Peace scripture for today

"Everybody in this life has their challenges and difficulties. That is part of our mortal test. The reason for some of these trials cannot be readily understood except on the basis of faith and hope because there is often a larger purpose which we do not always understand. Peace comes through hope." — James E. Faust

Psalms 34: 14" ...and do good; seek peace, and pursue it"

Isaih 43: 1, 2, 5 "But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.
When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rives, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned: neither shall the flames kindle upon thee. ..Fear not: for I am with thee"

Peace is not passive. It is an active journey.

And another:

But behold, because of the exceedingly great length of the war….many had become hardened, because of the exceedingly great length of the war; and many were softened because of their afflictions, insomuch that they did humble themselves before God, even in the depth of humility. (Alma 62:41)

At first glance, this scripture may not feel like it is about peace, but, as I read it, I can understand in a new way, that peace is a choice. Where some are hardened, others are humbled. Which will I be?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Visiting Teaching

I just listened to an interview with Julie Beck on the Mormon Channel.  It has touched me, taught me and humbled me.  I can do better as a visiting teacher and I can be a better partner with my Visiting Teaching partner.  Visiting Teaching is the most effective way to scale up the church organization as the church grows.  If I am not visiting teaching, I am missing out on opportunities to grow, gain perspectives and become a help in the life of someone else.  One of the things that she said that struck my heart is the idea that visiting teaching is one way to remember Him.  When we covenant to remember Him,  it means more than thinking of Christ, though, that is certainly part of it, but it means to act in the way He would act and minister in the way that He ministers.  We need to go to visit and minister to the sisters that have been assigned to us.  Visiting teaching will change me and help me to grow.  I can do better.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

When the hoped for miracle happens inside of you!

We have been praying, waiting, praying, wondering, praying and hoping lately as the different options for jobs and life's next move begin to slowly emerge.  As I was reading today, I came across a quote that is thought-provoking and provides perspective.  The quote is a comment on Alma 58: 10-13 by Gene R. Cook:
"It may be that the Nephites hoped for a miracle.  Maybe they wanted angels to come to deliver them, as had happened a time or two in the Old Testament.  But what did they receive?  The Lord gave them assurance, peace, faith and hope.  He didn't directly destroy their enemies, but he did give them the gifts they needed so they could deliver themselves...
"In other words, the Lord put inside these men the will and the power to do what they desired-- to begin with a strong resolve and then to see it through.  After their prayer was answered, the Nephites went on to secure their liberty.
"When the Lord instills hope and faith and peace and assurance in people, they can bring great things to pass.  This, then is often what we should look for when we ask for help-- not a miracle to solve our problem for us, but a miracle inside, to help us come to the solution ourselves, with the Lord's help and the Lord's power" (Receiving Answers to Our Prayers [1996], 156-157

Thursday, October 6, 2011

forbearance vs patience

I found this on a blog and found it thought-provoking:

Forbearance means that you bring love into play in such a way that you can cut someone free from their sin against you - without them even knowing or acknowledging what they’ve done. Forbearance is an expression of mercy that can cover both the big sins of marital strife and the small sins of marital tension.

Forbearance does not mean that we tuck sin away for another time. It is not a variation on patience.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

When good things happen...

I have tried not to complain much during this deployment...but, let's face it, I have complained:)  Now, when something great happens, I need to make sure I highlight that as well.  I found a foundation last week that gives grants to families of deployed soldiers for extra-curricular activites like sports and music ("Our Military Kids").   I sent in an application for Kailey and Seth's piano lessons and got a FIVE HUNDRED $$ grant for EACH of them!! What a great foundation and a fantastic and thoughtful service they render.  In the letter, they acknowledged the service the children render by having a parent deployed and they acknowledge how difficult it is for the children to have a parent absent from their lives.  It is so important to notice how hard it is for each of them and I am grateful that "Our Military Kids" is set up to highlight the sacrifice the children make during a deployment.   

I opened up the letter and packet and cried.  Sometimes tears are happy!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Turning another corner

Oh, what a rough two weeks.  I had a lot of things going on the first of August, my biggest pressure was going back to court for the court order under SCRA (Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act).  I kept thinking that First Horizon (the mortgage company that feels a need to fight me on our rights under SCRA) would back off and comply with the court order, but, they took us back to court on a process issue because I had not served them correctly initially.  They did not back away from the court date as anticipated but, went through with it and, as luck would have it, the court date was on Alan's birthday.  I woke up on the 5th so very emotional.  I didn't really expect to be so emotional, but, I was overwhelmed and upset that Alan wasn't here for his birthday and I had to go and sit in a court room with the possibility of having the court order reversed and having to start the whole tedious process over again. 

