all the things I do in my hideaway

I shared a favorite message this morning (I am an EARLY riser on school days, which means tomorrow will be the last super early post.  I’ll move it back about an hour for a few weeks of summer vacation!).  However, this is too important not to post a second time.  This is the answer to the three biggest questions of life.

1.  Where did I come from?

2.  Why am I here?

3.  Where do will I go after I leave this life?

The answer is here.

I testify that these things are true.  Knowledge of this plan brings happiness into my life, even in the midst of the storms I face.  One day, I will see my Savior and kneel at His feet, because of this wondrous plan.

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June, 1844 – Carthage Jail, Carthage, Illinois

The Prophet, Joseph Smith, asked John Taylor to sing A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief for him.  I remember reading these words when I was a young girl, and understanding them, as best a young child can.  The words have taken on new and deeper meaning as I have lived and grown older.  (Words found here.)  The past few mornings, I have awakened with words from different verses of this hymn running through my mind, reminding me of how He expects me to live.  I have had experiences this week, after which the Spirit whispered that I was, indeed, serving Him as I served His children.

1. A poor, wayfaring Man of grief
Hath often crossed me on my way,
Who sued so humbly for relief
That I could never answer nay.
I had not pow’r to ask his name,
Whereto he went, or whence he came;
Yet there was something in his eye
That won my love; I knew not why.

2. Once, when my scanty meal was spread,
He entered; not a word he spake,
Just perishing for want of bread.
I gave him all; he blessed it, brake,
And ate, but gave me part again.
Mine was an angel’s portion then,
For while I fed with eager haste,
The crust was manna to my taste.

3. I spied him where a fountain burst
Clear from the rock; his strength was gone.
The heedless water mocked his thirst;
He heard it, saw it hurrying on.
I ran and raised the suff’rer up;
Thrice from the stream he drained my cup,
Dipped and returned it running o’er;
I drank and never thirsted more.

4. ‘Twas night; the floods were out; it blew
A winter hurricane aloof.
I heard his voice abroad and flew
To bid him welcome to my roof.
I warmed and clothed and cheered my guest
And laid him on my couch to rest,
Then made the earth my bed and seemed
In Eden’s garden while I dreamed.

5. Stript, wounded, beaten nigh to death,
I found him by the highway side.
I roused his pulse, brought back his breath,
Revived his spirit, and supplied
Wine, oil, refreshment—he was healed.
I had myself a wound concealed,
But from that hour forgot the smart,
And peace bound up my broken heart.

6. In pris’n I saw him next, condemned
To meet a traitor’s doom at morn.
The tide of lying tongues I stemmed,
And honored him ‘mid shame and scorn.
My friendship’s utmost zeal to try,
He asked if I for him would die.
The flesh was weak; my blood ran chill,
But my free spirit cried, “I will!”

7. Then in a moment to my view
The stranger started from disguise.
The tokens in his hands I knew;
The Savior stood before mine eyes.
He spake, and my poor name he named,
“Of me thou hast not been ashamed.
These deeds shall thy memorial be;
Fear not, thou didst them unto me.”

Text: James Montgomery, 1771-1854

I love the new Mormon Channel video.  Maybe I love it more, because the stars are two “old guys,” and while my mind doesn’t agree, my body is definitely approaching their age.  Watch it here.

What are you doing the hours you are not attending church?   If you are not attending church, why not give it a try?  To learn more about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, go here.

 

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This scripture became a favorite at YW Camp in 1987.  I was feeling overwhelmed with all I needed to do as a wife, mother, and serving in the Church.  One day, during free time, I sat on a bank of the Yakima River, and read my scriptures, seeking wisdom.  I read this, an answer to my prayers.  Through the years since that day, the words have taken on a much deeper meaning.  There are so many synonyms for the verbs, giving layer upon layer of meaning.  Today, I see these few words as a summation of how I should live during my walk through mortality.

 

Learn (acquire a knowledge, grasp, master, absorb, study, be taught) of me), and listen (give attention, be attentive, concentrate) to my words; walk (move at a regular pace, have one foot on the ground at all times, trek, stride, stretch your legs) in the meekness (submissive, quiet and gentle nature, endure injury with patience and without resentment, lowly, humble, modest) of my Spirit, and you shall have peace (tranquility, harmony, calm, serenity, order) in me.  D&C 19:23

Today, meekness is a word with negative connotations.  However, the Savior applied this word to himself.  Matthew records these words, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”  (Matthew 11:28-29)  He was submissive to His Father’s will, compassionate, gentle, loving, patient, endured and forgave the cruelty of His persecutors,  even as He suffered unspeakable agony on the cross.  But meek, in the modern day meaning, He was not.  His cleansing of the temple showed His righteous indignation at the desecration of His Father’s house.  So should we seek to be.

We live in a world of confusion and turmoil, hatred and violence, destruction and suffering.  Yet, as we learn of Him, listen to His words, and walk in the meekness of His Spirit, we can have the peace necessary to keep our faces to the Son.  We can walk, always keeping our feet firmly planted in gospel sod, knowing that one day we shall see His face and kneel at His feet.

7 Day of Inspiration – Tuesday – a picture of where I go for inspiration.

I am so blessed to live close enough to the Seattle temple to go there whenever I want to.  As with almost all temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it sits on a prominent hill.    Anyone traveling I-90 west of Seattle will see it easily.  The northwest corner of the property includes a small wooded area with paths and beautiful flowers.  While often used for wedding photos, it is a place to step outside of the world a bit prior to entering the temple, a place to focus on the ordinances of salvation and eternity, a place to go when the cares of the world become overwhelming.  This is the place I went to last spring when my sister was diagnosed with cancer.  I was preparing to spend my spring vacation with her, and felt the need of peace and comfort from my Father in Heaven. Because of traffic that afternoon, I arrived later than expected, and decided to spend part of my time here before entering the House of the Lord, that sacred temple.  I loved the play of light with the gray clouds to the south and the white clouds/blue sky over the temple itself.

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7 Days of Inspiration…

Monday:  a favorite General Conference talk

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Everything else will fall into place if I remember the Rock upon which I must build my foundation.  If my foundation is strong and sure, I cannot fall.  If my foundation is weak, the whirlwind will prove overwhelming.

On my desk at school, I have this card, laminated, to remind me often of the choices in my life.

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Popcorn led me to discover Tolkien as an author before Hollywood did anything to make the books popular.  I am a “baby boomer,” which gives a hint to my age.  While attending BYU, I heard a speaker talk about the “Popcorn Theory,” which he had heard from someone else.  (My apologies, I don’t remember who shared this, I can’t give credit for the idea.”  I googled popcorn theory, but didn’t find this theory.)  This was presented in relation to being a successful student.  Simply stated, If you have completed all assignments for school that you have been given as far as possible on Saturday afternoon, you reward yourself with something “worth working for.”   For the speaker, this was “go to a movie and eat hot, buttered popcorn.”  Well, while I like the occasional movie, and popcorn is great (occasionally, but definitely not “movie popcorn”), I LOVE to read, explore library stacks, used book stores, buy books.  Substitute a “new/favorite/recycled/library/ebook” for “popcorn” and you have my formula for success as a university student.

One day, during my junior year, I bumped into a friend who had lived near me earlier in my college experience.  As we walked across campus, she mentioned a new book she had gotten from the campus bookstore.  “It’s about little people in Middle Earth known as hobbits.  They are short, live in wonderful designed homes that are holes in the ground, have hairy toes, and love to eat.”  She continued to talk about The Hobbit, and how much she was enjoying the story. At that point, I remembered (yes, remembered) the popcorn theory, and the studying necessary that week for my classes.  Time to conduct an unscientific experiment in the application of the theory.  I stopped at the bookstore that day, and took a copy home, placed it where I would see it, and studied the rest of the week so I could open that book.

This post isn’t about studying, directly, just the background into my love of Tolkien’s Middle Earth.  Reading the Hobbit led to Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and Return of the King.  My copies went with us when, as newlyweds, we moved to the Pacific Northwest, carrying all our “worldly goods” in a Dodge D500 that required one quart of oil with each tank of gas.  I reread those books, and, as time went on, “hooked” our oldest daughter.  She read the copies enough that I gifted her with the worn copies and bought a new set.  Those went to a son, who also loved them, and I now have my third set (in paper), and the ebooks.

The quote above, however, is one that has had great meaning to me.  It has become more meaningful as I watch the increasing darkness of the world around me.  Life has, for me, as for all, given me more “dark moments” than I had experienced that sunny day in Provo, Utah when I was introduced to Bilbo, Gandalf, and later, Frodo.  But the meaning of this exchange continues.

“The Shadow takes another shape and grows again.”

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.

“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times.  But that is not for them to decide.  All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”     (The Fellowship of the Ring, J. R. R. Tolkien, Chapter 2)

So, what to do with the time given me?

1. Time is a construct of man.  We use it to make sense of our world, to place events into a perspective, to measure limitations for successful completion of a task, be it baking cookies or building a magnificient building, a baby sleeping through the night, or the time required for Voyager to leave the solar system.  But each of us has within us a spirit that is eternal, outside of time, and that means I will continue to live, forever.  The fact that my experience in time is limited becomes more important, because this is my only opportunity to decide and do those things that will influence my “forever,”

2. The most important possession I have in time is my family.  I love each and every one of them, even those I only read about in our electronic family letter (currently go to about 130 families).  We are bound by common ancestors.  Those I know well are dear to my heart.  I think of them, I pray for them, I talk/email with them, and when possible, I visit them.  Some are as close as “down the street and up the hill,” while others are walking the streets of New Zealand, in the military installation of Kandahar, in Africa, and other areas of service throughout the world.

3.  I can’t imagine eternity without my family.

4.  I am blessed, beyond measure, to blessed to have been taught the message of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Member ship in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (aka Mormons) is 15 million, a mere drop in the bucket of 7.2 billion.  Because of that, I am blessed with the opportunity and blessing of having my marriage sealed for time and all eternity in a House of the Lord.  (Learn more here. about temples and their purpose)

5. Though the world is darkening, I see light, constantly, because of my faith.  In fact, He said, “I am the Light of the world…”  (Click here for a video and more information.)

6.  I want others to know and experience the joy, the peace, and the confidence I have received by this great gift in my life.

So…the point of this post?

I choose to use my time as an example of Jesus Christ in my actions, to look always for the Light, and to share with others the message we, as members of His church, treasure.

Would you like to know more about…

Where did I come from?

Why bad/hard things happen to good people?

Why am I here?

Where am I going?

What can I do to strengthen my family?

How can I help my spouse, child, friend, neighbor….”

Here are a few links to help you…

All about the “Mormons

Who am I?

How can I know the truth?

Want to know more?  Click “Chat with us” on this page.

Click here to read my testimony of the truths to be found on these links.

The answer Gandalf gave Frodo can be applied by each of us to our lives.  Darkness is covering the earth, but the light always breaks through.  Sunday did come, and the Savior of the World rose from the tomb, conquering death, and that victory is eternal.  Darkness cannot destroy it.  Jesus Christ made the ultimate choice and sacrifice, because of love, for each one of us.  So the question to be answered, by each of us, is:

What will YOU do with the time that is given you?

 

P.S.  The popcorn theory worked for me in my studies.  Twice since receiving my B.S. degree, I have returned to college.  I used this each time to help me prioritize and stay focused.

 

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He is risen!  What glorious words.  Because of Him, we will all rise from the dead.  This life, and the time between death and resurrection is but a moment in eternity.  I rejoice that I will be reunited with those who have left this life, leaving me better for having known them, and missing them.  Among those is my sweet sister.  Just a few days ago, I stood at her grave, near the graves of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends.  What joy it bring to me to know that I will see, and rejoice with each of them at a future time. With all whose witnesses have been recorded here, and the many others borne of Him, I testify that He lives!

Click here  for more witnesses and media about Jesus Christ.