Thursday, January 30, 2014

Healing = Courage + Action + Grace (PART 4/5)

Healing = Courage + Action + Grace 


The scriptures teach us, “Knock and it shall be opened unto you.”  Knocking is acting.  So often we find ourselves trudging through life looking at our feet or simply sitting in the mud.  We think that we are all alone and forsaken.  We may cry out to God in anguish.  We think He isn’t there.  When in reality He has been patiently standing there waiting for us to just look up.  Looking up is acting.  It showing that we more than just believe, but that we are willing to try to move forward on our own.  When He sees us take that first step that is when He steps in and helps us keep taking more.  Acting also helps us regain control.  When we need to heal, we normally feel we have lost control.

To act instead of being acted upon. When I choose to be inactive or place myself in a state of being acted upon, I give Satan greater power in my life. 

Q: How is action related to healing? 

A: Action is the point where belief turns into faith.

When we act in FAITH,  moving along on a GOOD path, we OPEN the door to GRACE.


Q: What are the major Roadblocks to acting in faith?

A: PROCRASTINATION and FEAR keep us in the acted upon position.

“If Satan can convince us that our fear is too great to act or that to act is a great idea, but to do it later, then he can prevent us from opening the door to GRACE.”

“The longer we remain in an inactive state the farther we drift from the Lord and His spirit.”

“The more often a person FEELS without ACTING the less he will be able ever to ACT, and in the long run the less he will be able to FEEL” – C.S. Lewis

Q: How do we overcome the tendency to procrastinate or shut down in fear? 

A: Prayer is the simplest form of action.  When you pray, you act in faith and open the door to blessings that God is already willing to grant, but that are made conditional upon our asking.

In your prayers be sure to speak openly, sincerely and directly to Him.  Vague and passive

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Be a Light

Let Your Light So Shine...

How can I be so different from 15 months ago?  How can one single event, encompassing only a few minutes so completely and utterly changed me? 

Today I had a conversation with my two relators that I had not planned on having that took up over a hour.  They were coming to take pictures before I listed my home. The girl I was before would have been cordial but abrupt and rushed wanting to get onto the next task. I would have been frazzled by trying to get the house in perfect condition, and I would have be irritated that my day was being delayed by having 'to deal' with a person that I was quite frankly indifferent towards.  My life was full of to do lists and tasks to be done.  I measured my self worth by what I got accomplished in a day.  I relished comments such as, "I don't know how you do it all.  How do you get so much done?"  To which I always replied that multitasking and goal setting was the key.

In that moment when my world came crashing down, all of the multitasking and to do lists and temporal accomplishment seems very insignificant and empty.  The only thing that mattered was my relationship with my husband.  How I wished that I could regain minutes pouring over recipes when we were traveling together or evenings prepping fancy breakfasts while he sat upstairs watching reruns of Fraiser.  Now, don't get me wrong.  Scott and I spent a lot of time reconnecting everyday.  I met him for lunch, we texted and we always tried to go on an evening walk or sat in the tub together (depending on how his knees felt at the end of the day.)  In fact, I sacrificed a lot of relationships with other friends to be with my husband, and I don't regret a moment of that.  But  his loss made me want to gather up every wasted or lost minute just to have a few more of them.

At his funeral, I was shocked at the shear numbers of people who came, who he had influenced, who wrote letters and stories about the difference he made in their lives.  I thought...If it had been me, then

New Resolve

New Resolve

Everyone is about New Years Resolutions, and most of the time by now everyone is petering out and feeling discouraged.  Well, it's regrouping time!  Don't waste the year waiting for another January.  So how do we regain our lost resolve?  Let me share a personal experience and our morning devotional.

For the last year I have known that I needed to go on a diet and lose the weight I put on when Scott died.  No, I'm not horribly overweight, but I know that I have lost control in this arena of my life.  When Scott died I just emotionally gave up and eating became my vice.  Every week I would say, "this week I will start my diet.  I know how to loose weight and I've done it before so this should be easy, right?" 


I would make it through a day and be good and then the next day something stressful would happen and I would go right back to the sweets.  I would go down a pound or two and then back up.  I kept telling myself that I was going to be serious. 

But I was getting no where. Why?

Because I wasn't completely committed or resolved.  After all, what's the point... Who is there to impress? 

So after my trip to Utah the beginning of January I said, "No more wishy washy!" No more estimating calories and sneeking extra handfuls of chocolate chips everytime I go to the pantry.  I've got to keep track of my calories and write them down. When I'm up for the day, I'm done eating.  I have to find someone to be accountable to, because I'm not doing this well on my own. 

