Dear friend, sibling, spouse, or survivor asking this question…

How can I?

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This is my childhood home.

Tomorrow is the very first time in my entire life that I am anxious to go there.

I have referred to it as “The Big Yellow House on the Corner since I was young. The name stuck with everyone and it has always been some shade of yellow.

This place has had the same phone number since the day it was built.

It is the very place my parents brought me when I was fresh from heaven to add to five others. I was the caboose.

There are probably a thousand tennis and baseballs hidden in that ivy which grows all the way around the corner over a white fence.

The wreathes on the door changed for every season. My mother loved flower arranging.

There are great places for hide and seek in this yard and we played nearly every summer night.

We climbed the fruit trees and ate cherries and apricots until we got sick. The lemon tree has huge thorns and the juice from the oranges are delicious!

That front door is where I had my first kiss…

But we never entered the house through that door. That was only for picking up the mail and the vacuum cleaner salesmen…and dates. Family and friends always entered at the side gate through the back yard. The gate where the dogs waited with their tails wagging and the cats slept on top of the fence.

That entry is near the driveway where I drove a stick for the first time in a white VW bug.

It is tradition to honk as you drive past this house. It sends an “I love you” signal and to remind all that I will be back soon.

The kitchen light over the stove is always left on for us.

I had my wedding reception in this garden.

And I brought each one of my babies here to be cuddled, adored and spoiled by two doting grandparents. So did my five older siblings and then later–our own children. My parent’s posterity has grown well over 100 now!

Over to the left is the place we buried our family dog of 16 years. He had epilepsy but such a dear heart.

The lower window was where we looked out as this group of 8 had family dinner’s together, we kept adding more and more family over the years. We laughed and ate and repeated eating there over and over again.

This was for sure the chimney Santa climbed down to leave presents at Christmas.

This was the entry where friends and family entered to say their last good-bye

to my father first,

and now recently my mother.

The house sits quiet now–

waiting.

 

Tomorrow I will fly six hours then enter the back door as I have my entire life.

The light on the stove will not be on.

There will no note from my mother welcoming me home, or a tiny rose or gardenia in a cup, or a sweet roll.

The house will be happy I have come home.

I now have to open closets and drawers and reveal the treasures my parents kept secretly hidden. I will reverently lift worn shoes and hug folded sweaters, knowing they won’t be worn any longer.

How do I face this?

How can I capture 55 years and put it in my pocket?

I want to break open the walls and pour the laughter and love inside my suitcase so I don’t have to leave it behind.

If I could I would reach around the entire house and embrace it and say thank-you over and over.

How will I be able to drive away in a few weeks and leave it–

forever?

I am not ready.

But it is time.

My parents will be there to help, I know it.

What blessings they brought to our lives.

I have so much to hold in my heart.

I love you my Big Yellow House on the Corner!

My HOME forever.

 

Blogcation until Sept.

The Little Chest

Cancer is a moment by moment experience.

A dear friend of mine understood this.

She gave me the simplest gift–

I LOVED IT!

It continually kept giving

through my tiresome process.

I wanted to share it so you could use the idea if you were searching for something

to help.

Little chest

Little chest

She gave me a tiny little chest.

Inside was stuffed, and I mean stuffed with tiny strips of paper folded in half.

She had searched,

copied,

cut,

and folded

little uplifting thoughts,

jokes,

and poems

to pull out when needing an uplift.

It was like a fortune cookie surprise.

I tried to limit myself to one a day but sometimes I snuck more.

If you don’t have the time to search for thoughts

I posted some so you could cut and copy them easily.

I have used the idea many times…

(I placed them in a simple jar)

for a friend who broke her back,

aging bedridden parents,

a friend recovering from a hip replacement,

and other cancer survivors…

They loved it as much as I did.

I hope you enjoy…

I hope it works its magic…

Thoughts for you to use from my little chest:

 

In my 30s I trained for my first (and only) marathon.  During all those early morning runs, I used a trick that my coaches taught me whenever my stamina and strength faltered:  I smiled.  I smiled hardest on race day, and I swear it made the pain fade and drove me to make it to the finish line.  Today, I walk instead of run, but when I’m lifting weights or taking an extra tough yoga class, I smile.  Not only do I get through the last few reps, but I actually feel stronger doing it.  Although I didn’t quite realize it at the time, my simple training trick was a perfect example of the mind’s power, and the influence of belief, or faith.  For me, it was the “special sauce” that got me through a grueling 26.2 mile race.

Prevention Magazine, Ed in chief Liz Vaccariello, Aug 09 p. 10.

 

 

Read this slowly and think of yourself:

 

The gift of the Holy Ghost adapts itself to all these 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 wisdom, to their lawful use.  It inspires, develops, cultivates and matures all the fine-toned sympathies, joys, tastes, kindred feelings and affections of our nature. It inspires virtue, kindness, goodness, tenderness, gentleness, and charity.  It develops beauty of person, form and features.  It tends to health, vigor, animation and social feeling.  It invigorates all the faculties of the physical and intellectual man.  It strengthens, and gives tone to the nerves.  In short, it is, as it were, marrow to the bone, joy to the heart, light to the eyes, music to the ears, and life to the whole being.  “In the presence of such persons, one feels to enjoy the light of their countenances, as the genial rays of a sunbeam.  Their very atmosphere diffuses a thrill, a warm glow of pure gladness, and sympathy, to the heart and nerves of others who have kindred feelings, or sympathy of spirit.  (Pratt)
Let not your heart be troubled, ye believe in God, believe also in me….Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

I will not leave you comfortless…  (John 14:1,17,18)

 

  • Life is a romantic business. It is painting a picture, not doing a sum — but  you have to make the romance, and it will come to the question how much fire you have in your belly. — Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
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    People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the  huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and yet they pass by themselves without wondering.   –St. Augustine of Hippo

 

  • It is not what we do that makes us holy, but we ought to make holy what we do. –Meister Eckhart
  • Just as a picture is drawn by an artist, surroundings are created by the activities of the mind.  –Buddha (B.C. 568-488)

*“Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running             around shouting that he has been robbed.

  • “[The fact is] most putts don’t drop. Most beef is tough. Most children grow up to be just people. Most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration. Most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. …“Life is like an old-time rail journey—delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed.“The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride” Jenkins Lloyd Jones

 

  • M. Scott Peck in The Road Less Traveled:
  • “Life is difficult.
  • “This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult – once we truly understand and accept it – then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.
  • “Most do not fully see this truth that life is difficult. Instead they moan more or less incessantly, noisily or subtly, about the enormity of their problems, their burdens, and their difficulties as if life were generally easy, as if life should be easy. They voice their belief, noisily or subtly, that their difficulties represent a unique kind of affliction that should not be and that has somehow been especially visited upon them, or else upon their families, their tribe, their class, their nation, their race or even their species, and not upon others. I know about this moaning because I have done my share. “Life is a series of problems. Do we want to moan about them or solve them?”

 

  • People cannot live gracefully or peacefully, joyfully or justly,  without celebration in their lives, . . . without awe.  –Matthew Fox     Celebrate today!
  • Apprehend God in all things,
    For God is in all things.
    Every single creature is full of God
    and is a book about God.
    Every creature is a word of God!
    If I spent enough time with the tiniest creature-
    even a caterpillar — I would never have to prepare a sermon,
    so full of God is every creature.
    Meister Eckhart

 

  • God is singing and Creation is the melody.  –David Palmer

 

  • Happiness is intrinsic, it’s an internal thing. When you build it into yourself, no external circumstances can take it away. That kind of happiness is a twenty-four-hour thing. – Leo F. Buscaglia
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  • I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty  feet. –Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948)
  • “The completed beauty of Christ’s life is only the added beauty of little inconspicuous acts of beauty–talking with the woman at the well; showing the young ruler the stealthy ambition laid away in his heart that kept him out of the Kingdom of Heaven; . . . teaching a little knot of followers how to pray; kindling a fire and broiling fish that his disciples might have a breakfast waiting for them when they came ashore from a night of fishing, cold, tired, and discouraged. All of these things, you see, let us in so easily into the real quality and tone of [Christ's] interests, so specific, so narrowed down, so enlisted in what is small, so engrossed with what is minute.”    (“Kindness and Love,” in Leaves of Gold,)  (James E. Faust,  Ensign, Nov. 1990, 35)
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  • MORSEL: When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you. –Tao Te Ching

 

  • There’s a great little book I read a few years back called “Peace In Every Step” written by Thich Nhat Hahn, a Vietnamese monk well-known for his smile and his beautiful ideas. One of these has to do with how he prays. Mr. Hahn has made it a tradition in his family to have thirty seconds of ‘quiet time’ before the evening meal. During this silence he and his family make it a point to smile and simply look into each others’ eyes. That’s it! According to Mr. Hahn, this has become one of his family’s favorite customs, greatly increasing the awareness and respect they have for each other. And somehow, he says, it even makes the food taste better!

 

  • “I will greet this day with love in my heart. And how will I do this? Henceforth will I look on all things with love and be born again. I will love the sun for it warms my bones; yet I will love the rain for it cleanses my spirit. I will love the light for it shows me the way; yet I will love the darkness for it shows me the stars. I will welcome happiness as it enlarges my heart; yet I will endure sadness for it opens my soul. I will acknowledge rewards for they are my due; yet I will welcome obstacles for they are my challenge.”  Og Mandino
  • “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of  Your joy.”  Thich Nhat Hanh , Vietnamese Monk, Author

 

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  • “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something I can do.”  Helen Keller

 

  • “What I am looking for is not “out there”, it is in me”.   Helen Keller

 

  • “Sister, there were people who went to sleep last night, poor and rich and white and black, but they will never wake again. And those dead folks would give anything at all for just five minutes of this weather or ten minutes of plowing. So you watch yourself about complaining. What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.”   Maya Angelou, quoting her grandmother.

 

  • “You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land, there is no other life but this.”
    Henry David Thoreau
  • “What if you slept? And what if, In your sleep
    You dreamed? And what if, In your dream,
    You went to Heaven And there plucked
    A strange and  Beautiful flower?
    And what if, When you awoke, You had the flower
    In your hand? Ah, what then?”   
    Samuel Taylor Coleridge
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  • “Though no one can go back and make a new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new end.”
    Carl Bard
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    “You must understand the whole of life, not just one little part of it. That is why you must read, that is why you must look at the skies, that is why you must sing and dance, and write poems, and suffer, and understand, for all that is life.” J.Krishnamurti, 1895-1986, Indian Philosopher
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    “A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What one can be, one must be.” Abraham Maslow
  • “Once there were three bricklayers busily working at their trade.
    When asked what they were doing, the first man answered gruffly “I’m
    laying bricks,” without ever taking his eyes from his work. The second
    man replied, “I’m putting up a wall.” But the third man said
    enthusiastically and with obvious pride, “I’m building a cathedral!”
    Author Unknown
  • “Now is the time to give me roses, not to keep them for my grave to come. Give them to me while my heart beats, give them today while my heart yearns for jubilee. Now is the time…”                       Mzwakhe Mbuli
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  • “Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful; for beauty is God’s handwriting — a wayside sacrament. Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every fair flower, and thank God for it as a cup of blessing.”
    Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • “When we come to it
    We must confess that we are the possible…
    We are the miraculous, the true wonders of this world,
    Free to choose our ends, and our new beginnings.
    That is when, and only when…
    We come to it.”
    From the poem “When We Come To It” from works by Ralph Waldo Emerson and Maya Angelou
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    ——————–
    ATTITUDE
    The 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud lady, who is fully    dressed each morning by eight o’clock, with her hair fashionably    coifed and makeup perfectly applied, even though she is legally    blind, moved to a nursing home today.   Her husband of 70 years recently passed away, making the move    necessary.    After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby    of the nursing home, she smiled sweetly when told her room was ready.    As she maneuvered her walker to the elevator, I provided a visual  description of her tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had
    been hung on her window.
    “I love it,” she stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old    having just been presented with a new puppy.    “Mrs. Jones, you haven’t seen the room …. just wait.”    “That doesn’t have anything to do with it,” she replied. “Happiness
    is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or    not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged… it’s how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it ..
    “It’s a decision I make every morning when I wake up.  I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed  recounting the    difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do.
    Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open  I’ll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I’ve stored away … just for this  time in my life.
    Old age is like a bank account … you withdraw from what you’ve put  in .. So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness  in    the bank account of memories .

 

  • Remember, if you’re headed in the wrong direction, God allows U-turns!  ~Allison Gappa Bottke

 

  • Evaluation of ten year old Albert Einstein: “You’ll never amount to much”.   By Munich School Master

 

  • If the only prayer you say in your whole life is
  • “thank you”, that would suffice.  Meister Eckhart
  • Forgiveness is another word for letting go.     Matthew Fox

 

  • I learned to listen to my body with an inner concentration like meditation, to get guidance as to when to exercise and when to rest. I learned that healing and cure are active processes in which I myself needed to participate. Rollo May

 

  • God respects me when I work, but He loves me when I sing.  Rabindranath Tagore
  • “You must fight off a “bad luck” way of thinking as if you were dealing with an invasion of hostile forces – for that is precisely what you are dealing with.”     Maxwell Maltz
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  • “There is nothing as easy as denouncing. It don’t take much to see that something is wrong, but it takes some eyesight to see what will put it right again.”    Will Rogers

 

  • “There is nothing stronger in the world than gentleness” from Han Suyin.

