Monday, February 27, 2017

Living up to Your Privilege

I had to teach a little devotional to some of the older girls in our ward. (16-18) As I pondered what to share with them I felt impressed to discuss with them what it means to live up to your privilege. Joseph Smith talked about this when he first organized the Relief Society. As I discussed this with the young women there were three points I wanted to get across to them.

1. When Satan robs us of our identity we have a hard time living up to our privilege. Like our missionaries who go around with name tags informing everyone what church they represent, I wish I could put name tags on each of our Young Women. It would have their name and a reminder that they are daughters of God. When we forget who we are our self-esteem plummets, we feel undervalued, and we have a hard time living up to our privilege. One of the main things we need to do is somehow constantly remind ourselves who we are!!

2. My second point was how to figure out what our privilege is. In our church there is one goal we have in common-returning to our Heavenly Father. But what else is our purpose down here. We talked about building our relationship with our Heavenly Father and learning how we personally speak with the Holy Ghost. It could be through studying, impressions on our heart or in our minds, words of leaders, visions, dreams, and a number of many other ways that allow us to hear the directions of our father. Patriarchal blessings is one of the best ways to recognize our purpose here on earth and what exactly our privilege is as Daughters of God.

3. Finally we discussed, as we are living up to our privilege, what kind of influence we can have. Whether that is on family, friends, or even boys I tried to make the girls aware of how they can influence for good.

Obviously I can't judge how my teaching came across. But I do know I learned a lot about figuring out what I need to do while I am here.  One thing that really impressed me though was how much our purpose (not our main one) changes while we are down here. For example while I was growing up I knew I really needed to be preparing for the temple. Right now in my life my privilege is being a mother and getting better at that everyday. Making sure I spend time with my children and helping them feel prepared as they go out into the world.

I love the flexibility of the gospel. I have different needs at different times in my life and always I can count on getting answers and direction. What a marvelous thing that is!!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Balcony or Basement

Who doesn't like to go to a play, a concert, a show and escape from reality for a minute? Do you get front row seats, balcony seats, or stay far away in the basement--so to speak? Well there is a book out called balcony people that discusses a concept I'm fascinated with. It's called Positive Affirmations.

I have a son who was coming home daily very depressed. It was wearing on me, on his siblings, and on our whole family. We just want him to be happy. So I sat him down and had a very direct talk with him. I told him a couple of things. Being happy is a choice. If you want to be happy it's something you have to work at it. I can help you, but only if you are really willing to work. I then left for a little while and let him figure out if he really wanted to put in the work to be happy, or if he wanted to continue to be miserable and make everyone else miserable around him in the process. I pointed out that he had started a really bad habit and that it would be easier to stick with that habit, but in the long run it would not make him happy. He eventually decided he was willing to do the work.

One of the many things he is now doing is something called positive affirmations. Here are some of his:
1. Today is going to be the best day yet!
2. I am a Child of God!
3. People like me!

That's it, 3 simple sentences that you say to yourself several times a day. The objective is if you hear things long enough you will start to believe it and start to be that person we are talking about. Going back to the Balcony People book, the people in the balcony are the people who are watching over you and repeating to you positive affirmations. If you are a basement person then you are tearing others down so they will join you in the basement. Do you want to be a builder or a destroyer? The choice is yours, but I have found that it is much more fun to actually be able to see the show, then to be down in the basement and only able to hear bits and pieces.

I hope we all choose to be Balcony people. So go out and positively affirm all the people you see today. Who knows, you may get some positive affirmation back!!


Monday, January 23, 2017

My Many Callings

I have been told I will have many callings. In our church those usually mean jobs that we do for free. The running joke for me is I never only have one calling and I can't keep my callings for longer than a year. (although right now I've been in 2 of my callings for a year and a half!! My 3rd one was just an assignment :)) Regardless it's interesting these callings we have.

