Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Truth Workshops In CA

It’s a snowy morning here in Utah. Mother Nature has been quite a tease this year. One day is bright, beautiful spring and the next is winter again. I think I heard her chuckling this morning as I walked.

I failed to tell you all how it went on Saturday and I should also explain why I was so concerned. Just a month ago I was very worried. I knew I had this weekend of Truth Workshops scheduled and that I would be teaching half a day on Saturday, but I was physically struggling to get through the two hours of teaching my classes at the University. I was also very discouraged that I had not gotten my stamina back. The doctors had told me it would take about a year and then with the setback of doing the radiation, I was told it would take even longer. But it had been more than a year and I had no strength. I would finish the two hours of teaching Book of Mormon and barely have enough energy to make it back upstairs to my office. Then I’d have to rest at my desk for at least a half hour before I could slowly walk to my car to go home and once home I was not good for anything the rest of the evening. I was worried and discouraged. But again the miracles happened.

A woman in my neighborhood, who is an herbologist, suggested I take Sun-chlorella and my bishop has a company that makes some very good vitamins. So I began taking both and within days I was beginning to feel better and to have more energy. Within a week I was making it through my university classes just fine. But I had not taught for 4 and ½ hours in a single day and was not sure if I could go that long. It is surprising to me how much energy teaching takes. But it went surprisingly well. I was tired at the end, but it was a normal kind of tired that anyone would feel after that long, and I was not wiped out! It was wonderful and not just because I made it through. The people were wonderful and the woman in charge of the luncheon did a magnificent job of making it special. She even had refreshments for people during the breaks and decorated the tables so beautifully—it just set the mood and made everything special.

So thanks for your prayers and your concern and your love! And thanks to the people of Hanford, CA. You are wonderful!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today is my mother’s birthday—84 years Young. And I mean that literally. You see, her maiden name is Young and she is always reminding us that she is forever Young—something the rest of us can’t claim. Mom’s mother died when mom was just sixteen years old and being the oldest sibling she became the housekeeper and nurturer to her two younger sisters. That housekeeping status stayed with her. I’ve never known anyone who keeps house as well as my mother. Nothing is ever out of place. What most women do for spring cleaning, my mom does on a monthly basis. Every appliance, every nook of her house is always spotless. (That gene missed me!)

One of the great things about my mom is the traditions she established while she was raising us. Of course there were wonderful traditions on holidays like Easter and Christmas, but Mom had more. There was always green food on St. Patrick’s day—green milk, green pancakes, and yes, green scrambled eggs! And I can still see one of my brothers who loves to start the day with a bowl of oatmeal sitting on the stairs crying every April Fool’s day because she made soup and sandwiches for breakfast and pancakes for dinner. You’d think he’d remember from year to year, but he didn’t!

Mom is a hard worker and at 84 can still out work me and most people half her age. She has endured a great deal of adversity and hardship in her life, but has endured it well and without complaining. In short, she is amazing and I love her.

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Monday, March 29, 2010

It's the Easter Season!

I made it home yesterday! I drove back from California with my daughter and her four children so they can spend Easter and Spring Break with us. It was a long drive, but I love driving in the car so it was great. This is a beautiful time of year to drive. Everything was so green and the weather was perfect—we didn’t even need the air conditioner!

Now I’m back in my office getting ready to teach my classes for the day and counting the blessings in my life which are all possible because of Jesus Christ. As Easter approaches I feel an overwhelming reverence and awe for what He did for me. When I think about how miserable eternity would be with no progression—no salvation—I’m am filled with love and gratitude for the One who saved me from such despair.

I love my Savior and at this Easter season I am recommitting myself to His work and His gospel. I get a little side-tracked at Christmas with presents and food and everything there is to do. But I’ve managed to keep our family’s Easter celebrating at a minimum so that we can concentrate on the event that is celebrated. And this week is the week to concentrate on Him.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Living in Truth in California

Last night went very well. I was supposed to speak at 7:00 but there was a baptism in the room at 6:30 so we couldn't get in to set up. I was so delighted to watch everyone involved--they were Living in Truth! The missionaries decided that after the baptism they would move to another room for the confirmation. The people in charge of setting up for our class weren't the least bit vexed. One woman said, "We may have to start a few minutes late, but that won't hurt anything!" As soon as the baptism crowd left the Relief Society room, several people of their own accord helped turn the chairs back to the front of the room and a very knowledgeable man set up the screen and projector and we were ready to go on time! It was actually exciting to see people living in Truth at the very time we were talking about it. People are wonderful and it is such a blessing for me to get to meet and know so many of them.

Now for today! I will be teaching the other three sessions (4 snd 1/2 hours) of the Living in Truth workshops in one day. I've done that much teaching in a day before, but not since the surgery and radiation. I'm praying for a miracle--that I have the stamina to physically make it through this.

Friday, March 26, 2010


I have the most amazing family. They (like me) are not without flaws, but they are all trying their best to do what is right.

One of the greatest delights of my life is watching them love and care for one another. They are scattered all over the world—from Africa to California and various places in between—and yet they manage to be each other’s best friends. They call and Skype each other frequently, share recipes, parenting advice, and words of encouragement and love. Like I said, we are not perfect, but when someone says something stupid or even hurtful, they figure that person is having a bad day and forget it or laugh it off. You can’t live together as a family for as many years as we have and not have some bad water flow under the bridge, but my children have forgiven and forgotten and have moved on in love and peace. They stick together!

In short, my children live in Truth and it brings me great joy—the greatest joy of my life. Like John, I say, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (3 John 1:4).

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Beauty of the Earth

I'm in Hanford, CA. I love flying into the San Joaquin Valley. From the plane window the the valley looked like soft moss covered hills. Bright greens and yellows covered the ground with no brown in sight. The beauty of it all  amazed me. Then while driving through the orange groves and vineyards with meticulously staked out rows of vines that go on for miles and miles a feeling of awe overcame me. This is a beautiful world. I forget how beautiful until something like the scenes of this day remind me. Enjoy it where ever you are!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Truth and Health

We’ve talked a lot about Living in Truth and the help  Truth Tools can be in your quest to live in Truth, but I haven’t talked much about the advantages of living in Truth. Just today I found this report from Johns Hopkins, “Cancer is a disease of the mind, body, and spirit. A proactive and positive spirit will help the cancer warrior be a survivor. Anger, un-forgiveness, and bitterness put the body into a stressful and acidic environment. Learn to have a loving and forgiving spirit. Learn to relax and enjoy life.”

The advice to “learn to have a loving and forgiving spirit” is what Living in Truth is all about. Many studies now show that when we get trapped into the negative feelings found in the Pit of Illusion, it not only makes us miserable but it affects our health. When we live in Truth we are at peace and we are healthier.

It is worth every ounce of effort it takes to live in truth because of the benefits living in Truth brings to our lives. So walk in the Light of Truth today!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Vessels of the Lord

Yesterday we talked about the first recorded miracle that Jesus performed—turning water to wine. Once we understand the symbolism in the miracle there are so many lessons to explore and ponder. My favorite is to think about the fact that we are vessels of the Lord and that as vessels we need to be filled with Living Water.

The problem is that so many “vessels” are so concerned with decorating the outside of the pot that they don’t have time to take in the water that is being offered. They are more concerned with having the latest and greatest adorning their outer walls. They look good, but they are empty inside. Other “vessels” are cracked so that even if the Living Water is available and is poured in it just flows on through. They don’t pay the price to repair themselves (repent) so that they can be water-tight. Other “vessels” put on a lid so that when leaders, parents, prophets or even the Spirit try to fill the vessel with the much needed Living Water, it can’t get inside.

Remember also that the vessels were not all exactly the same size. Being hand hewn they held roughly two to three firkins each. Likewise, we do not all have the same capacity. Some of us are three-firkin vessels and some of us are two-firkin vessels. But no matter what our capacity all we need to do is what we are capable of doing. We only need to do the best WE can do not the best our neighbor can do. The Lord didn’t refuse to change a two-firkin vessel because it didn’t have as much water as a three-firkin vessel. He never expects the vessels to all hold the same amount. But that also means that all the vessels had to be filled to the brim. The three-firkin vessels couldn’t stop at two firkins and say, “But that’s all that other vessel had to do!”

The longer you think about this miracle, the more it teaches you. But the most important thing to realize is that once the Savior has changed you into something more, you become a source of living water to others. As Jesus tells us, “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water” (John 14:38).

Monday, March 22, 2010

Water to Wine

The first recorded miracle of Jesus is the changing of the water to wine and is found in John 2:1-11. This miracle is especially rich in symbolism and ends by John explaining, “This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory” (John 2:11). The Greek word translated as miracles could also be translated as signs. “This beginning of signs did Jesus in Cana of Galilee.” Which raises the question, what is the sign?

The answer is found in the details John gives us concerning how this miracle took place. “And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim” (John 2:6-7).

The waterpots are of stone not pottery because under the Law pottery was considered unclean. Therefore, these are large (a firkin is about nine gallons) containers hewn out of stone. This means the waterpots were much too large to pick up and carry to the water source. Instead the servants had to fill smaller containers and bring the water to the pots until they were filled. If they had a three gallon vessel in which to fetch water this means they had to make about 36 to 54 trips to the water source in order to fill the pots.

Now for the symbolism. We are the pots! Our bodies, like the stone pots are made from the elements of the earth and in the scriptures we are sometimes called the vessels of the Lord. John also tells us that these stone pots were set apart for sacred purposes, the purifying of the Jews, and we have been foreordained or set apart for sacred purposes, to help in the work of the Lord. Jesus Christ is the fountain of Living Water and prophets and teachers (servants) help bring that water to us until we are filled to the brim. It doesn’t happen at once, but is a lifetime process. Once we are as full as we can be (filled to the brim) Jesus Christ changes us—He makes us into something better.

Thus we see that the “sign” is that Jesus Christ has come to change us. If we will "fill" ourselves with His gospel and with Him, He will change us into something better!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Happy Sabbath!

Have a good Sabbath. Renew and refresh yourself so you can make it through the rest of the week!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Dangers of "Overcharged"

In the New Testament as Jesus instructs his disciples, He continually urges them to live in Truth. He doesn’t use the words “Live in Truth” but the principles are His. One of the things we’ve talked about that is necessary to live in Truth is to keep your thoughts and attitudes out of the Pit of Illusion because if you are in the Pit of Illusion it is difficult to hear the voice of the Spirit guiding and teaching you. And that is exactly what the Savior admonishes after He teaches the people of the impending doom that will befall Jerusalem after his death. “Take heed to yourselves,” He tells them, “lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares” (Luke 21:34).

This advice is as valuable today as it was 2,000 years ago. The word drunk means “dominated by an intense feeling.” That intense feeling can be caused by alcohol or it can be caused by anger or rage concerning such things as the government, disappointing events of life, or the behavior of other people. The word surfeiting means “to indulge to satiety in a gratification.” That gratification doesn’t necessarily have to be something bad. Many people get sidetracked from the path of righteousness by becoming overly concerned with good things as physical fitness, running their children’s lives, developing talents, or doing other good things. When those things become the focus of our lives then we lose focus of the Truths that matter most.

If our hearts are “overcharged,” or in other words vexed, with drunkenness, surfeiting, or simply the cases of this life, we are in the Pit of Illusion and it becomes very, very difficult to feel the promptings of the Spirit. As the Savior warns, in that condition we will not be prepared for the days of trial. But if we live in Truth and keep focused on Light and Truth, we will be saved. As the Savior tells us, “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man” (Luke 21:36).

Friday, March 19, 2010

Do Not Fear

In Luke chapter 21 we find the disciples asking the Savior about what will happen when Jerusalem is destroyed. Jesus tells them to beware of impostors because others will come professing to be Christ. Then he tells them that they will hear of “wars and commotions” but adds, “be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass” (Luke 21:9).

We live in a similar time when floods, earthquakes, wars, and all manner of adversity afflicts and torments. But if we trust in the Savior and simply do what He has instructed us to do we need not be terrified. There is no need to fear. Even in trying times if we live in Truth we can live in peace and joy.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Growing in Truth

Next week I'll be in Hanford, California, to teach the Living in Truth workshops. I am excited to meet those of you who will be there. I know what Living in Truth has done for my life and so I get excited to share the principles with others in the hope that they will experience as much peace and joy from Living in Truth as I have.

But it isn’t just our own lives that are better when we Live in Truth. By Living in Truth we help everyone around us. Just this morning Roma, one of my "walking" friends, shared with me her experience. She was raised by a father who naturally lived in Truth. She said that whenever she encountered a problem or was upset about something her father would listen to her complain and then simply say, “And what are you going to do about it?”

Such wisdom! Instead of lashing out at others and blaming or criticizing, which would teach her that she was a helpless victim of life (which inflicts all kinds of unnecessary pain), asking that simple question taught her to accept the Truth of a situation, take responsibility, and do whatever she could to change the situation or if she couldn’t change it to learn to live with it.

I cringe every time I hear a parent comforting a toddler who has run into a chair and hurt himself by saying, “Did that mean old chair hurt you?” No! The chair did nothing. The child was fully to blame, and by shifting that blame we teach children to live in Illusion. We teach them that they are not responsible and that they have no control over what happens to them. We teach them that they are helpless victims of the world and people around them.

When we Live in Truth not only are we happier, but we teach and strengthen those around us to live in Truth and be happier.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Top of the Morning

Happy Saint Patrick's day everyone! A traditional old Irish greeting is for me to say, "Top of the morning to you!" and you reply, "And the rest of the day to you!"

So I am joyfully shouting through the magical, mysterious, leprechaun called the Internet to you, "Top of the morning to you!" (And I hope the leprechaun allows you to feel the love that goes with the words!)

I found a new website this week that I like. It is called LDS Bookcorner. I've put a button for it on the left of my blog. Each week they publish the first few chapters of new LDS books so readers can sample them. And this week they are featuring my new book, Gospel Insights for Everyday Living. I hope you'll check the site out. It looks like a great way to keep up on what is being published.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I don’t like pain. I don’t like emotional pain or physical pain or pain of any kind, but it is impossible to get through life without experiencing it. Pain with all it horrors is part of telestial life. People we love die and we hurt because they are gone. It’s a penetrating hurt that stings so deep into the bones we think our bones will crack. Betrayal thrusts a knife in the pit of our stomach when people we trusted disappoint us. Disillusionment squeezes the very breath out of our souls when we lose a job or don’t get the position we have been working so hard to achieve. I don’t know why, but pain is a necessary part of mortality.

However, as much as we don’t like pain, we mortals are very good at making pain. Necessary pain happens, but when we feel victimized or hold onto or fight against necessary pain, we create unnecessary pain. Unnecessary pain is just that—unnecessary. It doesn’t have to happen, but we create it. When we think that what happened shouldn’t have happened. We create more pain. When we continually recall and relive the painful experience we create more pain. When we lash out at others blaming them for what has happened we create more pain. When we blame God we create more pain. Unnecessary pain comes whenever we think things shouldn’t be the way they are.

The Truth is that what happened has happened and we can’t change it. Our only hope for peace is to turn to Jesus Christ. He will help us endure the necessary pain of life, and if we trust in Him we avoid the unnecessary pain of life. Realizing this and letting go of all the negative thoughts and emotions that cause unnecessary pain makes life so much easier to navigate. Your heart is open to receive love from others. Your mind is free to wander in creative, rejuvenating paths. Your soul is lighter so it floats closer to heaven.

The adversary will tell you it’s impossible to let go of unnecessary pain. But that is a lie. It is possible and it is wonderful. It is a simple decision. Let go!

Monday, March 15, 2010


I mentioned before that I’m learning to do patchwork quilting. I’m enjoying the adventure. I’m also seeing such a metaphor in patchwork quilts about people. One of the first things I was taught is that when picking out the materials to be used in a patchwork quilt the most important thing is contrast. You need dark materials and light materials. You need various patterns. If every square were exactly the same, the quilt wouldn’t be very interesting. It is the contrast between the patterns and colors and intensity that make a patchwork quilt beautiful.

The same is true of people. The strength that comes as we gather in congregations or families is brought about by contrast not sameness. If we all had the same opinions or experiences or thought processes there would be no synergy. But because we are all different, when we come together we each add something to the whole—we make it better and more interesting.

As I looked around at all the people in my congregation at Church yesterday I was struck by how much each one of those people gives to me by enhancing the “pattern” the group makes. I saw quiet people who never say a word but add their warmth. Vocal people who speak up every few minutes during a lesson because they need to be heard. Thoughtful people who add intelligent information. Heartful people who bring love and emotion. Consistent people who bring courage and stability. Joyful people who enliven. Hurting people who take their turn at being the one who, for the time being, needs to draw on other’s strengths and thereby allows others to serve and grow. Every person in that congregation adds something to the pattern whether they realize it or not and without their piece, the pattern would be incomplete—would not be a beautiful.

When we back up and see ourselves as a piece of a bigger pattern, we gain a whole new perspective on life. We realize that instead of simply making ourselves look good, part of the task of life is to make the whole quilt look good. We give what we have to the whole and let the Lord, the Master Quilter, determine how that whole is put together.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Family Forever

For years I listened to the debate concerning whether a spirit enters a body at the time of quickening or the time of birth. Having carried ten children within me, the debate always caused me to chuckle. I knew the spirit entered the body at the time of quickening because I’d felt that little person within me and knew there was a spirit in that body with a personality and idiosyncrasies and everything else that means life.

But it wasn’t until after my ninth daughter was stillborn that I searched the question out and found this from Elder Bruce R. McConkie, “The spirit enters the body at the time of quickening, months prior to the actual normal birth. The value and comfort attending a knowledge of this eternal truth is seen in connection with stillborn children. Since the spirit entered the body before birth, stillborn children will be resurrected and righteous parents shall enjoy their association in immortal glory” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, Vol. 1, p. 85).

This is why when people ask how many children I have, I answer ten. I raised nine, but I have ten. I never felt her anxiously sucking at my breast. I never touched my lips to her cheek. But she pinched my ribs, tickled the inside of me with her toes, and playfully tumbled against my muscles and bones. She knew me as mother and I knew her as child. I will always know her. She is mine. She is God's. And we are forever.

Friday, March 12, 2010

My Easter Gift

Easter is just a few weeks away and every Easter I give myself a present. It is a gift I look forward to all year long; I read the four gospels in the New Testament which are the books Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John that tell the story of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.

Over the years this tradition has made Easter very special for me, but this year there has been an added surprise. At our last Stake Conference our Stake President asked the entire stake to read the Four Gospels for Easter! So this year instead of reading it alone, I have people all around me reading and commenting and enjoying the same tradition. I love it!

I sometimes read my Easter gift from a harmony which means that the stories from the four books have been put side by side so you can read each writer’s version of a story all at once and compare them. The best harmony I’ve found is by Steven and Julie Hite’s. Besides being a harmony of the gospels it has all of the Joseph Smith Translation included. But since I am teaching New Testament next semester and will be using the Hite book as my text, I decided that for Easter I’d read it book at a time. I’ve finished Matthew and Mark and am reading in Luke right now and eagerly anticipating John because his gospel is my favorite. It is so full of light and truth that I can’t read it without coming away absolutely lifted and encouraged.

I love Easter! I love it for all it represents and for the opportunity it gives me to remember and renew. Life isn’t always what I want it to be, but because of Jesus Christ it will be.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

More Faith

When my students catch hold of the idea that faith is not just a mental exercise of coming to know that Jesus is the Christ but that it is also a power that gives them strength and allows them to do things they couldn’t possibly do without it, they want to know how to gain more faith. The answer is simple. To gain more faith we must be more obedient.

In King Benjamin’s beautiful sermon he says that the Lord “doth require that ye should so as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do, he doth immediately bless you” (Mosiah 2:24). There are many blessings attached to commandments. For example, one of the blessings of living the Word of Wisdom is that we “shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint” (D&C 89:20). But while that blessing will come to all who live the Word of Wisdom, it is not the immediate blessing.

The immediate blessing that is given every time we obey a commandment of God is increased faith. Every time we choose to do what is right we grow in faith. It is immediate and it is unvarying. Elder Bruce R. McConkie said, “Faith is a gift of God bestowed as a reward for personal righteousness. It is always given when righteousness is present, and the greater the measure of obedience to God's laws the greater will be the endowment of faith” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2nd Edition, [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft] p. 264).

Knowing how faith comes helps motivate me to keep the commandments. When I’m tempted to do something wrong I know that if I give in I will miss out on the faith that could have been mine if I had obeyed. And I need all the faith I can get!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Do We Mean the Same Thing?

Today I was grading my students’ reading logs. I ask them to record the date, how many minutes they read their Book of Mormon that day, and where they were reading from. I expect something like 2 Nephi 4 or Mosiah 1, but as I came to one student’s log under the heading “Where reading” he had written, “Kitchen table in apartment.” How could I mark that as wrong?

This gave me a chuckle, but it also made me think about how we communicate and the miscommunication that can take place in our daily existence. I think part of Living in Truth is acknowledging that these type of things happen and we have to allow for them. We have to realize that something we think is very plain and to the point can be understood in different ways. Instead of getting upset when they happen, we can enjoy them and have a good laugh!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Reflecting on Family Scripture Study

Now that my children are grown and married and have children of their own, I find myself looking back on family life with new eyes. For example, what I see now is that family scripture study was a metaphor for life. Most the time the kids weren’t paying much attention. They went through the motions, but their minds were elsewhere. Since we had family scripture study first thing in the morning, elsewhere was usually asleep. But somehow, someway some things communicated. Questions came up more often than answers and everyone complained but afterward recognized that it really was good and they were glad they did it.

There were mornings I was ready to give up, but I’m now glad I didn’t. We managed to read the Book of Mormon seven times, the New Testament once and part of the Doctrine and Covenants. It is like Elder Bednar said last conference about consistency. Most days scripture study was chaos but the cumulative effect was surprisingly peace and rest. I guess that is one of the miracles of the gospel and to me it is equivalent to the miracle of the parting of the Red Sea. I don’t know how chaos created peace, but it did.

I think maybe that is how I’ll feel about life once it is over.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Weak Things Made Strong

When C. S. Lewis was young his tutor was an intelligent, straight forward man (Lewis called him the Great Knock) who didn’t allow small talk. Anything Lewis said was questioned, challenged, and scrutinized. Lewis loved this and it developed in him the great ability to rationally analyze and discover truth. However, as Lewis grew older he did the same things to others that the Great Knock had done to him; he refused to tolerate unsubstantiated opinions or irrational thought even in social settings. Needless to say, not all people appreciated being cross examined in this way, and Lewis didn’t realize how offensive this was. In short, he often upset people with whom he was conversing.

As He converted to Christianity, however, he began to realize how wrong it was to treat other people in such a demeaning way. One of his biographers, who knew Lewis well, says of this, “but at last he was able to turn it to glorious use, when the silliest dinner-table remark could be taken by him and manipulated gently and followed to conclusions of which you had never dreamed—and yet leaving you with the warm glow of undeserved pride at having initiated such a profoundly interesting discussion” (C. S. Lewis, Green and Hooper, p. 42).

This reminds me of the verse of scripture found in Ether 12:27; “If men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”

If we, like Lewis, recognize our weaknesses and then ask “How can I make something good out of this?”, the Lord will help and guide us to change our weaknesses into strengths.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Review: Word Resolutions

How is your “word for the year” coming along? It is now three months into the year and I am loving this. Everything I do I think, “rejuvenae” and it makes me do it better than I’ve ever done it before. In addition, I’ve rejuvenated some old friendships, and rejuvenated some attitudes that needed rejuvenating, and I’ve rejuvenated my study habits.

I’m loving my rejuvenated life! And it’s not over yet! I still have nine months of rejuvenation left!

Leave a comment and let us know how your word resolution is serving you!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Sun's Out

This morning when I went out to exercise the world was dark and dreary. Snow floated from the sky to add to an already white world. Roads were slick and treacherous and the cold chill nipped into the bones. But here I sit a few hours later and the sun shining in a clear blue sky twinkles on the fast melting snow. It is warm enough that I just ran errands without a coat. It is amazing how fast things can change and not just the weather.

No matter how bad things are, it is important to realize that the only thing that is constant in this life is change. Nothing stays the same and no matter how bleak something appears at the moment, the next moment it could all change.

So here’s to sun shining in your heart now and if it isn’t—it will be soon! You can count on change!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

It's All in the Attitude

Throughout the story of Nephi and his brothers, Laman and Lemuel, is the constant reminder that Laman and Lemuel murmured against their father. They complained and grumbled about everything, and as we read we tend to think of them as the bad guys. Eventually they do fit the bad guy definition as they seek to kill Nephi, but in the beginning of the story they are simply grumblers.

In the beginning they didn’t like what their father told them to do and they complained, but they did it. They went back for the plates. They went back for Ishmael. They traveled eight years in the desert. They helped build a ship, and they sailed the ocean to the New World. In the beginning the difference wasn’t in behavior it was in attitude. Their story helps me to remember how important attitude is.

Attitude determines thoughts. Thoughts determine actions. Actions determine life. It all starts with attitude and when we Live in Truth and take charge of our attitude, we Live in Happiness and Joy. It starts in the mind-so choose a happy attitude and have a happy day!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Learning Patience

I am learning to quilt in order to teach myself patience. I have never been good at patience and while I love to sew, I tend to do it rather haphazardly. Somehow I've always managed to make things turn out somewhat well. But you can’t piece quilt blocks haphazardly. Each cut, each stitch has to be exact or the next pieces go wrong and don’t work. So I am learning to be patient at each step—to take my time and do it right. It isn’t easy for me. I think running a marathon would be easier, but it is something I need.

It isn’t just my sewing that is characterized by impatience. I do what I’m commanded to do, and then want the blessing yesterday. I have questions and want answers now. I have a lot of trouble waiting and trusting in God’s timetable. I know He is there. I know He loves me, but I want all the answers and blessings right now. But as Alma said, “If ye will nourish the word, yea, nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and with patience, looking forward to the fruit thereof, it shall take root; and behold it shall be a tree springing up unto everlasting life. And because of your diligence and your faith and your patience with the word in nourishing it, that it may take root in you, behold, by and by ye shall pluck the fruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all that is white, yea, and pure above all that is pure; and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst. Then, my brethren, ye shall reap the rewards of your faith, and your diligence, and patience, and long-suffering, waiting for the tree to bring forth fruit unto you” ( Alma 32:41-43).

It’s the “by and by” I don’t like, but it’s the “by and by” I need; so, I’ve taken up quilting to help me learn it. If the quilt turns out—I’ll post a picture. If I don’t post a picture soon it means it didn’t turn out and I had to start over. In other words, I needed MORE patience.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Longing For Something

When I was young my parents had a cabinet that contained a big box radio and a turn table for playing records. I spent hours in front of that cabinet listening to music and imagining the tiny people inside the cabinet making the music. In my mind I’d “watch” them dancing and singing and performing in beautiful costumes for hours at a time. But there was something going on besides the imaginative entertainment. There was something that drove me to listen and imagine in this way. At the time, I was very aware of the driving feeling, but I didn’t understand what it was.

It was years before I realized that the feeling was what I now call longing. Somehow my spirit longed for something it couldn’t see, knew that there was something out there besides what was tangible, and yearned for it. I didn’t express this to anyone for fear they’d think I was crazy, but the last few years I’ve come to the conclusion that most of us have felt these feelings in some way.

For me it is a testimony that our spirits existed before this mortal life. The part of us that is spirit remembers a realm we once lived in where time didn’t exist and remembers other things we once knew that are not visible or tangible in this mortal world. Deep down we know that there is another realm where we once lived with God and our spirits get “homesick” for that realm and create a longing in us to be back there. When the longing falls over us we usually don’t recognize or understand what is happening, but as people begin to watch for and recognize the feeling they realize what is happening and appreciate it for what it is.

Sometimes the longing happens when you see something beautiful in nature, or at the birth of a baby, or special moments with loved ones, or while reading a good book, or like me and the little people, when you imagine something extraordinary and deep inside the confirmation comes that extraordinary, metaphysical things were once part of your daily life.

What I’m trying to say here is that certain kinds of longing are actually spirit memories that are meant to connect us to God. When we recognize these feelings and let them work in us they are beautiful enticements to trust in Him so that we can return to Him.

PS I’d really like to hear of some of the moments that have created these spiritual feelings of longing in your lives. Please leave a comment and share.

Monday, March 1, 2010

"In Our Own Language"

A friend of mine told me of a man he taught while on his mission many years ago in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The man was old and had never learned to read nor could he write his name, but when the missionaries taught him the gospel he believed what he was taught and joined the Church. Surprisingly, as he thirsted for more knowledge he found he could read scriptures. You’d hand him a newspaper and he could not decipher one word, but you’d hand him a Bible and he could read it all. It was amazing!

One day the missionary was teaching a Cottage Meeting in the old man’s modest home. My friend mentioned something about the world being round and was startled when the old man whacked him across the back of the legs with his cane saying, “The Bible says the world has four corners and there’ll be no teaching of false doctrine in my home.”

While this man experienced an obvious miracle, it is important to realize that the Lord manages to teach all of us in whatever way is best for us. As Nephi said, “For the Lord God giveth light unto the understanding; for he speaketh unto men according to their language, unto their understanding” (2 Nephi 31:3).

If we have the desire, the Lord will teach us on the level we understand even if it takes a miracle. But by “according to their language” He doesn’t just mean English or Spanish. He speaks through our understanding of life and the things around us. If we like to garden he’ll teach us about His ways as we garden or cook or fix engines or play sports. If we are engineers or doctors or nurses or parents or teachers or mechanics, the Lord will give us insights and knowledge according to what we understand and through the things we do, if we are watching and wanting to learn.

Picture: "Heavenly Hands" by Greg Olsen