Some wonderful news came to my attention yesterday, and it’s “sharing time” right now. My home teachers are John and Teri (husband and wife), and I love them SO MUCH! They could be on the cover of the Ensign as an ideal home teaching team. And they’re kind and wonderful to everyone, not just to me. (But I think I’m really their favorite….) They’ve brought tomatoes and apples to our stake religion class (yummy things they’ve grown themselves), and they bring a happy spirit as well. Yesterday in class we were talking about – sharing ideas and experiences about – “more purpose in prayer” (from Hymn # 131: “More Holiness Give Me,” which is our theme for this “semester”). Teri also knows about our “porch stuff” on this Blog. Well, John went out and bought 2 rocking chairs for their porch!! (This isn’t a picture of their porch… it’s too dark right now for me to take a picture… but you can bet I’m going to go over there and “try them out!”). They said it’s so WONDERFUL to go out early in the morning. A beautiful, peaceful place to pray, to ponder, and just to ENJOY. And they see people! People out walking, some of whom visit a bit. Well, this is exceedingly happifying to me! I feel so excited that it really DOES make a sweet difference in our day (and our lives) to do some “porching.” It works!! (And I hope I haven’t embarrassed them or anything … I’d PERISH if they asked to be switched and quit being my home teachers!!!)




I’ve been thinking about things I need to give up. Let go of. Not spend so much time or thought or energy on. Do you ever do that? I think it might be more difficult for those of us [I know I’m not the only one!!] who have varying degrees of OCD. I know that many of my habits – my “routines” – are helpful. Aging seems to bring forgetfulness along with it. But I know there are MANY things which I need to let go of. And I laugh at myself when I do things which just DO NOT MATTER one way or the other. I feel so excited when I can “let go.”


I’ve found some lists of things others recommend we let go of, and I’ve had a good time thinking about them and “editing” a bit here and there, adding some things, dropping some of the things others suggest. I’ll share a few, and I hope they’ll get you thinking about some things YOU want to drop – to give up. It has every possibility of making life simpler and more enjoyable, and even perhaps less stressful. It could add to our happiness and our optimism.


GIVE UP YOUR NEED TO ALWAYS BE RIGHT. This might be tied to that frightening, terrible sin of PRIDE. We might find we’d rather ruin a relationship (or at least wound it) by insisting on always being right. (“I’ve got to protect my ego at all costs!”) It’s not worth it, is it. It has been suggested in several different ways, but asking ourselves a question like “Would I rather be right, or would I rather be kind?” can help us realize that sometimes OTHERS are right, and we’re wrong. GIVE IT UP!

GIVE UP YOUR NEED FOR CONTROL. It makes such a difference in our own life if (when) we’re able to let others be themselves. This may wander into the realm of resisting making God’s will our will. Yikes! There’s no way we can control everything and everyone! GIVE IT UP!

GIVE UP ON BLAME. I remember a Peanuts cartoon where Lucy is really ticked off. She shouts something like “Whoever is in charge of my happiness is not doing their job!” We need to take responsibility for our own life and stop blaming others (and circumstances and “whatever”) for things we don’t have, or times when things don’t work out. Quit putting blame on others. GIVE IT UP!

GIVE UP ON NOT BELIEVING IN YOURSELF. I wonder if we have ANY IDEA how much we beat up on ourselves – how much we seem to be convinced that pretty much everything about us is in the negative column. Sometimes we get stuck in that dark, wrong place. You’re better than that! You are child of God! HE believes in you. You have all kinds of possibilities! Quit insisting on NOT believing in yourself. GIVE IT UP!


GIVE UP COMPLAINING. What a non-happifying way to be… constantly complaining about all that is wrong! Maybe some things are not just perfect in life, but continually complaining about them won’t change them! It’s not necessarily what is happening… it’s the way we look at it and feel about it and how we respond to it. It’s SO much better (and, really, it’s easier) to be positive and optimistic. Time to stop complaining… GIVE IT UP!

