Thursday, December 30, 2010

More in 2011!

I can't believe that 2010 is nearing an end.  I swear it took me half of the year to get used to writing 2010 or 10 and now it is time to switch gears yet again.  Time seems to go faster every year and get a little crazier. This was my first full year with two munchkins to keep track of and very little free Mommy time during the day.  This was my first year of being a crazy coupon lady.  This was the year of my first experience taking family members to the hospital and dentist for "surgeries".  It has been a good year, a learning year, a growing year.  Now with a new year beginning and more crazy adventures awaiting I have been thinking a lot about change. Changes I want to make. New ideas.  Old ideas revamped.  More motivation.  Broken down itty-bitty goals that lead to meeting the overall goal.  Yes, I really want to RESOLVE to make several needed changes.

In our world of "MORE".  In our world of people who are constantly seeking for more money, more things, more toys, more individual pleasure, more worldliness, I hope I can spend this year seeking for more of the things of the kingdom of God.  Here are a few of the mores that I hope to  improve on:

- More prepared Family Home Evenings.
- More involved and prepared Family Scripture Study.
- More balance in my life.
- More time spent with loved ones.
- More appreciation, love, and affection given to loved ones.
- a More organized and clean home.
- More patience.
- More focus on healthy living.

I love the Hymn, "More Holiness Give Me".  What a great reminder of the things we should be seeking after,  The things we should be striving to make apart of our lives.  Let us all seek for MORE of the things that truly matter this coming year.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Morning Devotional: Saved By the Bell Style

So lately we've started a new little routine in the mornings.  It is quite simple really.  We sing a few songs, usually one non-churchy song which has lately been the "ABCs" or a classic from a few years back, maybe some of you will recognize it, "B--B-B--B-B-B! B--B-B--B-B-B - GO BAYSIDE!"  I know it is silly, but you gotta love it! One day my husband randomly sang it and both of our kids loved it, sometimes it even ends up being added into the mix at FHE. Our 14 month old will even say "B-B-B" in a little bit of a rhythm.  We usually end in saying Baby for our daughter, instead of Bayside, and then proceed to do the letters of all of our names and end with our last name.  Then after our more up tempo song we do one or two church songs which has lately been "I am a Child of God" or a random song listened to on one of our Primary CDs.

After our silly and peaceful singing we each say our individual prayers.  Then following this I started out having our son read a verse of scripture but have recently turned to reciting an Article of Faith.  After a little over a week our 3 year old has the 1st Article of Faith down and we are about to move on.  It is fun to see him get so excited about getting it.

It has been a great addition to our day and especially a great way to start our day.  It helps us to stop and remember what is most important and reminds us to always start the day off with a prayer and with happy family moments, even if it does mean bringing back Zack Morris and the gang.  :)

What does your family do to start the day off right? 

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Gift for Jesus: What Will You Give?

Every year, since I can remember, my family has had the tradition of writing down a gift we each individually want to give Jesus for the year.  Sometimes we have done this in conjuction with Christmas and other years we have done this on or around April 6th but we have always done it.  So when I saw this cute page in the December "Friend" it reminded me of years past and the gifts I sometimes succeeded in giving Christ and others that I had to write down a few years in row. I loved the gifts they suggested, a few of them include: a hello to include, a testimony to share, and a smile to cheer. 
 
So I have been thinking about what my gift will be this next year.  There are so many things I can do better at.  There are so many things I should give. 

A few weeks back I gave the lesson in Relief Society on spiritual gifts and learned a few things.  Among the so many blessings that we receive from the Lord we also receive wonderful spiritual gifts.  This year I will give Jesus a gift, hopefully more than one, but I am first going to be asking for a gift from Him:

President George Q. Cannon said, “If any of us are imperfect, it is our duty to pray for the gift that will make us perfect. Have I imperfections? I am full of them. What is my duty? To pray to God to give me the gifts that will correct these imperfections.… No man ought to say, ‘Oh, I cannot help this; it is my nature.’ He is not justified in it, for the reason that God has promised to give strength to correct these things, and to give gifts that will eradicate them. If a man lack wisdom, it is his duty to ask God for wisdom. The same with everything else. That is the design of God concerning His Church. He wants His Saints to be perfected in the truth. For this purpose He gives these gifts, and bestows them upon those who seek after them, in order that they may be a perfect people upon the face of the earth” (Millennial Star, 23 Apr. 1894, 260).

This year that is just what I plan to do.  I will first ask for the gifts that I feel I need in my life and in return my hope is that I will give all of my efforts in developing and seeking these gifts and that, in return, will be my gift to Jesus this year.

What Will You Give This Year?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Baby Jesus Makes Me Feel Happy

I have had a post on my mind for a while now but know it will take some time to get all of my thoughts out and organized and time has been lacking so I thought it was time that I atleast get something posted and switch gears from Thanksgiving to Christmas. 
The title of this post is one of my favorite lines that comes from a sweet little girl in this Mormon Message. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Scattergories: Acknowledging the Little Things

In a previous post, "What Are You Thankful For?" an anonymous commenter left this fun idea:

"One game that I've played with Primay and Youth Groups is similar to a popular game.

Write every letter of the alphabet on the left hand side of a piece of paper (one piece of paper for wach person). Then set a time limit and have everyone write something they are grateful for that starts with that letter (A = atonement, apples, aunts, etc.).

The goal is to write something that no one else will write. Then when time is up, go around the room and start reading your list (if you have a big group, choose a letter out of a hat and just do those). You get points for each "Unique" answer. It's amazing what kind of answers you get."

What a great idea that would be fun with children, teenagers, and adults this week or even on Thanksgiving Day.  The thing I like about it most is that because you are trying to think of "unique" answers it will help those who are playing to recognize all of the little things that sometimes go unnoticed.

