November 2013

Darrel finally was well enough and came home in the middle of November. He was worried that without his help the house would fall apart so I took a picture of the clean kitchen.  Alta turned eight years old on November 30 and was baptized December 7th.  We went to the stake center for the annual Christmas music and pictures of Christ open house.  This year they had a dress up room for the children.


Third Habit of Love, Truth

Dear Missionary
For the past three weeks I’ve been making daily trips to the hospital to visit my husband.  He has been ill with pneumonia and other complications.  During his stay he was able to catch up on his alien and bigfoot shows on television.  He loves to think about things that are possible -things we don’t have much evidence of or can see with our naked eye. It’s amazing to think there is something out there that’s big and real and there are creations and living life -outside our world - outside our reach and above our comprehension. 

The third habit of love is truth.  As a missionary you are seeking out those who are ready to learn and accept the truth.  You and I know the truth, which is…  Who we are, Why we are here, and Where we are going.  There are many people around us that want to know the truth.  They want to know who they really are – where they fit in –in this world, and what’s going to happen to them after they die.

What is truth?  The opposite of truth is deception.  Lying.  Misleading information.  In your missionary attempt to teach the gospel and preach the truth there is one who will be there to block your efforts.  Satan will do anything and everything to prevent Gods children from knowing Him.  You might come across someone seeking the true church and they will find it and want it and believe it but because of their lifestyle or bad habits they are not willing to give up their “sins” in order to have the peace that the gospel brings.

A missionary’s job is not to change anyone or get them to give up what is holding them back –that’s the Holy Ghosts job!  Your job is to be a light in the darkness.  How do you do that?  We know that we are just a conduit for the spirit.  When we are full of peace and contentment - when our hands and hearts are pure – when our thoughts have moved from selfishness to giving – when we accept others and love them for who they are – when we give God the glory and the credit – that’s when the spirit is teachable.

In the Merriam Webster dictionary - truth is defined as sincerity of action, character and utterance.  It’s also described as fidelity to a standard or consistency.   What an honor it is to be called Sister and Elder and to bring the world HIS truth.  I pray that you are feeling His spirit and sharing it with others.  I am grateful for this gospel of Christ and the teachings that have stretched me and helped me grow and become more like our Heavenly Father.

Quotes on the Holy Ghost and revelation Lesson 6 D+C teachers manual

The Holy Ghost communicates thoughts to our minds and feelings in our hearts.
The Holy Ghost is a member of the Godhead.

He is a revelator who teaches, comforts, warns, strengthens, and guides us.

He uses a still, small voice to communicate to our minds

Elder Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve taught: “These delicate, refined spiritual communications are not seen with our eyes nor heard with our ears. And even though it is described as a voice, it is a voice that one feels more than one hears” (That All May Be Edified [1982], 335)

Gaining a testimony is not an event but a process

The Spirit can enlighten our minds with new ideas or insights, flashes of inspiration, and strong feelings or impressions (see, for example, D&C 128:1). The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that revelation may come as “sudden strokes of ideas” that flow into our minds as “pure intelligence” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 151).

 He brings peace to our minds

 He may cause a burning in the bosom

President Boyd K. Packer explained: “This burning in the bosom is not purely a physical sensation. It is more like a warm light shining within your being” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1994, 77; or Ensign, Nov. 1994, 60).
We usually receive revelation in accordance with our preparation to receive it. As we become more prepared, more is revealed to us.

Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve taught:  “When we seek inspiration to help make decisions, the Lord gives gentle promptings. These require us to think, to exercise faith, to work, to struggle at times, and to act. Seldom does the whole answer to a decisively important matter or complex problem come all at once. More often, it comes a piece at a time, without the end in sight” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1989, 40; or Ensign, Nov. 1989, 32).

Second Habit of Love, Stillness

Dear Missionary,
Thomas Keating, a Trappist, monk and author, once said that our minds, hearts, and souls are like basins of dirty water.  When stirred, the water is cloudy and our vision obscured.  But when the water has been at rest, the dirt filters down to the bottom, leaving the water clear.  We can then see our lives and our interactions with others with greater clarity.

The second habit of love is STILLNESS. “Stillness is as much a physical experience as it is a psychological and spiritual state.  As the muscles in our bodies let go of their tension in Stillness, the inner condition of our body changes from being tense and overheated to being clean and refreshed.  Our breathing, transitions from choppy and irregular to a calm and slow rhythm.”  Ed Bacon

When we are in a state of stillness, a quiet yet powerful transformation occurs.  Our minds quiet down and a peace comes over us.  In this state of mind we can free ourselves from fear and make calm and collective choices.  Thomas Merton wrote of this place of stillness describing it as “It is untouched by sin and by illusion, a point of pure truth, a point or spark which belongs entirely to God…which is inaccessible to the fantasies of our own mind or the brutalities of our own will or of anybody else…It is like a pure diamond blazing with the invisible light of heaven.  It is in everybody.”

