Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Can't sleep so many things on my mind. Pondering a great deal of things today. Dennis and I had an exercise in personal development today. Have you ever really thought about your why?

Why was I put here at this point in this time? We each asked questions about our heath history. Why have my brushes with cancer lead to my being healed fairly quickly and others have suffered and died? We have lost 7 friends to cancer in the last year. Why have others died of heart attacks and I have survived? The doctors told us that the most stints that they have ever heard of being put in any one persons heart was 13 Dennis has 10. As his blood platelet counts and his kidney numbers jump up and down we are left wondering what it all means. More tests, more waiting. In the meantime we refocus on our health choices and what we can do to control them. None of us know the hour and the manner of our passing. What really matters is that we live each moment fully and we help as many as we can along the way. Which leads us back to pondering on our why. Some of the questions that we found that were directly tied to our why are:

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Treasures I Found by Lu Swart

Talk given at Holbrook, AZ. On 4/15/2012

 We were blessed with the opportunity of being able to attend our granddaughter's first birthday party and be there for our son's thirty first birthday. We had just left our son's home in southern California and were in route to our other son's in central California to enjoy the blessings of being sealed to our son in the Fresno Temple, when the call came. I was asked to talk today on any of the conference talks that moved me.

Oh my goodness! My mind fluttered over the various uplifting, revitalizing talks that I had heard. I mentally went over the talks trying to think of the ONE that moved me the most. All conference talks move me! However, some strike a chord so deep in my heart, that I feel like the speaker was told to teach "Me" that lesson.
 Why do some talks strike deep in our hearts?
 Why can I read a scripture multiple times and then one day, see something in it that I never saw before? That something leads to an "Ah Ha!" moment of deep understanding.

Since 1992, when my husband joined the church, we have made a habit of asking each other, "What special treasures we found in church?" Sometimes .... listening to him describe a treasure, I wondered if we were in the same room or if we were listening to two entirely different talks!

I believe our loving Heavenly Father uses talks, lessons, and scriptures to teach each of us personally and individually.

The treasure I chose to share with you today is:  
"The Merciful Obtain Mercy" 
by Dieter F. Uchtdorf.

 "When our hearts are filled with the love of God, we become 
"kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving." 

This talk was prompted - in part - by a letter he received from a concerned mother, whose children had stopped speaking to each other. He said, "
"I imagine that every person on earth has been affected in some way by the destructive spirit of contention, resentment, and revenge. Perhaps there are even times when we recognize this spirit in ourselves. When we feel hurt, angry, or envious, it is quite easy to judge other people, often assigning dark motives to their actions in order to justify our own feelings of resentment. Of course we know this is wrong. The doctrine is clear. We all depend on the Savior; none of us can be saved without Him. Christ's Atonement is infinite and eternal. Forgiveness for our sins come with conditions. We must repent and we must be willing to forgive others. Jesus taught: "Forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not ... [stands] condemned before the Lord; for there remaindeth in him the greater sin" and "Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy." 

He goes on to say,

"Of course these words seem perfectly reasonable - when applied to someone else. We can so clearly and easily see the harmful results that come when "others" judge and hold grudges. And we certainly don't like it when people judge us. 

But when it comes to our own prejudices and grievances, we too often justify our anger as righteous and our judgement as reliable and only appropriate. Though we cannot look into another's heart, we assume that we know a bad motive or even a bad person when we see one. We make exceptions when it comes to our own bitterness because we feel that, in our case, we have all the information we need to hold someone else in contempt."

He goes on to remind us,
"Our Savior has spoken so clearly on this subject that there is little room for private interpretation ... "I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive," but then He said, "... of you it is required to forgive all men."

Then he adds a footnote here.

"When the Lord requires that we forgive all men, that includes forgiving ourselves. Sometimes of all the people in the world, the one who is the hardest to forgive - as well as perhaps the one who is most in need of our forgiveness - is the person looking back at us in the mirror.

This topic of judging others could actually be taught in a two - word sermon. When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm, please apply the following:

Stop it!

It is that simple. We simply have to stop judging others and replace judgmental thoughts and feelings with a heart full of love for God and His children. God is our Father. We are His children. We are all brothers and sisters. I don't know exactly how to articulate this point of not judging others with sufficient eloquence, passion, and persuasion to make it stick. I can quote scripture. I can try to expound doctrine, and I will even quote a bumper sticker I recently saw. It was attached to the back of a car whose driver appeared to be a little rough around the edges, but the words on the sticker taught an insightful lesson. It read, "Don't judge me because I sin differently than you.""

This "treasure" talk struck a deep chord in my heart I believe for three reasons:

First it reminded me of an article I wrote that was published on October 31st 2010. I would like to share it with you.

Stop beating yourself up

by Lu Swart

Why do you keep beating yourself up? Negativity isn’t productive, but you can turn it around.

For instance, try throwing yourself a “Hate Party.”

Grab a piece of paper and write down every single thing that you hate about your life. Everything!

Now look at that list. What can you just stop doing, thinking or being? Whatever it is, just stop it.

What’s left on the your list? Decide what you hate the most. What can you do to change it?

Now figure out the steps to change it.

What’s Causing Your Headache?

I once saw a boy hitting his head repeatedly.

I asked him, “What are you doing?”

“Hitting my head.”

“I know you are hitting your head. But why?”

“I dunno. That’s just what I do when I get upset.” Then he said, “I have a headache.”

“Do you know how to stop getting headaches?” I asked.

“I dunno.”

“Quit hitting your head!”

Sometimes it’s just that simple. But not always.

Don’t Let Others Define You

Julie has been struggling to lose weight, but slowly it’s coming off.

One day, Julie and I agreed to go on a lunch walk. First we had to drop something off at her sister’s place, so we decided to do that on our walk too.

When we arrived at her sister’s house, her sister asked where we parked. I told her we walked. She looked at Julie and said, “This is a joke, right?”

Julie said, “No. We walked.”

“Why do you say that?” I asked her sister.

“Well, Julie just doesn’t do things like that. I was surprised,” she replied.

“We’re doing it to tone up as we lose weight,” I explained.

“Oh well. That won’t last long. Julie has always weighed a lot and that isn’t ever going to change.”

I saw Julie’s face fall. Then she mentioned that we had to get going.

Later Julie and I went out for a light lunch. I was dismayed to hear her order a large banana split. She ate her banana split with tears streaming down her face.

“What are you doing?” I asked her.

“I am beating myself up because I will never lose weight.”

“No!” I protested. “You are beating yourself up with your sister’s reality. It is only your reality if you allow it to be.”

Are you beating yourself up? Then, quite simply, STOP IT! If you’re doing a self-defeating action, thought or saying, quit it!

 A footnote on that article talks about who I am. One of the things it mentions were my goals: "To make a difference every day of my life, to value every minute of my life, live life to the fullest and do the work I love. 

The second reason that I believe it stuck in my heart is because I am a survivor of abuse and a survivor of an illness called "unworthiness". I felt unworthy and like I did not measure up for years. Then one day I threw myself a "Hate Party" and learned that the two most important conversations I have each day take place on my knees and between my ears. 

If I don't like something - only I have the power to change it or change my perception of it. Only I can control my thoughts, feelings, self talk, emotions, and actions. Only I can ask the Lord for help. Only I can stop allowing others to define me. Only I can dance my dance and work towards being a better me every day.

The third reason this talk struck chords in my heart is because I needed a lesson on forgiveness. I have been struggling to deal with my feelings toward the three individuals whom we believe are responsible for Dennis' father's death and who stole property from him while he lay in ICU dying. 

However the one who often learns the most in any lesson taught or talk given is the teacher or speaker. While I was preparing for this talk I copied the talk off at my son's so I could study it closer. On the way to the temple, I read it to him and Dennis. Underling the parts I felt were the most important. We were sealed to our son in a very beautiful short ceremony. When I passed the prayer rolls on the way out I thought about my mother who had just been in an accident. I quickly put her name and the name of one of my sons, who is currently facing many challenges. Suddenly I felt a strong impression to write down the names of these three individuals, we believe are responsible for Earl's death. My first thought was, "They are not even LDS. Silly thought - we don't just pray for Latter Day Saints. All three of them are dealing with things that they need the Lord's guidance on. So I quickly wrote their names down. Instantly I felt a wave of gladness and peace for the first time since Earl was life flighted, I felt no anger toward them. 

My mind wandered back to the talk once again. Where he said, "Jesus Christ taught a higher law. His words echo through the centuries and are meant for us today. They are meant for all who desire to be His disciples. They are meant for you and me; "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you"

"The pure love of Christ can remove the scales of resentment and wrath from our eyes, allowing us to see others the way our Heavenly Father sees us: as flawed and imperfect mortals, who have a potential and worth far beyond our capacity to imagine. Because God loves us so much, we too must love and forgive each other."

We must forgive ourselves. 
"...In the world of accusations and unfriendliness, it is easy to gather and cast stones. But before we do so, let us remember the words of the One who is our Master and model: "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone."

"...Lay your burden at the Savior's feet. Let go of judgement. Allow Christ's Atonement to change and heal your heart. Love one another. Forgive one another."

Please remember dear brothers and sisters that each day, each moment, you choose who you are. Pay attention to the conversations that goes on between your ears and be not slow to ask the Lord's help. Be willing to work to make the changes. You choose who you are! I say these things in Jesus Name - Amen.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Our daughter got nominated by Conan to win Nobel peace prize!

Our son, Johnathan, and his wife, Jannene were in the audience of Conan's live show...watch http://teamcoco.com/video/full-episode-thurs-7-28-jon-favreau-jayma-mays-brett-dennen as he suggests that she wins the nobel peace prize for laughing!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Wow July is gone already!

On the road again...just can't wait to get on the road again. Lol oh yeah I live on the road! Loving life and loving having the chance to see our family, explore GOD's earth and wonders, and do it all with my best friend! We added a new member to our family. :-) and had several other blessings along the way.

My best friend!

We had all 3 of our sons with us in the temple at the same time! This a first!

Then we were off to Las Vegas for our Company's Launch! Excitement was definitely in the air!

Team Leaders Dan Holz and Dale Denton

San Diego here we come! Ah cool ocean breezes!

Then back to Long Beach where we signed up more new team members! Go Team! Then off to our 2nd Swart Family Reunion coming up in August!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

June in our rearview mirror :-)

The year is half way gone and we are almost on track with where we wanted to be. 7 streams of income are lined up ready to go...which we had hoped to have in place by June 1st. The latest and maybe the best ever is http://www.myqnanza.com/bankit

We saw June come in at Dennis Dad's in Arizona. Where we enjoyed a week with him and his wife. Including a trip through Bryce National Canyons and a visit to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Happy Father's Day!

Little river we loved checking out this one.

Some in-laws bring out the best in me! lol!

Jail birds?

I don't care how cute you think he is....you are not bringing him home!

A few little rocks :-)

On to the London Bridge.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

How blessed are we!

May has brought many blessing to our family. Although I am still fighting daily headaches and working with the medical issues with them, we are feeling very blessed.

Seth was able to fix our car for a very low cost. She is running like a top. We still need one more thing done, but that to is in the works.

Theo graduated from his nursing course and will soon be taking his state boards.

Johnathan graduated with his BS degree and is now looking for a career in his chosen field. His wife has been blessed with the ability to stay home with little Ella in these critical first months of her life. She will be 2 months old soon and she is so alert. Connor is so bright always exploring and interested in how very thing works.

Joe is working on the trailer and still working to get his disability approved.

We were able to come and see Dennis' dad Earl and spend a few days with him and his wife Mildred. Dad has purchased baby chickens and is building a chicken house for them. They are so cute as little balls of yellow fluffy down. It makes us miss our place in Montana.

Mark is still buying it and he has just married and we are looking forward to when they come stateside and we can meet her.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

May is here and almost gone!

Our year is flying by! Where has all the time went? Wasn't it valentines just a couple of weeks ago? The year ahead if filling up and we are looking forward a busy fun filled year!

Johnathan's Graduation can you believe it? The day is almost here and all the hard work is soon be a memory. I know the Lord will have a lighter load that day! lol

Life Motivates Workshop in Florence. May 25th we are off and running. Now is the time to get your tickets! We are getting excited and ready to roll!


We are looking forward to being there for Ella's Blessing. It is hard to believe that she is over a month old! She is such a cutie. We can hardly wait to see her again!

Life Motivates in Corvallis we are setting up the times and places for the year now and the next stop is Corvallis.

Lu will be off to Colorado shortly after the middle of June.

Connor will be 2! He is growing up so fast! He definitely has his grandparents still wrapped around his little finger.


Theo is getting married!

Life Motivates shifts into high gear!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

New adventures and new beginnings

There is nothing like new adventures, new beginnings and a new baby to make you feel full of promise, fun and hope. Like the beginning growth of the newest plants or the tiny buds of a flower instills hope. We are once again looking forward to new beginnings coming up and off on new adventures while we are thrilled to welcome little Ella to our family.

First 2 weeks of April were full!

We took a different route home and loved the suprises!

Awesome to see family!

Ella made it in time for Daddy Johnathan's 30th birthday party!

Daddy how come my rootbeer tastes like water?

Love is Joy

Arms full of Love

Grandpa was a hit!

Connor is a big brother!

Ella and Daddy (Johnathan)

In paradise!

We love being grandparents!

My mommy loves me! Ella and Jannene