Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Formula For A Satisfied Soul

There is an amazing promise found in the writings of Isaiah: “If thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not” (Isaiah 58:10-11).

Most words here are translated very well, but the meaning is a little clearer when you know that in the first verse the word darkness could have been translated gloominess. What this says to me is that when we reach out to help and assist the poor and the afflicted, the Lord will heal our poverty and afflictions. But the most important promise is that when we help others, the Lord will guide us at all times and feed our hungry souls even in times of dire distress so that we won't be gloomy. His Living Waters will flow to us continually.

These verses are encouraging to me because they are doable. All of us have the capacity to reach out to others. We can give a smile, a note of appreciation, a hug, a meal, or whatever we have because we all have something to give. And in return for giving what we have, the Lord gives us more. He will “guide thee continually.” What a great blessing!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Today I went for a walk and it felt so good.

In the past I’ve taken for granted what a great blessing it is to do something as simple as take a walk, but with the stress fractures I have been out of commission for six weeks. This morning as I walked and was finally able to exercise everything was new again and wonderful. The trees nodded their branches in greeting, the Provo River gushed a joyful welcome, the green foliager soughed gently along the path, and everything was amazing.

I’m trying to tell myself not to take it for granted again. I fear I’ll get used to it and forget how marvelous it is. But I am going to try to remember the awe of it all. This world is so beautiful and I love it!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Rescued from the Pit

Wow! (I hope you can feel my excitement through cyberspace!) During my scripture study this morning I found gold!!!!

If you’ve been reading this blog for long you know I’ve been studying and writing about Living in Truth where joy and faith and love abound. When you don’t Live in Truth you fall into the Pit of Illusion where despair and discouragement hold you in bondage. I thought I had made up the term “Pit of Illusion,” but this morning while studying I came across this verse of scripture: “Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he saveth them out of their distresses. He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions” (Ps 107:19-20).

As part of my study I looked up the verse in Hebrew which our Old Testament was translated from and found that the word the King James translators recorded as “destructions” is shchiyth (prounounced shekh-eeth’), which means pit. Thus a more accurate translation of verse twenty would be, “He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their pit.”

And that sheds light on what it means to Live in Truth. When we slip into the Pit, we can cry out to the Lord to save us from the vexing stress we are in, and He will send his word to heal us and deliver us from the Pit of Illusion. The word comes as we read scripture, read the words of the brethren, or listen to the still small voice within. The word sent from God, however it comes, can rescue us from the Pit!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Give Thanks

"And he commanded them 
that they should observe the sabbath day, 
and keep it holy, 
and also every day 
they should give thanks 
to the Lord their God" 
(Mosiah 18:23).

Saturday, June 26, 2010

"Wise in Our Ways"

In 1 Samuel 18:14 we are told that “David behaved himself wisely in all his ways; and the Lord was with him.” The word translated as wisely is sakal and it means “to be prudent, to act circumspectly, to have insight, or to give attention to.” When we look at all the definitions of sakal it gives us a better feel for what David did to “act wisely in all his ways.”

Too often we move through our days like water flowing down a stream bed--without really thinking about what we are doing or where we are going. We just go where the stream bed takes us. But if we want to be like David when he was favored of the Lord, we need to “behave ourselves wisely” which means we need to pay attention to what we are doing. We need to consciously choose to Live in Truth and to avoid falling prey to Illusion.

This means we have to learn what Truth is all about and then when faced with decisions or circumstances that habit or tradition or the natural man have previously determined for us, we instead act prudently and with insight and give attention to consciously choosing to Live in Truth. In other words, we decide how fast to go, when to turn, when to stop, and which stream bed to follow instead of simply going with the current of the stream.

It takes effort, but it is worth it because when we Live in Truth “the Lord is with us.”

Friday, June 25, 2010

Don't Be Pulled Into the Pit!

It seems I learn a lot of life’s lessons in the School of Experience. In other words I learn by doing things the wrong way. But then, some of life’s lessons are best learned that way. I’ve studied Living in Truth for years now and have learned most from the trial and error application of the principles. From my experience I’ve found that one of the hardest things to deal with is when people you love have fallen into the Pit of Illusion because of accusations against you.

