Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Happy Father's Day Dad

Dad, you are amazing! The last song on this is dedicated to you. What a stunning example of a great man in every way.

Happy Father's Day

Love you tons,

From all of your kids



Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Savior of the World grew in his mortality like all of us. He learned of His position in the pre-existence. He learned of His life's mission. He learned of His strengths and weaknesses. He learned of His Father in Heaven. Like him, his called Apostles, great men of the pre-existence, were bound in their learning by their mortality. They were already men of God and lovers of good. They were already hardworking contributors to their societies. They were already  obedient. So when the Lord called them, they left their nets and followed the Son of God the 3 year mortal journey that would culminate in moments that they could never had imagined.
In the tender days before the Savior's Gethsemane, Crucifixion and Resurrection, Jesus counseled, comforted and guided these amazing men.
11 of them were devoted to the Lord's work. The path that they walked  was froth with persecution and mortal uncertainty.Yet they stayed faithful. They asked questions. They soaked in information and worked with the torturing which sometimes included the loving chastisement of their Master.
So when I read about their struggles, knowing that these were of the greatest of the Sons of God in the pre-existence, I find a lot of comfort in my own life. I know that I am a daughter of God, saved for these last days. I know that I married a great man and have amazingly strong children with life's missions that are of the elect. Yet in all of this we struggle. We struggle in our faith. We struggle to shake the evils of the culture of the day while trying to enjoy the good around us. We struggle to prioritize our relationship with our Savior and our Father in Heaven above the perceived demands of every day. 
Jesus told his disciples that He was preparing them for what was to come so that they would not be "offended" during the events of the last 3-4 days of the Savior's mortal life. In this He meant that He didn't want them to be surprised, or mislead. In "Jesus the Christ" by Talmage we read: "These things had Jesus declared unto them that they might not 'be offended,' or in other words, thatk by surprise, misled, and caused to doubt and stumble by the unprecedented events then impending." (see page 207) He recognized their newness in their testimonies and that they had not received the Gift of the Holy Ghost yet. They were to face great persecutions themselves and would need to make in through the horrible treatment of the Son of God without getting arrested themselves. They had a great work to do. 
So when Jesus walked with them to Gethsemene and asked 8 of them to wait and watch yet they fell asleep in the late hours of the night and the very great and future presidency who went further with him would do the same, he lovingly recognized their mortality. He His role in suffering the pains of the world on His own.
Jesus Christ prayed. He suffered. His leaders slept off an on watching and later recording what they saw and heard their Master accomplish there in Gethsemane.
Likewise over the next several days, they would live through what they had been told about but found very unsettling. They struggled with their understanding. They waited, prayed and wondered at the circumstances that they found themselves in. Some even briefly went back to their trade of fishing until their resurrected Master visited them and called them out of the world.
These great men, would serve as the leaders of Christianity. They would serve our their days sharing the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. They braved travels, hunger, and persecutions all of the rest of their days and they were faithful.
So in all of this I find comfort. There is for me (and for every single person on this planet!) a life plan. We get to choose, like the disciples of old, whether we will follow our Savior. We get to choose every day the path we walk that day. If we find that we really turn to the Savior and stop debating about what we think should happen and how it is to be accomplished, we find a sureness in our soul. We find that our emotions are more in control and our strength is increased. Doubt seems to signify our weakness in faith. We all battle it as a mortal challenge having no real knowledge of our pre-existence so looking to something to guide us.
Isn't is a gift of all gifts to have the restored gospel of Jesus Christ with the living ordinances to guide and protect us? Isn't it the foundation of our strength, knowing that our Savior, Jesus Christ knows us like his great disciples and works with us in like fashion? 
I know that my Savior lives. He is there at the door waiting every minute of every day for me to let Him in. He teaches me. He guides me. His comforter lifts me up. His light seeks to fill my soul. The things in my life happen and will happen just as in the Savior's life things happened that were good and hard. I know that I need to decide how I will handle those things instead of working so hard to change or control the challenging events.
These are the last days. I love them. I love being here for them. I rejoice in the great challenges of the continued battle for the souls of myself and my brothers and sisters. These are the days that try men's souls and I get to witness it all and strive to make a difference. I sure hope I'm as faithful as the great men and women of the past who faced their mortal blindness, built their testimonies and  followed the Savior of the World.

Power in one Word

So many times in my life I have heard all about how pride is the downfall of human kind-Rome, Aztecs, Old Testament Jews on several occasions, etc. etc. The cycle that I've been taught to stay away from is termed "The Pride Cycle". What seems to happen is that individuals or groups prosper, become proud, and then get so caught up in their prideful pursuits that they are eventually destroyed or conquered. Then they become humble for a while, seek for kinder more Christlike ways, prosper, become proud and then again get caught in the cycle.


