Tuesday, December 23, 2014

[Nativities from around world]


In some of our church buildings, during Christmas you can see a Nativity Exhibit. Hundreds and hundreds of different nativities from around the world. Here is a sampling of what we saw this year.


















This one took someone hundreds and hundreds of hours to cross-stitch. There were three large panels.


Friday, December 12, 2014

[Loved this Christmas themed talk!]



We recently watched our church's Christmas Devotional. Truly our home was like a piece of Heaven on earth while watching it. Christmas is the most joyful time of the year! 

This talk was my favorite. Loved it!


If you want to see the full program, click here.

[The Gift]

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

[let's be civil]


[glorious time of the year!]



It's a bit early for me but some people are in the mood for Christmas music already. 

You can find non stop Christmas music at the Mormon Channel. I love it that there are no commercials.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

[a better way]



I have always loved this true story of Dutch Saints sending their potato crops to "enemy" Germans after the World War II. Such healing happened in two nations because of this act of kindness.

If only people did things like this all over the world. What miracles would happen in the world! What could we send to the terrorists instead of bombs to soften their hearts and help them feel LOVE instead of HATE?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

[the power of scriptures]


This is so true! I have proven it true over and over again in my own life. Studying the scriptures is the way to feel close to God and to prove ourselves worthy of inspiration and guidance from Him.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

[THIS is the reason]


Why does The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints have over 88,000 missionaries in over 150 countries? Why are "Mormons" so anxious to share what they believe with others? Are we wishing to grow the number of our Church members? Are we collecting "heaven points"? Are we hoping to brainwash people?

This talk by Elder Bednar from the October 2014 General Conference explains the REAL reason million times better than I ever could.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

[Glorious!]



I absolutely, totally, completely LOVE this song! So good to have David Archuleta back and singing for ME. :) Love this kiddo and his angelic voice!

I'm curious to see what the movie will be like. A movie about four ordinary extraordinary Mormons. 

We are all glorious! :)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

[you are loved more than you can imagine!]


Love, love, love this talk by President Uchtdorf

God does not look on the outward appearance. 8 I believe that He doesn’t care one bit if we live in a castle or a cottage, if we are handsome or homely, if we are famous or forgotten. Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God’s love encompasses us completely.
He loves us because He is filled with an infinite measure of holy, pure, and indescribable love. We are important to God not because of our résumé but because we are His children. He loves every one of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken. God’s love is so great that He loves even the proud, the selfish, the arrogant, and the wicked.
What this means is that, regardless of our current state, there is hope for us. No matter our distress, no matter our sorrow, no matter our mistakes, our infinitely compassionate Heavenly Father desires that we draw near to Him so that He can draw near to us.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

[Nearer, My God, to Thee by BYU Vocal Point, feat. BYU Men's Chorus]



Love this! Love the Latin language! So cool! I love listening to men sing. :)

[#BecauseofHim]



I know this is an Easter video and that I'm late with it. But this short video really touched my heart today. I love my Savior! 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

[persecuted for your faith]

Lately, I have received much abuse because of my faith and the church I belong to. The sad part is that this abuse has come from people who should know and love me, yet it seems that they don't know me at all and they think they can say whatever rude things they want about my faith. It makes me so sad that they don't seem to have any idea who I really am and what a positive, edifying influence my faith is for me. 

It is not new though that people who try to live the gospel are being persecuted. This has happened all through the ages. I just finished reading Elder Holland's talk from last General Conference and it helped me as I was reminded that I'm not the only one who has been treated unfairly or rudely because of faith.

With admiration and encouragement for everyone who will need to remain steadfast in these latter days, I say to all and especially the youth of the Church that if you haven’t already, you will one day find yourself called upon to defend your faith or perhaps even endure some personal abuse simply because you are a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Such moments will require both courage and courtesy on your part.
For example, a sister missionary recently wrote to me: “My companion and I saw a man sitting on a bench in the town square eating his lunch. As we drew near, he looked up and saw our missionary name tags. With a terrible look in his eye, he jumped up and raised his hand to hit me. I ducked just in time, only to have him spit his food all over me and start swearing the most horrible things at us. We walked away saying nothing. I tried to wipe the food off of my face, only to feel a clump of mashed potato hit me in the back of the head. Sometimes it is hard being a missionary because right then I wanted to go back, grab that little man, and say, ‘EXCUSE ME!’ But I didn’t.”
There was a missionary who was stabbed to death when I was serving my mission in Ireland. There were some other missionaries who were badly beaten. These kind of things happen all over the world still. People who turn hate into violence or hurtful words. Most of it stems from misunderstandings or ignorance.

