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

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thankful for Talents


Dear Readers,

Now it is the last day of November.  As I was thinking about some things last night, about the month, and my blessings, I thought of talents.  It came out of nowhere, and I know that the thoughts that I have had over the past 24 hours have been revelation from God, so I share them with you.

I am blessed to have been given many talents.  I recognize that.  They take a lot of time to develop and use, but I try to use mine to help others.  Some talents are tangible or easy to see.  These would be a great singer, or a detailed artist.  Others don't have as much weight given to them, but they are equally important (ie: a good listener, a trustworthy acquaintance).  Any talent is a gift from God.

Everyone has talents.  I know that they do.  I was telling my Daughter recently that the fact that we have anything shows that Heavenly Father loves us.  Talents are more gifts of God's love for us.  Everyone has unique talents.  I am glad that people have strengths that I don't have.  I am beginning to understand just how unique and special each of God's children are.


I know I profit from others' talents.  I am so grateful for the many people (read: all) who have talents that bless my life.  Since everyone has talents, then everyone is blessing my life.  Sometimes our society places greater esteem on certain talents, but that doesn't need to happen.  All talents are equally wonderful to me.

A song has been running through my head all day today as I have pondered these things.  It is called "Every Star is Different".  I want each and everyone of you to listen to the song.  I don't want you to skip the link because you are (fill in the excuse), or think, "oh yeah, I know how that goes".  Even if you know every single word perfectly, I want you to listen and read the words.

I MEAN IT.  This is also the link to the song!  (make sure to click on Words and Music in the upper left)

The Spirit whispered to me today that someone is going to listen to this song and read the words and be touched, and have tears come to their eyes as they are reminded of eternal truths, feel of God's love for them, and understand their role in this divine Plan.  Maybe it'll be me.  Maybe it'll you.  I don't know.  Don't cheat yourself.

"Everyone is needed for just what he can do"

Whatever your talents may be, Heavenly Father gave them to you and is counting on you to use them, because if you don't, someone will miss out.

Each one of you, my readers, are so special and wonderful.  I don't know all of you personally, but I think about you.  I wonder who you are.  Are you male or female?  How old are you?  Do you have any children?  I see where you are from and how often you come and that's all I know about you, but it is enough to know that you cannot be replaced.  You are in my life right now for a reason, and I thank you.

"You're the only person who ever can be you."

Don't try to be anyone else, but yourself.  We are have our own earthly mission to complete.

Whenever you read this post, take one little minute to think about talents and be grateful for them.  The talents you have, the talents that others share with you.

I am so thankful for talents and the good efforts of good people.

Yours,
Lindsay

New LDS.org Website


Dear Readers,

It snuck up on me!  Today is November 30th.  Today is the last day of the current or "old" lds.org website.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has been making a "new" lds.org website (new.lds.org) and tomorrow it becomes THE lds.org website (replacing the "old").  Make sense?

I personally have been dreading this change as I have loved the layout on the old website and have not quite fallen in love with the layout on the new website.  To see some side by side changes, this page might be helpful.  They also recommend watching these tutorial videos to learn how to navigate the new layout.

I admit I have not watched them yet, I guess because I am enjoying the "classic" website as long as possible and maybe once I watch them I will be fully converted :).

One thing (and maybe why I am taking it so personal) is that the "A-Z Index" is harder to find now.  I use the "A-Z Index" probably 80% of the time that I am on lds.org.  So to help you out, I will tell you how to find it.  You have to click on "Menu" at the top of the homepage.  Then looking under "Study" (it's in yellow font on the right) click on "Study by Topic" and there is the "A-Z Index" except for that it isn't called that anymore.

Things that are cool are the addition of the study journal (called "My Study Notebook").  You can highlight talks and make notes saved under your user-name.  Also, they have made it so easy to request a copy of your patriarchal blessing (if you need one).  It is under "Tools" which is found next to "Menu" (at the top) on the homepage.  Make note that underneath "Tools" is also where you can find the "Stake and Ward Websites" link (which to me seems like it used a lot).

