Sunday, September 28, 2014

Striving for Consistency

Yesterday, my oldest daughter and I attended the General Women's Meeting of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For those that don't know, every 6 months, our Church holds a conference where we receive instructions and messages from the prophet, apostles and other leaders of this worldwide church. There's 4 sessions for everyone, plus a women's one which is now for girls and women 8 years old and up, as well as the Priesthood session for boys and men 12 years old and up.

The talks seemed to follow a pattern of making and keeping covenants and doing the things we need to in everyday life. With the world constantly changing and, more often than not, straying further and further from the ways of God, it is important that we consistently stay focused on our goal--eternal life and returning to our Father in Heaven..

No one can do it for us. In the parable of the 10 virgins, 5 virgins were prepared and had enough oil for their journey to meet the bridegroom, 5 did not have enough oil. Yet, the oil of the prepared could not be shared with those who had not carefully. So it is with us. The "oil" of spiritual preparedness is added to our lamps drop by drop by consistently doing the "little" things like praying, reading scriptures, attending church, visiting the temple, taking care of those in need and doing other things that help keep us focused.

It is so easy to become distracted. We're busy. Life is so full of things we can do every minute of the day. If we don't plan to read scriptures, say prayers, have family home evenings, attend church and go to the temple, we can easily "forget" to do these things on a regular and consistent basis. This is dangerous because we can then more easily lose our focus.

Being consistent helps us to not forget what we need to be doing, even if you miss a day. Here are some ideas to help implement consistency in our everyday spiritual necessities:

  • Find a time to pray and read scriptures. Our family tried to do this at night, but it didn't work out. We have decided that we need to get up a little earlier in the morning to read scriptures and have prayer. This has improved out consistency tremendously!
  • Plan family home evenings weekly. If Mondays (the church-designated day for FHE) does not work, try Sunday or a different day that fits in you family's schedule. (We still struggle with this one, but we're trying to get consistent!)
  • Write it on a calendar or set an alarm in your phone or other device. When it's time to read or pray, having a reminder set in your phone will help with consistency.
  • If you miss a day, don't give up. Just pick up where you left off tomorrow!
  • Choose a day and time at least once a month to go to the temple with your spouse or loved one. 
  • Take the sacrament weekly. Yes, this also means you need to attend your Sunday meetings weekly. Both of these acts not only remind up of covenants we made at baptism, but can allow time to reflect on the past week and see where we did well and where improvements are needed. During speakers and lessons, we can listen to/feel the quiet nudging of the Spirit helping us know what we can or should do to improve our life and our family life.

Even when things don't go according to plan, we should never give up! Just restart, reevaluate and adjust to get back on course. Being consistent will help us stay focused and stay on course, regardless of the distractions or the way the world seems to be going.

Also remember that God loves you even with shortcomings, mistakes and our fears or doubts. He really wants us to succeed.

As we do as He has asked us to do (keeping commandments and striving to become closer to Him), we will more readily be able to receive blessings from a Father who loves us without conditions.

Lastly, I'd love to share this video from last night. It is so touching as we hear the testimonies of women throughout the world about the blessings of the temple.  Take a minute to watch and feel the spirit of this message.




© Wendy 2014

Sunday, September 7, 2014

God is With You, Always

Have you ever thought of God being with you as literal? I think it is more literal than we might think. I recently watched this video I saw floating around on Facebook that depicts just that.

Whether we are going through happy and good times, or through sad moments or our darkest hours, He IS with us always. If we listen with our hearts, we can feel His presence. Feel His influence, His approval, His gentle corrections when we need it and feel of His love that is unfailing.

Would you act differently if Christ were next to you? What would you change? Would you feel comfortable in His presence based on the way you act and think?




We all have room for improvement and need to rely on His Atonement and grace to truly change and become healed. Work on becoming who our Savior knows you are.


Some more uplifting blog posts: 



© Wendy 2014

Sunday, August 3, 2014

What is Your Legacy?

It's been almost a month since my last post. I guess summer will do that to you when the kids are all home and life is chaotic. :)

I've been thinking about something the last few weeks. It's about how our choices can affect generations of our posterity.

Have you ever thought that the choices you make could trickle down generation after generation? Or that the choices your ancestors have made affect you today?

Well, they can and do.

What are you doing today that could hurt your family? Are you abusive (emotionally, sexually or physically) to your spouse, children or others? Are you mean? Do you have addictions? What if 200 years from now, your family is echoing exactly what you do today? Is that what you want your legacy to be? 

What if such a legacy was passed down to you? I encourage you to break the cycle, make amends and create a brand new legacy for your family from now on. Your family depends on it! Legacies of courage, of prayer, of righteousness and of anything good will bless your family for generations to come. It will bring happiness, peace and joy.

Make sure your choices are good ones. Bad choices can poison your posterity. If you are affected by bad choices of your ancestors, break the cycle. Make the choice to be the fresh start and bless your children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and so on.

Be the valiant spirit God sent you here to be and stop the wickedness and start a new cycle of righteousness.

Another inspirational post:
Dreaming About Someday


© Wendy 2014

Sunday, July 6, 2014

A Miracle

I know that people sometimes like to dismiss miracles as a coincidence or "luck," but I see them for what they are: when God intervenes in human lives. I believe it happens more often than not. I've witnessed so many in my life--so many big or little ways God has worked in my life to accomplish good and to help me.

This weekend, my husband had some of his family visiting, so we all did some outdoor recreation together. As we were at Toquerville Falls yesterday afternoon, we witnessed a miracle.

This is a fun spot to play with water falls, a place where you can jump off, and more shallow areas where children can play.



The jumping spot





The kids were also fascinated to see tadpoles in one of the pools.




We were all enjoying our time together as a family, when things took a frightening turn. Some other visitors to this same spot had a recreational vehicle they had been driving around. I'm not sure what made us all look up to the top of one of the cliffs, but when we did, we saw the side-by-side heading toward the edge--without a driver--while one of the owners ran to attempt to stop it. We all screamed in horror as we saw it go over the edge toward our little ones playing in the water.

My 3 youngest children (pictured above, playing near the same spot they were in when the vehicle crashed) as well as two of my nieces were in immediate danger. One of my nieces was able to hear it coming and stepped further away. It crashed down on the nose and came to rest on its side without harming anyone. The children were playing in pools on either side of the vehicle.





Here's a view from the top where it rolled from starting near the white trucks.



 If the vehicle had bounced or rolled or had gone any further, it likely would have killed some precious little children. They were probably within 5 feet of the landing spot, just to the bottom side of the side-by-side in this picture.

Without a doubt, angels from Heaven were shielding these precious babies while other unseen beings guided the vehicle down to its resting place without harming anyone. Well, except for the nerves of the parents and grandparents, of course! There is no fear or horrible feeling worse that that of a parent who can do nothing to rescue their children.

My thoughts following that moment quickly recalled my prayer from that morning asking for safety as we went about our day. God does answer prayers and is keenly and individually aware of us and our needs and circumstances.

Tears and feelings of terror come as I think of what could have been. I couldn't imagine the pain of losing a child. Hug your children and loved ones. And pray for them, always. He listens and protects and creates miracles.



Another first Sunday inspirational blogger post:
Dreaming About Someday



© Wendy 2014


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Stop Judging and Just Be Kind

Largely because of social media--comments on blogs or articles, text messages or status updates--it's so easy to be rude, mean or hurtful to others. Not only is it easy, but people also sometimes go out of their way to hurt someone. 

Yet, we can just as easily be kind, uplift and build others. We can even go out of our way to do it. And, we should. 

Though both are easy, there are BIG differences in the results.

The first, can hurt--deeply. It can cause another person to feel "less-than," make them feel more self-doubt than they likely already did, cause contention, and basically help fill the world with more negativity. Why do you suppose there are so many wars? Why is there so much suicide? Why are depression, eating disorders and sorrow so prevalent? How much of it could be wiped away if everyone sought to be kind rather than to be mean? Obviously, there are circumstances that cause some of these issues besides a lack of kindness, but how much of it could be averted?

Conversely, being kind, giving compliments and uplifting others can change a person--and the world. It's easy to do and often leaves both people feeling better. It inspires more kindness. More happiness. More love. Even if you don't agree with something the other person says, does or thinks, you can STILL be kind.

Stop judging and give people the benefit of the doubt!

I recently had an article become quite popular. It was written in fun and sarcasm with some snark. While I did receive a little bit of positive feedback, there was a lot more negative criticism and personal attacks--where people sought me out to deliberately say something critical and unkind. Even though these comments are from strangers, they still hurt. They still caused me to question myself and what I do as a writer. The intent of my article was for people in similar situations to laugh, yet, those who chose to contact me were mostly those spreading negativity. Just because you don't know me and can't see me face-to-face, doesn't mean I don't exist and have feelings.

I think people sometimes say hurtful things without realizing there is another person on the receiving end--or how they would feel to be on that end.

Whatever happened to "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all?" Or how about the Golden Rule? Why people go out of their way to bully or be mean is beyond me. If you don't agree with something someone says or does, you don't have to respond nastily. Just stop reading. Ignore it. Change the subject. Un-friend or "hide" the content you'd rather not see. Or try to understand or realize you probably don't know/understand their situation. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Just consider this cartoon:

 

No matter what you do some people will tell you you're wrong, criticize and judge you. What is so difficult about just finding the positive? 

No one is perfect, but that is no excuse for being mean. Apologize and make amends if you have hurt someone--whether purposefully or accidentally. You never know what another person is going through or has gone through in their life which has influenced who they are and what they do. Or, what influence for good or bad your comments can have on someone else. 

Seek to be kind, even when others are mean to you. Seek to find the good, even when you disagree. Try to uplift, compliment and build everyone around you. Make the world a better place by spreading positive love and kindness. You will never regret being too kind


© Wendy 2014

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Longing for a Father

It's Father's Day--a day where many are celebrating their dads or other men in their lives. It can be a difficult day for some that have dads already in Heaven, or some from broken homes or others who don't have a father in their life for whatever reason. It can be painful and confusing to sort through the feelings surrounding not really having a dad. I understand some of these feelings of abandonment, being unsupported or otherwise fatherless.

However, I have been blessed to marry a man who is a true father and great support and friend. My children adore their dad. To that, I am grateful.

Additionally, I have tried to understand, forgive and let go of hurts in my life. I have realized that I have a PERFECT Heavenly Father who loves, understands and protects me the way no earthly father could.

Our Heavenly Father along with Jesus Christ are
kind
patient
loving
gentle teachers
healers
aware of our needs
fair
waiting to help if we just ask
want us to become like Him
protectors
My_child_framed
courtesy of www.deseretbook.com
comforters
and, most of all, the true example of what we each should be striving to be.

I look forward to the day when I am reunited with my Father. I don't know what it will be like, but I imagine it will be indescribable. I think that His perfect love will be felt and all unfairness, disadvantages and sorrow will be corrected with His blessings. I love the verse in Doctrine and Covenants 6 that says, "...I will encircle thee in the arms of my love."

As I long for a father, it comforts me to know that I have One. He is there for me anytime and is only a prayer away.

I hope this comforts those that feel alone, abandoned or in need of someone to lean on. Your Father is always there.


© Wendy 2014

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Finding Hope

At times we may become despondent due to the trials, struggles and hardships we all face. Whether it's an internal struggle or something more obvious to those around us, finding hope is something we do to make it through the rough spots.

I recently saw this hope-inspiring quote:

 Photo

The big thing that keeps getting reaffirmed to me often as I go through my life is that our hope is in Christ. Because of Him, wrongs will be made right, we can make changes in our life, we can be comforted, we can find strength, we can be healed and we can find hope. Christ is the ultimate source of hope. Without Him, all would be lost. 

I'm a firm believer in miracles, every day miracles that some may dismiss as mere coincidence or luck. But, how could so many things occur just when you need it the most? How could a friend know to call you when you're really down and need someone? I've noticed recently many times where He has extended His hand to show love, to strengthen my hope and to let me know He is aware of my circumstances. 

Look at your life and try to notice where he has lifted, inspired, comforted or you could just feel "something" there to give you hope. He is there for us regardless of our situation. We just need to notice.

Other inspiring posts:
Dreaming About Someday
Our Fairy Tale


© Wendy 2014