Saturday, October 12, 2013

Women Friends

On Monday I ran where I had not been
To find the walking route for your visit
This week has been as many
Work and worry
Writing and teaching
Emptying my pitcher
Serving and caring
Listening and attending

I was looking forward to our walk
Friday I allow space for me but
You are sick and so we will walk another week
Most times I don’t mind
Even enjoy
The time alone with the autumn leaves
The chilly air and expanse of cars and city
I can think better when moving and sweating

Not today
Today I am just lonely
I was looking forward to our talk
Of men, children,
Of spiritual things and testimony
Our womanly joys and disappointments
Our personal and tender concerns
Stories of the past and new challenges
The laughter and tears and of course
The exercise


Instead I write this poem
Sad to miss our time
Grateful for your friendship and
Your example
What I learn from you
How our time energizes and relaxes me
Get well my friend


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Sabbath Running

There is little guilt about running on Sunday
Somehow movement connects to spirit
When stillness does not
To have inspiration, sweat, ground and sky are needed

Where to run though
No longer the short path to the hill
With its expanse of prairie, city scape and mountain
No tiny flowers to notice on well-worn paths

Will I learn to love the river and
Feel the same closeness to energy
On paved paths carefully mapped out
Will I find a new love of forest and valley
Or need instead to forget the sense of connection
To the earth
Can I find heaven close in this new landscape

Faith and being present in the moment
Counting blessings not losses
Is a daily effort
Perhaps soon a habit 

Forging new paths  in my head and heart
While my feet explore new trails

Sunday, August 11, 2013

How Hard Can it Be?

How hard can it be
To assemble a simple gingerbread house?
I made the pieces myself
They are crooked and too thick
I can see that looking at other mothers’
But there is royal icing,
A trusty popsicle stick for spreading
Candies for decorating
It will soon be done
A simple activity for kindergarten

How hard can it be?
Harder than you think
Clumsy hands, too heavy walls
I am shaky and confused
I look around
All the other houses are standing
Only my child is feeling the pain of continuous collapse

 What do I do?
 I am without hope in my own resources
My artist friend comes to my rescue
With skillful, steady hands
She places buttress sticks inside
Invisible but strong enough to keep the walls from falling in
Is it cheating?
Perhaps, but we are saved
Life is good again
Today I am that cookie house
My walls are collapsing
My strength is buckling
Under the strain of work and change
The endless to dos, staying positive
Laughing, shrugging off the loss,
The giving away
The finality of so many things
How do you say goodbye to something dear
A piece of yourself everyday?
The little things and not so little things
How do you keep pushing forward
How do you say goodbye to your life and your past
How do you say goodbye to a brother
Friend and teacher
Always bigger, always strong
How do you do that when
There are boxes to pack and trucks to arrange
How do you say goodbye to the beloved hill
With her flowers and sunrises and inspiration
The peace that renewed my strength so many hard days
How do you when carpets and kitchens
Must be cleaned for new owners
Why, when it makes sense
Do I sob when the men take the piano away?
How do I say goodbye to the hours of music
And testimony and sharing and fun
How when it was in my life since my beginning
Gone are pictures, lovingly made first quilts
Costumes and rackets,
Skis and pots my Father gave me
Books and articles
Artifacts of thoughts and past concerns
All me and my life
What was once but not now

My buttress of optimism
The resolve to do this right
To be strong for others
Is weak today
Where is my artist friend to rescue me
With just the right support, unseen but strong
The Master of Galilee is close I know
How do I find him?
It turns out he is just a musical prayer away
Thank-you Rob Gardner

Remembering and Testimony

I have for many years been mystified by how people can once have a testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and then supposedly lose it. People say, “well they must not have had a testimony in the first place” but I don’t believe that is true.  For my own self, I want to be sure that I remain true and faithful to what I know.  I want to be able to weather the storms of life, the darts of the adversary and my own personal failings and temptations.   

