Friday, September 26, 2014

Small steps......big results!

So I have been asked to teach and Adult Religion Class for our Stake, and have been doing so for one month now.  I use the term "teach" loosely! I have been enlightened  and  joyfully share two pretty significant principles that have taken on new meaning and commitment in my life as a result of this opportunity:

*   Conversion is a wonderful process of ups and downs;  experiencing new beginnings again and  again and moving past the past.

*   The spiritual gift of revelation is the foundational gift of all other spiritual gifts. The heavens are open to me and to you  as we seek, obtain and apply the gift of revelation. Here is how:

                1.  Desire.  Just start with  a genuine desire to receive personal revelation.                                  "Desire dictates our priorities, priorities shape our choices, and choices                                   determine our actions.  The desires we act on detemine our changing, our                             achieving, and our becoming".  Elder Dallin H. Oaks

                2.  Pray with real intent and an honest heart regarding your desire.
                3.  Be mindful of impressions to both your heart and your mind.
                4.  Act upon impressions as  you have been directed.
                5.  Express gratitude, and continue to "apply unto it".

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Still Daddy's Little Girl

In the early hours of the morning, Tues. August 12th, I was once again awakened from a dream as I heard my name being said in a very loving and gentle manner.

I had left Overton Monday night  to go stay with Grandma Skousen at her home in St. George as we would leave Tues. morning for a trip up to Idaho Falls.   I only remember a snippet of the dream , but what I do remember is very vivid.  I saw dad standing to the side of me in a dark suit.  He simply said:  "Lorri".  His voice was so clear and so real that I immediately woke up and looked around to see if he was actually in the room.    I only had two thoughts at that moment: 1- Why hadn't dad referred to me as "Lor Lor" like he normally would have if he were alive. And 2- Was he waking me for some profound purpose, danger, or warning.

I haven't resolved those two thoughts as of yet.  What I did resolve, feel and experience, was love.  Pure, tender love and an overwhelming feeling of knowing that dad is aware and mindful of me, much like the experience I had last year.

I believe that Heavenly Father took dad at this very specific time for specific reasons.  One of those reasons being to help his children and grandchildren who need his influence of goodness, acceptance and love here on earth at this time in their lives.

I write that my children and grandchildren may know that their grandfather is very much involved in their lives today;  that he has a greater opportunity to influence and guide them where he is now than if he were still alive.  I pray, dear children that you can also feel his  love and care for you.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Who Am I To Judge Another?

It is almost 1:00am.  I am tired but my mind is unsettled.  I have been reading about the Suwyn family from Hurricane, Utah who just lost their eleven-month old daughter Skyah two days ago.   Skyah's mother forgot she left her daughter in the car, causing her to die from heat exhaustion. Cruel, judging comments have been made regarding this mother.   I know it sounds inconceivable that a mother could do such a thing as forget her baby, but it happens. It happened to me.

Every time I read one of these horrifically tragic stories, I am taken back to  August,1991. I had asked Jared  if he could come home for lunch to watch Daniel, Travis and Noelle while I hurried to go visit teach my friend Nori.  When Jared arrived,  I quickly jumped into the car and took off.

It was an unusual overcast summer day.  I parked in my friend's driveway that was shaded by a big tree. I got out of the car and went inside.  Nori and I sat down and began to visit for a while. Her newborn  baby began to cry so she went to get him up from his crib.  As Nori walked down the hall she asked me about my nine-month old baby daughter.

Immediately  my thoughts turned to Noelle, and I was horror stricken to recall that I had actually brought Noelle with me and had left her in the car.  I ran outside to discover  a very red, screaming baby. I am convinced that the clouds and the shade tree were what kept Noelle alive.  Even though it was only twenty minutes, on a normal August day in LasVegas, I am sure the results would have been tragically different.

Nori called her husband who was a resident doctor at UMC.  He gave me instructions of what to look for and what to do.  Noelle was fine.  I was not. I reenacted that experience over and over in my mind for months.  I didn't have any recollection of carrying Noelle to the car or buckling her up in her car seat.  In my mind, I had left her with Jared and the boys.

It is actually more horrifying for me to think about it now and all the what-might-have-beens. Not only was Noelle's life spared, but so was mine.   I cannot fathom living with the degree of  guilt and pain that would accompany such a horrible accident.

Which leads me to where I began... with a grief-stricken mother who did the same thing as I but had a different ending.  My heart hurts for her, her loss, her pain, her husband, her other children.  I pray that angels will minister to this mother and that her aching will lessen as the days pass.  I pray that she will forgive herself.  I pray that others will too.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Five Mothers I Admire and Love

It was a long drive home from Idaho yesterday, but I filled the time nicely by thinking about mothers. Here are some of those thoughts.