Well, many years ago, I was trying to encourage a group of people to look to better ways than their prideful ways-ways that were affecting the way that their kids were acting, their marriages, the community around them, and their own individual harmful choices. I was actually praying on a regular basis about what I could do to work on this. One day I was listening to some of our church speakers and happened to be looking forward to a favorite Apostle of mine, Elder David B. Haight. As I sat listening to his humble comments, he paused and said (as I remember it), "I feel impressed to say these three words, 'Faith, Devotion, Gratitude'. " THAT WAS IT!!!


The opposite of the Pride Cycle.

It was the missing link for me, as a leader.

The Word: Gratitude


So what was it about gratitude that would make the difference, and keep us all out of a personally limiting cycle?


Gratitude is usually thought of as a random emotion that we feel at thanksgiving, our birthday, Christmas, or some other occasions when we have something positive happen.



But let's take a look at it from a serious application perspective.


First the poison of the negative.


Have you ever noticed that having pride in your heart limits you? It can be paralyzing. Are you trying to fit in with a certain social group? Are you more worried about the kind of car you drive than the impact that it's cost would would have on your family? Are you so worried about what others think that you are constantly criticizing yourself or others? Do you backbite or gossip to get into people's heads so that you look better than others? Do you worry about whether or not your kids are popular at school more than how healthy they are socially, emotionally and spiritually? If you/we let the negative prideful thoughts of our competitive world sneak in, we lose perspective of all of the good that we enjoy. We also lose the will to move beyond what we perceive as our own glass ceilings. We become our own worst nightmare. I like this quote:

" Like the leprosy of yesteryear are the plagues of today. They linger; they debilitate; they destroy. They are to be found everywhere. Their pervasiveness knows no boundaries. We know them as selfishness, greed, indulgence, cruelty, and crime, to identify but a few. Surfeited with their poison, we tend to criticize, to complain, to blame, and, slowly but surely, to abandon the positives and adopt the negatives of life." (Pres. Thomas S. Monson)


Do you remember the story of "Crabs in a Bucket"? The crabs are all in the bucket trying to get out but once one of them gets close to getting out, they pull him back down and on the process goes. Compare that to stories throughout the entire body of known history! How many times do we hear of someone in power being cheated on, plotted against, lied about, or worse, killed in order for their rival known or unknown to climb the ladder of power? Is that the kind of poisonous thinking, poisonous attitude that we really want to have our entire lives? Our society, in general, tells us to join it because that's just the way life is? Look at the tabloids, look at the news, at the movies and TV shows. Look at the "Reality" shows! It's all about keeping our fellow crabs in the bucket with us.


BREAK OUT!!


Many people who are addicted to substances or destructive patterns in their lives have been taught that in order to help overcome their addictions, they need to find something really positive and constructive to be a substitute for that addiction. So it is with Gratitude. This is the power, the real power that can not only just oppose but overcome pride.


Reflect for a moment on your worst prideful moment. Now think of the moment when you had a huge amount of gratitude. See the difference?


Let's maybe apply it and see the difference.


If you have to ask your boss for a raise. . .

Pride: demand in a posturing tone that you gain his/her attention. State your position in your best suit or tightest short business skirt. Talk about brand names or expensive items you have in common. Make sure you point out all of your worldly success. You deserve it. You have earned it.

Gratitude: Ask for the appointment or offer to take your boss to lunch. Talk about how much you enjoy certain things about your job and thank him/her for the help you've received and talk openly about the possibilities of the raise or positive options with his/her company. You would love the better opportunity and are very grateful for your current status but would like to do some things for your family so would be grateful for the raise.


You want to be friends with someone. . .

Pride: you approach this person dressed in what you think they'll like, talk down about everyone outside their circle of friends, gossip about events that you know are the talk of their group. You'll promise to buy them some upscale items to win them over. You are the one they should want to be friends with. You'll show them, too.

Gratitude: you see if this person is even someone with common interests, invite them to play tennis, walk, shop, or do something that you both like. Take the time to be yourself and complement them. You find them to be great to be with even thought they aren't exactly like you. You like that. You find value in that. You are grateful for such a nice person as a friend.


You buy your dream home and start meeting your neighbors. . .

Pride: you dress in your finest clothing and come and go wanting your neighbors to see you all decked out. You have a party to show off your house and expect gifts and complements because they should want your friendship because you have a beautiful home. You take the random welcome gifts from your genuine neighbors and if they aren't just your "type" in one way or another, you chalk them up to being your weird or loser neighbor and move on.

Gratitude: Your neighbors see you moving in and bring a loaf of bread or offer to help. You are thrilled to meet them, try to remember their names. You express your interest in this new neighborhood and are willing to participate with the nice people around you no matter what they look like, what they drive or whatever marker could be thrown out there because having such nice neighbors is a treat in this life and you are grateful.


