GCBC Week 8: Agency, Essential to the Plan of Life

“Agency: Essential to the Plan of Life”
Elder Robert D. Hales
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

As I listened to this talk, I thought about how much power we have been given by a trusting Heavenly Father.  Our ability to choose and put into effect the consequences of those choices is truly a great power with long-term, even eternal influence.  As I thought more about that power that we have, I felt a greater sense of responsibility, and a greater desire to be more deliberate in my choices.  Even the “small” ones.

“Throughout His life our Savior showed us how to use our agency. As a boy in Jerusalem, He deliberately chose to ‘be about [His] Father’s business.’ . . . And by His perfect life, He taught us that when we choose to do the will of our Heavenly Father, our agency is preserved, our opportunities increase, and we progress.”

How about you? What are your favorite principles or quotes from Elder Hales’s talk?  Is there anything you learned here that you had not considered before?  What stood out to you as you studied it?  And, most importantly, what did it make you feel or want to do?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.  (If this is your first time to General Conference Book Club, click here to learn more about it.)

How an apostle’s testimony of his role inspired me in my own role

I just saw this video by Elder David A. Bednar, one of the 12 Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  One of the most unique aspects of our church is its claim that God still calls prophets and apostles and leads his church through them.  The video is his explanation of that sacred calling and all it entails.

While I thought it was fascinating to understand their “job” a little better, I was most touched by what I learned about how the Savior works and the simple integrity that is expected of all of us who claim be be Christian disciples.

If you have 10 minutes to watch it as personal devotional time, I think you’ll be inspired by it.

Busy week. And you?

This week has been one of those weeks that are supposedly “typical” for moms.

  • Had strep throat.  Got a shot.  Survived.
  • Planned and hosted Natalie’s birthday party.  (more to come about that)
  • Cleaned house frantically, did laundry, had party, need to clean house again.
  • Husband out of town on business, running him to and from the airport.
  • Planning Clark’s class Thanksgiving party.  Research out craft and treat ideas online.  Make phone calls and design fliers.
  • Meals.  You know, breakfast, lunch, dinner.  Every day.
  • Took kids to the play “Frog and Toad All Year.” (I love plays.)
  • Grocery shopping.
  • Walking and/or driving children to/from school, 3 different schools, 3 different schedules.
  • Trying to find clothes that fit my boys when they get dressed in the morning. (Could they please stop growing already?)
  • Exchange emails to plan upcoming Relief Society activity.
  • Taking Grant to friend’s birthday party.  Buying gift.
  • Volunteering with take-home reading at Clark’s school.
  • Trying to get a jump on Christmas presents since I’m trying to make stuff this year due to budget restraints.  (And when I say make, I mean things like reading aloud stories and recording them on CD.)
  • Return what seems like hundreds of phone calls and emails.
  • Make signs to hang up around my house like “Close this door!”
  • Eating all of the leftover cupcakes from Natalie’s party.
  • Sleeping occasionally.

See? It’s all totally normal stuff.  And yet?  Mind-numbingly exhausting.  I recommend you don’t make a list like this unless you have time to take a nap afterwards.  Then again, it’s a nice reminder you actually got stuff done.  Moms rock.

How was your week?

A woman’s work is never done. (Subtitle: My house is always dirty.)

image credit

I’m going to make a declaration about housekeeping that’s probably going to sound stupid.  I don’t claim this philosophy to be any doctrinal absolute, and I admit up front that it may be entirely motivated by rationalization; nevertheless, I’ve thought about this for several months and I’m ready to declare it true in the Book of Stephanie.  Ahem . . .

I don’t think we’re supposed to have a clean house. I think we’re supposed to WANT a clean house and work toward it.  This phrase from April’s General Conference about Mary and Martha’s house fit in perfectly with my philosophy on this:

“It was a welcome place for the Master, where He could rest and enjoy the surroundings of a righteous home.” ~ Elder Gregory A. Schwitzer

I think the Savior would rather hang out in a home where people are working together harmoniously (even in a very unfinished project) than where a mother on the verge of a nervous breakdown is screaming at her children to get their last sock off the floor, and they better not have left the hand towel on the floor when they just used the bathroom.  In fact, if he showed up at my house right now, I bet he’d sit on the floor next to me and help me fold laundry while we talked about important things.  But I’d miss out on that if I ran around like a freak trying to clear the counters and make the beds really quick before I paid him any attention. I think I’d even miss out on that if I sat down with him, but my mind was constantly focused on everything that was undone.

Don’t get me wrong, I still believe that “cleanliness is next to godliness,” and all that “house of order” stuff, but I believe what matters most is that we are consistently striving to make our home a place where the Spirit of God is welcome.  And if that’s our goal, be it in the early stages of chaos or the last load of laundry, for all intents and purposes, I think the Savior knows He’s invited.  And that’s all that matters.

GCBC Week 7: Of Things that Matter Most

“Of Things That Matter Most”
President Dieter F. Uctdorf
Second Counselor in the First Presidency

This talk is a perfect sequel to Elder Christofferson’s talk about consecrated living that we just read last week.  President Uctdorf reminds us what to focus on, and he communicates with testimony and example the same principles from King Benjamin that “it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength.”

This was one of my favorite talks from conference.  It made me realize that when I feel overwhelmed, I tend to react in a counter-productive way.

“If life and its rushed pace and many stresses have made it difficult for you to feel like rejoicing, then perhaps now is a good time to refocus on what matters most.”

I’m learning that the joy comes from the basics:  from choosing them, using them, and focusing on them.

Plus, this talk has one of the greatest laughs from conference, where President Uctdorf jokes about always speaking about airplanes.

Did you all receive your general conference edition of the Ensign in the mail by now?  I love to curl up with mine by the fire.  I felt full-blown famous when I realized they published my quote on p. 128 about you guys and what we do here.  I can’t think of any issue I’d be more excited to be a part of than the general conference edition.

So, how about you? What are your favorite moments or quotes from this talk?  Is there anything you learned here that you had not considered before?  What stood out to you as you studied it?  And, most importantly, what did it make you feel or want to do?