Category: Spirituality

A Mother’s Day Replay!

On Mother’s Day in 2012 my daughters hijacked my blog and gave me a HUGE Mother’s Day surprise. I was reviewing that old blog recently and reread their messages to me. I was again moved to tears at their kind words and generosity of spirit. I never was a perfect person, let alone a perfect parent. But my daughter’s words reminded me of what I weekly work to remind you – our kids aren’t looking for perfect. They want us, with all our flaws and all our love. When we stay the course, do the best we can, and keep learning, IT WILL BE ENOUGH!

Happy Mother’s Day to you all.

A decade has passed, and they have grown so much. Their lives have been challenging and beautiful. I put current pictures in the article, so you could see them as they are now. : )

May 13, 2012

We’ve hijacked our mother’s blog for a surprise Mother’s Day Tribute. We wanted to share with all of you, her dear readers, and friends, how honored we are to be her daughters and what she means to us. We are grateful for your joining us to celebrate our mother and yours.

Kate Houston
I remember one of my favorite things when I was living at home was sitting in our “library” with you talking about our love for books. You taught me to hunger for knowledge.

When I was young you showed me how to make a meal out of almost nothing, how to grow a beautiful garden, and how to REALLY clean. You taught me how to be a homemaker.

The summer I wanted to study abroad in Europe, and we had no money, you spent the whole summer baking cakes and selling water bottles with me. You taught me how to work for what I want and be creative doing it.

When I wanted to be a varsity cheerleader my senior year of high school, even though I had NEVER cheered before, you were right there on the day of tryouts to make sure I stuck it out until the end. You taught me how to dream and dream big.

Growing up you loved to teach us how to make sugar eggs, gingerbread houses, and frosting flowers for cakes. You taught me the importance of cultivating my talents.

When you were in your 40s, you had seven children and an incredibly busy life, and yet you finished your master’s degree. You taught me the value of education.

When times were tough and family life was especially hard, I’d walk past your open bedroom door and ALWAYS see you on your knees. You taught me how to have a relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

Mom, it’s easy for us to look back on our time as a mother and wonder if anything we did gave our children what they needed to be successful in their life. Sometimes we look back and feel discouraged because as far as we can see, what we did wasn’t enough. But it’s the little things, the daily things you taught me that made all the difference. Because you were the person that you were, I am the person that I am today. Through your service to others, you taught me how to serve. Through your example of forgiving and being patient, you taught me how to forgive and be patient. Because you grew and blossomed, like the flowers out back in our garden, you taught me how to grow and blossom.

Now I’m getting ready to take my first steps into motherhood and because of you, I am not afraid. You have already walked the paths down this unfamiliar road and through the wisdom you have gained, you will teach me what it truly means to be a mother. Thank you, mom.

Marie Henry
There are so many things that I have learned from you but there are two things in particular that have forever changed me and how things have gone in my life. The first one was prayer. I remember always walking in on you praying. I knew Heavenly Father was your friend and that you trusted him.

When I decided to come back to the church, I knew what to do. I knew I could talk to Him about everything. That it was okay if I was angry, even at Him, as long as I talked to him about it. That even if I sat there and said nothing at least I was in the right place. I knew I had to build up trusting Him but I trusted you, so I knew I would get there and that it would be okay. The second thing was to never ever give up, that change is possible and that it is very real. That you need not give up hope. There is a way to return to happiness, and it is through Jesus Christ.

The past 13 years have been quite the journey for me and my family. There were times I didn’t think things would ever turn around or feel differently, but then I would pray and get through the day. I knew from watching you that no matter what you don’t ever, ever give up. You continue to fight even if the answer takes years to come.

Now, look where I am at. I finally love being a mother. I feel content and peaceful with myself and how things are going in my life, and I have the greatest man as my husband. There are many things I get to pass on to my children but the two things I continue to tell them about are to always pray, no matter how you feel, and to never ever give up, that Heavenly Father is there for us and no matter what you fight to stay on his side.

I know that one day you were praying, in the kitchen, I believe, and you said to Heavenly Father that we would have all been better off if he had just sent us to someone else. He said to you, that may be true, but he sent us to you. Well, I am proud that he did. I am very grateful to have you as my mother.

Our lives here on earth are meant to have trials in them. I left your home knowing how to make it through and come out the other side being a better me and closer to the Lord. Having fewer trials really doesn’t matter. That I know how to make it back home to Heavenly Father is what I came here to learn and learn it I did. I am grateful for the family I have and PROUD I get to say you are my mother. I love you.

Jenny Johnson
I really love my mother. And it is one of those interesting loves; the bigger the love gets, the bigger my heart gets, and the more it makes me love the entire world. Amazing!

I remember being a child and mom would take all her 7 children with her to the nursing home on Sundays just to visit the patients who weren’t getting usual visitors. It was the family’s volunteer work.

That is how I now kind of define my life. I prioritize (highly) having volunteer work in my life that serves the geriatric population. Also, I just finished the endeavor of earning my master’s degree. I will now start working as a professional in the skilled nursing home to serve the geriatric population with different modes of therapy. I feel so happy and grateful because I know that working in this environment and serving this population is really going to feed my life, daily! She has taught me that despite possibly never bearing children, there is a viable way for me to mother this world! I serve…and it makes me happy. It is how I run my life. This is the legacy my mother has left in my life. An ocean of thanks to you, my sweet mother.

A handful of years ago, when I was in a severe car accident and wasn’t walking, my mother flew to California and took care of me for 4 months. I mean REALLY was taking care of me, as if her 30-year-old daughter was 3 again. Feeding me, cleaning me, helping me move from point A to point B, etc. That was such a wonderful blessing given to each of our lives because what came out of that intimate tragedy was that my mother became one of my dearest friends. I feel so supported, loved, and valued and that, again, strengthens and augments my desire to serve and support this entire world, and it makes me love this world even more. A canyon of thanks to you, my sweet mother and friend.

What my wonderful, beautiful, vibrant mother is teaching me now about being a woman is that personal evolution never stops, and it is never too late to become 10 times more than you have ever been. Beauty, wisdom, self-love, personal manifestation, grand service – these are things I am learning from her and really beginning to value because she is performing these things and becoming these things and mastering these things and it is all so amazing to watch! She is painting such a colorful masterpiece across the canvas of her life. She is leaving such a mark, and I feel so honored and blessed to be a part of it. I love you mom, to the moon and back! A universe of thanks to you for everything.

Jodie Palmer
I turned 40 years old a few weeks ago. It’s sort of a surreal experience for me because it’s the only age that I distinctly remember my mother being. She gave birth to her last child at 40, and so have I. I am now where my mother once was, a place I remember her being.

A fascinating thing has happened now that I’m standing in the shoes, I remember my mother wearing. She has suddenly transformed into something more than my mother. I’m connecting with her as a woman.