We have more than just the free jobs we are given in the church. A few years ago one of my callings was full-time student at BYU. Two of my favorite callings are ones I will continue to carry into the eternities, that of wife and mother. These two sacred callings are the ones I have been pondering. A few weeks ago my husband was called as bishop which would give me the title of bishops wife. What does that even mean? I don't know. There isn't any scripture on how to be a decent bishops wife, in fact there is no handbook, no general conference talk, I can't even find an obscure remark by an apostle on the subject. Although you will find an article or two about a wife of a bishop who decided to pen some advice. Well I can't give you that--I've only been in this role for a couple of weeks!!

The only thing I can tell you is the sacred calling of wife is just that a sacred calling. Satan is working his best to destroy all that is good, sacred, and reverent. First and foremost is that calling that we should hold dear to our hearts, that we should not take lightly, that we should learn to fulfill. You can google the many ways to fulfill that calling. That's not what I was pondering, I was trying to figure out how to not feel lost in such a heavy calling. Sometimes I feel like those teenagers who have just graduated from high school, will start college in the fall, but want to take the summer off to 'find' themselves. As a wife I try desperately to 'find' myself. To not feel lost in this calling and just being Dave's wife, but to be Jennie, the wife of Dave, who now happens to be a bishop!

I came across a scripture the other day that put this in perspective. Matthew10:39, "He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it." To me this pointed out, hey if you throw yourself into a life of serving and service, including serving your husband, you will eventually find Jennie, the wife of Dave. The Lord will mold the talents, attributes, and values that I need to succeed, or accomplish the work the Lord has sent me--Jennie, here to do. Now I know this is what I should be doing, but it's hard and I'm selfish. Why should I serve him all the time? I want to go read a book for a few hours!! And yet, that isn't quite Heavenly Father's plan, is it?

So as I am trying to find myself, I am losing myself in being a better wife to Dave. In essence a better bishops wife (again whatever that means!!). Always diligently striving to serve better, to do better, to be better. And that is really all the Lord is asking!


Thursday, January 19, 2017

Why I do what I do

I was reading in Doctrine and Covenants today and pondering why we do what we do. Is it for the recognition of the world, or the love we feel for our Heavenly Father? One will give you instant gratification that won't last to long. The other will help you to diligently move forward.

As I've thought about my day and the 100's of loads of laundry I've washed, the gazillion miles of carpet I've vacuumed, the thousands of meals I've prepared I've often asked myself, why the heck am I doing this? Who is really going to care if my carpets are clean, or I have clothes that don't smell like 3 week old sweat (or teenage boy), or that we eat a well balanced meal everyday? Well probably some people around us will be grateful we don't stink, but other than that, we could have cereal every night and most people probably wouldn't bat an eye. In fact some people might think my kids are pretty lucky to have a mom that let's them eat cereal every night.

The Lord has entrusted to me 5 special spirits to clothe, clean, and feed. Am I willing to do all that because I love the Lord? The world is never going to give me props for keeping 5 other people in my household alive (and yes I've included my husband in this because, well... I do his laundry too!!) I will probably never be acknowledged for having carpets that you can sit on, or food that is edible. But the Lord knows everything I am doing, and he is so appreciative that I have decided to show my love to him by loving my family and taking care of them.

I know I will eventually get my rewards, I also know I've already gotten so many. But knowing why I do what I do makes doing what I do seem pretty important. I'm watching over some of his children. I'm a little bit awestruck that the Lord trusts me enough to do that, and yet here I am.

I hope I can remember this as I am doing all those things necessary to run my family and household. Sometimes when we remember why we are doing what we are doing those things don't seem quite so burdensome!!


Sunday, January 01, 2017

Self-Respect

As everyone is in the mood to set goals for the coming year, let me remind you of something really important. Respect yourself!! I love the quote by Elder Holland, "Be peaceful. Believe in God and yourself. You are doing better than you think you are."

Goals are not meant to beat us down because we don't achieve them, goals are to make us a little bit better than we were yesterday. Because I want to love who I am and my accomplishments, I need to focus on what I've achieved, not what I lack!!  So today set a goal that you will accomplish. Even if it is as simple as getting dressed in decent clothes. I'm serious how many of us realize it's noon before we are in a good pair of jeans and nice shirt?!

Just to be accountable I'll tell you my goal for tomorrow. I like to wake up early, but I'm not always an amazing person to be around at that time, so my goal is to wake up happy. I might try having a list by my bed of things that make me happy, or as soon as I pop out of bed get on my knees and start listing all the things I'm grateful for, or singing the cougar fight song as soon as I'm up. Whatever I choose to do the goal is to smile as soon as I am out of bed.

I love this life and I love that as we achieve these little goals they will turn into bigger goals. I know as we respect ourselves and remember who we are and where we came from we recognize that we aren't doing so bad. In fact we are doing pretty good, and there are some pretty important people that are rooting for us. So hop to and reach those goals!!!


Monday, December 19, 2016

Secrets

I am full of secrets right now. It's the season. Christmas is coming and everyone has been busy wrapping up those secrets to give to others. I have other secrets as well-all good. They will come out in their due time. I've been thinking about this a lot. The Lord has a ton of secrets. In Deuteronomy he talks about those secrets and how when they are revealed they aren't secret anymore. 

Moses has some of my favorite verses. In Moses 5:6-7 Adam is sacrificing on an altar to the Lord. An angel comes down and asks why he is doing this. Adam says, "I know not save the Lord commanded me." The angel goes on to explain the significance of this sacrifice. It is a truly marvelous purpose and plan. How wonderful that it is no longer a secret, and now Adam knows why. Sometimes I wonder when I will find out my why. Sometimes I get my why in pieces--line upon line, here a little, there a little. Other times it comes gushing through in talks or scripture. But almost ALL of the time I have to wait for it.

Right now I am waiting. Waiting for a lot of my why to be answered. I have a lot of questions, sometimes the same ones over and over, and I'm sure the Lord is a little bit tired of me asking. But one of my fears is that I missed something and because of that my life is taking a different direction than what it is intended. That is when I'm reminded that the Lord would never let that happen. As soon as we start to veer a little, if we are trying with all our might to do what's right, he will steer us back to where we need to be. How I love that the Lord is in charge, even if I don't always know the why. It does stretch my patience and faith, but as I look back my life has done things I never thought were possible. 

It's an exciting time to have a secret, it's an even more wonderful time when that secret is revealed and everyone can partake of it. I'm so thrilled to have the 'secret' of the gospel. It's now my responsibility to share it, to hand it out, to let people in on my secret. Be aware that you hold an amazing secret and we are here to share it. Share how much the Lord loves each one of us individually, share how families can be together forever, share about the wonderful refuge we have from the storms that are coming and swirling all around us. I love this life and am so glad I am part of the 'secret'!!



Monday, December 12, 2016

Sicky

I have been so sick with a big fat head cold these past few days. I'll tell you what, it is miserable. I do not know how those who are constantly suffering from chronic pain, constant nose running from allergies, or anything that sticks around longer than 2 weeks. One thing I have learned though is sometimes you just have to rely on other people. That is not something I'm very good at and it will continue to be something I will work on for the rest of my life. Which is why Heavenly Father throws these little adventures at me.

I know for most of us there is an area in our life that needs constant work. I also know we are given trials to learn and grow in those areas. We are temporarily here on earth to perfect those attributes to the best of our ability. I know I will continually be put in positions where I will have to ask for help, rely on others, and delegate. I hope I will learn how and quickly, because being sick is yucky!!

One final thought, I am all about mental exercises. I think our brain is an amazing instrument that is underutilized in many ways. So think about what attribute you want to work on this year and picture where you will be with it in a year. If it's love, maybe picture your heart growing and you knowing more people in your area. For me I will be picturing an unstuffed nose and my children doing more of the chores and making dinners every night after I have taught them how.  Doesn't that sound delicious?