Monday, November 30, 2009

Traditions

"Uplifting traditions play a significant role in leading us toward the things of the Spirit. Those that promote love for Deity and unity in families and among people are especially important."
(Cultivate Righteous Traditions by Elder Hallstrom of the 70)

Because we are now getting more focused on the Christmas season, I have decided to talk about traditions today. I took some classes at BYU while I was there and learned the importance of families doing traditions together and how they can really cement a family unit as well as give each family member a sense of identity within the family.

I think it is important to talk about now since we are just starting our families and will be starting traditions together that our kids will grow up with and learn to count on and look forward to.

When I was growing up we have had several traditions that we did throughout the years. I always looked forward to the family parties we had where I could see my cousins and enjoy the activities that were planned. We would sometimes do the dutch tradition where we put our shoes under the Christmas tree before bed and hope to find something special inside them in the morning if we had been good. We'd make treats or presents for the neighbors and then sing them a Christmas carol when we went over to deliver them. There were a lot of fun things we did, but my favorite was the nativity FHE.

During this FHE, we would get out the nativity box that had all the characters of the nativity wrapped up in newspaper and cloths. Each of us kids took turns unwrapping each character and telling what their story was. We always were jealous of whoever got to unwrap the baby Jesus. After we unwrapped each one, we would set them up on display for the rest of the Christmas season.

Growing up with these traditions always made me feel closer to my family. I wanted to stay home more often during the Christmas season since there was always something fun to do. I have a testimony of the power of family traditions and that they can bring a family closer together. I would love to hear in a comment what your family has done during the holiday season to make it extra special.

Please comment! :)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I Don't Know What Words to Say...

My husband and I have received a new calling to teach the 9 and 10 year olds in our ward. They are such awesome kids!! I can't believe how smart they are, albeit rambunctious. I've gotten to know them pretty well and some of their stories have really broken my heart, especially how many of them have gone through or are going through their parents' divorce. Last week, at the end of class, we asked for volunteers to say the closing prayer and one of the boys said, "I would but I don't know what words to say." And I realized that he had never been taught how to pray. And it broke my heart. And so, today, we are teaching our class how to pray (in English AND Spanish, wahoo!) and I thought of some points about prayer I would like to share with this blog that have really helped me.

A woman named Mary Jane Woodger wrote an article in the New Era a few years ago called, "What I Have Learned About Mighty Prayer." It's suggestions can be used to teach a Family Home Evening. I put the main points from the article on a post-it note and stuck it on the wall next to my bed where I would see it every night before I prayed.
  1. Prepare for prayer
  2. Remember that God loves you
  3. Express sincere gratitude
  4. Pray fervently
  5. Pray in specifics
  6. Pray aloud
There have been times when just be preparing myself for prayer I have been brought to tears over how much God loved me and all the things I had to be grateful for.

If you have a copy of Preach My Gospel, before you kneel down for prayer, review pages 94-95. It gives some amazing pointers of how to get the most out of prayer. In my mission we had to review these pages every night while saying the end-of-the-day-companion prayer. It sometimes took forever to go through all of it, but I know that those were the most complete and helpful prayers I have ever prayed. Of course, it's geared towards missionaries, but it can be easily modified to fit anyone's prayers.

And lastly, the final part of prayer is receiving the answers to the questions we have asked. I have heard counsel stating that remaining on our knees and allowing the Spirit to speak to us through thoughts and impressions will often be the way we get those answers, or, my favorite GenCon quote, "We speak to the Lord in prayer, he speaks to us through the scriptures." As far as interpreting those answers, I recommend a talk by Richard G. Scott titled "Learning to Recognize Answers to Prayer." It goes over the ways we receive answers and what we can do to follow them. In closing, I want to leave with a quote from the talk:

"It is vitally important to recognize that the Lord also responds a third way to prayer by withholding an answer when the prayer is offered. Why would He do that?

He is our perfect Father. He loves us beyond our capacity to understand. He knows what is best for us. He sees the end from the beginning. He wants us to act to gain needed experience:

When He answers yes, it is to give us confidence.

When He answers no, it is to prevent error.

When He withholds an answer, it is to have us grow through faith in Him, obedience to His commandments, and a willingness to act on truth. We are expected to assume accountability by acting on a decision that is consistent with His teachings without prior confirmation. We are not to sit passively waiting or to murmur because the Lord has not spoken. We are to act.

