Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Why are there shadows?


"As you walk through life, always walk toward the light, and the shadows of life will fall behind you. "
-Thomas S. Monson


Just this morning we were driving to school. The sun was lower in the sky, and the trees still full of leaves. The trees were casting many shadows across the street. My 6 year old son said, "Mom, why are there so many shadows?!" I simply said, "Because there is light. There has to be light for there to be a shadow."
After I said that, I started to think. We live in a world that has light, yet we also have many obstacles in life that give us shadows. There has to be both. 2 Nephi 2:11 "For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things."
But we CHOOSE to see life in the shadows or life in light.

Our attitude about those large trees that block our view of the light can be hard to change. We will always have those trees, or trials. Big or small, giant red woods, or small saplings. 

I love the quote up above, "walk toward the light, and the shadows of life will fall behind you."
If we walk in the light of Christ, the harsh worldly shadows, or trials in our lives fade away.

I love the mountains and I love to walk through the forest on a sunny day. There is a large difference of feeling when you walk in the shadows of great pine trees and then walk in the brilliant light of the sun. The sunshine on your face and body gives you peace, comfort and warmth, while the shadows bring a cold and lonely sensation. 

Back to Connor's question. "Why are there so many shadows?" 
Simply, because when there is light in the world, there is also darkness.

We live in a beautiful time. We have the gospel here on the earth. We have the scriptures in our hands, we have spiritual enlightenment all around us if we seek it. We also live in perilous times. There is much darkness and bitterness in our world. Living amongst both of these opposites gives us a choice. Who are you? Are you one who lives in the shadows? Or are you one who chooses to live in the light?

We can choose if we want to live in the light of the Gospel, or in the darkness of the world around us.
Everyday is filled with hundreds of choices. And your choices make you, YOU. If you want to live in the light, step into the light. If you want to walk and dwell in your shadows, you choose that, no one chooses that for you. Only you can make those choices. 

There is an undeniable peace and comfort from living in the light. Reading your scriptures, praying daily, serving others, smiling, searching to help lift burdens of loved ones, asking for continued guidance in life and receiving those answers.  
One of my most favorite scriptures is 

Don't we all want to chase the darkness from us? Well the answer is simple. Live in the LIGHT and CONTINUE in the LIGHT! Live the truths you know and darkness will fall behind you! What a beautiful promise!
There will always be obstacles, trees, boulders, hills and mountains that come along our path. But while we chop down the trees, climb those mountains and struggle over the boulders we can keep our focus on the light. Keep your perspective bright. For nothing is impossible through Christ.










Friday, May 18, 2018

Church Callings - What I'm meant to do

When you receive a church calling that is some what out of the blue, sometimes you question.. "Really?..... Me?..... Are you sure?"

Think of church callings as the way the WORLD thinks of life callings! 

When you speak to someone not of our faith, and they say, "It's my calling." 

What do they mean?

They mean, it is something they were MEANT TO DO! A divine assurance is deeply settled into their hearts and mind that this is truly where they belong RIGHT NOW, and their life has a new sense of great meaning.

Church callings are inspired. They fill the need in whatever capacity to which you are called, and you gain understanding that you are meant to have that calling in this particular time in your life.

It is where your Heavenly Father will guide and direct you. He will teach you through your calling as you seek His help and guidance. He will also bless others THROUGH you. You may be in that calling to specifically help those around you more than help yourself. Look at your calling through the eyes of the Lord. Who needs your spirit? Who needs your help? Who needs YOU?

_________________________________________

The Nursery Leader who is acting guardian over those children who are so fresh from Heavenly Father Himself. True joy and perfect innocence resides in that sacred room.

 The Primary Teacher who is instilling the beautiful simple sacred truths that plant the first seeds of a testimony that will last their students' entire lives.

The Youth Leader who is guiding the future generation of the church. Helping, planning, worrying, loving and teaching those who are soon to be left to rely on their own personal testimonies.

The Relief Society who blesses and uplifts those of ages 18-118 on their long, exhausting journey in life. Reminding them they are not alone, and that together we serve, we encourage, we laugh, we cry and we LOVE.

Every Priesthood holder who lifts, moves, runs, pushes, pulls, works, and plays with their personal families, the families who they are steward over, and neighbors. They build, teach, and bless, along with holding the sacred responsibility that has been trusted upon them.

