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Friday, March 30, 2012

Getting the Most out of General Conference

Yea! One of my favorite times of the year is here - General Conference weekend! I love to listen to the words of the Prophets. I saw this great article on LDS.org and thought I would share it. The link is here.

Getting the Most out of General Conference
Here are some tips to try before, during, and after conference.

General conference is coming soon, so now’s the time to start preparing to hear and benefit from the inspired messages given by prophets, apostles, and other Church leaders.

Before Conference

Make conference more personal by reviewing the names and faces of the General Authorities so you’ll recognize them and be ready to hear their messages. (You can find the photos in conference issues of the Ensign or Liahona and here.)

Make a list of questions or concerns you would like help with. Ponder and pray about your list, asking to receive guidance during conference. You could also study related scriptures.

Have note-taking materials and your scriptures ready.

Get a good night’s sleep so you can be alert and awake for general conference.

During Conference

Attend, watch, or listen to all the sessions of conference. Focus just on conference rather than trying to do other activities at the same time.

Listen carefully and intently. Be especially ready to receive answers to your questions—whether your answers come from talks, prayers, songs, or promptings from the Spirit.

If you decide to take notes, keep them short and simple so you can pay close attention to the speaker and to the Spirit. Consider writing down what the Spirit teaches you or some specific things we are counseled to do, not just the exact words of the conference speakers.

Sing the congregational hymns, even if you watch or listen to conference at home.

After Conference

Pray to give thanks for the counsel and inspiration you received.

Study the conference talks again. They are posted in text, audio, and video formats at conference.lds.org within days after conference. Study the messages on your own or with your family and friends. If you are unable to listen to all sessions of conference, be sure to study what you missed.

Use your notes to help set personal goals to act on what you’ve learned or what you’ve been prompted to do.

Follow the prophets by obeying their counsel.

Conference Videos for Youth

Did you know that youth.lds.orghttps://www.lds.org/youth?lang=eng posts short conference video clips meant specifically for the lives of youth? Find them here.

Study, Ponder, and Apply

“Remember that the messages we have heard during … conference will be printed in the May [and November] issues of the Ensign and Liahona magazines. I urge you to study the messages, to ponder their teachings, and then to apply them in your life” (Thomas S. Monson, “A Word at Closing,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2010, 113).

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Individual Responsibility to Prepare

I've been in an organizing mood lately. I've been organizing drawers, closets and shelves - every nook and cranny in my house and garage. I've been donating and throwing away lots of things - it's a great feeling!

While I was going through important paperwork I've been saving, I found this letter from our Stake Presidency we received a few years ago. I thought I'd share it.
Dear Brothers and Sisters of the Meridian Stake:

We have an individual responsibility to prepare. Proverbs 22:3 says, "A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it."

Our Prophets have been telling us to prepare since the Church was organized. Preparation does not negate trust, and likewise does not justify procrastination. Faith in God's providence is never a good pretense for failing to use our heads. We should trust God to give us the resources we need to live in this world, but we must remember that among those resources is the ability to see what is coming and to prepare accordingly. Common sense is a good thing, and if "all good things come down from the Father of Light," then even commons sense is of divine origin. If we truly trust in God, we will use well the resources He has given us, which means putting common sense into practice to the fullest possible extent. Common sense tells us that the only way you and I can be ready for any crisis is through advanced preparation.

Doctrine and Covenants 38: 30 tells us: "If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear."

President Hinckley has recently told us to get our house in order. That has been interpreted to apply specifically in three areas:

1. Build a personal relationship with God.
2. Get out of debt and have a cash reserve.
3. Have on hand a supply of food and other supplies.

1. To build a personal relationship with God requires us to do the things he has asked us to do. Attend church, pray often, study the scriptures, teach our family the gospel principles, and otherwise be obedient to what we are taught to do. We need to do the things that will strengthen our personal testimony.

2. To get out of debt requires discipline. A wise man once said that "It is not the high cost of living that hurt us, it is the cost of high living." We need to begin immediately to live within our means, get out of debt and to accumulate enough cash reserves to help us get by for a while in the event that we lose our main source of income. You cannot rely on the church to satisfy your debts.

3. We need to accumulate a reserve of food and other supplies to sustain us for a time in the event of disaster. This has been interpreted to mean grains, milk, solids, oils, water, and other supplies, such as soap, toilet paper, first aid supplies, and other things necessary to sustain life in the event disaster interrupts your personal supply of goods. This might include fuel to cook with and a way to sustain heat in the event that problems occur in winter. The brethren have recommended a years supply, where possible.

