Saturday, April 30, 2016

Day 54 of 365 days of solace

I have something troubling me-- yes, of course, it has to do with the thing that has troubled me for a long time now. For that reason, I've felt so terribly worried and sad today. Silently, I remained in my room most of the day. I sorted and organized drawers, paper, and purses. (I have a collection of colors).

Right now as I type I heard (silently into my thoughts) the piano intro of "Can You Feel the Love Tonight."  I've been comforted today, through a variety of songs playing into my thoughts. I'm thankful for that solace, and yet I can't seem to escape the emotional turmoil I am feeling. Turmoil based solely on fear of what could happen--but hasn't happened.

It would be easy for me to give up on trying and hoping for "good things to come," but that is not my way.  God has given me a new heart, because I turned to Him, and changed my life through the power of Jesus Christ's atonement.  Through the grace of God, I can do all things!


We must press forward.  We must remain
diligent to God.  For that reason I will still study more scriptures before I go to bed.  For that reason I will continue to pray unto my Father all day long.  For that reason I will be valiant in Christ until the day I die.  

“In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). 
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. [Romans 8:38–39]
No matter what challenges and heartaches you face, you will be alright, if you face them with God's help.  Say your prayers each day, study the scriptures, go to church, and then, in the quiet moments of the day...listen...for songs, thoughts, scriptures, hopeful memories, or the hand of a friend, who reaches out to help you in kindness...God will offer comfort, but we must be paying close attention.
Love, Christine

P.S. I did get out tonight. We got Little Caesar's pizza, and went to a playground with our new puppy.  I sat in the car, because I'm so sad, still sick, and was working on school work...but at least I made a small effort and got out...that's a good thing, right?!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Day 50 of 365 days of solace: Eye of the Tiger

As I was waking up today I heard a familiar oldie to my thoughts. I haven't heard it in such a long time, that I couldn't remember more than the chorus, and honest, it didn't make much sense to me-- that is, until I read the lyrics.

Having read the lyrics now, I realize that I need to have the will to survive and not give up on dreams, even when it seems that the time for dreaming has passed!  

I need to make sure I never trade my desires of the moments, for the long-lasting, eternal blessings of the future.  

In other words, "Don't sell (myself) short!" 

We all will face moments in our lives where the choices are crucial to determining the outcomes of our tomorrows!  Let's make sure that we don't give up on the victory that is available to each one of us!
I've got to get to bed, as I'm getting another illness, on top of my already viral, asthmatic condition!  Prayer, rest, and plenty of water. :)  So I will leave you for now.

Keep you eye on your goal, and set dreams that will fill your tomorrows with God's promised rainbows.
Love, Christine


Eye of the Tiger

By Survivor
Risin' up, back on the street
Did my time, took my chances
Went the distance
Now I'm back on my feet
Just a man and his will to survive
So many times, it happens too fast
You trade your passion for glory
Don't lose your grip on the dreams of the past
You must fight just to keep them alive
It's the eye of the tiger
It's the thrill of the fight
Risin' up to the challenge
Of our rival
And the last known survivor
Stalks his prey in the night
And he's watching us all with the
Eye of the tiger
Face to face, out in the heat
Hangin' tough, stayin' hungry
They stack the odds
Still we take to the street
For the kill with the skill to survive
It's the eye of the tiger
It's the thrill of the fight
Risin' up to the challenge
Of our rival
And the last known survivor
Stalks his prey in the night
And he's watching us all with the
Eye of the tiger
Risin' up straight to the top
Had the guts, got the glory
Went the distance
Now I'm not gonna stop
Just a man and his will to survive
It's the eye of the tiger
It's the thrill of the fight
Risin' up to the challenge
Of our rival
And the last known survivor
Stalks his prey in the night
And he's watching us all with the
Eye of the tiger
The eye of the tiger
The eye of the tiger
The eye of the tiger
The eye of the tiger

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Day 47 of 365 Days of Solace: Words from beyond the grave!

My Mom, 18 years old.
Tonight, I came across my Mom's journal. My Mom died nearly 12 years ago. I didn't know what I'd find, but I randomly opened to a spot in her journal-- and I was dumbfounded to read exactly what I needed to move forward in my own life at the moment. I found myself poring over the pages of her chicken scratch writing (sorry Mom, but you know it's true!), and being amazed at the depth of emotion and feelings which I could relate too.
My Mom never could have guessed the impact her journal would have on her daughter this many decades later, and after she had left this earth. How grateful I am that she took the time to write. I only wish she'd been a little more diligent than once a month, but you know what -SOMETHING IS BETTER THAN NOTHING!! (Hint,hint, for those of you who don't keep a journal!)
My Mom experienced tremendous hardships in life. Abuse, illness, divorce, loneliness,financial troubles, and the full range of trials. I was near tears to see just how she could speak to me from beyond the veil of death. Sometimes I look at my life, and I think, "Goodness, my life is a mess. It's all so embarrassing," but now I realize that our loved ones who watch over us, and most especially our God and Savior think nothing of the sort about us! We are completely LOVED- and understood.
While those around us may glare at us, look down on us, push away our friendship, Think we are strange, make fun of us, or misunderstand our hearts pure motives--I take comfort that our beloved in heaven completely understand us, because they lived the trials of that we face now. But BEST of all, there is ALWAYS HOPE for each one of us...no matter where our hands or hearts may be at this time of our lives. We can start from this day forward to change for the better!
I know this is long, but perhaps you will be interested to read a little of what she wrote. The first entry speaks of her feelings on a very happy day---and the rest are self explanatory.
I hope that somehow you will be encouraged by her words, and realize that trial will pass, and life is worth living.

==Excerpts of my Mom's journals=====

May 27, 1982
"Oh the fragrance of the earth and grasses, and the variety of bird songs mingled with the wind through the grasses and the sound of water going over rocks in the canal"

May 8, 1983
"
I have reached a point in the past few months where I don't care to live. It's only my love for Christine & Rebecca that keeps me going. I drag myself everywhere, and really care about nothing."
"I really believe the Lord understands the great distress, and more accurately-anguish, I am experiencing."





July 1, 1991
"It has been a long time since I took up my pen to write here. I feel such gratitude to my Heavenly Father and to the Savior for the blessings of this life. I was thinking (a few days ago) of how I would improve the last 4 years or so...As I barely began to make a mental list, I had the thought that my life was perfect for me, because it was exactly as Father had planned it. When I do things I shouldn't, I cause myself problems; but the rest of the time my life has been perfect for me and for those with whom my life is eternally intertwined."
"I know that each of us will have
many days when it is hard to put one food in front of the other. But within each of us is an unconquerable eternal spirit, that can rise above every trial and sorrow in our lives. That doesn't mean we will like whatever might be happening, but we can find a consistent peace and even experience a sense of joy from time to time. But first we have to completely accept the fact that the problems in our life are there because of the grand eternal pattern for ourselves and our loved ones."
"I am so thankful to my (Heavenly) Father for all the trials I've had, because they have truly blessed my life. I don't believe we have to like what happens to us in mortality- we only have to endure in faith, with a cheerful heart during those times. And, even when we cannot manage to be cheerful, we can be faithful."
====
You can see that my Mother taught me a great many things-- but the best thing was my testimony in
Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost.  My Mom was not perfect. She struggled, as you can read, but she kept moving forward doing her best-- even though she spent many years sick and in bed- due to illness and/or depression-- but somehow she gave us the tools we needed to keep trying, even though life can be devastating at times.

I hope you will look to God in all things, and learn to believe that you have a loving Heavenly Father, who has a special plan for YOU.  A plan that is individualized to your needs.  I hope you understand that you have to do you part in acting on faith-- even if you only put forth a shard of effort, your Father in Heaven delights to bless you in special ways.  

If you are searching for answers on how to put the pieces of you life together, or just want to feel happier, I invite you to "chat" with someone at https://www.mormon.org/

Love, Christine

P.S. To read more of my Mom, or see her pictures-- click here to my dedication to Mama! :)

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Day 45 of 365 days of solace: a letter to a friend & my epiphany!

I was really comforted by the words I wrote to someone I care about..  As I wrote I felt blessed by insights I'd never considered...  I hope that some of you may take comfort and hope as well.
====
Dear (Friend),

I really need you to start considering the ramifications of your words. I know you are worried. I know you ... I know you don't like.... I know you feel uncertain about.... I know you worry about... and about ..., and how things can work out. I know know you battle ugly dragons, which are constantly
trying to stab you from the inside out. I know you want to ..., and I know that those same monsters make it hard for you to think straight.  

Friend, I am sorry that you worry so much. I am sorry that your mind is always anxious, and that you are always feeling afraid of how anything can work out. I am sorry that you feel upset that I made a mistake with ..., and sorry that I don't ... better, which ...

