D&C 35:17 ". . . and in weakness have I blessed him."
Tuesday, July 6, 2021
Pioneers in the Church in South Africa
Saturday, June 26, 2021
"Do not ask your children to strive for extraordinary lives. Such striving may seem admirable, but it is the way of foolishness. Help them instead to find the wonder and the marvel of an ordinary life. Show them the joy of tasting tomatoes, apples and pears. Show them how to cry when pets and people die. Show them the infinite pleasure in the touch of a hand and make the ordinary come alive for them. The extraordinary will take care of itself."
Monday, May 17, 2021
Published on Church Blog
I am honored to be published on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Blog
Check it out:
Sunday, February 28, 2021
Speaking of Angels
"We are promised that if we keep our covenants we will always have His Spirit to be with us. I believe that promise not only refers to the Holy Ghost but also to the ministering of angels, for "angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore they speak the words of Christ (2 Ne 32:3)."
(Elder Oaks, The Aaronic Priesthood and the Sacrament, Oct 1998)
"I believe we need to speak of and believe in and bear testimony of the ministry of angels more then we sometimes do."
(Elder Holland, For a Wise Purpose, Ensign, Jan 1996)
"Ask for angels to help you."
(Elder Holland, Place No More for the Enemy of my Soul, April 2010)
Monday, February 1, 2021
Angels From Both Sides of the Veil Watched Over Him
COVID may have robbed my brother of his physical strength,
but it did not have the power to weaken him spiritually.
I thought if I could just make it to 2021 things would get better. And they did. January brought with it the news that Utah had started vaccinating its healthcare workers. But things also got worse. I received the news that my older brother had been hospitalized.
I was sitting in my car in the parking lot about to enter Costco when I answered the call from South Africa. My mom informed me that my older brother had contracted the new South African strain of COVID and had to be hospitalized because he was struggling to breathe.
When I ended the phone call, I just sat there in my car, stunned. The tears rolled down my cheeks as I tried to take it all in.
But he's only 2 years older than me.
He doesn't even have a high risk medical condition. He's always been the strong one, the athletic one.
He has a son who is supposed to go on a mission in a few weeks. . .
In that moment it became crystal clear to me about what really matters. People and family are everything. Money and goods are nothing. All we have is each other. Nothing else matters.
My brother's condition got worse before it got better. Significantly worse, He developed pneumonia and blood clots, and was put on 95% oxygen. At one point, it looked like he might not make it.
I've read about how isolating COVID is and how people are dying alone in hospitals, separated from their friends and family. The reality of this isolation didn't hit me until it happened to someone I love.
I remembered how important it was for me to be at my baby's bedside when he was in the NICU. I couldn't even begin to imagine my sister-in-law's agony as she was unable to visit her husband. And I thought of my brother all alone, day after day, night after night.
Then I received a strong and clear impression that my brother wasn't alone. There were angels with him.
I immediately knew this to be true.
I'd had my own witness of this truth when I experienced serious medical trauma.
Having received this impression, I then prayed specifically that my brother would be watched over by angels--deceased family members who are now on the other side of the veil. I thought of my departed grandfather, Oupie, who was strong in both body and spirit, and imagined him standing over my brother.
I prayed with all of my faith that my brother would be healed, knowing that in the end God's will would prevail. I reminded myself that God had a plan for my brother's life and that this was a plan of happiness. And even though my brother was suffering, Heavenly Father could "make all things work together for his good"(Romans 8:28). Most of all I clung to the truth that "with God all things are possible" (Matt. 19:26).
My prayers were answered. My brother was watched over by angels, from both sides of the veil. The angels on this side of the veil worked 12 hour shifts, wore blue protective clothing and suffered from the heat generated by these protective layers. After being in their care for 16 days my brother was able to come home. And 8 days after that, my nephew left for his mission.
While COVID may have robbed my brother of his physical strength, it did not have the power to weaken him spiritually. Having passed through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, he came through on the other side with a bright, unshakable knowledge of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ--their love for us and their power to heal and save us.
I was deeply touched by a text I received from him. In it he expressed his gratitude for being blessed with the miracle of physical healing and for receiving a second chance to live. He also testified of being blessed with spiritual healing. He reported having received a powerful and peaceful assurance that his sins had been forgiven him, after wrestling with the Lord in prayer for many hours. Overwhelmed by the power of the Savior's love for him, he then committed to spend the rest of his days cherishing his wife and serving to build up the kingdom of God.
I can't help but think of the promise made in Isaiah 40:31. "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint."
It was Oupie who first introduced me to this scripture and I have loved it ever since.
Today it is the prayer for my brother's continued healing.
(This post has been written with my brother's permission)
Saturday, January 23, 2021
Be the Light
FOR THERE IS ALWAYS LIGHT,
IF ONLY WE'RE BRAVE ENOUGH TO SEE IT.
IF ONLY WE'RE BRAVE ENOUGH TO BE IT.
(Amanda Gorman; The Hill We Climb)
Friday, January 22, 2021
Only One Goal
What if I woke up with only on goal in mind for the day?
TO BE KIND!
To focus on the quality of my interactions with others. And in every interaction, big or small, to do my best to convey a sense of value for the other person.
It really shouldn't be that hard.
When my 6-year-old is calling me to come and look at the progress he's made building lego's, for the upteenth time, can I do so with less hesitation and more genuine interest?
When my 13-year-old needs help finding her ballet leotard that I told her to put away, can I push aside my frustration and give up a little of my time to help her find it?
Can I be slower to react to the impatient drivers around me and quicker to thank those who serve me?
Can I fill the world with just a little more love?
I tend to view the success of my day by going through all the tasks I've accomplished. The more productive I am, the more successful I feel. But maybe success is more about how I make others feel and less about how many things I can check off my to-do list.
My day is made up of hundreds of small moments and brief interactions. But I know even the smallest and seemingly least significant of these has the power to make a difference. Even the simplest of gestures can warm a heart and brighten a day.
I know this because I'm the recipient of many small acts of kindness. This is especially true when I'm out in the community with my disabled 16-year-old. The taller and stronger he gets, the more apparent it is how ill-equipped I am to manage him physically.
I remember a time when I was checking out at the grocery store. David was sitting in the berth of the cart with his knees pulled up to his chin. It was a tight fit for his lanky body, but my only assurance of containing him. When he's not in the cart, he's known to dart off, and it doesn't help that he's faster than me.
In that particular store he loves to ride the elevator to the upper level and take himself on a self-guided tour of the manager's office and break room. I didn't have time to play cat-and-mouse that day and I only needed a few items, so he got to ride in the cart.
I guess it was an unusual sight for the older Hispanic man at checkout, but he didn't respond that way. He came up to David and patted him on the back. In broken English he warmly expressed, "You a good boy. You a good boy." He then looked up at me, nodded, smiled and simply said, "I know." I know was his way of saying, I see you and I acknowledge your struggle.
I was touched by the warmth and sincerity of this man's genuineness. It was a short interaction, fleeting at best, but I have not forgotten it.
Don't underestimate the power of kindness.
Your simple words and brief interactions have the power to make a difference in a world hungry for human contact.