Sunday, June 30, 2013

Day 183, June 30

Last Sunday in Sacrament Meeting, the Young Women (girls 12 - 18) sang a beautiful song about "guardians of virtue."  The phrase immediately caught my attention.

It reminded me that we are all charged to be guardians of virtue.  Whether we are parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, leaders, whatever, we should take this charge seriously. 

Let me tell you about some people who are guardians of virtue.  There are the Primary teachers who have as their stewardship teaching the youngest of God's children.  There are those who serve in the military who protect our country and our freedoms.  There are the volunteers at House of Neighborly Service, Habitat for Humanity, and other organizations who help the less fortunate in our community.  There are the parents who hold Family Home Evening faithfully every Monday evening to help their children understand the Gospel.  There are visiting teachers who care about the sisters given to their charge.

So, for today, I am grateful for guardians of virtue.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Day 182, June 29

The heat makes me cranky.  It turns me into a lazy, self-absorbed slug.  In short, I'm not a nice person when I get hot.  I live in an air-conditioned home, drive an air-conditioned car, and still I complain.

It's not just the heat that makes me complain.  I'm a chronic complainer.  In Book of Mormon terms, I am a "murmurer."   I whine about the heat.  I whine when food prices go up.  I whine about the cost of gas.

Is there anything I don't compalin about?  Well, there is something.  I don't complain about the Father's love.  I've been thinking about that a lot lately.  I marvel at His unfailing love, His unflinching devotion to His children, despite those times when we (I) least deserve it.

So, for today, I am grateful for the Father's love.  (I'm also grateful for air-conditioning!)

Friday, June 28, 2013

Day 181, June 28

I found this quote in a writers' magazine:

"If you know you're a writer, no amount of noise can stop you from hearing stories.  So listen."

The writer in me immediately responded to these words.  More, though, the part of me that is divine responded, and  I edited the words to "If you know you're a child of God, no amount of noise can stop you from hearing Him.  So listen."

Do you think me to be self-aggrandizing when I say "the part of me that is divine?"  I hope not.  For I believe that each of us has a divine nature.  Frequently we (I) suppress that nature, preferring that part that is foolish, selfish, short-sighted.  But when I listen to that divine part, I hear the Father.  He speaks to me in a still, small voice that I cannot deny.

So, for today, I am grateful for when I hear stories ...  and when I hear the Father's voice.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Day 180, June 27

I love finding bargains.  At garage sales.  At thrift shops.  At outlet malls.  Finding a bargain exhilirates me in a way that little else does.

Anticipating a garage sale "hunt" with some friends, I thought about some of my best bargains over the years.  There was the Ethan Allen furnitiure, the five cent mink coat (yes, genuine mink), the prom dress for our daughter. 

But none of those things compare to the bargain of the Atonement.  The Father has offered each of us the ultimate bargain.  Through His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, we can return to the Father and live in His presence.  All we have to offer Them is a broken heart and a contrite spirit. 

I struggle to grasp the enormity of it, even while I acknowledge the simplicitiy of the plan.

So, for today, I am grateful for the bargain of the Atonement.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Day 179, June 26

You know how sometimes I find that I'm not finished with a subject.  That of strong, pioneer women is one of those times. 

One stalwart woman, after giving birth to ten children and living a righteous life, died in the influenza epidemic of 1920 in Star Valley, Wyoming.  This woman was only 38, leaving behind eight children, and taking her two sick babies, three and 18 month old baby with her.    Another woman helped settle Bea Lakek Valley and built the community recreation hall AND cleared a road to Bloomington Lake.  (Really?  She cleared a road?)

In talking with some friends about these women, I realized that all women are pioneers in their own way.  Several of my friends were the first in their families to accept the Gospel and be baptized.  They are pioneers.  Another friend was the first in her family to graduate from college.   She is a pioneer.  Yet another friend led a movement in our town to have an objectionable sculpture removed from a public area.  She, too, is a pioneer.

So, for today, I am grateful for pioneer women.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Day 178, June 25

Those who know me well know that I love stories about strong women.  They inspire me, make me want to try to do better in my own little sphere.

One such story is about Elizabeth Gower.

Elizabeth and her husband Daniel Clark joined the Mormon Church, with their family of ten children in England in the 19th century.  They were so bitterly persecuted for joining this "heretic sect" that they decided to emigrate to America.

On the way across the plains in covered wagons, Daniel drank some bad water from a river, contracted cholera, died, and was buried somewhere along the Platte River in Nebraska.  Valiantly, Elizabeth forged on to the Salt Lake valley with her children. There, she faced other hardships,while  trying to eke out a living in what was then a barren desert and raise her children in righteousness.

What courage and strength this faithful woman must have had.  I marvel at her and, at the same time, am humbled by her example.

So, for today, I am grateful for strong women everywhere.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Day 177, June 24

Looking for the good in people shouldn't be hard.  Since we are all the children of the Lord, there should be plenty of good to find.  However, with some people, it seems, at times, hard  to find that good.

When I was having problems finding the good in a particular individual, I realized that maybe the problem was mine, rather than his.  Maybe I should have been thinking of "the beam in my own eye" rather than "the mote in his."

That's not always easy to do.  It's more than difficult to admit my own failings, much easier to see the faults of another.  Another example of my human frailness.

So, for today, I am grateful for those people who always find the good in others.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Day 176, June 23

In the same stake meeting which I referenced yesterday, a General Authority (a church leader) spoke on kindness. His words so touched me that tears stung my eyes. The examples of kindness he gave were simple things, perhaps even insiginficant, except when you consider the consequences of those acts.

I wonder why I withhold kindness sometimes. Does it make me feel superior when I can deny a kindness to someone else? Does it make me feel powerful? Does it justify my own hurt because that person was not kind to me in the past? Probably it's all of those. And more.

I think of the kindnesses extended to me and how they lifted me from the doldrums, from depression, from self-absorbtion. Why would I want to deny those sweet feelings to someone else? I can't find a good reason. In fact, I can't find any reason at all.

So, for today, I am grateful for those who are kind.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Day 175, June 22

A week ago, our (church) stake sustained a new stake presidency.  (For those of you who are not members of the Mormon church, a stake is a geographical group of wards.  The stake presidency--a president and his two counselors--oversee the welfare of its members.)

Unlike worldly corporations and businesses, there is no vying for position in church organizations.  There is no voting on officials, no campaigning to "take" someone else's job.  There is only a desire to serve.  Leaders are called by inspiration as received from the Lord.

So, for today, I am grateful for inspired leaders.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Day 174, June 21

In our church, missionaries occasionally stay with host families.  Our ward currently has several host families, including George and Marilyn Lowe, longtime friends. 

The Lowes have opened up their home several times to young missionaries, some of whom have just left home for the first time.  Their manners are a bit raw, their social sensibilities underdeveloped.  But George and Marilyn never complain.  They feed the missionaries, provide rides for them, and many times act as surrogate parents.

George and Marilyn do this out of love, for the Gospel, for the Lord, for these young men. 

So, for today, I am grateful for George and Marilyn Lowe.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Day 173, June 20

While watching television the other day, I ran across a public service advertisement about encouragement.  The message was simple:  Encouragement.  Pass it along.

I'm fortunate enough to have many "encouragers" in my life.  There are those of you who read this blog and comment on it.  There are my friends and family.  There are church members and others.

We all need encouragers, or, as I like to call them, cheerleaders in our lives.  When our own self-esteem is on a downward spiral, isn't it great to have these people in our corner?

Unfortunately, there are the others.  These are the naysayers, the emotional vampires who seek to suck away any joy or happiness we might feel.  Along the way, I've encountered a few of these.  Unfortunately, I haven't always dealt with them in the best manner.  I've allowed them to beat me down.

I hunker in my shell, draw my reserves around me, and try to wait out the hurt.  Sometimes it takes longer than others.  Then one of my cheerleaders comes to my aid.

So, for today, I am grateful for encouragers and cheerleaders.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Day 172, June 19

Last month, Sister Frances Monson, wife of Prophet Thomas S. Monson, passed away.  The Church and many others throughout the world mourned her passing. 

Sister Monson exemplified all that is good in womanhood.  She loved the Lord, her husband, her children, and the Gospel. 

When asked how she maintained her balance, she replied:

- My home must be a happy and pleasant place.
- I need to keep up with the times.  (She was never too old to try something new.)
- I want my children to be honest in all their dealings.
- I want them to be active in priesthood and other Church programs.
- I want my children to desire a temple marriage.
- I want my children to realize that they have a great responsibility to honor and uphold and live the teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ that their father proclaims throughout the world.

