Sunday, December 6, 2015

Immigration and Israel

I have a hard time getting into politics. I tend to take the middle ground on most any policy issue, so I don't really agree with any partisan candidate. But lately with so much talk about immigration, I keep thinking about the prophecies of the Book of Mormon concerning latter-day America.

From 3 Nephi 16 (bear with me, it is a little long, but pretty interesting in this context):

6  And blessed are the Gentiles, because of their belief in me, in and of the Holy Ghost, which witnesses unto them of me and of the Father.

 7 Behold, because of their belief in me, saith the Father, and because of the unbelief of you, O house of Israel, in the latter day shall the truth come unto the Gentiles, that the fulness of these things shall be made known unto them.

8 But wo, saith the Father, unto the unbelieving of the Gentiles--for notwithstanding they have come forth upon the face of this land, and have scattered my people who are of the house of Israel; and my people who are of the house of Israel have been cast out from among them, and have been trodden under feet by them;

9 And because of the mercies of the Father unto the Gentiles, and also the judgments of the Father upon my people who are of the house of Israel, verily, verily, I say unto you, that after all this, and I have caused my people who are of the house of Israel to be smitten, and to be afflicted, and to be slain, and to be cast out from among them, and to become hated by them, and to become a hiss and a byword among them--

10 And thus commandeth the Father that I should say unto you: At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations; and if they shall do all those things, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them.

11 And then will I remember my covenant which I have made unto my people, O house of Israel, and I will bring my gospel unto them.

12 And I will show unto thee, O house of Israel, that the Gentiles shall not have power over you; but I will remember my covenant unto you, O house of Israel, and ye shall come unto the knowledge of the fulness of my gospel.

13 But if the Gentiles will repent and return unto me, saith the Father, behold they shall be numbered among my people, O house of Israel.

14 And I will not suffer my people, who are of the house of Israel, to go through among them, and tread them down, saith the Father.

15 But if they will not turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, I will suffer them, yea, I will suffer my people, O house of Israel, that they shall go through among them, and shall tread them down, and they shall be as salt that hath lost its savor, which is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of my people, O house of Israel.

16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, thus hath the Father commanded me--that I should give unto this people this land for their inheritance.

17 And then the words of the prophet Isaiah shall be fulfilled, which say:

18 Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing, for they shall see eye to eye when the Lord shall bring again Zion.

19 Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem; for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem.

20 The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of God.

Long story short, our gentile nation should be a lot more worried about our own righteousness than about who is crossing our borders, because the former will  determine  whether the latter poses any threat to us. Our safety lies in being counted as the Lord's people by doing as He would do.

And a last tangential thought: What better place than America to meld Jew and gentile into one as God's people? Surely here perhaps more than anywhere else, the seed of Abraham is spread among other ethnicities, so that those of natural lineage and those adopted in become indistinguishable, where the last can become first and the first last. I understand so little about how the prophecies regarding our day will play out, but what I do recognize fills me with awe and fascination. I hope to do my little part on the Lord's side, regardless of my inability to choose a political side. 

Friday, December 4, 2015

On fruit

16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
-3 Nephi 14

I have wondered on occasion about this passage an how it reflects real life. Many people will use this scripture to find fault with others and then declare that religion  or  the church specifically is bad because some members do bad things or some doctrines cause pain. In real life, no one is going to bring forth good fruit all the time. Too many mistakes, too many offenses, too many sins. So how can any of us say that we are good trees, the kind whose fruit will be gathered and not burned? And how can the Church collectively say that?

As I thought about this, my mind went back to fruit trees, and the phrase "gather grapes of thorns or figs of thistles." On any given fruit tree there may be varying qualities of fruit. A young tree may not produce fruit of the same sweetness that a mature tree can produce. Different kinds of fruits may be attractive to different people (for example, I love apples, but in my opinion, red delicious are really pretty but taste terrible). Some fruit is better for cooking or baking, but without sweetener they are hard to swallow. Some can have a bitter taste. Too much of any one can make you sick. 

While all this is true, and while some may say that some fruit is "bad," really all of these fruits are healthful and useful. They are all good fruits.