Most often what we have chosen to do is right. He will confirm the correctness of our choices His way. That confirmation generally comes through packets of help found along the way. We discover them by being spiritually sensitive. They are like notes from a loving Father as evidence of His approval. If, in trust, we begin something which is not right, He will let us know before we have gone too far."

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Relief Society

One of the things I am most grateful for is the Relief Society organization. I love being able to meet together with women that are, have been, or will be in my similar situation. Women who believe and know what I do and use that knowledge to live their lives. I learn and grow each time I participate in anything RS related. I get the same feeling from this blog as well.

Anyway, I started thinking about RS because the Church website is at it again. They have revamped the RS home page (click here) to explain more about RS, what we do at each meeting, and how we can be better members of Relief Society.

I love this sisterhood. I mainly what to remind us all how important RS is for the church and us as individuals. First off, remember the church was not complete without the organization of the RS. We can serve like no one else can because we are the ultimate nurturers. Second, no matter what your calling is in the church you are always a member of Relief Society. Heavenly Father knows how important his daughters are and provides His support through Relief Society and other sisters.

I encourage us all to explore the new site to help us better understand at least one aspect of Relief Society. I'm grateful to be a woman, daughter of God and Relief Society member---and I hope to be better each day at all of these! :) Happy early Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 23, 2009

In the spirit of...

As I lay awake waiting for sleep to accompany me, I realized that I was feeling quite thankful about many things and wanted to acknowledge everything. It seems like I always have my best ideas when I am trying to fall asleep too. But then I can never remember them in the morning. So I'm making an exception.

I first want to say how thankful I am for this blog and how much it has helped me. Sometimes helping others makes me more happy than anything else in the world. (Okay, actually when is that not the case, right?) I hope you other authors feel the same way, like contributing on here has a special way of giving back to you. I also get a lot from reading the posts daily and then trying to find something uplifting to say in response to them.

Next I want to briefly state how thankful I am for my husband. For a long time I didn't think there was someone like him out there. I thought no one would ever understand me and that I'd feel alone forever. And then magically he showed up and was everything I ever needed or wanted. No he isn't totally perfect, but he's darn near close to it so I can't complain in the least. One thing that has been hard for me with the end of this pregnancy is that I can't cuddle up close to him like usual because my belly is so huge and it makes me feel nauseous whenever I lean over. It will be nice to have that back.

Finally I want to express gratitude about personal growth. I've been in many situations in my life where I felt like I didn't know how to handle things. But when I've been able to just keep at it, then I really grow. Living down here in TX and being away from family has definitely been one of those things. I've grown in ways that were absolutely impossible had I not made the move. And I've met some amazing people from living down here that have totally changed my perspective on life. I'm thankful for these kind of situations that challenge our thinking and encourage each of us to grow. I think having a baby will be the next on that list.

For you authors, if you don't already have something you want to post about then feel free to continue the theme of gratitude. Tell us about how this blog has helped your spirituality and dedication to the gospel of Jesus Christ. And feel free to talk about anything else you are feeling particularly thankful for.

Love ya'll!

-Trish

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Attitude of Gratitude

Today I chose to teach my Sunday School class on President Monson's talk called, "An Attitude of Gratitude." Of course it was in preparation for Thanksgiving this week. It definitely made me realize how ungrateful I really am. I think that everyone should read this talk. It has great ways for us to show gratitude to our parents, friends, country, teachers, and Savior. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and especially enjoyed discussing ways that we can show gratitude to others.

My challenge to each of us is to sit down each day and make 2 lists. The first one is for all of the things that we are grateful for. The second list is for all of the ways that we can show gratitude towards people in our lives. Start the list tomorrow! Then add to it each day! I know that this exercise will help me recognize more fully the blessings that I have in my life that Heavenly Father has given me.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Button Down

My family has been having kind of a scary week this week. On Monday, my grandma fell and broker her...nose (you thought I was going to say hip, didn't you). She's okay and was quipping and being her funny sarcastic self the whole time. Nevertheless, I've been going to her house a lot more this week just in case she and grandpa have needed anything. Yesterday I went to borrow some buttons for a primary lesson I have today, and sure enough they were in the tin in the second drawer to the left of the sewing machine. The same buttons and the same tin that has been there since I was born. We also found every picture that my siblings or cousins have ever drawn for her. I showed my husband the bow and ribbon drawer where my grandma has kept every cute bow or ribbon from every present she's ever received. It brought back a real sense of security to see all these things that my sister and I used to look through when we were little.

