Friday, September 19, 2014

Trying to Do Too Much

It took me a few days to watch it, but there's a new Mormon Message video out - "You Never Know." I'm not quite sure what to think of it, and I know others are wondering as well. I totally agree with the basic premise that you don't always know the affect your service has on others. I absolutely love the quote from President Hinckley at the end. I know it was meant to be inspirational, and it can be.

However, I was bothered by a few things, like where's the dad, and why didn't she say "no" to even just one of the many extra requests, and why did she give in and serve cold cereal instead of eggs, and how on earth did she get a science board put together in just a few minutes?

Basically, I'm grateful those types of days are in the past, yet I realize for my daughter and daughters-in-law, and many other friends, they're not. And so I want to leave something encouraging for you.

I'm assuming the dad was off on a business trip, otherwise he should have been leading family prayer. But have family prayer. (You can tell that was a habit for this family in the video, because the kids requested it.) Make it a habit. Morning and night. Even if it's loud and noisy and short!

In the last general conference, Sister Reeves said:

A friend recently cautioned, “When you ask the sisters to read the scriptures and pray more, it stresses them out. They already feel like they have too much to do.” Brothers and sisters, because I know from my own experiences, and those of my husband, I must testify of the blessings of daily scripture study and prayer and weekly family home evening. These are the very practices that help take away stress, give direction to our lives, and add protection to our homes. 

I liked that it was because of family prayer that the boy in the video remembered he had a project due. Better then than later at school.

Don't be afraid to serve, but also don't be afraid to say no. One trick I learned that helped ease the guilt was to offer an alternative. For example, "Today's not a good day to take dinner, but I'd be happy to do so tomorrow," or "I won't be able to make 4 dozen cookies for the activity, but I could bring a bag of chips." It also helps to prepare in advance. Make the cookies on a day when you have plenty of time, and then stick them in the freezer for an unforeseen future occasion. (Also, remember that it is okay to say yes and change plans if the Spirit guides you to do so. That's another reason why inviting him into your life each morning is so important.)

I recently read another talk from the last women's conference that really stuck with me. This one was from Sister Wixom, and in it she said:

"As we strive to keep our covenants, our feelings of inadequacy and imperfection begin to fade."

She was talking specifically about temple covenants, but I think it applies to all covenants. I love that the key to getting rid of feelings of inadequacy and imperfection is found in honoring our gospel covenants. That's what is taught in the scriptures - put God first, serve others, keep the commandments, follow the Golden Rule, love one another, let your light shine, seek the treasures of eternal life, and on and on. It doesn't have to be paralyzing, it can be empowering.

We are daughters of a Heavenly Father. We have the help and guidance we need to reach our full potential. We just have to ask. And sometimes that guidance comes in the form of someone else asking for help. That's okay.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Obedience

I read this talk today and was impressed with the following paragraphs. I figured this would be a good place to store the quote so I can find it again.
"Too often we think of obedience as the passive and thoughtless following of the orders or dictates of a higher authority. Actually, at its best, obedience is an emblem of our faith in the wisdom and power of the highest authority, even God. When Abraham demonstrated his unwavering faithfulness and obedience to God, even when commanded to sacrifice his son, God rescued him. Similarly, when we demonstrate our faithfulness through obedience, God will ultimately rescue us.
"Those who rely solely on themselves and follow only their own desires and self-inclinations are so limited when compared to those who follow God and tap into His insight, power, and gifts. It has been said that someone who is all wrapped up in himself or herself makes a very small package. Strong, proactive obedience is anything but weak or passive. It is the means by which we declare our faith in God and qualify ourselves to receive the powers of heaven. Obedience is a choice. It is a choice between our own limited knowledge and power and God’s unlimited wisdom and omnipotence."

Monday, May 12, 2014

Dedication

I'll admit I'm easily touched by beautiful music, and the music at our temple dedication was beautiful. Although I wasn't involved in the planning, I'm guessing the choir directors were given the instruction to choose music from either the hymnbook or The Choirbook, because everything fit in one of those two categories.

Primary Image (Product Page - 348)

It's been a while since I've looked at The Choirbook, but I decided to pull it out the week of the dedication, because I figured we'd be singing the "Hosanna Anthem" and I wanted to become familiar with it. It was a real treat to hear the choirs practice the Friday before. And I was right - they did practice the "Hosanna Anthem." It was kind of neat knowing what to expect as the music progressed. It was also a special experience singing "The Spirit of God" along with them (although in the hallway) with just a few of the other ushers as they practiced.

But this post is about another hymn - "Dedication" by Willie Reske. This was sung by the choir from Fort Myers in the third dedicatory session. I just love the words, and the spirit with which they sang it was incredible. This will be one of my favorite memories of our unforgettable weekend, and I wanted to be sure to record it. Here are the words:

Father, I come to thee,
Calmly and rev'rently,
That I may do my part,
Serving with all my heart.
Place thou thy hands on me,
That I thy light may see;
Make me as I should be.
I'll follow thee!

