Monday, January 28, 2008

The Testimony of a Prophet of God

Last night I learned of the death of President Gordon B. Hinckley, the prophet of God on earth. It is as if one of my closest friends has died. I feel the shock, the sorrow, the loss; but along with those comes the knowledge that he was a Living Prophet of God and I have had the opportunity to listen to his counsel and advice and I can re-read those things he taught.

One of the most marvelous blessings of being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is having a Living Prophet to guide us in these difficult times. The counsel from our Prophet weighs heavy in my life and each time I have the privilege of listening to him, I gain more faith in my Savior and more love for His Gospel.


It is so hard for me to explain my love for this man! He has given is whole life to helping the Gospel move forward in our time. He has done as much as he could to prepare us for the difficulties we face today. He has borne witness of Christ and of His Second Coming. My prayer is that I can live up to the things President Hinckley asked each member to do.


My favorite thing about President Hinckley is how much he looked like my Grandfather! I always thought of Grandpa when listening to President Hinckley. Of course, it helped that Grandpa made sure we knew of his testimony of the restored gospel, Joseph Smith, Temples, the Scriptures, and the Prophet. How could I not associate the two, when they looked so much alike and taught the same things.


One of the assignments of the Prophet of our Church is to testify of Christ. It is so important to hear that testimony and to gain our own testimony of Jesus Christ.



MY TESTIMONY OF JESUS CHRIST

I know, without any kind of doubt, that Jesus Christ lives.
I know he is my Savior and Redeemer.
I know He loves me and He answers my prayers.
I know He will come to earth again.
I look forward to the day I can meet Him on earth and worship Him face to face.

_____________________________
The Testimony of
President Gordon B. Hinckley


The Things of Which I Know
President Gordon B. Hinckley, given April 1, 2007


How deeply grateful I am that we of this Church do not rely on any man-made statement concerning the nature of Deity. Our knowledge comes directly from the personal experience of Joseph Smith, who, while yet a boy, spoke with God the Eternal Father and His Beloved Son, the Risen Lord. He knelt in Their presence; he heard Their voices; and he responded. Each was a distinct personality. Small wonder that he told his mother that he had learned that her church was not true. And so, one of the great overarching doctrines of this Church is our belief in God the Eternal Father. He is a being, real and individual. He is the great Governor of the universe, yet He is our Father, and we are His children.

We pray to Him, and those prayers are a conversation between God and man. I am confident that He hears our prayers and answers them. I could not deny that. I have had too many experiences of answered prayers. . . .

The second great certitude of which I am sure also has its foundation in the vision of the Prophet Joseph. It is that Jesus lives. He is the Living Christ. He is the Jehovah of the Old Testament and the Messiah of the New. Under His Father's direction, He was the Creator of the earth. The gospel of John opens with these remarkable words: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

"The same was in the beginning with God.
"All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made" (John 1:1–3). . . .

Now, the next thing of which I am certain, and of which I bear witness, is the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. Without it life is meaningless. It is the keystone in the arch of our existence. It affirms that we lived before we were born in mortality. Mortality is but a stepping-stone to a more glorious existence in the future. The sorrow of death is softened with the promise of the Resurrection. There would be no Christmas if there were no Easter.
I speak next of the great certitudes that have come with the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. There is the restoration of the priesthood, or the authority given man to speak in the name of God. This priesthood is of two orders: the lesser, also known as the Aaronic, was restored under the hands of John the Baptist. The higher order of priesthood, the Melchizedek, was restored under the hands of Peter, James, and John. . . .

Now finally, I mention the blessings of the house of the Lord, which have come of the Restoration of the ancient gospel.

These temples, which we have greatly multiplied in recent years, offer blessings that are had nowhere else. All that occurs in these sacred houses has to do with the eternal nature of man. Here, husbands and wives and children are sealed together as families for all eternity. Marriage is not "until death do ye part." It is forever, if the parties live worthy of the blessing. Most remarkable of all is the authority to do vicarious work in the house of the Lord. Here, ordinances are performed in behalf of the dead who did not have opportunity to receive them while in life. . . .


