This blog is not an official website of
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, nor is Lindsay their official spokesperson.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Recession Busters


Dear Readers,

So I make it my business to be familiar with the websites that are run by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I am so excited to share with you a resource that I recently found.

The ldscatalog website is now store.lds.org. Here you can buy all sorts of materials (scriptures, pictures, DVD's, music recordings, lesson manuals, etc.) that are approved for use by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. If it is approved for use in our Church than most certainly it would be wonderful to use in our homes!!!

They just highlighted the new Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Resource DVD. It sounds neat with a bunch of study aids to help further your testimony of the Restoration. However, I am especially excited about it because it includes several movies on it. These include Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration (originally shown in the Joseph Smith Building in Salt Lake City), Legacy, Only a Stonecutter, Mountain of the Lord, and I can't remember the fifth and it doesn't say. These are all films that I have wanted to own myself, but they have all been $4.50 a piece. Now you can get all of them for $4.50 (and all of the other pictures, etc)!!!  If you haven't been privileged to see their films than you are seriously missing out!!!

(Check out the Old Testament Resource DVD. It came out earlier this year, and I am sure the New Testament and Book of Mormon ones will be coming out in the coming months!)

I am so grateful that my parents saw the wisdom in keeping Church approved materials in our home. Back before the internet existed we would make a special trip to a Materials Distribution Center anytime we were in Utah so that we could buy pictures and movies to have around our house. As kids our rooms were decorated with posters of Christ and Church Standards instead of movie stars, and popular music artists.

I know we're all watching our money right now (yeah, updated our budget last night....ouch!), so as the Holiday Shopping season kicks off (not for me of course), I want to put in a word for store.lds.org. Buy your family and friends something from there. It is cheap, affordable (free shipping), and totally the type of uplifting thing that you want to give anyways.

Excitedly,
Lindsay

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Media Report


Dear Readers,

A long time ago I said that I was not going to watch a certain television show anymore.  Since that time I am happy to report that I have done that.  I haven't really been tempted that much, which is great.  Just a couple of days ago I was so close to looking up some new episodes, so I am here to publicly hold myself accountable that I will not watch this show.

After giving up this show I decided to give up two websites/ blogs.  I am happy to say that immediately from that decision I have never visited one of them again.  The other I continued to visit for a little bit of time, but I haven't been there in over a month and hereby publicly say I will not visit it again.

Go me!!!  That's mainly the point of this post, to be about me and my accountability, but........

Let's issue a challenge, eh?  Are you watching something that you know you shouldn't?  Are you reading something that you know you shouldn't?  Is there something that you totally know you should get out of your life, but you are too chicken to do so?

Don't let Satan have power over you.  Hold yourself to a higher standard than he would allow you to.

Decide today!  Tell your friends.  Tell me.  Make yourself be accountable and enjoy the blessings that come from clean living.

Cheers,
Lindsay

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Major Milestone


Dear Sister,

Guess what?!?!?!  Today I just indexed my 4000th name!!!!!! 


I know, make that 4018 according to the picture.  AND I have no intention of stopping.  After dinner I'll see how many more names I can do.

I also want to tell you how proud I am, because I have started indexing "intermediate" batches instead of just sticking to the "beginning" ones.  I never thought I'd see the day.  I have LOVED doing the WWII Draft Cards, but I will leave them to you.

I am so excited that you started to index with your husband.  What projects have you been doing?  Any of the census records from 1930?  Draft Cards?  Just curious.

So pumped!!!

Love,
Lindsay

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I'm Laughing Now


Dear Mother,

Check that, Mom.

Daughter has helped herself to some thread.
I am afraid to go upstairs.
On the plus side, it does add to my Halloween decor looking like a great big spider web. 

If I can manage to make my world-famous Mushroom Spinach Lasagna tonight then all will be well.  Husband is also on his way home and I believe he has made arrangements to be with me all evening.  There are still several hours in the day, but now I am back to the usual chaos.  I am laughing and I will read Elder Wirthlin's talk soon.

Lindsay

So Sad, It's Funny


Dear Mother,

Mommy, when are you coming to visit me?  I need to snuggle up in your arms and let someone else worry about the responsibilities of the world.

Today was awful  and it's not even over yet.  I'd keep eating cookies, but the package is empty, so I can't.  Luckily there were only a few left otherwise then I'd have one more thing to feel bad about.  (How will I ever fit in my skinny jeans?)

It all started this morning.  The foundation man came to our house today.  We have been suspecting some foundation problems for awhile as doorways have been shifting, etc.  I actually have been quite paranoid about it, so when we had that earthquake kind of recently I flipped out.  I was ready to move, because  I thought the house was just going to fall down.  It is a good thing I found out it was an earthquake.  Well, the owners finally decided to get it looked at, which is why Mr. Foundation showed up.

In my mind, I think he's going to look at the OUTSIDE of my house, you know at the foundation.  NO, he wants to see the inside of my house.  The inside of my house that shows, yep she's been sick for over a week and hasn't cleaned a thing.  It might not have been so bad, if the house had been clean before all of the infections, but it wasn't.  So I have clutter on top of clutter.  In addition, someone just generously gave us a bunch of hand me downs, large hand me downs (i.e. ballet bar, bike, shopping cart, etc. yeah large).  And there's more, yesterday we had some family pictures taken which means that every single piece of clothing in our house has been looked at over the past couple of days to determine what we all should have worn.

Why oh why did the problem have to be in MY bedroom.  No one goes in someone's bedroom.  That's like your secret place where you can stash everything.  (You know, like a giant pile of stuff to go to Goodwill.....and massive stacks of other things)

Why was the kitchen one of the other problem spots?  I had done a load of dishes before Mr. Foundation came, but with dishes even on the ground, and an unswept floor it was pretty bad.

I was mortified out of my mind, not to mention, I couldn't hear half of what he said, because Daughter was banging on the piano and my ears are still not draining properly which makes me think I'll have to try the other antibiotic.....boo.

I kept telling myself that I am sure he's seen worse.  I also knew, he probably didn't care, so I kept all of my excuses to myself.  Also, I was pretty positive that he wanted to stay Mr. Foundation instead of having to listen to my excuses as Mr. Therapist. :)

He left...I didn't cry.  I knew it wasn't that bad.  I just wished it hadn't of happened.

Part 2

I order some pictures on-line to be printed at the store at 12:35.  They are supposed to be done at 1:35.  I think in my head that we will get the pictures (at 1:35) and Daughter will fall asleep on the way home.  At 12:44 there is an email that says my pictures are ready to be picked up.  I take Daughter to the store.  At 1:35 there is nobody to be seen.

I wait and wait and wait.  I ask around for help.  Some non-picture people discover that my pictures actually HAVE NOT been printed (or like 4 other orders which should have been), which would mean "not ready" to be picked up like the email says.  I ask for a manager, because I am trying to figure out how the picture person went to lunch without doing my pictures.

At this time, oh like 1:50 the picture person shows up and says to give her 5-10 minutes.  Daughter is completely squirmy so we go browse around a store that I don't want to browse around.  Daughter finds glass.  Daughter finds things when we go to stores.  I want to go home.  I don't feel good.  My ears hurt.  After 5-10 minutes I wrestle Daughter back to the picture counter.

Pictures are printing.  I am annoyed, but I wait.  The machine stops printing pictures.  Where is the picture person?  Helping another customer pick out a digital camera, a task that could have taken who knows how long.  I wait a few minutes, and when it is clear that the picture person isn't going to do anything about my pictures I approach her and ask if the pictures are done.  Maybe she printed them first?  (Wouldn't that make sense, if she knew I was waiting for them?)

She says to me, "I don't know.  I am helping another customer.  I'll give them to you for free."  I say, "I understand that, I just have been waiting for 25 minutes and my daughter needs to leave."  I don't care about saving my 39 cents.  My money had already been counted out and sitting on the counter, just waiting for her to give me my pictures.  Eventually she goes back to the machine and then has to reload it with paper!!!!!!!  It wasn't really done.  The other orders are like for hundreds of prints and I just stand there watching and waiting.

At this point.....Daughter has an accident in her pants, complete with yellow puddle on the floor.  For the next 10 minutes I hold her (read: wrestle and wrangle), so she doesn't walk through/ play in  the puddle.  She has a wet spot on her.  I have a wet spot on me.  Yuck.  There are other customers in the area and I am just so embarrassed, because of course if I had gotten my pictures at 1:35, even 1:45, this would not have happened.  I hope that no one knows we are the culprits.  What am I supposed to do?  Do I get paper towels? I could have told Picture Woman, but I was too embarrassed and didn't want to create any more scene.

The picture person finally comes back and sorts all 300+ million pictures of these other orders.  After like 5 more minutes of this (NO JOKE), THEN she prints my 2 pictures.  (This couldn't happen at the same time?!?!?)  At 2:15 I am driving home.  I cried.  and cried.

I know.  This happens to everyone.  Everyone has a body fluid story to share.  Everyone has body fluids period, so I don't know why they embarrass me so much.

This makes me think of that conference talk by Joseph B. Wirthlin about how you need to laugh at everything.  Maybe later tonight, after Husband gets home I will read it.  That will require me to come out of my black pit of misery.  I am trying.  I am getting there.  Every minute that passes gets better, but Husband said that he'd still call the manager for me.  I am trying to figure out why they would invite me to pick up my unprinted pictures!?!??!

I am human.  I am like everybody else.

Miss you!

Love,
Lindsay

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Let's Start at the Beginning


Out of the Mouth of Prophets - Part 1

Dear Readers,

In thinking about all of the great talks that were in General Conference, it is hard to choose where to begin.  So for today, let's start at the beginning.

Our prophet, Thomas S. Monson opened up the Conference with a talk titled "As We Meet Together Again".  I had technical difficulties and so missed his initial words.  Husband had the idea to listen to it on the radio while watching a silent video stream.  When we tuned in the first words we heard were:
"Now, before we hear from our speakers this morning, may I mention a matter close to my heart and which deserves our serious attention. I speak of missionary work."
 After going back and re-reading what I have missed, though 5 new temples are exciting, I too am still thinking about missionary work.

