Sunday, July 10, 2011

Reflections and other Lofty Thoughts

This past week has brought on some interesting and revealing thoughts. Let me explain.
Next weekend 4 of our girls and their little ones will be coming home for a visit. I AM SO EXCITED!! Sometimes I even cry a little just thinking about them being here for a week with us. Anyway, I was trying to think of things they can do here while they are home. As most everyone knows Idaho Falls is not a rustling, busy place, especially for children. So, I decided to make a list to hang on the fridge for when we are sitting around wondering "what can we do".
That's when I started remembering the WONDERFUL times I spent in Pocatello (not much different than Idaho Falls) with my granmas when I was little. Oh my goodness, the memories came flooding back.
We picked peas from her garden, apricots from the tree, drank carrot juice (sometimes more willingly than others), went to the Drive In Theatre in a wagon, sang and danced around her house to her really oldies, but goodies records, walked to the little Drive In on the corner and bought taffy for a nickel, gathered worms at night and put them in the moss to sell to fishermen. Walked through the cemetery across the street, slept outside and listened to Granma tell us all about the stars (she knew everything!), went to the park on Sundays and listened to the Orchestra, went shopping with her in "big downtown Pocatello", pulled taffy and made carmel corn. I still have their recipes. The list goes on and on and on and the memories are wonderful.
That got me thinking how grateful I was that my mom and dad allowed me to go to Granma's house. Without those experiences I wouldn't know what to plan for when my grandchildren come visit me.
I called Mom and told her thanks for the wonderful experiences she gave me so I'd know what to do as a Granma, too!
Bring on the kids!!! It's going to be great!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Day I Saw My Sister

It was a Wednesday, I think. It was around noon and I was in Broulim's in Rigby. I was picking up some treats for our "End of the Year Speech Party. I'd just picked up the donuts and I was walking out of the bakery/deli area when I saw her. I will admit I didn't recognize her at first. But, something about her caught my eye and my heart. I kept glancing over her way, trying to figure out how I knew this lady. She was sitting at a deli table eating a simple lunch with a lady companion. I knew that I didn't know the lady with her but somehow I knew this one. I walked back and forth for a few minutes and then it came to me. This was my sister, Shelly. I had heard that she had moved to Rigby with her caregiver LuDean but I had not seen her around.
Shelly is the fifth child in our family. She was slow to develop as a baby and I remember going to many Doctor appointments and waiting to hear what the Doctor had to say. They never really gave my parents an explanation but Shelly was a sweet and loving baby. She seldom cried and she smiled a lot. She had her favortie toys and slowly learned to talk with the help of a Speech Pathologist. When she started school the school nurse visited with my mom about a possible thyroid deficiency. She thought that may have been the cause of Shelly's slow development. After some testing they found that it was exactly this and Shelly was given Synthroid to help increase the thyroid flow in her body. In fact, most of our family was checked and several of us were also put on a thyroid suppliment. They said that if Shelly had been given medication soon after her birth she would have developed normally but they did not test for thyroid deficiency in the 50s. Since then they have started doing what is called the "PKU" shortly after the birth and are able to begin treatment immediately if there is a problem like this. Thank goodness for that.
Shelly struggled through school and finally graduated from Aviation High School. Soon after that the family moved to Moreland, Idaho and Shelly became Mom's companion. They would go to the nursing home once a week to do the ladies' hair. Shelly began experiencing emotional difficulties and it became increasing harder and harder for her to remain at home with Dad and Mom. As each of her brothers and sisters had grown up and left home, she couldn't understand why she couldn't also leave. After several attempts to find a good home for her they finally ended up placing her with LuDean in Idaho Falls. Shelly had has had a very hard life and this final home was a real blessing for her.
LuDean has found that it is very hard for Shelly to see family members. After we leave, Shelly begins to cry and is uncontrollable for LuDean. She has asked us not to visit Shelly. I used to take a Christmas gift over for her and it was always so good for me, but seldom good for Shelly. So, after a few trys, I made no further effort to contact her. I just always looked forward to seeing her and getting to visit with her in the next life.
Then there she was. It was so good to see her that I couldn't resist and I approached the table. I quietly introduced myself to her companion and asked it I could visit with Shelly. I was told it would be ok so I sat down for a minute. I said, "Hi Shelly. Do you remember me? I'm Sandy." She smiled a huge smile and said, "Hi Sandy". She remembered me and we visited for a few minutes. Her friend said how glad she was to able to hear more about Shelly and her family. She didn't know much as she was a new companion for Shelly. I answered questions and we visited about Shelly's time on the farm. Shelly could remember some things so we talked about those things. Wow! It was so good to see her and to visit for a few minutes.
As I said my good-byes I looked at Shelly and I saw a most beautiful woman! She glowed. I felt like I might really have seen the Shelly I hope to get to know one day.
That was the day I saw my sister.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Quiet Peace

Today was Fast Sunday and our wonderful ward had assembled in the Chapel to partake of the Sacrament and bear our testimonies. It's always a good experience to attend Sacrament Meeting in our ward. Our members are very kind and loving people who have strong testimonies which they bear in words and in deeds!