Hope this helps.  Also, remember that mormon.org is another great resource.  For those that are not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I invite you to click around there as well.

I will also be posting a second time today.  Last night as I was preparing for bed, I felt distinctly that I should post about something today (and look at me putting it off :( ).  It was when I went to lds.org this morning to link to the scriptures and such that I was reminded of the big website change.  I will listen.  I will post.  I will to listen to know the words that should be written.

Readers, it is my delight to share with you.

Delightedly,
Lindsay

Monday, November 29, 2010

Attitude of Gratitude Part 3


Out of the Mouth of Prophets - Part 5

Dear Readers,

I am still here.  I haven't had anything positive to say recently.  As whatever I type will be "published" forever, I have elected to wait to post anything.  Yes, I enjoyed my Thanksgiving.  No, I didn't go somewhere exotic with no internet access.  I have been here, at my house, not exemplifying the very topic that I will talk about today.

This is the last in my "Attitude of Gratitude" posts that have covered President Monson's conference talk, "The Divine Gift of Gratitude".  See here and here for parts 1 and 2.

"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."

Where have I been?  In the realm of negative thought.  It is a real place.  I also like how President Monson uses the word "realm".  That sounds big to me.  I have discovered over the years that the "realm of negative thought" is as large as we want to make it.  It can be so large that it swallows our very soul and the accompanying hope, leaving behind only emptiness and despair.  When I also hear the word "realm", it makes me think of something other-worldly, and not in reality.  When we are stuck in negative thinking, we are not in the present.  We are not enjoying all that we could be.  We also can choose to make it as small as we want or non-existent as President Monson uses the word "refuse".  Take that Satan.

This is why it is so important to be grateful, to have an "attitude of gratitude".

"How can we cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude? President Joseph F. Smith, sixth President of the Church, provided an answer. Said he: “The grateful man sees so much in the world to be thankful for, and with him the good outweighs the evil. Love overpowers jealousy, and light drives darkness out of his life.” He continued: “Pride destroys our gratitude and sets up selfishness in its place. How much happier we are in the presence of a grateful and loving soul, and how careful we should be to cultivate, through the medium of a prayerful life, a thankful attitude toward God and man!” (see article for reference #9)
President Smith is telling us that a prayerful life is the key to possessing gratitude."

Hmm.  Any guesses to how my praying was this past week?  Long and fervent or short and mumbled?  How can I so willingly hold myself back?  It is no secret.  Prayer is the key to have gratitude.  Like, I said rough week, but I have the power to change, so I will.

"In the book of Matthew in the Bible, we have another account of gratitude...His disciples, however, questioned, “Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude?” Like many of us, the disciples saw only what was lacking.

“And Jesus saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? And [the disciples] said, Seven, and a few little fishes.

“And [Jesus] commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground.

“And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.”

Notice that the Savior gave thanks for what they had—and a miracle followed."
What was lacking.  I debated over making this part 4, because there is so much that could be said here.  Is that not the coolest thing ever, that when thanks was given, a miracle followed?  They didn't have much, but the Savior was grateful that they had something instead of nothing.  He recognized that Heavenly Father gives us all.  I know that I am guilty of looking at what is lacking in my life sometimes.  I think everyone is to some degree.  The fact that we have anything is a sign that Heavenly Father loves us.

I know He loves me.  God works in mysterious ways.  He does listen to prayers and when we think we cannot do anymore he bolsters us up and prepares the way for us.

"When we encounter challenges and problems in our lives, it is often difficult for us to focus on our blessings. However, if we reach deep enough and look hard enough, we will be able to feel and recognize just how much we have been given."
Amazing, how these conference talks have blessed my life.  I love how I have been able to recall things that were said, or at least topics talked about, so that I could look up a certain talk.  Many times I have been impressed while I have been pondering about something or asking a question to Heavenly Father.  These are words of scripture for us.  They are here to guide us.

