Why Easter is my favorite holiday

Easter has always been my favorite holiday. My mother always thought it was strange that while other children were looking forward to Christmas or even Halloween, I always had my sights set on Easter. When I was a child, I used to tell everyone it was because of all the chocolate, but even then I knew that wasn’t the real reason.

In all honesty, I love everything about Easter. I love candy in the shape of bunnies, eggs and chicks. I love the colorful baskets. I love dying and decorating eggs in a rainbow of colors. I love hiding and hunting for the eggs after they are decorated. I love seeing everyone all dressed up in various pastel hues.

I think one of the other reasons that Easter has always been my favorite holiday is the season. I love Spring. I love witnessing the earth coming alive again after the dead of winter. I love the smell of the air and the feel of the breeze. I love seeing the trees bud with new leaves and lawns and pastures turn green seemingly overnight. I love seeing flowers literally bursting out of every field and flower bed that I pass.

I love the season, symbols and celebrations of the Easter holiday, but they are not the reasons that Easter is my favorite holiday. The reason that Easter is my favorite holiday is the same reason that we celebrate it in the first place. I love Easter because it is a celebration of the life, teachings and resurrection of the Savior.

Over two thousand years ago the Savior lived a perfect life of love, compassion and service. He taught others His message of love and service through his words and through his example. He suffered great pains and ultimately died for each of us, but His death was not the end. We celebrate on Easter because three days later, He rose again.

So, yes, Easter is my favorite holiday. It is my favorite holiday for many reasons but most of all because it reminds me of the gratitude I feel for my Savior. I am grateful for His life and for His teachings. I am grateful that I know not only did He suffer and die for me but that He rose again.

I know that He lived and I know that He still lives and I am eternally grateful.

 

Posted in gratitude | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Other Tree

 

I’ve written a few times about the magnificent tree in the courtyard outside my office. I’ve written about the tree’s huge, sprawling branches. I’ve written about it’s growth, change and development through each season. I’ve written about how much I have enjoyed watching it through the years. What I have not written about is the other tree…

There are two trees in the courtyard outside my office. Both trees have huge, sprawling branches. Both trees have experienced similar growth and change through the years. Both have very similar characteristics and attributes. In fact, I would say that there is little to no difference between these two trees.

So, why have I chosen to write about one of these trees repeatedly and all but ignored the other? The answer is simple. I write about the tree that is most visible and easiest for me to see.

I can see the tree that I write about with a quick glance out my window. The other tree is at the opposite end of the courtyard. To see it, I have to get up out of my chair and stretch and strain my neck. In other words, it takes a little more effort on my part. It seems a bit sad to me that I have spent so much time admiring one tree and almost completely ignored the other, simply because it would take a little more effort or work on my part to do so.

As I thought about this other tree, I began to wonder how many things, how many people in my life I overlook or all but ignore because it takes a little more effort or work to “see” them. There are many people in our lives that have so much to offer, so much to share, yet many of these people go unnoticed or unrecognized.

We fail to see them due to a multitude of reasons. Sometimes, they attempt to go unnoticed due to their own shyness or because they lack self-confidence. Sometimes, we intentionally ignore them because of our own prejudices or biases or because we are just too busy. Sometimes, we notice them but deliberately ignore them because they have put up barriers and we are reluctant to invest the time and effort necessary to break through and really see them. Whatever the reason, we often miss opportunities that could bless our lives and the lives of others.

I am going to try to remember the other tree in my courtyard and the lesson that it taught me. I am going to work harder and make a greater effort to see the people in my life that normally go unnoticed. I am going to ask for my Heavenly Father’s help to see them through His eyes. Then, I am going to do my best to help them see themselves that way too….

 

Posted in Love | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

A Mother’s Love

 

When I fell in love with and married my husband, my heart was so full. I thought that it was not possible to love anything as much as I did him…..then I gave birth. Once again, I thought that I could love nothing as much as I did my children….then I had grandchildren. With the birth of each child, each grandchild, my heart seemed to grow in it’s capacity to love.

Four weeks ago, my heart enlarged once again with the birth of my newest grandchild Patrick. My heart swelled even more as I watched my beautiful daughter Anna care for her new child. I looked on as she worried about every detail of his comfort and well-being. I watched as she worried about his every grimace, every whimper, every cry. I watched as she willingly sacrificed her own sleep, her own comfort, for her child. I watched as my child became a mother.

As I looked on with pride, I was flooded with memories of a time not so long ago. A time when this beautiful, young mother before me was my newborn child. I remembered feeling that I would do anything within my power to make sure that she was safe, protected and happy. As I looked at my child, now an adult, it occurred to me that my feelings had not changed. My love and concern for my child did not magically disappear on the day she turned eighteen. I would still do anything within my power to make sure that my child, and her child were safe, protected and happy.

As I sat reflecting on times past, I thought about this all encompassing love that a mother has for her children. I thought how every person on this earth began their life here as a tiny newborn baby. I wondered how differently we might treat others if we thought about them in this way. How different the world would be if we attempted to love every child, every individual we meet the same way a mother loves her child, or the same way our Heavenly Father loves us.

What if we worried about the comfort and happiness of everyone that we meet? What if we worried what was causing them to be hurt, sad, or afraid? What if we were willing to sacrifice our own sleep, our own comfort to help them? What if we were willing to do whatever was within our power to make sure that they were safe, protected and happy? What if we tried to remember that they are all our Heavenly Father’s children?

I know that it is not practical to believe that we can “mother” the entire world. But how much better would the world be if we tried?

 

 

Posted in Love | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Reminiscing with Hall & Oates

 

Thirty-one years ago this month I attended a Hall and Oates concert with my future husband. This month, with my husband of over thirty years by my side, I attended another Hall and Oates concert. As I sat in the auditorium waiting for the concert to begin, I couldn’t help but reminisce about that first concert and the thirty plus years that had transpired since.

I thought about the young woman at the first concert. I smiled as I remembered how full of hope and excitement she was as she anticipated her future. I thought about all the things I would like to tell her if I could. I could warn her about the poor choices and bad decisions I had made. I could tell her about the struggles and trials that lie ahead. Maybe I could help her to avoid some of the pitfalls and stumbling blocks that  I know the next thirty years will bring.

As I reflected on what I might tell my younger self, I realized that I wouldn’t want to warn her about any of those things. If I had not made the choices and decisions that I have made, if I had not experienced the trials and tribulations that I have experienced, I would not be the person that I am today. I would not have the empathy, compassion and patience for others who are experiencing similar trials and making similar choices.

So what would I tell her? I would tell her that her Heavenly Father loves her very much and will be there for her no matter what. No matter how hard things may get or how much her heart is breaking, He will always be there for her.

I would tell her that her Heavenly Father will  also send many special friends to help her through the hard times. They will love her, hug her, cry with her and stay by her. I would tell her that she should never pass up an opportunity to do the same for them and  for others in her life.

I would tell her to always look for miracles because they are all around her. I would tell her that if she doesn’t see one right away, she should help make one happen for someone else.

So while I sat waiting for my second Hall and Oates concert to begin, I recognized that I am a little older and a little wider, but  I am also a little wiser. I am very grateful for who I am today and for who I may yet become with my Heavenly Father’s help….

 

Posted in Miracles, Progress | Tagged , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Lessons Learned in Kindergarten

When I was five years old, I thought that I knew everything….

The year that I turned five, my mother reluctantly enrolled me in kindergarten. I was bright and fairly knowledgeable for my age, but I was sure that I knew more than my parents, my older sister, and definitely my teacher.

After spending what seemed like decades in the corner, enduring several unpleasant episodes of having my mouth taped shut and delivering one too many unpleasant notes home to my parents, I came to the decision to be a little less vocal in sharing my opinion.

I was released from my kindergarten captors every day at noon. And every day at noon, my mother would be waiting to walk me safely home. We only lived a few blocks away but to the mother of a five year old, it might as well have been twenty miles…So every day my mother was waiting to walk me home, every day but one.

I’m not really sure what happened that day to cause my mother to be late, but when I came bounding out the doors at noon, she was nowhere to be found. I had been given strict orders to wait for my mother in a situation such as this, but since I knew everything, I took off on my own.

Half an hour later, I sat happily in front of the television watching cartoons and eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich while my mother had parents, teachers and local police frantically combing the neighborhood. When she found me safe at home she was very relieved but she was also very unhappy with me. I, on the other hand, did not understand what all the fuss was about.

A short time later one of my friends was walking home from school and barely escaped a would be abductor. As I witnessed the fear and terror he experienced, it suddenly occurred to me that maybe my parents and teachers did know a little bit more than I did.

I began to realize that maybe my parents’ rules were there to protect me and keep me safe. Maybe, they did know more about the dangers and perils in my life. Maybe their rules existed because they loved me and wanted me to be happy.

Throughout my life I have come to realize the same to be true of our Heavenly Father and His rules. We often believe that we know everything, that we know what is best for us. We don’t understand how limited our knowledge really is.

Our Heavenly Father loves us very much and He wants us to be happy. He knows the dangers that exist in this world that can threaten our safety and happiness. He has given us commandments to protect us and keep us safe. If we strive to stay close to Him and follow His teachings we will be happy in this life and the next….

 

Posted in Faith | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Borrowing Worry

I am a worrier.

I don’t let worry cripple or consume me, but I do wrestle with it on a daily basis. I have to make an active, conscious effort to keep it at bay. I am continually reminding myself that most of the things I worry about never come to pass.

I have to admit though that I come by it naturally. When I was growing up my mother was a world-class worrier. If there were a remote possibility of something negative happening-she worried about it. She assured me that when I got older I would understand why she worried so much. I was positive that would never happen….except it did.

I can’t really blame my mother though. I haven’t always been a worrier and I am not a worrier today because of her example. It just seems like life and its stresses slowly wore me down and little by little the worries just seemed to sneak up on me.

Last week a dear friend of mine really got me to thinking about this when she told me not to “borrow worry.” When the things I worried about did not materialize, I thought even harder about it. I wondered how many hours I had wasted in needless worry.

As I reflected on this I thought of another example from my childhood, my grandmother. I’m not sure that I remember my grandmother ever worrying about anything. She had a steadfast, unwavering faith that God would take care of her no matter what.

My grandmother believed the Bible was her guidebook for life. She often shared stories from its pages in an attempt to teach me life lessons. She taught me that with faith I could move mountains and that without fear I could walk on water.

I am trying harder to remember and embrace the lessons that my grandmother taught. I am trying to develop faith sufficient to move the mountains that create obstacles in my path. I am trying to dispel the doubt and fear that prevent me from walking on the turbulent seas of this life instead of drowning in them. I am trying to remember that God will take care of me no matter what

Why should I worry?

Posted in Faith | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Be Of Good Cheer

Have you ever noticed how we can hear one negative comment and a hundred positive comments and we choose to dwell on the negative? Or, have you ever been having a wonderful day, then one bad thing happens and it seems to cancel out all the good that already happened? It can even be a relatively minor “bad” thing but it causes us to say we are having a “bad day.” It just seems that often we let a little negative cancel out a lot of positive.

I freely admit that I am one of the worst offenders. Hard as I try, sometimes it just seems like I let negative comments or events overshadow the positive. I find this to be especially true when I am sick, tired or overly stressed. It seems that negativity uses weakened defenses as opportunity to take over.

I was considering this when the Savior’s words “Be of good cheer” came to mind. Our Heavenly Father and our Savior love us all so very much. They want us to be happy, to be of good cheer and with their help we can be. If we stay close to them, follow their teachings and ask for their help, we can lessen the importance of the negative in our life. We can be more positive.

I am going to try harder to stay close to my Heavenly Father and my Savior, to focus more on the positive in my life and less on the negative. As I do, I am going to try and remember that others are struggling too. I will try to be more kind, more compassionate and more positive to everyone I meet. I will try to be a part of making their lives more positive too….

Posted in Hope | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment