... in discipline.
... kindness can heal many wounds.
... children are a precious gift.
... in happy endings.
... in love at first sight.
... that women really do NEED chocolate. :)
... cleanliness and order dispel chaos.
... every person is beautiful.
... in the power of prayer.
... every person on this earth is born with the Light of Christ within them.
... because of that Light of Christ within us, we have the power to overcome every trial we face.
... eyes are a window to the soul.
... a little understanding and compassion can mend many fences.
... a positive attitude and a smile can make every hard situation a little easier to get through.
... to lose one's self in service can help one forget how bad things are.
... growing a garden is therapeutic.
... you can feel the power of God touch you when you stop long enough to watch the grass grow.
... having and expressing sincere gratitude helps us to overcome selfishness.
... obedience to the laws of God will open the windows of heaven so that we will not have room enough to receive the blessings He has for us.
... chastity and virtue are essential life choices for a truly happy life.
... anger hurts us more than the person we are angry at.
... honest people are loved and respected.
... dishonest and unethical people are not loved, only tolerated.
... every person needs to have someone to be accountable to.
... in fighting for the underdog.
... my opinions are just as important as anyone else's opinions. And so are yours.
... it takes courage to do what is right when no one else cares about what is right.
... everyone can change.
... repentance is the healing balm for the soul.
... forgiving others helps us to feel happy again.
... we do not learn through the power of force. We learn through the power of love.
... using guilt, tears, or withholding things is manipulation and the wrong way to get what you want from someone.
... in the Book of Mormon.
... that God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are three separate and unique individuals.
... that children are born innocent and pure.
... happy, strong marriages are cultivated upon trust, love, friendship, fidelity, and gratitude.
... that condoning poor behavior helps no one.
... hard work is good for the mind, the body, and the soul.
... a person should sleep, play, and work in equal amounts.
... moderation in all things is key to a healthy life.
... true friends are priceless.
... in order to have a true friend, you have to be one.
I'm sure I could go on, but I'll stop here. I think that's enough for today.
I hope everyone has a wonderful day! I'm wishing it for us all!
Monday, January 30, 2012
Monday, January 23, 2012
I keep thinking about things going on around me and wondering how there can be so much sadness and heartache in the world today. There has been another suicide in my small community. They seem to be growing in frequency. It seems to predominantly be men with young children at home. It just breaks my heart.
I was discussing this with my mom and she mentioned that the suicide rate during the Depression in the 1930's was also quite high. There is most definitely a correlation between financial burden and the rates of depression and suicide. This has me pondering again. I always wish I could find a way to solve the world's problems, even I though I know it is an impossibility.
I've been thinking about my role as a wife, mother, and as a woman in general. What do I have to offer? What is my role? How can I help rather than hurt those around me?
It dawned on me that doing just that is helping the world around me. As a woman, I've been blessed with that innate ability to feel compassion and to have a desire to nurture and help those around me. It is part of my gender. It is part of my divine nature. It is part of every woman's divine nature. These abilities are what make us good wives and mothers. We are the caregivers of the world and that aspect of our gender makes us special and important. There are some women who choose to abandon their femininity and work diligently to be more like men. That is disheartening on so many levels. It is important to embrace those innate characteristics that make us unique and distinct from men.
I wish we could have the best of both worlds where men and women respected each other and worked as partners in the building up of our society rather than battling to determine who is "better", "smarter", "stronger", "more... successful, competitive, or prestigious" than the other. It has damaged us in so many ways. Why can't we embrace the divine characteristics given to men as well as to women? Why can't we work together as equal partners, each bringing our individual traits and characteristics to the table for the greater good? I wish we could take the makings of successful marriages and transfer them to our corporations and governments. It would solve so many problems.
But there will always be greed, pride, and selfishness in the mix. Satan will be sure of that. But there is no reason for it. There is no place for it. It only causes pain and heartache.
I find great comfort from the leaders of my church as they express their love for women and as they work to strengthen us and help us to see just how important we are and how much our Heavenly Father loves us. I understand that men need the nurturing and love that only we as women can give them. It is very difficult for them when they are not able to care for their families in one way or another. It is difficult for them when they are under so much stress. If they can come home to a loving, understanding, and compassionate wife who is their partner in the good times as well as in the bad, there would probably be fewer suicides. They need the support of their wives. It worries me that women are becoming crass and belittle their husbands. It isn't good. It is just as bad as a man who verbally abuses his wife. It is no different. Both are wrong and should not happen.
So I've determined to nurture my femininity. I'm going to strive to be kinder, gentler, more compassionate and understanding. I will strive to have a softer tone and to be less critical of my children and husband. It will make my home a nicer place to be. I am the mother. I have a responsibility to be this way for my family. As the women of the households, we have a way of setting the tone of the home. I am going to try harder to help the tone of my home be better. It won't solve the problems of the world, but in my own small way I will make the world a better place because my children will grow up and understand that having a happy home CAN change the world.
Free 8x10 Printable
You can download HERE.
Saturday, January 21, 2012
With white writing (above)
and black writing (below).
I needed a printable for the 2012 Youth Theme
for the youth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
You are welcome to download a free 8x10 pdf copy (higher resolution) on my printables page, found HERE.
Or you can right click on the images themselves and choose "Save image as..." and download as .png files.
I uploaded them as .png files in case anyone would like to print them on colored paper and have the color show through around the words.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
The world is full of lost souls. Wandering. Searching. Living each day with little or no purpose. Why is that? It perplexes me and causes my mind to ponder. It saddens me... To see so many in such a state. But how to help? I do not know. So I go about my days, doing what I do, feeling a sense of urgency, but not knowing how to abate it. It's a strange condition.
Good versus evil. Humanity's wage from the dawn of time. Lifelong, daily, hourly, minute by minute. Every soul is given the same measure of free agency to choose the path they will take. Everyone wants good so why does evil ever win? It perplexes me. And yet, I know. I am suseptible to the same human condition as everyone else. I have those same weaknesses of the flesh that come with temporal habitation. It's a matter of control. Self control. Some have it in greater measure than others. It is required if good is to win. But good WILL win. It has to be so. Good is greater than evil. More powerful. Stronger. Predestined.
So much suffering all around. It's heartbreaking when caused by selfishness, greed, or thoughtlessness. It angers me, actually. I have little patience for it. And yet, I am sure to be the cause of it myself from time to time. Then I am angry at myself. So I focus on self control and work to overcome those weaknesses, a little more each day.
I've come to realize that evil can never stand alone. Misery loves company. The villian always chooses minions to do the dirty work, never actually getting his hands dirty himself. Evil only has as much strength as people allow it to have. It takes very little effort to take the path of evil - it's the path of shortcuts and least resistance. But it only leads to a ditch, a gully, or a pit. And once you find yourself in that ditch or pit, it's awfully hard to climb back out... Not impossible, but difficult.
Good always takes the high road. The resistance builds our muscles and makes us strong. It is harder to take the high road, but it leads us to the top of the mountain, above the smog and pollution, unlike the path of least resistance that only leads down.
This life can feel so long and yet so short all in the same moment. In one breath I wish for life to be easy and in the next, count myself lucky for the lessons learned that only the hard times can bring. I wouldn't trade my hard times for anything. I am stronger, humbler, more compassionate, and educated because of them. But it's difficult to be grateful for the fire while you are in the midst of being refined by it. The greatest people are those who can walk through their fires with grace and dignity and gratitude. I would like to be such as they. Maybe someday I will get there. One refiners fire at a time. I will progress to that point, I hope.
