Sunday, May 27, 2012

Book of Mormon Talk

I gave a great talk in church today. I'm not bragging--since all the remarks, and the way to put them together were all given to me. It is pretty interesting to be a tool, sometimes. A tool in the hands of a master--awesome!

This talk was the preparation for next week: the kickoff to the Summer Book of Mormon Reading Program. This year should be AWESOME! I have some great prizes and incentives, and the whole focus has changed from "racing" to see who can complete the reading to helping each other so EVERY SINGLE MEMBER is strengthened and enriched. Even SmallDaughter. And--as I pointed out in my talk--if she is participating--nobody else has any valid excuses! (since she can't read!)

I have to go let out Miss K's dogs--since she is down in the city, awaiting a grand-baby at any second!

If you are interested, here is the outline of my talk:

Where we are:
Our ward has 383 members
Average 30% attendance

VT 85
HT 33
Endowed Members:
E.M who don’t have an active Recommend: 41

Callings that can’t be filled

What we WANT:
Return to Heavenly Father

Inactive Members are OUR Brothers & Sisters
Look Around:

Who’s missing?

We NEED them
We LOVE them

Our Goal:
A ZION People

Moses 3:18
And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them.

Our Problem:
The gap between


What happens when we close that gap?

4 Nephi 1:16
And there were no envyings, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness; and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.

Satan’s Deceptions—
“If I can’t do it perfectly, why bother trying?”

The Lord’s Plan:

Isaiah 28: 10
For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:

Baby Steps—
Do we spank a baby when it falls down?—NO! We cheer every effort, every improvement. That is how the Lord feels about us!

Our Problem:
Comparing Ourselves/Judging Others--Flip sides of the same sin.

Quotes from Elder Uchtdorf:
Comparing Ourselves
I want to tell you something that I hope you will take in the right way: God is fully aware that you and I are not perfect.

Let me add: God is also fully aware that the people you think are perfect are not.

And yet we spend so much time and energy comparing ourselves to others—usually comparing our weaknesses to their strengths. This drives us to create expectations for ourselves that are impossible to meet. As a result, we never celebrate our good efforts because they seem to be less than what someone else does.

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses.

It’s wonderful that you have strengths.

And it is part of your mortal experience that you do have weaknesses.

God wants to help us to eventually turn all of our weaknesses into strengths, but He knows that this is a long-term goal. He wants us to become perfect, and if we stay on the path of discipleship, one day we will. It’s OK that you’re not quite there yet. Keep working on it, but stop punishing yourself.

Judging Others
This topic of judging others could actually be taught in a two-word sermon. When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm, please apply the following:

Stop it!

It’s that simple. We simply have to stop judging others and replace judgmental thoughts and feelings with a heart full of love for God and His children. God is our Father. We are His children. We are all brothers and sisters. I don’t know exactly how to articulate this point of not judging others with sufficient eloquence, passion, and persuasion to make it stick. I can quote scripture, I can try to expound doctrine, and I will even quote a bumper sticker I recently saw. It was attached to the back of a car whose driver appeared to be a little rough around the edges, but the words on the sticker taught an insightful lesson. It read, “Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you.”

We must recognize that we are all imperfect—that we are beggars before God. Haven’t we all, at one time or another, meekly approached the mercy seat and pleaded for grace? Haven’t we wished with all the energy of our souls for mercy—to be forgiven for the mistakes we have made and the sins we have committed?

Because we all depend on the mercy of God, how can we deny to others any measure of the grace we so desperately desire for ourselves? My beloved brothers and sisters, should we not forgive as we wish to be forgiven?

YSA Ward Sermon:
“Everybody Sucks at first”

When you learn to walk, learn to play the piano, learn to drive—you don’t expect perfection at first. Why do we expect more of ourselves where the gospel is concerned?

Alma 37: 7
And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls.

Our Problems:

Hesitancy, fear & Procrastination

Alma 37: 40-41 (about the Liahona)
And it did work for them according to their faith in God; therefore, if they had faith to believe that God could cause that those spindles should point the way they should go, behold, it was done; therefore they had this miracle, and also many other miracles wrought by the power of God, day by day.
Nevertheless, because those miracles were worked by small means it did show unto them marvelous works. They were slothful, and forgot to exercise their faith and diligence and then those marvelous works ceased, and they did not progress in their journey;

Ways to Overcome them:


Good Tools


Start where you are—Don’t wait!

Next week we start the BofM Challenge.

EVERY member is included.

There are rewards and incentives. Not Bribes, blessings—Which I get to give!


You are welcome to listen to it on your ipad or computer.

If you miss a day, pick up where you are, and keep going—we stumble, we don’t fail.

Commit to help someone else.

Special Prize for sharing a copy of the BoM

Our Goal:
Every Member reading the Book of Mormon

Stake President’s Challenge (for each of us to get a new copy, read the entire book and mark in red all of the Savior’s teachings).
SmallDaughter was invited by her class and included in their reading challenge.

What is your excuse?

There is NO wrong way.

We are not racing to be first,
we are working to be Zion

Help someone else—class, HT, VT

A good time to restart.

Our Problem: Panic at how big the job seems!

“By the yard, Life is hard—
By the inch—it’s a cinch”!

The Savior never asks us for the Grand Gesture—He already did it!

He lived a perfect, sinless life.
He wants us to do small things--repeatedly.

He paid for all of our sins
He wants us to keep trying—every day, and to encourage the people around us.

The Result:

All of us commit and work together, as individuals, as families, as organizations, as friends, to focus on 3 small things this summer:
Read the Book of Mormon
Report our Progress

Miracles will happen
In our ward
In our families
In our lives

The Spirit will teach us the small things we need to do to bring back those that are missing, to heal our hearts, and increase our Ward Unity.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

So Beautiful

I am really having good success with my 15 minutes at a time jobs. My yard looks better than it has for 2 (or maybe 3) years. I am slowly but surely getting things planted and mulched. The unusually warm weather continues--it is hovering around 90 degrees. May I remind the weather that it is MAY not August! However, that means all the trees are fully leafed out, and everything is beautiful and summery.

Tonight, as I went out to take care of the chickens it was so beautiful. There is a tiny crescent moon, the treefrogs are singing and the air felt like warm velvet. I do love life!

The busy big childroon are having a babysitting/sleepover adventure at Miss Jenny's, so I have SmallDaughter and a quiet house. I think I will go to bed to celebrate!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Day 30: a picture of yourself this day and 5 good things that happened since you started the challenge

OK, I am totally bagging the picture of myself--the camera has wandered again, it is past my bedtime, and I keep looking fat in pictures (I have NO IDEA why, just hand me those Oreo's, ok?).

Five good things that have happened since I started this challenge:

1. I got t0 see or talk to almost all of my siblings. It was MARVELOUS!

2. My dear hubby and I went on an awesome weekend date. We had fun together, and (wise man that he is) ate good food (I am MUCH nicer when I am well fed!), and went to see The Avengers (at the 12:20 showing--12:20 in the afternoon, cause that's how we roll!).

3. I got to go to the Columbus Temple with my youngest sister as she received her endowment. My sweet hubby and I were the proxies to seal his Grandparents together for eternity.

4. LargeBoy went on a 3 week trip, and while he was gone, he went from 1/2 an inch shorter than his mom, to 1/2 an inch taller! When I asked what they put in the water, he told me "concentrated awesome!".

5. My life continued in it's busy, crazy, fun, blessed way. Lots of tiny miracles occurred. We got a particularly gorgeous early spring. I actually got most of my garden planted. Also some mulching of flower beds has happened. My wonderful children spent time with excellent friends. My husband got a new job. Beautiful babies were born. Life is very good.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Day 29: 3 Wishes


This one actually takes a whole lot of thought.

1. I wish we could get a really nice, big swingset for SmallDaughter. She needs the stimulation of swinging, climbing and sliding.

2. I wish I could travel more. I have an incurable wanderlust, which is only slightly assuaged by reading and watching travel stuff. There are very few places in the world that I don't want to visit. However, right now my life is constrained by caring for SmallDaughter, and she is REALLY hard to travel with. I would not trade her for the opportunity to travel--it just makes me wistful.

3. I wish I could make who I currently am/how I behave fit more fully into what I want/desire myself to be (hint--the house would be cleaner, and I would actually enjoy exercise. FaceBook & StumbleUpon would not be major players. Just sayin').

Monday, May 7, 2012

Day 28: Something that stresses you out

Most of the things that really stress me out are actually consequences of my own choices:

I hate being late, but I don't plan enough time or I try to jam too many last minute activities in. I like a beautiful, calm, tidy house, but I would rather sit and read a book (or six) than do housework.

Other drivers on the road stress me out, and I am very vocal about my road rage--commenting on the other driver's habits and lifestyle choices (which makes LargeBoy tell me I need to be kinder and less judgmental).

But, all in all, I try to be pretty mellow.

In other, completely unrelated stuff:

I got to go to a beautiful temple wedding this week. I cried, even before the Bride & Groom came in. I also decorated their reception for them:

I didn't get any good pictures of the decorations, but here is an idea:

We had a great weekend staying with friends and not getting enough sleep!

Also, today BigGirl and I went to the eye doctor, and got our new glasses ordered! Yay! Let there be vision for all.

My Favorite Gentleman has a new job. Yay! Yay! For those of you who heard me rant about his previous employer--rejoice with us! For everybody else--trust me, this is a GOOD THING!

In sadder news, one of the orange kittens passed away. We aren't really sure why, it just started having problems one morning.

PS--it seems to be taking me an extraordinarily long time to cover 30 days! Sorry!