Friday, February 27, 2009

A Lesson from "Green Eggs and Ham"

Last night while I was reading my little boy a bed-time story, "Green Eggs and Ham", by Dr. Seuss, one of the illustrations stuck out to me. Well, I have always quite enjoyed these two pages, they just make me smile. I generally find them clever and funny and refreshing but this time they stuck out to me spiritually and I made a parallel.

So here are the two pictures. Take a close look, maybe even click on them to enlarge them. Look at the faces of all of the characters.

Maybe you caught what I saw or maybe you are thinking "yeah, so they're all happy and smiling, what's the big deal?" Well, now take a closer look at their situation. I love it. In the first picture they have just plummeted off the railroad track and landed upside down on a boat and yes they are still smiling, most with their eyes closed, and look quite simply content. In the second picture, they are sinking into the water. The driver of the boat is upside down in the water still holding the wheel and is as happy as clam. The passengers of the train, the sinking train, look quite peaceful and content themselves again with their eyes closed. I really quite enjoy these pages.

So you are probably wondering what spiritual parallel I possibly made with these two pictures, and well here it goes.

Have you ever started to "sink" spiritually but didn't even realize it until a big wake up call? Do you ever allow Satan to convince you that you can be content and maybe even complacent with where you are at and slowly but surely he starts to drag you down with a smile?

Now maybe take a look at the pictures again: We are the drivers of our own ships (lives) but do we sometimes allow Satan to take our ship out from underneath us and we don't even see it? Are we sometimes the passengers on Satan's train and don't even recognize it? Are our eyes sometimes closed to the things of the Spirit?

I think we all sometimes fall into the category of being Spiritually Blind. I think that this is one of Satan's greatest tools. In Doctrine and Covenants 78:10 it reads, "...Satan seeketh to turn their hearts away from the truth, that they become blinded..."

Satan is the darkness that blinds us and the Savior can be our Light to make us see. Under Blindness in the Bible dictionary it reads, "In addition to the healing of physical blindness, the mission of Jesus included curing blindness to the things of the spirit. He made an application of this in John 9: 5 when, in conjunction with healing the man born blind, he declared that he (Jesus) was “the light of the world.”

James E. Faust shares how we might gain this Light for ourselves:
"The Light in Their Eyes," Ensign, Nov. 2005, 21

"Hearing the words of the Lord lifts us out of spiritual blindness 'into his marvelous light' (1 Peter 2:9). Much of that light comes from our discipline, dedication, and consecration..."

One of my very favorite scriptures also talks about staying away from this spiritual darkness or blindness and receiving more light, it reads (D&C 50:23-24):

"And that which doth not edify is not of God, and is darkness. That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day."

Let us open our eyes to the Light of the Lord. Let us strive for the companionship of the Holy Ghost that we might know when we are sinking and becoming spiritually blinded. Let us ask ourselves if the things we are doing are edifying us, and then if not, let us seek for the Light and help it grow in our lives. Let us open our eyes to the spiritual Light of the Savior.

Sacrament Quiet Activities

Well, I assume that I am not the only one that wrestles my little boy in Sacrament Meeting and tries every week to come up with something new to capture his attention and keep him happy and quietly engaged. So...I thought I would share a few items I've found helpful or that I hope to find helpful in the future. Enjoy!

Gospel ABC Cards - "These cards are designed to help your little ones be reverent during Sacrament Meeting or something similar. Just print them, laminate, and punch a hole in the corner. Put a metal ring clip through the hole to hold them together." - Found on

~I just printed these and put them in a binder in sheet protectors. My little boy loves that they are personalized with pictures of us, grandparents, and him.

Gospel ABC Book - "I have taken Ann's idea and added pictures, so you can make your own or just print this one! You will just need to add your own pictures in a few spots." ~Liz at The Idea Door

Reverence Wheel by Leslee Edward from California - found on

You may also find these items about Apostles and Prophets helpful from a previous post.

You can also find File Folder Games at this post.

If you have any tips, tricks, or ideas please send them my way!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What is Faith?

We are supposed to have faith. It is the first principle of the gospel. But do we really even understand what faith is? It is somewhat of an abstract concept.

A while back I set out on a study of faith and shortly after my studies died down with hardly any conclusions made. This last Sunday during Sunday School faith again peaked my interest and I have since done some more studying. I have reached some conclusions but know there is still much to learn about this basic and necessary principle of the gospel.

So here is what I discovered:

My main goal was to come to an understanding of what it truly means to have faith:

The dictionary shares many definitions of faith including the following:

1 - confidence or trust in a person or thing
2 - belief that is not based on proof
3 - belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion

I felt that they all held a portion of what faith entails but I felt like something was missing. I ended up turning to a different type of dictionary, the Bible Dictionary, where I formed my own definition of faith:

A confident belief in something or someone based on correct knowledge, that moves its possessor to some kind of action.

In other words, to have Faith in Jesus Christ is to have confident belief in Him that moves us to be obedient and/or righteous. So I determined that it is not enough to just believe in Jesus Christ, to have faith, we must follow Jesus Christ.

The Bible dictionary shares a lot about What Faith IS:
  • Faith is to hope for things which are not seen, but which are true.
  • Faith is to have confidence in something or someone.
  • Faith is a principle of action and power.
  • Faith is more than belief.
The Bible dictionary also shares a lot about How to Obtain and Strengthen Faith:
  • Faith is kindled by hearing the testimony of those who have faith.
  • Strong faith is developed by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • Faith comes by righteousness.
  • All true faith must be based on correct knowledge.
  • Faith must be cultured and sought after until it grows from a tiny seed into a great tree.
And lastly, the Bible dictionary shares the Effects of Faith:
  • By faith one obtains a remisssion of sins.
  • True faith always moves its possessor to some kind of physical or mental action.
  • Faith carries an assurance of the fulfillment of things hoped for.
  • Lack of faith leads to despair, which comes because of iniquity.
Through this process I have started to realize that a principle which I thought I understood I am far from grasping fully.

The remaining portion of this Sunday School lesson we covered the rest of the Fourth Article of Faith which reads:

We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

I am beginning to realize that there are many aspects of the gospel that are seemingly so simple that I have overlooked the room for greater understanding and application. And faith is definitely one of those seemingly simple principles that I have overlooked.

I challenge us all to look more closely at our gospel knowledge and study out and come to understand the principles and ordinances necessary for our salvation. I challenge us all to share our testimonies more that our words might be the kindling that sparks the beginning of another's faith. I also challenge us all to continue to seek after faith, to culture our faith, and to develop our faith by our obedience.

Coming soon will be a sister post on Hope.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mormons Made Simple

I just received an email from a couple (Doug and Laurel) informing me of their wonderful new site called Mormons Made Simple. It is in the beginning stages but has a few wonderful videos (with more to come) that explain basics about Mormons in a very simple way.

In this first video you will find out what it is like "Attending a Mormon Church Service". In the video you will find "A simple explanation of what to expect when attending a Mormon worship service. You'll learn: how to find a chapel, what to wear, and what to do when you arrive."

The second video is about "The Book of Mormon". "This video provides a brief introduction to the Book of Mormon. You'll learn where it came from, what it contains, and how to receive your own free copy."

You can find out more by visiting their website at the link provided at the top of the post. These videos are great tools. Doug and Laurel are encouraging others to add a video to your website, blog, facebook page, or simply email this to a friend. Both members and those who are not members can be benefited from this great resource.

Thanks for sharing, Doug and Laurel!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

"How can we spiritually strengthen our family?"

President Ezra Taft Benson
"I would invite each of you to ponder that significant question. As a response to this request, I would further invite you to consider the tried and tested formula that successful families have used over the years to attain love, unity, and loyalty to one another and to understand the principles of the gospel.

Successful families have love and respect for each family member. Family members know they are loved and appreciated. Children feel they are loved by their parents. Thus, they are secure and self-assured.

Strong families cultivate an attribute of effective communication. They talk out their problems, make plans together, and cooperate toward common objectives. Family home evening and family councils are practiced and used as effective tools toward this end.
Fathers and mothers in strong families stay close to their children. They talk. Some fathers formally interview each child, others do so informally, and others take occasion to regularly spend time alone with each child.

Every family has problems and challenges. But successful families try to work together toward solutions instead of resorting to criticism and contention. They pray for each other, discuss, and give encouragement. Occasionally these families fast together in support of one of the family members.

Successful families do things together: family projects, work, vacations, recreation, and reunions.

Successful parents have found that it is not easy to rear children in an environment polluted with evil. Therefore, they take deliberate steps to provide the best of wholesome influences. Moral principles are taught. Good books are made available and read. Television watching is controlled. Good and uplifting music is provided. But most importantly, the scriptures are read and discussed as a means to help develop spiritual-mindedness.