Now, my brothers and sisters, this is my testimony, which I solemnly bear before you.
God bless you, every one, you faithful Latter-day Saints. May there be peace and love in your homes and faith and prayer to guide you in all that you undertake is my humble prayer in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.


________________________________________


Said the Savior, "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you" (Matthew 17:20).

To his son Helaman, Alma declared, "Preach unto them repentance, and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ; teach them to humble themselves and to be meek and lowly in heart; teach them to withstand every temptation of the devil, with their faith on the Lord Jesus Christ" (Alma 37:33).
May the Lord bless us with faith in the great cause of which we are a part. May faith be as a candle to guide us in the night by its light. May it go before us as a cloud in the day.
For this I humbly pray, in the sacred and holy name of Him who is the strength of our faith, even the Lord Jesus Christ, amen. Gordon B. Hinckley, October1, 2006

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Our First Parade




Monday, January 21st, was Martin Luther King Civil Rights Day. We had a parade downtown. Normally I don’t go to parades anymore. But this was different; my youngest daughter was in it. Her Jr. High band found out on Jan 12 that they were going to be marching.

The kids had not done any kind of marching practice so I was a little concerned about how they would handle staying together; not to mention playing while they “marched”. There were about 6 or 7 Jr. High bands in the parade. The first one was in the same situation ours was. They were in a tight group and didn’t even try to march, just tried to stay together. One band in the middle of the parade had uniforms and showed signs of having done a lot of marching practice – they were the best, but they had practiced, too.






Our kids were the last band and I have to commend their band director! Those kids lined up and did pretty well at keeping the lines straight. The band director was also the tuba player and he didn’t have any other adults helping him with the band.

For most of the parade, I walked with them and did the “parent thing” with my camera. Overall, I was really proud of all of them. They gave it a really great effort! I think we are going to love being band parents! TK has been talking about starting a band parents/band boosters group to help the band director.



The saddest part was when I asked how many had parents/family coming; only about five kids said they had someone coming.

Oh, that's a tongue in the tuba horn.




TK was really excited about this picture. He loved that the Honor Guard was in step with each other enough that it almost looks like one set of legs!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Health Issues

This is a difficult thing for me to write. Mostly because there are so many emotions connected with what I am writing about. I need to give a little background so that you understand everything.

TK has Stargardt’s Disease which has left him legally blind for over 15 years. His peripheral vision is 20/20 but his central vision is 20/200. Regular glasses do not help this type of problem. He had to stop driving, which was what he did to relax. He would get into his car and drive up the California coast highway until he felt like turning around and coming back. He has raced and was part of the SCCA. He loved driving and all things car!

Almost 2 years ago we found out that he could drive again by using new special adaptive glasses. Life became wonderful again. Driving and cars became a big part of his life for the second time.
In the last 2 months TK has been having some health problems. The short version of the long story is this: TK has Mastoiditis, with a hardened cyst in his middle ear area; we aren’t sure about the size of the cyst. This will require surgery. He sees the surgeon at the end of this month.

In preparing for surgery, he saw his cardiologist today. The cardiologist did some research on the Stargardt’s. He found that it affects the tiny blood vessels throughout the body, not just in the eyes, which can cause problems with bleeding, organ difficulties, and weakness in all the smaller vessels.

The cardiologist said that TK needed to have a stress test before the surgery. Because of other problems he has, this will be radiological stress test, and it will have to be done 2 days in a row. One of the side effects of the radiological drug is that it can destroy peripheral vision!

This is the point where I breakdown! He just got his ability to drive back and now he has to have a test that could take that away. And he has to have it two days in a row! This is before the surgery that will cut his head open and expose his brain! For some reason I have a harder time with the possibility that he will lose more vision than with the surgery. That could be because I haven’t heard all the particulars about the surgery.

We weren’t together when TK first lost his vision. We met after he had learned to deal with it. Most people never even know he is legally blind because he handles things so well. I confess that sometimes I forget, too; especially now that he can drive.

