Knock-Knock who’s there?

People who work in service oriented jobs, which work directly with human beings who have beating hearts and sensitive feelings, for some reason, sometimes turn into machines and forget who they are working with. I have seen this and experienced this so much in my all-encompassing health adventures throughout my life and I still continually get baffled by it. Perhaps because I expect sensitivity and compassion like my grandfather and my father modeled in their dental offices as they comforted every single frightened patient who hated being there, which I expect as the norm for any human.

Here I go again:

Sitting very chilly in a short hospital gown “with the opening in the front” and nothing underneath, I was sitting in a hall to receive a second weird health “procedure.” (Mind you I have had so many I have named them and I had just finished the underwater doughnut hole). Because of Covid I have all my clothes and my purse in a plastic bag on my lap. Down the hall, by the breast cancer survivor photos on the walls, an older woman walks in with a seasoned nurse, with one of those big badges attached to her scrubs, and a nurse in training. I am watching as they tell the elderly woman what they had told me earlier, to get undressed above the waist and put the gown on. But she was clearly rattled by being there and they didn’t notice.

It’s that “didn’t notice” part that keeps popping up.  I literally almost got up and went over to the older woman and acknowledged her questions, and maybe put my hand on her arm to help her feel less afraid and that she was okay. (Maybe not that touch part because of Covid). And by the way where was the person who was supposed to tell me what was next and help me while in the hall in a vulnerable spot? I have actually gone over and chatted with people waiting for MRI’s and procedures as we both wait in silence with our unease, because no one working there seems to notice the fear and angst of simply being a patient, in waiting mode.

When my second procedure was complete, (Which I named the noose-measurement) with no explanation what was going to happen or what to expect, I was lying in the dark room, on the paper trying to calm my pounding heart, while the attendant was typing away on a big computer screen with wires and buttons, when she said abruptly seeming to just notice I was still there, “Get up, your done.”  Which made me jump, as if I should have known and how stupid of me to lie there as if I was taking a short snooze out of enjoyment. She didn’t say anything else to me, where to go, if I change, and the halls out of her room were empty. I found the dressing room in the maze of halls, changed, and walked out of the office without anyone saying anything.

Knock-knock who’s there? Empathy and compassion are not that difficult. A small gesture of kindness in the medical experience goes a LOOOOOOOOONG way. C’mon people. LOOK! Look with your heart not your machine eyes.

Last week getting my first Covid shot was the complete opposite. Where I got it everyone seemed to know the anxiety. My hope in humanity soared as I felt comforted, celebrated for my decision and even was said good-bye to. I know humans are capable of tremendous kindness. I have also been a recipient of this. But too many times it is the machine.

After that Easter Sunday and Jesus was resurrected he said something very profound which proved he knew about human hearts. “…And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;… I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” (St. John 14:18 King James Version)

Everyone needs a comforter and Jesus knew it and set that up for us. We need to help out with that and look…

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What if there was no Jesus?

Yesterday on television I watched a news reporter stop and ask people on the streets in NYC what the celebration of Easter really was. He carried a photo of what he thought looked like Jesus. I am not sure if the clips they used were trying to be silly, but only one person barely knew that Easter morning was a celebration of Jesus Christ’s resurrection and the rest of the reports were answers that teased and made fun of the holiday. No one knew where Jesus had even died…The report ended the clip in jest.

There is a growing increase in people leaving their Christian roots or feeling ambivalent about Jesus Christ. He is rarely mentioned when speaking of spiritual enlightenment any longer. In fact, in the present world being Christian is made to feel discomfort or old fashioned. I wonder what Jesus thinks of all this?

So what if there were no Atonement, Crucifixion, or Resurrection? Couldn’t we manage our own salvation, just by being really really good? Why do we need it again?

The fall of Adam became a covenant with death in body and in spirit; a physical and spiritual death that separated us from a perfect God. This only could be recovered by a God as a mediator for us to come home to God the Father. Here is a story to illustrate this in an easier way:

Stephen E. Robinson tells of his little daughter, who anxiously pled for a bicycle. He promised her that if she saved all her pennies, she could one day have one. Motivated by her father’s promise, she anxiously engaged in chores around the house, carefully saving every penny she earned. One day she returned to him with a jar full of pennies, anxious to now buy her bicycle. Good to his word, Stephen Robinson took his elated daughter to the store where she soon found the perfect bike. Then came the moment of truth—the price tag was more than one hundred dollars. Despondent, she counted her sixty-one pennies. She quickly realized that at this rate she would never have enough money to buy her dream. Then Stephen Robinson lovingly came to her rescue. “I’ll tell you what, dear. Let’s try a different arrangement. You give me everything you’ve got, the whole-sixty-one cents, and a hug and a kiss, and this bike is yours.”

The bicycle was certainly not totally earned by the young girl, but nonetheless, it was gladly given by a father, who recognized she had given her all….In other words we contribute to our salvation, but we do not earn it. In Paul’s message “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9) (Callister, 2000, pp. 310-311).

So what if there were no Atonement? Could we recover our covenant with death? No. We don’t have enough pennies in our bank no matter how amazingly good we are. We do not have what it takes to do so for to do so requires a God. We must rely on a savior. The savior is Jesus Christ and he did all of this out of LOVE for us. Just like Stephen E. Robinson’s love for his daughter who would never be able to accomplish her goal by herself.

 “If there had been no Atonement, the rising of every sun would be a reminder that for us it would one day rise no more, that for each of us death would claim its victory, and the grave would have its sting. Every death would be a tragedy, and every birth but a tragedy in embryo. The culmination of love between husbands and wives, fathers and sons, mothers and daughters would perish in the grave, to rise no more. Without the Atonement, futility would replace purpose, hopelessness would be exchanged for hope, and misery would be traded for happiness. If there were no Atonement, Elder Marion G. Romney declared, “The whole purpose for the creation of earth and our living upon it would fail.” Quoting James L. Gordon in this regard: “A cathedral without windows, a face without eyes, a field without flowers, an alphabet without vowels, a continent without rivers, a night without stars, and a sky without a sun—these would not be so sad as a…soul without Christ.” The contemplation of such a world as this would be the most despairing thought that could ever darken the mind or sadden the heart of man. But fortunately there is a Christ, and there was an Atonement, and it is infinite for all mankind (Callister, 2000, pp. 57). (Whether one believes or not)

Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week,…came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, “Peace be unto you.”

And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side.

Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. (St. John 20:19-20)

That one sentence is packed and given in the most loving of all gestures ever to have been done.

One day all will kneel before Jesus Christ and be glad…or not. But we all will know exactly what Easter means.

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Silent time

When the sun set on Good Friday all those years ago, it became the Jewish Sabbath. Jesus’ recent crucified broken body, now dead had been cleaned, wrapped in cloth, and placed in a borrowed tomb quickly and carefully and the burial place was secured with a stone door; on purpose eventually with guards.

The earth quieted and it became silent time as the sun of earth sunk into the horizon darkening Jerusalem and the Son of God’s light left an emptiness and gloom over the universe, like no other.

For those who have lost a loved one in death understand what silent time means. Your soul turns dim. The sorrow of separation and loss enters in your heart and consumes everything. Life moves in slow motion and the emptiness blurs. It is when those grieving long for home to be held and rocked in the arms of a mother or father on a quiet lap as tears flow– only to realize the crying does not bring back the one you loved and lost.

Perhaps with all Jesus went through, he too went “home” for silent time in need of some rocking and lovin’ for a little bit…

Today is silent time.

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How do I thank?

A week ago I had to say good-bye to someone who saved my life. I knew ahead of time I was going to have to do this so I tried to prepare a small token of my appreciation and a letter, but as I tried to express my gratitude it felt short of how I felt. Many tears were shed in private. I shared a picture of my children and grandchildren which I never would have seen grow up if it weren’t for him. In my head I kept thinking, ‘how do I thank this person?’

“As Jesus entered a certain village, he saw ten lepers standing in the distance. Their disease, considered a form of living death, required the afflicted to cry out “unclean, unclean” (Leviticus 13:45) when approaching those who were not so stricken. In like manner each of us has, to one degree or another, a form of spiritual leprosy–sins that have blotted, defaced, and eaten away at our spiritual well-being. Such a condition makes us unclean in the presence of the Holy One, and like the lepers of the ancient Israelite village, we too must stand off in the spiritual distance until the day of cleansing. Not unlike the ten lepers, we cry out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us” (Luke 17:13). We know there is not hope for a chance cleansing or a self-induced healing. The only hope, the only cure, is to seek the mercy and the cleansing powers offered by the Atoning One.

