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On Prayer

Many people have heard the Lord’s prayer so often, they tend to ignore it. They know words, but not really understand what the words really mean. From the Holy Bible, in the Book of Luke in the New Testament (King James Version), we read:

“ And it came to pass, that, as he (Jesus) was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.
“And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.
“Give us day by day our daily bread.
“And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
“And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves;
“For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?
“And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.
“I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.
“And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
“For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” (Luke 11:1-10)

It is by the much begging that caused that good man to get up and open the door and give the bread unto his friend. He knew that if he did not get up, his friend would nag him so much he would get no sleep.

Does God know that you will continue to plead with Him over your struggles? Do you tell Him that you need Him? Do you go to him over all your days? Do you share your joys and your sorrows with Him each and every day? How do you expect His help when He never hears from you?

One of the things God has asked of us, is to come to Him. He asked us to pray over everything: our fields, our flocks, our herds, our food, our drink, our children, our parents, over everything and that even includes our enemies.  From the Book of Mormon we read:

“Therefore may God grant unto you, my (sisters and) brethren, that ye may begin to exercise your faith unto repentance, that ye begin to call upon his holy name, that he would have mercy upon you;

“Yea, cry unto him for mercy; for he is mighty to save.

“Yea, humble yourselves, and continue in prayer unto him.

“Cry unto him when ye are in your fields, yea, over all your flocks.

“Cry unto him in your houses, yea, over all your household, both morning, mid-day, and evening.

“Yea, cry unto him against the power of your enemies.

“Yea, cry unto him against the devil, who is an enemy to all righteousness.

“Cry unto him over the crops of your fields, that ye may prosper in them.

“Cry over the flocks of your fields, that they may increase.

“But this is not all; ye must pour out your souls in your closets, and your secret places, and in your wilderness.

“Yea, and when you do not cry unto the Lord, let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer unto him continually for your welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around you.” (Alma 34:17-27)

In my lifetime I have received more blessings than I can ever adequately give thanks for. The Lord has been so good to me. I have had so many experiences in sickness and in health that leave me with no shadow of a doubt in my heart and mind that there is a God in heaven, that He is our Father, and that He hears and answers our prayers.

As I look to, listen, and read what the prophets of God say, I treasure their words. My very first living prophet was Spencer W. Kimball, who said:

“We must remember that reverence is not a somber, temporary behavior that we adopt on Sunday. True reverence involves happiness, as well as love, respect, gratitude, and godly fear. It is a virtue that should be part of our way of life.” (Spencer W. Kimball)

It is my prayer that we may all remember to pray and bring God back into our lives on a daily basis. He needs to hear from us. I pray you will join your faith with mine in asking for His help in our lives and in our Country, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen

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My Tribute to Russell M Nelson

“Men can do very little of themselves to heal sick or broken bodies. With an education they can do a little more; with advanced medical degrees and training, a little more yet can be done. The real power to heal, however, is a gift from God. He has deigned that some of that power may be harnessed via the authority of His priesthood to benefit and bless mankind when all man can do for himself may not be sufficient.” (Russell M Nelson)

God honor’s Russell M Nelson, I know this because God said He would honor those who serve Him in Righteousness and in truth unto the end and I happen to know that God never lies.

“Hear, O ye heavens, and give ear, O earth, and rejoice ye inhabitants thereof, for the Lord is God, and beside him there is no Savior.”

“Great is his wisdom, marvelous are his ways, and the extent of his doings none can find out.”

“His purposes fail not, neither are there any who can stay his hand.”

“From eternity to eternity he is the same, and his years never fail.”

“For thus saith the Lord—I, the Lord, am merciful and gracious unto those who fear me, and delight to honor those who serve me in righteousness and in truth unto the end.” (D&C 76:1-5)

I admire and shall continue to sustain Russell M Nelson in his new calling as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. In the years since joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-saints, I have never heard or seen him do or say anything that might be displeasing to our Father in Heaven. I have watched as he reaches out across the world to bless the lives of our Heavenly Father’s children. His actions speak even louder than his words and his words are powerful.

When I first came to Salt Lake City, Utah, I was crossing the street one day while downtown. We passed each other in the crosswalk. I said a casual “Hello, Elder” and kept walking as did he. It was obvious he was deep in thought. Then, as I reached my sidewalk and turned, so did he from his side of the street; he smiled at me before he finished walking into the building. I could feel his kindness all the way across the street.

For you, this might not mean anything. But if you knew how busy this man and all those whom the Lord has called to serve the children of man around the world are, then you would know that he is a fellow traveler on this journey we call life. He too takes the time to offer a smile or handshake, or even has done surgery on those who stood in need over the years. While he is a highly educated man, he is also a humble man. I admire him for that quality. He is a lot like our Savior was while He administered to God’s children.

We may at times be busy in our lives, just as he was and is, but may we all have time to at least smile to strangers, no matter how busy we think we might be.

I love this photograph of he and his family. This is what a good father is suppose to look like. A good man can become great when God is the head of his house and he has a good woman by his side. President Nelson is a great man, in my humble opinion.

His counsel in the 2015 General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-saints was for all of us to show our love to God by keeping the Sabbath day holy. This is a sign between us (men and women) and God that we do always remember Him and His Son, even Jesus Christ. God gave us that day so we could rest from our labors, not the other way around.

One of my favorite prophets of the Old Testament was Isaiah. He too spoke of the Sabbath just as Elder Nelson did:

“If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:

“Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” (Isaiah 58:12-14)

I pray we may do as God’s prophets counsel us and honor those whom He honors, in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen

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My Respects to Boyd K Packer

One of the first things I learned from this great man was that in spite of having a disability, it does not mean we are handicapped. We can always do good, even when our bodies are not strong.

Second only to Spencer W. Kimball, Boyd K. Packer showed me that forgiveness is a powerful spiritual medicine. It is the “Balm of Gilead”. Better than any medicine in the world. Some of His exact words were:

“Forgiveness is powerful spiritual medicine. To extend forgiveness, that soothing balm, to those who have offended you is to heal. And, more difficult yet, when the need is there, forgive yourself!”

“I speak today to those who may be lost and are searching for that lower light to help guide them back.

“It was understood from the beginning that in mortality we would fall short of being perfect. It was not expected that we would live without transgressing one law or another. . .

“If you have made no mistakes, then you do not need the Atonement. If you have made mistakes, and all of us have, whether minor or serious, then you have an enormous need to find out how they can be erased so that you are no longer in darkness.

“Jesus Christ is the light and the life of the world.” As we fix our gaze on His teachings, we will be guided to the harbor of spiritual safety.

“Throughout your life there may be times when you have gone places you never should have gone and done things you never should have done. If you will turn away from sin, you will be able one day to know the peace that comes from following the pathway of complete repentance.

“No matter what our transgressions have been, no matter how much our actions may have hurt others – that guilt can all be wiped out. To me, perhaps the most beautiful phrase in all scripture is when the Lord said, “Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.” (Doctrine and Covenants 58:42)

“That is the promise of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Atonement: to take anyone who comes, anyone who will join, and put them through an experience so that at the end of their life, they can go through the veil having repented of their sins and having been washed clean through the blood of Christ. (Revelation 1:5.)

“Keep the fire of your testimony of the restored gospel and your witness of our Redeemer burning so brightly that our children can warm their hands by the fire of your faith.”

“We must choose whom to follow. Our protection is as simple as deciding individually to follow the Savior, making certain that we faithfully will remain on his side.”

“There is something very liberating when an individual determines of his or her own free will to be obedient to our Father and our God and expresses that willingness to Him in prayer.”

“Sometimes you might be tempted to think as I did from time to time in my youth: “The way things are going, the world’s going to be over with. The end of the world is going to come before I get to where I should be.” Not so! You can look forward to doing it right—getting married, having a family, seeing your children and grandchildren, maybe even great-grandchildren.