A couple of weeks ago our Bishop had encouraged us to use our Testimony time to it's fullest by bearing our testimonies more. So, today I heeded his counsel and bore my testimony. Many others followed with their testimonies and there was such a feeling of love when we closed.

It is the RS's turn to clean up the building each Sunday since we are the last ward meeting each week. After the closing prayer I put my things on the bench and went to dump garbages, etc. When we were all done I went back into the Chapel to get my things. The lights had been dimmed and the room was clean and orderly. Even as I stepped inside and the Chapel doors closed behind me I could feel a very peaceful, feeling in the room. It was quiet with almost a sacred feeling there. I could almost sense the Spirit of the Lord in His chapel. I felt a desire to sit on a bench and just absorb the peace that was there. This is a feeling that I've had in the Temples but not necessarily so in a Chapel. Having had that experience today I hope I will remember it and be more reverent and sensitive to the Spirit there next time.
What a blessing it was to my day.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Listening to the Spirit
Jan. 31, 2011

A young mother was frustrated and concerned that her children were once again fighting and arguing with each other when there came to her mind the scripture in the Book of Mormon, “neither will ye suffer that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel one with another…. But ye will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another and to serve one another.”
A college graduate sat with her professors during her “Graduate Oral Evaluation”. One of them looked at her and asked “At what reading level will the average deaf student read at the time of his HS graduation?” As she pondered the question a vision was brought to her mind and she vividly recalled the classroom and the exact seat she was sitting in when the professor had taught that the average deaf student will graduate from HS at 6th grade reading level.
An elderly sister was stressed with many worries when she decided to go to the temple early one morning. As she backed out of her driveway she noticed a single red rose standing tall and straight in the morning light. Then she heard a voice declare, “I know you and I love you.”
We could go on and on sharing wonderful experiences of the Spirit. They are glorious and fulfilling and we can have them every day. They are all encompassing and they are private and pertinent. They are our connection with Deity.
I’ve taken my talk, Listening to the Spirit, from two General Conference talks; President Eyring’s April 1991 talk – To Draw Closer to God and President Oaks’ October 2010 talk – Two Lines of Communication and also from Elder Anderson’s article in the December 2010 Ensign – A Gift Worthy of Added Care. It was enjoyable and refreshing to review all three talks and I appreciate the opportunity to study about Listening to the Spirit because it is so important to each of us.
We must learn to recognize and listen to the promptings of the Spirit In order to enjoy the blessing of personal revelation. President Oaks said, “The personal line is of paramount importance in personal decisions and in the governance of the family.” “We pray to our Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ and He answers us through His Holy Spirit.” The mission of the Holy Ghost is to testify of the Father and the Son, to guide us into truth, and to show us all things we should do. This personal line of communication with our Heavenly Father through His Holy Spirit is the source of our testimonies of truth, of our knowledge and of our personal guidance from a loving Heavenly Father. It is an essential feature of His marvelous gospel plan, which allows each one of His children to receive a personal witness of its truth. “
President Eyring adds, “It is the Spirit which will bear record to your heart as you read the scriptures, as you hear the Lord’s authorized servants, and as God speaks directly to your heart. You can listen and hear if you believe that the scriptures are accurate when they describe the Holy Ghost this way; “Yea, thus saith the still small voice, which whispereth through and pierceth all things, and often times it maketh my bones to quake while maketh manifest.” He goes on to say, “Now, I testify it is a small voice, it whispers, not shouts. And so you must be very quiet inside. That is why you may wisely fast when you want to listen. And that is why you will listen best when you feel, “Father, thy will, not mine, be done.” You will have a feeling of “I want what you want.” Then the still small voice will seem as if it pierces you. It may make your bones to quake. More often it will make your heart burn within you, again softly, but with a burning which will lift and reassure.” You will know!!
Our kind and loving Heavenly Father knew that our venture on earth would bring us much turmoil and confusion, so He wisely set in place the gift of the Holy Ghost in our mortal lives. Elder Anderson says, “This is a gift of enormous power. The Holy Ghost bearth record of the Father and of the Son. The Holy Ghost teaches us all things and brings all things to our remembrance. He guides us to truth and shows us things to come, enlightens our mind and fills our soul with joy. By His power we may know the truth of all things.”