Strangers or casual friends don’t usually confront you when they are in the Pit because of something you said or did, but family members and people you love usually do confront you and if you are not careful they can pull you into the Pit with them. When they make statements such as “You shouldn’t have said. . .” or “Why did you do . . .” or “You always do . . .” (And, of course, that is always followed by something they didn’t want you to do.), can cause you to fight back or defend yourself which only puts you in the Pit with them.

However, if you can stay in Truth and simply listen to them vent their feelings, these kinds of experiences can teach you more about Living in Truth than any other experience. If you stay in Truth you see how their thinking you shouldn’t have done what you did has cankered their souls and distorted their reasoning. You see how they have clung to the thoughts like briars to a piece of wool, and you also see how much work it has taken to do that. Often you can even see the darkness in their countenance and always you see how the thought is eating away at their peace of mind like acid on a piece of cloth. You see how it is their continually thinking about the incident and not what you did that is causing them pain, and from there you can learn a lot about what happens to you when you think those kinds of accusing thoughts.

So when someone is “attacking” you, is when you need the Truth Tools the most. If you can stay in Truth and simply listen not only do you keep yourself out of the Pit, but you learn so much about the benefits of Living in Truth.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Down With Negative Emotions!

I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed, but the word emotions never appears in scripture. Instead the word spirit is used. For example in 1 Timothy 3:7 we read: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” The 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language by Noah Webster gives this as two of the definitions of the word spirit: “Powers of mind distinct from the body,” and “That which hath power or energy; the quality of any substance which manifests life, activity, or the power of strongly affecting other bodies.”

The Random House Webster's College Dictionary of 1996 gives 24 definitions of the word spirit. The ones that best capture the King James usage of the word are “an attitude or principle that pervades thought, stirs one to action, etc.,” and “feelings or mood with regard to exaltation or depression.” The definition of the Greek word for spirit is “the vital principal by which the body is animated; the power by which the human being feels, thinks, decides; the soul.”

What all this helps me understand is that the negative emotions that send us into the Pit of Illusion are not part of God’s plan for us. That is why when the Savior encountered these bad “spirits” in people, He healed them. And He will heal us as we turn to Him and let Him do His work.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Prayer Power

I have been reminded lately of the great power of prayer, and it has reminded me of how grateful I am to all of you and the many others who prayed for me when I had brain surgery and again when I went through radiation. Prayer works and the combined prayers of many people calling upon God from their foundation of love and faith works miracles.

Having so many people praying for me was also an education. I knew about prayer. I believed in prayer, but I had no idea that I would be able to feel the sustaining power of prayer so tangibly. It reminded me of the story of Moses as he stood on the mountain watching his people battling in the valley below. When he lifted his hands the Israelites prevailed, but his hands grew tired and fell with weariness and the Israelites began to flounder. So Aaron and Hur held Moses' hands up and the Israelites won the battle.(See Exodus 17.) That's what it felt like--as if someone was holding me up so I  could win the battle.

Thank you and keep praying for one another and for those who are in need. Prayer works! It lifts, it comforts, it brings about miracles.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Let The Light Shine!

The longest day was a good day! The problem with me has been that because of the stress fractures in my foot I have been unable to exercise and I NEED exercise. When I don’t exercise I get a bad case of the blues and that is what I’ve been battling. The Good News is that I am learning new things about the Truth Tools. Yesterday as I consciously determined to use the Truth Tools Affirmation and Gratitude, I started to feel better. But what I didn’t expect is that the universe responded to my decision.

I don’t usually enter contests because I never win. Years ago a friend entered my name in a contest for diapers because she knew I had three children in diapers and she had none and I won. That was very nice of her and I appreciated it. The only other time I’ve won something was at a political fund raising breakfast where everyone who was present was automatically entered, and guess what? I won a truck load of gravel. Lucky me! Since I didn’t need gravel, I gave it to a friend who was building a home.

