Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Memories

Holidays are interesting in that they give us markers to hang memories on. Things happen all the time, but we can’t remember exactly when it happened. We remember it once in awhile, but the memories tend to fade. However, when something happens on a holiday every time that holiday comes around the event gets remembered.

I know Memorial Day is about remembering those who have passed on, especially our soldiers, but like any holiday, it also has memories of the things that happened on other Memorial Days. For me the memories include many outings with my parents to cemeteries. But the most significant Memorial Day event for me was 27 years ago. We were having a barbecue with friends at their home beside their swimming pool. We’d gotten the lunch ready and were gathered around the picnic table praying over the food when suddenly we heard a splash. I turned around to see my three-year old, D7, lying under ten feet of water at the bottom of the swimming pool.

A seventeen-year old son of our friends dove into the pool, swam to the deep end, and pulled D7 up. By then I had reached the pool and Lamar lifted the limp body out of the water to me. Her head and arms dangled from her body, I can still see her blue lips and face as if it just happened, and the way her eyes rolled in their sockets like doll eyes. Quickly I turned her over and pressed on her chest. Water gushed out of her, but as it did she started to breathe, turn pink, and revive. There hadn’t even been time to be scared. But afterward I trembled uncontrollably at the thought of what had just happened and kept thanking my Father in Heaven for the great blessing of preserving her life.

The interesting thing is that she is my only child that ever swam on a swimming team. She came home from school one day and announced that she had signed up for the high school team. I asked, “Don’t you have to know how to swim to be on the swimming team?” Without batting an eye she said, “The coach said he’d teach me.” And the coach did. She went on to win many ribbons and to qualify for the state tournament.

She is now a wife and mother of four beautiful children and I am still thanking my Heavenly Father for her and my other children.

Oh... one more thing. This last semester Lamar's son just happened to be in my Book of Mormon class. Life is interesting!

(Picture is of me and Carl with D7's family. She is taking the picture.)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Good Week

This week has been a very emotional week for me. It was my father’s birthday. He would have been 89 years old, but he left this mortal sphere three years ago. It seems like everything I did or looked at reminded me of him. He was one of the major influences in my life as far as making me what I am today and I miss him.

It was also my oldest daughter’s birthday, the one that made me a mother. This caused me to think about all of my children and how much I love them and how they have influenced my life and changed me. I’ve often heard people talk about the influence that parents have in children's lives, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone talk about the influence children have been in parent's lives. Maybe we think that because we are older we are supposed to be the ones influencing. But in my case, my children have influenced me more than I ever influenced them. They are amazing and I learn from them daily. They support me and one another. They live all over the world—from Africa in the East to California in the West and yet they manage to be each others best friends. Even my one son, who could be the odd man out, is very much involved with his sisters. They love him and he loves them. They are always there for each other. Watching them love and care for each other is one of the greatest joys of my life.

This doesn’t mean we have never had problems. What it does mean is that together we have weathered the problems. We have forgiven and forgotten and moved on. Such a simple thing that forgiving and forgetting is and yet so many find it so hard to do. If I could have a wish it would be that everyone could learn to do it. It makes all the difference in life.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Memorial to Family

There is nothing quite as amazing as family when you need them. They step up to the plate and support and help. They cry with you and for you. They pray for you. They patiently put up with your faults and idiosyncrasies. They give you a swift kick when you need to be motivated, and a hug when you need to be encouraged.

Maybe that is why seeing families fail hurts so much. When you understand the strength family can and should be, it causes so much pain to watch a family fall apart.

We all need each other. Especially we need family. This Memorial Day weekend is all about celebrating our heritage and the people (family members) who have passed on, but let's also celebrate the family members that are still with us and the bonds that tie us together. Let's celebrate family in all it is and should be.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Down With Competition!