In addition, we recommend that you have a family disaster plan. Teach your children where to go and what to do in the event of fire, earthquake, or other natural disaster. It is important not only that your family knows how to get out of your house in the event of fire or severe weather, but where to meet up if conditions prevent you from returning to your home.

In January 1999, President Faust said:
"It is my testimony that we are facing difficult times. We must be courageously obedient. My witness is that we will be called upon to prove our spiritual stamina, for the days ahead will be filled with affliction and difficulty. But with the assuring comfort of a personal relationship with God, we will be given a calming courage. From the Divine so near we will receive the quiet assurance:
"My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; .... and then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes" (D&C 121: 7-8)."

The Lord loves us. For this reason he has given us prophets to guide us. It is our responsibility to listen. It is our prayer that each of you will give this prayerful thought and comply with what our prophets have told us to do.

The Meridian Stake Presidency

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

20 Minutes A Day



It wasn't until I started to read the Book of Mormon daily that I found the true value of it.

I found out the promise from President Gordon B. Hinckley is true:

Brothers and sisters, without reservation I promise you that if you will prayerfully read the Book of Mormon, regardless of how many times you previously have read it, there will come into your hearts an added measure of the Spirit of the Lord. There will come a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to his commandments, and there will come a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God.

This past weekend my mother was here visiting. She struggles with her membership in the church. I know she believes it, but struggles with attendance and a true testimony of the church.

I get frustrated with her. I told her that she needs to have a 20 minute devotional of reading the scriptures daily and praying. These are the key things to our religion that we do.

She doesn't understand the promise of reading the Book of Mormon daily. She has never experienced "the added measure of the Spirit of the Lord that will come into your life".

She told me that she doesn't understand it. It's too hard to read. She can't do it.

I told her it didn't matter that she doesn't understand it right now. You just need to start reading it every day. Read it out loud if you need to. Everyday for 20 minutes after saying a prayer for understanding - read it. Page after page, until it becomes a habit and understanding fills your heart. It takes a while to understand the language of the scriptures. But if you don't start, you will never come to an understanding of the scripture "language".

After a month of consistent reading, you will feel a Spirit of peace, the Spirit of the Lord fill your life.

I can't explain the truth of this to someone who hasn't experienced it in their own life. Having the Spirit with you so strong and the peace that comes into your life is the "power" of the Book of Mormon. I've read it many times since the first time I struggled reading it. But, I had a goal and I kept reading it day by day and then it happened, I started to enjoy it and the Spirit entered my life.

I LOVE the feeling that comes when I read the Book of Mormon. I want that Spirit with me everyday, and that is why I continue to read it daily. My life turned from chaos to peace. My home went from turmoil to peace. My life became happier and peaceful.

I know that Book of Mormon is true. I have felt the witness of it's truthfulness.

I hope my mom will start reading the Book of Mormon daily.

Over the weekend she stayed in a hotel with my cousin Mary. Mary reads a daily devotional from a book from Joel Osteen. I do love Brother Osteen, I love his positive messages.

But, I'm sad that we have a book of scripture from Heavenly Father that she won't read. She doesn't believe it - because she hasn't read it. If she did, I know she would feel the Spirit of Peace in her life.
I'm glad Mary is having a daily devotional to center herself and bring a positive spirit into her life.

However, the Heavens are open, we have a living prophet and we can have the blessings of the Spirit in our life if we pray and read the Book of Mormon daily. A greater peace in our life through this holy book.

It is really sad to me that every Latter-Day Saint doesn't take time daily to do the basic things to strengthen us and bring us closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. 

It strengthens me when I read the Book of Mormon daily and I know it will strengthen others if they do these basic things each day.  

"There will come a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to his commandments, and there will come a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God"

Dreams


“God is eagerly waiting for the chance to answer your prayers and fulfill your dreams, just as he always has.

But he can't if you don't pray, and he can't if you don't dream. In short, he can't if you don't believe.”

― Jeffrey R. Holland                   

Monday, March 19, 2012

Motivational Monday: "Stand In Holy Places"

Evolving at a rapid rate has been the moral compass of society. Behaviors which once were considered inappropriate and immoral are now not only tolerated but also viewed by ever so many as acceptable.

I recently read in the Wall Street Journal an article by Jonathan Sacks, Britain’s chief rabbi. Among other things, he writes: “In virtually every Western society in the 1960s there was a moral revolution, an abandonment of its entire traditional ethic of self-restraint. All you need, sang the Beatles, is love. The Judeo-Christian moral code was jettisoned (jettisoned def: reject, discard or abandon) something. In its place came [the adage]: [Do] whatever works for you. The Ten Commandments were rewritten as the "Ten Creative Suggestions.”

