Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Abortion: An Assault on the Defenseless


I was blown away as I heard the statistics in this talk of how many helpless babies are aborted each year. As I look at my little boy I cannot imagine taking part in eliminating an infants life. This talk was an eye opener to me of the reality of abortion and how quickly it is turning into an option that many feel relieves them of consequences when in reality the eternal consequences will be great.

LDS Family Services is a great place to look if you are thinking of adoption.

Russell M. Nelson, “Abortion: An Assault on the Defenseless,” Ensign, Oct 2008, 32–37

As sons and daughters of God, we cherish life as a gift from Him. His eternal plan provides opportunities for His children to obtain physical bodies, to gain earthly experiences, and to realize their divine destinies as heirs of eternal life.1

With that understanding and reverence for life, we deplore the loss of life associated with warfare. The data are appalling. In World War I, more than 8 million military fatalities occurred. In World War II, more than 22 million servicemen and women died.2 Together, these two wars, covering portions of 14 years, cost the lives of at least 30 million soldiers worldwide. That figure does not include the millions of civilian casualties.


These data, however, are dwarfed by the toll of another war that claims more casualties annually than did World War I and World War II combined. Worldwide reports indicate that more than 40 million abortions are performed per year.3


This war called abortion is a war on the defenseless and the voiceless. It is a war on the unborn. This war is being waged globally. Ironically, civilized societies that have generally placed safeguards on human life have now passed laws that sanction this practice.

Why destroy a life that could bring great joy to others? There are better ways of dealing with an unwanted pregnancy. When a life is created by sinful behavior, the best way to begin personal repentance is to preserve the life of that child. To add another serious sin to a serious sin already committed only compounds the grief. Adoption is a wonderful alternative to abortion. Both the baby and the adoptive parents can be greatly blessed by the adoption of that baby into a home where the child will be lovingly nurtured and where the blessings of the gospel will be available. Adoption is an unselfish, loving decision...

To read the talk in it's entirety click on the title above.
To read the Family Proclamation click HERE.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Fighting the Evils of the World with Spiritual Weapons


Recently my husband and I got into a discussion about becoming complacent or feeling carnally secure. We thought of examples of this going on in the world all around us but most importantly we realized that sometimes more often than we might think it happens behind the walls of our own home.

As our conversation deepened we thought about the ways people try to combat temptation and worldly desires and we realized that often many of us try to fight off the negative influences in the world through using temporal means or knowledge rather than by using our spiritual weapons - weapons that we have been told will fight off Satan and his ability to tempt us and lull us away into carnal security. With this on my mind I came across this talk by President Monson. I will share some from his talk as well as a few additional quotes from others.


Constant Truths for Changing Times
President Thomas S. Monson
This talk was given while he was the
First Counselor in the First Presidency



The faith, the service, and the actions of our members are praiseworthy...However, lest we become complacent, may I quote from 2 Nephi in the Book of Mormon: “At that day shall [the devil] … lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls.” 1


We cannot afford to be complacent. We live in perilous times; the signs are all around us. We are acutely aware of the negative influences in our society that stalk traditional families. At times television and movies portray worldly and immoral heroes and heroines and attempt to hold up as role models some actors and actresses whose lives are anything but exemplary. Why should we follow a blind guide? Radios blare forth much denigrating music with blatant lyrics, dangerous invitations, and descriptions of almost every type of evil imaginable.


We, as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, must stand up to the dangers which surround us and our families. To aid us in this determination, I offer several suggestions (the first two are from President Monson):

  1. Family Home Evening - We cannot afford to neglect this heaven-inspired program. It can bring spiritual growth to each member of the family, helping him or her to withstand the temptations which are everywhere.

  2. Debt - Avoid the philosophy and excuse that yesterday’s luxuries have become today’s necessities. They aren’t necessities unless we ourselves make them such.

  3. Family Prayer - President Hinckley -I submit that a return to the old pattern of prayer, family prayer in the homes of the people, is one of the basic medications that would check the dread disease that is eroding the character of our society. We could not expect a miracle in a day, but in a generation we would have a miracle.