Pres. Monson addressed different groups of people.  These included, young men preparing for missions, young sisters being welcomed to serve missions, mature brothers and sisters, and me.
"To those of you who are not yet to the season of life when you might serve a couples mission, I urge you to prepare now for the day when you and your spouse might do so. As your circumstances allow, as you are eligible for retirement, and as your health permits, make yourselves available to leave home and give full-time missionary service. There are few times in your lives when you will enjoy the sweet spirit and satisfaction that come from giving full-time service together in the work of the Master."
Husband and I have already been discussing our mission for awhile.  Doesn't that sound so awesome?  I look forward to the companion study time (something that is elusive to us now, more than I would like it to be).  I told Husband that if we have any more kids then it will delay when we can go. :)  I asked him if we could make a countdown chain until we could go, but he didn't like that idea either.  I explained that I was just thinking by the month, or year, but still a no-go.  Alas, I will just have to settle for my personal preparation.

In addition to my daily scripture study and prayer, I am going to start studying from Preach My Gospel.  Preach My Gospel is the manual that missionaries study out of to prepare for their missionary service and they use it to teach their lessons.  Everyone is also encouraged to study it in addition to the missionaries.

Missionary work (share this with a friend) has been a subject of conversation in our house over the past few weeks.  I invited my friend to attend church with me.  There was an article in the Ensign that Husband and I discussed to great length.  Husband attended a training meeting with Elder Zwick of the Seventy this past week and came home and shared some things with me.  Because this was a local meeting there will be no printed documentation or recording for me to link you too.  I am very sorry.

When Elder Zwick was called into the Seventy, it was the same conference when President Hinckley was called to be the prophet (April, 1995).  He also was in the first meeting in the Salt Lake Temple where Pres. Hinckley presided as the prophet.  At that meeting, Pres. Hinckley stood up and said that there was one matter that weighed on him than anything else.  "What more can we do for our missionaries?"  Then Pres. Hinckley talked about people getting baptized and entering the Church through the front door, but then leaving out the back door.  Next, he read Mormon 6:17-20 (click here to read) describing his sorrow over those leaving the Church.

Starting from this meeting/ declaration, changes to the missionary program began.  Elder Ballard has repeatedly spoken on Councils and missionary work, "the bar" was raised (2002), the first ever World Wide Leadership Training (2003) was about missionary work (no link, as it must be ordered from Salt Lake, this was broadcast to missionaries), and finally Preach My Gospel was published (2004).

Elder Zwick also pointed out that all of the Apostles gave major contributions to the manual.  Each one of them had different personal strengths that helped to shape the manual into its final product.  Another point that Elder Zwick made was that all of the Apostles' lives were extended to allow this to happen.  The Apostles that were present when President Hinckley first asked for more to be done for the missionaries were alive when Preach My Gospel was published.  This was in June 2004 and Elder Maxwell and Elder Haight died just a few weeks later.

Hearing this information that Husband shared with me was so neat.  I had never heard this before and I am guessing a lot of others haven't either (which is why I wanted to share it with you)!!!  Is this not completely amazing?!?!?!  No apostles died from 1995-2004 even though Elder Maxwell was diagnosed with cancer and Elder Haight was in his 90's.

Putting 2+2 together, this is what I am getting.

1.  Pres. Hinckley (a prophet, the mouthpiece for God) thought that missionary work was so important that in his first meeting as the prophet, called for change.
2.  Pres. Monson (the next prophet, and NOW the mouthpiece for God) just called missionary work "a matter close to my heart and which deserves our serious attention" in his very first chance to address his worldwide audience in this conference.
3.  A prophet is the mouthpiece for God to the people on the Earth.  If a prophet says something then it is the same as if God spoke down from the heavens.
4.  The Lord wanted Preach My Gospel to happen just right that he extended the lives of several men.
5.  I, Lindsay, better think that missionary work is important and start doing a lot more of it!!!
6.  I, Lindsay, better start utilizing Preach My Gospel much  more than I am now.
7.  Anyone reading this better substitute their name on #5 and #6.

Fear, fear, and more fear.  That is how I used to always think of missionary work.  Missionary work and fear were always in the same sentence for me.  They went together like peanut butter and jelly.

Missionary work is just befriending someone and then extending an invitation to them.  I do this all the time.  I can make friends and I invite people to try out different stores, brands, foods, music, why not church?  Sometimes I have to practice and that's okay.  It sometimes makes me nervous to invite someone to read this blog.  I think I have invited less than 15 people to read my blog.  It is easier to just let 80% of my readers come from other invitations besides mine.  It should be easy though.  "Hey, I have a blog where I talk about things that are important to me.  I think you might like it."  or if it was you, "Hi.  Sometimes I read this girl's blog.  It makes me think about what I believe and I kind of like that.  Let me share the address with you."  See, it shouldn't hard, but sometimes it just is.

I will have to do better.  I have been doing better, I just need to keep it up.

I am grateful for the prophet.  I am grateful for missionary work.  I am grateful that Husband was where he needed to be so that I could learn these things from Elder Zwick.

If you wish to watch this conference address by President Monson, click here.  Just find this talk, and watch, download, whatever you want.

Yay for conference.  Yay for this new series.  Sorry it is kind of late tonight, but I had some family stuff happen today that needed to be addressed.  AND it takes a little bit of time to make sure my references are correct!  I do take my links very seriously and you should too.  I am getting the vibe that most of you are not clicking on them, which is fine, your choice, they're here for your benefit.  It's your loss, not mine.  Get my point?  Don't cheat yourself out of the best stuff.

Does anyone have any great missionary tips or stories to share?  What did you enjoy from this talk?  My email is lettersfromlindsay at gmail dot com.

