THE HOLY GHOST

“Thy Constant Companion”: The Promised Blessings of the Holy Ghost, By Spencer J. Condie  (Ensign, Oct. 1980, 32 – 34)

I have been drawn to talks given and articles and books written by Elder Condie. I hope you’ll enjoy this one about the Holy Ghost.  Happy Sabbath!!  Love, mee

Condie

In the twilight of his earthly ministry, the Savior began to prepare his Apostles for his inevitable departure. He assured them, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever” (John 14:16). “If I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you” (John 16:7).

Although these remarks were directed toward the Apostles of the primitive Church, the Lord’s promise extends to every member of the Church. Upon conditions of worthiness, the Holy Ghost can abide with parents and children, home teachers and visiting teachers, as well as Apostles and prophets.

In that poignant discourse on the Comforter, so eloquently recorded by John the Beloved, the Lord explained in some detail certain ways in which the Holy Ghost may influence our daily lives. The following true accounts illustrate that influence.

“I Will Not Leave You Comfortless” (John 14:18)

A heavy spirit pervaded the funeral congregation as the services for a young mother who had died in childbirth drew to a close. The eulogies had been eloquent, but many who were gathered there that day felt some bitterness. How could a loving Father in Heaven allow such a lovely mother to be taken, leaving behind a family of four little ones to be cared for alone by a grieving father?

At the conclusion of the formal program the young father calmly rose from his seat and walked to the pulpit. “I sense your grief and concern,” he said quietly, “but there is something I should tell you to comfort you. The first hour after my wife’s death I didn’t know how I could possibly stand it—how I could possibly go on without her. But then a sweet, peaceful spirit filled my soul, and since then I have had the assurance that everything will be all right. Don’t worry about us, we’re going to be just fine.”

This same comforting spirit distilled upon the congregation. Everyone went home comforted.

“He Will Reprove the World of Sin” (John 16:8)

In his magnificent benedictory address, King Benjamin instructed the Saints that in order to overcome the natural man we must yield “to the enticings of the Holy Spirit” (Mosiah 3:19). Alluding to the fact that the Holy Ghost actively strives to help us overcome our sins, Alma also admonished his brethren to “contend no more against the Holy Ghost” (Alma 34:38).

Following is a true account of a middle‑aged businessman who very vividly felt the Comforter enticing him to do good.

 

Brother Paul Penrod had been plagued with an enslaving smoking habit for two decades. He sincerely wanted to be active in the Church, but somehow this habit constituted a seemingly insurmountable barrier between him, the Lord, and Church activity.

One blustery, wintry day at work, disgusted with his inability to refrain from smoking one cigarette after another, he felt a subtle spiritual nudge which prompted him to drop his work and tell his employees he’d be gone for the rest of the day. Despite the chilling weather and the deep, new‑fallen snow, he hiked into a secluded mountain canyon. Intent on seeking the Lord in private circumstances so he might pour out his soul aloud, he hiked until the snow was hip‑deep and he could walk no farther.

Then and there he approached the Lord with great humility. He pleaded with the Lord to strengthen him so that he might be free from the insidious power that nicotine held over him. After mighty prayer, he arose a new man.

The chains were broken. He had sought the Truth and the Truth had made him free. Six months later he was called to be the bishop of his ward. He served faithfully and well.

“He Shall ¼ Bring All Things to Your Remembrance” (John 14:26)

The aspiring college professor had been struggling through the years of graduate school, hoping to obtain a doctorate from one of the nation’s leading universities. Preparations had been carefully made for his final oral examinations. He and his wife had fasted and prayed intently for several days, invoking the Spirit of the Lord to attend him in his pending trial and time of proving.

The night before his oral defense, this young man tossed and turned and could not sleep. Then, as he gradually began to relax, he saw in his mind’s eye the questions that would be asked the next morning. He began to mentally prepare the answers for each question as it arose in his mind.

The next morning he arrived at the examination at the appointed hour. To his pleasant surprise, the first question asked by his doctoral examination committee was the first question he had encountered in his thoughts the previous evening. Then, as the examination unfolded, question after question was raised in the same order in which it had occurred the night before. Needless to say, he passed the exams with an impressive performance. He has dedicated his life and profession to serving the Lord.

