Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Young Women's Positive Influence on Priesthood Bearers

I couldn't resist posting this great quote from Sister Ardeth Kapp. She shares a list of ways this influence may be shown. I think all women, young and old, can take something from these questions and these thoughts:

“Young women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, [1] do the young men you associate with know that you have a standard of excellence from which you will not depart? [2] Do they know by what you say and do that you honor and respect your parents and that [3] you follow the counsel of the leaders of the Church? [4] Do they know you will delay dating until after you are 16 because a prophet of the Lord has given that direction? [5] By your actions do they know that you have made up your mind to be good and that you will not weaken? [6] Can they look to your friendship to gain confidence and respect for themselves? [7] Will your language, your dress, your choice of entertainment, music, books, and movies help the young men who associate with you develop admiration and respect for womanhood? As young men are exposed to the world’s distorted role of womanhood, [8] can they see in you the refinement and sweetness that encourage an attitude of reverence, respect, and honor for that sacred calling?

“Strange that I had not realized before, but it is not as a young woman encourages a young man to go on a mission that her greatest influence is felt. Rather it is through her actions as she reveals her commitment and testimony to the gospel of Jesus Christ and gives evidence through her power and influence in the advancement of good” (“By the Way She Is,” p. 13; numbers added).

What a great thought provoking quote to ponder ourselves and also to pass on to the young women in our lives.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

FHE Idea: Kites and Obedience


We have been wanting to go fly kites for a while now but the days we seem to think of it either it is too cold/rainy or there is absolutely no breeze. Well, yesterday I checked outside and there was a definite breeze so I thought it would be fun to fly kites for our FHE activity.

It was our little boys turn for lesson and so I wanted to find something that he would be really interested and involved in and I also thought it would be fun to have something related to kites. Then I remembered a story my Grandma once told in a talk several years ago. I didn't remember what lesson was taught by the story but I remembered that she had told a story about kite flying.

I got online and quickly found it. It is a simple and short story. It was perfect for our 2 year old.

The original story goes like this (However, I simplified a few parts to be more at my little boys level):
(Shared by Patricia P. Pinegar in a talk titled, "Peace, Hope, and Direction")

"I enjoyed telling them the story of the little boy who went to the park with his father to fly a kite.

The boy was very young. It was his first experience with kite flying. His father helped him, and after several attempts the kite was in the air. The boy ran and let out more string, and soon the kite was flying high. The little boy was so excited; the kite was beautiful. Eventually there was no more string left to allow the kite to go higher. The boy said to his father, “Daddy, let’s cut the string and let the kite go; I want to see it go higher and higher.”

His father said, “Son, the kite won’t go higher if we cut the string.”

“Yes, it will,” responded the little boy. “The string is holding the kite down; I can feel it.” The father handed a pocketknife to his son. The boy cut the string. In a matter of seconds the kite was out of control. It darted here and there and finally landed in a broken heap. That was difficult for the boy to understand. He felt certain the string was holding the kite down.
The commandments and laws of God are like the kite string. They lead us and guide us upward. Obedience to these laws gives us peace, hope, and direction."

To go along with the story I found simple clip art (shown above) for my little boy to stick on the wall at certain points in the story. I put numbers on the back of each picture along with some tape and when I hit the certain point in the story that it went along with I'd tell him which number to stick on the wall. He loved this.

He also helped with the preparations. He helped write the numbers on the back of the clip art and we practiced what the last piece of paper said on it, "obedience".

It worked out great. We have been talking about being obedient for the last little while. Earlier Monday morning he actually had pulled my hair and got in trouble. Without any prompt from me he said, "be obedient like Nephi". He loves Nephi and he knows that Nephi made good choices and was obedient. It was perfect! I can tell it is starting to set in a bit. The lesson was a great reinforcement to the morning's events.

