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. 

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