Wednesday, November 30, 2011
I'm happy to share that I have been invited to be a featured blogger on TOFW.com
Time Out For Women is a division of Deseret Book Company and is an event and website where amazing, every day women share their stories and blogs. It's very inspirational!
You can visit this link to see my post and visit the website! You'll find details there of when the 2012 tour will be in your area. Should be great!
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Do you ever feel like you are headed in a million directions and you wish you were super woman? Well, that’s been me this week. Ever since we moved, for some reason I can’t seem to manage my priorities very well – but I’m getting there.
My to-do list is getting so long and dusty that’s it’s starting to look like one of the Dead Sea scrolls. I don’t know where you keep yours, but mine hangs smack dead in the center of our fridge (next to the accumulating mass amount of Jesus and temple pocket sized pictures). Every time I look at it I think of something to add to it and so it grows.
This week, I finally decided to tackle it. I want to make a slide show DVD of my children through the years from birth until 2011 as a Christmas gift for the grandparents. My in-laws are German and live in Germany and so I felt they would really appreciate something like this. I started it a couple of days ago and then remembered why I have avoided scrap booking for the last several months (another item on my to do list). My pictures are very unorganized and hard to find. Since my 5 year old was born we have gone through 4 computers. I have pictures on old hard drives, back up hard drives, slide show websites that don’t exist anymore, old phones and in addition to floating out in cyber space, I wouldn’t be surprised if some were actually floating out in outer space.
It’s been quite the adventure trying to get this finished before our family trip this weekend along with so many other things that must be done this week. At times I feel like I’m chasing my life and I just can’t keep up. Sometimes all you can do is say a prayer and just keep going.
Before going to bed last night, I pondered on the many different ways I could get a good grip on the reigns again. The first thought that came to mind was to ask my husband for a blessing (which I plan to do this evening). Isn’t it funny how we often forget the amazing power of the priesthood especially when it is right at our fingertips? I’m glad that the Lord is patient with me and helps me find direction.
Next, I thought about my family. They need to feel that they are at the top of my list always. I realized that the moments when I felt stressed, overwhelmed or frustrated were only happening when I put my family aside to take care of something less important. That needed to change.
Then I realized “HELLO” Thanksgiving is a day away. I needed to really be thinking about all of the things that I am thankful for rather than all the things I feel frustrated about or need to check off my list. Changing my attitude and priorities was the best solution to help get a grip on my life and slow things down a bit.
That night, I had a dream about my crazy, busy life. It started out happy and pleasant. I was enjoying friendships and service. Then I was on an airplane with my family headed to Sweden (airplane symbolizing my life's journey). I remember marveling that we were headed to Sweden because I have Swedish heritage (symbolizing my genealogy that I've been wanting to do). When we got there, because of the stress and chaos, we lost the baby (my feeling that I was losing time with my kids because of my busyness). She had wandered off at the airport and had disappeared. I was so sad and sick about it. When I woke up I knew what I needed to do.
So, this morning after taking my daughter to preschool I came home and surprised my other two kids. Without taking the time to look cute, put makeup on or check my email – I decided to take them on a walk. I realized that the baby and I hadn’t enjoyed sunlight in quite a while. The kids were so excited. As we ventured along through a neighborhood we never visit it felt so good to be walking in the warmth of the sun. It reminded me of the Savior and his love and light. It’s always there for us - we just need to take the time to feel it.
After I had that thought, we stumbled across a cute little playground we had never been to before. My kids were so excited and we stayed there for a while to play. Yes, I needed to get back to ship something to UPS, pick up some much needed groceries, bake pies for Thanksgiving, clean the house and…..(the list goes on), but for that moment in time all I thought about was playing with my kids.
Taking a time out and reflecting on what I am most thankful for has helped me remember that there will always be a “to-do list” and life will always seem busy, so if we are always waiting to “catch up” before we take a break then we will never get that break and we’ll miss out on the things that matter most.