I had a pro bono attorney that was kind and prepared.  I was by myself for the initial court order, so, I was ever so grateful to have her with me.  It was a good thing that she was there too.  I dressed in professional clothes to make myself feel more confident and brave, and then, when it was my turn to get up in front of the judge, I was so grateful to have Mara Snyder (my attorney) there because she did all the talking and I ended up standing there with tears streaming down my face.  I could hardly look up.  I knew I was upset, but I had anticipated holding it together better than that.  I was so angry that I had to go to these lengths to get our rights under the law enacted.  I was so frustrated that the law is written so that the courts have to be involved from the beginning on this aspect of the law.  I was furious at First Horizon for bullying me in this way.  The other banks and creditors have just simply complied with the law.  First Horizon could get the whole thing thrown out and then I would have to start again with the other creditors as well.  I was deeply sad that Alan was spending his birthday alone and, even though we sent him gifts, cards and a package filled with fun trinkets, it was not the same as being face to face and letting him know of our appreciation for him.  My emotions took over and, there I stood, in front of the judge, tears streaming down my face. 

I had listened to the judge on the other cases he was hearing that day.  I watched him as he carefully considered each case and, with the wisdom of  Solomen, made decisions.  I was grateful that day that a thoughtful and thorough judge was assigned to this court date.  I listened as he used his judicial experience and combined it with his heart.  The judge ruled in our favor and a new court order was put into place.  First Horizon had to comply retroactively unless and until a complaint of substance was brought forth by First Horizon.  First Horizon has sold our loan so, they are unlikely to bring anything forward.  They sold the loan and did not put the court order in place before they transferred it, so, they left the fight still in process.  I left  the courtroom relieved and grateful.  And yet, I was still emotionally overdrawn.  I was considerably upset and drove around a bit on my own somewhat aimlessly.  I eventually went to Costco and stopped at a store to get something to wear for my high school reunion that weekend. 

I tried to get things back together and was so grateful to be able to spend time with my girls from high school.  They are a comfort zone for me.  I can go months and years without talking to anyone and yet, they each are kind with open hearts and there is a true friendship and love within the group of women that is a remarkable gift.  For a time, while I was with them, I was able to hold things together and just enjoy spending time with eveyone.  I spent Friday evening with them at a group get-together and then spent the evening with them again on Saturday night for a dinner and the reunion.  It was nice to be able to spend time with people from my childhood.  To reaquaint myself with people from so long ago and share a true interest in each other and a friendship based on common experiences.  I did leave both nights really early but, I was glad that I went.  I was otherwise rather numb and overwhelmed the rest of that week. 

I tried to keep busy and keep the children busy with fun activities.  We were on the go a lot, but I was just not myself.  I am tired.  I have been alone for a  year.  I don't know when Alan is coming home-- there has been talk of extending his time another 2 months.  There is a job in Virginia that Alan has been offered and that significant change for our family looms over my head.  I am willing to move, I have felt like there is much good that can come out of the opportunity, there are just many unanswered questions and it's all a concept rather than a reality until we know when Alan comes home and can get more details in place.  I am supposed to be the PTA co-chair again this year, I want to be very involved in the children's classrooms this year, I keep trying to find a job so that I can help prepare financially for the expensive move and lifestyle of the DC area.  I have spent time looking for rental properties and jobs and reviewing school systems.  I have spent time reviewing SCRA and making sure that we are utilizing all that it offers.  I always worry about children and school and friends and making sure that they are having the experience that fits their needs.  Does moving bring a better scenario or worse for them?   Nothing is dropping into place.  Nothing is within my control.  I work to go in a direction and get things resolved, and nothing seems to resolve.  I am tired.  I have been alone for a year.  I am tired. 

All of this comotion in my head was wearing me out.  My head spins with ideas for how to get out of debt, strengthen our savings, prepare our family, keep all the responsibilities in motion.  I hit a wall and just wanted to stop.  I don't want to turn into a sad and overwhelmed person that always has a complaint when someone says "Hi, how's it going?" or "Hi, how has your summer been?"  In the last few weeks, I have had no poker face, I just tell people that I am struggling and overwhelmed.  I keep thinking that I will give a smiley face superficial answer, and then I hear myself complaining.  It's not often a long moaning session, but, it is certianly not a thankful expression of the goodness and blessings abounding in my life. 

The last few days I have had a big perspective change.  It started with my negative or sad feeling for so many people in my class that did not have life turn out the way they wanted it to.  So many broken marriages within the group.  It made me sad that everyone's life was not working like I wanted it to work for them.  I wanted everyone to have a happily ever after that fit my definition of happily ever after.  Grace, dear Grace, talked me through this and helped me to just appreciate the goodness of the people and the bravery of their willingness to continually try.  When I decided to be happy for the part of everyone's life that they were happy about, it the change began.  I too have decided to focus first on the goodness and happiness in my own life.  My challenge is temporary, my fears for the next steps in our lives are simply fears, unfounded fears really.  There is nothing happening right now that has long term negative impact.  My husband is gone right now but our family is progressing in my own happily ever after. 

I have discovered sadness in the lives of two friends this week.  Each of these two women have had painful endings to long and seemingly happy marriages.  Each has five children with broken hearts because they no longer live with their fathers.  One story is particularly tragic and they are both extremely painful stories.  These are families that I know.  They are people of faith and goodness that want to retain their faith and goodness.  The end of their marriages leaves both with a sadness and a loss that is unspeakable. 

When I see and feel the sadness and the trials of others, I am reminded that mine is not the luxury of sitting still and feeling sorry for myself.  Mine is the opportunity to open my heart and extend it to those around me.  I can be filled by standing by the women in my life that need hope and perspective.  I can remind them that they are amazing and beautiful and bring much of value and goodness to this world.   I can lift the arms of the tired mother and remind her that there are many available to help and I can lend my open heart and hear her broken heart.  Jesus healed the blind and deaf, He helped the lame to walk.  I have been blind to the needs of others, I have been deafened by my own complaining, I have been paralyzed by my sadness and unable to walk towards others to help.  This year of loneliness has taught me much.  I have spent much of it in gratitude but had dipped down most recently with the pressures of the things around me.  I have come around a new bend in my road and am glad to see that the darkness and mist has been lifted and I am traveling for a time in the light.  I know that I will experience more times of gloom and self-pity, but, I am hopeful that the perspectives and lessons that I am learning this year will help me to keep those moments short and make them more rare. 

Little things made me feel grateful these past few days.  I prayed that when Alan moved to his new assignment on Saturday, he would have a chance to go to church.  He got there on Saturday and found that the group that is working with him is from Fillmore, UT.  He will have a church group in this new location.  He has not had a church group for four months.  I prayed this week that there would be something that I could do for my friend that is going through a difficult time.  I got an unexpected check in the mail on Saturday and can send her some money that will really help her. 

I went to church today and spent the whole day in gratitude.  I am grateful for the speakers and for the songs that were sung.  I was grateful for the opportunity to repent and to ask the Lord to help me move forward.  I found that I had a happy heart and that it took no effort today to keep it happy.  I am not happy because I have no problems, I am happy because I have faith that all things will unfold and that the Lord's timing will be to my benefit.  When I have faith, fear is removed.  Today, I have the strength to let faith be my guide. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Greet Each Day

Harvey was waiting in line for a ride at the airport.  When a cab pulled up, the first thing he noticed was that the taxi was polished to a bright shine. Smartly dressed in a white shirt, black tie, and freshly pressed black slacks, the cab driver jumped out and rounded the car to open the back passenger door for Harvey.

He handed Harvey a laminated card and said: “I’m Wally, your driver.  While I’m loading your bags in the trunk I’d like you to read my mission statement.”

Taken aback, Harvey read the card. It said:

Wally’s Mission Statement: To get my customers to their destination in the quickest, safest and cheapest way possible in a friendly environment.

This blew Harvey away, especially when he noticed that the inside of the cab matched the outside – spotlessly clean!

As he slid behind the wheel, Wally said, “Would you like a cup of coffee? I have a thermos of regular and one of decaf.”  Harvey said jokingly, “No, I’d prefer a soft drink.” Wally smiled and said, “No problem I have a cooler up front with regular and Diet Coke, water and orange juice.” Almost stuttering, Harvey said, “I’ll take a Diet Coke.”

Handing him his drink, Wally said, “If you’d like something to read, I have The Wall Street Journal, Time, Sports Illustrated and USA Today.”

As they were pulling away, Wally handed my friend another laminated card, “These are the stations I get and the music they play, if you’d like to listen to the radio.”

And as if that weren’t enough, Wally told Harvey that he had the air conditioning on and asked if the temperature was comfortable for him. Then he advised Harvey of the best route to his destination for that time of day. He also let him know that he’d be happy to chat and tell him about some of the sights or, if Harvey preferred, to leave him with his own thoughts.