GIVE UP BEING CRITICAL. This is one I’ve been consciously working on recently. Withholding judgment – cutting down on criticism. It’s a bad habit, isn’t it – finding things wrong with people, with experiences, with LIFE. Wayne Dyer said: “The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about.” I think of the words of that old song: Accentuate the positive! Eliminate the negative! GIVE IT UP!

GIVE UP THE NEED TO IMPRESS OTHERS. What I’ve found is that when we’re focused on doing this – on impressing others (who probably don’t end up being impressed anyway), we’re trying to be something or someone we’re NOT. You’re YOU (and I’m MEE, ha ha). We ARE who we ARE – doing our best to improve and be the best “US” we can be. Be REAL! Be who you really ARE. Don’t try to live someone else’s life, or the life that the media or others try to convince you is yours. Don’t be distracted from being your genuine, real self. Quit trying to put on some kind of a “false” you in an attempt to impress others. GIVE IT UP!


GIVE UP YOUR RESISTANCE TO CHANGE. Oh my… we’ve GOT to do this or we’ll never survive… right? Change is constant! And the Savior and His gospel emphasize CHANGE (even to the point of having a mighty change of heart!). Change can be SO good. It can help us progress instead of getting stuck in a rut. Don’t resist change. Don’t keep resisting. GIVE IT UP!

GIVE UP ON YOUR FEARS. This is a really hard one for me – especially my fear of flying! But I’ve heard that fear is just an illusion – that it doesn’t exist – that I’ve (or you’ve) created it! What??? How many times in the scriptures are we told “Fear not.”


Doctrine and Covenants: 6:33 – Fear not to do good…. 6:34 – … fear not, little flock…. 6:36 – Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not. 38:15 –  …be ye strong… fear not…. 79:4 – …let your heart be glad… fear not…. 98:1 – …fear not, let your hearts be comforted…. 122:9 – …fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever. Do you have a feeling I could go on and on? You’re right! Give up on your fear! GIVE IT UP!


GIVE UP YOUR EXCUSES. You don’t really need them, do you. I think we limit ourselves when we have a bunch of excuses (which most of the time aren’t even real). Be honest. Have integrity. Do things better today than you did yesterday. Quit being so quick to give an excuse. GIVE IT UP!

GIVE UP THE PAST. This is a hard one, isn’t it. Sometimes the past looks so much better than the present. And sometimes the past tries to keep us trapped in times and experiences which were oh so awful. Quit longing for the past (and trying to live in the past), and quit letting the past be a heavy burden which prevents you from fully enjoying and experiencing the present. As they say (whoever “they” is): Life is a journey, not a destination. Learn from the past, but don’t keep spending so much of your time there. Give up the past. GIVE IT UP!


OK, that’s it for now. I hope at least one little idea has been helpful. Maybe you’ll make your own list. On my own list I have goals like “GIVE UP STUFF AND THINGS.” I’m trying to SIMPLIFY. Another is to “GIVE UP ANXIETY ABOUT THE LAST DAYS.” Maybe you know what I mean by that. Fei is always saying “The last days are getting laster,” and they ARE. But I’m earnestly working on giving up my anxiety – I want to enjoy every single day, and I want to be THANKFUL every single day. There is a thought about “give it up for good,” and at first it seems like “for forever,” but I like to think of it as giving things up for GOOD (and for BETTER, and for BEST!).


I’m looking forward SO MUCH to the remaining sessions of GENERAL CONFERENCE – they always give me a LIFT! And oh boy was the General Women’s session ever incredible and powerful, right???  I’m working to give up anxiety. GIVE IT UP, MEE!!




Sometimes I feel like I got left behind. I think it happened around the mid-90’s (that’s 1990’s, not 1890’s, thank you very much…. Anyway, I know they say that if you were born before 1981 you’re a digital immigrant, and I am VERY much an immigrant (40 years plus!), and the “language” is SO confusing! I watch my nieces and nephews and the “greats” they’re raising, and they’re almost ALL digital natives – born after 1981 (I don’t know if that’s the exact year, but you get the idea).


