Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Festival of Trees in Sandy, Utah

My youngest daughter, Ashley, and I attended the Festival of Trees last Friday in Sandy, Utah.  The convention center was filled with hundreds, probably thousands, of trees, gingerbread houses, wreaths, door decorations, and all other sorts of Christmas displays, goodies, and live entertainment.

The reason for this gathering is to raise funds of those with severe illnesses who are served by Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City.

Many who would not otherwise receive the care they need, are blessed to be helped by the wonderful staff at Primary Childrens'.

Here are some of our favorite things from that day.  We only took a few photos as the crowds were large and our views were sometimes limited and/or hurried.  But, it was a wonderful experience and tears often came to our eyes as we read or heard stories about each tree, it's purpose, and who it was either intended for or represented.  Some were for those who have passed-on, and, more than once, Ashley and I were so deeply moved that we had to hurry on so as not to cry too much.

More Photos Below:

Friday, November 22, 2013

Come, Ye Thankful People, Come

    These words have been on my mind for the past few weeks. This morning I decided to post and share them.  
    As I've not just sung through, but really pondered on these words, I've thought of how I can be more grateful and express that gratitude in word and in deed.
The Lord really is our provider.  And…as we are pure and faithful, true to what we've been entrusted, the eternal harvest will be great and worth every effort.

Come, ye thankful people, come;
Raise the song of harvest home.
All is safely gathered in
Ere the winter storms begin.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

When You Wake with the Grumpies...

Do you ever wake and feel great, happy, hopeful, ready for the day?  That is always a wonderful thing.  But, have you ever awoken with the 'grumpies'?  I have and...today was one of them.

I slept well and actually felt good when I woke up.  But, then, something that happened to me last evening came to mind and....my day was changed.

Thankfully, prayer is also a changer.   It helps me to remember truth and to heal from situations and circumstances that are hurtful.  It also helps to calm my soul when it's troubled and turn to the Source of the only one who can truly heal me.  So....I'm going to go do that now.  Prayer and scripture study are always the things that bless me when I'm down and help me refocus my attentions and energies on things that I can change in myself and ways that I can forgive others' who have intentionally or unintentionally hurt me.  I recommend this to you all as well.  :)

We're spiritual beings having a mortal experience and...sometimes, maybe even often, that mortal experience has challenges beyond our own abilities to cope or understand.  We NEED the wisdom of One much greater than we - to help us navigate these, sometimes, rough waters.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Being Single in a Married LDS World

Now...I know that's a bit of an exaggeration.  It's not really only a married LDS world - as I've heard that over 40% of the church is 'single' - but...it can feel that way when you're sitting alone or invited to attend 'couples activities' and feel out-of-place when most discussions are directed at family life.

It's taken me quite a few years to heal from many heartaches and griefs, sorrows, longings, sufferings.  But, I think I've arrived at a new plateau.  Hallelujah.  That's a great blessing to be able to move up a step - even if the trials getting there are hard and painful.

Nevertheless, I'm not 'all there' yet.  I still have a hard time as certain activities in a family-oriented church.  But, that's not to say that I'm not all 'for it' (the family church) because I am; wholeheartedly.  It's the Lord's plan and it's meant to be that way.  It's a WONDERFUL arrangement and something I hope for and for which put my trust in God.

Monday, October 7, 2013

When things aren't so simple.....

I've tried to simplify my life.  I even have a little post-it note attached to the bottom of my computer screen which reminds me to focus on what matters most and what is needful.  It says: "Do I need to do this?"  And...it's stopped me a few times and helped me to refocus.

But, sometimes things just don't seem simple.  Life in a family can get complicated.  Each child has things they are learning, needing and working-through.  There are educational and spiritual pursuits, clothing, haircuts, food to prepare and clean-up, household chores, friends, church callings, gifts and talents to explore and develop, hugs and love that is needed, a listening ear and time for counsel, service to others, appointments, dental and medical needs, yard work, scripture study, family prayer, Family Home Evening, scouting, music or sports lessons etc.

