Two Ceremonies

As I was standing in the staging area outside of the SNHU Arena, I recalled another ceremony exactly 2 years prior to the graduation ceremony I was about to participate in: I received my Endowments at the Seattle Temple on May 13, 2014.cropped-img_20130803_1422391.jpg

The trials put in my place before I could get to that point or this, where possibly more than another could bare, but God knows my strengths and He added to them with an abundant amount of support. In a blog piece on MaggieSlighte.com today I expounded on the trials that lead to my graduation ceremony, but I also want to reflect on the Covenants that are more sacred to me than any Temporal Bachelor’s degree. Those Covenants I made exactly two years to the day before my Graduation ceremony.

Twin Falls Idaho Temple
Twin Falls Idaho Temple

From the moment I saw a Temple for the first time, I felt God within it. I felt a reverence for the building that I could feel in Idaho Falls in 2011.  Knowing those who were not members (I didn’t know about the Recommend process at the time) could not enter, I was content to photograph it and say a brief prayer thanking God for the privilege of accidentally coming across the site and feeling His presence there.

On my present journey across the United States, whenever I felt doubts or fears or just needed to thank Him for His graciousness and guidance, I have been privileged to take in a session at a local temple.

wpid-wp-1441550340638.jpgIn Snowflake, Arizona, a dear friend suggested I take in a session the day before my divorce hearing. It was just the thing I needed. I calmed and remembered the promises I made to my Heavenly Father about my own behavior. I asked His forgiveness for my behavior that had been unseemly towards my soon-to-be ex-husband and the woman who seduced him in her dining room while I watched the previous spring. I was brokenhearted, but I felt the Comforter surround me as I begged for Heavenly Father’s forgiveness in the Celestial Room. The next day I was able to maintain my composure during a divorce hearing that favored my adulterous husband, leaving me without even belongings that I brought into the marriage.

I received guidance from the Holy Ghost to quickly get out of the small town where the hearing was held, and proceeded quickly to Texas. The Houston Temple was beautiful, wp-1492968409929.jpgand I took the opportunity to take in an early morning session prior to leaving Texas to head to Florida for a job I wasn’t quite certain about. Again, the Comforter was near and calmed my fears while I performed the ordinance work for my ancestor.

In Florida, near Ft. Lauderdale on the way back from The Keys, I was forced to seek medical attention at The Cleveland Clinic when a fierce asthma attack took my breath away. They hospitalized me for 36 hours for a “rule-out myocardial infarction” (heart attack). When I was given a clean bill of health (besides the asthma) the next thing I did was to visit the Ft. Lauderdale Temple that was located right around the corner from the hospital. I thanked my Heavenly Father for the Grace and comfort I felt during and after the stressful experience at the hospital. Then my friend Jacob and I were given the opportunity to meet and help out a few patrons with photos after my session.

20170323_132210_hdr-1.jpg.jpgI felt impressed to travel inland in South Carolina in search of information about my ancestors born in that area. I was rewarded with a visit at the Columbia, South Carolina Temple on the occasion of the anniversary of my own Baptism. There I was given the opportunity to attend a session as well as revisiting the Font for some of my ancestors.

I was impressed in Columbia to continue my journey into North Carolina in search of my mother’s family. I was richly rewarded in Rowan County with the original marriage bond from my 4th great-grandparents on microfiche. The most startling part of that was the fact that Solomon Richardson, my 4th great-grandfather, signed with an ‘x” indicating that he was, in fact, illiterate. I had always assumed that all of my family was literate, having come from very intelligent people. This discovery leant even more meaning to my graduation from Southern New Hampshire University on THIS May 13th. PicsArt_04-06-12.27.49(1)

South Carolina was the last Temple I have visited for a few months, but when the day of my second anniversary of holding my Temple Recommend coincided with the date of my graduation, I felt a subtle “nod” from my Heavenly Father. In my head I could hear the Covenants I made on that day, and thanked Him for the opportunity not only to make them, but to have the ability to attend the Temple as I traveled and allowed Him to have a clearer voice to guide me.

I KNOW I would not have had the communication with Heavenly Father to hear His initial suggestion to go back to school if I had not first made Covenants in the Temple, nor would I have found the fortitude to continue my education in the face of adversity without the regular visits to the Snowflake Temple that my dear friends made possible on a weekly basis.

I KNOW I could not have participated in the second ceremony, my graduation, if I had not participated completely in the first ceremony, my Temple Endowment.

 

 

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Four Years After Baptism

 

On March 23, 2013 I was baptized. March 23 of this year came around and I was visiting Columbia, South Carolina. It seemed a fitting day for a temple trip. After all, I was in the area hunting up ghosts of my ancestors.

During a middle of the night genealogy session spurred by The Spirit, I was reminded that one of my “brick walls” was my 4th great-grandmother, “Becca Wassin,” on my mother’s mother’s side. She had stated in her marriage record to her husband Solomon Richardson that she was born in South Carolina, but after several searches and reading more probate record archives than I would have liked from the mid 1800s (a rough awakening for this “northerner”); I could not find her family in South Carolina. Her marriage bond was found in Rowan County, North Carolina at the Rowan County main library,  but I could not tie her to any family in South Carolina to any degree of certainty.

The original marriage bond for Solomon Richardson and Becca Wassin

I decided to make an appointment for a baptism session for myself after my regular session. It proved to be a very spiritual evening to celebrate my milestone of 4 years in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


A few hours before my sessions, I recorded this video of reflection and testimony at the Columbia, South Carolina Temple. Enjoy

 

Day of Prayer

On March 6, 2013, I said a prayer. A short prayer, a simple prayer, THEN I acted on the impression I received. Since that moment, my life has changed significantly. Contemplative

Let me back up for a few moments. The year 2012 was a very full year for me. While I was travelling the country, I was aggressively pursued by a blogger who had made a name for himself in the world of my medicine, and he made no qualms about the fact that he wanted to add me to his “stable” of a wife and a mistress. After arguing it out more times than I can remember, it was his wife who finally begged me to “make him happy” by consenting to be his mistress after he had dumped the first one. After 6 weeks of living in hell with him while he abused me physically and sexually, I left in tears and tatters. I knew what I had done was wrong. But what I didn’t understand was what to do with my life after it had taken such a wrong turn. That wasn’t who I wanted to be. Not in the least. But HOW would I become who I could and wanted to become? Who was I? All I knew was that I was completely lost.

