Monday, October 19, 2015

In Which I Do Stuff

So I have been super busy this semester. I have been been doing my regular high school teaching and transcribing videos for the Missouri Star Quilt Company AND teaching two online classes wherein I read and critique 65 essays per week. Can I say overload? It has gotten better. Not so many videos, and I reorganized the online classes so I would not review rough drafts. The students peer edit and I review and grade final drafts. We just had parent teacher conferences last week. The actual longest day of the year is not in June but every year on the day of parent teacher conferences. In an act of mercy, our school district always gives us the Friday off after PT conferences. Whew! And in a divine act, this year we were given Monday off as well. I think it has something to do with putting the school back together after Missouri Days but the reason is immaterial to me. Last Thursday I traveled home with the prospect of four whole, glorious days away from school. I love my job but needed a break! Of course like all good teachers I brought work home to do on the weekend--95 essays to grade from my high schoolers. Remind me why I became an English teacher?

Fast forward (LITERALLY, the weekend went in hyper-drive mode) to today. As I veg in front of Criminal Minds, I am lamenting not getting much done this weekend. BUT then in a supreme show of optimism I decided to reframe my weekend. Instead of focusing on what I didn't get done, I will choose to focus on what I did get done. So here goes what I did do this weekend. I did stuff!

  1. Got a spot removed from my face. Atenoid keretosis--sounds worse than it is. Years of baby oil tanning has left my face with sunspots.
  2. Purchased (all by myself) a heat gun and palm sander to begin tackling my stairs.
  3. Watched Bridge of Spies--I highly recommend it. Great movie. I don't mind going to a movie along but eating alone in a restaurant still bothers me.
  4. Made it home in time to cheer on the Royals and BYU to victories. YAY teams!
  5. Read an article in the Ensign. Read several chapters in the Book of Mormon.
  6. Purchased a water purifying system from some ward members. Yay preparedness.
  7. Did laundry. Yay clean clothes.
  8. Cleaned the kitchen. Just yay!
  9. Ate dinner at Olive Garden with a friend. We ate dessert first. I highly recommend it.
  10. Listened to talks and presentations at the adult session of stake conference
  11. Only checked the Royals score twice during said meeting.
  12. Read an article in the Ensign. Read several chapters in the Book of Mormon.
  13. Woke up, dressed and drove to the Mabee Center by 8:30 for Stake Conference to witness the creation of a new stake: The Far West Missouri Stake of which I am a member. 
  14. Listened to uplifting talks and testimonies at said conference.
  15. Delivered the sister missionaries to their appointment.
  16. Made it home in time for the world's best nap. And I am a nap expert. This one was epic. Drool out of mouth, didn't move, two-hour epic. 
  17. Iced my aching "good" knee that has been bothering me.
  18. Made a most delicious dinner of pork chops, potatoes and gravy. Ate said dinner. 
  19. Got scared by Josh. Why are my kids so good at scaring me?
  20. Snuggled with kitties. 
  21. Watched Harry Potter 6, 7 parts 1 & 2.
  22. Read an article in the Ensign. Read several chapters in the Book of Mormon.
  23. Slept in. YAY.
  24. Called the bank to reverse charges for transferring my OWN MONEY between my OWN ACCOUNTS! I am not fond of banks!
  25. Paid bills. Yuck but necessary.
  26. Called vet to schedule kitties appointments.
  27. Called student loan people and impersonated Lindsey to get her loan straightened out. Yes, I do that. Don't judge. Some of my kids don't want to adult yet! And I enable them!
  28. Watched and watching time sucking TV shows but my knee is feeling tons better.
So instead of focusing on what I didn't get done this weekend...grading 95 essays...look at all I did do. And obviously I needed to rest. Here's to pulling out the tomato plants later today, watching the Royals game tonight and returning to work tomorrow with renewed focus and enthusiasm for my students whom I love like my own! What did you do?.....

Sunday, October 11, 2015

In Which I Ponderize

If you're LDS you know what the word ponderize means and where it comes from. For those who aren't or just want to read the talk again, it comes from a talk by Devin Durrant at the most recent LDS General Conference Click Here for the talk. Basically to ponderize means to choose a scripture to ponder (80%) and memorize (20%). The speaker challenged us to do this with a verse of scripture weekly. I took that challenge. I'm not promising I'll blog about my verse every week but I'll try. My verse this past week is Isaiah 43:1 But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.

