Consider the Lilies – 6/20/17

As part of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches the people who have gathered around. In Matthew 6, He is telling them that God loves and provides for everyone in His own way. Verse 28 says, “And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, (it’s a parable) how they grow; they toil not, nor do they spin.” 

There are many theories regarding this verse. But I learned spinning thread was a large task of daily life at this time, and He was referring to wildflowers in general, which are mainly purple in that region. Jesus always spoke in terms the masses would understand. He was endeavoring to teach the people of God’s unconditional love for flowers in the field, birds in the air, sheep in the meadow, and all the way up to us. He blesses those “lilies” with sunlight, nutrients in the soil, and rain from the sky. (They don’t do much, just grow.) But if He cares for such inane objects and gives them beauty (for nothing,) how much more do you think He cares for His spirit children?  

Part of the song goes: “He feeds the lambs in His fold (we are the lambs,) And He will heal those who trust him, And make their hearts as gold.” I venture to say our trials, big or small, are hard for our Heavenly Father to watch. (Just like a parent begrudgingly utilizes tough love.) But we agreed to come to earth, and be tested. (We signed up for this.) Some tests are more difficult than others. That’s how we grow, and become valuable, like gold. That’s how we prove ourselves to Him. Our Heavenly Father blesses each one of us according to our needs. We all get certain blessings and others are added based on our dedication (and trust) in Him and His Son like healing, for example.

There were early inspirational versions based on this scripture, but this song’s lyrics were written in 1980 by a gospel singer through the Spirit and out of appreciation. Roger Hoffman, the songwriter, explains his feelings toward the song, “This is the way of the Master. He tells us plainly that he has given us weakness to bring us to him. When we come unto him, he teaches, counsels, and heals us, replacing evil with good, pouring himself into us, a spiritual transfusion where his light replaces our darkness. The light he has put into us works its way through everything we know and feel and draws us to yet greater light.” (Heavy, but I believe it.) The Mormon Tabernacle choir has embraced this song and sing it often. I think it’s the best version.

I know that the wonderful blessings I am given come from God, our Heavenly Father. The lilies are blessed. The birds are blessed. And we are truly blessed. 

I have looked around myself and understand the tender mercies in my behalf, and I am humbled by the great love He has for me. (I suggest you look and see your blessings, too.)

I will always appreciate and adore this song. (And I will never gaze upon lilies the same way again!)

Never Gonna Let You Down – 6/13/17

“Never Gonna Let You Down” is an up beat song by Colbie Calliat that just makes you feel incredible! I love her, and her songs are so inspiring. It’s message is of loyalty, love and hope. (Just what I need to hear!) This song makes me reminiscent of so many people in my life. It amazing and humbling that so many of my friends and family really stepped up and supported us through love and by deed when times were (are) hard. 

This song also holds inherent meaning to me. Two years ago, my four daughters and I performed this song at the Lewiston Fourth of July festivities in the park. I will always cherish our time practicing and performing. It is a fabulous memory I will hold onto forever. Isn’t music great for recalling memories? (You bet your sweet checks!)

Gethsemane – 6/6/17

Gethsemane took on a new meaning to me after the stroke. I began to truly see just a bit of the agony Christ endured that night as he prayed alone in proxy for us and agonized in that garden. Imagine one person’s pain, suffering, and sins a trillion times over! (Actually I can’t imagine.) He is my trusted friend who truly understands, because He’s been through it all.

For Easter, I gave my children this picture of a stained glass window in the Paris, France temple on a small canvas. On the back, I typed my testimony of Gethsemane and of my faith. I hope it is cherished. (It holds a special meaning to me.)

Claire Ryan has the sweetest little voice. Whoever coaches her, has taught the art of infusing feeling into the songs. The first time I heard this song was the primary children singing it in sacrament meeting, and I cried like a baby. It’s really a touching song. You can feel the love He has for us!

Walkin’ on Sunshine – 5/30/17

I took Monday, Memorial Day, off from writing to give my family all my attention. I stayed at home Sunday night. We had a campfire under the stars, and many sunny walks. Oodles of fun were had. (I need a rest.) We spent exceptional quality time together. It was a wonderful long weekend!

The song I selected for the today is Walkin’ on Sunshine by Katrina & the Waves. (I think they were one hit wonders.) This song is a timeless classic. It makes me happy. I used to love to sing along. The bouncy rhythm and accelerated pace make it electrifying. The thought of even walking, but walking on sunshine is the personification of summer and feeling great. As summer and warmer days get into full swing, it’s time to cut loose. (And loose, I will cut!)  After being cooped up since August, I am anticpating (more than ever before) fun days, warm rays, and starry nights. Brighter days are awaiting me! “And don’t it feel good!”

Be Still My Soul – Tunes Tuesday 5/23/17

This hymn speaks to me. In this time, when I have many quiet hours to think, “What if this, what if that?” It helps me remember to relax, take it easy, it will be fine. The first line: “Be still my soul, the Lord is on thy side.” The Lord really is looking out for me! (and you!) He didn’t do this to me. He did this for me. (What? Are you crazy? Yeah a little.) The Lord handed us these afflictions to test us, to see what we are truly made of. Am a going to give up and curl into a ball on the floor? (Probably, if I got dropped.) No, I’m going to fight for what, I know, is worth the hardship and grief and a little elbow grease. (Whatever that means, I’m gonna work hard.) “Through thorny ways, lead to a joyful end.”

The part that really gets me: “…when change and tears have passed…” All my grief, all my sadness, all my disappointment will will soon be distant memories. This hymn was written as a funeral rendition to the Finnish national anthem tune, but l don’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon. So I will let it bring me peace. “Peace, not as the world giveth…” But peace through Him. Peace, I can have, in my soul. My favorite arrangement is by David Archuletta. He sings it with such heartfelt conviction. I know there is peace (to be had) if I just let it in. “Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake.”

Things Can Only Get Better – Tunes Tuesday 5/16/17

When someone asks who’s your favorite singer, I say, “Howard Jones.” The younger generation replies, “Who?” (Darn kids ya!) People my age say, “Cool!” I sang along to his catchy melodies all through high school and beyond. My kids are familiar with his music, thanks to me. I attended two of his concerts, and you can count the concerts I’ve ever been to on two hands! My all-time favorite song is “Things Can Only Get Better.” I just thought it was a fun tune, I liked to sing along with. (Ahh, the memories!) 

Now post-stroke it is my theme song. “A thousand skeptic hands won’t keep us from the things we’ve planned…” I really appreciate the upbeat positive attitude this song offers. I find reassurance in it’s words and melody. “It may take a little time, a lonely path an uphill climb. Success or failure will not alter it… And do you feel scared? (I do!)… Things WILL only get better!”

I Need Thee Every Hour – Tunes Tuesday 5/9/17

When someone like me must depend on so many imperfect people, who are just doing their best, you quickly realize where the number one source of strength originates. I Need Thee Every Hour is a humbling hymn. I turn my needs in my life over to the Lord. Some may ask, “Do you mean God or Jesus Christ?” (Yes, both.) I lean on Christ’s unfailing strength, solid integrity, life-changing example, and brotherly love. He bled from every pore on Calvary for my pain and struggles. My Heavenly Father unconditionally loves me, is cogniscent of my hardships, and is always available for me, just like a father. I need them both. But I can’t leave out the Holy Ghost, who comforts me constantly and helps me remember the important things. I will lean on each part of the Godhead, and I will have faith in their love, strength, and trust in their healing power. “In joy or pain…” This song has recently touched me much more than it ever has previously. The Anthem Lights version is incredible! Their a capella hymn arrangement is so hauntingly beautiful. I used to be annoyed by this hymn’s monotone alto line, but now the almost horizontal line of notes is something I can sing. (If I’m not crying.) I am thankful for such a beautiful reminder that I am not in this alone. “Stay thou nearby…” We all have a Heavenly support system that we can rely on unfailing. (I personally need it!)