“The Holy Ghost Carrieth [the Gospel] unto the Hearts of the Children of Men” (2 Ne. 33:1)

It was the early 1930s; the handsome American youth had only been in Czechoslovakia for a few weeks. With absolutely no language training he had come to preach the gospel to the Czech people in their own tongue.

 

The time had arrived to preach his first sermon to a group of Saints and interested investigators. His experienced companion had labored diligently to help him write his speech and had also provided a phonetic guide to aid in the pronunciation of this very difficult language. Now he must face the congregation alone.

The moment of truth arrived, and the senior companion suffered in silence as his youthful counterpart proceeded to violate every grammatical rule in the entire Czech language. However, all was not lost, because his pronunciation was so atrocious that few in the audience could tell what he was saying anyway.

After the meeting, the young elder felt somewhat embarrassed and disappointed until a matronly investigator approached him. With tearstained cheeks and trembling voice she told him (through an interpreter), “I felt that everything you said was true—I’d like to be baptized.” The promise in the Book of Mormon is that “when a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men” (2 Ne. 33:1).

Some of God’s choicest servants—Enoch, Moses, and Elijah—were slow of speech. While a radiant countenance and eloquent speech are desirable qualities in preaching the gospel, it is the Holy Ghost, not the sentence structure, which begets conversion.

“The Comforter ¼ Shall Teach You All Things” (John 14:26)

The young couple glanced at each other anxiously as the distinguished‑looking brethren entered their home and seated themselves on the sofa. The mother gently rocked the twin babies she had delivered two months previously, while the two older children, ages three and five, stared inquisitively at these men who had such earnest faces.

Now the stake president spoke: “Sister, how would you feel if we told you the Lord has called your husband to be the bishop of a brand new ward in Zion?”

She looked at those four little children, her mind anticipating the added responsibilities she would have as her husband attended to his bishop’s duties. Without hesitation she replied, “If that’s what the Lord wants, I’ll support my husband every way that I can.”

Her young husband had thought such a call might come to him someday—perhaps in his forties or fifties after he had adequately prepared himself. But now he was scarcely thirty. Although the Spirit had alerted him a few days previously that the call would come, still he felt totally inadequate and completely overwhelmed.

He spent several sleepless nights contemplating the magnitude of the call. How does one go about organizing a new ward?

 

How could he be sure whom the Lord desired for his counselors, Relief Society officers and teachers, home teachers, Sunday School teachers, ward choir director, or editor of the ward newspaper? He could not shake a disquieting, hollow feeling.

Then, a few days later, all the bishops in the stake met with the stake presidency. Older, experienced bishops shared their counsel and recommendations. The young bishop received handbooks of instruction, a bishop’s training manual, priesthood bulletins, and other helpful materials. Members of the stake presidency shared wise counsel, the result of rich experience laboring in a variety of capacities in the Church. All the brethren knelt in prayer together and invoked the Spirit of the Lord to guide and direct them in their stewardships as common judges in Israel.

Later, the bishop recalled that as he drove home that day, he felt strongly the presence of the Spirit. Just as one’s limbs tingle when he sits in an awkward position too long and the blood rushes into a hand or foot that has “gone to sleep,” the infusion of the Spirit was physically perceptible. Confidence and comfort came to him. He was now anxiously engaged in the Lord’s work.

During the years that followed, the bishop enjoyed the companionship of the Holy Ghost in making hundreds of decisions relating to the welfare of the Saints in the ward. He also learned the very important lesson “that the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness” (D&C 121:36; italics added).

This is a key to having the influence of the Holy Ghost and the priesthood power of God. On the other hand, “when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved” (D&C 121:37).

How Do We Maintain the Influence of the Holy Ghost?

In modern revelation, the Lord provides us with a strategy or formula for retaining the gift of the Holy Ghost so that the Comforter may abide with us continually:  “Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.

“The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever” (D&C 121:45–46).

MR. ROGERS

A SHOUT-OUT today to MR. ROGERS – FRED ROGERS.

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He started “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” on 19 February 1968. The show’s purpose, as put forth by Mr. Rogers, was to promote: good self esteem, self control, imagination, creativity, curiosity, appreciation of diversity, cooperation, patience, and persistence.  I found some interesting things about this good, decent man that I’d like to share.

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1) Many of Mr. Rogers’ famous sweaters he wore on the show were made by his mother.

2) The reason Mr. Rogers started wearing sneakers on the show was because they made less noise than normal dress shoes when moving around behind the sets.

