Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Subtle Subversion

Way back in the 1990's, I decided to give up TV. It was a choice I made for MY CHILDREN as well as for myself. I was appalled at the filth that was paraded before our eyes every 15 minutes, as advertisers were lowering the standards of what was acceptable just to sell more of their products! I watched as the immodesty and the crude behaviors became commonplace. I decided that it did NOT matter how "GOOD" the particular program of choice was, the inherent evil being subtly inculcated into OUR minds was not innocent. IT was the adversary at his best! HOW better to shape the minds of the masses? SO many would never consciously choose to watch filth, but, if it just "HAPPENED" to be broadcast in the form of advertising, no one would really notice the subtle attack on our societies morals, our value systems! We all would be slowly, carefully dragged down and our standards would slip, ever so carefully to the point of being BASE in just a matter of years! Well, I was RIGHT! I can NOT even believe what is NOW available 24/7 on the TV. Nudity, vulgarity, violence, crime, evil in every form! And, as a whole, our society has become so desensitized to it all now, that it is not even seen for the evil that it is!
I spoke with a friend who insisted that there was still excellent programming available. I asked if the commercials had at all risen their standards over the past decade. His reply was astounding. He insisted that that brief commercial moment, though often very base, did NOT impact him in the least. But, he was able to tell me that the last commercial did have "barely dressed women" I asked if that was not pornography in disguise, and he seemed confused as to what he should reply! I rest my case.
I am so sad that so many good people are allowing their minds to be filled with filth and have just accepted it without any resistance.
I understand how subtle this type of thing is. I was a victim myself in 1981-1982. I was so very ill with my first pregnancy. In order to keep my mind off the incessant nausea and vomiting, I would just watch TV all day and night, until I drifted off to sleep. I had never been a fan of the daytime soap opera's, but, I became addicted and for those months, was so very grateful for that distraction. I had no idea the cost I paid for that addiction until I had had my baby and was no longer watching the TV round the clock. I had gone to a movie with my family previous to my pregnancy, and I was upset by the immorality, the profanity and the total lack of decent standards portrayed in the film. WELL, after having watched the daytime soaps and whatever else was presented on the IDIOT BOX----nearly a year later, I was once again at my parent's home. My younger siblings had rented that same movie that about a year ago had been so very offensive to me! I was not going to remain in the room, because I remembered being offended. For some reason, I remained in the room and watched it again.
I was shocked beyond belief when I realized that I was NOT AT ALL OFFENDED by that movie! I thought, "I KNOW it is the same movie! WHAT HAS CHANGED? WHY DID I THINK IT WAS SO BAD???" I realized after some pondering, that I had become so very desensitized by my watching TV, the soap operas, even the commercials! THAT I NO LONGER HAD THE ABILITY TO FEEL THE GOOD INFLUENCE OF THE HOLY GHOST! IT was that gift of the Holy Ghost that I had always been able to trust, to lead me towards the LIGHT of CHRIST and AWAY FROM SATAN'S SNARES! I had LOST THAT! I was shaken.
I determined that in MY HOME, we would NOT allow the SPIRIT OF THE HOLY GHOST TO FLEE because IT WAS OFFENDED by TV and the subtle subversion's of satan! We have not regretted that choice. THERE is a wonderful spirit in our home when we make certain we are not allowing satan ANY way into our home, minds and hearts.
I am so sad that we are no longer able to get EDITED movies, we did so enjoy that service! BUT we have learned that it is far better to go without seeing the POPULAR movies, shows and fare provided by the evil one, than to lose that sweet companionship of the Holy Ghost!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Motherhood---The Greatest Calling

From the time I was very small, I remember wanting with all my heart to be a mother. In time, I determined that I not only wanted to be a mother, but, I wanted to be a mother of MANY! I think that came as a result of caring for 10-12 babies, infants all under the age of two years old, each Sunday for just over an hour. I had all of the babies in my care, all by myself. At times, it could be bedlam, but for the most part, it was such a rewarding experience! I would just make the rounds; changing diapers, feeding and then cuddling and loving them until their mothers emerged from their meeting.

I knew somehow, that the greatest and most rewarding occupation ever, would be that of mothering my OWN children. How blessed I have been to realize that dream! I am a mother of many! And, caring for them, nurturing and loving them has been my full-time labor of love. Up until my divorce, I was so very blessed to be able to home-school my children! Other than paper routes the children and I had for extra income, I was a "stay-at-home" Mom and I loved every minute of it!

I know that in today's world, being "JUST A MOM" is considered somehow unacceptable! IT is viewed as a waste of one's time and talents, and evidence that somehow anyone that would aspire to be a "stay-at-home" mother is terribly lacking in talents, abilities, motivation, lofty ambition, and or worthy goals! And yet, I believe that it is exactly this pervasive attitude and subsequent degradation of the role of motherhood, that is at the root of the moral decline and the behavioral crisis we are witnessing in our schools, and homes and communities.

All too often children are left to raise themselves and have become "latch-key" children---coming home to NO supervision and NO parental care. And, where are the parents? OFTEN they are seeking fulfillment in careers, volunteering and, well, anything that will keep them busy and OUT OF THE HOME! HOW in the world can we expect children to care, when their parents do not.

I pray that mothers and fathers will seek first to fulfill their responsibilities to their children! I pray we will have a return to deeply committed parents desiring to lovingly fulfill, and even excel in executing our call as parents. The Prophet that was the very first prophet I knew, and grew to love with all my heart, gave the following counsel on Motherhood! I LOVE HIS WISDOM and HIS WORDS on this.....

"Mothers can have a powerful influence for good on their children.

One of the greatest needs in the world today is intelligent, conscientious motherhood. …

Motherhood is the greatest potential influence either for good or ill in human life. The mother’s image is the first that stamps itself on the unwritten page of the young child’s mind. It is her caress that first awakens a sense of security; her kiss the first realization of affection; her sympathy and tenderness the first assurance that there is love in the world.

The noblest calling in the world is motherhood. True motherhood is the most beautiful of all arts, the greatest of all professions. She who can paint a masterpiece, or who can write a book that will influence millions, deserves the admiration and plaudits of mankind; but she who rears successfully a family of healthy, beautiful sons and daughters, whose immortal souls will exert an influence throughout the ages long after paintings shall have faded, and books and statues shall have decayed or have been destroyed, deserves the highest honor that man can give, and the choicest blessings of God.

Mothers sow the seeds in childhood that determine to a great extent life’s harvests in adulthood. A mother who instills into the souls of her children respect for one another and love for motherhood and fatherhood, renders a great service to the Church and to humanity in general. Children from such homes go out into the world as good citizens—citizens who will render the service which their parents have rendered, to fight the battles which their fathers and mothers have fought. …

Motherhood is the one thing in all the world which most truly exemplifies the God-given virtues of creating and sacrificing. Though it carries the woman close to the brink of death, motherhood also leads her into the very realm of the fountains of life, and makes her co-partner with the Creator in bestowing upon eternal spirits mortal life.

All through the years of babyhood, childhood, and youth, yes, even after her girls themselves become mothers and her sons become fathers, the mother tenderly, lovingly sacrifices for them her time, her comfort, her pleasures, her needed rest and recreation, and, if necessary, health and life itself. No language can express the power and beauty and heroism of a mother’s love. …

… Among my most precious soul-treasures is the memory of Mother’s prayers by the bedside, of her affectionate touch as she tucked the bed clothes around my brother and me and gave each a loving, goodnight kiss. We were too young and roguish then to appreciate fully such devotion, but not too young to know that Mother loved us.

It was this realization of Mother’s love, with a loyalty to the precepts of an exemplary father, which more than once during fiery youth turned my steps from the precipice of temptation.

No nobler work in this world can be performed by any mother than to rear and love the children with whom God has blessed her. That is her duty"

May we all be courageously, nobly and lovingly fulfilling our duty as MOTHERS and parents! The children we are so blessed to have, need us to return to this vision of a HOLY PROPHET OF GOD!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Growing up, there were some stories that my Mother read to us, that truly had a profound effect on me and shaped forever, the way I look at life. I wish that I could cut and paste a couple of those stories right here! Perhaps I can find them and do just that. I will start with one of my favorite poems. My mother had me use this poem when giving a talk. I think I was maybe 7 or 8 years old at the time! I wish I could remember the entire poem, but, here is what I do remember.....

IT is called MY TODAY by Mabel F. Ricard---

I have no other day than this;
Oh Father grant I shall not miss
The service sweet of doing good,
And living truly as I should.

Oh Father, in this day that's mine,
Let all thy sweetness through me shine
Let all my ways acknowledge Thee,
May Christ be manifest in me.

Oh, let me be Thy voice to speak
The truth to those who vainly seek;
And through me let Thy LOVE o'erflow
To all the world that needs it so.

Oh! let today be this for me,
A day of glorifying Thee.
'Tis all the day that my soul knows;
'Tis from today tomorrow grows.

So, for today, this is my prayer,
Tomorrow, Lord, is in Thy care.

It was this poem that did begin my quest to be HIS HANDS! I did truly want to have all those that interacted with me, see HIS image in MY countenance!

