Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Blessings of the Temple

I know the temple can and does bless our lives. Whenever I go to the temple, all the troubles of the world seem to lift off my shoulders. I feel peace at the temple. I feel a clarity about my purpose on earth. I feel closer to God in the temple than anywhere else. I'm so grateful that President Hinckley, and now President Monson, have found ways to build more temples, so more people can experience this wonderful blessing.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Message of the Restoration

I love these videos put out by the Church. I'll try to space them out, but it's hard not sharing what I hold so dear. Enjoy.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

One of the Least of These

"...Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."
-Matthew 25:40

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Geese Analogy

This week in sacrament meeting and Institute, we talked about two talks from last Conference, President Eyring's Our Hearts Knit as One and Elder Christofferson's Come to Zion. These are excellent talks to read together. Today, I just wanted to share an analogy given during sacrament meeting, about why geese fly in a V. Think about unity and Zion as you read this:

As the geese take flight from the Canadian shoreline, they lift off from the water in squawking discourse. Yet, in a matter of seconds, a line begins to emerge from the mass of brown feathers. This line straightens, arches slightly, and then, as on cue, bends sharply to form a perfect V shape. Canada geese fly in V formation for a very pragmatic reason: a flock of geese flying in formation can move faster and maintain flight longer than any one goose flying alone.

We have a lot to learn from these geese.

* By flying in "V " formation, the whole flock adds at least 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own.
=>People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.

* Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front.
=>If we have as much sense as a goose, we will stay in formation with those who are heading in the same as we are.

* When the lead goose gets tired, he rotates back in the wing and another goose flies point.
=> It pays to take turns doing hard jobs, with people or with flying geese.

* These geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.
=> We need to be careful what we say when we honk from behind.

* Finally, when a goose gets sick, or is wounded by gunshot, and falls out, two geese fall out of formation and follow him down to help and protect him. They stay with him until he is either able to fly or until he is dead, and then they launch out on their own or with another formation until they catch up with their group.
=> If we have the sense of a goose, we will stand by each other, protect one another and sometimes make new friends who seem to be going in our direction.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Hold to the Rod

Hold to the Rod, the Iron Rod

I love this painting! Here's the explanation that went along with the portrait on one of the websites:

"As we walk the road of life, we tend to collect things that make us feel safer and more sure of ourselves. These may be material possessions, titles or responsibilities, but in the end they amount to the same thing: a fleeting and superficial sense of security. It is only by holding fast to our beliefs that we can navigate life with any confidence.

"The character in Hold to the Rod finds himself so burdened with the mundane objects he has collected that, while he hopefully eyes the rod, he cannot reach up to hold it for fear of losing something else. The man has become little more than a vehicle for his adornments. He demonstrates that what is truly important is keeping sight of our true belief and faith, that they alone will guide us through."

So true. The story of the tree of life mentions a lot of things that get people to let go of the iron rod, but I never thought about the busyness of life being one of the causes. But it definitely makes sense! Life can really get in the way of the really important stuff sometimes! Hopefully, we all have the opportunity, every now and then, to step back and weed out the unimportant things, so that the things that bring us pure joy are the only things left!

Friday, March 13, 2009

How Can This Be?

Do you ever find yourself questioning the Lord? If so, you are not alone. In John 3 we read the story of Nicodemus who asks Jesus a question. No matter what Jesus responds, Nicodemus keeps questioning how it can be so.

I found the story rather interesting because, I think we often look at things from our own viewpoint and can't make sense of what the Lord is trying to tell us. No matter how much education we have, (And Nicodemus was apparently a learned man), we are still judging things from a limited view. If something doesn't seem logical, it probably isn't--to us! If we were able to see things the way the Lord sees, it would make complete sense. Keeping this in mind is what can allow us to go forward with faith.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Teach by Example

"If each and every one of us who are parents will reflect upon the responsibilities devolving upon us, we shall come to the conclusion that we should never permit ourselves to do anything that we are not willing to see our children do. We should set them an example that we wish them to imitate."
--Brigham Young (Journal of Discourses, 14:192.)

This is so true, in every aspect of teaching our children. I learned this firsthand this week.

I started teaching my 5-year-old the piano about a month ago. She was really excited for a few days. Then, nothing! I was bewildered at the sudden lack of interest. I didn't know what to do. I knew I shouldn't push her to practice, because that'll ruin everything.

Then, about a week ago, I was going through some of my personal goals, and I realized that I hadn't practiced the piano for probably weeks! So I sat down and played for a while. I just went through some music I've had for a long time - nothing major.

Not an hour later, my daughter said, "Mom, I'm going to practice the piano." And sat down and practiced from her lesson book! Not even an hour later!! It was definitely an eye-opening experience about teaching by example! It taught me that teaching by example doesn't just mean not doing certain things, it also means doing certain things! If I want something for my kids, I have to show them the way, not just tell them about it.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Inquire and You'll Understand

We are reading the Book of Mormon as a family. I'm not sure if we'll get through it in three months, but we're going to try. :)

This morning we read 1Nephi 15. I started giggling after reading verse 3. Why? Well, I'll tell you.

I was just remembering every Sunday School or Relief Society lesson I've ever been in where Isaiah is mentioned. As soon as that great prophet's name is mentioned a few audible moans are heard, followed by grumblings and sometimes murmurings. Isaiah has been a stumbling block for many a Latter-day Saint. I've even heard some people admit that, when reading the Book of Mormon, they skip 2 Nephi just to avoid reading Isaiah.

Personally, I have always loved Isaiah. I had a wonderful seminary teacher, Brother K. Herbst, who, with a few small details, opened a greater understanding of Isaiah in my mind. I think I was also blessed with the gift of understanding in regards to the scriptures. Either way, I love Isaiah. But back to my giggling...

I started giggling because there, in 1 Nephi 15: 3, the chapters preceding Isaiah, Nephi tells us how to understand difficult things. He lays the path before us very simply and in a Very straightforward manner. But I hadn't really noticed it before. Not in this context.

The verse: "For he truly spake many great things unto them, which were hard to be understood, save a man should inquire of the Lord; and they being hard in their hearts, therefore they did not look unto the Lord as they ought."

I giggled because the answer to understanding Isaiah is simple. "Inquire of the Lord."

I giggled because the same people who moaned about Isaiah were the same people who, upon reading 1 Nephi chapter 15, condemned Laman and Lemuel for not asking the Lord.

There are many things within the scriptures that can be hard to understand. But I know that if we ask the Lord, He will help us. He did not want us to be lost and wandering. The whole point of the scriptures is to clearly point the way back to our Father in Heaven. And fortunately for us, our God is not a tricky and sneaky God. No. He is a loving and kind God who had set the path before us. The path is strait and narrow, but not impassable. Inquire of the Lord and you will find the way.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Today's the Day!!

If you're reading The Book of Mormon in 3 months with us, today's the day to start!! I'm going to try to keep an update in the sidebar of the reading schedule for each week, but no promises! :)

But I can promise that this will bless your lives! The Book of Mormon is an essential part of the Gospel. It's crucial to learning about the Savior.

No matter how you read The Book of Mormon - with us in 3 months, by topic, verse by verse - it will bless your life. I know that!

"The Book of Mormon is a book with a promise. . . . All who study and ponder its teachings are given a promise found in the last chapter of Moroni (see Moroni 10:3-4) as well as in the introduction to the Book of Mormon, where we read: 'We invite all men [and women] everywhere to read the Book of Mormon, to ponder in their hearts the message it contains, and then to ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ if the book is true. Those who pursue this course and ask in faith will gain a testimony of its truth and divinity by the power of the Holy Ghost.'

" 'I opened it with eagerness, and read its title page. . . . I commenced its contents by course. I read all day; eating was a burden, I had no desire for food; sleep was a burden when the night came, for I preferred reading to sleep."

'As I read, the spirit of the Lord was upon me, and I knew and comprehended that the book was true, as plainly and manifestly as a man comprehends and knows that he exists.'"

Parley Pratt was then 23 years of age. The reading of the Book of Mormon affected him so profoundly that he was soon baptized into the Church and became one of its most effective and powerful advocates. In the course of his ministry he traveled from coast to coast across what is now the United States, into Canada, and to England; he worked in the isles of the Pacific and was the first Latter-day Saint missionary to set foot on the soil of South America. . . ."

Parley Pratt's experience with the Book of Mormon was not unique. As the volumes of the first edition were circulated and read, strong men and women by the hundreds were so deeply touched that they gave up everything they owned, and in the years that followed not a few even gave their lives for the witness they carried in their hearts of the truth of this remarkable volume."
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