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Archive for February, 2009

1000a-15

(Photograph by Edwin Redrino)

 

A story was once told of an artist who was trying to create a portrait of the Last Supper. This artist carefully chose real people as models to paint each of the characters around the portrait’s dining table. As he searched for the model of the Savior, it took him quite awhile to find someone whose countenance was nearly as compassionate, kind, and meek as the Master’s. But eventually after much diligence, he found a man with a gentle grace and disposition about him and offered him the job.

 

Months have passed and the artist never heard from this model again. He was busy painting the rest of his masterpiece. After some progress, the artist set out to search for the model of Judas. This time he was looking for someone whose countenance most likely depicted the person who carried out the greatest betrayal of all time.

 

After almost a year of searching, he one day found, along a dark alley, a man who was drunk and lying by the dumpster. He realized he finally found the perfect model for Judas. He helped the man up and brought him home. When the man was already sober, he offered him the job.   

 

The man was surprised to see the artist and with sadness in his voice gently asked, “Do you remember who I am?” The artist took a second look and replied that he didn’t recognize him. The man reminded him that a year ago he posed for the artist as a model for the Savior.

 

I am not certain if this story is true or fictional, but I like the lesson it taught me—we are where we stand today based on the accumulated small choices we made yesterday.

 

Just as the story of the artist’s model, we determine the path we take using our agency. Our current situations in life didn’t happen overnight. We built it one day at a time and the kind of life we now live reflects on our countenance.

 

When others look at us, whose image do they see? Are we standing in a place where we had hoped to be?

 

I was talking last week with a person I thought I had only met for the first time. During our conversation, I was surprised when she said that we’ve already known each other since our college years. She mentioned people we had been acquainted with, places we had been to together, and even things I had told her during that time. Even if it was a very embarrassing senior moment for me, it was a relief that she only remembered good things about our previous acquaintance. J I was grateful that she found me standing in the right place at the right time, and not when I was lying down in a dark alley by the dumpster! J

 

May we strive to live our lives so that we would be found reflecting the image of Him whose countenance and examples are worthy of emulating. May we choose to stand in places where He could easily find and recognize us. If we need to make some changes in our lives, let’s do it now. I believe it is never too late to change our course and correct our paths. We only need to start. J

 

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(Photograph by Edwin Redrino)

 

Have you ever done something you didn’t want to do simply because of peer pressure? Have you ever said ‘yes’ to anybody when you really meant to say ‘no?’

 

In our stake conference the other day, one of the speakers emphasized that the Lord’s standards are NOT negotiable. They are not lowered to conform with and be acceptable to man’s worldly ideals. They remain firm, consistent, and unwavering despite the changing times and seasons.

 

I’ve learned that it takes courage to say ‘no’ to the world because there are times it means we will have to stand alone. The Lord’s standards are higher than the world’s and He said so Himself. Sometimes we even have to say ‘no’ to ourselves when our desires are not in sync with what Heavenly Father wants for us.

 

There are times when we may be tempted to rationalize and justify our actions that disagree with God’s standards. Or perhaps try to convince ourselves and others that there’s no harm in doing so. But in the end, God will not be mocked and we will surely be held accountable. 

 

May we be blessed with wisdom to discern “between right and wrong, between truth and error.” May we have the courage to say ‘no’ to worldly things and situations as they are presented to us. I trust that as we do so, our capacity and power to choose the Lord’s way will increase.

 

Good luck in saying ‘no’ at the right time and place everybody! J

 

Have a great week ahead! J

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raindrops

(Photograph by Edwin Redrino)

 

I was walking with my visiting teaching companion on our way home last night when I saw a familiar face standing outside the gate of their house. Our eyes locked so I waved, but the person looked away without waving back. L

 

I must admit I felt kind of sad about that, but it wasn’t the first time, so I tried to just chalk it up to experience and move on.

 

It was drizzling last night and the long walk with my young companion became very interesting. We discussed various situations where it can sometimes become a challenge to keep our emotions in control and follow the commandment to love one another. No matter how we feel about it, it remains a commandment and we will be held accountable for it at the judgment bar.  

 

How far do we stretch ourselves to love our fellowmen when they are not being lovable? Better yet, how often do we let the people we love know that we love them? I hope we do so often enough. J

 

When my children were small, I used to say to them in a hushed voice: “Let me tell you a secret. Do you promise not to tell anyone?” When I got a nod, I’d whisper in their ear: “I love you!” J

 

As they grew older, instead of a nod they would say: “I know, Mom. You love me.” With a puzzled look I’d say, “Are you sure??!!”J

 

There’s a Primary song called “Love is Spoken Here” that I adore. It became a guide for me as I raised my children up. I learned as a young mother that my children not only needed to feel loved, but that it’s important that they are also told they are loved. J

 

To this day, we never let a day pass without saying the words “I love you!” to each other. I am most grateful for the chance to love and be loved in return. And I hope that by this time they are SURE that I love them more than anything else in this world! J

 

As we celebrate Valentine’s Day this weekend, may we have the courage to spread the love—not only to those who are close to us, but even to those who aren’t so lovable as well! J

 

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!!! J  Enjoy your weekend! J

 

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(Photograph by Edwin Redrino)

 

One Tuesday afternoon a few months ago, my sister-in-law introduced me to two of her best friends whom she was doing volunteer work with at the temple’s family history center. The short introduction turned into a long gathering of women who wore bright, happy faces while performing work that matters not just for now, but for eternity. J

 

I was quickly drawn to them, their friendship, their laughter, and their stories. Although these women are no different than any of us, I find that their sunny disposition in life makes all the difference. J

 

Each Tuesday from that moment on, I looked forward to dropping by in “their office,” not only to assist them however I could, but more importantly to take pleasure in experiencing the joy that their cheerfulness brings into the lives of those around them, and the happiness that brightens up the whole room because of their smiling countenances!! J

 

In the most recent general conference, Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin counseled: “The next time you’re tempted to groan, you might try to laugh instead. It will extend your life and make the lives of all those around you more enjoyable” (Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Come What May, and Love It,” Ensign, Nov 2008, 26–28).

 

I believe it’s true!! The happiest and most beautiful people I know are those that have great sense of humor! J It doesn’t matter what comes into their lives, they simply manage to laugh at them! J

 

So, I think it’s a great thing to emulate! Let us all learn how to laugh!! J Not only when we’re successful, but most especially while facing our challenges as well!!! J    

 

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