Thursday, October 15, 2015

Where the Dandelions Grow

Last weekend, I took a little break to do some traveling with dear friends. My companions were ladies of great faith and full of fun, ladies I am blessed to call my friends. We share a the common bond of widowhood, and they are each an inspiration and blessing in my life. It was not by accident that we have found each other, but that is a story for another day.

On this day, we are visiting some historic Arizona homes and some pre-historic Arizona forests (otherwise known as petrified). The perseverance of both pioneers and tall trees is amazing. I am awed and inspired thinking of the faith and fortitude of those who’ve gone before, and realize that even hard times make for beautiful people and crystal forests.

As we trekked about the northern reaches of our state, I spotted this large rock, nearly as tall as I am, in the middle of a carefully manicured lawn. The beautiful home behind it was surrounded by huge elegant hydrangeas. But for the plaque mounted upon it, this large black rock seemed out of place. And the greenery that adorned it seemed even more out of place: a lowly dandelion!

“Weeds grow anywhere!” I thought. (True, isn’t it? I’m always pulling weeds!) Then I thought of toddler hands, gathering yellow flowered dandy-lion bouquets as gifts. I looked again at this stately, fluffy headed ‘flower’, the fluff of many a child’s wishes. The rock soil of this little dandelion was strong enough to provide all that was needed for its growth and this little flower is about to explode! What can I learn from dandelions that grow in tough spots? Keep the Faith! Keep growing!

“Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.”(Ether 12:4)

And now, as I look over the pictures from our trip, I am reminded of dandelions and pioneers and widow ladies, all of whom have mounted rocky climes in life and bloomed beautifully!

"You have nothing to fear from the journey,
Though your way may be burdened by thorns.
For the Lord will be with you each step of the way
As you travel with faith through the storm.
And you've nothing to fear from your trials,
Though they may seem too heavy to bear.
Take His hand and He'll lead you gently along
And you'll find peace and safety there.

There is nothing to fear from the nights that are lonely,
There's nothing to fear from the cold!
and there's nothing to fear from what might be tomorrow,
For heaven is with you, And angels watch over His fold."

(You Have Nothing to Fear by Rob Gardner)

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Prayers and Giggles

"Daddy, will you tuck me in?" Bedtime stories and hugs from my dad were the best, but this night I had a different plan. I think now, that if my Dad had known what trickery was in my innocent mind, he would have done things differently. My five year old heart had decided, with the added ammunition of a little book I'd received while visiting a church with our neighbors, I was going to ask my dad. It never occurred to me that Daddy probably didn't do much praying. I wanted to learn, I assumed he could show me. Don't Daddies know everything? 

"Oh?" And "Hmm" were Daddy's first responses. I showed him the little booklet of prepared prayers. There were the usual mealtime prayers everyone knew: 
God is great, God is good, 
Let us thank Him for our food.
And then there were other prayers for bedtime. Until that little book, I'd never thought of praying at night before bed. Daddy looked through the book and showed me one, "What about this one." Suddenly I was gripped with an odd thought. If I needed to read the prayer, how could I close my eyes to pray? Well, besides the fact that I couldn't read all the words yet.
"Yeah, that one!" And handing the book back to Daddy I said, "You read it" 
Daddy grunted uncomfortably, "This is your prayer, you should say it." 
"What does it say?" I asked. And as Daddy read the rhyming verse, I had another odd thought: this prayer doesn't really match what I think.  "No....I don't like that one. Can't I just say what I want? Do prayers have to be from the book?", I asked. 

Long pause. Daddy's eyes got a little moist, I could tell. "Sure" He said, "you say whatever you want. I think God listens to all prayers." 

And then suddenly, I ruined it. Yep. I got the giggles. And Daddy lost his patience. "I think you're too silly to pray," and he kissed my forehead, patting my head as he turned to leave the room. 

It was a long time before I thought about praying again. At least, in a serious way. We said 'Grace' over our meals sometimes, but otherwise prayer was rarely mentioned or discussed. Not until I was much, much older. Not until after we started going to Church and Daddy started going with us. Not until then did prayers became a little more common place around our house.

