Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Preparing to hear the Word of the Lord

If you are reading this and are not Mormon, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I believe that the men who lead my Church are called of God. I believe that they are prophets, not necessarily that they can "predict" the future, but that they are "set apart" or "consecrated" to give guidance and be in essence, the voice of the Lord, to the members of the Church.

Every six months, for two two-hour sessions on Saturday and Sunday, with one evening meeting for the men, we gather in buildings all over the world, on the internet and televisions in our homes and eagerly await what they will tell us.  Most times it's really nothing new, but I always receive inspiration and guidance for my own personal life each conference.

Here's a quote from one of my favorite talks from last conference: " Since then I have pondered this experience and the role of prophets. I was burdened and my head was down. As the prophet spoke, I looked to him. He redirected my focus to look up to God, where I could be healed and strengthened through Christ’s Atonement. That is what prophets do for us. They lead us to God." Elder Carol B. Cook, It Is Better to Look Up

I should have posted this earlier, but I have been trying to be better prepared spiritually this time to hear conference.  I mean, I LOVE conference weekend!  We don't have any other meetings. I can wear my jammies all day. We always get together as a family on Sunday morning and enjoy brunch, I love being able to soak in the spirit of the talks in my home, but I feel like I haven't really  prepared to receive the inspiration that is being imparted.

That being said, I've been trying for the past couple of weeks to prepare to hear the word of the Lord. I've been praying for the speakers and leaders, and most especially, re-reading the past conference. What a rich outpouring of inspiration I have received by re-reading those talks!

In fact, the other morning I was feeling SO frustrated about the number of things I had on my to-do list. I really didn't know what to start first. I'm sure you know the feeling.  I sort of glumly sat down to read one of the messages from the Saturday afternoon conference, which happened to be Elder Bednar's talk on family history. Wow, I couldn't believe the answers I received!  And my answers had nothing to do with family history.  Through his talk, I was able to calm down, realize what my priorities should be for that day and in fact, many of the following talks in that session spoke of priorities and using time wisely!

We heard an amazing talk last Sunday by a sister who shared the experience of her son as he prepared to hear conference almost ten years ago. He had just graduated from medical school and was preparing to enter a difficult residency. His wife had been diagnosed with a rare form of thyroid cancer and shortly thereafter, his young daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor.  He anxiously listened to conference, hoping to receive answers, but all he heard was basically "hang in there" through your trials.  In frustration, he actually wrote a letter to the First Presidency, never intending for it to be mailed. He just wanted to get his thoughts on paper.  His wife found the letter and mailed it.  He received a tender personal reply from President Monson, then a counselor in the First Presidency.  She read the letter to us, with her son's permission, and it was a beautiful reply and a promise to remember his family in the special temple session of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve.  His wife and daughter still suffer some of the effects of their illnesses, but they are both still alive and they have been able to "hang in there" through their trials.

This just further motivated me to be more prepared spiritually, and physically in my home to receive the Word of the Lord. I am so excited to receive the personal guidance and inspiration that will be available this weekend.

Hope you are too!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Good Seed? My new Experiment

 28 Now, we will compare the word unto a aseed. Now, if ye give place, that a bseed may be planted in your cheart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your dunbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to eenlighten my funderstanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.
 29 Now behold, would not this increase your faith? I say unto you, Yea; nevertheless it hath not grown up to a perfect knowledge.
 30 But behold, as the seed swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, then you must needs say that the seed is good; for behold it swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow. And now, behold, will not this strengthen your faith? Yea, it will strengthen your faith: for ye will say I know that this is a good seed; for behold it sprouteth and beginneth to grow.
 31 And now, behold, are ye sure that this is a good seed? I say unto you, Yea; for every seed bringeth forth unto its own alikeness.
 32 Therefore, if a seed groweth it is good, but if it groweth not, behold it is not good, therefore it is cast away.
 33 And now, behold, because ye have tried the experiment, and planted the seed, and it swelleth and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, ye must needs know that the seed is good.  Alma 32: 28-33

There are natural laws that when obeyed, can produce wonderful results. Thus it is with planting seeds.
My latest gardening experiment this year is collecting seeds. I decided to let some of my lettuce bolt....or begin to flower, thus producing seeds. (they are the plants in the front with the purplish tips) When lettuce bolts, the leaves get really bitter and they are really not good to eat. When the heat arrives here in the desert Southwest, all my cool season veggies begin to bolt and that's the end of that season!

