Thursday, April 30, 2009

My Favorite

Picking a favorite scripture story is really difficult. I feel moved by and/or connected to so many. For example, on my mission I had a blessing in which I was likened unto Abinadi (not great when you are a missionary and you realize he never even knew he had converted anyone). And then the story of the Stripling Warriors moved me so much I painted around the top of my son's nursery the verse describing them as men who were "true at all times and in whatsoever thing they were entrusted" (see Alma 53:20). I am also fascinated by Mary, the mother of the Savior, and have on the wall in my daughters' room "My soul doth magnify the Lord" (see Luke 1:46).

But none of these are my favorite.

My favorite stories are those that have deep symbolic meanings. Such as Christ turning the water into wine (see John 2:1-11).

The story of the water turned into wine is the first recorded miracle performed by the Savior. Jesus and his disciples were called to attend a wedding in Cana (symbolic of the new law to come into effect). Wine is a symbol of the blood of Christ and sanctification. When he is told by Mary "they have no wine" what is really being stated is "they have no sanctification."

The water Christ turns into wine is held in pots of stone (Law of Moses written on stone). The pots were filled to the brim, showing the Law of Moses was filled, completed. Water is symbolic of death, baptism, and passing through.

The best wine, that which was made by the Savior, was brought out last, reminding us that the "first shall be last and the last shall be first."

There are six pots of water/wine. Seven is a very symbolic number in the scriptures. Is Christ the seventh pot?

I also love that this miracle was bookended in two ways. First there is with the wine aspect of it -- "I alone shall tread the winepress" (sanctify us). And secondly with his mother: making the wine was at the request of Mary and on the cross his last act was to ensure Mary was cared for by John.

Of course there are so many other deeply symbolic stories in the scriptures, so my preference may change over time as I learn and understand them more fully. But for now, this is definitely my favorite.

Scripture of the Day: Read this story in John 2.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


What's your favorite scripture story and why?

I will share my answer tomorrow!

Scripture of the Day: Hel. 14:14-16

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Talent Show (or lack thereof?)

Last Friday night was our ward primary talent show. I try to make sure each of the kids sign up so they have opportunities to develop their talents and feel positive about themselves. For Sweetie Peach I arranged for her and a friend to sing "C is for Cookie" together. They practiced a bit, but kind of forgot some of it. We tried to get them to eat cookies like the Cookie Monster near the end of the song, but we could not get them to even make a mess. I guess they have been trained to well to be neat eaters.

In addition to the cookie singing, Sweetie Peach also did an "interpretive dance" with a friend to the song "Love Story" by Taylor Swift. There was a little stage fright during this performance as well, but it was still cute.

For Kitty I decided her participation in the Activity Days skit would be enough. We put together a "What Not to Wear" fashion show and each girl came out in outfits that did not fit a situation, were tacky, etc. I had written a limerick to go with each outfit. It turned out cute. Kitty is the middle girl in the olive green shirt and jeans. She was supposedly showing up to a swim meet in baseball gear.

I thought my DH had taken a picture of Patch and his making toast talent, but there is not one on the camera (OneHM do you have one?). Yep, making toast. And I made him practice it too. He did not appreciate me having him practice, but I wanted to make sure he had thought it all through. He got some laughs and the young kids thought he was funny. I think the adults were all wondering a bit about the whole thing though.

Monday, April 27, 2009

So What?

I recently read a blog post (see this site) that discussed how hard it is to teach Sunday school to teens. One teacher left a comment with this advice that can be applied to family scripture study:

“When I teach fiction, I tell my students that if their reader finishes their story by asking, “So what?” the story has failed. If the reader doesn’t care about the characters, the writer has failed. In the Church, we have often taken the easy out–using sentimental tales (pioneer histories or embellished “Especially for Mormons” gems) to generate something LIKE caring. It is a poor substitute for the real thing. Why should we care about our religion? Why do you care about it enough to endure three hours of untrained speakers?"

I love this insight. It is brilliantly expressed, and is the nutshell of effective teaching. The gospel cannot be presented in a way that it inspires a “so what”" response.

So how do we avoid the "so what" response? Not having teens myself I feel somewhat unqualified to present my opinions here. However, I have a nephew who is struggling somewhat with the whole "so what" about the gospel. His mom commented to me recently that she has seen better responses to family teaching opportunities when she uses real world practical applications, not just spiritual ones. For example, if reading about the importance of giving service, she includes a practical discussion about the necessities of service in the real world (i.e., food banks, homeless shelters, volunteerism, etc.) and maybe even plans a service activity to extend the learning process. The result so far has been more lesson participation and a better attitude from her son (my nephew). Hopefully there will also be long term testimony results as well.

How do you avoid the "so what" response in your teaching opportunities? Please share!

Scripture of the Day: D&C 45:28

Sunday, April 26, 2009


I have been too lazy to write blog posts this weekend. But here I am after 10:30 p.m. writing one. Actually this will be a list of the blog posts I have considered writing, but for some reason or another have not.