My desire as I go through this journey of mine is to have the patience of Job. The spiritual strength of Nephi. To be as loyal as Ruth. To be as Martha - charitable and giving... and as her sister Mary - humble and teachable. I would like to be as Alma the Younger who recognized his sins and was forgiven and changed; as Samual the Lamanite, who was courageous in proclaiming the truth; as faithful as the woman who touched the hem of Jesus and was healed. To be like Mormon and Moroni who were fearless in their testimonies of Jesus Christ and kept the records so that we might have them as our guide today. I want to be like every great and righteous person.
I will fight for good. I will fight against evil. I will teach my children the difference. I will be a better example. I will recommit myself to be better. The battle is won one choice at a time. I choose good.
Friday, January 13, 2012
I have been sick. Again. Since Saturday. There are some years you get through the entire year without getting sick even once and then there are years where you just seem to catch anything and everything out there. This is one of those years for me. I think I've been sick more than I've been well this winter. It's fraying my nerves almost to the point that I wonder if I will have any nerves left by the time this winter is over. But enough complaining. That's not what this post is about.
Last night was one more of my big "To Do's" waiting to be checked off my list of "big things I need to get done before I can breathe" kind of list. It was my first leadership training as a stake leader. I wasn't overly nervous. I love teaching so that part isn't what I was worried about. I have been trying all week to do everything in my power to feel better before yesterday so I could be 100% ready for this meeting. Nothing seemed to be working. No matter how hard I've tried, sleep hasn't been easy this week. My cold started in my throat with a sore throat and a cough. I hoped against all odds that it would go into my chest, but no. It went right up into my head. Right where I didn't want it to go. I needed my brain to function if I was going to be able to teach last night. But yesterday was horrible. I felt the absolute worst yesterday out of all the days this week. Of course the day I need to be well was the day my cold was the worst. Murphy's Law always wins out for me. I don't know how, but it does.
So I began my day with prayer as I always do. I specifically asked Heavenly Father to help me feel better and to have a clear mind to help me focus and prepare for the meeting. I have been studying and preparing for weeks now so I didn't have much left to do yesterday except just get through the day without dying. Somehow I managed to get through a day at work, get home, change, load up the car with the things I needed for the meeting, turn right around and come back to town, pick up the refreshments, and get to the church to get everything set up with the other ladies. I still couldn't talk very well. I was having to blow my nose every fifteen minutes or so. I was still coughing. My eyes hurt. I was m-i-s-e-r-a-b-l-e. But I had been praying in my mind all day long - okay - not really "praying" - as much as "pleading" - that it would all be okay and I could get through this meeting.
Everything was coming together. We got everything set up and ready just as the women began to show up for the training. It was a great turnout. We were only missing a handful of 32 women that were invited. We began the meeting with an opening song and a prayer. There were the four of us presenting material to the ladies who were invited. I was last on the agenda. The other three ladies skillfully and gracefully presented their portions. They did a fantastic job. I was worried as it neared the time for me to speak. I wasn't sure if I would be able to talk so I had a glass of water on the table just in case. I had a handful of tissues and a couple of cough drops behind the podium as well. I stood to present my training portion.
I rarely ever write a prepared talk. I study, prepare, and make an outline for the points I would like to cover. I always pray and ask Heavenly Father for help when I speak that I might be guided to know what to say.
So I began... I was able to speak. I was able to say the things in my heart and to express the words and feelings I needed to express. We had a closing song and a closing prayer to end the meeting.
No sooner had we finished with that closing prayer than I needed to blow my nose. And cough. It was at this point I realized I had not coughed, sneezed, or blown my nose once during that entire hour between the opening prayer and closing prayer. My voice didn't give out. My eyes stopped hurting. In fact, I had barely even realized I was sick at all. I immediately said a silent prayer of thanksgiving to my Heavenly Father for helping me through that meeting. He didn't heal me of my cold. I still just wanted to go home and crawl in my bed and die, but He heard my prayers...and answered them. My mind had been opened. My body functioned properly enough to do what I needed to do for that one hour I needed it to.
I don't know why it ever surprises me when my prayers are answered. They are consistently answered on a daily basis, but sometimes it still fills me with awe when I think about it. I don't know why. But it reaffirms my faith in God and His infinite love for me that He will answer my pleadings and bless me with tender mercies and small miracles each and every day. I feel sad for so many people who don't recognize the small answers to their prayers they receive. Some would say my prayer wasn't answered because I wasn't healed of my sickness and if He truly would have answered my prayer I wouldn't have been the most sick on the one day I needed to be well. But those who really know who God is and recognize all that he does would recognize that He DID answer my prayer by helping me to accomplish the task I asked Him to help me accomplish. I was blessed with a reprieve for one hour. That was what I asked for and that was what I received. So... for that... I am grateful. And my faith has been strengthened yet again. How grateful I am for a loving Father who hears and answers my prayers.
Thursday, January 5, 2012
Wow! Is that a long title or what? But it has your attention, doesn't it? This is a rough time of year for us seasonally depressed people... if you haven't noticed by my somber and serious posts as of the last two months. For this reason, I decided I would lighten things up a bit and share one of my most embarrassing moments. Those are always good aren't they? I'm thinking of this today, because an old friend of mine from high school posted a photo of herself on Facebook this morning. She accidentally shaved off one of her eyebrows. Yes, the WHOLE thing. And she was totally laughing about it. It made me think... "Huh. I need to be able to do that better." So here goes.
Several years ago my husband and I went out to dinner with his three siblings, their spouses, and his dad and stepmother to celebrate three wedding anniversaries that are during the month of February. We went to eat at a nice steakhouse. It was the week of their grand opening. The place was packed. There was a live band setting up to play later in the evening. It was in a log cabin with two levels so they took us downstairs where a long banquet table awaited us as per our reservation.
The wait was getting quite long and we had been there quite a while. After an hour I needed to excuse myself and head upstairs to the little girl's room.
I have this awful phobia about public restrooms and germs so I always use those paper seat cover things they all have nowadays. This new restaurant didn't have any of those at this point so I just laid some tissue on the seat before I sat down. I did my business, washed my hands, checked my hair and makeup in the mirror and made my way back downstairs to our table, passing at least twenty or thirty people along my way.
I feel pretty self-conscious walking by big crowds of strangers like that. I hate feeling like people are looking at me. I'm not a fashionable dresser by any means and always feel like I'm on a runway where people are seeing what I'm wearing or how my hair looks. I know. It's a stupid fear. Most people never even notice other people walk by and if they do, I'm sure they aren't thinking those things. It's just one of my weird issues.
So. Back to the story.
I made my way back to the table and sat down next to my husband. I made it back just before our dinner was to be served. As I sat down, it felt like something was in a place it wasn't supposed to be. I felt back to where the waist of my pants was at. In that instant of pure horror and embarrassment I discovered that I had walked downstairs, past the band, past the hostess desk, past the kitchen, and past at least a couple dozen people... with a train of tissue hanging out the top of my pants and dangling down my backside like the tail of a kite. The tissue I had used to protect me from "public bathroom germs" was caught up with my pants as I stood up. I thought I would die.
I just wanted to crawl under that table and disappear. I hoped nobody saw, but I'm sure at least some of them did. I didn't even want to stay and eat my dinner. I just wanted run away as fast as I could. But I didn't. I couldn't leave the celebration just because I was embarrassed. So I choked it down and pretended as best as I could that it didn't really happen and that nobody saw my tail. Somehow I didn't die and I made it home safely. Now, anytime I use a public restroom I triple check in the mirror to make sure I don't walk out looking like a kite.
How about you? Anyone want to share an embarrassing story with me? I would love to hear it!
Labels: Embarrassing Moments
Monday, January 2, 2012
As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I hold a calling. I know. I know. We Mormons have our own language and sometimes it's hard for people who are not Mormon and don't know much about us to understand what we are talking about.
A calling is a job in the church. Most of us have at least one. Some hold a few. They can range from a teacher, to a pianist, to a leadership position, to a Cub Scout or Boy Scout leader, to a Bishop. There are many. And nobody gets paid for the job they do. It is completely on a volunteer basis. We do not ask for callings. We are offered them by our Bishop who has prayed about it with his counselors to seek the will of God for each calling to be filled. We are then given the opportunity to accept or not accept the calling we've been asked to fulfill. They can range in time from a few weeks to a few years, depending on what it is. I have held many callings throughout my life. I have worked in the nursery with the 18 month old to 3 year old toddlers, tending and teaching them while their parents attend their classes. I have been a Cubmaster and a Cub Scout den mother. I have worked in the Relief Society, which is the women's organization within the church. It is the largest women's organization in the world. I am a visiting teacher. Always. That is one calling I will always have. As a visiting teacher, I have 3 or 4 women I visit each and every month. I am their friend. I attend to their needs where I am needed. It might mean taking a meal after a new baby is born or tending her children so she can go to a doctor's appointment. It might just be to offer a shoulder to cry on when life is hard for her. I take a spiritual message with me each month to build her up spiritually. We go as partners of two. I have two sisters who also come and visit and check on me each month. If there are greater needs than I can take care of, I report back to the Relief Society President and she then reports to the Bishop to see if there is a way to help the needs to be met. It could mean paying an electric bill or making sure a box of food is delivered. The range of needs always varies.
For the past two years my calling, other than as a visiting teacher, has been to teach the adult Sunday School class. It was my job to study and prepare a lesson for each Sunday on the scriptures. I was able to teach the Old Testament in 2010 and taught the New Testament for 2011. This year we are studying the Book of Mormon. But I won't be teaching the Book of Mormon this year because I was asked to take a new calling about two months ago. Now my job is to work with all of the young women in my community, ages 12 to 18. I have been asked to be the president of this Young Women's organization. There are approximately 150 girls and 33 women leaders under my direction.
We believe our callings give us opportunities to grow. Since we believe we are divinely called for each position through revelation by the authority of the Priesthood, we believe it is for our spiritual growth and is God's will. (Sometimes I don't like to write about these things on a blog because of those who will ridicule us and say there is no such thing as these things we speak of. We are not crazy. I do believe God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith in a grove of trees and instructed him in how to restore the gospel again upon the earth. It was lost after all of the apostles and prophets were martyred or died and the priesthood was lost upon the earth. This power to act in Jesus' name is called the Aaronic Priesthood and the Melchizedek Priesthood and was restored by the resurrected John the Baptist (Aaronic), and Peter, James, and John (Melchizedek). It had to be restored through resurrected beings because no one on the earth held the priesthood after it was lost over 1,900 years ago.)
Back to my calling. I felt very comfortable in my calling as a teacher of the scriptures each week. Teaching 30 to 70 adults didn't cause me much fear. It was comfortable and was becoming quite easy for me to do. But now I have this new calling where I am the president. I wasn't nervous or afraid when I was asked to do it. But as soon as the time came for me to step up as the old president stepped down, I instantly felt inadequate. I have realized it is much easier for me to accept responsibilities than to delegate them. My confidence has wavered many times over the last month. I know I will grow and learn things I never imagined, but I won't recognize those things until after they have been learned. Just like growing arms and legs can be painful for small children, this new calling is proving to be painful for me. "Growing pains" happen when growth happens rapidly. I've been having some spiritual growing pains and it can be uncomfortable as I have been thrown out of my comfort zone. It isn't easy to learn how to do something different... to BE something different. I won't give up because I'm not a quitter. I just hope I can learn to endure my growing pains associated with this new calling without complaint. I need a big dose of confidence and I need it quickly. I wish I could just inject myself with it through the aid of a needle and syringe. But the medicine I need isn't physical, it is spiritual. I guess I will just have to exercise my faith muscles a little harder and spend a little more time talking to the Doctor (Heavenly Father) for advise and strength. It is proving to be painful, but I guess it is time for me to stretch my wings if I want to learn how to fly.