When I got back to the house there were so many things awaiting me but I had a rejuvenated spirit. I decided that “time outs” were now going to be a part of my daily to do list. Sometimes we need to just breathe and enjoy life. If we take the time to do this each day – we will get so much more out of our lives, our relationships and most importantly – be able to feel the Spirit.
I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and I hope that you too will take the time to slow down and find the little joys. Reflect on what you are thankful for and what you have been blessed with. All the other less important stuff really doesn’t matter. By doing this you will feel the Lord’s love for you and everything will work out. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ amen.
Saturday, November 19, 2011
I decided I was going to go the temple this weekend but couldn't decide if I should go Friday night or Saturday morning. The closer temple (the Odgen temple) is closed for renovation/construction for the next 2 years and so the Bountiful temple gets pretty busy. Last time my husband and I went to the Bountiful temple, we prepaid a babysitter for 4 hours - that was our date night. From the driving, and waiting an hour and 15 minutes for a session, that was all we were able to do. No dinner. We made it back just in time with empty stomachs. Remembering how packed the temple was that Friday night, really made Saturday morning seem more appealing.
Yesterday afternoon, I just had the feeling I should go that night rather than in the morning. So I made the decision. A couple hours later I found a steal of a deal on a collection of Disney Princess dresses that my daughter really wants for Christmas. The whole set (accessories included) was just $7.00. I called the lady selling it, and she happened to live in Bountiful. An extra reason to go to Bountiful that night. I didn't want someone else to come along and buy the dresses.
After dinner, about 6:00 pm, I headed off to Bountiful. As I backed out of the garage, I noticed the wet, white flakes coming down in the darkness. It was snowing! Of course, I had heard on the radio that morning that a snow storm would roll in that night. Should I still go? Yes, I didn't want snow to stop me. It seemed like every time I planned to go to the temple, an obstacle always got in the way. Last time there was a misunderstanding with our babysitter, and though it would have been easier to stay home, I scrambled to find someone at the last minute.
I pressed forward in the snowfall. As I got on the freeway, the snowfall began to increase and I could not see the lines on the road. It was difficult to see what lane I was in as the water on the ground reflected the lights above. As large trucks flew passed me splashing slush across my window, I gripped the wheel tightly and pressed forward. There were blinding spots where I couldn't read the signs and relied on my GPS to lead me to my exit. Trying to focus on what lane to be in (especially when the freeway curved) meant my eyes needed to focus on the road only.
The voice from the GPS system was very comforting and gave me the assurance and direction I needed that night. As I exited off the freeway, the blinding snow made it difficult to see where to turn when the voice told me to turn. If I couldn't see the road to turn on, I didn't feel comfortable turning. So I would continue driving straight ahead. I ended up going 10 miles out of my way on a frightening adventure that led me on some back deserted roads and over two sets of train tracks. I had no idea where I was going - but the GPS did.
I continued to grip the wheel tight and prayed out loud over and over that God could keep me safe and get me to my destination. Finally I made it to the lady's house and bought the dresses from her. She was very kind and threw in some extra free things for my daughter. I thought that was very kind of her considering her financial circumstances. With the bag of princess clothing in hand my motivation was renewed and I was happy to now be on my way to the temple. I didn't need the GPS for the temple - I knew where it was.
As I ventured east up the road and then south towards the next main road that would lead me to the temple, I noticed the blinding snow once again trying to defeat me. As I made my way to where I thought I needed to be, I went on a long journey up the mountain and soon, nothing looked familiar. After 10 minutes of driving east, I thought for sure I should have arrived at the road that leads to the temple by now. What direction was I really going? Where was I?
I pulled over to call my husband and he did not answer. I waited a few minutes and called again. I tried to look up the temple on my GPS but every key word I tried, led to no results found. I called my husband again. It was then I noticed that my gas light was on. How long had it been on? I was so focused on the terrible roads, I had completely ignored the warnings in my car. If I continued to drive up the mountain I would run out of gas quick. I had not seen a gas station in quite a while, just homes. I looked at the clock - 20 minutes until the temple would close. Again I prayed out loud that all would be okay and I could make it to the temple before it closed.
I decided to call my sister. She answered! I explained to her my predicament and asked if should give me the address for the temple so I could put it into my GPS. After reprehending me for even being out at night, in a snow storm, by myself, she looked up the address for me. I told her I could get there now and I would call her if I got stranded.
With no time to go back down the mountain looking for a gas station I head upward. I was 2 and a half miles away from the temple and the GPS told me where to go. Watching the needle drop below the empty line was tense but I told God that I needed His help so I could make it to the temple and do His work. After all I had been through I needed the temple more than ever.
Then that comforting feeling came as I glanced through the snow, through the trees and above the homes at the piercing white light that shined through the bleak snowstorm. Amongst all that darkness and snow was the most beautiful white light I had ever seen. The temple was near, I could see it!
As that warm peaceful feeling came over me that all would be okay, several quotes and scriptures flooded into my mind.
In April 2011 General Conference, President Monson said;
"Today most of us do not have to suffer great hardships in order to attend the temple. Eighty-five percent of the membership of the Church now live within 200 miles (320 km) of a temple, and for a great many of us, that distance is much shorter."
I laughed as I pondered this. Sure I lived fairly close, but I had experienced great hardships to get here. How could I feel so defeated when so many other saints live a day's travel or more away from a temple. I needed to feel blessed and grateful.
And it shall come to pass in the last days, when the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it.
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
There was this beautiful temple prophesied in ancient scripture. A light unto the world, a house of God on the mountain top. No matter how dark or treacherous the storm, the light from the temple on the hill could not be hid. God's work was shining forth for all to see. I was touched at this thought.
Once I parked at the temple I carefully made my way in 5 inch heels across a blanket of ice and snow, as the snow fell fiercely onto my face. Once inside, safe and warm - it had all been worth it. I did the work I came to do and enjoyed every peaceful moment of it. When it was time to leave, I took a deep breath and walked towards what faced me ahead. There were now inches of snow on the ground and more falling. "Wow!" I said as I looked at a sweet older lady standing by the door. "I know." she said, "Isn't it beautiful!" Once again a profound learning moment (which is what I love about going to the temple). I was seeing the snowfall as frightening, terrible, dangerous annoyance and she was standing there peacefully smiling at what she viewed to be absolutely beautiful. That changed my perspective as I walked out into the pure white blanket that awaited me.
I pondered on what I had learned that night. Sometimes life gets dark and we are blinded by so many distractions and dangers. If we listen to the voice of the Holy Ghost (our spiritual GPS) He will guide us safely to our destination. Having faith that God hears our prayers and guides us, will bring that comfort that we need when standing in the face of fear. If we trust in Him, we will not be afraid. I couldn't help but wonder if angels were following me out to my car, as I didn't slip once on the icy ground. I was serving God and I felt that He would protect me on my journey home. Again I said a prayer that He would keep me safe.
On the way home, Christmas music was playing on the radio and it suddenly made the the snowfall seem so perfect. I began to think about the names of the people I had officiated in temple work for. They had been waiting hundreds of years to have these ordinances performed for them, and I felt that they appreciated the sacrifices I made that night and were a part of helping me get to the temple safely to do their work. All was well in the spirit world and here on Earth. I now trusted in the Lord to get me home safe ... and He did.
I know that when we are in the service of the Lord He watches over us. When we pray He hears us. Also, the temple truly is a house of God and I feel His spirit so strong there. I love this work and this gospel and am grateful as it continues to bless my life. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ - amen.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
My sister called me today and we began to talk about the mother and her two children that were killed over the weekend from crashing into a river. My sister knew the family and she shed some details about the story that made it even more heart breaking.
Here is a copy of the story from the Deseret News
EAGLE MOUNTAIN — Thomas Powell wasn't sure how to break the news to his 7-year-old son that the boy's mother and two younger brothers won't be home when he's released from the hospital.
"I haven't told him," he said Sunday afternoon. "I don't know how to tell him."
Since Wednesday night, Anthony Powell has been at University Hospital's burn center, recovering from third-degree burns to his right foot. The boy had been playing with a lighter at the family's Eagle Mountain home, and his pant leg caught fire.
Thomas Powell was at the burn center with Anthony on Saturday afternoon when a Utah Highway Patrol trooper broke the news to him that his wife, Inndia, and their other two boys, 3-year-old Alexander and 1-year-old Ashton, were killed in an auto accident.
"She was a great mother, a hard worker and a good friend," Thomas Powell said from his home in Eagle Mountain. "She was my best friend. She was loved by everybody. Everybody who knew her loved her."
Inndia Cherie Powell, 26, was on her way to visit a friend in Evanston, Wyo., when the Dodge Caravan she was driving slid off a slick, snow-covered freeway and into a river. The woman was caught in a snowstorm, with limited visibility, police said.
Inndia Powell was traveling east on I-80 about 10 miles northeast of Coalville about 2:30 p.m. when she lost control of the minivan. The vehicle slid off the east side of the freeway, hit a fence, rolled down an embankment and ended up upside-down in the river.
Police said the tread on the minivan's rear tires was worn, and that contributed to the accident. Inndia Powell and the two boys all were wearing safety restraints.
Alexander and Ashton were flown to a Wyoming hospital but were not able to be resuscitated.
The boys, their father said, "liked to be rowdy and wrestle." Alexander was a fan of Star Wars and Transformers, and both he and Ashton loved trucks and airplanes.
Thomas and Inndia Powell would have been married eight years on New Year's Day. The couple hugged and kissed for the final time Saturday morning at the burn center. Inndia had planned to return to the hospital Saturday evening and spend the night with Anthony.
Thomas Powell said Anthony got out of bed late Wednesday night when he couldn't sleep and had gone downstairs to eat some of his Halloween candy. Alexander later joined his older brother, who had found a barbecue igniter and was burning candy wrappers.
At some point, Anthony's pants caught on fire, Thomas Powell said. The fire spread up the boy's right pant leg and to his shirt, though he was only injured on his right foot.
"Alex … ran upstairs and told Inndia, 'Anthony's on fire.' She sprang out of bed, came (downstairs) and found him just sitting here burning," he said.
Anthony is recovering from a skin-graft surgery and is expected to be released from the hospital this week, by Wednesday at the latest, Thomas Powell said. The boy will have to undergo physical therapy and relearn how to walk.
And together, father and son will have to learn to adjust to life without Inndia, Alexander and Ashton. But they won't have to do it alone.
"We have a lot of support in our family," Thomas Powell said. Friends and neighbors also have been very supportive, he said.
People can donate to the Inndia Powell Famly Memorial at any America First Credit Union.
When my sister talked about this story with me, she said, "Lindsey this is why I called you today. I felt that I really needed to tell you this." The hairs on my arm stood up. I also felt that what she was about to tell me , I needed to hear and that I needed to write about it on my blog.
My sister has been reading a book called The Message by Lance Richardson. We love books about Near Death Experiences and I own so many. Earlier this year a friend had messaged me on facebook and told me to read the book The Message by Lance Richardson. I was very excited to do so, and then from the busyness of life, put it out of mind. After talking with my sister today, I again feel the need to get that book and read it. I don't think anything is ever a coincidence in this life. Someone wants me to read this book.
My sister and I began to talk about families and the after life. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I know the importance of families and the role they play in the plan of salvation. I know why we are here at this time and what our purpose is. I know where we are going after we die and the plan laid out before us when that time comes. What I love about NDE books is that they confirm this knowledge that I already have. It's so divine to hear about real experiences from the other side that confirm what I already know to be true. In addition to that, they add a little extra food for thought. Pleasant and exciting aspects about the afterlife that we just can't comprehend with our mortal minds, yet they are so intriguing that they somehow make complete sense.