Just yesterday my son and I were throwing a ball back and forth sharing things that we are thankful for.  He said many different things like, my family, my cousins, garbage trucks, my toys.  You know the kinds of things that a 3 year old might say but then he said, "I'm thankful that my Mommy plays games with me." I just about melted my heart and I could tell that he had really thought about it.  Also among the mix I added my gratitude for diapers and he laughed and laughed. I am grateful for diapers.  And I am really grateful for laughter, especially the laughter of children. I think this game of Thanksgiving Scattergories could be a good addition to this special week of remembering all of the little things (and big) that we are so grateful for.

This video is a great reminder of all the wonderful and beautiful things that surround us that sometimes go unnoticed:



Even though I already made a similar list I thought I'd make a quick list from A-Z of things that I am grateful for (feel free to add a comment with your list):

A - Answers
B - Bandaids
C - Cheese
D - Dancing
E - Elevators
F - Fingers
G - Garages (Don't currently have one but will be grateful when we do.)
H - Handsome Husband
I - Insects
J - Joy
K - Kisses
L - Lunch
M - Matches
N - Noise
O - Onions
P - Paper
Q - Quiet
R - Red
S - Sunny Days
T - Tubs
U - Upper Teeth
V - Vegetables
W - Walks
X - Xylophones
Y - Youth
Z - Zippers'

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Cluttered

I have been bombarded lately by a clutter induced funk.  I say lately, because it has seeped into my soul and started to really, really nip at me lately BUT it truly has been a life-long struggle.  The other day I started to say to my husband that I was in a clutter funk and then I went to put a time line for how long this has been going on and then I almost put an actual time on it like a few weeks or a few months and then without much thought the truth came out my mouth, "I have been in a clutter funk (pause) for well, my whole life."  Yikes!  The reality struck as I truly acknowledged that this has been a never ending cycle. 

In some areas of my life I can be so organized and on top of things and then there is "the clutter".  Some of the clutter is simply papers that I am not sure what to do with.  Some of it is a pile of clothes left to be hung in the closet.  Some of it is hidden behind closet doors or bathroom drawers but it is there.  Some of it is things that have been started that came to abrupt halts and were left to be finished at a later time. 

Always, without fail I hit a more severe funk and determine, "That is IT!  It will never get this bad again."  And then, once again, without fail it begins again.  Some of it results from laziness.  Some of it results from too much stuff in too little of a space.  Some of it results from children who add to the mess and then give me a hard time when I try to clear up the clutter.  Some of it results because of having a husband gone several nights a week and dishes get left in the sink  (once again after dinner has been made the children are ready for there Mommy, not ready for a Mommy to be in the kitchen even longer).

Now I am not saying that my entire house is always a complete tornado of a mess but more often than not I feel behind, overwhelmed, and quite simply stressed by the task that lies ahead of me. This weekend I was determined to get some things done and told my husband that the kids would be his for a while and I was going to work, work, work.  And after several hours of working I feel like a very small dent was made.  Far less than my expectations had demanded. 

And there my friends is half of the problem I presume...EXPECTATIONS.  I see other's houses looking pristine, emaculate, and well quite near perfect and wonder what I am doing wrong, what is the matter with me, or how do they do it?  And then I place an expectation of what our home should look like and the guilt and frustration just pile on.  The last thing someone who has a pile filled house needs is a pile of frustration and guilt to add to the top of it all.  *Sigh*

When I started this post I was merely venting my feelings with no real direction or end in mind and then I found THIS...a much needed read.

Here is a small glimpse of Stephanie's words at Diapers and Divinity:

"I don’t think we’re supposed to have a clean house. I think we’re supposed to WANT a clean house and work toward it.  This phrase from April’s General Conference about Mary and Martha’s house fit in perfectly with my philosophy on this:
“It was a welcome place for the Master, where He could rest and enjoy the surroundings of a righteous home.” ~ Elder Gregory A. Schwitzer"
Her words gave me relief and comfort.  I still have some issues to work on but I think more importantly I will work on my expectations and spending quality time with my little ones.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What Are YOU Thankful For?

Today, my son and I created turkeys out of pumpkins. At first we were going to name them. Mine was going to be Gretchen and we hadn't decided on a name for his Turkey yet. But then we changed our minds. My son agreed and we determined together that they would say, "Happy Thanksgiving" and "What are YOU Thankful For?" It reminded me of this video from last Thanksgiving. Enjoy!



Here are 25 things that I'm thankful for (in no particular order):
  1.  laughter
  2. sunshine
  3. hugs
  4. children
  5. family
  6. fall smells
  7. sleep
  8. my honey
  9. my membership in the Church
  10. Saturdays
  11. gardens
  12. a house
  13. cars
  14. walks
  15. potato bugs
  16. the first snow
  17. time
  18. my testimony
  19. Jesus Christ
  20. health
  21. technology
  22. the Gift of the Holy Ghost
  23. loving parents
  24. music
  25. a quiet house
What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Intentionally Keeping Our Families Afloat

I was asked to speak this last Sunday about families. It was such a broad topic that I felt I had so many directions I could go but very quickly came thoughts that stemmed from a previous post that I wrote and a post that Stephanie at DiapersandDivinity wrote. So if you read either of those posts than you will recognize some similarities. The thoughts from both are intertwined and expounded upon.

I was only able to give a small portion of my talk (it was a mission farewell and time was lacking) and so I thought that I'd share my talk here for you all to read. Sorry for the lack of pictures and for the length but I hope you'll read on and enjoy!

First, take a look at this video and notice the paranoia of this Dad. 





Yes, he might seem quite paranoid and over the top but it is very apparent that he had very intentionally decked his kids out in these floaties to "keep them safe".

