Friday, November 30, 2012

Day 330, November 30

"Little progress can be made by merely attempting to repress what is evil; our great hope lies in developing what is good."--Calvin Coolidge

Evil exists, and it is the duty of all of us to wipe out what we can of it.  However, as Coolidge counsels, we cannot repress all evil.  It is too prevasive.  But we can find ways to develop that which is good.

How do we go about doing that?

With baby steps.  By bits and pieces.  If I do a kindness for someone, who is then inspired to extend a kindness to someone else, my act has the potential of great good.  In similar fashion, if I withhold a kindness or, worse, do an unkindness, that, too, spirals in domino fashion. 

This I know for sure:  serial kindnesses or serial unkindnesses; the choice is ours.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Day 329, November 29

I've recently had occasion to think about some special friends, friends who are there for me, no matter what. 

There is Tami, who is going through some hard things but takes the time to keep in touch with me and ask how I'm doing.
There is Marian, who, despite worry over her mother, took the time to send a card to my sister.
There is Janet, who, as Relief Society president of our ward, has tremendous responsibilities and still has time to listen to me.
There is Amanda, a busy writer who takes time to make doll clothes for dolls she is giving to children who might otherwise not have a toy at Christmas time.
There is Holly, who made dinner for my husband and me, as a thank-you to him for subbing for her in Sunday School class.
There is Barbara, who is making time to visit a sister in our ward who is confined to a nursing home.
This is my daughter Alanna, who made my favorite dessert for Thanksgiving dinner and then sent home more dessert with me.
There are Laurie and Marlene, Joan and Myrna, Jeannie and Jeannie, Patti and Judy, Deliese and Marilyn, and a host of other angels who brighten my life and those of others in countless ways.

This I know for sure:  angels come in all shapes and sizes and I am lucky enough to call many of them friend.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Day 328, November 28

The older I get, the more I realize that life is all about finding a balance.  It is finding a balance between self and others.  It is finding a balance between work and family.  It is finding a balance between a clean house and a clean-enough house.  And a myriad of other things.

My balances had shifted over the years.  (As has my figure, but that's another story.)  What was once vitally important to me has taken a backseat and something else has moved forward.  And isn't that the way it is for most of us?  Our priorities change according to our age and circumstance.

However--and this is a big however--some things do not change.  Nor should they change.  Commitment to family should not change, though how we fulfill those commitments may vary over the years.  Loyalty to friends should not change.  Faithfulness to one's spouse should not change.  And, finally and most importantly, loving the Savior should not change.

These are the cornerstones of life.  They remain (or should) immutable.

This I know for sure: balance means making choices.  Our job is to make sure that our choices count.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Day 327, November 27

Two days ago in Sacrament Meeting (the Mormon Sunday meeting), a speaker gave a talk on the Savior.  He reminded the listeners that while we may not always keep our promises to Him, the Savior always, always keeps His promises to us.

It made me think of promises I've broken to the Savior:

I promised Him I'd forgive someone who hurt my family ... and I haven't.
I promised Him I'd have a softer heart toward those who think differently than I do ... and I haven't.
I promised Him that I would look for the good in others ... and I haven't.

And then I examined the Savior's promises to me:

He promised to love me always ... and He has.
He promised to forgive me of my (many) sins ... and He has.
He promised to be there for me when I feel forsaken ... and He has.

The list could go on and on.

This I know for sure:  the Savior never breaks His promises to me.  I wish I could say the same.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Day 326, November 26

I'm still working on understanding the Atonement, so please forgive me if I refer to this important subject again, and again, as I work it through in my mind.

Christ's suffering upon the cross is well-documented.  Those horrific events astound us, more than two thousand years later. How do we begin to comprehend the intense pain that the Savior suffered?  How do we find even an iota of understanding of what He endured?  And how do we understand what His Father must have endured, seeing His Son suffer so?

Even with all this, though, we may fail to realize that the most intense suffering occurred in the Garden.  There, we are told, Christ took upon Himself the sins of everyone who had ever lived, who would ever live, His suffering so deep that He literally bled from every pore.

This I know for sure:  the Atonement is a gift, for all of us, paid for with Christ's blood.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Day 325, November 25

In a few days, December will be upon us.  We will, if we are not doing so already, become emeshed in the preparations for that special day.  Every year, I vow that this will be the year that I leave behind the commercial trappings of Christmas and concentrate on what it is  about:  the birth of the Savior.  And every year, I fail.

I get caught up in the present choosing and buying and wrapping and delivering.  I get caught up in the preparation of food (and let's not forget the eating).  I get caught up in the parties and concerts and church programs.  And you know what?  I love all those things.  What's more, I think the Savior is all right with them as well, as long as we choose wisely and remember what is truly important. 

And there's the catch:  choosing wisely and remembering what is really important.

This I know for sure:  Christmas belongs to Christ.  Enjoy the rest but remember that they are only trappings and wrappings.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Day 324, November 24

At the moment, I'm sitting in my home, looking out a window, marveling at the beauty of a Colorado landscape.  As I do this, I remember that my comfort and safety are due in large part to the men and women who serve our country.

My thoughts turn to the two former Navy Seals who made the ultimate sacrifice on September 11, 2012. Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty manned a machine gun to protect American soil and American lives.  They did this out of duty, out of faith, out of love for their country and their fellow Americans.  In the meantime, America turned her back on them.

Rarely have I been ashamed of our country.  On the contrary, I am normally fiercely proud of America and what she represents, not just to her citizens but to the world.  During the Viet Nam era, when it was popular to defame the flag and denigrate America, I remained a staunch supporter of the men and women who served in a war most of the country wanted to forget.  At this moment, though, when I think of those two young men who paid with their lives, that pride is tarnished.

This I know for sure:  Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were and are heroes in the best sense of the word. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Day 323, November 23

"Be thankful for the least gift, so shalt thou be meet to receive greater."-- Thomas A. Kempis

I sometimes wonder (and lament) why the Lord has not blessed me with greater talents?  Why do I not have a beautiful singing voice?  Why do I not have the gift of speech or the ability to create an inspiring painting or spirit-moving sculpture?  Why do I not have ... And the list continues.

It occurred to me that perhaps the Lord has not blessed me with those things precisely because I have not been grateful for the things He has given me. 

Is that not the way with parents and children at times?  As parents, we want to bless our children with many things, yet we are constrained because to do so would hurt the child when he is not yet ready to receive them.  And so I speculate that the Lord has other gifts for me in mind if I were but to be more grateful for what He has already bestowed upon me.

This i know for sure:  the Lord's blessings are infinite; our charge is to be grateful in all things.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Day 322, November 22--Thanksgiving Day

Through a recent series of difficult events, I've had a hard time feeling my usual spirit of Thanksgiving on this special day.  Because of that, I've had to reach down to find those feelings of gratitude, which are not a request of the Father but, rather, a commandment.

In a book on abundance, I found this quote:

"He prayeth best, who lovest best
All things both great and small;
For the dear God who loveth us
He made and loveth all."--Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Coleridge's beautiful words are a poignant reminder that the love which we both give and receive has as its source the Lord.  Without Him, we would not know love.  Nor would we know peace, joy, happiness, compassion, or charity, for He is truly the author of all things good.

This I know for sure:  finding gratitude does not belong to this day alone.  It should be a life long quest.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Day 321, November 21

"We can lift ourselves and others as well when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude.  If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues.  Someone has said that 'gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.'"  Prophet and President Thomas S. Monson

Not for the first time I have wondered if we all embraced an "attitude of gratitude," if many of the world's problems might be solved.  Would we not find greater compassion for our brothers and sisters if our hearts were filled with gratitude?  Would we not find greater forgiveness for our own failings and sins if we acknowledged the Lord's hand in our lives, accepting His infinite love?  Would we not find greater peace when our souls are troubled?  And, if we find peace in our own hearts, would not the world also find a kind of peace, for is not the world composed of individuals, complete with frailities and strengths, sins and virtues?

This I know for sure:  gratitude is not only a mark of character; it is a mark of greatness.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Day 320, November 20

"The grateful man sees too much in the world to be thankful for, and with him the good outweighs the evil. Love overpowers jealousy, and light drives darkness out of his life."--President Joseph F.Smith, sixth President and Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The older I grow, the more I realize that my happiness depends upon my ability to find gratitude--in everything.  When I am feeling "picked on by the universe," when I feel that no one loves me, that no one appreciates me, it is inevitably because I am slipping into the abyss of ingratitude.

The solution appears simple:  being more grateful equals being more happy.  So why don't I get it?  Why do I persist in falling into old patterns?  The answer to those questions is equally simple:  I am but a weak mortal with more than my share of weaknesses and sins.

This I know for sure:  gratitude is not just something that it's nice to have; it is essential to a happy life.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Day 319, November 19

"Those who wish to sing always find a song." -- Swedish proverb
I do not have a lovely singing voice.  It is more of a croak with a limited range of three notes.  But I appreciate the beautiful voices of others.  A long time ago, I decided I needed to find my own way of "singing." For me, that is through my stories, my books, and this blog.
I have many friends who have also found their own way to sing.  One man does it through his sculpture.  Another friend does it with poetry, another through lovingly penned historical romances.  Each has found his or her own way to sing.  They did it because the songs were within them and those songs had to be set free.
This I know for sure:  there are songs in all of us.  Our job is to free them in whatever medium we choose.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Day 318, November 18

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."--James 1: 2-4

I have to admit, I don't consider it "pure joy" when I face trials.  Right now, some dear friends are facing difficult times, which makes my heart bleed for them.  Finding joy in trials is something we are instructed to do.  Doing it is another matter, for whom among us wants to have trials, whether they be health, family, financial, whatever, in the first place?

Did you know that the Savior's Atonement accounts for not only our sins, but also for the tears we shed, for the cries we utter?  I had not cognized that until recent years.  It gives me comfort, knowing that He is there, that His infinite Atonement is all-encompassing.  Was it not enough that He took upon Himself every sin ever committed?  Add to that every tear shed, every cry uttered, and we still will never have an inkling of the enormity of the Atonement and His divine sacrifice.

This I know for sure:  the Savior knows our tears and weeps with us.  He hears our cries and cries with us.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Day 317, November 17

In 1777, at a very dark moment amid a string of defeats in the first quest for Liberty -- and just before the fall of Philadelphia and the brutal Winter at Valley Forge, Washington wrote one of his generals: "We should never despair, our Situation before has been unpromising and has changed for the better, so I trust, it will again. If new difficulties arise, we must only put forth new Exertions and proportion our Efforts to the exigency of the times."

Knowing that I love patriotic quotes, a friend sent the above to me.  Washington's words of counsel and encouragement apply to all of us and whatever challenges we may face.  Let's examine them.

"We should never despair."  I have despaired many times in my life.  The despair never did anything to change my situation.  The one thing it did do, though, was to bring me to my knees, both figuratively and literally, as I poured out my heart to Christ, begging for His healing powers and comfort.

" ... our Situation before has been unpromising and has changed for the better, so I trust, it will again."  However dire our circumstances, however depressed our hearts and spirits may be,  we will find solace and relief.  Perhaps not immediately.  But there will be respite from our pain because the Lord loves us.

"If new difficulties arise, we must only put forth new Exertions and proportion our Efforts to the exigency of the times." Washington's eloquent words give us a sometimes much needed kick-in-the-pants to keep trying, to keep going even when all else appears to be against us. 

This I know for sure:  George Washington faced insurmmountable odds, overwhelming opposition, not just from the enemy but also from within his own ranks, yet he held fast--to the Lord, to his faith, to the truth.  We must do the same.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Day 316, November 16

Recently I came across a book (yes, we're back to books again) titled MORMON SISTERS.  I devoured it, as it related the heroism and courage and bravery of pioneer women. 

Among other things, the author described the Mormon midwives, the lives of both mothers and babies they saved, sometimes using only the crudest instruments and most limited of training.  These women did not have the luxury of operating in a sterile environnment.  Nor did they have, for the most part, others to assist them.  They jumped in, did what was necessary, and probably received little if no payment.

They practiced their trade in the frigid conditions of Winter Quarters where the pioneers spent that first brutal winter on the trek to the Salt Lake Valley.  They rode on horseback miles and miles to attend to outlying settlers.  They took their art and their compassion to reservations, where other doctors frequently refused to attend to patients.

Their practice was not limited only to midwifery as they were often the only medical help available and were called upon to treat all manner of injury and disease.  One sister recounted how she had to amputate a man's leg using only a saw.  (He survived.)

These were true women, women who stared down mobs, sickness, and ignorance.  They faced poverty, prejudice, and persecution.  They gave everything they had ... and then some.

This I know for sure:  if I could emulate these women in one tiny respect, I would consider myself noble indeed.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Day 315, November 15

Charles Swindoll -- We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.

