Thursday, March 31, 2016

Hidden Gifts

by Cheryl Merrick

Some people,
      seeing only their weaknesses,
fail to recognize
     their gifts.

Some become so blinded
      by the seeming brilliance
      of other’s gifts
that they cannot
      perceive their own.

Some, in false humility,
     disown their gifts
as they flee from
     the responsibility
     of developing them.

Some, expecting gifts
     to require no effort
     on their part,
discount what
     they have been given.

And there are those
     who, because something
     comes easily to them,
take their gifts for granted.

And so,
     unseen and unshared,
many gifts,
     lie hidden.


by Cheryl Merrick

You feel you have so much to do
that there isn’t time to plan
and adjust to change.

Meanwhile, I have become
so caught up in lofty goals
that I fail to notice real limitations.

Stress increasing,
you shut me out
in a vain attempt to bring
order to your life.


by Cheryl Merrick

Though I can’t choose
the end of my path,
I can choose the beginning.

Though I can’t decide
my  harvest,
I can select the seeds.

For my harvest is determined
by the planting,
and my reaping
      gathers the consequences
of the choices I sowed.

Growing Up

by Cheryl Merrick

As a child angrily pounds on his father’s leg,
screaming, “You don’t love me!”,
we threaten to withhold our love
from God
if He does not immediately
give us all we desire.
After all, we, in our toddlers wisdom,
feel sure we now know what is best for us.
At least, we know we want it right now,
and our father should give it to us.
If He truly loves us, wouldn’t He want us to be happy?
With a surety breed from ignorance and arrogance,
we constantly test Our Father’s love,
demanding His immediate fulfillment
of our every desire.
In peace He stands,
enduring our childish blows and shrill screams,
our pouting and our sulking.
In love He withholds what would harm us,
waiting for us
to accept His wisdom
and begin growing up.


by Cheryl Merrick

My life passed
In a gray sameness.

The same few foods
Prepared the same way,
One spiceless meal at a time;
No variety, no change.

The same few rooms
Defining my tiny world
In a few level steps;
No variety, no change.

The same few activities
Laundry, dishes, cooking
Writing, and reading;
No variety, No Change.

The same few TV shows,
Our recorded entertainment,
Consisting of old familiar videos;
No variety, No change.

The same routine
In carefully measured steps,
Day following day;
No variety, No change.

My life passing
In a gray sameness.


by Cheryl Merrick

Like a forgotten gift
gathering dust in
a deserted room,
the unused talent lies.

lost amid pressing demands,
and buried under laundry and dishes,
it remains,

Till, one day,
in a moment of
quiet reflection,
the older woman
comes across
the small gift
so carelessly overlooked
in younger, busier times.

Opening it, she discovers
a small treasure
which she, at last,
joyfully begins to share
with those around her.

My Frustration

by Cheryl Merrick

Frustration is putting Your will Before His

My Frustration

Determined on what
I think I should do,
I view my limitations
with disdain,
crying out in anger
at the unjustness of my experiences
and seeing them as hindrances
to what I want to do,
instead of opportunities
to progress on my eternal path.



by Cheryl Merrick

Trying something
Seeing it didn’t work.

Trying again
Repeating my mistake.

Forever and forever
Unable to get free
and become who I can be.

Until He
Gently untangling me,
He sets me free
at last.


by Cheryl Merrick

Not Me!

As a child,
I looked with disdain
at older people.

Didn’t they have any pride?

Why didn’t they
take care of themselves?

Look at that old woman:
tennis shoes and socks,
short, short hairstyle,
punchy stomach,
wrinkled skin,
and flabby arms
and body.

Doesn’t she want
to be fit and attractive?

Doesn’t she care?

Fear and Trust

by Cheryl Merrick

For fear of painful pruning,
I hesitate to ask
His help in making my heart
more patient.

Finally, seeing a greatness
in the lives of those
who trust the Lord,
I seek the change only
He can give.


by Cheryl Merrick

If we hadn’t spent
anxious nights
tending a sick child;

If we hadn’t endured
days of tantrums
and spilt milk;

If we had not felt
the buffetings
of teen independence,
or suffered with them
when they made
wrong decisions;

Entrance Exam

by Cheryl Merrick

The test is not
     to see how much
     we can learn
     in our short allotted
     time on earth.

Our goal here is not
     to do everything perfectly,
     or accomplish wondrous tasks;

But to develop
     an empowering trust
     in our Teacher.

Different Times

by Cheryl Merrick

There was the time for me to serve as a Primary teacher (Sunday School teacher)*
then as an In-service Leader (Church teacher of teachers).*
I learned a lot about teaching principles
and working with others.

There was a time to be a church and city editor.
I learned a lot about writing, organizing, managing, and establishing guidelines.


by Cheryl Merrick

The young women glance around
     comparing themselves to each other,
     ranking their competition,
     with a much practiced eye for details.
Constantly anxious of their appearance
     they worry through their days,
     vying for the attention
of the young men.

As the days became years;
     many, many years,
In the security of an eternal relationship,
     her anxiousness mellowed
     into a comfortableness with herself.
Though sometimes,
     glancing at her matronly figure,
     she wistfully remembers
     those days of competition.

End of an Era

by Cheryl Merrick

Soon an era will close.
For ten years the teacher and I
have worked together
loving each of her third grade classes.

We’ve tried having me correct papers, present vocabulary,
help with crafts, give writing lessons,
substitute for her, do poetry units,
and lead writing groups.


by Cheryl Merrick

The boy, in anxious concern,
watches the butterfly
fight to emerge from its chrysalis.

