Sunday, March 15, 2009

What You Don't Have or Have Lost

I would like to continue our musings on the topic of perfection verses imperfection, weakness verses strength, inadequacy verses fullness. And I will do it atop the seventh floor of the Seattle Waterfront Marriott.

I have occasionally mused in a Marriott: Tokyo, New York City, Honolulu, London, Paris, Orlando, Washington D.C., St. Thomas.....

You see, last year (a typical year in this regard), my honey-man spent 180 nights in a Marriott. That’s 180 days out of 220 work days. As exotic or luxurious as that may sound to some, the reality is that a hotel room is a cold place. It’s unfamiliar. It’s lonely. It’s too quiet. It’s not home.

The pain involved in our good-byes has never eased. I am traumatized every single time. It has been over eleven years of airport runs, love letter emails, and panicked-mommy text messages. It’s sleepless nights when I know he’s flying over the Atlantic. It’s clutching his pillow while I cry over romantic movies. It’s hiding in the closet to bury my face in his shirts.

Reunions are sweet to be sure, but I would gladly trade passionate kisses at baggage claim for the mundane-morning type.

However, my journals are full of family adventures, hither and yon, because of our daddy’s miles and points; experiences we never would have had otherwise. They are part of our family treasure-trove and have contributed to who we are. In a very real sense, these opportunities to travel and learn from our travels have also been opportunities to strengthen our family through shared memory. And this, in some measure, compensates us for Dale’s absences.

The concept of compensatory blessings came to me this week as I waited for Dale to finish his Seattle business meetings. Marveling at our beautiful room, I wandered to the picture window framing the Puget Sound. The sky was spectacularly blue – a rare March phenomenon. Knowing we would be riding the ferry later that afternoon and strolling through Pike Place Market, I could hardly believe the charmed weather. But even if the day turned gray and damp, being with Dale was tender mercy enough.

As I opened the sliding glass door to the balcony and inhaled the sea air (my favorite smell in the whole world), I tried to remember Elder Scott’s landmark talk on JOY ("Finding Joy in Life"). I knew there was something in there that articulated what I was thinking. He said:

“Simple, rejuvenating experiences surround us. They can be safety valves to keep the tension down and the spirit up. Don’t concentrate on what you don’t have or have lost. The Lord promised the obedient to share all that He possesses with them. You may temporarily lack here, but in the next life, if you prove yourself worthy by living valiantly, a fullness will be your blessing.”

This train of thought prompted me to make a mental list of the “imperfect” situations in my life; desirable or ideal circumstances that I “don’t have, or have lost.” These are conditions I endure (or have endured) because they just are. And I am sad when I think of them. Usually.

On this morning however, as I watched sailboats and barges from the hotel balcony, I felt something different. A gust of wind blew my curly hair into tangled ribbons, but I stood still, feeling the Spirit organize and crystallize my thoughts.

Yes, you have a daughter with severe disabilities, but she is precious, you have learned so much, and God sent you another daughter who has been your closest ally in that struggle. Yes, you were not reared in an active-member home, but your testimony is actually the stronger for it, and God gave you a loving ward who taught you what you needed to know. It’s true that family members do not embrace the gospel, but you better comprehend charity and God presented you with in-law and extended family who are valiant and exemplary.

And so it went: the listing of compensatory blessings in my life just piled up until I wept.

Elder Scott: “Find the compensatory blessings in your life when, in the wisdom of the Lord, He deprives you of something you very much want. To the sightless or hearing impaired, He sharpens the other senses. To the ill, He gives patience, understanding, and increased appreciation for others’ kindness. With the loss of a dear one, He deepens the bonds of love, enriches memories, and kindles hope in a future reunion. You will discover compensatory blessings when you willingly accept the will of the Lord and exercise faith in Him.”

As the breeze grew colder, I decided to retreat inside. And what an “inside” it was! Because of Dale’s “status” with Marriott, management had surprised us with a complimentary “upgrade”. It was beyond delightful when we discovered our electronic key opened the double doors to Room 736: The Presidential Suite!

