Things money can’t buy

I’ve been thinking a lot the past while about all the things in life which money cannot buy. I know it’s nice to have money and be able to buy what we need and even quite a bit of what we want … but, as wise people say, it’s important to make sure we haven’t lost the things which money can never buy.


So how about an invitation for this week-end (and especially tomorrow – the Sabbath). Alone or with your family or friends, make a list of that which is precious to you in your life which money cannot buy. I’ve begun doing this (yep… I got a head start), and I’ve increasingly felt that the things money cannot buy are ours to keep and have an even greater value than we realize.


In no particular order, my list includes things like peace of soul, happiness and joy, hope, faith, humility, compassion, patience, the beauties of nature, sweet memories, a sense of direction, prayer, charity, friendship, gifts of the Spirit – the gift of the Holy Ghost, time, an understanding of the importance of work, abundance, a desire to do good and be good – to try a little harder to be a little better, the Sacrament, optimism, service, a heightened sense of right and wrong, surprise blessings, a love of scripture, gratitude, trust, family, an appreciation of the simple things in life, mornings, dreams, waves, good humor, the Sabbath, naps, someone to listen, forgiveness, hugs, sunrises and sunsets (I saw a poster once which said “Good news! Sunsets are free!”), storms, stars, things to look forward to, music, green days (clean air), a good night’s rest, reaching a goal, the love of little children, reading, belonging, being a happifier, curiosity . . . .


I know and you know that I could keep going. I’m glad I didn’t try to put things in order – I’d never have been finished with this post! I know you’ll think of LOTS of things which I haven’t listed. Mostly I just hope we all have a chance to think of blessings which don’t have anything to with money, with cost, with whether we’re rich or poor (it’s all pretty relative, isn’t it). Money can’t buy happiness … but I saw a sign once which said “Those who say that money can’t buy happiness just don’t know where to shop.” Ha Ha.  Think, though, of stories you’ve heard or read about people who have won a lottery (or something similar), and how their lives changed in negative – sometimes tragic – ways. Or how the love of money has ruined someone. (But also think of those who are generous in sharing and helping!)  OK! I HAVE TO STOP! I know I get carried away… Once I get going on an idea I can’t seem to finish (in case you hadn’t noticed).


In closing:  Consider/ponder the many powerful truths taught in these few verses of scripture: 1 TIMOTHY 6:6-12

6 ¶ But godliness with contentment is great gain.  7 For we brought nothing into [this] world, [and it is] certain we can carry nothing out.  8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.  9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and [into] many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.  10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.  11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.  12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.





This morning I was reading in the book of Alma in the Book of Mormon and came again upon this verse: “And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it.” (Alma 56:49)  Yes – this is the verse that has been quoted in so many talks that we almost skip over it. We KNOW what these stripling warriors are going to say when Helaman asks them if they are willing to go into battle.


When I read that verse this morning I almost “skimmed it” instead of thinking about it and pondering the message. (It’s almost as if part of my mind is saying something like “how many zillions of times have I read this and heard this!”) And then it “hit me” in a way that it never has before. Many (maybe even MOST) of those who are doubters today could honestly say that they know their mothers knew it. Did that “grab you” the way it grabbed me? It should give any who are doubting cause to ponder…  “My Mother knew it … WHY AM I DOUBTING??”


Doubt is one cause of (and contributor to) FEAR. (It’s like part of the soul is crying out “It’s getting sandy!!!… The foundation is feeling less and less FIRM!!….”  DOUBT NOT … FEAR NOT ….


I know it’s hard to put thoughts into words (to reduce feelings to words), but I hope you follow what I found this morning to think deeply about. I’ll add something I posted just on Facebook a while ago – it helps me express what I feel. We could add to it just a bit – “Don’t dig up in doubt what your Mother helped you plant in faith!”



Who’s on the Lord’s side?

With all that’s going on in the world – and especially in this country of America – I’ve been thinking MUCH about the promises made, for blessings to come IF we are obedient to God’s commandments –IF we have no other gods before Him. It feels like there are too many things being put first, and many more being put “higher” than God. The hunger for power is one that I’m noticing. I’ve noticed a lack of integrity and diminishing patriotism. As I was letting such thoughts drift through my mind, the words of one of our hymns came to mind: “Who’s on the Lord’s side, who?” Isn’t that an amazing, important question! And the phrase which follows caught my attention instantly: “Now is the time to show.”  The text was written by Hannah Last Cornaby, who lived from 1822-1905, so we can safely say that these words are over 100 years old. If the question was relevant then – so long ago – it is even more relevant and urgent right now. “NOW IS THE TIME TO SHOW … that we are ON THE LORD’s SIDE.”

And the question is even OLDER (and implies “now is the time to show”). I’m reading in the Old Testament, and in Exodus 32:26 (JST) we read: “Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the Lord’s side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.”


Are we being called? Are we needed?  How do we go about responding – how do we show that we’re on the Lord’s side? You’ll think of much which I haven’t thought of, but a few things that have come to my mind as I’ve been pondering all of this include:  – Being true and faithful – Following the Prophet (and all 15 whom we sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators) – Holding fast to that which matters most – Holding tightly to the iron rod – Praying with increasing feeling and strong intent to follow promptings – Keeping the commandments – Keeping covenants we have made – Increasing the depth of our focus on the Savior and our need to be closer to Him and more like Him as we partake of the Sacrament each week – Keeping the Sabbath Day holy – Doing good and being good – Staying as far away from the great and spacious building (worldliness) as possible . . . ETC ETC ETC


Here are a couple of quotes from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland:  “satan, or lucifer, or the father of lies—call him what you will [I personally like WHNF: what’s his no face] —is real, the very personification of evil. His motives are in every case malicious, and he convulses at the appearance of redeeming light, at the very thought of truth. … he is eternally opposed to the love of God, the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and the work of peace and salvation. He will fight against these whenever and wherever he can. He knows he will be defeated and cast out in the end, but he is determined to take down with him as many others as he possibly can.” (“We Are All Enlisted,” Ensign, November 2011)


This is the other quote from Elder Holland: “The FUTURE of this world has long been DECLARED; the final outcome between GOOD and evil is already KNOWN. There is absolutely no question as to who WINS because the VICTORY has already been posted on the SCOREBOARD. The only really strange thing in all of this is that we are still down here on the FIELD trying to decide which TEAM’S JERSEY we want to wear!” (BYU Devotional,1983;  quoted by Gary and Joy Lundberg, Meridian Magazine, 12 April 2013)






When I was about 15 years old, I was in San Francisco with my parents and a couple of my sisters, and we went to a new John Wayne movie, “The High and the Mighty.” I watched it again a few years ago on TV. It’s about a flight which left Hawaii headed for California. After the plane had been in the air quite a while, there were some problems. They had passed the point of no return, so they kept heading for the coast, but they ended up having to dump a bunch of stuff out of the plane to lighten the load.


The movie stayed with me. I think I was trying to figure out what I should throw overboard so that I can make it all the way Home. What kinds of experiences in my life would change my mind about what mattered most and what could be tossed?

One of the things I remember best about the movie is that everyone got REAL. There was a dramatic moment when a woman (headed to meet a man for the first time with whom she’d been corresponding… NOT on the internet – the movie was made before A.G. invented the internet) took off all her make-up, including her long fake eyelashes. What happened to her was like an extreme makeover in reverse – she looked so different! She looked REAL.

There are many who spend much to make external changes in their appearance. Braces to straighten teeth (I wore braces for 10 years! – age 9 to 19). Ways to whiten teeth and “tan” skin. (It took me a while to realize that the reason so many in Asia were covered up while working in the fields was so that they would NOT get more “tan” than they already were). We get help making our hair look a certain way. There are zillions of “miracle ways” of losing weight… all kinds of “promises.” I remember seeing a woman on TV once who’d had so many plastic surgeries on her nose that she could no longer breathe through it!


Once I “googled” the phrase “extreme makeover,” and I got almost a million hits! There was all kinds of information, including stuff about how to sign up for a complete transformation, news about plastic surgeons and cosmetic dentists, and a whole gallery of pictures. Lots of “before and after” pictures. I noticed that people in the “before” pictures were never allowed to smile. Hmmmm. I looked at one application for a makeover. Wowza! I’d have to make a 3-minute video of myself and then got from “head to toe,” explaining everything I wanted changed. “List everything you would like to have altered.” There were some questions on the application, such as “How will this change your life?” (I think that’s a great question!). And “Besides altering your appearance, what is your biggest dream?” Thought-provoking, isn’t it.

I thought of a TV showed called “Where are they now?” … and did those who receive dramatic physical change find what they were looking for? Are they happy?

What is it we’re looking for? What is it that we feel is missing? And will changing the “exterior” help all our dreams come true? Maybe. Maybe not. I began wondering why we’re not as anxious to change the “INTERIOR.” This could be called a TRUE “extreme makeover.” An “inside job! A makeover which REALLY changes lives and helps dreams come true. One which causes people to clap their hands and shout for joy! (Now you’re jumping ahead of me, aren’t you).

In the Book of Mosiah in The Book of Mormon, King Benjamin has finished his remarkable message and wants to know if his people have believed what he has taught them. YES!!  And they all cried with one voice, saying:  Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually. (Mosiah 5:2)  We notice that there were TWO major changes: No more disposition to do evil – but a mighty change in disposition such that they had a desire to do good continually. Wow! No wonder it’s called a MIGHTY CHANGE! It happened to King Lamoni and his wife and all those converted during the missions of the sons of King Mosiah and their friends. They were forgiven of their sins, they remained true and faithful – they were reborn spiritually. “…they did all declare unto the people the self‑same thing — that their hearts had been changed; that they had no more desire to do evil.” (Alma 19:33). THIS sounds like an AMAZING “EXTREME MAKEOVER.”

Have you ever wished you were a car? (Of course not, but stay with me, OK?). You could roll into “Jiffy Abs” and be changed in 15 minutes. You could go to a “makeover store” and purchase a new heart…. It doesn’t work that way, does it. We’re NOT cars. The changes we need to make are more than just a change of outward appearance. Read again this quote from President Ezra Taft Benson:


… repentance means more than simply a reformation of behavior. Many men and women in the world demonstrate great will‑power and self‑discipline in overcoming bad habits and the weaknesses of the flesh. Yet at the same time they give no thought to the Master, sometimes even openly rejecting Him. Such changes of behavior, even if in a positive direction, do not constitute true repentance. Repentance involves not just a change of actions, but a change of heartWhen we have undergone this mighty change, which is brought about only through faith in Jesus Christ and through the operation of the Spirit upon us, it is as though we have become a new person. Thus the change is likened to a new birth. Thousands of you within the sound of my voice have experienced this change. You have forsaken lives of sin, sometimes deep and offensive sin, and through applying the blood of Christ in your lives, have become clean. You have no more disposition to return to your old ways. You are in reality a new person. This is what is meant by a change of heart. (“A Mighty Change of Heart,” address prepared [but not delivered] 1986; Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p.470)

Interestingly, we’re asked to strive to be better when we’re already pretty good. When the Savior appeared to those in the “new world” who were spared because they were the more righteous – they were pretty good – He invited them to be even better: O all ye that are spared because ye were more righteous than they, will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?  Yea, verily I say unto you, if ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life…. (3 Nephi 9:13-14)


President Hugh B. Brown shared this: Sin creates inner conflict, causes loss of self‑respect, saps moral strength, causes injury to and estranges others, makes men more susceptible to temptation, and in numerous other subtle ways retards, delays, and blocks our journey toward our goal. Its enticements tend to divert us from moral ideals and to obscure our vision of desirable objectives. True repentance halts this disintegration and… places one’s feet on the highway of successful living. With the companionship of [the Holy Ghost], one may release the power which is in the human soul even as men have been able to release the power of the atom.  This power, when released and given divine direction and guidance, will lead to immortality and eternal life.  (Taken from a radio address given December 7, 1947) (Quoted in Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1969]

Can you think of one “interior” thing you’d like to change? Get Heavenly Help (and any other help you might need). President Gordon B. Hinckley shared this:


We are far from being a perfect society as we travel along the road to immortality and eternal life. The great work of the Church in furthering this process is to help men and women to move toward the perfection exemplified by the Savior of mankind. We are not likely to reach that goal in a day or a year or a lifetime. But as we strive in this direction, we shall become better men and women, sons and daughters of God.  (Gordon B. Hinckley, “150‑Year Drama: A Personal View of Our History,” Ensign, Apr. 1980, 14)

Can you think of ANYONE in the scriptures who sincerely cried for help who didn’t receive it?

COME UNTO JESUS (Hymn #117) (First 3 verses)

Come unto Jesus, ye heavy laden, Careworn and fainting, by sin oppressed.

He’ll safely guide you unto that haven Where all who trust him may rest, may rest.

Come unto Jesus; He’ll ever heed you, Though in the darkness you’ve gone astray.

His love will find you and gently lead you From darkest night into day, to day.

Come unto Jesus; He’ll surely hear you, If you in meekness plead for his love.

Oh know you not that angels are near you From brightest mansions above, above? 



No wonder we’re tired!

Do you ever feel really TIRED, and you’re not sure why? (Other than staying up way too late because you just HAD to read “one more page” – and it ends up being 70 more pages – in the great book you’re reading). Well, I’ve been thinking about how much our bodies accomplish every 24 hours. It’s staggering, really. Different sources have different numbers, but it all “adds up” to the FACT that our bodies are EXTRAORDINARY TEMPLES!!! (But if you look at all of the stats… no wonder we get tired!!)






Your heart beats 103,689 times every 24 hours.

Your blood travels 168,000,000 miles every 24 hours.

You breathe 23,040 times every 24 hours.


You inhale 438 cubic feet of air every 24 hours.

You eat about 3 1/2 pounds of food every 24 hours.

You drink about 2.9 quarts of liquid every 24 hours.



You lose about a pound of waste every 24 hours.

You speak about 4,800 words every 24 hours.


You move 750 muscles every 24 hours.

Your nails grow .000046 inch every 24 hours.

You exercise 7,000,000 brain cells –





OK… you and I – all of us – receive emails that are kind of… uh … sappy? I’m not sure how to describe what I mean, but I think you get it, right? Things we wouldn’t pass on even if we’d win a free ticket to a fishing expedition on Enoch Pond.  Today’s post is one I’ve hesitated on… it kind of sounds like we’re going on a tour of the center where all the Amazon stuff is stored and shipped. Or something like that. Maybe Welfare Square?  (I like calling it “Temporal Square” – tourists who visit Salt Lake often go to both Temple Square and Temporal Square….)  Anyway, here goes. Maybe even in things which are a bit “sappy” we can find something to think about.  And so, with thanks to Don for the idea, here we go:


I dreamed I went to Heaven and an angel was showing me around.  We walked side-by-side to a large workroom filled with angels. My angel guide stopped in front of the first section and said, “This is the RECEIVING SECTION. Here, all prayers with requests to Heavenly Father are received.” I looked around in this area, and it was packed full! There were a bunch of angels, exceedingly busy, sorting out millions of petitions from people all over the world. (In hundreds of different languages!).


Then we moved on down a long corridor until we reached the second section. I was informed that this was the PACKAGING AND DELIVERY SECTION. (That’s where the idea to compare it to Amazon came from). This is where the blessings people have asked for are processed and delivered. A very, very busy place, again.


Then, finally, at the farthest end of the long corridor, we stopped at the door of a very small station. Yep… the ACKNOWLEDGMENT SECTION. The angel seemed rather embarrassed to tell me about this place. Only a couple of angels were on duty, and they didn’t seem too busy. I asked what the deal was – why isn’t this section at least as busy as the others (if not more so).  “It’s so sad!” the angel sighed. “People receive blessings they ask for – and MANY they don’t ask for but which are freely given – but they rarely acknowledge what they’ve received … they rarely offer sincere thanks.”



This caused me to think, maybe especially the blessings received which weren’t requested. What do I have – what do I enjoy – which I’ve never thought to thank my Heavenly Father for? Enough and to spare (we can call it abundance) of food, water, clothing, health, family, friends, opportunities?? My list got pretty long when I focused on these and other things. Maybe we could all do a better job of keeping that third section busier even than the first two.  Acknowledging. Thanking. Expressing sincere, honest gratitude. There are likely MANY things in my life which I don’t even think about, let alone express thanks for. Am I the only one? Probably not. How about if we include THANK YOU as a significant part of the coming Sabbath of Fasting. It just might make the day even sweeter than it was already going to be. Count your many blessings … see how many you can name one-by-one. It will surprise you!!  End of message, but hopefully not the end of thinking… pondering.