3) Mr. Rogers was an ordained Presbyterian minister.  In 1962, he received a Bachelor of Divinity degree and was ordained as a minister in the United Presbyterian Church and charged with continuing his work on creating and contributing to wholesome children’s television programs, which was his passion.

4) Mr. Rogers got into TV because the first time he saw a TV show it had “something horrible on it with people throwing pies at one another…”  He stated, “I went into television because I hated it so, and I thought there was some way of using this fabulous instrument to be of nurture to those who would watch and listen.”

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5) Mr. Rogers was a vegetarian.  He didn’t smoke or drink or seem to have any major vices.  He also stayed married to the same woman until his death; their marriage lasted 47 years.  About the only even slightly “scandalous” thing Mr. Rogers seemed to do, which he revealed in an interview, was that he swam laps completely in the buff nearly every morning of his adult life at various clubs that allowed nude swimming at certain times of the day.

6) Contrary to rumors spread about on the Internet, Mr. Rogers was never a sniper in the military nor was the reason he wore sweaters because he had tattoos all over his arms and body, one for each person he killed.  These, and other similar rumors, first started on the Internet around 1994 and saw a surge in popularity after his death.  Mr. Rogers never served in the military and was a pacifist.

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7) Unlike on most children’s shows, Mr. Rogers played himself not just in name, but also in personality and mannerisms, changing nothing about how he acted off camera to how he acted on camera.  His reasons for this were that: “One of the greatest gifts you can give anybody is the gift of your honest self. I also believe that kids can spot a phony a mile away.”

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8) 895 episodes of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood were filmed with the first episode broadcasting in 1968 and the last episode shot on December of 2000 and was subsequently aired in August of 2001.

9) Mr. Rogers famously didn’t mind if people recorded his show with a VCR, arguing for people’s right to do so in a 1979 case Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc.  At the time, it was being argued by the opposition that this constituted a copyright infringement.  Mr. Rogers was one of the few involved in television that did not believe so and felt people should be allowed to record programs.  The Supreme Court noted that Mr. Rogers’ testimony was a significant piece of evidence that helped lead them to their ultimate decision.

Specifically, Mr. Rogers’ stated: Some public stations, as well as commercial stations, program the ‘Neighborhood’ at hours when some children cannot use it … I have always felt that with the advent of all of this new technology that allows people to tape the ‘Neighborhood’ off-the-air, and I’m speaking for the ‘Neighborhood’ because that’s what I produce, that they then become much more active in the programming of their family’s television life. Very frankly, I am opposed to people being programmed by others. My whole approach in broadcasting has always been ‘You are an important person just the way you are. You can make healthy decisions.’ Maybe I’m going on too long, but I just feel that anything that allows a person to be more active in the control of his or her life, in a healthy way, is important.

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10) Mr. Rogers once appeared as preacher, Reverend Thomas, on an episode of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman called “Deal with the Devil”.

11) Mr. Rogers did the voices on the show for: King Friday XIII, Queen Sara Saturday, Henrietta Pussycat, Daniel Striped Tiger, Lady Elaine Fairchild and Larry Horse, among others.  He also composed most of the music on the show.

 

12) Mr. Rogers once appeared on the Soviet Union children’s show Spokoynoy Nochi, Malyshi (Good Night, Little Ones) and was the first foreign guest to do so.  That show has been on the air since 1964.

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13) Mr. Rogers didn’t just try to teach children important life lessons and the like, but he also produced a series of specials intended for parents called “Mister Rogers Talks to Parents About X”, where X was whatever the topic of the day was.  These shows were meant to help parents be able to answer any questions their child might have after watching a particular Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood episode.

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14) Mr. Rogers was red/green colorblind.

15) Fred Rogers died of stomach cancer at the age of 74 years old on February 27, 2003.

fred rogers

 

The Cockroach Saga-Part Two

PART TWO – THE DEATH OF THE COCKROACH

 

Nigeria, West Africa / Elder and Sister Gunnell (Written by Elder and Sister Jankowski)

The only light in our house deep in the rain forest of Nigeria at 4:00 a.m. was a small glow at the end of the hall from an under-powered 40-watt light bulb.  As I lay there in my bed, a black object in the hallway caught my eye.  I sat up in bed and strained my eyes to see what could have crawled into our house during the night.  To my horror, there only 12 feet from our bed was the dreaded Giant Wild African Black Cockroach!

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Should I wake my faithful, brave husband?  I decided after listening to his peaceful snoring that I would attempt to rid our house of the menace myself.  Each step I took I could feel the terror building inside me.  It was too late to turn back now as I could see clearly his huge 3″ body and his two fangs glistening in the subdued light. During what seemed to be an eternity, I found my way to the kitchen.  There on the shelf was the only help I could count on to rid us of this menace:  RAID!  A full 10-ounce can just waiting to spray into action.  As I held the can I could feel its leashed power waiting to strike.

Now I was only 3 feet away from the black nemesis of the night.  My finger shook as I pressed down on the trigger.  Like a cobra striking, the spray found the mark again and again.  I unleashed the deadly spray until I could see the poison dripping off his two fangs.  No black African wild cockroach had ever been given such a deadly personal one-on-one dose of RAID!

I moved quickly to the light switch and with one single motion I flipped on the lights.  There, only 6 inches away from the electrical outlet lay a dead 3-inch black plug adapter, the two electric prongs dripping RAID profusely……

As I pulled the sheets over myself I felt secure in knowing that the black plug adapter was again restrained in its electrical outlet.  I reached over and tapped my husband and said “Honey, don’t forget, we need to pick up a couple of cans of Raid at the village market first thing tomorrow.”  “Yes, my dear.  Good night.”

The Cockroach Saga

PART ONE

My dear companion, Ann, shared this on my Facebook page this morning, and I’ve laughed so hard!!!  A zillion memories!!!

COCKROACH

This is what she wrote:  Oh, the memories these words brought flooding into my mind. Eket. 1983. Candlelight. Cockroaches flying around us. Screaming. Hearts pounding. Terror.

Actually, Annie, it was 1984. But I will never EVER forget THAT NIGHT… it is SO much harder to deal with cockroaches when they DO have sings, and they fly around, And there was THAT ONE . . . . And without electricity, you can’t turn on the lights to see where the dang thing is… you just know IT’S THERE!!!!!  And it’s FLYING!!!!!  I remember how hard we pounded, making holes in the floor and walls….

And for those who are still reading, you need to know that Ann created a WAX MUSEUM… we had candles (that’s what you do what you don’t have electricity), and Ann would “drip” victims into the “wax museum” in their last seconds of life . . . just SO amazing . . . .

So I THANK YOU, dear Ann, for this HILARIOUS thought this morning!!  You’ve made my day… I keep smiling and laughing….

TIME OUT!

I love the title for the events sponsored by Deseret Book: “Time Out for Women.”  It feels like a healthy thing to just STOP once in a while before getting back into the game, the laundry, the hike, the studying, the pruning, the arguing, the fussing, or whatever.

TIME OUT

Here are a few ideas.  I hope at least one might work for you.

– Visit someone who needs to be visited.  Call someone and say “I’m taking time out this afternoon and I’m looking for someone who needs a visit. Could that be you?”   If they say no and you can’t think of anyone else to call, ask if they’d mind volunteering just this once.

– Unplug your brain.  Is that spooky?  What if you can’t remember how or where to plug it in again?  But maybe even all those cells and gray matter need a break, a time out.

– Cut back on the amount of time you spend on your tech toys, or on watching TV.  Watch a sunrise or sunset instead.  Watch the moon come up.  Watch flowers and butterflies and falling snow.  Watch the clouds and ocean waves and the faces of those you love.

– Leave your cell phone (smart or not) turned off and in a cool, dry place (studies have shown it will last longer if you do this).  Then sit in a comfortable chair and remember what life was like before cell phones.  If you’re under a certain age, this will be a very difficult exercise.  But for those who can remember, did you ever just walk and think, drive and relax, sit and ponder?   Yes, there are some things about cell phones which are great.  You can take pictures of people at the airport, and they don’t even know!

– Take a real vacation, even if it’s just for a few hours or even a few minutes.  Choose the definition of “vacation” which includes time away from regular work and routine, devoted to pleasure or rest.

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– Occasionally, just say NO to chaos, noise, and speed.

– Take several deep, deep breaths.  Make them last as long as you can. Let go of them as slowly as you can.

– Do things as often as you can which are refreshing to your spirit, which promote spiritual renewal.

– Scramble your priorities.  See what you can do about realizing a fresh approach to some of your “chores,” your responsibilities.

