Thursday, December 26, 2013

Principle 11

Principle 11

Adversity is a necessary part of life and it accelerates our growth

The intent of your Father in Heaven is to lift you from where you are to where
 He knows you will have eternal purpose. 

He knows that we will grow more rapidly through challenge and trial
 than from a life of ease and serenity with no disturbing elements.

When faced squarely and lived fully without complaint,
 trials will raise you to glorious heights of accomplishment and service.

"Shake well before using"
Such shaking comes through stirring challenges and stretching tests. 

How these challenges are confronted is critically important to our happiness and personal growth now and forever.

Trials come from two sources:
1. The affects of our own transgressions
2. Testing needed to help us grow even when we are living a righteous life.

The First Source of Adversity:
Realize your full dependence upon the Lord, align your life with His teachings,
 repent and seek forgiveness

The Second Source of Adversity:
(challenges often seems to come in multiple does applied simultaneously)
When trials are not the consequences of disobedience, 
they are evidence that the Lord feels you are prepared to grow more

He gives us experiences that stimulate growthunderstanding
and compassion which polish you for your everlasting benefit.

Where you are -> (stretching, discomfort and pain) -> Where He wants you

How to Deal with Adversity:

  1. Pondering and prayer will help us understand what we are to learn from the challenges we are asked to overcome.
  2. Trust Him, even when in eternal perspective it temporarily hurts very much.  
    1. He may ask you to do things which are powerfully against your will
    2. The path you are to walk through life may be very different than others.
  3. Exercise faith and say, Let Thy will be done.
  4. Have patience when you are asked to wait.
    1. ***If all matters were immediately resolved at your first petition, you could not grow.
Such experiences, honorably met, prepare you and condition you for yet greater blessings
He desires to share with you all that He has.  
He desires to increase your capacity and continue your development.

He would have you suffer no consequence, face no challenge, endure no burden that is superfluous to your good.  He would not require you to experience a moment more of difficulty than is absolutely needed for your personal benefit or for that of those you love.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Letter 2013

  Christmas Letter 2013

                                                                                                         December 6, 2013
Dear Family and Friends,

As I sit down to write the annual recap my mind is drawn back to a year ago. Last December was a blur laced with emotional turmoil, despair and grief. Our family is in such a different place this December and for that I am truly grateful. Not only have we survived through the first year, but also I feel like there has been immense growth and strength developed in our family. Our faith in the Savior has made that possible. There is healing and understanding in His atonement. The sealing powers of the priesthood give us the promise of a glorious reunion with Scott someday. We hold fast to our covenants and have a renewed commitment to faithfully keep them.  This year we have truly learned what it means to trust in the Lord and to throw our burdens at His feet. We have watched as miracles have unfolded as He has watched over, directed, and taken care of our family. We feel so very blessed! We know that Scott is still very much a part of our family and feel his stewardship on a daily basis. I am grateful for the legacy he left our four children and me. We have much to accomplish and learn during this short stay in mortality. As we are learning to turn our will over to Him, His plan is becoming more and more apparent in our lives. It is not the path I would have expected, but I am learning that it is exactly what our family needs. It has been amazing to watch the refining process at work and I am excited to see the end results. This next year is sure to bring many new and exciting changes in our family. Sometimes those changes seem a bit daunting and scary, but we know "that in the strength of the Lord we can accomplish all things."
Here is a little recap of this past year. I would also like to encourage you to visit my blog at I have openly shared about many of our experiences and the things that I have learned. My hope is that by honestly sharing, my experiences can be of benefit to others who are going through trials and difficulties.
We are still in Springfield Missouri.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

I've loved you for 1000 years and I'll love you for 1000 more: OUR LOVE STORY

I've Loved You for 1000 Years and I'll Love You for 1000 More

So yes, I admit it.  I am a huge Twilight fan.  If your not... Don't stop reading... just bear with me for a minute because there is a great story to this song. 

 Indulge me for just a moment...  

When I first read the books (and yes, I have read them twice) I loved them because they reminded me of dating my husband.  You see, as I talked to friends reading the books and listened to their comments about how they wished their husbands were more like Edward I was thinking, my husband WAS exactly like Edward (minus the drinking blood drinking thing).  Scott treated me like I was the most special person on the planet.  I often caught him staring at me, he definitely over indulged me with lavish gifts, he loved how I smelled, he was so tender and protective, and in his own words, he could never get enough of me. Okay, so I know your gaging yourself right now, but as much as he was Edward, I was Bella.  So not confident of myself, uncomfortable with the extra attention, but totally and completely devoted to him.  Reading those books took me back to all of the reasons why I loved him.  It was great for our marriage.  So great that I even talked Scott into reading them to me.  He would kill me for writing that!

Okay, the Twilight part is over, now the story behind the song....

So I loved the song 1000 years when it came out.  Not just because of the movie, but because it was what we felt about our marriage.  You see, I fell in love with my husband in 3rd grade.  I knew I would marry him someday and wrote it in my journal repeatedly as I was growing up.  He taught me swimming lessons when I was 11 and he was 14.  When I was 14 and he was 17 I used to go to church dances only to see him.  I would wait for his beautiful, sophisticated, older girlfriend to go to the bathroom so I could ask him to dance.  I tried so hard to be grown up and Scott was always kind to me, but I knew that I was far too young to catch his eye.  I always had the plan that after his mission I would got to his homecoming talk, he would notice that I had grown up, ask me out, and we would fall madly in love and get married. And... that's almost exactly how it happened.  3 dates and less than two weeks after he got home we were engaged. Absolutely crazy, right?  Except that Scott has always thought  all those year when I was just a little girl... Someday when she grows up, I need to ask her out.    We both had know for a very long time that we were supposed to be together.  We felt that we were promised to each other in Heaven before we came down here and that our love for each other was so strong that our spirits couldn't help but remember it.  He called me his soulmate.  So that song said everything we believed about our love from before, and as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints our beliefs about eternal marriage said everything about what the future of our marriage would be.

About a month before Scott died, he caught me crawling out of bed to go running and pulled me back next to him.  He said,

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Unleashing the Dormant Spirit

Here are some excerpts from this BYU Speech.  I also made a photo book of the thoughts he suggested. Included are the individual pictures that can be downloaded. I have also included the link for the original speech. 


And at that day, when I shall come in my glory, shall the parable be fulfilled which I spake concerning the ten virgins.

For they that are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived—verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day. [D&C 45:56–57]

Issue of not being Deceived:

Sometimes we avoid dealing with matters of a spiritual nature because of our insecurity in discerning the difference between the influence from the Spirit and the influence of the adversary.  We don’t trust ourselves.  When it comes as a subtle deception, Satan is the master of disguise.

A good help to avoid this dilemma was, for me always, to put myself through a test— a test that was actually defined by the Lord, as we read the words of the Lord, according to Luke 14:33: “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” Christ is literally cutting a knife into our soul, making it clear to us that there is no middle way and that we have always to ask ourselves where, exactly, we stand. When we can, in an honest reflection, say: “Yes, I am a disciple of Christ, I’m willing to sacrifice my own will, my habits, attitudes, and selfish desires, and endure the hurt and the pain that such reflections cause, and bring to him as a sacrifice a broken heart and a meek spirit,” he will baptize us “with fire and with the Holy Ghost,” and we will not be deceived (see 3 Nephi 9:20).

“Do we really understand the importance of Christ’s statement that absolutely nothing matters unless we take the Holy Spirit as our guide?”

None of us can afford to be without Them. None of us has enough wisdom, enough intelligence, enough knowledge, enough skills, or enough courage, by ourselves, to master our lives and even to succeed in life unless we learn what it means to surrender ourselves into the arms of the Lord and be filled with the Spirit. He wants to empower us with the gifts that he has promised to give to each of his disciples who has made sacred covenants with him.

The Blessings and Advantages of the Influences of the Spirit

This Spirit lets us develop the true potential of our intellectual capabilities and delivers even the motivation to use it. The influence of the Spirit, all uncomfortable things—such as hard work, getting up on time, going the extra mile, over- coming homesickness, overcoming flaws of character, and other things requiring sacrifice— are easy. It became clear that under the influence of the Spirit we act in wisdom. We see the complexity of a problem in its simple parts, and we see the possible solutions unfolding in front of our eyes—to our own surprise. In other words, our creativity is developed and multiplied. That which is a burden without it becomes a privilege when we are under the influence of the Holy Ghost.

