General Conference Book Club Week 9: President Eyring

Alright friends, step away from the pie.  Time to feast on the word of God.  (I hope you had a great Thanksgiving.  I did.)

Let’s study President Eyring’s fantastic talk this week, shall we?  President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency spoke during the Sunday morning session of General Conference and his talk was called “Our Perfect Example.”  I was immediately drawn into his talk in the introduction:  “Different as we are in circumstances and experiences, we share a desire to become better than we are.”

“The message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is that we can and must expect to become better as long as we live.”

“Love is the motivating principle by which the Lord leads us along the way towards becoming like Him, our perfect example.”

“I hope you will go out today looking for opportunities to do as He did and to love as He loves.”

 

You can read the talk here, watch it here, or listen to it here.  It’s also on page 70 of the November Ensign.  (Go here for GCBC information.)

I know you’ll really like this talk.  Please share some of the things that you learn or think or notice as you study it.  I love reading all your great insights.

Advertisements

Happy Thanksgiving (How’s that for an original title?)

Have a great Thanksgiving, everyone.  I’m signing off for the week in favor of housecleaning and food preparation  (I realize that this should be a regular habit, but this week it seems more pressing).  Enjoy down time with your families and loved ones.  Among many things, I’m grateful for the community of like-minded friends I’ve found through blogging (especially those of you I know in real life who tolerate my blogging), and wish you all a week of peace, love, good food and good company.

Here are some quotes I’ve collected this week about gratitude.  It’s overwhelming to think how blessed we truly are.

” We can lift ourselves, and others as well, when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude.” — Thomas S. Monson

“He who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious”. — Doctrine and Covenants 78:19

“A grateful heart is a beginning of greatness. It is an expression of humility. It is a foundation for the development of such virtues as prayer, faith, courage, contentment, happiness, love, and well-being.” — James E. Faust

“Gratitude is a mark of a noble soul and a refined character. We like to be around those who are grateful. They tend to brighten all around them. They make others feel better about themselves. They tend to be more humble, more joyful, more likable.” — Joseph B. Wirthlin

“Mercies and blessings come in different forms–sometimes as hard things. Yet the Lord said, ‘Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things’ (D&C 59:7). All things means just that: good things, difficult things–not just some things. He has commanded us to be grateful because He knows being grateful will make us happy. This is another evidence of His love.” –Bonnie D. Parkin

“A happy home is but an earlier heaven. President George Albert Smith asked, ‘Do we want our homes to be happy? If we do, let them be the abiding place of prayer, thanksgiving and gratitude.’” –Thomas S. Monson

If you haven’t seen this yet, it’s a must see:

———————–

Congrats to Lara, who won the FHE Adventures giveaway!  If you didn’t win a copy, but would still like to get one, you can order here.

General Conference Book Club Week 8: Elder Sitati

I know this will be a busy week, so I picked a short talk, but I wanted one that would help me focus on the things I should be most thankful for (in the spirit of Thanksgiving).  Elder Joseph W. Sitati gave his talk, “Blessings of the Gospel Available to All,” during the Sunday afternoon session of conference.  Did anyone else think it was as cool as I did to hear a General Authority from Africa speaking at General Conference?  My parents recently served a mission in South Africa, so I felt a connection to what he was referring to as the outpouring of the Lord upon the African nations.

His talk increases my testimony of the Lord’s hand spreading his church throughout the world, and it’s also a great historical/doctrinal summary of the building of the Lord’s kingdom.

God’s children on the earth today have the opportunity to understand His plan of happiness for them more fully than at any other time.”

You can read the talk here, watch it here, or listen to it here.  It’s also on page 103 of the November Ensign.  (Go here for GCBC information.)

As you read this talk, what blessings do you feel grateful for?  What blessings from the gospel have you seen in your family, or maybe even throughout the world?

The rescuing power of gratitude

“Mercies and blessings come in different forms–sometimes as hard things. Yet the Lord said, ‘Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things’ (D&C 59:7). All things means just that: good things, difficult things–not just some things. He has commanded us to be grateful because He knows being grateful will make us happy. This is another evidence of His love.”  –Bonnie D. Parkin, “Gratitude: A Path to Happiness,” Ensign, May 2007, 35

I have a problem where I internalize news stories a little too much and get so disturbed that I almost lose my faith in humanity.  (I know, I know, stop reading the news!)  Last night, I went to bed after reading a news item that gnawed at my guts.  Even though it was late and I was very tired, I couldn’t sleep because I couldn’t get it out of my mind.  I felt sad and shocked and discouraged and horrible sympathy and a little anger and, basically, I felt heavy and sick to my stomach.  As I lay there feeling gross, this thought popped into my mind:  Count your blessings.

So I did.  I began deliberately focusing on gratitude— for Matt’s job, our home, warmth, a roof, three sleeping children, good health, the list went on . . .

This exercise literally began to heal me.  I felt a warmth come over me, a sense of peace and well-being, and a little insight into Heavenly Father’s acute awareness of me and people in the news.  And even though I couldn’t make sense of it, I knew it was all okay, and He is in charge, and people are cared for in ways we don’t see or expect or even understand.  My whole body and mind relaxed, and I was able to drift off to sleep.

When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done. . . .

So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

What better time than the week of Thanskgiving to reflect on all we’ve been given?  And it’s always a good time to be healed, rescued, and made glad.

(If you haven’t entered in the Adventures with FHE giveaway, there’s still time until Sunday night.)

Credit where credit’s due (and a giveaway)

My readers are so cool.

A while back, I wrote a post that included a short video clip with me and Grant in it.  Some of my readers said nice things about me, even going so far as to say I was pretty.  Well, yesterday I received a comment on that post by “Fefe” who wrote the following:

“very good but its the most boringest video i have ever seen in my whole life. and i don’t think you are pritty at all your ugly.”

Fefe, your point is well taken, and you may be right; however, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I can’t help but mention that I’m grateful I’m literate, and that I hold the key to the delete button on my blog.

-^-^-^-^-^-^-

My husband Matt is one of the greatest guys ever and I truly love him.  (Go read our love story if you don’t believe it.)  He even reads my blog and still loves me.  I’d like to thank him for making our family Christmas card photo shoot so smooth and seamless the other day.  I am a lucky woman.

-^-^-^-^-^-^-

Rebecca Irvine (formerly known as “Scripture Mom”) is one sharp woman, and I’ve loved getting to know her a little through blogging.  She wrote a family scripture study guide called Adventures with the Word of God, which I really liked– so many great cut-and-paste ideas for enhancing family scripture time.  Now, her second book has been released and I think you should check it out, especially if you’re interested in having a collection of ready-made materials for Family Home Evening. “Family Home Evening Adventures can help your family learn to love and enjoy the scriptures together. Each monthly theme uses fun seasonal ideas to promote an appreciation of scripture study, teach basic gospel principles, and provide wholesome family activities.”  It provides one complete lesson for each month and a guide of resources for the rest of the month.  If your children are small like mine, and you need shorter lessons, I think her lessons could be broken up into segments and then used for several weeks throughout the month.  Nice.

I really love this quote by James E. Faust about the urgency of taking time for family home evening and gospel study in our homes:

“I wonder if having casual and infrequent family home evening will be enough in the future to fortify our children with sufficient moral strength. In the future, infrequent family scripture study may be inadequate to arm our children with the virtue necessary to withstand the moral decay of the environment in which they will live. Where in the world will the children learn chastity, integrity, honesty, and basic human decency if not at home? These values will, of course, be reinforced at church, but parental teaching is more constant.”

Well, the lovely Rebecca is offering a giveaway of a copy of her book.  Hooray!  Just mention in the comments if you would like to be entered in the giveaway, and a winner will be selected at random on Sunday evening.

-^-^-^-^-^-^-

Almost done here; I just wanted to point you to a couple links.

Shelf Reliance makes food storage products.  I’ve never bought any of their food items, but I do own one of their big can-rotation shelf systems, which I really like.  They are a tiny bit pricey, but I noticed on their blog that starting next week, they’re having a huge giveaway every day and actually giving away some of the shelving systems and some other great stuff.  This week, they’re offering half-off specials.  If you’re interested, you can check it out here.

My laurel advisor, Marci, has been such a sweet supporter of my blog. Speaking of food storage, I remember her as the woman who had canned M&Ms because she didn’t want to go without real necessities in a crisis.  Anyway, she emailed me this link that I thought was a great idea for Thanksgiving time.  Xerox is offering free cards/postcards to be sent to troops overseas.  All you have to do is go here: Let’s Say Thanks.  You just select a card, write a note on it from your family, and then Xerox will print them out and send them to a random soldier at no cost.  Easy, and for a wonderful cause.

-^-^-^-^-^-^-

Finally, Kim, another beloved reader (who always makes great comments on the GCBC posts) invited me to participate in a meme/award.  It’s 35 questions about me that I have to answer with only one word.  I can’t imagine that anyone can handle reading anything more about me, but if you’re looking for an excuse to procrastinate your household chores just a little bit longer, you can read my answers here.  Thanks, Kim!

My son thinks I’m a murderer of the Earth.

Just in case you didn’t already know this, first grade turns you into genius.  During the course of your first year in elementary school, you will in fact become an expert on many topics, thereby learning that your parents are idiots.

(The subtitle of this post is:  Why I want to kick Grant’s science teacher in the knees.)

Thanks to Grant’s science teacher, our first-grader has become an environmental vigilante.  Never mind that we already have a fairly well-coordinated recycling program in place.  My recycling garbage can is always at least as full as my actual-garbage garbage can, we trade in our printer cartridges for refills, use rechargeable batteries, and replaced all our lightbulbs with those twirly-whirly- save-lots-of-money lightbulbs that I can’t remember the name of.  If the tree-huggers could look past my compulsive paper towel use and occasional paper plate use, I think they might be kind of proud of us.

I do not know if Mr. Science Man has a program in place where he bribes small children with treasures untold if they can confiscate half of their family’s belongings and bring them directly to him to be disposed of properly, but I have my theories.  Several times, Grant has tried to grab all our printer cartridges and convince us that he needs to take them to his science teacher, along with all our batteries.  That same self-proclaimed genius cannot seem to comprehend that I will recharge and refill them on. my. own. (thank you?) and thereby save our family some money.  “But Mr. Science Man says we have to bring them to him!”   No matter how I try to make him understand that his teacher’s intention is to keep those items from being thrown away, and we are NOT throwing them away, he still thinks I’m ruining his life as an activist.

Today he came from school and enjoyed his after-school snack for a few seconds before he jolted, quickly remembering that he is a man on a mission.

“Mom!  Do we have milk cartons or boxes or things that we can use to make other things?”

“They’re in the recycling bin, Grant.”

“No, mom!  We’re not supposed to throw them away.  That’s a waste!  We can use them.”

“Grant, when they are recycled, that means they can be melted down and use them again.  We are not wasting them.”

He began digging through my garbage.  I began picturing his science teacher in that torture machine from The Princess Bride.

He grabbed a ziploc bag and held it above his head, victorious.  “Do not throw these away, mom!  That is a waste.”

I rolled my eyes, “What?  Do you want to wash them out?”  “Yes!”  “Fine, you can do it.”

He kept digging.  “I need a bottle or something for my agates (small rocks designed to make your mother curse when she does the laundry).”

“Grant, the bottles are in the recycling bin which means they are going to be re- … never mind.”  I give up.

Anyway, I think educating our children is severely overrated. I offered him this box from the garbage to carry the rock collection he’s accumulating so he can impress Mr. Science Man.  I’m sure he’ll be thrilled when he sees how resourceful we are in our family.


 

General Conference Book Club Week 7: Elder Zeballos

This week we’ll spend a little time “Attempting the Impossible” and hopefully realizing that we truly have access to blessings we sometimes might feel are out of our reach.  This talk was given by Elder Jorge F. Zeballos during the Saturday afternoon session of General Conference.  I think it kind of slipped under the radar for me when I watched conference, but it caught my eye today as I was flipping through the Ensign.

o2009pulpit_2_4_zebal

“From a purely human point of view, at first [the commandment to become perfect] seems to be an impossible task. However, it begins to appear possible upon understanding that in order to achieve it, we are not alone. The most marvelous and powerful helps for which a human being may seek are always available.”

“Eternal life is to live with our Father and with our families forevermore. Should not this promise be the greatest incentive to do the best within our reach?”

I’ve been learning a lot of lessons lately about how a “purely human point of view” just doesn’t cut it as far as seeing things how they really are.  Learning to see our circumstances, the course of our lives, and even ourselves the way the Lord sees them all is quite liberating.  I’m curious to hear what you find in this talk that helps you see the impossible through different eyes.

You can read the talk here, or watch it here, or listen to it here.  It is also on page 33 of the conference edition of the Ensign.  If you’re dropping by the GCBC for the first time, you can learn how it works here.