  4. Family Scripture Study - President Marion G. Romney - “I feel certain that if, in our homes, parents will read from the Book of Mormon prayerfully and regularly, both by themselves and with their children, the spirit of that great book will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein. The spirit of reverence will increase; mutual respect and consideration for each other will grow. The spirit of contention will depart. Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom. Children will be more responsive and submissive to the counsel of their parents. Righteousness will increase. Faith, hope, and charity—the pure love of Christ—will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake peace, joy, and happiness”.

  5. Temple Attendance - President Hunter - Let us hasten to the temple as frequently as time and means and personal circumstances allow. Let us go not only for our kindred dead, but let us also go for the personal blessing of temple worship. President Benson - When you attend the temple and perform the ordinances that pertain to the house of the Lord, certain blessings will come to you: You will love your family with a deeper love than you have loved before. You will be endowed with power from on high as the Lord has promised.

We have been promised many great blessings if we use the simple and basic, but extremely important, spiritual weapons we have been counseled to use for our protection. All of these spiritual defenses will help us to fight off the temptations and careful lulling of Satan. All of these will help us to avoid complacency and remember that we have room to grow and we can become better.

Have we become too comfortable or content with where we are at? My challenge to us all is to check ourselves to see if you we could be doing better at having one of the spiritual weapons at hand.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Developing Christlike Attributes

As I was reading the First Presidency message for this month this section particularly stood out to me. I love the simplicity of this - Follow Him and Keep His Commandments - nothing more, nothing less. Although the saying is simple it encompasses much and President Uchtdorf says, "Developing Christlike attributes in our lives is not an easy task..." But the most important thing I got out of this message is that if we follow Him the Savior will bless us to become what He wants us to be. He will help us to obtain the gift of Christlike attributes.

Developing Christlike Attributes
By President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Second Counselor in the First Presidency

We recognize that we are living in a time of turmoil, disaster, and war. We and many others feel strongly the great need for a “defense, and for a refuge from the storm, and from wrath when it shall be poured out without mixture upon the whole earth” (D&C 115:6). How do we find such a place of safety? President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) taught: “Our safety lies in the virtue of our lives. Our strength lies in our righteousness.”

Recall with me how Jesus Christ instructed His Apostles, clearly and directly, at the beginning of His mortal ministry: “[Come,] follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). This was also the beginning of the ministry of the Twelve Apostles, and I suspect that they had a feeling of inadequacy. May I suggest that the Savior Himself teaches us here a lesson about core doctrine and priorities in life. Individually, we need to first “follow Him,” and as we do this, the Savior will bless us beyond our own capacity to become what He wants us to be.

To follow Christ is to become more like Him. It is to learn from His character. As spirit children of our Heavenly Father, we do have the potential to incorporate Christlike attributes into our life and character. The Savior invites us to learn His gospel by living His teachings. To follow Him is to apply correct principles and then witness for ourselves the blessings that follow. This process is very complex and very simple at the same time. Ancient and modern prophets described it with three words: “Keep the commandments”—nothing more, nothing less.

Developing Christlike attributes in our lives is not an easy task, especially when we move away from generalities and abstractions and begin to deal with real life. The test comes in practicing what we proclaim. The reality check comes when Christlike attributes need to become visible in our lives—as husband or wife, as father or mother, as son or daughter, in our friendships, in our employment, in our business, and in our recreation. We can recognize our growth, as can those around us, as we gradually increase our capacity to “act in all holiness before [Him]” (D&C 43:9).

The scriptures describe a number of Christlike attributes we need to develop during the course of our lives. They include knowledge and humility, charity and love, obedience and diligence, faith and hope (see D&C 4:5–6). These personal character qualities stand independent of the organizational status of our Church unit, our economic circumstances, our family situation, culture, race, or language. Christlike attributes are gifts from God. They cannot be developed without His help.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Opposite Trick-or-Treating ~ Service

So I thought I'd share this fun idea. Last year my son was too young to do "real" trick-or-treating but I still thought it would be fun to go around with my cute little dressed-up tike and knock on some doors. So we devised a plan to get out there and enjoy Halloween and this is what we came up with - OPPOSITE TRICK-OR-TREATING!!! First, we made these cute little treats:
It was simply white tissue paper, some ribbon, and a black marker. Inside was a little bag full of caramel popcorn. I made quite a few of these in no time flat.