But last week on a friend’s blog, I left a comment on her give-away not because I thought I could win but because she is from the south and she was talking about grits which I love and some comments were pretty negative about grits and so I had to defend them. Well, yesterday (My day of New Light!) I won her give-away. But the best part was the cute way she announced me as winner. It was the picture I have here of her grandson holding the winning name over his eyes. It made my day.

But that isn’t all! Last night we attended a “reunion” dinner with some wonderful, amazing people that Carl worked with years ago. They’ve all played important parts in our lives and it was a delight to see them again. It reminded me that God has placed people in my life to light my way and help me.

So. . .the light did shine. The light always comes when you ask for it. It’s just hard sometimes to remember that when you are in the Pit.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Out of the Pit!

Today half of our planet experiences the longest day of the year while the other half experiences the shortest day of the year. This is good timing for me. I’ve been in the Pit of Illusion and need to get out! It’s dark in there and I don’t like it. And since I’m on the longest-day side of the planet I’m using that fact to help me get out of the Pit. I’m celebrating light today! I’m determined to climb out of the Pit and get back into the Light. So I’m celebrating the warm touch of light on my face as I walked this morning, the encouragement light gives me when greeting me each morning through my bedroom window, the way light illuminates the beauty around me so I can see it, and especially how it makes the flowers and trees and vegetation grow. Sun light is life to this planet.

And this longest day helps me remember the other light—the light of Christ which gives life to me. That light surrounds me, the love that is part of that light enfolds me, and the power of that light protects me if I stay in Truth. I’ve been slipping lately, but no more! This is the day of sun and light and truth! This is my day!

So with a heart full of gratitude I celebrate sun light and the light of Christ and recommit myself to shine in order that others can see the Light that is the Good News!

As the great preacher said, “The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose” (Ecclesiastes 1:5). I take that to mean that dark days will come. We all fall into the darkness of the Pit once in awhile, but when in the Pit we need to hasten to the place where the light rises again. I’m hurrying!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

It's a Sabbath to honor our fathers
and The Father of us all. 
Enjoy and remember 
all that both have done for you.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Enjoying Life

I’ve been tending grandsons and it has brought back a lot of memories. Tired memories! Happy memories! Teasing memories! Joyful memories! And even “is this really life?” memories. It has been fun.

The reason I am tending is that their mother, D4, is running the Ragnar Wasatch Back with D5 and my sister and her daughter and some others. (There are 12 people to a team.) I think they are all crazy, but they love it. The Ragnar Wasatch Back goes for 187.8 miles of rugged country in the Wasatch mountains of Utah. My daughters were responsible for three legs of 5 to 9 miles each. The teams run all day and all night for up to a day and a half depending on how fast they are. It makes me tired to think about it!

But, as I said, they love it, and it is teaching them wonderful things about life, nature, and the gospel of Jesus Christ. That is what is interesting to me. When people love the Lord, he teaches them about himself through what else they love—as long as they put Him first. Whatever language, whatever interests, whatever likes we have the Lord uses those to draw us closer to Him.

So enjoy what you love and watch for what it teaches you!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Landlord or Tenant?

In his book Mere Christianity C. S. Lewis gives some good advice on what our attitude toward ourselves should be. He poses the question: “Does it not make a great difference whether I am, so to speak, the landlord of my own mind and body, or only a tenant, responsible to the real landlord? If somebody else made me, for his own purposes, then I shall have a lot of duties which I should not have if I simply belonged to myself.”

This perception makes a lot of difference in life. If I think of myself as the landlord I make decisions differently and thus live differently—more selfishly. But if I understand that I am only a tenant in this body and that I belong to Jesus Christ, I make decisions based on what He would have me do. I consult with Him before doing things. I make sure I have His approval. I live selflessly with the intention of making a profit for the Landlord.

