Sunday, January 13, 2013

Fritos and Sprite

Today is Sunday, a day that I personally set aside as holy and do my utmost to keep the Sabbath day Holy. For me I don't shop, go out to eat, play sports or go on outtings or do things that I can do during the week. Today is a day I dedicate soly to the Lord in doing his work and worshiping him, for I have 6 other days a week to do whatever I want. He has only asked me to give him one, and so I try my best to do so.

With that said let me that today is not only a Holy day, but a HOLIDAY. No not a regular holiday but a special day fust for me. Want to know why, of course you do Well I'm going to tell you.

For the past three almost four years I have had TERRIBLE gastritus. Its incredibly painful. For those who don't know what it is here is a link :)
I developed this because I loved Mountain Dew and was a frequent flyer for the Ibuprophen company, I think I owned stock! So needless to say I had to stop drinking sodas and eating anything that had any acid or caffine including juices. I had to change my entire diet and go to completely bland, even to the point of eating baby food for 6 months as the pain was so bad and somedsys I thought I was having a heart attack.

So, I saw a doc who figured out what was wrong and he gave me some wonderful medicine, (dexelaunt) and after about a year I started to really be healed. (there is a point to this story I promise)

Now along with the gastritis I suffered from daily severe migraines, that sometimes would be so bad it required an ambulance ride to the hospital. Well, the doc I was seeing for the gastritis thought that was unusal and that I was taking too much medicine so he did a blood test for allergies including food and WOW you wouldn't believe the results. I am allergic to Wheat, Milk, Peanut, Seasame, Tree nuts, shell fish, and many other outdoor things. He asked if I wanted to live in a bubble, can you belive that! However, there was some good to this. Just by a simple (well not simple) but just by a change in my diet, I was able to decrease my headaches by 75 percent, and the severity of them by 90 percent! IT WAS LIKE A MIRACLE!!! I could live again but not without a price.

If any of you are gluten free or dairy free you'll feel my pain. The trouble for me is that I am both Gluten and dairy free which doesn't leave much and is extremely costly. I've spent the last three years without anything made of flour without milk, without citric acid, and the list goes on and on......some days I just want to eat something and I can't just go and have anything, I have to ask for special menus and what kind of oil is used and I have to read the back of every package. You would be suprised what has lactoce, casien and whey (all milk products) in them. Things like lunch meat, hot dogs and chicken breasts. I can't shop like a normal person, its a true adventure just to get enough food for a week and then cook it.

Now let me tell you why today is a HOLIDAY. For the first time in three years I had a soda. A real sprite (one of those from mexico) in a glass bottle, and I drank the whole thing. But thats not the best part. Did you know that I'm not allergic to corn, no I'm not :))) and you know what else Fritos are only made of corn meal!! Yes thats right!! So today I had Fritos and sprite, I had REAL junk food! HURRAY!!
Notwithstanding, its not something I can do everyday, but for one day I was almost normal again and it was kool.

For those of you thinking of allergy testing let me tell you my experience. Don't do a scratch test its pointless. The results are not accurate and it causes much discomfort. Just go to your doctor and request the blood test it will be true and accurate.

If you are Gluten or a Dairy free or think you might me or just want to be here are a couple of links for you but my best advice is to read the back of everything and ask questions!

What did I learn today?
I learned that the brain of chiildren and teenagers doesn't fully develope until in their 20's and that the part of the brain that helps them to remember things goes wacky about the age of 14. This explains a lot and is something I think we should remember in rearing our children and teens.

What will I remember about today?
Even the most simple of things can make your day a Holiday :)

Whats to come?

Tune in tomorrow and find out!!

Until Then,
Love From Dixie

Of Service and Healing

This is a repost of a talk I gave in Mcallen Texas before moving back home to Grand Prairie. It has been requested and so I'm posting it today. It is a talk given in church, an LDS sacrement meeting. I've done some spelling and gramar revision for easier reading. For anyone reading that has questions please contact me or the links provided at the end of this post. And for any one who reads I hope you enjoy it and feel the spirit in which is was given, it is a most meaningful piece to me :)

I guess you all know this is my last Sunday here in McAllen and when I found out I was moving back to the Dallas area, I asked brother Zavala if I could bear my testimony. He said he could do one better and here I am giving a talk. (note to self in the future don't ask to do anything!)

I've been asked to speak on how being an LDS member of the McAllen, Texas 1st Ward has blessed my life. It is My prayer that the spirit will be with us all as I speak to you, and that the messages the Lords has for us will be received.
Now If you'll bear with me I would like to give you just a little background on how I got here so you can understand how blessed I've become.

First of all, I lived in this ward long ago, when I was 14 years old, my dad was civil service Navy and we were here for a short five months back in 1979. Bishop Hokie was my bishop Mickey Toole, was my young women's leader, and I believe I was in young Women's with sister McBride's daughter, Sister Bouhider and Patti Quintinea. We moved a lot because of the navy, but this was my favorite place of all the places I had lived; It broke my heart to leave, it was as if I had always lived here. Thankfully 32 years later my best friend from Travis Junior high found me via facebook, and this is where the story begins.

Two and a half years ago, at the time when my friend had found me, I was in the middle of bitter grief and despair. My 20 yr old son had died 8 months previous from suicide. He was the second of my 4 children to die; my oldest daughter had died twenty years previously in a play ground accident, and my son died on her birthday. Due to these two events, I was in the fresh stages of ptsd, and in addition to this my daughter was in jail and lost, my oldest son wounded in Afghanistan, I had lost everything that mattered to me do to a robbery of my house, I was on the verge hospitalization due to depression and believe me this was just the tip of the iceberg . You see, these things that I've just mentioned, happened in that 8 month period of time, between my son dying and my friend finding me. But for all the bad, there is always a good; and for me the good was that I had just been re-baptized into the church after a two year repentance process. For me my burdens were lifted and I was anew. It is the greatest gift I had ever received.

Some may think that a repentance process is not a good thing, and they avoid it. People speak of bitterness and hurt and misunderstanding. They feel they are being wrongly judged my men, or think that they only did this or that, the Lord surely must understand. To that I can say I used to think the same way, but upon finding my truly broken heart and contrite spirit two years previous; I properly sought the Lord. And it was then that I became converted, it was then that I knew I had been wrong. I was heartbroken that I had offended My Father in Heaven and so I asked my Bishop for help.

What would I like to say to you about Repentance? It is no Pick nick, I can tell you that. All the things I went through happened to me during my repentance process. Every time we would set a rebaptism date something else would happened and it wasn't just everyday set-backs, they were life changing tragedy's. It still remains the single hardest thing I've ever faced in my life. But I can also tell you that I am so very thankful for the Leaders of the church, for the righteous judges of Israel that they are, for when you truly understand the atonement, then seek the Lord prayerfully, with a full purpose of heart; it is beautiful and you know this is not the work of MEN, this is the work of JESUS CHRIST. I wanted to come home and I was willing to do whatever it took to get here. Every day I thank heavenly father for the Lord Jesus Christ who provided this not just for me but for all of us and so with that, it mattered not what I had to pass through, because I knew the truth, I felt it, I had asked for a witness and I received it, and I cannot deny it. However, as we all know, we are still human and things that happen can be heartbreaking, even crippling.

Myself, I was crippled. I lived in a state of panic and fear so severe that I had health troubles. I was unable to work I gave up teaching dance and aside from not missing church or church activities, the only thing I could do was lay in bed and cry myself to sleep. I stayed on my knees begging in my prayers for help, and thankfully The Lord with his tender mercies heard me and sent me a friend from 32 years past who moved my family to McAllen first ward where I came looking for help...looking for a new life... looking for hope, looking for peace...

Bishop Kafuse was bishop when I came but he left my second Sunday here, in fact I never even saw the bishopric or counselors or even a clerk; .and for awhile there was no one in these positions until replacements could be called. But what you did have was members, and missionaries, and a relief society presidency and sisters...
Immediately you reached out to me and we became friends, it was again as if I had always been here, as if I was your family and you served me with unconditional love and tenderness. You did so much for me that there is not enough time to talk about them all but I'd like to mention just a couple in general so you know how I was blessed.

For a long time I didn't have a car and when you would see me walking you stopped to pick me up, you would take me to the store when I needed things, or out to dinner so I didn't have to eat alone and some of you spent the night with me and held my hand while I cried. Others were at my beck and call, taking me to the doctor, sitting with me while I panicked, helping me with dance and encouraging me to teach and being my right hand or coming to my aide and giving me a blessing . You were so wonderful with your Christ like service that it brings to mind the scripture" even the least of these ye have done unto me" The result was that I too wanted to serve others, as you had served me. I Knew the Lord had been so merciful to me In sending me back here, to a place that loved me ...I just wanted to be of service, for him and for you....and so that's what I tried to do.

First I began teaching dance and let me explain that It didn't start out as such a big thing, see the ladies loved zumba class but even though I'm a dance teacher I'm too lazy for zumba so when I was asked about teaching zumba I offered to teach dance. Soon, the kids wanted in on it too so I started teaching them while the mom's worked out. Before I knew it I was teaching full classes one night a week and then families started inviting their friends and their friends brought friends, and suddenly one night a week became two and that's when the fun began. You see we weren't just teaching dance, we did this as missionaries, we did this as a service and I say we because it was not my effort alone for without the parents and families and our Leaders that helped, it would never have been possible. Even so I want you to know the real service that was done, was done for me... I know you all came and brought your families to dance, to help me, so that I would have something to do, so that I could serve,...I will forever love the children and youth and families. We have made friendships and bonds with each other that otherwise would not have happened but that now, will last forever.

The students and their families that I had the privilege of teaching, they are so inspiring, they encouraged each other and taught and learned from each other; their talents strengths and confidences were built up and they have begun to shine. They have became so different, they are focused and in tune, they serve each other...but that was only the beginning you see, They became missionaries too. From the youngest to the oldest along with their families they bore testimonies and taught others about the church. Those who were not members allowed the light of Christ that lives in them to shine and they served with great love and devotion. They encouraged others to come and learn in an environment that was good for them and good for their families, yet they judged not.

One family told me of how they were on the verge of divorce, that their life was falling apart, and one night instead of dad leaving they had heard about the dance classes and were prompted to bring the kids. It was such a family oriented event that they became wholly involved and soon they were no longer thinking of breaking up their little family, instead they became focused and loving, and together, and now it thrives and I'm so happy for them, and for the spirit that was provided here to help them.
Many other families have told me of how they always thought Mormons to be strange or not Christian but after becoming a part of the dance classes they now have a new found respect and admiration, they are no longer shutting out the word Mormon from their lives.
Non members have become involved greatly in family history work which we all know is a great blessing. Children and youth who didn't know how to pray learned how to do so and how to talk to Heavenly father, they learned how to have faith and discipline, they learned how to trust in the Lord. Inactive families became active again, youth started coming to mutual, Six Baptisms came from our little dance program and it healed my crippled heart, so as we served each other we were all blessed.
I Found as I began to serve, the more I did, the better my mind and heart became, the more my testimony grew and the stronger I became. I looked for other ways to serve so I called the missionaries, which are plentiful here, (don't know what I'm gonna do without them!) I offered myself to them and begged them to call me so I could go out and teach with them. Thankfully they accepted because through them I learned how to prepare myself which made a huge difference in my life.
I would wake up early and stay in prayer and scripture study all day until the appointment time. I would make notes and study as if I were the investigator and I'm not sure who learned more the people we were visiting or me. Thus I consider it an honor and privilege to have taught with them and fed them and had them in my home because I was the one blessed. And with that I tell you please if you are missionary age and you are not on a mission go out and serve one or if you have any time to spare go out and help the ones who are here. You may be the one to save someone's life, or you could be like me and without knowing be saving your own....

I was also blessed to have a served as second counselor in the Primary which I will be ever so grateful for. Thank You Bishop Mask for intrusting me with such a calling for it was the best spiritual experience of my life and I truly loved it. As I prayerfully prepared my lessons and worked with those who served with me I was the one who learned. The children, they are our future, to teach them is the most important job we have, how humbled I am to have been a part of such a great work, with such special children and not only that; I gave my heart to the kids and to those I served with.... it was something I didn't think I could ever do again, and that was my gift.....

