Sunday, March 24, 2013


All my life I have learned that we should be meek and humble. I always thought these two words were synonymous. While they are related, they are actually different in meaning. In the New Testiment, Matthew 11:28-29, we read, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls."

We know that when Jesus was on the earth, his disciples wanted to send the children away. But Jesus said, "Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me, for of such is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 19:14) In Mosiah, we are admonished to: "Becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father."

Because Jesus is meek, and he admonishes us to become meek, as a child, it would be good to know exactly what that means. At Stake Conference when President Hanks gave his talk, he told us what he learned of meekness. He told us that we should be willing to submit to the Lord, to be MEEK. He quoted: "Meekness is the capacity to be injured without feeling resentment."  He spoke about Jesus' pure example of being meek. Though He was being persecuted, spat upon, and ultimately crucified, He was still meek and forgiving when He said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." It is difficult to imagine being like that, but we need to strive to be like Him.

President Hanks continued in his talk, saying, "The advisary wants us to be angry with each other. But being offended and angry with others will ultimately get in the way of everything you want to do good, and hamper our progression. We can find ourselves offended, even toward our Heavenly Father. If we are not daily seeking forgiveness, we will not be in the habit of forgiving others." He said many other good things, but these were the thoughts I jotted down as I listened. I wish I could express the things that he said in his talk, but I don't have the eloquence to do so.

This was the talk where he quoted all the words to the song I wrote, "That's Why He Was Sent." And then my song was performed, accompanied by our Stake Orchestra, which I played in. I can't begin to describe how I felt. It seemed surreal. I felt excited and fulfilled, yet very humbled. The Spirit was very strong that evening at the meeting, and many tears were shed. I am just thankful that I got to be a part of it. And, as I think back over that evening and President Hanks' talk, I want to resolve to become more meek, submissive, forgiving, more like our Savior.

I love you all. Please write a little something that you'd like to share, even if it is only a paragragh.
Love, Mom

Monday, February 25, 2013

Thoughts on Family

So, I read this book called "Love Anthony" about an autistic boy. He died when he was 8, and his mom struggled so much with the question of what his purpose on the earth even was... he couldn't speak, he couldn't connect, he consumed her life, and then was gone. This is the letter from him to her (don't worry about how that happened after he died... it's too hard to explain the whole book).

Dear Mom,

You already possess the answers to your questions. You already hold them in your heart. but your mind still resists. I understand that sometimes we need reassurance, to hear the words. A two-way conversation.

I wasn't here to do the things you dreamed and even feared I'd do before I was born. I wasn't here to play Little League, go to the prom, go to college, go to war, become a doctor or a lawyer or a mathematician. I wasn't here to grow to be an old man, to be married, to have children and grandchildren. 

I came here to simply be, and autism was the vehicle of my being. Although my short life was difficult at times, I found great joy in being Anthony. Autism made it difficult to connect with you and Dad and other people through things like eye contact and conversation and your activities. But I wasn't interested in connecting in those ways, so I felt no deprivation in this. I connected in other ways, through the song of your voices, the energy of your emotions, the comfort in being near you, and sometimes, in moments I treasured, through sharing the experience of something I loved-- the blue sky, my rocks, the Three Pigs story.

And you, Mom. I loved you. You've asked if I felt and understood that you loved me. Of course I did. And you know this. I loved your love because it kept me safe and happy and wanted, and it existed beyond words and hugs and eyes.

This brings me to the other reason I was here. I was here for you, Mom. I was here to teach you about love.

Most people love with a guarded heart, only if certain things happen or don't happen, only to a point. If the person we love hurts us, betrays us, abandons us, disappoints us, if the person becomes hard to love, we often stop loving. We protect our delicate hearts. we close off, retreat, withhold, disconnect, and withdraw. We might even hate.

Most people love conditionally. Most people are never asked to love with a whole and open heart. They only love partway. They get by.

Autism was my gift to you. My autism didn't let me hug and kiss you, it didn't allow me to look into your eyes, it didn't let me say aloud the words you so desperately wanted to hear with your ears. But you loved me anyway.

You're thinking, Of course I did. Anyone would have. This isn't true. Loving me with a full and accepting heart, loving all of me, required you to grow. Despite your heart-ache and disappointment, your fears and frustration and sorrow, despite all I couldn't show you in return, you loved me. 

You loved me unconditionally.

This is why we're all here.

When I read this, it made me realize something more deeply... that one of the greatest purposes of families is to teach us unconditional love. It would be easier if we only had to love and associate with people who are easy to get along with, people who think and act the same as we do. But, if that were the case, we may never really get to feel real, heart-rending, deep, unconditional love, because it would never be required of us.