Most, if not all, of us face our share of impossible situations.  We give these situations different names:  problems, challenges, setbacks, disappointments, etc.  We rail against them, pray for relief from them, and, sometimes, seek solace from them in addictions.   Regardless of how we deal with these "impossible situations," we each push through them in some fashion.

When I face a problem or challenge, I tend to hunker down and push through it.  Rarely, though, do I see it as a great opportunity.  I see it as something to endure, to be gotten through, to be survived.  How much better off would I be if I had seized it as a chance to do something great, if I saw it as an opportunity to grow, to stretch?

This I know for sure:  none of us escape this life unscathed from pain and suffering.  How we handle these determines who we are, who we can become.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Day 314, November 14

Many of you know that I am a writer.  Among other things, I write romances.  Recently I've been working on a new book with an ex Delta Force soldier as the hero. As part of his backstory, he is struggling to forgive the politicians who, through various machinations, cost men in his unit their lives.  (Sounds like "something ripped from the headlines," doesn't it?)

Well, I've never been a Delta Force soldier.  And probably never will be.  At least not in this life.  So how can I write about something so foreign to me?  First, I do a lot of research.  Second, and more importantly, I bring my own experiences and feelings into play to write about the struggle to forgive.

I will probably always struggle with that.  It doesn't come easily--or naturally--to me.  When someone hurts my family, I react, striking back with anger and, sometimes, viciousness.  (That mama-wolverine thing I've written about in earlier posts.)  I'm not particularly proud of this trait, but there it is.  Part of me wants to say, "That's how I am and there's nothing I can do about it." 

And sometimes I do say that.  Then I remember that I do have recourse:  I can turn to the Savior and beg for His mercy and power to do what I can't do on my own.

This I know for sure:  the Savior is always there, to lift, to guide, to wrap me in His arms.  If I but let Him.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Day 313, November 13

"I expect to pass through this world but once; any good thing therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now, let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again."--John Wesley

I apologize for returning and returning again to one of my favorite themes:  that of kindness.  This past week, I have been more than discouraged, first with our nation's choices, then with the personal problems that several friends are undergoing.  I can't fix what is wrong with our country; neither can I solve the problems which my friends face. 

Then, just when my discouragement threatens to grow overwhelming, someone does a kindness for me or I witness a kindness performed for someone else ... and my faith in the world, in the universe is restored.  It doesn't take much, a smile, an individual helping a young mother wrestling with toddlers and a load of packages, a card in the mail, a call from a friend, a prayer uttered in my behalf.

This I know for sure:  we find strength in the hearts of others.  We give strength by opening our own hearts.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Day 312, November 12

"Gold, silver, precious stones, beautiful clothing, marbled homes, cultivated fields, painted canvases, decorated horses and other similar things, possess silent and superficial pleasure.  Books please the core of one's mind." -- Petrarch (circa 1350)

Here, I am, writing about books.  Again.  Books, books, and more books. Books dominate our home, occupying shelves, dresser tops, counters, and floor space.   Occasionally, I force myself to get rid of a few books, recylcing them to library drives and thrift stores.  But there are more, many more, keepers, those books with which I cannot bear to part.

I wonder, not for the first time, how people who don't read, who don't immerse themselves in books, survive.  How do they feed their souls?  How do they learn? And, perhaps, they don't. Perhaps they merely exist.

This I know for sure:  books are more than just words on paper.  They are thoughts to lift, feelings to ponder, worlds to explore.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Day 311, November 11

World War I, known at the time as “The Great War," officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”
Soldiers of the 353rd Infantry near a church at Stenay, Meuse in France.

In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…"
The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00 a.m.
The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926, with these words:
Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and
Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and
Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.
Why did I take the time and effort to copy all of this into the blog?  Mainly, because I didn't know this history.  I had only a vague idea of it.  What I do know is that I honor our armed forces, I honor the men and women who serve and fight to protect our freedoms, our way of life.

As I've written in earlier posts, I came of age during the Viet Nam era.  It was not popular then to champion the military nor to revere those who served ... and, in some cases ... died so bravely so that the rest of us could sleep peacefully in the comfort of our own homes, our own beds.  My heart ached for those men and women who returned to an ungrateful nation.  My heart still aches when I witness the lack of respect given to our veterans and their families.  More than anyone, they deserve our gratitude, our respect, our reverence.

This I know for sure:  those who fight to protect us do so at the risk of their own lives.  Only recently, a young Navy SEAL paid the ultimate price in trying to protect an American ambassador.  These men and women are true heroes and heroines, more so than any found in books.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Day 310, November 10

"The greatest good you can do for another is not only to share your own riches but to reveal to him his own."--Benjamin Disraeli

The Lord commands us to share our riches, to impart of our material substances to lift another.  Less well known is the Lord's command that we lift others by showing them what they have inside themselves, the goodness, the strength, the talents.  I've been thinking a lot about that lately, the ability that lies within each of us to reflect back to others their best selves.

When you think of the people with whom you like to spend time, aren't they the ones who make you feel better about yourself?  Who show you what you can be, who make you want to do better, to be better?

Unfortunately, there are those individuals who take delight in tearing others down, who withhold any kindnesses they might have extended  with stingy hands and stingy hearts.  There's a word for these people:  bullies.  Then there are the friends who offer praise and encouragement with a smile, a word, a note in the mail.

This I know for sure:  when we reflect back to others their own riches, we enhance our own.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Day 309, November 9

· John Wesley -- Do all the good you can, in all the ways you can, to all the souls you can, in every place you can, at all the times you can with all the zeal you can, as long as ever you can.  
 I I wish I could say that I am an exemplar of these words.  But I'm not.  Too often, I'm lazy.  I don't take the time to make the phone call, pay the visit, or send the card that might brighten another's day.  I am wrapped up in myself, my own worries, needs, and wants.  And so I let an opportunity here, an opportunity there, pass by.  And I will never know if I could have made a difference to someone if I had chosen a different way. 
YYou may remember the quote, "Of all the words of ink and pen, the saddest are these:  it might have been."  (I'm not sure that I quoted that exactly, but you get the idea.)  Will I arrive in heaven (or wherever I'm going) and find the Lord shaking His head, saying, "Jane, you could have made a difference.  You could have lifted someone up who needed you on that day." 
 That, more than just about anything, frightens me.  I could have made a difference.  I could have lifted a friend up instead of waiting for her to lift me up.
This I know for sure:  making a difference is making a life.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Day 308, November 8

Lately, I've been trying to figure out why some people seem to have such an easy time expressing gratitude and others can't even utter a prayer of thanks to the Father.  Is it a matter of spiritual maturity?  Or is it simply a matter of laziness?  Or perhaps it is a kind of narcissism and selfishness, when one believes that he or she is entitled to whatever kindness is extended.

I've been guilty of all three in my failure to give adequate gratitude to those who deserve it.  I'm not proud of that and, in fact, am deeply ashamed of that weakness within me.

I have one friend who writes a note of thanks for the least thing I have done for her.  Other people have ignored much more generous gifts and acts of service with a cavalier attitude of entitlement.  Because I am all too human, I find that I have little desire to do things for those individuals in the future.  Once again, that is not something of which I am proud. 

This I know for sure:  the expression of gratitude is not just good manners.  It is a commandment from the Lord, one we ignore at our peril.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Day 307, November 7

It is with a heavy heart that I write this morning.  It is no secret where my political views lie.  It is no secret of my intense disappointment over the outcome of yesterrday's events.  And, yet, we have to continue with our lives, continue to try to make a difference with our choices.

As I wrote yesterday, our choices have consequeneces.  One of those consequences is my husband's attitude toward his business.  Why, he wonders, bother to try to keep growing it when the present administration announces its intention to take every other dollar.  Why, he wonders, bother to try to provide employment for others when government restrictions hamstring him from every quarter. Why, he wonders, should he continue to take the risks attendant upon owning a small business when he is told by others, even some employees, that no one cares.

Ancient scripture teaches us that if and when America chooses to no longer follow God, that we will be destroyed.  Destruction need not happen in cataclysmic events such as the recent hurricane, though its effects are devastating and will be felt for years (just as will this election).  Destruction can occur in the erosion of our morals, the disillusionment with our leaders, the decline of our patriotism. 

This i know for sure:  America ignores God at her peril, at the peril of all of us.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Day 306, November 6

Today is election day.  Today our country decides what kind of nation we want to be.  Today we decide if we will be a nation of makers or a nation of takers.  In many ways, it is a watershed election, a defining moment. 

The repercussions of this election will be felt for years, indeed, decades to come.  Those repercussions will ripple down through our children's, our grandchildren's, our great-grandchildren's lives.  What we choose today cannot be over-emphasized.

