Friday, February 27, 2009
The other day I was at Costco with my almost 87 year old in-laws, Pat and Ruth. It had been a stressful shopping venture. We finally made it through the checkout when my father-in-law announced that he needed to go to the bathroom. So Ruth and I were waiting. I remembered that Ruth needed stamps. I remembered that Costco sold stamps. I left Ruth and ran to get the stamps. Upon my return I told Ruth to go back and get in line...the short one...and I'd wait for Pat while she purchased stamps. Well, as she was heading for the short line a younger man beat her to the line. Grrrr. Was it her fault she was a slower walker? She was so much closer to the line when they both started out. Did the man know that in my mind he had taken cuts in front of an old lady? Well, within seconds, this man turned to Ruth and said, since you only have one thing why don't you go in front of me. (YEAH!) And amazingly enough the next man (who also only had one thing) told Ruth to go in front of him as well. Now, I was watching this scene unfold, unknown to these two kind men. I was watching their faces during the transaction. They couldn't tuck their grins in. They had been kind...and they knew it. A simple act of kindness...and they had a better day. You could just tell from their demeanor. Which got me thinking. Doing a kindness for someone does indeed help the person, but I think that the kind deed do-er gets so much more. The kind deed do-er gets to feel better about him or herself. Try it.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
This story makes me smile. I don't know President Eyring's wife...but I love her!
“My brother and I were in front of the TV one Saturday night around midnight,” says Henry J. “A tawdry comedy show that we shouldn’t have been watching was on. The basement room was dark except for the light from the television. Without warning, Mother walked in. She was wearing a white, flowing nightgown and carrying a pair of shears. Making no sound, she reached behind the set, grabbed the cord, and gathered it into a loop. She then inserted the shears and cut the cord with a single stroke. Sparks flew and the set went dead, but not before Mother had turned and glided out of the room.”
Unnerved, Henry J. headed to bed. His innovative brother, however, cut a cord from a broken vacuum and connected it to the television. Soon the boys had plopped back down in front of the television, hardly missing any of their show.
“Mother, however, got the last laugh,” Henry J. says. “When we came home from school the next Monday, we found the television set in the middle of the floor with a huge crack through the thick glass screen. We immediately suspected Mother. When confronted, she responded with a perfectly straight face: ‘I was dusting under the TV, and it slipped.’ ”
Robert D. Hales, “President Henry B. Eyring: Called of God,” Ensign, Jul 2008
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Years ago, when I was not even 20, I helped our neighbors the Bakers with transporting their girls to and from places when they were gone. One day, as I was pulling their Suburban into their garage, I miscalculated the distance between the car and the wall and well---you get the picture. I was sick. I dented up their car and their house. I figured if I became an indentured servant to them I might be able to pay for the damage before I turned 40. Keith and Ellen were expected home that night, so I sat and waited for their arrival. Time went by slowly. Their son and nephews didn't help matters by telling me that Keith was going to kill me. It got later and later. I got sicker and sicker. I did not want to face the consequences that awaited me. After several hours I decided to go home. I left a message for Keith, expressing my sorrow and my willingness to do whatever was needed to rectify this situation. I slept restlessly. In the morning, I heard the doorbell ring. I knew my fate was to be sealed momentarily. A few minutes later my mom came to my bedroom with a message from Keith. He said that when he was a young boy he had crashed his uncle's car and his uncle had taken care of it. Never got upset. Never brought it up again. Keith had been waiting his whole life to do the same thing for someone else. Lucky me.
It was never mentioned again.
This story has taught me alot about forgiveness. And that if a mortal man with mortal weaknesses is able to forgive my trespasses against him, Heavenly Father in his perfectness is totally able to forgive me as well. And never to be mentioned again.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
There was more, but that was all I needed.
It was like a cupcake---with extra sprinkles for me that day.
Friday, February 20, 2009
This story about the conversion of my great, great, great grandfather, David Minshall Evans, makes me smile.
