Monday, December 28, 2009

Being Temperate in all Things

I found myself laughingly rueful as I read this week's talk. You see, its been Christmas, and I don't know anyone who makes temperance an important part of their feasting! However, as we'll learn from Elder Watson, "Being temperate in all things" is more than just a quality that keeps us from eating too much.
I was very interested to learn that temperance is a gift of the Spirit, implying that our perfect exercise of this divine attribute is contingent upon our worthiness to have the Spirit, our desire to have this gift, and the grace of the Savior.
It's a new year, and many of us have had to make changes to adjust to a changing economy, a changing world. I hope we can find the inspiration and grace to make these temperate changes joyfully, gratefully, gracefully.

Monday, December 21, 2009

What Have I Done for Someone Today?

Sometimes my life seems a little futile. The work I do each day is undone almost as soon as I do it, needing to be done again tomorrow in the never-ending circle that is housework. I know this work has value, and I know I'm blessed when I do it. It just seems that this particular kind of work doesn't last very long. I was impressed early in my marriage by the example of one particular sister in my ward. She was always about doing good. She served all the time. She didn't have to be asked to do a good deed, she didn't wait for the sign-up sheet in Relief Society, and she didn't wait to be called by the Compassionate Service Leader. She looked for needs and took care of them. She seemed to me to be Emma Smith incarnate. I wanted to be just like her. The work I do at home will show its value in the lives of my children, who will hopefully grow to be productive people who have learned to be responsible. The service I do will have eternal effects. I want to live a life that matters. Serving others is the only way I know how to do that.
President Monson's life is characterized by love and unselfish service. Who better, then, to talk on doing good for others in conference? "What Have I Done for Someone Today?" tells of the life of one extraordinary man and dozens of primary children and the service they all give. I hope we can be inspired this Christmas week to identify a need and serve!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Safety for the Soul

If Conference had a greatist hits album, this talk would be on it.

If you saw the Sunday afternoon session this last October, you surely remember Elder Holland's talk, "Safety for the Soul," and his powerful witness to the truth of the Book of Mormon. The good sister who taught our Relief Society lesson yesterday quoted it at length, and its been on my mind ever since. It seemed especially apporpriate to ponder on the Book of Mormon in the lead-up to Christmas for a few reasons:
--It's the Prophet's birthday next week (Dec 23)! No better way to say, "Thank you for your life'" than really appreciating what he sacrificed so much for.
--I hope it will remind us to read the Christmas story in the Book of Mormon to our children this year.
--Christmas is about Christ. The Prophet said, "I told the bretheren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding its precepts, than by any other book." To get nearer to Christ, read this powerful witness of Him!
The Book of Mormon saved my life! The Spirit I have felt as I read it, the knowledge of God's love for me, the powerful witness of the reality and infinity of the Atonement and the practical knowledge that allows me to put gospel principles to work in my life has given me a life of purpose and joy. I could not be who I am without this book! I know it is true. The people in this record are so real to me--indeed, I count Nephi as one of my best friends. He's been there for me many times, and he gets where I'm coming from. We understand one another. :) I love to read, and many books have affected my life, but no other book feels like the Book of Mormon. No other book actually gives me power to overcome myself. It is incomparable.
I invite you to share your own testimony of the Book of Mormon this week. I also challenge you to get a copy ( a lovely blue one, in the language of your choice!) and write your testimony in it. Then, make a goal and pray for Heavenly Father to guide you to someone who needs it. Don't be afraid. Just give the greatest gift you have to offer--the truth!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Attempting the Impossible

Though this would also be a great title of a blog chronicling my attempts to diet over the holidays, it is in fact the title of the talk we'll be studying this week. "Attempting the Impossible" is Elder Jorge F. Zeballos' thoughts on how the imposible, personal perfection and exaltation, is made posseble by the infinite atonement of Jesus Christ. As you contemplate your comments, keep in mind that part of the beauty of this little blog is gleaning from your sisters' thoughts. Its not the same without your testimony!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Relief Society: A Sacred Work

Alright girls; lets see a show of hands indicating who was scared or aprehensive or just plain mad to enter Relief Society. [counting hands...] I thought so.

