Artwork by Breana Glasson

Pickle Juice

You wear a smile and enjoy a gift sent from God above,
I grab a jar of pickle juice and down it without love.
A happy day of joy for you and I run and get one more,
Drinking as I frown and close up heaven's door.
Your success brings my pain and I run yet again,
Getting one more jar of juice, as you celebrate your win.
My eyes are ever looking for the joy that I can't hold,
I find my discontent, then go where pickle juice is sold.
Stocking up my shelf I wait with watchful care,
For the next exciting blessing in which I cannot share.
My tummy feels upset and my heart aches with pain,
This pattern of discontent seems to carry little gain.
I look outside and watch as the children laugh and play,
Some have less, some have more but they all enjoy the day.
Why am I sitting here just waiting to be sad?
I could enjoy my blessings and let my heart be glad.
I look at my shelf lined with jars of juice,
And decide that it is time for me to call a truce.
I gather up my stock pile and throw it in the can,
I raise my eyes toward heaven, determined to take a stand.
Driving to the store I gather all I will need,
Chocolate, flour, eggs, they will help with my deed.
I sing as I drive, smiling at my plan,
I eagerly arrive and do all that I can.
Mixing and blending I create something unique,
Sure to bring a smile to any child's cheek.
I open up the front door and offer what I hold,
The neighbors smile with gladness as though I'm holding gold!
As I give of myself a peaceful warmth fills my heart,
I'm shocked to learn that happiness is found as I impart!

Written by Michelene Glasson

The Laborers in the Vineyard

This is a talk that has always stood out to me as important. I gave a lesson to the laurels many years ago and this talk was the focal point of that lesson. In this talk Jeffrey R Holland addressed the issue of envy in his own straight forward make you laugh, make you think, make you want to change way. He said, "Brothers and sisters, there are going to be times in our lives when someone else gets an unexpected blessing or receives some special recognition. May I plead with us not to be hurt—and certainly not to feel envious—when good fortune comes to another person? We are not diminished when someone else is added upon. We are not in a race against each other to see who is the wealthiest or the most talented or the most beautiful or even the most blessed. The race we are really in is the race against sin, and surely envy is one of the most universal of those. Furthermore, envy is a mistake that just keeps on giving. Obviously we suffer a little when some misfortune befalls us, but envy requires us to suffer all good fortune that befalls everyone we know! What a bright prospect that is—downing another quart of pickle juice every time anyone around you has a happy moment! To say nothing of the chagrin in the end, when we find that God really is both just and merciful, giving to all who stand with Him “all that he hath,” as the scripture says. So lesson number one from the Lord’s vineyard: coveting, pouting, or tearing others down does not elevate your standing, nor does demeaning someone else improve your self-image. So be kind, and be grateful that God is kind. It is a happy way to live."

If you're wondering if my poem Pickle Juice was inspired by this talk, the answer is yes. My experiences and this dear apostles words of truth came together last week resulting in this new poem. I'm thankful that as I struggle through life's difficulties, I can turn to the guidance of true living apostles of God. The outcome of my trials is changed for the better as I remember and apply their teachings!

It's A Hard Knock Life

Sometimes we may face real trials that can tempt us to compare our cross to someone else's. Neal A. Maxwell addresses this issue beautifully he said, "Patient endurance is to be distinguished from merely being “acted upon.” Endurance is more than pacing up and down within the cell of our circumstance; it is not only acceptance of the things allotted to us, it is to “act for ourselves” by magnifying what is allotted to us. If, for instance, we are always taking our temperature to see if we are happy, we will not be. If we are constantly comparing to see if things are fair, we are not only being unrealistic, we are being unfair to ourselves. Therefore, true enduring represents not merely the passage of time, but the passage of the soul—and not merely from A to B, but sometimes all the way from A to Z. To endure in faith and doeth God’s will, therefore involves much more than putting up with a circumstance."

The song we choose to sing can affect our journey and our joy. If we are determined to sing about the hard knock life we have been given, the trials that assail us may become larger and larger as we sing louder and louder. I love how Neal A. Maxwell teaches that we should accept what has been given us and magnify it. He is essentially telling us to quite complaining and start doing. This can be difficult counsel to follow escpecially if we have gotten good at singing a particular song. But I have found prayer and a soft heart, followed by study and a willingness to try bring positive change. Our Savior will grant us a portion of His strength as we turn to him in meekness and love. Jesus Christ can help us find a more hopeful song! We can begin to sing of a better day and to believe that day will come!:)

That I Might Draw All Men Unto Me

This is a really amazing talk that teaches the importance of not being like Laman and Lemuel. I remember grinning when this wonderful apostle spoke at general conference. I will never hear the words "childish whining" without thinking of this dear apostle of God.:) In this awesome talk Elder Renlund said, The difference made by our proximity to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ is illustrated in the Book of Mormon in the stark contrast between Nephi and his older brothers Laman and Lemuel: Nephi had “great desires to know of the mysteries of God, wherefore, [he] did cry unto the Lord,” and his heart was softened. On the other hand, Laman and Lemuel were distant from God—they did not know Him. Nephi accepted challenging assignments without complaint, but Laman and Lemuel “did murmur in many things.” Murmuring is the scriptural equivalent of childish whining. The scripture records that “they did murmur because they knew not the dealings of that God who had created them.” Nephi’s closeness to God enabled him to recognize and appreciate God’s “tender mercies.” In contrast, when Laman and Lemuel saw Nephi receiving blessings, they “were wroth with him because they understood not the dealings of the Lord.” Laman and Lemuel saw the blessings that they received as their due and petulantly assumed that they should have more. They seemed to view Nephi’s blessings as “wrongs” committed against them. This is the scriptural equivalent of disgruntled entitlement. Nephi exercised faith in God to accomplish what he was asked to do. In contrast, Laman and Lemuel, “being hard in their hearts, … did not look unto the Lord as they ought.” They seemed to feel that the Lord was obligated to provide answers to questions that they had not posed. “The Lord maketh no such thing known unto us,” they said, but they did not even make the effort to ask. This is the scriptural equivalent of derisive skepticism. Because they were distant from the Savior, Laman and Lemuel murmured, became contentious, and were faithless."

After listening to this talk and pondering my own feelings I wrote this poem. Like any writer you want to see the Laman and Lemuel like characters change. So in this poem the whiner gets up and moves forward, becoming happy and alive in Christ. I hope each of us will do the same. And perhaps we can be the hero that helps to lift someone else who is whining....;)

The Distance

As I stood afar off my heart filled with pain,
I felt alone and weary each footstep was a strain.
The sound of my murmur echoed loudly, it's unfair,
The melody of my suffering was the song that filled the air.
Others, seemed to flee from me as I sang of the wrongs I knew,
Their look of confusion and sorrow, only made me feel more blue.
I deserve more I thought, this isn't fair at all,
As I beheld life’s inequity my walk became a crawl.
Clearly as I languished aid should be sent to me,
I halted and laid down, there was no point you see.
I refused to move forward until someone showed me why,
My song of torment and suffering was a fervent steady cry.
As I lay on the path a stranger came and knelt by me,
He said you should look on the bright side, things will get better you’ll see.
Lifting me he smiled and pointed to the sky,
It's a beautiful day for walking, why don't we give it a try.
He helped as we walked, and he spoke to me of prayer,
He testified of our Savior and all that He does share.
My footsteps felt much lighter as my new friend lead the way,
I was strengthened by his kindness, by the words he chose to say.
The wrongs that had plagued me diminished as I journeyed on,
The melody of hope was now becoming beautiful, clear and strong.
My steps became cheerful as I began to sing of love,
Of blessings and possibility sent from God above.
As I sang of my Savior I saw a better day,
I now skipped with my new friend as we headed on our way.
The closer I came to the light ahead, the more hope burned in me,
My song of love now filled the air with a promise of what could be!
I glanced with a smile at the friend that God sent to me,
With tears of gratitude I said, dear friend my Savior lives in thee.

Written by Michelene Glasson

Tomorrow!

This is the song I want to sing! I love seeing her faith, hope and optimism amid the difficulty of her circumstances! So touching! May each of us look toward heaven and believe in better days. I hope the song we choose to sing every day will be one of faith and hope. And if at times we struggle to find our happy hopeful song; may we turn in faith to the God that gave us life. He will hear and answer our cry for help and through His holy Son grant us the strength to sing a song of hope again!:)