GCBC Week 9: “Children” by Elder Neil L. Andersen

Children are much less “popular” these days. They’re quite inconvenient. Some see them as a burden. Many see them as an option; not a natural, integral part of any family. Some people simply prefer pets. There’s a different climate in the world today about what family means and what our responsibilities are with respect to having and raising children. That’s why I love Elder Andersen’s clear voice of an apostle declaring the Lord’s position on children and family.

My own children have never been “convenient,” but they are absolutely part of God’s plan for me and my husband. (See him up there with my daughter?  I’m a lucky woman.) They are loved by their Heavenly Father, and He helps me become who I am supposed to be through them. And that’s a gift.

Children by Elder Neil L. Andersen

“It is a crowning privilege of a husband and wife who are able to bear children to provide mortal bodies for these spirit children of God. We believe in families, and we believe in children.”

What about this talk stood out to you?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.

To anyone who is checking out GCBC for the first time, the goal is to read one General Conference talk a week and discuss it together as an on-line “book club.”  If you want to learn more, go here, and join the discussion.

Life is hard, so I’m thankful.

Life on earth is what it is.  It’s not easy.  Some days we feel awash with struggles that seem overwhelming.  I sometimes do, and then I feel ridiculous because my trials are so small in comparison to some of the crosses that others carry with grace.  And while the contrast makes me feel petty, the reality remains that we each face things that are difficult for us.  It is part of God’s plan.

Life hurts.  Happy Thanksgiving.

Seems like a strange juxtaposition, but I feel so grateful that God’s plan gives meaning, direction, and support through the bumps of mortality.  I love knowing that whether my challenges are large or small, they are challenges that are part of God’s plan for me, and He will hold me in His hand and help me become who I can be.

Don’t be alarmed; I’m not passing through any dark or secret trials. As I’ve tried to focus on gratitude this week in preparation for Thanksgiving, I’ve felt blessed beyond measure.  However, I’ve recently seen some heavy burdens in the lives of people I know and love.  I wish I could fix things for them, but I can’t.  Jesus can.  And if He helps me when I have a silly bad day, He’ll help you when life takes turns that feel more than bad.  That’s exactly what He’s there for.

I watched both of these videos this week, and they have helped shape this particular measure of gratitude I’ve been feeling.  I hope you enjoy them and that they take you a step or two further in thanks.

VIDEO 1: Elder Nelson testifies that there is hope in trials.

VIDEO 2: The prophet Joseph Smith declares that our challenges polish us in glorious ways and bring us to the Savior.

[I couldn’t figure out how to embed it, but go here to see it.  It’s so good.]

I’m thankful that Jesus Christ lives and that His love and His gospel help us navigate our way through the ups and downs of life. Happy Thanksgiving, friends.

GCBC Week 8: “The Hearts of the Children Shall Turn” by Elder David A. Bednar

This past week I looked through a book that tells the life stories of my paternal grandparents. (That’s them up there at their 50th wedding anniversary, I think. Aren’t they so cute?) It made me feel nostalgic and so thankful for the legacy they’ve left behind for their children and grandchildren.  And even though they’ve both passed away, I’m pretty darn sure that they’re still very much alive.  And knowing them the way I do, I’m sure they’re actively involved in doing good work in the “great beyond.”  Anyway, among the many messages that Elder Bednar teaches in this talk, one of the things that I felt impressed to do was to help my children know their ancestors better.  We helped Grant to log on to newfamilysearch.org and he has actually quite enjoyed it.  I showed Natalie some pictures from my grandparents’ book and told her stories.  All I can hope is that by turning their hearts back towards the great people that came before them, they’ll have a better sense of the great potential that lies ahead of them.  I’d love to hear ideas of ways that you’ve involved your children in family history work.

The Hearts of the Children Shall Turn by Elder David A. Bednar

“My beloved young brothers and sisters, family history is not simply an interesting program or activity sponsored by the Church; rather, it is a vital part of the work of salvation and exaltation. You have been prepared for this day and to build up the kingdom of God. You are here upon the earth now to assist in this glorious work.”

What parts of his message stood out to you?  What are some action items you can take away from this talk?

To anyone who is checking out GCBC for the first time, the goal is to read one General Conference talk a week and discuss it together as an on-line “book club.”  If you want to learn more, go here, and join the discussion.

UPDATE:  I came across this link today.  There is a new app available where you can track your ancestors grave sites and headstones.  How cool is that?

I knew it.

See? I knew you were smart.  And helpful.  Wow, I got so much advice, I’m going to have to hire someone to help me figure it out.  The fact of the matter is that with grocery prices and gas prices both going up as much as they have (and growing, hungrier children + more carpooling and more gas use = higher needs in both categories), our current household budget is just not cutting it.  So I’m either going to have to rethink what we eat and our driving habits or figure out a way to increase the budget.  I’m assuming the best answer requires a little bit of both.

If you haven’t had chance, go back and read all the comments because there’s a lot of good stuff in there.  Also, Lacy rocked the answers to quick-and-easy-and-cheap Christmas gifts.  You should really check out her blog where she wrote me THREE posts with lists of ideas.  (Seriously? I have the best blog friends ever.)

And, in other news:  My baby is now five. (I realize that this makes my blog title totally outdated, but I don’t know what to do about that. It’s figurative now, I guess.)  I survived the party.  Here is some photographic evidence.

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Since you’re on a roll, I have one more advice question.  I used red hairspray in Natalie’s hair for Halloween (Strawberry Shortcake), but it STILL has not come all the way out. Any ideas?

Sure appreciate ‘ya.  (Said in my best Utah accent.)

Calling all wise ones…

I have questions, and you’re smart.

1. My food budget is not working for me right now.  Before every paycheck, we run out of grocery money.  And food.  I’m either a foolish grocery shopper or my food budget is simply not realistic.  Do you mind divulging what amount you budget for food and how many people are in your family?  (For example:  $400 a month for 5 people)

2.  How do you get boogers off the wall without taking off the paint?  As much as I’d like to pretend I wrote this question for comedic effect, I didn’t. *shaking head in disbelief*

3.  Has anyone ever used those silicone muffin tins or bread pans?  Do they work or are they more trouble than help?

4.  Natalie’s having a Rapunzel tea party for her birthday on Thursday.  I’m making these wig things for the girls to wear and they’re going to decorate each other’s braids with little flowers.  Then I was going to show the movie clip from Tangled where she dances at the festival.  I figured they could all dance around for a while.  I’ll have a cake (heaven help me, I’m trying to make a tower out of cupcakes) and “tea” (cream soda), but I don’t have anything else planned.  Anybody out there have any ideas for something really simple I could do to fill up the rest of two hours?  The wigs and tower cake have pretty much maxed out my creative threshold.

5.  I’d love to hear some of your best, inexpensive, and simple ideas for homemade Christmas presents.  Do you have a favorite go-to craft or treat for neighbors, teachers, extended family, etc.? Keywords:  cheap.  And did I already say simple?  Please don’t overestimate me.  🙂

So we all have different strengths and weaknesses, right?  I’m counting on you to fill in the gaping holes where my own talents fall short.  I can teach a mean gospel doctrine lesson, but all this crafty, homemaking stuff is given me a headache.

GCBC Week 7: “You Matter to Him” by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

[thanks to my friend Becca for the graphic]

After the general Relief Society session of general conference, all the online chatter confirmed that President Uctdorf’s “forget-me-not” metaphor had struck a chord with women throughout the church. He testified that we should not be discouraged in our efforts, and we should remember that God loves us and we are important to Him.  This is a message he continued to teach during the Sunday morning session of general conference.  I think it’s worth studying both talks as “two witnesses” of this principle of God’s love for us.

You Matter to Him  by Pres. Dieter F. Uchtdorf

“God sees you not only as a mortal being on a small planet who lives for a brief season—He sees you as His child. He sees you as the being you are capable and designed to become. He wants you to know that you matter to Him.”


Forget Me Not by Pres. Dieter F. Uchtdorf (RS Session)

“Sisters, wherever you are, whatever your circumstances may be, you are not forgotten. No matter how dark your days may seem, no matter how insignificant you may feel, no matter how overshadowed you think you may be, your Heavenly Father has not forgotten you. In fact, He loves you with an infinite love.”

These talks are both full of great quotes and stand-out phrases.  What doctrines and principles meant the most to you as you studied them?  Please share your insights in the comments below.

To anyone who is checking out GCBC for the first time, the goal is to read one General Conference talk a week and discuss it together as an on-line “book club.”  If you want to learn more, go here, and join the discussion.