Although I'm sure I sat through many, many lessons about prayer after that, I don't think I took it too seriously until I was in my early teens. Sure, I had prayed and received answers before that. The embers of my faith were fanned into a tender flame through prayer. But it took years to learn not just how to pray, but what to ask for. The scriptures remind us to 'ask not amiss', and I learned that asking the right questions was important. I learned, after weeks of begging the Lord for miracles, that neither I nor He could interfere with the agency of others. Over the trials and tears of life, I learned that giving thanks for those trials and challenges endowed me with the ability to see the good in them. I learned that when I pleaded with the Lord to deliver me from sorrow, His promise was often not deliverance but instead it was His constant companionship. "I will be right beside you, all the way." was the constant reminder as life situations changed. I have learned that prayer is so much more than a child's poem to be recited day after day, night after night. My prayers are the sacred words of my heart on wing directly to the heart of my Heavenly Father. No worldly noise can interfere. Over and over again, prayer has been the gentle hand that opens my eyes to the beauty in the world around me. 

Abide with me; 'tis eventide, 
and lone will be the night 
If I cannot commune with thee 
nor find in thee my light.

(Abide With Me; 'Tis Eventide, Hymns, No. 165, text by M. Lowrie Hofford)

I am still learning and practicing the art of prayer. A few months after Robert passed away, I realized that because of the change in our morning routine of praying together before I said my morning prayers, and also due to the "widow's fog", I had neglected those morning prayers. A return to that routine, even though the prayers themselves were anything but routine, and the fog began to lift. It is a constant learning process, I think. And He listens to all of it. Sometimes the answers are immediate, sometimes they are not. But prayerful moments always leave me filled with peace. 

Bright and happy mornings, gratitude filled days, sorrowful sunsets and sleepless nights, I have been able to express the desires of my heart to my Heavenly Father and He has lifted me up through all of it.  I can share whatever I feel, He loves me anyway. From the morning planning meeting as I begin the day, to the evening return and report, He fills me with peace. Through prayer I am reminded that I am loved with an Infinite Love.

He answers privately,
Reaches my reaching
In my Gethsemane,
Savior and Friend.
Gentle the peace He finds
For my beseeching.
Constant He is and Kind,
Love without end.

(Where Can I Turn For Peace, Hymns, No. 129, text by Emma Lou Thayne)

In time I not only heard my dad pray, but as his own faith flame grew, I saw that he too, understood the power of prayer. Now, as I look back at my first nervous, attempted prayer filled with uncontrollable giggles and I realize that Daddy's words were more true than he knew at the time, "You say whatever you want...God listens to all prayers." 

Daddies know everything.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Sometimes a Mountain Gets in the Way

My granddaughter Miss Cass and I recently spent a weekend at a wonderful mountain cabin (ok, her mom and dad and brothers came along, too, along with her Aunt Jen), just for the fun of it. Miss Cass loves 'forest and trees', and time in the mountains. I noticed how happy she and her brother were to explore everything in sight, picking up rocks, pine cones, rocks, flowers and more rocks. They were blissfully unaware of the efforts of their parents to pack, plan and prepare for this wonderful weekend together. I especially loved taking little walks with them, around mountain lakes, watching as they gathered more happy memories and cool things (rocks!). Miss Cass is safe and happy because others who love her are beside her. At the water's edge we found cattails, which provoked memories of me as a tearful child when my own gathered cattail exploded in the car. I made a mental note: Sometimes, even grand mountain adventures are accompanied by disappointment. Still, Miss Cass and I both love the mountains.

Somewhere there’s a mountain
with flowers in the spring
I will take my shoes off
and wade the mountain stream.
And it’s a long, long way to walk,
but one day I’ll climb to the top.
(Somewhere There’s a Mountain, Jason Deere)

 I recalled the excitement I felt as a child when my family made the trip to my grandmother's mountain cabin. As I grew older, I became more aware of the effort it took to climb the mountain. Still, I begged my parents to make the effort, because I wanted the  gentle peace I knew I would find while I was there. I am not alone in this desire for peace-finding. My sisters and cousins also loved the sacred mountain cabin built by my grandfather. They, like prophets of old, and many others all over the world, have sought solace on the mountain tops. The Savior himself climbed rocky paths towards God.

"And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone."(Matthew 14:23)

Lately I have longed for the feeling of times past, a feeling of greater joy in climbing the mountains of life. I find too many mountainous days that are far too rugged for my weary climbing skills. When I stand at the base and look up, I am overwhelmed and wonder how I'll ever climb that far. I don't want to make the effort. I want the carefree adventure Miss Cass has, rather than the adventure in front of me, completely forgetting that Miss Cass is surrounded by peace because she knows her Dad and Mom are beside her and will help her when the climb gets rough or her gathered cat tails burst into fluff.  Then the Lord gently reminds me: I, too, am promised strength for the climb! The scriptures are filled with those promises, but the words of God to Joshua are some of my favorite, “...I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee." (Joshua 1:5)

If you had the choice between walking alone or walking hand in hand with God, which would you choose? Me too.