I’ve been studying pride lately and pondering over ways to get rid of it. Long ago I realized how detrimental to spiritual health pride is, but I have been unsuccessful at getting rid of it. Pride just keeps resurfacing in me. I think pride is going to be a life-long battle for me! And I don’t like it because I realize that it is the root of all other vices.

But the other day I came across this from C. S. Lewis, "Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone." (Mere Christianity, p. 110). This gave me some new thoughts to ponder and I’ve begun to think of ways to apply the Truth Tools to destroying the feelings of competition within me. Competition was Lucifer’s downfall in the premortal life and has been a big problem for me all my life.

So . . . I’d love for any and all ideas you have about getting rid of a competitive spirit and thoughts on using the Truth Tools to do that.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Prayer Power

I got one of those calls yesterday—a call from my mother asking me to pray for my niece who suddenly began having seizures. BBS (Before Brain Surgery) I would, as soon as I could, dutifully pray when a call like this came, and I would think about the person and the situation hoping for the best. But ABS (After Brain Surgery) when calls like this come, I drop everything immediately and pray with all my heart that all will be well and that the person will feel the prayers and love of others as much as I did.

The healing for me was a wonderful miracle. The love and the tangibility of other’s prayers was a delightful surprise. That feeling sustained me while I waited for the miracle. That feeling kept fear at bay. That feeling warmed and comforted me. And I know that feeling was part of the healing. Prayer works. It is real. We should all be praying for each other because life is meant to be a community affair. None of us will make it to the Celestial Kingdom without helping someone else get there, too. There are many ways we do that, but prayer is part of all of them.

Thanks again for all of your prayers when I needed them. I still can feel the strength they gave me. And pray for my niece, Jessica, who lovingly offered to cut her long, strawberry-blond hair to make a wig for me when Grizelda plagued me.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Christianity teaches us that "the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam" (Mosiah 3:19). In other words, because of the Fall of Adam, we are born into a telestial world as “natural” or “fallen” creatures and the task of life is to be raised up—to become spiritual and saved creatures. I like the way C. S. Lewis explains it, "Fallen man is not simply an imperfect creature who needs improvement: he is a rebel who must lay down his arms" (Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 59). Lewis goes on to explain why this is so important. "A creature revolting against a creator is revolting against the source of his own powers-including even his power to revolt. . . . It is like the scent of a flower trying to destroy the flower."

I don’t bring this up to depress or discourage. Instead I bring it up because it is so important that each one of us realize that we need someone to raise us up because we can’t raise ourselves up. We need a Savior.

In another of Lewis's works, a science fiction story entitled Out of the Silent Planet, Lewis uses a word to describe our fallen condition that I like better than carnal or fallen. Lewis says we are “bent.” When the scientist, Ransom, describes the dangerous motives of other space travelers to the inhabitants of the planet Malachandra, he says they are “bent” which implies that they are distorted rather than broken and something that is bent can usually be bent back or corrected. I like this because it gives me a mental picture of me bent with sin and my Savior straightening me out. Yes, it is painful at times, but if I hang in there and don’t resist, I will be straightened. I will be saved. I like that a lot.

Monday, May 24, 2010


It is snowing here in Utah—not tiny flakes that melt before they hit the ground, but heavy snowfall. A blanket of white completely covers the grass in my back yard and the tree limbs bow to the ground with the added weight. It looks like January. I had to check my calendar to make sure it really was May 24th. Mentally it is very disconcerting and confusing. I have enough trouble keeping things straight lately without the weather playing these kind of tricks on me. It’s supposed to be spring!

But that is a “should be,” and the Truth is that it is winter outside. So instead of wishing or fretting or vexing about it, I think I’ll take a walk in the snow and try catching a few snowflakes with my tongue like I used to when I was a girl. If you leave your tongue sticking out, the flakes tickle as they melt. If you pull your tongue inside your mouth, the cold fights against the heat of the mouth in a kind of temperature tug-of-war. (The heat always wins in the end!)

Come to think of it, this snow thing has the makings of a great morning! I’m starting to feel young again just thinking about catching snowflakes.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Filling the Void

One of the first things I learned when trying to overcome negative feelings was that they don’t go away just by telling them to. When the negative feelings overwhelmed me, I knew I didn’t want them and that they were unnecessary pain. I’d tell myself that I shouldn’t be feeling like that and try to make the feelings go away, but it didn’t work. I couldn’t create a vacant empty space or void. Instead I began to realize that the only way to get rid of bad feelings is to replace them with good feelings. That’s when I began to use Truth Tools.

Over time another thing I have learned is that the most powerful of all feelings is love. When I use the Truth Tools to root out negative feelings, the best positive replace the negative feelings is love. For example, if I have negative feelings toward another person it is usually because I am telling a negative story. So I use the Truth Tool Revision or Rewriting and create a new story about the person. I can always tell a story like, “She didn’t realize what she said,” or “She must be having a bad day,” and that can help. It replaces the negative feelings with kindness. But a replacement story that includes love such as, “She is hurting and needs my love,” or “She is my sister and I can love her even when she says or does things I don’t like,” is much more powerful.

The world around us teaches us this same principle. There is no space in which there is absolutely nothing. Even what appears to our eyes to be nothing is full of air. Likewise, trying to create an emotional void only leaves us numb. Instead we can use the Truth Tools to push away negative feelings and then to keep them from coming back, we need to fill in the “space” they vacated with positive feelings.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Truth Works!

We’ve talked a lot about how to Live in Truth when relating to other people. But what about Living in Truth with ourselves? Remember living in Truth means living with what is—accepting and dealing with the verities of telestial life. Remember “Truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come; And whatsoever is more or less than this is the spirit of that wicked one who was a liar from the beginning” (D&C 93:24-25).

So what does this mean? Let’s use a few examples to illustrate. Let’s say someone drops by unexpectedly and you haven’t yet done breakfast dishes. The Truth is not, “I’m such a terrible housekeeper.” The Truth is simply that you haven’t done breakfast dishes yet. Let’s say your child does something wrong like take something out of someone’s desk at school. The Truth is not, “I’m failing as a mother. I’m a terrible mother!” The Truth is simply that your child did something they shouldn’t and it is time for you to do some valuable teaching. One more example, you are supposed to provide dinner for a family because the mother just had surgery and you forget it until eight o’clock when you suddenly remembered and took them Domino’s pizza. The Truth is not, “I am a horrible person. I can’t do anything right. I mess up every time.” The simple truth is you forgot until 8 o’clock when you remembered.

When we are confronted with Truth the options are always “Fix it or live with it.” And as you can see, each of our examples are easily fixed IF you simply accept the truth and deal with it. Do the dishes, teach the child about honesty, get the dinner there as soon as you remember. Everyone has lapses of memory. Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone occasionally makes wrong decisions. It is part of our mortal experience and Living in Truth means we just deal with it.

But when you move from Truth into the Pit of Illusion and start thinking you are horrible or terrible or no good because of your mistakes, that is more than Truth and “is the spirit of that wicked one who was a liar from the beginning.” When you think thoughts like this you remove yourself from the Spirit of Truth and the very help you need to deal with the problems at hand.

We all make mistakes. We all have bad days. But we accept what happens, love what is, and stay in the realm of Truth because peace, love, and joy are only found only in the realm of Truth.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

And the Winners Are. . .

Thanks to so many of you who entered the contest this time!
I love giving things away.
The winning numbers drawn at random out of my
once-a-chocolate-box are
#10 and #19. 
Lauren and KJQ. 
I hope you will enjoy reading,  
Gospel Insights for Everyday Living.
If you like the book please tell everyone you know about it,
but if you don't like the book just keep it to yourself!

