Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Process!

Derek wrote this about resolutions verses goals verses actually getting stuff done. He kindly agreed to let me post it here. That's how we roll. Happy New Year!! 

New Year/New Process
At this time of having a year anew we often decide to have resolutions. I want to share two concepts with you that every person should keep in mind as they develop resolutions. The first is focusing on the process and not the outcome, the second is developing healthy living skills.

Process not Outcome
When we think of resolutions we think of overarching abstract goals for what we want in the New Year, like, “I want to spend more time with family”, or “I want to lose weight”, or “I will be a better father/mother”, etc. These ideas while good are not specific enough to be of service in the day to day living that we are engaged in. These statements are all outcome statements, while you want a specific outcome the abstract outcome is neither specific nor is it enough to sustain change in the moment.

 Instead, focus on process. Process is to change the outcomes to specific behaviors I will engage in on a routine (daily, weekly, biweekly, etc.) basis.

Instead of “I want to spend more time with family” because it is too vague you would develop a set of habits that will increase the likelihood of spending more time with family. Some ideas include: “I will go to work a half hour early every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday so I can come home a half hour early to play a game with my children”, “I will turn off my cellphone and my computer while at home”, and “Every day will begin and end with family prayer”.

 These are just three ideas of process, your process goals should be things you can maintain and be built upon with increased goals. Notice I said a half hour early not an hour or two early and only three days a week not every day.

The idea is to begin with something attainable that you can feel good about as you achieve the process goals and then over time you can increase those goals. Each individual will have different process goals to work toward attaining their desired outcome. Imbedded in process is the belief that you do not need to be PERFECT, you focus on IMPROVEMENT. Even having family prayer in the morning and night one day is better than not at all and it begins the process of having prayer every morning and night, it may not be every day at the beginning but it will come as you PRACTICE.

Healthy Living Skills
As you plan your resolutions you can focus on developing skills of healthy living. Healthy Living Skills are contained in the five categories of living: Emotional, Mental, Relational, Financial and Spiritual. You must first take stock of where you are and then plan a program of improvement where your goal is to improve yourself in each of the five categories with plans for ways you can grow little by little.

Within the Emotional category you might resolve to attend a yoga class to increase your ability to relax and not get overstressed, or you can resolve to spend fifteen minutes a day engaged in meditation practices.
In the Mental category you will want to set a goal for improving your knowledge or mental abilities. One goal can be to take one college course or to memorize a scripture a week.

The Relational category can be focused on improving an individual relationship, like having a fifteen minute conversation with my wife every night to discuss her feelings or improving a relationship skill, like practicing “active listening skills” once a day.

Financial resolutions should be something small, not “pay off all my debts” but something similar to “track my income and expenditures”. The tracking can build into paying off debts little by little or increasing savings at an achievable rate.

Spiritual growth should be a focus of every person no matter what level of spirituality they are currently. These can be as simple as writing a daily gratitude journal and use those entries in my morning and night prayers, or just setting a goal to pray first thing in the morning.

The goal is to improve yourself in each of the five areas, and bringing in the process not outcome concept you will begin with an activity that is achievable and can help you grow. Choose to only do one thing better in each category, do not get overzealous and set high expectations of change.

So, as you plan for your new year, develop process oriented healthy living goals. As you do, you will find your resolutions are both easier to maintain and they can grow all year long. These goals then become habits and you can find yourself not failing at a huge resolution but overtime growing and becoming better.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Rejoice, Rejoice Emmanuel HAS Come!

I find that Christmas music is such an excellent form of expression during the season. I DO NOT mean trite songs such as Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer, fun though they may be.

No, I mean, that there is power in the notes, poetry and worship that is created through the music.

I can't eloquently express (despite multiple attempts at it) the depth or breadth of feelings, testimony and abundance of joy that attend during the Christmas season. It simply can not be expressed in mere words.

So, rather than continue blog silence while I try and fail to add anything of uplift to what is potentially the most wonderful and stressful, and expensive, and busy time of the year for us all, I think I'll share a bit here with words AND music. It's the only way I can think to adequately do the thing. I don't expect anyone to sit here and look/listen all the way through in one sitting, but if you can, great!!

Merry Christmas. I only posted three of the ones I WANT to post here, so perhaps I'll do another round soon. :)

What Child is This. by Lindsey Stirling

Child of the Night
By Holly Woolley
Of the night and hushed
Majesties of light.
Cool evening breeze
And single cry,
A mother’s tender arms
And eyes …
Unspoken grace adorns
Crude stable hay and
Humble cloth.
A King is born
In quiet manger
Without pretence
Or display …
No jeweled crown
Nor fame is found
In lighted
And whisper
Of a father’s tender
Murmur of His name,
The morning breaks
In quiet sigh and fame;
A dark and sleeping
World awakes
To never be
The same.

Jospeh's Lullaby by MercyMe

Joseph, By Gilbert Thomas

Who has not carolled Mary
   and who her praise would dim?
But what of humble Joseph
   is there no song for him?

If Joseph had not driven
   straight nails through honest wood;
If Joseph had no cherished
   his Mary as he should;

If Joseph had not proved him
   a sire both kind and wise
Would he have drawn with favour
   the Child's all-probing eyes?

Would Christ have prayed "Our Father",
   or cried that Name in death
Unless he first had honoured
   Joseph of Nazareth?

O Come O Come Emmanuel, David Crowder Band 

O Come O Come Emmanuel"

O come o come emmanuel
And ransom captive israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the son of god appears

Rejoice rejoice
Emmanuel shall come to thee oh israel

Oh come thou day-spring come and cheer
Our spirits by thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death's dark shadows put to flight

Rejoice rejoice
Emmanuel shall come to thee oh israel

Oh come desire of nations bind
In one the hearts of all mankind
Bid thou our sad divisions cease
And be thyself our king of peace

Rejoice rejoice
Emmanuel shall come to thee oh israel

Rejoice rejoice
Emmanuel has come
Rejoice rejoice
Emmanuel has come

Rejoice rejoice
Emmanuel has come
He has come
He has come

O come o come emmanuel
And ransom captive israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the son of god appear

Rejoice rejoice
Emmanuel shall come to thee oh israel

He's coming towards us now
He's coming towards us now
He's coming towards us now
He always will

Monday, November 18, 2013

You Are Loved

So, I've become a bit of an insomniac, not by choice, but a combination of a non-sleeping through the night toddler, among other things really puts a damper on my sleeping. Therefore, rather than sleep, I think,

It's tiring. :)

Recently, I was up and down all night with various sick children, and was thinking as I medicated, rocked and soothed, how a parental love is a type and symbol of God's love for His children.

