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Friday, October 19, 2018

Careful of Dissent

An article I read a few months ago stated that it is a positive thing for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to offer a dissenting opinion about curriculum and rules.  Here’s a quote, It’s difficult for dissenters, but it’s vital that Mormonism has them. The healthiest organizations are not the ones that shut down dissent or pretend that everyone is always in agreement. They’re the ones that allow multiple points of view to inform their decision making process.” (Why we need Mormon Dissenters)  I thought a lot about that article.  Here are a few of my thoughts:   

I agree that members of the church with differing opinions should not be shut down and that we should not pretend that everyone agrees, but sometimes when people disagree about something, it gets blown out of perspective and they forget about the testimony of truths they’ve already gained.  If I have, or if someone I love has questions or if we don’t agree with policies and standards in the church or some of its leaders, I think it is important to remember to look to understand the doctrine and reasons. Look for the good, do not pick apart and criticize. The devil will use contention to harden hearts, and dissent is a close cousin to that. That does not mean that you cannot ask questions, seek to understand, seek to be understood, and help to make positive change, but it does mean that you have to be very careful not to miss out on the blessings that Heavenly Father has in store from following the prophets and living His doctrine.  It is also important to remember that the Lord’s ways are higher than our ways or other man’s ways and sometimes He may have reasons we don’t understand or know about. (Isaiah 55:9)  We should look for the good in those who have questions and concerns.  We should love them and help them find faith, remember the faith they already have, and learn together.

We should not to rest on someone else’s revelation and testimony no matter who it is. God gave us the gift of personal revelation because he expects us to ask questions. He expects us to study, think, and come to come to Him.  But we need to live and continue to live the gospel standards and doctrine, to come to know for ourselves of the validity of them. When something comes along that I don’t understand, first I try to live it to understand it, like Jesus states, “if any man will do His will he will know of the doctrine.” (John 7:17)  I know the Lord’s promises are sure because I’ve tested the Lord’s word from scripture and from past and current prophets and I have received blessings, knowledge, peace, etc. When we have tested God’s words in the past, no future obedience can really be blind obedience because we know His words are sure. 

In the Book of Mormon there were many groups of people who dissented from the Nephites (Zoramites, Amalekites, Amulonites, etc.). They stoned the prophets and cast them out from among them. As a result, they lost the protection that comes from listening to and heeding the prophets' words and they were destroyed. The prophets and apostles are not perfect, but they are doing their best. We have to use faith to support and sustain each other. Just as the early Book of Mormon saints had to live the Law of Moses even though they knew Jesus Christ would come and the law would be dead, we may have to live temporary laws that lead us closer to perfection.

If we take a cafeteria approach to living the gospel and dissent from certain standards, policy, or doctrine, that puts us on a slippery slope.  We may be able to hang on to part or most of our testimony, but our children and our children’s children may not.  They can see our partial obedience and then they most likely will be partially obedient to the things we live.  Pretty soon they may be out of the church all together.  In the Book of Mormon there are instances recorded where apostasy happened after 1-2 generations.

I want all the blessings that come from having my feet firmly planted on gospel sod (Hymn “I Believe in Christ”) for me and my children.  I also want those blessing for everyone I know, meet, and come in contact with.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Missionary Work with a little skin in the game

April 25, 2018

This morning I was thinking about a story our ward mission leader, Bro. Ellis, told us in RS a little over a week ago.  His wife and her friend teach an exercise class at the gym.  Her friend, who is not a member of the LDS church, greets new people as they come into their exercise class at their gym by asking if they have a church to go to.  This invitation is very natural and normal.  She invites them to check it out.  Her husband is the minister of their church.  It is probably her husband’s livelihood, they have a lot of “skin in the game” so they need to share the news of their church with as many people as possible.  If they want to pay the bills, they have to open their mouths to share about their church. 

What do I need to do to have some skin in the game in sharing about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ?  With our lay membership we don’t have to get people to join our church to earn a living, but we have taken on ourselves the name of Christ and He has given more than just a little “skin in the game”, He has given all. Can I share it for Him?