Once a snug and protecting
place to grow and develop,
now outgrown,
its chrysalis has become too restrictive,
a prison from which it must desperately escape
if it is to survive and grow.

Not understanding that struggle brings strength,
the boy carefully removes the chrysalis
only to watch the “freed” butterfly
soon weaken and die.

Character Course

by Cheryl Merrick

To build our muscles
a challenging course
is designed
where strength is tested,
agility required,
and endurance demanded.

To build our character
likewise a demanding course
is planned
where obstacles must be met,
faith tested,
and diligence required.



by Cheryl Merrick

A couple months ago
     My life was spent in my recliner.
A couple loads of laundry
      and an hour or two at the computer
Completing my day.

Now I’m a world traveler!
(at least the part as far east as Ohio,
     and south to Oklahoma)
I’m living in a hotel,
     Visiting with strangers
And eating out.

My narrow world is
     Opening up.
Possibilities surround me.
What will I do with
     My newly emerging health?
Teach, travel, read, visit, serve,
     Run errands, cook, write,
     do research?
Choices. Changes
What will I choose?


by Cheryl Merrick

Envisioning the path to happiness
an endless ribbon of delight;
smooth, soft, and straight,
extending effortlessly into the future,

We are disappointed
when instead our idyllic stroll
becomes a grueling mountain marathon
testing our determination
and building our strength.

We mummer and complain,
sure that happiness flows from ease,
til clambering to the summit,
tired and bruised,
we gaze around
finally understanding
that this course was not designed for comfort,
but to build us
into Champions!


Called Home

by Cheryl Merrick

In the business world
defective merchandise
is recalled.

On the computer
errors are

get sent to the principal
when misbehaving.

are confined in prisons
when violent.

And when a society’s behavior
becomes degraded,
they are called home.

Bridge Burning

by Cheryl Merrick

I stand on the edge
     looking back,
     but there is no return.
The chasm is deep and wide.
There is no going back
     to my old life.

My bridge is burned.
I set it on fire myself,
     knowing I needed to cross
     and never return.


by Cheryl Merrick

Unsure, and a bit overwhelmed, but with faith,
She accepts the calling.*

Her willingness to reach beyond herself
allowing her heart to blossom
as the Spirit fills their soul
with love for those she serves.

*a calling is when a person is asked to serve in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints doing something specific such as teaching 8 year-old child

Another Chance

by Cheryl Merrick

“I’ll see you when I get this done,”
we shout at each other
as we rush to get one more thing in a day.

Pressure builds til,
in our frantic pace,
purpose blurs.
We no longer know who we are,
nor question why so much must be done.


by Cheryl Merrick

Knowing the place makes me ill,
I go there anyway.
Knowing the activity tires me,
I still persist in doing it,
Ever hoping that,
“I’m better now.”

Time passes as
Wishes slowly obscure reality,
til at last,
the debt accrued
in my days of excess,
finally, becomes painfully due.

Accelerated Course

by Cheryl Merrick

I thought I was
trapped in a remedial track;
doomed to endlessly repeat
basic lessons.

Surprised, I glanced around
to discover
I have been on
the accelerated course
all along.


A New Start

by Cheryl Merrick

With the new year,
I make a new start.

Mentoring young writers from my home,
I am able to give them the in-depth support
I’ve always desired.

Sharing plans and housework
with my husband,
I feel new unity.

Monday, March 28, 2016

You Can't Take It With You

by Cheryl Merrick

Nobly, wearing their suffering
like a metal pinned on their shirt,
They rush here and there,
stressed, tired, and cheerless,
Doing the things that “need” to be done.

With no time for thought or planning,
They scurry around finding
No time to build relationships,
not even with the Lord,
No time to nurture themselves or others,
No time to notice the many gifts
they have been given,
or even any time to enjoy life at all.
Obsessed with “shoulds”
They dash and run, muttering,
like the poor white rabbit
from Alice in Wonderland,
“I’m late! I’m late!”

As day after day is consumed in
amassing and caring for things,
and constant but purposeless movement,
They completely forget that
You Can’t Take It With You.

Too Busy

by Cheryl Merrick

If I’m too busy
to ponder the scriptures,
to learn new things,
to meditate on goals,
and think through thoughts,
then soon,
I have nothing left to give.

The Leap

by Cheryl Merrick

Knowing my security lies not in
predictability but in principles,
I hold high my lamp of faith,
and longing to grow,
fearlessly leap
into the unknown darkness.

The Deserving Few

by Cheryl Merrick

Instead of asking where to keep it,
     I ask why keep it?

Instead of how to care for it,
     I question should it be cared for at all.

Some possessions are given away,
      and others stored in the attic.
Remaining are only a few things giving daily ease,
     but requiring little care in return,
     the deserving few.

That Is Best

by Cheryl Merrick

Too busy to rest.
I thought I knew best
     til on the floor,
I cried, “No more!”

Now a new start I have,
     and if out of bed
     I wish to stay,
then each mid-day
     rest I must,
and stop each time I tire.

So to be good I should
     allow plenty of time for rest,
and that is best.

Summer Mornings

by Cheryl Merrick

Still, cool, and fresh,
filled with the happy
chattering of birds,
the day stands poised to begin.

A moment,
quiet and un-rushed,
to pause and reflect
before activity
come bounding in.


by Cheryl Merrick

Focusing on the beauty around me
my racing heart
and my anxious mind

Gazing upward
into the canopy of branches,
peace fills my soul.