In contrast a several months back I was talking to a mom who is not currently active in the Church who has a teenage son who had been struggling.  She made this statement to me, "I'm just holding my breath and hoping that everything turns out okay."

Because I had already been thinking about these things I immediately pictured her holding her breath under water trying to keep her son afloat and I realized that they were taking quite a risk. She can only hold her breath for so long and he doesn't have any floaties.

Do we sometimes find our families in this situation? Do we find ourselves treading water or that we constantly need to jump in after a child to rescue them?  Or that we are holding our breath trying to keep them afloat?
Or have we equipped our families with plenty of floating devices so that we can swim right along side each other without too much concern?

On the Mormon.org family page it says, "A loving and happy (and I add a righteous) family doesn’t happen by accident."

Sister Beck adds her voice on this topic by saying, "We have the responsibility and the challenge from the prophet to believe deeply and actively in the family. We will need to do that in order to preserve our families. That means we have to be intentional about everything we do.

 I have come up with 10 Spiritual Floaties that We Must Intentionally Equip Our Families With to Buoy Them High Above the Worldy Waters That Surround Us
1 – Be There – Elder Hales said, "Several years ago I was reading the newspaper when one of my young grandsons snuggled up to me. As I read, I was delighted to hear his sweet voice chattering on in the background. Imagine my surprise when, a few moments later, he pushed himself between me and the paper. Taking my face in his hands and pressing his nose up to mine, he asked, “Grandpa! Are you in there?”
Mother, Father, are you in there? Grandpa, Grandma, are you there? Being there means understanding the hearts of our youth and connecting with them. And connecting with them means not just conversing with them but doing things with them too."

Do you have "newspaper" that you need to put aside to spend more time with your family?  Children and Youth, are you there?  We all need to make an intentional effort to be there with our families.

2 – Meal Time – Elder Hales said, "When we sit down at the dinner table, is our whole family there? I remember as a young man asking permission to play baseball through dinnertime. “Just put my meal in the oven,” I said to my mother. She responded, “Robert, I really want you to take a break, come home, be with the family for dinner, and then you can go out and play baseball until dark.” She taught all of us that where family meals are concerned, it’s not the food but the family interaction that nourishes the soul."

3 – Express Love – Elder Bednar said, "We simply should sincerely and frequently express love. Brethren and sisters, when was the last time you took your eternal companion in your arms and said, “I love you”? Parents, when was the last time you sincerely expressed love to your children? Children, when was the last time you told your parents that you love them?"

4 – Bear Testimony – Elder Bednar said, "Within the walls of our own homes, we can and should bear pure testimony. Brethren and sisters, when was the last time you bore testimony to your eternal companion? Parents, when was the last time you declared your witness to your children about the things you know to be true? And children, when was the last time you shared your testimony with your parents and family?"

5 – FHE - President Faust said, "Regular participation in family home evening will develop increased personal worth, family unity, love for our fellow men, and trust in our Father in heaven. It is our promise that great blessings will come to all who conscientiously plan and hold weekly family home evenings.’ If we go forward with our family home evenings, our homes will be enriched and the gates of hell will not prevail against us”

6 – Family Scripture Study – Marion G. Romney said,  "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. … "

7 – Family Prayer - President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “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” (Ensign, Feb 1991, 2).

8 – Church Attendance – President Benson said, "May I now direct your attention to the importance of attending all of your Church meetings. Faithful attendance at Church meetings brings blessings you can receive in no other way. Attend your sacrament meeting every Sunday. Listen carefully to the messages. Pray for the spirit of understanding and testimony."

9 – Temple Attendance -
President Boyd K. Packer said, "No work is more of a protection to this church than temple work. No work is more spiritually refining. No work we do gives us more power. No work requires a higher standard of righteousness. Our labors in the temple cover us with a shield and a protection, both individually and as a people” (The Holy Temple, 265).

10 – Teach ValuesIf we want children who are respectful we must intentionally teach respect.  If we want children who are hard working we must teach them to work.  If we want children who are kind we must teach them to be kind.

If we don’t make an INTENTIONAL DECISION to do these things and then follow through with INTENTIONAL EFFORT then we may never equip our families with the necessary floaties, or we may initially give them the floaties but then fail to continually pump them up.

Satan Uses 4 Traps to Lure Us Into Wordly Waters Without Spiritual Floaties

1. We are at “ease in Zion” and think “All is well” (2 Nephi 28:24-25). We think things like, “We are doing just fine. We go to church. We’ve got the basic techniques down.”
2. We are confused by our worldly wisdom. How will doing the small and simple things even make a difference or make great things come to pass (Alma 37:6-7)? We think things like, “It won’t make a difference if we miss FHE this week or don’t hold family scripture study. Floaties are so small they barely do anything.”
3. We are simply slothful (lazy) or forgetful (Alma 37-41-42). We think things like, “I don’t want to get the kids up for scripture study. Let’s just watch TV instead of FHE. We forgot family prayer AGAIN. Where did I put those “floaties”? I don’t feel like putting them on right now.”
4. We meet opposition – President Hinckley said, "The family is under attack. All across the world families are falling apart." We may think things like, “They are so hard to keep pumped up.  Or our families floaties already have holes in them.”

Satan IS working to lure us out into the worldly waters without our floaties but if we are intentionally equipping our families with them are families will be buoyed high above the worldly waters that surround us and we will be able to swim along side each other and have a loving, happy, righteous, and safe family. But without an intentional decision followed by intentional action or effort then Satan may lure us into one of his traps.

 Sister Beck shares this wonderful story of her very intentional family that was definitely kept afloat:
"My mother was an older single and living and loving life. She was introduced to my father, who was a young bishop and a widower with three children. (They married soon after.) She had had a lot of great experiences. Now all of a sudden she was a mother to three beautiful children.