“If you will follow these principles, you will be watched over and protected and you yourself will know by the promptings of the Holy Ghost which way to go, for “by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.”(Moroni 10:5.)

“In Paul’s revelation, in addition to the list of challenges and problems, he also tells us what we can do to protect ourselves:

“Continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;

“And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:14–15)

“The scriptures hold the keys to spiritual protection. They contain the doctrine and laws and ordinances that will bring each child of God to a testimony of Jesus Christ as the Savior and Redeemer.

“Paul said, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”(2 Timothy 3:16) You can test this promise for yourself.

“Make scripture reading a part of your regular routine, and the blessings will follow. There is in the scriptures a voice of warning, but there is also great nourishment.”

“Obedient to revelation, we call ourselves The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rather than the Mormon Church. It is one thing for others to refer to the Church as the Mormon Church or to us as Mormons; it is quite another for us to do so.

The First Presidency stated:

“The use of the revealed name, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (D&C 115:4), is increasingly important in our responsibility to proclaim the name of the Savior throughout all the world. Accordingly, we ask that when we refer to the Church we use its full name wherever possible. …

“When referring to Church members, we suggest ‘members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.’ As a shortened reference, ‘Latter-day Saints’ is preferred.” (First Presidency letter, Feb. 23, 2001.)

I loved this great man, and shall miss his courage and forthrightness. Until we meet again, I pray his sweet wife will keep the faith by knowing she is sealed to this great man for all eternity. Oh, if all we women could be sealed to a man such as this, there would be rejoicing on earth as there is in heaven.

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One of the reasons I know we are to follow the living prophets is that all through the Holy Bible we can see how God blesses people when they turn to Him. Each time people, both men and women have gone to God in prayer, with a sincere heart, He lets them know how much He loves them. The world is kept because of those who are obedient to God.

When God spoke to Moses, and gave him laws, God spoke of how generations would suffer at the hands of those who did not worship the True God.

“I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.” (Exodus 20:1-6)

Then, we move forward in time to another prophet. Dear Ezekiel. Bless his heart. He inquired of the Lord as to what the scripture meant that said:

“What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge?”

“As I live, saith the Lord God, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel.
“Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.” (Ezekiel 18:2-4)

When we go to the Lord for answers of our questions, we do receive answers. Even as the prophets do.

In the beginning, Adam and Eve had two sons. One by the name of Abel and one named Cain. Cain did that which Satan told him. Satan knew what the law was. The sacrifice was to be of the first born. He knew that God would not accept any other type of sacrifice. Cain worshiped Satan more than God, and when he learned his offering to God it was not accepted, he murdered his brother in his anger and frustration.

” And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?

“If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

“And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.

“And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?

“And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.

“And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand; (Genesis 4:6-11)

Just as Ezekiel had done, in a more recent time, Spencer W Kimball was concerned regarding the curse of Cain. He asked God regarding those who were descendants of Cain. He asked of God and once again, God responded, and great gifts became available to all worthy men and women who are descendants of Cain.

On September 30, 1978, at the 148th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the following was presented by President N. Eldon Tanner, First Counselor in the First Presidency of the Church:

“In early June of this year, the First Presidency announced that a revelation had been received by President Spencer W. Kimball extending priesthood and temple blessings to all worthy male members of the Church. President Kimball has asked that I advise the conference that after he had received this revelation, which came to him after extended meditation and prayer in the sacred rooms of the holy temple, he presented it to his counselors, who accepted it and approved it. It was then presented to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who unanimously approved it, and was subsequently presented to all other General Authorities, who likewise approved it unanimously.”

Then, he read a letter they had written. If you would like to know more, go to the Doctrine and Covenants to the 2nd proclamation and read the entire message for yourself.  I was honored to know that God still speaks to humans even now. Just as with all announcements by the prophets of God, not everyone was happy. Nonetheless, many of us were.