Still Moments

by Cheryl Merrick

Breakfast on the patio
early on a cool summer morning

Pink mountains
on a snowy winter evening

Sitting in the late afternoon
glow of fall

Light filtering through a
forest of green leaves

Sparkling snow in
an intense blue world

Simple Pleasures

by Cheryl Merrick

Sharing with a friend
Nurturing a child

Studying intensely
Wandering through a fantasy world

Learning something new
Improving something old

Catching ideas
Polishing a thought


by Cheryl Merrick

Faster and faster my thoughts spin;
     so much to do,
     so much unfinished -
Where do I begin?

With heart yearning to support;
     a friend who’s son died in a car accident,
     a teacher under going cancer treatments,
     a young unwed mother and child,
     a woman with teenagers,
     the high school music program,
     the stake newspaper,
     and local politics,
I stretch further and further.

Settling Down

by Cheryl Merrick

Finally our life is settling down
Our business seems to be solidly  on its way
and my husband is enjoying doing
maintenance work for companies
We have time to be together,
visit with others,
and do things around our home
My strength and energy is increasing
as the stress is lessening
Our home is simple and
the plastics are mainly gone or in the den
I am learning to set limits in my life
Particularly limiting details-- feedback, family history, emails, etc.
to just two hours a day
And reserving time and energy
for study, meditation, writing, and thinking
The days of constantly pushing ourselves
Are Over
Things are finally
Settling Down

Setting Bounds

by Cheryl Merrick

Contentedly, I settle quietly within my my own field,
Knowing that I will no longer find myself lost
as I follow friendly herds to goals that are not mine

Secure in the protection my new fences provide
I, at last, find the time to be myself
and replenish lost energies

No longer trying to help everyone– Now!
I’ve chosen only a few to nurture

Rocks and Sand

by Cheryl Merrick

Like placing rocks in a jar,
     I begin to prioritize
 my daily commitments;
     Writing and study,
      Mentoring children,
      and Supporting friends.

To this seemingly full jar,
     I slowly pour in my “sand”;
     Housework and cooking,
     Finances and filing.

Filling the spaces
     between my rocks,
The sand completes
     my day.


by Cheryl Merrick

Days out of my home
Hours of relating,
Activity and people

Discussing business web design
with husband and son
Visiting Teaching report and planning
Online Missionary training,
Park City Arts Festival
and errands,


by Cheryl Merrick

a time to think deeply.

Alone with my thoughts,
     the bustling world recedes,
Til in stillness
     my strength returns.


by Cheryl Merrick

Quiet moments
distilling peace
upon my soul

my inner
well of strength

Making Whole,
Renewed and refreshed,
Enabling me to reach out
once more
and love.


by Cheryl Merrick

Sadly they offer their condolences.
“It must be so difficult having
to stay home so much”
I contain a smile
knowing they speak from
their own needs not mine.
How can I explain the peace
I find in quiet reflection.


by Cheryl Merrick

Once again in my seat
     By the sunny window,
I gather my battered thoughts together,
     Smoothing and repairing
ruffled edges and worn spots.

Moments pass peacefully
     as ideas and feelings
are examined, expressed, and recorded.

Closure is found
     as the whirling, jumbled mass
     is slowly straightened out,
reveling  patterns
     of lasting beauty.

Picking Fruit

by Cheryl Merrick

When the day is still fresh and new
and the sun glows softly,
before mundane thoughts
muddy spiritual hopes
and divert us from the eternal path
of light and truth,
In those quiet moments
inspiration can best be heard.
This is the time
to pluck and savor the fruit
from the Tree of Life.

Peaceful Day

by Cheryl Merrick

Begun with morning meditation,
strengthened by prayer
     and scripture pondering,
guided by the words of prophets,
the day begins,
firm and true.

With priorities in order,
     and goals clear,
obscuring clutter
simply falls away,
leaving peace
glowing purely
in the steady light
of inspiration.


by Cheryl Merrick

Feeling His love,
Seeking His wisdom,
Listening to His counsel,
Following His example,

She trusts her life to
His protecting care,
and walks confidently
into the darkness
Knowing He will guide
her home again.

Peace, Be Still

by Cheryl Merrick

We rush around,
     blown by countless cares
     and commitments.
Pushing ourselves,
     our tumult of activity
     keeps us ever in danger of capsizing.

Finally above the roar
     of daily errands and cares,
we hear the words of the Master,
     “Peace, be still.”
And his words which calmed the stormy waters
     begin to bring peace to our restless souls.

Peace At Last

by Cheryl Merrick

A nagging feeling that
things are not right in my life.
A sense of unrest.
An unsettling awareness that something is wrong.

Accepting my need to rest,
I knew I only had ten hours to do all I wanted.
Of these hours, half are needed to care for myself--
food, exercise, meds, rest, and scripture study.
The other five hours were needed to do feedback,
family history, study and write.
Fifteen minutes of each hour must be unscheduled time
and include all detailed work.
Time gone.

Solid Ground

by Cheryl Merrick

We were trying,
but peace was gone and stress was increasing.
Why were we feeling so stressed
with our business, our home, my health,
working at the post office, volunteering at the school,
family relationships, and serving in the Church?

On Track

by Cheryl Merrick

Though trying to reach our goals,
we veer slightly off track.

Finally, lost, we ask for help
and are gently led back
to the path of
peace and happiness



by Cheryl Merrick

As  I choose ONE
most important project
and work on it early
when I have the time and energy,
I’m finally getting
the things I want done.