As she and Daddy were traveling along on their honeymoon, she wanted to talk about how they were going to proceed with this family. What are our goals? What is our family going to be like? How are we going to do things in our family? She started writing the answers and their goals, she said, on a paper sack. It was the only paper she had. As they were talking, they said, “What do we want for our children? Are our children going to be married in the temple? Yes, they are. Okay, if we want our children to be married in the temple, what kinds of things do we have to teach them in our home? Well, we will have to have scripture study.” So they wrote that down.“How about family prayer?” Daddy said. “We already have family prayer. That is our habit.” “How about going to church?” Going to church every week was on the list. They wrote down things such as manners. “Are we going to teach our children to be polite?” That was a challenge for some of us. They made a goal about who was going to serve a mission. They certainly wanted their sons to serve missions and their daughters to serve missions if they had a desire. They made goals about education, university education, and so on. But Dad said, “Well, I’m not going to pay for it.” So Mother said, “Okay, then we’ll teach them to work.” So they wrote “work” after that.

And they began to develop the culture of their family, which was a Latter-day Saint culture.They were preparing their family to make the covenants and receive the ordinances they needed to prepare them for eternal life, and they knew that there were things their family had to do every day. They started out with family prayer, family scripture study, family home evening, and preparing children. I am so grateful for parents who were intentional about preparing a family.They created a personalized family plan for our family."

I know that if we determine to create a family that is run very intentionally, just as Sister Beck's parents, we will be blessed.  We will be blessed to have a more unified family.  We will be blessed to have a more righteous family.  We will be blessed to be closer to the Lord.  We will prepare our families for eternal life by equipping our families with floaties everyday.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Waiting For Two Marshmallows



I am going to openly admit a weakness here; I am NOT the most patient person. President Benson said, "Patience is composure under stress" and this is the greatest area of my impatience. When I am stressed or tired, as sad as it is, patience with loved ones seems to be the first thing to go.

I like a quote by Jacob de Jager which says, "Patience is learning to hide your impatience."

What have you found that helps you to "HIDE" your impatience (especially with your children)?

What have you done to not simply hide impatience but to truly gain greater patience?
What helps you to wait to receive the second marshmallow?

Friday, October 22, 2010

What Does Your Baptism Mean To You?

The memory of my baptism day is foggy.  I was eight years old.  I don't remember how I felt when I came out of the water or how I felt the following days.  I don't remember who spoke or who came. As I have thought back I simply remember not knowing how to get into the font and opening up the bathroom door and then seeing my Dad motioning for me to enter the water.  Since that day my baptism has come to mean so much more to me. 

This Sunday I will be teaching the Gospel Principles lesson on Baptism and thus have been studying and reflecting on my baptism and the covenants that I have made. 


As I have been preparing I sang the words to, "When I Am Baptized" which goes like this:

1. I like to look for rainbows whenever there is rain
And ponder on the beauty of an earth made clean again.

2. I know when I am baptized my wrongs are washed away,
And I can be forgiven and improve myself each day.

Chorus

I want my life to be as clean as earth right after rain.
I want to be the best I can and live with God again.

Then a memory came back into my mind.  I remember this song being sung at my baptism and I remember the feeling I had.  I remember that I truly wanted to be good.

As I prepare to give this lesson I'd love to hear "WHAT YOUR BAPTISM MEANS TO YOU"?
(I will share my answer to this question in the comments in a day or two.)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Learn More About Church Leaders

I just found this link on lds.org.  You can see pictures of all of the General Authorities and General Auxiliaries and if you click on them you can read their biography and have access to some of their most recent articles, addresses, and speeches.  What a great way to get to know our leaders.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Temples: A Great Source of Light and Direction



I recently received an email from my Grandpa with a link to this great slide show and thought I'd share it with all of you. I think it comes a great time to go along with the special issue of the Ensign about Temples. To read more about temples from the Ensign magazine online click HERE and then click on the October issue.

To learn why Mormons build temples visit HERE
To learn more about the blessings of the temple visit HERE.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Church Responds to HRC Petition

To read the position of the Church when it comes to same sex attraction and regarding this petition continue on and read the article at this link:

Church Responds to HRC Petition

Here is just a small portion of the article:

"While we disagree with the Human Rights Campaign on many fundamentals, we also share some common ground. This past week we have all witnessed tragic deaths across the country as a result of bullying or intimidation of gay young men. We join our voice with others in unreserved condemnation of acts of cruelty or attempts to belittle or mock any group or individual that is different – whether those differences arise from race, religion, mental challenges, social status, sexual orientation or for any other reason. Such actions simply have no place in our society.

This Church has felt the bitter sting of persecution and marginalization early in our history, when we were too few in numbers to adequately protect ourselves and when society’s leaders often seemed disinclined to help. Our parents, young adults, teens and children should therefore, of all people, be especially sensitive to the vulnerable in society and be willing to speak out against bullying or intimidation whenever it occurs, including unkindness toward those who are attracted to others of the same sex. This is particularly so in our own Latter-day Saint congregations. Each Latter-day Saint family and individual should carefully consider whether their attitudes and actions toward others properly reflect Jesus Christ’s second great commandment - to love one another."

To read it in it's entirety visit HERE.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Joseph Smith and the Restoration

When Christ was on the earth, he established a church. Ever wonder what happened to that church? Find out in this video.



