Thursday, November 29, 2012

We're Radios

I was struck the other day by the analogy that our bodies are like radios. Why? Because we are energy-sensing beings. Daily we receive input from hundreds of sources. This happens automatically without us doing much to make it happen, but what we too often fail to realize is that like a radio we can choose which reception we want to tune into and which we don't.

The other thing we fail to realize is that unlike a radio, we also broadcast to those around us. Obviously when we talk we are broadcasting, but we also broadcast energy into the environment that influences those around us. Realizing this helps us become more conscious of the energy we are emitting and the influence we have on other people.

So tune yourself to the sources that empower and strengthen you, and then the power that flows from you will automatically be positive. It will strengthen and empower those around you.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Should Sharks and Christmas

I've been reading the gospels of the New Testament in preparation for Christmas and my heart is full to overflowing. On every page the Savior teaches me more about what it means to Live in Truth, and the reality of what His birth means to me sinks deeper into my soul.

This time through I've been amazed once more at how the Savior never lets the Should Sharks prey on Him.

The best example of this is the night of his trial. Peter, James and John should have stayed awake and watched over Him. Judas shouldn’t have betrayed Him especially with a token of affection such as a kiss. Soldiers shouldn’t have arrested Him when He had not committed any crime. But those Should Sharks, never concerned Jesus. Instead of being vexed with illusion which always turns us inward and fills us with self-pity, Jesus dealt with the verity of each moment, and continued to turn outward and serve others by restoring Malchus’s ear after Peter had cut it off.

I have put up my tree, but I haven't shopped for gifts or t started baking, but my heart is fulll of Christmas.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


There are days when for some reason we just wake up feeling out of it. It isn't that we feel bad, we just are in some foggy state of not feeling anything at all. On days like that I've found that the mood can be quickly changed by simply repeating in you mind the word good.

This works on other occasions also. When negative feelings plague you, push them away by repeating, "Good!" and watch what happens. Or when you want to remember something from the past that is good, but you can't quite think of it, say, "Good" and all sorts of past memories that are good will spring to mind. Hopefully one of them will be the one you want.

But you have to say the word with meaning. There are ways to say good and really mean bad. This only works if you mean what you say!

Make it a good day!

Monday, November 26, 2012

May Be

Provo River last spring. No green today, but just as peaceful.
I went for a long walk today along the Provo River.
 Sunshine and blue skies made it the perfect day for reflecting and pondering. 
I took a notebook along and stopped for awhile to write out some thoughts. 
The thoughts turned out to be very random and mostly sentimental, 
but one has stuck with me: 
The word maybe is used in place of perhaps 
without stopping to realize that may 
is permission to be.

I'm going to keep pondering that.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Fulfilling Life

We've all wished to have a fulfilling life, and we've wished the same for our children and loved ones. But what exactly is a fulfilling life?

Fulfill is an old English word that means exactly what it says--to fill until full.

Fill means to put into something as much as it can hold.

"Put into" sounds to me like investing. Thus when we are filling something we are investing in it.

Investing means to make use of for future benefits or advantages.

Reading through these definitions helps me see that a fulfilling life isn't about waiting until the end of my life and looking back to see if I've filled it up. A fulfilling life is a cumulative experience. A fulfilling life is one in which every day something has been invested to make it fuller. A fulfilling life is one in which we invest as much good in ourselves as we can hold every day, and that investment compounds and earns interest to provide future benefits and advantages..

Friday, November 23, 2012

I'm Thankful for Salt

Yesterday I found myself thinking about my Savior all day long. While Thanksgiving usually makes me think of the Savior, this was more. As I salted the food I was cooking it reminded me of the Atonement. As I filled salt shakers for dinner I was reminded of the covenants I had made. As I ate dinner and put more salt on my mashed potatoes, I thought about Mary salting and swaddling her baby, my Savior. Last night as the kids got hungry again and broke out the potato chips I thought about how I should be more "salted." I have so, so much to be thankful for and I need to be better at reaching out to others.

My study of salt has been amazing because of the many things I have learned, but the best part is that like yesterday I don't go through a single day without being reminded many times of the covenants and the Atonement. Studying salt has turned out to be such a blessing in my life.

Who'd have thought that going into In and Out Burger and ordering a grilled cheese would be a spiritual experience? It was on Wednesday when I pumped a little cup full of catchup and suddenly saw a container of little salt packets next to the catchup. My heart jumped at the sight and my mind suddenly filled with so many good thoughts. I love salt!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving To You

My Thanks Giving table is all set and ready to go!
I am so thankful for Thanks Giving Day!
It is my favorite holiday of the entire year.
I have so much to be thankful for,
and I love that I have a day to gather my family around
and talk about all the good things in life.
I hope your day is wonderful!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I've Grateful for Versions

I am so thankful for the many versions that now exist of the Bible. Comparing different translations is one of the best ways to ponder and learn. Growing up I only read the King James Version (KJV), but for many years now I've loved the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) and the New International Version (NIV).

Let me show you what I mean. In the KJV Romans 15:1-3 reads: "We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me."

Now let's look at the NRSV of the same verse: "We who are strong ought to put up with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Each of us must please our neighbor for the good purpose of building up the neighbor. For Christ did not please himself; but, as it is written, 'The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.'"     

And now the NIV: "We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: 'The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.'"

In this case the NSRV and the NIV are not much different, but even that small difference makes you think in different ways. Both the NSRV and the NIV, however, are modernized and explain in ways that are easier to understand and that often speak directly to my heart.

There are hundreds of versions of the Bible available on line and anyone can use the to study. I'm so thankful for them and for the technology that makes them so assessable!

I've got so much to be grateful for!  

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Today I'm grateful for encouragement. I'm thankful for those who have encouraged me and I'm thankful for everyone who has encouraged anyone else. Everyone needs encouragement at one time or another. Encouragement makes the world go round.

I'm writing this thanks to electricity. The electric light in this room allows me to see what I am doing, and I am so thankful for all the people who encouraged Thomas Edison so that he didn't give up and leave me in the dark.

I am thankful for all the people who encouraged Alexander Graham Bell and all those who have improved upon his idea to send voices along air waves. I remember the days of picking up the telephone and telling the operator what number I wanted. Now I speak to my daughters clear across the United States while I'm shopping in the grocery store.

I've always been grateful for these marvelous inventions, but this Thanksgiving I'm also grateful for the unknown people who kept the inventors inventing. Most of us will never be inventors, but we are all have a voice and are well equiped to be an encourager. I'm grateful for that, too!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanks for Thanksgiving Week!

I have to begin this Thanksgiving week by saying how grateful I am to all of you who follow
Good News!
and especially those of you who leave comments
and let me know there is really someone out there reading this.
I also want to announce that awhile back I responded to the comments people left on
Good News!
but I stopped because it didn't seem anyone was reading them--
especially the person I was responding to.
But I miss the interaction and so I am going to respond once again to comments that are left here.
So be sure to look back if you left a comment and read my response.
I hope you enjoy every moment of this week of gratitude!
Of all the holidays in the year, Thanksgiving is my favorite
and that's why I'm making it into a week long celebration instead of a one day event.
I am thankful for so many things I can't fit it all into one day!
Today I'm concentrating on you and friends and family relationships. I'm so very grateful!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sabbath Scripture - Healing Salt

And the men of the city said unto Elisha,
Behold I pray thee, the situation of this city is pleasant,
as my lord seeth:
but the water is naught, and the ground barren.
And he said,
Bring me a new cruse, and put salt therein.
And they brought it to him.
And he went forth unto the spring of the waters,
and cast the salt in there, and said,
Thus saith the Lord, I have healed these waters;
there shall not be form thence any more death or barren land.
So the waters were healed unto this day,
according to the saying of Elisha which he spake.
2 Kings 2:19-22

Friday, November 16, 2012

Dem Words

There is a story in the Old Testament that most of us have never read, but we know the story well from the old folksong, “Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones.” In this story, the prophet Ezekiel is taken by the Spirit and put down in the middle of a valley. As Ezekiel looks around he discovers that the valley is full of bones. The Spirit causes him to walk around and he sees that these bones are very dry. After he’s had a chance to see the devastation and lifelessness, the Spirit asks him, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

Imagine you are Ezekiel. What would you answer? Ezekiel answered, “Oh, Lord God, thou knowest,” (Ezekiel 37:3).

The Lord then commanded Ezekiel to speak to the bones and prophesy that the Lord will “cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live” (Ezekiel 37:4-5). And the bones began to move and to attach to one another, and sinew and flesh was restored to them, and they were covered with skin and filled with the spirit.

Obviously this is a prophecy of restoration, resurrection, and life, but there are other things for us to learn from this story about words and their power. What would have happened if Ezekiel had answered the question “Can these bones live?” by saying, “No way!” That’s the natural response most people would have. But Ezekiel says, “You know they can.”

Likewise when we face difficult life situations such as bad relationships, health impairments, financial woes, or anything that looks as hopeless as a valley full of old, dry bones and the adversary tempts us with thoughts of discouragement and hopelessness, we can say, “But God can fix this.”

The words we choose to speak and say have power over us. Words of faith bring about feelings of faith.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Happy, Salty Tears

Did you ever wake up feeling so happy and blessed that you break out in tears? I've never had that happen before, but today is the day.

It is so strange because it is the thought of salt that makes me cry, and as the tears trickle over my cheeks I remember that tears are salty and cry even more because more salt make me think about Mary "salting" and swaddling her child. I see her tenderly cradling her son, and I feel her love because I've cradled a son and daughters and I know that intense feeling--it's so much a part of me that it's not just in my heart, it's in my bones and muscles and flows in my blood. It's me.

As I feel that love I think about how the child Mary cradled would grow to be a man and that the love Mary felt for Him would be so different from the hate the world would throw at Him. That hate became so intense they crucified Him, and He allowed it to happen--because of me. He sacrificed Himself for me! And then I shed more salty tears and think about how all the sacrifices under the law of Moses were salted and that the salting of His swaddling was a foreshadowing of His sacrifice.

I don't know why this research on salt has affected me so very much, but it has. Everything I see and do reminds me of salt. Besides eating it every day as I watched people throwing salt on their sidewalks and driveways during the recent storm so that the ice would melt, I remembered all the times the Savior has melted the iciness in me.

In short, dozens of times a day I encounter salt and think of my Savior so that my heart is full to overflowing. And this morning it's all spilling out.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Lot's Wife

Many of the symbols we find in the scriptures have duel meanings. They are good for the godly and turn into evil for the sinful. For example, water is a symbol of purification, through washings and baptism, but water can also flood and destroy the land and a people as it did in Noah's day. Fire is a symbol of the Holy Ghost and like water a symbol of purification, but fire can also destroy as it did in Sodom and Gomorrah. In many places in the New Testament leaven is a symbol of corruption and decay and the spreading of evil, but in other places it is used to mean the expansion and spreading of something good. This dualism is also true with salt. Salt is necessary to sustain life, can preserve, purify, enhance, and is permanent. But too much salt can kill, make the land infertile, or cause health problems.

This is illustrated in the story of Lot's wife. When Lot and his family were commanded to leave Sodom and Gomorrah they were told not to look back, but for some reason not explained in the scriptures Lot's wife looked back and was immediately turned into a pillar of salt. (The picture above is of a woman shaped pillar of salt that to this day locals claim is Lot's wife.)

By looking back, Lot's wife disobeyed God, she broke her covenant to obey, and a broken covenant is the opposite of purifying and enhancing. Broken covenants destroy us. The condition we inherit from either keeping or breaking covenants is eternal--it is permanent. Thus the story of Lot's wife is a warning that rebellion and disobedience can lead to permanent, eternal conditions.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Covenant of Salt

Several places in the scriptures it speaks of a "covenant of salt" (For example, 2 Chronicles 13:5; Numbers 18:19). And, as I've pointed out in earlier posts, all sacrifices under the law of Moses were made with salt. This tells us that salt was very important. But what exactly is meant by a "covenant of salt?"

Among the many meanings in the symbolism of salt is the fact that salt is permanent. If you crush it you simply get finer salt. It takes a fire of over 1,400 degrees F to melt it. As a matter of fact, salt poured on a grease fire extinguishes the fire. Salt dissolved in water can be recovered by evaporating the water. Salt buried in tombs that archeologists have uncovered is thousands of years old but still good and perfectly edible. The only way to make salt useless, to make it unsavory, is to pollute it with dirt or sand.

Thus covenants made with salt are permanent and can be broken only by pollution from sin. Obviously that means that God who does not sin will never break a covenant. Only we mortals sin and break covenants. Thus a "covenant of salt" is a permanent, lasting covenant that if not broken brings great blessings into our lives.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Sustaining Life

I'm still researching salt! Who'd ever have thought there was so much to learn about salt. As I said before one of the reasons salt takes on so much symbolic meaning is because it sustains life. I could write a book about that (someone already has!), but the bottom line is that water and salt regulate all metabolic functions of the body. Without salt we would die.

The lists of all that salt does in the body is amazing, but let me just share a few of the things I've found.
               Salt stabilizes irregular heartbeats;
               extracts excess acidity from the body's cells, particularly the brain cells;
               balances the sugar levels in the blood;
               generates hydroelectric energy in your body's cells;
               increases conductivity in nerve cells for communication and information processing;
               enhances absorption of nutrients through the intestinal tract;
               clears mucous and sticky phlegm in the lungs and sinuses;
               provides body with a natural antihistamine;
               regulates sleep;
               is an anti-stress element for the body;
               helps prevent muscle cramps;
               preserves antidepressant neurotransmitters.

So when the Savior tells us to be the salt of the earth, it includes the fact that we should help sustain life in any and every way we can.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Winter From My Window

Winter From My Window
Usually when I look out my window, it is the vast blue sky that dominates the view. But today all I can see for as far as I can see is a thick, white blanket of snow. The grey sky blends in making the world unusually uniform. Every branch of every tree is a thick white stick, except for the evergreen trees whose never dying green peeks through bowed branches as if teasing me.
I love winter. As I write I'm cuddled in a warm electric throw Mr. J surprised me with a few weeks ago saying that he had the perfect gift for me and couldn't wait until Christmas. I'm so glad he didn't.I love it. I love the feeling of being cuddled and hugged. That's why I love my down filled coat that I finally get to wear after it's hung lifeless in the closet all summer.

But it isn't just cuddling and enjoying the beauty that makes me love winter. Going out in the snow (as long as you don't have to stay until you are chilled through and through) is an adventure and makes me appreciate coming back indoors all the more. I was running errands when the storm hit yesterday and I laughed all the way from the mall to my car as huge flakes of white chill settled onto my head and face. I didn't use an umbrella or hat because I wanted to feel it--to be part of it.

In short, I love winter... and summer... and spring...and fall. I think what I'm most grateful for is the variety. What a boring life it would be if were always spring.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Eating Salt

Besides being a religious symbol, salt is a universal symbol of alliance and friendship. In cultures all around the world going back for centuries in time it is well attested that when one shares salt with another a bond of friendship is established that requires each to protect and come to the aid of the other in time of need. This was so recognized in many cultures that people often tricked others into eating salt with them so that an alliance would be established. Even if done through trickery, a salt alliance was upheld.
This tradition is part of the New Testament, but it has been lost in translation. For example, the book of Acts begins with Luke explaining to Theophilus that Jesus taught the people for forty days after his resurrection. Then Luke says, “And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem” (Acts1:4). In the original Greek the phrase that is translated as “being assembled together with them” is literally “to take salt in common.” This would have meant something important to Theophilus.
The apostles often “ate salt together.” The very night of Jesus’ betrayal, Judas shared salt with the Savior, and that is why in the beautiful painting of the Last Supper by Da Vinci, if you look closely, you see that Judas holds a bag, presumably the silver, in his right hand, and his left hand has just tipped over a bowl of salt—depicting the fact that Judas had broken the fellowship and the covenant of friendship. He was a traitor.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Story of Living in Truth

In the last General Conference President Monson shared a story that teaches us so much about Living in Truth. He told of a cold, winter night when the temperature had dropped to 27 degrees below freezing. He and his wife had driven to their summer home in Midway to check to make sure everything was holding up in the exceptionally cold weather. The home was fine and they started back to Salt Lake City when their car stalled. Unable to get it going again, Pres. Monson and his wife began to walk back. Several cars passed them without offering to help, but finally a young man stopped to assist them.

This is where Living in Truth comes in. The simple truth was that they were stranded and had to walk in the cold. At that point they could have been attacked by Should Sharks such as, "This shouldn't be happening to me. I've sacrificed everything for God and now He let's this happen to me. He should be protecting me. He should give me a miracle and start my car." or "These people that are passing by should stop and help me." In a situation like this Should Sharks are everywhere. But President Monson didn't give in to them. How do I know? Because of what happened next.

When we give into Should Sharks and tumble ourselves into the Pit of Illusion we create so much mental static it becomes very difficult to hear the still small voice of the Spirit. But as the young man assisted them, Pres. Monson was receiving and acting upon the inspiration of the Spirit. (That's how I know he didn't pay any attention to the Should Sharks.) Pres. Monson asked the young man about a mission. He sent him a book with information about missions underlined. He followed up showing love and concern and eventually the young man accepted a call to the very mission that Pres. had once presided over.

Instead of seeing the experience of that cold, winter night as great adversity inflicted by an uncaring God, President Monson recognized it as an opportunity to serve and did as the Spirit directed.

When we Live in Truth--live with what is without being vexed by it--we open up all kinds of opportunities to serve others and bless our own lives.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Missing the Morning By Mourning

A friend just stopped by to visit. Dressed in black she stepped into my foyer with a garumph and announced she was dressed in mourning because of the election. I sensed from her countenance that she was not trying to be comical and swallowed back the laugh tickling inside me. As she talked on I realized her pain was from more than just the election and was very grateful I hadn’t laughed. She was hurting, and I felt sorry for her.

But as she left I remembered the years when things like elections and daily problems and children and adversity sent me into mourning and was so grateful I’ve learned how to at least minimize the Unnecessary Pain of life even if I haven’t yet mastered escaping it all together. My heart broke for my friend because of the pain she is in, but the sadder fact is that she doesn’t need to be in pain. It is Unnecessary Pain. The sun is shining outside in the midst of a perfectly azure sky. Days don’t come more beautiful than this one, but full of black mourning my friend walked out my door totally unaware that the sun was shining on her.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Salt and Leaven

I hope you're not getting tired of salt, but I'm on fire with it. I have learned so much I wish I could share it all. But bear with me while I share a few more salty thoughts.

The opposite of salt is leaven. While salt, preserves, purifies, enhances, sustains, and endures, leaven, corrupts, infects, boosts, interferes, and perishes.

The interesting thing here is how much this mimics the work of the adversary. Leaven isn't totally or all bad. Leaven has some good uses--we all love leaven in our breads. But leaven introduces destructive elements into the good. For example, it makes our bread perish faster. Likewise the adversary doesn't usually work or entice by presenting us with obvious evil. Instead he mixes truth and untruth and in very subtle ways mixes his leaven of unrighteousness into our lives so that we often overlook it and give in to it because it is so subtle.

I love what I am learning about salt especially because I see and taste and experience so often during my day that it is a constant reminder of the Atonement of Jesus Christ which preserves, purifies, enhances, sustains, and endures forever.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Salting and Swaddling

Ambrogio Lorenzetti's "Madonna and Child" (1319)
One of the things that sent me searching the subject of salt is the fact that Jesus was salted before He was swaddled. It was the custom of the day to wash, salt, and then swaddle a baby and all were part of the same procedure. In many places in the Middle East this custom is still practiced. As a matter of fact, this is so important in some Bedouin tribes that even today if there is no salt available to salt a newborn, camel urine is used because of its salt content.

No one knows for sure why babies were salted or exactly how it was done. Some say salt was mixed with olive oil and the baby rubbed with it, others say the baby was washed with salted water, still others say a small amount of salt was rubbed onto the baby's skin. Too much salt will kill an infant so only a pinch of salt would have been used. The baby was then swaddled or wrapped with a long two to three inch band of cloth from head to foot in such a way that it held the joints straight. This was a symbolic gesture suggesting that the child would be raised to be upright before the Lord and would never be crooked or wayward. The babies were not left swaddled for long, but during the short time they were swaddled the parents would meditate and give thanks for the child entrusted to their care.

The reason for the salting of infants is just as debated as the practice, but from studying the significance of salt in the Law of Moses it is obvious that salt is a symbol of an everlasting covenant and of the honesty and integrity that should accompany any covenant with the Lord. Under the Law of Moses, every sacrifical offering was offered with salt. Therefore I side with those who think that the salting of babies had something to do with dedicating this new member of the House of Israel to the Lord. Thus Jesus, like all sacrificial offerings under the Law of Moses, was salted, and knowing that his atoning sacrifice would fulfill and end the law of blood sacrifice, He instructed that the new law would be that we are to be "the salt of the earth" (Matthew 5:13 and 3 Nephi 12:13).

What this means is that we are the covenant people of the House of Israel and thus we are to enhance, protect, preserve, endure, and sustain the covenant (the Good News!) that Jesus Christ made possible.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sabbath Scripture

Salt is good:
but if the salt have lost his saltness,
wherewith will ye season it?
Have salt in yourselves,
and have peace one with another.
Mark 9:50

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Just a Few Salted Words

Some of you put salt on your salad, but did you realize that the word salad is derived from the Latin word for salt which is sal?  It seems that Romans loved a dish of vegetables that were highly salted and the dish became know as salad.

You may have also heard that Roman soldiers were once paid in salt and thus we got the word salary. That isn't exactly true, but the word salary is about salt. Salt throughout history has been very valuable. Sometimes equal to gold in value. And because of its importance in sustaining life, Roman soldiers were given a daily ration of salt. But someone decided that instead of carrying large containers around so they could dispense salt to every soldier it would be easier to give them all a monetary allotment and let them buy their own salt. The money alloted became know as salary and from there we get the phrase, "He isn't worth his salt."

It is impossible to go about your day without encountering something that has to do with salt. Tomorrow you may even encounter the word salvation. If you do, think about what it has to do with salt.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Focused on Salt

I have to apologize for missing several days here. I've been involved in some research and when I get in a project that is intriguing me like this one is I focus so intensely that time goes by and I don't even know it. It is a gift, but at the same time it is a weakness.

It is gift when I am studying and able to blank out any distraction and stay focused. It is a weakness when I am so focused that when I leave my desk to go someplace else in public my mind is still intent on the questions I am wrestling with. At those times I often pass by people I know and don't really see them. I don't acknowledge them or say hello and they must think I'm awful. I try so hard to bring myself out of what is a called a "brown study," but often I fail. Mr. J and my children have teased me about it for years. I am working on it!

But what I am studying is SALT. And I am excited about what I am learning. In the Sermon at the Temple Jesus told His followers, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, I give unto you to be the salt of the earth; but if the salt shall lose its savor wherewith shall the earth be salted? The salt shall be thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and to be trodden under foot of men" (3 Nephi 12:13).

I'm sure I'll be writing more about this, but to begin . . . in the Savior's day salt was significant--so significant that at times in history it was worth ounce per ounce the same as gold. Why was it so precious? Because it was what they used to preserve their meat and fish, it enhanced the flavor of the many bland foods they ate, it purified things and was therefore used for medicinal purposes, and it was nearly indestructible. It didn't rot or decay or have a "shelf life." Everyone needs salt to stay alive and so most importantly, it sustains life. And the Savior wants us to be salt! Wow! I've been overwhelmed thinking about that.