Sometimes things seem to be going fairly smoothly.  I'm an organized person, or at least try to be, by nature.  I have lists to do and a big family calendar.  I try to keep up with things but sometimes I get overwhelmed.  Today was one of those days.  Challenges to meet seemed to be bigger than my capability to keep up.  I wanted to cry but...I decided to sit and figure it out and be rational.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Yes, we got flooded on Saturday

Daughter at work at Bridal Veil Falls - on a drier day :)
Last Saturday, Sept. 7th, a huge storm hit our valley, and, specifically our neighborhood (as well as several others'.)  When the wind and rain started I sensed that it was different than I'd experienced before so...I felt to quickly drive up the canyon to pick up my daughter early from work.  (She's been working at the new concessions stand at Bridal Veil Falls) and would close down early if the weather got too bad.

Thankfully, we arrived home safely - and to a neighbor who called out -'did you get flooded'?  It hadn't occurred to me that that were a possibility.  But, sure enough, we did.  There was about 2 feet of standing water in our lower level entrance area.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Our Main Goal......

Elder M. Russell Ballard teaches that "Our main goal should be to seek immortality and eternal life."  He then shares things that are needful as part of that pursuit when he says "With this as our goal, why not eliminate from our lives the things that clamor for and consume our thoughts, feelings, and energies without contributing to our reaching that goal?"

Establish Priorities to attain proper balance
In our quest for balance we might do well to consider the following eight suggestions as well as elimination of things that keep us from that goal.  
1.  Establish Priorities
2.  Set Attainable Goals
3.  Budget Wisely
4.  Build Relationships
5.  Study the Scriptures
6.  Take Care of Yourself
7.  Live the Gospel
8.  Pray Often

Elder Ballard Continues:

Monday, August 19, 2013

Scientist Testifies of The Great Creator of the Universe

This message touched me today.  I felt it important to share - and...to ponder.  I've been recently pondering on the Universe and our place in it.  We've been given many great teachings about the majesty and glory of God's plan for His children and this video is yet another witness to that reality!  Bravo for this wonderful man, Dr. Lewis, who shared!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Thoughts for today...

"In the end - we all want our hearts, our countenances and even our very natures changed."

"Our willingness to accept and even embrace difficult things triggers the Lord's power to make these
fundamental changes for us."

"The heart is what motivates people."   ----     "It's how people 'feel' about things."

                                         "If you cannot reach one goal --- then attain another."

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Oh What a Beautiful Morning...

Elder Bruce D. Porter told this story in our recent General Conference two weeks ago.  It's made me smile quite a few times since then and has boosted my desire to look for the good, to sing more, to be grateful for beautiful days, and to find peace and joy despite difficult things that may be going on around me and in the world.  These are his uplifting words.

"When I was a student at Brigham Young University, I lived in a house with several young men. My roommate, Bruce, was the most optimistic person I have ever known. We never once heard him say anything negative about any person or any circumstance, and it was impossible not to feel buoyed up in his presence. His good cheer flowed from an abiding trust in the Savior and in His gospel.

One cold, wintry day, another friend of mine, Tom, was walking across the university campus. It was only 7:00 in the morning, and the campus was deserted and dark. Heavy snow was falling, with a brisk wind. “What miserable weather,” Tom thought. He walked farther, and out in the darkness and snow, he heard someone singing.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tears are Good. So...Let me Cry....

My last post was about sending off my missionary daughter.  I probably should have explained more things so as to avoid the comments that wanted me not to be sad; rather to rejoice in the blessing of having a missionary.  Those bothered me as they weren't what I needed - even though I know the authors 'meant' well and were probably trying to be helpful.

I do rejoice and am deeply grateful to have a daughter serve a mission.  Never did I feel otherwise.  But, can I share a truth I've learned - that will, hopefully, help us ponder on being more empathetic with one another?  I believe we'd all do well to show an increase of love as well as increased understanding of each another.