1. Kitty's new skirt. Yep, I sewed her a skirt on Saturday. I got tired of trying to find long enough ones that were nice enough for church but did not cost an arm and a leg. It turned out well, but I am too lazy to take a picture and upload it. Maybe in a day or two...

2. Misi's birthday party. I had a fun time Saturday evening attending this little party. Jamie did a great job pulling off the surprise, and the food and conversation and fun was just what I needed. Sorry, I did not take a camera with me.

3. Missionary Moments. I think I will replace my Year of Miracles with Missionary Moments. But I am kinda chicken. Sad for an RM to say right? What do y'all think? I have a list of 101 missionary ideas I could draw from, but the challenge is tough, especially because pretty much everyone on my street is already a member.

4. Little Dorrit. Has anyone besides me been watching this on Masterpiece Theater (the reason I am up so late tonight)? This film is based on a Charles Dickens novel. It was six episodes long and I really enjoyed it. Very well done. But worthy of a full blog post? Nah.

And last but not least,

5. The Primary talent show, for which I had to write about 10 limericks. I think I will blog about this in a day or so, but I just could not get into the groove today. OneHM did blog about it and even posted some cute pics from it. And I have more pics to post as well (you'll be excited to learn Patch's talent: making toast).

Oh, and a post about Sunday naps would be good too. I had a lovely 90 minute nap today. Best nap I have had in a long time! But now I am off to bed for more sleep.

Scripture of the Day: 2 Nephi 25:13-14

Friday, April 24, 2009

Police Beat #38

Happy Friday!

A student received a random phone call on his cell phone Oct. 24 from someone trying to sell him drugs using the slang language and when he replied “What?” the person hung up the phone.

(Comment: If you are cold calling people to sell drugs, you shouldn’t use slang. And diction is very important as well.)

Two-foot high red marker graffiti was painted on the side of building B-67 Oct. 27. The graffiti was a mixture of initials and X’s.

(Comment: It's amazing they can tell the marker was so large just by seeing the graffiti. Awesome detective work!)

A male individual chose not to follow rules became belligerent with the attendant in the Indoor Tennis Courts who tried to enforce them. He has caused problems in the past.

(Comment: I didn't know John McEnroe attended BYU. Hmmm.)

An employee who leaves his office in the same way in the Fletcher Building found that his blinds had been closed Oct. 26. He also discovered some gambling Internet sites he had never accessed were in his computer history.

(Comment: Also, his pencil sharpener shavings had been emptied, corners had been folded down on pages in a few textbooks, and his office chair was lowered by an inch. Good thing the cops were called!)

One female BYU employee reported receiving a series of harassing e-mails. The e-mails contained messages regarding a supposed conspiracy involving Mormons, Jews, the Third Reich, AARP and the CIA.

(Comment: Oh, the wisdom of the elderly in their ability to get the Jews to come together and work with the Third Reich. Something I never thought I would see in my lifetime!)

A female student told police March 2 that another female, not a student, made threats against her after the student ended the two women’s friendship, which the other woman apparently did not want to end. Police said the second woman threatened to turn the student into the Honor Code Office for undisclosed reasons.

(Comment: Two words: Lohan and Ronson)

Scripture of the Day: Luke 24:6

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Could have, Should have, Would have

So far today I:

- Walked 2.5 miles from 5:10 to 6:00 am
- Took 2 kids to 7:00 am teeth cleaning appointments
- Went on a 3-hour long kindergarten field trip
- Cleaned for an hour
- Went to store to buy a gift
- Picked up kids from school
- Made cookies for Activity Days meeting

What I wish I had done: put dinner in the crockpot! The thought of making dinner is not good. But here is a good recipe for the next time I have a day like this.


1 lb. cooked ground meat (I use turkey)
1.5 cups sliced raw potatoes
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped bell pepper
1/4 t. each salt and pepper
1 can 98% fat free cream of chicken or mushroom soup combined with 1/4 cup fat free milk
sharp cheddar cheese for topping

Layer everything as ordered above in the crockpot. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours. Makes 8 servings, 246 calories each (with ground beef), 9 grams fat, and 3 grams fiber. (Recipe from Fix It and Forget It Diabetic Cookbook.)

Scripture of the Day: 1 Cor. 15:21-23

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Bravo Miss California

Just a quick shout out in support of Miss California and her willingness to voice her true opinion on same sex marriage during the Miss USA pageant Sunday evening. I think a lot of young women would have given the politically correct answer or would have avoided giving a solid answer at all. But not Miss California! She expressed it was not her desire to hurt anyone's feelings, but gave her honest opinion that she feels marriage should be between one man and one woman. And it is likely she lost the crown due to her answer. She came in first runner up next to Miss North Carolina.