– Practice being a child.  We’re encouraged to become as a child, so why not do some “child things” (child-like, not childish).  Read a child’s book, put a simple puzzle together, find some toys and play in the sand pile for a little while.  Get a coloring book and some crayons and see if you can still color in the lines.  Color outside the lines, too.  Don’t color on the walls, especially with permanent markers; that’s taking the child thing way too far.

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Oh, and a couple of additional ideas:

– Attend a “Time Out for Women” in a city near you.

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– Keep the Sabbath Day holy AND wholly.  This day is a gift from God to us.  Don’t fill it with “same old, same old.”  As your circumstances allow, make this day different from all the others.

– Lie down in green pastures.  I’m thinking about the 23rd Psalm.  I love phrases like this – He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.”  “He resoreth my soul.”

That’s what a time out can do … it can restore the/our soul!

Find ways to pause, to stop, to reflect, remember and be increasingly thankful, content, and happy.  Call a time out!

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NONSENSE on TUESDAY

There are some things we can do to maintain a healthy level of insanity. You read it right: Insanity.  Yes.  And for your edification (but mostly your entertainment) I’d like to mention just a few on this January morning.

  1. DURING A BUSY TIME OF DAY ON A BUSY STREET, SIT IN YOUR PARKED CAR WITH SUNGLASSES ON AND POINT A HAIRDRYER AT PASSING CARS. SEE IF THEY SLOW DOWN. WEAR SOME KIND OF CAP IF YOU HAVE ONE.
  2. PAGE YOURSELF OVER THE INTERCOM. DON’T DISGUISE YOUR VOICE. (Seems like I saw a movie once where a woman paged herself, just so she could be “paged”).
  3. EVERY TIME SOMEONE ASKS YOU TO DO SOMETHING, ASK “WOULD YOU LIKE FRIES WITH THAT?” OR ASK “WOULD YOU LIKE TO SUPER-SIZE THAT?”
  4. PUT YOUR GARBAGE CAN ON YOUR DESK AND LABEL IT “IN”
  5. WHEN TRYING ON CLOTHES IN A DRESSING ROOM, YELL OUT “THERE IS NO TOILET PAPER IN HERE!”
  6. IN THE MEMO FIELD OF ALL YOUR CHECKS, WRITE “TAKE A GUESS” OR “MAKE A SUGGESTION”
  7. FINISH ALL YOUR SENTENCES WITH “IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE RULE OF LAW.”
  8. DONT USE PUNCTUATION (this is happening anyway in your own community, your own neighborhood, maybe in your own home!).
  9. AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE, SKIP RATHER THAN WALK.
  10. SPECIFY THAT YOUR DRIVE‑THRU ORDER IS “TO GO.”
  11. SING ALONG AT THE OPERA (Try to make your words sound Italian)
  12. GO TO A POETRY RECITAL AND ASK WHY THE POEMS DON’T RHYME
  13. PUT MOSQUITO NETTING AROUND YOUR WORK AREA AND PLAY TROPICAL SOUNDS ALL DAY. YOU MIGHT WANT TO WEAR ONE OF “THOSE” HATS.
  14. WHEN THE MONEY COMES OUT THE ATM, SCREAM “I WON I WON! 3 AVOCADOES IN A ROW!”
  15. WHEN LEAVING THE ZOO, START RUNNING TOWARDS THE PARKING LOT, YELLING “RUN FOR YOUR LIVES! THEY’RE LOOSE!”
  16. TELL YOUR CHILDREN DURING DINNER, “DUE TO THE ECONOMY, WE ARE GOING TO LET ONE OF YOU GO. NOMINATIONS ARE NOW OPEN.”
  17. CALL SOMEONE AND TELL THEM YOU’VE BEEN HAVING A STRONG FEELING THAT THEY’RE ABOUT TO CALL AND ASK YOU IF THERE’S ANYTHING THEY CAN DO TO HELP YOU. THEN TELL THEM WHAT IT IS THEY CAN DO.
  18. CALL OR VISIT A PLASTIC SURGEON AND TELL HIM (OR HER) THAT YOU DON’T WANT YOUR FACE LIFTED … YOU WANT YOUR BODY LOWERED….

HELP SAVE THE EARTH.  IT’S THE ONLY PLANET WITH CHOCOLATE.

A GREAT TRIP!

