Who knows what brings a certain idea to mind. Well, I don’t know what brought this one to my mind (my aging mind with only about a 2GB “hard drive” … no wonder I forget so much so quickly!). I decided I’d like to share something I put together 3 years ago. It’s a message about spirituality, and it was presented at the BYU Women’s Conference. The title they gave was: “Replenishing and Fortifying Our Spiritual Reserves.” The more I worked on what I wanted to share, the more I wanted to have this title: GOT OIL?  IF you decide to read this, I think you’ll realize why I chose that title (I still like it a lot).  (Note: If you didn’t already know it, I use a lot of “ALL CAPS” when I write things down. Perhaps I should use italics, or underline, or even bold … but my habit is CAPS.)


It’s been a wonderful experience to ponder on the theme of this year’s conference and the theme for this session: “REPLENISHING AND FORTIFYING OUR SPIRITUAL RESERVES.”  I’ve thought so much about having a SPIRITUAL RESERVE.  I’ve wondered what that means.

I have come to feel that it’s having “enough and to spare” of SPIRITUALITY.  And WHAT IS SPIRITUALITY?

Years ago I had been invited to participate in a Sunday evening fireside.  When I arrived, the woman who had invited me – the only one I knew in this area – hadn’t come yet, so I just sat at the back and waited.  Two older sisters were sitting right in front of me, and in a loud whisper the one asked the other: “Who did you say is speaking?”  The response went something like this:

“Her name is Mary Ellen Edmunds, and I hear she’s really SPIRITUAL….”  Well… that got me thinking….  What did she mean?  That I attend meetings regularly?  I do.  Keep all Ten Commandments?  I hope so!  Pay my Tithing?  Yes.  Did I have a GLOW about me?  No.

I think SPIRITUALITY is a whole lot more than what someone may have thought.  Simply stated, I think SPIRITUALITY is the DESIRE (and the increasing ABILITY) to SEEK, RECOGNIZE, and RESPOND to the SPIRIT – It’s doing what we need to do to have the SPIRIT – the GIFT of the HOLY GHOST – with us ALWAYS.  Spirituality leads to Godliness, to holiness, to personal goodness, to a mighty change of heart – to a sweeter relationship with our Heavenly Father and our Savior (as well as with each other).

I love the way Alma speaks of SPIRITUAL REBIRTH as an AWAKENING.  He tells us that with some, God “awakened” them, and that they “awoke unto God.”  This awareness of God, and a sensitivity to what is sacred with the help of the Holy Ghost, is the essence of spirituality.

(See Nephi Jensen, “What Does It Mean to be Spiritual?” Nephi Jensen. Improvement Era 1940)

The guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Ghost, can sometimes lead us to life-saving actions – for ourselves as well as others – both temporally and spiritually.

A friend who avoids going to doctors had a strong prompting a few years ago to do just that; she’d been experiencing unusually strong dizzy spells.  It was discovered that she had a life-threatening cerebral aneurysm.  If she hadn’t responded to the prompting and received treatment – surgery – she may not be with us today.

Years ago a Primary chorister followed a strong prompting to visit a little girl who had stopped coming to Primary, mostly because she was the only one in her family who was participating in the Church in any way.  The chorister told her she missed her.  She said “We don’t have anyone to sing the high notes.”  The little girl came back, and she never left again.  Her life was changed for the good – and she eventually sang the high notes as a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir!

SPIRITUAL GROWTH comes from SPIRITUAL SOURCES. Each time we respond to the Spirit – to PROMPTINGS from the HOLY GHOST – we increase our spirituality.  We REPLENISH our SPIRITUAL RESERVE.

From the BIBLE DICTIONARY: (p. 704)  The gift of the Holy Ghost is the right to have, whenever one is worthy, the companionship of the Holy Ghost.  More powerful than that which is available before baptism, it acts as a cleansing agent to purify a person and sanctify him from all sin.  Thus it is often spoken of as “fire.”

ELDER BRUCE R. McCONKIE: Men are born into mortality with the talents and abilities acquired by obedience to law in their first estate.  Above all talents – greater than any other capacities, chief among all endowments – stands the talent for spirituality. (The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man, p.234)

If we think of spirituality as a TALENT … it likely means we can IMPROVE our ability to recognize and respond to the Spirit (rather than DEMONSTRATING how spiritual we are in a TALENT SHOW).

JACOB teaches: . . . Remember, to be carnally-minded is death, and to be spiritually-minded is life eternal.  (2 Nephi 9:39)  And from the APOSTLE PAUL: …to be spiritually minded is LIFE and PEACE.  (Romans 8:6)  Part of what being “spiritually minded” means is to follow the Savior’s admonition to “look unto [HIM] in every thought…”  (Doctrine and Covenants 6:36)

ELDER DALLIN H. OAKS:  The first of the Ten Commandments – “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3) – epitomizes the nature of spirituality.  A SPIRITUAL PERSON HAS NO PRIORITIES AHEAD OF GOD.  (Dallin H. Oaks, Pure in Heart, p.120)

Nothing comes before Him – there are NO priorities ahead of God.  This can be a very helpful KEY to keep in mind as we strive to PRIORITIZE the many responsibilities we have in our busy lives.

PRESIDENT EZRA TAFT BENSON: We must put God in the forefront of everything else in our lives. … When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives. (“The Great Commandment – Love the Lord,” Ensign, May 1988)

One thing that came to my mind as I pondered about having a SPIRITUAL RESERVE was the RESERVOIRS which hold in RESERVE the water we need.  When we speak of the RESERVOIRS OF WATER, we worry when there is a DROUGHT.  With our PERSONAL SPIRITUAL RESERVOIRS, we should worry even more when there is DOUBT. As PRESIDENT UCHTDORF taught, “Please, first doubt your doubts, before you doubt your faith.”  (LDS Church News, Saturday, 05 October, 2013)


Our personal SPIRITUAL RESERVE is compared to OIL in the SCRIPTURES.  We’re familiar with the PARABLE about the 10 VIRGINS – FIVE had a “RESERVE” of OIL for their LAMPS, and FIVE did not.  SO WHAT IS THE OIL?  WHAT DOES IT REPRESENT?  The OIL is the SPIRIT – it is the HOLY GHOST.  It represents the depth and strength of our TESTIMONY of JESUS CHRIST – the “condition” of our SPIRITUAL RESERVE.

