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.

Related posts:

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

I Can Do Hard Things

It's my nature that when I go somewhere, I really enjoy going with other people.  It's more fun that way!  The more the merrier.  Also it can be hard to go places with both kids without Adam.  But as I drove home last week after a long morning/afternoon at a free heritage park day with both kids passed out asleep in their car seats I felt good and accomplished and happy.  Even though no one else could come with me.

I really like to take advantage of free events.  I was pretty nervous going to a new place by myself with both kids, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to go for free.  And guess what?  We survived!  And we actually did have a good time.  It helps to be prepared with food, water, and sunscreen.  The place was big with lots of things to do and see, but I knew Eli wouldn't be too interested in the historical stuff and that trying to help him see things while also trying to keep Kayleigh entertained would be a challenge so we just hit up the most important things.  He rode a pony, we pet animals, stopped by the splash pad, rode a mini train, played on a big boat, ate free popsicles, climbed a spiral staircase, looked at cool geode rocks, and rode the big train!  We were there for 4 hours.  Phew!  But like I said, we not only survived but also had a lot of fun.  I know the kids like to get out of the house and see new things and I'm trying to be good at that for them.  It helps everyone.  :)

As we drove home I thought about how doing this hard thing and being out so long by myself with both kids makes the idea of doing other things closer to home for a less amount of time easier and totally doable!  I love to watch the kids having fun.  And I love not rushing their fun.

I know my ability to do hard things comes directly from Christ.  He strengthens me and lifts me up.  And when I do good things even when they are not easy I allow Heavenly Father to bless me.  I am happy, my family is happy, we are at peace with our place in life and where we are going.  I am so grateful for Jesus Christ and His influence and assistance in every area of my life.
"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." (Philippians 4:13)

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

There are No Consequences

A couple months ago I sat outside in the backyard with my son while my husband worked in the yard.  He started digging up part of the backyard where we are going to plant a garden and I joined him with the rake.  I briefly thought that I should probably wear some work gloves so I wouldn't get blisters on my hands but decided against it.  I didn't want to take the time to find them and would rather just get some of the work done.  I would probably be fine.  Later when I was done I realized that my hands were sore.  I could have saved myself some pain had I just took a minute to grab some gloves!

Aren't we like that sometimes?  Somewhere in the back of our minds we know that there will be negative consequences to some choices we make but we convince ourselves otherwise and choose to ignore it and make our choice anyway.  We think it doesn't apply to us or that we will be just fine.  Pushing family away and not making them important will result in weakened relationships.  Pushing God away and not making Him important will result in a weakened relationship and will place you further away from the Spirit who gently guides us on the correct path and helps us feel peace.  Etc, etc.  Sometimes in our weakness we choose to ignore the consequences of our choices, but the truth and fact is that those consequences will still come.  No matter what I want to happen (not have blistered hands), I will still have sore or blistered hands after working in the yard without gloves.  I will still suffer spiritually if I choose not to pray regularly or live by the teachings of the prophets.
"And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell." (2 Nephi 28:21)
The adversary slinks into the weak areas of our chain link and whispers lies to us.  Somehow he sometimes gets us to think that the consequences don't apply to us, that we can choose whatever we want and we will be just fine.

There are consequences!  There are consequences to every choice we make.  Sometimes they come quickly, sometimes later.  Consequences can be bad, and they can also be good.  As we align our choices with the right goals, the consequences that will inevitably come will not be disappointing but can have the positive effect in our lives that we are hoping for.  Listen carefully and the Spirit will lead you to what is good.
"Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven" (Matthew 5:12)
"For ye shall have great joy and be exceedingly glad, for great shall be your reward in heaven" (3 Nephi 12:12)
"Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.
"And now, my sons, I would that ye should look to the great Mediator, and hearken unto his great commandments; and be faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life, according to the will of his Holy Spirit"
(2 Nephi 2:27-28)

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Cursed or blessed?

Everything in life could be viewed as a curse or a blessing...  It just depends on the way you look at it.  I choose to believe that life is a gift and has purpose in every turn.  The point here is to grow and to learn how to be better on this our journey to becoming like our eternal, resurrected, all knowing, all powerful, all loving, Father in Heaven.

As I think back on my marriage and family so far I can't recall facing any serious, threatening problems.  We certainly haven't been without our trials.  But I think our attitude has played a big part in how things have played out.  Our big decisions have already been made, there is no question -- We have faith in Jesus Christ, we go to church and accept and participate fully in callings, we pay our tithing, we are faithful to our baptismal and temple covenants and to each other and our little family...  We have chosen our Rock a long time ago and we will not be moved.  Our faith was not shaken when we had to get through and pay for school, or when we thought I was pregnant but it didn't work out, or when our first new baby had to have cranial surgery at 5 and a half months old, or when I sprouted ulcers on both my legs that rendered me useless for a while, or when we packed ourselves up right after having our second baby to live 12 hours away from the only home we knew, or as we struggled to adjust to life with a toddler and a baby and in a brand new state, or how lonely it has been...  We could all spend hours talking about how our lives have been challenging.  But I'm certain we have been blessed as we have stayed true to Christ. 

I don't think any of us could say our lives have been easy.  We have our different set of challenges that are uniquely ours.  But those challenges no matter what they are do not define us, it's what we do with them that does.  It's in the way we handle them that our growth occurs.  And the way we view them, as a curse or a blessing, distinguishes between the bitterness and sweetness of life.
"For after much tribulation come the blessings. Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand." (Doctrine & Covenants 84:4)

Friday, May 13, 2016

Getting it Together

I usually don't have everything together.  I don't think anyone really does!  On weeks or days when I sort of mostly have it together I feel really great!  Celebrating small victories can be like a light through a tunnel that seems dark.  Motherhood is a challenging, rewarding, tiring, joy filling adventure.  But being a mother isn't the only thing I worry about, oh no.  There's laundry, dinner, grocery shopping, work, developing my own talents, being a good wife, cleaning up the ever growing pile of mail, visiting teaching, preparing for callings...  And that doesn't even include special events like family gatherings and birthdays and visits from out of town, etc.  Life is just busy!  There is always something.  But that's OK, and it's good.  Some days I take great solace in the fact that tomorrow is another day and another chance to do better.  A quote from Elder Holland comes to mind:

Watch this short inspiring video:

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Personal Trial: Leg Sores (Update)

July 2015

April 2016

Two years have gone by already, can you believe it?  This month two years ago is when the ulcers on my legs popped up and began their outside course in my life.  I have to say that I thought two years would have been plenty of time for them to look relatively normal, but there is still a redish/purpleish color to them and they are still noticeable.  I'm also surprised that the spots are still a little sensitive.  It's not that bad, but there is still a lot of healing that needs to happen under there!  I'm excited to wear knee length skirts to church this summer though (instead of more long maxi skirts) and not have to worry about constant questions from little children ;)  Right now my calling is teaching the 16-18 year old youth Sunday School class with Adam, which by the way is one of the best classes to teach!  So no Primary children (ages 3-11) running around to get recurring questions from :D

While this has not been an ideal experience for me, it's nice to have reaffirmed to me that these scars really don't matter.  They are a sign and reminder of my weakness and neglect, something I should be careful not to let happen again.  And even more they are a sign and reminder of the reality of the Savior, that because Jesus Christ was resurrected, I will be too.  These marks are not permanent by way of eternity.  Just a short, minor blip in my earthly physicality.
"...all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good." (Doctrine & Covenants 122:7) 
Likewise, our weaknesses should not be neglected, but properly cared for and constantly being thought over and worked on for the better.  When they are neglected and ignored they get worse.  But properly treated over time, though sometimes slow, will bring improvements and healing.  We treat ourselves by not neglecting but constantly cultivating our relationship with God, our eternal Father in heaven, and understanding of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
"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)

Back Story
Hospital Stay

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

See & Believe

What do you see?
A great mountainous glacier setting itself free
Nothing holds it back from being what it wants to be
Neither frost nor liquid nor man can compete
Leaving behind no sense of defeat
What do you see?
A stone so small winds could take it away
But happy it sits wherever it lay
Pondering what the next move it will make
All the while cheerful though without no mistake
What do you see?
A wrinkle, a smile, eyes that shine as the light
Glorious will that can always take flight
No wrestle of heart can outtake the delight
Onward, press onward can be the next fight
What do you see?
For always the triumph seems too far to see
But take and believe what you know you can be
Always, forever, we’ll stand and we’ll live
To fight for our souls and to serve and forgive
What do you see?
I see a strong spirit who knows what to do
Who knows how to fight and to hum the right tune
Someone who’ll take a bad blow as it comes
And turn and press onward no matter the sums
What do you see?
Believe in yourself and your power within
To strike at the foe with your goodness and grin
You know what is right and you know how to play
Life isn’t the game but no need for delay
What do you see?
A past that might hurt and a future unsure
Unstable you think yourself, scared with no cure
Questions with answers that cannot be heard
Ensnaring the soul, allowing the lure
What do you see?
Hope can rise up if you let it be seen
No need to hide or think low your esteem
Greatness exists inside you and in me
Just let it go and let yourself free
What do you see?

[September 19, 2008 (3am)]

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Church so long and so often

Why do we sit through 3 meetings totaling 3 hours every Sunday for church?  And wrestle with our children almost the whole time?  Do we expect to hear something so new it's mind-blowing or earth shattering?  Isn't it just the same stuff every week?

Well for me, I appreciate and know that I need the constant replenishing of spirit in a way that is special to gathering and talking together about basic Gospel doctrines.  Yes I pray daily and yes I study my scriptures regularly but getting together with others in faith in Christ brings a special strength to me as I begin a new week.  Next to partaking of the Sacrament ordinance, getting out of my house and meeting together with purpose is actually a great refresher for body, mind and spirit.
"For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."  -- Matthew 18:20
When I pay attention, I can feel the Lord by His Spirit in those meetings I attend each Sunday.  When I pay attention to the Spirit instead of let myself get distracted by rowdy kids or weird things people say or other things that cross my mind, I am so much more spiritually rejuvenated and elevated.  I feel more of God's love for me and others and feel lifted up as I think of ways I can try to be better.  Sometimes it's stressful trying to keep our kids quiet and happy and then also teach a handful of rambunctious young children, but boy do they need this constant refresher of spirit each week!  I do too.  We all do.  I don't just go to church for me, but I also go for my children and my family as a unit.  It brings us closer together because we feel the Spirit and God's love for us.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Your book of remembrance

When I heard it, this sentence from Elder Gerrit W. Gong's past conference talk "Always Remember Him" struck me deeply:
"Have you ever thought of yourself as your own living book of remembrance—reflecting what and how you choose to remember?"
I don't think I had previously thought of the things I remember as a choice.  To think that I could choose what I remember about past times felt monumental to me.  I don't really like to talk about many things in my past because I remember lots of negative feelings and things I wish I would have done differently.  I know I've had good things in my life, but I seem to have this problem where I mostly only remember the bad things.  Even in recent years.  I tend to dwell on the negative a little bit.  But this phrase from Elder Gong seriously hit a chord in me.  It made me realize two important things:
  1. You can look on your past in a positive light
  2. Remembering the good things in your life can be so much easier by keeping a record of them as they happen
I know there has been a lot of good in my life.  I feel extremely blessed for so many reasons.  I love where I am now and I know that it's because the Gospel of Jesus Christ has brought me real peace and lasting happiness attainable only through Him.

I have a lot of forgiveness to release still, especially for myself.  Something I try to remember is that in any point of my life I did the best I could with what I had and knew at the time.  Elder Gong quoted Christian philosopher Soren Kierkegaard who said:
"Life must be understood backward.  But ... it must be lived forward."
I love that.  I'm working on feeling more gratitude for the past moments I've lived, to be happy about what I've had instead of wishing for something different.  Learning and growing is the point of us being here on the earth in the first place.  If we can learn from what we have done and implement those lessons in our current moments, our lives now and our future will feel bright and hopeful.  And it will be even more so if we can let go of life's many disappointments.  That's what I need to do, and I know that as I do, I can have an even more fulfilling life because nothing will be haunting me or holding me back!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

My Conversion to the Gospel of Jesus Christ

Both my parents were baptized and became members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in their adult years.  They were married and sealed in the Manti Utah temple.  My younger brother and sister and I were all baptized at age 8.  Despite this, our family didn’t attend church very regularly, nor did we spend time together in Gospel instruction that I remember with family scripture study, prayer, home evening, etc.  I attended girl’s camp and seminary, even EFY, and also stake dances, though I didn’t participate very much in the spiritual side of things.  As a result I was spiritually wayward, and felt like I was always grasping at straws trying to find real happiness.  I had blue coloring in my hair at the ends and a strip through my bangs at one time and hot pink highlights at another; I stayed out way too late and never had a curfew; didn't have the greatest influences as friends; I didn’t always dress modestly; I played in soccer tournament games on Sundays; I stayed up till morning and slept till the afternoon.  Searching for peace in all the wrong places, I didn’t know there was a better way of living.

The summer before my junior year of high school my 16th birthday fell on a Sunday.  For some unknown reason I decided I would spend my birthday going to church.  I have a few memories of Primary and Achievement Days, and one thing I do remember is getting a pencil for my birthday in Primary.  This small thought played a part in my going to church that day.  I didn’t know which class I was in or where they met, I hadn’t previously talked much to the other youth in my ward.  I don’t remember who I sat with or how I got there.  But I went and I was happy to be there!  I decided in the middle of Young Women’s that from that day forward I wouldn’t stop coming to church.

The same summer in the next month was girl’s camp, and my first year as a YCL (youth camp leader).  I almost didn’t go because I didn’t really feel like I knew anyone I would be there with.  But I ended up going and I’m really glad I did.  The Spirit pierced my heart that week.  During the Thursday night devotional and testimony meeting with my ward, I stood up to bear my testimony, something I never had previously done.  “I don’t know what I know; I just know that I know,” was the only way I could describe the feelings I had.  It gave me hope and a sense of purpose.  Girl’s camp and the events leading up to it sealed the deal for me, and I’ve never looked back!

It was tough though, to start over.  I was halfway through high school, established like everyone else, I had finally made friends I felt accepted with, and here I was, abandoning everything I previously “knew” for some glimmer of hope of the unknown future.  I tried to run with a different crowd where people were on the same page spiritually as me, though I never really completely felt like I belonged through the rest of high school.  It wasn’t an easy transition, but I was solid in my determination to stay true to what I knew.  Seminary was my rock through the rest of high school and a daily source of spiritual strength and rejuvenation.

Since then it’s gotten much easier and has become a joy to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ!  I’ve had a great time learning and growing through college, married life, and motherhood.  The Gospel is everything to me, and though part of me wishes I would have had a more spiritual childhood, I’m grateful for the experiences in my life because they have helped make me strong in my faith of Jesus Christ and brought me to where I am today.

My life is not free of challenges, nor is it free of mistakes.  I constantly have to be on guard and make sure I try my hardest to choose the higher ground and the better part.  I'm continually gaining testimony of the Gospel as I show my commitment to Him by living the eternal principles taught by prophets of old in the scriptures and modern prophets in our day.  My conversion is a process as I am converted to choosing daily to follow Christ.

We all face trials, and we all experience heartache.  I know what it’s like to be lost, and I also know what it’s like to be found.  Nothing else in this life can bring greater and truer and more lasting happiness and peace than following Jesus Christ and living His Gospel.  I am eternally grateful and feel hugely blessed to have the Gospel in my life!

Elder Bednar -- Converted unto the Lord

P.S. -- I feel like I need to mention that there have been countless good people throughout every part of my life so far who have had positive influences on me no matter how long or short our association has been.  It would be impossible for me to list the people or the instances but know that if you have come across my path, you have put a drop or two or many in my testimony & conversion lamp.  Even still today!  Keep being good people in the lives of others, I know you are blessing many with your goodness by simply being you!  THANK YOU from me and everyone else's life you have touched!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

2015 Family Recap

The last year was one full of changes for us!  Kami spent most of the first half of the year in pregnancy sickness while caring for ever increasingly rambunctious Eli as Adam finished his last semester of college in Tucson, Arizona.  May was the biggest month for our family.  Two days after Adam's huge final presentation for school, our sweet baby girl decided she wanted to join our family, 3 weeks early.  What started as a relatively normal doctor visit ended as a trip to the hospital and a few hours later she was born.  Kayleigh Lynn came speedily on Friday, May 8 at 3:39pm weighing 6 pounds 15.7 ounces and measuring 18 and 1/4 inches long.  Eli gladly welcomed Kayleigh into our family with a heart bursting with love.  He loves to hold her, hug her, kiss her, and play with her.  And she loves him just as much, watching and smiling at him all the time.  They adore each other and we adore them! The very next Friday Adam graduated with his bachelor degree in Architecture from the University of Arizona -- a milestone long anticipated!  He landed a great job at FFKR, an architecture firm in downtown Salt Lake City and before the month was over we had moved up to Utah. Kami left her family in Arizona but funny enough Adam joined his in Utah.  We've all made quite the adjustment moving north but we're settled in and enjoying our new life here.  Some of our favorite activities include riding the train to Salt Lake City, going to grassy parks, visiting family, and playing outside. Adam's company is one of a few in town that gets work contracted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  And they were the ones working on the plans for the Tucson temple!  And it just so happened that he was lucky enough to get to work on it with that team for the last month of the project.  That was his first month -- what a welcome!  What a blessing, a tender mercy. We celebrated our 5 year anniversary this summer.  We've been very blessed throughout our marriage, and continue to be.  At the end of the year Eli will be 3 years old and Kayleigh will be 7 and a half months old. 

May you feel the love, peace, and joy of the Savior this Christmas, and may your New Year be one full of blessings, 

Adam, Kami, Eli & Kayleigh