There are some fruits that are bad, trees  that will never produce something fit for human ingestion. Jequirity, wolfsbane, white baneberry (yes I had to look those up), thorns. Some are beautiful, but they ultimately destroy life rather than sustain it. These are the ones we should be worrying about. The ones who aren't just a little hard to swallow, but rather draw us in but bring death in their wake. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Facebook Post from Elder Oaks on Receiving Answers

Recently I was asked about how I prepare myself to receive answers to my prayers for guidance. We receive personal revelation in different ways, but we should each live so that the Spirit is always with us.
I start my day very early—not because I am ambitious, but because I am old (after a while, you just can’t sleep anymore). I first bow my head and pray that the Spirit will teach me. This is a simple prayer, like one offered before a meal because that is what I am doing. I ask for nourishment from what I am about to partake. Then I study the scriptures.
Throughout my day, impressions come at various times and in various ways. I am blessed by the guidance of the Spirit. It is a precious blessing to “always have His Spirit to be with [us]” (D&C 20:77).

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Universally Disobeyed Commandment

From Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, "Come Unto Me," Ensign, April 1998:

Nothing in this world is more burdensome than sin—it is the heaviest cross men and women ever bear.
. . .

The Lord has probably spoken enough . . . comforting words to supply the whole universe, it would seem, and yet we see all around us unhappy Latter-day Saints, worried Latter-day Saints, and gloomy Latter-day Saints into whose troubled hearts not one of these innumerable consoling words seems to be allowed to enter. In fact, I think some of us must have that remnant of Puritan heritage still with us that says it is somehow wrong to be comforted or helped, that we are supposed to be miserable about something.

Consider, for example, the Savior’s benediction upon his disciples even as he moved toward the pain and agony of Gethsemane and Calvary. On that very night, the night of the greatest suffering that has ever taken place in the world or that ever will take place, the Savior said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you. … Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).

I submit to you, that may be one of the Savior’s commandments that is, even in the hearts of otherwise faithful Latter-day Saints, almost universally disobeyed; and yet I wonder whether our resistance to this invitation could be any more grievous to the Lord’s merciful heart. I can tell you this as a parent: as concerned as I would be if somewhere in their lives one of my children were seriously troubled or unhappy or disobedient, nevertheless I would be infinitely more devastated if I felt that at such a time that child could not trust me to help or thought his or her interest was unimportant to me or unsafe in my care. In that same spirit, I am convinced that none of us can appreciate how deeply it wounds the loving heart of the Savior of the world when he finds that his people do not feel confident in his care or secure in his hands or trust in his commandments.

Just because God is God, just because Christ is Christ, they cannot do other than care for us and bless us and help us if we will but come unto them, approaching their throne of grace in meekness and lowliness of heart. They can’t help but bless us. They have to. It is their nature. 

I just love Elder Holland. And I needed this counsel. I am so prone to doubt myself and my capacity, to carry guilt for every failing past and present, and to fear for how I will fail in the future. I doubt myself when I don't receive an answer I hope for or understand the answer I receive, and I feel inadequate to live up the the blessings that I have received so abundantly. What an unnecessary load to carry! I need to unburden myself more regularly and more fully and to trust more in the Savior whose love I have felt so often and should know better.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Filling our Homes with Light and Truth

Here is the talk I gave a couple of weeks ago in Sacrament Meeting. Of course, when I gave it it came out materially different than how it is written; some things were added, some changed, and some excluded altogether. But here is the written version (mostly for my own benefit).

[Here I have chosen to excerpt the banal introduction I gave of our family]

I was asked to choose a talk on marriage and family from the Women’s Session of April General Conference, and am going to base my comments on Sister Cheryl A. Esplin’s remarks, entitled, “Filling our Homes with Light and Truth.”

Having four little boys, this topic is always a concern for me to certain extent, but I feel it has been dwelling in my mind and heart more particularly as we have moved and settled into our first semi-permanent home and our older boys are getting to the age where they are figuring out what the Gospel means and how it applies to us. The duty to make my home a place of peace and refuge, safe even from my own temper and impatience, presses on upon me frequently. As the Savior said to Joseph Smith, I have commanded you to bring up your children in light and truth. (D&C 93:40)

The Soda Can
Sister Esplin spoke of an example that she had seen demonstrated at a meeting many years ago. The presenter showed two soda cans. One was empty, and the other was unopened and filled with soda. The presenter then squeezed each can. The empty can was, of course, easily crushed, while the full can was impervious to the presenter’s grip.

Satan’s Efforts
We all know that the world is full of influences that seek to destroy our spiritual foundations and capitalize on any weakness that may be found in our homes. Sister Esplin said this: Satan knows that in order for us and our families to withstand the pressures of the world, we must be filled with light and gospel truth. So he does everything in his power to dilute, distort, and destroy the truth of the gospel and to keep us separated from that truth.

