The Journey

She clawed her way up the steep mountainside.  The rocks she grabbed a hold of crumbled beneath her fingers and she would quickly reach out and take hold of the next root or rock.  Sometimes they would hold, but most of the time they would crumble.

The people at the top of the hill ignored her.  They laughed and congratulated each other on their successes at reaching the top of the hill.  Some of them had found easy paths up the mountainsides while others seemed to have a great deal of help.  But she felt as if she was doing this alone, struggling up the most difficult path of all.

Once in a while, a ray of sun would illuminate her path or a ledge would appear and she could rest for a moment to regain her strength.  After catching her breath, she would look down to see how far she had come and glance up to see how far she had to go. Though, at times, she would slide backwards, she realized that she had come much farther than she believed and looking to the top, she realized how much closer it seemed. It encouraged her enough to keep climbing.

Though she was laughed at and mocked by those taking the easier paths, she sometimes felt the hand of God reaching down and grabbing her just as she wanted to let go.  So she kept making her way up the mountainside, little inch by little inch.

Then finally…one day…she grabbed the last steady rock, pulled herself up and saw the horizon.  She had done it.  She had reached the top!  As she looked about her, she realized that her mountaintop was higher than those that had been laughing at her.  Because she had chosen the more difficult path, she had the better view.  She could see the vast valleys, mountain peaks and ocean spread out in front of her and it was glorious!  She sighed happily, reached her arms above her and drank in the sun.

20190826884_656620cbd4_b

 

Advertisements

Honoring President Thomas S. Monson

The world lost one of the best men today that it has ever known, though it will not be talked about much in the news. President Thomas S. Monson, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was not just a great man, he was a prophet of God and an example of Jesus Christ throughout his life.  I will miss him dearly, as I have missed the prophets who have passed away before him.  The video below says it all.  Until we meet on the other side President Monson…

https://www.lds.org/people/thomas-s-monson/memorial?cid=HP_3_1_2018_dPAAST_fANN-MNSN_xLIDyMSTHD_&lang=eng

700480829

 

Sometimes It’s Just Air…

The other day while running errands, I noticed the tire on my car was a little flat and went to fill it with air at the gas station.  There was another woman there filling up her tire and as I waited, I noticed she stopped and would shake out and rub her hands as if she was in pain.  I paused, because some people don’t always like to be helped.  But after watching her shake her hands out a second time, I turned off my car and went and asked if I could help her.  She said “Yes, please!” And so I filled up her tire for her.

maxresdefault

She explained that she had neuropathy in her hands from cancer.  My mother had neuropathy in her feet from diabetes and I knew how painful it could be.  She used to describe it as sharp needles of pain. I was glad I could help and after wishing her a nice day, she thanked me and left.  I thought no more about it.

The following Sunday, while sitting in church, we were encouraged to get up and share our feelings about Jesus Christ and other spiritual subjects if we felt inspired.  It’s called Testimony meeting and we have it once a month.  For some reason, though I don’t normally, I felt inspired to get up and share what had happened and talk about service to others as a way to light the world in dark times.

After I sat down, another woman stood up and said “I have the second half to Melissa’s story,” and she went on to describe that it was her friend who had been the cancer survivor! They had met at lunch just after my experience with her and she had talked about how grateful she was for the woman that had showed up when she needed help.

jesus-healing-blind-man-1617342-wallpaperThe woman spoke about how our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are in the details of our lives.  I sat there in awe (as did most of the rest of the audience) and couldn’t help the tears from flowing freely down my cheek.  I realized again how important our lives and everyday cares are to our Heavenly Father.  I thought about the numerous times someone has served me: an inspired call when I was lonely or feeling discouraged, a gift of money when I was broke, a knock at the door with some Christmas chocolate when I was craving chocolate just at the moment…and the list goes on.

inspirational-teens-STUN-homeless-Christmas-giftsWhat better way to celebrate Christmas than with random acts of love and kindness?  You can be the angel to someone else if you just listen to that little voice inside of you.  Sometimes it’s just a hug, a smile, a kind word offered to someone having a hard day, extra change, a listening ear, a pair of shoes, a shoveled sidewalk, a conversation with a lonely person and sometimes…it’s just air in a tire.

Sending my love and hugs and Christmas wishes to you all! 

christmaseve

We Still Seek Him…

autumn-leaves-snowIt slipped in softly and early this year.  It started long before the holiday decorations appeared in the stores…long before the carols began to play.  It began to appear when the first cloudy, cooler day came.  The barest drift of snow appeared on the very tops of the mountains and the autumn colors were changing all about me.  It whispered to me…but I didn’t hear it.

The noise of the world interfered.  I heard anger, hatred, wars, terrorist attacks, disasters and my own personal frustrations.  In some ways, it seemed almost all-consuming.  Even when I fought it with humor or other things, it was still there, in the back of my mind making me question many things about my life.

christmas-trees-in-the-snowy-nature-51961-1920x1200Then one day, while listening to quiet music, one of my favorite Christmas songs was suggested and though it was October, I listened to it.  The notes began to caress my spirit tenderly and quietly.  Like a warm hug that starts from inside and moves outward, I felt peacefully wrapped in love.  Once that song had finished, another one began to play…another gentle melody, another favorite song.  For more than an hour, I sat and listened to one tender, reverent song after another…and the darkness disappeared.

