Sunday, August 31, 2014

Wanted: Hands and Hearts to Hasten the Work

Wanted:  Hands and Hearts to Hasten the Work
By Linda K. Burton

"We can offer hands to help and hearts to hasten Heavenly Father's wonderful work."
BUT are we?
"You have been sent to earth in this dispensation of time because of who you are and what you have been prepared to do! 
We have value and purpose.
"Visualize for minute you and me standing together with the other millions of sisters and brothers in His Church, going forth boldly. . .-serving and loving like the Savior."
Can you imagine what the world would be like if everyone served and loved like the Savior?  WOW!

"Imagine with me some of the possible spiritual "help wanted" signs related to the work of salvation:"
  • Help wanted:  parents to bring up their children in light and truth
  • Help wanted: daughters and sons, sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles, cousins, grandparents, and true friends to serve as mentors and offer helping hands along the covenant path
  • Help wanted: those who listen to the promptings of the Holy Ghost and act on impressions received
  • Help wanted:  those who live the gospel daily in small and simple ways
  • Help wanted:  family history and temple workers to link families eternally
  • Help wanted:  missionaries and members to spread the "good news"------ the gospel of Jesus Christ
  • Help wanted:  covenant keepers to stand firm for truth and right
  • Help wanted:  true disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ

I look at all these "help wanted" signs and use them as a check list - Am I doing these things?

In her talk, Sister Burton quotes Elder M. Russell Ballard when he said:
"Between now and the day the Lord comes again, He needs women in every family, in every ward, in every community, in every nation who will step forward in righteousness and say by their words and their actions, "Here am I, send me."  My question is, 'Will you be one of those women?'"

 "Yes!  I desire to do all those things.  I want to fill all those "wanted" positions.  Send me, send me!"  

Next Week's Talk:
by President boyd k. Packer

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Friday, August 29, 2014

"Here am I, Send Me"

When God asked who would come to earth to prepare a way for all mankind to be saved and strengthened and blessed, it was Jesus Christ who said, simply, “Here am I, send me” (Abr. 3:27).
Just as the Savior stepped forward to fulfill His divine responsibilities, we have the challenge and responsibility to do likewise. If you are wondering if you make a difference to the Lord, imagine the impact when you make commitments such as the following:
“Father, if You need a woman to rear children in righteousness, here am I, send me.”
“If You need a woman who will shun vulgarity and dress modestly and speak with dignity and show the world how joyous it is to keep the commandments, here am I, send me.”
“If You need a woman who can resist the alluring temptations of the world by keeping her eyes fixed on eternity, here am I, send me.”
“If You need a woman of faithful steadiness, here am I, send me.”
Between now and the day the Lord comes again, He needs women in every family, in every ward, in every community, in every nation who will step forward in righteousness and say by their words and their actions, “Here am I, send me.”
My question is, “Will you be one of those women?
Read more HERE

Thursday, August 28, 2014

First Day Blues

 My baby girl started school this past Tuesday.
She loves it!  She was up at the crack of dark, dressed, fed, hair curled, and chomping at the bit to leave for her 9:00 Kindergarten class.  It was only 7:45.  
When the time to leave finally arrived, she was still just as excited.  I, on the other hand, was fighting tears and a possible anxiety attack. 
Once I got her all settled at her classroom table and into the capable hands of her teacher, she came to the realization that her mom wouldn't be able to stay with her.  This made her a little nervous.  I was half tempted to pick her up, and take her back home with me, telling the school we'd try again in a few years.
I didn't. I held strong (and back the tears) and told her she was going to do great and have so much fun.  Then I kissed her goodbye and walked back to a quiet, lonely, empty house.
Why is it when all my kids were home driving me nuts, I'd give anything for a break.
But now that I have that break, I'd give anything to have all my kids home driving me nuts.
? ? ?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Primary and Family Home Evening

Clint and I serve as Primary teacher's in our Church.  The Primary is what we call the children's Sunday school.  We get to teach the 9/10 year olds together every Sunday.
We also have an awesome music leader who sometimes lets the kids dress-up the teachers.
Poor Clint. . . better him than me!  Hahahaha

The theme for Primary this month is "Participating in Wholesome Activities Will Strengthen My Family".
One such activity is Family Home Evening or FHE for short.  There is no right or wrong way to do FHE.  My family takes turns, and each family member rotates through being in charge, sharing a scripture, leading us in song, saying an opening prayer, teaching a lesson, directing us in a game, showing off a talent or achievement, and providing refreshments.

Modern-day prophets have promised us great blessings if we have regular weekly FHE's.

Some blessings include:
more love at home
obedience to parents will increase
your children will develop faith and gain power to offset evil influences and temptations (which there are plenty of in today's society)
increased personal worth
 Last night for FHE we read and discussed "A Good Day After All", from the Sept 2014 Friend magazine, about having a good attitude.  #6 showed off her new backpack that is all packed and ready for her first day of school today.  Then we moved out all the furniture for a little competitive game of indoor volleyball.  And let's not forget the treats- chocolate chocolate pudding pie (#5 likes her some chocolate).
We love FHE at our house!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Come Join the Ranks

Over the weekend, we (well maybe I should say, my boys) joined the ranks in promoting and supporting ALS also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
 In case you live in a cave or underground and don't know about this challenge that has gone viral all over social media, you can read about it HERE.  Basically you video yourself or someone else dumping a bucket of ice water over your head.  Then you post that video on to your social media site(s) and challenge specific followers to do the same (#icebucketchallenge or #alsicebucketchallenge). You can watch my two boys' videos on my instagram HERE.  
When I think of ALS, I think of Cake Boss, Buddy Valastro's Mama.  If you watch the show, you'll know what a terrible terrible disease this is.  It affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord causing loss of muscle control.  Currently there is no cure and research is still being done to even find effective treatments.

 Now it's your turn-
I CHALLENGE YOU to take the Ice Bucket Challenge and/or Donate.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

"Fear Not; I Am With Thee"

"Fear Not; I Am With Thee"
by Jean A. Stevens

The title of Sister Stevens talk is taken from one of my favorite scriptures, Isaiah 41:10:

"Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness."

"Our Father in Heaven reaches out for each of us. . .He has power over all things and desires to help us learn, grow, and return to Him."

A month or so ago, my family was able to participate in a series of what they call "Challenge Courses" up at the Church's Heber Valley Camp.  One of the challenges is called "The Wall". 

The challenge is to get everyone in your group up and over a 12 foot wall.  Two people from the group, once they get themselves up, are allowed to lean over the top to give everyone a hand up.

The lesson this challenge teaches is that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are always there for us with Their hands stretched out, reaching out to us, ready to help pull us up and over Life's Walls (difficulties, heartache, etc).  

"God is watching over us.  We are not alone."

Sister Stevens shares the story of the Gatrell family who's husband and father was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer giving him just weeks to live.  Instead of letting this devastate the family, the Gatrell's relied more on the Lord.  They reached up and took hold of his stretched out hand, and let Him pull them up and over this trying time in their lives.  Sister Venita Gatrell's faith and trust in the Lord were evidenced in her words, "I was carried.  I learned that you can feel peace in the midst of turmoil.  I knew the Lord was watching over us.  If you trust in the Lord, truly you can overcome any of life's challenges."

One of the Gatrell daughter's added: ". . .I would have never asked for this trial, but I would never give it away.  We were surrounded with God's love."

We can feel "peace in the midst of the storm."
It is possible to grow in our "ability to trust in the Lord."
We can be "strengthened by [and through] faith in Jesus Christ and in His atoning power."

". . .Whatever our worries and challenges may be, we are not alone.  You are not forgotten. . .We can choose to reach for God's hand in our need.  We can face our challenges with prayer and trust in the Lord."
Next Week's Talk:
by Linda K. Burton

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Friday, August 22, 2014

Take Two

On the second day of school this little diva said, "Mom, take my picture again.  I look cuter today than I did yesterday." 
Today marks the end of a successful first week of school.
Everyone is dead tired and somewhat moody as we all try to adjust to getting up (at the crack of dark) early and having our days full again.  It always seems to take a month or so before everyone is acclimated to the schedule and demands of school.  
This is how I've been spending most of my week -hanging out with my youngest.  She doesn't start school until next week, and is officially thoroughly bored.

If you're officially thoroughly bored watch this 2014 Education Week talk by Elder Bednar

Thursday, August 21, 2014


 This is my oldest girl.
How is it that (what seems to be) just last week she was this little girl
and now she has grown into this beautiful woman?
 She is the kindest, smartest, most self-disciplined person you'll ever meet.
I'm blessed to be her mom.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Last Hurrah!

This past weekend was our last hurrah before school starts. 
Clint and our oldest flew to Arizona to attend a funeral (RIP Uncle Daniel- We miss you already.)  They left on Friday and flew back in on Sunday.  They had a great weekend spending time with each other and visiting with family.
 On Friday, the rest of us (minus my oldest girl who was too busy hanging out with her friends) spent Friday with Gram.
I really think it's cool that my kids still have a great-grandma that's still alive.
She'll be 91 this November.  I keep telling her she is not allowed to die.
 We had a special surprise planned for Gram, so I sent her in to take a nap.
While she was napping I made a cake Gram's been craving.
The kids watched TV,
 Looked for treasures in the backyard,
 and took selfies.
Finally Gram was awake.  Time for the surprise.  We loaded up Gram 
and her wheelchair
and took her to
 the County Fair!
 We had such a blast!  Riding rides, looking at the exhibits, and eating funnel cakes.
 We had Gram all talked into riding the Ferris wheel until the ride operator said it would be closed for just a minute while he located a missing part.  What!?  Well that was the end of that.  No Ferris wheel for Gram.
But I think she had fun anyway.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Do You Know?

As I'm getting ready to send my children out of the protection of my home and back into the world of school, I find myself feeling somewhat melancholy.  Am I doing enough as a mother?  Am I spending enough time with them, loving them enough, teaching them enough?  Am I helping them strengthen their testimonies of the Savior and His gospel?  

This morning on my run (yay!  I'm still going), I listened to Sister Julie Beck's talk, Mother's Who Know.  
She tell us:
"The responsibility mothers have today has never required more vigilance. More than at any time in the history of the world, we need mothers who know. Children are being born into a world where they “wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). However, mothers need not fear. When mothers know who they are and who God is and have made covenants with Him, they will have great power and influence for good on their children."


-Place value on being a mother

-Honor sacred ordinance and covenants

-Point their children towards the temple

-Create a climate for spiritual and temporal growth in their homes

-Know that home is where woman have the most power and influence

-Are leaders in an equal partnership with their husbands

-Plan- for missions, temple marriages, education, family prayer, scripture study, and family home evenings

-Are selective about their own activities and involvement, conserving their limited strength in order to maximize their influence where it matters most.

-Are always teachers

-Do less:
     -They permit less of what will not bear good fruit eternally.
     -Less media, less distractions, less activity that draws their children out of the home.
     -They willing live on less and consume less of the world’s goods in order to spend more time with their 

-Spend more time eating together, more time working together, more time reading together, more time talking, laughing, singing, and exemplifying.

-Have a goal to prepare future fathers and mothers who will be builders of the Lord’s kingdom

-Love the Lord and bear testimony of Him

-Do not give up during difficult and discouraging times

Each day I can strive to be a Mother Who Knows.  In the words of President Hinckley:

"We have a greater challenge than we realize. …'Do the best you can.’ But I want to emphasize that it be the very best. … We are capable of doing so much better. …We must get on our knees and plead with the Lord for help and strength and direction. We must then stand on our feet and move forward.”  (Worldwide Leadership Training Mtg, 2004)
Thank you Sister Beck for the pep-talk!  Mother of the Year, here I come.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

"I Have Given You an Example"

"I Have Given You an Example"
by Elder Richard G. Scott

To me, the whole theme of Elder Scott's talk was a reminder to not get so wrapped up in trivial, mundane things and responsibilities that we lose sight of God's objectives, doctrines, and teachings.  
Elder Scott gives this warning twice in his talk:

"Sometimes we get so wrapped up in things that we find fascinating or become so consumed by mundane responsibilities that we lose sight of God's objectives. . ."

"Do not become so absorbed with trivial things that you miss learning the doctrine and teachings of the Lord. . ."

Are there things that consume our time and draw our focus away from learning and fully basing our lives on the principles of the gospel and then trying to help others to do the same? 

Instead, we need to take (and make) the time to study and learn the doctrine; and then build our lives on it's foundation so that we can be a powerful influence for others desperately need the truth.  Afterall, 
"We best serve our Father in Heaven by righteously influencing others and serving them."

Elder Scott shared the stories of two women who had a tremendous influence in his life and help him to live the principles of the gospel.  The first was his grandmother.  When Elder Scott was little, his father was not a member of the Church and his mother wasn't very active.  His grandmother, who lived on the other side of the country, was able to share the love of the gospel with her grandsons (Elder Scott and his brother).  They were eventually baptized.  She continued to support his family and helped them to feel a need for the gospel in their lives, eventually converting his father making it possible for his family to be sealed together in the temple.

The second example was his wife, who encouraged him to serve a mission.  He says:

"Both Grandmother Whittle and Jeanene (his wife) loved me enough to share their conviction that the ordinances of the gospel and serving Father in Heaven would bless my life.  Neither of them coerced me or made me feel bad about the person I was.  They simply loved me and loved Father in Heaven.  Both knew He could do more with my life than I could on my own.  Each courageously helped me in loving ways to find the path of greatest happiness.

We too can become a significant influence in the life of others.

Sincerely Love them- "We must be sure to sincerely love those we want to help in righteousness so they can begin to develop confidence in God's love. . .Giving them confidence in your love can help them develop faith in God's love.  Then through your loving, thoughtful communication, their lives will be blessed by your sharing lessons you have learned, experiences you have had, and principles you have followed to find solutions to our struggles.  Show your sincere interest in their well-being; then share your testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ."

Encourage them- "Encourage those you love to seek to understand what the Lord would have them do."

Focus Your Life on the most Basic Principles- If we will consistently focus our life on the most basic principles, "you will gain an understanding of what you are to do, and you will produce more fruit for the Lord and more happiness for yourself."

"When you focus your life on the basic principles of the plan of salvation, you will better concentrate on sharing what you know because you understand the eternal importance of the ordinances of the gospel.  You will share what you know in a way that encourages your friends to want to be strengthened spiritually.  You will help your loved ones want to commit to obey all of His commandments and take upon themselves the name of Jesus Christ.

Trust them- "In some cases it may seem difficult to trust, but find some way to trust them.  The children of Father in Heaven can do amazing things when they feel trusted.  Every child of God in mortality chose the Savior's plan.  Trust that given the opportunity, they will do so again."

Share- "Share principles that help those you love to press forward along the path to eternal life. . .Keep your sharing of the gospel simple . . .at every appropriate opportunity, testify of the Savior. . ."
Sharing the gospel with others does not need to be a huge production.  It will come easily if we sincerely love, and simply share our testimonies of the Savior with them.

Next Week's Talk:
by Sister Jean A. Stevens

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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Baby Girl

I had this post all up and ready to go yesterday.  This morning I turned on my computer and here it still is.  I forgot to hit publish!  Oh well, better late than never.
As I was transferring pictures from my camera to my computer, I found these cute pictures of my baby girl.
(I'm pretty sure these particular photos were taken by a certain 7 year old who along with her little sister just loves to take random pictures with her mother's camera.  Most times I find pictures of her dolls, or her feet on my camera roll.  100's of them.  This time I was pleasantly surprised to find these animated photos of #6. )
 This little girl, my last child, my baby, is leaving me and going off to Kindergarten.
 The nerve!
Doesn't she know her mama will have no idea what to do with herself?
I'll probably by bored to tears, or maybe those tears will be because I'm lonely, or maybe they will be tears of joy because I can finally go to the bathroom without any interruptions.
 She is excited and has been 'practicing' school for the past couple weeks.
 I, on the other hand, still cannot believe that after 18 years I'll have a few hours of being just Rachael and not Mom.  It's going to be really weird.

 #3 is the proud new owner of a Wubble.  It's a bubble, it's a ball, it's a Wubble. (yeah that makes no sense to me either)
This was Grandma Collins' birthday gift to him.  It's been on back order for forever.  It finally arrived yesterday afternoon.  This morning, it popped.  And that was the end of that. . .