Sunday, June 29, 2014

S'mores

I work with some amazing nurses!!  About a week or so ago I was called out to a new job.
I was excited to see one of my favorite friends who usually works the night shift but due to school he has not been working that much.
We exchanged pleasantries as he gave me a report on our new patient.
As he was getting ready to leave he asked if I would text him and keep him updated on what was happening. He then told me that his wife and him were going to go and spend the afternoon with their son and his children who were up in one of the local camp grounds.
He then reassured me that if he needed to be back to work that night he would come back to the city.





As the day progressed some changes were made and as promised I texted my friend to let him know that if he wanted he could stay up in the mountains and enjoy his family and grand-babies due to a change in the schedule.
His text back was short and sweet,
"Thanks Lady, I'm going to stay up here and make some S'mores with my grand-kids."

As I read his reply I found myself smiling and then my mind was flooded with memories of my family and our friends gathered around the camp fire roasting marshmallows and making sure they were the perfect color brown before smooshing them in between the Hershey chocolate bar and graham cracker.
Oh, that was heaven when you got that perfect combination.

Being raised in a small town in Nevada, each and every summer my parents would pack up our trailer and pull it up to Wild horse Reservoir.
Once we had the trailer situated we would leave our trailer up there and come home during the week and return to the reservoir each and every weekend.

We had great community friends who would meet us there each and every weekend.

One such friend had two teen age boys bout 16 and 17.  I at the time was maybe nine or ten but those boys took me under their wing and took me speeding along the lake in their speed boat, (hence my need for speed), they taught me how to rock climb, took me hiking, taught me how to play pool at the local store there at Wild horse, and they were the ones who showed me how to get that perfectly browned marshmallow for the perfect S'more treat.
There were some weekends their girlfriends would come up and we would all be sitting around the fire and telling our stories and roasting our perfect marshmallow.  How I loved and admired those young brothers.

Unfortunately one summer tragedy struck.  These young brothers had decided to go rock climbing and the oldest of the two somehow lost his footing and was killed.
I can still see his parents grief stricken faces, his younger brothers haunted look of anguish and helplessness and I can still hear the cries of his girlfriend.
That was the last summer that family came to the reservoir.
Gone were the days of sitting around the fire with that remarkable family and gone were the days of "toasting" that perfect marshmallow for that perfect S'more.
Oh how I missed that family!

I would ride my bike to their house and tried to visit with them but the loss of that son and brother had left a deep and jagged scar.  If I remember correctly the husband and wife divorced and the younger brother whom I had always known was quick to smile was now withdrawn and sullen.
How my young heart ached for that remarkable family.

I had not thought about that memory for years, it is funny how one simple comment can flood your mind with memories from yester year.
I had not realized how that beloved friends death had affected my young heart.
After his family left the reservoir, my heart was just not into the creating of the "perfect S'more."
I would go through the motions but for some reason that ooey and gooey treat just did not taste as good as it once had when it was shared with special friends and family.

My friend has no idea how profound his comment of,  "I'm going to stay and make S'mores with my grand-kids" was for me.  Because of his grand-kids, those S'mores are for him going to be extra special because they were made with one of the purest emotions, LOVE.

One day, I too will again have those extra special S'mores made with love because I will once again be surrounded with beloved loved ones and those special friends who knew the secret of getting that perfectly toasted marshmallow for that perfect S'more.
    

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Perspective on Suicide

A friend shared this blog post on facebook because she knew about my brother.  I read it and I loved the perspective this young lady shared and so here I am sharing it with those of us who were "Left Behind."   If you enjoyed this young ladies thoughts I copied and pasted their Facebook link below so that you too may follow these young sisters and support them in their endeavor.

Thank you Shawna Morrissey for sharing your thoughts with the world  Lorie Bishop  



https://www.facebook.com/eatthinkbemerry


 "A Perspective on Suicide

Before you read this post, I want to make it very clear that suicide is NOT the answer. Your life is precious.  If you are struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, PLEASE SEEK HELP.  I am not an expert, a doctor or a religious authority. I am just a regular person sharing my experience and what I learned.  This post was in no way meant to glorify suicide or offer it as a viable solution to any problem.  Rather, it was written to aid those left behind to understand, to forgive and to heal.  
canstockphoto6153734

This post has been in my heart for a long time.  I’ve thought about it again and again.  The subject seemed too heavy for our blog about delicious things.  But in the past weeks, I have shared my thoughts on suicide three times with friends left in its wake.  I think it is time for this post and I hope there are some out there for whom this brings clarity and comfort.
Twelve years ago this month, I lost my Uncle Jay to suicide.
At his funeral, Jay’s bishop addressed usThe words he spoke are burned into my mind.  He said, “I feel impressed to tell you that Jay spent his life struggling to survive.  Suicide was not a choice he made, but rather a choice he happened onto when his pain was greater than his ability to cope.”
This man, who took his own life, was a survivor in every sense of the word.
I imagine that such is true of many who leave the world in this way.
Jay loved horses. When he was a teenager, the horse he was riding spooked and darted across the street right in front of an econoline van.   He spent three months in the hospital recovering from his injuries.
Jay went on to graduate from high school and serve a two year religious mission.
In his early twenties, he was deer hunting in the mountains with a friend.  His horse lost its footing on a rocky cliff-like outcropping and fell.  Jay landed first and the horse landed on top of him.  He sustained serious internal injuries and spent six months in the hospital.
Jay never completely healed from this accident.  His spleen was badly damaged and his intestines had to be reconstructed.  Scar tissue would build up in his intestines over time and cause painful blockages.  He regularly had surgery to remove them.
Jay was always in pain.  And yet he roped calves in rodeos, qualifying for national events. People called him the “singing cowboy” and he accompanied himself with the banjo or guitar. He patented several inventions and he went to school to become an airplane mechanic.
Jay was a survivor.
In his early thirties, he met and married Wendy.  I loved Wendy.  She was a breath of fresh air.  She was fun and energetic.  She made everyone around her feel special. Wendy had beautiful brown hair and dark eyes.  Jay adored her.
Over the next few years, Jay and Wendy had three sweet sons.  When Wendy was pregnant with the third, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Wendy fought the cancer.  She had a mastectomy and a hysterectomy.  She underwent radiation, chemotherapy and painful experimental treatments.
Jay was very tender with her.
Wendy played competitive softball.   Soon after a cancerous rib was removed, she hit a home run.  “Should have had that rib removed years ago,” she laughed.
A few months later, the cancer took Wendy.
Jay was devastated.
He did his best to raise his sons.  He was imperfect and impatient and he needed a lot of help.  But he kept trying.
Over the next few years, Jay’s physical and emotional pain was intense.  He married a good woman named Susan. They struggled to blend their families.  They wanted to make it work. They wanted to be happy. Soon after their marriage, Susan was also diagnosed with breast cancer.
When I was living in Alexandria, Virginia, with my husband and children, Jay and his boys came to visit.  I knew something was wrong when we picked them up from the airport. Jay was not himself. We discovered later that his doctor had taken him off Lortab (a painkiller upon which he was dependent) and put him on methadone (a strong drug used to wean addicts from heroine).
When he went down into the underground Metro station, Jay snapped.  He paced frantically and tore off his shirt.  He was visibly covered in sweat.   After fleeing the station, Jay refused to get into a vehicle, but rather ran the few miles to the hospital.  He was not aware of what was happening or why.  That day he went into pulmonary failure due to drug withdrawal.  He was hospitalized for the better part of a week and released only to fly home.
At 4:00 in the morning, before Jay and his boys left, I gave him a hug.  I had never hugged Jay before.  I was too proud to show affection that way.  But for some reason, that day I hugged him.  After he left, I could not sleep.  The Spirit was so strong and its message was clear, “EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE OKAY!”  I thought that somehow my hug had made things better and I wondered why I hadn’t hugged him years earlier.
But everything wasn’t okay in the way I thought it would be.  My dad called two days later,  “Things have gotten really bad with Jay,” he said, “He’s taken his own life.”  I learned that Jay had sought admission at his local hospital three desperate times only to be sent home where he shot himself with a hunting rifle.
Jay’s struggle to survive had come to an end.
It was excruciating for me.  I can’t image what it was like for his boys, his wife, his parents. For years, I clung to that witness I’d received on the last day I saw him, EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE OKAY. And twelve years later, I can honestly say this is true.  The boys have had difficult struggles, but they have grown into men of whom their parents would be proud.
The bishop’s words at Jay’s funeral gave me comfort at the time.  Jay had not been accountable, but I sensed there was deeper significance in his words, “Suicide was not a choice he made, but rather a choice he happened onto when his pain was greater than his ability to cope.”
Just last year, I had a clarifying experience—an experience that helped me to understand suicide a little better and led me to believe that it is really an expression of the deepest human desire to survive.
My family was watching a documentary on the 9/11 terrorist attacks and for the first time, I saw footage of someone jumping from the window of one of the twin towers.  All at once, I understood what Jay’s bishop had meant.  The person was not jumping from the building to die, but rather to escape the intense and consuming flames.  Nobody would accuse that person of being selfish or of giving up on life.
Jay was inside a figurative burning building and he happened upon an exit.  His deep need to survive caused him to take it.  Many who turn to suicide are in physical, emotional or spiritual pain.  I don’t think they seek death.  Instead, they seek escape, so that their identity and intelligence can survive.
Ever since my experience with Jay, I have felt compassion and a connection to those left in the wake of such a suicide.   It is intensely agonizing for surviving loved ones.  Not only do we mourn the loss of someone dear to us, but we also feel the pain of sorrow and of guilt.  We wish we could have made a difference.  We feel anger at their betrayal and our perception of their selfishness.  We fear that all is lost.  But, in my experience, if we are willing to soften our hearts, over time we realize that we are forgiven, that they were not selfish and that all is not lost.
Jay’s bishop said one other thing that has stuck with me all these years.  He said, “Christ did not call Jay home in this manner.  But I can testify that He did welcome him home.”
I share these thoughts not at all in support of suicide, but rather to encourage loving remembrance and complete forgiveness of those we have lost to it. And to inspire us to reach out and touch with love each person with whom we interact, for God’s love spread through many hands may quench a fire we cannot see."
perspective on suicide
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Sunday, June 15, 2014

