Thursday, September 30, 2010

Drum Roll Please. . .

A random drawing has produced the two winners of my book,
Gospel Insights for Everyday Living.

Congratulations to
#9 Sundy Watanabe
#12 Kellie Knowles

If you two will email your addresses to I will get the books in the mail.
Thanks to all of you who entered and thanks for spreading the Good News!

Now I'm off to St. George to watch Mr. J, D4 and D5 run in the St. George Marathon.
I'm just praying for no injuries!
I think I'll have Internet so I'll post pictures.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

book Give Away

Please sign up so I don't feel rejected!!! 
I'd rather not have to use Truth Tools on this one! :) 

All Things Work For Good

I am more and more amazed at the beauties of Living in Truth. As I’ve explained before, necessary pain is going to come into our lives. That is just part of a mortal experience. And some of that pain is absolutely devastating and makes no sense. Like the righteous women who aren't married or who can’t have children. That pain is deep and real and is impossible to attach a meaning to. All we can do is trust in God.

But as we do learn how to trust in God even in the face of pain that has no meaning or reason to it, the wondrous thing is to discover how close we can be to our Father in Heaven despite the pain. When we Live in Truth there is no mental chatter to keep us from hearing and feeling the presence of God. Despite the pain, we know there is Someone nearby cradling us in His arms and comforting us with the thoughts that while we don’t understand, He does and that He is going to make it all right.

I love the verse in Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Living in Truth allows us to trust in this statement and to know without a doubt that “all things work together for good” even if we can’t see at the moment how that could ever happen.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

It's Going To Be A Good Day

Carpet outside!It looks better outside than in!
Today is going to be a good day! We have been working VERY hard to paint and get the basement ready for new carpet and today the first installment of the carpet is going to be laid. I am excited. This is long overdue! We should have carpeted years ago, but with Grizelda hanging around in my head I’m afraid it was one of the many things that had to wait until I had my health back.

I am very blessed that Mr J is an expert painter. He worked his way through college in the employ of a contractor and he did a lot of painting in those days which prepared him well to paint our houses! He does a better job than the professionals. Much better! He is amazing. (He's also tired!) The walls look so nice—a pale (off-white) yellow with all the wood trim painted white. It looks so crisp and clean. I love it. And the old carpet, a Berber, was not only dirty, but frayed and worn, and unraveling. (I told you we are way, way past due for new!) I can’t wait until tonight when I can run my bare feet over the soft new carpet and enjoy the results of our two weeks of stressful, tiring painting and hard work.

I’m trying to memorize every moment of this enjoyment so that when the bad days come I can replay this in my head and enjoy it all over again. That’s one of the nice things about good days. They are relivable and when I relive it I can forget about the two weeks of hard work and just relive this one day of pure satisfaction!

I hope you have a good day, too!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Worry vs. Empathy

Don't Worry!
The older I get the more thankful I become for the Truth Tools. Just last week I went to bed so full of consternation about some problems that I couldn’t sleep. I tossed and turned for awhile and finally realized what I was doing. “What is the Truth here? Is my worrying helping the problem at all?” I asked myself. “The answer was an obvious, “NO!” All I was doing was making myself miserable—vexing myself.

So .  .  .  I began reciting over and over to myself one line from the Charge, “The Lord thy God is with thee.” I had been doing that for a couple of minutes when all of a sudden peace washed through me like a tidal wave washing the beach and I was able to go to sleep. It was a beautiful, peaceful experience, and the next morning I found myself pondering on it a great deal.

The thing that struck me as I pondered is that sometimes we confuse worrying with empathy. We think because we are worried we are empathizing. We feel that it is good to worry. But empathy is experiencing another person’s necessary pain. It is sorrowing because they sorrow or hurting because they hurt. But worry is unnecessary pain and is something I couldn’t comprehend God experiencing. There is a fine line here between concepts, but it is an important distinction to understand. Some vexing emotions such as sorrow accomplish something and have some positive uses. For example sorrow is as a step in the letting go of a loved one, or it is an important part of repentance and acknowledging that we need a Savior. But worry is a lack of faith and accomplishes nothing. Therefore, when we replace the worry with the affirmative statement, “The Lord thy God is with thee” we are filling ourselves with faith and courage and allowing the Spirit to direct us. And that can be a very real, very tangible experience as it was for me that night.

We do not have to suffer unnecessary pain. We can let it go not because we are so strong or disciplined or wonderful, but because Jesus Christ is.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Labor...Then Rest

The commandment says to labor hard for six days and then rest for one.
I have really done that this week!
(We're redoing our basement and getting the yard ready for winter!)
I'm going to enjoy my day of rest.
I hope you do, too!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

I'm Giving Away Another Book

Help spread the Good News!

It's time for another giveaway of my book
Gospel Insights for Everyday Living.
you can still enter and use the book as a Christmas gift!)

