"The more you trust and rely upon the Spirit,
the greater your capacity to create."

~Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas!

For all my friends, I wish you a very merry and BLESSED Christmas! As I head out to spend the holiday with dear friends, I leave you with this message - an excerpt from Henry B Eyring's "Home for Christmas":

Blessed with His Light

There is [a] glimpse of heaven that becomes easier to see at Christmastime. It is of light. Heavenly Father used light to announce the birth of His Son, our Savior (see Matthew 2; 3 Nephi 1). A new star was visible in both the Eastern and the Western Hemispheres. It led the Wise Men to the child in Bethlehem. Even wicked King Herod recognized the sign; he feared it because he was wicked. The Wise Men rejoiced because of the birth of the Christ, who is the Light and the Life of the World. Three days of light without darkness was the sign God gave to the descendants of Lehi, heralding the birth of His Son.

We remember at Christmastime not only the light that announced the birth of Christ into the world but also the light that comes from Him. Many witnesses have confirmed that light. Paul testified that he saw it on the road to Damascus:

“I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me.

“And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

“And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest” (Acts 26:13–15).

The boy Joseph Smith testified that he saw a marvelous light in a grove of trees in Palmyra, New York, at the beginning of the Restoration:

“Just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.

“It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!” (Joseph Smith—History 1:16–17).

Such light will be visible in our heavenly home. It will bring us joy then. Yet even in this life you have been blessed with a part of that wonderful experience, through the Light of Christ. Every person born into the world receives that light as a gift (see Moroni 7:16). Think of the times you have had an experience that makes you a witness that the Light of Christ is real and precious. You will recognize from this wonderfully assuring scripture that you have been guided by that light:

“And that which doth not edify is not of God, and is darkness.

“That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.

“And … I say it that you may know the truth, that you may chase darkness from among you” (D&C 50:23–25).

In a world that is being darkened by evil images and dishonest messages, you have been blessed to recognize more easily the flashes of light and truth. You have learned for yourself that light grows brighter as you receive it gladly. It will become brighter and brighter until the perfect day when we will be in the presence of the Source of the light.

That light is easier to discern at Christmastime, when we are more likely to pray to know what God would have us do and more likely to read in the scriptures and so more apt to be on the Lord’s errand. When we forgive and feel forgiveness, when we are lifting the hands that hang down (see D&C 81:5), we are being lifted ourselves as we move toward the Source of the light.

You remember that the Book of Mormon describes a glorious time when the Savior’s faithful disciples reflected His light for others to see (see 3 Nephi 19:24–25). We use lights to celebrate the Christmas season. Our worship of the Savior and our service for Him brings light into our lives and into the lives of those around us.

We can with confidence set a goal to make this Christmas brighter than the last and each year that follows brighter still. The trials of mortality may increase in intensity, yet for us, darkness need not increase if we focus our eyes more singly on the light that streams down on us as we follow the Master. He will lead us and help us along the path that leads upward to the home for which we yearn.

There have been times, often at Christmas, when we have felt parts of what we will experience when we at last come home to the Father who loves us and answers our prayers and to the Savior who has lighted our lives and lifted us up.

I testify that because of Him, you may have an assurance that you can go home not only at Christmastime but also to live forever with a family whom you love and who love each other.

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Second (Medical?) Opinion

This morning I had my annual exam and since my GYN has started her own practice, I had to fill out a whole new patient profile including some pretty personal questions about my history.

I thought it was funny how my doctor seemed to think it was strange that I am not currently "active" in an intimate way (apparently no one is expected to uphold any kind of standards these days) and she even went so far as to suggest I try some internet dating in order to find someone with whom I can have a relationship. I told her I'd been down that road and was scared off by all the weirdos!

Any way, I read on Rice Freeman-Zachery's website today about some other internet dating fiascos that seemed to echo my own experiences... I laughed my butt off because it's just so sad and so true! You can read about them here: http://voodoonotes.blogspot.com/2009/12/internet-dating.html

Monday, December 14, 2009

Second Base (A "girls only" kind of post)

Today was a milestone for me: my first mammogram. I have been putting this off for two years (much to the frustration of my GYN) because - let's face it - I was scared! I had heard so many horror stories of pain and "pancakes" - you ladies know what I'm talking about - and, as a full-figured kinda gal, I was really dreading the experience. Thanks to new digital equipment and the gentle Lucinda at the radiology lab, I would like to say that it was No. Big. Deal. And such a relief to finally have it done. Ladies, take care of your boobies - get your mammograms!!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Fuzzy Chicks


A few of you wondered what those fuzzy yellow things were in the middle of my stash... well, here they are - aren't they the cutest?

Simple Pleasures' Bag Sale!


Suggested Retail Price = $488
Actual amount I spent = $20

This weekend, my favorite local craft store Simple Pleasures had a fantabulous promotion - as much stuff from their clearance section as you could fit in your bag for $20. The ladies who checked me out said I may have had the biggest before-discount total... I am a good shopper and a VERY good packer to have gotten all of this into my bag =) Most of what you can see in this photo is about half of what it actually there - I tried to buy at least two of everything so I could share the bounty with my Mom <3

Friday, December 11, 2009

C-C-C-COLD!!