Anyway, we went around and knocked on neighbors doors and instead of saying Trick-or-Treat, I said, "Opposite Trick-or-Treat" and handed them our little gift. It was fun to see their reactions and it was fun to get a little taste of Halloween without returning home with enough candy to last us the whole year.

Now that my son is a little older we plan to do both. We will do a little taking and do a little giving. I've decided that many of us have put so much emphasis on service around Thanksgiving and Christmas time that we tend to forget about the rest of the year. Why not a yummy ghostish treat in October? Why not something at St. Patrick's time or the 4th of July? Or even better why not bring a treat or lend a helping hand today, tomorrow, or any day of the year?!?

I loved this line from Elder Ballard, "He isn't asking us to walk across a nation but to walk across the street."

I hope some of you try Opposite Trick-or-Treating or more importantly I hope we all can learn to simply "walk across the street" and be of service to our neighbors and friends.

My Words...Never Cease

This is Elder Holland's tesimony of continuing revelation. It is a wonderful video. I too, know that God's words never cease. I know that we can individually receive revelation for ourselves and I also know that The Book of Mormon is a true book and is a testimony that revelation continues today. Enjoy the video of Elder Holland's words.

(click on title to read full text)
Elder Holland

video

To read from the different books of our
standard works click on the links below:

The Old Testament
The New Testament
The Book of Mormon
The Doctrine and Covenants
The Pearl of Great Price

To receive a free copy of the Book of Mormon click on the link below
then scroll to the bottom of the page and click on Request a Copy:

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If you have any questions you'd like to have answered
by LDS missionaries click on this link:

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Serving with Children



"One of the greatest challenges we face in our hurried, self-centered lives is to follow the counsel of the Master "to do it unto one of the least of these my brethren." Take the time today to reach out to help someone less fortunate, to strengthen and lift a brother or sister in need." -Gordon B. Hinckley

I recently received a calling in my ward where I have many opportunities to serve. As I have been trying to fulfill my calling I have learned a great lesson. My one year old son and I will often go on service excursions together. On one of our walks to visit several members of the ward we had a slew of cookies we were delivering. My little boy would hand them the cookies when they came to the door (he loves cookies), and then as we would walk away I would tell him how nice it was for him to share his cookies. Even though he is young I think that he started to understand what we were doing. Once we had completed our little journey he couldn't stop saying, "How nice" and "Cookies". I think he started to grasp, just a little, what service is all about.

I have always been one to enjoy being a part of service organizations and service projects but since I have a child now I have found it harder to find time away for serving. I have found myself saying that I miss service but I don't know how to serve with a child. Through experiences like delivering cookies my son has started to teach me that service can come in small packages and that he can and is so anxious to be apart of it. My new goal is to seek out more opportunties for our WHOLE family to serve together.

If anyone has any ideas on how to serve with young children I would love to hear them.

For a few ideas on how to serve with young children click HERE.
Teaching Children about Service - to read this article click HERE.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

FHE: A Stars Guiding Light


A few weeks ago for Family Home Evening we had a lesson using stars. While I was preparing I came across a more full text to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. I've never heard these verses before but they teach something great. We sang this song, then read President Hinckley's experience with the North Star. It was a Conference lesson so we talked about how the Prophets and Apostles and their counsel can be our guiding stars and we talked about what we are going to do to follow their counsel.

There are so many ways you could look at the words in this song and experience though. Instead of the Prophets and Apostles being the guiding stars to us travelers, we could be the little star shining for those around us and when President Hinckley continued in his talk he spoke of love being the North Star.

For our activity we went outside and cuddled up on a blanket and looked at the stars. For our treat we had brownies cut in the shape of stars, yum-yum. It went well and we had fun.