After he taped the word obedience on the wall and proudly told Daddy and I what it said we talked about obedience a little. Then the transition to flying kites was perfect. After we had been talking about kites so much our little boy jumped up and said, "I want to fly kites." Little did he know, we were actually going to. I whipped out the Lightning McQueen kite that was perfectly hidden away and he was thrilled.

We then headed to the park for some fun kite flying. Similar to the little boy in the story and how he wanted to cut the string, our little boy kept letting go of the string and watching the kite fly out of control in the sky while we scrambled to catch the string that was running away from us. What a great lesson this truly teaches. If we cut ourselves from the commandments and laws of God or if we simply let go of them we lose the peace, hope, and direction they bring and our lives begin to spiral out of control.

We had a great FHE with a great lesson from a two year old. Let us strive to be obedient like Nephi and let us keep our strings attached as we are obedient to the commandments of God.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Children Are Not Timeless

What a great lesson my stake was taught in Stake Conference. I don't even really know how to put into words the feeling I felt in my heart and the desire I had to be a better mother.

One of the many thoughts that I had while listening to the talk was that "Children are not timeless." With my love of definitions I have pulled two definitions of the word timeless to explain these beginning thoughts:

1 - Children are not "unaffected by time"

One of the many things emphasized was that of spending time with our children. One line that so profoundly hit me was this (in my words), "Many of us spend the beginning years of our children's lives ignoring them. It is no surprise that when they become teenagers that they return the favor and begin ignoring us." We all chuckled, but isn't it so true?

Throughout this talk many of the early LDS commericials were shown. Doesn't this first video perfectly show the affect that time and attention truly have on our children?:

For now just watch the first video (Sorry, I couldn't find the commercials by themselves).




2 - Children are not "ageless or unchanging"

The idea that our two year old will only be two for so long was a reminder that needed to heard. Our children are not ageless. They are two once and they are fifteen once. I know that I often look forward to the next stage or phase when I should be enjoying the here and now.

Another idea mentioned was that our children are not unchanging; they are always changing. And I loved this idea: A 15 or 16 year old girl may be moody and it may be just a part of that age or stage and we shouldn't make a big deal out of it. Or our 2 year old may throw tantrums and it is just a part of that stage and we shouldn't make a big deal out of it.

Each age and stage brings something new and often we make it into something bigger than it is. Children are not ageless or unchanging. We need to let our children be in each stage and make changes and embrace it rather than try to hurry through it. I loved that.

Our Words

Now with all of that said, oh what a powerful message he gave of the importance of our words. He talked of the importance of our words all together but also of how respond to each child depending on their age or stage.

For example, your toddler tries to get himself his own bowl of cereal and dumps the whole box all over the table. How do you respond? Quickly. Harshly. Unkindly. Or do you think before you act or speak and try to understand what your toddler might have been thinking, "Mom, I was just trying to get breakfast all by myself. I was hungry and you were busy so I thought I'd try and then." This was such an "aha" moment for me. We need to notice intentions. We need to notice each individual and their age or stage. We need to guard our words.

Once again he played this great commercial for us which shows the great effect our words have on our children.

- Scroll forward in the video and watch from 3:53 to 4:56.





After watching that first video now watch the great reponse this mother has to her son because she thinks first of his age or stage and what is real intentions were. I am sure we all could learn from this.

- Now go back up to the video screen and scroll to the time - 5:30 and watch until 6:30

I don't think I did this talk justice but I hope that you even partially sensed the important nature and powerful message that this talk emitted. It was perspective changing.


I know that our roles as parents are eternal and divine in nature. I know that our children are Children of God. I love my little boy and I already love my little one on the way. They are precious, innocent, and Christ-like. But I sometimes need to be reminded of this. I think we all need to remind ourselves and remind ourselves often.

We indeed can learn from our children as we strive to be more like them. Just as Mosiah 3:19 says, "become as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father."

