Sunday, February 28, 2010

We Are Meant to Live for So Much More

I love the music group Switchfoot. They always have such great Christian messages behind their songs. Although, there have been a few times when I've been reading Abinadi's story in the Book of Mormon when their song, "On Fire" has come on my iPod and I chuckle a little bit at the randomstance.

Last week the Switchfoot song, "We Were Meant to Live for So Much More" came on the radio and I started thinking about the message behind it. It's about a boy that is feeling down and depressed about how he can't seem to succeed in life and wondering if he can ever get out of his funk. I know that I have felt this way before. As I was lying in bed thinking about it last night and I came to this conclusion. We were meant to live for more than to focus on our failures. We were meant to live for more than to compare ourselves to others. We were meant to live for more than to daydream of what could have been and how hard things can be. My mission president said it best, "That which you focus on expands." In the end, we were meant to live so that we could grow, overcome, progress, and have faith on the Lord. We were meant to live for our families to be able to experience those things with us. We weren't meant to live for the world, but for the world after this one where, through the Atonement, everything will be made right.

My challenge to each of you and to myself is to live for the Lord every day and thank Him for the second (and third and fourth) chances that He gives us.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Scripture Study Recharge

I want to echo what Trish mentioned about the Ensign; we are so blessed to live at a time where we can easily access, study and ponder the messages from Church leaders. We have the ability to sit down and read the words of the prophets through church publications and the scriptures. What other time on this earth had that ability? None.

So, today, I ask do we take advantage of not only the Ensign/Liahona, etc., but also having our own personal scriptures? Do we set aside a time to recharge our spiritual batteries through scripture study? If we don't, or have room to improve (I know I do), how do we get started?

Elder David A. Bednar suggests five principles to more effectively studying the scriptures:
  1. Pray for understanding and invite the help of the Holy Ghost: Always begin scripture study with prayer. Ask for understanding as you study. Express gratitude for the chance to study.
  2. Work: Pay the price of regular and diligent study---take the time!
  3. Be consistent: Set aside a specific and scheduled time each day---don't let anything else replace it!
  4. Ponder: Think about the truths, experiences, and lessons in the scriptures. Take time—pondering cannot be forced, hurried, or rushed.
  5. Write down impressions, thoughts, and feelings: Record what you learn, think, and feel. Invite the Holy Ghost to continue instruction.

So, we've got the how---but WHY? Elder Bednar answers that questions too:
Why is studying the scriptures so important? Sincere study of the scriptures helps us progress in the process of coming unto Christ and becoming more like Him. Through daily feasting, we can gain a testimony of the gospel truths for ourselves and learn to hear and follow the voice of the Lord.
We become more in tune with the Lord when we take the time to study the scriptures. I definitely notice a difference between the days when I study and when I don't. For some reason, I've always struggled with keeping it up; being consistent. I know the importance of personal study, but I justify by doing other 'important' things. But, when I do this, those days never go as planned. I hardly ever finish my 'to-do' list of the day.

However, when I study my scriptures before anything else, I feel my time open up to me. Are those days perfect? No way; but I remember to have more patience with my toddler because I read about Alma's patience and prayers with Alma the Younger.

Take one of the principles above that you need to work on and focus in on it as you study the scriptures this week---I'm going to work on being consistent. The scriptures are there for us. Let's not forget to use them.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Ensign is for all nations


Today I want to talk about the Ensign magazine that our church puts out every month. Growing up I wasn't completely aware of what a wonderful and significant item this is. Consider this: when in all the world's history has there been a time where prophets and apostles of God have sent out publications throughout all the world containing their words (God's will) for members of the church?

Answer: umm....never before the Ensign...

We have scriptures and they are wonderful things. They teach about many great men and women and we can learn lessons from them. Also we need to study the Ensign every month. It is something written with all of today's struggles and challenges kept in mind. I remember when I just left on my mission and I was reading an article in the Ensign. As I read it I was nearly overcome with tears because I knew that it was written to help not only people close to me with a specific challenge but others who struggled similarly.