It’s been hard to try to put this transformation into words or describe what it means to finally see my mother as a woman. I hate to admit it, but my mother has never been a “real” woman to me. She’s been . . . my Mother. Something different than, “a woman.”

Throughout my life, I’ve been walking these antipodal paths of both discovering who I am as a woman, and consciously putting myself together into who I want to be. But the change that has happened for me is that I am beginning to see my mother in the context of who I am as a woman—this complicated mixture of contradictions and messiness, grace and beauty, vices and flaws, backbone and tenacity, soft and tender places, guarded and hidden places, confusion and wisdom, fullness and emptiness and so much more all wrapped up in one heart.

I find myself feeling so tender towards her, not in a reminiscent way, as is usual for Mother’s Day, but in this current, primal, female, connected, Red Tent sort of way.

As I was attempting to write this tribute to her, I came up with my usual celebrations of memories, the ones that have informed my whole worldview and way of being with the world. Like the time she packed us all into the car to return something that had recently been purchased because we needed the money. On the way out of the parking lot, there was a man holding a sign asking for help. She rolled down the window and gave the man part of the change we had just received. She shared and gave, even when it hurt.

Or the time when she washed the body of a woman who had died and had no one in her life to give her that one last loving honor. She is a rememberer of the forgotten.

There are so many other memories that have served as the elements taken up as food by the beautiful garden of my life.

But, today I want to honor my mother differently than I have ever been able to before. I want to honor her as a woman. I want to honor her complicated, contradictory, messy, deeply beautiful, wise, lovely self. All of it is beautiful to me, and so needed by me, as a woman. All of her is so needed by the world. And the world is better for it—the little worlds of her children and grandchildren, the little worlds of her client families, the little worlds of her neighbors, and the strangers that cross her path. All these little worlds collide together in one big bang of goodness and beauty for all the rest of us.

That’s the beauty of women, we are wombs and birthers of beauty and goodness in the world through the complicated mixture of who we are. We are good for the world . . . And the Lord God looked and said, “It is good.”

I am honored to be a woman born and grown from this woman. I am honored to have her blood and her bone, her spirit, and her heart living in me.

I am grateful for these new eyes that have allowed me to not only see her differently but see my daughters differently. I newly see, and feel, that we are sisters, we are friends.

Again, Happy Mother’s Day to you all.

Where are Your Dream Goals?

Recently, I had an experience that revealed an old dream of mine that had come to pass.

I had just come through a time when I felt like a failure in several areas. As a result, I contemplated my life, how I was living it, and wondered about my impact on the world.

I knew that caring for my mom and husband mattered. I knew that helping my daughter with Maggie, my special needs granddaughter mattered. I knew that my weekly writing mattered because I got mail.

However, it’s easy to fall into a funk and doubt yourself. It happens. The key is to get out as quickly as you can. I went to God in prayer and talked to him about it. He knows me best, after all.

Not long after that prayer, I was caring for my mom. I had bathed her and helped her pick out clothes to wear. I was clipping her toenails and fingernails. Into my mind came a picture of my seventh-grade self. I was at a nursing school on a field trip. I was learning how to make hospital corners on a bed. I was in this place with other girls my age because I wanted to be a nurse, and we were part of a nursing club. That’s how much I wanted to be a nurse.

When I went to college, I thought it would be better if I became a Special Education teacher like my dad, so I let the idea of nursing go. I quit school one semester before graduation because I had my first baby. When Jodie was three and a second baby had been born, I went to work and helped my husband graduate. Then, life happened; five more kids, a couple of moves, no more school, no teaching degree, no nursing degree.

When my seventh-grade self came into my mind, I clearly saw that my desire to become a nurse was here, in my life, at age seventy-two. I was caring for three people. I managed meds and feeding tubes. I changed diapers on an almost adult and dressed, fed, and bathed those who could not do it independently. In addition, I handled doctor’s appointments and therapies.

This realization was so shocking that I went back to God and asked Him to show me what other dreams I had accomplished in my life but hadn’t acknowledged.

Seven more dreams came clearly into my thoughts.

– Have a large and successful family
– Be a Special Education teacher
– Speak from stage, teach, and mentor
– Become a writer and publish a book
– Live with my husband for 50 years, sleep in the same bed, and be deeply in love
– Have the trip of a lifetime with Don
– Live a Tasha Tudor life

Five of these dreams were formed before I was fifteen years old. The rest were clearly in my mind by the time I was thirty. Back then, I thought of them as dreams, but now, years later, I know that they were goals because I never completely let go of them. I didn’t have them on a vision board or written down. I hadn’t attended any classes on controlling your thoughts or visualizing. All I knew was these things mattered to me. How to manifest what you want in life would come to me later, in my sixties, but by then, because I held on to these dreams, they had almost all come to pass, and by the time I was seventy, they had all come to pass.

Some of these dreams seemed impossible. Others began to feel as if I shouldn’t want them so much. I mean, I had a family and a life without them. But I couldn’t shake them.

As briefly as I can, let me share each goal and its fulfillment. This will be important later.

1. Have a large and successful family – When I was a girl, I decided that I would have a big family. I wanted my kids to be successful in life. We had seven children, and then we entered 13 troubled years. Some of our kids used drugs, one had a child out of wedlock, one was gay, and there were other issues. I felt like a failure. Don felt like a failure.

However, I realized a few years ago that we accomplished this goal. We have seven very whole adults. Of course, no one is free from baggage, but they are kind, loyal, integrous, honest, hardworking, love nature, are loyal friends. They are good, good people.

2. Be a Special Education teacher – When I went to college, I decided to become a special education teacher. However, I quit school one semester before graduation when I had my first baby and then put my husband through school. I thought I would go back and catch that final semester, but we moved, and it didn’t happen. This was before the days of online schooling.

After my seventh child was born, in my forties, I returned to college. However, because special education had advanced so much in the ensuing years, I realized I would have to redo too much. I opted for an education degree instead.

Guess what happened. In my fifties, I had a granddaughter born with severe cerebral palsy. I often need to care for her, so I learned to manage her meds and feeding tube. I dress her, brush her teeth and hair, and feed her. But I have done more than care for her physical needs. I helped her write in a journal for over ten years by becoming well versed in how to question her and get answers even though she couldn’t speak. I helped her learn the alphabet. I held her hand and helped her write because she couldn’t hold a pencil independently. We have filled many journals. I have conversations with her. I have helped her with schoolwork. I was her full-time aide in school one year. I occasionally was her online aid during Covid.

I may not have a degree in special education, but I have had the privilege of living and working in that field. I have accomplished this goal.

3. Speak from stage, teach, and mentor – I wanted to speak from stage as early as five years old. I LOVED it! I was NEVER afraid to get in front of an audience and took every opportunity that came my way – church, debate, speaking competitions in junior high and high school, singing a solo in front of my seventh-grade class. Later the desire to teach and mentor became strong. Then as mentioned, life and family happened. But that led to some fantastic opportunities to work on this goal.