I have really been thinking about the part that the Lord knows me by name. As a teacher one of the first things I do is learn all my students' names and call them by name. It makes them feel special that I know their name by the second week of school. How much more wonderful is it that the Lord knows each of us personally? That simple knowledge makes it easier for me to follow Him and keep His commandments.

Onto week two...what's your verse?

Saturday, October 3, 2015

In which I address the News Media

Dear News Media and Liberals,
When there's a mass school shooting DO NOT release the name of the gunman. My heart goes out to his family and I'm sure there might have been something in his past that led him to the point of no return. But I don't want or need to know anything about him. In the evil world in which we live, these shootings tend to be contagious so releasing any information about the perpetrator only stokes the fire  of like-minded individuals who desire their 15 minutes of fame albeit posthumously. Also do not spew the knee-jerk propaganda of gun control (I'm talking to you Mr. Obama). When there's a horrific plane crash no one ever suggests the banning of all airplanes. Same with car crashes or any other tragedy. We live in an evil world. Bad things happen to good people. We are the most blessed and prophecied about nation but the flip side of that coin is we are also the most evil nation. Bad things are happening and will continue to happen. Glorifying the perpetrators only fuels the fire of  other sick individuals. What I'd like you to report are the names of the victims. Let me have a name I can include in my prayers for our nation. Let me know about the lives of those whose lives were cut short. I'm not suggesting we sugar coat the world in which we live, but report the facts without an agenda. Focus on the victims. And let us focus on our families. This is what I'd like to know when these tragedies occur: the names of the victims, that's it. 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

In which I discuss adoption

I don't know why but I woke up this morning with a prompting to blog about a topic that is very near and dear to my heart--adoption. I would like to address all the potential birth-grandmas, especially the ones of the LDS faith. In writing this there is no judgment on my part, and I freely acknowledge that every circumstance is different. 

I find it really interesting that without exception people are overjoyed for the adoptive couple who are blessed with that precious baby. Family and friends are thrilled to welcome the new addition, can't believe how long the couple waited, and exclaim over the fact that the couple are so deserving of a baby. What seems to be missing is acknowledgment of the other part of the equation. For every deserving couple there is a courageous girl and her family who realized they weren't giving the baby away, they were giving the baby MORE.

In my limited experience it seems that a big deterrent to LDS birth moms placing their babies for adoption is their family, especially their own mother who can't imagine "giving away" their own flesh and blood. How can the lives of deserving couples be blessed without the sacrifice of unselfish girls and their mothers? I would just like to encourage any who find themselves in the situation of an unplanned, unmarried pregnancy to consider adoption. 

Adoption is not about giving "away" a baby; it is about giving the baby more. When my daughter announced she was pregnant, I was overwhelmed with many emotions. My first concern was for my daughter's health and the health of the baby. I vowed to support my daughter any way I could but naturally first encouraged her to possibly marry the father and/or consider adoption. It was not that I felt my daughter would be a bad mother; on the contrary, I knew she would be and will be a great mother. She is kind, compassionate, mature and loving. I also knew I could help her. I have raised five children; I'm ok at the mothering thing. But for me and ultimately my daughter it came down to what was best for that innocent baby. In the ultimate plan of our Heavenly Father, would my daughter be able to bring her child into a covenant marriage? When marriage was not an option, the realization of doing what was best for the baby helped my daughter make the decision to place her baby. I say "place" on purpose. I'd really like to see us eliminate the wording of "gave away" the baby. 

The path toward adoption was filled with miracle after miracle along the way. For more details refer to my earlier post. My daughter's first appointment with LDS family services was not what I expected. There was absolutely no pressure whatsoever to place the baby for adoption. The counselor simply worked with my daughter to see all of her options. He drew a circle on the board with the baby in the center which helped reinforce for all of us that the baby was the most important one in the whole process. From choosing an adoptive couple, to a lawyer, to birth and beyond, the counselor was with her and me. When we first met the adoptive couple, the counselor asked what I (grandma) would like to have happen in the situation. He was sensitive to the fact that a girl's decision to place her baby affects more than just the girl, the baby and the adoptive couple. I was overcome with emotion at the question but immediately knew my response--I wanted to be in the sealing room when that sweet baby was sealed to her forever family. The sweet couple agreed. I can say without hesitation that some of most sacred experiences I have ever had happened in the temple and that day, a year and a half after the birth, was one of the top ones of my life.

When people ask me how many grandchildren I have, I don't include the sweetheart born to my youngest daughter in the number. She has two wonderful grandmas. Someday if she wants to call me grandma, or if we lived close to them, that would be fine. But for now I'm content to know that my daughter made the best decision of her life. She blessed herself, the baby, the adoptive couple and their family, and by sharing in the many sacred experiences, my life was blessed as well. Really, aren't all my children adopted? Each child that I gave birth to is first and foremost a child of God. My children are just on loan to me from Heavenly Father. He has trusted me to nurture, protect and mother His children. What a sacred trust that is! Am I ever truly worthy of that trust? This perspective is not much different from earthly adoption.

Please consider adoption. It is an act of love, an act of faith, an act of sacrifice and an act that will bless many.

Note: The LDS church no longer facilitates adoptions but provides referrals and counseling. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

In which I returned to my blog, hit a deer, and found my one-word resolution.

Long title, huh? I didn't even realize I hadn't blogged at all during 2014. Oh well...

So with the new year, I usually make a resolution or two. Mostly just recommit to do the things I should be better, exercise, pray more fervently, study the scriptures better etc. etc.  And during the year I recommit to those same things fairly regularly. Anyway at the beginning of this year my friend shared her one-word resolution and a little about how she will implement her resolution. Find her blog here about making a one-word resolution. She didn't share the process for how she finds her word. She's a great person...I pretty much want to be her when I grow up even though she's only a few months older than I asked her to share her process. I became her beta test or guinea pig--whatever. I found out how she chooses her resolution word. I can't say more about the process because it's hers and she will make it available when she's ready! 

So I've been thinking and pondering what my word should be. I had narrowed it down to several words like DISCIPLINE, DILIGENT, MASTERY. My words all had similar meanings because I need to be more disciplined etc. in all my endeavors. I've realized that I've become a little complacent in my life. I need to be more focused in my actions, thoughts and feelings. 

So without further ado, my word is PURPOSEFUL. I felt it had a less negative connotation than some of the others I'd been considering. I have also decided to focus my word in three areas: I will be PURPOSEFUL spiritually, physically and financially because I need to work on those areas. I plan to ask myself how can I be more purposeful in whatever I'm doing...and go with it. 

Which brings me to the deer I hit today...if I had been more purposeful in my financial matters I wouldn't be as stressed about the huge deductible I'm going to have to fork over for the car repair. 

I'm still new to this one-word resolution and I don't promise to be a regular blogger this year but I will be more purposeful. What would be your word?

Sunday, August 18, 2013

My drive to work

Yes, work. I forgot I haven't updated about my new job. I received and accepted an offer to teach high school English in Trenton, MO. It is a town of about 6,000 located 40 miles northeast of Cameron. Other than the insane price of gas, I don't mind the drive at all. It's a beautiful drive past Adam-Ondi-Ahman and through Amish country. Here's some of what I see each morning.

Gorgeous sunrises
Watch for buggy signs
I'm not one to get up for a sunrise but I sure will appreciate one when I am already up!

Here's a small buggy.
Of course there were no enclosed black buggies when I wanted to snap a picture

Saturday, March 30, 2013

I'm back

 I think this is the same title as my niece Becky's post, but it sums up my post too. Julie's blog also provided inspiration too. She says she hasn't been motivated to blog but after her computer died she decided to resume blogging as a record of her family. I admire my nieces. They are all beautiful, talented, devoted women, mothers and wives!

Anyway, at least I didn't wait until my next birthday to blog. The big, but not great , news is that I'm looking for a job. About two weeks ago, I was told by my principal and vice principal that my contract was not being renewed. Not the best news to hear at the end of the day or anytime for that matter. They gave me no reason; they don't have to since I'm not tenured. I would be at the end of this year, and ultimately I suspect that is the real reason. My evaluations have always been good. Two other teachers in the district up for tenure at the end of the year were also non-renewed. The district is heading in a scary direction in my opinion. Soap box alert--for all my non teacher friends especially ones in Missouri--if the issue of teacher tenure goes on the ballot, PLEASE vote in favor of tenure NO MATTER how negatively the other side portrays bad teachers. All tenure does is protect teachers like me from non-renewal for no reason. And the FACT is principals CAN get rid of bad teachers--they just have to document it. And most principals I know don't have the kahunas (excuse me) to document to get rid of dead weight! Ok soap box over!

So not being one to let grass grow under my feet, I've applied for several jobs and had an interview last Thursday. I really felt the interview went well; I'd love to work at this school--great principal with great staff who seem to have a positive vision of where their school is headed. So I'm hopeful, praying, crossing fingers and toes. I should know in a week or so. Join me in the prayers and crossing etc!

I'm also not opposed to leaving the area. I was hesitant at first to move Jordan but he basically said that Missouri hasn't been good to us so let's get out of here! So if nothing comes up here soon, I'll start looking elsewhere. Hint, my Utah friends, find me something at BYU!

Even with all this turmoil, I've felt surprisingly calm. I know The Lord is mindful of me and my family. Something will work out. Spring, hopefully, is right around the corner!

May we have enjoy a restful and joyous Easter

Sunday, January 20, 2013

This might be becoming a habit

Since I posted weekly while counting down to my birthday, I kind of got in the habit of posting every Sunday night. I'm probably jinxing it with this post but it seems to be a good habit to continue. Life has gotten extremely busy this past week. Lindsey went back to school. I'd forgotten how nice it was to have an extra vehicle plus a cute daughter to help with lots of ordinary things. I miss her! Jordan has been busy with the latest school play and helping backstage at the Jazz choir concert. This coming week is a week-long basketball tournament at the high school. This only matters since our teacher's organization is in charge of the concession stand each night of the tournament and I happen to be the president of said organization. Yikes! And of course I happened to assign ALL of my classes essays this week. What was I thinking?

I'll take red or black, thank you!
On an unrelated note, I just discovered that an American icon is older than I am. Yes the Corvette Stingray is exactly 10 years older--it came out in 1953. Happy birthday Corvette. What a present that would be for me--any takers?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

I knew 1963 was an epic year

Of course 1963 was an important year in my life because, of course, it was the year I was born. But I had no idea that 1963 was such an influential year for the world as a whole. That is until I read this article by Jon Friedman at Market Watch. Apparently 1963 was way bigger than just the birth year of this kid. According to the author there are ten ways (besides my birth) that 1963 changed American life.

  1. James Bond came to America. Dr. No was the first Bond flick to be shown in the United States in, you guessed it, 1963. It's quite an enduring movie franchise that continues to go strong even after the ultimate spy era (The Cold War) ended.
  2. The Superhero phenomenon started in, obviously, 1963. The first X-Men comic book written by Stan Lee debuted in September of this auspicious year. Yes the same Stan Lee who makes cameo appearances in all Marvel Comic movies. We all need a good superhero in our lives. I'm partial to Thor but that just could be the actor.
  3. Number three is my personal favorite of the year--the invention of the push-button phone--occurred, yes certainly, in 1963. Where would the Smart phone be without the invention of push buttons? Even though they were invented in 1963, it must have taken a while for my family to catch on to the idea because I remember rotary phones. I hated a phone number with nines and zeros--it took forever to dial. And forget about winning a radio contest with a rotary phone. 
  4. Another momentous occurrence of 1963 was the invention of the instant replay. It debuted on December 7, 1963. The date (Dec. 7) makes me think that date might have some cosmic significance in the universe--at least not in a harmful way in terms of sports. Instant replay is as ubiquitous as the push button phone. Who can remember NOT having instant replay--I can't. Instant replay is the great pot stirrer of the sports world. We wouldn't even know how wrong some officials got the call if we didn't have instant replay. But what did we do without it?
  5. Ok, this one I'm not familiar with--The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan was published in, undoubtedly, my birth year. Apparently this book ignited the feminist movement. I am not a feminist but I am grateful for more opportunities for women, equalization of pay and all the other benefits we women enjoy.
  6. Bob Dylan's "Times, they are a-changin'" song came out in, undeniably, 1963. Evidently this anthem influenced Stormin Norman Schwarzkopf and inspired a generation to make their own way in life. I don't really remember this one but I am familiar with the song. 
  7. David Halberstam's courageous and critical reporting from Vietnam in 1963 changed the way journalists approached their jobs and forever changed the way media report events. This one, I'm not sure, is always positive.
  8. Beatlemania. The Fab Four. The British Invasion. Whatever you call the phenomenon of the four mop-tops from Britain, it all began in, of course, 1963. Where would we be without our Yellow Submarine or Paperback Writer? 
  9. This one and the next one, I'm serious about the importance of. No sarcasm here. Martin Luther King delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech. Besides being a rallying cry for the Civil Rights Movement, that speech is one of the finest examples of oratory ever given. The written speech is magnificent, but to listen to MLK deliver it is to hear inspiration. What a fantastic contribution and I'm proud to share my birth year with such brilliance. 
  10. This last one is somber and probably the most obvious contribution that 1963 had on America--the assassination of John F. Kennedy. I was 10 months old when it happened so of course I have no memory of it. But anyone born in the last 50 years cannot escape knowing of the event. Besides the almost obsessive wondering "what if" and the idealized longing for that Camelot time, we lost much of our innocence when that tragic event occurred. I think we have also shifted from service to our country to what can our government do for us. I see that as a sad shift.
So this year, as we all hear of the 50 year anniversary of this thing and that thing, please remember that there is someone in Missouri who shares her birth year with all these significant events.

Happy 1963!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

50 Days: The Day

"Today's the day! The sun is shining! The tank is clean . . . THE TANK IS CLEAN?!" Favorite quote from Finding Nemo.

As I have approached this milestone birthday, I have not been excited. I know 50 is just a number but it's such an old number. It represents a HALF century of living. And while it beats the alternative, it still sounds so OLD. By the way, I share my birthday with the state of New Mexico and it is 101 today so I'm not the oldest one around!

But, also as I have approached this birthday, I have realized what I have gained during this 50 years of living. Besides all the normal things like my family and other relationships, I have gained a deep and abiding testimony in the Lord Jesus Christ. He is my personal Savior and I am a member of His true Church. I would not have my knowledge and love of the scriptures without my 50 years of living. And while I have a few regrets over the last 50 years, there's not a lot I would change. There's not a time I would go back to. (Although I would take my 17 year old body back in a heartbeat.) 

So without further ado, here's the last scriptures of this countdown. This first scripture is something we must never forget. D&C 18:10, "Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God." President Boyd K. Packer has said, "You are a child of God. He is the father of your spirit. Spiritually, you are of noble birth, the offspring of the King of Heaven. Fix that in your mind and hold to it. However many generations your mortal ancestry, no matter what race or people you represent, the pedigree of your spirit can be written on a single line. YOU ARE A CHILD OF GOD!" We. Must. Never. Forget. That!

I'd also like to share the testimony of Joseph Smith because his testimony cements my testimony. I won't quote the whole thing; you'll have to look it up! Joseph Smith History 1:11-20,25. Verse 25, "So it was with me. I had actually seen a light, and in the midst of that light I saw two Personages, and they did in reality speak to me; and though I was hated and persecuted for saying that I had seen a vision, yet it was true; and while they were persecuting me, reviling me, and speaking all manner of evil against me falsely for so saying, I was led to say in my heart: Why persecute me for telling the truth? I have actually seen a vision; and who am I that I can withstand God, or why does the world think to make me deny what I have actually seen? For I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it; at least I knew that by so doing I would offend God, and come under condemnation." When I first gained my own testimony that was and still is the way I feel. I know it's true and I cannot deny it.

I've also gotten interested in searching out the last words of the prophets in the scriptures. I got this idea from the popular LDS youth speaker, John Bytheway. So check out his talks and books if you're interested. Here's the last words of some Book of Mormon prophets.
King Benjamin Mosiah 5:15, "Therefore, I would that ye should be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in good works, that Christ, the Lord God Omnipotent, may seal you his, that you may be brought to heaven, that ye may have everlasting salvation and eternal life, through the wisdom, and power, and justice, and mercy of him who created all things, in heaven and in earth, who is God above all. Amen."
Enos 1:27, "And I soon go to the place of my rest, which is with my Redeemer; for I know that in him I shall rest. And I rejoice in the day when my mortal shall put on immortality, and shall stand before him; then shall I see his face with pleasure, and he will say unto me: Come unto me, ye blessed, there is a place prepared for you in the mansions of my Father. Amen."
Jacob 7:27, "And I, Jacob, saw that I must soon go down to my grave; wherefore, I said unto my son Enos: Take these plates. And I told him the things which my brother Nephi had commanded me, and he promised obedience unto the commands. And I make an end of my writing upon these plates, which writing has been small; and to the reader I bid farewell, hoping that many of my brethren may read my words. Brethren, adieu."
Alma 45:2-17, "And it came to pass in the nineteenth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi, that Alma came unto his son Helaman and said unto him: Believest thou the words which I spake unto thee concerning those records which have been kept?
And Helaman said unto him: Yea, I believe.
And Alma said again: Believest thou in Jesus Christ, who shall come?
And he said: Yea, I believe all the words which thou hast spoken.
And Alma said unto him again: Will ye keep my commandments?
And he said: Yea, I will keep thy commandments with all my heart.
Then Alma said unto him: Blessed art thou; and the Lord shall prosper thee in this land.

But behold, I have somewhat to prophesy unto thee; but what I prophesy unto thee ye shall not make known; yea, what I prophesy unto thee shall not be made known, even until the prophecy is fulfilled; therefore write the words which I shall say.
And these are the words: Behold, I perceive that this very people, the Nephites, according to the spirit of revelation which is in me, in four hundred years from the time that Jesus Christ shall manifest himself unto them, shall dwindle in unbelief.
Yea, and then shall they see wars and pestilences, yea, famines and bloodshed, even until the people of Nephi shall become extinct—
Yea, and this because they shall dwindle in unbelief and fall into the works of darkness, and lasciviousness, and all manner of iniquities; yea, I say unto you, that because they shall sin against so great light and knowledge, yea, I say unto you, that from that day, even the fourth generation shall not all pass away before this great iniquity shall come.
And when that great day cometh, behold, the time very soon cometh that those who are now, or the seed of those who are now numbered among the people of Nephi, shall no more be numbered among the people of Nephi.

But whosoever remaineth, and is not destroyed in that great and dreadful day, shall be numbered among the Lamanites, and shall become like unto them, all, save it be a few who shall be called the disciples of the Lord; and them shall the Lamanites pursue even until they shall become extinct. And now, because of iniquity, this prophecy shall be fulfilled.
And now it came to pass that after Alma had said these things to Helaman, he blessed him, and also his other sons; and he also blessed the earth for the righteous’ sake.
And he said: Thus saith the Lord God—Cursed shall be the land, yea, this land, unto every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, unto destruction, which do wickedly, when they are fully ripe; and as I have said so shall it be; for this is the cursing and the blessing of God upon the land, for the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance.
And now, when Alma had said these words he blessed the church, yea, all those who should stand fast in the faith from that time henceforth."
Moroni 10:34, "And now I bid unto all, farewell. I soon go to rest in the paradise of God, until my spirit and body shall again reunite, and I am brought forth triumphant through the air, to meet you before the pleasing bar of the great Jehovah, the Eternal Judge of both quick and dead. Amen."

I hope these aren't my last words but if they are, it is my testimony that the scriptures will bring comfort, joy, peace and a closeness with the Savior that is beyond belief. And I'm counting on the promise in the Doctrine and Covenants 62:3, "Nevertheless, ye are blessed, for the testimony which ye have borne is recorded in heaven for the angels to look upon; and they rejoice over you, and your sins are forgiven you. And now continue your journey." Amen.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

50 days: 1 to go

Almost there for the big day. . .which really won't be all that big!
Here's a wrap-up of some of my other "favorite" scriptures. Tomorrow I'll finish with a bang!

The Lord provides a pattern for all things, D&C 52:14, "And again, I will give unto you a pattern in all things, that ye may not be deceived: for Satan is abroad in the land, and he goeth forth deceiving the nations."

The way to judge all things: Moroni 7: 13, 16-17, "But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.

For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.
But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.
And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged.
Wherefore, I beseech of you, brethren, that ye should search diligently in the light of Christ that ye may know good from evil; and if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not, ye certainly will be a child of Christ."

How to receive and recognize revelation: D&C 6:22-23, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, if you desire a further witness, cast your mind upon the night that you cried unto me in your heart, that you might know concerning the truth of these things.
Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?"
D&C 8:2-3, "Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart.
Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation; behold, this is the spirit by which Moses brought the children of Israel through the Red Sea on dry ground."
D&C 9:7-9, "Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me.
But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must cask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.
But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong; therefore, you cannot write that which is sacred save it be given you from me."
The sacrament, our most important weekly covenant: Moroni chapter 4 and 5 and D&C 20:75-79, "It is expedient that the church meet together often to partake of bread and wine in the remembrance of the Lord Jesus;
And the elder or priest shall administer it; and after this manner shall he administer it—he shall kneel with the church and call upon the Father in solemn prayer, saying:
O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it, that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him and keep his commandments which he has given them; that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.
The manner of administering the wine—he shall take the cup also, and say:
O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this wine to the souls of all those who drink of it, that they may do it in remembrance of the blood of thy Son, which was shed for them; that they may witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they do always remember him, that they may have his Spirit to be with them. Amen."

And finally for today, the promise of the Book of Mormon, Moroni 10:3-5, "Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things."

And I commend all who have not read the Book of Mormon or who don't yet have a testimony of it, to read it and test for yourself Moroni's promise. It is true; I know it and cannot deny it.

Friday, January 4, 2013

50 days: 2 to go

Every time I read the Book of Mormon, as I near the end, I always feel for Moroni being alone. I am so glad  his words of being alone are included. It makes me realize that even prophets can feel alone which gives me hope. Moroni 8: 3-5, "And my father also was killed by them, and I even remain alone to write the sad tale of the destruction of my people. But behold, they are gone, and I fulfil the commandment of my father. And whether they will slay me, I know not.
Therefore I will write and hide up the records in the earth; and whither I go it mattereth not.
Behold, my father hath made this record, and he hath written the intent thereof. And behold, I would write it also if I had room upon the plates, but I have not; and ore I have none, for I am alone. My father hath been slain in battle, and all my kinsfolk, and I have not friends nor whither to go; and chow long the Lord will suffer that I may live I know not."
But Moroni never wallows or loses hope. Mormon 9:27, "O then despise not, and wonder not, but hearken unto the words of the Lord, and ask the Father in the name of Jesus for what things soever ye shall stand in need. Doubt not, but be believing, and begin as in times of old, and come unto the Lord with all your heart, and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling before him."

Thursday, January 3, 2013

50 days: 3 to go

One of my favorite stories in the Book of Mormon is when Aaron preached to King Lamoni. When King Lamoni prayed to know God. Alma 22:18 "O, God,Aaron hath told me that there is a God; and if there is a God, and if thou art God, wilt thou make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee and that I may be raised from the dead, and be saved at the last day." I need to be willing to give away all my sins to know God.
And to obtain a testimony, Alma also shows the way: Alma 32:28-43, "Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.
Now behold, would not this increase your faith? I say unto you, Yea; nevertheless it hath not grown up to a perfect knowledge.
But behold, as the seed swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, then you must needs say that the seed is good; for behold it swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow. And now, behold, will not this strengthen your faith? Yea, it will strengthen your faith: for ye will say I know that this is a good seed; for behold it sprouteth and beginneth to grow.
And now, behold, are ye sure that this is a good seed? I say unto you, Yea; for every seed bringeth forth unto its own likeness.
Therefore, if a seed groweth it is good, but if it groweth not, behold it is not good, therefore it is cast away.
And now, behold, because ye have tried the experiment, and planted the seed, and it swelleth and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, ye must needs know that the seed is good.
And now, behold, is your knowledge perfect? Yea, your knowledge is perfect in that thing, and your faith is dormant; and this because you know, for ye know that the word hath swelled your souls, and ye also know that it hath sprouted up, that your understanding doth begin to be enlightened, and your mind doth begin to expand.
O then, is not this real? I say unto you, Yea, because it is alight; and whatsoever is light, is good, because it is discernible, therefore ye must know that it is good; and now behold, after ye have tasted this light is your knowledge perfect?
Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither must ye lay aside your faith, for ye have only exercised your faith to plant the seed that ye might try the experiment to know if the seed was good.
And behold, as the tree beginneth to grow, ye will say: Let us nourish it with great care, that it may get root, that it may grow up, and bring forth fruit unto us. And now behold, if ye nourish it with much care it will get root, and grow up, and bring forth fruit.
But if ye neglect the tree, and take no thought for its nourishment, behold it will not get any root; and when the heat of the sun cometh and scorcheth it, because it hath no root it withers away, and ye pluck it up and cast it out.
Now, this is not because the seed was not good, neither is it because the fruit thereof would not be desirable; but it is because your aground is barren, and ye will not nourish the tree, therefore ye cannot have the fruit thereof.
And thus, if ye will not nourish the word, looking forward with an eye of faith to the fruit thereof, ye can never pluck of the fruit of the tree of life.
But if ye will nourish the word, yea, nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and with patience, looking forward to the fruit thereof, it shall take root; and behold it shall be a tree springing up unto everlasting life.
And because of your diligence and your faith and your patience with the word in nourishing it, that it may take root in you, behold, by and by ye shall pluck the fruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all that is white, yea, and pure above all that is pure; and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst.
Then, my brethren, ye shall reap the rewards of your faith, and your diligence, and patience, and long-suffering, waiting for the tree to bring forth fruit unto you."

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

50 days: 4 to go

This scripture lets us know that we were known by God in the pre-existence and that we were taught the gospel and chose good. Alma 13: 3 "And this is the manner after which they were ordained—being called and prepared from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God, on account of their exceeding faith and good works; in the first place being left to choose good or evil; therefore they having chosen good, and exercising exceedingly great faith, are called with a holy calling, yea, with that holy calling which was prepared with, and according to, a preparatory redemption for such."
D&C 138:56 "Even, before they [we] were born, they [we] with many others, received their [our] first lessons in the world of spirits and were prepared to come forth in the due time of the Lord to labor in his vineyard for the salvation of the souls of men."
We must never forget that we knew the gospel and accepted it before we were born. This life, among other things, is designed for us to remember those lessons we have already learned.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

50 days: 5 to go

There are lots of wonderful scriptures on the atonement. The new year is a good time to refocus on the atonement. Joseph Smith said, "The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it."

In Alma 7:11-13 we learn that Christ's atonement will not only save us from our sins but will also protect us from infirmities. "And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.
Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me."

Alma 34: 8-10 "And now, behold, I will testify unto you of myself that these things are true. Behold, I say unto you, that I do know that Christ shall come among the children of men, to take upon him the transgressions of his people, and that he shall atone for the sins of the world; for the Lord God hath spoken it.
For it is expedient that an atonement should be made; for according to the great plan of the Eternal God there must be an atonement made, or else all mankind must unavoidably perish; yea, all are hardened; yea, all are fallen and are lost, and must perish except it be through the atonement which it is expedient should be made.
For it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice; yea, not a sacrifice of man, neither of beast, neither of any manner of fowl; for it shall not be a human sacrifice; but it must be an infinite and eternal sacrifice."

Helaman 5:12 "And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."

D&C 19: 16-19 "For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;
But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;
Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—
Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men."

D&C 76: 22-24 "And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!
For we saw him, even on the bright hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—
That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God."

And finally when Christ visits the Nephites in America: 3 Nephi 11: 3, 10-11 "And it came to pass that while they were thus conversing one with another, they heard a voice as if it came out of heaven; and they cast their eyes round about, for they understood not the voice which they heard; and it was not a harsh voice, neither was it a loud voice; nevertheless, and notwithstanding it being a small voice it did pierce them that did hear to the center, insomuch that there was no part of their frame that it did not cause to quake; yea, it did pierce them to the very soul, and did cause their hearts to burn.

Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world.
And behold, I am the alight and the life of the world; and 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."