Let us remember the importance of time. Let us remember the importance of our words. Let us remember that we have much to learn from our children. Let us remember that our children are Children of God.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Too Good

A few weeks ago we had a great lesson in Relief Society from the manual titled, "Valiant in the Cause of Christ". The whole lesson was great but there was one line in particular that was read and discussed that stuck out to me. I'll share the line with you shortly, so read on.

Have you ever thought that there was such a thing as being too good? If you do not now, think back to the time when you were a teen...maybe you were the one who people thought was "too good" or maybe you looked at others and thought that the things they did were silly and that they were "too good". Or that they or you were a "Molly Mormon" or a "Peter Priesthood". I think that we all have been and thought in one or both of these perspectives at some point in our lives, whether now, when we were younger, or both.

"You Cannot Be Too Good."

The line that so profoundly struck me was this great declaration from the Prophet Joseph Smith, “You cannot be too good." The word 'too' means "to an excessive extent" or "more than should be". So basically he stated clearly that we can't be overly good. There comes no point when the good that we choose to do and the righteous choices we make become too much when kept in balance with the guidance of the Spirit.

Of course we can excessively engage in something that is good, for example, we could read our scriptures (a good thing) too much if it was taking us away from being good parents. (I don't think too many of us have that problem, but it is just an example :) So it is possible for us to over exert ourselves in one area causing us to neglect other important and good things.But with that said, I want to move away from the exceptions and focus more on the wonderful side of this statement - "You cannot be too good."

Commandments Can Be Made Personal

The Lord said, “And they shall also be crowned with blessings from above, yea, and with com­mandments not a few, and with revelations in their time—they that are faithful and diligent before me” (D&C 59:4, emphasis added).

The commandments that we have received from God are not few in number but we can dig deeper by seeking and then following the personal revelations that we each can receive. I believe that the Lord expects this of us as He said, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is Perfect” (Mat. 5:48)."

President Hartman Rector, Jr. Of the First Council of the Seventy said, "[Set] personal commandments... You should make up your own special and specific list of commandments. Such commandments would depend on your own past experience and your own particular weaknesses.

I love this idea of personal commandments. There are so many things within the Church that are left without specific and exact command. There are many things that are left to our own personal choosing and thus require us to set these "personal commandments" or boundaries for ourselves.

My Personal Story of a Personal Commandment

I hesitate to bring up this personal example but I feel it will better illustrate the blessing of seeking and following these personal promptings and setting commandments or guidelines for ourselves. I also think that it perfectly illustrates Satan's desire to make us think we are being "too good".

Now the reason I hesitate to share this story is because I don't want you to think that I think I am just great or too good but what I hope to convey is that personal commandments can uplift us and strengthen us especially in our own areas of weakness. I also want to convey that although we all know we have much to work on and are trying our best, Satan can squeeze his way in and try to make us feel that what we are choosing to do is "too good" or rather that we are going overboard and/or being silly.

So here is my story. Just after I graduated from High School my best friend and I set a goal for ourselves. We often sat in front of her house in my car and talked about all sorts of things from boys to spiritual matters. On this particular occasion we talked about movies. We talked specifically about PG-13 movies.

By the end of the conversation we both had resolved to not watch PG-13 movies anymore. There was more to it than just a simple conversation between two teenage girls, I felt the Spirit confirm to me that this is what I was to do. I have not watched a PG-13 movie since. This of course was a personal decision, not a commandment given directly or specifically from the Church. For me it was a matter of my own weaknesses, the feeling I had when I watched these movies, and lastly the realization that almost all, if not all, of these movies had at least that "one part" or that "one scene".

As I have followed this "personal prompting and commandment" I have received blessings, and of course some opposition. The blessings were of my weaknesses being made stronger, my sensitivity to violence, language, and sex greatly heightened, and an increased amount of self-control.