I turned 18 early in my senior year, and having moved into a new ward on that birthday, I chose to attend Relief Society, rather than try to navigate the waters of a new Young Womens group. I am grateful for that decision to this day. I learned, for the first time, about sisterhood. I was overwhelmingly blessed to have the guidance, friendship, and above all, the love of more mature sisters in my ward. I am not a "Becky-Home-Ecky" and I am actually intimidated by large groups of women (Its actually why I talk so much, girls. I'm nervous ;) ). As I have gotten older, I have struggled a little bit with Relief Society--not particularly liking "Enrichment" (note the quotes), feeling like we focus too much on trivial things and don't expect gospel scholarship and critical thinking in our groups. I was humbled and chastened to read this week's talk by Sister Beck, "Relief Society: A Sacred Work." Sister Beck is the Relief Society General President, so one assumes she understands the purposes of Relief Society. I was inspired by her message and hope you will be too.
Now, I know we are all busy right now with the holidays and all our responsibilities. So, following the excellent advice of Nancy, I have a challenge! (A challenge, you say? I love a challenge! It fuels my competitive instinct! You don't have a competitive instinct? Fine. Then be sport and do it anyway.) Here's the deal:
1-Read the talk
2-Think about the talk
3-In ONE sentence, sum up your feeling about the talk.

Who doesn't have time to write a sentence? I have time to write a sentence. I like sentences. Its part of why I do this. So, lets get summarizing and add to each others' little bottles of oil. We can all use it during hectic, and often troubling times. Love you girls!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Moral Discipline

Sorry its a little late this week girl! Monday snuck up on me!

Its time we return to an Apostle. This week, we'll be reading Elder D. Todd Christoferson's talk, "Moral Discipline." This talk was at the least intriguing, and certainly inspired. We're taught in D&C 101 that the Lord sets watchmen on the tower, men who can see the enemy coming from far away. Our prohpet and apostles are these watchmen. Elder Christoferson sees, a way off, that the decline of our civilization is coming. He warns that a lack of discipline has created a need for more law. If we can't govern ourselves, we turn to the government to do it for us. On an individual note, when we fail to govern ourselves, we allow Satan to govern us, and trust me, he does not have our best interest at heart.

Looking forward to see what you have to say!

Monday, November 16, 2009

That Your Burdens May be Light

"Are you ever burdened with a load of care? Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?" It wouldn't be a good hymn if it didn't speak to all of us, would it? This week's talk comes from Elder L. Whitney Clayton of the Presidency of the Seventy. I hope we can all find a little something to make the load a little less heavy to bear.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Week 5: Hold On

We have been hearing a lot lately about how we are living in "difficult times," as if preceding times were a cake walk, or were somehow easier than the times before now. I know it seems like there is mounting pressure, opposition, and hardship, but our times are about as challenging as they were for our parents, and their parents, and their parents, and so on down to Adam! Life is challenging. That's why I so appreciated Ann M. Dibbs' talk, "Hold On." I love righteous women of God; they are so inspiring to me! I've looked on the Church's website for a brief bio on Sister Dibbs, but haven't found one. What I know of her is that she is President Monson's only daughter, that she was four when he was called as a mission president in Canada, and 11 when her father was called as an Apostle. Surely she has been well taught in the gospel!
I hope we can gain some strenth from her words. When we're done reading, lets take a little time and make ourselves a reminder to "Get a Grip!"

Monday, November 2, 2009

And also...

A big THANKS to Gwen for designing our header! Isn't she awesome?

Week 4: Seeking to Know God, Our Heavenly Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ

It's time to get back to the Apostles, sisters! We haven't read an apostle since week one--I figure if we do two a month, we should get through all of them by April. This week we'll read Elder Robert D. Hales' talk, "Seeking to Know God, Our Heavenly Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ." Elder Hales speaks simply but compellingly of our need to really know and build a relationship with both our Father and His Son. He seems to echo the concerns of Elder Oaks, fearing that a new and stronger spirit of secularism is penetrating our culture, and that this spirit threatens our religious freedom and, in conjunction, our freedom of speech. Remember sisters, these men are watchmen on the tower--they see danger coming from far off. We can be prepared for the enemy by heeding their words.
Have a good week!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Week 3: Preserving the Heart's Mighty Change

Thanks for coming back, dear sisters! I've already gained so much from you, and I hope you are feeling the Spirit as much as I am!

