Hope will come to me like a firefly
In my hour of ebony fog,
Burning with luminosity
From nowhere else but God.
Excerpt from poem by,
Gwendolyn Taylor Soper 4.10.06
Hope will come to me like a firefly
In my hour of ebony fog,
Burning with luminosity
From nowhere else but God.
Excerpt from poem by,
Gwendolyn Taylor Soper 4.10.06
photo via iamcocoa
Many people dealing with emotional pain search for trained counselors or therapists to help them. Some of the therapy it isn't that helpful. One particularly effective approach that has been getting more mainstream attention is called EMDR therapy. It stands for Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing.
Yes, daily prayer and faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ, can bless and fill us with a measure of hope and peace. However, it can come to a point when professional help is needed to find greater relief and make sense of lingering pain.
If you are looking for immediate relief (rather than prolonged "talk thereapy") from emotional pain that traumatic events can cause, many people are turning to EMDR over all other therapies. Click here to find an EMDR therapist near you.
EMDR therapy is a very effective approach for overcoming "chronic pain, phobias, depression, panic attacks, eating disorders and poor self-image, stress, worry, stage fright, performance anxiety, recovery from sexual abuse and traumatic incidents" [emdr website].
If fragrance were edible
I would eat spoonful after spoonful of
apricot blossom air, my
back against her trunk
then, maybe, wipe away the juicy, rosy drips
If bird songs were summer peaches
I would bottle each blushing tune
in clear glass jars
then pop one lid open
every long winter night
to savor each warbling sound
"If Fragrance Were Edible"©
by, Gwendolyn Soper 4.11.13
This is a favorite poem of my mother's, and I love to hear her recite it:
Oh, the comfort —
the inexpressible comfort of feeling
safe with a person —
having neither to weigh thoughts
nor measure words, but pouring them
all right out, just as they are,
chaff and grain together;
certain that a faithful hand will
take and sift them,
keep what is worth keeping,
and then with the breath of kindness
blow the rest away.
Dinah Maria (Mulock) Craik (1826 - 1887)
[A Life for a Life, Chapter 16]
Photo: Nepal: Cultures in Context series, by John Tyman
Leonard Bernstein's, Candide, is the platform for one of my favorite anthems of hope, "Make Our Garden Grow". I am certain that Bostonians ~ forever loyal, tight-knit and patriotic ~ are going to rebuild and "make their garden grow" into an even stronger community, and "make some sense of life" after this event. Bernstein said,
This will be our reply to violence:
to make music more intensely, more beautifully,
more devotedly than ever before.
In the song, "Make Our Garden Grow", Candide proposes marriage to Cunegonde, acknowledging that no one is perfect (including them), but that "we'll do the best we know". He sings, "We're neither pure, nor wise, nor good/ we'll do the best we know/ we'll build our house and chop our wood/ and make our garden grow". It's a proposal for all humankind to consider as we build, or re-build, our own lives.
"Make Our Garden Grow" never ceases to make me weep, partially for remembering the time I sang it with Boston Symphony Orchestra's choir (Boston Symphony Hall Centennial Gala, 2000), but mainly I weep for it's hopeful, hopeful message for all of us to "do the best we know . . . and make our garden grow."
[Candide, an operetta, written and orchestrated by many contributors, continues to
In the history of the world, the three most important words could arguably be "Christ is Risen!". Those three words carry the hope of eternal life for ALL men, women and children. If Christ has risen, so may we someday. Jesus Christ suffered all our sorrows and sins in Gethsamane so that we may progress in this life, through repentance and forgiveness, and ultimately overcome our physical death to live a joyful eternal life.
Our Redeemer's sacrifice and resurrection, including the gift of his Atonement, give us all immense cause to rejoice and feel reverent for His sacrifice: greatest gift of all. Preparing for Easter ahead of time helps us remember Christ's gift, so that our rejoicing may be more complete and sincere.
I like the tradition among faithful Greek families and friends who greet each other at Eastertime by saying, "Christos Anesti!" (Christ is Risen!). Their response to each other is, "Alethos Anesti!" (Truly He is Risen!). This joyful greeting and response usually begin on Easter Sunday after the priest passes the Eternal Flame (the light of the resurrection) to the candles of those nearest him...continuing from person to person until
[Marie Tueller uses her POWERFUL voice to tell her story of attack, abuse and the inspiring aftermath of how she moved from silence to empowerment and hope...by finding her voice. Blessings to Marie for leading out. I hope every silent girl, woman, boy and man will add to her chorus of advocacy.]
From Marie Tueller on Lean In: "In early February 2012, my husband Kyle and I moved into a new home to accommodate our small, but soon-to-be growing, family. I had earned my Master’s degree in psychology and was working as a counselor and supervisor for an addiction treatment center. Our daughter was nineteen months old and the love of our lives. We planned on having a second child when Kyle was finished with his graduate studies. Life was rich with gratitude and joy.
"Shortly after the move, our lives changed forever. On March 14, a man entered our home, tied me up,
My face catches the wind
from the snow line
and flushes with a flush
that will never wholly settle.
Well, that was a metropolitan vanity,
wanting to look young forever, to pass.
I was never a pre-Raphaelite beauty
and only pretty enough to be seen
with a man who wanted to be seen
with a passable woman.
But now that I am in love
with a place that doesn't care
how I look and if I am happy,
happy is how I look and that's all.
My hair will grow grey in any case,
my nails chip and flake,
my waist thicken, and the years
work all their usual changes.
If my face is to be weather beaten as well,
it's little enough lost
for a year among the lakes and vales
where simply to look out my window
at the high pass
makes me indifferent to mirrors
and to what my soul may wear
over its new complexion.
~ Fleur Adcock ~
[My restorative yoga teacher, Syl, shared this poem yesterday at the beginning of class. The New Zealand-born poet, Fleur Adcock, lives in London.]
(Illustration by Paolo Caravello,
for jewelery designer Kyoto Hashimoto.)
Hashimoto's Disease (just watch!) is going to be in the news a lot in the next few years. 90% of people who struggle with low-thyroid (hypothyroid) have Hashimoto's*.
Hashimoto's is not a thyroid disease, however. Hashimoto's is an autoimmune disease that attacks the thyroid. If you have low-thyroid you most likely have Hashimoto's. You can get tested to find out, but endocrinologists aren't likely the doctors who will figure it out. Keep reading.
The problem is, most patients with low-thyroid symptoms don't get tested (or treated) by their doctors for an autoimmune condition like Hashimoto's. They usually only get tested for low thyroid function. Then, they only get treated with thyroid medication...while their autoimmune condition gets worse (and they wonder why
This beautiful video shows a ripple effect of one person's act of kindness. What can you do today to start a ripple effect of kindness?
[The song is by Noah and the Whale, "If You Give a Little Love, You Can Get a Little Love of Your Own"]
I think the following books should be recommended reading for every college student and adult (yes, college students are adults, but you know what I mean)! These issues are so common that even if you don't have fatigue issues, you will meet someone who does, and you may be able to pass along these recommendations. I wish I would have had these books to read years ago!
Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? by Datis Karrazian
Stop the Thyroid Madness, by Janie A. Bowthorpe
From Fatigued to Fantastic!, by Jacob Teitelbaum
Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome, By James Wilson
1. Silent night! Holy night!
All is calm, all is bright,
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child!
Holy Infant, so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace!
Sleep in heavenly peace!
(verses 2-6 below)
If any of you readers have struggled with health issues like I have, hopefully you have discovered by now how essential it is to eat local fresh fruits and fresh vegetables in the season they are grown in your area ~ no more strawberries in December shipped here from far away ~ as well as fresh, locally sourced eggs, etc. I hope you've discovered, too, how important it is to cook from scratch (no more pre-packaged foods with long ingredient lists).
Eating foods in the season they are grown, at their very best, as nature intended, is the main focus of this new cookbook, The British Larder: A Cookbook for All Seasons. The author's eating and cooking philosophy is just like mine. I am a healthier, stronger person for eating this way for many years.
The British Larder has been one of my favorite food blogs for years, so I'm happy Madelene Bonvine-Hamel has published a cookbook with many of her recipes.
I think God, our Heavenly Father, has a purpose for each of us. That's why we are here on earth, to discover our own value and worth, to help other's discover their own as well. What greater worth can we feel than to understand ~ to really "get it" ~ that we are God's children?
I believe we are destined to return to be with our Father in Heaven again, and our purpose is to bring others with us on that journey back to live with Him again. We are His children and he loves us. His love is perfect and extends over the face of the earth to every one who has, or ever will live.
If we feel like an extra, unneccessary part, if we wonder what our purpose is, the easiest way to find out what our purpose is is to ask God, "Why am I here?", "Where did I come from?", and "Where will I go after this life?" If the answer you receive to the last question is, "someplace really good", like to live with your Father in Heaven again, you may ask, "Then, how do I get there?" Keep asking the questions. You will get answers.
Jesus Christ was made in His father's image. Christ was a perfect listener and a perfect conversationalist. He was perfect in everything he did. If Christ was those things, then God, our Heavenly Father is also a perfect listener and a perfect conversationalist. He will listen to your questions if you ask, and he will answer your questions if you wait for His response.
If you have these questions and want to talk to other like-minded people, there are people serving all over the world specifically to answer those exact questions. Click here if you want to talk with someone who can kindly and patiently help answer some of your questions.
[Movie based on the book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick.
Screenplay by John Logan.]
"The more often we see the things around us, the more they become invisible to us. Learn how you can live in thanksgiving daily by noticing the wonders and beauties of this world." [the Mormon Channel]
No matter what our individual challenges may be, if we heed the words in this speech by Jeffrey R. Holland, I believe better perspecive will be given to every personal struggle, we will forget ourselves for the most part, and hope will fill our whole being as we also see hope come in to the lives of the people around us.
How much activity and beauty can you find in a square-inch of grass? I don't recall the teacher, or how old I was, but I do remember this assignment: to lie down on our stomachs on the grass and choose a small patch of grass ~ one square inch ~ to look at for a long time. The question was, "How much activity can you notice in that small patch of grass?
At first, all I noticed were the blades of grass. After a while I began to notice a lot of things; an ant crawling through the grass, a breeze causing a few green blades to sway or quiver (but not all of them), the dark dirt at the base of the grass and how good it smelled. Then I noticed that not every blade of grass was the same color, or standing up straight. Some were dark green and some were wilting at the end of their life span. The air sometimes hummed with the sound of a bumble bee. The longer I stayed there the more beauty I saw, smelled and heard. I have never forgotten that wonderful lesson.
In life we sometimes get used to looking at, or running across, the whole acre and forget how much beauty can be found in one small patch of earth. At times we may feel as though the whole world is at our feet and everything is going our way. Sometimes, though, challenges come along with our health, our finances, our relationships or our situations. We may feel as though we are suddenly forced onto our stomachs to stare at a square-inch of grass, with no other option, and that the acre is no longer ours to roam. When we
Speak as if there were no tomorrow
to take back what you said the day before.
~Quote from the French movie, "Mother" (588 rue paradis).
This poem inspired me so much during my eighteen months as an LDS missionary. That was almost thirty years ago. I put the anonymous poem into the back of my scriptures during my mission, and I read it so often that I had it memorized.
I had not thought of it for a while until this week, when I said goodbye to my young almost-nephew, Ben Featherstone, before he left to serve as a missionary as well. I'd forgotten that I originally learned of this poem from his grandpa! His grandpa, Vaughn J. Featherstone quoted it in this talk in 1983.
The God of High Endeavor
Gave me a torch to bear.
I lifted it high above me
In the dark and murky air;
And straightway with loud hosannas
The crowd proclaimed its light
And followed me as I carried my torch
Through the starless night,
Till drunk with the people's praises
And mad with vanity
I forgot 'twas the torch that they followed
And fancied they followed me.
Then slowly my arm grew weary
Upholding the shining load,
And my tired feet went stumbling
Over the dusty road.
And I fell with the torch beneath me.
In a moment the light was out.
When lo! from the throng a stripling
Sprang forth with a mighty shout,
Caught up the torch as it smoldered
And lifted it high again,
Till fanned by the winds of heaven
It fired the souls of men.
As I lay alone in the darkness
The feet of the trampling crowd
Passed over and far beyond me,
Its praises* proclaimed aloud,
And I learned in the deepening twilight
The glorious verity,
'Tis the torch that the people follow,
Whoever the bearer may be.
[Author unknown, "The Torch Bearer," The Master of Men, comp. Thomas Curtis Clark (Freeport, New York: Books for Libraries Press, 1930), 205–6]
*the word "praises" has been substituted for the original word "paeans" in the poem.
Sometimes we are all victims of circumstance. That’s just the way life is. Naomi Judd said, "You get to be a victim once and after that, you're a volunteer". That quote really got me thinking. How can a person accomplish the opposite behavior...becoming an "agent"; taking responsibility for positive and powerful thoughts and actions?
The power and responsibility to direct ourselves in within each of us. “It is not meet that I should command in all things,” saith the Lord. “Men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness; for the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves.” 
When you have been harmed, suffered a loss, been tricked or swindled, become sick, been abused or attacked, or have noticed a person who has something you don't have, YOU ARE A VICTIM ...once...when it happened.
If you still feel like a victim a year later (or fifty years later) YOU HAVE VOLUNTEERED for the position. It sounds harsh, but look at the behavior and thinking of a person with a victim mentality, and then look at it’s opposite ~ being an agent for yourself ~ taking control of your behavior and thinking.
What is a VICTIM? A victim is
Our church has a special world-wide meeting where living prophets speak to us about what we can do to make our lives more Christ-like. In case any of you are interested, you can log on to lds.org. The messages are translated into over 90 different languages.
Listening to these messages at this General Conference is my favorite part of Easter time. Each talk is a wonderful reminder that Christ is our Savior, that God loves us unconditionally, and has given us a path to find our way back to Him. The music is also very, very beautiful.
Conference sessions are held the first weekends in April and October. They are held Saturdays and Sundays at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. mountain time.
Available in over 90 different languages: you can see archived general conference sessions in many languages. Click on a year, then choose April or October, then click on a message of your choice (to watch, listen, print or download).
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Isn't Eastertime a joyous time? How could it not be? The symbols of Easter represent hope, immortality and eternal life. Some of those symbols carry over into many foods. Infact, I'm preparing to make my favorite savory Easter recipe next week: Torta Pascualina (meaning, Eastertime Tart).
Olive oil, eggs and 33 layers of dough are some of the beautifully symbolic ingredients for this savory spinach and egg pie, which is very common in Argentina, Italy and Spain. Many countries have a long, long history of using the symbols of Easter in specialty foods which they make once a year. Torta Pascualina is one of them. I learned to make this many years ago when I was an LDS missionary in Argentina and I cherish the meanings the ingredients contain.
SYMBOLISM of Olive Oil, Eggs & 33 Layers of Pastry:
Olive Oil & the Olive Tree: They are symbols of immortality and eternal life. If an olive tree "dies", new life springs from the base of the tree as budding shoots sprout. The tree eventually grows back to life again. This horticultural phenomenon took on mythical proportions thousands of years ago for the the Greeks, Egyptians and Romans. No wonder the olive tree is called "the king of all trees" in the Bible, which makes over 140 references to olive oil and hundreds more to the the olive tree itself.
The olive was so vital to the Greeks that Solon passed the "Olive Protection Law" in 620 B.C. This law carried a death sentence to anyone found guilty of
NBC recently aired their third season of this compelling genealogy show, "Who Do You Think You Are?". Each episode features a celebrity whose genealogy has been traced back several generations. As is the case with all of us, interesting stories are found! Click here to choose an episode from people like Helen Hunt, Jerome Bettis, Reba McIntire, Blair Underwood and Marissa Tomei.
If you'd like to get on board and discover your own family history, go to ancestry.com, who partnered with NBC to create the show. Or, go to familysearch.org. I'm noticing that doing genealogy and family history aren't just for the older generation anymore. I know so many teenagers and college students who are having a lot of fun discovering their own family history or helping others. Who would have thunk it?