Morning Sunlight

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The other morning, Jimmy called with the news that there was a gorgeous sunrise and I should peek out the window at it. All that I could see was fabulous and I knew behind all the houses, it was even more colorful and full of light. I’m grateful for tender mercies such as lovely sunrises and sunsets that remind me of the LIGHT God gives to us daily, whether in nature or in the scriptures or whisperings of the Holy Ghost.

Grace: Relief from Suffering

Have you heard the whisperings of the Spirit to do something …
Something you’ve never done before?
Something like email a stranger who carries an incredible burden
to offer support and comfort and prayers.

Such as happened to me with Kara Tippetts with Mundane Faithfulness.
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Only I can’t figure out how to contact her via email.
So perhaps she will never read this message…
but when the Spirit calls, I’m learning to hearken.
and thus, all these thoughts may just be for me and my spiritual education.

But … My heart has prayed for Kara & her family.
I felt inspired to put her name on the temple prayer role.

My prayer is that she will receive the miracle God has in store for her…
perhaps the miracle of being strengthened with might by His Spirit. (Ephesians 3:16)

Kara is a woman of faith. She has written much of Grace and of strength in trials.
I whole-heartedly agree with her perspective on Grace.

I, like Kara, believe that God strengthens us through our trials.
I am still understanding the Atonement and learning to apply it during my own trials,
but I wanted to share with Kara the messages I’ve read on the Savior’s Grace in regards to Relief from Suffering:

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PDF file for The Atonement: Relief from Suffering Quotes

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PDF file for The Atonement: Relief from Suffering Scriptures

I believe in these things.
I believe in Christ.
I believe that His grace strengthens us daily.
These are gospel truths I am grateful for.

Love – the Essence of the Gospel

I taught the TFOT lesson today on President Monson’s April 2014 Message: Love, the Essence of the Gospel.

My favorite part was comments by sisters in our ward. Bearing testimony of tender mercies. Teaching that LOVE is a spiritual gift. Learn to love ourselves in a healthy way. Charity, the pure LOVE of God, never fails. We can be filled with the LOVE of God as we pray and ask Him for this gift.

Oh, how I need this gift, especially in this phase of life as mother to little ones.

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The Little Book of Big Tender Mercies

In connection with Thanksgiving, I wanted to start a new way to recognize and remember God’s blessings towards us. We started this last night at family home evening and I think it will be a great exercise for our family. It may take some thoughtful pondering to recognize important and deep blessings. But I’m excited to do this for years to come in our new little notebook.
4x6 tender mercies

4x6 tender mercies scripture
Nephi shares many examples of these Tender Mercies given them in the wilderness. 1 Nephi 17: 1-3 are favorites of mine because he shares about ways the women were strengthened.

4x6 tender mercies define

4x6 tender mercies kindnessHence, our nightly routine of recognizing God’s kindness in our lives.

1st night of God’s kindness:
Abe: We got to clean the church
Hannah: 100% on her math test
Max: Good friends who helped him do his chores
Truman: Learned good things at preschool
Eliza: Didn’t wail all day long and must be feeling better
Dad: Scotty has been sleeping through the night
Mom: Given extra patience during the day with Truman, Eliza, and Scotty at home

I imagine we’ll get better at this as we go along. Wink.

Sacred Life is in God’s Hands: Part 3 of 3

…This series of posts will appear a bit scattered and incomplete. My brain and heart have been processing so much these past few weeks in relation to the Sacredness of Life. These are just a few examples and quotes I’ve connected…

Kara Tippetts – Respect for Life Advocate
Has Terminal Breast Cancer & is mother to 4, wife to a preacher.

20140930-092002“It was a long, hard battle. Words cannot do the battle against cancer justice. We were left weary, broken, but changed. Suffering brought us closer to one another, to Jesus and our community. God has brought me through tremendous trials to prove Himself alone able to give me the strength for this kind of humility.

“It currently appears that I’m headed into another difficult battle. Join me as we seek to live faithfully in the midst of suffering.

