Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Reading the Book of Mormon

On January 4, 2016 Michael's primary teachers challenged his class members to read the Book or Mormon. They gave them a schedule that would help them accomplish this goal in 32 weeks. He finished on Monday (22 days later) and started again yesterday. Today we downloaded the special audio version of the Book of Mormon for the girls' special audio players. Megan is so excited to be able to listen to the Book of Mormon.Today on facebook a memory popped up, which had a picture of our kids with their scriptures from two years ago, when we finished reading the Book of Mormon. IT made me wonder about the other times that we have completed reading this wonderful book. (I am pretty sure I have taken a picture each time.

December 17, 2012

January 27, 2014

November 24, 2014 
(after this time we read the Pearl of Great Price, finishing it at the end of the year and starting the Book of Mormon at the beginning of the new year.)

September 21, 2015

When the kids were little we read the Book of Mormon stories book with pictures and summarized stories. We read it several times. Then, and I don't remember exactly when, but probably in mid-2011) we decided to tackle the Book of Mormon. It was slow going sometimes, but we realized that it wasn't about the speed of our reading. (ONe of our favorite memories was reading Jacob 5. It took lots of day, and we had big papers that we drew on to diagram the allegory of the olive tree, stick figures and all!)

It doesn't take us a long anymore. Part of that is because the kids are older, they read better and understand more. And part of it is because we read more consistently than ever before. We read in the morning now, before kids head out to school and Brian heads to work. It truly is a blessing to start our days by feasting on the words of Christ. We feel a difference on the days when we wait until the evening. 

We LOVE the Book of Mormon!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Ponderize - Week 16

We are learning the beginning of this verse as a family. It is a great reminder.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Tender Mercy

A Little Back Story
Four and a half years ago (June 2011) we had stake conference. It was a special conference because we were visited by Elder Yoshihiko Kikuchi of the First Quorum of the Seventy. We were able to sit in one of the side pews just a few rows back, and were grateful for the chance that the girls and I had to see better. There were a lot of people at that conference and it was incredible.

I will never forget that day. We were sitting on the pew listening to Elder Kikuchi's address. I was sitting next to Brian (he was sitting by the aisle) and the kids were sitting between me and the wall. I looked over at Liz and she had gone stiff. Her body was rigid and her arms and hands were in the strangest position. Even thought I wasn't very close to her, I could tell that her eyes didn't look normal. I grabbed Brian and got his attention. He pulled Liz onto his lap, and in a few seconds, that felt like hours, her body relaxed. She looked pale. Brian took her out to the car to lay down for a bit.

I was a mess. I was pretty certain that she had just had a seizure. I was so worried. Tears poured down my cheeks. I couldn't focus on anything that was being said. The lady sitting behind me dropped something into my lap. It was a pack of tissues.

The next day we took Liz to her pediatrician, she had an MRI and an EEG that very week. We were referred to a neurologist at Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake and we went there less than two weeks after the seizure.

To make this already long story not too much longer, Liz has never had a seizure since that time. The doctor said it isn't unusual for kids to have one random seizure. She told us that if Liz was going to have another one it would probably happen within six to nine months of the first one. It is not something we have to worry about.

For the first year I thought about it a lot, and then a little less in the year after that. I haven't forgotten this, but I haven't thought about it in a while. Until today . . .

Today's Tender Mercy
Today was another stake conference day. Liz and I were singing in the choir. Brian and the other kids were sitting on the front middle bench. Brian told me after the meeting that he had a conversation with the sister that sat next to us. She told him that she was sitting behind us several years ago. She said that she remembered that our daughter fainted or something. She told him that she had watched his wife (me) crying and worried, and how she had said a silent prayer for me and for our family. She told Brian how she has watched our family over the years and how impressed she is with how the kids have always behaved.

Knowing of this sister's prayer that day touches my heart. I don't even know her name, but her kindness reminds me that we can help in more ways than we think sometimes. I am so grateful that she spoke with Brian today.

Ponderize - Week 15

2 Nephi 24:3
And it shall come to pass in that day that the Lord shall give thee rest, from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Pnderize - Week 14

We read this chapter early in the week. I love this reminder that we need to continue on the right path so that we stay converted. Conversion isn't a one-time thing, it is a continual process.

Alma 5:26
And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?

Monday, December 28, 2015

Ponderize - Week 13

I came upon a translation of Psalms 73:28. I am not sure which version of the Bible it is from, but I liked what it said. "Being near to God is my happiness." Isn't that really where joy comes from, having Christ at the center of our lives?

So this week I chose the King James Version of the verse for my scripture. I like how it reminds me that being near to God is my responsibility, because it is I who must draw near to Him.  (See Doctrine and Covenants 88:63)

Friday, December 25, 2015

The Giving of Gifts

At the LDS First Presidency Christmas Devotional earlier this month, President Uchtdorf shared a message about "The Generous one."

"As adults, if we are lucky, every now and again we can briefly catch a glimpse of what it feels like to be a child once more."

"The thought that someone we love is doing something special for us, and our excitement about the special thing we are planning to do for them warms our hearts and fills us with love and anticipation."

I loved these statements early in his talk for a few reasons.

First, anyone who knows me, knows I get very, very excited about Christmas. I love picking out simple presents for my kids, husband and extended family. I start shopping early and I wrap almost as soon as things arrive. I love the lights and music of the Christmas season. I love to sit on the couch int he dark, listening to carols and just looking at my tree lights. I get so excited to give the gifts I planned, and sometimes I can't keep my own secret! I think I am blessed, as President Uchtdorf said, to feel childlike once more.

Second, I love what he said about giving and receiving gifts. We are so blessed. When it comes to temporal things we have SO MUCH. There are so many in the world who have nothing, and sometimes I even feel a bit guilty buying a gift for my kids, knowing that the item is far from a "need" (though we do try to keep in mind things that are useful as we are selecting gifts for our kids).

President Uchtdorf's comments reminded me that the joy of giving comes because of the love we feel for those around us. And that this love has its roots in Christlike love, in charity. And when gift-giving is motivated by this kind of love, it helps us, in a tiny way, to be like our Savior.

I also learned this Christmas season about how receiving a gift can help us feel our Savior's

love. A few weeks ago Brian told me that he was working on a Christmas surprise for me. He had started over a month before, working on it late every night while I was in Florida. Then he took his lunch breaks every day to keep working. He didn't even want to tell me about it because he always wants so much to surprise me. But he feared it wouldn't be done, so he told me that he was working on something so that he could bring it home and work on it. Night after night he headed downstairs and worked for hours, staying up late to get just a bit more done before bed. He spent the first days of his Christmas vacation finishing it. Tears came to my eyes this morning as I opened the finished product. It was amazing and beautiful. But in that moment of opening it I didn't just see the gift on my lap, but I saw the hours and hours of time put into this gift.

I felt such indescribable love each time I saw Brian head downstairs to work on the gift because I knew that he was doing it for me. I felt an overwhelming amount of love as I sat looking at this special gift.

And I thought of how this experience has helped me to better understand the love the Savior has for me. How much he must love me to being willing to come to earth, to suffer for MY sins, MY pains, MY weaknesses and MY sorrows. How grateful I am for Him, because now I can overcome all of these things. Because of Him, I can become like Him.