“…When the cleansing was complete, one of the lepers turned back and with a loud voice glorified God, then fell to the Savior’s feet, “giving him thanks” (Luke 17:16). He who moments before was a shadow of life now had life in its fullest. The Savior then asked a soul-searching question of universal implications: “Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?” (Luke 17:17). Are not all mortals eligible for the healing powers of the Atonement? Has not that price been paid for all? Are we among the nine who walk away healed but unmindful, perhaps even ungrateful, of the payment that made it possible? (Callister, 2000, pp. 333-334).”

Today is good Friday the day Jesus was crucified…for me, for all of us. How do I thank him? I know no matter how I do it will fall short of how I feel. I hope in my future I will fall to his feet and give thanks like no other thanks I have ever given.

Callister, T. R. (2000). The Infinite Atonement. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book.

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Am I blossoming?

Have you ever asked yourself what flowers are for?

On my walk yesterday I had to stop and intentionally celebrate the “testifying.” Some must have thought me odd talking to the baby daffodils in front of the post office telling them how beautiful they looked and thank you so much, getting a little teary. They were doing such a good job.

In my space spring is mostly back stage, excited, with stomach jitters, putting on last minute touch ups. But a few have entered the spotlight in their glory bearing record of Jesus Christ and his Resurrection.

“The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come…(Songs of Solomon 2:12).

“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork” (Psalm 19:1).

“The earth is the Lords, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein” (Psalm 24: 1).

“And behold all things have their likeness, and all things are created and made to bear record of me, [Christ]both things with are temporal, and things which are spiritual; things which are in the heavens above, and things which are on the earth, and things which are in the earth, and things which are under the earth, both above and beneath; all things bear record of me.” (Moses 6:63)

When Christ was crucified even the heavens and earth mourned.

“Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land…and the earth did quake and the rocks rent… (Matthew 27:45, 51)

Sometimes I get distracted with so much of life, that concentrating on the most significant act that ever happened which affects all living creations;  the Atonement, Crucifixion, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, celebrated at Easter gets sidetracked. (?) Nature always brings me back to Jesus always excited and obedient to bear testimony of their loving creator in doing what they do best.

Now I understand flowers… They are expressing Hallelujah.

Am I blossoming for Jesus?

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I hate this, I love this

I tend to get pensive right before Easter. I believe in Jesus Christ so if you have read posts from my past during this time of year, this is the time I dive deep, spiritually. I hope you read further.

During our world pandemic that shut down the United States one year ago, in March most of us were hit in the gut how this could happen to such nice people as us here on planet earth… We certainly do not deserve calamity. I have this silly joke with my husband (which isn’t very funny for me), that if we were walking down the street and the sounds of thunder rolled in the distance, I would be the one struck by lightning…

I was reading from one of those little gift books of quotes the other day and came across this reference to people called sunny-day worshippers. I instantly wanted to be one of those because I liked the sound of that. But reading further it stated that these people only believed in God when the sun shines, when things were going good, but often curse God, purposely turn away from Him, or were apathetic when things turned stormy. I changed my mind about being one of them. But it isn’t so easy to enjoy the journey with a smiley outlook when I am smoldering from the lightning strikes, fearful, guarded, and anticipating more.

Then I found this scripture today in my personal Bible study in Romans which gave me just what I needed even if I feel sometimes a black dot has been placed on my door and tribulation follows me.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? (That about covers all of it)

“Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present (like Covid), nor things to come (Oh bother…) Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35, 37-39)

(Makes me cry)

No matter how many times lightning strikes, we are still loved.

So then why are there such stormy things all the time? Because when it is sunny, warm, and easy, we don’t show what we are made of…God doesn’t leave us, but he wants us to stick with him and become stronger and better and more like Him. But even if we do leave, His love doesn’t.

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72 Microseasons

The past few days I have finally felt spring slowly stretching, not quite waking up, but the delicious time right before. I have felt so gray-cloud claustrophobic these past few months. I am going to make up a microseason celebration for myself today. Today is baby bud day and I am going out to find them and rejoice they are close to ‘delivery.”