It's imperfect, the love parent has a for child, but it's still to teach us, to draw us nearer to the love that our Heavenly Parents have for us.

There have been quiet (or not so quiet moments) when I've felt that my heart would burst for the love I have for the small ones with whom I've been entrusted. Any parent can probably testify to the same or similiar experience. The love for your child can cause an actual, physical ache and pain in your body.

Then, magnify that feeling by an infinite amount, and bam, you've got God's love for you.

Not just for "His children" in a very vague general billions and billions over the eons, way.


God is so great, so all-knowing, so perfect and infinite that you are loved NOW, as you are, today, and always, individually, specifically and wholly.

In Exodus, Jehovah tells Moses, "“I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight” (Ex. 33:12)

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said,


Even if you have forgotten God, He has not forgotten you.

Can you even begin to imagine the amazing all-encompassing love that this is? I can't. All I can do it try every single day to be worthy of a love I do not deserve.

Amazingly enough, that is God asks of us. To try a little harder, every single day.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

If the Savior Stood Beside Me...

I'm the Primary Music Leader in our ward, and it's a wonderful amazing calling. I've learned SO much over the last nine months. One of the things I continue to be reminded of is the power and testimony that exist in sacred music.

Our Primary Program is in a few weeks so we've been hitting the songs particularly hard in preparation. One that isn't in the primary book but is included in this year's program is a song called "If the Savior Stood Beside Me" by Sally DeFord.

Throughout the year, I can't tell you how many times the words from this song have come back to remind me to be better.

If the Savior stood beside me
would I do the things I do?
Would of think of His commandments
and try harder to be true?
Would I follow His example?
Would I live more righteously
if i could see the Savior standing
nigh watching over me?

If the Savior stood beside me
would I say the things I say?
Would my words be true and kind
if He were never far away?
Would I try to share the gospel?
Would I speak more reverently
if I could see the Savior standing
nigh watching over me?

He is always near me
though I do not see him there.
And because He loves me dearly
I am in His watchful care.
So I'll be the kind of person
that I know I'd like to be
if I could see the Savior standing
nigh watching over me.

(see more verses HERE)

Over and over again, I fail at this. Over and over, I'd be utterly ashamed if I had Jesus at my side, when I'm unkind to my kids, when I fail to think before I speak, when I just make BAD choices.

My own personal behavior would be 110% different. My patience level would be raised, the tone of my voice would be lowered. I'd be far less likely to snap at a child or be short with my husband if Jesus was sitting on the couch, observing my days.

Al Fox Carraway (she's super cool, get to know her) recently posted a YouTube video about a day she carried a picture of Christ with her everywhere, not in her purse, not in her pocket, but in her hand. She said it made quite a difference in the way she thought and acted.

If I didn't have to wrangle 156 children everywhere I go, I'd do the same. Just to see.

( I can not for the life of me get this to embed! ARG!)

Here is the issue, friends, as true believers in Christ, we KNOW that he is INDEED watching our every move. Every sin and weakness that He paid the price for is on display for Him to see.
And that truth is on my mind a lot. The fact is that I'm a hypocrite, saying one thing and then doing another. Aren't we all?

Elder Uchtdorf said, "If you define hypocrite as someone who fails to live up perfectly to what he or she believes, then we are all hypocrites. None of us is quite as Christlike as we know we should be. But we earnestly desire to overcome our faults and the tendency to sin. With our heart and soul we yearn to become better with the help of the Atonement of Jesus Christ."

YES! We are. But, so long as we are EARNEST in our attempts, and desires to be better, then we are on the right path. So, even though Jesus sees and knows all that we do, more than Him being present here in our physical space, He is present in our minds and in our hearts. He knows what we are truly trying to be.

I know that this sweet little primary song teaches a true principle: that when we are striving to be as Jesus wishes us to be, we will be better, kinder, more patient, more gentle and meek. I promise you it's true.

Christ is in our lives and in the details of every single day.

So, keep trying friends to do and say the things you would if the Savior stood beside you.

Friday, November 1, 2013

A Rambling Post About What I Don't Know

Things have been quiet around here lately. I'm just kind of at a loss for words, everything I think to write in the middle of the night is forgotten by morning, silvery wisps I can't make solid. It's driving me crazy.

In the last few months, I've felt deeply, permanently that the Lord has changed me. He's changed my heart. It is so easy as a human person, to stagnate, stay the same, refuse (whether conciously or unconciously) to change. It's comfortable, clinging to our sins and weaknesses.

God doesn't want us to stay in our comfortable ungodliness though. He wants to burn all that away. He wants to exhalt us every single day.

And it's hard. And it hurts. And it's more fun, sometimes, to stay the same.

The thing is, God loves you and me, as we are, right now. Loving someone requires we accept them. God is the ultimate example of this. He loves us as we are, even when we are terribly disobedient.

But just as a parent hopes for their child, He has hopes and dreams for us and KNOWS we can accomplish them.

So, I've felt that pull to be better, be more, give more, think of myself less in the last months. My soul has begun to hunger (Enos 1:4) for a deeper understanding of my role on earth, my duty to the kingdom, my job, so to speak.

And I've found that when I let that change enter my heart, when I pull away from the sins I love so dearly, that I can more fully recognize my Father's hand in things, I see His face more clearly.

Much like a child running to a parent with a skinned knee from falling off a bike, I quickly find myself flinging towards my Parents in Heaven, desperate for refuge for a moment, before I head on back out, to keep trying, to keep learning, to keep moving forward.

I'm also having to learn to let go of some things I think I want. They aren't BAD things either. But I am learning to trust that whether THOSE things I want come to pass or not matters far less than the reality that no matter what, Heavenly Father has a plan.

So, I'm trying. And this whole book/blog project is a part of this whole thing. I can't explain it, I can't put it in words (which is why I've been struggling mightily with words lately), but I know that THIS is what the Father wants me to do. Even if it is solely for my own growth and development, so be it.