The Lord has let our family struggle in a situation for months.  We learned a lot, and have grown.  When we finally reached a breaking point after we had done everything we possibly could, an amazing string events took place that will resolve the situation.  I am so grateful for a merciful Heavenly Father.  He knows what we need.  He hears our prayers.  He loves all of us.  He loves me.

Lastly, I am also grateful for personal progress that I have made.  Since conference I have been working on something specific in my life.  Little by little, the Lord has been revealing things to me to help me understand.  I am so grateful for the knowledge that I have about the Plan of Salvation.

If you wish to watch this conference address by President Monson, click here.  Just find this talk (Sunday Morning Session), and watch, download, whatever you want.
"This is a wonderful time to be on earth. While there is much that is wrong in the world today, there are many things that are right and good. There are marriages that make it, parents who love their children and sacrifice for them, friends who care about us and help us, teachers who teach. Our lives are blessed in countless ways."
We truly have been blessed.

How have you been blessed?  Would you like to share something else from President Monson's words?  My email is lettersfromlindsay at gmail dot com.

Sincerely,
Lindsay

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thankful for Pioneers


Dear Friend N,

Today as I write to you, I am thankful for pioneers.  I know it is kind of "out of season" to be thinking about them and celebrating them as our church officially recognizes July 24th as Pioneer Day, but I had an experience a few weeks ago.

I was out with Daughter somewhere and she ran up to a big wagon wheel that was being used as a decoration.  As my eyes followed her excited little body running along I realized how small she looked next to that wagon wheel when I realized how much taller it was than her.  I thought of how helpless she looked next that wagon wheel.  My next thought immediately was of all of the pioneer women who had lost a child due to them being run over by the wagons and oxcarts.

I know it sounds kind of morbid, but as a mother I knew you'd understand.  Daughter right now loves to run.  She also sometimes trips.  I could picture better than ever before what it meant when I had heard stories about children being run over by the wagons.  These women and children (men, too) walked all day, everyday for months.  That is many steps.  That is many opportunities for a tragedy to happen like that.
 

My heart ached for these pioneer women.  If a child got caught in the way of these heavy laden wagons (carrying all of their possessions) or underfoot the large, large oxen or tall horses there really wouldn't be anything that could be done.  They are so large, and these precious child size bodies are so small.  Many women had to bury children on the trail (due to many reasons for their deaths).  Could you imagine digging a grave, and then walking away from your baby or young child, knowing that because the grave was so shallow, animals would come and eat the body?


One of Daughter's favorite songs right now is "Whenever I think about Pioneers".  I didn't grow up singing it, did you?  (No one grows up learning every single song in the Songbook, except maybe Daughter?  We'll try).  Anyways, the song talks about how pioneers included adults and children.


So, today I am thankful for Pioneers.  As I become increasingly more grateful for the opportunity to be a mother, and grateful for all of the little cute stages that Daughter goes through, the thought of losing those, and realizing how many pioneer women did lose that, humbles me.

I also know it was not just walking across the plains.  Babies fell overboard as ships sailed across the Atlantic.  Husband and I both had ancestors on the Mayflower.  I am also thankful for "modern" pioneers.  Many family members have converted to Mormonism leaving behind family and friends to live their new beliefs.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Thoughtfully,
Lindsay

Friday, November 19, 2010

Sing, Sing, Sing


Dear Friend E,

You always want to know my "secrets" for what I do with Daughter.  I have been thinking about it.  One thing that I do that I feel like nobody else does, (so I guess a "secret") would be that I sing to her.

Before you start busting out your excuses to me, (because I totally just heard you breathing in to say them, right?) listen up.

I didn't grow up in a house that sang all the time, so don't let that be a deterrent.  My family was a "band" family.  Not that we couldn't sing, we just chose not to sing.  So yes my family was musical, but singing was not encouraged at home.  In fact I was told to stop singing on more than one occasion because it was annoying to family members (ouch!!!).  We also had a "no singing at the dinner table" rule.  We were allowed (and encouraged) to sing in our church choir, but since we were a "band" family, that's what we did at school.  I did manage to squeeze in a couple of year of high school choir, but my confidence was fairly low.