I’ll share some things which are SO different now than during my growing-up years (as if I ever EVER grew up!!).


Cleaning up the dining area means getting the fast food bags out of the back seat of your car.

Your reason for not staying in touch with family is that they do not have e‑mail addresses.

Keeping up with sports entails adding ESPN’s homepage to your bookmarks.

You have a “to do list” that includes entries for lunch and bathroom breaks and they are usually the ones that never get crossed off.

You have actually faxed your Christmas list to your loved ones.

You consider 2nd day air delivery painfully slow.


Amazon is no longer just a river.

You assume the question to valet park or not is rhetorical.

You use your dining room table as a flat filing cabinet.

Your idea of being organized is multiple colored post‑it notes all over the house.

Your grocery list has been on your refrigerator so long some of the products don’t even exist anymore (and you might as well throw away your Green Stamp book….)


You refer to the tomatoes grown in your garden as deliverables.

You find you really need PowerPoint to explain what you do for a living.

You normally eat out of vending machines and at the most expensive restaurant in town within the same week.

You think that “progressing an action plan,” “growing a company,” and “calendarizing a project” are acceptable English phrases, and if one more person uses “bottom line,” you might hit them.

You know the people at the airport hotels better than you know your next door neighbors.

You ask your friends to “think outside the box” when making Friday night plans.

You think Einstein would have been more effective had he put his ideas into a matrix.


You think a “half‑day” means leaving at 5 o’clock.

And: You hear most of your jokes via email instead of in person.





Who Is My Neighbor

WHO IS YOUR NEIGHBOR? By Virginia Mueller, Illustrated by Lorraine Arthur.


Who is your neighbor? A neighbor is part of your family of love. He does not live in your house, but he should live in your heart. Neighbors are everywhere. They live in the house next door, in the tent next to your tent, across the hall, two farms down a country road. Some neighbors live faraway. They may be people you have never seen – who have difference faces and live in different places. You can thank God for His blessings by sharing with these neighbors – food to eat, clothes to wear, medicine to make them well, money to build a schoolhouse, or dig a well for water. With neighbors who live nearby, you can share backyards, apples from your apple tree, falling leaves, a puddle, a secret. Who is your neighbor? A neighbor is someone who needs you. You can be a good neighbor by helping someone who needs help, by caring what happens to others, by giving instead of getting. Neighbors work together. Neighbors play together. Neighbors pray to our Father together. A neighbor is part of your family of love. God wants you to widen your heart to include all of His children.



Thank you – all of you and each of you – for being wonderful neighbors and compassionate Good Samaritans. Have a beautiful Sabbath!


The word NEIGHBOR is a beautiful word. I love it. It includes all the people we live with on this planet, not just those on our street, in our cul-de-sac, or even those who are in the same faith or culture or nation. The whole world is our neighborhood!


I feel the Savior was trying to teach that we are all neighbors when he shared the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 26:25-37). A lawyer tempted Jesus, asking what he should do to inherit eternal life. Jesus asked him what was written in the law, and how he read or understood it. The lawyer knew. He responded with “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.” Jesus commended him for having the right answer and told him “this do, and thou shalt live.” The lawyer added another question: “And who is my neighbor?” And then came the parable of the Good Samaritan.


Jesus spoke of a man who fell among thieves and was left “half dead” by the road. Several passed by on the other side, doing nothing to help. Then came the Samaritan, who likely didn’t know the wounded man. But he had compassion. He bound up his wounds, took him to an inn, and “took care of him.” When he had to leave the next day he gave money to the host, asking him to take care of the man, promising that when he came again he would repay whatever it cost the host to help the man.  And then came the question (Jesus taught so many great truths with questions!): He asked the lawyer which was neighbor to the man who fell among thieves. The lawyer’s response was that the neighbor was the one who had shown mercy. Jesus told him (again) to go and do likewise.


And of course it’s a message of us, too. There are likely more opportunities to become “good Samaritans” to others than we recognize – more chances to respond (whenever possible) to the pain, fear, hunger, loneliness and other “wounds” of our neighbors – whether they live in our own home, across the street, across the fence, across the mountain, or across the ocean. Anywhere. Our neighborhood is world-wide. (I know some of you are humming “It’s a small world after all.”) (Small factoid: I love it that I was born in the Good Samaritan Hospital – the one in Los Angeles).


We cannot love God unless we also love His children. Pure love – charity – is not limited by class, culture, race, color, creed, or anything else. Many religions and viewpoints are represented among our neighbors, aren’t they. President Howard W. Hunter: The members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints open their arms to neighbors everywhere. The restored Church of Christ assumes its charge and responsibility to take the gospel of Jesus Christ in love to its neighbors over the world and endeavors to help those who receive the gospel to live the teachings of the Master. (Conference Report, October 1970)  And President Ezra Taft Benson taught: Our Father’s children need the gospel. They long for, and want, the security and inner peace that only the gospel can bring. Our Father’s children are essentially good. I have visited with them in some sixty nations… True, some are in bondage under despotic, Godless leaders, but they want to live in peace, to be good neighbors. They love their homes and their families. They want to improve their standard of living. In their hearts they want to do what is right. I know the Lord loves them, and as his humble servant I have a love in my heart for the teeming millions of this world. (Conference Report, April 1970)  Think of the ways in which the Ten Commandments and many other specific examples given by the Savior – including the way He lived His life – which teach us to treat others with love and kindness, no matter who, no matter when, no matter where. Did you see the movie “Oliver?” You likely you remember the sweet song he sang: “Where is Love.” “Every night I kneel and pray, Let tomorrow be the day When I can see the face of someone who I can mean something to. Where, where is love?” (Lionel Bart, Oliver)


There are many lessons in the scriptures and other places which encourage us to love our neighbor. President Russell M. Nelson shared a beautiful message with regional representatives years ago which was printed in the Ensign in January 1987: “Love Thy Neighbor.” And I love what brother Robert J. Matthews taught: The Lord has made known how people ought to treat one another. By searching the scriptures on this subject we become more fully aware that we do have a responsibility to promote the happiness and well-being of our fellow humans. (Ensign, Oct 1975)


Years ago I ran across a wonderful little “Happy Day Book” with the title: Who is Your Neighbor? I did a search and found it, and I’m going to try to post my less-than-perfect pictures of each page (it’s not too long) and share them with you (I hope they don’t disappear too quickly. I’m going to include the words just in case the pictures DO disappear. I wish I were more of a “tecchie” (I don’t even know how to spell it). Don’t let my inadequacy spoil the message! I hope you’ll enjoy this little book with the critical message as much as I do. And I’ve decided that since there are so many pictures with this, I’m going to post it in a separate Blog… just in case ALL the pictures disappear . . . .   Thank you – all of you and each of you – for being wonderful neighbors and compassionate Good Samaritans. Have a beautiful Sabbath!

WHO IS YOUR NEIGHBOR? By Virginia Mueller, Illustrated by Lorraine Arthur.


Who is your neighbor? A neighbor is part of your family of love. He does not live in your house, but he should live in your heart. Neighbors are everywhere. They live in the house next door, in the tent next to your tent, across the hall, two farms down a country road. Some neighbors live faraway. They may be people you have never seen – who have difference faces and live in different places. You can thank God for His blessings by sharing with these neighbors – food to eat, clothes to wear, medicine to make them well, money to build a schoolhouse, or dig a well for water. With neighbors who live nearby, you can share backyards, apples from your apple tree, falling leaves, a puddle, a secret. Who is your neighbor? A neighbor is someone who needs you. You can be a good neighbor by helping someone who needs help, by caring what happens to others, by giving instead of getting. Neighbors work together. Neighbors play together. Neighbors pray to our Father together. A neighbor is part of your family of love. God wants you to widen your heart to include all of His children.






Florence Chadwick is one of my heroes (I have quite a few… there are so many incredible people alive now and in the past). She was born on 09 November, 1918, in San Diego. She died there on 15 March 1995 at the age of 76 (that’s my current age). Florence was the first woman to swim the English Channel in both directions, setting a time record with each of the two swims. She was also the first woman to swim the Catalina Channel, the Straits of Gibraltar, the Bosporus (one way) and the Dardanelles (round trip). Wow!  She attended San Diego State and studied at several law schools and a business college.


Florence entered swimming competitions from a young age. She won her first race at the age of 10. But she realized she preferred ocean events rather than swimming pools. When she was still 10 she became the youngest person to swim across the mouth of San Diego Bay! Starting at the age of 11 she competed in rough water swims, winning an annual 2.5 mile race in the ocean of La Jolla 10 times in 18 years!


She had her heart set on swimming the English Channel. In 1950 she attempted to enter a contest for that swim but was refused for lack of a significant reputation. She determined to try at her own expense. She failed in July after swimming for 14 hours. Then, in August, she succeeded. On 08 August, 1950, at the age of 31, she crossed the English Channel from France to England in 13 hours and 20 minutes, breaking the women’s record. It’s only 23 miles, but because of currents, tides, winds, and waves, the distance can end up much longer. The swim from England to France is more difficult than France to England.  In 1951, after waiting 11 weeks for good weather and tides, she crossed from England to France in 16 hours and 22 minutes, setting another record.


Can you even imagine swimming that long (over 16 HOURS) in a nice pool !!… let alone in freezing water with stingrays, kelp beds, jellyfish, sharks, darkness . . . no woman had ever completed the swim from England to France until Florence Chadwick did it. And she was the first woman to swim the English Channel in both directions. She eventually swam the Channel 4 times.


On the 4th of July in 1952, at the age of 34, Florence prepared to swim from Catalina Island to the coast of California. Millions of Americans were watching on TV. (I wasn’t one of them – we didn’t have a TV until we moved to the land northward when I was 17). No one doubted she could make it – she’d already swum the English Channel in both directions! And this would only be 21 miles from Catalina to Palos Verdes. The water was freezing cold, the fog was so thick she could hardly see the support boats that followed her, and sharks prowled around (several times her support crew used rifles to drive away the sharks). She was repeatedly stung by jellyfish.


Hour after hour she kept swimming. 5 hours. 10. 15. After about 15 hours, a thick fog had set in, and she began to doubt her ability. She told her mother she didn’t know if she could go on. Her mother and her trainer – in one of the support boats – kept encouraging her to keep swimming. They told her she was SO CLOSE! She kept swimming for about another hour, but after 15 hours and 55 minutes, she couldn’t go on. She asked to be taken out of the water. She was only two miles from the shore….  She was asked if she had muscle cramps, or if she was just too tired to go on. She said no – that if she just could have seen the shore, she’d have made it.


There are lessons to be learned from Florence’s story, including this attempt to swim from Catalina to Palos Verdes on the California coast. She had set world records and had done things NO swimmer – female OR male – had ever done. But on this day, with millions watching, she stopped just short of her goal. What did Florence Chadwick do after the failure to reach the California shore? What did she do about this experience? Well… she had resilience – she bounced back!


Two months later in that year of 1952, in September, she tried again to swim from Catalina to the California coast. She swam the distance in 13 hours, 47 minutes, and 55 seconds, breaking the world record (which held for the next 27 years!) and becoming the first woman to make that swim. A year later she once again swam the English channel from England to France, setting a new world record (for both women AND men) of just 14 hours and 42 minutes, 2 hours shorter than the previous record! In that same year – within just a few weeks! – she swam the Straits of Gibraltar in 5 hours and 6 minutes, setting a new record for both women and men. She later swam the Bosphorus – a strait near Istanbul connecting Europe and Asia – both ways – and crossed the Turkish Dardanelles (round trip)!


On 12 October, 1955, she set another record for crossing the Channel from England to France, this time in just 13 hours, 55 minutes! She made her last long-distance swim in 1960 at the age of 42. What a champion! What a woman!


There are lessons to be learned from Florence. Have you ever lost hope when you were reaching for a shore, for a goal? Do you ever become discouraged or give up when you can’t see the goal? And if you fail to reach a goal, do you give up ever trying again? One great lesson from her life is: Never give up! Keep going! And if you fail, try again! Hang in there!  She was such a great example of perseverance, of courage, of HOPE!





When I was in 3rd grade in Cedar City Elementary, my teacher was Nellie Higbee. She was wonderful. She taught me that love was a verb among many other important things. She really cared about us. One thing she did which I’ll never forget is take us to her home in small groups. She served us dinner, teaching us about manners. She’d take around 3 boys and 3 girls, and she helped the boys learned to hold the chair for us. We learned about napkins and no elbows on the table and chew with your mouth closed. But we learned so much more than that, having her be so kind and helpful to each of us. That was back when teachers could paddle you, but she never got angry that I can remember (even with MEE in her class!). Many years passed, and I was working at the MTC. I was greeting a new group of senior missionaries – something I enjoyed SO much! After we finished, a senior sister came up and looked closely at my name tag and then burst into tears. It was Nellie Higbee! She was going on a mission! I can’t remember where, but I do remember what she whispered to me when I hugged her. “I was your teacher many years ago, and now you are my teacher.” It was a sweet blessing to have contact with her again after such a long time, and to be able to thank her for her important influence in the life of a busy, wiggly little 3rd grader. I tried to find a picture of me in the 3rd grade; I was unsuccessful. But I found one of my younger sister, Charlotte, when she was in 3rd grade. She’s on the 2nd row, 3rd one in from the left. It looks like she was pondering!


And here’s a picture of the two of us when I was maybe in Kindergarten and she was (and still is) 2 years younger. I also found a picture of me when I might have been about 3rd or 4th grade (or graduation from high school)… I don’t know….



I share this and think of many others in my life who, like Nellie Higbee, have been an influence. I wish I could thank them all, individually and specifically. I look forward to having that chance some day when we’re “Over There” (and don’t have to measure time). I think we could all be more aware of opportunities to say “thank you” to those who have been a positive influence in our lives. It’s been fun to focus on dear Nellie Higbee today.



CANCER and whnf


Years ago I wrote down some thoughts I’d had about cancer when I was working as a nurse (a profession I LOVED!). I worked with many patients who had cancer, and in my thoughts (often SAD because of my experiences with patients and their loved ones) I began to compare cancer to what’s-his-no-face. The first time I saw cancer “close-up” as I observed it during surgery on a patient who had it, I knew I hated cancer. I hated it instantly. It seemed to me the cancer had been trying to “sneak around,” hiding inside and behind, trying not to show ANY signs or symptoms until it would be too late. It seems to be similar to the way he works on us to destroy our peace, our happiness, and even our future. He wants to get us off the straight and narrow just tiny inches and steps at a time. He starts out just wanting us to “loosen our grip” on the iron rod. He’s like “here a little and there a little.” He tries to make us believe that “just once” won’t make any difference at all. And – like cancer sometimes – he keeps up his nefarious and relentless efforts until he feels he’s “got us” – that we’ll never be able to recover. And it seems like he’s speeding up (well… speeding DOWN) as the time gets shorter – as we get closer to having the Savior return (I’m praying earnestly that it can be SOON).


There are continuing efforts to conquer cancer – to detect it earlier and to treat it more effectively. The whole process is a lot different now than it was in 1960 when I first realized how much I hated cancer. (I’ve hated whnf “forever”).


