Sacred Grove


Sunday, January 12, 2014


Charity is defined as The pure love of Christ, the highest, noblest, strongest kind of love, not merely affection.  It is never used to denote alms or deed of benevolence, although it may be a prompting motive.

Moroni 7:46 teaches that without charity, you are nothing and that charity never faileth.

Our faith will not be necessary anymore once we see and know the Savior face to face.

Our hope will be fulfilled because we will be rewarded for our good works and our hopes will be made manifest.

Charity will ALWAYS be needed.  It will never fail.

The other thing is charity and love never fail.  When we show love and charity at all times, it always succeeds.

Moroni 7:47 teaches that it is the pure love of Christ

Moroni 7:48 teaches that we should pray to be blessed with charity.  I have noticed that whnever I get a new calling, the Lord fills my heart with love for those taht I am called to have stewardship over.  That love is amazing and it drives all that I do for those that I serve.

Also, when I struggle with someone, I pray for the Lord to open my heart to love that person as He does.  It works every time.

Moroni 7: 45 says, " And acharity suffereth long, and is bkind, and cenvieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily dprovoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things."  

Sis Aileen H Clyde in General conference talk, Charity Suffereth Long, taught, "Now, understanding charity or being charitable is not easy. And our scriptures have not indicated that it would be. Even “charity suffereth long” requires our thoughtful interpretation. The “suffering” that may come from loving is the result of our great caring. It comes because another matters to us so much.

She also says "to avoid that kind of suffering, we would have to avoid what gives us life and hope and joy - our capacity to love deeply."  

This really changed my perspective.  I always thought suffereth long meant to be patient.  It does, but it also means that we may have to endure a lot of sadness and heart ache for a long time.  It really increased my understanding of charity suffereth long.  

In Elder Cooks' talk, Charity: Perfect and everlasting, he defines charity as "The Lord said that charity is “the pure love of Christ,” 1 that which is “most joyous to the soul,” 2 “the greatest of all the gifts of God,” 3 “perfect” and “everlasting."  

He references 1 Nephi 11:22-23 which is Lehi's dream of the tree of life where he shows us that the fruit is the love of God which is the most joyous to the soul.  Why hadn't I ever associated the Tree of life Fruit with Charity?  What a great correlation.  Charity, when possessed, shows our devotion and our determination to follow Christ.  

Moroni 8:17 talks about Charity being everlasting love.  I love this.  

And Mosiah 18:8-9 says that when we have charity, we bear each other's burdens, mourn with those that mourn, comfort those that stand in need of comfort.  I like this too.  It reminds me of ways that true charity is expressed.  

He also says, "All of our divine attributes seem to flow from and be encompassed by this one. 5 All men may have the gift of love, but charity is bestowed only upon those who are true followers of Christ."  I really like this too.  It is a reminder of the importance of developing the attribute of charity.  

Finally, he said, "Her love for others increased. She seemed to even forgive others in advance. She learned how to cause them to feel her love. She learned that love shared is love multiplied.
Finally, she learned to love herself more, being more kind, gentle, and long-suffering. She stopped her struggle for self-esteem and started loving herself the way God loved her. Her image of herself became His image of her."  
I love this because it reminds me that when we have charity, we love others more.  It changes who we are and how we see others.  I need to work on being more forgiving and more loving in my life.  And he also talks about how our esteem changes and grows because we see ourselves as He sees us and we see others as He sees them.  This is something I would love to have continuously.  The more that I am in tune with the spirit and understand how He sees me, the more confident I am.  And the less I read my scriptures and draw near unto Him, the less confident I am.  Something I am always wishing I was more of.  I always want my children to grow up with a good confidence and a good understanding of who they are.  Yet I know I struggle with that, and would be better if I would continuously draw near unto Him.  
I really enjoyed studying charity.  In Spanish, the word charity means the love that never ceases to be and in Micronesia, the word love translates into the power to change lives (Sis Barbara Smith, the Bond of Charity).  I love this too because charity truly never ends and it does have the power to change lives.  I have been blessed to watch how love and charity has changed lives.  Kindness and love can and do change who we are and how we treat others.  

Thursday, April 25, 2013

YW Leadership Training on the new Curriculum

I was asked to talk to the YW Board in our ward about how I have utilized Teaching No Greater call and Preach My Gospel in the class room.  Here is the lesson that I prepared.  

Hand out worksheet and pencils
Eat 1 piece of wacky cake in front of everyone, without any to share and describe what it tastes like.   

Talk about learning for ourselves.  Wouldn’t you rather taste the Wacky Cake for yourself rather than watch me eat it and listen to me describe how awesome it is?  How do you know what it tastes like unless you taste it for yourself?  The same is true with the gospel.  The youth need to learn for themselves.  Rather than hearing all of our experiences and the things that we know each week.  They need to find out for themselves by sharing their experiences and finding the answers to their questions themselves.  One week, the youth asked me if the devil had angels.  I said great question.  We then opened our scriptures to the topical guide to angels, of the devil.  As usually happens in my class, they ask these hard questions at the end.  We looked at it for a minute, and then I assigned the girl who had asked the question to research it using only the scriptures and conference talks to share with us next week what she had learned.  My husband later advised me that all of would be acceptable material for them to study and find their own answer.  During the week, I sent her a conference talk that talked about angels and included angels of the devil.  So, I helped her find some answers and then she came to class and shared what she had learned.  Not only did she learn for herself, but she also shared it with the class.  She learned how to find answers to her questions and was given time and an opportunity to study and find the answer. 
I would like you to each take a few minutes and write a response to the question on the top of the paper I gave each of you at the beginning.  Everyone should write something and be prepared to share what they have written.  Think of a Teacher who has touched your life, or a lesson that has touched your life.  It could be recent.  It could be a few years ago, it could be years ago in Young Women’s.  Take a few minutes and write what you learned.  How it affected your life.  And, what the teacher did to teach that.  Be prepared for us to go around the room and have everyone share what they have written.
Give them a minute or two.  See if they are ready.  Go around the room and have them share according to time.  Have someone write on the board the things that are shared.  Let's talk about the benefits of the activity we just did.  First, I gave you time to ponder the question.  How many of you thought of an immediate response to the question?  How many of you needed a few minutes to think about it?  How many of you were given greater insights and understanding as you had a few minutes to ponder and write?  When we ask sincere questions, we want the spirit to have time to teach the youth.  So, we need to allow some quiet time.  The class is for each of the youth.  I have journals in my class and I often ask a question at the beginning of the class so that the spirit can speak to each of the youth and then they can be ready to share.  Many times, I prepare experiences that go along with my questions, but by the time they have each shared, it is unnecessary, so I just skip my experiences. 
These ideas can be found in a valuable resource, Teaching, No Greater call.  It is prepared to be a course of study.  So, I can’t cover all of the ideas found in this book.  If you look through them, you will find ways to teach, ways to reach our youth, and what to focus on.  We did an object lesson or attention getter today with the cake, and invited diligent learning through the writing and sharing.  There are so many more ideas for effective teaching.  And if you want more, the church has provided amazing website, the Mormon Channel at Youtube, and search Teaching No Greater Call, there are 30 episodes that come up.  I personally love Elder Bednar’s two videos, which are 15 and 16.  I listen to these sound episodes while I sew, clean house, etc.  They are phenomenal.  They are about 30 minutes long.  Just enough time to listen to something and ponder it.  Then, I take what I learn from that and use it in my classroom.  If time, share, (It talks about how you may have kids who are video game players.  That is their love.  That is what they like to do all the time.  How do you reach those kids?  He talks about how you may reach them every few classes.  I actually have a few in my class.  I can clearly remember one Sunday as I was pondering what I had learned from Elder Bednar and what I could do to reach these two youth.  In the middle of class, the Spirit whispered, have these two get together and prepare a game to go with the lesson.  I don’t do games all the time.  Every once in a while.  I was in awe as I saw what they learned in preparation for the next class.  I sent them e-mails, I called them, and I texted their moms.  It was a lot of work.  Truthfully, having the youth help with the lesson is more work than doing it all myself.  I never know what they youth will do in preparation.  Will it take 5 minutes or the whole class?  But, when I do let them take over, the youth who is preparing is learning far more than I could ever teach them.  I have to let go of knowing how much to prepare, so I just always over prepare.  )
Another activity the youth love is role playing.  I asked my daughter what she felt would make her church classes better, and she said role playing.  It gives them time to practice teaching.  It helps them ask each other hard questions.  Then, realize they know more than they think.  I pause them and tell them how great they are doing.  This gives them confidence.  It gives them time to realize that they know more than they think they do.  Often they ask questions they don’t know the answer to.  I will stop and we will look it up in the scriptures, and then I will know what they need to study more for the next time. 
The other tool the I was asked me to talk about today is Preach my Gospel.  Let’s say I am teaching a lesson on the Apostasy.  I would look it up in Preach my Gospel and study the scriptures that go with it, and then bring it to class.  Then, when the youth ask questions, I can find it in Preach my Gospel, find the scriptures, and we can study there.  When we were studying the Plan of Salvation, I was following the guidelines and outlines and discovered that they didn’t have a great background of the entire plan of salvation.  So, I studied it in Preach my Gospel, and we went through the Plan of Salvation, making a chart on the board and using the scriptures to thoroughly understand what the Plan of Salvation is. 
President Gibson of the YM general Presidency recently shared what he saw as an ideal Teachers Quorum class.  I am paraphrasing, so this is not a quote from him.  The Teacher's Quorum President got up and shared with his quorum that the lesson for the day was on the Atonement.  He studied it that morning and before he turned the time over to the adviser, whom had been invited to teach the lesson for the day, he wanted to talk about what he had studied about the atonement.  What then ensued was a 30 minuted discussion on the atonement, led and conducted by the youth.  With a few minutes left.  He turned the time over to the adviser, requesting time be left for President Gibson.  The adviser asked one question, "What does the atonement mean to you?"  Then, the class shared their answers.  The time was then turned over to President Gibson, who asked the leaders what the youth's answers meant to them.  That is the way the new curriculum is to be utilized.  Amazing.  
I have loved following the outlines that church has provided from Come Follow Me.  I love hearing what the youth have to say.  I love watching what they are learning for themselves.  I love that they are asking questions and figuring it out for themselves.  I know that they are preparing to serve missions early.  I know that they are preparing to share with those around them.  In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.  

Baptism Talk

Here is the talk I gave at my sons baptism.  

Today is a very important day for you.  How are you feeling?  Are you excited?  I am so excited for both of you.  This is a very important day.  One in which I hope you will remember forever. 
In primary this year, you are learning about choices.  You are each making a very important choice today.  Today, as in the days of Jesus, there are certain principles and ordinances of the gospel that we must learn and obey. Those are big words, huh?  A principle is a true belief or teaching. An ordinance is a ceremony. The 4th article of faith says, we believe that the first principles and ordinances of the gospel are first faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, second repentance, Third baptism by immersion for a remission of sins and fourth the laying on of hands for the gift of the holy ghost.  So, we have faith and repentance, which are principles.  Then, we have Baptism which is the first ordinance of the gospel. One of the instructions Jesus gave His Apostles, found in Matthew 28:19-20 was, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” 
Jesus was baptized, wasn’t he?  Even though He was perfect, He chose to be baptized to set a perfect example for us.  You are following in His footsteps by being baptized. 
A long time ago, you made your first “big” choice or step in leaving our Father in Heaven and coming to Earth with the intention of returning to Him someday.  (Show first foot step)
Today your baptism is another “big” choice/step on your path back to your Heavenly Father.  (Place footstep far away)  Now, do you think you can make the jump in one try?
It would be kind of hard wouldn’t it? Do you think a few baby steps in between would help? Of course, you didn’t come to earth and get baptized right away, you have had several years/ baby steps to help you along the way and prepare you to make this choice. Steps such as: learning to pray, love your family, scripture study, primary, faith, honesty, going to church and learning to obey your parents. With these baby steps do you think you can make it to your baptism now?
Each of these steps has prepared you to make the choice to be baptized today. 
When we are baptized we make a covenant.  Do you know what a covenant is?  That’s right, it is a promise that you make with our Father in Heaven. 
Do you know what you are promising today? 
Alma taught “Behold, here are the waters of Mormon. … And now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, … what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?” (Mosiah 18:8, 10). The people clapped their hands for joy and said it was their desire to be baptized. Alma baptized them in the Waters of Mormon. (See Mosiah 18:7–17.)
1.      You are promising to take upon you the name of Christ.  When you are born, you are given at least 2 names.  Your first name is the name that others call you and your last name talks about the family that you belong to.  Just like you want to be a good example of a Lopez or a McMillan or Blythe, you want to be a good example of our Savior.  When others find out what your last name is, you want them to know that you are being honest and kind and doing what is right.  When you take the Savior’s name upon you as you are today, you want others to know that you following the Savior and that you are living a life like the Savior. 
2.      You also promise that you will keep His commandments.  You will try to do all that He asks of you. 
3.      You are also promising to Always remember the Savior.  You want to think of Him each day and remember what He has taught each of us. 
4.      Finally, you are promising to help others.  When Jesus was on the earth, He went around and served others a lot, didn’t He?  He helped them to feel better when they were sick, He taught them the gospel, and He loved them.  By following in His footsteps, you can serve and help others each day. 
When we are baptized and keep our promises, we get some neat promises from the Lord. 
They are,
1. He will Forgive our sins.  When we make mistakes, as we all do.  We can repent and be forgiven.  It is such a blessing to know that we can be as clean as you are today throughout the rest of your life by repenting and renewing our covenants when we take the sacrament.  When we prepare to take the sacrament, we have an opportunity to think of the week we had and ponder on the good choices and bad choices we made. Then we can ask forgiveness for the things that we did wrong and repent. In the sacrament prayers, if you listen, you will hear the same three covenants you will make today. Heavenly Father helps us in so many ways and he will always be there to help you remember your covenants.
2. He will bless us with His Spirit more abundantly or more often. 
3. He will give us daily guidance and the help of the Holy Ghost which Bro. Mardo will talk about soon.
4. Finally, we will be able to return to live with him and with our families as long as we keep all of our promises. 
I can still remember the day that I was baptized.  What I remember most of all was how I felt as I came out.  I felt the spirit and I remember feeling so clean.  I am so happy for the 2 of you and for the step you are making to draw closer to our Father in Heaven.  Bear testimony.  

Holy Ghost Talk at Baptism

This is the talk I gave at a recent baptism on the Holy Ghost. 

I get to talk about the gift that you are about to receive.  It is a very special gift.  Do you like to receive gifts?  They are fun, huh?  Sometimes you get gifts that you play with for a while and then you outgrow it or it gets broken, or you finish it.  This gift that you are about to receive is one that you will never outgrow, it will never break, and you can have it with you forever.  It is the gift of the Holy Ghost. 

Each of us is born with the Light of Christ.  Throughout our lives, that light helps us to know right from wrong and inspires men who listen to do good.  The Holy Ghost can speak through the light of Christ that lives in each of us.  Once we are baptized we can receive the Holy Ghost as a constant companion. 

The Holy Ghost is the 3rd member of the God Head. Do you know who the other two are? That is right; they are Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. The Holy Ghost is different because he is a spirit and does not have a body. This enables Him to speak to our spirits.  He works in perfect unity with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.  Do you remember learning about when Jesus Christ was baptized and the Holy Ghost descended upon Him as a dove. 

After we are baptized, we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost through the laying on of hands by a priesthood holder.

Heavenly Father gives us this gift because he loves us and he wants us to know how important we are to him. He is proud of us and wants us to have a constant companion to help us here on Earth.

Before you are baptized, you can feel the Power of the Holy Ghost from time to time and through that influence you receive a testimony of the truth, but it won’t stay with you unless you are baptized.

After you are baptized, you receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost as your constant companion and He can help you in many ways as long as you live righteously and keep the promises you make today when you are baptized.

The Holy Ghost works as many roles in our lives.  They are as followed. 

1-     He is a Guide. Just as the sun rises and sheds light on the world so that we can see in what would otherwise be dark. It guides us to where we want to go or it can help us to find things. The Holy Ghost will guide us when we are lost or confused. He helps us to find the answers to our prayers when we have questions; He is there for us to let us know if we are choosing the right or wrong way and guides us to choose the right.

2-     He is also a comforter. This is like a blanket. When you were a baby, your mom or dad would comfort you when you cried with a blanket, a pacifier, or their soft musical voices. The Holy Ghost is also called the Comforter. Sometimes, we can be sad, alone, scared, or nervous and we might not know what to do, but the whisperings of the still small voice can calm your fears and give you peace. He fills our hearts with hope and perfect love. The Holy Ghost is your comforter.

3-     He is also a testifier.  As you grow and listen to you teachers and study the scriptures, your testimony of this gospel will grow too. The Holy Ghost testifies to you that Jesus is our Savior. That God lives and that this is the restored church. In D&C section 9 vs. 8 it states:  
But, behold, I say unto you, that you must astudy it out in your bmind; then you must cask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your dbosom shall eburn within you; therefore, you shall ffeel that it is right. “

It is through the Holy Ghost that we know with a surety of the truth of this gospel. He is there to give us that burning knowledge that Christ lives and that he loves us. 

4-     He also gives us impressions throughout our lives.  Sometimes we have little thoughts or ideas of something that we can do.  These are called impressions.  When we walk in the sand, we leave behind footprints, or impressions of our feet.  That is how the Holy Ghost speaks to us.  Leaving little impressions in our hearts and our minds.  We have all lost something at one time or another.  Recently we could not find a library book.  It was due and we needed to return it to the library.  We had all looked for it.  We had said a little prayer, and then the Spirit told me to look under my bed.  There is was.  It was a small thought or impression that helped me to find the book.  The more we listen to and follow what the Spirit tells us, the easier it is for us to hear the whisperings of the Holy Ghost. 
5-     After we are baptized and confirmed, we are responsible for all the choices we make. We take daily steps to follow the Savior and to listen to the Holy Ghost.  Most of the time we work really hard to make the right choices, but sometimes we might make a bad choice. At that point we are given the opportunity to repent and be clean again. The Holy Ghost can help us want to repent and will guide us through the steps of repentance.

6-     Finally I would like to talk about how the Holy Ghost helps us remember to Choose the Right.  We often wear a CTR ring.  Notice how it is round and doesn’t have an end? If you think about how it never ends, think of how the Holy Ghost can always be our companion or friend.  He will always be by our side as long as we are choosing the right. Remember that the Holy Ghost is your friend and your companion. He wants to you to live a righteous life so that you may return to your Father in Heaven.

I know God lives, I know he loves each of us and is so very pleased with the choice that you have made to be baptized today and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. He wants you to have a constant companion, a guide, a testimony, and receive the comfort that the Holy Ghost can provide you. Listen to His still small voice and feel the Spirit guide you through out your life.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

So Blessed!

What a week! Drew went out of town on Monday and Tuesday was a nightmare at home. I was so thankful for Young Women's even if I had to take my two children with me, so that I could get out of the house and be more than a frustrated mom, if even for only an hour. Young Women's was fun. We did speed friendshipping and I had a great time visiting with these Young Women. I absolutely LOVE my calling. I am the personal progress leader, which to me means that I get to know all of the young women. Not having stewardship over just one particular group. And, I get to work on Personal Progress, which I love and I have a very strong testimony of. What could be better than that? Did I mention that the president is one of my closest friends here, too. Talk about a dream calling. :-)

Tyler has just had a hard time. I have tried and tried to work with him, talk with him, increase his personal prayer and scripture study, increase one on one time, and it just seems that he doesn't obey until he sees that Drew and/or I are at the end of our rope. Then and only then does he give in. He enjoys making his sister scream. Let me take a minute and describe Tuesday after school. Remember, Tuesday is the day that I volunteer at the school and go to lunch with him where he sits on my lap the entire lunch period.

He comes home and wants to play with a friend. I remind him of his chores. He asks if he can do half now and half later. Sure, I say, trying to focus on the positive and work with him. He runs up and vaccuums the upstairs. He plays with a friend for 2 hours. I walk over and pick him up. We visit on the way home, just about 5 houses away, but with the attempted abductions lately, I don't take any chances. All my kids walk with a buddy everywhere! I remind him to finish his chores. He walks into the tv room and sees his little sister playing rock band. So, he turns the TV off. Why? Crying and screming iinsues. I calm down the baby. He goes back to cleaning, a little. I am makig dinner, and he sees his sister now playing with her baby stroller. He walks up and takes it away from her, insisting that he is just doing his chores. Forget about the legos on the floor. That is the first thing to pick up. I get on him. He finishes. Audrey is calmed. We eat dinner through much contention and interupting. We get into the car. Whew! We get to church and Tyler quietly and obediently works on his homework and making cards for his teachers. We get in the car and the arguing begins again. We get home. Time to make lunches and get ready for bed. I help him with his lunch, and he comes down to tell me he peed on his carpet again, but it is okay because he cleaned it up. Ugh! He still hasn't finished his chores. I finally look at him and say I am done. I am not talking to you until your chores are done. If there is any more crying, whining, screaming, or causing another to do any of those, he goes to bed. The End. All of a sudden the hosue gets picked up in less than 5 minutes. I go upstairs and see the floor. Two large puddles of water. I get the water and the towels and clean it up. I change the locks on the door and let Tyler know that since he doesn't know how to take care of his room, he now longer has a room to enjoy and he is locked out of his room. I know totally reactionary to the rest of the day. He cries. I talk to my mom after tucking the kids into bed. More crying is going on upstairs. I call him down, after my repeatedly saying he just needs love.

I ask him if he knows I love him. Yes! Who is my favorite? Of course I am mom! Did I want to throw you away today? ( expecting him to say yes and feeling that way a little). He says no. My night was not a complete waste. My son knows I love him. I give him a big hug and he goes to bed.

I went to bed and found a sweet note from a loving daughter who is just so thoughtful. Thanking me for all that I do. Thanking me for being a good mom. :-)

Now for the day of blessings. Wednesday, I wake up and go running. GREAT run! I really needed it. I run hard. I talk with a friend who listens. I come home and remember the loving words of my father in heaven as I awoke. At least he tried to clean up his mess in his room. Okay, he will earn his room back today. I get home and we all get showered and ready for the day. We can't find his shoes. They are in his room. I am hunting for a screwdriver to open the door. He comes running with a Q-tip and opens the door in less than a second. With a smile on his face. That worked, huh? I have to laugh about that now. :-)

They get to school and I get a great call from my little brother. He gives me amazing news. :-) Then, we talk. We talk about his work. I tell him about my boy and he laughs and says Oh you have a little me, too. I ask how to teach that little Mark. He says I don't know but let me tell you how my mind works. He shares quite a bit into the mind of my sweet brother. So insightful. I ask what do I do. He says call dad. I talk with my family. My mom leeps saying to focus on loving him.

Once a month I get together with a small group of women and we just visit and each an early pot luck lunch. It is so much fun. It was a great morning. We laughed, we cried. We felt the spirit. The thing I took from there was that no matter how hard you try, a screwdriver is a screwdriver and can never be a hammer. I am a rule follower. Drew is, Austin is, Elisabeth is. Tyler often needs to figure it out for himself. That is all there is to it.

I have been pondering all of this for over a week. While reading my scriptures last week, I was struck in the book of Jarom how the Lamenites wore a loin cloth and killed their food and often ate it raw. The Nephites made clothes to cover up and they had a garden where they had to nourish and grow their food. They were patient. I have been thinking a lot lately how the Lord wants us to focus on the big picture and not the short term. Often times as I parent, I do whatever it takes for the short term. To get the child to obey quickly, and not the long term. As I pondered that scripture, I have been thinking how I need to slow down my reactions and focus on the long term.

I picked the kids up as usual, and before we got home, I said to my kids. New rule. chores are done immediately after school. No wii, tv, computer, homework, friends, etc until after chores are done. If I find you doing anything else, you sit on the stairs. The end. They came home, they did their chores. It was bliss! I called my dad. He said the most important thing is to love my children. Then, decide on what is important. Chores? Obeying parents? Chores are important because it is a habit of being obedient. He also talks about letting them see the consequences. It would have been more effective to talk about how peeing on the carpet gets into the carpet pad. It is hard to get out. It leaves germs behind. I need to slow down and focus on the teaching and NOT react. I must love first, help second. Discipline only when necessary.

I have my kids do their chores, not to get a clean home, but to teach them to clean, to prioritize, to figure out how to be quick and efficient in cleaning when they are out on their own. Etc. It would be SOOOOOOOOOOO much easier to do the chores myself. Seriously. I am not growing a clean home, I am raising children.

It worked. The chores were done. No screaming. No crying, no whining no nashing of teeth. :-) The room was earned back. He could open it anyway, so a lot of good that did me.

We watched a movie together. We had dinner. They got ready for bed and made their lunches. I cried as I gave him a hug and told him thank you for being so helpful and obedient today. He smiled.

Another friend had mentioned that praying to love our children as Heavenly Father loves them. I had forgot to pray for that on Tuesday. I did pray for that again on Wednesday.

I feel so LOVED. So BLESSED. I know my Father in Heaven knows me. I know He loves me. I know He cares about the small things in my life. He lifts me up and gives me so much. I am who I am because of Him. I have to remember to ask Him for help with my kids each day. I can't do this without Him. I am SO BLESSED with amazing people in my life. A great family! A GREAT family. Wonderful friends. People who listen to the spirit and call me when I need it. Why else did my brother call me that morning and not the morning before or the morning after. I needed that. He answers us through others. I only hope that I can listen and be the answer that another may need.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Talk

Okay so when your husband is in the bishopric you kind of assume that you will get asked to speak a little more than usual. He has been threatening to ask me for the past six months and I could not escape this Sunday. Actually I am glad that I accepted the call and searched the words of Isaiah.

My Christmas Talk, December 2009

In the days of Isaiah, Ahaz was king of Judah. The kings of Syria and Israel tried to persuade Ahaz to ally with them against Assyria, their neighboring superpower. The prophet Isaiah pleaded with Ahaz to trust the Lord for deliverance from the invading armies. The Lord extended a sign to Ahaz to demonstrate that the events surrounding the plot of Syria and Israel would occur precisely as Isaiah had prophesied. The sign, was to give Ahaz courage and faith to trust the prophets words that God's power was far greater than man's armies. The scripture says,
"Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign;
"Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." Isaiah 7:14

The name Immanuel means "God is with us" and indicates that God''s love, power, knowledge, grace and presence are with the righteous. The name also indicates that God himself came down from heaven and took upon himself mortality.
Ahaz rejected Isaiah's spiritual counsel and won the support from the king of Assyria. Because Ahaz rejected Isaiah's plan (God's plan), the armies of Syria and Israel invaded Judah slaying thousands of warriors and carried away two hundred thousand woman and children. Judah was slaughtered, in part because of the great sins of her king and her people.
This prophecy has direction application for us. Assyria is a type and symbol of the warring nations that exist in the latter days shortly before the second coming. If we accept the Lord's sign of Immanuel, if we accept Jesus Christ and his atonement we will be protected during the wars in the last days. The central message for us is to trust the Lord's words that comes through his prophets, rather than rely on the arm of the flesh.
Indeed we have every reason to trust in our Lord, in Isaiah 9:6 we read
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder and his name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace."
Which of us could be without a Wonderful Counsellor, an advisor or mediator and advocate with the Father?
Which of us could be without a Mighty God, a Jehovah that overcomes the nations and all forms of oppression?
Which of us could be without an Everlasting Father, the father of our eternal life?
Which of us could be without the Prince of Peace, a God of love and peace who eliminates war and contention and reigns over a peaceful kingdom?
The scripture goes onto say....
"Of the increase of his government and peace there is no end."
From the first presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles declaration, entitled "The Living Christ" we read
"As we commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ two millennia ago, we offer our testimony of the reality of His matchless life and the infinite virtue of His great atoning sacrifice. None other has had so profound an influence upon all who have lived and will yet live upon the earth."
I testify to you Jesus Christ was the Great Jehovah of the Old Testament. He was the babe born to a virgin, a pure and chosen vessel. He was the child born unto us...He was the Son given unto us. . . and of his peace there is no end.

Notes: Understanding Isaiah by Donald W. Parry, Jay A Parry & Tina M Peterson was my source of study and where I found many understandable concepts and phrase.. They really put this in everyday language.

Friday, July 17, 2009


I heard an amazing talk last night at enrichment about Gardens. I wanted to hurry and post the talks here. I will write more later.

G. Michael Alder, “Earth—A Gift of Gladness,” Ensign, Jul 1991, 27

God has made us responsible for the earth and all living things. How well are we doing?

As I was reading the scriptures recently, my mind flashed back to a Sunday morning thirty-five years ago. I was ten years old at the time, walking home from church. The sun was breaking through the trees with those wondrous, slanted rays, backlighting leaves and turning their edges to gold. The fields beyond the trees were covered with color—lavender and pink. The delicate hue was suddenly everywhere. I was surrounded and stunned by the beauty. There was no one to share the experience with, but the Spirit whispered, and for the first time I sensed Heavenly Father’s love for me, expressed through his creations.

The verse that brought that memory to mind is in Doctrine and Covenants 59. There the Lord tells the Prophet Joseph that “all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart, … to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul.” The Lord goes on to tell us that he is pleased to give all these things for our benefit and use, but that they are to be used “with judgment, not to excess.” (D&C 59:18, 20; italics added.)

A recent awareness of man’s activities on earth came to me in the form of a report from a Boy Scout. He wrote this paragraph for his Environmental Science merit badge: “Although nature doesn’t have much of a chance against us humans, the mountains are still a place of beauty. There are laws that protect parks. Most people don’t care anyway. If we would ask ourselves if what we are doing would harm this mountain or that forest, maybe nature would have a better chance.”

The relevance of this simple message comes with repetitive impact these days as we read about the environmental damage caused by such man-made problems as acid rain, excessive carbon dioxide and other chemicals in the atmosphere, deforestation, and the pollution of our oceans, lakes, and streams.

Scientific American has noted that at the beginning of this century mankind did not have the power to radically alter the global environment. Today we have that power, and as a result, serious, mostly unintended changes are taking place in the air, water, and land around us. These changes outstrip our present ability to cope with them, largely because the world’s financial, social, and political systems are out of step with natural processes. (See Gro Harlem Brundtland, “How to Secure Our Common Future,” Scientific American, Sept. 1989, p. 190.)

At one time, there may have been reason to be skeptical about the idea that we are damaging the earth on a global scale. But no longer. The evidence is mounting that we are doing ourselves and our mortal home serious damage. An observatory on Mauna Loa in Hawaii far away from large industry has recorded a rate of 1.5 to 2 parts per million increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide since 1958. Similar observations were made at the South Pole. A continued increase in carbon dioxide and other gases in the atmosphere, produced by our vast consumption of oil, coal, and other fossil fuels, appears to be responsible for a general increase in temperature worldwide. (See Sylvan H. Wittwer, “The Greenhouse Effect,” Carolina Biology 163:8.) That increase threatens possible major changes in climate around the world, potentially causing drought in some areas and greater rainfall in others.

Evidence for this global warming also comes from studies made by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, which analyzed records going back to 1860. The studies showed that the greatest global temperature increase has taken place in the last decade. Carbon dioxide and trace gases produced by our industrial societies were considered to be the cause. (See R. A. Haughton and G. M. Woodwell, “Global Climatic Change,” Scientific American, April 1989, p. 37.)

Another consequence of our burning large amounts of fossil fuels has been a condition called acid rain. Forests, streams, and lakes have all been seriously damaged in regions where pollutants in the atmosphere are converted into mild acids that are brought back to earth through rain and snow. As the acid accumulates, it kills both plant and animal life.

At the same time, we are combining that indirect and largely unintended attack with a more direct attack: deforestation. As forests are cut in many parts of the earth, the effect they have on slowing global warming decreases, and the loss of animal and plant habitat increases.

In Doctrine and Covenants 104:17, the Lord said, “For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves.” [D&C 104:17] My impression on reading those words is that the Lord is an ample provider—but he did not plan that we waste the gifts he has given us. The scriptures make it clear that we have dominion over the earth, but they also make it clear what that dominion means: We are to care for our planetary home and use its resources wisely. It was never intended that we abuse it.

Unfortunately, it is the nature of most people that when they are given authority, they begin to exercise “unrighteous dominion.” (See D&C 121:39.) I confess that when I was a young man, my respect for God’s creations was not a high priority. My attitude was not much different from that of my friends. Together we used and abused nature as we felt inclined. Scouting introduced me to the concept of conservation, but somehow I was slow to abandon my “consumer mentality.”

Now, as a trained biologist and a member of a bishopric, I find my past behavior totally out of line with being a son of God. A disregard for the gifts of nature is an attitude contrary to the instructions given by our Father in Heaven. We all enjoy scenic vistas, wilderness experiences, or opportunities to commune with nature. Too often, however, wise dominion conflicts with convenience, and usually it is convenience that prevails.

However, restoration is possible, though in the case of the damage we are doing to our global environment, including the destruction of living species, restitution is very difficult if not impossible. After all, how do you restore a species once it is gone? Some measures must be truly global in scope, involving governments worldwide. But there are also steps we can take as individuals.

Every spring our stake high priests group spends a Saturday morning cleaning the roadsides in our neighborhood. It is hard to imagine the good that participating in that project has done for us all. The amount of trash collected always astounds us, and we come away from the experience sobered by the realization that even acts like littering can add up to big problems.

It is also sobering to recognize that in the support of our living here on earth, some life must be sacrificed. We all need to ponder that humbling fact. Whenever the United States Army Corps of Engineers draft plans that will disturb a habitat, they must also draft plans on how they will mitigate the effects of their activities. This means they have to reclaim, restore, or develop new habitats that are equal to those being destroyed. If we have to destroy life or the habitat of a species for any reason, we could try to adopt the same policy. Why not have a personal plan to mitigate our own destructiveness by building, adding back, or supporting life whenever we can?

Every year we hear about worthwhile projects that improve our environment. Why not make it a point to be less passive in the future and to participate more? As we do so, our understanding will grow, we will effect positive changes, and we will be humbled to see what it takes to successfully reclaim, restore, or beautify natural areas. Heavenly Father has already provided these processes naturally; we need but learn how to copy and use them.

I used to wonder why President Spencer W. Kimball admonished us so often to raise gardens. But as my gardening skills grew, I came to appreciate the wisdom of his counsel. Not only do we center that activity at or near our homes where the focus of our attention should be, but we learn much about the processes of nature. When we work with the soil and learn ways of producing food from the earth, we begin to understand the delicate balances in nature. This harmony is difficult to see if the only way we get our food is by visiting the supermarket.

Gardening also teaches us that life is fragile. It teaches us that all living things require food, water, space to grow, clean air to breathe, and protection from natural and man-made enemies in ways that God has established. This is true of both plants and animals. Pollution, erosion, waste, destruction of unique environments, careless use of resources, and uncontrolled “sport” killing destroy those creatures and the places in which they live.

Can Heavenly Father be any less pleased with this willful destruction of nature than when we break the Word of Wisdom? Certainly, if we are to become like him, we must begin to master the skills necessary to preserve and encourage the processes of life. It seems to me that part of our responsibility as caretakers for the earth is to learn about those processes and take advantage of opportunities to protect our world’s resources. Ecology and the natural sciences should be areas of interest for us all. (See D&C 88:79.)

These matters are vital. Apart from the fact that our personal safety is being increasingly endangered by the deterioration of our environment, we need to recognize that someday we will be asked to account for how we have managed our resources. What will our answer be when the Lord asks how we treated the earth—this gift he gave us gladly and which he asks us to use with gladness?

How You Can Help

Here are a few ideas you might consider in trying to take better care of the earth:

• Find ways to reduce unnecessary personal consumption of energy, water, wood products, and other products that come from scarce resources.

• Stop using products that damage the environment.

• Recycle metal, glass, plastic, and paper products.

• Be conscientious in disposing of chemical wastes properly.

• Learn more about natural processes and earth science.

• Cultivate a garden where possible; learn the art and science of composting.

• Adopt a conservation rather than a consumption attitude.

• Be grateful.

Dennis Rasmussen, “Three Gardens,” New Era, Apr 1972, 14

“… I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

“And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” (John 11:25–26.)

We celebrate this month the anniversary of what one writer has called the strangest story in the world. No matter how familiar we are with this story, it still remains infinitely above our understanding. It is more wonderful than any dream. It is unlike any other account. And yet it is true.

Because the story is true, the children of Adam shall live forever. Grasping this truth, man can hope for limitless, joyful tomorrows.

“He is not here, for he is risen.” (Matt. 28:6.) These words announced the most significant victory ever to be won in the history of man: a victory of God and man over death and sin. It was a victory for God because his power won it. It was a victory for man because Jesus, subject to all the temptations of mankind, proved that man can live above sin. Our Savior, being both Son of God and son of man, at great personal cost and personal valor, finally secured the field so that mankind could be redeemed. Our Redeemer, in awful loneliness, transformed longing into reality and plan into achievement as he walked the road toward a battle that he alone could fight.

Along that road there were three gardens—gardens that symbolize the great events in the plan. In the beginning God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and he placed there the parents of the human family. We are told that God walked in that garden in the cool of the evening, blessing the earth with his presence. Then, through his free choice, man left this garden, never to return, and entered a world of suffering, sin, and death. God withdrew his personal presence and man was left to walk by faith and the Spirit in a hostile world, in a world that was now enemy-occupied territory, for everywhere was found the influence of the adversary, the prince of this world.

Thus man began his long journey through mortality, made bearable by simple moments of hope, companionship, beauty, love, family closeness, and earth-oriented goal achievements. As he ventured further and further from the garden, the awareness of his true condition settled over him like a dark cloud. This was a world of time where everything would soon pass away. Youth, physical beauty, even life—all would one day be gone. Man, a little lower than the angels, knew that at the end of all his most cherished dreams and associations was a grave and a few spadefuls of earth.

His ideals never seemed quite within his grasp. Always there was a dark and sinister force trying to pull him down, tempting him with strange, unholy thoughts and deeds.

“I have seen,” says the writer of Ecclesiastes, “all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.

“That which is crooked cannot be made straight: and that which is wanting cannot be numbered.” (Eccl. 1:14–15.)

Yet beside this cry of despair there was another voice, the voice of a small, politically insignificant people claiming that beyond all hope and from beyond the world, help would come. “For I know that my redeemer liveth,” cried Job, “and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.” (Job 19:25.) Could such a thing be believed?

In a small province of the Imperial Roman Empire, an aged man, Simeon, first believed, and then knew beyond doubt: “And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.

“And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.

“And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,

“Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,

“Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:

“For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,

“Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people.” (Luke 2:25–31.)

At some time in our Savior’s own earthly youth, he knew what he would do when grown. He came to know that he was the person prepared from before the foundation of the world to be offered as a lamb in sacrifice. His life, by its very nature, was to carry him toward a grim rendezvous with the prince of darkness. And long before that crisis came, his face was set toward Jerusalem and toward a garden called Gethsemane. There he would meet his adversary. There all things would hang in balance, awaiting the outcome.

As the duel began that night, his seconds fell asleep. In terrible loneliness he stepped off the brink of earthly support and plummeted downward in his spirits, grappling with his foe and his duty of love until, in a way unknown to us, he had plumbed to infinity the wages of human sin and suffering. And then he rose. He had carried with him the whole of the world’s weakness into a garden and a night; now he must bear it up a hill toward day.

As he hung on the cross, he experienced that which was essential to his victory and yet almost too much to bear. His feeling was beyond words as he pleaded, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” [Matt. 27:46] The sustaining power of heaven had been withdrawn. The face of his Father had turned away and he was left unto himself that the awful battle could be his alone—to win—or lose. From the purity and love and power of his own soul he drew his measure of strength, and (as it appears) breaking his heart, fulfilled his quest. “It is finished,” said the Savior, and then he died.

The power of sin passed away in that moment. The victory of love had been won. The Son of God had ransomed his Father’s children paying a price of suffering none of us really understand.

Then, on the third day, friends of the Christ, coming at daybreak to the place of his burial.,found the grave empty and the stone rolled away. To Mary, lingering in confusion and grief before the abandoned tomb, it was given to behold the risen Christ—walking again in the garden, in the cool not of the evening but the dawn.