GCBC Week 19: ” First Observe, Then Serve” by Linda K. Burton

This week’s talk was a memorable message by sister Linda K. Burton, our recently called general Relief Society president. It goes along so nicely with some of the lessons we have been studying lately in the Doctrine and Covenants about following and acting upon personal revelation.

First Observe, Then Serve By Linda K. Burton

linda-burton

I have felt myself being a little stressed out and maybe snippy lately. Today it dawned on me that maybe I have allowed my life to get too busy and therefore have not left room for things like spontaneous or purposeful service to others. President Hinckley often taught that work/service were a way to get over your own problems, and President Monson has been such a great example of acting upon charitable thoughts and feelings.

What are some of your thoughts after studying this talk? How does it affect your goals? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

(A reminder to those of you who are new to General Conference Book Club: You’re welcome to return to this post any time this week and leave your comment and thoughts in the comment section below. You may also want to see what others are saying about the talk and engage in a conversation for mutual understanding and encouragement. A new talk will be posted each Sunday and will be studied and discussed throughout the week.)

Marriage Is Essential, by Michele Stitt

A few years ago, our LDS Bishop called me into his office where he was counseling a newly married young couple.  “Tell them what it means to be equally yoked,” he directed.  “Tell them why you and Jeff are happy in your marriage.”  At the time, I mumbled something about horses and wagons and pulling together.

…Let me see if I can be more clear now.  I’ll start by quoting the Proclamation:

“Marriage between man and woman is essential to God’s eternal plan.  …Fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.”

Elder David A. Bednar once said:

“Righteous marriage is a commandment and an essential step in the process of creating a loving family relationship that can be perpetuated beyond the grave
1. [because] The natures of male and female spirits complete and perfect each other, and therefore men and women are intended to progress together toward exaltation and
2. By divine design, both a man and a woman are needed to bring children into mortality and to provide the best setting for the rearing and nurturing of children” (6/06 Ensign, 82-84).

It has been said that in a contented marriage, partners have 5 positive feelings or interactions for every 1 negative one.  Since Jeff and I have been hitched to the same wagon now for nearly 15 years, I thought I’d share 5 POSITIVE THINGS he does that reinforce our partnership.

He actively loves (which I’m sure often involves “praying with all the energy of his heart” for charity).  He makes sure we have a weekly date; he brings home newspapers from his travels for me to read and discuss with him; he always shares his chocolate.

He listens.  He understands that I cannot sleep if the kitchen is a mess, so no matter how late he got home from work or how tired he is, he works beside me until the last dish is loaded in the washer.  He understands unspoken cues like—pulling-the-blanket-over-my-head-on-Saturday-morning means “Please feed and dress the kids and make sure they’re ready to go to soccer/piano/scouts/etc. by the time I get up.”

President Gordon B. Hinckley taught

“I am satisfied that the application of a single practice would do more than all else to [strengthen marriages…It is that] every husband and every wife would constantly do whatever might be possible to ensure the comfort and happiness of his or her companion… Argument would never be heard. Accusations would never be leveled. Angry explosions would not occur. Rather, love and concern would replace abuse and meanness.”  (11/04 Ensign, 82).

Jeff gets this.

Jeff forgives and moves on.  When Jeff and I were first married, I backed his brand new car into a cement pole.  When I called Jeff to tell him the bad news, I expected the first big trial in our fledgling marriage.  But do you know what he said?  “Are you okay? Don’t worry about the car.  It’s a car.  But you—how are you?”

Do you know what is even more wonderful to me about this story?  In all the time since this accident, Jeff has never complained about our insurance rates going up.  He never stands behind and beside the car waving his arms (like missionaries do), to help me back up.  He forgave and forgot about it.

As I think about Adam and Eve, they inspire me as people who certainly had trials but who “got over it” and moved on as equal partners.  To quote Marie Hafen:

“Adam and Eve fell that they might have JOY.  But they didn’t skip merrily out of Eden singing and wishing everyone a nice day.  They walked in sorrow into a lonely world, where they earned their bread by the sweat of their brows and learned about joy in the midst of misery and pain.”

Just as we have no record of Adam constantly bringing up Eve’s transgression in their two hundredth year together, Jeff has never once mentioned the totaled back-end of his car.

Jeff remembers who I am.  He tells our children by word and action that I’m a beloved daughter of God.  He remembers I’m his best friend by calling me in the middle of the day just to see how I’m doing; he relishes telling every new dinner guest our “how-we-met” story; he is the first to give me credit as his partner for any success he experiences in his career.

So there—5 good things about Jeff.  I’ll have to get back to you on a negative one.  In the meantime, I’ll just keep gratefully pulling along right beside him.

Michele is a wife and mother of two who currently resides in Alpine, Utah. She and I became friends in Minnesota, and she has been a mentor and example to me for many years. Thank you, Michele, for sharing these great ideas and insights.

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

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GCBC Week 19: “Hope” by Elder Steven E. Snow

Welcome back to another week of General Conference Book Club.  Our comments were a little sparse last week, so I’d love to have more of you tune in on this talk and share some of your favorite parts or best insights.

“Hope”
by Elder Steven E. Snow
of the Presidency of the Seventy

This was my favorite quote from the talk because I thought it was a great reminder about acting on our hope and desires:

As parents, we find our fondest hopes center around our children. We hope they will grow up to lead responsible and righteous lives. Such hopes can be easily dashed if we do not act as good examples. Hope alone does not mean our children will grow in righteousness. We must spend time with them in family home evening and worthwhile family activities. We must teach them to pray. We must read with them in the scriptures and teach them important gospel principles. Only then is it possible our fondest hopes will be realized.

What stood out for you?  What does the talk make you want to do or change?  Please share your ideas in the comments below.

If you’re new to GCBC, go here to learn more about it, then join us!

GCBC Week 18: “Followers of Christ” and “The Essence of Discipleship”

I’m back, so we might even have actual links this week.  :)  I picked two talks this time because they seemed a good fit to study together.

“Followers of Christ”
by Elder Walter F. González
Of the Presidency of the Seventy

and

“The Essence of Discipleship”
by Sister Silvia H. Allred
First Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency

I thought it was really interesting to read each talk’s emphasis on different characteristics of discipleship.  The two things that stood out to me (and were consistent in both talks) were covenant keeping and charitable kindness.

I’d love to hear your thoughts as you study these talks.  What were the highlights for you?  What are some practical ways you feel like you can apply these principles in your life?  Please share your ideas in the comments below.

If you’re new to GCBC, go here to learn more about it, then join us!

GCBC Week 13: “Finding Joy through Loving Service” by Elder M. Russell Ballard

Believe it or not, we are already about halfway through the talks.  Crazy, huh?  This talk is one of many from conference that reminded me about the importance of charity.  There seemed to be a lot of emphasis on service.

“Finding Joy through Loving Service” by Elder M. Russell Ballard

May we show our love and appreciation for the Savior’s atoning sacrifice through our simple, compassionate acts of service.

One of my favorite quotes from his talks was in his introduction of his topic of charity:

Brothers and sisters, the gospel of Jesus Christ is simple, no matter how much we try to make it complicated. We should strive to keep our lives similarly simple, unencumbered by extraneous influences, focused on those things that matter most.

This is a principle I am struggling with a little bit right now, and I know that, just as he said, I simply need to focus on “what matters most.”  It’s so easy for those details to get lost, just like the story he told about the gold flakes.

What stood out to you as you read?  In what ways do you think he’s asking us to apply this message?  Share your thoughts and conversation in the comment thread below.  If you’re new to GCBC, check out the club here.