Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Just wanted to say Happy Turkey Day to all, and say that I'm thankful for my health, my family, and my testimony. It carries me through my day-to-day and my calling keeps it fresh. So I guess I'm thankful for my calling as well. Hope you day is full of things to be thankful for.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Be Still My Soul

Today was truly a challenge. I spent the better part of my day trying to work through my mounting frustration with my bosses, and the branches who support us. I really struggled with my mounting urge to hit something. I'm just having a really hard time with dealing with a team leader who acts in a totally different manor when my team leader is around, than she does when he's gone, and I don't like the treatment she gives to our team when our leader is away. I was so angry that I barely made it out without bursting into tears.
BB is working right into the terrible two's and I'm very grateful for one of my LDS knitting blog friends. She posted a link to a page of a man who writes extremely well on many topics, including how to train children to behave in sacrament meeting. Well, I've had to employ the tactics that he recommended now, several times. Today, BB had a raging fit, and I had to hold him until he calmed down which wasn't for about 15 minutes. He cried and struggled, and raged, and so on. I tried to stay calm and kiss his forehead and tell him that when he calmed down, he'd get down. I really started to think that we were at a stand still, but just then I started to hum my favorite hymn, "Be Still My Soul". It amazes me sometimes, the power of a simple hymn, but doesn't it say somewhere that a hymn is a prayer in song? I hadn't finished the first verse before he finally settled down, and I was able to put down a contented happy baby. What simple, powerful message it is that is contained in that song, that was able to calm a small child so quickly.

Monday, November 5, 2007

1 Nephi, ch 16

Just a little blast from the past. I remember waking up after a particularly difficult night where I had to take Baby Boy down stairs and hand him to his daddy... It's hard to believe now that he was ever that size.
But down to business! Today for FHE, The Boy and I walked with BB down to the library and turned in some stuff, and took more stuff out. We came home and ate dinner, and then read 1 Nephi, chapter 16. It was nice to be back in the action after so much prophecy stuff.
So the family picks up and moves on in the wilderness with the Liahona to guide them. I didn't remember this the first time I read it over, but when TB and I got to the part where Nephi breaks his bow and they go hungry for a day or so, we were truly shocked to see that even Lehi started to complain against God, and only Nephi stays true and faithful at that time. It's a dark time for him. His brothers and brothers-in-law are complaining and his wife, and her sisters are trying to get them to go back. Ismael dies during this tough time and it's almost too much for his daughters to bare at that time. They are alone, other than their husbands, and siblings, with no friends and no modern conveniences and they're hungry. Now they've lost their father and the grief must be more than they can take. It's at this time that Nephi calls on his faith to talk to his father and the rest to call them to repentance. They discover the "secret" of the Liahona, where as it will only work as long as they have faith, and then only to the degree of that faith. Lehi asked forgiveness of the Lord, and was chastised by the voice of God. Afterwards, Nephi makes a new bow and asks the Lord where to go to find animals to hunt. Then he goes back to camp with plenty of food, everyone is happy again, and all is well... for a while.
This is a running theme in the early chapters of the BofM. Laman and Lemuel started to work up the sons of Ishmael. They tell them how they should kill Lehi and Nephi, and go back to Jerusalem. They deny the spiritual experiences that they have had in the past. They hear the voice of God and they see an angel, but they ignore all that over their hurt pride that their little brother is the ruler over them. Keep in mind here that the sons of Ishmael have not had these experiences. They have be going on pure faith and trust in the will of their own father, so when the brothers of Nephi start up with these lies, they naturally fall in. Their brothers-on-law try to paint a picture that Nephi is leading them out into the wilderness to set himself up as a king over them. It's at this time that the Lord takes over, and squashes their plans. "The Lord came and did speak many words unto them, and did chasten them exceedingly" After this, the repent and the Lord blesses them again with food. This won't be the last time that they ignore all the personal interactions with God and try to go against his will. Kind of makes you wonder what it is in a person that can make them deny the truth so much, even when it's right there in their faces.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Signs of the Second Coming, Lesson 41

No, this is not one of the signs...

