Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tongue of Angels

Here are some things I learned as I studied 2 Nephi 32:1-5:

• I have been given the Gift of the Holy Ghost as a constant companion.

• With the Holy Ghost as my companion, I “could speak with the tongue of angels.”

• And on those occasions, when I am not speaking with the tongue of angels, I do not have the Holy Ghost. (And I think I am pretty sure I know when I am speaking without the Holy Ghost!)

• An angel could include me! (When it comes to speaking, that is.)

• So, when I speak “by the power of the Holy Ghost,” I am speaking like an angel!

• And speaking like an angel (in angel tongue) means I am speaking the words of Christ!

• So there is one HUGE reason why “feasting on the words of Christ” is so important! It gives me POWER to speak His words.  So when I do speak, they are His words that can come out of my mouth.

• Also, because I have the Holy Ghost, I have the right to Ask and Knock.

• Asking. Knocking. (Boy, I need to do this more often.)

• By asking and knocking, I open my heart to the Holy Ghost who can then bring me out of the dark and into the light.

• Then, when I do see the light (ding), the Holy Ghost can show me ALL things what I should do . . . and say! All things!  That is truly amazing!

• Note to self: Reread Elder Holland’s April 2007 General Conference Talk!!!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tidbit Tuesday - Do Your Best

"Please don’t nag yourself with thoughts of failure.
"Do not set goals far beyond your capacity to achieve.

"Simply do what you can, in the best way you know, and the Lord will accept your effort."

-President Gordon B. Hinckley
Ensign, November 1989

Monday, March 29, 2010

Jacob and Joseph

Last week, as I was studying the Sunday School lesson, a thought that never occurred to me before, increased my love and awe in how good and wonderful is the Lord!

That God knows the beginning from the end.

That in our human inability to understand the whys and the whens, God is able to make all things right.

Because He knows how a particular situation, a certain circumstance, even an accident, can bring His purposes about.

The story is of Jacob when he "loses" Joseph.

When Joseph becomes a "missing person" and there is no "person of interest" because the persons of interest told their father that their brother had maybe been torn up by wild beasts.

Missing.  No body.  No evidence but a shredded coat.

And for the first time while reading this story - because I am a mother now - my heart ached with Jacob, for "he refused to be comforted."

But the thing about this story, is that we know what happened to Joseph!

And even more than that, as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we know that what is happening because of The Restoration was because of Joseph!

But right then - in those moments when Joseph's brothers sold him (for twenty pieces of silver) and then told their father he was dead - and then for many subsequent years to follow, Jacob was missing one of his sons.

And God, in His goodness, allowed so many things to play out out of that one misfortune.

Joseph, literally becoming the savior to his family and the whole Israelite kingdom.  Being a type and shadow of the Savior Himself who was sold (for thirty pieces of silver) and left for dead, but was then resurrected to save all of His Father's kindgom. . .

And as I contemplated the great love that both fathers had for their sons (God, the Eternal Father and Jacob) - enough love to let their love bless me - I feel such a greater appreciation for this Easter Week.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. "

Sunday, March 28, 2010

It's Soapbox Sunday

Just FYI for all Sunday teachers – STICK! TO! THE! MANUAL!

After doing my part in studying and pondering this week’s lessons assignment, one of the Sunday teachers thought it would be a good idea to do “research” on the general topic of the specific lesson. I ended up wondering where the original lesson came in at all!

Not once was the original lesson mentioned . . . nor was one scripture read! NOT ONE.

I didn’t know if I was more upset about being upset or upset about being spiritually undernourished.

The other Sunday teacher thought it would be a good idea to turn the lesson into a lecture. ACK!

Now, while I am trying my hardest not to judge, I know very well that I will come across like I am.

And while I am also trying my hardest not to sound preachy, I know very well how this particular blog will be taken by some!

But here I go anyway as I endeavor to voice my opinion because, as imperfect as a teacher I am, I take into careful, obedient consideration these IMPORTANT guidelines.

BTW - These guidelines come DIRECTLY from the manuals and the Ensign magazine that every teacher and student should have!!!! I did not make these up!

From the Priesthood/Relief Society Manual:
Teach the Doctrine

Before you teach from a chapter, study it thoroughly to be sure you understand the doctrine. Also study the additional scriptures listed at the end of the chapter. You will teach with greater sincerity and power when the teachings in the chapter have influenced you personally. Never speculate about Church doctrine. Teach only what is supported by the scriptures, the words of latter-day prophets and apostles, and the Holy Spirit (see D&C 42:12–14; 52:9).
If you have been called to teach a quorum or class using this book, do not substitute outside materials, however interesting they may be. Stay true to the scriptures and the words in the book. As appropriate, use personal experiences and articles from Church magazines to supplement the lessons. (italics added).
From the Sunday School - Old Testament Manual:
Encouraging Class Discussion

You normally should not give lectures but should try to help class members participate meaningfully in discussing the scriptures. As class members participate, they more effectively learn about the scriptures and better understand how to apply gospel principles. Seek the Spirit’s guidance in deciding which questions to ask, how to organize them, and how to develop them.  . .
Scripture references are provided to help you and class members find answers to most questions in the scriptures. Answers to some questions will come from class members’ experiences.
For Priesthood/Relief Society 4th Sunday Lesson a.k.a. Teaching for our Time
Suggestions for Preparing a Lesson from Talks

Pray that the Holy Spirit will be with you as you study and teach the talk(s). You may be tempted to prepare the lesson using other materials, but the conference talks are the approved curriculum. Your assignment is to help others learn and live the gospel as taught in the most recent general conference of the Church.
Review the talk(s), looking for principles and doctrines that meet the needs of class members. Also look for stories, scripture references, and statements from the talk(s) that will help you teach these truths (italics added).
From the Primary Manual:
Helps for the Teacher
In 1831, shortly after the Church was organized, the Savior taught that teachers “shall teach the principles of my gospel, which are in the Bible and the Book of Mormon” (D&C 42:12), which were the only scriptures available then. Today teachers have the responsibility to teach the sacred truths from all the standard works, including the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price, to help children develop faith in God and in his Son, Jesus Christ.

From the Aaronic Priesthood/Young Men's Manual
Additional Resources

Use the scriptures. Encourage the young men to bring their scriptures to priesthood meeting each week. Have marking pencils available for them to use during each lesson.
Encourage discussion. Invite the young men to respond freely and to ask questions. Recognize each young man’s contribution so he will want to participate in the future.
Use available Church magazines. The New Era, Ensign, and international magazines contain many outstanding stories and articles that may help enhance certain lessons in this manual. Particularly useful are the issues that contain talks given by the General Authorities of the Church at general conference.
Finally, this quote is found at the beginning of the Young Women's Manual and it pretty much sums ups everything in this, my Sunday Soapbox blog:
Elder M. Russell Ballard counseled: “Teachers would be well advised to study carefully the scriptures and their manuals before reaching out for supplemental materials. Far too many teachers seem to stray from the approved curriculum materials without fully reviewing them. If teachers feel a need to use some good supplemental resources beyond the scriptures and manuals in presenting a lesson, they should first consider the use of the Church magazines” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1983, p. 93; or Ensign, May 1983, p. 68 bold type added).

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Book Review - "The Power to Prosper"

I checked out this book because first of all, the title was interesting to me. I don’t know why, because I DON'T like financial books of any kind. But as I was I quickly thumbing through the pages and landed on a whole. entire. chapter. dedicated to TITHING, I decided to take it on home.

Michelle Singletary is an award-winning, nationally syndicated columnist for The Washington Post. She is also a member of the First Baptist Church of Glenarden. The ENTIRE book focuses on finances applying gospel doctrine!

And outside The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it fascinated me and it also brought me great joy in knowing that tithing works in any religion!

Needless to say, I have thoroughly enjoyed (surprise!) reading about how one can prosper when it comes to money! And it does not mean being miserly OR does it mean to be a spendthrift.  I have enjoyed reading the testimonies of those who have worked with the Lord through their money situations and have come out AMAZED what He will do if we are willing to put Him first!

I appreciated how Singletary used all 10 commandments and likened them to our fiscal responsibility between us and God!  Especially how she likened the seventh commandment to finances!

I think what I loved most about this book is that God’s blessings are irrevocably tied to commandments.

Elder Russell M. Nelson said: “If you really want a certain blessing, you’d better find out what the laws are that govern that blessing and then work on becoming obedient to those laws.”

Singletary has captured those laws of finance and has blessed so many in helping them see the blessings tied to obedience!

In addition, and the crux of the whole book, is her invitation to all readers to go on a 21-day financial fast. It is truly an incredible, eye-opening journey!

This book is worth purchasing and putting it in your personal library!

CLICK HERE for Michelle Singletary, The Power to Prosper: 21 Days to Financial Freedom

Friday, March 26, 2010

Screen Cleaning

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(Your kids will love it, too)!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tidbit Tuesday - Sacrifice

“The willingness to sacrifice all things must reach broadly and deeply enough to include the sacrifice of our sins, our vanity, our self-esteem, and our love for worldly comforts. Sometimes we must also sacrifice our determination to understand to our rational satisfaction why we should be lost in darkness.”

Bruce C. Hafen
(The Broken Heart, Salt Lake City, Deseret Book, 1989, p.59)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Book Review - "Nibley on the Timely and Timeless"

I really do love reading the writings of Hugh Nibley!

I suppose it is because my brain is SO small, SO non-knowledgeable, SO clueless compared to his, that so much of everything he writes is a new discovery for me!

This particular book is a compilation of some of his very best essays, published by Brigham Young University.

One of my favorite chapters is when he expounds upon the sacrifice of Isaac, which is a shadow and type of Abraham's sacrifice, which is a shadow and type of the Savior's ultimate, atoning sacrifice.
I do admit that there was one chapter I just had to forego because it when WHOOP - right. over. my. head.
I think the most amazing part for me, as if there is only one amazing part, is the fact that there are documents, plates and scrolls being discovered and translated daily that testify that there is a Christ!  They verify and stand as witness to the holy scriptures to which we have daily access!
This book is a fascinating discovery of ancient life, traditions and how other ancient documents parallel the history we know well in the Old and New Testaments and The Book of Mormon!  Not to mention that Brother Nibley is adept in some 14!!! languages!
For me, any work of Nibley' is a treat!
Nibley on the Timely and Timeless, Brigham Young University, 2004
I just found that Timely and Timeless is accessible online!!  Read for yourself! CLICK HERE!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sunday Learning

Today in Sacrament Meeting the speakers spoke about the first and the fourth commandments.

Commandment #1: “Thou shalt have no other Gods before me.”

Commandment #4: "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it."

The sister who spoke about the first commandment said something that made me write this down: If I put ANYTHING before God, I am breaking the first commandment.

Then, when the brother who spoke about the fourth commandment read from Doctrine and Covenants 59:12, he brought attention to the footnote of the word oblations.

Oblations = Offerings

Some examples of my offerings (oblations) are: my time, my talents, or my means in the service of God or fellowman.

So I wrote this down: If I put my time, my talents, my means, my work, other people, my emotions, my thoughts, my hobbies, or my way of “life” before God, I am breaking the first commandment.


Then, in Sunday School - our last Family Search class – I was so moved by this statement by President Boyd K. Packer about my responsibility to do work for my kindred dead:
"Family history work has the power to do something for the dead. It has an equal power to do something to the living. Family history work of Church members has a refining, spiritualizing, tempering influence on those who are engaged in it. They understand that they are tying their family together, their living family here with those who have gone before.

"Family history work in one sense would justify itself even if one were not successful in clearing names for temple work. The process of searching, the means of going after those names, would be worth all the effort you could invest. The reason: You cannot find names without knowing that they represent people. You begin to find out things about people. When we research our own lines we become interested in more than just names or the number of names going through the temple. Our interest turns our hearts to our fathers—we seek to find them and to know them and to serve them.

"In doing so we store up treasures in heaven."
Finally, in Relief Society, our instructor talked about how Deliverance is the theme of our lives.

It was the theme for Abraham, Isaac, Moses and the children of Israel.

Deliverance was key for Limhi, for Alma and his people, for the Anti-Nephi Lehies.

It was in the desire of Mormon pioneers who trekked across America.

Truly, Deliverance is really the theme for all of us. For all of us will find ourselves in a terrible abyss, looking for a way to escape.

“I believe,” our instructor said, “the Lord has planned an escape for everyone!"

Only it is up to us to take His escape route.  For His Atonement is the ONLY escape, the Savior being our Deliverer.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Day at the Temple

Today my husband, my 12 year-old son and I went to the temple to perform some baptisms and confirmations for the dead.

The baptistry was f.u.l.l.

We waited almost two hours to be baptized.

Some of the family names we took to the temple today have been waiting for as long as 270 years to receive the ordinances of salvation!

This particular family of 15 had had the chance for over a year to be baptized.  But for unknown circumstances they were not baptized until today.

So while I waited, I watched.

Beautiful, worthy young women filled the temple this Saturday morning.

One young woman turned 12 today! She was at the temple for the first time with her family!

And while I watched these youth dressed in white, also waiting happily with me, my mind recalled the scene opened to President Joseph F. Smith in 1918 as he was given a glimpse into the Spirit World (see Doctrine and Covenants 138).

In the Ensign, December 2009, George S. Tate wrote an article about this vision.  In it he wrote:

"The vision shows how the work of redemption was and is organized among the dead, how the Lord’s servants “carry the message of redemption unto all the dead” (Doctrine and Covenants 138:37). It shows that a way has been provided for all to receive the saving ordinances, reconfirming the connection of temple work to the redemption of the dead (see Doctrine and Covenants 138:48, 54). And it invites us, the living, to actively participate, through seeking after the dead by performing vicarious ordinances (see Doctrine and Covenants 138:33), and in so doing drawing the two worlds together."
And today, for my family, these two worlds were brought together.

After a mere two hours on this world.  . . it was SO worth the wait!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Where do Animals Go When They Die?

We are dealing with death and dying at our house.

Our horny toad, Spikes, looks like he’s on his last hop and breath.

It’s very sad for all of us.

This leads to some very serious, very profound questions from our children!

One of those questions: “Will animals go to the Celestial Kingdom?”

Hmmmm . . .

Just this week, while reading a fascinating book of essays by Hugh Nibley (to be reviewed very soon), I found an insight to that very question!!!

This is from Brigham Young in Journal of Discourses, 8:191:

“Always keep in view that the animal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms – the earth and its fullness – will all, except the children of men, abide their creation – the law by which they were made, and will receive their exaltation.”


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Self-Help My Family

Last year I went to the Library seeking enlightenment and checked one of those “Self-Help Your Family” books. It was a book by Richard and Linda Eyre.

And I was SO thrilled to be able to have in my two little hands a book that would help me help my children be responsible.

And so I began the anticipated journey of reading, studying and applying so I could teach my regular children who would gloriously transform into responsible, polite, well-mannered, well-organized children.

BTW, did you KNOW that Richard and Linda Eyre have NINE children?


What I mean to say is this: Unless you have ten or more children, you cannot say, “Well, I tried what the Eyres suggested and well, it just didn’t work!”

Because I HONESTLY had to put the book down (numerous times, mind you), turn to my husband in disbelief and say, “It would be easy for me to poo-hoo this information if they were a family of two children - one in college and the other in pre-school - But honey, THEY HAVE NINE KIDS!”

To which my husband responded, “So what?”

“So what?” I mustered. “SO WHAT?? I’ll tell you WHAT! It means if they can effectively teach their NINE children responsibility with all these activities and lessons and discipline tools and rewards and consequences with spiritual direction, have it all planned and well-orchestrated AND documented to put in a book for parents to read, it means that WE SHOULD BE ABLE TO DO IT WITH LESS CHILDREN THEN THEY HAVE!!!!”

To which my husband casually responded, “So?”

“So? That’s all you’re going to say is SO?”

“Honey,” he’s replied in smiling mode now because I was all up tight, “all I am saying is that we are not the Eyres. We don’t have to be the Eyres. . .We just need to be us.”

“Yes, but just look at US! Look at our children. They complain about chores. They argue about who’s going to be the first to lick the bowl, and the last to get in the car. . . They don’t even go to bed when they are supposed to! And by the end of the night I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when they are actually asleep.”

“Well honey,” he sighed, as he kissed me on the cheek. “I love you. I am sure you’ll have it all figured out by morning.”

Then he curled into the blanket and hugged his pillow and began snoring himself into a deep slumber. Just. Like. That.

I decided right then and there that I needed to get out my What Husbands Think About Wives book so I wouldn’t use the Eyres’ book to hit my husband over the head!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tidbit Tuesday - Submit Your Will

"As you submit your wills to God, you are giving Him the only thing you can actually give Him that is really yours to give. Don’t wait too long to find the altar or to begin to place the gift of your wills upon it! No need to wait for a receipt; the Lord has His own special ways of acknowledging."

-Neal A. Maxwell
See  Ensign, May 2004

Monday, March 15, 2010


The GOOD News
"The word gospel means good news. The GOOD NEWS is that Jesus Christ has made a perfect atonement for mankind that will redeem all mankind from the grave and reward each individual according to his/her works. This atonement was begun by his appointment in the premortal world but was worked out by Jesus during his mortal sojourn. Therefore, the records of his mortal life and the events pertaining to his ministry are called the Gospels; the four that are contained in our Bible are presented under the names of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John."


taken from President Hinckley's opening remarks in October 2001 General Conference.
"The vision of Joel has been fulfilled wherein he declared:
'And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
'And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.
'And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
'The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come.
'And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call' (Joel 2:28–32)."
General Conference will be here in 20 days!

The Lord will ALWAYS give us a warning before He destroys us! : )  (see 2 Nephi 25:9; Ether 12:3)

The POWER of the First Principle of the Gospel
Faith in Jesus Christ - anchors our souls
Faith in Jesus Christ - makes us sure and steadfast
Faith in Jesus Christ - prompts us to abound in good works
Faith in Jesus Christ - leads us to glorify God

The POWER of a Good Example (Good Example = Light)
A Light – shines for others to see
A Light – allows good works to be seen
A Light – exemplifies, typifies, and glorifies God

The POWER of Keeping the Lord’s Standards
We can be steadfast and immovable
We can always abound in good works
So that Christ may SEAL US as His! (To have everlasting salvation! To have eternal life!)
(See Ether 12:4; 3 Nephi 12:16; Mosiah 5:15)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Bad Hair Day

Last summer my entire family – my parents, my siblings and all of our 18 children (all under the age of 15) - got together. We had a great time. And under the direction of my mother, we were obliged to take some family pictures.

However, the family pictures were taken AFTER everyone ate and AFTER all the children had time to run around.

So you can imagine how we all looked!

I had joined my family after I had participated in Baptisms for the Dead, so our family snapshot was captured on my worst hair day of the year. . .

My handsome husband was WAY over due for a haircut. . .

My good-looking children had chocolate smeared across their smirked, little faces, not to mention the red punch stains on their clothes . . .

All of my boys had their shirts tucked out . . .

And I won't say anything about my daughter . . .

So you gotta believe me when I say we were SO not ready for a 20x30 family photo you would see hanging on any living room wall!!!

We all pretty much looked like rolled around in a cave for weeks and had just came out to see the light.

Which was just fine! Until . . .

My brother turned all those lovely pictures into a family calendar.

And my dear father decided to send out COPIES (copies and copies) of these family photos for his Christmas Card 2009!

Now fast forward to just a few weeks ago.

My 12 year-old son, my husband and I were at the temple to perform Baptisms for the Dead.

As we were waiting, I recognized a woman who was in my ward before I left on my mission.

She knew my family well.

But I could tell that she was having a hard time figuring out who I was, because she @#!*% her head to the right a few times before she realized it was REALLY me!

When we did get to visit (reverently and quietly, because we were at the temple), the VERY first words that escaped her mouth were, “I thought that was you, but you wear your hair SO differently than in the Christmas Card your father sent me!”


And that’s when I started to laugh.

And laugh.

And laugh!!

Because I DO NOT EVER – intentionally - wear my hair like I did in that family photo.

And so the reason she was making such funny faces at me (well, cocking her head and squinting), before recognizing who I was, was because that is how she seriously thought a person would wear their hair!!!
And after I got home and laughed it over with my husband, I thought “Oh I am so glad that the Lord sees me as I REALLY am!”

He could care less about my bad hair days! (Although, I think He does care about how I feel on those miserable days).

He’s not too concerned about my stature. (Thank goodness weight is not the weighing factor for entering the Celestial Kingdom – yes, pun intended).

He does not look at my financial status/credit score/investment properties/stocks as acceptance into His kingdom. (Excepting the tithing part. He expects at least that much of a financial obligation to enter into His kingdom. And a generous fast offering. And in being honest all financial dealings).

He doesn’t even care about my educational accolades. (What I am saying is that I don’t need to have a PhD – or have a high school education for that matter – to know that He lives and how to get back to Him. But I do believe He does care about what I DO with what I KNOW!).

For in spite less-than-picture perfect days, He looks upon our hearts and loves us STILL.

And then, when we choose to give our WHOLE heart to Him - He will change us . . . Make us even more beautiful in His sight.

Which hopefully will result in the day when we get to see Him again - Face to face - and He says,“Of course I know YOU because no one on earth has a heart (or hair) like you do!"

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sarah and The Lord

So, I was reading our Sunday School lesson and these two verses POPPED right out at me and settled in a thoughtful compartment of my heart and nestled itself right DEAD CENTER in my train of thought!
“And the Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did unto Sarah as He had spoken.
For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him (Genesis 21:1-2).”
And it made me STOP, literally, and ponder (for a very long time) the meaning of such beautiful words.

And then I got out my scripture journal and began writing the implications of these two, doctrine-filled verses.

1. With God, NOTHING is impossible!
This specific phrase is used by an angel of the Lord when he speaks to Mary about 1) becoming the mother of Jesus and 2) in telling her that Elisabeth “hath also conceived a son in her old age.”

So it appropriately fits for Sarah’s circumstance as well. For to think that a 90 year old woman would or could be with child, is a rather far-stretched idea. And then to think she would even be so overjoyed about being pregnant at such a ripe, old age is enough to make one laugh (see Genesis 21:6).

But I think there are some factors going on here. First, a child is what Isaac and Sarah desired for many, many years. They were willing to do anything to receive the righteous desire of the hearts. And secondly, I believe that a righteous woman is willing to do whatever the Lord asks of her, anytime He asks of her. And because what He sometimes asks of her IS hard and inconvenient, it allows unforeseeable, unforgettable, undeniable godly blessings to shower down upon that woman who chooses God before herself!

2. God DOES NOT nor CANNOT lie.
Sarah, at age 90 (being a “new” mother – can you imagine?), with joyful laughter testifies, “God hath made me laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me.” She knew that if God had told her she would have a son, she would!

She knew, as Enos knew (see Enos 1:6-8) that: “God could not lie.” And because God could not lie (does not and cannot), and because of Sarah’s faith on His name - and the very promise He made to her - she rejoiced (and laughed) of something so seemingly impossible (and unheard of) to me and you.

3. God know us individually.
The Father of our spirits is certainly aware when His creations enter into this world. How we would enter. Where we would enter. When we would enter.

And I am as certain that He is aware of who would be the one to bring His spirits into the world.

Notice how verse two in Genesis 21 takes careful consideration to explain just how well God knew Sarah! He visited her; He spoke to her; He did unto her that which He had said.

4. There is a TIME for every purpose under heaven.
A time to be born! A time to die! And sometime within that time frame Sarah was to fulfill the purpose that God sent her to do. Even at 90! And she was there to do it!

Remember the story in Sheri Dew’s book: Nobody Can Take Your Place, when she (Sis. Dew) didn’t try out for the college basketball team because of fear, and it was the only year the BYU Women’s Basketball team was missing one player (HER) from the roster!!

And then there’s George Bailey, who, unbeknownst to him until Clarence comes, is able to see what life would be like if he wasn’t born at all!  George is able to see that life in Pottersville (not his familiar Bedford Falls) would have been very, very different!

5. I am a child of God and He has sent me HERE. (You know the map: YOU ARE HERE!)
Sometime ago a member of the Bishopric bore his testimony and said something so profound that I will not forget. He cited this first, familiar line: “I Am a Child of God and He has sent me here” emphasizing the HERE part.

God sent Sarah HERE. (Well, not here, here. I mean HERE on earth).

And she did it! She did what was asked of her. Old as she was. Laughing as she did!

Which reminds reminds me of what Mordacai says to Esther when she thinks the task ahead of her is difficult: “And who knoweth whether thou art come to [this earth] for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14)?

Which, in turn, reminds me that God sent ME here.

Right HERE.

For Right Now.

(Now go do the right thing - Thank you, Dr. Laura)

6. And an FYI (because I just figured this out and I think it is so awesome): Isaac means He Laugheth(i).
The Hebrew root is tzachak(i) which both means “to laugh” (as Sarah did when she found out she was going to have a baby boy) and “to rejoice” (which is what Sarah did to testify of God’s greatness and goodness). Double meaning. So cool!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Doo Hickey

This week, while walking home with our kindergartener, he requested that we stop for a moment. Carefully, he removed his little backpack from off his shoulders, opened it up and pulled out some funny looking rock/wood doo-hickey thing and threw it on the ground.

Me: Um, what’s that?

Son: I don’t know.

Me: Why do you have it?

Son: I picked it up off the ground this morning and put it in my backpack.

Me: Why?

Son: Because I wanted to kick it around while we walk home!

And kick it around he did - until he was bored and his last kick left the doo-hickey in someone’s yard.

Which I saw lying there today - in the very same place he left it yesterday. . .

Which made me consider, how many times we figuratively pick things up off the ground.

Like garbage. . .

Or something someone threw away because it was broken or misused . . .

Or wanted buried.

Or stuff that just isn’t worth anything – or shouldn’t be.

Yet we choose to put it on our backs, pull it out and find a way to kick it around.

To make a deal out of it.

Then it uses up our time, our thoughts, our energy, as we kick around this doo-hickey . . . when we should have just left alone IN THE FIRST PLACE!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Book Review - "Peculiar in a Good Way" by Mary Ellen Edmunds

Mary Ellen Edmunds (a.k.a. MEE) is one of my favorites!

I LOVE the way she teaches the gospel so simply, and yet so full on truth and real life!!

In her book, Peculiar in a Good Way, she writes of different ways that we, as Latter-day Saints are uncommon and different from the rest of the world.

Some of the chapters in this book are entitled: “Can You Cook?” “Extreme Makeovers” and “Follow the Prophet.”

Sister Edmunds shares gospel doctrine and personal experiences so delightfully that you cannot read the book without laughing – at least twice – in every chapter!

What I loved most about this book is her ability to explore our peculiarity and then happily invite us to do even better!

Above all, I love that she comes across REAL, as you and me, with a whole lot of terrific insights about wonderful, everyday stuff!

I share one of her personal experiences that I really loved:

“When I was first a missionary, I went as far from home as I could without staring back. It was about 10,000 miles from Utah to Hong Kong. After spending a few days with President and Sister Taylor at the mission headquarters, I was assigned to Taiwan, a zone of the Southern Far East Mission.

“I arrive not knowing any Mandarin. I had spent a week in the Missionary Home in Salt Lake City, but although that was a fantastic experience, there was no language instruction.

“Mandarin did not sound like a language to me. It was like little bursts of noise, and each noise had a tone, and it was all new and strange to my ear. If was as if the people, including little children (who would really show off!), were singing a strange, unrecognizable song.

“Slowly but surely I began to learn how to get the right tone on some of these “noises.” Like many missionaries, I unconsciously nodded or bobbed my head to try to emphasize which tone I meant. If you saw a video of those early efforts, I think you would laugh. Or cry.

“Gradually I could say hello to people and understand a smattering of words. I even learned a little song from the children, only to learn later that I was singing I was a monkey, swinging from tree and eating bananas. Oh well . . . it seemed to entertain them.

“One of the first long tings we were to learn was how to tell of Joseph Smith’s experience in the spring of 1820. Each morning, my companion, Jan Bair, and I would ride our bikes to the outskirts of Tainan and she would help me go over and over this “Joseph Smith Story,” memorizing and improving it little by little.

“And then one day she said, ‘You’re ready.’ Oh! I actually didn’t want to be ready! It meant she expected me to share it with someone!’

“I admit it was hard not to pray that no one would let us in their home on the beautiful day in November. And it was hard not to pray that even if someone answered the door, they’d tell us to go away.

“Eventually we were in the home of Sister Lin, and she wanted us to teach her. Sister Bair began, and I did my best to put the right Chinese words on the flannel board (THERE’S an indication of how long ago this was – it was 1962). I couldn’t read any of the words on the flannel strips, but I had written on the back what went where, and when, I even had arrows so I wouldn’t get them upside down.

“At some point it became very quiet in Sister Lin’s small living room, and Sister Bair was smiling at me. It was time.

“In that terrifying instant, a realization came into my heart. At that moment in my life, all I could do was the best I could do.

“And so I began to say my little noises the best I could, likely bobbing my head around ever so slightly as I went along.

“Here was the miracle: the Holy Ghost was able to take me little noises over to Sister Lin, and they entered her ears, her mind, and her heart, she heard: A young boy named Joseph Smith went to a grove of trees to pray, and the Father and the Son appeared to him . . .

“Can you imagine my feelings? Can you imagine the joy and wonder of it all! All I could do was the best I could do, and that was what He was asking.”

Mary Ellen Edmunds, Peculiar in a Good Way, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2006.

Other books I have read and LOVED by Sister Edmunds and that I HIGHLY recommend:
Love is a Verb
Thoughts for a Bad Hair Day
You Can Never Get Enough of What You Don’t Need: The Quest for Contentment

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tidbit Tuesday - If The World Were a Global Village

“If we could shrink the earth’s population to a village of precisely 100 people, with all the existing human ration remaining the same, it would look like something like the following:

• There would be 57 Asians, 21 Europeans, 14 from the Western Hemisphere (both North and South) and 8 Africans.

• 52 would be female; 48 would be male

• 70 would be non-white; 30 would be white

• 70 would be non-Christian; 30 would be Christian

• 6 people would possess 59% of the ENTIRE world’s wealth (all 6 would be from the United States)

• 80 would live in sub-standard housing

• 70 would be unable to read

• 50 would suffer from malnutrition

• One would be near death

• One would be near birth

• One would have a college education

• One would own a computer

Mary Ellen Edmunds, You Can Never Get Enough of What You Don’t Need, Salt Lake City, Deseret Book, 2005, p. 160.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Comfortless, but not Comfortable

God promised that He would not leave me comfortless, but I don't think that means He wants me to be comfortable, either.

After all, this is the day of my probation.

And anytime I have read "probation" in the scriptures, it is directly tied to death or sin.



And a WHOLE lot of other stuff.

The last time I checked, none of those things are comfortable.

But the promise is that He will not leave me comfortless.

He hasn't, yet.

And I know His promises are sure.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Two Great Ends

Yesterday, during the baptism, we watched the video “The Restoration.”

I love the story of The First Vision.

I love it because it invokes in me tender feelings of when I first knew – KNEW WITHOUT A DOUBT – that Joseph Smith was called as a prophet of God.

The prophet of the Restoration.

The First Prophet of this - the Last and Final – Dispensation.

There was one part in the video that caught a corner of my heart and it tugged on it for a long, long while.

Because I found myself thinking about the role of righteous women.

Righteous women? During the Joseph Smith video?

I know! That’s why I say it caught my heart because it wasn’t related directly . . . although it was, I think.

In the movie, after Joseph's magnificent Vision, the camera shows him leaving, quite contemplatively, that Sacred Grove of trees.

As he slowly turns away, he begins his walk from out of the tree. Slowly at first, and then gradually he is seen running towards home.

And while in his running towards home he calls, “Mother!”

Of all the people he could have told about what he saw that morning in the grove of trees, he went home to tell his Mother!

Lucy Mack Smith – this woman of a boy prophet - found herself on the boundary of two great ends: the End of the Great Apostasy and at the Beginning of the Restoration of the Fullness of Times.

And as the Restored Gospel began to unfold - literally within the walls of her own home - she left one Great End and adhered herself to a greater Beginning.

And the question I ask myself, as one corner of my heart is being tugged, is when I find myself of the boundary of two great ends, will I be strong and brave and faithful enough to adhere to the one that leads me to a greater beginning?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Holy Ghost

Today our fifth son was baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


I am absolutely overjoyed that I am now not alone in trying to help this enormous bundle of intensity figure it out! Now he has the Holy Ghost to Be. There. With. Him. 24/7.

Since I was the “designated” speaker to the assigned topic of the Holy Ghost to speak at his baptism, I was gently reminded of some of the wonderful things about the Holy Ghost.

Here are some of the things that I shared:

• Before one is baptized, one can have the blessings of the power of the Holy Ghost. The power of the Holy Ghost gives one the witness that that gospel is true. It can come upon someone as they read and pray about the Book of Mormon. It can influence a heart when it hears the words of a true and living prophet.

• Along with being confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, one receives the gift of the Holy Ghost. This gift gives one the rights to have the companionship of the Holy Ghost at all times (I suppose that is why we are asked to His witness at I all times and in all things and in all places).

• There are so many benefits of having the gift of the Holy Ghost. Here are just a few:

 The Holy Ghost will testify that God is our Heavenly Father and that we are His children.

 The Holy Ghost will testify that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.

 The Holy Ghost will testify of truth: The truth of the Book of Mormon as well as the truth that 2+2=4!

 The Holy Ghost is a Comforter. He will provide comfort in times of affliction or strife. He will comfort us when we are in need of peace or direction.

 The Holy Ghost will bring ALL things to our remembrance. This may be a very good thing, particularly when we’ve lost keys or homework or shoes. However, if we don’t repent of our sins – no matter how big or small – the Holy Ghost will have us remember these, too! He does this so hopefully, we will have “godly sorrow,” helping us to repent so we can be clean before God!

 The Holy Ghost will be a guide.

 The Holy Ghost will be a protector.

 The Holy Ghost will be a cleansing agent [think bleach] to purify and sanctify us from ALL sin. Isn’t that AWESOME?! This is one of the reasons that baptism AND the receiving of the gift of the Holy Ghost go hand in hand – we are baptized for a remission of our sins and the Holy Ghost is there to cleanse us as we repent from our sins!!!

• The Holy Ghost will speak quietly. Our job is to LISTEN and then DO what the Spirit has told us. Elder Richard G. Scott, from October 2009 General Conference said this: “Spirituality yields two fruits, The first is inspiration to KNOW what to do. The second is POWER, or the capacity to DO IT.”

Below are five things (although there are so much more) that come immediately to my mind when I think of what I need to do to be able to hear and follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost:

 Pray.
     Praying for the Spirit helps me recognize it when it talks to me, It also helps direct me when I pray, so I can pray for the things that are in accordance to God’ will.

 Write down your ideas, feelings, impressions. Keep a Personal Revelation Journal.
     My journal is a simple notebook. I started it the day I heard Elder Scott’s talk. I am trying to write down thoughts and ideas that come to me. Earlier this week my husband and I were discussing a specific need for our family. Although those things we discussed came from our mouths and our heads, I wrote it down in my Personal Revelation Journal because I was unsure on how I – mother and CEO of the family – could best implement the idea. Guess what? I went to Relief Society Meeting this week and what we did answered my questions e.x.a.c.t.l.y
    It was amazing! Because I had taken my Personal Revelation Journal with me and was literally recording all my answers in my notebook before I even realized that it had answered my question!!!!!

 Beware of strong emotions that overpower the Spirit.
     Elder Scott said this (which was a GREAT object lesson for those eight year-olds as I held a grape and a jalepeño in front of them): “The inspiring influence of the Holy Spirit can be overcome or masked by strong emotions, such as ANGER, HATE, PASSION, FEAR, or PRIDE. When such influences are present, it is like trying to savor the delicate flavor of a grape while eating a jalepeño pepper. Both flavors are present, but one completely overpowers the other. In like manner, strong emotions overcome the delicate promptings of the Holy Ghost.”

 REPENT! (Need I say more?)

 Do what the Spirit has asked you to do.
     CLICK HERE for an AMAZING story I shared (in brief, of course) with those at the baptism. (I even checked it out with the Church's Missionary Department, just to be sure this was a true story).
     It is a letter written by Sister Lisa Laycock, wife to President Larry Laycock who is the current Mission President in the Santiago Chile East Mission. (You know, Chile, home to the 8.8 earthquake which is the reason I have to go to two different grocery stores to get an EXPENSIVE bunch of grapes for my object lesson!).

There are so many things to which I am deeply grateful. The promise of having the Holy Ghost as my companion is one of those at the very tippy-top of my list!!

I am overwhelmed with awe that the Lord promises us that He will never leave us comfortless; that in a world of noise, noise, noise - if we listen with our hearts - we will hear His voice!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Scripture Connections

I LOVE it when the Spirit helps me to make a scripture connection. Because believe me – I couldn’t do it on my own!

The connections I made are in bold, color coded.

Doctrine and Covenants 45:56-58:
56. And at that day, when I shall come in my glory, shall the parable be fulfilled which I spake concerning the ten virgins (See Matthew 25:1-13).

57. For they that are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit as their guide, and have not been deceived – verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day.
58. And the earth shall be given unto them for an inheritance; and they shall multiply and wax strong, and their children shall grow up without sin unto salvation.

Doctrine and Covenants 84:45
The Word of God = Truth = Light = Spirit = Jesus Christ (see John 1:1-5).

Doctrine and Covenants 93:36-37, 39=40, 42
36. The Glory of God = Intelligence = Light and Truth

37. Light and Truth forsake the Evil One. (For He is the way the Truth and the Light! see John 14: 6).

39. And that Wicked One cometh and taketh away Light and Truth through disobedience (See Ephesians 2:2). (Disobedience is how Satan deceives us from Light and Truth).
 40. I have commanded you to bring up your children in Light and Truth (See Doctrine and Covenants 68:25).

42. [But if] you have not taught your children Light and Truth, according to the commandments;  . . . that Wicked One hath power, as yet, over you, and this is the cause of our affliction [thus being a foolish virgin, and not a wise virgin].
The one AMAZING scripture connection I made, while discovering all of this, is that the Parable of the Ten Virgins, The Parable of the Talents and The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats - all three found in Matthew 25 - follow the chapter in which the Savior foretells of the calamities that will preced His Second Coming!!!

My thoughts about that for another blog!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


This week someone thought that I would be "creditable" enough go over a resume and actually have something constructive to add to their already professional accolades.

Hello. I've been a full-time, stay-at-home mom for over a decade and a "resume" is so NOT in my vocabulary.

But I'll be happy to tell you just a few of the words that are in my vocabulary: housework, homework, Church work, whistle while I work . . .

So while I was fine-tuning, this well-bred resume, to shreds (because I was trying to make a professional, well-educated resume to fit a sassy, non-professional house-mom personality - and I apologized profusely to that someone who asked my "creditable" [ha] opinion), I thought about what would happen if I cranked out a professional resume for myself.

Here is what I came up with from the top of my head.

• (Pro)created an inclusive “Eight is Great” family of seven boys and one girl and still trying to figure out why Bedtime Rituals are in favor of the children.
• This week’s culinary prowess on the incline: Two children now in favor of cucumbers and carrots; Two other children surprisingly in favor of DR Beans; and one child not asking for cold cereal for dinner (that is truly one giant leap for mankind).
• Found a GREAT deal on bacon! Brought that home and forgot the toothpaste!
• Vacuums with great agility.
• Finishes most of the ironing . . .

• Family Home Evening every Monday. (Of course, what happens between the opening and closing prayers usually surprises us, too).
• I love the scriptures. I gotta have my daily dose!
• I (usually) have clean bathroom mirrors because dirty ones are a HUGE pet peeve.
• I am honest. Unless we are dealing with chocolate in my mouth and children looking for its hiding place. . .
• I can sew a button on a shirt. Hem and Haw.

Part owner/Part Operator, Earth Family
I provide the nurture and oversee the day-to-day, sometimes minute-to-minute (when it comes to homework) operations of the business. I have a detailed understanding of what a patient mother should possess, but I lost the Instruction Guide and have to pray most of the time to find it (not for the Instruction Guide, but for the Patience). I also cater and chauffeur. And try to live within a budget . . .barring no ER visits or broken toes.

Full-time Employee, years ago
Honestly, that was so long ago that I forgot what I did or why I even did it! I remember the pay to be decent, but the rewards for the career I have now are “out of this world!”

What I really gleaned from all this resume-ing is the profound gratitude I have for my husband who provides for our family and supports all of us so I can stay home. I know not all women can say that, and I don't want to come across all snooty-tooty about it. Because I KNOW staying at home is a blessing, particularly in this economic environment!

And because a resume resembling what I wrote would barely even get me the job I have now!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tidbit Tuesday - Eternal Debt

I am eternally indebted to my Heavenly Father to render to Him all that I have, all that I am.

- See Mosiah 2:34

Monday, March 1, 2010

Today's Big and Little Miracles

On Saturday night, at the Adult Session of Stake Conference (one of the best kept secrets in the Church – if I didn’t mention that already), a member of our Stake made such a profound comment. He said, “There are big miracles and there are small miracles. But really, no miracles are small, because if it happens to you, it’s BIG!”

And today – THIS VERY DAY - there occurred in my life, two BIG miracles!

Over the weekend my six-year old niece was diagnosed with Kawasaki’s Disease.

After eight days of intense, unexplainable symptoms, including an over-the-top high fever, my sister took her to an urgent care doctor, who gave a careful but exact diagnosis and sent them on their way to the ER!

She spent two nights in the hospital - complete with an echocardiogram, ultrasound of the heart and a gamma globulin transfusion.

And during these past ten days, our family has PRAYED that she would be okay.

We prayed that her little body could recover from “The Unknown Plague” that was infecting her body.

We prayed that the doctors would know exactly what to do for her symptoms, because we didn't know.

We prayed during family prayer, during dinner prayer, and even included her in all the prayers we said before we left the house.

And the BIG miracle for us today is that her heart looks GREAT! For Heavenly Father needs that little six-old on earth for a little while more!

I have this ring.

It’s not a fancy ring or even an expensive ring.

I got it at Girls’ Camp two years ago.

Inscribed on the plain, silver band is the reference: D&C 88:133.

The ring reminds me of my covenant to be fixed, immoveable and unchangeable as a sister in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

To walk always in His commandments.

Well, after I got home from Scouts this afternoon, I looked at my finger AND IT WAS GONE.

It's not a ring that I can replace.

And part of me felt so devastated.

But the other part of me calmed the devastated part of me because even though this was a special ring, it was really only something temporal.

Because I thought of the ring story President Hinckley told in Conference a few years ago.

And I realized that the loss of my ring wasn’t THAT important.

But I offered a little prayer, anyway. Because it REALLY bothered me that I lost my ring.

I told Heavenly Father how that ring meant so much to me.

How that silver ring connected me spiritually to incredible young women who strengthened me and inspired me as I watched them stand for truth and righteousness.

And I told Heavenly Father that it would be okay, too, if I didn’t find it. Because I would remain true to Him, with or without my ring.

And after I prayer, I knew that I would be okay if I didn’t find it.

Then, when I picked up a dish towel and out of it fell my silver band from Girls’ Camp, I remembered the last part of that verse in D&C 88:133 about walking in thanksgiving to God forever and ever.

And I quickly went and told all my children (who, earlier, had heard my lamentation) and told them how good Heavenly Father was to me, for letting my ring fall out - right onto the kitchen floor.

And my little miracle second became, as Saturday Night’s Speaker said, such a BIG, wonderful miracle for me!