 “The Japanese are particularly good at creating moments of anticipation. Instead of having only four seasons to look forward to they have seventy-two. The ancient Japanese calendar divides the year into series of micro-seasons, each only four or five days in length, with names that capture small changes in the surrounding environment. Hibernating Creatures Open Their Doors marks the tail end of winter, followed a bit later by Leaf Insects Turn into Butterflies. In June, the Plums Turn Yellow, and in October the Geese Arrive and the Grasshopper Sings. The names made me think of other seasonal moments that naturally seem to stir feeling of renewal: The whiteout blanket of the first snowfall, the hard drenching of an April rain, the blush of sunrise, and the golden glow of a harvest moon. There is a joy in the first day cold enough to light a fire in the fireplace, the first one warm enough to go outside without a jacket, and the first blinking of fireflies in the summer yard. By building excitement for these subtle transitions, we can invite more cyclical anticipation into our lives.”

Book Quote from Joy: Periods of anticipation can significantly enhance the joy that we find in an experience. Researchers believe that this may be because we create detailed mental simulations of future events, so imagining a future joy fills our minds with rich sensations and exciting possibilities.Pg. 281 Joyful by Ingrid Fetell Lee

Make up your own anticipation celebrations and celebrate life! I want to have 72 microseasons and always model to my children and grandchildren that every single day there are things to look, wait, and celebrate.

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Colors of Gratitude

Sometimes delight comes in lots of flavors. This is full of gratitude morsels.

This makes me happy.


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The Star of the Show

It’s a unique event. You sit in a movie theatre just after handing your “very special ticket,” to the attendant to enter. Anticipation bubbles out as everyone whispers, shifting in chairs, making sure no tall heads or hats block the view. The stage is dimly lit with heavy curtains blocking the other side, barely swaying as the energy from the audience creates a gentle breeze. The lights dim and all goes quiet. A spotlight centers on the velvet curtain and everyone sits on the edge of their seats to see what is behind that curtain; and then,… it begins to slowly open and the crowd breathes in an exquisite gasp…The star of the show is lit in full view and the show begins.

Have you been there? I have so many times and the star is breathtaking. But it wasn’t exactly like that.

Prepping eight into full view to watch “the star of the show” had never been difficult for my parents. The reason was because “our” star of the show wasn’t in a theatre, with no velvet curtains separating us, and their usually were no seats. The star of the show was earth and we were regulars.

Today people must have an agenda for going outside into nature and experience earth. Extreme exercise has taken on a whole craze of play. Ecological agendas also focus attention on important issues but can inhibit simple experience by only seeing the problems.

But once upon a time, people actually went out to nature to just watch and be with nature.

                “How dull,” you say. “How boring. Thank goodness we’ve evolved from that!”

We would drive for miles or hours to see one thing; the star of the show; the light house at the rocks as the very alive Pacific ocean crashes on the rock cliffs, the gigantic red wood trees so tall you cannot see their tops from underneath and how they intertwine in families, shimmering diamonds on a lake that hit only at one particular time then are gone. Nature, as the star of the show, has made my attention and awareness of earth more acute and my ‘awe’ muscle stronger.

We didn’t go to nature to lock into our bicycle pedals, white water raft, surf, or rappel. We didn’t count our steps or heart rates from our wristwatches, or tap into our glucose levels, or wear expensive gear to look ‘cool’ while out. We didn’t need to pick up trash or check our phones for air quality levels due to inversion layers of pollution. We wore tennis shoes or flip flops, grabbed a sweatshirt (or forgot), had the blanket already in the car, took a few egg salad sandwiches, potato chips, and chocolate chip cookies and went to watch the nature show. We would immerse in the show; all taking in what felt meaningful to each one at all different ages. It was sensory, mindful, imaginative, playful, calm, sometimes unpredictable and scary, but always beautiful. There was always something we found to celebrate and cheer for. Then we would clean up our mess and share what we loved. The star of the show never let us down…ever!!

I have learned from a very small age to pay attention and smell the air, to feel the atmosphere. To take in the different feels and textures. I learned to hear the sounds, to taste, and be aware that I am only one of the millions of living components of all living things. I can look out a simple window and just look. That is it. At the shadows stretching across the ground, the sparkles shimmering over a blanket of snow as the bright sun emerges from the storm, a sunset with deep golden oranges and yellows before the sun says good-night. I have learned to be grateful.  I have learned to see things thrilling from car windows moving quickly past objects and take in scenery with no sounds, no pings, no objectives, no nothing…but just to look, to stay aware, to notice and be content.