There are continuing effective ways to detect evil (I dropped the “d”) in our lives. We have a light inside of us – we were born with it. The harder we try to CTR (choose the right), the brighter it shines (and the more effective we are as examples of the believers). We have a Still Small Voice (SSV), and we are warned the INSTANT we are even approaching the edge of the straight and narrow path, or are even loosening our grip ever so slightly on the iron rod. Is there anything going on in your life, in your mind, in your heart which is warning you? … making you feel uneasy or uncomfortable? Pay attention. Don’t wait for stronger “symptoms.” Don’t wait a minute or even a second longer to make needed, critical, life-saving (eternal life) changes.


And for my several friends who are fighting (and have fought) cancer, I have good news. Here are things CANCER CANNOT DO!!  Cancer is SO LIMITED! CANCER CANNOT CRIPPLE LOVE! Not your for others, and not others’ for you, and certainly not your love for your Heavenly Father and His love for you; He will keep ALL of His promises!! CANCER CANNOT SHATTER HOPE! We press forward through our trials with “a perfect brightness of hope” (2 Nephi 31:20). We cling to our hopes, not our fears. A Russian Proverb: “In the kingdom of HOPE there is no winter.” President Ezra Taft Benson: “Hope is an anchor to the souls of men.” (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 398). Our hope is anchored in Jesus Christ.  CANCER CANNOT CORRODE FAITH! The stronger our faith, the weaker our worries. The first principle of the gospel is faith. The more we take hold of faith, the more it takes hold of us. As with hope, our faith is anchored in Jesus Christ.


CANCER CANNOT DESTROY PEACE! Sweet is the peace the gospel brings (Hymn # 14). Peace of soul can come even when there is an attack on the body. As we turn our lives over to God, He will “pour out peace.” (Ezra Taft Benson, Teachings, p. 361). Such things as scriptures, prayer, and music can bring peace and tranquility.  CANCER CANNOT KILL FRIENDSHIP! A friend loveth at all times, and a brother [or sister] is born for adversity. (Proverbs 17:17) “Till heart meets with heart and rejoices, in friendship that ever is true.” (Hymn # 232). Christ called those close to Him friends. (John 15:15) “All of us need help from time to time.  We need encouragement. We need friends who will stand by us through thick and thin. I ask each of you to be that kind of a friend.” (Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, May 1996).


CANCER CANNOT ERASE MEMORIES!  To have sweet memories is to be richly blessed. Even as time goes by, memories can continue to teach us, remind us, comfort us, and bless us. CANCER CANNOT SILENCE COURAGE! Encouragement to be brave and true often comes from those who love us and care for us. Loving others deeply can give you courage. Courage isn’t always loud – sometimes courage is a quiet feeling at the end of the day that says “I’ll try again tomorrow.”  “Discouragement can become contagious. You must rise above it and lift those about you.” (Gordon B. Hinckley, LDS Church News, July 4, 1998). CANCER CANNOT SILENCE PRAYER! The soul’s sincere desire – prayer – is stronger than cancer and a whole lot of other things. Tying it to courage, it has been said that courage is fear that has prayed. The Prophet Joseph Smith said that “the best way to obtain truth and wisdom is … to go to God in prayer and obtain divine teaching.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 191) – It is also likely the best way to obtain comfort and other needed blessings.


CANCER CANNOT STEAL ETERNAL LIFE! That is between you and God – cancer has NO ROLE in where and how you will spend eternity! Nothing and no one is stronger than your Heavenly Father’s love for you and His desire to have you come HOME.  CANCER CANNOT CONQUER YOUR SPIRIT! “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Corinthians 6:20) God the Eternal Father is the Father of your spirit! Remember that you have an unconquerable spirit! Shout it out: “I have cancer… but cancer doesn’t have me!!”


May we loving and compassionately admire those who fighting, admire and rejoice with the survivors, and honor and remember those who are taken HOME.  And – finally – Heaven can cure what earth may not be able to cure. Cancer is temporary. You will live forever. Read again the words to Hymn # 115 – COME, YE DISCONSOLATE. “Earth has no sorrow that heav’n cannot heal!” “Earth has no sorrow that heav’n cannot cure!”




Does it seem to you like there is an increase of darkness, confusion, contention, and trouble in this world where we live? In the country where you live, the community, and even the neighborhood? And perhaps even in your own home with your own family? Maybe, maybe not. But I’ve been thinking a LOT about a quote from FEI: “The last days are getting laster.” I think I know what she means – it seems that WHNF (what’s-his-no-face) is “pulling out all the stops” – he knows his time is limited, and he’s going to drag as many with him as he can. I do NOT want to be among that number!! I want to be TRUE and FAITHFUL. I want to be STEADFAST and IMMOVABLE! And amidst all the exceedingly difficult days we are experiencing, I want to be HAPPY. And I want to be at PEACE.


I love the words of the hymn penned by Emma Lou Thayne: “Where Can I Turn For Peace?” She reminds me that there is only ONE Who can understand me completely, and only ONE Who can provide genuine, lasting, sweet wonderful PEACE. The ONE is, of course, the Savior. OUR Savior. And I’ve been thinking that we can help. We can be instruments of peace. “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.” Let there be peace in our world, in our country, in our neighborhoods, and in our homes and families. And OH… let there be peace in our hearts, in our souls.


Years ago I was in Arizona, probably to give a talk, and I ended up in the Visitors’ Center by the Mesa Temple. I wanted to say hello to the “Seesters.” It was a fun time in my life when I had the blessing of teaching all the sister missionaries each Sunday at the MTC, so I loved saying hello to them wherever I went. As I went in the center, I noticed a group of them getting ready for the day. Before I approached, I noticed a man walk in the door, and the Sisters turned towards him. I was close enough to hear what happened. The man looked disheveled… maybe I’d use the word “homeless.” He seemed a bit shy, but he began sharing with the Sisters. He said something like this: “I just noticed you in here, and I’ve been looking for a place where I could get some help. I haven’t had a chance to bathe or change clothes in quite a while, and I haven’t had much to eat lately. I just need some help, and I’m wondering if you can help me.” Wow! Instantly one of the Sisters stepped forward to shake his hand and said “You’ve come to the right place!” I’ll admit that it brought tears – I was deeply moved by what happened. The Sisters all “pitched in,” telling him of a place nearby where he could have a shower, get some clothing, get a meal, and even a place to sleep if he needed it. (I later found out that they knew of a shelter where those in need were welcome). He expressed thanks, and they assured him that Heaven was aware of him. There was more to it than this, but I think I’ve caught the essence of what happened and what was said. I’ll never forget it.


My message today (for myself as well as for anyone else who might feel it’s worth thinking about) is that we get to help the Savior provide PEACE for any who are within our circle. And we can make that circle as wide as possible… perhaps our circle is wider some days than others… there may be days (even lots of days) when WE’RE searching for some help, for peace. But even then – even when WE feel a need – we still may be able to help provide help for others. You have likely done more of this than you remember or realize. You have provided a “safe haven” – a safe place – and a refuge for those who have been searching for help, for peace.


Here’s something you might do today, on the Sabbath (or ANY day!): Read all the verses of Hymn # 85: “How Firm a Foundation.” This is one of my 100 favorite hymns (it may be one of my 50 favorites… or even amongst my 20 favorites… I LOVE THIS HYMN). I’ve memorized the words. Read the verses and ponder the fact – the truth – that HE will NEVER FORSAKE US! And then ponder the fact that you can help. YOU CAN HELP. You HAVE helped, and you can continue to do so. May you know how much happiness there is in Heaven because YOU choose to be an instrument of peace. May it bring sweet peace to your heart and your soul (enough and to share). Have a beautiful, meaningful Sabbath.