Monday, September 11, 2017

Get Up

A few months ago, a sister in my church congregation shared a story of when she was a young mother. She related the experience of having a series of unfortunate events and then... she entered her laundry room. She took one look at her laundry pile and collapsed right in the middle of the unwashed mountain. Either vocally or in her mind she cried out for help from her Heavenly Father. She was feeling overwhelmed, unable to accomplish all that she had before her. I don't know how long she cried out before the thought came to her: "Get Up." Having that thought, she realized that God knew her heart (and her mental condition!) If He would have directed her to "go do your laundry" or "separate the lights clothes from the dark clothes" that may have been too much. He simply directed her to: get up. I like that. Baby steps. Line upon line, precept upon precept, one foot in front of the other. Simply--get up.

My stepfather passed away on September 1st, a Friday. My mother, his high school sweetheart and wife of 42 years got up the next morning and started taking care of funeral arrangements. The following day, a Sunday, she got up and went to church all by herself. She was the first in her congregation to get up and share her feelings of the teachings of Jesus Christ. She is my hero. She continues to get up in spite of the unknown, loneliness and grieving.

Paula, my best friend from college came to my stepdads viewing. I recognize her attendance was more than social protocol. This was Paula getting up. Paula's mom passed away just a year ago. I'm positive that Paula would give anything to sit in her favorite chair in their living room and visit with her mother just one more time. Attending a viewing would only bring that painful memory to the surface. But, Paula got up. And in her getting up, she strengthened me and I was able to get up today.

I am grateful to all of you that get up in spite of doubts, fears or heartache. You inspire me. May we all hear and heed the voice to get up, go forward, one foot in front of the other and conquer that mountain of fear, doubt, heartache or... laundry.

Mom and Kent's children. We are missing Stephanie

Pallbearers, sons and grandsons
Kyle- my brother and Kent's son. Dallas- my nephew and Kent's grandson

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

We're Gettin' The Band Back Together!

The band hasn't played together for about 2.5 years! So, this summer has been an unique experience. We had a Lloyd family reunion scheduled for late July in Heber, UT. I took advantage of the timing and flew out a few days early to reconnect with some beautiful souls before my family followed in the "still kickin' it" 1999 Plymouth Voyager!

 I got to see my beautiful sister/friend, Esther. We met in student housing at BYU when both of our husbands were in graduate school. Our friendship will out-last those fireproof steel doors of Wymount Terrace!

From our time spent in P-town, my life has been blessed with angels along the way: Margot, Sheila, Dara, Melody, Lisa Maree, Becky, Marin and the picture below: Sister Sherry Ritchie Platt!!

One SWEET experience was surprising Sherry and her family at Hailee's (Sherry's daughter) mission farewell. Sherry and I were mission companions in the New Zealand, Auckland mission. Twenty and some odd years later, Sherry makes me laugh just as hard! This past year, our daughters attended Utah State University together. Sherry is the friend that will move heaven and earth to let you know you are loved. 

My sister is the one that will move heaven and earth and a door or two to make you feel at home! 

 Thanks to Scott's sister, Deanna, The Lloyd family reunion at Heber Valley Camp was a great success! 

The Heber Valley Cabins were a great shelter during a welcome rain!

Bread-sticks not pictured.
After the reunion, we took the southern route back to Nor Cal and stopped in St. George, UT for a night. We enjoyed the washer and dryer provided at the hotel and we highly recommend the bread sticks from Pizza Factory!!

Our last big stop before returning home, Universal Studios, Hollywood

Gerry Beach, my dad's friend of 50 years plus, allowed us to stay in his home in Westminster, CA so we didn't have to take out a small business loan to house a family of seven in a Burbank hotel.

Overlooking the Valley outside of Universal Studios Hollywood.

One HUGE turkey leg and one HAPPY seventeen year old!

Girls on Scooters!

Natalie and I decided we would skip the "Walking Dead" ride.

The Millionaire (minus $700 for Universal Studio tickets!) and his wife.

We stopped by Seal beach before braving the rest of the drive back up I-5

In-spite of the 30 hours spent on the interstate, the band is grateful for their time together and plans on another "world tour" soon!!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

They of the Last Wagon

I worry. And if I was a betting woman, I would bet that most of you reading this, also worry. (All three of you!)

But don't worry! I've learned the three of us are not alone! Most humans worry. In an address by John S. Tanner, he relates the following: "According to Parley P. Pratt, the pioneers who endured the first terrible winter in the Salt Lake valley suffered more from fear than from actual hunger." Brother Tanner continues; "Uncertainty can be more chilling than winter, doubt more gnawing than huger, tempest of the mind more fearful than

pelting rain." Brother Tanner emphasizes the human propensity to worry as he quotes Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, whom "describes a peculiar reaction evident in many people picked up by the Soviet secret police: "Sometimes the principal emotion of the person arrested is relief and even happiness!" Solzhenitsyn explains, there is a kind of exhaustion that is worse than any kind of arrest." Brother Tanner nails it when he states: "Not knowing when or if an affliction will end is often more taxing than the affliction itself."

I've felt this affliction of the unknown. I'm sure you have too. How do you remedy it? How do you find the strength to continue when your spouse is unemployed, or a child suffers a debilitating illness or the evil of the world seems insurmountable? I believe the answer is faith. Faith in what or whom? I would suggest, faith in God and His promises. 

At times, faith in God is hard. We can't see God or the "distant scene". I relate to the father of the afflicted child in the New Testament book of Mark. In essence, the Savior asks the father of an afflicted child, "How long has your son been afflicted? The father responds, "since he was a child." In verse 23 we read: "Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief." (Mark 9:23-24)

The father had enough faith to ask the Lord for his help to heal his son, but was his faith sufficient for his son to be healed? My answer is: yes! In verse 27 we learn, " But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose." My take-away from this narrative is this: if we have the faith enough to ask the Lord for His help, He will meet us half way in our seemingly "belief/unbelief" impasse. Also, I've learned, if your faith is failing, feel free to surround yourself with those of unfaltering faith. 

Relating the plight of pioneers of 170 years ago, making the trek across the unforgiving desolate plains, J. Reuben Clark shares with us a mighty metaphor for living by faith:

… Back in the last wagon, not always could they see the Brethren way out in front, and the blue heaven was often shut out from their sight by heavy, dense clouds of the dust of the earth. Yet day after day, they of the last wagon pressed forward, worn and tired, footsore, sometimes almost disheartened, borne up by their faith that God loved them, that the restored gospel was true, and that the Lord led and directed the Brethren out in front. Sometimes, they in the last wagon glimpsed, for an instant, when faith surged strongest, the glories of a celestial world, but it seemed so far away, and the vision so quickly vanished because want and weariness and heartache and sometimes discouragement were always pressing so near.
When the vision faded, their hearts sank. But they prayed again and pushed on, with little praise, with not too much encouragement, and never with adulation. … Yet in that last wagon there was devotion and loyalty and integrity and, above and beyond everything else, faith in the Brethren and in God’s power and goodness. …
So through dust and dirt, … they crept along till, passing down through its portals, the valley welcomed them to rest and home. …
So when the view of our future seems obscured by the "heavy dense clouds of the dust of the earth", may we have the desire to cultivate sufficient faith- the faith of "they of the last wagon."