I had come to live in the attic of my mother’s house that she had abandoned about a year previous when my brother’s mess was more than she could handle. There was much work to be done to fix up the mess created during his drug binges and his “friends” who had done their share of robbing my mother blind. In the attic I found my peace. It was a place I could meditate and study. It was a private place I could pray. So, pray I did. I got down on my knees on the hardwood floor and asked my Heavenly Father how to come closer to Jesus Christ.

IMG_20130628_212140It seemed like a simple prayer at the time. However, the answers I was seeking weren’t at all simple to me. I had read some of The Book of Mormon, and I had read more of my Bible, but I didn’t know even where the local meetinghouse for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was in my area. I had never seen missionaries near my mother’s house. I had a few questions for them.

A few weeks before, my friend’s sister had taken me to a potluck at her Ward’s building in a neighboring community. They seemed nice. I liked the Spirit that was at the meal. But I wanted to know how to get to the church nearest me. So, I set about calling the number listed in Google for the meetinghouse (whose address was a mystery to me, not knowing the area very well and having no transportation at the time). I called many times during the 2 weeks previous to my prayer, but no one ever answered. (Apparently no one does answer the phones in the meetinghouses…personally I think they should all be forwarded to the Missionary’s cell phones!). If I had understood THEN what I know NOW, I would have got online and messaged an Elder at Mormon.org...but alas, I thought it would mean weeks or months of waiting (it ISN’T!) so I didn’t.IMG_20130630_082302

I DID pray. Four years ago, I had the faith to get down on my knees and ask HIM what I needed to do to become closer to Christ. Immediately, with a light in my heart brighter than the sunbeams coming through the attic window, I was impressed that I needed to take missionary lessons and become a member of a church I had NEVER ATTENDED!!! I had even taken upon inactive member’s offenses AGAINST the church because they were my friends! I had taken a lot of time saying negative things about this church that I was now being impressed that I HAD to join for my own salvation and that of my granddaughters!!

That being a lot of information to take in after a prayer, I immediately set out to call the only person that I knew who was an active member of The Church. My granddaughter’s other grandma. Mary answered the phone, and after she heard my account of my prayer and the answer I received, her immediate reaction was, “WHAT A TESTIMONY!!!!”

My reply reflected my ignorance, “What’s a Testimony? How do I get Missionaries to come and teach me more?”

My fears started to grow: I had been abused by men most of my life, since I was an infant; HOW could I allow men to teach me about Christ? Those fears and so much more were answered when I answered the doorbell, less than 30 minutes after my call to Mary. In front of me stood two of the most beautiful young women I had ever seen in my life. They glowed with the light of the Gospel of Christ. They GLOWED with the Holy Spirit.

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Sisters Lloyd, Slighte and Johnson on March 23, 2013

It took me a few weeks, but I was Baptised on March 23, 2013. Today marks 4 years since that day of prayer. I feel more strongly than ever the best thing I ever did was to pray…and ACT on the impressions I received. I have a home, now, everywhere I go: watch my Testimony here!

Testimony of Forgiveness

Today I bore my testimony.  My Testimony of God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. I bore my testimony that They LIVE and give me guidance every single time I ask. But I didn’t say those things.

Those words stayed locked inside of me as I thanked the Manchester Ward of the Bremerton, Washington Stake for their love and prayers during this season. This crazy but yet Testimony-strengthening season.wp-1483916238228.jpg

It started quite some time ago. My first divorce, started six years ago, was full of drama and pain for not only myself and my husband of 22 years, but also for our three children. I was not at all charitable in my actions towards him in my pain.

Three years after that, while I was searching for answers of a deep and eternal type, I was Baptized and Confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

About four months after my Baptism, I was impressed to message my ex-husband, Bruce, and tell him “I forgive you, please forgive me.” A very short, but meaningful sentence to me, to us both. He messaged back, “yes, I forgive you.”

This December, while Bruce lay in the hospice ward of a hospital on Christmas, we were able to spend time together that would not have been possible if I had not followed that impression four years ago. Bruce had not been in the country for a few years, so we had no communication at all during my last short marriage.  When he returned, he had sustained further strokes and had difficulty communicating. This was the week before Christmas.

wp-1483916224009.jpgIt was a blessing to be able to visit with my first ex-husband on Christmas day. We spoke about our children and looked at photos of his parents and grandmothers who had preceded him across the veil.

It was a Christmas when I felt my Testimony of Christ. I felt God’s hand in His timing of Bruce’s passing. He held on for two more days after Christmas.  I am so thankful to my Heavenly Father for bringing me back to spend the time with Bruce and with my daughter during her grief.

I know that my Heavenly Father loves and cares for me in ways I have no way of comprehending at this time. I know it was He, through the Holy Spirit, who guided me in my travels back to Washington to be with my family. I know it is He who will be with me every day of my life yet to come. wp-1483915609839.png

I leave this Testimony with you in the name of Jesus Christ.
Amen.

 

The Car That Ran on Prayer

(This story is published as it was submitted for a grade in an advanced writing class…I also wanted to share it with all of you)

I had planned to leave a week in advance; I had planned to rent a car. I had also planned to come back home after the twins were baptized. I didn’t plan leaving my husband at his behest. I didn’t plan to divorce him. But nothing went as planned.

