Thursday, September 30, 2010

Meekness, Weakness and Strength

Whenever I read Ether 12 and then blend that with Moroni 7, I am awed by the power and directness of Moroni's words

And wonder why he feels his writing is "weak" (Ether 12:23-25).

Because to me, Moroni's writing overcomes me as he testifies of faith in Jesus Christ, miracles, hope, discernment between light and dark, and, of course, charity - the pure love of Christ.

Today as I was pondering his words, this specific phrase tugged at my intellect and pulled at the understandings of my heart:

"My grace (meaning the Savior's) is sufficient for the meek, that they shall take no advantage of your weakness" (Ether 12:26).

While I understand this phrase in the context of what Moroni is describing, I meditated how it can be applicable to me.  That's when I thought about the many times, in my meekness-less, I have taken advantage of the weakness of others.


Because I have done it!!  Not knowing that I was being meekless, because I was only being RIGHT.

Double Ouch!

Moroni continues to share the words of the Savior, writing,

"If men come unto me, I will show unto the their weakness. . . that if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in  me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them" (Ether 12:27).

Weak things like being meekless to others . . .

or being slow to observe . . .

or quick to judge . . .

or complacent in service . . .

or selective in sharing.

And thankfully, Moroni shares the simple key to overcoming meeklessness -  The key of being "fit to be numbered among the people of His Church" (Moroni 7:39).

It is by having FAITH in Christ.

For faith brings hope.

And hope brings charity.

And charity, brings us to Him.

"That when He shall appear we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him like He is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as He is pure."

He, who makes me - a weak thing - strong, because of His infinite, everlasting Atonement.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tidbit Tuesday - God's Mercy

"The mercy of God is personalized.  Aaron's behavior in the golden calf episode was not his finest hour, yet later a priesthood was named after him.  There are so many ways in which God demonstrates His long-suffering, mercy, and generosity, often by providing us with the necessary experiences of record, opportunities to learn fundamental spiritual truth for ourselves.

"On the road to Emmaus, the resurrected Jesus could have told the two disciples at once with Whom they conversed.  Instead, He let them learn later, upon reflection, what it meant to have had their hearts "burn" within them.  How many times in the days to follow did those so tutored have cause to recognize and be guided by a burning in their bosom?"

-Neal A. Maxwell
Whom the Lord Loveth

Monday, September 27, 2010

Marys and Josephs

This is something that came to me the other day while I watched the incredible DVD The Lamb of God.

The Savior’s life began and ended and began with Mary and Joseph.

Mary, the mother of Jesus, was the first woman to behold the Son of God in the flesh.

Joseph, the earthly father/guardian of Jesus, was the one who procured the quiet stable for the birth of God’s son.

Joseph of Arimathaea, a “member of the Sanhedrin who took no part in the crucifixion of our Lord,” was the one who, after the Savior’s death, “had taken the body . . . wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock.”

Mary Magdelene was at the tomb in the morning of the resurrection and was the first woman – first person, in fact – to witness the body and the glory of the resurrected Lord.

Both Marys were first witnesses to the glory and divinity of the Son of God – in the flesh and in the resurrected flesh, while both Josephs took care of the first and last temporal needs of the physical nature of the Savior.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Bright Star in the East

I am not good at watching the stars, which means I don't know much about constellations.

In fact, because of my son's homework, I just learned that the moon RISES in the East and sets in the West.  Can you believe I didn't know that?!

But the last few days I have noticed a big, bright star in the East.

And I found out that it isn't a star, but really is the planet Jupiter and it's the closest it's been to earth since 1963!!

CLICK HERE to read more about it  . . . right after you run outside to see it!

Saturday, September 25, 2010


In Spanish, the translation for mouthpiece or spokesman (as in a prophet being the mouthpiece of the Lord – see 2 Nephi 3), is portavoz.

When I read this word I immediately translated this word for me as "portable voice." A voice I can take along, like an Ipod, that can be replayed and listened to whenever I want.

Tonight is the General Relief Society Meeting.  This meeting will provide sisters worldwide to listen to portable voices, called of God, to lead us at this time. The words offered tonight will be that of counsel, guidance and direction specifically for women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Next weekend will be General Conference! 15 of those portable voices will be prophets, seers and revelators, giving us the way to safety and peace.

What makes these “portable” voices even more significant is that even without an Ipod, or the luxury of the Internet, when we are familiar with these leaders called of God, we can read the words on the written page and literally hear their voices in our minds and hearts.

It has been 25 years since President Kimball has passed away, but whenever I read his words, I hear his voice! I can hear President Benson’s voice, President Hunter’s and President Hinckley’s! I can also hear the voices of Elder Marvin J. Ashton, Elder Bruce R. McConkie, Elder Neal A. Maxwell as I read their sermons and remember their testimonies.

How grateful I am the Lord has given me a portable voice.  A voice that transcends technology and is directed into my heart.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Family: A Proclamation to the World

Yesterday was the day - 15 years ago - when President Hinckley presented to the world, during the General Relief Society Meeting, The Family: A Proclamation to the World.

Ironically, as I have thought about the importance of that document throughout this whole month, family happenings and experiences have occurred that have directed me to the words proclaimed by the mouth of a holy prophet!

Here are some things that I have learned and am learning about marriage and family and our relationship with God.

1. “Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God.”

When two people have been directed through the spirit of the God to bind themselves together in marriage, and then keep and live their covenants, I am learning that I do not have the right to judge them! What I need to learn is how I help, serve and love without interferring or interrupting?  What can I do to provide strength to someone's marriage without imposing what I think should be done?

One of the things I have pondered very deeply this month is what role will my husband and I take when our children are grown and married with families of their own. When will be okay to let our children deal with their choices and when will it be necessary for us - my husband - to act as the “Patriarch?”

So premature in my experience to these thoughts, I can only think that that guidance and knowledge will come under the direction (and only under the direction) of the Holy Ghost.

2. “The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife.”

Ultimately, I believe, that is WHY we are here! We are here to help in the process of bringing Father’s spirit children to earth. I also believe the number of children a couple has is up to them.

Today I met a woman who, after answering her question of how many children I had, told me she felt very complete with her two. I found myself thinking what a wonderful way to express her feelings about her family! That she felt complete! I hope to be able to use that very phrase when I feel as she does!

3. “Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.”

Let me first state that I don’t believe any marriage or any family is perfect. I can go around comparing or judging all I like, but the fact of the matter remains that each marriage and each family has their own, unique set of challenges and experiences. Sometimes those challenges are very apparent to others; sometimes - perhaps many times – they are not.

While I have had and will continue to have experiences in my marriage and in my family that cause me to diligently seek for answers and rely on God’s help, I must remember there are many things (like intensely trying circumstances as well as sacred, God-given experiences) that will only be between a wife, her husband and the Lord!

Also, I find it very significant that in the list of principles on what establishes and maintains a successful marriage, that list DOES NOT include some of the following: a minimum yearly gross income, the ideal number of children, a minimum education requirement, a specific Church calling, or an ideal body weight. Instead, The Proclamation states, “Happiness in family life is more likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

4. “Fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.”

Very early in my marriage I found myself doing the “usual” working so my husband could do the “usual” get through college. There was one point that found me frustrated and very emotional. I confided in a friend, fully expecting her to tell me things that would validate ME! I explained to her that I couldn’t wait for our “roles” to change (that of my husband doing the working and me the staying home). What she told me took me completely off guard.

She replied, “Darla, you have not changed roles! You are merely adapting to your circumstances. You thank the Lord for giving you the opportunity of seeing things differently than what you have expected them to be!” Then she walked off! She gave me NO sympathy. And it stung!  It stung B.A.D.L.Y.  But it became the pivotal moment when my attitude began to change about me, my husband and my obligation as an equal partner.

For that's what a marriage is. And the few times that I have tried to “balance” that equal partnership by trying to get others to view my “equalness” as unbalanced, has only caused that fulcrum to move farther from me. And farther from God.

5. “Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.”

Here is what I know to be true: Life is MY ultimate test.

It is my test to see if the covenants I have made are the very covenants I will keep and live. There are times and circumstances and situations that blind me from remembering WHY I came here. Those things cause me to want things for me and for others that are not promised by a loving Father in Heaven. Those worldly desires diminish my faith, clouding the promise that, if I am faithful and true, I will be given EVERY righteous desire of my heart.

How grateful I am that the temple is where I am reminded my mission, my covenants, my relationship to God. And what I must do with my obligation to marriage and family as a daughter of God.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


"The Apostle Paul taught that the Lord’s teachings and teachers were given that we may all attain “the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Eph. 4:13). This process requires far more than acquiring knowledge. It is not even enough for us to be convinced of the gospel; we must act and think so that we are converted by it. In contrast to the institutions of the world, which teach us to know something, the gospel of Jesus Christ challenges us to become something" (Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Ensign, November 2000).
The other night as I was studying my Book of Mormon in Spanish, I came across this verse found in 2 Nephi 2:17: “And I, Lehi, according to the thing which I have read, must needs suppose that an angel of God, according to that which is written, had fallen from heaven; wherefore, he became a devil, having sought that which was evil before God.”

Immediately I noticed that in Spanish the verb to become is translated using the verb convertirse meaning: to convert, to change or transform.

So when translated literally from Spanish to English, that one line would read: “he (meaning Lucifer) converted himself to a devil, having sought that which was evil before God.”

Interesting, isn’t it, that becoming, in all essence, is really about being converted.

Elder Oaks testifies: "The gospel of Jesus Christ is the plan by which we can become what children of God are supposed to become. This spotless and perfected state will result from a steady succession of covenants, ordinances, and actions, an accumulation of right choices, and from continuing repentance. “This life is the time for men to prepare to meet God” (Alma 34:32).

"Now is the time for each of us to work toward our personal conversion, toward becoming what our Heavenly Father desires us to become. As we do so, we should remember that our family relationships—even more than our Church callings—are the setting in which the most important part of that development can occur. The conversion we must achieve requires us to be a good husband and father or a good wife and mother. Being a successful Church leader is not enough. Exaltation is an eternal family experience, and it is our mortal family experiences that are best suited to prepare us for it." CLICK HERE to read Elder Oaks's entire talk!!

So I ask myself: To WHAT am I being converted? And WHO am I becoming?

I've decided it all depends what is written in my heart.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Wrong Hearts/Right Hearts

“As long as our hearts are wrong, we can’t do right . . . [But] when our hearts are right, the obligation we feel to treat others generously comes to us as an opportunity."

C. Terry Warner
Bonds That Make Us Free

Saturday, September 18, 2010

I'm Not Born Yet

Today my youngest son, age four, shouted to me from another room.

"Mom! Mom, come here!"  He sounded frantic.

"What is it?" I asked.

"Mom, I haven't been born!"

"Of course you have been born!" I replied, noticing his face filled with extreme concern.

"No, Mom. Look, I haven't!"

He showed me what he had found when he opened the filing cabinet: folders with all the names of his brothers and his sister, but not his.

"See, Mom.  Everyone is there but me.  I guess I haven't been born, yet!"

Darn it!  Looks like I need to go get a copy of his birth certificate (instead of waiting for him to start kindergarten) so I can make him a folder with his own name.

Because he has been born!  REALLY!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Praying for Rain II

After yesterday's post about praying for rain, my thoughts turned to something I discovered a little while ago as I was studying about the Law of Tithing.

In Leviticus it says, "And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s: it is holy unto the Lord." (Leviticus 27:30).

A long time ago (I mean, a VERY long time ago), the Law of Tithing pertained to seeds, flocks, fruits, and grains.  These things, at the very least, reminded the giver from Whom they came and how they came!

These commodities - this type of "income" - could not come up from nothing or from one's own doing.

The seeds, the flocks, the fruits and the grains needed the sustenance from the earth. They needed the sun and the rain; the heat and the cold.  They needed those things created only by God and given to man.

Truly, this income was considered "lilies of the field" -  for only God could array them, clothe them, bless them.

Centuries upon centuries upon centuries passed.

Seeds, flocks, fruits and grains took on a new identity called currency. And this currency slowly began to replace the Whom from all the goods ultimately came from and the what they needed to be used for.

This is where tithing and a generous fast offering is so essential to personal growth and spiritual development.  For rendering back which has been given so willingly to me gives me the faith and the obedience to remember from whence ALL my blessings come.

For God is the One who causes it to rain.

And He is the One who causes the sun to shine.

And He is the One who blesses the seed, the flocks. the fruits and the grain.

He is the Giver.

I am the Receiver.

And "all that He requires of me is to keep His commandments" . . . for if I do keep His commandments He doth bless me and prosper me" (Mosiah 2:22).

How blessed am I that He allows me to pray for rain.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Praying For Rain

My husband is self-employed.

Every day we pray for rain.

Because rain equals work.

Without rain our family wouldn’t survive and neither could my husband – the hunter, the gatherer, the provider that he was divinely created to be.

Being self-employed, at least for us, has meant occasional phases of abundant rain. Those occasional phases has brought unassuming acknowledgment of God’s hand in our lives!

Most of the time, however, we find ourselves figuring out how to forecast the drought. For we are less than seldom accurate when it comes to predicting when the rain will fall, or for how long.

But life is a fertile testing ground, filled with so many opportunities to grow faith and nurture testimony.

And what I am realizing is that not so long ago many more people in this very country prayed for rain.

Prayed for rain to provide.

Prayed for rain to live.

Prayed for rain to survive.

We funny, civilized people think that rain should come when the weather guy says so.

Or we think rain should be convenient only to fit our schedule, our plans, or our moods.

But for me, because it is something that is constant on my mind, rain is symbolic of how much I need God!

How much I need Him to bless me.

How much I need Him to show me.

How much I need I Him in my life!

I have had too many experiences of being – physically and spiritually - right where I have needed to be to humbly “consider the lilies of the field how they grow.”

I know that lilies don’t have mortgage payments or the worry of transportation needs or costs, but God still arrays them.

Additionally, He continues to clothe the grass of the field, which will inevitably turn brown with autumn on its way!

And along with the lilies and the grass, God gives me an assurance - His parental promise - that “even so will he clothe ME, if I am not of little faith!!”

Let me tell you, sometimes my faith is SO little when I’m in the shadow the Great and Spacious Building! Celebrated by super-model shopping sprees, big screen TVs with 500+ channels, luxuriously furnished homes, and technology that is guaranteed to make life better, easier and more fascinating!

But in drought or times of plenty, I KNOW the Great and Spacious building has NOTHING to offer me at all!

No promises.

No assurances.

And certainly no mortgage payments.

So I continue to pray - pray for rain.

Because rain is what I need.

It is what my family needs.

And I believe rain is what He wants me to need, too.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My Sister in the Lord

Today I felt like Alma the Younger, who, after fourteen years of being separated from his brethren, was reunited with them. And what added to his joy was that “they were still his brethren in the Lord.”

I think the significance of that statement was NOT the fact Alma and his brethren had lived easy, luxurious lives for the past decade plus, finding themselves surrounded by fame and fortune. No, I think the joy of Alma’s heart stemmed from the fact each of them, individually, “had given themselves to much prayer and fasting” . . .for in those years, “they had many afflictions; they did suffer much both in body and in mind . . . and also much labor in the spirit.”

So much for fame or fortune.

But even after ALL the sufferings and afflictions, they were still his brethren in the Lord.

So today, I was able to have lunch with a dear friend, Blue, who, to my joy, in spite of all her afflictions and sufferings, remains my sister in the Lord.

We talked as much as we could in three hours to fill in all the things we have missed in the last TWENTY years!

And as I listened to this truly incredible woman recount her journey of faith and testimony and strength and afflictions, (click here) she opened my heart to feelings and emotions that fortify my deep, profound love to a loving Father in Heaven who loves us and cares for us and in His way sends to us tender mercies wrapped as Relief Society presidents, quotes, cookies on a plate, former missionary companions or friends of friends.

How I love Blue! And how I love Heavenly Father for letting me know her and learn from her!

P.S. She also makes THE BEST almond toffee I have ever tasted!!!

Would You Rather . . .

In our family we play this game we’ve called “Would You Rather. . .”

It is a lifesaver for those times when we find ourselves waiting in the car, in a line, at a doctor’s office, etc.

We go around and each person asks and is asked a “Would You Rather” question. For example: “Would you rather live on the moon or deep in the ocean?” or “Would you rather swim in Jell-o or in peanut butter?” (My children come up with GREAT questions.  My four year old is the best!)!

So yesterday three children and I found ourselves waiting in a doctor’s office when the need arose to play “Would You Rather. . .

And here was the dialogue between my five year-old daughter and my seven year-old son:

Daughter: Would you rather be a dog . . . with fleas . . . that lick people’s mouths OR a prince who marries Cinderella?

(Note: My children have SERIOUS germ phobias when it comes to mouths AND dogs!)

Son (disgusted): ICK! I’d rather be a DOG!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tidbit Tuesday - Bliss

"Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he’s been robbed. Most putts don’t drop. Most beef is tough. Most children grow up to just be people. Most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration. Most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. Life is like an old-time rail journey – delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride."

 -Jenkins Lloyd Jones

Monday, September 13, 2010

Family Home Evening - Family Fun

Tonight we passed out a piece of paper and pencil to each member of the family and asked 18 questions.  Answers were to be written on the paper without anyone else knowing what was being written.

Here are the questions:
1. Your favorite day of the week
2. A month of the year
3. A woman found in the New Testament
4. A city in the Book of Mormon
5. One of the original 12 Apostles
6. One book from the New Testament
7. An animal named in the scriptures
8. An important principle of the gospel
9. One of our latter-day Apostles
10. An office in the Aaronic Priesthood
11. Someone from the scriptures who saw an angel
12. A city where Joseph Smith lived
13. A topic from April's General Conference
14. A Book of Mormon prophet
15. Name a temple
16. Favorite Family Home Evening Treat
17. Favorite Family Home Evening Song
18. A line from our family Mission Statement

After writing down their answers, we divided into two teams of four. (My husband and I were not any team). We re-asked the questions.  When TWO members of the same team had the SAME answer, they received FIVE points.  When THREE members of the same team had the SAME answer, they received TEN points.  And, when ALL members of the same team had the SAME answer, they received TWENTY points!!!

We had fun hearing everyone's responses and also time to clear up any questions or misconceptions like: Samuel being a book found in the Old Testament, not the new; King Benjamin was not a city in the Book of Mormon and hippos were not mentioned in the scriptures, even if Noah did take animals of every kind on the ark!

We did find out that the ice cream is the favorite treat for Monday Nights and Armies of Helaman is the #1 Song on Family Home Evening Night!

I'd love to hear what fun, teaching activities you do in your Family Home Evening !

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Remembering 9/11

September 11, 2001 is not something any of my children remember at all.

So today we remembered 9/11.

It was a beautiful way to spend a Sabbath.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Why We Sleep

From the exact moment my children awake in the morning there is NOISE.
Lots and LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of noise.

And if there is enough physical activity coupled with all that noise, my husband and I hope that bedtime will be quick and easy.

(Believe me, bedtime at our house is never quick or easy)!!

So tonight when two of our children i-m-m-e-d-i-a-t-e-l-y fell asleep, aww, my husband and I both had to admire and adore and talk about sleep.

Husband: "Isn't it amazing that Heavenly Father created us to sleep for a third of our lives!"

Me: "Hmmm."

Husband: "Really! Think about it! He created it so that within our bodies when we come to a certain point but lay down, close our eyes and tune out the world . . . and go to sleep!"

Me: "Hmmm."

Husband: "Don't you find that amazing?"

Me: "Yup! I think that's the way the Lord can deal with His children.  'Well,' He says, 'while that half of the world is asleep I can deal with the other half that is awake.'"

Husband: "Huh?!"

Me: "Okay, not really, because I know that He is aware of us all the time, but me being Mortal Mom would have TOTALLY created things that way!!"

Husband: "Hmmmm."

Friday, September 10, 2010

English to Spanish

Over the past few weeks I have felt very impressed that I need to follow the example (and pleadings) of my husband to study my scriptures in Spanish.

So this week I embarked on my journey of reading the Book of Mormon en Español.

There is something to be said about reading the “plain and precious truths” in a translated language. For me, I have made some personal discoveries that have caused me deep reflection.

One example is when Nephi goes into the city of Jerusalem, “being led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which [he] should do” (1 Nephi 4:7).

“Nevertheless,” Nephi says, “I went forth.”

In Spanish, Nephi says, “No obstante, segui adelante.”

The phrase “seguir adelante” is the same two words that are used in 2 Nephi 31:20 and would translate into English “press forward” as in “press forward with a steadfastness in Christ.”

What a light it sheds on why it was not hard for Nephi to obey the word of the Lord, for he literally “pressed forward” finding Laban, following the Spirit, and retrieving the plates.

A second example found in 1 Nephi 6:3 I shared this morning at family scriptures. It comes at the end of the verse and aptly expresses why Nephi feit so strongly about his purpose of writing the things of God.

In English Nephi writes, “for I desire THE ROOM that I may write of the things of God.”

From Spanish to English it would translate literally like this: “I desire THE SPACE to write of the things of God.”

As I thought about one of my earliest posts, about my stony heart/my heart fleshy, I started reflecting upon  the SPACES in my life.

Are those spaces being filled with things of God? Or the things of men?

Are my spaces being used up by mindless, brainless, useless things? Or are they being fulfilled by meaningful, fulfilling, eternal-building things?

Are the spaces within me building, uplifting, encouraging and upholding others? Or are they things that demean, tear-down, belittle and intimidate those around me?

How grateful I am that in any language the word of God can “teach me all that I must do, to live with Him someday.”

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Fire in the Bones

When it comes to History, I am lacking! It wasn't a subject I favored in school.

Maybe it was because my brain didn't make connections with now and then.  But what I suppose it means, looking back, is that I wasn't paying enough attention to how history affects our present and our future.

But I am repenting.

And I am learning.

So thanks to the April 2010 General Conference talk given by Elder D. Todd Christofferson and a lesson given in Relief Society, my mind and heart was softened to read about history, specifically about William Tyndale, who was responsible for the translation of the Bible into the English language.

Fire in the Bones by S. Michael Wilcox gives the incredible story of Tyndale's life's dedication to the Bible and the risks he took to translate and publish the Bible so that the even "a boy that driveth the plough, [should] know more of the Scripture" than clerics and the such.

And I have been amazed.

And humbled.

And thankful for men like Tyndale, who, like Joseph Smith, stayed firm and true to their death, for the Word's sake.

It has given me a desire to be more dedicated in my pursuit to love the word of God found within the pages of the Old and New Testaments.

And more confused at why today, in 2010, people or organizations think it's okay to burn holy pages from religious books with little thought of the sacrifices made by others long ago who risked their lives - and many, many put to death - because of their desire to worship as they may.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Love Potion #9

It all started last December when my sister, who is just 15 months younger than I, phoned me to tell me that SURPRISE! She was expecting #5!

And instead of thinking, “Phew, I am SO glad that it’s not me!” I thought, “Oh my, that so could BE me!”

Then come April, a friend of mine who is three years younger than I, emailed me to let me know that SURPRISE! She was expecting #5 - her youngest being five!

And instead of thinking, “Phew, I am SO glad that it’s not me!” I thought, “Oh my, that SO could be me!”

So last month when I started feeling A LOT sick to my stomach and regular smells started making me feel oozy-woozy, it was no surprise that it WAS me expecting #9!!

My children are so ecstatic they hardly know how to contain themselves!  In fact, they have known for FOUR weeks and have been incredible about keeping confidence that they spoke not a word to anyone outside our family - until yesterday, when we decided it was all they could handle!

To which one of my boys responded "Mom! Kids in my class keep asking me if we are going to have more kids! I can't WAIT to get to school tomorrow and tell them we ARE! And by the way," he added in all seriousness, "can we have one more baby after this?!"

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

And Baby Makes . . .

This month marks the 15th year of The Family: A Proclamation to the World!

I still remember how I felt when President Hinckley presented it during the General Relief Society Meeting in 1995.  It has been a guide and a protection as I reflect upon it and study its words.

In fact, I took an extra copy of For the Strength of Youth and cut out the page that has both The Proclamation and The Living Christ document and glued it into my scriptures so I could always have those precious words as part of my standard works!

Throughout this month Chocolate on My Cranium and We Talk of Christ, We Rejoice in Christ are helping many of us to rejoice in the blessing of our families. This week we are celebrating with photo essays using family photos and phrases from The Proclamation.

I share two photos . . . and some exciting news!

Photo #1: "We declare that God's commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force."

Photo #2: "Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny.  Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose."

And the news: We are excitedly expecting baby #9!!!  Our children are absolutely delighted and my husband and I are so grateful we have another opportunity to buy stock in diapers all over again!!

I love my family!!!!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Family Home Evening - Come Unto Christ

April 2010 General Conference Talks: Miscellaneous (see below)

Objective: Applying teachings from General Conference that can help our family "Come Unto Christ."

Lesson: Each of our reading children chose a paragraph from a talk of their choice to share and explain how living the principles can help our family come unto Christ.

Some of the things we discussed were:

1. Christ offers us rest and peace if we give to Him our burdens. We defined what "burdens" were and why we giving our burden to Christ is one way we "Come Unto Him."(see Elder Donald L. Hallstrom's talk).

2. Being respectful when we disagree with one another will help in keeping the Spirit in our home. (see Elder Quentin L. Cook's talk).

3. Let's be cheerful in all things - particularly when we don't want to do our chores or fulill our responsibilities because we'd rather be doing other things. (see Elder Robert D. Hales's talk).

4. Being patient will develop our character and make up happy so we won't be grumpy with everyone. It's something I needed to hear today! (see Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf's talk).

5. Finally, and so beautifully, my husband and I were brought to repentance as one of our sons reminded us of our duty to "bear our testimonies so that our children will know where are our hearts are and that we love them."  WOW!  I am SO grateful for his wisdom! (see Elder Robert D. Hales's talk).

And for our refreshments we were so lucky to have Grandma with us because she brough Ice Cream Toffee Bars!!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Jesus is OUR Savior

Today during Fast and Testimony Meeting a brother stood up and said, “Jesus is MY Savior. Jesus is YOUR Savior. Jesus is your NEIGHBOR’S Savior. Jesus is your CO-WORKER’S Savior.”

When he said that a piercing, yet sweet thought entered into my heart: “And Jesus is your ENEMY’S Savior.”

Piercing, because to someone I am their enemy.

Yet, Jesus is MY Savior!! I know He loves me!

And sweet because those I would consider to be my enemies, Jesus is THEIR Savior, too. He loves them!

How beautiful then becomes this Christ-centered teaching: “Love Thy Enemies.”

For it isn’t just a trite, empty statement.

It is the very doctrine for which He shed His precious, atoning blood of love.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Stripling Warrior Mothers

“Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children” (The Family, A Proclamation to the World).
As I have been studying the principles of faith taught by the mothers of Helaman’s 2,060 (Alma 56:45-48; Alma 57:21), here are some of the teachings they taught their children (because, I am sure, there were plenty of daughters in the mix as well!):

1. Be strong and of a good courage
Here were these Lamanite women converts who had made a covenant, years earlier, NEVER to fight again, let alone pick up a weapon of war. Now, in the midst battles against the Lamanites, they willingly allowed their young (stripling) sons to enter into a covenant that required them to take up their weapons of war to defend their country. Strength and Courage were virtues demonstrated by both mothers and sons.

2. Show respect to men, fathers, priesthood leaders and priesthood authority
These young men called Helaman “Father.” Their mothers had taught them importance of respect for others, for men, for priesthood leadership. I am sure they saw that esteem exemplified within their homes, observing the relationships they had with their husbands as well as priesthood leadership. Sadly today, men are depicted in movies and commercials either as idiots or sexual hunters and gratifiers. Gratefully, at the helm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, there are 15 men who represent what a man of God is. Men who respect women; men who honor covenants; men who love the Lord.

3. Cultivate a “go and do” attitude – with the Lord, you can do anything
How else could these young men, without reservation, know, with a certainty, that “our God is with us, and He will not suffer that we should fall; then let us go forth!” I believe that is what “raising the bar” is all about. It’s about sending 19 year-old young men out into the world with the attitude that that can do anything that is required of them, with God’s help!

4. Faith, not fear
Trying something new or getting out of our comfort-zone should be a time when faith is cultivated, rather than having fear overwhelm. I am sure for these Lamanite mothers moving from a land and a culture they had always known, to go to a land that was taught to be the land of your enemies, was not a very comfortable move. It required faith - for fear would have left them unconverted. But they did something HARD, something DIFFICULT, something that had never been done in their families before. And they took that newness, and turned it into an incredible legacy of faith, obedience and divine motherhood.

5. Demonstrate to others that your service is not about YOU, it is about others
Sometimes our service to others requires the most of us. Sometimes it’s not easy; at other times it’s highly inconvenient and there will be times that it will sacrifice us to the very edge. For these mothers and their sons, their service and their commitment may have lead to an untimely death! But because of their faith in God’s eternal plan, “they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their own lives.”

6. Liberty and Freedom are God-given rights that are to be protected and defended
Hand in hand with teaching their children the principles of faith in Jesus Christ, these mothers also impressed upon the minds and hearts of their children the price that comes to maintain the blessings of liberty and freedom. What a lesson for us in our day!

7. A family is unit of love, support and unity
I believe that these stripling warriors were strengthened even more knowing that their mothers and fathers believed in them. Sending children off to war wouldn’t be my first choice, either. But these young men were equipped with strength and courage and faith.

8. Obedience to every word - with exactness - brings down the blessings – and the miracles – from heaven.
I believe the mothers of Helaman’s 2,060 took this counsel: “Seek not to declare me word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea the power of God unto the convincing of [your children]” (Doctrine and Covenant 11:21). These mothers studied, feasted and then lived the word of God!  The word of God, coupled with the words of the prophet, enable them to have their tongues loosed to the convincing of their children that “obedience is the first law of heaven” and that ”sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven.”

In studying about these mothers and their sons, I realize have a lot to put into practice as a mother of stripling warriors. But I am so aware of how blessed we are to have the fullness of the gospel place before us, around us and in us as can be strengthened as we “live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God” (Doctrine and Covenants 84:44).

I'd love to hear how you're raising your stripling warriors!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

I Know Your Doing

"Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing.

"And I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts; and there are none save a few only who do not lift themselves up in the pride of their hearts, unto the wearing of very fine apparel, unto envying, and strifes, and malice, and persecutions, and all manner of iniquities; and your churches, yea, even every one, have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts.

"For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted.

"O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God? Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies—because of the praise of the world?

"Why do ye adorn yourselves with that which hath no life, and yet suffer the hungry, and the needy, and the naked, and the sick and the afflicted to pass by you, and notice them not?

Yea, why do ye build up your secret abominations to get gain, and cause that widows should mourn before the Lord, and also the blood of their fathers and their husbands to cry unto the Lord from the ground, for vengeance upon your heads" (Mormon 8:35-40)?

I’ve been thinking a lot about what Moroni thought of us - seeing us as he did.

Because he noticed our gluttony - in the way we dress, the way we live, the way we eat, the things on which we choose to spend our money and our time.

He noticed our self-absorption – in the way we treat others and in the way we exalt ourselves.

He certainly noticed our lifestyle – the ease of it all. . .

 . . . Like being able to communicate with anyone, anywhere in the world by phone, fax, email, text. . . .

Or the our modes of transportation, which was much faster and much more reliable than a horse or a camel or a donkey or by foot. . .

. . . Or the ability to relay information as in using radio, television, satellite or the Internet. . .

 . . .Or even the sheer convenience of walking into a grocery store, with its selection of meats, dairy and ice cream . . .

And I believe in seeing this and so much more, Moroni was shocked and saddened at our indifference of living our covenant to take upon us the name of Christ.

After all, he knew we were beneficiaries of the Restoration -

With ALL the truths and doctrines and gospel principles ever revealed to mankind all packed into one, final dispensation!

So maybe Moroni's underlying question was: What are you doing with what you have?

Some the most powerful words penned by Moroni are these:

"Now I, Moroni, . . . had supposed not to have written more, but I have not as yet perished; and I make not myself known to the Lamanites lest they should destroy me. For  . . .because of their hatred they put to death every Nephite that will not deny the ChristAnd I, Moroni, will not deny the Christ."

And only as I change the way I live: in my dressing and in my speaking; in my buying and in my spending; in my thoughts and in my deeds, will I, too, be able to say that I, Darla, will not deny the Christ.

Boy, do I have a LOT of work to do!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Happiness of Virtue and Chastity

Today, as I did my errands - with my two youngest children - we found ourselves in a Women's Clinic

As we waited to pick up some information, my children and I sat on a couch in a small waiting room facing a teenage couple.  They were comfortably intertwined with one another, which made me uncomfortable!

The girl was crying.

I immediately knew why.

My five year old daughter stared, trying to understand the tears of this young girl.

Several times she whispered in my ear, "Mommy, why is that girl crying?"

Each time I whispered back, "I'll tell you when we get out."

And sure enough, the moment we stepped out of the clinic my daughter wanted to know.

So we walked a few steps and I knelt beside her.  The Spirit (the WONDERFUL, INCREDIBLE Holy Ghost) gave me the words to say:

"Honey, that girl and that boy we saw in there are not married to each other and they just found out she is going to have a baby.  And the girl is sad."

I could see the look in her eyes.  Having babies in our family is a HUGE, HAPPY deal.  I could see her confusion.

"Heavenly Father wants us to have babies after we are married.  Mommy and Daddy were so happy when we had you and all your brothers because we had you after we were married in the temple.  Because that boy and girl did not keep the commandments, and they are not married and now they are going to have a baby, they are sad.  And Heavenly Father is sad, too."

My daughter nodded.  She understood.

The Spirit provided a beautiful lesson for the both of us on the happiness of virtue and chasity.