December 11, 2016
Highlights of this week are: Spencer turned 15!! Bryant had four soccer games. I did some more Christmas shopping. Tilly had Grammy days and three days of preschool. Marlee and Tilly had Gilbert youth choir on Thursday, a choir Bounce U party on Friday, and a rehearsal and concert on Saturday. I spoke at my ward Relief Society Christmas activity on Thursday night, I’ll add my talk as a P.S. if you’re interested. Spencer, Bryant, Karalee and Marlee got to go on a hay ride around to neighborhood caroling with their friends. Tilly got to go out to eat with Chad and me while they caroled.
Chad and I attended a super fun MUSAWEP party last night. MUSAWEP stands for Maycock’s Ugly Sweater And White Elephant Party. The Dave and Audrey Maycock are exceptional party planners. Several couples from our old ward, that we sadly just don’t get to see as often anymore, plus several couples from our new ward attended. There were about 60 people there in all. There were lots of funny gifts, like an “I pooped today” t-shirt that our bishop stole and ended up with. Besides the white elephant gift exchange we also had some other fun games. The women had to draw a depiction of our first date with our spouse. The men couldn’t peek. Then then put all the pictures up on a projector screen one at a time and the men had to guess which drawing was theirs and explain the date. It was so, so much fun.
I’ve been doing a strict diet since November 30th. I’ve become a Prolean Wellness client. My sister Celeste and her husband Jeff own Prolean Wellness and they have a great weight loss program. They are helping me lose weight. On Thanksgiving night I felt like a big blob and decided I wanted to lose 15 pounds before Christmas. I knew that meant no Christmas goodies, but I made up my mind. I haven’t been able to lose the weight I gained on our cruise this summer and I got to the point where I am sick and tired being at an unhealthy weight and I didn’t want to buy bigger pants again. I have already lost 7 pounds, and I haven’t felt hungry! It was very hard to pass up Spencer’s s’mores cake that he requested for his birthday, but I didn’t give in…I just smelled it a few times. J Celeste assured me that it shouldn’t be a problem to lose 15 pounds by Christmas and that I will lose more than that before the whole 12 week program is finished, which is good because to get down to a healthy BMI I need to lose more than 15 pounds. I am going to be healthy and feel good about myself…and stay that way.
Today has been a wonderful day, except the fact that Chad has the sore throat that Spencer had earlier this week. One of my former laurels, Megan Sedillo, gave her farewell talk in church. Her talk was exceptional. Don’t know if I’ve ever heard a better one. I shed many tears, as did several others in the congregation and on the stand. Megan is an amazing young woman with a powerful testimony. I think she will accomplish much as a missionary. I was privileged to get to be her leader. She taught me a lot.
A single man in our ward, who I would guess is around mine and Chad’s age, spoke after Megan and his talk was also great. He shared two quotes that really stuck out to me.
The first is from President Hinckley:
“May God help us to be a little kinder, showing forth greater forbearance, to be more forgiving, more willing to walk the second mile, to reach down and lift up those who may have sinned but have brought forth the fruits of repentance, to lay aside old grudges and nurture them no more (https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2005/10/forgiveness?lang=eng&_r=1).
The part that really got me to ponder was the last words “nurture them no more”. I got me thinking, what do I nurture? Do I nurture a grudge for someone or do I nurture my love for them? What I feed grows. What I starve dies. That got me thinking about other things, do I nurture my happiness or my sadness? It can apply to other things as well.
The second is from Bryant S. Hinckley, President Hinckley’s father. “Service is the virtue that distinguished the great of all times and which they will be remembered by. It places a mark of nobility upon its disciples. It is the dividing line which separates the two great groups of the world—those who help and those who hinder, those who lift and those who lean, those who contribute and those who only consume. How much better it is to give than to receive. Service in any form is comely and beautiful. To give encouragement, to impart sympathy, to show interest, to banish fear, to build self-confidence and awaken hope in the hearts of others—in short, to love them and to show it—is to render the most precious service” (Quoted by Elder Perry, https://www.lds.org/liahona/2002/05/learning-to-serve?lang=eng).
I think that is such a beautiful quote full of truth.
