A place to share struggles and triumphs, a place to bless and serve - but never a place to murmur or complain. 

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Two Thousand and Nine is coming!

I'm excited for the New Year. Not for parties, because the only party I'm invited to will end before I can get there after work. For me, this year it is mostly about beginning again. I've come through a lot in the last few years and this moment in time feels like having reached a mountaintop. I recognize how far I've come from where I used to be - and the road ahead gets clearer each day. I have placed my hand in the Lord's, and he is guiding me. I have a lot of work ahead of me, no matter what I choose, but in honesty life is good and I am looking forward to it. I must be smart, and make good choices for my family. I will be faithful and strong, because that is the road to happiness. I will be loving and compassionate, because that is the road to peace.
This year is about a few things. Finding a career and some stability for my family. A "job" just can't do that. Second, bringing the Savior more to my children. Third, my health - I want to be stronger physically. 
The Career will come. I will continue to put my faith and trust in the Lord. He will take me where He wants me to go. Trust is a big word here, but it is good.
For me, leading my children to do the simple things - reading the scriptures, and having family prayer - is the hardest. They give me so much opposition, it brings me to tears - literally. My desire is to teach them the gospel, help them to build a strong foundation of their own for the times in their lives when they must rely on the Lord. If it brings me to tears of frustration every day, I will still keep trying. I will give myself credit for the trying and I will not give up. It is too important. Some days are better than others. I have learned that creativity is the way to my goal. If I can't get them all to sit still in the living room, I can get them to come to the computer - so, some days we read online. Sometimes we pray at the beside of the one who has to get to bed first. Sometimes we pray at the dinner table. I have to be scrappy and quick. We have Family Home Evening when I have a night off. In a family where the schedule changes weekly, it's not about a specific evening - it's about what works. I am the only one who can do this for my children and I have to think on my feet. It's too important. I will give myself credit for trying, even and maybe especially when they ignore and oppose me. I will not quit.
Looking out for my health is a natural outgrowth of needing to release the tension in my body. Yoga, Dance, Walking - whatever it is that I feel like doing. I need to take care of myself. It is a way to be loving with myself, to show myself that I appreciate what is happening in my life. Yoga is especially loving. It just feels so GOOD to stretch - and it can elevate my heart rate as well as any low-impact aerobics, maybe better. I realized a long time ago, that my body doesn't like very strenuous exercise - it needs a lot of slow methodic motion. I think that's why my job has been good for my physically. I'm constantly on the move. A career that keeps me moving would probably be wise, as well. Adding in a little more exercise in the mornings is just another way to say, "I like you! Let's make you feel better today!" It's SO not about looking a certain way, or being "thinner" - I just want to be strong and healthy. That is what feels good to me.
So, I'm looking forward to this year. Let's GO!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Joy to Everyone This Christmas


Don’t miss the opportunity to view and share Joy to Everyone This Christmas at

http://www.joytoeveryone.com

The College of Fine Arts and Communications of Brigham Young University is giving the gift of music this Christmas, offering a new song and music video to download or share for free.

The song, Joy to Everyone This Christmas, was written and produced by Stephen Jones, dean of the college, in collaboration with Emmy-award winning composer and producer Sam Cardon and vocalists Jenny Jordan Frogley and David Osmond. The music video features images from university photographer Mark Philbrick.

Enjoy this beautiful new Christmas song and video produced by the Brigham Young University College of Fine Arts and Communication, copyright 2008.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

What will our gift to the Savior be?

We are celebrating his birth after all. I was just wondering what each of you will be doing this Christmas Season to recognize Him, share His love and bless others. I've been pondering on this and would love to hear what everyone has to say!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Faith not Fear

Isaiah 7:4 Take heed and be quiet; fear not neither be fainthearted.

So essentially: listen and have faith.

So simple and straightforward, yet so applicable to life right now. Fear seems to be the motivator behind much control issues and self-esteem issues. Satan plays on those fears and they are perpetuated inside of us by untrue thoughts that we don't recognize as untrue and keep thinking. I think that guilt, depression, discouragement and much more negative things come from fear and from these untrue thoughts. When I read this from Isaiah, it just connected all those dots for me and I realized that our Heavenly Father doesn't use fear as a motivator. He doesn't use guilt, discouragement. These are Satan's tools. Heavenly Father uses faith and love. If we stop for a minute.....stop fearing.... and just listen with faith then the truth can come to us through the Holy Ghost and our thoughts can be true and our feelings can be based on those true thoughts and we can grow in faith and obedience.......and not fear. We can truly go forward in faith.
I am thankful for the scriptures that teach so much, for our wise Heavenly Father who teaches line, upon line and for the Spirit who brings truth to our attention in so many different ways.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Joy

A friend recently confided that she just couldn’t forgive herself for her past mistakes. She said she kept dwelling on the fact that she made them and that she should have done things differently. I know I have felt that way at times, but as I was talking to her I was reminded of a scripture story. It was the one where the Pharisees brought the adulteress for Jesus to condemn, so they could stone her. Then Jesus said, he who was without sin should cast the first stone. When all the men had gone, Jesus finally said, “Neither do I condemn thee. Go and sin no more.”

To me, that story embodies the true meaning of repentance. Repentance is not about beating yourself up or ‘stoning yourself’ over the mistakes you make. Repentance is about turning away from sin and getting back on the right path. It’s about never giving up. It’s about picking yourself up when you fail and keeping on trying. We do this by taking the sacrament each week and trying to keep our covenants as best we can. We all fall short. And that was part of the plan. It’s how we were supposed to learn and progress. When we don’t allow Christ to free us from the sorrow of sin, we stop our progression and learning.

Someone once said that life is like an airplane ride. Airplanes don’t go straight from point A to point B. They are continually making adjustments to get back to the path that will take them to where they want to go. In a similar manner we also must continually make adjustments to get back in harmony with God’s laws. This is not sad! It is happy! That Christ made it possible for us to do this! Each time we repent we should rejoice, not sorrow. I know that in heaven they are rejoicing over us. It says so in the scriptures that there is joy over each sinner who repenteth.

The Lord doesn’t see us as this bundle of sins and imperfections. He sees yesterday, today, and eternity all at once. He sees us right now, as we will be, beautiful, and clean from the atonement of Christ. I hope we can learn to see ourselves that way, and know the great love the Lord has for each one of us. Because of Christ, we are beautiful…today.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Seize The Day

Each of us has only one life, but some of us behave as if we believed we were cats with nine lives. At times we live on the edge, giving little thought to the fact that at any instant we could lay our bodies down and depart this life. We eat, we drink, we make merry, not realizing that our loved ones and friends could die or be taken from us at any time. As John Lennon and Paul McCartney once wrote, "Life is very short, and there's no time for fussing and fighting, my friend."
We dare not live out lives without taking advantage of each and every day. We must seize the day! We must live and love each day as if it were our last. This is the essence of being good and doing good. We should never wait until tomorrow to make things right. There may be no tomorrow.
A great teacher taught: "Mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a letter. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in word and deed. Keep a promise. Forgo a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Apologize. Try to understand. Examine your demands on others. Think first of someone else. Be kind. Be gentle. Laugh a little more. Express your gratitude. Welcome a stranger. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love and then speak it again."

Sunday, October 12, 2008

My Father's House.

