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The Purest Love

"The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of transformation. It takes us as men and women of the earth and refines us into men and wom...

Monday, October 31, 2016

Consecrate Thy Performance - Ponderize - Week 57

“There may be things in our character, in our behavior, or concerning our spiritual growth about which we need to counsel with Heavenly Father in morning prayer. …
“During the course of the day, we keep a prayer in our heart for continued assistance and guidance...
“We notice during this particular day that there are occasions where normally we would have a tendency to speak harshly, and we do not; or we might be inclined to anger, but we are not. We discern heavenly help and strength and humbly recognize answers to our prayer. Even in that moment of recognition, we offer a silent prayer of gratitude” (Bednar, David A., “Pray Always,” Ensign, Nov. 2008, 41–42).

But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul. 
- 2 Nephi 32:9

Sunday, October 30, 2016

"One such little child"... or two

Last Sunday, I slipped into the back of the primary room and watched him as he interacted with his teacher. The boy is one year younger than my second son and probably twice as heavy--an adorably pudgy kid with dark hair, tan skin, and almond-shaped eyes.  His white collar Sunday shirt was untucked from his black slacks that were rolled up to show off his long striped socks and Air Jordan shoes.  He rarely sat still during the class and occasionally made spontaneous outbursts of animal noises. From what the other ward members had told me, his behavior has made tremendous progress since mid July, when he first began living with the young newly married couple.

He didn't notice me sitting in the back of the room... and even if he had glanced over, he wouldn't have thought anything of me being there.  He hadn't been told about me yet, even though his social worker has been working with my resource counselor to place him and his little sister in our home.

I started imagining him living with us and wondered how all of my own children would interact with him, especially my younger son, who would be his new roommate.  Fears of personality clashes, emotional adjustments, and the huge upheaval of lifestyle change for my 11-yr. old began to nag at me:  "Micah is extremely compassionate and very giving. He loves to help others but will tuck tail and run if they are ever mean--he's terribly sensitive when someone is rude to him. He's the most flexible of all of my children yet, I don't want this situation to break him or be too much for him." I continued to question, "What are we doing? Are we asking too much of all of our kids to bring these foster children in our home?" I took a deep breath and tried not to let my worries plague my mind.

I stepped out of the primary room and finished up the rest of the hour in Relief Society.  After our church services were over, I had to head down the street to watch a primary program in a neighboring ward.  It was my second program I was scheduled to watch that Sunday.

I arrived at the other church 15 minutes early.  With all my fears still weighing on me, I decided to find an empty classroom where I could just pray and study the scriptures before the program began.  Tears rolled down my face as I pled for strength to accomplish this mission God has called us to.  It will be hard for our whole family. I question my own abilities. Sometimes, I shake my head in disbelief, "Lord, why on earth do you think I can do this? I am so far from the kind of mother I want to be with my own biological children. How can I be a good mother to someone else's?" I flipped through the pages in my Bible and read, "Whoso shall receive one such little child in My name receiveth Me." (Matthew 18:5) I knew it was true!

It doesn't matter who these children belong to. Any child that comes to my home needs to know that I would receive them as if they were the Savior, Himself. I know that God's hand has been in all of this.  I do not doubt that He sent us to this very specific place because of this boy and this girl.

It was the perfect day for me to read the scripture in Matthew because at the end of both primary programs--the morning and the afternoon, the Bishop from each ward shared his testimony and quoted from the verses previous,  "And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:2-4) Comfortingly, I said to myself, "This is His work.  This is His work."

The caretaker of the foster children from my ward called me this past week and asked if I'd watch the two kids while they were on fall break.  I took them during the day for three days.  It has been good for all of us to meet them, to spend time with them.  Now they know we're foster parents.  I was surprised to see the boy was already quite familiar with our home.  He began to name where all the furniture used to be from the previous owners.  I guess his mother was friends with the woman we bought our home from and he had been here several times with her.

