Saturday, October 25, 2008

Piece by Piece

Yesterday I had the opportunity to sit and contemplate the beauty of one of the historic pioneer monuments of Utah: the Logan Temple. Dedicated in 1884, this Temple is the second operating LDS Temple in the world and is truly an example of excellent pioneer craftsmanship and the dedication required to erect such a magnificent building. It is estimated that nearly 25,000 people labored during the 7 year construction of this building and the immaculate interior. Women spent two months working to hand make two thousand square yards of carpet. Rocks and timber used for the temple were hauled from the Temple Fork area of Logan Canyon. The east tower is 170 feet above the beautiful hill where the building is located. All in all, it truly stands as a testimony of hard work and perseverance of the people that lived in the Cache Valley at that time.

I love to look at the temples of the church, but yesterday only one thing kept my attention: the thousands of rock pieces that make up the massive walls. I can scarcely imagine the monumental task given to the pioneers to complete such a huge and ornate building when they were still settling in this relatively new area. However, each piece of rock was carefully chiseled by hand and placed in the right spot. Piece by piece they were able to finish what many probably thought was impossible. Their work will stand as a symbol of dedication to the Lord because they were willing to haul, shape, and place each piece of limestone.

When my life is finished I want to have accomplished a few things, the most important being that I want to be able to see that I have lived a life of faith and done the best that I can with what I had available. With hopefully years to come before this day, this goal often seems monumental. How can I do my best when I'm exhausted from a teething toddler or when I can't seem to garner enough patience to deal with a three-year-old's logic? Despite my many limitations during this phase of my life, I know that if I just do what I can each day, piece by piece, I will be lifted up by others and the Lord so that things will work out. And when the time comes, I will hopefully be able to look back and see a life that is made up of tiny pieces of goodness and hard work that has been shaped into something magnificent.

"And because thou hast seen thy weakness thou shalt be made strong, even unto the sitting down in the place which I have prepared in the mansions of my Father." Ether 12:37

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Standing Strong

Sometimes it is hard to stand up for ourselves and our believes. I know it is hard for me. We live in a world were people are easily offended and hard hearted when it comes to religion. Often I find that it is scary to stand up for what I know to be true, especially to the ones I love. Today, I just wanted to share a thought that I have kept on my fridge for many years. When I feel afraid, or down about myself, I often see this thought and it makes me feel stronger to face the things that life throws at me and reminds me of the person I hope to someday become.

It is a wonderful thought by President Henry B. Eyring. He quoted it in a talk several years ago (I am not positive who the author really is because it is attributed to many people), and I am sure that many have heard it before.

"The Fellowship of the Unashamed"

"I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed. The dye has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I won't look back, let up, slow down, or be still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure. I'm finished and done with low living, small planning, smooth knees, color-less dreams, tamed visions. worldly talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals. I no longer need pre-eminence, positions, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don't have to be right, first, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk with patience, am uplifted by prayer, and labor with power. My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is Heaven. My road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, my guide is reliable, mission is clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, divided, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity. I won't give up, shut up, or let up until I have stayed up, stored up, and paid up for the cause of Christ. I must go till He comes, give till I drop, preach till all know, and work till He stops me. And when He returns for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me. My banner will be clear."

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Remember the Sabbath Day

I love Sundays. I always have. It is definitely my favorite day of the week. Part of it is because I like not feeling guilty for not doing chores, because we're not supposed to do our chores on Sunday! I like being able to relax and sometimes take naps. But more importantly, it's a day where I can be with my family all day long. It's a day where I get to go to church for 3 full hours and feel the Spirit so strong. Even on Sundays when I'm frustrated with my 4-year old or exhausted keeping up with my 11-month old, I'm still in a location where the Spirit abides so strongly. This past week was pretty difficult. Not anything too awful, just the regular frustrations about my shortcomings as a mom, not reading my scriptures enough, not exercising enough, yelling at my 4-year old, comparing myself to others, just wanting so bad to perfect, and of course always falling short. After all those negative feelings, it was so refreshing and wonderful to be at church today. It was Fast and Testimony meeting and all of the testimonies were so uplifting. And then we went to Sunday School. Right now Zeke and I are participating in a Family Relations Sunday School Class and it was so wonderful to discuss the joy of marriage and how we can create and find joy in our lives. And then in Relief Society, the lesson was Stand Fast through the Storms of Life. The lesson was definitely for me!

"After God ended his work of creation on this earth, he blessed and sanctified his day of rest—the seventh day (see Gen. 2:2–3). When he reiterated the day’s importance through Moses on Mount Sinai, he told the people of Israel: “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Ex. 20:8). That word remember is important. Most of us need daily reminders, such as prayer and scripture study, to keep the Lord and his work in our hearts, but we also need one whole day out of seven to refocus our attention and our hearts on him completely—to rest from worldly things that may too easily work their way to the top of our priority list." (D. Kelly Ogden, “Remember the Sabbath Day,” Ensign, Apr 1994, 46)

I went to high school in Belgium. It was a pretty small high school - my graduating class was only 29. My senior year, me and a good friend who is also LDS (we were the only mormons in our grade) were awarded the honor of being valedictorian and salutatorian. I remember one of my good friends called to congratulate me and in our conversation she stated how impressed she was that me and my LDS friend received that distinction, especially when we didn't do any studying on Sunday and even went to Seminary one evening a week. She told me that she always did a lot of studying on Saturday and Sunday and definitely every evening during the week. For some reason, that conversation has always stuck with me and I'm grateful that I never studied on Sunday.

Of course there are exceptions. Some times we are required to work on Sundays and there can be other reasons -- for example when I lived in Jordan, our Sabbath day was on Friday since we lived in a predominantly muslim country. However, I testify that we need to remember to keep the Sabbath Day holy. One day a week, we should devote more time and energy to renewing our spirits and worshiping our Heavenly Father. I know I have been blessed my keeping this commandment and I am so grateful for His wisdom in giving us the Sabbath day to help us on our journey through life and ultimately back to Him.

I'm ready for another week!!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

"A Little Child Shall Lead Them"

How often I have found myself yanked back into reality by the sweet innocence of my children. Recently, upon putting my youngest child into a 'big girl bed' we have fought the losing battle of keeping our two girls in bed, when they would much rather be out giggling, trading beds and doing anything and everything but dreaming. It is, to be certain, a frustrating experience. However, I learned a beautiful lesson from my children these last few nights. Jeremey and I have, for the sake of our sanity, decided to continue with our bedtime routine, put our girls into bed, put up the gate so they can't escape, and let them 'tough it out'. There have been tears, tattling, screaming and mess-making. But without fail, the last two nights, as our littlest has fallen asleep on the floor, we have found her covered with her special blanket, a doll tucked neatly underneath, and a big sister asleep right next to her keeping vigil. How grateful I am for such a sweet reminder of the unconditional love of the innocent. I had another such moment when, after putting my oldest daughter in time out for picking on her little sister, I watched as my little girl walked over to her big sister and stood right next to her in time out, with their arms wrapped around the other. I know that, had I been cracked on the head with a barbie car, I would not be so forgiving and willing to suffer right along with my abuser. This is not something I can honestly say they have learned from me -- it is far more likely that it is the innocence they inherited from their Father that they have yet to lose. And I hope they never do -- what beautiful spirits and sincerity.
There are times I am so often frustrated by my children, and wonder what it is I am not teaching, or how I ought to better approach them. But then I realize that I learn from them -- every day. I learn how to be a better mother from my children. I can't think of a greater truth -- and a straighter way to salvation -- than to 'be as a little child'

“And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,
“And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
“Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
“And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.” Matt. 18: 1-5

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Temples announced

This is the Logan temple, the temple that is closest to me now.

Yesterday during the Saturday session of General Conference, President Monson announced plans to build five new temples. Two of those temples mentioned are to be built in areas that Erick and I have lived: Kansas City and Philadelphia. I was so happy that I began crying.

I know that faithful members of our church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) in those areas have had to make huge sacrifices in order to attend the temple many hours away. I am so thankful for such blessings from the Lord.

Erick and I were married in the Bountiful temple, and I know that because of that, our family can be together forever. With a husband in the military, it brings me such peace to know that God loves his children and has a plan for us. If Erick's life is cut short, heaven forbid, I know that it will not be the end of our existence together; we will still be married, and we will be together again.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


This Saturday and Sunday, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints will hold its 178th Semiannual General Conference where those who listen will be taught gospel and life truths by the leaders of the church. For any who are questioning our stands, this is an ideal time to see for yourselves what members of the church truly believe. There will be many that will bare testimony of the truths of our doctrines - but how can one know for themselves if what is being taught is correct?

One of our Apostles, Elder Dallin H. Oaks taught about the idea of gaining a testimony at our last General Conference. While it is a little lengthy, I love how he eloquently explains about the process by which this fundamental knowledge can be gained. Elder Oaks said,

"What do we mean when we testify and say that we know the gospel is true? Contrast that kind of knowledge with “I know it is cold outside” or “I know I love my wife.” These are three different kinds of knowledge, each learned in a different way. Knowledge of outside temperature can be verified by scientific proof. Knowledge that we love our spouse is personal and subjective. While not capable of scientific proof, it is still important. The idea that all important knowledge is based on scientific evidence is simply untrue.

While there are some “evidences” for gospel truths (for example, see Psalm 19:1; Helaman 8:24), scientific methods will not yield spiritual knowledge. This is what Jesus taught in response to Simon Peter’s testimony that He was the Christ: “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 16:17). The Apostle Paul explained this. In a letter to the Corinthian Saints, he said, “The things of God knoweth no man, but [by]
the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:11; see also John 14:17). In contrast, we know the things of man by the ways of man, but “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14).

The Book of Mormon teaches that God will manifest the truth of spiritual things unto us by the power of the Holy Ghost (see Moroni 10:4–5). In modern revelation God promises us that we will receive “knowledge” by His telling us in our mind and in our heart “by the Holy Ghost” (D&C 8:1–2).

One of the greatest things about our Heavenly Father’s plan for His children is that each of us can know the truth of that plan for ourselves. That revealed knowledge does not come from books, from scientific proof, or from intellectual pondering. As with the Apostle Peter, we can receive that knowledge directly from our Heavenly
Father through the witness of the Holy Ghost.

When we know spiritual truths by spiritual means, we can be just as sure of that knowledge as scholars and scientists are of the different kinds of knowledge they have acquired by different methods."

I love these ideas because I have felt and deeply know this knowledge of the gospel, just as well as I have learned and proven scientific principles in the classroom. We challenge all to put these ideas to the test and watch General Conference this weekend. Those who do will come away from the experience strengthened with a greater desire to do good around them.
General Conference broadcasts will be shown at LDS stake centers, in many locations on television, and watched online at (times and details can also be found at this site).