Smilingly,
Lindsay

Friday, October 22, 2010

New Series


Dear Readers,

The time has come.  I am going to start posting about General Conference.  This will be a series of posts highlighting the different talks and what was meaningful  to me.  It will be called "Out of the Mouth of Prophets".  It will begin tomorrow, October 23rd marking three weeks from when the first session was held.

Have you already forgotten that we even had Conference?  I think this is a great time to start, because minds need reminding and it is too early for the Conference issue of the Ensign to be out.

This series will run whenever.  I am not going to post it everyday for a month, for there are about 28 talks.  I will post them when I feel it is right to post them.  That is how I decide which letter to write, by listening to the Spirit.  I typically have about 15 drafts at a time.  Sometimes the letter has been written and sent to its recipient, but it has to wait to be posted here.  Sometimes, I just have a title or idea that kicks around for awhile, because it is something that I am thinking about.  Sometimes these drafts fade away and eventually are deleted, because I feel it's not what Heavenly Father wants posted.

Lastly, for the sake of simplicity I will abbreviate the label to "OMP - Oct 2010".  (The OMP is for "Out of the Mouth of Prophets", just in case anyone got lost :)  This way it will be easy to find all of these Conference Posts.

Because I can't leave you without making you better....


I am so excited to share these things with you.  Re-watching the highlights video just made so excited!!!

Excitedly,
Lindsay

Thursday, October 21, 2010

"Tune In" About The Holy Ghost


Dear Husband,

I felt rushed telling you this on the phone, so writing it out will definitely be much better.

This is what I meant about the Holy Ghost.

"And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things." Moroni 10:5

Many times the Holy Ghost has been compared to a radio broadcast.  Even in this talk does Pres. Faust talk about that.  He says:
"My first radio was a crystal set. It was hard to tune to the frequency of a particular radio station. I had to literally scratch the receiving wire whisker over the top of the rough crystal to find the right pinpoint, a little valley or peak on the crystal where the signal was received. Just a millimeter off on either side of that point and I would lose the signal and get scratchy static. Over time, with patience and perseverance, good eyesight, and a steady hand, I learned to find the signal point on the crystal without too much difficulty.
So it is with inspiration. We must attune ourselves to the inspiration from God and tune out the scratchy static."
 I have heard this analogy a lot and it is fairly popular to repeat throughout our Church.  It is a good comparison to show that there are things that we must do personally to receive that inspiration/ promptings of the Holy Ghost.  It also shows that there isn't a lot of room for error in our life.  We must choose to follow the commandments to be "in tune", or if we choose ungodly things then we forfeit our opportunity to hear the broadcast and instead hear the "scratchy static".

This is a great analogy.  However, in my recent learning I have more to say about the Holy Ghost.  Because of this analogy I have always thought of the Holy Ghost as radio station.  Well, I realized recently that I was thinking that the Holy Ghost was like a radio station in the 1920's instead of a radio station now.

In the 1920's, radio stations were a newer novelty.  Depending on the area, stations could vary greatly with their programming.  Some stations only had a few programs throughout the day.  They had their broadcasts when they thought listeners were most available to listen, many times avoiding mealtimes.  Stations that did have non-stop programming still signed off every night following their evening program.  No station had a continuous broadcast as they do now.

I used to think that was how the Holy Ghost worked.  True, I just didn't really think about it, but I thought he was just there when I wanted to listen.  We do call him the Gift of the Holy Ghost.  He is my gift from Heavenly Father and I thought it was up to me to say when I used my gift.  I could pray to Heavenly Father and ask for the gift of the Holy Ghost to comfort me, guide me, etc.

I now realize that Holy Ghost is as modern as any radio station.  He will always be on the cutting edge and up to date with what is going on.  He will have the right information to broadcast AND he is ALWAYS there.  He doesn't have breaks in his programming like I originally thought.  He doesn't just snap to action and "come on the air" if I want him too.  He is trying to tell me things 24/7.  He has things to tell me, guide me, warn me, etc. even when I am not asking for it.

If I live my life worthy of this awesome gift, then I will hear so much more of what he is trying to say to me.  This will be in the form of inspiration and promptings as thoughts, actions, etc.  Once I hear these things THEN I can act upon them and TRULY(!!!) be an instrument in the Lord's hands.

Isn't that so cool?

I totally feel like I am beginning to hear what the Holy Ghost is saying as my constant companion.  To reiterate, before I thought that He only spoke when spoken too.  Now I realize that he is my constant companion that is always guiding me, unless I offend the Spirit (Him) then he shuts up and waits to be acknowledged again.

Can't wait for our date tonight! and P.S. I totally have to find something to wear for Monday.  Help, please!  P.P.S.  Read the article by Pres. Faust.  You won't regret it.

Love,
Lindsay

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Baby Mine 2


Dear Daughter,

Here is the picture that totally started the previous letter to you.  I don't know how I forgot to include it.

I love your eyes and long long eyelashes.

Heavenly Father made you beautiful.

I am so glad that I am your Mom.  Mosiah 4:14-15

Love,
Lindsay

Monday, October 18, 2010

Baby Mine


Dear Daughter,

I can't believe how grown up you are.  Everyday you change and become less baby and more grown up.  I don't even know that I can call you a baby at all anymore.  I have no reason that I can think of.