In my spiritual life, my grandma has been my spiritual confidante. Having grown up as the only active member in my home, my grandma was the one I turned to with gospel questions and with whom I shared my deepest spiritual experiences while I was growing up. My grandma's just one example of something that I seem to be constantly seeking: stability. It's the number one thing I love about the gospel. It never changes, but we change as we live it. It's like how the scriptures say that there is only one path, we all stray from it or we go more slowly along it then others, but it's always in the same direction, towards God. In the book, Our Search for Happiness by M. Russell Ballard it says, "As we commit ourselves to [Jesus Christ]--spiritually, physically, emotionally--He blesses our lives with loving direction. Every decision we make from that time on is affected...Our actions become more disciplined, our relationships become more righteous; even our language becomes more pure as we live a life that is centered on Jesus Christ and His teachings."

I know that when life gets too crazy, the gospel can bring us down level ground again. We can always go to God with our insecurities and he will secure us to His knowledge that we are His children and we are loved no matter what.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thankful

I know I post a lot of videos, or refer to a lot of other blogs. Sorry about that. But I have to post this! I have to! In honor of Thanksgiving (I surely love that holiday) I think it is important to stop and think of all the things I am thankful for. Here is what some random people on the streets of New York are thankful for:


I am most thankful for the creation of life, and most importantly, for the atonement.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Everything's Gonna Be Okay

I'm sorry I missed last Thursday! I've been trying to think of what I should write about, and keep thinking that nothing is good enough. The very thing I wanted to write about was that the idea of perfection is sometimes a daunting requirement of us that hinders our progress, and here I am thinking my posts won't ever be good enough so I shouldn't write anything at all!
It is the same with feeling like we have to be perfect spiritually. Thinking that we have to BE perfect ourselves is so overwhelming, it often brings about a hopeless feeling that we will never make it, and we can never be close enough, so we might as well not try.
I learned a very valuable lesson about what it means to be perfect just a few months ago after attending Education Week at BYU. It was an amazingly spiritual week full of renewed dedication to be better, but very daunting at the same time to know that I will make mistakes, and I will always fall short, no matter how much I want to do better. One evening, after a day full of classes, I went back to where I was staying and just started praying where I could be alone.
I had waited after one of the speakers talks to tell him thank you, and he said some words to me that I felt were coming straight from Heavenly Father just for me. At that moment I realized God was using a good man to get through to me. I knew that God loved me, and I could feel it coming from this man because of his worthiness to have the spirit with him.
And I wondered how amazing it would be if I could have that same spirit in me, that I might share God's love with others... that he might work through me to reach out to others. I finally understood in that moment what it means to be "ONE" with Him. As I met with that speaker, he represented the Savior himself, because he was able to get himself out of the way and let the Savior speak through him. I wanted to remove myself so that others might see the Savior instead of me. That they might see His acts, His mercy, that He might dwell IN me, that I do only His will and not mine, that He lives vicariously through me.
When I think of President Monson, and how many times he has listened to the spirit telling him to bless the life of ONE person, I truly feel that the Savior is working vicariously through the Prophet. That He is doing exactly what Christ would do if He were on the earth, and if ALL of us would let Christ work through us, there would be so many of Him and His work would be done.
I realized that if I could just give myself up completely that He might take my place, that he might replace me, that I could lose myself and find Him in me, and that we together would be ONE, and the Father ONE in us because I have given up myself that others might look at me and see the Savior instead. That they would see His light in my eyes, feel his love in my arms, hear his words from my mouth. And that's what He means when he wants us to be ONE with Him. That we let Him INSIDE us, and we get ourselves out of the way.
And if I can get myself out of the way- my sinful, flawed self, and replace it with Him, THEN can I be perfect because I am one with Christ, and He is inside me, and I've given up all of the flawed and imperfect me.
So I don't have to be perfect by myself. I just have to get myself out of the way and let Him In- His spirit to be inside me, and we can together be perfect because He is taking my place.
I hope this makes sense because I tried to type an entire night of inspiration into one little page. But it was amazing to me, and I wanted to share it with you.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What Matters Most

I know I touched on this last week and earlier in the month, but I can't help it. I feel very grateful for what I've been blessed with and so I went searching on the church website and found the new Gratitude page. It's full of links and videos talking about this principle and one of the videos is this short message from President Monson, take a look and then take the challenge to examine what matters most to you! (I promise my posts will be more in depth once I get used to the lack of sleep) :)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Procrastinators Anonymous Meeting Has Been Postponed

It's 11:45 p.m. on Tuesday night, and guess who just remembered to blog?