The five WISE VIRGINS had prepared themselves carefully for the coming of the BRIDEGROOM (JESUS CHRIST).  They had filled their lamps with OIL to provide LIGHT (and maybe also some HEAT) – they had fortified their SPIRITUAL RESERVE with good works, love, obedience, with being true and faithful.  In this parable, the Lord uses OIL to represent SPIRITUAL PREPARATION, something which CANNOT BE BORROWED AT THE LAST MINUTE.

PRESIDENT SPENCER W. KIMBALL  I believe that the Ten Virgins represent the people of the Church of Jesus Christ. . . . [The five who were foolish] had the saving, exalting gospel, but it had not been made the center of their lives. (Faith Precedes the Miracle, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1972, pp. 253-54; see also Matt 25:1-13)

It’s HAPPIFYING to me to be with all of you and to know that you are wise women – you’re here because you have a desire to be TRUE and FAITHFUL. You have OIL… you have a SPIRITUAL RESERVE, and you “LET YOUR LIGHT SO SHINE!”  THANK YOU!

PRESIDENT JAMES E. FAUST: … spirituality is like sunlight: it passes into the unclean and is not tainted. May our lives be such, that the spiritual within us may ascend up through the common . . ., the evil, and sanctify our souls.   (James E. Faust, To Reach Even unto You, p.16)

ELDER DALLIN H. OAKS: We should seek after spiritual gifts. They can lead us to God. They can shield us from the power of the adversary. They can compensate for our inadequacies and repair our imperfections. (“Spiritual Gifts,” Ensign, September 1986)

We seek THE BEST GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT and use them in kindness and service to others.

PRESIDENT DAVID O. McKAY:  The development of our spiritual nature should concern us most. Spirituality is the highest acquisition of the soul, the divine in man. (David O. McKay, Pathways to Happiness , p.377)

There are no limitations to our faith when we build it upon spirituality – when we add OIL to our LAMPS and our LIVES, ONE DROP AT A TIME.  (Talk about essential oil!!) 

HOW DO WE KEEP OIL IN OUR LAMPS – HOW CAN WE REPLENISH OUR SPIRITUAL RESERVES?  By keeping the commandments of God.  By living our religion with all our hearts.

WILFORD WOODRUFF:  When we are laboring for the kingdom of God, we will have oil in our lamps, our light will shine and we will feel the testimony of the spirit of God. (See Wilford Woodruff, The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, edited by G. Homer Durham, p.124) (JD 22:208, January 9, 1881).

Here are a few SUGGESTIONS as to how we might replenish and fortify our spiritual reserves – add oil to our lamps and to our extra supply of oil.  As I share some ideas, I sincerely hope the Spirit will prompt you to choose even ONE THING which will make a difference in your life.  As always, you’ll learn so much more from the SPIRIT – from the Holy Ghost – than you will from me.  These ideas are not necessarily in any order (so – for YOU – the LAST may be FIRST!)

1- THINK DEEPLY – PONDER and MEDITATE more.  These are significant, wonderful ways to increase spirituality.  Find a time and a place where you can do this, even for short periods of time.  Maybe it will be while you’re driving, or walking, folding laundry, rocking a baby, taking time for a longer-than-usual moments in just letting your mind be QUIET as you welcome promptings from the Holy Ghost.  These can be REFINING experiences.

PRESIDENT DAVID O. McKAY:  We pay too little attention to the value of meditation, a principle of devotion…. Meditation is the language of the soul. It is defined as ‘a form of private devotion, or spiritual exercise, consisting in deep, continued reflection on some religious theme.’ Meditation is a form of prayer. (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay, 29)

Often, meditating becomes a time when we can do more LISTENING, when we can give our Heavenly Father a chance to communicate with us through His Spirit.  My personal times of meditation and pondering have brought me sweet spiritual experiences.

2- PRAY EARNESTLY – Do what you need to do to make your communication with your Heavenly Father matter more and be more enjoyable.  Communicate honestly and often.  There is a huge difference between “saying your prayers” and “communicating with your Heavenly Father” – COUNSELING with Him.  (Which means we give Him a turn! – We allow Him to tell US what’s on HIS mind, not just the other way around).  The most meaningful experiences with prayer happen when we allow the Spirit to help us know what to pray about.  Prayer is the opportunity to turn to the spiritual things in life, and to discover a sweeter, deeper relationship with our Heavenly Father, the Savior, and the Holy Ghost.

3- SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES – Put these meaningful, wonderful thoughts and reminders into your heart OFTEN, and you will have OIL for your lamps – you will have the LIGHT you need in your life.  Studying the scriptures increases our spirituality, and with that increased spirituality we can see our way more clearly to gain the inspiration from the Lord for our challenges and problems.

THE LAW OF THE FAST is a source of spiritual strength – Read ISAIAH CHAPTER 58 again to be reminded of some of the sweetest blessings in all of scripture!  FEAST on the scriptures, and you’ll have PLENTY of things to think and ponder about.

4 – FOLLOW THE PROPHET – Most if not all of us had the opportunity (the blessing) to raise our hands to sustain President Thomas S. Monson as not just the PRESIDENT of the Church, but the current LIVING PROPHET. And we sustained him and 14 others as “Prophets, Seers, and Revelators.”  What does it mean to SUSTAIN them?

ELDER DAVID B. HAIGHT:  When we sustain the President of the Church by our uplifted hand, it not only signifies that we acknowledge before God that he is the rightful possessor of all the priesthood keys; it also means that we covenant with God that we will abide by the direction and the counsel that come through His prophet. It is a solemn covenant. (Conference Report, Oct. 1994, 17; Ensign, Nov. 1994, 14–15).

If you want an incredible resource for things to PONDER . . . go to the talks from these 15 and other speakers at the recent General Conference.  This is an opportunity for great spiritual refreshment and renewal.