As I contemplated the role that my mother now plays in my life, I was overcome with gratitude.  Gratitude that I still had her; gratitude of the empathy and love she still gives me every single day.  I have had experiences where I have known that I was getting through a trial simply because I knew mom was on her knees praying for me. The power of a mother's prayer is very real and I have experienced that power.
My heart is filled with love, honor and respect because of the amazing person and mother I have.  I love you mom..

 I have always maintained that I was blessed to have the perfect mother-in-law, but she surpasses that role.  I think of her more as a wonderful, caring mother who loves me dearly.  I often ponder the many trials she has had in her life and I stand in awe of the strong, faithful woman she is today.  I take courage and strength from her courage and strength.  I love you Pat.

Every chance I get, I share what an amazing mother Brittney is.  I am awed by her patience; her ability to help Molly learn to reason and think for herself, and so much more.  I have learned much in watching Brittney and know that she is committed to motherhood.  Oh how grateful I am that Molly has her for a mother!  I love you Brittney.

I have learned from this little mother-to-be too!  Noelle has empowered herself with knowledge!!  I love hearing her tell me the things she has learned in her marriage and parenting classes.  I love that she seeks out and digests every bit of information she can so that she can be wise and thoughtful in the raising of her children.  I love her commitment to raising her children in a Christ-centered home.  I am at peace, content and happy for little granddaughter Hillam and the mother who will raise her.  I love you Noelle.

I have spent time contemplating another special mother!  I love Emily's mom!  I love how invested she is with her children and my  children as well!  Marilyn is committed to families, regardless of who's they are.  I love that she cared enough for Grandma Skousen to drive all night to get Emily to grandpa's funeral.  I feel blessed and so grateful to know that Emily will be much like her mother when she becomes a mother herself. I love you Emily and I love you too Marilyn!

My Mother's Day is a reflective one today.  I am so grateful for these good mothers, sweet, dear friends all of them.

Friday, May 2, 2014


For years Judy and I have walked around our beloved Honey Bee Pond  in the spring time mornings.  The views are spectacular.  Lining the pond are tall grassy reeds.  Before you ever see a duck you hear them, along with the various birds that inhabit the reeds.  You then turn a corner to come upon the pond itself and the life that is peacefully gliding on top.  A random grouping of palm trees stand erect just beyond the water and all of that is nicely framed with the beautiful mesa in the background.  So serene and calming.

On the downside, you smell the stagnant water; fight the pesky gnats and occasionally slip on the slimy muck that is along the waters edge.  But still it is one of my favorite walks of all time!

Last year I was devastated to find that the rangers had emptied the pond and burned everything around it!  All that was left was the slimy muck and charred remnants.  Judy and I cursed the rangers that would do such a horrible thing.  What on earth were they thinking?  That pond was one of my "go to places" for peace and comfort and now it was destroyed!

Fast forward one year.  Judy and I decided it was time to return  to our  Honey Bee Pond and went there earlier this week.   The reeds were abundant;  tall, green and thick.  The sounds of the ducks, geese and birds filled the air.  And then we turned the corner.................MAJESTIC PEACE!!!  The water was clean, void of slimy muck and a stagnant smell.  There were only dragonflies flitting around; no  pesky gnats.Resting on a  beautiful, little island that was now out in the middle of the pond, was  a regal white egret just waiting to take flight.

To say that Honey Bee Pond was now better than before would be a huge understatement.  It wasn't just better, it was different.  Changed.  Renewed.  Breathtaking.  Peace giving.  Even sacred.

A burn was needed.  The rangers knew what they were doing.  The pond had to be emptied so the sun could burn off the slimy muck and harden the earth again.  The vegetation needed to be burned so that it could come back healthy, thick and strong.  And  the island..........  sweet refinement for this little pond.

"When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply.
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Sabbath Samplings