The First 24 Hours

1433511313573My identical twin granddaughters were finally turning eight. I had waited for this moment since I was baptized 3 years earlier. The prayer I said, the impressions received, all the events leading up to my joining The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints had included feelings that I was somehow important to their spiritual progression. This was the year, in keeping with our Church’s beliefs that the age of 8 is the age when a person is able to understand right from wrong, they would have the opportunity to be Baptized if they desired. I had promised them in the baptismal font after my own that I would be on the other side when they entered the waters of Baptism.

The girls, Alice and Rayden, were to turn 8 on the 18th of July. But on the 22nd of June, my husband and I had quite the argument. Like many before, it ended with him walking away. This time he didn’t come back until I was packing my things for the trip to see my granddaughters. He had been given a fixer-upper 1983 Volvo, and wanted to give it to me for my journey. The intent was that I would not be returning home right away, but would take a couple of months to visit friends and family in Western Washington, while he and I worked out our differences through distance. Although I kept getting feelings of car failures (a very big anxiety trigger for me), I accepted the opportunityimg_20160630_124613649_hdr to be away from Arizona for the monsoon season and I really missed my friends and family in Washington. I was definitely D.O.N.E. being anywhere near my husband, even to accept the generous offer of a vehicle.

The fight had been like none other. Having a disorder that many know as Multiple Personality Disorder, but is listed in diagnostic manuals as Dissociative Identity Disorder, I have lost many memories through the years into separate places of my brain. Some I have “co-consciousness” with, others I do not. The personality holding this memory is not one I have access to. I believe my husband, when he contends I said some awful things. However, I do understand what set me off: It took four “NO”s for him to understand it didn’t mean “yes” and finally got off of me. He knew I am a multiple rape survivor, it is part of the cause of my diagnosis, I can only imagine WHAT my “alter” (personality) said to him about it. Some of them (“alters” or “alternative personalities) can be very protective.wp-1481653863200.jpg

I cancelled my rental car and awaited the days until we could pick up the car from the mechanic who was replacing the distributor and timing belt. Originally scheduled to pick up the rental car and leave for Washington on Tuesday, I was packed and ready to leave. On Wednesday and Thursday I lived out of my packed suitcases and the few cans of food that I could open and eat without making too much mess. I didn’t want to be in Arizona, I wanted to be on my way to the granddaughters. When I looked at the photo of our wedding on the wall, I just cried. I put the framed photo into the cupboard, he could take it back out when he came back. If he wanted to.

wp-1481653871425.jpgEach day that passed while we awaited the distributer being shipped from the east coast to our remote area in northern Arizona, him in the little RV that we had fallen in love in, me five miles away at the newer 5th wheel where he abandoned me and our dogs and cat. The few messages between us were curt and short, but he agreed to help me pick up the Volvo: I would drive my friend’s truck to the mechanic, then he would drive the Volvo to her house to drop off the truck. Now, if we could only be in the same place without arguing, it would be a miracle.

Today was Friday, the twins would be eight on Monday, I had to get to Washington, but would it happen?

On the way to the shop early in the morning, the absence of a radio in the truck was painfully noticeable. It was a sunny day in the White Mountains of Arizona, but the mood between my husband and me was as dreary as Seattle in November. Conversation was forced and wp-1481576387510.jpgdifficult. My pulse raced with anger and words I dare not say, after all, he was giving me a car.

Back at the little RV which was closer to main roads for staging purposes, Keith helped me pack not only the things I would need on my visit north, but also those important things I couldn’t leave behind in uncertainty. Contained in three sealed boxes were six years of journals, my most prized possessions: books to be written. The boxes were heavy in the back center of the large Volvo trunk. The suspension needed to be replaced, but there wasn’t the money for that. The rest of my belongings, as well as 40 pounds of dog food for my 5 year old service dog, Athena, stuffed the trunk. Provisions for the road purchased on sale to avoid the temptations of truck stops filled a small cooler on the floorboard of the passenger seat, as well as the seat itself. Vitamin and “Smart” Waters, “natural” and healthy varieties of vegi chips, jerky, dried fruits to replace my craving for Gummy Bears and a few treats would be my sole diet during the trip. Bedding and two suitcases competed with Athena and her necessities in the back seat. The Volvo was stuffed to the point of dragging on the non maintained road I had to navigate to drop my husband off before leaving Arizona. By this time it was dark

wp-1481653839337.jpg“Keith, there’s a weird vibration somewhere near the tire in front of you, can you check it out?” My husband hated getting under cars, after having one collapse on him while working in the heat in Phoenix; I hated to ask him to do it, but I didn’t know what I was looking at. At least he was trained as a mechanic.

He agreed to look, but said he could find nothing that would explain the issue. I was frustrated, but he and I were not communicating so I let it be and left him with a hug and many tears.

The ride in the rural area of Eastern Arizona up to Interstate 40 was a peaceful one as it approached midnight. Cranking the music on the FM radio, I easily found a country song that I could sing and cry to. The country music singers that had romanced one another and married while Keith and I were doing the same, were now getting divorced. The tears fueled the accelerator. But the weird vibration continued in the area of the left front tire.wp-1481653900787.jpg

I filled up my gas tank in Holbrook before getting on Interstate 40, a quick call back to my husband brought back anger, frustration and tears making me wish I hadn’t called. Athena did her business and wasn’t interested in drinking water. She and I had made several trips between Washington and Arizona these last couple of years; If the car was this packed, and Papa wasn’t with, it was likely to be a very long night of driving. No matter how many times I would prompt her when we travelled, she hated eating. It was a sore spot between us as a service partnership. But tonight I let it be. We had spent enough time in the past 5 years together for me to understand that I wasn’t going to change her mind, and I was only going to frustrate myself trying. I got back into the car and proceeded to the interstate.

wp-1481653833090.jpgAs I drove on interstate 40, it was apparent to me that my vehicle had been manufactured in the 1980s, the highlighted speed on the speedometer was 55, but the analog clock on the dash still worked! As I attempted to get the car up to the speed limit of 80mph, I decided that might be a bit optimistic, and settled for a easy 70ish. It felt better.

