Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Book of Mormon Study - Mosiah 4

What a beautiful chapter!

The people have an interesting thing happen to them, that I never quite noticed before. In verse 2 they ask the Lord to "apply" to atoning blood of Christ. They believed. They had faith. But they knew it took more than just those two things. It took action.

It's like knowing that you can wash your hands at the sink. Standing there, with dirty hands, in front of the sink, believing with all your heart, won't get your hands clean. Something needs to happen- action. The water needs to be turned on, or "applied."

In the sink, we know it s simple turn of the knob and pump of the soap that does it.

But, with the Atonement it's a little more.

First, we do need to acknowledge that our spirits have become dirty through sin. Then, we need to stand before Him, knowing that He can make us clean. But, we can stand there, dirty spirits, in front of the Savior, believing with all our hearts, and be healed or cleansed. Something needs to happen- action. The Atonement needs to be "applied."

So, how does that happen?

They did three things: 1) They had humble hearts 2) They prayed to the Lord and gave Him their agency. 3) They received Him and followed Him.

They might sound like simple steps, but they might be the three hardest things to do for us carnally minded people.

That's why, in the last chapter, king Benjamin said that natural man is the enemy to God. I figure this is probably why.

Other principles that strike me are:
v. 9 - believe in God
v. 10 - repent and be humble (also mentioned in v. 9 when he mentions believing that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend)
v. 10 – ask for forgiveness with a sincere heart
v. 11 - REMEMBER the greatness of God and our nothingness… Humble ourselves… Pray daily… Be steadfast… Blessing: be filled with the Lord of God and gain knowledge.

What are the results of being born again?
• Have joy and rejoice (see vv.11–12).
• Are filled with the love of God (see v.12).
• Retain a remission of their sins (see v.12).
• Grow in their knowledge of God and truth (see v.12).
• Do not want to injure others (see v.13).
• Want to be fair to others (see v.13).
• Care for and teach their children (see vv.14–15).
• Help the needy (see vv.16, 26).

I have heard Mosiah 4:27 misquoted many times. After listing how we are to care for others, we are told to do it in wisdom an order. (We need to have a plan) The phrase not to run faster than he has strength is used many times as an excuse. The rest of the verse is never quoted: It is expedient that he should be diligent that thereby he may win the prize; therefore all things much be done in order. I would discuss what it means to be diligent: STEADY, EARNEST, ENERGETIC.

Culmination of what it means to be changed is in Mosiah 4:30, a SM, completely turning over our lives to Christ, all of our thoughts, words and deeds - the only things I can truly produce. The spirit and power of the address profoundly affected the people of King Benjamin. As a result, they made covenants with God and promised to keep them “all the remainder of [their] days” (Mosiah 5:5).

President George Q. Cannon: “Some people have an idea that because they have entered the waters of baptism and repented of their sins then that is an end of it. What a mistake! We need to have this spirit of repentance continually; we need to pray to God to show us our conduct every day. Every night before we retire to rest we should review the thoughts, words and acts of the day and then repent of everything we have done that is wrong or that has grieved the Holy Spirit. Live this way every day and endeavor to progress every day. We may indulge in many things that are not right, indulge in wrong thoughts, be actuated by wrong motives, may have wrong objects in view. . . .

“Therefore, we need to repent every day and every hour, every one of us” (Gospel Truth: Discourses and Writings of President George Q. Cannon, ed. Jerreld L. Newquist, 2 vols. [1957], 1:164).

What did you learn?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Book of Mormon Study - Mosiah 3

What a beautiful chapter about the Savior- and it was written over 100 years before the Savior came.

King Benjamin made it very clear a number of times: Salvation ONLY comes through Jesus Christ, and FAITH in Him. It's so beautifully written.

Mosiah 3:5 Christ, who reigns “from all eternity to all eternity,” would “come down from heaven among the children of men, and ... dwell in a tabernacle of clay.”   Omnipotent (v. 5)—All powerful; Tabernacle of clay (v. 5)—Physical body

Mosiah 3:5–6 Christ would work “mighty miracles,” such as raising the dead and healing all manner of disability and disease, and casting out the evil spirits that “dwell in the hearts of the children of men.”

Mosiah 3:7 He would suffer temptations, hunger, thirst, fatigue, and “pain of body,” more than a man can suffer “except it be unto death.”

Mosiah 3:7 Blood would come from every pore, so great would be His anguish over the wickedness of mankind.

Mosiah 3:8 He would be called “Jesus Christ, the Son of God (literally!), the Father of heaven and earth (Father of my salvation because He has adopted me at the waters of baptism through my diligence), the Creator of all things from the beginning (under the direction of and following the blue prints of our Father in Heaven.”

Mosiah 3:8 His mother would be called Mary.

Mosiah 3:9 His own people would reject Him, considering Him only “a man.” They would accuse Him of having an evil spirit and would scourge and crucify Him.

Mosiah 3:10 He would rise from the dead on the third day.

Mosiah 3:10 He would judge the world with “righteous judgment.”

Mosiah 3:11 His blood would atone for those who sin in ignorance.

Mosiah 3:12 Repentance is required of all who sin knowingly.

Mosiah 3:15 Many “signs, and wonders, and types, and shadows” would be given to the house of Israel, including the law of Moses, pointing the people toward Christ’s coming. Still they would harden their hearts and fail to understand that the law of Moses “availeth nothing except it were through the atonement of [Christ’s] blood.”

Mosiah 3:17 There would be “no other name given nor any other way nor means” by which salvation could come. It comes only in and through “the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.”

Not much I can add to this. It's perfect.

What did you think/learn today?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Book of Mormon Study - Mosiah 2

A few things I found interesting today: Verse 4: They appointed a just man to be their teacher and their king. We need to appoint just men as our leaders and teachers. I guess this is one reason to be aware and even somewhat politically active. We need to be choosing just men as representative in government, education, and judgment.

More importantly, they understood that obedience and education (vs. 2 - and including learning and knowing the scriptures (vs.3-7) were keys to peace and, more importantly, the love of God. That's why they rejoiced. Not because they had riches, or worldly goods- but because they had love.

We read about the love of God in 1 Nephi 8 and 1 Nephi 11. It is the beginning and end of all that is good, of faith, of joy and of purpose. It is the love of God that brought us here, and will bring us home, if we let it.

They recognized that, and were grateful for it.

And of course, I love verse 6: And they pitched their tents round the temple, every man having his tent with the door thereof towards the temple, that thereby they might remain in their tents and hear the words which king Benjamin should speak unto them;

They faced the temple- I often do a self-assessment, and check which direction am I facing? Do I have my intentions, my eyes, my ears and my heart faced towards God? Or am I focusing somewhere else? Am I keeping myself in the safety of my home (and His home, the temple) or do I allow myself to wander about in treacherous territory? Am I eager to hear the words of the Lord through His prophets?

Verse 6 also got me thinking about family responsibility. It was in families that they gathered. It is in the family that the majority of gospel learning takes place. It is in the family we learn to love the scriptures. It is in families that we learn to work and to serve. It is in families that we learn to get along and to treat all people with love and dignity. It is even families that we learn from modern day prophets in General conference.

I love that he encourages us to “open your ears that ye may hear, and your hearts that ye may understand, and your minds that the mysteries of God may be unfolded to your view.” What a great reminder as I study conference and look forward to the spring General conference.

I am so impressed with king Benjamin's humility. Despite his station, he truly felt he was no better that those who followed him. He continually served and loved them.

Service is a main theme here. It seems service is clearly the best way for us to express our gratitude for all that God does and has done and will do for us. I found Service 14 times in this chapter. I’m pretty confident King Benjamin wants us to serve others and to do it because it’s the right thing to do.

President Marion G. Romney: “We lose our life by serving and lifting others. By so doing we experience the only true and lasting happiness. Service is not something we endure on this earth so we can earn the right to live in the celestial kingdom. Service is the very fiber of which an exalted life in the celestial kingdom is made.

Knowing that service is what gives our Father in Heaven fulfillment, and knowing that we want to be where He is and as He is, why must we be commanded to serve one another? Oh, for the glorious day when these things all come naturally because of the purity of our hearts. In that day there will be no need for a commandment because we will have experienced for ourselves that we are truly happy only when we are engaged in unselfish service. Let us use the freedom which comes from self-reliance in giving and serving” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1982, 135; or Ensign, Nov. 1982, 93).

He also taught strongly that we need to express gratitude to our Father in Heaven in all things.

President Joseph F. Smith: “I believe that one of the greatest sins of which the inhabitants of the earth are guilty today is the sin of ingratitude. . . . God is not pleased with the inhabitants of the earth but is angry with them because they will not acknowledge his hand in all things [see D&C 59:21]” (Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed. [1939], 270–71).