To learn more about Joseph Smith visit HERE and HERE.
To learn more about the Restoration of Jesus Christ's Church visit HERE.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Liking You: A General Conference Thought or Two

I love scholastic book orders.  I love children's books. This one came just in time to tie in some thoughts I had from General Conference (words from this sweet story will be intertwined throughout this post).  All of this results in a bit of a spin on the thoughts given in conference, a twist that ends in liking you

President Monson said in the Relief Society Session, "My dear sisters, each of you is unique. You are different from each other in many ways. There are those of you who are married. Some of you stay at home with your children, while others of you work outside your homes. Some of you are empty nesters. There are those of you who are married but do not have children. There are those who are divorced, those who are widowed. Many of you are single women. Some of you have college degrees; some of you do not. There are those who can afford the latest fashions and those who are lucky to have one appropriate Sunday outfit. Such differences are almost endless. Do these differences tempt us to judge one another?"

And I add, do these differences tempt us to judge ourselves?  Isn't that truly where our judging begins, with ourselves.  We judge ourselves, our appearances, our talents, and our personalities, and we do so by comparing them to or judging others.  We judge our appearance based on our judgements of other's appearances.  We judge our talents based on other's talents.  We judge our personalities based on our comparisons with other's personalities.  We are a comparing bunch.  But listen to the words from this little girl so happy to be who God made her and no one else:





But how do we do this?  How do we stop the comparing and the judging?  How do we learn to love ourselves through and through?  Two thoughts come from President Uchtdorf, in two different sessions:
  1. We get to know ourselves...
President Uchtdorf said, "It may seem odd to think of having a relationship with ourselves, but we do. Some people can’t get along with themselves. They criticize and belittle themselves all day long until they begin to hate themselves. May I suggest that you reduce the rush and take a little extra time to get to know yourself better. Walk in nature, watch a sunrise, enjoy God’s creations, ponder the truths of the restored gospel, and find out what they mean for you personally. Learn to see yourself as Heavenly Father sees you—as His precious daughter or son with divine potential."



     2.  We think less about ourselves...

In the Priesthood Session President Uchtdorf said, "Some suppose that humility is about beating ourselves up. Humility does not mean convincing ourselves that we are worthless, meaningless, or of little value. Nor does it mean denying or withholding the talents God has given us. We don’t discover humility by thinking less of ourselves; we discover humility by thinking less about ourselves. It comes as we go about our work with an attitude of serving God and our fellowman."

We are all unique and must get to know ourselves and our unique qualities. We must learn to see ourselves as Heavenly Father sees us. Only then will we be able to stop thinking less of ourselves and truly like ourselves.  Only then will be able to start thinking less about ourselves and more about others.  Only then will our comparing and judging cease because we will be happy being who we are and be able to focus on growing into who we want to become. 

Just as this little girl who said, "I like me different and the same", we need to embrace our similarities and applaud our differences.  We need not compare or judge. 

We need to be able to say,
I like you and I like me.
There's no one else I'd rather be.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

October 2010 General Conference Counsel

Here is a list of counsel given during General Conference by the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles with a few extra notes of counsel following. A more personal note on General Conference to follow soon:

Thomas S. Monson• Continue to faithfully attend the temple.
• Every worthy, able young man should prepare to serve a full-time mission.
• Prepare for service to the Lord.
• Stay worthy.
• Maintain your health and strength.
• Attend seminary/institute.
• Study Preach my Gospel.
• Keep the commandments 100% of the time. It’s easier than doing so 98% of the time.
• Give thanks for all of the blessings you receive from God.
• Don’t focus on what you don’t have…focus on what you do have.
• Don’t wait until it’s too late to express gratitude to loved ones.
• Frequently express your gratitude…especially to those you love the most.
• When things are difficult, think of your blessings.
• Always reflect on your gratitude for the Savior.
• Follow Christ and emulate His perfect example of gratitude.

Dieter F. Uchtdorf
• Resist the temptation to get caught up in the franticness of everyday life.
• Simplify your life by slowing down and focusing on what matters most.
• Spend time alone with God in order to strengthen your relationship with Him.
• Be sensitive to others’ needs and serve them.
• Don’t criticize or belittle yourself.
• Get to know yourself better so you can see yourself as God sees you.
• Don’t be concerned with self-gratification in your callings from the Lord.
• Roll up your sleeves and help to prepare the world for the Second Coming. The work of the gospel is not about you.
• Don’t beat yourself up or withhold your talents in the name of humility. That is not humility.
• Think less about yourself, not less of yourself.
• Don’t complain when you are serving in “lesser” callings or tasks. Remember that you are tools in God’s hands.
• Reach out to serve rather than seeking recognition and praise of man.

Henry B. Eyring
• Do whatever is required to qualify for the Holy Ghost and then do whatever the Lord asks you to do.
• Never miss an opportunity take upon yourself the name of Christ through the sacrament.
• Be humble and recognize your need for the Holy Ghost.
• Pray for manifestations of the Holy Ghost in your service and for those you serve.
• Read, study, and ponder the words of Christ. Those are three different, distinct things.
• Magnify your calling by performing the service that pertains to it.
• Show your trust for God by showing Him your intent to learn and then go and do.

Boyd K. Packer
• Study the Family Proclamation as a revelation from God.
• Pay attention when God says, “Thou shalt…” or “Thou shalt not…”
• If you are bound by addiction, you must stop. Angels will coach you and priesthood leaders will guide you.
• You need to know that forgiveness means forgiveness. Forgive yourself.
• Once you’ve repented, don’t look back like Lot’s wife did.
• Delete from your mind any unclean thought that comes.

L. Tom Perry
• Follow the Holy Ghost and honor your priesthood. You will have access to the ministering of angels.
• Parents and Bishops: Teach Aaronic Priesthood holders their duties and the doctrine of the priesthood.
• Build your lives on a foundation of truth.
• Priesthood holders: Determine a day that you will honor your priesthood, advance in each quorum, prepare for the Melchizedek Priesthood, and prepare for full-time missionary service.

Russell M. Nelson
• Be an example of the believers in Christ.
• Every worthy, able young man should prepare to serve a full-time mission.
• Prepare to serve now by living with purity and doing good things.
• All members of the Church should prepare themselves to share the gospel with others.
• After you have had a gospel conversation, take the next step by inviting your friends to church.
• Reach out to those you don’t know.
• Every Sunday, find somebody that you don’t know at church and reach out to them.
• Invite others to prayerfully read the Book of Mormon.
• Explain that the Book of Mormon is not a novel or a history book, but a book of scripture that will bring them closer to God.
• Invite your friends to meet with the missionaries.
• Use Internet resources like Mormon.org to share the gospel.

Dallin H. Oaks
• All should be familiar with and use your two lines of communication with God: Personal line and Priesthood line.
• Don’t rely on priesthood leaders to make personal decisions for you.
• Don’t let your personal line of communication with God function independently from the priesthood line.
• You can’t communicate through your personal line if you are disobedient to the priesthood line.
• Don’t let the priesthood line supersede your need for a personal line.
• The priesthood line can’t function fully without your personal obedience.
Keep a healthy balance in relying on both the personal line and the priesthood line of communication with God.

M. Russell Ballard
• Stay away from Satan’s lures. He will try to enslave us.
• Carefully follow doses prescribed by doctors when taking prescription medications. Keep these out of the reach of others.
• Don’t relinquish your agency in any area—drugs, video games, texting, gambling, pornography.
• Escape addiction by fervently praying.
• Use priesthood leaders, professional help to assist you in overcoming.

Richard G. Scott
• Trust in God and His ability to provide you with help.
• Obey the commandments.
• Be sensitive to and apply the promptings from the Holy Ghost.
• Be patient in your faith.
• Be thankful that God sometimes allows you to struggle. It helps your faith to grow.
• Four principles for you to follow: Faith, Repentance, Obedience, Selfless Service.
• Always try to make decisions that will fortify your character.

Robert D. Hales
• Come back and repent when you find yourself limited in choices because of unrighteous behavior.
• Follow God now just like you did in the pre-mortal world.

David A. Bednar
• Desire, seek, work, and live so you can receive the Holy Ghost.
• Three keys to receiving the Holy Ghost:
• Desire – Don’t be distracted by the cares of the world or daily routines.
• Invite – Make and keep covenants, participate in Scripture Study, Family Home Evening, keep good family relationships, think virtuous thoughts, worship God at home, church, and the temple.
• Obey – Do things like temple, church, scriptures, prayers, service, obedience. These things are not isolated tasks that w should randomly do. They are all designed to help us receive the companionship of the Holy Ghost.

Quentin L. Cook
• Do your best to preserve light and gospel values in your home and family.
• Cultivate consistent religious observance in your home—Family Home Evening, scripture study, prayers.
• Don’t let destructive influences interfere with your family life.
• Be a good influence to those in your community.
• Live these two principles: Honesty and respect for others.
• Don’t let your voice be silent. Be a light to the world.

D. Todd Christofferson
Become a consecrated member of the Church by doing these five things:
• Purity (Repent, do all God requires, put off the natural man).
• Labor (All honest work is from God. Develop strong work habits. Work to enjoy wholesome leisure activities).
• Respect for body (Don’t disfigure, debilitate, or defile your body with tattoos, drugs, or immorality).
• Service (Be about Heavenly Father’s business. Develop a listening ear for service opportunities from the Spirit).
• Integrity (Don’t take advantage of other people. Live your life with complete honesty).

Neil L. Andersen
• Try to obtain the believing heart of a child—become submissive, meek, patient, humble, full of love, and willing to submit.
• You need to develop deep roots in your testimony so when troubles come upon you or you are mocked for your beliefs you won’t fall.
• Don’t compare what we are to be with what those who haven’t made covenants are to be. “Where much is given, much is required.”
• Nourish your testimony so it can keep you safe.

Other important counsel
• Follow the prophet.
• Choose to have faith. Don’t doubt things you don’t understand.
• Don’t respond with laziness or rebelliousness when it comes to living the gospel.
• Make your home a place where the Spirit can dwell.
• Read For the Strength of the Youth and have meaningful discussions with your family about the principles inside.
• Make sure that the media you use is consistent with gospel principles.
• Don’t purchase clothing that is too tight, sheer, or revealing.
• Parents should not be afraid to say no to their children, let them stay out too late, be cautious about sleepovers, and not let children stay out too late.
• Beware of things that could destroy you from the inside-out.
• If something is right, do it. If it’s wrong, don't do it.

What was your personal favorite talk?
What goals do you have to follow the counsel given?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Becoming LDS or Becoming a Mormon



So you may be asking one of these questions:

  • What do I need to do to learn more about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints?
  • What happens in the process of joining the LDS Church?
  • Or How do I become a member?
Talk to the missionaries.
They will answer any questions you may have about the Church and walk you through everything you need to do to become a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints if you so choose. But don't worry, by talking to the missionaries it doesn't mean that you have already decided to become a member, it is just the best step to learn our basic doctrines and to gain a testimony for yourself. You can contact the missionaries at these links:


Attend a Sunday worship service.
You may do so on your own or if you choose to meet with the missionaries they will invite you and encourage you to attend.You can find your nearest LDS church at the link below. Visitors are always welcome.

If you are a little nervous or simply curious about what happens at one of our meetings you may enjoy watching this short video which explains the basics of how our meetings go:


After attending a service if you would like to learn more or contact your local missionaries you can talk to the leader of the congregation called the Bishop or one of his counselors. These are the men that are sitting on the stand who conduct the meeting.

