Thursday, May 7, 2015

Are You Like a Lighthouse?



Heceta Head lighthouse before sunset in all her beauty!!




 
taken in 2013 when our daughter
was entering the MTC
I  love love LOVE being a mother!

I feel so grateful to be a mother and to have such a wonderful mother that I do! {love you Mom!!} 

I take my role seriously.... and this focus that I have, can be driven right back to my own mother who set {and sets} such a great example to me of wisdom and truth, and THIS talk by President Ezra Taft Benson: (To the Mothers in Zion, given 1987.) This talk changed my life forever and how I viewed, then, my future role as a mother.  I never knew I would love it so much.

There is no other role we could have outside of our home that is more important than that of being a mother inside of our home. 

And...the mothering doesn't stop at all once they leave the home. If anything, it builds. That is when our children start connecting everything we have taught them together.





This past April,  my husband and I went on an anniversary trip to the Oregon Coast. See my previous post   My Heceta Vacation

I was mesmerized by the deep symbolism and parallel that lighthouses have to motherhood. So much, that I couldn't stop thinking about it!   Here are a few thoughts from inside my head....
Heceta Head Lighthouse

Lighthouses stand on the shores and coasts of our world, and their purpose is timeless and constant.  They know why they are there on this planet and who they are.
 
They are on the shores as leaders, who lead with strength, not uncertainty, and they are a guide to ships out at sea, trying to get to shore safely.
 
 

Their light shines 24/7  consistently through calm weather, or stormy, through bright sunny skies, and in the  darkness. 



Heceta Head Lighthouse
 
See the symbolism?!
 
 
In my lighthouse touring...(if you want to call it that)...I learned a lot! I was like a sponge soaking up all the history, work, and duties of the lighthouses and the light house keepers. and busy applying it to my role as mother. 
 
 
  • The ocean is so powerful in itself. I compare that to the world around us.  The lighthouse keepers have no control over what the sea does.  We have no control over what the world does. or other people do for that matter.  We have to stand strong in who we are and what our purpose is. We just have to be ready to weather the storms that come. We can never leave our post as mother.
  • Every lighthouse emits light from  lamps and lenses that are prism like, and used as an  aid for navigation.  Do you see the symbolism to motherhood? The lighthouse keepers main job is to make sure that lighthouse light NEVER goes out.  In the early 1900s and before, that meant carrying a container of oil (usually whale oil) up the spiral staircase to the very top. 
    
    During a storm, the wind can blow as high as 100 mph and rocks sometimes fly up and break the glass of the lighthouse light.Do you see the symbolism?

      What are we doing to keep our light shining 24/7?  Are we willing to sacrifice in order to keep in shining?
  • It was the job of the lighthouse worker to climb up, during the storm and repair the glass immediately.  The lighthouse light had to be working at all times so as to be a navigational aid, especially during storms.  The lighthouse keepers sacrificed a lot to keep the light going 24/7. 

  • Lighthouses come in all heights.  The reason that some are tall and some are shorter has everything to do with their purpose and nothing to do with the designer.  Every lighthouse light must be at the height of the horizon as each one spans the distance of 21 miles (at least where we were in Oregon).  The 21 miles in the distance where the earth bends and that is as far as each lighthouse light will shine.  Interesting information.   A lot of technology and math equations of gone into making each lighthouse an effective guide and light to those trying to navigate the ocean. Sometimes a lot of thinking and prayer need to go into making sure our efforts as mothers has the farthest reaching effects upon our children.
     
  • Last one, along the coasts of the world, there is a network of lighthouses that work together. Each lighthouse has its own Morris code of blinking lights that is specific to that lighthouse. The ships can know where they are, when they see the different patterns of light.  I really loved this information and once again made me think of a network of mothers we all have in our lives from our own mothers, to mother-in-laws, to even strong wise women who in our network of friends in our lives. All these women make a strong united front in strengthening those around us.   Love the symbolism!
 
 
Are YOU like a lighthouse?