PRESIDENT MARION G. ROMNEY: (After a General Conference)  We have heard enough truth and direction in this conference to bring us into the presence of God if we would follow it. We have been taken on to the spiritual mountain and shown visions of great glory.  (Conference Report, Apr. 1954, 132–33).

PRESIDENT HOWARD W. HUNTER:  Our modern-day prophets have encouraged us to make the reading of the conference editions of our Church magazines an important and regular part of our personal study. Thus, general conference becomes, in a sense, a supplement to or an extension of the Doctrine and Covenants.  (The Teachings of Howard W. Hunter, ed. Clyde J. Williams [1997], 212)

5- EXPRESS GRATITUDE OFTEN! – Being thankful (and expressing thanks) is a healthy thing to do.  PSALM 92:1 – It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord.

PRESIDENT EZRA TAFT BENSON: The Prophet Joseph said at one time that one of the greatest sins of which the Latter-day Saints would be guilty is the sin of ingratitude. I presume most of us have not thought of that as a great sin. . . .  sometimes I feel we need to devote more of our prayers to expressions of gratitude and thanksgiving for blessings already received. We enjoy so much. (God, Family, Country: Our Three Great Loyalties, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1974], p. 199.)

PRESIDENT MARION G. ROMNEY:  It is perfectly evident from [Doctrine and Covenants 59:7] that to thank the Lord in all things is not merely a courtesy.  It is a commandment as binding upon us as any other commandment. (Marion G. Romney, Area Conference Report, San Jose, 1977:12)

6- COME TO THE TEMPLE! – This can be like jumping in a reservoir full of water… except that it’s a reservoir of SPIRITUALITY.  Even if we can just be on the GROUNDS of a Temple, or sit in the foyer for a little while – get your soul “FILLED” as often as possible!  The temple provides a unique setting for understanding spiritual things.

PRESIDENT EZRA TAFT BENSON:  I promise you that, with increased attendance in the temples of our God, you shall receive increased personal revelation to bless your life . . . .  (“The Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants,” Ensign, May 1987, 85).  There is a power associated with ordinances of heaven — even the power of godliness — which can and will thwart the forces of evil if we will but be worthy of those sacred [covenants made in the temple of the Lord]. ¼   Our families will be protected, our children will be safeguarded as we live the gospel, visit the temple, and live close to the Lord.  (Atlanta Georgia Temple Cornerstone Laying, 1 June 1983)

PRESIDENT GORDON B. HINCKLEY:  . . . who, in these times of stress, would not welcome an occasional opportunity to shut out the world and enter into the Lord’s house, there to ponder quietly the eternal things of God? (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Why These Temples?” Ensign, Aug. 1974, 40–41)  I am satisfied that if our people would attend the temple more, there would be less of selfishness in their lives.  There would be [more] love in their relationships. . . . [and] more of love and peace and happiness in [their] homes.   (Regional Representatives’ Seminar, 6 Apr. 1984.)

ELDER BOYD K. PACKER:  Our labors in the temple cover us with a shield and a protection, both individually and as a people. . . . Blessings there will not be limited to our temple service. We will be blessed in all of our affairs . . . both spiritual and temporal.  (Boyd K. Packer, The Holy Temple, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1980, p. 265, 182)

7- LET YOUR HEART BE FILLED WITH LOVE! – Pray with all the energy of heart to be FILLED with this love, this charity!  Without CHARITY – PURE LOVE – we are NOTHING!!  CHARITY NEVER FAILETH!  It sometimes getteth tired, and maybe even getteth frustrated and impatient . . . but it NEVER faileth!  Matthew 25:34-40 – The “INASMUCH” miracle

PRESIDENT SPENCER W. KIMBALL: One can learn to be loving. If one patterns his life in the mold of love – if he consciously and determinedly directs his thoughts, controls his acts, and tries to feel and constantly express his love – he becomes a person of love, for “As he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7)   (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 245, 251).

Don’t you love experiences like when someone asks how you are and then waits to hear your answer??

PRESIDENT EZRA TAFT BENSON:  When we have the Spirit, we will love to serve, we will love the Lord, and we will love those whom we serve.  (Come Unto Christ, p. 20)

There is a need for us to be filled with the Spirit – with oil for our lamps – and to cherish the gift of the Holy Ghost so that our lights may shine for others and we can help in the hastening of the work of bringing Heavenly Father’s children back to Him.

l A CHURCH LEADER told a group I was in of visiting less active members with another stake leader following a training meeting on working with Church members who were less active.

One woman was a “porcupine.”  When she saw them on the doorstep she almost screamed at them.  “I know why you’re here!”  He responded with “Why ARE we here?”  She said “You’re trying to get me to come back to church.”  He said that had never entered his mind.  So she asked “Well then, why ARE you here?”  He responded with “May we come in and tell you why we’re here?” — and he did this with such love and gentleness that she let him in. (Maybe she was curious!).  They sat down in the living room, and with genuine love he said “This evening the two of us knelt in prayer, asking Heavenly Father who needed us to visit.  Your name came to mind.  Can you think of any reason He’d want us to come and see you?”  She burst into tears and said “Yes … because I’m miserable!  And I’ve been miserable for years!”  And she poured out her story and her heart to them.  She was experiencing SPIRITUAL DROUGHT and MANY DOUBTS….   What followed was a tender time of comfort and healing.

As they got ready to leave, he asked “May we offer a prayer for you before we go?”  She quickly said yes and told them she couldn’t even remember the last time a prayer had been offered in her home.  As the two brothers left, she was in tears, thanking them for their visit.