You may gain a testimony and be baptized.
As you go through the process of meeting with the missionaries you may gain a testimony of your own and your faith may grow.  As the Spirit teaches you, you may have a desire to make changes in your life and may begin to repent of past or current wrong doings.  If you gain a testimony of your own and repent of any necessary wrong doings you may be baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

If you are in the process of studying and learning about the LDS church on your own and are not ready to meet with the missionaries yet you may find these sites helpful in answering your questions and/or clarifying our beliefs and doctrines:

Basic Mormon Beliefs - This is one of the best sites to answer your questions.  It is filled with profiles of members of the Church and their thoughts and testimonies. 


True to the Faith - This online book is a reference that covers all of the basic doctrines and principles of the LDS church.


Request Free Media - This includes booklets, videos, and the Bible and Book of Mormon.

Jesus Christ - On this site you will read more about our belief in Jesus Christ, His role in our lives, and will discover for yourself that we are Christians.


Joseph Smith - At this link you can learn more about the Prophet Joseph Smith and his role in the gospel.


Temples - Here you will learn about the purpose of temples and receive answers to questions that you might have.

Last I will just share my simple testimony with you:
I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the true church. I know that it is Christ's church restored to the earth in our day by the Prophet Joseph Smith. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that he saw our Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ. I have a testimony that God answers our prayers, that He loves us, and that He sent His Son to die for us.  I bear testimony that our Savior is our perfect example, that He did perform the atonement for us, and that through Him we all may be able to return to live with our Father in Heaven again. I am so grateful to have the Book of Mormon so that I can continually feast upon the Word of God. I know that this book is true and can give us direction in our lives. I know that our modern-day prophet, Thomas S. Monson, is a true prophet of God who leads and guides us in these days. I am so grateful that I have been able to grow in this knowledge through the guidance and assurance of the Holy Ghost. What a wonderful blessing it is to be a member of the church. My hope and prayer is that all might have the opportunity to gain this knowledge for themselves, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

If you have any other questions that this post and/or these links do not answer feel free to email me at becominglds@gmail.com or leave a comment on this post. I hope this post helps a little.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Q and A: How to Continue Preparing in the Midst of a Storm?

So here is a question from a reader of this post.  I've decided that it deserves it's own post so you all can respond and help her out.  I am not sure I have a good answer so please share your thoughts and feelings or experiences:

"We HAD some food storage, but recently started enduring a storm of our own and have had to use a bit of it. So my question is, is there a way to store away or supplement for another or greater storm or more aggressive stage of a current storm while IN a storm currently? I'm feeling overwhelmed. Any ideas would be great, cause i don't want to become complacent thinking that this is it, this is my storm."

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Getting Ready to Open Our Ears and Our Hearts: General Conference October 2010

So last night opened this week of listening to and hearkening to the Word of God.  I've already felt uplifted. I've already felt pushed to make changes.  I've already felt the great desire that General Conference brings to be better, to do more, and to drop unnecessary things out of my life.  The General Relief Society Meeting was wonderful. But there is so much more to come for ourselves, our families, and our spouses.

To watch and read highlights of the
Relief Society Meeting you can visit HERE.


What does your family do to prepare for Conference?
We usually print out various activities including: bingo, coloring pages, etc.  In the past I have created a list of links but this time around I have seen a list of great resources compiled at diapersanddivnity.com and decided to just direct you there.  (Thanks Steph!) There are packets for all different age groups and even activities that your children can participate in throughout this week even before conference begins.

What are some General Conference traditions that you have?
We just started a new tradition of turning off our TV for the week before Conference.  You can read more about our tradition HERE.

So now let's hear how you prepare and/or what traditions you have?

To read my past posts about General Conference you can visit HERE.

Friday, September 24, 2010

2nd Semi-Annual No TV Week

So 6 months ago we held "NO TV WEEK" at our house and decided to make it a tradition.  There are actually two official no tv weeks on April 19-25 and the other September 19-25.  So officially "NO TV WEEK" is about to end but for us it is just about to begin. We have decided that our week (almost a week) of no tv would be the week just before conference.  So from Sunday-Friday no watching tv. Then the first thing that we'll watch at the close of our television fast will be General Conference on Saturday and Sunday.

During our "1st Semi-Annual No TV Week" I realized many things:
  1. Many times when I turned the tv on there was something else that I should've been doing.
  2. I used the television as a babysitter way too often.
  3. I had my attention divided between the tv, the laundry (or some other task), and my kids rather than just being with them.
  4. The TV was my first go to when I was board, tired, or plain lazy.
  5. Having minimal external voices filling our home helped to prepare us to hear the word of the Lord at Conference.
Now funny thing is that I just wrote those all in past-tense. Ha!  I am still has lazy and selfish has I was 6 months ago and that, my friends, is why this is a Semi-Annual event and who knows one day it may become a more frequent one.  I definitely need reminders. :)

So please, FEEL FREE TO JOIN US IN OUR
2nd SEMI-ANNUAL NO TV WEEK - September 26 - October 1
(Leave a comment at let us know if you plan to join in the fun,
this may serve as a little extra motivation and accountability in following through.)

And just in case you need even a little more motivation read these quotes from a previous post or click on the following links to read two complete posts:

I challenge us to change this stat within the walls of our homes:
"American children and adolescents (and I'd add some adults) 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

And far too often those hours spent are in watching programs that are far from uplifting:
“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.  And sometimes Satan is simply striving to make us idle away our time and distract us from what is most important.


TV, Television, the Tube, Flat Screen?
A Little Experiment

And while you're televisions are off you'll have plenty of time to prepare your family for conference.  I will have a Pre-General Conference post coming sometime this weekend. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Could You Ride Out the Storm?

“Many more people could ride out the storm-tossed waves in their economic lives if they had their year’s supply of food … and were debt-free. Today we find that many have followed this counsel in reverse: they have at least a year’s supply of debt and are food-free.” President Thomas S. Monson

Although this statement by President Monson might make us chuckle, in reality it could lead to a scary ride on storm-tossed waves. Is your family prepared for the storms that lie ahead? Recently I have been reminded that we have much more to do to be ready for unforeseen storms that may lie ahead.