As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have been taught to 'mourn with those that mourn, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort.' (see vs. 8-10)  It's to this statement I address my remarks today.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Who Knew that Sending off a Missionary Would be so Hard?

Amber, Ashley-Salt Lake Temple- Sat. April 6
My oldest daughter, Amber, entered the MTC yesterday.  She'll be heading to serve in Richmond, Virginia in a few weeks.  I know it will be a great blessing and glorious experience for her.  For that, I am deeply grateful.

But, it was hard on ME.  I cried all afternoon.  :)

We waited in a long line of cars that extended from the entrance of the MTC (Missionary Training Center, in Provo, Utah) to enter one of 24 drop off points.  We were told that we'd have 2 1/2 minutes to get unloaded and say our 'goodbye's.'  So, we were prepared.  Or, so we thought.

We took a few photos at the Provo Temple - and then, got in the car line to wait our drop-off turn. As we visited, expressed our love and support (from her two younger teenage siblings), and talked about saying goodbye, this sweet missionary daughter then, finally, shared that she was somewhat 'scared' - and I started to tear up.

Up to this point we have been so busy with preparations that we scarcely had time to think about the

Friday, March 29, 2013

My Road to Emmaus - Easter and The Resurrection

After the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, he appeared to two of his disciples as they walked from Jerusalem - on the road to Emmaus.

This morning as I was out walking along a peaceful path near my home - I was thinking and pondering on the Savior, His life, His death, His resurrection and...His goodness to me (and to all of us.)  At one point I wondered about the road to Emmaus and why his disciples did not know or recognize Him as He walked and talked with them.  I wondered if I would - and if I do.  Do I listen to him, really hear him and heed his counsels and warnings?  I can honestly say that I currently really try

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Power of the Adversary

Years ago I became acquainted with a man who taught a lot about the power of the adversary and how he works in our lives.  Since that time I have done a lot of reading and studying about his role in these last days and how he seeks to make us miserable like unto himself.

For those not of my faith, let me briefly share our belief in the 'plan of salvation'.  We lived with God, our Father, as spirit children, before we came to earth.  We were taught and nurtured and loved.  Yet, we couldn't fully progress without a body.  We agreed to come to earth - to receive a body and have a mortal experience - to see if we would choose good over evil.  In order to do so most effectively - we'd have to live by faith; meaning that a 'veil' would be drawn over us at birth and we'd forget what we used to know.  But, as we heard it again, or relearned it, it would 'ring true' to our souls.  And, a Savior would be provided for when we made mistakes and needed to repent.

Also, we were given a gift of conscience and the Holy Spirit as our guide.  It would lead us along paths of righteousness - if we would not dismiss it by our unbelief.

Fast forward - years into our lives - and many challenges we each face.  Some face, perhaps, more difficult challenges than others'.  We don't always know all the reasons why but some are because of our own choices and things we may have wanted or 'agreed' to learn, some are because of the choices of others' and life circumstances.

Nevertheless, we are free to choose light or dark, good or evil.  And, the 'Adversary' (Satan) who was with us in the beginning (before we came to earth - and he choose evil) - never received the gift of a body.  And...wants us to hate ours.  He is filled with wrath and all manner of evil.  His whole goal is to destroy us - and 'win' our souls.  All he does is with the purpose of leading us astray and getting us to do things that are destructive and, ultimately, damning (the state of being stopped in one's progress).

Life is a great gift; filled with a mixture of joys and triumphs, sorrows, toils, and griefs.  We are here to 'learn from our own experience' to choose the good over the evil.

Satan, the adversary, father of all lies; etc - seeks for our destruction.  He does this from thousands of years of experience - how to tempt and to try us.  What can he get each of us to do to falter or fail?  How can he cause us discouragement and despair?

Probably most of us have experienced a myriad of emotions on this journey.  I know that I have.  And, I have learned the pain and sorrow and sin as well as the joy of hope and faith - thanks to the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  It is the greatest gift we could have.  And, it's accessible to us all.  That is the greatest joy of all.

Repented sin brings a peace and joy that is available in no other way.  In His goodness and mercy - He wants to bless and comfort us.  And, he knows that by us aligning our lives and our will with His - we will have the ultimate blessings of eternal life once again with Him.

This is, perhaps, the biggest difference between us and some other faiths.  We invite all to learn of these things and see if they feel right.  Sincere prayer - to our Father in Heaven who LOVES us - and has made this perfect plan for us (and, who, yes, has a tangible body of flesh and bones - as He is our Father) - is full of grace and truth and will continue to do all He can to help us 'make it back' to Him.  And, part of that is how we choose to live and worship Him in our lives...

Monday, February 18, 2013

Peace in a Troubled World

How do we find Peace in troubled world?  What has caused the world to be troubled?  What are we to learn from it all?

In Doctrine and Covenants section 84 we read
 49 And the whole world lieth in sin, and groaneth under darkness and under the bondage of sin.
 50 And by this you may know they are under the bondage of sin, because they come not unto me.
 51 For whoso cometh not unto me is under the bondage of sin.
 52 And whoso receiveth not my voice is not acquainted with my voice, and is not of me.
 53 And by this you may know the righteous from the wicked, and that the whole world groaneth under sin and darkness even now.

Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World, is the 'author' of all peace and righteousness.  If we turn to Him, we too, can have those blessings.

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Importance of Kindness

For the past few days I've been pondering on the importance of Kindness in our lives.  I've re-learned for myself that it is one of the fruits of the Spirit - along with long-suffering and gentleness.

Galatians 5:22-23  "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance..."

It's 'easy' to become judgmental and critical of others'.  That is true especially if we are without the Spirit in our lives.  On those occasions we may do well to remember that when we're filled with the Spirit of God - we have love for others' and we see them through clearer lenses.

President Thomas S. Monson counseled:
"Unfortunately, there are those who feel it necessary to criticize and to belittle others. You have, no doubt, been with such people, as you will be in the future. My dear young friends, we are not left to wonder what our behavior should be in such situations. In the Sermon on the Mount, the Savior declared, “Judge not.” At a later time He admonished, “Cease to find fault one with another.” It will take real courage when you are surrounded by your peers and feeling the pressure to participate in such criticisms and judgments to refrain from joining in."

Most of us have probably experienced both sides of criticism; as the criticizer or the recipient.  Either of those brings us turmoil.  And, when we are the recipient of it - it's often difficult to know what to do and how to repair the damage.  Sometimes it's not in our control to do so - and we may suffer in silence.

I recently had an experience like this where the only sure comfort I could get was from the Lord himself.  He answered my deep prayer and comforted my troubled soul.

This morning we discussed the 'fruits of the Spirit' as a family - in our devotional.  I shared with my 3 teenagers my testimony that this is a true principle and that we can find true joy and happiness only through these beloved principles.  Any other way is not of God and will not bring us what we search for; true peace and everlasting happiness.

Only through the gospel of Jesus Christ - can we find the peace and joy that is everlasting and a fulness.  Some other paths may lead in that direction - and those are good.  We are grateful for goodness from wherever it comes.  But, it is my deep belief, and actual conviction, that anything other than these truths - are not the things that will save or really comfort us.  For this understanding I am deeply grateful.  It has changed my whole life.


Friday, January 11, 2013

Self-Control in Marriage

I found this compilation of quotes in my files this morning and....felt I was to share them today.  So, I'll type them up and hope that they will be of benefit to any who read them.  I share them, also, by way of personal testimony.  For...anything I post - is because I believe in it.  :) 
Heidi G.