May We Have The Courage to Come Boldly unto Christ

I just listened to a Women’s Conference address by Sister Strathearn. 
Her talk was given May of 2014. 
I wrote down some key points she made that spoke to me and I would like to share with you.  
She opened with this profound question,

Do we allow our fears to replace our faith when it comes to our spiritual progression?

She went on to talk about the Children of Israel and why they were not permitted into the promised-land. In Hebrews 3:19:  
“So we see that they could not enter because of unbelief.”

Sis. S quoted D&C 84:23-24 and emphasized, “Moses plainly taught the Children of Israel…and sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might see the face of God; but they hardened their hearts and could not endure his presence;…” 
She then talked about the afflictions the children of Israel faced and then commented, 
“All of these incidents all emphasize the physical challenges the Israelite's faced and their immature understanding of God and His plan for them."
How often do we have an immature understanding of God's plan for us? 

"The Israelite's refused the opportunity to enter the presence of God because they allowed their fears of the thundering’s and lightening’s to cast out their faith.  Faith to believe the Lord’s Prophet when he taught then they could see God and enter His presence.  It was a fear to move to a higher spiritual level, it was a fear to have God come and live with them.”
How often do we let our fears of our "thundering's and lightening's " cast out our faith?  

“Do we sometimes allow fear to prevent us from hastening the work of our personal salvation by fearing to move to a higher level of consecration?  King Benjamin taught we are eternally indebted to our Heavenly Father to render to Him all that we have and all that we are.”

How do we render "all that we have and are?  
Sis. S. suggested we do that by allowing our will to be swallowed up in our Father’s will as Jesus did.

Elder Neal A Maxwell made this profound comment:  “So many of us are kept from eventual consecration because we mistakenly think that somehow by letting our will be swallowed up in the will of God, we lose our individuality.  What we are really worried about of course is not giving up self but rather selfish things.  Like our roles, our time, our preeminence, our possessions, no wonder we are instructed by the Savior to “lose ourselves.”  (Luke 9:24)  He is only asking us to lose our old self in order to find the new self.  This is part of what Benjamin’s sermon is all about to put off the natural man in order to come into our Spiritual inheritance; so it is not a question of losing one’s identity but of  finding it.”

Sis S. challenged us to “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)   
She shared the invitation that the Savior issued, 
“Come, all those who are heavy laden…”  
She continued to visit with us about how the Savior better than anyone understood our challenges and heartaches because "He had faced what we are called to face and more." 
She then quoted this comment from a bible commentary,

“Jesus does not merely contemplate our weakness from a safe distance.  He knows what it is like, for he came where we are and underwent temptations just as we do…His temptations were greater than ours because He did not yield.  The only person who knows the full force of given temptations is the one who resists it right to the end.  The one who gives in at some point along the way does not know the fierceness of the temptation that would follow at a later point.  But Jesus did not give in. He knows all the power and all the force of temptation, not only the small part sinners who give way know.”

She then invited us to “come boldly unto Christ.  With this instruction, "No matter where we are in our individual spiritual journeys the invitation to come is the call to have the Courage to strive for something more, the Courage not to settle for spiritual mediocrity,  the Courage to pay the price to enter the presence of God.  Our Father sent us here to become Gods and Goddesses.
Don’t get stuck at the base of your Mount Sinai.”