I also remember a story from, I believe it was the Instructor. IT was about an elderly gentleman who was in need of low cost--to no cost housing as close to a medical facility as possible. You see, he was scheduled to receive a battery of treatments and could not afford to be commuting daily to the Hospital. He began to solicit housing from those across the street from the Medical complex. He offered to do household chores and assist in child-care in lieu of cash payments for room and board. He stated that he did NOT require much in the way of food nor did he need a private room. He would be happy to rest on a porch or a couch. After a very discouraging multiple attempts, a woman with several children, took pity on the poor man and allowed him to use their home during the treatments. As it turned out, the man was required to return on several different occasions to complete additional rounds of treatment. At first, the children in this kind family were frightened. You see, he was horribly disfigured and yet, he did have a kind face. SO, as the days went by, it was his grand and sensitive nature, his kind and benevolent manner that endeared him to this family. Very soon, they no longer saw his disfigured frame, but instead, could only see the beauty of his grand and noble spirit. He became a true member of their family, loved and cherished!

When his next battery of treatments would begin, he returned and brought token gifts, such that he could afford and showed in word and deed, his deep gratitude for this family's willingness to provide lodging, food, and eventually, a loving family unit of which he soon became an integral part. One day, a neighbor was visiting. She caught sight of their unusual guest and gasped. The woman noticed and inquired as to what would cause her neighbor to react so. Her neighbor stated vehemently that they too had had that "hideous creature" come to their door, and they quickly turned him away! Seizing a teaching moment, this wise woman picked up a potted rose. Unfortunately, the pot was broken, the paint was chipped and it was truly a most UGLY pot! She said, "My dear friend, wouldn't you expect me to place this stunning rose in a more fitting pot?" Her friend quickly agreed and asked eagerly, if that was her plan! TO re-pot the rose right now! BUT, the mother said, "YOU know, on second thought, I do not think that I will!" This disturbed the neighbor and she said, "Oh, come on, don't you want a more fitting pot for such a magnificent rose?!" The mother said, " NO! In fact, the contrast reminds me of our guest!" Puzzled, the neighbor inquired why! And, wisely the mother said, " You know, I believe that our guest is exactly as this rose. Heavenly Father in HIS vast wisdom said, "We will place this magnificent spirit in a broken body, he will not mind, for he will know that it is only for this life that he will be so disfigured and unattractive. IN the eternities, his beauty will truly be stunning and all who see him will marvel! BUT, now, I know he will not mind being placed in this broken pot/body!" She then went on to explain all the joy that he had brought, totally unexpectedly to their family! HOW in his greatness of spirit and charity, he had taught the children to love unconditionally and to see past the outward appearance, and on into the heart!

I have loved that story from the first day that my mother read it to me. I have often thought of that principle and I have tested it out for myself. I have found it to be true! I have known MANY of those that this world would shun, would cast out and mock, ridicule and destroy, simply because they are NOT one of God's more beautifully created outwardly stunning individuals! But, as I have grown to know and love them, I have found that they possessed a greatness and true beauty that others, that this world would honor and revere as beautiful; rarely do possess. Isn't it amazing how truly deceiving looking on the outward appearance can be! How important it is for us to strive to be truly GOD-like and BEAUTIFUL in our actions, our thoughts, our deeds, our desires and our motives! From the first time I heard this story, I have striven to become far more beautiful inside----I have cared more about my countenance than my appearance. And, over the years, whatever youthful beauty has LONG SINCE faded and fled! All that does remain, in the end, is what we have created of OUR SOULS! I pray every day that I may inwardly be more and more like that man! and our Savior. And that HIS IMAGE WILL ALWAYS BE FOUND IN MY COUNTENANCE!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Words of Wisdom from Regina Brett.....

Written By Regina Brett, 90 years old,
of The Plain Dealer, Cleveland , Ohio

"To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45
lessons life taught me. It is the most-requested
column I've ever written.

My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the
column once more:

1. Life isn't fair,
but it's still good.

2. When in doubt, just
take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to
waste time hating anyone...

4. Your job won't
take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and
parents will. Stay in touch.

5. Pay off your credit
cards every month.

6. You don't have
to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone.
It's more healing than crying alone.

8. It's OK to get
angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement
starting with your first pay check.

10. When it comes to chocolate,
resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it
won't destroy the present.

12. It's OK to let your
children see you cry.

13. Don't compare your life to
others. You have no idea what their journey is all

14. If a relationship has to be a
secret, you shouldn't be in it.

15. Everything can change in the
blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never

16. Take a deep breath. It
calms the mind.

17. Get rid of anything that
isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

18. Whatever doesn't kill you
really does make you stronger.

19. It's never too late to have
a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and
no one else.

20. When it comes to going after
what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice
sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for
a special occasion, today is special.

22. Over prepare, then go with the

23. Be eccentric now.
Don't wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important organ is
the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your
happiness but you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster
with these words 'In five years, will this matter?'

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive everyone of
everything...including yourself.

29. What other people think of you
is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything.
Give time.

31. However good or bad a situation
is, it will change.

32. Don't take yourself so
seriously. No one else does.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who
God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.

35. Don't audit life.
Show up and make the most of it now.

36. Growing old beats the
alternative -- dying young.

37. Your children get only one

38. All that truly matters in the
end is that you loved.

39. Get outside every day.
Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in
a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours

41. Envy is a waste of time. You
already have all you need.

42. The best is yet to come.

43. No matter how you feel, get up,
dress up and show up.

44. Yield.

45. Life isn't tied with a bow,
but it's still a gift."


I have been blessed with two beautiful grandchildren. Rebeckah Kimberly Hildebrandt was born to Christopher and Susan Hildebrandt January 29th of 2008. Then, just this past January 13th, 2009; Trevor Isaac was born to Bonnie and Scott Barton. I am anxiously awaiting the day when Trevor and his parents are closer and I can be an integral part of their lives. I have been so very blessed to be able to babysit Beckah while her parents are at school and work, at least a couple of times a week! THAT has been so very rewarding! It is heaven for me to feel her little arms around my neck! And to have her reach for me and want to cuddle with me----well, it reminds me of those days, now fading fast, where my own little ones would reach for me and need me. I know I have heard all my life, people declaring that being a Grandparent was the very best part of life. And, I will say that it is truly a sweet reward, it is true bliss! BUT for me, it still does NOT hold a candle to the joy, the daily heavenly rewards that I found as a mother of my own beautiful babies! Oh, how I miss those days when my own children needed me! I was so very blessed to have my children with me, day in and day out for the majority of their childhood. It has only been the past seven years that I have had to share my time with my children with the public schools. And, that has been torture indeed!

So, on a happier note, I will share what came to me---again, in my inbox! It made me think of the many blessings and the inherent joy that does come as we spend our time with these precious gifts from God--- Our children and our grandchildren!

1. She was in the bathroom, putting on her makeup, under the watchful eyes of her young granddaughter, as she'd done many times before. After she applied her lipstick and started to leave, the little one said, "But Gramma, you forgot to kiss the toilet paper good-bye!" I will probably never put lipstick on again without thinking about kissing the toilet paper good-bye.....

2. My young grandson called the other day to wish me Happy Birthday. He asked me how old I was, and I told him, 62. My grandson was quiet for a moment, and then he asked, "Did you start at 1? "

3. After putting her grandchildren to bed, a grandmother changed into old slacks and a droopy blouse and proceeded to wash her hair. As she heard the children getting more and more rambunctious, her patience grew thin. Finally, she threw a towel around her head and stormed into their room, putting them back to bed with stern warnings. As she left the room, she heard the three-year-old say with a trembling voice, "Who was THAT?"

4. A grandmother was telling her little granddaughter what her own childhood was like: "We used to skate outside on a pond I had a swing made from a tire; it hung from a tree in our front yard. We rode our pony. We picked wild raspberries in the woods." The little girl was wide-eyed, taking this all in. At last she said, "I sure wish I'd gotten to know you sooner!"

5. My grandson was visiting one day when he asked, "Grandma, do you know how you and God are alike?" I mentally polished my halo and I said, "No, how are we alike?'' "You're both old," he replied.

6. A little girl was diligently pounding away on her grandfather's word processor. She told him she was writing a story. "What's it about?" he asked. "I don't know," she replied. "I can't read."

7. I didn't know if my granddaughter had learned her colors yet, so I decided to test her. I would point out something and ask what color it was. She would tell me and was always correct. It was fun for me, so I continued. At last, she headed for the door, saying, "Grandma, I think you should try to figure out some of these, yourself!"

8. When my grandson Billy and I entered our vacation cabin, we kept the lights off until we were inside to keep from attracting pesky insects. Still, a few fireflies followed us in. Noticing them before I did, Billy whispered, "It's no use Grandpa. Now the mosquitoes are coming after us with flashlights."

9. When my grandson asked me how old I was, I teasingly replied, "I'm not sure." "Look in your underwear, Grandpa," he advised, "mine says I'm 4 to 6."

