Monday, June 1, 2015

We'll Ascend Together

We switched things around a little in our FHE the last few weeks. This week was my turn to go over Sis Burton's talk.  I had each family member read a section and tell me what they learned. My daughter had the first section and seemed to zero in on:

"I am convinced that a husband is never more attractive to his wife than when he is serving in his God-given roles as a worthy priesthood holder—most important in the home."

We tried to talk about what that really meant. It's not what the outward appearance the matters most, but where a man's heart, commitment, and devotion are.

I remember when Sis Burton was reading the list of questions. At the end of #5, my DH raised his hands and shouted "5 for 5! We have a great marriage!"

 am grateful for a father who was devoted to the gospel. I watched him perform all that was required of him and learned what it was I wanted in a husband when I was a young single adult. I found that devotion in another wonderful man.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Timely Prophetic Counsel

Our family lived in Baltimore for 6 years. I remember clearly still the day my kids and I stepped into the Inner Harbor Branch (we later became a Ward).  I was alone. My husband was deployed in Iraq.  But I will never forget the feeling of coming home. It was so real and so beautiful! 
To see a city we enjoyed and have such great memories of, become a place of turmoil and tragedy, was very sad to me. 

In the news this morning there was a discussion on what the causes might be that enable a community to remain in poverty, or to become so "broken spirited". The panel discussed welfare system. They even discussed the need for fathers to take responsibility in the lives of their children.  And the talks from conference that we read last week and this week kept ringing in my head. 

Elder Sitati's talk was especially powerful. He knows first hand poverty and the despair that can come into such a life.
"I was born and raised in humble circumstances typical to many families in Africa. I gained the ability to lift myself from those circumstances by seeking and obtaining, with the caring help of my parents, a good education. Developing a vision of what I could become was essential to my progress. Later, as a young couple, my wife, Gladys, and I found the restored gospel, which continues to bless our lives with spiritual direction. Like every family, we have our trials and challenges. But as we look to the Lord for help, we have found answers that bring peace and comfort, and we do not feel overwhelmed by these things.
"The challenges facing human society today, including immorality, pornography, armed conflict, pollution, substance abuse, and poverty, flourish because many in the world have turned themselves over by choice “to the will of the devil and the flesh” rather than to the will of God. “They seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god, whose image is in the likeness of the world.”
"However, God invites all His children to obtain His help to overcome and endure the challenges of this life with these words:
“I am God; I made the world, and men before they were in the flesh.
“… If thou wilt turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, and believe, and repent of all thy transgressions, and be baptized, even in water, in the name of mine Only Begotten Son, … ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, asking all things in his name, and whatsoever ye shall ask, it shall be given you.”
"Faithful Latter-day Saints who understand their divine potential and rely wholeheartedly on the power available through the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ are strengthened in their natural weakness and “can do all things.” They are enabled to overcome the enticings of evil that have put many under bondage to the adversary.
I am grateful for the knowledge I have, that so many do not have, that a Father in Heaven loves me. And because He loves me, He has a plan for me that will allow me to have true happiness in this life. And because He loves me, I can have His help when things get tough, and that the tough things will make me a better person. If every young person in Baltimore knew what I know, perhaps the would be more mutual respect, more desire for virtue, more tolerance and peace.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

April 2015 Reading Schedule

Week Talk and Link
Apr 20,2015 Filling Our Homes with Light and Truth and Defenders of the Family Proclamation
Apr 27,2015 The Family is Ordained of God- video and The Family is of God and Be Fruitful, Multiply, and Subdue the Earth
May 4,2015 The Comforter
May 11,2015 Why Marriage and Family Matter- Everywhere in the World and Why Marriage, Why Family and The Plan of Happiness
May 18,2015 The Music of the Gospel.
May 25,2015 Is Not This the Fast That I Have Chosen? and The Sabbath is a Delight
Jun 1,2015  The Priesthood- A Sacred Gift and Priesthood and Personal Prayer
Jun 8,2015 We'll Ascend Together
Jun 15,2015 The Parable of the Sower
Jun 22,2015 Choose to Believe
Jun 29,2014 Therefore They Hushed Their Fears
July 6,2015 Latter-day Saints Keep on Trying
July 13,2015 Truly Good and Without Guile and Waiting for the Prodigal
July 20,2015 The Lord is My Light and Thy Kingdom Come
July 27,2015 The Greatest Generation of Young Adults
Aug 3,2015 Yes, We Can and Will Win! and Fatherhood- Our Eternal Destiny
Aug 10,2015 Is It Still Wonderful to You? and Returning to Faith
Aug 17,2015 The Eternal Perspective of the Gospel and If You Will Be Responsible
Aug 24,2015 On Being Genuine and Seeking the Lord
Aug 31,2015 Stay by the Tree
Sept 7,2015 Where Justice, Love, and Mercy Meet
Sept 14,2015 The Gift of Grace
Sept 21,2015 Preserving Agency, Protecting Religious Freedom
Sept 28,2015 Blessings of the Temple

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

April 2015 GC

GC Bookclub will start up again in April, I promise!
Stay tuned for the new reading schedule.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Sisterhood and The Priesthood Man

These talks were great and although you'd think they were separate gender talks, they actually go hand in hand.

Sis Linda Reeves recently quoted from Pres Eyring's talk and wrote in the Church News, "Each of you will be a model of a priesthood man [or woman], whether you want to be or not. You become a lighted candle when you accepted... priesthood [covenants].

Sunday, June 15, 2014

A Christ Centered Home

My husband and I both loved this talk! It was in a way, and affirmation of things we instilled in our own family years ago and are still trying to do (and convince our children at times) every day.
How do we lead our children to deep conversion and to access our Savior’s Atonement? I love the prophet Nephi’s declaration of what his people did to fortify the youth of his day: “We talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, [and] we prophesy of Christ … that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.”4

How can we do this in our homes? Some of you have heard me tell how overwhelmed my husband, Mel, and I felt as the parents of four young children. As we faced the challenges of parenting and keeping up with the demands of life, we were desperate for help. We prayed and pleaded to know what to do. The answer that came was clear: “It is OK if the house is a mess and the children are still in their pajamas and some responsibilities are left undone. The only things that really need to be accomplished in the home are daily scripture study and prayer and weekly family home evening.”

Years ago during preparation for our first USAF deployment,  we prayed and pondered how we could ensure safety for my husband and safety and special care for those of us left at home. We came to the conclusion, and a firm testimony with each succeeding deployment, that if I wanted, and fully expected, the Lord to bless my husband and family, that I needed to give him no reason NOT TO bless us and keep us safe.  That meant doing all I was asked and making sure we were following the commandments regarding our home and family life-- family prayer, scripture study, and magnifying my callings in the Church.

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Joyful Burden of Discipleship

I used Elder Rasband's talk in FHE this week.  It was excellent!

Elder Rasband gave us a gentle reminder of what it means to sustain our leaders and to help ease their burdens. To be the Lord's hands to life and strengthen those around us.
"To sustain our leaders is a privilege; it comes coupled with a personal responsibility to share their burden and to be disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ
"We are the Lord's hands here upon the earth, with the mandate to serve and to lift His children.  He is dependent upon each of us..."
 I talked with the kids in FHE about the title and what it means to have a burden be joyful.  They are such good kids! My 11yr old readily explained how serving others and the Lord is something that makes you happy!
"Focusing on serving our brothers and sisters can guide us to male divine decisions in our daily lives and prepares us to value and love what the Lord loves.. When we are engaged in His work, we feel His Spirit with us. We grow in testimony, faith, trust, and love."

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Grateful in Any Circumstance

I hope that dispute my lack of blogging isn't keeping you from your reading. The schedule has some great talks over the last couple weeks.  I am especially "grateful" for Pres Uchtdorf's talk.

I love that he points out that real gratitude doesn't come in being grateful for the things we've been give or have received, but rather "seeing gratitude as a disposition, a way of life that stands independent of our current situation.... being thankful in our circumstances- whatever they may be."

He says,
"This type of gratitude transcends whatever is happening around us.  It surpasses disappointment, discouragement, and despair."

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Ensigns are here!

We received our Ensign and other church magazines today! Did you? 
We were also able to order one of each of our kids from the Distribution Center online.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Living Prophet

If there was ever a need for a living prophet, it is today.  I was in Gospel Principles on Sunday and they talked about this very subject. I am so grateful to know of the love my Father in a Heaven has for me, for the people of this time.  I know that because He has given us living prophets to teach us, lead us, and warn us.

Must admit that I was a little disappointed to hear Pres Monson say he wasn't going to be announcing any new temples this Conference.  It made me think of all the changes in the last few years, and that perhaps we're being allowed a chance to take a breath, digest what's happened and is happening, so that we may be prepared for more in the future.

"Although we are currently concentrating our efforts on completing the previously announced temples and will not be announcing any new temples in the immediate future, we will continue the process of determining needs and of finding locations for temples yet to come. Announcements will then be made in future general conferences. We are a temple-building and a temple-attending people."

His closing remarks were brief but full of so much counsel: read, re read, and ponder the conference talks, be kind and loving to those not of our faith, follow Christ's example.

"May heaven’s blessings be with each of us. May our homes be filled with love and courtesy and with the Spirit of the Lord. May we constantly nourish our testimonies of the gospel, that they will be a protection for us against the buffetings of the adversary. May the Spirit we have felt during these past two days be and abide with us as we go about those things which occupy us each day, and may we ever be found doing the work of the Lord."

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Christ the Redeemer/The Resurrection of Jesus Christ

I chose these talks for Easter weekend. It was a good reminder of the reason we celebrate Easter. 

 We had several opportunities to share with family and friends our traditions, or more especially the things we don't do and why. When our kids were small we would have a "spring egg hunt" on the Saturday before Easter Sunday. We never introduced the Easter Bunny or all the candy and baskets. That's not what we wanted our kids to remember about Easter. The reason we celebrate Easter is because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

Our family tradition begins with the observance of Passover. We don't celebrate it with the whole Seder dinner or prayers and rituals, but more of an acknowledgment and a reading of the story of Moses. We try to watch the movie "The Ten Commandments". Then we go through the scriptures of the last week of Christ's life, culminating with the resurrection and His visit to the American continent. Since our various trips to Jerusalem, we have actual photos to show the kids of the places in the scriptures and from the different events of the week. It's been a great tradition in our family and watching the kids each year come to understand the Atonement and learn to appreciate it more each year has been a joy!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Continually Holding Fast

This was a great talk!  I loved Elder Hamilton's reference to Lehi's dream of the people he saw along the path to the Tree of Life.
... the Book of Mormon prophet Lehi shared a vision with his family where he “saw numberless concourses of people, many of whom were pressing forward, that they might obtain the path which led unto the tree by which [he] stood.
“And … they did come forth, and commence in the path which led to the tree.
“And … there arose a mist of darkness; … insomuch that they who had commenced in the path did lose their way, that they wandered off and were lost.”
Lehi then saw a second group that was “pressing forward, and they came forth and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press forward through the mist of darkness, clinging to the rod of iron, even until they did come forth and partake of the fruit of the tree.” Unfortunately, “after they had partaken of the fruit of the tree they did cast their eyes about as if they were ashamed” because of those in “a great and spacious building” that “were in the attitude of mocking and pointing their fingers towards those who had come … and were partaking of the fruit.” These people then “fell away into forbidden paths and were lost.”2They were unable, or perhaps unwilling, to endure to the end.
There was, however, a third group that was not only successful in reaching the tree of life, but they afterward did not fall away. Of these, the scriptures say that they pressed “forward, continually holding fast to the rod of iron, until they came forth and fell down and partook of the fruit of the tree.”3 The rod of iron represented for this group of people the only safety and security that they could find, and they held fast continually; they refused to let go, even for something as simple as a Sunday afternoon ride in the country.
Elder Hamilton goes on to explain how we can be like that third group.
Continually holding fast to the rod means that whenever possible we attend our Sunday meetings: sacrament meeting, Sunday School, and priesthood or Relief Society meetings. Our children and youth attend their respective meetings in Primary, Young Men, and Young Women. We should never pick or choose which meetings we attend. We simply hold fast to the word of God by worshipping and attending our Sabbath meetings.Continually holding fast to the rod means that we strive to keep all of God’s commandments, to have daily personal and family prayer, and to study the scriptures daily.Continually holding fast is part of the doctrine of Christ as taught in the Book of Mormon. We exercise faith in Jesus Christ, repent of our sins, change our hearts, and then follow Him down into the waters of baptism and receive the confirming gift of the Holy Ghost, which serves as a guide and comforter. And then, as Nephi taught, we “press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ” until the very end of our lives.

It has always been impressed upon us as a family.  While living in Baltimore we were richly instructed by a spiritual giant of a Stake President.  He stressed to the members that we (even the Bishopric members) should attend all our meetings on Sunday.  It is a question asked of us in the temple recommend interview.  

It is easy I suppose to sit in the foyer of church and catch up with friends and family, to try and have a quick presidency meeting or to gather last minute preparations for our lessons during Sunday School. I've seen this in the many wards and branches we've attended through the years.  Its sad really.  There is so much to learn and share in Sunday School!

Sacrament Meeting for our family has been easy in some places to attend and in others a little more difficult depending on the ages and dispositions of our children.  But we've made sure that even during those difficult times, that our children know how important Sacrament Meeting is to us.  Even if we're sitting in the foyer so our disruptive children don't disrupt others, they know that just because we're sitting out doesn't mean we don't whisper and sit reverently.  And that training was so hard to do while they were young, but it has totally paid off!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Teaching with the Power and Authority of God

I've been searching and planning for a teaching class over the last couple of weeks (sorry for the delays in blogging) and this talk by Elder David M. McConkie has been a great resource and I've been putting stickies in my manual all week!

 What fun it's been to prepare this course. I loved this talk because it had all kinds of things that went with the "Teaching- No Greater Call" manual.

"The First Presidency has promised: 'The Holy Ghost will help you to know what to do. Your own testimony will grow, your conversion will be deepened, and you will be strengthened to meet the challenges of life.'"
I will especially use the two ways the gospel comes to men- by the word of the gospel and by the power of the gospel.

Elder McConkie reminds us of the sons of Mosiah and their very effective teaching methods in Alma 17:2-3.

And I have a couple stickies for the words by Elder Holland to missionaries where Elder McConkie replaces the terms missionaries and investigators with the terms teachers and students.

I will definitely use the following words of Elder McConkie:
"After you have prepared yourself and your lesson to the very best of your ability, you must be willing to let go. When the quiet promptings of the Holy Ghost come, you must have the courage to set aside your outlines and your notes and go where the promptings take you. When you do this, the lesson you deliver is no longer your lesson, but it becomes the Savior's lesson."
I did this in a lesson a few months back, not out of a prompting, but because for some strange reason, the lesson I had been preparing over the last month and reading everyday and going over and over even the night before, seemed to disappear Sunday morning and couldn't be found anywhere.  I left for church knowing that I was not supposed to use the lesson from the manual.  And it was a great lesson! Not the one I had prepared, but the one that needed to be given.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Drawing Closer to God

Drawing Closer to God

We had a lot of running here and there this week. And although I read two of the three talks I didn't find time to post until tonight.  I really enjoyed Elder Vinson's talk Drawing Close to God
There have been many times in my life when I've wondered "Why me?" or why the Lord didn't intervene instead of waiting for me to "move [my] carriage". 

Elder Vinson said, "In both of these instances, the weather could have been adjusted to eliminate the dangers. But here is the point—rather than solve the problem Himself, the Lord wants us to develop the faith that will help us rely upon Him in solving our problems and trust Him.Then we can feel His love more constantly, more powerfully, more clearly, and more personally. We become united with Him, and we can become like Him. For us to be like Him is His goal. In fact, it is His glory as well as His work."

It has been in those moments of "why" that I have gained a deep testimony of the reality of my Savior and have truly felt the love of my Heavenly Father.  I love this talk!!