Saturday, June 9, 2018

Walk the Walk

I was chatting with my SIL at a party and the topic was about finding those little opportunities to reach out in love to those around us. They are everywhere, but we get so focused on what we are doing, that we often miss them. As we were in the middle of this conversation, I realized that a lovely lady at the end of our table was alone at the time.

Now, social situations are my biggest failing ... I could have gone on chatting with my SIL in our little bubble about all sorts of things for hours. But it was funny that right as we were talking about noticing those little opportunities to reach out to others, I was made aware of this lady sitting alone at the end of our table. So, I called her into our conversation and we had the most delightful time getting to know a new person.

I am grateful that Heavenly Father helped me know that she was there and that I could bring her into our conversation. Social things really are my biggest hurdles and I am grateful for the confidence that was given to me to make a situation right.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

When we are Needed

In a meeting with the YW leaders tonight, we were joined by a new secretary. We had been without one for some time. When it was finally settled who would be taking on that role, she let the bishopric know that she would be out of town for the next few weeks. The bishopric suggested just keeping her where she was until she returned. however the YW president thought it was better to get her involved as soon as possible, even if she would be gone for the next few weeks.

That feeling to have her involved as soon as she was available was validated in our meeting. We made our introductions and got to know her better and then dove right into the meat of the meeting. As we were discussing a particular topic of concern, many different thoughts and ideas were being put on the table, but nothing seemed to be what it would take to have a united approach to tackling this issue. And then, our new secretary brought up a scripture that connected our problem perfectly to the teachings of Christ.

As soon as she brought it up, we were all in agreement and at peace with how to approach the issue and work with the young women to improve the classroom environment. It was beautiful to see all the dots connect in just the blink of an eye. So, even if she could only be there for the one meeting before leaving on a long vacation, her contribution was of great benefit to all of us. It was important that she joined us and l could see the Lord's hand in arranging the timing so perfectly.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Some Good Worries Resolved

I have often said that I think God has a great sense of humor and I am very appreciative of that. Of course, all "jokes" are good and beautiful and come as a blessing. My favorite joke deals with Brady, but we can save that for another day.

Today's joke is what I would like to share. We have recently started down the path of financial responsibility - we have set up a budget and we are sticking to it. It has been a great comfort to find something that works for us and is bringing a new feeling of peace to our lives. But, there is also the frustration of how do I do this and pay for that for all of the little extra things. In particular, graduates. There are so many in my life right now and more coming in the next few years.

This morning I was preoccupied trying to think of a fun thing I could do to send a gift of congratulations. Due to the number of kids I know graduating, anything elaborate just isn't possible. I wanted to do something that would let them know I am so happy for them and excited for their futures and so very happy they are a part of my life. And how do you do that for a few bucks a piece? Thankfully, I had other things to think about and was able to put that worry on a shelf as I drove my daughter to Logan this morning.

On the drive home I received a phone call that went to voicemail. When I got to the point that I could listen to the message, I was pleased to find out that it was news that I had won a prize from a Teacher Appreciation Giveaway that I had entered back in April. I couldn't remember what the prizes were, so I was expecting anything from a $20 gift card to Chick-fil-a to a $10,000 grand prize!

When I arrived home, I called the lady back and she informed me that my prize was a case of books for helping graduates financially prepare for their future!!! How funny is that?!?!?! I won FORTY copies of a book (with a CD included) full of great advice from the daughter of a very popular financial guru that I have listened to over the years.

So ... problem of getting meaningful gifts to all the many, MANY graduates in my life SOLVED! Just like that!!! You never know what the day will bring and how Heavenly Father will bring a smile to your face or ease a concern, no matter how insignificant it might seem.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Have I seen any good ...

Of course I have.

And I need to recognize and acknowledge that at all times.

Life has been on warp speed for so long - I keep hanging on to all of the experiences that have shaped my life so far, but there is so much more for me to have in my life. I don't mean that in a selfish way, more that my lamp is far from full, and it is my work for this time to be filling that lamp. Acknowledging God's hand in my life will be instrumental in helping me fill my lamp.

So, let me start my renewed commitment to acknowledging the Lord's hand in my everyday life by sharing what happened when I put a big question to the Lord through prayer and fasting. We have been wanting to list our home and move. We tried last summer and it didn't happen. We worked really hard, put it out there and it just wasn't to be.

We are revisiting the topic again now, a year later and now that school is out my brain has some time to bring this about. Saturday we started a fast, asking the Lord to grant us the confidence we needed to move forward in whatever direction is best for us at this time. We prayed, we started fasting and we went on with our day. One of the activities in my day was to stop in at the wedding reception for a dear friend's son. As I visited with her, her husband and parents, I was filled with positive conversation and energy about selling the house. I asked for an increased feeling of confidence and was blessed with that almost immediately.

I am so grateful that everyday can show me a connection to heaven, the connection is strong, and real. I need to work to make it stronger and to live closer to the spirit so that I can do more good in this world.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Not "Why" , but "How"

Sunday mornings tend to tetor on the disastrous side of life ... especially lately. The past few weeks I remember looking in the mirror while I applied a bit of make-up and smoothed out some hairs, just before running out the door to get to church on time. That moment of quiet I take for myself, looking in the mirror at myself, leads to some reflection.

