Tuesday, November 7, 2017

I will make weak things become strong unto you

How does your appearance make you feel?

Does it make you feel good when you look nice?

I think we all can feel a little better when we look nice. I do. But then a series of events caused a medical condition that over the course of several months left me with large ugly scars on both my shins.

They aren't pretty. But they do look better now than they did 3 years ago, that's for sure.

But even still, I choose not to let it stop me. I don't hide because something about me is different. I don't let the flaws on my legs stop me from living my life.

I shouldn't let any of my flaws stop me or create a negative view of myself. Scars don't mean someone is a bad person. It means we are living life and learning.

I have lots of other flaws too, ones that I recognize and am trying to work through, but might not be as easily seen. We all have things we struggle with. Part of learning compassion is learning that everyone has something that isn't quite strong yet.
"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." (Ether 12:27)
I don’t understand fully how a weakness could be made into a strength. But the Lord says it can be done, so I believe Him, and I'm working on understanding how that works.

I heard on a podcast recently weaknesses being described in a way I hadn't thought about before:
"Our weaknesses are only our strengths overused." (Jody Moore)
Isn't that eye opening? I also love the work of Carol Tuttle and I believe her when she talks about how our weaknesses are actually our strengths. I am a perfectionist. No, I am thorough! I am lazy. No, I have a relaxed nature! I always put my foot in my mouth. No, I am capable of speaking up.

When we view ourselves in a positive light, it is beautiful and freeing.

I believe growth comes from love. Love yourself and allow yourself to grow. God loves us and gently encourages us to be better, not the opposite.

I'm grateful for my hope in Christ and the reality of His resurrection, which opened the way for the rest of us to gain this same resurrection, the unifying and perfecting of our body and spirit for the rest of eternity, flawless and good.

Our flaws, imperfections, weaknesses don't have to define us. We can still dance with ugly scars on our legs. We can still do our work on the earth though we may stumble and sometimes fall. Life is learning how to get back up again and keep trying. With Christ we can, and heal in the process.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Pull of the World vs. The Pull of Christ

Do you ever get the feeling that the world is constantly trying to convince you that you need more of this or that?

There are so many products and services and opportunities in our faces every day. How do we deal with it? How can we get over the feeling that we never have enough?
"[E]very day we see allurements of one kind or another that tell us what we have is not enough. Someone or something is forever telling us we need to be more handsome or more wealthy, more applauded or more admired than we see ourselves as being. We are told we haven’t collected enough possessions or gone to enough fun places. We are bombarded with the message that on the world’s scale of things we have been weighed in the balance and found wanting." 
- Elder Jeffrey R. Holland (The Other Prodigal)
Well, enough is enough.
"You may want to conduct what I’ll call a “personal council.” After praying, spend some time alone. Think about what is ahead. Ask yourself: “What areas of my life do I want to strengthen so that I can strengthen others? Where do I want to be a year from now? two years from now? What choices do I need to make to get there?” Just remember, you are a pilot, and you are in charge. I testify that as you come to yourself, your Heavenly Father will come to you. By the comforting hand of His Holy Spirit, He will help you along." 
- Elder Robert D. Hales (Meeting the Challenges of Today's World)
I'm choosing to look past the constant ads and plugs and compelling arguments that I need this thing or to do this to be happy. I can be happy right now. I can choose to be content with the way my life is and not need to give in to the constant push that I need more. Because I don't.
"Recently, a young filmmaker said he felt he was part of a “generation of prodigals”—a generation “looking for hope and joy and fulfillment, but looking in all the wrong places and in the wrong ways." 
- Elder Robert D. Hales (Meeting the Challenges of Today's World)
Sometimes I think I'll be more happy if I can take more dance classes or be in more choirs or revisit various things I loved to do in college, or take a lot of time to learn a new skill. But for me, the time is not now for most of those things. Right now my time is more importantly spent building up and loving my husband and kids, fulfilling my calling at church and as a visiting teacher, and becoming a better version of myself.
"The world is incessantly pulled by a flood of enticing and seductive voices.
"Overcoming the world is trusting in the one voice that warns, comforts, enlightens, and brings peace “not as the world giveth.” 
- Elder Neil L. Andersen (Overcoming the World)
Maybe there are things I want to do or need to do, and those can be good and worthy goals and things to do. But what I don't want is something distracting me from what is most important:

My faith in God.

My family.

My well-being.
"If the love we feel for the Savior and what He did for us is greater than the energy we give to weaknesses, self-doubts, or bad habits, then He will help us overcome the things which cause suffering in our lives. He saves us from ourselves. 
"Let me reemphasize: if the pull of the world is stronger than the faith and trust we have in the Savior, then the pull of the world will prevail every time. If we choose to focus on our negative thoughts and doubt our worth instead of clinging to the Savior, it becomes more difficult to feel the impressions of the Holy Ghost."
 - Sister Joy D. Jones (Value Beyond Measure)
It's definitely not easy to push out the constant voices that say I need or need to do more more more. Doing new things or revisiting old things are fun ideas for me. But I'm also leaning what my limits are and what things can be big distractions if I'm not careful.
"What Is Hard? Each of us may have a different opinion about what is hard. ...

"There are those who find it hard “to be content with [what] the Lord hath allotted unto [them]” (Alma 29:3). ...

"Regardless of the issue, hard can be good for those who will move forward with faith and trust the Lord and His plan. ...

