Sunday, July 31, 2011
Saturday, July 30, 2011
Friday, July 29, 2011
love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back....' - Maya Angelou
I love this quote. It reminds me that whatever is going on in my life, I can make a difference to someone else. With a word of praise. A touch. A smile.
Some people seem to do this instinctively. Others, like me, need a gentle reminder to look outside themselves and find a way to lift up another. Let me share with you some ways that friends have lifted me:
A young mother of seven, who is beyond busy, finds time to comment on this blog nearly every day. Her words of encouragement keep me going. Another friend, an inspirational writer, lifts people with her beautifully crafted words, offering hope and faith and compassion to her readers. In between writing books, she found time to knit my sister a prayer shawl at the time of her husband's death. Several friends in our church remember not only my birthday but also that of my sister whom they see only occasionally.
I could go on with examples of people who make kindness look easy, but I'll let your eyes rest. Doubtless, you have stories of your own of friends who touch your life in special ways.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Monday, July 25, 2011
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Friday, July 22, 2011
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Carla is the other half of me. She is the ying to my yang, the temperate to my more boisterous self. In many ways, she is the better half of me. We complement each other in a myriad of ways. We are more than sisters of the same parents; we are sisters of the heart. When she hurts, I hurt. When she rejoices, I rejoice. We clung to each other at the deaths of our parents. I grieved with her at the passing of her husband.
Sisters, whether of the blood or of the heart, occupy special places in our lives. How could they not? Sisters know when the other is hurting, across the miles, across the years. Sisters are there for each other with quiet support and a kick-in-the-seat when needed. Sisters simply are.
So, for today, I am grateful for my sister.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
As much as we deplored the slowing of our bodies, our conversation focused not so much on the outward signs of aging but, rather, upon the inward signs. One person commented, "He's just like he was thirty years ago, only more so." This can be a good thing, or a not-so-good thing, depending upon the person.
I've written before about my dear friend Dorothy. Dorothy, who passed away when she was 83, aged with grace, humor, and love. Those who knew her rejoiced in her company. She delighted in a good joke and laughed with abandon, slapping her knee as she did so. I never thought of her as old, though nearly thirty years separated us. I guess I never thought of her as old because she never acted old. She remained involved and interested in people and the world around her.
My husband's aunt, now in her mid 80s, serves in her church, makes quilts to give to Project Linus, and visits "old" people. She is always busy, giving of herself, of her time, of her energy. She doesn't think of herself as old and neither do those who know her.
Gordon B. Hinckley (1910 - 2008), President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1995 - 2008, fulfilled his many responsibilities with a smile and genuine concern for others. Though he was almost 98 when he passed away, he never seemed old. At his doctor's suggestion, he carried a cane, but he used it not for walking but for waving it at the many people who wanted to say hi to him. He proved that aging is more a matter of the spirit than of the years.
So, for today, I am grateful for those whose spirits are forever young.
Monday, July 18, 2011
But He, in His infinite wisdom, chose to wash our world with an infinite number of colors. Their names conjure up delightful images. Azure. Crimsom. Violet. Saffron. Amber. Emerald. Sapphire. We live in color, but sometimes we fail to recognize it. When was the last time I gave thanks for the brilliance of the scarlet petunias that march down the driveway? When was the last time I rejoiced in the intense green of the grass?
As I've written in earlier posts, our family is also composed of colors. We range from blue-eyed blondes to dark-eyed brunettes. Even the blondes are not all the same. We vary from sand dune to strawberry, from gold to ash. Some of us have freckles; some do not. Our coloring is as different as are our personalities.
And is this not what the Father intended? That we shine in whatever color we are?
So, for today, I am grateful for colors, in flowers, in people, in the world.
Sunday, July 17, 2011
The same is true of my body. It can't leap buildings in a single bound. It can't run and stop on a dime. It can't lift a grandchild over my head. (Really, it never was able to do those things, but I like to remember it that way and since my memory is going, I figure that's okay.)
What about my heart? In some ways, it, too, has atrophied. It remains unforgiving in many areas. I try to make up for those lapses by doing "good" things when I can. I try to exercise my heart in ways that have nothing to do with strengthening the actual muscle.
The truth is, my heart is a stubborn vessel. It wants what it wants. Sometimes it wants good things; sometimes it doesn't.
As I struggle to keep my brain and body functional, I struggle even more to keep my heart functional. I struggle to expand it, to use it in the way the Father designed. He has not given up on me, so I suppose I should not give up on myself either.
So, for today, I am grateful for a heart that still can be changed under the Master's love.
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Perhaps that is the true definition of courage.
Examples of courage are found around us, if we but look. Does not the mother of seven young children display daily courage in facing the endless round of laundry, sticky hands, and questions? Does not the missionary called to serve in a foreign country show courage when she accepts that call? Does not the individual who speaks against lies reveal courage? Does not the soldier who serves his country with honor exemplify courage?
I believe that we are all soldiers when we choose not to give up even in the face of overwhelming odds.
So, for today, I am grateful for those who endure.
Friday, July 15, 2011
My husband says that I see the world in black and white. He is probably right. (He usually is.) Fortunately, the Father has provided many opportunities for me to witness acts of generosity, charity, and love--the white.
Perhaps it is because that I am a writer that I am also an observer, and so I watch. I watch our church family come together to help a family going through a crisis. I watch my son give his two small boys the righteous guidance that every child needs. I watch a friend help a young bride-to-be alter a wedding dress so that it fits perfectly.
Small things? Maybe.
But the Lord has told us that out of small things shall mighty things emerge.
So, for today, I am grateful for small things.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Allow me to share another story with you, this one taken from church history. Many of you will already know this, so please bear with me. In the mid-nineteenth century, the Saints were commanded to build a temple at Nauvoo, Illinois. There was little money, but faithful members of the church followed the Lord's direction and sacrificed of their means and time to construct a place of worship.
The women served food to the workers, sewed clothing for them, and helped in every way they could. When they were asked to give their china to be chopped up in to small pieces to add to the beauty of the building, they did not hesitate. They did it with a joyful heart, grateful for this opportunity to obey the Lord.
Could I do that? Could I give up a cherished treasure, perhaps the only thing of beauty I possessed? Probably not. But these women did. Not too long later, they were called to leave Nauvoo, to leave behind their homes, their gardens, the temple for which they had sacrificed so much.
True women. Courageous women. Faithful women.
So, for today, I am, once again, grateful for true women.