communing from bed

Nov 9, 2014 by

Another Sabbath spent in bed. Yesterday I had a really bad seizure/passing out/muscle cramping episode at the end of our monthly baptisms…so I am in bed today trying to recover.

Communing with Father through genealogy, good music, and looking at my trees out the window is good, but also a bit lonely. I wish I was at church with my family, partaking of the sacrament and singing praises. I wish I was shaking hands and smiling and chatting with my fellow church-goers.

Creating my own Sabbath day holiness has been a journey. I have had to sort out what I need to do to connect with God deep down in my little toes…because I have learned that while I might survive missing church, I cannot survive the week with any degree of peace, hope, and let’s face it, sanity, if I have a Sabbath without connection with the Father.

So I sing and ponder and pray and reflect and stare at the sky and write and thank. The Spirit washes over me and through me and in me and I remember who I am and who He is and what this life is all about.

It is enough. It is not what I want, but it is enough.

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sacred sabbaths: always remember

Feb 16, 2014 by

A few months ago my mom sent me this adorable piece of wood. Last week I rearranged my room for my new mattress (yes, you heard me right, a better mattress is soon to be part of my life!) set-up and now as I lie in bed I can read the words over and over again.

I can hear her voice filling me with strength. I can hear my dad’s voice. Most of all, I can hear my Heavenly Father’s voice assuring me that I can keep going, that I am brave, strong, and smart. And most importantly, that I am loved by Him, by His son, by my family, and my friends.

Love has the power to change the world. I know, because it has changed my life and if it can change my life, it can change yours, and yours, and yours. And all those changed lives will transform our relationships, our decisions, and our solutions.

Today, as I celebrate this Sabbath in my bed and fully release the anger and despair that filled my soul just a few short days ago, I have made a decision to always remember I am braver than I believe, stronger than I seem, smarter than I think, and more loved than I know.

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1 + 1

Oct 27, 2013 by

1 + 1 = 2. Unless 1 is God and 1 is you. Then 1 + 1 is infinitely more than we can imagine.

My dear stake president (leader of several of our local church congregations) gave this math lesson to us today and I have been pondering it all day.

I think I want to put it on a sign or on my wall or on SOMETHING so I can look at it every day and remember this critical truth. I am not alone. I do not have to fix the problem alone. I do not have to pretend I am someone amazing that can do anything on her own. I cannot get to heaven alone. All of this is impossible. Absolutely irrevocably impossible if I am alone.

But I am not alone. I have chosen to walk with God. I have chosen and I continue to choose to give Him my heart. With God all things are possible.

He loves me. He knows me. His power and goodness and wisdom are infinite. My job is to walk with Him.

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sacred sabbaths: abide with me

Sep 1, 2013 by

Today was the first time I was able to partake of the sacrament in many weeks. As the bread sunk into mouth, a prayer filled my heart and I started talking to God in earnest. I expressed how sorry I am for my petulance. I told Him how grateful I am for His son’s sacrifice for me. I asked Him to forgive me for my grumpiness and to fill me with His peace.

And He did.

Then in Relief Society (our meeting for women) we sang this song and started crying because this is my life right now…I need Him to abide with me. Other helpers are lovely, but they are not sufficient to give me the peace I need.

Abide with me! fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens. Lord, with me abide!
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me!

Thank you Father. I am so grateful to be thy daughter and to be able to be blessed by your comforting presence.

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sacred sabbaths: blessed day

Mar 24, 2013 by

Oh! What a joyous day this has been. My Josh (he is not really mine, but I love him to pieces and I feel he is a little bit mine because of how much I love him) is leaving on a mission for our church to Calgary, Canada. Today he spoke in Sacrament meeting and it was simply wonderful to hear him share his thoughts on the Savior, serving Him, and spreading the good news of His gospel. He has grown up so much since I met him almost six years ago. He is the big brother of Madison, Blythe’s dear friend, who goes on so many of our adventures with us and the son of Jana, my dear friend who inspires me to be a better mother and wife every time I am with her.

It seems I have arrived at the stage of life I never envisioned. The stage where my children’s friends and my precious youth who I have taught for the past many years are leaving their families and moving on to college, missions, and marriage. It all started when Tanner (Josh’s older brother) left to go serve the Lord in Russia last year and then Kate got married and now a whole slew of people are leaving the nest. Josh, Dustin, Morgan, and HeatherJane are all leaving for missions in the next few weeks. Vanessa and Aliysa are embarking on college.

And me? I am so excited for them. Thrilled to pieces for these youth that I love. But also, a little melancholy. I am sad for me and the holes that their leaving gives me. Sad for the missed hugs, book discussions, temple trips, and ice cream nights. Our family has so enjoyed these youth and have loved being part of their lives.

And now they are flying away. Everything their parents and mentors and friends have hoped for is coming true. They are mature, responsible, virtuous, committed youth determined to make a difference in the world. It’s a beautiful thing and my heart is full with joy at the thought of them moving on.

But I will miss them fiercely.

And their leaving shows me how very short the time is that I have left with my own children. We will be doing this same mission dance with Blythe in two short years.

After we got home from Josh’s farewell, I rushed in the house, gathered up the materials for my Relief Society lesson and hurried over to my meeting to teach. I hadn’t been able to prepare much this week and although I had a lot of thoughts I hadn’t written even one word down and had no idea what I was actually going to say. Thankfully the Lord gave me ideas on the spot and prompted me to ask certain questions, share certain stories, and testify of certain things. It turned out beautifully. I love my calling! I love sharing and loving and guiding and learning with the sisters in my ward. We are all still getting to know each other and it is a little strange giving so much of my heart to women I hardly know, but we are coming together as a ward and hearts are slowly being woven together.

Now it is evening. Tomorrow night is Passover and our big annual Seder. We are all working together to get everything ready for our guests. Oh, how I love Passover!

As soon as Passover is over, my family will be here to visit for almost a week! I can’t wait to snuggle Miss Oaklyn Noel and play catch with Easton and laugh myself silly with Mom and Mikelle.

I love the Sabbath. I love the ritual of having a pause every seven days to ponder my relationship with my Savior, my husband, my children, and my self. I love partaking of the sacrament. I love listening to the hymns. I love having my husband home.

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sacred sabbaths: great fullness

Nov 11, 2012 by

Yes, I know. You are all sitting at your computers with baited breath wondering when Tracy will post again. The number of days in between my postings is getting quite ridiculous.

I’m sorry. I have been a little bit swamped and trying to juggle all the parts and pieces of my life…but I have a LOT in my heart that I need to share, so I will try to start getting it out over the course of the next week.

Yesterday I attended a class and learned some amazing things about mentoring. Afterwards, Liz and I froze our hineys off while we talked for an hour in the brisk wind. But it was worth it because I learned about gratefulness.

Gratefulness = A Great Fulness

Isn’t that a beautiful way to look at it? We have a great FULL-ness and so we GIVE in Thanks. Our Thanksgiving is full of giving out of our thanks for our great fullness.

I have a great fullness in my life. A great fullness of love. A great fullness of food. A great fullness of compassion from others. A great fullness of women friends. A great fullness of strong ancestors. A great fullness of faith. A great fullness of popcorn. A great fullness of opportunities. A great fullness of beauty. A great fullness of books. A great fullness of warmth. A great fullness of fun. A great fullness of family. A great fullness of hugs and kisses. A great fullness of truth. A great fullness of water. A great fullness of cheer. A great fullness of connection. A great fullness of laughter. A great fullness of snuggles. A great fullness of vibrancy. A great fullness of learning. A great fullness of healing. A great fullness of safety. A great fullness of covenants. A great fullness of inspiration. A great fullness of smiles. A great fullness of trust. A great fullness of possibilities. A great fullness of challenges. A great fullness of blessings.

My bowl is full. And so I give in thanks. I strive to spread joy and hope and service and redemption and love and smiles and truth to all I meet. Sometimes I fail, but sometimes, sometimes, I succeed. Sometimes I am able to reach a person whose bowl feels empty and in that moment, my heart swells up with joy and my bowl is full all over again.

I pray for your bowl to be full.

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sacred sabbaths: forgiveness

Aug 26, 2012 by

A woman at church today shared this thought:

Forgiveness is the closest we come to creation in this life. When we are able to let hatred, anger, judgment, and bitterness go, we create something beautiful.

I don’t know that I believe that forgiveness is actually closer to creation than creating bodies for God’s children, but I love the thought process this statement sent me on. Forgiveness and creation have never been connected in my heart before and this opens up a whole new way of thinking for me.

I can remember times I have forgiven others and through that experience beauty has been created, lives have been healed, new paths have been forged, and God has taught me deeply powerful truths. I remember times when I have been forgiven and yes, beauty has been created. I have been given this amazing life with a husband that loves me thoroughly through the power of forgiveness. I have friendships that have grown into life-sustaining forces in my life through the miracle of forgiveness. My heart has been transformed into a softer, more faithful heart by experiencing the atonement of my Savior.

Forgiveness does create beauty…such a lovely thought, isn’t it?

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sacred sabbaths: more on grace

Jun 24, 2012 by

Grace has been on my mind a lot lately. For about a year I have been pondering, studying, discussing, and writing about grace. It all started last July when I watched a BYU devotional address by Brad Wilcox entitled His Grace Is Sufficient.

It changed my life. It put into concrete terms the ideas I had swirling around in my soul. It helped me see the flaws of so many of our (LDS) teaching methods and stories. It helped me understand why I and so many others have felt, at times, hopeless and the inability to ever be enough.

It helped me fully own that I will never be enough…and taught me why it is okay (even wonderful!) that I am not.

If you haven’t watched it, go do it. Then come back for the rest of my grace thoughts.

I have shared Brad’s thoughts with many of my friends and had lengthy discussions on the nature of grace, grace vs. works, how we progress in this life and in the next, what is the essence of being, how cleansing really happens, what is the process of giving our heart to our Savior, how does Christ make a new being out of our current selves, and much more.

Good discussions, all of them. So much food for thought.

Like most Latter-day Saints that have been over the age of twelve in the past twenty years, I have read Believing Christ by Stephen Robinson multiple times. I have loaned it out to others and raved enthusiastically about its contents. In the past year of pondering the concept of grace I have rejected Robinson’s most famous parable, The Parable of the Bicycle, because I believe it is not only an inaccurate allegory of how the atonement works, but is also hugely damaging to people’s beliefs about themselves and their relationship with their Savior. I do not mean to disparage the book or Brother Robinson’s concepts, for I have had wonderful, soul-sustaining experiences with his words. I DO mean to say that I believe the Parable of the Bicycle is built on a false premise and has taught a message of conditional redemption that is lacking in both truth and life-changing substance.

I believe that grace is the only power by which we are saved, that Christ’s atoning sacrifice does not kick in “after all we can do,” but is the power that allows us to progress in any miniscule manner whatsoever. I don’t believe we need to contribute .61 to the cause like the little girl in the parable and then, because that .61 represents all we can do, all our hard work, ALL of our efforts, then, and only then, does the grace of God come into play. I believe God’s grace is there all along and yet, so often, we do not accept it into our lives when we believe it will have power for us after all we can do…because nothing will ever be ALL we can do. I can convince myself that I can do better, do different, do more, and that if I just figure out how to do so, then God could/would help me.

Lately, I have been reading this article series that revisits the concepts in Believing Christ. I have thoroughly enjoyed the intellectual and spiritual journey the series has taken me on and I invite you to read and then come back here to discuss your ideas and understandings of grace. I know I don’t have it all wrapped up in a perfectly deciferable package and I would like to solidify my thoughts on grace by discussing them with you. Are you up for it? If so, go read or watch or study or pray or whatever suits your fancy for learning God’s truths and then share your thoughts with me.

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sacred sabbaths: d&c 58:3

Jun 10, 2012 by

Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation.

A couple of weeks ago I was given these words to ponder. They changed my life and I want to remember them always. I want to remember that I don’t know, I can’t understand the ways of God. I can’t see his purposes for my experiences.

But I CAN trust. I CAN believe. I CAN have faith that He loves me and is working for my good.

Father, I thank thee for thy loving, tender care and thy wisdom in teaching me, growing me, and bringing me home to thee.

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