Here's the bottom line, found in verse 22: And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments...

In the verses following 22 king Benjamin goes on to explain who we are like the dust of the earth. I was once asked, "How are we supposed to feel special when we are told we are like dirt?"

Well- we're not. But that's not what King Benjamin was saying.

It wasn’t until recently, when I was really trying to write down my feelings about the Savior. At that moment I had a clear picture of what King Benjamin meant. I understood that I was lost, that I was nothing without Him, and that knowledge made my gratitude and love for Him swell. I knew that I must be worth everything for Him to do what He did for me. He made something out of nothing with me.

There is so much more in this chapter about the Holy Ghost, obedience, service, repentance, etc. But the underlying message is this, again shared in verse 41: ...blessed and happy are those that keep the commandments.

What did you think/learn today?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Book of Mormon Study - Conference Talk

Today I read the talk, Dare to Stand Alone by President Thomas S. Monson.

I very much needed this talk.  Today was a stand alone day, until I wrote my thoughts and had some people comment and realised many people stand with me.  I am not alone.  Today was a stand alone day as Chad grumped at me until god, in His mercy, allowed our favorite missionary to call and Chad's intire mood changed.  God bless that missionary for his  friendsship and his influence on my son.

I loved that President Monson reminded me that, "My strength is as the strenth of ten, because my heart is pure."  Well... I'm working on having a pure heart.

I am grateful for his reminder that "those who hold the iron rod until they come forth and partake of the tree of life." are the true winners here.

As I look at how hard it is to live and to parent and to teach these days, I love that President Monson reminded me that "God has held you in reserve to make your appearance in the final days... because we represent some of His strongest children."  He knows I can do this.

I am grateful for modern prohpets and for the right talk on the right day.

Some People should Keep their Thoughts to Themselves

It's been a little chilly the last couple of days.  I only live a couple of houses from the church, but I decided to drive the three houses in case the weather decided to blow, snow, hail, rain or all of the above, like it did yesterday, when it was time to go home.  Besides, I don't really have a coat.  What I have are sweatshirts.  Some how a sweat shirt doesn't seem good enough for church.

I came rushing into the back hallway and was met by two elderly ladies coming in from the opposite door.

"Where is you coat?" my friend Max asked.

"I don't have one.  I'm ok."

The other woman scoffed.  "Come on.  That can't be true."

It is true.  Every coat I've purchased for myself has been claimed by other family members.  I don't really mind.  They need a coat too.  Besides, it's been years since I've been able to find a coat that will zip up.  My gut is too big.  Besides, that old sweat shirt has been ok.

Then she started in... "I remember hearing you say that if God wanted you to lose weight you would because it would melt away.  I just want you to know that is not true.  It takes work.  You have to get out and exercise.  You have to lay off the pasta and the bread.  You have to stay away from cookies, cakes, and the like.  It takes will power.  I have about 30 books you could read.  I know a lot about nutrition.  My daughter is a professor at BYU and teaches nutrition.  My other daughter is a nurse.  I know it all.  I know how to be healthy.  That's what you need."

I felt cornered.  I couldn't get away from her.  She just kept going all the way down the hall.

Finally, I couldn't take it anymore.

"You've got it all wrong.  I work.  I work out nearly every day.  I don't eat pasta.  I don't eat bread.  I don't eat cookies and cakes, and desserts.  I am allergic to wheat... not gluten intolerant but actually allergic.  I am allergic to milk and all milk products.  I'm allergic to soy products and even shell fish.  I eat veggies... lots and lots of veggies.  It all gets old, but this is what my life is.  I don't go to RS socials or ward parties because I'm tired of explaining why I can't eat what they are serving.  I don't go out to eat much because it's hard to tell what on the menu I can eat.  You don't have to tell me that it takes work.  I work.  But some times work is not enough.  It is what it is."

She walked into the chapel, but not before she threw in a quick quip about how she was sure that if I did what she said I'd loose weight.

By now I was on the verge of tears.

I told Hannah to be sure to save a bench.  I went back to the car, cried for a good 10 minutes.  Gathered my wits about me and went back into the building.

There are times I don't want to try anymore, but I'm a wimp and I don't like how I feel when I eat something I am allergic to.  I don't like the hives.  I don't like the arthritic feeling.  I don't like the swelling.  I don't like the raspy hard to breathe feeling.  I don't like that hands itch and that my skin feels on fire.  So I eat like a rabbit.  Ok, a carnivorous rabbit.

I don't like exercise.  I don't like sweat.  But I do it anyway... although some days are more successful than others.  I'd rather feel strong.  I'd rather feel like I'm not dying when I work in my garden or play with my kids.  Heck.  I'd like be able to sleep better... so I go to Curves; I go on walks; I do yoga.

I still feel sad.  I kept telling myself, "Consider the source.  She doesn't know everything.  Heck, her understanding of the gospel and the scriptures is far different than mine.  It doesn't matter what she thinks or says."

But telling myself that doesn't change how judged I feel.  It doesn't change that I feel people see the outside and completely miss the heart.  It doesn't change how bad it hurt to feel attacked like that.... at church where you are supposed to feel safe and loved and accepted no matter your size, color, wealth, or IQ.

Sundays are hard because I have one defiant family member I wish real hard would come.  Sometimes they are hard because I head off to Primary and sit in the corner for two hours at the piano.  I don't really talk to people.  I'm just filling a spot.  Some Sundays are hard because my heart is heavy with deep thoughts.  Today was one of those Sundays.  It's heavier now... a lot like my waist line.

About all I learned today is that some people should keep their thoughts to themselves... too bad I don't follow that because now you all know what I think.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Book of Mormon Study - Mosiah 1

First of all, I'm glad I'm not the only one to feel like parenting sucks the life out of me. "And it came to pass that after king Benjamin had made an end of teaching his sons, that he waxed old, and he saw that he must very soon go the way of all the earth;" LOL

This morning I took a child to a court mandated class. Said child is very angry with me that I requested the class. No kind words were issued this morning. Sometimes parenting seems so lonely. I can’t tell you how reassuring reading this chapter was this morning.

Seriously, though, I was moved by how much King Benjamin loved the scriptures, and how important he felt they were. The same promises are extended to us today.

Prior to addressing his people, Benjamin gathered his sons together and taught them by way of personal testimony about prophets and prophecy, scripture and obedience. He also taught them to love the Lord, and “many more things” which are not recorded in the Book of Mormon (see Mosiah 1:18). This sacred responsibility to teach our families first and foremost lies on the shoulders of every parent, regardless of what teaching responsibility he or she has in the Church or community. The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve have declared: Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness... [they] will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations’ (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” _Ensign_, Nov. 1995, 102)”

Knowing he would soon die, King Benjamin asked his sons to make a proclamation to the people. The people were to gather as families at the temple, with their tent doors facing the temple, so they could hear the words King Benjamin knew were important for them to hear (see Mosiah 1:10-14; 2:16). Because the crowd was so large that they would not all be able to hear, King Benjamin made plans so his words could be written and carried to the entire multitude (see Mosiah 2:7-8). Good parents prepare their surroundings, so that the Spirit of the Lord can dwell in their homes, and so that each and every person can benefit from the spirit in the home.

I thinking Benjamin is an example to his sons of gospel living. He labored in service side by side with them, and he had been supported by the hand of God. Parents can bring life and energy to every message and every teaching moment by sharing personal experiences, but more importantly by practicing what they preach.

It is hard to have a gospel centered home some days. Some days I feel succeed and some days I feel like fail. I love the next chapters were King Benjamin teaches of Christ’s suffering and the atonement, the role of justice and mercy, and the need to make covenants.

What did you think/learn today?

Friday, February 24, 2012

book of Mormon study - Words of Mormon

Two verses stuck out to me:

7 And I do this for a wise purpose; for thus it whispereth me, according to the workings of the Spirit of the Lord which is in me. And now, I do not know all things; but the Lord knoweth all things which are to come; wherefore, he worketh in me to do according to his will.

I have had a couple opportunities the past to be put into people's paths, seemingly by happenstance. But, it turns out afterwards that it was by design, for the benefit of them.   It seems that often times angels are placed in my path when I most need it.

It's neat to see, after the fact, the way the Lord knows us, and our needs, and meets them through each other.

I also loved:

18 Wherefore, with the help of these, king Benjamin, by laboring with all the might of his body and the faculty of his whole soul, and also the prophets, did once more establish peace in the land.

He didn't try with part of his soul, or even most- but with the faculty of his whole soul. Why should I think He expects any less from me?

Best pull up the boot straps and roll up the sleeves.

What did you think/learn today?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Book of Mormon Study - Omni

Omni is a cool book. It's where the three different major groups of people tie together. It brings clarity to the expanse of the scriptures, and the beautiful choreography of the Lord's will for this nation and His people.

