Monday, May 31, 2010

In Memoriam

As it is Memorial Day, I was thinking about the soldiers and saints that have sacrificed their lives for the freedoms of their families, friends, neighbors, and strangers. I also thought about the example of our Savior Jesus Christ who led the way along that path and still strengthen those who are fighting for righteousness and humanity today.

"And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."--Helaman 5:12

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Humility & Deeper Learning

First off--- I forgot to say Congrats to Meagan and family! Bennett is adorable! ;)

As natural men, we all go through spiritual slumps. In my mutual days, I remember our Spiritual journey described as a roller coaster ride. Some days (or longer periods of time) we feel as though the world is on our shoulders and nothing we do is right, we are at the lowest low. But then, something changes and we keep moving closer to Christ and living righteously, we've reached the top. And, since we are imperfect, we inevitably come back down. Why? One reason: pride.

Heaven knows my imperfections and I attempt to work on them daily; sometimes that attempt isn't as successful as it should be and I always wonder why. A couple days ago I was feeling particularly low, then I got this gem (emphasis added):
How can I question without losing the Spirit? . . . All of us have questions at times in our lives on policies, procedures, or even principles. The best way to find the answers we seek is to search out the solution for ourselves."How do we go about it?"First and foremost, it is our attitude, or how we ask the question, that is very, very important. If it is a demand, one loses the opportunity for an answer."Second, if we have strong feelings about the way something should be and are unwilling to listen, we may lose the opportunity to get an answer." One only has to remember when Martin Harris wanted to take home pages of the Book of Mormon translation to show to others. Joseph Smith prayed to the Lord a number of times to finally be allowed to let the man do it. The Lord knew that the pages would be lost. But sometimes we want something so much and keep praying about it that the Lord lets us do it for our learning experience." Sometimes we are drawn into seeking and giving answers that bring recognition or notoriety to 'our' thinking and to 'our' opinion. Don't look for signs or answers that build you up. Humility and submissiveness to God will always be fundamental in receiving direction from Him.

Robert D. Hales, Gifts of the Spirit, Ensign, Feb. 2002, 17–18

How do we get answers? How do we get out of Spiritual slumps? We need to seek and then be willing to listen. We need to have the desire to learn, grow and become better.

Sometimes, when the right answer comes to us, we forget to listen. We forget to use the precious gift of the Holy Ghost because we think we know better. Pride enters and grabs hold. Like Martin Harris, sometimes the answer will come how we want it because the Lord wants us to learn and remember. Remember Him who is teaching us. Remember that He definitely knows better than we ever will.

Deeper learning and revelation only come when we strive to be like Christ and recognize that just in the striving we are becoming better. We are not asked to be perfect in this life, we're asked to do our best through being humble and following His ways.

To my fellow perfectionists out there, this is a good thing! His perfections make up for our imperfections; we just need to be humble enough to look to Him.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Quick thought

I have been really tired lately because my son hasn't been sleeping very well. His teeth act like they want to come in and then they just don't. But I can tell that they hurt him because of the drool and the fingers in the mouth, the list goes on there. Sometimes days just seem to go by unnoticed, unappreciated for many of us. When we look back on these days and wonder how we got through them all, let us remember the poem,
"Footprints on the sand":


One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed 
footprints in the sand.
Sometimes there were two sets of 
footprints,
other times there were one set of 
footprints.
This bothered me because I noticed
that during the low periods of my life,
when I was suffering from
anguish, sorrow or defeat,
I could see only one set of 
footprints.
So I said to the Lord,
“You promised me Lord,
that if I followed you,
you would walk with me always.
But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life
there have only been one set of 
footprints in the sand.
Why, when I needed you most, you have not been there for me?”
The Lord replied,
“The times when you have seen only one set of 
footprints in the sand,
is when I carried you.”

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A New Life!

This week has been a week full of wonder and love. Our baby boy was born this past Wednesday and we are in utter amazement at his sweet little life. We are grateful that he is healthy and here safe in our family. Today I wanted to share some thoughts from my husband about the birth. I was so touched by his perspective that I thought it would be wonderful to share with all of you. He said the following:

Spiritually speaking, there exists no better example of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and parallel suffering of our Heavenly Father. Meagan, in her beautiful own way, suffered selflessly for another who was powerless to help himself. I had to watch and reassure and love Meagan and baby as best as I could having no power to relieve their suffering. Heavenly Father, on the other hand, had all power to stop his Son's suffering and had to exercise Godly restraint to stay His almighty hand to allow Christ's sacrifice for us to be efficacious. In the end, Meagan was delivered victorious from her suffering, Bennett's deliverance was complete, and Meagan enabled a sparkling new soul to live a life full of joy in a way profoundly similar to what Christ has done for us.

I don't know if my words do the thought justice, but that's what I learned and I learned it in a more intense and beautiful way than I have ever before experienced. Welcome Bennett, we love you forever.

Now, meet baby Bennett:

Friday, May 14, 2010

"We are not alone in the Universe..."

"We are not alone in the universe. God is not the god of only one planet."--Neal A. Maxwell

Last night Nate and I went to see Hubble 3D at our local planetarium. I saw a billboard for it and my inspired friend called me an hour later and asked if we wanted to go. We said yes immediately because Nate is big on astronomy and I just knew he would love it. I had no idea when we went though, that it would turn out to be such a testimony building experience.

The movie follows the launch and subsequent repair missions for the Hubble space telescope. In the 3D format it also took us through the stars and the far reaches of the universe almost as if we were actually flying through it using renditions of Hubble's images. It was the most beautiful thing I have every witnessed. My favorite part was actually flying into the nebula on Orion's belt. once there we looked across the cloud into a canyon where there were baby stars they referred to as "tadpoles." Each of these stars were centered around a major star and encompassed by a shockwave from the fierce winds that surrounded them. The narrator spoke of how some of these stars could grow up and form their own galaxies some day, but the ones that could not withstand the fierce winds would never make it that far.

It's an easy comparison to make.. Each of us, as God's "tadpole" literally have the potential to grow our own galaxies someday if we can withstand the fierce winds of temptation. We will one day walk with Jesus Christ, the Lord of the Universe, and know God as He knows God, as a loving father and friend.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Active Learners

Recently, I read these verses at the end of 2 Nephi Chapter 28:
29 Wo be unto him that shall say: We have received the word of God, and we aneed bno more of the word of God, for we have enough!
30 For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon aprecept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn bwisdom; for unto him that creceiveth I will give dmore; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have. {emphasis added}
I really like these verses because it reminds me to never stop learning. It is not enough to say, "okay, I think I've learned enough about the gospel or I think I've learned all about Chemistry." When we start thinking that, we are in trouble because we won't have the capacity to learn and grow more.

If we are to become eternal beings, we need to recognize the importance of knowledge. Learning and gaining knowledge is a process. If we don't use our agency to choose to learn and grow, we won't continue on the path towards greater knowledge. Knowledge isn't going to be forced upon us; just like everything else, we have the right to choose, to act.

I've always loved this thought; being a teacher and all. We need to be active learners and seekers, so--- I say to us all--- go and seek out the best books and gain some knowledge!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mothering

I often ask myself this question: 
"Do all mothers feel the same way I do? Like they are failing...like they will never be the kind of mother they wish they could be?"

Answering that question may be a different feat for every mother. So my thoughts are on how I have felt about that question today. Yes, babies can be very draining to a mother's energy. The more my baby cries, the more I feel like I am going to lose my mind

But what I realized in his time of need was that I needed to be more fully present and understand his ordeals. He is just so little and so many think that such a small being isn't capable of much feeling or thought at all. But I disagree with those who would say that. I think my baby is aware of much. And although his memory may not be fully developed as of yet, his feelings are present..... until they change.

What I had to admit to myself lately was that I need to be less selfish. It feels like I had nothing much going on in my life until my little boy came into the world. I spent way too much time entertaining myself...basically just waiting for him to show up. And now that he is here I feel like suddenly I have all these pursuits that I have been undertaking and sometimes because of them I cannot give myself fully over to being a mother. And it isn't that my pursuits are bad or dishonest. It is that I let them overwhelm me, and take more time than I ought to sometimes. 

It is funny what music can do for our hearts
My husband was a dear and suggested something that I had never uttered the other day, but that I was feeling and thinking about already. That was to play the music from a CD I got at a baby shower for the baby while he is going to sleep. We just had been using the mobile and other little fishy contraption for this purpose. But that music doesn't play very long and I don't know if it is really best suited for helping a baby fall asleep. Anyway we pulled out my old CD player that I was sure wasn't working well, and put the CD in it. We have been playing it the last few days for him while he sleeps. I think it must affect him in a better way than the chimes do/did. It affects me in a much better way. 

I wrap him up in a blankie, turn on the music and just give him all of the snuggles and love from my heart. I decided to just listen to the music with my heart instead of focusing on "When is this baby going to fall asleep???!" (so I could go get something done) Wow. You know what? That approach real well. It appears the babe knows when my heart is fully vested in him and he sleeps quicker and better.  He knows when I am really "loving" him. Also it is a time of contemplation for me. The spirit talks to me. I feel good inside. My heart is touched and my gaze is guided to the place it ought to be.

I guess my main point or final thought here is that when we as mothers have our priorities straight (focusing our heart on our children) then we are more able to receive what we require and desire in our lives. Things work out. Our children are taken care of. We feel good about it. Our heart continues on in worthy pursuits. 

Sometimes it might not be easy but it is worth it.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Little Reminders

I just wanted to quickly say how grateful I am for little reminders, echoing kind of what Meagan talked about. I too feel very grateful for the blessings the Lord gives me. Most of the time I don't know what I do to deserve them. I try my best, and I think, the Lord recognizes that.

One of the little reminders I have in my life is my CTR ring. I wear it on the ring finger of my right hand. Besides my wedding ring (and fake engagement ring), it is the only ring I wear. They are my physical 'little reminders.'

They remind me of the woman I am and have covenanted to become. They remind me of the goofy redhead who I'm blessed to spend now and forever with. They remind me of the eternal blessings in store if I can somehow pass this mortal test. They remind me of the truthfulness of the gospel. They remind me to never ever give up--- always hold to the rod and choose the right. They remind me of the potential in us all.

I know this is silly, but for me, I need the physical reminders. My mind likes to play tricks on me; getting me to think that no one likes me/wasting my time/never going to do my best. One of the ways I get out of that horrible downward spiral is to look at my hands. When I do, I see the two things that have never failed to bring me happiness: family and the gospel.

Isn't that what this life is all about?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Book of Mormon/ You Tube Challenge

Don't forget to go and watch Elder Holland's testimony of the Book of Mormon. Like and comment on the video so it's popularity increases. Here's the {LINK} and here's the video:

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Blessings Pour Out

Do you ever feel like you receive blessings that you don't deserve? I taught a lesson today in church about the covenants we make with the Lord and the blessings we receive when we honor those covenants. During the lesson I kept having the feeling that Heavenly Father is so generous with the blessings he gives us. All we have to do is read our scriptures, say our prayers, go to church, and keep trying everyday to be more and more like our Savior. With those simple things we receive blessings beyond compare.

In my life I feel like I have received many blessings without having done the work. Growing up I was never consistent with reading my scriptures or saying my personal prayers. It just wasn't something that I made a priority. However, I look back and see the infinite amount of blessings that Heavenly Father poured out upon me, even in my laziest of times. He led and directed me by the Spirit to a wonderful school where I met my amazing husband (whom I literally feel I was not worthy of at the time of our meeting). So why was I blessed with these wonderful things when I was not deserving of them?

Honestly, I am not sure. The only guess I can possibly have in my mind is that Heavenly Father saw and knew my potential as His spirit born daughter. Years later I feel like I am more closely on track with keeping my end of the covenants I have made. For the first time in my life I am reading my scriptures and saying my personal prayers more consistently. With this recent change I have felt a change in myself. I am much happier each day. I speak more kindly to my dear spouse. I am less quick to judge others and instead I am able to focus on my own silly faults that need to be addressed and changed.

The blessings in my life continue to pour out. This doesn't mean in any way that I do not have trials or struggles each day, but when they come I am blessed with greater strength to endure them. It really is the small and simple things, or the primary answers as we call them, that give us the strength to live the gospel each day. Not only are we happier when we do these simple things, but the Lord is standing by waiting and hoping to bless us in every capacity. I have seen this in my own life and I have seen this in the lives of others. We as Latter-Day Saints can do it! We CAN live the gospel to it's fullest each and every day. All we need to do is rely on the Lord and He will make up for the rest!

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