10. A second grader came home from school and said to her grandmother, "Grandma, guess what? We learned how to make babies today." The grandmother, more than a little surprised, tried to keep her cool. "That's interesting," she said, "how do you make babies?" "It's simple," replied the girl. "You just change 'y' to 'i' and add 'es'.

11. Children's Logic: "Give me a sentence about a public servant," said a teacher. The small boy wrote: "The fireman came down the ladder pregnant." The teacher took the lad aside to correct him. "Don't you know what pregnant means?" she asked. "Sure," said the young boy confidently. 'It means carrying a child.

12. A grandfather was delivering his grandchildren to their home one day when a fire truck zoomed past. Sitting in the front seat of the fire truck was a Dalmatian dog. The children started discussing the dog's duties. "They use him to keep crowds back," said one child. "No," said another. "He's just for good luck." ;A third child brought the argument to a close."They use the dogs," she said firmly, "to find the fire hydrants."

13. A 6-year-old was asked where his grandma lived. "Oh," he said, "she lives at the airport, and when we want her, we just go get her..... Then, when we're done having her visit, we take her back to the airport..."

14. Grandpa is the smartest man on earth! He teaches me good things, but I don't get to see him enough to get as smart as him!

15. A Grandmother driving with her granddaughter was pleased to hear her say that Grandpa must be older than Grandma. Mentally congratulating herself on appearing relatively younger than her husband, she made the mistake of asking why the little girl thought so. The little girl replied, "Because his mustache is bigger than yours."

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Memories of Earlier Days as a Nurse

I just received the following (please see the poem below) as an email forward. I decided I would share it via my blog. It brought back to me so many memories....being a nurse and working at several different facilities with the elderly. May I just share a few of those memories now? The first time I encountered the elderly in a health care setting, I was in the midst of my nursing training. This was over 30 years ago! At that time, there were LPN's and RN's providing patient care. The LPN's provided all the bathing, the wound care, the range of motion exercises and assisted with all the activities of daily living. The RN's provided supervision and the medications---although, as an LPN, I too, could distribute medications to my patients. We did NOT have CNA's at this point, but, we did have ORDERLIES! These were men that would do the heavy lifting and transfers and assist the nursing staff with all the more manual and/or physical labor.

As I said, I was in the midst of my nursing training, I was working at our small town's hospital, in Sylva, North Carolina. I was walking in the hallway, and I heard the following exchange:

Elderly Gentleman to the Orderly: "Please, Please, can you take me to the restroom?"
Orderly to the Elderly Gentleman/Patient: "I just took you not too long ago! YOU DO NOT NEED TO GO AGAIN!"
Elderly Gentleman: "Yes, I am afraid I do need to go again!"

The orderly was by this time, really upset, was fairly shouting at the patient and briskly walked away. I was unsure what to do. I was just a student nurse, and the man was NOT my patient. I decided to go and seek the advice of my instructor. I wanted to see if I couldn't just take the man to the restroom myself. By the time I returned, the orderly was back with the patient, but, this time, he had grabbed his arm and was being so very rough with the man, I wanted to cry! The gentleman, no longer able to wait, had urinated in his wheelchair and the orderly was taking his frustration out on the man, because now the orderly had a mess to clean up as well as a bath to perform. The orderly was using harsh tones and verbally berating the patient. Thankfully, because I had asked my instructor for assistance, she had followed me to the scene and was a witness to this abuse. I do NOT know if that orderly was fired, he should have been. But, I do know that my instructor helped me relieve that orderly of that task at hand. It just broke my heart to watch another be so very unkindly and unfairly treated! IF only the orderly had just taken the patient to the restroom when he had first requested that, there would not have been ANY REASON for the patient's subsequent embarrassing predicament! IT was a travesty!

Unfortunately, it is one that I have witnessed more than once over the years. When I have been able, I have spoken boldly and clearly against such inhumanity. I will say that it has NEVER been as blatant as that first encounter was, thank goodness. BUT, there have been times that I have had to gently explain that even though it may seem a patient is NOT cognizant, they are, for the most part, completely aware when someone is mistreating them.

Just a year later, I had a patient that none of the other nurses would take, they all complained that he was so very obstinate and refused all care and was far too difficult to care for. FOR me, that is exactly the patient that I prefer. I would rather take on the patients that no one else would, because I have observed that it is the patients that are less compliant that do seem to be treated with far less compassion and gentle care. And, to prevent them from enduring any further harm, I would opt to take upon me, their care. This patient initially did NOT respond to me either. BUT, I refused to give up. AND, as I spent time with him, I realized that much of the reason he was so grumpy, was that he was just in so very much pain. I was able to increase the dose of his pain medication, via a doctor's order. Then, I began to tease with him and I was able to goad him into going on short walks with me up and down the hall. We became fast friends. I remember that on one late evening, as he called for me to hand him his urinal, and as I tried to retrieve it, I ended up dumping all of the contents of the urinal all over him and his bed! I was mortified! I knew how much pain he was in, and to move him by this time, just caused him so very much pain! With tears in my eyes, I begged for his forgiveness. I told him how very sorry I was that he would have to endure a quick sponge bath and linen change! He looked at me, (as my tears fell softly on the linen that was saturated already,) with such tenderness! NONE of that bitter, grumpy old man
remaining. He patted my hand, and gave me a weak smile and made a joke! I laughed through my tears! What an honor and a sacred privilege it has been to be in the company of such amazing people. I have learned so much of life, love, courage, and tenacity from my patients. Sadly, he was one of many that I had to say good-bye to, as he left this vail of tears for a far better place. In fact, all of the patient's that I began caring for, that first year I worked at the University of Michigan Hospitals, returned within the next 8 months to die.(on the Otorhinolaryngology floor---which is normally ear, nose and throat, but, on our floor of 8 East, it was almost exclusively an Oncology floor, where we took care of patients with head and neck cancer.) IT was so hard to watch them fade slowly away. Yet, knowing how pain-filled their existence was, I did NOT begrudge them their release from that pain. And for the most part, they knew that they were going HOME.

Yet, there was one woman, that as I cared for her, and I knew that her time was getting short, (as you work with the dying, it becomes easier to know the stages of death) I noticed that she was becoming more and more agitated. I looked into her eyes and I saw pure terror! She could not speak, her larynx had been surgically removed. So, I asked her to blink her eyes in response to my questions. She was so very swollen with edema, it was alarming. I asked her if the reason she was so very upset had to do with her condition. She blinked twice, so, YES! I asked her if she was afraid to die. Again, her response was YES! I asked her if she wanted me to stay with her, to sit and just hold her hand for a while. Again, a YES. Then, normally, I would ask if she would like to speak with a priest or other religious leader, but, I felt impressed to just ask if I could tell her what I KNEW was waiting for her when she did pass from this life to the next. I really do NOT remember how much time elapsed. I know I spent at least all of my lunch break and then some, relating to her my firm testimony that there is life after this life. That we will be embraced by our Loving Parents and OUR SAVIOR! And, that all the pain and sorrow of this life will be swallowed up in the joy of being back HOME. As I finished, I could see her entire body relax. ALL the previous terror gone, and just a tangible feeling of peace permeated the room. She fell asleep. And, within that 24 hour period, she too went HOME. It is for such moments that I believe we are sent. TO be there for our brothers and sisters in their greatest times of need! I LOVE being a NURSE! I love the fact that in some small way, I can make a difference in the lives of those who have been given some of the most difficult, painful days in existence!

My prayer is that we can one day, see a total end to all inhumanity, to all unkindness towards each other! That we may all catch the vision of our Savior, and love and live as HE so very Perfectly, Beautifully and Magnificently did!


For all of us, who will be there one day!

When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home in North Platte, Nebraska, it was believed that he had nothing left of any value.

Later, when the nurses were going through his meager possessions, they found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital.

One nurse took her copy to Missouri. The old man's sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas edition of the News Magazine of the St. Louis Association for Mental Health. A slide presentation has also been made based on his simple, but eloquent, poem.

And this little old man, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this 'anonymous' poem winging across the Internet.

Crabby Old Man

What do you see nurses?. . . . .. What do you see?
What are you thinking . . . . ... when you're looking at me?
A crabby old man, . . . . . not very wise,
Uncertain of habit .. . . . ... . . . . . with faraway eyes?

Who dribbles his food . . . . . . .. . and makes no reply .
When you say in a loud voice . . . . . . 'I do wish you'd try!'
Who seems not to notice . . . . . . the things that you do.
And forever is losing . . . . . . . . . . A sock or shoe?

Who, resisting or not . . . . . . . . . . lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding . . . . . . . The long day to fill?
Is that what you're thinking? ... . . . . Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse . . . . . you're not looking at me..

I'll tell you who I am. . . . . . . .. As I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, . . . . . . as I eat at your will.
I'm a small child of Ten . . . . . with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters .... . . . . . . .. . who love one another.

A young boy of Sixteen . .. . . . with wings on his feet.
Dreaming that soon now . . . . . . . .. a lover he'll meet.
A groom soon at Twenty . . . . . my heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows . . . . . that I promised to keep.