Paul puts it all together beautifully in his letter to the Galatians: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentle- ness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance (Galatians 5:22–23).

In my humble understanding, we, as members of the Church, should not be satisfied to be one single moment of our waking hours without the insightful, powerful influence of the Spirit.

Many times in our life it happens that these gifts of the Spirit rest dormant in us.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

His Grace Is Sufficient

His Grace Is Sufficient

This is a great discussion on grace, really the first explanation that I have heard that makes sense to me. I wish that someone would have explained it to me in this manner earlier in my life. I very much felt like the young girl in the beginning of this article that came to Brad Wilcox. 
She said, “I just don’t get grace. I know I need to do my best, and then Jesus does the rest, but I can’t even do my best.” I always felt there was more that I could do. I just didn't understand grace! I've pulled out some highlights below, but I encourage you to read the whole thing below. 

"Christ asks us to show faith in Him, repent, make and keep covenants, receive the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end. By complying, we are not paying the demands of justice—not even the smallest part. Instead, we are showing appreciation for what Jesus Christ did by using it to live a life like His."

Grace Transforms Us

"Christ’s arrangement with us is similar to a mom providing music lessons for her child. Mom pays the piano teacher. Because Mom pays the debt in full, she can turn to her child and ask for something. What is it? Practice! Does the child’s practice pay the piano teacher? No. Does the child’s practice repay Mom for paying the piano teacher? No. Practicing is how the child shows appreciation for Mom’s incredible gift. It is how he takes advantage of the amazing opportunity Mom is giving him to live his life at a higher level. Mom’s joy is found not in getting repaid but in seeing her gift used—seeing her child improve. And so she continues to call for practice, practice, practice."

Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has said, “The repenting sinner must suffer for his sins, but this suffering has a different purpose than punishment or payment. Its purpose is change” 

"The miracle of the Atonement is not just that we can be cleansed and consoled but that we can be transformed (see Romans . Scriptures make it clear that no unclean thing can dwell with God (see Alma 40:26), but no unchanged thing will even want to."

Grace Helps Us

“But don’t you realize how hard it is to practice? I’m just not very good at the piano. I hit a lot of wrong notes. It takes me forever to get it right.” Now wait. Isn’t that all part of the learning process? When a young pianist hits a wrong note, we don’t say he is not worthy to keep practicing. We don’t expect him to be flawless. We just expect him to keep trying. Perfection may be his ultimate goal, but for now we can be content with progress in the right direction. Why is this perspective so easy to see in the context of learning piano but so hard to see in the context of learning heaven?"

"There should never be just two options: perfection or giving up. When learning the piano, are the only options performing at Carnegie Hall or quitting? No. Growth and development take time. Learning takes time. "

"Grace is not a booster engine that kicks in once our fuel supply is exhausted. Rather, it is our constant energy source. It is not the light at the end of the tunnel but the light that moves us through the tunnel. Grace is not achieved somewhere down the road. It is received right here and right now."

"The grace of Christ is sufficient (see Ether 12:27; D&C 17:8)—sufficient to cover our debt, sufficient to transform us, and sufficient to help us for as long as that transformation process takes. "

Saturday, December 14, 2013

A Trouble-free Life

A Trouble-free Life

Expecting a trouble free life because you are a good person is like expecting the bull not to charge because you are a vegetarian. - Harold S Kushner

I remember a time in my life when I hoped desperately that I could avoid significant trials by being good. Honestly, I've never been a 'bad' person.  I don't think I really could be, even if I tried really hard.  I have always cared too much about what other people thought of me.  I always wanted to please my teachers and other adult leaders, and I NEVER wanted to get in trouble.  I remember once as a teenager,  my date had wanted to take a short cut across someone's lawn.  I tried to convince him to just take the long way with me because I was afraid that the owner would come out and yell at us. I did not succeed, and I found myself sheepishly following him across the yard.  Sure enough, the occupant opened the door and chastised us for being so thoughtless. I profusely apologized and was totally mortified.  My date just laughed at me.