Most of the time I don’t open my mouth to share the gospel because I don’t know how to do it “naturally and normally” (Monson, Ensign, Oct. 1977, 14).  Almost every time I’ve tried it has been awkward and weird.  But today I was looking at a paper Bro. Ellis gave us that outlines our new, fantastic ward mission plan. (see attachment)  It says, “Discover people’s questions. Rather than telling people what we want them to know, find out what they want to know.” That gave me an idea for sharing the gospel with strangers in line or on a plane. I can ask, Have you ever met a Mormon before? Do you have any questions about our religion?

I am going to try it!!


Sunday, April 22, 2018

Not fitting in

April 19, 2017

I have had a few instances over the last month where I have felt like I just don’t fit in with lots of people.  In conversations with friends I have realized that we have very different views on what is appropriate to watch and read and how to keep the Sabbath Day Holy, etc.  I am not saying I am right and they are wrong, but several times lately I have felt like I don’t fit in with my friends very well.  I am a pretty “PG” type of person when it comes to entertainment choices and I think I come across as living a “letter of the law” type of obedience.  Sometimes some of my friends tease me a little bit in jest and it hurts my feelings.  

Example one, Spencer went to his high school prom dance last Saturday night.  The price of the prom tickets included admission to an after party at Krazy Air.  The after party started at 11:30pm and went until 2:00am in the morning.  Chad and I didn’t want Spencer to go to the after party because it went so late into the morning (he just barely turned 16) and especially because the party went into the Sabbath Day.  The church has been counseling us to do better to keep the Sabbath Day Holy for the last few years and we felt like the party would not be a holy way to start the Sabbath.  We talked to Spencer about it.  He said the rest of his group really wanted to go to the after party.  Chad and I told him our feelings and asked him what he wanted to do.  He said he felt he would be tired after the dance and didn’t really want to go to the after party.  We told him we could come pick him and his date up if the rest of the group was heading to the party.  Spencer decided to talk to his date about missing the after party.  The day he talked to his date I decided to call her mom and explain the situation in case his date was really sad about it.  I realized his date might feel let down or that she was missing out on a major part of their school prom experience if they didn’t go to the after party.  Spencer’s date’s mother didn’t even know there was an after party.  She wasn’t too keen on the idea of them being out so late either and she said she totally supported my decision to have our kids home by midnight and to skip the after party.  (It ended up that all the other kids in the group decided to skip the after party as well and they all came home together.)  Here’s the part where I felt like I didn’t fit in, I was talking to some friends (these friends happened to be members of my faith) the day or two before prom and all their kids were going to the after party.  I mentioned how I didn’t like that the after party went into the Sabbath Day.  They weren’t worried about that.  I’ve wondered why it bothered me and it didn’t bother them.  Is my conscience too over active?  I am not trying to live the letter of the law.  I have received many personal blessings for doing things to set the Sabbath Day apart from the rest of the days of the week and to keep it holy.  I want Spencer to have those same blessings.  I hope he didn’t feel forced in his decision to talk to his date and to skip the party.  Chad and I were very proud of his decision to do so.  When we learned the kids of our church leaders were going to the after party, that didn’t change our decision of wanting Spencer to skip it.  We try not to make excuses for our decisions because of other people’s deisions, even if they are in a leadership position.  We know we are accountable for our own actions; our leaders aren’t accountable for our actions.  (I suppose leaders have a little bit of accountability if they lead those in their stewardship astray, but I think most of the accountability lies with the individual based on what they’ve been taught.  I’m glad it will be Jesus Christ who judges all of us and not me!)     

Example two, I was at lunch with a group of friends celebrating one of their birthdays.  They started talking about a popular book and whether or not they should let their kids read it.  They said it had the F word in it about 300 times and it had a pretty descriptive virtual sex scene.  One mom suggested, oh you should let them read it and make the decision for themselves if it is too much for them.  I suggested they should first warn their child of the inappropriate things in it and encourage them not to read it.  One or two of them had read the book and even with all those things didn’t feel like it was a problem.  I am not saying I am right and they are wrong, I was not judging them, I don’t know what they’ve been taught, I just felt like I didn’t fit in and like I was such a prude or something.