The Family History Specialists who are searching day and night for those who have gone before us. The deceased who are begging to learn, to be released, and to continue on their spiritual journeys.

The Music Leaders and Pianists who understand that music is a sacred and mesmerizing way to bring the spirit into any meeting. With the inspired lyrics, the scriptures associated with the hymns, and the peaceful notes that resinate in any soul. 

_________________________________________

Whatever your calling, because yes I know there are TONS MORE; seek to find what the Lord wants you to learn. Find the CALLING in your heart to fill that position with the desire to do what you are MEANT to do. 

Embrace it, enjoy it and love it!




Sunday, May 6, 2018

Where are we? ..... Home.

About 15 minutes until church was to begin. Connor was squirming in the pew, past my reach, and being irreverent. He knows better. Connor is 5.5 years old and has attended church every week of those 5.5 years. 
 I took a deep breath bracing myself for a silent war with a five year old. Initiating silent reprimands...now. He was about four feet down the pew from me, and I gave him two good "mom glares" and I stiffly pointed to the empty space next to me. 

He gave me a mischievous side smile, and shook his head no. 

(I apologize for anyone spectating this scene, for they now hold obvious fear of ever crossing me, because my eyes could pierce any bystander's soul)  

I raised one eyebrow.....an honest/silent look of... "Excuse me????....No?" 

I resulted to my last silent, but most effective maneuver. 

I gave him a look out of the corner of my eye and brought by gaze to the front of the room, knowing I still held his attention. I gently placed my hand on my lap, and counted down using my fingers.... 3 fingers.... 2 fingers... 1 finger ...and he rushed next to me. 

I knew EXACTLY what he would do next. 
(He has used this tactic before. I have a great "mom war" memory)

He would sit down for 0.50 of a millisecond to appease my command, then go back down the pew to keep being disruptive where we would go through this whole scene again. 
(Only this time the glares I would give the next go round would have definitely have melted his insides.)

Knowing his sinister 5 year old plan which he has done before, I grabbed his small body the 0.25 of a millisecond onto the pew and hugged his body against mine. There was no escaping mom's death grip.

He squirmed and tugged against my arms for one second until he knew there was no escape. He calmed down and I fiercely whispered in his ear.
"Connor! You are not being reverent! Where are we?!"

"home."

Wait? What? My mind started swirling? He was supposed to say, "church" then I would go on with the conversation I had planned out in my mind..."yes... and how do we act in church?......"

But he didn't say that, he said, "home."

As my mind was in its stunned daze for three seconds, Connor said, "Mom, we are HOME, this is Jesus' house. We are His family. We. are. home."

There is no other word for the fact that I was beautifully shocked. 
Bless this sweet boy for listening to simple truths that you try to teach your children but you never think they soak in.

"Yes." I said, "We are home." 

He settled down, sat on my lap and wrapped his arms around my neck. I got instantly teary eyed before the meeting even started as I held one of God's children that has been entrusted to me while on earth.

Our church houses are one of the few places on earth we can feel a true sense of being HOME.
We need to constantly be seeking and striving to go "home" to our Heavenly Father.
We then sang for our opening hymn, one of my ALL TIME favorite hymns, "More Holiness Give Me." A line in that song says, "More longing for home." We need to be continually seeking HOME, and what we NEED TO DO to get back there.

No matter where we live, we can always find a sense of "home" in our church houses.  Our true divine heritage of belonging to our Savior should make us feel at "home." Our ward families, should give us a small sense of being "home." The scriptures, conference talks and prayers make us feel, at "home."

As you go through life, you might move many houses, or just a few, but those are merely houses, your true home is in Heaven. It's where we came from and it's where we will go when this time of testing and trial is finished.

I am so thankful my sweet boy taught me a beautiful principle that I was able to share during our testimony meeting today. 

We need to be longing for home and what we need to do to get back there. One thing we can do is go to church. Feel that peace and sense of belonging. This life is hard, but with the Savior at our side we can do it!

Some say, "I don't need to go to church, I never get anything out of it." or "I can study and learn more at my house than at church."

Wrong.

