Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pendleton, Oregon

Okay, bad reporter, didn't check her facts.  Robert remembered the World's Fair trip as 1964.  We were kindly corrected to 1962.  Thanks!  Corrections below.

On the way to Washington Robert started talking about the trip his family and his brother's family took to the World's Fair in 1964  1962.  I could tell by his voice and his expression that the trip was a wonderful one with tremendously sweet memories.

He remembers the trip really fondly and driving along through the same region really brought back good memories.  He spoke about the camping and the beautiful trees.  He shared a couple of stories I thought I would share.

They, meaning Robert, Susan, and David, were told they could buy one souvenir.  Robert bought a ceramic horse.  At one point, I guess he dropped it and it broke.  He said it broke his heart.  But we still have the horse in my hope chest.  It just has a glued on broken foot or two.

Then he told this story when we were getting close to Pendleton, Oregon.  They make wool shirts in Pendleton.  There is a factory there and a factory store. The family had stopped to look at the store.  Robert was 13 11 years old.  Susan, his older sister, told him that the shirts were really popular.  A Pendleton shirt was high on the list of things that he said he would have liked to have in his life.  But he said they were quite expensive so the shirt didn't get bought.

We stopped in Pendleton at the Factory Story on Wednesday.  It was touching to me to be there as part of the continuing story of the World's Fair trip of 1964 1962 and it's closure 47  49 years later.  Now we can say, "Here is the rest of the story."

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sacrament Meeting Talk

More than Conquerors

Paul V. Johnson of the Seventy said in April conference this year that “Trials are not just to test us.  They are vitally important to the process of putting on the divine nature.” 
He concluded his talk with the words of Paul, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?...
“Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”

We are not here just to conquer our trials and adversity and temptations.  We are here to become divine.

We have choices to make about the ups and downs of our lives.  We can let them separate us from the love of God and our opportunity to live with him again.  Or we can use our trials, whatever they may be, to bring us closer to our divine potential and our heavenly home.

Elder Orson F. Whitney said, “ No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted.  …All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable.  …It is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulations, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire.”

We have been provided a multitude of tools to help us move towards our divine natures that will bring us closer to God.  It is up to us to use those tools.  We can have a constant prayer in our hearts and minds.  We can go to the temple, even just the temple grounds.  We can serve others and get out of our own mind set.  We can be obedient because it is good to be good.  There are many more.

I chose a few others to speak about today which we may or may not use on a regular basis.

1.         Listening to our parents, leaders, and teachers in the Church

During our last stake conference one of the speakers challenged us to work on one of our weaknesses.  I have found myself murmuring in the past few years and didn’t even realize it for a long time.  To accept the challenge I chose to work on murmuring.  In pondering this issue I found a scripture in 1 Nephi 3:6 “Therefore, go my son or[insert your name], and thou shalt be favored of the Lord because thou hast not murmured.  Nephi made it through his refiner’s fire and he did not murmur and he was “favored of the Lord.” 
Listening to our leaders and their counsel moves us closer to our divine natures.

2.  Studying the scriptures. Each scripture story is there with a purpose and something for us to learn or use in life’s ups and downs.  When we break apart the parts of the story we learn about sacrifice, obedience, patience, gratitude, love, service, and every good thing that will bring us closer to our divine natures and closer to God.  As we study the words of wisdom found in the scriptures and apply them to our own lives we become more than we are on our own.
{1 Nephi 5:  I have heard this scripture story over and over again in my head till finally I can remember it’s applicaltion and hopefully use it.
Proverbs 15:1  A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.}

3.  Observing OUR STRENGTHS. I was thinking that it would be really useful to divide a page of paper into columns and write down my strengths and decide how they can help me in times of adversity in column one.  Then in column two I would write down what strengths I might need to overcome a given trial and decide how to get that strength.  Then in column three I would write down my weaknesses and decide how they are holding me back and how I can make those weaknesses my strengths instead. 
In Ether 12:27 it says:  And if men come unto me I will show unto them their aweakness. I bgive unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my cgrace is sufficient for all men that dhumble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make eweak things become strong unto them.
Then I can move my weaknesses from column three to column one adding to my list of divine attributes.