As our journey began with this new boundary it was difficult at times but not too hard because we were generally together and so we went through it together. After that Summer we both went our separate ways to college. At first it became a little tougher. I often had to warn dates of my decision and sometimes I was greeted with simply a surprised look and others a more direct questioning of my choice. At times I wondered by Satan's encouragement, if I was being silly or if I had gone overboard in my choice. But after more time passed it became easier to forgo watching these movies. It became more natural and if others were to find out about my choice there reactions began to not matter so much to me. There now have even been instances where the material displayed in PG movies becomes offensive or hard for me to watch. The making and keeping of this personal goal or commandment has been a great blessing in my life.

Testimony

I know that what Joseph Smith said is true. "[We] cannot be too good." We can always be better. We can set personal commandments for ourselves. We can make personal decisions with the guidance of the Spirit which will strengthen our weaknesses and help us become better, not too good, but better.

I know that Satan will try to convince us otherwise. He will try to make us uncomfortable. He will try to make us feel silly or even weird. But I know that as we follow the commandments of the Lord and as we listen to the promptings of the Spirit and make choices in our lives accordingly we will be strengthened, we will become more sensitive to the Spirit, and we will gain greater self-control in our lives. I know that as we do these things we will draw closer to reaching this commandment given from the Lord, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is Perfect” (Mat. 5:48)." We will never be too good but we can become better as we strive to be more like our Father in Heaven and our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Pictures Courtesy of LDS.org

Monday, April 20, 2009

General Conference Highlight Video - April 2009

If you didn't have a chance to watch all of Conference, if you didn't watch it at all, or even if you watched every minute this is great video created by the Church filled with a little highlights of each talk.

To download and watch this video and many more you can visit the video page on LDS.org.


video

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Miracle of the Holy Bible

8th Article of Faith:
"We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God."

Enjoy this wonderful video of "The Miracle of the Bible"


To receive a FREE copy of the Book of Mormon or the Bible among many other DVDs and booklets vist Mormon.org.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Suggestions?

So I need your help...I need your help in the form of comments on this post. I am just reflecting on where this blog is right now and where I would like it to be. I am still not sure about the latter. I don't know where exactly I would like it to be and that is where you come in.

I would love to hear your suggestions of what types of posts you would like to see, what you would like to see more of, and what you think would make my blog easier to use or navigate.

I receive several searches each month like: "becoming a mormon", "the process of becoming LDS", and "joining the LDS church". I want to make sure that I can guide these individuals in the right direction.

I would love suggestions both from or for members and seekers alike.

Please comment with your suggestions, ideas, or concerns. Or if you would feel more comfortable you can email me at becominglds@yahoo.com Thanks so much!

Monday, April 13, 2009

General Conference On-line Book Club


Well, I just had to make a post about this here. Over at Diapers and Divinity, Stephanie has created a Book Club specifically for reading the General Conference talks. Isn't this such a great idea?!? Well, I love the motivation this gives to read each talk and also to learn from what others are discovering from their studies.

Each Sunday Stephanie will post what the new talk is and then you have the whole week to read it and come back to her post, share your thoughts, and read others. You can click on the picture above to read more details. I will also put the button on the side so that the link is always available for future reference.

This week the talk that was chosen is Elder Holland's talk entitled "None Were with Him". What a great talk for the week of Easter. To read her post titled, "General Conference Book Club Week 1: Elder Holland" click HERE.

To watch the video that was created of portions of Elder Holland's talk click HERE.

I hope everyone runs over to join the fun!

Scripture Mastery Activities


I just discovered this wonderful resource on the New Era page of LDS.org. It actually originates from the Seminary page. It is a slew of activities and tools to help us Find, Understand & Apply, and Memorize the scripture mastery verses.

To visit this Scripture Mastery Page click HERE.

