Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sunday Thoughts

I remember long ago, before I had children, having a conversation with a co-worker. He came from a large family, with all of his siblings very close together. He related a story that once, during the times of such close pregnancies, his mother wondered aloud to a friend, “Why right NOW? Why do I have to be pregnant RIGHT NOW?” The response this mother received was taken with great surprise:

“This pregnancy is not about you. It’s the Lord who needs this child to be on earth NOW. Maybe the now-time for his mission will be shortly after his arrival, but maybe it will be 19 years down the line when the Lord needs your son to be in the right place at the right time to do something that only he can do in the place the Lord has appointed!”

Little did I know then that I would have 8+ children of my own and that conversation would repeat many times in my heart as a sweet reminder of Whose these spirits are.

* * *

Throughout my life I have wondered “Why am I where I am right now?”

Today that question floated through my mind as we listened to a young man in our ward who will leave Wednesday for the MTC on a full-time mission. I supposed that thought passed my mind as I realized that today marks year one of being in our “new” ward. And in these past twelve months my boys have been able to witness five missionaries leaving for full-time missions and one who returned home.

So this morning I thought that maybe I am where I am right now because my boys need to see and feel the power of worthy young men prepared and leaving on full-time missions for the Lord!

* * *

When I went to church today I had just place a brand-spanking new eraser into my mechanical pencil.

Which only needed to be replaced 6 months ago. . .But since 95% of my pencil is used for scripture marking, the eraser does go a long ways.

But I was still so elated to take to Church a new eraser attached to my old, mechanical pencil!

Well, I let me seven year old use the pencil during Sacrament Meeting. And every now and then I glanced down to see him drawing quite the intricate picture with mountains that were shadowed and trees with many leaves and a sun with very thick rays.

Near the end of the meeting I peered over his shoulder to see what had become of his picture and saw that he now had a clean, white sheet of paper.

Except, upon second glance, it wasn’t a new piece of paper. . .

No, it was his mountain/tree/sun with many rays picture that now had been meticulously erased WITH MY NEW ERASER. . . which, no longer looked new at all!

My eyes began to bulge and I was just beginning to feel some intense surges of provocation when there was a thought placed ever so tenderly and softly in my mind that said something like this, “Ahem, isn’t that what an eraser is for? That is why I came to earth.  I came to die for you you so that you could become as clean as that paper.  My Atonement is your eraser.  It is I who makes you clean."

And humility filled me as all the pencils that we have in our home flashed before my eyes and I realized that none of them have any eraser left on them!

Because in our house the eraser is the part of the pencil that goes first. And usually, when I find pencils without erasers, I throw away those darn pencils away because what good are they without erasers, anyway??

But today I figured it out.  Without Jesus Christ I would have been thrown out a long, long time ago.

Christ is my Eraser.

Friday, October 29, 2010

I'm Not THAT Old!

Five-year old daughter: "Mom?"

Me: "Yes."

Daughter: "Was I still in your tummy the first time Jesus came to earth?"


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Isaiah: "Barrier" in the Book of Mormon

For the record, I DON'T understand Isaiah.

Oh, how I wish I did.

Most of the time I trudge through the imagery, the symbolism, the culture and the history, wishing my brain would just figure things out!

But normally, it doesn't.

However, I do enjoy reading Isaiah . . .