“In the brokenness of our unmet expectations of life, will we look for Jesus and His abundant love? Or will we tumble into bitterness and anger that leave us utterly self focused and disappointed by the hard in our story each of us are asked to receive.

“Suffering is not the absence of goodness, it is not the absence of beauty, but perhaps it can be the place where true beauty can be known.”

I used to wake anxious when I heard the patter of feet coming toward my side of the bed, not wanting my sleep interrupted. Now, I hear the gentle patter and rejoice in the opportunity to smother one of my little loves in kisses and snuggles, praying that my love will carry them long past my last breath.”

 

Bruce Hafen:
The Atonement offers us three conditional blessings. We can be (a) forgiven, (b) strengthened, and (c) perfected–on the condition that we participate in those processes.

In terms that apply both to forgiveness and to the other conditional blessings of strengthening and perfecting, Nephi said, “It is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.”  Some people think this means the Lord won’t help us until we have totally exhausted ourselves. But the larger doctrinal context makes clear that “after” in this verse means “along with”—His grace is with us before, during, and after, we do all we can.

Said of Kara Tippetts:  Teaches us to move away from fear and control and toward peace and grace. Most of all, she draws us back to the God who is with us, in the mundane and the suffering, and who shapes even our pain into beauty.

Reading these women’s words and pondering related gospel principles have taught me:
Refinement in suffering,
Strength in the Atonement,
& Purpose in sacred last moments of mortality

Sacred Life is in God’s Hands: Part 2 of 3

…This series of posts will appear a bit scattered and incomplete. My brain and heart have been processing so much these past few weeks in relation to the Sacredness of Life. These are just a few examples and quotes I’ve connected…

Kathy TaylorMother of Six in her last days
Dealt with melanoma cancer years ago. Terminal cancer came back at 26 weeks pregnant.
She delivered baby #6, Luke, prematurely because her body was shutting down. He lived several days and passed from an infection.
They didn’t expect her to live even a few days.
but she has lived for weeks!
She is a strong soul who keeps hanging on to her last moments.
This suffering woman is dying in dignity and peace.
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“I have easily accepted that my being taken is just part of God’s plan for me and my family. I don’t look at it as unfair or tragic, just part of the plan God has created for our little clan to help us grow the very best way into what he wants us to become.

“These thoughts give me great comfort. I do not worry, I am filled with peace because of the assurance that God has given me that those I leave behind will be happy, righteous and stalwart. I’ve always thought I was raising warriors, this trial will make them strong and close to Heavenly Father.

“I’ve had to relinquish my earthly job as mother, caretaker and am grateful God has sought fit to make this easy for me. I am just trying to give love and comfort to those I am leaving behind. I feel they are all getting prepared and coping well and healing from the grief before I even go. That’s a blessing.”

The moments related to the beginning & ending of mortal life are sacred for those involved. Kathy is spending last tender earthly moments with her parents, her husband, & her children. She recognizes the goodness of God, a loving Father, who strengthens us and teaches us through mortal challenges. She knows she will see them again.

dallin h oaks healings

Sacred Life is in God’s Hands: part 1 of 3

…This series of posts will appear a bit scattered and incomplete. My brain and heart have been processing so much these past few weeks in relation to the Sacredness of Life. These are just a few examples and quotes I’ve connected…

Brittany Maynard Die with Dignity Advocate
Age 29. Just married. Excited to start a family.
Terminal Brain Cancer.
Wanted to leave a Legacy so she advocated for Death with Dignity for terminally ill Americans.
Didn’t want to suffer through seizures, debilitating strokes, a slow death – with low-quality health existence.
Didn’t want her family to have to see her suffer and take care of her in her last days.
Ended her life with a pill prescribed by a Doctor on November 1 surrounded by family.

My heart hurts for her and her family. There are such mountains to climb in life.
There was never any mention of God or religion in the media about Brittany.
I feel she did what she thought was right based on the knowledge she had.

My thoughts on the Sanctity of Life.