In successful Latter-day Saint homes, parents teach their children to understand faith in God, repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost. (See D&C 68:25.)

Family prayer is a consistent practice in these families.

This, then, is the tried and proven formula for rearing successful families. I commend the formula to you."

What blessings have you seen as you have used this formula in your family? What specific things have you done in your home to carry out this proven formula? How has your family been spiritually strengthened?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

TV, Television, the Tube, Flat Screen?

Well, whatever you call it at your house, a TV is a TV. It is a box filled with images and sound some good and some bad...a few weeks ago on Modern Molly Mormon, Military Molly wrote a post about TV. It got me is the bulk of my comment to her post with a few additions:

"It is so easy to get sucked into the tv. It is an easy and cheap (free if you don't have cable)babysitter. It is an easy and cheap way to sit back and relax. It is addicting. It is fun. It is an adult voice during the day of a stay-at-home mommy. It is definitely way too much a part of my life. Any kind of noise is way too much a part of my life.

Just today I realized that as soon as I jump in the car with my toddler the radio gets turned on and we don't talk. He sits in the back seat in silence and I sit in mine with a few words sung here and there. So as we were out and about running errands today I turned it off and we know in the way that a mommy and an almost two year old can. We pointed at things and noticed things along our way. He jabbered and jabbered.

As we kept driving I asked him a question, "Do you want to keep talking or do you want to listen to music?" Now my little boy loves music but he said, "Keep talking." So we continued on our radio-free adventure and enjoyed each other. It was a great teaching moment. Not from me as the parent to my son but from my toddler to his Mommy who needed to be taught.

Finally I wanted to share the quote that we have on top of our tv. It is a great reminder to only watch programs that are good influences so that we don't allow the bad or the temptations of the world to entertain us:

"If we entertain temptations, soon they begin entertaining us!"
~Elder Neal A. Maxwell

What a great challenge it would be to turn our tvs off and be more in the here and now rather than sucked into some fantasy world that is, more often than not, of the world."

Her post was great and the conversation that followed in the comments was great as well (If you would like to read her post, click on the link at the top of this post).

One of the quotes she shares in her post is so powerful and so I wanted to share it here:

“Again I say, leave it alone. Turn it off, walk away from it, burn it, erase it, destroy it. I know it is hard counsel we give when we say movies that are R-rated, and many with PG-13 ratings, are produced by satanic influences. Our standards should not be dictated by the rating system. I repeat, because of what they really represent, these types of movies, music, tapes, etc. serve the purposes of the author of all darkness.”
-Elder H. Burke Peterson

What a bold statement that a lot of the media out there is "produced by satanic influences" and "serve the purposes of the author of all darkness". It is scary to think that we often are allowing satan to be our entertainer. We are allowing him to keep us company, to make us laugh, and to fill our minds with his filth. We must be so careful to not allow the rating system to determine our standards but allow our conscience and our personal standards to do so.

In the For the Strength of Youth Pamphlet it outlines what our standard concerning media should be:

"Whatever you read, listen to, or look at has an effect on you. Therefore, choose only entertainment and media that uplift you...Do not attend, view, or participate in entertainment that is vulgar, immoral, violent, or pornographic in any way. Do not participate in entertainment that in any way presents immorality or violent behavior as acceptable."

What a perfect reminder of what our standard should be.

Here are a few other great talks about the effects and the influence of tv in our homes:

M. Russell Ballard, “The Effects of Television,” Ensign, May 1989, 78 - In this talk Elder Ballard shares alarming findings from research studies of the effects of watching more than two hours of tv a day and the significant changes that would take place if the time spent watching tv was less than two hours daily. It is very interesting and eye-opening.

Controlling the Media’s Influence in Your Home - This is a great article found in the Liahona that shares a list of questions you may want to ask yourselves and/or your children about your television habits.

I am as guilty or more so than most of you. So I challenge you and I to turn off our TVs and do something of greater worth and value. I challenge us to find more worthwhile things to fill our time with and to fill our children's time with. I also challenge us to notice the types of shows we are watching and determine if they truly are uplifting us or not.

Finally, I challenge us to change this stat within the walls of our homes:
"American children and adolescents spend 22 to 28 hours per week viewing television, more than any other activity except sleeping. By the age of 70 they will have spent 7 to 10 years of their lives watching TV."-- The Kaiser Family Foundation

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

One of the Most Significant Gifts Given to the World in Modern Times

"The gift I am thinking of is more important than any of the inventions and technological revolutions. This is a gift of greater value to mankind than even the many wonderful advances we have seen in modern medicine. It is of greater worth to mankind than the development of flight or space travel. I speak of the gift of the Book of Mormon."
-President Ezra Taft Benson

I had heard of this talk by President Benson but I don't think I had ever read it prior to a few nights ago. The Keystone of Our Religion is a powerful testimony of the Book of Mormon. It shares the words of the Lord about the Book of Mormon. It shares the significants of the timing of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. But most importantly it shares with all of us the importance of the Book of Mormon to each of us and why we should make the studying of it a bigger priority in our lives.

This is a longer post than normal but I urge you to read on. As I read this talk my testimony of the Book of Mormon was strengthened and I felt a greater desire to make it a keystone of my life. Below I took a portion of President Benson's talk to share with you but if you would like to read the whole talk you can click on the link in the previous paragraph.

"There are three great reasons why Latter-day Saints should make the study of the Book of Mormon a lifetime pursuit.
The first is that the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion
There are three ways in which the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion. It is the keystone in our witness of Christ. It is the keystone of our doctrine. It is the keystone of testimony.

The Book of Mormon is the keystone in our witness of Jesus Christ, who is Himself the cornerstone of everything we do. It bears witness of His reality with power and clarity.

The Book of Mormon is also the keystone of the doctrine of the resurrection. As mentioned before, the Lord Himself has stated that the Book of Mormon contains the “fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” (D&C 20:9.) That does not mean it contains every teaching, every doctrine ever revealed. Rather, it means that in the Book of Mormon we will find the fulness of those doctrines required for our salvation.

Finally, the Book of Mormon is the keystone of testimony. Just as the arch crumbles if the keystone is removed, so does all the Church stand or fall with the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. The enemies of the Church understand this clearly. This is why they go to such great lengths to try to disprove the Book of Mormon, for if it can be discredited, the Prophet Joseph Smith goes with it. So does our claim to priesthood keys, and revelation, and the restored Church. But in like manner, if the Book of Mormon be true—and millions have now testified that they have the witness of the Spirit that it is indeed true—then one must accept the claims of the Restoration and all that accompanies it.
The second great reason why we must make the Book of Mormon a center focus of study is that it was written for our day.

Each of the major writers of the Book of Mormon testified that he wrote for future generations... they saw our day, and chose those things which would be of greatest worth to us, is not that how we should study the Book of Mormon? We should constantly ask ourselves, “Why did the Lord inspire Mormon (or Moroni or Alma) to include that in his record? What lesson can I learn from that to help me live in this day and age?”

The third reason that the Book of Mormon is of such value to Latter-day Saints is given in the same statement by the Prophet Joseph Smith cited previously. He said, “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.” (Introduction to the Book of Mormon.) That is the third reason for studying the book. It helps us draw nearer to God. Is there not something deep in our hearts that longs to draw nearer to God, to be more like Him in our daily walk, to feel His presence with us constantly? If so, then the Book of Mormon will help us do so more than any other book.

The Power and Blessings of the Book of Mormon

"It is not just that the Book of Mormon teaches us truth, though it indeed does that. It is not just that the Book of Mormon bears testimony of Christ, though it indeed does that, too. But there is something more. There is a power in the book which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book. You will find greater power to resist temptation. You will find the power to avoid deception. You will find the power to stay on the strait and narrow path. The scriptures are called “the words of life” (D&C 84:85), and nowhere is that more true than it is of the Book of Mormon. When you begin to hunger and thirst after those words, you will find life in greater and greater abundance."

I love his thoughts and testimony of the Book of Mormon. I love his desire to distill in us the significants and value of that great book. I love his testimony of the power that the Book of Mormon contains.

If you have not yet read the Book of Mormon or if your testimony is wavering I urge you to take Moroni's Challenge (Moroni 10:3-5):

3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things (the Book of Mormon), if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.

4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.

My Testimony of the Book of Mormon:

I have a testimony of the Book of Mormon. I know that it is the Word of God. I know that Joseph Smith did see God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. I know that he translated the plates and brought forth the Book of Mormon in our day. I know that the Book of Mormon is Another Testament of Jesus Christ and that if we read it we can become more Christ-like and draw nearer to our Heavenly Father.