I avoided big mistakes and bad choices that could cause undesirable consequences like the plague.  For the most part, my life was fairly trouble-free.  Sure, I had occasional pitfalls, but they were not earth shattering by any means.  After my husband finished residency and we settled into a 'real' job, I remember feeling really uneasy.  I worried that my perfect little world would somehow crumble.  I thought of ways that I could be better than just 'good.'  In my mind, I thought if I could be just a little better and a little closer to perfect, then I would continue to be blessed and ward off any significant setbacks.  However, no matter how much better I was, I found that there was always a way to do more.  Eventually, I began to feel overwhelmed at the never ending task.  I remember asking an older, trusted friend, "Do you think you could be righteous enough to avoid trials."  She just chuckled and said, "But we came here to experience trials.  You CAN"T avoid them."
Jeffery R Holland taught that when we lived with God prior to our birth, "we agreed to such a time of challenge and refinement. We were taught then that facing, resolving and enduring troublesome times was the price we would pay for progress.  And we were committed to progress eternally."
Eventually, I learned to accept this principle and to not fear the big trial that I felt was coming.  Not only did I not fear it, but I began to prepare myself and to resolve to face it head on and learn the lessons that I so definitely needed to learn.
Thomas Paine said, "I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and from brave by reflection.  It is the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death."
I intend to "grow brave by reflection," and "gather strength from my distress"  as  I "smile in trouble."  I have seen light come to me as I have done this.  I have seen joy come back into our home.  God loves us and he wants us "have joy" even in our times of trials.  I know that life can be difficult, but I also know from personal experience that God's care can get us through and help us prevail.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Principle 10- Creating Our Character

  Principle 10

        We must make faith, prayer, love, and humility
a living part of our individual character

The power of gospel teachings to expand and enlarge our capacity is not apparent until we consistently allow the Holy Spirit to make them part of our daily practice.

God forges our personal character
 as we sincerely serve others

It is only by DOING the things the Lord counsels us to do that we are given the capacity and understanding we need. This is the leap of faith. DO FIRST AND THEN RECEIVE.

A testimony is the very essence of character woven from threads born of COUNTLESS CORRECT decisions. These choices are made with trusting faith in things that are believed, and at least initially, are not seen.


A testimony gives PEACE, COMFORT, and ASSURANCE as we develop a conviction that OBEDIENCE to the teachings of the Savior will create a beautiful life, secure future, and the capacity to overcome challenges.

                            A testimony grows from:
1. Understanding truth through prayer
2. Pondering scriptural doctrine
3. Living those truths with faith           

Learn how to live the commandments when there is no pressure on you. 
Develop a strong character by practicing standards and consistently making correct choices. Then in an emergency situation, your training will kick in and you will come out unscathed. 

When the principles of the Gospel have become such a part of who you are, 
you will see miracles produced. 

My thoughts: Many times people who are in difficult situations look back and regret the choices they made. I find that is often the product of not having thought through their response to those situations beforehand. I was always taught to set my standards and make my decisions before I was placed in the situation. We can be stronger than we think. Adequate preparation and consistent righteous living WILL forge a character capable of withstanding and then pressure. Like the parable of the 10 virgins, we cannot borrow oil from another's lamp. We must have our own reserve developed. There are times of ease in our lives when we have the opportunity to build up those stores of oil. Often instead we choose to spend our time "in fun and entertaining" but eternally worthless pursuits. Then in times of trial we find our stores lacking.  In a last ditch effort, we run off to try to buy more oil, but we find that our preparation is too late. It's great to read and study about spiritual principles. It's good to go to church once a week and hear them preached from the pulpit, but until we actually internalize them and make them part of us, they will do us no good. Many of us even know this, yet we make no attempts to change. We procrastinate our days away. This time of year is a great time to renew our resolve to be better. If this has been the prior pattern of your life, then make the decision to change it today. I have not been perfect in this principle in my life, yet I am grateful that I had a store of oil when my husband died. It has made all the difference. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Don't Lose Hope: Dissipating Despair and Discouragement

Don't Lose Hope: Dissipating Despair and Discouragement 

I thought I was doing so well and that I had this grief thing licked, then I had a trigger set me off.

Last night my brother-in-law called with news from the NTSB about their report on the plane crash.  As we talked I expressed my faith in God's plan for our family and that this accident had an important purpose and was meant for our learning and growth.  After I hung up the phone, I went downstairs to talk to my boys.  I again expressed the same thoughts to them with more emotions rising to the surface this time.  After telling them good night, I found myself closing the den doors and sinking to the floor in tears.