I taught myself to decorate cakes beginning in ninth grade. I learned how to make gingerbread houses and then villages in that process. Next, I began teaching my children’s school classes how to build a gingerbread house out of graham crackers and milk cartons. I did this every year for over twenty years. Then I began teaching some community education classes on cake decorating and gingerbread creations. Eventually, I stood in front of high school classes and adults teaching this craft in many small towns and cities.

I had four daughters and became a Girl Scout leader in Billings, MT. I also chaired multiple day and overnight camps, coordinating week-long camps for over 100 girls at a time. In addition, I trained over fifty leaders on how to teach and work with children during my tenure.

Can you believe that I was still wondering how I was going to speak, teach, and mentor others at this point in my life? Then I moved to Utah and became involved in the homeschool community. Because I had homeschooled two of my seven children, I began to teach and mentor. I created and led many in-person events. I pursued this love for over twelve years. I traveled all over the United States, teaching what I had learned in thirty-nine years of parenting seven children in my home.

I hadn’t thought about it, but I accomplished this lifelong goal as I lived my life and raised my family.

4. Become a writer and publish a book – When I was about 7, my Grandma Gardner gave me a blank book to write in. At about this same time, I discovered a whole row of Oz books in the Afton, WY. library. I read ALL the OZ books. Did you know there are 14 of them? I knew then that I was a writer. I knew I would write a book someday.

But the truth is, as life happened, I worried that I wouldn’t write a book. I was busy parenting, and what did I have to say that anyone would be interested in? Well, it seems there was a lot, in fact, parenting and connecting with kids! In 2010 I started a blog. By 2016 I had written well over 500 articles. These articles and some of my research became the basis for my book, Becoming a Present Parent: Connecting with your children in five minutes or less, published by Cedar Fort Publishing in 2017. Imagine that!

I have become an accomplished writer. I am a writer in the best sense of the word because I impact others for good.

5. Live with my husband for 50 years, share the same bed, and be deeply in love – When I married Don, I decided that we were going to be married at least 50 years and that we would share the same bed, no matter what and that our love would be real and boundless.

I came to this decision as I watched two sets of grandparents. First, my Cazier grandparents celebrated their 50th wedding while I was a young mother. Then grandma got Alzheimer’s, and grandpa cared for her until she died, even though she didn’t always know who he was. He LOVED my grandma!

Don’s Landis grandparents didn’t sleep together or share the same room. There were health issues and other things. I determined that I would always share Don’s bed, no matter what! We are now in our 51st year, and we are still in the same bed. I have had to make concessions so that could happen because of his health, but inside there was this unspoken goal, and it made the choices manageable.

In our marriage, when life got hard, I would have the word divorce come into my mind, and I am sure it came to Don’s. But this quiet, heart-felt goal helped us hold on, and in the end, it all came out right, despite the trouble we weathered as a family. I knew that Don and I had reached a unique level of love for one another when we took our lifetime trip.

6. Have the trip of a lifetime with Don – We had never gone anywhere far from home in all the years we had been together. Unfortunately, our honeymoon wasn’t very successful. LOL I thought about where we could go to have a fabulous trip. Don’s health made travel and walking difficult. I settled on Hawaii not because I had wanted to go there my whole life. In fact, I had other places I really wanted to go, like Maine. : ) But Hawaii seemed like a place you would go for the trip of a lifetime. It was exotic but still in America with good health facilities.

I held onto that goal for over ten years while Don’s health declined, the medical expenses grew, and retirement loomed. Then last year, I got a call from my sister, who was heading to Hawaii with her husband. She invited Don and me to come. Everything would be paid for except our airline tickets, food, and souvenirs. I couldn’t believe it. But in the end, I knew we couldn’t make this lifetime trip. When we saw my sister’s videos, we knew we had made the right call.

I thought that goal was over. But for our fiftieth wedding anniversary, our children bought us a night in a fabulous cabin in Springdale, Utah, where many of them had lived and worked. Don and I scheduled two more nights in a small house in Hurricane, Utah, just down the road from Springdale. Hmmm, not very far from home.

I want you to know that this was the TRIP OF A LIFETIME! I got everything I had ever wanted. We might as well have been on the honeymoon we wished we had had. We had so much fun. We were alone for the first time in decades. We sat in the garden and swung, listened to music and a book on tape. We ate out and met people who knew and loved our kids.

We talked a lot, kissed, hugged, and sat in the sun. We learned things about each other that we hadn’t discovered in fifty years together. Our sense of love, concern, and caring for each other was palpable. I realized it wasn’t the place that mattered, it was the content, and it was PERFECT.

Last week, I read an article by Marni Pherson Kuhns on the Leslie Householder Rare Faith site. I know both women. I have spoken on the same stages they have. I have sat in classes with them and in classes taught by them. They have mentored me. Leslie’s book writing class got me thinking again about that old goal of publishing a book.

Here is how Marni began her article:

“Have you ever written down a goal, forgotten it, and then found that piece of paper later and discovered that you accomplished the goal you wrote down? If so, you have reaped the rewards of living in harmony with the Law of Perpetual Transmutation. The Law of Perpetual Transmutation states that everything is either moving in or out of form.”

Marni’s words mirror the message I am sharing with you today, and I hope you are listening! I have experienced this law in my own life. I didn’t write these goals down for the most part because I was a child when they were born. But I occasionally brought them out of my heart and looked at them, and I wanted them. And they came to pass. Not always in the way I anticipated, but the results were exactly what I wanted.

I am sure that you get lost in life just like I do. I am sure that parenting takes a great deal of your mental bandwidth. You probably have dream goals that you love and want, that you have hidden in your heart because there doesn’t’ seem to be a way to get them.

I am here to tell you that you can have them. If your dreams matter to you, if you talk to God about them, if you pull them out of your heart into the sunlight now and then, they will grow. We don’t have to abandon our role as mothers or homemakers to realize the dream goals in our hearts.

My family is whole, healthy, and successful despite some severe challenges. I never went to nursing school, but I am a nurse. I don’t have a special education degree, but I have opportunities to work in special education every day, right in my home.

I found a way to teach and speak right where I was, helping with things that helped my kids, in my hometown. And then later, I flew all over the country speaking from stage and teaching. I was patient and served where I was, and it led to something bigger.

I never took any writing classes in college, but I am a writer. I write an article every week, and I get mail! In addition, I have a published book. This came to fruition in my sixties and seventies.

We had trauma in our family. We sometimes wondered if we could weather the storm. Life was sometimes very hard. BUT we made it despite all that and the ill health that followed. We have been together almost 51 years, and we are deeply in love.

At seventy-one, I had the trip of a lifetime. It was a miracle and a gift.

If you hold on to your dream goals and have faith in yourself and them, they will come to pass. You may be older or not. They may not look as you envisioned them but get them, you will. You will experience what Leslie and Marni call the Law of Perpetual Transmutation.

So, take heart, busy mama. Love your family. Be present with them. Look for opportunities right where you are, and then be patient. Hold on to your dream goals. Love them.

All things come to those who wait with faith and courage.

P.S. You will notice I didn’t talk about my desire to live a Tasha Tudor life. That is for next week. You won’t want to miss it.

Blessed are Your Eyes for they See – My Brothers Death

Today I want to tell you about my brother Boe Dean, his life, struggles, and the hard lesson I learned on the day he died, January 22, 2021.

My brother was an alcoholic. He was able to hold it together for a long time. He was a master finish carpenter. He was fabulous with people and ran teams of workers. They liked him.

He and I shared a love of words. He read the dictionary and encyclopedia. He wasn’t into tech. I shared books with him, and he shared them with me. We both loved the book A Man Called Ove. We joked about our ‘Ove moments.’ I will miss that terribly!

Boe Dean was genuinely grateful for anything you did for him. My sister, Evette, lived in Logan and helped him get around town for food and other needs the last three years of his life. She checked on him weekly and always wondered how she would manage when she found him dead. We thought we knew how it would end.

Recently, as Evette was leaving, he said, “Thank you.” Evette replied, “You’re welcome.” Then Boe said, “No, really. Thank you for everything you do.” The last few years of his life were hard, lonely, filled with illness, and I think, sorrow. But there was no bitterness in him, no rancor towards anyone. He remained cheerful and serving.

He had taught himself how to carve, and I have a beautiful face of an old man on my wall. He knew how to work wood and made beautiful chess sets. He was excellent at chess. One day he described an invention to me. It was extraordinary. He was brilliant in the way his mind worked. He and I shared a love of painting. We weren’t gifted in any way, but we talked about our paintings. I have one he made for me.

Boe Dean was generous and had no greed in his soul. One day, someone taking him for a homeless man, which was understandable, gave him ten dollars. He told them he didn’t need it, but they wouldn’t take it back. He walked down the street until he found someone who did need it and gave it to them.

But despite all his gifts and talents, because of alcohol, he lost his family and his dreams.

Over the years, I have prayed a lot about my brother. I have received many impressions on ways to support him. For many years I have mailed him a letter every Sunday. I have driven to Logan with gifts that I felt I should take – an old red blanket that he loved, a homemade coloring book he cherished and mentioned repeatedly, things that spoke of family traditions on special holidays.

After mom came to live with us and Boe was alone, I would take her back to see him. It was tricky because we had to find a time when he was himself and could talk to her. Covid brought a halt to some of these efforts. But mom and I saw him in December. There was no way to know it would be the last time.

Here is my message for you today.

On our Zoom call, one of my sisters said, “I just saw Boe as a drunk and wanted him to change.” I must admit that it was hard for me to see anything else at times. I had had the thought to put his photo on my bedroom wall and envision him healthy, well, and giving back to the world. I hung the photo and thought I knew what that meant. It meant to pray that he would change. It meant to encourage him to give up drinking and get it together. It meant to remind him of all he could bring to the world.

It’s interesting to me that the night before my brother’s passing, I read an article to my husband and mom that contained this story – “A few years ago my older sister passed away. She had a challenging life. She Her husband abandoned their marriage and left her with four young children to raise. On the evening of her passing…I gave her a blessing to peacefully return home.

‘At that moment, I realized I had too often defined my sister’s life in terms of her trials and As I , I received a severe rebuke from the Spirit. I was made acutely aware of her goodness and allowed to see her as God saw her—not as someone who struggled with and life but as someone who had to deal with difficult issues I did not have.

‘During that final evening with my sister, I believe God was asking me, “Can’t you see that everyone around you is a sacred being?”

As I read those words, Boe came clearly into my mind. When I went into my room that night, I looked at his picture with different eyes. But complete understanding didn’t come until the morning after his death.

As much as I loved my brother, I thought of him as an alcoholic. God wasn’t as blind as I. He had spoken to my mind and was saying, “See him as I see him. He is more than you can see with your eyes.’

Again from the article – “…John 4:4 reads, ‘And he must needs go through Samaria.’

…Jesus did not need to go to Samaria. The Jews of His day despised the Samaritans and traveled a road around Samaria. But Jesus chose to go there to declare before all the world for the first time that He was the promised Messiah. For this message, He chose not only an outcast group but also a woman—and not just any woman but a woman living in sin—someone considered at that time to be the least of the least. I believe Jesus did this so that each of us may always understand that His love is greater than our fears, our wounds, our addictions, our doubts, our temptations, our sins, our broken families, our depression and anxieties, our chronic illness, our poverty, our abuse, our despair, and our loneliness. He wants all to know there is nothing and no one He is unable to heal and deliver to enduring joy.

His grace is sufficient. He alone descended below all things. The message of the woman at the well is that He knows our life situations.”

I was supposed to look on my brother’s face every day and ‘see him’, not his alcoholism but him, my brother, a man who was good.

Since his passing, it has amazed me how many people knew Boe Dean and liked him and have come forward to tell us. His neighbors commented on how nice he was and what a wonderful smile he had and his long white beard. : ) Although he kept to himself, they said he was always ready to lend a helping hand if anyone needed it.

The gas man who checked the lines after the fire said that he and everyone in the small town of Benson, where Boe lived with our parents as a boy, were grieved because they loved our family.

We have received calls from his school friends and others who would meet him on the street. They cared about him. They loved his stories and great jokes. They remembered all how he had reached out over the years just as his neighbors had experienced.

No one knew about his struggles or the demons in his soul. They only knew his smile and generous Spirit.

I have spent the last ten years talking to parents about the gift of being able to ‘see’ their children and not just their mistakes, messes, and misbehaviors. It was time for me to have a new level of understanding of this critical principle.

Matthew 13:16: “But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.”

May we all hear and see those around us with greater charity, less judgment, and deeper love.

The article sited – Taking upon Ourselves the Name of Jesus Christ By Elder Robert C. Gay October 2018

Do You Grant Others Space to Breathe and Regroup?

Everyone can become overwhelmed.

At some time in our life, we will do less than our best. The ability to love and serve without judgment or recrimination is one thing that stands out to me about the ministry of Jesus Christ. He spent time with those who were overwhelmed, who were managing less than their best.

One of the things that I have been privileged to do over a thirty-year span is to help older people and families with their homes. Sometimes I clean inside, sometimes outside. I have tiled and painted. It is just one way that I have been able to serve.

As I have offered this service to people, I have noticed something interesting. After I have been helping for a few weeks, they might rearrange a closet or a cupboard. There might be a pile ready for Goodwill. Maybe a packet of seeds shows up that they plan to plant. A family member will rearrange the living room.

After a few years of noticing this phenomenon, I wondered what it was all about. Then I was reminded of an experience that I had a few decades earlier. It has been over 45 years now, and it is something I keep in my mind because it helps me to serve the way the Savior did – no judgment, no recrimination, just love, and care.

