I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know who I am. I know God's plan. I'll follow him in faith. I believe in the Savior, Jesus Christ. I'll honor his name. I'll do what is right; I'll follow his light. His truth I will proclaim.

I Know that My Redeemer Lives!

I Know that My Redeemer Lives!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Gospel Message Day 340

Random Reflections

Wow--I can't believe we're on the home stretch with these Gospel topic posts. I have no idea if anyone has actually been reading the posts. Blog traffic has increased, but that doesn't mean they stayed and read. And if they did, I don't know if my ramblings and attempts to be a better member missionary have had any positive outcome for them. But I think it has been positive for me. This experience has made me think, and search scriptures, and reflect on songs. It has reminded me that every part of my life is inseparably connected with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And I wouldn't want it any other way.

Also, today we had such a beautiful special musical number. I actually had picked the song from one of my books a few weeks ago and asked a couple to sing it. I'd never heard it, but I thought it looked like a nice arrangement for the duet. Didn't even look at the piano since our pianist is Amazing x 10. Wow--that piano part was whoa! And fit so perfectly with the text. I've heard "How Great Thou Art" hundreds of times. Sung it quite a bit, including a few times last year with the Sterling Singers. But with memories of this weekend's hike very fresh in my mind, that song took on a sweeter, deeper, more lasting meaning for me as they sang

I see the stars...
Thy power throughout
The universe displayed...
When through the woods and forest glades I wander
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur
And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze.

Then sings my soul, my Savior, God, to Thee
How Great Thou Art!

(emphasis added). Because I wandered under the stars in the woods. I looked up at that mountain grandeur and in a few hours was on top of that mountain, looking out at more of the wonders His hands hath made. I heard birds singing in the morning. And the breezes throughout the night and the morning were so beautiful. I know for myself why so many prophets went up into the mountain to pray and/or to converse with the Lord. I felt a closeness that can only be compared yet isn't quite the same as to what I feel inside the Lord's temple. Yes, there was a lot of pain and tears. Yes there has been residual pain today. But all I could think today was how every bit of that experience was worth it--to feel that close to my Savior and to my Heavenly Father, and to fully enjoy what they created for each of us.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Gospel Message Day 339

Kindness of Strangers

I hiked Mount Timpanogos last night! A bucket list item to see the sun rise from the top. And I made it. However, my knees gave out by the time I got to the Saddle, and going down was awful. I broke out in tears multiple times from the pain. People asked if they could do anything, but I could tell they wanted to get down and would tire of my snail pace. Plus I didn't know what to ask them for help. My knees didn't want to bend, yet they had to to maneuver the rocks. And they had to work to get me down.

There were 3 boys (17/18) who passed me, and then I passed them on their break. They passed me again, and this time the 17 year turned around and asked me if he could help me down some of the rocky "steps." He had noticed that's where I had the most difficulty. He may have even noticed I'd been crying. After stopping to help me at 3 different rocky places, he just stayed by me to help. Eventually his friends helped by carrying my bag, and one of the guys switching out with the first. he unfortunately got the brunt because I got worse as we kept going down and was holding on to him almost non-stop.

The last 1/2 mile or so, some scouts and their leaders came down from doing a project. The leaders offered to help by doing a seat carry. And that sweet 18 year old--who happened to be opening his mission call tonight--went in to be one of the carriers even though I'd been holding on to him for so long already. They carried me, and had to keep re-gripping positions. Then the leader offered a piggy back ride. Either way, that last 1/2 mile went much faster and had me swallowing my pride even more than I already had been the entire hike up and down. I was so grateful for those leaders, but especially for those boys (who also ended up driving me to my car as well).

I was impressed and humbled by not just the kindness of strangers, but especially the willingness, service, and patience of these young men of the rising generation. O Youth of the Noble Birthright--our future is in good hands if we continue to raise men and women like this.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Gospel Message Day 338


A random topic I picked myself, and not from the dog. Just something I observed at work.

One of my teens walked by and called out "Hi" as well as my name. It made me smile that she would want to say Hello on the day we don't have Teen Hour, because she saw me and knew me and wanted to be friendly. I also loved that I took time over the last year to learn the teens' names, because it was kind and friendly.

I in turn took that friendly encounter and decided to "pay it forward." We have two regular girls who can sometimes wreak havoc in our library, and can be a bit up in people's faces. We blame it on boredom since they are there for hours in the day. Still, I decided to try to be a little nicer to them when they asked me some questions. Over the past few weeks, their questions have actually become real seeking for knowledge rather than I'm bored and want to talk. This time it was about books! It actually ended up being an enjoyable because I put forth being friendly.