There are two ways to enter
(1) Tell a friend about Good News!
or add a link for Good News! to your own blog,
and then leave a comment below telling me what you've done to help spread the Good News!
(2) Or if you have read Gospel Insights, go to and rate the book then leave a comment here telling me you've done it.
The contest will end Wed. at midnight and two winners will be randomly chosen from among the comments.

Good luck.
I hope to hear from all of you! 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Dog Attack

You're probably wondering how a dog attach can be Good News! but hear me out.

Two weeks ago today D4 left her home in California at 5:30 am to do a 20 mile run as part of her training to run a marathon with Mr J and D5. She ran a mile and a half and then met up with a friend she runs with. They had only been running together a few blocks when they turned up a street and encountered another jogger on the ground screaming as three dogs attacked her. (Click here to see TV report of the incident.) In the distance were two gunmen and coming upon the scene in the dark D4 and her friend were at first unable to discern what was going on. Were the gunmen part of the attack or help?

Frightened and startled D4’s friend started to scream which caught the attention of the dogs. Diverted from the jogger they rushed at D4’s friend knocking her to the ground and biting her. D4 sensing that being on the ground made her friend more vulnerable rushed in to help her friend back to her feet. In the meantime, the women realized that the gunmen were attempting to shoot the dogs but they had mainly shot in the air attempting to scare away the dogs because of the difficulty in shooting with the women in the way. However, they did manage to kill one dog and wound another before they ran out of ammunition.

Police and ambulances finally came and the jogger and D4’s friend (who is pregnant) were all taken to the hospital. The jogger was in serious condition and the friend had stitches in seven different places and was then released later that day. An ultrasound indicates the baby is unharmed. D4 was unharmed by the dogs, but the trauma she suffered is a different story.

This morning as I talked with D4 I was amazed. It will take a long time before the memories dim, the fear of dogs begins to diminish (it will probably never go away completely), and life lets go of the feeling of terror it has taken on. However, her thoughts now have been filled with the blessings that are coming out of this experience. Yes, there is still trauma, but she is also experiencing an incredible peace and understanding that even in tragedy there can be great blessings.

The Healer
At first thoughts such things as, “Why did God let us go down that street?” and "Why did He let this happen?" assailed her. But then a peace came to her and she realized that if they had not turned down that street the jogger would have been killed. The gunmen were far back and out of ammunition. The shooting had not scared the dogs away. It was the screaming that turned the dogs from the jogger and even though the friend was hurt, it saved the jogger’s life.

That is only the beginning of realizations and spiritual experiences D4 has had as she has pondered this traumatic event. She is being reminded over and over that God does have a plan and that He loves all of his children and that He has the power not only to comfort and heal and help us even in our tragedies, but to make those very tragedies into wonderful blessings in our lives. When the Lord says, “And all things wherewith you have been afflicted shall work together for your good, and to my name’s glory” (D&C 98:3) He really means it.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Our Focus--Jesus Christ

Over the past couple weeks we’ve reviewed the different Truth Tools. I hoped they’ve helped you as much as they’ve helped me. I also hope you’ll share your stories about using the Truth Tools with me. Just email me at

But before we move on to other things one last reminder about the Truth Tools. They are not, in and of themselves, the saving factor. They are simply tools that can help us move out of the Pit of Illusion and into the Realm of Truth where we can better receive the divine help we need to grow and change. When we use the Truth Tools to rid ourselves of vexation, we put ourselves in a position to better hear the whisperings of the Spirit and to be guided by our Father in Heaven, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost. They are the ones who save us. They are the ones who work the mighty change upon us that is called sanctification. They are the ones we should look to and worship in our quest for Eternal Life.

Recognizing that the Tools are merely a help and that real salvation comes through Jesus Christ helps us keep our focus on what really matters. Jesus Christ is our Savior. The Tools are simply a way to bring ourselves to Him.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Isaiah is Good News!

Today in my Book of Mormon classes we started into the Isaiah chapters (1 Nephi 20 & 21). I always get so excited when we come to Isaiah because his writings are so rich and vibrant. Don’t get me wrong, all scripture is rich and vibrant, but Isaiah does it best which is why I think more prophets quote him than any other Biblical writer. Even Jesus quoted Isaiah more than He quoted any of the other prophets.

Isaiah speaks poetically which keeps me intrigued with the sounds and rhythm of his words. They are like music. He also teaches in what to me seems almost like code, so that every time I read him something new is decoded. This happens because the metaphors he uses take on new depth as my life gives me more experiences to use to decipher the code.