As my husband and I voted (we voted early), I rejoiced in the knowledge that we enjoy the freedom to vote for our country's leaders.  Many people in other nations don't enjoy that privilege.  And I wonder why those who do not avail themselves of this right choose to ignore it. 

This I know for sure:  our choices have consequences.  Always.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Day 305, November 5

"The messes in life are my best teachers; I don't like them, but I need them."  Cecil Murphy

Who wants messes in their lives?  Certainly not me.  I've cleaned up my fair share of messes over the years.  There was the honey that our then three year old son Hyrum spilled all over the kitchen floor.  There was the vacuum cleaner bag that burst when another son was vacuuming his room.  There were the flooded basements, bathrooms, and basements again.   Yes, our family has had our share of messes.

But I don't think the author of the above quote was talking about that kind of mess.  I believe he referred to the messes that come when our lives grow out of control, through our own foolish choices or those of others.  Those kind of messes can't be taken care of with a mop and bucket.  They can't be sponged away, swept away, or wiped away.  They require the hard work of repentance, forgiveness, and trying again.

This I know for sure:  messes aren't pleasant, but sometimes they are necessary.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Day 304, November 4

In the Mormon Church, first Sundays are normally reserved for what we call "Fast and Testimony Services."  There, members walk to the front of the chapel and bear their testimonies of the truthfulness of the gospel.

I have no fancy words, no fancy way of speaking, (my husband holds the franchise on eloquence in our marriage) and so I forego bearing my testimony in front of others.  That does not mean, however, that I do not have a testimony.  My testimony of the Savior is what sustains me during times of depression.  It is what sustains me when all else around me is falling apart.  It is what sustains me during the bleak times following a loved one's death.  It is what sustains me during my sister's illness.

My testimony is also what sustains me when I witness evil invade our world.  It is the power of that testimony that allows me to see the Light, even when Darkness is rampant.

This I know for sure:  without a testimony of the Savior, nothing else matters.  With a testimony of the Savior, nothing else matters.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Day 303, November 3

Today is my granddaughter Reynna's 13th birthday.  Reynna is at that fascinating age, no longer a little girl, not quite a woman.  Her interests range from making hand-stamped cards to the latest teenage heart throb.  She is comfortable with computers in a way I will never be, a familiarity that reminds me of the years and generations that separate us.

But she is my darling and always will be.  Whenever I think she is going to outgrow me, I recall the poem she wrote and presented to me last Christmas.  Though I copied it in this blog earlier, I'd like to do so again:

Grandmother, grandmother comfort me;
Grandmother, grandmother, in times of need.
Grandmother, grandmother, love me so;
Grandmother, grandmother, don't let go.
Grandmother, grandmother, though I'm getting old,
Gandmother, grandmother, I will always be yours--
                    Just like you've been told.

This I know for sure:  Reynna is my joy and my light ... and always will be.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Day 302, November 2

It is not politically correct to talk about evil.  (Those who know me well know just how much being politically correct means to me.)  Indeed, we are not even to say that it (evil) exists.  We are supposed to espouse the theory that everything is good and everything is to be accepted.


Evil is real.  It exists.  It takes up residence wherever it is not forcibly thrown out.  As I have related in the past, I have had close-up experience with evil.  Our family bears its scars.  And will continue to bear its scars.  Evil found its way into our lives through the selfishness and violence of others.

Do you know what ejects evil from our lives?  Shining the light of truth upon it.  Shining the light of Christ upon it.  For evil cannot take root in the light.  It feeds on the darkness; it feeds on fear; it feeds on lies.

This I know for sure:  evil is real.  Our job is to recognize it and then shine light upon it to cast it out.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Day 301, November 1

Linda Evans Shepherd -- If God's own Son didn't get through life without pain and difficulties, why do we expect to do so?

Have you ever wondered, "Why me?"  Why was I singled out for ----- (fill in the blank)?   A dear friend, who has endured more than her share of troubles, once related her experience of asking herself, "Why NOT me?"

Why should I, why should any of us, feel that we should get out of this life without experiencing heartache, pain, loneliness, loss, and other difficulties?  The Father loved and loves His Son more than His own life, but Christ suffered beyond our comprehension.  The scriptures tell us that He suffered so intensely in the Garden that he bled from every pore. What's more, He suffered for us.

This I know for sure:  our own suffering pales in comparison to that of Christ.  That we suffer at all is but a faint reminder of what He endured for each of us.