Our New Life in Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, PA Incline

It has been hectic since we moved to the New Castle area. It’s been a difficult move; we even had to “live” in a motel for about 3 weeks!

The movers messed up a number of our belongings, although we found out that the people who were unloading the moving truck were hired from Craigslist. They carried boxes that were upside down and a lot of them were crushed. We’ve had to wait for electric, gas, and water. We don’t have an oven yet for either unit as we wait for Lowes to deliver them.

Jim and the kids live in half of the duplex, and Billy, Mirna and my parents live in the other half. We even have different addresses! I’m so grateful that our porch no longer looks like this. We still have many boxes to unpack, but at least the hardest part is over!

Moving to Pennsylvania

This is the week we are moving to New Castle, Pennsylvania where we bought a duplex. I’m looking out my bedroom window at the fountain and small lake as I write this post. Thoughts of losing this view are mixed with the new adventures coming my way.

This is gonna be a loooong drive from Texas to Pennsylvania, with Billy following me. Yikes! I will be praying from now until we pull up to our new home.

Miya’s Baptism

Elder DeCarlos, Miya, and Elder Fowler

Miya has been virtually meeting with missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for the past 6 weeks. On Saturday, June 27th, she was baptized by Jim.

Seth, Miya, Jim, and I

It brought back memories of my baptism when I was nine. Like Miya, I was completely immersed in water in my white jumpsuit, and then received the gift of the Holy Ghost. I have always known that if I am faithful, His influence will guide me daily. I did not know what that meant when I was nine, but I understand how acting on the promptings of the Holy Spirit can keep me close to my Savior.

Through Him, we are blessed with certain spiritual powers called gifts of the Spirit. “All these gifts come from God, for the benefit of the Children of God” (D&C 46:26). One of these gifts include the knowledge and truths of the gospel, so that we can bless others.

I am grateful for the gift of understanding people and how the principles of the gospel can apply to my life every day. When new trials come, I can pray and read the scriptures. I love to read: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering” (D&C 46:17).

One of my favorite teachings is when the Lord revealed, “If a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through is diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much more the advantage in the world to come” (D&C 130:19). The Lord has commanded me in my Patriarchal blessing to ‘learn of Him,’ as much as I can about His work. This is one of my goals this year through this blog; reflections of where I have been and where I need to go, so that I may receive knowledge from the Holy Ghost. I need His Spirit to speak to my mind and heart.
When Jim and I are out walking at night, I look up at the sky and see the moon, some stars and sometimes one or two of the planets. I know that there is a God. Alma, a Book of Mormon prophet, wrote, “All things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motions, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator” (Alma 30:44).

In the Gospel Principles book that is published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints which teaches about God. Since He is the father of my spirit, I call him Heavenly Father. Before I came to earth, I lived with Him and all of you. When He gave me the choice to come down here in a mortal body to learn, grow, and be tested through many trials that make up my earthly life, even though I do not remember it, I gladly accepted the offer and was born to my earthly mother. And I have learned so much already, but still have a lot more to learn about life.

Miya, her mom and sister

Texas and Covid-19

Just when we were about to fully open up, the numbers of Covid-19 cases in Texas have increased well over 5,000 cases this week. Last Saturday we went to Galveston and it was crowded with people who weren’t wearing masks.

We were due to return to church on July 5th, but that has now been postponed indefinitely. The level of sadness and frustration due to this virus may be felt until we come up with a vaccine that works.

Seth and Miya’s Wedding

My son Seth married his sweet girlfriend on May fourth in Galveston, Texas. They were married in a beautiful wedding chapel in a short ceremony by a very nice minister who told them that the couples he often marries are leaving on a cruise ship soon after for their honeymoon and wasn’t sure they were taking the time to realize the commitment they were making. They are a great fit for each other and I pray that they will always remember to turn to God during the storms of life. Because every relationship, especially marriage, needs the Lord’s help when life gets in the way.

What day is it?

I want this virus to go away already; it seems like we’ve been in isolation for a year now. Depression has me in its firm grip, so I ask myself what day of the week it is at least once a day. I’ve been planning to create a schedule for myself (which I HATE) by the day of the week so I’d have a better time remembering where in the week I am. I refuse to watch the news for more than a few minutes. I’ve been watching a DJ named Derek Floren every night but even that entertainment has waned. He plays music from his house and dances while the music plays and even sings with the tract. Quite a few women want to date him and they are nice to each other yet are competing for his attention. Even I did that for a while, feeding off of their emotions as an empath.

Someday life will return to normal, though it will feel different. It will take time for us not to view others as the virus and avoid each other. But that day will come.

High Anxiety

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I was on my computer this morning when Jim told me about a huge meeting with work through their business meeting room scheduled in one hour. We took a long walk and went to our favorite spot to watch the Geese as we pondered the consequences of him losing his job due to Covid-19.