You can’t read Isaiah fast. You have to read him slowly and ponder every phrase until it sinks deep into your heart and from there seeps down into the marrow of your bones. Once in the marrow, the teachings of Isaiah are strength and vim and vigor. In short, Isaiah is amazing!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sweet Autumn

Fall is in the air and here in the Rocky Mountains that means color, brilliant color. But brilliant orange, yellow, gold, and red dotting the mountains isn’t the only sign of the season. Autumn means crisp air that invigorates with every breath, but those things aren’t the best things about autumn. The very best part of autumn is the music. Leaves crackle and crunch under your feet and the wind stirs the branches which in autumn make more than just a swishing sound. In autumn the branches make a distinct percussion crackle that sinks into the very marrow of the bones and tickles the heart.

Autumn is the perfect time to concentrate on living in the present. Anchor yourself and drink in all the marvelous feelings that are available in the present moment. Feel it. Taste it. See it. Hear it. Smell it. Drop the worry about the future. Stop thinking about the past—you can’t do anything about it anyway. Experience the wonder that is now and see how much better everything around you becomes.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Truth Tool - My Charge

My Charge
When Moses left the Children of Israel and Joshua became the new leader, the Lord gave Joshua a charge: “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest” (Joshua 1:9). I love this charge, which the Lord also gives to all the House of Israel, and since I am part of the House of Israel, I consider it my charge also.

But one day while I was contemplating this verse some things jumped out at me as if hitting me over the head and saying, “Look!” The first of thing that struck me was that this is not simply good advice, it is a command from the Lord. It is a command to not fear, and to not get discouraged. But even the command not to be fearful seemed strange. To me having courage meant to be brave and so did not being afraid. Why the redundancy? And why did the Lord find it necessary to define courage with the adjective good? Is there such a thing as bad courage?

It took me awhile, but I finally discovered that at the time the King James translators were translating the Bible the word courage meant “feelings and passions of the heart” and not bravery. Thus any emotion was courage, and so the Lord is charging Joshua (and us) to only have good feelings in our hearts.

But that presents a big problem. How can we go through our days with the media, other people saying and doing things and only let the good feelings into our hearts. Don’t bad feelings sometimes overpower us? The answer to that is in the last sentence. The reason we can do it is because the Lord is with us where ever we go or whatever we do. Despite the bad and evil, we can cast it away because we know there is a Savior who will eventually heal this world and all the righteous in it.

Understanding this charge to only let good feelings into your heart is a powerful Truth Tool. It can be used in time of vexation or as a preventative Tool to avoid vexation. I have rewritten the charge in modern English and put my own name in it. I have it laminated and carry it around in my wallet where I can refer to it any time vexation starts to overwhelm me. I also have it on a mirror that I see every morning. I have found that there is a power I can literally feel envelop me every time I reciting the words out loud.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Truth Tool - Rewriting

Are you tired of discussing the Truth Tools? Hang on, there are only two more to go. I know your tool belt is getting heavy with tools, but that is good. You never know when you are going to need one or two. Let’s say that today you are on a tight schedule, you are running behind, and need to be someplace but on the way there you encounter road construction and the traffic stops completely. Just reading this you can feel the tension and stress build within you and in the actual situation there may even be anger. Many of the tools we’ve already discussed work in this situation, but today’s tool, Rewriting, works especially well.

First, of all, notice why the vexation is occurring. You are telling yourself a story about how you are going to be late and the dire consequences of being late. Remember you are the author of this story and you control it. Therefore, you can change it.

So begin to tell yourself a different story. Who knows what might have been ahead if you’d not been slowed down. Maybe you are being saved from an accident. Maybe the person you are to meet is late also. Maybe you just need this time to slow down and smell the fragrance dispenser in your car! (Don’t think about the exhaust fumes around you. Thinking about it won’t change the fact that the fumes are there!) Or just thinking, “Wow, I have a few minutes to myself!” can make all the difference in the vexation.

Once you have calmed down, use the time for something productive. Worry and stress are never productive! Plan your next Home Evening. Write a poem. Set some goals. Read your scriptures. (I have a Book of Mormon in my car for such moments as this.) Listen to some good music.

Rewriting works especially well when the vexation is jealousy or grudges you are holding on to from the past. When you begin to think, “She shouldn’t have done that to me” simply change it to “She did that to me, but I can see now that she was hurting herself and probably didn’t know what else to do” or some other possibility that helps you let go of the hurt.

Rewriting can be fun. Add it to your Truth Tool Belt or Box (whichever you prefer to carry around!) and use it often.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Truth Tool - Distraction

One of the simplest of the Truth Tools is Distraction. When the negative feelings are being caused by something in the environment or some situation you are writing a story about, do something to distract yourself from the problem.

The day after I spoke at a Women’s Conference on Living in Truth a woman sent me an email with her story. The day after the conference she had gone to a fireside with her husband and the speaker was chewing gum while he talked. It was very annoying and the woman found herself sinking in the Pit of Illusion. “Didn’t his mother teach him any manners?” and “This is so repulsive. He shouldn’t be chewing gum while he talks,” and a number of other negative stories filled her head and spewed their negative poison into her heart. But she remembered what we had talked about the day before and decided to distract herself from the problem by looking up at the ceiling instead of at the speaker.