1. It's a COMMANDMENT

2. You learn what you seek. If you go with the attitude of "I won't get anything out of today", you won't learn a thing.

3. YOU BELONG THERE. Heavenly Father wants you there. It's His house. He wants you to feel welcome and wants you to make promises with Him there. 

4. It's a place where we can serve Him.

 When we go to church, we are home. We are with family and we are loved. It's a place of learning, praying, serving, understanding, and faith. We learn more together than we would ever learn by ourselves. When we go to church, we truly are going "home."


Wednesday, March 7, 2018

They LIVED....

June related a dream she had a few months ago to me and I wanted to share it! She loves telling me her dreams, good and bad.

She said she had a dream about two seals; one grey, and one pink, that loved each other.

They got separated.... but after yelling for each other they were reunited.

Then they had a fun wedding and got married.

She then said, "I'll just finish there because the rest was just them talking to each other and living their lives."

She then walked off to go get dressed, pleased with her dream.



I started thinking about the last thing she said, "I'll just finish there because the rest was just them talking to each other and living their lives."

That is EXACTLY what life is about. TALKING and LIVING your LIFE!
Your life isn't over after you are settled and happily married.
YOU LIVE LIFE TOGETHER!

I think many people think their lives need to be full of surprises, fun twists and excitement. But most full wonderful lives don't consist of daily surprises. If we always had surprises, they wouldn't be surprises anymore, they would turn into being normal.

I've been interviewed by one cousin and one niece while they were in college, asking what I thought were some of the most important qualities of a marriage.

The biggest thing I ALWAYS say is COMMUNICATION! One thing I learned quickly in our 9 years of marriage is that we are BOTH not mind readers!
If you have a problem big or small, SAY IT!

Lack of Communication in Marriage Example:

My poor husband would come home in our first years of marriage with me asking.... "notice anything different?"
He would look at me with panic in his eyes, knowing I wanted him to notice SOMETHING (big or small, that to me, was "IMPORTANT" and he needed to make a POSITIVE comment. I only wanted praise, no corrective opinions were welcome.) The poor man would start searching, though the house, looking EVERYWHERE for something I did differently. I would always be "put out" when he didn't notice my new hair TRIM, or a small picture I hung up in our living room. (Good heavens I was a pill!)

We talked about it one night when I was annoyed from his lack of sight, and after a good discussion, we both decided it would be best if I TOLD HIM what I wanted him to look at, and he would comment with appropriate praises. He could share his opinion with me on what I had accomplished and we could discuss them if we needed to. This way, he wouldn't come home to more stress after just returning from a stressful job. Good grief, we've come a long way, I'm so glad! Poor Josh. Thank you for sticking with me through that!

Women... most of our men have single tunneled vision. Give them a break and tell them what you have fixed, painted, or rearranged. They will gladly comment on it. And LET them comment on it, be braced for alternative options and decided together!

It's a WIN-WIN! You aren't grumbling about their lack of acknowledgment, and they aren't going crazy trying to please you when they clearly have NO IDEA what you have done.

I love this "Seal Dream" June had. She has a beautiful imagination and I'm glad she shared it with me. I spoke to her later telling her, that "talking and living your life" is a WONDERFUL thing, it isn't boring at all!

"Talking to each other and living your life" is a BEAUTIFUL way to say "day to day every things."

When we simply talk to each other we gain insight, understanding and love for one another. It happens in ALL relationships.

Talk together, cry together, laugh together and live a glorious life!





Monday, March 5, 2018

Climbing the Ladder - "I'm right here, keep going"

On Saturday evening my husband and I decided to clean out a "cellar" in our home that was located beneath our garage floor. The only access into this medium sized concrete room was through a square hole in the corner of our garage. There were no stairs; only a ladder could be lowered into the room to gain entry. We wondered why the builders of our home wanted a "bomb" shelter/ cellar/ storage area under their garage, but what not, it's ours to use now. So, we decided to sweep and clean it out to use as an extra storage room. Our two kids were very excited to see this underground room when we deemed the project done. To quicken the children's entry, my husband lowered our small children one by one down to me. As I set them onto the ground their eyes were filled with excitement to see what mom and dad had been doing for the past hour or so. They instantly started begging to use the space for a secret spy mission base. My husband and I gently refused their offer, by saying... "Sorry, but no." They were disappointed for two seconds, but got over it quickly. 

We noticed the hour and realized a while back daylight was fading. We still had one more project to finish as a family before the night was over, we needed to cut some wood. My husband urged our daughter to go up the ladder first so we could all follow her and get started on our last project. She was a little hesitant at first but with some gentle coaxing, and reassuring, she ascended the ladder. Our five year old son was not as easy to persuade to ascend the ladder. With the first shaky step he said, "I can't do this, it's scary." Even though he had been on small ladders before, this 8 foot ladder towered in front of our small child. My husband and I reassured him, "It's okay buddy, you can do this." He wen't up one step, "Mom are you there? Will you catch me? I'm scared." I quickly said, "Yes, Connor I am RIGHT HERE. I've got you." I placed my hand on his back for extra support. He slowly crept up another step and kept hesitating. I assured him again, "Keep going, I've got you, you're doing great!" Another foot up, "I'm still here.... keep going..." Three more steps to go.... "You've got it bud, I'm right here. He got nervous towards the top, my husband and I directed him where to put his hands and he emerged onto the garage floor. As I climbed up the ladder at a lightning fast pace compared to our son, I heard him say loudly in an exaggerating tone, "LAND! SWEET LAND!" As I climbed out I saw him pretending to kiss the garage floor. (I don't know where he gets his dramatic flair...) I giggled and sighed at my funny kids. After my husband emerged from the "cellar" we all reconvened and went out to start cutting wood.

Later, after everyone was cleaned from our dusty efforts of the evening and we tucked the kids in bed. As I climbed into bed my mind kept wandering to the two minutes of "ladder help" I gave to our children. I couldn't help but think this is EXACTLY how the Lord treats us on our earthly climb toward heaven. We are continually climbing through life and reaching certain steps along the way. 

Sometimes we shakily go through life, especially when trials come, we are afraid at what will change. Our whole perspective changes with each step. We look back at the past steps we have taken, and we glance up at the forward progression we have yet to accomplish. And still, there He is, touching our shoulder, saying, "It's okay, I'm right here." Sometimes our feet slip, sometimes we lose our grip, and sometimes we fall off the ladder completely. We are scared and taken back when something as sure as our own footing gets knocked off.  Or, we get crushed at the knowledge that we have to start all over again and go through the same steps that took us so long to tackle before. Yet, the Savior of our souls IS and ALWAYS will be there. He will be there to help us gain our footing, give us direction on where to place our hands and feet as we continue on life's upward slope. And for those who fall completely off the ladder, He is there to help you pick yourself up and start over. Motivating you with words of comfort, inspiration and love. He will continue to say, "It's okay.... I'm right here.... I've got you."

I can hear him say it now, "I've been where you are, I've been scared, I've been frightened, I've been so afraid that I didn't want to accomplish what I was sent here for. I have literally felt everything you are feeling right now. Please remember, I did all of this for you, and I'm here now to help you come back home."

Our Savior, Jesus Christ atoned for our sins, He made it possible to come back to Him. He will be there to help us correct our mistakes, and help us understand what we did wrong so we can have confidence as we continue to ascend through life. 

But we also need to understand WHEN TO ASK. We have to ASK for His help. My son asked, "Mom, are you there?" He asked for assistance and reassurance. It's the same with help from our Savior. The Savior himself said, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28) He is there, we just have to go to Him, ASK for His help when steps are shaky in life and He will fill us with strength and peace.

John 16:33
"These things I have spoken unto you, that IN ME ye might have PEACE. In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of GOOD CHEER; I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD."

Joshua 1:5
"...I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee."

Psalm 34:17-19
"17. The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of their troubles.
18. The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of contrite spirit.
19. Many are the afflictions of the righteous; but the Lord delivereth him out of them ALL."


Ladders and life.... oh, my... I don't know what I would do without my Savior. 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Little Red needed her Glasses

The kids and I have recently been reading old fairy tales and nursery rhymes. A few days ago when we came upon Little Red Riding Hood. While reading the story, we came to the part where Little Red was noticing the drastic changes in her grandma.

My kids asked plainly, "Why didn't she SEE the wolf?!" 