I've had my mind on FHE lately since I came across this FHE Planning Blog - Check it out HERE!

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky!

When the blazing sun is gone,
When he nothing shines upon,
Then you show your little light,
Twinkle, twinkle, all the night.

Then the traveller in the dark,
Thanks you for your tiny spark,
He could not see which way to go,
If you did not twinkle so.

In the dark blue sky you keep,
And often through my curtains peep,
For you never shut your eye,
Till the sun is in the sky.

As your bright and tiny spark,
Lights the traveller in the dark,—
Though I know not what you are,
Twinkle, twinkle, little star.


President Hinckley
When I was a boy, we lived on a farm in the summer. It was in the country, where the nights were dark. There were no streetlights or anything of the kind. My brother and I slept out-of-doors. On clear nights—and most of those nights were clear and the air was clean—we would lie on our backs and look at the myriads of stars in the heavens. We could identify some of the constellations and other stars as they were illustrated in our encyclopedia. Each night we would trace the Big Dipper, the handle and the cup, to find the North Star.

We came to know of the constancy of that star. As the earth turned, the others appeared to move through the night. But the North Star held its position in line with the axis of the earth. And so it had come to be known as the Polar Star, or the Polestar, or the Lodestar. Through centuries of time, mariners had used it to guide them in their journeys. They had reckoned their bearings by its constancy, thereby avoiding traveling in circles or in the wrong direction, as they moved across the wide, unmarked seas.

Because of those boyhood musings, the Polar Star came to mean something to me. I recognized it as a constant in the midst of change. It was something that could always be counted on, something that was dependable, an anchor in what otherwise appeared to be a moving and unstable firmament.


President] Harold B. Lee said, we should let these conference addresses ‘be the guide to [our] walk and talk during the next six months. These are the important matters the Lord sees fit to reveal to this people in this day.’ ” (Ensign, May 1988, p. 84.)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

General Conference Should Bring Change


So it is hard to believe that the long awaited General Conference weekend is over. So now what? We've heard all of this counsel and many of us are on a spiritual high and feel so renewed and motivated to be better. So what are we actually going to do? I always tend to leave the spiritual high of this wonderful weekend with hopes of doing and becoming so much better yet still find myself losing my spiritual ooomf all to quick. I hope I make this time a little different.


My husband created this sheet with all of the counsel given during conference (excluding the General Relief Society Meeting). Hopefully I will add the counsel from that session sometime soon. We have oodles and oodles of things that we can choose from to work on in our lives. Here is the link to the counsel given ---> 2008 General Conference Counsel.

Now I just thought I would share just a few of my thoughts on Conference and a few of my favorite quotes or ideas.

Elder Perry - Spiritual benefits come from a simple lifestyle.
I loved this. All to often we add unecessary things on our plates. We tackle too much at once. We make things priorities that should be some of the least important things in our lives. He focused on going back to the basics and taking care of the simple things in life. I liked this - Pause. Reflect. Heal. We all could use more of that in our lives.

Elder Andersen - Spiritual-footing.
He mentioned spiritual-footing kind of in passing in his talk but it really stuck out to me. Footing means to have a secure and established position or to have a strong foundation. It made me ask the question, "How is my spiritual-footing? Am I secure and firm in my spirituality?"

Elder Oaks - Prepare to Participate in Sacrament Meeting
There were so many things that stuck out to me in this talk - 1. Be seated and reverent well before the meeting starts. 2. Sacrament Meeting should be treated like we were going to the temple. 3. How we dress shows how well prepared we are, including our footwear. 4. Sometimes we violate the covenant we are making in the very meeting that we are making it.

This last one really stuck out to me. We covenant that we will always remember Christ but sometimes and maybe even quite often in the very meeting that we are making this covenant to Remember the Savior we are forgetting Him - our minds are wondering. I have much to work on here. I often blame my lack of paying close attention or focusing on the covenants I am making on the distraction of having a young child. This was a great reminder of the need for greater reverence, greater respect, greater worship, and greater self-control in truly participating in the Sacrament.

