Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Better Me

This week my thoughts and focus have been on my Savior, Jesus Christ.  Because of how one day started over 2000 years ago, He made so many things possible.  One of these "things" is the opportunity to change, to become better, to be what you've always desired to be.
Starting today, Christ has given you a fresh start, a new beginning, a chance to change.

WHAT WILL YOU DO?  

WHO WILL YOU BECOME?

HOW WILL YOU CHANGE?

Will it be easy?  I'm afraid not- 
There will be hard things we won't want to do, but things we need to do, things we have to do.
Even Christ himself was asked to do hard things.  He didn't want to do it either.  He asked 'Isn't there any other way?'  "Nevertheless, not my will but thine be done." (Luke 22:42)  He did it, and because He did we have the power to become, even as He is.

-Will you forgive someone or seek forgiveness yourself?
-Will you judge less?
-Will you mend a broken relationship?
-Will you be more optimistic?
-Will you be more loving?

What will you do today? 
What changes will you make? 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

#BecauseofHim

Mormon.Org has a new video for this Easter season.  We watched it last night for FHE.
Warning:  Get some tissues handy, its powerful.
This week they are also doing a social media campaign to help spread the message of Christ.
Each day post a photo/image that goes along with the daily prompt and include #BecauseofHim.
I'm participating in this on Instagram.  If you participate, tag me, I'd love to see what you share.


MISSIONARY UPDATE:
Yesterday we were lucky enough to be able to drop this missionary couple off.
 They will be staying at this campground and driving back and forth to Heber Valley Camp (HVC) until the snow melts and then they will be able to move up into HVC.
This will be their home away from home for the next six months. 
 A week from Friday they will find out exactly what area they will serve in and what their duties will be.
My dad grew up in this valley. Isn't it gorgeous?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Farewell

Today my parents are leaving on a service mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  They will be serving at Heber Valley Camp.
They are super excited and we're excited for them.  My parents are awesome and I'm happy to share them.  They will be a great asset to the camp and to the campers. 
Last night we had a "Farwell" party at their house to visit one last time and to say our goodbyes.  My parents took the opportunity to bear their testimony to their children and grandchildren.  They bore witness that Heavenly Father is our father and that he loves us.  They testified of Jesus Christ and His love and sacrifice for us.  They firmly stated that the church we go to, even the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true and is the only true church on the earth.  It is Christ's church and is the same church Christ established while he was here on the earth.  They related to us how much Heavenly Father has blessed them, and because of the gratitude and love they have for Him, they want to serve and bless others.  For "when you are in the service of your fellow beings, you are only in the service of your God" (Mosiah 2:17).
Mom and Dad if you're reading this we're sure proud of you!

Missionary Flags can be purchased Here.  Tell them Elder and Sister Luke sent you.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Lamentations of Jeremiah: Beware of Bondage

Lamentations of Jeremiah:  Beware of Bondage
By Elder Quentin L. Cook

Bond' age  (noun) -  the state of being under control of another person or thing


"Turning from the worship of the true and living God and worshipping false gods like wealth and fame and engaging in immoral and unrighteous conduct results in bondage in all its insidious (subtle but harmful) manifestations.  These include spiritual, physical, and intellectual bondage and sometimes destruction." 

"Bondage, subjugation, addictions and servitude come in many forms." 

Elder Cook shares four examples:

1. "Addictions that impair agency, contradict moral beliefs, and destroy good health. . . The impact of drugs and alcohol, immorality, pornography, gambling, financial subjugation. . ."

I have a friend whose brother (an active member of The Church) use to be addicted to alcohol.  He was an alcoholic by every definition of the word.  Wondering when he was going to be able to get his next drink always consumed his thoughts, and once he finally did get his drink, he wasn't able to stop with just one.  He would have many drinks which would cause his judgement to be impaired and he no longer had control over his thinking, actions, etc.  

One afternoon, on his way home from the bar, he hit a parked trailer right in front of the town's police station.  He was arrested and convicted with a DUI and sentenced to attend an alcohol rehab program, and his license was suspended.  He lost the freedom to drive.  Once his rehab program was finished and he developed a pattern of sobriety, he was given back his license, but the steering wheel of his car was fitted with a breathalyzer lock.  Before his car will even start, he has to blow into this lock.  If his blood alcohol level is within limit, his car will start, if it's over, it won't.  Every so often while driving, he'll be prompted to blow into the breathalyzer to retest his levels.  He has basically become a slave to this breathalyzer lock.   