Rabbi Sacks goes on to lament:

“We have been spending our moral capital with the same reckless abandon that we have been spending our financial capital. …

“There are large parts of [the world] where religion is a thing of the past and there is no counter-voice to the culture of buy it, spend it, wear it, flaunt it, because you’re worth it. The message is that morality is passé, conscience is for wimps, and the single overriding command is ‘Thou shalt not be found out.’”

My brothers and sisters, this—unfortunately—describes much of the world around us. Do we wring our hands in despair and wonder how we’ll ever survive in such a world? No. Indeed, we have in our lives the gospel of Jesus Christ, and we know that morality is not passé, that our conscience is there to guide us, and that we are responsible for our actions.

Although the world has changed, the laws of God remain constant. They have not changed; they will not change. The Ten Commandments are just that—commandments. They are not suggestions. They are every bit as requisite today as they were when God gave them to the children of Israel. If we but listen, we hear the echo of God’s voice, speaking to us here and now:
“Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image. …
“Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. …
“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. …
“Honour thy father and thy mother. …
“Thou shalt not kill.
“Thou shalt not commit adultery.
“Thou shalt not steal.
“Thou shalt not bear false witness. …
“Thou shalt not covet.”
Our code of conduct is definitive; it is not negotiable. It is found not only in the Ten Commandments but also in the Sermon on the Mount, given to us by the Savior when He walked upon the earth. It is found throughout His teachings. It is found in the words of modern revelation.

Our Father in Heaven is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The prophet Mormon tells us that God is “unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity.” In this world where nearly everything seems to be changing, His constancy is something on which we can rely, an anchor to which we can hold fast and be safe, lest we be swept away into uncharted waters.

It may appear to you at times that those out in the world are having much more fun than you are. Some of you may feel restricted by the code of conduct to which we in the Church adhere. My brothers and sisters, I declare to you, however, that there is nothing which can bring more joy into our lives or more peace to our souls than the Spirit which can come to us as we follow the Savior and keep the commandments.
We must be vigilant in a world which has moved so far from that which is spiritual. It is essential that we reject anything that does not conform to our standards, refusing in the process to surrender that which we desire most: eternal life in the kingdom of God. The storms will still beat at our doors from time to time, for they are an inescapable part of our existence in mortality. We, however, will be far better equipped to deal with them, to learn from them, and to overcome them if we have the gospel at our core and the love of the Savior in our hearts. The prophet Isaiah declared, “The work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.”
As a means of being in the world but not being of the world, it is necessary that we communicate with our Heavenly Father through prayer. He wants us to do so; He’ll answer our prayers. The Savior admonished us, as recorded in 3 Nephi 18, to “watch and pray always lest ye enter into temptation; for Satan desireth to have you. …

“Therefore ye must always pray unto the Father in my name;

“And whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you.”
My beloved brothers and sisters, communication with our Father in Heaven—including our prayers to Him and His inspiration to us—is necessary in order for us to weather the storms and trials of life. The Lord invites us, “Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me.” As we do so, we will feel His Spirit in our lives, providing us the desire and the courage to stand strong and firm in righteousness—to “stand … in holy places, and be not moved.”


What a promise! May such be our blessing, I sincerely pray in the sacred name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, amen.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

Top 'O the Morning to ya!
Brady has his GREEN on .... only it was a day early. Yes, he went to school on Friday dressed in green.
Brady was the GREEN MAN because he was giving his St. Patrick's Day Seminary Devotional.
I made green tinted sugar cookies, with green frosting and green sprinkles. Yummy!
I also put together a goodies bag for each of the kids in Brady's Seminary class.
The goodies bag contained: A Shamrock representing the "God Head" and a Pot 'O Gold with 10 pieces of chocolate gold in each. I also came up with this bag topper. This year I didn't have time to add the pipe cleaner pin to the goodies bag - oh well... It was still fun!
A quick look at our St. Patrick's Day decorations.
My favorite find was this cute leprechaun. I don't have a bunch of St. Patrick's Day decorations, but I do have a few. You can see more decorations on this previous St. Patrick's Day decoration blog here.
I am starting to LOVE subway tile art. I printed this one off of Eighteen25 blog here. I love free printables!
The coffee table decorations and my build a bear St. Patrick's Day costume.
AND the decorations on top of the cabinet that holds the piano music. I had a bunch of chocolate gold left over from putting together the goodies bags and put them here and there around the house. If only it was real!