Our children, our parents, our siblings... are going to disappoint us. They're going to hurt us. They're going to be different from what we hope and expect. Our challenge in this life is to love them anyway. I believe that's why we have families... not necessarily so that we always have someone who loves us, but so that we always have to love someone.

I don't think this means that we have to be best friends with everyone in our family. I don't think it means that we have to hang out with each other all the time. I think it means that we can't give up on each other. We have to allow the love of Christ to enter our hearts and make us more loving. With other people in the world, we can write them off if they hurt, disappoint, or become hard to love... we just let them go. With family, we don't have that option. We have to learn to work through that and grow... loving with a full and accepting heart. We're not going to be perfect at loving each other right away, and probably not even through our whole lives, but luckily we get a lot of practice with families.

Awhile ago, Aubrey and I were eating lunch at Kneaders in Heber. I saw a boy, probably around 15 years old, eating a bowl of soup with his mom and his sister. He had low-riding pants, messy hair... kind of looked like the sort of kid who wouldn't want to be eating lunch with his mom and sister. All of a sudden I had an overwhelming feeling of love for this boy. It was almost like I could feel his struggles in life, but I could also feel his desire to be a good person. I have moments like that every once in awhile, sometimes with someone I know, sometimes with some of you, sometimes with a stranger... and I think that they are flashes of what God feels for us. Deep love, without condition. I am grateful for those moments, because they remind me to look more often for reasons TO love someone, instead of reasons not to love them.

Not one of us is perfect. Not one of us has never hurt another of us, or disappointed another of us. Not one of us is everything we hoped and wished for. We are all very different and separate people. We may go a long time without seeing each other, and sometimes we will have fights. That's okay. My goal is to someday be able to say that I love each member of my family, without condition.

Saturday, February 16, 2013


All my life my favorite scripture has been: "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."

So, what does it mean to TRUST IN THE LORD? I can tell you what it means to me -- and what it doesn't mean. It does NOT mean that if you trust in the Lord that your life will be easy, or that everything will all work out right. It does not mean that your prayers will be answered immediately, or in the way that you wanted them to be. It doesn't mean that you will understand everything. I have seen people who have doubted, and even left the Church because they did not understand certain principles or scriptures. They might have thought that, if something didn't quite make sense to them, then it must not be true.

In his well-known Conference address, "But if Not", Dennis E. Simmons said, "Faith is believing that although we do not understand all things, He does. Faith is knowing that although our power is limited, His is not. Faith in Jesus Christ consists of complete reliance on Him."

When you trust in the Lord, it should NOT be based on signs and miracles. While miracles can be faith- promoting, they should not be the basis of our testimony. We may not receive the miracles we so desperately want and need, but we must continue to trust in the Lord. Laman and Lemuel saw many signs and miracles, but they did not put their trust in Heavenly Father.

Nephi, on the other hand, did just that. In 2 Nephi 4:30 he wrote: "Rejoice, O my heart, and cry unto the Lord, and say, O Lord, I will praise thee forever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the rock of my salvation." Then in verse 34 he goes on: "O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of the flesh." Nephi, at that time, was lamenting to himself, as he suffered greatly over the wickedness of his enemies, but also struggled with his own shorcomings.

What DOES it mean then, to TRUST IN THE LORD? I love this scripture found in 2Nephi 31:20. "Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men." How beautiful are these words! Steadfastness in Christ. Perfect brightness of hope. Love of God, and of all men.

TRUSTING IN THE LORD means having a sure foundation in Jesus Christ. In Helaman 5:12 we read, "Remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation wheron if men build they cannot fall."

We will all have trials in this life, we will all feel discouragement, even despair. In Alma 36:3 we read, "Whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day." What a glorious promise!

Hardly anyone on earth has known the trials and afflictions that Job had to face. Robert D. Hales explains in his October 2011 Conference talk: "Job's experience reminds us what we may be called upon to endure. Job lost all his possessions, including his land, house, and animals; his family members, his reputation, his physical health, and even his mental well-being. Yet he bore a powerful testimony 'For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth; And though...worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God. Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.' "

I recently read the true story of two sisters, Betsy and Corrie Ten Boom, in the book, "THE HIDING PLACE". I have read it several times with the same results. First, feeling shamed that I even complain about the relatively small trials that I have, and then -- at the same time UPLIFTED by their complete trust and faith in the Lord as they suffered unimaginable humiliation, heartache, and misery in concentration camps during the Holocaust. One of the sisters, Betsy, at last succumbed to death. Yet, through it all they always praised the Lord and expressed their gratitude to him for even the tiniest of blessings. Corrie's love for and trust in the Lord ultimately helped her to even forgive those guards who had hurt them and humiliated them the most.