And here is what I DO know about Isaiah (as taught by President Boyd K. Packer):
          “The Book of Mormon is a book of scripture. It is another testament of Jesus Christ. It is written in biblical language, the language of the prophets.
          “For the most part, it is in easy-flowing New Testament language, with such words as spake for spoke, unto for to, with and it came to pass, with thus and thou and thine. 
          “You will not read many pages into it until you catch the cadence of that language and the narrative will be easy to understand. As a matter of fact, most teenagers readily understand the narrative of the Book of Mormon.
          “Then, just as you settle in to move comfortably along, you will meet a barrier. The style of the language changes to Old Testament prophecy style. For, interspersed in the narrative, are chapters reciting the prophecies of the Old Testament prophet Isaiah. They loom as a barrier, like a roadblock or a checkpoint beyond which the casual reader, one with idle curiosity, generally will not go.
          "You, too, may be tempted to stop there, but do not do it! Do not stop reading! Move forward through those difficult-to-understand chapters of Old Testament prophecy, even if you understand very little of it. Move on, if all you do is skim and merely glean an impression here and there. Move on, if all you do is look at the words. … 
          “… The Lord had a purpose in preserving the prophecies of Isaiah in the Book of Mormon, notwithstanding they become a barrier to the casual reader.
          “Those who never move beyond the Isaiah chapters miss the personal treasures to be gathered along the way” (Ensign, May 1986, 61).
So, everytime I come to those Isaiah sections in the Book of Mormon (2 Nephi, Mosiah and 3 Nephi) I read on with a prayer that maybe, MAYBE, something will penetrate me heart and make me do more than squint my eyes and tilt my head and whisper a faint, "Huh??" 

I just move on.  Move on.  Just like President Packer told me to do.

Well, this week, while I am studying Isaiah (Isaiah from the Old Testament, in the Old Testament), I came across verses. . .

Verses which felt so poetic to me.

But it was more than poetic verses.

They were words which moved me with such emotion to the filling of my heart with adoring thankgiving for a Savior who knows and loves me:

Hast thou not known?
Hast thou not heard,
that the everlasting God,
the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not,
neither is weary?
There is no searching of His understanding.
He giveth power to the faint;
and to them that have no might He increaseth strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
and the young men shall utterly fall:
But they that await upon the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings as eagles;
they shall run, and not be weary;
and they shall walk, and not faint.
 - Isaiah 40:28-31

President Packer, Thank you for the promise!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tidbit Tuesday - Faith Not Fear

I have [something] to say to you who are troubled about the future. I say them lovingly and from my heart.

Never let fear and the father of fear (Satan himself) divert us from our faith and faithful living. Every person in every era has had to walk by faith into what has always been some uncertainty. This is the plan. Just be faithful. God is in charge. He knows your name and He knows your need.

-Jeffery R. Holland
CLICK HERE to read Elder Holland's entire article!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Family Home Evening - Follow the Prophet

This Week's General Conference Talk: (CLICK HERE) Elder Claudio R. M. Costas October 2010

How we did it: Actually, we started talking about the 14 Fundamentals of Following the Prophet last week, but only managed to get through four of the 14. Because in so doing, our younger children became quite obnoxious, so this was definitely a lesson that was “To Be Continued.”

After careful mother-thought, I decided this week we would make the discussion more entertaining for the younger children. So, I wrote the remaining 10 points we didn’t discuss last week on slips of paper, placed them in a bottle and we played “Spin the Bottle!”

Each family member was able to take out a slip of paper, read it and we were able to discuss it briefly, citing examples along the way. It made it fun for all!

It was also great to hear my children, who are learning about the Old Testament in Primary, recount the story of Naaman and the importance of following the prophet for, "the prophet is not limited by men's reasoning . . ."

Perhaps the only things that would have kept the younger children holding on a little longer is if I had Toostie Rolls attached to each slip of paper . . . but those lucky children received them for their Family Home Evening Treat tonight.  (Hey, we had a really good dinner to off-set the sorry excuse for a treat!!)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Words From A Prophet

There are times when politics, listening to the news, and reading news articles gets me to start wondering about the world in which we live. I find that when I allow the feelings of the adversary to penetrate, I find myself fearful for my family and for others that I love.

But how blessed we are that the Lord sends us prophets who give us hope for the present and faith for the future!

Let me back up to earlier this week, on a morning when I was praying to Heavenly Father to give me guidance on what to do with one of my sons.  In the middle of my prayer I was stopped mid-sentence!  And carefully, yet distinctly, the Spirit placed this specific thought in my brain: "Incorporate President Hinckley's Counsel and Prayer for Youth in your family discussion."

I was taken back for a moment because obviously those words were not mine.  I would have never thought of this on my own!

So, as I often do during my prayer time, I had to take a few minutes to create a plan of action.

Me: Yipee, we already have a VHS copy of the talk!

Me: No, you need to get the DVD copy.

Me: Why? We already have one on video.

Me: Because THAT'S what you are supposed to do.

Me: Okay . . .

Later on that day I had to go pick up some "Faith in God" booklets.  Upon arriving at the Church's Distribution Center and looking around to find the Primary section, the first item I saw on a shelf was: A DVD copy of President Hinckley's Counsel and Prayer to Youth."  Honestly (and sad to say), because I had three children in tow and a time limit, I only had the booklets on my mind. But the Lord was serious with me and not only did He send the Spirit to tell me in my heart and mind, He directed my eyeballs to that DVD!

Of course I bought it!!

Anyway, fast forward to this evening when we gathered as a family to view and discuss this incredible talk. I prayed that whatever my son needed to hear, he would understand it.

Well, to my astonishment, within the opening lines of President Hinckley's address he said these words, which pierced the depths of my troubled heart and opened it to the peace that only the Savior promises:
"Every generation that has ever walked the earth has faced challenges. We could spend the entire evening talking about them. But of all the challenges that have been faced in the past, the ones we have today, I believe, are most easily handled. I say that because they are manageable. They largely involve individual behavioral decisions, but those decisions can be made and followed. And when that happens, the challenge is behind us."
"of all the challenges that have been faced in the past, the ones we have today . . . are the most easily handled."  As President Hinckley continues he gives the guidance necessary to handle the challenges and the sins of this generation.
And as I sat there and listened to the portion of his talk we shared as a family, all I could feel was gratitude to a Heavenly Father.  A loving Heavenly Father who knew that a prophet's voice would not only help my son, but it would also help me!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Here's to 18 Years!

There were eight, exuberant greetings waiting for me and my husband this morning. Each of our children took joyful delight in wishing us a “Happy Anniversary!”

For today marks our 18th! (EIGHTEEN!!!!)

I remember being a newly-wed for a little over a week thinking a 1st Anniversary was such a loooong time away.

And here it is, 18 years later. . .

Sometimes it feels just like yesterday. . .

And other times, it feels like we’ve been married forever!

Back on Valentine’s Day, I posted this blog (CLICK HERE) about marriage and about my husband.

Happy Anniversary my dear Prince Charming! (CLICK HERE)

Friday, October 22, 2010

A Thought on Parenthood

I have contemplated the wisdom of a loving Heavenly Father. His wisdom far surpasses my minute, finite understanding, but sometimes I find that if I listen ever so carefully, He will teach me - Parent to parent - little tidbits that help me better understand my place as mortal mother, earthly keeper of His Spirit Sons and Daughter.

One concept I have pondered is the knowledge Nephi received about his people. He was able to foresee, through the power of the Lord – the destruction of his people (See 2 Nephi 26). Yet, this knowledge, which was obviously passed on to other righteous men, did not diminish Nephi’s desire or his intense labor in preaching repentance and testifying of the truth. What if Nephi had known his people would all turn out okay? Would he still have put forth as much energy in preaching repentance? As I contemplated this idea for a long time, I had this Parent to parent tutoring session (thanks to the Spirit):

If, as a parent, I foresaw my children choosing wicked over righteousness I may have a mortal tendency to give up hope in the present and/or find myself in the depths of personal guilt and private blame for all the things I could have done, should have done, or didn’t do. Perhaps I would forget who the real Parent is and my role as an earthly keeper of God's children to have faith in Christ and his redeeming and enabling Atonement for me and “my” children.

However, if I foresaw my children always choosing righteousness over evil, always recognizing sin and repenting immediately, perhaps I would have the mortal tendency to puff myself up with pride and adulation. And in so doing, I would disregard heaven, forget God, and poison my soul with the idea that I should receive the glory for the good choices my children have made.

Either way, those sentiments do not represent how the Lord would want to feel about Him, about myself or about His/my children.

I have concluded that to very few does the Lord show the future. Perhaps, in the case of prophets, the future is shown because of the keys they hold and the responsibility that is theirs to warn the wicked and save the saints. Perhaps to the few men and women the future is shown because of the intricate trust the Lord has in their ability to keep things in sacred perspective.

And for me, I have happily decided that as I walk by faith as an earthly parent of Heavenly Father's children, He will show me just enough to help His children get back home.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

One Secret Out of the Bag!

I've decided that am going to share one of my secrets!

Not because it has benefited me or my children (because it hasn't), but it makes me happy that I can give a little thank-you to men and women who have chosen Teacher as their career.

So here's the secret: Every so often - maybe once every two or three weeks - I send a home-made baked treat to school with my children for their teachers. (It has gotten tricky having a 7th grader who has EIGHT teachers, so I leave it up to him to figure out which teacher he will give it to.)

Last week I baked a most delicious batch of Triple Chocolate Cookies!  It made more than enough for seven children to take a half a dozen to his/her teacher. So here's the recipe for you to enjoy or to share!

Yield: A LOT! (5-8 dozen or more!)

4 sticks butter
1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
1 ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
4 eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1-7 oz. jar marshmallow crème
4 ½ cups flour
1 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
3 cups chocolate chips
1 cup white baking chips
1 ½ cup nuts (optional)

Cream butter until fluffy. Add sugar and beat until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Add marshmallow crème. Mix well.

In large bowl, sift together dry ingredients. Slowly add to batter and mix until well incorporated. Stir in chips and nuts.

Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet in a 375 degree oven for 10-12 minutes.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tidbit Tuesday - Baptismal Font Symbolism

"The Twelve oxen are the most prominent feature of the [temple] baptismal font.  Although the oxen are often believed to signify the twelve tribes of Israel, the ancient Israelites saw the ox as the symbol of the Tribe of Joseph (see Deuteronomy 33:17).

Because this tribe holds the birthright blessings, it also has the responsibility for the salvation of the rest of the tribes of Israel (see 1 Chronicles 5:2; Jeremiah 31:9).  In Hebrew the name "Joseph" is Asaph and one of its meanings is "he who gathers."  This is significant because Joseph was told by his father Jacob that his "horns" would be used to "push people together" from the ends of the earth (Deut. 33:17)."

CLICK HERE (scroll down a little once you do) and CLICK HERE to read more!!

Taken from Symbols in Stone
by Matthew B. Brown and Paul Thomas Smith

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Five Thoughts About This Week

1. Wasn’t the Chilean Miners’ Rescue incredible? I was in the right place at the right time to watch the rescue of the first miner and the last miner. I was moved with emotion in part by the miraculous circumstances around the rescue and also the determination and bravery of the rescuers.

When I was the age of my children I remember being told that when the Savior comes again the WHOLE world would know of His coming. My little, finite brain could not wrap understanding around that. How? In those days there was TV, but no satellite, no Google earth, no cell phones, no Internet. How could the whole world know? As I watched the proceedings of the miners’ rescue, I wondered, “Will the Lord allow man-made technology to be a part of the glory of His Second Coming? Is that a way in which the whole world will know that He is here? Or will He use His means, His power - in a way that I cannot comprehend but know is possible - to testify to the world that He is again on earth?”

2. I have contemplated much about the controversy the world has placed on President Packer’s General Conference talk. I found myself grateful to know that God does call prophets, seers and revelators on the earth today.

Anciently, servants of God have been hated, despised, ridiculed for preaching to the people of God’s law and the way to follow His law. Many prophets were stoned to death because they would not, could not take back the word of God. As I thought about the hateful rhetoric being violently cast at President Packer and ultimately the Church, what really is happening is a latter-day stoning! And instead of thinking “Shame! Shame on those people!” I look inwardly and ask myself, “What manner of a woman will I be? Will I obedient and faithful enough to be the one who'd rather be stoned than the one who casts the stones?”

3. Yesterday morning I checked out the book Driven. It is the autobiography of Larry H. Miller, known for his 42 Toyota dealerships and being the owner of the Utah Jazz. I finished the book last night. Because I couldn’t put it down. I was intrigued by his story and moved by his the things he learned from his experiences. Several things caught my attention. One was a statement made by his wife, Gail. She said of her husband, “Let me say right at the outset that, to me, Larry was not such an extraordinary person – at least, not in the beginning.”

Isn’t that what marriage and parenthood try to teach us? That somewhere, in our progression, in our learning, in our experiences with the afflictions and stresses of life, that in that somewhere we discover in those we love, the extraordinary-ness of who they really are. I believe that is one of the eternal characteristics of God – He is able to see the extraordinary in us. It is up to us to discover it. And we can do it with His help!

4. Our water heater bit the dust this week. Yup.  Leaking water all over the place. So for a few hours I was left with just cold water. But when I felt the tiniest urge to complain, I reflected on how grateful early settlers were to have a water pump outside of their homes . . . and then the day the pump came inside! They were happy to have water just to boil on that pot belly stove for cooking and laundry and bathing . . . ! Of all the modernizations over the decades of American civilization, I think I am grateful for indoor plumbing the very most!!

5. Our seven year old had his tonsils removed yesterday. His was a scene scripted exactly by Bill Cosby's Tonsils!! Yes, my son was dancing around ALL week long, touting his weekend indulgence in ice cream, Jell-o and homemade slushies. Well, today was a completely different story. He didn’t even want to think about food – let alone the medicine that he had to swallow. . .

Which makes me think about how painful repentance is. Because it is. It hurts. It hurts to take out that which is infecting or causing problems and it hurts to go through the process of healing! But in the end, if it is done correctly, everything is all better. Forever. Because of the Savior and His Atonement.

Boy, this week has been a great education for me!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Likening the Scriptures

This morning I had the BEST scripture to share during family scriptures. Because it was a new application I had never contemplated before. 

Listen up! Because it was an ISAIAH scripture!
"Woe unto them that call evil good and good evil; that put darkness for light, and and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" (Isaiah 5:20)
And I realized, for the first time, that maybe - just maybe - Isaiah was referring to chocolate!


Yesterday, completely on a whim (which obviously is a lesson in itself), I bought this delicious looking-type of microwave popcorn: Jolly Time Caramel Apple Microwave Popcorn.

The package photo showed popped kernels of popcorn draped and dripping in luscious caramel.

Ooh, I thought, to have an easy way to make and enjoy caramel popcorn.

So excited this afternoon I was to eat for myself (and share with the children) the flavorful imaginations of my popcorn heart.

The aroma of warm caramel wafted through the air as the microwave ticked down to the slowing pops of corn kernels.

Finally, the moment had arrived.

I opened the hot, steamy bag and carefully emptied its contents.

Dreaming. Waiting.

When to my complete and utter disappointment there was not one eentsy-teeny tiny miniscule bit of caramel present. Not one!

No ooey, gooey brown drippy, sticky substance that even resembled caramel trickled out of the bag.

No. the popcorn was dry. Butterless.

It was REGULAR POPCORN that had an ever so slight hint of a caramel flavor.

Oh, my heart. Broken. Denied. DECEIVED.

Which reminded me of a Family Home Evening lesson we had many, many moons ago, thanks to an idea from my sister.

I had carefully chosen and wrapped four INCREDIBLE LOOKING presents. They were GORGEOUS to the eye. The fifth package was in a brown lunch sack.

Inside of each were the following, with a tag to add exra incentive for the choosing:

1. A wad of Already Been Chewed Gum. The tag on the package read something like this: “Delicious and fruity; Joy to the tastebuds!”

2. Soggy Fruit Loops in a plastic bowl. The tag read something like this: “Every kid wants this for breakfast – and more!”

3. A box filled with dryer lint. With the tag reading: “This will definitely keep you warm and cozy when you’re cold!”

4. A diaper filled with a smooshed brownie, covered with chocolate syrup. The tag said: “The most incredible surprise!”

5.  A brown paper sack which ultimately held our Family Home Evening Treat.  The tag read something like this, "Pick me.  This is the best you'll get!"

We displayed the presents before us all during our lesson!  Our lesson was on how Satan will do what he can to trick us, trap us, lie to us, deceive us.

We had a very nice family discussion.

But my boys were giddy with elated enthusiasm to actually think that on a day that wasn’t their birthday or Christmas, they were going to get a present.

So after the lesson, we had them choose a package and guess what they thought was in the package. None of them chose the brown bag. They left that package for Dad.

You should have seen their eyeballs just busting out of their sockets and the “vain imaginations” of their hopeful hearts. . . . and imagine what happened as they opened each individual package.

Disappointment doesn’t even come close.

Then, to add to their broken hearts, imagine their horror (and my husband’s) when I took the contents of the diaper and ATE it! (Yes, I ate it)!

There was silence.

And it was then we were able to make the application to the truth that Satan is the Father of ALL lies and he will do ANYTHING in his power to make his ways look delicious to us.


But contrast that to how the Savior goes about it.  His ways are simple.

Small and simple.

But right and ever true.

And somewhat so ordinary that we don’t realize how extraordinary they really are.

That’s when my husband opened up his brown paper bag and pulled out candy bars for each member of our family.

It was the real deal. Just as the Savior is to us.

For He will NEVER deceive us.

In fact, more often than not, we get MORE from Him than we will ever expect as we look to Him and live!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tidbit Tuesday - The Real You

"There should never be anything about you - the way you speak or especially your appearance - that comes over stronger than the real you.  In other words, we want people to know us and love us for being ourselves, not for external adornments used to attract attention or perhaps even motivate some unrighteous feelings in those who might be influenced by you."

Gene R. Cook
Raising Up A Family to the Lord

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Not to Offend You . . .

I finally broke down and bought some maternity clothes.

Not because I wanted to, but because I needed to!

For I have come to realization that “regular” clothes aren’t appropriate anymore for a woman of my growing size.

So, after examining the prices of NEW maternity clothes at a department store, I chose to patronize the local thrift store instead.

And for the price of ONE brand new maternity shirt and ONE brand new pair of maternity pants, I bought two pairs of pants, one skirt, three blouses and a black dress  (for slimming) FOR THE SAME PRICE!!

(Which will make me feel a TON better that I didn’t spend anymore once I start dribbling food all over my shirts because my stomach ends up being an extension of the table when I eat.)

So for now, call me a bargain shopper, because I am pregnant and on a budget!

Anywhoooo, today, for the first time, I donned on one of my new maternity outfits - for because we were going out as a family!

The blouse was a gorgeous deep red with very fancy silver buttons, which paired perfectly with a slimming black faux-velvet skirt.

I felt so modest and pretty – sporting my new wardrobe-on-a-budget and all.

Every one of my children made a comment on how nice I looked! (Make me feel sooo good!)

Except one . . .

One of my sons, upon taking a look at me in my new outfit, took me aside and said hesitantly, “Mom, I don’t want this to offend you, but . . .” his voice faded.

“But what, honey?” I probed.

“Please. Please don’t be offended.” he asked.

“I won’t be offended. Just tell me what’s on your mind.”

“Well,” he began honestly, yet tenderly, “the new clothes you are wearing kinda make you look pregnant!”

I was so NOT offended . . .

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Yoga and The Holy Ghost

This morning I spent some time volunteering in my daughter’s kindergarten class – reading, helping with math and putting together some reading books.

Another mother was also there. She was there to share her talent and knowledge of Yoga with the children.  I found her happy and positive.

She has recently opened a Yoga Therapy practice at a local nutrition store.  Yoga is her life.  Her "religion."

As she began her session with the children, she asked them questions about Yoga.

She told them that Yoga means “coming together.”

She told the children that Yoga helps bring together three things: body, mind and spirit.

Then, to help @#!*% understanding, she asked: What is the body? What is the mind? What is the spirit?

When she asked the last question I heard three kindergarten voices reply, “The Holy Ghost! The Spirit is the Holy Ghost!”

Mothers and fathers, isn't great to know Family Home Evening Mondays, Church-attending Sundays, and everything else in between are slowly, but surely sinking in!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tidbit Tuesday - The Essence of the Gospel

“Stories of [the rescue of the Willie and Martin Handcarts companies], need to be repeated again and again. They speak of the very essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” - President Gordon B. Hinckley (Ensign, November 1996).
It was October 4, 1856 when President Franklin D. Richards and his group had just returned to Salt Lake City. The day was warm, past 70 degrees. It was that day that he informed Brigham Young that some 1,300 people were still on the trail – traveling by handcart, hundreds of miles from the Salt Lake Valley.

It would be two weeks before the first winter storm would arrive, but the prophet Brigham Young immediately sensed the urgency to send out rescuers to those who were still out on the trail.

The following day was General Conference, in which President Brigham Young opened by saying:

“On [this,] the 5th day of October, 1856, many of our brethren and sisters are on the plains with handcarts, . . . and they must be brought here, we must send assistance to them. The text [of this General Conference] will be, ‘to get them here’. . .

"That is my religion; that is the dictation of the Holy Ghost that I possess. It is to save the people . . . This is the salvation I am now seeking for, to save our brethren that would be apt to perish, or suffer extremely, if we do not send them assistance. . .”

“I will tell you all that your faith, religion, and profession of religion, will never save one soul of you in the celestial kingdom of our God, unless you carry out just principles as I am now teaching you. Go and bring in those people now on the plains, and attend strictly to those things which we call temporal, or temporal duties, otherwise your faith will be in vain; the preaching you have heard will be in vain.”

CLICK HERE to read about The Price We Paid
by Andrew D. Olsen

Monday, October 4, 2010

October 2010 General Conference Insights

Diapers and Divinity had a fun challege for General Conference, so I decided to participate.  You can do the same!!  Just CLICK HERE and join in!

* * *

After eight hours of General Conference intertwined with eight children, I am so glad to have Closed Captioned for this mother who was hearing impaired giving approximately 80 shushes per hour!!

Nevertheless, the spirit of Conference, undoubtedly, filled our home with such incredible feelings of hope, joy, repentance and faith that we are so looking forward to incorporating each talk in very near-future Family Home Evenings!

Here are some of my insights from October General Conference 2010:

1. I cannot make a list of my favorite speakers because that list may go on and on and on. I will say this, I LOVE the energy of President Uchtdorf, the sincerity of Elder Holland, the profundity of Elder Scott, the boldness of President Packer, the love for youth from Sister Cook and Elder Lawrence, the humor of Elder Gong and of course, the sweet tenderness of President Monson. For me, each speaker presented a fruit of the spirit that invoked such feelings and desires in my heart such as love, peace, joy, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance.

2. As for my favorite talks,  I will say this: Last week I wrote down four specific questions/concerns that I wanted answered/addressed during Conference. Each was answered directly by the Spirit through talks given by President Eyring, President Uchtdorf and Elder Bednar!! I am always amazed and humbly grateful that the Lord can and will answer our questions as we ask, seek and listen (with a sincere desire) to General Conference.

3. My favorite hymn sung during Conference was the Choir and Congregation singing “I Am A Child of God.” All of my children sang every, single word at the top. of. their. lungs.

4. Who wore the best tie? I admit I didn’t take notice of ties at all. Hopefully that doesn’t mean I wasn’t paying attention . . .

5. As I thought about what the theme of Conference was, I felt it was “Have Faith not Fear!” Coupled with that, was the call to repentance: thus using my agency wisely in turning to the Lord and cleansing myself from those things that keep me from feeling the Lord’s Spirit.

6. Some of my favorite things said in Conference, or things that I directly applied to me (all paraphrased, of course):

When it comes to the Plan of Salvation, it is all about me! (Elder Holland)

What I want my children to know five years from now, I need to teach them today! (Sister Wixom)

All honest work - no matter what type of work - is the work of God! (Elder Christofferson)

There is more to life than increasing the speed. (President Uchtdorf)

Will I be among the 2/3 who has faith to follow the Savior? (Elder Hales)

Pornography is a weapon of mass moral destruction. (Elder Cook)

Blackberries read in Church make green Bishops turn blue! (Elder Gong)

Life is no spiritual picnic! (Elder Anderson)

“Receive the Holy Ghost” is a priesthood injunction to act, not to be acted upon. (Elder Bednar)

Parenting is not a popularity contest. (Elder Lawrence)

Elder Arnold grew up with a family of nine children in a two bedroom/one bath home!!!!!

Addiction relinquishes agency. (Elder Ballard)

It is my sons’ priesthood responsibility (obligation, even) to be clean and be ready to serve a two year mission! (And my responsibility to get them there!) (President Monson)

7. Let me tell you what made me smile during conference – watching the sweet emotions of President Thomas S. Monson, our prophet, seer and revelator. I smile as he smiles; I smile as he recounts memories that touch his heart and make way to mine; I smile as I listen to the lyrical cadence of his voice as he testifies of gospel truths and the reality of a living Christ.

What also makes me smile is that my boys call the Congregational Hymn in the middle of the hours: "Half Time!!" (Like it's a football game.)

8. Here is evidence that my children paid (some, slight) attention to Conference. I decided that I wasn’t going to make copies and copies and copies of cutesy Conference bundles because that would take up ALL the ink in our copier and use about two reams of paper! So I simply made copies of the pictures of the General Authorities/Auxiliaries of the Church (found in last May’s Ensign) and gave my children scissors, pencils, glue sticks, and several sheets of paper. They has so much fun searching for the members of the Seventy and Auxiliary Leader (they knew where to find the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve), cutting, pasting and gluing! Of course, I had to endure the eight hours of itsy, bitsy, teeny-tiny paper mess all over the family room floor, but it kept their attention just enough!! My 1st grader, who is still learning how to read, chose to draw a picture of what each speaker spoke about. And now, each child has his/her own personal journals of what they learned from General Conference.

9. If I had to give a talk in General Conference (so hypothetical here), I would speak about the importance of virtue. Specifically: modesty for women/Young Women and appropriate language and use of time for the men/Young Men. I would also speak on the importance virtue has in building up the kingdom of God.

10. One of my MANY post-conference goals - GO TO BED EARLY!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Guardian Angel

"When we speak of those who are instruments in the hand of God, we are reminded that not all angels are from the other side of the veil. Some of them we walk with and talk with—here, now, every day" (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Ensign, November 2008).
Today I was with my three youngest at Costco. We couldn't have picked a busier time to be there!

The store was teeming with people, cart, and, of course, demonstration people. (Ooh, love those food demos!)

Moments after I turned into the produce section, heaved the 20# of potatoes in my cart and headed for the checkout, I realized I was missing something very important – my 7 year old!

He was nowhere to be seen as I looked around the bigness of this giant Costco Warehouse.

So I quickly did my best to maneuver in and out of people who were going in the opposite direction I was and found a Costco employee whose first language was not English.

Upon my second attempt to explain my concern, a woman appeared behind me and simply said, “Oh, your son is up front. He was lost and he was crying.”

“Were you the one who helped him?” was all I could muster.

She smiled and nodded.

It was all I could do to thank her as I rushed to the front of the store to see a little, seven-year old boy sprint 20 yards with arms wide open and eyes deep-filled with tears.

And as I knelt there, next to a full cart, hugging this little boy that had disappeared for all of five minutes, my heart was filled with gratitude that today, Father in Heaven sent my son a guardian angel.

Family Home Evening - The Restoration

In preparation for General Conference this week, we chose to use Church media by watching The Restoration for Family Home Evening.

The question we posed before we began was, "As you watch this DVD, think about how you would feel if you were Joseph Smith and these things happened to you."

This question asked before the presentation allowed each family member to watch and listen with more intent because they had something to think about.

The discussion afterwards was very insightful as even the younger children were able to share their feelings about how they would have felt if they had been Joseph Smith.

Because feelings were sincere, the Spirit allowed for the testifying of the reality of the Restoration and the mission of the Prophet Joseph.

I'd love to hear how you use Church media in your home!