"The gift of the Holy Ghost adapts to (our) organs or attributes.  It quickens all the intellectual faculties, increases, enlarges, expands, and purifies all the natural passions and affections; and adapts them, by the gift of the Wisdom to their lawful use."  Parley P. Pratt, Key to Theology, p. 100

"Self control means the government and regulation of all our natural appetites, desires, passions, and affections; and there is nothing that gives a man such strength of character as the sense of self-conquest, the realization that he can make his appetites and passions serve him and that he is not a servant to them."  President McKay, CR (Conference Report), April 1968

"There is an effort made in some quarters to destroy all idea of the sanctity of chastity.  In some quarters it is taught that the urge of sex is like the urge of hunger and thirst and should be equally satisfied.  That doctrine is from the devil and will lead to destruction for any many, any woman, any people that espouse it and practice it."  President J. Reuben Clark, DNCH, Oct. 4, 1950, p. 3

"The husband, I feel, must take the lead and recognize the importance of showing great tenderness, sensitivity, control, and patience.  President McKay said, 'Let us instruct young people who come to us, to know that a woman should be queen of her own body.  The marriage covenant does not give him the right to enslave her or abuse her or to use her merely for the gratification of his passion.  Your marriage does not give you that right."  CR, April 1952

"Sexual love, without the accompanying virtues, is not to be indulged, as it leads to evil.  God has ordained that pure and virtuous love should be incorporated with the sexual love; that, by the combination of the two, permanent unions in the marriage covenant may be formed, and the species multiplied in righteousness.  Pure and virtuous love should always exist between a husband and his wife, as well as sexual love; this will have a tendency to impress more permanently these heavenly principles upon the mind and constitution of the offspring; for the offspring will partake, in a greater or less degree, of the propensities and affections of the parents."  The Seer, pp. 154-155

"The object of the union of the sexes in the propagation of their species, or procreation; also for mutual affection, and cultivation of those eternal principles of never ending charity and benevolence, which are inspired by the eternal spirit; also for mutual comfort and assistance in this world of toil and sorrow, and for mutual duties towards their offspring."  Parley P. Pratt, Key to Theology, p. 164

"Young people should be taught that pure love between the sexes is one of the noblest things on earth, and the bearing and rearing of children the highest of all human duties."  David O. McKay, Treasures of Life, Salt Lake City, Deseret Book Co,. 1962. p. 67

President David O. McKay made the following statement:  "Marriage is a sacred relationship entered into for purposes that are well recognized primarily for the rearing of a family."  CR, April 1964

"The lawful association of the sexes is ordained of God not only as the sole means of race perpetuation, but for the development of the higher faculties and noble traits of human nature which the love inspired companionship of man and woman alone can insure."  Joseph F. Smith, Improvement Era, Vol. XX, p. 738

"Under the accepted plan the first parents were sent to earth -- Adam and Eve.  In order that the other spirits in the kingdom of our Father might be introduced to this plain mortality, Adam and Eve - and this is sacred - had provided in their bodies the power of creation - a light, so to speak, that had power to kindle over other lights.  Under the bonds of marriage, which are also sacred, Adam and Eve were able to invite little boys and girls to live with them, and they assumed the status of parents and became the father and mother of all mankind.  This process by which was created in Adam and Eve is given to almost every individual who has ever been born.  It is a sacred and significant power; it is a power that is good.  And you who are teenagers, like all others who are the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve, have this inherent within you.  This was the great plan that was to glorify and benefit all of the children of our Father in heaven.  And that power of creation is not just a part of the plan -- it is the very key to it, the very key."  Address to Seminary and Institute, Boyd K. Packer, July 15, 1958

"I have said many times to young couples at the marriage altar; Never let the tender intimacies of your married life become beastly.  Let your thoughts smell of sunshine.  Let your words be wholesome and your association together be inspiring and uplifting, if you would keep alive the spirit of romance throughout your marriage together.  Harold B. Lee:  Relief Society Conference Oct. 1971, Ensign, February 1972, p. 51

"We urge, with Peter, "...Abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul."  (1 Peter 2:11)  No indecent exposure or pornography or other aberrations to defile the mine and spirit.  No fondling of bodies, one's own or that of others, and no sex between persons except in proper marriage relationships.  This is positively prohibited by our Creator in all places, at all times, and we reaffirm it.  Even in marriage there can be some excesses and distortions.  No amount of rationalization to the contrary can satisfy a disappointed Father in Heaven.  Spencer W. Kimball:  April Conference 1974.  Ensign May, 1974, pp. 7-8