Yesterday I was feeling a little down about not fitting in so much lately.  I started to feel like there was something wrong with me and that people probably make fun of me behind my back all the time.  Then thankfully Heavenly Father directed my thoughts to a better place.  I realized how blessed I am that Chad and I both have the same standards about entertainment choices and how the live the Sabbath day and how to be obedient to other gospel principals and that I always fit in at home with Chad and with our children!  I realized that it is ok to be different and to stand out.  Heavenly Father can use my friends as an instrument to reach people and he can use me as an instrument to reach maybe a different group of people.  I also had the scripture Matthew 5:10 come to my mind when I was worried that people were making fun of me.  “Blessed are they which are persecuted for rightousness’ sake: for there is the kingdom of heaven.” 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Conference Store - Our Favorite General Conference Tradition

Conference Store
Use conference cash to purchase snacks and treats from the conference store.

Ideas for your conference store:
  • small piece of candy $1
  • gatorade $5
  • cookie $2
  • soda $5
  • candy bar $6
  • fruit by the foot $3
  • can of Pringles $10
  • small bag of chips or chex mix $3
  • markers $6
  • coloring book $4
  • Ritz cheese and crackers handi-snacks $3
Play around with the prices and items.  You want your kids to be able to earn fun stuff, but you don't want them to eat so many snacks and treats that they will get sick. 

How to earn Conference Cash:

·        Take notes on the General Conference Journal Page.  You can earn $1 in conference cash for every talk if you write down:
a)   the name of the speaker, 
b)  what the talk was about, 
c)   and if you are present, reverent and quiet during the whole talk.  
You have to do all of these things to get $1.  

·        You can earn $2 in conference cash for writing about your favorite part of the session on your journal page.

·        You can earn $2 in conference cash for writing down action items, promptings, or good ideas you had during the session.

·        You can earn $2 in conference cash for writing about how this session taught you to follow Jesus on your journal page.

·        Your mom or dad may randomly give out conference cash if you are very reverent during the prayers and/or if you sing nicely during the rest hymn.

·        Younger kids who can't write get conference cash for quietly playing while listening.  Fun quiet activities include: coloring (HERE are some fun coloring pages to print out),  find the hidden pictures, play doh, dolls, blocks, legos, etc.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Traveloge of my Alaska Cruise with Mom

This portion was written on Sunday, September 3, 2017

Saturday- Departure from Seattle
I woke up at 3:20am, ahead of my alarm, to get ready to catch our 6:15am flight to Seattle. I didn't sleep very well. I generally don't sleep well when I have an important early event to wake up for the next day. As I try to fall asleep I start to worry that I haven't fallen asleep yet and that I really need some sleep and my mind keeps me up most of the night telling myself I need more sleep. It would be comical if I weren't so tired.

After I got ready, I went to wake up Chad to take me to the airport. He was already awake and was not feeling well. The chicken fried steak he had a Village Inn on our date the night before was not agreeing with him. (I could be perfectly happy in life never eating at a Village Inn again; except their pies are ok.) Chad threw up and then felt well enough to leave. I felt badly leaving when he was sick.

By 3:50am Chad and I were on our way to Mom's Granny flat to pick her up to go to the airport. The flight was very nice and calm. As we neared Seattle I loved looking out at the lay of the land. It was so green with many small lakes dotting the countryside. Very beautiful.

After Mom and I landed we purchased shuttle bus tickets to the cruise port. The drive through Seattle was charming. Seattle reminds me a little bit of San Francisco. I noticed the space needle that was built several years ago for a world’s fair. (I read a book awhile back that was set in the time and place of the Chicago world's fair. ...I now have a new bucket list item to attend a world's fair.) There was also a charming Farris wheel and an aquarium right on the waterfront. Our bus driver was nice to point out many interesting sites as we drove.

After some waiting, and walking through several lines we got on the ship around 11:30am. Since our rooms were not ready and since we had skipped breakfast, we headed to the buffet.

We spent most of the day exploring and getting our bearings on the ship. At 3:30pm we had the required muster drill. At 4:30pm we had a meeting with the LDS Cruise Lady group; Cruise Lady is the travel agency we used to book our tickets. Our special guests on the trip are Marvin Goldstein, a famous lds pianist, and Vanessa Joy, an lds singer.--I have a few of Marvin Goldstein's piano solo books.  Spencer is currently learning a piano solo out of one of his books to play in sacrament meeting in November.

