Sunday, December 30, 2012

No Respecter of Persons

"If all things operate by law, and they do; if God is no respecter of persons, and certainly he is perfectly impartial; if his course is one eternal round, never varying from age to age, and such truly is the case – then all of the gifts and graces and revelations ever given to any prophet, seer, or revelator in any age will be given again to any soul who obeys the law entitling him so to receive.  While discoursing about the Second Comforter and in setting forth that those whose callings and elections have been made sure have the privilege of seeing the face of the Lord while they yet dwell in the flesh, the Prophet Joseph Smith said: 'God hath not revealed anything to Joseph, but what He will make known unto the Twelve, and even the least Saint may know all things as fast as he is able to bear them.'"

-Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, p. 490

Sunday, December 9, 2012


I liked this video.

I like how the two people featured are up and doing in school and on missions, but the main goal and how the video ends is with them being parents, with their little family, and them together as a couple still reading the scriptures and doing what is important.  Can't do too much with these little kids at home, but I know that this is the most important work I can do.

Monday, November 26, 2012

No Victims Allowed

We had a Family Home Evening lesson tonight about victims.  Being a victim is a choice.  Some people who truly are victims by definition have chosen to not let themselves be victims.  It is a choice.  And we are free to make our choice and be what we choose to be - 2 Nephi 2. We can make ourselves victims when we really aren't or don't have to be, or we can be in the exact same circumstances as other "victims" and decide that the current unfortunate event will not define us, as taught by what Viktor Frankl witnessed and learned in a concentration camp (Man's Search for Meaning).  It's easy as you watch this video to see who of all these little people view themselves as victims and who don't (or kinda do but try to fight it):

Easy to tell, right?  Pretty much day and night.  Made us all laugh and smile, cause unfortunately we've all chosen to be victims in our lives, and as we could all plainly see in the Halloween candy video, it's not pretty.  We all know we haven't acted pretty more than once in our lives.  So, of these two choices ~ victim vs. survivors ~ who do I want to be like?  Kids, which of those kids do you want to be like?!  I love those happy kids who just roll with it, it'd make me want to give them anything/everything they want!  I admire the kids who are sad but try to control themselves and be brave.  "Be brave, even if you're not pretend to be, cause no one can tell the difference."  I laughed with understanding at the kids that cried/collapsed with sadness, and if any of my kids would have thrown things, hit me, or screamed, they would have truly lost their candy and gotten a serious talking to.  Not impressed, and it would have been a red flag for me as a parent if I saw my kid acting like that that something's gotta change.

We have to fight for joy, fight to choose to be happy despite hard/unfair/unfortunate turns of events in our lives.  I choose JOY!  I will fight for joy.  I'm still working at it, and I won't give up, cause I want happiness and joy.  Help me in this fight, dear Lord.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Enemy is Combined

“If the hunger for liberty destroys order, the hunger for order will destroy liberty.” - Will Durrant

What an amazing talk by Elder Neal A. Maxwell -

Years ago, I wondered over the scriptural imagery of angels waiting “day and night” for “the great command” to come down and reap the tares in a wicked and suffering world; it seemed rather eager to me. (See D&C 38:12; D&C 86:5.) Given such massive, needless human suffering, I don’t wonder anymore!

Even so, the final reaping will occur only when the Father determines that the world is “fully ripe.” (D&C 86:7.) Meanwhile, brothers and sisters, the challenge is surviving spiritually in a deteriorating “wheat and tares” world. (See D&C 86:7.)

Yet we must not be intimidated or lose our composure even though the once morally unacceptable is becoming acceptable, as if frequency somehow conferred respectability!

I hear a call to repentance for those indulging in all types of immorality and sexual sin from those words above.  It doesn't matter what the world accepts as the new normal, God's law is God's law.

Abortion, which has increased enormously, causes one to ask, “Have we strayed so far from God’s second great commandment—love thy neighbor—that a baby in a womb no longer qualifies to be loved—at least as a mother’s neighbor?” 

Text of talk here ~ amazing how everything he shared seems even more relevant today, 20 years later.  God bless and help the world, He is in control and my hope is in HIM.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Don't Give Up

Corey is in Colombia right now, went down for business, still trying to get his business off the ground.  Had a meeting today with a company down there and things did not go well. 

from our skype conversation ~
Corey: Nothing worked today. Networks was too slow. Machines had so much restrictions we couldn't install anything. And when we removed those restrictions it still wouldn't work. Doh! And it all happened with professionals standing by.
Corey: right before we left, we tested in Gabriel's computer...didn't work but I did have a great feeling last night when we prayed
me: well, we'll have to cling to that feeling then, God is in it.  He's leading you along without letting you know where
Corey: but what is he leading me to? should I not assume business success? guess not. I'm feeling the fight leaving me...

I gave him this talk for listening homework - it's one of my all time favorites, it applies to my life everytime I listen to it even when the circumstances I'm in change.  We must remember the Lord's grace in times past, we can trust in Him, He will give us everything that He deems right and good for us.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Elusive Happiness

I was just listening to this talk by Elder Christofferson when I paused it to look up the video he referenced - this is Amar, a 14 year old boy from India and what a day in his life looks like:

How does it compare to my life?  Well, I felt pretty humbled, I think he works a lot harder than I do.  And how about comparing our happiness?  I think as a mother I do find the same kind of fulfillment that I'm guessing Amar does - pretty exhausting but so worth it.  I bet that compared to Amar there are many people in the world who would probably rank lower on the happy/content scale than him.  He works and serves everyday, and I judge that there are many people who find misery and unhappiness are their companions, because they are looking for joy in all the wrong places. If you want to find your life you've got to lose it.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Humbly Receive

More from "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp (have I mentioned that I absolutely love this book?)
From page 177-179 ~
Joy is a flame that glimmers only in the palm of the open and humble hand.  In an open and humble palm, released and surrendered to receive, light dances, flickers happy.  The moment the hand is clenched tight, fingers all pointing toward self and rights and demands, joy is snuffed out.  Anger is the lid that suffocates joy until she lies limp and lifeless.  And for me, it's a cosmic-numbing notion that far eclipses this domestic moment.  (She's relating a story of how she got angry when her children were chasing each other in the house and broke the glass of a cabinet door) It speaks to the whole of my life and the vision brands me: The demanding of my own will is the singular force that smothers out joy—nothing else.  
Pride, mine—that beast that pulls on the mask of anger—this is what snaps this hand shut, crushes joy.  when I would read Henry Ward Beecher's words later, I'd take it for my own story, so familiar his thoughts: "Pride slays thanksgiving...A proud man is seldom a grateful man, for he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves."  Dare I ask what I think I deserve?  A life of material comfort?  A life free of all trials, all hardships, all suffering?  A life with no discomfort, no inconveniences?  Are there times that a sense of entitlement—expectations—is what inflates self, detonates anger, offends God, extinguishes joy?  

