Showing posts with label faith. Show all posts
Showing posts with label faith. Show all posts

Thursday, November 9, 2017

What Do Pineapples and Prayer Have in Common?

(Pineapple Members, 2016)
            Some people are blessed with learning from others' examples.  Unfortunately it seems there are more who just don't get it and have to figure out things for themselves.  Still there are some who go through trials and still appear to be clueless.  Allow me to share an example.

            When I was a youth, I remember seeing ads in the classified section inviting youth to earn money picking pineapples in Hawaii.  The ad itself was marketed in such a clever way that youth believed not only would they be earning money, but would have an opportunity to tour Hawaii as well.  I remember a bunch of Patrick's friends decided to fill out applications and asked him to join them as well.  My brother, Patrick, has always been logical and decided he would wait a year.  If things worked out among his friends, surely they'd want to return.  If things did not work, well, Patrick had spared himself.

            What the classified ads failed to mention was that picking pineapples is hard physical labor. I honestly don't know anyone who returned for a second year. 

(Picking Pineapples in Florida, 2011)

My sibs and I have been fortunate enough to weigh our options, find others with similar experiences and learn from those experiences - especially if we can spare ourselves from pain - be it emotional or physical.

            I realize that is not the best example of what I am trying to convey.  I'm certain there were many that may not have appreciated what they had gotten themselves into at the time, but may have had a deeper appreciation for the experience they received - though maybe not at the time.

Mareeba Gold, 2016

            Whether we choose to pick pineapples or not doesn't seem relevant to our salvation - not in the same way as turning to drugs or alcohol or something immoral.  Not like joining the service or giving a child up for adoption.  I think the latter examples are more inclined to stay with you and perhaps even haunt you more than the pineapple picking decision would.

            As I had mentioned in a previous post, I am currently reading The Children of Promise series by Dean Hughes.  I am just finishing the third book in the series "Far From Home".  So far I like how he starts each book so if you haven't read the books from the beginning, you can still follow who the characters are.

            World War II is nearly at its end, but the events will have forever changed the lives of those who lived during that time.  Some had been excited to sign up to join the cause - to fight for their country - whatever country that happened to be.  It had been glorified and certainly sounded more exciting than it was.  Even newsreels only touched the surface of how it really was.

            The character named Bobbie writes a letter to her sister-in-law. It is very short.  There is one sentence that really stood out for me - one I think that each of us can relate to:

            "I used to think if I prayed hard enough, nothing bad would ever happen, but now I understand life is all about surviving hard times" - Dean Hughes (1998, p 388)

            I think often are expectations are quite different from the reality that we face. We're not alone.  We can and should turn to the Lord to receive guidance and personal revelation.   Personal revelation is between God and the individual.  There are some who make decisions and appear to have given no thought to the decision whatsoever.  Take me, I agreed to marry Roland after only three days.   I know there were many in my family who thought I was making a mistake accepting a proposal of marriage and now wonder if any of them had felt anything other than apprehension. It had been my personal revelation to accept his proposal.  I was guided by faith not intimate desires.  There was apprehension on my part as well. 

             I know that my brother Corey had a tough go at his attraction to same sex.  As I mentioned in my last post, we all experience being in Gethsemane.  Corey's longest time in Gethsemane was while he was an active member of the church.  His life was a struggle.  He prayed constantly.  He received a personal revelation to embrace his gayness.  Not possible?  Because it goes against what we've been taught.  Of course we're going to question it.  He did.  For many many years.

            Personal revelation isn't restricted to any one religion. After excommunication, he has continued to receive personal revelation and is definitely happier than he ever had been.  Hard as it may be for some people to believe, some people have to leave the church in order to get out of Gethsemane.  Some people have a different mission and because the personal revelation is between the individual and God, who are we to question?  And yet we do because there's always concern - especially when it seems to go against what we've been taught all of our lives. But sometimes Heavenly Father allows us to experience situations that we may not understand at the time, but there is purpose whether we accept on faith or not.

