Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Times They Are A Changing

Once upon a time, I started a little blog.  It was a good little blog, and I enjoyed it for many moons.  Times change, and the fun was stripped away.  So I will retire this blog for a time, though at some point in the future it may resurrect itself.

In the meantime, I'm moving on.  I have begun another blog, which I'm very excited about.  Those of you who have regularly followed this blog (and who have not rained on my parade), will shortly be receiving the link to my new blog.  Watch for it.  I am working out the kinks in the new blog now, but hope to have it up and running soon.  I'm anticipating the new blog to be much different from the old one -- and I'm very excited to get started!

If you recently found this blog, I invite you to have a look around. There's a lot of good stuff here!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Psalm of Heroin Addiction

Recently, I was talking to one of my kids about the "Stupid Kids File" I kept when they were growing up.  It was a collection of things I had seen while working in law offices where kids had been hurt because of a moment of pure stupidity.  It was my hope that by sharing these things with my children, that they would stop and think before they did something stupid that could cause them harm.

I should have saved that file for my grandchildren, but I didn't.  I tossed it long ago.  However, it seems there isn't a day that goes by that there isn't something in the news that my kids can save for the grandkids.

A couple of weeks ago, I was helping my brother in preparation for a move.  He was sorting through some old files and ran across something which he gave to me.  He worked in law enforcement for many years.  I don't remember whether he told me he was the officer on the scene, or whether it was another officer, but one day a young woman commit suicide.  The suicide note contained a poem.  He doesn't know whether she wrote the poem herself, or whether someone else wrote it and she just included it in her note.

While these things are not pleasant to read, maybe this will be a good thing for us all to keep in the "Stupid Kid File" to help educate those we love.



King Heroin is my shepherd, I shall always want.
He maketh me to lie down in the gutters.
He leadeth me beside the troubled waters.
He destroyeth my soul.
He leadeth me in the paths of wickedness
For the effort's sake.

Yea, I shall walk through the valley of
Poverty and will fear all evil.
For thou, heroin, art with me.

Thy needle and capsule try to comfort me.
They strippest the table of groceries in
The presence of my family.
Thou robest my head of reason.
My cup of sorrow runneth over.

Surely heroin addiction shall stalk me
All the days of my life.
And I will dwell in the house of the damned forever and ever.

On the back of the card on which this poem was written was the following suicide note.

Truly this is my psalm. I am a young woman, 20 years of age and for the past year and a half I have been wandering down the nightmare alley of the junkies. I wanted to quit taking dope and I tried, but I couldn't. Jail didn't cure me. Nor did hospitalization help me for long. The doctor told my family it would have been better and indeed kinder if the person that first got me hooked on dope to have taken a gun and blown my brains out, and I wish to God she had. My God how I wish to God she had. Now I will finish the job she started.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Misunderstood Motives

Someone posted a picture on social media today:


A common problem with writers is that everyone around them sees themselves in the writing.  It's hard when the most important people in your life misunderstand your motives.  I'm not a smart person, but there are lessons that I've learned through hard knocks.  The lesson I'm learning on any given day is rumbling around in my head in a jumble of words.  I'm a writer, and words are important to writers. Though I spent many years in another career, writing has always been who I am.  The lesson of the day doesn't completely formulate until it is on paper (or virtual paper).

Writers write what they know about, what is important to them, what is on their mind, and what is close to their hearts.  Yes, I am a writer.  That describes me perfectly.  I don't write to hurt anyone, to be vindictive, to criticize, or to judge.  I try very hard to be objective in my writing, but since I do write from my heart, I do express opinions.

My hope is that those who stop to read what I write will benefit from it.  If not, it would be a waste of their time.  All of us go through different challenges in our lives, but we all have one thing in common:  Life is tough.  We all have problems and lessons to learn.  As I learn life's lessons and write them down, hopefully, it will help someone else who is working through a similar problem.  If people see themselves in my words, I don't think that's a bad thing.  We need to open our hearts to each other and learn from one another.  I've learned many things from reading what others have written.

I've written things (and made them public) that I don't want people to know about me -- especially those closest to me.  There was one blog post in particular that the instant I hit "publish," I thought I was going to throw up.  I published it anyway.  I did so because I knew that I could not possibly be the only person who felt the way I was feeling, and that maybe others might quickly learn from my post what had taken me years of beating my head against a wall to learn for myself.  Isn't that what life is all about? Helping each other along the way?  I've also had a couple of articles published that made me extremely vulnerable, and sadly my words have already been twisted and used to hurt me.

In my writing, I try to look outside my own little problems and my own little world at who else may benefit from what's kicking around in my head.  To my readers I would say that if you see yourself in something I write, please don't take it personally. Please understand that what you see that describes you and your situation or life circumstance, may also describe many other people and their situations and life circumstances -- including me. Please look outside of your own little world at who may benefit from reading my thoughts.  If my writing upsets you, simply don't read it.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Study in Human Nature

I don't know why this continues to surprise me, because I've seen it so many times before, but I'm always shocked when it happens.

This afternoon a four-year-old boy had a seizure which put him into cardiac arrest.  As the helicopter was in flight to take the child to the hospital, his heart sick mother turned to Google+ on social media and asked for prayers.  She told people that didn't believe in a higher power to please just scroll on down.  She is not of my faith, but I know that God answers ALL prayers.  As a mother, I felt her pain.  I instantly bowed my head and said a prayer for this child, his mother, and all those who loved them.

On completion of my prayer, I scrolled through the comments.  In just an hour from her original post, there were 283 comments, 200 people had +1 (or liked) the post, and 67 people had forwarded the post for their followers to read and pray.  As I write this post, people are continuing to comment and pray.  Prayers came from many faiths--Christian and Muslim.  Some who don't believe in a higher power, left kind thoughts for a speedy recovery.

The reason for my shock:  There were several comments left for this grieving mother expressing the sentiment that instead of praying to some imaginary man in the sky, she should be hoping the doctors had learned their skills appropriately.  I am shocked at the heartlessness of those comments--especially since this mother had specifically asked that those who were not believers just scroll past.  Those on social media who insist on kicking a man who is down are just cruel people.  There is a time and a place for religious debate.  This was not the time, nor the place.  This was a grieving mother in a plea for support.  The longer I live in "civilization," the more I wonder how "civilized" we really are becoming.  All I can do is note the numbers of people who left kind messages and hope that by the end of the day, those messages far outweigh the unkind words.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Power to Bind

There is nothing more precious than family.  As we gathered our family for several special events this weekend, I was amazed yet again at how different we all are -- and yet we all fit together as individual cogs in one big wheel.  It was especially apparent to me this weekend, as we gathered to seal an adopted grandchild to her parents in the LDS Temple for eternity.  The next day priesthood power was used to bless (christen) that same grandchild, as well as another grandchild.

The power to seal families together for eternity is an awesome thing.  In Matthew 16:19, we read:
"And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven:  and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven:  and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

The keys of the kingdom of heaven -- think of that -- what power that is -- literally, the power to act in God's name.  He gave us the power to literally seal our families together forever.  Priesthood power is a wonder to me!  What an incredible gift Heavenly Father gave to His children to bind our families together forever.  Nothing can separate us if we follow the principles of the gospel and are faithful to our covenants.  I can't think of a greater gift than that!

Each family member is an individual in his/her own right.  We are many different personalities in our little group.  Every member of the family gives a unique quality to our family unit.  We may not always agree with each other, and as in all families, we have our ups and downs.  We quarrel and bicker, repent, and proceed.  We are not perfect, but each in our own way is striving to become more Christlike -- and that is the purpose of this whole experience on earth.  There is no member of a family who is "dispensable." Each cog in the wheel is needed to make the wheel strong enough to withstand the test of time.  I don't want to end this life with any broken or missing cogs in our family wheel.

I was so impressed by my two little grandchildren in the temple. As young as they are, they felt the Spirit of the Lord there.  When was the last time you heard two little children whisper for three hours straight?  As they walked the hallway with the temple worker towards the sealing room, they spontaneously began very quietly singing, "I Am a Child of God."  They may not completely understand the significance of the ordinance performed, but they felt something very special that will remain with them for a long time.

The next day in church, as two of our grandchildren were given blessings (christenings), one of my daughters spoke with me about the differences in the two blessings.  It was a testament to the fact that they are two completely different personalities, and they have two completely separate missions on this earth.  Heavenly Father has a plan for each one of us; all we need to do is be faithful and live up to our covenants.  If we slip, there is always repentance.  He is here to help us.  When we reach a stumbling block, we need to dynamite it and push forward.  We will make mistakes -- but that doesn't mean that all is lost. Heavenly Father knew what mistakes we would make from the beginning, and built cushions in the plan for that purpose.  When we hit a wall, we must bounce back.  It's in the plan.  We just need to have confidence to push forward.

I pray that each member of our family unit will continue to strive for this goal of an eternal family.  If we can just hold on to the rod of iron and keep putting one foot in front of the other.  There will be rough days ahead when it will feel like all is lost -- but all is NOT lost, nor will it ever be lost.  The power that binds us together is God's power, and if we keep our covenants, he is bound to keep His.  Don't ever give up!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Solar Eclipse May 20, 2012

Solar Eclipse May 20, 2012, in Sacramento, California.  Watch the fence and the side of the house as the circles become more complete.

Ring of Fire -- Picture taken by my friend Marcia Hummel in Reno, Nevada
Thanks, Marcia!

Friday, May 18, 2012

For My Grandchildren

Top Step, Left to Right:  Jocelyn, Michael, Kaitlyn
Bottom Step, Left to Right:  Joey, Ella, Haley
I've seen several people in the last week or so post on social media either how blessed they are to have something written by their grandmother, or how they wish their grandmother had written to them.  I take that as a not so subtle hint from the Spirit that I need to write something for/to my grandchildren.  So this post is for them, a legacy, if you will.

Each of you are special to me.  You are all very different, but all special.  There's not much that I wouldn't do for you.  I wouldn't give you a million dollars even if I had it (yeah, right), because that wouldn't teach you how to be industrious.  Outside of that, I think I'd do anything for any one of you.  I'm not going to speak to you in any particular order of birth or by family -- in fact, I'm going to mix you all up so you don't try to figure out who I love more -- because I love you all.

Savana, I love you because you are easy going.  You are an open book.  You say it like it is, but never in a way that hurts people's feelings.  You are a lovely young woman, and a sweet reminder of your father.  You are so much like him.  I know that you have a testimony of the gospel.  Keep that in your heart for a time when you are able to return to church.  Never forget that you are Heavenly Father's precious daughter, and He loves you.

Jocelyn, every time I look at you I get tickled.  You are such a character and have such great determination.  Nobody is ever going to be able to get the best of you, because you are going to stand up and let the world know you are here.  Don't you ever doubt that you are loved!  Don't you ever think that we didn't love you as much as our other grandchildren because you are adopted. Being adopted makes you special in a whole different way.  Your parents fought hard to get you, and we cheered them on every step of the way.  You are loved!

Kaitlyn, you are quite a little charmer.  You are busy and you definitely have a mind of your own.  This will take you places you can't even dream about.  You have a smile that can melt butter. You are young yet, but I think you have a great sense of "mothering."  I've watched you with my dog, Oreo, and there is a tender connection with animals, too.  You make me smile when I'm near you.

Ben, you have a great personality, and a wonderful smile.  You could sell snow to an Eskimo with that smile.  You have developed a photography interest that could be an answer to your future if you use your talents for good.  If it doesn't turn a profit for you, at least you will have a hobby that you love.  I know that if you use your talents for good, you will find your place in this world -- whatever you end up doing.  As you look for a partner in life, look for someone with a kind heart and a winning attitude.

Joey, you have a heart of gold.  You are kind and loving.  You are a gentle soul.  Be as determined as you are kind.  Stay close to the gospel.  You can have a wonderful wife someday, because you are the kind soul that girls look for in a husband.  So when you go looking for a wife, look for what is on the inside.  You want to marry a kind soul too.

Haley, you are full of bullets and are going to go places.  No one will ever be able to take advantage of you, because you're going to let them have it.  You are so much like me that it's funny.  A word to the wise:  Learn from my mistakes; you don't have to repeat them.  You will take anything bad and put it to work for you.  Don't be afraid to let people get close.  We are different in one way.  You have the personality to pull it off where I didn't.

Eli, I'm writing this on your third week birthday, so I don't know you that well yet, but I'm looking forward to getting to know all about you.  I just want you to know I love you, and I'm happy you are here.  You are a special little baby, and I love to cuddle you in my arms.  Even though you are too young yet for me to know you all that well, I want you to know I love you.  Your middle name, Bernard, is after my grandfather. We called him Pa.  He was a great man, and you have inherited his honorable name.  Take good care of it.  Pa used to say, "You always want to keep yourself just one step above the other guy."  He didn't mean to look down on other people.  What he meant was to keep your standards higher than those around you.  Be honest and true.

Michael, you are such a character -- and so smart.  Take advantage of that intelligence and keep learning.  You can have a great life if you stay close to the gospel and don't stray away from the important things.  Never doubt that you are loved because you are adopted!  I love you every bit as much as my other grandchildren.  Being adopted makes you special in a different way.  Your parents worked hard to get you, and the rest of us cheered them on every step of the way.  You are loved!

Sabrina, you are a lovely young woman.  You've had adversity in your life, but you are coming out strong.  Take the pain from the past and put it to use by serving others.  You have empathy for others and can relate to their fears and their trials.  Make good use of that.  You are beautiful.  Remember that your inner beauty is what counts most.  Don't lose that, and you will do just fine.  I hope that someday you will see it in your heart to find your father's church.  He may not have gone to church often, but he did love and have a testimony of the gospel.

Ella, you are such a lovely child.  I love it when you smile.  You are young yet, so there are still so many things for me to learn about you.  I know that you are kind and loving.  You are going to grow up the middle child, and I am a middle child.  Just because you are in the middle doesn't mean you aren't important, or that you are not loved.  You're going to have to hold your own against those brothers, which will make you tough -- but don't let it make you too tough.  Keep that sweet gentle spirit in you always.

Now for all of you.  Look for partners in life that will uplift you and make you better than who you are (which is not to say that you aren't already special :) because you are), but there is always room for growth.  Don't look for a spouse that is "cute" or "good looking" -- look for someone who will make you better than you are -- and you will find that each year that person will become even more "cute" to you.  Besides, we all grow old and wrinkly very quickly anyway.  :)  My dad used to say, "When you're thinking about marrying somebody, take a step back and think about how the person will look when they've been up all night with a baby, when they wake up in the morning before they brush their teeth or have combed their hair, when they've been cleaning up puke all day, etc. -- Then, if you still love them, marry them."

My dad also used to say, "I don't have anything to leave you but a sense of humor."  That applies here.  A sense of humor will go a long way to making life easy and more beautiful, so if you didn't inherit it, develop it.  :)

Remember who you are and where you came from -- and always hold on tight to the rod and walk the narrow path that will lead you back to your Heavenly Father.  Stay close to the gospel, magnify your callings, and honor the priesthood.  Please see your way to the temple.  I don't want any empty chairs at that big round oak table in heaven.

I love you all!