Sunday, December 9, 2012
This morning my hubs and I drove down the canyon through foggy mist, on icy roads and frigid temps to attend church with our cute Natalie (Brad's daughter). She was asked to play the harp in Sacrament meeting and she had invited us to come hear her. She attends a Student ward (congregation) in Provo, Utah. She played beautifully and invoked the spirit of The Lord with her beautiful medley of Christmas hymns. Her father and I were so proud of her:)
The Bishop was the first speaker. He spoke of trials and shared how, many years ago he, his wife and four little girls had moved from Arizona to Provo, Utah so he could go to Law School. He spoke of how poor they were. They sold their nice car in order to eliminate a car payment and purchased an old VW "Hippie" van. All six of them lived in a tiny two bedroom house and, in fact, they had one more daughter, while there, to add to the bunch! He shared that they had been SO poor that they all lived on potatoes, rice, carrots, oatmeal and whatever they could grow in their garden. They even tromped out into the snow and dug into the frozen earth scavenging for any left over potato, beet or carrot in order to just survive.
Then he told us that those are some of their HAPPIEST times and memories!
His message was clear and simple...happiness can be found under any circumstances. It's up to us and if we trust in the Lord, we can find joy in the midst of poverty, ill health and any other trial we may be experiencing. Then he said something that seared into my brain (an "Aha Moment"). He said:
"Trust God and believe that good things are to come..."
I have always believed in God. I have tried to trust Him in all things but today, I realized that in order to REALLY trust in God you DO have to believe that good things are to come! That is where I have fallen short...
I'm reminded of a few of my heroes. The first in Viktor Frankl, author of "Man's Search for Meaning" which is his account of his incarceration in a Nazi concentration camp. As a Jew, death was certain for him. At one time he had contemplated suicide, like so many others, but his religious upbringing and moral foundation kept him from following through with those thoughts. He found ways to find happiness, joy and even peace, ultimately helping others in the camp and becoming one of the most inspirational holocaust survivors ever.
Corrie ten Boom, author of "The Hiding Place". She was not Jewish, but she and her family hid as many Jews as they possibly could, saved numerous lives as a result, but she and her sister were arrested and severely punished and banished to a Nazi camp as well. They were God-loving Christians who studied the bible throughout their lives. In the bible, The Lord says to be thankful for ALL things. She shares an account of having to sleep in a corner of the camp with her sister and a few other women, on damp hay which was infested with lice...During a particularly down moment, her sister told her to offer thanks to God for the lice...when she questioned her sister as to how in the world one could be thankful for L.I.C.E. her sister reminded her that God has told us to be thankful for ALL things and because of the lice the guards left the women in that corner alone thus giving them the opportunity to hold bible study classes which gave them immeasurable strength.
I admit, I'm not to that point, but I want to get there. Life is always going to offer challenges and trials. That's a given. I can only pray that I will always Trust in God and KNOW that good things are to come...
Friday, December 7, 2012
Aja, their mother (my daughter) is one of these people who sits on three committees in our town and is actively involved with her kids schools as a room mother and in the PTA. As a single mother, she lives on a very limited income, spends no money on herself but ensures that her precious children are engaged in Dance classes, Violin, Gymnastics and various sports. She has no time to herself and on top of everything, she is a full-time student!
She told me of an idea she had. Just one week after the hurricane, she spent over 3 hours on the phone back East trying to find any organization that she and her children could help as a result of this terrible event. Finally, she found a school in Brooklyn, the Red Hook District, that was devastated. In fact, the morning she got ahold of an office worker at the school, she was told that they had just gotten their power back on only moments before her call. She told the lady that she spoke with that her girls wanted to hold a charity event and raise something that the effected children would need and like. They came up with the idea to collect Coloring Books, Crayons and Story Books for the school. Since money really means nothing to 5 & 6 year old little girls, this was a perfect solution.
So Aja got to work. She set the date of Dec. 5th to host an Open House from 3-6 PM at her home where children in our community could come, drop off their donations and then decorate a Sugar Cookie to take home. She made flyers and her girls took them to church and their schools. Needless to say, it was a HUGE success.
Our town is AMAZING! It's very small, but has a huge heart. Everyone is service oriented and people showed up whom we didn't even know! So far they have collected 116 boxes of crayons, 74 Coloring Books, 49 Story Books, numerous Markers, Pencils, Pads of Paper and Flash Cards! She even received some cash to help with shipping!
My heart is warmed by the generosity of so many. I am so proud of my sweet daughter who didn't just "talk" about helping, she stepped up and took action! I can only imagine how excited those sweet little children in New York will be when they receive several boxes from some precious little children far away in a little town called Midway Utah...This, my friends, is the true spirit of Christmas!