P.S. Here’s my talk:
Light the World through Service
Talk for Relief Society Activity
December 8, 2016
“I will stand among the faithful, my testimony lighting the way. I’ll be a witness of and walk the path of Christ today. I gaze up towards heaven, and my soul begins to sing. Heavenly Father loves me; I’m the daughter of a king” (Lyrics to Daughter of a King, Lana Osmus).
How can we light the world by witnessing of and walking the path of Christ? Before we can light others, we need to first possess light ourselves. To do this we need to bring light into our life regularly. We can bring light into our life through sincere prayer. I love Elder Uceda’s recent general conference talk about prayer. In it he asks this thought provoking question. “When you pray, are you really praying or just saying prayers?” (The Lord Jesus Christ Teacher Us to Pray) We can also bring light into our lives by reading the scriptures and the words of the living prophets. Elder Pearson warns us that “Unless we are ‘continually holding fast’ to the word of God and living it, we will become spiritually blinded rather than spiritually minded. Search the Book of Mormon and the words of the living prophets every day, every day, every day!” (Stay by the Tree) He goes on to promise us that if we are struggling, confused, or spiritually lost, a prayerful study the Book of Mormon will get us back on track. After we have brought light into our lives through prayer and reading the scriptures each day, it is time to go to work spreading that light.
The best way I know to light the world is to serve others. In our busy lives I feel the biggest obstacle to rendering service is remembering to do it. A scripture that comes to mind when I think about the importance of remembering to serve is Alma 60:6. It is not a scripture you’d normally think of for service. In chapter 60 Moroni is complaining to Pahoran for not sending help to his armies. Verse 6 says, “And now behold, we desire to know the cause of this exceedingly great neglect; yea, we desire to know the cause of your thoughtless state.” A few years ago when I read that verse I wrote this note to myself in the margins, “Don’t be thoughtless about the good things you can do.” Since then I’ve tried to be more thoughtful about doing good.
A few weeks ago in church I learned that in Hebrew, remember is an action word. An action that has helped me to remember to be thoughtful is to put reminders on my phone. For example, to help me be a better visiting teacher, I have a reminder to set up each month to schedule a visiting teaching appointment. I have yearly repeating reminders of birthdays for those I love and have stewardship over. When the reminders come up I try to send a text right then, or I put a note on my shopping list to get a little gift.
Another thing that has helped me to serve is to set a specific goal to do a specific service a specific number of times. For example, a few years ago I set a goal to take a meal to people a certain number of times during that year. When I had that goal I learned to become aware of people in the ward or in my family or neighborhood were going through a hard time so I could fulfil my goal. I became more aware of when people had a busy day coming up or when they were going through a trial or when then expressed on Facebook that they were having a hard time. The specific service you decide to give does not have to be big. It can be something as simple as giving a compliment, sending a kind text, going to the temple or whatever you feel like you can do. I love Sister Bingham’s talk in the General Women’s Session of conference. She said, “One of the most significant ways we can develop and demonstrate love for our neighbor is through being generous in our thoughts and words. … How like that glorious wind can be the sincere compliment of a friend, the cheerful greeting of a parent, the approving nod of a sibling, or the helpful smile of a co-worker or classmate, all supplying fresh ‘wind in our sails’ as we battle the challenges of life!” (I Will Bring the Light of the Gospel into my Home) The Lord will help us know what specific service oriented goal will help us light the world.
I feel the most important place serve and light the world is in our own homes. First, serve our spouse. Light the world by looking for the good in him each day and then thank him for the good that we see in him each day. Periodically grab his favorite snack or treat at the store and leave it on his pillow. Happy marriages spread happiness. They help our children, work places, and communities to be happier. Second, serve our children. Praise more and criticize less. Help them. Keep a journal so your posterity can read how you dealt with life’s challenges and so they can know of your testimony. A journal will light the world for generations to come. As your children receive your service and see and help you serve others, they will learn to serve too. It is contagious and it will light the world.
Lastly, I think it is important that we don’t squelch our light by comparing our light to others. Don’t hold back in what you have to give because you think someone could do it better. Offer what you have. It is good. It is needed. Jesus Christ needs us to share what we know about Him through our thoughts, words and deeds. As we do so, we will light the world.
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.