Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunday Inspirations August 30, 2009

I'll be honest. I was NOT in the mood to attend church today. This morning I awoke to pounding all along the right side of my neck, head, and shoulder, a little girl with a huge attitude problem, and two boys who every time I "suggested" they get off the computer gave great imitations of ornery monkeys. SIGH

With the pounding of the head I knew making it to the first two meetings wasn't realistic, but I absolutely could NOT shake the feeling I needed to make it to Sacrament Meeting today. I fought that irritating notion for quite a while, but it wasn't until I finally made the decision to do whatever it took to attend that my conscience at last quieted. After a few IB Profen, my headache was reduced to a throb rather than a pound and I figured I could make it to just one meeting.

Oh my, how glad I am for the feeling telling me where I needed to be. Our Sacrament Meeting didn't even last the entire time, but it didn't leave one feeling empty. Rather I came out of there knowing a ton of spiritual blessings had been bestowed in a very short time.

It truly began as two of our newest members were confirmed as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As converts this confirmation ordinance is done during this precious meeting. The words spoken to this mother and son left me breathless. It had nothing to do with there being amazing things proclaimed to them, but rather had everything to do with being reminded of who we are as children of God, our importance to Him, and those things we should be doing. The son, at only nine years old, was told if he remained faithful he would be a great example to his friends, his family members, and especially his father who is not happy about the baptism of his wife and son. Yet these two chose to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit rather than the pressures of individuals who could not comprehend the changes going on inside them.

Our meeting turned from that incredible experience to three amazing talks on eternal families. The individuals speaking are new in our ward, and have been rather inactive for a while. Yet today the son - who is only twelve or thirteen - spoke on the first eternal family, that of Adam and Eve. The daughter, who I think is sixteen, had a very emotional talk on how she feels about eternal families. A good friend of hers died not too long ago. It has brought home just how important the idea of eternal families is. Beyond that she couldn't stop thinking about what a precious thing the knowledge of life after death has been in her own life. She hated thinking about spending eternity without her family.

At last the father spoke. His voice was quiet, his face almost stoic, and yet his words pierced my heart. He and his wife have only been married a few years. She had been married twice before. Her first two children - those who spoke - had been born in the covenant (or born to parents who'd been sealed for time and eternity in the temple). The last two children - born to the two of them - have been born in the covenant. But her middle child wasn't.

Their family had the opportunity to take a tour of the most recent temple here in the Salt Lake Valley before it was dedicated. While there, many of the guides talked of the eternal nature of families, and how through the blessings of the priesthood the family unit did not have to end with death. After the tour this little girl asked to talk with her mother. The entire experience had really touched her, and she asked to be sealed to her mother and step-father, something which is going into the works right now.

As the father ended his talk, he felt impressed to deviate a little. The power of his words could be felt across the room.

"Satan knows the importance of families," he said. "This is why he's attacking it in every way possible."

What God had once formed as an example in the union of Adam and Eve for generations all throughout time has been attacked until it is almost unrecognizable. Yet it is not hopeless, not so long as we fight for what is right, and remember Who is ultimately in charge.

In less than an hour I had my post for this day. I had been spiritually fed. My head has gone back from throbbing to pounding, but the reminders I received have been worth it. I am so happy I followed that feeling.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Words You Hate

For the most part I love words. REALLY love words. It's a natural outcome for someone who spends oodles of time finding new ways to say old things so you all will find yourselves wanting to read more.

This morning made me think about words I just don't like. My favorite morning radio show was doing a poll on people's least favorite words. To everyone's surprise not one word was repeated though they took dozens of calls. Some we all cringed to, like moist, or secretion. They just sound wrong. Others we all laughed at, like hole (to which Court said, "I usually don't mind the word hole, except when (this caller) says it." The guy managed to make the word sound off, lol), and bequeathed. Even a word pronounced wrong brought giggles, like pianist (when prouncounced PEE-en-ist, to which Chunga said, "You don't call the instrument a PEE-en-oh.")It was a fun-filled morning.

I began to think of words that mean something beautiful, but due to overuse in a negative way we don't think of them as good. Take the word 'fondle.' Are you experiencing heeby-jeebies just as I am? Get this. The definition of fondle (shudder) is to handle or touch lovingly, affectionately, or tenderly. It can mean a method to show love, or fondness. It's akin to a caress, a hug, especially as a parent might show love to a child. Yet even phrased this way we're so used to seeing it paired with child abusers we cannot think of it in any other way. How sad!