There are a handful of couples from Snowflake in our cruise lady group. There are even some my own age--Josh and Misty Brimhall are here with their oldest son who is to leave on his mission in a couple of weeks. I thought I would by far be the youngest in the group.

We have several tables at dinner time in the dining room for our cruise lady group. We have been able to visit and make connections with several in the group.

Last night Mom and I were going to attend a show in the main theatre but as we were waiting we got too sleepy from waking up so early and we opted to go to our room, read a little bit and go to bed early. We were in bed by about 9:30pm.

It has been fun to spend time with Mom, but as she said to someone in the group, "it is more fun to travel with your husband."  I miss Chad and wish he was seeing and experiencing this adventure with me.

Sunday- day at sea
I woke up just before 7:00am this morning. It was very nice to get enough sleep. I did wake up several times through the night, but was able to get back to sleep without trouble.

I had a nice little stroll around the cruise ship this morning while Mom slept in. It was nice to breathe and feel the sea air. It was foggy so I couldn't see any sights. I don't know if we're close enough to see the coast anyway. I ate breakfast alone since Mom has decided to fast today since it is fast Sunday. ...I plan to fast next week when I'm at home.

Mom and I saw a presentation called "this is Alaska" at 10:00am. I'm excited for the things we will see and our excursions. We skipped out of that presentation at 10:30 to go to our cruise lady "lecture at sea". Marvin Goldstein shared his conversion story. He converted from the Jewish faith. He shared with us that Elder Marvin J. Ashton called him and set him apart to be a lifelong missionary for the church. Marvin and Vanessa performed a lot of beautiful music for us. I really like Marvin's piano solo arrangement of "Where Can I Turn for Peace" and "Beautiful Savior". I asked him if his has those two pieces for sale. He said he didn't but he will bring a big folder with all his music with him to our devotional this afternoon and see if he has those two pieces in the folder.

This portion was written on Monday, September 4, 2017

Sunday afternoon- Sea day
Yesterday afternoon I ate lunch in the Tsar's palace dining room while Mom napped. The dining room serves better food than the buffet so I like to eat in there.

Mom and I read the books we brought with us in the ship's library. It was cozy in there and we had a nice view of the ocean as we sailed.

At 4:00pm we had another nice show from Marvin Goldstein and Vanessa Joy. Marvin played medleys from Fiddler on the Roof, The Sound of Music and Phantom of the Opera. Sadly they have Marvin playing on an electronic piano. He plays it beautifully but it would be so much better on a real piano. He is working with the cruise ship to see if they'll let him perform on one of their good pianos. Currently his performances are private just for our cruise lady group. They reserved the conference room for us and that is where we meet.

At 5:30pm we had our formal dinner in Tsar's palace. We have met severe nice people in our group, including a Whipple cousin of Mom's. His name is Dale Whipple.  He and Mom share the same great grandfather Edson Whipple. He got our information and wants us to go to Buhrley, Idaho to see the Whipple museum he has there. He is the oldest son of the oldest son of the oldest son so he has lots of family things. He is 88 years old and is on his honeymoon. He was remarried last week. His mind is very sharp, but he has to ride a scooter to get around. He was high up in the Toyota company before he retired.

After dinner I saw a whale!  It was foggy most of the day so we couldn't see much, but in the evening it cleared up so I spent time looking for whales. The whale didn't surface very far, but it did a little and when I kept watching to make sure I really did see a whale I saw it spray water out of its blow hole two times. It was pretty cool. I'm very excited for our whale watching tour in Juneau on Tuesday.

Monday - Ketchikan, AK
I woke up around 7:30am and headed up on deck to call home. I couldn't talk to the family at all yesterday when we were at sea. Chad and I had a nice visit. I told him about my adventures and then told him we shouldn't take trips without each other anymore. I wish he was here to share these experiences with me.

Mom and I had breakfast in the buffet. I ran a little in the gym and then after I got dressed and ready for the day we headed out to see Ketchikan. We signed up for a wildlife tour. I saw a bear, an eagle's nest, an eagle as we were driving, totem poles, and salmon swimming upstream. It was fascinating watching the salmon jump and struggle to swim upstream. Our tour guide told us that salmon will return to the same stream and the same spot where they were born to lay their eggs. When salmon are born in a hatchery and then released, the salmon will return back to the hatchery after living their life in the ocean.