This morning on the news they interviewed Perez Hilton, who asked Miss California what her stance was on the subject. He said he marked her low in her response because she was too religious sounding (she never mentioned God, Christ, or any other church-related phrase) and was not able to give an answer that was "savvy" enough. Personally, I doubt Mr. Hilton would be saying the same thing if the tables were turned. If Miss California had spoke up in support of gay marriage he would not have marked her response low because it offended some people; he would have cheered her on.

So although Miss California only came in as first runner up at the pageant, she is the winner in my book.

Scripture of the Day: Col. 2:12-13

Monday, April 20, 2009

Commit to It

Recently I received the current issue of BYU Magazine. In it there is a great article by Sarah Ingram Westerberg entitled Drawing Lines of Commitment. I really enjoyed reading her thoughts and found this one could be applied as a scripture tip:

"We must decide now to keep our commitments. Then, when faced with a temptation or an opportunity to compromise, we will not waver, because the decision was already made.

"Great strength comes from commitments that are made well in advance... My husband and I are committed to rearing our children in the gospel, and part of that commitment involves holding family home evening. We have already decided that we will have family home evening every Monday night, and so when our 4-year-old, William, inevitably answers the call to come to family home evening with the suggestion, "Let's play lightsabers instead," we are not swayed or moved because we already decided to have family home evening."

Westerberg's commitment to holding FHE is much like making the commitment to have family scripture study. If we make the commitment ahead of time, prepare to be able to fulfill the commitment, and pray for help, then our ability to follow the commandment to hold family scripture study will increase.

To help get children to buy into the need to hold scripture study, instead of wanting to play lightsabers, try working together to reach a reward. For example, for each time the family completes scripture study place a sticker on a chart, or a marble in a jar. When the chart or jar are filled, go out for ice cream or go on a family picnic. This strategy really works!

Scripture of the Day: Alma 12:25

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Year of Miracles #52

This post marks a full year of miracles--52 weeks of recognizing the hand of the Lord in my life. And this week's miracle is the blessing I have felt for completing the entire year. It is very easy to go through each day without seeing divine influence. But as I have applied myself and have tried to open my eyes a little wider I have more fully seen these blessings.

Here is one example: Today before church was a struggle. It was not terribly unusual, just one of those mornings we all dislike. Just this morning I found it a little harder to cope than usual. Several times I had to pray to get help biting my tongue and keeping my voice under control. I was not perfect, but I did feel some divine aid and was able to get through it all without causing any relationship damage. I was late to church and life was not perfect, but because my prayers were answered it was a lot better than it would have been otherwise.

So although I will no longer be posting about the miracles I have seen in my life, I still want to express gratitude for this series. I hope my readers have enjoyed it as much as I have. Next week I will try to start a new series!

Scripture of the Day: Mosiah 16:7-8

Friday, April 17, 2009

Police Beat #37

Yay for Fridays!
Hope you're having a great day!

I think the crazies are taking over at BYU:

Jan. 18: Police received a call about a woman who was attempting to use a shovel to get into a car in a parking lot north of the Marriott Center. The woman has a history of mental problems and caused $1,500 worth of damage to her own car.

(Comment: Long winters in Utah have a tendency to cause people to go crazy. Wouldn't you go crazy after three months of this?)

Jan. 10: Police responded to a call about an unidentified male on foot who intentionally ran into the left fender of a female student’s vehicle. After slamming into the car, the man ran away yelling, “She hit me! She hit me!” By the time officers reached the scene, the male was gone.

(Comment: Sounds like someone went off his Thorazine... )

Jan. 26: Police responded to a call from witnesses about an ill student in his vehicle. The student was just taking a nap.

(Comment: BYU needs to open a psych ward. He (she?) was not just taking a nap, mental illness was definitely at play here.)

Feb. 21: A male student was arrested for multiple vehicular burglaries at 3 a.m. Officers responded to a witness’s call. A foot pursuit ensued, and he was apprehended and booked into Utah County Jail. Multiple items were recovered when he started throwing stuff during the pursuit.

(Comment: A comprehensive list of the items thrown and recovered includes 2 CTR rings, 1 teal colored quad, CD of Mindy Gledhill music, a Franklin planner, 3 textbooks (Doctrine & Covenants Made Easier, Eternal Marriage Preparation, and Ethics for LDS Business Leaders), and a Cansolidator still in the box, and a bottle of 500 mg Prozac pills.)

Feb. 27: An elderly man was walking with two Chihuahuas when a dog got loose and began running around the Talmage Building. Police were unable to find the dog.

(Comment: Did they look here? See below.)

Praying Before Studying

{This was the post I wanted to put up yesterday, but due to unforeseen circumstances (psycho computer behavior) I was unable to get on the internet at all. I did get a lot of other things done around the house as a result, though:-}

I recently read this quote about how praying before studying the scriptures can benefit the study process:

"All of us face the daily struggle of trying to improve ourselves and become more godlike. We have the desire to become perfect, and yet it sometimes appears to be such an ominous and impossible thing. The Holy Ghost is indispensable to us in this struggle. And so it is that in the struggle to perfect our lives, we seek for the gifts that will strengthen us and guide us in our quest for perfection.