Then, even more recently, the Lord again spoke and told the prophets to warn the world that many are not doing what we need to be doing and some are doing away with the great blessings He gave us. I suggest you go to this link, and see what this warning means to you and those whom you love.

https://www.lds.org/topics/family-proclamation?lang=eng&cid=PA0414-02

It is my prayer today, that all people will turn to Thomas S Monson and the other prophets to learn truth from them in this day and time. Yesterday, I celebrated my Father’s Day in the Holy Temple of God and had a glorious day. I pray you will all remember God, for He truly is your Eternal Father. As you celebrate Father’s Day this year, be sure to let Him know you love Him. As His daughter, I believe He would love to hear from you.

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I pray for the Spirit of the Lord to be with me, as I share with you truths which I have heard and know to be true.

“This is an age of digital information. Our computers have become windows through which we can gaze upon a world that is virtually without horizons or boundaries. Literally at the click of a button, we can browse through the digitized libraries of universities, museums, government agencies, and research institutions located throughout the world. A worldwide web of electronic connections now moves data at ever-increasing speed and volume along what we call the information superhighway. Through the windows of personal computer monitors in homes and offices, we can access this network of interconnected data banks to see texts, art, photos, maps, and charts and to hear music and speech that are stored in widely dispersed locations.

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints declares boldly that through another type of window, the windows of heaven, we can access spiritual information from the Source of light and truth. “We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.” (Articles of Faith: 1:9) In this dispensation of the fullness of times, the revelation superhighway has been carrying heavy traffic of eternal truth ever since that day in the spring of 1820 when the Lord answered a farm boy’s fervent prayer in the Sacred Grove and ushered in the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

“Today, as in ancient times, God opens windows of gospel light and truth by revealing “his secret unto his servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7) Those who have eyes to see, and ears to hear can learn eternal principles; view majestic vistas of knowledge, foresight, and wisdom; and receive direction on how to live their lives.

“The windows of heaven are open wide to the faithful and righteous; nothing closes them faster than disobedience. The unworthy cannot access fully the network of revealed truth. “The powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.” (D&C 121:36) Obedience is the first law of heaven. That is why Alma exhorted us to “be humble, … submissive and … diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times.” (Alma 7:23)

“To open the windows of heaven, we must conform our will to God’s will. Diligent, enduring obedience to God’s laws is the key that opens the windows of heaven. Obedience enables us to be receptive to the mind and will of the Lord. “The Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient” (D&C 64:34) are those who receive the blessings of revelation through the open windows of heaven.”

“Members of the Lord’s church can joyfully echo these words of the prophet Mormon: “Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life.”

“We are the Savior’s disciples who “shall go forth.” All of us are called of him to be missionaries to declare his word among his people.

“We should follow the counsel of President Spencer W. Kimball (another prophet of God) and “do it,” and he added, “Do it right now.”

“If we are to fulfill the Lord’s command to open the windows of heaven to all of our brothers and sisters, we must prepare to teach the gospel. With study of the scriptures, fasting, and prayer, we fortify our testimonies. We cultivate Christlike attributes of “faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, and diligence.” (D&C 4:6) Through exemplary obedience, we can let our light so shine before men (and women), that they may see our good works, and glorify our Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) By keeping the commandments, we can light our gospel candle and put it “on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.” (Matthew 5:15) (These were the words of Joseph B Wirthlin, another prophet of God in 1995. His talk was entitled: Windows of Light and Truth)

I am Maurica, being called after the name of my father, born in the land of America, which land God has set apart as a place where men and women can worship Him according to the dictates of their own hearts. My forefathers died that all of us might have this land of freedom. I live to help keep it free and introduce those who do not know God to Him and His beloved Son, even Jesus Christ.

Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, and while walking with Him and serving others, I have felt called to lift those who struggle as I did before I knew that He was my savior. I have been reaching out since long before I was blessed to hear the Good Word of God confirm to me that I am one of His. And since following the Lord’s will I have been blessed to be able to do even more than I had ever done before. I have felt more loved by being obedient to His commandments than I ever did by being obedient to others who claimed to love me.

As Moses said to the children of Israel as they went forth out of Egypt (Deuteronomy 29: 2-4) I say unto you who are living in Babylon; Nineveh; Sodom; Gomorrah or that which is just like they were:

“And Moses called unto all Israel, and said unto them, Ye have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt unto Pharaoh, and unto all his servants, and unto all his land;
“The great temptations which thine eyes have seen, the signs, and those great miracles:
“Yet the Lord hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day.”

I would that we all might listen to the prophets of God upon the earth in this day and age and follow the counsel of God’s chosen so we may return home to He who gave us life in the first place. And this is my prayer, in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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Respect to an Unknown Woman

While I honor and respect good men, I also honor and respect good women. I know Jesus does as well.

I share with you the story that Jesus asked us to share about one particular woman:

“And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he (Jesus Christ) sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head.

“And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made?

“For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her.

“And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me.

“For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.

“She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying.

“Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.” (Mark 14:3-9)

We never learn her name, yet we do know who she was by what she did. She was a faithful disciple of the Lord who knew and understood why He had come and what was about to happen to Him. She showed Him respect in spite of what others, even members of her own church, said about her. It is my prayer that we also may be showing respect to the Lord when He returns and that He will know us by our having faithfully followed Him while we wait for His return.

“For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.” (Psalms 39:9)

I love that God sent His only begotten Son for me and you. I also know that:

“We are eternal beings. We have no way of comprehending how long we dwelt in the presence of God as his spirit children. We are here in mortality for a moment of testing and trial. Then we will come forth in the resurrection, receive an inheritance in whatever kingdom we deserve, and go on living the commandments to all eternity.

“This life consists of a brief yesterday, a few short hours of today, and a few moments tomorrow. The oldest men among us scarcely live longer than a hundred years. But the life that is to be is forever. It will have no end. Men (and women) will rise from the grave and not die after. Life is eternal, unending; never after the resurrection will the children of our Father taste death.”

“Then shall all men (and women) stand before the bar of the great Jehovah to be judged according to the deeds done in the flesh.”  Spencer W Kimball – (1895-1985)

I love that the Lord loves women as well as men. I love that Jesus Christ invites us all to follow Him and be like Him, so that His Father, the Most High God will see that We Love Them and are listening to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit in our own lives.

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Stepping Stones

The drawing is one I did while I was being treated for major depression. In this article, I am sharing how I was helped, and pray you will understand how my experiences can help others.

When I was 3 years old my mother died. Doctors had told my mother she would die if she gave me life, yet she chose to allow me to live. Thus, my father believed I had murdered my mother, so I was treated poorly. He brought a woman home who ended up dying in prison for all she did to my sister and me. Over the years I have been in regular hospitals; mental hospitals; been drugged; lied to; tortured; and tied down. Before I was even 5 years old, I had been beaten to the point there was blood coming out of my ears. I had electro-shock-therapy treatments in the days before they had enough compassion to at least sedate you first. Back in the days of my youth they did not know how to treat a feral child who was born in America. They experimented on me and those who were like me. I know what life can be for many who are misunderstood.

I must share, for many years, not just in my youth, but also as an adult, I did not want to live. However, God did not want me to go home before I was able to find happiness, so He refused to allow me to die. Now, I can honestly say, I am grateful for my life. I have learned many things that work and many things that do not work. It is my wish to share some of the good things with you that have helped me when I get depressed.

First off, I want you to know that you need to talk about how you are feeling. If you are being abused by someone (and that includes yourself) you need to share why you have those black and blue marks or cuts. When someone hurts you in any way, you need to share that with someone you trust.