A Life-Changing Experience

My husband decided he needed to go back to school and finish his degree. We had two children, one a newborn. We moved to Greely, CO., where I had spent the last year of high school and where my parents lived for a few years longer. It was far away from family and friends.

Don went to school full time and worked full time. He went to school all day, came home late afternoon, ate, and then slept until he had to go to work at 11 pm. In the morning, he would get home at about 7 am and sleep until he had to be in class at 9 am. It was grueling. He studied between classes and on Saturday.

I watched other people’s children, as well as my own. I kept them quiet in the morning when Don needed to sleep, and I kept them calmed in the late afternoon when he needed to sleep. I made meals, kept the house, did the laundry, took care of the yard, and taught a Sunday school class for 5-year olds. I rarely got away from home. I rarely saw other adults because we had just moved, knew no one, and on Sunday, I taught a children’s class.

I began to yell a lot. I felt angry at Don. I frequently found myself at church without a prepared lesson. My house was suffering, and the laundry was piling up. I was suffering from post-partum depression. I was overwhelmed.

One day I was done. I sat on a chair, and I knew that I could not do anything for anyone. I was a failure as a wife, mother, as a person. Tears coursed down my face. Then the doorbell rang. Sister George, a woman from my church, was standing on the porch.

She had been a friend of my mother’s when my family lived here. She had loved my mother, and, as I was to learn by her behavior, she loved me. She said, “Hi, Mary Ann. I’m here to borrow the kids. I want to take them home for the afternoon. Would that be OK?” No judgment. No recriminations about the poor job I was doing in my life.

I was stunned. I had two of my own, one an infant, and I was caring for three others. As they drove off in Sister George’s van, I felt relief. I sat on the porch and stared at the sky. I breathed the air. This one day was a turning point in my life. Sister George had saved my life by giving me space to breathe and regroup.

Space to Breathe and Regroup

That was the answer to what I saw happen to the people I helped; I gave them space to breathe and regroup.

When I visit my daughter’s homes, I clean something, the kitchen fan, the toilet, empty overflowing garbage cans, or wash a pile of laundry. I don’t do it because they are incompetent but to give them space to breathe and regroup.

In my core cannon, there is this question, “Are we not all beggars?” I ask myself, “Do we not all beg for relief somewhere in our lives – self-doubt, children who stray, spouses who leave, school left unfinished, too little income, the trauma of abuse or neglect, old and hidden emotional wounds, fears, failure. The list is long and as varied as the people who live on the earth.

Occasionally we all need space to breathe and regroup. When I am mentoring, I am ministering as Jesus did. No judgment. No recriminations. I allow room to breathe and regroup.

When we suspend judgment, override our desire to recriminate because someone should be doing better; when we extend service because we genuinely love and care about others, we serve as Jesus Christ served. He never judged those who were overwhelmed or failing in some way. He just reached out a hand to help.

It reminds me of the second verse of a song that I sing to remind myself to serve and love the way Jesus and other great teachers of truth have loved and served.

I Have Work Enough to Do

I must speak the loving word,
Ere the sun goes down.
I must let my voice be heard,
Ere the sun goes down:
Ev’ry cry of pity heeding,
For the injured interceding,
To the light, the lost ones leading,
Ere the sun goes down.

Let someone else know that they deserve space to breathe and regroup.

I Needed Closure

I had a remarkable thing happen this summer.

Two years ago was my 50th high school reunion. I didn’t go. Our family was moving into a new home. The reunion was in Greeley, Colorado, a whole different state. I only went to Greeley West High School for my senior year, and I never really connected. I had friends and was involved on the school radio, worked on the yearbook, did a couple of plays, etc. I was involved but hovered in the background. Just my face in the yearbook.

I was voted “most typical girl”. I was anything but typical. I was religious, which most of my friends admired but weren’t. I was not fond of dating, and the girls in my group were homecoming queens and cheerleaders. I didn’t drink or smoke or cruse. I read a lot. My friends thought I was a bit of a geek. I didn’t feel popular in the typical sense of the word, but I was popular. I knew everyone, and they knew me. I was well-liked.

Nevertheless, I didn’t feel connected to the school or the people. That Fall, I went off to college, and true to my family’s style, they moved to Wyoming a year later. I never saw any of those school friends again. It was before computers and social media, so the tie was severed.

This summer, I received an email with the link to a video made to celebrate our 50th reunion, two years late. They had some technical difficulties during the class reunion and had to begin again from scratch. I was interested in watching to remind myself what it was like fifty years ago and to see how my friends had aged. Most of the video was of newspaper clippings, music, and events that defined 1968. There were no clips from the actual reunion. Then, close to the end, I began to see photographs of the young people I went to school with. I recognized them all: the cheerleaders, the prom queen, football players, my friends. The photos came from the newspaper and yearbook. But I hadn’t been featured in photographs of groups or activities in the school newspaper and had very few pictures in the yearbook.

As I watched, a feeling of nostalgia come over me. Not for the time itself. I wasn’t fond of the ’60s. Not for the people because we hadn’t been lasting friends. Just school mates. But I felt a desperate need to see myself as part of that time and those people. I needed a closure I hadn’t even been aware of. I knew the chance was next to nothing, but I needed to see myself there, to feel a connection to my youth and my Senior year.

I said a prayer in my heart. “Please, Heavenly Father, I need to see myself. Let me be in a picture in this video.” I knew it was silly. This video had been made over a two-year period. How could saying a prayer now make a bit of difference?

Then it happened. Probably the only other photo of me besides my yearbook photo flashed on the screen. I had forgotten this photo even existed. It was on my graduation day. There I was in the center of a picture of the graduating class. I had to replay it a few times to convince myself that it was me. I hadn’t seen that photo in over fifty years.

How does something like this happen? How does God know in advance what we are going to desperately need in the future? I don’t know, but I know he does. I know he loves me, and he knew I needed closure to that time in my life.

Writing these months later still brings tears to my eyes. I know that no matter our difficulty or genuine need, the resources, people, and help will show up if we ask for it. I have experienced this over and over in my life. I was a mom making lots of mistakes. I faced hardships and trials I was ill-prepared to handle. But, over time, as I asked and searched, and stayed the course, what I needed came. I learned, changed, and grew. You can too.

Miracles are wonderful! God is good!!

I’d love to hear your miracles. 

How To Know What is Most Needful

Does anyone care about your struggle?

I believe in a power outside of myself which can and does help me manage some very difficult days. Regardless of your specific spiritual practices, if you believe that you’re guided and aided, then this article will be useful to you. I’ll be using the term Christ and Lord, but you can substitute whatever works for you.

In every moment, of every day, Christ knows what is most needful. He waits for any opening into our hearts and thoughts so that we too can know what is most needful. Often, we shut Him out by being too busy, overwhelmed, and overloaded with stuff to manage and do. But Christ never leaves us. He is beside us, waiting patiently for us to hear Him.