Today ended up being the worst morning of them all ... I've hardly slept for four nights in a row, the boys got outside and were running down the street in their pajamas while I was getting dressed, and an entire pitcher of kool-aid spilled all over the kitchen floor (just to mention a few events).


That might have been the end of my rope.

But, we forged on, with a light mopping of the kitchen floor and digging out the church clothes that are hiding in all sorts of nooks and crannies as we suddenly find ourselves remodeling the basement.

Really, I could have just blamed it all on a lingering cough (which is the culprit for my recent lack of sleep) and called it a day.

Strangely enough, the thought never even entered my mind today. As I sat there looking in the mirror, taking a few minutes to get myself ready, a thought came to mind. I realized that when things were just ridiculous at times, I didn't start questioning "WHY" ... I just went straight to "HOW".

* How am I going to get us all to church on time?
* How am I going to deal with 2 insanely wild boys in the process?
* How am I going to keep them from burning down the house while I am showering?
* How am I going to get there?

I am so grateful that I already answered the "WHY" years ago, because if that was the question I was asking myself each Sunday morning, I don't know that I would be the right frame of mind to get the answer I needed. Fortunately I asked that question years ago and found my answer. And once that is answered, it never needs to be revisited. I know "WHY". I know that I have a Heavenly Father who loves me. I know that His Son is my Savior, my Redeemer, my Brother, my Friend. I know that when I follow the path that they have shown me, I will find happiness, I will feel the spirit and I will learn and grow from the experience. I also know that sometimes the path is hard, but it isn't ever impossible.

I also know that when I am floundering in a sea of "HOW's", that a simple prayer will provide more strength and support than I could ever imagine possible.

Now, there have been days where I let something keep us home from church, but I also know that there could have been a whole lot more.

So, we'll keep on working through these wonder years and I'll just keep in mind that it isn't ever going to get easier, but I will get to the point where grape Kool-aid isn't spilling all over my kitchen while I am getting dressed for church. And if it does happen again, a couple of towels will get me right back on track.

Note to self: No more Kool-aid on Saturdays!!!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Finding Strength Beyond My Own

Savior, may I learn to love thee,
Walk the path that thou hast shown,
Pause to help and lift another,
Finding strength beyond my own.
Savior, may I learn to love thee—

Lord, I would follow thee.

Who am I to judge another
When I walk imperfectly?
In the quiet heart is hidden
Sorrow that the eye can’t see.
Who am I to judge another?

Lord, I would follow thee.

I would be my brother’s keeper;
I would learn the healer’s art.
To the wounded and the weary
I would show a gentle heart.
I would be my brother’s keeper—

Lord, I would follow thee.

Savior, may I love my brother
As I know thou lovest me,
Find in thee my strength, my beacon,
For thy servant I would be.
Savior, may I love my brother—

Lord, I would follow thee.

Today, our Sacrament Services concluded with this Hymn. The words seemed to go straight to my heart and spoke to me as they never had before. I know this hymn well, it's one that we sing often and I even knew we would be singing it today. However, I guess there will always be times when something seems new to us. Even something this familiar.

Our neighborhood has met with a great deal of heartache over the past few weeks. Several of our dear friends and neighbors are battling for their lives, their loves, their sanity. There are some pretty serious things going on and you can feel the weight of it as you look around and see what people are going through.

I often wonder what I can really do to be helpful and be an instrument in the hands of the Lord in loving and caring for my brothers and sisters around me. Then, I defeat myself, feeling like there is more to be done then I can handle. And, that often leads me to do nothing, completely overwhelmed by the many, many dire needs, I don't see how I can do any good in all of this. That must be exactly how the adversary would want us all to feel.

That is why we are asked to commit to being true brothers and sisters to those around us. We need each other. Times get tough and we need to be able to be supported by those around us. My dear sweet neighbor is recently a widow, and she is so sad and lonely. The emptiness of her home is often more than she can bear. I have often told her that my home is now hers - she is welcome anytime. But I know I need to do more. I need to bring her over and seat her warmly at my table. We need to call her and keep tabs on her, and when she is in the depths of despair, I just need to sit and cry with her.

Last night, I was able to learn first-hand how much we will be strengthened when we are reaching out to help another. The Lord gave me an opportunity to give more at the end of a physically exhausting day. And although the opportunity came up very quick and unexpected, it resulted in a very joyous evening, during which the last thing on my mind was my exhaustion. And when it was finally time to rest I was able to do so with a smile in my heart. If I had comtemplated that opportunity before it was presented, I am not so certain I would have taken it. Thank heavens for events that are placed in our paths, and for the times we take those on.

