Sunday, October 28, 2012

An Open Heart to Heaven, Part II

The theme from Elder Kikuchi's BYU Devotional talk (from lasts week's blog post) has stuck with me.  What did you think when he demonstrated our physical closeness with Christ?  That visual representation of the clasped hands illustrated to me how physically close sanctification brings us to Christ.  How close? He is right there next to us.  But when we are not worthy to be in His presence we must step away, releasing that clasp that kept us close.

In this Three For All, I have found a few more resources that have and are helping me return to that joyful hand clasp with Christ.

Esra and me, on her Birth Day.  Seven weeks and five operations later, we got to snuggle again.  
1) In the talk, The Touch of the Master's Hand, President Boyd K. Packer talks about sin and change and the vitality brought about by becoming one with Christ.  In the midst of my own physical pain, I learned about spiritual pain and how the treatment plans are similar.

2) This Mormon Message about Lifting Burdens helped me have courage during a difficult beginning.  My sister-in-law, Jessie, shared this video with me during the first week of my Lyme Disease treatment.  I watched this over and over again.  Tears flowed as I began to feel so many emotions. And just like when Esra was diagnosed with Spina Bifida, the feeling of fear was the strongest.  As I trusted more, the fear faded.  That empty space gradually gave way to courage as I remembered God provided  a way for Esra, and He would do the same for me.

3) Become Your Best Self is a courageous life-list from Danny and Mara Kofoed's A Blog About Love.  Mara's list has had such an impact on how I am proceeding in my healing process, as she describes the different ways she used to find healing, to make lasting change and to more fully share herself with others.  Her list has no fear; it is dynamic and real.  Where else can you find Viktor Frankl, Oprah, James E. Faust and Lousie L. Hay all in one list?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

An Open Heart to Heaven, Part I

My best smile on my
first day of Lyme treatments
As I started my Lyme Disease treatment last year, I felt exhausted and empty.  I was physically and spiritually sick. {I was really trying smile in this picture.} I really did not know where to turn.

When I found Elder Kikuchi's messages, I felt connected to his simple dedication to the work of God.  His tender stories and connections to Christ's teachings spoke to my heart about how I could find real change.  Plus, his life experience in Japan illustrated the depth of his character and the continual change that the Gospel brought to his life.

Here are three things {a radio interview, a sermon and an article} that came into my path as I searched for direction:

1) An inspirational man of faith: Listen to this radio interview with Elder Yoshihiko Kikuchi who lived in WWII Japan and serves as a representative of Jesus Christ sharing his experiences about forgiveness and sanctification.

2) In a fireside sermon, Elder Kikuchi outlines tangible answers to this question: How do I open my heart to heaven? He outlines three things: Hold a personal morning devotional. Immerse yourself in the scriptures.  Purify your life through the Savior’s sanctifying and atoning power.

3) In my hardest moments during treatment, I picked up my church's worldwide magazine and Elder Kikuchi's words were a balm: The Healer's Art.

Dear Readers: What will be your one thought, thing or change to devote time and attention to this week? 

Three For All

Introducing Three For All, a new feature at But Wherever I Go.  Motivating me to get my spiritual self in gear and creating a foundation with you to share common themes in our varied faiths and experiences.

Every Sabbath's Eve, I will share three spiritual appetizers that will help us feast more deeply together during the Lord's Day and also throughout the week.  Really this list is a for me, as I want to improve, to grow, to glorify God.  And most likely, so do you.  Why not share?  I'd love to know more about you and your journey.

And by the way, I am a Mormon.  I Know It.  I Love It.  And I am trying hard to Live it.  Whether our faiths have similarities or not, I hope you will feel encouraged to stay, to take and eat.   Dear Readers, please join me as I start this devotional practice.  You are invited to impart upon these morsels with me, as I journey through healing and applying the blessings that come from observing the Lord's Day.

Craving to Create

In February 2011, not long after my father-in-law passed away,  I was diagnosed with late-stage Lyme Disease.  With that came hours of treatment-time away from home, connected to an IV and lots of time to read and think.  I had high hopes that child-free time would mean productive time; blog posts written, journal caught up, emails boxes emptied.

I quickly learned that would not be.

Treatment was tiring and, sometimes, poisonous as my body unloaded its toxins and infections.  Still, I recorded my encounters with the spoken word, media and spiritual buoys during a difficult time.  I had hoped to write about it all to preserve some cathartic connections made in the hardest moments.  But the writing about what I felt, read and thought never made it to paper or pixel.

Eighteen months later, I can gratefully say that I am not worse physically.

But my disease has not drastically improved either. The brain swelling and seeing stars has gone away, but I am still so tired.  I lose my ability to stand by dinner time and I seem to have a hard time remembering things both near and far. Calendars, clocks, appointments, mail, telephone calls still intimidate and overwhelm me.  The list can go on.  But I am functional enough to read to my daughters, to tickle them and when it's laundry day, I fold and Sam puts away.

I am craving to do more, to create, even if it means that we do school on the couch all week!  In order to get better, I feel compelled to press forward beyond this creative drought and do something!

Stay tuned for some new features at But Wherever I Go!  And catching up on the past year with pictures and news of our family!