Me.

(That wasn't very hard to guess, was it?)

Well, here it goes. I found a lovely little thought on (yup, you guessed it) procrastination.

A quick thought from Elder Donald L. Hallstrom of the Seventy:

"Procrastination may seem the easy way, as it momentarily removes the effort required to accomplish something of value. Ironically, in time, procrastination produces a heavy burden laced with guilt and a hollow lack of satisfaction. Temporal and, even more importantly, spiritual goals will not be achieved by procrastination.

Now is the time to exercise our faith. Now is the time to commit to righteousness. Now is the time to do whatever is required to resolve our undesired circumstances. Now is the time to reconcile with God through the merciful process of change afforded us by the Redeemer of mankind."

I think that it couldn't be more clearly stated-- if we want to reach our goals, we have to get up and get to work! Nothing will ever be accomplished if we keep procrastinating, both in the temporal and spiritual sense.

Now is the time! Do whatever it is you've been meaning to do. Now is the time, not later.

As for me, now is the time... for bed. :-)


Monday, November 16, 2009

Missionary bloggin'

Yesterday our Sunday School lesson was about missionary work, more specifically "Every member a missionary". With the wide spread fear and panic that I feel society is currently embracing, sometimes being a missionary seems hard to me. People in my neighborhood won't even answer their door without first asking who I am. When I substitute teach elementary school kids, each child has to be individually signed off and accounted for at the end of the day.

Most people feel more secure at their computers than they do in social situations. I was watching "The View" for a few minutes today and Whoopi was reading a letter someone had sent about people growing up from the 30s to the 70s. The writer had said that back then they ate whatever they wanted without fear, went wherever they wanted as kids for as long as they wanted, and didn't have all the safety contraptions that we have now (carseats, seat belts, etc). The writer wasn't trying to bash on our current level of safety and security but was merely pointing out that growing up like that has produced more daring and inventive people, also people who aren't afraid to talk to strangers or play with kids that are a different age.

The show had some pretty interesting conversations about this topic. It made me contemplate the challenges we face when trying to share the gospel with others. The challenges I mostly thought of were basically what I've already shared plus the obvious things that would probably bore you if I mentioned. But I think that sometimes having a challenge brings new opportunities. Since many people are so comfortable at their computers these days, we have the opportunity to share our love of the gospel online.

I know I've already written about how the Ensign has being running articles about missionary blogging so I won't go into that again. Instead this time I wanted to find some other LDS blogs and link them so that everyone can see that a lot of people are doing this. After you have checked them out, let me know if you want me to link any of them on the sidebar. (Or if you know of any other amazing LDS blogs that give spiritual nourishment!)


LDS listings: lists of other LDS blogs and sites






Sunday, November 15, 2009

We Need to Love God!

I have been reading the recent Ensign with all of the conference talks and I just had to comment on President Uchtdorf's talk titled "The Love of God." My favorite thing that he said was the following:

"God the Eternal Father did not give that first great commandment because He needs us to love Him. His power and glory are not diminished should we disregard, deny, or even defile His name. His influence and dominion extend through time and space independent of our acceptance, approval, or admiration. No, God does not need us to love Him. But oh, how we need to love God! For what we love determines what we seek. What we seek determines what we think and do. What we think and do determines who we are—and who we will become."

This really made me think. Do I have enough love for God? And if I do am I doing my best to show that love? His entire talk was wonderful and I highly recommend you all read it and take a few minutes to ponder about ways that you can show more love for God.

How Can I Be?





I enjoyed this song and thought you guys would enjoy it, too.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Don't Quite Have It All Together?

This has been an incredible week. I have had a lot of learning, and have so many different topics I would like to share! But, I tend to be a little long winded, so I am going to post only one of the many, and leave my thoughts with it.

A while back I found a blog called Diapers and Divinity. A wonderfully inspired and insightful woman writes about being a mother, and how even the mundane things have a spiritual side to them. She always makes me happy and makes me think (She also hosts a General Conference Book Club every Monday, if you want to check that out).

Earlier this week Jeffrey and I were joking about who has the harder job; him as provider for our family, or me as the SAHM. In the midst of our banter I said something that actually had me thinking for a while after. I had said "As a woman I have far more demands than you. You just have to be a good provider, be there for me emotionally, and be a good dad for our kids. I have to keep a perfectly clean house, provide healthy yet tasty meals, magnify my calling, be crafty, be slender, be successful, always be happy, teach Keith to read before he is in Kindergarten... and so much more. I will trade you places any day."

And then I realized. We as women really do have too many demands to fulfill. Whether we place them upon ourselves (as I do) or we allow society to place them upon our shoulders, we are far too heavy laden with demands on our time and talents.

Simplify is the key here. But more than that, looking to the Savior. In Stephanie's post she wrote about a few examples in the NT where people go before Christ not quite having it all, but having their best. And it is enough. Go and read her post. It is worth it. It will make you feel good inside, and make you happy, I promise. She is wonderful and you wont regret it.

Hugs!
Amy

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Most Important Thing

Sorry I didn't post yesterday, here's my reason why: our daughter Annabelle--I had her Tuesday.

So, here's my thought (emphasis added):

Brethren and sisters, material possessions and honors of the world do not endure. But your union as wife, husband, and family can. The only duration of family life that satisfies the loftiest longings of the human soul is forever. No sacrifice is too great to have the blessings of an eternal marriage. To qualify, one needs only to deny oneself of ungodliness and honor the ordinances of the temple. By making and keeping sacred temple covenants, we evidence our love for God, for our companion, and our real regard for our posterity—even those yet unborn. Our family is the focus of our greatest work and joy in this life; so will it be throughout all eternity, when we can ‘inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities … powers, dominions … exaltation and glory’ (D&C 132:19).

Russell M. Nelson, “Set in Order Thy House,” Liahona, Jan. 2002, 82

Make your family your greatest joy and all will fall into place. Love to you all!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wrestling with God Makes Your Soul Stronger

I am so sorry! I wanted to blog on Saturday, but our computer had a virus that was crippling our internet and we had to go get it wiped clean over the weekend. I just couldn't wait until this Saturday to share what I learned.

I'm reading a book we got from our wedding called Living a Covenant Marriage:Practical Advice from Thirteen Experts Who've Walked in Your Shoes which is a compilation of articles by prominent LDS authors with their soundest marriage advice. In it, there was a quote from Boyd K. Packer that says:
"We seem to be developing an epidemic of 'counselitis' which drains spiritual strength from the Church...That, some may assume, is not serious. It is very serious!... We have become very anxious over the amount of couseling that we seem to need in the Church. Our members are becoming dependent...If we are not careful we can lose the power of individual revelation...."
I know we've all either had the friend or have been the friend who has had the hard question in their life and asks everyone's advice about it. I have a friend right now that is struggling to pick a direction for her life. She wants everyone to tell her what school and what program she should enter, she keeps asking what she should do about a boy that she keeps dating and not dating and then dating again, and she wants to know where she should move to and when. I understand how difficult this part of her life must be. But I also know that she already has a lot of the answers she is looking for and I feel so sad that she doesn't trust herself just to follow through with them.

"It was meant to be that life would be a challenge. To suffer some anxiety, some depression, some disappointment, even some failure is normal.

Teach our members that if they have a good, miserable day once in a while, or several in a row, to stand steady and face them. Things will straighten out.

There is a great purpose in our struggle in life."


As always, there is sometimes a need for professional and/or medical help. But I learned a long time ago, hard times always come before the good times, and good times will always be followed by bad. But the joy of overcoming makes the journey exciting and intriguing. Enjoy the ride.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My Eight Copies: Part 4

[This is the 4th and final part in an essay about the many copies of the Book of Mormon I have owned and how they have influenced and mirrored my life.]

My favorite copy of the Book of the Mormon that I own is one I received while working for BYU. Each Christmas, the First Presidency gives Church employees a small gift.

One year, I received a beautiful, leather triple combination. In the letter that came with it, the First Presidency wrote,
“It is our sincere hope that your study of the scriptures will continue to be a source of inspiration, guidance and peace in your life. As you read, your mind will be enlightened, your spirit will be lifted, and there will come into your heart an added measure of the Spirit of the Lord. There will come a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to the Lord’s commandments, and there will come a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God.”
I took this as a personal challenge to read more consistently, study more diligently and ponder more deeply. Every promise made in that letter was realized, and my life was changed yet again.

The final copy of the Book of Mormon that sits on my shelf is new. In it is a pamphlet about the Restoration that missionaries use with new investigators. I got it from the missionaries a few months after moving to St. Louis two years ago. I had intended to give it away to a coworker, but never did. I look at it and feel regretful that I chickened out. I had a treasure to share, and I chose to keep it to myself.

