Sunday, November 30, 2014

Every Last One

Photo Credit:  Del Parson

Recently a few friends and family members have been very worried about their children.  As I watch their concern over choices children might make or beliefs that aren't burning as brightly I see their pure love and worry about these precious souls to which they have been given stewardship.  My children are getting a little older and I am quickly seeing how I cannot make many decisions for them.  They are having to learn about consequences and while the stakes are small at this point I know they will quickly grow.  My heart aches at how there are so many scary temptations waiting to entice them on their path and I hope that they will desire to choose what is right.  However, I know they will each make mistakes.  We all make mistakes.  I guess I am starting to realize how much a parent loves each of their children - no matter the choices they have made.  If we love our children this much, how much more does a loving Father in Heaven mourn over one of his children who are in despair and need His help?  How much does He rejoice when we choose a path that brings us closer to Him?  As Jesus taught, "There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one...that repenteth" (Luke 15:10).  I hope we will all find those that are struggling and help each other along the path to a Father in Heaven who will joyfully welcome us home.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Butterfly Effect

Last night our Stake President taught us about the butterfly effect.  We learned that small changes, such as a butterfly flapping its' wings, could have large results around the world, like redirecting a tornado's path in Kansas.  While something like this is very hard to prove, the idea that a small effort on an individual's part could make a big difference for someone is a beautiful thought.  As we learn in the Book of Mormon, "by small and simple things are great things brought to pass" (Alma 37:6).  I hope that we can all have faith that there is much good in this world and that we can do the small and simple things to make good's influence grow and be felt by everyone.  It all could be as easy as a butterly simply flapping its' wings.
Photo Credit:

Sunday, July 20, 2014


The psalms are such a beautiful collection of poems that were originally put to music.  In fact the name for this book in Hebrew, "Tehillim", comes from the word "halal" which means "to praise" (this has the same root as hallelujah which means to praise to Jehovah).  So many of the words in this book of the Old Testament resonate with me and are found throughout the New Testament, other scriptures, and our hymns.  I recently rediscovered the beauty found in the much-quoted Psalm 23:

 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
I have felt this in my life.  Surely goodness and mercy have followed me and I truly have been led by a loving Father in Heaven.  Even when things are difficult and when it feels like we are in the valley of the shadow of death, let us each remember how our cups runneth over and how we are never forgotten by a loving shepherd.

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Miracle of Prayer

About two weeks ago, my sister, her friend, and I decided to go on a trip up in Wyoming for a friend's wedding reception. It was going to be a four to five hour drive from our hometown in Utah, so we were going to stay the night and go back home in the morning. I could tell my mom was worried, and she probably should have been because this was the first road trip me and my sister had ever gone on alone. In all honesty, I was worried too, after all, I was still in high school and my sister and her friend were only freshmen in college; this was going to be a new experience for all of us. My mom had made a mental checklist for us and ran it by as we were walking out the door.

"Do you have coats?" she asked.
"I have two jackets and a thick sweatshirt," I replied and my sister responded with something similar.
"Blankets and sleeping bags?" she said counting off her fingers.
"We don't need them, they're going to have beds for us," my sister said, but my mom crossed her arms.
"You will take our two warmest sleeping bags, what if you were to get stranded somewhere and froze?" Slowly, we agreed to everything our mom told us to bring and we were on our way.

After we picked up my sister's friend we turned off the car and faced each other.
"Will you pray?" my sister asked me, and a nodded. My prayer was short and far from anything extravagant, I simply asked that we'd be protected on our journey and that we'd all return home safely. After we said amen, we started the car and drove away.

We'd were about an hour away from our destination, and I was half asleep in the back of our car, my ipod in one hand and my head leaning on the other. We were driving down a narrow two way highway in the middle of nowhere Wyoming going about sixty mph when suddenly the car jerked to the left. My eyes popped open and my head flew up as I felt the jarring impact of our car hitting a large semi truck. A wall of red flashed by my window and I heard someone scream, later I realized it had been me. Then, without time for me to comprehend what was happening we were swerving right and sliding down a snowy hill. Our smoking car came to a stop and I was vaguely aware of my sisters friend reaching over and taking the keys out of the ignition.

