and I gave her a quilt for comfort.
There are many things people do to show love and comfort to others. The Senior Center has a project Linus group to make quilts for kids in need. Our quilt guild made quilts for every family who lost a home in our town in 2000. Our women’s organization made quilts for a children’s hospital. Girl troops have made teddy bears for the police to hand out to children who have had a trauma in their lives.Anotherwoman asks groups to tie  fleece blankets to give teens as the age out of foster care.
            We take meals to people who are sick, treats and visits to those who are lonely, rides to appointments, clean homes when people are moving or too ill. There are many ways we can give some compassionate service to those around us.
            In her book Disciples, Chieko N. Okazaki quotes Power comes from love. Achievement and ability come from love. We can try to do it on our own or we can really achieve with the Savior--- by accepting his love and by being willing to love others in return.
Pg 9      In a face Book post this week Common Consent Blog writer Christian Harrison writes,
Top of Form
 This week has been a very hard one for me and many of my friends. I’ve spent many hours on the phone with friends comforting them and being comforted in return. I’ve sat with friends who ache, and we’ve wept together. And while this week has been…  extra-ordinary …we have — each one of us — at one time or another, asked what the poet asks: “Where can I turn for peace?”

Bottom of Form
Where Can I Turn for Peace?
LDS HYMNEL
Emma Lou Thayne wrote what would become hymn 129  in our Hymnbook in 1971, upon the unexpected death of her daughter
Where can I turn for peace?    Where is my solace
When other sources cease to make me whole?
When with a wounded heart, anger, or malice,
I draw myself apart, Searching my soul?
Where, when my aching grows,
Where, when I languish,
Where, in my need to know, where can I run?
Where is the quiet hand to calm my anguish?
Who, who can understand?
He, only One.
He answers privately,    Reaches my reaching
In my Gethsemane, Savior and Friend.
Gentle the peace he finds for my beseeching.
Constant he is and kind,
Love without end.

Christian Harrison continues,
“Of course the answer to the question, “Where can I turn for peace” is “The Prince of Peace”. But as well cemented as that idea is, in our culture… we can’t help but recognize that it’s a very abstract idea. Beyond reaching out to Him Who Listens through prayer, what is there?
President Hinckley urged us to “get on [our] knees and pray, then [to] get on [our] feet and work”.
Faith, after all, without work, is dead [James 2].
So what is the work of peace? What does finding our own peace look like?
While I have no doubt that there is more than one path to peace, I would like to share with you my own. I find peace, when peace can be found, at the intersection of charity and grace.”
            With the turmoil surrounding us in our world right now, many are searching for peace, comfort, love and safety. Many of us are afraid to help the refugees in Europe. We are aching for the citizens of Paris. What can we do? Where is our Compassionate Service?

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Come Out of the Dark

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My husband and I are now in our third year of retirement. The other day he said that he always thought that retirement would be fun- being able to do the things he never had time for before. But with age also comes less energy and more health problems even for those like him, who have made a conscious effort to stay in good health. He has been thinking that, as he has been blessed throughout his life with many good things, that he should find ways to give back to humanity in his retirement. To be of service to those in need.
In the October Ensign magazine 2015 we read
Finish With Your Torch Still Lit - Dieter F. Uchtdorf

“In ancient Greece, runners competed in a relay race called a lampadedromia. In the race, runners held a torch in their hand and passed it on to the next runner until the final member of the team crossed the finish line.
The prize wasn’t awarded to the team that ran fastest—it was awarded to the first team to reach the finish line with its torch still lit.
There is a profound lesson here, one taught by prophets ancient and modern: while it is important to start the race, it is even more important that we finish with our torch still lit.
Finishing Our Own Race
How many times have we started something and not finished? Diets? Exercise programs? Commitments to read the scriptures daily? Decisions to be better disciples of Jesus Christ?
How often do we make resolutions in January and pursue them with red-hot determination for a few days, a few weeks, or even a few months only to find that by October, the flame of our commitment is little more than cold ash?
We have good intentions; we start strong; we want to be our best self. But in the end we leave our resolutions shredded, discarded, and forgotten.
It’s human nature to stumble, fail, and sometimes want to drop out of the race. But as disciples of Jesus Christ, we have committed not only to begin the race but also to finish it—and finish it with our torch still burning brightly. The Savior promised His disciples, “He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved”  (Matthew 24:13).
The Light That Never Dies
Sometimes after stumbling, failing, or even giving up, we get discouraged and believe our light has gone out and our race is lost. But I testify that the Light of Christ cannot be extinguished. It shines in the darkest night and will relight our hearts if only we incline our hearts to Him (see 1 Kings 8: 58 .
No matter how often or how far we fall, the Light of Christ ever burns brightly. And even in the deepest night, if we but step toward Him, His light will consume the shadows and reignite our souls.
This race of discipleship is not a sprint; it’s a marathon. And it makes little difference how fast we go. In fact, the only way we can lose the race is by finally giving in or giving up.
As long as we continue to rise up and move toward our Savior, we win the race with our torches burning brightly.
Last Sunday we sang, “The Lord is My Light” by James Nicholson. In the second  verse-
“2. The Lord is my light; tho clouds may arise,
Faith, stronger than sight, looks up thru the skies
Where Jesus forever in glory doth reign.
Then how can I ever in darkness remain?

I’ve been following a blog about a missionary who left his mission for various reasons. It made me sad, but even though discouraged, his light has not gone out. He is still holding onto his torch.
What can we do to keep our torches lit?