Saturday, April 25, 2015

My Heceta Vacation



taken near the Heceta Head Lighthouse,  Newport, Oregon



taken near the Heceta Head Lighthouse
Sometime in early April, my husband and I took a trip up to the Oregon Coast. It was an early 25th Anniversary trip.  We had been there once before and completely fell in love with the Heceta Head Lighthouse and coast.  When we arrived there, we had this great reassuring sense of relief that our dream location was indeed still as beautiful and dreamy as it was last time we came. 






taken near the Heceta Head Lighthouse



taken near the Heceta Head Lighthouse





We had these  moments of.....complete bliss,    joy, and laughter as we walked along the rocky shore, listened to the waves crashing and splashing and spurting against all the rocks as well as watched each wave come cascading onto the shore.  It was mesmerizing to say the least!


taken near the Heceta Head Lighthouse














I stood there for a while just watching it all happen. The beauty of it all overwhelmed me and I felt so close to God and could feel His presence and power in the whole scene.  It was a nice get-away from my normal life, and to just get lost in this part of the earth that I never get to see.







The even better news?  We got to spend the night there!!  Not on the beach, but in the cute little bed and breakfast perched on an elevated hill just above the crashing ocean and cascading waves.  The mere SOUND of the ocean in action is enough to completely hypnotize me.

 We sat on the wrap-around porches, wrapped up in blankets until way past our bedtime, just listening and watching the ocean.




The Bed and Breakfast was the old assistant lighthouse keeper's home. The light keeper's home which used to sit to the side of this one, has been destroyed. The houses looked almost identical. 

So this home has 6 bedrooms I think, and you feel you are back in time when you stay here.  It was a Wednesday night in April, and it was completely booked.  We shared it with 5 other couples from all parts of the country and all different professions and walks of life.

In the morning at 8:30 am sharp we gathered in the dining room for a very elegant and formal 7 coarse breakfast.  We sat around the dining room table as the server would bring out one coarse at a time and describe to us what we were eating.  Each coarse was rather small, so although it was a 7 coarse meal, we were not stuffed, but were comfortable. 

The fun part was getting to know all the other guests.  It was very interesting as all the couples came from stalwart marriages of many years. Our 25 years of marriage was nothing on some of them.  It was great to be around other great people and stalwart strong marriages from all other religions. 

As we sat ,the conversation eventually turned to important principles for strong families.  Another couple began talking about how important it is as families to gather around each day and eat family dinner together.   We talked about how this is a tradition that is going away because families are so busy now, and how simply eating meals together, at a table does so much for the unity and strength of a family. I loved this in so many ways!

My husband and I joined in the conversation of coarse, and left this experience feeling so much hope that there are so many strong marriages and strong families across this country who believe in the same things we believe in to preserve and keep our families strong.

There are so many symbols of God and motherhood, my most important role, in the ocean and lighthouses.  Another post is coming soon.


If you have never taken a vacation to the Oregon Coast...it is worth the trip!!

Heceta Head Lighthouse in all her beauty! 



Friday, April 10, 2015

I Sustain Our Prophet



We have just listened to our semi-annual General Conference!  The talks seemed to have a theme of strengthening marriages and families and remembering our covenants! 

I sustain all of our leaders as prophets, seers, and revelators that have only one agenda ever....to represent  and speak for Jesus Christ in all they do.
 
We are living in interesting times when the values of the family are being tested like never before.  Once strong and stalwart in their faith, are leaving the church, their families, and their covenants.
 
Lehi's Dream of the path, the tree, and the rod. Gone are the days of  looking at the rod, knowing it is close, but not grasping on to it.  We have to strive each day to keep the spirit in our own lives, in our homes, and in our marriages. We cannot give up!!
 
I felt strongly to be a voice of faith and a voice of strength in my decision to follow Jesus Christ and our living prophets.
 
For this reason I wanted to share Ezra Taft Benson's talk on the 14 Fundamentals in Following the Prophet given in 1980 but epically applicable to us  today. It is was also quoted in the October 2010 General Conference by several speakers. There are some great reminders and powerful principles that we need to listen to and give heed to!
 
 
The following is a direct quote from the talk. None of it is my interpretation or addition to.  To read the talk in full follow the link provided. 
 

14 Fundamentals in Following the Prophet

by Ezra Taft Benson

 

First: The prophet is the only man who speaks for the Lord in everything.

In section 132 verse 7 of the Doctrine and Covenants [D&C 132:7] the Lord speaks of the prophet—the president—and says:
 
“There is never but one on the earth at a time on whom this power and the keys of this priesthood are conferred.”

 

Second: The living prophet is more vital to us than the Standard Works.