The roads were dark, and the absence of passenger vehicles giving way to the night traffic of semis made the drive seem easy. I passed Winslow and approached Joseph City, the lights of the power plant lit up the night but were all too quickly gone leaving not a street light or peripheral glow to be had from the dark reservation lands.

“BANG!!!!” I felt the car lurch to the right. A blow out? But these tires were new!!!! I got the Volvo to the right side of the road, but was completely unfamiliar with where the hazard lights were. In the darkness, I reached for the glow of my cellphone plugged into the cigarette lighter, no longer charging with the ignition switch off. It was just after 1 a.m.. What could I do? How could I get to the jack with the trunk packed so full? Athena felt my anxiety rise and tried to get through the blankets packed around her to do her job, comforting me. The low glow of the cell phone didn’t do much to sooth a childhood full of fears of the dark, I curled up, hand on Athena, to nap until there was at least a glow of the sunrise to come. I knew the light would wake me. The car shook with every passing semi and I stifled my anxiety hugging Athena closer and closed my eyes.

On the Roadwp-1481653817885.jpg

As I expected, I awoke when a glow of predawn light was just beginning to approach the horizon. I took my cellphone as a flashlight and went outside to assess the damage. Sure enough, the right side front tire was as flat as a pancake. And it still had the little rubber nibs on it from it’s newness!!! Flabbergasted, I went about unpacking the corner of the trunk where the tire and jack was located. I uneasily rolled the sun worn and cracked spare to the side of the car. There was not enough clearance under the car for the bottle jack that I had. I went back to the trunk, there was another jack, a simple one that hooked onto the underside of the car… only it couldn’t hook either: There just wasn’t enough room.

Crying in frustration, not even 60 miles from a place I didn’t know whether to call “home” anymore and 1,600 miles from my destination, I returned to the driver’s seat, the only free spot in the car to sit, folded my arms and prayed.

Within a few moments, I was surprised and pleased when I saw a Arizona Highway Patrol Woman’s lights on as she pulled in behind me. She got out of her car, then I got out of the Volvo, went over to the side where the tire was flat and started explaining the situation.

Without missing a beat, she pulled out a large floor jack from the back of her vehicle and together we changed out the bad tire for the spare. I was horrified when I saw the inside of the tire: It was completely shredded. I had picked up something jagged and it tore up the tire once we hit freeway speeds.

The Patrol Woman offered to give me an escort back to the Winslow Walmart which was the closest tire shop, since we both agreed the spare was not in shape to tolerate highway speeds. I was happy to have her lights behind me, doing about 50 mph, as I limped the Volvo back to Winslow.

Athena and I walked in the morning sunshine as a tech at Walmart img_20160717_113831845_hdrreplaced the tire, but the July Arizona sun quickly warmed up to the point of being uncomfortable and we sought cooler temperatures in the tire shop waiting room inside the store. The television caught my attention: having lived off-grid for the past nine months, the bright colors and shapes and loud noises from an animated children’s show were almost shocking. I, or at least some of my younger alters, were enjoying it though and were quite in shock when I glanced down to Athena and saw a spot of blood on the floor.

Really? You go into heat the DAY we try to leave Arizona?! My failure to have my service dog fixed tended to be a topic of discussion far too often for my preferences when it was all based in my own PTSD about the medical profession. She was also a second-generation service animal and I toyed with the idea of breeding her once before that surgery. I just hadn’t had the opportunity or the stability to follow through with that yet. Blood, yuck. I wiped it off with my shoe, hoping the few people coming in and out of the waiting room didn’t see.

wp-1481576382617.jpgOnce the tire was on, we headed out again. Passing our night’s pitstop, I almost felt okay, but there was an odd apprehension still present in my stomach.

Busy traffic has bothered me more and more the farther away from it I have lived. I LOVE backroads. I detest busy freeways. The intersection of Interstate 10 and Interstate 40 in Flagstaff has to be one of my least favorite places to drive. A complete and sudden stop of the car as it lost electricity and power at exactly that location was the last thing I thought I could handle. As my hands shook and tears ran down my face, I called 911. “My car stopped. It just lost power and stopped! I’m at the intersection of Interstate 40 and Interstate 10.” My voice broke as I relayed the information to the operator. They would have an officer to my location asap.

The officer came, then Athena and I waited over an hour in the hot sun by the side of the busy freeway with the officer in his air-conditioned vehicle, we stood as far from the cars speeding by, for a tow truck.

wp-1481661366609.jpgWhen we arrived at the repair shop where the tow truck was based from, Athena growled. Not sure what she was attempting to communicate with me (she tends to growl when I need to put myself into a chair before my legs become unusable), and under an enormous amount of anxiety, I first responded to the person behind the unkempt counter who was explaining they didn’t work on foreign vehicles, only american-made. He was not impressed at my “service dog” growling and told me in a very gruff manner that the two of us could wait outside.

I cried and got caught up in my struggles with my own brain. Round and round. But I KNEW I had to be in Washington!! Suddenly, after saying yet another prayer, I heard the Holy Spirit, “don’t you think He knows you made that promise?” “Don’t you trust Him to get you where He wants you to be?”

Mathew 21 22Humbled, I called my Bishop again, seeking reassurance. He offered to speak to the men who operated the shop. They finally agreed to look at the car, being very emphatic that it was “$65 just to look at it and [they weren’t] promising anything.”

A half hour later, the men that had yelled and cussed at Athena and me all day long, informed me that my problem had been a fuse. They had also found a gas leak that was fixed with just a tightened part. I felt absolutely relieved. That awful feeling was finally gowp-1481661334579.jpgne.
As we headed out from the shop, I had the impression not to get back on interstate 40 but to take another route through Utah and Idaho: That route proved to be a little faster.