Now there is no need to push,
because I’m not behind.
I’m astounded at how much
time and energy
I’ve  wasted
by not being focused.

As I pray for help
I’m being blessed
with ideas on how to change.

With His help
It all seems so simple
and obvious,

My Element

by Cheryl Merrick

My goals clear,
I simply begin.
Thoughts come,
the next step appearing
as I move ahead.

Gazing into inquisitive eyes,
I adjust my path.
Empathizing, relating,
Principles, and goals,
I move in my element
agile and swift.

Morning Meditations

by Cheryl Merrick

In moments filled with
     sunlight and bird songs,
I sort out my thoughts & feelings;
Centering my soul
Before beginning the day.

Moderate Life

by Cheryl Merrick

What is a moderate life?
It is not going too long between meals,
or staying up too late.

It is not eating too much,
or foods I’m allergic to.
It is keeping warm,
but not too hot or too cold.

Living in Balance

by Cheryl Merrick

With the priority
of building eternal relationships,
I’m focusing my energies on just a few things--
scripture study, family nurturing,
and missionary work.

I’m setting more realistic goals--
eliminating those details and commitments
which don’t directly relate to my goals
and which drain my limited energies--
teaching writing and visiting teaching callings.


by Cheryl Merrick

If my health no longer confined me to quiet pursuits,
What would I change?
From a day full now,
what would I give up
to join the bustling crowd?
Would my scripture study,
or the time to listen to a friend
become lost in the quest to accomplish even more?
Would a busy day of cleaning and baking
fill me with the same satisfaction
I feel now as I prepare Temple work for my ancestors?
If I could wait on my family,
Would my husband be more thoughtful?
Would my sons make better husbands?
If I didn’t need to rest often,
would I notice the leaves becoming golden or,
see diamonds in new fallen snow?
Would I be content knowing I’m making good speed,
even if, for me, the road is wrong?

How to Be Cheerful

by Cheryl Merrick

Praying to know what to do
to be happier, more cheerful,
and enjoy my day
The answer comes:
Don’t become stressed or over-tired
Just take good care of yourself

Tossing aside “shoulds”
I’m learning to listen to my body.
When I am beginning to feel tired – I stop
If I don’t feel like doing it – I don’t
When I can delegate – I do

How Questions

by Cheryl Merrick

How can you relate to a person
     if  he is in a group?

How can you feel the Spirit
     with noise and movement all around?

How can you communicate
     when all one knows is clouds
     and the other the earth?

How can you feel peace
     in crowded, overfull days?

How can you relax
     in a cluttered, disorderly home?

How can a person thrive
     without quiet time alone to ponder?


by Cheryl Merrick

First aide
for life’s

Full Day

by Cheryl Merrick

Doing what is right for me,
Planning ahead to avoid pressure,
Spending my time and energies
on what is most important to me,
Sharing my love with others,
Mentoring eight year old writers,
Keeping my home clean and in order,
Having plenty of prepared food to rotate,
Hours to study scriptures
and work on family history,
Time to talk with my husband
and visit with friends,
Moments of meditation
to sort out my thoughts,
Time to relax, to enjoy beauty, to write.

Simple days, with room to breathe
and stretch the mind and soul,
A day full and overflowing.


by Cheryl Merrick

Like focusing a lens,
Makes my thoughts


by Cheryl Merrick

Asking how best
to use her gifts,
the woman
begins to simplify
her life.

Possessions are given away,
lightening her load.
Busy tasks are given up,
freeing time and energy.

As a focus
returns to her life,
She is filled with peace,
and knows she is,
once again,
on the right path.

Embracing Life

by Cheryl Merrick

Decorator in the entrance room
Dreamer in the kitchen
Dancer in the living room

Mentor in the school
Friend on the phone
Writer at the computer

Surrounded by ideas,
     and led by ideals,
      I embrace life.


by Cheryl Merrick

Melting away in the heat
     of a bustling day,
Peace disappears.

Distilling again
     only though hours
of quiet prayer, study,
     and thought.

Dressed for the Day

by Cheryl Merrick

Sunlit morning,
day just beginning.

Quiet moments
to straighten my thoughts,
untangle my feelings,
and arrange my priorities


by Cheryl Merrick

Like a tailless kite,
or a needle-less compass,
a morning with out meditation
lacks direction.


by Cheryl Merrick

Driven by long lists
of things I wanted to do,
I’d push myself through the day.
Til tense, tired, and troubled
the day would end
with a throbbing headache
accentuating my disappointment
in how little I accomplished.


by Cheryl Merrick

For a world that moves at a pace too fast for me
with too many people, too many things to do,
and too many places to go.

For all the loud noises, glaring lights, whizzing cars, jolts,
chemicals, magnetic fields, dust, mold and pollen,
heat, and cold which surrounds me.


by Cheryl Merrick

Listening to the Lord’s voice;

The blare of impatient buzzers,
throbbing music, rushing traffic,
and relentless demands,
quiet to a soft mummer;

Flickering computer screens,
big screen images,
and glitzy advertising hype;
slowly fade into the distant horizon;

Leaving my soul centered


Home in the Briers

by Cheryl Merrick

“How horrible it must be!”
They sympathetically conclude.

“How restricting!
How Lonely!”

