Sunday, March 31, 2013

Each Life That Touches Ours

Inspirational, Life, Memories Quotes

Over this past week I have been finding my mind flooded with good memories of antics and laughter that my friends and I have shared over our years together.
It all started when one of my friends called me to catch up and update me on what was going on in her life.  As she was talking, I found my mind drifting to the wintry weekend she and I drove up to Sun Valley for the day.  I asked her if she remembered that day.  She started laughing and our minds were filled with the fun that we had that day.
We had planned on having dinner at "The Mint" Actor Bruce Willis's place because we had read that he was in town and he and his band would be performing there.
We sat down at the bar trying to look cool and as we looked around , we could not help but snicker to ourselves at the sight that lay before us.  Here we were dressed in Jeans and flannel surrounded by people in Black tie.  As our laughter grew we glanced over the menu and were shocked at the prices of the food.
Just as we were recovering from our shock we noticed a server going by with a little splotch of something in the center of the plate.  At that moment we decided to take our leave and went down to the local pizza parlor where we had a great pizza dinner.
After that memory faded we both agreed that we would have to make another Sun Valley trip.

A couple days later I received a text message from my adopted little brother.  He and his family were spending the day in Boise and it reminded him of the day him and I took a road trip to Boise and my navigational skills got us lost.  I remember we stopped at Old Navy and I bought this horrendous pair of plaid shorts.  I have never seen a kid laugh so hard but I loved the colors of those shorts and now looking back I was quite comical in those shorts.  I met this young man during my second time trying to pass College Algebra.  He became my math tutor.  His home life was dysfunctional, so he spent a lot of time with my mother and I.  He is such an example to me.  He is to me a poster child of overcoming all odds and succeeding.  He is a man of integrity and honesty.  I am honored to have him be my adopted little brother.

Another good memory that flooded my mind was the time my friend Joseph was attempting to teach me how to play tennis.  He just did not believe that every racket I had owned had a hole in the center.
With spring upon us I pass by the very tennis courts and see instructors teaching groups how to play tennis.  
My friend Joseph is a serious tennis player, me as usual I am the tennis clown.  We spent more time laughing at my crazy antics in trying to hit the ball then we did actually playing.

Speaking of sports clown , brings me to another memory where my Bosnian friend decided her and I needed to get into shape, so she talked me into a weight class.  I was totally the comic relief of the weight room.
I was sitting on an over sized medicine ball watching her lift a bar bell I believe, I'm still not sure what happened but the next thing I know I have rolled off the ball onto my back with young weight trainers running to my rescue.  My friend and I were laughing so hard we both had tears rolling down our faces.  Needless to say I was not the one doing a lot of heavy lifting during our weight training days.

Another comic relief moment came when my true blue friend had this fabulous idea of taking me snow skiing.  Now mind you in all the years I have lived in Idaho I had not one time went snow skiing.  I was a hit.
We spent five minutes on the bunny hill and then she felt I was ready for the big leagues.  Oh my goodness what a day that was.
Her and I laughed so hard our stomachs hurt but it was not only us; each and every time I pulled one of my antics I noticed two skiers passing by and they too shared in our laughter.  As we were leaving these two experienced skiers were up above us in the chair lift and shouted down to us, "Hey comic relief, come back anytime!"  I was a star of the slopes.
As those wonderful memories have played out in my mind the words of a song started playing also:

"Each life that touches ours for good 
reflects thine own great mercy Lord;
Thou sendest blessings from above 
Thru word and deeds of those who love."

I believe those memories I cherish so dearly are because of those great friends that my Heavenly Father has blessed me with whose great deeds have bonded us with love.
May we each cherish those whose lives touches ours with laughter and our greatest joys. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Watch Me Daddy

Growing up I remember calling out to my poppers, "watch me Daddy!!"  There was a great feeling of satisfaction knowing that my poppers was watching me with that look of love and pride that only a father could give.

As I have grown older and have entered my reflective years, I find myself wondering if I still have that need to cry out to a Heavenly Father,
 "watch me daddy!!"