"One way, for example, that the Holy Ghost has been of help to me in my individual progression is by making me aware of my imperfections. When I pray for the guidance of the Spirit before reading scriptures, passages that relate to particular areas in which I need improvement seem to stand out. As I read them I am filled with the desire to do better. The Holy Ghost, besides bringing this information to our knowledge, can also grant us other spiritual gifts to help us in accomplishing our goals."(Coleen Baird, “The Holy Ghost: A Stranger, Visitor, or Constant Companion?,” Ensign, Jun 1977, 20)

The same is true for family scripture study. Try to take time before studying to pray and ask Heavenly Father for inspiration and help. Here are three benefits your family will gain from doing so:

1. Your kids will learn from positive patterning. Saying a prayer before reading books is not common. As your children learn this pattern of study it will help them understand the unique spiritual nature of the scriptures: learning spiritual things requires the presence and help of the Spirit.

2. Saying a prayer before studying helps to set the tone quicker. Sometimes when diving right into reading scriptures it takes a while for a reverence to develop. Prayer requires physical behaviors that invite the Spirit's presence, which then helps to carry over into the study process.

3. As a family you will learn more with Heavenly Father's help. The Holy Ghost can prompt various family members with comments, questions, and thoughts that will help to build testimonies and teach important principles.

Scripture of the Day: John 3:13

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Worth Watching

If you haven't heard about Susan Boyle yet, watch this and be amazed!

Love, love, love it!

Year of Miracles #51

I am a bit late posting a miracle, but I was holding off to make it go along with Kitty's birthday! Today she turns 9 years old and I am a bit sad she is getting so big. She is definitely a miracle in my life and a wonderful addition to our family. She is usually very helpful around the house, willing to share, and loves littler children. Today she took a buttercup to school to give her teacher--she always thinks of thoughtful ways to be kind to others. I am so proud of her and grateful to be her mom! Happy Birthday Sweetheart!

Scripture of the Day: 1 Cor. 15:12-14

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Scissor Happy

Yesterday I decided to cut bangs to help ease the size of my large forehead. But I cut them too short. Yikes. What do you think? Do I need to hide out for a week? It looked worse before I used the flat iron on them. {Excuse the deer-in-the-headlights smile :-}

Scripture of the Day: Moroni 7:41

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter 2009

Just a few snapshots from our Easter weekend. To be honest, I am very tired today. I think it is from all the activities from the past three days. So I will be laying low today and try to catch up on my energy.

On Saturday morning we had the ward/neighborhood Easter egg hunt at the park in the rain. The kids loved it because there were fewer hunters there--so they got lots more eggs this time than in previous years. Here is my wet Kitty with her haul:

Saturday night we colored eggs. Patch got in trouble for writing "Kitty stinks" with wax crayon on his egg and then coloring it in the blue dye. Naughty boy.

Sunday lunch was at my house. Here is a pic with me and my mom (we are the middle two). On the left is my Aunt Kay and on the right is Kay's daughter-in-law Marcie. We had another egg hunt in the back yard after lunch and enjoyed the beautiful weather.

In the late afternoon we headed across town to my SIL's house for dinner. After dinner my MIL brought out three lamb shaped cakes for the three granddaughters to frost and decorate. Here is Sweetie Peach (foreground), her cousin Amberly, and my MIL getting started.

Below is the finished product of all three lambs. Kitty (left) named hers Jo, Sweetie Peach (middle) named hers Rosella (Rose for short because there were not enough orange jelly beans to spell the full name out). I am not sure what Amberly named hers.

In addition to all these fun activities there was church (the choir program went pretty good and I subbed in Primary), Easter baskets (the Easter Bunny came on Saturday for the first time in our family, which was better because we have early church), a baptism we attended, and the filled assignment to clean the church on Saturday. No wonder I am so tired today!

I hope your Easter weekend went great!

Scripture of the Day: Alma 11:45

Saturday, April 11, 2009

First Presidency Easter Message

"At this Easter season of hope and renewal we testify of the glorious reality of the atonement and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. The empty tomb brought comforting assurance and provided the answer to the question of Job, “If a man die, shall he live again?” (Job 14:14).

"Because of the Savior’s resurrection we will overcome death and become the beneficiaries of His mercy and grace. In a world of trouble and uncertainty, His peace fills our hearts and eases our minds. Jesus is in very deed “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).

"We give our sure witness that Jesus is the Christ. Though He was crucified, He rose triumphant from the tomb to our everlasting blessing and benefit. To each member of the human family He stands as our Advocate, our Savior, and our Friend."

Friday, April 10, 2009

Police Beat #36

Happy Good Friday! Really!

April 1: An April Fools’ joke turned mischievous when an R.A. opened his door in Merrill Hall to have garbage fall on his head. The door was plastic wrapped and duct-taped so when the door was opened the garbage fell.

(Comment: And this was reported to the police because...??? Maybe because it was a misuse of the miraculous product known as duct-tape.)

April 1: A female employee said when she tried to park, a Lexus driver blocked her car and made an obscene gesture before he drove off. When she returned that afternoon, she found her car vandalized with shaving cream.

(Comment: Those pranks always come back to bite you in the obscene gesture.)

March 31: A student is suspected of leaving a professor harassing and threatening phone calls.

(Comment: For example, "Tell me what those test questions are or else I will report you to standards for having facial hair!")

April 4: Three intoxicated males were found in the Wilkinson Student Center. One was asked to leave and the other two were taken to their residences.

(Comment: Relatives of general authorities always seem to get treated better than the rest of us schmoes.)

April 5: An abandoned golf cart belonging to BYU was suspected to have been used for joyriding.

(Comment: Yet another example of those MBA students gone wild!)

Scripture of the Day: D&C 130:18

Thursday, April 9, 2009

More Random Happenings

Here's some more random happenings from my life...

My kids keep getting candy thrown to them by the UPS guy. Every time he comes down the street in his big brown delivery truck they run to the front yard and then he tosses candy out to them as he goes by. I am torn by this because I don't know who this guy is and I wonder if it is against company policy. The first time it happened they ate the candy before telling me (yes, I have trained them so well in matters of safety). Nothing has ever been bad about the candy... but, it still makes me slightly nervous.

I am hosting Easter dinner at my house on Sunday. Since my mom is a CPA and is buried in tax returns right now I decided to show some mercy.

Today I went to the 50th anniversary party for the company for which I work. They gave out jerseys to all the employees. Also, they played a jeopardy game and one of the answers to the game was ME! They asked which employee recently published a children's book. Technically it is not a children's book, but still I was surprised they threw that one in there.

I have a strange bump behind my left ear. Not sure what it is. Maybe it is a zit, but I have never has a zit behind my ear before. On my ear, yes. But never behind.

My MIL gave us a Roku box that has a wireless connection from the TV to the computer. It lets us upload free movies from our Netflix account to watch on demand. The kids and my DH have been watching waaaaay too much TV ever since it was installed. I may need to put it in check soon if this continues.

Tomorrow is April break for the kids. I have no plans for them yet. Not sure I want to make any plans either. I am kind of feeling blah about it.

Scripture of the Day: 1 Peter 1:3

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Easter Basket Goodies

There is a great little article in the Ensign this month with suggestions of religious items to include in kid Easter baskets. Some of the items listed include:

1. Mini hymnal or Primary Songbook
2. New ERA poster cards
3. CTR rings
4. Red scripture-marking pencils or highlighters
5. Picture of the Savior

I like this idea a lot and have been brainstorming to add to the list. Here is what I have so far:

- Church-related stickers
- Charms for a bracelet/necklace like these
- DVD of the church movie Easter Dream
- A tie (rolled up into an egg maybe)
- A storybook of the resurrection
- Consecrated oil container/keychain
- Book mark for scriptures
- A framed picture of the temple or of your family
- CD of music from MoTab or other uplifting group
- A written version of your testimony of the Savior

I also like the idea of printing out some scriptures on paper and putting them inside eggs with the candy (which reminds me of this post I wrote last year for an Easter morning scripture study). You could also use pictures of the Savior and make a sacrament picture book, too.

If you have additional ideas to make Easter baskets more special be sure to leave it in a comment!

Scripture of the Day: Alma 40:2-3

Monday, April 6, 2009

Year of Miracles #50

This past week I had an immediate answer to prayer. I had lost an exercise DVD I wanted to use. I looked all over for it--even cleaned off my computer desk trying to find it (I often play it on my laptop when the TV is being used by the kids). After an hour of trying to find it I prayed for help. Less than 10 minutes later I had an idea come to mind that it might be with the computer games. And that is exactly where I found it!

Scripture of the Day: 2 Nephi 9:13

General Conference Topline Report (part 5)

Sunday PM Session

Speaker 1: Dallin H. Oaks
The LDS people are unique in the extent of service they provide (both missionary and temple work) and in their ability to work together through effective organization. The Lord requires sacrifice and service of His people. A willingness to sacrifice comes from faith in Jesus Christ, inspired teachings, and commitment to covenants. We should follow the Lord's standards rather than the selfishness of the world. There is selfishness in "every trendy action of the world", including in forms of entitlement and gambling. This life is about what we can become. We are happier when we give, not when we get.

Speaker 2: David A. Bednar
A friend of Elder Bednar gave him advice when he first became a stake president: he said he wished he had been a temple worker before being stake president. As a result, Elder Bednar made the temple the focus of his ministry as a stake president. The divine purpose of gathering the saints is to build temples. Our eternal goal does not end at baptism, but rather goes on to the temple. In the ordinances of the temple we more fully take upon ourselves the name of Christ. But there is a difference between those who regularly worship in the temple and those who rush to get a session in out of obligation. We should study repeatedly the lessons taught in the temple.

