Wednesday, October 24, 2012
So here is part #2 of my General Conference notes and thoughts. I am only covering one talk. This talk was AMAZING! It was so good I have basically copied the whole talk. If you know me you know which general authority I most look forward to. He is one of the twelve apostles and favorite to many....Elder Jeffery R. Holland!
His talk goes hand in hand with what the seminary students are currently learning and what Sister Blaine has recently taught in seminary. It was an answer to my prayers in understanding what I was reading in the New Testament. I remember reading over the chapters that covers what Elder Holland spoke about and thinking very little of it. I am grateful for his talk and for a better understanding of the first four books of the New Testament.
Sunday Morning - Jeffery R. Holland "The First Great Commandment"
I think we sometimes forget just how inexperienced they (the apostles) still were and how totally dependent upon Jesus they had of necessity been.
Three years isn’t long to call an entire Quorum of Twelve Apostles from a handful of new converts, purge from them the error of old ways, teach them the wonders of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and then leave them to carry on the work until they too were killed. Quite a staggering prospect for a group of newly ordained elders. I never thought of the apostles lives like this. How quickly they changed their old ways to follow the Savior, someone they hardly knew to do things that they had never done before. Three years isn't that long...
Then, after such a short time to learn and even less time to prepare, the unthinkable happened, the unbelievable was true. Their Lord and Master, their Counselor and King, was crucified. His mortal ministry was over, and the struggling little Church He had established seemed doomed to scorn and destined for extinction. His Apostles did witness Him in His resurrected state, but that only added to their bewilderment. As they surely must have wondered, “What do we do now?” they turned for an answer to Peter, the senior Apostle. These words spoken by Elder Holland bring me to tears. Read it again and think about what the apostles must have felt like without their mentor there to guide them. Just sit and think about this as though you were Peter. He had ten men depending on him the way he depended on the Savior for guidance and he knew not what to do.
Peter answering the questions of his fellow apostles: "So you ask, 'What do we do now?' I don't know more to tell you than to return to your former life, rejoicing. I intend to 'go a fishing.'" And at least six of the ten other remaining Apostles said in agreement, "We also go with thee." John, who was one of them, writes, "They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately."
But, alas, the fishing wasn't very good. Their first night back on the lake, they caught nothing, not a single fish. With the first rays of dawn, they disappointedly turned toward the shore, where they saw in the distance a figure who called out to them, "Children, have you caught anything?" Glumly these Apostles-turned-again-fishermen gave the answer no fisherman wants to give. "We have caught nothing," they muttered, and to add insult to injury, they were being called "children." "Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find," the stranger calls out-and with those simple words, recognition begins to flood over them. Just three years earlier these very men had been fishing on this very sea. On that occasion too they had "toiled all the night, and [had] taken nothing," the scriptures says. But a fellow Galilean on the shore had call out to them to let down their nets, and they drew "a great multitude of fishes," enough that their nets broke, the catch filling two boats so heavily they had begun to sink. Now it was happening again. These "children," as they were rightly called, eagerly lowered their net, and "they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes." John said the obvious: "It is the Lord." And over the edge of the boat, the irrepressible Peter leaped. After a joyful reunion with the resurrected Jesus, Peter had an exchange with the Savior that I consider the crucial turning point of the apostolic ministry generally and certainly for Peter personally, moving this great rock of a man to a majestic life of devoted service and leadership. Looking at their battered little boats, their frayed nets, and a stunning pile of 153 fish, Jesus said to His senior Apostle, "Peter, do you love me more than you love all this?" Peter said, "Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee." The Savior responds to that reply but continues to look into the eyes of His disciple and says again, "Peter, do you love me?" Undoubtedly confused a bit by the repetition of the question, the great fisherman answers a second time, "Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee." The Savior again gives a brief response, but with relentless scrutiny He asks for the third time, "Peter, do you love me?" by now surely Peter is feeling truly uncomfortable. Perhaps there is in his heart the memory of only a few days earlier when he had been asked another question three times and he had answered equally emphatically-but in the negative. Or perhaps he began to wonder if he misunderstood the Master Teacher's question. Or perhaps he was searching his heart, seeking honest confirmation of the answer he had given so readily,a almost automatically. Whatever his feelings, Peter said for the third time, "Lord,...thou knowest that I love thee." To which Jesus responded (and here again I acknowledge my non scriptural elaboration) (I love how Elder Holland interprets this story. I just had to include it because I don't think it could have been explained any better), perhaps saying something like: "Then Peter, why are you here? Why are we back on this same shore, by these same nets, having this same conversation? Wasn't it obvious then and isn't it obvious now that if I want fish, I can get fish? What I need, Peter, are disciples- and I need them forever. I need someone to feed my sheep and save my lambs. I need someone to preach my gospel and defend my faith. I need someone who loves me, truly, truly, loves me, and loves what our Father in Heaven has commissioned me to do. Ours is not a feeble message. It is not a fleeting task. It is not a hapless; it is not hopeless; it is not to be cosigned to the ask heap of history. It is the work of Almighty