Though our family situations are not ideal, though our righteous ambitions seem impossible now, though rewards enjoyed by others appear to have passed us by, the Lord promises that the faithful will enjoy the ultimate “upgrade”: a “place in the mansions” of our Father. (Ether 12:37) Omniscient forces are constantly at work, turning our imperfect circumstances into "perfecting" experiences. (Romans 8:28)

And don’t you know a celestial mansion trumps any Marriott!

Muse with me: what compensatory blessings do you see in your life?


Tour the Presidential Suite....

video

44 comments:

Mona said...

I've received permission to post this email from a friend:

my number one compensatory blessing category is things we have and do because we don't have babies. It's often really difficult. The only thing I want (besides being a wife) is to be a mother. I feel sometimes like a line in my patriarchal blessing mocks me which says "being a mother is the greatest thing you can do in your life." However, we have had many compensatory blessings for such a hard trial for us. We have become very close as a couple, with a very sure foundation for when the winds of sleep deprivation come upon us. :) (Among other things.) We have been able to work at the temple as ordinance workers for over a year. We have been able to make significant inroads into the debt we incurred during college. We can drop everything and go on trips whenever we feel there's a good enough reason. I get to pay attention to both Sacrament Meetings and General Conference. I can go to Education Week. We can go on date nights without paying a babysitter. I can (supposedly) sleep through the night without interruption. (too bad I wake up 8 - 10 times a night anyway!) :) I have time to work on my health. I can read several books in a week, if I'd like. I haven't yet gone deaf from screaming children. I'm very grateful for all the compensatory blessings that allow me to be happy even when my greatest desire hasn't been fulfilled. Not only be happy, but also feel joy. We've really worked hard to focus on our blessings and most days we're really good about it. :)

Thanks for another wonderful post.

Lolli said...

First of all, I didn't know our husbands had the same names! :)

Second, I really appreciated your message today. I have been feeling weighed down by the difficulties that we've been facing, and yet the blessings really do continue to roll in. It's hard to look past what we think we want and see what the Lord is blessing us with--what we really need.

Congrats on that incredible room!

Mona said...

Lolli, AMEN AMEN AMEN. It is SO hard to "see past" as you say...

I wanted to say in the post that to me, this is not about "positive thinking" or "looking for the silver lining". It's a living dynamic -- heaven is actually, authentically, absolutely active in our individual lives, balancing justice and mercy in our behalf. And, as you say, only the Lord knows what we really "need"...our vision is too blurred by our "wants"....

Sylvia0037 said...

Recovering from back surgery, I have had a lot of time to contemplate and this particular post "fits me" perfectly right now. I will confess that it makes me incredibly homesick for the Pacific Northwest...BUT my Utah mountains, both East and West are wonderful compensations! I feel strongly that some major changs may be coming in my life and I know that focusing on the many miraculous compensations I have experienced in the past will help me see the future more clearly. It is always interesting to me how our prayers are answered, many times, by the "others" in our lives. I can only hope that I can equally be an influence for good in the lives of others - Thank you Mona for being you - Your video clip was so fun - I can just imagine you feeling like a princess in her castle - Isn't it fun to let that little girl out and let her enjoy life!!! Love you TONS!

Mona said...

Syliva -- you know me so well! That is EXACTLY how I felt!

Back surgery does change everything -- at least for a while. We went through that and IN THE END wondered why we hadn't done it sooner. I hope it turns out that way for you!

Serene is my name, not my life! said...

Thanks for you comments on my blog. I know I don't always comment on yours but I do always read your posts.
I seem to have the opposite situation as the first post. All Luke and I have to do is wash our underwear together and I get pregnant! =)
While I love my children, I confess there are times when I feel like I may have missed out on the opportunity to do so many things.
Seems like everyone I know is traveling to fun places, has a house, or are pursuing something they want.
I would LOVE to travel, I would LOVE to go back and take more art classes, I even miss working. But all those things will just have to wait while I raise my children.
And of course I know what I'm doing is the right thing and I know the rewards will be great, but in the moment of exhaustion, that doesn't always help.
Oh well, just keep swimming, just keep swimming... oh my, if I have to sit through Finding Nemo one more time....

Mona said...

