Dear friends, have I mentioned that I currently teach (or rather prepare & share) youth Sunday school class at church? Half the youth in the class are mine! It’s a small group!!  This week’s lesson is on ‘Why is learning an important part of Heavenly Father’s plan?  You can look up the topic on http://www.lds.org/youth – see ‘Come, Follow Me,’ first lesson in February.

I was touched by the talk given as part of the preparation by Dieter F. Uchtdorf, an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. Sharing the example of the ancient Apostles asking the Saviour, “Lord, is it I?” and modern parables, President Uchtdorf explains why we must learn to see ourselves clearly.

seeing ourselves clearly is the beginning of wisdom

And he promises that “as we do so, our bountiful God will lead us by the hand;  we will ‘be made strong, and blessed from on high.”  Isn’t that wonderful?  So I’m going to try to see and work on my mistakes more than the mistakes of others 🙂


Dear friends, I’m concerned. I have a friend who always has to speak. Always state their view, irrespective of the impact on those hearing. And these words often are said in the heat of the moment. In addition, this friend rarely apologises, remembers all, forgets nothing and although they claim to not hold grudges, it seems they do not quite forgive others. I know, I am ‘judging’ and I know, no one is perfect, but this friend is a dear family member, and I am concerned about their long, long, longest, term spiritual well-being, particularly for the following reason.
If they aren’t forgiving others, will they be forgiven? I welcome your thoughts on this. Jesus taught us this principle in His example prayer: forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. So, if we don’t forgive others, will we receive forgiveness? And how does that relate to repentance? Again, comments welcome. We all need repentance so we can be cleaned, through the atonement of our Saviour, and enter back to the presence of God. If we’re not repenting, it seems that ultimately does not bode well.
So, what should I do? (answers on a postcard…) No person can be forced. … I can still love, try to be an example and, when opportunity presents itself, help my dear friend understand who they are, who they can become, help them to apply the truly cleansing power of the Atonement so they can be restored to true inner peace – their words will then reflect this peace. We all need to reach for this in our own lives, each day, every day. 🙂

email at 80

Dear friends, on chauffeur duty this evening and have delivered an email basics 2nd lesson to my dear mother.  1st lesson was last Sunday where my dear daughter set her up with email,  Skype and rather quickly added some email addresses (immediate family & my cousin in Canada).  However, a couple days later and we received a text (dear daughter shared that with her friends).

my Grandma sent a text; she’s 80!?

So, lesson 2; a little slower, notes taken, tablet versus laptop (the latter is preferred due to keyboard) and email sent to Canada. I’m so impressed with my dear mother – a great example to me of always looking forward. As I left mummy was logging into YouTube to listen to ‘some music.’ 🙂

work hard…

Dear friends, it’s beginning to feel a bit endless! Site meeting & visit which lasted all morning (fortunately I am not contract administrator on that project) – it was really warm in the meeting and really cold outside. Back in town, quickly bought comfort cookies :), then preparing a fee bid, are we going to do the work to reach our forecasts, client changed footpath so we need to halt drawings work, structural drawings issued, and i’ve still got 3 sets of minutes to complete and a full email inbox to file.  I brought the laptop home…

But, as I walked back to the house,  I recalled the words of a mission president (I served a voluntary mission more than 20 years ago.

Work hard, play hard, relax hard

And I thought, “really? What are you going to do?  It’s now play time!  Work time is done. You wo’t have a chance to sit down with the laptop until after the youngest are in bed, then the big ones & husband will be back from youth activities, then it’ll be getting past your bed time, then you’ll wake exhausted or late. …”  You know how the conversation goes in your head.

So, I’m now playing hard 🙂 writing while cooking having put on a laundry load.  We will eat, I will put the young ones to bed, I will pray and read some scriptures with them; the others will get back,  they will eat & update me. And then I will ready for bed where I will relax hard 🙂 And I will be ready to work hard on another day!

happiness through difficult times

Dear friends, I had the opportunity today to spend a little one on one time with one of my work friends whose uncle is suffering kidney failure, whose niece (toddler daughter of aforementioned uncle) has recently been diagnosed with Dravet’s syndrome after 12+ months of daily epileptic fits and whose own mum may donate a kidney for her brother (uncle).  It’s hard to relate as our family has not been through anything close.  My husband felt similar today as a young teenager going through cancer treatment was in one of his classes today.

But this evening I came across this quote from Harold B. Lee (1899 – 1973) which I sent to my friend, hoping that hope will be found and love felt.

Happiness does not depend on what happens outside of you but on what happens inside of you; it is measured by the spirit with which you meet the problems of life.

a frosty day

Dear friends, we had to scrape the car again this morning. This isn’t unusual but it’s not typical; we live on the coast, in northern Europe, it’s mid January, it’s winter.  So early morning seminary (youth scripture study programme) becomes more challenging and this morning scraping the car before 06h15 so my dear husband could jump in and drive the two eldest children to the church.