In the book The Message (I am going to read this book and share more later), Lance Richardson experiences several out of body experiences while in a medical induced coma for three weeks. During this time he learns many things about his mission on Earth and the greater picture in the grand scheme of things. One of the truths that he learns is that we agree and are apart of the decision making process of when our life will come to an end on this earth before we are ever born. We see the trails and challenges that wait for us in our earthly life before we even experience them. We plan with our families how we will help each other so that we can make it through those challenges and make it back to each other on the other side. Whether we help each other together here in mortality or we pass on and help from the other side, it is all a part of a great plan that we agreed to before we came here. We understood then what we can't understand now. It just doesn't make sense now to think that a mother would choose to leave her family here on Earth under such circumstances. However we just don't know what trials lie ahead for her husband and son. Maybe she and her other children are going to be a part of a great mission to help her family on Earth through what lies ahead. What love would fill my heart to know that my loved ones loved me enough to choose to leave this life before me so that they could better help me make it back to them. It's a selfless act and very Christlike indeed.
It is comforting for me to know that families are forever. It is not by chance that we end up as families on earth. Whether through adoption, or being married in, we were divinely selected and agreed to be family units here on this earth. Our ancestors whom we have never met, our best friends, neighbors, and distant cousins are all meant to be a part of our life in one way or another for special reasons. It is all a part of a greater design that we cannot fully comprehend. If we understood it all, we would not feel as much pain in this life because we would know the joy that awaits us.
Though we may not understand everything in this life we can continue to learn and grow in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Line upon line, precept upon precept. God is in control of all things. He knows when, where and how to help us we just have to ask. If there is something we desire to understand, God can shed some light on it for us when we ask. I am on a continuous journey of seeking personal revelation in my daily life. Because I know and understand the simple concepts of the gospel, it's easier for me to make sense of the more difficult aspects. I love learning and growing my testimony. No matter how tough this life gets, I am glad to have this experience and the opportunity to try to be more like my Savior amongst daily challenges and trials.
I pray for the family above and I know that it may not be easy but they will get through this. Their loved ones may have been taken from this earthly life but they live and are busy at work right now helping their family on earth and preparing for the Savior's return. What an amazing day that will be when we get to reunite with our loved ones. I know that families are a part of the plan of happiness that God has for us, and I say this in the name of Jesus Christ - amen.
Sunday, November 13, 2011
I've had a few people reach out to me recently through my blog and tell me how it has been inspiring to them. I've been told more than once that it's refreshing to hear about topics other than craft making, decorating, and all the usual. I have to admit I do have a food blog that I share my most favorite recipes on weekly, and I have a private blog where I share fun photos and family activities. I have always wanted to blog about all the creative crafts and projects I seldom have the time to do but nonetheless always have the itch to talk about. Though I love to write and I love to create, if I spent my time blogging about all of those fun yet less important things then I would never find the time to share what's most important to me. My testimony.
Every week my testimony is strengthened through small means but in leaps and bounds. By sharing with you, the things that Heavenly Father puts in my heart every day - my testimony is strengthened and I feel I am more productive with my time. I feel good about spending 30 minutes of my time each week to testify of the Lord and His hand in my life. This blog has been a great blessing for me and I hope for you as well.
When I first started this blog a couple years ago, I wanted to remain as private as possible. Because of all things that I do on the side, I didn't want people to think that I had created another blog to spotlight those other areas in my life. My goal was just to be an anonymous woman sharing her testimony. However over the past few months I have had a strong impression that I need not be so private about my identity. As I struggled with this thought, more and more of you began reaching out to me and asking who I am, if I have a facebook page, an email address or a way that you can learn more about me and contact me. It's been very clear that the Lord is trying to tell me to not hide under a bushel any longer. I believe that the combination of what I do along with what I believe together can be a force for good. The Lord has made this very clear and I want everyone to know that any way that I can be an example and a voice for good I am willing to heed the call.
