This semester I took a class entitled, "Teachings of the Living Prophets". Guys...did you know that we have a living prophet here, on the earth today? A man who is called of God, just like Moses? It's true! I testify of that. I have had many personal, sacred experiences that have helped me to know that the Lord reveals His will to a living prophet today.
I also know that we have Apostles on the earth today who have the sacred obligation of testifying of the Savior Jesus Christ. Just like Paul and Peter during the time that the Savior was on the earth, we have ordinary men who have been called of God to do great and marvelous things.
QUOTES ON STRENGTHENING MARRIAGE
Harmony in marriage comes only when one esteems the welfare of his or her spouse among the highest of priorities. When that really happens, a celestial marriage becomes a reality, bringing great joy in this life and in the life to come" (para 24).
To appreciate--to say, 'I love you' and 'thank you'--is not difficult. But these expressions of love and appreciation do more than acknowledge a kind thought or deed. They are signs of sweet civility. As grateful partners look for the good in each other and sincerely pay compliments to one another, wives and husbands will strive to become the persons described in those compliments" (para 21).
To communicate well with your spouse--is also important. Good communication includes taking time to plan together. Couples need private time to observe, to talk, and really listen to each other. They need to cooperate--helping each other as equal partners. They need to nurture their spiritual as well as their physical intimacy. They should strive to elevate and motivate each other. Marital unity is sustained when goals are mutually understood. Good communication is also enhanced by prayer. To pray with specific mention of a spouse's good deed (or need) nurtures a marriage" (para 22).
It is only with the companionship of the Holy Ghost that we can hope to be equally yoked in a marriage free from discord" (para 19).
I have a lot to learn about how to be a good wife. I also have a long way to go to be the kind of wife that emulates the Savior, makes her husband a high priority, and actively does what is necessary to strengthen my marriage. Don’t get me wrong. My marriage is good. My husband is my best friend, and I love him with all my heart. But we are not perfect people and those imperfections are magnified by the adversary at times. He does not want us to have a strong marriage because his goal is to destroy families. However, ours is one family that I am not willing to let him destroy.
This means that a lot of hard work is required from me and my spouse to strengthen our marriage against the power of the adversary. We must make a conscious and concerted effort to be selfless, supportive, loving, and patient with each other. We must study the scriptures together, pray together, and attend the temple together. As we focus on growing spiritually together and separate, the power of the Savior’s Atonement will strengthen and fortify our marriage.
God has things that get lost as well, although because He is perfect, I'm sure He doesn't go through quite the range of emotions that we do. When I say that God has "things" that get lost, I'm really referring to His children. We get lost, and He feels sadness about that. But even though we are lost, in a sense, He still knows exactly where we are. He just has to wait for us to use our agency to find our way back to Him.
In my New Testament studies this week, I studied a lot of parables. Three of them deal with lost things and offer three different ways that we get lost from the path that leads back to God.
The Parable of the Lost Sheep
"How did that sheep get lost? He was not rebellious. If you follow the comparison, the lamb was seeking its livelihood in a perfectly legitimate manner, but either stupidly, perhaps unconsciously, it followed the enticement of the field, the prospect of better grass until it got out beyond the fold and was lost.
The lamb took his "eyes off the prize", so to speak. He focused his gaze on things other than the Shepherd. Maybe he started by stealing a few glances of the grass on the other side of the fence, which turned into staring hungrily at the grass, which then led to sampling the grass, and before he knew it, he had lost sight of the Shepherd completely.
Elder Joseph B Wirthlin (1917-2008), an Apostle of Jesus Christ, shared another take on this parable and who the lost sheep could represent.
"Some [children of God] are lost because they are different. They feel as though they don't belong. Perhaps because they are different, they find themselves slipping away from the flock. They may look, act, think, and speak differently than those around them and that sometimes causes them to assume they don't fit in. They conclude that they are not needed. ...
Who's been one of these little lambs at one point or another? I have definitely felt a little of both of these "lost lamb scenarios" in my life. But here's the good news. The Good Shepherd, AKA the Savior of the World, knows exactly where we are, at all times. We are never lost to Him and He is always there, waiting for us to call out, just like a little lost lamb cries out to its mother.
We can return to the arms of that Good Shepherd who loves us wholly and completely, no matter where our wanderings have taken us.
The Parable of the Lost Piece of Silver
Going back to President McKay's insights on these three parables, he describes what the lost coin may represent:
"In this case the thing lost was not in itself responsible. The one who had been trusted with that coin had, through carelessness or neglect, mislaid it or dropped it. ...Our charge is not only coins, but living souls of children, youth, and adults. They are our charges."