So, after my experience last night and my further prompting with a song today, when I start looking at all that needs to be done around me, I will be confident that when I "pause to help and lift another", the Lord really will bless me His strength. And the words of John will be there to prod me on, as needed:

"... let us not love in word, neither in tongue;
but in deed and in truth."  (1 John 3:18)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Lessons in Love

I am so very grateful to my Heavenly Father for constant reminders and lessons that seem to pull me in the direction I need (and desire) to go, if I am, but, attentive to these lessons. Although I often wish I didn't need to learn so much, I am grateful to have opportunities, I am grateful that the Lord hasn't given up on me. I also hope that I haven't missed out on too many others.

Lately, I have been given many opportunities to learn about LOVE. And, I've noticed that what I take away most from these lessons is usually one simple question I ask myself, "Why didn't I think to do that?" Not in a being-hard-on-myself kind of a way, but in a kindly kick-in-the-pants-because-you-CAN-be-like-that-if-you-want-to-be kind of a way.

My prayer is that by being more mindful of the GREAT examples all around me, and through constant petitions to my Father in Heaven, perhaps I will grow more compassionate and intuitive to the needs around me.

For example, I have a sweet friend who found out that one of her friends was having a REALLY bad day (due to a telling Facebook post). So, my friend called her up, took her for a pedicure and then they went to one of the Twilight movies. I didn't even find out about this through her, but word gets around (ok- my husband does share some good information with me whenever he can) and I was moved by her ACTION. She was aware of the need because she was checking up on this friend of hers, and she put a plan into play rather quickly. Such an easy, fun thing to do, but full of benefit for not just those two friends, but anyone else blessed to become aware of this act of kindness.

Another example is a neighbor of mine, but I don't even know which one. This neighbor saves her change all year long and finds a home for it each Christmas. She very thoughtfully and prayerfully considers who she should pass this change on to each year and then gives it with great love. What I love most about this is that I have lived here for YEARS and never even knew about it, and I still don't know which neighbor of mine does this. And I don't want to know, I am just grateful to have that good example to learn from. To know that there are so many out there (right around me) who are thinking of ways that they can be a kind and loving brother or sister to those around them.

There is another situation that I need to share, but this one is kind of difficult because I really think that this should have been me. I was given such a clear opportunity to serve, but I just didn't have my mind or heart in the place it needed to be in order to be an instrument in the Lord's hands. I hope that I will be ready for any other times when I find myself in a similar situation, I hope my heart will be open and my mind quick, and my body able to act. For now, however, I have to be grateful that I was, at least, a witness to the kindness that another offered when I was too blind to see.

This happened a few months ago as I was finishing up a shopping trip to the thrift store. I had picked up a few great finds and was checking out, with my two little boys - who by now were on the energetic side. I placed my items on the counter and started rummaging through my purse for a payment method. As I was completing the transaction, I noticed that a lady approached the person behind me in line. This lady (angel) very quietly told the mom behind me to have her kids go over to the rack of costumes and pick out one each and she would pay for it.

As I looked at this mom behind me in line I could see that she had a handful of small children and it looked as though their means were very meager. Halloween was just a few days away and I can imagine she was probably spinning her wheels trying to figure out what to do for her kids. But purchasing from the thrift store even was not in their budget.

This is the painful part, while I was conducting my own transaction, I overheard her talking to her daughter. Her daughter was asking what they would do for Halloween costumes and if they could go and pick some out from the rack nearby and if they would be able to find a Snow White costume for her. This mom, with such a sweet, patient, enthusiastic voice just said to her daughter that they would just have to be creative and find things around the house for their costumes.

Although my ears heard all of this, it never really got to my heart until after the fact, until it was too late for me to do anything. Busy in my own little details, I unknowingly shuffled all of that to the side, and kept on with my business.

Thank heavens another lady had her eyes, ears and heart open. I watched as the mom instructed her children to go over and pick out costumes. I felt the earth shake from their enthusiasm and joy as they flew over to the racks and started choosing their costumes. I saw the thankful look in the eyes of the mom as she spoke with this passing lady and I saw that this particular lady wasn't doing anything too out of the ordinary, this seemed like a simple, easy, normal part of her day.

Then I gathered up my bags and my boys and went out to my car and cried.

Why hadn't I listened to the words I heard? Why hadn't I acted on the knowledge I had been given?

I thought of the beautiful Snow White dress I made for my daughter a few years ago, now sitting in an old costume box at home. It was the perfect size for that little girl behind me in line. We have no use for it anymore, it could have been passed on to her with very little effort.

And, I could have spent the money to buy a few more costumes, that wouldn't have been a problem for our budget.

I was beating myself over the head with so many would haves and should haves ... tears were falling quite freely now and I felt like a shriveled old raisin. Not a very happy thing.

Thankfully, the Lord got through to me and helped me see a little more of the situation. He helped me to see the example of that wonderful lady who stepped up to meet this need. I very well could have walked out of those doors none the wiser to the entire situation. Instead, He made sure I could witness such a kind act and learn from it. He wants for me to be that kind-hearted, intuitive person that I so badly want to become.

He provided a great learning experience and provoked in me an even greater desire to become that person that I know is somewhere down inside of me.

So, these lessons are all etched in my heart and I am becoming more and more aware of the beautiful acts around me. And bit by bit, I hope to grow up to be just like them.