"How sweet are thy words unto my taste!
yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth."

~Psalm 119:103

Sunday, March 31, 2013

El Camino de la Cruz
Happy Easter!

Last week, while vacationing in California, my family and I visited Mission Santa Inés in Solvang. Highly appropriate for the days just prior to Easter Sunday, we walked the Way of the Cross.

Each of the fourteen steps or stations represents a moment on the path that Jesus walked with his cross from Jerusalem, where He was condemned to death, to Calvary, where He was crucified.

As we stop at each of the stations, we somewhat literally "take up [our] cross and follow" Him (Mark 8:34). We can ask Him to be with us and the world in all our problems and difficulties, and we can thank Him for His sacrifice on our behalf.

At the end of this particular Way of the Cross, a painting of the Resurrected Christ reminds us of the hope and the joy that comes with Easter.

New life! Rebirth! A beginning, not an ending!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

"I know that man is nothing."
(Moses 1:10)

Among the many ways that we can invite the revelation of the Spirit into our lives are the sensory experiences of a sunrise, a meadow of wildflowers, or the view from the top of a mountain, especially when experienced with a sense of gratitude for God’s goodness.

Being near the ocean always gives me that "sense of [my] nothingness" that King Benjamin talked about in Mosiah 4. "I would that ye should remember," Benjamin counseled, "and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness" (Mosiah 4:11).

Oxnard State Beach, March 2013.

Gazing out toward the horizon, walking on the sand, hearing the waves crash on the shore, feeling the ocean breeze and preferably a bit of sunshine on my face - these sensations cause me to feel so small in comparison with the vastness of the ocean, and yet through them I also feel God's greatness and His goodness.

When I was pregnant with my second child - a daughter who is now seventeen years old - my husband and I made a trip from our home in Utah to San Diego so I could simply sit on the sand and soak up the strength and calmness I knew I would need for her delivery.

When I haven't visited the ocean for many months, I feel the pains of "withdrawal" and know that I need to return as soon as possible. Through spending time at the ocean, I receive the fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22): the ocean brings me hope, peace, contentment, and joy!

This is a paradox of man: compared to God, man is nothing; yet we are everything to God.
        ~ Dieter F. Uchtdorf (2011)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

"Ye Shall Meet Together Oft"
(3 Nephi 18:22)

As we were making preparations for our Spring Break trip to Southern California, my seventeen-year-old daughter asked me, somewhat incredulously, "Did you know that some people don't go to church while they are on vacation?" I'm happy that taking a "vacation" from church attendance is such a foreign concept to her!

Over the years we've enjoyed worshiping with the saints in such places as Cedar City, Moab, Portland, Half Moon Bay, Idaho Falls, and Denver - and once we even attended a singles ward near San Diego. We have always been warmly welcomed - and once we were even greeted by a member of the bishopric who turned out to be an old friend. The structure of the meetings is the same as at home, of course - with the administration of the sacrament as the most important feature - but the Spirit always provides me with an unanticipated gift of peace or knowledge or joy.

"Meet[ing] together oft" is such a blessing!

Visiting the East Pasadena Ward, March 2013.

"And that thou mayest more fully
keep thyself unspotted from the world,
thou shalt go to the house of prayer
and offer up thy sacraments
upon my holy day" (D&C 59:9).

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Metaphor of Light

I understand that the word light appears in the scriptures 535 times. For example:
Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I am the life and the light of the world (D&C 11:28).

Besides being a metaphor for Christ Himself, light is a wonderful metaphor for the personal revelation and inspiration that we are entitled to receive through the Holy Ghost.

In the April 2011 General Conference, Elder David A. Bednar gave an address entitled "The Spirit of Revelation." (Click here for the complete text.) In that talk, he described "two experiences most of us have had with light." One of those "occurred as we entered a dark room and turned on a light switch." The other "took place as we watched night turn into morning." He goes on to say that "a light turned on in a dark room is like receiving a message from God quickly, completely, and all at once" while "the gradual increase of light radiating from the rising sun is like receiving a message from God 'line upon line, precept upon precept' (2 Nephi 28:30)."

I love how those examples of light illustrate some of the ways the Spirit works with us!

Lorenzo Snow said, "It is our right to have the manifestations of the Spirit every day of our lives." With the impending arrival of Spring in the northern hemisphere, our days have been gradually getting longer, and today is the beginning of Daylight Saving Time in the United States. I cannot think of a better time to spend some time contemplating the metaphor of light and looking for ways to better recognize the workings of the Spirit in daily life!

Little Cottonwood Canyon, September 2012.

Let us walk in the light of the Lord (Isaiah 2:5).