Speaker 3: Gary E. Stevenson
(Of the Seventy)
"You are never lost when you can see the temple." The temple provides direction and is an eternal guidepost. As we touch the temple, the temple will touch us. It is the most holy place on earth. Our homes should be just as holy. President Stevenson then took us on a "virtual tour" of our own home and asked if it needed any improvements to become more like the temple. There is a righteous unity between the temple and the home.

Speaker 4: Jose A. Teixeira
(Of the Seventy)
We need to understand the atonement to understand our part in the Plan of Salvation. We are given spiritual gifts to help us in our mortal experience, especially the gift of agency. Heavenly Father trusts us and will never force us to choose the right. Just like a GPS device, we have been given a conscience, the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and the gift of faith to help use make right choices that will prevent us from getting lost.

Speaker 5: F. Michael Watson
(Of the Seventy)
The wisdom of those who have gone before us can help us return if we are willing to give them the reigns. In searching the scriptures there is a pattern that often occurs: a question is asked, the answer is given, and a promise is extended. For example, Psalms 24:3-5 is an example of this pattern. Latter-day prophets have also followed this pattern of teaching. Elder Watson then reviewed the powerful teachings of the last seven prophets he has had the ability to work with in his lifetime.

Speaker 6: L. Tom Perry
Elder Perry's talk was about missionary work. The D&C teaches three important principles regarding member missionary work: 1. (D&C 8:81) Members to do a better part of finding people for the missionaries to teach. Too often missionaries are wasting their time trying to find investigators. Members need to "step up to a job that is rightfully ours." 2. (D&C 33:7-10) We need to open our mouths. The three things we should say when opening our mouths include declaring a belief in Jesus Christ and the atonement, tell about the first vision, and testify of the Book of Mormon. 3. (D&C 18:15-16) We will receive joy when we have helped others return to our Heavenly Father.

Speaker 7: Thomas S. Monson
President Monson urged us to study, ponder, and apply the messages we have been taught during this conference. We need to strive to live closer to the Lord. We should express our love to our children more often. He then gave a strong word of caution regarding Internet usage, expecially in relation to pornography addiction (including cell phone images). "Do not be trapped by this." We should go to the temple where we can give great service to others and we "literally become Saviors on Mount Zion." He expressed the desire that our "homes be full of harmony and love."

Sunday, April 5, 2009

General Conference Topline Report (part 4)

Sunday AM Session

Speaker 1: Dieter F. Uchdorf
President Uchdorf's talk focused on the Easter theme of the Savior and becoming a disciple. "Christ came to earth, lived a perfect life, atoned for our sins, and conquered death." His example is the way of discipleship, even during times of peril, sorrow, or adversity. Although the world continuously offers solutions that fail to work, the gospel of Jesus Christ has the answers to our problems and "unlocks the door to true happiness." A disciple stays with it; "we do not earn eternal life in a sprint." Rather, it is a "race of endurance." Discipleship is not a spectator sport. We need to be humble, pray to Him, and serve others.

Speaker 2: Neil L. Andersen
Elder Andersen began by expressing love for President Monson and humility at being called as the newest apostle. He has seen the power of God at work among the saints around the world. He expressed deep respect for the men of the Seventy and testified that they are anointed of God. The latter days are a wonderful time to be on earth. The restoration offers light to the world, a standard to the world, and messengers of truth. There are many pioneers around the world today who do not shrink from the message of the restored gospel.

Speaker 3: Steven E. Snow
(Of the Seventy)
Change was the topic of Elder Snow's talk. Change is an essential part of life's experience. To handle change well we should: 1. Follow the prophets (they warn and council us); 2. Keep an eternal perspective (change is part of the eternal plan); 3. Have faith (do not let fear and dread enter your heart); and 4. Be of good cheer (laugh instead of groaning as Elder Wirthlin counseled).

Speaker 4: Sister Thompson
(Of the RS General Presidency)
Sister Thompson reviewed three major points given at last fall's genera Relief Society broadcast: 1. We need to increase our faith and know we are children of Heavenly Father; 2. We should strengthen home and family through the use of scripture study, FHE, and family prayer; and 3. We should serve the Lord and His children--there are opportunities everywhere.

Speaker 5: Jeffrey R. Holland
President Holland addressed his talk to those who are alone, feel alone, or those who feel abandoned--which is all of us at one time or another. He walked through the last days of the Savior's ministry as gradually the Savior was abandoned by all of his "supporting circle." The most difficult moment was the concluding descent of divine withdrawal where even our Heavenly Father had to leave the Savior alone. This was required so the Son would be able experience the pain felt by those who would suffer from spiritual death. "This Easter week, stand by Christ. For surely that is how He stands by us."

Speaker 6: Thomas S. Monson
Although the many difficulties facing our society could make it easy to be frustrated or discouraged, we should not dwell on that which is wrong. Focus instead on our blessings. President Monson then related the examples of three people who, despite great challenges, showed gratitude for being a part of the restored gospel. "The future is as bright as your faith."