  • .We arrived at church and sat in "our" pew. In front of our pew is the pew that accommodate the Bolton family.  In a few months that pew will be up for grabs. Our beloved Bolton family will find a new pew in Utah.  Can I just say how that tugged at my heart today.  It did.  As Jared and I drove home, he expressed the very same thoughts  to me.  I don't know how we are going to stand it.
  • Aaron McCombs blessed his little daughter, Lillian Joyce this morning.  He blessed her with the gift of charity, that she may see others not as they are, but as they may become; that she may see beyond what the eye can see.   What a beautiful expression and understanding of charity.  
  • Testimony meeting is "one of a kind" in our ward.  I would want it no other way.   Cayson is an 11 year old boy with Williams Syndrome.  He was very determined as he walked up to the microphone. He told us about his kitty dying.  He did not want to sit down and did not take it well when his older sister came up to the stand to tell him to end his testimony.  He had something to say and he was going to say it.  This is the same boy who last week shouted out "thanks dad" and gave him a big hug when his father ended his talk in sacrament meeting.  Every ward needs a Cayson.    We also heard from Brooke.  She is a 22 year-old girl with Downs Syndrome.  She is very comfortable going up each fast  and testimony meeting where she stands to the side of the pulpit and pulls the mic over to mouth.  She twinkles with purity and mischievousness as she shares whatever is on her mind at the moment.  Today she shared with us how much she loves her grandpa and as she did so she cast her eyes upward.  Brooke refered to her grandpa as her "Sweet Man" up in heaven.  She also included that she is strong because she drinks milk everyday and has lost four pounds.  Never a dull moment when Brooke is at the pulpit!   To add to the  diversity of our meeting, we were lucky to hear from Senaida.  I have to pay close attention when Senaida speaks because of her heavy accent.    It took me a few seconds to figure out that she was talking about "faith"  and not "fate".    She was wearing a crocheted poncho and told us that she was missing her mother greatly this week and so she wore this poncho to feel close to her.  Senaida explained that her mother would make ponchos for her when she was little and would wrap her up in them.  I thought that was such a beautiful tribute to her mother.
  • And finally in Primary today..... The song that we were to learn this week was "I Stand All Amazed".  I really try to teach a song with the spirit of the song; meaning, not just teach words but help them understand content and  to feel it as they sing.  The first sentence was easy for the children to understand:  I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me.  Jace did very well in explaining what that meant to him.  The second sentence was somewhat more complicated :  Confused at the grace that so fully he proffers me.  In simple words, I explained that grace is the enabling power of Jesus' atonement.  When there is something that we can not do on our own, Jesus has the power to help us or enable us to do what we need to do.  I shared the experience of Grandma Skousen needing the enabling power of the atonement so that she could stand and talk with others at the viewing of Grandpa.  I then asked the children if they had any experiences of using the enabling power of the atonement.  Ally shared that she knew that she needed to let her teacher know that her friends had written the answers to the test on their arms, but she was scared.  She told us that the only way she could have done what she did was with the enabling power of the Savior.  She got it, and so did many of the other children.  Preston bore a sweet testimony of feeling Jesus' love.  Emma shared that she felt the enabling power as she prayed to remember the things she had studied for a test.  Primary is the place to learn, feel and love such powerful doctrines as the Atonement of the Savior.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Families Strengthen Primary

*Previously written 12/16/2013

Several weeks ago Pres. Frehner spoke at our Stake Primary Leadership meeting. He made the following comment: "Record those things that are said and done in Primary." At the time, I thought that was unusual counsel, but since then I have witnessed  over and over again, "things said and done in Primary" that should be recorded and passed on. Here are some observations that took place yesterday in Primary that I thought others should know.

1. Our Primary started off with a very sad little Kellen McClure. He obviously was upset and big tears trickled down his cheeks. His teacher lovingly attended to him and he was fine....for the moment. The teachers were then dismissed to go into the combined lesson for the 3rd block. As they left, I looked over to see a very anxious, little boy with tears starting to well up. Seeing his brother in the back of the room, I asked Kellen if he would like to go stand by Cayson. With that suggestion, he ran to his Cayson's side and was met with a smile. All this little boy needed and wanted was the comfort of a brother.

2. Sister Robinson gathered the Jr. and Sr. Primary together to take a picture (which was quit a feat in itself).  After given the direction to head back to their classes the children descended from the stand. Holding hands and leading the way were Trevor Hopkins and his little sister Lauren. Such a sweet, tender picture.

3. To prepare the nursery children who will be Sunbeams in Jan., Sister Robinson brings them into sharing time for a few minutes to sing with the rest of the primary children. Little three year-old Cru Palmer sat reverently in his seat. I looked down just in time to see Cru notice his big sister Abby sitting directly across from him in the other row. Without noise and fanfare, Cru reverently scooted his chair across the aisle next to Abby. Upon achieving success and finally sitting next to his sister, his face lit up with a huge smile. Pure joy!  
I just happened to witness this sweet little display, but noticed later that Autumn Whiting had made her way over to her big brother Jesse. I must note that Joe Bolton demanded to know why his brother Daniel wasn't with the rest of the nursery children. Apparently Daniel had fallen asleep! Joe was not happy!

The purpose of primary is to strengthen families, but it is apparent that families strengthen Primary! Oh how I love to watch and learn each week.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

My Own Sacred Grove

In front of the main entrance of the Las Vegas temple is a little grove of Olive trees.  In the last few months I have become very aware of those trees.  It is interesting to note however, that I rarely notice the Olive trees upon entering the temple.

Once I have been  edified and enlightened by my temple experience and I am exiting the same doors that I had previously entered, my little grove of Olive trees are brought into full view of my eyes and my heart.