As she distracted herself from the gum chewing, she suddenly became aware that up to that point she had not heard one single thing he had said. Her mind was so full of mental chatter about the gum that she had missed everything. But now while watching the ceiling and listening she began to realize the speaker had some wonderful things to say. She was very grateful she had come back to the Realm of Truth and been able to learn from what was being taught.

Taking a walk in the woods, or jumping in a warm shower, playing your favorite music on an instrument, pulling weeds in the garden, cleaning out a cupboard, cooking something wonderful, woodworking, scrapbooking, or mowing the lawn are just a few of the things that you can do to distract yourself from the negative feelings. But in most situations, the key here is to decide ahead of time what you will do. For example, “Next time I start to worry about the budget, I’m going to clean out a cupboard.” Pick out something you like to do and then when the negative feelings begin do it. If you wait until the moment you are filled with worry and then try to decide what to do, you will have a difficult time. The negative emotion makes it hard to make a decision and nothing will sound good.

So pick out a distraction ahead of time and then Distract yourself when you need to.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Truth Tool - Humor

Laughter is medicine for the soul. Too many of us take ourselves far too seriously, but by learning to laugh at ourselves we open up whole new areas of healthy living. We can do this in many ways. One thing that works for me is to use my over-stimulated imagination and when I start to worry or have other negative feelings I exaggerate the things I’m worrying about to the extreme until suddenly I’m laughing at the preposterousness of what I’m thinking.

I’m embarrassed to admit it now, but years ago whenever my husband came home late, I’d find myself thinking, “Oh no! He’s been in an accident!” And I’d have the funeral planned, and sometimes even got to the point I was in tears as I pondered how I was going to support the children all by myself. But I’ve learned that when I start thinking “accident” to change to a funny story like Mr. J decided to stop and hike to the top the mountain and then I imagine him in his shirt and tie, trying to hike. I let my imagination go all out. He’s taking along his briefcase and laptop and fighting the brush back with it held in front of him like a shield. His face is full of determination and when he gets to the top of the mountain, he rips open his shirt to reveal a big “S” for Superman. Besides keeping me feeling good, when I do this my husband arrives home to a cheerful wife instead of a morose one.

Someone one told me that you’re going to laugh about most of the situations of life when you look back on them, so why not laugh now. Learning to see the humor in the situations, even the mistakes we make, instead of beating ourselves up over things, is a powerful Truth Tool.

And if you are careful and avoid sarcasm, Humor can be used to change tense situations. I’ve told this story before but it is worth repeating. One day Mr. J came home from work so grouchy that everyone avoided him. He went in his office and we all went into the kitchen to get dinner. As D3 was setting the table I noticed that she put a large cereal bowl of sugar at her dad’s place. I waited to see what was going on. Finally dinner was ready and we called Mr. J in to eat. As he approached his place he stopped and growled, “What’s this?”

D3 timidly spoke up, “We thought if you ate that you’d be a lot sweeter.” He started to laugh, all the stress left him, and he returned to his cheerful self.

Humor, can be biting and sarcastic and hurtful, but when used correctly it can be a powerful Tool to help us stay firmly grounded in the Realm of Truth.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Truth Tool - Affirm

While finishing my undergraduate work, I had the same Spanish professor almost every quarter so I got to know him quite well. He had once been a member of the Church but had decided the Church was not for him. This had come about because of a philosophy professor that had influenced him during his undergraduate education. During one quarter on the final day of class he showed us a movie in Spanish that was about drug lords, and kidnapping, and slavery—almost every bad in the world was represented in the movie. I left and later he asked me about it and I told him my feelings about the movie. He replied, “But that’s reality!”

At that point I felt so sorry for him. That wasn’t my reality—not even close to my reality. Just because something happens someplace in time doesn’t make it “The Reality.” What he didn’t realize is that we all create our own reality. We choose how we will look at things and when we choose to look at everything negatively, everything is negative.

But we can choose to look at things positively and that positive outlook will spill over into other things. So the Truth Tool Affirm works in many ways to help us create a positive reality. Instead of saying, “I’m so stupid” when we make a mistake we say, “I made a mistake. What can I learn from it?” Instead of saying, “The gospel is too hard to live.” We say, “The Savior will help me live the gospel.” Instead of saying, “Don’t eat that donut” when dieting, we say, “Eat healthy.”

In other words, to use the Tool Affirm, we state everything in the positive and we speak to ourselves and set our goals in the affirmative. We also speak to others in the affirmative. A friend who was a lifeguard related to me how she was taught to say to the children, “Please walk” instead of “Don’t run.” The reason for this is that the mind cannot picture “Don’t run,” but it can picture, “Please walk.”

When we use the Truth Tool Affirmed, we create a reality that is positive and empowering. We affirm ourselves with our self-talk, we affirm the situations we encounter, and we affirm other people. But most importantly, we change negative feelings to positive feelings.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Truth Tool - Music

Are you singing?
 If not start to sing and watch what happens inside you. Music is a powerful Truth Tool and works very well to dispel all kinds of vexation. Remember the musical, “The King and I” when Anna teaches the children to whistle a happy tune whenever they feel afraid? That isn’t just a fun song, it is valuable advice, and not just for dispelling fear.

Surrounding ourselves with good music creates an atmosphere that invites the Spirit and is strong preventative medicine that can keep us from plunging into the Pit of Illusion. Good music fortifies us and helps us stay firmly rooted in the Realm of Truth. But Music can also be used as a
Truth Tool when vexation overtakes us and begins to sink us into the Pit. Music is powerful.

We used to have a rule in our house when the children were growing up that you could fight and quarrel all you wanted—as long as you sang it. It was amazing how anger would turn to laughter in seconds when someone sang their angry feeling instead of shouting them. But music doesn’t just work when there are two parties involved in a heated discussion. Next time you encounter a frustrating situation sing your thoughts. Let’s say you hurry out to your car to leave for an appointment and you discover that you have a flat tire. As the negative feelings start to swell within you, sing your thoughts, “What has happened to my car? I don’t have time for this today. There’s no one around to help me fix it. What am I going to do?” Sing right out loud and watch what happens.

The situation doesn’t change. You still have some Necessary Pain to endure. You still have a flat tire. You still will be late. You still have a problem to solve. But you endure it well because you don’t suffer the Unnecessary Pain. Instead of falling into the Pit of Illusion you will stay in the
Realm of Truth where you have the direction of the Spirit to guide you to quickly and efficiently solve the problem.

Necessary Pain happens, but music can keep us firmly grounded in the Realm of Truth where we avoid the Unnecessary Pain and have more help.

So keep singing!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Truth Tool - Questioning

The Good News! today is that I really am going to get back to the Truth Tools. My second favorite Tool (right behind Anchoring) is Questioning. It is surprising how many bad feelings and vexations you can rid yourself of by simply asking, 
“Is that the truth and nothing but the truth?”

For example, let’s make up a scenario and say that you go to Back to School Night and your child’s teacher spends a lot of time with other parents but when you try to approach her she is distracted and doesn’t seem interested. So you begin to tell yourself a story about how the teacher plays favorites and how unfair it is that your child is not getting the attention the other students get, how rude and uncaring the teacher is, or that the teacher only pays attention to the kids with rich parents, etc. But by simply stepping back emotionally and asking “Is that true?” you often find yourself laughing.

If you aren’t laughing at how absurd your assumptions are then try Rewriting the story. 
Think of other possibilities of why she may be distracted and hurrying you along. 
Maybe she needs to get to the restroom after the long night. 
Maybe it is late and she has someone waiting for her at home. 
Maybe she is just plain worn out after a long day and her energy has quit on her.

And even if the first thoughts are true, what good does it do you to get all vexed about it. All you are doing is inflicting yourself with Unnecessary Pain and dropping yourself into the Pit of Illusion where it is difficult to hear the Spirit. If there really is a problem with the teacher, you want to be in the Realm of Truth where the Spirit can guide you as to how to deal with the problem. You don’t want to be so full of vexing emotions that you can’t hear the promptings of the Spirit.

Questioning works especially well on worry—when we are stressed that some awful things is going to happen. Asking ourselves if it is true that we are going to faint when we give that Sacrament Meeting talk we’ve been assigned to give, causes us to smile and realize that we are being overly dramatic. And the smile drives the vexation away.

Questioning is a powerful Truth Tool.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Today is a day of rest.
A day to fast from the things of this world.
(See D&C 59:13.)
Enjoy the rest!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Oh, What a Day I Had

I know I told you I would get back to the individual Truth Tools today, but I must diverge again and tell you about yesterday. Ever since my surgery and the radiation on Grizelda, I’ve struggled a great deal with regaining my stamina. Since the surgery in December of 2008, I’ve had to rest often and couldn’t work the way I used to. In addition Grizelda herself gave me problems.

Before the surgery I used to walk with a group of friends every morning. They were all younger than I am and they walked at a good, fast clip. After the surgery and radiation the doctor told me not to exercise strenuously, but when I thought I was ready, I met them and walked with them one morning. About a fourth of the way I began to feel a great deal of pressure behind my left eye, the place Grizelda resides, and with every heart beat I could feel the pressure increase. But I kept pushing until suddenly with every heart beat my vision would go blank like when you blink only I wasn’t blinking. That scared me and so I slowed down and cut through the park telling the others I’d meet them on the other side. I was concerned but didn’t want to alarm the others so I just fell behind and walked slowly home, but it took three days for the pressure to go down in my head and when I told the doctor about this he chastised me and told me not to do anything that got my heart pumping like that.

In addition, I couldn’t put my head down because the blood would flow into Grizelda and build up pressure. This meant I couldn’t garden. For the past two summers whenever I tried to bend over and pull weeds I’d feel the pressure and the other problems. At first I thought, “Oh good! I have an excuse not to garden.”

But lately the pressure has been less and with the last MRI being so encouraging, I decided to work in the garden yesterday. And did I ever work! We have a large yard and I spent four solid hours clearing out an area that during the past two years had become overgrown. I cut back bushes and trees and pulled weeds like a mad woman. I did have a young man from the ward help me with the heavy things, but I worked like I haven’t worked in two years and it was WONDERFUL!

The interesting thing is that I found myself several times spontaneously breaking out in prayer and thanking God that I could work. If you had asked me three years ago if I’d someday be thankful to work I’d have laughed at you. I used to think having an excuse not to work would be the greatest blessing! How wrong I was. I loved feeling my muscles stretched to full capacity. I loved feeling the sweat on my body. I loved the feel of my lungs sucking deep and hard for air. I loved watching the insects up close, and even loved the feel of the rose bush thorns pricking my skin. I loved looking at a task and thinking, “Can I do this?” then after it was done basking in the satisfaction of knowing I’d done it.

It short, it was an amazing day filled to the brim and overflowing with pure joy. Hard work is a gift, and I hope I never again take it for granted or try to wish it away. What I realized is that when working hard at something good and with the right attitude, we are smack dab in the middle of the Realm of Truth where joy and peace abound.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Creating Synergy

I don’t think many of you go back and read the comments that are left after posts here on GOOD NEWS! But there are often some very good ones that you should read. For example, after my post “Peace Like a River” there were two exceptional comments. (Click here and it will take you to them.)

"Sweet Synergy" by Josephine Wall
I appreciate the comments left and like how they add so much  to what I've written. Achieving that synergy is what life is all about. Synergy occurs when two or more parts come together and the total adds up to more than what the parts alone would equal. When you have synergy 2 plus 2 equals 6 or 7 instead of simply 4. It's what happens when a violin, cello, flute, or viola come together. Alone each instrument is beautiful but together they make a music that is beyond anything the others alone can make or even what you would expect from the four together. Synergy is what makes a good marriage, a good family, a good friendship, a good ward, a good gospel discussion, and a good blog. So any of you feel free to add your comments or experiences or questions so that we all will be benefited.

And tomorrow I will continue describing the individual Truth Tools. For those of you who have been reading GOOD NEWS! for awhile I am welcoming you to add your own experiences with the Tools to help others understand how they work. A good story says more than all the dialogue can!

(I love this painting by Josephine Wall called "Sweet Synergy."  If you click on her name it will take you to her site where she explains the symbolism in the painting.)

Thursday, September 9, 2010


One of my favorite Truth Tools is Anchoring. The way Anchoring works is that whenever you feel any vexation—any negative feelings building inside you—you stop and Anchor yourself to the present moment. To do this you refuse to think about anything except what is present before you. Concentrate on the colors and shapes, the sounds, the feel of the textures your hands and body are touching, the subtle odors in the air. In other words you concentrate on what your senses have access to right now.

Don’t let any thoughts about the past or the future enter your mind. Just enjoy this very minute and what the Lord is giving to you right now. This may sound similar to forms of meditation that are taught in Eastern religious practices, but it is different. In meditation you push ALL thought away and try to make the mind go blank. But in Anchoring you let the senses connect you to the current moment. As you connect to the present you find that there are other things available in the present besides what you can see, feel, hear, taste, and smell.

As the Lord has told us in D&C 59:18-19, “Yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart; Yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul.” What this means is that the things around us are given to us not just for physical sustenance but to “gladden the heart” and “to enliven the soul.” The problem is that we get our minds so full of what needs to be done or what has happened to us that we don’t pay attention to what is right before us. We are living in the past or future and ignoring the present. By Anchoring in the current moment you open yourself up to experience the joy, love, hope, and peace that are always available in the present moment. As President Thomas S. Monson has instructed, "Learn from the past, prepare for the future, live in the present" (Ensign, May 2003, 22).

Anchoring is a way to live in the present and thereby avail ourselves of all the wonderful gifts God is trying to give to us that “gladden the heart” and “enliven the soul.” Try Anchoingr while doing menial tasks such as washing dishes or pulling weeds. Concentrate on how your hands move, the feel of the water or soil on your hands, the smell of the soap or soil, etc. and then pay attention to what comes to you as you Anchor.

I'd love to hear your experiences! Share them here as a comment or email me at

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Great News!

I just had to share the news!
I got the results of my last MRI and Griselda has not grown any more!
 It looks like she is finally contained!
 I am not having any of the problems with pressure either, so I think we are safely out of the woods
 and moving forward in health!
 So many miracles!
My heart is overflowing with gratitude. Thanks for all your prayers and well wishes!
Goodby, Grizelda! I learned so much from you, but it's time you moved on!

The Truth About Truth Tools

There is something powerful about the Truth Tools. It is difficult to use them at first. Bad habits are always hard to overcome and you sometimes feel like it is never going to work. But as you persist in attempting to eliminate negative feelings, you discover that when you begin to apply a Tool in times of vexation, you experience “something” helping you.

If crows can use tools, so can you!
If you pay close attention, and don’t add more unnecessary pain to the situation by thinking thoughts like, “This is too hard!” or “This is never going to work!” you can actually feel the “something” empowering and urging you on.
The word sustain fits well here. Sustain means “to buoy up” or “to bear up under.” And that is what happens when you persist in using the Truth Tools. Eventually you actually feel someone sustaining you or bearing you up.

So don’t try the Truth Tools once or twice and give up. For some reason, we need to let the Lord know we are serious about changing and getting rid of negative vexation. When we have thus proved ourselves, the Truth Tools begin to work miracles in our lives to bring us peace, joy, love, and happiness.

And then the next miracle! When you consistently live in Truth others around you begin to change. They can’t push your buttons anymore because that doesn’t work. They don’t “catch” your bad mood because there is no bad mood to catch. They have to react to you differently because the old ways no longer work. They often discover that good moods are as contagious as bad moods.

It is amazing! And it really works if you keep at it until old habits are done away and new habits take over.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

More Truth Tools

The Good News today is that there are more
Truth Tools than what we talked about yesterday. In the Doctrine and Covenants 59:4 we are told that the reward for those who are seeking Zion, in other words seeking to be pure in heart, is that they will be ”crowned with blessings from above, yea, and with commandments not a few.” Most of us don’t think of commandments as blessings, but the commandments are Truth Tools—amazing Truth Tools that "crown" our lives if we let them.

One of the most powerful of the Truth Tools is prayer. When the negative feelings begin to swell within us calling upon God can dispel them. Another Truth Tool, Forgiveness, works not only on the negative emotion being generated by the offense we are holding a grudge against, but when we forgive and let go of the bad thoughts, we find that other negative feelings melt away also. Forgiving others works in the soul like taking a warm shower works on the body. You may get in the shower because your feet and hands are dirty, but your whole body gets cleaned and it feels so good.

Repentance, fasting, and the Sacrament are also powerful Truth Tools. When we take the time to analyze our lives and identify what we are doing right and what we are doing wrong and then go to the Sacrament Altar ready to sacrifice the things we are doing wrong and commit to do better the coming week,
we are empowered. Sin generates negative emotion and feelings
and when we give up the sin the negative feelings go with it.

In short, these and other commandments are really an enormous blessing in our lives.
They are Truth Tools that allow us to rid our lives of the negative feelings that push us into the Pit of Illusion and allow us to live in Truth where peace, joy, happiness and love abound. As D&C 59 goes on to say, “He who doeth the works of righteousness shall receive his reward, even peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come” (23).

Monday, September 6, 2010

Truth Tools

Saturday we talked about the basics of Living in Truth. That brings us to the Truth Tools.
The Truth Tools are just that—Tools that help us get out of the Pit of Illusion
and into the Realm of Truth.
They are what helps us move into neutral.

We’ve talked about many of the Truth Tools before
so if you click on the words Truth Tools it will take you to past blog entries about the Tools.
 (Or there are several links on the left of this blog that take you to places that discuss the various facets of Living in Truth.)

Sometimes we pick up from those around us a Truth Tool that helps
us to go into neutral in a certain situation, but we find it doesn’t work in other situations.
That is why it is important to have many tools ready to be used.
Just as a carpenter building a house needs more than just a hammer,
you and I need more than one Tool to help us Live in Truth.
 If one tool doesn't work in a situation,
 you try another until you find one that works.

Some of the Truth Tools I’ve identified and use are:

Good Courage

Whenever you feel negative emotions such as
 fear, worry, stress, anger, self-pity, sorrow, or envy pushing you into the Pit of Illusion,
 pick one of the Truth Tools and use it to get rid of the negative emotion.
Once the negative feelings are gone you can move into the positive from there.
 It is a lot easier than trying to go from negative directly to positive.
Once in the Realm of Truth you can experience
 happiness, joy, love, and peace
which are always available when Living in Truth.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Basics of Living in Truth

I’ve had several requests to write more about how to Live in Truth—the practical application. So here goes.

Brigham Young once told the people, “When you are tempted, buffeted, and step out of the way inadvertently; when you are overtaken in a fault, or commit an overt act unthinkingly; when you are full of evil passion, and wish to yield to it, then stop and let the spirit, which God has put into your tabernacles, take the lead. If you do that, I will promise that you will overcome all evil, and obtain eternal lives. But many, very many, let the spirit yield to the body, and are overcome and destroyed” (Discourses of Brigham Young, selected and arranged by John A. Widtsoe, p.70).