Fortunately for the moment, they feel that he’s an essential employee. Our hearts are hurting for the ones who will be either laid off or put on Furlough for one to two months. I alternate between feeling anxious for everyone who lost their job (or will), and depressed about the amount of people who are sick or dying from this horrible virus.

1.) I’ve noticed a few good changes, though.

2.) My neighbors are waaay friendlier now. In fact, so am I.

3.) My husband and I have taken so many walks, we probably burned through hundreds of calories in each one.

4.) Our sons talk to us more often. They can’t see their friends, attend school, or work many hours.

We are still praying for a successful treatment for Covid-19 and that life will at least be functional again. Jim and I are taking an herbal supplement for stress, and I’m grateful for having my Zoloft medication; life seems crazy at the moment. Stay healthy!

Because Of Him

This Easter is unlike any other as we worship the Lord in our home. Because we have worthy Priesthood holders, we will take the Sacrament.

I’m grateful to my Savior, Jesus Christ, for atoning for my sins and dying for me. Because of Him, my sins are forgiven, and I can love my family and live with them forever!

I love the words in this hymn, He Is Risen: “He is risen! Tell it out with joyful voice. Let the whole wide earth rejoice.Death is conquered; man is free. Christ has won the victory.”

I hope you have a blessed Easter Sunday, as you reflect on the gift of His Atonement.

Unified Fasting

Tomorrow is Good Friday, and we are all invited by President Russell M. Nelson to fast for two meals, twenty-four hours, or whatever works (depending on health). This is something we do the first Sunday of every month as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

President Nelson proclaimed: “I invite all, including those not of our faith, to fast and pray on Good Friday, April 10, that the present pandemic may be controlled, caregivers protected, the economy strengthened, and life normalized.” The timing is perfect as we celebrate the day that our Savior atoned for our sins and died on the cross for all of us.

Fasting is difficult for me. My blood sugar drops and I get migraine headaches, so they are often modified. While I’m fasting, my body feels terrible, but my mind and spirit feel peace.The only thing I have to offer Him is my love and willingness to trust that He is in control of these uncertain times.

Building a temple in Pittsburgh!

President Russell M. Nelson

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints 190th Semi-Annual General Conference was my favorite one yet for several reasons. My family and I sat on our couch Sunday evening during President Nelson’s concluding talk. For many. many years we hoped and prayed for the announcement of a temple in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We didn’t expect this Conference to be the one where those two beautiful words would be added to the eight new temples. I screamed so loud that my dog Buddy jumped into my lap, thinking I was under duress. Jim backed it up so we could make sure we heard that correctly. So many of my friends who still live there were as excited as I was, and we shared our happiness on Facebook.

My mother, brother Billy and his wife, Mirna were attending the Houston, Texas temple several times a month. We took many names on my German grandmother’s side and finished the all of the female ones. I will admit, moving to Pittsburgh was gonna be tough for me. Not because I don’t love it, but the nearest local temple was in Columbus, Ohio. It would have been worth it for my son. Completely. Last week though, the Church announced that they are closing the Columbus temple for two years in August for renovations.

I don’t know when our temples around the world will re-open as a result of the Covid-19, but I was stressing about not having the chance for Billy to finish the last family name on my grandmother’s side, and imagining the planning it would take to attend a neighboring one.

We are so blessed to have a living prophet lead and guide us in these uncertain days, and am grateful to celebrate this Holy Week.

Moving To Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh at night. Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash

In January after a lot of discussion and prayer, Jim and I changed our destination from Southern Utah, to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Jim grew up there, and my family and I moved there from Queens, New York in October, 1992. It feels like home.

It’s where I met my amazing husband, Jim. We built a wonderful life and adopted our two sons there. Our extended family live in the area, so it made more sense to move back home, as they say.

We found an old home with 31 acres of land in a suburb north of the city that we are trying to buy, but my Texas home needs to sell first. If it weren’t for the Covid-19, I think this house would be under contract.

My Texas House.

Along with the rest of the country, we are staying home in isolation. We are praying for this pandemic to end.

The Power of Faith

Photo Credit: Greg Olsen

I’ve been tracking the Covid-19 updates,especially in the Houston, Texas area. The numbers keep going up, even with the social distancing. My parents constantly watch the news with their grim predictions.

To counteract my anxiety, I turn to my faith. I choose to believe that everything will be okay. I search my scriptures and follow the Lord’s living prophet, President Russell M. Nelson, who teaches:

“We live in a time of turmoil. Earthquakes and tsunamis wreak devastation, governments collapse, economic stresses are severe, the family is under attack, and divorce rates are rising. We have great cause for concern. But we do not need to let our fears displace our faith. We can combat those fears by strengthening our faith.”

I need my faith to sustain me or my anxiety will overtake me as I worry about people losing their jobs and their lives, such as my friends, family, and people around the globe. My heart hurts for everyone affected on a deeper level. However, this too shall pass. The Lord will bless us as we put our trust in Him.