  The despair over this old wound being opened began
 to consume me and I openly sobbed. 

I called and talked to a friend who comforted me with some scriptures to read and then I called another widow whose husband had also died in a plane crash.  We discussed and expressed confusion with the findings.  We talked about our futures and conversations that we had had with other widows who had remarried and still were struggling missing their husbands and with trying to blend families.

  Everything just looked bleak and hopeless.  

As I climbed into bed, despair and discouragement overwhelmed my thoughts.  I read some of the scriptures that my first friend suggested and I felt some better.  I began to pray and pray for help until I finally drifted off to sleep....

Normally I would wake to a new day, but today the feeling of despair and discouragement lingered.  

The weather had canceled early morning seminary for my children so they got up a little later than usual.  My best friend who normally runs with me did not call because of the late start and because I was getting over the flu.  

After my kids left I crawled back into bed- 
something I have never done except when I was ill.  

I just wanted to talk to Scott.  I missed him so very much.  Finally at 10:00 my friend called and I pulled myself out of bed.  We ran and I talked things out.  We grabbed some lunch and I came home to fold clothes.  Still the feeling would not leave.  I thought, 
"What is wrong with me?  This never lingers this long."  
Then I realized that I was not following my normal "get out of grief routine."  I had talked to all of my friends, but I hadn't spent some time really studying the scriptures and the words of the prophet for comfort.  I needed to do that and really get on my knees.

I thought of a talk about Hope from General Conference that I had read and highlighted shortly after Scott's death.  I had sent a quote from that talk to some friends in the morning as an inspirational thought, but I realized that I really need to delve into it again. This is what I learned, and this is how I turned my head around....

Hope has the power to fill our lives with happiness. 

"Hope is a gift of the Spirit. This kind of hope is both a principle of promise as well as a commandment, and, as with all commandments, we have the responsibility to make it an active part of our lives and overcome the temptation to lose hope." 

If hope is a gift, then it is something we have to pray and ask for.

But Why Then Is There Despair?

Saturday, December 7, 2013

What is the key to healing or getting through difficulties?

What is the key to healing or 
getting through difficulties?

When life seems to be falling in around us, the world tells us to spend more time on ourselves, to focus our efforts inward.  People tell us we need more pampering, more leisure, or more 'me time.'  "Give yourself permission" to just focus on you is the universal message.  I can not tell you how many people have given me this counsel over the last year.

I can tell you this... I have found the opposite to be true.  

When people hear about how I am trying to focus on helping lift others, they often respond... "I'm worried about you."  "I don't think it's healthy to take on other people's problems at this time." "I'm afraid your not spending enough time on you, and that you aren't giving yourself time to heal."

To this I honestly reply,  "This is what is helping me heal!  You ask me why I am doing so well.  This is the reason why.  When you focus your efforts on others, the Lord blesses you with added strength, comfort and understanding."  I read this talk today by the 5th president of our church,  Lorenzo Snow.  I thought, AHH HA!  I finally have proof of this principle from someone else, and not just anyone, but a prophet of God.  I wanted to share some of his quotes with you, because this is a principle that people can follow regardless of wether you are a member of our church or now.  Truth is truth, and it is universal.  I hope you will internalize and use this principle to help you get through hardships in your life.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Hints of the Future

Hints of the Future...

Some people view God as an outside being who watches our lives from a distance, an entity that is far too concerned with the general picture of humanity to get involved with the individual details of our personal lives. I would like to suggest that perhaps it is not god that is too occupied or indifferent, but that we are too busy and self-absorbed to notice his hand in our lives. 

I have been reflecting a lot on that influence in my life throughout the years. I sense a divine current exists to guide me and shape me. Not only is that influence apparent after the fact, that I think God often prepares us for future events. Now I'm not saying that God predestines our lives. I very firmly believe that we all have agency to choose the path that we will follow. But I do believe that God will lead us beforehand to find the path that is best for us. Listening and recognizing those directions can help prepare us and lead us in the way we should go. We have to be doing what's right and we have to ask in order to qualify for that direction.

Here are some specific examples from my life...

