Tuesday, December 8, 2009
-Thomas S. Monson
Friday, September 4, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
We are our own worst enemies. Think about that. We control our thoughts, our actions, and our words. We control whether or not we allow ourselves to be offended or whether we are going to offend others. We are in control of ourselves! We have tendencies to make bad choices, to misjudge, and to hurt others.... which in turn ALWAYS hurts ourselves. I think that it is extremely important to realize that we need to watch out for ourselves, making sure that WE are our own keepers... of strength, truth, and all those things that we want to stand for. We must protect ourselves from ourselves... our own worst enemies!
Friday, March 6, 2009
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
"It remains only for you and me to both seek and tender that forgiveness—to both repent and to extend charity to others—which enables us to pass through the door the Savior holds open, thus to cross the threshold from this life into exaltation. Today is the day to forgive others their trespasses, secure in the knowledge that the Lord will thus forgive ours. As Luke significantly recorded, “Be ye therefore merciful” (Luke 6:36; emphasis added). Perfection may elude us here, but we can be merciful. And in the end, repenting and forgiving are among God’s chief requirements of us."
Monday, February 16, 2009
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Sunday Family GOALS: Learn. Share. Grow. Testify. (SLEEP). Serve. Read. Sing. Teach. Love.
The JOY that Aaron & I felt today, on this particular Sunday was beautiful! I love the Primary Program in our church. Wesley has just left the nursery and is now a reverent SUNBEAM. He even got chosen to be an example of Reverence today in Singing time. As he stood in front of a room full of leaders and other children, he folded his arms and gently closed his eyes. He was then informed by a leader that he didn't have to close his eyes. LOL. The fact that he felt like closing his eyes to show reverence really impressed Aaron and I. What a sweet and tender moment that was for us.
1. Jesus wants me for a sunbeam,To shine for him each day;In ev’ry way try to please him,At home, at school, at play.
2. Jesus wants me to be lovingAnd kind to all I see,Showing how pleasant and happyHis little one can be.
2. I am a child of God,And so my needs are great;Help me to understand his wordsBefore it grows too late.
3. I am a child of God.Rich blessings are in store;If I but learn to do his will,I’ll live with him once more.
4. I am a child of God.His promises are sure;Celestial glory shall be mine If I can but endure.
Last week, Wesley was asked to give a talk in Primary: I came to Earth as part of a Family. He wanted Mommy to help him decide what to say. Now these talks are suppose to be short. Before Wesley climbed up to the stand to give his talk, he had told me that he was sooo excited. He wore a giant smile and delivered his talk like a champ! I whispered the words into his ear & he spoke them into the microphone so that he could share his talk with the rest of the children in Primary. These are the words that he chose to share:
Beautiful. There was a women, sitting next to Aaron, who was another child's Grandma. She was so touched by Wesley's simple testimony of families that she began to tear up.
Our Family Sealing: January 3rd, 2006
Idaho Falls Temple
The Family: A Proclamation to the World
Monday, February 2, 2009
AFTER lunch, Emma fell asleep on Wesley's shoulder while watching a cartoon. It was so sweet and when I went to pick her up to lay her in her bed, Wesley only held her tighter. He was NOT going to let her go. I decided to watch them snuggle. It was just one of those moments...
LIFE is created by single moments, moments that don't always merit a graceful entry or a red curtain curtsy..... these ordinary moments present themselves in blue jeans and tennis shoes. I've learned that the rainy moments in our lives are often revitalized by rainbows, reminding us to find joy in the journey. These are the humbling moments that are most prominent in the story of our lives.
READ: Finding Joy in the Journey by President Thomas S. Monson (http://lds.org/conference/talk/display/0,5232,23-1-947-26,00.html)
"Stresses in our lives come regardless of our circumstances. We must deal with them the best we can. But we should not let them get in the way of what is most important—and what is most important almost always involves the people around us. Often we assume that they must know how much we love them. But we should never assume; we should let them know. Wrote William Shakespeare, “They do not love that do not show their love.” We will never regret the kind words spoken or the affection shown. Rather, our regrets will come if such things are omitted from our relationships with those who mean the most to us."
It is essential. WE need to recognize and ponder these ordinary MOMENTS in our lives!
Just one of those moments:
It is the good and the bad MOMENTS that equally bind them to me.
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Paul Allen is the owner of the Seattle Seahawks, the ones who played the Pittsburgh Steelers for the 2006 Super Bowl. He is also the owner of the Portland Trail Blazers NBA basketball team and is co-partner with Bill Gates in Microsoft. He wrote this editorial in the Santa Clarita, California newspaper.
An editorial on Mormons - Santa Clarita , CA
I have heard and seen enough! I have lived in the West all my life. I have worked around them. They have worked for me and I for them. When I was young, I dated their daughters. When I got married they came to my wedding. Now that I have daughters of my own, some of their boys have dated my daughters. I would be privileged if one of them were to be my son-in-law. I'm talking about the Mormons. They are some of the most honest, hardworking people I have ever known.
They are spiritual, probably more than most other so-called religious people I have encountered. They study the Bible and teach from it as much as any Christian church ever has. They serve their religion without pay in every conceivable capacity. Not one of their leaders, teachers, counselors, Bishops or music directors receive one dime for the hours of labor they put in. The Mormons have a non-paid ministry - a fact that is not generally known. I have heard many times from the pulpits of others how evil and non-Christian they are and that they will not go to heaven. I decided recently to attend one of their services near my home to see for myself. What a surprise! What I heard and saw was just the opposite from what the religious ministers of the day were telling me. I found a very simple service with no fanfare. I found a people with a great sense of humor and a well-balanced spiritual side. There was no loud music. Just a simple service, with the members themselves giving the several short sermons. They urge their youth to be morally clean and live a good life. They teach the gospel of Christ, as they understand it. The name of their church is "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints". Does that sound like a non-Christian church to you? I asked them many questions about what they teach and why. I got answers that in most cases were from the New Testament. Their ideas and doctrines did not seem too far fetched for my understanding. When I read their "Book of Mormon" I was also very surprised to find just the opposite from what I had been told I would find.
Then I went to another church's pastor to ask him some of the same questions about doctrine. To my surprise, when he found out that I was in some way investigating the Mormons, he became hostile. He referred to them as a non-Christian cult. I received what sounded to me like evil propaganda against those people. He stated bluntly that they were not Christian and that they did not fit into the Christian mold. He also told me that they don't really believe the Bible. He gave me a pile of anti-Mormon literature. He began to rant that the Mormons were not telling me the truth about what they stand for. He didn't want to hear anything good about them.
At first I was surprised and then again, I wasn't. I began to wonder. I have never known of a cult that supports the Boy Scouts of America. According to the Boy Scouts, over a third of all the Boy Scout troops in the United States are Mormon. What cult do you know of that has a welfare system second to none in this country? They have farms, canneries and cattle ranches to help take care of the unfortunate ones who might be down and out and in need of a little help.
The Mormon church has donated millions to welfare causes around the world without a word of credit. They have donated thousands to help rebuild Baptist churches that were burned a few years ago. They have donated tons of medical supplies to countries ravaged by earthquakes. You never see them on TV begging for money. What cult do you know that instills in its members to obey the law, pay their taxes, serve in the military if asked and be a good Christian by living high moral standards?
Did you know that hundreds of thousands of Mormon youth get up before high school starts in the morning to attend a religious training class? They have basketball and softball leagues and supervised youth dances every month. They are recruited by the FBI, the State Department and every police department in the country, because they are trustworthy. They are taught not to drink nor take drugs. They are in the Secret Service - those who protect the President.
They serve in high leadership positions from both parties in Congress and in the US Senate, and have been governors of several states other than Utah . They serve with distinction and honor. If you have Mormons living near, you will probably find them to be your best friends and neighbors. They are Christians who try to live what they preach. They are not perfect and they are the first to admit this. I have known some of them who could not live their religion, just like many of us. The rhetoric which is spread around against them is nothing more than evil propaganda founded in untruths. (Others) had successfully demonized them to the point that the general public has no idea what they actually believe and teach. If you really want to know the truth, go see for yourself You also will be surprised.
When I first moved here some 25 years ago there were five Mormon wards in Santa Clarita. Now there are 15. They must be doing something right.
Paul Allen - Santa Clarita
Have ANY Questions OR To learn more about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, click this link: http://mormon.org/mormonorg/eng/
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Friday, January 16, 2009
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Dedicated To Becca~ YOU did your part, you repented, you changed your life and the lives of others, .....now continue to have Faith! We must endure to the end together! Trust in Christ for that which we cannot comprehend. He never said it would be easy. YOU are my example. You are a strong woman. Please remember to keep hold of the Iron Rod! How great will be your joy! Do it not only for yourself, but for those precious children!
Read the following definitions:
- Harmony of or agreement in feeling, as between persons or on the part of one person with respect to another.
- The fact or power of sharing the feelings of another, esp. in sorrow or trouble; fellow feeling, compassion, or commiseration.
- Identification with and understanding of another's situation, feelings, and motives.
If I have a challenge or struggle in my life, I'm often looking to those close friends or family that are willing to sympathize or even show empathy towards my feelings. This often helps me because I learn that I am not alone, meaning others are also facing or have gone through those same struggles that I am. We call upon these individuals to help us feel better and many times to listen to us as we open up about our feelings. Often we feel somewhat of a release, like the weight of our burdens are instantly lightened. Well today, I have become enlightened by scripture to change the way I overcome a challenge or struggle in my life. Why, you might ask?
Nobody on this earth, will EVER experience anything the way that you or I have experienced "it". "It" meaning a challenge, struggle, pleasure, an event, etc... I am an individual, as are you, and nobody on this earth can have a perfect empathy to that of how we are feeling or what we have gone through in ANY circumstance what so ever. So our closest friends and family can sympathize with us~ to TRY to share the same feelings as you or I, but they will never have a PERFECT empathy for us.... like that of CHRIST!
I have learned to trust Christ for what I cannot comprehend because I know that by atoning for the sins of the world, he has come to feel of our every pain, both physical and spiritual. CHRIST HAS SUFFERED ALL THINGS. With his complete understanding of all pain, which he has suffered, Christ encourages us all to come to HIM, for he has a PERFECT EMPATHY! His mercy hath atoned for our sins. Jesus Christ carried upon himself, willingly, ALL combined sin of the world. Can you imagine the amount of physical, spiritual, and mental anguish that he willingly suffered for all, so that we might repent and come unto him? For me, I find it incomprehensible! I am so thankful for his atoning sacrifices! He is our LORD and our REDEEMER.....and HE and only HE has PERFECT EMPATHY, a perfect understanding!
- D&C 19:16-18 "For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; But if they not repent they must suffer even as I; Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit--and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink--"
- D&C 133: 53 "In all their afflictions he was afflicted...."
As we struggle in this world, on our earthly journeys~ we need to take advantage of repentance and of that PERFECT EMPATHY that Christ offers us. I really believe that he understands us better than we will ever understand ourselves! He has felt pure agony, of which you and I cannot comprehend and in doing so, he has given his own life ~so that we would believe in him and obey his commandments.
- D&C 34:11 "And if you are faithful, behold, I am with you until I come--And verily, verily I say unto you, I come quickly. I am your Lord and Redeemer. Even so. Amen."
So instead of relying on our friends to make us feel at peace, we need to rely fully on the Lord. We need to take advantage of his PERFECT EMPATHY and of his enduring LOVE for each one of us! HE is constantly just waiting and hoping that we will seek him. He is "the light and the redeemer of the world; the Spirit of truth...." (D&C 93:9) He will always make time to listen and he is waiting and willing for us to draw near! We need to recognize that there is always an open invitation or opportunity to draw closer to the Lord.
This next scripture really says it plainly for us.
- D&C 6:36-37 "Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not. Behold the wounds which pierced my side, and also the prints of the nails in my hands and feet; be faithful, keep my commandments, and ye shall inherit the kingdom of heaven. Amen."
We can look to him "in every thought". In D&C 50:44 we are taught about the strength that we will receive from relying on Christ in our daily lives.
- "Wherefore, I am in your midst, and I am the good shepherd, and the stone of Israel. He that buildeth upon this rock shall never fall."
We are promised that in D&C 6:29 that if we are to be faithful and diligent in keeping the commandments of God, that Christ will encircle us in the arms of his love. What a heart warming thought.
We are human, therefor we are not perfect which means we will need to take advantage of Christ's gift to us.....The Atonement. Sin causes physical, spiritual, and mental pain and guilt. It will take repentance, discipline, and a change in lifestyle to rid ourselves of the pain and guilt that we carry from those sins. That feeling of guilt is to the spirit what pain is to the physical body. We must remember that the power of the atonement offers redemption from suffering caused by sin. After we have truly repented, we are promised many blessings, but two significant promises are:
- D&C 58:42 "Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more."
- Ezekiel 36:26 "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh."
It is so humbling to know that we have a Heavenly Father that loves us so much, that he sent his son to suffer all the sins of the world, in order for us to return to him. It is my goal to appreciate and use the atonement in my daily life. It is also my goal to prayerfully praise and thank Heavenly Father for all of my many blessings and for the great joy that I have in my life! We are blessed every second of everyday in some shape or form. Let us not only recognize our battles in life, but also recognize the Great JOY and Peace that comes from being sons and daughters of a wonderful, loving Heavenly Father.... and a Savior that has a PERFECT EMPATHY!
Saturday, January 10, 2009
- "Today, many enjoy homes with rooms for eating, sleeping, playing, sewing and TV, "but no room for Christ," he said. While many desire to make room in their hearts for the Savior, "no matter how successful we have been thus far. ... I am confident we would all wish to do better."
So now as an addition to my goal, as President Monson has encouraged all of us, I will make a "CONSCIOUS, COMMITTED effort to bring Christ into my home and life."
President Monson has a great message in this broadcast. He speaks of the Bethlehem innkeeper and how he probably regretted not making room for Christ the night of his birth, especially learning that it was the SAVIOR that was born. President Monson reminds us that "as we do serve [Christ], we will not forfeit our opportunity, as did the innkeeper of old — to make time for him in our lives and room for him in our hearts."
Let us not have any regrets. Let us remember daily, to "seek to follow the babe born in his stable," allowing more room for Christ, as well as emulating "his light, his love and his care for others." Thus the message of the Christmas broadcast.
You can read more about it here: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/1,5143,705268915,00.html?pg=1
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Caleb Bowman, my husband's brother, has recently left on a two year Spanish speaking mission to Atlanta, Georgia. I just know that he is going to do great things! He is extremely caring and completely devoted to changing the lives of those who are ready to open their hearts to the Spirit of the Lord. He is getting ready to leave the MTC and we received an email from him today that had a really inspiring message that I felt was worth sharing with all of you. The message was directed to the missionaries, but of course, can be applied to each and everyone of our lives.
Caleb said that there was a talk given a week or so ago and the speaker said "just as long as your trying.... you plan to fail." He was encouraging the missionaries to, instead of trying... to just DO.
Since this is a new year, we all may find ourselves beginning to set new goals and straighten out our priorities. I think that if we all DO, rather than try, we can accomplish those goals that we always seem to place on the back burner. So I am not going to try, but I am going to JUST DO. For example, I WILL renew my commitment to my family and my faith by spending my time more wisely with my children and husband. I WILL read my scriptures daily, The Book of Mormon and The Bible because they both go hand in hand with one another.
Caleb has always been so observant, extremely considerate, and in tune with the Spirit. He isn't quick to judge and he is always willing to be himself. In this letter, Caleb also shared the following words that were delivered by Brother Stephen B Allen:
- "Don't compare yourself to anyone else, it's not who you AREN'T its who you ARE, being yourself is GREAT! The voice that says you can't is the adversary. When everything says you CAN'T, listen to the voice that says you CAN!"
Allen's message is SO important and really needs to be shared with all. Hopefully this message has inspired you to reflect upon your OWN INDIVIDUAL SELF WORTH! Each one of us is very different, but Heavenly Father loves us all the same! We are each unique and we CAN move mountains if we just "listen to the voice that says [we] CAN".
Thanks Elder Bowman, for such a wonderful message! Words can and will touch many individuals' lives and you have certainly touched mine with your message! I appreciate your dedication to the Lord.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
This is how I felt and how many of you may feel. It is important that you understand that you are not alone. The Lord will answer you..... HE will provide. You might ask as I did, What will it require of ME?..... FAITH and OBEDIENCE and the Lord said it could be done, but NEVER said that it would be EASY.
As you read Lund's words, ask yourself how this currently relates or has related to your own life experiences?
"Early in our lives, we learn to guard our hearts. It is like we erect a fence around our hearts with a gate in it. No one can enter that gate unless we allow him or her to. In some cases the fence we erect around our hearts could be likened to a small picket fence with a Welcome sign on the gate. Other hearts have been so hurt or so deadened by sin that they have an eight-foot (2.5-m) chain-link fence topped with razor wire around them. The gate is padlocked and has a large No Trespassing sign on it. Individual agency (your right to choose) is so sacred that Heavenly Father will never force the human heart, even with all His infinite power. Man may try to do so, but God does not. To put it another way, God allows us to be the guardians, or the gatekeepers, of our own hearts. We must, of our own free will, open our hearts to the Spirit, for He will not force Himself upon us."
The blessing of agency is so sacred, that we are allowed to be the "gatekeepers" of our own hearts. WE must consciously decide to open our hearts to the Spirit. I remember wondering, so how do I do this?
Here is Lund's answer:
"While none of our hearts are perfect, the more diligently we strive to eliminate impurity, or push out things which do not belong there, the more we open our hearts to the Holy Spirit. Note this sweet promise of the prophet Jacob: “O all ye that are pure in heart, lift up your heads and receive the pleasing word of God, and feast upon his love.”
If we are to depend upon our own strength and upon own wisdom, we are hardening our hearts, and therefor the spirit cannot dwell within our hearts.
The Lord has warned us of three natural consequences of having one’s heart set on the things of the world:
- First, we seek to hide our sins instead of repenting of them.
- Next, we seek to gratify our pride and vain ambitions rather than seeking the things of God.
- Finally, we begin to exercise unrighteous dominion over others.
PRIDE is a natural consequence of setting our hearts on the things of the world. Pride quickly desensitizes our hearts to spiritual promptings. The condition of our hearts directly affects our sensitivity to spiritual things.
NOW HERE IS MY STORY.... and you will realize how it pertains to this post.
I had married the man of my dreams, very handsome and best of all he loved to do all the same outdoor adventuring that I did. After we had moved and settled in Iowa, away from all family, friends, the mountains, and everything that we were familiar with….I began to experience real change for the first time. I considered myself a good person who had a good education, a good family, and realistic goals. I was a very happy girl and wanted to continue to be that happy for the rest of my life. As time went on in Iowa, I began to feel like something was missing; a huge void and I became determined to fill that void that I was feeling in my life. I know that this church has made Aaron the great man he is today and it’s hard to imagine that at one point in his life, being with me made him happy enough that he would be willing to leave his church. It is so true that there are sooo many things in this world that can give you happiness, but I’ve found that unless this happiness comes from the living gospel, that it always ends up being temporary. So as you could imagine, it wasn’t long into our marriage, that Aaron was also feeling that same void. It wasn’t Aaron’s family, it wasn't Aaron, and it wasn’t even the elders, although they all played a key role in my journey, but it was the spirit that softened my heart enough so that I would know what I needed to do. I was 7 months pregnant and it was after much pondering, praying and pouring out of my heart and soul, that I was baptized on January 1, 2005.
