Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Write It Down

As the new year approaches, I would venture to say that we all become more reflective. We look back on the past year and wonder if it met our expectations; did we improve or did we plateau?

Sometimes as journal can help us see how much we've grown. I used to be ridiculously good at keeping a journal, in fact, I had a couple years where I wrote every day. Then, I fell out of that habit---and I wish I hadn't. I did take the chance to write the occasional entry, but I missed so many of the little moments; moments that I now try desperately to remember.

I look back at the past 20 months of my life (since my son's birth) and wish I wrote more down. He's growing up so fast and I want to remember as much as I can. I know that this blog, and our personal ones, have helped, but I have restricted my entries because I fear to say too much. Prophets have even counseled us to keep a history, President Spencer W. Kimball said:
Every person should keep a journal and every person can keep a journal. It should be an enlightening one and should bring great blessings and happiness to the families. If there is anyone here who isn’t doing so, will you repent today and change—change your life? (in Conference Report, Apr. 1979, p. 117; or Ensign, May 1979, p. 84).
So, with the new year, I'm taking the chance to start over again. I hope to start small. Here are my journal keeping goals:
  1. Each day I blog, I'll write in my personal journal. (so that means I should at least have Wednesdays covered).
  2. Catch up in the kids' baby books.
  3. Print out the previous years' blog posts. I was using a software to accomplish this, but I think I'm just going to copy, paste, make a cover with my scrapbooking software, print it at kinkos' and laminate (cheaper in the long run---that way I can make one for Greg and I, and one each for the kids---to take when they're not kids).
  4. Over the next couple of days, I'm going to make a family planner/journal for 2010 (check the link). I definitely think this sister was inspired to post about her planner and then link back to the sister who made the FREE template. After I make it, I must keep it up to date.
I hope I've inspired each of you to do a little here and a little there to always keep those special (and not so special) moments with you.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Keeping a Testimony

During FHE tonight we came across this quote from the 1st presidency message in the new Ensign:
"Testimony isn't something that you have today and you keep always. Testimony is either going to grow and grow to the brightness of certainty, or it is going to diminish to nothingness, depending upon what we do about it. I say, the testimony that we recapture day by day is the thing that saves us from the pitfalls of the adversary."

This quote stood out to me today because it reminded me that we have to do something everyday to keep our testimony strong. I think I knew of this before and that was why I wanted to start this blog. That way I could have an uplifting thing to read everyday that someone I know had written. And I would also have a chance to inspire other people.

Reading this blog has helped me to keep my testimony strong and vibrant and has allowed me to continue growing and striving towards my intended celestial destination. Everyday we make choices that can bring us closer or take us further away from it. What have you done recently to keep yours strong and vibrant?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Put God First

I feel completely behind in my life right now (probably because I have been so busy getting ready for Christmas and now I am out of town). I apologize for missing last week's post. Congratulations to Ashley and Nate on the pregnancy! My husband and I are also expecting our first baby, a boy due May 18th!

I just want to share a simple yet profound thought with everyone. I have been witnessing people around me that are having difficulties with their marriage. It is extremely hard for me to see the sadness that these people are experiencing. I feel so blessed to have such a wonderful marriage. I love being married to my best friend and I am so grateful for the wonderful person he is! I often wish that I could fix the marriages around me that do not seem to be going well. I know how good it can be so I guess I want everyone to have that in their life. The most important aspect of a marriage is that you must put God first, your spouse next, and yourself last. If you do this then you will reap the benefits of a happy, healthy, and successful marriage!

I will be the first to admit that I make many mistakes in my own marriage. And being a natural "woman" I am often more selfish than I ought to be. Thankfully I have a wonderful, patient, and loving husband who overlooks many of my more selfish moments (hopefully I do the same for him). My challenge to all of you readers is to do something thoughtful and selfless for your spouse every single day this week. That would add up to 7 selfless acts! Next week I'll check up on you and see how you did, as well as report on how I did. Good luck!

Two Hearts

There's a Cheri Call song called "Gifts" that has become one of my favorites to listen to during the holiday season. The link will take you to the lyrics and a version you can listen to for yourself, but the part I especially like is the third verse:

I told Him it was broken, but it was all that I had
And He said that it was just what He wanted
And somehow I believed what He said
And it wasn’t gold or Frankincense like they gave Him from the start
It was just my heart; it was just my heart

I think it's a special thing to be reminded that all we can give is ourselves to our Savior. After all, that's what he gave us and THAT was and is the greatest gift of all time.

I've got a secret for all of you. Nate and I learned about a month ago that we are pregnant with our first baby due in July. On Christmas morning, I woke up for the first time and as I was laying in bed I swear I could feel my baby's heartbeat just slightly after mine. I don't know if that's possible, but that was the greatest Christmas gift I have ever received. And I thought of Mary holding her little baby and touching His hands, the hands that would one day be pierced with nails, and smoothing His face, the face that another Mary would see as the resurrected Lord, and I felt grateful for life and sacrifice and what that all means. I wish you all a Happy New Year with a new start in each of your lives and an opportunity for me to prepare to greet a brand new life into my own.

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Reason for the Season

I have been typing away for a while at this computer, and cannot get my thoughts to make sense in the written form, so though I would like to expound much more, I cannot. My thoughts have been regarding Mary the mother of Jesus. After each miracle she experienced or witnessed she held the experience close and pondered it in her heart. Every time I read that it floors me. And this is where I can't make any sense except in my own mind.

So, I would like to share with you instead something a dear friend of mine taught me last night. Malinda (my friend) was getting ready to teach her Gospel Principles class when she came across the question "what does repentance mean to you?" and she began thinking of that. Really, what did it mean to her.

I am not going to go into her experience much (if you would like to read it, go here) but I am going to share her scriptural thought. When the angels appeared the night the Savior was born
they declared they brought good tidings of great joy. She said that the glad tidings is the Gospel of Jesus Christ... the Good News. And the gospel is the Atonement of Christ. It's the fact that we can return to live with Him and our Father. And the Great Joy is Repentance. Because it is only through repentance that we can become clean. What a wonderful thought. A few years back I had the epiphany that the only reason we do celebrate Christmas is because of the Atonement. Without it, nothing would matter. There would be no reason for this season. How grateful I am for that.

And now, I leave you with a wonderful Christmas video Tricia emailed me. We thought that everyone would enjoy it. Merry Christmas and I hope the Spirit of Christ was with you all day, and can continue to be with you throughout your lives.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Light Unto All

The church has a page all about Christmas; I wish I would have found it earlier in the month, but at least I can potentially use some of the ideas in the next few days and the upcoming years.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Real Gift of Christmas

I'm posting this video because I thought it went really well with my topic from last week.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Families

One aspect of the belonging to this church that I feel especially fond of is the focus on families, and eternal families. Now that I am a mother this has taken on a whole new meaning. This gospel isn't a race to the finish, or all about trying to outshine the next person. It is about having a family and finding our way back to our Heavenly Father's presence together.

I am especially thankful for the Family Proclamation that was given when I was in my youth so that I could grow up with it and now cherish each part of it as I endeavor to raise a celestially bound family. I want to share a part of it today and hope that we can each reflect on it with a stronger faith and testimony of the principles taught within it. I pulled an excerpt out for reflection but feel free to click the above link and read the entire thing.

The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.

We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God’s eternal plan.

Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalms 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.

I pray that we will always hold true to these values and be a good example of them to our family and friends. What blessings have you noticed in your life as a result of holding true to these values?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

What An AWESOME Week!!!

I have really loved the posts this week. They have truly reflected everything that has touched my Spirit this week. I'll try to keep my thoughts short so you can get back to the Christmas season.

This past week was FINALS WEEK. On top of that, I was majorly sick and I missed the final review before the test and was feeling really down about it. There is an awesome girl in my class named Annie that was my angel this week. She actually tracked me down through the school e-mail system to send me her notes from the review, which made the whole thing much much easier than it would have been otherwise. She earns a place in my "Incredible People Pile."

I love this time of year but not because I think everyone is nicer but because I notice it more. I am more geared to recognize the service I receive. I once attended a Midnight Mass with one of my friends and the priest said in his homily a line a will never forget," Every year we hear the Christmas story and it's always the same, but hopefully something has changed within us in the last year that makes the story mean something different."

Merry Christmas Season Everyone!!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Spirit of Christ



It is so easy to get lost in the symbolism and forget the symbol. I pray our hearts will be open so we can enjoy the spirit of Christ this season and all year round.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Angels Among Us

I truly believe there are angels surrounding us every day. I mean the angels who are living, AND the ones who don't currently have bodies. I can feel it. They are so interested in our lives, and in helping us. I just wanted to share because I'm so thankful for their help, and for the living angels in my life who have been blessing me.

Heavenly Father sure does put people in our path that are prepared and willing to help us. I am so amazed at the ways He's been blessing me even when I haven't spoken to him in ages... He doesn't care- he still sends people to bless my life when I don't deserve it!!

My sister-in-law came over like 3 times last week just to visit and help clean my house and play with Isaac. She has no idea that every time she called me I was on the verge of a breakdown, and I truly feel the angels were guiding her.

He has also given me a visiting teaching companion who has been praying to be the kind of friend I need, and that prayer has been answered. She has become an instant friend, and has already helped me in more ways than I can express. It is just so great that the people who will listen to the promtings of the spirit can be tools in God's hands in lifting up those who are lost and wounded.

I'm so amazed that Heavenly Father is doing all these things for me when I've felt like a total failure to him. He never gives up on us. He utilizes all the willing spirits he can gather up to come and bless our lives. I have felt these angels seen and unseen in my life, and I am so thankful for the evidence of His great love.

I only hope to be the kind of willing spirit he can use to answer the prayers of others.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Four Ways

Recently in Mormon Times, Orson Scott Card referenced a sacrament talk given in his ward. Since it was the Sunday before Thanksgiving, the brother giving the closing talk was assigned gratitude. He told the congregation to take each of the four days remaining before Thanksgiving to think about different ways you've been blessed.

I know it's Christmas and not Thanksgiving anymore, but I tend to feel gratitude just as much during this month as I did the last. To quote Card: "there's no expiration date on gratitude." Recognizing what we are grateful for can also help us be more willing to serve others and become truly like our Savior; which is one of the reasons for Christmas--to remind us to be more like Him. So, take a few minutes over the next few days and ponder how you've been blessed in the following ways:
  1. How Heavenly Father, Christ, and Holy Ghost have blessed your life: This could be a whole post and/or blog within itself. I wouldn't be the woman I am today with the love of my Heavenly Father, example of my Elder Brother, and the guidance of the Holy Ghost.
  2. How members of your family have blessed your life: My Dad provided, presided and protected our family. No matter what decision he (and my mom) made, he did it for the good of the family. He honors his priesthood and sets a good example for everyone around him. He'll be the last to tell you this because he'll think he didn't do well at all---he's incredibly humble. And because he did this I looked for those qualities in a husband and I was lucky enough to find it in Greg.
  3. How your friends have impacted your life: When I look back at the decisions I've made, I've been able to see who my true friends are; they are the people who always stick by you, no matter what, to help you see just how loved you are---even if they don't like your choice. I've been blessed to have those kind of friends become my family.
  4. How other church members and leaders have blessed you: Other church members help us strengthen our own testimonies; if that wasn't true we wouldn't have this blog, auxiliary programs or callings. We provide each other service, love and support. We help each other through the highs and the lows of mortality because we know what we're striving for.
I hope, through my little thoughts, that I help someone as much as ya'll have helped me.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

"Maybe Christmas Doesn't Come From A Store"

I was reading a talk (with the same title as above) by Jeffrey R. Holland, and he pointed out something that I had never thought of before:

Joseph and Mary were poor.

I mean, it makes sense-- the woman gave birth in a stable, but I never really thought about it.
Elder Holland elaborates: I wonder if Luke did not have some special meaning when he wrote not “there was no room in the inn” but specifically that “there was no room for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:7; italics added.) We cannot be certain, but it is my guess that money could talk in those days as well as in our own. I think if Joseph and Mary had been people of influence or means, they would have found lodging even at that busy time of year.
The wise men came later, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. By the time they arrived, the Baby Jesus is described as "a young child" and Joseph and Mary were living in a house (see Matthew 2:11).

The gifts we give today to our loved ones are symbols of the gifts given to the Christ-child by the wise men. Elder Holland suggests that perhaps we use the wise men as examples to separate the gift-giving from the true reason for the season-- celebrating the birth of our Savior.

Elder Holland adds:

As happens so often if we are not careful, the symbols can cover that which is symbolized...

I do not feel—or mean this to sound—like a modern-day Scrooge. The gold, frankincense, and myrrh were humbly given and appreciatively received, and so they should be, every year and always. As my wife and children can testify, no one gets more giddy about the giving and receiving of presents than I do.

But for that very reason, I, like you, need to remember the very plain scene, even the poverty, of a night devoid of tinsel or wrapping or goods of this world. Only when we see that single, sacred, unadorned object of our devotion—the Babe of Bethlehem—will we know why “tis the season to be jolly” and why the giving of gifts is so appropriate.

May we each remember the humble scene of the nativity on the night of Christ's birth. Plain and simple, yet full of love. I pray that each of our Christmas celebrations may be the same.

Whoops

Sorry everyone, I totally spaced posting yesterday. But in my defense I slept until about 10 and then hurried to get ready and leave for the day- an outing with my mom and baby. Then at night we met up with Nick to eat and go to the Riverwalk. So we didn't get home until about 10 last night. And I was totally pooped. But I'll just post a scripture I like so that I can still be slightly on top of things this week.

Ether 12:27
And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

So I want to know what this scripture means to you. How does it touch your life at this time? What can you gain from applying the principles in it?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Release the Secret Weapon!

Hi everyone,

This is Josh in for Meagan for husby week. So whenever I see Meagan working on or reading this blog, the title always makes me think of Fievel Goes West (you know, the one about there being no cats in America and the streets being paved with cheese...). Anyway, in the pivotal moment of that movie, the mice shout "release the secret weapon!" and finally get the cats.

I thought I'd blog about a secret weapon I was reading about in my scripture study this morning. It was quoted in President Eyring's jolly December article "Home for Christmas." In it, he mentions many worthwhile things, one of which is D&C 50:23-25 which speaks of the light of Christ. I'll quote it in its entirety

23. And that which doth not edify is not of God, and is darkness
24. That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.
25. And again, verily I say unto you, and I say it that you may know the truth, that you may chase darkness from among you.

The thing that caught my eye in particular was the word chase. As in, we chase the darkness away. It's not that the darkness eventually goes away, or that we can wait and hide until somebody else releases a secret weapon for us. We indeed do have a secret weapon that we can use to not only defend ourselves from the bad, but to actively chase it out of our lives and homes. In terms of the "armor of God" scripture in Ephesians, the sword we have to hand is "the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17).

I think it's the Light of Christ and the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Every child of God has the light of Christ and receives more and more light as they act on that light. The sword gets sharper and sharper. And the Gift of the Holy Ghost is like a whole new model of sword: more powerful, longer lasting, stainless etc. etc. all the better for chasing the darkness out of our lives. I think there's also significance in the second part of that Ephesians verse "which is the word of God". To me, that sounds like it's not just the Spirit, but it's the Spirit and the knowledge it teaches us applied in our lives.

The Gift of the Holy Ghost is truly a gift. Wilford Woodruff said this:

"Now, if you have the Holy Ghost with you—and every one ought to have—I can say unto you that there is no greater gift, there is no greater blessing, there is no greater testimony given to any man on earth. You may have the administration of angels; you may see many miracles; you may see many wonders in the earth; but I claim that the gift of the Holy Ghost is the greatest gift that can be bestowed upon man. It is by this power that we have performed that which we have. It is this that sustains us through all the persecutions, trials and tribulations that come upon us." (Deseret Weekly, April 6, 1889, 451, emphasis added by Josh)

So, in conclusion, appreciate that gift, that secret weapon. Use it. Take it out and polish it. We should put it to work on the offensive in our lives and chase down and squish our weaknesses, lingering sins, guilty pleasures, and I-wish-that-I...'s. There really is no greater gift we can receive in this life. If we really use it and relish it to its fullest potential, I know the light will grow brighter and brighter until the perfect day, as promised.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Moving

My wife just told me that it's hubby night on the blog and handed me the computer. Wow I thought, what a great opportunity to share my experiences with people I barely know. I then asked my wife to tell me what I should write about and the helpful advice she gave was "something spiritual". With a topic that specific, how could I go wrong? I guess a big test of faith in my life somewhat recently has been moving to Salt Lake.
I grew up in a small town, Mendon, just outside of Logan. It's a tight-knit community and everyone knows everyone else. I was raised by loving and sheltering parents. The only significant amount of time I've spent away from Mendon was to serve a mission to Philadelphia (which was an eye opener, and no doubt). I give this history to give perspective on my somewhat recent activity.
I met a beautiful woman, who seemed to like me in return. We dated until I realized she really did like me, then I proposed and we got married.
Thus we are eventually led to my real story. Right before we were married I moved from my small town to West Jordan. The initial hardship was (and is) driving. It's way different here than in a small town. Then there was adjusting to a new home and meeting our funny neighbors. It wasn't until later that I found myself feeling somewhat depressed. I had left everything and everyone familiar for a city where I knew nothing and no-one. I had gained something far more valuable in return but there was definitely something lacking.
I found that I had to lean more and more on prayer to help me feel something familiar. I still feel alone sometimes, cut off from the familiar. I still feel like an alien sometimes. But the Spirit of the Lord always makes me feel lat home anywhere.
One day, I was alone in our apartment, I was feeling particularly out of place. I had no job, and no friends other than my wife. I was feeling so bad that I finally fell on my knees and asked for something to make me feel better. I knelt there for a couple of minutes, nothing happened. So I got up and started doing some dishes. A few minutes in I felt suddenly like I was at home. The same feel that was always around me growing up, and on the mission. It wasn't a huge spiritual moment full of tears and heartfelt repentance. It was just a comforting, loving feeling. Very subtle and still. The feeling lasted for several hours afterward, only leaving right before I went to bed.
Whenever I hold my wonderful, caring, loving, doting wife I get that same feeling. Like everything is ok. She is my home. My incredible Father in Heaven has given me a great gift. The gift of a home I can take with me anywhere. Sometimes I still feel lonely but whenever I hug my wife or even think about her, everything feels ok.
Two sister in-laws are pregnant right now so I've been thinking about babies. I wonder if babies feel that way. They just left all that was familiar, a family they had known for millenia, personal relationship with the Father. They come to this new, scary, and sometimes mean world. Our Father in Heaven provides earthly parents to help us remember that feeling, and eventually our awesome spouses. He loves us so much, he always wants us to have some way to feel his love.
Well that's my spiritual thought. I'm not a talented writer, which is probably apparent. But I do have a testimony of God and His son Jesus Christ. He has been so good to me. I am so grateful for the comfort of the Spirit and the gospel in my life.
Signed by yours truly,
Nate G.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Mt. Vesuvius and Christmas Cheer

It's husband week! And so, like with all things, I am going to help my husband out by writting this for him. He's super busy, donchaknow. So I step in and help where he needs the help. Besides, I am not sure discussing the reason Mt. Vesuvius erupted (one of the most wicked cities in the world) would be a good topic for this blog. A little too technical nd a litttle too much speculation. And that was our big gospel topic for this week. Interesting, but nothing founded in docterine, so I will spare you all.

With Christmas fast approaching I have struggled with the Cheer we are all supposed to have. Life has been crazy busy, and I have had too many stresses to really get into the mood. I once heard the "fake it 'till you make it" advice and so have been trying that, but it isn't quite working.

Then today I stumbled across this wise counsel from our beloved prophet:

“In short, the Christmas spirit is the Christ spirit, that makes our hearts glow in brotherly love and friendship and prompts us to kind deeds of service. ‘It is the spirit of the gospel of Jesus Christ, obedience to which will bring ‘peace on earth,’ because it means—good will toward all men.’ Giving, not getting, brings to full bloom the Christmas spirit. Then each Christmas will be the best Christmas ever.” — Thomas S. Monson

From reading that I learned I need to stop fretting over my stressors and get out and serve. As I serve others the joy that fills my heart will be better than any other and I can joyfully say "This is the best Christmas ever!"

I would invite you to do the same. Try it and see if it isn't true. You will be amazed!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Keep an Eternal Perspective

by Greg Hansen

“Therefore God gave unto them commandments, after having made known unto them the plan of redemption” (Alma 12:32).

When I was on my mission I had the opportunity to teach a less-active's non-member husband. We went through the lessons week by week struggling to find them at home [they were a Navy family] and trying to get the lessons done before they were deployed. The day before they were deployed we caught them at home and gave them the lesson about the plan of salvation. The husband made a comment at the end of the lesson like 'now I know why you are bugging me all the time about the choices I make and why I should be baptized'. It occurs to me as we are leaving that if we had just known 4 months earlier that he did not have an eternal perspective, he might have joined the church before he was deployed.

If we can keep an eternal perspective it makes many if not all of the decisions and experiences of this life seem manageable. And keeping an eternal perspective can help us weed out the unimportant matters to focus on the matters with eternal weight.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Expressing Love to Our Spouses

My husband is not a writer, so... yeah, you're stuck with me again.

But my message has a lot to do with "Hubby Week"-- the idea of expressing love to our spouses.

This was one of the Family Gems this week:
"We can begin to become more diligent and concerned at home by telling the people we love that we love them. Such expressions do not need to be flowery or lengthy. We simply should sincerely and frequently express love.

"Each of us already knows we should tell the people we love that we love them. But what we know is not always reflected in what we do."

I think that last sentence is the crux of the matter: we don't always do what we know we should. But when it comes to our spouses, we must.

Luckily, there is a simple way to overcome this problem! Spencer W. Kimball said it himself, "Do it." Just do it.

JUST.

DO.

IT.

Right now.

Go tell your spouse you love them.

I love my husband more than anything and am constantly telling him so, but sometimes just saying it isn't enough. Demonstrating your love through service, kindness and respect is also important.

Enjoy the rest of Hubby Week!

P.S. There is a blog I follow called "The Generous Wife." She gives great tips and ideas on how to express love for your husband. Even if you don't think you need help in this area, I recommend it.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Hubby Week

I decided that since I'm all postpartumed up that I would let Nick write my post for today. And I don't know how many of your husbands like to write or would want to participate in hubby week but just ask them and see what they say. It could be fun! I look forward to reading it all!

Now without further ado, here are the wondrous literary stylings of my dear love, Nick.

Thank you, my dear. So then, my fellow readers, let us be off on a short journey of awakening!

My first thought: I am a father. Wow. That is so cool to be able to say that. I'd like to share a familiar thought or two that take on a new ring with my perspective as a dad.

My second thought: I may ramble a bit, I'm still quite tired. :)

A Father's point of view:

John 3:16 - For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

I certainly hope to have another child or two (Trish isn't so certain at the moment - ha ha), but even so, I can't quite imagine the heart-wrenching choice Father had to make. He has many, many children. He has only one that we know of who lived a perfect life.

I cannot imagine ever allowing Parker to come to any harm, I couldn't sit idly by if I could do something about it. But what if Parker had brothers and sisters that would be hurt if I didn't allow it? That is not a fun choice to have to make. Yes, I understand that his sacrifice helped an almost infinite number of souls, but he had to suffer SO much. I don't think I could ask that of anyone, much less my son, much less my perfect son.

It is comforting to know that Father loves us so much he would let Jesus sacrifice himself to give us the choice to be with them and like them.

A Brother's point of view:


John 15:13-14 - Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

One of my greatest blessings in this life has been the family I was born into. We spend time together when we can, call, email, and just genuinely care. It is nice to know that no matter what I do I have friends; Trish and I hope to create that same trust and friendship within our own family.

It is with that same gratitude that I strive to be worthy to be called a friend and brother to Jesus. Our perfect eldest brother already died for us. He still helps us in our moments of need. He Lives, and he loves us right now, and knows how we're doing right now. We just need trust him and reach out to grab his hand so he can pull us up out of the waves life sometimes throws at us. We grab his hand by doing what he commands us to do.

Babies are smart

There is a quaint little acronym you may have heard before - Keep It Simple, 'Silly.' (most people substitute out silly for some other word...)

I have woken up the past few mornings and looked into my son's eyes and seen only bright-eyed curiosity and innocence. No suspicious glances, no sarcastic joking, no gossiping about how someone else messed up or did this or that. Just a happy little guy enjoying what he has (except for when he has an empty belly or a dirty diaper).

Keep it simple, my friends. Trust in God like my little baby trusts me. You can sleep and know someone cares and is watching over you, you can look around and there will always be something beautiful if you care see it. And you can live with them that love you for as long as forever lasts.

Keep it simple. Work hard, play hard, learn. Go to church, read the word of God so you can know how to improve your life, apply what you learned. Stop and smell the roses (if they are not readily available go to the grocery store and buy some), stop and play with a child (mine likes attention), stop and tell someone how much you care about them, stop and thank God for all you have. It's simply amazing how much we have to be thankful for. Keep it simple.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

A Gift for Christ

Today I want to share a family tradition from my husband's family. Each year at Christmas they have what is called the "Jesus Stocking." Every person sits down and writes a Christmas letter to Christ, including a gift that they will give to Christ that year for Christmas. Then everyone puts their letter into the stocking on Christmas Eve. It is very similar to a New Year's Resolution, except it is something that we are going to do for Christ through out the next year.

At the Christmas season we shop and search for the perfect gift for our family members, our friends, and our neighbors, but we never stop to think about giving a gift to our Savior. The whole reason we celebrate Christmas is because of Christ. It is important to remember that we are celebrating the birth of the Savior of the World. Without His perfect life and His sacrifice we would have no need to celebrate His birth. What better gift could be given than to serve one another and follow in Christ's footsteps?

So this year I want you all to sit down and think of a gift that you can give to the Savior. After all, we give gifts to those we love and we love Christ! It can be a random act of kindness for a stranger. It can be inviting someone to church. It can be reading more about the Savior's life while he was on the Earth. It can be anything you think a disciple of Christ might do. I know that if you do this you will feel the true spirit of Christmas.

PS: Check out the First Presidency Christmas Devotional that aired tonight. Here's the link.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

We Agreed

Better late than never right?
I've been thinking a lot about trials lately, and how kind Heavenly Father is in helping to prepare us for them. My greatest experience in this area was when I lost my first child, and I wanted to share some of the things I learned after going through that devastating loss.
First, I believe that everything we pass through is a unique mission and opportunity that was prepared for us before we came. I strongly feel that our challenges were presented to us in our premortal life, and that we agreed to and possibly volunteered for those things which would be difficult to go through. After J and I arrived at the hospital thinking we were going to bring home our brand new little girl, and they found there was no heart beat...I was overcome with a remembrance that this had been in the plan all along. In deed, I could literally remember my little Elizabeth asking me if I would offer to be her mother and help create her little body, even if she would not be able to stay, and I would not be able to raise her in this life. Knowing that I had volunteered to make this sacrifice for her was my greatest source of comfort in the following days of grief.
Second, I learned that Heavenly Father is there in our times of ease and prosperity, gently preparing us for what lies ahead. Just a few days before Elizabeth was born, J and I went to temple sqaure to watch the Joseph Smith movie in the Legacy theatre. I remember being overwhelmed with how many trials Joseph and Emma had to go through, and as we walked out of that movie I gazed up at the temple and wondered, "Why is my life so EASY??" I know that Heavenly Father was helping prepare me for my greatest trial so far. That night as we were driving home, I heard a little question being asked in my head, and turned to ask J. "If we lost this baby, would we still use the name we picked out?" We both agreed that of course we would use her name, and quickly changed the subject. I know that Elizabeth was there with us, and that she wanted to make sure she was going to keep her pioneer grandmother's name.
Third, I know that death is an amazing window of opportunity for families to come closer together, and for us to share our testimonies with everyone around us. When something so devastating happens, everyone around us is more softened and sensitive- and we have a great opportunity to get into their hearts with our words. The day we got home from the hospital without our little girl, we had several visitors. I felt so bouyed up by the spirits on the other side, that I was pouring out comfort and testimony of Heavenly Father's plan to everyone who came into our home. They were all so surprised that they had come to comfort us, but on the contrary, we were comforting them. I could feel the result of all the prayers being raised up in our behalf, and the strength of the spirits in our home was overwhelming.
Looking back, I am so amazingly thankful Heavenly Father trusted me with that great opportunity to be an instrument in his hands in creating a body for one of his perfect children. I am thankful that I'm able to use that experience to bear testimony of His awareness and love. He is very aware of what we are going through, and will go through- and we knew about it too. We just need to hold on to that, and know that we were chosen for our certain tasks before we ever came.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas Days

One of the traditions my husband and I do in our family is read a scripture and Christmas story each day of December leading up to Christmas. Since our kids are young, we do it as our couple scripture study; this also allows us to expand on the story or scripture. Yesterday this was our scripture:
For behold, the time cometh, and is not far distant, that with power, the aLord bOmnipotent who creigneth, who was, and is from all deternity to all eternity, shall come down from heaven among the children of men, and shall dwell in a etabernacle of clay, and shall go forth amongst men, working mighty fmiracles, such as healing the sick, raising the dead, causing the lame to walk, the gblind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear, and curing all manner of diseases.

And he shall cast out adevils, or the bevil spirits which dwell in the hearts of the children of men.

And lo, he shall asuffer btemptations, and pain of body, chunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can dsuffer, except it be unto death; for behold, eblood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his fanguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people.

And he shall be called aJesus bChrist, the cSon of God, the dFather of heaven and earth, the eCreator of all things from the beginning; and his fmother shall be called Mary.
Mosiah 3: 5-8

My thought is simple today: Amidst the hussle and bussle of this time of year, take a step back to remember why we celebrate, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Don't take Christ out of Christmas and He will envelope your whole season making it much more memorable.

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