Elder Hugh W. Pinnock of the Seventy said,
“We need to open our mouths in order to communicate to others the spiritual lifesaving principles found in the Book of Mormon, as well as the importance of reading that wonderful book.”
The best way to find courage to share the Book of Mormon is to read it ourselves—daily. For those among us who are more casual, inconsistent readers, Elder Scott says,
“If you have not yet drunk deeply from this fountain of pure truth, with all of my soul I encourage you to do so now. Don’t let the consistent study of the Book of Mormon be one of the things that you intend to do but never quite accomplish. Begin today.”
I know that if we do not neglect our study of the Book of Mormon, but read consistently, daily-- we will be blessed with both knowledge and inspiration.

Our bishop always promotes the "Five Verses A Day" plan. Read at least five verses (that's it!) every day. Nobody can say they don't have time for five verses! Even when I am dead-dog tired and don't want to read, I can't ever say to myself, "I'm not going to read. Five verses is too much."

As for "How the Book of Mormon Changed My Life"?

I grew up in the Church, learning about the Book of Mormon, so it is true that there has been no dramatic change in my life. No moment when I found the Book of Mormon and went from lost and wandering to found and directed. That is why I had such difficulty finding a place to begin my Sacrament meeting talk.

The Book of Mormon didn’t change my life in a singular moment; the Book of Mormon changes my life a little bit every time I read it—grounding me in the faith, guiding me through this treacherous time that Mormon prophesied of, and always testifying of Jesus Christ, bringing me nearer to Him and our Father in Heaven.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Roll up your sleeves

I am writing this on Friday because today I feel inspired. Who knows how I will feel on Monday. I didn't have very many shows to watch on my recorded TV today so I decided to watch live TV. The Wife Swap show was on and I decided to tune in. I've never really gotten into this show before but today I thought it might be interesting.

And it was! The two moms that swapped places were total opposites and very extreme in their ways. One mom was a very hard worker that not only takes care of the entire house and family, but her family also has a dairy farm. They get up early everyday to get the work done before the kids head off to school. (We'll call her Debbie.)

The other mom believes in spoiling her kids and having her husband wait on her hand and foot. Her husband gets up early, cleans the entire house, makes her breakfast in bed, and then goes to work. When he gets home, he does even more housework! He never gets a break! Their daughters are cheerleaders and never have to do any chores. (We'll call her Barbara.)

So it was really interesting seeing these moms switch places for two weeks. The first week the new mom has to follow the rules of the family and the second week she can change rules and the family has to follow what she says.

The first week Debbie is fed breakfast in bed and is told that she normally stays in bed until around 3 pm. Barbara, on the other hand, has to shovel manure and milk cows. They both have a hard time adjusting to this new schedule.

Then the second week Debbie changes some rules and gets the spoiled daughters to learn a good work ethic. They get up early to clean the house so their dad doesn't have to do it all. They work together to clean out and organize the garage. Suddenly the kids realize that they like to work a little, and that they are so much happier. They feel closer to their dad, helping him out this way.

Barbara decides the second week that the kids are no longer going to be "slave laborers" and that the father has to do all the work himself and make her breakfast in bed. One of the boys in that family broke down when he heard this because he loves to work with his family on the farm. Barbara chalks this up to him being brainwashed his whole life. The father here is a good sport about following her rules for a couple of days but as he hardly gets any sleep with all the work to do, life starts to wear on him. After a few days of these new rules, his sons decide to break the rules and go help him with the cows. (I was getting really teary eyed at this point.)

After the two weeks are up, the couples meet up and discuss how things went. As a result of doing the show, Barbara decides the family needs to do more things together to be closer. The girls help out around the house and their father is no longer the servant of everyone. Debbie and her husband decide that maybe sometimes their sons need a break. Debbie's husband realizes that he is so lucky to have Debbie and knows that she is his soul mate.

I was really touched by this episode. It reminded me of the Family Proclamation:

"Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on
principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love,
compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities
."

There is something wholesome and wonderful about work. Not just doing your own work, but working together as a family to accomplish a greater goal. For example, when I was growing up we had gardens and a large yard to take care of. On Saturdays during the summer we would work together to tend to them. My daily job was always to water the flowers. I enjoyed doing this because I got to see how what I did made the flowers bloom. I think all children need something like this. There is a natural learning process that occurs when we work together as a family. If you are feeling down, maybe you just need to roll up your sleeves and go to work!