I think this is one of the things we are admonished to do when we are told to remember Christ. Remembering Him means, in part, remembering our relationship to Him. He is our Landlord and, therefore, we are obligated to care for His property in a way that will preserve that property and give Him interest on His investment.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Pods for Peas

One of my favorite scriptures is found in Moses 6:63 where we are told: “And behold, all things have their likeness, and all things are created and made to bear record of me, both things which are temporal, and things which are spiritual; things which are in the heavens above, and things which are on the earth, and things which are in the earth, and things which are under the earth, both above and beneath: all things bear record of me.” Because of this verse I walk through my days looking at the things around me and pondering on what they teach me about Jesus Christ and often am delighted at the things I discover.

Just this morning I was thinking about how things in nature are made in a way that gives them the best possibility of growing to their full potential. Seeds come in protective pods; fawns are born with spotted coats so predators won’t detect them among the shadows of the tress; and chameleons change colors to blend with their surroundings. Everywhere you look in nature you find that just the right color, just the right size, just the right attribute is given to things to help them do what they are supposed to do.

And if everything else is just right for what it is supposed to do, why not me? While I don’t have spots, or a protective pod, when I analyze my life closely I realize that I have been given just the right talents, just the right attributes, and just the right assets to help me and the people I am responsible for find security, happiness, and peace in life.

Next time I see a pea in a pod, I’m going to appreciate that pod more and remember that God has also given me what is best for me!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

C. S. Lewis on Living in Truth

This year I’m teaching a class at BYU Education Week on C. S. Lewis. I’ve always loved Lewis, have taken several classes on him, and over the years read much of what he has written. So now I am rereading and studying his life in more depth and I am loving every minute of it.

I’ve been surprised by a few things. For example, it’s been years since I read Mere Christianity and in rereading it I’ve found a few things that coincide with what I’ve discovered about Living in Truth. I never notice them before. One thing Lewis says is, “We have to take reality as it comes to us; there is no good jabbering about what it ought to be like or what we should have expected it to be like” (P. 63). This sounds a lot like Elder Wirthlin’s statement, “Come what may” only Elder Wirthlin adds “and love it.” Being old and constructed of habit, I still struggle with this even though I know with all my heart it is true. Slowly I’m learning to throw out the “oughts,” “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts”. It takes a lot of effort, but I’m finding it so worth it.

In another place Lewis describes what a truly Christian society would be like: “It is to be a cheerful society: full of singing and rejoicing , and regarding worry or anxiety as wrong.” (p. 80). Again, I’ve got a lifetime of habits to overcome; worry and anxiety accomplish nothing. They are unnecessary pain and as we get rid of them, we find joy.

I’m still reading Lewis and if I find more comments on Living in Truth I'll let you know. It is fun to find that an ”old friend” whom I’ve admired for years agrees with me!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


There is a danger in growing up in the gospel that we need to be aware of or it can hurt us. The thing that causes this danger is that when we hear something over and over we stop hearing it at all.

For example: We all know that we are children of God. We have heard the words and sung the song and know “I am a child of God.” But we have heard this so much that when these words are sung or spoken we no longer comprehend them—we don’t think about what the words mean. The words float over us like an unnoticed summer breeze without any concept being associated with them. Instead of thinking about the majesty and wonder and magnificence of the statement, we think, “I know. I’ve already learned that one. You don’t need to tell me again!”

This takes us back to Living in Truth. When we live in Truth we deal with the now and what is presently before us. That means that when the statement “I am a child of God” is presented to us we have an opportunity to think about that truth. It is an opportunity to let light into our souls by contemplating what it really means to be a child of God, to be immortally God’s offspring, to inherit “genetic” qualities from Heavenly Parents that will allow us to someday be like Them.

When we Live in Truth, we open our hearts and minds to the beauty of truth in any given moment (even if we have heard it a thousand times before) and let that beauty encourage, enliven, expand, and nourish our souls.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Don't Worry

In the King James Bible Philippians 4:6 reads, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” The New International Bible reads, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” But the New Revised Standard Bible translation is my favorite. It says, “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

“Do not worry about anything!” Just let God take care of you. It reminds me that when we were children most of us turned to something for security. One of my daughters had a little blue doggy that she carried around and slept with. Others had a blanket and one even carried around pieces of batting that she loved to hold and rub against her cheek while she sucked her thumb. Those things are comfort, security, peace to a child.