Any of these sound familiar? I'm sure we could elaborate even further. Do we need to? We see it in our lives and in the lives of others every day. It's pretty clear with anything we throw out there that if we approach life's circumstances with gratitude, we will be able to expect a much more fulfilling, "real" life than if we chose the angst of the pride filled life.


The question is, do we really want the poison that comes with pride-the hate, the envy, the extra pressure to keep up?


Or are we willing to fight that choice by choosing to calm down and be grateful for every good thing in life thereby renduring more peace and clarity?

It takes some maturity to chose to be grateful for the good day in and day out. It takes a concerted effort to start with until gratitude becomes a way of life.


President Thomas S. Monson said, "This is a wonderful time to be living here on earth. Our opportunities are limitless. While there are some things wrong in the world today, there are many things right, such as teachers who teach, ministers who minister, marriages that make it, parents who sacrifice, and friends who help.
We can lift ourselves, and others as well, when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude. If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues."

Some very constructive ideas that I have heard of:


1) keep a simple gratitude notebook-write down 5 things every morning that you are grateful for

2) at least once a day express gratitude to someone for something that they have done

3) Serve another person showing your gratitude for them

4) Pray and every time you do take more time on the things that you are grateful for than on the list of requests and concerns

5)treat every day as if it were your last with wide open, grateful eyes for the beautiful sunshine, kind people, and opportunities around you




I am sure that there are many many ways to live with gratitude as the center power. I'd love the feedback on that.


There is an inspiring song from the Hymnal from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints that says:

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed, When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, Count your many blessings; name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord has done. …
So amid the conflict, whether great or small, Do not be discouraged; God is over all. Count your many blessings; angels will attend, Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end. (Hymns, 1985, no. 241.)


I hope that this is pretty clear. It's a way of life. It's a very happy way of life. There are no real limits to happiness when we walk through it with gratitude in our hearts.

Use the power!


Some great quotes:


Albert Schweitzer:
"To educate yourself for the feeling of gratitude means to take nothing for granted, but to always seek out and value the kind that will stand behind the action. Nothing that is done for you is a matter of course. Everything originates in a will for the good, which is directed at you. Train yourself never to put off the word or action for the expression of gratitude."

Denis Waitley:
Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.

H. U. Westermayer:
The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.
Henry Ward Beecher:
Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul.

Margaret Cousins:
Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary.
Melodie Beattie:
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity.... It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.






"You need an endowment, in order that you may be prepared and able to overcome all things." Joseph Smith

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Faith

When we make a decision to follow the prompting or peaceful urge in our heart just to follow without understanding in completion we are making the strongest decision and setting a sure pattern for blessing to flow in our lives. That doesn't mean that east and comfort will follow but it does mean that the ever loving tutoring of our Father in Heaven, who knows us oh so well, can take place bringing us to unimagined moments of joy and accomplishment.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Your Power for Good

"Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it" Proverbs 3:27

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Testimony vs Conversion

OK this is really interesting to me. I have understood the difference in definition for forever! :) But after this last week, I hadn't thought about it in this way:
Testimony.
I find that I can have a testimony of many principles and many things in this life. I know that certain things are true. I have felt the Spirit tell me. I live these principles the best I can and go through life day in and day out believing that certain things will bring happiness or safety or whatever I can apply that knowledge to.

Conversion.
Until I am converted to that principle and have it written on my heart, I will have a great possibility to sway from that principle at some time. But with real conversion, I have found that I can't deny the truth of that principle.

I understood this best when we were at a RS evening event and talking about VTing:
VTing and having a testimony of it can mean that you make your visits every month and you might even have a lesson every time.
But being Converted to VTing would mean far more. You'd learn to love those you visited and talk to them often to see how they were doing and pray for their well being. You'd have them as friends not just a task to check off once a month but someone to have fun with, invite to be a part of your life.
Big difference, huh? I've done both. There is a huge difference in how well things go in either case.

I have applied this in the past to other principles like repentance, tithing, fasting, prayer, service, fulfilling callings, scripture reading, and on and on. Some of these things I just really know in my heart and can't deny their significance. Now other principles are there in fact and even in testimony for me but I really don't have a full conversion. I don't have them written on my heart like the others.

Life is a process. So I will have opportunities to work on this. Just thought that it was so obvious and so well described last Thursday night. Great job ladies!

2 Chronicles 34:31 "And the king stood in his place, and made a acovenant before the Lord, to bwalk after the Lord, and to keep his commandments, and his testimonies, and his statutes, with all his heart, and with all his soul. . ."

Helaman 15:7 "And behold, ye do know of yourselves, for ye have witnessed it, that as many of them as are brought to the knowledge of the truth . . . and are led to believe the holy scriptures, yea, the prophecies of the holy prophets, which are written, which leadeth them to faith on the Lord, and unto repentance, which faith and repentance bringeth a achange of heart unto them—"