Perhaps how our brains work holds something of the answer to this forgetting.  Yesterday on CBC on “Quirks and Quarks” a question was asked about memory.  The question was whether when we remember something, we are remembering the original experience or whether we are remembering the remembering.  We do in fact remember the memory not the original experience.  Like a computer we make new versions of experience as we remember .  The interesting thing is that the memory is influenced by  what we are thinking at the time we are in the remembering process.  The context of how we are and what we are thinking about when we remember overlays itself on our memory of the original experience.  That means that depending on what is happening to us in the current context, our memory of the past can change or be changed by our current experience.  In relation to testimony, if we are in a state of doubt when we think about a spiritual experience in the past, that memory can be affected by our current doubt.

It turns out then that the ability to remember what we know is a key aspect of maintaining a testimony. Perhaps that is why the Lord uses this word so frequently in the scriptures.  In Mosiah  4:30 King Benjamin says “But this much I can tell you, that if you do not watch yourselves and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of your lives, ye must perish.  And now, O man, remember,  and perish not.”  So when challenges and adversity come, as they will, it is important to remember, truly remember, what we have known and experienced that have built our testimony. 

The purpose of this life is to gain experience and through wise choices gain wisdom, becoming perfected like our Heavenly Parents.  If we are raised in the gospel as I was, we learn about spiritual practices such as prayer and scripture reading, church attendance and service.  We learn how to do these things and by both explicit and implicit (i.e. example) teaching  we have the opportunity to learn the importance of these spiritual practices.

 As we grow older, we take upon ourselves sacred commitments and make promises to the Lord that we have come to know, in the temple. With integrity, we try our best to keep these covenants, thinking deeply about gospel principles and giving ourselves to the service of others.  As we gain experience praying, fasting, not just reading but studying the scriptures, attending years of church meetings and giving service through hard times, we learn to love and come to deeper understandings about the gospel of Jesus Christ.   This experience over time develops into a testimony of the truth of individual principles and of the gospel in its entirety. 

The more we discipline ourselves with these practices, the  more sensitive we become to the Spirit and more able to discern light and truth  The more we experience of light and truth the more we are learn from our experience and  the deeper our testimony becomes. The more we come to understand our daily need for the love, mercy and atonement of Jesus Christ. We learn to overlook the failings of others and in the organization of the church.   This process that begins in our youth as simple instruction and rote obedience, as adults has us make choices to continue this spiritual learning and then to remember what we have learned.  We can become through this process wise as to the things of the spirit. 

As adults we must continue in this spiritual discipline.  Like physical fitness, we much persevere and continue in this practice to maintain our spiritual strength.  Just as physical fitness can be lost, spiritual sensitivity can also be lost through inattention, through participating in activities and exposing ourselves to experiences that take our focus from that which is spiritual.  These are many and varied.  The temptations are real and powerful:  money, career, sex, drugs, alcohol, feminism, activism and intellectualism.  There are too many to list and their power is personal and individual.   Each of us may respond and be tempted to different degreees but in our world these detractors are constant and pernicious.

If the research in how we remember is true, then what we are choosing to do today in relation to spiritual discipline can in fact have us forget what we once knew.  Our current doubt can have us change our past confidence.  This explains how people can begin to tell different stories about their testimony and about what they once knew. It becomes easier to say that they never knew it was true.  This is hard and painful and has me reflect on what I know and have learned.  It encourages me to rehearse often in times of both strength and weakness what my past experiences have meant, what I know to be true to be sure that I remember and do not lose the spiritual wisdom and light that I now have.

I have experienced the direction of the Spirit in both the mundane i.e. where is the wallet, to the incredibly important i.e. who should I marry and if and when I should I have a child.  I have felt the comfort in my darkest saddest times that there is eternal life and those that I love that have departed are yet alive and know and care for me.  I have felt the strength that comes from depending on the Lord through hard times, hard physical and emotional.  I have been able to do more with this strengthening than I could ever have imagined doing on my own. 

I have seen the transformation that comes in lives and families when gospel covenants are made and kept. I have seen the pain and suffering that follows when they are not. I have seen the power, strength and wisdom that comes to women who have given their lives to gospel and family service.  I have seen the unselfish softening and humility that comes to men who have kept the oath and covenant of the priesthood.  I have felt the joy of repentance and the sweet forgiveness of the Saviour and know that this is real.      