Seeing only thorns,
they miss the lovely serenity
found in my refuge
the briers.


by Cheryl Merrick

Blessed to be on the earth
to see mountains and smiles
to hear birds and friends voices
to feel warm sunshine and hugs
to smell and taste an apple
to touch soft corduroy or smooth wood
and to move, reach, and walk on my own

Blessed to have true principles to guide me
to know what is right and the purpose of life
to understand how to have peace and happiness
to change and grow through the atonement
and to have the Holy Ghost, scriptures,
prayer and prophets, ordinances, and temples
all to help me return to my heavenly home.

Balancing Act

by Cheryl Merrick

Trying to balance
People and Things,
Relating and Pondering,
Spirit and Body,
Self and Others,
Resting and Activity,
Writing and Serving,
Details and Planning,

I strive to find
the balance between
Reaching out and
Renewing from within.


by Cheryl Merrick

The anchor of my soul sinks deep,
     secured in quiet moments
where the clanging of demands
     stills slowly to silence.

Held fast by the boulders
    of faith, prayer, and scripture study,
I become firm and immovable.

My life at peace,
     My problems thought through,
I stand ready to reach out to others
     upon the rough sea of life.


by Cheryl Merrick

My health demands it,
but my soul revels
in long hours spent
in quiet contemplation.

Welling with pity,
people wonder
how I can endure
having to stay
in my home.

Friday, March 25, 2016

What is Right for Me?

by Cheryl Merrick

Some homemakers spend their day
cooking, cleaning, and running errands,
Some jog and scrapbook,
while others visit, send cards, and volunteer.

There are older women
who devote time to grandchildren,
family history research, and temple work.

All are good,
but what is right for me?

Understand My Mission

by Cheryl Merrick

The Lord has told me that
through my righteous living
I will be an example to others,
and they would desire to
follow in my footsteps.

It sounded wonderful!
Little did I realize that
my example would be
one of patiently enduring
severe trials,
expressing faith
that the Lord knows
what is best for me,
and gratitude for this
opportunity to grow

Time To Retire

by Cheryl Merrick

After being tried for wanting to use
two weeks of his earned year and a half sick leave,
My husband was ready to be done with the pressures
and political maneuvering of the Post Office.

Three days later, there was a small lunch
where he was allowed to say a few words
about his career and accomplishments.
We were disappointed that neither
the manager nor his boss
were even aware of his distinguished postal career.

This Is My Mission

by Cheryl Merrick

To set an example of a righteous woman,
     a woman of prayer, faith, and study,

To inspire and to lift,
To spiritually lead,

To influence for good,
To teach the children,

And prepare the records
     for my ancestors work to be done,

This is my mission.

The Phoenix

by Cheryl Merrick

Like a Phoenix rising
     from the ashes,
My dreams, returning,
     soar into a brilliant sky.

The Guide

by Cheryl Merrick

With empathy and love
I listen

Understanding their
dreams and fears
I respond

Holding up the lamp of hope
I lead

Looking for opportunities
I encourage

With the assurance
of correct principles,
I stand firm

Knowing the path
I guide us home



by Cheryl Merrick

Helping you, I find wings,
and soar with my mind and heart,
No longer hobbled by a body
     ill and worn.

Agile and capable,
I share my experience with you,
    and, as I see you grow,
we soar together,
my bounds and pains forgotten
in the joy of our flight.

Should, Could, Would

by Cheryl Merrick

I should work all day,
then, and only then,
should I play.

It isn’t fair for me
to be supported just
so I can have fun.

There is so much
I could and should
be doing to help others.

Sharing Love

by Cheryl Merrick

Setting a quiet example
Living a pattren of a righteous life
Listening with the heart
Giving perspective
Counseling based on principle
Seeing potential
Encouraging dreams
Letting others know their importance
Analyzing a problem
Studying to learn answers
Learning new things with enthusiasm
Generating Ideas
Identifying a solution
Sharing faith and hope
Holding fast to true principles
Seeking the ideal
Pondering the words of God
Focusing clearly on eternal essentials
Creating beauty and peace
Leading as I follow Him


by Cheryl Merrick

No more experimenting to make me “better”.
My health is stable.
I know what I should do and what to avoid.
I am to avoid everything I reasonably can
which stresses me physically or emotionally.
I am to avoid chemicals in buildings.
I have removed most allergens and chemicals
from my home and diet.
I can get out some but not for too long.
I need to avoid extremes in temperatures
and strain on my jaw, rib, and hips.
I am to take my medicine on time
and once in the middle of the night.
I am to sleep at consistent times.
I am to relax after six in the evening.
I am to move frequently, but only for short periods
and never get out of breath or overtired.
I am to walk and do stretches daily.
I am not to lift anything over a few pounds.
I can putter around my home
and keep it clean and orderly.

Ruled by Emotion

by Cheryl Merrick

I had to choose,
I suppressed my needs
to meet theirs.

that study, thinking, and writing
are mere recreation
to be indulged in only when
ALL “my work” was finished,
I spent my days diligently doing
one detail after another.

Retirement -- At Last!

by Cheryl Merrick

It is time to enjoy being together
when I’m not completely exhausted.
It is time for my husband to lighten my load
by helping with the cooking, laundry, and cleaning.
It is time to relax and read in the evenings

Time to talk, share, and plan together
Time to putter in the house, garage, and yard
Time to ride with him as he does errands
Time to get out of the house more
Time to have my husband’s help with home projects
It is time to do family history, serve a mission,
and devote time to the Lord’s kingdom.

Reflections On

by Cheryl Merrick

Three Months of being a Church Service Missionary*

Day after day they send me their requests.
Half are polite, reasonable questions on how to use the web site.
The rest are prideful criticisms and demands, and a few are pleas for help.