I simply said, "She must not have had her glasses on!" Ha ha. 

So in honor of this funny moment, I made this picture for my brother-in-law Carl. 
He's an optometrist, and thought he would get a kick out of it.

Don't forget to have your eye exam and to wear your glasses! 


Sunday, June 4, 2017

Seek for things of a BETTER

One of my most favorite recent scriptures I have studied is in 
Doctrine and Covenants 25:10. It says, 

"And verily I say into thee that thou shalt lay aside the things of this world, and seek for the things of a better."

I have enjoyed pondering this scripture over the past few weeks, and yesterday I overheard a general conference talk quote this scripture again. I thought after having it so close to my mind and then again hearing it from someone else, I needed to write my thoughts about it. Not just to the world, but to my children, for this blog is my "testimony journal."

If there is anything important to write down, I believe that your testimony is the most important thing to document for your children and future family.

The world is constantly changing. From ideals, morals, fashions, designs, and much more. But one of the few things that is always constant is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the strong stable rock, while the sandy world continually shifts around us. Anyone can get sucked up into "things of the world." Dwelling on things that make the world view you as important, or changing your ideals to please other people's changing emotions. 

Change can be wonderful, but it can also be a personal demise. Change to things of "a better" can bless your life and the lives around you. Continual self evaluation of who you want to be, and who the Lord wants you to be is something everyone needs to constantly check. 

"Knowing where you are going and how you expect to get there 
can bring meaning, purpose and accomplishment to life."
-M. Russell Ballard

"Our task is to become our best selves.
One of God's greatest gifts to us is the joy of trying again,
no failure ever need be final."
-Thomas S. Monson

Changing to the "things of the world" will leave you constantly adjusting your personality and life to please others instead of pleasing God. It's hard, especially in your school years to not worry about what others think of you. What clothes you wear, what brand of shoes you own, what extra curricular activities are "cooler" than others, how you speak and treat others etc. 
Who are they to judge what you do, and say who you should be?

One of my ALL time favorite quotes is,

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."
-Eleanor Roosevelt

You choose who you want to be! Not the world, not the people around you, YOU CHOOSE! It is one of our greatest blessings. We have the freedom to choose who we want to be! We are in TOTAL control of what we allow, and who we allow into our lives. 

Anyone can adjust their personality and take what they like and dislike to create who they want to be. I have learned from EVERYONE around me and have created who I am today. 

I learned from school, that I didn't want to make others feel bad about themselves by name calling. I hated being called names like "nerd," "weird," "dumb," etc. I kept a strong face during those years and acted like they didn't bother me, but deep down they hurt. I promised myself I would never cause those feelings of worthlessness in anyone by name calling. 

Someone opened the door for me at school, I felt good when I was simply placed before someone else in a small chivalrous act that rarely happens today. 

My Aunt Judy wrote me a birthday card in my middle school "awkward years" that changed my LIFE! She told me how special I was, how beautiful I was, and how sweet I was to others. She told me things that I didn't see as traits I possessed. She made me feel special when friends were few, and kind words from others were even fewer. I promised to always share compliments about others through cards, texts or emails. Any kind word spoken from the heart is never unnoticed.

"Perhaps you will forget tomorrow the kind words you say today, but the recipient will remember them for a lifetime."
-Thomas S. Monson

In more adult years I would be around others who would gossip or talk negatively about someone, even their close friends, I wondered what they said about me when I was absent? I decided then and there that I NEVER wanted to talk bad about ANYONE; I didn't understand their circumstances or life experiences to lead them to such decisions.

"There is really no way we can know the heart, the intentions or the circumstances of someone who might say or do something we find reason to criticize.
Thus the commandment.
"Judge Not."
-Thomas S. Monson 

I found at a young age that I decided who I wanted to be. I recognized I didn't want to make certain choices that people who were close to me were making. I saw the negative effects that came from those choices and knew I didn't want to go down that path. 

You choose who you want to be. Take the influences around you, good and bad and mold yourself like clay into the person YOU choose to be! 

True joy and happiness comes when you are working hard to align your goals and priorities with those that are in sync with the Lord's.
I pray we can always, "lay aside the things of this world, and seek for the things of a better," because there is too much beauty in this world around us to go unnoticed.