"His example truly is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Only by following that example can we find “peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come” (D&C 59:23)." 
- Elder Stanley G. Ellis (Do We Trust Him? Hard Is Good)
I'm so grateful for my relationship with our Father in Heaven who created us and desires for us to return to live with Him and receive all that He hath, who knows me personally and answers the pleadings of my soul. Christ is our abundance and with Him we have all we need.
“Come unto me all ye ends of the earth,” He pleads, and buy milk without money and honey without price. All are privileged, the one like unto the other. Walk peacefully. Walk confidently. Walk without fear and without envy. Be reassured of Heavenly Father’s abundance to you always." 
- Elder Jeffrey R. Holland (The Other Prodigal)

Sunday, January 8, 2017

2016 Year End Family Recap

2016 has been a good year to us.  We were blessed to purchase a home in March here in Utah and begin to grow some roots.  Adam enjoys his job at FFKR Architects and is working on getting his architecture license.  Kami and the kids have their own adventures at home.  Eli is so smart and learning so much, and Kayleigh has really started to develop her own personality and interests.  We love the outdoors in Utah and have had fun going snowboarding and bike riding, and Adam going hunting and fishing.  Kami is getting back to ballet and loves to spend time ensuring temple ordinances are getting completed for her ancestors by attending the temple when she can and with Adam.  We were able to go on some family trips this year -- Alabama for a 5 generation picture with Adam’s family, Arizona for a good friend’s wedding and sealing and to see some of Kami’s family, Kami went to DC with and to visit some good friends, and Adam went to Portland, Oregon for an Arizona Wildcat football game with some buddies.  We are enjoying watching our kids grow -- By the end of the year Eli will be 4 years old and Kayleigh will be 1 and a half.

We hope your lives are filled with the love of God and Christ and family this season and always

With love,
Adam, Kami, Eli & Kayleigh

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Are there still prophets?

God has a history of giving the people on Earth prophets to guide and direct them and help them know His will, right?
(Moses, Noah, Abraham, Peter, Adam, Enoch, John the Baptist, Elijah, etc, etc, etc...)
God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, right? 
(Hebrews 13:8; 1 Nephi 10:18; Mormon 9:9)
God loves all His children, right?
"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." (John 3:16)
"For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." (Moses 1:39)
Then why are we any different right now?  God speaking to His people is not new, not something of the past, not only done in ancient times, and not a far-fetched idea.  He does love us right now, He does speak to us right now, He does use the same method as He always has -- through a prophet, seer, and revelator.
"Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets." (Amos 3:7)
A prophet today probably doesn't look much like one did in biblical times, but neither do the rest of the types of people there are -- mothers, fathers, employers, leaders, etc...  But a prophet today still has the same attributes of a prophet then...  Humble, meek, teachable, kind, righteous, mouthpiece of the Lord, seer of past, present and future, holder of priesthood keys, teacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ and a special witness of Him and His reality, one who speaks truth and reveals the will of the Lord...
"What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same." (Doctrine & Covenants 1:38)
Thomas S. Monson
Today God's prophet, seer, revelator, and authorized servant and apostle looks like an older, clean shaven man in a suit.  His name is Thomas S. Monson, current president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and prophet of the world.  He was not chosen by man, but by God.
"We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof." (Articles of Faith 1:5)
How do I know this?  God has given us another gift, the presence of the Holy Ghost in our lives so we may know good from evil, right from wrong, and have a witness of Christ and the truth.  He bears that witness by something described as "a still, small voice" but is not a voice at all, but a feeling that overwhelms your spirit with feelings of goodness, peace, calm, and light.  
"...but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice." (1 Kings 19:11-12)
"But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right." (Doctrine & Covenants 9:8)
To receive this witness we must kneel in sincere prayer and ask God if it is true.  But He expects you to do something with knowledge of truth you receive.  Your intent must be real.
"And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost." (Moroni 10:4)
I have prayed to God and asked, I have studied the words of the prophets and lived by their teachings, and what comes from it is the witness from the Holy Spirit to my soul that Christ lives and speaks to us today through His living prophets.  How blessed we are to have a prophet in our day.  How blessed we are to know that we are loved by God.  How blessed we are to know His will and be guided by Him through his prophet.
"Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart. Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation;" (Doctrine & Covenants 8:2-3)
I invite all to sincerely ask God with real intent, having faith in Christ, to know if this is true, that He has a prophet again on the earth today to lead and guide us through mortality.  I know the Spirit will witness the truth to you, as it has to me again and again.
"And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things." (Moroni 10:5)


Thursday, June 30, 2016

Eli's Surgery Anniversary

2 years post-op, 3.5 years old

Earlier this month was the 2 year anniversary of Eli's cranial surgery.  The date always rings familiar to me and in my social media outlets popped up memories and pictures.  I reflected on the blessing of life and of children and the advances of medicine.  I also revisited thoughts and feelings of faith and hope.  Eli was 3 months old when we found out he would need surgery to fix the plates in his head so his brain and skull could grow properly as he grows.  And he was 5 and a half months old when he underwent that surgery.  I'm so grateful for the gift of faith we had as we waited seemingly endlessly to see him again after the procedure.  We knew he would be alright, and that if something somehow went wrong everything would still be alright, because of Jesus Christ, His resurrection, and the covenants and blessings of His holy temple, which meant we would see him again and be with him forever because we are sealed together for eternity in God's kingdom in heaven.  Knowing those things don't make life experiences go away, but in my experience they make things bearable and even make life good and happy despite unwanted or non ideal events or situations that come up.

Jesus Christ is truly the light and the life of the world.  Because of Him our hope is solid and peace is full, no matter what happens in our lives.  This life on earth is only a temporary state and we can continue in our families for eternity if we progress on God's path and receive ordinances and make covenants with Him to continually choose good.

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