Preferring hearsay to the Lords’s invitation to study, ponder and pray,
Many drift aimlessly; confused and unsure.
While others want only to return to the comfort of the familiar,
refusing to learn anything new.


by Cheryl Merrick

Will I turn to the
right or to the left?
Knowing once chosen,
my day will be determined,
I stop and consider.

Which  path will best
help me reach my goals?
Will time spent in executing
a multitude of details
really help me and others

Protection and Guidance

by Cheryl Merrick

Hope growing again like new shoots
 on a withered branch;
I returned to church and the temple.
Soon engulfed in a chemical fog,
I lost the ability to think and move.
Smothered by depression and confusion,
I struggled to maintain my identity.

Finally, watered by tears,
hope began to sprout again.
Was I, like the current bush,
being pruned so that I would bear good fruit?
Slowly the sun returned,
allowing me to feel the warmth
of the Master Gardner’s great love
in protecting and wisely guiding
a most fragile plant.

Prepared to Retire

by Cheryl Merrick

Home more simple
Allergens removed
Housework delegated
Details eliminated
Home and Garage in order
Office and Library set up
Fitness program begun
Time made for writing

FixIt Fellow business assigned
Web sites established
Tools and uniforms acquired
Business cards printed
Truck signs painted
Contact made
Prepared to Retire

Prepared for This Time

by Cheryl Merrick

Through years of debilitating illness
with no relief in sight,
Through learning to work
together in marriage,
and by nurturing our children
through their challenges,
My heart has been softened
and my understanding increased.;

Til now I stand,
Tempered and stretched,
Tested and taught,
Prepared to lead
in paths of righteousness.


Prepared for this Work

by Cheryl Merrick

At the threshold of missionary service
I’m poised.
Wondering if I can do this work,
the confirming thought,
“You have been prepared for this”,
fills my mind with peace.

Remembering all the hours
I have struggled with writing articles
for the Ensign and the Stake* newspaper,
I see how my talents
have been honed.


by Cheryl Merrick

I prayed to know what I needed to change.
Soon I began to see my weaknesses.
In my anxiousness for perfection
I push myself to make
the creative writing program
the visiting teaching reporting
the response team
the newspaper editing
all perfect -- NOW!


by Cheryl Merrick

Taking a consensus
of their values and strengths,
society prescribes our roles.

But I choose, instead,
my own individual path,
defined by the Lord.

Pacing My Life

by Cheryl Merrick

Freed from past constraints,
I excitedly enter stores
assessing all that is new,
I assume responsibility
for grocery shopping and weeding.

Unwilling to remain at home alone any longer,
I spend my days out walking,
shopping and doing research at BYU,
and even playing wiffle ball with students.

Overwhelmed by choices,
I attempt to do everything at once
Til painful wrists and knees,
spinning head and fatigue,
Remind me to set priorities
and literally not to run faster
than I have strength.



by Cheryl Merrick

Called as wife and mother,
I spend my days in
nurturing others,

Carefully on guard that the
mundane concerns of earthly life
do not obscure our eternal goals
or deprive us of spiritual nourishment.

Not Prepared

by Cheryl Merrick

Though I might not be
here for the Second Coming,
the time will come
when I must stand and be judged.

Even though I’m striving
to improve as I
repent and apologize,
build relationships,
nurture myself, my husband, family
friends and others,
seek things of the Spirit
through study and prayer,
have my home in order,
rebuild my health,
live a relaxed life,
and share my talents,
I’m unprepared.

As my health failed this winter,
I realized that
my family history work
was not ready to be passed on.
I was not prepared.

No Longer Waiting

by Cheryl Merrick

I don’t need to wait.
I can reach my goals now.
I can serve others now.
I do not need to wait to be a partner to my husband,
to serve as a missionary,
to support family and friends,
to improve my health,
to do family history,
write and study,
and make a peaceful home.

New Purpose

by Cheryl Merrick

With enthusiasm I begin my day.
No longer seeing an endless
dreariness of details
stretching out before me,
I energetically begin doing
more research and answering questions.
Rejoicing in this opportunity
to use my abilities,
I’m filled with a
new sense of  purpose.


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Another Chance to Live

by Cheryl Merrick

To be with people again
To move and Laugh
To rebuild my body
To be outside
To go places
To read and study
To research my family history
       and have the ordinances preformed
       for my ancestors
To help children grow
To support our children
To help my husband
To encourage friends, neighbors,
      and BYU students,
And to have Fun


New Options

by Cheryl Merrick

Tutoring Children
Family History Research
Preforming Temple Work
Doing the Grocery Shopping
Family Socials
Leadership for BYU Students
Support for Family and Friends
Assisting Husband
Improving our home

New Assignment

by Cheryl Merrick

Determined not to
give into a doubtful heart,
I begin my Church Service
Missionary assignment.

Cheerfully I open the
first feedback on LDS. org.
Filled with peace and surprise,
I exclaim, “I can answer that!”

As I continue,
I find myself just knowing
where to find information
on the website.

The Navigator

by Cheryl Merrick

Like the navigator of old,
she carefully plots
their homeward course.

Adjusting for the winds and currents
of today’s world,
and striving to avoid
hidden shoals of evilness,
silently she ponders the stars,
safely guiding
her family toward
their eternal home.

My Work

by Cheryl Merrick

With the dedication of a pianist,
      Time is made for study.

With the drive of an athlete,
      Thinking skills are honed.

