Wednesday, November 30, 2011

There's a Blessing In This Moment For You

This morning when I went out walking the rising sun had painted the puffy clouds a deep coral. It took my breath away and I stood there for a minute unable to walk on. Besides the brilliant colors the clouds looked like a layer of cotton balls and where they dipped and then rounded the color intensified and muted like the nuances of symphony music.

Since I’ve been endeavoring to Live in Truth one of the many blessings I’ve discovered is that in any given moment God is sending me something wonderful to see or hear or feel or smell or taste or experience. But I’ve spent most of my life so caught up with stressing, worrying, wishing, or fretting that I’ve missed most of it. Living in Truth has taught me to live in the moment—to look around and be aware and most of all to enjoy. Vexing over past and future gave me nothing but pain. Living in the present, like it did this morning, has given me so much joy.

Even when I was going through the battle with Grizelda and not knowing if I would die from cancer or be blind for the rest of my life, I found that by just forgetting about those possibilities and enjoying each moment as it came I could experience joy. If I became blind, then I would be blind. But I realized that by vexing about it before it happened I was already blind. It made more sense to enjoy the present in case I did go blind.

Try it. Stop whatever you are doing right now and look around for the blessing this moment holds. Listen. Look. Feel. Smell. Pay attention to the taste in your mouth. Whatever presents itself to you in this moment, savor and enjoy it. Then thank God for that blessing. If you do this pay close attention to the whole rest of your day because many more blessings will follow.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Remembering Grizelda

As the month of December approaches my mind is full of Christmas and the birth of my Savior, but it is also full of the miracle I received three years ago this December—a blessing provided by  that Savior. With the marvel of that miracle filling my heart I went back and read what I had written here on Good News! the day of my brain surgery to extract Grizelda. I’d forgotten that I finished reading the Old Testament the very day of the surgery, and was struck once again with a verse that stood out to me that day. “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall” (Micah 4:2).

That verse means even more to me now than it did then. He did care for me like a prize calf in a stall. He fed my spirit so that as I walked through the shadows of adversity I was at peace, he protected me, he tended to my every need. But it didn’t end. He continues to do so even though I am so undeserving.

As the anniversary of that event draws near, the memories keep springing to mind and so do all of the wonderful things I learned from the traumatic experience. I am so grateful.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Best Part of Christmas

The last few years I’ve been an absolute Scrooge when it comes to decorating for Christmas. I haven’t even wanted to put up a tree and when I finally did it it was with great reluctance. It wasn't fun at all--it was torture. But this year I found myself excited to do it. The difference? My son, his wife and children are temporarily living with us while they buy a new home. That means my almost 4 and almost 2 year-old grandchildren were here to help me decorate. But it wasn’t the help that motivated me. It was knowing they would bring the magic. And they did!

Saturday night we put up the tree and all the other decorations. After we put the limbs on the tree my grandson, Cash, left the room for a few minutes. When he came back, Mr. J had the lights on the tree. When he saw the lights, Cash stopped in the doorway, his eyes opened wide in wonder and a joyous grin stretched across his face. “It’s Christmas!” he said. That one look captured all the magic of Christmas and made all the work worth it.

I realize now that what I’ve been missing the last few years is children. Those of you who still have children and are stressing because they undecorate the tree as fast as you put things back on it, be grateful. I‘ve discovered that’s the best part of Christmas--watching the children enjoy it.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sabbath Scripture-Blessings

[God] doth require that ye should do as he hath commanded you;
for which if ye do,
he doth immediately bless you.
Mosiah 2:24

Everytime we obey
we are immediately blessed
with increased faith.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Rejoice With Others

It is often very easy to feel compassion for those less fortunate than we are. Especially at this time of year we concentrate on giving to those in need and helping out. But what we sometimes forget is that it is also important to rejoice with those that rejoice. For many of us that is so much harder to do. Jealousy, envy, and pride are just a few of the things that keep us from rejoicing with others, but learning to do it is just as important as helping the less fortunate.

Paul counseled the Corinthian saints by using the example that they were all one body. Then he said, “That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it” (1 Corinthians 12:25-26).

As we reach out to those less fortunate this Christmas season, also find someone who has cause to rejoice and instead of feeling negatively about them, rejoice with them. Tell them how happy you are for them. Pray and thank God for what He has done for them. Get excited about their blessings and then watch what happens inside you.

It is important to mourn with those that mourn, but it is also important to rejoice with those that rejoice.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Stop the Story

I've been rewriting my book, Living in Truth and Avoiding the Pit of Illusion. I wasn't happy with the way it was, and the revising has been a laborious yet insightful process. Today I've been working on the chapter on Storytelling and reviewing it has reminded me of how important it is to stay within the realms of truth. So often the simplest things trow us into the Pit not because of what happens but because of the story we tell ourselves about what happens.

Something like burning the beans for Thanksgiving dinner happens and instead of simply deciding whether we can fix it (make a new pot of beans) or live with it (not have beans as part of the meal) we tell ourselves a story about how stupid we are or how clumsy we are or how we are constantly making mistakes. Or we blame others. If they hadn't been so noisy we would have heard the timer. Or if they'd help out more we wouldn't be so over-burdened that we couldn't keep up with it all and so we burn things. These are all stories, and none of them is the truth.

When we tell these kinds of stories we are dealing with an illusion instead of with reality and it causes vexation which is unnecessary pain. Dealing with an illusion is like dueling with a ghost. You can shoot and shoot and shoot, but the ghost is never going to die.

But when we acknowledge the truth and decide whether to fix it or live with there is no unnecessary pain. We move forward without being vexed and all we had to do to achieve that peace was drop the story we were telling ourselves.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


The Good News! today is that we all have so very much to be thankful for.
I'm grateful for family and friends and for YOU!
Thanks for reading and leaving comments and just plain making me think.
I love you all!

Enjoy your day.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Advice To An Exile--Me!

In the Old Testament we find a letter written from the prophet Jeremiah to the Jewish exiles in Babylon. I love this letter and consider it a letter to me because just as the Jews were exiled from their home, I have been “exiled” from my heavenly home and can learn much from Jeremiah’s advice. These Jewish exiles have been taken captive to Babylon where their captors hope to assimilate them into Babylonian culture and make them friends of the empire instead of enemies. They are in a foreign environment and experiencing many things that they consider shouldn’t be, and are unable to keep many of the traditions and commandments they know should be.

From Jerusalem Jeremiah writes this letter urging the people to make the best of the situation. He tells them to “Build ye houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them” (Jeremiah 29:5). To be happy they need to accept the truth of their new surroundings, to concentrate on what they can do not on what they can’t do. He goes on, “Seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the Lord for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace” (Jeremiah 28:7). In other words, don’t fight the truth of your new reality. Learn to live the best you can within that reality. Make peace with your new world.

Then Jeremiah says to them, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (KJV Jeremiah 29:11). The New Revised Standard Version of the Bible translates that verse as, “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.”

That’s what we have—a future with hope. We are foreigners in a telestial world, but God has a plan for us and His plan is for our best good. We will experience things in this world that we have been taught “should not be”—things that will not be part of a celestial world, but instead of fighting against them, we can accept them as telestial truths and then deal with them in the most celestial way possible knowing that “all things shall work together for your good, if ye walk uprightly and remember the covenant wherewith ye have covenanted one with another” (D&C 90:24).

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Shoveling Manure

Yesterday and today have been days when I am thankful for the Truth Tools. We were planning to leave early this morning to go to Seattle to be with D8's family for Thanksgiving and to see our newest grandson. But when we got the weather report last night and saw that there were severe storm warnings in the mountain passes between here and Seattle, we decided not to chance it. D8 shed a few tears and I shed a few tears, but the truth is we are staying home. I can’t fix that so I’ve got to live with it.

Now I’ve got to quickly plan and prepare for Thanksgiving dinner. Everything is going to be so different than what we planned, but I’m looking for the silver lining.

One of my dad’s favorite stories to tell us was about the little boy who asked for a pony for Christmas. Christmas morning all he found was manure. Quickly he grabbed a shovel and began digging. Surprised that he wasn’t disappointed his parents asked what he was doing. His reply: “With all this manure, there has got to be a pony in here somewhere.”

With a smile on my face, I’m digging! Something good is bound to happen.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Giving Thanks

As we get closer to my favorite holiday,
my heart is full of thanks.
Perhaps that's why I love the holiday so much.
Other holidays are stressful and draining, but for me
Thanksgiving is invigorating and uplifting.
It makes me think about how 
thankful I am to be alive.
I'm thankful that Grizelda,
even though she refuses to leave,
is being a good visitor and not causing me problems.
I'm thankful for family and friends.
I'm thankful for all of the big things like the gospel and my beautiful home.
But I'm also thankful for raindrops,
sunshine on my cheeks,
a warm shower, a soft bed,
a fluffy down comforter given to me by a dear friend,
the scriptures,
crisp autumn mornings to walk through piles of crackling leaves.

