Thursday, July 6, 2017

Angels Among Us

Do you believe in angels?  I sure do!  This past week has been a great eye opener to me that our loving Heavenly Father really does know who I am and He sends "angels" to me when I need them the most.  I'm not talking about "heavenly apparitions", I'm talking about those loving friends and family that just "happen" to show up at the right place at the exact minute you need the love and support.  Those people who are willing to drop everything to help out in time of need.

You see, my father-in-law had flooding in his basement, which he discovered on July 4th.  This may not mean anything to those of you outside the USA, but here in the states it's a HUGE holiday.  Trying to round up help on this day is near impossible. 

He called us and we were able to drop everything and drive over to his home and assess the situation.  When we got there, we discovered the entire basement was flooded with about two inches of water.  It was as if a spring had sprung right through his house.  Luckily, the water was clear water and not sewage muck and yuck.  That was blessing #1.

Blessing #2 came when the neighbor had just returned early from a camping trip and ran over to see how he could help.  #3 came later that night when we were able to contact several people to come help us remove all the carpets from the basement.  Up until this moment, my father-in-law and I had been sucking out the water from the carpets to make them lighter to remove.  This was super hard work cuz we had to basically do the work 2-3 times.  Because we were blessed with strong "man-power", the carpets were quickly removed and our job became less burdensome.

Blessing #4 came the next day.  When we first arrived on the scene, we had discovered that more water had come into the home.  I needed to make an emergency trip home, and when I got into my van to return to my father-in-laws home, my sweet angel sister drove up to my home just as I was pulling out of my driveway.  She then offered to take my children for the remainder of the day.  What can I say?  Angels really do walk the earth!!   

Blessing #5 was when we called the "sewer guy" who came and pumped out several truck loads of clean water.  He then said to us, "ya know, my daddy always told me that you're not gonna get rich off of one guy.  I can sit here a pump your water all day and waste your money, but I don't want to do that.  What you need to do is get a pump down there that can take this water out to the fields.  When the "clean" water is down, then I can come here and do some real good."  WOW!  Who else but an angel from heaven would give us the opportunity to look at the situation in a different light?

That is what happened.  We were able to sit back and regroup.  We then remembered that a dear friend had access to a larger pump.  He was able to come set up the pump where it needed to be and get the water away from the house.  (The horses in the corral are really loving having fresh cold water to drink and play in!)  Because he set the pump up, the basement remained dry.  BOOM!  Blessing #6 just occurred!

Blessing #7 came when the insurance was called and said they will cover all of the repairs after the deductible has been met.  This is a MAJOR blessing, because there is a ton of work that needs to be done.  Not only will they cover the repairs, they set up the appointment with the restoration company to come and do the work!  This will save us from having to do many back-breaking hours of labor ourselves!

Even though this has been a very trying situation, I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for sending the angels when we needed them.  I am reminded of the song "Angels Among Us".  The words go something like:

I believe there are Angels Among Us,
Sent down to us from somewhere up above.
They come to you and me in our darkest hours
To show us how to live
To teach us how to give
To guide us with a light of love.

I sang this song for the rest of the day.  It helped to make my "burden" lighter.  It also was a testimony to my heart that angels do walk the earth today.  They are the smile of a stranger that makes you feel better.  A compliment given to someone who is frazzled to their core that helps them see that not everything is bad.  It is a kind word from a neighbor.  It is in the strong hands and backs from those men and women who are willing to lend a hand no matter the day or hour.  Angels are the comforting touch that makes all your cares and sadness melt away.

I could go on and on.  I know that each and every one of you have your own "angel" story.  My most recent one is this experience.  I will treasure my "angels" and thank my Heavenly Father for allowing me to recognize them as His love for me.

