Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I'm Learning -- Slowly

Don't you just love it when you catch yourself doing the very thing you are preaching against and working so hard to overcome? No! But that's how life goes and that's how we learn.

If you've read Good News! much you already know that I'm a struggling pessimist-addict who is working hard at being positive and non-critical. That's what caused me to search out and learn what it means to Live in Truth. Some days I feel like I'm doing well at my goals and other days I find myself in the Pit of Illusion more than I want to be. And then there are the days I think I'm doing well and something brings me up short. That's what happened on the way home from California yesterday.

I was slowly making my way through the security line at the airport when I noticed a woman in the winding line beside me wearing a banner diagonally across her chest with big, pink, glittery letters that said, "Bachelorette." My immediate thought (I'm sorry to admit it!) was, "That is so weird. Why would anyone parade through an airport advertising in pink glitter their marital status?"

Obvious to you, that was an extremely negative comment. (Mind you, I didn't say it out loud; I just thought it loudly!) But it didn't even register in my mind (think 60 years of bad habit!) that I was thinking a very negative thought UNTIL about two minutes later when someone new entered the security line and seeing the Bachelorette proclaimed aloud to the woman with him, "How cute! Look at that girl with the pink banner."

I was immediately called to repentance and realized my thinking was wrong. The Lord chastens those He loves!

Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: 
nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness 
unto them which are exercised thereby. 
Hebrews 12:11

Monday, July 30, 2012

Many Thanks!

Many, many thanks to the wonderful sisters of the Hanford Stake who have made me feel so welcome. I have enjoyed my visit here and am especially grateful to those of you who have left such kind comments on GOOD NEWS!  I appreciate it, I'll be retuning home this afternoon.

After the conference a sister gave me this amazing origami rose that she had made. It is so beautiful, and a gift from the heart always means so much to me. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012


The day went well! I met some wonderful new sisters and learned from them and shared what I have learned with them. But I completely forgot to share that fantastic quote  I  posted yesterday! I got going in a different direction and left it out. 

It is surprising how many times when you speak a lot the spirit takes over and you end up teaching things you didn't plan on teaching. It is an interesting experience that helps me realize how much God loves each of us and when we are in an audience  He will  sometimes even change what a speaker has planned in order to meet our needs. Therefore I need to concentrate on going to meetings prepared and with the proper attitudes so that I can learn the things He has planned for me to learn.

I'll share more of what I learned from these good sisters on Monday. It was great.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Sharing Good Words

I made it to CA. The plane ride was much smoother than the last ride I took. I am now enjoying the company of D2 and her wonderful family. 

I only have a moment today, but I want to share with you a quote I am using tomorrow. I love this message that President Brigham Young gave us. "In all your social communications, or whatever your associations are, let all the dark, discontented, murmuring, unhappy, miserable feelings, all the evil fruit of the mind, fall from the tree in silence and unnoticed; and so let it perish, without taking it up to present to your neighbors. But when you have joy and happiness, light and intelligence, truth and virtue, offer that fruit abundantly to your neighbors, and it will do them good, and so strengthen the hands of your fellow beings."

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Triumph Over Chaos

Ready or not I leave in two hours for California to speak at a Women's Conference in the Hanford Stake on Saturday. Yesterday as I was working on my talks everything went wrong that could possibly go wrong. I couldn't find my past notes. Both of my computers refused to work and so did the printer. I couldn't find my scriptures! (I have seven sets, but I couldn't find the scriptures I travel with.) I kept getting interrupted and I couldn't find my flash drive with the PowerPoint presentation that I had made on it. And that's just a few of the things that went wrong! It was a terrible, no good, horrible day.

After all that chaos I'm not sure I'm prepared, but I am more convinced than ever that Living in Truth works. I made it through the ordeal without being vexed or upset which if you know my past you know is monumental. That kind of thing used to destroy me. But I kept telling myself that everything is going to be fine and I stayed out of the Pit of Illusion and made it through the day with little pain. This weekend may not be the best prepared lecture I've ever given, but it will be backed up with a lot of conviction. Hopefully that will communicate something.

