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Sunday, April 24, 2016

letter from April 10th

April 10, 2016

Only 10 more days until my birthday!!  I’ll be 37.  Weird because I don’t feel that old.  I don’t mind getting old, but I am not looking forward to the aches and pains that often accompany old age.

This week has gone well.  There are two particular things I would like to record today.  The first happened in the Temple on Tuesday when I went to do sealings while Tilly was playing with her friend Emma Wamsley.  When I got to the sealing office they decided to put me in a sealing session with a group that was already in progress.  As I was waiting in the hallway waiting for the sealing in progress to finish up and the door to open up, I imagined the people who were about to have their work done waiting in a similar room in heaven.  I imagined that they would be very excited that it was almost there turn to have their work done.  I started to feel their excitement.  The rest of the session I felt as if the spirits of those we were sealing were very close.  It was a neat experience.

The second thing happened on Wednesday.  While I was walking on the treadmill I listened to some talks from the General Women’s broadcast.  In Sister Burton’s talk “I Was a Stranger”, she said, “‘What you have done is a very good thing. Now go home, walk across the street, and serve your neighbor!’”  While listening to that part I remembered that when I heard that part of the talk a couple weeks ago I had the prompting that I should go over to the care home where Puring used to live and visit with some of the residents there.  I decided I would do it that day.  Tilly and I went later that afternoon.  After awkwardly visiting for about 10-15 minutes (I never know what to say or do while I’m there) Tilly and I left to go home.  One of the employees there walked me out and she asked, “Are you LDS?”  I said yes.  She told me that she was LDS and wanted to go to church again.  She spoke mainly Spanish and asked if I knew of a Spanish branch very close since she doesn’t have a car.  Her brother who works there came to talk to me too and help translate for her.  He is also a member and speaks English better.  I told them the closest Spanish branch I knew about was in Queen Creek, but that she was welcome to come to our ward with our family.  He couldn’t get off work, but she had already arranged her schedule to get off.  She was very excited.  He said that she has missed church so much and was just happy to go to take the sacrament even if she couldn’t understand everything.  I really felt that Heavenly Father led me to that house to meet that Miguel and Norma. 

I don’t not share these things to boast, I just feel very excited to have been part of the Lord’s work and to feel Heavenly Father directing me.  Norma came to have dinner with us last night.  We were supposed to feed the missionaries too, but they had to cancel.  Norma let us know that she ended up having to work today and couldn’t go to church with us, but she hopes to be able to go next week.

Well other than that I only have a couple of other things to report.  Karalee got her ears pierced.  We got it done after women’s conference on March 26th.  Heather and Braelee came with us. Karalee was pretty scared, but was brave after her cousin Emma Plastow told her about her experience getting her ear’s pierced. 

This week I got my hair cut pretty short.  It was getting so long and heavy.  I haven’t had time to fix it and wear it down but one or two times a month and with the hot weather coming on I knew that I wouldn’t want to wear it down at all so I decided to chop it off.  When I made that decision I wanted it done that day so I ran over to great clips to get it cut.  That wasn’t the best idea.  There are a few spots that need to be fixed because they look funky.  Luckily when I wear it curly you can’t tell.  My friend Carli Patterson will come and fix the parts they messed up on Wednesday morning.  I should have been patient and waited for her in the first place.

I’ll conclude with another quote from Sister Burton’s talk “I Was a Stranger”.  “As we consider the ‘pressing calls’ of those who need our help, let’s ask ourselves, ‘What if their story were my story?’ May we then seek inspiration, act on impressions we receive, and reach out in unity to help those in need as we are able and inspired to do so.”



Letter - Birthday, What all does the Atonement Cover?, Agency and Judgement

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Happy birthday to my dear sister Crystal Petersen!  I sure love her and don’t mind a bit that I am her look-a-like and have been called Crystal or little Crystal my entire life.  I’m looking forward to our families going on a cruise together in 29 days!!  It’s going to be so much fun.

Things have gotten interesting in our ward and stake over the last week.  Last Sunday we had four wards split out of our stake and our old ward got split into 3 pieces.  My family and I have been moved from Coronado 2nd ward into Coronado 1st ward.  I am no longer the YW's president.  I feel a great relief and great sadness.  I'm going to miss my young women so, so much. They were a blessing to me.  I loved feeling the direction and love that the Lord had for them.  I get sad when I think of certain things that were coming up that I was looking forward to doing with the young women.  I was really looking forward to ward girl’s camp and taking the girls up to Snowflake.  However, it really is a big relief to be released and a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.  I'm going to miss my old ward so much; I can't begin to tell you how wonderful it was.  It truly was the best of the best.  Luckily we can take our separate parts and now make three wonderful wards. Growth is good even if it is painful.

On Monday night before our FHE lesson we held a family council. We shared ideas of how to get to know people in our new ward and how to keep our new ward great. This is what we came up with:
1. Go talk to people you don't know. 
2. Take new teachers a treat. 
3. Greet people. 
4. Sit by someone new each week.
5. Periodically invite different families to our home for a game/dessert night. 
6. Be reverent in class. 
7. Find out who plays basketball. (Chad cracks me up.)

I have been spoiled all week for my birthday.  Tuesday afternoon my friend Sharon Miller took me to lunch for my birthday.  It was so nice to visit with her.  I am so sad that we will be in different wards from each other, but luckily we live just down the street from each other so as long as we make an effort we will still see each other. 

Wednesday was my birthday.  Spencer surprised me and set up birthday decorations while Chad and I were out playing volleyball on Tuesday night.  The kids each picked out a gift for me and I opened them on Wednesday morning.  Around noon Chad, Tilly and I went to Joe’s BBQ to get my free lunch.  Chad had worked from home all morning and then left from lunch to go to the bank.  After lunch Tilly and I walked across the street to Liberty Market to get free dessert.  That evening we had dinner at home and spent the evening together.  It was a nice day.

Thursday morning I was able to go to the temple while Tilly went to Grammy Days.  Then my friend Kristen Wilcox took Tilly and me to lunch for my birthday.  Several of our other friends joined us: Lindsey Bowen, Nicole Rudd, Chelsea Snell, Heather Robinson, Michele Sorenson, Milea Hall, Brittany Call, Melissa Lantz, Sherry Sedillo, Andrea Taylor, Allison Trotter, and Rebecca Hall.  Plus two of my former young women, Megan Sedillo and McKenzie Rudd, came too!  It was a big lunch date.  I’m so lucky to have such wonderful friends.  They bless my life so much and mean a lot to me.  I’m grateful that we have these lunch dates for each other’s birthdays.  It has been a joy to serve with them in my ward.  I think we’ll still be close friends even though we are split up between three wards now.

Chad took Friday off work.  Every year for my birthday I ask him to take the day off work, but since Friday was Fathers and Sons he took Friday off instead which was fine with me.  That morning he took Tilly and me to breakfast at the Henhouse CafĂ© on Higley and Guadalupe.  It was voted 2015 best breakfast spot in Gilbert.  The food was SO good.  Their prices are pretty good too.  They have pancakes as big as a large pizza.  We didn’t order them, but we saw someone else order them and they were really big.  I really want to take my boys there and have them order the pancakes.  I think they will go crazy over them.  One order of pancakes could probably feed all my kids.  The kids had a half day of school on Friday so Chad and the boys left to their outing around 12:30.  The girls and I had a fun time without them.  We went to see Miracles from Heaven, ate dinner at the new Costa Vida near us, walked about a mile to the blue park since we all ate too much, played for a while and then walked home and watched the Jungle Book. 

I’ve sure been grateful for all the nice well wished this week for my birthday.  I am so blessed to have such good family and friends.  Thank you, thank you.

I’ve struggled over the last few weeks with feelings of failure as a mother.  I feel like I keep falling short.  That I am messing my kids’ lives up.  That when they are adults they won’t be well adjusted or that they won’t want to be around me anymore.  I apologize to my kids when I mess up and tell them that I’m doing my best and I try to do better, but how many times can that work?  One night in particular after I felt like I really messed up I prayed that somehow the Lord could make up for my misgivings, that he could help my kids feel my love for them and help them know that I am doing my best and that He will make up for the times when I don’t teach things in the best way and when I end up hurting their feelings.  I hope he can make up for all the places where I lack.  I hope the atonement covers that.  Do you think it does?

My quote for today is from the book Jesus the Christ.  Since I finished my personal progress I decided to start reading that book again in the mornings with my scripture study.  I got about half way through it when Chad and I were newly married, but it was hard to understand and I gave up.  I’ve started it over and I understand it better now.  I’m grateful to have noticed some spiritual progression in my life.  I especially liked the history behind why the book was written.  It is pretty cool that Elder Talmage wrote it in the temple.  Anyway here’s the quote.  “[Heavenly Father] saw the evil into which His children would assuredly fall, and with infinite love and mercy did He ordain means of averting the dire effect, provided the transgressor would elect to avail himself thereof. …The father of souls has endowed His children with the divine birthright of free agency; He does not and will not control them by arbitrary force; He impels no man toward sin; He compels none to righteousness. Unto man has been given freedom to act for himself; and, as associated with this independence, is the fact of strict responsibility and the assurance of individual accountability. In the judgment with which we shall be judged, all the conditions and circumstances of our lives shall be considered. The inborn tendencies due to heredity, the effect of environment whether conducive to good or evil, the wholesome teaching of youth, or the absence of good instruction—these and all other contributory elements must be taken into account in the rendering of a just verdict as to the soul’s guilt or innocence. Nevertheless, the divine wisdom makes plain what will be the result with given conditions operating on known natures and dispositions of men, while every individual is free to choose good or evil within the limits of the many conditions existing and operative.” (James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ, p, 17, 27-28).  I'm grateful to have re-learned these teachings about agency and judgement this morning. I'm grateful for the ability to choose. I'm grateful that all the conditions and circumstance of my life shall be considered. I'm grateful the Lord looks on the heart. I'm grateful it is the Lord's judgement that matters, not man's judgment.


Monday, April 4, 2016

Completion of Personal Progress - My Testimony of the Savior and His Chruch

April 4, 2016

My Testimony

Now that you are ready to receive the Young Womanhood Recognition, record your testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ and His Church. 

I love my Savior Jesus Christ.  He is my friend.  He is my Redeemer.  I am grateful that because of Him I can be cleansed from sin each week as I partake of the sacrament.  I am grateful that I can use the power of His Atonement to grow and learn to be better when I am struggling with something hard or learning to do something new.  It enables me to be better.  I am grateful that because of him I can be resurrected and live eternally with my family if I live worthily. 

I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christ’s restored church.  I know that by going to church each week I can be edified and edify others.  I can serve and be served.  I can learn how to be a little bit better each day, renew my covenants and my testimony, and most importantly be cleansed from sin as I take the sacrament.  In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Virtue Value Project

Finished reading the Book of Mormon on
·         Aug. 29, 2014
·         May 25, 2015 and
·         Mar. 21, 2016

Virtue Value Project

The Savior chose to live a virtuous life. Follow His admonition to “learn of me” (D&C 19:23) by reading the entire Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. Liken the scriptures to your life and circumstances. As you read, record your thoughts regularly in your journal. Note the example of the Savior. What did He and those who followed Him do to live virtuous lives? At the completion of your reading, record your testimony.
As you read, record your thoughts regularly in your journal.
Dec. 22, 2015
Helaman 4:1-4
1 And it came to pass in the fifty and fourth year there were many dissensions in the church, and there was also a contention among the people, insomuch that there was much bloodshed.
 2 And the rebellious part were slain and driven out of the land, and they did go unto the king of the Lamanites.
 3 And it came to pass that they did endeavor to stir up the Lamanites to war against the Nephites; but behold, the Lamanites were exceedingly afraid, insomuch that they would not hearken to the words of those dissenters.
 4 But it came to pass in the fifty and sixth year of the reign of the judges, there were dissenters who went up from the Nephites unto the Lamanites; and they succeeded with those others in stirring them up to anger against the Nephites; and they were all that year preparing for war.

I have noticed that when people leave the church today many times they follow this same pattern that the Nephite dissenters chose.  Those who leave the church stir people up the anger against the church.  Chad says it is so they can feel good about their decision by getting other people to agree with them.

Dec. 6, 2015
Another way we can be missionaries is to defend our beliefs.  A few weeks ago I was listening to my scriptures while I was straitening my hair for church.  I was listening to Alma 46.  The chapter heading of that scripture stood out to me.  It says:
Amalickiah conspires to be king—Moroni raises the title of liberty—He rallies the people to defend their religion—True believers are called Christians—A remnant of Joseph will be preserved—Amalickiah and the dissenters flee to the land of Nephi—Those who will not support the cause of freedom are put to death. About 73–72 B.C. 

I have been taught that the book of Alma is a type and shadow of our day.   Two definitions of types and shadows:
·         “There are many accounts in the scriptures that are intended to be ‘shadows’ or ‘types’ of something else. A type is a symbol that foreshadows a future event. We can learn more about an event by studying the details of types or shadows that foreshadow that event.
·         “‘Typology is a figure of speech that moves in time: the type exists in the past and the antitype in the present, or the type exists in the present and the antitype in the future.’ The implications this has on our understanding of scriptural history are profound.”
So now that we know that the Book of Alma foreshadows our day and the things that will take place let’s read that chapter heading again.  There were two things that really stood out to me.
Amalickiah conspires to be king—1. Moroni raises the title of libertyHe rallies the people to defend their religion—True believers are called Christians—A remnant of Joseph will be preserved—Amalickiah and the dissenters flee to the land of Nephi—2.Those who will not support the cause of freedom are put to death. About 73–72 B.C. 
1.      President Monson and other general authorities have given us a modern day title of liberty.  Pres. Monson said, “Inasmuch as the trend in society today is rapidly moving away from the values and principles the Lord has given us, we will almost certainly be called upon to defend that which we believe. Will we have the courage to do so?”
2.      Those who do not defend the gospel may risk spiritual death.
“President Thomas S. Monson has been raised up for our time. His life and teachings are the message God has sent to protect and bless us today.”

Note the example of the Savior. What did He and those who followed Him do to live virtuous lives?

The Savior led a virtuous life by always doing the Father’s will.  He lived a perfect, virtuous life so he could be the light of the world.  “Therefore, hold up your light that it may shine unto the world.  Behold I am the light which ye shall hold up—that which ye have seen me do” (3 Nephi 18:24).  He appeared to and taught the Nephites how they could follow Him and how they should administer in the church.  He taught them the doctrine of faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end.  Those who followed the Savior led virtuous lives by coming to Christ through faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end.  They stood as witnesses of Jesus Christ, shared their testimonies of Him and taught others his gospel, goodness and of the atonement.

At the completion of your reading, record your testimony.

April 4, 2016

I love the Book of Mormon.  I know that it is the word of God.  I have read it several times.  I read from it every day, with very few exceptions.  I love the truths that it contains.  I know that reading it builds my faith and gives me protection from Satan’s influence and temptations.  I do my best to claim the blessings it promises.  It brings me happiness and peace.  In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Individual Worth Value Project

Individual Worth Value Project
You have a unique and divine mission to perform on the earth and have been blessed with talents to accomplish this mission.  As you complete one of the following projects, you will witness the value and contribution of others and also see the influence you can have in the lives of others.  Express your gratitude to those with whom you work and record your experiences in your journal.

My project was to
  • Share one of your gifts by instructing or tutoring someone in an academic subject, music, a sport, or an artistic skill.

April 4, 2016

I completed this project by teaching Spencer, Bryant and Karalee piano lessons and by helping Marlee with her school work and reading.  I have witnessed how each of them improved a lot over time by practicing regularly each week.  Their small efforts each day brought and continue to bring great results.  I’ve noticed that when I am patient and complimentary they do well, feel good about themselves and have fun learning.  When I lose patience it makes them feel badly and they don’t want to play or read.  I am thankful for their diligence and hard work.  They are learning amazing things.  I am grateful for their bravery as they learn to play for others.

Personal Progress – Integrity Value Experience #3

Started March 8, 2016
Finished April 4, 2016

Personal Progress – Integrity Value Experience #3
The Savior is the perfect example of integrity; He did what He promised the Father He would do. Read 3 Nephi 11:10–11. Study the lives of other individuals in the scriptures who lived with integrity. Read Genesis 39; the book of Esther; Job 2:3; 27:3–6; Daniel 3 and 6; Acts 26; Doctrine and Covenants 124:15; and Joseph Smith—History 1:21–25. In your journal identify the ways these people demonstrated integrity. Think of a time when you had the courage to show integrity, especially when it was not easy or popular. Share your experience and your feelings about it in a testimony meeting or lesson or with a parent or leader.

Identify the ways these people demonstrated integrity-

 3 Nephi 11:10–11 - The Savior demonstrated integrity by doing that which he was called to do even though it was hard and by always doing the will of the Father.  “I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning.”

Genesis 39  Joseph demonstrated integrity by refusing to lie with Potiphar’s wife, even though he was a servant and she was a higher class than him and she probably could have made his life more miserable.  He didn’t just refuse her once, but several times.  When she tried to trap him, he fled.  He knew it would be great wickedness and a sin against God to lie with her.

The book of Esther – Esther demonstrated integrity by not counting her life above the lives of her people.  She knew she had been placed in a position to act and that she had a responsibility to her act in behalf of her people.  She fasted and prayed and asked others to fast and pray for her success and safety.  She was wise and thoughtful as to how she could best save her life and the lives of her people—she waited 3 days to make her request to the king, keeping him in suspense and demonstrating how important it was to her.

Job 2:3 Job demonstrated integrity by living an upright life, fearing God and eschewing evil.  He had integrity even when things got hard for him.

Job 27:3-6 –  Job demonstrated integrity by making the commitment to not speak wickedness nor utter deceit as long as he lived.  He said, “till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me.”  He determined to hold fast to his righteousness and not let it go.

Daniel 3 – Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego showed integrity by refusing to bow down to an idol, even when the consequence was death.  They knew, loved and trusted God.  “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.  But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.”  They did not want to offend God or break his commandments.  They showed their love to God by keeping his commandments.  Heavenly Father delivered them from the furnace and also sent an angel to be with them during that time. 

Daniel 6 – Daniel showed integrity by serving the king in such a way that “the presidents and princes [who] sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; …could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him.”  They also knew that Daniel prayed and worship God faithfully so they passed a law saying that no one could pray.  Daniel continued to pray even though the consequence was to be thrown into the lion’s den.  Heavenly Father delivered Daniel from the Lion’s den.  He sent an angel to shut the lions’ mouths, because Daniel was innocent.

Acts 26 – Paul showed integrity by being obedient to the heavenly vision of Jesus Christ he was given.  Even when he was in prison for preaching of Christ he testified of Christ to the king and was willing to be put to death for his beliefs and testimony.

Doctrine and Covenants 124:15 –  Hyrum Smith showed integrity by loving what is right before the Lord.  He was blessed and loved of the Lord because of his integrity.

Joseph Smith—History 1:21–25 Joseph Smith showed integrity by never denying his vision, even though he was hated and persecuted for saying that he had seen a vision.     He knew what was true in his heart.  He knew God knew he had seen a vision so he could not, nor dared not deny it because he knew that would offend God and bring him condemnation.

I show integrity by planning my vacations so we do not travel or play at the beach on the Sabbath day.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Letter - Birthdays, Easter, April Fools, Talent Show, General Conference

March 28, 2016

We’ve had quite the fun week last week.  Monday afternoon after packing up and doing left over laundry from our Snowflake trip and Mountain Man Rendezvous, we headed down to Tucson for a little family get away.  We swam in the heated hotel pool and relaxed in the hot tub.  Later we went out to dinner and stopped for ice cream cones on our way home. 

Tuesday morning as we were headed to the zoo I was checking Facebook and got the sad news that there were bombings in Brussels, Belgium.  I read that there were missionaries injured.  One of the names sounded familiar and I realized it was the maiden name of my friend Chelsea Snell who is my 1st counselor in young women’s.  I called her and asked her about it and she confirmed that it was her dad.  I was so sad for her.  The only thing I could think of to do to help out was to ask my family members to exercise their faith by praying for him.  So as we walked around the zoo I spent most of my time texting. 

April 3, 2016

I wrote that last bit of letter poolside while my kids were enjoying our last day of spring break.  I didn’t get very far though and have been side tracked by other things.  After our trip to the zoo we drove to go tour the Kartchner Caverns near Benson.  They were amazing!  That was my favorite part of the trip.  Sadly, we weren’t allowed to take any pictures.  

Wednesday we went to old Tucson studios.  It was a fun park.  The kids had a good time with unlimited carousel rides and unlimited old time car rides.  They were able to drive the old cars themselves.  Chad and I enjoyed the walking tour where we learned about all the movies and tv shows that were filmed there and some that are still being filmed.  We all enjoyed watching a cowboy perform rope tricks and a stunt show.  On our way home we stopped at the outlet stores and looked at shoes and had pizza. 

Chad had to go back to work on Thursday and Friday.  I don’t remember what the kids and I did, except I did a lot of laundry.  Sadly, laundry doesn’t ever go on vacation.  

Saturday was Joseph’s 13th birthday.  After the girls’ soccer games we got lunch at In-n-Out and Chick-fil-a and had a picnic at Joseph’s grave.  It was a nice time, but at one point I got very sad when I looked over all those infant/child graves and thought of all the sad Mamma's who had to bury their baby.  I started to remember the events of finding out Joseph wouldn’t make it and his birth and I was kind of sad the rest of the day.  However, preparing an Easter lesson on the Resurrection for our laurel’s class helped me feel better.  Having Joseph’s birthday right before Easter and my lesson helped my testimony grow and I felt like I was able to bear a more powerful testimony of the Resurrection to my laurels class than I would have otherwise.  I'm so grateful for the reality of the resurrection. Because of Jesus Christ, our Savior, I know I will see and hold my son again. 
Sunday was Marlee's 7th birthday. It was fun to celebrate her life and Easter together. We're so glad her Aunts and Uncles and cousins on the Flake side of the family who live nearby could have Easter dinner and birthday cake and ice cream with us. She has a lot of people who love her.  The back to back birthdays and Easter wore this Mama out though. 

Monday we relaxed and the kids when swimming at the Power Ranch pool.  Tuesday the kids went back to school so Tilly and I were alone again.  By Thursday Tilly was kind of lonely so we invited Westen and Braelee to go to the train park with us.  When we took them back she asked if she could play at their house.  Friday we invited Westen and Braelee to play at our house, but Braelee was too scared to stay without her Mamma.  Westen, Braelee and Tilly get along well and have fun together.  

Friday was April Fools.  I don't know what got into me. I haven't ever really done a prank, but I pulled several on my kids that day. I guess I finally had the time and the ideas. When the kids were asleep on Thursday night I moved them in to different beds. I was giggling the whole time. I think Chad wondered what happened to me.  That morning I got the bright idea to put our old for sale by owner sign in our front yard and take a couple pictures of the house, post them to Facebook and say that we were moving to Snowflake.  I fooled a lot of people.  It was fun.  However I’ve got to remember that April fools pranks come with a price.  I got a heart wrenching text from my dear friend Sharon.  She is the older lady who was recently released as my 2nd counselor in Young Women’s.  She said, “When I saw the ‘For Sale’ sign in your yard today my heart just sank!”  I replied, “It is an April fool’s joke.  You are stuck with us!”  She said, “That makes me so happy! I could not bear the thought of you moving away!  I kept trying to say all day that I was just being selfish if you had a great opportunity, but I couldn’t get past it!  Whew! That was a close one!”   I felt terrible for making her sad.  She is one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met. 

Friday night was our ward talent show.  Spencer did a funny synchronized swimming act with the teacher’s quorum and he got three friends together and they sang Barbara Ann in a quartet.  They did a nice job, but were visibly nervous.  Chad and the Elder’s quorum presidency went right after Spencer’s quartet and dressed up in Minion costumes and lip synced the Minion’s version of Barbara Ann.  It was funny. 

Yesterday and today has been general conference.  I’ve enjoyed listening to the speakers.  However, I’ve had a stomach bug today and haven’t felt well, plus my upper back still has a knot that hurts a lot so I’m not in very good shape today.  One of the things that stood out to me from conference was Elder Hallstrom’s talk.  He said something like, “A first response to trials is to remember you are a daughter or son of God.”  When he said that my mind thought of first responders [police officers, firemen, EMT’s] to big accidents and calamities like the bombings of the world trade center, Brussels bombings, car accidents, etc.  I realized that as a parent, a member of the ward council and as a young woman’s leader I am often a first responder to people as they go through trials.  My first action in those situations can be to help others remember that they are a son or daughter of a loving Heavenly Father. 

In closing I’ll share a quote I came across while I prepared for a laurel’s lesson about the resurrection.  It opened up a new way of thinking for me.  Neither Chad nor I had ever thought about the resurrection like this before. 
"Death came upon us without the exercise of our agency; we had no hand in bringing it originally upon ourselves; it came because of the transgression of our first parents. Therefore, man, who had no hand in bringing death upon himself, shall have no hand in bringing again life unto himself; for as he dies in consequence of the sin of Adam, so shall he live again, whether he will or not, by the righteousness of Jesus Christ, and the power of his resurrection. Every man that dies shall live again" (Teachings of Joseph F. Smith). 


Spencer's synchronized swimming act with the teacher's quorum

Spencer's Barbara Ann Act

Chad's act with the Elder's Quorum presidency