I know that I have received answers to prayers while reading the Book of Mormon. I know that I have found peace in the words of the Book of Mormon. I know that I am happier when I make my studies of the Book of Mormon a greater priority in my life. The Book of Mormon is true. Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. Jesus Christ is our Savior and Examplar.

I testify of these things and like President Benson my hope is "that the Book of Mormon may become the keystone of our lives."

To read the Book of Mormon online click HERE.
To receive a free copy of the Book of Mormon click HERE.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Mormonad Homefront Commercials

I found these videos yesterday at on their page called Today in the Bloggernacle. They are entertaining, funny, and send a good message about spending time together as a family. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

Love...[is] a lack of personal selfishness. (Ensign, May 1979, p. 72.)
- Elder Theodore M. Burton

Love is like the Polar Star. In a changing world, it is a constant. It is of the very essence of the gospel. It is the security of the home. It is the safeguard of community life. It is a beacon of hope in a world of distress. (Ensign, May 1989, p. 66.)
-President Gordon B. Hinckley

Someone has written, "Love is a verb." It requires doing-not just saying and thinking. The test is in what one does, how one acts, for love is conveyed in word and deed. (Ensign, November 1982, p. 12.)
-Elder David B. Haight

Friday, February 13, 2009

Are Mormons Christians?

I recent commenter on my blog named Brian Scott wrote a great post on his blog called What Matters titled Faith Friday: Are Mormons Christians?

If you are thinking about joining the LDS church or want to learn more about how we are Christians take a peek at his post.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

LDS Taboo

Have you ever played the game Taboo? Well, if you have or even if you haven't, you might enjoy this printable version of LDS Taboo. It could be a fun FHE activity or any night activity for that matter.

For example...this is how the game goes:
You need to make your team figure out that the word is Bishop.
"How do you get your team to say BISHOP?
You can’t say WARD, LEADER, CONDUCT, or FATHER. They’re Taboo— utterly unmentionable words!

Think fast, talk fast and don’t say a Taboo word or you’ll get called and lose a point!

You might say:

Check it looks like a lot of fun.

LDS Taboo

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mormon Messages on YouTube

I am sure many of you have already seen this on but for those who haven't the Church has started up an official channel on YouTube called Mormon Messages, "that is updated each week with teachings of our basic beliefs, stories of hope and inspiration, and more."

Here is just one of the videos that is available there. It depicts a story told by President Hinckley. I remember really enjoying this story when he shared it originally but this video really paints the picture of the story beautifully.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Scripture Valentines Activity

I found this idea off of by Linda Harper and thought it would be a fun Valentine's FHE idea or Scripture Study. It is simple but engaging. It sounds pretty fun.

"First I asked a trivia question: How many times does the word "heart" appear in all of our standard works. (1006 times) I had everyone make a guess and the one who came closest got a small bag of hearts. (By the way, the word "Love" appears 368 times).

Then I took several scriptures that had the word heart in them. I gave them the page numbers and told them to search that page for a scripture with the word heart. It was different chasing by page numbers. It really got them into the scriptures, reading to find "Heart." The first one that found it, read it and then I gave them a heart. Here are the scriptures I used, all from the New Testament:

Page 1227 - Matthew 22:37 - Love the Lord thy God with all thy Heart.
Page 1192 - Matthew 5:8 - Pure in heart
Page 1201 - Matt 9:4 - evil in your heart
Page 1208 - Matthew 12:34 - abundance of the heart
Page 1196 - Matthew 6:21 - there will your heart be also
Page 1277 - Luke 2:51 - all things in her heart
Page 1285 - Luke 6:45 - treasure of his heart.
Page 1307 - Luke 16:15 - God knoweth your heart.
Page 1352 - John 14:1 - Let not your heart be troubled
Page 1356 - John 16:22 - your heart shall rejoice
Page 1372 - Acts 4:32 - of one heart
Page 1427 - Romans 8:27 - searcheth the hearts
Page 1483 - Eph 3:17 - Christ dwelling in your heart
Page 1440 - 1 Cor 2:9 - Heart of man
Page 1545 - 1 Pet. 1:22 - a pure heart

I mixed these all up as we chased them. It was a fun about 10-15 minute activity."

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Value of Self-Esteem

I came across this great talk and couldn't resist posting it here. Self-Esteem seems to be such a universal problem and I thought we all could benefit from Elder Fausts great words. This was a CES Fireside given by Elder Faust in May of 2007, titled "The Value of Self-Esteem".