As I daily kneel before Him, He faithfully and constantly offers His hand, and I am strengthened. Strengthened along the rocky mountain ledges, carried through thickly forested paths where the light is dim. He lifts me over huge jagged boulders with strength greater than my own. When I choose to follow Him, sacred things happen in the mountains. On this day, with children and grandchildren beside me, I am lifted by the Spirit, and the peace returns.

Joyfully, I realize that the blessing of increased faith and strength, the nearness I feel to my Savior, have all made it worth the climb.

 “I lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.” 
(Psalms 121:1) 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Pioneers of a Different Kind

First off, you have to know that my mother did family history work. That is almost an understatement. To say she did it is like saying streams run down mountains. My mother did rivers of family history research. To prove it, I can show you five large books that are the result of her work. A mountain of published books written by my mother about our ancestors, each one at least two inches thick!

I remember helping to search through graveyards and microfilm, looking for names, dates, birthplaces, marriages. Sometimes there was success. Mostly I was bored. Once we had a class at church about it. It seemed that my friends all had ancestors who were Pioneers. I wanted a Pioneer ancestor! I wanted ties to someone who trekked for miles with a handcart or a wagon. You know, the ones they sing songs about? I remember asking my mother, but she had not found any of those handcart folks in our ancestry. None. My youthful desire to know more was crushed.

You don't have to push a handcart,
Leave your fam'ly dear,
Or walk a thousand miles or more
To be a pioneer!

(To Be A Pioneer, text by Ruth Muir Gardner)

It has taken a trek of decades, but I have discovered pioneers of a different sort. My grandparents, my father’s parents, were modern pioneers from the midwest. They left dusty Illinois and made a trek of their own, to the clear California air (ironic, isn't it?). It is there that they made camp and where my grandfather built a large apartment complex in Inglewood and a beautiful cabin in the San Bernardino Mountains. That much I know for sure. I realized there are gaps in what I know, and I wanted to know more.

My Grandpa Fisher died when I was four years old, shortly after completing construction of that cabin in the woods. My younger sisters never knew him on this earth. On my family photo wall hangs their original wedding picture. A daily reminder of my grandmother. She was widowed fairly young..,younger than I am now. Nearly all of my memories are of her as a single woman. Just as we marvel at the strength of handcart pioneers, I have marveled at my grandmother’s strength. I wonder how she managed. I remember visiting her regularly in that Inglewood apartment which she now managed alone, my Dad working on her car, fixing this or that. I know my Aunt and Uncle helped her in the same ways. I realized how much we are alike and how much we have in common...and those are two different things. My boys, including step-sons, are always willing to help, just as my Dad helped Grandma, I am filled with a sudden deep gratitude for all of them and their service. But I wonder still, how did she do it?

My Grandma is the pioneer in my family! We are alike in that we are both gregarious people. She loved to travel, as do I. So many little things I find myself doing that I recognize as her habits. But still I wonder, did she lean on her faith? Did she struggle to adjust her cooking to just for one person? Did she find it hard to sleep sometimes? When her little poodle greeted her as she came home from work, did she wish for someone else’s greeting? How I wish she had written something…..

This will never resolve for me. Those who are gone are gone; we don’t suddenly find their thoughts written in places they did not write them.

But I can write. You can write too! Why leave our children wondering what we did to make it through? We can leave a record for our children’s children’s children (mine is this blog). A record of all of our thoughts and dreams. Our treks through mountains and along rivers, our valleys of mistakes, our triumphs on the peaks. The Joy we have in our posterity (wow…think of that, our children’s children reading about how we loved them!).

And like pioneers of old, I hope to leave a testimony of what gets me through. In every time and season, I want my beloveds to know this:
There is no experience or situation on earth that you cannot get through when you look to God. His promises are sure. He keeps his covenants, so when you keep your covenants with Him, everything will turn out for good. Even when you cannot, with your earthly eyes, see the result, I promise, it will all work out. That’s the faith of a pioneer….knowing God leads the way.