Serene,
"Travel" in the first 20 years of our marriage meant a trip to Costco. We only got into our first house by the generosity of parents after all four kids were born. I was a stay-home-mom who could hardly keep her head above water for years and years and years. Dale was unemployed off and on through all those years. Our clothes and furniture were all second-hand. Even today, I am unable as a full-time caregiver to Ashley, to pursue the things many empty-nest women do (or at least dream of) after their kids are grown.

Don't be sad dear one. Don't be sad.

Trina said...

Aren't you adorable. It was much fun watching your video. What neat experiences you all must have had over the years. Great compensation!

I must say, I've been thinking of this very thing lately and had a simple yet overwhelming "compensation" just this morning. In fact as I type this I think I'll shed some more tears over it.

First to understand me and my situation better you must also know me, which you don't so let me just say all I ever wanted was a happy family that was close to our Heavenly Father, one that serves him and others and is together forever. Even as a child that's what I prayed for, begged my Heavenly Father for. I always told him I could handle anything but one of my family members falling away from the gospel.

I shouldn't have told him what I can't handle. He's trying to prove me wrong. That has become the trial of my life. Our oldest, precious son, doesn't see his value. He has issues with depression and high anxiety, and unfortunately with the medications that can help him. He has turned away from not only our family but the Lord. Because of his decisions and mental and emotional issues he has severe behavioral problems that bleed into our home, affecting my other 4 kids. My heart has hurt so bad I've not been sure if I'd survive. I've begged the Lord to trade my trials for others that would still hurt, believe it or not even health or death etc. The eternal aspect is so much more important to me. But in our Heavenly Father's wisdom he's letting us continue in this way.

This morning (after a very rough night with him) I was again pouring my heart out to my Heavenly Father to help my son to accept the gospel, to recognize love in his life, and to take away some of my pain. As I started to ask this another son came into my room apologizing for interrupting me but was leaving for school and wanted me to know that he loved me and appreciated me and would miss me throughout the day. He was so sincere. The rest of my prayer was a thankful, tearful prayer. He was the compensation I needed this morning.

I've been compensated by a very special promise. Nothing brings me greater peace at this time than these words. “The Prophet Joseph Smith declared—and he never taught more comforting doctrine—that the eternal sealings of faithful parents and the divine promises made to them for valiant service in the Cause of Truth, would save not only themselves, but likewise their posterity. Though some of the sheep may wander, the eye of the Shepherd is upon them, and sooner or later they will feel the tentacles of Divine Providence reaching out after them and drawing them back to the fold. Either in this life or the life to come, they will return. They will have to pay their debt to justice; they will suffer for their sins; and may tread a thorny path; but if it leads them at last, like the penitent Prodigal, to a loving and forgiving father’s heart and home, the painful experience will not have been in vain. Pray for your careless and disobedient children; hold on to them with your faith. Hope on, trust on, till you see the salvation of God.”

For now the promise is my compensation. The fulfilling of the promise will be huge and more than I can imagine I'm sure. There is opposition in all things. I truly believe the more we suffer and endure, we will be compensated with that same amount of blessings.

The talk I found this quote in started with this line. "To those brokenhearted parents who have been righteous, diligent, and prayerful in the teaching of their disobedient children, we say to you, the Good Shepherd is watching over them." I remind myself frequently that he's not only our son but our Heavenly Father's son. Even though I love him tremendously Heavenly Father loves him even more perfectly than I. He is watching him. What comfort.

Incase this is something that would be a great boon to another reader as it has been to me, it is a conference talk by Elder James E. Faust called "Dear are the sheep that have wandered." It was given April 6, 2003 morning session.

Thank you for voicing my feelings today. It's helped validate them and last longer in my day. Looks like you may become one of my compensations. Thanks.

Mona said...

Trina,
You have no idea how I understand you.
Thank you for your openness. It will bless others.
Mona

DeNae said...

So timely. My own post yesterday talks about some big changes that have happened just in the last couple of weeks, and the reason I'm coping as well as I am - and yes, there are tears and the little flutter of apprehension over the unkown - is because over the years I've learned the absolute truth of Isaiah's words (I like how Paul paraphrases them for the Corinthians):

"Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."