And what do I really deserve?  Thankfully, God never gives what is deserved, but instead, God graciously, passionately offers gifts, our bodies, our times, our very lives.  God does not give rights but imparts responsibilities—response-abilities—inviting us to respond to His love-gifts.  And I know and can feel tight: I'm responding miserably to the gift of this moment.  In fact, I'm refusing it.  Proudly refusing to accept his moment, dismissing it as no gift at all, I refuse God.  I reject God.  
I look down at the shattered glass, glass that brings memories, glass that gives me eyes to see in.  And I see: I had thought joy's flame needed protecting.  

All these years, these angers, these hardenings, this desire to control, I had thought I had to snap the hand closed to shield joy's fragile flame from the blasts.  In a storm of struggles, I had tried to control the elements, clasp the fist tight so as to protect self and happiness.  But palms curled into protective fists fill with darkness.  I feel this sharply, even in this ... and this realization in all it's full emptiness: My own wild desire to protect my joy at all costs is the exact force that kills my joy. 
Flames need oxygen to light. Flames need a bit of wind.

All light seen is light from the past and light now old from the sun streams through the windows, glints off the glass shards.  Broken glass ignites in light and there it is, the secret of joy's flame: Humbly let go.  Let go of trying to do, let go of trying to control... let go of my own way, let go of my own fears.  Let God blow His wind, His trials, oxygen for you's fire.  Leave the hand open and be.  Be at peace.  Bend the knee and be small and let God give what God chooses to give because he only gives love ~ and (I) whisper surprised thanks. 
This is the fuel for joy's flame.  Fullness of joy is discovered only in the emptying of will.  And I can empty.  I can empty because counting his graces has awakened me to how He cherishes me, holds me, passionately values me I can empty because I am full of His love.  I can trust.  

I can let go.

Let go of fear, let go of resisting the pain that comes with life, feel it, be real and feel, then open your heart and let Christ come and comfort, He will always come to us if we open our hearts to receive Him.

Here is a talk by President Packer along these lines ~ "Guided by the Holy Spirit"

Friday, November 9, 2012


While I believe I've pretty much recovered from my depression over the Presidential election, I am still lamenting what might have been...
From One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, page 175 ~

Lament is a cry, a belief in a good God, a God who has His ear to our hearts, a God who transfigures the ugly into beauty.  Complaint is the bitter howl of unbelief in any benevolent God in this moment, a distrust in the love beat of the Father's heart.  God's anger kindles hot when the essence of the complaint implies doubt in His love...

Doesn't God Himself express righteous indignation, wounded deep with His own sinning Israelite children?  Didn't God's heart often break?  Didn't he grieve and rage and feel rejection (Genesis 6:6, Exodus 4:14)  I read it in the pages of Scripture, lines of His own story, the Joy-God owning His own grief, so I won't be Naaman and I won't pretend I don't feel any pain.  

My heart aches for Mitt and Ann Romney who sacrificed so much and worked so hard offering us a better America, and to have the voice of the people to reject the better way that they offered.  I feel like America is ripening for destruction and rejecting God.  It's tragic but we have been warned and it's coming to pass.  So I feel sorry for the Romney family, but more than that I feel sorry for America. Continuing from the book:

Army chief Naaman (2 Kings 5:1), Naaman with the grotesque leprosy that thickens the skin numb.  numbness, too, can twist the body beastlike.  In the end, it's the numbness that kills you.  So I will be real and I will feel life and I will be Naaman who bends the knee, enters the muddy waters of emotions.  True lament is the bold faith that trusts Perfect Love enough to feel and cry authentic.

I may feel disappointment and the despair may flood high, but to give thanks is an action and rejoice is a verb and these are not mere pulsing emotions.  While I may not always feel joy, God asks me to give thanks in all things, because He knows that the feeling of joy begins in the action of thanksgiving.
I trust in God and I thank Him.  I know that He loves the world and everything He does is for the benefit of the world.  I pray for President Obama that he may seek wisdom in guiding our country.  As he said in his victory speech "We rise and fall together as one nation."  I don't want America to fall, but Thy will be done.  My family and I will trust in God, not government, we'll strive to be ready for the difficult days ahead and we will stand strong in this promised land where Christ is King.

An Easier Way?

I've recovered from my post-election results depression.  God has commanded us to not fear, and that is what I will cleave to.  I know that there will be many mountains to climb and struggles to face in the future, but God is with us, who can be against us?  He is my shadow by day and my pillar by night.  I love the Lord and will live my life fully for him, no matter what happens in the world around me, I will see the good and see His hand, He is in control.  Go forward with faith in every footstep.

Just listened to an amazing talk by Elder Holland called "The Inconvenient Messiah" that helped these feelings of determined optimism to be resolved.  My favorite part:

"If for a while the harder you try, the harder it gets, take heart. So it has been with the best people who ever lived. " - Elder Holland

If Mitt Romney had won, I had hopes that this world had a little more time to work, repent, and prepare, and that it would be a little easier than suffering through this tough Obama Economy and tolerating the taunts of those around us who do not fear God or think his commandments have any merit.  We are in for hard times ahead... We need not fear, look to the light house of the Lord and build upon His rock, he will lead us through the darnkenss...

More from Elder Holland's talk ~

Should earning our place in the kingdom of God be so difficult? Surely there is an easier way? Can't we buy our way in? Every man or woman does have a price, don't they? Can't you buy anything in this world for money? Sometimes we wonder. I offer one sobering fact about our lives together. BYU is not here to help you make money. Any university in this land can do that. We hope your education brings income sufficient for your needs, but we have no mission at all if we are simply turning you out into the best current job market, whatever and wherever that may be. BYU has been established to extend to you the very glory of God, his intelligence, his light, and his truth. And that light and truth, by scriptural promise, is to forsake the evil one, your tempter. No, not everyone does have a price. Some things can't be purchased. Money and fame and earthly glory are not our eternal standard. Indeed these can, if we are not careful, lead to eternal torment.

Emerson said once,
Things are in the saddle,
And ride mankind.
["Ode Inscribed to W. H. Channing," Poems]

Well, at BYU we refuse to be ridden. As much as this university and this Church and you and I as individuals need the wherewithal to feed and clothe ourselves and further the work of the kingdom, we do not need to sell our souls to get them. And here again, we are tempted to think there is an easy way, a fast buck, that in the world's goods and the glories of men's kingdoms, we may ride through reaping, as the very convenient Messiah. But why do we think it when it was never so for Him? What do we do with a stable for birthplace and a borrowed tomb at his death? And in his lifetime? Not one single mention of earthly possessions. 