So this year, I decided to allow some of the plants to go through their natural cycle of bolting, flowering, and producing seeds.  When the flower dries, you have a tiny pinch of seeds!  It's like a miracle! So I collected a small jar full of tiny lettuce seeds to be experimented upon next fall when it's time to sow the next crop. Here's hoping these tiny seeds turn out to be "good seeds."

BTW-this does not work if you have a hybrid plant. You will get seeds, but you never know what kind of plant you'll end up with-

Monday, March 26, 2012

Daughters in my Kingdom-The First Women of Relief Society

Last Friday night, we had our celebration of the 170th anniversary of the founding of Relief Society. Traditionally many wards/branches focus on the founding and organization of the first Relief Society in 1842.  But many months earlier, as I was beginning to read the new "Daughters in my Kingdom" book, I was so touched by the first chapter, and strongly impressed that I wanted to write a program honoring and remembering those early sister disciples of Jesus Christ in the New Testament Days.

We tried to recreate, as much as possible in the 21st century, the feeling of being in those early days of the Church. As the sisters entered, we dressed them in fabric, trying to emulate the type of dress those sisters wore.

We sat on the floor and ate olives, pita bread, fruits and vegetables and tried to recreate the feeling of what it would have been like to be a woman in those early days.
We had a table for those who find it difficult to sit on the floor.
We had a talented member recreate, in cardboard, a backdrop of an ancient city.
 But the most important thing I wanted to convey, was the strong faith and commitment of those early sisters. As I read the book, I studied the references on each woman mentioned, and continued to search for more.
 So often there were only a few sentences written about each sister, but the meaning was clear.
So many of them are not mentioned by name, but we know they are remembered by the Lord
We learned about Anna, who was widowed at a very young age, but served in the temple for many years and was blessed to be called a prophetess, because she witnessed and bore testimony that the infant Jesus was the Christ.
We learned of the woman at the well, who met Christ and who was the first person who hear Him testify that he was the Messiah, Jesus the Christ.
We learned about the great faith of the woman with the issue of blood, who believed Christ could heal her just by touching the hem of his robe.
 We learned about Tabitha, who probably was a woman of means, as she made clothing and shared with the poor. Because of the faith of her sisters, when she died, Peter raised her from the dead.
 We learned of Priscilla, who, with her husband served as missionaries at great danger to their own lives, and offered their home as a center for Paul the apostle.
 We learned of the faith and testimony of Lydia, who opened her home to Paul after he was released from prison and nurtured him and cared for his physical needs, probably helping him recover from the effects of imprisonment.
 We learned of Lois, who taught her grandson, Timothy, with his mother, Eunice, from the scriptures. He became a great missionary for the Lord. As it was unusual for women to be able to read in those days, what a great and valiant spirit she was to be able to teach her grandson!
 We learned about Rhoda, the young girl who was in a home praying for the safety of Peter, who was imprisoned. After his miraculous release from prison, it was she who answered the door at his knocking and ran to tell the others of the good news!
 We met Damaris, who had great faith and a strong testimony even those all around her were mocking and disbelieving.
 Eunice, the mother of Timothy, one of the first converts of Paul. Scholars believe she was married to a Greek, and so she had great faith to follow the Savior and teach her son from the scriptures.
We met Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist, and her great faith in bearing and raising her son in her old age.

There was an amazing spirit of love and gratitude for these faithful women, so many of them unknown but who will always be remembered for their strength during great trials. It is not known what became of them, but I am sure their lives were difficult and probably many of them were martyred. What a great example they are of faith and dedication to their Savior, Jesus Christ.