Twenty years ago I wouldn't have understood what Isaiah meant. Experience and time have allowed that lesson, that promise, to sink deep into my heart.

God's imagination has always been far superior to my own.

Lois Brown said...

Wow, a couple of things come to my mind as I read this. As you know I too have a disabled child that I will always have to change diapers and help feed and bath and dress etc., etc., etc. and when I was younger I grieved for the fact that she would never grow up and do all the normal things that other children do. I also probably bemoaned the fact that I would never have an empty nest. The joy that I have found in this is that now that my other two children are grown and in college and off pursuing their careers I have not had to go through the sadness of an empty nest and grieved not having any children at home. I have some one who still needs me and someone that keeps Alan and I laughing and enjoying life! It has been a beautiful blessing...from something that when I was younger I thought was going to be a trial!

I too have beautiful compasionate daughters who love Aileen helped me give the every day care of her when they lived at home and became my best friends in the process. And I absolutely love that they both say "well, of course Aileen will live with us when you and Dad are gone" there is no question and they have a testimony of the fact that they knew what family they were coming to on this earth and accepted the responsibilities that came with joining our family and have also witnessed the many blessings that come from taking care of a precious child of God that cannot take care of herself. I also love that they can not see another struggle without helping.

I also always envisioned us having a time in our life that we would have an income where we would be able to have the house of my dreams, travel, be at stay at home mom etc..etc.. and we did have that for 13 yrs and it was amazing and I'm grateful that we had that experience. But I did find myself very angry when it all went away because of a decision I did not make. But the blessing that came from this is my knowlege in who I am as a daughter of God, a mother, a wife, a friend etc... and that being Lois Brown is enough! Unbelieveable I know, but really I am enough. It's not about what I can do for others or buy for others or on and on, but that just being me is enough. And I also know that our marriage is stronger now becuase of the financial set backs we have had. We went through about 8 yrs ago after 9/11 what some people are having to go through now...lost everything. So my heart goes out to those who may be experiencing losing a home, losing all their savings, all their investments...but I pray that they will also find out that thier husband, and family are the most important things that we have in this life. I pray that like me they have a new found gratitude for everything that the Lord has blessed them with...I learned that even with losing everything we were still so incredibly blessed! and I pray that they will also be blessed with the knowlege that I gained that Just being Lois Brown is enough...! There are more of course but those where the things that came to mind first when I read your post. Nice post and thanks for always giving us such amazing lessons to read!

I hope some of this made sense!

Elisabeth said...

Mona,
I loved watching your giddiness over the Presidential Suite. Too cute!
Well after having my first o.b. appointment today we are finally announcing we are pregnant with our third child! I am 9 weeks pregnant and although very excited about this pregnancy I am reminded once again how life altering (and challenging) having a child is. I feel spoiled for even mentioning this because I know many women who can not have children and how much they would love to have that challenge. And to be clear this is something we have wanted and prayed for. So I am hesitant to elaborate on the challenges I currently am feeling because I don’t want to sound ungrateful for the blessing that it is to bear children. But when you pose the question “what compensatory blessing do you see in your life” my first thought goes to the sickness and exhaustion that currently affects all aspects of my life.
I am trying to make sure I don’t resort to “positive thinking” or “looking to the silver lining” as you said but look deeper for the compensatory blessing. So what I realized is that when I am pregnant I truly enjoy and appreciate the sincere additional attention my husbands pays to me. Words of affirmation and attention are my love language so I truly appreciate that Christopher loves seeing me pregnant and tells me so often. In fact he says he thinks I am most beautiful in the later stages of pregnancy when in my opinion I am “as big as a house”. In addition I always feel drawn closer to my husband when in the delivery room and it is just the two of us going through a scary experience. It has always been unifying to go through together. So while I don’t always enjoy the challenges associated with pregnancy I do enjoy in exchange the tender considerate attention of my eternal companion.

Mona said...

Lois and Elizabeth! Both EXCELLENT!!!!! I love you so much for sharing.

Connie said...