President Woodruff told us, “Let us labor to obtain the Holy Spirit. This is the Spirit we must have to carry out the purposes of God. We need this gift more than any other. We should pray to the Lord until we get the Comforter. This is what is promised to us when we are baptized.”
In the 19th section of the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord says to us, “Pray always, and I will pour out my Spirit upon you, and great shall be your blessing, yea, even more than if you should obtain the treasures of earth….”
It was President Packer who said, “No one of us can survive in the world of today, much less in what it soon will become, without personal inspiration. We must believe that even in our weaknesses, the still, small voice we feel comes from our Father. We must pray and ask and seek and then not be afraid when answers come into our heart and mind. Believe they are divine. They are.” In the Doctrine and Covenants we are promised that we can know the source of our promptings but simply asking; “Father, is this of you?” Then we can know of a surety that it has come from Him and if you know with a surety, then doubt not but act upon those promptings.
In February 1847 Joseph Smith appeared to Brigham Young in a dream or a vision and told him to “Tell the people to be humble and faithful and sure to deep the Spirit of the Lord and it will lead them right. Be careful and not turn away the small still voice; it will teach them what to do and where to go; it will yield the fruits of the kingdom.”
President Eyring goes on to tell us, “If you want greater clarity in understanding and believing the still, small voice, there is no better medicine than greater obedience. Jesus said unto His disciples, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
And then again President Oaks reminds us that “the direct, personal channel of communication to our Heavenly Father through the Holy Ghost is based on worthiness and is so essential that we are commanded to renew our covenants by partaking of the sacrament each Sabbath day. In this way we qualify for the promise that we may always have His Spirit to be with us, to guide us. “
What a marvelous blessing we have been given to be able to partake of the Sacrament each week and thereby renew those covenants and begin each week anew with the Spirit as our guide. Along with this blessing we must provide quiet, reflective times and learn how to listen. We must study our scriptures; our conference talks, and we must ask for the guidance of the Holy Ghost. We must teach our children how to recognize the voice of the Spirit. When our son Daniel came home from his mission he told me that he had learned that the first thing his investigators had to learn was how to discern the spirit. Once they had learned that, they were receptive to the teachings. We must consciously look for our blessings and acknowledge them before the Lord. We must show gratitude and thanksgiving to our Father who blesses us so abundantly. We must keep the commandments and repent when we do not. We must “draw near unto Him” and he will draw near unto us. We must be able to say, “I know you and I love you.” Then we will enjoy the blessing of the Holy Ghost in our lives; a blessing that we can have and should use each and every day. However, it does not end there.
President Monson admonishes us to never postpone a prompting. “We watch. We wait. We listen for that still, small voice. When it speaks, wise men and women obey. We do not postpone following the promptings of the Spirit.”
Elder Anderson concluded his article with a wonderful blessing for the Saints. He quotes from the Doctrine and Covenants 45:57 and says, “The Lord, speaking of His Second Coming, emphasized that the gift of the Holy Ghost must be powerfully active among His Saints: ‘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.’ “As we give greater care to this divine gift, we “shall abide the day” and again live with our Heavenly Father. As disciples of Christ, we must make the gift of the Holy Ghost a conscious, daily, prayerful part of our lives.”

I add my testimony to his that we will not only abide the day, but that we will enjoy the day. If you worthily seek and respond to the Holy Spirit we will feel the love and comfort of our most Gracious Father in Heaven. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ is the Church He organized and ministered to during His mortal existence. I know the the Scriptures are the words of the Lord and are for our study and our comfort. I know that if we follow the Prophets and stay close to their teachings we will not be lead astray but will have greater strength to resist the adversary. I know that Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers in the manner best for us. I know that He loves each of us with a love that we can not quiet comprehend but that we feel deeply in our souls. I know that through the Gift of the Holy Ghost we can commune with our Father and He will us. Through this gift we can feel His arms around us as we mourn and as we rejoice. It is my prayer that I will always remain worthy of the Gift of the Holy Ghost and that I will use it daily to "draw near" unto my Father.

This is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen