Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Great Gift

Life feels like it is speeding up around our house. With growing children we forced to make an increasing number of decisions about activities and education. It can sometimes feel like we're bombarded with options on how we should spend our time and I know that as our family grows the pace of our activities will as well.

However, something that one of our church leaders said in our last General Conference made me refocus on the fact that the complications of extra activities really should not be my main concern. Elder Kevin W. Pearson stated, "In uncertain and difficult times, faith is truly a spiritual gift worthy of our utmost efforts. We can give our children education, lessons, athletics, the arts, and material possessions, but if we do not give them faith in Christ, we have given little." I am grateful for this reminder and hope that children and adults alike can have faith in and partake of the greatest gift we have been given - the Atonement of Jesus Christ and His plan of happiness for us.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Colors of Life

Like she tends to do, my little girl made me stop and think the other day when she asked the question, "why are there colors?" I began attempting to extract my dusty junior high science knowledge about wavelengths and light spectrums and then I paused for a second and simply explained that it is because Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ want us to be happy.

At the time I felt like I was giving her the easy answer. But after I have thought about it a little bit more I have felt the reality of this simple truth. Why are there so many colors and so many incredible things to see? Why do we have the opportunity to experience wonderful smells, tastes, textures, and sights? I believe that the answers to these questions really are as uncomplicated as this: our Heavenly Father wants us to enjoy our mortal existence. As we can read in the often-quoted scripture of 2 Nephi 2:25, " are, that they might have joy."

Where I live we are finally officially enjoying the season of spring. Everything seems so vibrant this year. From bright greens on newly budding trees to the clear blue of the sky there are many gorgeous reminders of the love of our Father in heaven and his desire for us to be happy. I hope that we can each enjoy life's small pleasures a little more fully and give credit where credit is definitely due.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

How you can get the perfect body for free

If you spend anytime on the Internet, watching television, reading magazines or even driving on the road you've probably seen ads, commercials, billboards, etc. promoting various and sundry ways to make your body "perfect". They are all over the place. Our teeth must be whiter, our waists must be thinner, our wrinkles . . . well, we just shouldn't have wrinkles or stretch marks anywhere. A person could get very carried away with worry, time and money trying to reach that elusive perfect physical body. I am very much convinced that this is just another of Satan's tools to take our focus off of that which is of real importance.
The most amazing thing is that all of us will have perfect bodies. Yes, you heard right, everyone gets a perfect body, but we have to wait until the resurrection. In the Book of Mormon we read that "The soul shall be restored to the body, and the body to the soul; yea and every limb and joint shall be restored to its body; yea, even a hair of the head shall not be lost; but all things shall be restored to their proper and perfect frame" (Alma 40:23, italics added).
Now, I'm not advocating we do nothing to improve the health of our bodies, or that we shouldn't try to look good. What I am proposing is that the world is obsessed with a false and ephemeral perfection and that we should not be sucked in. We should and can find more important things to worry about. A more lasting and eternal perfection.
The Lord is much less concerned with what we look like on the outside then what we have on the inside. ". . . for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7, original italics).


For Mother's Day I thought that I would share one of my favorite motherhood quotes, by Gordon B. Hinckley (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, 386):

"The true strength of any nation lies in those qualities of character that have been acquired for the most part by children taught in the quiet, simple, everyday manner of mothers... Jean Paul Richter once declared, "What a mother says to her children is not heard by the world, but it will be heard by posterity.""

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Words, Words, Words

My daughter is a very beginning reader and my husband and I have been trying to encourage her to recognize a few of the simple words that she can sound out. After reading advice from others, we thought we could easily translate this to scripture reading by letting her have her own Book of Mormon to underline the important words that she knows. While this did result in her unfortunately loud utterance during a recent Sacrament meeting of, "I see God!," in general this has been a great activity and she really loves looking in her own scriptures.

What has amazed me by this simple exercise is the frequency of meaningful words in the Book of Mormon. It seems on every page, we can find references to essential topics. In a online search of the Book of Mormon, the word "God" appears 202 times, "Christ" 99 times, "Jesus" 64 times, "Spirit" 113 times, "faith" 109 times, "prayer"/"pray 88 times, and "love" 40 times. It is no wonder that the introduction to this book teaches that it is, "the keystone of our religion, and a man [will] get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book." I am grateful that we truly have "another testament of Jesus Christ" in the Book of Mormon and that I have been able to feel the life-changing power of this book of scripture.
"Without reservation I promise you that if you will prayerfully read the Book of Mormon, regardless of how many times you previously have read it, there will come into your hearts an added measure of the Spirit of the Lord. There will come a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to his commandments, and there will come a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God."
~Gordon B. Hinckley