You have a way of presenting thoughts that stir within me my own ponderings. I so appreciate your thought provoking postings.
For today, I have thought about how I don't and have never had a good relationship with my own mother but I do have very healthy, fulfilling, and close relationships with my own 2 daughters. I too have had disappointments in my life that I can now look back on and see that my view was pretty narrow as to what the Lord new I needed. It is so awesome to know that He knows us so much better than we know our own selves. Mercy and Grace I believe is what it is called.

Thank you so much for the CD's. I haven't had a chance to listen to them yet but I will in the next few days.

'Til next week,
Connie

Mona said...

Yes Connie. I too have been sad about family relationships, but as you say, the Lord has compensated me with very rich "replacement" relationships when I need them the most. I feel Father's love and personal interest in me when I contemplate the miracle of it all.

John and Laura said...

I thought of one today, after my experience this weekend with missing Time Out For Women. General Conference is approaching, and how much more important are those messages than the ones at TOFW. I know I will listen and pay better attention to Conference, because I missed out on the TOFW messages.

I loved your hotel suite. How fun!

Bri... only she said...

Momzie,

You were very cute in your debut as a tour-guide! :D

... and maybe it DOES matter where you do your yoga. ;) he he.

I remember feeling so betrayed, when I first applied to BYU (right after high school) and was not accepted. But hindsight is 20/20, and I am amazed at all the blessings that have come from staying in Vancouver. I have an Associate college degree, a deeper relationship with my family, I was able to learn from being in leadership callings (that I probably would not have had in a place as big as BYU), gained the valuable, marketable skill of interpreting for the deaf, and met my sweet friend Hannah, and best friend and husband, Grant Zabriskie! I could go on and on about my compensation, but I even now have ended up at BYU where I so longed to go almost three years ago. I feel extraordinarily blessed, and OVERCOMPENSATED.

Also, my most recent experience with being sick for a few months... I feel that I gained so much from that experience, difficult as it was. I learned how to rely on others' charity, but I also learned how to have faith when things are hard, and that all things work together for our good. I continue to learn what is most important and how to put the gospel and my family first, and to enjoy and count the many blessings I've been given.

Thank you for your post. It reminded me once again how truly full of gratitude I am. :)

Love you Momzie!

Bri Z.

TPlayer said...

You still teach me so much! And that video at the end totally made me miss my favorite seminary teacher!

Mona said...

Laura: Too funny! I must admit, it would stretch my thinking a little to find the good in a serious bout of flu!

Bri darling: Your examples are the most dramatic and obvious to me. It really is a head-shaker to think of what might have happened if Father had granted your WANTS instead of your NEEDS.

Tifani: I'm so glad to hear from you! If you're reading along (hurray!) why aren't you a registered follower? I'd LOVE that!

Olivia said...

Wow, Mona. You are an angel in my life.

I went through such a range of emotions watching your 'tour' video. The first being embarrassment on your behalf...because what if someone SAW you acting so giddy in the PRESIDENTIAL Suite. So posh, you know! You must act the part. Then I felt sad that I would feel that way. That if I ever had the opportunity to do the same that I would feel the need to put on a 'mask' and act important because, after all, only important guests stay there. Then I was giddy right along with you because, HELLO! It's the PRESIDENTIAL SUITE! How cool is that?

I was so glad that you showed me that it is ok to have fun; to show joy, excitement and girlish pleasure. Being a snob does no one any good. Acting important doesn't draw people into you. It's ok and GOOD to be happy and joyful and excited.

I try to hide this fact…but facts remain facts… I cry every time I think about Disney. To me it represents pure joy and it always has. Walt Disney himself was a visionary man who knew how to have fun and I am sure that he would have done the same thing as you in the Presidential Suite! I love Disney movies, music, parks, atmosphere, everything. The thought of going there soon makes me so happy and joyful I want to jump on my bed and squeal and run around the room. I know that I am going to have ‘high water tables’ at every turn there. I don’t think I will be able to contain my joy. It’s good to say that. It feels good to not be ashamed of my emotions but to embrace them. Thank for showing me that!