So I've been pretty good.



In fact I ate chocolate chips yesterday :( , but today I'm back at it.  The scale went back up a

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Healing = Courage + Action + Grace ( PART 3/5 )

Healing = Courage + Action + Grace 


Being courageous isn’t about being daring and facing death.  It isn’t about not having fear.  It is about living well and doing the things we need to do to make a difference in spite of our fears, shortcomings and insecurities.  It means moving forward with faith even though you can barely see your way.  It means trusting in God and trying to do what he wants us to do.

“Real courage is not the absence of fear,
but the willingness to proceed in spite of it.”
-   -Sandberg

1.    Be courageous enough to face the truth regarding what needs to change in our lives.

a.     This requires immense honesty. 
b.    We have to have a real commitment to learn and accept the truth about ourselves.
c.     It takes courage to be honest with ourselves.

2.    It takes courage to be congruent.

a.     To live a life where our public and private priorities are in sink. 
b.  Where what we experience on the inside is consistent with what we show on the outside. 
c.     It takes courage to have Integrity- to make our actions consistent with our beliefs.
d.    A double minded man is unstable in all ways.
e.     Living a congruent life brings a peaceful feeling while living an incongruent life is exhausting.
f.      “How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow him”- 1 Kings 18:21

3.    We have to develop the courage to live counter to the world’s dominant culture.

a.     (The culture where money, sex, material possessions, fame, violent behavior and carnal exploits are the currency for success)
b.    “The culture we have does not make people feel good about themselves.  We are teaching the wrong things.  You have to be strong enough to say, “If the culture doesn’t work then don’t buy it.  Create your own.” – Tuesdays with Morrie
c.     That’s How the Light Gets In- Tyler Jarvis
d.    The Worth of Souls is Great – Kristine Matthews
e.     If enough of us say no to the dominant culture, it will loose its power.

For me, courage is that inner strength that I exert when I want to give up but I choose not it.  It is pressing forward and doing what I know I should even if there isn't an immediate reward and even when no one sees.  It is in the little choices I make everyday... even the choice to get out of bed, not to feel sorry for myself, and to find someone to reach out to who needs a friend.  These quiet choices make all of the difference to the rate and power of healing that I experience. 

To be continued...

Monday, January 27, 2014

Healing = Courage + Action + Grace ( PART 2/5 )

Healing = Courage + Action + Grace 

Even with all that beauty and growth and grace…


How do we reconcile the fact that Healing requires suffering and yet it is a gift from the Savior? This is because He cares more about our growth and the end result of our lives than he does our immediate comfort.  Like a parent who allows a child to fall when they walk.  The Lord knows that without difficult and hurt we could not learn.  He does not spare us from that suffering that we need for necessary growth and development.

“Healing blessings come in many ways.  Sometimes the healing lifts our burden, but sometimes we are given strength or understanding or patience to bear that burden.” -Dallin H Oaks

 Remember that Healing is…

1.    a gift from our Savior…

2.    that will require effort and suffering on our part…

3.    so we can grow and develop through our struggles.

Sandberg shares the example of Nelson Mandela. Prior to prison the young Nelson Mandela was described by his peers as too emotional (he lacked self-control), passionate (he had a temper) , and quickly stung (he was easily offended.)  When he left prison 27 years later he was described as balanced, measured and controlled. Nelson Mandela had many teachers in his life but the greatest of all was prison.  Mandela said, “I came our mature.”  Mandela developed in prison the strength, understanding and patience to bear the burdens that were placed on him.  He later led 2 groups into the peaceful development of democracy.  Is that healing?  I would say, yes. His personal healing fostered a nation’s healing.

The only way that I can explain the healing that has happened in my life is to attribute it to the grace of the Savior.  My burden will never be removed in this life.  Even if I remarry, I will still always miss and feel the loss of my sweetheart.  Knowing that we can be together again sustains me, but it does not remove the loss.  Only the Savior has been able to take the sting away.  He has given me hope for the future.  He has gifted me with strength to continue on and  the knowledge of how to proceed.  He has gifted me with patience to wait on Him for His promises to be fulfilled.  He has blessed me with great understanding of the plan of my life and the work He wants me to do.  I know that He has a very specific plan for me, and that if I have courage and act on those directions that He will bless me with the Grace to do it.  

Here is a song and the lyrics (below) that describe this process well.