Looking back in my life it's easy to see that same thing: This thing happened because that thing happened, which only happened because this other thing happened. All of which happened because of the Lord's influence in my life.

I also love the words in the end of the chapter, exhorting us to come unto Christ. If I had only one page to write as my last testimony, it would sound much like this.

To fully come unto Christ, we must be willing to offer Him all that we are and all that we have.

President Ezra Taft Benson: “Yes, brothers and sisters, the mission of the Church is glorious—to invite all of us to come unto Christ” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1988, 98; or Ensign, May 1988, 85).

I wish every person that has ever questioned if I am a Christian could understand that Christ is the center of all that I believe and hope to live like.

What did you think/learn today?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Book of Mormon Study - Jarom

There's the time for preaching and talking.

Then there's time for action.

Jarom was a man of action.

He says in the first few verses that he won't record any prophecies, etc. It had all been said. Jarom did not record the prophecies and revelations he had received because he said that previous writings already revealed the plan of salvation in sufficient detail. I can see his point. These past couple chapters have been so inspiring. Already my little Book of Mormon is fat with notes.

Jarom speaks of the continuing spiritual apostasy among many of his people (v3).

He also speaks of many who have revelations and keep the commandments.

In Jarom's day there was a growing, diverse society. People with many practices and beliefs.

It might have been much like our day where there are many righteous, but also many who are stiff necked and refuse to obey the teachings of the Lord.

Here is a list of things I found in this chapter that seperates the righteous from the wicked:

1) Accept God’s mercy.
2) Have faith
3) Listen to the Spirit
4) Observe to keep the commandments
5) Keep the Sabbath Day holy
6) Choose leaders who were mighty men of faith and taught righteousness
7) Fortified themselves against the enemy
8) Were diligent and long-suffering in teaching the law of God and persuading them for believe in Christ

1) Hard hearts – unwillingly to feel
2) Deaf ears – choosing to ignore god’s word, whether from His prophets or from the scriptures or from the Spirit
3) Blind eye – refusing to see the hand of the Lord in life all around them
4) Stiff necks- refusing to turn to the Light
5) Use profane language
6) Blaspheme
7) Scattered – not unified
8) Loves murder – hello, look at the crime everywhere… video games, movies, music lyrics, news, war
9) anger

To "prick their hearts with the word" meant that the priests and teachers kept the people stirred up to repentance. Think about a time when your heart has been pricked by the words of a prophet or another Church leader or teacher to get your life in order or continue in good works.

To be learned is good, but to be actively engaged in a good cause, better.

Faith is a verb. To find ourselves on the “righteous” list we must act on what we know… we must act in faith. I think Jarom is a great example of this.

What did you think/learn today?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Salad Days 319, 320, 321, 322, 323, 324, 325, and 326

Tuesday, February 14 I enjoyed a Roasted Veggie Salad for lunch.  I am surprised that I like those Spanish olives as much as I do.  It must be the salty flavor I like.
Wednesday, February 15, I ate leftover salmon from our Valentine's Day dinner and Warm Mushroom Salad.  Tat was yummy!  I used mixed salad greens, sauteed mushrooms, shallots, garlic, chives, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, sugar and black pepper.  yummy!

Thursday, February 16, I made Roasted Shanghai Pepper Salad and added Korean Beef Strips to the mix.  I roasted yellow and red peppers, rice vinegar, a little soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, garlic, cilantro, on a bed of salad greens.  I made beef strips with a Korean flare.  It was pretty good.

Friday, February 17, I made a Thai Beef salad.  Truthfully, two days of beef made me feel sick.  This salad was spinach, beef cooked in Thai peanut sauce, and tomatoes.  It tasted yummy, but it wasn't my smartest move since my tummy hurt the first couple days of "Do Nothing" vacation.

Saturday, February 18, I ate a Thai cucumber salad at a noodle place.  I also had Green Curry and rice.  I had to eat light.  My tummy was still not doing very well.

Sunday, February 19, I had a Mexican salad for lunch.  John and I got a mix from the store.  It was a complete kit... lettuce, tortilla strips, and a Mexican dressing.  It was ok.

Monday, February 20, I went to DQ with the kids.  I got them ice cream and burgers.  I got myself a grilled chicken salad with Honey Mustard dressing.  Still tasty and still feels like I'm cheating a little.
Tuesday, February 21, I made a Marinated antipasto salad.  I think it's a big bummer that my salads never look as pretty as the pictures of the salads in the recipe books.  This one included olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, sugar, salt, black pepper, cherry tomatoes, artichoke hearts, feta cheese instead of mozzarella balls, kalamata olives and fresh basil.  It was pretty good... especially when I teamed it up with Cranberry Chicken.  However, I have to wonder about this family of my.  No one ever eats what I make for dinner.  Today, for example, John is at work and then at a School Board meeting until late... McKay and Hannah went to a basketball game... Chad went to Kimber and Ray's house, but he wouldn't eat it anyway... and Lilli refused what I made and ate a can of chili instead.  Maybe I won't cook tomorrow.  We will have plenty of leftovers.  I am tired of wasting food!

The "Do Nothing" vacation

This past weekend John and I enjoyed a “Do Nothing” vacation. It has been a very long time since we’ve had the opportunity to do nothing. Usually our days are filled with work, children, plays, school work, lessons to teach, seminary, house and yard work, school board stuff, church, animals, technology, friends, home teaching and visit teaching, and on and on and on…

Back in December, I arranged for the two of us to ditch the kids and to spend a couple days on the coast at a friends coast house. I arranged for Lillian to spend time with her friend Leah (who lives in Waldport). I arranged for Chad to hang out with Jon Jessop and Kimber and Ray. I arranged for Hannah to have a movie party with friends and then to hang out with McKay. I arranged for John to hang out with ME!

We stayed in Waldport at my friend Amanda’s house. It was a cute little place. We made food at “home” and only ate out 2 times. We sat around and watched movies and TV. We went for a small drive and watched the stormy waves crash on the rocks at Yachats. I crocheted. John read. It was nice.

We did nothing.

Through the experience I learned a couple of great tips for your own “Do Nothing” vacation:

Tip 1: Choose your destination wisely

Pick a destination that’s lovely and special… and mostly leave the kids at home.  :) It also helps to choose a place that doesn’t have too many attractions… such as the coast in the winter and it’s really too stormy to be out and about.

Tip 2: No technology allowed

Leave all tech that allows access to work at home. Laptops are indisputably wonderful little entertainment boxes, but most of us also have work-related or work-accessible content on our laptops and that is do-nothing vacation sacrilege. We did bring our phones, but we only answered for the kids. We didn’t do Facebook. We didn’t blog. We didn’t work.

Tip 3: Dress for a do-nothing outing

Don’t bring fancy clothes. If you bring fancy clothes, you’ll want to wear the fancy clothes, which means you’ll want to go somewhere fancy, which means a lot of fancy prep time and fancy behavior and fancy etiquette and this is already sounding like far too much effort. I took pj’s, sweats, and comfy clothes. In fact, we didn’t get dressed most of the day. Come to think of it, I didn’t even put on a bra. LOL.

Tip 4: Words to watch out for

Whenever anyone utters the following words/phrases, they need to put a dollar into their companion’s next “Do Nothing” fund:

• ‘What time is it?’

• ‘Overslept’

• ‘Pants’

• ‘Should’

• ‘‘Work’

• ‘Work out’ (there are a surprisingly large amount of infomercials for exercise programs on tv).

• ‘Too much’

• ‘Too late’

• ‘‘Too fattening’

So that is it. We are now back to life. There is not the option to “Do Nothing”.

It was good to ignore dishes, and laundry, and kids fighting and dogs barking. We will have to do it all again… and maybe sooner than later.

And if you plan it right... the kids will have fun too.

Book of Mormon Study- Enos

There is so much in this chapter! But the theme that hit me the most today was parenthood.

We learn in the first verse that Jacob's effect on his son Enos was great. Enos may not have agreed with his father or followed him in his younger years, but what he did know what that his dad was a just man. He knew his dad was a teacher, and he often spoke to his son of the things pertaining to the gospel- even if Enos didn't always seem like he was listening or believing.

He knew his dad followed the example of the Lord in the way that he nurtured and admonished him.

He remembered the words his father spoke of, particularly about eternal life, and the joy of the saints.

And so, Enos, as an older young man, was alone in the woods when all of what he knew about his father sunk deep into his heart. This pricked his heart to repentance.

How different would Enos' story been different if he dad never taught him? Or if he wasn't trustworthy, or loving or anything other than who and what Jacob was?

I don't know- but it is clear that Jacob had a tremendous impact in his son.