Friday, June 26, 2015

My Father's Child

I remember how the words stung. I was in my early 20s when a friend called my Grandmother a bigot. Stung like a smack in the face! At first I was offended! I wanted to defend her…but as I thought about it, I realized the word fit. "Prejudiced" was a kinder word which I, myself had used when referring to my Grandmother. But in the eyes of those who did not know and love her as I did, she could be seen as a bigot. I knew the reasons for her prejudice, though, yet I believed what I knew was true about her, that she was a good person.

Let me explain just a bit. Grandmother was orphaned at a very young age, subjected to the cruelties of life as an orphan in the early 1900’s. She endured a hard life that shaped her opinions and her self image. Later, as a young woman, she worked as a studio page at MGM Studios. She began building a new life- the kind many young women dream of even today. She shared an apartment in the Los Angeles area with a roommate, a Jewish woman whom she had met at work. Grandmother’s Hollywood heyday life might have looked glamorous, but working so close to the Hollywood scene opened her eyes to all kinds of seamy things. She witnessed well known stars, also Jews, who preyed on young women or young men in their dressing rooms. She witnessed studio moguls, again Jews, care more for their money making than the people with whom they worked. One day, she returned home from work to find that her roommate had moved out, taking EVERYTHING in the apartment with her, including the furniture that had been purchased by my grandmother. She was devastated, to say the least. For whatever reason, she could no longer distinguish between wrong actions and race. And so, her prejudice began. It was fueled, I’m sure, by the actions of many others. Yet, when I was with her, I only witnessed her kindness towards others. She was generous and thoughtful. Whatever she might have said about race or color, I saw her ACT a different way. My actions towards others were first influenced by an earthly Grandmother, but my understanding of infinite love and kindness and how to love others was deepened by my belief in my Heavenly Father. I came to understand that before anything else, I am my Father’s Child.

Strong and wise—captivating eyes, Magnificent being.
Spirit bright, emanating light Now hid from our seeing.
You forget who you are You, who outshone the stars.
Amazing smile
You are your Father’s child.

I know (as do you) that the wrong actions of one Jewish person does not make all Jewish people bad (pssst, I think Grandma understood that, too). There are many, many more good, honest and delightful Jewish people, some of whom I am blessed to count as dear friends, who are just as repulsed by wrong actions as you or I might be.

Fast forward several years, to when I announced that I was expecting my third child. Grandmother was alarmed, “Why would you bring more children into this awful world?”  she demanded. However rudely stated, I understood that grandma shared her opinion because she loved me, it didn’t make me mad at all. My response was evidence of that understanding, “Well, Grandma, I knew that you would still be here to love my children, so everything will be ok.” And there it was, the truth…we loved each other. She loved my children. That love bridged all the gaps in our beliefs.

I believe, then and now, that we are all children of Divine origin, Children of a Heavenly Father, and each has a spark of goodness inside us. I believe our Heavenly Father loves us all equally. Because I love Him, I want to be like him, to follow Him. I try so very hard to love others equally as He does. Now loving others does not mean I need to agree with their actions. In fact, the opposite can be true. My love for my two year old son does not mean that I let him run free, into the busy street to be squished by cars. I love him and because I do, I must say what I believe is right. His protests for freedom don’t change my love or my resolve to keep him safe. I believe running in the street isn’t good for you. You might disagree. I disagreed with Grandma’s assessment of having more children, but it didn’t make me love her less. Nor did my desire to have more children cause her to love me less (to the contrary, she loved all of my children immensely).

So now we are in a world where right and wrong are sometimes mixed up. Where good people understand things differently than other good people. Just as my grandmother understood her world differently than I did. The truth is, we are all good people! Whatever you believe doesn’t change my love and concern for you. Just because I disagree with you about something and say so doesn’t mean I don’t love and care about you. Hopefully I have learned to express my opinion more lovingly than my grandmother did, but if not remember that I still love you. That spark of goodness in each of us can still shine through. My grandmother shared her sometimes prejudiced opinions with me because she loved me. I still let her. On the occasions when I did not agree, I still knew that she loved me. Just as I will ALWAYS love you. Friends included!

I love the words of Thomas S. Monson, “Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved.” You, my dear family and friends, are much more important to me than the earthly policies and politics that surround us. We are bound by loving ties. Your actions will not change my love for you, you must know that. We must never let our ideas cause us to hate each other for if we become haters, if we become true bigots, we will not be able to see the real Truth before us. As has been so beautifully and perfectly modeled by the wonderful people in South Carolina, we must continue to love each other, even those who seek to hurt us, and continue to remember who really are, our Father’s Children.

Now there were none before or after like Him 
He was God with us and is God still
In life and death His love for us defined Him 
And to do His Father’s will
And so He came to save
Because you are your Father’s child.
(Your Fathers Child by Kenneth Cope)

Friday, June 19, 2015

O My Father

(If you think I wrote something similar a while back, I did here. This just shows that sometimes the feelings return and I have to talk myself through them again.)

Father's Day is coming. My widowed friend mentioned this was a hard day for her to attend church. Not that she wouldn't go, because partaking of the Lord's Sacrament and renewing sacred covenants is, after all, the reason we go to Church and is far too important to pass up. But that it's just hard, being widowed- the father of her children is not present on a day set aside to revere fathers. We discussed the difficulty our children might have on Father's Day as well. How many people feel lost on these occasions? It hurt to think that celebrating something wonderful and God-given, as fathers are, would be difficult for some of us.

I thought about the first Father's Day after my dad had passed away. There was much in my life to be happy about, yet the sadness was still there. My Dad was gone from this life and I missed knowing he was there, even while I heard others speak of their fathers and the things they had planned to do together. A few weeks later, I was invited to sing at a funeral. The man was much older than my father had been when he passed away. He'd had more opportunity than my own father or even my late husband to have a fatherly impact in this life. There were not only grandchildren in attendance, but great-grandchildren. He had been beloved by all, even those who disagreed with his faith. One grand-daughter said, "He was like another dad to me. If I was mad at my dad, I couldn't be mad at Grandpa."  I wondered, who are my second fathers? Surely I had them...but who were they? 

The words of the song were poignant:

"O My Father, thou that dwellest in the high and glorious place,
When shall I regain thy presence and again behold thy face?"
(Hymns, O My Father, 292, Eliza R. Snow)

On the surface, the words sound like a hymn for the fatherless, but they are not. The poet is referring to our Heavenly Father. One who is Father to all of us. 

"Our Father, by whose name all fatherhood is known,
Who dost in love proclaim each family thine own."
 (Hymns, Our Father By Whose Name, 296, F. Bland Tucker)

I thought about the many people in our lives who act as second fathers, even when we have good fathers present and active in our lives. I thought about my sons, how they love their children, but how they love their nieces and nephews also and how they can be like second fathers to them. All around me are good men who teach their sons to be good men. I can be thankful for that. 

I thought of my Heavenly Father, of the many blessings HE showers down on me. Regardless of our situation- whether we have living fathers or not, or if our fathers have been involved in our lives or not, or any other of myriad father situations, we all have a Father who loves us and is there for us. Just like earthly fathers, we can deny His existence, we can exclude Him from our lives or we can turn to him for everything. But unlike earthly fathers, He will never leave us, even when we turn from him. He is always there. 

I know there's the whole line of thinking that we should honor our fathers and mothers every day, so why make a fuss on one day? And there's good reason in that thought, but we DO make a fuss on one day. And we rob ourselves of a lot of happiness and good memories if we let our bitterness or grief over our earthly situation sideline us from such celebrations. Maybe it's my 'party girl' instinct, but on this Father's Day, I choose to jump in. I choose to celebrate good fathers of all kinds. I will celebrate my sons who are wonderful fathers and uncles. I choose to appreciate and thank good men everywhere who do father-like things for others. And, most of all, I can praise and worship my Heavenly Father, who made a glorious earth and placed His beautiful children on it. He made a Plan of Happiness where we can learn and grow and gain eternal blessings! And He loves and blesses me and my family every day. On this Father's Day, I choose to gather with good people at church where we raise our voices in praise to Him. 

"And now we'll sing great praise and rev'rently recall
The Holy One who gave his Son,
The Father of us all."
(Children's Songbook, Fathers, p.209, Dawn Hughes Ballantyne and Joyce Mills Jensen)

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Time to Love (or why I became a college dropout after age 50)

I post this with a caveat to my children and grandchildren: I am not in any way suggesting that you drop out of school or if you are thinking of going back to school, I am not suggesting that you shouldn’t. Each of us have individual decisions to make related to our lives and fulfilling our potential. My hope and prayer is that you prayerfully and honestly examine the priorities you have set in your life. Sometimes sacrifice now is necessary to achieve greater potential in the future, sometimes the sacrifice now is too great. This is MY decision and why I made it.