I will share a few excerpts here or you can click on the link above to read the talk in it's entirety:

"Tonight I would like to talk about self-esteem—what we think of ourselves, how we relate to what others think of us, and the value of what we accomplish...Self-esteem goes to the very heart of our personal growth and accomplishment. It is the glue that holds together our self-reliance, our self-control, our self-approval or disapproval and keeps all self-defense mechanisms secure. It is a protection against excessive self-deception, self-distrust, self-reproach, and plain old-fashioned selfishness."

He goes on to share Six Keys for Healthy Self-Esteem:

First: Keep Your Agency
This means that we must not surrender self-control nor yield to habits that bind, to addiction that enslaves, nor to conduct that destroys. To keep our agency we must avoid the deadly traps and pitfalls from which there may be no escape.

Second: Humility
I mean the humility that comes with inner strength and peace. It is the humility that allows us to accept and live with our own warts, without cosmetics to hide them.

Third: Honesty
Being true to one’s own self is the essence of honesty and a keystone of self-esteem.

Fourth: Love of Work
While there are those who are gifted, most of the world’s work and some of the greatest contributions come from ordinary people with a talent which they have developed.

Fifth: Ability to Love
The commandment given by the Savior was to love others and yourself.3 Am I secure enough in my love of myself to laugh at myself, to admit mistakes, to graciously accept a compliment? Am I secure in my love of others to smile and say hello to a perfect stranger?

Sixth: Love of God
The sixth and most essential key to self-esteem is the love of God. King Benjamin reminds us, “How knoweth a man the master whom he has not served . . . ?” (Mosiah 5:13). In Paul’s epistle to Titus he reminds us that there are many who “profess that they know God; but in works they deny him” (Titus 1:16).

Here is a portion of his closing remarks, "...Nobody is a nobody...I testify that God loves each of us—warts and all. I testify that he knows each of our names. I testify that each of us has a potential in this life and beyond the grave that exceeds our fondest dreams. I testify through the gifts of the Holy Spirit that we are engaged in His holy work."

I've always loved lists in talks. They help me to have a direct plan of how to acheive the objective hoped for, in this case better self-esteem. Along with these six keys one of my favorite lines was that "Nobody is a nobody." I think we all have moments when we forget that.

This talk also reminded me of a small portion from a talk given by President Benson called "Beware of Pride". He addresses a different side of pride that we don't often think of:

"The proud depend upon the world to tell them whether they have value or not. Their self-esteem is determined by where they are judged to be on the ladders of worldly success. They feel worthwhile as individuals if the numbers beneath them in achievement, talent, beauty, or intellect are large enough. Pride is ugly. It says, “If you succeed, I am a failure.”

If we love God, do His will, and fear His judgment more than men’s, we will have self-esteem."

What powerful messages from President Faust and President Benson. Let us strive to see our individual worth and let us strive to see the worth in others because "nobody is a nobody".

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Topical Family Scripture Study

Well, I've decided to try something different for family scripture study. Originally we started out going through the Book of Mormon from the beginning and selecting small (2-4 verses) passages to read each day. It was nice that it was not a lengthy read (especially because we are trying to engage our toddler) but I felt like by the time we finished a story it had kind of fallen apart. The story wasn't cohesive and we lost the whole point and the application that could've been grasped. So now we are into our second week of topical family scripture study. We'll see how long this lasts. We are trying to find something that works for all of us and so far (although we haven't gone far yet) I am liking this new way and I think my husband and little boy are as well.

The first topic we did was PRAYER. I just used the Topical Guide and found scriptures that I thought would fit and this is what our scripture study looked like (some of links don't display the printable properly. I am still trying to figure out how to post things that I create myself. Any tips would be much appreciated.):

PRAY ALWAYS - 2 Nephi 32:8-9
We colored, cut, and taped our prayer puppet together. We talked about what he was doing: folding his arms, closing his eyes, and bowing his head.

GIVE THANKS - Alma 45:1
I printed off a thought bubble and we brainstormed things that we can thank our Heavenly Father for and then we taped it on the wall as if the prayer puppet was praying about these things.

I printed off a question mark to represent us asking our Heavenly Father for things along with many things that we might ask for, e.g. peace, an answer, the Spirit, guidance, etc. and we taped them on the wall (I am sure you are noticing a trend with taping things on the wall but my little boy loves doing this).