Here we see that the coin was lost through negligence on the owner's part. We also see that the woman in the parable represents any one of us who have responsibility to watch over and care for someone else--spiritually and physically. Whether you are a parent, or have stewardship over others through leadership roles, you are charged with being responsible for loving and teaching those whom you have stewardship over. President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910-2008) shared how we should face this responsibility of loving and teaching others:
“There must be warmth in the work of the Lord. There must be friendship. There must be love unfeigned. There must be appreciation and thanks expressed. There must be constant nurturing with the good word of God. All of these are small things, so easy to do, and they make so great a difference." (“There Must Be Messengers,”Ensign, Oct. 1987, 5).
It's about love and friendship, respect and charity. It's about expressing gratitude. As President Hinckley said, these are all small things and easy to do, but they make a huge difference in the lives of those whom are feeling a little lost and unloved.
The Parable of the Prodigal Son
"The parable of the prodigal son teaches us much about the nature and attributes of our Father in Heaven. Like the father in the parable, God will not control us, keep us from straying, or keep us from making selfish, foolish errors. Yet His love never diminishes. He is so anxious to have us return that He will run to us when we are still “a great way off” (Luke 15:20). He knows us so well that He can recognize our better selves when no one else can. Each of us, male or female, will be able to recognize something of ourselves in each of the sons in the parable.
We are Never Truly Lost to the Lord
The Shepherd knows His sheep.
He knows them, loves them, and welcomes them back when they stray.
May we always strive to use our agency to make choices that will lead us back to our Father in Heaven, but...if we mess up, if we make choices that lead us away from Him instead, may we always remember how the Lord feels about things that are lost. He has a plan for their salvation and redemption, and for that, I am truly grateful.
Yesterday was my 6-year "Cancerversary" and I didn't even post anything about it.
Which is kind of weird because I have posted something every year until this year. But I just wasn't feeling it yesterday. I thought about it being my "cancerversary". I even thought about things that I could post, but when it came down to it, I just didn't want to.
Maybe it's because I am still trying to hang on to the lazy days of summer.
Maybe it's because I was too busy living the "mom life" by doing yard work, house work, and trying to squeeze out every last drop of summer time family togetherness.
Or maybe it's because I don't really feel like counting anymore.
Or at least, I don't feel like counting the years anymore...just my blessings.
And I could spend the rest of my life counting my blessings and never run out of things to count.
That is something that the past six years have taught me, and that is something that I will spend the rest of my life talking about.
Life is hard, but life is good.
The past six years have taught me that my job as a mother is my absolute most important job...ever. Teaching my children about the Savior and His gospel, helping them to be kind and generous, loving them, and being their biggest fan...those are the things that I need to focus on. Am I perfect at it? No. Do I try hard every day? Yes.
I am a mother in a partnership with God as I have been entrusted with His children.
I have been reminded over and over again that I can do hard things when I ask for heavenly help.
I Can Do Hard Things.
I have learned that every single day I am breathing is a gift from God and that I have a purpose here on earth. Some days I forget that and those are the days when I have panic attacks and feel the anxiety creeping in. But the days that I remember the bigger picture--the eternal perspective--those are my favorite days.
Each day is a precious gift from God.
I have taken a scripture to heart that has helped me through some pretty tough times. That scripture and so many more will continue to help me as I live to not only endure this life, but enjoy it as well, no matter what lies ahead.
D&C 6:36 "Look unto me in every thought. Doubt not. Fear not."
And finally, I have learned that I am surrounded by goodness. I knew that before, but I cherish it more now. My family, my friends, my surroundings, they are all precious to me and I thank God every day for them.
There is truly beauty all around.
Yes, I have learned a lot over the past six years, but there is one thread that joins all of the lessons together.
One beautiful golden thread that is unbreakable.
I really intended on blogging more this week but I spent my blogging time working on my family blog so that left zero time to do anything over here. But that's okay. Hopefully the handful of you who check this blog on a regular basis weren't too disappointed. :)
Today's song is kind of a unique choice. Usually it is one that is sung at funerals because of the lyrics in the third verse, but as our choir sang it in Sacrament meeting today, I couldn't help but be touched by the words in the other verses. I firmly believe that we are all here to help each other and sadly, with the state that our world is in today, some people have forgotten this great purpose in our lives. Well I say, it's time to remind people that we are here to help one another, not tear one another down.
Each Life That Touches Ours For Good- The Mormon Tabernacle Choir
- 1. Each life that touches ours for good
Reflects thine own great mercy, Lord;
Thou sendest blessings from above
Thru words and deeds of those who love.
- 2. What greater gift dost thou bestow,
What greater goodness can we know
Than Christlike friends, whose gentle ways
Strengthen our faith, enrich our days.
- 3. When such a friend from us departs,
We hold forever in our hearts
A sweet and hallowed memory,
Bringing us nearer, Lord, to thee.
- 4. For worthy friends whose lives proclaim
Devotion to the Savior's name,
Who bless our days with peace and love,
We praise thy goodness, Lord, above.
We are the instruments in His great symphony of life.
We can lift, touch, strengthen, comfort, assist, and love our brothers and sisters around us.
It is through our deeds that the Lord often sends down blessings to those
who have been pleading for help.
May we remember that we are that great gift and goodness through which our friends and family members can strengthen their faith and enrich their days.
Happy New Year my friends!
I took a little blogging/social media break over the holiday season and it was GLORIOUS! I have redefined my social media use and I have to tell ya...it's awesome. I still plan on sharing as much goodness and light as I can, but beyond sharing my posts, I am not really purusing Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter like I have been before. It's lovely and I feel like it took completely pulling away from everything to actually break the bad habits I had of looking at one of those social media sites whenever I had a minute or two to spare.
I am happy to be back blogging and sharing love and light and I am especially happy to share this Song of the Sabbath with you today! It was our closing song in Sacrament Meeting today and as soon as we started singing it, I knew that I needed to share it today. With the cold winter winds blowing, the freezing rain creating a shell of ice on everything that surrounds us, and the thermometer registering below freezing temps, I feel like we need a little scattering of sunshine, don't you?
Scatter Sunshine- Stephanie Boyd
1. In a world where sorrow
Ever will be known,
Where are found the needy
And the sad and lone,
How much joy and comfort
You can all bestow,
If you scatter sunshine
Ev'rywhere you go.
Scatter sunshine all along your way.
Cheer and bless and brighten
Ev'ry passing day.
Scatter sunshine all along your way.
Cheer and bless and brighten
Ev'ry passing day.
2. Slightest actions often
Meet the sorest needs,
For the world wants daily
Little kindly deeds.
Oh, what care and sorrow
You may help remove,
With your songs and courage,
Sympathy and love.
3. When the days are gloomy,
Sing some happy song;
Meet the world's repining
With a courage strong.
Go with faith undaunted
Thru the ills of life;
Scatter smiles and sunshine
O'er its toil and strife.
Today's song is the same song that I chose last year for Christmas Day and it's a real tear jerker. It's so beautiful beyond words and will always be the perfect song to share on Christmas Day.
Angels We Have Heard on High- The Piano Guys, David Archuleta, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Merry Christmas my friends!
May you have joy and happiness with your family this day and always.
And may you always remember that sweet little baby in a manger who was born to save us all.
#LIGHTtheWORLD- Day 24
Jesus Cared for His Loved Ones and So Can You
WAYS TO PARTICIPATE:
- Take a moment to enter all of your friends’ birthdays into your mobile device. Then make a point to wish them well on their special day.
- Plan a special Christmas Eve program with your family and friends.
- Leave an anonymous gift for a family member.
- Go around the dinner table tonight and tell each person why he or she is loved.
- Text an old friend who’s been on your mind lately.
- Send a handwritten note to someone.
- Protect someone’s good name. Don’t gossip.
- Try to be a better listener. Make eye contact, ask questions, and don’t just wait for your turn to talk.
- Help a friend who is going through a rough time by offering to make him or her food, helping around the house, or just taking time to listen.
- Visit JustServe.org for more ways to #LIGHTtheWORLD in your community (U.S. and Canada only).
#LIGHTtheWORLD- Day 25
Jesus's Disciples Followed Him and So Can We
WAYS TO PARTICIPATE:
- Turn some of the 25 Days ideas from this month into New Year’s resolutions.
- Learn more about how to follow the Savior’s example.
- Find a picture of Jesus Christ that inspires you and place it in your home where it can serve as a reminder to follow Him.
- Have some time off for the holidays? Devote one day to selfless service for those you love.
- Did you get an appreciated but unneeded gift? Donate it to a charity or a person in need.
- Sign up to help at a soup kitchen or food bank during the spring or summer months, when they have fewer volunteers.
- View and share this short video about the importance of Jesus Christ.
I am loving my second chance at life.
Every day is an opportunity to do good and to be a little better than the day before.
I love being a mommy.
It's my favorite thing in this world and my most important job.
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