If you can't sing at home, where can you sing?

So there's my background.  Here's what we did with Daughter.

We started at birth and started small.  Let me say that Husband did almost all of the singing (until I gained a LOT more confidence).  Songs for Family Home Evening, a song right before bed, nothing huge.  I started to make up songs more to entertain myself.  I had never been home all day with a baby before.  It is quiet and almost kind of weird.  I tried to talk to Daughter a lot about what i was doing (i.e. putting water in the pot, tying my shoes, etc).  Sometimes when she was starting to fuss and I was trying to get something done I'd find myself singing.  Well, kind of chanting in the beginning...

Chanting Example:
"Water in the pot.
water in the pot.
Mom's putting water
in the pot, pot, pot"

Then, because I couldn't think of anymore lyrics I would keep chanting/singing the words as many different ways as possible.  Yeah, kind of freaky when you realize that you've been singing/ chanting about putting water in a pot for like 10 minutes or more!

Then we started developing little melodies that we would sing to "cue" Daughter that it was time for certain things.  These were very short and nothing fancy, but we always sang the same short song whenever we did a diaper change, put on pajamas, nursed, etc.

Song Example:
"It's jammies time,
It's jammies time,
It's jammies time,
for sleep."

These became especially helpful when we couldn't fix a need instantly (i.e. Dad was holding a baby who wanted to nurse).  Husband could sing the nursing song and buy a few minutes until I was all ready to go.  We continued with these songs for months and also continued adding ones as needed.  Husband will still bust out a song these days when Daughter starts getting impatient over something.

Music is so powerful.  It usually instantly pacifies Daughter.  She understands that we know she has a need.  She sees us address the need (even if it'll be a minute), and it also distracts Daughter from thinking that she is upset.  I know this all sounds scientific, but it is what has been working from our experience.  To be completely honest, the singing really helps me just as much as Daughter.  It calms ME and helps to distract ME from being upset in a lot of situations.  This way I don't yell :)  I would rather hear myself chant/ sing than listen to whines, so everyone wins!!!

Now, we also sing as many other songs as possible now too.  Besides bedtime songs I didn't really sing anything more "real" until Daughter was older.  Now the Primary Children's Songbook is used daily in our house.  Don't worry, we've sung many renditions of "Wheels on the Bus", but I do stick mainly to the Primary Children's Songbook.  We have "music time" and sing songs together.  Sometimes, Daughter will sing to herself (now plunking around on the piano keys as well!) and sometimes we sing together.  I should mention that for a long time (months upon months), Daughter only sang with her hands.  If a song had actions then she would do them, otherwise it was just me singing a solo.  As a result she now knows well over 30 songs and keeps surprising me with more......like today.

I had been driving down the road singing "Away in a Manger" when something took my attention, so I paused.  Well Daughter jumped right in with the correct words and started singing.  When we got to the chorus I would sing the first "asleep" and Daughter sang the second "asleep" with the right notes.  (Listen here if you aren't sure exactly what I am talking about.)  I got such a kick out of singing with her.  We were giving high fives.  It was awesome, like we were singing in a choir together.

Obviously I worked from the beginning to cultivate a child who loves to sing.  I often tell her that she sings beautifully to encourage her.  At church we always make a big deal out of singing the hymns.  I am sure that her language skills are so developed in part due to her singing.

I also like that I am producing a singer, because singing promotes self-confidence and every parent wants to their child to be confident.  Singing is like giving a piece of yourself to all who listen.  It takes guts.  It's taking a risk.

Music has always blessed my life, but developing MY singing voice over the last couple of years and singing as a family has brought greater family unity and peace and blessings more than I ever imagined.  Daughter's sweet little voice with not quite correct dictation is so precious to me.  To hear a two-year old singing "I Belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" is powerful.  She is learning so many truths and I know it is contributing to her overall character and testimony.  Our home is filled with the spirit of music, and I KNOW that the "song of the righteous is a prayer".

(And we still enforce the no singing at the dinner table rule!)

Good luck.  I hope you give it a try.

Wishfully,
Lindsay

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Best Memory Ever


Dear Sister,

Do you remember when we used to have Church at the Stake Center?  They had vents by the window for heating, cooling, ventilation, who knows.  Do you remember poofing out your dresses?  I loved to do this.  You might be too young to remember.  Sometimes we had to wait for Mom and Dad to finish talking to people and we would gather in the foyer, the one by the Stake President's office, because we always parked on that side.  When the vents were going we would play by them and let our dresses fly up (not sure if we flashed people or not, but we would have been wearing tights).  I think that S. let his tie float up in the "wind" or something.  I'll have to ask him.

Anyways, by accident, Daughter discovered some vents like those ones recently.  See how they look the same?  It must be the same system as what they had at the church.  All in flash, I remembered how we loved to play on those vents (and got in trouble for it too!).


Yay for fun memories!!!

Love,
Lindsay

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Manly Like Moroni


Dear Husband,

You are the best!!!  I am so glad that I am your wife!  You add so much to our family.

My scripture reading yesterday was in the book of Alma in the Book of Mormon.  I have been reading about Captain Moroni.  He was clearly a stud.

Listen how to he was described:
"a strong and a mighty man; he was a man of a perfect understanding; yea, a man that did not delight in bloodshed; a man whose soul did joy in the liberty and the freedom of his country, and his brethren from bondage and slavery;  Yea, a man whose heart did swell with thanksgiving to his God, for the many privileges and blessings which he bestowed upon his people; a man who did labor exceedingly for the welfare and safety of his people.  Yea, and he was a man who was firm in the faith of Christ" (Alma 48:11-13)
The best part is this:
"if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men (Alma 48:17)
I totally feel like you have been channeling your inner Moroni lately (thankful, firm in your faith of Christ, etc).  Like this scripture says, if all men would be like Moroni then Satan would have no power over anyone.  How cool would that be?  We cannot make other men want to be like Moroni, but it's still pretty cool on a small scale.  Satan is forced out of our life when you are so studly, and I really appreciate that.  Who wouldn't want to see Satan quaking in his boots?

I love our Christ-centered life.  I love you.  Carry me off into the sunset any day.

Love,
Lindsay

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What Kind of Man


Dear Friend L,

I thought you would be interested to hear about this experience.  Recently, Husband and I were with some of his professional peers.  The conversation was about cheating.  One thing they were discussing was the idea of marking someone down on the attendance roll that wasn't there, so that the person would still get credit (and avoid trouble) for attending the class.  Everyone seemed to be talking about it candidly like it was no big deal.  I noticed that Husband didn't say much, but I was curious.

That night as we climbed into bed, I asked "Have you ever signed anyone into class before?"  In the dark, Husband replied softly, "No."  My heart burst with pride to hear that he was not dishonest like some others.

I am grateful that Husband is my spouse.  I am grateful that he does not succumb to peer pressure.  I am grateful that he maintains high standards.  I am grateful that he is the father to my Daughter.  I sat in a training meeting over the weekend and was reminded of how important fathers are to the success of families.  Fathers often get overlooked in our society and given the bad rap.

I love Husband.  I love him so much.  I am grateful for the kind of man that he is.

Cordially,
Lindsay

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Thankful for a Temple


Dear Grandma,

My Stake does something interesting each year.  They hold an event called The Days of Thanksgiving.  During that day they ask everyone to sacrifice their time and go to the temple and do some work there.  The reason that they do this is because the temple is located within our stake's geographical boundaries and we recognize that there are many other people who do not live so close to the temple.  To show our gratitude, we try and pack the place the whole day so that it is always busy and constantly doing temple work.  By doing this, we believe that this is a way to show our gratitude for the temple that has been built in our city.

Husband and I went and it was wonderful.  Going to the temple brings tremendous peace to my life.  It is a blessing and something that I am truly grateful that I live so close to one now, and that I have always been blessed to live fairly close to one.

The October Ensign was all about temples.  I invite you to click through and enjoy the many many photos and short essays about temples.

I am thankful for many things.  The temple is just one of them.


Love,
Lindsay

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Attitude of Gratitude Part 2


Out of the Mouth of Prophets - Part 4

Dear Readers,

Oh, am I exhausted.  Sickness has come to our home and lingered like an unwelcome house guests.  Every time I think we have kicked "him" (yes, definitely masculine) to the curb I see that he has found a new anecdote to share that is only amusing to him.

With the holidays coming I hope you don't have any house guests like this, nor do I hope that you get sick.

As I sit here exhausted trying to do nothing and yet everything all at the same time, I thought it would be perfect to write my next "Attitude of Gratitude" post before I go about my day.

President Monson in his "The Divine Gift of Gratitude" talk chose to end it with some thoughts about the Savior.

As I close this morning, it is my prayer that in addition to all else for which we are grateful, we may ever reflect our gratitude for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. His glorious gospel provides answers to life’s greatest questions: Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where do our spirits go when we die? That gospel brings to those who live in darkness the light of divine truth.
He taught us how to pray. He taught us how to live. He taught us how to die. His life is a legacy of love. The sick He healed; the downtrodden He lifted; the sinner He saved.

Let us follow Him. Let us emulate His example. Let us obey His words. By so doing, we give to Him the divine gift of gratitude.
My sincere, heartfelt prayer is that we may in our individual lives reflect that marvelous virtue of gratitude. May it permeate our very souls, now and evermore."
I am grateful for Jesus Christ.  He is my elder brother and my perfect example.  He always knows how I feel (like right now!) and will always make my burdens light if I just turn to Him.  I like that President Monson says that we can give the "divine gift of gratitude" to the Savior.  We just need to obey His words and try to be like Him.  With all that Jesus did for me, there is a chance for me to express my gratitude to Him.  I will obey.  I will choose to obey.

I know that I am a part of Christ's church.  That is why it is called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  It is the same as when Christ was on the Earth.  It had to restored, because after the Apostles died, Christ's church was no longer on the Earth.  Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father appeared to Joseph Smith when he asked which church he should join.  They answered that he shouldn't join any of them, and proceeded in time to restore what had been lost from when Christ was on the Earth.

I am grateful.  I may be tired, but as I sit here and think of my gratitude, it is melting my selfish cares away so that I might be able to go and do as Jesus would.

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

10 Thankful Quick Ones.....
1. birthday cake  2. books  3. big bathtubs  4. conference talks  5. conference talks in digital formats  6. jeans  7. Mr. D  8. honest people who turn in things that have been lost  9. hugs and kisses  10. wait for it.....now taking guesses.......Jesus Christ, my Savior!!!

How do you feel about the Savior?  Did you enjoy President Monson's words?  My email is lettersfromlindsay at gmail dot com.

Part 3 will be the final installment of the "Attitude of Gratitude" series.  Watch for it in the coming days and weeks.

Joyfully, (like how I went from tired to joyful?)
Lindsay

Monday, November 8, 2010

Following The Prophet


Out of the Mouth of Prophets - Part 3

Dear Readers,

Today is Monday.  Tonight is Family Home Evening (FHE).  Tonight we will be having this lesson.  We have been using the "new Nursery manual" for our FHE lessons as it fits my family's current demographics.

Our lesson will be about following the prophet.  If you remember from Conference:
"I...invite you in your next family home evening to find these principles in the words and teachings of our living prophets, seers, and revelators during this general conference." (Elder Costa)
I know it is a few weeks late, but I was waiting for it to correspond with our Nursery Manual lesson about prophets.

Okay, what exactly am I talking about?


Elder Costa and Elder Duncan both recited President Benson's "Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet".  Elder Duncan said that he repeated them, "Because they are of such great importance to our very salvation."  Yikes!  Note: Ezra Taft Benson was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when this devotional address was given at Brigham Young University on 26 February 1980 (from BYU website).

Elder Costa went through the first eight fundamentals and then asked us to cover numbers nine through fourteen in our next Family Home Evening using the words from Conference.  That is my plan for tonight.  Daughter's lesson will be great.  It will involve singing "Follow the Prophet" (while marching, it's in the lesson!!!), and we will play Follow the Leader (also approved lesson materials!).  Then after she goes to bed Husband and I will dive into these 14 Fundamentals and these two great Conference talks.  How can I leave them out?!?!?!  I can't.

I thought Elder Costa's talk was great.  Bam, right in the first session.  Then in the Saturday Afternoon session, double bam, Elder Duncan also brought up the 14 Fundamentals.  My follow-the-prophet-sensors went off and I realized that this was something not to be missed, which is also why I am excited to be highlighting these talks today!

Elder Costa's talk entitled "Obedience to the Prophets" was like a textbook.  I thought it was a great introduction to what a prophet is, so if you are not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints start with this one.  It very simply states the doctrine that supports our belief in a prophet.  It is a great resource that puts a lot of the scriptures about prophets in one place.

"The prophet and President of the Church today, Thomas S. Monson, receives God’s word for the entire membership of the Church and for the world (Elder Duncan)."  "For the world."  I like that.  I remember that statement particularly resounded within me when I first heard it.  The prophet cannot personally knock on every person's door or call them on the phone to make sure that they are hearing what the Lord is telling the whole Earth.  Kind of makes me think about missionary work.......click here to read some recent thoughts about that.

"And the Lord does the same today for you and me. This world is full of so many self-help books, so many self-proclaimed experts, so many theorists, educators, and philosophers who have advice and counsel to give on any and all subjects. With technology today, information on a myriad of subjects is available with the click of a keystroke. It is easy to get caught in the trap of looking to the “arm of flesh” (see D&C 1:19) for advice on everything from how to raise children to how to find happiness. While some information has merit, as members of the Church we have access to the source of pure truth, even God Himself. We would do well to search out answers to our problems and questions by investigating what the Lord has revealed through His prophets. With that same technology today, we have at our fingertips access to the words of the prophets on nearly any subject." (Elder Duncan)
I could do a whole post on this excerpt.  What jumps out most at me is the idea that answers are available for "any and all" questions.  Sure, I read my scriptures and pray and write in my journal.  I don't always just look to the "arm of flesh", though I know I do and perhaps too much.  This is something that I look forward to implementing in my life.  The idea that I could do a search on www.lds.org and that I have been guaranteed to find advice and counsel among all of the things that have been revealed to God's prophets and apostles, because as Elder Duncan also points out, we sustain the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators.  I am not quite getting out what I want to, so I hope you enjoy the above quote and find a way to make it your own, because it is indeed an important principle.

There is so much to say, but my last 2 things that I want to share are two of the fundamentals from Elder Benson.  I think all 14 are outstanding, but for some reason there are two that I want to share.

“Fourth: The prophet will never lead the Church astray."  That is kind of like the ultimate product guarantee, right?

“Twelfth: The prophet will not necessarily be popular with the world or the worldly."  So, if I think that President Monson rocks, then I must not be worldly?  Alright, a simple test to know if you are worldly or not, well kind of :)

If you wish to watch either of these conference addresses by Elder Costa or Elder Duncan, click here.  Just find the talks, and watch, download, whatever you want.

I love President Thomas S. Monson.  (Here is a biography about him)  He is the living prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  I know that God speaks to him.  Our family loves to pray for him.

How do you feel about the prophet?  What did you love from these two talks?  I would love to hear.  My email address is lettersfromlindsay at gmail dot com.

Marchingly (I'm excited for FHE.  Daughter loves to march),
Lindsay

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Is There Anything More Precious?


Dear Sister,

Is there anything more precious?  We received our November issue of the Ensign magazine this past weekend.  Daughter has already found the page where the pictures of apostles are so that she can sing her song.