I believe that these are the first women of Relief Society. They created a pattern of service which was restored again in 1842, under the direction of priesthood keys.  May we (I)  honor their memory-by following their example of their faith, commitment and love for the Lord.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

End of an Era

Last month, after over 20 years, I typed my last tape for a medical doctor. It's been quite a ride, and a great blessing. At the height of my business, I was working 10+ hours a day and had a half a dozen women working for me.  At the end, I spent less than an hour a week working.
It's been a huge blessing in our lives. I was able to work from home and still keep a finger on the pulse of my family.  I can't say it was easy, because I always had huge pressure deadlines and picky doctors (and their wives) to deal with. But I made very good money and gained a HUGE education. At one point in time,  I joked with one of the physicians that I was receiving my MD by osmosis.That medical knowledge turned out to be a huge blessing to my family.

It's kind of bittersweet-I looked forward to the day when I wouldn't have the pressure anymore but I honestly do miss the money and the association with the medical community.

But it's time to move on with life and close another chapter in my history.

I wonder what the next chapter will bring?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Monday MishMash

Since I have been a blogger slacker of late, I thought I would post a few photos of the doings this past couple of months so my mommy knows what is going on in my life......

My delight over my purple carrots. This was a very strange gardening year so far. It was REALLY cold in December and not so much since.  I had a FABULOUS crop of spinach-best EVER. It was the first year for that. Currently I'm working on the spring/summer garden changeover.

The kiddos still at home......Alyssa got a GREAT job at the hospital. She is so much happier with life. It is heading her more towards her goal of being a nurse. She is in the hospital environment and loves it. She is a transporter.  Daniel started school and got a FABULOUS job at Chase Bank. I took this photo to demonstrate that he will make a wonderful husband some day. I thank Heavenly Father EVERY day for the great jobs these guys have. It helps them be independent (and my bank account is happier too!)

I decided at the spur of the moment one day to have a "food storage" day. I canned up about 40 pints each of black beans and pintos. My cyberfriend, Lacie (hi Lacie) shared how she does her beans dry and it is SUPER easy. Having canned beans is like your own fast food restaurant. I can open up a jar of beans and use them at a moment's notice. I also packaged up some whole grain pasta. I like using the PETE containers because they can be reused-cheaper than canning in the metal cans at the cannery.

We honored our sweet angel baby, Ella, again this year by participating in Ethan's Run. It is SO fun to get together as a family and we have several adopted members this year too. Jen & her friend did the 10K and this was the first year Kierstie did the 10K, thus her amazed expression at the end of the race. So inspiring!
On our way out the door to see "Wicked" with the girls. My Christmas present. I look like I'm pregnant with Amy in this photo........ ug.....

 Lots of parties and activities in the branch. The hat photos are from our visiting teaching convention. It doesn't matter what we do-we always end up having a party.......
Sweet EGB blessing. We flew off to the Bahamas the next day. My brain wasn't really there that day.
The house painting is finally DONE!  I swear, I was gone for a while month because it was such a mess at home, I would leave nearly all day every day, and then we went on our trip. Glad to be back to get something done.

So that's my mish-mash Monday...........

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Little Known Facts of our Trip of Which I did Not post Yesterday

Deciding that we would rather not pay the $20 a day for internet service, I took my wifi "hot spot" to use for the internet. About the 3rd day, we got a call from one of TL's business partners inquiring if we had our hot spot in the Bahamas. Apparently it was on roaming mode and our bill was up to $6000.
Needless to say, the hot spot got turned off and the $20 a day seemed much more reasonable.
Verizon did adjust the bill.

On Thursday, I got an email stating that our alarm company had received a message that our fire alarm had gone off. About 3 minutes later, I got a CALL from the alarm company stating that they were sending the fire department.  After about 5 minutes of sheer terror, we finally got ahold of the neighbor next door. The painter was there finishing off the cabinets with varnish and he forgot to cover the fire alarm before he sprayed.
{sigh of relief}

We actually left a day early, flew to Miami and stayed in a hotel on Biscayne Bay. Boy, am I glad we did. We decided to rent a car and go investigate South Beach.
Ummmm.... yea.... We are definitely not party people. It took over 45 minutes to go a few blocks on South Beach. We finally found a fairly quiet restaurant to have dinner.  You could hear the thump-thump-thump of the music all over the place.  I was glad we got to sleep in a nice quiet hotel.

And, by the way, DUTY-FREE does not mean CHEAP. TL saw a beautiful necklace and told the shopkeeper to put it on me.  After hearing the price I said, Take it off, take it off, take it off!!  The price $35,000!

We got to fly on a prop plane on the way over. I about freaked out when I saw it but it was fine. Even though it was very windy, we had less turbulence on the flights from Miami to Nassau than we did from Miami to Dallas...... I kept thinking about Elder Uchtdorff's talk on turbulence in the middle of all that.

I ate more fried food in one week than I've eaten for the last two years.
I've become addicted to pina coladas and strawberry daiquiris.  Yummmmm. All non-alcoholic of course.
They call the drinks "leaded" and "unleaded."  I'll let you figure out which is which.

We ate lots of conch (pronounced "konk")  It is the animal that lives inside the beautiful pink shell.  We ate fried conch, cracked conch, conch salad, conch fritters and conch chowder. I think I'm maxed out on conch........

We spent more time on the internet, reading books and watching movies than I have for the past year also. It was just too uncomfortable to go outside much. There was so much water everywhere that it was blowing sideways and we were blowing sideways. But it was a much more restful vacation than others..

Okay, that's probably enough about the Bahamas.....

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

How I Went to the Bahamas and Didn't get Sunburned

One word-
The weather.

The water in the ocean is supposed to be gently rolling. The palms are supposed to be gently wafting in the breeze.
Nope-not this time.
We had near gale force winds for the first three days we were there. I tried to wear some of my beachie skirts but in the best interest of preserving my modesty, I decided to forgo wearing them. Watching my skirt fly over my head is not a fun spectator sport. We got rained on a lot too.

But even though the weather was nasty, the place is GORGEOUS!
We stayed at the Atlantis Resort-yep, it looks just like in the commercials. We didn't stay in this building. We spent a day wandering around the resort.  We spent over 5 hours just walking the trails and we didn't even see all of it! They have shuttle buses taxiing people all over the resort. The whole place is over 400 acres!

They have an AMAZING salt water aquarium with sharks, stingrays, sea turtles and all sorts of assorted fishies. I don't know if you can tell, but the sting ray was HUGE and that grouper is one giant fish!
And uh yea.....there's lots and lots of money. This was one of the yachts "parked" in the marina. How 'bout your own private helicopter to take you to shore if you are bored out at sea?
We spent one day touring Nassau. It is definitely a third world country. This photo is a water pump where the locals in the "hood" can get their drinking water, cleaning water, etc. They may have no indoor plumbing in this neighborhood, but somebody sure drives a nice car!
But the people are all warm and friendly and I loved how sharp the police officers looked in their uniforms. This guy was directing traffic, and believe me, traffic was crazy. The use of the car horn is a requirement to get around I think. It is a warning, a greeting and a general, get out of the way sound. And because the country was under the jurisdiction of the UK, they all drive on the left side of the road.  A little disconcerting, the saying goes, "left side is right side, right side-suicide....." All the government buildings were painted pink and white, the police station was green and white and if it was another color, well it was a home or some other type of business.
 No words for this one.On the side of the Ministry of Health building.

We toured Fort Charlotte, a fort that took two years to build in preparation for an invasion and war with the French, which never happened.  The bottom photo is some graffiti that was scratched into the rock in 1850, something I thought was VERY cool.

 We saw the Queen's Staircase, built by slaves by hand in honor of Queen Victoria. There are 64 steps, one for each year of her reign.
 We went back to Nassau another day to buy souvenirs at the "Straw Market." The only way I can describe this is to compare it to going to Nogales or Tiajuana......nuff said.  This crazy guy was dressed up in a "Junkanoo" costume. Junkanoo is a celebratory parade they have every Christmas, New Year's and Mardi Gras time. This guy kept saying, "yeah baby" and assorted rubbish like that in my ear. Not sure he was all there in the head.
This one is for Amy. Queen Elizabeth's Jubilee year is being celebrated and there were photos of her life all around the Parliament building.

Another Junkanoo parade our last night. These people know how to Party Hearty.....
The original Bahama Mama......we were getting ready to go hit the "lazy river."  Ummmm not so lazy but really really fun.  It had finally warmed up by now.
Gorgeous view from our balcony. This is what it is SUPPOSED to be like....clear skies, clear waters, crazy turquoise blue and a gentle breeze.....
The End.
Perfectly lovely place.
Nice place to visit.
But home is best.