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.

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.

Social Distancing

I haven’t posted in months as I prepared to sell my house. It was a lot of work. The kind where I am popping Ibuprofen every 5 hours.

Then the Coronavirus hit, and life as we know it stopped. My busy Houston superb feels more like a post-apocalyptic movie where I will see a zombie. I haven’t gone for so many neighborhood walks since I moved out of Queens in 1992!

Everyday the sun continues to rise and set, and I ask Jim what day it is because it feels similar to every other day. We have had some wonderful, family spiritual moments and my house feels more sacred.

A Year Of Changes

2020 will be a year of change for me and for family. My husband, kids and I will be moving to Southern Utah this summer in hopes of less inflammation for me, while my brother, Mirna and my parents are moving back to the Pittsburgh Pennsylvania area. Mirna’s family lives in Queens, NY, so Pittsburgh will be a lot closer for her to visit them.

Just the thought of moving has caused me a few anxiety attacks, and I have to remind myself that God is guiding me and will help me overcome my challenges that I know will test my patience

New Orleans

A Cajun wedding parade

We explored the city of New Orleans on Saturday. As we walked to a restaurant for lunch we noticed one of the streets was blocked off. A few minutes later we heard band music and turned around and watched a couple holding fancy umbrellas march down the street. The people playing the music were dressed in a typical band outfit with guests from their wedding with them. After a Google search, I discovered that this is called a Second Line, where the newlyweds lead the band and wedding guests from the wedding to the reception hall. It was so fun!

The French Quarter

We also strolled around the French Quarter admiring the beautiful buildings that reminded me of Europe. The food was so delicious at the Red Fish Grill that my sweet friend suggested for lunch.

Angels

I know from personal experience that angels are real and have helped me numerous times. I’ve been protected from harm once while driving across the country, and often when panic threatens to overcome me.

This year has been such a hard one for me with my health problems. My anxiety and stress have been much worse then last year, but I’ve had earthly angels help me unexpectedly, such as stopping over my house with a hot chocolate mug with delicious a mint hot chocolate packet.

Today I will attend church with a brace around my neck and a heavy boot on my right foot. But I will be there! Even as I write this post my nerves are overwhelming me, but I’m picturing heavenly angels sustaining and loving me as I do my best to move forward in faith that everything will be okay in the end because God loves me.