Satan has a remarkable ability to deceive, confuse, and imitate truth, and as a result we live among conditions long foretold where many put evil for good and good for evil (Isaiah 5:20). It can be a confusing place for anyone, no matter our age or experience. But if our goal is for our homes to be filled with light, you can see really how dangerous it is to confuse light and darkness. In order to combat Satan’s efforts, we must have a keen sense of spiritual discernment. This requires us to be sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Ghost through our obedience and loyalty to the Savior, His Gospel, and His chosen servants.

I am going to share one area where Satan is placing particular emphasis in our day: the doctrine of the family.  In another talk from the Women’s Session, Sister Oscarson counseled us to be defenders of the Family Proclamation, particularly of marriage, of the roles of mothers and fathers, and of the sanctity of the home.

Because the family is a topic close to our hearts, bringing much joy in many cases and unfortunately bringing much pain in others, it can be a sensitive one to talk about. Satan is quick to turn that sensitivity into offense, defensiveness, confusion, and contention. These reactions can quickly drive the Spirit out of a discussion or prevent us from receiving counsel in the spirit in which it is intended. In order to stand up as defenders of the truth, we need to know it, to understand it in its varied nuances and applications, and to receive the confirmation of the Holy Ghost so that we can testify of it with purity and power.

Each of us has a different set of experiences, blessings, trials, and gifts that will enable us to understand and defend the family and other gospel truths in special and unique ways. By utilizing this storehouse of all of our collective contributions, the Lord can combat Satan’s forces and gather His sheep from out of the world according to the needs of each individual or circumstance. That requires all of us to develop our own testimonies and refine our gifts in order to be able to be a part of that force on the Lord’s side.

Sister Esplin put it this way: Many of us have been baptized and have received the gift of the Holy Ghost, whose role it is to reveal and teach the truth of all things. With the privilege of that gift comes the responsibility to seek truth, to live the truth we know, and to share and defend the truth.
This idea of having a responsibility to seek, live, and defend truth was really impressed upon me one day in my constitutional law class during my first year of law school. We were speaking about the constitutional implications of California’s Proposition 8, which amended the California Constitution to specify the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman, and which was on the ballot at the time. As law professors are wont to do, he asked us for our analysis, and then challenged our responses (which is a nice way of saying that he summarily shot down most everything we said; at the time it seemed to me that this was the main job of law professors). Then he said something that has stuck with me ever since, and that was that we as law students and members of the Church need to be able to articulate our opinions and beliefs to the world in the terms that they understand. In our case, those terms were the terms of the law, and if I was going to say that the definition of marriage should remain between one man and one woman, I needed to be able to give a cogent constitutional analysis and be able to dig up the jurisprudence to support my opinion. The Lord needs people who can articulate His position and stand for it in every type of venue, and if I was receiving the gift of a legal education, I needed to put in the time and effort to consecrate that gift for the defense of truth in my sphere.

It certainly is not just lawyers who the Lord needs to use our gifts and experiences to stand up and defend the home and family; it is all of us. As I have mentioned, my husband John, for example, has a very different educational background from me. Last year during a clinical rotation in psychiatry, John commented to me that without fail, every patient that he saw with severe ongoing problems had some sort of family trauma or abuse in their past. He was reminded how important strong, righteous families are and how much damage can be done when parents don’t provide that for their children. His experiences will enable him to defend Gospel truths regarding the family in a much different way than I can. We can each fill our lives with light and truth by standing up to defend our homes and families through righteous living and by consecrating our talents and experiences to the Lord’s work.

Filling with Lesser Things
Another way that Satan seeks to distract us is by having us fill up our lives with things of lesser value, so that there is less room for light and truth in our lives and homes. Having little children at home has given me a lot of new perspective on what kind of media I want in my home and for myself personally. Whenever my kids are awake, if the TV is on it is usually a children’s show, and when they are asleep, I am usually too tired to watch anything geared toward adults. This has led to a kind of default media purge on my part, and I found that when I do see grown-up TV shows and commercials now, I am much more sensitive to the images, the messages, the innuendo, and the influences that I don’t want my children to see. And I began to think, if I don’t want my children to see this, does my Father want me to see it? Is it worthy of my time and attention?

