Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Answer

Today in Brussels there were some awful terrorist attacks. These events are always sad, but it hit closer to home as this is where Dad, Rich and Michelle all served missions. Brussels is beautiful, and it was heartbreaking to hear about such awful things happening.

In the shower I was thinking about words we hear in the temple. Some parts of what we learned came to me, word for word, as I thought about the terror that is throughout the world. 

But I was also reminded of the great power of the Lord, and of His work that is spreading throughout the earth. Temples are being built at incredible rates, and these temples will bless the areas where they are built. This is because of the great blessings available to those who make temple covenants, then go into the world and keep those covenants. They are blessed with power; power to do good, power to overcome evil.

I saw this on facebook today. It is true. Keeping our covenants does not mean we will never face trial or challenge, but we will be safe. Our spirits will be safe, our souls will be safe. Keeping our covenants means that we can return to our Heavenly Father with confidence that we have done what He has asked us to do.


And as I think about the upcoming Easter Sabbath. I am reminded that all of the power that comes through temple covenants has it roots in the Atoning sacrifice of our Savior Jesus Christ, he who overcame everything, including death, so that we can one day do the same.

Despite the challenges of the world, I have hope in Christ. Despite the chaos of the world I can feel peace each day.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Love

I have thought a lot about love this month. A lot of people focus on love in February. I like February because early in the month is the anniversary of the day we decided to get married and the day Brian officially proposed. It is fun to think back on that early stage of our love. It was thrilling and exciting and also peaceful and calm. 

I saw this on facebook today. The quotation by Elder Holland came from a devotional address he gave at BYU the week after Brian proposed. It was the first time we went to devotional together and the topic of the Gospel and Romantic love was so appropriate for our situation. 


Sometimes the world tells us that love and romance are about extravagant gifts, exciting dates, expensive dinners, or frequent vacations. Brian and I both felt a little silly about our Valentine's Day. We got take out and ate on a table downstairs (Brian decorated with a rose that Megan had received that we put in a vase.) while watching Pride and Prejudice. It feels silly to tell people that, because maybe they don't think it is a big enough deal, but it was what we both wanted. All that mattered was being together. 

Don't get me wrong, special events are important. Dates nights, expressions of love and even time away are wonderful. They create memories and help build unity. Time together is vital. But Elder Holland's quotation reminds me of what really matters. The root of our love should be our faith. It is our faith in Jesus Christ that turns our simple romantic love into something much greater. With faith in Jesus Christ our love can deepen and broaden. Our love can grow and develop into charity, the pure love of Christ. 

Charity helps us to recognize the needs of our spouse, and to have the desire to put their needs above our own. Charity is what makes it possible for us to not take offense, even if something was said that might have been hurtful. Charity helps us endure and grow together as we face challenges. Charity helps us to recognize the good in our imperfect spouse. Charity helps us to humbly remember that we are not perfect. Charity helps us to rejoice in goodness and to focus our love on truth. 

Sixteen years ago I knew that I loved Brian. But I never could have imagined how I would feel about him all of these years later. And I know that it has happened because we both work each day to strengthen our faith. This helps us to also strengthen our love for the Lord and for each other. 

Often times I will catch a glimpse of Brian looking at me. I might not be able to see his expression or eyes clearly, but I can see his love for me in every bit of his expression. He will wrap his arms around me when I am having a hard day, and let me cry all over his shirt when I need to. He will dance with me in the kitchen or living room, sometimes we don't even have music. And last night Brian fell asleep while I was still reading. He fell asleep holding my hand. This doesn't happen every night, and that is just fine, but it was just another of the little things that reminds me that he loves me. 



Thursday, February 11, 2016

Megan's story of faith

Last night Megan shared with me a story, one that I hope will become part of her foundation of faith.

Megan had to be home alone for a few minutes last night. The three older kids were at scouts and mutual, I had a meeting and Brian needed to do some last minute service for a neighbor. I was only two doors down and we had practiced her calling me just in case she needed something.

When I got home all of the other kids were home too.They told me about their fun activities. Then Megan told me about how when I was gone she was listening to a book. She has listened to this book before and really likes it, but there is a part that is kind of scary. She said it felt really scary because she was home alone. She told me that she prayed that she would be safe. Then she listened to the Book of Mormon instead of the book she had been listening too.

I am so grateful that her first choice was to turn to her Heavenly Father. She asked him for help, and then she turned to His scriptures so that she could feel peace.

The Spirit will come as we read God's word in the scriptures. It came to be with a little girl last night, so she could feel safe.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Reading the Book of Mormon

On January 4, 2016 Michael's primary teachers challenged his class members to read the Book or Mormon. They gave them a schedule that would help them accomplish this goal in 32 weeks. He finished on Monday (22 days later) and started again yesterday. Today we downloaded the special audio version of the Book of Mormon for the girls' special audio players. Megan is so excited to be able to listen to the Book of Mormon.Today on facebook a memory popped up, which had a picture of our kids with their scriptures from two years ago, when we finished reading the Book of Mormon. IT made me wonder about the other times that we have completed reading this wonderful book. (I am pretty sure I have taken a picture each time.

December 17, 2012

January 27, 2014

November 24, 2014 
(after this time we read the Pearl of Great Price, finishing it at the end of the year and starting the Book of Mormon at the beginning of the new year.)

September 21, 2015

When the kids were little we read the Book of Mormon stories book with pictures and summarized stories. We read it several times. Then, and I don't remember exactly when, but probably in mid-2011) we decided to tackle the Book of Mormon. It was slow going sometimes, but we realized that it wasn't about the speed of our reading. (ONe of our favorite memories was reading Jacob 5. It took lots of day, and we had big papers that we drew on to diagram the allegory of the olive tree, stick figures and all!)

It doesn't take us a long anymore. Part of that is because the kids are older, they read better and understand more. And part of it is because we read more consistently than ever before. We read in the morning now, before kids head out to school and Brian heads to work. It truly is a blessing to start our days by feasting on the words of Christ. We feel a difference on the days when we wait until the evening. 

We LOVE the Book of Mormon!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Teaching

This week I have been reminded that the Lord often uses our life experiences to teach us so that we can be prepared to help or understand others down the road.

I remember when Liz was in the hospital.Every day felt so long. She was doing great from the beginning, and really she just need to learn to eat, but it sometimes felt like that would never happen. We would drive home at night and I would stare out my window, tears streaming down my face because I was going home without my baby AGAIN. There were times I felt like no one in my neighborhood knew what we were going through. (Looking back I understand that people were aware of our little family!) And then all of the sudden, Liz was able to go home. The last few days went so quickly. One day it felt like she would never be ready and the next they were talking about how she was ready.

I remember sitting in the NICU with my sister the first time that I went with her for a feeding. I remember being amazed at all of the progress Joshua had made in a month. I had only seen him once since his birth. I had heard about his growth and progress and all of the good things, but it struck me that day as I watched my sister with her baby boy, that he still had such a long road ahead of him.

A family in our neighborhood had a baby. This sweet little boy arrived several weeks early, and was small, even for his gestational age. They have since discovered some metabolic issues that the baby is dealing with and will deal with his whole life, but they caught it early and it will be very manageable. While I don't understand all of the challenges this dear baby and his family are facing, there is a part of me that wants to let every NICU mom and dad know that people understand, that they are not alone, that they are not forgotten. I KNOW that these feelings come from my personal experience as a NICU mom fifteen years ago, and from watching my sister and brother-in-law as they had a NICU baby for 10 1/2 weeks. The lessons remind me to prayer for this family regularly and to do small things to help them know they are remembered.

Another friend had a medical procedure recently. I don't know much about specifics of medicine, nor do I handle these things very well, but this specific procedure is something I gained a small understanding of as I watched my grandma over the last several years. I certainly couldn't give any expert advice to my dear friend, but I feel like understanding my grandma had helped me understand this friend and her situation a little more.

I am grateful that the Lord teaches me in these little moments, even though sometimes I don't recognize all of the lessons until further down the road.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Ponderize - Week 16

We are learning the beginning of this verse as a family. It is a great reminder.


Sunday, January 10, 2016

Tender Mercy

A Little Back Story
Four and a half years ago (June 2011) we had stake conference. It was a special conference because we were visited by Elder Yoshihiko Kikuchi of the First Quorum of the Seventy. We were able to sit in one of the side pews just a few rows back, and were grateful for the chance that the girls and I had to see better. There were a lot of people at that conference and it was incredible.

I will never forget that day. We were sitting on the pew listening to Elder Kikuchi's address. I was sitting next to Brian (he was sitting by the aisle) and the kids were sitting between me and the wall. I looked over at Liz and she had gone stiff. Her body was rigid and her arms and hands were in the strangest position. Even thought I wasn't very close to her, I could tell that her eyes didn't look normal. I grabbed Brian and got his attention. He pulled Liz onto his lap, and in a few seconds, that felt like hours, her body relaxed. She looked pale. Brian took her out to the car to lay down for a bit.

I was a mess. I was pretty certain that she had just had a seizure. I was so worried. Tears poured down my cheeks. I couldn't focus on anything that was being said. The lady sitting behind me dropped something into my lap. It was a pack of tissues.

The next day we took Liz to her pediatrician, she had an MRI and an EEG that very week. We were referred to a neurologist at Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake and we went there less than two weeks after the seizure.

To make this already long story not too much longer, Liz has never had a seizure since that time. The doctor said it isn't unusual for kids to have one random seizure. She told us that if Liz was going to have another one it would probably happen within six to nine months of the first one. It is not something we have to worry about.

For the first year I thought about it a lot, and then a little less in the year after that. I haven't forgotten this, but I haven't thought about it in a while. Until today . . .

Today's Tender Mercy
Today was another stake conference day. Liz and I were singing in the choir. Brian and the other kids were sitting on the front middle bench. Brian told me after the meeting that he had a conversation with the sister that sat next to us. She told him that she was sitting behind us several years ago. She said that she remembered that our daughter fainted or something. She told him that she had watched his wife (me) crying and worried, and how she had said a silent prayer for me and for our family. She told Brian how she has watched our family over the years and how impressed she is with how the kids have always behaved.

Knowing of this sister's prayer that day touches my heart. I don't even know her name, but her kindness reminds me that we can help in more ways than we think sometimes. I am so grateful that she spoke with Brian today.