Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Birthday Money is so Fun to Spend-

Wordless Wednesday-



Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Scripture Sight Words

 I've said it before, and I'll say it again:
It is really important for me as a mother to teach my children to connect with the scriptures.
A few years ago, my sister gave each member of our family a paperback Book of Mormon.  We have used and reused these things.  

This is my youngest.  She, for the last year, occasionally takes her little blue Book of Mormon to bed and pretends to read a page or two.  She has always pretended to read.  Remember THIS? (Scroll to the very end.)  Fortunately she is now in Kindergarten and she is learning to read.  Each week she learns a new 'sight-word' or two.  Words like to, the, for, they, look, etc.
 Last week, I saw her just marking away in her blue book of scripture.  When I asked her what she was marking, she excitedly said, "Oh just all the words I know."
She might not be able to read -read the Book of Mormon, but she's thrilled to be able to find and read all the sight-words she knows.   To her, she's reading the scriptures just like her siblings.
And that does a mama's heart good.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Just a Reminder-

". . .Whether you are 8 or 108, there is one thing I hope you truly understand and know:"

YOU ARE LOVED!
"Yes, God loves you this very day and always."
Wordart from HERE

"He is not waiting to love you until you have overcome your weaknesses and bad habits.  He loves you today with a full understanding of your struggles.  He is aware that you reach up to Him in heartfelt and hopeful prayer.  He knows the times you have held onto the fading light and believed - even in the midst of growing darkness.  He knows of your sufferings.  He knows of your remorse for the times you have fallen short or failed.  And still He loves you."

". . .He loves you for extending yourself to others.  He loves you for reaching out and helping others bear their heavy burdens -even when you are struggling with your own."

"He knows everything about you.  He sees you clearly -He knows you as you really are.  And He loves you - today and always!"

Read More HERE

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Clarification:

 Some of you interpreted yesterday's post wrong.  It was not meant to be a "Woe is me post."  I'm not having a bad day nor am I feeling sorry for myself.  I'm simply stating the fact that sometimes we tend to judge others based on what we see online.  We begin to think they live a beautiful perfect life, while our life, on the other hand, is full of blemishes and trials.  I don't want anyone to think that about me.  So, I'm stating for the record that my life is not picture perfect.  Life for me is just like everyone else.  
-Thanks
I have plenty of good days, but I also have plenty of bad.  Heck!  I have days that are both good and bad.
I deal with doubt, bad habits, sadness, and orneriness.  Lack of self-worth can run rampant when I let it.  Some days I feel loved, and other days, I feel like the whole world is against me.
I am not perfect.  My kids are not perfect.  My life is not perfect. 

When I blog, I try to keep things light and positive.  Sometimes I slip, but for the most part, I blog about all the good things that happen, the fun times I've had, the "smiling details" of my life.  I hope I haven't lead anyone astray in doing this.  My life is not an episode of Leave it to Beaver or The Donna Reed Show.  Yes it has good, joyful, perfect moments, but it also has a lot of pain, heartache, disappointment, mistakes, fighting, and dirty dishes.

I do exactly what the prominent author, Arthur C. Brooks observed- "We tend to broadcast the smiling details of our lives but not the hard times at school or work (and might I ad - or our family life).  We portray an incomplete life - sometimes in a self-aggrandizing or fake way."

I hope that I have not lead any to believe that my life is perfect.  It is not.  That has never been my intention.  I hope I have never made you feel bad, or worthless.  My intentions are to build up, never tear down.

I struggle with how personal to get, and what to share and what not to share.  Do I blog about the struggles I'm having with my kid and how some days the heartache I feel from some of their choices knocks me flat on my back?  Or about how not being able to keep up with the piles of laundry, and the messy house are driving me crazy?  Then I think, 'Who wants to read a tired mother of 6 ranting and complaining everyday?"  

What you think about, focus on, and put your energy into is what will control your life.  I don't want a negative, sad, frustrating life.  My goal is to have a positive, happy, fun-filled life, so that is what I choose to focus on, but underneath it all, I am still Human.

Friday, January 23, 2015

I am Human

Very much so-

*note-   Some of you interpreted this post wrong.  This post was not meant to be a "Woe is me post."  I'm not having a bad day nor am I feeling sorry for myself.  I simply wanted to state the fact that sometimes we tend to judge others based on what we see online.  We begin to think they live a beautiful perfect life, while our life, on the other hand, is full of blemishes and trials.  I'm stating for the record that my life is not picture perfect.  Life for me is just like everyone else.  
-Thanks
I have plenty of good days, but I also have plenty of bad.  Heck!  I have days that are both good and bad.
I deal with doubt, bad habits, sadness, and orneriness.  Lack of self-worth can run rampant when I let it.  Some days I feel loved, and other days, I feel like the whole world is against me.
I am not perfect.  My kids are not perfect.  My life is not perfect. 

When I blog, I try to keep things light and positive.  Sometimes I slip, but for the most part, I blog about all the good things that happen, the fun times I've had, the "smiling details" of my life.  I hope I haven't lead anyone astray in doing this.  My life is not an episode of Leave it to Beaver or The Donna Reed Show.  Yes it has good, joyful, perfect moments, but it also has a lot of pain, heartache, disappointment, mistakes, fighting, and dirty dishes.

I do exactly what the prominent author, Arthur C. Brooks observed- "We tend to broadcast the smiling details of our lives but not the hard times at school or work (and might I ad - or our family life).  We portray an incomplete life - sometimes in a self-aggrandizing or fake way."

I hope that I have not lead any to believe that my life is perfect.  It is not.  That has never been my intention.  I hope I have never made you feel bad, or worthless.  My intentions are to build up, never tear down.

I struggle with how personal to get, and what to share and what not to share.  Do I blog about the struggles I'm having with my kid and how some days the heartache I feel from some of their choices knocks me flat on my back?  Or about how not being able to keep up with the piles of laundry, and the messy house are driving me crazy?  Then I think, 'Who wants to read a tired mother of 6 ranting and complaining everyday?"  

What you think about, focus on, and put your energy into is what will control your life.  I don't want a negative, sad, frustrating life.  My goal is to have a positive, happy, fun-filled life, so that is what I choose to focus on, but underneath it all, I am still Human.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Finding Lasting Peace and Building Eternal Families

There are a lot of talks this conference.  In order to to make it through all the conference talks, we will have to do more than one a week.  From now on there will be two maybe even three talks posted each week - so look for them.
Also: I love your comments.   If you have any thoughts, or comments I'd love to hear them
 or 
if you've blogged about the talk we're discussing, please share a link to your post in the comments section.  Thanks-
by Elder L. Tom Perry

"Our journey through life has periods of both good times and bad.  Each presents different challenges.  How we learn to adjust to the changes which come along depends on the foundation on which we build.  The gospel of our Lord and Savior provides a sure and solid foundation.  It is constructed piece by piece as we gain knowledge of the Lord's eternal plan for His children. . .The only way to find lasting peace is to look to Him and live."

Just like in the parable of the wheat and tares (found in Matthew chapter 13), Satan, the enemy, has sowed many tares among us.  

"That old enemy of all mankind has found as many devices as he can think of to scatter tares far and wide.  He has found ways to have them penetrate even the sanctity of our own homes.  The wicked and worldly ways have become so widespread there seems to be no real way of weeding them out.  They come by wire and through the air into the very devices we have developed to educate and entertain us.  The wheat and the tares have grown close together.  A steward managing the field must, with all his or her power, nourish that which is good and make it so strong and beautiful the tares will have no appeal either to the eye or the ear.  How blessed we are as members of the Lord's Church to have the precious gospel of our Lord and Savior as a foundation on which to build our lives."

We, as parents and grandparents, are the stewards in charge of managing the field, our homes.  It is our responsibility to spiritually prune, weed, and beautify our homes.  Since we can't eliminate all the bad (the tares), it is our duty as stewards, to make that which is good more desirable and popular that evil will have no appeal. - TOUGH JOB-

"Our homes must be holy places in order to stand against the pressures of the world.  Remember that the greatest of all the blessings of the Lord come through and are given to righteous families."

"We must carefully continue to evaluate our performances as parents.  The most powerful teaching a child will ever receive will come from concerned and righteous fathers and mothers."

This is a huge task.  The Holy Ghost will help us, if we will listen and remember that
"We must never let the noise of the world overpower and overwhelm that still, small voice."

Elder Perry reminds mothers and fathers of our roles and offers us suggestion on how we can better teach our children.

MOTHERS:
Let us first look at the role of the mother. 
"Women who make a house a home make a far greater contribution to society than those who command large armies or stand at the head of impressive corporations.  Who can put a price tag on the influence a mother has on her children, a grandmother on her posterity, or aunts and sisters on their extended family?"
"We cannot begin to measure or calculate the influence of women who, in their own ways, build stable family life and nurture for everlasting good the generations of the future.  The decisions made by the women of this generation will be eternal in their consequences.  May I suggest that the mothers of today have no greater opportunity and no more serious challenge than to do all they can to strengthen the [home]."
- President Gordon B. Hinckley

What does it mean to make a house a home?  I love this quote (found Here)
"Anyone can live in a house, but making it a home is quite another matter. A house is a building but a home is inhabited by family members that love and care for each other. . .- a place where my family longs to be at the end of every day."

The Family:  A Proclamation to the World reminds us that a home is built "on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities (or fun)." 

FATHERS:
Now let us look at the role a father plays in our lives:
"Fathers give blessings and perform sacred ordinances for their children.  These will become spiritual highlights in their lives."
"Fathers are personally involved in leading family prayers, daily scripture reading, and weekly family home evenings."
"Fathers build family traditions by being involved in helping plan vacation trips and outings that will involve all of the family members.  Memories of these special times together will never be forgotten by their children."
"Fathers hold one-o-one visits with their children and teach them gospel principles."
"Fathers teach sons and daughters the value of work and help them establish worthy goals in their own lives."
"Fathers set an example of faithful gospel service."


". . .There has never been a period in my many years of life when our Father in Heaven's children have needed the guiding hand of faithful, devoted parents more."

"A successful parents should never be too busy to capture a moment in a child's life when an important lesson can be taught."

We must take advantage of every teaching opportunity.
 
“We have a great and noble heritage of parents giving up almost everything they possess to find a place where they could rear their families with faith and courage,” 
 “We must find within ourselves that same determination and spirit and overcome the challenges we face with the same spirit of sacrifice. We must instill in future generations an ever stronger reliance on the teachings of our Lord and Savior.” 

In order to keep the tares from taking over in our homes, we must build our homes on the teachings and foundation of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Aren't We All Beggars?

by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

Elder Holland speaks plainly and directly.  His talks always resonate with me, and leave me wanting to become better.  This talk was no exeption.

Using Christ as his example, Elder Holland invites us to, whether rich or poor, do what we can to help others in need.

"From the beginning of His ministry, Jesus loved the impoverished and the disadvantaged in an extraordinary way.  He was born into the home of two of them and grew up among many more of them. . ."

"Down through history, poverty has been one of humankind's greatest and most widespread challenges.  Its obvious toll is usually physical, but the spiritual and emotional damage it can bring may be even more debilitating.  In any case, the great Redeemer has issued no more persistent call than for us to join Him in lifting this burden from the people."

In the latter-days we've again been commanded to "look to the poor and . . .needy and administer to their relief that they shall not suffer." (D&C 38:35)

What can we do?

Don't Judge-
"For one thing, we can, as King Benjamin taught, cease withholding our means because we see the poor as having brought their misery upon themselves.  Perhaps some have created their own difficulties, but don't the rest of us do exactly the same thing?

"Are we not all beggars?"  (Mosiah 4:19)

"Don't we all cry out for help and hope and answers to prayers?  Don't we all beg for forgiveness for mistakes we have made and troubles we have caused?  Don't we all implore that grace will compensate for our weaknesses, that mercy will triumph over justice at least in our case?"

I was recently introduced to Girl With Cake.  She lives in South Africa. She reaches out to the needy by baking, decorating, and then giving away a cake almost daily.  She says:

"There's something about a beautiful, over-the-top, delicately frosted cake that, for a few moments, makes all the bad go away.  Maybe it's the time and care that goes into planning, baking, frosting and perfecting. Maybe it's because we associate cake with celebration and joy. Or maybe it's just the idea that something delicious is waiting for us.  Whatever the reason, cake brings a unique happiness that everyone deserves to feel.  So, for those less fortunate, for those who've been dealt a raw deal in life, and for those who just deserve some more love, I'll find them. And, for a few moments, they too will feel the joy of cake."

Recently, she just gave away her 41st cake.  Sometimes she gives them to the security man who has to work all day and night on Christmas, sometimes it's an underpaid city work outside sweating in the sun, but most of the time, it's a homeless person she finds out on the streets.  

She takes the time to visit with these people, to learn about them, their families, their lives.  Her BLOG is full of the personal stories of these people-  How they got where they are, what their family is like, what their hopes and dreams are.  I imagine the Savior did the same thing when he ministered to the impoverished and disadvantaged.  

The hope this girl's simple act of service gives these people is incredible.  She doesn't judge them at all.  She has compassion on them and makes each person feel important and loved.  Her Christ-like example motivates me to reach out more, and judge less.

Pray-
"In addition to taking merciful action in their behalf, we should also pray for those in need."  
and then do what the Spirit prompts you to do.

"I don't know exactly how each of you should fulfill your obligation to those who do not or cannot a;ways help themselves.  But I know that God knows, and He will help you and guide you in compassionate acts of discipleship if you are conscientiously wanting and praying and looking for ways to keep a commandment He has given us again and again."

Observe the Law of the Fast-
". . .All who are physically able are to observe the law of the fast."

"I bear witness of the miracles, both spiritual and temporal, that come to those who live the law of the fast."

"Cherish that sacred privilege at least monthly and be as generous as circumstances permit in your fast offering and other humanitarian, educational, and missionary contributions.  I promise that God will be generous to you, and those who find relief at your hands will call your name blessed forever."

A few months ago, a young boy in my ward shared his testimony about the blessings that come from paying a generous fast offering.  He told about a time when his dad had just started a new business.  Money was tight and almost non-existent.  His bishop promised him that if he would double his fast offerings each month, that his income would also double.  He obeyed, and yes, his income doubled.

There are many things we can do.  The most important thing is to just do what you can - big or small.  It will make a difference.

The SELFIE Stick

Grandma + Selfie Stick =

Wordless Wednesday:
 
 
 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

4-day Weekends Rock!


photo by my friend @ramtalk
 We had a glorious, fun-packed four day weekend.  Yes, I said FOUR DAY, and it was awesome.
#2 and #3 spent Thursday afternoon through Saturday at this beautiful lodge located in the snowy Rocky Mountains.  
Why?
They were attending our ward's (Church) youth conference.
They were able to go skiing and snowshoeing.  They played games, had a dance, and were able to have their spiritual tanks filled by two motivational speakers-
photo by my friend @ramtalk
This cute girl, Al Fox Carraway, and the amazing Elaine Dalton, former General Young Women leader for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Both of these women inspire me.  (Truthfully I'm a little jealous -I really wanted to go.
I'm grateful my children have these opportunities to strengthen their testimony of Christ and the gospel, but man! I miss them when they're gone.
Saturday was filled with basketball, basketball, oh, and more basketball-  Three games total.
It seems that the older my kids get, the more intense their basketballs games get.  Sometimes I just can't take it and I have to spend some time in the bathroom calming down. These games get IN-tense!  For instance, this particular game, our team came back from being down by about half to losing by just 1 -one- stinking point.  It was a nail biter.
 In between games, this little eight year old and I along with my assistant (#2) had an amateur photo session.
 We gussied her up in her new baptism dress, did her hair, and even put on lip gloss, then set out to 'try' to take some photos that we could use for her baptism invitations, and also to display.
 The weather was perfect for January.  It was almost 50 degrees, the sun was shining, and there was very little snow on the ground.

 We had such a fun time.  She was the perfect subject.
Luckily out of the 1, 227.065+ pictures I took, a handful of them turned out. PHEW-

Yesterday we wrapped up the weekend with a date to the Nickel Arcade.  As my children get older, I relish these moments when we're all together, playing and having a good time.  Family Time really is the Best Time. 

This morning it was back to school.  Today is the beginning of our second semester, which means the school year is half over.  WHAT?!  It's going way too fast!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Eight is Great!

We had a full and busy, but super fun weekend.
Yesterday, our second daughter (#5) celebrated her eighth birthday!
I don't think I've ever shared her birth story with you.  It's pretty intense.  
Here's the Reader's Digest version:

Basically it involves a lot of pain, special permission from the Utah Pediatric Board to induced labor early, a long, sleepless night, a lot of blood, a labor and delivery nurse who didn't know that a woman loosing a ton of blood during the middle of her labor and before her water had broken was not normal, a torn placenta, a doctor who was extremely worried and mad (at the RN not me), and a sister who was watching a live birth for the first time in her life.
Luckily the story ends well with a miraculously healthy baby girl and no blood transfusion.
This girl has been kickin' and screamin' ever since.  
She is spunky and outgoing.  She loves to be the center of attention.  She loves the gospel and has a strong testimony of Jesus Christ.  She is friendly with everyone.  She has a huge heart, and adds an awesome spirit of enthusiasm and energy to our family.
We're so glad God sent her to our family.
 As tradition states, she was able to choose her cake.  She wanted a chocolate cherry frosted Shopkins' cake.  
 Your wish is my command.
Now that the party is over, she is looking forward to her baptism day.
She can't wait to be baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Yes, Lord, I Will Follow Thee

by Elder Eduardo Gavarret

Last year I studied the Book of Mormon, this year it's the New Testament.  
(I am following along with using the @newtestament365 Instagram group - you should join us.)
So far, even in though I'm still in Matthew, I've read many times Christ invitation for all to "Come unto Him".   Those that do, are blessed beyond measure.  Those that don't, well. . . .they're not.

This is what Elder Gavarrat's talk is all about, accepting Christ's invitation to follow Him and  be blessed.

"The invitation to "follow Him" is the most simple, direct, and powerful invitation we can receive."

"The Lord invites us using various verbs:  "Come unto me,"  "Follow me," "Walk with me."  In each case it is an invitation to act."

How do I ACT on Christ's various invitations?  I cannot walk with Him while sitting.  I cannot Follow Him by choosing to go my own way, and I cannot come unto Him by going in the opposite direction.

COME UNTO ME
"One who is a member of the Church and has accepted this invitation renews the commitment each week by partaking of the sacrament.  Part of that commitment includes keeping the commandments; by doing so you are saying, "Yes, Lord, I will follow Thee!""
"As you strive to come to Him, you will gain the power to relieve life's burdens, whether physical or spiritual, and experience a positive inner change that will help you be happier."

FOLLOW ME
"Follow me" was the Lord's invitation to the rich young ruler.  The rich man had kept the commandments throughout his life.  When he asked what more he could do, he received an answer with a clear invitation:  "Come. . . . follow me."  However, even though the invitation was simple, it was not without sacrifice.  It required effort- coupled with decision and action."

Unfortunately, this story does not have a happy ending.  The young ruler, who desired to do better and be more, just could not part with his stuff - his wealth and possessions.  He declined the Savior's invitation to be one of His disciples.
I think each day we too are invited by the Savior, "Follow Me".   Am I, like the young ruler, too attached to the things of the world - cell phones, television shows, stylish but immodest clothing, power, wealth, etc- that I also decline the Savior's invitation?

WALK WITH ME

"Walk with me"- an invitation that, like a blind man's cane or a friend's arm, can guide the footsteps of one whose step is not sure."

Sometimes in life (okay a lot of times in life) I am unsure what to do, and where to go.  When I accept the Savior's invitation to "Walk with Me" and take His hand, letting him lead me and be in control, great things always happen.

What Steps can we take today to "Walk With Him"?

1.  Feed the desire to be a better follower of Christ.
Elder Neil A. Maxwell said, "What we insistently desire, over time, is what we will eventually become and what we will receive in eternity."

Desiring to be more Christ-like is a good start.  This video HERE and also the Christlike Attribute Activity in the Preach my Gospel manual inspire me and help me with my desire to become more like Christ.

2.  Pray for this desire that your faith in Him may grow.

3.  Obtain knowledge from the scriptures, lighting the way and strengthening your desire to change.

4.  Make the decision today to act and say, "Yes, Lord, I will follow Thee!"  Simply knowing the truth will not change your world unless you turn knowledge into action.

What is ONE thing I can eliminate or add to my life that will bring me closer to Christ?

5.  Persevere in the decision you have made by exercising these principles daily.

Following Christ has never been easy or popular.  It requires sacrifice, and a lot of hard work.  It is worth it.  The blessings and power that come from Following Him and Walking with Him are so worth it.

""Come unto me," "Follow me," and "Walk with me" are invitations containing inherent power- for those who accept them- to transform your life and generate a change within you. . . . "

"May we make the decision today to increase our level of worship and commitment to God, and may our response to His invitation be heard loud and clear:  "Yes, Lord, I will follow Thee!""


Thursday, January 15, 2015

The 'FUNK'

Please enjoy these selfies while I ramble on and on about nothing of real importance.
 Have you ever had one of those days where from the moment you wake up, you know something's just not right?  You feel a little twitch coming on, something different is in the air.  That was me a couple days ago.

 I call it 'THE FUNK'.  Basically it's a technical, sophisticated term for being ornery.
Doesn't saying "I've come down with a case of 'The Funk'." sound a lot better than saying "I'm really ornery today, so watch out because I just might kill you before the day is over."?

Have you ever had a case of 'The Funk'?  You're ornery, sassy, moody, grumpy, angry, sad, grouchy, crotchety, cranky, and very ill-tempered.  You know you have it and everyone around you definitely knows you have it, but there's nothing you or anyone else can do about it.  It's like a virus, you just have to wait it out.  
 Have you ever noticed that when 'The Funk' hits, it really hits.
Take my day for example:  I woke up to one side of my hair doing this really weird bouffant-type thing.  The other half was perfect.  No matter how much water I poured on it, or how many times I tried to comb it down, it went right back up into it's fro-self.  NOT COOL!  Then of course my patience was tested 1,000 times more than on a usual, non-funk day.  I got sassy the secretary at the dentist office who called to reschedule an appointment.  I was rude to sister, and honked at a sweet little old lady who was taking too long to cross the street (okay not really on the little old lady part).  Of course, Clint had to work late, and I think all of my kids (bless their hearts) purposely sent themselves to Time-Out just to stay clear of me.  Sorry Kids, It wasn't me - It was 'The Funk'.
Then I decided to make a new Pioneer Woman Soup recipe for dinner in between running kids to and from.  Two hours later, it still wasn't done!  So, I did what anyone with a case of  'The Funk' would do, I stomped around, slammed the kitchen cabinet doors a few times, then yelled for everyone to "come out of hiding if you want to eat", and served everyone cold cereal for dinner.  It was awesome.- I think it's even up for a "Best Funk Moment Ever" award.

Thank goodness I don't suffer from 'The Funk' very often, but when I do. . . .stay clear, you will get yelled at and you just might catch it too.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Fortify Your Family


As you know (because I've mentioned it 1000 times), my goal for 2015 is to Connect.  One thing I'm trying to connect to is the scriptures.  I also want my children to have a connection with the scriptures.  I want them to not only read them, and be familiar with them, but I want them to know to turn to them to find the comfort, answers, and help they need.

Scriptures = Power
Scripture Power- Keeps me safe from sin
Scripture Power is the power to win
Scripture Power- everyday I need the power that I get each time I read

One thing I started doing this year (yep it's been a whole week) is discussing one to two verses of scripture with my children each morning before I send them out the door to face the world.  We have been following this program, and it has been awesome.  It takes less than 5 minutes and my children are actually listening (at least I think the blank stares mean they are).  As a mother, I love the idea that I have given my children a little bit of spiritual armor to help protect them outside of our home.  Each week there is a specific theme, and each daily scripture builds on that theme.  Hopefully by the end of the week, after talking about it each day, that principle will not only be learned but also internalized.
This book, 52 Weeks to Fortify your Family, was released just today.  It's the same program, but in more detail.  Plus there are 52 weeks of devotionals instead of  32 . 
AND
 If you buy it today, you will also qualify for over $100 in extras!  
SQUEAL - Who doesn't love free stuff?

The Kindle ebook is only $3.99!
Here is the Link: http://amzn.to/1C5Rtgr  

 #FortifyYourFamilybook

Monday, January 12, 2015

The life of me

a.  Over the weekend, I finished reading the last book in one of my favorite series.  It was awesome, yet sad.  I hate it when a series ends.  I wish they could go on and on forever.  You fall in love with the characters and you just want to follow their lives forever.
Have you read any of the culinary mysteries by Josi Kilpack?
They feature a lovable sleuth named Sadie Hoffmiller whose love for food is weaved through her stories (and yes, recipes are included!).  Her books are a quick easy, sometimes intense, but mostly fun (and let's not forget mouthwatering) read.  I love them, my teenage kids love them, and you will love them too.

b. Last weekend we finally took down the dead, brittle Christmas tree.  Some of the kids helped me remove the ornaments, and then the hubs carried it outside where we spent (I kid you not) almost an hour in the freezing cold unwrapping all 20 strands of lights!  What was I thinking putting that many lights on?

c.  The family tree in our TV room is still up.  Yep, I'm awesome like that.

d.  I'm on day 12 of my 2nd Whole30.  It's funny (not really) that I spent 3 months of jogging/running everyday during the summer, and thing I have to show for it is a bummed knee, and maybe 1 pound less on the scale.  I've spent a little over a month doing absolutely no exercise, but eating healthy and I've already lost 14 lbs.  Say what!?  Seriously, abs ARE made in the kitchen.

e.  Basketball season is upon us once again.  This year, only the two youngest boys are playing.  I love watching them, but miss seeing my girl play.  Clint is coaching #4's team.  They are pretty good.  During the first game, my kids told me I was getting pretty mouthy, so this past week, I had to bring something to do to help take away some of my focus from the game.  I'm telling you, those Ref's are sometimes blind as a bat or they see things that aren't really there.  Hopefully I didn't embarrass anyone this week.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Approaching the Throne of God with Confidence


by Elder Jörg  Klebingat

This talk was full of so much good stuff!  It motivated me to want to try harder to be better.  What a perfect talk for the beginning of a new year.

"On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your spiritual confidence before God?. . . . Can you say within yourself that  Heavenly Father is pleased with you?  What thoughts come to mind if you had a personal interview with your Savior one minute from now?  Would sins, regrets, and shortcomings dominate your self-image, or would you simply experience joyful anticipation?  Would you meet or avoid His gaze?  Would you linger by the door or confidently walk up to Him?"

Wow!  Now that's something to really ponder.  
While thinking about this we have to really be aware of Elder Klebingat's next point:

"Whenever the adversary cannot persuade imperfect yet striving Saints such as you to abandon your belief in a personal and loving God, he employs a vicious campaign to put as much distance as possible between you and God.  The adversary know that faith in Christ- the kind of faith that produces a steady stream of tender mercies and even mighty miracles- goes hand in hand with a personal confidence that you are striving to choose the right.  For that reason, he will seek access to your heart to tell you lies- lies that Heavenly Father is disappointed in you, that the Atonement is beyond your reach, that there is no point in even trying, that everyone else is better than you, that you are unworthy, and a thousand variations of the same evil theme."

"As long as you allow these voices to chisel away at your soul, you can't approach the throne of God with real confidence."

For me, whenever I am trying to do my best- reading my scriptures, saying my prayers, trying to be kind and serve others, upping my temple attendance, etc- Satan works harder on me.  He places doubt into my heart about my worth.  He will stir up past sins and make me feel like I was never really forgiven of them and that I never will be.  He tries really hard to make me feel like I'm a bad mother, or that I'm simply not good enough and I will never be. 

Last year as I took a stance against ol' Lucifer and decided to eliminate one of the tools he uses to make me feel bad.  You can read about that HERE  and  HERE.  The same thing is happening again this year as I'm trying to once again, step it up and improve myself.  (Read about that HERE.)  I guess I should know by now that it is coming.  Anytime we try harder to becoming like Christ, Satan tries even harder to thwart our plan.   He is happy when we are not.

"As long as you allow these voices to chisel away at your soul, you can't approach the throne of God with real confidence.  Whatever you do whatever you pray for whatever hopes for a miracle you may have, there will always be just enough self-doubt chipping away at your faith- not only your faith in God but also your confidence in yourself.  Living in the gospel in this manner is no fun, nor is it very healthy.  Above all it is completely unnecessary! "

"THE DECISION TO CHANGE IS YOURS- and yours alone."

Elder Klebingat share six suggestions of what we can do to help dissipate these evil voices, restoring our peaceful assurance and spiritual confidence.

1.  "Take Responsibility for your own spiritual well-being.  Stop blaming others or your circumstances, stop justifying, and stop making excuses. . . "

I recently attended a BYU event where I was privileged to hear Hank Smith speak about The Science of Happiness.  He shared scientific data that happiness factors are 50% genetics, 40% intentional activities, and 10% circumstances.  We have 40% control over what you do to make you happy.  This you can change!  This is your responsibility.  No one else can make you discouraged or unhappy unless you let them!

2.  "Take responsibility for your own physical well-being."
  "Your soul consists of your body and spirit.  Feeding the spirit while neglecting the body, . . . .usually leads to spiritual dissoncance and lowered self-esteem.  If you are out of shape, if you are uncomfortable in your own body and can do something about it (remember that 40%?), then do it!"

Stop making excuses. Stop blaming your genetics, and decided today you want to change.  (see #1)  Will it be hard.  You better believe it!  Will Satan try to get you to hate your body and to feel discouraged when change doesn't happen as quickly as you'd like.  Yes sirree he will.  Remember "The decision to change is yours- and yours alone."

3.  "Embrace voluntary, wholehearted obedience as part of your life."

"The Savior's standard is clear and simple:  "If you love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15).
Selective obedience brings selective blessings,
and choosing something bad over something that is worse is still choosing wrong.  You can't watch a bad movie and expect to feel virtuous because you did not watch a very bad one."

I remember years ago my husband and I watching an edited R- rated movie that was playing on the television.  We figured it would be alright because it was edited-right, wrong!  The theme of the movie was still R-rated despite what was edited out and left us feeling bad.

"You can't watch a bad movie and expect to feel virtuous because you did not watch a very bad one."  The movie was rated that rating for a reason.  We should have known and done better.  Needless to say, we learned our lesson.

Abraham Lincoln rightly said, "When I do good I feel good, when I do bad I feel bad".
I can second that.
"Do the right things for the right reasons. . . .casualness in spiritual matters never was happiness.  Make the Church and the restored gospel your whole life, not just part of your outward or social life.  Choosing this day whom you will serve is lip service only- until you actually live accordingly."

I love the scripture in Alma 57:21 - ". . . ..Yea, they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness. . . ".  This should be our life motto.

4.  "Become really, really good at repenting thoroughly and quickly."
"Because the Atonement of Jesus Christ is very practical, you should apply it generously 24/7, for it never runs out."
"Establish an attitude of ongoing, happy joyful repentance by making it your lifestyle of choice. . . Keeping your eyes on the Savior, care more about what He thinks of you, and let the consequences follow."

5.  "Become really really good at forgiving."
"Forgive everyone, everything, all the time, or at least strive to do so, thus allowing forgiveness into your own life.  Don't hold grudges, don't be easily offended, forgive and forget quickly, and don't ever think you are exempt from this commandment."

6.  "Accept trials, setbacks, and 'surprises' as part of your mortal experience."
"Remember, you are here to be proved and tested. . . .When these trials come, the adversary's minions begin broadcasting that you did something wrong, that this is a punishment, a sign that Heavenly Father does not love you.  IGNORE THAT!  . . . force a smile, gaze heavenward. . . .then partner with Him to endure well to the end."

This is a great list of improvements we can make in our own lives.  I know that if we will continually work on these things, our 'spiritual confidence' will increase.
"Yours is the privilege, if you want it, to come to know for yourself, today or soon, that you are pleasing God in spite of your shortcomings."




Thursday, January 8, 2015

When the All the Stars Align-

A few days ago as I was calendaring all the important dates for 2015, I noticed we have some really BIG, noteworthy, rite-of-passage birthdays happening this year!
This once little one will turn EIGHT this month!
For members of The Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints, this is the age she can choose to be baptized.  THIS IS A BIG DEAL! 
 #5 is excited for this big event.  For weeks, she has been planning her guest list, what she wants to do to celebrate, and even how she wants to decorate.
A month later, this no longer toothless guy will officially be a Teenager.
Lucky Birthday # 13!
#4 has grown so much this past year.  He is no longer a boy.  He's a big kid.
And that makes me want to cry!
Next up:  It just blows my mind that this handsome guy will celebrate his SWEET 16 this July.  Really?  How can this be? 
Driving. . . .Dating?!. . . .oh my!  I'm not sure I'm ready for this.
This girl turns into an official woman this year.
She will be 18 - EIGHTEEN PEOPLE!- in November.  It's hard to wrap my mind around the fact that I will have two adult children.  I'm too young to have adult children. *sigh*
When I mentioned this big birthday to her, she said, "I know- It's so weird!"
Apparently she can't believe it either, and that makes me feel just a little bit better.
And last but not least- this boy, my oldest.  He will celebrate officially becoming an adult in the lovely state of Utah this September when he turns 19.
That means 19 years ago I was childless (heck!  I was still a child).  I had yet to experience the pure joy that comes from being a mother.  If I could go back and talk to my younger self, I would tell her to get ready and to get excited.  She has an awesome life full of love, children, learning, and wonderful things ahead of herself.