My hands were trembling as I looked around, examining the scene around me. My sister was in tears, her friend trying to reassure her, our windshield looked like a spiderweb, and I was grateful it hadn't shattered. We were missing the left side view mirror, and I couldn't open any of the drivers side doors. Later, when I got out of the car, I realized the damage was much worse than I had thought. The whole drivers side of the car was either crushed, dented, or twisted in some bizarre form. The front tire was so mangled I could hardly recognize it and I immediately knew the car was totaled. It was near zero degrees outside, well below freezing, and our once warm car was already starting to feel cold.

Many people stopped on the side of the road to help us, and it was then I was able to get the whole story of the crash from my sister.We had been coming around a bend in the road when we'd hit a patch of black ice. Our car slid over the line, into the oncoming traffic of the semi, and we should have hit him head on. Instead our car fishtailed and we moved enough to just hit his wheel, then our car was thrown in the opposite direction and slid down the snowy hill. Everyone we talked to was surprised we hadn't rolled because of the slope of the hill and we were just grateful.

As we waited in our freezing car for three hours for the policeman and the tow-truck to come, I started to count the miracles I'd seen.

1. We were alive and no one had been hurt, not even a single scratch or bruise. If we'd hit the semi head on, my sister and her friend would be dead, and I would either be with them or seriously injured. If we had missed the wheel and gone underneath the truck, we would have been crushed. It seemed to me that we hit the only place on which we could have received the least amount of damage and injuries and we didn't roll down a hill like we should have. I was not about to just leave it there and say it was luck, no, it was the first of my miracles.

2. While neither my sister nor I had ever been in an accident, our friend had and she knew what we were supposed to do. She helped to calm us down in a scary situation by remaining in control. She had us call our parents while she called 911 and reported the accident. She helped talk to all the people stopping and asking if we were okay and showed my sister what she needed for when the police officer came. It would have been a much more frightening situation without her.

3. Cell phone reception. In the middle of nowhere Wyoming, forty-five minutes away from the closest city, we had cell reception. At first this didn't seem like a miracle until everyone that stopped to help us couldn't find a signal. We were the only ones in the area that had reception, and without it we wouldn't have been able to notify our family or the police of our accident.

4. We had sleeping bags to keep warm. My mother had been inspired that afternoon when she'd told us to bring the sleeping bags. It was well below freezing and we had to wait in our car for three hours before help arrived. We all huddled in the back seat, the two sleeping bags unzipped with one on the bottom and one on the top. We had warm clothes too, but even with all that we could still feel the chill and our feet were so cold they hurt because we'd been walking out in the snow, but without my mom's inspiration to bring the sleeping bags, we would've been a lot colder.

5. We all got home safely. After the accident we'd called my dad and he'd left right away to come get us, but it was going to be a long drive. The tow-truck finally arrived three hours later and we met my dad in a small city forty-five minutes back towards home where we got into his car and completed the journey home safely.

This is a day I will never forget. I believe we were protected out there on that freezing day because of the prayer we'd offered before we'd left. After the accident, while we were waiting in our car, we'd offered a prayer of thanks and thanked our Heavenly Father for protecting us. I know that sometimes we feel unimportant, but in the eyes of our Father in Heaven, we are all precious, and he loves and cares for us. He cared enough to keep three young girls, a sixteen year old and two eighteen year old, safe from harm and returned us safely to our families. I know he's watching out for us, and knows who we are and what we're doing. He want to be a part of our lives and will help us in any way He can, if we only ask for that help. He is my Father, and I love and appreciate all He's done for me. I know prayer is a powerful tool and that we can all use it whenever we need it, and I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

You're Beautiful in His Eyes

      Recently I stumbled upon this song, Beautiful, and fell in love with it. This song came to me exactly when I needed it, and to me that's a miracle, an answer to my prayers. Miracles don't have to come in big miraculous ways, often they're small seemingly insignificant things that can change the course of your day, or help you get to where you need to be. This song was one of my miracles. I was struggling with my self-esteem and I felt alone and unwanted. I had just returned home from a a particularly bad day at school when my cousin tagged me in a facebook post that held this song in it. Curious, I clicked on it. I connected with the song instantly as it started with how we all feel weak and unimportant. Then it reminds you that there's more. How we're made for more than this, how we're His children and that He loves us. And over and over again it tells us that we're beautiful, we're beautiful because He made us that way and that's how He sees us. Overall, His opinion is the only one that matters, and when I realized that it made all the difference.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Miracle on the Columbia

I have to share this amazing experience my friend had with her 19-month old daughter.  This was written by her husband.  Nothing short of a miracle.

My heart is filled with gratitude to God after we experienced a near fatal tragedy Saturday afternoon. We went boating with some friends on the Columbia river and docked about 30 yards off an island to have dinner. Steph and I expected that we all would go eat on 
the beach so as not to get food all over inside the boat. So we took off Maycee's life jacket planning to carry her on shore. But our friends said that we could just stay in their boat and eat, so we did except for the boys who went to play on the beach. I had Maycee with me at the front of the boat where I was talking with my friend, and Steph was talking with my friend's wife at the back of the boat. Maycee was really restless and didn't want to stay on my lap so I let her down, and she walked to the back of the boat by Steph, her friend, Jaron, Shaylee and her friend. Nobody noticed Maycee climb up on the seat and then on to the back of the boat and fall into the river. Shaylee's friend noticed Maycee floating in the river about 15 feet away from the boat and told Shaylee, "Look! Maycee's swimming!" Shaylee then exclaimed, "Mom!!!" Steph looked over and saw Maycee and started to scream and jumped out of the boat towards her. I immediately leaped up and jumped into the river after Steph. Steph got to Maycee first who was floating on her back and moving her head back and forth. Steph grabbed her and I took her from Steph expecting to perform CPR to get the water out of her lungs. But amazingly Maycee did not have any water in her lungs, just a little in her mouth. She started to cry but otherwise had no side effects and was fine. We do not know exactly how long Maycee was in the river but considering how far away she was from the boat we figured it must have been at least a minute or two, which would normally result in a drowning. But since Maycee did not get any water in her lungs we figure that she must have been floating on her back most of the time, otherwise she would have swallowed water if her head was submerged under the water for more than a few seconds. We were dumbfounded. It was as if somebody had their hands beneath her back holding her up and keeping her from flipping over. The thought immediately came into my mind that an angel could have been holding her in the river. I know that sounds crazy to those who don't believe in God and even to many who do, but I have seen miracles more than once in my life and have no doubt that God and angels exist. Regardless of whether there was an angel involved or not, I know that it was a God-given miracle that Maycee managed to not drown or even get water in her lungs. We did pray before we left on our trip to the river and asked that we would be safe, and I am so deeply grateful that the Lord answered our prayers.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Compassion, Charity, Mercy, and Love

Recently, my husband took our son on our ward father's and son's camp out.  My husband spent some good time chatting with a former mission president around the campfire.  They touched on the topic of sending missionaries home (yes, sometimes LDS missionaries get sent home).  My husband and I have been guilty of taking a letter-of-the-law approach at times and would probably say in this situation, "Well, if a young man isn't behaving as he should on his mission, or if he wasn't worthy to go, then teach him his lesson: send him home."

This loving, kind, former mission president taught us something.  He said that when working with one of these young men, he'd handle it this way:  You can repent and take care of matters while on the mission and return home honorably, or we can send you home now where you'll face the embarrassment and shame of coming home early, and it will ruin your life and probably your involvement with the church (I'm sure he made it sound much nicer than that). Rather than making these young men miserable, he wanted to help them be successful. What a charitable approach.

I realized that I need to do better and give people the benefit of the doubt and to be more compassionate.  It's not my job to lay down the law; it's my job to show love and mercy as the Savior did and make life better for others.  I can leave the judging up to our Father in Heaven.

Not only does this help me be less judgmental of others, but it also, for some reason, helps me lighten up with raising my children.  I don't have to be too strict.  I don't have to make them be little adults.  They can be kids and have fun, and I can have fun with them and be a guide when they struggle just like that former mission president was with his struggling missionaries.