Thanks again to all of you who entered.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Like Little Children

As you might have guessed by now, I was a little out of it yesterday. (And I'm not taking any pain pills or anything!) I was thinking the book contest ended yesterday, but it doesn't end until today. Soooo....This is the last day to enter the book giveaway. Click here and then leave a comment if you haven’t already done so. Contest ends at midnight tonight.

I did have a lot of time to think yesterday since I'm supposed to stay off the foot as much as possible. And I was thinking more about the Savior's admonition to become as a little child. Obviously that means to repent so that we, like little children, are exalted through the power of the Atonement. But there is more that He is asking of us here.

To be honest, the invitation to be as a little child used to bother me. As a young mother I noticed how selfish little children can be. If they want something and you tell them no, tempers can wreck havoc for hours. But there are other things that children do that we should emulate.

Think about it. One of the necessary pains of telestial life is learning to walk. When we were young we all did it. We can’t remember learning, but we’ve watched toddlers learn to walk and so we know that we fell down and hurt our knees. We stumbled into walls and knocked our heads. We slammed down on our back sides, and we cried over the hurts. But we got back up and kept trying until we could do it. We passed through the necessary pain and learned to walk. But as we grow older we use our agency to try and avoid the necessary pains of life and in so doing we create more pain—unnecessary pain.

I’ve often wondered how different our world would be if instead of being coordinated enough to walk while toddlers, we didn’t learn to walk until we were eight or nine years old. If that were the case, I’m sure only about half the population would ever learn to walk. The other half would still be crawling and saying things like, “If God intended for people to walk, they would be born walking. It’s unnatural to walk.” Or, “I can’t keep trying. It hurts too much when I fall.” Or “People laugh at me when I fall. I can’t stand to hear them laugh at me.” Or “I like the way I get around on all fours. Why should I change? Change takes too much effort.” Or “I try and try, but I can’t walk as well as Dad and Mom, so why try?” Or “Learning to walk shouldn’t be this difficult. I just don’t have the talent.” Or, “As soon as Susie put her feet on the ground she took off walking, but I keep falling. It just isn’t fair.”

No one told us we needed to walk. We just saw that people walk and so we learned to do it. In the same way we should look to the Savior and just do what He did--without excuses. Sure we'll fail sometimes, but trying is what little children do, and if we are to be like little children, we need to keep trying.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I'm Leaning the Names of Bones

This is the last day to enter the book giveaway. Click here and then leave a comment if you haven’t already done so. Contest ends at midnight tonight.

I’m not writing much today. I’m just taking care of my broken calcaneus (heel bone -- bone #1 in the picture) and rotated cuboid (bone #7 in the picture) while listening to the rain. (Oh, the anatomical things we learn as we grow older!)

I love the sound of rain, so it was nice of the weather to make music for me today. So many tender mercies!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Touching the Fringes

A desperate woman once made her way through a throng of people in order to touch the hem of Jesus’ robe so that she could be healed of a twelve year infirmity. Since she bled constantly, she was considered unclean under the law of Moses and would have been ostracized by the people around her. We are also told that she had spent all she had on physicians and so she was in a state of poverty. And being a single woman in a patriarchal society meant she was defenseless and unprotected. When we stop to think about all these conditions, our hearts break for her and how sad her life must have been.

But she had hope. Knowing that she was unclean and shouldn’t touch Jesus or ask Him to touch her, she decided to simply touch his garment. The Matthew account of the story (9:20) tells us she touched the hem of his garment, but that is misleading. Jewish men wore an outer garment, a four cornered white tunic that was later called a tallit. At the four corners of this tallit hung fringes or tassels called tzitziyot which had 613 knots in them and one blue thread. The knots stood for the 613 laws given by Moses—365 “thou shalt nots” and 248 “thou shalts.” This reminded everyone who saw the tassels of the commandments and the importance of keeping them. The blue thread represented the Spirit of God and the authority that came from the Spirit. This talit is the predecessor of the modern shawl worn by Jewish men when they pray.

