During April 2017 I will be blogging about my Courtship Memories from A to Z . These challenge posts will also be found at Creation and Compassion http://marcyhowes.blogspot.com/

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Gratitude Day 19: Voice

I'm grateful to have a voice to speak with, and especially to sing.   I am by no means a great singer, but I do like to sing.  Of course it's best when I'm alone outside with just the birds and the bees to hear, or possibly a cat or dog, but that doesn't happen very often in my life any more. 

I am grateful to have the blessing and opportunity to sing hymns at church, and with the choir at church.  I especially love practicing and preparing the music for our Christmas program, and I am grateful for the opportunity to sing!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Gratitude Day 7: Reliable Transportation

Today I'm grateful for reliable transportation, and that I am able to even sometimes give rides to friends and family.   I have had years where I either walked where I needed to go, or depended on others for rides.  Yes we do have fairly dependable public transportation here where we live, but it is not always easy to quickly get where you want to go.  Today I am grateful for a safe dependable car, and that sometimes I can even use it to bless the lives of others.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Gratitude Day 4: Parents

My father and mother, 1988
Dressed in white, they served for many years as temple workers in the Salt Lake LDS Temple.

Today I am grateful for my Angel parents.  We love them and miss them.  We wish they were still here nearby to share our holidays and activities and hopes and dreams and sorrows.  I miss their love and advice and service and prayers, but I am grateful to have been a part of their family and to have their example and teachings in my life.  I'm grateful that they have graduated from this life of happiness and sorrows, and I believe that they have gone on to greater assignments and challenges, still teaching and serving others in our heavenly family, both in heaven, and sometimes maybe even here on earth:

"I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up."  D&C 84:88

Friday, November 3, 2017

Gratitude Day 3: Children and Grandchildren

Howes kids 1995

Gratitude Day 3:  I'm grateful for my (almost) perfect children
 and my (totally) perfect grandchildren!

"My greatest treasure is my family.  We may not be perfect, but I love them with all my heart."

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Gratitude Day 2: Dear Husband

Gratitude Day 2:  

I'm grateful for my loving, supportive, faithful, hard working and enthusiastic companion, partner, husband, and best friend.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Gratitude Day 1: Jesus Christ

Gratitude Day 1:  I'm grateful for my Savior, Jesus Christ, and for the light he brings to the world.

During this past year our church's local women's organization has been focusing on finding peace in our lives through following the example of Jesus Christ.  This is not an uncommon focus by any means, but I do want to share with whoever might read this simple post that I know from experience that learning of, reading about, and thinking about the life and teachings of Jesus Christ on a daily basis can be a source of peace in these troubled, difficult times.  It is the greatest source for inner peace, and if  only everyone in this world could find this same inner peace, the world would be a much different and better place.

I originally published this post on Wednesday, November 1, 2017, and it is now nearly two weeks later.  This past Sunday I had a little "ah ha" moment that I wanted to record, and this seems like a good place.

Let me preface this by saying that I truly am blessed, and lack for very little that is important in this life.  That being said, the past four or five years have been some of the most difficult ones for me, not necessarily because of my own personal trials, but as I felt both emotional and  physical pain as I have watched and been a part of difficulties that others that I care about have been facing.  I wake up many mornings to a feeling of darkness and dread.  I've spent many nights unable to relax my troubled thoughts long enough to find sleep.   Many times I have found myself wondering how anyone can ever truly find peace.

Last Sunday as I sat in our church congregation pondering the life and atonement of Jesus Christ, I was thinking about how Christ suffered for the sins, pains, disappointments, and sorrows that every single soul who ever has and ever will live on this earth.  If we accept his gift, his sacrifice, there is no need for us to suffer.  The demands of Justice have already been met.  This is not new knowledge to me.  

Then I  asked myself the question that has been troubling me for the past few years, how can I ever have true joy and peace as long as I know how others around me are suffering?   How can Christ have true joy and peace?  He knows better than anyone all of the pain that everyone has and will ever suffer.  He suffered those things himself . . . intentionally and willingly experienced all of those things so that we need not suffer, and so that he knows and understands each one of us completely.  Has he ever forgotten what he has suffered?  Are the memories of his pain gone?  I don't think so.  They always will be a part of who he now is.  And he is still able to have peace and joy, because of his knowledge and in spite of his knowledge.  I believe that not only did he suffer all of our pain and sorrow, but he has also experienced all of our joys.   He knows what true peace and happiness is, and is there, here, willing and ready to share that peace and joy with us too.  We just need to seek him out and ask!  How simple is that?

Yes, we are in this world to experience pain and sorrow and illness and even death.  We are also here to experience Joy and Peace.   Yes, Joy and Peace can co-exist with pain and sorrow.  I haven't quite reached the point where this is always true for me, but I know it can be, and I hope that all of you can find it too.


Sunday, October 8, 2017

Project of Light

Speaking of Projects, this is one that I pulled out of my cedar chest earlier today.   the above photo is of a cross stitch sampler that was one of the very first handiwork projects that I completed, when I was about 9 years old.  Back in the day, every young girl in Primary (our church's children's organization) was taught how to do cross stitch by completing a sampler such as this.  We were given the sampler (paid for by our parents I presume) and we chose our own color of floss.   This was the theme of the Gaynote class:  "I will bring the light of the gospel into my home."  Many of our weekly lessons during primary were centered around this theme of how we could be a light in the darkness of the world.

Back in those days the world didn't always appear as dark as it sometimes does today, at least not to a young girl like me.  Yes, there were cloudy days, dark nights, scary news on TV about war and violence, but for the most part my childhood was happy, surrounded with family and relatives and friends, good neighbors, kind pets, sunshine, and faith in God.  My biggest worries were getting good grades, good natured teasing,  and getting over the most recent cold and sore throat, and falling asleep at night.

In the present day I still sometimes get colds, and still sometimes have trouble falling asleep.  I also often find myself waking into a dark world, sometimes 5:30, oftentimes at 4:30; I will wake and  feel the heavy darkness around me.   There is usually not a good reason for me to wake this early.   I no longer have children to care for and drive to early morning seminary or school or to deliver newspapers. There is usually no obvious good reason for me to feel the darkness that I do. These dark mornings bring with them a vague sense of dread.  All is not right with the world.

I know that others feel this same darkness, and not just in the early morning hours.   We've discussed it at times.  Perhaps you feel it too.  How do you deal with it?  It's tempting for me to just pull the covers over the head and try to go back to sleep, hopefully to more pleasant thoughts and dreams.  But I believe that part of the purpose of life is to add light to this world.  Each person and each life has the potential to add much goodness and light to the world.  Darkness cannot exist where there is light. Faith will conquer fear.  So I will turn on the light in my room.  I will find a way to bring not only physical light, but also spiritual light into my life and into the lives of others, not only in the dark early mornings, but throughout the day.

Begin the day by reading scripture and praying
Look around for someone who needs help, a visit, a phone call, a card or a letter
React with kindness to others
Reach out to others with a smile or kind words
Share a treat or something even more valuable and needed
Share uplifting thoughts and the good works of others
Look for the good in life
Express gratitude
Be on time, be honest, have integrity
Listen to and share uplifting music
Attend the temple
Search out your ancestors and perform ordinances for those who have gone before

I'm sure most people in our world are full of light and have much to give and to share.

How do you bring light to our troubled world?