Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Penny Morse July 1996- February 2012

We were very excited when Mom brought you home that September. You were a tiny white fur ball with freshly grown spots. Brother and I argued constantly over who got to hold and cuddle you. Then we debated over what we were to call you. It was decided a name from 101 Dalmatian should be chosen. Brother wanted to call you Pongo despite you being a baby girl. I wanted to call you Purdy or Lucky. Mom settled the argument by choosing Penny which she found in one of our Dalmatian colouring books. That's what we finally agreed to call you. You were officially a member of the family.


You quickly settled in our home. We would rush home after school so that we could play with you. We would hide in another room and call your name so that you would sprint to where our voices rang to jump onto our laps and lick our giggling faces. You loved running and playing in the yard. You especially loved it when we'd throw your toys for you to fetch. It was always fun watching you chew on your dad's shoes and then lay in them because you were that small and his feet were that big. I think you loved dad most of all. And then our sister came that October. I don't think you knew what to do at first with another baby in the house. But you eventually adapted.

Even as a puppy you were so spunky. You were determined to show us what a Dalmatian puppy is all about. You enjoyed going on long walks and short walks. As you grew up, it became less clear on who was was walking whom. You loved table scraps, and if you couldn't charm us into giving you tidbits, you were very clever in waiting until you could steal it. When you were hungry or wanted a snack before bed, you would flip your food dish and send it clattering across the floor.

As the years went by, you went through stages of growth. By the time you were four, you made it clear that it would be a one dog house. You never liked baths, but you loved swimming, especially if your dad threw the toy towards the ducks. You went on all of our vacations. You also seem to love kicking mom out of bed. You hated the kennel place and would freak out if we ever passed it on the road. Mom and I took pleasure out of teasing you for it. At home, you were so funny whenever you pass gas. Apparently, they were pretty bad for even you, because you'd look at the nearest person, growl at them and walk away. You would run around and play while I clean up your residue in the back yard, and would make sure to make a fresh one when I finish the rest. You loved laying on the sofa in front of the fire. And every holiday when we have a nice supper, you always eagerly awaited your plate of treats and then would sneak a few extras from a few of us at the table. You loved it when we moved out into the country. Walking through the BLM land became a routine and you enjoyed running around and chasing the critters.


  In the last couple of years, your pace has slowed down, but you've still enjoyed life. The fire never left you and you still kept the spunk and spark to the very end. Now, maybe you can go back to chasing critters and never tire, and eat meat without breaking out. We love you, baby girl and we'll miss you. Goodbye, my sister.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow......

Okay which schmuck did the snow dance? Anybody? It's time to fess up..... my dad thinks our Dachshund did it. I'm not so sure..... I sure didn't....

This is what I woke up to......

That would be six inches of snow.....
Bend's Winter Wonderland   

"Though the weather outside is frightful..."

 "Walking in a Winter Wonderland...."

I forgot zoom was on but I like the expression in my eyes that it captured

     Anyone else thinking this snow flurry is two months late?

This is your chilly photographer....

...... Signing off......

Everyone be safe and enjoy the white powdery, er, stuff. Have an awesome day!


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Is there a Heaven?

Is there a Heaven? That's a question I've asked myself quite a bit in my life. Sometimes life on Earth seems so dark that it's hard to believe that there is a paradise of celestial glory just beyond the veil of mortality. All my life, I've been taught that when we leave this life we either go to the following places: Heaven or Hell. That's the thing about going to various churches. You hear a lot of different of different dogmas. Mind you, growing up, the question would briefly touch my mind, only to be locked in a drawer until I think of it again.

Now that I am grown, I've pondered this question so much. I suppose it sort of helps when you end up attending funerals every year for family and friends. But I often sit there and try to imagine the deceased in a state of Glory. Especially children. I love the idea of them being cradled by Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. It provides me comfort. After a close friend miscarried, I asked my father while I was still sobbing why. Why were they not given a chance to live? Why were they not given a chance to experience the love of a family, to grow up and have a family of their own? My father replied that God protected them from what might have been a cruel life. That they are in Heaven. I took some comfort from it, but that question is still in my mind.

Then earlier this year, it was believed that I had cancer. And the doctor told me the serious reality of the situation if my results came back positive. I would have the 5th leading cause of death for women. Death. I always fancied myself as not being afraid of death, due to it being a step we all must take. I was wrong. The terror I felt was mind numbing and and unlike anything I ever felt. I started wondering if there really was a Heaven. What would happen to me once I cross the veil of mortality. Would it be to one of the Kingdoms as the scriptures say? Or would there be nothing but darkness. During a moment of despair, two wonderful friends of mine brought up Philippians 1:21-26 which speaks of death. They went on to say that I shouldn't fear death but make peace with it because I'd be going straight to Christ. We had discussions about Heaven and what would await us there. Mind you, these friends are of a different faith than myself. But it was still comforting and it brought back my rationality. A couple of days later, the test results came back negative. I was clean.

On February 5th, I came home to find out that a man named Josh Powell had killed his sons 7 year old Charlie and 5 year old Braden. I felt a whole variety of emotions including hope that there was a Heaven those babies were in, for they deserved Heaven. The fact that they are in Celestial Glory gives me comfort. The human heart that I have also hoped there was a Hell, and that Josh was in it. I realized that in some ways this was a wrong way to think so I repented, but I couldn't fathom his actions. I'll probably never.

The next day two of my sister's classmates died in a car accident. She came over after finding out and stayed over for a few hours while I cleaned house a bit. After she left, I found out from a friend that one of my friends from high school decided to end her life. The blow was acute. I went to a candlelight vigil and thought about these girls and wondered where they were at that precise moment. I just hope they are happy where they are.

There's a song that has brought me comfort through this. It's called "Tell Me There's A Heaven" written by Chris Rea. I really like the version sang by Michael Ball. This is a video I made.

The little girl she said to me
What are these things that I can see
Each night when I come home from school
When mama calls me in for tea
Oh every night a baby dies
And every night a mother cries
What makes those men do what they do
To make that person black and blue
Grandpa says their happy now
They sit with God in paradise
With angels' wings and still somehow
It makes me feel like ice

Tell me there's a heaven
Tell me that it's true
Tell me there's a reason
Why I'm seeing what I do
Tell me there's a heaven
Where all those people go
Tell me they're all happy now
Papa tell me that it's so

So do I tell her that it's true
That there's a place for me and you
Where hungry children smile and say
We wouldn't have no other way

And I'm looking at the father and the son
And I'm looking at the mother and the daughter
And I'm watching them in tears of pain
And I'm watching them suffer
Don't tell that little girl
Tell me

Tell me there's a heaven
Tell me that it's true
Tell me there's a reason
Why I'm seeing what I do

Tell me there's a heaven
Where all those people go
Tell me they're all happy now
Father tell me that it's so

Tell me there's a heaven

Tell me

The answer to the question is: Yes. I believe in Heaven. I believe that these angels live with God and Jesus Christ. That Angels hold them. That I will hopefully one day go into one of the Kingdoms. That my family will be with me someday. I know this with my heart and soul. 


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Single Awareness Day/ St. Valentine's Day!

For those that have a better half- Happy St. Valentine's Day

For those that are still single- Happy Single Awareness Day

I hope everyone is having a wonderful day as we celebrate love and friendship. I myself am spending the remainder of it with an amazing person and friend. If you aren't spending it with someone, please do something for yourself and pamper as much as you please.

Myself being obsessed with music have been listening to my favourite songs that have to do with matters of the heart. It reminds me of my past relationships and the one I hope will soar. I will add the following:

Take Me as I Am- Jekyll and Hyde

In His Eyes- Jekyll and Hyde

Someone Like You- Andrea Bocelli

Love Only Knows- Josh Groban

Til I Hear You Sing- Love Never Dies

Love Never Dies- Sierra Boggess

I hope you all have a wonderful day cherishing and spending time with the choice of your hearts. And treat yourself as you should. Happy St.Valentine's Day! 


Monday, February 13, 2012

Best Movie Ever...

During afternoon tea, there's a stir in the air.
A bone-trembling chill that tells you she's there.
There are those who believe, that the the whole town is cursed.
But the house in the marsh is by far the worst.
What she wants is unknown, but she always comes back.
The spectre of darkness, the Woman in Black.

This last Friday I went to see this movie with my friends to celebrate my 23rd birthday. I had first seen the trailer back in September or October and was very excited. I love horror movies, though I've been severely disappointed over the years. Most have become too predictable, too hoaky and overall too stupid. The only movie that even came close to scaring the living daylights out of me was White Noise with Kevin Costner in it... Spoooooooooooky.... 

