Thursday, December 29, 2011

Where Can I Turn For Peace

I have learned that there are many hearts that are cold and indifferent.
I have also learned that there is so much contention and noise surrounding us one wonders,
"Where Can I Turn For Peace?"

 I was raised a Latter-Day Saint in a partial member home. 
My mom was faithful and true yet for reasons unknown to me for years my poppers showed no interest in the church.  I never grew up with Family Home Evening, Family Prayer or Family Scripture Study.
My poppers did not even hold the priesthood.
But the Lord was good in blessing us with faithful priesthood holders who watched over and loved us.
In Matthew the Lord shared the Sermon on the Mount and taught:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
Blessed are those that mourn for they shall be comforted
Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled
Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy
Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God
Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God
Blessed are they which are persecuted for the righteousness sake; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute you and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake...Ye are the light of the world...

I love the first two blessed's.  I am surrounded by those who are poor in spirit and those that mourn. 
It brings great peace to my heart that the kingdom of heaven will be theirs and that they shall be comforted.  Even though at their darkest moments they do not see that promise being fulfilled.  

I for one in my dark moments hold tightly to those promises.
They are what help bring me back into the light of our Savior's love along with the love and support of great friends who have and share their priesthood with me.

I continually carry a prayer in my heart and find my mind reflecting on scriptures that have inspired and enlightened my mind.
I am so so grateful for the inspired leader's of the church.
 I find myself feasting on their words. 
All these bring me great peace when the darkness sets in.

I read the story of how the words to one of our hymns came to be, a mother had a daughter who battled with depression all of her life.  If I remember correctly the daughter gave into the depression and took her own life. 
It was during that dark time her mother penned the words, "Where Can I Turn for Peace."
I hope her words bring comfort and hope to those who are searching for their peace.

Where Can I Turn For Peace

Where can I turn for peace? Where is my solace
When other sources cease to make me whole?
When with a wounded heart, anger and malice

I draw myself apart, Searching my soul?
Where, when my aching grows, where, when I languish
Where, in my need to know, where can I run?
Where is the quiet hand to calm my anguish?
Who, who can understand? He, the only One.
He answers privately, Reaches my reaching
In my Gethsemane, Savior and Friend
Gentle the peace he finds for my beseeching
Constant He is kind, Love without end.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Greatest Gift

In my chosen profession I am surrounded by those who are in the Twilight of their lives.
 They have seen sorrow, joy, and hard times but not at one time does one hear them murmur.
Instead they chose to share the best part of their lives which is their loved ones and family.
 They quietly bear what they are called to bear with grace and great dignity.
 Their humble and great hearts inspire me and create a desire within myself to become a better person.

A few nights ago as I was visting with my fave guy I found myself asking this question,
"Why does Heavenly Father call home so many of His children during the holidays?
Does He not know now painful it is to the loved ones left behind?"
 I have found myself pondering on my questions for the last few days searching for an answer.
I lost my poppers just a few days after Thanksgiving for many years I found myself dreading Thanksgiving because I missed my family so very much.
It took me several years to stop looking inward and start looking outward.

One Thanksgiving I brought home one of my special friends who had no family close by; we had all the fixings and made some very special memories;
 That started a tradition which continues today and has truly deepened my love for Thanksgiving.

As I watch those around me struggle with losing a loved one at this most joyous time of the year,
I find my heart aching for them and asking, "why!"

Today as I was spending some one on one time with a special friend this thought came into my mind as I looked at the peace that filled her lovely face, "What greater gift could she be given then to return home and no longer face the aches and pains caused by her worn out body."

 My mind then turned to the greatest gift our Heavenly Father could give,
He gave His only begotten son so that all of His children could return home to Him
and live with Him once again. 

He knows better than anyone the feeling of loss and suffering as He allowed His perfect son to be taken and judged of man as a thing of naught and crucified for us.