I'm trying.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Once Upon A Time

LDS Printables: General Conference
What are you doing to make your "Once Upon A Time" the very best that it can be?

A couple years ago, I was feeling the pinch that comes with being "just a stay at home mom". The kids were abundant, the money was tight, and so we decided to have me stop working and stay home. Up until that point I had always worked in one fashion or another, most recently running my own very successful business as a birth doula. 

I was sort of a fish out of water. I didn't know my purpose, beyond, you know, keeping everyone alive. I felt sort of stunted too. I was this PERSON who was no longer doing anything that in the eyes of the world equated value because my bank account registered zero. 

I was a bit a lost. 

So, I really had to soul-search, to find what it was that I wanted out of this new gig I'd been gifted. Yes, utmostly (is that a word?) I wanted happy, healthy, productive children. Of course. But there is more to it than just the kids. 

I wrote, as an answer, a personal Manifesto. It outlines what I believe I am, and what I believe I want to be doing with my life. 

I still look back and refer to it on occasion, though I remember it in detail. 

More importantly though, I'm living it. 

Do you have a manifesto? Whether written or implied, who are you? What do you want with your life? 

Are you living your manifesto? 

Are you learning and growing? 

My mother is SUCH an incredible example of someone who lives her "Once Upon A Time" while working for her "Happily Ever After:" As a child, I watched her learn, grow, and teach us the same. She taught herself Greek and Hebrew, she sewed, cooked meal after meal, served tirelessly in callings, at the schools, taxied us, and on and on. She was and is amazing at living her "Once Upon A Time" As we've grown and reluctantly left the nest, she has continued to make her life HERS, while living FOR CHRIST. 

It is a talent I try to develop. 

You only get this one chance. 

Just one. 

And yes, the days can be terribly boring, dirty, gritty and exhausting, no matter your chosen profession, but are you still seeking the good in all things? 

Don't ever stop reaching for light, growth, and to attempt to get a bit closer to that PERFECTION that Christ has in store for you. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

1 Peter Chapter 1

I really wanted to do a VLOG for this post, but there are three short people who are refusing to cooperate, so I give up! Written word it is.

In 1 Peter, chapter 1, it says, "Where ye greatly rejoice though now, for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ."  (1 Peter 1:6-7).

Then in verse 8:

This has been on my mind a lot lately, rejoicing THROUGH trials, difficulty, the things we have to GET through. None of us is exempt from trials or pain. None get the "get out of trials free" card in this life. We knew what we were getting in to, when we signed on.

Yet, sign on we did. For all the pain and sadness, we knew we'd find true joy. Just like the apostle Peter said, the TRIAL is precious because brings praise, honor and glory to Christ from us.

Trials are a form of sanctification.

Trials are holy.

Trials, in their awful, nitty, gritty, dirty, down low, painful, worldly, earthly, exhausting way, are holy.

At the end, Peter promises, "Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls." (1 Peter 1:9)

If we can view the things we are being tried with as HOLY, DIVINE promises of further grace, further light and knowledge, further growth spiritually, it allows us a greater, deeper patience.

More patience within, more patience in trial.

Because that refiner's fire is oh so hot, sometimes, we waste precious time and energy pulling away, refusing to participate more fully in our own refinement.

But Peter assures us that our souls are in the salvation process as we are tried, as each day we don't give up.

He sums it up beautifully in verses 13, "Wherefore, gird up the loins of your mind, be sober and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ."

We can't know the plans that the Lord has but we know He wants good to come to us, through Him.

So, let's go forward, girding our loins, fresh courage taking, determined to be better.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

How to Handle Bad Days

It's sort of a catch 22... be happy, be joyful, be grateful, be happy. I mean, we've got so many blessings!! We have no business being grumpy, or irritated, or tired, or headachy, or...

Except when we're grumpy, or irritated or tired or headachy or...

See, today? Today I'm not in the mood. I'm not in the mood to cook for the five ravenous children demanding to be fed.

I'm not in the mood to educate my children.

I'm not in the mood to do the dishes.

Or the laundry.

Or deal with the CONSTANT mini-battles that seem to define and shape the interactions of my children.


And I feel guilty about that.

I'd LIKE to want to.

I'm not actually sure WHY I don't want to.

But, I just know that I've already threatened to lock each and every one of my sons outside for the duration because of one reason or another.



Phew. I wish even that small tirade made me feel less like running away screaming.

It didn't.

I think we all have days when we just don't feel like doing the things we're supposed to do everyday.

Some days we feel less happy and thrilled with life than others.

It's normal. 

Thing is, I think the way we handle THESE kinds of days are the real test, ya know? How do you deal with the frustrations, the little challenges, the little tests? How can you rise above your own desires (TO BE LEFT ALONE) and serve the way we've been called to?

Here are some ways to deal with the days like this:

1. Pray. Pray for strength. Pray for a quiet heart. Pray that God will grant you the wisdom to get through a tough moment. There are times when I genuinely have to simply walk away from my children, go to my room, shut the door and hit my knees. In times when that isn't possible, a prayer heavenward in my mind can remind me of my purpose.

2. Change it up. Can you shake up your routine in any way? What can you do differently? Go for a walk? Put in the afternoon at the park? Make something untraditional for dinner? What can you do to make it all seem less frustating? Less monotonous?

3. Enlist help. I think sometimes, (not all the time) it is appropriate to share with your kids that you are having a rough day. It's okay to ask them for help, to ask them to be kinder and more patient with each other, because it will help YOU be kinder and more patient with them. I don't think there is harm in showing your children that you are human.

4. Work. The best cure for not wanting to work, is to get up and get to work. Work your frustrations out on that dirty counter, or the pile of laundry. Instead of loafing and wasting time, getting to work will allow you, despite your initial feelings, a great deal of satisfaction. You worked that frustration to your favor.

Gordan B. Hinckely said,“The best antidote I know for worry is work. The best cure for weariness is the challenge of helping someone who is even more tired. One of the great ironies of life is this: He or she who serves almost always benefits more than he or she who is served.”
― Gordon B. Hinckley, Standing for Something: 10 Neglected Virtues That Will Heal Our Hearts and Homes

5. Accept that every single day will not be sunshine and roses. It's okay. Tomorrow will be better. While we are that we might have joy, most days are just regular days. Try and find the joy in the moments. If there simply isn't any, then hang on, because you never know what tomorrow will mean.