This weekend, we did respite care again for a nine-yr. old girl and her baby brother.  (We've watched them twice before.) There was an overlap where we had them and the two foster children who are getting placed with us--making four foster kids total in our home. Micah and Miriam also had a friend visiting for a good chunk of the day, adding two more kids to the mix. I didn't feel overwhelmed by all the children though, in fact I had more energy than I had all week long.  It was a definite tender mercy. These are the kinds of little miracles I'll need and I'll be expecting to carry us through in the future.

Today, I saw the foster children at church again.  But this time they knew me. They smiled shyly and waved from the bench across the row.  They are good kids and I can feel my heart open to them. Their caretaker is going to break the news to them this week that they'll be living with us. I don't know how long it will be before the children are placed in our home permanently--I imagine it will be less than a month.  I hope to be able to stay on top of my schoolwork because I'm so close to finishing this semester.  I continue to pray for strength beyond my own.  I pray for my husband, for my children, that we all will be able to unite through this effort and draw closer.  This is not a small undertaking.  Sometimes, I'm terrified, absolutely terrified... but we're still moving ahead... one foot in front of the other.

"[We] can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth [us]."- Philippians 4:13

-Alicia :)

Why Are We Here?

Monday, October 24, 2016

2 Nephi 25:26 - Ponderize - Week 56

The verse I've chosen to ponderize this week is from where I'm reading with my personal study in the Book of Mormon.  I love this scripture! It's a favorite to many and there's good reason...  It's awesome! 

"We talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, 
we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, 
and we write according to our prophecies, 
that our children may know to what source 
they may look for a remission of their sins." 
- 2 Nephi 25:26

And like any awesome scripture, it makes it extra cool to have a song that goes with it--a song that makes you want to clap your hands and testify! Amen!! 


"If you’ve got pain
He’s a pain taker
If you feel lost
He’s a way maker"

-Zach Williams

-Alicia - (Make the Day Beautiful) ;)

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Hope Works!

The Mormon Channel has rolled out a new video series all about hope and redemption.  The stage format is very similar to Ted-Talks.  The one my husband and I watched today was called "The Perfect Lie" and it touches on the destructive aftermath of perfectionism. This woman tells her story of how she was caught up in the check-list of everything she was "supposed" to be and how it broke her, shattered her.  She tells how she came to know the Savior and what Grace really was through all her brokenness.

As we watched her share her testimony, I couldn't help but think of this new Christian song I love.  Take a listen! This is what the Gospel of Jesus Christ really is all about



When you see broken beyond repair
I see healing beyond belief
When you see too far gone
I see one step away from home

How many times can one heart break?
It was never supposed to be this way
Look in the mirror, but you find someone you never thought you'd be

Oh, but I can still recognize
The one I love in your tear stained eyes
I know you might not see him now, so lift your eyes to me

When you see broken beyond repair
I see healing beyond belief
When you see too far gone
I see one step away from home

When you see nothing but damaged goods
I see something good in the making
I'm not finished yet
When you see wounded, I see mended

You see your worst mistake
But I see the price I paid
And there's nothing you could ever do, to lose what grace has won

So hold on, it's not the end
No, this is where love's work begins
I'm making all things new
And I will make a miracle of you

When you see broken beyond repair
I see healing beyond belief
When you see too far gone
I see one step away from home

When you see nothing but damaged goods
I see something good in the making
I'm not finished yet
When you see wounded, I see mended

I see my child, my beloved
The new creation you're becoming
You see the scars from when you fell
But I see the stories they will tell

You see worthless, I see priceless
You see pain, but I see a purpose
You see unworthy, undeserving
But I see you through eyes of mercy

When you see broken beyond repair
I see healing beyond belief
You're not too far gone
You're one step away from home

When you see nothing but damaged goods
I see something good in the making
I'm not finished yet, no
When you see wounded, I see mended

Ooh, I see mended
Woah, oh I see mended
I'm not finished yet
When you see wounded, I see mended

-Alicia - (There's always hope.)

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Why Are We Here?

