Thursday, May 21, 2020

What If This Happened For Me Instead Of To Me?

“Try to go a whole seven days without having to control everything, without stressing when things don't work out as you thought they would or should. As you do this, any time you feel the need to take charge, try to relax out of it, just to see what happens. Look for the good that happened precisely because things didn't work out the way you thought they would or should."
Wabi Sabi by Beth Kempton



Before the world opens up again from a global lockdown perhaps we need to ask ourselves a few questions. 

How was life unfolding for you in January 2020?

I was recovering from breast cancer surgery. My spring months ahead held appointments to start cancer treatments. 

What changed for you in March 2020?

As I sat in a long session with a Physician's assistant March 13th I looked at her and watched her eyes over her mask. I was wearing a mask as well. My husband insisted on it. I asked her whether I should postpone treatment. What was going to happen in the next months? She thought it would all work out if I went ahead.
BUT....
I postponed. I did a radical overhaul on my health during March, April and May.
I kept up with a weight loss started in October 2019. By mid May I was done 35 pounds.
I changed to a plant based diet. 
I walked 40 minutes everyday instead of just some days. 
While the world was stopping I was moving forward in new ways, trying to restore my confidence in my body.


What lessons will you carry with you into the Summer and Fall of 2020?

    Nature shows us that we don't have to rush. Some seeds can be planted in April, May, even in June. But there is a window and if the window is missed then the seed doesn't have time to germinate.
The summer season is my time to resume cancer treatments. While the warmer weather slows down the Covid-19 virus I will take on some intense chemo therapy to fight the cells that may still have a place to replicate.
I'm glad I didn't rush. 
I'm ready.

For me the morning ritual of prayer, scripture study, and meditation will stay intact. My walks in nature will steady my perspective. The world lockdown allowed me to watch and wait. It happened for my benefit. How about you?






Friday, April 24, 2020

Perspective


The divisions of Perspective are three;
as used in drawing; of these, the first includes the diminution in size of opaque objects; the second treats of the diminution and loss of outline in such opaque objects; the third, of the diminution and loss of color at long distances.
Leonardo DaVinci

No matter how much I'd like it to be so, my understanding of life is filtered by my perspective and my perspective is not totally accurate. As in drawing, when we paint what we see we discover there are distortions of reality. But our painting shows what we see even when our mind knows that the size of an object in real life is not as it is in our rendering.




Hence we need spiritual revelation. We so desperately need heavenly light to illuminate the truth of all things.
In a world where the truth is distorted by well meaning experts and purposeful deceivers, where can we turn for an accurate perspective?

To Him.



"The spirit speaketh the truth and lieth not. Wherefore it speaketh of things as they really are, and of things as they really will be;"
Jacob 4:13


Thursday, April 16, 2020

How Covid-19 Changed My Life



“’I wish it need not have happened in my time,’ said Frodo. ‘So do I,’ said Gandalf, ‘and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.’” —J.R.R. Tolkein

Before March 11th, 2020 things were serious but the path was straight and visible. I was recovering from Breast Cancer Surgery and I had preventative treatment ahead. I was preparing my piano students to do distance learning to protect my immune system. My piano studio was full and hearty.

My husband had a steady job and life was manageable. Every week I visited with grandchildren, many who took weekly piano lessons from me.
I enjoyed my calling of music leader in my church and weekly prepared music to teach and share with them.
I diligently exercised at my local athletic club four to five days a week.
Friends came over for knit nights, I studied scriptures with a dear friend every week, and I enjoyed seeing my neighbors in town and going to lunch with them.
Then.....the news started coming.




  I hauled out the large bottle of Purel which was in storage and everyone who came into my house used hand sanitizer. My husband found some face masks in our storage and began wearing one to work. He was eyed curiously and schooled on how the CDC claimed masks didn't work. He asked that I wear one in town and while I taught piano. I was disobedient some of the time.
Then...... our governor closed the schools. It was for six weeks at first. I was really glad that I had already figured out how to teach via computer. 
Our church Prophet canceled church for a few weeks, at first. That was weird.

Then.....our governor locked down the state and asked that we all stay home. The hospitals were preparing for an overwhelming Pandemic. I visited with my Oncologist and I chose to postpone treatment. The visits were becoming increasingly alarming. No one was allowed into the building except the patients. Everyone had masks on, myself included. I told the doctor I was delaying treatment and would do immunotherapy with Chinese herbs and essential oils. 

My athletic club was closed down and I started walking on quiet streets without people. 
I stopped visiting my grandchildren and we visited via computer.
No one came over. No one went anywhere.
My husband's job laid off half the work force. His hours were cut. 
The world was struggling and we still are.

Where once my path was visible and straight it now was cloudy and everyday set out into a new direction.

We prayed to have our lives restored. We prayed to have enough toilet paper. I purchased a toilet paper charm as a momento of this time.



What hasn't changed?

The sun still comes up every morning on time. 
Spring has arrived and the birds are singing.
My house still gets dirty and the dishes are ready to wash.
Warm water greets me in the shower.