Christ loves us infinitely. He wants to guide us as we move through our days. He wants to help us with the laundry, our frustration with our child, our disappointment with a spouse, our endless to-do list, what to make for dinner, who to hug and when, being on the right road and getting to our destination safely, and a hundred other things.

Does this surprise you. Many believe that Christ is aloof, unaware, uncaring or even angry at the mess we often find ourselves in. Many believe that unless we have it all together God cannot help us. I know this is untrue!

Will we be helped if we’re in a mess?

We don’t have to wait to invite God into our home until we can kneel in prayer, until we have time to study the scriptures, until our home is clean and orderly, or our hearts are unburdened. You may be struggling to pray. You may talk to God all day but never make it to your knees. You may not be getting to your scriptures/core book daily. Possibly you aren’t managing your home well. Maybe your heart is a mess. You might even be angry at God.

Waiting to invite the Lord into your life until you get your mess cleaned up is like waiting to go to the ER when you’ve stopped the bleeding. Christ doesn’t love some future version of you. He loves you in your mess. Christ is here to help you with your mess. I know this is true! Seven decades of working on my mess have proven it to be true!

How to know what is most needful!

If you’re in a mess and overwhelmed, if you’re struggling to pray and study the scriptures/your core book, if you’re struggling with your relationship with Christ/Deity, there are things you can do to invite Him into your life anyway.

First – Be Aware – Know that even in your mess you’re loved. Hold on to the belief that if you’re doing your best, as poor as that may be, Christ wants to help you manage your day. When you’re aware of his love and presence you’ll hear Christ speaking to you.

  • Tighten the lid
  • Don’t delete that yet
  • You need gas
  • Jack needs a hug
  • Don’t say that
  • The roast is burning
  • Your mom is sad

The more that you hold Christ’s love and concern for you in your mind the more often you’ll hear the still small voice.

Satan/The Negative will spend most of the day pointing out your flaws so that you’ll feel less and less worthy. This can take you to the place where you begin to doubt your value to Christ, that He is with you, and you begin to block Him out. Resist! Stay aware of Christ’s infinite love and deep concern for everything in your day.

Second – Respond immediately – When you have a small thought and it’s good, do it. Tighten that lid. Don’t delete your file. Stop and buy gas. Hug that child. Don’t make that remark. Check the roast. Tell your mom you love her. When you respond immediately, you’re inviting the Lord to be with you. You welcome him into your life.

Third – Simplify – When we simplify our lives, we manage them better. We can spend more time mentally, emotionally, and physically where it matters and less in activities, that in the long run, are not going to matter. We open time to think. When we simplify our lives, we tune into Christ.

Anyone can clean a closet but how do you bring the Lord into it? When we remain aware that Christ loves us and cares, when we respond immediately, then we can know when to clean the closet, which closet to clean and when to just let it go.

I want you to visualize something. Close your eyes. Now imagine you have threads of energy attached to your shoulders and these threads connect to every item you have in your possession. Every item—every dish, cup, and pan; pictures in the photo album, DVDs, the hammer; every nail, sock, book, magazine, sweater, car, guitar pick, toy, book, and even your computer files. It’s one energy thread per item. Now, what if you also attached a thread to every item on your calendar – every shopping trip, doctor’s appointment, soccer practice, piano lesson, event or activity, church, service, and each thing on our never-ending to-do list. This is a heavy load to drag around. No wonder you go to bed weary and wake up tired! It’s challenging to find space in life for the Lord when you’re overwhelmed and weary.

As we simplify and get rid of excess stuff, and trim down our calendars, we create mental, physical, and emotional space in our lives for the Lord. That’s because there’s less that must be managed, cleaned, picked up and taken care of.

As we make space for the Lord, we’ll be wiser, we’ll do what is most needful more often, and we’ll feel more successful in our efforts.

Inviting the Lord into our lives each day is the most needful thing.

Your shares are appreciated by me and others who need to hear this. Thank you!

I’ve Got The TONE!

 

Nature abhors a vacuum.

 

Aristotle believed this was true and so do I.

I used to rage/yell. Even though it took ten years to stop raging and many years before that to even see that raging might be a problem, I have felt very proud of the accomplishment. However, if we’re open to growth we won’t rest on past laurels.

Not too long ago I was having a conversation with my son-in-law, Kash. He’s married to my third daughter and we see their family a couple of times a year. I like Kash a lot.

He and I were talking about making changes, what that process looks like and so forth. I happened to bring up the raging thing and this was his reply, “Well, you know what I hear in your voice most of the time – frustration and annoyance.” WHAT!!!

Man, that was like having cold water thrown in my face. Whew! But I have learned over many decades to pay attention when the Universe/God speaks, even if the voice is funneled through my son-in-law. So, I spent some time pondering what he had said and, being a praying person, I spent some knee time asking God about the situation.

When You Discover a Weakness

CELEBRATE! 

 

Guess what? He was 100% correct. Now in my past, I would have felt terrible and castigated myself for having yet another weakness. But no more! I do not do that “beat myself up for not being perfect” thing. In fact, after catching my breath I did a halleluiah dance. Really, in my mind I celebrated.

It’s been over twenty years since I stopped raging and it had finally become time for me to make a new advancement in my life. I know this because I have been shown a current weakness that I’m prepared both mentally and emotionally to change. It’s an event to celebrate.

After I returned home, I made it a priority to see what this frustration/annoyance looked like in my daily walk. It was easy to see, now that I knew it existed. It’s a tone in my voice. It’s not the words or the feelings behind the words. What I had done over twenty years ago was replace raging with a tone.

You see, what I didn’t realize back then that I understand now is that you can’t just say, “I’m going to stop yelling/raging.” You must also decide what you’re going to do instead. You must replace one way of being with another. Remember the earth abhors a vacuum. By default, I replaced raging/yelling with a tone of voice that lets people know I’m not happy or satisfied with them or the situation.

I decided that I wanted to replace the ‘tone’ with a calm and peaceful response. I have written about taking control of our response many times and I know it’s doable! I believe that I’m 100% in control of my response no matter what is happening.

So, I’ve been paying attention. Man, this has become a deep-seated habit for me. Every day I hear the tone many times. If I didn’t know what I know I would be discouraged because on the surface I don’t seem to be getting a handle on it. However, I’m clear about what change looks like and frankly, it looks like failure long before it begins to look like or actually become success.

You may be at a place in your life where the Universe/God knows you’re mentally and emotionally ready for a change. Celebrate and decide what you will replace the current behavior with. Then get clear on what change looks like in real life. Here are the steps that I have experienced repeatedly and have watched those I mentor experience. Understanding and embracing these truths will help you stay the course while making lasting changes.

 5 Steps to Lasting Change

 

1. Recognize that there is a need for change or adjustment. I recall weeping on the phone during a session with one of my mentors. She asked me why I was crying, and I replied, “I am ______ years old. I should have known that!” She reminded me that we come to knowledge when we’re ready to do something about it and not until. You can read, hear or be taught something and never really internalize it. That’s because you weren’t ready. When we’re ready the teacher will come in some form. There is no need to weep over the time that it’s taken to become ready. Just celebrate that you are now ready and then go to work!

2. You will continue behaving in the old way for a time, but the difference is that you recognize that you’re doing what you don’t want to do. Because this step can last a while it can be discouraging and we are tempted to think, ”I’m never going to overcome this, or change this.” But the truth is that this is what the second step looks like so don’t get discouraged. It can and often does look and feel like failure before it looks or feels like progress.

3. Eventually, as you begin doing the very thing you have decided not to do you will catch yourself in the act and reverse course. This step can feel a bit challenging because it usually involves apologizing, some explaining and then starting again. But it’s worth it!

4. The next step is having a desire to behave, speak or act in the old way but then choosing not to. There is a space between stimulus and response and in that space, we get to choose. When we begin making a change that space is small and for some, seems non-existent, but I promise it’s there. I also promise that we can increase this space for choice.

5. Our way of being has changed. We no longer think about responding in the old way. We just respond in the way we have chosen. Our very nature has changed. We have become a new person in that one thing. We no longer must practice because “we are changed”.

Anyone can change. We just need to understand what change looks like in real life, the steps, and then be persistent and consistent.

Your shares are the best compliment. : ) 

A Tribute To Our Mother

I mentor mothers and one of the things we always have to work on is their tendency to believe that they are falling short, they are never going to measure up and that they are ruining their kids.

If you have read the introduction to my new book Becoming a Present Parent then you know that I was not a perfect parent. I came into it with lots of baggage, few skills, and a lot to learn. Our family wasn’t perfect either. We had some really tough times.

That was one reason I used to hate Mother’s Day because I knew I didn’t measure up.

A few years ago my daughters hijacked my website for a surprise gift for me on Mother’s Day. Here is what they said – “We wanted to share with all of you, her dear readers and friends, how honored we are to be her daughters and what she means to us. We are grateful for your joining with us to celebrate our mother and yours. We hope you enjoy this song, in celebration of our mothers as you read.”

I enjoyed reading their words again this year, they made me cry. I am astonished at how they see me. They see what I haven’t always been able to see in myself. It takes a lifetime to find out just what a good job you have done. I was in my sixties when I read these words from my daughters for the first time and knew that although I was imperfect, it had been enough.

We really are doing better than we think – despite any mistakes we may be making. Take heart this Mother’s Day and know that you are doing better than you think.

Kate Housten

I remember one of my favorite things when I was living at home was sitting in our “library” with you talking about our love for books. You taught me to hunger for knowledge.

When I was young you showed me how to make a meal out of almost nothing, how to grow a beautiful garden, and how to REALLY clean. You taught me how to be a homemaker.

The summer I wanted to study abroad in Europe and we had no money, you spent the whole summer baking cakes and selling water bottles with me. You taught me how to work for what I want and be creative doing it.

When I wanted to be a varsity cheerleader my senior year of high school, even though I had NEVER cheered before, you were right there the day of tryouts to make sure I stuck it out until the end. You taught me how to dream, and dream big.

Growing up you loved to teach us how to make sugar eggs, gingerbread houses, and frosting flowers for cakes. You taught me the importance of cultivating my talents.
When you were in your 40’s, you had seven children, an incredibly busy life and yet you finished your master’s degree. You taught me the value of education.

When times were tough and family life was especially hard I’d walk past your open bedroom door and ALWAYS see you on your knees. You taught me how to have a relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

Mom, it’s easy for us to look back on our time as a mother and wonder if anything we did gave our children what they needed to be successful in their lives. Sometimes we look back and feel discouraged because as far as we can see, what we did wasn’t enough. But it’s the little things, the daily things you taught me that made all the difference. Because you were the person that you were, I am the person that I am today. Through your service to others, you taught me how to serve. Through your example of forgiving and being patient, you taught me how to forgive and be patient. Because you grew and blossomed, like the flowers out back in our garden, you taught me how to grow and blossom.

Now I’m getting ready to take my first steps into motherhood and because of you, I am not afraid. You have already walked the path down this unfamiliar road and through the wisdom you have gained, you will teach me what it truly means to be a mother.

Thank you, mom,
Kate

Marie Henry

There are so many things that I have learned from you but there are two things in particular that have forever changed me and how things have gone in my life. The first one was prayer. I remember always walking in on you praying. I knew Heavenly Father was your friend and that you trusted him.

When I decided to come back to the church I knew what to do. I knew I could talk to him about everything. That is was okay if I was angry, even at him, as long as I talked to him about it. That even if I sat their and said nothing at least I was in the right place. I knew I had to build up trusting him but I trusted you so I knew I would get there and that it would be okay.

The second thing was to never ever give up, that change is possible and that it is very real; that you need not give up hope. There is a way to return to happiness, and it is through Jesus Christ.

The past 13 years have been quite the journey for me and my family. There were times I didn’t think things would ever turn around or feel differently, but then I would pray and get through the day. I knew from watching you that no matter what, you don’t ever, ever give up. You continue to fight even if the answer takes years to come.

Now, look where I am at. I finally love being a mother, I feel content and peaceful with me and how things are going in my life, and I have the greatest man as my husband.

There are many things I get to pass on to my children but the two things I continue to tell them about is to always pray no matter how you feel and to never ever give up, that Heavenly Father is there for us and no matter what you fight to stay on his side.

I know that one day you were praying, in the kitchen I believe, and you said to Heavenly Father that we would have all been better off if he had just sent us to someone else. He said to you that may be true but he sent us to you. Well, I am proud that he did. I am very grateful to have you as my mother.

Our lives here on earth are meant to have trials in them. I left your home knowing how to make it through and come out the other side being a better me and closer to the Lord. Having fewer trials really doesn’t matter. That I know how to make it back home to Heavenly Father is what I came here to learn and learn it I did. I am grateful for the family I have and PROUD I get to say you are my mother. I love you.

Love,
Marie

Jenny Johnson
I really love my mother. And it is one of those interesting loves; the bigger the love gets, the bigger my heart gets, and the more it makes me love the entire world. Amazing!

I remember being a child and mom would take all of her 7 children with her to the nursing home on Sundays just to visit the patients who weren’t getting usual visitors. It was the family’s volunteer work. That is how I now kind of define my life. I prioritize (highly) having volunteer work in my life that serves the geriatric population.

Also, I just finished the endeavor of earning my Master’s degree. I will now start working as a professional to serve the geriatric population with different modes of therapy. I feel so happy and grateful because I know that working in this environment and serving this population is really going to feed my life, daily! She has taught me that despite possibly never bearing children, there is a viable way for me to mother this world! I serve…and it makes me happy. It is how I run my life. This is the legacy my mother has left in my life. An ocean of thanks to you, my sweet mother.