With the passion of an artist,
     Ideas are created.

With the exactness of a navigator,
     Goals are set.

With the inquisitiveness of a scientist,
     Possibilities are examined.

With the skill of a carpenter,
     Solutions are built.

And with the care of a gardener,
     Souls are nurtured.

My Time at Last!

by Cheryl Merrick

Pushing my tired body,
so Garrett can work and devote his time
and energies to his businesses,
I struggled to keep up with our home,
help children write creatively,
give visiting teaching reports,
support friends and family,
answer questions on,
and assist my husband with his businesses.

Year after year I drug myself along,
finding little time to nurture myself.
Finally, there was little left to give.
No longer able to enter buildings,
I spent most of my time in my home,
weak and tired,

I have set down some of my responsibilities.
My husband has retired and is now able to help me.
I can finally enjoy time to rest.
At last my time has come.

My Season

by Cheryl Merrick

A season to give support
to my husband as he launches a business
to my children in their endeavors
to my mom as she ages
to my grandchildren as they grow
to my friends with their joys and challenges
to ward sisters in their callings
to neighbors in their struggles
to missionaries as they serve
to extended family with needs
to young writers at school
to ancestors who need temple ordinances

Mission in Life

by Cheryl Merrick

To model how to follow the Lord
To show my faith in Him
     even in adverse circumstances
To cheerfully accept His will
     in my life
To teach correct principles
     and live them
To be an example of integrity
To lead by my righteous example
To light the way


by Cheryl Merrick

To nurture my husband
with counsel and love

To provide a refuge of
beauty and peace for my family

To guide and encourage our children
and love our grandchildren

To show concern
to extended family and friends
To teach children

My Mission April 2013

by Cheryl Merrick

To help my husband, me, and our family
     return to live with Heavenly Father
To serve as missionary
     helping Church members and others progress
To nurture family, friends,
    missionaries, and neighbors
To be a business partner, and homemaker
To appreciate the blessings and gifts
    I have been given
To develop and share my talents
To enjoy our beautiful world
To learn and grow
To develop my character
To prove myself
To have Joy

Memorable Day

by Cheryl Merrick

What make the day one to be
anticipated, savored, and remembered?
For me it is when
I can use my abilities
to accomplish something I value.
It is a day when I do not allow
less important things to crowd out
what really matters to me.
It is a day when I keep an eternal perspective,
while still enjoying the moment.
It is a day when I am doing what I know is right
and feel at peace.


Listening to the Lord

by Cheryl Merrick

The morning seems to pass unregistered
as I slowly start my day.
After a few hours of detailed work,
I’m tired, tense, and stressed
unable to do much of anything.
The few moments each day when I feel well enough 
to do creative projects has disappeared,
consumed by low priority tasks.


by Cheryl Merrick

Once I thought my happiness
depended upon the happiness of others.
Now, accepting their need
to learn from their own mistakes,
I accept my mission
to set a righteous example.

So by living correct principles,
having faith in Heavenly Father’s
plan for me,
by cheerfully enduring my illness,
by showing gratitude
for all I have and can do,
by reaching out in love to others,
and by living joyfully;
I stand as a lighthouse
firm upon The Rock,
burning with His Light,
to show others the way home.


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Light Bearer

by Cheryl Merrick

Its source lies within.
Born from quiet moments
and deep reflection.
Nourished by hours
of pondering and prayer.
Energized by intense feeling.
Guided by true principles
and focused upon eternal goals,
The strength of faith glows,
producing a light
to guide safely home.

Letting Go

by Cheryl Merrick

I pleaded,
“Help me to be able to do my family history.
Help me know what I should do.”
The answer came,
“Release your reserved names
and let their work be done.”
I obeyed --
then I cried.
I wanted to do their work myself,
but I must accept my limits.

If I don’t go into the temple,
then I can do the research
and prepare the work so others
can do the ordinances for my ancestors
I can share their stories and photos
I can help to seal my family for eternity
This is the work I am to do

Lessons Learned

by Cheryl Merrick

I have no regrets.
I did what was right at that time.
I have helped others and learned a great deal.

Being a wife and mother enlarged my heart.
Being ill has helped me develop empathy, patience, and
an increased unity with my husband,
Serving as a Primary teacher and In-Service Leader (teacher of teachers),*
I learned about teaching, and working with others.


by Cheryl Merrick

Scuttling around in fear,
anxiously peering over my shoulder,
fearing that someone might notice
some detail I’ve failed to do,
I push myself to accomplish things I value little
in a desperate attempt to avoid their criticism.

Finally I stand up,
wondering why I feared their disapproving voices.
There will always be those who find fault,
but only I can know what is right for me.


by Cheryl Merrick

Imitating the diligent homemaker,
     I meticulously clean and organize.
Like a careful accountant,
     I strive to reconcile finances.
And with the devotion
     of an outgoing soul,
     I send out cards and notes.

But hidden behind
     these clumsy imitations,
there lives a loving teacher,
     an eager learner,
     a creative problem solver,
     and a poet.


by Cheryl Merrick

Admiring her attentiveness
    to small details,
I try to be
the conscientious homemaker.

Awed by her exactness
in managing the minutia of life,
I strive to do the same.

Impressed by her vitality,
I push myself to exercise more.

Touched by her nurturing devotion,
I spend my time
trying to emulate her.

All the while forgetting
that others look at my example
     of righteous living
and want to be like me.

