Monday, August 17, 2015

How can I Help?



A sad thing happened in our family at the end of last month. A dear friend had a massive stroke and died. She was my husband’s niece, just a few years younger than he is. But to me, she and her husband were friends. They came to visit with us while we lived in D.C. and we enjoyed seeing the sights with them and laughing at their unique senses of humor. I’m going to miss her. With all my heart I wish I could have been there to comfort her husband. But what can you say or do from so far away.
I have been nursing my husband the last few weeks as he tries to recover from some bug. I don’t do as well as he did when I had my knee replaced, but he is very loving and appreciative.

I have heard somewhere that you love those you serve.
If we are going to learn to love as the Savior did we should take as many opportunities to serve others.
I have really appreciated friends and family who are willing to drive us to appointments and pick things up at the store. I wouldn’t have been able to care for him as well if they hadn’t been so willing. I love them dearly.

One of the sweetest and most powerful moments of Christ’s ministry was when He washed the feet of His disciples. “He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded (John 13: 4-5.)
As the Savior introduced this ordinance, the disciples may have been overwhelmed that their Lord and Master knelt before them and performed so meek a service. Jesus then explained the lessons He wanted them and all of us to learn:
“If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.
“For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you”  (John 13:14-15)

 “The Savior is our supreme example of the power of humility and submissiveness. After all, His submitting His will to the Father brought about the greatest, and even the most powerful, event in all of history. Perhaps some of the most sacred words in all the scriptures are simply, ‘Not my will, but thine, be done’ (Luke 22:42)
“As disciples of Jesus, we always seek to be like Him. ‘Meekness is vital for us to become more Christlike,’ said Elder Ulisses Soares of the Seventy. Without it we won’t be able to develop other important virtues. Being meek does not mean weakness, but it does mean behaving with goodness and kindness, showing strength, serenity, healthy self-worth, and self-control.”  As we work to develop this attribute, we will find that “humbly submitting our will to the Father brings us the empowerment of God—the power of humility. It is the power to meet life’s adversities, the power of peace, the power of hope, the power of a heart throbbing with a love for and testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ, even the power of redemption.” *Ensign Magazine August 2015

How can having humility help us love as the Savior did?
Who are you going to help today?
I remember when I was a young wife and mother thinking a couple of times a week, “Who can I surprise
Today? Then I called someone I knew and asked if I could take her children for the morning, or what would you like for dinner? I was never turned down. It was fun.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Cynthia G.'s words


Better than Chocolate
The mountains rose from the desert floor
Reaching towards the clear blue sky,
Colorful balloons raced quietly, dodging
Pending rain clouds.
Mornings were flying time
Rain came at noon
On a good day.
I love the freedom of flying,
Bouncing, turning, floating.
A family of ducks and their friends the geese
Floated down the river.
Happy days

Friday, July 10, 2015

Forgiveness


 










I’ve been thinking about the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Carolina where Dylann Roof shot nine people. I’ve been thinking about the families of those killed and their willingness to forgive the young man who shot their family members. I’m not sure I could do that, at least not for a few days. I think I would have to mourn first.
It took me several years to forgive my son, and those who were with him when he died in Montana, for not following the rules
Little things, like angry words, or being cut off in traffic are different. I can forgive those.
A friend recently made a joke about two elderly women with walkers at a movie, not thinking that I was sitting there on my walker. I didn’t even notice. She apologized a few days later and we laughed. For me the walker is a temporary thing and easy to forgive.

“Understanding that Jesus Christ has been forgiving and merciful to us can help us forgive and extend mercy to others. Jesus Christ is our Exemplar,” said President Thomas S. Monson. “His life was a legacy of love. The sick He healed; the downtrodden He lifted; the sinner He saved. At the end the angry mob took His life. And yet there rings from Golgotha’s hill the words: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do’—a crowning expression in mortality of compassion and love.” -July Ensign Magazine.2015

Consider This
How can forgiveness benefit the one forgiving?
Matthew 16:14-15
 14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
 15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Luke 6:36-37
 36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
 37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:

“If we forgive others their trespasses, our Heavenly Father will also forgive us. Jesus asks us to “be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful”  “Forgiveness for our sins comes with conditions,” said President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency. “We must repent. … Haven’t we all, at one time or another, meekly approached the mercy seat and pleaded for grace? Haven’t we wished with all the energy of our souls for mercy—to be forgiven for the mistakes we have made and the sins we have committed? … Allow Christ’s Atonement to change and heal your heart. Love one another. Forgive one another.”-July Ensign Magazine, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.-
I know there are lots of times I do or say things without thinking and don’t realize that I need to repent and apologize. I’m sorry. I will try to be more thoughtful. Please forgive me.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Burning Curiosity

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I have had a moth flying around in my bathroom the last couple of days. The cats have noticed him too and have been trying to catch him. The other day Tenny leapt up onto the window screen for a better view and crash bang! She and the screen both landed in the tub. That was the end of the adventure for both of them.
Last night I was reading in bed with a high intensity lamp on. The moth, attracted to the flame was dancing around the light; dive bombed my eye and was swiped away quickly. Unfortunately, for the moth, right into the burning hot light.  Zap! Fizzle swit! End of moth.
How often do we find ourselves attracted to that bright light, that flitting object that catches our attention but isn’t always for our good?Although we are encouraged to look to the light we need to choose the best things to gravitate towards.

One of the Divine Attributes of Jesus Christ is Virtue

“Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven” (D&C 121:45).    
What is virtue? President James E. Faust (1920–2007) said: “Virtue in its fuller sense encompasses all traits of righteousness that help us form our character.”

Of the relationship between women and virtue, Elder D Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said: “Women bring with them into the world a certain virtue, a divine gift that makes them adept at instilling such qualities as faith, courage, empathy, and refinement in relationships and in cultures. …
“Sisters, of all your associations, it is your relationship with God, your Heavenly Father, who is the source of your moral power, that you must always put first in your life. Remember that Jesus’ power came through His single-minded devotion to the will of the Father. … Strive to be that kind of disciple of the Father and the Son, and your influence will never fade.”
In Philippians 4: 4-7,12-13 we read,
 4 Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.
 5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
 6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
  12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
 13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Through His virtue, Christ can heal, enable, strengthen, comfort, and cheer when we choose with courage and faith to reach out to Him.
How does virtue empower and strengthen us?
Have a good month and an enjoyable summer



Friday, May 15, 2015

Being a Good Shepherd


 

 

  

 

 

I hate being stereotyped. 

“She’s fat –she doesn’t care about good health.

She’s old so must be senile.
She doesn’t work- she must be lazy, or uneducated.

And worst of all she’s a woman. They don’t count!

Recently I have had a couple of stories brought to my attention by two friends. The first felt slighted in church because her husband divorced her. Friends still welcome her husband but she feels invisible.
The second was following the directions given her in her calling in church, but another member verbally attacked her, correcting her behavior. She became fearful of him and won’t go to church anymore. Her minister left her feeling like the other person’s feelings were more important because he was a powerful man.
I was reading an old Ensign magazine when I came across and article
Me? A Shepherd in Israel?
By Elder Daniel L. Johnson of the Seventy

“One of the practices that distinguishes The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that of having lay shepherds. We have no paid clergy in the wards, branches, stakes, and districts of the Church; rather, the members themselves minister to each other.
Every member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a calling to be a shepherd in Israel. Member-shepherds serve in bishoprics and branch presidencies, as priesthood and auxiliary leaders, as clerks and secretaries, as teachers of every kind—including home and visiting teachers—and in countless other capacities.
Lay shepherds have several things in common. Each has sheep to nourish, encourage, and serve. Each is called by the Lord through His appointed servants. Each is accountable to the Lord for his or her stewardship as a shepherd.”

“We are shepherds watching over Israel. The hungry sheep look up, ready to be fed the bread of life. … Our task is to reach out to those who, for whatever reason, are in need of our help.”
Two breeds of sheep came to my mind.
Shropshires are gentle in disposition. The ewes are prolific and long-lived with wonderful mothering and milking abilities.
Their adaptability to all kinds of pasture land, hardiness to withstand our variable climate, close, oily wool to shield them from the snows and sleet, their longevity and prolificacy and many other outstanding qualities made them widely popular in the States

Merino, breed of fine-wool sheep originating in Spain. It was particularly well adapted to semiarid climates and to nomadic pasturing. Many new breeds come from them.
As shepherds do we just look after the Merinos and ignore the Shropshires?
Or are we responsible for all breeds?

We can relate this not to just the religious stories of finding the lost sheep but also to the different religious and ethnic and economic backgrounds of those we meet and work with.
In one book I’m reading a woman was terrified of the Indians because she had heard stories of savages in the old west.
In our country there are many who fear Muslims because of the actions of some.
We avoid the homeless and the mentally ill.
We turn away from immigrants. We ignore the handicapped, and the poor.
So I asked my cousin whose husband is both a sheepherder and a bishop if he was able to treat his Shropshires and Merinos with equal love. She said they raised Rambouillet/Suffolk sheep.

May we remember our responsibilities as shepherds so that we can give a good accounting to the Lord regarding our stewardship over the sheep He has assigned to each of us.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Following Directions

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On the drive home from town today we saw a sign on a building we passed that said
“Having children doesn’t come with directions!” A little further along at a birthing center a sign said “But it does”
How many things in life do we do without reading the directions?
For diner tonight I decided to make chili. I have a good recipe that is fast and we like it. It’s a good last minute meal. However it never turns out the same because I don’t use a recipe for the exact amount of things- just toss and stir.
Red White and Blue Chili
1 lb. ground meat
1 can each red , white, and black beans
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato  sauce                        some onion
some Picante sauce                        some chili powder
some water                                    some cumin
Brown meat and chopped onions. Throw in everything else and heat through.

Since my husband has retired he has been learning how to cook.  As a scientist he is better with a plan than a “humm try this”
On another subject I’ve been teaching some friends to quilt. I give them directions, sometimes verbal, sometimes written. But as a long time quilter I neglect to add basics that everyone knows. I know to use quarter inch seams, sew right sides together, press seams. “Oh did I forget to tell you that?”

As children in Sunday school classes I remember learning that we can learn life skills by reading the scriptures. There was also a popular diet a couple of years ago supposed to be found in the scriptures. And do you know anyone with a question they were pondering who flipped open the scriptures randomly and found the answer they were looking for?
I remember when my younger brother brought home a sign to tack on the kitchen wall by the fridge. It said, “ “if at first you don’t succeed, read the directions.

In Proverbs 3:5-6 we read;

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
“In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths”

I hope you have a lovely spring and plant something. 
But be sure to read the directions.



Thursday, March 12, 2015

WE WILL SURVIVE!!

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I have learned a lot in the last four weeks.
For twenty years I have been living in various levels of pain but have been afraid to do anything about it. I rejoiced when the doctors said “No you aren’t ready for surgery yet.” I had to get worse before I got better as the saying goes.  The perfect answer for the proverbial  procrastinator.

 But everyone tells me that once I do have knee replacement surgery I will feel so much better. Well- I don’t.

I think one of the attributes I need and don’t have enough of right now is patience.
I know that with work and time the pain will go away and I will be able to do the things I use to do more or less. Crawling on the ground to do gardening, sandwiching quilts or scrubbing brick floors will have to find different ways of being accomplished
To cheer myself up I looked up some quotes on patience. My favorites were….

"The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it."
Arnold H. Glasow
"It is easiesr to find men who will volunteer to die, than to find those who are willing to endure pain with patience."
Julius Caesar

"Patience is the ability to idle your motor when you feel like stripping your gears."
Barbara Johnson

"The more patient we are,
the more understanding we become."
William Arthur Ward, Truths For Living

"Patience is the companion of wisdom."
Saint Augustine

"Patience is something you admire in the driver behind you, but not in one ahead."
Bill Mcglashen
Another thought that jumped into my mind was a song by Gloria Gaynor , I Will Survive
The chorus goes
“No, not I, I will survive
Long as I know how to love
I know I'll stay alive
I've got my life to live
And all my love to give and I'll survive
I, I, I will survive"

A neighbor told me she is going to have the surgery next year when she turns 65 and will be watching me to see how I do. I’m going to have to learn how to be a better example. I have noticed though that ten repetitions of six simple exercises done three times a day have made a big difference in what I can do.  Like a gentle stream  flowing through the desert can over time dig a grand canyon, with a little patience, and consistence in simple exercises I will survive.
I hope this month you will choose something you have wanted to do but felt inadequate to do and patiently start working on it a little at a time. We will Survive!