TRUSTING IN THE LORD means that we are able to FORGIVE, because He has told us that, if we do, He will forgive us. If we are unwilling to forgive others, we are saying that He did not enough. We need to not only believe IN him, but we need to BELIEVE HIM, that He truly paid the price for our sins, that He made up the difference that we are incapable of doing for ourselves. And, because He lives again, we know that we will also live again, and be with our loved ones who have passed on before. Families are forever.

TRUSTING IN THE LORD means trusting in His Plan. It is knowing that He is in charge. I have taken great confort in the scripture found in D&C 101:16, "Therefore, let your hearts be comforted..., for all flesh is in mine hands; be still and know that I am God." That has truly been the answer to many prayers for me in the past.

TRUSTING IN THE LORD means trusting in His timing. But, if you are like me, we want our prayers to be answered NOW! After many years of suffering with chronis bronchitis, pheumonia, and fibromyalgia, last year I became extremely ill. I prayed for months to get well, had Priesthood blessings, and my name was placed in the Temple. But nothing seemed to help. Though I still had a testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel, I began to doubt God's love for me. I felt that He was not listening to my prayers, and that I had been forgotten. It was in the midst of this period of time that I heard the Conference talk by Pesident Uchtdorf. I realized that Heavenly Father was truly speaking directly to me, as he said, "What you see and experience now is not what forever will be. You will not feel loneliness, sorrow, pain, or disouragement forever. We have the faithful promise of God that He will neither forget nor forsake those who incline their hearts to Him. Have hope and faith in that promise. He wants you to know that YOU MATTER TO HIM." And he assured me, "You are not forgotten."

Dear Family, the previous was from a talk I gave in Sacrament Meeting last November. There was more to it, but I thought you might have gotten tired of reading it. Maybe I'll add more next month, or not. I'd like to invite you all to contribute to the family blog, by writing anything uplifting, helpful, or inspirational that you'd like to share, even if it is only a song, a scripture, or a story. I want to bring us closer to each other though writing. I love you all. Mom

Thursday, January 10, 2013

New Year's Resolutions

Dear Family,
     With the New Year comes the opportunity for a fresh new start for our family and for each of us individually.  Many people make New Year's Resolutions, only to be broken in a few days or weeks. As for me, I know I just need to keep trying, and never give up.

   My thoughts for this month come mostly from the Conference talk by President Uchtdorf, entitled, "Of Regrets and Resolutions." He tells us, "When we are young, it seems that we will live forever. We think there is a limitless supply of sunrises waiting just beyound the horizon, and the future looks to us like an unbroken road stretching endlessly before us," he said.

   I remember thinking that I'd never grow old, though logically I knew better. Then one day I realized I was there. Where did the time go? It seems like only yesterday I was young, like you.
  President Uchtdorf continues: "We remember many sweet memories...But we also remember the regrets--the things we wish we could go back and change." Some of the regrets people express as they are nearing death is, "I wish I had spent more time with the people I love."
     There are those who "realized that they never lived up to their potential, that too many songs remained unsung.... Our Heavenly Father sees our real potential. He knows things about us that we do not know ourselves. He prompts us during our lifetime to fulfill the measure of our creation, to live a good life, and to return to His presence.
     "When it comes to living the gospel, we should not be like the boy who dipped his toe in the water and then claimed he went swimming.  As sons and daughter of our Heavenly Father, we are capable of so much more. For that, good intentions are not enough.  We must do.  Even more important, we must become what Heavenly Father wants us to be.
     "I wish I had let myself be happier. ...So often we get caught up in the illusion that there is something just beyond our reach that would bring us happiness: a better family situation, a better financial situation, or the end of a challenging trial.... We determine our happiness....Sometimes in life we become so focused on the finish line that we fail to find joy in the journey."

   He concluded with these thoughts, "We cannot go back in time and change the past, but we can repent. The Savior can wipe away our tears of regret and remove the burden of our sins.  His Atonement allows us to leave the past behind and move forward with clean hands, a pure heart, and a determination to do better and especially to become better."

   I want to do better, and be better. I find myself so hopelessly flawed, and wonder if I'll ever become the kind of person I truly want to be. Then I realize that we all just need to keep trying, keep learning, repenting, and growing. The Atonement of Jesus Christ will make up the difference.

    I'd like to invite any of you to share your thoughts, experiences, stories, quotes, songs, feelings, or anything you feel would uplift each other. Together we can become better by helping one another. I love you all, and pray for you daily.
                                                                                       --Love, Mom
Hello everyone.  How are you all doing?  I hope that you have a great day. 

Saturday, September 18, 2010

To The Dad

Hey Dad, i hope your birthday was real good. It would have been nice to give you somethin big. Thanks for all that you do for me and for all of us kids. You taught me a lot of things dad, but one thing i think that i really learned from watching you is that you always try to make others happy. You always taught us to be nice and to not fight. I'm so glad you are my dad.

You have also always been the best source for some laughs. If we ever needed anyone to make fun of you always came through with something. You are such a fun guy to be around. Thanks for always making us laugh. You always used to do things with me when i was little. I'd always go to the store with you and help you do whatever you were doing. You'd always let me help you steer the car even when i was pretty little. Thanks for always wanting to do fun things with me, i never really remember you telling me that you were too busy for me or anything like that. I could always ask you to do something and you'd be right there to do it with me.

I don't know why dad, but i'm just having a hard time saying what i want to say. There are lots of things you've done for me and memories of you being a great dad. Its hard for me to express to you how valuable you have been in my life. Thank you for all the help you gave me. You didn't get mad at me or yell at me. When i made my mistakes you just wanted to help me. You did help me a whole lot dad. There were times when i really needed a dad to help direct me and tell me that i was still ok and i could make everything right. I'm glad you were there to help me with my struggles in life dad. I owe you lots for all you've done for me.

Thanks for being a great example dad. I wish things could have been easier for you in life as a dad. You had a hard time sometimes with jobs and stuff like that and i'm glad you are the man you are to get through it anyway.

I'd like to be able to say more, but 1, i have to go to work, and 2, i have to go to work. But, i love you dad. I could say thanks a whole lot more times but it wouldn't really do the trick. I hope you know that i love you and your family loves you. I would do anything to help you if you needed. You've always been there for me and i always want to follow your example and be there for you. Thanks for teaching me the gospel and what is right and wrong. I wouldn't have ended up where i am now without you buddy. I know you wondered sometimes when i made mistakes in life if there was something you did wrong as a dad. You did a great job as a dad though, and i owe you.

I love you dad. I'm glad you are my friend. I'm glad we can do things together. Have a great birthday time, and be good.
love, Geoff

Friday, September 17, 2010

Happy Birthday Dad

Happy Birthday Dad.  I hope you had a great day.  Thanks for all you do for me.  Here are some thoughts and memories I have:

  • My favorite memory is when I was little and went with you when you were looking for a job.  I felt very important.  I remember that we got to eat in some cafeteria too.
  • I always liked riding on your shoulders.  I don't remember exactly when I got too big for you to carry me anymore.
  • I loved it when you coached my soccer teams.  You did a great job.  It means a lot to me that you cared enough to spend time to do that.  I'll always remember the year that we took 1st place fall and spring, and won the Commissioner's Cup.  And that we were undefeated except for the game that I had to leave at halftime for some violin thing (and we ended up tying that game).  Even though you hadn't played a lot of soccer yourself, you were always prepared and made sure our team did well and had fun.  You were the best coach I had.  
  • I miss working out with you at the bubble.  That was a lot of fun.  And playing racquetball.  I'm glad that you have been able to work hard and get in shape.  It's neat that you can enjoy doing your races.
  • I remember one time before school (I think I was in 7th grade).  I was getting in trouble like usual, and you tried to whip me with a belt.  I was trying to get away, and you ended up getting me right across the face.  It left a pretty good welt.  I think you felt really bad about it.  When you were dropping me off at school, I asked if you had a dollar I could have.  You gave me one.  For the next while, when you would drop me off, I would usually ask for a dollar or some change so I could buy some candy or a soda.  You would always give me some.  I guess what I'm trying to say is that getting whipped in the face worked out pretty well for me.
  • I'm glad that you came on several camping trips with me for scouts and young mens.  Not a lot of dads came to stuff like that.  We had a lot of fun on those, and we made a lot of good memories.  I also remember how much everyone else loved you going camping with us too.  All of the young men enjoyed you being around.
  • You were always generous and giving to us.  I know we didn't have a lot when I was growing up.  Whenever we didn't have enough of something, you never hesitated to go without.  Whenever any of us asked you for something, you gave it to us.  You always wanted us to be happy and taken care of.
  • I'm sure I'm forgetting lots of stuff.  You taught me how to drive with your old silver Ford (with its touchy clutch), we wrestled and I ended up with stitches in the back of my head, hearing your stories of growing up by Bear Lake, etc.  Anyway, thanks for being my Dad.