Sunday, July 12, 2015

God is Not a Genie

I recently had someone comment on one of my older blog posts that God doesn't answer our prayers. His reasoning for this was that we would pray as young children for ponies or to bring a pet back to life, but those things didn't happen.

He went further to state that we only pray for small things like safety and to have a nice day. And then, he said that Jesus doesn't answer prayers because he can't hear us because he is dead.

I feel sad that this man hasn't yet learned to recognize answers to prayers or to feel the Spirit testifying to him that God does live, as does his son Jesus Christ.

God and Jesus Christ do live! Joseph Smith, after reading James 1:5, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." he knelt in prayer to seek which of the churches to join. At that time, he not only received an answer to his earnest prayer, but he also saw both Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. From his vision, we also know that God and Jesus are not only alive, but they have bodies.

Furthermore, God does answer our prayers. I don't think praying for safety is a "small" thing. It's huge! I know that those prayers have been answered multiple times within my own family. One such occurrence I detail in this blog post called "A Miracle." My three youngest children as well as some of my nieces and nephews narrowly avoided severe injury or death. I know it was because of our own pleas for safety prior to our activity that they were protected.

My in-laws were recently in a car
wreck that could have ended much worse when the trailer they were towing fishtailed and flipped. Yet, they were unscathed.

It's not just safety that is a big thing I pray for. I have asked for and received peace on numerous occasions. I have received answers when I have prayed for a specific child. In the quiet moments, a thought is put in my mind of something I ought to do, a person I should call, or an answer to something I have been pondering. I think those of us who have earnestly sought answers from our Father have received answers.

God is not a genie in a lamp that is there to grant your every wish and desire. He is an all-knowing Father who loves us and is aware of our every need. He wants us to come to him for help and to seek to do His will and help others draw closer to Him through prayer and by living His word. He wants us to become like Him.

Just as our earthly parents, or us as parents do not give everything to our children that they want, so it is with God. He knows clearly what is best and is striving to help us become who He knows we can be. He doesn't give us everything just because we ask for it; He wants us to seek after it, work toward it, study for answers. We are on earth to learn and grow as individuals.

If you're not used to praying, start with this simple exercise. Pray to God ask Him if you are His child and if He loves you. Stay on your knees praying until you get an answer. It will come.


© Wendy 2015


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Thinking Through Our Fingers: Non-Fiction Is Not Boring

I've joined a group of talented writers on the blog "Thinking Through Our Fingers." I'm pretty excited about it. I'm not gonna say much here about it, but you should probably follow this link and see what I had to say for my first post.

Go.

Read it.

Enjoy.

Write.

 Thinking Through Our Fingers: Non-Fiction Is Not Boring: When most of us hear “non-fiction” we probably think “booo-rrriinngg!!” ...

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

If God Gave Me a Report Card...

This past Sunday, we had our stake conference. For those who don't know, each stake--made up of somewhere around 8 wards--meets together as one body for a special meeting twice a year in lieu of our regular Sunday meetings.

This Sunday, a member of the stake presidency was talking about looking over his kids' report cards from school. And then he said, "Wouldn't it be nice if Heavenly Father gave us a report card each quarter?"

This caused me to reflect and wonder how such a report would look for me, especially since I always sought after earning straight 'A's while in school. Even though God loves me regardless of my "grades" and sees me through infinite and understanding eyes, I know he'd like me to improve my life.

Consider this: As parents, we love our children despite poor behaviors and mistakes they may make. We see their goodness as well, but we know they can do better. Parents have to correct their children and help them stay on the right path. We teach them to share, care for others, be considerate, and to pray and seek out answers while studying scriptures prayerfully. Our kids are not perfect, but we know they have potential to improve themselves.

I think it is the same with our Heavenly Parents. They love us and care for us more thoroughly than any earthly parent could, yet, they know we can do better. They want us to live up to our potential--even our divine potential. Sometimes, it would be nice to receive a spiritual pat on the back and know we are doing well. Other times, a gentle and loving correction would be welcomed.

Knowing we would fall short again and again, God made it possible for us to repent, to correct, to fix our shortcomings through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Because of His grace, we are saved. There
is no other way. The Atonement is available to everyone--no matter who you are, where you live, what you've done or any other factor. Every person who ever has been, is, or ever will be on the earth is a child of God.

As we use His Atonement, we are to change our hearts and actions. A truly repentant and changed person will not make the same mistakes again, yet so many of us probably do. Just start again.

I know I'm trying to be a good person, mother, wife, and friend, but I also know I could always improve. God isn't going to give us a quarterly report card, but perhaps, as we prepare to take the sacrament on Sundays, we can evaluate ourselves and see where we have succeeded and where we need some improvement.

How did you treat your family members this week?
Did you pray often?
Did you study His words?
Did you serve others? Cheer up the sad? Lift the weary?
Did you exercise compassion and love?
Are you trying to see others through non-judging eyes?

We can all do a little better. Don't get discouraged. Just start again tomorrow.


Other news:
I was featured as a guest blogger by one of my writer friends. Check it out!


© Wendy 2015 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

That moment when I realized....I AM a WRITER

OK, so the title may sound like I'm a crazy person or pretty dense to reality, but I literally just "realized" that I am a WRITER about a month ago. (I'm also going to go ahead and blame the amount of neglect that my blog has received based on my busy writing schedule.)

I was walking through the store when this realization hit me. I can't remember if I was alone, or if I had one of my kids with me, but my mind was wandering as usual. And then the words formulated inside my head: I am a writer. I stopped my thought whirlwind and let that settle. I am a writer. Why had I not thought this before? I would always say that I write, but never that I am.

I mean, I've been blogging for 2 1/2 years as of today and writing articles--and getting them published--since shortly after that. I guess I felt like an impostor, a fake, like a little girl playing dress-up and pretending to be a writer. But, I do get paid... so that means something, right?

I haven't been taking myself seriously. I guess I believed that maybe you have to have a published book to be a writer? That brings me to my next identity hurtle--calling myself an author.

I'm near completion of my first book (details later...patience!) and looking forward to all sorts of new knowledge, feedback, and friends at LDStorymakers Conference next month. I think now is a good time to take myself seriously and call myself a writer.

So, hello, I'm Wendy and I'm a writer. *Mind. Blown.*




So, I submit, who are you? What are you reluctant to admit that you are? What's holding you back? Let go and embrace it.


© Wendy 2015 

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Baptism and Beliefs

I haven't blogged for way too long, and for that I apologize. I have been super busy with other writing projects and my family.

But, today was a special day for our family, and especially for my 8-year-old daughter.

In our church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, when a child reaches the age of 8, they can choose to be baptized, just as our Savior Jesus Christ was baptized in the New Testament. This is done by immersion, by proper priesthood authority.  Afterward, the are confirmed and given the Gift of the Holy Ghost as a constant companion. The Holy Ghost helps teach us and confirm to us truth, helps us know right from wrong, comforts us and can be a warning voice to keep us safe.

Today, my daughter was baptized. We had a white dress for her to wear that was made by one of our close friends. She looked like an angel. For the baptism, she and my husband, who holds the priesthood, dress in a white suit that they change out of afterward.

As I was helping her get re-dressed in her dry clothes after she was baptized, I asked her how she felt. "So clean," she said.

Baptism is for the remission of our sins. Obviously, it doesn't stop there as we will inevitably make many mistakes in our life, but through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can repent and be clean again. Equally important, being baptized means that we make covenants, or 2-way promises, with God.

My Baptismal Covenants (as found on www.lds.org)
(Renewed Each Time I Partake of the Sacrament) 

At Baptism I Covenant with the Lord to: 

1. Come into the fold of God (become a member of the Church of Jesus Christ).
2. Be called his son or daughter (take upon me the name of Christ).
3. Bear others’ burdens, that they may be light; mourn with those that mourn; and comfort those in need of comfort (help others).
4. Stand as a witness of God at all times and in all things and in all places (testify of Christ and set a good example at all times).
5. Serve God and keep his commandments.

When I Keep My Baptismal Covenants the Lord Covenants to: 

1. Forgive my sins.
2. Pour his Spirit more abundantly upon me (give me the companionship of the Holy Ghost).
3. Redeem me that I might be numbered with those of the first resurrection and have eternal life (permit me to enter the celestial kingdom to live with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ)

This video doesn't really have to do specifically with baptism, but I loved the overview of what members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe.


Here's another inspirational post from Dreaming About Someday.

© Wendy 2015

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Book review: "Amazing Hairstyles: From Easy to Elegant"

A fellow blogger, Becky Porter, at Babes in Hairland recently released a book all about hair. "Amazing Hairstyles: From Easy to Elegant" is a great addition for families with girls or for people who like to do hair. (Ahem...Christmas is coming!)

Amazing Hairstyles - From Easy to Elegant - Paperback
Image courtesy of Cedar Fort Publishing and Media
As a mom of three girls who never willingly let me do their hair, I feel like an amateur. But, with Becky's step-by-step instruction--including pictures--I was able to try out several of these styles. It looked like I totally knew what I was doing! I was pleasantly surprised.

Whether you are an expert or an amateur, you can do these styles. Becky demonstrates the basics of braids, twists and buns--which are also stand alone styles. Then, we can combine those techniques to create a more elaborate hairstyles.

French braids, fishbone braids, waterfall twists, hair chains and messy buns are just a few of the basics. Some of the more elegant styles include dutch braid and curls updo, cascading curls, double waterfall twist and 4-strand braid updo.

These are really adorable, and doable, styles!

These hairdos are appropriate for all ages. Some are great for everyday styles, while others would be perfect for prom, weddings or when professionalism is required.

I also found her description of hair products and styling tools extremely helpful (because I am pretty clueless when we get much beyond a brush and curling iron!).

You can find her book online and in several stores--on amazon.com, Deseret Book and other places.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Book Review: "Family Talk" teaches families to communicate and grow closer together

Christy Monson
One of the challenges of raising families today is cultivating a home of love, respect and good communication.

Author Christy Monson has written a guide for families to help achieve the family atmosphere they desire. "Family Talk" is full of useful suggestions on how to hold family councils and the benefits of them. She gives many examples from real people on how family councils have worked in their families to illustrate the points she makes. This gives readers an understanding of how family councils can work in their own homes.

Monson shares:

  • What family councils are.
  • How to structure these family meetings.
  • How to solve problems as a family.
  • Learning how to respect each other.
  • How to use family councils as a teaching tool.

There are many benefits of family councils, including:

  • Learning respect.
  • Learning cooperation and how to work together.
  • Children gain self-confidence.
  • Sort through family problems together.
  • A more organized family.
  • Discussions about sharing the workload of a family.
  • Planning family vacations or other activities together. 
  • Setting family goals.
  • Working to overcome struggles.

Holding family councils enables families to grow closer together and to resolve any issues that may occur. This allows each family member to express his/herself. Other family members can share insights to problems and offer solutions. Families can make decisions together.

Monson also gives suggestions on how to work around special circumstances, such as blended families, children with special needs or single-parent homes.

The wonderful thing about family councils is that there is no wrong way to do it! You can begin today to hold weekly or bi-weekly meetings and structure it however it works best for your family. Monson encourages families to start their meetings with saying nice things about each other to bring a positive atmosphere.

Families will learn to work together, trust each other, rely on each other and love each other more fully. I think this is something that all families hope for.

For more from the author, visit:
Christy Monson Books or visit her Facebook page.

For more family oriented materials from Familius, visit www.familius.com.




© Wendy 2014