I was thinking earlier about posting something else, but the Spirit said "No". It was the first time that happened to me with this blog, and speaks to the fact that the Lord has something very specific in mind for what I need to write tonight. (Please don't hesitate to contact me about anything I've written here. My email link is located on the side bar.)
A few minutes ago, I was thinking about the day, and how grateful I am for some very specific blessings. This time, the Spirit was overwhelming - "This is what you need to write about." Interestingly enough, I had originally wanted to post Elder Ballard's request that we share our testimonies through the internet, blogs and other electronic media. I will share that request at another time. Tonight, what the Lord wants me to share is my testimony. (It's just a bit ironic that I didn't pick up on THAT when I read Elder Ballard's request that we do that very thing.)
I was able to attend our Fast and Testimony Meeting today. I have been feeling for a while that I needed to share my testimony of the Temple, and what a blessing it has been to me in this last year. As I sat listening to the testimonies, trying keep my brood of 5 active children quiet enough so that I could hear, I realized that there had been a long period of silence. I waited, and I thought I heard someone get up, but the pause continued. Finally the Spirit said to me, "We are waiting for you." What I will share here is actually much more detailed than what I shared in the meeting today, but essentially the same.
Last November, my Bishop encouraged me to begin attending the Temple regularly, at least once a month. I cried there in his office. I hadn't wanted to go without my husband. I had come to a place where I knew my husband, to whom I was sealed in the San Diego Temple 14 years earlier, was no longer interested in Christ or the LDS Church, much less the Temple. My own convictions, regarding the truth of the gospel and the power of Christ to comfort as well cleanse and save, were stronger than ever. I knew I needed the strength that would come from the Temple and I knew my husband wouldn't be coming with me again. I told my Bishop that I would go each month.
This month, October 2008, was the 12th consecutive month that I have fulfilled that commitment. In some ways it seems like much more time has passed because so much has changed in my life during this year. In most ways, the year has flown by. I will never let any excuse keep me from the Temple again. In the Temple, I feel peace about my road - which has been incredibly rocky and filled with struggles I never dreamed I'd face. In the Temple, I feel the deep and endless love of the Lord. I feel like I'm 'going  home' in many ways. It is My Father's House. He is there for me when I go for a visit. He sits at my side and listens to me as I pour out my heart. He lets me know that he has heard me. Amazingly, what I feel to do most when I am there is to Thank Him. I am renewed in the Temple. It has been a much greater blessing to me than my Bishop promised.
Last November, as I sat waiting in a silent Temple room, My Father said quietly to my heart "Thank you for coming to My House. Now, I can bless you even more." I felt completely overwhelmed by His love, and I desperately needed that. I had recently told my husband that I wasn't willing to go on the way things were. In the previous year things had worsened in our home to such an extent, his anger and misery were so entrenched, that I had begun to fear for our children and their emotional health. There was strength rising up in me that I didn't know I had. I wasn't afraid anymore to face life without him. I had given him one last opportunity to treat his family with kindness and love, to be the father his children deserved. I could live with him not embracing the gospel the way I did, but I couldn't live with the emotional explosions that seemed to be more and more common and vicious - turning more often directly to family members. I had come to a very difficult place. I needed My Father more than ever, and He was there for me, in His House.
I can think of so many precious moments in my visits to the Temple during this year when the Spirit has lifted me like a buoy, helping me to float through what would otherwise have been almost unbearable trials. The Spirit made me sure of my course, sure of the things I knew I had to do. It has been far more difficult than I imagined, but most often more peaceful. There have been moments so painful, I thought there was no way I'd find my way through the struggles. Soon after however, a little light would come, a little miracle would find its way into my life, My Father would reveal His hand. It is not the life I planned. It is so far from the life I planned that I know I would never have been able to withstand the mounting pressures without my monthly visits to the Temple, Daily Scripture Study and Prayer. My road has brought me to a divorce.
Your road may be a different road, but your answers and strength still lie in the Temple, in Your Father's House. He knows you just as well as He knows me. He is waiting for you to come and sit at His knee, tell Him of your pain and find rest in His love. I Know. I have been there. He and our Savior Jesus Christ Live and they Love us so desperately. They want to see us. It's what they always say, isn't it? "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest." 
Rest is waiting for you. 
Come.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Search In The Light Of Christ

Moroni knew that in the latter-days people would call good evil and evil good. He therefore included in the last pages of the Book Of Mormon counsel his father, Mormon, gave to the Saints who lived in the last days of the Nephite civilization. They too had difficulty clearing this mist, so Mormon gave them a key:
"Every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God. Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God or that which is good and of God to be of the devil. For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night. For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore I show unto you the way to judge; for everything which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of God...And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully...Wherefore, I beseech of you , brethren, that ye should search diligently in the light of Christ that ye may know good from evil; and if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not, ye certainly will be a child of Christ." (Moroni 7:13-19.)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

For a wise purpose.

Words of Mormon
7 And I do this for a wise purpose; for thus it whispereth me, according to the workings of the Spirit of the Lord which is in me. And now, I do not know all things; but the Lord knoweth all things which are to come; wherefore, he worketh in me to do according to his will.

This scripture says in a nutshell how I feel about my life’s ups and downs. I don’t know everything, but the Lord does.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Best Within Us

I loved this quote.

“The whole process of raising a family is one of perfecting our own lives. That which we transmit consciously and unconsciously to our children in their rearing in the home and in the community must be the best within us.” Henry D. Moyle, formerly of the 1st Presidency of the church.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Alma 37 and the spiritual/temporal

Kersten and I must be on the same wavelength because I have been having the same thoughts and learning about the connectedness of spiritual and physical and how my bridling and control over one influences the other so much. I have been thinking about it through the view of concepts from Alma 37:6,33,37,40-47.
The thoughts start with, "....by small and simple things are great things brought to pass" then leads me to, "...teach them to withstand every temptation of the devil, with their faith on the Lord Jesus Christ." From there I find, "counsel with the Lord in all they doings and he will driect thee for good..." This leads me to the concept of a temporal Liahona in the time of Lehi (vs. 40-47) and the comparison of the words of Christ being the same type of "liahona" for Helaman and for us in our day. Verse 41 takes us back to the small and simple means idea and ties all those together by showing that spiritual and temporal ARE connected, that the words of Christ are our liahona today and that our faith is required for the liahona to work.
I end my jumble of thoughts with exerpts from Alma 37: 40-47: "And now, my son, I would that ye should understand that these things are not without a shadow; for as our fathers were slothful to give heed to this compass (now these things were temporal) they did not prosper, even so it is with things which are spiritual. 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.....do not let us be slothful because of the easiness of the way; for so it was with our fathers....if they would look they might live; even so it is with us. The way is prepared, and if we will look we may live forever."

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Spiritual and the Physical

Lately I have noticed something that I should have known a long time ago. That my spiritual being is inseparably connected to my physical being. I have had my ups and downs with eating healthy and exercising...and happily...I've been on an upswing this month. The contrast between my ups and downs has made me notice something. I am finally realizing after all these years...that when I eat healthy and exercise, I gain more control over my physical body...which translates directly into more control over my spirit. I never noticed that before! When I am controlling my physical body to stay healthy, all of a sudden I have a stronger spirit or a stronger 'will' to do the spiritual things that I need to do as a mother, wife, and daughter of God. I desire to read my scriptures and attend the temple more...I have more patience and more power to do the things I need to in motherhood...I have more strength to serve others. I love feeling this way!

I wish I would have figured that out sooner. I know I would have been far less overwhelmed as a young mother. Oh well...older but wiser.....

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Face of a Prophet

The scriptures teach us both directly and indirectly the power of a prophet in dispersing the darkness Satan sends to blind our eyes. The fifth chapter of Helaman recounts the story of Nephi and Lehi, who were bound in prison, awaiting their execution. When the Lamanites came to take their lives, they were "encircled about with a pillar of fire." At the same time, the Lamanites "were overshadowed with a cloud of darkness, and an awful solemn fear came upon them." (Helaman 5: 24, 28.) This cloud of darkness represents their spiritual state. The Lord was showing them an outward manifestation of their spiritual state. We are told that "they could not flee because of the cloud of darkness." (Helaman 5:34.) There was, however, something powerful enough to penetrate the darkness and show them the way.

"Aminadab turned him about, and behold, he saw through the cloud of darkness the faces of Nephi and Lehi; and behold, they did shine exceedingly." Aminadab cried to the others trapped in the darkness, encouraging them to look to the one source of light visible to them. "And behold, there was power given unto them that they did turn and look; and they did behold the faces of Nephi and Lehi." (Helaman 5: 36-37.)

When the adversary sends his clouds of darkness, his temptations, his deceptions and deceits, we need only look to the faces of the prophets. Their light is strong enough to penetrate whatever clouds may come our way. But just as the Lamanites had to turn and look, so we must turn and look. The light is there if we desire it. If we seek it, wonderful promises are offered.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Hold On The Light Will Come




A few months ago I found myself sitting at my computer in complete dispair. I had been doing some journaling about my fears for a loved one. He had wandered far from the fold.I was beginning to believe Satan's lie's that he would never find his way back. I was trying to imagine what my life would be like without him in it. All I had left were my pleading cries to my Heavenly Father.

Then I found myself here at Peaceable Walk reading Abby's blog on July 10th about our prayers being heard. I remember how the words pearced my heart.

"Somewhere out there is someone who desperately needs to know that their prayers are heard and will be answered."

I had never read this blog before, I don't even know how I arrived at this site. What I do know is , it wasn't an accident. I know that night I received an answer to my prayers.


Sometimes we just have to HOLD ON.........

I wanted to share this with you today because for these past few weeks I have had such a peace about this situation. I just knew that my prayers were being heard. It was during this time that my loved ones life was completely shattered. He had found himself completely alone. I knew things were really, really bad in his life but I was at peace. I just knew everything was going to be alright. I am not saying that I did nothing. What I did was, read my scriptures, fast, pray, and journal about all the little things that my Heavenly Father was teaching me during that time.

And today, I am witnessing a miracle. A few weeks ago I was trying to prepare myself for a life without this person in it. Today I received an e-mail photo of him in a hospital room witnessing the miracle of birth as his sister brings a new life into this world.He was in a room filled with loved ones who had also missed him dearly.

He truly was lost but now he is found.

What I want to share with you is this. I know that there are moments for each of us when all around us is dark despair. It is as if we have fallen into a deep, dark hole and we can't find our way out. It is during those moments that we think we will never see the light again but if we just hold on the light will come. Sometimes the only thing we can do is HOLD ON. It is during these moments that I hear the voice of my Heavenly Father whisper softly in my ear, "Be still, and know that I am God." So if today you are that person that desperately needs to know that your prayers are heard I hope you will know that the light will come. Just hold on.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Never give up.

This is the story of my Mission President as a young boy, and the leader who would not give up on him. You know how you constantly thank the Lord for certain people in your life? This is one of those men, and I am so grateful to his leader. We have to keep trying. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I do. I never get tired of this story.

Mervyn B. Arnold, “Strengthen Thy Brethren,” Ensign, May 2004, 46

Brother José de Souza Marques was the type of leader who truly understood the principle taught by the Savior: “And if any man among you be strong in the Spirit, let him take with him him that is weak, that he may be edified in all meekness, that he may become strong also” (D&C 84:106).

As a member of the branch presidency in Fortaleza, Brazil, Brother Marques with the other priesthood leaders developed a plan to reactivate those who were less active in his branch. One of those who was less active was a young man by the name of Fernando Araujo. Recently I spoke to Fernando, and he told me of his experience:

“I became involved in surfing competitions on Sunday mornings and stopped going to my Church meetings. One Sunday morning Brother Marques knocked on my door and asked my nonmember mother if he could talk to me. When she told him I was sleeping, he asked permission to wake me. He said to me, ‘Fernando, you are late for church!’ Not listening to my excuses, he took me to church.

“The next Sunday the same thing happened, so on the third Sunday I decided to leave early to avoid him. As I opened the gate I found him sitting on his car, reading the scriptures. When he saw me he said, ‘Good! You are up early. Today we will go and find another young man!’ I appealed to my agency, but he said, ‘We can talk about that later.’

“After eight Sundays I could not get rid of him, so I decided to sleep at a friend’s house. I was at the beach the next morning when I saw a man dressed in a suit and tie walking towards me. When I saw that it was Brother Marques, I ran into the water. All of a sudden, I felt someone’s hand on my shoulder. It was Brother Marques, in water up to his chest! He took me by the hand and said, ‘You are late! Let’s go.’ When I argued that I didn’t have any clothes to wear, he replied, ‘They are in the car.’

“That day as we walked out of the ocean, I was touched by Brother Marques’s sincere love and worry for me. He truly understood the Savior’s words: ‘I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick’ (Ezek. 34:16). Brother Marques didn’t just give me a ride to church—the quorum made sure I remained active. They planned activities that made me feel needed and wanted, I received a calling, and the quorum members became my friends.”

Following his reactivation, Brother Araujo went on a full-time mission and has served as bishop, stake president, mission president, and regional representative. His widowed mother, three sisters, and several cousins have also entered the waters of baptism.

When speaking about the work of the Aaronic Priesthood quorums in his ward, Brother Araujo, who is once again serving as a bishop, stated:

“Our rescue work is the focus in all three quorums of the Aaronic Priesthood. We have a list of each one of our lost sheep. The quorum presidencies, advisers, and bishopric divide up and go visit them on a regular basis. We visit not only the less-active members, but we also visit the nonmembers in less-active or part-member families.

“Activities are organized to reach each young man. We discuss each young man in our quorum presidency meetings and in our monthly bishopric youth committee meetings. In 2003 we managed to rescue five priests, one teacher, and two deacons, who are now active in their quorums. We have also reactivated some families and have enjoyed the blessing of seeing some nonmembers enter the waters of baptism.”

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A kind of journal.

2 Nephi 25:23
For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.

I've been reading the scriptures online this year, and keeping a journal of notes on my computer. It has been so valuable to me. I keep it in the order of the chapters and verses. Each time I begin reading again, I go back to the beginning of my notes. I only write down what strikes me on a certain day, what a scripture meant to me or what stood out.  If it is extremely pertinent to some specific event in my life, I write down the date as well. It's nice to use a word processing program to do it because the document can expand easily. I don't have to add pages, I just write whatever comes. This verse in Chapter 25 of Second Nephi meant a lot to me today as I was thinking about the journal.  And so it goes. Someday, I hope that my notes will help my children to understand my love of the scriptures and devotion to the Savior.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Life is Difficult

M. Scott Peck has written, "Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult--once we truly understand and accept it--then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters." (The Road Less Traveled).

Happiness and peace do not always equate with everything in life running smoothly. Happiness and peace are powers that come from within as we live by true and virtuous principles, even amidst adversity. If we continue to be good through difficult times, we learn that God uses BROKEN things to teach us some of life's greatest lessons. It takes broken soil to produce a crop, broken clouds to give rain, broken bread to give strength. It is the broken alabaster box that gives forth perfume....It is Peter, weeping bitterly, who returns to greater power than ever.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Be it unto me.

