Monday, February 2, 2009

An Elect Lady

A sister in my ward that I visit teach was telling me about the movie, Emma Smith: My Story, and offered to let me borrow it so I took her up on her offer.  I'm so glad I did. It is a wonderfully inspiring docudrama about the life of Emma Hale Smith starting in her childhood and progressing through the martyrdom of her husband, the prophet, Joseph Smith Jr. After watching the film--and crying through two-thirds of it--I have a newfound love and respect for this remarkable woman whom the prophet loved so dearly. She went through so much during her life. I do not think we can truly comprehend the depth of her trials and the strength of her faith. I remember as a freshman at BYU, going to a Relief Society Homemaking meeting (now called Home Family and Personal Enrichment) that was a one woman dramatic performance about the life of Emma Smith. An older lady--I don't recall her name--came in costume and then portraying the character of Emma, talked to us about her life. That was probably my first experience with really learning about her. It was a nice performance and the woman did a great job but somehow now that I am a wife and mother, I can relate so much better to this "elect lady." I have long loved and admired the prophet Joseph Smith, Jr. but now I feel that I know Emma a little better and I can honestly say that I love and admire her as well.   I would highly recommend this film if you are fortunate enough to be able to get your hands on it.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The End of Something or a New Beginning

Well, for my family it is time to hit the books again. School's back in session. I love the beginning of the school year. It's a time of new beginnings, a time to start fresh--to get into a routine again. True, Summer is at it's end for the most part. There will be no more vacations, no more lazing about the house all day and no more staying up late at night. Before we know it the days will be getting shorter and cooler and the leaves will start to change colors. But instead of feeling depressed about the end of something good I look forward to the beginning of something better. I am excited to set goals for this school year; to make it a wonderful experience for my children and to use my time while they are at school wisely to better myself, my home and my family. So, perhaps it sounds cliche or a bit cheesy, but while the leaves will be falling from the trees in just a couple short months, something green and beautiful and alive is budding in my soul. I am excited for the possibilities.

Friday, February 15, 2008

There is Sunshine in My Soul Today

Ah sunshine, that generous gift from a loving Father in Heaven to remind us of all the blessings we have; to lift, inspire and warm our souls. Especially at this time of year I crave sunshine and blue skies. Winter is almost over and the earth is starting to awaken. There are no buds on the trees yet, but the sunshine returning to the world in increasing frequency brings with it the promise that new life is coming and soon everything will be green and fresh and fragrant. Even if you live where the snow is still three feet deep you can have sunshine too. Read an uplifting book, listen to some cheerful music, play with a child, call a friend, do something kind for a stranger and I guarantee you will feel sunshine in your soul and remember that those blessed rays of sunlight will return. Soon. 

Friday, July 27, 2007

What did you learn?

This is a challenge to spend 10 minutes reading the scriptures with a specific question in mind. Start with a prayer. Ask the Lord for guidance about something you have been struggling with, or more generally to teach you something you need to know. Then spend 10 minutes reading in the scriptures. Share what you learn here if you would like.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Things Will Work Out

“Things will work out. Keep trying. Be believing. Be happy. Don’t get discouraged. Things will work out.” President Gordon B. Hinckley

Life can get pretty discouraging at times. Health problems, financial difficulties, feeling our own frailties and weaknesses as parents or just as human beings in general can all cause us to feel down. Sometimes it seems like there is no respite from all the little trials we have to face, but we can feel the peace. D&C 59:23 says, "But learn that he who doeth the works of righteousness shall receive his reward even peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come."

Everything from broken down cars to bad hair cuts to bursitis and more can weigh on us heavily but I think the key to happiness is two-fold: first, obedience to the commandments of God and second, counting our blessings more than we count our trials. Often when we are doing our best to keep the commandments we find ourselves facing even more trials (we'll call this the "Job Effect"). Job faced some of the hardest trials that anyone could face but yet he remained steadfast in his testimony of Jesus Christ. He recognized that even though he had his family, his health, his friends and even his dignity taken from him that he still had blessings--he still had a testimony of the Savior, of His atonement and resurrection. He still had the love of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and he had the promise of "eternal life in the world to come."

So often I neglect to count my blessings, but when I take the time to really think about all that I have been endowed with I find myself feeling uplifted and happier despite the trials I have. The broken down cars don't seem so bad and suddenly I am blessed even more with comfort and the assurance that the Lord will take care of us. He won't let us down. He loves us and is aware of my fears and insecurities. He knows that I sometimes feel like a failure as a mother or that I got angry with that person at the store for taking the parking spot I was waiting for, but inspite of my weaknesses He still loves me anyway and wants for me to be happy.

Armed with knowledge of the Lord's love and fortified by gratitude for my blessings, I can keep trying. I become more believing and less discouraged and I know that indeed things will work out.

5 Things I Am Grateful For:
1. Family, Friends, Loved Ones
2. The Gospel of Jesus Christ
3. Beauty--Beautiful writing, music, art. . .
4. Nature--flowers, birds, grass, trees, the moon and stars, the sun and rain, lightning and thunder, animals plants, the wondrous world that we live in
5. A body--a body that works, walks, and functions properly. Even though it may not meet the world's standards of beauty it is miraculous and I am so glad I have it.

What are you grateful for? I challenge you to list 5 things that bless your life.

Friday, April 13, 2007

On Duties

"How necessary it is to cultivate a spirit of joy. It is a psychological truth that the physical acts of reverence and devotion make one feel devout. The courteous gesture increases one's respect for others. To act lovingly is to begin to feel loving, and certainly to act joyfully brings joy to others which in turn makes one feel joyful. I believe we are called to the duty of delight." -Dorothy Day

It's spring. I itch to dig in the earth, to get my hands dirty, to labor for the life of some beautiful or useful plant. To weed. To prune. To nourish. To protect. I hope to help my little seedlings not only live, but thrive. And that's what I want for myself. I want not only to live, but to thrive.

As Dorothy Day points out, we must cultivate joy. I think that means dig for it. Weed around it. Prune it. Nourish it and protect it. Get in there and get our hands dirty in helping it along. Perhaps joy is tied much more closely to work than we ever realized - hard, break a sweat, task by task accomplishment- our duties. Dishes, laundry, dusting, bills... can we find delight in these duties? Can we look at them as acts of loving service for our family? as prayers of gratitude to our Father in Heaven? As we "serve" our home, won't we come to love it all the more? Won't our contentment grow?

The work our mind has to do is no less arduous, even if we won't break a sweat. Dorothy Day's words illuminate one of our mental duties. It is to choose to act. Today we have largley forgotten that the doing precedes the feeling. We must act to sow seeds of reverence, courtesy, love, and joy with faith that they will grow. We must act joyful when we feel the farthest from it and yearn for it the most. If we understood the power of acting, of choosing what it is we long to feel or be, we would already be harvesting delight.