Animal Whisperer – Wordless Wednesday

image: (counterclockwise starting at the brown cat and ending at the human) Jackdaw, Locutis, Vincent, Helena, Chris; from martha0stout’s phone

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Hidden Capacity

The Greater our sorrow, the greater our capacity for joy.

You can never see what He sees in you until the very end and then you will know that He knew what He was doing.

That doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt while He’s shaping us, while He’s helping us to bring out the beauty that lies hidden within each of us.

But know that you don’t have to feel that pain alone. You don’t have to walk that path alone.

A Day of Hope

Today is Easter, a day of hope, a day of renewal, a day of peace and joy. There are many different traditions on this day: going to church for a service (whichever church you may attend, if it’s Christian in any way, there’s likely to be an Easter service), family meals with extended family, gifts and (the favorite of many children) Easter egg hunts and baskets of candy.

Easter is always the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox and so it is one of those few moving holidays. There are other holidays that surround it, are a part of it or are related to it in some way (Lent, Eastertide, Holy Week, Passover, etc.). There are different days where Easter falls that mean different things to some people. One year, my sister’s birthday was on Easter.

This year, something similar has happened. Easter is on the 15th anniversary of the shootings at Columbine High School. If ever there was a day for hope and the escape from the tomb, it is today.

There is hope for those who both die and survive shootings. There is hope int he resurrection of Christ, but there is also hope to find healing. Survivors of Columbine reach out to help others who have suffered from similar traumas in their lives. For example, two former students at Columbine have reached out to their classmates and started a community group that has extended far beyond just those within their former school or even within their state of Colorado. I would write and try to describe the organization that they have started, the Rebels Project, but I would just be repeating what another has already written. I came across Jon Schuppe’s article on the Rebels Project and it gave me hope.

His article can be found here: http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/columbine-15-years-later/lost-class-found-columbine-survivors-discover-new-purpose-n83436

There are five other articles as well and I hope that you, whoever the you reading this is, read them all.

I have never heard gunshots go off in my school halls, but that is because the student who was going to do so was identified and the weapon removed from his care before anything could happen. I never had to fear another bringing a gun into my school because I was near an outdoor store being held at gunpoint across the street because my school had lock-down procedures that were put into effect as soon as possible and the police were able to arrest the individual in question. I never had to feel what it was like to be in a building when a bomb went off because my high school was evacuated before the threatening call was even completed.

Not everyone has been as fortunate as I and my classmates have been. The news may not be filled with only stories of when things went wrong, but there are enough that have made me pause whenever there is any hint of it.

I have received a phone call that my sister’s children’s school was in lock-down because there was a man who’d threatened to bring his weapon to a school nearby. I have received another phone call that the elementary and middle schools near my house were in lock-down as well because an armed robbery had occurred on the same street and they were taking precautions. Nothing happened and none of the students had to be sent home either of these times, but it is because of dangers in the past and people sitting up and listening that these procedures are even in place.

I was in the 5th grade when Columbine happened. My second eldest sister was a senior in her high school, Class of 1999. It is her children who I have received phone calls regarding lock-downs. I shudder to think of a world where she died from a school shooting and her children never came to be.

It is Easter Sunday and it is a day of hope. I am more grateful than I can ever express for the hope that I have received just by knowing how preciously people are guarding their children and working to help those who have needed to survive anything.

God bless you.

Joyous Day – Day Twenty

Push and shove
Shouts from above!
Fall and dive,
For mayhem strive.
 
Patience we’ll test
Because we’re the best;
And laughter you’ll find
When eating the rind.
 
 
What a sight!

Eyes full of light

With disheveled hair;
We’re full of flare.
 
These children I see
Have become a part of me.
Never to be left alone
Within my very crowded home.

Written for today’s NaPoWriMo prompt: http://www.napowrimo.net/2014/04/day-twenty/

I’m sitting and listening to the children carouse about the house and yard, all hopped up on Easter candy. It is a beautiful day to learn of the resurrection of Christ and to listen to the sounds of my family while they celebrate. Today is joyous for me.

Be Still and Know

I’m lost in this day and age of now, now, now.

There is no wait, there is no rest.

Patience is like endurance, it is a thing of the past.

Where do I go to find peace?

Peace is not something that you can buy or sell,

It’s value can never be determined and yet it is priceless.

Where do you find it, this peace that makes life worthwhile?

Do you retire to the wilderness, making nature your tabernacle?

Do you enter a chapel and listen to the hymns of an organ or piano?

Do you retreat to your art, music or writing?

Maybe it is finding the beauty in another’s work that brings you peace.

For myself, I find it in quiet prayer and contemplation,

Safe in the knowledge that I am not alone in this life.

But have Another who is always looking out for me,

Even when I cannot see Him myself.

Peace fills my heart and calms my mind.

I know that there is a Plan for me, but that I also have choices in it.

This life is not for rushing and not for idle chatter,

Though those too have their place.

Refuge is something that I can find and carry with me,

But it will need renewal in order to remain,

Renewal I can find in my study of my faith.

http://theseekersdungeon.com/2013/10/10/dungeon-prompts-week-9-seeking-refuge/

Charity

I’ve seen a lot of things, or remembered, that I wanted to talk about today, but I didn’t want to do multiple posts. (Those multiple posts on Sept. 11th were kind of an accident.) Finally I had it! They all had a common theme running through them.

Dictionary.com defines charity as generous actions or donations to the poor, ill or helpless; something given to a person or persons in need; a charitable fund, foundation or institution; a benevolent feeling, especially toward those in need or in disfavor.

The Bible Dictionary defines it as the highest, noblest, strongest kind of love, not merely affection; the pure love of Christ.

This last week, two storms hit Mexico and search and rescue teams were out Saturday to dig through the mudslides that had covered the village of La Pintada. They spent hours digging through the mud in the rain looking for any survivors, even when it became apparent that they weren’t going to find them. They were a 16-soldier team with five rescue dogs to aid them. Their commander, Lt. Carlos Alberto Mendoza told The Associated Press that “They are doing unbelievable work, hours and hours for just one body. No matter how hard the day is, they never get tired of working.”

They are digging and digging with little hope of finding survivors, but still taking the time even though it can take up to 14 hours just to uncover one body so that they may identify them and give them a proper burial and closure for their families.

“And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh not evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” (Moroni 7: 45)

In another case, closer to home for me, my Alma mater Riverton High School chose their new Homecoming King and Queen yesterday. The two who were chosen were special needs students who didn’t even know they were in the running. It was not a concerted effort at the school, it was something that just happened because Riverton High School is the kind of place that makes room for you and welcomes you with arms wide open.

Riverton High School also has what they call ‘Silver Rush’ where the student body officers spend weeks leading up to the school fundraiser or drive carefully choosing a charity in which the school will then spend all of December up until the last day before Christmas Vacation not only raising money to donate, but also educating the student populace on the charity and what it does. Each year they raise more money than the year before and the entire student body takes part in the fundraiser. I know this because the year after I graduated, they were outside of my grocery store caroling for donations. They also offer to clean houses and do yard work for people around all of Riverton and donate all of the earnings to the charity of that year.

“Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just– But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interst in the kingdom of God. For behold, are we not all beggars: Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold and silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?…And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another.” (Mosiah 4: 17-19, 21)

The last thing I wanted to talk about is a rather large family during Christmas a little under twenty years ago. this family had been hard up for anything during that winter and weren’t sure that they would be able to do much for Christmas. Starting exactly 1 2 days before Christmas they received a knock on their front door. There was a small stampede to open the door as a good half of the children were under the age of 11 and wanted to reach the door first just because. They were surprised to see a small box on their doorstep and no one in sight. It was dark out and being winter already snowing gently. Inside the box were enough Advent necklaces for everyone in the house to where with a piece of candy for everyday until Christmas Day.

The following night there was another knock on the door. Upon opening the door, they found another gift. I don’t recall what it was, but it mentioned that there were now only 11 days left until Christmas in  note with it. This followed for the rest of the time until Christmas Eve. Each night a knock was heard at the door and no matter how fast any of the children ran, no one was ever caught placing the gift of the day on the doorstep and no car was seen peeling down the street. The gifts were useful things as well as fun things such as the Advent candy necklaces; oranges and other food, toiletries that were getting scarce in the home, hats and scarves and mittens for hands that had been using mismatched socks instead. Smiles were brought to the family’s faces and they never knew who was to thank only that someone was thinking of them when it had looked like the world was turning against them.

“Let all your things be done with charity.” (1 Corinthians 16: 14)

Whatever you may call charity, I know that it is a driving force in our world that exists no matter where you go and I am most grateful for that.

News article on storms in Mexico: http://www.ksl.com/index.php?nid=235&sid=25186682&title=rescuers-dig-in-mud-rain-for-dead-in-mexico-slide

News article on RHS Homecoming Royalty: http://fox13now.com/2013/09/21/high-school-sets-popularity-aside-for-homecoming-royalty-picks/