Friendliness and kindness and being nice are an important part of the Gospel, because they are ways we can be more Christlike.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Gospel Message Day 337

Signs of the Second Timing, Part 3

Just looking over the scriptures that mention the signs, I noticed some that I can't believe I forgot to mention yesterday. Oh well. Here for your benefit or interest or, well, yeah, are scriptures listing what some of the signs of Christ's Second Coming are:

Matthew 24. Basically the whole chapter.
 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.
 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
 ¶And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.
 10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
 11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
 12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
 13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
 14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
 15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
 16 Then let them which be in Judæa flee into the mountains:
 17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
 18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
 19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
 20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
 21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
 22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.
 23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.
 24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
 25 Behold, I have told you before.
 26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.
 27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
 28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
 29 ¶Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
 30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
 31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
 32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:
 33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
 34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
 35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
 36 ¶But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
 37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
 38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
 39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
 40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
 41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
 42 ¶Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
 43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.
 44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
 45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?
 46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
 47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.
 48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;
 49 And shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;
 50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,
 51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
For those who wonder why we believe Christ will come again, it was proclaimed by an angel, and recorded in the New Testament. Acts 1:11
Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
You know, I know there are more scriptures than that. I was going by what I found under the topic of Christ's Second Coming. But I know there is much more than this. Still, Matthew 24. I love that there is a chapter of scripture accepted by Christian faiths which can declares to them some of the signs. Because the Lord wanted to tell as many as He could through a way available to Him. But He couldn't tell everyone that way. There had to be another way for the Lord to tell each of Father's children, to give them time to prepare themselves. And that way is us--those who believe and live His Gospel.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Gospel Message Day 336

Signs of the Second Coming, Part 2

OK. Today I'm going to list off the top of my head what I know or remember are signs of the second coming. Tomorrow I will quote scriptures related to signs given.

Rumors of wars
Gospel being proclaimed to all the Earth
Two prophets lying dead in the street for 3 days before they are raised from the dead
Moon turned to blood
Stars falling to the earth
People calling good evil, and evil good
Weather coming in unpredictable patterns (unseasonably cold, etc)
A rise in wickedness, and the world being more accepting of that wickedness
Temples covering the Earth

There are a lot of terrible things as part of the signs of the Second Coming, but there are also things that bring us hope and further the work of building the Kingdom of God.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Gospel Message Day 335

Signs of the Second Coming

I like this kind of topic--it is one I have known about for much of my life because I have read of them in the scriptures. In the New Testament, Christ told us (as well as His disciples) that no one would know the hour of His coming. But we are not to be completely taken by surprise. Signs would be given so we would know that the time was soon, that we were getting closer. These signs of His second coming are to warn us and give us time to prepare. He did not need to give us these signs. There have been prophecies enough, and it is silly to doubt them since we have seen so many other prophecies throughout history come about. But these signs are given because He loves us.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Gospel Message Day 334

Temple Work for the Dead

When one breaks down Gospel topics to be more specific, but then doesn't remember what those specifics are, previous blogging on related topics tend to overlap. I've blogged many times in this past year on temples, and temple work, and temple ordinances. And in that blogging I know I've mentioned that we do that work for ourselves, and we also do it for those who have died without having the chance to make those covenants themselves. So there really isn't much more that needs to be said. It sums up to this: there are so many of God's children who went through their lives on Earth without hearing the truth and having the chance to to choose if they would accept the Gospel and receive the ordinances Heavenly Father wanted them to have. The temple allows us to offer each one of those children (as we find them in our searching) their chance to choose if they will accept the ordinance work we vicariously perform for them.

Gospel Message Day 333

Family Friends

Family is great. Friends are awesome. But family members who are also your friends is one of the greatest things in the world. I am blessed to have that in my immediate family, and also in my extended. And it doesn't matter how many miles or years have separated us, we still have that friendship. We still love to see each other. We still love to spend time together. This month may have been full of run-around craziness that did not all have to do with work, but it was worth it. Because I was with family. Building up the friendships I have with these family members, including in our next generation of family. And with extended members whom I haven't seen in so long. This August has been such a family month, and it has been one of the best things about this whole year.

I'm grateful that unexpected things in my life shaped up to allow for all of this to happen. Some of those things were not pleasant at the time they occurred. But, of course, the Lord knew better. And as Sister A. would teach, It seemed bad, but was it? I was so upset and in tears when a musical was not a possibility this year. But look at all I was able to do because it didn't happen. Not having any tenants had their pluses and minuses. But the tighter budget of living on my own in the house also meant that I had a place to offer so many family members. I had 24 different family members stay the night this month. (Plus 8 more stop by to visit for an afternoon.) This would never have happened if others were in the house. It was a delight and a joy.