Stopping the negative thinking is the first step to Living in Truth. At the first intimation that negative feelings are swelling inside you, use one of the Truth Tools to stop the anger, jealousy, stress, worry, fear, discouragement, or whatever the bad feeling. At that point don’t try to make it positive, just concentrate on going into neutral. Once you are in neutral and have cast out the negative you will be able to feel what you should do next. Follow those feelings and they will lead you out of the Pit of Illusion and into the Realm of Truth.

The problem comes when we give in to the negative feelings. They take over and "drive" us. Those negative feelings are always so overpowering, loud, and contagious that it becomes almost impossible to hear our own conscience or the Spirit while they are creating their noise. But when we quiet the negative feelings, we can hear and feel the Spirit and that Spirit will guide us true.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Finding Zion

In the early days of the Church, Joseph Smith received a revelation concerning Zion and where it would be built. He told the brethren about the place in Independence, Missouri and the brethren with Joseph eagerly prepared and went. But when they arrived there was great disappointment. Instead of a beautiful Promised Land, they found a rough and tumble frontier settlement. Each of the brethren reacted in different ways. Some began to murmur and complain, but others with Joseph’s encouragement trusted that the Lord knew what he was doing and consecrated their money and time to establishing Zion.

Doctrine and Covenants 58 is a revelation given to the people at this time urging them to be positive and optimistic and implying that the enjoyment of a Promised Land at this place would come but also telling them that it would not come until after much tribulation. I love this section in the way it urges all of us to help bring about Zion by introducing a metaphor of a feast and giving us who know of the culinary delights of Zion a charge to gather others to the feast.

Zion will someday be a physical place, but in the meantime Zion is being established in the hearts of the people; Zion is the pure in heart (D&C 97:21). And as we Live in Truth and help others to do the same, we are establishing Zion. Like the early brethren, we will encounter disappointment and it may be difficult to understand how we can possibly establish Zion in this world, but if we trust in the vision of the Lord instead of our own vision, and do as He directs, Zion will be established in our own hearts. He knows how to change us. He has the power to change us. We can become pure in heart by Living in Truth and letting Him lead us.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Peace Like A River

I’ve always been intrigued with the promise found in Isaiah 66:12 “For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river…” The reason this interests me is because most rivers aren’t peaceful. Oh, once in awhile you see a slow, easy flowing river, but for the most part rivers travel downhill and that means rapids and currents and crashing into rocks, trees and other debris encountered along the way. This made me wonder what the Lord meant by “peace like a river.”

Then it occurred to me that what I am seeing is only the surface of the water. And what the eye beholds is not all that exists. Especially in a deep river, underneath the bubbly, rolling surface the waters are peaceful. There the fish swim in calm waters. Underneath the rapids there is tranquility like what is found under the giant waves of the sea.

There is a beautiful analogy here. When we Live in Truth life “bubbles” around us with stresses and worries. The busy current of life is fraught with dire situations and adversity. But when we live in Truth there is peace at our core and that peace provides power and energy to strengthen our resolves and a calm that guides us through the bustling activity on the outside.

After discovering this metaphor, I was delighted one day to find an album by one of my favorite artists, Christopher Parkening, entitled Grace Like A River that is a wonderful Truth Tool. Parkening is a classical guitarist and the songs on this album help us remember that the peace of the river and the peace within us is a gift, it is the enabling power or grace of God. Of course I bought the album and every time I play it I experience more delight as I remember the metaphor of the river and feel Parkening’s music convey grace and love into the very marrow of my bone to increase the peace that flows deep within.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I'm Having A Heartfelt Day

I’ve been teaching Book of Mormon for eleven years now—this semester begins my 12th year—and I still get excited when I teach the introduction. It still amazes me that of 239 chapters in the Book there are only six that don’t mention Jesus Christ. Today we discussed the title pages, the Introduction, and the testimonies of the witnesses, including Joseph Smith, to the authenticity of the book. An astonishing story! I love the Book of Mormon and am so grateful I have this privilege to teach it.

So what did I learn today? I learned again the importance of repetition. Moroni came FOUR times in a little more than 12 hours to deliver the same message. So I’m reading the Book—again!!! (And I’ll learn something new again!) I learned about the trust Joseph Sr. had in his son Joseph Jr. I learned that Satan will try to stop this work and that adversity comes to everyone even prophets of God. I learned that if I’m not careful like six of the witnesses, I will fall away.

There’s much more, but what I learned wasn’t the only important part of today’s lesson. It’s what I felt. The gospel of Jesus Christ is true and the 150 or so students that I have are children of God. He loves them and wants them to return to Him and I get to help in that process. Oh, how blessed I am! My heart is swelling so much with those marvelous feelings that I'm afraid it's going to burst right out of my chest.

We are all so blessed!