Monday, August 25, 2008

Education Week

Here is a wrap-up of some of the classes from BYU Education Week this past week. I felt badly that I was not able to attend this year - but, am glad that there is access, via internet and TV, to some of the classes and lectures.

Education Week at BYU is filled with hundreds of spiritually-uplifting and strengthening classes on many topics. Here are just a few reports.

http://mormontimes.com/WC_education.php?id=1867

Friday, August 22, 2008

A House of Order

In my quest for a House of Order -- I've pondered many things. One of the scriptures that comes to mind is 'don't run faster than you have strength'.

I've found that simplifying the work to be done is the best place to start. The less we have (physically and emotionally) the easier it is to accomplish other tasks.

When I realized that you never see a hearse pulling a U-Haul it made me think of all that we collect and attain throughout our lives. We spend much of our mortal so-journ gathering 'stuff and things' around us. Some of these bless our lives -- others don't.

As we lessen the load we are able to enjoy more of the free things that God has given to us; a birds' chirp, a walk down the road, barefeet in the sand, sun shining on our face, a child's laugh, hugs, neighbors who wave, rain and rainbows, crickets at night, stars in the sky.

The load lessened helps us to put our own personal house (our self) in better order so as to be more attuned to God's word, His will and His craftsmanship.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

No Trial is Wasted

This is one of my favorite quotes of all time. I'm putting it on my three blogs today as it is applicable to all things and all areas of life. On many occassions I have turned to this message for strength and inspiration. It's helped me know that no trial is wasted.

Elder Orson F. Whitney said: “No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God … and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire and which will make us more like our Father and Mother in heaven” (quoted in Spencer W. Kimball, Faith Precedes the Miracle, 98).

I hope this helps you as much as it's helped me.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Famous Mormons

Just thought this might be of interest to someone. It's nicely done and represents some of the good people of the church who are trying to do right -- who are more well-known than the rest of us.

http://www.ldsmag.com/youtube/080814famous.html

Temple Square

Last Thursday we went on a long-awaited and very-needed short 'vacation'. We ended up staying at the Hampton Inn at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, Utah. (It was a nice hotel as I have a thing for clean places to sleep). We spent a few hrs. with Mona, a woman in Orem who TRULY helps in the healing process (we LOVE her and she does WONDERS for us all) and then ate at our favorite Mexican restaurant: Taco Amigo, in Orem. (I worked there when I was 15-16).

We shopped for school clothes the following day and ate Crepes in West Jordan at European Connection (Ashley's choice). We swam in the evening when we got back to the hotel and ended the day by watching the olympics; women's gymnastics and men's swimming.

Saturday morning we loaded the car, checked-out of the hotel, and headed to Salt Lake and to Temple Square. (This was my vote for the day.) It had been several years since we'd seen the movie "Joseph Smith, Prophet of the Restoration" and I had been wanting to take the children there for several months. I wasn't disappointed. In fact, I was awed and humbled and we were all very moved by the powerful and truly sweet presentation. We were touched by the Spirit of the Lord as we saw His hand in restoring the truths of His gospel to the earth in these latter-days. It was an unforgettable experience and brought us all closer as a family. As we walked around Temple Square after the movie, the children were more reverant. I am grateful that they were able to feel the Spirit of the Lord as it teaches us, blesses us, and subdues us. It was honestly their favorite part of the trip.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Scripture Study for Children

This year I’m teaching ages 5-8 at a private LDS school here in Cache Valley. It is very important to me that we read from the scriptures often as these are the tender ages before the age of accountability. I feel that if children can gain a love for the scriptures in these early and teachable years, it will stay with them forever.

Before my children could read I’d tell them scripture stories at night as they held their scriptures near their hearts. When scared, they were more comforted by holding their scriptures than their stuffed animals.

In our school and family scripture study we mark special passages as we come across them. The older ones help the younger ones mark. This makes it more meaningful and personalized to them. For those that can’t read we help them find passages by page numbers. If they can’t do that then we find the page for them and help them underline or color the correct passage and then we read and discuss it together. With inexpensive copies of the scriptures (about $2.00 at church distribution) the children can practice marking passages special to them. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to do it. They can color the names of the books with different colored pencils, make small drawings of special characters in the margins, highlight all the words that Jesus spoke, or simply color what they are feeling as the read the passage.

Another suggestion is to have little people, characters, chess pieces or cut-outs that represent the people that we are talking about. As I read, a child places the object (or person) in the proper place. As certain groups are destroyed we take them off the table. This part has really helped the children visualize both the events taking place and understand the reality of the people we are reading about. They are also more engaged in the story-line and anxious to know what happens next.

In my own personal scripture study I often draw a small heart above passages that discuss the condition of the heart. This simple visual reminds me to think about the condition of my own heart and the consequences of such.

How blessed we are to have the scriptures and to be able to really sup from their pages. As we truly learn from their messages our lives are blessed and our hearts are changed.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Go to the Source Part II

Yesterday I blogged about going to the proper source to find answers to questions.

I received a comment from someone who has had bad experiences in doing so. I felt badly about that. But, it is true that sometimes we have a negative experience with someone or hear something on the news - or elsewhere - that makes us feel strongly one way or the other. Maybe, if we give that same thing another chance or view it from a different perspective -- our minds will be enlightened and our understanding enhanced. Perhaps we'll change our point of view completely.

It seems to me that a lot of misunderstandings can be cleared up if there is open communication and a willingness (from both sides) to learn. I'm willing to share and hope that I would have the opportunity to respond to someone else's concerns.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Go to the Source

If you want a question answered you must go directly to the proper Source. Sometimes we ask others for their opinions or we seek answers from those who are unacquainted with the real issues and truths.

We can honestly and humbly talk to God in heaven through prayer. It's a personal thing that one must find out for himself.

I've often known that there is much anti-Mormon literature around. Why would a person seek to find out about Mormons from those who are against the church?

Would we ask a non-Catholic about Catholicism? Or a non-Jew about Judaism?

I would welcome any questions about my beliefs -- especially if they are sincere.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Fasting

The first Sunday of each month we fast as a world-wide church population. We fast for 24 hours and donate the amount of money that we would have used for meals (plus more if we are able) to charity.

Fasting is a blessing in many ways. We turn our hearts to the Lord in prayer, supplicating His blessings and power to be with us. We seek to be more humble, prayerful and teachable. Fasting also allows us the opportunity to have our spirit strengthened over our bodily appetites. In this way we are more receptive to the Spirit of the Lord and answers to prayers that we are seeking.

It's not always easy to fast, nor to have children fast, but it is a blessing that provides many other blessings. Those who have health problems or nursing babies are not asked to fast. They will still be blessed as the Lord knows their desires and intents.

Fasting, combined with sincere prayer, has brought me blessings that are too sacred to write on here. I have gained my own personal witness of it's blessings; both physical and spiritual. It is a cleansing agent in both areas.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Baptism

This morning I attended the baptism of my sweet little neighbor Marianne. She is eight; the age which we consider 'the age of accountability'. She was able to make the choice for herself to be baptized as she now is aware of her agency to make choices and to experience the consequences of those same choices.

We believe that babies are born innocent. They do not bring with them to the earth the sins of their fathers. They have no need to be baptized as an infant. (...the infant perisheth not that dieth in his infancy.....")

The baptism was beautiful and so was Marianne. She had a special glow and innocence and purity about her. After baptism, worthy men (including her father) who hold the Priesthood of God, layed their hands upon her head and bestowed upon her the gift of the Holy Ghost. This is the Spirit of God which He has sent upon the earth to be our companion, guide and comforter.

He has been my dearest friend on earth and guided and comforted me through life's challenges, sorrows and .... joys.