With that said, I'd like to share with you another way that the Lord has answered my prayers this week. I love that He works in mysterious ways because for me, it's the things that I least expect that have the biggest impact on my testimony. It's the unusual answers and impressions that are always the most profound and they help me recognize that God is always 100% involved.
Now, it's time to reveal something that I don't think my own husband even knows about me - that would be my "prayer closet". Do you have a place in your home where you feel the most in tune to the Spirit? For me that is the "prayer closet" (that's what I call it), or in other words my shoe closet. When I really need to plead with the Lord, receive revelation and feel His spirit I go to my prayer closet. Believe it or not but amongst those rows and rows of colorful shoes and the ever content sweaters hanging above, I feel the closest to the Lord in my home. Just between me and the shoes, I think the Lord would agree that He can communicate best with me when I am on my knees in the shoe closet.
Earlier this week I had a "prayer closet" type of plea that I needed answers to right away. I know that the Lord wants us to think for ourselves and exercise our accountability and agency in decision making. However when a big, risky decision is at hand I don't feel comfortable making it without direction from the Lord.
I have a product that I invented a couple years back and it has taken me on quite the adventure. So much to say, that I am writing a book about it and hope to release it in the spring. I will share more about that in the coming months. Anyway, I have come to a crossroads where I have to decide whether or not to take on a big financial risk/investment in order to take my business to the next level. Because I am a big advocate of zero debt it was tough for me to consider taking on debt as a means to support my current business growth. I knew that without this financial step my business would be on downward spiral as I could not continue keeping up with the demands on my own.
With that weighing heavy on my mind while trying to be a great mom and excellent wife, it was more than I could bear. I knew that there must be a way that I could achieve what I needed to without so much money involved. Every place that I contacted seemed to say otherwise, but I was determined. So, I went to the Lord and told him my dilemma. I told Him that I know that He knows all things and that He would know of a better direction for me to go with what I was trying to accomplish. A direction that I could feel good about that did not involve so much risk. I felt the Spirit confirm that God did know a way and that with my faith He would reveal it.
After I went to bed a thought came to my mind about a baby product I had ordered a year ago. The next thought that followed was that I needed to contact the owner of that business. Not sure how this would all unfold, I did know that the Lord was helping carry by burden and that He was watching out for me. That was all I needed to know to enjoy a good night sleep.
The next morning I remembered my thought. It was then I realized that I did not remember the name of the company I had ordered this product through. Not to mention that this baby product had nothing to do with my product. Still, I felt that by contacting this company I would get the answer I needed.
Rather than taking the time to track down this company,it seemed much easier just to contact similar companies. I quickly found this not to be effective and not what the Lord had prompted me to do. Finally, I sat down at my computer. The only thing I could think to do was to Google certain key words, "baby sling", "Utah company" etc. Maybe if I was lucky and after much time I would find it. To my surprise the very first link that came up in my search was the one! It was a mommy blog and the blogger had blogged about a baby sling she had bought from a Utah company and there was the link to their contact information. It was a picture of the same product I had purchased. I couldn't believe it! I then remembered that the Lord always provides the way, we just have to do what He asks and trust Him.
Just as we are told in 1 Nephi 3:7
And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.
It is no different with the promptings of the Spirit. When we are prompted to do something and it doesn't make any sense or even seem possible, we should remember that the Lord would never ask or prompt us to do something and then leave us completely on our own to do it. He will always provide a way.
I called the phone number and long story short, the owner of this company spoke to me for 45 minutes on the phone and gave me the solution I was looking for. I was so excited, it felt like Christmas morning! I called my husband and shared with him the great news. I now felt that I could continue to focus on being a great mom and excellent wife and the Lord would help me take care of my business. My priorities were in order and all would fall into place.
Yes, the Lord hears and answers our prayers - even in a shoe closet. It doesn't matter where we pray, the Lord will always hear us. What's important to us is important to Him and He knows the best solutions for all of our problems. I know that He heard my prayer this week and He answered it. I am always grateful for all the ways he blesses me and let's me know that He is there watching over me.
I say this in the name of Jesus Christ amen.