.... I know your anxiety isn't going to magically go away, but I know that it will have less power on you, if you don't give it so much power.  When your anxiety wants to yell ..., you need to talk back and say, "I feel really worried about this, but I know that yelling at Christine isn't going to solve the problems I worry about."  Sometimes it's best to step away from the situation to cool off.  But I need you to know that it really eats away at my heart to have you... and say...  

....even if I were intentionally trying to be a lousy (person),  it would not be justified for you to yell at me- ever.  In life, it is up to us to take person accountability for how we act- no matter how another person chooses to act.

Isaiah 41:10
One of the things that is getting me through my own personal worries is to really focus on the fact that the Savior suffered all things. He understands all shame, all grief, sorrow, fear, anxiety, etc....  But, more than that, there is nothing that can happen to us, which cannot be solved through the atoning grace of Jesus Christ.  

It doesn't matter how awful things were to get for me.  It doesn't matter how terrified you feel over... or  ... The truth of the matter is that such things cannot physically touch your eternal spirit. Our bodies are housed with flesh, and they can be harmed- but even if we are shamed, homeless, stabbed, embarrassed, or even imprisoned, or any type of abasement or trial-- we must always remember that our spirit cannot be harmed, unless we spiritually allow ourselves to be injured by the devil's evil war waged at our bright and valiant eternal spirit!

Helaman 5:12 (Book of Mormon)

Even as I write that concept of the spirit being whole and well, no matter what physical or bloody battle takes place on our mortal flesh, I can't help but wonder if it's really a true statement.  Can our spirit really remain untouched?

You might tell me I'm wrong.  And considering challenges like depression and anxiety, which seem to affect the spirit, I stop and wonder if maybe it is a false statement.  But, I stand firm in my concept. I think there is a difference between emotional and mental aspects of life- versus our thriving divine spirits. And I think it is part of our journey here in mortality to  
sort those things out, and make choices which will help our spirits grow stronger, despite any battles that are waged upon us and most especially upon our eternal life-blood--our spirit. 

I was just thinking how the devil is angry that we came to earth with bodies of flesh and bone. I have focused too much of my life on how he has waged a war against our bodies.  So much of his warfare seems aimed at the flesh- from drugs, abuse, illicit sexual relationships.  I think I have considered those to be the sins I must remain pure and safe from, but I sometimes fail to recognize that with his "evil cunning" and "craftiness," those are only a few of his methods to get us to do things to injure our bodies.  He has many more techniques to get us to lose sight of our divine worth and potential, such as pornography, too much media consumption, selfishness, laziness, and so many other things, which I do not wish to bring up.

But is the devil's plan to really get us to destroy our physical bodies only, or to simply inflict emotional, mental, or social pain in our lives?  No!  I believe that the devil's ultimate plan is to destroy our spirits, and he knows that there is only one way to get to our spirits--through SIN.  He knows that being ashamed, or judged, or criticized isn't going to hurt our spirits- UNLESS we allow those negative things to fester and cause us to feel pride, resentment, hurt, and anger... or worse!  

When we aren't keeping the commandment in any form- large or small- we weaken our spirits- even if it's only a little injury.  And the devil knows that small injury to our spirit is just the right wedge for him to get started on causing a larger crack in our spirits. And then, if he's really successful, he will cause our spirits to be severed in half, like a tall oak tree, where the base has been cut so deeply that it crashes down to the earth.  

The great thing is, that unlike that permanently destroyed tree, we can actually be repaired.  How does that happen?  You know!  It happens through repentance.  As our bishop said, "repentance equate to more than just repentance from serious sins, it also equates to progression."

I think it is important that we do not underestimate our individual role of choice and accountability. I need you to accept your decision to let your temper and resentment to rule your tongue, and not justify it because you feel/think that I made a poor choice in ....  

In order to get through hard things, I keep focusing on how the Savior "descended below all things," and how I KNOW it is going to be alright.  I don't need to worry or have excessive fears.  I just keep telling myself from morning until night (and sometimes through the night), "This is in God's hands", "I don't need to worry, He has a plan..."  "Be not afraid, for I am thy God, and will still give thee aide." (Hymn)  
....Please, please, try harder to speak softly toward me.

While words may "break a heart" and cause many tears-
we still ultimately must decide to forgive, and let
God teach us how to heal.  Sorrow doesn't have to
destroy our faith and confidence in God! We can be at  peace
through the powerful love and grace of God, and Jesus Christ.
I love you, but I will never thrive as long as you 
yell at me, or ...  I need you to try and see what I am trying to do right.  Whether it's your love language or not, if you ask God, He will help you to see things about me that can be appreciated. Pray for a heart of gratitude, and then work to speak kindly- or walk away quietly until you've knelt to pray and can be less over-reactive.

Please, please, stop believing any lies that the evil one helps plant in your thought, which are that you are a "bad person," or  that you are just who you are, or that you aren't going to change anytime soon.  Change will come as quickly as you decide to give your ALL to Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. Change will come when your will is less important that Heavenly Father's will.  Change every sacrifice, even life itself, for the sake of righteousness!
will come when you are willing to make

Don't quit! Keep Trying! I believe in you!
Christine

P.S.  Some of you may be sea deep in some very serious problems and heartaches.  I wholeheartedly suggest you watch the videos in these 12 Steps to recovery serious.  They deal with very sensitive topics, and I do not recommend them for children.  These are true stories of people who have overcome addictions of all kinds.  And I recommend you watch them, even if you don't struggle with pornography, drug addiction, etc.  These are moving and deeply profound videos, which help me to increase in compassion towards others.

Here is an introduction to the program (video) https://addictionrecovery.lds.org/steps/introduction?lang=eng   But on the same page are videos covering step 1-12--those are my favorite, deeply touching videos! And, best of all, each step tells you what you need to do (even if you never join a recovery group).

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Day 43 of 365 days of solace: Song of life

 
I heard this as I slept tonight, and finally realized what it meant to me at least-in figurative and literal meaning.  I represents the stages of joy and sorrow in life, and then being rescued by the Love of God, and the atonement of Jesus Christ.  What a beautiful song.

Last night I lay a-sleeping there came a dream so fair
I stood in old Jerusalem, beside the temple there
I heard the children singing and ever as they sang
Methought the voice of Angels, from Heaven in answer rang
Methought the voice of Angels, from Heaven in answer rang

Jerusalem, Jerusalem
Lift up my gates and sing
Hosanna in the highest
Hosanna to your King

And then me thought my dream was chang'd, the streets no longer rang
Hush'd were the glad Hosannas, my little children sang
Their sun grew dark with mystery, my morn was cold and chill
As the shadow of my cross arose, upon a lonely hill
As the shadow of my cross arose, upon a lonely hill

Jerusalem, Jerusalem
Hark! How the Angels sing
Hosanna in the highest

Hosanna to our King

And once again the scene was chang'd, new earth there seem'd to be
I saw the Holy City beside the tideless sea
My light of God was on its streets, the gates were open wide
And all who would might enter and no one was denied
No need of moon or stars by night or sun to shine by day
It was the new Jerusalem that would not pass away
It was the new Jerusalem that would not pass away

Jerusalem, Jerusalem
Sing for the night is o'er
Hosanna in the highest
Hosanna for evermore
Hosanna in the highest
Hosanna for evermore

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PAc3krFyQA

Sunday, April 17, 2016

42 days of 365 days of Solace: Once in a life-time Sabbath Day Miracle!


I practiced many hours to perform in a local LDS tabernacle. I thought that by miracle of God He would grant my voice back, if only for that day. He has blessed me with a soprano voice, which has
for almost my entire life been used to sing His praises.

Oh how I wanted to sing at the tabernacle this beautiful Spring Sabbath day,, but my voice was completely gone- due to laryngitis. I arrived at 8:30 am that morning for our final choir practice- still hoping for a miracle.

There at the start of practice, I silently slipped away from the choir practicing up in the choir platform.. I knelt on the red velvet-like carpet of the coat room, of this old and historic building. Alone in that sacred place I asked for a miracle from God. But as I stood up from kneeling, I knew my voice would not be given back to me, as He had another time, in college, given to me in a miraculous way.

With disappointment, I climbed those beautiful red carpeted stairs upon the glorious stage, which is surrounded by gold organ pipes and marbled beauty. My director paused to pull out the song to sing
Me and my son, after my day of singing in sign language.
next- which included a special part I was to sing. I told her in a hoarse whisper that I had lost my voice. With disappointment, she said, "Well, get it back!" We both knew that wasn't happening.  With that she selected another sister to sing my part.

I told her that I could sing in sign language. Or that I could sit down and watch from the audience.
Please note that the letters for "I," "E" and "Y"
are wrong.  The message is
"I love you" I like this, for that alone! :)
She said that sign language was a great idea, and told me exactly where to stand. I protested...repeatedly. But she insisted I stand there. So there I stood. Several feet to the right of her, and directly in front of the piano! (Though I moved over a foot so people could see her playing) I stopped protesting when a choir friend said, "You have to do what the director demands." So I did.

I had only wanted to join my voice in praise of the Lord. I thought I could be more discreet, and stand intermingled with the sopranos. Clearly, there was nothing discreet about standing before an audience of about a thousand people!

The conference started and I began to sign "Dearest Children God is Near You, watching o'er you day and night....." And there was clearly an energy as the audience watched me, and some of the faces of the stake leaders turned their faces back to watch me (as I stood behind them). As I sang, in voiceless song, I felt the power of the of the God's message.

This was not how I envisioned my singing- nor how I thought I could really praise the . I also didn't think this was the "miracle" the angel song spoke of as I slept! ("There can be miracles...") But, as I
heard comments of friends, and strangers, I began to believe this really was my miracle! I also realize that my fluency of sign was increased as I sang, because I had
"reminders" come to me, on how to better execute specific
lines of the songs.  I am thankful for God's mercy.

I was repeatedly told at the conclusion of that conference words of thanks, and how "it brought a special spirit to the meeting," and "God didn't want you to have your voice. This was His plan."

And today a friend from church emailed me and wrote, "You did a beautiful job!! I think you may have a new calling in life!! It was beautiful to watch you sing your heart out with your hands." Another ward member told my husband "it was so graceful, and almost like watching a hula dance."

I do not take credit for this. My ability to sign is a gift from a loving Heavenly Father. I was prepared
when I was just a youth. At 6 I was memorizing the sign language alphabet. At 15 I was talking to a deaf girl at our LDS youth camp, and at 18 I began spending years learning sign language far better
through deaf friends, college classes, clubs, and deaf branch, interpretting for deaf friends and devotionals, and so many opportunities which were shaping my gift of language. I just thought this was a special part of my life- but over the years I have been able to communicate to people who live in a world of audible silence.

What's so interesting is that the Spirit of God is usually a quiet voice- and while it comes in so many forms- sign language is one of those languages!

I am so thankful to a loving God, for blessing me on this kind of day! I'm thankful He filled my mind with memories of how to express my heart through dance-like hand motions. I am thankful that 20 years of not practicing my signing often, that I had clear ideas on how to express certain phrases to the songs!

I won't completely know the affect I had on this mass audience, but it was a heavenly time for me where I felt my spirit soar, in a way which is hard to compare- even to singing with my voice. Indeed, I was raised on the wings of love as I sang, "....we follow Christ, the Lord, And filled with hope through his pure love, we sing with one accord." (Faith in Every Footstep)


Miracle happen all the time, if you have eyes to see!
What miracles have you had? I'd love to hear!

Philippians 2:11
And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Matthew 10:32
Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.

 I hope you find ways to confess the hand of the Lord, by first acknowledging his blessings and miracles in your life, and secondly by praising His name! As we do these things we will start taking notices of miracles small and great.  They may not come in the size or shape, or time we hope or expect, but they will come.  Just as mine did!

Christine

P.S. I have to admit something though.  There was a period of time, after my performance, that I
worried what awful things a couple of specific people had thought of me for being so central, and so dance-like. With the email from a friend (an answer to my prayer that someone would say something extra special to me), and the opportunity to speak to another friend and express my concern over what might of been thought of me for being in the middle of attention, I was able to find relief over my concerns.

Let us not be fooled.  Whenever we feel worried, and doubt ourselves, and feel small...those are feeling from the devil.

God does not ever make us feel like we are worthless.  When you feel that pray for Heavenly Father to help you have reminders that He loves you, and is taking care of your life.

Here are things I like to remember, to help me identify when it is, or is not, the voice of God helping us through life. God is light, love, and peace. Period.

Keep a prayer in your heart and move forward through each day.  You will get the help you seek, if you seek it with real intent!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Day 38 of 365 Days of Solace: Emergency Preparedness

Okay, so I have listened to some wonderful BYU Speeches today, as I've organized my sewing room- but I really want to tell you a humorous, but important story about my 6 year old.

Here's the story:

I realized today that I've never taught my 6 year old what to do in an emergency. I asked him, "M, if I fell at hit my head on the bathtub or shower and I didn't get up, what would you do."
M's response: "call for Mom."
Me: "but you can't call for me, because I'm the one that's hurt, so what would you do to help me?"
M: "Hug you?" (He asked it like a question, but with hesitance-as it's all he could think of.)
Me: "That is a sweet idea, but a hug won't help me..."
and I proceeded to explain that it's not likely to happen, but there are
times when someone gets hurt and they need an ambulance to come. I them did a role play scenario of me passed out on my bed, and I first had him make sure I was not just asleep. I had him shake my arm, then my face ,and even had him try to pry open my eyes to make sure that I wasn't just sleeping.
A Funny 911 Report!!! 
I then had him practice dialing 911 several times. I explained how they would say "911 What's your emergency" and I even had him practice what to say. But first I let him answer that question without any direction. His response was, "I'd tell them my Mom's not working." I have to chuckle here, because he either thinks I'm not working--like a broken toy! or because I'm not working, because I do a LOT of housework!
ink emoticon It could go either way.
I then taught him some questions they might ask, and how to tell if I am breathing, etc...
Oops...I guess I better explain that we never just dial 911 for the fun of it!
If you haven't taught your children, or reminded them what to do--maybe today is a good day for that. smile emoticon
I hope you are well, dear readers. Remember to have a prayer in your heart at all times!GOD IS THE BEST SOURCE FOR SPIRITUAL LIFE CRISES! 
Christine



Monday, April 11, 2016

Day 36 of 365 days of solace: Spiritual Crisis

I have struggled on a matter of concern the last 24 hours.  Consequently, I was battling my demons of self-doubt. I began wondering the validity of my feelings and understanding of life. I won't go into it too deeply, but I would like to share a small portion of a letter I wrote a friend today.  I hope it will help you, as it did me!



MY LETTER EXCERPT: 
I don't know whether it was a talk I listened to in priesthood session,James E. Faust , or a combinations of many things; but somewhere along the lines of recent pondering, I realized that there is nothing I face on earth- no fear of anything or anyone, no doubt, no loneliness, sorrow, etc.---nothing, absolutely nothing, that I will ever face alone. I may internally feel very alone sometimes. I may see myself literally alone sometimes. BUT, I will never truly be alone, unaccounted for, or bereft of a loving God and Savior, even though I may on occasion feel as such. 
I woke up yesterday morning to the song, "He is always near me, though I do not see him there, and because he loves me dearly I am in His constant care." I don't understand those sentiments as I should. I doubt myself and my capacity to understand spiritual things with clarity-which doesn't make fertile learning ground- but I have hope through the perfection of Christ. 
 I decided to watch a speech I was directed to (with the word to my mind of "conquistador") ...I will share a quote among many, which helps me understand my small spiritual crisis of the moment.. 
"You see, we must be what God calls a “peculiar” or a “holy” people. At its most basic root, the word holy means to be set aside or to be different than everything else. ... If we are truly going to be holy, we will have to overcome our desire to fit in and think like everyone else and instead relish the idea of thinking more like God and less like this world. That is why God commands His Latter-day Saints to “go ye out from Babylon” (D&C 133:5). Leaving intellectual Babylon and becoming holy, ..., or peculiar will cause us to be like Enoch’s people, who “confessed they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth” (D&C 45:13). In other words, many of the ways you think and feel now will eventually come to feel foreign to your higher, holier way of thinking. "
"Second, you must honestly ask yourself what worldly influenced ideas you are clinging to and then do everything you can to eradicate those ideas from your system....especially in times of crisis."
https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/kerry-m-muhlestein_why-we-must-be-wholeheartedly-holy/ 
The other morning I woke up with the hymn "O' Babylon we bid thee farewell," I didn't understand it then, but I do now! I need to change my thoughts of not fitting in, being different, gossiped about, etc. I must learn to truly accept God's opinion wholeheartedly, and "bid Babylon...farewell." ...
....I'm off to vanquish my doubts with a sword of faith! If you have any doubts===>> here's an invisible sword of immense faith (double sided,even!), which I can spare for you! :)   <<<<========================>>>>  
... I hope that you are comforted, assured, and blessed through the peace of Jesus Christ. He has complete capacity to heal hearts and minds. Hebrews 12:1-2- I take comfort in that. 
Christine

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Day 31 of 365 days of Solace- Wednesday-

My arm is semi-working today, so I was finally able to wash my hair!  A big deal when you are in
excruciating pain in your right shoulder!  I still have pain, and it hurts to rotate my arm, but if I take things slow, I'm okay! Hooray!

It's been the usual morning... breakfast, stories, homework, and play time with my 6 year old son.  A lot of times we also tidy up together around the house... but today I am more concerned with my finals, and apparently with reading!

I've really become fascinated in reading These books called "Women of the Old Testament," and "Women of the New Testament."  It seems that whenever I sit down and randomly open in either one of these books, I open up to something which I can relate to, or need to read.

Today I have been reading about Hannah, from the Old Testament.  Two paragraphs stood out at me.

"....Hannah manifested here sorrow in frequent crying and a loss of appetite. Her husband, Elkanah, cherished here, but his attention and love did not fill the void in her life. Her priesthood leader, the high priest Eli, misunderstood her and accused her falsely. Hannah came to realize that no one could assuage the emptiness in her life but the Savior. Her despondency and awareness of her nothingness therefore became an important catalyst that led Hannah to discover the Lord's teachers for her. Through His compassionate acceptance and limitless strength, God helped this Israelite woman recognize that she could contribute to the Lord's work and have a fruitful life whether she ever gave birth or not.  In the apostle Peter's perspective, one is not barren unfruitful if she abounds in faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, brotherly kindness, and charity.  These Christlike attributes are available to everyone and will fill every void in one's life (2 Peter 1:5-8)"
(Women of the Old Testament by Camille Fronk Olsen.Deseret Book 2009, page 127) 

I loved reading this, because it is so true that we may be misunderstood or unfairly judged- yes, even
by long time friends, and church leaders. It is important to act with grace, even where we are wronged and no apology is forthcoming. It is far more important to confirm our testimony of God, through our words and actions in each day of our life- than to worry if we receive credit for what we do right, or to have apology for what others may wrongly accuse of us.

How true are the following words from this same book:

"Eventually, Hannah was blessed with several children; however, she was filled with the grace of the Lord before she bore any.  When she found the power of the Atonement in her life, she was full and fruitful and could give back to the Lord all that she possessed. Without vanity or complacency, Hannah's sacrifice revealed her independence as well as her awareness o the need for God.  Some of us will never bear children, some will never marry, some will never have a happy marriage, and some will never have good health in this life. But every one of us can be fruitful and filled with the power of Jesus Christ. When we find Him, like Hannah, we will lose our life in doing His work. That is His promise to all of us."
(page 142-143)


We grow from childhood to adulthood with ideas of what we envision for our life.  When those things don't happen we often fail like failures (as did Hannah), or we think life has nothing happier to offer us.  But those pressures and lies of the devil and society are not true!  Each one of us can "Bloom where we are planted," no matter what the circumstances we are in. Each day is a choice to change our reaction to our attitudes, and consequently we can change many circumstance.  BUT, if some things are not able to be changed, we can find peace through the Lord.

In this process of looking to God and our Savior for solace, we will discover that our empty fountains are being filled with the sweet, refreshing and satisfying water of divine and purifying love.  Love which flows freely into our spirits through the gift of the atonement of Jesus Christ, and which love surges through us, and heals us of our infirmities and afflictions. There is no wound too deep, or sin so scarlet that the Savior cannot bind us up and heal.

Take comfort and accept that you are loved as an individual, and a divine child of promise!
Christine

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Day 30 of 365 days of Solace: Love makes a difference

I took this nap Sunday between LDS
conference session. She's such a cuddly dog!
I sure wish I could keep up with everyday. But I am in finals right now, and while I could write a few lines, I would favor having photos of my family!  I may have to ease up on how entailed I am, and all the cool pictures I take, which show the special moments with my family.  But we'll see...






My 8 yr old puppy and my 9 week old puppy fell to sleep
during scripture study!

Here are a few reason it makes it harder (only a few!):
  • I'm in school
  • I'm now working at a care center.
  • I have this crazy needy puppy,
  • and these crazy needy children! ;))
  • I am trying to finish helping my husband put our house in order-- meaning- De-JUNKING! (He's been very busy this Spring break-- but with my shoulder I couldn't help much.  My shoulder is
    Our Sunny the puppy, enjoyed snuggling under the blanket
    that warmed my feet this morning as I studied.
    feeling more mobile, and slightly better...so I can do a little more.  (Today I organized my bathroom drawers! :)  Very satisfying, but not strenuous.
I would like to share an excerpt of a letter I wrote a friend today.  And then I'm off to bed!  



The other night, J. and I went together to ladies night at Deseret Book. I really, really wanted to win the statue of Christ.  I didn't win that, but I did win a little book by Jeffrey and Patricia Holland, "To Mothers: Carrying the Torch of Faith and Family." I began reading yesterday, because I didn't think it was coincidence that out of hundreds of women, I won this specific book.  

As I wiped my tears dry yesterday during my reading, I felt this book was meant to bless me. I know that Heavenly Father really wants me to trust Him, and to understand my value in His eyes. While I know he is pleased that I can recognize, feel, and understand His validation, which may be given to me by those around me, He especially wants me to fine-tune my understanding that only He can offer me a consistently clear identity of value of self-worth, which is all-encompassed in His safe and perfect love.

As I read today, these words of Pat Holland stood out to me: 

"....we each wear a variety of faces in the different roles we play: teacher, confidante, caregiver, mentor, disciplinarian, healer, friend, to name just a few. Our countenances display charity, envy, patience, anxiety, pride, humility, generosity, greed, peace, perplexity.  These portraits mirror joy and grief together, and through this exchange the lines are "women fine." We are all learning of God's slow, steady way of sculpturing the experiences that cannot be escaped "till we have our face."
(p.11)

"Which face is really yours? What is your role as a mother? What if the faces change so fast and the demands become so great that you hardly know who you are any of the time? How can you ever hope to be in control all of the time?"

"May I try to give some modest reassurances. First and most important, if we look closely in those many-mirrored faces, we will always see God's infinite care in the process of making us who we are and what we are becoming. We see the gentle way He kneels to brush back our hair or even to wipe away a tear. He adjusts the angle of the light and works His wonders with lines and scars and shadows. Ever so softly He whispers for us to endure difficulty or discouragement for what it may hold of illumination and eternal beauty.  Under His hand our inner person becomes the outer person, and the artist shapes His perfect image." (page 12)

I hope you take time to inventory some of the great things you are doing as a Mother, and pray to know how to improve, or adjust what you are doing.

If you don't have children, please don't underestimate the value of your efforts to brighten the lives of others.  Motherhood is a lot more than having biological children, it is about unselfish service to each of Heavenly Father's children.  There is a world of people out there who need to feel the Savior's love. Because a friend showed so much pure, and Christlike love, I finally got to this point of peace.  God's loved performed miracles in my heart, mind, and life- but it took someone willing to share that love with me, in order to want to change.

I love both of these scriptures, and take comfort that as I seek to draw near to God each day, that I will have the special peace that comes from trying to do what is right-even in my imperfection.

Isaiah 54:4

4 Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more.

Micah 4:13

13 Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion: for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass: and thou shalt beat in pieces many people: and I will consecrate their gain unto the Lord, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth.

Believe in yourself!  Even the small efforts each day, will add up over time- just like drops of water in a bucket!

Keep trying- God will never give up on you!
Love, 
Christine

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Day 28 of 365 days of solace.

It's been a beautiful LDS Conference Day, and I plan to share some of the high lights later.  But I want to share a video that we watched after we had family scripture study.  We actually watched several of these short Mormon Message videos, and it is always fascinating to me to see how my adorable, but wild puppy-like 6 and 8 year old boys will sit very still to watch these messages about Hope through Christ!  There is never an ounce of complaining or wiggling when they watch these. I know it is because there sweet, tender spirits can feel the power of God speaking through these short, yet powerful messages.

I hope you will find comfort through the two that I will share tonight.  I hope that no matter what challenges, trials, or battles you wage on this battlefield of life, that you will feel the love of the God witness to you that there is a plan for you life.  You are worth more than you can comprehend.  Let your desires help to draw you closer to your loving Heavenly Father. No matter where you walk, or what you are doing you can find peace the the all-encompassing atonement of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

If you need some extra direction, please visit www.Mormon.org.  The even have life chat there.

Things will get work out for your good, through Jesus Christ!
Christine










COME TO JESUS AND LIVE (song)

Weak and wounded sinner
Lost and left to die
O, raise your head, for love is passing by
Come to Jesus
Come to Jesus
Come to Jesus and live!
Now your burden's lifted
And carried far away
And precious blood has washed away the stain, so
Sing to Jesus
Sing to Jesus
Sing to Jesus and live!
And like a newborn baby
Don't be afraid to crawl
And remember when you walk
Sometimes we fall, so
Fall on Jesus
Fall on Jesus
Fall on Jesus and live!
Sometimes the way is lonely
And steep and filled with pain
So if your sky is dark and pours the rain, then
Cry to Jesus
Cry to Jesus
Cry to Jesus and live!
O, and when the love spills over
And music fills the night
And when you can't contain your joy inside, then
Dance for Jesus
Dance for Jesus
Dance for Jesus and live!
And with your final heartbeat
Kiss the world goodbye
Then go in peace, and laugh on Glory's side, and
Fly to Jesus
Fly to Jesus
Fly to Jesus and live!
Fly to Jesus
Fly to Jesus
Fly to Jesus and live!

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