In my very early years, I spend a number of months living outside in my father’s back yard. Most people did not even know I was there. If my sister had not been clubbed in our front yard, and a neighbor saw it happen, I would have died in that backyard. The doctors said I had “protein malnutrition” and one judge called me a “feral child.” A rare condition for anyone in the United States at that time. Now, it is very common in most of our cities. There are many children without homes or who have been abandoned by parents. I know of children eating out of trash bins or digging through others leftovers. Many times, over the years, I have received telephone calls during the night to alert me that certain children were sleeping in Goodwill bins. I would go pick them up, bring them to my home; feed and nurture them, only to have to return them to those who did that to them in the first place. It breaks my heart to know that the courts place children back into such situations after the parent takes a few weeks of classes. When I was young, after I had been rescued that first time, I kept running away from those who abused me, only to be returned to abusive care. I did not then, nor now, ever want a child to be forced to return to that type of life. Yes, I know what mental illness looks like, both as one who has suffered and as a person who helps others heal from that type of suffering, no matter what age they might be.

I am here to tell you, there is hope. You can heal. You can move forward, but you have to put forth effort to do this. You can’t wait for others to heal you. No matter what drugs they give you, that will not heal you. Most drugs have side effects that are much worse than the illness. Drugs only block “feelings”, they never help you to “overcome” what you went through to make you feel this way in the first place.

In my humble opinion, when you are able to find truth, then you can really begin to heal. Truth can set you free from your past. Truth can assist you in living toward whom you really want to be. Who God meant you to be. And yes, I did say the “G” word. I believe in God. I mean, Look all around you. Do you see that Sun up in the sky? How do you think it got there? Why do you think it comes up each and every morning? Do you see that Moon at night? How do you think it got there? Can you find a flower (one that has not been sprayed with some kind of chemical) and really see it? Can you smell it? If you are blind, can you not feel that flower? Who do you think created that flower in the first place? Who do you think really created you? Sure, your mother may have given you the body, and your father may have created that body, but who do you think gives you breath each and everyday? End of lecture 1. Now back to what I started to share with you.

While I was living in our backyard, I learned a few things. A person can survive in nature even better than in society. Fresh air is good for a human, and since you are human, I suggest you get outside and breath every single day. Even when you don’t feel like going outside, at least open a window, if you are able to do that.

I also learned that food is very important. Back, when I was young, I only had the fruit that fell from the trees, or the wild things that the animals gave me. But you have other types of food. And I am not speaking of potato chips, hamburgers and french fries. I am speaking of fruits and vegetables. Clean water, when you can get it. Not anything with “additives”. God gave us food enough to last us a lifetime that is clean and pure and healthy for us. We need to be careful what we put into our bodies. When we put garbage in, we get garbage out. That is a fact.

Since I was 5 years old, I have been seen by “professional” people who tried to help. Some where able to put the body back together. Some gave me good advice. The others, I won’t discuss. One of the good ones told me to write things down, some said to use art and music to speak. I recommend those things to you.

For example: One time, they had me in a straightjacket in a padded cell. I had tried to kill myself when my children were kidnapped and that was the only way they could keep me alive. While I was in there, I began to remember what helped me growing up. The birds, from when I was little, used to come sit by me, and make music, and I learned that I could talk to them by making music. Mentally, while in that padded cell, I went back to that time out-of-doors and began to make music to calm myself. I closed my eyes and saw sunshine and flowers that God had given me when I was locked in a cold, dark closet when I was about 3 years old. I remembered my animal friends who have fed and nurtured me. I felt comforted, and once I was calm, they let me out of that room. But, I could never tell any of them what had calmed me down.

Over the years, I spent a lot of time locked up, until I finally learned how to talk to others. It had taken me until I was about 12 years old to learn how to speak words. Up until I left there, then, I went back to being afraid. I do hope and pray you were not treated as I was when I was young. But for those of us who were not allowed to speak, as adults we still struggle, when under a lot of stress, to find words that were not there growing up.

Thanks to good people, I have used Music and Art to help me talk many times. I drew pictures of many things. I drew that picture of my sister, whom I thought was dead. In that picture, you will see a tree, which represented my family, that egg, as she had been born early, the teddy bear, since it was the only toy she had from my mother. I drew it in black and white with only my hand in color, as I thought everything I loved was dead. I was told that it helped me to heal during a very rough time. I drew rain and animals. While in HollyGrove Home for Children, I used music to create rain and gave all my feelings in the music. One of my therapists spoke to me about my art, and he told me that it helped him to understand who I am. I liked and trusted him. He never tried to drug me, nor force me to do anything against my will. Now to my thinking, that is a good therapist. I am sorry to say, most places now treat mental illness with drugs only. I am grateful to find there are still places where a person can talk and be helped gently without drugs.

As I grew older, I began to keep what I call: my “positivity journal”. I recommend it highly and know it has helped many people. Each day, you open it and write down at least 3 things you are grateful for.

When I first started mine, the only thing I could think of was toilet paper. Now you may laugh, however, when I was young, I did not even know what that was. I know I was over 5 but under ten years old when I got to see and learn what toilet paper was for. A nurse showed me, and she even taught me how to use a toilet. Prior to that time, the only time I had used a toilet was when my head was being held into it by my step-mother.  There, at the hospital, when the nurse flushed that toilet, and I saw the water went down and took all my “stuff” with it, I smiled. She smiled too and I knew it was okay. I’m sure you can think of something in your life that you are grateful for, even if you might think it is silly, right?

A few times in my life, I have been blind. When I saw my sister laying in that pool of blood and my step-mother beating her, I lost my sight, and that was just temporary. As an adult, I had a hole in my right eye, and all the fluid drained out. Then I got a very bad infection and lost sight in both eyes. One of my grateful things now, is that I can see. I’m sure you will think of many things you are grateful for every day.

May I share a game with you that I learned from one of my therapists? I call it the 5-4-3-2-1 game.

When you are anxious, stressed or feeling out of it: Look around you and find 5 colors. Name them. Next, reach out and touch 4 things. Name them as you touch them. Was it cold, warm, rough, smooth? Next, open your ears and listen for 3 sounds. It might be a fan, or a bird, or music, whatever it is, try to find at least 3 sounds. Next, think of 2 things that you enjoy eating or drinking. Think about what they taste like. Next, I want you to smell something. Then name that smell.

What I did, was make a little box and put things in it that I like. For example: 5 pieces of cloth which were different colors and textures. 4 little things; a smooth stone, a paper clip, an eraser, and a small marble. I also included a small bag of cinnamon, and hand lotion (I like wild cherry). I also put pictures of the mountains and the ocean and flowers. I called that my “E-box” and kept it close bye for those times when I was stressed out.

I suffer from what is now called “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder” (PTSD). I lived in a “war zone” in my own family. Due to sexual trauma at a very early age, and having to live in so many different homes over my growing up years, I learned how to survive in many ways. Thus, I had what some Doctors called “Multiple Personality Disorder” (MPD), which they now label as “Dissociative Identity Disorder” (DID). A small child must develop different facets of their personality to “survive” when living in so many different homes. Doctors have no clue how those types of labels stigmatize children. We should never put labels on our children. Never! That does not cure them. That does not help them to heal. One doctor thinks one thing, another thinks another and thus the child is tossed back and forth and that only makes the original trauma worse.

Yes, I do tend to speak with a different voice when I am under a lot of stress. The reason being, it is hard for me to find voice, even though I am trying with all my might to speak. That “child” within me was never allowed to use a voice, thus I never learned how to communicate properly. That does not mean I must be “weird”. Due to the abuse of my early youth, at times I have pain in places that have no current injury. That does not mean I am crazy. That means there is a problem that has not been resolved, yet. It does not mean I am faking. It is very real.

For many years, they took people who were “mentally ill” and chained them to floors and tossed food at them to keep them alive. They felt that was humane. Things did get better in some ways, but even in the 1960’s we were not treated much better.

During the 1980’s many of us fought to help change the rules for the mentally ill, so we could have the right to refuse drugs and abuse. We helped those who suffer to not be raped by those who should have been protecting us. To not be drugged into compliance. But rather to obtain real help to heal, and many are still in that same fight. I’m sorry to say that some abuse the system, and thus make things worse. Those who are not really what they claim to be just so they can get away with crimes. I believe that we all need to held accountable for what we do. They allow prisoners to have food and shelter and clothing, but what are they doing for the mentally ill? Many live on the streets, having to do things that would turn your stomach if you knew.

Some learned that beating a child never helped that child to learn anything but hatred. Yelling at a child does not help them learn love. But allowing them to get away with doing wrong things never helped them to learn either. Lifting a child helps them feel loved. Teaching them right from wrong by example is the way they learn best. But many never got an opportunity to see that in action. All we saw was the wrong type of “love” .

I learned about real love at HollyGrove Home for Children in Los Angeles California back in 1957. I was the first child to be placed there from the court system. I only got to stay for one year, but in that year I saw for the first time what real love felt like. I got my first clean hug from the headmistress, Miss Margaret Ingram. I learned how to laugh right out loud. I learned how play. I learned about music from an old upright piano. I learned I could talk to someone and that person believed me, even though others called me a liar. I learned that when I did something naughty, I was held accountable for what I had done. Yet, I was loved in spite of my mistake. I was not a bad person, I had done a naughty thing, and I learned how to correct that mistake. All humans do naughty things from time to time, but that does not make us bad. Those who deliberately harm others are doing something bad. But since we don’t know why they do what they do, we need to stay away from them, or let others know who can and will stop them. I learned we can do things we might not want to do, and when we are asked by those who really love us (in the correct way), we can learn and grow by doing those things. For example: I learned how to clean the pots and pans in the kitchen and how to keep a place clean enough to be healthy and allow it to be dirty enough to be lived in. I love what “clean love” taught me. That year has stayed with me over 69 years. I still draw on what I learned from those wonderful people.

Anyway, I just want you to know, there is hope. There is a life after abuse. There is a life after depression. There is a way to overcome all things. And that is because there is a God who loves you. There is a God who sent His Son, Jesus Christ to show you that God loves you. Jesus Christ who is a God, suffered so He could know how You feel, and thus He can and will comfort You when you turn to Him. He not only came for those who do bad things, He came for you and me. For those of us who have been damaged and abused and neglected and misunderstood. He came for those of us who make mistakes and then repent and strive not to hurt others. He came before and is coming again to bring us all back to His presence. When we cry, He and all the angels in heaven cry. When we mourn, He mourns. When we suffer, He understands, because He also suffered.

Please, do not give up. There are ways out of what you are feeling. There are ways to find peace and happiness. There are those who really do care and want to help. There really are those who can help, but you have to do your part. You can’t just sit by and feel sorry for yourself, because that never did help you nor anyone else. I know, because I have been where you are. I know you can be as happy as you allow yourself to be.

You want to know how I know that? I lived it. I am still living it. And I shall continue to live it, even though I can not always walk; even though I can not always use my eyes; even though I can not always leave my home; even when I am locked up or tied down; I know that I have a form of peace, because: I know that God is watching. He sees everything and His angels keep records over everything that happens to His children, of which you and I are one. I know that when this life is over (and everyone dies sooner or later) He will make things right. I know that with all my heart and mind and will continue to live, looking forward to that day.

Hugs, from an woman who was once a child. A woman who was once a mother. A woman who was once a wife. A woman who was once abused, neglected, tortured, abandoned, sick and felt lost. A woman to whom the good Lord sent help to teach me who I really am. You may ask, “Who do you think you are?” I am a daughter of God, who is telling you that you too are a child of God, and there is hope.

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