When I was in third grade I knew I would marry my husband. I wrote it in my journal and told my family and friends.  They smiled and chuckled at a silly little girl's thoughts. Years pass and despite the lack of belief from others, I held firmly to my convictions. It was as if I remembered a truth from long ago. When my husband returned from his LDS mission at age 21, we finally dated for the first time. After only three dates we both knew we were to marry. "Crazy," some people would say or "completely coincidental." I might agree if this was only a single occurrence, but it is the pattern that has emerged in my life. 

When we were engaged, I told my husband we would have several boys with a girl at the end. An experience I had when I was younger had left me with that impression. I remember he looked at me skeptically. As many of you know, we had three boys and a daughter at the end. Before my daughter was conceived, I went out and bought pink baby clothes. My husband found them stashed underneath my bed and confronted me with the purchase. He was seriously concerned that he was going to have to have me committed if our last baby was not a girl! Fortunately for me it was just as I had always thought. I knew that it was time for her to come.

After we finished medical school I felt an impending doom that a large trial was coming my way. It scared me, and I really wished to be able to avoid it. I thought perhaps that if I was really, really good that the Lord would spare me from it. For a long time I've struggled untill I finally came to the understanding that such experiences were necessary for my growth and development. That I could not learn the needed lessons any other way.

That night when Scott and his dad took off to come home I was walking with my children on the Galloway Trail. I was filled with so much love and gratitude for them. I remember feeling so very happy as I watch them play with and enjoy each other. Then thought into my mind, "If something happened to Scott, you would be okay. This would be enough. You could be happy." We reached the car and I picked up my phone to read the last text my husband sent me. "Love you, taxing." The next morning when I found out they had not landed in Omaha I was reminded of that prompting the night before. It prepared me for what I needed to face. All along the promptings of the Spirit has prepared me for what was coming or for choices that were important for me to make. 

I would not have been prepared to get married at age 18 right after graduating high school. But the little amount of time that we had necessitated that. Having grown up with all sisters, I might have been disappointed to have sons. But because I knew that, I was prepared for that as well. 

To be honest, most of the hints or impressions that the Lord leaves me are not so far in the future. Most of the time they are given him a moment that they are needed or only slightly before. As I listen to keep those impressions more given and I am glad carefully through the fog of life. I have watched that happen this year. 

Not everything has been given me for the future that lies ahead, but I have some hints and I am following those to be better prepared and to help my children be better prepared. 

What I know beyond a shadow of a doubt is that God cares about us individually.  If we turn to him then he can literally orchestrate our lives. We can always choose to follow a different path, but I know that his path helps us to find the most happiness. 

To be honest, some of the impressions I have felt about my future scare me to death! They are not what I would have planed, and I wonder if I will be equal to the task. Despite those fears of inadequacy, I know that the Lord has given those impressions to me so that I can adequately prepare myself. I know if I turn to Him, in the strength of the Lord I can accomplish all things. Setting my fears aside and moving forward in faith is a hard and difficult thing to do, but I see glimpses of a happy, rewarding, joyful future if I am obedient. In my mind as I go through scenarios, I am always left with the final thought, "How could I choose to do anything different than what the Lord asks me to do? Scott and I have already agreed to this difficult path so that we could learn and grow and help other people. What's the point in changing that direction now?"

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Reflections on a consecrated Life...

Reflections on a consecrated Life... 

“A prophet of God has said: ‘Men are that they might have joy’—a joy that includes a fullness of life, a life dedicated to service, to love and harmony in the home, and the fruits of honest toil—an acceptance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ—of its requirements and commandments.
Each time as I have struggled and fought to understand the purpose of my trials, and as I have gone through inner battles desiring things to turn our differently, I have ultimately come to the same conclusion.  Fighting against God's will just gets you really, really tired, but it changes nothing.  Only when we ultimately turn our will over to Him,  trust His plan, and try to work with Him do we actually begin to get somewhere.

In conjunction with my study about turning my will over to the Lord, I have thought a lot about the word ''consecrated.'  In our church we promised to consecrate ourselves to the Lord. That does not mean that we leave family and occupation only to serve in the church, but that we choose to dedicate all that we are and can become to helping do the Lord's work in our daily lives.  We do that in our families, with friends and in the community. By so doing this we grow closer to the Lord and find JOY in His service.  

Matthew 25:40

40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me

I have found great direction, peace and hope in attempting to more fully consecrate myself and who I can become to God.
“Life offers you two precious gifts—one is time, the other freedom of choice, the freedom to buy with your time what you will. "
“Every day, every hour, every minute of your span of mortal years must sometime be accounted for. And it is in this life that you walk by faith and prove yourself able to choose good over evil, right over wrong, enduring happiness over mere amusement. And your eternal reward will be according to your choosing."
"True success in this life comes in consecrating our lives—that is, our time and choices—to God’s purposes (see John 17:1, 4D&C 19:19). In so doing, we permit Him to raise us to our highest destiny." - D. Todd Christopherson

5 Elements of a consecrated life

respect for one's physical body

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

How Do You Give Thanks in All Things?

How Do You Give Thanks in All Things?

I have told people before that I am grateful for this trial.  That statement is either received with looks of shock or awe.  I do not intend to inspire either feeling, but to convey my understanding for the purpose of trials.

The year before Scott died, I wanted to be a better person. I was praying to be a better person, praying for more charity, for more empathy, for me to feel more love for others in my life.  I was praying to feel for settled and at peace with my life, for a feeling of purpose and acceptance with God.  I was trying to achieve those things to.  Going through the motions of listening to more spiritual things, forcing myself to do more service, but I didn't feel that I was moving anywhere.  Then my husband died.....

At first I thought, did I pray for this trial to happen?  In time I  have concluded that is not the way that God works;  this trial was part of a master plan formed long before the words of those prayers.  The desires in those prayers were simply the Spirit prompting me to prepare my heart for the things I needed to learn.

Looking back a year ago at my last Thanksgiving, I see a tremendous change in myself.  Not just in the grief, because that was truly profound at that time, but in the person who existed before the accident.  

I am not that same girl... and I am glad for that.  

I am thankful that the girl who has replaced her is further along the road in obtaining those desires that I was praying for.  I thankful that she is more in tune to the spirit and what the Lord wants her to do.  I am thankful to be living each day with faith and hope in the Lord's plan for my life.

I would like to share some quotes and scriptures given by Dallin H Oaks in a conference talk back in 2003.  Elder Oaks is well aquainted with trials, having lost his father at a young age and then later in life his wife.  Elder Oaks watched his young widowed mother's example.  This is what he said of her...
"Nevertheless, I often heard her say that the Lord consecrated that affliction for her gain because her husband’s death compelled her to develop her talents and serve and become something that she could never have become without that seeming tragedy. Our mother was a spiritual giant, strong and fully worthy of the loving tribute her three children inscribed on her headstone: “Her Faith Strengthened All.”
Last March I attended an LDS Widows/ Widowers conference in Utah where Elder Oak's older brother spoke of his mother.  His words inspired me at the time to put myself back together and start to set a better example of faith.  Elder Oaks went on in his talk to share some scriptures...
"The revelations, for which we are grateful, show that we should even give thanks for our afflictions because they turn our hearts to God and give us opportunities to prepare for what God would have us become. " 
The Lord taught the prophet Moroni, “I give unto men weakness that they may be humble,” and then promised that “if they humble themselves … and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them” (Ether 12:27).  
In the midst of the persecutions the Latter-day Saints were suffering in Missouri, the Lord gave a similar teaching and promise: “Verily I say unto you my friends, fear not, let your hearts be comforted; yea, rejoice evermore, and in everything give thanks;… and all things wherewith you have been afflicted shall work together for your good” (D&C 98:1, 3). 
And to Joseph Smith in the afflictions of Liberty Jail, the Lord said, “Know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good” (D&C 122:7). 
Brigham Young understood. Said he, “There is not a single condition of life [or] one hour’s experience but what is beneficial to all those who make it their study, and aim to improve upon the experience they gain”  
If we truly understand the Lord’s teachings and promises, we will learn and grow from our adversities. We will let them change and refine us into better people.  Instead of just persevering through our trials we will actively allow them to purify us.  
"When we give thanks in all things, we see hardships and adversities in the context of the purpose of life. We are sent here to be tested. There must be opposition in all things. We are meant to learn and grow through that opposition, through meeting our challenges, and through teaching others to do the same."