PRESIDENT EZRA TAFT BENSON: This latter-day work is spiritual.  It takes spirituality to comprehend it, to love it, and to discern it. Therefore, we should seek the Spirit in all we do. That is our challenge.        (Ezra Taft Benson, The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson , p.92)

Brother RICHARD L. BEDNAR and SCOTT R. PETERSON shared the following:  Trivializing spiritual activity is a major stumbling block to cultivating true spirituality.  As long as we call activities spiritual when they are not, true spirituality is blocked and frustrated . . . .  If we trivialize spiritual activities, we can easily take for granted what could be truly spiritual activities by executing them in a half-hearted way and still calling them spiritual, even though the Spirit is absent. Either way, we have sacrificed spiritual substance for its much more evident, yet empty, form.  (Richard L. Bednar and Scott R. Peterson, Spirituality and Self-Esteem: Developing the Inner Self, p.127)


PRESIDENT GORDON B. HINCKLEY:  It is not enough [for us, you and me, now, in our time] to simply be known as a member of this Church. A solemn obligation rests upon us. . . We must live as true followers of the Christ, with charity towards all . . .  Be grateful, and above all, BE FAITHFUL.        (Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Dawning of a Brighter Day,” Ensign, May 2004)

PRESIDENT J. REUBEN CLARK Jr:  “Our faith must not be difficult to detect.”  (“The Charted Course of the Church in Education,” rev. ed. (1994), 7)

ELDER JEFFREY R. HOLLAND:  Drawing upon my vast background of children’s bedtime stories, I say you can pick your poultry. You can either be like Chicken Little and run about shouting “The sky is falling; the sky is falling” or you can be like the Little Red Hen and forge ahead with the productive tasks of living, regardless of who does or doesn’t help you or who does or doesn’t believe just the way you believe. (“Terror, Triumph, and a Wedding Feast,” CES Fireside for Young Adults, 12 September 2004, Brigham Young University)

DOCTRINE AND COVENANTS 11:12-14   (p. 22)  And now, verily, verily, I say unto thee, put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good — yea, to do justly, to walk humbly, to judge righteously; and this is my Spirit.  Verily, verily, I say unto you, I will impart unto you of my Spirit, which shall enlighten your mind, which shall fill your soul with joy; And then shall ye know, or by this shall you know, all things whatsoever you desire of me, which are pertaining unto things of righteousness, in faith believing in me that you shall receive.


(With just a few slight changes in some of the words)

Let the Holy Spirit guide;  Let him teach you what is true.

He will testify of Christ,  Light your mind with heaven’s view. 

Let the Holy Spirit guard;  Let his whisper govern choice. 

He will lead you safely home  If you listen to his voice. 

Let the Spirit heal your heart  Thru his quiet, gentle pow’r. 

May we purify our lives  To receive him hour by hour. 

May we do all we can do – in this season of our lives – to REPLENISH and FORTIFY our SPIRITUAL RESERVES – our SPIRITUALITY.  I am convinced that as we do this the best we can, the theme of this conference will come true in our lives:  . . . NO GOOD THING WILL BE WITHHELD FROM THEM THAT WALK UPRIGHTLY.  (Psalm 84:11)


56- And at that day, when I shall come in my glory, shall the parable be fulfilled which I spake concerning the ten virgins.  57- For they that are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived – verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day.  58- And the earth shall be given unto them for an inheritance; and they shall multiply and wax strong, and their children shall grow up without sin unto salvation.  59- For the Lord shall be in their midst, and his glory shall be upon them, and he will be their king and their lawgiver.

A Cautionary Tale


An Ancient Parable from The Book of Gomer


Behold, these are the generations of Gomer, son of Homer, son of Omer. 2. And in the days of Gomer, Noah, the Prophet, went unto the people saying, “Prepare ye for the flood which is to come, yea, build yourselves a boat, that ye may not perish.”

  1. Now, Gomer was a member of the Church, and yea, even he taught Sunday School and played, yea, even on the ward softball team.
  2. And Gomer’s wife saith unto him, “Come, let us build unto ourselves a boat as the Prophet commandeth, that we may not perish in the flood.”
  3. But behold, Gomer saith unto his wife, “Worry not, dear wife, for if the flood comes the government will provide boats for us.”
  4. And it came to pass that Gomer did not build a boat for his family.
  5. And Gomer’s wife did go and speak with Noah, and she returned saying, “Behold, Honey, the Prophet saith unto us, ‘Build a boat, that we may preserve ourselves, for the government payeth men not to grow trees, wherefore the government hath not the lumber to build thee a boat.’”
  6. And Gomer answered saying, “Fear not, oh wife, for am I not the star pitcher on the ward softball team? Wherefore, the Church will provide for us a boat, that we perish not.”
  7. And Gomer’s wife went again unto Noah, and she returned unto Gomer, saying, “Behold, mine husband, the Prophet saith that he hath been commanded to build one boat – an ark – and that the Church hath not lumber sufficient to build a boat for everyone’ wherefore, mine husband, let us build a boat, that we might not perish in the flood.”
  8. And Gomer answereth her saying, “Behold, and if we should build a boat, when the flood cometh, will not our neighbors overpower us and take from us our boat; wherefore, what doth it profit a man to build a boat?”
  9. And Gomer’s wife went again unto Noah and she returned, saying, “Behold, the Prophet saith, build unto yourselves a boat, and have faith, for if ye do the Lord’s bidding, He will make thy boat safe for thee.
  10. But Gomer answered his wife, saying, “Behold, thou knowest that there is great inflation in the land, and behold, the price of wood hath gone sky high; therefore, if we wait awhile, perhaps the price will go down again. And then I will build for us a boat.”
  11. And Gomer’s wife went again unto Noah, and she returneth saying, “Thus saith the Prophet, thou shalt haste to build for yourselves a boat, for behold, the price of wood shall NOT go down, but shall continue to rise. Wherefore, oh my husband, I admonish thee to build for ourselves a boat, that we may not perish.”
  12. But Gomer answereth his wife, saying thus, “Behold, for 120 years Noah hath told us to build a boat, to preserve us from the flood, but hath the flood come? Yea, I say, nay, thou knowest it hath not. Wherefore, perhaps the flood will not come for another 120 years… and perhaps it shall not come at all.”
  13. And Gomer’s wife went again unto Noah and returned saying, “The Prophet saith, he knows it has been 120 years, but this mattereth not, because yea, the flood SHALL come; wherefore, ye shall build yourselves a boat!”
  14. And Gomer answered her saying, “Wherewith shall we get shekels sufficient to build ourselves a boat? Thou knowest that we are indebted beyond our means for our fine-twined linens, our spacious home, our new chariot. Nevertheless and notwithstanding, I assure thee that when our payments end, perhaps we shall build ourselves a boat.”
  15. And Gomer’s wife went again unto Noah and returned saying, “Behold, the Prophet saith that we should behave wisely and cut down on our expenditures for recreation and luxuries, and on our conspicuous consumption, and even that we shouldest give each other lumber for Christmas, that we might thereby have lumber sufficient to build a boat.”
  16. But Gomer saith unto her, “What? And shall we languish in sadness without that which entertaineth in our lives? Shall the command to build a boat remove all our joy and merriment??”
  17. Wherefore, Gomer, having justified himself. But yea, he continued his lifestyle of debt and conspicuous consumption, and he paid no heed to the words of Noah.
  18. And Gomer’s wife was filled with anguish and fear, lest the lack of a boat should bring them to suffering and woe. Yet she spake not again to her husband Gomer of her desire that he build a boat.