What counteracted the darkness?  The Savior of the world, Jesus Christ, who is the very epitome of love and light.  It was a much needed reminder that while the world is in turmoil, we can find peace within ourselves if we seek it…if we seek Him.  For wise men still do.

shutterstock_113729521

As a Christmas gift to you all, I have put together a list of those songs that brought me such warmth, love and peace.  I hope you all get a quiet time to listen and reflect on the peace that is still ours if we seek it.  Merry Christmas to my beloved friends and family and as Tiny Tim once said…

“God Bless Us…every one!”  

Counting My Blessings – Happy Thanksgiving!

(Dedicated to my mom who loved Thanksgiving and who taught me to be thankful for the truly important things in life like family, love, nature and Heavenly Father.) 

It seems appropriate to be discussing blessings during Thanksgiving.  The above song is from the movie “White Christmas”, but the words are timeless.  It was during an especially difficult day that I remembered this song.  As I listened to it, the words were like a lullaby soothing my soul.  I used to watch this movie with my mom and it has grown more dear with each passing year.

As I have struggled with the daily challenges of life, I have tried to remember to “count my blessings” or look for the positive in my own life.  Even on my worst days, I will look up at the stars,  and be thankful that I can see them.  When “my bankroll is getting small” and other events are worrying me, I take this day to simply remember all the positive that I have in my life: joyous memories, the ability to see a sunset or watch a storm roll in, to travel to incredible places, to hear exquisite music, to taste delicious food, to have friends around the world and most of all, to share in the warmth of  family and loved ones.

Dear friends, I hope you will do the same. On this day, let us be thankful for the good in our lives.  It takes only a few moments, but it will bring a smile to your face and a lift to your soul.  Even when your cares press in upon you so much that you feel like you can barely breathe, if you stop and think about it for a while, you will begin to find the blessings.  They are there, like small gems waiting to be discovered.

So tonight, as I lay there falling asleep, I will be counting my blessings instead of sheep…and I’ll fall asleep counting my blessings.

80105_MD-HappyThanksgiving_11-2012-600x367

(Though this post was written a few years ago, it’s been changed just a bit and the message is just as important now as it was then.)

And so the snow falls…

IMG_20171019_154929It’s late autumn in the mountains and the glorious colors of the leaves have faded.  They fall with the lightest touch and the ground is a carpet of varying patches of color.  The hills have turned different shades of pale yellow and brown.  Touched with frost, few colors now grace the landscape other than a few muted yellows, grey rocks and dark brown grass.  The tree branches have turned dark…starkly outlined against the sky.  It is almost a somber scene.

But as I stand here surveying, I look up.  Under a storm grey dome, a gentle snowflake, white and pure, glides softly along the breeze landing on my black glove.  For a moment, it’s a delicate picture before it melts away.  Another moment, another snowflake lands on my nose, tickling the skin.  I glance up to see the skies begin to fill with a thousand white feathers and I watch as they slowly and quietly cover the black branches and the dreary landscape.

BCBfmdHCIAAd7q7

It’s the first snowfall and as I watch, a simple and childlike joy fills me as I again witness the transformation of darkness into light.  A hush falls over the mountains as the thick snow seems to rest the tired rustlings of a weary earth.  Quietly…silently, the snowflakes change a lifeless scene into a new world of purity and light.

The symbolism is not lost on me: against the noise, darkness and despair of the world, how quietly does He restore peace.  It is much like a tender, white blanket laid over a weary soul restoring comfort and hope…a silent reminder of love.

And so the snow falls…

winter-pine

 

Who You Truly Are…

MoanaJust recently I saw the movie “Moana” by Disney for the first time.  I put it on while I was working and found myself drawn into the story.  The symbolism of the journey of Moana, both physical and spiritual, reminded me of so many parallels in my own life.  Then came the climax of the movie where Moana confronts the demon Te Ka and she sings these lines…

“They have stolen the heart from inside you
But this does not define you
This is not who you are
You know who you are…
Who you truly are…”

I couldn’t understand why, but I sat there with tears streaming down my cheeks. The lines “they have stolen the heart from inside you” shot straight through me like an arrow piercing my soul.  I thought back to the numerous rejections I’ve had from relationships or through other experiences and I realized that yes…they had stolen my heart.

As I sat there, I realized that because of so many painful experiences, that my heart had closed itself to love and to life in order to “protect” itself.  I was hiding from the world in every possible way, rarely letting the real me out to be seen.  I had arrived at a state where opening myself to a new relationship or even a new dream seemed beyond my power or strength. The fear of another heartbreak, another rejection, or another failure and the resulting searing pain from it held me in its tight grip.  How could I possibly try again knowing it would likely end in the same result?

But then the lines from the rest of the verse whispered through my mind “But this does not define you.  This is not who you are.  You know who you are…who you truly are.” Those lines seeped into my soul…lovingly, tenderly and quietly, melting the ice that had surrounded my heart.

The gentle voice reminded me that I was someone worth loving…that I was of great worth.  That I was a woman who had many good qualities and that I had much to give, not only as a romantic partner, but in so many other ways as well.  I wept, but the tears seemed to melt away the last tendrils of ice around my heart.  I took a deep breath, brushed away the last remaining tears and felt calm and peace.

I know who I am…who I truly am.  And though the world will still try to shout at me and tell me that I can’t possibly succeed, there is a quiet voice inside reminding me that I will.