A handful of years ago, when I was in a severe car accident and wasn’t walking, my mother flew to California and took care of me for 4 months. I mean REALLY was taking care of me, as if her 30-year-old daughter was 3 again. Feeding me, cleaning me, helping me move from point A to point B, etc. That was such a wonderful blessing given to each of our lives because what came out of that intimate tragedy was that my mother became one of my dearest friends. I feel so supported, loved and valued and that, again, strengthens and augments my desire to serve and support this entire world, and it makes me love this world even more. A canyon of thanks to you, my sweet mother and friend.

What my wonderful, beautiful, vibrant mother is teaching me now about being a woman is that personal evolution never stops and it is never too late to become 10 times more than you have ever been. Beauty, wisdom, self-love, personal manifestation, grand service – these are things I am learning from her and really beginning to value because she is performing these things and becoming these things and mastering these things and it is all so amazing to watch! She is painting such a colorful masterpiece across the canvas of her life. She is leaving such a mark, and I feel so honored and blessed to be apart of it. I love you mom, to the moon and back! A universe of thanks to you for everything.

Jenny Rebecca

Jodie Palmer
I turned 40 years old a few weeks ago. It’s sort of a surreal experience for me because it’s the only age that I distinctly remember my mother being. She gave birth to her last child at 40, and so have I. I am now where my mother once was, a place I remember her being.

A fascinating thing has happened now that I’m standing in the shoes I remember my mother wearing. She has suddenly transformed into something more than my mother. I’m connecting with her as a woman.

It’s been hard to try to put this transformation into words or describe what it means to finally see my mother as a woman.

I hate to admit it, but my mother has never been a “real” woman to me. She’s been . . . my Mother. Something different than, “a woman.”

Through my life, I’ve been walking these antipodal paths of both discovering who I am as a woman, and consciously putting myself together into who I want to be. But the change that has happened for me is that I am beginning to see my mother in the context of who I am as a woman—this complicated mixture of contradictions and messiness, grace and beauty, vices and flaws, backbone and tenacity, soft and tender places, guarded and hidden places, confusion and wisdom, fullness and emptiness and so much more all wrapped up in one heart.

I find myself feeling so tender towards her, not in a reminiscent way, as is usual for Mother’s Day, but in this current, primal, female, connected, Red Tent sort of way.

As I was attempting to write this tribute to her I came up with my usual celebrations of memories, the ones that have informed my whole worldview and way of being with the world. Like the time she packed us all into the car to return something that had recently been purchased because we needed the money. On the way out of the parking lot, there was a man holding a sign asking for help. She rolled down the window and gave the man part of the change we had just received. She shared and gave, even when it hurt.

Or the time when she washed the body of a woman who had died who had no one in her life to give her that one last loving honor. She is a rememberer of the forgotten.

There are so many other memories that have served as the elements taken up as food by the beautiful garden of my life.

But, today I want to honor my mother differently than I have ever been able to before. I want to honor her as a woman. I want to honor her complicated, contradictory, messy, deeply beautiful, wise, lovely self. All of it is beautiful to me, and so needed by me, as a woman. All of her is so needed by the world. And the world is better for it—the little worlds of her children and grandchildren, the little worlds of her client families, the little worlds of her neighbors, and the strangers that cross her path. All these little worlds collide together in one big bang of goodness and beauty for all the rest of us.

That’s the beauty of women, we are wombs and birthers of beauty and goodness in the world through the complicated mixture of who we are. We are good for the world . . . And the Lord God looked and said, “It is good.”

I am honored to a woman born and grown from this woman. I am honored to have her blood and her bone, her spirit and her heart living in me.

I am grateful for these new eyes that have allowed me to not only see her differently but see my daughters differently. I newly see, and feel, that we are sisters, we are friends.

Love,
Jodie

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY

A New Years Gift for You

In the fall of 2014, I decided that I wanted to focus on a spiritual goal for the year 2015. I wanted something that would increase my personal relationship with my Savior, Jesus Christ and that would give me courage and direction for what I needed to do in 2015. I gave it a great deal of thought. I did some serious ‘knee time.”

Then in late September I read a short article, meant for youth, about how to have more effective prayers. I have been praying for over 67 years but there was a new idea in the article. It said to make a list before you pray. Yup, think about your prayer and actually write stuff down before you pray.

This idea sunk deep into my heart and I determined that I would do this every morning. I have prayers at night too but I am usually tired so I save this for my morning prayer.

I think about what I want to pray about and I make a list. When I am praying I open my eyes occasionally and look at the list so I don’t forget anything important. This is what the list looks like:

• What I am grateful for
• Thoughts and actions that I need to repent from
• People I want to pray for
• My own concerns and desires, both spiritual and temporal

What Has CHANGED

• The first thing I noticed was that it took some time to ponder and get input from the Spirit as I made my list each morning or sometimes weekly.
• The second thing I noticed was that the depth of my prayer and the time it took changed. The Spirit is much stronger, I am moved more often and my prayers have gone from a few minutes to…well sometimes, pretty lengthy. I have gone from talking “to” God to talking “with” God. It has become more of a conversation. I talk, I listen, I feel and then He talks to me.
• What I mean by He talks to me, is the third thing I have noticed. I get impressions about things that I need to do during the day. Sometimes it’s for me, concerning the desires or problems that I have. Sometimes it’s something that I need to do or say to someone I prayed for. Now I always have a notebook and pen when I pray so that I can capture my thoughts and then follow through as quickly as possible. The minute the impression comes I write it down, yes, right in the middle of the prayer. : )

The RESULTS

The whole process takes more time. I have had to get up a bit earlier. But the results have been quite remarkable. Here is what I have experienced:

• I have more peace even when a day gets out of my control
• I have many more impressions for my own life that make the day flow well. Turn here, don’t do that, why not do this, try this….and on and on. I think what has actually changed is my ability to hear the Spirit. I have probably always had this many impressions to help me in my day but I haven’t heard them. Now the time I spend in reflection and prayer in the morning seems to have opened my “spiritual” ears.
• As I follow these impressions my day goes better. My positive results are increased. I feel supported and, frankly, deeply loved.

I hope that there is something here that will sink into your heart and that in the New Year will change your life. If there is it is a gift to you from me. I am still using this tool for more effective prayer three years later and it is still working.

If you have a terrific plan for the new year, if you have a spiritual goal or a kindness goal, or any goal for that matter, why not share it with us so that we can all be edified and grow together.

Here’s to more joy,
Mary Ann

I WILL BE SPEAKING at the Winter Homeschool Conference on January 27, 2018 in Layton, Utah. This conference is designed to support and rejuvenate home educating parents who want to thrive, not just survive the homeschooling experience. You don’t have to be currently homeschooling to attend! I will be speaking on Process vs Outcome. Knowing the Difference Can Change Your Family. If the topic resonates with you I would love to have you join me. ​​​​​​​