            On the other hand, there are some choices made that don't include the Lord.  Often there is sorrow and devastation, but we can still learn from our mistakes or better yet, from the mistakes of others.  That's why we have biographies and scriptures.  That is why each of us may be called to give a talk and share our experiences.  That is why we fellowship on another - so we may learn from the lives of others.

            Yesterday I read this thought that my youngest son posted to facebook two years ago:

            "The greatest moments of stress people have faced in their lives have led to the greatest accomplishments or failures that brought experience and change. Learning...g from mistakes or looking back on trials conquered is why life is so exciting. Do not live your life scared or afraid. Living with optimism is what makes life great living any other way is not really living. from mistakes or looking back on trials conquered is why life is so exciting.  Do not live your life scared or afraid." 

            Turn the Lord when you need comfort and include Him with big decisions and listen to Him and act upon faith.  Continue to pray and be guided in righteousness.

Hughes, D. (1998). Far From Home. In D. Hughes, Children of the Promise (p. 492). Salt Lake City: Deseret Book.

Picking Pineapples in Florida. (2011). Retrieved from clippix etc:

Pineapple Members. (2016, December 17). Retrieved from shadowverse:

Ripe for the picking, another Mareeba Gold pineapple grown and marketed by Pinata Farms. (2016, December 20). Retrieved from abc news:

Monday, November 6, 2017

Somewhere Between Eden and Gethsemane

        A garden, by definition, is either a cultivated plot of ground or a gathering place such as a park which is generally adorned with plants and trees.  I guess I have never considered the definition until quite recently.  We had our Stake Conference this weekend, and one of the speakers mentioned two specific gardens found in the scriptures and discussed the symbolic differences between them.

          The Garden of Eden, as mentioned in Geneses,          is outlined as a paradise.  We see paintings of fruit and vegetation, peace and waterfalls, a beautiful place where everything is tranquil.  I guess it represents a kind of perfection.

          The Garden of Gethsemane, as portrayed by each of the gospels, does not have the same appeal.  Paintings often depict a drab setting with perhaps a few barren-looking trees, a hard rock or boulder, uncultivated dirt - it appears to be the opposite of the Garden of Eden.  There is no tranquility.  It represents hardships.  It represents trials.  There is sadness in Gethsemane and it takes faith to endure just being there.

          My youngest son seems to live in Eden for the most part.  He allows discouraging thoughts to roll off his back.   He tries to coax others to come into Eden by waving to them and showing them what the garden has to offer. Sometimes I have questioned whether he has been to  Gethsemane.  I know he's seen it. I don't know he's willing to leave his comfort zone to physically pull others out of Gethsemane.  I could be wrong.

          My middle son fluctuates between the two gardens.  He seems happy and content with one, but then something will set him off and he will mope around in the other.  And then there's my eldest who unfortunately has spent too many years in the Garden of Gethsemane and continues to delve deeper into the garden instead of trying to get out.

          Often his way of thinking (or lack thereof) remind me of John Steinbeck's character "Lennie Small" from Of Mice and Men.  Lennie is sweet for the most part, is seen as uneducated and slow-minded.  He doesn't mean to be harmful to anyone, but sometimes he gets frustrated and defensive when he is unable to communicate his thoughts to others.  I don't think that Biff is quite that far gone, but he tends to forget things he once believed. 
        Often our conversations are (and have been) like beating our heads against a brick wall.  I do believe that he would become bored with Eden in a matter of time, but I don't enjoy watching him struggling in Gethsemane, and I don't know how to help him.  Nor do I know how to comfort his mother-in-law who has visited Gethsemane more times than I have.

          I understand the need for trials.  I understand the need  for peace.  I'd like to see all of my children find their common ground between the two gardens.  I'd like that for everyone.

Friday, October 6, 2017

From What I Recall . . .

            I think my favorite talk for this past conference was this one given by Elder Ronald A. Rasband.   

He talked about a subject that I have touched on my blog before.  I was reminded of a post I created just over a year and a half ago.  I had briefly discussed Wendy Ulrich's book "Habits of Happiness".  The particular subject was "Don't try to get  Help from your Problems" - in other words, ask God to help you make your weaknesses become strengths - rely upon Him as the path you thought you may have chosen isn't necessarily the right one for you.