How Much?

by Cheryl Merrick

How much should I do?
My heart longs to help everyone,
Garrett, our children and grandchildren,
Mom, friends, the Church, young writers,
my Relief Society sisters, neighbors, and ancestors,
but living in a finite world,
limits must be set.

How much nurturing do I need
to give myself?
How much time can I donate to
my missionary calling? to helping children?
to our business? to visiting teaching?
to visits and supportive emails?
How much time am I
wasting on unnecessary details?

Year after year I’ve taken
far more out of my bucket
than I’ve put in.
How much do I have left to give?


Have I?

by Cheryl Merrick

Have I pushed myself too much?
Have I sat too long at the computer?
Have I spent too little time relaxing?
Have I tried to help too many people?
Have I been too impatient wanting perfection in
everyone and everything right now?
Have I spent too little time replenishing my soul?
Have I been too involved in and felt too responsible for others lives?
Have I been too obsessed with getting things done
to listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit?
Have I ignored the growing fatigue and become too tired?
Have I lost my priority balance and tried to do too much?
Have I neglected my stretches and exercises
so I become too stiff and weak?
Have I exercised too hard at times and not built up slowly?
Have I eaten too much some moments and too little sometimes?
Have I spent too much time trying to help people
and not enough time studying and reflecting?
Have I pushed myself too much?

Grateful for a New Path

by Cheryl Merrick

I was busy,
but not happy.
Anxiously I proceeded to do the things
I though I should,
Filling my days with activity,
but not peace.

Mercifully, the Lord stopped me,
ending my frantic pace
He set my feet
on a new more gentle path.

Good, Better, Best

by Cheryl Merrick

My days sped by
uncontrolled and full of guilt.
Constantly, I felt a failure.

I forgot so many things.
I never felt that I was managing my life well.
Important things were not getting done.

Moreover, I felt frustrated.
I was rarely getting to any writing.
Poems withered unexpressed.
Business letters needed to be done.
I had to push just to get out the missionary letters,
and the visiting teaching thought.

Frustration and Fulfillment

by Cheryl Merrick

My days sped by
uncontrolled and full of guilt.
Constantly, I felt a failure.
I forgot so many things.
I never felt that I was managing my life well.
Important things were not getting done.

Moreover, I felt frustrated.
I was rarely getting to any writing.
Poems withered unexpressed.
Business letters needed to be done.
I had to push just to get out the missionary letters,
and the visiting teaching thought.
What was happening to my days?
I seemed to be getting so little done.


by Cheryl Merrick

Spreading my energies out
upon too many people and projects,
my influenced blurred,

Energy wasted,
Thoughts disregarded,
Talents unused,
I expended effort
with little effect.

Seeing being restricted
to my home as a hindrance
to my progress and happiness,
I resented it.

Faith to Try Again

by Cheryl Merrick

Looking at the feedback
from the website,
I panic!
I want to do this work and serve the Lord.
I remind myself that I felt prompted to commit to this mission.

I know as a member of the response team
I am supposed to answer these feedback questions,
but I don’t know how!
I feel so overwhelmed!


by Cheryl Merrick

Beginning my day
     accomplishing household tasks,
     I hoped to be more efficient,
but soon found that
     I could do no more
     than ponderously plod.

Thinking a sedentary activity
     would be more productive,
I tried to “get something done”
     on the computer,
but a fuzzy mind, clumsy fingers,
     stiff neck, and jangled nerves,
     soon convinced me otherwise.


by Cheryl Merrick

When I see no options,
and all seems impossible,
I turn to the Lord.

Suddenly, ideas
come to my mind:
I can eliminate this
and simplify that.


by Cheryl Merrick

Don’t let myself become distracted
Keep focused on who I am
and why I’m here.

Don’t let others’ goals become mine
Fulfill my mission as lamp bearer
showing the way home.

Don’t let momentary pressures
divert me from the straight path.
Hold fast to correct principles.

Difficult Balance

by Cheryl Merrick

Trying to maintain my balance between

The drive to accomplish
and the need to relax

The compulsion to complete tasks
and the longing for intuitive impulses

The aversion to routine
and the attraction of order

Dead End

by Cheryl Merrick

I thought I’d come to a dead end.
No more would I mentor budding writers.
Perhaps I needed to learn to trust
and spend my energies in other ways.

Maybe I was only to do family history.
Maybe this time in my life was past,
and the path had closed.

I felt shut out from the world,
imprisoned in my home,
ever alone.
left to suffer out a frustrated life.


by Cheryl Merrick

Earning my credentials
has taken many years.

At first my assertions
of faith in the Lord’s wisdom
were dismissed.

With knowing nods,
they declared that
my faith had yet to be tried,
then that the trial just
hadn’t been long enough.


by Cheryl Merrick

There is only a little energy.
     How will I use it?

Do I spend it doing cleaning
     and running errands,
or attending meetings
     and going places?

Will my time be devoted to study
     and self improvement,
or will I give of myself
     in teaching and counseling?

Only a couple things may be chosen.
Which will it be?
Caring for things?
Meeting others expectations?
Developing talents?
or Mentoring others?


by Cheryl Merrick

A candle shines
the brightest
in the deepest night

Let us fill the world
with light
one candle at a time



by Cheryl Merrick

Following promptings
to share
the gifts I’ve been given,
I leave my comfort zone
and enter the world
of web blogging.

Unsure what I’m doing,
I jump in
Posting compiled research
on Addison’s disease,
helps for struggling students,
and my stories of faith.

As I share my sixty years
of experiences,
I find myself wondering
if these blogs
will help anyone,
or even be seen.