My thoughts on Job of the Bible: part 1

My thoughts on Job

It is time to confess: I have suffered from a life long depression.

I am currently reading in Job in the Bible. Truly he feels bitterness at his “lot” that has fallen upon him, but his integrity stays in place. The Sunday School lesson was on Job yesterday. What a great lesson. It left quite an impact on me. It led me to remember how I, even up to just recently, have bemoaned my fate because of the depression that settles on me like an unforgiving jailer. I have begged Father in Heaven to release me for truly it is a dark prison with seemingly no hope for escape. I cannot see, in all my “pompous human wisdom” the value of the experience* yet, who am I to say there is no value?
*for in the full blown darkness of soul, my thoughts have “tinkered” with death, feeling surely it is preferable to life. I have been on that precipice many times believing life to be intolerable. My heart and soul racked with torment that I am no good fueled by “messages” perceived and real. There was no escape. I was lost in an emotional dungeon of the darkest kind. Like Job – I begged and pleaded with God to be released from life – I even toyed with that “power” myself – always remembering that while we have no recollection of the veil that so effectively blocks our view of the afterlife, it is there. Death is the vehicle that pulls us through the veil and then with added spiritual vision we gain upon arrival, we look back with new found perspective and then it dawns on us what we’ve done, (if we shortened our life,) and our sorrow is compounded as the realization sinks in that now there is nothing we can do to change that choice. It is forever marked in our “eternal life’s DNA.”
“Life flies on wings of lightning – we cannot call it back….”
This is true – how we choose to spend our moments will one day be revealed in the sum total of our lives when it is our turn to leave this existence.
But it is even truer when we choose to usurp God’s hand in our lives and partake of the death experience earlier because of emotional pain. We cannot take that choice back; it is permanent. I have bemoaned my fate of what I see as a life long battle with depression. However, who am I to complain when the Lord needs those lessons to teach me specific things I need to know and can learn in no other way?
It is true that He has been mindful of me and has lifted the darkness from my life. No longer, (at least at this season of my life) am I plagued with the feelings that I just can’t or don’t want to get things done. The feelings of “what’s the use?” have slipped away and receded far to the sidelines of my life. My despondency has been replaced by peace within.
The Lord has blessed me with this current reprieve. He has seen fit to bless me with peace of mind and hear and I am so grateful…
These thoughts are where I find myself as I read the pages of Job. He too, bemoaned his fate, but he is faithful to maintain his integrity because of his knowledge that God is good and knows what is right for us. His strength under pressure convicts me and makes me want to try harder. Alas, when the trials come, I must remember these things and put them to good use in rescuing my flagging spirits and faith. God is good. He loves us.

I am sure of these things.
One thing my depressions have given me is time to think about where God fits in all of this. What I have concluded is that he most definitely fits in. He is God – His is measured in his responses – Like the ultimate parent He is, He combines tutorials with love. (When we are not having a consequence for a choice we made,) He is there watching and waiting to see how we will do. Will we, like Job, “rent our clothes” and fall down and worship?
This action is not easy when you are human – in fact it can be downright difficult and I see it all too plainly in my own life.
It is when life is full of vicissitudes I must remember to “fall down and worship” But – what of the times when life is like a pleasant day at the beach? I am learning that when my life is in its pleasant moments, that I take the time to nourish the roots of my faith. It is during the regular moments I set aside to ponder, pray, and study the work of the Lord that my roots find their way t the fertile soil of the strength of the Lord.
Sometimes my efforts ebb and flow, but always they pay off when my world experiences darkness. Because of my work to draw close to the Lord, I have that fall back on when my life is less than desirable.

The Dance of Hope

2 Corinthians 6:18

And (I) will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

My soul is deeply stirred and moved.  As I think on my relationship with God and my love for Him, I think of it sometimes as a dance: me, here on the Earth – Him in the Heavens – Between us, a strand of spiritual DNA swirling up and around and between us.

My eyes close and the arms of my heart reach up in longing as my thoughts rise heavenward in a blessed blending of faith and hope sent swirling up to the Heavenly and Holy courts of my God, my King and my Holiest and most precious Father.  His response is in kind – condescending to bless me despite my imperfect state and lift me up through the Gift of His Most Beloved Son and my Divine Redeemer.

I am imperfect in every way – yet the promise of living with Him again makes its way down the strand of Holy communication and fills me with an urgent longing, a desire to strive for the promised, glorious blessing of seeing Him again….

I am rendered speechless; left alone in the absolute purity of Hope…My sigh is deep as I contemplate the possibilities of all we are taught that we can gain through the unmerited gifts of His Son…

Because we are His sons and daughters…

of Royal Blood…

because He first loved us.

Who is my Neighbor?

Our riding lawn mower broke recently.

