Monday, July 28, 2014

Service, one lick at a time

I love this story told by Steven E. Snow HERE:

My wife and I learned a valuable lesson during our time of service in Africa. We were assigned to a district conference in Jinja, Uganda. Early Saturday morning before our meetings began, we took the opportunity to tour a new chapel in the area. As we arrived at the building, we were greeted by a young boy of three to four years of age. He had come to the Church grounds to see what was going on. Struck by his broad smile, Sister Snow reached in her purse and handed him a wrapped piece of hard butterscotch candy. He was delighted.
We spent a few minutes touring the chapel before returning outside. We were met by more than a dozen smiling children, who each wanted to meet the new neighborhood candy lady.
Phyllis was heartbroken, as she had given the boy her last piece of candy. She disappointedly gestured to the children there was no more. The small boy who initially greeted us then handed the candy back to Sister Snow, gesturing for her to unwrap it. With a heavy heart, Phyllis did so, fully expecting the boy to pop the butterscotch candy into his mouth in full view of his envious friends.
Instead, to our great surprise, he went to each of his friends, who stuck out their tongues and received one delicious lick of the butterscotch candy. The young boy continued around the circle, occasionally taking his own lick, until the candy was gone.
Now, one can argue the lack of sanitation with this gesture of sharing, but no one can dispute the example set by this young boy. Unselfishness, sharing, and giving are essential to service. This child learned that lesson well.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Choice Generation

The Choice Generation
by Randall L. Ridd

We are surrounded by technology.  Everywhere you go, it is there.  Technology is good, but it can also be bad.  This talk was a great reminder for for my houseful of teenagers to use the internet for good.

Elder Randall, speaking to the young men specifically, refers to the youth of today as the "choice generation" because "never before in history have individuals been blessed with so many choices."
"More Choices mean more opportunities; more opportunities mean more potential to do good and , unfortunately, evil.  I believe God sent you here at this time because he trusts you to successfully discern among the mind-boggling choices available."

"You are growing up with one of the greatest tools for good in the history of man: the Internet.  With it comes an elaborate buffet of choices. . .With one click of a button you can access whatever your heart desires.  That's the key-what does your heart desire?  What do you gravitate toward?  Where will your desires lead?"

"As you surf the Internet, you leave tracks-what you communicate, where you have been, how long you have been there, and the kinds of things that interest you.  In this way, the Internet creates a cyber profile for you-in a sense, your "cyber book of life".  As in life, the Internet will give you more and more of what you seek.  If your desires are pure, the Internet can magnify them, making it even easier to engage in worthy pursuits.  But the opposite is also true.

 "Every day the world seeks to influence your desires, enticing you to buy something, click on something, play something, read or watch something."

This makes me thing of my two littlest girls.  They are allowed 45 minutes of "play-time" either on the computer or on the iPad.  Lately, they have been in to watching YouTube videos of a woman making things out of play-dough.  One video, leads to another video, and so on.  They can spend their whole 45-minutes clicking from video to video watching this woman make her creations.  These videos have definitely influenced them.  They now spend most of their free-time making play-dough creations, and commentating as they go.

"If you are not proactive in educating your desires, the world will do it for you. . .Ultimately, the choice is yours.  You have AGENCY.  It is the power to not only act on your desires but also to refine, purify, and elevate your desires."
Agency is your power to become.
""Each choice takes you closer to or further from what you are meant to become; each click has meaning.  Always ask yourself, 'Where will this choice lead?' Develop the ability to see beyond the moment? 

Educate your desires and Guide your use of technology by:

1.  Knowing Who You Really Are
"Remember who you really are. . .This will inspire you to make correct choices as you use the Interest and throughout your life."

2.  Plug In to THE Source of Power
I love the cell phone analogy Brother Ridd uses to teach this principle- so creative!  This will make a great object lesson and discussion for FHE tomorrow.  He says:
". . .If you don't regularly recharge your cell phone, it is useless, and you feel lost and out of touch.  You wouldn't think of going a single day without charging your battery.

He's so right.  Every night before going  to bed, the first thing everyone does is plug their electronics (cell phones, iPads, iPods, what have you) in. 

"As important as it is to leave home every day with a full charge on your cell phone, it is far more important to be fully charge spiritually.  Every time you plugin your phone, use it as a reminder to ask yourself if you have plugged in to the most important source of spiritual power-prayer and scripture study, which will charge you with inspiration through the Holy Ghost."

His cell phone analogy continues:
"Many of us immediately stop whatever we are doing to read a text message-should we not place even more importance on messages from the Lord?

As soon as we receive a prompting, we should give it the same attention we give our phones, and  immediately stop what we are doing to listen and obey.

3.  Using your Smartphone wisely
"Owning a Smartphone does not make you smart, but using it wisely can. . .don't do dumb things with your smartphone.  You all know what I mean."

4.  Use Technology to Accomplish the Lord's Purposes
"The divine purposes of technology is to hasten the work of salvation.  As members of the choice generation, you understand technology.  (I'm amazed that even a one-year old knows how to turn on a phone and navigate through it's apps.)Use it to accelerate your progress toward perfection. . .you have the power through the Internet and social media to reach beyond borders and influence the whole world.

In April 2012, KSL did a segment about sharing the gospel through social media that aired between Conference Sessions.  You can watch it HERE.  It is amazing!!!

Elder Ballard also taught a lot about this in his CES Broadcast HERE.

I made these reminder tags for my kids to put on their chargers.  Just left click on the tag you want, right click and save as.  Print them out on card stock (these are already the size you need, so print them as is), punch a hole in the top, thread with ribbon, or twine, and cut along the dotted line being careful not to slice through the edges.  Feed the charger through the dotted line opening, and tie onto the cord.

Next Week's Talk:
by Quentin L. Cook

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Friday, July 25, 2014

Sanctuaries from the Storms of Life

With news this week of the Ogden, Utah Temple Open House, we can't help but be excited for "our" temple, the Payson Utah Temple to be finished.  Rumor has it that the Open House (a chance for the public to visit and see inside) will be sometime next Spring (2015).
When President Monson announced plans for the construction of a temple in Payson he said:
"Temples answer those soul-searching questions of the purpose of life, of why we are here and where we are going."
"They are sanctuaries from the storms of life and bless the lives of members of the Church who worship within their sacred walls."

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Family Reunion- Day 2

 Our second and last day of our family get-together at HVC, we spent several hours straining our brains, and our bodies on what the camp calls the "low course".  The low course has 5 challenges.  Each challenge has a life/gospel lesson that it teaches.
 The first challenge we did was called the Giant Spider Web.  Each person from our group had to make it through the web without touching it.  Once someone went through or attempted to go through a hole of the web, that hole was then off-limits.
Here #2 is about to get thrown over the top hole, cheerleader-style.
Don't worry she made it just fine.
 There was also some belly-crawling, army-style. 
 Even Grandma participated.
For some reason this made Grandma get the uncontrollable giggles (she does this a lot) which made everyone laugh too.
 Since Clint was the last one and had no one to help him through, he thought he would be Superman and fly through that tiny hole right there in the center.
 FAIL!!!  Thanks for Playing.
He might have missed, but it sure was entertaining to watch.
 He ended up crawling through.
The lesson behind this challenge is that Satan tries to trap us in the web of lies he has spun, and just like we had helpers to help us through the Giant Web, we too have helpers to help us navigate around Satan's web- parents, leaders, good friends, family, etc
 The next challenge was called Shark Island.
Where Clint was standing was the ship and that little black patch over on the right of the photo was the island.  In the middle was shark infested ocean.  Out in the middle of the shark infested ocean was a rope that would carry us to safety.  First we had to find a way to get the rope without leaving the boat, and then we had to get each member of our group safely over to Shark Island.
Luckily 3 of us were wearing belts so we combined them all together to make an Indiana Jones rope. 
I can just here the theme song right now -Dah-dah-duhhhh, dah-dah duhhh!!
 With Clint's mad Skills, he was able to get the rope.  One by one we sent the kids over.
 HVC is all about safety, so we had several "Spotters" ready to catch those that might need some help.
The lesson this challenge taught was that there are a lot of hungry sharks out there in the world (temptations, addictions, bad friends, etc) waiting to destroy us.  We need to reach out and hold on tight to the rope of the gospel and stay far away from the hungry sharks of the world as we navigate through life.
 This teeter-totter challenge was all about finding balance in our life, literally and figuratively.
 We had to balance our whole group on the teeter-totter, both ends up off the ground, while singing a song.
The last challenge we did, was called The Wall.
 It was a 12 foot wall that everyone in our group had to make it over.  Two people from the group could lean over the top to give everyone a hand up, and  those on the ground could help give everyone a boost (except for the last person who had to rely on making it up far enough to get a hand up from those above).
The lesson:
The Savior is always there with His hands stretched out ready to help pull us up over Life's Walls (difficulties, heartache, etc).  No matter how bad things seem or what we've done, the Savior's Loving arms will always be there ready, waiting, and reaching out for us.  All we have to do is reach for Him.  
Another lesson is that we can also surround ourselves with people who will help boost us up.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Family Reunion- Day 1

Over the weekend, we (along with my sister and my brother and their families) visited my parents up at Heber Valley Camp (HVC), where they are currently serving an LDS mission.
We had a blast!
The first thing we did was harness everyone up for the GIANT SWING. 
Yep, I said Giant Swing!!!
 After getting hooked up to a cable, and after a pep-talk from Grandma,
 you sit back, hold on tight to a lift-rope, and allow 4-5 people to hoist you up.
 I'm not sure how high, but I'm guessing 15 feet or so.  I just know that it was really high.
 Then you let go of the rope
and fly!
 Even kids can do it.  For the little littles (even my one and a half year old nephew), two missionaries push them back and forth a few times.  I secretly think this is their favorite.  All the missionaries had so much fun playing with these little kids as they swung them back and forth.  It was really cute to watch.
For older kids, like this one here, they only raise them half to three-quarters of the way up before letting them go. 
 Then it was off to the lake.
 Half the fam canoed
 the other half chose to paddle boat. 
 My oldest had to work so Clint and he drove up later that night, just in time for our time on the lake.  This just might be one of the last "vacations" my family takes all together (waahhh), so I was glad everyone could make it.
It's so much fun to get together with family and laugh
 and visit
and play together.
We ended the night by roasting marshmallows around the campfire and playing Big Booty.

Monday, July 21, 2014

He knows the Way

Yesterday in General Conference Club, I mentioned that I've been reading a fictional series by Chad Daybell.  The 5-book series is called Standing in Holy Places.  In this series, the author takes scriptures and prophesies about the last days and uses them to create the plot for these books which follow three fictional families.  I should let you know that (a lot like my blog) these books are not the most well-written, there are some plot and editing mistakes, but the message of the books makes up for that. 

The Message:  Follow the Prophet.  
In this day and age, evil is all around us.  Satan is trying his best to win souls over to his side.  If we follow the Prophet, we won't get caught up in Satan’s plans.  In these books, the author shows us how easy it is for even “active” members of the church to get sucked into Satan’s cunning plans and turn away from the teachings of Church Leaders.  On the other-hand, he also shows us what great blessings can come from following the prophet- after-all "He knows the way".

President Ezra Taft Benson declared that “our [very] salvation hangs on” following the prophet, and that is exactly what these books teach.  Reading these books has placed in me an even stronger desire to follow the prophet with exactness, even if it's hard or inconvenient

May I echo the words of  Kevin R. Duncan when he said:
 "We can choose to follow the prophet, or we can look to the arm of flesh. May we have the wisdom to trust in and follow the counsel of the living prophets and apostles. . .I testify that they are called of God. I also testify that there is no safer way to approach life, find answers to our problems, gain peace and happiness in this world, and protect our very salvation than by obeying their words."