I now know that life will not get easier temporally for us in the years ahead, but that doesn't mean that my happiness and joy needs to be diminished.  I will cleave to God even more, Jesus Christ is the only sure foundation.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Lord Will Not Forsake Us

As I think today about the future for my little family, I will pray for the Lord to give me hope in my heart cause I truly need it (feeling much like this right now)

"Things work out, it isn't as bad as you sometimes think it is. It all works out, don't worry. I say that to myself every morning. It will all work out. If you do your best, it will all work out. Put your trust in God, and move forward with faith and confidence in the future. The Lord will not forsake us. If we will put our trust in him, if we will pray to him, if we will live worthy of his blessings, he will hear our prayers.” - President Gordon B. Hinckley 
While it hurts to be defeated and feel broken, I trust it will help me to best learn what he wants me to do to serve him. Ultimately, this things I do here in my home will bless me and my children more than the things that happen in Washington.  I have my husband and children with me, I have the word of God, I have everything I need, I put my trust in Him and not in man.  What happens in our hearts and homes is more important than any election result.  I will do my part to make my home and neighborhood a better place. 

It takes broken soil to produce a crop, broken clouds to give rain, broken grain to give bread, broken bread to give strength. It is the broken alabaster box that gives forth perfume. . . . it is Peter, weeping bitterly, who returns to greater power than ever. ("Broken Things," an excerpt from Vance Havner) quoted in this talk

I have a firm conviction that, if we trust in him, the growth and development and challenges we experience in life will be part of His design and ministry.

Friday, October 26, 2012

America Will Not Fail

"Men may fail in this country, earthquakes may come, seas may heave beyond their bounds, there may be great drought, disaster, and hardship, but this nation, founded on principles laid down by men whom God raised up, will never fail. This is the cradle of humanity, where life on this earth began in the Garden of Eden. This is the place of the New Jerusalem. This is the place that the Lord said is favored above all other nations in all the world. This is the place where the Savior will come to His temple. This is the favored land in all the world. Yes, I repeat, men may fail, but this nation won’t fail. I have faith in America; you and I must have faith in America, if we understand the teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are living in a day when we must pay heed to these challenges.

"I plead with you not to preach pessimism. Preach that this is the greatest country in all the world. This is the favored land. This is the land of our forefathers. It is the nation that will stand despite whatever trials or crises it may yet have to pass through."

-President Harold B. Lee ( Source: Ye Are the Light of the World 350-51 )
(President Lee is my namesake - my middle name is Lee after him and I'm glad. I love this quote!)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

What Will Be My Legacy?

Oh, I love her blog, Amazing post - "Why the battle for Joy is worth it".  I feel like I'm reading about how I act and all the emotions and feelings that I'm trying to control inside my head and heart -

If you don’t fight for joy, it’s your children who lose.

What do I want my children to remember — my joy in clean floors, made beds and ironed shirts — or my joy of the Lord?

You will be most remembered — by what brought you most joy.

The joy of the Lord is your strength and the person of Christ is your unassailable joy – and the battle for joy is nothing less than fighting the good fight of faith.
I want to be remembered for hiking with my kids and enjoying the mountains, trees, and nature.  Not for a messy house and complaining about clutter.  Or for having a clean house for that matter - who cares?!  What is really of value?  Resist the urge, self!  I will focus on my joys, not my stresses - I will tell my kids about my joys!  Not the things that bug you, cause if I do, that will be what are they going to remember about me.  Speak forth words of joy, don't complain, just do it.

Be Brave.  Even if you're not, pretend to be, because no one can tell the difference.

Work, even when you don't want to, pretend you do!  No one can tell the difference, but it can make a difference on everyone's mood and attitude.

And what you do will become who you are!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Keep It Simple

Keep it Small, Keep it Simple, Give it time.

On Oct 14th at our church, Sister Jensen gave a sacrament meeting talk encouraging us to give service, giving a good turn daily, following these three tips:
1) Keep it to 5 minutes or less
2) $1 or less
3) Journal it - write down what you did and your experience with it.

More advice on keeping our life and service simple:

Monday, October 22, 2012

Prayer - A Small and Simple Thing

This talk just hit the spot for me in several areas -

I loved her little motto to:


My favorite part from this talk:

"Sometimes answers to prayer are quite clear—simple and direct. But often prayer becomes a long and personal conversation. We continue to pray and work, and find that in inexplicable ways the problems are gradually resolved or changed. Sometimes even our righteous and heartfelt desires are modified. Gradually, our desires become His desires. Our pleading becomes part of the experience. 

"Elder Neal A. Maxwell taught that the Lord works on us through the very process of prayer: 'Some have difficulty with the reality that prayers are petitions even though God knows all and loves all anyway. True, we are not informing God, but we are informing ourselves by reverently working through our real concerns and our real priorities and by listening to the Spirit. For us merely to say, ritualistically, “Thy will be done” would not be real petitionary prayer. This would involve no genuine working through of our feelings. There would be no experience in agonizing, in choosing, and also in submitting.'"

I loved that!  Prayer is about us working through and learning about our own feelings, with God there as our counselor and tutor.  We can pray unceasingly this way.  And referring to yesterday's short video, remember that small and simple consistent prayers are better than longer sporatic prayers (see bottom of page 5 here)  Small and Simple, Steady and Consistent - it will bear great fruit in time as we are patient and diligent.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Act in Doctrine

I feel like I'm learning a lot about the kind of person I want to be, but I'm still needing help in the area of applying it.  Cause it takes serious mental concentration that I'm usually lacking - I forget to see the good in the little trials and mishaps of life - I didn't smile through Lily's spilled sticky fruit juice yesterday or the shattered plate, I was more cross at the noise the boys made as they played than I was happy at the fact that they were playing together nicely.  I still have a lot of work to do.  How can I remember to act in the doctrine of the things I know? (want to get his book)

So, until I get his book, I'm sure there are plenty of things for me to study online,  More than I can receive.  I'll continue to seek for ways that I can do, be, and become.  I will be focused and frequent in my prayer and scripture study.  Small and smile things - faithfully, diligently, and consistently - to bring forth extraordinary results.  Read the full talk from the above video here.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

5 Keys to Optimism

Watched this devotional talk above on byutv today ~ I love that channel, it really does help me see the good in the world.  And I'm learning more and more that seeing the good in the world is a skill we must develop and choose - we have to choose to see the good.  As Jeff Wilks shares in this talk, there are some ways that we can take to help us "Be positive in a negative world" - Remember:
  1. Righteousness does not mean perfection
  2. Keep trying anyway (great example of his son learning to snowboard)
  3. Keep your focus on Heavenly Father
  4. Heavenly Father's approval matters most
  5. Find and Remember the Joy in our lives - He sites Elder Eyring's talk, I've been doing this for several weeks and am enjoying it)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Finding Your Calling in Life

Here is a great article about finding your mission in life - please read all of it, it is so good.  I remember reading this article last year when it came out in the Spring 2011 BYU Magazine as I was searching for my calling, going to re-read it again.  He says "Because society has drifted from the spiritual moorings of calling, it has developed some odd and distorted doctrines about finding your calling. In fact, I would like to refer to a few of these doctrines as heresies. ... I submit to you that these heresies are the very things that cause us so much anxiety when we are trying to decide what our calling in life is. So if we appeal to the restored gospel to dispel these heresies, we can replace anxiety with faith and hope."