At Twenty-Five, now . . ... . . . . . I have young of my own.
Who need me to guide . . . . And a secure happy home.
A man of Thirty . . . . . . . . . My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other . . . . . . . With ties that should last.

At Forty, my young sons . . . . . . have grown and are gone,
But my woman's beside me . . . . . to see I don't mourn..
At Fifty, once more, babies play 'round my knee,
Again, we know children . . . . . . . My loved one and me.

Dark days are upon me . . . . . . my wife is now dead.
I look at the future . . . . . . . . shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing . . . . . young of their own.
And I think of the years . . . and the love that I've known.

I'm now an old man . . . . . . . . . and nature is cruel.
Tis jest to make old age . . . . look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles . . . . . . .grace and vigor, depart.
There is now a stone .. . . . ... . . where I once had a heart.

But inside this old carcass . . . .. . . a young guy still dwells,
And now and again . . . .. . . . my battered heart swells.
I remember the joys . . . . . . . . . I remember the pain.
And I'm loving and living . . . . . . . . . . .. life over again.

I think of the years, all too few . . . .. . . gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact . . . ... . . that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people . . . . . . .. .. open and see.
Not a crabby old man. Look closer . . .. . see ME!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


I spent so much time and money on resources aimed at saving my marriage. Alas, it was all for naught. IT did NOT save that which was most precious in all the world to me. The ONLY thing more precious to me in this world are my children and my faith! BUT, as I reflect upon what I now should do with my life, I realize that it would be the best use of my time to help others avoid the extreme pain, sorrow and intense suffering that is associated with divorce. I hope to be able to assist my children in choosing wisely and I pray I can give them the tools that they will need to succeed! I would like to share some of the things that I have found, gathered and learned in the hopes that it will also benefit YOU. I wish for all those who are currently married to build upon that sacred union and pay the price----devote all your energies to nourish and strengthen and improve yourselves and your relationship----daily!

Some of the resources that are MOST vital are the books by John M.Gottman, Ph.D. He has spent over a quarter of a century studying marriages. HE has focused on what makes a marriage succeed! (whereas most have focused on what makes a marriage fail!) AND, he has learned so well the signs of a healthy, successful union, that within minutes of observing a couple, he can accurately predict whether they will remain happily married or not. IF I were married, I would make certain that these books by Dr. Gottman were a part of my library and I would study them frequently with my spouse! (just FYI, THESE are a part of my personal library---as well as about 30 other books! I am serious about this, and I intend to be a true resource for my children and anyone else who would care to ask for the resources I do have!)

These are all by John M. Gottman, Ph.D.

Why Marriages Succeed or Fail

What Predicts Divorce

The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work

The Relationship Cure

The Marriage Clinic

10 Lessons to Transform Your Marriage

Additionally, I would include "Avoiding Emotional Divorce" as a must in my library---yes, I have done just that! and I have the movie FIREPROOF and I have the workbook called the LOVE DARE book and I would make certain that I was using that book from the very beginning of the marriage! BUT, it is something that can be used at any point and time. SO, if I were in a situation where I knew that improvement was needed, I would incorporate the 40 day challenge set forth in the LOVEDARE book! I would encourage anyone who is married to read and implement all these resources. THERE are so many more out there. BUT, these are the cream of the crop! And, these are written by those who have succeeded in their own marriages. They have deepened their relationships and have made their love their priority! THEY are the best examples in the secular world of what a marriage can be, what it was intended by GOD to be! I believe that we are here to determine whether we are going to be truly worthy of having a mate forever! IF we are NOT willing to give our all to our spouse, if we are NOT willing to sacrifice, to place their needs and desires and success above our own, if we are able to dispell all selfishness and self-righteousness and we are able to truly live and love and forgive and cherish our mate, then, and only then, do I believe we will be granted that sacred and most holy and highest of prizes---our UNION on into the eternities. YES we must be sealed by those holding the authority to seal us for time and all eternity! BUT the HOLY SPIRIT OF PROMISE does NOT seal all those unions! I believe that we are here to determine if we will in fact, be worthy of that most awesome gift of God. AND, believe me, I have seen so many---my own included---so very many marriages that are willingly just co-existing! That is NOT the union that our Heavenly Father desires we have forever! We must work to be worthy of and to love enough and cherish enough; that blessed mate! I do not have that opportunity to work toward that goal, here and now. I lost that many years ago. BUT, with all my heart and soul, I implore you who have not lost that chance, to work all the harder and to make your marriages what GOD intended them to be! I implore you to forget about seeking out others to fulfill whatever void you may feel, and turn to your spouse and work it out! THAT will be the ONLY true way to find the JOY and HEAVEN ON EARTH that can come with a righteous and covenant marriage.

SO, with all my heart, I implore those of you who are able to work, to do just that! FIND every and all of the very best resources out there! Pick those that fit best your situation! NEVER give up that dream of making your union the most sweet and heavenly union possible! LIVE for each other and shower each other with the love, the purest love possible. I pray that my children who are currently engaged and planning to wed, will also read, study, pray and ponder all that they must become in order to be a success in this, the greatest of all adventures possible on this planet!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I Don't Want to Gain the WHOLE WORLD and LOSE MY SOUL!

There is a song by Toby Mac, entitled, "Lose My Soul" It uses the Scripture found in Mark 8: 36
36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

I have found such strength and joy in listening to KLOVE radio. The music is WONDERFUL! They play worship hymns, praising the LORD! There are no inappropriate lyrics, no embarrassing themes. I am uplifted and encouraged as I sing along with those who have chosen to use their talents to sing of the things of eternity, of goodness, of our Savior and Our Heavenly Father. Here are artists of great talent, using their talents to lead others to Christ.

As for me, I have no chance of gaining much that this world has to offer, materialistically speaking. Therefore I am not tempted to trade my soul for the things of this world. BUT these men and women COULD use their talents far differently and could actually choose the world over the things of eternity! SO, I am in awe of them. I would hope that were I ever faced with that decision, I too, would chose to shun the world and NOT lose my soul for the things that do not last, do not bring lasting joy or peace!

As I thought of this very theme, making choices that matter, I decided to view the movie on DVD, entitled Valkyrie. I felt it an appropriate time to view, seeing that the anniversary of D-DAY is just days away.....June 6, 1944. Although the events depicted in the movie are not related to D-Day specifically, it is all about World War II.

It is the true story of Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, the master-mind behind the last attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler. Colonel Stauffenberg exhibits such profound courage and strength. HE does NOT want to gain the world and lose HIS soul! HE does NOT want his children to be the victims of the dishonor that Hitler's actions have placed upon all of Germany. No, he is willing to sacrifice his life, in order to save his family, their honor and to return Germany to the people who are honorable and decent. And, in the end, he does sacrifice his life. BUT, as history records, it is NOT in vain that he does give his life for that cause. He and those who worked with him, do NOT bear the burden of shame and dishonor that those who supported and assisted Hitler do!

It would seem nearly impossible to be in a similar situation. To be aware of a mass extermination of a race or culture---the Jewish people, and look the other way! And then to watch those who tried to save the Jewish people also suffer the same fate, death and worse! It is an incredible, horrific thing! Surely, we are more humane in our day! SURELY there are NO such crimes against humanity now! OR are there? YES, there are! AND, it is incumbent upon us to be as valiant and vigilant in standing up and being counted as one against such brutality. YOU may ask, where are such crimes being committed? Right here in our nation, every day. Thousands upon thousands of UNBORN children are being slaughtered DAILY! And, yes, there are nations who are yet dealing with ethnic cleansings as well. BUT, here, right here in our land, we are tolerating, and allowing the mass executions of those who can NOT defend themselves, can not even speak out against their executioners.

I do NOT support violence as a means of putting an end to this horrific crime against the unborn. The Vigilante killing of those who are killing the unborn is not the answer. We must do more to put an end to the tragedy. BUT we must begin with our youth. It is not enough to legislate against abortion. We must destroy the desire to dismiss so cavalierly the life of the unborn. We must teach our children the sanctity of life and teach them to value life from the moment of conception. To be true to the only code of happiness that also is the only course of true happiness, CHASTITY! May we end the holocaust of our day, may we have the courage and the strength to be found on the side of honor and courage and may we each choose to make a difference. I believe we will likewise be held accountable for our actions in this war upon the unborn. May we all fulfill our part well, that when we are called home, we will not be ashamed that we did not do all that we could.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Musings

My children and I have a tradition for Memorial Day. We began this tradition nearly two decades ago. I was concerned that my children would not understand the sacred nature of this holiday---Memorial Day. We have had members of our families serve our country in times of war and peace, but, we have been so very blessed in that we do not have any close family members that have lost their lives in the service of our great country. SO, to make it more personal, I began to take my children to the cemetery on Memorial Day. We would discuss the white crosses and American Flags that adorned some of the plots, and then, we would go home and watch a variety of "War Movies" to bring home the somber reverence that I felt should accompany this day.

When we moved to Utah, nearly 7 years ago, as we were going to celebrate in our usual way, at the cemetery, we stumbled upon a Memorial Day Service! I was overjoyed! IT was incredible! There were men in uniform and our Flag was raised, we were led in singing OUR NATIONAL ANTHEM and there was a speaker, an officer in the Air Force, from Hill Air Force Base! And, so, our tradition became far more than it's humble beginnings---with just me, speaking about the day! We now had real soldiers who shared their love for their branch of service and their love for their buddies and this great land. We added to our tradition, a stop to get donuts and juice and it has become one of our favorite holidays!

Today, we arrived at the cemetery just before the service began at 9:00 am. The service today began with the raising of our flag, OLD GLORY, and singing "Oh, Say Can You See?" It also included the posting of wreaths for each of the wars fought since we became a nation. Then a beautiful poem was read and a speaker spoke. Mr. McMurdie began by speaking of his 19 year old son that at the time when most young men enlist, he was enlisted in another kind of battle, that of cancer. He said that though he did NOT fight "the" enemy, he was no less dead. And his wife and child were no less alone. He then honored his son as he also paid tribute and honored all those who had also lost their lives, but had willingly given their lives so that we could be free. They also rang a bell as they read the names of those who had fallen in the wars from our tiny community. There were far more than I would have expected. ANY number would have been too many! BUT, again, my heart swelled with such profound gratitude, I was overwhelmed with emotion and the tears spilt freely down my face. HOW can we truly ever repay those young men and women, and the families that they have left behind? HOW can we truly be worthy of such an enormous sacrifice? I will never feel I can repay such a debt. BUT, I WILL ALWAYS CHOOSE TO REMEMBER THEM! I will ALWAYS SPEND THIS DAY HONORING THEIR MEMORY! I NEVER WANT MY CHILDREN OR MYSELF TO FORGET! A single soldier played taps, and after a five minute pause, there was a yellow balloon release in honor of those that have fallen, so that we can stand proud today! WE ARE AMERICANS! AND, I am so very grateful to be an AMERICAN! I am so grateful to be able to raise my children in this, the greatest of all lands!

I received this as a forward today. I checked with and I have corrected the mistakes in the original message. Originally, the email attributed the article written denoucing the pay increase to the Washington Times, when in fact, it appeared in the Washington Post. Also, it claimed that the editorial piece was written by the Actress, Cindy Williams, when it was NOT! The editorial piece appeared nearly 9 years ago but, in my mind, our military men and women STILL are by far UNDERPAID for the service they render to each one of us, and this great land of liberty. I post it in the hopes that we will remember just how much these great men and women do sacrifice FOR EACH OF US EVERY SINGLE DAY THAT THEY ARE SERVING!


This is an Airman's response to Cindy Williams' editorial piece in the Washington Post about MILITARY PAY. On Nov. 12, 2000, Ms Cindy Williams wrote a piece for the Washington Post, denouncing the pay raise(s) coming service members' way shortly-- citing that the stated 13% wage was more than they deserve.

A young airman from Hill AFB responds to her article.

"Ms Williams:

I just had the pleasure of reading your column, "Our GIs Earn Enough" and I am a bit confused. Frankly, I'm wondering where this vaunted overpayment is going, because as far as I can tell, it disappears every month between DFAS (The Defense Finance and Accounting Service)and my bank account.

Checking my latest earnings statement I see that I make $1,117.80 before taxes. After taxes, I take home $874.20. When I run that through the calculator, I come up with an annual salary of $13,413.60 before taxes, and $10,490.40, after. I work in the Air Force Network Control Center where I am part of the team responsible for a 5,000 host computer network I am involved with infrastructure segments, specifically with Cisco Systems equipment .. A quick check under jobs for Network Technicians in the Washington , D.C. area reveals a position in my career field, requiring three years experience with my job. Amazingly, this job does NOT pay $13,413.60 a year. No, this job is being offered at $70,000 to $80,000 per annum...
I'm sure you can draw the obvious conclusions.

Given the tenor of your column, I would assume that you NEVER had the pleasure of serving your country in her armed forces.
Before you take it upon yourself to once more castigate congressional and DOD leadership for attempting to get the families in the military's lowest pay brackets off of WIC and food stamps, I suggest that you join a group of deploying soldiers headed for AFGHANISTAN. I leave the choice of service branch up to you.

Whatever choice you make, though, opt for the SIX month rotation: it will guarantee you the longest possible time away from your family and friends, thus giving you full "deployment experience." As your group prepares to board the plane, make sure to note the spouses and children who are saying good-bye to their loved ones. Also take care to note that several families are still unsure of how they'll be able to make ends meet while the primary breadwinner is gone obviously they've been squandering the "vast" piles of cash the government has been giving them.

Try to deploy over a major holiday; Christmas and Thanksgiving are perennial favorites. And when you're actually over there, sitting in a foxhole, shivering against the cold desert night; and the flight sergeant tells you that there aren't enough people on shift to relieve you for chow, remember this trade whatever MRE (meal-ready- to-eat) you manage to get for the tuna noodle casserole or cheese tortellini, and add Tabasco to everything. This gives some flavor. Talk to your loved ones as often as you are permitted; it won't nearly be long enough or often enough, but take what you can get and be thankful for it. You may have picked up on the fact that I disagree with most of the points you present in your opened piece.

But, tomorrow from KABUL , I will defend to the death your right to say it.You see, I am an American fighting man, a guarantor of your First Amendment rights and every other right you cherish. On a daily basis, my brother and sister soldiers worldwide ensure that you and people like you can thumb your collective nose at us, all on a salary that is nothing short of pitiful and under conditions that would make most people cringe. We hemorrhage our best and brightest into the private sector because we can't offer the stability and pay of civilian companies. And you, Ms. Williams, have the gall to say that we make more than we deserve?


A1C Michael Bragg Hill AFB AFNCC

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

How Truly Blessed Are We !

I am, once again, working all night. I have been granted permission to use some of the time that I am working all night, doing schoolwork, checking emails, or just in general, using my laptop with my wireless connection. What a blessing that is right now! I find I am in the blessed situation to be able to multi-task AND be paid for that! But, it is still so very difficult to leave my children and work outside the home. I was so very blessed to be able to be a stay at home mother for 20 years! BUT, my circumstances changed, and my working is a necessary evil! ( I say EVIL because anytime I am away from my children, it is so sad to me....)

Anyway, I thought I might share a tender moment, and a sweet memory with you all. I was driving with my youngest daughter, Shawnie. (She is 8 years of age) We were on our way home from Brigham City. We had been doing errands and now had about a 30 minute drive just to chat. IT has been particularly hard on Shawnie when I do have to work. SO, she began to complain, once again, about how much she truly hated me leaving her the nights I did work.

I pondered as to what to say to her that I had NOT ALREADY said on the subject! I had often told her all of the reasons that our budget just could not allow me to be home 24/7! I felt impressed to ask her if she even knew what I did when I was at work! She replied that she knew I took care of a little boy, but that was all! SO, I began to tell her about my work. I said, " Shawnie, do you know that this little boy I take care of at night does have his parents home, but, if I was not there, they would not be able to ever get a full nights sleep!" Shawnie said, "Why not Mom?" I then explained what I was required to do for this little patient of mine. I said, "Shawnie, do you know that he can not even breathe without the help of a tube in his neck? AND, he cannot even eat like you can. All of his food has to be fed to him through a tube that goes into his stomach. HE cannot even drink anything nor can he eat anything. IF he is thirsty, he cannot even tell me! I just have to keep his mouth moist and put Vaseline on his lips. Did you know that his lips get so dry and chapped because he cannot even lick his own lips? HE cannot scratch if he has an itch! He does not have any use of his legs or arms. I have to turn him frequently all night, so he does not get sores on his shoulders, back, arms, and feet! Can you imagine how hard it must be for him? IF something is bothering him, he cannot even tell me! Sometimes, it takes me a while to figure out why he is crying! And, it breaks my heart! I work so hard and fast to try and find out just what he does need so that he is not suffering!" Shawnie was so very quiet by this point. I looked over at her, and I was overwhelmed with emotion, as I saw tears welling up in her eyes and spilling down her cheeks. She did NOT speak for a moment. Then, she said, "Mom, I will never ever ask you to stay home from work again! HE really does need you more than I do, doesn't he?"

Then, I began to cry. I told Shawnie that I loved this little boy and it did make my day that when he hears my voice as I enter his room, he will smile! HE does make noise and tries to talk to me as I read to him and it is clear to me that he is aware of his surroundings! BUT, the love I had for my little patient, would never ever be as great as my love for her! FOR each of my own children! I told Shawnie that my job was NOT to be his Mom, because he does have a Mom that loves him like I love her! I was just there to give his parents the help they need to care for him. I explained to her that we just do not always even comprehend our blessings! HOW wonderful that we can move our limbs, eat our food, scratch at whatever itches! HOW sad that we take all these things for granted. BUT, it is when we see others that are so limited, that we must always treat them with the utmost kindness and love and then thank our Heavenly Father that we have been so very blessed!And, we should ALWAYS pray for those who do not have all that we have been so very blessed to have! I had no idea that Shawnie would react as she did! I did NOT even think, until that moment, to explain how really important it was, to that family, that I did help them at night. I was so moved that Shawnie would be so mature and self-sacrificing! At such a young age, to tell me that he needed me more than she did! I just wept along with her! How grateful I am for the whisperings of the spirit that led me to explain more fully to Shawnie, just what I was doing each night I did work!

And, she has been true to her word! She has NOT complained as I have had to leave around 7 pm the nights I do work. She will tell me that she is going to miss me, and I hug and kiss her and tell her that I will really miss being with her! IT is still so hard to leave my own beautiful children as I do go off to work! IT is such an amazing blessing to me, though, that I can tell my children that I am not just working for a paycheck, but, I am truly being of service to this family that has been given such an enormous challenge to deal with for the life of this child.

How blessed we are to have the use of our senses, our limbs, our voices! May we thank the LORD for all these gifts and use them always to bless others, never to hurt or harm our brothers and sisters here upon this earth!

Monday, May 18, 2009


April was such a busy month! BUT, it was such a joy-filled month as well! I was so very blessed to have three of my daughters return home! Kathryn, who is 21, was serving a mission for our church in Phoenix, Arizona. She was gone for 19 LONG months! SO, to see her coming down the stairs at the Salt Lake City Airport, well, I was overwhelmed! FOR the first week that she was home, every time, and I mean EVERY TIME I saw her, I just wept! It was so wonderful to have her home. I have likewise wept at the blessing of having my other two daughters return home from Minnesota. Colleen, who had been gone for almost 2 years, was so sorely missed! I am so very grateful that she took us up on the offer to come home after Kathryn and I flew to Minnesota to have Kathryn see her father and her sisters and new nephew, Trevor! Bonnie and Scott's little Trevor is so adorable! IT was such an amazing thing to see my oldest daughter excel in her mothering! FOR so many years, she had told me that she did NOT wish to have any children! BUT, after waiting for 7 years, I guess the time was right and she has now exclaimed that she wants to have more children, she finally understands why I wanted to have so many beautiful little babies come join our family! Carrie Ann had been staying with Bonnie and Scott to help with Trevor. I was able to be there for his birth, but, being a single, working Mom, I could NOT stay as long as I wanted, and so, Carrie took my place. She was a wonderful help and yet, again, was sorely missed by me at home!

And, it is with great anticipation that we look forward to Bonnie and Scott and Trevor moving in with us come August, so that they can find work, find a home of their own and just be near us. I will then be in heaven! There just is NO greater JOY for me, than to have ALL of my children close!

I have started a couple of posts, and yet, with all the hubbub of life right now, I have been unable to complete them. I will soon....
FOR today, I just would like to share my gratitude for the blessings of having so many wonderful, amazing, awesome, outstanding and beautiful children! I am so humbled that I would be so very blessed! I am so very grateful that we have a HEAVENLY FAMILY! Heavenly Parents, an OLDER BROTHER and it is so awesome that we are all spirit children of our Heavenly Parents! I am also overwhelmed at the love THEY have for all of US! THAT was no more evident then when our Savior came down to this earth, took on a mortal frame and lived a perfect life, so as to show us the way! AND, what was HIS reward for living so perfectly? HE was condemned, persecuted, tried and finally crucified on the Cross at Calvary. BUT, that was NOT all, he took upon HIMSELF the sins of ALL those who would ever live here on this earth.....for you and for me, he atoned for all of our sins. HE then died for us, so that we might LIVE again! AND, if we choose to live by HIS laws, obey HIS and the Father's commandments, we will live with THEM again, forever, to never again be separated from THEM or from our FAMILIES! HOW precious this truth is to me! HOW great is my gratitude for that, the greatest gift, the greatest act of mercy and love for all of us! Amazingly, all we have to do to partake of this incredible gift of eternal life and exaltation---or immortality and life forever with GOD and Jesus, the Holy Ghost and our Heavenly Mother, is to accept the Atonement,Be BAPTIZED as HE was; accept Jesus as OUR divine Savior and Redeemer and live a life as close to HIS as we possibly can!

I weep when I think of the beauty of this plan of happiness, where we can earn the right to live with our Heavenly Family and Earthly Family FOREVER!

I recently had an experience that brought the reality of this most precious gift with full force into my heart and mind....

I was in a hurry to get to work. I work nights as a private duty nurse. I work 8 pm to 4 am. It was last Monday,(exactly a week ago today!) as I was on my way to work, that I had planned to go to Sam's Club. My children were involved in Soccer and they all needed TREATS for their teams and their coaches! SO, with three teams, and three coaches, I decided it would be far more cost efficient to buy in bulk! I had a gift card with about $40 on it, and I had about that much in cash as well. I took my purchases quickly to the check-out. I gave the cashier my gift card first and asked her to run it first. She did. BUT, it came back declined! I was shocked! I KNEW the money was ON that CARD! I asked her to please run it again. This she did. Once again, it was declined. I do not know if that has ever happened to anyone else, but, it is SO embarrassing! I did NOT have another way to pay and the total exceeded my cash on hand. The total was $69.01! I began telling the cashier which items to take back in order to have enough money to pay my bill. Meanwhile, there was a family standing in line next to me. The gentleman approached me after we had started taking items back. He looked into my eyes, and simply said, " Will you allow me to do this?" I said, "What??" He said, "Will you allow me to pay for your groceries?
I will run it through on my card." I was dumbfounded! I was overwhelmed! I said, "I do have the money, I can give you all my cash and there is $36.00 on this card, I KNOW that there is!" He said, " NO, I do NOT want your money or your card. Please just allow me to do this for you." I began to cry. I said, "Why? Why would you do this?" He said, " Just consider this your lucky day!" I was shocked! I hesitated and he began talking to the cashier. He told her to ring back up all the items she had deleted from the bill, then, he ran his card! I was, of course, still in tears! I asked if there was ANYTHING I could do to repay him, he nodded no, and just smiled! I walked out of Sam's Club, I began to quickly load the car with the groceries, fearing I would be late for work! My benefactor came out with his wife and disabled son. I was still in tears, and I thanked them again. They just smiled and said, "YOU are most welcome!"

It took awhile to recover. I have been so very blessed! I have been the recipient of so much kindness, so many acts of service and love! I feel so very unworthy of all that I have been given!

As I pondered again, yesterday, about this very event that started my week, I thought how similar that is to what the Savior does for us, did for us and is STILL DOING FOR EACH OF US! HE merely asks, "WILL YOU ALLOW ME TO HELP YOU? WILL YOU ALLOW ME TO TAKE THIS BURDEN FROM YOU?" SO often, I have doggedly refused HIS proffered, FREE gift! I have felt that I MUST somehow do it all alone! I must NOT rely on ANYONE! And, yet, HE is still there, offering to HELP ANYONE OF US that are willing to allow HIM TO HELP us! ALL HE asks is that we accept HIM and HIS GIFT!

I thought, one day, I too want to be able to do for someone else what was done for me. I have had the opportunity to do it on a MUCH, MUCH smaller scale. A couple of times, I have been able to provide the needed change for someone in line ahead of me, when they were just a bit short. NOTHING CLOSE to $69.01! But, hopefully, and actually I KNOW, it is NOT the size of the gift we are willing to offer our brothers and sisters! IT is just that in our hearts we would and we do what and when we can!

THEN I reflect on that most precious of gifts given to me, that of my own birth provided to me by my angel mother and my father....and the spiritual rebirth made available by OUR SAVIOR, even Jesus the Christ! ONE day, I pray, I will be worthy and able to enter HIS presence and kneel at HIS feet, bathe his feet with my tears, and kiss the nail prints in HIS hands and feet. ONE day, I pray, I will be able to tell HIM in PERSON, how GREAT HE IS, HOW GRATEFUL I am for HIS ATONING SACRIFICE! AND for HIS perfect light and life! What a sacred and holy and blessed day that will be!

Until that time, what can I DO? Well, I can be more and more like that HUMAN savior at Sam's Club! I can seek out those in need around me! I can pray to have a far more observant heart and to have an increased awareness of those around me that might just need that hug, that smile, that note of encouragement. I pray that I can live my life more determined to do SO much MORE good! TO BE HIS HANDS! TO show in every word and deed, that I am a true disciple of MY SAVIOR, Jesus Christ! TO have everyone around me feel HIS LOVE for them THROUGH ME! That is my constant prayer! MAY I NEVER FORGET all that HAS been done for me, by the angels HE has sent to me, and MOST ESPECIALLY, BY our LORD as well.

Sunday, March 8, 2009


I would like to dedicate this post to a very dear friend, Randy. We were friends over 32 years ago, and just recently reconnected. It is amazing how time flies! I remember some of the times we shared--- as if it were just yesterday.

One of the things that I remember about Randy, was his great faith and obedience. We were discussing in either a fireside or Sunday School lesson the law of Tithing. Randy volunteered the fact that paying tithing was NOT a difficult principle for him. I remember him saying that he would just place his tithing in a jar, and it was NEVER even a temptation to spend the "Lord's Money!" I was in awe of that! I did NOT have a problem paying tithing myself---in that I wanted to pay it and I was happy to do so....but, for me, I had to pay it immediately, because if I did leave it laying around, I would be tempted to use it and rationalize that I could just replace it! OR, my memory has never been super---so, if I did NOT pay it, I would sometimes actually forget it was NOT mine to spend! For me, I just knew the safest way to go, was to pay my tithing immediately and then I had a peace about having done what I needed and wanted to do.

I remember my father teaching us about his experience with tithing. FOR those who may not know what I mean when I mention the word, TITHING----it is, to those of us who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints---one-tenth of all our increase or income. IT is left to the individual to determine just what that increase is. FOR those who are farming or who own businesses, I imagine it is a far more difficult matter to determine. Since I have always been employed, either as a babysitter in my earliest teens, to a nurse now, I have always rounded up to the nearest dollar---- the "gross pay" which was on my pay stub.

Anyway, my father served a mission to Leeds, England in the 1950's. His father and mother were not actively attending church and so, did NOT pay tithing; among other things. (my grandfather served in the Navy, and had tattoo's, smoked like a chimney and drank like the sailor he was! In our church, we do not drink alcohol, coffee, tea or use tobacco. My father's parents did many of the things we were taught to avoid like the plague.) IT has been a great blessing to me that my parents, both of which came from families that were not actively living the gospel principles, chose to become stalwarts in living our religion. My deep gratitude for their choice is ETERNAL! But, back to the father knew that his father was NOT paying tithing. He decided, therefore, to pay tithing on the money that his father sent to him to support him while he was on his mission. I do not remember if my father told Grandpa about this, my guess is that he did NOT disclose it. I am guessing that had my father told grandpa he was paying tithing on the money he sent to my father, that Grandpa would have either sent much less or none at all! Well, my father told us that he did NOT keep track of how much money he had from day to day or even month to month! (that is so very hard to imagine, since my father---all through my childhood to the present---has had my mother record EVERY SINGLE PENNY that is received, spent etc!) But, my father's great faith and obedience to the law of tithing was well rewarded. He said he NEVER went without. He even had people approach him for money, as he was at one point, the branch president, and he would give freely of his resources. He said, when there was a need, he would just go to the chest where he kept the money, and would take whatever was needed at any given time, and there was ALWAYS sufficient for his needs.

Then came the end of his mission. He had less than a month left, and he was confident that he would not need any more support money from his parents, so, he told them not to send the last month's funds. Unfortunately, he had NOT checked his chest and when he had just over two weeks left, he discovered that the chest was EMPTY! He nearly gave in to panic, but, decided that he could economize. There were things he had planned to do as he left England, (some sightseeing and such--which is NOT an option for today's missionary---but was totally acceptable back then) which he just decided he would have to fore go. With emotion, I recall my father telling us that just as he was sure he would have to fore go those plans, and he was trying to figure out how to pay for his fare home, a check came in the mail from his father. The check that my father had told his father NOT to send! He was able to pay his tithing, fulfill all his plans and make it safely home.

It is my witness that he was blessed for paying tithing. I have NOT had to live on my father's testimony alone. I, too, have been richly rewarded as I have paid my tithing faithfully for all the years that I have earned any income.

I recall a time during the first very lean years of my marriage. We had paid our tithing, but, had no money left for food. I had made a commitment to visit the young women that were my responsibility as the young woman's president. We had just filled the tank, so we had the gas to do so, yet, I wondered if we dared to go, with absolutely no money left. But, in faith, my husband and I set out to fulfill my commitment. At this time, we did not have any children yet. I cannot remember how many of the youth we visited, but, I do recall that we left the farthest location for last. I remember visiting with the young lady; Linda, and I was so grateful that we had chosen to see her, it was such a sweet visit with her and her mother. As we started to leave, Sister Dixon called me back and said that she had something for me. I was surprised, I could not imagine what she could possibly have for me. Tears welled up in my eyes, as she presented me with two-- full to the brim, bags of fresh vegetables, fruits and food from their farm. There was NO doubt in my mind that God was the one who had inspired that good woman to share with us their food, so that we did not go hungry that week.

It was a shock to me when I discovered that my husband was NOT paying our tithing once we had relocated to Minnesota. After all the times that we had been so richly blessed by paying our tithes, I just could NOT believe that this was now a commandment that he would not keep. IT is my belief that his disobedience to this principle made it easier for him to then give up observing other gospel principles, and that led DIRECTLY to the demise of our family. I pray that my children will be far more wise and obedient!

During our divorce, while I was living in an apartment, I remember Christopher handing me a "budget" that his father had devised, proving that I could make ends meet with the extremely limited funds. I took one look at the budget and noticed immediately the LACK of TITHING listed. I pointed that out to Christopher and he replied, "Yes, I know, Dad said that you cannot now afford to pay tithing!" I told Christopher, "HONEY, WE CANNOT AFFORD TO NOT PAY OUR TITHING!" And, so it is...

It is my witness and sincere testimony that tithing IS a principle with a promise. I know without a doubt that if I do pay an honest tithe, then I never need fear. OUR needs will be met. I rarely know HOW those needs will be met, but, I KNOW that they will. I have had miracles occur far too often to deny. IT is to me a perfect knowledge that GOD will provide when we show we have the faith to PAY HIM FIRST! Someone said that we do not pay tithing with money, we pay it with faith! That is so true!

I cannot even begin to list all of the times that Heavenly Father has provided for me and my children. I remember when we first moved to Utah. I did NOT have a job yet, and the support payments were not coming in with any kind of regularity. I remember crying in my heart, wondering how I was going to find the money to feed all my 10 children. I just had NO MONEY! I do not even know now why, but, one of my children brought to me a box of books that we had not yet unpacked. I began to unpack the box and as I lifted a book out of the box, money just fell into my lap from inside the book! It was not just a few dollars----it was over $100! I do not know how that money got into that book, I do NOT know why at the very moment of my greatest need, a child of mine was prompted to bring to me that box where that money was. I cannot explain away that miracle. I can not explain any of the miracles. I can only testify that there IS A GOD in the HEAVENS! AND, OUR GOD IS AN AWESOME GOD! HE will provide. HE DOES KEEP HIS PROMISES TO THOSE WHO, in faith, follow HIM. I am so very grateful for HIS constant DIVINE INTERVENTIONS in my life and those of my children. I am humbled that HE DOES HEAR AND ANSWER my petitions. And, though my 10 percent is often just a pittance! I am so very grateful that HE does allow me the privilege to give back to HIM, even though it is so small an amount! I am so very happy and pleased that I can show in this small way, my constant gratitude for HIS constant care.

Friday, February 6, 2009

The HAND of GOD in our lives.....

I was called in to substitute teach a Seminary class this past Wednesday. I enjoy teaching about the gospel and sharing my testimony that GOD does in fact live and IS as involved in our lives as we are willing to allow HIM. AND, even if we do NOT allow HIM, HE is still there!

Anyway, I was supposed to have the class watch a short video about the Apostle Paul and then have the class fill out a worksheet. The final question on the page, asked the students to reflect upon their lives and share any thing that they knew they had experienced that had help mold them and shape them into what the Lord needed them to be or to do. I was struck by the beauty of God's workmanship in the lives of HIS servants and HIS prophets. It is an awesome thing to look at HIS HAND in their lives.

Take Moses for instance. He was miraculously preserved and taken into Pharaoh's own household, where he received the training and the education and the tutoring that never would have otherwise been possible. And yet, he was also nurtured by his own mother and taught somewhat of the Hebrews thanks to Miriam---his sister's quick response to the Pharaoh's Daughter who found Moses and pulled him to safety; out of the bulrushes and raised him as her own child.

Paul, likewise, was tutored and trained in ways not normally available to those around him. He was a Roman citizen, which allowed him greater freedoms than other Jews were granted. And, because of this, he was able to converse with and gain audience with those in high positions of power----such as King Agrippa! And on and on it goes...the Lord's hand provides the weaving of the tapestry of ALL OUR LIVES so that we each can fulfill our own unique missions while we sojourn upon this earth. It is totally up to us as to whether we avail ourselves to or even acknowledge HIS intricate patterns as HE weaves.

As I tried to share my own fervent testimony that this is the TRUTH---THAT we each do have a mission here on earth and the LORD is involved in our preparation and our paths, I shared just a couple of examples from my own life. I will share them with you now. I am in no way comparing myself to any of the Lord's anointed. I am NO PROPHET. BUT, I do wish to be HIS HANDS while I am here on this earth. One of the ways I feel HE has allowed me to do that--- is by being a mother. I had always wanted to be the mother of a dozen children. I just always wanted my home filled with many children from the time I was very young. And, Heavenly Father provided a means for me to prepare for that role. When I was about 15, our church would meet on Sundays for Sunday School and Sacrament Meeting. But, because in Marquette Michigan, our members traveled great distances to attend, we also had our Priesthood for the men and Relief Society for the women on Sundays as well. This meant that the children were unsupervised for just over an hour. Well, the youth were asked if they would assist in tending the children while their parents were in these additional Sunday meetings. Unfortunately, only two youth volunteered. It was my sister Stacie and myself. SO, Stacie was given an adult to help her tend the children between the ages of 3-11, while I was given the toddlers and infants to 2 years old. I had about 10-12 babies each Sunday. I was alone, in a fairly good sized room and I would just take each baby, one by one and feed them, and then change their diapers and then just go around holding and loving them until their parents came to claim them. I am not sure how many children my sister and the adult woman had, but, I am sure it was probably close to 20! For my part, I LOVED my babies. I was in heaven. Little did I know that I would, myself have 11 of my own babies to love and care for as an adult! I know that the years that I was blessed to care for all those sweet babies, did help prepare me for the demands of having all my own children.

Around this same time period, as I planned what courses I would take during my high school education, there was a great deal of peer pressure AGAINST taking homemaking courses. I am not sure why this was, and I was even more unsure as to WHY I succumbed! I always wanted to be a wife, a homemaker and a mother. AND, the courses of cooking, sewing etc. were essential courses! BUT, those who took those courses were demeaned and made to feel as though they were less intelligent for taking those courses. ( NOT too many years later, I truly lamented my poor choices in courses and that I had NOT taken any Home Economic courses! ) But, instead, I signed up for Anatomy and Physiology, Biology, Integrated Chemistry and Physics---for two years! etc. I struggled with the math and the science courses, but, I would not yield, I stayed the course of taking all the difficult courses. I went into Nursing, and after becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse, worked for 2 years before marrying and beginning the family I had always wanted. My education---(for I did want to get my RN or B.S.N)...was quickly placed on the shelf as I settled into doing what my heart wanted all along---and what I had dreamed of---finally became a reality and I was blessed with all my beautiful babies!

It was not until 2006 (nearly 30 years AFTER my graduation from High School!) when I saw the reason for the weaving of the tapestry of my life's high school course choices. I was on trial and fighting for the custody of my 8 minor children. I had chosen to home-school them once again---after the divorce. We had moved to Utah and I had complied with the court's order to enroll them in public school upon our arrival in Utah. But, since none of my children had ever been in a school setting, it was such a shock, AND, coupled with the divorce---the rending of our family---well, the children were floundering. AND so, I decided that it would be best to home school, once again. I was not at all aware that it would mean I could lose my children. BUT, my ex-husband, who has always had the means to have the very best legal representation---used this "breach in the divorce decree" ( my return to home educating my children) to alter custody. IT was the fight of my life. I was in shock. I had no idea that I would come so very close to losing my children. BUT, there I was, in the most adversarial of situations. And, the opposing attorney was attempting to portray me as an ignorant woman, who was--for all my adult years, barefoot and pregnant and knew little else. As he began to interrogate me, he asked, so very snidely, "Can you read?" I said that of course I could read! He then asked me what courses I had taken in High School. I was unprepared for the shock that rippled through the courtroom as I felt the strength of the LORD whispering what my response should be....I began to state the Honor's English classes, and the Anatomy and Physiology and ended with the Integrated Chemistry and Physics! ( My ex-husband obviously did NOT know that I had taken such courses in High School because his attorney was silent for a time!) It was tangible, the shift in attitude. It was THEN I realized how far back Heavenly Father had been preparing me for that pivotal moment in time! I was so very humbled that HE would have cared so about my maintaining custody of my children, to have so weaved the tapestry of my life! (I am sure it also helped to be able to share with the court that my oldest son, who had been home schooled exclusively by me, had just taken his GED in order to get into college and he had scored in the top 5 percent of the entire nation!!! So, clearly, I had NOT failed my children in their education.)

That two-day court appearance was without a doubt, the very worst experience of my life in many ways. I was in tears, sobbing as the judge raised her voice and refused to allow me to explain the answers the opposing attorney was extracting from me. Yet, through-out the horror, I felt my Heavenly Father's strength and I knew HE was assisting me, bringing answers to my mind and enlightening me as to what I needed to say.

I was told the judge would deliberate and her decision would be made and communicated to me prior to the beginning of the school year. The trial was held the last two days of July in 2006. I can not even begin to relate the agony of those weeks which stretched into months. Finally, when I felt I could endure the agony of NOT KNOWING whether I would retain custody of my children or not----I remember praying fervently, as I was sitting outside the school, waiting for my children to finish their recess. I just began weeping and petitioning the Lord for my children. It was now NOVEMBER! I went home and noticed that my attorney had called. I called her back and she told me that she knew I would be distraught at not knowing, so she said she had not even read the entire brief, but, that she had read enough to know that though there were stipulations, I was, in fact, being permitted to retain custody! As I write this account, my eyes are filled with tears as the memory of that ordeal is still so poignant and raw. I can not recall the trial or the call from my attorney without shedding tears afresh.

BUT, again, I say with all the fervor of my being, that GOD DOES LIVE! That JESUS IS THE CHRIST! THE HOLY GHOST DOES whisper and CAN AND WILL reveal the Lord's will to us, if we will but listen! I know this, because I have had to rely upon the GODHEAD so very often in my life. And, I KNOW that if THEY are willing to be there for me---an insignificant, weak and most unworthy vessel, THEY are most assuredly available and willing to be there for YOU! For all of us! WE are ALL important to THEM! I praise THEIR NAMES forever and I know I am nothing without THEM! I have done nothing on my own....I am so very grateful none of us are required to do any of this alone! I pray that I will be found worthy to do whatever is needed to be THEIR hands while I remain on this earth.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Random Musings

January 13, 2009 at just minutes before 4 p.m., my firstborn, my daughter, Bonnie, had her first child. He came into the world after many difficult hours of labor and was 8 pounds, 2 ounces, 21 inches long and had an amazing head of thick, long dark hair! It is impossible for me to articulate the jumble of emotions that surrounded that blessed event. I could not help recall my own travail for each of my own beautiful 11 babies. My heart went out to Bonnie as I watched her suffering---knowing I would willingly have taken the pain for her, but, alas, that of course was an impossibility. I wished that I was back in time and was the one in travail, wishing with all my heart that I could relive the moments just after each of my precious babies were placed in MY ARMS! I watched in awe as I saw the same wonderment and fulfillment fill my daughter's eyes as Trevor was handed to her. I saw firsthand the circle of life and I was mesmerized by the colossal beauty of this divine process. And, I knew, that though the pain was just moments past, that pain would soon be swallowed up and swiftly forgotten as the love and the inherent miracle of birth, bound up those fleeting feelings of suffering and in its place allows only the deepest reverence and love to remain.

Trevor has not been a baby that sleeps much, if at all. The ironic thing is that my last post relating to my children was about Carrie Ann, and she too, was not a baby that would ever sleep or eat! I was fortunate if I was able to snatch 45 minutes at a time--of sleep, for the first 6 months of Carrie's life! And, Carrie Ann was the babe that introduced me to the world of mastitis! Yet, I could not have loved her more. I found that there was nothing that my children could do that would keep me from loving them so fiercely and so deeply, that in an instant, then as now, I would gladly give my life for them or do whatever feat might be required to keep them safe. I find it also ironic that it is now Carrie Ann that is staying with Bonnie, Scott and Trevor as the helper I would dearly love to be if so many states did NOT divide us from each other! Having 6 children still at home, and being a single Mom with a job----I could only take one precious week to be with Bonnie as she entered the world of parenting! I wish with all my heart that I could be as close, if not closer to her as I am so very blessed to be to my son, Christopher, Susie and my little grand-daughter. I am so very grateful for the awesome blessing I have to babysit my Becca three days a week---on average----while her parents attend school. I am praying for the day to swiftly arrive when Bonnie, Scott and Trevor will be nearer, so that I can be the Grandmother I have always longed to be for my children's children!

It is such an incredible experience to be given this instructive perspective first as a child---and if we focus we do NOT have to lose that perspective or any of those we gain as we grow and mature!!! It has been invaluable to recall how I did feel as a child, or as a teen or as a young mother when mentoring those I love most and those I wish to assist! (Which is everyone that would appreciate encouragement and love~!) It also serves to humble and continue the tutoring from on high, when I see how I would reach out to prevent certain hurts and pain, yet, I know because of my maturation process, I can NOT. IF I were to remove those pains and sorrows, much of the character building would be diminished if not vanish altogether. SO, I watch as I see MY HEAVENLY FATHER, allowing me to suffer the pains of my travail of my own spirit and character. AT times, I am submissive and humble and think to THANK HIM for this wondrous process of development and growth. Then, sadly, there are STILL TIMES when I shrink and shout at the heavens for the inevitable pain that comes from my own poor choices or folly or misguided actions. I pray that I will live long enough and REMEMBER WELL ENOUGH AND to THANK THE LORD GOD IN ALL THINGS!!! AND,also, to mellow to the point where I never again charge my Heavenly Father falsely! I am nearing a century of this life's experiences. I pray that I can become a more grateful, sober, kind, thoughtful, loving and obedient Child of GOD! I pray that my children will see my weaknesses and have the good sense to only replicate any strengths that they may see in me or others, and eliminate any of the negative examples, regardless of where they were seen!

I am so very grateful for the opportunity I have had to be a mother and now a grandmother. I look forward eagerly to the day when OUR family will be together here on the earth and in the eternities.