When considering any media in our home, I think we could do well to ask ourselves these questions: (1) Is this something that would offend the Savior if He were watching with me? Would I feel the need to skip parts or change the channel? Would I find myself trying to justify or explain my viewing choice because of the images or language included? (2) What messages are being communicated to my family in this show? Pretty much any show, whether it be a drama, a comedy, or a documentary, has some kind of message. Some of the more dangerous messages are communicated to us without our recognizing them because they are weaved into a funny story or we say, “It’s just entertainment.” How are the women being treated and portrayed in the media we consume? How about the men? What are the attitudes about marriage and family? Is there irreverence toward God or others? (3) Do I feel uplifted and closer to my Savior after participating in this media, or do I feel farther away? Does the media I consume meet the standard set in the 13th Article of Faith; is it virtuous, lovely, of good report, or praiseworthy (and not just for its comic appeal or special effects)?

The same could go for the music we listen to, the books we read, the art we view, and anything with which we fill our time and our homes. If we want to be filled with light and truth, we need to make room for it and not crowd it out with things of lesser value.

How to Fill Up
Now that we have opened up some space for more light and truth to enter, so to speak, how do we keep that space properly filled? Sister Esplin continued: When filled with the Spirit and with gospel truth, we have the power to withstand the outside forces of the world that surround and push against us. However, if we are not filled spiritually, we don’t have the inner strength to resist the outside pressures and can collapse when forces push against us.

If our homes are to be impervious to the attacks of the world, we need to consistently work to fill them with light and truth. And most of us know the “Primary answers” that teach us the basic things we need to do each day to fill ourselves up. For the word of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is light, and whatsoever is light is Spirit, even the Spirit of Jesus Christ. (D&C 84:45) As Sister Esplin said, We are continually counseled to increase our spiritual knowledge through prayer and through studying and pondering the scriptures and the words of the living prophets. 

Shortly after we had our first little boy Ethan, I recall thinking how the number of prayers and scripture study sessions in my life had multiplied in a few short years. When I was single, I worried only about my own personal scripture study and prayers. When John and I got married, I continued my own and we also tried to make it a priority to read and pray together daily. After Ethan was born he joined in on our routine, but then once he was big enough to understand a little, it was necessary to add a third separate family scripture study and prayer to the mix. At one point when I found myself short on patience or frustrated or down at home, I recall thinking how wise it was that the Lord had instructed us to have all of that study and prayer as we became parents, not just so that our children would learn, but because I needed so badly to be guided and taught constantly if I wanted to raise my children in light and truth.

I love this statement from Sister Esplin: Strong eternal families and Spirit-filled homes do not just happen. They take great effort, they take time, and they take each member of the family doing his or her part. Every home is different, but every home where even one individual seeks for truth can make a difference.

Consistent, Everyday Efforts
Having a home that is spiritually full means that every day we need to keep the counsel of prophets past and present, even when it seems that no one is listening or we can’t keep up or it isn’t making a difference. If we seek the Lord in prayer, He will consecrate our performance and our efforts to us, and that will make a great difference in what kind of foundation we and our children have to build on and how we will be able to withstand tests and trials in life.

This idea brings to mind an October 2009 talk by Elder David A. Bednar. He said, As our sons were growing up, our family did what you have done and what you now do. We had regular family prayer, scripture study, and family home evening. Now, I am sure what I am about to describe has never occurred in your home, but it did in ours.

Sometimes Sister Bednar and I wondered if our efforts to do these spiritually essential things were worthwhile. Now and then verses of scripture were read amid outbursts such as “He’s touching me!” “Make him stop looking at me!” “Mom, he’s breathing my air!” Sincere prayers occasionally were interrupted with giggling and poking. And with active, rambunctious boys, family home evening lessons did not always produce high levels of edification. At times Sister Bednar and I were exasperated because the righteous habits we worked so hard to foster did not seem to yield immediately the spiritual results we wanted and expected.

This seems like my life exactly! This last week, for example, I spent some extra time preparing something for Family Home Evening that I thought was fairly important for the boys. However, I ended up feeling like I spent most of the lesson trying to corral the boys and threatening to withhold the treat at the end if they didn’t sit down and listen. So I am particularly encouraged by what Elder Bednar shared next: 

Today if you could ask our adult sons what they remember about family prayer, scripture study, and family home evening, I believe I know how they would answer. They likely would not identify a particular prayer or a specific instance of scripture study or an especially meaningful family home evening lesson as the defining moment in their spiritual development. What they would say they remember is that as a family we were consistent.

Sister Bednar and I thought helping our sons understand the content of a particular lesson or a specific scripture was the ultimate outcome. But such a result does not occur each time we study or pray or learn together. The consistency of our intent and work was perhaps the greatest lesson—a lesson we did not fully appreciate at the time.

Elder Bednar then likened our efforts at home to a painting composed of thousands of tiny brushstrokes:  Each family prayer, each episode of family scripture study, and each family home evening is a brushstroke on the canvas of our souls. No one event may appear to be very impressive or memorable. But just as the yellow and gold and brown strokes of paint complement each other and produce an impressive masterpiece, so our consistency in doing seemingly small things can lead to significant spiritual results. “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). Consistency is a key principle as we lay the foundation of a great work in our individual lives and as we become more diligent and concerned in our own homes.

I know that as we consistently strive to seek after the Lord and to invite His Spirit into our homes through our everyday obedience, He will grant us the guidance we need to keep our homes safe and filled with light. As He said, Blessed are all they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled with the Holy Ghost. (Matthew 5:6, 3 Nephi 12:6) If we seek daily to feed our Spirits just as surely as we seek to appease our hunger and nourish our bodies, we will be filled with the light and truth we seek.

The Temple
In addition to consistent study, prayer, and gospel teaching, our attendance at the temple will help us to fill our homes with light and truth. What better way to see and feel what a light-filled home should be like than to attend the very House of the Lord? As the Psalmist said, O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles. (Psalm 43:3) The mountain of the Lord is the standard to which our homes should aspire. That isn’t to say that we should beat ourselves up about having imperfect homes; that is an inevitability of life. I recall reading an account in the Ensign a few years ago in which a sister told about a cleaning assignment at the temple. The supervising Brother told the volunteers that they were not there to clean things that were dirty, but to keep that sacred place from every becoming dirty; to keep it unspotted. (“Unspotted From the World,” July 2012) My first thought was, if my home is supposed to be like the temple, I am never going to manage that! What’s the point? And of course in that line of thought, I entirely missed the point.

Just as we aspire to build ideal families even though inevitably that isn’t possible for everyone, we can aspire to make our homes clean both temporally and spiritually so that the Spirit can dwell in them. Just because we can’t achieve an ideal doesn’t mean that its shining example is not of value! By definition an ideal is a state of perfection, an ultimate objective and not a working model. But day by day we work in our own homes, and the more we see and bring that reminder of the Lord’s sacred house and the eternal family formed therein, the better we can better shape our homes according to that image.

We talk of Christ
And my final and most basic point centers in the One who is the center of everything we do in the Church and in our homes, who Himself is the way, the truth, and the life¸and the Light of the World. Paul counseled the Ephesians to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. (Ephesians 3:19) Weekly we are reminded that if we always remember Christ, we may always have His spirit to be with us. Nephi said, And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins. (2 Nephi 25:26) Christ Himself said, he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (John 8:12)

If we want our homes to be filled with light and truth, we must make Him feel at home there through the things with which we fill our space, our time, and our hearts. If our hearts are set on Him and our priority is helping our family members come to know and follow Him, His spirit will fill our homes and make them safe havens from the pressures of the outside world.

I am so grateful for the peace and the assurance that comes from that promise, and particularly for what it means for my children. Despite my failings and imperfections, if I press on, seeking and defending truth, teaching it consistently, seeking it in the Lord’s house, and following Him who is its very definition, my children will know to what source they may look for light and truth, redemption and forgiveness.

I know that Christ lives. He loves us. He wants to bless and guide and comfort us. He is our advocate with the Father, which to me as an attorney means He is on our side, understanding our motives, looking for every possible argument in our favor, and seeking forgiveness and leniency for our sins and mistakes. If we make room for Him in our homes by loving Him and keeping His commandments, He will fill them with His presence, which is light and truth. As he said, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:23)

Monday, July 20, 2015

Prospering in the Land

Prospering and being wealthy are not necessarily synonymous. A much better gospel definition of prospering in the land is having sufficient for our needs while having the abundant blessing of the Spirit in our lives. When we provide for our families and love and serve the Savior, we will enjoy the reward of having the Spirit and prospering in the land.

-Elder Quentin L. Cook, "Reaping the Rewards of Righteousness," Ensign, July 2015.

Friday, June 19, 2015

A plea to read, pray, and listen

Nothing like a post from President Eyring to make me turn off Facebook and jump into my scripture study!

I don't just invite you to read the scriptures, to pray, to listen for the word of God. I plead with you. Put yourself where you can hear the words of testimony. Listen with the simplicity of a child.

Expect that spirit of testimony and revelation to impel you to action, to keep the commandments. And never think that you have been taught enough, that you have listened long enough, that now is your time and turn to rest.

President Henry B. Eyring, Facebook, June 19, 2015

Hallmarks of a Happy Home

As we are settling into our new home and decided what to do and how much to spend on improvements and changes and whatnot, I got to thinking about which things are most important. Of course President Monson put things in perspective for me.

Happiness does not consist of a glut of luxury, the world’s idea of a “good time.” Nor must we search for it in faraway places with strange-sounding names. Happiness is found at home.

All of us remember the home of our childhood. Interestingly, our thoughts do not dwell on whether the house was large or small, the neighborhood fashionable or downtrodden. Rather, we delight in the experiences we shared as a family. The home is the laboratory of our lives, and what we learn there largely determines what we do when we leave there.

-Thomas S. Monson, "Hallmarks of a Happy Home," April 1988.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

How They Served

President Eyring on those to whom the Lord will say "well done":

It will not be the offices held or the time served that will be weighed in the balance with the Lord. We know this from the Lord’s parable of the laborers in the vineyard, where the pay was the same regardless of how long they served or where. They will be rewarded for how they served.

Full talk here.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Prayer and Creation

I came across a little clip with this quote today (unfortunately I couldn't embed it here):

"Meaningful morning prayer is an important element in the spiritual creation of each day—and precedes the temporal creation or the actual execution of the day."

Here is the whole talk: Pray Always, by Elder David A. Bednar

I remember hearing this talk, but didn't notice the part emphasized here. I love that idea of the spiritual creation of each day; it makes me approach prayer in a more purposeful way.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Live Now Right.

I was praying last night about some things that have been weighing on me lately, and I had the thought that I need to focus more on enjoying my blessings and living right now. But, I thought, not in the way the world would say to live for the present or in the now. Then a phrase jumped into my mind and stuck: Live now right.

What does that mean? Not just sweeping away the past or disregarding the future. As I pondered the phrase, I thought that living now right means focusing on the right things for my current season. That will generally include  evaluating the past and making necessary changes, and letting go of things that I cannot change. It means preparing prayerfully for the future but not falling prey to worry. It means choosing the better part in my daily decisions. It especially means having a habit of prayerful gratitude, of paying attention and seeing the Lord's hand in my life and following His guidance.

In short it means exercising faith daily so that I can have peace in the present and hope for the future through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


I love this Newsroom article from on the importance of keeping a journal.

I am grateful that my mom got me a journal for my eighth birthday. I am grateful that I have felt to keep a journal since then, even if plenty of the the things I wrote as I grew up are surely embarrassing. Writing has helped me grow closer to my Savior and to record the things He has taught me. Reading my own thoughts has helped me to see in retrospect how the Lord's hand has guided my life. And now that I am old enough to want to know more details of my parents' and grandparents' lives, I can see why the things I write may be valuable, even if it doesn't feel like it at the time.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

When the Cloud Rested

An excerpt from my personal journal:

Reading in Numbers 9 about the camp of Israel. It is almost humorous how many times it is written that Israel camped when the cloud rested on the tabernacle, and journeyed when it was lifted. No matter how long or short the stay or the journey, they obeyed. I tried to think of why it was emphasized so many times and how it relates to life. I do try to follow where the Lord wants me to go, but I think it can be more frustrating when we are led to stay in one spot for days or months or years. At those times we begin to question the Lord's plan, to wonder what we are doing wrong or what we haven't already learned in that place. But I am sure there can be as much to be learned from staying as from moving, and I think I need to figure out how to just be sometimes, especially as a mom.

The funny thing is, we have moved on average once a year since we were married, and just found out that we will be moving again in just a few months! But as far as my life goes, the physical packing and moving is a repetition resulting from being the the same transient, student stage for a long while. So I am staying and I am moving at the same time. Ha!

Saturday, January 10, 2015


I want to work on memorizing again. There is power in writing the word of the Lord in our brains, which helps the Spirit write it in our hearts. Also, the combination of my horrible mommy brain with starting to do estate planning make me worried about Alzheimer's! I am going to shoot for one scripture or quote a week (let's ignore the fact that I am already behind). To start, this one from Ezra Taft Benson stood out:

The great task of life is to learn the will of the Lord and then do it.

The great commandment of life is to love the Lord.

-Ezra Taft Benson, April 1988

I am also going to try to at least familiarize myself with each quote in Spanish and Japanese, so here are those, too.

El gran labor de la vida es averiguar cuál es la voluntad del Señor y luego obedecerla.

El gran mandamiento de la vida es amar al Señor.