Several months ago  as I first pondered this little grove, my thoughts were of the symbolism that accompanies the Olive Tree and the Savior.   I have studied and pondered that symbolism and have read the following amazing article by Elder Truman Madsen to further my understanding.

On another visit, I focused on the beautiful canopy of leaves that offer safety and relief from the elements. That day I contemplated  the safety and relief that the Savior offers to me personally.

Earlier this week, I was grateful for a groundskeeper who had taken great care to prune away the wayward limbs and branches  leaving behind  nine sleek, gnarled and impressive trunks.  I noticed for the first time that the nine trees were grouped into clusters of threes.  As I studied each one of these three clusters that were made up of three Olive trees, I thought of the enabling,  healing, and redemptive power that is offered through the atonement of Jesus Christ.  I thought of how I personally have been blessed by those three powers as I have sought to use the atonement in my life.

This little grove of Olive trees invites me to return to the temple often.  It teaches and beckons for me to more fully experience the love that the Savior offers me through his atoning sacrifice.   I look forward to "experiencing" my little grove of trees with each visit to the temple.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Pahoran, Memoies and Meekness

This morning I found myself in the last few chapters of Alma, specifically contemplating the correspondence between Moroni and Pahoran.  I was reminded of the following experience.  Judy had been assigned by her bishop to  plan the ward Christmas Party.  She asked several ladies to help her with  various duties.  It was apparent that Leslie (name has been changed)   failed to see Judy's vision  and wrote her a somewhat critical email stating what she would and would not do to help with the ward party.  In a reply back to Leslie's email, Judy acknowledged her own excessive attention to details and apologized for the strain this may have put on Leslie. She thanked Leslie for her help in what she was willing to do.  The email  that Judy received back was poignant. Leslie thanked Judy for being a "Pahoran" in her response.  If you are confused about that comparison,  read Alma 60 and 61 for better understanding.

I continued  to think of Pahoran throughout the morning.  I want to be a Pahoran.  He was so mighty in self-control and so humble.  He did not waste one second of time being offended or critical.  What a great example of meekness.

As I thought of what makes a Pahoran, this scripture came to mind:   "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he".   Although he was a military man and engaged in bloodshed, Pahoran's thoughts were pure, thus making his words and actions pure even in the worst of circumstances.   Contemplating those thoughts led me to a conversation that your dad and I had a couple of days ago.  We were talking about  Terry Rogers who is the Las Vegas Temple President at this time.  We know him well as he was our bishop when we were engaged and later our stake president.    Dad had expressed how difficult it must have been for Terry to experience such horrific atrocities while serving in the Viet Nam war.  We talked about what a gentle, good man he is in spite of what he witnessed and went through. Terry Rogers is a Pahoran.  His heart is pure and he is mighty in self control thus making his words and actions kind and uplifting.

I also had another experience come to my remembrance this morning.  When Natalie was twelve or thirteen, she and I had stopped at a department store to buy her some shoes.  A beautiful, well-dressed woman, probably in her early thirties, sat down and tried on a pair herself.  She walked around in them for a minute and then returned to put  on her own shoes.  Apparently she could only find one of her shoes and started yelling at a Hispanic girl that worked there and was straightening up the shelves.  The girl was flustered as this woman accused her of first hiding her shoe and then actually stealing it.  Natalie and I quickly joined the  girl in searching for this woman's missing shoe, and as we did, we listened to rude, berating comments regarding this employee.  Finally the worker went and got the manager who quickly came over to  settle things down.  The woman continued to  assert her accusations  to which the manager said:  "Ma'am, the missing shoe is in your hand."  Sure enough, there is was.  Without realizing it, she had been holding it the entire time.   The woman did not apologize or even say one word.  She put on her shoe and walked out of the store with her head held high.   Obviously  her rude comments had found a place in her heart long before they ever passed through her lips."For as [a woman] thinketh in her heart, so is [she]."    She was not a Pahoran!

What a great, reflective morning!  I thought my pondering on Pahoran was over but it wasn't.  I opened up my email to find an inappropriate and caustic message.   It was disheartening to say the least.    Elder Holland's stirring conference address, The Tongue of Angels came to mind.  As I  read his words I gained a  greater conviction that  there is no place in our lives and certainly in our hearts,  to say or write demeaning comments regardless of the situation or the  person who the comments are directed to.     I fear it is too easy in this day and age to write things anonymously thinking they will have no repercussions on us.  They do!  "For as [we]thinketh in [our] heart, so [are we]".

I write that my children may know I want to be a Pahoran.  I have some things to kick out of my heart so that my words and actions reflect a Pahoran, but that is my desire.   I also write that my children  may know that meekness, one who is mighty in self control in all things, is within our reaching. I also hope you  find the  time to study Elder Holland's talk  and desire to be a Pahoran too!