I know that life is sacred & God-given:
… the conception of babe between a married man & woman
… the physical birth of that sweet spirit straight from the Spirit World
… the natural death of our physical body
… and that life is eternal. We will be resurrected to a whole physical and spiritual body.

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Our family has been talking about Newton’s 3rd Law:
“For every action there is an equal and opposite re-action.”
We don’t appreciate the JOY without experiencing the HARD.
Highest highs … lowest lows.

I think of existence in the Garden of Eden for Adam & Eve:
Adam & Eve knew no joy in the garden of Eden because they knew no pain.

Because we exist in mortality we have deep painful moments in life … we have high Joyful moments … equal and opposite reactions.

From the favorite story of C.S. Lewis movie Shadowlands:

Jack: “Why love, if losing hurts so much? I have no answers anymore: only the life I have lived. Twice in that life I’ve been given the choice: as a boy and as a man. The boy chose safety, the man chooses suffering. The pain now is part of the happiness then. That’s the deal.”

Joy Gresham: “We can’t have the happiness of yesterday without the pain of today. That’s the deal.”

From Bruce & Marie Hafen’s “Fear Not, I am With Thee: Christ’s Atonement and our Personal Growth” Message
Marie Hafen: We hope that as we increase our understanding of what Christ has done for us, we might also increase our willingness to submit to whatever He may ask of us.

Bruce Hafen: “the story of Christ’s life is the story of giving His Atonement. The story of Adam and Eve is the story of receiving His Atonement” We need the Atonement to help us grow to become like our Father, because we cannot be “with Him” forever in His celestial realm until we are “like Him.”. . . Then, as we grow up, like our first parents, we wrestle with afflictions–sin, misery, children– and that wrestling, paradoxically, teaches us what joy means.

Rights vs Responsibilities

responsibilities
I’m thinking about this quote in regards to recent cultural & social issues …
those who claim they have a RIGHT to certain things, just because…
– Gay Marriage – Right to marry whomever they want
– Women who feel entitled to hold the priesthood
– Terminally Ill Right to Die in their own timeframe instead of God’s
– Right to Healthcare (hence, issued by Government)

Instead of feeling entitled, we ought to look first to our responsibilities to the commandments to God … which includes strengthening the family, respecting life, fulfilling our God-given purpose, and working for what we get.

Bread of Life

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Remember when I dropped off Kneaders bread & the above message … on Halloween afternoon to the gals I visit teach. Lame! But as lame as I felt to be a ‘last-day-of-the-month-sorta-visiting-teacher’, I wanted them to know I was thinking of them.

Why is visiting teaching so hard for me? Just DO IT already! Though reality is I’m sinking as it is with my family & this adds one more thing to do (plus, I stress about when to schedule so I’m not taking kids, or leaving family during busy evening hours)

BUT… there are blessings.
– I love getting to know sisters I wouldn’t have normally reached out to. Chatting with other women is good.
– If I actually read the message, it is so uplifting (more on this in a bit)
– Reaching out to others helps me stop being so self-centered … or my-family centered. I don’t know that I help anyone, but it strengthens me to look outside my present circumstances.
– Plus, if I make an effort, I don’t feel quite as guilty (r.s. president in me)

p.s. I loved, loved this message on the bread of life.
a few thoughts…
especially on friday, the 31st, i needed this message… that God gives us nourishment every day.
He will give us what we need on that day, if we look to him.
Like the Israelites who received manna from heaven each day, we can have that same blessing.
Pray specifically for things we need. Still make efforts to move forward. He will bless those efforts.
This entire talk by Elder Christofferson is worth rereading every once in a while.
Really great to feel the strength that comes from God when we come closer to Him.

Faith in Every Footstep

My nephew Trevor is serving a mission in South Korea. I love reading his updates that my sister Amy posts. His words are full of testimony and encouragement. Such a good kid! I especially liked his last post that was full of humor & JOY.
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p.s. I think he looks so much like some of the Price boys (a little Joey, a little Jacob, a bit of Gerald). With some Wade & Paul DeMordaunt thrown in, he sure makes for a handsome missionary!