On Monday afternoon right about 3 pm I drove the Volvo into my granddaughter’s driveway. My mother was just pulling out, having come to celebrate her great-granddaughter’s birthday. She was shocked to see me. My mother and I haven’t had the easiest relationship for my first 50 years of life. The last time I had messaged her was in frustration from the Flagstaff mechanics. I hadn’t thought to let her know the situation had been resolved.

wp-1481661417482.jpgThe girls came running, not recognizing the vehicle, they had to see who it was that came to visit them on their birthday. Their other grandma, Mary, a woman who stepped up to be their mother-substitute when both of our children failed in the parenting department, was in tears. She had no idea I would actually make it.img_20160731_144450871

While I passed off my smart phones to the children to photograph their lives and the event of their birthday, Mary and I had a chance to speak. She hadn’t had an opportunity to purchase gifts for their birthday. Overwhelmed with the expenses of raising the three daughters that her daughter and my son had left to her raise, gifts were not in the budget.

I made plans with Mary to visit later in the week and I handed her some cash I had left from gas money I was given. She cried. I cried more. When I started the trip, I had no idea if I would have enough money for gas and expenses; I didn’t know if I would make it to Washington. However, I had received some unexpected funds from an anonymous source in the Snowflake Temple where I volunteered in the office. Those funds went to the girls for their birthday. It was a blessing unexpected by any of us.

He is Always in Control

The summer was marked by challenges with the Volvo. Although it had run without issue to get me to the twin’s Baptism; I struggled with a variety of electrical issues with the car throughout August. While attempting to regularly visit the granddaughters between visits with friends, I was forced to replace the alternator. The Volvo and I had been separated for a week while that repair was performed, and I was happy to have it back on a Friday. That Sunday I anxiously prepared for church. The drive from the friends home where I was staying, to the granddaughter’s church was almost 2 hours. I allowed two and a half to be safe. But when I went out to start the car, it wouldn’t even TRY to crank.

img_20160720_153852079_hdrMy hair wet from the shower and twisted on top of my head held with bobby pins, my skirt and blouse fresh from the dryer; I tried not to cry. I didn’t feel as anxious as I expected to. Once again sitting in the driver’s seat I folded my arms to pray. Immediately I felt impressed to wait for my friend to wake and ask her to take me to the local Ward building for services instead of travelling to my granddaughter’s Centralia Stake CenterWard.

I went back inside the house and messaged Mary with the disappointing news: I wouldn’t be able to see her or the girls that day, we would have to wait until I knew what was up with the car this time. She understood but was disappointed. She liked having support keeping all three girls somewhat in control during the Sacrament service.

I sat and waited for my friend to awake. When she did about an hour before the Sacrament service was to begin, I asked her for a ride. Her multiple sclerosis was acting up and she didn’t feel comfortable driving, but experienced a feeling she needed to allow me to borrow her father’s truck. Her dead father’s truck that NO ONE else EVER drove. I was shocked, so was she. But I took the keys and headed over to the address indicated on the app from my church for the local Ward building.

I got to the building, but there were absolutely no cars in the lot. Not a one. Mormons all know that if there are ZERO cars in the local meetinghouse parking lot on a Sunday morning, that means there is a meeting called a “Stake Conference” at a larger building in what is called a “Stake” where several “Wards” meet together. Usually during Stake Conferences officials from the head of the church visit and give special messages to those areas. I decided to drive over to the Stake Center to see who might be visiting.

When I got close to the Stake Center, a building known as the Mullinex Building, off of Mullinex Road, I witnessed cars parked up and down the main road. Wow, I wondered who might be here. A small still voice inside of me impressed me to go to the back parking lot, there was a parking spot for me. Ignoring a packed front parking lot and cars parked up and down the main and side roads, I drove to the back lot. There was an open space right in front. I parked and got out with my notebook and pen ready.

As I walked in the door of the Stake Center I asked a mom walking a fussy toddler, tilting my head to the side, questioning, “general authority?”

She answered with a smile that lit up her face, “President Nelson!!”
President Nelson was set apart as the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints last year, and is the “next in command” in respect to the leadership of The Church. I was VERY anxious to hear what he had to say! The fact that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to hear him at all if the Volvo had started, was not lost on me. I sat down in back, notebook in

russell-m-nelson-large
President Nelson

hand, and anxiously awaited his talk.

President Nelson left his notes and scriptures at his seat and stated that he was speaking from the Spirit, the Holy Spirit. His words were full of suggestions about teaching our children the scriptures. I was anxious to share them with Mary and the girls. But was reminded that there was something wrong with the car again.

I returned my friends’ truck to her and excitedly messaged Mary with the information about President Nelson’s visit. We exchanged frustration about the car, but I shared with her that I, oddly, didn’t feel panicked about it.

Two days later, I prayed again to know what to do about the Volvo. Immediately I was impressed to rotate the fuses: I did so, the car started right up.

Returning to Not-So-Home

img_20160808_145106318I waited to leave the northwest until after I had the opportunity to celebrate my grandson’s birthday in early October. After all, what kind of grandma travels to the granddaughter’s birthdays, but leaves before the grandson’s?

Communication throughout the summer between Keith and I had been strained at best, punctuated at times by unfriending on social media and refriending but limited conversations. I kept hearing rumors that my husband was calling another woman “wife.” The thought nauseated me, but most of my possessions and the dog and cat I had left with him were there… and the plan we had made with our ecclesiastical leader to work on our marriage kept going through my head. I had to go back. I promised all of mwp-1481661324880.jpgy friends in Arizona I would be there for my 50th birthday.

Despite the “thunk” that reminded me of the “Harley thunk” that you hear and feel when putting a bike into gear, I heard from under the Volvo when I put it into gear, I prayed for the car to stay together to make it to Arizona and packed it with all of my belongings (minus a forgotten suitcase) and Athena with her six – 2 week-old puppies in the back seat.