I read a thought by Elder Melvin J Ballard that truly brought this home to me:

"I think as I read the story of Abraham's sacrifice of his son Isaac that our Father is trying to tell us what it cost Him to give His Son as a gift to the world...Abraham and Isaac ascended the mountain, gathered the stones together, and placed the faggots upon them. 
 Then Isaac was bound, hand and foot, kneeling upon the altar. 
 I presume Abraham, like the true father, must have given his son his farewell kiss, his blessing, his love, and his soul must have been drawn out in that hour of agony toward his son who was to die
 by the hand of his own father. 
 Every step proceeded until the cold steel was drawn and the hand raised that was to strike the blow
 to let out the life's blood,
when the angel of the Lord said: It is enough.
Our Father in heaven went through all that and more, for in His case the hand was not stayed.
He loved His Son, Jesus Christ, better than Abraham ever loved Isaac, for our Father had with Him His Son, our Redeemer, in the eternal worlds, faithful and true for ages, standing in a place of trust and honor, and the Father loved Him so dearly, and yet He allowed this well beloved Son to descend from his place of glory and honor, where millions did Him homage, down to the earth, a condescension that is not within the power of man to conceive. 
He came to receive the insult, the abuse, and the crown of thorns.
God heard the cry of His son in that moment of great grief and agony, in the garden when the pores of His body opened and drops of blood stood upon Him, and He cried out:
Father if thou be willing, remove this cup from me.

I ask you, what father and mother could stand by and listen to the cry of their children in distress, in this world, and not render assistance?  I have heard of mothers throwing themselves into raging streams when they could not swim a stroke to save their drowning children,
rush into burning buildings to rescue those they loved. 
We cannot stand by and listen to those cries without its touching our hearts.
The Lord has not given us the power to save our own. 
 He has given us faith and we submit to the inevitable, but he had the power to save, and He loved His Son, and He could have saved Him.  He might have rescued Him from the insult of the crowds. 
He might have rescued Him from the crown of thorns placed upon His head.
He might have rescued Him when the Son, hanging between two thieves was mocked with,
Save thyself, and come down from the cross.  He saved others; himself he cannot save.
He listened to all this.  He saw that Son condemned;
He saw Him drag the cross through the streets of Jerusalem and faint under its load.
He saw the Son finally upon Calvary; He saw His body stretched out upon the wooden cross;
He saw the cruel nails driven through His hands and feet, and the blows that broke the skin, tore the flesh, and let out the life's blood of His Son.
He looked upon that.
In the case of our Father, the knife was not stayed,  but it fell,
and the life's blood of His Beloved Son went out. 
His Father looked on with great grief and agony over His Beloved Son, until there seems to have come a moment when even our Savior cried out in despair:
My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?
In that hour I think I can see our dear Father behind the veil looking upon these dying struggles
until even He could not endure it any longer; and, like a mother who bids farwell to her dying child and has to be taken out of the room so as not to look upon the last struggles, so He bowed His head and hid in some part of His universe, His great heart almost breaking for the love that He had for His son.  Oh in that moment when He might have saved His son I thank Him and praise Him that He did not fail us, for He had not only the love of His Son in mind, but that His love for us made it possible for Him to endure to look upon the sufferings of His Son and give Him finally to us, our Savior and our Redeemer.  Without Him, without His sacrifice, we would have remained,
 and we would never have come glorified into His presence. 
And so this is what it cost, in part, for our Father in heaven to give the gift of His son unto men."  

It brings great peace to my heart to know that My Heavenly Father loved me enough to send His only begotten Son to die that I and all will live again. 

He is right, there is no better gift one could receive during this beautiful season than
 the gift to return once again to Our Father who truly loves each and everyone of us.


Monday, December 19, 2011

The Spirit of Christmas by Greg Oslen

By the magical light of a small Christmas candle, 
A little old man tries to carefully handle
The small porcelain manager which serves as a bed
for the wee Baby Jesus to lay down His head.
In wonder he brings the manager up to his view,
smiles at the baby and whispers, "I love you!"
I love you for bringing this season of joy,
I love you for growing to a man from a boy;
For being our light and leading the way,
For being the spirit which makes Christmas Day!
You've been my mentor, my model, my hero and guide,
Please continue to help me and stay by my side
I've tried to follow your teachings and give as you gave
Please continue to help me and stay by my side.
I've tried to follow your teachings and give as you gave
Reminding all to be kind and that it's wise to behave.
Help me to serve others and bring them your light,
Especially the children, please bless them tonight!
Some have so very little, scarce food for the table,
You know how feels--you were born in a stable.
Bless all their mothers and fathers with a knowledge that's sure,
The best gift they can give is their love, strong and pure.
That's the Spirit of Christmas when all's said and done.
God's gift of love, that came as His Son!
Then back to his mother the child is returned
The Nativity glows as the candle is burned.
In a wink the little old man slips quietly away
some say he goes up the chimney and climbs in a sleigh.
Whatever the case, His mission is clear-
Give unto others, bringing love and good cheer.
He flies into the night and bids us adieu
Doing for others what Jesus would do!
Greg Olsen

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Birthday Memories

I just celebrated another birthday and have another cherished memory to add to my mental photo album.  President Faust made this comment, "There is a difference between presents and gifts.  The true gifts may be a part of ourselves giving the riches of the heart and mind.  Therefore, more enduring and of greater worth than the presents bought at the store.  And of course among the greatest of gifts is the gift of love."
I guess with my "old age" I have found myelf reflecting on the best birthday's I have had the privelege of having.  One of my first memories of birthday's was the love that my mom would put into planning the perfect day for me.  The one thing that sticks out most is the birthday's when I was surrounded by all my family and listening to them sing "Happy Birthday."  I believe that is one of my most cherished due to the fact that all of them are now on the other side but I can still feel their great love and I still hear them singing Happy Birthday to me.

My next special birthday memory was my 32nd birthday.  That birthday forever changed my life's course.  That special day was spent in the Salt Lake Temple.  Just me, my family on the other side and my Heavenly Father.  I still have snap shots of that very special day play out in my mind and a peace that settles deep within my soul.  It was that special day I found out for myself that The Lord knew my name by heart and I was truly His daughter.
Another special birthday memory involves a very special gift from a Loving Heavenly Father to a hurt and broken little girl.  I had lost my poppers and was feeling lost and alone; When I was awakened in the wee hours of the morning and prompted to go to our big window and look outside.  There lightly falling on the ground was the most beautiful snow I had ever seen.  As I gazed upon its beauty I felt loving arms wrap around me and heard a loving voice that was so very familiar, "Happy Birthday Lorie."  I can't remember how long I stood at the window in those loving arms watching the snow fall but soon my eyes grew tired and I returned back to bed.  Upon awakening I quickly jumped up expecting to see snow all over the ground but there was none to be found.  But I knew a Loving Heavenly Father reached out to comfort His heart broken little girl with one of  her all time favorite things....snow.
This birthday I just celebrated is also going on that list.  I learned a new tradition that I am going to continue from here on out.  Birthday cookies for my special friends.

What made this one so special were the gifts I received.  I received so many beautiful smiles, loving embraces and off key loving friends singing, "Happy Birthday" but then one special friend who does not show emotion or like to touch or be touched tentatively tapped me on the shoulder to get my attention and when I turned to face her wrapped her arms around me and wished me a Happy birthday.
Then to top it off as with all my birthday's I spent time with my special friends doing various activites and my best friend taking me to dinner.  Two friends are always there for my fave guys and I's dinner date.  This year another special friend and I attempted to create a crafty project.  Hers turned out divine, mine is a work in progress and of course another loyal friend once again baked me a birthday cake filled with love and then all the birthday wishes from those who surround me.

You know President Faust is right I cannot remember the birthday gifts from one year to another but I sure remember the love and thought that went into the gifts because they were given from the heart but the greatest gift for me has been my friends willingness to share their time and talents with me.
Every year I spend my birthday in the Temple.  If I am working on my birthday I spend my days off in the Temple; To show my Father my great thanks for all the wonderful gifts He so lovingly has bestowed on me.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Hidden In My Heart

I've been reflecting on comments people have made concerning the healing of my knee. 
Most are, "You sure are walking good." 
Then in between the lines, "You must be healed." 

As I have thought about the various comments and reactions, I have learned that people are quick to look only at the surface of things and not many care to dig deeper. 
Yes, I am walking better yet I still can't kneel down and get myself back up, my knee is still weak and I need assistance getting back up. 
My knee gets fatigued very easily and it doesn't take much to knock me down
due to the weakness of my knee.

That got me thinking about our spiritual knees. 

This past Thursday my Physical Therapist released me due to there is no more he can do with my knee.
 One of the tests he had me do was walk up and down a flight of stairs without hanging onto the hand rail.  Going up I was strong and confident coming down I started having a panic attack. 
My heart started pounding, my hands started sweating and I had this immense fear of falling take over and doing a face plant. 
At the bottom of the stairs my therapist held his arms out to reassure that he would catch me if I fell. 
He also spoke reassuringly that I was doing great.
But yet I was still in a state of panic.
 My knee held up just fine and I knew my fears were all in my mind,
 yet I just could not ease my fears of re-injuring my knee. 

How often does our Heavenly Father ask us to come down the stairs and He is there waiting with outstretched arms and offering words of assurance; yet, we still battle our spiritual panic attacks? 
I have never been one for panic attacks but since injuring my knee I am finding myself more cautious and more apt to have panic attacks which has made me realize that I have had countless spiritual panic attacks where I have doubted that my Father could do all that He has promised He could do.

I have also come to realize that we are quick to judge by what we see outwardly and we do not take the time to see what is happening inwardly. 
We have so much to learn from our Father who "looks upon the heart."
As these thoughts were running thru my mind this song I learned long ago seems to tie in perfectly with what I have been reflecting on.  It is called Hidden In My Heart:

In the shadows of myself far to deep for hurting eyes
from the stage of outward acts a soul desires to arise
Please don't look at what you see when our troubles makes us part
For I know you'll want to love what lies hidden deep within my heart
Theres a struggle deep within causing torment and disdain
Why must goodness go unseen, why this barrier remain
I have feelings no one knows; Joys and lights on my life's chart
But dark clouds obscure them all for they're hidden deep within my heart
yes, their hidden in my heart.

I've decided to really look and listen to those around me because just like me on the outside they may appear healed but on the inside they are far from healed.  May we take the time and make the effort to follow our Father's example and not be quick to judge and to look upon the hearts of our fellow man; He only, truly knows what is hidden deep within their hearts.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Because I Have Been Given Much

This morning as I was sitting in the temple, this thought came into my mind, 
"Because I have been given much I too must give." 
My mind then started running thru pictures of those whose lives have touched mine and how my love for them had touched them. 

 The first memory was a conversation I had with a dear friend, who was feeling abandoned and forsaken.  As I listened to him talk I reached for his hand and said, "My friend, you are never alone.  
You are surrounded by loved ones and even when they are not close by you are still loved and will never be left alone."  We both shared some special tears and our bond grew stronger. 

 "Because I have been given much I too must give;
Because of thy great bounty Lord each day I live
 I shall divide my gifts with thee
with every brother that I see
 who has the need of help from me."

The second memory that played in my mind was the special love shared as I helped feed my special friends who needed assistance and the love and gratitude that radiated from their eyes as I visited with them as I fed them.
 "Because I have been sheltered fed by thy good care,
I cannot see another's lack and I not share.  
My glowing fire, my loaf of bread,
 my roofs safe shelter overhead,
 that he to may be comforted."

The final memory that played in my mind was the radiant smiles and out stretched hands that reach out to me when they hear my voice saying, "good morning."
They know that they are loved by me and because I have loved them first they love me in return.

I have had the sacred honor of being there when they are preparing to leave this mortal tabernacle behind and return home to their loved ones and Heavenly Parents.
Though it breaks my heart to see them go there is a great peace that fills my soul in knowing that we shall meet again and the love we shared here will continue on there.
 Never to be parted again.

"Because I have been blessed by thy great love dear Lord,
I'll share thy love again according to they word. 
I shall give love to those in need;
I'll show that love by word and deed: 
 Thus shall my thanks be thanks indeed."