Change is necessary for progress…

Dear friends

It’s been more than 10 weeks since my last post and much has happened, in your lives as well as mine.  Change is necessary for progress is my personal motto, it has been for a very long time.  In modern speak, I suppose that would show I have a growth mindset.  Anyhow here’s a synopsis of what I’ve been experiencing these past weeks 🙂 

1. Children grow – when our eldest was about 9 months old, a friend gave me some advice which I believe she had received from another friend who is a mother of 10 children.  That advice was, remember it’s a phase.  Whatever seemingly difficult stage you or your child is at, view it as a phase.  This advice has served me well and has certainly helped me to remain sane! I strive to apply it to other aspects of my life, other relationships.  I think one day we will realise how brief mortality is and we’ll see all things clearly (see 1 Corinthians chapter 13 verse 12) For now, when I had to buy yet another pair of school shoes for our youngest, Son2 (approaching 10 years old) and discovered he’s now in the smaller men’s shoe size, I thought, it’s a phase… what size feet will he reach as a grown man!?

2. I’ve decided to look up more, seize the moment, capture now, be a little more impulsive and take more photos of life as it happens – like this photo (no filter) of our yellow sky, pink sun, as a result of Saharan sands a few weeks ago.  Related to this, I’m going to post more photos, probably of trees and skies as this reminds me to see the beauty all around.  We live on a beautiful planet which serves life well.  We, humans, need to serve life well too. 

3. The long awaited restructure began at work and some of my older colleagues have been taking stock of what their pensions look like and is it worth retiring a few years early.  I’m in the generation that’ll work till 67 years so it’s not something I’ve paid too much attention to (I probably should but I’ve not…)  So I was traveling to a meeting with two older colleagues, both male, and one mentioned his wife retired several years ago, she earned quite highly so they were OK.  The other chuckled, commenting his wife never earned much and “my wife retired at 23!” I impulsively stood up for his wife and said, “I don’t think she would call it retirement, I’m sure she did a great job raising your sons!”  He did accept this but I realised how many people out there devalue their own family, because they are making a different contribution.  I’m so glad that as a working mum I could still stand up for my sisters.

4. Glass an hour – this is a little mantra I’ve been telling myself in relation to drinking water.  It’s like the fruit & veg, 5 a day, here in the UK.  I’m blessed to live where I can turn on a tap at home and work and drink safe water.  I know many in the world can’t do that and I, sadly, remember a time when living at my dear mother’s home and she’d been unable to pay the water bill and it was cut off (I don’t think they are allowed to do that now).  I walked a couple of miles each day to public toilets to fill bottles of water to bring back home.  So I appreciate water and what it means for our health.  I don’t think we can ever drink too much but we can certainly have too little, so, as I’ve noticed myself feeling thirsty more often, I’ve tried to drink a glass of water each hour.  I always feel much better and less tummy aches when I do this.

5. I mentioned the long awaited restructure at work began.   I’m one of the few whose salary will increase, quite significantly, as a result of this due to the grading of my job.  Our jobs have now been aligned to public sector gradings and although people many are grumbling that it’s less than private sector pay, I say, well, go and work in the private sector if you want to earn that kind of money; don’t expect public taxes to pay ridiculous amounts for you not to deliver!  And around the time the restructuring consultation began, I was approached by the local school of architecture to see if I’d be interested in studio tutoring 🙂  Of course!!! 

6. The world wide General Conference #LDSconf was, in my humble opinion, absolutely sublime. I am steadily working my way through all the talks, starting with those given by the apostles.  I can only suggest you listen to it – check it out on or on YouTube.  I don’t have a favourite but memorable messages for me are: am I Sad, Mad or Glad?; women in these last days; the need for humility.  

7. Finally, the changing world.  The past 10-12 weeks have seen human tragedies on an increasing scale of horrific-ness (i.e shootings, terrorism acts) plus natural incidents, fires, hurricanes, earthquakes.  And then political incidents across the globe affecting whole countries and regions.  For comfort in these difficult times, I gain comfort from the words of prophets reminding us Who wins in the end and I am striving to be on that team. Elder Dallin H Oaks reminded us of these words from 20 years ago in his talk at conference:

I see a wonderful future in a very uncertain world.  If we will cling to our values, if we will build on our inheritance, if we will walk in obedience before the Lord, if we will simply live the gospel, we will be blessed in a magnificent and wonderful way.  We will be looked upon as a peculiar people who have found the key to a peculiar happiness.

President Gordon B Hinckley, November 1997.

a quick hello…

Dear friends,
I’m at the bus stop – having missed two since I stopped to get a newspaper & there’s been two ‘not in service’.  It’s a grey and very windy morning and I have a runny nose – no sore throat – does that mean it’s viral?  But life is great! 🙂 
I heard of a spontaneous rescue at the waterfront – a passerby jumped in the water to save the last crew member trapped in an air pocket of a sinking tug boat.  The tug sank; both men are safe. We need to be there to help others.
And it’s Easter week – I’ve never understood why this isn’t a bigger deal than Christmas since it is what makes all the difference.  Being born is one thing and, yes, that made a difference (especially to a certain group of believers – see 3 Nephi chapter 1); but successfully completing your mission which rescues all mankind from death, for ever… That is important!! That can make a huge difference!! #BecauseHeLives
Bus!! Have a great day. 🙂

Mary of Magdala remembers

Dear friends, today was an Easter presentation in sacrament meeting due to next week being fast and testimony meeting and Easter Sunday it’s General Conference (yeah!). I was given an assignment to speak on the resurrection of Jesus,  specifically when Mary Magdalene saw him and when He met Cleopas on the road to Emmaus.  I’ve decided to share my talk with you. I hope you enjoy and feel inspired. #BecauseHeLives and see Easter week inspiration at

The prophet, President Ezra Taft Benson stated:

The greatest events of history are those that affect the greatest number of people for the longest periods. By this standard, no event could be more important to individuals or nations than the resurrection of the Master.

I remember that day,  when the Master was resurrected, it made all the difference and we, His disciples, were glad.

I remember how the Sabbath after that Passover we were all so low in heart. We didn’t think it would end just like that – our Master, our Teacher, Jesus, betrayed by a friend, a so-called trial, whipped and then hung, nailed,on a cross, next to criminals. All He did was to love His people, love us,love our Father, His Father.

I remember how we knew He was the Anointed One, the Messiah, sent to redeem Israel,  sent to save us. He had in many ways already redeemed us – He had forgiven us, healed us, loved us, shown us the way to live and to love. Maybe some of us were expecting more – redemption from the Romans. So, for it all to end with His death,  just a few days after His triumphant entry into Jerusalem,  well, it was a shock.  A great shock!  So that Sabbath we were all very low.

I remember how a few of us women decided to go to the tomb and dress His body – it was all such a rush after the crucifixion. We planned to go early in the morning ‘when it was yet dark’ (John 20 v 1) – we thought the Roman soldiers, who were placed as guards, would be more likely to unseal the tomb for a small group of women.

I remember how as we approached, mournfully with the spices prepared, we saw no soldiers, no guards, and the tomb was no longer sealed – the large stone lay discarded to one side of the tomb opening.

I remember that two men were there; where we expected to find Jesus’ body, nothing, Jesus was not there, only neatly folded linen clothes. The men asked us, “Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen…” (Luke 24 vv5-6). Our hearts were touched – I can’t explain how; I was sad, confused, angry but felt something exciting too. We were told to not fear but to “go quickly” and tell his disciples (Matthew 28 v 7). Mary, Jesus’ mother, seemed to sense that these were messengers from God so we did as they told us and went to tell His Apostles, returning with Peter and John. They also seemed to not fully understand and eventually I alone remained, outside the tomb, my confusion and tears my only comfort.

I remember someone asked me, “Why weepest thou?” Without really looking round, so I thought it was the gardener, and I asked, “Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.” (John 20 v 15)

Then, I remember, He spoke my name, “Mary.”  And instantly I knew, Jesus, and I turned.

I remember how my heart, my whole body surged with joy, with burning. “Rabboni; which is to say ‘Master,'” (John 20 v 16) I cried and I went to embrace Him, for with my own eyes I could see He was not a spirit; No!, He was real, He was flesh and I could touch Him. But He stopped me saying, “I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren” (John 20 v 17).

I remember how I didn’t want to take my eyes off Him, but I had to – to be obedient – and as I quickly went I realised iit’s OK, He’s always going to be here, He was alive again, never to be killed again; truly He is the Son of God.

And I remember how I was filled with hope more than I could ever imagine; hope, that I could not only be a better person, I was filled with the hope that I, you, we would live again, that death is not the end of life; that truly we all can literally live with our Father in Heaven again.

I remember how later that day, we heard of how Jesus walked and talked with two of the brethren as they travelled to Emmaus – but they did not recognise Him at first. Their hearts burned as He discussed and explained scripture with them concerning our Lord, even right from Moses. It was only as they all sat to eat and He broke bread that they recognised Him as Jesus, and then He was gone.

I remember the love I have for Jesus and how, knowing what I know, I do not want to let Him down. I want to do my part by living and sharing Jesus’ great message.

I remember how I walked with Jesus when He was a man, how I shed tears of sorrow when He died, and how my heart almost burst when I beheld Him as my God, to never die again.

The prophet, President David O. McKay said, “I think that there are many in this congregation … who have had their hearts ‘burn within them’ and I hope as their hearts have burned within them, that they realised the message that went into their hearts.  I hope they have an inkling, at least, of the divine truth that they are sons [and daughters] of God, and that that burning within them was just a touch of harmony between them and the infinite, the Spirit of God which will enlighten our minds, quicken our understandings and bring all things to our remembrance.”

a quiet, comforting, moment

Dear friends, I sat at the dining table with my breakfast this morning – big children at seminary, husband in shower, small children not yet up (well, so I thought :)) – it was a quiet moment at the start of the day. Usually breakfast is eaten, standing up, in the kitchen, while I’m doing packed lunches.  But today I took the opportunity to read the message in the Ensign (the church magazine) and read these beautiful, comforting words from Dieter Uchtdorf, an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ along with comments on this painting Frans Schwartz – Agony in the Garden:

“Though none of us will ever have to experience the depth of what our Lord suffered, we each will have our own dark and bitter hours — times when our sorrow and grief may appear to be greater than we can bear. There will be times when the weight and remorse of our sins will press mercilessly upon us.
Even so, if we will lift our hearts to the Lord during those times, surely He will know and understand. He who suffered so selflessly for us in the garden and on the cross will not leave us comfortless now. He will strengthen, encourage, and bless us. He will encircle us in His gentle arms.
He will be more than an angel to us.
He will bring us blessed comfort, healing, hope, and forgiveness.
For He is our Redeemer.
Our Deliverer.
Our merciful Saviour and our blessed God.”