AS soon as Brady wakes up, I will be making our traditional green shamrock pancakes for breakfast.
YUM!
May you have a fabulous St. Patrick's Day!

Who Came to the Musical?

Thursday, March 2nd our Young Men quorum came to see and support Brady in the play. They loved it!
 Brother Newby came with the Young Men because he is the Y/M's President.

Then on Saturday March 10th he came again and brought his wife Glenna.
 Glenna was Brady's piano teacher and Brother Newby has been our home teacher for years and years. Plus Glenna and I are visiting teaching partners.
We sure love them and call them family!
 Sorry the picture has Connie with closed eyes - shoot! I debated on posting it - but needed to.

Maurice, Brady's dad and his new wife, Connie came from Salt Lake City to see and support Brady's lead performance in the play. It was nice to meet his new wife Connie. I thought she was really nice.
(I was nice too - LOL).
 Maurice brought Brady's step brothers with him - Kyle and Porter.

Maurice and Connie stayed in a hotel but Kyle and Porter stayed with us.

I made chicken pot pie for all of them (even Maurice and his new wife) so they wouldn't have to purchase dinner when they arrived in Boise and before the show. It gave me a little time to get to know Connie. I approve of her and it's much better to get a long then not ... I chose the higher road.
Grandma Zoey came from Pocatello.

Others who came that I didn't get a picture of:
Aunt Chris
Taylor (cousin - my brother Lyle's daughter)
(Patrick and Gary on a trip to Canada - taken by Becky. I just had to add it to the post. Wonderful young men! I'm glad they came to the musical!)

My friend Becky came and she brought her college age son Gary and his friend Patrick along.

We didn't know if Gary and Patrick would like it.
BUT they LOVED it!!

Patrick said after the show, "I can't get this perma grin off my face".  I feel happy, just like I left a Disney show.

They were surprised at all the information the cast has to learn and memorize - the lines, song lyrics and dance steps. They were very impressed at the talent the High School kids had.

It was AWESOME! You definitely came away from the show feeling happy and just plain joyful!

I was very sad that Jason and Sharon couldn't make a performance. They had to work and couldn't get off .... they missed out. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Meridian High School's Spring Musical

This is a LONG post - sorry.
I enjoyed the musical and Brady did a great job! I am a very proud momma!

I attended every performance except Friday March 9th. Both casts did a wonderful job!

There were a few accidents through the performances:
1st night - one of the waiters who did acrobatics did a flip and fell right on another waiter. Everyone was OK.

2nd night: Dolly (Sylvia - Cast B) was coming down some stairs on stage and landed wrong or missed a step and fell to the floor. Her knee went out and hobbled off the stage. The audience knew it was serious. Cast A Dolly (Danielle) filled in for the rest of the first half of the show. Sylvia was able to finish the 2nd half, but we knew she was gritting her way through the performance and her leg was still hurting. Bravo for Sylvia for going on with the performance! She was awesome and Danielle was amazing to step right in and fill in! Apparently Sylvia's knee goes out quite often and her family knew the drill and rushed back stage to help her put it back in. But, it didn't slip back in like usual and it was quite the ordeal. I'm glad she was OK and able to continue on with the 2nd half and the rest of the performance nights.

3rd night, Cast A Dolly - Danielle's dress kept coming apart and falling off her. Luckily they have shorts and t-shirts under the costumes for quick changes off stage. She was professional and kept acting and singing as if nothing was wrong.

The second weekend was major accident free, but they did have a few issues with the soundtrack playing in the background for the songs - but the casts didn't miss a beat.
 Cast B: Barnaby Tucker played by Mark, Minnie Fay by Ashlee, Irene Malloy by Kaitlyn, and Cornelius Hackl by Brady.

Brady and Mark were awesome - such a great team! I loved every minute of their performances.
Mark or Barnaby was such a fun character: My favorite lines were "Holy Cabooses" and "I want to see the Whale". He totally cracked me up.

Brady completely stole the show - he was fascinating to watch. Very talented!

Of course I loved Ashlee and Kaitlyn too. Great team!

Lyrics to Put On Your Sunday Clothes:
Cornelius (Brady) singing

Out there
There's a world outside of Yonkers
Way
out there beyond this hick town, Barnaby
There's a slick town, Barnaby
Out there
Full of shine and full of sparkle

Close your eyes and see it glisten, Barnaby
Listen, Barnaby...

Put on your Sunday clothes, there's lots of world out there
Get out the brillantine and dime cigars
We're gonna find adventure in the evening air

Girls in white
In a perfumed night
Where the lights are bright as the stars!