I am grateful for the heritage of faith and testimony and church membership at have. I am grateful for the choices that my progenitors made at great personal sacrifice to join and stay true to this gospel and this church.  Just as they knew that there was a prophet and the true religion had been restored so do I know that we have a prophet.  And, in spite of the failings of individuals and the every changing world context, this is the true religion and only true church. I am grateful for this knowledge.  As my sisters both said to me on different occasions, I will not allow any person or experience to have me deny what I know, to sever in any way my association with this church, its members and to leave.  I will not let down those who came before me by treating it with lightness.  I will not disappoint those whose sacrifice was great, by becoming discouraged with my imperfections or because of any other trial no matter how great.  This is what I want to remember and do remember.   

Monday, April 8, 2013

This week-end was General Conference.  In spite of all the busy-ness and stress of buying and selling houses, it was an opportunity to listen to wise counsel and reflect on principles of wisdom and truth.  So many of the talks centred on faith, hope and charity.  It was wonderful.  The experience reminded me of my idea to put this Primary children’s song on my blog.  I love singing this song oftn tears stream down my face as I do.  It is a better song than a poem and unfortunately there is no music with this.    It does say very simply, however,  how I feel about the testimony of Jesus Christ that I have and the covenants and commitments I have made because of this testimony.  It was written by Janice Kapp Perry.

I’ll Follow Him in Faith

The Lord has blessed me with gospel truth.
I have learned His ways in my early youth.
I will share my light for I know it’s right
To testify of Him.
The Lord has blessed me with simple faith.
If I pray for help,
He will give me strength.
I will do his work.
I will gladly serve.
I’ll follow Him in faith.

 The Lord has blessed me to feel His love.
I have felt His promptings and learned to trust.
So in all I do,
I’ll be faithful to
The things I know are true.
The Lord has blessed me in many ways.
With a thankful heart
I will sing His praise.
I will raise my voice and proclaim my choice
To follow Him in faith.
He has shown the way, and through all my days,
I’ll follow Him in faith.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

El Paso to Houston

We are gaining speed
 I wait for the second it happens
The familiar pull, the drag, the weightless lift
We are up
The earth expands and shrinks
I can see more and less
Is the world more or less clear
From up here?
Do I know more about this city
Because I can see it from above?
Is the truth in
The sand the cactus or the wind
The grit and heat of the desert?

Detached I watch the mountains
Ripple against the plain
The roads winding between endless horizons
I wonder
Who and what is down there?
What is it like to be there?
In that world?
Two feet on that land?

 The moment comes when we
Begin our return to earth
The engines cut power and
Measured descent begins
In the clouds we are tossed
By unseen currents
Flying blind through the clouds
Faith and instruments guiding us
Suddenly the clouds open
The world is green
Lush trees and water
A wet and foggy world
So far from the dryness of desert
We straighten ourselves and wait
Anticipate the transition that is landing
We have arrived  
But not yet home

Sunday, March 17, 2013


Hiking in the sun is
Less than fun
But it is instructive
The dangers controlled with
Sleeves, hat, water and sun screen
Special shoes to keep feet firmly on the trail
It’s the length of the challenge
A marathon of finishing
I start, hopeful
Imagining myself an explorer
A naturalist, a women of the wild
But soon my mind asks
How long?
When will it be over?

 It’s not something I admit
How could I?
Hiking is so virtuous
Environmental  and healthy
But fun?
Not  exactly
Too much vigilance is required
Rocks to trip
Vicious cactus to scratch and draw blood
Keep eyes and thoughts down
On the ground
Focused and concentrating
For long, very long minutes

There is the conversation
Challenged by single file
The questions, comments and musings
About topography, geology and botony
The best is the philosophical reflection
The exploration of the constant metaphors
About life
Taking wrong paths
Not reading the signs
Tempted by less travelled trails
Unmarked by wisdom
Perhaps travelled by fools
There is failing to look up
Fixated on the path
Too intent on avoiding risk
To see the beauty of the panorama
The sky, the vista and possibilities
Perhaps losing faith in finishing
Famished by the load
Dried by the sun
Exhausted by the climb
Losing joy in the journey
Wanting only the end 

Finally it does end
Back to the parking lot
And the question
How was it for you?
Did you like it?
And the response?
Of course
Ya it was great!
What trail should we try next?