Lately I have noticed that it seems ok to belittle people who believe in God. To make rude remarks of them. To ridicule them. I don't get it. How is there ever going to be peace in this world if we think that that kind of rude behavior is acceptable? We can have our beliefs and thoughts but couldn't we learn to live civilly? To treat those who think differently from us with respect and kindness?

I love these words from Elder Holland.

That kind of hate for a prophet’s honesty cost Abinadi his life. As he said to King Noah: “Because I have told you the truth ye are angry with me. … Because I have spoken the word of God ye have judged me that I am mad”9 or, we might add, provincial, patriarchal, bigoted, unkind, narrow, outmoded, and elderly.

And these.

Sadly enough, my young friends, it is a characteristic of our age that if people want any gods at all, they want them to be gods who do not demand much, comfortable gods, smooth gods who not only don’t rock the boat but don’t even row it, gods who pat us on the head, make us giggle, then tell us to run along and pick marigolds.11

Love how he says that. :)

People just don't want to hear it when someone says something they do is not right. It has always been that way. People want religion or things they believe in to be easy. "Do what you want." So it has been throughout the history and so it is now and will be in the future too. 

Jesus clearly understood what many in our modern culture seem to forget: that there is a crucial difference between the commandment to forgive sin (which He had an infinite capacity to do) and the warning against condoning it (which He never ever did even once).

No matter what the world does, a disciple of Jesus Christ will need to continue to try to live the gospel and to try to be an example for others of the blessings that come from keeping the commandments of God. The gospel of Jesus Christ really is the only hope for mankind. There is no other doctrine that can heal people's hatred or make people into better people than that what Jesus Christ teaches. There are doctrines that can do much good, but the fullness of the gospel is the only thing that can cure this world. So despite any persecution, we need to stay committed to the gospel. 

Be strong. Live the gospel faithfully even if others around you don’t live it at all. Defend your beliefs with courtesy and with compassion, but defend them.

Have I mentioned how much I love Elder Holland? :)


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

[God IS love!]


I came across this quote as I was browsing Pinterest. 
I couldn't get it out of my mind. Not because it challenged my faith in any little way - it didn't. But because it made me sad that people judge something sacred and good to be a thing of garbage. And because they judge God without knowing who He is.

Yes, you can look at the Bible and draw all sorts of conclusions from it. Especially if you don't study it, but just quickly read through some things and use your limited knowledge to make conclusions about it. 

To me, the Bible is a sacred book. It shows God's dealings with people throughout the ages. The thing that leads to misunderstandings about the Bible is that God has dealt with humans who are VERY imperfect, unknowledgeable, and prone to do wrong, human things. God is omnipotent, omniscient and all loving. But He has had to teach people with small snippets of wisdom as they couldn't deal with the whole truth due to their limited understanding/willingness to accept His wisdom. Line upon line, precept upon precept.

The Old Testament shows this perfectly. Through Moses, God wanted to give much wisdom to the people. But they weren't ready so the preparatory law of Moses and only the Ten Commandments were given to prepare the people to receive more.

Then Jesus Christ came and gave "The New Testament". New laws, new teachings, new ways to see and do things. What He taught was revolutionary! Sadly, people weren't ready for it yet. Eventually, people rejected His teachings and started to change them until you could barely recognize them anymore.

Time of dark ages began until religious reformers paved the way for Jesus Christ's gospel to be restored in fullness in these last days again (more about that on another time). The prophets of old have looked forward to this time we live in. The time when the gospel will be taught in all the world and the many prophecies will come to pass. No, the gospel won't be widely accepted by people in the world today either. But many people will find God's Plan and it will make people into better people as they try to live according to what God teaches them.

God really is Love. He is our Father in Heaven who loves us, His literal spirit children. He knows what is good for us, what is bad for us. He will try to give us as much light and knowledge as we are willing to accept from Him. People in Bible times weren't ready to accept much from Him. Hence some of the things in the Bible. But it wasn't because God isn't perfect and loving. It's because the people weren't ready for the fullness of His teachings. 

We only see this short, earthly life. God sees into all eternity and knows what makes us happy in the long run. 

I want to bear witness that the Bible can help a person get closer to God. But only if it's studied with a prayerful, humble heart. With a sincere desire to get to know God. With a desire to understand Him. 

I promise you that if you sincerely study the teachings of Jesus Christ and try to live according to those teachings, that you will get closer to God. You will see miracles happen in your life. You will become more forgiving, loving and kind. You will start to see things more eternally, not just temporarily. 