  1. Now behold, it came to pass, that on a particular day towards evening, that Gomer was once again at play with the ward softball team, and he playeth with all his might, muscle, and strength.
  2. But lo, he seeth something in the sky which giveth him pause and maketh him to wonder. He seeth great flashes of light, and yea, even he heareth the increasing sounds of thunder in the heavens.
  3. And it came to pass that Gomer remembereth the pleadings of his wife as she repeateth the words and counsel of the Prophet Noah.
  4. And lo, Gomer began to fear exceedingly, insomuch that his body began to shaketh.
  5. And he ran, even with all his strength, to buy lumber so that he might have wherewith to build a boat.
  6. But behold, the lumber merchant hath not, and he telleth the crowd which hath gathered that he hath barely enough for his own boat. And there was no lumber to be found in all the land round about.
  7. And later on that same day, as the heavens were opened and the rains fell in abundance, it was as if all the fountains of the deep were opened wide, and the windows of heaven broken, and the flood waters did rise with exceeding speed, insomuch that Gomer began to feel great fear.
  8. And behold, Gomer beheld that he had no boat for his family. And they clingeth to him with their pleading that he save them from the many waters which surroundeth them and growth stronger and deeper.
  9. And it came to pass that as the waters rose higher, his wife saith unto him with sadness, “Behold, my husband, in whom I trusted, thou hast been exceedingly slothful. Thou hast not followed the commands of Noah, the Prophet who gaveth thee wise instruction. And lo, we perish!”
  10. And this is the end of the account of Gomer … and his family ….



New Year’s Resolutions



By Nancy Smyth, Director of Individual and Group Coaching, The Arbinger Institute – 14 Dec 2016


Perhaps there is a better way to make New Year’s resolutions. Each year, people think about making resolutions in order to improve themselves. Perhaps you have already formed yours. Usually resolutions arise from thinking about what we want or need, which is like strategizing and planning a business without having other people in mind. Oftentimes those self-promises we make fade over time. When self-focused, our attention is directed at getting better, changing behavior or attaining something we crave. This way of thinking lacks the whole dimension of motivation and inspiration that could fuel the resolution—our relationship with others. Arbinger proposes that life is lived in relationship—from the most insignificant of projects, or ones that seem totally personal, to projects that impact people globally. When we start to think in terms of our relationship with other people we can begin to see that even a common resolution, like losing weight, is probably not just about me. Perhaps it’s about the energy I will have to engage with others as well as my health not being a worry to other people. When we include a focus on our relationships, we get to see who we are truly being, how we impact others and how we need to change. The solution to growth and change is in discovering our impact on others. If we are going to make resolutions in the familiar form, let’s add a few questions that will carry more inspiration and connection. Consider the following: How will ‘what I want to change’ be for the benefit of others?  How will their life be better when I __________ (fill in the blank)?  How will my relationships improve with this change?  Will this change allow more ease and joy with others?

Here is yet another approach to change that will open up pathways of great understanding and enormous growth this year. Begin without a set plan but commit to being more curious, more open, more present in the moment. If we pay attention, our own internal voice tells us if we are at peace and being responsive to situations and other people or if we are at odds with others. The distinction is palpable. This is when we know if we need a shift in our way of seeing and being. The daily asking of powerful questions can make 2017 an amazing experience for ourselves and others. Each day, consider asking yourself these questions:  Who is the person that needs me to be out of the box, or outward mindset?  What is the smallest thing I can do to shift to a heart at peace?  Who do I need to be or what resistance or image do I need to drop in order to help others get what they need?  How can I champion people in solving seemingly unsolvable problems? Living the answers to these questions will afford the happiness of living for others.

I think you’d enjoy reading/studying some of the blog posts from Arbinger – I find them interesting and thought-provoking.

Here’s what happens to some of us….


OR THIS . . . .



Santa Claus and the Temple


An Apostle Shares What Santa Claus and the Temple Have in Common


By Boyd K. Packer, excerpted from “The Holy Temple” | Nov. 30, 2016

President Packer’s book, The Holy Temple, is a classic of LDS literature that has become one of the most comprehensive and definitive works written about temples. In fact, much of the material found in the Church’s temple preparation pamphlet comes from this inspired book. The following is an excerpt from this book, where President Packer shares insights from John A. Widtsoe of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostle’s and his groundbreaking talk, “Temple Worship.”

The reason the teaching of the gospel ofttimes is so difficult is that ideals in the gospel are such intangible things as faith, repentance, love, humility, reverence, obedience, modesty, and so forth. The dimensions of size and shape and color and texture just do not serve us there. In teaching the gospel we do not re-create the material world around us; we deal with the intangible world within us. It is far easier to re-create the visible, tangible world around us in alphabetical symbols than to re-create the spiritual ideals and have them understood. And yet it can be done, and it can be done most effectively by using symbols. We live in a world of symbols. We know nothing, except by symbols. We make a few marks on a sheet of paper, and we say that they form a word, which stands for love, or hate, or charity, or God or eternity. The marks may not be very beautiful to the eye. No one finds fault with the symbols on the pages of a book because they are not as mighty in their own beauty as the things which they represent. We do not quarrel with the symbol G-O-D because it is not very beautiful, yet represents the majesty of God. We are glad to have symbols, if only the meaning of the symbols is brought home to us. I speak to you tonight; you have not quarreled very much with my manner of delivery, or my choice of words; in following the meaning of the thoughts I have tried to bring home to you, you have forgotten words and manner. There are men who object to Santa Claus, because he does not exist! Such men need spectacles to see that Santa Claus is a symbol; a symbol of the love and joy of Christmas and the Christmas spirit. In the land of my birth there was no Santa Claus, but a little goat was shoved into the room, carrying with it a basket of Christmas toys and gifts. The goat of itself counted for nothing; but the Christmas spirit, which it symbolized, counted for a tremendous lot. We live in a world of symbols. No man or woman can come out of the temple endowed as he should be, unless he has seen, beyond the symbol, the mighty realities for which the symbols stand. (“Temple Worship,” page 62.)