4.         I read an article in the newspaper that helped me to understand that THE BEAUTY AROUND US is a tool.  Look for the beauty of each day. 
Dan Hettinger wrote:  “I take my dog for a walk a couple of times a day on the beautiful open space trail in our neighborhood.  The stretch we walk the most runs parallel to the mountains so I intentionally head north where the mountain views are magnificent.  The beauty has different moods. The mornings are fresh and brisk and the evenings are filled with sweeping and moving colors and shadows as the clouds form across the sky and the sun sets behind the mountains.  Invading the beauty are the signs of danger.  Caution! Rattlesnakes and other natural dangers are present on these trails.  Danger! Coyotes are active in this area.
It is true.  I have seen both and I understand the warning, but I do not let the potential for bad deter me from seeing beauty.  Some people know of the trail as a snake infested area where coyotes feed on their pets.  They miss what the trail offers every day.
There is always bad news but these days the expectations of the next terrorist attack, stock market crash, pink slip, terminal diagnosis or natural disaster makes it too easy to expect the worst case scenario and at the same time, miss the potential and beauty of each day.”
I believe that seeing the beauty around us can prompt us to gratitude for the blessings we have and to encourage us when we are down and then move us toward Heavenly Father.

5.         Part A - Family members and friends.  When we humble ourselves and let others help us we are blessed and so are they!  You may have noticed my husband wandering the halls here sporting a cast on one arm, a brace on the other, and talking a little slowly due to medications.  I absolutely do not know what we would have done without wonderful friends, our home-teachers, my visiting teachers, and our family.  There probably hasn’t been a day in the last two months without a kind word or deed being shared in our behalf from someone.    Letting others serve us in big ways and small help us and teach us, thus moving us closer to our divine natures and an ability to appreciate the suffering and needs of others.

Part B of Family members and friends is the examples we see as others move towards the divine through their own trials.  I will read one story of our daughters that she shared in a talk. I share this with her permission.

“Three years ago our life was going in a very different direction. We had the cutest little girl in the world and were expecting a baby boy.  Everything was going well with the pregnancy. We went in for a routine ultrasound and everything changed. We learned our son would be born with Spina Bifida. It was a very hard time, filled with heartache and mourning the loss of the life we had imagined for our son and ourselves. It was a time that could have also been filled with anger and loneliness. But it was filled with love and comfort. It was a time of great growth for me. We relied on our testimony of eternity, we prayed, we received blessings, we fasted and we were lifted up by the prayers and fasting of our friends and family.
Since the birth of our son we have had other challenges.  My husband lost his job almost 2 years ago. With the loss of his job came financial struggles. This was a really hard time for me.  I often thought it was unfair that we should have to do through this trial.  He would go for job interviews, and we would pray and we would pay our tithing but nothing ever seemed to work out. There were moments when I thought I just couldn’t take it anymore and I just wanted to give up. But it was also in that same moment that I knew that I couldn’t.  I knew that I had to keep enduring,  attending my meetings, fulfill my calling, praying, and reading the scriptures.  I knew that if I would continue doing these things I would make it through and that I would learn what I needed to learn from this trial and be blessed.
I have learned so much from my children as they work their way through their trials.  I observe them and others around me I can follow those examples of the divine in people and improve myself.
6.         Desire to be divine.  No one really wants trials or adversity do they?  But maybe we should be grateful for them. 
A quote from Paul V. Johnson:
“Sometimes we want to have growth without the challenges and to develop strength without any struggle.  But growth cannot come by taking the easy way.  We clearly understand that an athlete who resists rigorous training will never become a world-class athlete.  We must be careful that we don’t resent the very things that help us put on the divine nature.”

            We all know that we are sons or daughters of God, but do we remember on a daily basis? 
We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous,  and in doing good to all men.  Indeed we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul, we believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things and hope to be able to endure all things.  If there is anything virtuous, lovely, of good report, or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.
            Desire and work towards a divine nature.

7.         Follow the Savior.  I am thinking that to have a divine nature we should follow the example of the One perfect divine being who has lived on our earth. 
“As the clatter and clamor of life bustle about us, we hear shouting to “come here” and to “go there.” In the midst of the noise and seductive voices that compete for our time and interest, a solitary figure stands on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, calling quietly to us, “Follow me.”  Joseph B. Wirthlin
Paul Johnson said, “Being good is not enough.  We want to become like the Savior, who learned as He suffered “pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind.”

Well, let’s see…
1.              I lost my wedding rings as well as my glasses and the charger for my Kindle.
2.             My children have lost jobs and a means of support.
4.              Our brand new truck was giving us trouble.
5.              Our sister-in-law was in a horrible accident.
6.              Robert had his motorcycle accident.
7.              A friend from work passed away.
8.              Robert’s sister had a stroke on Wednesday.
9.              We had a contract on our home and then the buyer was laid off work.
10.           I wrote this talk once and evidently didn’t save it on the computer and so needed to write it again.
11.           I can’t get past level 2 on Angry Birds!
12.           And isn’t it interesting that the Bishopric seems to ask us to speak on the very topic we need to work on?

Trials and adversity, pain and frustration come on many levels. 
I fell on a trip and busted up the bridge of my nose a couple of years ago.  It was awful and awful to look at. As it went along the bruises moved down my face.  I went back to work and as the days went by I was getting filled up with people making comments like, "Did Bob do that?  What happened to you?"  Then we had stake temple night and I couldn't make up my mind if I wanted to go.  I just didn't know if I could take more people asking questions.  But I decided to go because I should and because it would mostly be dark in there.  Then in walked a sister who had a big bruise on her face too.  I said, "you look just like me." She said, "I know!"  The tender mercy that Heavenly Father sent me  was that he knew I was worried and so he sent me the one person in the temple that night who knew exactly what I was feeling like.
We received the call when we were baptized to be more than conquerors.  With the Saviors help and example we can succeed.  We will become more divine in our natures.  We will make of ourselves more than a conqueror.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Winter is Coming

The Farmer's Almanac is predicting a very cold winter.
It must be true because the squirrels are gathering NUTS.
Three of my friends have disappeared.
Are you O.K.?

Loved this one today. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Looking for Beauty and Strength

I am giving a talk on Sunday.  It's about courage and trials and adversity.  Interesting how the bishopric asks people to talk on subjects the person is dealing with.

I just wanted to mention two thoughts I had not considered before when dealing with adversity.

The first is Beauty.  The thought is:  Don't let the problems around you keep you from noticing the beauty that is around you too.  And I think that it will follow that we can get through our trials with a little bit more courage if we notice the beauty.

The second is Strength.  I had not thought before about pondering our strengths to find the ones that can help us succeed or even figuring out how to use the strengths we have to meet our trials.

Just saying.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Life with Cheap Sunglasses?

Today I went to the mall.  A rare event in my life.  :)
After completing my errands there I stopped at the Sunglass Hut to try on some glasses.

My cheap ones are all missing at this point.  I only tried on one pair of glasses.  They fit perfectly.  In the past when trying on sunglasses it always seemed as if one of my ears was higher than the other and hence the glasses were crooked.

Not so with this pair.  I could tell they were quality made.  I could tell that I would love them.  Then I looked at the tag.  $209.  I put them back on the rack and walked away.

But tomorrow I am going back there to pick up my necklace which is being repaired.

Would you prefer expensive and comfortable sunglasses or cheap sunglasses?  Would you take better care of expensive sunglasses than cheap ones?

I am seriously considering purchasing them.