I have to admit something. While I truly was only available for the 2 days that I participated due to my brother’s wedding and out of town family and parties etc. I was very upset and hurt by what occurred during the ‘show’ and probably wouldn’t have come back anyway. I harbored such hard feelings over what had happened. Thankfully on that day the Lord saw the need and took care of me and my kids while I took care of my responsibilities to the ‘show’. My son who NEVER took naps fell asleep and remained asleep in the hallway just outside the ‘kids room’ the entire time of my duties and didn’t wake up until the last commitment was fulfilled. A miracle. Truly…that I have never once forgotten. My other son was so devastated and said to me, “I’m not available” in response to the rebuff he received from the ‘kids room’. I have never seen him so emotionally injured. But again the Lord saw fit to take care of him too. One of the stage mom’s saw our need and took him for ice cream and a new toy which they came back with and played with together until I was done.

Talk about a compensatory blessing.

Truly I held on to hurt, anger, pain for my son, etc. for some time. I had completely forgotten about it until some time ago it came to my mind again and those same angry, hurt, and painful feelings came back to haunt me. I was surprised by them! I had no idea I has such a capacity to hold a grudge. It was an ugly spot on my heart that needed some serious healing.

What I came to realize was that there was no anger to be had. I realized that what happened was out of necessity and not out of pride, stubbornness or haughtiness as I had before thought. Had I explained the situation further or had I not taken offense so quickly, arrangements could have been made that would have suited everyone. I however choice the lower road and suffered for it.

OH, I suffered.

But when I found this canker on my soul I did all that I could to cure it. I prayed and fasted and finally let go. Now I can think of it and not feel those un-Christ like feelings but I can look back at it and see what great lessons I was taught. I won’t go into the details of the lessons…yes lessons. But I will tell you this that I know it was a test and while I failed the first half I made up for it in the second have and pulled off an A in the end.

I can’t tell you how much this lesson was needed. And while you only played a very small role you were the catalyst to a very big change within me and I thank you for that. I am sorry, too for my bad attitude. I know that you held no grudge and I know that you are grateful for what I did and truly it was a crowning achievement for me in my life to be able to have done what I did. I am very proud of myself for not only the physical work but the emotional and spiritual work that also came from it.

…a mighty change of heart.

Mona said...

Sweet Olivia. What can I say except that I've ALWAYS been a BIG fan and am relieved you feel as you do. Good things (and good lessons) take time don't they? I know all your dreams (and Father's dreams for you) will come true.

Kristy Lynne said...

What have we been compensated with? Hmmmm. We have financial insecurity and have had it since just before we were married.

Surprisingly we have grown so much spiritually in the last five years of trials. I sometimes wonder-why be rich?

I don't know how it happened. I just know that I feel more deeply and understand more clearly.

I've also found a small amount of empathy for our savior mixed with a Large amount of gratitude to open my heart.

I know that many people get angry with people who are grateful for their trials.

I'm glad that you are grateful.

I'm also happy to be thankful for them too.

Kristy Lynne said...

P.S. You are darling as you show off your Presidential Suite! No wonder Sara Lyn smiles when she speaks of you.

pcNut said...

I’m grateful how these inspired posts cause me to reflect and grow.

The very thought of “compensatory blessings” tugs at my heartstrings. What causes me to weep isn’t the denial of certain “blessings” I want or the gift of “trials” undesired. It’s the dichotomy of feeling the pain of “pruning” (Jacob 5:5) woven with the beauty of what is really a merciful act!

How adoring and praising will I be when I see Father again, I can not say! Just the same, I am grateful to every angel who “nourished” or will “nourish” me in those most agonizing moments of growth!

I feel one of the greatest mistakes I have made as the Lord strives to “preserve” me is being ungrateful, thinking my “compensation” is inadequate. Truly, I have been, as Bri said earlier, and believe I will be, mercifully overcompensated. This is a matter of timing with perspective.

It would be a gross error to leave unacknowledged the compensatory blessings I received as a young woman through your leadership and mentorship. Thank you for loving me and serving me!
I love you.

pcNut said...

This great post reminds me of Elder Wirthlin’s talk from conference where he talked about the principle of compensation. “The Lord compensates the faithful for every loss. That which is taken away from those who love the Lord will be added unto them in His own way. While it may not come at the time we desire, the faithful will know that every tear today will eventually be returned a HUNDREDFOLD with tears of rejoicing and gratitude” (emphasis added).

pcNut said...