Of course, because we don’t have a job right now, we can’t afford to get it fixed.  This is quite a bummer as we have 2.25 acres to mow, but thankfully we still have a little mower, so my husband goes out with our little push lawn mower last night and begins the long process of mowing our lawn.  The weather is raging hot so the next morning at 6:00 he gets up to start mowing, because the job is no where near done.   About 2 hours later, just as he is finishing up with about one third of the yard done, and the heat is getting ramped up, our neighbor comes up to him and says, “You should let me help you with that.”  (This is the neighbor that snow-blowed our driveway covered in 24 inches of snow last winter with his snow blower.  Memory tells me that our snow blower was broken then too.  After he did our driveway, and a couple of weeks after his act of kindness, his wife comes to the door to ask a favor of us because her husband is in the hospital after coming very close to having had a heart attack!!!!!  We were alarmed and of course, we were very concerned.  We willingly helped them out…)

So, today, when he offers to help my husband do the yard, he say something along these lines, no, we don’t want you to have another heart attack.  He says he is fine and makes a list of all the things he does to keep active, biking with his dog, tennis several times a week, para-sailing…(it’s exhausting to listen to, not to mention embarrassing, but he makes his point.)  So, my husband agrees, but tells him not to do the whole thing.  Between last night and this morning, Mike had done about .75 of an acre and we still had 1.50 of an acre left to go.

Mike had to go for job hunting, but before he left, we witness our neighbor heading straight into our yard armed and ready with a thermos of water, his lawn mower and a gas can.  I watch him like a hawk and after an hour I go out there to tell him to stop…but he tells me he’s fine and in truth, the temperature is still good. Thankfully, there is cloud cover and a breeze and I feel it’s okay not to act like a mother. (He is 60.) But I say a prayer and ask Father in Heaven to please extend the cloud cover so that he stays cool.

He does.

Finally, after 2.5 hours, our neighbor decides it is time to quit and seeing him head back to his house, I go outside to thank him.  Gratefully, he quit when the sun finally did come out and left some for my husband to finish.  This man has a heart of gold.

Who is my neighbor?  It is a man like Rod.  A funny guy always looking out for others…God bless him.

Who is my neighbor? It is anybody who I meet on the street and look past the outward appearance to see a need that may not be expressed, but may help lift and help brighten someone else’s day.

“The abundant life noted in the scriptures is the spiritual sum that is arrived at by the multiplying of our service to others and by investing our talents in service to God and to man.”  –Elder Patrick Kearon of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A Holier Pattern of Service


It’s been a long time…

It has been a long time since I posted…much of life has slipped through my fingers as if I water slipped through my fingers.  Shortly after I had my experience with the stranger, (see this post:  The Stranger )  I met a man who inspired me to pursue a certificate in Genealogical Research.  I did and I am in the throes of busy-ness.  I will be posting more soon about my thoughts about life and it’s amazing ability to challenge me to do my best.

The Stranger

The Stranger: A true story

On August 2, 2017, I found myself driving down to the LDS Temple for my last weekend of intense Temple service during the Nauvoo Pageant.  It was intense, not because of the work, but more because of the schedule; 3 days home and 4 days away.  This led to me having to be careful that I did not over exert myself because of the demands that I had placed on myself by volunteering to serve in that manner.  It really was the most amazing experience and I learned so much and felt a peace and joy that I had never known.  It is definitely difficult to describe.

But, this is not what I wanted to write.  I want to write about this particular day and this particular drive.  I was more than half way there when I saw 2 cars on the side of the road.  Since there were people there, I figured that they did not need me to stop and help. (Not sure I would have anyway…) However, about 1/4 mile from that scene was a man walking and fairly limping along the side of the road and I thought that he might be with the two cars going to get help…so after some long, but quick thought, I decided to stop and help if I could.

It turned out that he was not with the 2 cars I had seen but he needed a ride.  He threw his bag in the back seat, and I remember thinking, “I hope he doesn’t have a bomb in there.”  I put my large cooler bag on the console between the front seats to have at least “something” between us.  I remember sniffing to see if he smelled and I remember being a little nervous that I now had a stranger in my car, who was a man and who most definitely could have taken advantage of me.

As I pulled out onto the road and gathered speed, he told me his story.  He said that his wife had died in Missouri, (we were presently in Iowa headed toward Missouri,) and he had decided, at the encouragement of a friend, to go work as a “day laborer” job up in Minnesota.  He had recently finished the job and told me that two people had offered him a ride into the nearest town so he could get a bus or something back to Missouri.  It was about 25 miles away and so he said sure.  He told me that about midway to the town, the people pulled a gun on him and took his $900.00 away leaving him stranded by the side of the road in the middle of nowhere.  He told me that he had been walking ever since.  Mind you, I have no idea how far into Minnesota he was, but where I picked him up was at least a 4-hour drive just to the border.  I was so taken back by his story that I immediately called my friend and police chief and told him the story and handed the phone to the guy to see if there were anything my friend could do to help the situation once the stranger got home.  They talked for about 5 minutes.