In amazement, Harvey said, “Tell me, Wally, have you always served customers like this?”

Wally smiled into the rear view mirror. “No, not always. In fact, it’s only been in the last two years. My first five years driving, I spent most of my time complaining like all the rest of the cabbies do. Then I heard the personal growth guru, Wayne Dyer, on the radio one day.”

“He had just written a book called You’ll See It When You Believe It. Dyer said that if you get up in the morning expecting to have a bad day, you’ll rarely disappoint yourself. He said, ‘Stop complaining! Differentiate yourself from your competition. Don’t be a duck. Be an eagle. Ducks quack and complain. Eagles soar above the crowd.’”

“That hit me right between the eyes,” said Wally. “Dyer was really talking about me. I was always quacking and complaining, so I decided to change my attitude and become an eagle. I looked around at the other cabs and their drivers. The cabs were dirty, the drivers were unfriendly, and the customers were unhappy. So I decided to make some changes. I put in a few at a time. When my customers responded well, I did more.”

“I take it that has paid off for you,” Harvey said.

“It sure has,” Wally replied. “My first year as an eagle, I doubled my income from the previous year. This year I’ll probably quadruple it. You were lucky to get me today. I don’t sit at cabstands anymore. My customers call me for appointments on my cell phone or leave a message. If I can’t pick them up myself, I get a reliable cabbie friend to do it and I take a piece of the action.”

Wally was phenomenal. He was running a limo service out of a Yellow Cab because of his choices.  He decided to stop quacking like a duck and start soaring like an eagle.

What will you decide today?  Will you quack, or will you soar?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Forgiveness and moving forward

I listened to a spectacular talk by Elder Holland today.  He used the example of Lot's wife.  She looked back instead of forward.  She looked back at a life she was supposed to leave and felt the tug and longed to be able to stay.  The future is God's.  When we move toward the future with faith, we progress.  When we look back, at past lifestyle and choices with longing, it is an act of faithlessness.  When we look back at past mistakes, progress and love decline:
At this point, let me pause and add a lesson
that applies both in your own life and also in
the lives of others. There is something in us,
at least in too many of us, that particularly
fails to forgive and forget earlier mistakes in
life—either mistakes we ourselves have made
or the mistakes of others. That is not good. It
is not Christian. It stands in terrible opposition
to the grandeur and majesty of the Atonement
of Christ. To be tied to earlier mistakes—our
own or other people’s—is the worst kind of
wallowing in the past from which we are called
to cease and desist...
When something is over and done with, when it has
been repented of as fully as it can be repented
of, when life has moved on as it should and a
lot of other wonderfully good things have happened
since then, it is not right to go back and
open up some ancient wound that the Son of
God Himself died trying to heal.
Let people repent. Let people grow. Believe that
people can change and improve. Is that faith? Yes!
Is that hope? Yes! Is it charity? Yes! Above all, it
is charity, the pure love of Christ. If something
is buried in the past, leave it buried. Don’t keep
going back with your little sand pail and beach
shovel to dig it up, wave it around, and then
throw it at someone, saying, “Hey! Do you
remember this?” Splat!
Well, guess what? That is probably going to
result in some ugly morsel being dug up out of
your landfill with the reply, “Yeah, I remember
it. Do you remember this?” Splat.
A nd soon enough everyone comes out of
that exchange dirty and muddy and unhappy
and hurt, when what God, our Father in
Heaven, pleads for is cleanliness and kindness
and happiness and healing.
Such dwelling on past lives, including past
mistakes, is just not right! It is not the gospel of
Jesus Christ. It is worse than Miniver Cheevy,
and in some ways worse than Lot’s wife,
because at least there he and she were only
destroying themselves...
there is no greater requirement for us than to
do as the Lord Himself said He does: “Behold,
he who has repented of his sins, the same is
forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no
more” (D&C 58:42)...
, like the Anti-Nephi-Lehies of the Book
of Mormon, bury your weapons of war, and
leave them buried. Forgive, and do that which
is harder than to forgive: Forget. And when it
comes to mind again, forget it again.
You can remember just enough to avoid
repeating the mistake, but then put the rest of
it all on the dung heap Paul spoke of to those
Philippians. Dismiss the destructive and keep
dismissing it until the beauty of the Atonement
of Christ has revealed to you your bright future
and the bright future of your family and your
friends and your neighbors. God doesn’t care
nearly as much about where you have been as
He does about where you are and, with His
help, where you are willing to go. That is the
thing Lot’s wife didn’t get—and neither did
Laman and Lemuel and a host of others in the

BYU Devotional January 2009