Thought on your Creative or Clueless post 3 weeks ago:

As some may already know, there is now a YouTube video called “Create,” based off President Uchtdorf's talk, “Happiness, Your Heritage,” which was quoted in the above mentioned post. I wanted to encourage fellow followers to view it as it was inspiring to me! Thanks.

Mona said...

Oh my friends! How I love you! I think we better rename this blog "Mona & Friends Musings"!!!!

PC: Thank you for the perfect Elder Wirthlin quote!!! Your own thoughts are beautiful and beautifully written. I really meant this Musing to be about the joy in blessings more than about trauma and trial but they go hand in hand, don't they? Without the adversity, we could hardly be aware of the Lord's love in our life.

Bri's brillant nod to "OVERcompensation" reminds me of King Benjamin's:

"And now, in the first place, he hath grated unto you your lives, for which ye are indebted unto him. And secondly, he doth require that ye should do as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do, he doth immediately bless you; and therefore he hath paid you. And ye are still indebted unto him, and are, and will be forever and ever: therefore, of what have ye to boast?" (Mosiah 2:23-24)

So, in actuality, we REALLY can't be "compensated" at all for anything since we're debtors from the get-go!

Mona said...

Kristy Lynne: Did you read my response to Serene? If you did, then you KNOW I understand financial stress over long periods of time. Your attitude is right on -- but again, I really believe it's MORE than attitude that we're talking about. It's what I hear in what you're saying: that a loving Father in very active in your life - protecting and nurturing you.

Rebecca said...

I only wish I have the time to read your entries from beginning to end---every one of them! But reading what I can touches me. I hope to be like you one day--and thankyou for caring about my little family's life. It means alot!

pcNut said...

Thank you for the proper persepctive on "compensation" with King Benjamin's words!

I love you!

Sara Lyn said...

I love the quote by Elder Wirthlin that Sarah brought up. When he said that, I began to cry because I know so many people who go through such HARD things. I am grateful for such a WONDERFUL God. I wish I could find a word that described Him well. He is the most everything good.

Before Elder Wirthlin gave this talk, I had an experience that most people would probably find silly, but it meant so much to me. My secret dream (I can't believe I'm sharing something so silly) is to be a dolphin trainer at Sea World. We had passes this last year and as I watched the dolphin showed I cried and cried both for the beauty and the desire to be a part of it. As I watched I distinctly felt "You were called to people in this life, not animals. But the Lord will make it up to you." I don't know if I'll ever swim with the dolphins, but I know that the friendships I have more than make up for it. Ever so much more even though it really is a strong desire. It helps me focus on my life's calling and not be too caught up in other things. It's not attitude. It's blessings! :)

Love you.

Sara Lyn said...

P.S. I was trying to reiterate what you said quoting King Benjamin and I don't know if it came out well. Wow! The Lord is good to us!

Mona said...

Sara Lyn: People's gain. Dolphins loss. :) Just IMAGINE the celestial possibilities!

Did I ever tell you my dolphin story? Hey! I think I'll write a musing about it!

Valerie said...

I just found your blog today and I will definitely be back to read more another day. How inspiring and uplifting your blog is. I don't know you, but it sure seems like you deserve something as wonderful as a stay in the presidential suite right on the water. How fun!

Sara Lyn said...

I love your dolphin story! I think of it every time I go to Sea World. :) I can't wait for you to share it again.

Larsen's said...

Mona,
I love your blog. I was waiting on Sunday night for it so I could read it and share it with my husband.
I have been thinking about compensatory blessings all week. Luckily, I have a husband who I can talk to easily and a mother-in-law that can easily out talk me any day on the subjects of the gospel.
I keep your words with me all week. It is funny that I was just waiting for your next blog. I really think you have a wonderful gift from Heavenly Father!

When I married my husband his family were really close...unlike what I was use to. I learned how to be a better mother from his mother's example, how to be a better daughter,and how to try to have a family raised with unconditional love.

