Monday, January 26, 2009

Stay on the Train

It was pretty foggy this past weekend and the fog reminded me of a parable given by one of our church leaders that I thought was worth sharing.

"Many of us take the blessings of the gospel for granted. It is as if we are passengers on the train of the Church, which has been moving forward gradually and methodically. Sometimes we have looked out the window and thought, “That looks kind of fun out there. This train is so restrictive.” So we have jumped off and gone and played in the woods for a while. Sooner or later we find it isn’t as much fun as Lucifer makes it appear or we get critically injured, so we work our way back to the tracks and see the train ahead. With a determined sprint we catch up to it, breathlessly wipe the perspiration from our forehead, and thank the Lord for repentance.

While on the train we can see the world and some of our own members outside laughing and having a great time. They taunt us and coax us to get off. Some throw logs and rocks on the tracks to try and derail it. Other members run alongside the tracks, and while they may never go play in the woods, they just can’t seem to get on the train. Others try to run ahead and too often take the wrong turn.

I would propose that the luxury of getting on and off the train as we please is fading. The speed of the train is increasing. The woods are getting much too dangerous, and the fog and darkness are moving in."

by Elder Glen L. Pace in “Spiritual Revival,” Ensign, Nov 1992, 11

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

If the Savior Stood Beside Me

Children songs are so beautifully simple and one that was included in the children's program for last year is no exception. If the Savior Stood Beside Me, with words and music by Sally DeFord, asks the uncomplicated questions that you might feel if you were in the Savior's presence. I love the memorable message of this piece and hope that you will enjoy it too.
"If the Savior stood beside me, would I do the things I do?Would I think of His commandments and try harder to be true?Would I follow His example? Would I live more righteously,If I could see the Savior standing nigh, watching over me?

If the Savior stood beside me, would I say the things I say?Would my words be true and kind if He were never far away?Would I try to share the gospel? Would I speak more reverently If I could see the Savior standing nigh, watching over me?

If the Savior stood beside me, would my thoughts be clean and pure? Would His presence give me strength and hope, and courage to endure?Would His counsel guide my actions? Would I choose more worthily If I could see the Savior standing nigh, watching over me?

He is always near me, though I do not see Him there And because He loves me dearly, I am in His watchful care So I'll be the kind of person that I know I'd like to be If I could see the Savior standing nigh, watching over me."

Go here to hear this piece or other inspiring music about our faith.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Visit a Temple

Before an LDS temple is dedicated, anyone from the public is given the opportunity to tour the inside of the magnificent new building. This is now the case with the Draper, Utah temple that will be open for tours starting January 15th and running the next eight weeks. Tours are free and tickets can be obtained through LDS reservations. To see a short news story with pictures of the inside of this new temple, check out KSL's coverage.

Visiting temples is an amazing experiences and really teaches about the beauty and simplicity of the gospel. Temples point us to what really matters most - eternal families and returning to our Father in Heaven. I encourage anyone who does live nearby a temple to visit the building, check out the visitor center, and ask any questions to the wonderful volunteers who work there.

To find one near you, see where temples are now located around the world.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Saved by Angels

A few weeks ago, our stake presidency came to our ward and held a special hour and a half meeting. They wanted to set some goals for the new year. I've always been a little bit of a rebel when it comes to setting goals -- it isn't that I am against them, it's that I want to make my own goals, not have someone else tell me what I should do. But that morning when I woke up, my kids and my husband were sick, so I headed off to church by myself with my note pad. I told my husband that if I had to sit through it alone, I was going to take notes and report.

I admit that I didn't go with the best attitude. But going that day and listening to truly inspired men, saved my little boy's life today, literally.

The stake president spoke on "Concerns, Commitments, and Promises." He expressed his concerns for us and all the hardships that are going on in the world today. It was a beautiful talk and warmth filled my heart as he continued to tell us that the stake would like to set some goals for us for the coming year. Usually this would make me a little irritated, but in my heart I knew that whatever he was going to say, I was going to do. He asked us to do three things this year.
1. Make a commitment to get rid of "our favorite sin."
2. Attend the temple more often then we did last year.
3. Study the Doctrine and Covenants (Latter Day scriptures, a companion to the Book of Mormon)
Then the best part of the whole talk -- he gave us promises. He told us that if we did this things, that wonderful things would happen to us this year. As he gave us several promises, the spirit testified very strongly to me that what he was saying was true. I felt like he was talking right to me when he said that if we did these goals we would:
-Have miracles in our homes.
-Our children would come to a greater understanding of the gospel.
and my favorite:
-"Angels will be called and set apart" to help us individually and bless us and our homes with peace, comfort and strength.
The stake President made many other promises as well, but these were the ones that stood out to me the most. I NEEDED these blessings! I have a 3 year old who has some problems, he doesn't really talk well, and he has a hard time understanding what we say to him. He ignores me a lot too and I find myself yelling a lot just to get his attention and I hate yelling. If anyone needed these blessings it was us.

So when I got home I reported to my husband and stressed how important it was to me to follow the words and advice of our Stake President. We sat down and set our goals.

It has been only two weeks of working on our goals. We have had a good attitude about making our changes and have really put our hearts into it.

A few days ago my husband and I took our boys (Sammy, 3 years; and Nephi, 19 mo) on the college shuttle bus for the first time. The kids thought it was great fun and behaved really well. Sammy especially had a blast. Then today happened.

Today, while my husband was in class, I decided to brave the snow and ice and take the boys to Wal-Mart to pick up a few grocery items. Honestly, I have a hard time taking the kids out by myself because of Sammy's issues, he misbehaves a lot in public -- but it went well today... until we got home. I pulled into the parking lot, and got Nephi out first. Then I walked over to the other side, holding Nephi on one hip, I let Sammy out. I have to hold on to both kids because they are always wanting to run away from me. So I had Nephi and Sammy in my arms and I started hauling them into the house. Then the shuttle pulled up in the parking lot.

Sammy saw the bus and twisted out of my arm and starting running for it all excited. I threw Nephi through the doorway and ran after Sammy. I knew exactly where he was heading and it made me sick. I couldn't catch him because he was just too fast and there was so much ice and snow. I was yelling for him to stop, I could see the shuttle driver didn't see him and kept driving. Sammy was at least 15-20 feet ahead of me running, and I was closing in too slowly. I was screaming for him to stop and I was panicking because the shuttle wasn't stopping either, for a split second I thought I was going to watch my baby killed. Then the miracle happened. It was like Sam had run straight into an invisible wall and stopped suddenly just as the bus sped past him... just inches away. I grabbed him up quickly. Terror quickly turned to relief and then anger -- I told him he was grounded for the rest of his life. As soon as I got him in the house and put him in his room, I realized the miracle for what it was and I started to cry. I couldn't stop, I was shaking so hard. When I calmed down, my thoughts cleared and I gave thanks to my Father in Heaven for watching over us.

I know without a doubt an angel saved my baby today. I know that someone was there watching over us, protecting us... standing between Sammy and the bus. Not just because my husband and I have faith... but because we acted. We followed the words of our church leaders, we acted with faith, knowing and hoping for those promises. And we were greatly blessed. I am so thankful that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us so much that he would send us latter day Prophets, and other inspired men, women, and even angels to guide us and lead us to be more like Him. It is a comfort to know he has a plan for us, and as long as we are faithful and act in righteousness, we will return and live with him someday.

"I testify of angels, both the heavenly and the mortal kind. In doing so I am testifying that God never leaves us alone, never leaves us unaided in the challenges that we face. '[N]or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man [or woman or child] upon the face thereof to be saved.' On occasions, global or personal, we may feel we are distanced from God, shut out from heaven, lost, alone in dark and dreary places. Often enough that distress can be of our own making, but even then the Father of us all is watching and assisting. And always there are those angels who come and go all around us, seen and unseen, known and unknown, mortal and immortal.
"May we all believe more readily in, and have more gratitude for, the Lord’s promise as contained in one of President [Thomas S.] Monson’s favorite scriptures: 'I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, … my Spirit shall be in your [heart], and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.' In the process of praying for those angels to attend us, may we all try to be a little more angelic ourselves—with a kind word, a strong arm, a declaration of faith and 'the covenant wherewith [we] have covenanted'."
-Jeffery R. Holland, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Nov 2008.