Monday, April 28, 2014

I Can Feel the Warmth of the Suns Rays Upon My Face

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity of visiting with a mother whose son had just committed suicide a couple weeks prior to our visit.  I felt her relief as she was able to share with me the agony deep within her heart.

For the first time she had met someone who understood that black abyss one finds themselves in.

Both our eyes were moist with tears as she talked about her son and what had led him to the point where he like my brother had lost all hope.  She will always hold a special place deep within my heart and she too will always be included in my prayers.

I have visited with two other mothers whose sons chose to end their life.  It is a bitter yet sweet experience for me.  There is always this instant connection because for the first time they like me have found someone who understands that great valley of sorrow and we find comfort in each other.

As I was driving home reflecting about his remarkable woman, I found myself thinking about the various heart-aches and pains I have endured throughout my life and what struck me was this thought, "You felt pain. You felt something "  I was jolted by that thought and then found the pieces of the puzzle falling into place.

My first great heart ache came when I found out at the age of 12
I had been adopted.
I felt the pain of rejection and anger.
It was bad enough that my biological family did not want me but the people who had adopted my brother and I just up and left us also.
I still fight with the insecurity of not being "good enough to be loved."  Because of that early childhood pain.

Then when I was married and in my early twenties I was told that I would never be able to bear children. I then felt the pain of Failure, not being a "real woman",  an outcast, anger, jealousy and once again rejection from a Father who lived in Heaven that I had always been taught loved me.
During that dark period I felt I was unloved even by Him.
(I was hurt, young and very naive.)

Then my only brother committed suicide.
All the previous pains I had endured up to that point did not even come close
to what I endured when I heard and realized that my brother was gone.
All I remember was an icy numbness through out my entire being.
My world which had been filled with sunshine and rays of hope was now a dark icy black hole where no light could penetrate.
My last memory was of the attendant's trying to close my brother casket and this mad women trying to crawl into the casket with him and when they tried to pull her away she was screaming and swinging.
She was not going to allow anyone to separate her from her beloved brother.
It was like I was watching from the sidelines as four family members jumped up and proceeded to pry this "mad" woman's" fingers from the casket and pulled her away so the lid could be sealed.
She was screaming hysterically and then she heard the "Click" of the lid shutting and she just slumped in their arms.
At that moment everything became a blur and nothing mattered because she did not feel anything.

It took a year from my life.
All I remember is that icy numbness and all the world was a blur.
I shared with this sweet mother and the other two mothers the day that icy numbness started to melt and I felt a little something in the area where my heart used to be; a dull ache of sorts.
Day by day that dull ache turned into something more and I it was in 2001 that the tears finally spilled from my eyes. (My brother died in 1994) and I was able to grieve the loss of my brother and it was then that I once again felt the warmth of the rays of sunshine upon my face.

I had not shared the sunshine part with two of my new friends but my first friend that I met, I had shared that with her.
 Her and I stayed in touch for over a year.
 I shall never forget her last note.
She shared with me that she had a new grand-baby and then closed with this sentence,
"I once again feel the warmth of the rays of sunshine upon my face."

I still have that note with my dried tears upon it because as I read her last words tears filled my eyes because she too had a healed jagged scar as a constant reminder of what we both endured and she too knew the joy at once again feeling the warmth of the suns rays upon our face.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

"Have Miracles Ceased?"

My Branch President has been talking a lot about "Miracles" and how most just shun them off.  Each time I have listened to him speak about "Miracles" this scripture verse has ran through my mind:

"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased because Christ hath ascended into heaven,
 and hath sat down on the right hand of God, to claim of the Father his rights of mercy which he hath upon the children of men?
"And because he hath done this, my beloved brethren have miracles ceased?..."
"Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought;...wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for is because of unbelief, and all is vain."
(Moroni 7: 27, 29, 37)

I have witnessed countless miracles in my own life.  Some are just to personal to share, but I will share my thoughts on a few.
Living in Idaho we were asked to fast and pray for rain due to our drought condition.  I participated and lo and behold the rain came.  I was so filled with gratitude for our Father's goodness.  One Sunday as I was visiting my beloved Jackpot Branch I was asked if I would give the closing prayer.  I remember distinctly thanking our Father for the moisture He had sent and then asked "If it by thy will could you please bless us with more moisture."  The very next day it once again started to rain.  Coincidence, I think not.  Once again my heart was filled with gratitude that our Father would answer one child's request. (I'm sure that day other prayers for moisture were all answered too)

One miracle that I know was an answer to me exclusively was when my 89 year old Poppers during a priesthood blessing was told "You have unfinished work and the Lord will spare your life so that you may complete that work."  That was the day when my Popper's who had been inactive for 70 some years related to his little girl that He wanted to go to the temple and be sealed as a family.  I faced many Nay Sayers who daily told me, "Your dad will not make it to the temple.  He will die before that day and you will just have to have his work done for him."  Me being me, I was not deterred and my Poppers and I started our journey.
August 20, 1998 we were sealed in the Boise Temple.  The sealing room was a beautiful blue, my favorite color.  Only my family and Heavenly Father knew that blue was my favorite color.  The sealer was an older man who had a similar journey with his family. Many a "Nay Sayer" showed up to support us that day but now for many it has become a distant memory.  

Easter Weekend a friend and I went down to Salt Lake to watch the Easter Concert by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  

We had planned to do a session at the Salt Lake Temple but only had time to do initiatory.  
I had not stepped inside that beautiful temple since I had taken out my own endowments in 1997.

As soon as I entered the Temple worker took one look at me and then her eyes started misting up.  
Feeling her emotions I too found myself starting to tear up and before I knew it we were both in tears. 
We were both overwhelmed with the feelings that came upon us.  
As I was visiting with my friend I related to her that it felt as powerful as the first time I entered those doors. She reflective looked at me and simply said, "I don't remember much about when I first went through the temple."  I silently thanked my Heavenly Father for never letting me forget how I felt that day in 1997.  
(You see as I left that beautiful building I found myself pleading with Him to never let me forget that wonderful day.)

Last thought, last year I found myself unemployed.  Ever since becoming a nurse I have worked full time.  I had been working at a local Hospice with "on call" work which had been a feast and famine work schedule.
As my husband and I started to panic a great peace came over me and I heard these word:

"Prove me now, if I will not open the windows of heaven and pour blessing out upon your head
 in so much that your roof cannot contain them."

Each and every payday I have had enough work to cover what I needed to cover, "Sufficient for my needs."

So, my friends I ask you, 

"Have Miracles Ceased?"  

In closing I would like to share a really neat statement that I cam across in my "52 Life Changing Questions":

"Today is a day of miracles.  
People are healed, keys are found, 
( I found my keys in the frige once)
prayers are answered.  
And finding peace in the midst of turbulent times
 is itself a miracle,
a miracle that each of us can experience."

John Bytheway shared a link with a short clip called "Starting Today."  Below is the link.  I hope you all enjoy the message as well as I did.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Easter Weekend 2014

Wow what an amazing an weekend!!!  I put in for two tickets to the Mormon Tabernacle's Choir Easter concert Handel's Messiah and I actually got chosen for the April 19th show.  I invited a friend and we decided to make a weekend out of it.

We left Saturday morning with the idea of getting to a session in the Salt Lake Temple before the show.  We made it to Salt Lake to late for an session so instead we did Initiatory.  She got in before me and as I was sitting and waiting for my turn I found my mind flooded with the memories of the first time I had stepped into that hallowed place.  A wonderful exuberant young lady sitting besides me brought me out of my moment of reflection when she excitedly asked "what are you thinking about that has you so lost in thought?"  She was a breath of fresh air.  My time passed as I visited with this wonderful young woman.  Then it was my turn to enter Initiatory.  My heart started pounding as I again remembered the first time I had been in that room.  The first lady to greet me took one look at me and then tears started forming in her eyes.  She got so emotional she could not even talk.  The Spirit was so overwhelmingly strong that both her and I were in tears and unable to talk.  The other workers just gave us quizzical looks.  It was an amazing afternoon.
My friend and I then left the temple and found ourselves walking around Temple Square with all the beautiful flowers in bloom it was magical!!!  I shall always hold a special place in my heart for the Salt Lake Temple and Temple Square.  We then noticed that there was an Easter art work show going on.  We seen some amazing pictures!!!  Once we had walked through the exhibit we decided we had better eat before the concert since the concert was going to be two and a half hours long.

We found ourselves in "The Garden" cafe; and to boot it off it was prom night.  We were surrounded by beautiful young ladies in beautiful gowns and handsome young men dressed to the hilt in Tuxes.  Our dinner was excellent and dessert was HEAVENLY!!!  The view was spectacular!!!  Feeling very full both physically and spiritually we made our way to the Joseph Smith Memorial building where we got to watch the concert.  The concert was AMAZING!!!!  It was truly a once in a life time experience for the two of us.

After the concert the church presented a short film entitled: "Because of Him."  Oh my gosh!!!  It was so powerful!!!  We were both just so filled and edified that night.  Perfect ending to a perfect night one would think but no, our adventure had not yet quite ended.  As we headed to the parking lot my friend decided to follow a man who seemed to have it all together.  When we got out to the parking garage we found that nothing looked familiar at all.  Yes my friends, we were lost:)   A sweet couple that worked in the Joseph Smith Memorial building offered to drive us around in hopes we would find my friends car.  We were totally lost because nothing looked familiar at all.  Our sweet couple then seen a friend of theirs who they told us would be able to help us because she knew "everything."  True to their word she knew right away that we were in the wrong parking garage.  Instead if the Joseph Smith Memorial parking garage we had ended up in the Church Office's parking garage.  She kindly pointed us to the right garage and my friend and I joked about "following the crowd and see where you end up."  Yes once we were in the right garage we immediately found her car.  Then we got lost trying to find our way out of the garage.   Oh what a night!!!

At one am we found  a motel and before turning in we offered a prayer of thanks to our beloved Heavenly Father for allowing us the opportunity to share such an amazing day.

We are in hopes that again in the near future we shall  have another opportunity for another amazing day filled with love, friendship, sisterhood, joy and more great memories to share.

Here is the link to the short clip "Because of Him"  hope it speaks to you as it spoke to us.  Also in 2015 the Choir is going to release a CD of the full Handel's Messiah.  I'm sure it will be just as awesome to listen to on CD as it was to listen to it live.

I tried to post pictures that the Mormon Tabernacle Choir had posted on their Face Book page but alas since I'm compute illiterate it did not work but if you would like to see pictures from the concert just go to the Mormon tabernacle Face Book Page.  It is worth it great pictures!!!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

"Love Each Other Better"

As a Latter-Day Saint like many I cannot wait to listen to the words of our General Woman's Boards ie Primary, Young Women's and Relief Society Leaders.  Along with them are the words spoken by The Brethren on General Conference Broadcast twice a year.  I always am inspired by the counsel the speaker share.  This year with the "General Woman's Conference I had two speakers that truly touched my heart and have inspired me to try and follow their counsel.
The one I chose to share today was the wise counsel from the Young Women's General President Sister Bonnie L Oscarson.  WOW!!!!  I have listened to her talk over and over and I still say "WOW!!!!
I have posted some points here that truly touched my heart and hope that some one out there will also be touched by her inspired words:

   “In many ways we are different and unique. 
We also acknowledge that we are all daughters from the same Heavenly Father which makes us sisters. 
We are united in building up the Kingdom of God.  
To be sisters implies there is an unbreakable bond between us.  
Sisters take care of each other, watch out for each other, comfort each other
 and watch out for each other through thick and thin.” 
 “The Lord has said ‘be ye one and if ye are not one ye are not mine.’ 
The adversary would have us be critical or judgmental of one another.  
He wants us to concentrate on our differences and compare ourselves to one another.”
 We as women can be particularly hard on ourselves.  
When we compare ourselves to one another 
we will always feel inadequate or resentful of others.”

One time my friend and I were doing a session at the Boise temple.  
As we were changing our clothing the sister seated in front of us started loudly proclaiming, 
“Sister! Sister!  You’re doing that wrong! 
I observed this sister was looking at my friend as she was attempting to put on her bonnet.  
The sister continued to loudly proclaim that my friend was doing it wrong.  
I looked at my by then flustered friend and thought, 
“she’s not doing anything wrong she is just doing it differently.”  
About that time the Sister in front of us proceeded to grab the back of her chair 
and I was expecting her to hurdle over the chair to my friend, 
so she could yank the bonnet out of her hands and do it “correctly.” 
My heart ached for both this sister and my friend all I could think was 
“This is the house of the Lord, this is the house of the Lord.”
 “Sister Patricia T Holland once said,
 ‘The point is we simply cannot call ourselves Christen 
and continue to judge one another or ourselves so harshly.  
She goes on to say that there is nothing that is worth us losing our compassion or sisterhood over
 and we just need to relax and rejoice in our Divine differences.  
We need to realize that we all desire 
to serve in the Kingdom using our unique talents 
and gifts in our own way.  
Then we can enjoy our sisterhood, 
our association and begin to serve.’ 
“The fact of the matter is we really and truly need each other.  
Women naturally seek friendships, support and companionship.  
We have so much to learn from one another and 
we often let self-imposed barriers keep us from enjoying associations 
which could be among our greatest blessings in our lives.”
  “There is no age barrier when it comes to Christ like service.”
  “Let us all reach out to help one another in the transitions and milestones of our lives.”
 “If there are barriers it is because we ourselves have created them.”
“We must stop concentrating on our differences 
and look for what we have in common. 
Then we can begin to realize our greatest potential and achieve the greatest good in this world.”
“Oh, how we need each other!”
“I invite you to not to love each other more; but love each other better!”

I recently had a friend who came to help me out and as we were working 
she simply looked at me and said, “You have this uncanny gift of loving others.  
I have never met someone who loves as easily as you do.”  
She then threw her arms around me and let me know how very much she loved me.  
There was no comparison, there was no judgment or criticism.  
I in return shared with her what I loved and admired about her. 
It was truly a special bonding moment between two sisters of our Heavenly Father 
and I felt His gentle smile of approval.

I know if we can take Sister Oscarson’s words deep within our hearts 
and love each other better and let go of the judgments and comparisons 
our Father will pour great blessings upon our heads and we will begin to realize our “greatest potentials 
and we will achieve the greatest good in this world.”