Everything is exactly as it should be. I'm going to trust and enjoy the present moment!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Listening to Joshua Bell

Life experiences have a way of sticking with us and making it difficult to Live in Truth unless we consciously make a decision to do so. Every moment in our lives is new, but because of past life experiences we often miss what is being given to us in the present moment. An amazing experiment done in January 2007 exemplifies this.

Gene Weingarten, a journalist with The Washington Post enlisted the help of the world famous violinist, Joshua Bell. Bell dressed like a street musician and played several violin pieces in the L’Enfant Plaza Metro subway station in Washington, D. C. for forty-five minutes. The proceedings were videotaped on a hidden camera (see it here) and revealed that of the 1,097 people who passed by, only seven stopped to listen and only one of those recognized him. During that forty-five minutes Bell collected $52.17 from twenty-eight people, twenty dollars of it from the woman who recognized him. The night before people had paid more than $52 per person to listen to him play in concert!

The question we have to ask ourselves is what would we have done if we had been one of the 1,097 people? Would we have assumed that since it wasn't a concert hall and since the man was dressed in rags this couldn't possible be worth listening to? Would we have let past experiences with “street people” taint our present experience? Or would we have been alive and alert to the present moment and accepted the gift of music offered to us?

In Seattle recently I realized that this is one area of Living in Truth I need to work on. While walking along the wharf, I encountered a Polynesian woman sitting on some stairs with several plastic shopping bags surrounding her. She was singing in her native tongue what sounded to me like a folksong, but as I passed she stopped singing and commented on how hot it was and offered me a bottle of cold water. Assuming that she was selling the water and probably for an exorbitant price, I smiled, declined, and hurried on. A few minutes later Mr. J, lagging behind me because he had been taking pictures, encountered the woman and stopped, engaged her in conversation, and took the water offered. He tried to pay her for it but she refused any recompense and sent him on his way with warm wishes for a good day.

Since it really was a hot, humid day, and not having any water with me I could have used the cold water the woman offered, but like the 1,090 people who refused to stop and listen to Joshua Bell, I refused the refreshment because of my prejudices and assumptions.

I'm working on it! Every moment is new and we will never know what wonderful things are being offered to us if we look at the present moment through eyes of the past.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Happy Pioneer Day!

Here in Utah it's Pioneer Day which is a state holiday that commemorates the day Brigham Young entered the valley and proclaimed, "This is the right place." At this very moment a huge parade is going on in Salt Lake City, but not being a parade fan I'm here in my air conditioned house enjoying the day.

But for me Pioneer Day isn't just about Utah history, it's an important day in our family history. Forty-three years ago today D2 was born and about two hours before she was born Mr. J received his draft notice telling him that in ten days he was to report to Fort Lewis for basic training. Because of that draft notice I walked into the hospital crying (make that bawling!). When the nurse saw me she said reproachfully, "It can't be that bad!"

"My husband just got drafted," I answered between sobs.

She jumped from her seat at the nurses station, ran around the desk, threw her arms around me, and said, "It's that bad." Less than an hour later D2 was born.

I thought life had ended. It was Vietnam and a cousin I was very close to had been killed in the war and all I could picture was myself a widow with two babies to care for. I went through some terrible times of doubting God and cursing life--creating unnecessary pain for myself. But as it turned out Mr. J was stationed in Germany instead of Vietnam and we got to go with him. I still look back on that year in Germany as one of the most fun and exciting years of my life.

I only wish that I knew then what I know now about Living in Truth. I would have been spared a lot of pain and suffering. That's one of the reasons I love Pioneer Day so much--because it helps me remember that "Everything is as it should be" and that if I (like the early pioneers) just trust in God everything works out fine.

PS - One of the things we are going to do to celebrate Pie-o-neer day is eat Pie. If you've seen the movie "17 Miracles," you'll understand more.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Supernatural Power of Family

This has been a summer of travel and family and I'm loving every minute of it. Last week I had five of my daughters here and we went to lunch together. And the last few days I've been in Tennessee to see my grandson who just returned from a mission and to attend the temple with his brother who is just  leaving on a mission. Talk about happy days! There is nothing like being with family especially when those family members are making such good life choices.