I love to learn new things. I think most of us do. Although I dropped out of college when I got married, I continued to learn. I devoured my husband’s textbooks and most other books I could find. As personal computers came of age, I learned all I could about them. I recognized their potential to do great things and eventually (in the 1990s) taught myself HTML markup language and created a personal website (yeah, I know, HTML is now almost obsolete, but only almost). More than once I considered going back to college and getting the degree I started out to get. Then I realized that my dreams and hopes and plans had changed and perhaps I wanted a different degree. Oh, and there was the cost. At a time when my own children were starting college, it seemed there wasn’t quite enough time OR money to support my own degree seeking. Still, I continued to learn about things, many things.

Finally, an opportunity arose to attend college and it seemed I had the time to do so. Thanks to BYU-Idaho’s Pathway program, the tuition was quite affordable. And what better place to obtain a degree? BYU! (Go Blue! Rah!) So, I embarked on a college journey while simultaneously wading through the waters of grief after the passing of my husband. Sometimes I felt I was in deep water, perhaps even over my head water, but the impending homework deadline was screaming from my laptop, so I would push those thoughts aside and stride right back into the collegiate ocean. 

Then came the Math semester. My struggles with math (documented in this post) meant that it took more and more of my time to complete the assigned work. I mean, talk about DEEP water! I had learned to approach my learning with prayer, and that did help, but only after many, many hours of study and work was I able to complete that semester. I was amazed, but I escaped that class with a B! Wow! I breathed a sigh of relief- the college degree seemed attainable after all. I still wasn’t sure what kind of degree I would seek, but I plunged back in.

Well I’m not sure I’m wiser
But some things are clearer
And it’s getting clear that I’m not here for long
So what am I to do with my few minutes here in this place?

That is, until I was visiting with some of my (step-) children. I was on a college break, between semesters, and was enjoying time with family. I commented that I wished I had time to see them more, and my step-daughter said, “But you always have homework!”. Ouch. I drove home that night pondering…what was I sacrificing? Who is most important? I do not have small children at home. But my children and grandchildren are no less important. And there are so many! Even if I text or call them all in a week…well, there aren’t enough days in a week. And so began a season of pondering. What is God’s plan for me right now? Is college really part of that plan? A wise person said to me once, “These earth-life days and hours are sacred hours. We will not get them again.” Well, duh. Was I making the most of my earth hours?

And we hear the world sigh with its aches and its pains
We see the grass wither and watch flowers fade

What my heart told me was not what my brave, educated mind wanted to hear. But as soon as I knew it, I knew it was right. I do not want to spend these sacred earth-life days worrying about homework deadlines and test scores. I want to spend time loving and serving. I want to have the time to sink deep into sacred scripture and not worry about if I’m writing an appropriate discussion board entry. I want time to to make a journey to see grandchildren (ok, and their parents) without worrying about getting the homework done before or after or during that journey. I want time to do His work without hurrying home to complete an online test.

But oh, there’s a day that is coming
When everything will be new
And oh, God will dry every tear
And everything sad will be made untrue
And oh, it’s gonna be a celebration
All of creation longs for
And while we’re waiting for that day to come
We’ve got a little more time to love.

Now, if you’re thinking that maybe I’m not using my time wisely, remember that my singular lifestyle means that I do EVERYTHING myself or I pay someone else to do it. I choose to pay someone to take care of my pool, so that I have time to enjoy using it. We all make trade-offs. I no longer want to trade sitting in front of my laptop doing homework for sitting with grandchildren on my lap reading books together. I no longer want to trade slipping out after a meeting so I can complete homework by the deadline for slipping a homemade treat onto someone’s front step. This is the time I have, and there is only so much of it (and me) to go around. I have been ultimately blessed and I want to share it. For me, at least, doing His work does not mean doing homework. 

There are little ones hungry for love of a family
So many hungry for bread
On the left and the right surrounded by the last and the least
And just down the street and just across the table
Hungry hearts are waiting to be fed
‘Cause deep in our soul we’re all longing to be at The Feast
But until we sit down where there’s more than enough
Let us give as we’ve been given and love as we’ve been loved.
(A Little More Time to Love by Stephen Curtis Chapman)

Thomas S. Monson has said, ""We cannot call back time that is past, we cannot stop time that now is, and we cannot experience the future in our present state. Time is a gift, a treasure not to be put aside for the future but to be used wisely in the present.”

In my present, I want a little more time to love.