This is such a great tool for our seminary aged children, but hey why not our younger children or even us. I once knew them all, maybe not all at the same time, but at one point or another I knew each of these verses but they sure have slipped my mind. I think I have a new goal. I hope you and your family will enjoy this great resource.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles


I thought this would be a perfect message to read today. It is the Apostle's testimony of Jesus Christ. You may click on the picture above to enlarge it or click on this link for the original version. You may also enjoy visiting JesusChrist.lds.org to read more or to learn more about Jesus Christ.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

First Presidency Easter Message

Yesterday the First Presidency issued this Easter message:

"At this Easter season of hope and renewal we testify of the glorious reality of the atonement and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. The empty tomb brought comforting assurance and provided the answer to the question of Job, “If a man die, shall he live again?” (Job 14:14).

Because of the Savior’s resurrection we will overcome death and become the beneficiaries of His mercy and grace. In a world of trouble and uncertainty, His peace fills our hearts and eases our minds. Jesus is in very deed “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).

We give our sure witness that Jesus is the Christ. Though He was crucified, He rose triumphant from the tomb to our everlasting blessing and benefit. To each member of the human family He stands as our Advocate, our Savior, and our Friend.

An Apostle's Easter Thoughts on Christ: None Were with Him

I loved Elder Holland's powerful thoughts this Conference and so I was thrilled to find out that a video had been created of a portion of his talk and was posted on Mormon Messages. This would be a good video to sit down and watch with your family on Easter day or even for FHE on Monday. If you missed his talk or even if you didn't, I urge you to read the entire talk HERE (All of the Conference talks are now available in English).

This Easter season let us remember what our Savior has down for us. Let us remember that He understands the things we go through and that He knows us personally. Let us remember that He lives.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Easter Centered on Christ

Many of you have probably seen this in the Friend but for those who haven't there is a wonderful page titled, "An Easter Testimony". It shares 7 events, along with the scriptures where they can be found, from Christ instituting the Sacrament to Christ appearing to His apostles after his resurrection.
We are in the process of reading the scriptures throughout this week and I plan to then cut out each picture and put them in eggs this weekend. My little boy will go on a little hunt to find the eggs and then we will put them in order of when they happened and discover the secret message.

I love that the Friend makes it so simple to know how to make Holidays centered where the should be, on the Savior.

There are so many other wonderful ideas online. Check out Sugardoodle's Easter page for more ideas centered on Christ.

What are you doing to celebrate the true meaning and purpose of Easter?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A New Apostle and A New Apostle Song




"Elder Neil Linden Andersen was named an apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on 4 April 2009."



Here are a few highlights from his biography:
  • He was named a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy in April 1993, at age 41.

  • He speaks French, Portuguese and Spanish in addition to his native English.

  • Elder Andersen served as a mission president in the France Bordeaux Mission and as president of the Tampa Florida Stake.

  • Elder Andersen was born in Logan, Utah, and raised in Pocatello, Idaho, on a dairy farm where he remembers doing "typical Idaho farm work, from morning to night.”

  • In high school, he excelled in student government, serving as governor of Idaho Boys State.

  • He graduated from Brigham Young University, where he was a presidential scholar, and earned a masters of business administration from Harvard University.

  • Elder Andersen and his wife, Kathy Williams Andersen, are the parents of four children and 12 grandchildren.

    To learn more about Elder Neil L. Andersen you can read his entire Biography in the LDS Newsroom.

Now enjoy the new version of the Apostle Song with Elder Andersen officially added.





The Apostle Cards by Melanie Day have also been updated to include Elder Andersen.

Brief, Out-of-Context, Conference Thoughts

So, as many of you know I like words, especially their specific definitions. Well, I also tend to pull small phrases from scriptures that really stick out to me and in this case I pulled small phrases or words that stuck out to me from Conference. After I pull them out I like to disect them or ponder them further. Many of the things I pulled from Conference and the thoughts I had about them are totally aside from the context in which they were intended but they taught me in my own little way.