It’s during times like these that test your faith. Maybe it’s more like testing my concept of my life and how it should unfold. I know that my Father in Heaven is there and I know that He is in charge of everything. It’s more that I have to come to grips with the fact that life is really not in my control and just get ready to deal with what actually happens instead of what might happen.
I know that, but I still find myself bursting into tears as I unload the dryer, or clean the living room, or plan dinner or anything else. Now I just have to paste on the smile and finish this unplanned ride.


Look unto God with firmness of mind, and pray unto him with exceeding faith, and he will console you in your afflictions, and he will plead your cause, and send down justice upon those who seek your destruction. (Book of Mormon, Jacob 3:1)

Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, (Book of Mormon, Heleman 3:35)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Showing Kindness

There are some wonderful blessings that come from being a part of a family! And even more if you are part of a large family, which I am.

A few days ago, I had a brother and a brother-in-law come to my house to fix things for me. One is an electrician and the other is an all around handy man. My brother, the handyman, works so fast that it’s hard to keep up with him. If he didn’t have other people around, he would get the work done in half the time! One thing that just amazed me – one of my security screen doors didn’t latch unless you used the deadbolt part of the lock; the knob just didn’t catch. We have almost no tools to speak of, so I thought he was not going to be able to do anything about it. WRONG! He whips out his Christmas present, a Leatherman tool, and opens the file blade and just starts filing away at the area that needed it. It only took about 5 minutes and he had the door actually catching like it should!

In our family we have members with all kinds of skills; from legal and financial, to building, to hair & makeup, to carpeting, to music and theater, to organizational, to computer and so much more. Each person in the family has more than just one skill. It’s a collection of all the things they have learned through their lives.

There is no better way to learn to love someone than to help them, and no better security than to know you can call on them whenever you need their help. If you are lucky, you may have this kind of family or live in this type of community or belong to a church that helps each other this way. I think that if more people were willing to give just a little service to others in their daily lives, lots of problems would disappear. I know there would be more happiness in the world.

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal… Charity suffereth long, and is kind, charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up (Bible, 1 Corinthians 13:1, 4)

But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. (Book of Mormon, Moroni 7:47-48)

And I am filled with charity, which is everlasting love; wherefore, all children are alike unto me; wherefore, I love…with a perfect love; and … all alike and partakers of salvation. (Book of Mormon, Moroni 8:17)



Our area has lots of “snowbirds” during the winter months and many of them just have a hard time at the store. They can’t reach something or they can’t lift something. When I see this, I usually offer to help them; I am basically able-bodied and have the ability to do these little things better than many of them, so why not help. When I see the tears in their eyes or the stunned look on their face, I realize that I have done more than put laundry detergent into a cart, or reached the bottle on the top shelf. I realize that one simple Random Act of Kindness has made 2 people feel more valued.


“I expect to pass through life but once. If, therefore, there be any kindness I can show, Or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, Let me do it now, as I shall not pass this way again.” The Dalai Lama

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Just Normal

Okay, the tires got replaced, I’m on my meds again and another week has passed. That about sums up my life. What can I say? I’m boringly normal! I am still crocheting, but now it’s only at night while I calm down before bed.
There is one thing I really want to get is some wooden crochet hooks. The hardest part of that is deciding what size to buy. I use so many different sizes, and sometimes I am using 2 or 3 of the same size on different projects. Anyone who has taken a hook out of a project to use it for another project knows the pain of trying to find “the” hook again.





I did get a picture of one of the Christmas gifts I crocheted this year. It is a pillow, 8 feet long, for my son’s family. He joked that they were going to take out their couch and just use the pillow.

The pattern can be found at : http://www.christinascrochethaven.com/giant_pillow.htm


Today, I realized what one of my duties in life is . . . to be a dictionary for TK and my daughter! I am also the only one who can find that elusive item in the refrigerator that is right in front of them. My mother use to say “If it was a snake, it would have bit you.”

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Wordless Wednesday


This is what my morning looked like. If you look at about 2:00 on the tire, right next to the wheel, you can see where it "cracked" when TK hit some RR tracks last night on his way home from work.

See more Wordless Wednesday here: http://www.5minutesformom.com/

Monday, January 7, 2008

One of my comfort foods

Tonight, TK is really ready to have me take over the kitchen again! Even if I'm not. So I am making something that EASY and tastes good on a rainy day like this when you feel like death-warmed-over!
____________________________________
CHICKEN & RICE SOUP

Combine the following ingredients. Amounts will depend on your taste and your fridge.

Water (or chicken broth)
Chicken Boullion
Chicken or Turkey, cooked (frozen, leftovers, canned, anything)
Rice
Parsley
Salt
Pepper
Optional: onion, celery, peas, carrots, any of the usual stuff for soup.

Boil or simmer all together until the rice is over-cooked and the ends have broken so that each little grain looks more like a star than a grain.

NOTES: This is best when slowly cooked all day and starting with uncooked chicken to make the broth. The amount of rice to water added is going to depend on your own taste. I like lots of rice with just a little broth. This also makes a little meat go a long way!
_____________________________________

Mine is ready. Gotta go drink a little bit of heaven!!!

How I stay sane



I have not been just sitting in my bedroom eating the proverbial bonbons. I have been staying busy. Here’s what I have done in the last 2 days.

The magazine is a gift from TK about an hour ago, to try and help me feel better. Sweet, huh?

The little booties (in the front) are for a newborn nephew. I probably won’t see his family for a month or more, so I made them for a 3 month old.

The pillow was just a test of a pattern I hadn’t tried yet called the “Magic Square”.

The rectangle behind everything will be a rectangle granny square afghan. It was started at a time when I didn’t know what to do and just let my hands start working.

Since I have had TK in my life, I have learned that it is okay to spend money on some of my hobbies. This way I have the ingredients to do something at the times I really NEED to have something to do. It helps me to be able to do something “constructive” when life seems to be falling apart around me.

TK is just about the best thing that ever haappened to me. He even stayed home from work to babysit me today!

YES, I HAVE BEEN HIDING

Definitions for this post:
Sick=the person with the biological problem.
SMI= seriously mentally ill

For the last few days, I have been hiding. I have grounded myself to my bedroom except for a few trips to the kitchen and the computer. This has been for the good of everyone living with me, including myself! The problem has been that I am out of some medications I take. This is because of a series of comical errors on the part of me and the doctor’s office since September!! I won’t go into the errors! I confess that I am classified SMI and have been since I was very young.

Usually this isn’t a problem! I always take my meds, I watch for signs of problems and act on them quickly, and I have a crisis plan in place that I use at times like these. Having dealt with this “horrible monster” for a long time, I have come to some conclusions.


1-The “sick” one has a serious responsibility to do everything possible to stay healthy!!!!! *****!!!!!

2-The “sick” one has to figure out what “healthy” means to them and those they live and work with.

3-NEVER, NEVER make any kind of decisions while you are not “healthy”!

4- SIT DOWN FACING THE DIRECTION YOU WANT TO GO and STAY there until the crisis has passed. This means that you need to keep your eye on your long-term goals even when things are really, really bad. I believe that you have no chance of actually reaching those goals if you take your eye off of them when things are difficult.

5- Have faith in God. Then have more faith!

I have a theme song that I pull out at times like these. If you read the words and apply them to what goes on INSIDE of someone, you will get a small glimpse of what these times can be like. And why I hide out during times like this. It comes from the Hymnal used by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Master, The Tempest Is Raging

Master, the tempest is raging!
The billows are tossing high!
The sky is o’ershadowed with blackness.
No shelter or help is nigh.
Carest thou not that we perish?
How canst thou lie asleep
When each moment so madly is threat’ning
A grave in the angry deep?
*
Master, with anguish of spirit
I bow in my grief today.
The depths of my sad heart are troubled.
Oh, waken and save, I pray!
Torrents of sin and of anguish
Sweep o’er my sinking soul,
And I perish! I perish! dear Master.
Oh, hasten and take control!
*
[Chorus]
The winds and the waves shall obey thy will:
Peace, be still.
Whether the wrath of the storm-tossed sea
Or demons or men or whatever it be,
No waters can swallow the ship where lies
The Master of ocean and earth and skies.
They all shall sweetly obey thy will:
Peace, be still; peace, be still.
They all shall sweetly obey thy will:
Peace, peace, be still.
*
Master, the terror is over.
The elements sweetly rest.
Earth’s sun in the calm lake is mirrored,
And heaven’s within my breast.
Linger, O blessed Redeemer!
Leave me alone no more,
And with joy I shall make the blest harbor
And rest on the blissful shore.

Hymns of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, no. 105
I never know how long it will take to get to “that blissful shore”, but I do know it is there. That’s a great deal more than some people know!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

I slept with a ROCK



Last night I had such a hard time sleeping! That is actually normal for me. But last night, I was just so hot! We have the heater on because our daughter’s room gets really cold. Our room is fine without heating because we like to sleep cold.

After being awake for almost 3 hours and trying everything I knew to get back to sleep, I finally came out and got my ROCK. My ROCK is a very heavy, unopened geode. Usually it sits under my computer desk and I rest my feet on it while I work. It keeps my feet VERY COOL, which is why I thought I’d try it in bed. (Don’t try to figure me out, just go with the story.)

It actually worked. It did take about 30 minutes to get settled and find the best place for it, but it worked! No, it didn’t wake me up. No, I didn’t roll over on it. When I got up with my daughter, I had totally forgotten about it. It ended up in the center of the bed. I found it again when I was making the bed.

Just so you understand the scale of the picture: the rock is about 6 inches long and weights at least 30 pounds. The center of the geode is purple, you can barely see that from the end view.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

My latest project

Since Christmas, I have been working on some Leg Warmers for my sister and her 3 girls. It has been fun and I have learned a great deal. Sometimes it isn't as simple as just changing colors. Occasionally you have to be creative with how you add the second color.


This one was the first I worked on. I had the first leg half done when I was already out of the accent color. So I had to take it all out and figure out a better way to make the accent cover both legs. Note: I am not telling how I cheated on these!


I told my husband that there was no way I could write out the instructions for the method I used on these pink ones. Thankfully they were for the smallest girl.


The purple had to be longer than any of the others because of how long the oldest girl's legs are.



My sister's were just a simple thing. Two colors all the way.

When I started making Leg Warmers, I was thinking that they would be worn around the ankles, but everyone I have given them to wants to have them all the way up to, or over, their knees. But when they wear them that way, the warmers fall down after a while.

SOLUTION: I am giving them a delicate elastic (along with the warmers) to thread though the top if the warmers don't stay where they want them to.

The pattern is really easy and can be found at http://naidascrochet.tripod.com/patterns/legwarmers.html

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

NEW YARN

When I was talking to my mother on the phone today she told me about some yarn that a woman had given her for TK and I. You have to understand that I have a "thing" for colors and textures. I was in heaven when I worked at a ribbon store!
After my one errand today, I went to get the yarn. WHAT A SURPRISE!! It filled 2 boxes and needed 2 bags in addition! Right now it is all sitting on my bed. I am using that to get me to turn off the computer and go to bed early.
So I have been looking at the patterns I have and the online patterns I have bookmarked. I need some ideas for what to make with this new loot, I mean bounty!
Any ideas? Any requests? Any more loot?

2008

Another year is here. I suppose that this is when we are suppose to be deciding on our New Year's Resolutions. Why? That is just an accepted way of setting goals you are least likely to work on. Personally, I've never bought into it.

If I am going to set a goal, I want to think about it and plan it out. There are specific times to start working any given goal. For instance; I can say I am going to be a good student and if I say that at the end of the school year I am not likely to do anything about it. But if I have taken the summer to think about what it may take to become a better student, I am more likely to be able to set out a plan for myself by the time school actually starts.

I guess what I am saying is that it comes down to this: Take time and plan rather than just set a goal because it will sound good when everyone asks you what your resolutions are.