I also served as cub scout master and den leader and boy was that a good time. It too was a family affair for all of us with fire pits and smores, and dragon piƱatas, but it was also a missionary experience as many of the scouts that were with me at the time were non-member or inactive. Yet they became active and learned how to pray and learned respect for the Lord and duty to God, and each other.....even some of their dads were baptized, just ask Noe Zamora, he'll tell you it was the fire pit and smores at sister Freeman's house that won him over!

Along with those missionary efforts I had the privilege of being a part of and speaking frequently at baptisms. This was some of the most touching times for me because I just wanted to serve, I just wanted to give a talk that the Lord would have me give, I wanted to touch the hearts of those that were being baptized, I wanted to share what I knew, I wanted them to know of the importance of the step they were taking and how it would change their life. I wanted them to be strong against the adversary. I prayed that the Lord would speak through me, that hearts would be touched, and come unto him, and the end it was my heart that was touched and my heart that found him waiting for me as I arrived; because I was learning how to be a child of God. I was learning how to be a latter-day saint, I was becoming a new woman. I had found a place where I could share my testimony, my experiences, my talents and knowledge, with those who loved me....

I'd like to tell you about one more thing that has blessed me while being part of this ward, and that is being Family History consultant. Before the calling I was already deeply involved in family history and temple work. I couldn't yet go to the temple to do the work myself, as I was working towards regaining my temple recommend but I had found that I could still "go to the temple" each week by logging onto and submitting names for others to do work for me until I could do it myself.
I spent my Sabbath days turning in names for ordinance work and sent names with you when you would have temple trips. I found that because of temple workers and worthy members that will attend the temple and do sessions with other's names; I was able to help my family and ancestors and now have over 1000 ordinances completed since moving here.
My reward, was that I attended the temple myself two weeks ago and continued on with the work others have been doing for me. Brothers and sisters I implore you with all my might that if you have not been to the temple please find a way and go. If you are not a current temple recommend holder, whether you can physically go to the temple now or not, please do whatever it takes to get one and keep it. I know the road is not easy, I know because I walked that road. I know of the trials and struggles and tears I know about feeling alone and alienated; they are the tools of the adversary to take us off course. I know about repentance I know about mistakenly taking things for granted I know about not understanding. But I also know that temple worthiness and temple attendance has strengthened me and given me an even more eternal perspective. It has given me the peace that comes from being properly prepared.....I am no longer afraid, I have peace......that peace came from having a temple recommend and attending the temple...I was able to obtain that because you allowed me to serve and heal, and so it is my prayer for everyone to have that same gift of peace that I have been given.
If you have not yet started your family history please do so it's never too late, they are waiting for you, they are living beings on the other side of the veil and they need you, be a Savior on Mount Zion, when you meet them on the other side do so with a clear conscience that you helped them. "It is sufficient to know in this case, that the earth will be smitten with a curse unless there is a welding link of some kind or other between the fathers and the children upon some subject or other, and behold what is that subject, it is the baptism for the dead for we without them cannot be made perfect neither can they without us be made perfect"...D&C 128:18...(hand out books) I am always available to help you though I am not here, my email address and phone number and facebook are still the same and I will be living 15 minutes from the Temple. I am happy to still be of service to you and help.

With that said , let me just close by saying, the best thing I ever did for myself, was to give my time, my talent and my heart to the Lord, to this ward and community whether it be a calling or visiting teaching or dance or scouts or temple made me want to be a better person and so today I am and my soul is healed.

What have I seen while here? I have seen many miracles of the Lord quiet and spoken, my journal pages are full of not only his miracles but tender mercies and I am greatly humbled....
What I have learned while I was here? I learned how to not be afraid, I learned how to be happy, I learned patience, I learned how to trust the Savior, I learned obedience I learned how to be quiet and listen to that small voice, I learned how to follow and trust my leaders, I learned how to serve with full purpose of heart and with that I learned that I was loved....Now after my long road I can hold my head high and endure other roads to come.....
I say to anyone with troubles in your life, to anyone who hurts, to anyone who is in despair to anyone who is in need, be of service, devote yourself to the work of the Lord in aiding your fellow men here and beyond the veil; when you do, it will save your life....Thank you all for helping to save mine...
I know that God lives, I know that Jesus is the Christ and this is his church, I leave with you all my love and prayers in the Name of Jesus Christ Amen

Until Tomorrow
Love From Dixie :)