President Wilford Woodruff tells of an interesting incident that occurred in the days of the Prophet Joseph Smith:
“I will refer to a certain meeting I attended in the town of Kirtland in my early days. At that meeting some remarks were made that have been made here today, with regard to the living prophets and with regard to the written word of God. The same principle was presented, although not as extensively as it has been here, when a leading man in the Church got up and talked upon the subject, and said: ‘You have got the word of God before you here in the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants; you have the written word of God, and you who give revelations should give revelations according to those books, as what is written in those books is the word of God. We should confine ourselves to them.’
“When he concluded, Brother Joseph turned to Brother Brigham Young and said, ‘Brother Brigham I want you to go to the podium and tell us your views with regard to the living oracles and the written word of God.’ Brother Brigham took the stand, and he took the Bible, and laid it down; he took the Book of Mormon, and laid it down; and he took the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, and laid it down before him, and he said: ‘There is the written word of God to us, concerning the work of God from the beginning of the world, almost, to our day. And now,’ said he, ‘when compared with the living oracles those books are nothing to me; those books do not convey the word of God direct to us now, as do the words of a Prophet or a man bearing the Holy Priesthood in our day and generation. I would rather have the living oracles than all the writing in the books.’ That was the course he pursued. When he was through, Brother Joseph said to the congregation; ‘Brother Brigham has told you the word of the Lord, and he has told you the truth.’” (Conference Report, October 1897, pp. 18–19.)
 
 

Third: The living prophet is more important to us than a dead prophet.

God’s revelation to Adam did not instruct Noah how to build the Ark. Noah needed his own revelation. Therefore the most important prophet so far as you and I are concerned is the one living in our day and age to whom the Lord is currently revealing His will for us. Therefore the most important reading we can do is any of the words of the prophet contained each month in our Church Magazines. Our instructions about what we should do for each six months are found in the General Conference addresses which are printed in the Church magazine.
Beware of those who would set up the dead prophets against the living prophets, for the living prophets always take precedence.
 

Fourth: The prophet will never lead the Church astray.

President Wilford Woodruff stated:
“I say to Israel, the Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as president of the Church to lead you astray. It is not in the program. It is not in the mind of God.” (The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, pp. 212–13.)
President Marion G. Romney tells of this incident which happened to him:
“I remember years ago when I was a bishop I had President Heber J. Grant talk to our ward. After the meeting I drove him home … Standing by me, he put his arm over my shoulder and said: ‘My boy, you always keep your eye on the President of the Church and if he ever tells you to do anything, and it is wrong, and you do it, the Lord will bless you for it.’ Then with a twinkle in his eye, he said, ‘But you don’t need to worry. The Lord will never let his mouthpiece lead the people astray.’” (Conference Report, October 1960, p. 78.)
 

Fifth: The prophet is not required to have any particular earthly training or diplomas to speak on any subject or act on any matter at any time.

Sometimes there are those who feel their earthly knowledge on a certain subject is superior to the heavenly knowledge which God gives to his prophet on the same subject. They feel the prophet must have the same earthly credentials or training which they have had before they will accept anything the prophet has to say that might contradict their earthly schooling. How much earthly schooling did Joseph Smith have? Yet he gave revelations on all kinds of subjects. We haven’t yet had a prophet who earned a doctorate degree in any subject. We encourage earthly knowledge in many areas, but remember if there is ever a conflict between earthly knowledge and the words of the prophet, you stand with the prophet and you’ll be blessed and time will show you have done the right thing.
Sixth: The prophet does not have to say “Thus saith the Lord” to give us scripture.
Sometimes there are those who argue about words. They might say the prophet gave us counsel but that we are not obliged to follow it unless he says it is a commandment. But the Lord says of the Prophet, “Thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you.” (D&;C 21:4.)
 

Seventh: The prophet tells us what we need to know, not always what we want to know.

“Thou has declared unto us hard things, more than we are able to bear,” complained Nephi’s brethren. But Nephi answered by saying, “The guilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very center.” (1 Ne. 16:1–2.)
Said President Harold B. Lee:
“You may not like what comes from the authority of the Church. It may conflict with your political views. It may contradict your social views. It may interfere with some of your social life … Your safety and ours depends upon whether or not we follow … Let’s keep our eye on the President of the Church.” (Conference Report, October 1970, p. 152–153.)
 

Eighth: The Prophet is not limited by men’s reasoning.