I asked a friend’s friend in Grand Junction, Colorado, to look under the car when I arrived. In Oregon the muffler had fallen and was dragging when I got off the freeway for a gas stop. Although I had a shop wire it back up, I was troubled by the noises and vibrations under the car since. It was less than 8 hours to drive to my destination, but I kept feeling like something could be horridly wp-1481661329623.jpgwrong.

The certified mechanic was troubled by what he saw under the car and encouraged me to stay in Colorado to have it fixed or at least to fully evaluate the situation. I felt strongly about my timing. I wanted to go to church back in Concho. I wanted to be with my friends. I needed to see my husband.

The mechanic tightened what he could see in the darkness, and handed me his number to call if I had any problems. I had decided to head out at night to keep the seven canines asleep in the back seat. The puppies were too young to need to be taken care of except by their mom and in the darkness Athena slept peacefully. We headed into the darkness.

img_20160717_212335761Stopping only briefly for gas and for me to pee and rest a few hours, we arrived in Arizona as the sun was breaking. The vibrations were fairly stable underneath the car until about 50 miles north of St. John’s, Arizona. THUD!!!! Something hit the bottom of the car close to where the seatbelts connected in the center front seat. The entire car vibrated hard with every acceleration. There seemed to be some sort of exhaust leak. Every time I accelerated, a THUD THUD THUD shook the entire car… my heart pounded as loud as the THUD.
In a panic, I called my friend Amy and asked her to pick up my husband (to check the car out) and meet me in St. John’s, about 15 miles from my destination. She agreed.

Relieved, I finally pulled into a gas station in St. John’s and waited for Amy and Keith. When they arrived the uncomfortable mood between he and I seemed even worse than when I left Arizona. He got out of Amy’s truck and held his arms out expecting a hug, I looked at him with confusion: he hadn’t even called me in a week.

The uncomfortable situation continued as he looked under the car. When he got out, he announced that the exhaust was busted probably because of a broken transmission mount. I asked him to ride with me in case of any mechanical problem. Each mile I regretted that decision.

We parked the car at a friends’ who had a garage and who did most of the mechanical service work for the church, and I decided to spend the night camping out at Amy’s land.
When I arrived at church the next day, I was overwhelmed with friends who had to ask how the visit went. They all described praying for the car to work. I thanked them all for their prayers. But even then I had no idea how much their prayers had been needed.
The next few weeks saw my husband’s lies unfolding: I was confronted by retail shopkeepers who were confused I was still wearing my wedding band while my husband was introducing another woman as his wife on not one but two separate occasions. I filed for divorce. He filed a restraining order keeping me from my property, animals, clothing and personal belongings. My heart was as broken as my car.

20161110_112428_hdrWhen I had an expert look at the Volvo, both the mechanic and I were absolutely shocked by what was found: The Volvo needed 3 new U-joints and a new carrier bearing cushion and carrier bearing. He stated that he had never seen a driveline in that bad of shape that hadn’t been severed. None that hadn’t been in an accident.

After the car was repaired with donated labor (over 10 hours) and parts that I scraped up the money to purchase, it was time to return to Washington. The pain of watching my husband, still my husband, cavort around the tiny community and our church with another woman while we went through the legalities of a divorce was too much. I had to return to Washington. I prayed the car would make it 20161110_112614_hdragain, my friends prayed with me.

The fact I have driven over 5,000 miles, so far, in a car that ran on prayer is something I thank God for each and every day. He guided me and through the Holy Spirit impressed upon me where He wanted me to go and He made certain I got there safely. He has also impressed upon me that perhaps I need to find a more reliable vehicle very soon. I’m working on that part currently.

 

Music Moves My Soul

I was born into a family that appreciated music. Everyone played something or sang, or both. On family trips, no matter who we were travelling with; the music was always cranked loud and everybody sang.Grandpa and Me Makin Music

As a small child, I loved singing with both my mother and father. My little brother grew into a fabulous bass voice when he matured. Together we enjoyed playing with harmonies.

Although my parents divorced when I was very small, music was a constant in both of their households. I remember watching the Osmond Show as a little girl and thinking Marie was country like my mom, and Donny was rock and roll, like my dad.

My Dad in the 1960sMy dad was stuck mainly in the 50s and 60s with his rock and roll. Elvis was a favorite with both of my parents. A fact I found curiously entertaining as a young girl witnessing their differences.  I couldn’t imagine them listening to music together, but I listened to the same songs in each of their homes.

My mom loved country music. Tammy Wynette taught me how to spell the troubles that my family was experiencing with so many others in the early 1970s.

My own musical tastes followed both of my parents as a child. I was often seen and heard dancing and singing around my parents’ homes to whatever they had on.

My first personal music collection began on 8-track tapes. I received a player and a gift certificate for 4 tapes at a local music store on my 10th Christmas. I picked out ABBA, Steve Miller Band, Jim Croce & The Carpenters.

As I grew into a teen, I soon left my school choir performances behind and began performing guest vocals with bands who were made up of friends, and a ID that said I was 20 years older than I was. I loved music. I loved to dance and sing.

My personal music collection expanded to include every type of rock, hard rock and heavy metal. I also enjoyed any and every alternative or female artist. A few country songs drifted into my collection, but the majority was on the very hard side.

When my children were young, I tried to encourage their musical My Oldest Son & Me October 2010interests. My oldest son took up a genre of music that I had actually attempted to keep out of our home when he was a child. He is currently pursuing a career in the Southern California Rap/Hip Hop music scene.

My second son took up the guitar, bass guitar and vocals. As an adult he has experimented with other instruments as well.

My youngest child, my daughter, took up the violin at age 8 and fell in love. A child born with perfect pitch; she has a beautiful voice that only falters as much as her confidence.