"The Hurt & The Healer"
The question that is never far away
The healing doesn't come from being explained

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Healing = Courage + Action + Grace (PART 1/5)

Healing = Courage + Action + Grace

Betrayal, Loss of Loved Ones, Abandonment, Mocking, and Physical Pain are part of this mortal experience, yet there is a way for Healing to occurring in each of our lives.  This information comes from a speech given by Jonathan Sandberg who is a marriage and family counselor.  I wanted to highlight some of his points along with my personal experience because so many people out there are suffering and do not know how to go about healing.  I have practiced the principles that he talks about this last year and I have found immense healing and new understanding and growth in the journey.  I will break this down into several parts. Here is the full speech, which is well worth listening to over and over again.  He shares stories from Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandella, Rosa Parks, Mother Theresa and many others.

Part 1:

(Knowing that all healing is a gift from Jesus Christ)

1. Courage
2. Action
3. Grace

I got to the point that I couldn’t take it any longer.  I sat at the kitchen table with my head in my hands and I prayed. ‘Lord, I’m down here trying to do what is right. I think I’m right, I’m taking a stand for what I believe is right, but Lord, I must confess that I’m weak now. I’m faltering.  I’m loosing my courage.  Now I’m afraid. I have nothing left.  I’ve come to the point where I can’t face it alone.’ I could here the quiet assurance of an inner voice saying, ‘Martin Luther, Stand up for righteousness. Stand up for justice.  Stand up for truth, and Lo, I will be with you even unto the end of the world.’  I tell you I heard the voice of Jesus saying, ‘Still fight on.’  He promised never to leave me alone, and at that moment I experienced the presence of the Divine as I have never experienced Him before.  Almost at once my fears began to go and uncertainty disappeared.  I was ready to face anything.” – Martin Luther King


Courage- to face a difficult situation and stand for truth
Action- in faith by turning to God in prayer
Grace- peace and strength from the Lord through his grace

On Healing:

“’On that first day as a nurse, I assumed cure, care, and healing to be synonymous. I have learned they are not the same. Healing is not cure. Cure is clean, quick, and done—often under anesthesia… Healing, however, is often a lifelong process of recovery and growth in spite of, maybe because of, enduring physical, emotional, or spiritual assault. It requires time... Healing is active. It requires all the energy of your entire being. You have to be there, fully awake, aware, and participating when it happens.’

Healing is much more than getting better or having your problems go away.  Healing is growth, development, maturing.  In a word, Healing is CHANGE.  It takes times and energy and struggle, but healing teaches us.

 As Marshal said, ‘ Healing can help us to become more sensitive and more awake to life. Healing inspires repentance and obedience. Healing invites gifts of humility and faith. It opens our hearts to truth, beauty, divinity, and grace.’”

The past 15 months as our family has undergone the healing process, I have often wanted a cure.  I have called out, “Certainly there is an accellerated or AP version of healing! Can’t this go a little faster.”  God fortunately knows that growth and understanding happen overtime.  Often a place has to be carved in our hearts to accept His truth, His answers and His love.  Even so, in this process of heart carving, He never leaves us alone.  We may not know he is there because we are too busy looking down at our feet or simply sitting in the mud, but I know from experience that He is there patiently waiting for us to just look up and reach out to Him.  As you read this blog over the next couple of days, spend some time pondering how you can better heal and how you can better aid others in healing, because the big secret that I have learned is that by focusing on helping to heal others, the Grace of the Lord heals you.

To be continued...

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

How Much Trouble Can 4 Kids Get into with a Gator, Ski Rope and Sled on a Snow Day?

Written Friday, December 6, 2013...



Today we had a big snow storm.  In southern Missouri that is a rare things.  My kids were all off school and wanted to spend the day out frolicking in the snow. After lunch they begged to get the gator out with the ski rope and their sled.  I relented despite my fears of broken bones.  I watched them play from the window on my upstairs bathroom.  

This is the tame version I saw from my window.  Check out the video below.

For many people today, the snow was an obstacle in getting to work or another thing to take care of after a busy day.  For my kids it was a playground.  Youth so easily bounce back from difficulties.  They are good at taking lemons and making lemonade.  Somehow as we age we loose the propensity for fun and looking at things positively.  Life becomes overly serious.  Not that there aren't times to be serious, but often a little levity and a positive attitude can help us get through the darkest day. 

I was cleaning my bathrooms while the kids were freezing their tushes, and I came across my favorite saying on the counter.  "Life isn't about waiting for the storms to pass... It's about learning to Dance in the Rain" (or today about playing in the snow). I reflected on that a bit and thought how I need to try to make that more my attitude on difficult days.  There is a song that I like to listen that also talks about rain and storms...

