Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Gratitude, Part 3
Monday, June 29, 2015
Gratitude, Part 2
Sunday, June 28, 2015
So I'll begin with the Gospel portion of this by quoting scriptures that let us know gratitude is not just a good trait to have--it is a commandment.
Leviticus 22:29 - And when ye will offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving unto the , offer at your own will.
Alma 34:38 - That ye contend no more against the Holy Ghost, but that ye receive it, and take upon you the name of Christ; that ye humble yourselves even to the dust, and worship God, in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth; and that ye live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you.
Doctrine & Covenants 46:7 - But ye are commanded in all things to ask of God, who giveth liberally; and that which the Spirit testifies unto you even so I would that ye should do in all holiness of heart, walking uprightly before me,considering the end of your salvation, doing all things with prayer and thanksgiving, that ye may not be seduced by evil spirits, or doctrines of devils, or the commandments of men; for some are of men, and others of devils.
Doctrine & Covenants 59:21 - And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments.
The last one, to me, is the most direct about gratitude and the Gospel--because it offends our Havenly Father to not acknowledge where all we have comes from.
Saturday, June 27, 2015
Another Random Thought
While I know the importance of paying myself first, I often forget to actually do so. Today I was able to remember. The problem with me is I often feel guilty when I attend to that, because I feel like I'm being lazy and not helping where I should. I frequently have to remind myself that my service to others by that point has started to lag. My energy has depleted and I am running on fumes. Service fueled by fumes is not effective, so we should never feel guilty when we have to take the time to refuel.
Today was a day of refueling. The guilt wanted to come in, but I told myself to ignore it. The refueling was necessary. And how rejuvenated and clear and at peace I felt after a few hours of my refueling--that is a testament to the importance of paying yourself first. Just don't let it get to the point of pay yourself only or pay yourself more than others. Selfishness is not recharging.
Heavenly Family, Part 2
Interesting that this is the topic I drew during these days that such a decision was made in Court. I've been thinking about this topic, and the Primary song they wrote a few years ago fits perfectly with my current thoughts:
Our Heavenly Family is the perfect example and pattern of families. It's how we should have our earthly families--father, mother, brothers and sisters. Kindness. Working together. Building each other up and supporting each other. Bringing each other happiness. This is why I believe that God gave us families. And with what has occurred today, then I must state my belief that for a family to best grow so that we can become what Heavenly Father wants us to be, it requires a male father and a female mother as parents who work together to raise their children.
I believe in a wise Heavenly Father who loves each of His children, and who wants each of us to grow the best we can and return to Him. Our wise Father knows our decisions in this life have to be ours, and the consequences of our choices will be ours. But He won't leave us to figure it out on our own or to go through it alone. He has outlined the best way for us to not be on our own--a family. I believe in His way, and I will continue to uphold it, live it, and aspire to it.
Thursday, June 25, 2015
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
More Random Gospel Thoughts
Our Church is one of change, as far as what some of our callings and responsibilities are. 18 months ago, I was playing the piano in Primary (the children's organization). Now I pick the music, lead it, and lead the choir. Four years ago I helped supervise visiting teachers and their respective routes. Ten years ago, I was a Young Women leader. Twenty years ago I was a Beehive secretary. We receive different callings to help us grow in various capacities. I learned very different things from being a leader to teenage girls than from leading a volunteer choir of all skill levels. As much as we love (or might not love) the callings we have, they are not meant to last forever. Others need their chance to learn what they can in those callings, and serve the people in them.
And that's the part that we sometimes forget when we are in our own callings. The people we serve are obviously affected by who is holding and fulfilling that calling that involves them. Our Institute class has been greatly, greatly blessed to have Sister A. For me, she has been just what I need right now. And as members, we often hate to see those people move on to other callings that keep them from working so directly with us. I don't want to see her go, but maybe the Lord has someone else in mind who can touch my life now in a way that Sister A. cannot. And I'm sure He has other tasks in mind for Sister A. So though we want to hold on to the people in the callings they have, we need to get used to "letting them go" so they can continue to grow in new and varied ways that the Lord wants for them.
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
This is not a topic I drew. It's one that I felt appropriate in my life right now, and which I certainly believe to be part of the Gospel. It is a very human thing for us to compare. That person has better hair. Their complexion is clearer. They're taller. If it was just a comparison, it would probably be fine. But often those comparisons are made with some amount of jealousy or even coveting. And this should not be. I have learned over the years--and over and over again in those years!--that what we can gain from them is perspective.
For (an odd) example, I don't have to be jealous of those who are tall when I couldn't even get up to 5'2". And I don't need to lord it over a tall person with the woes they may experience. I have my joys and my woes for being short, just as I'm sure a tall person has that for them. There is no reason for either of us to be upset or overly happy. No one is better or worse because of their situations. We are what we are, we have what we have, we experience what we experience. Each of our lives is tailored exactly for us--to gain the best and reach the highest that we can.
So I've been getting glimpses of that here and there for the past few days. Being reminded what others face, and of what I face. NOT comparing them to me. But letting me see that each of us has our trials, our successes, our ups, our downs. And that each of us, all of us, can find the strength and joy we need and can enjoy through the Savior's Atonement.
Monday, June 22, 2015
Temples, Part 4
Ever since I first heard it my 3rd year in Seminary, it perfectly summed up how I felt about the temple. I immediately loved this song and ached for the Seminary soundtrack so I could listen to it over and over again. Over the years, as I've received my own saving ordinances in the temple and been able to serve more people and in more ways, the song has brought more meaning and application with time.
Sunday, June 21, 2015
Temples, Part 3
When I did finally enter the temple at age 12, I immediately felt of the power and peace my family taught me, and which we sing about in our Primary songs. My love for the temple grew even more as I was able to gain my own testimony of all that could be gained from service done inside. Somewhere in the later teens, I remember telling myself that where ever I lived, I wanted to be sure that a picture of the Savior and a picture of the temple were in every room. In apartments, I only did so in certain rooms that I felt I had some "claim" over or that roommates wouldn't mind or care (kitchen, living room). Now in my own home, I have tried to make that every room, except for the two that will be occupied by someone else at some point. But one day when I don't need to rent out those rooms, those pictures will go up in those walls.
Many can understand why I would have pictures of the Savior? But why the temple? I don't worship a building the way I worship my Redeemer. And I don't worship the pictures either. The pictures are a reminder of who I want to be like, how I want to be, and where I long to be. The Savior pictures remind me that I am loved, I am not alone, that I have commandments to keep which will bring great happiness. The temple pictures are symbols which represent all that I know awaits me within--instruction, hope, peace, and salvation. And I know that in them I can continue to gain those for myself, and that I can help those who have gone before to gain as well.
Temples, Part 2
But no matter what the trials or when or whose, temples are a great place to help one get through them. Because temples bring us closer to our Redeemer and to our Heavenly Father, and thus bring us perspective, hope, healing, rejuvenation, and peace. And today I needed (and gained!) those as I continue to face my trials but have a new trial-by-association.
I haven't had a good cry in the temple in a long time. It helped a bit with the perspective and healing.
Friday, June 19, 2015
I didn't think this topic would still be in there, considering I've already blogged about family history, eternal families, and temple ordinances. But I can still blog about it--because I can always say something about the temple. :-)
If you haven't been able to tell with this blog, I really love the temple. I always gain something at the temple when I go with the right spirit, preparation, and attitude. Whether I'm on their calm, rejuvenating grounds or inside where it is peaceful and inspiring. Always something to help guide me and to help me become more like Christ and get closer to my heavenly home.
Thursday, June 18, 2015
Jesus - Leader, Part 2
Lead me, guide me,
Walk beside me,
Help me find the way.
Teach me all that I must do
To live with Him some day.
But I think the plea to be led back to our Heavenly Father is also to our Savior. Because He has been there, and experienced all, he is just The One to guide me, and to walk by me, and to help me find my way.
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Even as we encounter difficulties and face the uncertainties of the future, we can cheerfully persevere and live a “peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (1 Timothy 2:2).
In spite of all I have learned over the years in regards to cheerfulness, and one of my favorite scriptures being Doctrine & Covenants 123:17 (Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed), I still need to be reminded that I need to be cheerful.
So I decided a little bit of Pollyanna-ing is in order.
*I may not have been able to walk today from extreme leg soreness, but at least it wasn't my abs--I've sneezed so much today that I would have been in severe pain from that.
*I look ridiculous walking right now, and my legs randomly give out on occasion, but I always love the feeling that I've worked my muscles well. A reminder that they do work, and a joy that I am getting stronger and changing their shape.
*Kool-Aid playdough in storytime. Such a mess, but such fun and the kids liked if
*Not planning but conveniently doing the 2 messiest activities of the summer on consecutive days. With the messes overlapping, it made it a little less time/effort in cleaning up the mess.
*Getting the things done that I need to with YSRT, ILEAD, etc. One day at a time. It's not the most effective way for me to work at my best, but it helps me get all I need done. And right now, that's all that is needed.
*Two great co-workers who have been so patient during all my venting frustrations without judging me. I already knew I needed to behave better. And they were just supportive by being there and knowing I'll be better soon.
*Though not all the time I'd like to read, I'm in the middle of 3 very interesting books.
*Got to go to Institute tonight. Always a plus.
*I have a trimmer and I've been using it. In stages, because the battery keeps running out. (Lots of weeds to get through on this first round.)
*The fans in my home. They help so much when one keeps the A/C at 84 degrees.
*I randomly woke up just before 5 this morning. Not my typical drowsy, but an all-out wide-awake. While I would much more have preferred to be sleeping, I had a moment to look outside and see how beautiful and peaceful it was. Hearing the birds chirping before the construction vehicles across the street started up. The calm peace I long for in longer doses. It was nice to glimpse it.
*Realizing that my national band & choir had graduated in social media--and was on Facebook AND YouTube. (Hilarious and memory-inducing to see portions of our Bus Videos.)
*Food. I like having it. I am grateful I have some, too.
*Seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. It's a really long tunnel, but the light is there.
Tuesday, June 16, 2015
Jesus - Leader, Part 2
Monday, June 15, 2015
Jesus - Leader
So, in one case, Christ is the Head and thus highest Leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
But He is also a leader for all the world--for all who have lived and will yet live on the Earth. Christ is a leader for all of God's children. Heavenly Father wants all of His children to return to Him, so He appointed His Only Begotten Son to be the one to lead us back home. As with any leader, there will be some who choose not to follow, who will disobey, who will falter, who will fail, who will grumble. But many who make these mistakes in following their leader will repent and return to following Him. And in his great mercy and kindness, every one of us has innumerable chances to repent and return to following Him.
Sunday, June 14, 2015
More Random Gospel Thoughts
Today I got to attend two missionary homecomings--one of my cousin, and one in my ward for a young man I knew in our ward for a year before he left, and know his mother as well. In both of their talks I was reminded that my desire and my path are the same--to serve my God by serving His children. Listening to their stories, especially the returned elder, I was reminded again that my trials are rather trivial. They are difficult for me, as each of our trials are "attuned" to our own personal weaknesses and where we need to grow or can most/best learn patience, faith, strength, trust, etc. We are not to compare, but we can still gain perspective. And in spite of this awful time, it's not as bad as I have experienced before. And my life is so richly and greatly blessed. Perspective of what the elder saw and served on his mission is a reminder that I have more than I deserve. I can handle this one upsetting, discouraging part of life, coupled with the intense stress that life is adding to it, which will most certainly pass. I've dealt with if all these year already. I can deal with it until the Lord sees fit that I've learned what I need to, gained what I need to.
Saturday, June 13, 2015
Random Gospel Thoughts
I thought I was over things. Yesterday I made a proclamation that I was done and moving on, but it was more of a motivational speech for myself. Which didn't really work. I was in such a bad/angry mood all the day before I realized I was just kidding myself. Because I'm still frustrated. And a bit annoyed. And really, really hurt. And disappointed. All of it coming together in one great summary: I am discouraged. So, it helped that just now, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and saw an acquaintance post this:
"Of course there will be some problems along the way. There will be difficulties to overcome. But they will not last forever. He will not forsake you."
"Look above your trials. Try to forget your own pains as you work to alleviate the pain of others. Mingle together with your brothers and sisters in the Gospel. We need others to talk with and to share our feelings and faith. Cultivate friends. Begin by being a good friend to others. Share your burdens with the Lord."
I love all the words of our prophets. But I can guarantee that whenever I need an uplifting message on any topic, I will find it from our dear President Hinckley. quotes
Friday, June 12, 2015
Second Coming of Jesus Christ, Part 3
Thursday, June 11, 2015
Second Coming of Jesus Christ, Part 2
Some of the signs are positive, some are negative. Some may bring fear and yet if we are living righteously these signs can give us hope from the knowledge that our Savior's Coming is very soon. So, what are some of these signs?
Matthew 24: 5-6, 24, 29-30:
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Pause for Institute Reflections
We covered Elder Holland's recent Conference talk--the one with the fabulous story that I got to hear in-person, and was immediately affected by.
Tonight, we broke down that story and discussed the parallels of it to our relationship with the Savior.
These are the ways Sister A. broke down the story:
*there was no way to lift himself
*his muscles began to cramp
*Panic started to sweep over him, and he began to fear
*he might, by his considerable arm strength, pull himself to safety
*I said my last prayer...then I leapt.
*I felt nothing but loose sand on flat stone
*there with nothing to hold on to...my fingers begin to recede slowly
*then suddenly...two hands shot out
*My faithful little brother had not gone...he had never moved an inch.
*He had simply waited—silently
*knowing full well I would be foolish
*he grabbed me, held me, and refused to let me fall.
As we began, I decided to go through the lesson with my recent trial in mind to see how I have been and could apply what we discussed. Now, my trial is not just one specific area of my life. It's rather a conglomeration of things right now, each one affecting another. I would love to go into detail, but as I link these posts to my Facebook page and several people who are involved in this personal trial of mine are my friends on Facebook, I don't want to give specifics for fear of "incriminating" them or hurting them. All that needs to be said is that it has slowly been building on to itself, it has brought tears in private and in public (which really says something in my case), it has left me frustrated and feeling hopeless.
As we discussed the parts of the story, I could agree with every thing as it pertained to this current trial. I especially have felt the emotional muscles cramping; I've had panic steadily rising over the last few years; I have prayed much and finally leapt (more than once, actually); and I feel that right now, I'm slowly receding on loose sand. I have not moved beyond that part in this trial, and yet I know that the rest will assuredly come about in the Lord's due time.
How? Because I've seen it happen over and over in my life already: When I was the Zombie (as mentioned recently in a post on the Atonement). When I was in My Darkest Days while in VA (entries abound in this blog during that time). When I was spiritually battered in the first few months of DE Part 2 and felt so alone with no friends in that new place. When I was part of The Fight in 5th grade that left me losing the best friend I had and leaving me for a time with no friends whatsoever. When I endured a very emotional college sophomore semester that left me feeling drained and hopeless. When I suffered nervous breakdowns in my Freshman and Senior years of college. When my best friend--the man I wanted to marry--didn't want to marry me. I have made it through these and so much more, exactly as the story parallels.
I know my Savior has not gone. He's there, waiting silently. Waiting for me to continue making the decisions I need to and even do some more leaping. And at some point, after I've given my absolute very all and cannot hang there anymore, he will grab my hands, hold on with all His strength, and pull me to safety. I am not dangling helplessly and alone. I know I will make it through this.
Tuesday, June 9, 2015
Second Coming of Jesus Christ
Using the topical guide, here is the list of Bible scriptures related to Christ's Second Coming: