Saturday, April 18, 2015

New Testament in Ninety

In January I joined a challenge group to read the Book of Mormon in 60 days. 30 days in I was so inspired by it that I challenged the women in my ward to do the same thing. So I kept going and read another 60 days on the schedule. I ended up reading it through 1.5 times in 90 days and it was awesome. I decided my next scripture reading goal would be to read the New Testament in ninety days. A few ladies from that first challenge are joining me as well. It has been great so far. Honestly, I have actually been doing a combination of reading and listening, and I have really liked it.

I'd love to give credit to the artist,
but my search has come up empty...
Tonight as I was listening I thought of something I've never considered before. When Peter started to falter after getting out of the boat and walking on water, Christ told him it was because he was of little faith. Now, Peter was the chief Apostle. In my mind he had a heck of a lot of faith if he was willing to get out and even TRY to walk on the water. But here is what I'd never considered: Peter had total faith in Christ's power to save. He called out for Christ to save him. Where his faith wavered was his faith in himself. Or I guess in His ability to be made powerful through Christ. It happens again when the leper was not healed by the apostles and then Christ heals him. Their problem was that they didn't believe that they could be endowed with the same power that Christ possessed. They were learning what sort of faith was to be required of them when Christ was no longer physically with them to perform the miracles. Do you believe that the Lord can work miracles through you? Through the priesthood? 

I definitely have a testimony that Priesthood power is real and that when exercised and called upon by righteous men and women of faith, that miracles can happen. On our end we must "be clean" so that we may indeed "bear the vessel of the Lord".  We must "Cleanse [ourselves] from what is dishonorable, [that we] will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work." 2 Tim 2:21.  our vessel, our bodies, are temples that house the Spirit of the Lord. When we are clean, the Spirit can remain with us, guide us, and empower us that we may do more with His help and aid than we could possibly do on our own. 

The other thing I noticed tonight was how a few times it specifically said that Christ didn't do many mighty miracles because of the lack of faith in certain places. They doubted Him and because of that doubt they were not blessed with the same miracles that others witnessed and received.

"Faith in God is more than a theoretical belief in Him.  To have faith in God is to trust Him, to have confidence in Him, and to be willing to act on your belief in Him.  It is a principle of action and power."

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

All things new

I've recently been going through old blog posts trying to put together a baby book for Edward, but sadly I find my posts all but stopped when we made our move from our first Texas house to our second when he was only 6 months old. Three kids, a move, tons of piano students, etc. did me in. I am sad for this. Another move and another kid later and it hasn't much improved.

But here it is, my birthday, and it was a great day. I met my sisters Julie and Amanda at a near by park with all of our kids (even the teenagers came since they needed to go clothes shopping afterward!). We had lunch, let the kids play, and it was beautiful weather. I was worried because just an hour earlier it had been pretty cold and really overcast, but the sun peeked out and it was great.  I started potty training Edward (3) on Sunday, and I was quite worried about him having an accident at the park. But he went 3 times without telling me, for me to discover him walking out of the bathroom (our picnic bench was right by the bathroom) half naked telling me he had gone potty. "Mom! I pooped and I flushed!" Now that was momentous because he'd never even done that at home yet! Great birthday present.

After the park we all caravan-ed over to our new house. That was fun, though I was little worried taking such a big group in during the day. Luckily no one was doing major work at that time. I nearly had a heart attack when my 7 year old, blind nephew tried sliding down the brand new banister with concrete below. And Dean tried to follow. No, no, no, no. The house is looking great. We are set to close May 15, though I bet they could have it done sooner. We just didn't want to have our rent and our house payment overlapping. I am amazed how fast it is moving.

When we got home I let the kids watch some TV while I cleaned up a little, and my friend across the street came over to say happy birthday and she gave me some European chocolate. Yum. =) Our boys had a little play date in the street while we visited. Another neighbor whom I had not yet met came out for a few minutes. I found out that her son is serving a mission in the same exact mission as my parents!! What a freakishly small world I tell you.

Matt got off work a little early to make some Indian food for us. He made chicken Tikka Masala and he also picked up some Mali Kofta and Naan since that's one of my favorites.  He also made the traditional chocolate cake he has made the last 12 years for my birthday. Dean made me a paper airplane and a card, Matt got me some sour candies, I bought myself some new clothes, and my sister Julie bought me a new Temple dress since she knew I'd burned a hole in my other one. oops.

All in all it was fabulous. Life is good. 34 is looking to be a good year for us. Lots in store.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

February Follow Up

Yes, yes, I know I posted my January resolution in February, but I did so mainly so I could follow up on how it's been going.

The first week was amazing. I was so filled with faith and hope that I found amazing strength, peace, and calm.  During moments when my kids were frustrated they pushed me, all the same buttons they normally push, and I was able to find a different way to BE. Not just ACT.  I felt different. I was different. I feel like I was really able to keep that same calm and attitude for 2 more weeks after that.

And then there was this last week. It was hard. My initial resolve started slipping. My period seemed to throw me off balance and hormonally out of whack. And on top of that, Matt was working a ton of overtime last week. I felt like he was on a work trip but sleeping at home. I was tired. Really, really tired. And I had moments of frustration and weakness and I said things in tones I shouldn't have and I could feel the difference. That initial hope and calm was missing.

Thankfully I am feeling a little more revived after church and the scriptures I read today. I've been participating in a challenge issued by one of my friends to read the Book of Mormon in 60 days. I've read it this fast before in college, but it's been a long, long time since I've read a full 30 minutes every day. It has been good for many aspects of my life. Because I started in the middle of the Book of Mormon (where I had currently been reading), I finished it last Sunday and issued the same challenge to the sisters in my current ward. It has been great to hear many people have the same kind of response I had to the challenge. That it has given others the focus and direction they needed, even amid the blaring face of the adversary. 

I think as we have been reading more, though, the adversary has been working harder on me to.  I'm not going to lie, this week was SUPER challenging for me. I felt like I was alone, exhausted, and bogged down and I was glaringly weak still. So, when I read this today, it really resonated with me. "And why should I yield to sin, because of my flesh? Yea, why should I give way to temptations that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul? Why am I angry because of mine enemy? Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul." 2 Neph 4:27-28 I guess it gave me strength to know that even Nephi, the non-complainer, the doer, the faithful, had to occasionally give himself a pep talk to overcome. He had to make the choice from day to day to kick out the enemy of his soul. He goes on to praise the Lord profusely, telling the Lord that he trusts in Him. Even if we're not perfect, as long as we're moving in the right direction we're always making progress. "It matters not if we try and fail and try and fail again. It matters much if we try and fail and fail to try again."

Yesterday I came across a conference talk that helped reignite my resolve to move past this week and start again. It was a talk given in LDS General Conference last April by Donald Hallstrom.  He was speaking to the men during Priesthood session, yet it is applicable to everyone.

"Once any of us conclude -- "that's just the way I am," we give up our ability to change. We might as well raise the white flag, put down our weapons, concede the battle, and just surrender --any prospect of winning is lost. While some of us may think that does not describe us, perhaps every one of us demonstrates by at least one or two bad habits, "That's just the way I am."

Well, we meet in this priesthood meeting because who we are is not who we can become. We meet here tonight in the name of Jesus Christ. We meet with the confidence that His Atonement gives every one of us -- no matter our weaknesses, our frailties, our addictions--the ability to change. We meet with the hope that our future, no matter our history, can be better."

I LOVE that quote.  It reminded me of a lesson I gave in relief society a couple years ago that really struck me with force. I quote it in the picture above. I am a work in progress. I am doing all I can to become better each day. I am not perfect, and occasionally I fall or stumble, but the key is to get back up and keep trying. Keep going. Keep looking up.

A New Year and New Beginning

note: I wrote this at the beginning of the new year and am just now getting around to publishing it,

I am not usually one to make serious, formal New Year's Resolutions. Mainly, I think that if we want to change and make goals, we ought to do it more than once a year. I mean, if I wake up and think, "I have got to change this!" I should just DO it rather than plan on doing it come January 1. However, I as I have been mulling over some of my biggest shortcomings recently, I've decided that sometimes changing something at the core of yourself is hard. It's scary. It's something you have to decide you REALLY want to commit to and do. Otherwise you are just destined to fail. Once again. "I've tried to change, but it's just who I am." No. We can change any personality characteristic if we want to, we just have to want to badly enough to keep trying. To remind ourselves daily the importance of the change. I am also convinced that there are some things we can't change purely on our own, but we have to turn it over to the Lord.

Before I had kids I thought I was a pretty decent human being. I don't think I ever really shouted. I was respectful of others. I was pretty in control. But let me tell you, after having 4 kids really close together, I have a new found understanding of stress, work, anxiety, sadness, anger, joy and exhaustion. In my Patriarchal Blessing it says that I will "learn life's greatest lessons in my home." Right now I am learning that "the natural man is an enemy to God...and will be forever and ever...unless he yields to the enticings of the holy spirit and put off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ." Mosiah 3:19

Sometimes I feel very natural. Very raw. Often times I want to blame my anger, short fuse, shouting, and frustration on others. Usually on my children. But that is a problem. Because if my problems are a result of others' actions, then I have no control over the solution. So I will own my problem and become the solution. This year I want to commit to stop yelling. Even if I am tired. Even if my children are yelling. Even if every button in my system has been pushed. I have wondered over the last few weeks if it is even possible. Can I possibly change this character flaw? This occupational hazard? It is scary. What if I fail? But, oh, what if I succeed.

I am willing to give it up and give it to the Lord. I know I will need His help. Oh yes, I will not be on this journey alone.

change card