Saturday, April 4, 2009

General Conference Topline Report (part 3)

I did not attend the Priesthood session of conference today. Nor was I able to talk my DH into taking notes for me :-p. But here is a good summary if you really need one. Many thanks to BCC.

General Conference Topline Report (part 2)

Saturday PM Session

During this session new Sunday School and YM presidencies were called. For the Sunday School it was Oscarthorpe (P), McConkie (1C), and Richardson (2C). And in the YM it was Beck (P), Gibson (1C), and Quintanna (2C).

Speaker 1: M. Russell Ballard
President Ballard described his talk as an "important message" for the youth of the Church. "When you are willing to listen and learn, some of life's teachers can help guide you." He discussed the importance of being willing to learn from others' experiences, as well as from the past. The cyclical nature of righteousness/wickedness as seen in the Book of Mormon can easily be seen in modern society as well. The youth will have to decide for themselves if they will ignore the past or try to learn from the "noble example" of the "faithful followers of Christ." There is no new technology that will help one to gain a testimony of the gospel.

Speaker 2: Quentin L. Cook
Faith in the gospel was the topic of President Cook's talk. He focused on two aspects of faith: 1. stumbling blocks to faith (a. inaccurate media reports; b. the teaching of incorrect principles, such as the belief in no modern revelation; and c. the juxtaposed views of a loving Heavenly Father and the belief that most mankind is doomed to an eternity of hell) and 2. Heavenly Father's plan is big enough for all of mankind. We should not judge others, especially family members.

Speaker 3: Kevin W. Pearson
(Of the Seventy)
Elder Pearson spoke on having faith in Jesus Christ; "there is never a greater need for faith." To have faith is to have confidence in someone or something. Our faith should be centered in Jesus Christ. Faith increases as our personal righteousness increases; we must continually strive to build our faith. Our NET (total) amount of faith can be viewed as our faith minus all our doubts and disbelief. There are 6 Ds that can "erode and destroy" our faith: 1. Doubt; 2. Discouragement; 3. Distraction; 4. lack of Diligence; 5. Disobedience; and 6. Disbelief. We must choose to live by faith and not by fear.

Speaker 4: Rafael E. Pino
(Of the Seventy)
Elder Pino told a story of a friend whose 3-year old daughter drowned in an accident. The friend was greatly comforted by the thought that his children were born under the covenant. The family became more determined than ever to endure to the end to be worthy to be with this daughter again. "When adversity arises in our lives, the only true source of comfort is in the Lord." Times of adversity are when we should most show loyalty to God and our willingness to follow Him. Adversity enables us to better understand the Savior's atonement.

Speaker 5: Richard G. Scott
These latter days have brought increased access to the temple for most people in the world. Those who live in the "shadow of the temple" need to set specific goals for temple attendance. We should not let things get in the way of the goals we set in regard to the temple. President Scott gave the following suggestions in relation to temple attendance:
1. Strive to participate in all of the different ordinances regularly
2. Seek to understand the doctrines taught in the temple, especially the atonement
3. Express gratitude for temple blessings in your prayers
4. Schedule regular visits to the temple
5. Remove your watch when in the temple
6. Listen carefully to each element of the ordinances
7. Pray for the person for whom the ordinance is being completed
President Scott then related the main reasons the temple is meaningful to him is that he had two children die in infancy, who were born in the covenant. Also, his wife has been deceased for 14 years now.

Speaker 6: Russell M. Nelson
The Lord's Prayer and other prayers cited in the scriptures give great insight into how we should pray to our Heavenly Father. All open with a salutation to the Father. "Hallowed be thy name" is a reference of respect for our Heavenly Father. Closing with "amen" signifies our affirmation or agreement with the words of the prayer. "If we really care for others we should pray for them." We should pray for the companionship of the Holy Ghost and its vital force for good. Things that enhance our prayers include 1. the song of the righteous; 2. fasting (but not too often/too much); and 3. formal language (thee, thy, thine, etc.). Public prayers should be brief.

General Conference Topline Report

Saturday AM Session

Speaker 1: President Thomas S. Monson

Called Neil L. Andersen to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and asked for a sustaining vote.
Briefly summarized some of the broad improvements the Church is seeing, including temple dedications ("There is something about a temple dedication that prompts a reevaluation of one's own performance."), 53,000 missionaries serving, and the success of the PEF. President Monson thanked us for our prayers for him and encouraged members to "have a renewed determination to live the gospel."

Speaker 2: Robert D. Hales
President Hales' addressed the "vital lessons" that come from economic adversity, as well as those who have lost agency due to poor past choices (i.e., through addictions). He encouraged us to become "Provident Providers", which are those who provide while following the principles of Provident Living. He gave two personal examples of learning principles of provident living, emphasizing the need to look at the "temporary" vs. "eternal value" of choices.

Speaker 3: Margaret S. Lifferth
(of the Primary General Presidency)
Sister Lifferth discussed the great need to nourish the souls of our children with the "living word" and "water." To truly feed His lambs we have to cultivate respect for each other and reverence for God. "Reverence for God is strengthened as we learn to respect others." Adults need to set the example to help teach reverence and respect to children. Numerous suggestions for helping to encourage reverence at church were provided by Sister Lifferth.

Speaker 4: Michael A. Neider
(of the YM General Presidency)
Brother Neider began by praising the addition of virtue to the YW general theme and emphasized that sisters should not be "the only example of virtue" in the Church. Then he went on to teach the young men about the importance of quorums. "A quorum is a class, a brotherhood, and a service unit." Bishops were encouraged to utilize YM/YW class presidencies in striving to reach ward goals.

Speaker 5: Allan F. Packer
(of the Seventy)
President Packer emphasized the need to build our testimonies on bedrock during these challenging times and outlined the steps needed to become truly converted: 1. Have the desire; 2. Study; and 3. Ask through prayer for a testimony. Our "capacity to receive personal inspiration will be necessary in coming days."

Speaker 6: D. Todd Christofferson
Elder Christofferson emphasized the need for strong Christians who can "defend against moral relativism and militant atheism." Divine covenants make for strong Christians. By honoring our covenants with the Lord we can 1. receive empowering blessings; 2. have the faith to perservere; and 3. be bestowed with divine power.

Speaker 7: Henry B. Eyring
The one common challenge we will all experience in this earth experience is adversity. Adversity can bring fear and anger and can even shake our faith. The purpose of his talk was "to assure us that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ live and love all humanity." Trials will educate us, help us to be truly penitent, and will purify us. As we rely on the Atonement of the Savior we will have the strength to endure through adversity.

Friday, April 3, 2009

New Giveaway Opportunity

Just a quick note to let you know there is a new giveaway of my book that started today on the Family Home Evening Blog! Head on over there and get yourself entered--you know you want to ;-).

Police Beat #35

Welcome Friday! Hope your day is great!

March 24: A female employee at the Taylor Building reported receiving more than 20 rude phone calls on the same day from someone wanting to talk to the social service director. The employee said she traced the call back to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center.

(Comment: The mental ward at UVRMC really should not be letting patients use the phone.)

March 24: A secretary in the SWKT found a suspicious envelope in the mail. The envelope was covered in nonsense writing in magic marker and contained a newspaper article.

(Comment: The article was probably about the evils of magic marker sniffing.)

March 24: Police responded to a report of two male students climbing the wall on the west side of the law library. The suspects told the officer they were parkouring, or trying to move from point to point as easily and quickly as possible. The officer told the students the activity is not allowed on campus.

(Comment: Don't the police know parkouring is what every student running late to class does? How are they going to prevent it?)

March 24: A bag containing a camera and accessories worth $1,500 was stolen from an unlocked drawer in an unlocked office in Creative Services at the BYU Bookstore sometime between March 17 and 20.

(Comment: The thief performed some creative service to steal it without being known for possibly more than three days! Impressive!)

March 26: An employee at the traffic booth on South Campus Drive reported people taking traffic cones and getting into a truck. Police stopped the truck and found traffic cones labeled ‘BYU Police’ visible in the backseat. The driver admitted to taking the cones to put on a friend’s car. Three females, including a BYU student, a UVU student and a visiting friend, were issued citations for theft. The nine traffic cones were valued at $135.

(Comment: Doesn't that sound like the beginning of a joke? "A BYU student, a UVU student, and a visiting friend were stealing traffic cones...")

Scripture of the Day: Alma 27:28

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Easter Pics

Many thanks to OneHM for the cute pics she took of my kiddos last week. Here are a few of my favorites. I was conservative this year on Easter clothes. Kitty is not a fan of girly dresses and refuses to wear matching ones with Sweetie Peach (much to my chagrin). So instead of buying dresses I looked for skirts that semi matched. For the pictures, though, I just went with white shirts and jeans. Quick, easy, and cheap.

Scripture of the Day: Mosiah 15:20-22

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

New Month, New Theme

April has arrived! Time for a new theme and I can't help but choose Easter. I have to admit it is one of my favorite holidays because of the religious significance. I have not been asked this year or last, but for five years I had the opportunity to work as the research director for the Easter Pageant here at the Mesa temple. It was an experience I will always be grateful for because I learned so much and really felt the spirit of the siginificance of Christ's resurrection.

The pageant itself is wonderful, the largest of all the LDS pageants (even Hill Cumorah!). And the volunteer leaders who put so much time and effort into it (for over 6 months per year) do such a fabulous job. If you have not been recently, I highly suggest you go again soon. Here is their website with this year's dates and times. I think I will be heading down there tomorrow night since my brother and his family are in town from Denver. Feel free to join us!

Scripture of the Day: Helaman 14:15