It has been almost two years since his sentencing.  He has remained sober, and in a few more months, he will regain all of his driving privileges and freedoms back.

2. Addictions that use up our "precious allotment of time which could be used to accomplish virtuous objectives. . . These can include excessive use of social media, video and digital games, sports, recreation, and many others.

I talked about my addiction to social media and the bondage I felt because of it here.

Last night we had some friends over.  While we were visiting, one of our friends mentioned his addiction to Clash of Clans.  He loves that game and can't wait until he gets off work everyday so he can spend his evening plotting and playing.  His confession reminded me of a news story I had heard on the radio.  The story talked about how people are severely addicted to the online game candy crush.  Last year users spent a whopping $493 million dollars on the game.  If you type in Candy Crush Addiction into Google there are 1,220 search results.

In an October 2010 Ensign Article, President Boyd K. Packer said:
"Remember, brothers and sisters, any kind of addiction is to surrender to something, thus relinquishing agency and becoming dependent. Thus, video-gaming and texting on cell phones need to be added to the list. Some gamers claim to spend up to 18 hours a day going through level after level of video games, neglecting all other aspects of their lives."

3. Ideology or political beliefs that are inconsistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ.  "Substituting the philosophies of men for gospel truth. . . ."

"Gospel truths are often rejected or distorted to make them intellectually more appealing or compatible with current cultural trends and intellectual philosophies.  If we are not careful, we can be captured by these trends and place ourselves in intellectual bondage."

Elder Cook then used the modern-day philosophies that criticize women for choosing to be full-time "mothers, teachers, nurturers, or friends to children".

4.  Forces that violate sincerely held religious principles. 

"One of the most invidious forms is when righteous people feel accountable to God for their conduct are forced into activities that violate their conscience--for example, health providers forced to choose between assisting with abortions against their consciences or losing their jobs."  

This example reminds me of the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court case.  The Affordable Care Act is forcing the Hobby Lobby Company to go against their beliefs by paying for emergency contraceptives, something they feel is morally wrong.

"We must do everything within our power to avoid the sin and rebellion that lead to bondage."
"The whole world lieth in sin, and groaneth under darkness and under the bondage of sin. . . because they come not unto me."  (D&C 84:49-50)

Next Week's Talk:

by Elder Russell M. Nelson

Friday, April 11, 2014

Spring Break

This week my school-age children are out of school on spring break.
We really haven't done much.  Since Clint has to work, we've used the break to sleep in (except for the youngest two who seem to wake up at the same time each morning, no matter what time they go to bed the night before), relax, and play together and with friends.

We started off the week getting the kids their biannual dental cleanings.  All were cavity-free except for one, who will get 3 fillings and one tooth extracted next week.   I've gotten some "spring cleaning" done around the house, not my favorite thing to do, but . . . .
Wednesday we celebrated our one-year anniversary of living in our new home by playing at a trampoline park and afterwards, going to dinner.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Do You Remember?

Sister Dalton shared the following story that was once shared with her of two women who walked together each day.  "One was a member of the Church and the other was not. In an effort to share the gospel with her friend, the Church member said, "I am so excited because it is general conference time." To which the friend inquired, "What is that?" The woman then said, "This is a time held every six months when members of the Church gather to hear the words of prophets, seers and revelators. These words are translated and broadcast all over the world." The neighbor became very animated and asked, "You mean, you believe in prophets who can see things that are not yet seen?" To which she replied. "Yes, that is exactly right." The two walked along in silence as the woman's friend absorbed this. At length her friend asked, "So tell me, what did they tell you to do last general conference?" The Church member thought for a long while. And then admitted, "You know, I can't remember." This prompted one additional observation from her friend. "Then what good does it do to belong to a Church who believes in living prophets if you don't remember what they told you to do?"

What good does it do to belong to a Church who believes in living prophets if you don't remember what they told you to do?
Sister Dalton then says:
"As the world is flooded with messages twittering, blogging and Facebooking around the world, [we] must be attentive and alert to the sure voices of prophets, seers and revelators. In fact, I believe, in a world increasing in media messages each must be riveted on their words and know how to apply them in their lives. Prophets speak for God. They are a voice of warning. They can guide, direct, admonish correct and teach. They can provide personal answers to life's questions and challenges. They can also prepare each of us for what is to come."

What were we asked to do this past General Conference?

Are we striving to obey?

Are we applying their words to our lives?

"Perhaps each of us might want to make a personal "to do list" of things that we can do in our lives to learn and live these messages. Perhaps each of us will want to review carefully the messages in written and visual form on the Internet. The time has come to hold these words close, download them onto our iPods, our iPads and our mobile devices; but more importantly into our hearts — "lest we forget, lest we forget.""
This is little Tinkerbell's (my #6) notebook.  Inside she keeps her drawings.  Each day she chooses a new drawing to be displayed on the outside cover.  Last Saturday morning, this is the drawing she displayed.  She explained: "This is President Monson and me. This is the Conference center, and the pretty flowers they always have behind the person talking.  And this (bottom) is our Conference Bags."

It makes me feel good as a mom that she gets it!  She knows how lucky we are to have a prophet on the earth today.  She knows how important his words are.  As we study the talks from conference, may be "riveted on their words and know how to apply them in their lives".

I would love for you to share your thoughts and feelings on the talks as we discuss them in General Conference Club each Sunday here on the blog.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Moving Day April 9, 2013

(almost)Wordless Wednesday
One year ago today, we moved!

 17 years ago when my parents gave us this extremely heavy old upright piano, my dad swore he would never ever move it again! HAHA.  Little did he know he'd end up moving it 5 more times.  Sorry Dad.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Surrounded by Jocks

 I married into a family of Athletes, and then made little athletes myself (thanks to their father's genes).  I am like a fish out of water when it comes to sports.  I just kind of flop around looking dorky and feeling like I'm going to die.  Maybe in the next life. . . 
Baller (#3) is playing tennis again this year.  Last year he played on the Jr. High team for his old school. This year he is playing doubles on his new school's intramural team. 
His partner was on his basketball team.  They play really well together.
 Baller has plans to challenge a boy on the regular tennis team.  If he wins, he is automatically on the team, and the losing boy is off.  Sounds mean to me, but I'm told that's the way it works in tennis. 
 Here is part of Baller's Cheer team (although it's bad manners to yell and cheer in tennis).
Wait!  Something's wrong with Sis? 
 She is screaming "Get it Off!  Get it Off!"
(Don't worry Sis, you're mom may not be athletic but she can remove a worm from off your foot.)
This is Clint's baby sister, Deb.  She was 7 when Clint and I married.  I've had the pleasure of watching her grow into the beautiful (inside and out) woman she is today.
 Deb plays for the BYU Women's Lacrosse team.  She also had a game last Thursday night.
(Deb is on the far left)
 I've never watched a lacrosse game before and therefore had no idea what was going on
 but at least the sunset was pretty.
 
 and I got to spend time with my family.
 Due to the crazy wind and cold 
 I and some of my little jocks spent most of the game watching from the car.
Go BYU and my favorite little player #4!!!

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Flour Game

Tomorrow I will tell you all about our exciting and uplifting weekend, but today, in honor of it being Monday, I will share with you one of our favorite Family Night Games -

The Flour Game
 I had never heard of the flour game until after I was married and had kids.
 Growing up, my husband would play this game with his family.
 Once our kids were old enough, he couldn't wait to introduce The Flour Game to them.
 If you're unfamiliar with how this game works, it's pretty simple.  You start by taking a cup, filling it tightly with flour, and then inverting it onto a plate.  Remove the cup, leaving just a mound of flour behind.  Now you place a lifesaver, or in our case, a penny on top.
 Each person takes a turn slicing off chunks of flour - as little or as much as they'd like.  
(Our rule: you must cut from the top slicing down, vertically)
 The object of the game is to keep the penny from falling on your turn
 with the hopes that it will fall on the next players turn.
 The player who makes the penny fall must fish the penny out with their mouth.
 And only their mouth - NO HANDS ALLOWED!
Have you got what it takes . . .
to "FACE THE FLOUR"?
Warning:  This game will give you the giggles, and possibly a belly laugh or two (or three).  Play at your own risk.  

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Doctrines and Principles Contained in the Articles of Faith

Yesterday's Sessions of General Conference were, once again, Amazing!
We will continue to discuss talks from the October 2013 session until the May 2014 Ensign comes out and then we will discuss talks from this, April 2014, session.
The Doctrines and Principles Contained in the Articles of Faith
by Elder L. Tom Perry

Years and years ago, when I was in the 8th grade, I can remember trying to teach a friend about the gospel by reciting the 13 Articles of Faith to him and then trying to explain them.  I was able to recite them just fine.  Luckily for me I had memorized the Articles of Faith and the songs that go with them when I was in primary.  But explaining what they meant was a little harder.  I had no idea how to explain some of them in simple terms and others, I didn't even know what they were about.

"Memorizing the Articles of Faith would mean nothing more than a lot of words unless we understood the doctrines and principles contained in them."

I love this talk given by Elder Perry in the General Priesthood Session, because he breaks down each article of faith and explains the basic gospel doctrine and principles each teaches us.

"This doctrine is to the Church like a battery is to a cell phone.  When you remove the battery from your cell phone, it becomes useless.  A church in which true doctrine is no longer taught is similarly useless.  It cannot guide us back to our Heavenly Father and our eternal home."

Elder Perry teaches us that the Articles of Faith can be divided into sections:

Section 1- Articles of Faith 1-4:
The Godhead an the Basic Doctrine of Christ
1st Article of Faith- "The Godhead is three personages:  God the Father, Jesus the Christ, and the Holy Ghost."

2nd Article of Faith- "We are responsible for our own actions on earth."

3rd Article of Faith- "A vision of the Savior's mission for the salvation of Father in Heaven's children."

4th Article of Faith- "The importance of basic principles and ordinances.


Section 2- Articles of Faith 5-6:
Organization and Order of the Priesthood
5th & 6th Article of Faith-"Organization and Order of the Priesthood"
"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the same organization that Christ organized and directed while He was on the earth." Explained in Article of Faith 6

"When we receive the priesthood, we receive the authority to act in the name of God and lead in ways of truth and righteousness.  This authority is a vital source of righteous power and influence for the benefit of God's children on earth and will last beyond the veil."

"It was necessary for the priesthood to be restored before the true Church of Jesus Christ could be organized.  This is the fundamental lesson we learn from the fifth and sixth articles of faith."

Section 3- Articles of Faith 7-9:
Eternal Resources in a Mortal Journey
7th Article of Faith- "We are given spiritual gifts to guide us as we follow the Lord's teachings and to protect us from evil."

8th Article of Faith- "The scriptures are another guide; if we read carefully the word of God, He will reveal our path back to eternal life."

9th Article of Faith- "God has revealed, does reveal, and will reveal in the future many great and important truths to His prophets, seers, and revelators.


Section 4- Articles of Faith 10-12:
Member Missionaries
10th Article of Faith- "The Gathering of Israel in preparation for the Second Coming of the Savior.

11th Article of Faith- "Men and Women are agents unto themselves, and they can either accept or reject the word of God according to their own conscience."

12th Article of Faith- "As we spread the gospel to the four corners of the earth. . .we must respect the governments of each nation we enter.  Truly, we believe in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law of each land."

Section 5- Articles of Faith 13:
Aspirational Attributes
13th Article of Faith- Insight into how we should conduct our lives and present ourselves."

"All of us should aspire to embody these attributes and lead lives that exemplify them."

"I encourage you to use your bright minds to study and learn the Articles of Faith and the doctrines they teach.  They are among the most important and certainly the most concise statements of doctrine in the Church.  If you will use them as a guide to direct your studies of the gospel of Jesus Christ, you will find yourself prepared to declare your witness of the restored truth to the world.  You will be able to declare in simple, straightforward, and profound ways the core beliefs you hold dear as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."


Have you ever used the Articles of Faith to teach someone about the Church?

Next Week's Talk:
by Elder Quentin L. Cook