That process of teaching and helping others bring fulfillment and joy into our lives.  We feel God's love more fully!  We understand that our life here is not about acquiring things and self- gratification, but about acquiring the ability to unselfishly love and serve others.

So I am filled with gratitude for so many things.  I feel to fall to my knees daily to thank that Lord for the many blessings that He has given me.  I do not feel slighted; I feel blessed. I know that I will see my husband again, and that will be a glorious, wonderful reunion.  I look forward to that day with hope, yet I remain committed to finish my work here while he is doing his there.  I am committed to letting this trial and future trials shape me into the woman who will be able to fall at her Savior's feet and express her appreciate to Him who has given her everything.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

My Gray Day

My Gray Day

Yesterday was kind of a gray day for me.  I say gray because it wasn't a dark day.  Thankfully I seemed to have moved past those now, but it definitely wasn't a sunny day either.  I just felt kind of 'blah' all day long.  I know the rain, and cold and the cloud cover outside were not helping my emotional status, but it was more than that.  I was tired, having had only 3 hours of sleep the night before, but my mind was also a little troubled.  Not being able to do the yard work I had planned, I decided to tackle some of the boxes of photos I intended to get scrapbooked this winter.  Going through the pictures didn't seem to help.  I was reminded of times and memories when Scott was present and that continued to add to my sadness.  Scrapbooking isn't hugely mentally engaging, so I let my mind wander far to much to the future and to worries and concerns about what may happen in the next few years.  So many things to think about and wrap my head around.  So many roads to take and options and wondering which one the Lord will lead me down.  So many FEARS.  Can I really do what the Lord wants me to?  Will I be strong enough for the task at hand?  I know I need to stay in the present and just NOT go there yet.  The answers are not coming, the time is not right to know them yet, but my curiosity leads me to this place every now and then.

Since the one year mark, I have felt  an excited anticipation for the coming year and the big changes looming before me.  Most days that has been more like waiting for Christmas because I have felt these will be good, happy changes.  Today I was focusing on the difficulties I would encounter with those changes.  I don't know why I expect to have a free ride for the rest of my life.  I know that loosing a husband doesn't give me a 'trials exempt' card, nor do I really want it to be the case. At one time I had hoped it would, but I have learned that is not what this life is about.  This life is about learning what we need to learn through those trials and letting those trials refine and shape us so we can become who the Lord wants us to become.  We came here for this purpose, so why would I want an "exempt' card from the very experiences I came to have?  Because every now and then I let the mortal part of me take over and worry.  I turn from faith to fear.

After a day of pondering and scenario building I called a close widow friend of mine.  She said, "Veronica, don't go there. STAY IN THE PRESENT."

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Principle 9: Mentors can give us vital spiritual guidance

Principle 9

The Lord can give us guidance through 
the experiences shared by others

Mentors, people who are interested in our well-being and want to help us by sharing their experiences, can be a  great source of help.  It is important that these individuals are willing to give COUNSEL that is FOUNDED in PRINCIPLE and DOCTRINE. 

"Some of the greatest lessons I have learned in my life have been taught to me by those brethren and sisters who have mentored me, given me counsel, seen me struggling with an issue and taken the time to share their experience and provide tremendous encouragement. " - Richard G Scott 
**Be prepared because our experiences will call us to be mentors sometime in our lifetimes.

"To serve and to intentionally reach out to help each other is a great blessing.  When you can become a mentor for another because of personal experience you have gained, do it. Age does not matter: experience does."
Our duty: God does not give us experiences so that we can lock them up for our own benefit.
  He requires us to be brave and to unselfishly share our insights and experienced 
with others who are in need.

"Sometimes just the way a person lives provides a mentoring experience for others."

  We have to be strong and immovable in our examples

MY THOUGHTS:  Richard G Scott, having lost his wife 18 years ago, has been a great mentor to me through this process.  When I was in 7th grade, I had a wonderful friend in 8th grade who was mentor to me.  She was the president of our young women's class at church.  She was such a happy, positive and spiritual person that I couldn't help but want to be like her.  I found out what goals she was setting and I set those same goals.  At a very pivotal time in my life, her example along with the other girls in my church youth group helped me to choose the right and helped me to stand strong.  I will forever be grateful to those girls for mentoring me. Thank you Bawesomes!