PRAY FOR OTHERS - Alma 34:27
We got on the computer and looked at pictures of people we might pray for. We looked at anyone from grandparents, to President Monson, to President Obama.

Here we didn't really have a fun activity but my husband and I had more of a discussion. This is something that I struggle with. I may post a more in depth post some other time in hopes to get some ideas and helps from all of you.

NO VAIN REPITITIONS - 3 Nephi 13:7-8
We gave our little boy a pat on the back this night. We talked about how he does a good job saying thank you for so many different things and different people. I think a lot of children are so much better at this and we adults could take a lesson or two from them.

FAMILY PRAYER - 3 Nephi 18:21
After we read this we had our family prayer.

PERSONAL PRAYERS - 3 Nephi 13:5-6
We used a picture from the Gospel Art Kit and talked about how we say our own personal prayers in private. Then we put together puzzles of all different types of prayers and talked about them.

We read the one verse and then summarized the story while looking at a picture of Enos from the Gospel Art Kit.

There you have it...our first attempt at Topical Family Scripture Study. It was not flawless. It was not perfect. We are still figuring everything out. Some nights our toddler couldn't care less but I think that he grasps more about prayer now and so do I. I think that he actually gets what we were talking about at scripture time instead of us rambling off verses that had no connection to him yet. Prayer is something that he can relate to because it is concrete. It is something we do every day. So there is our start.

Here is our scripture poster and what it looked like throughout our prayer scripture block. To read my earlier posts on family scripture study click on this link - Family Scripture Study:

Do any of you have ideas for reading the scriptures topically or any scripture study ideas period? I'm sure we all can use some help in making our family scripture time more effective and enjoyable. Thanks!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Understanding the Divine Roles of Women

My last two posts have been about womanhood and motherhood and the trend continues. I've decided that each month I will write a post about the Visiting Teaching message and this month it just so happens to be about the divine roles of woman.

President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985):
“To be a righteous woman during the winding up scenes on this earth, before the second coming of our Savior, is an especially noble calling. The righteous woman’s strength and influence today can be tenfold what it might be in more tranquil times” (“Privileges and Responsibilities of Sisters,” Ensign, Nov. 1978, 103).

Our calling as women and mothers is a noble one. Sometimes it is easy to lose sight of that while in the midst of diapers, or dishes, or dating, or college, or work, or whatever our many roles entail. It is easy to forget that our influence and strength are seen and followed. But we are looked up to and watched. We are examples, good or bad.

The world is not in a state of tranquility but rather in many instances it is in a state of chaos. We are constantly bombarded by the views of the world. We are taught to seek out unnecessary worldly possessions. We are taught that we must look just so. We are taught that our role of being a mother is insignificant and unfulfilling. But if we come to understand our divine role as women all of these wordly views will fall away and our influence and strength will reach many.

Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“… Although there is simply not a more significant contribution you can make to society, to the Church, or to the eternal destiny of our Father’s children than what you will do as a mother or father, motherhood and fatherhood are not the only measures of goodness or of one’s acceptance before the Lord. …

Every sister in this Church who has made covenants with the Lord has a divine mandate to help save souls, to lead the women of the world, to strengthen the homes of Zion, and to build the kingdom of God” (“Women of Righteousness,” Liahona, Dec. 2002, 36, 39; Ensign, Apr. 2002, 68, 70).

We all are needed. We all are important. We all have different talents. We all are in different circumstances and stages in our lives. Some of us are mothers and some are not. Some of us are married and some are single. Some of us are old and some young. Some stay home and some need to work. Some of us are converts and some have been members all of our lives. Some of us have met many physical trials and some have met more mental or emotional trials. It does not matter which of these characteristics we each hold. The divine roles of women are many and must be filled by each of us from all walks of life. As Elder Ballard suggested our roles do not stop at the walls of our homes, although there they are most significant. Our roles can and should expand far beyond the walls of our homes to lift and lead the women of the world and to build up and spread the kingdom of God.

All of us as women are divine. We all have a noble calling. We all have a great role - EVERY sister in this Church has a divine calling to help others, to lead others, to strengthen others, and to build others whether it be in our own homes, in our schools, in our communities, in our wards, at our work-places, or in the homes of those we visit teach. We can influence and strengthen others. We all have something to offer. We all hold the noble and divine calling of Womanhood.

Let us strive for a greater understanding of the divine roles that we hold as women. Let us open our eyes to the impact and influence we can have in our homes and in the world. Let us remember that we are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us, and we love Him.