The most inspirational people that I have had the pleasure of encountering do not have the need or the desire to call out, "watch me daddy."  They just go about quietly serving when and where they see a need.
They have no desire to stand out or take center stage.
They are most happy standing back in the corners and allowing someone else to bask in the lime light of center stage.

I have found myself searching long and deep to see if I am still crying,  "watch me daddy" and in so doing I'm yanking someone off the stage and placing myself front and center with the light shining brightly on me.  I find myself so eager to share tidbits of inspiration and learning that I don't seem to allow someone else the time to share.
I find myself gazing about eagerly waiting for someone to share and when no one offers then I just jump right in.
Over zealous comes into my mind.
 (I remember a Book of Mormon story about a "over zealous man" and things got rocky.  hint hint to myself)

Deep down I kick myself because more than anything I want to be like my stalwart friends who quietly stand in the wings of the stage.  But alas, I am the queen of insecurities and I believe that when I cry out,
"watch me daddy" I am attempting to mask my insecurities.
Now that I am aware of this action of mine what am I to do?

My goal is to cast away an insecurity and replace it with a solid stone of confidence, so that one day I too will not have the need to cry out, "watch me daddy!!"
But like my beloved friends and mentors I'll be able to stand back in the wings and along with them bask in the light and love of a loving Heavenly Father's gaze as He gazes upon His beloved children in whom He is well pleased.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Do You Have The Faith Not To Be Healed?

I was listening to Elder Bednar speak to the young adults of the church when he made this profound comment, "Do you have the faith not to be healed?" He was visiting with a young man in his mid twenties who was newly married and had been diagnosed with cancer.
My first thought was, "what the hey."  Memories flooded my mind of a beloved primary teacher teaching me that, "if you had the faith of a mustard seed you could move a mountain."  Teachings of Sunday School teachers teaching me that if you had enough faith you could be healed.
( Gotta admit that the thought of moving a mountain totally captured my mind.)
While these thoughts were running through my mind, Elder Bednar continued:
 "Do you trust the Lord that if he does not heal you and calls you home that He needs you to serve there.  Do You Trust the Lord and that He has your best interest at heart?"
WOW!!  What an honest and truthful concept; yet at times very hard to believe.
When we lost our first baby I did not have that faith.  Instead I found myself embedded with bitterness and anger, "How could a loving Heavenly Father allow this to happen to me.  He could have intervened; of that there was no doubt in my mind, yet He hadn't.  I will always remember the day when a kind and loving Heavenly Father attempted to reach out and console His brokenhearted child and I informed Him that I did not need Him and He could just leave and leave He did.
Those following years were most difficult.
Last night we went out for a family dinner.  While we were deciding what we were going to eat we were approached by a young man we had known for many years.  I noticed he had an insulin pump and that he did not freely use his right arm.  As we were visiting he proceeded to share his story with us:
A few years ago he had been layed off from his job he had worked at for 10 years.  He spent over a year looking for another job but had no luck.  During that dark period His family lost everything, their home and their autos.  They had no income and no hope of him finding another job.
He then commented that the stress of everything took its toll and he had a major stroke and also contracted type one Diabetes.
He lost a big chunk of his memory with the stroke, lost function of his right side and has to wear an insulin pump to control his blood sugars.
Thanks to hard work and therapy he can raise his right hand to shake someones hand.
He is now disabled and his wife spends her days taking care of him and their disabled child.
I was amazed as I listened to this young man speak of what they had been through; he was humble and meek with no anger just grateful to have what he had and most grateful he remembered us.
Throughout the conversation with emotion filled voice he kept commenting, "it is so good to see you."
As I watched our friend go and join his wife I found myself relating to my husband how blessed we have been with health and our lives.  That young man was quite a few years younger than us.
This young man does not share my beliefs but he has always believed in and trusted God.
As I have been reflecting on his example I find myself wondering if I would have been that calm and matter of fact.
Elder Bednar's words resounded within my head,
"Do You Trust The Lord?"
I once heard a story where the wind had blown a man off the edge of the cliff and he was clinging to a single little tree that was sticking out from the side of the cliff.  Immediately he started calling, "Lord help me."
The Lord responded, "Do you Trust Me?"  The immediate reply was,
 "Yes Lord, I trust you."
Then this simple statement, "Let go the branch."
Over and over I have played that scenario out in my mind and each and every time when the Lord tells me to let go the branch I find myself hesitating.
After all wouldn't it be much easier to tell a mountain to be gone and it would be gone?
Elder Bednar also addressed that.  In his closing remarks he mentioned the scripture that related to having the faith of a mustard seed and moving mountains and then commented that faith to move mountains was not needed in our day and age but what was needed was the faith to trust in the Lord in all things and realize that He truly has our best interest at heart.
In closing I ask what Elder Bednar asked,
 "Do You Have The Faith Not To Be Healed?"