Give me a list'ning ear,
That I thy voice may hear;
Give me a ready mind, 
That I thy truth may find.
Give me a contrite heart;
Help me to do my part.
I feel thy love for me.
I'll follow thee!

And if you want to hear the music, you can go to this site and search under Dedication. It's really beautiful music.

As President Uchtdorf mentioned in the dedicatory prayer*, not only were we dedicating a temple, we were also re-dedicating ourselves. This hymn is a beautiful reminder to me of what that entails.
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, center, Elder D. Todd Christofferson and Elder Ronald A. Rasband stand outside the Fort Lauderdale Florida Temple on Sunday morning, May 4, 2014. (Gerry Avant)

*Here are the last two paragraphs of the prayer, the entire thing (along with the above picture) can be found here.

Our Father in heaven, we love Thee and Thy Beloved Son. We thank Thee for His atoning sacrifice. All the blessings of this temple rest upon that great divine act of love given by Thy Son, the Savior of all mankind.
Accept our thanks and love, dear Father. We dedicate this temple and its surroundings unto Thee, and we rededicate ourselves to Thee and Thy service,  in the name of our Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ, amen.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Gift Giving

Today someone posted a link to a devotional address given by Pres. Eyring when I was a freshman at BYU. I wonder if I was as touched by his words then as much as I was this morning. Anyway, here it is so I can find it again: Gifts of Love.

"Well, there it is—a simple theory. When you’re on the receiving end, you will discover three things in great gift givers: (1) they felt what you felt and were touched, (2) they gave freely, and (3) they counted sacrifice a bargain."

"Gift giving requires a sensitive giver and receiver. I hope we will use this little theory not to criticize the gifts that come our way this year, but to see how often our hearts are understood and gifts are given joyfully, even with sacrifice. There is something you could do this Christmas to start becoming a better gift giver yourself. In fact, as students, you have some special chances. You could begin to put some gifts—great gifts—on layaway for future Christmases. Let me tell you about them."

You can read his great examples if you follow the link above!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Baby Willie

Yesterday I was working on some family history in preparation for our temple trip tomorrow and made a couple of exciting discoveries. I figured this would be a good place to record them, so here you go.

Putting together clues from the 1900 and 1910 censuses, a few years ago I figured out that my great-grandmother's sister had 10 children. After some more searching I was able to find information on nine of them, but the last one - which I figured was really their second child - remained shrouded in mystery. The temple work has been mostly completed for eight of the children, and this week I realized that their youngest had passed the magic 110th birthday (he was born 2 January 1904) and so we could proceed to do his work as well. That made me feel even worse about the missing child, so I tried looking again.

I had narrowed down the possibilities to between 1881 and 1884 in Connecticut, but all the search parameters I tried led to dead ends. So, I gave up and went back a generation to see if there were any holes there that needed filling. Great-great Aunt Alice married William Simpson, so I looked again at the information for his parents George and Nancy.
Underneath the picture of this headstone was a little notation that read:
George born 1820. On the side of this stone is Lizzie Rand b. 1851 d. 1882, and Willie Simpson b. June 1884 d. Aug 1884.
I've looked at this picture many times before, but for some reason that little line about Willie Simpson jumped out at me this time. Findagrave.com notes that Willie is the son of George and Eliza (the parents on the headstone), but that doesn't make sense because they would be in their sixties in 1884. (Yes, I know it's possible, but not probable. In addition, Lizzie Rand is their daughter, but she couldn't be Willie's mother because she dies before he is born.) 
The pieces have all fallen into place. William and Alice did have a baby boy between Caroline in 1880 and Joseph in 1885. They named him after his father and he only lived for three months. He was buried in the local family plot with his aunt, and a few years later his grandparents were buried there as well (even though by then they had moved from East Haddam to Hartford). I was able to find the record of his death in "Connecticut, Deaths and Burials, 1772-1934" as well. I'll admit that this isn't solid proof, but it just "feels" right, and so I'm going with it. Aren't we supposed to get help from the Holy Ghost as we do this work? 

The next thing on my list was to look at the name I was planning on taking through - Blanch Cole - to see if I could find any more information on her. Well, imagine my surprise when I found this death record. Everything matched - her father, Albert Stevens (or A. S.) Cole was born in Wentworth and her mother was born in Epping - and she was born 6 years and 4 months before 19 June 1990. 
Although it's sad that she died at such a young age, it's a good thing I found her death record this week instead of next, because now I can do an endowment for someone who really needs it, like Dora Friedel. Although we don't currently have a death date for her, we do know she 
lived past the age of 8. We'll hold off on Blanche's sister Mildred, because we don't know for sure how long she lived. 

So many interesting things to discover! Hope you're having fun with family history too!!