But as we grow older we give up those things and replace them with other things. Money in the bank. Lots of friends. Good positions. Knowledge. Fancy neighborhoods. Degrees. These are some of the things that replace our blankets and stuffed animals as we seek safety, comfort, and security in life. But there is only one thing that allows us to live a life without worry and that is to turn to the Lord in “prayer and supplication with thanksgiving” and let Him guide us.

It is possible to “not worry.” But it can only happen if we let go of the things of the world and find our security in God. And then, "the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:7).

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Best is Coming

It’s a mystical day in my neighborhood. Instead of covering the mountains wispy clouds ring the mountains leaving the tops towering majestically above the gauzy rings. It makes them look more noble and majestic than usual. It gives me the feeling that at any moment something absolutely magical is going to happen. I like that feeling. It’s the same feeling expressed by the words, “The best is yet to come.” Expecting that best in every moment and then looking for it and savoring it makes life so rich and beautiful.

I had a Spanish professor in college years ago that on the last day of class showed us a Spanish movie. It was all about the dark side of life and everything horrible that exists on the earth. I walked out early, but I asked him later why he showed such a movie and he replied, “It is reality. Those things are life.”

I felt sorry for him. What he didn’t realize is that we all choose our own reality. That movie was not my reality (not even close to my reality!) nor was it his reality. It was a reality invented by a writer and a director. Bad things do happen, but how we react to them creates the reality. We can constantly think about the bad and decide that all of life is like that or we can realize that there is opposition in all things and that for every bad thing there is a good. We can cling to God in bad times and let Him mitigate the bad or we can buy into the adversary’s propaganda that this is how life is.

When we believe in Jesus Christ we believe in a Savior. A Savior is a “saver.” He saves us from the negative realities of pain and death. thus, when you believe in Jesus Christ you know that the best is always on its way.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Joy in the Mourning

There are a few things that still amaze me about the ordeal I went through with Grizelda. The main one is the emotion I experienced. In Jeremiah the Lord says, “I will turn their mourning into joy, I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow” (Jeremiah 31:13). I had read that before and on an intellectual level thought I understood it. But before Grizelda I didn’t have a clue.

Especially the days before the surgery, before the pathologist could tell us what Grizelda was, by all accounts I should have been frightened, devastated, and worried. But I wasn’t. I was comforted. But there were some emotions going on such as sadness and remorse about things I hadn’t done yet in my life or that might change. The strange thing was how these sorrowful emotions mixed with the peace, comfort and even joy so that while I felt the sadness and remorse they were woven so tightly with the peace and comfort that they almost didn’t feel like sadness or sorrow. They were new emotions that I had never before felt. I’m not explaining this well because I just plain don’t have words to explain it. But I hope I’m at least conveying a small inkling of what I mean.

What it all boils down to is that God works in mysterious ways, but He works. At times now when I fall into the Pit of Illusion and experience all the negative emotions that exist there, I remember the peace I had when circumstances were the most apt to put me in the Pit and REALLY understand what Jeremiah meant. That helps me more back into Truth. Mourning can be joy and sorrow can be gladness when we are with the Lord in Truth.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sowing Seeds

This year our apricot trees have more apricots than leaves. I’ve never seen the branches so full of fruit—too full of fruit. But the winds and rains the last few day have caused a lot of the fruit to fall to the ground so that the patio is covered in what looks like tiny green marbles. As I’ve picked them up I’ve wondered about the miracle that such a small seed inside that little ball has within it the promise of becoming a huge tree like the one that towers over me. But despite the enormous power to become an apricot tree, it has absolutely no power to become an apple or an orange tree. Genetically it is programmed to be an apricot and it can be nothing else.

Likewise as I go through my day and think thoughts about what is happening to me or around me, those thoughts, like seeds, grow into feelings and the feelings direct other thoughts and especially decisions. The type of thought I plant determines what will grow in my life.