That makes me feel better when we am trying to teach a Family Home Evening lesson and the kids are joking around, or when it's time for prayer and they grumble, or read scriptures and they complain.  I know that it is very frustrating for John as well.   I know that even if they don't always agree, or even believe what I do, that they will know that I love God, that I want eternal life, that I have a testimony and that is where I find my joy.  I really can't ask for more... can I?

Just a few verses later Enos shows his relationship with his Heavenly Father. He came to Him and sincerely repented. He was forgiven, and because Enos knew his Father could not lie, his guilt was swept away. What a sweet and tender relationship they must have had, too.

I want that for my kids.

I want to be able to nurture and admonish my children in the Lord. To me that means to parent with love, patience and eternal intentions. Sometimes I lose patience and lose sight of the eternal perspective. I know that's something I need to work on, and this chapter has helped motivate me even more.

I also love the intense words Enos uses to describe the intensity of his faith and his desire to be forgiven? “wrestle” [v. 2]; “sunk deep into my heart” [v. 3]; (pondered)

“my soul hungered” [v. 4]; “cried unto him in mighty prayer” [v. 4].) It takes work. It takes work to understand God’s will. It takes work to obtain forgiveness.

Elder Sterling W. Sill: “A young man came to Socrates one time and said, ‘Mr. Socrates, I have come 1,600 miles to talk to you about wisdom and learning.’ He said, ‘You are a man of wisdom and learning, . . . and I would like to have you teach me how to be a man of wisdom and learning.’ Socrates said, ‘Come follow me,’ and he led the way down to the seashore. They waded out into the water up to their waists, and then Socrates turned on his friend and held his head under the water. His friend struggled and kicked and bucked and tried to get away, but Socrates held him down. . . . And after this man had stopped struggling, Socrates laid him out on the bank to dry, and he went back to the market place.

“After the young man had dried out a little bit, he came back to Socrates to find the reason for this rather unusual behavior. Socrates said to him, ‘When your head was under the water what was the one thing you wanted more than anything else?’ And the man said, ‘More than anything else, I wanted air.’ Socrates said, ‘All right, when you want wisdom and learning like you wanted air, you won’t have to ask anybody to give it to you.’” (“The Five Fingers of Leadership Success,” in Brigham Young University Speeches of the Year [9 Feb. 1965], 9).

Faith and desire move us to action.

Prophet Joseph Smith: “Faith . . . is the moving cause of all action” ([1985], 1–2).

Actions lead to results.

What did you think/learn today?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Book of Mormon Study - Jacob 7

Flattery is an interesting word. It reminds me of politics. I don’t like politics. Maybe flattery is to blame. Flattery is to use excessive praise to manipulate someone.

God doesn’t need to manipulate anyone. The doctrine of Christ - Faith, repentance, Baptism, enduring to the end – is pure. It is real.

Sherem is bold. He accuses the prophet of leading the apostasy.

Ye have [1] led away much of this people that they pervert the right way of God, and keep not the law of Moses which is the right way; and convert the law of Moses into the worship of a being which ye say shall come many hundred years hence. And now behold, I, Sherem, declare unto you that this is Blasphemy - serious charge punishable by death.  [2] blasphemy; for no man knoweth of such things; for he False Prophecy  [3] cannot tell of things to come. (Jacob 7:7)

Holy Cow! That is bold!

But he’s good. He is hard to resist. How do you avoid and combat such a skilled player?

Jacob gives us the clues.

Vs. 8-9 - The Lord was with him.

Vs. 9–12 - he relies on and the scriptures, prophets, and the Holy Ghost.

This puts the burden of proof back on Sherem. This is the key to combat deception.

ELDER EZRA TAFT BENSON: “May I suggest three short tests to avoid being deceived. . . .

“1. What do the standard works have to say about it? . . .

“2. The second guide is: what do the latter-day Presidents of the Church have to say on the subject—particularly the living President? . . .

“3. The third and final test is the Holy Ghost. . . . This test can only be fully effective if one’s channels of communication with God are clean and virtuous and uncluttered with sin” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1963, 16–17).

Love that!

What did you learn?

Book of Mormon Study - Jacob 6

I’m sorry I didn’t post this Friday… I went on “vacation”. I will explain more in a later post.

I can hear the anguish in Jacob's voice as he pleads with his family, and us, to repent and follow the Savior.

Sometimes I wonder how numb they had to have been to be reminded so often. I mean, how hard is it, really, to make good choices?

But, then I am always reminded that everyone is in need of repentance. And everyone struggles to make the right choices- just some more than others. Pride, hurt, anger, resentment, desires, expectations, etc- all stand in the way of people and repentance. And I don't know if there isn't anyone who hasn't felt these things.

O be wise. What more can he say?

What more can anyone say?

That's good advice- even if it is really hard.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Taxes are out of control!

Sometimes it doesn't pay....

It doesn't pay to "volunteer"...

It doesn't pay to help a friend...

It doesn't pay to be nice...

In fact, YOU pay...

Today John did our taxes.  I was paid a small amount ($1700) last year for helping at the HS.  I worked around 22 hours a week.  The works out to being around 792 hours of work for that $1700.  I worked for $2.15 an hour.  Granted, I worked because I like the work.  I love to create in the theater.  I want to see education become better for everyone.  What I don't like is the fact that I got to pay $450 in taxes on that $1700.  My hourly wage dropped to $1.58 an hour.  Now, when you factor in the money I spent on using my cell phone minutes on help lines, and the baby-sitting I paid to care for Lilli and the other little people at my house, I made a $-.62 an hour.

Holy cow!

No wonder on one truly volunteers.  No wonder small little business fail.  No wonder so many expect to get the world on a platter for nothing.  Our government is giving it to them!  What's more, the government is really giving it to the masses on the back of those who are willing to work and to make a difference.

It isn't worth it to watch a friend's kid for the meager $2.50 an hour.  After the taxes, the food that was eaten, the toys, furniture, and property destroyed, the arrangements for extra help when I can't be home, etc., once again, I come out of this in the negative.  Once again, I have the privilege of "paying" to be generous.

At the moment, it really isn't worth it.

The government wants to "control" so much that they have nearly made it impossible to even help the truly needy.

I think it's time to clean house!  Washington needs a make-over!  Or we will all be sorry.

Sorry for my little rant.  I'm just a little mad at the moment.

Book of Mormon Study - Jacob 5

I love the imagery in the Parable of the Olive Tree. The Allegory of the Olive Tree depicts the gathering, scattering and final gathering of Israel.
What is an allegory? An allegory is a story with more than one level of meaning. It uses symbolic representations to stand for moral or spiritual ideas, which generally have far more significant meaning than appears on the surface of the allegory.

Jacob 5 could be called the Parable of the Over Sensitive Master of the Vineyard and it records 4 visits of the master of the vineyard. Each of the parts of the allegory has a meaning.

Here are some of the symbols in this story:

(1) Tame olive tree – The house of Israel
(2) Wild olive tree – The Gentiles
(3) Branches – Groups of people
(4) Roots of tame tree – The gospel
(5) The fruit – Works of men
(6) The vineyard – the world
(7) The master of the vineyard – Jesus Christ
(8) The servant – The Lord’s prophets
(9) Digging & pruning – The Lord’s work with people
(10) Planting the branches – Scattering into the world
(11) Grafting – Joining to the gospel
(12) Decaying branches – Wickedness and apostasy
(13) Cast in fire – The judgments of God
(14) Olive oil must be pure—a wild olive tree cannot produce olives suitable for making pure, usable olive oil.

The first part of the story (vs. 3-14) is referring to the time prior to Christ.

The second period of time (vs. 15-28) is Christ’s time.

The next period of time (29-49) would be during the Dark Ages.

The final period of time (vs. 50-77) is The Gathering – clear into the Millennium.

This allegory shows God’s love for us—his patience and Christ’s pleading for us. Joseph Fielding Smith said:

“Today Latter-day Saints are going to all parts of the world as servants in the vineyard to gather this fruit and lay it in store for the time of the coming of the Master. This parable is one of the most enlightening and interesting in the Book of Mormon. How can any person read it without feeling the inspiration of this ancient prophet? There is not a greater parable in the Bible or anywhere else, and yet we read it through and fail to grasp the meaning of it. Now in that parable the olive tree is the House of Israel. In its native land it began to die. So the Lord took branches like the Nephites, like the lost tribes, and like others that the Lord led off that we do not know anything about, to other parts of the earth. He planted them all over his vineyard, which is the world. No doubt he sent some of these branches into Japan, into Korea, into China. No question about it, because he sent them to all parts of the world.”

What touched me as I read these verses today was how much the Lord loves his Olive Tree- us. He planned, worked, pruned and nourished- all so that He could save the tree. He stated more than once, "It grievest me that I may lose this tree."

Saving Israel isn't a casual undertaking. The Lord put his best servant (Joseph Smith) to work in the field. Then, in verse 15, He says, "Let US go down..." He worked in the vineyard with His own hands.

The Lord, our Savior, loves Israel- the blessed nation. He loves us so much that He came down, in the flesh, to live among us, teach us, be an example to us, and ultimately sacrifice Himself for us.

I never realized that was in this chapter!

As I read, the tender love the Savior had for me become apparent. The work, the planning, the sorrow and the He experiences as He goes about His work and His glory is real.

The grief of the Lord regarding the possibility of losing his olive tree. Three times, in verses 41, 47 and 49, the Lord weeps and says, "What could I have done more for my vineyard?"

The Lord must look on us today and think: We have been given a Savior, prophets, scriptures, the Holy Ghost, the Priesthood, Ordinances, the Temple and more. What more can He do?


It is up to us. In verse 48, his servant tells the Lord that our branches are too big for our roots.

'It seems that some (latter-day Saints) among us have this same problem; they want to harvest - both spiritual and temporal- without developing the root system that will yield them. There are far too few who are willing to pay the price in discipline and work, to cultivate hardy roots....Let us cultivate deep roots, so that we may secure the desired fruits of our labor." Spencer W. Kimball.

It's important in verse 48 that the servant says "..they grew faster that the strength of the roots, taking strength unto themselves" We've been warned about fearing the arm of flesh more that God, men leaning unto their own understanding, and pride. The sad thing is that the main cause of apostasy is pride. Why do we never learn? pride… or an “I” problem always gets in the way.

The Lord has done all He can do. He has given all He can give. He has prepared the way for us to grow and be successful.

What did you learn?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Book of Mormon Study - Jacob 4

Jacob chapter 4 has Jacob telling us about the scriptures and the power they have... what they do for us...

A few things are made very clear in this chapter:

1. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are three separate beings.
2. They kept the Law of Moses- which was brought by Lehi and his family from Jerusalem years before.
3. It is great faith and the Priesthood that gave/give prophets their power.
4. We can only know of spiritual things (the mysteries of God) through spiritual ways (revelation)
5. God knows all, so don't tell him what to do, listen as He guides you.
6. Have faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement.
7. The Spirit cannot lie.
8. God witnessed to prophets throughout time his truths and mysteries.
9. Elder Neal A. Maxwell, said of Jacob 4:14, “The mark is Christ” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1976, 39; or Ensign, May 1976, 26). “Looking beyond the mark” (Jacob 4:14) means that the Jews were looking for something other than Jesus Christ to save them. Jacob prophesied that the Jews would reject the Messiah, the “stone upon which they might build and have safe foundation” (v. 15). He then referred to scriptures that say He would still become their “only sure foundation” (v. 16; see Psalm 118:22; Matthew 21:42). If we do not build on Jesus Christ, we will not receive the promised eternal joy with Him.

What a great chapter! Every verse was full of important doctrine that clarifies truth. I love how Jacob takes something so great, and touches on each point, without overwhelming us.

I guess I've been on a spiritual high these past few weeks- perhaps even longer. Reading the Book of Mormon every day has strengthened my testimony, and my foundation of knowledge. I am amazed at how often I will be talking to someone or teaching a class, and a question comes up that can be answered by something I just read. It's amazing!

What did you think/learn today?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Salad Days 311, 312, 313, 314, 315, 316, 317, and 318

Monday, February 6, I made Chinese Chicken Salad.  It's quick and easy salad... a Chinese cabbage, Chinese chicken salad dressing from the salad dressing section of the store, canned chicken, chopped green onions, smashed ramen noodles, and peanuts.  It is one of my favorites because it is that easy.  On Tuesday, February 7, Hannah helped me make a Zucchini Salad.  She sliced zucchini, sweet onions, orange bell peppers, and mixed it with a dressing of cider vinegar, water, olive oil, sugar, salt, black pepper, marjoram, on a bed of salad greens and sunflower seeds.  It was very yummy!
Wednesday, February 8, I finished of the leftovers.  For breakfast I had the leftover Chinese Chicken Salad.  For lunch I had the Zucchini Salad.  I can't stand to see things wasted, but I must say that salad really doesn't make very good leftovers.
Thursday, February 9, I made a Antipasti Focaccia Salad.  Ok... I illuminated the bread.... but I got the idea and the flavors.  For the dressing I mixed olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, basil, oregano, salt and red pepper flakes.  For the salad I used tomatoes,water chestnuts, salad greens, hard salami, feta cheese and some kind of Spanish olives I've never tried before.
Friday, February 10, I had a warm spinach salad.  Must say, not my favorite so I won't mention what I did.  Saturday, February 11, I made a side salad to go with my Nachos.  Sunday, February 12, I had a Chef Salad complete with salad greens, hard boiled egg, salami, tomatoes, and Ranch Dressing.
Monday, February 13 was busy.  I got a salad from DQ.  I know, it's not the best choice, but it works.

Book of Mormon Study - Jacob 3

I love the first two verses of this chapter- probably because they are so uplifting.

I try hard to count myself as one that is pure in heart, so I apply what Jacob has to say to me.

These are the things I must do:

• Look unto God with firmness in mind.

• Pray unto Him with exceeding faith.

• Lift up my head and receive the word of God.

• Keep my mind firm forever.

If I do these things:

• God will console me in my afflictions.

• He will plead my cause.

• He will send down justice upon those who seek my destruction.

• I may feast upon His love- forever.

I love the simplicity and beauty of it.

Chapter 3 talks about how the Nephites think they have more knowledge than the Lamanites. That darn pride thing gets in the way.

The racial prejudice problem is linked to the immoral concern Jacob has. Jacob gives a prophecy here. “If you continue in this immoral behavior, the time will come when it will cause God to remove the righteous and then let the Lamanites destroy the rest of you!”

V3 is very interesting as well... Jacob uses the word “filthy” to describe the Nephite’s sexual immorality. Yet... vs. 5 ... the Nephites look down upon the Lamanites because of their darker skin and living conditions and consider THEM filthy. Yes, the Lamanites were dirty, unkempt, and lived in caves and tents... so perhaps they were culturally unclean. But in Jacob’s eyes and in the eyes of God, which filthiness is worse?

Vs. 6-7 The Lord says, “I’m going to preserve the Lamanites because they keep this commandment!” “This observance” and “this commandment” is referring to the fact that the Lamanites were not being sexually immoral.

They were heeding the commandment for husbands to be true and faithful to their wives; their families loved each other; they did not commit sexual sins.

Jacob disputes their problems and says that the hatred they learned is due to their having been taught it by their fathers.

Vs. 8-9 There is a great lesson here for our latter-days. America and western Europe are considered in the eyes of the world to be very clean nations (they use deodorant, mouthwash, etc.) But, for instance, looks at the Arab culture. They don’t do things quite the same way we do. Do we judge and revile them for their “darkness and filthiness?” Sadly, many of us do.

But in the eyes of God which people is filthier? God would say, “YOU (America and western Europe) are filthier than the others in My eyes, because at least they are family oriented and are committed to their families, morally clean, and trying to be true to that commandment!”

V 9 suggests how to overcome the prejudice problem... “Rather than focusing on the mote in eyes of the Lamanites, start focusing on beam in your own eye, you Nephites! And remember that their filthiness came because of the actions of their fathers... YOURS didn’t!”

Vs. 10 There is another warning in this verse. “The things you hate in them can also be passed down to your own children through your own filthiness. Be careful that YOUR filthiness doesn’t do terrible damage to YOUR children and their sins will then be on your heads! So stay virtuous and clean, if for no other reason than for the impact your looseness may have on your children!”

What did you learn?

Book of Mormon Study - Jacob 2

So I read Chapter 2 and wrote my blog yesterday… then my computer crashed. GRRRR! Hopefully, I remembered everything I wanted to say.

There is so much to learn in this chapter! I’m not even sure where to begin. Jacob loves plainness, just like Nephi did. What amazing men they must have been.

Jacob is talking to his people in Jacob 2. These are good people, but they are just beginning to fall into the trap of materialism and wanting to seek more earnestly after the things of the world. Jacob is more concerned about the immorality problem than the materialism and pride problems, but again, he starts to deal with the easier problem ... the materialism problem.

I think it is interesting that Jacob takes the first little bit of the chapter to make sure the people knew a few things:

1. He is called of God and has the authority - Priesthood- to say what he is going to say.
2. He is diligent in His calling and commitment to serve God.
3. He loves and cares for them.
4. He hurts for them.

He sets up an environment of love and testimony. He wanted to make sure his family knew (because these were his siblings, nephews and nieces) that his intentions were pure and he was following God's commands, even though it was hard.