Hello to any of you who still check in to see if I’ll ever return to Le Blog. We returned yesterday from a wonderful few weeks in Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji. It was SO nice getting away from freezing cold weather and the deadly inversion in Utah.  We flew from Calif to Sydney and saw some of the sights around that great city. We took a long boat trip around the bay. I especially love the Sydney Opera House – got to see it on a tour several years ago.

We next flew to Cairns and visited the Great Barrier Reef.  We found out it’s about the size of Texas!  A long boat trip from shore. Magical.  We also got a chance to throw boomerangs and spears.  I was happy just to watch….

We flew to Melbourne next and visited a wildlife park where we saw kangaroos, koala, and other wildlife.  We learned that Australia has a large share of the world’s most poisonous snakes and spiders. Yeeks!

And that’s where we got on the Golden Princess cruise ship for the next 9 days (or so… I kind of lost track of time).  We had a couple of sea days with wonderful lectures from Michael Wilcox.  (We also heard from him on several other days during our journey; what a treat!).  And then the beautiful Fjords of the South Island of New Zealand. There were several trips which I missed due to allergies, but I had good days on the ship.

Next came Wellington on the straight which separates the north and south islands, and this is where we “encountered” the Mt. Victoria Tramway, and I did something I had sworn I’d never ever do… I got on the gondola thingie and went swinging HIGH above the amazing rain forest (I don’t know if we ever saw the ground!)…  Our friend Tyna captured the picture I’m going to try to add (and I thank her and Leanne for pictures – I don’t have my camera “gizmo” with me so I can’t add my own pictures).  This is a REAL picture of REAL terror… but: I DID IT!!!

We visited Gisborne (in Maori: “Tairawhiti” – the coast upon which the sun shines across the water). We took a long ride to an LDS chapel and added over 100 people to their Sacrament meeting.  A very good experience.

Close by we visited a Maori Marae, a gathering place. We spent a couple of hours there and it was a beautiful experience.  They shared experiences, including speaking of some of the first Mormon missionaries to arrive there. They sang to us, and then greeted each of the men (and many of the women) in our group (nose to nose). They had prepared a fantastic hot lunch for us (and I heard several comments about not wanting to be part of their “Relief Society” on that particular day).  We thanked them so much for their kindness and hospitality!

We got off the ship in Auckland and traveled a long ways to the Waitomo caves. Another scary thing for me to do… but I did it. Thousands of glow worms inside, and many steep “drop-off” areas as we went up and down stairs. We got in a boat deep in the caves and saw “zillions” of glow worms. Fascinating!

Next and last stop was in Fiji at the Intercontinental Resort. We had 3 nights there and did a lot of swimming and relaxing.  Some in the group visited a local village and had a wonderful experience.  We met such kind people, and on our last evening there the 4 of us ate in a place where we’d eaten the night before and made friends, and they gathered a little group of about 8 and sang a farewell song to us.  A sweet, emotional experience.

We weren’t able to see the Fiji Temple (which has an open house and then will be re-dedicated after undergoing remodeling), but our guide on the bus had a newspaper which showed pictures.

We toured around on one of our 23 January days (we had 2, crossing the international dateline on our flight back to California).  A wonderful trip and a great collection of memories!

THE FJORDS OF NEW ZEALAND

NZ FJORDS

TYNA WITH THE “ROOS”

TYNA-ROOS

THE MAORI MARAE

NZ-MARAE

INSIDE THE MARAE

NZ MARAE

AT THE HAMILTON NEW ZEALAND TEMPLE

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WAIMOTO CAVES

WAITOMO

A TERRIFIED TOURIST ON THE MT. VICTORIA TRAMWAY

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TYNA AND MEE IN OUR OLYMPIC TRY-OUTS IN THE KIDDIE POOL

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MEE IN HER OLYMPIC SUIT

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BEAUTIFUL FIJI

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FIJI

 

I’ll return soon

For those who haven’t seen the few little posts on my Facebook page, I’ve been “out and about” for a few weeks and haven’t had a way to post here on the Blog.  With a very nice group of people, we have visited Australia, New Zealand, and are now in Fiji.  We’ll be returning in a few days, and then I’ll be in Calif for a while before working up the courage to return to cold, snow, inversion, high altitude, etc.  But I do have to show up after I’ll have been gone from home over a month. This journey has been wonderful — the earth is SO beautiful, and so are the people everywhere we’ve been.  Thanks for comments, and thanks for patience in waiting for me to get posting again.  I’ve missed the contact and just hope there will still be a few of you waiting for posts (grin). I hope to be “back in business” within the next week.  Love, MEE

ANNE FRANK

One of the things I’ve been thinking about which I’d like to focus on during this coming year is optimism.  I remember that President Gordon B. Hiinckley invited us to “cultivate an attitude of happiness – cultivate a spirit of optimism.”  I’d like to do that increasingly.  And on this first Monday of a New Year I want to give a SHOUT-OUT to one of my examples of happiness and optimism “in spite of” (so many can relate to this – that we cultivate such qualities “in spite of” all that might be happening in our lives which is oh so challenging).  I’ve chosen ANNE FRANK for today.

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I am so impressed with her – with all that she understood and shared at such a young age.  I’m thankful her diary was preserved/saved by Miep Gies (I’ll give her a shout-out another day), and that Miep gave it to Anne’s Father, who somehow survived the Holocaust.

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So for today: THANK YOU, ANNE FRANK, for your example of courage and good cheer – for your optimism and happy spirit.

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One other thing I want to add before I include a long quote about her is that without her diary we’d know little or probably nothing at all about this great soul.  Are YOU keeping a journal?

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Anne Frank was a young girl who displayed consistent optimism even in the face of extreme danger. While hiding with her family from the Nazis, she always looked on the bright side of things. She wrote about her family’s hiding place, called the Annex, in her diary, calling it “an ideal place to hide in.” She wrote, “It may be damp and lopsided, but there’s probably not a more comfortable hiding place in all of Amsterdam. No, in all of Holland.”

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The Annex was the place that her family hid in for twenty‑five months! They did not step foot outside the Annex once during those two years, yet Anne never complained.

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Her family was also forced to remain completely still from 8:30 A.M. to 6:30 P.M. every day so that no one outside the Annex would hear creaking from the floorboards and discover their hiding place, and yet Anne still remained happy and jovial. She and all members of her family did not move for up to ten hours each day in order to remain undetected, and yet she wrote in her journal that the Annex was “a little piece of blue heaven, surrounded by heavy black rain clouds.”

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She remained optimistic and patient, reminding all of us that attitude is a choice. That’s incredible.  It’s wonderful!  We should be able to find lots and lots of reasons for being optimistic and cheerful and grateful.  May we find more of these and other blessings in 2016.

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HAVE A WONDERFUL, MEMORABLE 2016!

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DO NOT LOSE HEART

I love it when I find something I can ponder, something which I almost can’t stop pondering!  This piece by CLARISSA PINKOLA ESTES is one of those. (She is an American poet, post-trauma specialist and Jungian psychoanalyst, author of Women Who Run With the Wolves). I thank my dear friend Ann for sharing this.  If you’re in a hurry right now, wait until you’re not before you read this (unless you’re going to be in a hurry for another month or more).

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My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times. I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world now. Ours is a time of almost daily astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people. You are right in your assessments. The lustre and hubris some have aspired to while endorsing acts so heinous against children, elders, everyday people, the poor, the unguarded, the helpless, is breathtaking. Yet, I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is that we were made for these times. Yes. For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement.

I grew up on the Great Lakes and recognize a seaworthy vessel when I see one. Regarding awakened souls, there have never been more able vessels in the waters than there are right now across the world. And they are fully provisioned and able to signal one another as never before in the history of humankind.  Look out over the prow; there are millions of boats of righteous souls on the waters with you. Even though your veneers may shiver from every wave in this stormy roil, I assure you that the long timbers composing your prow and rudder come from a greater forest. That long-grained lumber is known to withstand storms, to hold together, to hold its own, and to advance, regardless.

In any dark time, there is a tendency to veer toward fainting over how much is wrong or unmended in the world. Do not focus on that. There is a tendency, too, to fall into being weakened by dwelling on what is outside your reach, by what cannot yet be. Do not focus there. That is spending the wind without raising the sails.  We are needed, that is all we can know. And though we meet resistance, we more so will meet great souls who will hail us, love us and guide us, and we will know them when they appear. Didn’t you say you were a believer? Didn’t you say you pledged to listen to a voice greater? Didn’t you ask for grace? Don’t you remember that to be in grace means to submit to the voice greater?

Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good.  What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.

One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these – to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity.

Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.

There will always be times when you feel discouraged. I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it. I will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate.  The reason is this: In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here. The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours. They are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here. In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for.

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