Sometimes He lets it rain, He lets the fierce wind blow. Sometimes it takes a storm to lead a heart where it can grow. He can move mountains of grief and oceans of pain, but sometimes he lets it rain. 

There is just no way of avoiding it, life is just going to be full of rainstorms.  If we know their purpose then we can embrace them. We can approach them with cheerfulness because we know that they will change us for the better.  Instead of mopeing and hiding out during the storms, we can get out there and dance.  We can be a shining example to others of how to endure and face our trials well, and in that process we will be able to find joy in the journey.  That's what I remembered watching my children today.  Now, it's getting dark and they are sure to be cold.  I think I had better go put some hot chocolate on the stove.  Bathrooms will have to wait until later. 

THE END RESULT (You have to watch this!)

P.S.  Some of you may wonder why Mom wasn't out there enjoying the fun.  I recently hurt my SI joint and am on restricted activity.  Watch the video and you will understand.  My 17 year old is still complaining that his back hurts!  Crazy, crazy boys!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014



I posted earlier some notes from a conversation with a widow friend of mine and one of our church leaders and his wife.  This is more from Him and from chapter 5 of the book PEACE BE UNTO THY SOUL by Joseph L. Bishop.  My widow friend has also written a blog post on this same topic so you can read her's as well...

This idea is so critical for getting through trials!  I just cannot say that enough.

In the present is the only time that we can use our agency. The past is done and cannot be changed. We can learn from it, but cannot affect it. The future is beyond our scope of influence as well. Sure we can make plans and set goals for things we want in the future, but events out of our control can change those outcomes. (I have learned this all too well.)

All we have the power to affect is the NOW
Right here, right now, is the only place we can WIN! 

That is what we have to focus on, what we can do now.

Satan tries to get us to dig up the past (The would have, could have, should have's). He wants us to get discouraged and bring up past transgressions and failings. He wants us to doubt and to question things and events from the past.  He also wants us to go to the future with (what if's) that can paralyze us and make a us fearful and unable to act in the present.

” Sometimes we let our thoughts of tomorrow take up too much of today. Daydreaming of the past and longing for the future may provide comfort but will not take the place of living in the present. This is the day of our opportunity, and we must grasp it." - Thomas S Monson

              Q:  When has doubt or fear happened in the present? 

A:   It doesn't! It is always pulled from things in the future or from the past. 

Joy is in the present, Love and The Spirit are in the present.

The task is to GET PRESENT!
The adversary has much less power in the present. 

In our circle of agency we are required to control what is inside of us (emotions, feeling, attitudes, actions, and behaviors). Outside of our agency we can only be of influence to other people, but we cannot control them. Outside of our agency we have to simple trust God.

Being in the present is about using our agency wisely today.  It is not about "live for the moment" and "don't think about the consequences."  Tomorrow will eventually become today and we will still have to face those. What we have to do is do the best we can today and then trust that God will help us through all of the new todays. 

"There is no tomorrow to remember if we don’t do something today, and to live most fully today, we must do that which is of greatest importance. Let us not procrastinate those things which matter most." - Thomas S Monson

Being 'present' means

Monday, January 20, 2014

In the Flow

In the Flow

I couldn't help but put this picture on because I'm such a Disney enthusiast!  

So I spent last week in Utah with one of my young LDS widow friends that I met online.  I had an amazing time with her as we stayed up late talking about our lives, sharing experiences and spiritual impressions.  I am always excited to talk to someone who has learned the same lessons that I have learned independently.  It confirms to me truth.  The scriptures say,
" the mouth of two or three awitnesses shall every word be established."  (2 Corinthians 13:1)
Knowing that someone else has had similar thoughts and impressions gives me confidence in my ability to receive spiritual direction.   
So you may be saying, "Whatever... this girl is totally off her rocker.  She is grief stricken, and she is reaching out for something that isn't even there.  It's all just her hopeful mind making everything up." 
To my skeptics I want you to consider the radio...  500 years ago if you would have told someone that there are thousands of electromagnetic waves in the atmosphere that can carry information. Each sized waves is a different frequency. If you take this little box and turn this knob to the right frequency, the box can interpret the information in that particular wave, and it will broadcast the music or voice information that it contains. 