I also started wondering, what words just seem "wrong" to you? I have to admit 'moist' is one of my least favorite words, though it wasn't until some of my hubby and my old friends' brought it up (yes, Mike, Shane and Todd, I'm thinking of you). Yet I'll work on using any other word just so it will never be utilized. I don't like the word 'defile' either. Or 'bowel.' I'd much rather say pooped. Seriously. 'Cream' or 'creamy' is another one. It brings too many pictures of nasty foods I've seen over the years.

So tell me. What words simply make you cringe?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Making the Hard Decisions

I was so excited when my kids started self-defense karate a little more than a year ago. It's been fun for them, and most definitely fun for me. J has been making an awful lot of noise lately about not wanting to continue, though. Of course, half way through testing he suddenly changes his mind.

Here's the thing. Money is tight. Really tight. We're looking at having to tighten our belts like never before. We've had a few unexpected events happen this summer - like the fridge fiasco and needing new tires for the front of the car - and our savings ended up quite drained in the process.

By no means are we destitute. I certainly don't mean to leave that impression. But I find myself needing to make some tough choices, ones that will probably upset and frustrate the kiddies. One of those choices is whether or not to continue with karate.

M is involved in a lot right now. She's taking piano lessons, will begin orchestra again at school, and is doing a few other programs there. Having her miss taking karate won't be such a trauma as she has plenty of other things to take it's place.

B is the one I could see continuing in karate. When he's not being distracted by his older brother he's really quite good. Impressive for someone so young.

It's J I worry about. He's not as musical as his sister, nor as coordinated as his brother, and being a part of this - no matter how much he complained - gave him a sense of accomplishment. If I take him out, what do we turn to? I don't want him to be the only one not involved in something, yet I can't afford to do the things he'd like.

So do I take them all out of karate just to placate one child? I'm more than just a bit torn, yet I know a decision needs to be made soon. Their latest session of karate ends in two weeks. My hubby has no problem simply taking them all out, but I hesitate as I know how the activities we participate in, especially as children, go far in developing our self images.

J has a long way to go before we figure out where his talents lie. Would he really be happy watching his sister and brother remain involved in things he's not a part of? And if he finds something he's not only interested in doing but really go at, will the money be there?

Ugh. I hate making the hard decisions.

Thanks for letting me think out loud today, my friends. I'll be doing a lot of praying over the next few weeks.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sunday Inspirations August 23, 2009

All right, all right. So this week's Sunday inspiration is coming to you late on a Monday night. By the time my darling family got home yesterday my mind was mush and not exactly primed for deep thinking. When my husband perched himself in front of the computer for some brain-friendly relaxing time I did not crow.

Apparently someone else did :) My sweet friend Carol "chewed" him out (her word, not mine). So tonight's post is dedicated to her.

Yesterday was a very special Sunday for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (nicknamed the Mormon Church) here in Utah. Now there's no way I can sit here and give you a lot of facts, like how many temples are here in Utah, but it doesn't matter. Every new temple built and dedicated is precious, eventful, and a sacred thing for each member of our church. It is a privilege to be a part of ushering in a new house of the Lord.

"Temples are literally houses of the Lord. They are holy places of worship where individuals make sacred covenants with God. Because making covenants with God is such a solemn responsibility, individuals cannot enter the temple to receive their endowments or be sealed in marriage for eternity until they have fully prepared themselves and been members of the Church for at least a year. Throughout history, the Lord has commanded His people to build temples. The Church is working to build temples all over the world to make temple blessings more available for a greater number of Heavenly Father's children" (, gospel topics, temples).

There are many extraordinary blessings that come from the temple. One of the foremost for our family is the sealing ordinance, which unites a husband and wife (marriage) or children to their parents. When the covenants made within the temple are kept throughout eternity, we firmly believe we will have the blessing of remaining a family throughout eternity.

"Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven" (Matthew 18:18).

Perhaps this truth (for we believe it to be true) becomes most vital to those of us who have lost someone we loved dearly to death. For us there is hope that not only will we be reunited in the heavens, but that we can continue to live on as a loving family unit.