As we finished the temple session and stood together talking it was all I could do to keep my heart in my chest! I had my daughter and three grandsons with me in the temple. Since most of my children live far away I haven't had the opportunity to do a lot of things with them and so being with them at that special time was very especially wonderful.

Sometimes the stress and work a family involves makes us forget how very wonderful family is. Living together in such a close relationship also presents opportunities for hurt feelings and problems that can keep us from enjoying family ties. But when we learn to let those negative things go and concentrate on the love and happiness part of family, the joy that comes from those relationships is extraordinary and amazing (something beyond this world!). I don't have words to explain it, but I can feel it. It is real and wonderful.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Don't Disparage The Good Stuff

Any of you who are over the age of six have encountered “cheesy” sayings and wall plagues such as “Smile and the world smiles with you” that often cause us to roll our eyes in disgust. “Cheesy,” “Pollyanna,” “trite,” “unrealistic,” are just a few of the thoughts that pass through our minds. But surrounding ourselves with positive thoughts and thinking positive thoughts has been proven to increase positive thinking and happiness.

So why do we cringe when we see these sayings posted? What is it that makes us smirk and make light of them? Perhaps it is because the adversary knows they can encourage people and so he instills the disdain in us. 

Next time you are tempted to turn up your nose at catchy, happy statements remember the value and instead of demeaning them, enjoy them. Even that simple act can make all the difference in your day!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Keep the House Occupied!

There is a beautiful parable in the writings of Luke (11:24-26) that tells of an unclean spirit that is cast out of a man (the unclean spirit's home) by repentance and seeks a new place to reside. The unclean spirit wanders through desert places and finding no new home decides to return to his original home. When he arrives he finds that the house has indeed been swept clean, but it is empty and so the evil spirit invites seven other unclean spirits to join him and they all enter in and dwell there so that the man ends up worse off than he was in the beginning.

The moral of the parable is that even though the man repented and swept his house clean, he didn’t fill himself with something new and good so the old, evil spirit easily returned.

The interesting thing about this is that modern psychological research has shown that in the pursuit of happiness it doesn’t work to just stop doing what is making you unhappy. To become a happy person a major break with the status quo needs to happen. You need to not only stop doing the negative things, you need to replace them with positive things.

Happiness is a choice! It takes work and effort, but everyone who wants happiness can have it. The promise of the Good News! is that man was created to experience joy! (See 2 Nephi 2:25.) and by choosing to occupy ourselves with good, positive things we crowd out the bad.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Hope Your Goog Day Was Good!

I've missed you! I haven't had Internet access for a week and the last post I did on my Ipad just before we were out of range and so it wasn't until this morning that I realized I'd titled the last post "Goog Day" instead of "Good Day." A little typo there, but it made me wonder what a Goog Day would be! I think it might have something to do with lots of surprises and fun. So I hope you really did have a Goog Day.

I know I did! God has created an amazingly beautiful world and last week as we visited Alaska I was overwhelmed by the wonders of the world. We saw hump back whales and killer whales and black bears and dense forest and so many bald eagles at one time that I couldn't count them. We saw totem poles and long houses and small villages that made us feel like we'd gone back a hundred years in time.

But one of the most fascinating things on the trip was watching the people. We encountered people who Live in Truth and rolled with the problems a large group and travel always bring about and we encountered people who don't Live in Truth and watched as they created pain for themselves and for those around them.

I've come home more grateful for this beautiful world and much more grateful for the things I've learned about how to eliminate unnecessary pain from my life.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Goog Day

I am in Seattle! We had a wonderful day yesterday with D8 and her family sight seeing in Seattle. We walked through the underground city listening to the tour guide the very interesting history of buildings being built upon sawdust and tidal plains and we saw the results of sunken floors that rose and fell like waves of the sea.

We ate on the wharf and then walked through Pike's Place Market and enjoyed the vendors barking their wares and the street entertainment.

Most of all we enjoyed the incredible hospitality of  D8 and her good husband. They spoil us! And the best--the grand child children. Wonderful day!