I think about that in terms of parenting. I have been called as a parent, and in that respect, been given authority over my children. I need to keep in mind that the calling isn't for me (even though I learn so much and love them so much) but it's to teach and raise them so they can be happy. I need to be diligent in my calling and my commitment to serve God. I love and care for them. And rejoice with them, and I hurt for them.

And sometimes, I have to redirect them and/or allow them to suffer the natural consequences of their choices. Those aren't easy things to do because we can add injury to and already open wound. But, as we read here, it is sometimes what is needed to bring them back to righteousness.

I think sometimes we want to protect our children from all pain and discomfort, but that is not what is best for them. We don't tell them they are on the wrong path, or let them suffer some natural consequences.

I need to remind myself of that, and be prayerful and diligent in my calling as a parent, even though it can be really difficult at times.

I found several “Test” questions within chapter Jacob 2 that will help me live the gospel better and help me teach those principles to my family members:

Vs. 12 “…begun to search for gold, and for silver, and for all manner of precious ores, in the which this land…”

“AM I SEARCHING FOR WEALTH or am I searching for trust?” If the answer is yes to the wealth, then that may not be a positive sign, for there are other things we should be seeking instead.

Doctrine & Covenants 6:7 “ 7 Seek not for riches but for wisdom, and behold, the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto you, and then shall you be made rich. Behold, he that hath eternal life is rich.

It’s okay to seek to establish Zion and sometimes we need material things in order to do that. The Lord entreats us to seek wisdom and to build up God’s kingdom... but do not seek for riches.

Vs. 13 Most of us would agree that we’ve been blessed abundantly. What is one of the first signs that materialism is starting to get to me? Jacob emphasizes that in their day it was clothing. It might be said of us in our day, too. Do WE emphasize clothes too much? Are we concerned that they must cost a lot in order to be worthy of our wearing them? Are we concerned about the label, the name brands? Clothing is a big issue in America, but what is the #1 symbol of wealth in America? It’s probably the cars... What kind of car do you drive... how much did it cost? The #2 symbol of wealth is probably our homes.

There are two important phrases Jacob uses in v13: “more abundantly” and “better than they”. I ask myself, “DO I FEEL THAT I AM BETTER THAN SOMEONE ELSE BECAUSE I HAVE MORE OF SOMETHING?”


VERY RAPIDLY? Good question! The economy of the day should prove that “things” do disappear rapidly. And every once in a while the Lord shows us just how quickly it can go. The stock market, tornadoes, floods, ill health... all are reminders of how quickly it can all disappear. So don’t put too much “stock” in it..., don’t’ equate riches with happiness!


We tend to read v18 this way: “Before you go seeking to get money and riches, get your testimony first!” I think we should be reading this by priority! ALWAYS seek first the kingdom of God. Ask the question: AM I SEEKING THE KINGDOM OF GOD ALWAYS FIRST IN MY LIFE?

Vs 19 reminds me to ask Do I have sufficient hope in Christ?

Vs 20 – do I remember that all that I have is a gift from God?

Vs 21- do I believe that each person is equally precious in God’s sight? And Do I understand that my purpose is to obey God with exactness?

Pres. Benson said: "Most of us consider pride to be a sin of those on the top, such as the rich and the learned, looking down at the rest of us. . . There is, however, a far more common ailment among us - and that is pride from the bottom looking up?

Pride is a very misunderstood sin, and many are sinning in ignorance. . . In the scriptures, there is no such thing as righteous pride - it is always considered a sin.

Disobedience is essentially a prideful power struggle against someone in authority over us.

The proud do not receive counsel or direction easily.

Contention in our families drives the Spirit of the Lord away.

Defensiveness is used by the proud to justify and rationalize their frailties and failures.

The proud stand more in fear of men's judgment than of God's judgment

The antidote for pride is humility - meekness, submissiveness . . . It is the broken heart and the contrite spirit.

God will have a humble people. Either we can choose to be humble, or we can be compelled to be humble. Alma said, "Blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humble." (Alma 32:16) Let us choose to be humble. . . we can do it, I know we can."

The second big sin Jacob warns the people of is immorality. Immorality has a particularly destructive power in the family. No wonder he said they Lamanites were better off.

It is our responsibility to be sure that our families are taught and warned of these dangers of pride and immorality.

What did you learn?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Book of Mormon Study - Conference Talk

Today I read President Henry B. Eyring's talk Preparation in the Priesthood: I Need Your Help.

I loved how he reminded me that we have been prepared for all of this before we were born.  The trick really is to remember what we learned before.

God calls the weak and the simple and then strengthens them for the work.  As  a parent, I couldn't feel anymore weak and simple.  Most days I don't feel like He is really making me stronger.  I still feel weak as a parent, making mistake after and mistake and failing miserably at teaching my children the gospel and persuading them to follow Christ.  I guess that is where faith and hope comes into play.  Something and someone else will have to step in and make up the difference.

Still, I strive to "be an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit in faith, in purity."  The key word being strive.  Sadly, I fall short of always setting that example of being a believer most days... but I give it my best shot and I feel that i am getting better and better each day as I try.

I loved the question, "Is there something more I can do...?"  Most days I'm too tired to ask it... but I know that I should try harder to end my day by asking this question daily.  "God will magnify [my] strength and [my] wisdom."

What did you read?  What did you learn?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Book of Mormon Study - Jacob 1

I will be so excited when we get a more detailed record of the people.

When Jacob received the responsibility of record keeping, fifty-five years had passed away since Lehi left Jerusalem (see Jacob 1:1). By this time Lehi’s posterity likely included his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren. His descendants by this time may have numbered in the hundreds or even over a thousand. Not only had the people grown in number but also in wealth (see v. 16) and, unfortunately, wickedness (see v. 15). Later on, Jacob describes himself as “weighed down” (Jacob 2:3), and writes “it grieveth my soul” (v. 6) and “it burdeneth my soul” (v. 9) to have to call the people to repentance.

I identify with this.

He understood that if he “did not teach them the word of God with all diligence,” he would be partly to blame for their sins (Jacob 1:19). For this reason Jacob taught that we should center our lives in Jesus Christ.

Every time I read this chapter, there are a few words that stick out in verse four":...for Christ's sake..." We often focus on what He did for us, for our sakes; but how often do we think of doing something for His sake?

Also, the pattern for callings is found in the end of this chapter: He is called by authority, set apart, he accepted the responsibility and labored with all diligence and might. What a great example to follow.

I think it goes a little further than official callings. We are born with the light of Christ and are responsible to act according to the light we have [see Moroni 7:15–17]. When a prophet teaches a principle and we have an opportunity to hear and understand, we are responsible to live that principle as well.

What did you think/learn today?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Book of Mormon Study - 2 Nephi 33

In 2 Nephi 33, Nephi taught one more thing to help understand how the Holy Ghost works, and it will also give us a fourth way to help us walk that path....

Two points that I loved.

1- It isn't man that teaches, it's the power of the Holy Ghost.

2- If you believe in Christ, you should believe the things that Nephi wrote.

Plain and simple. Nephi loves plainness (v 6). I love Nephi.

He starts this chapter in such humility. “I, Nephi, cannot write all the things… neither am I mighty in writing…” I feel this way too! When I teach, stuff just comes to mind and I say it. When I write, it never seems to come out. When I write, I just can’t seem to find the right words to express what my soul has learned. At least I know that if I try to write it down, eventually I will be able to succeed in communicating what I truly feel in my heart. Like Nephi, I hope that the Holy Ghost will carry the truths I attempt to record to the hearts of the reader, particularly my children and grandchildren. I too, find the notes in my scriptures and my scriptures journals of great worth and I pray that my loved ones will see their value too. I too, pray continually for them and I often cry because of the choices they make, they blindness afflicting their souls. And although I am weak and have fallen short in teaching them gospel principles, I hope my notes will someday uplift, persuade, and encourage them to follow Christ.

We must study the scriptures. By reading the holy scriptures while under the influence of the Holy Ghost, the words which are written will be made strong in our hearts. The written word will 1) persuade to do good, 2) make our fathers known unto us, 3) speak to us of Jesus Christ, 4) help us to believe in Him, and 5) speak harshly against sin.

We were reminded again that “endure to the end,” in v4 does not mean until we die, but rather, endure until we have become perfected!

What did you think/learn today?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Book of Mormon Study - 2 Nephi 32

Love this chapter! I think I say that all the time! LOL! But how can I not?

A couple things that caught my eye today.

Nephi ended the last chapter by talking about enduring to the end. I don't know how many classes I've had throughout my life that talk about what that means. Here we learn that that is not a new endeavor. People throughout time have follows the very tangible and physical steps of obedience, then sought for clarification on just what exactly they do next.

He spells it out here: Ask God, through prayer, to direct your path. Listen to Him through the gift of the Holy Ghost, which you received after baptism. Then, use the gifts of the Holy Ghost, keep the covenants you have made, and do the things which you are prompted to do by Him.

Feast on the Holy Ghost! Feast upon the things he is going tell you! Yes, it’s THAT easy! It’s not intuition you will be given, but rather the Spirit. And he will always tell you the right way to apply the principles which the Savior would have you follow Him in.

Often people wonder (especially women) if they are doing all they can or should be doing. We have a tendency to focus on our weakness and shortcomings, our mistakes and trials. We second guess our ability to hear the Spirit, and we often don't follow the promptings we receive.

God knew we would do this.

That's why, in verse 9, we are reminded to pray always, that we won't faint. Constant prayer affects our actions and our very thoughts. It will help keep us focused on the things of eternity- especially if we don't "perform anything unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father..."

It doesn't say that when we do that we will for sure be told exactly what to where, what to say, how to walk and talk, what to do and who to do it for every single time. No- the Lord wants/expects us to use the minds that He gave us. But, he hopes/expects that we will use them to make choices that allow us to keep His commandments and follow the promptings that we have received. He needs us to acknowledge Him in all things, with a heart full of gratitude, and to be open to His promptings at all times. Or is that WE need it?

IF we pray unto Him in all that we do, and IF our intentions are pure and righteous, He will consecrate our performance for our benefit.

Do you realize what that means!!?!?!?

That means that if we try our best (which is what he asks) that even our mistakes (no purposeful, wicked choices, but honest to goodness mistakes and shortfalls despite our best efforts) will be consecrated to make us better.


That is a fantastic and beautiful concept!

The key is the always include the Lord in our doings, pray continually, and be worth of, listen to and follow the Holy Ghost. We will be lifted up and betterfied (I just made that word up) even when our actions fall short of our intentions.

Concerning prayer, C. S. Lewis said that the slightest disturbance gives us a good enough cause to quit! But, in order to be able to apply all the principles the Lord would have us apply, we must be praying first. We should changed the third step from “endure to the end” to “pray to that you will get the Holy Ghost who will tell you what to do.” Just a thought.

I also love the personal accountability Nephi puts on all of us. In verse 4 he says, "Wherefore, now after I have spoken these words, if ye cannot understand them it will be because ye ask not, neither do ye knock..."

He basically says that if we don't get it, it's because we haven't asked, or knocked or even searched.

Asking is a cognitive and verbal thing. It takes no more that a desire, thought, sentence or even a simple look to ask. We ask for understanding when we pray.

Knocking is a physical activity. It's not something we say, it's something we do. After we ask, we need to do. We need to follow the promptings we receive. And- if by some reason, we don't receive inspiration on a certain subject, perhaps God is waiting to see if we can figure it out on our own. In those cases, look at the situation in the light the Plan of Salvation, the principles of the Gospel, the example and characteristics of the Savior, and make the choice YOU THINK God would have you do.

Then, even if it might not be exactly what He would have you do, because your intentions are pure, and you've prayed (asked) unto Him, and you've acted (knocked) on the choice you believe to be righteous, He will still consecrate the experience for you betterment.

It's the most beautiful safety net I can imagine!

Oh yeah- the other thing I thought was amazing was in verse 3 when Nephi records that "Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost..." I'm sure there is so much more to the actual process of heavenly visitations than we realize. Columns of light, burning bushes, Angels announcing, visions and even visitations from Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father themselves. All transcending our coarse, mortal existence by the power of the Holy Ghost and the Priesthood. Someday I hope to learn just how it happens. Until then, I will just gawk at the magnificence of it all.

What did you think/learn today?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Book of Mormon Study - 2 Nephi 31

Nephi tells why Christ was baptized—Men must follow Christ, be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end to be saved—Repentance and baptism are the gate to the strait and narrow path—Eternal life comes to those who keep the commandments after baptism. About 559–545 B.C.

I love this chapter! It clarifies the doctrine: faith, repentance, baptism by immersion, the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. When we learn that the Book of Mormon contains and clarifies the gospel- that's what it means! It's all there!

But- aside from the beautiful obvious: there are a few things that really stuck out to me this time.

Verse 3: For the Lord God giveth light unto the understanding; for he speaketh unto men according to their language, unto their understanding."

It really dawned on the as I read this passage this morning that we are all so different. The gospel and the Atonement are the same, unchanging- but the way that we are taught about it is as different as we are. God does it that way to ensure the best possible understanding on our parts. He wants each of us to see things as clearly as possible, but we each get there differently. Kind of like a room full of people looking at the same thing, but each person has different prescription-glasses to allow them to see what the other person is. The strength of their prescriptions are as different as they are, but they all allow them to see the same thing clearly.

That opened up a whole new door of understanding and empathy for me today. Different people have different ways of learning and need a certain level of assistance to see the gospel clearly. Like the level of an eyeglass prescription. Sometimes that prescription calls for very simple plain language, or trials, or adversity, or miracles, or mistakes. But, each person is so different- and so are their prescriptions.

God knows that. He knows each and every one of us, and He teaches us - and allows us to learn- according to our own language and needs. I know it sounds obvious, but hit just really hit me hard this morning. Our trials and afflictions, our faith and our testimonies, aren't what set us apart- they are the great equalizers that allow us to stand together and see the Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, the Atonement, the gospel, and ourselves clearly. I love it!

When it comes right down to it, all we really have to do is one thing. (Nephi makes it so simple, but sometimes we don't want simple!). This one thing we see over and over and over again in the scriptures. (And whenever you see a phrase repeated often in the scriptures, the Lord is saying, "Sit up and take notice! This is important!") The one thing we must do to sit at His table is... FOLLOW HIM! Five separate times Nephi will exhort us to follow Christ (see v10, 12, 13, 16, and 17).

1) The very first thing we must do is follow Jesus' example of making a covenant of obedience to the Father through baptism. But these verses give us another very, very important clue... "HE HUMBLETH HIMSELF" before the Father and showed He was willing to obey all of the commandments given Him. Jesus' whole life is His fulfilling that covenant... the ultimate obedience being just before the last week of His life.

2) The second thing we must do is receive the Holy Ghost, which follows baptism. In Nephi's mind, that's all you need to know: "Just make the covenant of obedience and get the Holy Ghost!" This gift of the Holy Ghost was really important to Nephi. Why must we have the Holy Ghost? Because even Jesus had the gift of the Holy Ghost!

3) We must have real intent. I REALLY intend to follow Him. I REALLY intend to MAKE the covenant of obedience with Him, and I REALLY intend to KEEP that covenant! We take the sacrament each week to emphasize that covenant and our intent upon keeping it.

4) The third and last thing I must do is endure. What am I going to endure in? I'm going to endure to end of the path.

Another image that blew my mind this morning was how Nephi received his spiritual education. We know that he had visions, and even saw angels appear; but in verse 14, almost nonchalantly, Nephi tells us that he was taught directly from the Savior: But, behold, my beloved brethren, thus came the voice of the Son unto me..." How amazing is that! That Nephi was taught directly by the Savior!

And if that's not amazing enough, in verse 15 he goes on to say, "And I heard a voice from the Father saying: Yea the words of my Beloved are true and faithful..." Heavenly Father spoke to Nephi and testified of the Savior. How amazing, fantastic and wonderful to be taught by the very voices of Deity!

They both taught the doctrine- but the very fact that they spoke to Nephi directly is a prime example of their involvement and care for us as individuals. Beautiful!

I am always struck by the word of vs. 20 ... "press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope"... We have MUCH to be hopeful about!

When we think of the word "feasting" in the scriptures we usually think it means that we are to feast upon the words of Christ, through His holy scriptures.... Yes, feasting on the scriptures is what it usually means, but this is not what Nephi has in mind. By "feasting" he means, "Make that covenant of obedience (baptism), get the Holy Ghost, and then do everything he tells you to do to stay on that path. You can sit down and rest on that path, but for heaven's sake, don't turn around and walk the other way or wander off the path!"

Think of the spiritual strength available if only we FEASTED on the words of Christ, rather than the traditional SNACK, and sadly, more common, LICK that we all too often fall too. I am completely enjoying FEASTING on the Book of Mormon this go round.

The last thing I got from this chapter is the 'Eternal Life for Dummies' list that is laid out throughout this chapter. If you want Eternal Life, you must:

1. Have faith.
2. Be Steadfast.
3. Have a love of God.
4. Love of all men.
5. Be baptized.
6. Receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
7. Feast upon the words of Christ.
8. Endure to the end (keep the covenants which we have made)

Then we get eternal life! Simple (maybe not easy- but oh, so simple!)

What did you think/learn today?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Book of Mormon Study - 2 Nephi 30

Converted Gentiles will be numbered with the covenant people—Many Lamanites and Jews will believe the word and become delightsome—Israel will be restored and the wicked destroyed. About 559–545 B.C.

I labeled this chapter "THE FINAL VICTORY." Christ's plan IS going to work, and people from each of the three groups (Jews, Nephites, and Gentiles) will come to accept Him and will become a pure, delightsome people.

Vs. 1-3 ~ In previous chapters Nephi spoke of the Jews and then the Gentiles. Now he is going to reverse that and talk of the Gentiles first, and then the Jews. There will be many Gentiles who will believe and come out of darkness (apostasy). I love that they become his people through obedience and through believing on His name.

Vs. 4-5 ~ Not only are the Gentiles going to accept Jesus Christ's gospel, but they will also help Lehi's children (descendants) come to accept it. I’m humming a little Primary song now!

Vs. 6 ~ I believe that all those who accept the gospel are described in this verse. Their whole characters and personalities change, for the scales of darkness do fall away. Many are truly beautiful and naturally humble people and they leave you with a wonderful feeling after having been with them! My friend Autumn is like that.

Vs. 8 ~ The Lord doesn't want to leave anyone out.

Vs. 9 ~ Nephi is quoting Isaiah again. The "rod of his mouth" is God's word... His truths. With this gospel going to every group of people, there will no longer be any excuse to remain in darkness. The world will have to choose. Do they accept the restoration or do they choose apostasy.

Vs. 10 ~ Those who remain in apostasy will draw themselves further and further away from the Lord, and eventually there will be a great division between them and those who accept the restoration. In other words, the distance will widen between the Church and the values of the world. The longer we live the wider we will see the division between good and evil become.

Vs. 11-15 ~ Eventually all those who rule by force, power, and greed will be gone. That will be the great victory... the victory of peace! Power and might will be used as it was meant to be used... to protect, not to dominate.

Vs. 16 ~ Nephi adds to Isaiah here. How many of us have questions about the gospel? Well, when this time comes, He'll tell us! We'll get all the answers we ever wanted.

Vs. 17 ~ All the things which men have thought they could hide will now come forth. There is nothing which they can hide.

Vs. 18 ~ Isn’t it interesting how it says that there will be no secrets and, in turn, Satan's power will be diminished.

I think we tend to look at the Adversary as this bold, out in the open threat. But there is so much evil that takes place in dark corners, behind closed doors and in secret. That is where Satan gains a great deal of his power- in secret combinations and in darkness. Everyone tries to hide.

The Adversary is a threat. But, soon he and his ways will be exposed. There will be no secrets and no place to hide. And when everyone can see him for who and what he really is, he will be powerless.

This almost seems to suggest that knowledge will be part of the effective means by which Lucifer will be bound... People will just KNOW so much at that time and this helps bind him.

That is the power in knowledge and testimony: When we recognize him and his tactics, we have power over him.

That is an empowering thought for the day! Go forth and concur!

What did you think/learn today?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Book of Mormon Study - 2 Nephi 29

I am tired! It’ has been a long day. A piece of me wanted to count my seminary in-service meeting as my scripture study. Nope. Doesn’t count. The meeting set me off. I didn’t get to read in the morning. I didn’t get exercise. I didn’t eat very well. I didn’t get my room clean. I didn’t get my laundry done. I never got my kitchen clean. I tried though. I did 4 loads of dishes. I did 8 loads of laundry. I wiped of counters more than once. I went shopping. I carted kids around. I helped my daughter with her baby.

Now it is 10:00 and I’m getting to read my scriptures. I am tired. Tomorrow is seminary at 6:00 and then a full day of teaching and babysitting and starting over at trying to clean the house.

Today I read 2 Nephi 29. I labeled this chapter: “SATAN’S COUNTERATTACK & GOD’S ANSWER.” As mentioned earlier, Satan will not just sit back and watch the Book of Mormon and restoration come forth without a fight. He is going to fight tooth and nail (well, if he HAD teeth and nails...), and his major focus is how to go about destroying the Book of Mormon. So what does he do? He emphasizes the Bible. He has people thinking, “I don’t NEED more revelation. Besides there IS no more revelation from heaven!”

Vs. 1-3 ~ V3... “Hiss” means to call. The saints are going to bring the Book of Mormon to all the world, extending the invitation to all. But we will see Satan’s major counterattack. This book which will bring greater happiness, he will encourage others to feel that they don’t need. So, how do we counterattack Satan’s counterattack?

Vs. 4-5 ~ What a beautiful tribute this is to the Jewish people!

Vs. 6-7 ~ Does God remember and love everyone on earth. Are they ALL His children? Do ALL people need God’s words and gospel? Of course He speaks to ALL His children. Of Course there is still current revelation. God will not leave us alone.

Vs. 8 ~ If you knew that the Book of Mormon was REALLY God’s word, wouldn’t you like to have it and learn more? Why murmur because He wants to give you more? You already have the testimonies of the twelve apostles found in the New Testament. They are wonderful testimonies. But wouldn’t it be better to have as many testimonies as the Lord has to offer you? I love hearing the testimonies of others. It strengthens my testimony and my faith.

Vs. 9 ~ Don’t you think the Lord feels like saying, “I give my word according to my pleasure. Don’t’ tell Me that I can’t talk! Are you trying to tell Me I can’t talk? I can talk whenever I want to talk to My children!”

Vs. 10 ~ “Is My work finished? Do you think the Bible contains absolutely everything I’ve ever had to say about anything? Why would you say, ‘Enough! No more!’? If you went up to medical school and studied a medical book, would you think that book would contain all there ever was to know about the human body? If a doctor declared that he only needed one medical book the rest would think he was a fool! If you went to the music department and said that there can never be anymore masterpieces composed because it’s all been composed, people would call you a fool! If you went to the English department and told them that they could never have another piece of literature written because it’s all been written, they would call you a fool! If you went to the Biology department and suggested that there was no more to learn about trout, slugs, worms, and butterflies... they’d call you a fool!” God says, “You are a human. I am God. You, infinite man, have the audacity to tell the Son of God that you have enough?”

What did you learn?

Family Bed

When my children were young I heard all kinds of advice… how to dress them, how to feed them, how make them sleep. It seemed everyone had an opinion.

I first started letting my kids sleep by me because it was convenient. I was too tired to get up and nurse and then to put them back in their own bed. I needed my sleep and so did they. Then there was that whole “we were all in the same over crowded room” issue. The crib was often full of stuff. Also, my kids just slept better when they were near someone else. My kids were social and wanted to be near others. It seemed mean to banish them when it was time to sleep. Besides, I know that they felt more safe… and I rested better knowing they were safe and content. I’ll just blame it on the days I wasn’t allowed to see Kimber after her birth. I want to know where my babies are at all time.

Many people thought I was crazy. My mom thought I was nuts. But hey! In many cultures parents and kids have been sharing sleeping arrangements for centuries.
.However, today my kids are 20, 18, 16, 14, and 9. This is what my bed looks like now. I would make it but as soon as I got out this morning my 16 year old moved in. Then, the nine year old got in. Soon, my daughter who just had a baby came and she got in. The kids pile their blankets and laundry on and around my bed. The dogs sleep on the piles. I’m telling you, my bed NEVER gets any rest!

Some mornings I get up and I have to make my way through the kids sleeping on the floor and the dogs and the piles. I long for a clean room and a made bed. But I don’t see it in my future. No matter their age, no matter if they still live with me, my bed is still the family bed.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Salad Days 304, 305, 306, 307, 308, 309, and 310

 Monday, January 30, I enjoyed a salad of greens and Thai Peanut Chicken.  It was tasty.
Wednesday, February 1, I enjoyed a Chicken Taco Salad from the hospital cafeteria.  My daughter, Kimber, was laboring and I needed a little extra fuel.

I put these in the wrong order.  Tuesday, January 31, I had a Subway salad on my way to the final Dress Rehearsal of Cinderella.

Thursday, February 2, I enjoyed a green salad with Greek dressing.

Friday, February 3, I enjoyed a spinach salad for lunch.  I spent most of the day at the hospital helping Kimber.  It is tough to get salads on the go.

Saturday, February 4, I had an Italian salad from the grocery store after taking breakfast to Kimber and Ray and heading to the HS for the Matinee performance of Cinderella.

I also had a taco salad for dinner.  The school had a taco bar come in for the kids since there were 2 shows.  I was able to find something that worked for me.

Today, February 5, I used the "hockey pucks" my husband made for burgers, salad greens, tomatoes, feta and jo-jos and made a salad.  The meat was pretty burned and only went down with plenty of dairy free ranch dressing.  So that is it.  I made it through a crazy week of shows, seminary, teaching, and a new baby and I didn't miss a day of salads.  Go me!