I have been a little bit surprised at how crazy life has been with my three oldest in the past week. They've been doing so well for the last six weeks, and I wasn’t quite sure what was going on. Today it hit me like a ton of bricks. C and E have been back in school for 2 weeks. I wasn’t factoring in that school anxiety that always seems to hit when the newness starts to wear off. I am now even more grateful and amazed at how important it was to have things happen in the order that they did. I can see that if they had been in school when Dan moved, it would’ve just been far too much for them to handle at the same time. In hindsight, those things that I recognized as small miracles seem like mountains moved just in the nick of time. What incredible blessings. I knew that they were important, I just didn’t realize HOW important until now. It is very interesting to me that it wasn’t until I had given up that timeline that the Lord seemed to step in and make it all happen, anyway. Can I be that way with all my dreams? That has been my prayer lately. “Lord, I only want what you want for me.” Mary said, “Be it unto me according to thy word.” It is the attitude I want in my life right now. When we trust in the Lord, we can know that whatever we must pass through, it will lead us to Him. It is enough.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Journaling

My journals have meant a great deal to me through the years. I remember my parents sitting us down for Family Home Evening when I was 10, giving us notebooks and pencils and asking us to write. I never stopped. I've kept excellent journals since that time. Admittedly, some of the entries from my early teens are painfully overwrought with gushing emotion. My Dad told me once, when I complained about the teenage me I saw in my journals, "Why should you be embarrassed about having been completely normal?" That changed my thoughts on it forever. My journals have also enlightened and blessed me as I have gone back to look over certain stages of my life, especially my adult life. I am a very positive person, but even I have often allowed disappointments or sadness to cloud memories of certain times in my life which upon looking back through my journals were more filled with happiness than I remembered. Among the things I have forgotten are often fairly important details which clarify and refine my memories, always in positive ways. Journals serve to remind us of small blessings and triumphs when those things might otherwise be lost forever.
With these thoughts in mind, I gave my children notebooks last night along with pens, and asked them to write. A, my 2 1/2 year old girl, drew a few squiggles and declared, "That Me, Mama!" My twelve year old son, T, wrote about the quickly approaching move to middle school. They wrote about where they are, now. Someday, I know they'll look back and be grateful to have these words. The reason I am so sure of that is the fact that this was the summer their father moved into his own apartment. They've been through a lot, and I assume that they will continue to go through a lot. I want them to have a record of the fact that they made it through. It will be a wonderful thing for them to look back and realize all of the blessings that we had, even through the difficulties. I hope that they'll be able to look back and see the loving hand of the Lord the way I have in my own life. I can't think of a better gift that I could give them. It was one of the best Family Home Evenings we've had.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Behold, My Joy is Full

"The cavity which suffering carves into our souls will one day also be the receptacle of joy."

Neil A. Maxwell, BYU Fireside, 1 September 1974.

Monday, July 28, 2008

It's Between You & God

Mother Teresa reportedly kept the following statement hanging on her wall:

People are often unreasonable, illogical,
and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of
selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some
false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may
cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone
could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness,
they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will
forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have,
and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis,

it is between you and God;
It never was between you and them anyway.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Sister Kinghorn in Ukraine

Okay, are you ready to sob - because this is what it's all about. The Kinghorns are Humanitarian Service Missionaries in Ukraine. She sent me an email today and I'm going to post a number of her things at the Humanitarian Service Project Blog (Link on the right). I'll include here some of the links to specific posts as well. I can't help but cry as I read about the work they do, and I am so grateful to be able to help in some small way the children and families of the world.

This is what she wrote as an introduction to the blog:
My husband Bruce and I are Missionaries with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We are serving a Humanitarian Mission in Ukraine. The focus of the Church's Humanitarian work is to relieve the suffering of the poor and needy. Every week we visit charitable organizations such as orphanages, shelters, boarding schools for the handicapped, special hospice homes, and hospitals. We have met some incredible people who dedicate their lives to helping others. We hope to share with you a glimpse of what those experiences are like for us and the wonderful blessings we have enjoyed while being on the Lord's errand.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

He is listening. He loves you. He will answer you.

I didn't want to post anything new, because that photo and poem are so beautiful, but somewhere out there is someone who desperately needs to know that their prayers are being heard and will be answered. I have always believed this, but in my hours of greatest need, He has been so attentive to me - I have such a need to testify. He Hears You. He will Answer You.

The answers I have received have not been "what I planned," and have in fact shocked me. I have passed through my nightmare, . . . and survived. I didn't think that was possible. The Lord has strengthened me daily as I have turned to Him and allowed Him to guide me. The road has been rough, rocky and winding. All these things have given me experience, however. They have made me softer and more willing to listen to Him. They have made it impossible for me to imagine that I "came up with any of it on my own." His plan for my life wasn't my plan, but as I have accepted His will and His way I have found the greatest peace and happiness I've ever known. That is His promise. "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28)

He is listening. He loves you. He will answer you.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Song For A Fifth Child


Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing and butter the bread,
Sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking!

Oh, I've grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).
The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew
And out in the yard there's hullabaloo
But I'm playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren't her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
But children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep...

by Ruth Hulbert Hamilton, in Lady's Home Journal. 1958.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Precious Children

"My dear brothers and sisters, may the laughter of children gladden our hearts. May the faith of children soothe our souls. May the love of children prompt our deeds. 'Children are an heritage of the Lord' (Ps. 127:3)."

Thomas S. Monson
"Precious Children--A Gift from God,"
Ensign, Nov. 1991

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Our Priceless Heritage

Today we live in a choice land above all other lands. We live amid unbounded prosperity ~ this because of the heritage bequeathed to us by our forebears, a heritage of self-reliance, initiative, personal industry, and faith in God, all in an atmosphere of freedom.
Were these Founding Fathers and pioneer forefathers to counsel us today in their fundamental beliefs~so manifest by their acts~ what would they say to us?
FIRST they would counsel us to have faith in God.
SECOND they would counsel us to strengthen our home and family ties.
THIRD they would counsel us on the dignity of work, to practice thrift, and to be self-sustaining.
FINALLY these noble Founders and pioneers~ our benefactors~ would counsel us to preserve the freedoms granted to us by God. They knew that the foundation of this nation was spiritual, that the source of all our blessings was God. They knew that this nation could only prosper in an atmosphere of freedom.
As one with you, charged with the responsibility of protecting and perpetuating this noble heritage, I stand today with bowed head and heart overflowing with gratitude. May we begin to repay this debt by preserving and strengthening this heritage in our own lives, in the lives of our children, their children and generations yet unborn.
Nov. 1976 Ensign
by President Ezra Taft Benson

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Don't Take Offense At The Truth

I know that the words of truth are hard against all uncleanness;
but the righteous fear them not, for they love the truth and are not shaken.
2 nephi 9:40

To teach the young to love the truth above personal convenience is the basis of it. They will be taught true courage, which becomes a living and attractive virtue when it is regarded not as a willingness to die manfully, BUT AS A DETERMINATION TO LIVE DECENTLY. They will be taught honesty by habit and as a matter of course...Such is the power gained from loving the Lord, our God, and serving Him in righteousness.
president thomas s. monson

~Truth shall spring forth out of the earth...Psalm 85:11
~The truth will make you free...John 8:32
~Christ is the way and the truth...John 14:6
~The guilty always take the truth to be hard...1 nephi 16:2-3
~Glory in the truth...2 nephi 33:6
~The Spirit will always speak the truth...Jacob 4:13

Monday, June 16, 2008

Blessings Through Faithful Prayers

Suppose...you are a mother or father with a son who is straying from the path of righteousness...You can do much to pray him home...to fast him home. You can repent enough of your own sins that, through your sacrifice, the Lord may intervene more in his life and save the boy. It's not that you're paying for your own sins--Jesus did that. But through your agency, through your sacrifice, you are able to receive blessings that you otherwise would not be able to obtain. (Of course, these things still depend on the agency of others--our prayers can't supersede the agency of those we're praying for. But sacrifice and fervent prayer can do much to help. With such prayer we can accomplish much--even if it doesn't bring our loved ones all the way home.)~Gene R. Cook


And again, the angel said: Behold, the Lord hath heard...the prayers of his servant, Alma, who is thy father; for he has prayed with much faith concerning thee that thou mightest be brought to the knowledge of the truth; therefore, for this prupose have I come to convince thee of the power and authority of God, that the prayers of his servants might be answered according to their faith.
Mosiah 27:14

Monday, June 9, 2008

Gratitude

"True gratitude is the ability to humbly see, feel, and even receive love. Gratitude is a form of returning love to God. Recognize His hand, tell Him so, express your love to Him." -Gene R. Cook

Stand for Something.

I have a blogging friend that has a group of posts that she has labeled Stand for Something. I enjoyed reading through them this morning, especially the most recent ones on personal Goliaths and all of her thoughts on service. There are so many good things that we can do with our lives. Let's go!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

When you have gone as far as you can go . . .