            It is interesting that so many of us can listen to or read the same exact talk and walk away from it with a different interpretation than another might - just as with the parables the Savior would deliver to those who would listen and those who were in tune (or are in tune) with the spirit will take from it what is needed in our life at that moment.

            I know there have been many unwilling to accept that the course of the path they travel is perhaps the best plan for them - or perhaps they are supposed to meet or influence others that they might not if circumstances were different.  Sometimes we feel that a situation might be better if we hadn't been at "the wrong place at the wrong time" but how do we know it was wrong.  Maybe it was a part of Heavenly Father's plan all along.  Maybe we had to overcome challenges to learn humility or some other lesson.  Maybe we need to set an example for somebody else.  

            In this post I compared Merida (from "Brave") and her desires to what was expected, what was desired, and how the course hadn't even been close to what had been expected - but had helped her to grow nonetheless. 


            Although Elder John D. Pingree's talk (here) seemed more aimed toward missionary work, it also reminded me of the examples that I used just trying to make it through our everyday lives and how to incorporate these four steps into helping others through service and talents and allowing ourselves to grow from our trials and use that to help others also.



Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Think Positive

        One of the gifts that I opened on Christmas was the Chicken Soup for the Soul "Positive Thinking"  stories full of reminders not to give up and to do whatever it takes.

        As I read I think of examples from my own life:

        Karyn was agoraphobic.  Her son had gone to a mission in Brazil and had developed feelings for a certain young lady.  After he had gone back to visit, he announced that he and this girl would be getting married and living in Brazil for a while.  Knowing that he needed some support from the family, he wanted his parents there, of course. Karyn and her husband had enough money for only one plane ticket. And because of her fears of dealing with crowds, it was decided that her husband would go.

        His job seemed to complicate the situation as far as the date was concerned.  It turned out that if he wanted to keep his job, he would not be able to fly to Brazil but said that his wife might be able to go.

        The reservations were changed so that they would be in her name, and she prayed.  She prayed long and hard.  It was a mighty challenge as she had to deal with the public at Salt Lake airport.  Imagine how terrified she was to fly into Brazil and face a more crowded airport and a more people than she could imagine.  Not to mention that the majority of people there would be speaking in a foreign tongue that she, herself, would not understand.

        She, of course, tells her story much better than I do.  I remember listening to her experience, fascinated with her determination.  I would have never guessed that she was agoraphobic - especially to the point which she expressed.  Now that's positive thinking.  I hate crowds but cannot fully relate to what she had to overcome.  What strength.  What admiration on my part.

        I wish I had all the details in order to accurately share Shauna's story.  There was a huge number of widows and shut-ins that I would go visit at least weekly.  I would go to uplift them - or at least that was my intention.  But I always saved Shauna for last or visit when I was the one who needed to be uplifted.    

        She kept records and journals that she didn't want anyone to look at until after she was gone.  She was such a great inspiration.  Her story needs to be told.  I had always thought that someone should interview her for an article in the Ensign Magazine or tell her story in any one of several  themed "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books.

        I had been told that Shauna had outlived her disease by 17 years.  I don't remember the name of the disease, but it seems to me that the tissues would swell to the point of choking out all of her other organs.  We were roughly the same age, and yet she was hooked up to oxygen while I was breathing on my own.  She remained active as long as her body would allow. 

        She had such a positive attitude and would always get dressed, because "only sick people wear pajamas all day"
        I was also told that she hadn't gone back to get her nursing degree until after she had been diagnosed.  She wanted to help people and make them feel better, and served others for as long as she was able.

        Laughter truly was the best medicine.  It was what kept her going - in addition to refusing to allow anyone or anything to take her down.

I also let the words to this song fill my mind each day.  I asked Jenna to color a sign that says: Daily Proverbs.  I change the thought every other day and try hard to apply the quotes to my life.  I really am trying to think positive.  

