Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Forgotten Blessing

Yesterday, we got an interesting letter in the mail. The envelope looked like junk mail, but inside was a letter from Zappos stating that we had an unused credit of $184.00. We had completely forgotten about it.

Our second daughter was married in the fall of 2008 and my wife had bought some shoes then for the wedding. She tried and returned a number of pairs, leaving a credit balance. The interesting thing is that I have needed to buy dress shoes and tennis shoes or sneakers for weeks. I wanted to get a good quality pair of dress shoes, the kind that last for years rather than a few months, so I was working to save up for that, hoping that my current shoes could last until I could get the money together.

But then came this envelope. Out of the blue, it seems, the exact blessing I needed. My wife recovered our account and we were able to order a pair of Eccos and Nikes. Shipping was free and we wound up having to pay only $6.00 but that came out of PayPal where I had a credit.

I was amazed. Is this not a blessing? When help comes to you to meet a need, small or large, you feel blessed and watched over. That is how I feel today, and I deeply appreciate it.

Isn't it wonderful when Heavenly Father sends you a surprise gift?

Now I realize some of you would have no trouble just going to the store and getting whatever shoes you wanted. You are blessed as well, only in a different way. We are both blessed. Some are blessed to earn, some to create, some our blessed to forget and then to remember, just at the right time.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Church at Pine Valley


When we visited St. George in 2008, we vowed that we would attend our church meetings at the Pine Valley chapel the next time we came. It's been four years since we visited southwestern Utah as a family, and we kept our vow today.

Pine Valley is about 30 miles north of St. George, and about 4,000 feet higher. "Gunlock Bill" Hamblin, in search of a stray cow, came upon the lush valley, surrounded by mountains covered by pines, in 1855. He said of his discovery:
There stretching before me was the most beautiful sight I had ever beheld on God’s green earth.
Soon a saw mill was erected. In 1868, this chapel, one of the longest in continuous operation by the Church, was dedicated. Lumber was taken from the valley near that time and hauled north to Salt Lake City to build pipes for the Tabernacle organ.

The little chapel on the upper story could not hold all the visitors they had today, so we sat on folding chairs on the lawn on the west side of the building, and watched fast and testimony meeting on a flat-screen TV. It was the first time I remember taking the sacrament under the shade of a pine tree.

One woman who bore her testimony told of her mother who had died earlier this year at age 102 (the woman herself was 84!).  She said that she died with a current temple recommend. When her sister went to close her mother's bank account, she had one dollar left. Then the woman asked a pointed question: what will be of greater worth when you die, a full bank account with no recommend, or an empty bank account, a current recommend, and covenants made and kept. Got me thinking.

There was a remarkable peace in our meetings today. And a great spirit of reverence. A spirit of unity among strangers. The spirit of Christ. I was deeply moved just being there. 

If you are ever in the St. George area over a Sunday, and you want a spiritual treat, visit the Pine Valley Branch in Pine Valley, Utah. You'll have an unforgettable experience.