I'm thankful for so many things
 and the more I list the more it feels like gratitude
 is lifting me like helium lifts a balloon.
I can tell already that today
is going to be a high flying day!!!!
Happy thanks giving week to you all.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sabbath Scripture - Spread the Good

Thou shalt declare glad tidings,
yea, publish it upon the mountains,
and upon every high place,
and among every people
that thou shalt be permitted to see.
Doctrine and Covenants 19:29

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Those of us here in Utah Valley woke up to a white world. It snowed last night covering trees, bushes, dirt, roads, cars, and rooftops with beautiful white snow. I love the first snow. I love it so much that years ago I started a tradition in the family that when the first snow that sticks to the ground falls I make cinnamon rolls. So guess what I'll be doing today? I can't wait.

Traditions are wonderful. Look at these definitions of the word tradition. (1) The handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without written instruction. (2) cultural continuity in social attitudes, customs, and institutions. Traditions are powerful ways to teach and to instill joy in your family. They give children (and me!) things to look forward to and anticipate. In short, traditions are wonderful.

We are coming into the holiday season when everyone has holiday traditions, but I'm curious. What traditions do you have that aren't part of a holiday? Leave a comment and share with us.

Friday, November 18, 2011


We’re now entering the week of giving thanks! Thanksgiving is my very favorite holiday—good food, good company, lots of love, and a reminder to be thankful.
I was talking to D2 today and she told me how she has been using the Truth Tool gratitude and playing the “But thanks. . . “ game all week and how it has made her feel so good. She told me several experiences and then exclaimed, “Giving thanks changes you!” I couldn’t agree more.

Thanksgiving is a great time to remember all that we have to be thankful for. It is also a great time to practice using the Gratitude Truth Tool. Instead of thinking, “Yikes, I have to cook dinner for twenty people!” give thanks and say, “Wow, I’ve got twenty people to love and who love me. How blessed I am.” Then notice what happens inside you. It isn’t just about a warm fuzzy feeling that comes. It is about the energy and empowerment that surges through you when you give thanks. Sincerely giving thanks is like plugging yourself into an energy source. It invigorates. It uplifts. It encourages. So give thanks and reap the benefits!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Bottomless Pit

I’ve talked a lot here on Good News! about the Pit of Illusion and the vexation that comes from being in the Pit of Illusion momentarily. But when we live in the Pit of Illusion all of the time, we live in a bottomless Pit and that is excruciating pain. 

A few years ago, I met a man (I’ll call him John) who when he was nineteen had left a girlfriend he loved very much in order to serve a mission. She promised to wait, but while he was gone she met and married someone else. This upset John so much that his life has become bitter. He never married. He can’t hold a job for long because he can’t get along with other people. He left the Church because he can no longer believe in a God who would betray him like that. He haunts himself with the thought that while he was doing God’s work, God let his girlfriend marry someone else.

John’s life has been one of pain and vexation because he is living in the Pit of Illusion all of the time. The simple truth is that his girlfriend married someone else. But instead of dealing with that truth—finding ways to heal and to move on with his life—John has spent his life based on the illusion that the girlfriend ruined his life. He nurses that thought. He bases all his decisions on that perceived thought. He feels like everyone is against him just like she was. He is working so hard to deal with the illusion that he can’t see the truth let alone accept and deal with it.

There is always pain in the Pit of Illusion. But it is self-inflicted pain and all we need to do to relieve the pain is to stop inflicting it. When we stop the unnecessary pain and climb out of that horrible Pit, we find that God is a God of truth and is there to help us.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Be a Poet

In George MacDonald’s book On the Back of the North Wind, the North Wind explains to the boy Diamond that a poet is someone who sees something good in the world and then helps other people to see it also. I love that definition of a poet, but I also love the implication that anyone who helps others to see the good in the world is a poet.

I love to read poetry. I love to write poetry. I love language. But a lot of modern poetry is not about seeing the good or helping others see the good. Somehow the literary world has lost its avocation of good and has become an advocate of reality as if reality is a given that can't be disputed—but reality is something we all create. We each have our own reality that we create for ourselves.

So I’m proposing that we all be poets using George MacDonald’s definition. As you walk through your day, see the good, and be a poet--share the good in whatever words you have. Then watch the magic happen as your own reality grows more beautiful.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

God Knows the Way

Yesterday when my son told his three-year-old son that their new baby was going to be a girl, my grandson broke out in tears. He wanted a brother, not another sister. But after talking through the situation with his dad, my grandson is now happy that he will have two little sisters to love and protect.

When my son first told me of this I laughed. It was cute, but the more I’ve thought about it the more I realize that I’ve cried about a lot of situations in my life that later turn out to be not only right, but the very best, right thing for me. As a matter of fact, some of the times when I thought God had forgotten all about me have turned out, down the road a few years, to be actual answers to my prayers. 

This has taught me to trust more. God knows where I am supposed to be doing better than I do, and if I relax and trust in Him, I’ll get there a lot faster and with a great deal less pain and vexation.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Glad Tidings

Find cross stitch here
This morning I was reading this:
 “And thou shalt declare glad tidings,
yea, publish it upon the mountains,
and upon every high place,
 and among every people
that thou shalt be permitted to see”
(D&C 19:29).

That was an invitation I cannot resist. So, I’m going to declare glad tidings all day long.
Glad tidings are good news.
Glad tidings are the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Glad tidings are hope and love and all those things are possible because of Jesus Christ.
I’m glad for those tidings.
My heart is singing. I don’t have a musical voice, but my heart is bursting with song.
My heart sings loud and true and clear and right now it is singing glad tidings of great joy.

The world is in chaos, but I have a Savior who will put things right.
 That is the best of good tidings.
I made mistakes and encounter fear and sorrow, but He will succor me through the dark days.
That is the wonder of the good tidings.
Every note of my heart-song is full of rejoicing.
I hope you can hear it, because angels carry the songs of rejoicing to whoever is listening.
Are you listening?

Glad tidings are in the air.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sabbath Scripture - All You Do

thou shalt do all that thou doest
 in the name of the Son,
and thou shalt repent
and call upon God
 in the name of the Son
Moses 5:8

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Words Have Power

Words are poweful. I've always known that, but over the past year as I've been researching words, I've had that reinforced to me over and over and over. Just yesterday I was re-reading a book I first read years ago. The book contains interviews by Bill Moyers with poets, and of all people poets know the power of words.

One of the poets interviews is James A. Autry and he stands out from the rest because of his unique situation. A lot of today's poets seem to have come out of the hippie movement--and I don't mean that in a bad way. I mean that in they are concerned and are free-spirited and set themselves apart from modern culture. But Autry is a successful businessman, the "corporate" poet.

In his interview with Moyers Autry condemns the sports and battle metaphors that are used in business language. He explains that when "you think of yourself as a winner, you must think of osmeone else as a loser, and that makes the whole thing a zero sum game."

And then there is the part of the interview I love best. Moyers asks, "So you believe we take on the qualitites of the elanguage we use?" And Autry answers, "Yes."

To that I say a loud, "Amen." The way we speak shapes what we are. You can argue the old chicken and the egg thing here about which comes first--the way we are or the language we use. But at this point it doesn't matter how we got to be the way we are. What matters is how we grow to be something more than what we now are. And changing the way we speak is one of the most powerful ways to change what we are.

Words have power and when we use positive, uplifting, encouraging, kind, loving words we take on thsoe characteristics.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Living in Truth

D2- My very favorite nurse.

While talking to D2 yesterday she told me of an experience she had with Living in Truth. She has just begun an on-line university program to pursue her Master’s degree in nursing. This is something she has wanted to do this for years and was so excited, but after her first week she tried to log on one morning to do her daily assignment and was told she had been dropped from the program because she was ineligible.

It took a lot of work, many, many phone calls, and some down and out sleuthing to find where the problem was but finally it was discovered what had caused the glitch and she was reinstated. The people at the university were extremely apologetic and kept telling her that nothing like this had ever happened before. But the interesting thing is how she handled all this. She explained, “It was such a mess and I’d feel myself getting all tense and frustrated and disappointed at what was happening and then I’d use the Truth Tools and calm down and just do what needed to be done. It took a week to straighten everything out but the interesting thing is that, one morning while talking to my advisor she suddenly said, ‘You are so calm.’ And I realized I was.”

What D2 recognized is that getting angry and venting on the people at the university for what turned out to be a computer mistake wouldn’t have made anything better. It would only cause her vexation. Yes, the mistake meant she had to start over with a new cohort and yes it was lost time, but by passing through the ordeal without becoming vexed meant she was at peace and at this point is even realizing that having to start over has some benefits. “I was so nervous the first week since it has been so long since I’ve been in school, and there was so much to learn. But that week got me acclimated. I learned the system and how to do things and so when I started over instead of being nervous at all the new things, I started relaxed and ready to go. Besides that the first cohort I was in had very few nurses in it. Most of the students were public health majors. But this new cohort is almost all nurses. It will be so much better for me.”

What she didn’t say that I’m sure is also a benefit is that if she’d become vexed over the situation the negative energy vexation generates would have also spilled over into her new beginning and cast a shadow on all she was doing. Living in Truth is the path of peace and the benefits go on and on.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Tale of Two Foxes

As you know by now, I love folktales. This one is an old Appalachian folktale that beautifully illustrates the blessings of Living in Truth and what we become when we live in Truth.

There once were two foxes who lived in a plentiful wood. One fox was tall and slim and the other shorter and stouter, but they were such good friends that the other beasts of the woods teased them and gossiped about them. Besides the teasing and gossip the foxes daily heard and saw much quarreling and aggravation from everyone around them. One day after watching two squirrels fighting over an acorn the taller fox said to the shorter, “Maybe we should be like everyone else and then they wouldn't tease us and gossip so much.”

“Yes,” said the shorter fox. “Maybe they know something we don’t. Maybe we should see why such a life is so pleasing to so many.”

“Then let’s try fussing and fighting so we will be like the others.”

“But how do we do it?” asked the shorter fox.

“I’ve seen the animals bite each other,” said the taller fox.

“But that would hurt and you are my friend. I don’t want to hurt you.”

“You are right,” said the taller fox. “Maybe we could argue about something and that would make us angry like it does the squirrels fighting over the acorns.”

“That wouldn’t hurt as much,” said the shorter fox. “But how do we do it?”

“Like this,” said the taller fox, and picking up two large sticks he shouted, “These are my sticks. You can’t have them.”

“If they are your sticks, Brother Fox, I don’t want them. I would never deprive you of something you wanted that much.”

“We are not getting anywhere,” said the taller fox.

“No, but maybe I can help. I’ve heard the bears say this and it caused a great turmoil.” And then the short fox growled as loud as a fox can growl and shouted, “These woods are mine and there is not room for both of us here.”

Startled the tall fox looked at his friend and said, “I like you. You are my friend. And I like this wood very much, but if you want to be the only fox in the wood then I will go. I will find another wood.”

The short fox looked startled, “You will go? But I don’t want you to go. You are my friend.”

“And you are my friend. I am happy you don’t really want me to go. I will stay.”

For a long moment the two sat silently. Finally the taller fox smiled, “Brother Fox, I don’t know why the others like this fussing and quarreling. It takes too much work."

“Yes,” agreed the shorter fox, “Let us be what we are and leave them to be what they are.”

And so they remained friends and were never again tempted to be like the others.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

What is Worship?

I wish I were full of answers today, but instead I’m full of questions. Yesterday I was struck by the word worship. It is a word I’ve heard and used all my life; “I go to Church to worship.” But suddenly it hit me that I don’t really know what that means.

I looked up the word and my dictionary said, “Reverence offered a divine being or supernatural power; also: an act of expressing such reverence.” The word comes from Old English weorth which means worthy and -scipe a suffix which in English translates into –ship a suffix meaning “state or condition of.” That only gave me more questions. How do I “Reverence God”? Is the state of "worthy" mine or His?

From this etymology of the word I got the feeling that worship is praising God's worthiness. But simply saying words of praise seems to fall short of what my heart tells me is intended.

What all this pondering boils down to is this question: What is the difference between sitting through a Sacrament meeting and worshiping at a Sacrament meeting?

I’ve pondered for hours now and think I’m discovering some important things, but I’d like to hear what you think. Please leave a comment and tell me what you think it means to worship God or how you think we should worship.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Cursing of the Fig Tree

In the New Testament we find a story that often baffles people. It describes how one morning the Savior saw a fig tree and desired to eat of its fruit. But as He draws near to the tree He discovers that it has no fruit and so He curses the tree. This seems very uncharacteristic of the Savior unless one knows a little about fig trees.

Unlike the cherry trees in my yard which produce leaves then blossoms then fruit, the fig tree produces fruit and then leaves. This means that the tree the Savior saw should have had fruit on it. This was symbolic of the Pharisees and the Sadducees who dressed in the robes of the priesthood and claimed to have power, but they did not bear the fruits of the gospel. Thus the cursing of the tree was a condemnation of hypocrites and a demonstration of what will happen to them.

There are many other lessons to be learned from this story. It symbolizes what will happen to those who refuse to repent. It is an illustration of the power of faith. But the most stunning lesson for me is that Jesus had before demonstrated that He had power to restore life such as when he raised Lazarus from the dead. Now He shows that He also has power to take away life. In a few days He will hang upon a tree (the cross) but He will not be killed by the soldiers; He will voluntarily give up His life for you and me. Jesus Christ has power to give life and He has power to take life away—His own and ours.

Instead of demonstrating this power to take life away on a person, He demonstrated His power on a tree that was not doing what it was designed by nature to do—it was not bearing fruit to feed and sustain the sons and daughters of God.