 

  • “The richest person is the one who is content with what he has.”     Robert C. Savage

 

  • “Let nothing disturb you. Let nothing frighten you. Everything passes away except God.”
  • Saint Theresa

 

  • We make a living by what we get. We make a life  by what we give – Sir Winston Churchill

 

  • Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the ONLY thing.   Albert Schweitzer

 

  • You can never be truly grateful and unhappy at the same time.  They are incompatible. To be truly grateful (and always happy) you must allow the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Love to take over your being. To do this you must learn the art of prayer and meditation. Two of the laws of prayer are, 1. Faith and 2. Forgiveness.
  • To have faith, you must say with the man in the Gospels, “I believe, Lord, help my unbelief”.
  • Faith is a gift. There is nothing you can do to merit it. If you ask for it, it will be given to you. But ask often,
  • pray often, you must. To forgive, you must drop resentments. Remember,holding a resentment is like taking poison and hoping the other person gets sick. Drop them.  Author unknown

 

  • “I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.”  Helen Keller

 

  • “Often our trust is not full.  We are not certain that God hears us because we consider ourselves worthless and as nothing.  This is ridiculous and the very cause of our weakness.”     Saint Juliana of Norwich

 

  • Mark Twain said “I suffered many things in my life.  Some of which actually happened.”

 

  • We fear for our health, our security, our jobs, our financial, situation. You have heard it said that fear spelled out is FALSE EVIDENCE APPEARING REAL. When we have fears, we can always see them as healthy. They become toxic only when we let them consume our lives.     The antidote to this toxicity is trust. If you focus on this reality –
  • that God is constantly near you, watching over you, loving you, then you will have nothing to fear!   Author unknown
  • I could have said of myself what one Jesuit friend said to me some years ago: Take that plate of sweets away, because in front of a plate of sweets or chocolates, I lose my freedom.  That was true of  me, too; I lost my freedom in front of all kinds of things, but no more!  I’m satisfied with very little and I enjoy it intensely.  When you have enjoyed something intensely, you need very little.     Anthony DeMello

 

  • Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.  –Abraham Lincoln

 

  • Life is the childhood of our immortality.  –Goethe (1749-1832)

 

  • “Till I was twenty I did not care what people thought of me. After twenty I worried endlessly about what my neighbors thought. Then one day after fifty I suddenly saw that they hardly ever thought of me at all.”  Anthony deMello

 

  • If you don’t run your own life, somebody else will.  — John Atkinson

 

  • “Are there ways for gauging one’s spiritual strength?”  “Many.”    “Give us one.”
  • “Find out how often you become disturbed in the course of a single day.”    Anthony deMello

 

  • Peace of mind is that mental condition in which you have accepted the worst.– Lin Yutang

Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.  –Arthur Schopenhauer, philosopher

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It is not what we do that makes us holy, but we ought to make holy what we do. -Meister Eckhart

 

“If it is not truthful and not helpful, don’t say it.
If it is truthful and not helpful, don’t say it.
If it is not truthful and helpful, don’t say it.
If it is truthful and helpful, wait for the right time.”  Buddha

 

“We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements in life, when all that we really need to make us happy is something to be enthusiastic about.”   Charles Kingsley

You are blessed

-If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more blessed than the million who won’t survive the week.

-If you own just one Bible—  1/3 of the entire world does not have access to even one..

-If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation you are ahead of 500 million people in the world.

-If you attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death,you are more blessed than almost three billion people in the world.

-If you have food in your refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep,

you are richer than 75% of this world.

-If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace,

you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy

-If your parents are still married and alive, you are very rare

-If you hold up your head with a smile on your face and are truly thankful,

you are blessed because the majority can, but most do not.

-If you can hold someone’s hand, hug them or even touch them on the shoulder,

you are blessed because you can offer God’s healing touch.

-If you can read this message,

you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world who cannot read anything at all.

-You are so blessed in ways you may never even know
“The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life. ..Richard Bach

 

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”  Harold Whitman

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“Most people don’t know there are angels whose only job is to make sure you don’t get too comfortable
and fall asleep and miss your life.”  Brian Andreas, American Artist and Storyteller

 

If This Isn’t Nice

“…My uncle Alex Vonnegut, a Harvard-educated life insurance salesman who lived at 5033 North Pennsylvania Street, taught me something very important. He said that when things were really going well we should be sure to NOTICE it.
“He was talking about simple occasions, not great victories: maybe drinking lemonade on a hot afternoon in the shade, or smelling the aroma of a nearby bakery; or fishing, and not caring if we catch anything or not, or hearing somebody all alone playing a piano really well in the house next door.
“Uncle Alex urged me to say this out loud during such epiphanies: “If this isn’t nice, what is?”

Kurt Vonnegut From his book “Timequake”

 

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“And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.” Kahlil Gibran

 

“If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven played music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“To believe in immortality is one thing, but first believe in life.”  Robert Louis Stevenson
“How lovely to think that no one need wait a moment, we can start now, start slowly changing the world! How lovely that everyone, great and small, can make their contribution toward introducing justice straightaway… And you can always, always give something, even if it is only kindness!”

Anne Frank, Jewish Teenager, Diary-Keeper, Victim of the Holocaust
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“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest Fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be–brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?” Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us. It’s in everyone,and as we let our own light shine, we consciously give other people permission to do the same.As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

NELSON MANDELLA, 1994 INAUGURAL SPEECH (quoting Marianne Williamson).

 

The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be ignited.      Plutarch, Greek biographer (ca. A.D. 50-120)
Your heart has so much love in it.  The more of this love that you share and give away, the more you will have to share.  Love is not a substance that runs out; it’s like a muscle…the less you use it, the more it withers and dies.  The more you use it, the stronger it becomes.  And the love that you give out, returns to you multiplied and greets you wherever you go. (Louise Hay)

 

We need to be kinder with one another, more gentle and forgiving.  We need to be slower to anger and more prompt to help.  In short, we need to love one another with the pure love of Christ, with genuine charity and compassion and, if necessary, shared suffering, for that is the way God loves us.  (Howard W. Hunter)
Mother Teresa (her words from the video “Mother Teresa”):

A reporter shouted out to her:  “Some people feel that you’re almost like a living saint.  How do you feel about that?”

She responded:  “You have to be holy in your position that you are in, and I have to be holy in the position that God has put me. It is nothing extraordinary to be holy.  Holiness is not the luxury of the few.  Holiness is a simple duty for you and for me.  We have been created for that.”

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Mother Teresa (her words from the video “Mother Teresa”):

“Small things with great love…It is not how much we do, but how much love we put in the doing.

“It is not how much we give, but how much love we put in the giving.

“To God, there is nothing small.

“The moment we have given it to God, it becomes infinite.”

 

Through the Restoration we gain an understanding of an individual’s eternal worth. As literal sons and daughters of heavenly parents, as members of the race of the gods, we begin to understand the full weight of the statement that “the worth of souls is great in the sight of God.” (D&C 18:10.) God loves all members of his family–in all times and in all places. (Terry J. Moyer, “The Family–Now and Forever,” Ensign, June 1993, 12-14)
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Hugh B. Brown on a Life of Personal Prayer.     “In attempting to develop a life of prayer, one becomes conscious of the fact that he is two persons, and this is true of all of us.  There is our outside self, the person who is seen and watched by others, who lives and speaks and acts in public, the person we reveal to others with varying degrees of frankness or affectation.  And there is that other self – the inner self, which is ever partly hidden even from our closest friends, and which we, ourselves, but dimly apprehend.

“It is this self, our better self, that the Master sees and values.  To him the door of this interior castle is always open.  He sees the real person.  He knows that the fiercest battles are fought in this ‘Sector of the Soul,’ and he whispers hope to all who have not surrendered there….

“It was this understanding of the inner man which caused him to advise us to go alone into our closets and close the door when we would commune with the Father.  Man, when alone with God, knows there can be no pretense, or make believe.  Here at least he is absolutely honest.  ‘We feel the thing we ought to be beating beneath the thing we are.’  Realizing that he knows before we tell him, we lay bare our souls to God. It is the antiseptic washing of the wound which makes healing possible, and in religion this is called repentance, and forgiveness.  It is a time when our souls are naked and perhaps ashamed, but, when no longer distracted by fear of discovery, we can really concentrate on prayer.

“Rich and radiant living is generated in the hour of quiet meditation, of self-examination, of confession of weaknesses and prayer for forgiveness. This searching of our own souls and admitting what we see, is sometimes painful, but its effects are healing and wholesome.  Probing a wound is sometimes more beneficial than applying an ointment.”

(High B. Brown, from a radio address, in Messages of Inspiration, (Deseret 1957), p. 244)

 

“This is good doctrine.  It tastes good.  I can taste the principles of eternal life, and so can you.  They are given to me by the revelations of Jesus Christ; and I know that when I tell you these words of eternal life as they are given to me, you taste them, and I know that you believe them. You say honey is sweet, and so do I.  I can also taste the spirit of eternal life.  I know it is good; and when I tell you of these things which were given me by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, you are bound to receive them as sweet, and rejoice more and more.”  (Joseph Smith, from the “King Follett Discourse,” April 7, 1844; see _MS_ 23:262, _HC_ 6:312, _JD_ 6:7, or _TPJS_ p. 355)
Dallin H. Oaks on Our Eternal Parentage

“Here is the answer to one of life’s great questions, “Who am I?”  I am a child of God with a spirit lineage to heavenly parents.  That parentage defines our eternal potential.  That powerful idea is a potent antidepressant.  It can strengthen each of us to make righteous choices and to seek the best that is within us.  Establish in the mind of a young person the powerful idea that he or she is a child of God and you have given self-respect and motivation to move against the problems of life.

 

“When we understand our relationship to God, we also understand our relationship to one another.  All men and women on this earth are the offspring of God, spirit brothers and sisters.  What a powerful idea!  No wonder God’s Only Begotten Son commanded us to love one another.  If only we could do so!  What a different world it would be if brotherly and sisterly love and unselfish assistance could transcend all boundaries of nation, creed, and color.  Such love would not erase all differences of opinion and action, but it would encourage each of us to focus our opposition on actions rather than actors.

 

“The eternal truth that our Heavenly Father loves all his children is an immensely powerful idea.  It is especially powerful when children can visualize it through the love and sacrifice of their earthly parents.

Love is the most powerful force in the world.”  (Dallin H. Oaks, “Powerful Ideas,” General Conference, October 1995)

 

Howard W. Hunter on Jesus’ Healing Power

“There was an incident in the life of the Savior that was mentioned by Matthew, Mark, and Luke.  A significant part of the story is told by Mark in only two short verses and five words of the following verse.

“And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue,   Jairus by name; and when he saw him [that is, when he saw Jesus],

he fell at his feet,   “And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she  may be healed; and she shall live.   “And Jesus went with him (Mark 5:22-24)….

 

“Then comes a great acknowledgement of faith: ‘I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.’  These are not only the words of faith of a father torn with grief but are also a reminder to us that whatever Jesus lays his hands upon lives.  If Jesus lays his hands upon a marriage, it lives.  If he is allowed to lay his hands on the family, it lives.” (Howard W. Hunter, “Reading the Scriptures,” General Conference, October

1979; see _Ensign_, Nov. 1979, p. 65)

 

Jeffrey R. Holland on Divine Assistance

“In the gospel of Jesus Christ you have help from both sides of the veil and you must never forget that.  When disappointment and discouragement strike – and they will – you remember and never forget that if our eyes could be opened we would see horses and chariots of fire (2 Kgs. 6:16-17) as far as the eye can see riding at reckless speed to come to our protection.  They will always be there, these armies of heaven, in defense of Abraham’s seed.”

 

“All the principles of the gospel and all truth pertaining to the salvation of men are simple when understood. Until it is understood, however, a simple truth may be a great mystery.
“Gospel truths appeal more to the spirit, that is, they are spiritually discerned. A man may know a thing to be true by the teaching of the Spirit, but he may not be able to explain it to others. This may not be in keeping with modern worldly teaching, but it is true nevertheless. Revelations through the Spirit of the Lord, many times, cannot be explained.
‘And no tongue can speak, neither can there be written by any man, neither can the hearts of men conceive so great and marvelous things as we both saw and heard Jesus speak; and no one can conceive of the joy which filled our souls at the time we heard him pray for us unto the Father’ (3 Ne. 17:17).” (Joseph Fielding Smith, _Doctrines of Salvation_ 1:296)

 

Richard G. Scott on Memorizing Scriptures
“I suggest that you memorize scriptures that touch your heart and fill your soul with understanding. When scriptures are used as the Lord has caused them to be recorded, they have intrinsic power that is not communicated when paraphrased. Sometimes when there is a significant need in my life, I review mentally scriptures that have given me strength. There is great solace, direction, and power that flow from the scriptures, especially the words of the Lord.”
(Richard G. Scott, “He Lives,” General Conference, October 1999; see _Ensign_, Nov. 1999, p. 88)

 

Marion D. Hanks on Individuality in the Gospel
“The gospel of Jesus Christ is a personal thing, a very personal thing. We talk in multiples, and we think in numbers, and we teach classes with many people in them. We direct guide tours where there are large numbers. But always there is the simple truth which we must understand: that the gospel of Jesus Christ is God’s plan to get us home individually; and while we may teach classes, and while we may hold cottage meetings for groups, people come to faith and convictions individually. They enter the waters of baptism individually; individually they receive the blessing of the imposition of hands by those who have that authority; and when they seek to get acquainted with their Father in heaven, and to go to the place he would like them to be, they do it individually.” Marion D. Hanks, Conference Report, October 1953, p. 130)

 

A man will succeed at almost anything for which he has unlimited enthusiasm.  Charles M. Schwab, Billionaire broker

 

“There is not a single condition of life that is entirely unnecessary;  there is not one hour’s experience but what is beneficial to all those who make it their study and aim to improve upon the experience they gain.”   Brigham Young

 

Revelation is not imposed upon a person; it must be drawn to us by faith, seeking and working. (Elder John A. Widtsoe)  To understand the things of God requires a continuous effort, a pure and receptive heart, and an open mind.  Revelation comes in response to our desire and seeking; then we feast on the “holy joys that tell of heaven”. (Elder David B. Haight)(He sealed us in the Salt Lake  Temple)

 

In some quiet way, the expression and feelings of gratitude have a wonderful cleansing or healing nature.  Gratitude brings warmth to the giver and the receiver alike.

Gratitude expressed to our Heavenly Father in prayer for what we have brings a calming peace–a peace which allows us to not canker our souls for what we don’t have.”

“Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things” (D&C 59:7) This scripture means that we express thankfulness for what happens, not only for the good things in life but also for the opposition and challenges of life that add to our experience and faith.  We put our lives in His hands, realizing that all that transpires will be for our experience.

When in prayer we say, “Thy will be done,” we are really expressing faith and gratitude and acknowledging that we will accept whatever happens in our lives. (Elder Robert D Hales)

 

The degree of our love for the Lord, for the gospel, and for our fellowman can be measured by what we are willing to sacrifice for them.  It is our privilege to invest our means and our time to bless others… to set aside personal desires and replace them with unselfish sacrifice for others.  (Elder M. Russell Ballard)
[W]e are the covenant people, blessed to live on the earth when we can prepare in earnest for the second coming of our Savior.  I pray that we will daily rejoice in being alive now when we can covenant through baptism and in the house of the Lord.

To be a woman of covenant is a sacred and holy calling.  Our covenants should ennoble us, serving as inspiration and incentive….A deepened understanding of our covenants lifts our vision to the loftier vistas awaiting us.  As we are “true followers of…Jesus Christ,” we can become the daughters of God, “that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”

Our Lord Himself promised, “I will go before your face.  I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.” (DC 84:88)  With such a promise, we can keep going.  With this assurance, we will rise to spiritual heights previously unimagined.  Elaine Jack  former Gen. Relief Society Pres.

 

“Have ye spiritually been born of God?

Have ye received his image in your countenances?”  Alma 5:14
“Thou shalt live together in love”.  Doctrine & Covenants 42:45.

“We must cherish one another, watch over one another, comfort one another and gain instruction, that we may all sit down in heaven together.” (Lucy Mack Smith, mother of the Prophet Joseph Smith)

“Every good gift cometh of Christ.”  Moroni 10:18

Today, think of the many good gifts He has given you.  Speak of them with someone.  Rejoice in them.

 

“And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him:  That he lives!  Doctrine and Covenants 76:22
“Be cheerful in all you do.  Live joyfully. Live happily.  Live enthusiastically, knowing that God does not dwell in gloom and melancholy, but in light and love.” President Ezra Taft Benson, New Era, Sept 1979.
Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb?  yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.  Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands.  Isaiah 49:12
Elder Marvin J. Ashton (of the Quorum of the Twelve during the April 1984 General Conference) said: 

“Remind yourself that striving can be more important than arriving.  If you are striving for excellence–if you are trying your best day by day with the wisest use of your time and energy to reach realistic goals–you are a success.”

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“He inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness.”  2 Nephi 26:33

 

It is a time-honored adage that love begets love.  Let us pour forth love—show forth our kindness unto all mankind, and the Lord will reward us with everlasting increase;  cast our bread upon the waters and we shall receive it after many days, increased to a hundredfold.

     “I do not dwell upon your faults, and you shall not upon mine.  Charity, which is love, covereth a multitude of sins, and I have often covered up all the faults among you; but the prettiest thing is to have no faults at all.  We should cultivate a meek, quiet and peaceable spirit.

     “Have the Presbyterians any truth?  Yes.  Have the Baptists, Methodists, etc., any truth?  Yes.  They all have a little truth mixed with error.  We should gather all the good and true principles in the world and treasure them up, or we shall not come out true ‘Mormons’”.   Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 316

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Brothers and sisters, love life! Cherish each moment as a blessing from God.  Live it well–even to your loftiest potential. (Elder Russell M. Nelson)
The Lord has counseled us directly in this dispensation to seek the Spirit–to learn much–that we might “lay aside the things of this world, and seek for the things of a better” (DC 25:10).  I feel strongly that this is a clarion call for the women of this church at this time.  For us to stand firm and faithful, we must be clearly focused on seeking the Lord.

Seeking implies so much more than merely looking.  Seek means energy, direction, passion, purpose.  To seek requires all our “heart, might, mind and strength.” (DC 4:2).  …

How do we seek with our minds?  With our intellect we can ponder, we can analyze our circumstances, we can sort and sift information, weigh our options; we can store ideas, we can draw conclusions from our experiences, find answers to our problems; we can treasure thoughts and receive revelation.  Isn’t that what the Lord meant when he said, “You must study it out in your mind” and then ask me if these things are not true? (DC 9:8).

This statement of the Prophet Joseph Smith inspires me: “Thy mind…if thou wilt lead a soul unto salvation, must stretch as high as the utmost heavens” (Hist of the Church, 3:295).  We must stretch our minds if we are to reach that lofty goal so familiar to us all: “The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth” (DC 93:36).

As we earnestly seek light and truth, we develop clarity in our lives that reflects spiritual understanding and commitment.  This clarity results as we learn from our daily experiences, our thoughtful study, and as we receive personal inspiration from the Holy Spirit.  We have been promised:

“Whatever principle of intelligence we attain…in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection.  And if a person gains more knowledge…in this life through his diligence…, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come” (DC 130:18-10).

Learning–converting light and truth to everyday action in living the laws of God–is what we seek. President Elaine Jack’s, Sept 1994 General Relief Society Meeting:

 

As the days of our lives pass we discover new patterns in scripture. I continue to be surprised at the consistency of a simple pattern. When earthly wanderers are touched by the message of redemption, they cry out for mercy.

Alma: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me . . . Alma 36:18

King Benjamin’s people: “O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ . . .” Mosiah 4:2

The penitent publican: “God be merciful to me a sinner.” (Luke 18:13)

All kinds of sinners cried out to Him for mercy. So did the blind, the possessed, and the leprous. He is the healing balm for every malady. He is our only Hope.

” . . . there is no habit, no addiction, no rebellion, no transgression, no apostasy, no crime exempted from the promise of complete forgiveness. That is the promise of the atonement of Christ” (Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, November 1995, p. 21)

As an adolescent who wanted to continually improve I kept a journal in which I briefly listed the events of each day and graded myself in each of about twenty areas from kindness to my sister (I usually got an “F”.) to efficient use of time (I usually got a “D”.) The system was intended to help me identify my shortcomings and focus my energy for improvement; instead it left me demoralized. While I still stand unhelpfully ready to grade myself harshly, my earthly father and Heavenly Father have taught me a better system for improvement.

And now, my son, I have told you this that ye may learn wisdom, that ye may learn of me that there is no other way or means whereby man can be saved, only in and through Christ. Behold, he is the life and the light of the world. Behold, he is the word of truth and righteousness. (Alma 38:9)

And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins. (2 Nephi 25:26)

(H. Wallace Goddard, Meridian Magazine, 12/08))

Alma 26:37

Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful of every people,

whatsoever land they may be in;

yea, he numbereth his people,

and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth.

Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever. Amen.

“When we speak of praising God, the Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ, such praise should constitute much more than ritualistic incantations or merely saying nice things about God.  The more specific and frequent our praise, the better.  Instead, too, such praise should proceed from the whole soul, because of a dawning realization of all that God has done, is doing, and will yet do for all His children as well as for us personally (See Moroni 10:3)”

Moroni 10:3  “…remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.”

(Neal Maxwell, One More Strain of Praise, p. 51)

 

The best way to reach out for Christ is by taking His hand firmly and constantly!  He has said encouragingly to us, “I will lead you along,” because “ye cannot bear all things now” (D&C 79:18)

D&C 78:17-19

17 Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye are little children, and ye have not as yet understood how great blessings the Father hath in his own hands and prepared for you;

18 And ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, for I will lead you along.  The kingdom is yours and the blessings thereof are yours, and the riches of eternity are yours.

19 And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more.

Neal Maxwell, One More Strain of Praise, p. 52

 

D&C 11:20

20 Behold, this is your work, to keep my commandments, yea, with all your might, mind and strength.
I ask everyone within the sound of my voice to take heart, be filled with faith, and remember the Lord has said He “would fight [our] battles, [our] children’s battles, and [the battles of our] children’s children.” D&C 98:37.    And what do we do to merit such a defense? We are to “search diligently, pray always, and be believing[. Then] all things shall work together for [our] good, if [we] walk uprightly and remember the covenant wherewith [we] have covenanted.” D&C 90:24.    The latter days are not a time to fear and tremble. They are a time to be believing and remember our covenants. Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Ministry of Angels,” Ensign, Nov 2008

 

Thought I’d share this quote from an amazing talk on the doctrine of premortality.  If we could grasp these ideas they would change our lives.

Though estranged, we hunger for reunion [with God].  … Meanwhile, only a few come to this mortal experience with substantial saintliness already in tact.  Rather, our individual best is but the bud of possibility.  Even so, these buds of possibility are unmistakably there…

During this stressful sojourn on earth, we should make no mistake about who we and others really are.  Amid our budding possibilities, in the words of CS Lewis, we are “in a society of possible Gods and Godesses, in which there are no ordinary people.   We have never talked to a mere mortal.  Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations, these are mortal, and their life to ours is as the life of a gnat.  But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit.”

When you and I begin to know who we are, brothers and sisters, then we also know much more clearly what we might become, and also how and when.  The gospel, therefore, emancipates us from uncertainty of our identity…since Jesus descended below all in order to lift us all up, why are we so busy putting each other down?…

If we fail to learn who we are, however much other information we acquire here, we shall be “ever learning but never coming to a knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim.3:7).  With the acceptance of knowledge about premortality, there comes a greater realization of what it means to be true to ourselves and to our possibilities…The doctrine of premortality is among what Paul calls “the deep things of God.” which God has revealed to us.

           Neal A. Maxwell, BYU Devotional Address, March 26, 1989, A Wonderful Flood of Light
My beloved brothers and sisters, I testify of angels, both the heavenly and the mortal kind. In doing so I am testifying that God never leaves us alone, never leaves us unaided in the challenges that we face. “[N]or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man [or woman or child] upon the face thereof to be saved.” Moroni 7:36 On occasions, global or personal, we may feel we are distanced from God, shut out from heaven, lost, alone in dark and dreary places. Often enough that distress can be of our own making, but even then the Father of us all is watching and assisting. And always there are those angels who come and go all around us, seen and unseen, known and unknown, mortal and immortal.

 

May we all believe more readily in, and have more gratitude for, the Lord’s promise as contained in one of President Monson’s favorite scriptures: “I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, … my Spirit shall be in your [heart], and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.”    D&C 84:88.   In the process of praying for those angels to attend us, may we all try to be a little more angelic ourselves—with a kind word, a strong arm, a declaration of faith and “the covenant wherewith [we] have covenanted.” D&C 90:24.   Perhaps then we can be emissaries sent from God [to someone in need]… Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Ministry of Angels,” Ensign, Nov 2008

 

President Faust at the April 2006 General Conference:

…We do not consciously realize the extent to which ministering angels affect our lives. President Joseph F. Smith said, “In like manner our fathers and mothers, brothers, sisters and friends who have passed away from this earth, having been faithful, and worthy to enjoy these rights and privileges, may have a mission given them to visit their relatives and friends upon the earth again, bringing from the divine Presence messages of love, of warning, or reproof and instruction, to those whom they had learned to love in the flesh.” Many of us feel that we have had this experience. Their ministry has been and is an important part of the gospel.

 

In the course of life all of us spend time in “dark and dreary” places, wildernesses, circumstances of sorrow or fear or discouragement. Our present day is filled with global distress over financial crises, energy problems, terrorist attacks, and natural calamities. These translate into individual and family concerns not only about homes in which to live and food available to eat but also about the ultimate safety and well-being of our children and the latter-day prophecies about our planet. More serious than these—and sometimes related to them—are matters of ethical, moral, and spiritual decay seen in populations large and small, at home and abroad. But I testify that angels are still sent to help us, even as they were sent to help Adam and Eve, to help the prophets, and indeed to help the Savior of the world Himself. Matthew records in his gospel that after Satan had tempted Christ in the wilderness “angels came and ministered unto him.”8 Even the Son of God, a God Himself, had need for heavenly comfort during His sojourn in mortality. And so such ministrations will be to the righteous until the end of time. As Mormon said to his son Moroni, who would one day be an angel:

“Has the day of miracles ceased?

“Or have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men? Or has he withheld the power of the Holy Ghost from them? Or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man upon the face thereof to be saved?

“Behold I say unto you, Nay; for … it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men. …

“For behold, they are subject unto [Christ], to minister according to the word of his command, showing themselves unto them of strong faith and a firm mind in every form of godliness.”9

I ask everyone within the sound of my voice to take heart, be filled with faith, and remember the Lord has said He “would fight [our] battles, [our] children’s battles, and [the battles of our] children’s children.” D&C 98:37.   And what do we do to merit such a defense? We are to “search diligently, pray always, and be believing[. Then] all things shall work together for [our] good, if [we] walk uprightly and remember the covenant wherewith [we] have covenanted.” D&C 90:24.   The latter days are not a time to fear and tremble. They are a time to be believing and remember our covenants.    Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Ministry of Angels,” Ensign, Nov 2008

 

Simply stated, prayer is communication to Heavenly Father from His sons and daughters on earth. “As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father, and we are his children), then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part” (Bible Dictionary, “Prayer,” 752). We are commanded to pray always to the Father in the name of the Son (see 3 Nephi 18:19–20). We are promised that if we pray sincerely for that which is right and good and in accordance with God’s will, we can be blessed, protected, and directed (see 3 Nephi 18:20; D&C 19:38).

Revelation is communication from Heavenly Father to His children on earth. As we ask in faith, we can receive revelation upon revelation and knowledge upon knowledge and come to know the mysteries and peaceable things that bring joy and eternal life (see D&C 42:61). The mysteries are those matters that can only be known and understood by the power of the Holy Ghost (see Harold B. Lee, Ye Are the Light of the World [1974], 211).

The revelations of the Father and the Son are conveyed through the third member of the Godhead, even the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is the witness of and messenger for the Father and the Son. Elder David A. Bednar, “Pray Always,” Ensign, Nov 2008

 

Prayer becomes meaningful as we remember our relationship to Deity and heed the admonition to:

“Cry unto God for all thy support; yea, let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and whithersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord; yea, let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever.

“Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day” (Alma 37:36–37). Elder David A. Bednar, “Pray Always,” Ensign, Nov 2008

 

The patterns used by God in creating the earth are instructive in helping us understand how to make prayer meaningful. In the third chapter of the book of Moses we learn that all things were created spiritually before they were naturally upon the earth.

 

“And now, behold, I say unto you, that these are the generations of the heaven and of the earth, when they were created, in the day that I, the Lord God, made the heaven and the earth,

“And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew. For I, the Lord God, created all things, of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth” (Moses 3:4–5).

We learn from these verses that the spiritual creation preceded the temporal creation. In a similar way, meaningful morning prayer is an important element in the spiritual creation of each day—and precedes the temporal creation or the actual execution of the day. Just as the temporal creation was linked to and a continuation of the spiritual creation, so meaningful morning and evening prayers are linked to and are a continuation of each other.

 

Consider this example. There may be things in our character, in our behavior, or concerning our spiritual growth about which we need to counsel with Heavenly Father in morning prayer. After expressing appropriate thanks for blessings received, we plead for understanding, direction, and help to do the things we cannot do in our own strength alone. For example, as we pray, we might:

• Reflect on those occasions when we have spoken harshly or inappropriately to those we love the most.

• Recognize that we know better than this, but we do not always act in accordance with what we know.

• Express remorse for our weaknesses and for not putting off the natural man more earnestly.

• Determine to pattern our life after the Savior more completely.

• Plead for greater strength to do and to become better.

 

Such a prayer is a key part of the spiritual preparation for our day.  During the course of the day, we keep a prayer in our heart for continued assistance and guidance—even as Alma suggested: “Let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord” (Alma 37:36).

We notice during this particular day that there are occasions where normally we would have a tendency to speak harshly, and we do not; or we might be inclined to anger, but we are not. We discern heavenly help and strength and humbly recognize answers to our prayer. Even in that moment of recognition, we offer a silent prayer of gratitude.

At the end of our day, we kneel again and report back to our Father. We review the events of the day and express heartfelt thanks for the blessings and the help we received. We repent and, with the assistance of the Spirit of the Lord, identify ways we can do and become better tomorrow. Thus our evening prayer builds upon and is a continuation of our morning prayer. And our evening prayer also is a preparation for meaningful morning prayer.

Morning and evening prayers—and all of the prayers in between—are not unrelated, discrete events; rather, they are linked together each day and across days, weeks, months, and even years. This is in part how we fulfill the scriptural admonition to “pray always” (Luke 21:36; 3 Nephi 18:15, 18; D&C 31:12). Such meaningful prayers are instrumental in obtaining the highest blessings God holds in store for His faithful children.   Elder David A. Bednar, “Pray Always,” Ensign, Nov 2008

 

The most meaningful and spiritual prayers I have experienced contained many expressions of thanks and few, if any, requests. As I am blessed now to pray with apostles and prophets, I find among these modern-day leaders of the Savior’s Church the same characteristic that describes Captain Moroni in the Book of Mormon: these are men whose hearts swell with thanksgiving to God for the many privileges and blessings which He bestows upon His people (see Alma 48:12). Also, they do not multiply many words, for it is given unto them what they should pray, and they are filled with desire (see 3 Nephi 19:24). The prayers of prophets are childlike in their simplicity and powerful because of their sincerity.

As we strive to make our prayers more meaningful, we should remember that “in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments” (D&C 59:21). Let me recommend that periodically you and I offer a prayer in which we only give thanks and express gratitude. Ask for nothing; simply let our souls rejoice and strive to communicate appreciation with all the energy of our hearts. Elder David A. Bednar, “Pray Always,” Ensign, Nov 2008
Petitioning Heavenly Father for the blessings we desire in our personal lives is good and proper. However, praying earnestly for others, both those whom we love and those who despitefully use us, is also an important element of meaningful prayer. Just as expressing gratitude more often in our prayers enlarges the conduit for revelation, so praying for others with all of the energy of our souls increases our capacity to hear and to heed the voice of the Lord.

We learn a vital lesson from the example of Lehi in the Book of Mormon. Lehi responded in faith to prophetic instruction and warnings concerning the destruction of Jerusalem. He then prayed unto the Lord “with all his heart, in behalf of his people” (1 Nephi 1:5; emphasis added). In answer to this fervent prayer, Lehi was blessed with a glorious vision of God and His Son and of the impending destruction of Jerusalem (see 1 Nephi 1:6–9, 13, 18). Consequently, Lehi rejoiced, and his whole heart was filled because of the things which the Lord had shown him (see 1 Nephi 1:15). Please note that the vision came in response to a prayer for others and not as a result of a request for personal edification or guidance. Elder David A. Bednar, “Pray Always,” Ensign, Nov 2008

The Savior is the perfect example of praying for others with real intent. In His great Intercessory Prayer uttered on the night before His Crucifixion, Jesus prayed for His Apostles and all of the Saints.

“I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. …

“Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; …

“… that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them” (John 17:9, 20, 26).

 

During the Savior’s ministry on the American continent, He directed the people to ponder His teachings and to pray for understanding. He healed the sick, and He prayed for the people using language that could not be written (see 3 Nephi 17:1–16). The impact of His prayer was profound: “No one can conceive of the joy which filled our souls at the time we heard him pray for us unto the Father” (3 Nephi 17:17). Imagine what it might have been like to hear the Savior of the world praying for us.

Do our spouses, children, and other family members likewise feel the power of our prayers offered unto the Father for their specific needs and desires? Do those we serve hear us pray for them with faith and sincerity? If those we love and serve have not heard and felt the influence of our earnest prayers in their behalf, then the time to repent is now. As we emulate the example of the Savior, our prayers truly will become more meaningful. Elder David A. Bednar, “Pray Always,” Ensign, Nov 2008

 

“But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance” (1 Ne. 1:20).

 

… I testify that the tender mercies of the Lord are real and that they do not occur randomly or merely by coincidence. Often, the Lord’s timing of His tender mercies helps us to both discern and acknowledge them. What Are the Tender Mercies of the Lord?

 

Since last October I have reflected repeatedly upon the phrase “the tender mercies of the Lord.” Through personal study, observation, pondering, and prayer, I believe I have come to better understand that the Lord’s tender mercies are the very personal and individualized blessings, strength, protection, assurances, guidance, loving-kindnesses, consolation, support, and spiritual gifts which we receive from and because of and through the Lord Jesus Christ. Truly, the Lord suits “his mercies according to the conditions of the children of men” (D&C 46:15).

 

Recall how the Savior instructed His Apostles that He would not leave them comfortless. Not only would He send “another Comforter” (John 14:16), even the Holy Ghost, but the Savior said that He would come to them (see John 14:18). Let me suggest that one of the ways whereby the Savior comes to each of us is through His abundant and tender mercies. For instance, as you and I face challenges and tests in our lives, the gift of faith and an appropriate sense of personal confidence that reaches beyond our own capacity are two examples of the tender mercies of the Lord. Repentance and forgiveness of sins and peace of conscience are examples of the tender mercies of the Lord. And the persistence and the fortitude that enable us to press forward with cheerfulness through physical limitations and spiritual difficulties are examples of the tender mercies of the Lord. Elder David A. Bednar, Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Ensign, May 2005

Some time ago I spoke with a priesthood leader who was prompted to memorize the names of all of the youth ages 13 to 21 in his stake. Using snapshots of the young men and women, he created flash cards that he reviewed while traveling on business and at other times. This priesthood leader quickly learned all of the names of the youth.

 

One night the priesthood leader had a dream about one of the young men whom he knew only from a picture. In the dream he saw the young man dressed in a white shirt and wearing a missionary name tag. With a companion seated at his side, the young man was teaching a family. The young man held the Book of Mormon in his hand, and he looked as if he were testifying of the truthfulness of the book. The priesthood leader then awoke from his dream.

 

At an ensuing priesthood gathering, the leader approached the young man he had seen in his dream and asked to talk with him for a few minutes. After a brief introduction, the leader called the young man by name and said: “I am not a dreamer. I have never had a dream about a single member of this stake, except for you. I am going to tell you about my dream, and then I would like you to help me understand what it means.”

 

The priesthood leader recounted the dream and asked the young man about its meaning. Choking with emotion, the young man simply replied, “It means God knows who I am.” The remainder of the conversation between this young man and his priesthood leader was most meaningful, and they agreed to meet and counsel together from time to time during the following months.

 

That young man received the Lord’s tender mercies through an inspired priesthood leader. I repeat again, the Lord’s tender mercies do not occur randomly or merely by coincidence. Faithfulness and obedience enable us to receive these important gifts and, frequently, the Lord’s timing helps us to recognize them.

Elder David A. Bednar, Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Ensign, May 2005
We should not underestimate or overlook the power of the Lord’s tender mercies. The simpleness, the sweetness, and the constancy of the tender mercies of the Lord will do much to fortify and protect us in the troubled times in which we do now and will yet live. When words cannot provide the solace we need or express the joy we feel, when it is simply futile to attempt to explain that which is unexplainable, when logic and reason cannot yield adequate understanding about the injustices and inequities of life, when mortal experience and evaluation are insufficient to produce a desired outcome, and when it seems that perhaps we are so totally alone, truly we are blessed by the tender mercies of the Lord and made mighty even unto the power of deliverance (see 1 Ne. 1:20).

Elder David A. Bednar, Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Ensign, May 2005

Watering the Garden

My mother loved to water her garden.

We had sprinklers.

There were six children, and I know she went outside and watered to have her time alone.

I followed sometimes. She never seemed to mind.

She would use her thumb to fan the water at the end of the hose just right.

I inherited that beautiful thumb!

But it doesn’t look quite as pretty on my freckly white hand as it did on her tan one, always with a long thick fingernail.

She talked to the plants and flowers as she watered.

I heard her.

She would whisper, too.

I asked her once what she whispered, while she watered.

She told me she prayed for each us.

That made me feel safe.

Right now…

I have this need to water.

Not like I have in the past

But like my mother.

I fan the hose with my thumb.

Plants don’t like me as much as they liked my mom, but I try to make friends.

I whisper now too.

I miss my mom.

It has only been five months since she left us behind.

But I can feel her next to me, in the breeze,

as I water.

Watering has now become holy to me…

I hope she still waters in heaven

and whispers about us.

Summer Time Machine

In two weeks I will turn 56 years old.

But not in the summertime!

Every summer turns into a time machine for me and I turn into her…

Our Favorite Place Forever!

Our Favorite Place Forever!

(Notice the fashionable hiking shoes!)

During summer I lick popsicles. I stub my toe, (everyone is expected at least one stubbed toe in the summer), I marvel at fireflies, I thrill at fireworks reflecting off the lake or in peoples’ faces, I find sprinklers to run through on purpose, I nap when I am sleepy. I eat with my fingers then lick them. I get to stay up late and even sometimes sleep in a sleeping bag. I play games. I sit on the porch just because I am hot. I breathe in fresh earth after I have hidden from the thunder storm. I swing on swings. I blow huge Bazooka Bubble gum bubbles and read the comic and fortune. I scratch my mosquito bites. I get dirty and stay dirty.

It’s that drastic aging that happens at the end of summer that I dislike immensely. When I have to come back to my real age again.

Summer is young and fresh, and hopeful.

I am getting in my time machine now…won’t you join me?

I hear the ice cream truck singing already…

c’mon let’s run…

A Tip

Take good care of your Doctor!

It will pay you back!

I have found that little kindnesses towards my doctor and care staff have made a huge impact on my healing process. My Doctor and staff are often tired and overworked and I can tell. Cancer is an emotional profession to deal with each day!  A little muffin, remembering a birthday, or bringing a joke creates a closer bond between me and the person who is caring for me. It takes trust to go through the cancer process. I want the person who is making decisions for me to have a bond with me and know I appreciate them and their service. Besides it’s fun to think about what to bring when you have to go in for a visit. 

 

 

 

 

Picking up the Pieces

I trust my friend Art.

He seems to know me best.

He understands exactly what I need at the right time,

usually when I don’t even know myself.

At this time in my life, the precious things I am made of

and am connected to

seem to have fallen into pieces

leaving me feeling scattered, broken, and sharp.

But Art knew this…

Pieces of Memories

Pieces of Memories

And Art stepped in to help me understand…

He whispered to me it was alright, once again, to sit quiet and let my heart guide me.

I didn’t want to create, but Art always insists that I do…

PICKING UP THE PIECES ONE AT A TIME

PICKING UP THE PIECES ONE AT A TIME

I’m still in the process…

but I do feel better.

Thank you once again my friend– Art!

(When I’m done I will post.)

Zometa

Dear Cancer Friends,

Has anyone taken Zometa?

I would like to know your thoughts…

 

Jen

 


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