Elder Wirthlin - Learn to Laugh
I loved this great antidote to help us through tough times...Laughter. He gave a great talk which provided us all with a great laugh. I loved this counsel to learn to laugh even during hard or trying times.

Elder Hales - Christian Courage
I really liked this line, "Meekness (humble, submissive, patient) is not weekness it is the badge of Chrisitan Courage."

Sister Dalton - Return to Virtue
A great question to ask ourselves - Have we been slowly desensitized to think that good moral standards are old fashioned? We must engage in strict training and return to virtue.

Elder Ballard - Walk across the street
"He isn't asking us to walk across a nation but to walk across the street." What a great reminder to help those that are around us, to be more willing to serve, and to share in such simple ways.

Elder Cook - Birthday Gift for President Monson
He mentioned what President Monson would want from us for his birthday - it is to find someone who is having a hard time and do something for them. What a good birthday wish!

President Monson - Remember
"May we LONG remember what we have heard at General Conference."

These are just a few thoughts that I wanted to share and I am sure there will be many more to come. I would love for you to share (comment) the things that you hope to remember, the message that most impressed you, and/or how you are going to apply the counsel to your life.

Just as President Monson said, may we LONG remember the things we have heard. Also, may we allow the things we heard to bring change in our lives.

Here is a link to the messages given at General Conference ---> General Conference October 2008



Thursday, October 2, 2008

Conference: It's for the Whole Family


It is time to get ready for General Conference and so with it approaching quickly I thought I would post a few links to some wonderful Conference packets/games and a few Apostle get to know you activities that others have created to keep their children both entertained and participating in conference. Most of the links I found on one of my favorite sites - sugardoodle.net. You can find so many ideas and printables on this site. I just had to put a little plug in.


"Helping general conference become a meaningful experience for children is often a challenge. But it is important for children as well as adults to listen to and appreciate the words of our General Authorities." This article has many suggestions from other parents on how to help the whole family get something out of conference.

I hope that some of these activities help both you and your children get something out of this General Conference.



General Conference Folder - by Melanie Day


GETTING TO KNOW THE APOSTLES AND PROPHETS

First Presidency and Apostles Matching Game - A great way to help your children know who is who. This might be a lot of fun to play before conference.

Apostle Cards - by Melanie Day (Picture and Basic Info about each Apostle/Prophet)

Apostle Song - A video to help get to know the Apostles.


GENERAL CONFERENCE GAMES

Conference Chase - by Ondrea Slade - A fun game to play with your kids while watching conference.

Conference ABC's - 2005 Friend

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

General Relief Society Meeting


So I really enjoyed the Relief Society Meeting on Saturday. I felt the Spirit stronger than I have felt it in a long time. I really enjoyed all of the talks. I felt inspired to do better, to be more devoted to Relief Society, to make going to the temple a greater priority, and to have a greater compassion and love for all women. I enjoyed the words of all of the wonderful sisters of the General Relief Society Presidency but I particularly got a lot out of President Uchtdorf's message.

He talked about how many of us often feel inadequate, discouraged, and weary. But then he offered a solution -God's Happiness which is the Greatest Happiness. He shared two characteristics of God that we should strive to emulate that will bring greater happiness- God Creates and God is Compassionate.

I really liked when he talked about creating. This was a different approach to bring happiness than you typically hear. He said that to create brings deep satisfaction and fulfillment. He explained what the word create meant by saying that it is is to bring into existence something that did not exist before (a garden, smiles/laughter, a beautiful space in your home, etc.)




I really liked this...he said to take normal opportunities and to turn them into something of beauty in the world around us and in the world within.

Our opportunities to create things and to create and nourish talents are endless. His talk made me ask this question - do I undervalue my abilities? Let us all take opportunities to create.
Then he moved on to talk about compassion. I just wanted to share one line that really made me think - The number of prayers we say are important but the number of prayers we answer may be more important.

Now we have General Conference coming up this weekend and I am excited to receive more guidance and direction. If you look on the left side of the blog there is a link to watch conference online.

To read the texts of the talks from the GRSM click here.