Monday, January 26, 2015

If you can’t question your religion, Why Are You In It?

         I don’t know if I had met Kelly prior to the being called to serve on the activities committee.  The first activity I remember being involved with was a “food storage/budgeting made-fun activity” Kelly played Betty Barker and I became the emcee who drew the names of contestants and invited them to “come on down”.

         Even then she was struggling with the Church and her family life – desiring to connect the two but feeling torn with her beliefs.  Her husband showed no sign of ever wanting to be involved with the Church or even anybody who belonged to it.  Perhaps Kelly wasn’t even active when they met but gradually came around with a desire for having God and direction in her life – perhaps not necessarily the “Mormon Church”

         That was five years ago.  And she continues to battle with herself and her maintaining a comfortable relationship and self worth which she is not finding in the Church.  I understand.  Perhaps not completely.  But I do understand why she would leave – although she hasn’t withdrawn completely.

         Her husband still gives her no support as far as showing any interest in church or church members.  I didn’t even know what he looked like until the other night when I glanced at him through the window.  He had heard we were coming and made his “get-away” before we were even out of the car.

         Kelly’s last calling had been a counselor in the primary.  Not where she wanted to be, but accepted the calling believing it would keep her on the path to and at that the Church is where she needed to be – until she was asked to create the program for the 2014 “Families are Forever” theme.  That became the straw that broke the camel’s back.  It wasn’t in her heart to create a program that she herself felt discriminated against.

         Actually, I had wondered how the majority felt as many of the primary children are from broken homes, inactive or part member families, many with barriers that seem to prevent the traditional “families are forever” theme. 

         Elenore sat on the stand near the pulpit, to help the children with the lines they might have forgotten. I wondered if the program had been difficult for her as she and her husband had divorced long before I had even met her. She’d gone back to her maiden name rather than identifying herself with her married name.  She has custody of their two children, but he has visitation rights.

         I hadn’t even paid attention to Kelly’s absence as I watched various children get up and recite lines that just didn’t seem to fit in their current living environment.  How many of them believed in the words that they said?  How many struggled through that program?  I did.

         Kelly’s youngest son and Jenna have often played together.  Kelly had told me about sending her son to a water park all summer.  I had been dragging Jenna to Kearns with me last summer.  Perhaps “drag” is not the correct word as she really did enjoy being with her cousins.  But I know she would have loved spending summer at a water park if given the opportunity. 

         I had asked Kelly if Spencer would be returning to the water park this summer and thought I would look into a pass for Jenna.  I thought we had talked just last month, but then she disappeared.

         I was substitute teaching the last three weeks of December.  I think there were five or six names on the role in Jenna’s class, but it was usually just Elenore’s son and Jenna.  Spencer wasn’t there during the three weeks I had taught.  I sent Kelly a message to inquire if she and her family had been out of town for the holidays.  Turns out she is actually attending another church – one that doesn’t push the “Families are Forever” theme.  One that doesn’t make her feel discriminated against.

         I had the same struggles when I was single for so long – not as long as several sisters in the current ward I belong to.  I was married at 39.  There are several sisters in my ward who are much older that have not had opportunity to marry – or perhaps they have and it just didn’t feel right with choice of partner.  I don’t know.  I know that there are several who feel discriminated against when lessons are given on eternal marriage or husband/wives relationships.  It’s hurtful to hear when that very thing doesn’t seem to exist in the earthly future.

         I recently read that divorce is 50/50 but that a marriage needs to be 100/100.  And there are some couples that each give 100% and then there are other couples in which one does all the giving while the other does all the taking.  I can only control what I give, but I cannot control what another might contribute.  Roland contributes 100% - perhaps more.  But not everybody has that.  Not everybody has the support from family members.  Not everybody gives 100%.

         Hannah moved into the ward about a year after we did.  For the longest time I believed that she was a single parent as I never saw her with a spouse.  She was diligent about coming to meetings and activities though it was challenging at times.  It wasn’t known to all that there were struggles, for Hannah wore a smile on her face and pressed on.  One day she announced that there were struggles and coming to church wasn’t easy. Her husband didn’t wish to attend church with her.

         When Asher (her son) got closer to turning eight, he begged his dad to please come back to Church so that he could baptize him.  Thus after eight or nine years of attending Church on her own, Hannah’s husband finally came around.  He is the one who baptized Asher.  Endurance.

         So where is Kelly’s reward when she has seemingly had to endure even longer?  Why are there some whose trials seem to outlast their faith while others seem to be rewarded in just a matter of minutes?  How many of us feel that we have been or are being dealt with unfairly?  For how long must we endure?

         One of my biggest hang-ups in this “pushing family” church is the discrimination that seemingly takes place at the temple.  The sealing ceremony in which only the worthy temple recommends holders can participate.  All loved ones who are not temple recommend holders are allowed to wait in the lobby but cannot witness the special event because they don’t have recommends.  They have been labeled “unworthy” How do you explain that? 

         I was married civilly over three years before I was sealed.  The civil marriage was a lot more personable.  I enjoyed having guests at my wedding that otherwise couldn’t come to see Roland and I exchange vows.  I don’t like to feel excluded because I don’t have a recommend (or didn’t; not when Patrick married.  Not when my cousin married her first husband) and I don’t wish for others to feel that way.

         What does a “Forever Family” mean in my case?  That the boys will go with Roland and their mom?  That Jenna will go with Roland and me?  And what’s to become of Roland’s oldest two girls?  They were born under the covenant?  But do they sense that now?  Do they even know what that means?

         The boys are adults with spouses (soon families) of their own.   How does that work?  Are they always going to reside with us in the hereafter or will they go with their wives’ families?  I don’t think our concept of “Families are forever” will be the same as what we may build up in our minds.  We are required to have faith that it will all work out.  God’s kind and men’s kind are very often not the same.

            Denise shared her testimony after her forty plus years of struggles – though not with the Church.  She had been baptized when she was 19.  The ward bishop had called her into his office to call her as a primary teacher.  But there was a condition that came with accepting the call.  She would have to stop dating her boyfriend.  It wasn’t because even because he wasn’t a member, but apparently the bishop objected to his race.  I don’t know if she saw that as discrimination coming from the Church or just that particular leader.  It wasn’t right that he had told her that.  She left the Church and did not return until over forty years later.

            The elder missionaries showed up on her doorstep shortly after she lost her dad.  She was in a state of depression.  She had answered the door in her pajamas and commented that one elder in particular was dead set about helping her.  She said she needed her dishes done but didn’t have any soap.  The elders dismissed themselves but said they would return.

            When the elders returned, they brought back some dish soap along with a missionary couple.  While the elders did dishes, Denise sat in the other room with the elderly couple and asked about her father.  It was a very good visit and an indication for her to return to the Church in which she had been baptized a member over four decades earlier.

            We all have our trials.  We all have our disappointments.  Endurance is not an easy thing.  For many, it is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  For many there is no life.  They have given up home.  Some hang on by a thread searching for a glimmer of hope.  May each of us find the strength needed to endure than we may find peace?  That is my hope. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Power of Prayer

          Christmas is the season for miracles.  But miracles happen everyday.  Not just at Christmas time.   

          Often my mom and I would drive to Bakersfield to see my brother and watch him perform in whatever current play he was in.

          One February when we happened to be on our way down, it was not the greatest of weather.  Snowing hard.  Blizzard almost.  It was ugly.

          We had stopped off in Nephi to get something to eat.  Mom asked if we should check into a hotel and continue our journey the next day.  I left it totally up to her – for I was for getting off the freeway two exits passed our home town – which is less than ten miles.  I definetly wouldn’t be driving in that kind of weather.  But mom opted to go on.

          Going through the canyon was worse part of our journey. We probably should have gotten a room – but than I wouldn’t have this incredible experience to share:

          The snow was falling so hard and it was dark outside and the headlights seemed to make this small star-shaped outline and was our only window to see not too far ahead.  Sometimes we didn’t even know if we were actually on the road or not.

Every once in a while a car would pass us.  Mom would speed up in order to follow the lights from the other car.  But then we’d have to slow down again.  If an animal ran out into the road, we would not see it.  Besides we couldn’t do over seventy in that particular car as it would sound as though it would fall apart.

 At least three cars had passed us and mom would speed up and then slow down again as we watched them disappear.  They were going too fast.  How could anybody possibly drive that fast in that kind of weather?  It was as though we were the only car being snowed upon.

          And then out of nowhere a truck appeared.  The driver guided us through the canyon.  We followed the lights until we were in the clear – and the truck was gone.  Vanished – like it had been beamed into the cold wet sky. 

          The truck was a miracle – whether real or imaginary – it had been a blessing.  An answer to thousands of prayers that were given in our behalf.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Left Lane is for Passing

          Last May the bishop (leader) of our ward (Church boundary) had some major health problems along with his second counselor.  My husband, who was serving as the High Priest Group Leader, said to me that if the bishop had passed away during that time, the mantle would have been handed to him and he would have had to step into the bishop’s shoes (metaphorically speaking) until a new one was called.

          I don’t know how soon the first counselor (at the time of our ailing bishop) was called to take over the position of bishop.  But my husband was called as his first counselor.  It was to be his fourth calling in less than two years.

          But his second counselor holds the record of short lived callings.  He had been called as a Sunday School teacher – I don’t know for how many months.  He was released in order to serve as a counselor in the Elder’s Quorum.  The week after he was put in the Elder’s Quorum position, it was announced that he would be the new second counselor of the bishopric.  He had lived in the ward for only six months.

          So last June we got our new bishopric: our 32 year old Caucasian bishop, my 56 year old husband (of Hispanic decent) and a 34 year old fireball from the Philippines  Our new bishopric resembled that of an Oreo Cookie.

This last Friday the second counselor and his wife moved out of the ward.  We all knew it was coming.  Today they spoke in Sacrament meeting.

          The first speaker was his wife – she gave an awesome talk about staying on course.  She had two comparisons of wanting to “change lanes” and trying to “hurry things along”.

          Her first example was/is one that many of us are guilty of.  We drop by the store to pick up whatever. We happen to be in a hurry and the lines are seemingly never-ending long. (She must have been at a Wal-Mart)

          The specific example she used was a woman with a fidgety child.  She was in the express line and saw another line open up – but was still behind two or three people.  And for whatever reason, the line stopped moving.

          The child continued to fidget and the woman jumped in and out of lines causing her more anguish.  As the speaker checked out, she looked back to see the woman behind three groups of people.  If she had just stayed in line to begin with, she would have been next.

          The other example she used was in passing trucks on the highway.  She has learned that when she is in the left hand lane and she sees a semi signal to come over, she will allow it to come into her lane knowing that once it has passed its obstacle, it will go back over into the right.
          She says that non-understanding drivers will be upset that she has allowed a truck in and will attempt to pass both of them, swerve into the right hand lane, floor it and will have to slam on the breaks in order to avoid the obstacle that the truck driver was trying to avoid in the first place.

          So instead of passing this speaker and the truck, the “hurried” driver has to wait for the truck, the speaker, and whatever cars behind her before he or she can move back into the left lane – which defeats the purpose for having gone into the right lane to begin with.

          What’s the big deal?  Sure, being behind a truck is not always ideal – but a truck in the left lane is not going to be in the left lane for very long.  Trucking takes experience.  The drivers have a better view of things from where they are sitting.  Sometimes we need to trust that they know what they’re doing and show a little patience.

          Same with our Father in Heaven.  He can see a whole lot further down the road than we can.  We need to trust in Him and stay on course and not be in a hurry to get around what we think is unnecessary.  If we just accept the “slowness” as part of the plan to begin with and stay on course, our journey will be a lot smoother.

          The speaker compared moments in her life when she herself wanted to switch lanes thinking they might get her to her spiritual destination at a faster pace, but would end up becoming discouraged or frustrated, but would have a better understanding about WHY when she finally did arrive where she thought she wanted to go.  And continues to go.

          She’s experienced so much anxiety over this last move – not wanting to leave but needing to.  And now that they are moved she is more at peace.  And now has a better understanding at staying on course and having faith in God who is ahead of us seeing all.

          It was a really good talk.  I did have more to go with my notes.  Rather than elaborate further though, I can create some new posts out of what’s remaining.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

In God's Due Time

Roland and I had been married a couple of months before we met Bill Jolly – who totally lived up to his last name as he was always smiling and joking and overall really did appear to be happy.

          He’d come to choir practice and often joke with the chorister.  It was rare that he presented himself as a person who was ever serious.

          Overall he didn’t seem like my sister’s type, but I liked him and wondered if she would too.  Yet in the back of my mind it seemed like he had a wife.  I’m not sure why I thought that.  I never saw him with anyone. 

It wasn’t until much later on that I learned his wife was homebound for much of the time due to failing health.  When she did leave the house it was usually to go to the doctor or hospital.  I would visit her periodically. It was disheartening to see her in such poor health as she was younger than I and I had just turned 40.

          Bill loved Annaleigh.  He was committed to her.  A very devoted spouse.  And she loved him.  She struggled to meet his optimism.  She actually suffered from depression.  After our visits, I would often leave with stirred emotions.  Overall our visits were never the most uplifting and I did struggle with it.

          And then there was Bill who never showed his emotions about his home life.  Many knew they were there.  But he remained pleasant and in high spirits.

          Bill is a photographer.  He was working for a company which specialized in selling cameras.  On the side he tried his hand at starting his own business putting Annaleigh in charge of making the appointments.  I don’t know how well he did with the business part.  I know he was struggling financially.  And still he continued to smile.

          I had introduced him to my family the month before Jenna turned one.  My brother, Corey, would be leaving the state to return to school and I wanted to make a family picture before he went out of town.  Bill took the photos.  He did group shots of my sibs, my mom and me.  And my family with Roland and Patrick with his family.

          I remember my oldest niece was really annoyed with him although the boys and youngest niece found him to be strangely funny.  Bill doesn’t seem to have a talent for remembering names and often assigns bogus names to people – usually to make them laugh.  But my oldest niece was NOT amused.

          Three years later Annaleigh passed away.  It wasn’t really a big surprise to anybody.  It was the first time I had seen Bill cry – though he still continued to give the appearance of being happy.  Annaleigh had been unable to give Bill children – and he would have made such a great father.  Bill had accepted that maybe it wasn’t meant to be.

          Shortly after the funeral, Roland suggested that we set Bill up with my sister.  What?  When I first met him I thought he was maybe a few years older than my baby sister – but he was actually the same age as me.  Kayla didn’t want somebody that old.

          Roland persisted with setting them up together.  So I called Kayla and told her about Roland’s plans. 

          “Would you be interested in going out with him?” I asked.

          “No I wouldn’t” She had remembered Bill from the photo shoot and thought he was a nut.  Their personalities did clash, I thought.  But then so do mine and Roland’s.

          I told Roland that Kayla was not interested.  Of course that didn’t stop him.  He ended up giving Kayla’s number to Bill – who called her on the spot.  I was surprised to hear that she had gone out with him.  But she said he had to have guts to call a total stranger – it would, of course, just be a onetime thing.

          Without going into all the detail, Bill and Kayla ended up getting married.  For the second time (since they've been married)  Bill cried as he announced that Kayla was pregnant.  He had waited over twenty years to become a biological father!  Even longer than I had waited to become a bride and spouse. 

          Miracles do happen.  They take place every day.  Sometimes we fail to see the small miracles because we are so busy searching for the much larger ones.  I thank my brother-in-law, Bill for his awesome example of always being jolly.  Always accepting whatever life may slap him with - and accepting whatever good things may be handed to him – no matter how long it might take. 

          Things happen in God’s due time – not necessarily when we would like them to.  But through faith things will always work out – even if they are nowhere near what we desired or expected.