I think most of us understand the financial struggles we go through. On many occasions I have had the "windows of heaven open,and bless our family" from a wonderful sister bringing bread and jam to my family,to actually finding money in weird places and/or finding an amazing deal on something really needed. It also helps to keep us humble! I would still like a lot of money...but we do what we can with what we have.

Mona, thank you so much for this post it helps me take a step back and ponder on the blessings I have and not for what I am lacking in life.

I also love the video of you showing off your amazing room.

p.s. Thank you so much for the Cd's I have listened to a little of the first one and am enjoying it! Good job on them! and thank you again.

Larsen's said...

One of my paragraphs got deleted...

I was talking about how being the only member of the church on my side of the family has been tough because I have not been able to share all the wonderful things that I learned to my mother and sister. It is hard when you want to share things and they don't understand but you want them to so bad.
Then after this paragraph is when I said that my husband is a great talker and listener and my mother-in-law can out talk me on all gospel topics.

Sorry that I left that out.

Mona said...

"Larson's": WOW. It's hard to believe that my little personal reflections are so valuable to you or anyone other than myself! It must be true of all of us --- that is why I am SOOOO grateful for the comments left by my follower friends here. I believe that each honest sharing is having an affect on other reader/followers.

Mona said...

Another friend sent by email:

I love reading your blog. Your messages are good.

My compensatory blessings:

We don’t have extra money but we are able to pay all of our bills each month.

My youngest daughter really struggled when I remarried and I was very worried about her, but now she just finished her GED and she is applying for scholarships and she is excited about going to college. She is doing great!

My first husband left me and I was devastated but the Lord brought me to a wonderful husband who is more than I ever could have dreamed for.
My husband works way too many hours in the day and he sleeps whenever he can, and I have enjoyed reading good books while he is sleeping so I can still be in the room with him.

My son joined the army at 18 and became an explosive ordinance demolition expert (Bomb expert). He spent 18 months in Iraq and took part in the exploding or taking apart of more than 1200 bombs. He was not physically injured. He learned how to knit and has enjoyed making hats, scarves and sweaters since then. He also learned about investing while he was there. He now is getting ready to start college and has all of his education paid for because of his service.

My walls are marked up but I have two adorable grandchildren.

There was a nasty windstorm on Sunday and a tree limb hit my front windshield while my car was going down the freeway. The window shattered and my car is not drivable. The Lord blessed us in that no one got hurt. The glass shattered but the limb did not come through the window and the glass did not fully come into the car. I look at it and think someone could have died, but the Lord blessed us greatly.

I probably could go on and on if I had time to think more about it, but I just know that the Lord loves me and blesses me daily and I am grateful for that.

marzee said...

39 comments!!!!! You're famous! I guess that's what you get for posting quality. I'm so impressed with the content and your persistence to keep it up. It's evident that the spirit/Heavenly Father is working through you.

I love this idea - of compensatory blessings. It truly is amazing how we are blessed in our trials. Thank you for bringing this knowledge to us in a new way - so that we could add it to our pot of gratitude. Thank you, thank you!

Mona said...

Marzee: "Pot of gratitude" -- I LOVE IT! Can I use that????????? You're a brillant lady. I love you!

The Fifes said...

Many things come to mind, but i'll just share one. We tried for a long time (not as long as many!) for our second child. But during that time, i changed my perspective. Instead of needing another child to fulfill me, i saw the preciousness of my firstborn. I was unsure if we would have any more, and chose to cherish every moment with him. It has strengthened our relationship, and now i just adore him. I will have a better relationship with him as #2 comes along soon, and know how to love and treat him. He is important to me.

The Fifes said...

Oh! And i forgot to say... i COMPLETELY understand your excitement about the hotel. When i was younger and our family traveled together, i was fascinated by the hotels we stayed in. In one of my elementary school journal entries, i spent pages talking about the amazing mirrored closet doors, and the massage feature on the bed (i think that was an 80s thing, cause i haven't seen it since) and all the other amazing things about the room.

So just saying, i understand. :)

Mona said...

Amber: How sweet is your experience. There's many a mom who will relate to what you are saying (desiring a second or FIRST child -- there is another comment along those lines...) and there's many a mom who had multiple births in quick succession who found THAT was a great trial as well. I love your discovery of the blessing in your personal situation!