She then closed with these words, “Because of Christ’s Atonement we can move forward with confidence knowing that He understands better than any High Priest (see Hebrews 4:14-6) the difficulty and challenges we face along the say.
When we come boldly we can find grace when we need it most.”


May we all have the courage to “come boldly unto the throne of mercy and grace.”                

Father's Day 2014

 

Because my hubbie and I were not able to bear our children to term due to some medical issues within my body we are counted among the many who were not able to bear children and are childless in the normal sense of the word.

In our world we are surrounded by four legged kiddos that fill our lives with joy.  

world which many cannot understand but that is okay; 
because we do not understand the world of two legged kids.  
But as a wise woman once said, "Can't we still be friends?"

Father's Day and Mother's day are not "normal" for us 
because the focus usually is on those who were blessed with children.  
We on the other hand are blessed in so many other ways.

Because both our Father's are in heaven, 
I decided to approach Father's day in another sense.  

All my friends are traditional mothers and fathers and now are 
grand-parents.

I have a new calling in our branch in which my Branch President 
invited me to share uplifting thoughts and insights to hopefully 
edify and lift those around me.  

As I was trying to figure out another message to share with my Visiting teachess the thought came that I needed to share a "Father's Day" message with their husbands.

So I went to the Church's website and typed in the search bar, 
"Father's Day" and here is the talk that jumped out at me.  

Sometimes we that aren't able to bear children forget that we have a Heavenly Father,along with an earthly Father and other Father's who surround us or who in our history has allowed us the freedoms and rights we so enjoy.

I had never thought about my Heavenly Father celebrating "Father's Day."  But thanks to this talk from this day forward each and every Father's Day for me will be dedicated to the memory of my earthly Poppers and I will honor and pay homage to both my Poppers and my Eternal Father each and every day of the year as I strive to become more like Him.

So Happy Father's Day to each and every wise Father past and present that has influenced and continue to influence my life.  

May we always remember the sacrifices made by many a Father that some may not have even thought to pay tribute to on this wonderful day. 

"Every Day a Father’s Day
Father’s Day is usually celebrated one day every June, but there can be other father’s days too. 
Fathers never stop being fathers, even when the holiday is over.
Besides your earthly father, who is the father of your earthly body, you pray to Heavenly Father, 
who is the Father of your spirit body. 
And there are other fathers who are concerned about your happiness and success—
your grandfather; your bishop, who is often called the father of the ward; 
or perhaps you have a stepfather.
Countries, too, have wise and brave leaders who are looked upon as fathers by those who live there. 
George Washington is known as the “Father of His Country” because of his valiant leadership 
and deep devotion to the welfare of his countrymen in North America, who wanted to live as a free people.
Simon Bolivar was called El Libertador (The Liberator) or the “George Washington of South America”
 because of his ability to help several South American countries gain their independence from the Spanish 
conquistadors. Leaders in other lands are thought of as fathers of their countries
 because of their loyalty and love for their people.
To show that you remember your fathers on the other 364 days of the year, 
here are some ways to make them happy:

Heavenly Father

Learn to obey Heavenly Father’s commandments by listening to the counsel of your parents 
and the instructions from your teachers. 
Pray to Heavenly Father often. He is real and He loves you. 
Avoid temptation. Satan is also real, and he can entice you to do things that are wrong.


Earthly Father

Few things please a father more than having a son or daughter who is unselfish, helpful, 
pleasant, and kind and loving to everyone.
Learn to work hard, study hard, and play hard. 
When a father’s family is happy, it helps him to become a better kind of person.

Father of the Ward (Bishop)

In addition to his own family, a bishop has responsibility for the welfare of a larger family—
all the members of his ward. Another big responsibility the bishop has 
is the care and upkeep of the meetinghouse. 
Some of the money paid to the bishop as a contribution to the Church
 is used to light and heat the building and to pay for many other necessary supplies.
 The bishop and custodian are especially grateful when we treat the building 
and all its furnishings and grounds kindly. 
Remember—it is really the Lord’s house, a place that can be acceptable to Him 
and a place where we can worship Him in peace and safety.

Father of Your Country

Just as fathers of countries hope that their people will be loyal, patriotic, considerate, 
and law-abiding citizens who recognize individual differences and needs, 
local public officials or “City Fathers” have the same hopes and concerns for their people.
If you show that you remember your fathers’ enduring love for you by the way you live, 
every day can truly be a Fathers’ Day."  
(Friend 1981)