Friday, November 6, 2009

All You Need Is Love

Sorry for not posting last week. I didn't realize it was Friday until it was Saturday. Does that ever happen to you?
I had a whole slew of things I have been pondering lately, but since the horrible tragedy that happened in Ft. Hood, TX yesterday I think my thoughts have been a little more focused on what we do in the name of Religion, and why.

Throughout history there have been so many atrocities committed by people in the name of God. Take the Crusades. Take the history of the Turks. The treatment of the Native Americans. The many cults. And more prominently (at least from what I can see) are the Extremists.

The first and greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, might, mind and strength. The second is to love your neighbor as yourself.

If you look at the ten commandments, every single one of them breaks down to fit into one of those two categories. If you love God, you will honor Him, keep the Sabbath day holy, have no engraven images etc. If you love your neighbor, you will not kill, steal, covet, etc. So to follow the most basic teachings of Christ, or even God, we are taught that we must love.

During Christ's ministry He taught us to go the extra mile with that love. To do everything with kindness and not to retaliate.

I am slightly confused how people can teach about a loving God. Someone who loves all His children and yet be so casual with human life. They say that they are justified because it is for their religion. They say people of their faith, or people who are not keeping the commandments deserved whatever. I say we are taught to love our enemies. I say true religion is about focusing on yourself, then your family, then your community. I say true religion is all about love.

Funny story (I hope you don't mind me sharing this, Tricia) all through HS people told me Tricia hated me. People told her I hated her. We didn't know each other so we couldn't have possibly hated each other. Since we took piano lessons from the same teacher, we decided to play a duet together. By working together we were able to get to know each other and become friends. Very good friends. Later room mates. Even later still friends. I never hated her. She never hated me (I think :) ) due to lack of understanding and listening to what other people told us rather than what we ourselves knew we missed out on a good couple of years of friendship.

I guess the point of this is just to encourage everyone to be more understanding. In the name of your beliefs and your religions, give an outpouring of love. Most problems arise from misunderstandings and nothing more. Look past the pride that naturally builds up and try to have more love and understanding. That is what this world needs. More love.

I know this sounds silly because I only know most of you through this blog, but I do love you all. I wish you the very best day and weekend, and know that as you go about keeping the two greatest commandments everything else will fall into place and the peace in your heart and surrounding you will amaze you. Go out and give this world some love!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Hey Everyone!

Thanks for the invite!
I'm excited to start sharing all these thoughts I have, and to have meaningful conversations with you all. I often wish every conversation could have roots in our purpose here, but we live in a world of much distraction, and I just don't get to do it very often. So I'm excited!

One of the first things I'd like to share with you is my little girl, Elizabeth, who came into our lives on April 27, 2006 and left for heaven the same day. I feel so blessed to have had her influence in my life, and continue to have her watching over me. It's amazing how we can go through something so devastating and realize it has become a great source of spiritual strength. I will have to share that story with you next week, as it may take some time to write it all out! But in the mean time, I made a video for her that I feel has a great message to it, and would be a good start to my spiritual sharing. You can see it at http://www.onetruemedia.com/otm_site/share_view_player?p=153f9d37393215121ec4be
Make sure your volume is turned on because the music is one of the best parts.

Thanks again for this opportunity, and I look forward to reading what you have to share.

New Thursday author

We have a new Thursday author for our blog. The past author is feeling a bit overwhelmed with life and felt like she needed a break. Therefore I want to introduce Bethany as our new Thursday girl.

I first met her when I was working for the post office at the REC site. We were roommates for a short time and have been good friends thereafter. She is currently married to the love of her life, John and has a cute little boy named Isaac. Also she is expecting another baby to come soon. I will let her further introduce herself with however many details she feels comfortable sharing.

Welcome to the blog, Bethany!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Be Grateful

Since it is November and it's the traditional time of year for us all to remember what we're thankful for I wanted to share a scripture about gratitude from the Book of Mormon and then share our November tradition.

Behold, my beloved brethren (and sisters), remember the words of your God; pray unto him continually by day, and give thanks until his holy name by night. Let your hearts rejoice.
2 Nephi 9:52

I like that scripture because it reminds me to always be grateful for the blessings Heavenly Father has given me. It is links giving thanks to prayer. How can we really let our Father know what we are truly thankful for if we don't tell him?