There is a crisis in the twenty first century where people have lost touch with their natural roots to earth. We walk on her, we take from her resources, and play where we feel like treading without any worry of effect on anything else, and we use her up. But we don’t see her because we are very distracted; we don’t notice nature much. Should it be important to notice and respect her? She does give so much. Much like a show, if no one watches it and experiences the thrill of the experience, it will go out of business, and the star will lose their shimmer. I suppose if earth goes completely out of business, then so do we.

Today’s show has been spectacular. Did you watch any of it? Did you know it plays twenty four hours a day?  Nature waits for us to come watch with so many diverse and new celebrities.

We may be surprised how much we fit right there, next to all living things that share earth with us.

I am so grateful for my parents who supplied nature’s tickets knowing earth could always be the star of the show, any time, any day, anywhere. We just had to be shown, with excited anticipation. Then the curtains always opened and we gasped with delight.

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On their toes…

The home with children is like a family machine and the parents are the foremen that keep it running. I call managing this factory maintenance mode (MM). It is kicking into high gear, getting the pumps and pistons to turn and gears moving smoothly such as waking up, getting dressed, getting breakfast, getting everyone off at the correct times to the correct places while others go to daycare, work, school,…day in, day out, make it to the weekend where there are different managed activities with the family machine humming and chugging and completing the inventory tasks. At the end of the day exhausted foremen clock out once the workers have gone to bed, crash on their favorite couches in front of a show, or find their secret snack they saved then pack lunches prepping for MM the next morning when the factory begins all over again. Adults are so good at MM; parents especially because they are managing more than just themselves. Parents are so responsible, efficient, and super serious, on purpose. Do you know what would happen to the family machine if things were left without a calendar, agenda, and to-do list with time slots and oiling dates? Well, do you???  Maintenance Mode keeps you in control and an effective family foreman. You are judged for this. If not, family life would be chaos. Only when something stops the momentum like the vomits or fevers or unexpected bee stings does the family machine keep plugging along day after day after day after day, year after year after year.  

But what would happen if you “planned” a glitch or unplugging something in the factory on purpose to jolt it off kilter. I’m talking about consciously breaking free from family MM (heaven forbid) and be a little radical for…fun!  Not a full on sabotage, I’m taking about blowing a halt whistle every once in awhile in MM (preferably with the element of surprise) to keep everyone in the factory on their toes. 

I call them “little celebrations.”

Radical MM example number 1: (Hold to your hard hat) A small bridge in our town that got us quicker from here to there in the MM afternoon when so and so had to go here, while so and so had to get there, and taxing for the foreman was dropping off, picking up, dropping again, picking again with a car pool, a school pick up, a sport, a lesson, whatever…and a detour sign disrupted our very intricate time schedule for over a year!! It was a bridge the size of my car. How long does one have to work to repair it? Put out a piece of plywood for heaven’s sakes. But not in my town.  Does the town not understand I have a schedule to follow and on that day in my calendar going around takes 7 more minutes to my tight ship, dang it, I don’t have time for this? Fast forward to one day when I am pinched for time over a year later and I bite my lip and drive to the bridge praying it is open for a .1 second cross over because I had to go to the bathroom which is usually only scheduled in for the morning.

The detour sign was sideways, but machinery and trucks were parked everywhere but no workers in sight. I rushed on to the bridge and then instantaneously I got rebellious. I decided in a flash to wake up the zombie children in the car who were white noise in a blur. I stopped the car with a screech. Yep, I am going to be late! Bad foreman, bad bad. Not sure if the kids noticed I stopped…white noise blur.

                I jumped out of the car and yelled to them, “Chinese Fire Drill the bridge is open!!  Celebrate!” (No disrespect for the name. If I knew a different name I would have used it) And I began to knock on each window as I began to run around the car yelling “The bridge is done, the bridge is done, Hooray!” And did the bridge dance all around the car.

 I’m telling you right now, teens will hide and NEVER speak of this memory until they are in their forties, but elementary kids will jump out and do it! We yelled and screamed and then the hard hatted workers popped their heads out from under the bridge. They didn’t have the heart to arrest me and shout get off. They lifted off their hats and clapped along with us. Then asked me to get off the bridge.

We all got back in the car with our life completely disrupted, me breathing like a banshee, and drove on to our maintenance mode destination for the scheduled drop off.

But something changed.

The family machine works so smoothly on MM. But every once in awhile, parents/adults need to get a little bit radical and blow the whistle and create a halt in the momentum so you can remember what it’s like to laugh or be silly or let down every once in awhile and realize the machine won’t break in half if you do.

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