In the fall of 1841, David's brother, William, was walking down the street of Liverpool, England, on his way to church. While walking he heard singing...the most beautiful singing he had ever heard. He followed the sound of the music down an alley and up some rickety stairs, to where a few people were congregated. The singer was John Taylor. (The same John Taylor who later became the 3rd President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.) Well, the singing was so beautiful that William decided to stay and listen to the sermon. Upon returning home, my great, great, great grandfather reprimanded his brother for missing church. William responded by telling them that he was where they should have been and that they all needed to hear the wonderful truth he had heard that morning.
Before long, both of these brothers were converted to the gospel and then helped convert other members in their family.
This story does not end here.
I later learned that William Minshall Evans is the great grandfather of Marjorie Pay Hinckley, wife of Gordon B. Hinckley. She said of this event, "I never sing the hymns of the church without remembering that is was the singing of a hymn that opened the door to the gospel for my family and made it possible for me to enjoy all the blessings that have followed."
One more point of interest...(I am still smiling)...
Becky and Nancy Hoole, sisters and great, great, great granddaughters of David Minshall Evans married Jeffery and James Taylor, brothers and great, great, great, great grandsons of John Taylor. Fascinating to me---that both great grandfathers on both sides were together in a meeting in England in 1841-one teaching--one learning the gospel.
Monday, February 16, 2009
You would think that I would learn...
In 1988, a dear friend of mine, Krista, gave birth to a boy who died shortly after his arrival to earth. A few years later, Krista moved from Burbank, Ca. to Bountiful, Ut. Shortly thereafter I would periodically, and at random times, receive promptings to call my friend Krista and ask where her son Adam was buried, so that I could go and tend his grave. Now--for me to call Krista would mean that I would have to find her phone number, which in all likelihood was up in the rafters of the attic (in a box with the Christmas card mailing list). As I mentioned, the promptings came at random times and there was always some excuse as to why I would ignore these promptings. Sometimes I would tell myself that it was a ridiculous thought since Rod's family lived in the area. Other times it was that no one was home who could climb up into the attic to get Krista's phone number. One time I even remember thinking, my hands are wet right now because I am doing the dishes. Imagine how I felt when in 2004 I received the following newspaper article from Krista that she had penned.
(Now the good part starts.)
"At Christmastime it is common to see poinsettias and evergreen wreaths decorating the graves in cemeteries.
Search out the baby section of a cemetery and you will also find pinwheels, balloons, teddy bears, toys, ornaments, notes, and every imaginable decoration left by loving parents in honor of their little ones.
For the past ten years I had noticed these graves and had been overcome with sadness as my thoughts would travel to the untended grave of my son Adam, left behind when a new job brought our family from California to Utah.
Adam died as a tiny baby of a rare genetic disorder. We have hung his Christmas stocking on the mantle each year alongside those of his brothers and sisters, talked about him and done our best to keep his memory alive.
But the thought of his neglected grave always left me with an ache that was difficult for others to understand.
In 2003, my sister's family experienced a tragedy similar to ours, when their baby son, Cole, died.
There is much to be said about walking in another's shoes and as my sister grieved over the loss of her baby, she found empathy for me that she had not known before.
The day after she buried her own son in the Bountiful cemetery, she and her husband returned to the cemetery and purchased the plot next to Cole's for our son, Adam.
She then called family members and close friends and quietly collected enough money to cover the expense of having Adam moved from California to the Bountiful cemetery. There were tears of gratitude shed as she presented us with the deed to the small plot and a check that would make it possible to bring our son to Utah.
Thanks to the kindness and generosity of family and friends, Adam was brought home to rest in the Bountiful cemetery. As Christmas approached this year we felt a closeness to our son as we gathered at his grave. The children left little trinkets, messages and flowers and when the snows came they built a small snowman between Adam's and Cole's headstones.
With frequent visits to the cemetery, I have become familiar with the surrounding graves. I know the names of the children buried there and how old each of them was when he or she died.