There’s much variation in the land around us and micro climates often means localised frost.  So yesterday when one of the (female) architects SP grimaced ‘I was scraping the car this morning,’ I agreed ‘me too.’  To which our (male) colleague DE, who loves his cars, exclaimed, “l never use a scraper on the car. Tap water with the wipers on … fast.”  SP: But that immediately freezes into a sheet of ice.  Me: yes, I tried it when my husband told me.  DE: then it would have to be sub zero temperatures.   SP/ Me: It is! There’s frost on the car!  DE: well, I never use a scraper!

So with that conversation in mind, this morning I thought, I’m going to try the tap water method, one more time….  wipers on fast,  eldest son brings jug of tap water, pour, splashes back on me, adjust position,  pour,  frost gone…, sheet of ice forms, scraping…!  DE is going to hear from me! 😦

The point is, nature is obedient to the laws of physics… water on a surfaces below 0 degrees Celsius will freeze. No stopping that. That is a law of the universe,  it’s a law from God. And all nature obeys these laws, no stopping that!  I think that’s why nature is perceived as powerful. We need to obey God’s laws as nature does, and when we do that we will have access to the strength of God 🙂

O how great is the nothingness of the children of men; yea, even they are less than the dust of the earth.  For behold,  the dust of the earth moveth hither and thither,  to the dividing asunder,  at the command of our great and everlasting God.  Helaman 12 verses 7 & 8

television! what?

Dear friends, have I mentioned that we don’t watch TV? Well, at least, not live stream television. Some years ago, 4 or 5 years back, when my husband was studying, we needed to reduce outgoings so the children were asked, “television or internet?” The internet connection won unanimously.  Oh, there have been moments when we wished for live TV again, like the Olympic Games and the FIFA World Cup, but they are few and far apart.

The kitchen radio is on lots and I try to buy a national newspaper so we can keep up to date without going online.  YouTube means the children can stay familiar with advertising or music, especially as those topics come up in school conversations.  And really, there’s enough sports coverage online so we can see goals scored, games played and tournaments won, simply not live.  Most of the time we watch programmes or DVDs as a family rather than individuals.

It’s great when our dear children are found (like this evening) reading, colouring, in the garden or (on occasion) doing homework.  Most importantly, we feel we’ve some control on what we allow into our home, in terms of having the Holy Ghost with us.  Yes, unsuitable images pop up on the Internet but we try to ensure that ‘devices’ are kept in common areas (not bedrooms) so we can observe what is being watched.  So, if you have been thinking of watching less TV, I encourage you,  you can do it! 🙂 Take time to reclaim your home and take control of what entertains you and your loved ones.

gifts of healing

Dear friends, I have been reading Moroni chapter 10 these last couple days and was struck by verse 11 which includes this phrase: “and to another, the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;” speaking of the gifts of God to us, to help us help each other.  This gift is plural, suggesting to me that there is more than one way to heal, maybe more than one way to be healed.

And this has got me pondering about healing our spirit being, as well as our physical body or being.  Which is easier? Which is longer lasting?  And, am I doing enough to help others be healed?

my Mummy

Dear friends, a couple of days ago, I was on chauffeur duty and having a little time, went to visit my mother, affectionately still known to and called by me, Mummy :). 
Mummy is 80 years, lives alone in the house we moved into when I was 7 years, is a retired nurse and comes from Barbados; Mummy is Bajan.  Mummy has always been a Christian and, having stayed unaffiliated with any church as we grew up, recognised the truths of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ when sister missionaries knocked our door.  Of her children, I live closest; we see each other at church each week; and over the last few months, I speak with her more regularly and make sure Mummy eats properly.
Mummy has always taught us and encouraged us to be ourselves, who we wanted to be.  So, even though I grew up on an estate, nothing limited my desire to be an architect, or to study at one of the more prestigious universities.  Mummy never forced us but always made it very clear what the rules were.  I know Mummy is not perfect (my parents are not married) but I do not judge; I am grateful that I am her daughter.  And I am forever grateful to Heavenly Father that my children have been able to grow up close to at least one grandmother (I never had that chance) and understand part of their family history. I feel it helps them know themselves better.

when I miss a day …

Dear friends

When I miss a day or two,  I hope you’ll be patient, forgive and not be disappointed with me.  I write in moments when I can, I write and share because it brings me, and hopefully you, joy and peace.

When I miss a day or two,  I hope you will remember that I am not a ‘professional’ blogger – which is why I love seeing your sites and and what you have written,  designed and shared.

When I miss a day or two,  dear friend,  know that I have dear family (as I’m sure you do) who need my attention as wife, mother, daughter, they are truly precious and dear to me.

When I miss a day or two, take a look at lds.org and my profile – http://www.mormon.org/me/CWCP/Vanessa – these will give you understanding of the perspective I have on life.

And finally, when I miss a day or two,  read this blog again,  read my other ones, and know that the Lord’s “grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me,  then will I make weak things become strong unto them” (Ether 12 v27).