Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Merry Christmas

This is the first year we have gone to see the lights at Temple Square as a family. My girls loved it. The lights on the trees and the bushes are beautiful, but nothing compared to the grandeur and beauty of the temple. My three year old loved seeing the temple and the large organ in the Tabernacle. My toddler loved seeing Jesus. It is amazing how young children know who he is and are so captivated by him. He is the reason for the season, the reason our hearts beat with love, the reason we are a forever family. Glory to God and Merry Christmas to all.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Grateful for Everything

Yesterday's Sacrament Meeting at church was filled with such a powerful spirit of the Lord. A woman in our ward spoke about her life. She was born in Russia and taken away from her parents due to neglect and abuse and put into an orphanage. Living in the orphanage, she had virtually nothing, but her brother and sister. She was once taught to pray by some visiting missionaries, but religion was not tolerated in the orphanage. She prayed in secrecy but got caught and punished very harshly. Her best friend started playing with some kids who offered her cigarettes, she tried them and didn't like them so they wouldn't be her friends anymore.

Through a miracle, she and her brother and sister were all adopted by a lady in Utah. This was a miracle because nobody was ever adopted while she was there. She came to Utah and was amazed at all of the abundance of things around her. She fell on her knees when she walked into Target, astonished by the size of the store and everything in it. She took an apple and started to eat it (she had to steal everything in Russia). Her new mother stopped her and told her they needed to pay for it first. When they got home from the store, her mother gave the three of them each an apple. She took two of the apples and hid them in their room so they would have food for later. Their mother saw them sharing only one apple and asked where the others were. They wouldn't tell her. She found them and insisted on them eating all of the apples, they would have more food later. They were amazed.

Her mother taught them many things. She taught them about love, family, and the gospel of Jesus Christ. This girl's life has been changed to much. She once had no shoes, now she has more than she needs. She has a nice home, a close family, and a loving husband. I have never listened to someone who had so much gratitude for every thing she has.

Her talk really made me think about the blessings we have in our lives. We are truly so blessed to live in America with so much abundance. I have a family who loves me. I have never been starving for food. I have had everything a person needs. The Lord has blessed my life with so many things.

Her talk reminds me of a book I also read early this month called 'The Silence of God.' It is a book about the first LDS family in Russia. They lived during the Russian Revolution. I don't want to share too much about the story because I think you should read it. It is an amazing story. It really made me think about the blessing of being American, the freedom of religion, and the safety we enjoy here.

This past General Conference, our living prophet, President Thomas S. Monson urged us all to be more grateful and have an attitude of gratitude. "This is a wonderful time to be on earth. While there is much that is wrong in the world today, there are many things that are right and good. There are marriages that make it, parents who love their children and sacrifice for them, friends who care about us and help us, teachers who teach. Our lives are blessed in countless ways."

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to think about our blessings. We may not have the nicest home, the newest car, the latest gadgets, but we have so much to be grateful for.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Temple Blessings

Just 6 years ago I was able to go through the temple to receive many blessings and covenants the week before I was going to be married. Going to the temple is such an exciting opportunity to worthy members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Ladder-Day Saints. It is a beautiful place filled with peace, love, and the spirit of God.

When we were first married, it was very easy to get to the temple when we wanted to go, so we went often. However, once we had our first baby, it was a lot harder. Going to the temple takes us about 3 hours. I love to go, but it is hard to be away from a baby who needs her mommy for that long.

My husband is now serving as the Ward Clerk and as a part of the bishopric has been challenged to go to ward temple night every month. At first this seemed like an insane request... every month? But over the past few months, we have been able to pull it off. We have been blessed with baby sitters for our girls and have found the time and motivation to get to the temple.

I love ward temple nights now. It is a special time to get together with others in our ward and worship in the sacred temple. I wish more people in the ward would make it a priority.

Today is Stake Temple Day. We are planning to go do initiatory service tonight. I can't be more excited. Temples truly do bring blessings and are a big blessing in our lives.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Rocks or Jewels

The teacher in Sunday School today asked us what reminders we have in our house that remind us of the covenants we have made and the people we want to be. People replied with 'pictures of Jesus' and 'pictures of the temple'. The teacher talked about how we decorate our house can bring the spirit of the Lord into our lives and give us little reminders to do our best and be our best.

My thoughts turned to a reminder I had by my bedside for years, I saw it every night when I went to bed and every morning when I woke up. Two small sandwich bags tied together with a ribbon and with a thought. One bag had a bunch of ugly brown rocks. The other bag was filled with jelly beans. The tag said, "Are you choosing Rocks or Jewels?"

It was a little hand out from the most memorable Young Woman lesson I ever had. However, the lesson was not taught by a young woman leader. It was taught by one of the other Laurel girls in my class who had gone inactive and I had not seen for a few months.

She talked about the little decisions she made of which friends to hang out with which led to skipping school. Each bad decision led to more bad choices leading her farther and farther away from church and the good jewels of life she wanted.

Tearfully she told us that she was pregnant. The father wanted nothing to do with the child and she was going to give her baby up for adoption. We all cried with her. It was a heart felt lesson in which no eye stayed dry. I can still remember the feelings of love from that day.

What are we choosing to do with our lives? Are we choosing rocks or jewels? Do we choose to do things which lead us away from our Savior or are we choosing the better part and coming unto Him?

Many years have passed and I don't know what happened to this friend. She has no idea how much her lesson has touched my life and how long those bags of rocks and jewels sat by my bed reminding me to choose the jewels in life each day.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Gratitude for the Little Things

Sometimes I find it is hard to realize how blessed my life really is. I know I like to say I am grateful for all my blessings, but sometimes feel like I never take the time to really think about what each little blessing is? The other day I was laying in my hammock under the cherry tree thinking of all the many blessing I have in my life. This is how my thoughts went:

Wow, the cherry blossoms are really big and beautiful.

I am so thankful for my Heavenly Father who created such beautiful blossoms on this tree.

I am thankful for the person who planted this tree so many years ago so I can be enjoying its beauty today.

I am thankful it is a perfect tree for my hammock.

I am thankful for this time to sit in this hammock and look at these beautiful blossoms.

I am thankful for whoever made this hammock so I can be resting in it and looking at these cherry blossoms.

I am thankful for a beautiful little girl, who is napping, so I can be in this hammock under this tree looking at these beautiful blossoms.

I am thankful for the baby monitor so I don’t have to be in the house while she sleeps and can be in this hammock looking at these gorgeous cherry blossoms.

I am grateful for this perfect, peaceful, warm, spring, afternoon that I can be looking at the beautiful blossoms on the cherry tree.

The list could go on and on. In that moment I could feel the many small and little blessing that I take most for granted each day of my life. What a wonderful blessing that my Heavenly Father gave to me to have that moment of peace, beauty, and gratitude in my life. (from a journal entry April 2009)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Week 2 - Jesus Christ Our Redeemer

"Hope comes from faith in Jesus Christ. He has already overcome the world and has promised that He will wipe away our tears if we will only turn to Him and believe and follow.

Some who at this very moment feel desperate or discouraged may wonder how they can possibly regain hope. If you are one of those, remember that hope comes as a result of faith. If we would build our hope, we must build our faith.

Faith in the Savior requires more than mere belief. The Apostle James taught that even the devils believe and tremble. But true faith requires work.

... I testify of Him, that He has overcome the world, that He will never forget or abandon us, for He has graven us upon the palms of His hands. I testify that those who keep His commandments will grow in faith and hope. They will be given strength to overcome all of life’s trials. They will experience peace that passes all understanding."

The Rock of Our Redeemer

Elder Wilford W. Andersen

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Week 1

"Now, mothers, I understand that it sometimes appears that our children aren’t paying attention to the lessons we’re trying to teach them. Believe me—I’ve seen that glazed-over look that comes to the eyes of teenagers just when you’re coming to what you think is the best part of your instruction. Let me assure you that even when you think your daughter is not listening to a thing you say, she is still learning from you as she watches you to see if your actions match your words. As Ralph Waldo Emerson is believed to have said, “What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say”."

Mothers and Daughters

Elder M. Russell Ballard
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Last week was a church wide General Conference. We were very uplifted by talks from prophets, apostles, and other church leaders. The talks give instruction and guidance for our daily lives. For the next few weeks, I want to focus on the talks from this past General Conference and share a little thought that touched me.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Making Lemonade from Lemons

This past week, the girls had a little vacation and Grandma and Grandpa's house in while Jeremy and I went on a little vacation to Washington DC. We tagged along with my mom while she was at a conference. Thus we got a free hotel room at one of the nicest hotels in DC and we were also able to get free airfare.

However free airfare comes at a cost. Somehow, it always does. We had a layover in Phoenix that was only supposed to be about 45 minutes. However, our plane was delayed about 45 minutes. So our layover time was doubled.

We were supposed to get into BWI at 11:35, however we got in at around 12:30. Then it took a long time for our baggage to get up to us. Then we hurried over to the shuttle service whom we had booked a ride with.

At 1:02 they told us that we would have to wait 20 to 30 minutes for another plane with some other passengers that was just landing.

Well we waited...and waited...and waited. We had to wait. It was so late that only one shuttle driver was still working that was going to DC.

At 1:48 the others arrived and we were on our way...not straight to DC. First we made a stop at a residential neighborhood to drop one man off. Then we stopped at another hotel on the other side of DC for another man.

After we dropped off the second passenger, Jeremy decided to strike up a conversation with the driver. He was a black man with an accent. Jeremy served his mission with many blacks in the West Indies and dove right back into the missionary inside him. (Complete with his West Indies accent slipping back. Ya Mon!)

He asked the man about himself. Where he was from and if he had ever heard about the Mormons. He talked to him about the temples and church and the Book of Mormon. I even found a pass along card in my scriptures to give to him. The man was very nice and receptive to the discussion about our church.

It always amazes me at how Jeremy can take a crumby situation and turn it into a good experience.

At 3:00 am we FINALLY made it to our hotel.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Promptings from the Holy Ghost

I have felt many promptings from the Holy Ghost throughout my life, but the one time I remember feeling strong promptings was a time that I didn't listen.

I was 16 years old and had just received my driver's license weeks before. My friend and I were driving to another friend's house one evening when a distinct voice came into my thoughts that said, "Turn here."

Then I reasoned, "No I shouldn't turn here. I'll have to make extra turns if I do. I'll just keep going and I'll only have to make one turn before getting to our friend's house."

I heard the promptings again a second time, "Turn here."

That way would send me into a residential area that I didn't know very well. "No I'll just get lost in that way."

The third time I heard the voice it was strong and loud, "Turn here."

"No I am just going to keep going." And I did.

When I came to the light at the intersection, the light was green. However it was a three way intersection and I didn't realize that another direction had a green light at the same time. I turned left and straight into a car. It was completely my fault.

Luckily nobody was hurt and there wasn't much damage. But the whole accident could have been avoided if I would have listened to the promptings I heard.

I realized that these promptings weren't just thoughts in my head. They were directions from the Holy Ghost to guide me and keep me safe. From that day on I have been determined to listen to the promptings no matter how out of my way they may send me. Sometimes the promptings have led me to friends and people who needed my help and other times nothing has happened. But I wonder, what would have happened if I didn't listen. That is something I don't want to find out anymore.

"As you strive to stay on the path that leads to eternal life, the Holy Ghost "will show unto you all things what [you] should do". He will guide you in your decisions and protect you from physical and spiritual danger. " (True to the Faith, pg. 82)

2 Nephi 32:1-5

1 And now, behold, my beloved brethren, I suppose that ye ponder somewhat in your hearts concerning that which ye should do after ye have entered in by the way. But, behold, why do ye ponder these things in your hearts?

2 Do ye not remember that I said unto you that after ye had received the Holy Ghost ye could speak with the tongue of angels? And now, how could ye speak with the tongue of angels save it were by the Holy Ghost?

3 Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.

4 Wherefore, now after I have spoken these words, if ye cannot understand them it will be because ye ask not, neither do ye knock; wherefore, ye are not brought into the light, but must perish in the dark.

5 For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Book of Mormon Challenge

The bishop of our ward challenged us all to reread the Book of Mormon by June 15th. I love reading the Book of Mormon and have a testimony of its truthfulness. However, it is hard to find time to sit down and read the scriptures with two little girls keeping me so busy all the time. But I am determined to take the challenge and finish by June 15th. I am already ahead of schedule and am in 1 Nephi 8.

I love the story of Lehi and the tree of life. The path way which leads to our Savior is a straight and narrow path. If we just hold onto the iron rod, which is the word of God, we can make it through the mists of darkness and partake of the fruit of the tree of life which is the love of God. Although at times we may be tempted to let go of the rod and follow the way of the world, we must hold strong and keep the commandments of our Lord. Let us all endure to the end.

I challenge anyone else to read the Book of Mormon along with us and finish by June 15th. For if you read the book and pray about the things which you read, the Lord has promised that the truth of it will be made known unto you.