With all the music in my life, I was looking forward to dancing when I was invited to my first Mid-Singles LDS dance. It was even a theme: 50s.

Centralia MeetinghouseIt was late spring, I had recently been baptized. When I went through my music collection during my repentance and baptismal times; I was unforgiving. Any lyrics that encouraged feelings in me that were not Gospel-centered were deleted off of my hard drive.

I had replaced much of my music with young adult LDS downloads from LDS.org. A Sister teaching the Young Women gave me a CD. I also listened to Gospel country music. Even though many of the Gospel ideas within them were erroneous to my beliefs; praising God was much better than traveling down an audio Highway to Hell.

When I entered the dance at the Stake Center building, I was surprised at both the music playing and the atmosphere. It was completely contradictory to the Standards of Youth card I had come to carry in my wallet. The lights were all darkened to the point I couldn’t see people’s faces well and the music was more than a little on the “racy” side, and only a few 50s songs. The DJ was a young person who was not a member of the church. DSCN2853-001

As the lyrics of the music began to disturb me more and more; I escaped into the foyer to read The Book of Mormon that was placed there. Having come with a group, I couldn’t leave. But I wanted to.

When I inquired about the music, I was told that no dances have LDS music. No one dances to any type of Gospel music. All dances have popular music. I couldn’t have been more disappointed.

I FEEL the lyrics in music. I am a writer. I HEAR the words. I FEEL the emotion in the strains of the music. When a song speaks of sinful actions or emotions that are not in line with the Gospel of Jesus Christ; I have the privilege of feeling them.

1263847552085I used to enjoy those sensations. The evil, just a little bit…. But as an endowed member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I have NO DESIRE to feel that way again. EVER.

That does not mean that I do not enjoy dancing with my husband. Dancing is still one of my favorite activities. It is the music choice to dance to that is my issue.

My dear husband, a fantastic musician, is currently grappling with my Maggie & Keithmusic situation. I long to be able to procure a baritone saxophone for him. Music without words may be a workable option.

For now… we will dance to the Gospel music from my stereo at home.

Maggie and the Missionaries

OR
“Those Tender Kind Souls Who Would Have LIKED Preached His Gospel to Me and Those I Finally Listened To”

I have rarely admitted to anyone the long road it has taken me to get to a point where I invited missionaries into a house in which I resided.

Image from: https://i0.wp.com/www.mormonwiki.com/wiki/images/c/c8/Missionaries-elders-mormon.jpgIn fact, I don’t believe I ever did; until I personally ASKED them to come to my current location.

Before being introduced to the idea of The Church, (then it took me another 3 years to soften my heart towards the Book of Mormon, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints), I rarely even opened my door when tracking pairs came knocking.

When I did, I was MUCH less than polite, let alone hospitable.

If anyone had told me then, that I would now delight in the company of Missionaries, being overjoyed when I had the opportunity to invite them to join me for a meal; I would have called them a liar. Not a chance!!

I never listened long enough to hear their messages, until it was the right time for me. AND the right Missionaries.

During the past three years, I have often stayed in the homes of friends who were both inactive and active members of The Church. On many occasions they have invited Missionaries to visit while I was present.

Even in the month before my baptism, only weeks before I downloaded the Book of Mormon and began reading it; when the Elders appeared at the door, I ran to my room and hid.

It was only last February when came to the point that I found myself HIDING from the Missionaries!

I had no idea why. But God KNOWS His children. He knew me better than I knew myself.

After 46 years of being treated in a certain way by the male gender, and having had NO exposure to righteous priesthood holders; I didn’t have a clue as to what to feel around them. They were just men. Right?

There is no such thing as coincidence, happenstance or kismet. Call it “fate” or by any other name you wish; but it is ALL part of God’s Divine Plan. Everything.

Photo of Sisters Johnson & Lloyd
Sisters Johnson & Lloyd

When I experienced my personal revelation on 6 March 2013, and requested that Missionaries be sent to my home to teach me; I didn’t even KNOW Sister Missionaries EXISTED!!!!

Before I met Sisters Lloyd & Johnson, I hadn’t even formulated the idea that Sisters COULD be Missionaries. I had never seen any, it had never even crossed my mind. “Strangely enough” (#HolyHighFive), my area had very recently been assigned their first Sister Missionary pair!

When the Sisters placed my first “hard copy” of The Book of Mormon into my hands; I felt my spiritual eyes open.

In their presence I was finally able to relax and feel the Comforter, The Holy Spirit, and KNOW what that feeling WAS!!!  I wanted Sisters Johnson and Lloyd to tarry forever.

The very next day, they were impressed to introduce me to a woman who would become my guide and angel through my baptism and new member period of time; as well as a friend for life.

All three of them guided my fellowship and friendships with prayer and listening to promptings of the Holy Spirit. That day they guided my tour through the Ward Meeting House. I felt at home for the first time in my life in the company of three Sisters.

When they asked me about baptism (it felt like forever, but it was probably only days after they met me); I was over-anxious. They mentioned the 30th of March, and I reluctantly agreed. In retrospect, they probably thought I was being hesitant, but I wanted it to happen sooner. I just knew that wasn’t my baptismal date.

Sure enough, a few days later, they asked me if I wanted to get baptized a week sooner; on the 23rd. I was elated, and agreed. God had heard my unstated prayer.

When my lessons came to the daily preparation for my baptism, I never wanted them to end. Much the same way I felt about my new member lessons, in the home of a wonderful Ward Missionary family; I felt the Spirit so strongly I never wanted the lessons to be over.

Photo of Margaret Slighte between Sisters Lloyd & Johnson at her baptism 23 March 2013
Sisters Lloyd, Slighte & Johnson
23 March 2013

 

It is wonderful, now, to be in the presence of returned, current and future Missionaries. I now delight in the Light of the Holy Spirit that surrounds them.