I hope you can take just a few minutes out of your busy life to listen to the song from Alabama "Angels Among Us"

Image result for Alabama Band angels among us
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Angels Among Us

I was walkin' home from school
On a cold winter day,
Took a short cut through the woods
And I lost my way.
It was gettin' late, and I was scared and alone.
Then a kind old man took my hand, and led me home.
Mama couldn't see him,
But he was standing there,
And I knew in my heart
He was the answer to my prayer.

Oh, I believe there are Angels Among Us,
Sent down to us from somewhere up above.
They come to you and me in our darkest hours
To show us how to live
To teach us how to give
To guide us with a light of love.

When life held troubled times
And had me down on my knees
There's always been someone
To come along and comfort me
A kind word from a stranger
To lend a helping hand
A phone call from a friend
Just to say I understand
Now ain't it kind of funny
At the dark end of the road
Someone light the way with just a single ray of hope.

Oh, I believe there are Angels Among Us,
Sent down to us from somewhere up above.
They come to you and me in our darkest hours
To show us how to live
To teach us how to give
To guide us with a light of love.

They wear so many faces,         
Show up in the strangest places
And grace us with their mercies in our time of need.

Oh, I believe there are Angels Among Us,
Sent down to us from somewhere up above.
They come to you and me in our darkest hours
To show us how to live
To teach us how to give
To guide us with a light of love.
To guide us with a light of love
Songwriters: Don Goodman / Becky Hobbs 
Angels Among Us lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

I thank all the angels that have been a part of my life and I hope I can be blessed to recognize all the angels that will come into my life in the future.  I also hope that Heavenly Father can use me as an angel in someone else's life.  Now, go out and thank your "angel" today, then be the "angel" for someone else. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

"Your 9-Point Survival Guide for Hard Times"

So I have been going through some tough times, and finding that blessings come through these hard times.  I came across an article that I absolutely LOVE and thought I needed to share with you.  These few words will really help you when you are going through your hard times.  It is also a great reminder to know that someone bigger than you loves and cares about you.  I hope that you can take as much comfort in this reminder as I found.  (This is taken from an article from the website.  Click on the title to visit the exact article.)


 Your 9-Point Survival Guide for Hard Times

Hang in there! Better days ahead.
man standing on a cliff
Photo illustration by Getty Images

Accidentally ripping your brand-new shirt or losing your math homework is one thing. Losing a loved one is quite another. We know that trials come in all shapes, sizes and degrees of difficulty. Some are easy to shrug off. Others, not so much.
Here are some tips for those times when a trial feels like more than you can handle.


1. Don’t forget to pray

young men praying
“When sore trials came upon you, did you think to pray?”1 Heavenly Father knows when things are hard for you. More importantly, He knows how to help you through it. He’s ready to listen, anytime, anywhere (see Alma 34:17–27).


2. Be positive—literally

young woman listening to music
You’ve probably heard a million times to “think positively,” or “just stay positive.” Sometimes, though, that’s easier said than done. Here’s another way to think of being positive.
In buildings, certain rooms are often kept at “positive pressure,” which means air is pumped into the room so that any openings (like doors or windows) cause air to flow out rather than in. Why do this? Well, in a hospital, for instance, patients might be kept in a room at positive pressure to make it harder for airborne bacteria or harmful chemicals to enter.
You can be like that room. If you’re constantly pouring good things into your mind, heart, and soul—things like scripture study, uplifting music, or words of the prophets—you become so full that it’s much harder for negative thoughts or difficult circumstances to affect you. On those days when it’s too challenging to conjure a smile, try to conjure 10 more minutes for the scriptures. Keep building that positive pressure. It will also bless others around you.


