Saturday, January 30, 2016

The Challenge to Become by Elder Oaks

Our needed conversions are often achieved more readily by suffering and adversity than by comfort and tranquillity, as Elder Hales taught us so beautifully this morning. Father Lehi promised his son Jacob that God would “consecrate [his] afflictions for [his] gain” (2 Ne. 2:2). The Prophet Joseph was promised that “thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; and then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high” (D&C 121:7–8).

Most of us experience some measure of what the scriptures call “the furnace of affliction” (Isa. 48:101 Ne. 20:10). Some are submerged in service to a disadvantaged family member. Others suffer the death of a loved one or the loss or postponement of a righteous goal like marriage or childbearing. Still others struggle with personal impairments or with feelings of rejection, inadequacy, or depression. Through the justice and mercy of a loving Father in Heaven, the refinement and sanctification possible through such experiences can help us achieve what God desires us to become.

Fathers, Mothers, Marriage

The influence of a mother in the lives of her children is beyond calculation.
First Presidency Message by President James E. Faust "Fathers, Mothers, Marriage."
 August 2004

Focus of the Strengths

“Your influence will be unending as you focus on the strengths of others rather than their weaknesses and mistakes. Our hearts and our eyes should concentrate on the positive things in life and in our fellowman. . . . As you share your kind, loving, tolerant, and positive attitude towards life, you will bless your spouses and children and grandchildren, your nieces and nephews and friends, and countless others who feel the radiance of your optimism and testimony” (Harriet Uchtdorf, The Light We Share)

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Post Dated Quotes

I was printing off quotes and scriptures for the past few months. I'm ready to declutter my fridge so here they are:

Alma 5:26
And now Behold, I say unto you, my brethren if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?

1 Nephi 1:20
But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their FAITH, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance.

1 Corinthians 3:16-17
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is Holy, which temple ye are.

Moroni 10:32
Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him.

Luke 2:10
...Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Chosen to Bear Testimony of My Name by Elder David A. Bednar

When Elder Bednar tells us what Elder Hales told him, my eyes start leaking and continue through most of the talk. I will not say the rest of the talk is talking about me, but when he reports what Elder Hales answer is, I thought yes, I have found that too.
Elder Hales paused for a moment and responded, “When you cannot do what you have always done, then you only do what matters most.”
I have witnessed repeatedly my Brethren striving diligently to fulfill and magnify their responsibilities while struggling with serious physical problems. These men are not spared from affliction. Rather, they are blessed and strengthened to press forward valiantly while suffering in and with affliction.
I am blessed to observe on a daily basis the individual personalities, capacities, and noble characters of these leaders. Some people find the human shortcomings of the Brethren troubling and faith diminishing. For me those imperfections are encouraging and faith promoting.
These valiant Brethren devoted their “whole souls” (Omni 1:26) to testifying of the name of Jesus Christ in all the world.
Like I said, I am not saying the rest of the talk is a description of me but I do love that phrase,  “When you cannot do what you have always done, then you only do what matters most.” The other day someone asked me my hobbies, literally had no idea what to say. I couldn't come up with anything, sure I use to like to sew, I use to read, but literally all I do is take care of my children, myself and go to church. I haven't been able to do what I've always done, so I can only do what Sister Reeves told me to do. I can not tell you how many things I cut out of our lives after Sister Reeves's talk. 
I listened to multiple moms say, I'm not sure what I'm going to do when my next baby comes. My response is always the same, nothing. You are going to sit on your couch and hold your baby and child, because soon they will grow up so you will never regret holding them on the couch all day. Literally nothing else matters. That's my hobby, holding my babies. 

Friday, January 15, 2016

“Because She Is a Mother” Jeffrey R. Holland

My friend recommended this talk. As I listened to the talk, I thought this is a terrible talk, I do not feel worthy of it, I felt unequal to the task. But then Elder Holland address that,
One young mother wrote to me recently that her anxiety tended to come on three fronts. One was that whenever she heard talks on LDS motherhood, she worried because she felt she didn’t measure up or somehow wasn’t going to be equal to the task. Secondly, she felt like the world expected her to teach her children reading, writing, interior design, Latin, calculus, and the Internet—all before the baby said something terribly ordinary, like “goo goo.” Thirdly, she often felt people were sometimes patronizing, almost always without meaning to be, because the advice she got or even the compliments she received seemed to reflect nothing of the mental investment, the spiritual and emotional exertion, the long-night, long-day, stretched-to-the-limit demands that sometimes are required in trying to be and wanting to be the mother God hopes she will be.
Yeah, that seems to sum up some of my problems right now. She continues on saying,
Maybe it is precisely our inability and anxiousness that urge us to reach out to Him and enhance His ability to reach back to us. Maybe He secretly hopes we will be anxious,” she said, “and willplead for His help. Then, I believe, He can teach these children directly, through us, but with no resistance offered. I like that idea,” she concludes. “It gives me hope.
Yes, that is the take home message I've discovered over the past few months, my anxiety helps me turn to him, and recognize his hand always outstretched instead of thinking I'm amazing and doing it all on my own.
Moved by that kind of devotion and determination, may I say to mothers collectively, in the name of the Lord, you are magnificent. You are doing terrifically well. The very fact that you have been given such a responsibility is everlasting evidence of the trust your Father in Heaven has in you. He knows that your giving birth to a child does not immediately propel you into the circle of the omniscient. If you and your husband will strive to love God and live the gospel yourselves; if you will plead for that guidance and comfort of the Holy Spirit promised to the faithful; if you will go to the temple to both make and claim the promises of the most sacred covenants a woman or man can make in this world; if you will show others, including your children, the same caring, compassionate, forgiving heart you want heaven to show you; if you try your best to be the best parent you can be, you will have done all that a human being can do and all that God expects you to do.
Sometimes the decision of a child or a grandchild will break your heart. Sometimes expectations won’t immediately be met. Every mother and father worries about that. Even that beloved and wonderfully successful parent President Joseph F. Smith pled, “Oh! God, let me not lose my own.” 8 That is every parent’s cry, and in it is something of every parent’s fear. But no one has failed who keeps trying and keeps praying. You have every right to receive encouragement and to know in the end your children will call your name blessed, just like those generations of foremothers before you who hoped your same hopes and felt your same fears.
When you have come to the Lord in meekness and lowliness of heart and, as one mother said, “pounded on the doors of heaven to ask for, to plead for, to demand guidance and wisdom and help for this wondrous task,” that door is thrown open to provide you the influence and the help of all eternity. Claim the promises of the Savior of the world. Ask for the healing balm of the Atonement for whatever may be troubling you or your children. Know that in faith things will be made right in spite of you, or more correctly, because of you.
You can’t possibly do this alone, but you do have help. The Master of Heaven and Earth is there to bless you—He who resolutely goes after the lost sheep, sweeps thoroughly to find the lost coin, waits everlastingly for the return of the prodigal son. Yours is the work of salvation, and therefore you will be magnified, compensated, made more than you are and better than you have ever been as you try to make honest effort, however feeble you may sometimes feel that to be.
Rely on Him. Rely on Him heavily. Rely on Him forever. And “press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope.” 11 You are doing God’s work. You are doing it wonderfully well. He is blessing you and He will bless you, even—no, especially—when your days and your nights may be the most challenging. Like the woman who anonymously, meekly, perhaps even with hesitation and some embarrassment, fought her way through the crowd just to touch the hem of the Master’s garment, so Christ will say to the women who worry and wonder and sometimes weep over their responsibility as mothers, “Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole.” 12 And it will make your children whole as well.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Finding Ourselves in Lehi’s Dream By President Boyd K. Packer

Finding Ourselves in Lehi’s Dream By President Boyd K. Packer
August 2010
If you hold to the rod, you can feel your way forward with the gift of the Holy Ghost, conferred upon you at the time you were confirmed a member of the Church. The Holy Ghost will comfort you. You will be able to feel the influence of angels, as Nephi did, and feel your way through life.
The Book of Mormon has been my iron rod.
The mist of darkness will cover you at times so much that you will not be able to see your way even a short distance ahead. You will not be able to see clearly. But with the gift of the Holy Ghost, you can feel your way ahead through life. Grasp the iron rod, and do not let go. (See 3 Nephi 18:25; D&C 9:8.)
“For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do” (2 Nephi 32:4–5).
All of the things that you need to know are there. Read it, and make it a part of your life. Then the criticism or mocking of the world, mocking those in the Church, will be of no concern to you as it is of no concern to us (see 1 Nephi 8:33). We just move forward doing the things that we are called to do and know that the Lord is guiding us.
If you hold to the rod, you can feel your way forward with the gift of the Holy Ghost. Grasp the iron rod, and do not let go.

Common Goal

This is not a pondering post. But since I mentioned marriage articles, I thought I'd share what my fall was spent doing. Thinking about my hopes and desires for my life, and then finding a common goal with my husband. I didn't have to write a new common goal, I just had to remember when we were dating and newlyweds. Sometimes under the stress of life, we forget the beginning.
I have it hanging in our bathroom so its something I see very morning and every night before going to bed. It took my husband a while to notice it, but then he got a good laugh out of it.

Better than Articles from Marriage Counselors

In the past year I've been a little obsessed with reading articles written by marriage counselors. Its not that my marriage has problems, I adore my husband, and I seems to be as happy as a clam, its just babies and toddlers are proven to lower satisfaction in a marriage, and you add depression in one of the spouses and we have a lot pilled on us. Yesterday as I listened to conference talks I thought forget those marriage articles I just need to follow this advice. (I can't forget marriage articles I'm obsessed, but I will be more mindful of the Lord's servants.)

The first talk I listened to was what came on next on my phone feed. 

My Heart Pondereth Them Continually By Devin G. Durrant
Another idea you might try is sharing your verse with a sibling, a child, or a friend. My wife, Julie, and I help each other. We choose our verses each Sunday. ... We then share thoughts about our verses throughout the week. We also like to discuss our verses with our children. As we do, it seems to make it more comfortable for them to share their thoughts with us about the word of God.
I'm not honestly that concerned if my husband decided to "ponderize" a scripture each week. But I keep reading about the importance of rituals in your marriage, and when I was listening to that talk I realize that is what we need to add to our marriage. The ritual of talking about conference talks and scriptures more often. So I asked my husband to share a few times a week with me something that stood out in his studies.

I was also listening to

With All the Feeling of a Tender Parent: A Message of Hope to Families by Robert D. Hales
In it he says, we need to 1. Hold Family Councils
What really stood out to me was, we need to have individual councils with our children. I thought 4 kids, one kid each sunday for 20 minutes with both their parents.
Without this one-on-one counseling together with our children, they are prone to believe that Dad and Mom, or Grandpa and Grandma, don’t understand or care about the challenges they are facing. As we listen with love and refrain from interrupting, the Spirit will help us learn how we can be of help to our children and teach them.
2. Sometimes when our teachings aren’t heeded and when our expectations are not met, we need to remind ourselves to leave the door to our hearts open
Lately, I've been terrified of my children growing up and disappointing me. This stems from my fear that they will grow up and be disappointed in me. I know so many adults who thought their parents did a really crappy job and I just hope my children don't feel like that one day but I don't have much hope because so few adults I know have positive things to say about their parents. But the only way for them not to disappoint me is if I leave the door to my heart open. They will never make all the choices I would have, because we are all different people.
In the parable of the prodigal son, we find a powerful lesson for families and especially parents. After the younger son “came to himself,” 12 he decided to go home.
How did he know his father wouldn’t reject him? Because he knew his father. Through the inevitable misunderstandings, conflicts, and follies of the son’s youth, I can visualize his father being there with an understanding and compassionate heart, a soft answer, a listening ear, and a forgiving embrace. I can also imagine his son knowing he could come home because he knew the kind of home that was awaiting him. For the scriptures say, “When he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.” 13
I testify that our Heavenly Father leaves the door open. I also testify that it is never too late to open the door between us and our children with simple words such as “I love you,” “I am sorry,” and “Please forgive me.” We can begin now to create a home they will want to return to—not only now but in the eternities.
We can also help our obedient children leave the door of forgiveness open by expressing our love and appreciation to them and by helping them rejoice in the repentance of their siblings.
That last paragraph is a HUGE one for me. I felt like that whole thing should be bold. I'm not exactly sure why, but it is screaming to me I am important. Do this as a mother!
What a joy and blessing to have the Spirit in our homes! And what a blessing it is to invite it through prayer, studying the scriptures, speaking kindly, and showing appreciation to one another! Let us prepare our teaching moments by praying as Alma prayed for his son, “with much faith” 15 and all the energy of our souls; by fasting, searching the scriptures, repenting of our sins, and allowing the Holy Ghost to fill our hearts with love, forgiveness, and compassion. And then it will fill our homes. Then, let us trust the Good Shepherd.

Not ready for 8

So the other day on my personal blog, I wrote I'm not ready for my daughter to turn 8. As I've been reading First Nephi, I realized why, if Lehi was a prophet, and he could even get his son's to choose the right, I feel like I'm doomed. I don't like the idea that life is just chance.
As I've started over reading the Book of Mormon this year, I've been reading it along with this book, I got over Christmas.
 Its really been quite helpful for me. I can read the Book of Mormon over and over, but I can't study the scriptures without a study guide to help. Anyway the editor complied some quotes referencing conference talks that have really helped me as my heart bleeds for Lehi and Sariah. (Sure our story ends early and we don't really know what the last act is.)

The first talk I read was With All the Feelings of a Tender Parent by Robert D. Hales
It was what I needed to get on board with my children growing up.
Father Lehi had such courage. He loved his family and rejoiced that some of his children kept the Lord’s commandments. But he must have been heartbroken when his sons “Laman and Lemuel partook not of the fruit” representing the love of God. “He exceedingly feared for [them]; yea, he feared lest they should be cast off from the presence of the Lord.” 4
Every parent faces moments of such fear. However, when we exercise our faith by teaching our children and doing what we can to help them, our fears will diminish. Lehi girded up his loins, and with faith “he did exhort [his children] with all the feeling of a tender parent, that they would hearken to his words, that perhaps the Lord would be merciful to them.” And “he bade them to keep the commandments of the Lord.” 5
We too must have the faith to teach our children and bid them to keep the commandments. We should not let their choices weaken our faith. Our worthiness will not be measured according to their righteousness. Lehi did not lose the blessing of feasting at the tree of life because Laman and Lemuel refused to partake of its fruit. Sometimes as parents we feel we have failed when our children make mistakes or stray. Parents are never failures when they do their best to love, teach, pray, and care for their children. Their faith, prayers, and efforts will be consecrated to the good of their children.
I guess I need to get on board. Maybe I should ponderize this for a week,
I join with faithful parents everywhere in declaring that we know who we are, we understand our responsibilities as parents, and we do not fear the wrath of the prince of darkness. We trust in the light of the Lord.
Like Jochebed, we raise our families in a wicked and hostile world—a world as dangerous as the courts of Egypt ruled by Pharaoh. But, like Jochebed, we also weave around our children a protective basket—a vessel called “the family”—and guide them to safe places where our teachings can be reinforced in the home and at church.
Ultimately, we guide them to the greatest of all houses of learning—the holy temple, where one day they can kneel, surrounded by their faithful family members, to be sealed for time and all eternity to a worthy companion. What they learned from us, they will teach their children, and the work of eternal families will go on.
Along the way, at times when our children are away from us, the Lord provides inspired “Miriams” to watch over them—special third-party helpers such as priesthood and auxiliary leaders, teachers, extended family, and worthy friends. Sometimes the Spirit prompts us as parents to seek special help beyond ourselves through such resources as doctors and qualified counselors. The Spirit will direct when and how such help should be obtained.
Thank heavens, for friends, aunts, grandmas, grandpas, school teachers, piano teacher, church teachers, church friends and other people who also love my children, because I am just not up to the task to loving them alone.
He will help us trust and honor the principles of agency, opposition, and the Atonement even when our children make unwise decisions. Through His Spirit, He will help us teach our children to meet every challenge, trial, and tribulation in life by remembering who they are—children of God. We will be inspired with ways to help them “put on the whole armour of God,” 18 so that they can withstand the “fiery darts of the adversary” 19 with the “shield of faith” 20 and “the sword of the Spirit.” 21 As our children are spiritually armed and strengthened, He will bless them to endure faithfully to the end and return home, worthy to stand and live in their Heavenly Father’s presence forever.
Through it all, we will sorrow to see our family members suffer the slings and arrows of mortality. But we will stand all amazed at the love our Savior offers them. Because of Him, the buffetings need not defeat and destroy them but can soften, strengthen, and sanctify them.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Carrying Loads

I saw this on FB.

But after a title like that, I of course have to follow up with this quote from Elder Bednar:

Our Individual Load
I pray for the assistance of the Holy Ghost as I emphasize vital lessons that can be learned from this story about my friend, the truck, and the wood. It was the load. It was the load of wood that provided the traction necessary for him to get out of the snow, to get back on the road, and to move forward. It was the load that enabled him to return to his family and his home.
Each of us also carries a load. Our individual load is comprised of demands and opportunities, obligations and privileges, afflictions and blessings, and options and constraints. Two guiding questions can be helpful as we periodically and prayerfully assess our load: “Is the load I am carrying producing the spiritual traction that will enable me to press forward with faith in Christ on the strait and narrow path and avoid getting stuck? Is the load I am carrying creating sufficient spiritual traction so I ultimately can return home to Heavenly Father?”
Sometimes we mistakenly may believe that happiness is the absence of a load. But bearing a load is a necessary and essential part of the plan of happiness. Because our individual load needs to generate spiritual traction, we should be careful to not haul around in our lives so many nice but unnecessary things that we are distracted and diverted from the things that truly matter most.
Farther in his talk he continues:
Recall the Savior’s statement “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:30) as we consider the next verse in the account of Alma and his people.“And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs” (Mosiah 24:14).Many of us may assume this scripture is suggesting that a burden suddenly and permanently will be taken away. The next verse, however, describes how the burden was eased.“And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea,the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord” (Mosiah 24:15; emphasis added).The challenges and difficulties were not immediately removed from the people. But Alma and his followers were strengthened, and their increased capacity made the burdens lighter. These good people were empowered through the Atonement to act as agents (see D&C 58:26–29) and impact their circumstances. And “in the strength of the Lord” (Words of Mormon 1:14; Mosiah 9:17; 10:10; Alma 20:4),  
For a very long time, I thought the Lord would eventually take away my burden. I kept putting limits on it, after I wean the baby, after 6 weeks has passed, once school is out, the doctor says, 6 months, waiting waiting waiting. Eventually it will fade, but I'm trying to understand the principle of having my burdened eased not taken away. Its a hard concept. Especially when people tell me accepting it, makes you never want to get better.  Oh believe me I want to get better, but I can't sit around in the waiting room, waiting for things to get better. I have to act upon my circumstances even if my body doesn't cooperate.
This all just reinforces the first picture/quote.

Howard W. Hunter Lesson 1

This year in 3rd hour the adults are studying President Hunter. He is the first prophet I remember hearing speak live, so I can't begin to explain how excited I am. His first lesson truly spoke to me, gave me answer to prayers I've been wrestling with for months. I've decided to copy and paste all of section 4. Emphasis added by me.
As we exercise faith in the Savior, He will calm the troubled waters of our lives.
All of us have seen some sudden storms in our lives. A few of them … can be violent and frightening and potentially destructive. As individuals, as families, as communities, as nations, even as a church, we have had sudden squalls arise which have made us ask one way or another, “Master, carest thou not that we perish?” [Mark 4:38.] And one way or another we always hear in the stillness after the storm, “Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?” [Mark 4:40.]
None of us would like to think we have no faith, but I suppose the Lord’s gentle rebuke here is largely deserved. This great Jehovah, in whom we say we trust and whose name we have taken upon us, is he who said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.” (Gen. 1:6.) And he is also the one who said, “Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear.” (Gen. 1:9.) Furthermore, it was he who parted the Red Sea, allowing the Israelites to pass through on dry ground. (See Ex. 14:21–22.) Certainly it should be no surprise that he could command a few elements acting up on the Sea of Galilee. And our faith should remind us that he can calm the troubled waters of our lives. …
We will all have some adversity in our lives. I think we can be reasonably sure of that. Some of it will have the potential to be violent and damaging and destructive. Some of it may even strain our faith in a loving God who has the power to administer relief in our behalf.
To those anxieties I think the Father of us all would say, “Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?” And of course that has to be faith for the whole journey, the entire experience, the fulness of our life, not simply around the bits and pieces and tempestuous moments. …
Jesus said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33.)
For months I've been wondering why, why have my trials tested me so much, I truly feel like my last year and half has been at times violent, frightening and potentially destructive, a third bout of postpartum depression will do that, each time it gets worse. It was such a relief to hear a prophet of the Lord validate my feelings, because I know when all is said and done, Jesus Christ performed the atonement to validate our pain, so we can move on, learn and strive for perfection. I also can follow up with my agreeance of his testimony. Through every second of the storm the spirit is always whispering what the Lord wants for me. I don't think born and raised LDS members of the church often realize how often the Spirit is talking to us when we have been "blessed to always have the spirit be with us". That's not a figure of speech, that's literal.

Sabbath observance from my niece

Since this is my blog I get to make up the rules. I want to include this, I stole this from my sister. She was writing about my 5 year old niece:

Family home evening last night was about sabbath day observance. When asked why we didn't shop or go to restaurants on Sunday, she answered:

It's helps us show Heavenly Father that we're happy with what we have with food and toys and that we don't need any more.

When I referenced fasting in my previous post, I thought of this. I love fasting because it gives my spirit the chance to tell my physical body you aren't the boss of me. After years of postpartum depression I can't explain how sweet that is. At the same time because of other physical limitations I've only been able to fast a handful of times in the past year. So all the more sweet.

The first post

Since last October, I decided a new blog would be the best place for me to record scripture references and quotes from LDS General Conference that stand out in my mind. Well maybe not continue to stand out, but originally stand out, that I would like to remember.

As an older millennial I run this bizarre parallel between paper and electronic. Since I type so much faster than I write, plus I never ever look back at paper journals, I decided a blog was the best way.

Most of my religious studies happen online, or at the very least half and half, electronic did seem like the best. I actually bought a new set of scriptures last month, because I felt like I wasn't really studying the scriptures while reading them on my phone, I was more scanning in hopes I could move over to pinterest as soon as possible. But I often cross reference on my phone for ease.

At the same time I don't want to be pontifical (Moreover, when ye fast be not as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance, for they disfigure their faces that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward. 3 Ne. 13:16). Humility runs this somewhere in between secret pondering and sharing your experiences. Hence the the reason its taken me four months.

Most blog posts won't include commentary, just quotes. But since it is a public blog I felt the need to explain myself. The italics are my commentary.