I was horrified!  I instantly thought he must be thirsty and hungry.  I had food in my bag because I always take food with me because of my food allergies and water in the car…but I had no plate or utensils for him to eat with, nor a cup to drink from.

Then I remembered that my husband gave someone a ride to Church on Sunday and that person had given him a bottle of water which remained unopened in the console of the car.  I grabbed it and gave it to the guy and then I scoured my brain to think what I might have in the bag he could eat with his hands.  I remembered that the previous day I had bought a smoked pork chop to take with me on my trip, so I reached in and gave it to him.  He was famished and just about ate the bone itself.

I then wondered to myself if I could buy him a bus ticket so he could get home without walking the rest of the way, but I was not headed toward any bus station…I offered anyway and he said, “I would much rather have a room so I can take a shower and get cleaned up and get a good night’s rest.”  I decided I could do this and when we came to the town I was passing through to get to where I wanted to go, I stopped at a Super 8 Hotel and bought him a room for the night.  I don’t want to go into all the details because this story is, and will be, long anyway but suffice it to say that he got his room, and after speaking to the owner of the motel, telling him what the situation was, I returned to my car incredibly nervous that the motel owner would not guard my card carefully.  I was very nervous.

I continued on to the Temple worried and really trying not to beat myself up over the situation.  I called the hotel owner back and asked him about the cost and he said that the only other cost there could be was if the guy destroyed the room and smoked in it and then, I would be charged another $300.00. I wondered out loud to God, “why is it so nerve wracking to do good?” I really hoped that wouldn’t happen.  By the time I got to the Temple, I had managed to calm myself down and remember that whatever happened in this situation, it was in God’s hands.

As I was getting ready to go into the service in the Temple, I was still thinking very much on the situation I had gotten myself into.  I was so worried and kept praying about it when in the middle of my thoughts came the inspired words of the Holy Ghost: “the Good Samaritan.”  I quickly recalled the story of “the Good Samaritan,” though at that time did not remember all the details of the story, and at that moment, could not look it up.  I felt calmer.

After I was done with the service, and getting dressed, some of the words to the song, “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief” popped into my head.  Here again, my fears were assuaged and I was able to put to rest my fears and from there move on to my next task at the Temple. As I was performing my tasks in the Temple another thought popped into my head, this one is in Hebrews 13:2. This particular scripture really sealed the deal for me and helped calm me from my worries.

I am not so well versed in the scriptures to remember them the way they are written, so when I got home and looked up each of the scriptures, I was completely blown away by them:  Here was the first one I received,

Luke 10:30-37

30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.

31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.

32 And likewise, a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.

33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,

34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.

36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbor unto him that fell among the thieves?

37 And he said,He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.


Then a little later, after I was finished with the service and was changing, some of the words to this song, “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief” came to my mind: (The whole song applies, so I have quoted it in its entirety.)


A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief

  1. A poor, wayfaring Man of grief
    Hath often crossed me on my way,
    Who sued so humbly for relief
    That I could never answer nay.
    I had not pow’r to ask his name,
    Whereto he went, or whence he came;
    Yet there was something in his eye
    That won my love; I knew not why.
  2. Once, when my scanty meal was spread,
    He entered; not a word he spake,
    Just perishing for want of bread.
    I gave him all; he blessed it, brake,
    And ate, but gave me part again.
    Mine was an angel’s portion then,
    For while I fed with eager haste,
    The crust was manna to my taste.
  3. I spied him where a fountain burst
    Clear from the rock; his strength was gone.
    The heedless water mocked his thirst;
    He heard it, saw it hurrying on.
    I ran and raised the suff’rer up;
    Thrice from the stream he drained my cup,
    Dipped and returned it running o’er;
    I drank and never thirsted more.
  4. ‘Twas night; the floods were out; it blew
    A winter hurricane aloof.
    I heard his voice abroad and flew
    To bid him welcome to my roof.
    I warmed and clothed and cheered my guest
    And laid him on my couch to rest,
    Then made the earth my bed and seemed
    In Eden’s garden while I dreamed.
  5. Stript, wounded, beaten nigh to death,
    I found him by the highway side.
    I roused his pulse, brought back his breath,
    Revived his spirit, and supplied
    Wine, oil, refreshment—he was healed.
    I had myself a wound concealed,
    But from that hour forgot the smart,
    And peace bound up my broken heart.
  6. In pris’n I saw him next, condemned
    To meet a traitor’s doom at morn.
    The tide of lying tongues I stemmed,
    And honored him ‘mid shame and scorn.
    My friendship’s utmost zeal to try,
    He asked if I for him would die.
    The flesh was weak; my blood ran chill,
    But my free spirit cried, “I will!”
  7. Then in a moment to my view
    The stranger started from disguise.
    The tokens in his hands I knew;
    The Savior stood before mine eyes.
    He spake, and my poor name he named,
    “Of me thou hast not been ashamed.
    These deeds shall thy memorial be;
    Fear not, thou didst them unto me.”

Text: James Montgomery, 1771-1854   Music: George Coles, 1792-1858, alt.

Then, a little while later, while I was still in the Temple, the words to this scripture floated through my mind: Hebrews 13:2

Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

It never really crossed my mind during the entire exchange that I was doing the Lord’s errand. I just was trying to figure out a way to help the guy.  It did cross my mind that I had put myself in danger.  I had no idea what was in his bag that he threw in the back of my car, nor did I know if he carried a gun and would pull it out on me.  The most worried I got was when I had given my card number to the guy at the hotel.

It was to my great sadness when I called the hotel owner the next day that I found out that the guy had lied to me.  He had asked the hotel owner where the dollar store was and the liquor store was and bought not only food, but alcohol and cigarettes and completely left the room a mess.  I was devastated and truthfully wondered if the hotel owner had decided to take advantage of me as well.  He said he would have to charge my card another $300.00 for the cleanup.  It was not a good situation and I could have gone to check although it would have tightened up my busy schedule entirely, so I did not go to check. It was now that the 4th and final scripture came to my mind: Matthew 5:44:

44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

What I finally decided about the whole thing was that I had done what I had done with no thought of myself or reward, only to bring relief to a person struggling.  While I was “burned” in the process, in the end, I chose to look at the whole thing as something the Lord wanted me to know.  Granted, I put myself in danger, but other things happened that probably kept me safe.  The first being that I had a Police Chief friend that I called on the spot to help the guy.  Again, it was not for my benefit I did this, but the act of doing so, probably alerted the guy that now a police chief, who knew me personally and well, also knew I had a strange man in my car and he had talked to him.  How might this innocent and seemingly “helpful” move, in and of itself, have been an inspiration to “separate” the guy from his possible evil intentions? We will never know.

The next thing was my exerted effort not to castigate myself for putting not only myself in danger, but Mike’s and my finances in jeopardy based solely on trust in the goodness of human nature. Here again, the Lord helped me resolve that I would put all of it in His hands.  Although it continued to press on me throughout my service, the Lord was generous and kind in sending me little “graces” or “tender mercies” of thoughts coming from His Holy Word.  These sustained me throughout my time of service.  And finally, when I got home in the evening and was able to read them knowing the full context of the events of that afternoon, I could see He chose to encourage me that I had done the right thing no matter the outcome.

I would not have chosen the outcome and was greatly saddened by it, but I was sadder for the man.  We lost $400.00 total as a result, but he lost much more.  I would do as the Lord directed and pray for those who despitefully used me…

And that, as they say, is the rest of the story.


Spiritual Fire Drills

Avoiding panicked Spiritual 9-1-1 Calls

1. The first rule is not to panic. Panicking makes you spend money that may prove to be a waste. Panicking also causes your prayers to be more like a 9-1-1 call. “I need help now” “Come quick.” In other words, you are totally caught up in the moment and if you haven’t prepared, you have no sight for the “bigger picture.”

2. Go through mental exercises to decide what you really can’t do without. (I found I had to be brutally honest in this exercise!) I have extra toothpaste and tooth brushes, soap for bathing and of course, M&Ms!

2 a. I cannot stress how important the mental exercises are. What I started to tell you is that you need to gather your wits about you and develop some mental toughness about what you “think” you need versus what you really do need. I decided I need some light at night, definitely want to be as warm as possible, and I don’t want to go hungry. Personal needs are also a consideration, so I try not to “want” too much for myself. I can’t tell you how many times I have the conversation in my head when I shop about needing something. “Is it really necessary?” Of course, you can talk your way into everything if you want to, but the reality is, as you said, you can really do without a lot less. If you practice living with less in your mind, then when you “have” to live with less, you are at least a bit ahead of your friends. (Of course, I know you are modest, so this shouldn’t be too much of a difficult exercise for you.) But, there is room for all of us to grow.

One reason my house isn’t overly decorated is because I can’t stand having things that serve no purpose, (not that I don’t have any!) But the other reason is that I want the money to use for things that are useful and decorative. Hurricane Lamps will hold candles and because of the glass, the candle burns slower… People get rid of old, big thick candles all the time at the thrift store. I buy those at a fraction of the price and store them on top of my kitchen cupboards and other high places no one sees. Aladdin lamps give off great light, but also double for heat if you need it too. These are expensive, but because they serve two functions, they become worth the price. Don’t forget spare oil for these.
3. The Spiritual aspect. You have to be proactive with your relationship with God…When crisis hits, you do not want to have to dial 9-1-1 to heaven and find that you get no reception because you don’t know how to speak the language or you just have left it off as “I’ll get to it someday.” Of course, even though I feel I am a pretty good “praying person,” I still try to envision what I will do and how I will react if I am really pushed to the edge of my comfort zone. Will I have the faith I need to endure the trial? Will I trust that God does know and is aware? The answers to these and many more questions is no and yes…No because we just don’t know how we will react in a crisis, (this is why mental fire drills are important) and yes, because we work to develop that relationship every day. For me, a key scripture to remember in my daily comings and goings is in the first chapter of Job. He loses everything…and what does he do? He rents his coat, puts on sack cloth and praises God as the giver of all good gifts. I ask myself…am I there? Do I praise God no matter what my circumstances? How did Job get that way? It says that he had a perfect heart, right before God. He wasn’t born that way. I am sure he had to work on it…he was born with an innate goodness, but so are we all. The difference is how he chose to live his life doing right, serving others and worshiping God. Time and time and time again, he made choices that strengthened him so that when things got bad, there was no question in his mind how he needed to be. He continued to worship, because God makes the rain to fall on the good and the evil.
Interestingly, we have grown very complacent in our self-indulgence, thinking we need this or that or we deserve this or that because we are who we are…but the reality is that we are all children of God…none of us is better than another…the problem is, is that we think we are because of our “station” in life and we let that guide how we will be in life. But, it really goes deeper than that, as you know. It is what is in our hearts that makes the difference in our lives. And, when troubles come, and they will, what is in our hearts and minds, will determine how we will be able to endure the day. That is what makes the difference between someone whose life is focused on stuff that really matters versus someone else who thinks they are beyond the effects of what is going on.

4. Last thing for now. Remember that the bigger picture is that all the things happening now are part of what has been foretold for centuries by the prophets in the Bible. As far as the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, it is coming, but before it gets here, there will be all kinds of things happen. It is too deep of a subject to go into here and if you like I can refer you to some wonderful books about it. I can tell you that sometimes I get scared…Scared that I won’t be able to stay true to God. That I won’t stay faithful…that I will give up…that I will be homeless and cold and hungry and that I won’t remember to “rent my coat and praise God, saying, the Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away, Blessed be the name of the Lord.” More than anything else, I want to stay faithful. I want to be found with His Name emblazoned on my heart no matter what circumstance I find myself in. Truthfully, this is something I am not sure about myself and so for me, it is the most important part of my preparation. I can’t take anything else with me except my faith and integrity…That’s why, in the end, nothing else matters…

Sorry, I got sidetracked. The Second Coming…I have read, panicked, studied and prayed and I am now confident that God is aware of all that is happening. He promised to return and He will. I am not panicked like I used to be. I am a lot calmer, but I have had to work to get here and that is what I mentioned earlier. The most important thing we can be doing is preparing our hearts and minds for the Second Coming. With our faith in place, it is my belief that we can call on God, and because of our righteousness, He will hear and answer our prayers in extraordinary ways.

Look at the parable of the 10 virgins. (Matt 25:1-13,) 5 were prepared and had their lamps full of oil, trimmed and burning. The other 5 also had oil and their lamps were trimmed. The problem is, they forgot that sometimes the bridegroom is late, very late, and they forgot to have extra oil on hand for their lamps…so that when the bridegroom finally did appear, their lamps had gone out, but the virgins thought to ask their “sister virgins” for help, who said, in essence, “Not so, lest there not be enough for us and thee…” Those foolish, (or unprepared) virgins had to “run into town” to get more oil, and when they did, the bridegroom came and went into the wedding feast and the door was shut. The 5 virgins returned only to find they were locked out…and could gain no entry.

I have pondered over this parable. How do we become a “wise” virgin? Ready when the Bridegroom comes? We prepare and fill our vessels of light with oil “drop by drop” Acts of service…a drop of oil; going to church…a drop of oil; reading the Bible…a drop of oil; Humbling ourselves…a drop of oil…Prayer…a drop of oil…There are many ways to keep our lamps “trimmed and burning,” but we must be going about it on a daily basis….9-1-1 behavior at the last moment will keep us out of the feast because we are not prepared…

In Mormon scripture, this parable is explained saying about the virgins, that, those who are wise, and have received the Spirit of truth and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide and have not been deceived…shall stand in the last day. This is my goal for this year, to live closer to the Spirit and learn to listen better to the counsel given for my life. I can always improve in this, but I am really trying to make the effort this year to make it more of a reality.

I think, that we are all one of the wise virgins to one degree or another… kind service to a mother in law; taking care of your children, bringing meals to others, going to Church every day/week, frequent, heartfelt prayer…these are just some of the things you may do, but I know that many of you do many more that I am unaware of. There are always ways we can improve and that is what we need to ponder and discover.

The Park Bench

The Park Bench

My grandparents met in Paris, France in approximately 1919 during World War 1.  It was in Paris they fell in love.  He served as an ambulance driver and she served as a nurse in the war-time effort.    The story goes that my grandfather took my grandmother to a park in Paris and proposed marriage to her on a park bench.  She said yes, and when the war was over, he went back to the Paris park officials and asked if he could buy the bench.  The park officials told him that no, he could not buy the bench.  My grandfather, never liking the idea that something couldn’t be done or had because someone said, “No,” determined that the park bench must be had, and so somehow  he had it shipped home at the end of the war.

Through all their growing up years, my father and his siblings grew up with the park bench on their family estate.  In the early 60’s, after my grandfather died, the park bench went to reside at the family plot at the local cemetery.  For almost 100 years, that bench has remained an icon in our family, painted from time to time in the same Paris France park bench green and lovingly remembered as the bench that started it all.

While the park bench holds a firm place in our family history, it also has a history of its own here in the states.  It is unknown how many of our cousins have followed the same tradition as our grandfather, but for sure, I was one of them.

In 1999, my husband and I were dating.  I knew he was wonderful and I wanted to be a part of his life.  While he was away on a trip, I planned a way to ask him to marry me.  In anticipation of the moment, I had come up with the idea to buy him a gold “love-knot” tie tack. However, when he returned from his trip, I chickened out worried that he would say no.  Consequently, the tie tack sat in my dresser drawer for a few more weeks.

On October 31, I was mentioning to a friend what I had thought of doing and when she heard that I did not go through with it, (and knowing about the park bench,) told me that I had to “kidnap” him that day, and take him to the park bench and ask him to marry me.  Although it had not been in my original plan to “use” the iconic park bench, her suggestion had great motivating power.  I called him up, told him to get ready, that I would be taking him on a drive.

I grabbed the tie tack, popped it in my pocket and went to go get him.  It would be a several hour drive and we needed to get going to make it before the sun set.  All the way down, the box that held the tie tack, “burned a hole” in my pocket.  I was so excited.  My husband just read the paper not having any idea what was coming.

Finally, we arrived at the cemetery and slowly turned in and drove to the family plot in the back.  We got out of the car and I showed him the graves of my various family members buried there: my great-grandparents, my grandparents and my sister.  I then suggested that we sit together on the bench under the big tree, and it was then I told him the story of my grandparents and how they got engaged in Paris, and why the bench we were sitting on was significant for our family.  We sat there savoring the moment with the sun now set, the sky a pale pink and blue and a little bat flitting around in the long shadows of the day.  It was a perfect scene.

It was then I then pulled the tie tack box out of my pocket and “popped” the question.

I don’t think he could have been more surprised.  He sat there opening and closing the box several times as if to stretch out the moment and let the question sink into his mind.   In the meantime, my heart was racing as I waited for his answer.

He did not say yes that night, but I knew that he was a careful man and not one to jump into something so big without considerable thought.  It would be a long 6 weeks before we were formally engaged.  He finally told me one night when, after I had cracked two ribs and was crying about how much pain I was in that he folded me into his arms and whispered in my ear, “Would it make you feel better to know that I have decided to accept the “love-knot?”  Instantly my tears stopped and I remembered no pain.  I had previously hidden the “love-knot” in his secretary’s desk behind the books, so I went to get it for him and this time, he graciously accepted it…and that is the rest of the story…(as the saying goes.)

Bernard Eugene Davis
Bernard Eugene Davis
Gertrude Elizabeth Davis
Gertrude Elizabeth Davis





No comments will be accepted on this post.

Today is the 40th year anniversary of the death of my sister by suicide.

Like the ripples in a pond, the impact of this action left a huge crater in my life that has greeted me with waves of difficulty over the years since. I don’t know much about the actual suicide itself, but I do know she suffered from depression for years prior and had attempted suicide numerous times before.

I was young at the time. A mere 18 years old. She was 5 years older than me.

We got the call to come home so we could go keep vigil at the side of her hospital bed. She was in grave condition and unconscious. The doctors didn’t have much hope. My father, brother, sister and I lived the last 3 weeks of her life in the ICU, waiting, hoping, crying and praying…

I knew so little of what was going on and after about 2 weeks, I guess the doctors told my dad that it was time to take her off of life support. There was nothing else they could do. I believe, but I don’t know, that that decision was the hardest decision he has ever made. (40 years later, it leaves me breathless to think about.)

I decided to stay and keep vigil over her last few days of life. All I remember is that I sat on her bed and held her hand and on the day she died, I watched as the machines slowly indicated that she was going to her heavenly home. It was at the moment of her death that I finally cried.

I don’t remember much about the next few days. Much of that time was a blur. Her funeral was excruciating to endure as I watched my father cry like his heart would burst in his chest. The imprint of that moment etched deeply and permanently in my mind…

Over the last 40 years, we solemnly remember Martha on the 14th of August. It was clear my dad struggled with her death. The profundity of how it affected him, I will never know.  However, the impact of her choice was one that none of us escaped. Her suicide was the “rock” thrown into the individual ponds of our lives, with waves of effects rippling out and touching us; shaping our lives in ways none of us could have imagined.


Freefall ~ An ongoing lesson in trust

What does it mean to freefall?  Basically, it means something that falls which is subject to the effects of gravity…falling without resistance…

This concept reminds me of a game I used to play when I was a young adult with my friends.  Basically, it was a game of trust: you would stand in front of a friend, with your back to them, and they would stand facing your back about 2 feet behind you.  Then, you had to close your eyes and “let go” and fall straight backwards towards your friend who would then catch you before you hit the floor.  As I said, it was a game of trust and more often than not, the friend would catch you before it was “too late.”

It was in the beginning a of year, many years later that I decided that it would be a great New Year’s resolution to “get to know the Savior better.”  At that time in my life, I was a young mother.  I was busy with 4 young children under foot; however, I always, always made time to visit with my friends on the phone.  Talking to them was my life line to the outside world.  At that time, it was not unusual for any of my friends to spend an hour or more talking to each other about the daily ins and outs of life while we worked in our homes.  At times, I called several of my friends on any given day, leaving me with a feeling, that with them there, I could make it through any rough day…

This routine went on for a while during that year I made the goal to get to know the Savior better.  One sunny day, after a particularly refreshing and uplifting talk with a friend, I hung up the phone feeling secure that all was good and right with the world.  It was after I hung up that I had a revelatory experience.  “If you talked to me the way you talk to your friends, you would have a great relationship with me.”  This thought pierced through my mortal “know-it-all” attitude and I was convicted.

Over the next few days, weeks and months, this thought continued to trouble me and it forced me to examine how much time I spent doing things that are really important.  I found myself examining my prayers and found that I was seriously wanting in this area.  My thoughts drifted to the relationships I had with my friends.  How do those happen?  What do we talk about?  What do I tell them?  How do I listen?

The first thing that changes after this revelatory experience is that I decide, if I am going to spend, 15, 30 or 45 minutes talking to a friend on the phone, I must also dedicate the same amount of time to talking to Jesus and my Father in Heaven.  After all, don’t we claim that Jesus is our Friend?

I begin to time my phone calls.

The next thing that happens is that I start to evaluate how my prayers compare to the “meaningful” and “deep” conversations that I have with my friends.  Oh dear! I find there is no comparison and I must change my prayer life.  Up to that time in my life, how did I not realize that I could talk to Him as I did to any of my friends?  I begin to share with Him the daily ins and outs of my days…I am woefully poor at this, but I push forward, trying to trust in the process and make Jesus my true friend, sharing with Him my confidences and eventually, bits and pieces of my heart…

Time passes, the lesson fades, but its effect meanders through my life like a river, slow and steady.  Gradually, my relationship with the Savior develops.  I study the Word of the Lord more, my prayers become more meaningful and my Spiritual life takes on deeper meaning…I change my thinking about how I will spend my time.

Like a river, life takes many twists and turns.  It was when I was in my 40’s that the “test” of my lifetime would manifest.  Faced with a bitter divorce and custody battle, I first learned the idea of freefalling in a spiritual sense.  I had a devoted friend who introduced me to the concept of freefalling.   She explained what she understood about freefalling and, as she did, I remembered the game I used to play with my friends when I was younger.  She encouraged me to “freefall” into the Savior’s arms during this time of great uncertainty and profound sorrow in my life.

For weeks, I tried to envision how it would be with the Savior standing behind me and me “letting go” of all my worries, my fears, my hurts, anger and bitterness.  All those things I felt were “propping me up” as I moved through the most painful part of my life.

“Freefalling” into His waiting and loving arms…It was an exercise in trust.  I was resistant… I was afraid to let go …

I heard Him whisper to my soul: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, wait patiently for Him.  Lean not to thine own understanding; in all thy ways acknowledge Him and he shall direct thee for good.”

I trembled in my weakness.  I am undone by the weight of my troubles, yet, like warm gentle winds, His breathless whisper stirs in my soul a deep longing for peace.  I continue to hear His words of encouragement: “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest…Learn of me…

His kindness stirs my soul with desire to trust, but it does not come easy.  I labor. I am heavy laden…

I must learn to freefall.  It is not easy.

Being so encumbered by the events in my life, my prayer life took on a steady stream of desperation…a defiant, “this shouldn’t be happening to me…” and “…I don’t deserve this…” attitude.

I must learn to freefall.

In His mercy, the Lord sends help through a wise advisor.  He counseled: “Be more thankful in your prayers.” He issued a challenge to me and asked me for 1 week to be nothing but thankful in my prayers.

It is through this exercise that I begin to fall…

Slowly, I begin to see my life change right before my eyes.  The situation is the same, but everything is different.  This exercise made such a deep impact on me that its impression is still with me years later. I continue this exercise in my life from time to time for the effects it has on helping me to eliminate my wilful nature.

To this day, I continue to hear His voice in my heart.  Warm words of encouragement continue to distil upon my quivering soul as the dews of Heaven brushing up distant memories of His love for me and urging me gently to “fall,” to “trust,” to “yield.”

Learning to “freefall” is a lesson in trust and letting go of control.  I am not great at it, but I am improving.  He has been there encouraging me all the way through.

Thank you, Holy Father.



Recently, a friend of mine told me that I hadn’t posted anything on my blog. Unfortunately, I was all too aware of the lapse in posts. It’s not like I haven’t learned anything, I have, but I haven’t “settled down” enough to construct something to put on it.

Today is the day. I found the following story on God Vine… a website of inspirational stories…

“A group of 50 people were attending a seminar. Suddenly, the speaker stopped and decided to do a group activity.. He started giving each one a balloon. Each one was asked to write his/her name on it using a marker pen. Then all the balloons were collected and put in another room.
Now these delegates were let in that room and asked to find the balloon which had their name written, within 5 minutes. Everyone was frantically searching for their name, colliding with each other, pushing around others and there was utter chaos.
At the end of 5 minutes, no one could find their own balloon. Now, each one was asked to randomly collect a balloon and give it to the person whose name was written on it. Within minutes, everyone had their own balloon.
The speaker began – exactly… this is happening in our lives. Everyone is frantically looking for happiness all around, not knowing where it is.
Our happiness lies in the happiness of other people. Give them their happiness and you will find your own happiness.
And this is the purpose of human life.
I don’t know the name of the person who did this exercise, so in that way I can’t give them proper credit, but it was published at the following link:–626.html”

Our lives are filled with countless opportunities to bring happiness to the lives of others. Many times, we are quite unaware of having done so, which brings me back to my friend.
She is young enough to be my daughter, but old enough to have a child of her own. For some reason, when our paths crossed a bond “connected” and we became friends. She shared her precious child with me and I took the reins of “surrogate” grandmother to him, teaching him to do things like climb stairs before she was ready for him to do so. I know she thought I was naughty that day…

Bit by bit, the more we got together, the friendship between us grew and blossomed. I always thought that young mothers wouldn’t prefer to be friends with women so much older, but then I remembered my young mother days, and how I gravitated to those who were much older than me. I suppose I did it because they were so much more experienced than I was … and it was fun for me. I was “getting” something without realizing that I was probably “giving” something at the same time.

I can only relate it to now. My young mother friend does not realize how much she has given to me just by reaching out to me to go “antiquing,” second hand shopping, or quilt fabric shopping…Her amazing and generous heart brought more “life” into mine. Without her knowing, she gave to me in a way that she never could have imagined. She taught me about trust. Her zest and excitement for life brought sunshine to my world.

I have pondered why she might think being friends with me is a fun thing to do, but it never occurred to me that I, too, might be “filling” a need for her…(of course, I don’t know this as a fact,) but it is a truth in life, that when we give to others freely, we often end up bringing many good things to ourselves; especially when we are not looking for anything in return for our good deeds.

What my friend has done for me here has been done in other chapters in my life and I have learned, and continue to learn that each of us is intricately connected to the other, whether we know that person or not. What we do to others as we interact with them, whether we know them or not, will ripple out to affect many people.

There are many things I learn from my friend, but one of the best is because of her, I am a better mother to my daughter. As a result, that relationship is improving…

Because of my friend my life is richer and I appreciate more as I look at the world through her eyes.

What I want to leave with you today is that there is never a moment, in our interactions with others, that we don’t make some kind of impact on that person. For me, even though I still falter in this arena, I am learning that what I do when I interact with others, will leave an some kind of imprint on the life of another. My goal is to make the imprint a positive one…
For all those who have left an imprint on my life, I thank you…