After the tour I walked around town a bit and bought some t-shirts and souvenirs for the kids while Mom went back to the ship to relax.

At 4:00pm which is in about 20 minutes, we will have another concert from Marvin and Vanessa. Our ship will pull out of Ketchikan shortly and we stop in Juneau tomorrow.

This portion was written on Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Monday Afternoon - Heading to Juneau
I noticed a camera interview going on in the library when I walk passed. I decided to photo bomb it. I walked passed it two more times. The first time I did a very weak Sasquatch then I did a Richard Nixon. I think my kids would be very proud.

When my Mom goes to our cabin to rest I like to go stand on the top deck and look at the beautiful countryside. Tonight I saw the moon was bright and cast a big reflection on the water. There were little tree covered islands not too far across the water. And a foggy mist was all along the water and coming down off the islands. I wish I could paint it. It was so beautiful. I spend a lot of time alone on this trip since my Mom likes to read and relax more than walk around town when we stop. This time alone has been ok though.

Mom and I watched Marvin and Vanessa's performance that the ship invited them to do. Sadly it was still on an electronic keyboard, but it was still a nice performance.

I stayed up until 1:00pm reading my book. I'm reading "I Capture the Castle." I didn't quite finish it because I realized it was getting so late.

Tuesday - Juneau
This morning I woke up earlier than I wanted and couldn't get back to sleep. I finally decided to go eat and workout before we left to our whale watching tour. I called Chad and the kids and I watched the boat dock in Juneau before eating and exercising. Juneau is so beautiful. It was a nice clear morning. We've been very lucky to have sunny days yesterday and today. Sunny days are very rare in this part of the country.

Our whale watching tour started at 8:45am. It was a fun tour, but pretty cold and foggy. I wished I had put my hoodie underneath my wind breaker. We saw three whales. It was exciting.

After the tour we came back and ate lunch as the ship left Juneau. Mom went back to the room after lunch to nap and read. She just told me as she was heading back to the room she scored a free 10 minute chair massage at the spa. That's lucky! I stayed up on the top deck. I found a quiet deck with padded lounge beds. Several people were taking naps. I noticed an empty bed and joined the nappers.

When I woke up I saw another whale from the ship. I spent all the rest of the afternoon up on deck as we went up a fjord to see some glaciers.  The main glacier we saw was the Endecott glacier.  The drive up the fjord was so beautiful. I stayed out there past time to start dinner. I saw many waterfalls cascading down the mountain, otters in the water and seals on the small icebergs in the water.  I sat next to a family from Georgia. They were so nice and we became friends.

After we got to the glacier and turned around I joined mom at dinner. The dining room was pretty empty since most everyone was still out on deck to see the glacier and scenery.  When we started the dessert course people started to file in. We had a fun visit with Shawn and Dicey Palmer and Josh and Misty Brimhall. Shawn told us some funny stories about Vern Turley from when Shawn was in junior high, including a rattlesnake that got loose in the classroom, a prank Vern played on Mrs. Farr, and a good natured fight between Vern and Melvin DeWidt that got so intense they started wrestling on the ground and made holes in the knees of their slacks and bloodied up their arms because no one would give in. We visited until after 9:00pm.

Now it is 10:00pm and we are listening to another performance by Marvin and Vanessa. They got invited to play by the ship’s crew again. This time on a real piano. It makes a big difference.

This portion was written on Thursday, September 7, 2017

Wednesday- Skagway
I slept in until after 8:00. I missed talking to the older kids before they left to school since I slept so long. I called and talked to Tilly. She spoke for a couple sentences and then said, "Ok bye". She doesn't like to talk on the phone for very long.

Mom didn't want to leave the ship yesterday. She walked quite a bit on Monday and Tuesday and was tired. Since we are at sea all day today and don't have a chance to get off the ship, and since Celeste said Skagway was her favorite stop when she went on the family Alaskan cruise, I went out to see Skagway on my own.

I got off the ship around 9:30am after eating breakfast and running 3 miles on the treadmill in the gym.  I booked a 90 minute "summit express tour" for 1:15pm. I went back onto the ship to see if I could convince my Mom to go on the tour with me since it was such a good price. I almost had her convinced and she got up and got some money for me to go book her a ticket as well, then she changed her mind at the last second. Since I had some time to kill I walked into town around 10:00am. The walk was close to a mile.  After looking in some shops I stopped at the Klondike national park office. They had a free 25 minute video there that told about the Klondike Gold rush. It was fantastic.