3. Take care of your temple

bowl of vegetables
Photo illustration by Getty Images

Taking care of your physical body—such as getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, and exercising regularly—helps immensely when times get tough. For example, think how much easier it is to focus in school after you’ve had a good night’s rest than when you’ve stayed up late. If that holds true during times when life is going smoothly, then it’s just as applicable (and even more crucial) to take care of yourself when you’re dealing with something hard. Give yourself every advantage—and don’t give yourself disadvantages—as you push through this.
President Russell M. Nelson, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, taught, “Spirit and body, when joined together, become a living soul of supernal worth. Indeed, we are children of God—physically and spiritually.”2


4. Find ways to de-stress

archer drawing bow
Photo illustration by Getty Images

In archery, a bow that’s always strung tight will eventually lose its spring. The power in a bow lies in its ability to snap back into position after being bent. But if it’s always bent and under stress, that power fades and can even disappear.
In the same way, it’s not healthy for us to remain in a constant state of stress. We need to find ways to get rid of bad feelings, especially when times are rough.
Find a few activities that help you unwind, and then schedule them regularly. Going for a walk or jog when your emotions run high, for example, almost always helps to clear your head. Try doing jigsaw puzzles. Maybe take up an instrument. Or scribble down all your negative thoughts on a piece of paper and then shred the paper into a thousand pieces. Whatever works for you, work to find healthy ways to get rid of unwanted emotions so you can make room for better ones.


5. Change what you can; let go of the rest

hands making heart symbols in the sun
Photo illustration by Getty Images

Millions of people across faiths and backgrounds have found comfort in the following prayer, often referred to as the Serenity Prayer: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”3
If something really hard happens—say one of your closest friends suddenly turned against you—it might not be possible to change how he or she feels about you right now, and maybe not ever. But you can change other things. For instance, you can adjust how much time you spend with that particular friend, work to find a new circle of friends, or choose to spend more time with family.


6. Examine your life

person sitting and holding book
Speaking of changing what we can, one of the first areas to examine is our choices. If we’re breaking commandments, trials can follow.
Elder Richard G. Scott (1928–2015) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught, “Throughout your life you have seen the terrible consequences of incorrect choices individuals make that damage their lives and often hurt others. When viewed honestly, they are simply violations of the commandments of God that bring the tragic consequences He has warned will follow serious transgression.”4
Here’s something to keep in mind, though. The appearance of a trial does not necessarily mean you’ve done anything wrong. In fact, often it doesn’t. Elder Jörg Klebingat of the Seventy taught, “Some trials come through your own disobedience or negligence. Other trials come because of the negligence of others or simply because this is a fallen world. When these trials come, the adversary’s minions begin broadcasting that you did something wrong, that this is a punishment, a sign that Heavenly Father does not love you. Ignore that!”5
Yes, ignore those messages. Set matters straight where needed, but don’t let the adversary turn a trial into a guilt trip when you’ve done nothing wrong. You already have enough going on.


7. Serve somebody else

young woman helping girl with tablet
At first glance it might not seem to make sense, but when we’re trudging through trying times, one of the best ways to lift our own spirits is to lift up someone else. And you don’t even have to do something huge or impressive. One of our hymns says it beautifully:
Slightest actions often
Meet the sorest needs,
For the world wants daily
Little kindly deeds.6


8. Don’t stand alone; stand strong together

group hug
The scriptures teach us to yoke ourselves with Christ (see Matthew 11:29) or, in other words, to allow Christ to both strengthen us and take part of our burden.
The same goes for the people in your life who love and care for you. Make sure you allow those who want to help you, to help you. And do the same for them. We stand stronger when we stand together.


9. Look for the lesson

young man walking on beach
When truly hard things happen in your life, it’s not always easy to find a silver lining to be glad about. Especially in the moment. Yet when you seek closely, there’s always something you gain from each challenge, even if it’s to learn empathy so you can better help others who go through similar trials in the future.
In 2 Nephi 2:2, Lehi teaches his son Jacob, “Thou knowest the greatness of God; and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain.”
You aren’t going through these trials for nothing! This same trial that’s so painful right now might give you the strength and wisdom you need to do something incredibly important down the road. Something, in fact, that you wouldn’t have been able to do at all if this trial hadn’t come into your life now.
Remember, God is with you every step of the way. So keep taking those steps. You’ll get through this with Him.