I've been learning this week about how the Lord works with us when we need Him most. I'm sure it isn't the last time I will be here, and the next time will most likely be soon. It's just where I am. This is a day and hour at a time world I live in. Monday I was sure I'd start to fall apart as much physically as I was emotionally. The stress had reached an unbearable place, and relief was no where on the horizon. Everywhere I looked, doors were closing on me. It was like being in a hall of mirrors at the carnival - except that each and every door was real. I felt the pain of it intensely as the one I had most hoped would lead somewhere was rudely shoved at me. I took it as a challenge, but at the same time realized that to truly open that door would most likely take a solid year of work. It wasn't an immediate option and I am in a world of immediate need.
So, what did I do? I called my mother. She was a great help. She didn't say it would all be okay and not to worry. She listened to me, she grumbled with me and ached with me. It was just what I needed. She offered ideas, but nothing that I would have thought of myself. She offered ways that she could help me, rather than things that I should try. Heaven knows, the last thing someone needs when they have tied a knot in their rope and are hanging on for dear life is thoughts about what they might try to start climbing back up the rope again. You think of just about everything while you are swinging around there at the end of your rope. Having someone who's just willing to hang there with you is such a blessing - and my mother was willing to do that with me. We weren't murmuring, we were just feeling the pain that comes along with being human, wondering if we could really accomplish the work ahead of us. The fact that she is so willing to work along side me is almost overwhelming. It also helps, when you really truly in your gut feel that your Heavenly Father, and your Savior as well, are watching and mindful of you. You can say, after 'I can't believe what a weak human being I am' . . . 'Well then, if He wants me to go down farther, then I keep going.' It's a hard thing to acknowledge, that even after you've gone way past what you thought was the rope's end, when you've descended into a darker place than you have ever known, there may still be more to come. That's where I was. I was at a kind-of dead end after two weeks of hard work, feeling that I'd have to start over again, very tired and in great need of some consolation.
So, what did we do? We did what we could do, and didn't worry anymore about the things that we couldn't. We registered my five year old for Kindergarten at the elementary school nearest my mother. We went to the grocery store and picked up some milk. The day did get worse, believe it or not - much worse. The next day, however, was better - like the dawn of a new morning after a dark night. I had an opportunity to work in a temporary position for the day - and I was grateful for that day. I proved myself quickly, and impressed the woman I was working with. When someone you've never met before watches what you can do and thinks that you are wonderful, well, how can you not feel good about yourself? (Even if the only others that seems to think you're wonderful are your parents.) It was the consolation that I needed - just enough of it to put some energy into my tired bones so that I could start to think about climbing again. Other things also started to click into place that day. They were small but important things on the grand scale. For the first time in a long time, I felt a little sun shining down through the darkness, falling on my face. When you've been in the dark for a while, you really can appreciate the sun's brilliance.
I don't know what tomorrow will bring. I may be at a new end of the rope in a couple more weeks, who knows. It doesn't really matter. I know a little more about the way the Lord works with his children when they need Him most. If I get to another place like that, I will remember and wait for the bit of sunshine that is sure to come. It will come. And finally, when I've gone as far down the rope as He needs me to go for now, the last tumblers will fall into place, a door will open and I will start walking again. This isn't the life I had planned for myself, but I know it's a life my Father in Heaven is pleased with. It will be a good life. 

Friday, May 23, 2008

Discipline for children....Heavenly Father's way

"When a child needs correction, you might ask yourself, 'What can I say or do that would persuade him or her to choose a better way?' When giving necessary correction, do it quietly, privately, lovingly, and not publicly. If a rebuke is required, show an increase of love promptly so that seeds of resentment may not remain........Do not try to control your children. Instead listen to them, help them to learn the gospel, inspire them, and lead them toward eternal life. You are God's agents in the care of children He has entrusted to you. Let His divine influence remain in your hearts as you teach and persuade." Elder Nelson, May 2008 Ensign

Friday, May 16, 2008

Your Father Knoweth

3 Nephi 13:8

Be not ye therefore like unto them, for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of before ye ask him.

Friday, May 9, 2008

For Mother's Day

The Lanyard
by Billy Collins

The other day as I was ricocheting slowly
off the pale blue walls of this room,
bouncing from typewriter to piano,
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
I found myself in the L section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.

No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
could send one more suddenly into the past --
a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp
by a deep Adirondack lake
learning how to braid thin plastic strips
into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.

I had never seen anyone use a lanyard
or wear one, if that’s what you did with them,
but that did not keep me from crossing
strand over strand again and again
until I had made a boxy
red and white lanyard for my mother.

She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard.
She nursed me in many a sickroom,
lifted teaspoons of medicine to my lips,
set cold face-cloths on my forehead,
and then led me out into the airy light

and taught me to walk and swim,
and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
Here are thousands of meals, she said,
and here is clothing and a good education.
And here is your lanyard, I replied,
which I made with a little help from a counselor.

Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth,
and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.
And here, I wish to say to her now,
is a smaller gift--not the archaic truth

that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took
the two-tone lanyard from my hands,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless, worthless thing I wove
out of boredom would be enough to make us even.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

LDS Humanitarian Service Project Blog is up . . .

and although I wouldn't quite describe it as "running", I would say that if you'd like to help out or have information you'd like to add, email me! The link to the blog is on the sidebar, and will be permanent.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

One great quote!

"My dear sisters, do not pray for tasks equal to your abilities, but pray for abilities equal to your tasks. Then the performance of your tasks will be no miracle, but you will be the miracle."
Pres. Monson Sept. 07

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A Message from Connie Sokol

Hi Ladies,

I was reading one of those early reader books with my daughter on Seabiscuit, the miracle racehorse, and was reminded of the power of seeing the soul.

Short version, Seabiscuit came from great racehorses but he didn't look or act great himself; his legs were short, crooked, and he ran funny. He had never won a race. He made trouble, was overweight, and slept all morning (this may be hitting close to home...) But then Tom Smith came along, saw inside his soul, and got a buyer to bring him home. He made the stall roomier, brought in stray animals for friendship, and even slept in the barn with the horse. Seabiscuit responded to the love. In six years he won 33 races and more prize money than any other racehorse.

Sometimes what you and I, and children or neighbors or cranky co-workers, really need is a little Tom Smith. We need someone to see inside our soul and look beyond the outward behavior-to make a stall more roomy, bring in a trusted friend, or shower us with a little affection. I invite you this week to choose someone who may be troublesome in your life, and to see him or her as a Tom Smith would. And just maybe you will nurture and develop a legendary winner.

All my best,

Connie


Connie Sokol
President
LIFEChange
info@lifechangeprogram.com
www.lifechangeprogram.com
801.787.4910

LIFEChange - Copyright (c) 2008
All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

They were at war. . .

they were confused and worried. This was their experience, and it is mine as well. I'm grateful to be able to be another witness of the Lord's goodness and watchful care. He has indeed blessed me with assurances, peace, faith and hope. I stand in wonder as I contemplate where I'd be without Him.