The 5 Heresies are:
Heresy 1: If You’re Lucky - “You might have a calling if you are lucky, or you might not.”
Heresy 2: The One True Calling - If you exercise faith in the Lord, follow His spirit, and seek to amplify your gifts, you will be led gradually to a place where you are well equipped to serve. I have a colleague, tremendously respected in his field, who became an auditor—not by long-term planning, but by a series of minor circumstances that led him gradually and unintentionally to his profession. He could never have predicted the fulfillment his career would give him. We usually can’t predict exactly where our gifts will lead us. But in retrospect, we will see the hand of the Lord leading us from opportunity to opportunity as we exercise and hone our spiritual gifts.
Heresy 3: Bliss Awaits - Dream Jobs - This is a particularly pervasive heresy today. The media implores you to build a career that is exciting and intensely fulfilling. Now, I am certainly an advocate of enjoying your work! But it is a distortion of the idea of calling to think that work should always be fun.
Heresy 4: The Praise of the World - I challenge you to look for examples of nobility among those who do the so-called menial tasks all around you. You will find many inspiring examples of people who use their spiritual gifts to serve in quiet but remarkable ways.
Heresy 5: Work Gives Life Meaning - My favorite part of this article was this experience from his mission under Heresy 5:

"As I was nearing my release date, I anticipated a sense of loss when I could no longer give all my time to serving God. At a zone conference, I raised my hand and asked the mission president, “After our missions are over and we are no longer full-time servants of God, how can we keep a sense of purpose?” Before the mission president could answer, his wife leapt to her feet and said, “I’ll take this one.”

I will never forget her response.  She said, “When I do the laundry, I am building the kingdom of God. When I scrub the floors, I am serving the Lord. When I tidy the clutter, I’m an instrument in His hands. I do a lot of mundane jobs, but if my eye is single to God and I’m trying to serve my family, then I feel as much purpose in my work as a missionary can.” Those words remind me of what King Benjamin said about laboring in the fields to support himself—a decidedly unkingly occupation. He said, “I do not desire to boast, for I have only been in the service of God” (Mosiah 2:16).

So perhaps the state of our hearts is as important as the tasks we do in determining whether our work is truly—and eternally—meaningful.

We need to be very cautious about our motives for the work we do. It’s tempting to say, “I serve my family when I’m at home, I serve God when I’m at church, and I serve my career when I’m at work.” We must see our work as but another extension of the Lord’s commandment to serve His children and “bring to pass much righteousness.”

How does this measure up to the world’s teaching that you have to take care of number one, climb the corporate ladder, get ahead? One of the great gospel ironies is that when we lose ourselves, we find ourselves. Work is much the same. I testify that when you focus your work first and foremost on blessing others, you will become extraordinary at what you do and will find fulfillment and success much more reliably than if you spend your time at work trying to get ahead or get rich. Work to serve! Remember the words that greet you at the gateway of the university: “Enter to learn; go forth to serve.”
I hope we will all search for and find our callings, live your life fully right now and right where you are, the Lord will continue to guide you step by step.

Another From "A Miracle a Day" under "Discover your calling" I thought had some great advice:
"People are often attracted to those who have a purpose. A person who is not looking for love may be focused on their career, education or another passion they have. Drive, ambition and dedication are necessary components to reach a goal. Likewise, they are also very good qualities to have in a relationship. No one will fall in love with you for being desperate, but they may fall in love with your passion for helping others or ambition to start your own business.  Discover your calling in life and go for it. – Ed. note:  Passion is the EASIEST thing to fall in love with, especially if you either share the passion, admire it, or wish you had it.  In fact, I believe it’s difficult to fall deeply in love without it."

I hope I can live these principles.  Please lead me on, dear Lord. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

General Conference

Dear General Conference,
I love you. Your twice-yearly broadcasts speak to my soul. I realize this is the point of your existence. I have learned to feast on your messages all year long. After all, I don't get much out of you while the kids are in the room. I promise to watch you and re-watch you until I truly can hear and listen and take notes.
Yours truly,
Spiritually hungry

(Listen to it online or at your local meeting house.  All are invited!  Please come and see, there will be something said that is just what you need to hear, I promise.  Write down any questions you've been having lately and come listen to the prophet speak, you will find the answer to your questions and concerns.)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

One Life

"Every woman gives her life for what she believes.  Sometimes people believe in little or nothing, nevertheless they give up their lives to that little or nothing.  One life is all we have, and we live it as we believe in living it, and then it's gone." (Joan of Lorraine, act 2)
"You are good, but it is not enough just to be good.  You must be good for something.  You must contribute to the world.  the world must be a better place for your presence.  And that good that is in you must be spread to others." - President Gordon B. Hinckley Stand Up for Truth

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Choose to See the Good!

This is a beautiful book!!  "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp. I feel like I'm reading through her thoughts the thoughts/growth/questions I've had over the past 10 years ~ learning how to live with gratitude, how to see everything as a blessing, how to find joy in the present moment, in the life you have right now and to stop waiting for tomorrow, stop waiting for that elusive Golden Ticket to finally surprise you, to stop saying "I'll be happy when..." - CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY TODAY!

The good things and the bad, God is in it all, but can we focus on the good? It seems that is a message that the prophet and apostles today are sharing over and over again - Finding Joy in the Journey, In Search of Treasure, Happiness Your Heritage, Forget Not to be Happy Now, Come What May and Love it... I'm really looking forward to General Conference to hear more of their counsel, every conference speaks to and feeds my soul.