If you will go to the temple and remember that the teaching is symbolic you will never go in the proper spirit without coming away with your vision extended, feeling a little more exalted, with your knowledge increased as to things that are spiritual. The teaching plan is superb. It is inspired. The Lord Himself, the Master Teacher, in His own teaching to His disciples taught constantly in parables, a verbal way to represent symbolically things that might otherwise be difficult to understand. He talked of the common experiences drawn from the lives of His disciples, and He told of hens and chickens, birds, flowers, foxes, trees, burglars, highwaymen, sunsets, the rich and the poor, the physician, patching clothes, pulling weeds, sweeping the house, feeding pigs, threshing grain, storing into barns, building houses, hiring help, and dozens of other things. He talked of the mustard seed, of the pearl. He wanted to teach his hearers, so he talked of simple things in a symbolic sense. None of these things is mysterious or obscure, and all of them are symbolic.


Are you a person who makes lists?? So you like listing? (You have to know that the real meaning of the word “listing” in all things nautical is: leaning. Yes. Like “leaning to port” means the ship is leaning towards the left (port) side. So if YOU are “listing…” Well, I just hope you don’t fall. And now I want to move along to what I mean by LISTS! Do you like to make lists? Are they all over your house or apartment or yurt on post-it notes?


Do you have a “MASTER LIST” reminding you of where all the “minor lists” are? (That’s about what it’s like for mee . . . lists upon lists, making it necessary to have a “master list.”) So this morning I thought I’d share a few thoughts about lists (and don’t think for a single minute that there won’t be MORE posts about lists in the days (or weeks or months) to come.  I think when most of us think of making lists, we’re usually thinking of “TO DO” lists. And this is a good idea… as long as we don’t use lists to remind ourselves of how much we’re NOT DOING . . . . (Oh! I see I’ve hit a nerve with that, eh?). Don’t use lists to destroy your happiness! Lists of things we want to do can be motivational, and also helpful (if we make it so) by giving us ways to organize our time – to prioritize the things we want to DO – things we want to accomplish.  So here are a few ideas for those who are LISTERS. One of the biggest mistakes we make is to confuse QUALITY with QUANTITY. Oh, that’s MEE so much! I even write things down after I’ve done them, just because it feels SO GOOD to CHECK ‘EM OFF! And I can have LOTS of things “checked off,” and yet some of the most important things I want to do are “UN-checked….” Does that right a bell with you too?? I can have a day where I’ve plowed through a whole bunch of “low impact,” EASY things, just to feel happified and satisfied about ALL that I’ve accomplished! Lots and LOTS of almost meaningless “chores” and tasks. But it always seems to shoot a little hole in my balloon when I see that a few of things which didn’t get checked off are the things that would have made a much more satisfying feeling. Hmmmm….


Some of use lists to torture ourselves. Have you ever done that? The lists are LONG (make that L-O-N-G!), and there are so MANY of them!! I make lists even knowing that I’ll never accomplish everything I’ve written down. Never! (I recently wrote myself a note, and it’s posted right here by my computer: I CAN ALREADY TELL THAT MY LIFE IS GOING TO BE TOO SHORT. Yep. I wrote that recently, and I look at it often and think about it. I’m not sure I’m right, but I’m feeling that as time passes I feel a greater need to PRIORITIZE – to do the things I most NEED and WANT to do before I’m “permanently listless” (ie, GONE!).  Don’t set yourself up to fail by making lists way too long (this can turn into a nasty habit!), or making way too many lists. This takes up way too much energy and time. (It takes a LOT of energy just to FIND your many “To Do” lists, doesn’t it!). You keep seeing numbers 5 and 17, which might be the most important things you have on your long list… but all the things around are checked first, and you might never even get to 5 and 17…. Maybe we should have a little notebook with a title on it like “THINGS TO DO MAYBE NEVER” (excellent English, eh?). We could peek in that notebook if we’re ever bored, or if we ever want to feel overwhelmed….


So here are some ideas for making successful “TO DO” lists. (And some of you – likely MOST of you – are already outstanding LISTERS!!… you can skip this part if you want… or you can skip it if you can’t standing reading the post while your lists are waiting for you, looking at you, making you sweat and scream)…. IDEAS for making lists which can HELP you rather than FRUSTRATE you: Keep them SIMPLE. Just put a FEW things on your list, especially if you know today is already packed pretty full with the “must-do” things (which you don’t even write down… like BREATHING???  OK, that wasn’t a good example, but you know what I mean). There may be days when you put only ONE thing on your list! Clean the junk drawer. Finish the talk or lesson for this coming Sunday. Stir the garage (sometimes I use “stir” to mean things like “find out what’s there!!”). Weed the garden. Get the visiting teaching done. You’ll think of what it is (or what they are if you still insist on writing more things down)… the things which, when you’re finished, will make you feel SO GOOD!!  You know, don’t you, that in your morning prayers (or evening if that’s when you make your lists) you can ask for Help in doing the most important things on this particular day. (That was a good idea, in case you kind of skimmed over it….)