Racing home from school on my bike, I cut through the 7-11 parking lot to shave off a few seconds.  Out of the corner of my eye, I caught a quick glimpse of a woman waiting at the intersection to cross the street to our side of the road.  I didn't think anything of it and continued full speed into my driveway.  Seconds after I entered our house and removed my shoes, the same woman I just saw was knocking at our door.
She was a younger woman, I'd guess in her early 20's.  The expression on her face was one of urgency and great anxiety as she apologized,
"I'm so sorry for bothering you but I felt like I needed to stop by and talk to you now!"
At first, I thought she was going to tell me that some creepy person was chasing her.  I really didn't know what to expect.
She continued almost without taking a breath, "Can I come in and speak to you and your husband?"
"Sure", I said as I guided her into our front room and gestured for Joseph to join me.
"Thank you again.  Please don't think I'm strange," she begged.
"I've heard about your family moving in and was told you are licenced foster parents. Is that true?"
"Yes." We both said almost in unison, instantly feeling better that we knew the subject matter of her visit.
She continued, "I know this is hard to believe but... we ended up being left with these kids and I don't really know what to do. I don't know when their parents will be out of jail either but we need to find a place for the children."
She took a deep breath to collect herself, trying to hide the embarrassment on her face.  I told her not to worry and touched her shoulder encouragingly.
Wringing her hands nervously, she spoke through her tears, "It's been such a hard few months.  Don't get me wrong, they are really good kids, it's just that this happened all so suddenly and we're not officially licenced to do foster care, we're not in a good financial state, and I work full time.  Their biological mother has been begging us to keep her children in this ward, she really feels that it's the best place for them but we can't stay in our apartment for long. We'll need to move out eventually and I don't know what to do at this point.  Can you help us? Do you think you are able to take the children?"

My heart went out to her, I assured her that she was in a safe place and that we would do all we could to help.  Legally, we have to go through the right channels.  Any foster children that come into our home must be placed by the official people and must go through our Resource Family Consultant. 

The un-licenced foster mom who anxiously sought our help was very understanding about the process as I explained it.  I took the name of the children and sent them to our family consultant.  In the mean time, I spent the next day making our home completely foster ready: installing child gates for top and bottom of the stairs, smoke detectors in the right places, locks for the attic, and locks for the cleaning chemicals and medicine cabinets.  We're officially ready now for placement.

I think it's interesting that this young married woman was given these children right around the same time we found out we had to move from our apartment.  And it's interesting that the biological mom has been so specific about keeping her kids in this ward. (Such a request from a bio-mom is extremely rare!!) Yet, here we had miraculous events that led us to this home in this ward and... we have room for exactly two kids--one boy and one girl.

I don't really know what will happen at this point but it seems all too coincidental to be a coincident.  I can't help but ask if this is why we are here.  The children's social worker is going to call me on Monday. One thing I do know is that the Lord is deeply aware of all of our needs, especially the needs of the little children in this world.

-Alicia

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Throw-back Thursday - Word Choice

I wrote this poem about controlling our words nine years ago... before I had a teenage son who likes to test me to the very max and has a tongue that can talk anyone into circles.  How he does it? I do not know.  Sometimes, I get discouraged because I honestly have no clue how to change certain frustrating behaviors in any of my children.  As a parent, it's hard not to feel the blame when they are terribly mean to each other or behave inappropriately--for there must have been some teaching moment I missed, some consequence I never followed through with to cause them to think such behavior is okay.

For me, the tongue is the hardest thing to control, especially as a mother.  I'm guilty of saying things I swore I'd never say to my kids like, "What's the matter with you?" "This is lazy work." "Stop being such a jerk to her." "If you go out like that, you'll look like a slob."  (Before I embarrass myself much more, you get the idea.)  It's just not the kind of language I'm proud of.  It's hurtful and it never helps the situation. Being a mom is extremely humbling because I'm pretty good at talking the talk but there are just some areas I really need to walk the walk.

Even though I'm not perfect at this, I still believe the words in my old poem are absolutely true. Pray for charity and then...  Practice. Practice. Practice.... and practice some more.


Compared to the ship itself,
The helm is rather small;
But it’s the helm that turns the ship
And guides it though it all:
So this is with our tongue,
This tiny little member-
Can blaze destruction like a fire
From the smallest of an ember.
If one gives a blessing,
And then they turn to curse another:
Sings praises to our God above
But loathes and hates his brother…
Which master do they follow?
What are the seeds then sown?
Discern the works of righteousness,
By their fruits they shall be known.
If something does not edify
And encourage greater love,
How can it truly be of God-
Or claim wisdom from above?
If I preach great words of knowledge
And have the gift of prophecy
My words become as sounding brass
If I am void of charity.
Let us then control our tongues
Of speaking ill of others,
And rid our hearts of prejudice
Or fighting with our brothers.
Let us follow Jesus Christ.
Let us pray for charity-
Pray for strength over the flesh
And walk more peaceably.
Through His grace may we strive
To focus on the good
And never tear another down
Let us do as Jesus would.

-Alicia Rawlins 2007

(Luke 5:44. John 13:34, 35. 1 Corinthians 2:9-14. 1 Corinthians 13:1-4. Galatians 5:16-26. Ephesians 4:29. James 3:3-17.)

Monday, October 17, 2016

For the Hard Days...

I've recently heard about JamesTheMormon.  He's a BYU student, a rapper, and Mormon (Hence the name). This guy is really cool because he uses his talents to share uplifting encouraging lyrics and the Gospel.  This is a fun clip my son and I watched today.  It's amazing how a little music can turn any moment around. This video does a good job sharing that message. It's a modern day "shoulder to the wheel" song. 


I also saw a quote that fits perfectly with this video...


Finding these things today reminded me of a really great quote by President Packer:

“If [we] have a good, miserable day once in a while, or several in a row, stand steady and face them. Things will straighten out. There is great purpose in our struggle in life.”


Anyway... Just a few thoughts for when things don't go according to plan or when life is just hard.  Keep on keeping on!

-Alicia 

"Exuberance" is a good word - Ponderize - Week 55

She turned to Miriam with an overly enthusiastic handshake and a sing-songy voice, "Hi!! My name is Elise!! I'm so happy you're here!! I'm going to be your very best friend!!"
Miriam wasn't interested in best friends or any friends for that matter.  She was upset that she had to go to a new ward in the first place and struggled to understand why we had to attend a completely different building when it really wasn't much further away than the chapel near our old place.
She gave Elise a half-smile and responded flatly, "Thanks."

After church, Miriam complained, "There's only two girls in Young Women's and the one that's my age is way too hyper."  She told me all about the chatty blond bubbly girl who flung herself into her personal space.
"Aren't you glad she was nice to you though?" I asked.
"Well... yeah, I guess so." She muttered quitely.
I continued, "Imagine walking into Young Women's and this girl was the type who was snarky and snobbish. Don't you think that would have been much more difficult to deal with?"
Miriam thought for a moment, "You're right.  I'm glad she was friendly.  I just think she needs to tone it down a bit."
I laughed understandingly, "Well, I bet she's super excited because she finally gets to have another girl her age in class.  I wonder how long it has been that they've only had two Young Women? Wouldn't you be happy?"

Yesterday was our second Sunday.  We sat in the row right behind Miriam's "new best friend"--she was holding her toddler sister, bouncing and playing with her in her lap. As soon as she saw Miriam out of the corner of her eye, she flipped around and extended her hand, "Hi again, it's so great to see you!" She said something about it being a beautiful day and then went back to playing with her sister.
Miriam leaned over to me and whispered, "That's her."
I guessed as much and whispered back, "I like her!"
She smiled warmly and I could tell that she was beginning to like her too.

After church, we gathered everyone in the van, "Where's Miriam?" I asked. Joseph pointed across the parking lot to Miriam and Elise, "They're walking home together. I guess all the youth from this ward walk home together. At least that's what one of the other parents was telling me."
"Really?" I thought, "That's so cool!"
Chandler watched as we began to drive by the group of youth, "let me out," he said.  He opened the side door of the van and ran to all the kids.  They didn't flinch and just let him mix right in.  It was so awesome to see! What a blessing!

I've been reading the Isaiah chapters in the Book of Mormon for my personal scripture study and as I read one of the verses, I couldn't help but think of Miriam's happy friend and how grateful I was that she wasn't stuck-up or arrogant in any way.  I really think that would have made our move much too difficult for her.

"And it shall come to pass that the lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day... The high ones of stature shall be hewn down; and the haughty shall be humbled... But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth..." Isaiah 2:11, 10:33, 11:4

The verse I'm pondering for the week is The Message version of Galatians 5:22-23
 "But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely."

-Alicia

Be Thou Humble - By, Elder Steven E. Snow


Sunday, October 16, 2016

Counting Cars

Our church is at 9am on Sundays now and that means a whole lot more afternoon for the kids to fill their time without television shows or computer games.  Today, Micah decided to sit by the road and count cars. 
 He sketched out a few popular car brands and jotted down tally marks under them each time one drove by.  He said the company who scores the most will get an email notification from him as an award to let them know they are the winners of his survey! 
Well, in my survey, Micah is the winner of absolute adorableness!

-Alicia

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Tender Mercies

There has been plenty of things to attend to as we've adjusted to this move.  Our schedules have been full of errands and projects.  We've lived in an apartment for so long that we've had to start from scratch with lots of the typical things, like yard supplies and maintenance tools.  Home Depot is destined to become our new hang-out place.

Yesterday, there was so much to be done.  I wasn't quite sure how I'd find time to write my paper for my rhetoric class but I was blessed to have it come together much more rapidly than I expected. I have a very strict no-homework policy on Sundays, so anything due on Monday is something I need to get  done by Saturday night at the latest.  I ended up completing everything for school Friday afternoon which left me plenty of time to just bear down and work on several of our most urgent needs.

We pounded through all our work and were able to enjoy some fun time watching BYU football's homecoming game Friday night and the homecoming parade this morning.

When we arrived back at the house, Joseph and I spent several more hours getting our place in order.  Joseph's sister donated her old broken lawn mower to add to our sparse yard tool collection. We gratefully accepted it with the hopes that we could figure out how to get it up and running again. With all the other repairs we've had to pay for, we didn't want to take the mower to a shop.  After all, how hard can it be to fix a tiny little engine like that?  I cleaned out all the cobwebs and crusted grass that had hardened to the body of the machine.  I changed the oil, the air filter, the spark plug, and cleaned out the carburetor.  It was my first lawn mower repair ever and I did it!! It starts and runs perfectly every time!  I felt very proud and very blessed.  I know it was a complete tender mercy that I was able to do that.

I was also able to locate what was leaking in our van and patch up the hose.  (I'm so grateful that when I was growing up, my brothers taught me not to be afraid of a few simple mechanical jobs.)

These are just a some of many blessings these past few days.  And I don't believe they have been coincidences.  I know that God grants us with wisdom and ideas, ability and strength, often in very unexpected areas but always at just the right moment.

-Alicia

"The Lord’s tender mercies are the very personal and individualized blessings, strength, protection, assurances, guidance, loving-kindnesses, consolation, support, and spiritual gifts which we receive from and because of and through the Lord Jesus Christ. Truly, the Lord suits “his mercies according to the conditions of the children of men (D&C 46:15).

I testify that the tender mercies of the Lord are real and that they do not occur randomly or merely by coincidence. Often, the Lord’s timing of His tender mercies helps us to both discern and acknowledge them." - Elder David A. Bednar

Thursday, October 13, 2016

First World Problems

This past week has been extremely taxing on all of us--car problems, several expensive things breaking, trying to balance the kids school / my school, and of course the big move. All of it has left Joseph and me physically worn and emotionally drained (not the best combination). We've tried so hard to encourage each other and avoid dragging ourselves down. I really felt bad complaining because we've had so many little tender mercies through it all.

A few evenings ago, I was at the lowest I've been in a long time, I felt numb to everything around me, just lost in a daze.  I'm not easily depressed but it hit me hard Monday night.  It made it even more tough to see that Joseph felt worse than I did. Usually, when one of us is down, the other one of us is up, and we can help pull the other out of it. But it's especially hard when we're BOTH feeling low. (Any married couple knows exactly what I'm talking about. You want to buoy each other up and you feel bad that you can't.)

 The next morning, after I prayed and studied, I watched the video about the refugees from the Middle East and was instantly humbled.  My problems seem so petty, so "first world" compared to these poor families. I felt like I'd been behaving like a spoiled child. As I listened to the refugees tell their stories, I marveled at how I could ever complain about anything.  Strangely, I felt the burdens on my shoulders lifted as feelings of compassion distilled on my heart. I have so much more than I deserve, a million times more.

I guess it's all how we choose to look at our lives. It reminds me of that old Indian proverb, "I used to complain that I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet."

-Alicia

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Pure Religion

This last April, when we heard all the conference talks about refugees.... we prayed to know how to help and the answer came very clear to my husband and me, "Become Foster Parents." We've done respite care a number of times these past few months and we just moved into our new home over the weekend and are getting it foster-ready.  Every time I hear these stories of refugees, I cannot help but think of these children who have been displaced in foster care and how we are here to give them hope and do all we can to make it so they can return to their families and loved ones again. 

Watch and pray to know how to help--then make a move.  There are so many in need and there is something for all of us to do.  We quickly forget the troubles of our own hearts as we reach out in compassion to help others. Our purpose in this life is to learn pure love, pure religion undefiled... This is where real freedom is found.  

-Alicia

Monday, October 10, 2016

Atonement of Peace - Ponderize - Week 54

Nephi was a prophet of God--a good and righteous man--but even he grieved because of how easily he felt anger towards his brothers.  He recognized that if he didn't do something to be rid of the contention within, it would eat him alive. "Why should I give way to temptations that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul? Why am I angry because of mine enemy?" - 2 Nephi 4:27

When I read the things that Nephi's brothers did to him, the human-nature side of me feels that he is justified in his anger towards them.  Yet, Nephi recognizes that peace cannot abide with resentment.

I cross referenced my scripture study this morning to Ephesians 4:31.  This is the verse I'll be pondering for the week.
"Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice."

When we hold onto slights, refuse to forgive, and wallow in bitterness--it not only strangles our spirit but it slowly cripples and kills our physical body too.

Russel M. Nelson gave a fantastic talk back in 1989 entitled The Canker of Contention.  He said, "As we dread any disease that undermines the health of the body, so should we deplore contention, which is a corroding canker of the spirit.' ...President Ezra Taft Benson described contention as 'another face of pride.'"

Of course, we can only choose to get rid of the contention in our own heart.  Unfortunately, we cannot force or make others get rid of their bitterness and anger--making it very difficult for us to maintain kind or generous feelings towards them. So, what do we do?  We turn to our Mediator, our great Intercessor.  He understands completely and is the great healer of all wounds. He can help us to nurture feelings of compassion, understanding, and love that don't come naturally in such circumstances.

Nephi gains strength to forgive through the power of the atonement, he finds peace by turning his heart to the Savior, "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." - 2 Nephi 4:30

I too find strength in the atonement.  I'm so thankful for my Savior and the constant peace that I find in Him.

-Alicia

Sunday, October 9, 2016

So blessed!

I'm so grateful for this new home we've been blessed with.  It's charming, absolutely charming! All of our family who has visited us here have been enchanted by it too.

I'm also very pleased with the neighbors we've met already.  Today was a great day at church.  I was surprised how many people were eager to talk with us and shake our hands.  They made us feel incredibly welcome.

It's a bonus that we have the Temple in our ward too.  I love that beautiful City Center Temple so much!

Peace fills my heart and I know we are right were we need to be.  I'm confident that this was a very good move.

-Alicia


Monday, October 3, 2016

An Unseen Power- Ponderize - Week 53


We stayed up late last night with our kids huddled around the bedroom windows watching the most spectacular heavenly light show.  There's nothing quite as exciting as a good thunderstorm where the lighting bolts rhythmically dance in rapid succession brilliantly illuminating the panorama of the night sky.

I'm always dazzled by such displays of nature and I can't help but feel a little like Moses did when he witnessed the grandeur of God, "of the same he greatly marveled and wondered... Now... I know that man is nothing." (Moses 1:8&10)

Isn't it awesome to think that the Creator of all, the God of this Universe is our Father and that His power is not only available to us but that He wants to endow us, bestow, and enrich us with that same power!  It's not a small or inconsequential thing to have Him in your corner.

I absolutely loved the final hymn, Let Us All Press On, from General Conference yesterday. The choir sang it slower and with tremendous conviction. Tears were streaming down many of their faces as their souls bore personal testimony.

"Fear not though the enemy deride; 
Courage, for the Lord is on our side...
 If we do what's right we have no need to fear,
For the Lord, our helper, will ever be near;
In the days of trial his Saints he will cheer,
And prosper the cause of truth.
We will not retreat, though our numbers may be few
When compared with the opposite host in view;
But an unseen pow'r will aid me and you
In the glorious cause of truth."

I know there are dark and stormy clouds ahead and the prophesies of these last days are being fulfilled before our very eyes. But like electricity--we often cannot see it, yet the power of God is vibrant and living, ever-flowing around us. And in just the right moments the honest and faithful in heart will shine forth His power in a glorious display!

"Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid... for the Lord thy God, He it is that doth go with thee; He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee."- Deuteronomy 31:6

-Alicia

Saturday, October 1, 2016

And... the view from HERE still makes me smile.

We got the keys to our garage last week and the keys to our house yesterday. We have been moving everything over slowly and will be in our home completely in just a few more days.  I took the kids over this evening to put a couple of things in order while the boys were at Priesthood Session.  I'm very happy to say that I still have a good view of Timp, the Y, and the Angel Moroni.  


I also noticed something else in this lovely little home of ours I hadn't noticed before... 

....a beautiful message on the bathroom mirror that trails off into forever,
"Believe in miracles everyday."  

Perfect, absolutely perfect! 
Yeah, I believe.

-Alicia :)

I Believe by, Catherine Papworth

Beautiful
Wonderful
With kindness and compassion on his face.
Merciful
And personal
Giver of the most amazing Grace.

He saved my life;
Opened up my eyes.
He gave everything to rescue me.
Knowing where I've been,
Let me start again.
Healed my broken heart and set me free.
I believe.

Creator
No one greater.
Maker of the heavens and the Earth.
Holy
King of Glory
Words cannot describe his endless worth.

He saved my life;
Opened up my eyes.
He gave everything to rescue me.
Knowing where I've been,
Let me start again.
Healed my broken heart and set me free.
I Believe.

Comfort
Keeper
Gracious
Redeemer
My Defender
Forever
And Ever

He saved my life
Opened up my eyes.
He gave everything to rescue me.
Knowing where I've been,
Let me start again.
Healed my broken heart and set me free.
Healed my broken heart and set me free.
I Believe.
I Believe.

A Compass to Point the Way

I have some personal decision-making questions I'm taking with me to Conference today and tomorrow. If you have questions regarding the direction of your life too, I encourage you to listen in wherever you are. God is good and He answers everyone who sincerely desires His guidance. I know this!

I read the following scripture in my studies this morning, I think it fits perfectly for the weekend. :)

-- "I took the compass, and it did work whither I desired it. And it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord; and after I had prayed the winds did cease, and the storm did cease, and there was a great calm." (1 Nephi 18:21) 

 Listen to the live broadcast.

-Alicia