Inspiration from an Unexpected Source


We have been serving as Church Service Missionaries in the Welfare Services Department of our church. Our area of focus is in a regional Home Storage Center where members of our church, as well as those who are not members, can come and purchase pre-pack and bulk items of foods such as flour, wheat, sugar, beans, etc. for everyday use or for food storage.  Ask me about the Hot Cocoa Mix.  We have been doing this for a few months now and have really enjoyed our service.  

This past week things were a little slow, until a young mom came in to buy a couple of items while she was in the area. She does not live locally, but sometimes stops by when she is in town on business and picks up a few things.  She was probably in her 30’s, and was just a delight to talk to.  She radiated the spirit of the Gospel: her light was warm and beautiful.  As I sat there chatting with her about her current assignment in church–she is Primary President in her congregation–I was struck by how strong her testimony was of the Savior and living the Gospel–she has only been a member of the church for 4 years!  

I am 58 and was baptized at 8 years old, and she is more spiritually mature than I am.  I was honored and blessed to be talking to her and I kept thinking that it was so cool to be having this conversation with a perfect stranger, and yet, because of our beliefs we were really sisters.

She set an example for me that day of a loving mother, a beautiful daughter of God, a strong warrior for our Savior Jesus Christ.

It was a good day.

The Vital Need for Daily Protection



Can you agree with me that the world is a crazier, darker place right now than it has ever been before?  Daily reminders abound to freak me out.  Stress over the presidential election, terrorism rising at a deadly rate,  wars and rumors of wars, natural and not-so-natural disasters everywhere you turn.  Maybe I need to stay away from Facebook, or watch the national news a little less–though that is hard to do.  And then there is the busyness of everyday life!  My goodness.  So much going on, and not enough time to sift through it and choose over Good, Better, Best.

Today, as I pondered what to share with you, an image came to mind that I did see on Facebook.  A friend had shared this and when I saw it, it immediately gave me a sense of peace.  


I was reminded that if we will take the time to do our personal spiritual preparation–study, meditation, scripture reading, praying, whatever you do to connect to a higher power–we will be protected and will be putting on a spiritual armor that will help to protect and shield us, as much as possible, from those things that would attempt to destroy us and pull us down to a level where we just do NOT want to be.

Do this for yourself, do this with your families.  Strengthen your soul.  Prepare for your everyday battles.


Image Source: I do not know where this image originated.  If you do, please let me know and I will give appropriate attribution.  Thanks.

Tending Your Life’s Garden

bodnant garden roses

Beautiful roses at Bodnant Garden, Wales

I was a Master Gardener.

Taking the Master Gardener course was exciting.  I just kept thinking, “I’m gonna be a Master Gardener!”  A Master Gardener’s garden would surely look amazing–lush, beautiful, and serene.  A Master Gardener’s yard would look well-kept and be a beautiful green.  A Master Gardener’s veggie garden would be overflowing with perfect produce and fragrant flowers.  If a Master Gardener had acres of land (like I do), her property would look like something on the cover of Country Gardens magazine.
I guess I thought I would come out the other end of the class with magical gardening powers or something.
But I didn’t.  
I came out the other end with a lot more book knowledge about gardening, but with no more experience than I had before.  And since that class many years ago, I have yet to achieve any of those gardening dreams.  A combination of life stresses, crazy calendars, and a revulsion for hot and humid Southern summers have been challenging.  And because of all that, I also did not put in the yearly volunteer hours necessary to retain my Master Gardener title.


But couldn’t I have steadily improved, even in small increments, even with my crazy schedule and the oppressive summer heat?
Of course I could have.  I just chose not to.  I chose instead to daydream about what my Someday Garden would look like: 
    • once this month is over.
    • once this event is done.
    • once we get back from this trip.
    • once, once, once….
bodnant garden water lilies

Gorgeous water lilies at Bodnant Garden, Wales


This past weekend I attended Time Out for Women in Raleigh NC.  One of my favorite speakers, Jon Bytheway, was one of the first to address us.  He spoke a lot about having roots, about seeds and soil, and then he talked just a little about gardens
He said that some of the most important events to have ever taken place have been in a garden.  The Garden of Eden.  The Garden of Gethsemane.  The Garden Tomb.  That last one is timely considering the holy day we are about to celebrate next week.  
And I began to think about my spiritual life–my whole life really–as a garden.  If I translated my life, in its current state, into a garden, what would it look like?  As I imagined this garden, I began to feel uncomfortable.  I imagined weeds much too large and much too numerous.  I imagined some plants overgrown and needing dividing while others struggled in their little patch of earth, neglected and withering away.  I saw some points of beauty there too.  


london park

Me at a park in London

But I imagined the gardener as distracted, inconsistent, and a little lazy.  Yes, the gardener is busy; but busy with what?  Is the gardener so preoccuppied with creating a garden art project to hang on the garden wall that she ignores watering the garden?  Is she so consumed with daydreams of what the garden ought to look like that she forgets the work it would take to someday get there?
I realized that both in my actual garden and in my life garden, I have been neglectful.  I have the “book learning” for both.  I know how to garden; I know how to live the gospel.  But am I doing either in an effective way?  
Am I looking for weeds?  
When I find them, am I pulling them out early, before their roots get too deep?
Am I providing nourishment regularly so that no part of the garden begins to suffer?
Am I fertilizing it with rich material that will encourage strong growth?
Am I taking time to appreciate and enjoy the garden?
Do I feel comfortable sharing the garden with others and helping them along their own gardening path?
Today is the first day of spring where I live.  Spring is a time of renewal, growth, and hope.  And it feels like the perfect time for me to get out my gardening gloves and go to work.  
It’s time I became a Master Gardener of my life.


bodnant garden

Bodnant Garden, Wales