So, for today, I am grateful for an elect and righteous lady.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Day 171, June 18

Finding something to write about each day isn't easy.  In fact, sometimes it's just downright hard.  My imagination and inspiration seem to have dried up.  Then, once again, the Lord puts something in my view and I know just what I should write.

This morning, as my husband and I were out, we saw young girls and their leaders (from our church)  gathered at a park.  They were waiting for everyone to arrive before they left for a four day girls' camp.

My first thought was, "Oh, I'm so glad I'm not a leader there."  (Does that let you know just what a lazy and selfish slug I am?)

Girls' camp is hard, at least for the leaders.  I have enough friends who have served at camp over the years to know just how hard it can be.  Yet, each year faithful women volunteer to mentor, guide, and teach these young women (12 - 18 years old).  These women have families of their own who require their attention.  Many have jobs outside of the home.  Some (like me) have aches and pains and the idea of sleeping in a sleeping bag or on a cot is a nightmare waiting to happen.

Yet, they do it.   They serve because they love the young women.  More, because they love the Lord.

So, for today, I am grateful for women who serve.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Day 170, June 17

"If stories come to you, care for them and learn to give them away when they are needed.  Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive."--Barry Lopez, CROW & WEASEL

I love stories.  I love true stories.  I love made up stories.  And if things aren't happening the way I want them to in real life, I make up stories to "set things right."  It is the writer in me, I suppose, that needs stories, true and made-up, to clarify our human condition.  (In Mr. Lopez's words, I need stories more than I need food.) 

Some writers are blessed to tell stories that reach hundreds and thousands of people.  Mine reach but a few, if that.   But that's all right.

So, for today, I am grateful for stories to give away.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Day 169, June 16

Today is our son Rob and his wife's first anniversary.  A year ago, they were sealed in the Bountiful Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for time and all eternity.  Mormons use that last phrase many times, but I wonder how many times we contemplate its true meaning.

"Time" indicates our span on this mortal sphere.  "All eternity" encompasses that and everything else.  Consider the infinite nature of "all eternity" and its implications, that we can be kings and queens, priests and priestesses in the life to come.  It's overwhelming, isn't it?

Larry and I are grateful that Rob found a beauitful and righteous woman to share his life, to take this mortal journey and the journey that will continue into the eons of time.  It's no secret that Rob grieved when his first wife abandoned him and his sons.  And so we give thanks that he and Jenny have found each other.

So, for today, I am grateful for the eternal union that Rob and Jenny and Brigham and Isaac chose to make.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Day 168, June 15

In a small newspaper, I found the following under "Milestones of togetherness:"

Ted and Olga Bergs were married 70 years ago on April 25, 1943, in Latvia. They have five children, nine grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren.

Clyde Durrant McLean and Marjorie Nelson were married 70 years ago on April 27, 1943 in Rupert, Idaho and were later sealed in the Salt Lake Temple.  They are parents of five children, have 25 grandchildren and 60 great-grandchildren.

Don Petersen and Cathrine (Kay) Nebeker were married 70 years ago on April 29, 1943 in the Salt Lake Temple.  They have four children, 14 grandchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren.

R. Homer and Louse N. Barstow were married 70 yeras ago on April 30, 1943 in the Salt Lake Temple.  They have three children, 14 grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren.

C. Mont and Ruth Mahoney were married 70 years ago, on April 30, 1943.  They have five children, 21 grandchildren, and 36 great-grandchildren.

I am touched and impressed by these couples who have endured and enjoyed 70 years together.  What a record, especially at a time when so many marriages are dissolved in a year, or in the case of a celebrity couple last year, three months. 

So, for today, I am grateful for these examples of love and commitment.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Day 167, June 14

Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, warns against spiritual crocodiles.  " ... spiritual crocodiles ... infinitely more dnagerous and more deceptive and less visible, even than those well-camouflaged repitles ... These spiritual crocodiles can kill or mutilate your souls.  They can destory your peace of mind and the peace of mind of those who love you.  Those are the ones to be warned against, and there is hardly a watering place in all of mortality now that is not infested with them."

At varying times, our family, as have others, has been under attack by these spiritual crocodiles.  They appear in the guise of selfishness, sin, pride.  They come when they are least expected, striking out at the very underpinnings of  family and faith.

We have been bitten by these crocodiles, seriously but not mortally.  Belief in the Lord and the eternity of the family have kept us from succumbing to this kind of reptitle.

So, for today, I am grateful for the Lord and His gospel which keep us safe from spiritiual crocodiles.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Day 166, June 13

I found this quote in a writers' magazine and fell in love with it.

"The brick walls are there for a reason.  The brick walls are not there to keep us out.  The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something.  Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don't want it badly enough.  They're there to stop the other people."--Randy Pausch, THE LAST LECTURE

When I was try to break in to book writing, I felt like I encountered brick walls everywhere.  And for a while, they did keep me out.  Rejection after rejection piled up.  One year I won the award for the most rejections "earned" in one year!   I decided I wouuld give up writing.  It was obvious that I had no talent, that I had nothing worth saying, that no one wanted to hear what I had to say..

Then the unbelievable happened.  I sold a book.  I was on my way.  But three long years passed, each garnering more rejections, before I sold again.  More brick walls.

This is a convuluted story to say that brick walls are everywhere in whatever we might try.  If we want it enough, we will break them down, climb over them, or crawl under them. 

So, for today, I am grateful for those times when I can break down, climb over, or crawl under brick walls.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Day 165, June 12

The other day, I was feeling down and out, "lower than a snake's belly," as the saying goes.  We didn't pick up the mail until later in the evening.  I expected the usual assortment of junk mail and bills.  Hidden among those, though, was a card from a friend. 

I opened it, expecting a short greeting.  Instead, my friend had taken the time to write a full letter, expressing her apprecation for me and sharing her feelings that we both were struggling with similar problems.  It was so lovely that I kept it.  (I often use cards as bookmarks.) 

I have referred back to that card several times in the last few days, feeling renewed and uplifted each time I re-read the kind words.

So, for today, I am grateful for a friend who cared enough to write down her feelings.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Day 164, June 11

Sometimes, just when it seems that I don't have anything left to write about, fate (or more probably the Father) puts something in my orbit.  A couple of nights ago, I found a movie on television called "Joyful Noise."  It looked to be an uplifting movie (it was) and I settled down to watch it.

One of the main characters, a choir mistress, sang a beautiful song, "Fix Me, Jesus."  Tears streamed down her face, as they did my own, as she pleaded with the Lord to fix her.  I could absolutely relate.  I found myself mouthing the words along with her, "Fix me, Jesus."

I can only imagine Him saying, "Where do I start?  There's so much to fix!"  But I never doubt that He wants to do so.

So, for today, I am grateful for the Lord, the Great Fixer.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Day 163, June 10

The other day our power was out.  I was beyond frustrated.   It seemed everything I wanted to do, from working on the computer to vacuuming to doing a load of laundry needed power.  My source of power was down, rendering me helpless.

It occurred to me that that is much like my spiritiual life.  Without the power of the Son, I can't pray.  I can't fast.  I can't serve others.  He is the  ultimate power source. 

Fortunately, the power went back on fairly quickly and I was once more hooked up.  Connecting with the Son doesn't require electricity.  But it does require that I do the things He has asked me to do.  They are simple:  pray, study, serve.  And then do it all over again.

So, for today, I am grateful for power sources, those from electricity and  those from the Lord.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Day 162, June 9

Every day I have been trying to put a small dent in the number of weeds that seemingly spring up overnight in our yard and flower beds.  Sometimes I am fortunate enough to yank a weed out by the root.  Other times, I have only been able to get the top, knowing that the root is still there, just waiting to pop up with yet another unsightly weed.

In my morning ritual of weed-pulling, I had a moment to ponder upon the similarity between pulling weeds from the lawn and pulling sins from my life.  Just as in pulling weeds, sometimes I am fortunate enough to yank out a sin by the root.  And other times, I have gotten only the top, smoothing over the edges of the sin but not really addressing the "root" problem. 

Pulling out weeds needs to be done constantly.  Pulling out sins needs the same attention and care.  One of the problems with pulling out sins is that the results may not be visible right away.  I work on them, praying for divine help, trying to find the root problem.  And still they frequently elude my efforts.

It may be that I don't really want to get rid of my sins.  Sins can be comforting.  Like a piece of fudge, they are sweet to the taste.  Do I really want to hold onto them, to sacrifice my eternal progression for the familiarity of these weeds in my life?  When that answer is yes, I know I have to do some heavy duty repenting.

So, for today, I am grateful for those times when I can pull weeds from my lawn and sins from my life.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Day 161, June 8

Last Sunday in Fast and Testimony meeting, a mother bore her testimony about the power of prayer.  Her family's four week old kitten had gotten lost.  Every day, the four children prayed for the kitty's safe returne.  The parents tried to be positive, but they knew the realities of the world, that the kitty had most probably been killed.

A week, then two, then three passed.  Still, the boys continued to pray, often ending their prayers with their absolute faith that Heavenly Father was watching over their pet.  At the end of the third week, the family received a call, saying that someone had found the kitten, well and unharmed.

The boys were unsurprised but joyful that their pet was all right.  The mother and father were grateful and humbled by the faith in their sons' prayers.

So, for today, I am grateful for the faith of children.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Day 160, June 7

A wadhile back, I was tempted to say something to someone "for her own good."  (You know those times when you just have to say something for someone's own good.  It almost never is.  It is usually for the good of the person saying it.)

Fortunately, I had the wisdom to pray about it and received the distinct answer, "No.  Don't say it."

How grateful I am that I didn't say anything, that I kept my mouth shut and my words to myself.  I don't always have the wisdom and restraint to do this.  Too frequently I have given in to temptation, saying something that didn't need to be said.  Never has anything good from of it.

So, for today, I am grateful for an answer to a prayer.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Day 159, June 6

This week is our grandson Isaac's sixth birthday.  Isaac is a child ... and grandchild ... of the heart.  Our son Rob adopted Isaac when he was only a few months old.   My husband and I were fortunate enough to be able to attend the temple when Isaac was sealed to the family for time and all eternity.

Isaac is full of energy, curiosity, and love.  He loves all things CARS and can repeat the dialogue from the movie nearly verbatim.  He loves to read and to have stories read to him.

Above all, he loves his parents and his big brother Brigham.

So, for today, I am grateful for Isaac.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Day 158, June 5

"When you make the biggest mistake ever, something good can still come from it."

I found this nugget in a page of quotes a friend sent me.  (Do you get the feeling that my friends know I love inspiring quotes?)

As I read and re-read this line, I thought back to my (many) mistakes and shuddered at just how many there were.  Then I started thinking of something good that came from a mistake.  One such thing started with a rejection letter on a book manuscript I'd sent to a publisher who had bought from me earlier.  The rejection hurt.  (They all do.)

With distance and time, I recognize that the manuscript was not particularly good.  It was riddled with poor writing, inconsistent timing, and cliches.  I put it away.  A year later, I dragged it out and looked at it with fresh eyes.  Was there anything worth saving in it?

WIth all those mistakes, could I salvage anything from it? 

A NY publisher had advertised that it was looking for manuscripts for a new line.  I decided to revise my rejected story, cut it to the desired length, and sent it in.  Unbelievably, it was accepted.  I was delighted.  From the ashes of all those mistakes, I had sold to a publisher I had long desired to sell to.  

So, for today, I am grateful for those times when I learn from my mistakes.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Day 157, June 4

 "How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world."--Anne Frank

What are your excuses for procrastinating in improving the world?  If you're like me, you have a bushel of them. Let's examine a few:

"I'm too old to do anything important."
"I'm too tired ..."
"I don't have anything to offer."
"I'm nobody.  Who's going to pay attention to my ideas?"
"I tried to do something nice for someone and it backfired."

Do any of these sound familiar?  If not, I'm happy for you.   You have it all together and are already doing your part.  For the rest of us, maybe we need to re-think what it means to "improve the world."

Can I pick up trash in my neighborhood?
Can I take a treat to a friend for absolutely no reason except that I was thinking of her?
Can I call my 89 year old aunt and say "I love you?"


None of these will change the world.  But they will might make a tiny part of it a prettier, kinder, and move loving place.

So, for today, I am grateful for those times when I'm not too old, too tired, or too anything else to do something good.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Day 156, June 3

Today is my nephew David's birthday.   David was born several months after the birth of our daughter Alanna.  When his mother returned to school to do her student teaching, I tended David, frequently propping him up on my lap to nurse while I nursed Alanna.  (He doesn't want to hear about that!)

David is my sister Carla's son.  For that reason alone, he is very dear to me.  However, he is special for many other reasons as well.  He has a lively sense of humor, a deep appreciation for literature and the arts, and a genuine compassion for society's older members. 

When Carla's and my mother was dying of cancer, David, who had experience in care-giving, flew from his home in the west to stay with our parents until the end.  He tenderly cared for our mother in countless ways, easing her last days and relieving my father's mind that she did not have to go to a nursing home.  He was there to comfort Carla and me when the end came. 

So, for today and for every day, I am grateful for David.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Day 155, June 2

Yesterday I wrote about a survivor of the Haun's Mill Massacre.  My family has ancestors who were also at Haun's Mill on that infamous day, where mob members butchered men, women, and children.  The following account is taken from the autobiography of James McBride.

(October 31, '1833)

" The 31st day dawned, and again the rays of the morning sun kissed the landscape. As yet the extent of the massacre was not known.

... Brother Amos having been detailed on the previous day to get wood for families was on his way to the mill when he was told there had been serious trouble there. His home was about three miles from the mill and as he was not detailed on guard, was not at the mill at the time of the slaughter.

He went on and passing the mill a short distance, came to Haun's house. The first object that met his eye in human form,the mangled body of my murdered father (Thomas McBride), lying in the dooryard.  He had been shot with his own gun, after having given it into the mob's possession.  Was cut down and badly disfigured with a corn cutter (a scythe like tool) and left lying in the creek.  Some of the women had dragged him from the creek into the dooryard and left him there.  One of his ears with almust cut from his head--deep gashes were cut in his shoulders; and some of his fingers cut till they would almost drop from his hand

... The firing ceased--the screams of mothers, daughters and the wounded told the dreadful tale!

The bloody- picture in the book of time; may it ever stamp with stigma the brow of that government that offered not a protecting hand to those who were ruthlessly cut dowI1--wounded; or were made widows, and orphans, at the Haun's Mill Massacre.  (Missouri Governor Boggs went on to compound this infamy by issuing an expulsion order of all Mormons from the state.)

The sun slowly sank beneath the western horizon-and darkness spread its broad mantle over the universe."

The McBride family, minus their patriarch, made the exodus from Missouri to Nauvoo, Illinois, and, later to the Salt Lake Valley.  Their faith never faltered, as they obeyed the directions of the Prophet Joseph Smith, and, later, those of Brigham Young.

So, for today, I am grateful for faithful and courageous ancestors.


Saturday, June 1, 2013

Day 154, June 1

Many members of the church are aware of Mormon pioneer Amanda Barnes Smith's story of losing her husband and a son at the massacre at Haun's Mill, Missouri (1830s) and her faith in healing her six-year-old son Alma, who had had his hip shot out.   (She placed a plaster on his hip and told him to lie very still.  After a number of weeks, his hip was healed.)  This story is especially meaningful to me as Alma was the ancestor of a dear friend.

Recently I learned of a somewhat lesser known story about Sister Smitih.  It goes like this:  A few days following the massacre, the mobs ordered the Mormons to leave the state.  With all her possessions stolen by mob members, Sister Smith had no provisions to move her family.  Undaunted, she went to the mob leader's  home, banged on the door, and said, while pointing to the livestock, "You have my horse."

The mobster had the audactity to want to sell it to her and then charge her for having fed it.  She told him, "No, I don't have any money.  It's my horse.  I need it.  I'll take it now."   One account states that she used her apron as a lead rope to get the horse home.

It wasn't enough that the mob had murdered men, women, and children.  They had also forbade the survivors from praying.  However, Amanda knew that she needed the power of prayer now more than ever if she were to get her four remaining children to safety.

She found a shock of dried corn stalks that were tied together at the top.  She climbed inside and called it her tabernacle.  No one could see her, and unless they came very close, nor could they hear her.  There, Amanda prayed and sang "How Firm a Foundation."

"The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose
I will not, I cannot desert to his foes
That soul, through all hell should endeavor to shake
I'll never no never ... no never foresake."

Amanda Barnes Smith withstood the death of her husband and a child, the nearly mortal wounding of another son, the  loss of all her possessions, and the threats of a blood-thirsty mob, but her faith never wavered.

So, for today, I am grateful for the courage of a pioneer mother.