As I looked out upon the 50+ people that attended my baptism, I was confident that I had filled the void in my life forever, but as you might expect, I was wrong…it was a few months later, when going to church became routine, that I began to feel this void again. In January of 2006 Aaron, Wes and I were sealed together in the Idaho Falls temple. Again, the void seemed to melt right away, to the point where I didn’t think I’d ever remember feeling it, but it took me a long time to admit to myself that this void was never going to go away forever. I think that I still have to remind myself from time to time. It also took me a long time to understand why the void was so important, but I have learned to appreciate and accept that this void comes from the Holy Ghost and from Heavenly Father and that it is actually a gift to each one of us. I learned of this gift as I was reading an ensign article last year titled FILLING THE VOID and applied what Victoria Anderson had written to my own life. She explains that coming to earth and leaving Heavenly Father’s presence creates a massive void in our lives. We lived with Heavenly Father in the premortal existence and felt his love for us. It was when I read that that I knew that this void was placed in my heart for my earthly journey so I would seek him again. As I seek to know my Heavenly Father, the void can be filled. Like I said, for me, this is a constant struggle, but a huge blessing. This becomes such a struggle for us because we must constantly search to fill this void. I find that there are many ways to do so, such as scripture study, prayer, family home evening, visiting teaching, reading the family proclamation, and most importantly visiting the temple. Heavenly Father is always our companion, especially while we are performing the sacred ordinances that we do while we are in the temple. By doing these things, we are reminded of all the knowledge that we have, as being members of this church, and also of all our own individual blessings. We can feel when Heavenly Father is pleased with our decisions and the choices that we are constantly making. We are reminded of how blessed we all are to know that there is an eternal plan. When I fill that void with spiritual means, I feel at peace, like the peace that Jesus promises we’d receive in John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Just like that peace is a blessing, the void is also a blessing because Heavenly Father has created it for you and I and it can’t possibly go away forever, until we return to him again someday. I just want to challenge everybody reading this.... to fill their void with additional spiritual means instead of earthly means. It has really helped me to come to know my Heavenly Father and his love for me. Ultimately we have control over our own happiness, which means we have the control over whether or not we fill that void. We ARE the "GATEKEEPERS" of our own hearts.
My TESTIMONY (belief on the matter): I have a testimony that the spirit is strong and can change the life of anybody you know. When a person’s heart becomes open to the spirit, there isn’t much more that you or I need to do. I have a testimony that as we seek to know, love, and serve Heavenly Father, as well as others, our void can be filled.
Now, I knew that I was a happy woman, doing good things in the world, going places with my life, and just a good person in general AND I knew that GOD loved me for ME~ so, I often asked myself why I would ever need to change anything about myself, BUT that often triggered the reoccurring feeling in MY HEART~ like there was something missing. Have you ever felt like this?
I knew I wasn't going to be content until I found EXACTLY what it was that my life was missing. When those answers were attained, I was amazed how the discomfort of that VOID, quickly became my companion in my life. I would always be reminded of the LOVE that my Savior, YOUR savior has for you and I. I was able to open my heart to the Spirit. Now it is a goal of mine.... and will be forever, that EVERYDAY, I can strive to open my heart to the Spirit. "Since we are the guardians of our hearts, we can choose to do so. We choose what we let in or hold out."
The Lord is anxious to help us choose wisely. If we come unto him, he has SPECIFICALLY promised us two things on this topic:
- “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with [His] love, … that we may be purified even as he is pure.” (Moroni 7:48)
- And finally this stirring declaration of Paul the Apostle: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13.
Thanks for listening to MY STORY. I would love to hear yours, whether it was years ago or recently. Many of you are still seeking and I know YOU too, will find the answers~ as have I. Your journey is of importance and it starts HERE and NOW, today. Each day is a NEW day, bringing hope, determination, and CHANGE. We need to continue to learn and grow. Change and growth are both very healthy, but *remember* It will NOT be easy~Stay close to the Lord, having that of an open heart, and the spirit will guide you! I wish you all the best of luck on your journeys. Stay tuned for the rest of mine!