Then I walked back to the ship to have a little lunch before my tour. Then I walked back into town at 1:00 and found out they overbooked my tour and they asked me to wait until the 3:15pm tour. I was kind of bugged, but I understood. The tour company offered to give me a free Trolley tour through town while I waited for the 3:15 summit express tour, but I wanted to let mom know I was going to be leaving on my tour much later than planned. So I didn't go on the free tour. Instead I walked back to the ship to let my mom know about the change.

I rested a little bit in the room with mom but I couldn't sleep so I went to have a snack and kill time until the tour started. Then I walked back into town for the 3:15 tour. It was a really interesting tour. (If you're counting, I walked 5 miles going to and from town. Add that to my morning run and I put in 8 miles yesterday. I was fine but I sure didn't plan on walking that much that day.) The tour guide told lots of interesting stories about individuals who took part in the Klondike gold rush. Sadly we were in heavy fog until we got to the summit where we were above the fog, so I didn't get to see as much scenery as I would have liked.  The summit lakes area was beautiful. On the way back down the mountain I got to see some waterfalls and take a picture by the welcome to Alaska sign since we had crossed into Canada on our way up to the summit.

Mom and I ate dinner with the cruise lady group at 5:30. After dinner we went back to our room to read for the rest of the night. I didn't even go up for my nightly crepe. (The buffet serves fresh crepes every night. They are delicious.)

Thursday- at sea
Today we will be at sea all day as we make our way to Victoria, British Columbia in Canada. This morning I have hung out with Josh and Misty Brimhall, Shawn Palmer (his wife Dicey was reading or something else) and Lenny and Margie Owens, a couple from Mesa. Bro. Owens is originally from Show Low. He's a neat guy. We played games in the ship's game room. Sis.Owen's taught us a fun card game called trash. I think my kids will love it.

This afternoon Mom and I hung out in the "atrium". We listened to music and visited with a couple from Pittsburgh. They were very nice and the man made mom and me each a rose out of a napkin. He was very sweet.

This portion was written on September 9, 2017

Thursday evening Mom and I watched Marvin and Vanessa perform in the Atrium for the whole ship. A professional violinist from Brazil who was also a passenger on the ship also performed with them. He was great. The whole performance was wonderful. We had lots of talented musicians on the ship and it was so nice of the ship to allow them to perform for us.

After the performance and dinner, Mom and I went to our room to read. I was still full from dinner so I skipped getting a crepe again.

Friday- Victoria, British Columbia Canada.
We didn't arrive in Victoria until about 2pm. I can't remember what we did that morning. In Victoria Mom and I went with the cruise lady group to tour Butchart Gardens. We left right as soon as the boat docked. Butchart Gardens was AMAZING!!  The beauty was unbelievable. It was like the Garden of Eden. Mom liked the gardens, but didn't like all the walking. I told her I would push her in a wheelchair, but she didn't want to do that. The tour bus driver showed us some interesting sites and gave us good history of the area. It was a wonderful tour.  We got back to ship around 9:00pm.  We had a late dinner and visiting at the buffet with the Owens and the Brimhalls.

Saturday – Going home
This morning we arrived in Seattle. I realized Mom and I could probably leave on the 11:45am flight instead of the 3:35pm flight we booked. I called Alaska airlines and they had room to move us to earlier flight so we got everything packed up, ate breakfast, and headed toward the airport.

I am finishing up this travelogue in midair. I'm so excited to see Chad and the kids. It has been a very fun vacation with Mom, but I don't think I want to travel without Chad for this long ever again. Chad wrote me a very sweet email the other night letting me know he loved me and missed me. It meant a lot to me.

Mom and I did not get sea sick at all on the trip, but now that I am on land I have been feeling a little woozy and like I’m rocking on a boat.  We had fantastic weather for the whole trip.  We only had light rain half of the day while in Skagway.  We were very lucky.

Our landing was a bit rough.  We had turbulence and had to pull up and circle around and try landing again.  The 2nd time there was still turbulence, but we made it safely on the ground.  It sure made me nervous though.  We had to walk a lot today.  Mom did just fine though.  I realized that when I travel with Chad we can zip places quickly.  When he walks fast I almost have to jog to keep up.  My Mom goes at a slower pace, kind of the opposite of traveling with Chad.  I enjoyed the slower pace though.  I am sure glad we got to go on this trip together.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Printable for President Nelson's Challenge - References of Jesus Christ in the Topical Guide

So in General Conference President Nelson talked about a challenge to read and underline every verse cited about Jesus Christ, as listed under the main heading and the 57 subtitles in the Topical Guide of the scriptures. Yesterday my Stake President reissued that challenge to our stake. So... Here goes.

If anyone is interested, I made this printable version of all the verses mentioned in the challenge because I don't want to have to flip back and forth to the topical guide so much. I've done the flipping back and forth before in previous studying and having a printout will be much easier.

Or copy and paste this link:

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Letter - Blessings usually require some form of work

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Last Sunday evening I didn’t write because we were in Snowflake for the beginning of spring break, Ray and Kya’s reception, and Molly’s mission report.  It was fun to be in Snowflake for Sunday night visiting with my family.  I wish I could be there every week for the Sunday night visiting… but I really do like living in Gilbert.  I would probably like living in Snowflake too.

Monday morning Chad and I took the kids to Flagstaff to begin what I am now calling our “Northern Arizona Tour”.  Our first stop was Walnut Canyon.   We hiked and admired the ruins of the cliff dwellers that lived there. 

Tuesday morning we tried to go hike around the lava river tube caves, but the road was closed because of snow and we didn’t feel like the kids could handle the 3 mile hike to the caves from the road, so instead we headed to the Grand Canyon sooner than we had planned.  When we got to Tusayan, I saw their National Geographic IMAX Theater and remembered how cool that IMAX video was when my parents took me and my siblings to see it.  So we stopped at that building to buy our park pass and watch the IMAX film.  It was as cool as I remembered, it reminds me of the ride Soarin’ over California at Disney California Adventure, but I didn’t remember that it had topless native women for the first part of the movie as it went through the history of the people who lived near the canyon.  I’m sure my boys will encounter more than what the film showed if they serve a mission in a different country.  Hopefully it didn’t damage my kids’ minds too much. 

Wednesday we drove over to Sedona for a jeep tour.  I wasn’t very impressed with the tour.  It was really just like driving on bumpy ranch roads when I was young.  For the money it cost, we would have enjoyed going back to the Flagstaff Extreme ropes course more than the jeep tour.  Now we know.  After the jeep tour the kids and I hiked up Bell Rock in Sedona.  It was a really fun hike.  Chad didn’t hike with us because the parking lot was clear full and there was nowhere for him to park, so he drove over to our hotel and checked in while we hiked.

Thursday we finished our Northern Arizona tour with a stop at the Montezuma Castle ruins on our way home.  They were cool.  

Our vacation was very pleasant and I’m very grateful we were able to go on a trip and spend some time together with no work or duties other than loving each other.

I’m slowly adjusting back out of vacation mode, but luckily we have another week of spring break before we have to go back to school and all our regular activities.  We will have a busy week at home this week though because we are getting our home painted and we have to get everything off the walls and move the furniture into the middle of the rooms.  I’m not looking forward to all that work, but I am looking forward to the clean home I will have as we clean and dejunk each room and the walls that will be freshly painted.  Blessings usually require some form of work.  

My quote for today is from an article a Facebook friend shared.  “There are those who struggle, feeling that they don’t have a home in the Church because they aren’t ‘good enough.’  Wearing our sins on our sleeves could give some comfort that they are not alone in this fight, but finding camaraderie and comfort in our sins is not a great motivator to cast them away from us.  My sins are between me and God, and are hopefully things that will be overcome – not things that should define who I am. So am I a fraud for putting my ‘best-self” forward when you see me on Sunday – or any other day of the week?(I would acknowledge that one important element in addiction support groups is that there is an openness for participants to acknowledge their struggles, and find strength with each other. I am not referring to these private support groups, and I heartily endorse them.)”

I like that quote.  I think it is important to do our best to find a balance between sharing our struggles when it could help someone, but also being careful not to find camaraderie and comfort in our sins so much that we don’t repent of them.