What would someone have said to that?  How could such a thing be possible?  We can't see the waves.  How could something invisible carry information through the air?
I would like to suggest that we are like that little black box.  Inside of us is the equipment to receive the signal.  God made us that way.  Just as a little baby has the latent ability to learn language, so also does our spirit have the latent ability to learn to communicate with God.

The key is learning how to fine tune the knob and to turn down all of the noise from our physical senses so we can actually hear our spiritual senses.  We fine tune the knob by getting our lives aligned with the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  

As a loving Heavenly Father, he sent us here not to be alone and directionless, but to learn how to use our equipment! He knew that having a body would make spiritual communication more difficult.  It would require more sensitive tuning and listening, but that it would be the lessons we needed to make our spirits stronger.  This was a necessary learning experience for us here.

So back to what I was originally going to write about....

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Getting Ready to Swim

Getting Ready to Swim

Today is Sunday and we are snowed in! So you may be wondering why am I talking about swimming?  I had the day to do some pondering and studying and journal writing.  At the one year mark of Scott's death and then again on our 21st wedding anniversary and my birthda,  I felt this combination of excitement and fear.  Fear to leave this comfortable place I have found in my life (my little SANDBAR that I wrote about in September) and excitement that changes are going to happen this year.  I sense that it is time to move forward and that there is more for me to do.  It's time for me to get ready to swim.

I find it strange that as I prepare to relist my house, that I am not worried about it selling like I was last year.  I feel very much at peace about the whole thing.  I know that if I am doing what is right and listening to the Spirit that it is in the Lord's hands.  When the time is right, it will sell and not a minute sooner. I am curious to discover all of the purposes for the delay and revamping of my plans.  I have found that the reasons are always revealed in hindsight, and that I am often amazed and surprised at how wonderfully orchestrated my life ends up being.  Although it is contrary to the 'planner' in me, I am just waiting for that wave to crash over my sandbar before I figure out what comes next.  That seems to be the answer that I get, "Be patient and wait.  You will be very surprised and it will be great!"  I've never been much for surprises, but I guess this is just another lesson for me to learn.

In someways I wish that my sandbar could just exist for the rest of my life here.  That my children would stay and that I would continue to be able to study and serve people like I am doing now.  But time does not allow us to stay stagnant.  Whether we want it to or not, it moves on and the waves will slowly wash and reform this bar of sand that I am resting on.  Eventually, it will not exist anymore.  In reality I do want time to change.  I want Alex and Cooper to return from their missions.  I want them to marry and rebuild our family.  I want to finds someone who can love me and help me through the rest of my time here.  I want someone to be a grandfather for my grandkids, and an assistant parent to the ones I still have at home.  I would love for Scott to still be that person.  I would love for all of our plans for the future to return, but God has a different path than that for my life.  It's sometime hard to see how His path could be better, but I have ultimate faith that when I return to Scott someday and our great big family is reunited, that it will all make perfect sense and that I will clearly remember and know that it needed to be this way.

Swimming is scary though!  I don't know how rough the water will be, and I do not know how long I will need to swim before the next sandbar.  I ask myself, "Will I be strong enough?

Saturday, January 4, 2014



There are many people who feel bad for my loss, but who feel that there is no help from God available for me.  I love this Psalm which teaches something different.  For those of us who have gone through deep depths of sorrow and have turned to God for help, we have learned a powerful truth.  He really is there, UNDENIABLY He is! Skeptics may say that it is all in our heads, that grief plays strange games with your mind. But I have been there, and I know no amount of self-talk would bring me out of the abyss, only a higher power has the ability to do that.
Psalm 3:2-5
2 Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah. 
3 But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. 
4 I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah. 
5 I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the Lord sustained me. 

"He knows better than I..." 
Verse 4:

"God hears our prayers and he always answers them"- (We may not hear His answers, or we may not recognize them, or in some cases we may not like them even though we say we trust in Him) In these moments we must remember... that He knows better than we do.

In the case where we do not like His answer we have to remember that God is a 'shield' for us, even against ourselves. So when you have to choose between His view and our own, "we must yield to His divine view and divine love." -Jeffery R Holland

Lifter of thy head
Verse 3

Every great cause requires vision. We have to see before we can achieve" - Holland.  Normally in the midst of a trial we lack vision.  We feel lost in a fog and have our heads down to the ground looking at our feel.  It is during those times that God can lift our heads if we turn to Him.  He can give us glimpses of hope, glimpses of the future.  He can put ideas in our head that can give us direction to guide us through the fog.  "God will be the lifter of thy head if we will allow Him." We must CHOOSE to keep our heads up.

Sometime we just have to sleep on it