I'm so glad the Lord always knows best, and that He always will make things right.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Gospel Message Day 332

Someones to Watch Over Me

So much went wrong this morning. It is so ridiculous it is hilarious, and will make for one of those fun stories to share in a group. Amazingly, I was able to laugh throughout as one bad thing piled up on to another. There was a slight amount of stress, but also knowing that it wasn't life-and-death. If this didn't happen, or that did happen, all would be fine. I was rather surprised with how easy going I was about it all. And found the light side throughout. Honestly, all I could think was "this will be such a great story to tell," and each addition just made the story greater.

But what I really think helped was that I was not alone. There were a lot of people who helped, and more who offered it. And I knew I could count on them. I felt their support and their kindness, and I knew I would be all right no matter what. That is how one should feel when others offer Christlike love. And I am so grateful my life is full of people who offer that. I knew that I am watched over by many, and all will continue to be well because the Lord's hands are all around me.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Gospel Message Day 331

True Friendship

I realized today that I don't have many days before my year is up. And it seems there are plenty of slips still left in the Dog Basket. I may need to speed things up a wee bit in trying to cover topics. But not to the point of rushing it. So, of course, I will be dealing with a repeat topic instead of picking out a new one. :-)

Today I got to spend a bit of time making a new friend, and then spent the evening spending time with Oklahoma! alumni watching Urinetown alumni in Camelot. It was (and still is) a great sorrow for me that I didn't get to participate in a musical this summer. It isn't just about the fun of acting, singing, AND dancing. It is mostly about the friends I make. Spending all the time together learning the songs and the dancing. Getting to know each other. Fun stories and jokes shared. New memories created. Last year especially I had such a supportive cast during some emotionally difficult times. And I appreciated their kindness and acceptance with no questions asked and no judgements made. I believe that is true friendship, full of Christlike love.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Gospel Message Day 330

Atonement - Strength, Part 3

I think Strength and Enabling Power are rather like twins when it comes to the Atonement. They are quite similar. There are times they seem identical, but I believe there are times when they are individual. I would say the biggest difference is that the Enabling Power gives us the ability to do, to accomplish. But Strength through the Atonement is what helps us to make it through, to withstand, to endure until we have accomplished what we need to. Over time, that strength slowly builds on itself, helping us to endure more and more in this life. Trials that almost broke us in our past are now a little easier to endure because of the Strength we have gained with the Atonement.

In my life, I have especially seen the strength build when it comes to dating and relationships, as well as in a more personal trial. A few years ago, I was devastated by some of what I was going through in rejection and sorrow. Now, I still find it frustrating and upsetting. Once in a while I can't stop the tears. But I feel I can bear so much more now than I used to be able to, because of the added strength. I think a part of me has even become a bit numbed or perhaps used to some of the pain? The strength has helped me to create a slight intolerance to some of what I have to continually endure. Which is quite a relief, since I'm still gaining many lessons from single adulthood, but nice that I don't have to feel so completely downtrodden every time. The Lord has helped to strengthen me so that each time is a bit more endurable. Each time I understand I am growing and that it is for my benefit. Each time I know even more that I will make it through because the Lord helped me to make it through before and He will make sure I get through again, and again, and again.

Gospel Message Day 329

Atonement - Strength, Part 2

The late hours are getting to me. Tired brain and ready to fall asleep. Thus the writing is lacking. So tonight I will let music speak for me.

The Lord is My Light - verse 3
The Lord is my light; the Lord is my strength.
I know in his might I'll conquer at length.
My weakness in mercy he covers with pow'r,
And, walking by faith, I am blest ev'ry hour.

  1. Each life that touches ours for good
    Reflects thine own great mercy, Lord;
    Thou sendest blessings from above
    Thru words and deeds of those who love.
When at last I near the shore,
And the fearful breakers roar
'Twixt me and the peaceful rest,
Then, while leaning on thy breast,
May I hear thee say to me,
"Fear not; I will pilot thee."

Our Savior's Love - Verses 1 & 2
Our Savior's love
Shines like the sun with perfect light,
As from above
It breaks thru clouds of strife.
Lighting our way,
It leads us back into his sight,
Where we may stay
To share eternal life.

The Spirit, voice
Of goodness, whispers to our hearts
A better choice
Than evil's anguished cries.
Loud may the sound
Of hope ring till all doubt departs,
And we are bound
To him by loving ties.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Gospel Message Day 328

Atonement - Strength

Another element of the Atonement is the strength we are able to receive. For me, that strength can be either emotional or spiritual. Even physical. I'm sure the pioneers found physical strength to keep going on because of the Atonement. Probably mental as well. Maybe even financial when I think of the blessings of tithing. When I need sustaining in life, my Redeemer gives me the strength needed through His Atonement.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Gospel Message Day 327

Priesthood Power - Part 4

I didn't feel it was time to end this topic, and yet now I sit here and can think of only one thing to write. One thing to sum up the topic for me. As a single woman, I have spent many years in residences that did not have Priesthood power. It was never far from me. I always had neighbors (while in UT), or friends at church, or home teachers. I have a very strong testimony of the importance and need of home teachers and other Priesthood holding brethren in my life--particularly ones who are worthy of that Priesthood and can be called upon at a moment's notice to use it.

For I have writhed in agony from physical pain. One time I actually crawled out into the kitchen so two brothers could give me a blessing of healing.

And I have had the joy of brethren who were visiting my dwelling and offered prayers over my home and my household.

And I have cried many nights from a broken heart or wounded soul, and needed a blessing of comfort.

I find comfort, strength, peace, and learning in the ordinances I make at church and in the temple, and those ordinances are possible because of the Priesthood.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Gospel Message Day 326

Testifying Music

I'm pausing in the current topic, because tonight couldn't be passed over. Another season of Sterling Singers has begun. My goodness how I have missed this over the summer. But I do like having Sunday evenings available to do things when choir is off season. This summer it allowed me to visit family, which ended up being very crucial and wonderful blessings that I could not have foreseen.

So considering what our family (immediate and particularly extended) has been through this summer, it was no surprise that not one but two of our new songs had me in full-blown tears. To the point that I could not sing any more. I couldn't even see the notes and words to try. Because part of it is that I'm not quite "over" the death of such a dear aunt, or perhaps even the death of any one I've known. But it was mostly because the songs perfectly put into words and feelings how I would testify of the Atonement in relation to those who have died, and those who have suffered. I have no idea how I'm going to make it through this season without crying from the beauty and truth in those songs. I hope I will be able to learn to keep it in by the concert, because I am not able to sing and cry at the same time--and I really want to be able to testify with these songs to the audience. But as I prepare for that moment, I will continue to let those songs testify to me.

The first song is written by my Delaware Home Teachers' son, Ryan Murphy (assistant director for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir). He attended Sandy Hook Elementary, and wrote this song in honor and dedication to those affected by the tragedy there.

Good heavens--I'm in tears again just listening to it. Because this song makes me thing of that tragedy. Of my aunt and her two sons who preceded her. Of other suffering children in the world. Of my own children whom I have lost to time passing.

I got myself under control for the rest of practice. Until we got to the last song. Kelly read the note at the beginning, which set the tone. But I couldn't get past the second page before those words pierced my soul about the pain of my aunt this summer, and the pain of my friend Shane (who was there at practice tonight) this summer, and the pain I've had this summer, and the pain of every Child of God. Music enables my heart to express emotion and testimony that mere words cannot do for me. I am grateful for composers who are blessed with the Spirit to write music like this that can then reach my spirit and allow me to heal, find peace and comfort, and give me ability to share my testimony.

Gospel Message Day 325

Priesthood Power – Part 3

Today was an extremely momentous day for me—my baby brother was sealed for time and all eternity in the temple. In these Gospel topics, I have blogged a lot about the temple and temple ordinances. These wonderful temple ordinances are only possible because of Priesthood power and those authorized to use the power to perform those ordinances. I have watched my brother grow up from the moment I met him before he was a whole day old. I have watched him achieve many great and amazing things, some of which relating to the fact that he kept himself worthy to hold the Priesthood. He has honored it and used it well up to this point. And now he has married his best friend, and the Priesthood will help him serve and grow in ways and opportunities he has never had before.

I love my little baby. Today was a hard day filled with so much joy. Because I couldn’t believe I was seeing that little baby all grown up and gettin’ married. (Yes—I’m channeling Mu Shu there.) Amazing and a little tough to see him embarking on a part of life that I have absolutely no experience with. Growing up, moving on, progressing. Some times I feel left behind. But just because I haven’t had that blessing in my life doesn’t mean I want others to be kept from it. Especially this “little” guy that I want all the best for. He is definitely on his way with all things blessed and fabulous—including his new wife. And it makes me even more hopeful for them and their marriage because it is blessed by and with Priesthood power.