Hang in there. I know that for myself, today, I'm surviving. I'm trying NOT to be a grumpy mom. I'm failing. But, I'm going to go practice the above list, and I'm having faith that it will get better.

Monday, October 14, 2013

A Lesson From A Goat

My life is strange. I have these goats. They are funny creatures, who are mainly tasked with mowing the lawn. They do an EXCELLENT job, as I have not used the lawn mower since July. LOVE that.

Our goats though tend to prefer to aim higher than merely grass. I had to fence in my poor abused peach tree babies because the goats were nuts for their leaves. The fuzzy peaches held no fascination and were all quickly wasted and knocked to the ground.

Any small sapling or low hanging branch is for their taking. And if it's tall or hard to reach, they will still try, often using one another to stack themselves a bit taller to reach.

It's funny, and obnoxious all at the same time.

They are determined to reach higher.

They are not hungry, there is a plethora, a feast even upon the ground and yet those delectable leaves, the ones that at first glance seem out of reach are irresistible to them.

This afternoon, my kids came in to report that Sally, the most determined of the trio had climbed the ladder left propped next to a shed-in-progress that Derek is working on. She had done so in order to get to the brilliant red maples leaves completely out of reach. Sure, she could eat the ones that had fallen to the ground, but the ones up higher were just so much better.
Practicing Perfection 2013
And you know, I have been thinking about the applications of that darn goat-on-the-roof situation all afternoon.

Here is what I have concluded:

It is so important to be happy with all we have, to be content and grateful for that which the Lord has given us.


We also always need to be aiming higher. How can we practice perfection and eternal progression if we're stagnant?

Be grateful for the lengths and strides you've made, do not wallow in the imperfections, but always always be working hard to achieve the potential that the Lord has in mind for you. 

The famous Billy Graham said, "Being a Christian is more than just an instantaneous conversion- it is a daily process whereby you grow to be more and more like Christ." 

Don't get complacent, don't get discouraged. Be thankful, and prayerful and keep moving upward, reaching for the heights God wants you to reach. 

You got this! 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

When All is Said and Done


I've been reading through conference talks... it was so good wasn't it? 

I want to share with you what Sister Linda K. Reeves, second counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency said during the Relief Society General Broadcast. 

I want to touch upon another way that can instill us with confidence and faith. We sometimes, as women, have a tendency to be very critical of ourselves. During these times we need to seek the Spirit and ask, “Is this what the Lord wants me to think about myself, or is Satan trying to beat me down?” Remember the nature of our Heavenly Father, whose love is perfect and infinite.6 He wants to build us up, not tear us down.
As members of the Church, we may sometimes feel that we need to be part of a “perfect LDS family” in order to be accepted by the Lord. We often feel “less-than” or like misfits in the kingdom if we feel we do not fit that picture. Dear sisters, when all is said and done, what will matter to our Father in Heaven will be how well we have kept our covenants and how much we have tried to follow the example of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
I love this quote. This quote perfectly sums up what my goal with this whole project is: To help people understand that the atonement of Jesus Christ allows for us to be accepted, even with our imperfections. Through His sacrifice, we are made clean, and deemed worthy through His grace. 
Never allow Satan to make you feel like you don't belong, that you aren't good enough. YOU are His, a daughter of the Most High. 
That is more than enough. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Excerpt from PRACTICING PERFECTION, Chapter Four, Perfection Within the Church

Chapter Four: Perfection Within the Church
“I have a sister who no longer attends church. One of the excuses she gave me was because she felt like we expected too much of people when being perfect wasn't possible. That really got me thinking about what it is. The concept of perfectionism is a difficult one to understand. Why should we strive to attain something that we know isn't possible? Yes, we probably won't achieve perfection, but striving for perfection gets us so much farther along than throwing our hands up in the air and just demanding that it's not possible. We are asked to strive to be perfect, not to reach perfection. There is a big difference. Once I figured this out I understood the pressure much better and it made it much easier to deal with!” ~Amy~

 “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).  Jesus didn’t charge us with trying to keep up with everyone else’s assumed or observed spiritual perfection.
Yet, so often within the world of the church, we find ourselves comparing, contrasting, wondering what she has that I don’t, wishing we could be as spiritual as that person, or that person.

While the gospel is a beautiful and simple gift, it can very difficult in the church (as in our ward families, stakes, or even neighborhoods, depending on your address) to remember that we are all experiencing the simplicity of the gospel in our own special, personal way.

As discussed in the social media chapter, when we find ourselves looking outward, and judging, we easily can become discontent with what we do have.

“Judging? I’m not judging.”
Yes you are. Even if your view of the person whom you are looking at is positive, you are still judging.
In the world full of “tolerate this, don’t judge me, I’m doing right by me,” we have begun conditioning ourselves to think, “I feel a certain way about something but that doesn’t mean I’m judging.” After all, in Matthew, right before Christ reminds up about the whole beam/mote scenario, he says, “Judge not, lest ye be judged.”

So, instead of “judging not,” we do judge, try to act like we’re not, and then in turn are judged by others. It’s just a cycle.

Let’s look at it in a less literal way, and use the rest of the chapter to give us some guidance. After Christ says not to judge, he reminds us that our own issues are of real concern and no one else’s should we be worried about. Then, in verse 5 he tells us all to not be hypocrites.

Ah, there it is. The key word. “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.” (Matthew 7:5)

Don’t be a hypocrite. Don’t judge.

All right. It is super easy to just say “Stop judging”. There, I just said it. But to actually practice it? Well. That is a whole other ball game. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Blessings WILL Come


Do you ever feel like you're just not getting what you need from Heaven? There have been times in my life when I have felt confused, scared, worried, and utterly inept. 

It didn't help that when I prayed, I felt like the blessings I needed weren't coming. 

When I was very nearly due with my fifth baby, I just wanted to be DONE. I prayed that she'd come. She didn't. All of my kidlets come at 39 weeks 5 or 6 days. Always. Every time. 

I didn't want to wait. I wanted her OUT and I wanted it NOW. I started this line of thinking at oh, 37 weeks. 

But, I waited. I prayed. I cried. I walked. I walked. I walked. 

And when she came, perfect, healthy, and whole at 5 o'clock in the morning at 39 weeks 6 days, JUST LIKE THEM ALL, I was reminded:

Blessings come to us when God knows it's time. NOT when we do. 

Elder Holland so eloquently reminded us if this in April 2013 conference. 

Sometimes we get exactly what we wanted, like a kid on Christmas morning. 

But... our Heavenly Parents know us better than we know ourselves. Sometimes this means we get DIFFERENT blessings than we think we need. 

And when we're trying our hardest, and sometimes, even when we're just barely scraping by, the Heavens open in ways and means we couldn't have imagined. 

What is in your heart today? What are you praying fervently for? Don't give up. Pray that God's will, which is perfect, will be done in your life. Have faith that all HE wants for you is goodness. It will come. 

It will come. 

Doctrine and Covenants 104:2 
With promise immutable and unchangeable, that inasmuch as those whom I commanded were faithful they should be blessed with a multiplicity of blessings;

Monday, September 30, 2013

Enjoy the Moment

"It's almost October," I  gasped this afternoon to Derek when we met for lunch.

Derek nodded grimly.

"It's just, life... it's rushing past!" I added.

Derek is very wise. He sighed and said, "I think we need to slow down."

How? How can we possibly slow down? Between the many many responsiblities we've taken on, nothing, NOTHING is ever completely done.

The house is cluttered mess more than it's not.

Derek's work is never finished.

The children are never ever asleep. (No, seriously...)

The world today values busyness, they value speed, efficency. The world demands we be economical with our time.

Derek receives emails at work, and often, people are disgruntled when he doesn't reply immediatley. Deadlines speed up like lightning. There is no rest for the weary.


So, how can we slow down?

After discussing it over lunch with my man, here is what we've come up with:
1. Exercise. Talk a walk, breathe. A change of scenery can make a huge difference in your day.
2. Less technology. Set your phone aside. Look out the window. Read a book. Pet a cat, rock a baby.
3, Make times for things of the spirit. Commune with God. Study.
4. Enjoy the moment. President Uchtdorf gave a wonderful conference talk in April called "Enjoy the Moment." In it he reminds us all that life is a journey, not a race. Enjoy the little things.
5. Count your many blessings. Whenever gratitude surges in your heart, send a prayer heavenward in thanks.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

How To Draw Nearer To Christ-- Putting it All Together

There are as many ways to have a relationship with Jesus Christ as their are people. Everyone experiences spiritual promptings differently. Everyone approaches the Savior differently. However, there are some eternal, simple truths.

1. Christ stands at the door, knocking. All YOU have to do is answer. 
    "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." (Revelation 3:20)

2. Christ in your life brings peace and joy. 
    "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." (Luke 2:14)

3. Jesus is in and can be invited into every good thing in our lives. 
    "But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God." (Moroni 7:12)

4. Let the Savior be a part of your everyday life, through the Holy Ghost's influence. 
   "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." (John 14:26)

If you are reading, praying and allowing Christ into every aspect of your life, your relationship with Him will be strengthened. You'll be nearer to Him, and in turn, you'll allow His presence and influence to be more fully experienced every single day. Turn to Him. Talk to Him. Thank Him and recommit yourself each week to be more like Him. Then, when you screw up, repent, and be ever grateful for His grace and atonement through which, you are slowly being refined into the version of yourself that Christ already, always sees.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Instead of Expecting Perfection, Let's Love One Another

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I am not perfect.

I have a propensity to swear, I drink Diet Coke, and I get impatient with my children.

There. See?

I'm not glorying in my sins either. Oh no, the opposite. I do try each day to be better. I've cut back on all of the above.

But, still not perfect.

I'm not confessing these things because I'm proud of them, quite the opposite in fact. I've been known to make sure the Diet Coke is hiding when church members are coming over.

The reality is, I'm not good enough.

So often we try oh so very hard to prove to each other that we are indeed perfect, or at the least, better than we are actually. And we expect, if we're being honest with ourselves, others to do the same.

I believe that we do each other as the body of Christ, a huge disservice when we allow those we love, know and serve with, to think we're perfect and when we in turn, think others are more perfect than we are.

Look, I'm not suggesting that we wear our issues, sins or weaknesses on our t-shirts, but perhaps, if we were a bit more vulnerable with one another, we'd have more compassion, more love, more service and even more patience with one another.

James 5:16 reads, "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."

Oh how I love this verse! When we share our trials with one another, we are inviting the prayers of one another to heal us. Think of the prayer roll in the temple. What an amazing gift it is to have our friends praying for our weakness, rather than judging.

What if, when we are tempted to click our mental tongues disapprovingly when we notice someone's imperfection, we instead, offered a prayer for them to be strengthened, and for us to be better too.

And when we let go of our desires to see others as perfect and for those others to see us as perfect, we are allowing Christ's grace to be sufficient.

At the end of The Book of Mormon, Moroni pleads with us to become perfected in Christ, through (and only through) His grace. He never says, "Be better, but you're the only one who needs this verse." We ALLLLLL need it. We all need to be perfected through Christ. Let us cut one another some slack. Forgive imperfections you see in people. Remember they desperately don't want you to notice them.

Be kind.

Love each other.

Don't worry about anyone else's imperfections. Just work on your own.

And remember the words of Moroni. " Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God." (Moroni 10:32)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

How To Draw Nearer to Christ: Accept His Grace

John 3:16 reads, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

I love this verse. It is beautiful to me. It sums up, in perfect simplicity the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

He died so we can live.

It is only through His grace and mercy that we can be saved.

There is nothing in this world or the next that I can do, to have everlasting life, without Jesus.

Once I started to really embrace that truth, I began to feel closer to my friend, Jesus.

You see, in the LDS world, we work hard. Work is good, and we should be always striving to be better.

But sometimes, I think we do a lot of things, with the hopes that perhaps if we work hard enough, and repent enough, we just might make it to the Celestial Kingdom.

And the scriptures are clear, that's not how it works.

Once I accepted the fact that NOTHING I do will get me to the Celestial Kingdom on my own, my relationship with my Savior expanded 10, 20-fold.

You can not work your way into Heaven.

You can't.

I can't.

No one can.

Jesus is the only person in the history of any world who was perfect. And because I think, Heaven  would be very lonely if it was just He and the rest of the Godhead hanging out, and because our Parents in Heaven loved us enough to let their Son die for you and for me, we get to go back to be with them, with our loved ones, with each other.

