Stay in the Boat

Our lesson in church today was about the talk Stay in the Boat and Hold On! by Elder M. Russell Ballard.

  1. Stay in the boat

Drifting down the river,
I see the calm stretches, but
Warned of the rapids ahead
I stay in the boat.

  1. Always wear a life jacket

Rowing in sync over white water,
Gratitude hits me at the lack of fear,
From having the safety of a team, and
The reassurance of a life jacket.

  1. Hold on with both hands.

When others take a turn at the oars
And the river bounces the boat,
It’s holding on with both hands
That turns the fear to joy.

Dont forget to stay in the boat!

When the rapids end and the boat pulls in,
I will be glad, with my crewmates and guide,
To have sailed through life’s rough river
And to end in joy and peace.

The Blessings of Life

How often, when I see a rose
Do I remember the Creator who made it?
How often do I pause in gratitude at the beauty
And ponder how blessed I am to see such a rose?

How often, when I see a person
Do I remember the Father of all mankind?
How often do I pause in gratitude of the people I know
And ponder how blessed I am to be together?

How often, when I’m in a trial
Do I remember the Ultimate Trial on the cross?
How often do I pause in gratitude of my Savior
And ponder how blessed I am in my Brother?

How often, in my busy life
Do I remember the things of deep importance?
How often do I pause in gratitude to God
And ponder the blessings of life?

How Grateful I Am

How Grateful I Am

How grateful I am for the friends that I know,
Friends who I see and make my smile grow,
Friends who I cherish and help when I can,
Friends who help me a better man.

How grateful I am for my family, blessed,
Family that accepts me when I’m a mess,
Family to laugh with, to play with, to love,
Family forever with God up above.

How grateful I am for the earth where I live,
The earth that selflessly, generously gives,
The earth full of beauty, of life and of joy,
The earth that we all are blessed to enjoy.

How grateful I am for the words of the Lord,
The words of the prophets who testified bold,
The words of disciples who struggled like me,
The words of the scriptures, so inspiring.

How grateful I am for the Savior, dear,
My Savior who, when I’m troubled, always is near,
My Savior who loves me when I stumble and fall,
My Savior who helps me to grow to my all.

Gratitude Day 4: Nature

One of my favorite verses in the Book of Mormon is Alma 30:44. Alma declaims that the wonders of nature denote the existence of a God. I personally also believe that the beauty of nature denotes the goodness of God, and today I want to #GiveThanks for the wonders of God’s nature

Nature

If the earth has the power of volcanoes and lightning,
How much more powerful is earth’s Creator?
If the earth has the kindness of butterflies and sunsets,
How much kinder is the earth’s Savior?

If the earth makes us stand in awe with sunsets and mountains,
How much more in awe will we be of earth’s Almighty?
If the earth has the love of the rain and the sunshine,
How much more loving is earth’s Lamb at the Slaughter?

Sunset Happiness

Sunset Happiness

The miracle of a sunset to bring me happiness
Isn’t dependant on

How nice people have been to me,
How lucky I’ve been that day,
The grades I get in class,
How late I have to stay up to do my work,
Who wins the next election,
What people shout about politics,
How many friends I have,
How many friends have hurt me,
The storms I’ve had to weather,
The storms yet in the future,
The lightning frightening me now,
The thunder in the distance,
The wars the world is waging,
The rumors of wars to come,
The anger, the racism, the hate,
The yelling, the abuse, the pain,
The millions depressed or addicted,
The billions poor and dying,
Or any other aspect of the sadness or the wonder in the world.

If I can find something in the world beautiful
Without things outside my control going well,
That is joy.

Pure Water

I was talking with a friend the other week about how it feels to be truly clean, and she compared it to the waters of a river. I tried to capture that idea here:

Pure Water

I’ve stepped in a lot of rivers.
When they had dirt at the bottom,
My steps would send mud
floating down the river,
and the tan filth blocking any view of the riverbed.

I’ve looked at a lot of rivers.
And I love the ones that slowly,
In their crystal blue motion
capture the rolling beauty of nature
in their clear flowing depths.

I want to be a dirt-free river.
I want no mud of the world in me
and to flow confidently onward
to the ocean,
knowing I am clean.

The first sunset in the Garden of Eden

Originally published 11-09-19

I know this poem probably isn’t 100% doctrinally correct. The scriptures don’t have many details on the Garden of Eden,  so it’s hard to know much about it with certainty.

The first sunset in the Garden of Eden

The birds
still figuring out how to fly,
tried anyway to flap up
and catch the colors.

The lion and the lamb
stopped playing to see
what made the lamb’s coat
as golden as the lion’s.

The trees,
who feared the dark of night,
were soothed by the flower
of the fading sun.

The crickets,
still untrained violinists,
competed to praise the shades
of beautiful light.

The clouds
tumbling through new air,
paused and held still
to frame the moment.

Adam and Eve
sat side by side
and watched the world
that God had made for them.

Half-Autumn Trees

Originally published 10-26-19

Half-Autumn Trees

For a couple of autumn days 
between the first sparks of color 
and the mountains on fire 

the trees are in my favorite state— 
not entirely red, or brown and shedding, 
but with a few branches tenaciously green.  

It’s a lot like us, with these dashes of life seen among dry, crisp colors— 
divinity heavily spotted with imperfection. 
Though we pretend, sometimes, that we’re nothing but green, 

I like to ponder the half-yellow trees, 
and smile, and look through the leaves 
at the bright white sun. 

For a couple of autumn days 
between the first sparks of color 
and the mountains on fire 

the trees are in my favorite state— 
not entirely red, or brown and shedding, 
but with a few branches tenaciously green.  

It’s a lot like us, with these dashes of life seen among dry, crisp colors— 
divinity heavily spotted with imperfection. 
Though we pretend, sometimes, that we’re nothing but green, 

I like to ponder the half-yellow trees, 
and smile, and look through the leaves 
at the bright white sun. 

Frosted Flowers

Originally published 03-15-19

Frosted Flowers

I saw the flowerbed
In the winter morning sun–
Mulch, with
Strong short tulip sprouts,
And white and purple pansies.

In the middle, a statue–a man, a woman,
And a child taking early but encouraged steps
In a joyous, bronzed moment–
And in their shadow, frost.

The frosted flowers, I saw,
Weren’t dead,
But drooped,
Vibrant petals
Hanging down,
Slumped, dejected.

The sun had just climbed enough
that the shadow abandoned one slumping pansy.
It twitched.
The head slowly lifted
And the flower drooped
Not quite as far.

Further from the shade,
I saw the bright purples standing tall,
Proud, stripped of frost by
Bright sunlight,
Becoming bright nature,
And the day seemed warmer.

And I walked away warm inside,
Feeling that however long
And cold
The night,
The sun will come,
And I can rise, bright again.