I still have a heart full of love.

And I am grateful.



Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Why Fast During A Pandemic?


A World Wide Fast


Why would a prophet ask his people, no, not just his people, but the whole world to fast for relief during a pandemic?

When everyone is at their lowest emotionally, why fast?

I am terrible at fasting. My religion asks me to fast for 24 hours once a month. I will confess. I don't always do it and sometimes when I do it feels like a rote practice. But I did do it on Good Friday. Here are some of my thoughts just before I ended my 24 hour fast.

I just prepped my soup which I will eat when I break my fast. I didn’t have a taste or even lick my fingers. How uncharacteristic of me to be that disciplined. Could that be a blessing of the fast accompanied by prayer?

The smell of the onions and peppers was so strong and wafted from the pot. Could that be a blessing of the fast accompanied by prayer?

I have a strong desire to hear Him. Yes, I need to hear the words of my Savior. I long to hear him talk to me about sorrow, about sickness, about loneliness and pain. I didn’t want that with such fervor, yesterday. Could that be a blessing of the fast accompanied by prayer?

When I have my first taste of food very soon I know I will be overcome with gratitude. I feel so grateful to have the strength of the spirit with me, to ease the physical wanting and entice me to choose spiritual wanting. Could that be a blessing of the fast accompanied by prayer?

Why fast and pray during a pandemic? Because we need a miracle to ease the burden of this virus and the economic consequences. No doctors or scientists or scholars can bring us peace. 

Let's Hear Him.




Monday, April 13, 2020

Unused Creativity Is Not Benign

Creating is really important, you know. It has very little to do with being good at something. It is more about whole-hearted living.   


Years ago I started working on a project. It started with a little nudge from a fellow blogger to try my hand at making a family video. I wanted to document the experience of teaching piano lessons to some of my own grandchildren. Then a piano student came to lessons with a piece of music stuck in his head. I didn't know it myself but found it on U-Tube. While I was writing him a little simplified version I found the music captured me, too and it became the soundtrack to my video idea. My family endured my amateur filming and with just my Apple products I started creating. 



Creating is really important, you know. It has very little to do with being good at something. It is more about whole-hearted living. What do I mean by that? Putting your heart into a project gives you a space to feel connected with your imagination, your insights, and your intuition. You can open yourself to seeing with new eyes.

  "Creativity has to be cultivated. Unused creativity is not benign, it matastizes. It turns into grief, judgement, sorrow, and shame. We are divine beings and we are by nature creative." Brene Brown

    "Although the principle of doing new things to achieve new results applies in many areas of life, the underlying quality is the same. It is creativity. Creativity is what allows us to see things in a new way. We can enhance our ability to think creatively by engaging in pursuits that are different from our normal activities."
    "Search for feelings that prompt you to try something new yourself, and if they are not there strive to generate them. Try art, poetry, prose, music, dance, photography, clothing design, or anything you haven’t done before. Otherwise you may never know the thrill of personal creativity nor enter the doors it opens to insight, enjoyment, and wonder"
Elder Richard G. Scott 

   Here is the video I created about going to teach my little grands. I call it The Summer of My PianoTeaching




My word for 2020 is Restore. I believe I am using my creative energy to restore myself during this Pandemic crisis.

      

*********************************************************************************



My novel The Gymnopédist

A riveting murder mystery about a young musician who also loves tightrope walking. When he falls from a tightrope stretched across his hometown buildings, detectives Stevie Dangerfield and Reggie Watts look at his struggling family to find someone who might have wanted him dead.



Sunday, April 12, 2020

He Is Risen

"He is risen, He is risen, tell it out with loud acclaim"


I think today of the sleepless night Mary must have had, grief and sorrow forcing her out early to the tomb. He came out of love, for her, to bind up the broken heart.

"Go to my brethren and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God and your God."


As the sun comes up this morning I am aware of the miracle of resurrection. I may not understand it but I am fully confident that it is so for all men. Of greatest comfort is that it is so for those I love who have died before me, and that it will be so, for me.


"Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?"


Other Days In This Last Week
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Saturday, April 11, 2020

Waiting On The Lord

C.S. Lewis expressed the sadness of the time after the death of the Aslan, who is symbolic of the Savior, so eloquently in The Witch, The Lion and The Wardrobe".. 


"I hope no one who reads this book has been quite as miserable as Susan and Lucy were that night; but if you have been - if you've been up all night and cried till you have no more tears left in you - you will know that there comes in the end a sort of quietness. You feel as if nothing is ever going to happen again..."




Psalms 27:13
 I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.
Those who loved him endured an awful waiting. Waiting is a mortal experience. Uncertainty washes over us and our unruly minds go wild with the "what if's". What if this is the end of the teachings of Jesus. What if the Jewish authorities come after all the new Christians? What if the Romans come after them? How will we live without the comfort of Jesus? What if?

What if........it is true?

What if tomorrow he rises from the dead?

Other Days In This Last Week
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