Today was another touch lesson. There is so much that can be covered and so little time to do it in. When I was about 10, I remember watching The Omen with my mom. It made me wonder what everything was about, (and I still don't quite know why all the end-of-the-world stuff is always being battled out by Catholics and Priests and Nuns, but what ever), and I went to my room and pulled out the Bible, and turned right to the book of Revelations. Lets just say that I was in no way prepared for that I found written in there, and was scared to death! Was I really going to have to be baptized by fire? Would there really be a giant beast who comes with several heads? I had no idea that the words within were metaphors for what was actually to come.
It was with this in mind, that I tried to teach this lesson today. We covered the scarier of the signs first, as it's listed in the book, and I made sure to try to stress the point that we may not personally be affected by these happenings but we'll surely see them and it still can be frightening, but if we're trying our best to be physically and spiritually ready, we have nothing to fear.
We did spend the majority of the time covering the more joyous signs of Jesus' coming, like the restoration of the Gospel and the teaching of the Gospel to all peoples in their native language. However, it strikes me how little some members know or seem to understand. How is it that some who are raised in the church and have always had these teachings in their lives, could understand so little? It seems impossible that a person who has been married in the temple, would not grasp the concept of what it means to be prepared. But maybe that's partly due to the very general nature of some of out study materials. Perhaps its that the lessons cover the very basic points, and it's left to the rest of us to study, and ponder the lessons before we go in to teach them, hoping that the Spirit will guide us in the direction that will best help our students to learn. And perhaps that's not always the way things are done. What ever the reason, it seems to me that it shouldn't be this way. And maybe that's my own ignorance, thinking that years in the church translate to a perfect knowledge and understanding of it's principals. I guess that shows that all of us, no matter how we look to the outside world, have our struggles and trials of faith, and that if we keep these close to our hearts all the time, instead of sharing them, it leads us all to feel alone. Like we're the only ones in the ward who are struggling with something and that there's something wrong with us. I think we're afraid to show the darker side in fear that we will be judged by everyone who we see as so much more perfect than we are. But I've always respected those who have shared their own failings, because it humanizes them, and makes me feel like I, too, can get to where they are.
On that page, I am not fully prepared. I don't have our 72 hour kits together. I don't have our food storage. I am struggling just to keep food in the house and lights on at this time. It's not easy on my income and my husband's money goes to his education, which is our top priority for now. I have been doing my best just to pay my tithing every pay period, and have yet to pay a fast offering. I just never have it to give after paying what I can on the bills, putting gas in the car, and buying groceries. I still can't seem to work in family prayer, and family scripture reading into my daily routine, and I haven't fit in the solitary scripture study either. The most I've been able to work in is daily personal prayer, usually in the morning, in the car on the way home, and right before my head hits the pillow at night. I still miss coffee in the fall, and sometimes I miss having a little Irish Cream in my hot chocolate. I have thoughts that are less than Christian almost every day. Why am I putting all this out there? Because I want to let everyone know that they're not the only one, even if they think they are. I was a member of the church for 7 years before I was ready in any way to enter the temple. I have made some big mistakes in my life, both before and after my baptism, and I've straightened myself out for the most part. And I know that Heavenly Father loves me and is just as proud of me as if I'd never made a mistake, ever. And the point of this? To say that I may not be as prepared physically, but I'd like to think that I'm doing my part to make sure that I'm ready spiritually for the Savior's return.
It's not about having done everything that the scriptures tell us to do. It's about making our best effort to do what we're capable of doing, in our time and moving constantly forward. If you are a new member, and haven't gotten to the Temple yet and Jesus was to show up tomorrow, I don't think he would hold it against you. I think that we are responsible for doing what we know we should, as we learn what those things are, and are able to do so. Just strive to move forward, and (this is just my opinion) I believe that Heavenly Father will be satisfied with that. I don't expect Baby Boy to read yet, but I do expect him to be able to do so in the next 4-5 years. As long as he progresses toward that goal, I will be just fine with it. I don't expect The Boy to be able to do Algebra, but in the next few years, he should be able to and I expect him to do so. I do expect him to be able to handle the work that is put before him that is age appropriate and I think that our Heavenly Father thinks of things the same with us. So do that which you are capable of doing, and strive to be able to do more, and if Jesus comes and catches you doing it, I think you'll be just fine.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

halloween costumes

The Boy is a phantom, and Baby Boy is a monkey. He did great for his first time out trick-or-treating, and even though he got wiped out pretty quickly by all the stairs he had to climb to get to the candy, he still made out great because big brother made sure to grab candy for him from every house.