There will be times when you will have to choose between the revelation of God and reasoning of men—between the prophet and the professor. Said the Prophet Joseph Smith,
“Whatever God requires is right, no matter what it is, although we may not see the reason thereof until long after the events transpire.” (Scrapbook of Mormon Literature, vol. 2, p. 173).
Would it seem reasonable to an eye doctor to be told to heal a blind man by spitting in the dirt, making clay and applying it to the man’s eyes and then telling him to wash in a contaminated pool? Yet this is precisely the course that Jesus took with one man, and he was healed. (See John 9:6–7.) Does it seem reasonable to cure leprosy by telling a man to wash seven times in a particular river, yet this is precisely what the prophet Elisha told a leper to do, and he was healed. (See 2 Kgs. 5.)
 
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isa. 55:8–9.)
 

Ninth: The prophet can receive revelation on any matter—temporal or spiritual.

Said Brigham Young:
“Some of the leading men in Kirtland were much opposed to Joseph the Prophet, meddling with temporal affairs …
“In a public meeting of the Saints, I said, ‘Ye Elders of Israel, … will some of you draw the line of demarcation, between the spiritual and temporal in the kingdom of God, so that I may understand it?’ Not one of them could do it …
“I defy any man on earth to point out the path a Prophet of God should walk in, or point out his duty, and just how far he must go, in dictating temporal or spiritual things. Temporal and spiritual things are inseparably connected, and ever will be.” (Journal of Discourses, 10:363–64.)
 

Tenth: The prophet may well advise on civic matters.

Eleventh: The two groups who have the greatest difficulty in following the prophet are the proud who are learned and the proud who are rich.

The learned may feel the prophet is only inspired when he agrees with them, otherwise the prophet is just giving his opinion—speaking as a man. The rich may feel they have no need to take counsel of a lowly prophet.
In the Book of Mormon we read:
“O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish.
“But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God.
“And whoso knocketh, to him will he open; and the wise, and the learned, and they that are rich, who are puffed up because of their learning, and their wisdom, and their riches—yea, they are they whom he despiseth; and save they shall cast things away, and consider themselves fools before God, and come down in the depths of humility, he will not open unto them.” (2 Ne. 9:28–29, 42; italics added.)
 

Twelfth: The prophet will not necessarily be popular with the world or the worldly.

 
As a prophet reveals the truth it divides the people. The honest in heart heed his words but the unrighteous either ignore the prophet or fight him. When the prophet points out the sins of the world, the worldly either want to close the mouth of the prophet, or else act as if the prophet didn’t exist, rather than repent of their sins. Popularity is never a test of truth. Many a prophet has been killed or cast out. As we come closer to the Lord’s second coming you can expect that as the people of the world become more wicked, the prophet will be less popular with them.
 

Thirteenth: The prophet and his counselors make up the First Presidency—The highest quorum in the Church.

 
In the Doctrine and Covenants the Lord refers to the First Presidency as “the highest council of the Church” (D&C 107:80) and says “whosoever receiveth me, receiveth those, the First Presidency, whom I have sent …” (D&C 112:20).
 

Fourteenth: The prophet and the presidency—the living prophet and the First Presidency—follow them and be blessed—reject them and suffer.

President Harold B. Lee relates this incident from Church history:
“The story is told in the early days of the Church—particularly, I think, at Kirtland, Ohio—where some of the leading brethren in the presiding councils of the Church met secretly and tried to scheme as to how they could get rid of the Prophet Joseph’s leadership. They made the mistake of inviting Brigham Young to one of these secret meetings. He rebuked them, after he had heard the purpose of their meeting. This is part of what he said: ‘You cannot destroy the appointment of a prophet of God, but you can cut the thread that binds you to the prophet of God, and sink yourselves to hell.’” (Conference Report, April 1963, p. 81.)
 
In a general conference of the Church, President N. Eldon Tanner stated:
“The Prophet spoke out clearly on Friday morning, telling us what our responsibilities are …
“A man said to me after that, ‘You know, there are people in our state who believe in following the Prophet in everything they think is right, but when it is something they think isn’t right, and it doesn’t appeal to them, then that’s different.’ He said, ‘Then they become their own prophet. They decide what the Lord wants and what the Lord doesn’t want.’
 
“I thought how true, and how serious when we begin to choose which of the covenants, which of the commandments we will keep and follow, we are taking the law of the Lord into our own hands and become our own prophets, and believe me, we will be led astray, because we are false prophets to ourselves when we do not follow the Prophet of God. (CR, October 1966, p. 98)
 
 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

What I Have Learned About Death...