In our family, each day in November we take a few minutes, usually around dinner time, to write down something, anything we are thankful for. We write them down on feathers which get placed into a styrofoam turkey who resides on our table (click here to see more). On thanksgiving, we'll go through the list and write it down to keep it for years to come. It's fun to see the little (and big) things we are thankful for; it's also nice to remember just how many blessings Heavenly Father has given us.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

My Eight Copies: Part 3

[This is the 3rd part in an essay about the many copies of the Book of Mormon I have owned.]

My next set of scriptures came when I started seminary. This set lived at the church building and were there on the cart to greet every morning at 5:45. They are nearly unrecognizable as scriptures. The bindings are so bent and they are so full of quotes that my triple combination is the same size as a standard Bible. These particular scriptures taught me to diligently study them and to find strength in their pages. Up until this point, I had never been a consistent scripture reader, but at this point in my life I developed the habit of reading the scriptures daily. Building on these daily interactions with the scriptures, I gained my true testimony of the Book of Mormon.

President Ezra Taft Benson declared:
“Every Latter-day Saint should make the study of this book a lifetime pursuit. Otherwise he is placing his soul in jeopardy and neglecting that which could give spiritual and intellectual unity to his whole life.”
During my freshman year at BYU, I had the opportunity to focus my scripture study on the Book of Mormon. Naturally, I bought myself a new copy before the class began. I had excellent teachers and was uplifted and inspired during each class session. I was constantly being presented with interpretations and views that were new to me. There was a lesson to be learned in every chapter.

However, the lesson that changed my life the most was that the Book of Mormon was written for our day, for us. In Mormon 8:35, Mormon says:
“Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing.”
Thinking of the Book of Mormon this way, that it was written specifically for our hazardous times, brings great comfort to me and makes me anxious to seek advice from it. Elder Richard G. Scott said it so plainly:
“The Book of Mormon holds answers for the problems we face in everyday life."
It can't get much more straightforward than that! The Book of Mormon holds the answers. I hope you all may find the answers you seek in its pages.

To be continued...

Monday, November 2, 2009

Diamonds

Yesterday our RS lesson was about charity and service in the home. The teacher started off by comparing us as women to diamonds. We talked about the characteristics of diamonds and how they apply to us as well.

My comment was that diamonds reflect light. We as daughters of God can also reflect the light of Christ within us by cultivating charity and other Christlike attributes. Charity is not something you possess or give away, but it is something that you become.

Remember the phrase, "Charity never faileth"? Elder Oaks tells us why:

"The reason charity never fails and the reason charity is greater than even the most significant acts of goodness he cited is that charity, “the pure love of Christ” (Moro. 7:47), is not an act but a condition or state of being. Charity is attained through a succession of acts that result in a conversion."

I think we show our charity daily by how we respond to other people and in our day to day challenges. For example, a woman in RS told about how her daughter kept trying to help her in the kitchen. She felt like she could do it faster by herself but decided that her daughter mattered more than the task at hand. I think it is little examples like that where we can choose to exemplify charity in our lives.

My husband has shown me a lot of charity lately in this last stretch of my pregnancy. He is patient and understanding, even when I start whimpering about some pain I'm having in the middle of the night. His attitude shows me that he wants to be there to help me. He tries to understand what I'm going through and why I get so emotional sometimes. He gives me the benefit of the doubt, even sometimes when maybe I don't deserve it so much.

I pray that you all can know that you are just like diamonds in so many ways. Learn to reflect the light of Christ by cultivating charity in your character.

Love you all!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Church is True

In 1896, during Wilford Woodruff's presidency, the first Sunday of the month officially became Fast Sunday where members of the Church have the opportunity to bear their testimonies. Since today is the first Sunday of the month I wanted to just post my simple testimony.

I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the only true church on the Earth today. I know that Jesus Christ is our savior and that he died for ALL mankind. He suffered on the cross, all alone, so that we would never have to suffer alone. I know that He lives! I know that He was resurrected, and that if we will repent of our sins we will be resurrected and gain eternal life. I know that God is our eternal Father in Heaven. He loves us and has given us a way to return to Him once more! I know that Joseph Smith is a true prophet of God. He restored the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Earth and he translated the Book of Mormon by the power of God. I love this gospel and I know that every principle in it is true. If we will live the principles that are taught by the prophets, both past and present, then we will be blessed during mortality as well as throughout eternity. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails