Monday, February 28, 2011

Tastes of Heaven

Florence May Chadwick
Yesterday I was teaching a Relief Society class on the Holy Ghost and how the Spirit operates in our lives. During the discussion I mentioned how every once in a while the Spirit gives us experiences that allow us a glimpse of heaven. We get a taste of what it will be like for eternity if we endure to the end. This is what C. S. Lewis referred to as Joy—a feeling of the infinite with all its accompanying goodness.

When I made this comment a woman in the class explained that usually the Spirit speaks to her in her mind, but she had also experienced these moments of extreme happiness and because the Spirit usually speaks to her mind she didn’t realize those feelings were coming from the Spirit. Then she asked why God gives us these moments. I didn’t answer the question well and while she won’t see this I feel compelled to answer it now.

My Father raised me on stories and one of those stories was about a woman named Florence May Chadwick. She was a swimmer (like I was—only she was a LOT better!) In 1950, Florence swam the English Channel in 13 hours and 20 minutes which was a world record. The next year she swam it in the other direction also breaking the record with a time of 16 hours and 22 minutes. Then in 1952 Florence attempted to swim the 21 miles from Catalina Island to Palos Verde, California.
That day a thick fog made it difficult to see even the boats that accompanied her. After a little more than 15 hours of swimming, tired and unable to see, she told her mother, who was in one of the boats, that she didn’t think she could make it, but she swam for another hour before finally asking to be pulled out. As the boat continued on she discovered that she had stopped swimming about one-half mile from her destination. She later told a reporter, "Look, I'm not excusing myself, but if I could have seen land I know I could have made it." Because she couldn’t see, she lost hope. Two months later Florence tried again. The same fog set in, but this time she continued on despite the fact she couldn’t see and achieved her goal in 13 hours, 47 minutes, and 55 seconds.

I think the Lord knows that you and I need a taste of what is to come in order to keep us “swimming.” When we see and know what is waiting for us, it is easier to hang in there when the “fog” of life is trying to blind us and keep us from our destination. Therefore, he gives us tastes of Heaven while we are still on earth. So look for those moments, recognize them for what they are, and cling to the memory of them.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Bask in the Sabbath Light

"Then spake Jesus again unto them , saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." (John 8:12).

"And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings; Which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space--The light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God who sitteth upon his throne, who is in the bosom of eternity, who is in the midst of all things" (D&C 88:11-13).

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Keep Smiling!

I hope this is making you smile!
Many years ago I read in a science magazine about how psychologist had discovered that feelings cause chemical changes in the body. But more than that, they discovered that mimicking the facial features that accompany the feeling will also cause the chemical changes. So they suggested that a person smile even if they don’t have a reason to smile and the chemicals would kick in for happiness.

So I’ve come up with a great idea. There are days when smiling is simply impossible. Everything is going wrong. Nothing is going right. You can’t make yourself smile. On those terrible, horrible, no good days, simply put a pencil in your mouth to hold the shape.

I guarantee that after awhile you’ll feel better. (If the chemical changes in your body aren’t doing the trick, hearing every one laugh at you certainly will!)

Keep smiling!

Friday, February 25, 2011


Tuesday as I walked into work the air sang with spring. Birds greeted me with song, the sun warmed my cheeks, the grass hinted at turning green, the air was alive with newness and an expectation of warm, wonderful things to come. Today we are under eight inches of bright, white snow and it is still coming down. 

Now I have a choice. I can get upset that the sun is hiding and that ice clutches the world in its cold grip, or I can see the beauty of this white world in all its sparkling splendor. One choice will sink me into the Pit and make the rest of the day miserable. The other choice will tickle something deep inside me so that I joyously giggle my way through the day. When we stop to think about it in this way, it makes us wonder why we ever choose the Pit. 
The view from my bedroom window.

As Elder Wirthlin said, “Come what may, and love it!” So I am loving this beautiful white world and thanking my Father in Heaven for coats, gloves, a warm car to travel in, and for the beauty of the earth. The sun will come back. The earth will turn green. But right now, I’m enjoying white.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

My Super Power

I overheard my grandson, Eli, talking one day about his super power. I think he had been watching one of the super hero movies and had decided that he, too, had secret powers. Shortly after that my grown children were talking about what super power they would like if they could have one. One wanted to be invisible. One wanted to fly. One wanted super strength. They all had their reasons and laughed their way through a delightful conversation. But having super power, isn’t too very far from the Truth when you understand the Good News of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The dictionary defines grace as “unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification.” In my own “earthy words” that means God gives us power to change so that we can return to him even though we don’t deserve it. Technically grace is God’s power, but lovingly He gives it to us if we want it and seek after it.

We learn more about grace in the definition found in the Bible Dictionary, it says that grace “is an enabling power.” Often, in today’s world, we only talk about enabling in a negative way when we describe spouses or parents or friends enabling negative behavior. But enable means “to provide with the means or opportunity” and that is what God does for us in a very positive way. He provides us with the means and opportunity to become like Him. But that isn’t all. He provides us with the power to do what needs to be done right here and right now (whatever that is!). Now that is Super Power—not fantasy but real life Superpower that is available to anyone who follows the path of righteousness.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Freed From The Pit

One of the big problems with being in the Pit of Illusion is that no good is found there. For example, while in the Pit because of an unforgiving heart, your heart has no room to receive the good God is trying to give you. But when you forgive, clear all the grudges and bad feelings out of our hearts, we create space for God’s goodness come into the heart. Forgiveness is letting go of old thoughts and attitudes so that new thoughts and attitudes can find a place in us.

But there is something else. As long as we hold on to a grudge the person we are refusing to forgive has power over us. It is as if they are standing over us with their foot on our throats while we lie helpless on the floor. But what has happened in the past cannot hurt us unless we are so fixed upon it that it holds us captive.
The amazing thing is that all we need to do to free ourselves from the jailor that holds us captive under foot is to forget about the offense. Forget the grudge and you slip out from under the captor’s foot. You stand tall and walk away a free person.

By letting go of past grudges, heartaches, sorrows or whatever negative emotions hold us captive, we open our hearts to receive the present good and we are free—free to move on and free to be forgiven ourselves. As the Savior taught, “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you” (Matthew 6:14).

By forgiving, we have nothing to lose but vexation and everything to gain! So open your heart and receive!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Mom is the Young one in the red jacket.
I had a great surprise today. I began to teach my ten o’clock class and my mother and nephew walked in. My nephew from Idaho is looking at BYU as a place to go to college and was here to tour the campus. I knew he was coming to my class, but I didn’t know Mom was coming along. I love surprises, and this was a delightful surprise.

Next month Mom will turn 85 years young. And I mean that literally. Her maiden name is Young and so she always tells us she is forever young. But she is young in more than just name. She will outlive me! She lives alone and keeps the home I grew up in as clean and neat as a hospital room. She does water aerobics, attends institute classes, teaches Relief Society, and works as hard as she did fifty years ago. I did notice, however, that she had trouble staying awake during my class. That, however, is because she can’t stand to sit down. She has to be constantly moving. The best hint I can give you to help you know my mom is two words: Energizer Bunny. 

I hope you all get a delightful surprise today like I did!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Reach for the Stars

picture from:
There is a song in the musical play Mary Poppins that I love. The song is “Anything Can Happen” and the line goes, “Anything can happen if you let it.”  That is a very good way to sum up the consequences of Living in Truth. Anything CAN happen, but too often we don’t let it because we are in the Pit of Illusion.

Throughout my life I’ve failed more than I’ve succeeded, but I’ve discovered that if I let discouragement push me into the Pit I only bring on more failure. When I stay in the Realm of Truth despite the failure I discover that there are important lessons I’ve learned from the experience, and I then can move on to new possibilities and experiences. Sure, that has sometimes meant another failure, but I prefer to think of it as another learning experience. I’m growing. I’m learning. I’m living.

The sad thing is when we let failure keep us from trying again. Anything CAN happen if you live in Truth. The Realm of Truth is where miracles occur; where life happens. Much learning takes place in the Realm of Truth and opportunities abound. But when you live in the Pit of Illusion, nothing good happens.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Something to Ponder

Sabbath scripture to ponder: 
"Therefore, in the beginning the Word was,
for he was the Word, even the messenger of salvation--
The light and the Redeemer of the world; 
the Spirit of truth, 
who came into the world, because the world was made by him, 
and in him was the life of men and the light of men" (D&C 93:8-9)


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Which Glory Am I Quickened By?

The scriptures teach us that at any moment of any given day you and I are “quickened by the glory” of either the celestial, terrestrial or telestial. (See D&C 88.)  Which glory we choose to let quicken us makes all the difference in our condition in this world and the next. 

But the two words used here, quicken and glory, are not words we use much and so sometimes the meaning goes right over our heads and we fail to grasp the significance of what we are being taught. The word glory is usually used to mean “praise, honor, or distinction” but there is another definition of the word that fits what we are talking about. Glory can also means, “a distinguished quality or asset.”

There are several definitions of the word quicken in the Merriam-Webster dictionary and the best way to sense how the Lord is using the word is to exam all of them. Quicken means “to come to life” or “to enter into a phase of active growth and development” or to shine more brightly.” Each of these definitions contains the meanings of growth and progress. In a dictionary for people who are learning English, quicken is defined as, “to make (something, such as a feeling) stronger or more active” or “to become stronger or more active.”

When we put these two meanings together we realize that “quickened by a portion of the celestial glory” (D&C 88:29) means that we are being made active by the qualities of and assets of the celestial world. In my own words this means we are being motivated and influenced by celestial values. 

So what are the qualities or values of the celestial, terrestrial, and telestial? On a telestial level we are motivated by selfishness and greed. On a terrestrial level we are motivated by success and pride. And on a celestial level we are level motivated by trust in Jesus Christ and charity or the pure love of Christ.

In the scriptures we are taught that in the resurrection we will be restored to the body we have “made” while in this life. If in this life we responded to telestial glory we will be restored to that telestial body we developed while on earth. If we responded to terrestrial glory we will be restored to a terrestrial body. If we respond to celestial glory or influences we will be restored to a celestial body.

But this isn’t just about what will come in the future. Right now we live in a celestial, terrestrial, or telestial state of being depending on what we respond to. Living in Truth means living and responding to celestial glory means that we have access to a portion of the “assets and qualities” of celestial life right now. And what are those qualities? Love, peace, happiness, joy, and truth. It all can be ours, now!