And I just had a lightbulb come on in my head - cause seriously people, we are living in the most amazing and cushy-est society every, conveniences, supermarkets, cars - this isn't Valley Forge or Martin's Cove.  Why is it that in a day when there is so much ease and there are so many miracles and joys to partake of ~ why is it that in a day like this we enjoy that happiness is the thing that seems most elusive to so many people?  Happiness is what we all strive and search for, is it the thing that we are most deprived of?  If so, why?  and how sad is that?!!  I think that proves Ann's theory, that it's not in what lay before us in our lives, it's in our eyes and ears and what we have learned and taught ourselves to see and hear.  We seem pretty capable of seeing bad and being unhappy with all the good that surrounds us, the clincher is learning to see goodness and happiness in the plain, normal, boring, ugly, & sad.

In the book One Thousand Gifts, chapter 6 which I just finished she talks about chasing the moon, and it's the same way I feel about fall and the mountains, the same way I felt as I saw the Buck Moon set, the same way I felt this past Friday as we drove and saw the waxing moon orange from smoky sky grow larger as it inch closer to the horizon.  (I'm trying to wax poetic like Ann) - Can I feel the same sighs of wonder in my day to day life that I feel when I see the moon and the mountains, have my heart filled with energy and wonder by walking around the halls at home like I am when walking by autumn trees?  As Ann says perfectly on page 120 after watching the Harvest Moon rise and then being called back to her home, children, and dinner dishes:
I am going back.  I look up, try to find her again.  I'm reluctant to untether from the moon.  The world I live in is loud and blurring and toilets plug and I get speeding tickets and the dog gets sick all over the back step and I forget everything and these six kids lean hard into me all day to teach and raise and lead and I fail hard and there are real souls that are at stake and how long do I really have to figure out how to live full of grace, full of joy, before these six beautiful children fly the coop and my mothering days fold up quiet?  How do you open the eyes to see how to take the daily, domestic, workday vortex and invert it into the dome of an everyday cathedral?  Could I go back to my life and pray with eyes wide open?

(You really should go get this book right now.)  Ok, I'm done waxing philosophical (had to spell check that word).  I'm going to go read some more.  :)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Joseph Smith Movie

A great and beautiful video that shares the history of Joseph Smith.  I know he was a good man, he absolutely was not a con man or charlatan, (sorry Richard).  But he was not just a man, he was a prophet of the Lord.  It is true.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Oh, how I love Elder Holland.  Always, his inspired words speak right to my soul.  (I am so excited for Conference)  This is an amazing talk - the story of the kids made me cry. We are building Zion where there is happiness, love, and peace - Bid Babylon farewell with all it's pathetic misery... Flee Babylon and come to Zion. Reach out with Love - live the standards of the gospel with happiness and joy and be a light to others.

"We no longer think of Zion as WHERE we are going to live; we think of it as HOW we are going to live." - Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Who's on the Lord's side, who?  Now is the time to show.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Word Of Wisdom

Yesterday at church the lesson during Relief Society was from the George Albert Smith manual on the Word of Wisdom.  It was just what I needed to hear, cause I know my diet has been lacking some health foods lately, especially in the vegetable arena.  But it's a new week and I love running errands on Monday - the stores are not busy at all and I'm able to channel all my new week resolutions into my weekly shopping so I stay fixed on my new goals.  I just ran my grocery errands today and I have my menu for the week planned out, I've got everything to make myself Dr. Oz's green shake everyday. :)  Great article here by Hugh Nibley on the Word of Wisdom.  As for the lesson manual, here is my favorite quote:

Let me plead with you, search the Word of Wisdom prayerfully. Do not just read it; search it prayerfully. Discover what our Heavenly Father gave it for. He gave it to us with a promise of longer life and happiness, not if we fail to observe it, but if we observe it. Read the Word of Wisdom in the presence of your families and set the example. If we will do that Zion will continue to grow. If we will do that the Church of the Lamb of God will continue to become a power for good in the world

If we obey the word of wisdom, ZION WILL CONTINUE TO GROW!!!  That's our dispensations mission, so that's a good thing to be working towards, I want to do everything I can to build Zion.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Choose Your Life

I remember listening to this conference talk in 2008 ~ I was sitting on the couch listening, but feeling overwhelmed and like my life was out of control.  Sister Lant then said "Are we consciously creating righteous traditions, or is life just happening to us?" and I felt like I'd been smacked in the face and there appeared a lightbulb over my head and I said "Yes!  My life is just happening to me!!!  So, what do I do!?!?  Help me!" and I eagerly listened to the rest of her talk and had my mission impossible to complete for the next 6 months: Make righteous traditions, Don't let life "just happen"!

I'm feeling the same way again right now, I gotta take life by the horns!  I feel like "Living Life On Purpose" is my mission in life that I never quite get figured out - what traditions should we have as a family and me individually, what traditions are worthy and good and ones that we are choosing other than ones that the world tells me I should have but that in reality have little meaning or hold little value for me.  So that's where my brain is at today and what I'm thinking about, I want to live life on purpose

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Serving With Joy

Watching this video inspired me with desires to serve others more.  I realize the most important service I can do is within my own home, and I cherish this time with my little ones, but I also look forward to serving with them as they are older, and when they are gone raising families of their own, I plan to serving a mission with my husband.

All the stories of the service that Mitt Romney provided to those in his ward didn't surprise me at all - that's just what Mormons do.  DNC and RNC can both go fact check it - it's true, Mormons are good people who want to serve and help.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Real Lasting Value!

“If the Church were not true, our enemies would be bored rather than threatened, and acquiescent rather than anxious. Hell is moved only when things move heavenward.”  Neal A. Maxwell

I love to see people standing for truth - (go Brandon!)  Here's a quick video to watch -

The full talk below:

Around minute 16:00 he shows how the temple room is planned out in great detail and then the plan is put to work and creation takes place.  The same is true with the earth, plants, animals, and God's crowning creation, you and me - his children.  There is a Designer behind this world.  It is obvious there is a designer behind the temple, and how much more complicated a human body is!  Of course there is a Designer.  The Rosetta Stone was not carved out by wind and rain, computers were not created by lightening or volcanoes, dictionaries were not created by throwing typed letters and papers into a vacuum.  THERE IS A DESIGNER.  Watch this film.  It's true, it's all true.  I hope you have found true joy and real and lasting happiness in your family, in your life, and in the Savior Jesus Christ. If you have, you know it is good, real, and true.  I invite you to bring the goodness that you know and come and see if we can add to it.  Read the Book of Mormon and come listen to General Conference on October 6th and 7th.  You will find that it is good, real, true, and delicious! 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Purity Through Sacrifice

From the book "The Triumph of Zion" by John Pontius, pages 257-259 - italics in original, bolded parts are my favorite parts:

Purity is in part the result of the Holy Spirit cleansing us of the baggage of mortality.  Quite often this cleansing process involves a form of bedrock humility which is not native to most mortals.  What this means is that quite often this type of humility and willingness to lay aside our favorite and most entertaining imperfections is arrived at through divinely engineered life experiences that steamroll our pride.  Eventually, such experiences either induce us to rebellion or into humble obedience to the will of God.

While being steamrolled is not a willing form of sacrifice, it does eventually, hopefully, yield humility and place our feet upon the correct path.

However, there is another form of sacrifice which is willing and righteous, and which yields the requisite purity without being flattened by dramatic events.  This is when we offer up a broken heart and contrite spirit to the Lord, and in true humility lay all we are upon the altar and submit ourselves to any schooling needed to remake us into a Zion person.  

This sacrifice of our will, pride, fears, and mortal baggage.  It is done in mighty prayer.  What will happen after such an offering is a series of events that highlights our weaknesses, opening them to our view, and gives us a chance to repent and step away from them.  If we are determined to serve God at all hazards, and if we enter with eyes opened by revelation and hearts truly joyful in the process, the price paid will not feel sacrificial, though it may tug at our heart and fears.  The price we pay will be to become pure, which is far less dramatic process that to be compelled to humility and then be purified.  The Prophet Joseph left this powerful insight:

"Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; for, from the first existence of man the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things.  It was through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life; and it is through the medium of the sacrifice of all earthly things that men do actually know that they are doing the things that are well pleasing in the sight of God.  When a man has offered in sacrifice all that he has for the truth's sake, not even withholding his life, and believing before God that he has been called to make this sacrifice because he seeks to do his will, he does know, most assuredly, that God does and will accept his sacrifice and offering, and that he has not, not will not seek his face in vain.  Under these circumstances, then, he can obtain the faith necessary for him to lay hold on eternal life."
Notice that it is the sacrifice of all things which gives one sufficiently potent faith to seek the face of the Lord; and since a personal interview with Christ is the doorway into Zion, sacrifice takes its righteous place as the initiatory rite of Zion.

This is the eye of the needle, as it were, the birth canal of righteousness.  This is the point at which hearts faint and knees weaken.  No rational person seeks after ways to sacrifice.  The saving principle here is that the ultimate object we must place on the altar is our broken heart and contrite spirit (3 Ne 9:20).  Since we are mortal and our lives depend upon mortal things, the only concrete way we can show that humility is to place everything we are, have, and hope to become upon the altar.  The Lord doesn't need or want our "things."  Material objects only get sacrificed when our mortal weaknesses attach themselves to physical objects; then the cleansing process can include watching those things go up in smoke so we can learn absolute purity and contrition in spirit.

In the process of Abraham's purification he was asked to sacrifice his son, who was Abraham's beloved son and his only posterity.  without unduly attempting to read between Abraham's lines, it appears that Abraham loved Isaac above all things, and therefore Abraham had to untangle his loyalties and his mortal pride in order to obtain the supreme blessings he had been promised.  Abraham became the father of all righteous when he raised the knife over Isaac in complete faith, believing that in obeying God, eh was doing a greater good than the obvious wrong of sacrificing his son.  Abraham's faith was such that he did not know how God would fulfill His promises regarding Abraham's posterity, but he believed that if necessary, God would raise Isaac from the dead (Heb 11:19).

With this faith in his heart and, I'm sure, fear in his hands, with tears of anguish, Abraham plunged the life downward with every intent of sacrificing his son.  And at that exact moment when he achieved his diamond-hard resolve to obey, Abraham overcame his failings and completed his sacrifice.

You see, what God wants isn't our beloved son or our home or our business, family, or marriage; those are only the things to which we attach our pride and weaknesses, and thus they can become the false idols of our lives. God wants us to sacrifice our impurities so we can see Him and become like Him.  So, as soon as Abraham had triumphed, God sent an angel to save Isaac, and Abraham left the mountain with his son in his arms.

This test of Abraham's thus became the prototype of all such tests.  For Abraham this was a terrible paradox.  God had promised him great blessings through Isaac.  It must have seemed to Abraham that it just couldn't be true that now God was asking for Isaac's life, yet He had.  Abraham did not know how God was going to resolve the conflict.  That was the paradox.  Not mortal logic, not brute force genius can unravel such a paradox.  But faith can, faith did, and faith will.  We will all walk away with our Isaacs if our own triumph of faith occurs as timely as did Abraham's.

Hand Of The Lord

A few days ago I started keeping a "Hand of the Lord" journal like Elder Eyring did and references in his talk "O Remember, Remember". 

It's been wonderful so far!  I'm grateful for this talk - be proactive and FIND ways that the Lord has blessed you today!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Light of Christ

I love these videos!!!  This is right in line with what John Pontius shares in his book "Following the Light of Christ into His Presence"

Part 1 - The Light of Christ

Part 2 - Discerning Light

Part 3 - The Spirit of Revelation

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Great Day of the Lord

Here's a great video collection of statements by Latter-day prophets regarding the people of the latter days. 

Friday, August 31, 2012

Watch and Be Ready

In the 24th chapter of Matthew Jesus taught:

Watch therefore; for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up (Matt. 24:42–43). But would have been ready (JS—M 1:47).

Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh (Matt. 24:44; see also D&C 51:20).

Here is an excellent talk that expounds on this scripture, by the apostle Elder Dallin H. Oaks ~

In Matthew 24, I think there is a mystery to be studied and searched for ~ it says that the Lord Jesus Christ will return in "an hour that ye think not..."  He will come when we aren’t expecting Him?! But if there are signs of his coming, we'll see them and think he will be coming soon, right?  So why will we not think He is coming?  What is going to be happening in the world that will throw us off?  He will come in an hour when we think not!  He will come at a time when we are least ready, why?  He will come at His appointed time and we need to be always watching and waiting for that day, that hour, and that minute to come. Don’t drop your guard. Don’t believe the lies of the adversary and let yourself be lulled into carnal security. Don’t allow yourself to fall into apathy. Stay vigilant, stay ready! Our faith in Christ is not just a Sunday thing, it's daily.  Flood your life with His Word and you'll be ready.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Day and Night

Is it easy to know between right and wrong in a day like today when evil is called good and good is called evil?  Is it easy to build our foundation upon Christ?  Consider these words that Mormon taught to the people of the church in his day:

For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night.   For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.  - Moroni 7:15-16

As plain as the daylight is from the dark night?  Well, I can tell day from night easily enough, is it really that easy to tell good from evil? 
Yes, it's that easy.

It is easy, simple, and plain if we have the Spirit to guide us.  Any prompting to do good, to fast, to pray, to help, to bless, to be kind, to serve, to obey a commandment, etc, we can know with an absolute knowledge, nothing doubting, that these promptings are revelation.  For more, read "Following the Light of Christ into His Presence" pages 36-53 with the subheading "The Voices".  I'll try to type up some of it soon.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Resisting Temptation

I love this quote by C.S. Lewis in his book Mere Christianity ~
“No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good. A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. After all, you find out the strength of the German army by fighting against it, not by giving in. You find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down. A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness — they have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it: and Christ, because He was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means — the only complete realist.”

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Fortify Your Homes

We watched a movie tonight that I watched when I was a kid, and then we turned it off.  They just kept swearing over and over again.  Here I am at the computer a few hours later and stumble upon this video...

I resolve to be more diligent in protecting my children and my home from entertainment that does not edify and uplift.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Wet His Feet With My Tears

I love this talk by Elder Bruce R. McConkie - what an amazing and powerful testimony of Christ:

And now, as pertaining to this perfect atonement, wrought by the shedding of the blood of God—I testify that it took place in Gethsemane and at Golgotha, and as pertaining to Jesus Christ, I testify that he is the Son of the Living God and was crucified for the sins of the world. He is our Lord, our God, and our King. This I know of myself independent of any other person.

I am one of his witnesses, and in a coming day I shall feel the nail marks in his hands and in his feet and shall wet his feet with my tears.

But I shall not know any better then than I know now that he is God’s Almighty Son, that he is our Savior and Redeemer, and that salvation comes in and through his atoning blood and in no other way.

God grant that all of us may walk in the light as God our Father is in the light so that, according to the promises, the blood of Jesus Christ his Son will cleanse us from all sin.
In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, amen.

As we read scriptures last night, I asked the kids how they would feel if they met the Savior.  They all said they'd feel okay, like there is no unrepentant sin that they have that would be pricking their conscience.  I told them that was good, and they're doing great.  But, I believe, as we truly come to understand what Christ has done for us, we will be in tears too, tears of thankfulness for His great gift to us.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Lead Kindly Light

From Following the Light of Christ, page 121 ~

The path to perfection is only as difficult as each person chooses to make it.  If we keep letting go of the rod of iron and wandering off, then fighting our way back, it will become a task of exceeding difficulty and pain.  We will battle every fault, every weakness, and every imperfection we posses, until we are bruised, bloodied, and defeated.  Then, only once the pain is sufficiently intense, once the anguish is seemingly permanent, once it has cost more that we could ever have realized and we have been beaten into submission by the travails of life and buffetings of Satan, then perhaps we will humbly submit ourselves to the Lord.

"Lord, I can't do this any longer ~ I feel helpless and alone ~ Please, please hear my plea ~ Please forgive me and lead me on the path of righteousness, and give me the strength to stay there, for I know the pain of the forbidden paths and year for the joy and rest of the righteous." 

If this is your prayer, then you are ready to feast on the Savior's own words:

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my  yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)

What a beautiful promise this is.  What hope and peace is offered here.  The Savior is the one commissioned to defeat Satan and the word.  We can't do His work for Him.  All we need do is conquer ourselves by yielding to His will.  He will bear our burdens and give us rest if we just cast our burdens upon Him and take upon us His yoke.

How does one cast one's burdens upon the Lord?  The answer is twofold.  First, repent.  When the humbled soul is ready, repentance is a fantastic relief.  Second, yield yourself to His guidance through the Holy Spirit, which first manifests itself as your conscience.  Depend on Him for solutions, wait upon Him for direction, and obey with all the courage and energy of your soul.  Spend less energy and emotion trying to figure things out, and put that effort into developing faith and obedience.  Your investment int eh Lord will pay rich dividends.  He is the "kindly light" that leads us on.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

No Respecter of Persons

“God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him” (Acts 10:34–35; see also Romans 2:11; D&C 1:35; 38:16).

I listened to this talk on our drive home from Moab on Thursday and I loved it, cause it is beautifully and harmoniously along the lines of the message in the book by John Pontius "Following the Light of Christ into His Presence"~

- there are amazing blessings in store - and they are available until ALL!  ALL who will desire them and are willing to come, and Christ has commanded to come unto Him!  I feel like I've heard these things all my life but my heart if just now starting to open up to begin to understand them. It's all real, it is all true ~ I believe in Christ, I know He lives!

Wherefore, I the Lord, knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth, called upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and spake unto him from heaven, and gave him commandments; … The weak things of the world shall come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones, … … That every man might speak in the name of God the Lord, even the Savior of the world; That faith also might increase in the earth; That mine everlasting covenant might be established; That the fulness of my gospel might be proclaimed by the weak and the simple unto the ends of the world, and before kings and rulers. Behold, I am God and have spoken it; these commandments are of me, and were given unto my servants in their weakness, after the manner of their language, that they might come to understanding” (D&C 1:17, 19–24).

I believe it with all my heart and pray that my testimony that I share in weakness may help me, my children and family, and others to be strong in Christ.  We can even become perfect in Him (Moroni 10:32), which is the greatest gift and miracle of all, I'm so thankful for Christ's Atonement, thank you Lord for your love and great gift to us.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Complaining Makes It Worse!

We took the kids on a day trip yesterday.  They complained, no more than usual ratio wise, except since we were trying to do more than usual it really upped the intensity of their murmuring.  I nick named Hyrum & Wesley "Laman & Lemuel" when they were in my car.  Although Ethan (who once again earned the title of "Top Complainer") was worse than both of them and had been banished from my car after enduring him for the first 3 hours of the trip down.  Anyway, reminded me of this quote from this talk by Elder Holland.

"Yes, life has its problems, and yes, there are negative things to face, but please accept one of Elder Holland’s maxims for living—no misfortune is so bad that whining about it won’t make it worse."

I heard that talk when it was given in April 2007.  I was listening to conference over the internet in a little chacara in the middle of the tropical bushlands of Campinas, Brazil.  And I was in full complaining mode.  It was what I needed to hear and helped me repent, although I still struggled.  To read about my life and the reasons why I complained, you may spend as much time as you'd like reading this long post/journal entry of that time.  I'm grateful for that experience and that that experience helped me learn to endure, even though I didn't endure it well at that time, I'm grateful for how much I've improved. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Paintings of Christ

On page 19 of the book/manual Teaching of the Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee, is this picture of Christ by C. Bosseron Chambers. It took me a while to find a picture of it on the internet. It was one of President Lee's favorites. Due to the similarities, I think Del Parson's "The Lord Jesus Christ" was based on Chambers' painting.
This picture of Christ below is the one I most associate with my childhood - I remember it being the picture that was in the primary room when I went to church - not sure who the artist of this one is.
More recently, I am impressed with the story behind Akiane Kramerik's picture of Christ, titled "Prince of Peace"
I also loved the story behind casting Tomas Kofod as the Savior in the LDS film "The Testaments of One Fold and One Shepherd" -
Some day I know I will see him again and I believe, as it has been said by others, that I might be surprised at how familiar his face it. I pray for and will continue to work so I may have his spirit with me and have his image in my countenance.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Doubt and Despair

This is a great talk by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland given at a Devotional at Brigham Young University on 18 March 1980 - All of it is excellent (you can listen to it here) and I love the story a third of the way down about Thomas Edison when he was 67:

Thomas Edison devoted ten years and all of his money to developing the nickel-alkaline storage battery at a time when he was almost penniless. Through that period of time, his record and film production was supporting the storage battery effort. Then one night the terrifying cry of fire echoed through the film plant. Spontaneous combustion had ignited some chemicals. Within moments all of the packing compounds, celluloid for records, film, and other flammable goods had gone up with a roar. Fire companies from eight towns arrived, but the fire and heat were so intense and the water pressure so low that the fire hoses had no effect. Edison was sixty-seven years old—no age to begin anew. His son Charles was frantic, wondering if he were safe, if his spirits were broken, and how he would handle a crisis such as this at his age. Charles saw his father running toward him. He spoke first.

He said, “Where’s your mother? Go get her. Tell her to get her friends. They’ll never see another fire like this as long as they live!”

At 5:30 the next morning, with the fire barely under control, he called his employees together and announced, “We’re rebuilding.” One man was told to lease all the machine shops in the area, another to obtain a wrecking crane from the Erie Railroad Company. Then, almost as an afterthought, he added, “Oh, by the way. Anybody know where we can get some money?” (Paraphrased from Charles Edison, “My Most Unforgettable Character,” Reader’s Digest, December 1961, pp. 175–77.)

Don't be discouraged, keep going forward with your dreams and hopes, God is at the Helm!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Have I Done Any Good?

I remember one time last summer when I was feeling particularly useless (7 months pregnant and barely able to keep up with doing the dishes every day, house was a mess, wasn't being very helpful to the kids, etc) and the song "Have I done any Good" came into my mind.

Have I done any good in the world today?
Have I helped anyone in need?
Have I cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad?
If not, I have failed indeed.
Has anyone’s burden been lighter today
Because I was willing to share?
Have the sick and the weary been helped on their way?
When they needed my help was I there?

Then wake up and do something more
Than dream of your mansion above.
Doing good is a pleasure, a joy beyond measure,
A blessing of duty and love.

There are chances for work all around just now,
Opportunities right in our way.
Do not let them pass by, saying, “Sometime I’ll try,”
But go and do something today.
’Tis noble of man to work and to give;
Love’s labor has merit alone.
Only he who does something helps others to live.
To God each good work will be known.

As I sang the song, I kept saying "didn't do that... didn't do that... didn't do that..." until the song was over. Yup, I'm pretty much a failure right now. I sang it again to decide what I might do to do good in the world today ~ and on the second time around, I realized that I had helped someone's burden be lighter... a close neighbor was expecting and experiencing the first dreadful months of morning sickness, and her kids had been spending a lot of time over at our house playing with my kids.

Now I hadn't counted that before, cause that wasn't a big deal to me, when her kids came over they all just played nicely and it didn't feel hard or like service, but I guess it was helpful to her, so maybe I had done something good, but I hadn't even noticed. (as a side note, this lady's husband mentioned this later when he spoke in Sacrament meeting, and then someone else heard about it and mentioned it too, I was humbled that I got any credit for such a small thing (see here at 4:08.))

I didn't really consider that it counted as service, and that might be key - we read in Matthew 25 that the righteous who are praised by the Lord for their service to their fellow man are not even aware of what he's talking about, asking the Lord "When did I do that?"

Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the lease of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." Matthew 25:34-40

And then I think he will open their minds to all the small and simple things they did that lifted their brothers and sisters. As President Monson has said "Often small acts of service are all that is required to lift and bless another: a question concerning a person's family, quick words of encouragement (like his quick words in an elevator to Elder Cook of "Remember, it's better to look up!" in the video below), a sincere compliment, a small note of thanks, a brief telephone call. If we are observant and aware, and if we act on the promptings which come to us, we can accomplish much good."

So how can we do much good? There are two things he requires: our hearts and a willing mind

“Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days” (D&C 64:34).

I can do that! and I will today as I strive to become a true friends, a friend who cares, who loves, listens, and reaches out.

Friday, August 10, 2012

These Things Are Important

From President Monson's October 2008 General Conference Talk "Finding Joy in the Journey"

In the 1960s, during the Vietnam War, Church member Jay Hess, an airman, was shot down over North Vietnam. For two years his family had no idea whether he was dead or alive. His captors in Hanoi eventually allowed him to write home but limited his message to less than 25 words. What would you and I say to our families if we were in the same situation—not having seen them for over two years and not knowing if we would ever see them again? Wanting to provide something his family could recognize as having come from him and also wanting to give them valuable counsel, Brother Hess wrote—and I quote:

These things are important: temple marriage, mission, college. Press on, set goals, write history, take pictures twice a year.

Let us relish life as we live it, find joy in the journey, and share our love with friends and family.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Repenting of Our Sins

I knew this book would be good - I love it when I start a book and I'm not even 10 pages into it and there are amazing truth's like this revealed - makes me excited for what's in store for me in the rest of the book! From Bruce C. Hafen's book "The Broken Heart" - page 8

We have been told that if we do not repent, we must suffer even as the Savior did to satisfy the demands of justice (D&C 19:15-17)

I once wondered if those who refuse to repent but who then satisfy the law of justice by paying for their own sins are then worthy to enter the celestial kingdom. the answer is no. The entrance requirements for celestial life are simply higher than merely satisfying the law of justice. For that reason, paying for our sins will not bear the same fruit as repenting of our sins. Justice is a law of balance and order and it must be satisfied, either through our payment or His. But if we decline the Savior's invitation to let him carry our sins, and then satisfy justice by ourselves, we will not yet have experienced the complete rehabilitation that can occur through a combination of divine assistance and genuine repentance. Working together, those forces have the power permanently to change our hearts and our lives, preparing us for celestial life. The Savior asks for our repentance not merely to compensate him for paying our debt to justice but also as a way of inducing us to undergo the process of development that will make our nature divine, giving us the capacity to live the celestial law. The "natural man" will remain an enemy to God forever--even after paying for his own sins--unless he also "becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child" (Mosiah 3:19)


Therefore I command you to repent—repent, lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger, and your sufferings be sore—how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not. For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I; Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.
(D&C 19:15-17)
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