When we understand the symbolism of the tzitziyot, we recognize that the woman with the issue of blood had a great deal of faith. Not wanting to make the Savior unclean by touching Him, she had decided that if she could merely touch the symbol of his authority she would be made whole. And so she touched one of the tztiziyot she was healed.

And what do we learn from this? When our faith “touches” the power or authority of God, we too are safe.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

My Quilt

Awhile back I told you that I am learning to piece quilts and that I was excited about the quilt I was working on. I told you that if it turned out I'd show it to you. Well yesterday I finished it, and here it is. I took the one-day old pictures of all my children to a copy center and had them reproduced in sepia on fabric, and then I put them in the windows and doors of this house. Over the house the pattern called for a star, but I put an angel there which represents our daughter that died at birth.

I've included two pictures because one shows the quilting stitches that were done by a professional quilter and the other shows the quilt hanging so you can see the full quilt with borders and binding.

To do this quilt I learned to applique and I thank my good friend Roma for patiently teaching me how to do that and another good friend Barbara for guiding and helping me with other quilting things.

It is only my second quilt and it has many mistakes in it and there was a lot of unpicking done in the process, but I learned so much and am so thrilled with it. I've made a family heirloom!

As I said in my entry before, there are so many metaphors between quilting and life. This quilt happened one stitch at a time. I'd get one instruction, do what I was told, and then go back to learn the next thing I needed. It took months, but one step at a time it developed until yesterday when I took the last stitch. I love the feeling of accomplishment and every time I look at this quilt, I'm going to feel the joy all over again.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Another Book Giveaway!

Last time I had a book giveaway I was disappointed that not many people signed up. I wasn't sure if that was because you didn't want the book or you already had one. I hope it was the later! But if you have the book already, you can always use it for a gift. And remember, this is short, easy reading designed for busy people--women and men. (Yes, I do know that there are men who read this blog so don't be shy about entering the contest.)

With all that said, I'm going to give away two copies of Gospel Insights for Everyday Living. To enter just leave a comment here telling me you'd like a copy of the book. You don't even need to tell me for what reason you want the book and especially if you want to use it as a doorstop, please DON'T tell me!

The contest is open until Wednesday night at midnight. And please tell everyone you know about the book contest on Good News!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Just a Little Rant

We humans do some strange things to ourselves that don’t make any sense at all and cause us a lot of unnecessary pain. I’ve talked about this a lot lately, but I keep hearing people around me talking about feeling this kind of pain and am baffled as to why they can’t see that it is self-inflicted. It goes back to what I was talking about a few days ago about judging ourselves against other people.

In this mortal life it is the truth that you can only do one thing at a time. In any given moment you can play the piano, read a book, do the dishes, or feed a baby but you can’t do all of those things at the same time. In other words, life is sequential. At any given moment you can have short hair or long hair, but you can’t have short hair and long hair at the same time. But some of us go through life with short hair and feeling guilty that we don’t have long hair like the beautiful woman across the street. It is absurd! If you have short hair, enjoy it and forget about the long haired woman.

I realize that most of us don’t really fret over long or short hair, but we do fret over things just as absurd. We spend time with our children reading or cooking and then hear about how the neighbor took her children to the zoo and we vex ourselves with thoughts that we should have taken our children to the zoo. Absurd!

Each of us can only do one thing at a time and as long as we are doing something good with our time that is all that matters. Heaping painful guilt feelings on ourselves or feeling sorry that we didn’t do something differently or that we can’t do what others do or don’t want to do what others do is inflicting unnecessary pain. What is done is done and you can’t change it. Fretting about it doesn’t help and what you did do was what was best for your child and you.

So my message today is that if you are one of those people who is inflicting yourself with pain, stop fretting. Stop vexing yourself and instead enjoy what you are doing right now and don't worry about it later. As long as what you are doing is good, it is good!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Lesson From Legion

One of Jesus’ most interesting miracles is when he cast out devils who calls themselves Legion from a man and they request to be sent into a herd of swine. There are so many things we learn from this miracle, but what intrigues me the most is that after the miracle. Before the miracle all the people knew of the crazy man who was chained and held in a cave because he was so wild. They had seen him naked and hurting himself and threatening others and they had heard him rant and rave and bellow. And after Jesus mercifully casts out the devils, they see the man clothed and calmly eating. Yet what do they do? They ask Jesus to leave.

We are not told why they ask the Savior to leave but one suspects that it has something to do with the loss of the swine that ran into the sea and were drowned. In other words, they are more concerned with their material welfare than they are with their spiritual.

At first this may seem absurd, but each of us has to ask ourselves if we put material comfort and wealth ahead of spiritual welfare. Are we more concerned with getting the tasks of life done each day or with reading our scriptures? Are we more interested in increasing our spirituality or our bank account? It is a matter of priority and it is a choice that we make daily.

We must watch that we like the people of Gadara don’t do things that in essence are asking Jesus to leave.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Doing the Impossible

Long ago the Lord instructed Gideon to go to battle against the Midianites, and so Gideon called for men to join the army of Israel. Many came, but to Gideon’s surprise the Lord told him there were too many. If such a large army went against the Midianites, the people would think they had won the war and God wanted them to know that it was by His hand the war would be won. So He instructed Gideon to send all those who were afraid back to their homes. Relieved by the announcement, 22,000 men returned home leaving 10,000 to fight the battle.

You can imagine that Gideon was a little worried. The Midianites and their allies were as numerous as grasshoppers and their camels were more than the sands of the sea, and he was to fight them with only 10,000 men? But the Lord spoke again to Gideon saying there were still too many soldiers.

This time the Lord instructed Gideon to take the men to the water to drink. Most of the men got down on their hands and knees and put their mouths into the water. With their faces down and close to the water they were vulnerable and unaware of any approaching enemy. But three-hundred of the men gathered water into their cupped hands and brought the water to their mouths thus staying upright and alert to any danger.

At this point the Lord told Gideon to send the 9,700 men home and to fight the battle with the 300 that stayed alert. I can’t imagine what Gideon felt as he realized he was to fight the vast army of Midianites with only 300 men.

But the Lord continued to instruct Gideon as to how he was to win this battle. He equipped each man with a trumpet, a clay pitcher, and a lamp within each pitcher. Then he divided the men into three groups and in the middle of the night the three groups surrounded the Midianite camp and at Gideon’s signal blew their trumpets, broke their pitchers so the lamps shined in the dark and shouted, “The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon” (Judges 7:20).

Awakened by the noise the Midianites grabbed their swords and in the dark began to fight each other! Those not killed ran in panic leaving Gideon’s 300 soldiers to claim victory.

I love this story for many reasons, one reason is it teaches me that even when things look absolutely impossible, if the Lord is with me I will succeed. Another reason is that when tasks before me seem impossible, I need to move forward with courage because the Lord is wanting to show me that He is there helping.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Day After Mother's Day

Our Mother’s Day program at Church every year is fantastic. They have all the graduating seniors speak about their mothers and they do it with humor and a refreshing lack of sentimentality. It is my favorite Church meeting of the whole year. Yesterday there were eleven young people and so each had only a few minutes. This means that no one had time to read sappy poems or stories. They simply told what they liked about their mothers in honest ways. One young man was especially delightful. He said he began to prepare by listing his mother’s good traits, but the list was getting so long he decided to list her bad traits. He then listed four very minor (but hilarious!) faults and then said that’s all he could think of.

Yesterday, as I listened I was struck by the fact that I know all eleven of the women being talked about fairly well. They are all very, very different. Yet every single young person declared their love for their mother and said that their mother was the very best.

As women we too often judge ourselves by what others are doing. We think we aren’t good enough mothers, and that we ought to be more like other women. But if these kids are right (and I think they are!) we just need to be ourselves. We are the best mother for our children, and they are the best children for us. After all, mothering isn't all about us being supreme commanders. Motherhood is a learning experience and my children taught me much more than I ever taught them.

Picture: > Portraits

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

If any of you are dreading Mother's Day, 
apply the Truth Tools and enjoy!

This is a day to rejoice in the fact that there are mothers. 
It isn't about YOU; it is about mothering. 
Whatever your situation, 
rejoice and give thanks for mothers.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Lemons and Apples

For some reason this past week my hair kept parting to expose the scar on my head. Usually my hair covers the scar and I don’t even think about it. But this week the hair kept separating so that the bald line showed. You must know, however, that when I say “showed” it was noticeable to me, but anyone else probably wouldn’t even have suspected it was a scar. To anyone else it probably just looked like a part in the hair. I put goop and water on it and worked to get the hair to cover the spot and it sometimes worked, but as I put all that effort into hiding a tiny scar, it made me think a lot about how we magnify and then try to hide our faults.

So often we see everything that isn’t up to par in us and then judge ourselves by those things. This means we compare ourselves—the worst in us—to the best in others. Then we go around feeling inadequate. How strange! You can’t judge the quality of an apple by comparing it to a lemon! And yet we do it with our talents, looks, personalities, intelligence and everything else about ourselves.

This has caused me to do some soul searching and I’ve now decided to stop judging completely. My scar is actually a reminder of miracles and blessings. Having it visible once in awhile should be my badge of courage, not something to be embarrassed about. So from now on, I’m not going to fret about it. I’m just going to concentrate on being the best lemon I can be and let someone else worry about apples.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Walking West

In the days of Moses the Tabernacle, which was their temple, was always assembled so that it faced East. This means that as the priest entered the temple and proceed he was walking toward the west, or in other words he was following the sun. I’ve always loved that analogy that I, too, should be traveling West or following the light. So for me the phrase “Traveling West” is synonymous with following the path of righteous or following truth and light.

Just recently I began to think that Walking West is a better metaphor. Too often the thing that gets me down is that I feel like I’m not progressing fast enough or that I’m not perfect enough. But the phrase Walking West is what the pioneers did and they did it one step at a time, ten to fifteen miles a day, but eventually they arrived. How silly it would have been to sit down at the Muddy, and start to cry, “I’m not there yet. I’m never going to be there. This is too hard. I can’t do it.” Instead they just kept putting one foot in front of the other. They kept pushing on to the West knowing that if they continued to follow the light they would eventually arrive.

The key is to remember that it doesn’t matter how fast you go. All that matters is that you never turn your back on the sun but constantly walk into it. So I’m going to keep walking West—one step at a time.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Making Music

Long ago I was a piano teacher to 35 young people. I enjoyed it, and was amazed at how much my students taught me. One of the things that constantly baffled me was that my students wanted to play the piano, and I knew how to play, but they didn’t always want to follow my instruction. They thought there should be easier ways or that I was trying to make piano playing more difficult for them. For example, they could see the value of learning the notes and would do that, but few of them could see the value in learning timing and would refuse to count. Yet playing the right timing is just as important as playing the right notes.

You’ve all heard someone play a scale. You’ve heard the step, step, step of the inclining or declining notes and know that scales don’t sound much like music. But change the timing on a declining scale and you have, “Joy to the world, the Lord has come.” The exact same notes, but the timing changes the mundane scale into a beautiful Christmas hymn.

From these experiences with students I began to wonder how often I do the same thing to my Father in Heaven. He knows where I need to be and what I need to learn and is directing me. I can’t always see the value or benefit of what I am learning and may even fight against it or refuse to do what I need to do, just as some of my piano students did. If I resist and insist on doing it my own way, I run the risk of living a life with mundane scales repeated over and over. But if I submit and follow Him, He will teach me everything I need to know to make beautiful music in my life.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Condescension

There is so much symbolism in the story of the birth of Christ. I’ve talked about a lot of it on Good News! before, but there is one thing I’ve never mentioned. Jesus was born in a land situated mostly below sea level. Bethlehem is in the hill country and a little higher, but the river Jordan where the Savior is baptized is the lowest point on earth.

The symbolism here is amazing and so instructive. Jesus Christ, a God who created the world and who is Life and Light and Truth, condescended to be born a mortal being and to experience all the pain and suffering of mortal life. The fact that He descended in birth from the heavenly courts on high to the absolute lowest point in our mortal world underscores that condescension.

Jesus Christ loves us so much he stooped below all things in order to raise us up.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Truth Tool: Revision

I walked in the rain this morning and loved every last pitter-patter. It wasn’t much of a shower, just an occasional kiss of rain but I love having my cheeks rain kissed so it was fun.

One of the most effective Truth Tools is Revision and a few weeks ago I found on a friend’s blog one of the best examples of Revision that I’ve seen in a long time. I asked Beverly if I could share a link to her post with you, and she said I could. So here it is. She opens her heart and lets us all in; so brave of her, and so very, very helpful to all of us. Thank you, Beverly. You are wonderful!

Revising our old negative stories is powerful and makes such a difference in our lives. Rewriting the negative stories from our past can change family relationships, can relieve hurt, and can give you a new, healthier way to look at life. Read what Beverly has to say and then let me know what you think.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Live Pain Free!

The best part of BYU/Relief Society Conference is all the people you meet. Some of you were kind enough to introduce yourselves which was very exciting for me. As I’ve stated here, I feel like you are all my good friends—the kind you chat with daily—so it was great to actually see you. There were others who didn’t have time to say hello, but who have emailed me or left comments here. Thank you!

For those of you who weren’t able to attend the conference, some of the sessions (not mine) will be rebroadcast on BYU-TV and KBYU on May 13 and 14. It will be worth your time to see it. Of course, you will miss the fresh fudge and the mint brownies, but maybe you could make some to eat while you watch.

I spoke on differentiating between necessary and unnecessary pain, and specifically on how unnecessary unnecessary pain is. (That isn't a typo, but you may have to read it twice to understand!) The surprising thing to me as I’ve been speaking on this topic the last year is how everyone laughs as they recognize themselves as creators of unnecessary pain and Friday was no exception. It shouldn’t be surprising to me because that’s what I found myself doing as I learned about unnecessary pain and began to see how I was creating it in myself. Some of the things we do are so absurd when we step back and really see them for what they are!

So my challenge today is for you to pay close attention to your feelings and when you begin to feel anything negative—any pain—examine what is causing it. Is it necessary pain or unnecessary pain? And if it is unnecessary pain, laugh it away. If you are like me, you will be surprised at how much of your pain is unnecessary and just recognizing that fact sends it flying.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Happy Sabbath!

It doesn't matter what the weather is outside,
the Sabbath always brings sunshine to your heart. 

Saturday, May 1, 2010

It's Over

Women's Conference is over for another year. I enjoyed it! The best part was that I got to meet so many of you who follow Good News! D4 is still here with me and we have been shopping all day (As Sister Oaks instructed us--a little retail therapy!) But Monday I'll try to recap the conference.

The only bad thing is that I went over on my time. I don't know how I managed to do that, but I was feeling awful about it and have been using the Truth Tools to try not to cause myself so much pain. But I am discovering new things. In a case like this where my going over infringed on Sister Clayton's time, I feel like I need to inflict myself with the pain. But what good does beating myself up do? It doesn't change the reality of what happened. It doesn't make her feel better. It doesn't make it up to her. The more I study unnecessary pain the more interesting it becomes. Such a strange thing.

I am consoling myself  with the fact that something good can come out of it; next year I can be used as the bad example for everyone to learn from!