You can open up doors, help set/ clear the table for dinner, drink from a cup, use silverware, are over 3 feet tall (that's tall enough for roller coasters!!!), sing songs, recognize the prophet, Thomas S. Monson and all 12 of the Apostles by sight (totally amazing, I still am in awe!).  You can jump up and down, know how to hold and turn pages in a book, climb stairs with no help, reach the light switches, mastered potty training, express yourself with a million vocabulary words (I wish I knew the exact number, because it is numerous).  You can put together puzzles, count to 15, know all of the ABC's, and can recognize most shapes and colors.  You already know how to pray and love to read scripture stories.  Some of these things I have listed off you have been doing for almost a year!  Some of these things you learned late spring/ early summer, and every day your wealth of knowledge continues to increase.

I love you so much.  I love your kisses.  I love your hugs.  I love that you will offer these any time that you feel like it.  I love that you want to use words so that we can carry on conversations and communicate our needs to each other.  I love how you love other children.  My heart aches that we are not able to provide you with a sibling at this time, because I know that you would be the best big sister ever.  You would not be jealous.  I know that you would help Mom.  I have seen how you care for your baby doll.  I love that you play the piano everyday.  I can tell that you are progressing very well though I have not shown you anything yet.  You will be very skilled and I hope that someday you will share this talent with others.  I love to sing and dance with you.  I love that you know so many songs.  I can tell that you understand so much of what Dad and I say, though you are still figuring out how to process it all and share back with us how you want to sometimes.

I know that sometimes Mom and Dad help a lot of people.  We help a lot of children and sometimes that takes away from our time with you.  Sometimes we think about our inability to have children, but I want you to know that we love you.  We love you right now.  We know that this is a special time while you are learning so many things and someday you won't be this age anymore.  I am trying not to be distracted, because I don't want to look back someday and realize that I missed it.  I don't want to regret that I kept looking to the future "when you were older and things would be different".

I wanted to take a minute right now, to stop, and tell you that I love you.  No distractions, no other children on my mind, for indeed I am lucky to be your Mom.  You were right when you said tonight at dinner that Mom and Dad are the luckiest parents in the world.

 Heavenly Father made you beautiful.
 You will be a great mommy.
 You have a beautiful smile.
I love you.  Dad does too.

Love,
Lindsay

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Reflections and Remembrances


Dear Mother,

How did your practice go today?  Our Primary Sacrament Meeting presentation was absolutely wonderful.  It went even better than I ever anticipated.  I hope that yours turns out just as well.

The Junior Primary classes either said an Article of Faith or scripture together.  We set up a microphone that they could all cluster around.  The Senior Primary classes had other parts to say based on the monthly themes out of the Primary Outline.  I asked the oldest class to write their own talks.  Instead of just giving them a topic (one of the monthly themes), I wrote out a series of questions that I wanted them to answer in their talks.  By including all of the answers in their talks, they covered everything that I wanted, but with a much more personal touch than if I had tried to write something for them.  They all did so well.  I was pleasantly surprised by the things that they had written.

The songs were intermixed with the speaking parts as usual.  At the end of our program, we let each child say "My name is ________ and I know that my Savior loves me."  For the last month in Closing Exercises we have been talking about bearing our testimonies and that we wanted the parents to feel the Spirit and let the Holy Ghost talk to them.  For many Primary children they don't really know if they have a testimony, let alone how to share it with others.  It has been neat to talk about this with them and help to know how to testify (i.e. talk in a loud clear and slow voice with power, like you mean it).

I always love seeing the children once the program is over.  They feel like a million bucks, especially after hearing some compliments and it always shows on their faces.  The big smiles and chests bursting with pride are so precious to me.  I would love to know how I could capture this feeling and bring it back more than just the one Sunday a year, but I know that it comes from the accomplishment of a job well done.

Now that the presentation is over, 3 things keep sticking in my mind.

1.  Right before we sang "He Sent His Son", I looked over at the piano to see if I could offer my student one last word of encouragement.  His eyes were closed, his hands were clasped, and his lips were forming the words of a silent prayer.  I was so touched.  Here, a ten year old knew the power of prayer and that he could ask for help to play his song.  Suffice it to say, I turned around and walked away without saying anything, realizing that he was getting more help from God than I would have been able to offer.  He played beautifully.  It was the best that I have ever heard him play it.  I am sure that he will focus on the few minor bobbles that he had, but I hope that he doesn't.  I hope that he remembers that he played in front of an audience of over 100 people, that he accompanied a group of 40 singers, and most importantly that because he was willing to share his talents, people were taught the gospel.

2.  All of the kids gave their parts really well with no major meltdowns.  One girl sticks out in my mind.  She was so nervous that she was shaking during the two songs prior to her part.  She isn't a strong reader, and she knows it, which added to her nervousness.  Even during the practice with an empty chapel, she was still shaky.  I stood by her side.  I held her with my arms around her while she read.  As she spoke, a tear fell on my hand.  I was surprised as her voice didn't sound like she was crying.  She didn't give up.  She didn't wimp out and ask for her parents.  This was a major accomplishment for this girl.  I think this stands out to me as an example for all of the kids.  This presentation is a major accomplishment for all of them and they all rose to the occasion and did wonderfully.