Is it any wonder the idea of family is so important to us?

In the temple the family unit is one of the most central focuses of everything that is done there. Once work has been done for the individual, we look to doing work for those who have passed on in the hopes of tying our families together. Baptisms for the dead (or baptism by proxy) gives those who've died an opportunity to accept this gospel even after their mortal lives have passed.

(On a quick side note I do wish to say, for those who may not fully understand, we believe the gift to choose for ourselves what paths to take continues on even after we die. Just because someone who has died is baptized a member of our church doesn't mean they accept that baptism. We are only giving them the opportunity.)

Yesterday afternoon my oldest daughter, my husband, and I, as well as many other familiar and loved faces joined together with hundreds of other church members as the newest temple was dedicated here in Utah. We heard beautiful singing, inspirational talks regarding the wondrous blessings of temples as well as those who sacrifice so much to make it to a temple even once, and then, at last, the actual dedicatory prayer.

Our hearts were uplifted, our spirits fed. How blessed I feel not only to be a member of this church, but to live right here in Utah, where several temples are easily accessed. I was married in one of these precious buildings, for eternity. My children are sealed to me, for eternity. Through the promised blessings even my son who has passed before me is still mine - for eternity.

How truly blessed I am.

Friday, August 21, 2009

My Least Favorite Chore

For anyone who has the opportunity to talk with me (or see my weekly Friday updates), this will not come as any surprise. I especially know this as I received a surprise phone call last night from my dear friend Herbie. Oh yeah...he called again :) That's impressive when you consider we have an entire ocean separating us.

My hubby happened to be home this time, and as he and Herbie chatted away they fell upon an unusual subject: me hating to clean the bathroom. Apparently I've mentioned it more than a few bazillion times!

It really is my least favorite chore. I hate it with a passion. WITH A PASSION!!! It's just...plain...gross! Not to mention with little ones at home it doesn't take long for all my hard work to be undone in 0.6 seconds...SO wrong on SO many levels...

I'm getting good at coming up with all sorts of reasons to delay the cleaning of the bathroom. I need to exercise. There's laundry to wash, dry and fold. The kids need attention. I'm in the middle of a really good part of a book. This blog will NOT write itself! That's right, I'm avoiding the cleaning of the bathroom right now.

The funny thing is, if you were to ask me what chore gives me the most satisfaction when it's finally done...I'd have to say the bathroom. There really is something fantastic about taking something so icky and turning it into something sparkling.

Even if it does only last 0.6 seconds.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Battle of Wills

I sat next to the toilet today for a good twenty minutes. Not because I was pondering life or...well...sick. In my arms squirmed a feisty little girl who was utterly convinced I was torturing her for the fun of it.

Okay so I did chuckle a time or two, but mostly I was frustrated. You see, I'm trying to potty train my youngest.

Are you all moaning for me right now?

My youngest has by far the most stubborn nature of any of my children. She'll relentlessly badger a person until she gets precisely what she wants. And if she doesn't? Let's just say she's spent a lot of time pondering the intricacies of the dreaded corner.

Today I told her she wouldn't get a diaper back on until she at least tried going in the potty. Nope! Not gonna do it. She'd rather go diaperless and cry hysterically than sit on that dreaded toilet.

Before you say, "Well Laurie, they have these wonderful things call potty-training toilets that are just her size!", let me say we've tried it. She's worn it as a hat. She's pulled it all around the house as a comfortable chair. She just won't allow the delicate skin of her behind to touch it.

I know I'm supposed to let her do it at her "own pace," but my goodness it looks like her pace will be diapers until she's thirty! I know it's important not to push her until she's standing in the living room clutching her bum and crying, but UGH! I'm so tired of changing dirty, stinky diapers. I've been doing dirty diapers for YEARS now. We'd really like to start spending that hard earned money on other frivolous toilet paper. Or peanut butter.

Today she won. I finally caved when she almost wet the couch. She is now happily residing in her precious and coveted diaper.

One of these days, though, it'll be my turn to win!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sunday Inspirations August 16, 2009

My mother-in-law passed away several years ago. She was an extraordinary woman, full of more life, love, and energy than nine of me put together. Her death was not easy to explain to my (then) two (almost three) year old daughter. How does one so little grasp the idea of heaven? Still, we did our best and seemed to have answered her questions...or so we thought.

Several months later my hubbs, M, Grandpa W and I headed up to Idaho for a family reunion. We spent the night in a hotel and M was so excited the next morning.

"Where's Grandma?" she asked, her eyes full of yearning.

"What do you mean?" we asked.

"Where's Grandma?" she asked again, looking at us as though we should be able to understand such a simple question.

"Grandma's in heaven," we replied.

"I know. Let's go get her."

It took us a little longer than it should to realize M thought Idaho was heaven. It took quite a bit longer to convince her it wasn't heaven, that heaven was a place we couldn't get to unless we died. She was sure disappointed, and probably more than a bit confused. But she trusted us enough to accept what little information we had to give her.

As this memory popped into my mind I was quickly reminded of a scripture, found in 2 Nephi 28:30 (from the Book of Mormon - another testament of Jesus Christ).

30 For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.

So many people I dearly love are enduring difficult times right now, including my sweet and wonderful mother. We were talking last night about understanding the need to put our trust in the Lord and place our faith in Him, yet how hard that seemingly simple act can be. She likened it to handing over our troubles, but being unable to really let go. Like playing a game of tug-of-war, when the only real way of winning is by giving in and allowing the Lord to take the rope.

As she'd been pondering this she had what I lovingly term as an "Ah-ha" moment. Her thoughts resonated with me and I wanted to take a moment to share them with you.

The Lord is with us in our trials, but we sometimes forget this little fact. He's not just there when things get really bad, or when we finally get on our knees to call upon Him. He's there ALWAYS, patiently waiting for us to get into sync with Him.

We struggle, we falter, we may even lose a bit of faith, but this my friends is called life. We are meant to struggle. We are meant to falter. We are meant to test our faith. It is only through this we can be made stronger. It is only through this we can prepare to gain greater knowledge.

At times the process can be frightening, especially when it involves our lives or our financial stability or our families. Uncertainties prevail and most often overwhelm, drowning out the peaceful whisperings of the Holy Spirit. Our desires to know what's going to happen right here and right now overshadow the little lessons being taught along the way.

As I thought about these two conversations - one with my daughter and one with my mother - I had an "Ah-ha" moment of my own. It's one I've undoubtedly had before, but it's remarkable and glorious how these things are brought back to the mind in ways that reaffirm what I've already been taught. Sort of like the promise of being given truths through two or three witnesses.

Even as adults, we are still our Heavenly Father's spirit children. He knows things we cannot possibly comprehend in our limited earthly views. He knows the experiences we must endure to help us move along line upon line, so that we may more fully understand precept upon precept. These things must be given here a little, and there a little. The vastness of His plan and our abilities to understand it if He were to tell us all would be like...trying to explain where heaven is to a two-year old.

Some are far more patient than others when it comes to the learning process. The ability to trust fully in our Father and Savior comes easily to certain individuals, while others must question and cry and pound their heads against a wall until they are able to begin trusting. Our Father, who created each of us and knows our individual quirks, and our Savior, who endured the Atonement and knows our limitations to a degree no one else can claim, are patient when it comes to both sorts of people.

If you're having a difficult time, whether it be your health, your money, your relationships, or whatever, remember you have a marvelous and holy Father and Brother who are standing with you all the way. Have the faith to hand your worries over to Them, to let go of the rope, and the learning can begin. Become as a little child, and recognize that just because you may not understand, it doesn't mean you can't simply believe.

Think of it this way. As adults we have a clearer picture of what heaven really is, much more than we did as children. Though you may not understand the purpose behind your troubles now, wait until the Lord knows you are ready to recieve the next line.

And in case you are wondering, I am happy to report, M no longer thinks heaven is in Idaho.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Where Did We Go Wrong?

Today will be a bit of a rant. So if you don't feel like reading my complaints (even if there is a moral at the end of the story), go ahead and click on something else. But as a mama I need to have a place to vent, in particular today.

My kids head back into school soon. Very soon. For a while I was lamenting this...until we hit this past week. Suddenly the thought of the three oldest in school most of the day long doesn't sound like such a bad thing!

Last night I said to my husband, "Where did we go wrong?" I'd just had to get after my younger son for swearing - something I never expected from a boy who has such a distinct sense of right and wrong. I was sitting in the same room as the word slipped naturally out of his mouth. He didn't think a thing about it, at least, not until Mom got after him.

Sadly, this has been the most recent in a long line of bad choices by my kids. Earlier in the day I'd had to get after them for wandering the neighborhood when they'd PROMISED to be at the park. They've begun picking on each other, and starting fights with friends. Not to mention saying they'll do one thing and then do the exact opposite. Tantrums have been flowing from the kids (even the older ones) like water from a sprinkler! ARGH!!!

So of course as I sat at the computer this morning with righteous indignation set firmly upon my shoulders, I found an unlikely answer in an unlikely place, and suddenly saw where we went wrong. As much as it pained me to do so, I had to take the righteous indignation off my shoulders and replaced it with responsibility as well as a need to be accountable for my own actions.

I was putting together a talk for a friend when the answer to my seemingly simple question was answered. During the school year we're fairly scheduled. It's easy to make sure certain things happen, even the spiritual things. During the time my kids have been out of school too many things slipped. We weren't reading scriptures in the morning anymore, neither were we having morning family prayer. Even our evenings weren't spent in each other's company any longer as the kids would rather play at the park. In other words, I'm the one who messed up, and my kids are paying the consequences.

"You're being too hard on yourself," you might say. Perhaps, but the truth is I'm the mommy. I'm the adult (when I'm not acting like a self-absorbed two-year old). I am the parent, and my children are my main responsibility. If I'm not doing my end of the deal, can I really be so surprised when everything seems to go wrong?

So now here I sit, having heard yet another two tantrums since the time I began writing this, knowing I need to make a start in pulling a schedule - one that especially involves the spiritual - back together. Maybe then we'll find a measure of peace, not to mention some nicer words, back in our little house.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sunday Inspirations August 9, 2009

Keep the Sabbath day Holy. This shouldn't be a hard thing to do, right? Make it to church and try as hard as you can to get something out of it. Yet the Sabbath day is more than just a few hours spent being spoon-fed the gospel of Jesus Christ. There are far more hours to fill - all on our own - in an effort to keep it holy.

I'd like to talk a little about music. Music is powerful. In a few short minutes it can bring in - or get rid of - the Holy Spirit. It holds within it the strength to turn our attitudes to those things spiritual with very little effort. This is why the music selected to sing in church is carefully considered. Should we not be just as careful to consider what music is played in our cars on the way to and from church, as well as what is played in our homes throughout the day?

I have a few cd's of what I consider to be "Sabbath day" music, but my kids can sure get tired of a certain type of music fairly quickly. We like to have variety, but need to be in keeping with the proper spirit.

Fortunately I know of two radio stations who play "the sounds of Sunday" all day long. FM 100.3 and KOSY 106.5. Both are dedicated to playing songs on the Sabbath day that bring in the Holy Spirit, and help us to maintain that wonderful influence throughout the entire day.

If you haven't tried listening to these beautiful songs before, give it a try. I can promise a wonderful change in how you manage to keep this day just a little more holy.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Creative Juices

I've been chatting on the phone this morning with the mother of a dear friend of mine, who like me shares a passion for writing. She's had a story idea come to mind and wanted to share some concerns as well as just her excitement for this new project.

I couldn't stop thinking about creative juices after we finished talking. Once they begin flowing there is no sense in trying to make them stop. It is akin to standing under a waterfall with an umbrella. Though I can't speak for others, there is a physical reaction I experience when the need to create overtakes. I almost can't sit still (which is counter-productive when one needs to sit to make the good stuff happen). My hands tremble, anxious to get the words in my head out onto the computer screen. I get fidgety, playing with my hair, my clothes, my fingernails, the incredibly messy computer desk. There are times I can't stay put and need to get up, walk around, find a glass of water, eat a grape.

With all that physical agitation, can you imagine the chaos reigning in my head?

Typically when we think of creative juices, our thoughts drift toward the arts: literature, painting, sculpture, music, etc. But creative juices abound in everything we put our minds to.

I can't help thinking of my friend Lisa, who is starting a food blog because she loves to create and play with recipes. I think of Shellie and Laurel who use their creative talents to make learning a fun and exciting experience for children. I think of Chantal and Erin whose humor is contantly put to work making others laugh. I think of Errin, who constantly uses her creative energy to help those around her feel loved.

Have you ever watched the show "Numbers"? One of the most brilliant example of how creative juices can flow in the exact world of math and science. Without creativity even in these areas, we would never have looked to the stars and wondered what was out there. No one would have thought to take a closer look at what makes the human body tick. Vaccines would never have been invented. Neither computers, nor games, nor gardens, nor Disneyland, nor boating, nor cooking, nor everything in this world would have happened without a bit of creative thinking.

Including us.

So my challenge to you this day is twofold: first, look for things you use in everyday life that has been brought to you due to some creative thinking; second, look for something - even if it seems silly or inconsequential - that took some creative thinking of your own. I deeply thank Mama Johnson for helping to put these thoughts into my head.

We are all God's creations, and if we were brought here on this earth in His image and His likeness, well, we must hold some form of His creative thinking within ourselves.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sunday Inspirations August 2, 2009

I had an entirely different post ruminating in my head for the last two days, one I sat down just now to finally put together. Yet the little voice in my head that can't get on here without checking my e-mails first practically yelled at me the moment fingers touched the keyboard and all thoughts of the post left my mind.

My inbox held one whole letter that wasn't an update notice from Facebook. I'd like to share the story with you now, and hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did.


There was a couple who took a trip to England to shop in a beautiful antique store to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. They both liked antiques and pottery, and especially teacups. Spotting an exceptional cup, they asked 'May we see that? We've never seen a cup quite so beautiful.'

As the lady handed it to them, suddenly the teacup spoke, 'You don't understand. I have not always been a teacup. There was a time when I was just a lump of red clay. My master took me and rolled me pounded and patted me over and over and I yelled out, 'Don't do that.'

'I don't like it!' 'Let me alone,' but he only smiled, and gently said; 'Not yet!'

Then WHAM! I was placed on a spinning wheel and suddenly I was spun around and around and around. 'Stop it! I'm getting so dizzy! I'm going to be sick!', I screamed. But the master only nodded and said, quietly; 'Not yet.'

He spun me and poked and prodded and bent me out of shape to suit himself and then he put me in the oven. I never felt such heat. I yelled and knocked and pounded at the door. 'Help! Get me out of here!' I could see him through the opening and I could read his lips as he shook his head from side to side, 'Not yet'.

When I thought I couldn't bear it another minute, the door opened. He carefully took me out and put me on he shelf, and I began to cool. Oh, that felt so good! 'Ah, this is much better,' I thought. But, after I cooled he picked me up and he brushed and painted me all over The fumes were horrible. I thought I would gag. 'Oh, please, Stop it, Stop, I cried. He only shook his head and said. 'Not yet!'.

Then suddenly he put me back in to the oven. Only it was not like the first one. This was twice as hot and I just knew I would suffocate. I begged. I pleaded. I screamed. I cried I was convinced I would never make it. I was ready to give up. Just then the door opened and he took me out and again placed me on the shelf, where I cooled and waited and waited, wondering 'What's he going to do to me next?'

An hour later he handed me a mirror and said 'Look at yourself.' And I did. I said, That's not me; that couldn't be me. It's beautiful. I'm beautiful!!!

Quietly he spoke: 'I want you to remember, then,' he said, 'I know it hurt to be rolled and pounded and patted, but had I just left you alone, you'd have dried up. I know it made you dizzy to spin around on the wheel, but if I had stopped, you would have crumbled. I know it hurt and it was hot and disagreeable in the oven, but if I hadn't put you there, you would have cracked. I know the fumes were bad when I brushed and painted you all over, but if I hadn't done that, you never would have hardened. You would not have had any color in your life. If I hadn't put you back in that second oven, you wouldn't have survived for long because the hardness would not have held. Now you are a finished product. Now you are what I had in mind when I first began with you.'

The moral of this story is this: God knows what He's doing for each of us. He is the potter, and we are His clay. He will mold us and make us and expose us to just enough pressures of just the right kinds that we may be made into a flawless piece of work to fulfill His good, pleasing and perfect will.

So when life seems hard, and you are being pounded and patted and pushed almost beyond endurance; when your world seems to be spinning out of control; when you feel like you are in a fiery furnace of trials; when life seems to 'stink', try this.

Brew a cup of your favorite tea (or hot chocolate) in your prettiest tea cup, sit down and think on this story... and then have a little talk with the Potter.