And that makes me want to be better. It makes me want to earn that love, even though I can't. It makes me want to lessen the suffering that I caused the greatest human in history to feel.

What can we do?

We can accept the gift that He freely gave when suffered, died and was resurrected.

How do we accept it?

Have faith, repent, make and keep our covenants, and be ever thankful to the One who makes it all come together.

Once you let go of the pain and anguish and GUILT that rides along with trying to be "good enough" to get into Heaven, you will feel your heart lifted, and your spirit draw nearer to Christ, because gratitude will make you want to be better.

Gratitude is one of the only things we can give the Lord. He gives us all. We can be grateful and accept His grace.

Elder Richard D. Scott said, "My reverence and gratitude for the Atonement of the Holy One of Israel, the Prince of Peace and our Redeemer, continually expand as I strive to understand more about it. I realize that no mortal mind can adequately conceive, nor can human tongue appropriately express, the full significance of all that Jesus Christ has done for our Heavenly Father’s children through His Atonement. Yet it is vital that we each learn what we can about it. The Atonement is that essential ingredient of our Father in Heaven’s plan of happiness without which that plan could not have been activated. Your understanding of the Atonement and the insight it provides for your life will greatly enhance your productive use of all of the knowledge, experience, and skills you acquire in mortal life."

Be grateful and accept the gift as it is given. You can't get anywhere without Christ's atonement.

Accept the gift, and be grateful that when you fail (notice I did not say 'if") repentance is yours freely, as is the grace of our Savior to wash away your sins.

You will find, when you accept the Atonement with a grateful heart, that you will be nearer to the Giver.

Monday, September 16, 2013

First Draft is FINISHED!!!

Hurrah! The first *very* draft of PRACTICING PERFECTION is finished.

I can't explain what this means.

It means that months of work and research are now living and breathing on paper.

Derek is leaving for a conference this week, and will be taking the first *very* rough draft for an edit while airplaning about.

This is so so so thrilling.

And it's bizarre because I look back and feel just like C.S. Lewis described,

Exactly that. I read things I wrote back in July and am like, "Huh, that's interesting, I never thought about it like that before." And then I laugh because I WROTE IT.

Heavenly Father is in this project, He's in every word. I can't describe it properly, but suffice it to say, He told me what to write.

My heart is full of gratitude for that.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Don't You Quit

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I had an interesting conversation with my sister (via text) about this quote earlier this week. I love this quote. I love what it says, I love what it implies. I love that when we TRUST GOD that everything will be all right in the end. What an amazing, huge, and humbling promise that is. That if we keep going, doing the things we're supposed to, that it'll all work out. Pain and hardships are a part of this life, but if we persevere, if we continue onward, ever onward, that through the atonement, everything will be okay. 

Omni 1:26 reads, "And now, my beloved brethren, I would that ye should come unto Christ, who is the Holy One of Israel, and partake of his salvation, and the power of his redemption. Yea, come unto him, and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him, and continue in fasting and praying, and endure to the end; and as the Lord liveth ye will be saved."

Hang in there, Friend. It'll be okay. 

The sun will rise. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

How to Draw Nearer to Christ-- Talk to Him

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This artwork is by Chris Young and can be found here.

So, if we're reading the Bible more, we'll be getting to know Jesus better.

Next, is the idea that if we want to KNOW someone, we need to TALK with that someone.

Can you imagine calling someone your best friend if you never ever speak to them?

In our prayers, we address Heavenly Father, in the NAME of Jesus Christ, right? Because He is our intecessor, He allows for the connection to our Father be sealed in HIS name. In 3rd Nephi 18:19, it reads, "Therefore ye must always pray unto the Father in my name;"

It is a commandment to pray. Since Heavenly Father and Jesus are one in purpose, we know that which we say to our Father, the Son hears also.


But what about actually talking to Jesus?

Where does that fit? How can someone be your truest, dearest and most close friend if you don't talk to Him?

I'm not suggesting that we change our prayers to address Jesus, since we know that is not the commandment. No. But I am suggesting that in an informal, albeit respectful way, that we talk to Jesus.

The Brother of Jared, in the book of Ether talked with Jesus, face to face. We know that his faith was so great that Jesus could not remain hidden from him.

Ether 12:39 says, "And then shall ye know that I have seen Jesus, and that he hath talked with me face to face, and that he told me in plain humility, even as a man telleth another in mine own language, concerning these things;"

Can our faith be so great that we can talk to Jesus face-to-face? I wish it could be. But in the meantime, while we are attempting to become as faithful as that, we ought to include Jesus in our thoughts and conversations.

Recently, I was having a difficult time coping with life. I was going through (honestly, somewhat still am) a very difficult trial. I found that when my thoughts turned to pain and sadness, if I simply turned to my Savior, if I said, in my heart, mind or even outloud, "Lord, I know You know what this feels like. I know You are here. I ask for comfort," that it was given.

It isn't the same as an official "prayer", it's more intimate, more personal, and more about knowing Christ personally.

Again, I ask, how can you have a personal relationship with someone you never talk to?

It will be feel a bit awkward, at first, to try and incorporate such thoughts and small prayers into your daily routine if you're not used to it, but practice. Thank Him informally for beautiful things, for blessings, for bits of grace throughout your day.

Before long, you will KNOW Him better because you will see Him in EVERYTHING.

It doesn't have to detract from you formal communion with Heavenly Father; it isn't about taking away from that at all. It is about creating a line of communication with He who knows you and He who saves you.

Talk to Him. Make Him a part of your every day. In the most sacred way, He will become the most important part of your life.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

How-To Draw Nearer to Christ: Read the Bible

As Latter-Day Saints, we are SUPER at reading The Book of Mormon. It is a wonderful and inspired book of scripture, and I love it with my whole heart. There is enough in The Book of Mormon to last a lifetime of study. In fact, we are instructed to read it every single day. I have a testimony of The Book of Mormon.

I also dearly love The Bible.

We Mormons kinda don't rock The Bible like we do The Book of Mormon.

Have you ever read The Bible cover to cover?

Very VERY few Latter-Day Saints have.

I have. It's long. VERY long.

But within those pages are amazing stories that strengthen my belief and knowledge of my Savior.

You see, The Bible is His story. Throughout the Old Testament, Christ is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He is Jevhovah, instructing the Jews in the ways of salvation. He is everywhere, His prophets testify of Him and His mission.

The New Testament is his life story. From beginning to end, we learn of His life, His ministry, His death and resurrection.

If you want to know Christ, read about Him.

Some of my most favorite verses of scripture that I return to again and again hail from The Bible. It is beautiful. It is inspired. It is powerful.

So, no, I'm not suggesting that you give up your BoM studies, not at all. The Bible is a wonderful and vital part of our gospel lives, and we need to give it some study as well.

If you're overwhelmed by the Old Testament, start in the New. Begin in the life of Jesus. Get a companion book to help you when you get confused or stuck.

Delve in, read for maybe 10 minutes each day. You will be amazed at how personal your feelings for Christ can become when you are studying HIM.

Some of my favorite tidbits that come from the Bible:

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. ~Colossians 3:17~

2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” 

Joshua 24:15 reads, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”   

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).  

Give The Bible a try. It will strengthen your resolve to be a better Christian. Your love and appreciation for Jesus as your Savior will increase. 

Read The Bible.

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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Coming Soon... How-To!

So exciting! It's September!! New school year for the peeps, a new season soon beginning (MY favorite of all the seasons), cooler weather (hopefully) and a gentle ease into the Holiday season which I will not remind you is right around the corner.

This month, which is lovely in and of itself, I'm going to make even more lovely, by posting each week, a "how-to" of sorts. While this here blog is NOT a DIY haven or anything, these "how-to" posts are most about "How to" your spiritual life. 

Starting tomorrow, on each Wednesday of the month of September, I'll be sharing a bit of "how-to" beef up your relationship with Christ. It's gonna be great!!! 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

You Are Not Alone.

Things have been rough around these parts this week. I have found myself struggling perhaps more than I ever have before and desperately needing solace and comfort.

And every time I was overwhelmed with pain and tears and heartbreak, my mind would be enlightened. I could feel the love of my Savior.  I would be reminded, "Heavenly Father knows. Jesus knows. He's felt this pain. I am not alone."

As alone as I felt in the moments when I didn't want to push through or go forward, I was blessed.

Jesus knows. I am not alone.

And neither are you. When you feel the pain of life, of hurt or despair, remember, remember the rock of Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God.

Beg for His comfort. It'll come.

Jesus knows. You are not alone.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Lord Knows...

Maybe I'm the only one who feels like this at times, but I feel like I am often unappreciated, thanks to the pain of motherhood. There are times when I've thought, "Oh my gosh, I can't wait until you grow up and realize how much I did for you!" Okay, not thought, but actually said... 

The job of Motherhood is often (frequently, usually) thankless, messy, exhaustion, and busy. There is no clockout time, there is no sick leave or paid vacay or anything of the sort. 

It's easy to feel like no one would even notice if you were gone, except they'd be even dirtier than they already are, and even hungrier.

But, the Lord knows. He knows and He loves you for your every effort. 

Don't give up. Don't get discouraged. Don't stress over the little things. 

You got this, Mama. 

You got this. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Small and Simple Blessings

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"Mommy, what are you doing?" Oliver asked, looking surprised.

"I'm swinging," I answered simply.

And I was, up and back, up and back. It's been years since I've been on a swing like that.

My kids stared up at me like I was a crazy person.

What? Can't a mom have fun on occasion?

Up and back. Up and back, looking into the sky.

I was reminded why kids love swinging so much. It's the closest thing to flying there is.

Up and back. Up and back.

It only lasted a couple of minutes, but it was freeing and refreshing. Rejuvenating even.

Soon, the boys were whining for a push, and so my swinging came to an end, but while it lasted, it was beautiful.

The little things in life are what get us through the big things in life. I'm convinced this is true. Small and simple means. (Alma 37:6).

A moment of beauty, a verse of scripture, the whisper of comfort from the Spirit, a bite of something delicious. When we cling to the small and simple, we find clarity in the big and complicated.

Don't let the huge stuff make the little goodnesses get overshadowed.

 Let each day be filled with small and simple blessings.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

In Everything Give Thanks

I have been working on a chapter for the book, and keep coming back to the idea of happiness through trials, through difficulties and through, well, imperfection.

I don't know why it's on my mind so much lately, but my brain wanders back to the topic over and over throughout the day.

How do we remain happy and joyful even when things are hard? How do we remain happy when things can be so very bad?

Everything in the scriptures leads us to know that we are to be happy in this life. Men are to have joy. At the same time, warning after warning appear to remind us that choosing the wrong will lead to unhappiness and enslavement to sin.

Since we all sin all the time, how do we remain joyful and happy while we fail?

I think this is a case of PRACTICE makes PROGRESS. We simply choose to be happy. We simply give heartfelt sincere thanks for what we do have. We do not deny the blessing given us by loving Heavenly Parents. Instead, we express earnest thanks for them.

Gratitude equates happiness.

I invite you to do an experiment. You  may have tried it before. In your prayers tonight, don't ask for a single thing. Simply give thanks. List everything you can think of that is a blessing. I bet that you won't be able to list them all. You'll have to give up praying before you get to the end of your blessings. But name them one by one. Then, throughout the next few days, anytime you recognize a blessing, give a quick prayer of thanks.

I promise you'll find it easier to smile and be happy even when your toddler chooses to flush a racquetball down the toilet.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Have I Done Any Good?

Isn't this the truth? We can profess to be lots of things, but it is our actions that speak louder than our words. If you think of our Savior, when did he ever just SAY to be kind, SAY to forgive, SAY to fast and pray, or even SAY that we should keep our covenants?  In every instance, our dear Elder Brother ACTED the part just as we should. 

In Matthew 25:40, Christ says, "And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

So, I must ask myself have I done any good in the world today? As a representative of Jesus Christ, how have I acted in that definition?

If not, what can I do, how can I act to reflect the Savior in my actions? 

Friday, August 2, 2013

I Can Do This!

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This morning, I was hiding in my bed (as I am wont to do) as Derek was getting ready for work. Suddenly, I heard chaos and frustration from downstairs.
The result of this chaos and frustration was that my couch, living room carpet, hallways carpet, stairs, Ezra's bedroom, the kitchen floor and Ezra himself got washed thoroughly. 

Oy. Some days I feel like it would be more effective to simply hitch a ride to ANYWHERE and come back in a week or two when I no longer feel like giving up. 

We have a birthday party tomorrow and everyone is beyond excited which means that they are all acting like caged monkeys. I have MORE house to clean, a cake to frost (attempting fondant for the first time, Heaven help me) and a house to decorate. 

And I have a flippin' headache. 

I shall sign off now to avoid TOO much negativity. I will prevail. I can do this. I can do this. I can DO THIS. 

Peace out ya'll. 

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

You Are You For a Reason

Hello!  I feel like sometimes it's hard to remember that you are you for a reason, in this time and in this place.  It's not an accident. Heavenly Father wants you to be who you are right now. He wants you to keep getting better too, but he accepts what we can offer right now.

Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great (D&C 64:33).

You are doing good things that will lead to great things. Be happy you are you.

Monday, July 29, 2013

A Wee Bit of Inspiration

I am finding inspiration these days in unlikely places: CHURCH! Don't laugh, I'm serious. When you have five little children to keep quiet during sacrament meeting, the idea of actually HEARING what someone is saying up front is pretty ridiculous. But for a few moments yesterday, I got to nurse Miriam in the Mother's lounge with only ONE extra kid and so, I got to breathe and listen to the words. It was lovely, and beyond the speaker, I had some ideas that I need to get into a word document. That doesn't happen much on Sundays (ever, actually, I try not to work on Sundays), so rather than risk losing my ideas, I jotted them down right then and there (also a miracle, I HAD A PEN AND PAPER!)

I'm thankful for small tender mercies, like a hungry baby and a quiet toddler. I'm thankful that my spiritual self is learning to listen over a bit of chaos as well. Sometimes my best ideas come while I'm wiping off a table or loading the dishwasher, and I'm grateful for that.

(Please note the pile of rocks behind my notes. My life is strange. I can't deny it.)

So, I'm trusting that John 16:13 is true when it says, "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come."

I trust that I will hear and be shown the things that I need to do to get this project finished. :)

In the meantime, I shall also continue to try and not yell at my kids when they make messes when I'm distracted. It's a process, people. A PROCESS.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Happy Friday!

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” 
― Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry, Airman's Odyssey: Night Flight / Wind Sand and Stars / Flight to Arra

When you look at this quote from a gospel perspective, it takes on a whole new meaning. Nothing left to take away... we will be perfected and eternal in the next life. There will be nothing to take away, only perfection upon eternal progression. What an awesome thought!

In this life though, as they say nothing is final until you're dead, so can we ever be perfect? Not so much. Our job now is to simply keep swimming. 

So, to send you into your weekend with good cheer, don't give up. Keep getting a little better each day.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

There is Sunshine in My Soul

I'm not feeling particularly sunshine-y today. It's already been a rough morning. But I am determined to not give in to the frustrations that are threatening. So I whipped this up to remind myself of all that IS good, and IS right in my world. Let's face it, most of life IS good.

May your day be full of sunshine, even if you really have to peer through the clouds to find it. 


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Why is it Called "Practicing Perfection"?

Derek and I hashed this out a bit last night. We want the message of all THIS to be "No one is perfect, you can't be in this life, but that's okay because we keep trying to improve, to be better and in the end, our Savior makes up the difference."

But that was a very long title for a blog or book.

So, we settled here: Practicing Perfection. You keep going, you don't stop trying, you try a little harder to be a little better. You practice for eternity each and every day.

The JST of Hebrews 6:3 says, "And we will go on unto perfection, if God permit." 

Go on, eventually, someday, we'll get there in the next life. This life is a trial, a practice-run for the real deal. Practicing, improving and getting better, working toward our eternal goals is vital. So that someday, through Grace of our God, we'll be perfected in Him.

So, we practice. Every time we get out of bed, we are working on being better, and having faith that in the end, it'll all be okay.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Excerpt from Chapter One, Practicing Perfection

As women, we are the experts at guilt, self-deprecation, anti-ego, and well, all things that we deem as humility, but are in fact, just slandering ourselves against the talents and abilities with which we have been richly blessed. Satan, that dastardly father of all lies wants you to believe these things. He wants you to think that your neighbor is better in all aspects because her lawn is green and beautiful, while yours is bit scraggly. He wants you to care deeply what others think, and feel stunted and worthless when you believe yourself to be less than them. He wants to use the very things you've been blessed with as tools to drag you down. He will continually knock you down, make you feel stupid, fat, poor and useless.

And we so very often let him. Oh my friend. We let him more than we even realize. Every single day in our pathway to perfection, we allow Satan to tell us how much we stink. Far too often, when he hisses in our ears that we shouldn't bother because we’re just going to fail anyway, we believe him. We believe him, and we revel and wallow in our unholiness.

Now see here, I don’t mean to tell you that you’re bad! No indeed. In fact, for someone who despises the light so very much, Satan spends a great deal of time hanging out with those who try to be the most full of light. Wallowing in darkness of the truly evil isn't that much fun. In those cases, Satan has already won. The most evil and vile of things are Satan’s trophies. He likes to visit them and pat himself on the back for winning most thoroughly. But like a true competitor (Satan is absolutely a competitor), a trophy room isn't enough. He needs to be always adding to his collection. So he sneaks into the lightest of places, where Christ is invited to dwell, and pulls at those who despise evil and love light. He tells them they ought to stop bothering because they’ll never be good enough anyway. Then he glories in our defeat, as we hurt, and ache and wish we were more. 

It doesn't take much-- just a nudge to send us in the wrong direction. Regardless of our life experiences, and so much knowledge and confirmation from the Lord that we are good, that we are worthy, and that perfection is an eternal pursuit, we allow the snake to tell us otherwise.This does not please our Father. He doesn't want us to waste time wallowing in self-pity and despair. Remember the famous moment in Anne of Green Gables, when good, stalwart Marilla Cuthbert tells Anne that “To despair is to turn your back on God.” She is so very right.  Despair means that we cannot be saved, that we can be brought back up again. God wants you, in your moment of self-doubt and jealous observation of someone else’s perfection to stop, to pray, to seek the comfort from the Holy Ghost with whom you have a personal confidence, and remember who you are.

Oh my dear sister, remember who you are.