Almost 4 months ago, on Thanksgiving Night, I had a full-fledged stroke., which you may have read about in a previous post.  Since then, I have been on the hardest journey I have ever been on, to fully recover and feel like my old self again.  I am realizing, that becoming my old self again is still far away, although I am feeling good.

I am struggling with some cognitive issues with memory and math, and have been fighting some depression and fatigue that are very normal post-stroke symptoms.  It is all part of the recovery and if anything, they are extremely annoying to deal with!!  I am so blessed that I have recovered so well and overall am in great health.  Because I was in great health when I had my stroke, as well as the type of stroke I had, and where I had my stroke, my recovery has been better and miraculous in many ways. 

Becoming a new person of understanding, and growth, and depth, is the journey I have embarked on. Each day I reflect and wonder what God is trying to teach me through my trials, and some days they feel intense. 

One of the biggest changes in my thinking and understanding has been my view of death. When I was in the middle of my stroke, I went to another place of extreme peace on the right side of my brain. I was in a place of extreme comfort, happiness, joy, peace where I felt no pain whatsoever: emotional or physical.   I never left my body or had a near-death experience in any way, but I felt such a great peace. Along with that peace, I was also in a state of mind of "no-worries" whatsoever.

Like a lot of women (and people in general) our life is centered around worrying about things.  We have this brain chatter going on all the time inside  our heads,  worrying about situations or people or possible scenarios as we go through our day. We dream up possibilities of how we can fix things to make life better for ourselves or others.  This happens without us always consciously being aware we are doing it. It is automatic.

While having my stroke, it mimicked an out of body experience. Possibly the closest I could come to with out really having one.  I was not always "there" meaning I was unconscious, but then had moments of coming out of my unconscious.  When I did, although I was still unable to communicate with the outside world at all,   everything was foggy and out of focus, visually and far away.  I was aware of the pain others were in around me. I could see my husbands eyes were red from crying, and he was in a state of panic. The doctors and nurses were panicked and moving very quickly. I remember thinking, "wow! they are really worried about something"  I was instantly like a child who was unaware of what the adults were worried about. Everyone around me were in a sense of despair over what was happening and I had no control over it .  I could feel their great love for me, which made me feel good,  but I could do nothing to fix or comfort their fears.  I felt love for them, but no worries over what they were experiencing.  It was like I was an observer and nothing else.

Since this experience, I have a glimpse of what death feels like in the sense that you are immediately taken to a place of great peace, joy, gratitude, no-worries, and no pain-physical, or emotional.

When I hear about someone who has passed on, I immediately connect with them in the peace and no-worries they are experiencing. They move on quickly to a different state of mind than what they felt here on earth, and we can be very at peace knowing that they are. 

I know this does not comfort those left behind, and many tears and heart aches are for the loved ones who are left on earth, but there is great peace in knowing that death is a very loving part of our Father in Heaven's Plan for His children. 


Some more information:


Doors of Death-Elder Russell M. Nelson
How Can I Find Comfort When Someone I Care About Dies?
The Healing Power of Grief -President Thomas S. Monson

My Stoke of Insight-Jill Bolte Taylor



Sunday, January 4, 2015

Embarking

I am going to give a good positive word for our extremely awesome mutual theme this year.  It is so great!  I am sure you are already all over it, and are aware of how inspired it is.  (as always) I am  inspired by it already!


The visual is a ship, which I feel is so applicable and has many themes that you could pull from.


"Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day." Doctrine and Covenants 4:2

To embark is to go on board a ship or aircraft, but it is also to begin a coarse of action that is especially important or demanding. Like missionary work, like maintaining a building a true testimony, like reading the scriptures daily, like prayer, like staying on the path, like keeping and  making temple covenants, like serving others, like being ready for  Christ's Second Coming, to just name a few .

I love that they put a different theme/picture on each sail of all the ways that we can embark on our own journeys to come unto Christ.  We know as we incorporate these principles into our lives, great things will happen, in our life and in those around us.

This can be personal. Very personal. You can come up with your own reasons for embarking this year. However, I have a feeling they will still be very connected to all the principles that are pictured on the ship's sails.

This can be a great focus not just for the youth, but our whole families, and each of us personally.

Here are some good resources:
 
The entire New Era for January is worth reading and studying and pondering as a family or as a youth group at church.  Each article is another way of how we can "EMBARK" and stay in the ship taking us safely home.  Don't skip any pages. Every page is incredible.
 
 Elder M. Russell Ballard's talk from October 2014  "Stay in the Boat and Hold On!"
 
Let's all EMBARK this year!