The first thought came from the very first talk of Conference, by Elder Hales. He talked about Debt and Addiction but what I pulled out was a two word phrase, "BREAK CYCLES". Now obviously there are cycles to break when it comes to debt and addiction but it struck me in slightly more of a daily routine kind of way.

We all get stuck in these cycles (a series of occurrences that repeats or is repeated). Now some cycles might be more serious and even sinful but my thoughts turned to the cycles of everyday life. Here is an example of the kind of cycles I am talking about: I wait to the laundry until I have to or else there will be no fresh underwear the next day. Then when I do it, it either sits in the dryer or in a basket for hours or even days. Then the items that need to be hung up are draped across my bed. Bedtime eventually rolls around and I am tired and the unhung clothes get set aside to be hung up "the next day" (on a good day) or maybe a day or two later. Now this is only one of my many bad habits or cycles that if done promptly would relieve me of a lot of stress because our home would be much more orderly.

I have yet to sit down and think of all of the cycles that I have created that could use breaking but I am grateful for this thought to find the unwanted cycles or repeated occurrences in my life and stop them by creating positive and helpful cycles.

My next mini-thought comes from Elder Pearson's talk in the Saturday Afternoon Session. This thought is only one word, "FOCUS". To focus means to concentrate attention or energy on a central point of interest.

I think that our world and our lives are so full of distractions that we lose sight of where our attention and energy should be placed. I know that I do. So I love that word. What a simple directive, focus. I think one of the most important things is to know what our focus is. We may know what our overall focus is but what about having a daily focus. Do we just haphazardly go about our days and waist away time and energy on unimportant things of little value?

I've realized that my lens could use some tweaking to become more focused on the more important things and blurry and even unrecognizable in other unimportant, distracting things.

My last thought is from the Sunday Morning Session and comes from a talk by Sister Thompson. This line fits perfectly with my previous two thoughts, "BE FIXED IN YOUR PURPOSE." This phrase is pulled from the Hymn, "The Time is Far Spent". The verse goes like this:

Be fixed in your purpose, for Satan will try you;
The weight of your calling he perfectly knows.
Your path may be thorny, but Jesus is nigh you;
His arm is sufficient, tho demons oppose.
His arm is sufficient, tho demons oppose.

Once again we must know where our focus should lie. We must know what our purpose is, to be fixed in it. As I have been writing I have had the thought that I might try and that is to write a personal mission statement or a personal purpose or focus.

Just as the verse of this song says I know that Satan will try us but I also know that has we break bad cycles, focus on what is most important, and are fixed in our divine purpose, Jesus is nigh and His arm is sufficient.

These are the simple phrases I pulled out of Conference and that I hope to learn from. I challenge us all to learn from the words of Conference and to make changes as the result of them. And as I have learned, let us "break cycles", have "focus", and "be fixed in [our] purpose".

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

General Conference in a Nutshell

Well, Scripture Mom created simple and small reports on each talk and I thought you all might enjoy them. I'll leave links below and sometime soon I will be writing about some of my thoughts and feelings after this wonderful conference.

Saturday Morning Session

Saturday Afternoon Session

Priesthood Session

Sunday Morning Session

Sunday Afternoon Session

Thanks Scripture Mom!!!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Where and When to Watch LDS General Conference

The 179th Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be held on Saturday and Sunday, April 4-5, 2009. General sessions will be held at 10:00 am and 2:00 pm (MST) each day with a session specifically for Priesthood holders on Saturday night at 6:00 pm. Speakers throughout the Conference will include the First Presidency and other General Authorities and general officers of the Church.


The General Sessions will be played live on KSL channel 5. Conference may also be seen online in several different languages including English, Portugese, Spanish, American Sign Language, and French. In addition, there are many, many more languages that you can listen to Conference in. You can also watch Conference in American Sign Language on KSL digital channel 5.3.

To read my post that includes activities for your children to do during Conference click HERE. To watch the New Apostle Song and get your children ready to add a new Apostle click HERE.

I hope everyone enjoys Conference.