"Brethren, we who lead the Church are responsible to see that you are taught in plainness.  I, therefore, must make reference to a matter that otherwise I would not present in a meeting such as this.  There are evil and degrading practices which, in the world, are not only condoned but encouraged.  Sometimes married couples in their intimate expression of live to one another are drawn into practices that are unholy, unworthy, and unnatural.  We receive letters from time to time asking for a definition of 'unnatural' or 'unworthy'.  Brethren, you know the answer to that.  If in doubt at all, do not do it."  N. Eldon Tanner, Ensign, Nov. 1978, p. 42

"As I struggled and wrestled to maintain my commitment to the Lord through the dating and courting period of my life, I concluded that surely the main purpose of self-mastery and consistent control over the drives and passions that have been so deeply planted in our bodies by our Heavenly Father, was that we might go into the temple pure in both body and mind and commence our marriage on the basis of complete and total virtue.  Since becoming a married man I now realize that it is true that one of the greatest blessings, if not the greatest blessing, in commencing married life is to come to the altar clean and undefiled in both mind and body -- however, I now realize that it is the self-control, the mastery of one's passions, that ends up being not only the commencing but the great ongoing blessing of married life.  To me it was really significant to discover that self control in marriage is as important as self control before marriage -- that everything we are taught about wise dating and courtship, that is, the sacredness of the body, modesty in dress and manners, sensitivity and consideration at all times, takes on even greater importance and sacredness after marriage.  Indeed, I became mindful that it is possible to be unchaste in marriage simply by allowing passions and drives to run unchecked or uncontrolled."  G.W. Pace

"As a man and woman share their lives with each other in righteousness, there is another beautiful growth and development that inevitably occurs.  Two people can't honor their marriage covenant in righteousness, giving themselves to each other in the spirit and power of the Gospel, making the Savior the third party in their relationship, but what they grow in a deeper and deeper endowment of Godly love.  In that love there is less and less selfishness, a greater desire to lose your life for each other, a greater ability to sacrifice of yourself, a greater sensitivity, patience, and self control, which enable the couple to express themselves deeply and honorably in their physical relationship with each other."  G.W. Pace

"I indicated at the onset the challenge of self-control in marriage; perhaps in appreciating that challenge we can glimpse some reason why the Church has been hesitant about explicitly elaborating on the intimate aspects of husband-wife relationships.  Satan, in an attempt to destroy the very foundation of life itself, has taken from the dignity, sacredness and purposefulness of sex by relegating its function only to the realm of self-satisfaction or pleasure.  The powers of procreation and the human body itself have been made cheap.  Satan has accomplished this in a large measure by artificially stimulating the appetites and passions of the body, and he has done that by exposing the body and talking endlessly about our appetites and passions.  The drives and passions placed in our bodies are of sufficient strength in and of themselves without any artificial stimulation.  Is not this at least in part what President J. Reuben Clark must have had in mind when he said: 
     "Parents are grasping at straws in an effort to hold their children.  The cry is raised that the Church needs a book on sex.  But what should such a book tell?  Already the schools have taught sex facts ad nauseam.  All their teachings have but torn away the modesty that once clothed sex; their discussions tend to make, and sometimes seem to make, sex animals of our boys and girls.  The teachings do little but arouse curiosity for experience.  It is said these courses tell enough about the generation of human beings to enable the youth, largely, to escape parenthood.  Books are written, courses are given about courtship and marriage.  To what point?  We have not too far to get to the heathenish abominations and practices in pre-Christian and early Christian times, against which the Lord again and again lashed out to ancient Israel and to early Christians."  CR, October 1949, p. 194.

No, this is not out-dated information.  The Lord plan is one eternal round.  True principles are always true principles no matter how or when they are presented. And, even in 'the whole world' is living another way - the Lord's truths are always true.  We would do well to heed them and to learn from them.  For, there is safety in obedience and blessings in honoring what we have been given.