This weeks talk comes from Elder Dale G. Renlund Of the Seventy. It is entitled, "Preserving the Heart's Might Change." I thought, in addition to some background on Elder Renlund, I would add a few scripture references. I plan to use these in a FHE soon, and thought you may be able to use them too.
So, Elder Dale Gunnar Renlund learned early that nothing is more important than following the Lord. His parents, Mats and Mariana Renlund, taught him this principle by example. They met in Stockholm, Sweden, shortly after the end of World War II, and they wanted to marry, but only in the temple. They left their homes in Finland and Sweden, immigrated to Utah, and were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple.
Born on November 13, 1952, in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, Elder Renlund was raised in a home where the blessings received from following the Lord’s counsel were cherished. He was also blessed to live in his parents’ homeland twice: once as a teenager when his carpenter father was called to Sweden on a Church-construction mission and several years later as a full-time missionary for the Church in Sweden.
Elder Renlund met his wife, Ruth Lybbert, in their home ward. In June 1977 they were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple. Together with their daughter they have built a tightly knit family that works, plays, and serves together.
“We love doing things as a family,” Elder Renlund explains. “Everything we do is geared that way. If we play golf, we play as a threesome and share the same score.”
Elder Renlund earned a bachelor’s degree and doctor of medicine from the University of Utah and completed his training in internal medicine and cardiology at Johns Hopkins University. He dedicated his medical career to the subspecialty of heart failure and transplantation medicine as a teacher, researcher, and clinician.
Before his call to serve in the First Quorum of the Seventy, Elder Renlund served as a bishop, stake president, high councilor, and for nine years as an Area Seventy in the Fifth Quorum of the Seventy. He and his family currently reside in Salt Lake City, Utah.

I suggest looking at Alma 5, which deals with this subject as well. An Institute instructor of mine once referred to this chapter as "An Interview With a Prophet."

Happy reading!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Week Two: I Love Loud Boys

I really look forward to reading the talks from the priesthood session. Joe is not the same kind of listener as I am, nor does he have my obnoxiously accurate memory, so his second-hand report is often wanting. I suspect its also because he's a man, and men aren't talkers. Something like that.

Anyway, I've committed to trying to follow the Spirit when I chose the talk for the week, and I felt very drawn to this talk. It's by Elder Yoon Hwan Choi (I totally copied and pasted that name) and titled, "I Love Loud Boys." Here's a little background on Elder Choi:

Elder Yoon Hwan Choi of the Seventy says two 14-year-old boys brought his family into the restored Church.
Elder Choi was born on May 18, 1957, to Dong Hun Choi and Jeung Soon Lee. His father allowed Elder Choi and his siblings to choose any Christian religion, but they often argued over their different beliefs during dinner. His father wanted to change this. Impressed by the Mormon religion of Elder Choi’s 14-year-old brother, the family listened to the missionaries. After learning about another 14-year-old, Joseph Smith, they were all baptized.
Growing up, Elder Choi dreamed of becoming a general in the Korean army. So when his bishop asked him to speak about preparing for a mission, Elder Choi said no. Another young man spoke instead, which made Elder Choi feel guilty.
“The Holy Ghost told me I needed to serve a mission,” he says. He prepared for and served two years as a missionary, interrupted halfway through by three years of mandatory military service. To this day, Elder Choi says he and his wife, Koo Bon Kyung, “never deny anything that comes from the Lord.”
Elder Choi completed a bachelor’s degree in business information management from BYU–Hawaii in 1988 and a master’s degree in business information systems and education from Utah State University in 1989. He was an instructor at both universities, a sales manager, and an investment director for a venture capital company. He was a regional manager for temporal affairs for the Church in Korea.
Elder Choi and his wife were both born and raised in Seoul, Korea. They were married on September 25, 1982, and sealed one year later in the Laie Hawaii Temple. They have three sons. Before Elder Choi’s call to the First Quorum of the Seventy, he served as bishop’s counselor, bishop, high councilor, stake mission president, stake president’s counselor, stake president, and Area Seventy.

Elder Choi was called to the Seventy in April of this year. I believe this is his first General Conference talk.

I hope you enjoy it!

Monday, October 12, 2009

And so it begins....

I had been following a blog called the General Conference Book Club over at Diapers and Divinity, but I wanted to try to start my own for a few reasons.

1--While I enjoy the comments on the blog, I don't know those women. I want to hear the thoughts and testimony of sisters I know and love.

2--Mormon teaches us in Alma 31:5 that, "The preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just—yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them..." I wanted to share with women I love and young women I hope for the word, that we can all be edified together.

3--Pondering the word together and sharing our testimonies will help us build bonds of sisterhood. I need a LOT of sisters. :) I suspect you do too.

So let's get started!

Our first talk will be from Elder Neil L. Andersen, "Repent...That I May Heal You." Here's how it will work. Follow the link to the talk. Read it, study it, pray about it. Then, come back and share your thoughts or questions in the comments feed of this post.

I can't wait to hear what you sisters think. I'm so excited to share this with you!