3.  It was so sweet to hear all of the children individually say their name and that they knew that their Savior loved them.  We have several children in our primary with needs, but a few with special needs.  To hear a little girl M. say this with her physical and mental limitations was so priceless.  The Savior's love is endless, he truly does know everyone by name and is the Savior to all, no matter how they are.  Everyone is special and loved by our Heavenly Father.

I love my Primary children, just as I know that you love yours.  I am also beginning to see why you have always loved to be in Primary.

Love,
Lindsay

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Don't Say That


Dear Friend R,

Oh, do I have some things to say to you.  I haven't found the most tactful way to say them yet, which is why I haven't said them to your face, and I probably won't send you this letter.

Why do you say what you say?

Alright, let's get right to the point.

I know that you are angry.  I know that you are upset that things aren't going how you want them too.  I am guessing that you feel alone and like nobody understands.  Guess what, things aren't going how anyone wants them too, so really you are like everyone else.  Also, there is the atonement.  Christ always knows what you feel like, but more on that later.

I also know what you are saying to other people.  Why do you insist on tearing them down?  I have a guess.  It is because you suffer from low self-esteem.  You think you have to say put-downs to others in order to put yourself up.  I wish you understood your place in God's plan and how precious you are as a child of God.  If you understood that then you wouldn't have to artificially inflate yourself through the deflating of others.  That took me many years to learn, that everyone can be inflated at once.  Everyone is equally important to Heavenly Father all of the time.  When I was going through some of the same things that you are going through, I too felt so low that I was tempted to say things to others to tear them down.  I was so desperate to receive that brief "high" that I continued to make disparaging remarks to others even though I knew it was wrong.

Now that I have learned this about myself I sometimes catch myself doing it.  It is the days that I feel down about myself that I am the most critical of others, my spouse, my life, my house, etc.

Please change.  You are on a very destructive path.  While you may damage other people, you will do the most damage to yourself, and that is saying something, because it is such a sad sin to make people believe that they are less than they are.

Turn to Jesus Christ.  He can take this burden and make it light, if you want Him too.  The choice is yours.  He won't make it for you.  The atonement has an expansive reach that will cover this and anything else that is currently bothering you (i.e. the things that are making you to have a low self-esteem).

Sorry to have such a biting tone, but there have been many times that I have been the only person to stand up for you in a conversation.  Everyone else is starting to give up on you, that you will ever change.  Your fan base is diminishing and unless you make some changes, there won't be anyone left.  I, however, refuse to give up on you, because I know your potential.  I have seen it.  I refuse to overlook the good things that you are doing now even though they are being overshadowed by the amount of bad choices that you are making.  I understand why your detractors feel the way that they do, but I think they are wrong to focus only on the negative you.

Prove them wrong.  Temper your tongue, and try to lift up others rather than tear them down.

Regrettably,
Lindsay

Friday, October 15, 2010

My Successes


Dear Friend P,

Over the past few weeks I have seen the word "fail" everywhere.  In news articles, blogs, websites, conversations, too many places to be a coincidence.  There are whole websites devoted to finding the failures of others, but it also appears that it is cool and popular to find personal "fail".  That seems almost worse.

I am concerned about how negative our culture has become.  I don't know if negative is the right word, but the idea that we are supposed to talk ourselves down.  Do people really feel that crummy about themselves?  Are we ALL having such self-esteem issues that we put ourselves down in order to gain acclaim with others?  Ridiculous, if you ask me.  I like me for me, and so I want to tell you about some of my successes.

At the gym recently, a man stopped my husband to tell him what good running form I have.  That meant THE WORLD to me.  Apparently, I am a good runner with good form that will prevent injuries for the rest of my life!

At the gym also a few weeks ago there were a bunch of muscular men lifting weights.  Now they weren't doing anything to be intimidating except for using the same machines as I was, but using 3-5 times the weight that I use.  Yeah, kind of embarrassing to move the pin from 100 lbs. to 20 lbs, but I told myself to buck up and go lift my normal routine, which I did.  I was glad that I was brave and loved me enough to conquer my fears.

I also just invited my friend P to attend church with me.  I have always been deathly afraid of inviting anyone to church, because my beliefs were attacked in high school, so it made me never want to share them.  This might be an easy thing for a lot of people, but an accomplishment of a huge fear for me!

I have crafted a lot lately, and someone even complimented me on my card-making skills!  Kind of hard to tell I know, but I didn't want to take an individual picture of each one!  The one with the witch hat and broom says "Best Witches".  It is embossed.  Okay, so the picture doesn't really do them any justice.
 
I am a great cook.  We have been making yummy food and trying new recipes for lots of things.  I have decided that I LOVE macaroni salad (pictured here, and yes I don't use macaroni noodles).  I am thinking that I am related to whoever invented the macaroni salad recipe!
I am trying new projects.  Anybody want to guess what Daughter is going to be for Halloween?  Hint: It's not finished in the this picture.

Also with this picture, it shows a new shirt that I bought.  I have been making a lot of excuses when it comes to shopping for new clothes.  What good is losing weight if you look awful in your old clothes?!?!?!  With Husband's help I have finally picked out some things that fit more properly.  Yay for the skinny me!
I know I am not perfect and I am constantly working on improving myself.  BUT, I always have to stop and remember that the me that I am trying to improve is still really great, and not one great big "fail".