Put on your Sunday clothes, we're gonna ride through town
In one of those new horsedrawn open cars

We'll see the shows
At Delmonico's
And we'll close the town in a whirl

And we won't come home until we've kissed a girl!
Yes, there was kissing involved.

Here is a cute story Brady posted on his Tumbler about kissing the girls:
Oh how leaving out a few details can make some moments sound very... interesting...
Without any detail of how the end of my day went.
I was dressing and undressing Kara a few times, and then we kissed… a few times. Not was it long after that I found myself kissing Kaitlyn.
With detail:
The girls for the play today were working with just about all their costumes today. They were required to do a quick change into their, “wedding dresses” for the last scene, and would need assistance getting into them properly and in a timely manner. Kara was on stand down for the first few runs, and then they switched cast, so instead of rehearsing with Kaitlyn like I should have been, I was rehearsing with Kara. Now don’t get fussy, they have clothing on underneath, shorts and a shirt. I probably helped Kara put on her dress two or three times. Then for the finale, we have to kiss, so I rehearsed with Kara twice, so that was 2 kisses for her and then rehearsed with Kaitlyn once.
Sorry, I just had to blog about it because when I realized how that part of my day was going, it was just to brilliant not to share with you guys.                             
Dolly by Sylvia and Vandergelder by Mason.

Mason was in both casts and he was gruff and perfect for the part. I loved him as Vandergelder.

Sylvia was loud enough to hear everything she said which I loved. She did such a great job too!

Hello Dolly! Well, Hello Dolly!
It's so nice to have you back where you belong
You're looking swell, Dolly,
We can tell, Dolly,
You're still glowin', you're still crowin'
You're still goin' strong.
We feel the room swayin'
For the band's playin'
One of your old fav'rite songs from 'way back when
I had to get a picture of Mark / Barnaby with his whale!
Cast A Cornelius Hackl was Connor. (Somehow I didn't get a picture of Brady in the extra outfit / rust shirt. I didn't particularly love Brady in that outfit - it made his hair look florescent rust/orange)
Dolly Levi by Danielle
Cast B Cornelius Hackl by Brady
Vandergelder by Mason
Cast A Cornelius Hackl by Connor and Irene Molloy by Kara

Lyrics to It Only Takes A Moment:
(sung by Cornelius)
It only takes a moment

Your heart knows in a moment
You will never be alone again
I held her for an instant
But my arms felt sure and strong
It only takes a moment
To be loved a whole life long...
Brady's best friends:
Kara and Danielle (Cast A Irene and Dolly)

Lyrics to Ribbons Down My Back:
sung by Irene Molly

I'll be wearing ribbons down my back this summer
Blue & Green and streaming in the yellow sky
So if someone special comes my way this summer
He might notice me passing by
 

And so I'll try to make it easier to find me
In the silliness of July
Because a breeze might stir a rainbow up behind me
That might happen to catch the gentleman's eye
And he might smile and take me by the hand

This summer
Making me recall how lovely love can be
And so I will proudly wear
Ribbons down my back
Shining in my hair
That he might notice me!

Brady and Sylvia

Also notice the profiles on the wall of each cast member. Brady's is the 8th one on the top in blue.
Normal Cast picture.
Crazy cast picture.



It was wonderful!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Motivational Monday: "Why To Garden and Preserve."

As President Kimball has said, “Preparedness, when properly pursued, is a way of life, not a sudden, spectacular program.”

Why is there so much emphasis on home gardening and production? These things are so time-consuming and troublesome. Hasn’t mass production proved to be cheaper and much more efficient?

There are several reasons. First, from the time that the early Saints moved West right down to the present, home production has been encouraged in the spirit of our knowing how to be self-reliant. The issue is not purely economics or preparation for emergencies, either; it reaches deeper into life than that. There are a great many satisfactions in self-reliance and provident living.

Second, although it may cost more in terms of time, effort, and sometimes even money to produce certain necessities, it is cheaper in the long run because it is the beginning of self-reliance and independence. It will enable us to help ourselves and our neighbors during times of trouble.

Third, these activities keep alive the skills necessary for our survival in times of emergency. By and large we are no longer an agrarian society that could turn back to the soil and begin right away to make a living for ourselves. Many, many beginners in home gardening, for example, can testify to that! Learning these skills once again is very reassuring, as well as satisfying.

Finally, President Kimball recently said, “I remember when the sisters used to say, ‘Well, but we could buy it at the store a lot cheaper than we can put it up.’ But that isn’t quite the answer, is it? … Because there will come a time when there isn’t any store.” (April 1974 Welfare Session.)

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