Sunday, December 31, 2017

2018 - "Here I GO!"

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As I  ring in the new year for 2018, a story came to mind.  It's not one I remember, but one I was told by my parents, time and time again. I'm not sure what age I was, but I was little and I could talk.  My parents would tell me not to touch certain things like the stove, iron, etc. Whatever! The point is every time they would say, "Don't touch that!" I would boldly hold out my little pointer finger while blatantly looking at them saying these words, "Here . . . I  . . . GO!!!" They were always amused at my response, no doubt that's why I kept doing it.

In light of 2018, my hope is that when I say, "Here . . . I . . . GO!!!" I am following in the footsteps of my Savior and not the ways of the world.

"Happy New Year! 2018, Here I GO!"

“He [or she] that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day” (D&C 50:24

Monday, December 25, 2017

Missing Church

A small boy with blond hair reaches out to take a cup from a metal sacrament tray that a deacon is holding out to him.

I was at a baby shower when I ended up visiting with a friend.  I hadn’t seen her in awhile because she hadn’t been at church.  I asked her how she was doing and she was quick to say that her children had been ill. If her children were sick, she wouldn’t go to church. It made sense. I got it. A personal story immediately popped into my head when she explained her situation, but I didn’t tell it then.  I just listened.

My story is a memory I long remember. It isn’t so much about sick children, but what I learned after everyone was well and recovered. It started one spring day when I discovered a blistered sore on Billy’s skin. The next day I could see he had more.  I was a bit alarmed. I could clearly see he was breaking out with something.  I wasn’t sure what it was, but a trip to the doctor quickly revealed a diagnosis. Billy had the Chickenpox.

We hadn’t had the Chicken Pox at our house before.  The vaccine wasn’t in use then. Getting Chicken Pox is how you dealt with Chickenpox. Mother's would actually bring their children to their friend's house where they had infectious Chickenpox with the idea of getting their children sick so they could get the Chickenpox over with. I, on the other hand, was trying my best to avoid the trial. I well knew this wouldn’t just involve Billy, I had three other children who hadn't had it yet.

In Billy’s very infectious state he couldn’t go to school.  He was disappointed and rightfully so, he was going to be the star of the show in a school play that week, Max of Where the Wild Things Are. I felt dejected for him, but in spite of the discouragement, there was nothing we could do to change the situation. He couldn’t participate and so he was replaced by his friend. “The show must go on!” as they say.

We stayed home following the doctors orders with plenty of fluids, Aveeno (oatmeal) baths, and Calamine lotion. Billy seemed to fair very well and right on schedule Ricky broke out with Becky, and Cassie following. I ended up being home for six whole weeks tending to their needs. For some reason, the girls seemed to have it worse than the boys, but they all survived. Me, I learned an important lesson.

During this inconvenient time, I did not attend church for six weeks.  I didn’t even think to ask my husband to stay home on Sunday so I could go.  He had some important responsibilities to attend to. Not that that ultimately matters when a crisis hits, but I knew I could easily get a substitute for what I had to do so I got my substitutes and stayed home. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t that housebound. I did get away for a walk or a trip to the grocery store, just not to church.

I had never really missed church before, ever. I always went to church. I didn’t think much about staying home like I did. “Someone had to watch the kids,” as Hugh and I would put it. I chose to do it.  I had a good reason to stay home. Again, my children were sick, but I didn’t really realize what I was missing because I was so use to the spiritual feeding that comes with church attendance.

The Sunday I went back to church I was surprised at the somewhat defiled feeling I had as I sat in the pew waiting for the meeting to start. It wasn’t that I felt guilty about not going to church, but I could tell I wasn’t quite in sync with the feeling of the Spirit that was in the room. There was something different and I was slightly taken aback by my uncomfortable feelings as I set there. It started to sink in that I hadn’t taken the Sacrament for six weeks. I had not renewed my baptismal covenants in six weeks. As I partook of the emblems of Christ that Sabbath day, I felt an immediate cleansing power take place that I definitely needed. “No wonder this ordinance is presented each week,” I thought. This sacred expression of commitment, gratitude, love, and so much more had evidently turned routine and commonplace because I was so use to the daily benefits. I knew, in that moment, as gratitude washed over me that I had actually been deprived of that great joy that the Sacrament ordinance brings each week.

As I sat in that meeting, I realized better, than I ever had before, of the importance of the Savior, His love, and His sacrifice for me. I knew that the saving ordinances made a difference.  I had not just given lip service to these crucial covenants over the years. I never doubted their importance, but greater understanding was distilled upon my soul, clarifying my dependence on Christ.

What would it be like to not be baptized or receive the gift of the Holy Ghost and the other saving ordinances of the temple? I don’t know.  I have them.  I am grateful for them and I wanted to make sure that I kept them.  I know they make a difference in my life and my happiness. I felt it so clearly in that singular moment.  I understood it and I bear testimony of its reality.  God lives and loves us and Jesus is the Christ providing the way for me to return and live with them again with my family.

“The person who absents himself from a sacrament meeting week after week and month after month, and nothing prevents him from coming, is not loyal to the truth. He does not love it. If he did, he would be present to partake of these emblems—just a little piece of bread, a little cup of water. He would want to do that to show his love for the truth and his loyal service to the Son of God.”  

Included in “Chapter 6: The Significance of the Sacrament,” Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Fielding Smith (2013), 94–103, (quoted from Seek Ye Earnestly, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith Jr. (1972), 99).

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

2017 - Hopeful

January is almost over and I haven't reviewed last year's or posted this year's resolutions. The quest continues to lose weight.  I fell off the Weight Watchers bandwagon and tried to muster it alone, but I did not do well.  Hoping 2017 will be better.

I learned how to submit names to the temple last year, but more importantly, I need to take more names to the temple and share them with my family.  Some may find this transfer of names from the computer to the temple easy, but it is still a stress for me. I know I will get better at it the more I do it so I continue. I am on a self-proclaimed mission doing indexing and researching daily.  I am no doubt addicted.

Hugh and I did get our DNA tests done - finally. I'm 100% European (no surprises there), but I was amused to find out how Irish I was. When St. Patrick's Day comes around I won't be faking it when I say, "Kiss Me, I'm Irish!" I'm inspired to become more knowledgeable about research and indexing this year.

One thing I hope to do more is writing.  I said I'd blog more, but I didn't last year.  My plan is to follow the #52 Stories questions on, hoping to get more down on paper about my own personal life and in doing so I'll get more up on my blog.

Last but not least, I wrote about doing a "good turn daily" and writing it down, but I did not find this to be as fulfilling and motivating as I hoped.  I live my life in service daily and I already keep a journal.  I'm not trying to boast, but what shall I pick in my daily doings.  I did not feel so inclined to record it all in a separate journal (which was the plan). If anything, I'll be looking to writing about my weight - food and exercise and such in a separate journal and keep my regular one for daily life.

I have lots of goals, probably too many and too vague, but here I go anyway 2017.  Hoping for the best!