And I have had the thought that the more prepared we are physically the more prepared we will be spiritually. If we are prepared physically for the waves I believe we will more easily feel the Savior's power working in us to calm the storm and we will feel of God's love for us.

Elder Holland said
, "It is not without a recognition of life’s tempests but fully and directly because of them that I testify of God’s love and the Savior’s power to calm the storm."

WHAT IS YOUR FAMILY DOING TO BE PREPARED FOR AN EMERGENCY?
I'd love to hear tips, suggestions, and even questions that some of you have in regards to food storage, other emergency supplies, 72 hour kits, etc.

Here are some great resources to check out:

Thursday, September 9, 2010

FHE in a Jar

So I came across this simple way of doing a quick FHE lesson when you've dropped the ball again and didn't think ahead ;). Or maybe this doesn't happen to you and in that case this could be a great morning devotional while your kids are eating breakfast or even a quick spiritual pick me up for you in the afternoon while kids are at school or taking naps.

Here is how it works:
Print out this page, cut each strip out, and drop them in a mason canning jar. Pull out a strip whenever you’re in need of a quick and easy lesson. Sing your song, say your opening prayer, and read each scripture. Then discuss the information under Topic.

Thanks JennySmith.net!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Same Church that Jesus Christ Organized

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (aka - the LDS Church or the Mormon Church) is the same church that Jesus Christ organized while he was on the earth.

Elder Haight said, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints proclaims to the world that this church is a restoration of Christ’s church…. It is therefore not a reformation, a revision, a reorganization, or a mere sect. It is the Church of Jesus Christ restored in these latter days."

Watch this video of Wilford Woodruff's search for the truth as he sets out on a search to find the church of Christ on the earth. He later became the 4th Prophet of the Church.

video

To read about The Church of Jesus Christ in Former Times click HERE
(all of the features discussed exist in the church today).

To read about The Church of Jesus Chirst Today
(including how the Church was restored) click HERE.

To download this video for yourself click HERE.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I want a seat...

"The men and women who desire to obtain seats in the celestial kingdom will find that they must battle with the enemy of all righteousness every day." -Brigham Young

Are you prepared for the battle today? Were your children shielded with armor as they walked out to battle this morning? It is a daily battle but a battle that we can win by putting on the armor of God and always being prepared for even the slightest blows by the adversary. Let us remember the seat that awaits us if we battle with all of our might. Good luck with your battle today...I'm going to go fight mine.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What We Believe: He is Risen



( Click to Enlarge)

This article was taken from the Ensign.
To check out all of the Ensigns in PDF form click HERE.
To learn more of what we believe and
what we are all about visit mormon.org.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Some Things To Check Out

  • If you haven't checked out the new Mormon.org which has profiles of members you ought to click on over. You can read other's profiles and even add your own. What a great missionary tool. Check it out HERE.
  • My son and I found a fun scripture site called Scriptures 4 Kids. It has 4 reading levels of Book of Mormon stories. Your child can read it on there own or they can click on a button and it will read it to them. There are also games and printable pages, etc. Check it out HERE.
  • There is a wonderful scripture page where you can highlight and make notes online as you read. I haven't played around with this much myself but it looks like a really neat page and it is created by the Church. You can check it our HERE.
  • I've posted some of these before but I thought I'd highlight it again just in case you've never seen these videos made by Mormon's Made Simple. They are great because they explain in simple terms things like missionaries, temples, our church services, etc. Check it our HERE.
  • I am sure most of you have seen the Mormon Messages on youtube or the front page of lds.org but they are worth their own link so you can check out all of the wonderful videos that have been posted. Check them out HERE.
  • The Church has come out with new mobile phone apps to help you study on the go. They have anything from reading, highlighting and making notes while you read the scriptures to Conference talks and church magazines. Check it out HERE.
  • There are many new features on the Relief Society page. You can check it our HERE.

So there are quite a few links for you to check out. I hope you all find something you like or haven't used before. If you ever find any new or fun links let me know so I can post them. Thanks to a few of my friends for making me aware of some of these. :) Happy Sunday to you all!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Our Spiritual Purpose

I have had a portion of this quote by Elder Bednar in the header to my blog for some time now and today I came across his following words and had to share:

"The gospel of Jesus Christ encompasses much more than avoiding, overcoming, and being cleansed from sin and the bad influences in our lives; it also essentially entails doing good, being good, and becoming better. Repenting of our sins and seeking forgiveness are spiritually necessary, and we must always do so. But remission of sin is not the only or even the ultimate purpose of the gospel. To have our hearts changed by the Holy Spirit such that 'we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually' (Mosiah 5:2), as did King Benjamin's people, is the covenant responsibility we have accepted. This mighty change is not simply the result of working harder or developing greater individual discipline. Rather, it is the consequence of a fundamental change in our desires, our motives, and our natures made possible through the Atonement of Christ the Lord. Our spiritual purpose is to overcome both sin and the desire to sin, both the taint and the tyranny of sin."


Wow...that could make you think for a minute. I think in many ways my goals might be set too low and I could and should be seeking the power of the Atonement more fervently as I strive to reach the higher goal of doing good continually not just merely repenting after I make mistakes but having no desire to sin. As Elder Bednar states, this is "our spiritual purpose".

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sibling Love

video

This video made me think of a portion of this scripture: "And ye will not suffer your children that they...fight and quarrel one with another..."

My 3 year old and 10 month old are already pretty good at the whole sibling rivalry thing and I can see that it is only going to get worse.

How do you help your children to get along? What are some things that have brought your children and family closer together? I sure could use a little help in this department.