Belize

blizzard4The wind’s howling. It’s a snowy blustery day–again. Everyone is saying this is the coldest bitterest winter ever in memory.

And I can’t help but feel a bit of longing for Belize.

I could be lounging in the sun, hot sands, snorkeling in warm ocean waters, and the vivid colors of the undersea world. I could be enjoying a little of heaven on earth.

This time last year I had never heard of beautiful Belize. Very quickly I informed myself!

Enthused, we gathered all the knowledge we needed to get there. How would we get there? Where would we stay? What would we eat? Was it safe? What did others say? What would we do?

Do you ever think about this life’s sojourn?

We’re all here together on an important journey. Where are we headed? Do you know? To travel anywhere we need knowledge and power-the ability to travel to get there.

And very true of our mortal adventure, knowledge and power are necessary to return to Heavenly Father’s presence.

19 And this greater priesthood ministereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God
 
20 Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest
 
21 And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh; 
 
22 For without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live. D & C 84:19-22

No matter where I’ve travelled I’ve spent hectic days before departing, completing tons of stuff on my do to list.

I’ll bet it’s the same for you. Will all the last minute visits, meetings, shopping, laundry, folding, packing, letters, phone calls, emptying the trash, clearing the fridge, orienting some responsible soul to water the garden, discard junk mail, check up on the house, and then dropping off pets to the kennel get done on time?

And of course the very day before, the phone won’t stop demanding your time, someone will need you to run an errand and the universe will conspire to throw you into some situation that demands your talent-no one else will do.

The last hours are always hectic. Sometimes, once I’ve made it onto the plane and can breathe easy, I consider it a miracle to be sitting there at all!

(If you usually get to sit in peace and quiet for the whole day before a major trip, please share your secret!)

Anyways, I say all this to point out that in the very same way we may be filling in busy days while we are preparing for the greatest of all destinations we will ever undertake.

“Those who join this Church love the Savior Jesus Christ and they wish to follow Him. They rejoice in the knowledge that God speaks to mankind again.
 
When they receive sacred priesthood ordinances and make covenants with God, they can feel His power in their lives.
 
… The poor in spirit and honest of heart find great treasures of knowledge here.” Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Consider how we are preparing for this trip of all trips.

Time with family and friends, compassionate service, magnifying our callings, discovering and using our talents, hearing and obeying promptings, spending time in prayer, reading our scriptures, missionary work, learning God’s will for our lives, following the example of our Savior in all ways, and most of all– learning how it is that God’s knowledge and power manifested in our lives will enable us to one day be in Heavenly Father’s presence.

“Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
 
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature” 2 Peter 1: 2-4 

Are you preparing for the greatest of all journeys—an eternal home with Heavenly Father? Have you the knowledge and power you need to get there?

Are you excited about this trip? What are you doing to be ready?

 

 

April turned out to be a month of several firsts as I glance back on the past few weeks.

Main Street San Pedro

Main Street San Pedro

It was my first time ever to vacation on a tropical island with my adult siblings. I’m the oldest of ten and they are from the younger half of the family. The youngest, my brother was about 6-7 years old when I left home.

Travelling with others, one really finds out how much they know each other- or not. Even with siblings. Half of the group from Alberta and the other half from Ontario met in southern Ontario and flew to San Pedro on the island of Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Visiting beautiful Belize and her friendly people was a first for all of us and one of the most amazing experiences ever. A favorite for sure! A dream destination for scuba diving and snorkelers, Belize’s barrier reef is the longest and largest mass of continuous living coral in that hemisphere, second in the world.

“Look deep into nature, and then…you will

understand everything better.” Albert Einstein

nurse sharkCoached by my experienced sisters, we set out to snorkel. Another first. A shark nonchalantly swam right up to me within my reach. It was longer than I am wide; I admit I felt a bit afraid. My heart nearly stopped. This on our first excursion! A bit later, I learned it’s known as a nurse shark. They are safe. Yay. Think I should have researched those a bit more beforehand!

Snorkelling. My new love. I am so hooked! I can hardly believe I had not discovered this fun activity before! Vibrant colored sea plants and exotic marine life…maybe scuba diving will be my next adventure. 🙂

For the first time ever in my 7 ½ years as a Latter Day Saint, the ward boundaries have been changed and I along with 3 other families have been entrusted to another ward. I know this is a common occurrence for many of you, but in this area it had not happened for 20 years.

I am now a member at the Stoney Creek ward about the same distance away (20 minutes) in the opposite direction. I’ve always known I live on the boundary line. I just never knew when I would be leaving my dear St. Catharine brethren and move on to love and appreciate others. While temporarily out of my comfort zone I have no doubt that Heavenly Father has a purpose in offering this opportunity for growth.

Now this next item is not truly a 100% complete ‘first’ although I would say it is the most important first I could add to any list. From the beginning of my commitment as a Latter Day Saint I have been aware of the enabling power of the Atonement in small increments as I’ve often thought of it.

Deep comfort and peace when troubled. A flood of divine love washing through me when sad, lonely, misunderstood or grieving. Feeling God’s extra strength when I needed more patience or courage. Inspiration in time of need.

“I frankly do not think many of us ‘get it’ concerning the enabling and strengthening aspect of the Atonement, and I wonder if we mistakenly believe we must make the journey from good to better and become a saint all by ourselves through sheer grit, will power, and discipline, and with our obviously limited capacities.” Elder David A. Bednar

Seemingly suddenly I’ve become aware of the magnitude of what we have been given in the complete package of the gift of the Atonement. It is not just a bit of strength and comfort doled out here and there in whimsical fashion, as by an inconsistent, cranky parent.

"Image used with permission from Greg Olsen Art Publishing, Inc.", www.gregolsen.com 208-888-2585

“Image used with permission from Greg Olsen Art Publishing, Inc.”,
www.gregolsen.com 208-888-2585

“Surrounded by His enduring love, we are warm, safe and secure. That reassuring calm…  comes from the embrace which our heart feels and through the tender senses of our spirit. All around us we have the physical wonders and beauties of nature that bear the signature of their Creator and remind us of His enduring love. Although His presence is unseen by our eyes, His unending love is felt in our hearts.” Greg Olsen – 1997

 

My ‘first’ is realizing that my situations may not have changed or gone away, but how I respond has changed with His divine help. Not overnight. But my awareness of this having been the case seems to have come overnight.

I have complete confidence in the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ to help me through any and every situation and in His desire and willingness to enrich my life with joy and happiness.

That is if I humble myself and depend on Heavenly Father and our Savior for help. I’ve learned Whom to turn to 100% of the time and Whom I can trust 100%. This has been true from the beginning. And it’s all been available all this time. Oh, how indescribably blessed we are!

“Christ is ready with outstretched arms as He waits for us to come unto Him and be encircled in the arms of His love. It is here that we can be healed, nourished, loved, enabled, strengthened, and made whole.” Carolyn J. Rasmus

May 1st marked this blog’s first birthday. I’ve been posting for a year already!! Can you believe!! Happy Birthday “Entitled To Revelation”!! WhooHoo!