There are twins and newborns, one-year-olds and toddlers, each with a name and a story.
I know which graves are recent and which have been there 20 or 30 years, visited by mothers now in their 60's and 70s still bringing flowers for their beloved babies.
I give a sigh of relief every time I return and there are no new graves and when I do come upon a fresh grave marked by cut sod and countless flowers, I remember how difficult those first days were and wonder how the parents are coping.
But most of all, I notice the graves that go untended and unvisited.
I wonder if there is a mother whose heart is heavy because distance or other circumstances keep her from visiting the grave of her baby.
Perhaps she cries, as I did, at Christmastime thinking of the little headstone bearing her child's name that sits snow-covered and unadorned as all those around it sparkle with cheery decorations.
Last year, my sister and I started a new Christmas tradition with our families.
Meeting at the Bountiful cemetery, we went through the baby section and placed a small Christmas decoration on each of the nearly 300 graves. Each of these children have a story, each is dearly loved and each, whether near or far from family, has a symbol of this love left on his or her grave.
Just as the Christmas story tells of the three wise men bringing gifts to honor a tiny baby, two loving mothers, their husbands and 13 children will bring small gifts to honor the babies in the cemetery each year at Christmastime.
This new tradition and the joy and comfort it has brought us, will be a highlight of the Christmas season for our families for years to come." (Davis County News(?) Thursday, December 23, 2004, Krista R. Mortensen)
Just for the record, I immediately found Krista's phone number and called and through my tears apologized profusely for my not heeding the spirit.
Do I have a testimony that Heavenly Father hears our prayers and is aware of our sorrows? You bet I do. Am I trying better to follow promptings as they come to me? You bet I am. How grateful I am to Heavenly Father and his tender mercies that come and sweeten my life.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
"How simple it is, really, to extend a kindness when we see the need. Jesus set the example on many occasions. He led the blind man out of the town. Just a small kindness, but a powerful example. God helps us to recognize the opportunities we have every day to touch lives in small and simple ways." (p. 98)
One of my goals for this year is to act on the promptings that I receive. I have learned that God does indeed give us opportunities to bless the lives of others if we just act on the promptings we receive.
A couple of years ago, a friend of mine had baby number 8. I was in grocery store and was prompted to bring her a meal. I felt a little overwhelmed by this prompting. I told Heavenly Father that I would get to it, but that I had other things I had to take care of first...so I ignored the prompting.
A few days later this same friend called me and shared with me something that had happened to her...an answer to her prayers. She told me that a lady in our stake came to her door and said essentially..."Hi. You don't know me very well but I got a prompting that you needed a meal , so here it is." My friend then shared that she had been praying for help.
I, of course, felt horrible. My friend was praying for needed help. Heavenly Father was trying to answer her prayers, through me. I told him I had a better plan. He found someone who was willing to listen to him. I immediately ran to the store and brought over Eggo waffles to my friend. Her kids loved having Eggo's for dinner. Small and simple things.
It is not very often that we get glimpses like this. But, Heavenly Father does hear and answer our prayers.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Someone asked me the other day if I had my life to live over, would I change anything.
My answer was no, but then I thought about it and changed my mind.
If I had my life to live over again I would have waxed less and listened more.
Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy and complaining about the shadow over my feet, I'd have cherished every minute of it and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was to be my only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.
I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.
I would have eaten popcorn in the "good living room" and worried less about the dirt when I lit the fireplace.
I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.
I would have burnt the pink candle sculptured like a rose before it melted while being stored.
I would have sat cross-legged on the lawn with my children and never worried about grass stains.
I would have cried and laughed less while watching television...and more while watching real life.
I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband which I took for granted.
I would have eaten less cottage cheese and more ice cream.
I would have one to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for a day.
There would have been more "I love you's"...more "I'm sorry's"...more "I'm listening"...but mostly, given another shot at my life, I would sieze every minute of it...look at it and really see it...try it on...live it...exhaust it...and never give that minute back until there was nothing left of it.