God, and it is to change the world. So, Peter, for the second and presumably the last time, I am asking you to leave all this and to go teach and testify, labor and serve loyally until the day in which they will do to you exactly what they did to me." I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this part! Then, turning to all the Apostles, He might well have said something like: "Were you as foolhardy as the scribes and Pharisees? As Herod and Pilate? Did you, like they, think that this work could be killed simply by killing me? Did you, like they, think the cross and the nails and the tomb were the end of it all and each could blissfully go back to being whatever you were before? Children, did not my life and my love touch your hearts more deeply than this?" I love these last few questions Elder Holland asks in his interpretation. Think about the death of Christ as a nonbeliever...."Did you, did they, think that this work could be killed simply by killing me?" I wonder how those nonbelievers felt after the death of Christ, seeing his work continue. Maybe then they believed. My beloved brothers and sister, I am not certain just what our experience will be on Judgment Day, but I will be very surprised if at some point in that conversation, God does not ask us exactly what Christ asked Peter: "Did you love me?" I think He will want to know if in our very mortal, very inadequate, and sometimes childish grasp of things, did we at least understand one commandment, the first and greatest commandment of the all, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart,a and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind." And if at such a moment we can stammer out, "Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee," then He may remind us that the crowning characteristic of love is always loyalty. This talk was amazing! I hope that everyone got the chance to watch it or read it. Don't go by my words alone...go read it! One more post about General Conference to come!
Saturday, October 20, 2012
October 6th and 7th was General Conference. For those of you who don’t know what General Conference is….it is one weekend twice a year, the first weekends in April and October, when our prophet and other general authorities speak to the members of the church.
I always take notes and thought that I would share my thoughts on my five favorite talks. If I were to include everything that I would like to into one post it would be super long so I am going to do it in parts. The talks are in order by session and my comments are in a different color. I did not comment on every quote I included because I didn't feel the need to. This is a way for me to share my favorite talks and words spoken by our general authorities. Well, here is part #1!
Saturday Morning - Russell M. Nelson "Ask the Missionaries"
This talk given by Elder Nelson was my favorite talk from this past General Conference! I absolutely LOVE this talk!
Elder Nelson said, “every worthy, able young man should prepare to serve a mission. Missionary service is a priesthood duty—an obligation the Lord expects of us who have been given so very much”. He mentions how we are given so much, so much that we cannot do enough to repay our Father in heaven. I believe that is why it is so important for young men to serve missions. We should be doing everything possible to repay our Father.
"A mission is a voluntary act of service to God and humankind." By serving a mission or serving the church in any way we are serving "humankind" and our Heavenly Father. Yet another way to repay our Father, serving him and his children.
"The decision to serve a mission will shape the spiritual destiny of the missionary, his or her spouse, and their posterity for generations to come. A desire to serve is a natural outcome of one’s conversion, worthiness, and preparation." This statement is SO true! Choosing to serve a mission or not will shape the rest of one's life. Just think of all of the good possibilities that could come because of serving a mission!
"Some of you may wonder about the name Mormon. It is a nickname for us. It is not our real name, though we are widely known as Mormons. The term is derived from a book of sacred scripture known as the Book of Mormon." I love how he states that "Mormon" is not our name. We are Latter-Day Saints and that is what we should tell people!
"The original Church and the priesthood were lost. After the Dark Ages, and under the direction of Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ brought back His Church. Now it lives again, restored and functioning under His divine direction." What I love about this statement is that Elder Nelson says that we receive divine direction from our Father in heaven, not just direct from him.
One thing I love about Elder Nelson's talk is how it is not directed just to members of the church. We always think of General Conference as for us members but there are in actives and nonmembers who also watch. "You may have previously encountered, or even ignored, our missionaries. My hope is that you will not fear them but learn from them. They can be a heaven-sent resource to you."
President Eyring's talk goes hand in hand with prayer. Prayer is my favorite gospel principle. Prayer is so meaningful to me. I think that this can help everyone. If we have a pavilion up we cannot receive divine revelation. What a great reminder this is to us about not just speaking with our Father in heaven but being able to listen to Him as well.
"In the depths of his anguish in Liberty Jail, the Prophet Joseph Smith cried out: 'O God, where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place?' Many of us, in moments of personal anguish, feel that God is far from us. The pavilion that seems to intercept divine aid does not cover God but occasionally covers us. God is never hidden, yet sometimes we are, covered by a pavilion of motivations that draw us away from God and make Him seem distant and inaccessible. Our own desires, rather than a feeling of 'Thy will be done,' create the feeling of a pavilion blocking God. God is not unable to see us or communicate with us, but we may be unwilling to listen or submit to His will and His time." This is a great reminder that our Heavenly Father is ALWAYS there for us. If we feel that He is not than we may have put up a pavilion. President Eyring said, "Our own desires create the feeling of a pavilion blocking God". Our Father would never put up a pavilion between Himself and one of His children.
"God is close to us and aware of us and never hides from His faithful children." I love everything about this sentence! He is close to us, aware of us, and never hides from us. This simple sentence comes with such a spiritual feeling!
"Jesus Christ lives, knows us, watches over us, and cares for us. In moments of pain, loneliness, or confusion, we do not need to see Jesus Christ to know that He is aware of our circumstances and that His mission is to bless."
I LOVE how President Eyring described what he did when he needed help from our Father in Heaven.
"And so, like a child, I knelt in prayer to ask what I should do."
"There was no pavilion shielding me from God. In faith and humility, I submitted my will to His and felt His care and closeness."
"We can’t insist on our timetable when the Lord has His own. I thought I had spent enough time in my service in Rexburg and was in a hurry to move on. Sometimes our insistence on acting according to our own timetable can obscure His will for us." We have to remember that everything is on the Lord's time. Although we may pray and plead, it will not be done at our will. It is not always easy to be patient but I'm sure by doing things on the Lord's time will be better for us than doing them on our time. He knows us, better than we know ourselves so it would make since to trust in Him and His timing.
"Submitting fully to heaven’s will, as this young mother did, is essential to removing the spiritual pavilions we sometimes put over our heads. But it does not guarantee immediate answers to our prayers."
"Although His time is not always our time, we can be sure that the Lord keeps His promises. For any of you who now feel that He is hard to reach, I testify that the day will come that we all will see Him face to face. Just as there is nothing now to obscure His view of us, there will be nothing to obscure our view of Him. We will all stand before Him, in person. Like my granddaughter, we want to see Jesus Christ now, but our certain reunion with Him at the judgment bar will be more pleasing if we first do the things that make Him as familiar to us as we are to Him. As we serve Him, we become like Him, and we feel closer to Him as we approach that day when nothing will hide our view."
"But if you go for the Lord to bless others, He will see and reward it. If you do this often enough and long enough, you will feel a change in your very nature through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Not only will you feel closer to Him, but you will also feel more and more that you are becoming like Him. Then, when you do see Him, as we all will, it will be for you as it was for Moroni when he said: 'And now I bid unto all, farewell. I soon go to rest in the paradise of God, until my spirit and body shall again reunite, and I am brought forth triumphant through the air, to meet you before the pleasing bar of the great Jehovah, the Eternal Judge of both quick and dead. Amen.'”
For those of you who missed General Conference or would like to learn more about it you can go to lds.org! There are notes and comments from three more talks to come soon!
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
I have spent the past few days with one of my best friends, Sarah Woodall. We have done a bunch of crazy stuff in just a few days, which for us is not surprising. Mostly we have been crafting, scrolling through Pinterest and having girl talk. What else would you do at a sleepover?!
This girl right here is Sarah Woodall and man do we both have stories to tell you about our time spent together!
Monday night was spent having girl talk and pinning on Pinterest. I absolutely love Pinterest but you can only pin so many things in one day, or so I thought. Sarah spent FOREVER on Pinterest…..well it was only about 2 and a half hours but it seemed like forever!
Tuesday morning we got up at 10 a.m. For Sarah this was sleeping in, for me it was getting up early. We went to McDonald's and got smoothies and Sonic to get breakfast burritos. They were both super yummy! After breakfast we got right to our craft projects. Our first and second projects were similar and both were found on Pinterest along with the other crafts we've attempted.
Craft Project #1: t-shirt flip flops
First we cut strips out of t-shirts. Then we took five strands and sewed them together.
Next we braided the strips. After finishing the braid we sewed the end.
This is what the braid looked like when Sarah finished it.
How to attach the braid to the flip flops:
You take the two ends and put them through the hole that goes in between your toes.
Next you take little strips of fabric and put them around the braid and through each hole. By doing this the braid will wrap all the way around one’s foot unlike a regular flip flop.
We both added a piece of cloth in the middle to bring the two straps together to make them look more like sandals instead of flip flops. Here is the finished project! :)
They turned out awesome! They are super comfortable! I can't wait to wear mine! :)
Craft Project #2: t-shirt headbands
The steps to make the headbands are very similar to those of the flip flops. Once you finish the braid you sew the two ends together. Cut the ends of the strands but keep one to sew around the ends sown together. With the headbands we used two different colors for several of them but my favorites are the solid colored ones.
Tuesday night after dinner Sarah and I ventured out to Wal-Mart for more craft supplies. Someone had the bright idea to get the stuff for face masks. I remembered in Young Womens one Wednesday night we used unflavored gelatin to put on our noses. Well Sarah, not knowing we only put in on our noses, smears it all over my face, so we said, “why not?” We put it on each others’ faces and let it dry. Mine dried quick and made my face super tight. I had trouble moving my lips so talking was a little difficult!
Sarah's face was SO funny!
The only way to peel the mask off was to move our faces to crack it and OWWWWW did it hurt! I can’t even describe how it felt besides, “Ow. Owwww. OWWWW!” It took FOREVER to peel off. The worst was getting it out of my eyebrows, Sarah Woodall. I thought it was going to rip my eyebrows right off my face. Guess whose idea it was to put it all over, I mean ALL over, my eyebrows. Sarah Woodall. Don’t worry, I got her back ;) Once our faces were finally clean we enjoyed a game of cookie face and some candy!
Sarah, tryin to win.
But she didn't! Winning shot! Oh yeah!
All of our goodies! Yummy!
Wednesday we woke up, early again, and went to get Nene’s donuts and they were delicious! We got blueberry cake donut holes, a pine cone, and a Bavarian cream filled donut. The blueberry cake donuts are my absolute favorite!
Craft Project #3: air fresheners
After we ate part of our breakfast we decided to make air fresheners. When we made our face masks the night before we made one by accident except it didn’t have a smell! Sarah was the one who figured out what the "gooey stuff" was and I had realized I had pined “how to make air fresheners” the day before on Pinterest.
This was when Sarah realized what the "gooey stuff" was!
Sure enough, what we had done mistakenly was what I found on Pinterest. This time we made them on purpose and we added food coloring and essential oil. We made a little bit of a mess and our hands still smell like air freshener but it worked! The fragrances we used were Hawaiian Mist and Juicy Berries and Apples. We put in about 30 drops of the essential oil and 3-5 drops of food coloring. It all depends on the container size.
The finished products and boy do they smell good!
After that unplanned craft project we started cutting paint swatches. This next project was simple but both Sarah and I enjoyed it. We originally got the paint swatches and a couple of picture frames to make calendars but the frames were too small so we just decided to use them as dry erase boards with pretty back grounds.
We had SO much fun! Hopefully Sarah will get off Pinterest long enough to read this post! Haha! Maybe next week Sarah and I will have more craft experiment stories to tell! I know this post has a lot of pictures but it wouldn’t have been as fun without all the pictures! So there it is….well most of it. I’ll let Sarah blog about a missing hub cap and being followed on her new blog! I can’t wait to read it! Round #1 of attempting crafts from Pinterest done! Success! :)
Thursday, October 4, 2012
For my first blog entry I would like to explain why I chose the title "My Happily Ever After" for my blog. I put a lot of thought into the title and it wasn't until reading a quote given to me by a Young Women leader that I felt I found the title. The quote is by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf to the Young Women at the General Young Women's broadcast in 2010. It reads, "You are truly royal spirit daughters of Almighty God. You are princesses, destined to become queens. Your own wondrous story had begun. Your 'once upon a time' is now."
I keep that quote with my patriarchal blessing as a reminder of who I am and what I can become. I remember watching the broadcast and being so full of the spirit after hearing President Uchtdorf's talk. Afterwards one of my Young Women leaders felt the need to remind us girls that we are "royal spirit daughters of Almighty God". We had a couple of lessons just on this one talk, but they were lessons that we all needed to hear.
In President Uchtdorf's talk he asks us to think about our favorite fairy tale, whether it be a "princess or a peasant, a mermaid or a milkmaid". He then mentions the one thing they all have in common; they must all face adversity. I LOVE what he says about us overcoming adversity, "My dear young sisters, you need to know that you will experience your own adversity. None is exempt. You will suffer, be tempted, and make mistakes. You will learn for yourself what every heroine had learned; through overcoming challenges come growth and strength. It is your reaction to adversity, not the adversity itself, that determines how your life's story will develop."
We can have that happy ending just like our favorite fairy tales. "'Happily ever after' is not something found only in fairy tales. You can have it! It is available for you! But you must follow your Heavenly Father's map. We are told by President Uchtdorf to "embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, fill our souls with virtue, accept and act upon the standards in For the Strength of Youth, and stand for truth and righteousness".
I am so grateful for President Uchtdorf's talk. It has blessed my life and will continue to bless my life and the lives of others. He has inspired so many young girls to strive for their "happily ever after", for a temple marriage. This talk was truly inspired by Heavenly Father for the young women of the church today. His talk is not just for the young women of the church. I encourage everyone to read it and feel of the spirit. The blessing it will bring you are incredible!
Here is the link to President Uchtdorf's talk, "Your Happily Ever After".