This makes me think of President Hinckley's talk to the youth where he gave us the "six B's".  I remembering sitting at that fireside hearing these and how they have shaped my life since that time.  I have often remembered them, as they have helped me to become my best successful self.

I am successful.  I am happy.

Successfully,
Lindsay

Thursday, October 14, 2010

God Loves All of His Children


Dear Brother,

Did you turn on the t.v. after I called?  Watching those thirty-three miners be rescued in Chile was truly amazing.  I wish you were here to translate for us.  Husband says that Chileans speak Spanish weird, but he also says that you would say that Spaniards speak Spanish weird. :)  I just want to know what they were saying during their chant.  I got the "Chi, Chi, Chi, Le, Le, Le" part, but that's it.

I have some reflections as I have decided that this story is the poster-child for hope.  I also still am in a state of disbelief or shock, even though the whole ordeal is over.  I admit that I casually followed the story the past few months, expecting to hear that it ended in death.

1.  These men and their families exhibited an insane amount of hope.  The day they went missing, their families set up camp at the mine.  These men went missing August 5th.  Do you know where I was August 5th?  I was with you.  We were at the family reunion, water skiing and goofing off together.  August 5th was way before school started, way before piano lessons started, a whole month before Labor Day (which seems forever ago!), etc.  I have Halloween decorations now.  Sixty-nine days is a really really long time, and these miners and their families were able to maintain hope.

2.  These men spent the first 17 days in darkness.  Where was I seventeen days ago?  That even seems an eon ago.  Now imagine spending all of that time in physical darkness with little food.  If it were me, I don't know how I could have kept my Spirit from slipping into darkness and despair.  I know these miners did think they were going to die in the mine at first, but still.  Would I have given up after 3 days? a week?  Surely I wouldn't have lasted 17?!?!?!

3.  The second  to the last man who was pulled from the mine had a baby born while he was in the mine.  Are you kidding me?  I too have given birth without my husband with me, but I cannot even imagine the strength and hope of this man's wife.  When I gave birth, Husband was on the phone with me throughout a lot of it.  He was also to buy a plane ticket to make it back to be with me and the baby approximately 12 hours after she was born.  Husband didn't miss that much.  This woman had to give birth without her husband and then he missed the whole first month of his daughter's life.  He didn't get to hold his daughter whom they named "Esparanza (Hope)".  He didn't get to see her wrap her little fingers around his, see the first bath, and all of the growing that happens in that first month.  There was a chance this little baby might never have known her father.

4.  The President of Chile recognized that the hand of the Lord was present throughout this process.  In two different speeches he said that they needed to praise God.  I think it is wonderful that would remember to thank Heavenly Father for all of his help, because truly this was an amazing feat that He helped with.  That the rescue happened so smoothly and ahead of schedule is no coincidence.

5.  Lastly, when the final miner was rescued the President of Chile asked everyone to remove their hard hats, place them over their hearts and sing the Chilean National Anthem.  They sang it with such gusto.  It was so neat to watch this display of nationalism.  It makes me want to display an American flag to remind myself that I too am proud of my country.  I am proud of Chile for this accomplishment in their country and hope that ours can learn from it.

Yes, God loves all of his children.  It doesn't matter where any of them reside on Earth, the color of their skin, the language that they speak.  Heavenly Father's Plan applies to all.  He wants us all to return to live with him again.

I love you brother.

Love,
Lindsay

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Perfect Love


Dear Sister,

Time goes by so quickly.

My soul is still anguished over my flaw.  However, my life hasn't stopped.  I still have responsibilities.  People still expect things out of me. I feel like I am living two different personas right now.  The one full of godly sorrow and the other one that must meet everyone's needs and wants.  The Primary Sacrament Meeting Presentation is coming up so I can't just disappear and nurse my own wounds.  Everyone asks me questions and wants answers.  I try to listen, but my head gets lost as it is wading through so many other thoughts about the thing I want to change about myself.  I tried to suggest to someone that somebody else could be in charge, but that didn't go over well.  Okay, enough about that.  I don't want it to take away from why I am really writing.

Last Thursday I was teaching piano lessons.  One of my students is going to accompany "He Sent His Son" for the Primary Sacrament Meeting Presentation.  This is one of my favorite students (okay, I'd say that about any of them!!!), but seriously this kid is great.  Once when we were learning the Indiana Jones Theme Song, he says "Wait, a minute."  Then he proceeds to jump up and go get this fedora hat to wear to put him in the right mood to play the song!  He seriously makes me smile inside all of the time.  He is at an age where taking piano lessons isn't necessarily cool and might not do it if his parents weren't making him, but he is the best sport about it, and our lessons are so fun.

So, I assigned this song in July knowing that the presentation was in October.  I also knew that it was going to be a challenge for him as it was above his level, but I decided that the benefits that he would get out of learning it and the accompanying experience was worth it.

Over the past few months I have been anxiously checking in with him at lessons to see where he is on the progress of the song.  Every week, it is never as far as I would have hoped.  I never show my disappointment, but I secretly worry, because I know that the day of presentation is quickly coming and he will face a final judgment when it is time to accompany 40+ singers.  How well he performs will be directly linked to these three months of work.  I always look forward to the next time we can touch base at our lessons, but sometimes I can tell he is not excited to see me as piano lessons are an inconvenience to him and not as fun as other things he could be doing.

To help him on this journey I have eliminated other distractions so that we are solely working on this one song.  I have written in fingerings for EVERY NOTE of the song!  I have helped him clap, count and play various lines.  We slow things down to isolate the "trouble spots".  We celebrate any small accomplishment, because we know how important it is to reaching the final goal.

I have said everything I could possibly think of to say.  I have chastised.  I have encouraged.  I have played the song for him as an example so that he could see what it was like.  I have spoon fed him all that I could.

Yet, the song still struggles.  I cannot make him follow the fingerings or to count out loud.  I have no control over how he practices.  He has his agency to choose to follow my directions or not.  I can only hope that he chooses to follow the guidance that I have given him because I have laid it all out for him.  Sometimes I come home wanting to pull my hair out, because I feel like I have said very specifically how he can succeed, but it is like it falls on deaf ears.  I think, "What is he thinking?  Does he not realize that this day is coming up?  He doesn't have time to waste!"  I want him to be successful so badly, but I have realized that it really is up to him.

Last Thursday as got in my car and drove away, a light bulb went off in my brain.

THIS IS HOW HEAVENLY FATHER FEELS ABOUT ME and all of his children.

I was presented with the Plan of Salvation in my Pre-Mortal Existence.  Heavenly Father gave me this opportunity to come to Earth and receive a body and be tested.  He knew it would be challenging, but that the benefits of of Eternal Life was worth it.

Over the years, Heavenly Father has been anxiously checking in with me through prayer to see where I am in my eternal progression.  Every time, it is never as far as He would have hoped, because God knows that I have the potential to become like Him, and doesn't want me to settle for less.  Heavenly Father NEVER shows His disappointment, but He secretly worries, because He knows that the day of the Second Coming is quickly coming and I will face a final judgment.  The kingdom in which I will go to will depend on the work I did on Earth.  Heavenly Father always looks forward to the next time we can commune, but sometimes He can tell that I am not excited to pray or listen to the Holy Ghost as I foolishly think it is inconvenient and not as fun as other things that I could be doing.

To help me on this journey Heavenly Father has given temples.  Temples are a place that I can go to escape from the distractions of  the world, so that I can solely work on learning the things I need to for my eternal progression.  Heavenly Father has given scriptures of his teachings to ancient prophets.  He has given current prophets to continue to give needed guidance.  God has given us the PRIESTHOOD, the POWER to act on Earth in Jesus Christ's name!  We have prayer, baptism, and temple ordinances.  He has given us Seminary, Visiting and Home Teachers.  We have the ability to repent for our "trouble spots".  Heavenly Father celebrates any small accomplishment, because He knows how important it is to reaching the final goal.

God has revealed everything that He thinks is necessary to say.  He has chastised.  He has encouraged.  Heavenly Father has sent Jesus Christ as an example so that I know exactly how I should live my life.  Through Him, I am truly fed with a spiritual feast.

Yet, I still struggle.  Heavenly Father cannot make me read the scriptures or go to church on Sundays.  He has no control over my temple attendance or my Visiting Teaching.  I have my agency to choose to listen to the Holy Ghost, pray, and follow the directions or the prophets, or not.  God can only hope that I choose to follow the Plan of Salvation that He has given to me, because He has laid it all out for me and his other children.  Sometimes Heavenly Father gets sad, because He knows that He has said very specifically how I can succeed, but it is like it falls on deaf ears.  He might think, "What is Lindsay thinking?  Does she not realize that the Second Coming is coming up?  Lindsay doesn't have time to waste!"

Heavenly Father wants me to be successful so badly, but I have realized that it really is up to me.

This is the most perfect love.  I know that Heavenly Father loves you too.

I love you, sis.

Love,
Lindsay

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Please Come


Dear Friend P,

It was so nice to talk to you on the phone.  I am sorry if I sounded nervous.  I realized that I have actually only talked to you twice and one of the times you were not quite yourself....if you can remember that night, you'll know what I am talking about. :) I guess I just feel like I know you better from hearing Husband talk about you.

I was so nervous that I don't know if I really explained everything very well.

I am one of the leaders of the Primary children on Sundays at church.  This means for two hours I help to oversee their curriculum being taught while their parents are taught in different classes.  This includes singing songs about Jesus Christ and other things we believe in and also learning the teachings of ancient prophets (found in the scriptures) and from our current prophet, Thomas S. Monson.  We believe he is called of God to deliver to us the message that God would like us to know currently.  If God loved the people in Bible times enough to guide them with prophets, he most certainly still does today in 2010.

These Primary children are ages 3-11.  They are sweet and full of love.  I know you say you are not ready to have kids yet, but children are such a blessing.

This program that I have invited you to, will be the children singing and giving talks.  Each year we have a theme that we learn about.  This presentation is the children's chance to showcase for their parents what they have learned.  The 10 and 11 year kids wrote their own talks.  Sometimes people accuse our church of brainwashing, but I can tell you that is not the case.  We teach these children, then they decide for themselves how they feel about it.  I know as you listen to them that you will be touched by the maturity of their thoughts.  The holy Spirit whispers to them the things that are true.  It is so sweet to hear it from their perspective how they feel about spiritual things.

I really hope you can make it, but if you end up going to Missouri, I hope you have a fun trip.  We'll just have to have you over for dinner again soon.

Sincerely,
Lindsay