Tuesday, March 13, 2012

He Really Walked A Mile in Your Shoes...

"He lived two thousand years ago, I believe
So how could he truley know me
Though the Son of God
My life, my friend
Still it's hard for me to comprehend...
And I wonder...
How could he know the heartache I feel
When He lived a perfect life?
From Gesthemene to Calvary
Was it really for me that he died?
Then the spirit wispers these words ringing true
From the garden to the cross,
He walked a mile in my shoes

Down on His knees in the garden that night
With tear-stained eyes
He lived each moment of our lives
Every fear and insecurity I've ever known
My every fallen moment,
He has atoned
But still I wonder...
How could he know the heartache I feel
When He lived a perfect life?
From Gesthemene to Calvary
Was it really for me that he died?
Then the spirit wispers these words ringing true
From the garden to the cross,
He walked a mile in my shoes

How could he know the heartache I feel
When He lived a perfect life?
From Gesthemene to Calvary
Was it really for me that he died?
Then the spirit wispers these words ringing true
From the garden to the cross,
He walked a mile
From the garden to the cross,
He walked a mile in my shoes"

Sometimes it's hard to understand why we are going through lifes random challanges. Some make sense and it's easy to see what it is that we are supposed to learn, but others are more difficult.  We may question and wonder just as this song "He Walked a Mile in My Shoes" by the Nashville Tribute Band states, "How could he know the heartache I feel?" Especially "...when He lived a perfect life..." Alma 7: 11-13  talks about what exactly Christ went through during His time in the Garden of Gesthemene and what this means for you and me. It reads

And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.

  And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.

 Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me.

I take comfort in the fact that Jesus Christ, through His suffering in the Garden of Gesthemene and on the cross: AKA the Atonement, (refering to the scripture above) knows EXACTLY how I am feeling. Because of His suffering He knows EXACTLY how to help me and EXACTLY what I am to learn from whatever lies infront of me.
"...Then the spirit wispers these words ringing true,
from the Garden to the Cross, He [truley] walked a mile in my shoes..."

Because of His suffering, He really has walked a mile, infact porbably more than that, in my shoes. And because He's walked a mile in my shoes... He's walked a mile in YOURS...

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Clean or Dirty Window?

I remember when President Monson gave this talk with the story in it, and how it touched me so. How many times have I judged others when it was in fact MY OWN windows that were dirty... I know we are ALL beloved brothers and sisters. God is our creator and loves us, which is why He has sent us here with a plan. We don't know what others are going through but as we do our best to worry about ourselves and not judge others, happiness comes!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

What Trials and Cancer Can Teach Us

A lot of times in life we don't understand  the trials that are placed in front of us. I know Heavenly Father does have a plan for each of us and the purpose of this life is to learn and to grow. This video has helped me realize and strengthen my testimony of the plan that God has for us...

Below is Daniel and Melanie Hedlund's story... 

It’s incredible that I had a stage-four cancer, and I’m still alive. It’s incredible that the doctors thought I would lose a leg, and I didn’t. It’s incredible that they gave me a 30 percent chance to live, and here I am.

In September 2011, Daniel Hedlund, a seminary teacher in Layton, Utah, USA, wrote the above words and submitted them to an online competition called “In Search of Incredible.”

Singer and filmmaker Jason Mraz was in search of incredible stories from around the world, and he invited people to share theirs. And in December, people from around the world voted.
They chose Daniel’s story, which was made into a short film and presented at the largest independent cinema festival in the United States—the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, USA—on January 19, 2012.
Daniel’s experience is incredible, but he is quick to point out that he doesn’t think his story is much different from that of anyone else who has been through something difficult.
“I think the lesson to be learned is that our Heavenly Father loves us, and He wants what’s best for us, like any father would,” Daniel said. “If we can trust that simple fact . . . then all of a sudden there’s this paradigm shift because we look at our trials and challenges and obstacles as a means to an end. It all of a sudden became for me something that would grow me as a person, would grow my testimony, would grow my faith in the Savior, would help me to rely on somebody other than my own capabilities.”
Since he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma (bone cancer) four years ago, Daniel has undergone 20 rounds of chemotherapy and 10 surgeries. The cancer has returned twice, but Daniel is currently in remission. Through these experiences, he said, his understanding of the Atonement has deepened.
“[Christ’s] ability to be there for us when we need Him, His ability to give us the peace and comfort that we seek when we most need it, and the reality of His atoning sacrifice and how far-reaching that is. . . . To me, that’s incredible,” Daniel said. “It is an infinite Atonement. And its effects are much more far-reaching than my living room.”

Living with Cancer

The Friday morning leading up to a new scan is one of the most difficult for Daniel and his wife, Melanie. It’s January, and it’s been three months since Daniel has been scanned for any new cancer growth. The last two scans, taken at three-month intervals, have come up clean.
The time between when Daniel is scanned and when he receives the results the following Monday is “nerve-wracking,” he said. “Luckily, one of those days is Sunday, so we get to go to church and receive that spiritual charge.”
This time, the scan comes up clean for the third time in a row. As the Hedlunds leave, they stop at the desk and set the next appointment for three months from now.
Daniel’s first scan occurred in December 2007. Newlywed in November 2007, Daniel and Melanie, 23 and 20 years old respectively, were eager to begin their life together.
But three weeks after their wedding, during a checkup for a sore leg, doctors saw that something on the x-ray didn’t look quite right and recommended an MRI immediately.
In the waiting room of the imaging center, Melanie wrote out wedding thank-you notes as they waited for a phone call that would tell them the results. Finally, it came. Daniel said he remembers everything about that phone call.
“I remember how the doctor sounded. I remember the words he said. But most of all I think I remember how it felt to hear those words, ‘You have cancer,’ for the first time,” he said. “He told me . . . I would have to do chemotherapy, and I might lose my leg.”
He dropped his head and began to cry. As he hung up and turned around, he realized Melanie hadn’t heard any of it, but could tell from his expression something was very wrong.
“I had to sit next to her and tell my bride of three weeks that her new husband had cancer,” Daniel recalled.
Osteosarcoma is generally a pediatric cancer that occurs in younger patients and teenagers. Daniel had no history of cancer in his family, and he said the unknown was terrifying.
In his case, the cancer had metastasized, or spread, to his lungs, making it a stage-four cancer with a 20–50 percent survival rate.
Rounds of chemotherapy involved Daniel being administered a series of drugs in various cycles. Some treatments required that he return to the hospital every day for several days, while others required that he stay at the hospital for an extended period of time.
Chemotherapy often left him feeling nauseous and exhausted. Within two months of his diagnosis Daniel had lost 30 pounds and his hair had begun falling out.
Because of his faith in the plan of salvation, Daniel said he was never afraid to die, but he did fear not being able to experience much of what life has to offer—having children, playing with grandchildren, serving missions with his wife.
“I was afraid, especially at the beginning, that I was failing at being a husband,” he said. “I felt like it was my job to prevent things like this from happening, and here I was the cause of this happening.”
Since his initial diagnosis and during each recurrence of cancer in his lungs—for five months in February 2010 and for another five months in February 2011—Daniel said he and Melanie have learned specific lessons that have application to any trial or challenge life may present.

After the Rain Comes the Rainbow

When Daniel was diagnosed with cancer the first time, he said he believed Heavenly Father wanted him to learn something before he could move on. When he was declared in remission the first time, he thought he had “passed the test.”
But then it came back again, and then again. For a long time, Daniel said, he wondered if there was something he wasn’t learning that God wanted him to. It was during the cancer’s second recurrence that he reached a turning point.
He was reading in the New Testament:
“And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.
“And [Christ] was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?” (Mark 4:37–38).
“I thought to myself, ‘That is exactly the way I feel right now,’” Daniel said. “’Master, carest thou not that I perish? Carest thou not, Heavenly Father, that I have cancer? Carest thou not that my wife and I want to start a family? Carest thou not that I’m tired of doing this? Carest thou not that we want to continue our lives?’”
When Daniel continued reading, he said, he found the answer to all of his questions.
“The Savior’s response to His disciples was, ‘O ye of little faith,’ and He stretched forth His hand and He calmed the tempest,” Daniel said, quoting Matthew 8:26. “I had to ask myself in that moment, ‘Do I believe that this actually happened? Do I believe that Christ calmed the waters that day?’ And I do. And because I believe that, I know that He can calm the tempest going on inside my body. . . . And it’s not my job to ask why or to wonder why this is happening to me again. My job is just to have the faith that Heavenly Father is in charge and that He knows what’s best for me.”
On March 25, 2008, just three months after Daniel’s initial diagnosis, Melanie wrote on their CaringBridge blog, “Although I don’t believe God GAVE Daniel cancer, I do believe He ALLOWED the cancer to come into our lives at this time for a purpose that we do not yet know. But I know there is a purpose that He has in mind.”
Melanie said she continues to learn what that purpose is.
“I hope I never fully figure it out, because trying to figure out the purpose behind Daniel’s illness helps me to learn what I think my Heavenly Father would want me to learn,” she said.
When, on March 11, 2011, doctors found cancer in Daniel’s lungs for a third time, he wrote that he knew that not only had he and his wife been blessed during the previous three years, but that they had come out ahead of where they would have otherwise been.
The past four years have helped Daniel and Melanie to be more aware of the blessings of family and friends, they said. In 2008, during Daniel’s first bout with cancer, supporters put on a benefit concert themed “After the Rain Comes the Rainbow,” alluding to the story of Noah.
Funds went to help with the Hedlunds’ medical costs—costs for treating for this type of cancer can run from $500,000 to $800,000 USD.
Over the past four years, the Hedlunds have spent more than 100 days in the hospital. Regular visits from friends and family, coupled with the support of compassionate doctors and nurses, were a great source of comfort and support to them during those hospital stays, the couple said. Daniel’s mother even moved to Utah for four months to be near her son and to allow Melanie to continue to attend school.
Daniel and Melanie also found a greater appreciation for temple covenants because of their trials.
“The doctors can give me a 30 percent chance to live, but I have a 100 percent chance to be with my wife forever,” Daniel said. “And that knowledge keeps us sane and gives us peace and gives us comfort in those otherwise stressful times in our lives.”
Perhaps most importantly, the past four years have taught Daniel and Melanie that the gospel is the ultimate source of comfort and hope.
 “I wanted that newlywed life—and not only that, I wanted a full life with my husband. And all of those things were up in the air and questionable,” she said. “And I learned that the gospel . . . is the only thing that can help you overcome that sorrow of that loss. And it’s because we’ve been promised all of those things that are most important. We’ve been promised eternal life if we’re faithful. We’ve been promised eternal families if we keep our covenants.”
Daniel recalled how prayer comforted him during late nights when chemotherapy treatments kept him up and he felt alone.
“Those were the times that the Atonement was most real to me because it was almost as if the Savior were there in the room with me and telling me, ‘It’s OK. I know what you’re going through because I’ve gone through it, because I’ve been there,’” he said. “That was the single source of comfort on so many occasions for me—knowing that I had a Savior who loved me enough to suffer what I was suffering.”


As of January 2012, Daniel Hedlund is cancer-free. The eight-inch donor bone that replaced the cancerous part of his femur has yet to incorporate fully, so he continues to walk with the aid of a cane. Every three months for the rest of his life, Daniel will undergo scanning to check for new cancer growth throughout his body.
Daniel continues to hold the same perspective he’s developed through his experience with cancer, which he wrote about last March when he was diagnosed with cancer for a third time:
I’m looking forward to seeing what the Lord has in store for me. . . . What lessons He’ll teach me. How He’ll stretch me and school me. And most of all, what He will turn me into. Where I see myself going and who I see myself becoming are very different from where God sees me going and who He sees me becoming. But each step of the way, I can see that where He has taken me is a much better place than I ever thought of for myself.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

To Judge... OR... Not To Judge...

I love this video. How many times have I found myself judging others when in reality after the time is taken to get to know them, they are NOTHING what I assumed or thought them to be. There is a reason we have been commanded (not just asked or highly suggested) to love our neighbors as ourselves. (Matt 22:39) We truly don't know what others have gone through or what they are going through right now by just looking at them. As Charles says, civility truly does come from within, rather than something that you can give or buy. I know there is great power that comes from more fully putting off the natural man and choosing not to judge others.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Just Keep Swimming!!

The famous song Dory sings, from the Disney movie Finding Nemo, will pop into my head when times get tuff. During Nemo's quest to find his dad he becomes discouraged and wants to give up. His friend reminds him regardless how meaningless swimming may seem  he can't give up, he has to keep swimming!

"Hey Mr Grump Gills
You know what you gotta do when life gets you down?
Just keep swimming
Just keep swimming
Just keep swimming swimming swimming
What do we do we swim, swim, swim
OH HO HO How I love to swim
When you WAAAAAANNTTT to swim you want to swim..."

We like Nemo are separated from our Heavenly Father. We are here to prepare to return to his presents or to find him. We may get discouraged and want to "quit swimming" but as we do this Satan wins. He (Satan) is the one who plants those thoughts into our head. That we're never going to make it or that it's not worth it. God has placed people in our path (Dory, Crush and many others) to help us along the way. Each one has an influence on our lives and our journey back to our Heavenly Father. We have also been given the Holy Ghost which can be our constant companion if we remain worthy and faithful to the promises we have made. After a long journey and many trials Nemo is reunited with his father Marlin. After we have completed our course in this life we too will one day be reunited with our Father in Heaven (God). So don't give up! When you feel discouraged, down or want to stop trying remember Dory's song, "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming swimming swimming..."


Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Prupose of this Life

The Plan of Salvation is a plan that our Father in Heaven (God) has for each of his children. It answers a major question most of us have during this life: What is the purpose of all of this?  As we go through life, we all experience challenges, trials, experience grief, disappointments and let downs. Sometimes we may find that life hasn't gone according to plan. It is during these difficult times I am reminded that I am not alone in this journey, and that Heavenly Father has not forsaken me- there is something I am supposed to learn.  Alma 32: 31-32, found in the Book of Mormon, tells us the purpose of this life is to prepare to meet God. Prepare is an action verb. Meaning there is something to be done, things to get into order before we can return into the presence of our Heavenly Father. That must mean growing and learning are involved. Which doesn't always mean there won't be at least a little pain involved, if not a lot. I have felt an overwhelming sense of peace and comfort these last couple days that Heavenly Father is mindful of ALL His children. And that no matter what happens everything will be okay. Life may be hard and we may not understand the obstacles that lie ahead of us. But as we do the very best we can, by trying a little harder everyday to be a little better, THINGS WILL WORK OUT. All will be well. During life I have felt stretched to my limits, like I couldn't possibly go on, but somehow I survived and I can honestly say, what hasn't killed me has made me stronger. It has helped me be more prepared to one day meet my almighty God.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Holy Ghost

Ever wondered what the Holy Ghost is?  What it feels like? How you can better understand and recognize it's promptings?  Watch this video and find out!

Because all of us are different the Holy Ghost speaks to everyone differently. As you try to recognize the promptings of the Holy Ghost and then act on them, Heavenly Father will bless you and you will receive even more promptings. This will also enable you to better understand how the Holy Ghost speaks to you. I know that as you try to better recognize and understand how the spirit works with you, you will feel his presence more abundantly in your life and become the person God needs and wants you to be.