So like any good gardener, I need to occasionally do some weeding. I need to get rid of the noxious thoughts that will grow into hatred, jealousy, envy or anything bad and make more room for the good thoughts that will grow into prosperity, harmony, and friendship. I will never have a beautiful garden if I sow seeds of doubt, fear, or anger. It just can’t happen. Doubt, fear, or anger don’t have the genetic potential to be anything but noxious.

But if I plant seeds of faith, hope, and charity I will have a beautiful garden because they can grow into nothing but beauty. Sure there will be storms, wind may destroy some of my crop, but in the end those storms will only thin the crop a little so that the remaining fruit will be bigger and better. And the rain, well it may be a little overpowering at times, but the rain will feed my garden and make it better.

The kind of thoughts I plant will determine what will grow in my life. So today I’m going to plant lots of love.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Our Savior

The end of the semester is fast approaching and since I am teaching the Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ that means we are discussing the Atonement . As I prepare I am totally overwhelmed. I’ve always been in awe of the great love and sacrifice that is the Atonement, but since my brain surgery my feelings for the miracle and the wonder of the Atonement have increased so much that I have no words to express them. I will walk into class today feeling very, very inadequate and wishing I could convey to these young people all that I feel. I just pray that they are in tune with the Spirit so the Spirit can do what I cannot.

The last day of my radiation they gave me the mask that was used to bolt me to the table during the radiation. Molded to my head, it holds an impression of me in it. When I came home that day the radiation had completely exhausted me. I could barely walk into the house. Somehow I made it to the bed and collapsed with the mask in my hand. For the next few hours I lay there unable to hardly move. All I could do was think and with the mask so close I began to ponder it. I thought about how I was the only person in the world who fit that mask and how like it, the trial I was going through with Grizelda was also tailored just for me. I was learning and growing and being tested, in other words being made stronger. I thought about how I was the only person who had ever worn that mask, but at that thought a strong feeling washed over me that I was wrong. Someone had worn that mask long before I did—Jesus Christ had suffered every bit of the pain, anguish, sorrow, and hurt. He had suffered this exhaustion. He had suffered my pain before I had, and so he knew all about it. I was not alone in this ordeal. As a matter of fact my ordeal was much easier than it would have been because He loves me so much He suffered all pain so He could then have the power to ease my suffering.

The Atonement was not only about sin, it was about all pain. And because Jesus Christ has taken on all of our disappointments, worries, pain, sorrow, cares, sin, and injustices, He knows how to succor us. All we have to do is trust in Him.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


At the beginning of the year I shared with you that my word for the year is “rejuvenation.” I explained that instead of a goal, I pick out a word and then everything I do I apply the word while doing it. For example, if I’m working in the garden, I think rejuvenation and do all I can to rejuvenate the garden and myself through the work. I love this because it doesn’t add work or stress to my life, it just enhances all of life.

But one of the things Mr. J. and I wanted to consciously rejuvenate were old friendships. Partly because we moved eleven years ago, we haven’t seen some of the people who have played an important part in our lives. So in January we made a list of the people we wanted to see again and the most amazing thing has happened. They just keep showing up in our lives without us doing anything.

Mr. J’s father died when he was only twelve years old and there were a few men who stepped in to mentor and help him. One of those men was especially instrumental in guiding and nurturing and after we married we became good friends with he and his wife. They moved from Bountiful before we did and we haven’t seen them for about twenty years. Well, four weeks ago they called and told us they were in the neighborhood and wanted to stop by. We had a wonderful visit and arranged to go out to dinner with them later. That later was last night, and again we had a marvelous evening eating dinner and then driving up to the cabin they are building in Midway. Renewing old friendships, seeing the beautiful view from their cabin, catching up on all that has happened in the intervening years, and just being with people who have played such an important part in our lives was amazing.

This isn’t the only time this has happened since we choose to rejuvenate. It has been like a miracle. The people on our list keep turning up and we are enjoying every minute of it. There are still many people on the list and I’m looking forward to rejuvenating more friendships. It is always nice to make new friends, but there is something deeply satisfying about being with people you have known for many years.

As Proverbs tells us, “Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man's friend by hearty counsel” (Prov 27:9). And I would add that simply "being with old friends rejoices the heart."

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Sure Word

Scholars call the 24th chapter of Matthew the Olivet Discourse. It is also called the Little Apocalypse because of the prophecies Jesus makes in it about what will happen after he dies and in the last days.

One of the astounding things to me and to the people who heard him speak is that he told of the destruction of the temple. He said, “There shall not be left here, one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down” (Matthew 24:2). In just reading the verse, this destruction might not seem too strange to a modern reader. We might even wonder why the disciples and others were so stunned. But when we understand some things about the temple it is easy to see why they were astonished.

Many of the stones of the temple were not simply what we would imagine as “brick” size. Instead huge pieces of stone had been brought in some measuring 67 1/2 feet long by 7 1/2 feet high and 9 feet wide The pillars supporting the porches were 37 1/2 feet high and were all one stone. Later, when the Romans destroyed the temple as Jesus prophesied, six days of battering failed to dislodge them. Eventually Titus destroyed the temple in AD 70 and the 40 acre plot was leveled and the rubble pushed away. After that the ground was plowed and salted so nothing would grow there. The wall of the temple that we now see in pictures, called the Western Wall, was actually a retaining wall on the west side of the temple ground. It was not part of the temple proper.

From this I learn that when the Lord speaks, I should listen despite how strange or unreal it seems. What the Lord predicts happens. I can count on that!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Summer is Here!

Summer is finally here and it is going to go fast. On July 5th Mr. J and I are going to New York to be Volunteers at the Hill Cumorah Pageant for two weeks. We already have our assignment--we will be at the Smith Farm so if you are visiting the Pageant this year be sure to find us and say hello. We are very excited to spend two weeks at the Sacred Grove and to be a small part of the pageant. The bonus is that D1 and her family are going to be in the pageant so we will get to see them.

We finish our work there on the 18th and on the 19th we fly to Ireland. Mr. J served as a missionary there a few years ago and he has always told me he'd take me back there and finally we are going.We arrive in Ireland on the 20th and will meet D8 and her family who are currently living in Africa there. We will spend the first five days in Northern Ireland near Belfast and then are hoping to go south to the Republic of Ireland to spend the next five days there. We don't have a place to stay there yet, but D8 is an amazing tour planner and she is looking for cottages for us to rent for the week. If you know of any, or if you've been there and have some good ideas of places to visit, (especially places with good food!) send them to me.

We get home late on July 31st. Several other daughters will be here visiting and then on August 16th BYU Education Week begins. This year I am teaching three classes. I am teaching Messages in the Miracles of Jesus in a three hour block on Monday. During the week I am teaching a class on the life and writings of C. S. Lewis which I am very excited about and a class on Living in Truth called something like Ridding Your Life of Negative Emotions. (I can't remember the exact title!) If you are planning to be at Education Week be sure and come say hello. I love the fact that at BYU Women's Conference several of you introduced yourselves to me. It turns all that work of preparation and presentation into fun!

For now, I just need to get my foot healed so I can do all of this!!!!

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Power of Tradition

Yesterday D1 shared a story with me that I want to pass on. For years they have awakened their family at 6:00 in the morning for family prayer. It is so much a tradition that it is habit.

Well, awhile back D1 was awakened at 3:00 in the morning by a sick child. Again, over the years, the “tradition” has evolved that when this happens she takes care of the sick child, washing him up, getting him something for the sick tummy, etc. while her husband takes care of cleaning up the soiled bedding. So when she was awakened she began to care for the sick boy and called to her husband to take care of the bedroom. She finished helping her son but when she took him back to bed there was no sign of SIL1 (son-in-law 1) so she stripped the bed and did what needed to be done all the time wondering where her husband was.

Finally she got her son in bed and went back to her bedroom, thinking her husband must not have gotten up. But SIL1 was not in bed. She began searching through the house and finally found him in the living room, kneeling at the couch. “What are you doing?” she asked.

“Didn’t you call me to get up for prayer?” he replied.

She was laughing so hard she had a hard time going back to sleep. But the story has a great message about the power of habit and tradition in our lives. Too often we only think and talk about breaking bad habits, but good habits can direct our lives and the lives of our children in wonderful ways.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Bible, A Bible!

When I stop to ponder on the price that has been paid so that you and I can have scriptures in our own language, it boggles my mind. From the 7th Century and the Venerable Bede, through to men like Wycliff and on to Tyndale who was killed for making Bibles available to the common man, people have sacrificed time, money, talent, and even their lives so that this book which is now readily available for very little money can be had by all who want it.

And then there is Nephi, Mormon, and Joseph Smith who suffered and sacrificed to bring us the Book of Mormon. The list could go on and on, but the point is that hundreds, even thousands of people have pad an enormous price so that we can have scriptures because they understood the value those scriptures could be in our lives.
The question we have to ask ourselves is after all this sacrifice what are we doing with the scriptures? Have we read the New Testament that Tyndale died to give us? Have we feasted upon the Book of Mormon that Mormon and Moroni struggled so valiantly to preserve? Do we know what is in the Doctrine and Covenants that Joseph recorded as the words of God?

Scripture study feeds our hungering souls in the midst of a worldly spiritual famine. I’d hate to face Tyndale in the next life and have to explain to him why I didn’t bother to read the book he died to provide for me! Scripture study is the difference between a good life and a not so good one. It is a simple thing to do, reading at least a few verses a day, but the power it brings to a life is astronomical!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Sometimes It's The Feeling That Teaches

Today in my New Testament class we began with an incident that happened just before the last week of the Savior's life when Mary anointed the Savior’s feet with costly spikenard. I have always loved this story and the fact that Mary anoints the Savior. She doesn’t just apply oil or spread salve—she anoints. One of the dictionary definitions of the word anoint is “to designate as if by a ritual anointment.”

The Savior goes on to chastise the disciples who have criticized her because they consider it a waste of valuable ointment. He says to them, “Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this.”

To me this means that the definition cited above is Mary’s motive. Through this anointing she is designating Jesus Christ the Messiah and specifically her Messiah. She has made an enormous sacrifice in using this costly spikenard on the Savior. By that she demonstrates her love and her righteousness. Kings and Priests were anointed in that day and she is anointing Him as her King and her Priest.

This also speaks to me of the value the Savior had for women. It isn’t Peter who anoints him—it is Mary. I often get the feeling when I read this that I do not understand all that is going on in this story. But at the same time, I get the feeling that someday I will understand and it is going to be a glorious insight.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Yesterday we worked in the yard all afternoon pulling weeds and planting flowers. I thought I was working in the shade most of the time, but somehow managed to get sun burned. I had on Capri pants and with one leg being in a black boot up to my knee because of the stress fractures, I now have one very red leg from the knee down and one very white leg. I look so funny.

But it has reminded me of what an amazing thing our bodies are. Through them we feel, smell, hear, see, and taste. In other words this body connects me to the world around me. I got a large thorn stuck in my index finger that I had to dig out last night, and today I can barely tell where it was. Last night it hurt. Today it doesn’t hurt. Yes, I took the thorn out, but other than that I did nothing to make the wound heal but my body knew what to do. It went to work immediately to stop the bleeding, fight off infection, and close up the wound covering it over to make it look good as new. And in a few days the sunburn won't even hurt. These bodies are amazing.

Without me telling it to my heart keeps on beating. My lungs keep on breathing. My other organs keep on functioning and I’m not doing anything to make it happen. When I start to get uptight or vexed about something I think about this body and how it works and realize that if God can keep my body going, He can also keep my life going. I need to trust Him more. I need to relax and let Him direct my life like He does my body. If I do that “all things will work together for [my] good” (D&C 90:24).