The last day of September means it's General Conference this weekend, too. Yippee! Can't wait! I always feel like my batteries are recharged at the end of the weekend. Love. Faith. Energy to go forward with new enthusiasm. You can find it anywhere in the world at conference.lds.org.
September also brings to mind one of my favorite flowers - sunflowers. I had to give a talk to all the sister missionaries in the Washington D.C. South Mission this past Monday (hence, no blog that day). Here's a small part of what I said about sunflowers:
"If you've ever been in the West or the Midwest in the U.S.A. in September, you've probably seen sunflowers. They're native American flowers that grow by the side of the road, on hillsides, in fields, in gardens, and in gigantic sunflower farms in several states. They grow like weeds. Sunflowers are big, bold, bright yellow flowers with gold centers. Some grow on small, spindly stocks and their blooms are only a couple of inches wide. Others grow on strong, sturdy stocks that reach 12 - 15 feet in height. Their flowers can be a foot or two in width.
"I love sunflowers. They make me happy. They give me hope. They also give us sunflower seeds and sunflower oil, but that's not why I love them. In the fall in Utah, I go out on a hillside by our house and pick a big armful to take home and put in a vase. Their warm, sunny faces cheer up the whole house. But, mostly, I love seeing them in ditch banks and on the side of the road when I go for a morning walk with friends. I am fascinated by how sunflowers follow the light of the sun. Regardless of anything else going on around them - car traffic, bikers, walkers, animals, bad weather, or fire engines screaming past - those sunflowers have their faces turned toward the sun from sun-up to sundown. No matter what.
"Each fall, sunflowers remind me that I should keep my face turned toward the Son - the Son of God. Just like those sunflowers following the light of the sun, I am happiest when I am following the light of the Son. No matter what else is going on around me, I am O.K when my face is turned toward my Savior, Jesus Christ. I have a sense of hope and trust that keep me centered. No matter what.
"Hope in our Savior, Jesus Christ, gives us reason to rejoice even when we are struggling. Like the sunflowers, if we keep our faces turned toward our Source of Light, we receive the strength, the direction, the perspective and the blessings we need to overcome all trials that come our way. Our hope and our deliverance are in Christ. He is the only one who knows fully how to help us in our trials and struggles, because He already suffered each one of them in the Garden of Gethsemane. He knows us intimately. He is always waiting to help us if we will ask.
"Faith and hope in Christ overcome fear and despair. Because of the life and sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we can hope and be assured that the final result of our lives will exceed our grandest expectations. In I Corinthians 2:9, Paul bore testimony that '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.'
"I have learned many, many times in my life that these words are true. Even though the help has not always come in the way or at the time that I wanted it, it has always come in the way and at the time that was best for me. It always begins with a feeling of peace.
"Hope is an abiding trust that the Lord will fulfill his promises to us. When we have hope we can work through our trials and difficulties knowing that we are not alone. Things will work out if we ask Christ to walk through them with us.
"Don's (Dad's, Grandpa's) and my favorite scripture has always been Proverbs 3:5-6: 'Trust (or hope) in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.'
"With all our hearts and in all our ways -- in every part of our day, in every situation, in big challenges and in little irritations, even on cloudy, stormy days when the light is hiding behind the clouds, we can turn toward the light of the Son, like sunflowers." ~Pat~