Thanks to a few pairs of Sisters who have been VERY instructive and loving, I am learning about Missionaries. Sisters Lloyd & Johnson have moved on to other areas, and I had the blessing to meet Sisters Frandsen and Langi; wonderful young women.  I love each and every one of the Missionaries.

Seattle, Washington Temple
Seattle, Washington Temple

I feel the excitement of the Second Coming when I am around them.

With the Missionaries, I feel the JOY of knowledge; The GLORY of the Testimony of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father, God!!!

I anxiously await a time, in the future, when I might be graced to serve a mission. But I really would like to share that experience with my future Eternal Companion. I do hope he is up for it! 🙂

Holy Love and Lighte to all!!! Holy High-Five, Jesus, I am SO thankful for all of the blessings!

A Peek into My Spiritual Journey

This is about me. Well, many things I write, and have written, have been about me. About my journey though this life. This is probably the most intimate glimpse I have ever given anyone.

I am giving it to anyone who wants to know.

For those who want to know why, Margaret Ellen Slighte, came to the decision to embrace The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as her “church home.”
I’m forty six years old.
I have tasted of any sin I may have desired, and many I never thought I could even stomach.
I am done. Done with sin. Done with living in any manner that is disrespectful to myself, my relationship with Jesus Christ, or that of God, the Creator.
I desire to begin to live in a righteous manner. In a manner which is respectful of the relationship of my soul with the Godhead. With Christ, God, and the Holy Spirit, which I pray that I will be able to acknowledge how each have touched my life in every moment.
When do I remember my relationship with God, and Christ, beginning? What is my first “spiritual memory?” (What is YOURS? What do YOU remember?)
When I lived in Shelton (the first time), after my parent’s divorce, my mother sent me to Sunday School against my father’s wishes (he was an atheist, a LOUD one). I believe I was six or seven years old. I feel I was about six when this happened.

During one of the Sunday School lessons, we were singing the song “This Little Light of Mine” ( LIGHTE 🙂 ) and I immediately felt a warm sunny feeling, but much brighter, around my “soul”. It was my first conscious feeling of having a “soul”. I knew there was a Christ. I also knew there were two other separate energies I felt: One of God, the Creator as well as The Holy Spirit.

I have always known that we were all connected. I have always known that “good” or “holy” deeds brought more reward to my soul, than did “selfish” or “hedonistic” deeds.
During these nearly four years since the explosive destruction of my family, and my marriage on Father’s Day 2009, I continued my disastrous and self-destructive behavior in a manner that was not only disrespectful to myself, it was also extremely public.
I have had times that the Lord has given me a glimpse of His comfort and glory. My travels across the country have been blessed with not only support of my friends, but also my Savior. My prayers have not gone unanswered. I have been given many gifts. I received them not with the grace I could, and should have.


Having displayed my sins so publicly, and with less than shameful appearances; I prayed whether, as part of my transformation, I should let go of any public exposure (social media). My prayers were answered that my contrition and apologies; my guilt and repentance be as public as I was with my sinful behavior.
Once my period of contrition is over, I will pray and re-evaluate which sites and accounts to retain, and which to discontinue.
When I speak of my sins, one of my most public and my latest, was that of adultery.
I learned the hard way that there is an adversary.
Evil has worked it’s way into my family since I was a very small child.
I have had agents of evil, and when I say evil, I mean the darkest of the dark, at work within my family for generations.
From the time my father’s father submitted to the demons that haunted him, and ended his own life; our family has been haunted by evil.
My own father committed suicide around my birthday in 1999, 15 years after I last saw him. The abuse I sustained at his hands, as a small child can only be termed as evil. Then, as a young teenager, he made certain he instilled his lack of morality into my ideas. His constant guidance was down the wrong path. When I was becoming a mother, I KNEW I needed to distance myself from him.  I knew enough to keep my children from that piece of evil in my life. Unfortunately, I did not give them the gift of a righteous home to be raised in. For this I am very sorry.
In the last year, I discovered that the adversary will tempt us with that which we THINK we desire the most when we are at our lowest.
My teenage nephew committed suicide last summer, shortly thereafter I again went astray from a righteous path. I sought love and comfort from the evil that danced in front of me and begged me to join it.
I was to receive what I thought I desired, and instead of joy and elation that would be with truth and love, I felt instead the true stink and disgust of the sin, as a layer of scum, upon my soul.
Hedonism: self-love. I believe that we are divine. In the way that our Creator would not create anything LESS than divine. How I have treated myself and others around me has been so much less than divine.
The commandments are CLEAR, however, thou shall not worship anyone or anything except the one TRUE God. It may feel good for a little while, but the scum upon my soul is deep now.
I am in need of a baptism, a TRUE baptism and to exercise my own agency to choose righteous behavior which is respectful of myself and my relationship with Christ, and His Father, our Creator 

Throughout my life, whatever evils that I endured, and enjoyed; I KNEW right from wrong. 

I felt shame and disgust at some of my own behavior. What I DIDN’T understand, was how to change. I didn’t respect myself enough, I didn’t honor that I was a daughter of God.
Most of my life I allowed myself to be used in any way that the males around me desired to use me. I was disposable, right? WRONG.
I am a daughter of God. I deserve to begin to honor that.
My daughter, and my sons and my granddaughters and grandson deserve to be honored by me being a person who respects herself and who does her best to be righteous and respectful of our Father in Heaven.
I will continue to grow, and to learn, on my spiritual journey. I will expand and expound upon this, my journal of my relationship with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
I invite anyone interested to do as I did, and look up the Book of Mormon, another Testament of Jesus Christ. It’s online. Read it. Pray. Decide for yourself. I did.

If you want to know more about MY journey to embracing my love of Christ and the change of my religious views, I invite you to come read my other blog: Slightely Mormon What can I say, everything I do, I do “Slightely” 🙂

Love and Lighte

(this blog entry was copied to SlightelyMormon.blogspot.com when that blog was created)