Have you read this month's Ensign yet? There are some amazing articles about:
*How to choose the right when everyone around you is choosing wrong (pg 22)
*How to put family first, ahead of other worthy pursuits (pg 16)
*Learning to Love Learning (pg 26) I love this one especially and have a strong testimony that it is so relevant to members of the church today!
*Partaking worthily of the sacrament (pg 31)

Honestly if you aren't reading the Ensign every month then can you honestly say that you are fully aware of the Lord's will for your life? Maybe you (and I) aren't always living up to all our blessings and privileges because we aren't doing "all that we can do". You can find out easily enough though, just read the Ensign!!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Tithing

We are currently in Portland, OR on a work trip/vacation. The ward that we attended this morning was excellent (as all wards are). We both especially loved one of the speakers in sacrament meeting. He spoke on the law of tithing! In our church we pay 10% of our income to the Lord. I wanted to share some key points that the speaker touched on and also share the talk that he referenced quite a bit.

First of all he started by saying that paying tithing is a PRIVILEGE. He said there are 7 reasons why we need/want to pay tithing. I can only remember 6 because I didn't start writing them down until half-way through the talk so I will share what I remember.

1. We pay our tithing so that God will pour out blessings upon us.
2. We pay tithing to express love to a generous & loving Heavenly Father.
3. We pay tithing as a declaration that material wealth and possession is not the most important goal in our mortal lives.
4. We pay our tithing as an affirmation that we are on the Lord's side.
5. We pay tithing so that we have church buildings to meet in, temples to worship in, etc.
6. We pay our tithing because we are indebted to God. He has given us all that we have and His only requirement in return is that we give 10% of what He has blessed us with.

The last one is especially important I thought. Here is what Elder Talmage said about paying tithing:

Paying tithing is not a token gift we are somehow charitably bestowing upon God. Paying tithing is discharging a debt. Elder James E. Talmage once described this as a contract between us and the Lord. He imagined the Lord saying: “ ‘You have need of many things in this world—food, clothing, and shelter for your family … , the common comforts of life. … You shall have the means of acquiring these things; but remember they are mine, and I require of you the payment of a rental upon that which I give into your hands. However, your life will not be one of uniform increase … [so] instead of doing as mortal landlords do—requir[ing] you to … pay in advance, whatever your fortunes or … prospects may be—you shall pay me … [only] when you have received; and you shall pay me in accordance with what you receive. If it so be that in one year your income is abundant, then … [your 10 percent will be a] little more; and if it be so that the next year is one of distress and your income is not what it was, then … [your 10 percent will be] less. … [Whatever your circumstance, the tithe will be fair.]’

“Have you ever found a landlord on earth who was willing to make that kind of [equitable] contract with you?” Elder Talmage asks. “When I consider the liberality of it all,” he says, “… I feel in my heart that I could scarcely raise my countenance to … Heaven … if I tried to defraud [God] out of that [which is rightfully His].”

Click HERE to read the remainder of Elder Holland's talk on tithing. I have always loved to pay my tithing. It is not something I think of as a sacrifice. It is rent for my existence here on Earth. By paying tithing we are only receiving an increase in the blessings that God can give us! I have a lot of experience with seeing the blessings of paying tithing. If I had not paid my tithing then I never would have been able to afford tuition for school. If we were not paying our tithing now then I know that my husband and I would be paying off student loans for years. But instead we are on the path to being student loan/debt free by the end of this year. It is all because of tithing. Whenever we feel discouraged about meeting our goal, we pay our tithing and immediately we see extra bonuses from work roll in, and news of raises this year, and the stock we have scheduled to sell always jumps up right before it sells. These are not coincidences, they are blessings of paying our tithing. I know that if we follow the commandments of the Lord and pay our tithing we will be blessed beyond measure! So hop to it and start putting the payment of tithes as first priority in your financial lives!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Be Thou An Example of the Believers

Yes, a video again. I will be so happy when my house is done and I can actually have time to breathe again. But for now, I have to take the easy way out and leave you with another video.

I weeped when I saw this video. Possibly because I know the girl, Brittany. She and I were very close special friends. Granted, I am ten years older than her, but she holds a special place in my heart. She is so kind and good and charitable. It did my heart good to see that so many other people love her as much as I do, and that they would go to such lengths to make her happy. When we do small things for others, it is amazing how it can effect them. I hope we can all learn from the example of these high school girls, and be a little more charitable, a little more Christlike.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

God Notices The Little Things

There is such a beautiful thing in being surrounded by people we love. I think that's what heaven will be like, and that's why we love it so much here. Nothing cures my blues like going to hang out with family and friends, and lately I am so grateful to have so many of them nearby.

There is also something beautiful about seeing your loved ones living the gospel in their homes. I was invited to dinner at my VT partner's house and loved seeing them do family home evening and their children take turns reading. Then I stayed at my SIL's house for a night and loved seeing her attempt to teach her small toddlers from the nursery manual and make sure to have evening family prayer. These people are such examples to me and how I would like my home to be.

Even though these things seemed very small, Heavenly Father notices their efforts and I know they are blessed for trying. Somewhere along the road, that toddler will begin to see the pattern and will learn, even if he is bouncing off the walls right now or just singing about a snowman. It is amazing to me how God works on us in small and simple ways.

I find comfort in knowing God is watching my efforts when I have to take Isaac out of sacrament meeting for the 10th Sunday in a row and wonder why we even bother coming to church anymore. I am doing it for HIM afterall, and eventually Isaac will recognize the pattern of sitting in church and it will be stability for him. I am so thankful my mother fought for 25 long years to bring her 9 children to church, no matter what happened. I can't imagine how many times she had to wander the halls with babies and didn't get a single word from the speakers or lessons, but her efforts have built in me a reverence and devotion for worshipping on Sunday, and they give me such strength knowing that I can follow her example.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Keep It Up

This past week I had A LOT of family in town. They came to celebrate my daughter's blessing with us. Family in town tends to do havoc to a toddler's routine. It's kind of ridiculous; but again worth it because it's family. So, I thought it was rather amusing that this came as the Family Gem this week:
Each family prayer, each episode of family scripture study, and each family home evening is a brushstroke on the canvas of our souls. No one event may appear to be very impressive or memorable. But just as the yellow and gold and brown strokes of paint complement each other and produce an impressive masterpiece, so our consistency in doing seemingly small things can lead to significant spiritual results. ‘Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great’ (D&C 64:33).

David A. Bednar, “More Diligent and Concerned at Home,” Ensign, Nov. 2009, 19-20

My little boy was so thrown off from his norm with so many visitors, but as long as he had myself or my husband there, he was okay. He needed to have some kind of consistency to feel safe and protected. The same goes when we are teaching our children (and reminding ourselves) about the importance of the gospel and its principles. We feel safe when we know the answers are not going to change; how we each get to them may be different, but the gospel is still true all around.

It's nice to know that even though FHE is more of a battle to keep my son still, we are still trying. No matter what we are still trying to live the gospel to the best we know how.

So--I say to you, dear sisters--keep it up because the gospel is always true and you never know what little thing will help another person realize it.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Being the Gospel

My mom is the Activity Days leader for the 8-11 year old girls in her ward. She asked me to cover for her this week while she and my dad were in Vegas. So the other leader and the girls and I played two truths and a lie and then talked about honesty. While we were sharing the message I felt impressed to share my testimony about how honesty affects your ability to do missionary work. I said to these girls, "As you are honest, people will trust you and then when you find missionary opportunities with those same people they will be more willing to listen to you and believe the testimony that you are sharing is sincere."
This moment of insight really struck me. I've heard the little sayings like, "Why do you do what you do when you know what you know?" or "Make your life so that those who know you will want to know Jesus Christ" so this week I came up with one of my own. Don't just live the Gospel, BE the Gospel. I know the biggest influence that I can have on other people isn't the words that I say or even in the special acts of service I give, it's the person I choose to be on a daily basis (which includes the words that I say and the service I give). Ever since that day with those girls, I have come home at night thinking, "What kind of missionary was I today?"
I know I'm not perfect, and there are things I wish I could have changed, but overall I'm proud to be a Latter-day Saint and I love that the people I work with know it. It helps me live up to the covenants I have made to my Heavenly Father by having others watch out for me.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! Since we get to celebrate LOVE today I thought I would share this wonderful article about love:

"Love All" by David B. Haight

Here is a sneak peak of the article! Click on the link above to read the article in it's entirety!

I believe our Father planted into the soul of man a special ingredient which, if used, will influence him toward heavenly things. Families or individuals wondering how to better share the gospel or to show deeper concern for new members, or missionaries wanting to touch the hearts of those they are teaching, have available to them this heavenly influence. That special ingredient instilled in each of us may bring to us our greatest joy. It will overcome fear, peer pressure, hatred, selfishness, evil, and even sin. This special ingredient must be nurtured as the tiny mustard seed; it is powerful beyond words and was taught by the Savior himself when asked which was the great commandment of the Law. He said:

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

“This is the first and great commandment.

“And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

“On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matt. 22:37–40.)

Love is this divine ingredient. It alone describes what can be our perfect relationship to our Heavenly Father and our family and neighbors, and the means by which we accomplish His work.

I really like how he calls love a "special ingredient." It really is! When we show love for our Heavenly Father, our Savior, and our fellow men everything else falls into place! I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine's Day pondering

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Unlock the Treasure

First off--- grab our new button and put it on all your blogs! I know this blog and the personal testimonies of each of you have helped mine grow, so you never know who could need the message at the right time.

Second--- I want to take a moment for Family History. The church has recently revamped the FamilySearch website. It makes it easier to find relatives, reserve them, and quickly and efficiently do their temple work. Here's an example:
My maternal grandfather isn't a member of the church; his parents are the only great-grandparents that I remember. My Grams death was the first time I had to face it; so naturally, when the time came, I really wanted to do her work. In 2006, the time came; my mom and sister prepared their names, did the baptisms and confirmations and sent their slips to Provo so that my husband and I could complete the work.

Living in Wymount, we had numerous opportunities to go to the temple, but the time we went for my great-grandparents will always have a special place in the memories of my mortality. Unfortunately, we decided to only do their initiatories and endowments, so other members of the family could participate. Looking back, I realize that wasn't our decision to make.

Fast forward to 2009, during a Sunday School lesson about Family History work I get the strong impression, that Grams and Gramps are still waiting. I then have a baby and the rest of the year becomes a blur.

Last month, we receive our weekly Mormon Times/Church News and they have {an article}, beginning a series of four, about the New FamilySearch website. As I read the article, I have another impression to look for my great-grandparents. But, I'm apprehensive; I've been on FamilySearch before and it isn't exactly user-friendly. I shrug it off and try to go on with my Sabbath, but can't because all I can think about is my Grams and Gramps---waiting, and wanting, to be together.

So--- I go to the new website. After a little bit of searching I find them both; unlinked---still waiting to be sealed for time and all eternity. Using this new site, I'm then able to link them up as husband and wife and reserve their names so we can do their work. I want to correct the mistake I made four years ago. The next time my husband and I can get away our first date will be to the temple---to do what should have been done.
Ladies, we cannot let our family members down; they are counting on us to find them and help them receive the work they NEED. Even if you think you're work is done, use this site to CHECK AGAIN. I've discovered a few holes in the other lines of my family that I hope to fix. The time is now! We are needed to help those who cannot help themselves. If you need any more nudging here's a prophetic promise:
I testify that when we do all we can to accomplish the work that is before us, the Lord will make available to us the sacred key needed to unlock the treasure which we so much seek.
~President Thomas S. Monson
Use New FamilySearch to unlock your treasures; you'll never know what (or who) will be waiting for you until you look.

Click HERE for hints on how to get started.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

For The Strength of Youth

In Sunday School this week, someone brought up the point that the fact that we're over 18 doesn't mean we shouldn't live by the standards prescribed in the For The Strength of Youth pamphlet.

This was such an "ah-ha" moment, I knew I'd have to share it here. Of course, we don't stop living the standards just because we're "grown-ups!" But I probably hadn't read For The Strength of Youth since I was 17, so I went home, dug up my copy and read it. I didn't have any earth-shattering revelations or really even learn anything new, but it was a good refresher. And a reminder to recommit to living the standards I agreed to as a youth.

I encourage all of you to revisit the booklet and recommit to living the standards for yourself.

You can find the pamphlet on the Church's new youth-oriented web site: http://youth.lds.org.

Make sure you watch this video while you're there (I totally love it): https://beta.lds.org/youth/mormon-messages/video/a-brand-new-year-for-the-strength-of-youth?locale=eng

Monday, February 8, 2010

Anxiously engaged

Yesterday was Stake Conference for us. Nick and I rushed to get ready and leave early so we could get decent seats. But of course even 20-25 mins early we still had to sit on a hard seat in the gym. I don't recall this same event happening to us in Utah much.

Oh well, but it was great. There were some really inspiring words spoken. Out of all of the words spoken I think I was most touched by this scripture as quoted by our Stake President:
D&C 58: 26-29
26 For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is acompelled in all things, the same is a bslothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.

27 Verily I say, men should be aanxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;

28 For the power is in them, wherein they are aagents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their breward.

29 But he that adoeth not anything until he is commanded, and receiveth a commandment with bdoubtful heart, and keepeth it with slothfulness, the same is cdamned.
Somehow I had forgotten about this scripture and in my mind and heart was pondering so many things. Mostly about why there are so many differing opinions in the church and why the people in the church are sometimes lazy and aren't do things as they should. Then I realized after reading this scripture that we are all agents to ourselves and we have to choose to be anxiously engaged in a good cause.

We don't have to receive everything by way of commandment. If we are searching for truth in our heart and doing our best to learn each day then hopefully that will equate to "being anxiously engaged in a good cause" for us. The gospel contains all truth that is supposed to fit together somehow.

This was consoling to my heart. I realized that the church is true, but not all of the members are true to the church at all times. In fact, I'm not 100% perfect in everything at all times. So why am I being judgmental of others? They probably are wondering why I'm not doing better at what they do well.

I think we can easily get caught in that trap that Satan sets for us. Instead of focusing on our eternal goals, we think about why other people aren't doing this or that. Then we can sometimes get off track and lose sight of what matters most. I hope that if any of you have this problem like me that you will get back on track soon! Repentance is a wonderful thing!

Love ya!
Trish

Saturday, February 6, 2010

We Are the Lord's Work and Glory

This week I've been pondering on Moses 1:39 all week long that says," This is my work and my glory to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." In this scripture the Lord is speaking to Moses about the pre-earth life and the plan of salvation. This scripture is the capstone where the Lord tells Moses his purpose, the Lord's reason for doing anything that He does.

When I read this part of the Pearl of Great Price, I often picture myself in the Pre-Earth life, sitting down at the Heavenly desk of our Heavenly Father getting ready for my Pre-Earth life interview before I was able to cross the veil and be born into the life I have now. He tells me about my family and where I'll be going. I imagine while I sit at this desk my Heavenly Father and I go over what my strengths and weaknesses I have and what trials I will have to undergo while on earth to utilize my strengths and to overcome my weaknesses. I think of Him trying to lovingly explain how hard it is going to be and giving me promises that it will all be worth it and I can call on him whenever I need to. And I tell Him that I'm ready to go, and He says, "I know."

Every once in a while I think about that interview and think, "I signed up for this?" But then I remember how God and I made this plan together, and the whole purpose of it is to bring to pass my immortality and eternal life. And I remember that as I endure to the end, I become a part of His glory.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Never Say Surrender, Never Say Die

"I quit!"

How many times have we heard that declared?
How many times have we been the declarers?

I personally have been guilty of telling my hubby those very words many times over the past month. Usually I am curled up in a ball with tears running the mascara down my face, so he just holds me, and I feel the laughter shaking his body, because really, who can take a mascara lined crying ball of frustration seriously? I can't even do it, and I am the one who is declaring surrender.

Ah, the irony.

While writing my message tonight, I have wanted to fling my computer across the room, curl up into said ball, and declare for the benefit of nobody that I quit, I just can't do it tonight, and you will all have to forgive me, and wait until next week for my pithy post. One can only have the computer erase the message so many times before giving up in defeat.

But I did not. Instead the words of Lehi came to my mind.

Cling to the iron rod.

It has become a Mormonism. You get it if you are Mormon, you don't get it if you are not.

But do you get it? Really?

A few years ago a friend and I were discussing 1 Nephi 8.

We realized Lehi speaks of three groups of people.

The first group of people saw the tree with the fruit. They wanted some. They were looking for the path that would take them to this glorious fruit. As they began on the path, they were engulfed by mists of darkness, and they wandered off and were lost. They had the desire to partake of the fruit, but really it was just too hard. So they
quit.

The next group did exactly what we have been told to do since primary. Cling to that rod of iron. They made it through those mists by clinging. They got to the tree, and eagerly and excitedly partook. And then they saw the people. The mocking voices and the scornful fingers pointing at them, and they cast their eyes about as if they were ashamed. Then they wandered off onto forbidden paths and were lost.

Once they reached their goal, they
quit.

Now my friends, I would like to invite you to move a step forward. Quit clinging to that rod. And yes, you read that right, I did tell you to
quit.

Because there was a third group who is often overlooked (why they are overlooked is beyond me as I believe they are the most important group from which we have to learn).

The third group found the rod of iron and they did press forward, continually holding fast to the rod of iron, until they made it. And they fell down and partook of the fruit of the tree, just as the other multitude did. But when they saw the fingers of scorn, the jeering eyes and the mocking sneers, they heeded them not. They knew if they heeded those voices, they too would fall away, so they stopped their ears and would not listen, thus being able to enjoy the dulcet flavor the fruit gave to their lives.

So why does holding fast to the rod of iron help so much more than wandering around without it, or clinging only in times of need? Nephi explained that it was the word of God, and by holding fast to it, we will never perish (spiritually) nor can the temptations or fiery darts of the adversary touch us. We will not be confused. We will not be lead away to destruction. That is a promise.

Even so, after they had made it, they still had to work. Partaking of the fruit was just the beginning. A huge help, but only the beginning. Just as baptism was the beginning for us. It does not mean we are saved, it is just the gate by which we enter to reach the kingdom of our Father. Endure to the end, my friend. That is the only way.

So even though things get rough, and you find yourself in the fetal position once again don't give up. Press forward with steadfastness continually holding to that rod. As you do, that wonderful fruit of which you partook at your baptism will buoy you up. Enduring to the end may be the hardest part, but I think it can also be the best part. We just have to have that iron rod continually in our hands, always pressing forward, always looking up, so we can have the eternal joys which are promised us.

Words to live by:
"Never say surrender, never say die
You only ever get there if you try
Never say give up, never say give in
You always have to fight to win."

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Be Constant unto Me

I have always loved music; a lot of my spiritual memories are associated with certain songs. I know music has the power to touch our ancient spirits; awaken feelings we once had, but can't quite remember.

One of my favorite gospel-related song is the sacrament hymn titled, "Reverently and Meekly Now." I know I've sung this song for a long time but the lyrics didn't stick out to me until sitting in Choir during my Semester in Nauvoo. I'm going to do what our choir director did: I want you to take a moment to listen to this beautiful guitar rendition and read the lyrics. In particular, pay attention to who is saying these words:



Rev’rently and meekly now,
Let thy head most humbly bow.
Think of me, thou ransomed one;
Think what I for thee have done.
With my blood that dripped like rain,
Sweat in agony of pain,
With my body on the tree
I have ransomed even thee.

In this bread now blest for thee,
Emblem of my body see;
In this water or this wine,
Emblem of my blood divine.
Oh, remember what was done
That the sinner might be won.
On the cross of Calvary
I have suffered death for thee.

Bid thine heart all strife to cease;
With thy brethren be at peace.
Oh, forgive as thou wouldst be
E’en forgiven now by me.
In the solemn faith of prayer
Cast upon me all thy care,
And my Spirit’s grace shall be
Like a fountain unto thee.

At the throne I intercede;
For thee ever do I plead.
I have loved thee as thy friend,
With a love that cannot end.
Be obedient, I implore,
Prayerful, watchful evermore,
And be constant unto me,
That thy Savior I may be.

What is so special about this song is how it is written from the Savior's viewpoint. We listen to Him, He who died for ALL our sins, plead to be obedient and remember Him as we partake of the sacrament. How wonderful it is to be reminded every week of the covenants we've made to be like Him! We are reminded of His amazing sacrifice, all because He loves us---'with a love that cannot end.'

I think of this hymn every time I take the sacrament and wonder if I'm doing enough. Does He know how grateful I am for Him and His love for me? Does He know that I hurt every time I sin because I just did another thing to make his suffering increase a little bit? Does He know how much comfort I get from knowing He truly knows how I feel?

Because of this song, and other manifestions, I know He knows me. I know He loves me and He loves you. I know He blesses me, even when I don't consider it a blessing. I know through His marvelous atonement we have the opportunity to repent and correct ourselves to walk in his ways and be constant unto Him. For that, and more, I'm grateful for OUR Savior.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

On Personalized Trials

To make a really long story short, I was recently diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic pain disease.

In my moments of anger, I think of how I’m only 25 and how incredibly unfair this whole thing seems. In my moments of clarity, I remember that this life is a life of trials and tests. And that God is in this with me, for the entire journey.

I know that God knows us as individuals and that He gives us trials for our good. (That's really hard to believe during some moments.) I also know that our trials are very personalized.

One night when I was feeling particularly beaten down and hopeless, my husband and I started talking about there are different kinds of trials (and pain)– physical, financial, mental, spiritual, etc. And it hit me.

And I just started cracking up! Laughing through my tears!

Of all the different kinds of trials, physical pain is the hardest for me to deal with. My husband and I named all those different kinds of trials and I was thinking, “Well, I wish it was a spiritual trial, that would be easy!”

I have been given a trial that is tailor-made for me. Physical pain is not something I handle well or with grace. And now, apparently, is my chance to learn.

Didn’t a General Authority somewhere along the line once say that we should love our trials? Something about appreciating the opportunity for growth and yada yada yada?

I don’t love this. Not even close.

But I know this difficulty will refine me-- smooth away my rough edges and bring me closer to my Savior and Heavenly Father. If I choose to react to my trial that way. Choose to treat it as an opportunity and not a burden.

(So far, it feels like a burden most of the time.)

I've been reading a lot of General Authority talks on trials and such, and I'd like to finish with a quote I found from Pres. James E. Faust that really helped me this week.

He said:

"Let us not presume that because the way is at times difficult and challenging, our Heavenly Father is not mindful of us. He is rubbing off our rough edges and sensitizing us for our great responsibilities ahead. May His blessings be upon us spiritually, that we may have a sweet companionship with the Holy Ghost, and that our footsteps might be guided along paths of truth and righteousness.

"And may each of us follow the Lord’s comforting counsel: 'Be patient in afflictions, for thou shalt have many; but endure them, for, lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days' (D&C 24:8)."

Monday, February 1, 2010

Self Reliance

I made a fun video about food storage the other day to post on here today and I cannot get it to upload. I have tried so many times and I'm just getting so stressed about it that I'm going to give up for now. But I'll share it later if I can get it to work.

Since the last month's VT message was about self reliance, and my VT companion thought that meant "food storage", it just got me thinking about it some more. We discussed that it is important to store food that you actually know how to prepare and that you'd actually want to eat. For me that means uber healthy nuts and seeds and some grains. I was able to share in a group buy through a website that I routinely follow and get a good deal on some of the previously mentioned items. I bought some mason jars through walmart.com (site to store) and then filled them up.

Last March, there was a "new approach" to food storage put out by the church. Here is a summary of what it means:


  • 1. Gradually build a small supply of food that is part of your normal, daily diet until it is sufficient for three months.

  • 2. Store drinking water.

  • 3. Establish a financial reserve by setting aside a little money each week, and gradually increase it to a reasonable amount.

  • 4. Once families have achieved the first three objectives, they are counseled to expand their efforts, as circumstances allow, into a supply of long-term basic foods such as grains, legumes, and other staples.

Of the new guidelines, Presiding Bishop H. David Burton says, “Our objective was to establish a simple, inexpensive, and achievable program that would help people become self-reliant. We are confident that by introducing these few, simple steps we can, over time, have more success.”
I guess it just hit me that around the world people keep experience catastrophes and who knows when it will be you that is experiencing one. Best to be prepared and have some food on hand in case you are no longer able to buy food at the store. Perhaps your catastrophe will be more personal, like a financial trouble (jobloss). If you have stored extra of the things you need now then you won't have to worry when a troubling time hits.

I was talking to someone recently about my decision to start using cloth diaper inserts in the gDiaper pants. They were saying that having cloth diapers is actually good for the same reason. If there is a disaster of some sort and you are depending on the store to buy disposables then what will you do when you cannot go there anymore? Just a thought...

It is all about being self-reliant. If we are self-reliant now through being diligent in keeping this commandment then we will be more able to follow the Savior and have charity by being able to help those who are in need. I encourage you all to set a goal or two, maybe something from the quote that you aren't currently doing your best in. Remember that God doesn't give us commandments that are only temporal, but all commandments have a spiritual side to them as well. Love you all!

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