(This is not my photo... I found it online but I can't remember where!)

I love winter. I love snow and crisp, cold days. I love watching the seasons change and autumn brings such anticipation for the crystal-coated treat of winter.

This week, I hate winter. Mostly I hate what the extreme cold has put me through...

First, I was unable to make it to work on time one morning when my fuel line was frozen. Good advice: when sub-zero temperatures are in the forecast, add some HEET gas-line antifreeze and top off your tank - trust me, it's worth the $2 investment.

Second, when cold weather starts causing water mains to burst around town, do NOT drive through the standing water - it will coat your car's mechanical systems and freeze up in the cold weather. Another good piece of advice: don't use your parking brake in winter. My wheel wouldn't budge and I was stranded again... thank goodness it finally warmed up above freezing today and I was without a car for only one more day. (I'm immensely grateful for my wonderful home teacher and his lovely wife for coming to my rescue and taxiing me around!)

All of these things may sound like common sense to those of you who have spent your lives in cold climate areas but after living in California for 20 years, it never even occurred to me. By sharing my woes, I hope I can prevent some of you from making the same mistakes.

Aaaahh... a warmer, sunny weekend is ahead - for once I am turning my back on cold-hearted winter and embracing the sun!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

JOSEPH SMITH’S FEELINGS ABOUT HIS PROPHETIC MISSION

Time for another lesson summary from Relief Society this month...


“I have no desire but to do all men good.”


FROM THE LIFE OF JOSEPH SMITH

From the beginning of the Prophet Joseph Smith’s ministry, his life was often in peril. Though the Lord delivered him many times from his enemies, the Prophet knew that once he had completed his earthly mission, he could die.

The Prophet was well aware that he and all of the Saints living in Nauvoo were in an increasingly dangerous situation. As Nauvoo grew larger, some of the people who lived in the area began to fear the growing political and economic power of the Saints, and mobs began again to harass them. The Prophet was in particular danger, for authorities from Missouri made repeated efforts to capture him, and apostates from the Church became increasingly hostile in their efforts to destroy him.

In the sermons and writings of the last few years of the Prophet’s life, there is a sense of urgency in his words. Knowing that his time was short, he labored earnestly to teach the Saints the things that God had revealed to him and encouraged them to prepare to receive these truths. He also expressed his great love for the Saints, even declaring that he was willing to lay down his life for them.

It is remarkable that while the Prophet was enduring so much persecution and was pressured by the constant demands of the growing Church, he found time to show that he cared for each Church member as an individual. Many Saints in later years remembered the love and kindness the Prophet Joseph showed to them.

Aroet L. Hale recalled: “The Prophet … frequently used to come out of the Mansion [House] and play ball with us boys, his son Joseph being near my age. [The Prophet] Joseph would always conform to the rules. He would catch till it came his turn to take the club, then, being a very stout [strong] man, would knock the ball so far that we used to holler to the boy that was going for the ball to take his dinner. This used to make the Prophet laugh. Joseph was always good natured and full of fun.”

Margarette McIntire Burgess recalled another experience with the Prophet in Nauvoo: “My older brother and I were going to school, near to the building which was known as Joseph’s brick store. It had been raining the previous day, causing the ground to be very muddy, especially along that street. My brother Wallace and I both got fast in the mud, and could not get out, and of course, child-like, we began to cry, for we thought we would have to stay there. But looking up, I beheld the loving friend of children, the Prophet Joseph, coming to us. He soon had us on higher and drier ground. Then he stooped down and cleaned the mud from our little, heavy-laden shoes, took his handkerchief from his pocket and wiped our tear-stained faces. He spoke kind and cheering words to us, and sent us on our way to school rejoicing. Was it any wonder that I loved that great, good and noble man of God?”

Why do you think he was able to maintain such a cheerful, caring attitude?

What can we do to remain happy and loving during times of trial?
• Reach out to supportive friends/family
• Attend the temple
• Pray for guidance/comfort
• Fast
• Give service to others


PROPHETS TEACH WHAT GOD REVEALS TO THEM;
WE STRIVE TO UNDERSTAND AND GIVE HEED TO THEIR WORDS.

“There has been a great difficulty in getting anything into the heads of this generation. It has been like splitting hemlock knots with a corn-dodger [a piece of corn bread] for a wedge, and a pumpkin for a beetle [a wooden mallet]. Even the Saints are slow to understand.”

“I have tried for a number of years to get the minds of the Saints prepared to receive the things of God; but we frequently see some of them, after suffering all they have for the work of God, will fly to pieces like glass as soon as anything comes that is contrary to their traditions: they cannot stand the fire at all. How many will be able to abide a celestial law, and go through and receive their exaltation, I am unable to say, as many are called, but few are chosen [see D&C 121:40].”

What can interfere with our ability to receive more truth?

What can we do to be “prepared to receive the things of God”?
• Follow the commandments and teachings of Church leaders
• Pray for guidance/knowledge
• Be worthy
• Take the sacrament
• Attend the temple


ALTHOUGH PROPHETS ARE MEN WITH HUMAN FRAILTIES,
THEY ARE CALLED OF GOD TO TEACH AND LEAD HIS PEOPLE.

The Prophet’s journal for November 6, 1835, records: “I was this morning introduced to a man from the east. After hearing my name, he remarked that I was nothing but a man, indicating by this expression, that he had supposed that a person to whom the Lord should see fit to reveal His will, must be something more than a man. He seemed to have forgotten the saying that fell from the lips of St. James, that [Elijah] was a man subject to like passions as we are, yet he had such power with God, that He, in answer to his prayers, shut the heavens that they gave no rain for the space of three years and six months; and again, in answer to his prayer, the heavens gave forth rain, and the earth gave forth fruit [see James 5:17–18]. Indeed, such is the darkness and ignorance of this generation, that they look upon it as incredible that a man should have any [dealings] with his Maker.”

“When did I ever teach anything wrong from this stand? When was I ever confounded? I want to triumph in Israel before I depart hence and am no more seen. I never told you I was perfect; but there is no error in the revelations which I have taught. Must I, then, be thrown away as a thing of naught?”

“Although I do wrong, I do not the wrongs that I am charged with doing: the wrong that I do is through the frailty of human nature, like other men. No man lives without fault. Do you think that even Jesus, if He were here, would be without fault in your eyes? His enemies said all manner of evil against Him—they all watched for iniquity in Him.”

What counsel could you give someone who refuses to follow a Church leader because the leader has some kind of character flaw?
• Pray for patience/understanding
• Study the scriptures
• Speak to the leader directly
• Fast, ponder, and pray
• Remember the Church is perfect, but the people are not

Joseph Smith’s journal for October 29, 1842, records: “I … went over to the store [in Nauvoo, Illinois], where a number of brethren and sisters were assembled, who had arrived this morning from the neighborhood of New York. … I told them I was but a man, and they must not expect me to be perfect; if they expected perfection from me, I should expect it from them; but if they would bear with my infirmities and the infirmities of the brethren, I would likewise bear with their infirmities.”

How does this statement apply in all our relationships?


DESPITE OPPOSITION, PROPHETS FULFILL THE MISSIONS GIVEN TO THEM BY GOD.

“I speak boldly and faithfully and with authority. … I know what I say; I understand my mission and business. God Almighty is my shield; and what can man do if God is my friend? I shall not be sacrificed until my time comes; then I shall be offered freely. … I thank God for preserving me from my enemies; I have no enemies but for the truth’s sake. I have no desire but to do all men good. I feel to pray for all men.”

“I prophesy and bear record this morning that all the combined powers of earth and hell shall not and cannot ever overthrow or overcome this boy, for I have a promise from the eternal God. If I have sinned, I have sinned outwardly; but surely I have contemplated the things of God.”

“When men come out and build upon other men’s foundations, they do it on their own responsibility, without authority from God; and when the floods come and the winds blow, their foundations will be found to be sand, and their whole fabric will crumble to dust.”

“Did I build on any other man’s foundation? I have got all the truth which the Christian world possessed, and an independent revelation in the bargain, and God will bear me off triumphant.”

What experiences have you had in which God has helped you to fulfill your responsibilities in your family or in a Church calling?


PROPHETS LOVE THOSE THEY SERVE AND DESIRE TO LEAD THEM WELL,
EVEN IF DOING SO REQUIRES REPROVING THEM.

“… I can taste the principles of eternal life, and so can you. They are given to me by the revelations of Jesus Christ; and I know that when I tell you these words of eternal life as they are given to me, you taste them, and I know that you believe them. You say honey is sweet, and so do I. I can also taste the spirit of eternal life. I know that it is good; and when I tell you of these things which were given me by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, you are bound to receive them as sweet, and rejoice more and more. …”

When have you tasted the sweetness of the truth?

“I have intended my remarks for all, both rich and poor, bond and free, great and small. I have no enmity against any man. I love you all; but I hate some of your deeds. I am your best friend, and if persons miss their mark it is their own fault. If I reprove a man, and he hates me, he is a fool; for I love all men, especially these my brethren and sisters.”

How can we rejoice in the words of a prophet or other Church leader even when he reproves us for our misdeeds?


SUMMARY

“I will from time to time reveal to you the subjects that are revealed by the Holy Ghost to me. All the lies that are now hatched up against me are of the devil, and the influence of the devil and his servants will be used against the kingdom of God. The servants of God teach nothing but principles of eternal life, by their works ye shall know them. A good man will speak good things and holy principles, and an evil man evil things. I feel, in the name of the Lord, to rebuke all such bad principles, liars, etc., and I warn all of you to look out whom you are going after. I exhort you to give heed to all the virtue and the teachings which I have given you. …”
• The good feelings of the Spirit will reveal the truth to our hearts.

“I cannot lie down until all my work is finished. I never think any evil, nor do anything to the harm of my fellow-man. When I am called by the trump of the archangel and weighed in the balance, you will all know me then. I add no more. God bless you all.”
• If we wait until then to discover the truth, we will be too late!

How has this chapter influenced your testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith?
• I felt a very strong Spirit in reading this lesson; I am encouraged by the strength of his resolve to do what God expected of him.