Alma 58:11


Yea, and it came to pass that the Lord our God did visit us with assurances that he would deliver us; yea, insomuch that he did speak peace to our souls, and did grant unto us great faith, and did cause us that we should hope for our deliverance in him.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

For Gloria

Paul died on Sunday morning. 39 years old, severely autistic....but still such a shock. In the aftermath of the news I sit reflecting on life, the Plan of Salvation and motherhood. I write in honor of my mother-in-law.
I don't know how life with Paul really was. I have heard many stories, seen a few of them in action and have asked her many questions. Still, I have no idea of the struggles and blessings she has experienced through her time with Paul.
My own experiences as a mother leads me to know that she loved him dearly; more than herself. She looked at his newborn face and knew she would do whatever it took to protect him, teach him and travel with him through the storms and sunshine in life. She spent more time with him than anyone else did. She bathed him, not just for a few short years like the rest of us, but for over 30 years. Every day she woke thinking of his needs and went to bed checking on him. Everyday she prayed for guidance, ability and patience. Everyday she sought to understand and to help him understand. Everyday.
I think she might be feeling conflicting emotions right now. Joy that Paul is free from his body and able to do so much more. Sorrow that she no longer gets to feel him touch her hair. Guilt, though unjustified, about what else she could have done. Relief that he went first so she didn't have to worry about him if she had.
Amid all the emotions, I pray she is feeling true peace and comfort that comes from Jesus Christ.
Gloria, I honor and respect you for the many unnoticed acts of service you have rendered day after day, year after year with patience and love to Paul, and to all the rest of us. I know you won't see it as that.....you see it as "just" being a mother.
Love, Amiee

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Your Deeds Are Known

"As I look into your faces I can feel your goodness. I commend each of you for your day-to-day works of righteousness. Even though your works may be known to only a few, they are recorded in the Lamb’s book of life, 1 which one day will be opened to witness of your dedicated service, devotion, and deeds as “instruments in the hands of God to bring about this great work.” James E. Faust, “Instruments in the Hands of God,” Ensign, Nov 2005, 114

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Three Good Quotes

Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others, cannot keep it from themselves.
- JAMES M. BARRIE



Happiness is not so much in having as sharing. We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.
- NORMAN MACEWAN



A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.
- TENNEVA JORDAN

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Time-the ultimate gift

Reading the last conference Ensign (Nov. 07) has been a blessing in my life. I came across one very important paragraph from a talk by Elder Costa.
His statement was, "The fast-paced lifestyle of modern-day life and excessive amounts of work are curbing parents' attention from what is most important: to give time, to give of oneself to one's family."

From the beginning of my mothering experience, motherhood was fairly intuitive. The "nurturing gene" seemed to kick right in and the deep love I felt/feel for each of my children made sacrificing many things I was used to almost easy. I have sacrificed, labored, loved, soothed, kissed, sung and done all of those things, but when I read this quote I wondered if I have actually made the conscious choice to GIVE of myself. Sometimes when the sacrificing gets hard to endure I think, "did I really choose all this!". Of course, I say that in jest, but deep down I wonder if I haven't made the commitment that I need to make to truly GIVE of myself. That choice really could make all the difference. The hard things will still be there, day after day, but consciously choosing to give all that I have and all that I am to my family. That is a deeper commitment, a deeper sacrifice and a deeper potential for pure, Christ like love. It reminds me of the Lamanite king from the Book of Mormon who chose to give all his sins that he might know God. Would I give all I have, my whole self, to my family. I hope that I do, I hope that I will and I hope that I will always know why I chose to do it----"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

We Cannot Fail

Sometimes I get overwhelmed. Think of me, an ordinary, flawed person, trying to accomplish the mighty and sacred task of raising up righteous children in a failing world, with an enemy that never sleeps, who constantly tries to bind and enslave my precious ones. At times it seems like an insurmountable task.

It is…for someone who tries to accomplish it under their own power. But women who rely upon the Lord are not ordinary. I believe that when we put our trust in Him and do His work, the “least” of us will become the greatest of all, because we will rely upon the Lord to use us as an instrument, imperfect though we may be. It is then that the true miracle occurs, and the Lord shows forth his power, by making weak things become strong.

It is interesting to me to find out after all these years that life is not about accomplishing a checklist of things perfectly...it is about our partnership with the Lord in doing the list. How well we perform, I believe, depends upon our willingness to let go of our wills and just keep trying, doing our best and letting the Lord make up the difference when we fail. And when we do, we are no longer ordinary. The Lord will take the ugly little lump of clay that is our efforts and magnify it, until it becomes something "Glorious".

Perfection is not the key to this life, repentance is. I am taking great comfort in the fact that failure was part of the plan. We were expected to come to earth and fail on our own power. That is why a Savior was provided for us. All we have to do is reach up our hand and let the Savior become our partner in this great work (become yoked with him) and then our burdens will become light and we will be able to accomplish what we came to earth to do. You, as a mother, no matter how imperfect, are a daughter of God marching forth to help Him accomplish His great and glorious plan. When you keep trying, you cannot fail. Become partners with Him, and He will make you glorious.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

I cannot say the smallest part.

Alma 26:16

Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel.

I'm just so aware of my own weakness, and need for the Lord in every minute of my life right now. Sometimes I feel like I can't breathe without Him. More amazing to me, however, is what he can do with me in my weakness. He causes me to stand, helps me to face an uncertain future with strength and resolve. He lifts my spirits and leads me to His will. I am often overwhelmed by the love I feel, His tender and watchful care over me. He is powerful and merciful, patient and all-understanding. He lets us pass through sorrow and difficulty that we might learn to turn to, trust and draw strength from Him - and then, to testify of His matchless and wondrous power. I know. I'm there. He is so good to me, and I love Him.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I'm sorry, It's my fault, please forgive me.


This is what my friend suggested I say to fix a frosty relationship in my extended family. We were driving home from a weekend conference, and I'd asked her advice. We were taught there that you can't have a relationship with someone you don't trust, you can only have a strategy. I had a serious 'strategy' relationship in mind. Every time we would contemplate a visit, I would form my plan. If she said this, I would do this, and so on, and so on. This had been happening for over ten years. In fact, I'd know for sure that I had PMS when this certain person would come to mind. I'd mop the floor in gleeful ferocity, replaying the wrongs I had suffered, over and over in my mind.
When my friend suggested that I write a letter of apology, there was a gripping sensations in my vitals; a knotting, tightening, nauseating feeling that told me she was on to something.
A funny thing happened though, as I opened my heart to the possibility of writing that letter. I began to see things in my behavior that had been hurtful. Memories that had been buried deeply under hard feelings began to surface. I'd completely forgotten the time she drove almost an hour to take me to the hospital when my oldest child was a baby. He was very sick, and I was heavily pregnant and without a car. All sorts of forgotten kindnesses widened the cracks in the wall I'd built between us. By the time I sat down to write the letter, all hard feelings, jealousies and resentments were gone. I felt truly and deeply sorry for the years I'd lost of closeness and friendship. I sent the letter off, telling myself I didn't care how she responded. I almost believed it. "I've asked for forgiveness, whether she forgives me or not is her problem." I told myself. I waited a little over a week with no response. When the phone rang this morning, and her voice was on the line, I knew that I really did care. She told me how sorry she was, that it was really her fault, that she'd love to be closer too. We spent a long time catching up, without the undercurrent of tension. I felt giddy, healed, and lifted to a higher place. A miracle happened in my life. Bad feelings that I'd fought for a decade and begged the Lord to remove were whisked away like smoke in the wind the moment I was willing to humble myself.

By Small and Simple Things

Hi, my name is Amiee House. I am the mother of 5, wife of Brent and trying to be a righteous woman of God. This is my first blog post...ever. I support the role of motherhood and the knowledge that it is a divine institution. I am learning so much through motherhood---there is wonderful joy and sometimes heart-breaking sorrow, but always there is learning and growing.

I felt emotionally drained one Saturday morning in March and had only 5 minutes until the next "thing" to do was happening. My state of mind had much to do with my 6 year old daughter and the awesome responsibility of helping her learn and remember that she is a child of a Heavenly Father who loves her.
All of my family was in the van waiting for me, but I needed to ground myself and quickly. I prayed and flipped open the Book of Mormon sitting on the desk. A few sentences passed through my head, another page flip and then I was stopped in my tracks. My problem seemed great and I have spent many hours on my knees. The anxiety of the whole issue was creeping up on me and then I read those freeing words by Alma, "...by small and simple things are great things brought to pass....and the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls." Alma 37:6-7
Hope flooded through me as I realized that not only is my Father aware of my concerns but He, who knows my daughter better than I, also has already provided the "small means" on the earth to bring her to salvation. Hope comes through obedience to the small, simple gospel truths. I am teaching my daughter to pray, to have faith, to come to know Jesus Christ and His atonement in a very personal way. I have weaknesses, as does my daughter, but those means are in place and if I keep taking the small, daily steps to follow the true gospel of Jesus Christ and teach my children that also, there is great hope and truly "...great things (will be) brought to pass."

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Pink Crayon

n excerpt from Knowing When to Persevere and When to Change Direction, a speech given at Brigham Young University by Janet G. Lee on 14 January 1992. I posted this on Seats Seven, but felt that I should post it here, as well.

When my daughter Stephanie was five years old, I took her to register for kindergarten . . . A teacher was sitting just outside the room with a box of crayons and several sheets of blank paper, and I smiled confidently to myself from across the hall as Stephanie was asked to choose her favorite color and write her name. "She could write all the names in our family," I thought to myself. . . But Stephanie just stood there. The teacher repeated the instructions, and again my daughter stood still, staring blankly at the box of crayons with her knees locked and her hands behind her back.
In the sweet, patient voice that teachers use when they are beginning to feel slightly impatient, the teacher asked once more, "Stephanie, choose your favorite color, dear, and write your name on this piece of paper." I was about to come to my daughter's aid when the teacher kindly said, "That's okay. We will help you learn to write your name when you come to school in the fall." With all the restraint I could muster, I watched Stephanie move into the classroom with a teacher who believed my daughter did not know how to write her name.
On the way home I tried to ask as nonchalantly as possible why she had not written her name. "I couldn't," she replied. "The teacher said to choose my favorite color, and there wasn't a pink in the box!"
I reflect on this incident often as I watch my children grow and observe life in general. How many times are we, as Heavenly Father's children, immobilized because the choice we had in mind for ourselves just isn't available to us, at least not at the time we want it?. . .
In other words, what happens when we look in the box, and the pink crayon just isn't there? It is so easy to lock our knees, put our hands behind our back, and do nothing when the things we wished for and dreamed about are beyond our reach. But to do so would defy the very reason we are placed here on this earth. As hard as it sometimes is to understand, stumbling blocks are essential to our progression.
Remember what the Lord said: "If thou are called to pass through [some] tribulation . . . know . . . that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good" (D&C 122:5-7)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Mother's Prayer for her Children

Even though these words were spoken by Alma, (Alma 13:27-29) they are exactly the things I hope and pray for my children. What I am learning, is that the Lord is able to bring us under his wing, and let us "rest" from our cares even as a storm rages around us. There is nothing more sure to bring happiness to my children's lives than this.

27 And now, my brethren, I wish from the inmost part of my heart, yea, with great anxiety even unto pain, that ye would hearken unto my words, and cast off your sins, and not procrastinate the day of your repentance;

28 But that ye would humble yourselves before the Lord, and call on his holy name, and watch and pray continually, that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear, and thus be led by the Holy Spirit, becoming humble, meek, submissive, patient, full of love and all long-suffering;

29 Having faith on the Lord; having a hope that ye shall receive eternal life; having the love of God always in your hearts, that ye may be lifted up at the last day and enter into his rest.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Purpose for all Things

After I had my fifth baby it was a hard time of feeling far from the Lord and rather emotionally weak and sad. I wondered what had happened because I used to be so strong and never sad. It was like Moses, when he said "I found out without the Lord I was nothing, which thing I never had supposed." So finally when I received the inspiration on how to fix the problem through more regular temple attendance and was feeling better I wondered why it had taken so long for me to get that inspiration. The thought came to me that it was so that I would truly understand where our power comes from...that then I might be able to testify to others where true power comes from. It's amazing. There is a purpose for all things even though we may not understand.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Our Sacred Trust

“As mothers in Israel, we are the Lord’s secret weapon. Our influence comes from a divine endowment that has been in place from the beginning. In the premortal world, when our Father described our role, I wonder if we didn’t stand in wide-eyed wonder that He would bless us with a sacred trust so central to His plan and that He would endow us with gifts so vital to the loving and leading of His children. I wonder if we shouted for joy at least in part because of the ennobling stature He gave us in His kingdom. The world won’t tell you that, but the Spirit will.” Sheri L. Dew, “Are We Not All Mothers?,” Ensign, Nov 2001, 96

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Patience, Faith and Chastening

Hebrews 12:6
6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth


Mosiah 23:21-22
21 Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith.
22 Nevertheless—whosoever putteth his trust in him the same shall be lifted up at the last day. Yea, and thus it was with this people.


Mosiah 24:14-16
14 And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.
15 And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.
16 And it came to pass that so great was their faith and their patience that the voice of the Lord came unto them again, saying: Be of good comfort, for on the morrow I will deliver you out of bondage.


Patience and Faith. Patience, Faith and Trust in the Lord.

Expect a Miracle

You, as a mother, are entitled to miracles. The miracle is the Lord’s hand reaching down, through the power of grace and by the agent of the Holy Ghost, to help. You won’t suddenly receive a miraculous change in your circumstance…and he won’t make you perfect…but He will make up the difference. When you sacrifice your will through faith and obedience, you can expect a miraculous change inside of you…spiritually. You will receive more strength, more power, and intelligence that is not your own that will help you with your trials, duties, and responsibilities.

Try it. Reach up and take the Lord’s hand that is reaching down. Reach up and claim the miracle that is yours.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

The Lord knows who I’ll become.

He knows what I’m capable of, truly. I have only my earthly experience to give me a sense of what I’m made of. He has memories of me that stretch far back into the eternities before this life. He can show me who He sees. Somewhere in that immense love I feel from Him are glimpses of all I was before my life on earth, and who I will become.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Lilies



I love to photograph flowers in Natural light. Sometimes, they just seem to glow. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

You are Holy

“Motherhood …is near to divinity. It is the highest, holiest service to be assumed by mankind. It places her who honors its holy calling and service next to the angels.”(In James R. Clark, comp., Messages of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6 vols. (1965–75), 6:178.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Master

Mosiah 5:13

For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?

Keeping the thoughts and intents of my heart close to the Savior is the secret of my happiness.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

We are now an award winning site!

The Motherhood Support Center has given The Peaceable Walk its "Outstanding Motherhood Site Award" - which we think is very exciting. Also, we convinced the creator of The Motherhood Support Center, Kersten Campbell, to be an author on The Peaceable Walk, so we will be hearing more from her!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Valentine's Day Flowers



My family sent these tulips and iris by mail - the most wonderful surprise and a timely gift of love. I can't help myself - I must photograph or preserve flowers in some way. I'd love to paint them someday. I'm sure that I will.

The Purpose

I am taking care of myself in a funny way. I’m being very careful about what I expect from myself. I do what I absolutely have to, and let things go that aren’t essential to life. I recognize how important scripture study and prayer are, and always have been in my life. It is amazing to me, however, the distinct flow of the Spirit that I feel when I read the scriptures. Yesterday was a particularly trying day on an emotional level. Amazingly Unbelievably Difficult. At the end of the day, I pulled the Book of Mormon up on my web browser and began reading Mosiah 2. Granted, this is King Benjamin’s discourse, and it is powerful. I literally felt the flow, like cool running water into my parched soul, the precious reserves of the Spirit that I needed.
If I am careful about the “necessary for life” things, spiritual as well as physical, I know I will come through this deepening trial unharmed, with deeper faith and a more abiding love and appreciation for my Savior. Aren’t we told that is the purpose of our trials?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

"It is well with my soul"

Life has been a real struggle for me lately. Once again, without realizing it, I've piled on way more than I can handle. When my world and peace began to unravel, I figured there was something wrong with me. Life stopped being fun, I was running and running. I started feeling more and more desperate. I would go to sleep dreading the morning, and wake up feeling the same way. Last week was the worst. I was in the middle of an impossibly busy day, grocery shopping. I only got through half of my list, when I knew I needed to go home. I just couldn't start crying in the middle of the store! That day, I began a total and complete flake-out. No mutual, no song practice, no karate the next day. You know what? The world didn't end- it felt soooo good! Then my husband went out of town and came back just in time to start another grueling week. I had a house guest the entire time he was gone. When life got hard, I felt so alone. I felt embarrassed really confiding in anyone. I hated the thought that anyone would judge me, and wonder why I couldn't handle life. I really wanted to be able to just smile, and get everything done that I thought I should. I kept asking the Lord to bless me with that. It makes me smile now, to realize I was asking the Lord to let me run faster than I had strength. He needed to let me buckle under the weight I'd put on myself before I'd be willing to put anything down. I'm there now, I'm plenty willing! An amazing thing happened to me this morning: my visiting teacher (who is moving out of the country today) called and told me she was bringing me dinner. She woke up at three this morning, and knew what she needed to do for me. She didn't know I'd been falling apart. I came upon this song on someone's blog today, and it's just wrapped me in the peace that Heavenly Father had to wait to give me. With this beautiful song, and a loving gesture, I feel so warm, safe, and loved. Like the song says, "It is well with my soul."

Monday, February 11, 2008

From Today's Reading:

Jacob 4:10

. . . Seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand. For behold, ye yourselves know that he counseleth in wisdom, and in justice, and in great mercy over all his works.

Enough said.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Follow Me.

There's a popular saying that I have a little trouble with. It's very simple. "Follow your Bliss." I would change it just a little bit. For me, it would be, "Follow your Peace." Lately, my world has been churning with decision and change. Those kinds of times naturally lend themselves to feeling lost and uncertain. I have been so grateful to have the Holy Ghost with me, to help me in each footstep. From time to time, I start feeling nervous. I worry a little bit. At those times, I have turned to the Lord and I understand now more than ever why He is called the "Prince of Peace." When I remember to "Follow my Peace" there is a road stretching out in front of me and a firm hand guiding me, and no matter how dark it seems around me I know that I will be okay. I think that is the essence of Faith. Like a child walking in the dark holding the hand of a parent who knows the road and is able to navigate - the child doesn’t need to know where he is going and will still arrive where he needs to be. I am that child, and I have peace as long as I hold tightly to the One who has it to give away.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Roses for You





Everyone needs something beautiful to look at once in a while. These came to me a week ago. I took about 125 photos of them at their peak. They were stunning. I wanted to remember them forever.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Great Parenting Advice

I was at a parenting class one time that I found very useful. I found the notes last week when I was going through some old papers. I was happy to see that I have implemented many of the things into my parenting - while there are still many that I need to work on. Most everything I have posted here came from the teacher, a few things are from me and I have added an asterisk.

Have dozens of positive interactions with my children.
(Zero negative interactions) 20 or more per hour that I am with my kids.
A positive interaction is a hug, kiss, smile, saying something nice such as “I’m glad you are my daughter/son, good job, good thinking, thank you, etc.”
I say “Thank You” a lot.
Praise and acknowledge:
intermittently and randomly
be brief, matter of fact & specific
Praise a specific behavior of one child, even it it is just a little better than the others.

Ignore the things that my kids are doing that drive me crazy.
95% of these things are just age typical behaviors. It’s part of the territory. Remember that behavior that does not get attention weakens and dies. When a behavior can’t be ignored, stop and redirect. Recognize misbehavior as a need to teach appropriate behavior.
You create the environment where your child can behave appropriately. Eliminate, as much as possible, the opportunities for a young child to “get into trouble”.
When it can’t be ignored, state simply, “That is not acceptable in our home.” Remove child to a place where they can’t interact with the family.
Use teaching time to cover “bugging” issues, swearing, etc. Don’t get upset about these things as they are happening. Let the child teach about an issue that is a concern for them.

Give positive attention to the appropriate behaviors I want to continue.
Remember that behavior that does not get attention weakens and dies. I don’t want appropriate behaviors to die.
*So often we spend all of our time correcting rather than engaging our kids positively. How do we feel when others approach us that way. How much do we want to be around them? On the other hand, how much do we long to be with those that love us despite our weaknesses, and constantly help us to see the good in ourselves?

Make it a point to have appropriate physical interaction with my kids.
Hugs are great.
*The world is so concerned with what is inappropriate, that we forget how positive and uplifting appropriate interaction is. Sometimes, a hug or an arm around your shoulders is all that you need to break down barriers and get to the heart of the problem.

Stay in Control.
When my kids misbehave I will not react in kind. I am not in control if I have lost my temper. An ounce of don’t say is worth a pound of I didn’t mean it. I will be proactive, not reactive.
Stay cool and calm: “That is an option, but not the one I’d want to choose.”

Let consequences (not treats) manage the behavior.
Clearly state the expectations, have child tell you what is expected, walk away. Follow through and be consistent.
*Make it easy on yourself. Please.

Remember that today is not forever.
I will not fear the worst.
*Do you remember what it was like to be a kid? Help them to see the good in themselves and recognize their own divine potential. Don’t let them fear the worst, either. Help them to understand repentance and their own need for the Savior. Help them to recognize that their life is longer than today and tomorrow, and that the mistakes of today don’t have to be carried forever.

Be of good cheer.
I will maintain a Christlike countenance.
Be a parent like Heavenly Father. The Spirit reinforces good & truth.
*Express your faith to your children. Be real with them, and allow them to see how much you need the Lord in your life to help you each day.
*Always make amends when you fail to maintain control. Allow them to recognize that you, too have expectations of yourself and your own behavior. There are consequences in your life as well for poor behavior. Hold yourself to the same rules that you expect them to live by.

Read the Scriptures.

Pray.

Be Still

I was pleading with the Lord this morning, begging for his help and protection for my family. This was the answer. "Be Still." It reminds me of all the times I'm trying to help my children, while at the same time they are fidgeting and squirming for whatever reason. Isn't that what we always say? "Be Still." I was very grateful to have been in a quiet enough moment that I could hear the answer - and that I was able to relax and let it go. I am always amazed at how the Lord is able to make more of me, my time and my life than I can on my own. I will do what I can, and then be still and wait to see His hand in my life.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Two or Three Witnesses

January 8th began with me in difficulty on an emotional level. I needed to talk to friends. I prayed for someone to call. I called L C - a friend of mine from college. She didn’t answer, but called me back. No sooner had I hung up the phone with her, but D Y called. Both of them had the same advice for me. They said that I should look into teaching design courses online for a community college or online college. The fact that they both gave me that advice, on a day when I had been contemplating what I should do with myself professionally, I found to be much more than coincidence.

In December, my Dad gave me a blessing. This is what it said:
Pour your heart out to the Lord.
Life will be challenging, but you will have the ability to do what needs to be done.
Surround yourself with good people, some of your friends will be able to help you with your challenges.
Seek help when you need it.
You will have the ability to soothe and comfort your children. Love and listen to them.
Encourage the children to maintain and strengthen their relationship with their father.
Seek the Lord’s guidance and He will show you the way.

I feel that so many parts of that the blessing were fulfilled in my experience today, it is awe inspiring to me. It gave me great comfort, helped me to see the Lord’s hand and showed me that He is still very aware of, and listening to me. I was so grateful for that. There hasn’t been a day in a long time that I needed that reassurance more than I did today.

In the evening, T (my 12 year old) was very upset. He’s been having more trouble in school. He’s been missing assignments or not completing things. He is suffering a great deal as well. He was bothering the little ones at bed time, which is something that I find very difficult to manage. In the end, he simply needed my ear, my encouragement, my confidence and my love in much the same way that I had needed my Heavenly Father. Until today, I hadn’t thought of it in quite that way, but that’s what it was. I was able to soothe and comfort him, as Dad’s blessing said that I would be. He needs to have some experiences with the Spirit to strengthen him and buoy him up. I need to pray for that, and trust the Lord to provide for this child that we both love so much.