Today we board the ship and depart for Alaska.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Bon Voyage!

To celebrate our 45th wedding anniversary Mr. J and I are going on a cruise to Alaska. In the next week we will visit Ketchican, Skagway, Junuea, and Victoria, British Columbia. We are excited, but I am not sure when or if I will have Internet access so my postings may be sporadic.

However, if I get the opportunity, I will share pictures and notes of what I am doing because I'd love to take you along vicariously. I know I'm always grateful to friends who share their adventures with me!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Independence Day!

For me this day is a second thanks giving day. Specifically, it’s a day to give thanks for my wonderful country and my freedom.

I’ve been blessed to travel a lot and have seen some beautiful places in this world, but of all the places I’ve been, I like my home best. (Of course, I know that you in other countries feel the same about your homelands and that is how it should be. But today, being the birthday of my homeland, I am celebrating it!)

I’m grateful to ancestors who gave so much to come here from England, Scotland, Denmark, and Ireland. I’m grateful for all those who gave their lives to make us independent and all those who have served and sacrificed to preserve our freedom and help extend freedom to others.

I am grateful! Happy Birthday, USA!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Watch Out For Un-Truth Tools

When exploring how to Live in Truth we’ve talked a lot about the Truth Tools which are tools that help us alleviate negative mental chatter and negative emotions so that we can enjoy the peace that Living in Truth gives us. But there are counterfeits to the Truth Tools that many people seek after and recommend that we need to beware of. This Un-Truth Tools may for a moment seem to relieve the negative mental chatter and the negative emotions, but with the Un-Truth Tools as soon as the activity stops the negative emotion returns and usually with more intensity.

So what are some of these tools? Drugs, exercise, sex, food, career attainment, sleeping, travel, shopping, entertainment, sports, and pleasurable activities such as massage or spa treatments. Notice that none of these things is bad when used properly. They all have very valuable places in our lives. But the problem occurs when they are used as the source of happiness instead of as an aid to well-being. Then they are like a band aid; they temporarily mask the problem but they don’t solve the problem. As a matter of fact, they can be harmful in that they divert us from the time and thought necessary to analyze, recognize, and solve the problem.

While a slight diversion to help us get our head on straight is often necessary, and is one of the purposes of the Truth Tools, diversion that purports to be the solution, to be the happiness, will never work and will often create more problems.

The adversary has a counterfeit to every true principle, so watching out for and avoiding Un-Truth Tools can save us a lot of pain.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Taught By a Toddler

This weekend we attended the baptism of our granddaughter, Anna. Her little brother, John, is a rambunctious two year old who can’t sit still for even a few seconds. I’ve never seen so much energy! But to add fuel to the fire, he is also very loud. He doesn’t know the meaning of whisper or quiet and when he wants to talk he talks despite what else is going on. There is no shushing him. Therefore D7 had taken him into the hall while the speaker was instructing us about the gift of the Holy Ghost.

When it came time for the confirmation, I walked into the hall to tend to John so that D7 could return to the chapel to hear the blessing. To entertain John I walked around the hall and had him identify Jesus in all the pictures lining the walls. As we came to the last picture, D7 returned. The picture we were then at was the popular picture of the Savior appearing to the Nephites at the temple in Bountiful, a part of which is above. The full picture shows people bowing and crying and the destruction of the temple. I asked John where Jesus was and he pointed to the Savior. Then he said, “Trouble.”

John doesn’t speak in sentences yet, but the word trouble was very clear, and he kept repeating it so I pointed to some of the crying people and asked, “Is this trouble?”

John shook his head yes. Then I pointed to Jesus and asked, “Is this trouble?”

“No,” John said. “Help.”

I was stunned. Two years old, so active I can't figure out how he ever learned that from any lesson ever presented to him, and yet John knows. It makes me wonder if what he knows wasn’t taught to him at all, but is knowledge he brought with him into mortality.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Sabbath Scripture - Bless you!

Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself,
and God, even our Father,
which hath loved us,
 and hath given us everlasting consolation,
and good hope through grace,
Comfort your hearts,
and stablish you in every
good word and work.
2 Thessalonians 2:17