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Faith and fear

…is yin and yang.

The north pole and the south pole.

They are anti-thesis to each other.

We fear to the extent that we lack faith.

The God of the universe works by faith while the adversary makes us fear. And when that emotion takes over, we make the mistakes that we would never do when we look forward with hope in spite of the odds.

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You are not fire-sale material

You are not fire-sale material

Shopping breaks boredom, helps women bond, and replaces therapists. Of course, it has been known to wipe out savings from time to time, so the next best thing is to only buy items that are on the rack at bargain basement prices.

However, I have noticed that when people shop for something really special — say a wedding or a big company event or some such thing — then it’s time for stores that splurge on quality and that put a special oomph into everything they sell. When the event is that special, people take out every little bit of savings to buy that special moment of happiness.

The one big difference between Heavenly Father and the adversary is this: Father makes us feel that we are never fire-sale material. That He will roll the red carpet for us every time we want to come to Him. That He will buy us with the best that He has: His Only Begotten Son. That He will make even the sun smile and the wind wave its arms when we need reassurance of His love.

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Too late to apologize

When you have a teenager in the house, the entire household is in a constant flurry of activity, text messages, clothes tried on and discarded, food, more food and music…music at decibels that would have created a second pathway across the River Jordan.

My 2-year old son, sponge-like in his intensity yet seemingly indifferent to everything around him, came home one day singing something under his breath.

It’s tu leet t’pologize. Tu leet!” he sings. My heart crumbles. He sings like a little big man, y’know? Amazing how young minds can literally suck in and process everything that go on around them.
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U-turns…

I was driving to a friend’s house early Saturday morning and had a lot of things swirling around my head. I’ve been to her place a number of times before and was confident that I knew my way without needing to ask for directions. It caught me by surprise when I suddenly realized that I was driving down an unfamiliar road.

 

Sensing that I still haven’t gone that far away from the right direction, I looked for the nearest U-turn slot along the road and turned back. But because the road was wide and new to me, I didn’t have time to swerve away from the bus lanes that I ended up taking when I made the turn. From a distance, I saw silhouettes of two traffic officers holding their hands up in the air bidding me to make a full stop. I knew I was in trouble.

 

I stopped the car and rolled down my window to explain that I didn’t mean to take the forbidden lane and that I had lost my way and was trying to find the right path again. The officer asked where I was going. He probably noticed that I was trying to be brave and was holding back my tears from falling. He softly gave me directions and in a jovial way told me to drive carefully—without giving me any tickets.

 

I took the road he pointed me to but driving further along I found that it was blocked. It was the only way I knew how to get to my friend’s place. I stopped in the middle of the road and not being able to hide my frustration, I let the tears flow. I summoned another traffic officer for directions and after asking where I was going, he pointed me to the right path until I was able to find my friend’s home.

 

Life is full of twists and turns. We sometimes find ourselves on roads that we never meant to tread… or in very dark tunnels where it’s cold and confusing. But I’m very grateful for U-turns in life and for officers who try to help us find our way again. As long as we know where we are going, we can keep our focus and try to get back on track. The important thing is not that we got lost, but that we found our way again. There’s always a warm and welcoming light at the end of the tunnel—no matter how long and dreadful it may seem.  

 

Who is God?

You know those defining moments when a thought slams into your consciousness with such strength that you are left breathless? I had one last Sunday.

While at church, it suddenly occurred to me how easily — even casually — I call the God of the universe as my “Heavenly Father,” and sleepily mumble a conversation to Him that shouldn’t really pass off as prayer. I even recall when as a child, blessing food felt like a mad race to the finish line so that I could dig into steaming rice!

I felt mortified when that defining moment revealed in my mind’s eye that my Father is a Being so magnificent, so powerful, and yet so tender and loving towards all His children. That every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that He is God, when finally He shows Himself to the world. How can I forget that He made the sun, moon and stars and the smallest flowers; that he moved islands and shaped mountain ranges. That while He is in the mighty wind, He is also in the soft whisperings of each tiny brook.

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Have you ever stopped and stared at the moon in its fullest? Did you ever wonder how it was created and what keeps it midair? Have you ever been fascinated by the darkness of the night with only the stars keeping it aglow? Such magnificent creations touch the deepest corners of my soul. And I oftentimes stand there all amazed and in awe.  

 

How glorious this universe is and how small I am compared to it. Yet the Creator of all heaven and earth is mindful of me! He sends people along my way to make me feel light and happy—ensuring that the balance of life is presented for me to exercise my agency. What growth opportunity and blessing!!

Sometimes in the busyness of life, we completely miss it!! We need to be reminded that everything is here for us to enjoy—whether through the burst of delight as a very dear friend brings you a beautiful bouquet of white stargazer lilies one early morning, or through the stillness of the night as you quietly gaze at the fullness of the moon. J       

 

 

During my first 16 years on earth, my rule of thumb was: “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.” As a young, aggressive person, I thought the only way that justice would be served was to punish the guilty and inflict pain to those who have caused it so they would “learn their lesson.” I thought getting “even” with someone was just fair. In fact, I strongly believed that it was the most sensible thing to do.

Until one day, I was taught to turn the other cheek.

 

“WHAT?? TURN THE OTHER CHEEK???!!!” was my mind’s reaction. How could one human being ever do that??!! It violated all the principles and statutes that were ever instilled in my young mind and soul!!  

But there’s One whom I looked up to who showed a great example of turning the other cheek. He did it in such quiet dignity that when I’ve learned about His life and teachings, I wanted to follow His lead. He didn’t deserve any of the things that He suffered, yet He went through all of them in great humility and acquiescence.

How imperfect I am compared to Him. Yet in my limited capacity, I now strive hard to walk His ways. Although I oftentimes fumble and fall, and there are times when my humanity gets the better of me, I’ve learned that vengeance is not mine. That if I pray for strength to forgive those who have wronged me in the past, and abandon any feelings of bitterness or revenge, then life’s load becomes much lighter. J

Indeed, there is a soothing, healing power that comes from forgiveness. And I noticed that when I practice it often and well enough, turning the other cheek becomes a habit that isn’t too bad at all. J

Helping Hands…

 

Sweeping streets, washing cars, painting nails, cleaning schools—what do they have in common?
                                    

These are some of the service projects held by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints across the nation on Saturday, April 26, 2008, to kick off its jubilee celebration of the 50th anniversary of the organization of the Church in the Philippines.   

 

Wearing their bright yellow “Mormon Helping Hands” vests, members of the Church offered their services with cheerful hearts and willing minds in different parts of the country.

 

For it is written: “When ye are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God” (Mosiah 2:17).

  

In this crazy world we live in, we get pulled in all different directions. We sometimes get caught up doing things that don’t really matter much in the end—things that we cannot really bring with us when our turn here on earth is over. But there’s one that’s worth all our precious time and greatest efforts. It’s our life’s most valuable possession—our families.

 

Being a mom is my most favorite job in the world! Not only do I get a fresh peek at life through my children’s eyes, but it’s amazing how wonderful it feels like to see them grow from being infants, to toddlers, to the young persons that they are now. I am thrilled at the thought that one day they would be mature adults and I would be a grandma!J

 

And while they are still under my care, I delight at every minute that I spend with them. I enjoy the family home evenings, the meals together, the kite flying, the beach days, the beaded jewelry making, the games, the songs, and even the arguments on who gets to take a shower first or who gets to eat the last piece of dessert!! J

 

I am grateful for the opportunity given me to watch over them, care for them, and love them—in behalf of Him whose sons and daughters we all are.

 

I believe that families are forever! I believe that “That same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there, only it will be coupled with eternal glory, which glory we do not now enjoy” (D&C 130:2).

 

Let’s celebrate what we have!!! Let’s focus our energies on building our relationships with our families, for they truly are the ones who could bring us our greatest joys!! J   

  

Simple Truths…

When I was a kid, I often wondered what would happen to me after this life was over. Would my body be lying down in a dark and cold casket while my mind was wide awake trying to get my body move?
          
Being the active child that I was, I thought death was probably the most boring thing that could ever happen to anybody. I couldn’t imagine myself being still and restricted for even a short period of time, let alone forever!! 
               
Then as a wild and confused teenager, I met people who knew the answers to my questions. I thought I was an intelligent person, so I laughed and was cynical at the things they were saying. I tried to prove they were wrong—or at least did not really know what they were talking about—but every single time I asked what I thought was a silly question, they always had an answer. Answers that made sense and sounded very familiar. Truths and teachings that I seemed to have heard from a distant past. 
             
  

My spirit was touched at the things I had learned and for the first time in many years, I had answers to my questions. I finally knew that my spirit lived with my Father in Heaven before I was born; that I am here on this earthly existence to try to reach my divine potential; and that someday when my time is up, my spirit will leave my body and will one day be resurrected to become an eternal, immortal being.  
           

 Such plain, simple, and yet liberating knowledge!!     

    

Now, a little over 23 years later, I am still amazed and grateful for how these simple truths have affected my perspective of life in general. Indeed, a pearl of great price that I will treasure forever.     

      

How ‘bout you? What are your questions still left unanswered?