OK… some other ideas. MORNINGS. Yes, mornings. Most people do NOT consider themselves to be “morning people.” But I’m just making suggestions, OK? Part of the reason I’m doing this is that many people whom I admire have said that the early morning hours are the best time for some of our most important tasks. Yep. I’m not kidding…. And by the way, I have NO IDEA why morning people and night people are named after BIRDS! Who thought that up??  Early birds and Night owls. ?? I’m proof that sometimes night owls turn into to early birds. Studies have shown (picture someone with a white lab coat on when you read those words, OK?… it’ll make this idea lots more powerful) that early birds are generally happier than night owls! (I found this out on the internet, friends, so it’s gotta be true!). Seriously… it seems that people who are early risers tend to be healthier and happier. Maybe that’s why work hours are mostly in the mornings. (I have to say that 11-7 was by FAR the hardest shift I worked as a nurse… but someone reading this might say it’s their favorite). I know that some people DO work best in the mornings, but some are more productive in the afternoon, or evening, or even in the middle of the night. President Boyd K. Packer: “I have learned that the best time to wrestle with major problems is early in the morning. Our minds are then fresh and alert. The blackboards of our minds have been erased by a good night’s sleep. The accumulated distractions of the day are not in our way. Our bodies have been rested also. That is the time to think something through carefully and to receive personal revelation. For me, it is the best time to prepare lessons for a class I am to teach.” (Teach Ye Diligently, p.243 – 244) And from the Doctrine and Covenants 88:124 – [I was going to shorten it, but the whole thing is pretty good!] “Cease to be idle; cease to be unclean; cease to find fault one with another; cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated.” You’ll “get it” that I mostly wanted to emphasize the part about arising early, right? Maybe you could pick one morning each week to get up earlier than usual?? (Don’t get an ulcer over this… it’s only a suggestion).


Some of you are in a season of life where your children are your “to-do list.” You may be a care giver, and that is your main thing to do each day (oh how I hope you have at least one or two others who take turns giving you a break!).  Take “small bites” out of huge tasks. You probably already do that. Even tackling a small part of something BIG can give you energy and optimism about continuing to work towards finishing. You’re going to give a talk or lesson or other presentation? Make an outline – even just doing that will give you a boost and will move you towards a successful completion. Be “proactive” rather than “reactive.” Take charge of your day as much as you can! Don’t let your email or texts or internet surfing or watching more than you need to of the morning news take away some of your most productive time. If there were a way to measure your use of time, do you think you get in a whole hour of what you’d call “productive time” in a day? With some planning, could you increase that to two hours? Even more? And YES… some days there will be urgent things come up. Most of us have emergencies in our lives….  Sometimes it can be helpful if you DO take 5 minutes or so to write down every single thing you can think of that you need to do NOW (ok… “now” can be “within 24 hours” or “within the month” … but just write down as many things as you can think of without taking the whole day to do it). Maybe do this late in the day, and then take a good look at it the next morning (yes, when our mind is fresh) and select a few of the most critical things – put a star by them, or highlight them, or put them on a separate small list … Another thing you could do is cross out things that don’t matter (if there are any). Tighten it up. Shorten the list. Maybe you can get someone else to do some of the things on the list, eh? Good luck with that!!  There are times when you may need to do a small task because it’s annoying you – you can’t seem to quit thinking about what you want to do in that one closet… (ha ha—I know that quite a few things just popped in your mind… careful now!). Maybe it’s that one window which you need to wash, or the very important phone call or visit… it’s something that your mind keeps wandering back to, making it hard to focus on your high prority stuff. Sometimes you have to kill a fly before you start making salad for dinner (can you tell I just made that up? Awesome!). MeeScreams

OK… I’m going to bring this to a close (in 3,000 words or more). IF you find yourself feeling overwhelmed and disorganized in your life, if you’re constantly saying or feeling that “I’m way too busy!” or if you constantly feel like time is flying on wings of lightning (and no, you cannot call it back)… take a breath, pause, and put 3 or 4 things on a list which will ease your mind, and get them done. I’ve found that when I do something I’ve been “meaning to do!!!” it frees my mind and even sometimes my time, allowing me to do more than I thought I could. Don’t let the lists discourage you or stress you out. Burn them (or shred them if you’ve been forbidden to play with matches) if they’re interfering with your happiness and peace of mind, OK? If your lists are growing like weeds or zucchini, or if you just need to take a day or week or whatever OFF from making and looking at and prioritizing lists… STOP for a while!


And that leads me right into a really good tip (at least I think so): Some days, or for some periods of time on some days, it’s NICE and HEALTHY to be LISTLESS! Got it? LISTLESS! Which means, of course, that we take a break once in a while… no list!


Here is something from the life of Joseph Smith which helps to illustrates what I mean:  That Joseph Smith liked to pull sticks, wrestle, play baseball, swim, and hunt is generally well known. William Allred, who played ball with Joseph many times, recalled an instance when someone criticized the Prophet for indulging in play. To answer the criticism Joseph told a parable about a prophet and a hunter—clearly explaining his own philosophy about the relationship of play to work. As the story goes, a certain prophet sat under a tree “amusing himself in some way.” Along came a hunter and reproved him. The prophet asked the hunter if he always kept his hunting bow strung up. “Oh no,” said he. “Why not?” “Because it would lose its elasticity.” “It is just so with my mind,” stated the prophet; “I do not want it strung up all the time.”  (Biography and Journal of William Moore Allred, photocopy of holograph, Church Hist. Dept. Archives, p. 10) SO KEEP IT HEALTHY! TAKE A BREAK ONCE IN A WHILE AND JUST BE “LIST-LESS!”


And now for a word from our sponsor: Don’t hold your breath, but word has it that MEE is soon going to come up with a BLOG about BUCKET LISTS!! Oh joy! Oh rapture! (We’ll have to wait to see if it really happens; meanwhile, just stick to the “TO-DO” lists and have a wonderful day!!)