Yes, there are many bitter, negative "Christians" out there. Who judge people etc. But they really aren't living the gospel. They aren't following Jesus Christ. The Bible talks about these kinds of disciples. They haven't "got it yet". They don't understand what a disciple of Jesus Christ really should be doing. 

God is LOVE. I bear witness of that. I have experienced His love in so many ways. He loves all of His children. As a Loving Father, He sometimes says "no, you shouldn't do that" to some things we like to do. Not because He is mean, but because He sees the eternal picture and more perfectly sees what will be for our eternal benefit. Just like our children get mad at us sometimes when we say "no", so do people get mad at God for saying "no". My experience has proven time and time again that they'd be wiser to stop and listen. He does know better!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

[lessons from Elder Scott]

Some thoughts from an article by Elder Richard G. Scott, taken from the February 2014 Ensign. He offers some wise words on how to live a joyful, peaceful life.

"Strong character is more important than what you own, what you have learned, or what goals you have accomplished."

"Men and women are needed who will act nobly and courageously for what the Lord has defined as right - not for what is politically correct or socially acceptable. We need individuals who have the spiritual, righteous influence that will motivate others to live honorably... Above all, we need mothers and fathers who will preserve the sanctity and safety of the home and the integrity of the family..."

Some good rules to follow by:

1. Establish a set of principles by which you will guide every aspect of your life.
2. Don't make exceptions to your standards.
3. Be loyal. 
4. Live so that the Lord can guide you to where He wants you to be and to serve.
5. Serve others.
6. Smile.
"I will tell you a secret of how to wake up in the morning with a smile on your face no matter how you feel: go to bed with a coat hanger in your mouth."
7. Don't complain.
8. Always have a Church assignment. 
"The last two are the most important."
9. Go to the temple. 
10. Use the Savior Jesus Christ as your example for life.

"There have been times when my choice to stand for principle against strong forces implied that there would be significant personal loss by taking the action. But that did not deter me. I was determined to do what was right. The anticipated loss, however, never came. Somehow, doing what was right in time opened far greater and more meaningful opportunities. I testify that you will never go wrong when you trust in the Lord and in His promises, no matter how severe the challenge."

May I share an experience with you? I served in the U.S. Navy with Admiral Hyman G. Rickover, a very demanding individual. When I was called to be a mission president, he tried to dissuade me from going. When I said it was a prophet of God who had called me, he said, “If that’s the way Mormons are, I’m not going to have any of them working in my program.” I knew there were many families in Idaho, USA, depending on work in that program, and I was concerned about it.
As I prayed, a song came to my mind: “Do what is right; let the consequence follow” (“Do What Is Right,” Hymns, no. 237). I did that. I couldn’t see how some of the challenges we faced would be worked out the way I hoped they would be with the individual who would come to replace me, but “do what is right; let the consequence follow.” It all worked out very well.
When Admiral Rickover knew I was going to leave on a mission, he had said he never wanted to see me again and never wanted to talk to me again. On the final day of my working with him, I asked for an appointment. The secretary gasped, expecting that there was going to be an explosion.
I went in, and he said, “Scott, sit down. What do you have? I’ve tried every way I can to change your decision. What is it that you’ve got?”
I handed him a copy of the Book of Mormon and said, “Admiral, I believe in God. And I believe that when we do the best we can, He will help us.”
Then Admiral Rickover said something that I didn’t ever expect to hear. He said, “When you finish your mission, I want you to come back and work with me.”

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

[our value]


Such a great article about self worth and self esteem by Elder Cook in January 2014 New Era magazine. So important to realize that our self worth doesn't depend on how we look or how popular we are, etc.

Some quotes from his talk:

The Lord taught that His ways are not the same as the world’s ways and that “my ways [are] higher than your ways” (Isaiah 55:8–9). Following the Lord’s ways allows you to receive eternal blessings and to have the Holy Ghost with you, which can help you feel good about yourself more deeply and consistently than anything the world has to offer. 

When someone seems better at something than you, you may feel like you’re not good enough and that you need to be better in order to be accepted. One problem with this lie is that by tying your self-worth to other people, you’re often comparing another person’s strength to one of your weaknesses.

...loving yourself is not about tooting your own horn or conforming to the world’s view of self-esteem. It’s about being who you are—a unique child of God—and knowing that who you are is a good thing. When you understand your eternal worth and you live in a way consistent with your divine heritage, you will gain a lasting self-esteem that is better than anything the world can offer.



Monday, May 26, 2014

[yes, you can!]


Some limits may apply but too often we think we can't, when in reality, we can.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

[Follow Me]


"Follow Me" by Liz Lemon Swindle.

I love the title of this artwork. It's not just the fact that Jesus can walk on water but that He can make us walk on water too.

Jesus Christ can help us do things that we couldn't do with our own limited strength and capabilities. He can help us to forgive when we feel we can't forgive. He can help us to love when we feel we can't love someone. He can help us heal when there seems to be no hope for healing. He can help us see light when all there seems to be is darkness around us.

Jesus Christ is all powerful. 

Miracles happen when we follow Him.

“Men and women who turn their lives over to God will discover that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He can deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, and pour out peace.” 
President Ezra T. Benson

“The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ would take the slums out of people, and then they would take themselves out of the slums.
The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature."
President Ezra T. Benson
(
(The art work can be purchase here.)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

[free printable]


If you are doing a lesson on being thankful, here is a printout you can use. Copy and paste to a Microsoft Word document, then print.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

[you go ahead and think you came from monkeys, I don't buy it! :)]



I've always thought it's weird that people think evolution has been scientifically proved. It hasn't been! It's just someone's theory. One day people are going to laugh and say they can't believe this was taught as science in schools. :)

The science vs. faith discussion is silly in my opinion. They don't need to be opposed. Science is just people trying to figure out how God does everything. God knows all the science, all the natural laws. He knows everything. He uses that knowledge and creates worlds. What we, people, know about our universe (and the millions and billions of other universes out there) is minuscule compared to what God knows. He has created "worlds without number" and He knows exactly how He did it. We probably don't even know one billionth of what He knows. We haven't even completely explored the oceans on this earth yet! 

There are many scientists who have started to believe in God once they have studied nature. They are convinced that something so harmonious, beautiful and perfectly balanced couldn't be in existence without a Supreme Creator. To me, nature and everything out there testifies of this same fact. The more I learn about nature, the more respect I have for it's Creator. God is the best Artist! A Master Planner and Organizer. The Best Scientist. And still - He is our Father too, and chooses to be called by that name.

ps. In case you're wondering - there are people like us in those other universes! But that's a whole other long discussion. :)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

[God is merciful and He DOES have a Plan!]

I found this blog post today about what my Church teaches about being saved after this life and how that makes our faith "most liberal in mercy".
So many religions/churches teach that if you don't belong to their church, you are damned to hell or some kind of eternal suffering. Well, it's just not true.
God is our Heavenly Father (He is a literal Father to our spirits) and loves us more than we can even imagine. He would not condemn someone to eternal suffering just because they happen to be in the wrong church or even if they are atheist or even if they are the worst sinners.
If you read the above blog post, you'll learn what my Church teaches about who is saved. Pretty much everyone is saved to a wonderful place of glory.

Once you have read that blog post, read this following quote. It is from one of our manuals and explains how even the worst sinner is loved more than we can understand. The telestial kingdom is the lowest of the three God's kingdoms, yet it is glorious beyond understanding.


D&C 76:89–106. Why Will Those Who Inherit the Telestial Kingdom Receive a Glory That “Surpasses All Understanding”?

All who receive the telestial kingdom will have paid a price for this glory. The fact that after they pay this price they inherit a telestial glory is evidence of the Father’s love and mercy. Elder John A. Widtsoe wrote:
“The [Doctrine and Covenants] explains clearly that the lowest glory to which man is assigned is so glorious as to be beyond the understanding of man. It is a doctrine fundamental in Mormonism that the meanest sinner, in the final judgment, will receive a glory which is beyond human understanding, which is so great that we are unable to describe it adequately. Those who do well will receive an even more glorious place. Those who dwell in the lower may look wistfully to the higher as we do here. The hell on the other side will be felt in some such way.
“The Gospel is a gospel of tremendous love. Love is at the bottom of it. The meanest child is loved so dearly that his reward will be beyond the understanding of mortal man.”


I blogged about God's plan for us long time ago at my other blog. I explained the kingdoms of glory etc. You can read those blog posts by clicking here:

God's plan, Part I

God's plan, Part II

God's plan, Part III

So often you hear people say things like "Why did this happen?" (when something bad happens) or "Why did God let those people suffer? Why didn't he stop the bad guys?". Once you understand God's plan for us, you'll see why. People blame God for not doing anything about the bad things in life, yet they are often unwilling to learn more about God and why He is doing what He is doing (for example, why He is not stopping terrorists, etc). Once you understand The Plan and the gospel more fully, life makes so much more sense. You will understand why we have to go through trials and suffering in this life. You'll understand yourself better. Who you are. Where you came from. Why you are here on earth. Where you are going after this life. There is so much information if people are just willing to learn. Once you get The Plan, it all makes sense! I promise. :)

Monday, March 10, 2014

[the price that was paid]


The Garden of Gethsemane
(image via Google image search)

Something really touched my heart yesterday at church. Maybe because I had just read about how in Iraq, the parliament is discussing a law that 9-year-old girls can get married. They are talking about 9-year-old CHILDREN!! Recently I also started reading an award winning, best selling book that had horrible child pornography in it. Needless to say I stopped reading the disgusting book as soon as I got to that point. I can't believe some people praise that book with words like "breathtaking". What is wrong with people that they would support a book in which child pornography is glorified? Child abuse in any form disturbs me to my very core.

So when I heard/read this part of the lesson on Sunday, it made me think of the horrible, horrible price our Savior paid on our behalf.

This is by President Joseph Fielding Smith, who became the President of the Church in 1970.

The driving of the nails into his hands and into the Savior’s feet was the least part of his suffering. We get into the habit, I think, of feeling, or thinking that his great suffering was being nailed to the cross and left to hang there. Well, that was a period in the world’s history when thousands of men suffered that way. So his suffering, so far as that is concerned, was not any more than the suffering of other men who have been so crucified. What, then, was his great suffering? ...His great suffering occurred before he ever went to the cross. It was in the Garden of Gethsemane, so the scriptures tell us, that blood oozed from every pore of his body; and in the extreme agony of his soul, he cried to his Father. It was not the nails driven into his hands and feet. Now do not ask me how that was done because I do not know. Nobody knows. All we know is that in some way he took upon himself that extreme penalty. He took upon him our transgressions, and paid a price, a price of torment.
Think of the Savior carrying the united burden of every individual—torment—in some way which I say, I cannot understand; I just accept—which caused him to suffer an agony of pain, compared to which the driving of the nails in his hands and feet was very little. He cried in His anguish, to His Father, “If it be possible, let this cup pass!” and it could not pass [see Luke 22:42]. Let me read you just a word or two here of what the Lord says in regard to that:

“For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;
“But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;
“Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of the pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—
“Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.” [D&C 19:16–19.]

You can read the full lesson by clicking here.

I don't know how much of Jesus Christ's suffering other Christian churches understand. Most of them seem to concentrate on the death and suffering Jesus suffered on the cross. But the main suffering was done in the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus Christ took upon himself ALL the sins, ALL the suffering, ALL the wrongs of this world. He paid the price for it ALL. The torment was so great that blood oozed from his every pore. 

I look forward to the day when everyone will know that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, their Savior. Sometimes when I read about the horrible things happening in this world, I wish the day of his Second Coming would happen already. I'm so grateful that I know about my Savior and that I have learned to love and honor him. That I found his Church in which the fullness of the gospel is taught. That I understand God's plan for us, his children. That I know what the purpose of life is. That I know why we have to go through trials in this life. That I know where I came from. That I know what happens after we die. That I know that in the end, ALL things will be made right and the suffering will end. That I can hope for a better world and I know that it WILL happen. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

[quotes on women]


I'm making some quote cards for our Relief Society party and thought I'd share them here too.

I love how the gospel has brought me a better perspective on being a woman. I know my role is just as important as any man's. I love that my desire to be a mother is respected and honored. I love how our Church leaders make me feel valued, appreciated and loved.

Men and women don't need to be the same to be equal. I can have joy in being a woman. The softening touch of women is so needed in today's hard world!

(To use the images, just right click and copy them, then paste them into a Microsoft Word document.)










Friday, February 28, 2014

[such a good message for all the girls]



I thought it took guts to sing this song in the American Idol competition. The world/entertainment industry tells us women/girls that we need to dress provocatively to be noticed by the opposite sex or to be popular. The so called "stars" (such an unfitting name to people who so often don't radiate light) seem to compete with each other who can show more skin and get away with it. "Please look at me and my amazing body" is the message we get bombarded with every day. To me, modesty is way more sexy. It shows that the person has confidence and that they're not self centered.   

I love that the singer, Spencer, is a cute, young guy and that he felt strongly enough about the message of this song to sing it during the competition. Way to go Spencer and way to go all of you women and girls who dare to be modest in today's "show it all" world. It takes bravery to go against the popular choices of the world.