Jonathon Franzen a novelist, says that “ Stillness is the point where you can actually make responsible decisions, where you can actually engage productively with an otherwise scary and unmanageable world.”
Where can you find stillness during the most active part of your day?  As you are knocking on doors and teaching in homes?  “With practice and time anyone can access their inner stillness at any time, preventing us from reacting defensively in life and in relationships.  With stillness we are open to life and are lovingly present.” (Ed Bacon)  How do you access stillness?  Prayer, meditation, contemplation, yoga….we each can reach a Godly level of consciousness in our own way.

Would you like to do an experiment?  Betty Sue Flowers, an educator and author came up with this one.  Write a brief outline of your autobiography in three different ways:  first as a victim, then as a hero and finally as a learner.  It will be three very different stories with different energies and different outcomes.
A victim feels the need to be defended, vindicated, or avenged.  A hero needs justification, ego promotion or validation.  A learner seeks illumination, correction and direction.  Learners open themselves to discovering the new in every situation, particularly challenging ones.

As you are praying can you feel yourself relaxing, lowering your defenses, opening up and becoming a learner?  The habit of stillness is “learning prayer”

Which level of stillness are you right now?  Are you a victim? A hero?  A learner?  With the pressures of every day falling in on us we can go to our place of stillness and move beyond our ego into a place where we open our hearts to the miraculous power of gratitude.  Anxiety can be replaced by quiet confidence.  Abraham Joshua Heschel, a Jewish theologian and rabbi says it best “How good it is to wrap oneself in prayer, spinning a deep softness of gratitude to God in all thoughts, enveloping oneself in the silk of a song”.

In your everyday, I pray that you find sanity, wisdom, courage, clarity and new perspectives as you open your heart and mind to be transformed  to stillness and enlightment.  May your prayers open the floodgates of Heaven and pour out blessings on you and your companions.

October 2013

We had a busy month. First Darrel opened a truck trailer at work and a 50 pd metal barrel fell on his head. Knocked him out and he got to spend the day in the ER. Then we got a huge snow storm (yes in October) and Darrel over exerted himself and snow shoveled for everyone - well he got rewarded with pneumonia.  He spent almost 3 weeks in the Hospital. He missed Halloween. We waited for him to come home to carve the pumpkins. Earlier in the month I was feeling guilty about not taking very many pictures so we went to the park to shoot the kids.  It was not fun but in the end I was able to get at least one good shot of each child.  Note to self - make it fun and not an assignment.  I've learned to let them play and catch them in their natural dispositions.  Who wants to say cheese to a camera? LOL

First Habit of Love, Generosity

Dear Missionary,
While on the shop and street I gazed
My body of a sudden blazed;
And twenty minutes more or less
It seemed, so great my happiness
That I was blessed and could bless.
W.B.Yeats “Vacillation”
I’ve been reading a book ,“ 8 habits of love” by Ed Bacon.  The first habit is GENEROSITY.  He tells a story of the mighty Jordan River.  It flows along the eastern border of Israel/Palestine, giving life to two bodies of water, the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea.
The Sea of Galilee has Vitality.  Everywhere you look there is activity. People are fishing, boating and waterskiing. Sixty five miles to the south lays the Dead Sea – It has no vitality, it is “dead”.  The reason for this contrast is simple;   the Jordan River flows both into and out of the Sea of Galilee.  Inflow and outflow. Receiving and giving. The river flows into the Dead Sea but has no outflow.
The human spirit is just like the seas, in order for life and energy it needs inflow and outflow.  When love flows from within us, more flows in.  When we open our hearts to love, we not only spread that love to others but also open ourselves to receiving love from others.  Our outflow, determines our inflow.  The more we give, the more we receive.
What can stop generosity?  Fear.  When we respond to others anxiously we become reactive and close minded.  Science tells us that when we feel fear, blood automatically leaves the part of our brain that thinks and creates and make choices and floods the part of our brain that makes automatic fight or flight decisions.
There is a deep inner sanctuary in every one of us where this fear cannot dwell- when we connect our spirit to God.  Generosity means giving of our time, resources and energies.  It also means giving people the benefit of the doubt, being able and willing to see the world from another’s perspective.  It’s about blessing others with our thoughts and deeds.  These blessings flow back to us in many ways.  Everyone has the capacity to be affluent spiritually.  To “FLOW” is the root of the word affluent.
One way of looking at this habit is to understand that every act of generosity is in fact a blessing!  When a person blesses another, Christ’s love is transferred.  This love of Christ “His Light” transfers and all doubt and fear leave. You and I can change the hearts of others by letting Christ’s love flow from us- generously and unselfishly to another.
I pray for you and your companions.  I hope you find little things every day to give generously.  May your gratitude fill you with Thanksgiving daily and the blessings return to you abundantly.