President-elect Trump’s speech

Here is the text of the speech Donald Trump delivered when he became the President-elect of the United States of America:

Thank you. Thank you very much, everybody. Sorry to keep you waiting. Complicated business. Complicated. Thank you very much.
I’ve just received a call from Secretary Clinton. She congratulated us. It’s about us. On our victory, and I congratulated her and her family on a very, very hard-fought campaign.
I mean, she fought very hard. Hillary has worked very long and very hard over a long period of time, and we owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country.
I mean that very sincerely. Now it is time for America to bind the wounds of division, have to get together. To all Republicans and Democrats and independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people.
It is time. I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be President for all of Americans, and this is so important to me. For those who have chosen not to support me in the past, of which there were a few people, I’m reaching out to you for your guidance and your help so that we can work together and unify our great country.
As I’ve said from the beginning, ours was not a campaign but rather an incredible and great movement, made up of millions of hard-working men and women who love their country and want a better, brighter future for themselves and for their family.
It is a movement comprised of Americans from all races, religions, backgrounds, and beliefs, who want and expect our government to serve the people — and serve the people it will.
Working together, we will begin the urgent task of rebuilding our nation and renewing the American dream. I’ve spent my entire life in business, looking at the untapped potential in projects and in people all over the world.
That is now what I want to do for our country. Tremendous potential. I’ve gotten to know our country so well. Tremendous potential. It is going to be a beautiful thing. Every single American will have the opportunity to realize his or her fullest potential.
The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.
We are going to fix our inner cities and rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools, hospitals. We’re going to rebuild our infrastructure, which will become, by the way, second to none. And we will put millions of our people to work as we rebuild it.
We will also finally take care of our great veterans who have been so loyal, and I’ve gotten to know so many over this 18-month journey.The time I’ve spent with them during this campaign has been among my greatest honors. Our veterans are incredible people.
We will embark upon a project of national growth and renewal. I will harness the creative talents of our people, and we will call upon the best and brightest to leverage their tremendous talent for the benefit of all. It is going to happen.
We have a great economic plan. We will double our growth and have the strongest economy anywhere in the world. At the same time, we will get along with all other nations willing to get along with us. We will be. We will have great relationships. We expect to have great, great relationships.
No dream is too big, no challenge is too great. Nothing we want for our future is beyond our reach.
America will no longer settle for anything less than the best. We must reclaim our country’s destiny and dream big and bold and daring. We have to do that. We’re going to dream of things for our country, and beautiful things and successful things once again.
I want to tell the world community that while we will always put America’s interests first, we will deal fairly with everyone, with everyone. All people and all other nations.
We will seek common ground, not hostility; partnership, not conflict.
And now I would like to take this moment to thank some of the people who really helped me with this, what they are calling tonight a very, very historic victory.
First, I want to thank my parents, who I know are looking down on me right now. Great people. I’ve learned so much from them. They were wonderful in every regard. Truly great parents.
I also want to thank my sisters, Marianne and Elizabeth, who are here with us tonight. Where are they? They’re here someplace. They’re very shy, actually.
And my brother Robert, my great friend. Where is Robert? Where is Robert?
My brother Robert, and they should be on this stage, but that’s okay. They’re great.
And also my late brother Fred, great guy. Fantastic guy. Fantastic family. I was very lucky.
Great brothers, sisters, great, unbelievable parents.
To Melania and Don and Ivanka and Eric and Tiffany and Barron, I love you and I thank you, and especially for putting up with all of those hours. This was tough.
This was tough. This political stuff is nasty, and it is tough.
So I want to thank my family very much. Really fantastic. Thank you all. Thank you all. Lara, unbelievable job. Unbelievable. Vanessa, thank you. Thank you very much. What a great group.
You’ve all given me such incredible support, and I will tell you that we have a large group of people. You know, they kept saying we have a small staff. Not so small. Look at all of the people that we have. Look at all of these people.
And Kellyanne and Chris and Rudy and Steve and David. We have got tremendously talented people up here, and I want to tell you it’s been very, very special.
I want to give a very special thanks to our former mayor, Rudy Giuliani. He’s unbelievable. Unbelievable. He traveled with us and he went through meetings, and Rudy never changes. Where is Rudy. Where is he?
Gov. Chris Christie, folks, was unbelievable. Thank you, Chris. The first man, first senator, first major, major politician. Let me tell you, he is highly respected in Washington because he is as smart as you get.
Sen. Jeff Sessions. Where is Jeff? A great man. Another great man, very tough competitor. He was not easy. He was not easy. Who is that? Is that the mayor that showed up? Is that Rudy?
Up here. Really a friend to me, but I’ll tell you, I got to know him as a competitor because he was one of the folks that was negotiating to go against those Democrats, Dr. Ben Carson. Where’s Ben? Where is Ben? By the way, Mike Huckabee is here someplace, and he is fantastic. Mike and his family Sarah, thank you very much. Gen. Mike Flynn. Where is Mike? And Gen. Kellogg. We have over 200 generals and admirals that have endorsed our campaign and they are special people.
We have 22 Congressional Medal of Honor people. A very special person who, believe me, I read reports that I wasn’t getting along with him. I never had a bad second with him. He’s an unbelievable star. He is … that’s right, how did you possibly guess? Let me tell you about Reince. I’ve said Reince. I know it. I know it. Look at all of those people over there. I know it, Reince is a superstar. I said, they can’t call you a superstar, Reince, unless we win it. Like Secretariat. He would not have that bust at the track at Belmont.
Reince is really a star and he is the hardest-working guy, and in a certain way I did this. Reince, come up here. Get over here, Reince.
Boy, oh, boy, oh, boy. It’s about time you did this right. My god. Nah, come here. Say something.
Amazing guy. Our partnership with the RNC was so important to the success and what we’ve done, so I also have to say, I’ve gotten to know some incredible people.
The Secret Service people. They’re tough and they’re smart and they’re sharp and I don’t want to mess around with them, I can tell you. And when I want to go and wave to a big group of people and they rip me down and put me back down in the seat, but they are fantastic people so I want to thank the Secret Service.
And law enforcement in New York City, they’re here tonight. These are spectacular people, sometimes underappreciated unfortunately. We appreciate them.
So it’s been what they call a historic event, but to be really historic, we have to do a great job, and I promise you that I will not let you down. We will do a great job. We will do a great job. I look very much forward to being your president, and hopefully at the end of two years or three years or four years or maybe even eight years you will say so many of you worked so hard for us, with you. You will say that — you will say that that was something that you were — really were very proud to do and I can — thank you very much.
And I can only say that while the campaign is over, our work on this movement is now really just beginning. We’re going to get to work immediately for the American people, and we’re going to be doing a job that hopefully you will be so proud of your President. You will be so proud. Again, it’s my honor.
It’s an amazing evening. It’s been an amazing two-year period, and I love this country. Thank you.
Thank you very much. Thank you to Mike Pence.


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.






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.





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!”