But when I saw the teaser trailer and it startled me, I became hopeful. I had been asked a few times what I wanted to do for my birthday which made this an easy decision. There were seven of us including my fifteen year old sister. To make things interesting I decided to go to the latest showing which was 10:20. We got there around 8 and decided to hang at Red Robin for a time. And of course some embarrassment occurred when my best friend let slip to her friend on the waitressing staff that it was my birthday so that led to me getting sung to and a free sundae... it tasted really good. I did have to refrain from committing homicide. 

Anyway, after a couple of hours we went back to the cinema and after a trip to the refreshment area, we settled in our seats above the area reserved for wheelchair occupants. I love this spot for two reasons a) the rails are great for feet rests and b) I don't have to worry about my claustrophobia. 

So, it started with a good startle and even the slower sections were interesting. It was one scary setting after another. One of my friends was freaking considerably throughout the movie and even I jumped a time or two. At one point there was one scene that caused the entire theatre to gasp and jump. One guy a few rows behind me let out a high pitch scream and then we could hear popcorn and candy just shower the floor. All of us laughed at that. It was such a perfect comic relief with impeccable timing. hahahahaha.....

But the story line was interesting, the acting superb. The best part was, I couldn't even predict what would happen next. It also kept me at the edge of my seat. The ending was shocking and even upsetting. My friends and I talked about it the entire car ride home. We also discussed the subject of Ghosts and hauntings, which I will be addressing in the next post. 

The bottom line is: If you like horror movies and haven't seen this yet, you need to grab a girlfriend/boyfriend/friend-friend and see The Woman in Black. Do not see it alone. It's that epically awesome! 


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A question of my soul...

I just finished watching Emma Smith: My Story today after not seeing it in a few months. I'm kind of sad I waited so long to see it again. Because I was reminded just how much this film touches my heart.

I have to admit that in past years I was never certain how I felt about our church's Elect Lady. I admired her for her strength and for being the prophet's wife. However, I always wondered how she could not follow his successor, Brigham Young, and create a new life for herself. Did she lose faith? Was it pride that kept her there? These were questions that have crossed my mind when I think of her. I have to admit, that a part of me did feel less about her. Especially when I compared her to Mary Fielding Smith. While Mary was strong, so was Emma.

As a child her father prohibited prayer in the house so she would go to the barn and pray. Eventually her father caught her praying for him. It softened his heart and they became faithful again. I couldn't help but imagine the feeling I have whenever someone prays for me. The feeling is so tender and warming. I look up to Heaven and offer a prayer of thanks to my Father in Heaven for blessing me with the people I have in my life. For he has given me much.

Throughout the film I see time and time again Emma standing with Joseph comforting him, supporting him, laughing with him, counseling him and loving him. I could see what a rock she was in his life. She was his Northern Star which shone brightly and constant. I only hope that I may one day be that for my husband, whomever he may be. That I may be his shoulder to lean on, to be able to give him wise counsel and guide him through the storms.

At one point she in confronted by her father for believing Joseph and in the Book of Mormon. She simply said "Sometimes you know things with your heart. That you don't know with your head."  How many of us have desired a further proof that the gospel and teachings of the Church are true. I have been guilty of this a few times as I have many friends and family that do not believe in this faith. I have often thought to myself "If only I had the evidence to show them that it IS the true church, that we have the full and ever-lasting gospel with all the choice blessings that come with it." Emma was a shining example of the truthfulness of the gospel just as she was an example to our restoring prophet. 

Her trials also made her. Several miscarriages, complete estrangement from her family, constantly dealing with attacks on her and her people and eventually the lose of her Joseph. Many records say of her that she was strong and steady. I believe she never lost her faith in the gospel or Joseph. Even after the Saints followed Brigham to the west and she lived out her life in Nauvoo. When I think of her trials and how she bore them it makes me look at my own and how I handle them. I feel the desire to bear them better and to nourish and sustain my faith. After all, we "can't plant potatoes and get pumpkins." Sometimes it is so hard to remember that God does love us and desire our well being and our happiness but in order to really feel those things we have to suffer sorrow and loss. Otherwise, our blessings in life will not mean anything to us. It's the little things that makes our lives beautiful. The melody of a songbird, the warmth and brightness of the sun. A loving word and a caring touch. They don't require much but the rewards are endless.

That's one other thing I noticed about Emma. The loving service she gave to others. Upon organizing what is now called the 'Relief Society' she told them that they would do extraordinary things and that they should always be eager to do good. Once again this forced me to look at myself. I do Visiting Teaching, I cook and clean for my family, I do the occasional service project. But there's so much more I could do with my time. I plan to make good on that and serve as much and as many as I can. :)

The part of the film that made me tear up was the night before Joseph went to Carthage for what would become his Martyrdom and Emma asked Joseph for a blessing to which he suggested with tears streaming down his face that she write the blessing and he would sign it and she would get everything she desired. He spoke of how he looked forward to reading her blessing. Emma mentioned that strength isn't something you have. It is something God helps you to find. Her blessing said the following:

“First of all that I would crave as the richest of heaven’s blessings would be wisdom from my Heavenly Father bestowed daily, so that whatever I might do or say, I could not look back at the close of the day with regret, nor neglect the performance of any act that would bring a blessing. I desire the Spirit of God to know and understand myself, that I desire a fruitful, active mind, that I may be able to comprehend the designs of God, when revealed through his servants without doubting. I desire a spirit of discernment, which is one of the promised blessings of the Holy Ghost.

“I particularly desire wisdom to bring up all the children that are, or may be committed to my charge, in such a manner that they will be useful ornaments in the Kingdom of God, and in a coming day arise up and call me blessed.
“I desire prudence that I may not through ambition abuse my body and cause it to become prematurely old and care-worn, but that I may wear a cheerful countenance, live to perform all the work that I covenanted to perform in the spirit-world and be a blessing to all who may in any wise need aught at my hands.

“I desire with all my heart to honor and respect my husband as my head, ever to live in his confidence and by acting in unison with him retain the place which God has given me by his side, and I ask my Heavenly Father that through humility, I may be enabled to overcome that curse which was pronounced upon the daughters of Eve. I desire to see that I may rejoice with them in the blessings which God has in store for all who are willing to be obedient to his requirements. Finally, I desire that whatever may be my lot through life I may be enabled to acknowledge the hand of God in all things.”

As we know, Joseph never returned to sign it, but I cannot help but wonder if he read and signed it in Heaven. There is no doubt in my mind that the blessing was fulfilled completely. The final window of the movie mentioned that when she died her last words was "Joseph....Joseph....I'm coming.." I can only imagine what joy and peace she felt as she stepped through the veil that separates our human lives to our spirit ones. Or Joseph's pleasure and excitement as he met her there. The imagined sight brought a smile to my face.

As I watched this film and really looked at her story and I kept thinking, "I want to be like Emma." Her faith and devotion to the gospel, the church and her family just made her so wonderful in my eyes. I believe she was indeed a true elect lady of the Lord. This has given me so much desire to better myself so that I may be a better daughter of my Heavenly Father and better the lives of those around me and touch those who touch me and inspire me every day. I want to be like Emma.

I hope to eventually get this film for myself so I can watch it whenever I need insight and inspiration. For those of you that don't have it, I fully recommend this video. Especially to those whom are not a part of our faith. Emma's story is a wonderful one filled with loyalty, love and faith.


Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Personal Challenge List

These are the scheduled topics for the challenge. Anyone with any ideas, resources and what not please feel free to comment. Thank you very much in advance!

03 February 2012- The Priesthood
07 February 2012- The Apostasy 
14 February 2012- The Book of Mormon
18 February 2012- The Restoration 
22 February 2012- Personal Revelation 
26 February 2012- Temples
01 March 2012- The Godhead vs. Trinity
04 March 2012- The Plan of Salvation


Friday, February 3, 2012

A Personal Challenge.

I have some news that I am very excited over. One of my best friends, JB, is an Evangelical blogger (at Study and Faith), and you can read more about his story here) who's been really open and interested in learning both what we Latter-day Saints believe and why.  He's gone through the discussions, studied extensively, read the Book of Mormon, prayed for confirmation, and received a testimony that the Church isn't true after all.  But he's willing to be persuaded that maybe there's good reason to believe that the Church is true, and that's where I come in.  He's asked me to write him a paper making the case for what we Latter-day Saints believe, to try and convince him.  And I know he's really eager to hear me out and give a lot of prayerful thought to it.  This is hard work.  He's by far my hardest investigator, but it would mean the world to me if I could see him receive the fulness of the gospel.

Because there's so much to put into this, I am writing my paper in installments, and after I finish each one I plan to post it here.  Just yesterday I finished a rough draft of my first installment, which is about the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods.  After I finish the whole paper, JB is going to write me one explaining and defending his Evangelical beliefs and giving me his thoughts on my case. After all, it wouldn't be fair if I'm doing all the talking.  And then I get to try to write an answer to his paper back to him.

If any of you would pray for me, or if any of you have ideas for resources or arguments I could use, I would really appreciate that.