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Thanks for the Sabbath

I love Sunday's I attend my meetings with one of my good friends and since my calling in the Branch is the Musical Director I get to choose songs whose words deeply touch my soul and leave an infinite imprint about my Lord and Savior along with His great sacrifice for not only me but everyone who has and is an inhabitant on this wonderful planet.  The words also speak directly to me about His great love for me.

Today I found myself reflecting on His great love for me and how He knows me so personally and intimately.
In Sunday school we were talking about what were some of the greatest gifts or blessings you have received from having the gospel of Jesus Christ restored to the earth?

Two powerful impressions immediately came to my mind:  The magnificent power of the priesthood and the beauty and peace of Temple service.  Those two truths have forever changed my life.

A few weeks ago I found myself being weighed down with such a dark and heavy burden.  It was just to much for me to bear, so I found myself once again at the doors of the Institute where a trusted friend was now the Institute Director.

Many years ago after being beaten down and battered to almost nothing this ragged broken child made her way through the doors of the LDS Institute where she met some of the noblest Priesthood leaders who not only honored their role but magnified it each and every day.
This lost and wayward child had many a Priesthood blessings during that dark period of time which assisted her in finding her way out of the dark and dreary room she had holed up in and brought her back out into the glistening sunlight.

Years later I journeyed with another honorable group of Priesthood leaders who also magnified their sacred obligation and went well beyond the extra mile to help this girl find her way to the Temple.
An event which has forever changed my life.

It has been quite a few years since my friend and I have journeyed together but as I approached I was greeted with a warm and welcoming smile.  He graciously listened as I related to him the trials which were wearing heavy on my shoulders and then offered to give me a Priesthood blessing as my friend.
 It was such a wonderful blessing filled with wonderful promises just for me.
He also gave me counsel which thus far has directed me safely through and will continue to inspire and guide me as I continue on.
All the while my friend was speaking I felt my Heavenly Father's love rushing over me in such force and warmth.
I knew I was not alone and He had not forsaken me.

As with previous blessings I was reminded to continue in my daily scripture study and go to the temple as often as I could and there I would find my answers I was seeking.
Anyone who knows me knows that at least once a week I am sitting in the temple basking in the warmth and peace that lie within those hallowed doors.

Are you familiar with the scripture in the New Testament where the Savior is talking to the apostles and says, "peace I leave with you not as the world... but my peace."  I apologize for paraphrasing but when I am in the temple I totally understand the peace He is talking about and fortunately for me that peace stays with me each and every day since I first entered into the temple in 1997.
Today for our closing song I chose a primary song entitled,
 "I Know MY Father Lives."
As I was singing those words tears started flowing from my eyes at the truthfulness of those words and how very special and tender they were to me:

I know my Father lives and loves me too
The Spirit whispers this to me 
and tells me it is true
and tells me it is true.
He sent me here to earth, 
by faith to live his plan
The Spirit whispers this to me 
and tells me that I can
and tells that I can."

What a great blessing this witness has been to me and an even greater blessing is having the opportunity each and every week to be sitting in His holy house or worshiping Him in my little branch. 
I know my Father lives and Loves Me and through my Faith in Him nothing is impossible and I will never be alone because some of His noblest children call me friend.  
I'm also in hopes that He too calls me friend.