"Monson, Eyring, Uchtdorf, Packer;
Perry, Nelson, Oaks, Ballard;
Scott, Hales, Holland, Bednar;
Cook, Christofferson, Andersen"

These are the last names of the First Presidency and then the 12 Apostles in order of seniority.  Daughter sings this non-stop.  I cannot believe she remembers it from conference over a month ago.  We sang it a few times to prepare during Family Home Evening, but I am just amazed.  She can recognize all of these men by sight, so whenever they got up to give a talk during General Conference she correctly identified each one.

Kids are amazing.  They are much more capable then we realize.

So, I ask, is there anything more precious?  A child in the Nursery who can recognize all of the Church leaders.

Missing you, but glad we'll see you soon.

Love,
Lindsay

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Life Changer


Dear Friend J,

I don't know how to get in touch with you anymore.  I am not even sure if J is your name, it's been a few years and I can't remember.  Today I wanted to write to you, because it marks 4 years ago today that we our paths crossed.

Husband was invited to interview at your school.  As this was his first choice I decided to accompany him.  I remember the anticipation that went on for several weeks.  We looked up your information on an alumni list to see if we could stay with you and you graciously agreed.  There were many phone calls back and forth.  You were so giving of your time, available to answer all of our questions about the school and the surrounding area.  I even spoke with your wife to get a wife's point of view.

When we arrived in your city, we were welcomed with open arms and a lot of hospitality.  I was impressed that you planned such gourmet meals for us.  You didn't make us feel like we were intruding on your wife and two kids, but celebrated that we were there.  I was touched that you invited over students so that we could gain even more perspective into the school and area.  You took us to church and introduced us to many and I am grateful.

Over the past four years I have often thought about that trip.  I remember how much fun we had exploring your city.  I remember the nice guest accommodations that you made for us down in the basement; so comfy!!!  I remember your unabashed display of hospitality and am touched by all that you would do for 2 complete strangers.  But, I also remember something else.

I remember that surely Husband and I were not good guests.  You see, three days before our arrival we had a miscarriage.  I am sure that I was a zombie for much of the weekend.  I remember crying myself to sleep down in the basement every night, confused about my life, but in a city thousands of miles away from home.  We should have told you, but for some reason we didn't.  I am afraid we did not show our thanks adequately, and all of these years it has bothered me, because when I think of people that I want to be like, you always top my list.

In an effort to make things up, every year we have hosted students with interviews.  I have provided babysitting to people interviewing.  We open up our home to complete strangers, following your example, and try to show the same Christ-like qualities that you exhibit.

The Lord's will dictated that we attended a different school than you (ironically your second choice).  I hope that you have much success in your life and that the Lord will bless you for your good works.  I am deeply grateful for the things that I have learned from you.

With gratitude,
Lindsay

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Live in Thanksgiving Daily


Dear Friend T,

In one of his Conference talks, President Monson referenced Alma 34:38 in that part of it reads, "live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which [God] doth bestow upon you".

The past few days I have really been counting my blessings.  One blessing has been that of family.  I was feeling down and very burdened by something.  I emailed my family as I neared pure desperation.  (I know I shouldn't have allowed myself to feel so low, but it is really hard to do)  To my surprise, every single household emailed me back within hours.  They all had words of encouragement and ideas to help.

I was touched by the sincerity of their words and their lengthy and thoughtful responses.  I could tell how much time they had spent and isn't love spelled T-I-M-E?  Elder Uchtdorf just said that.

Now my family is always there for me, but this time it really stood out to me.

Why am I writing to you?  If you are wondering, it's because when I thought of family relationships you are actually the first person that came to my mind.  I know that you are a great family guy.  Your love and devotion to them shows.  I also am impressed by how you interact with others in a way that encourages them to do more for their families.

This is a great time of year to be counting blessings, though as the scripture says we should live in thanksgiving daily.

Your friend,
Lindsay

Monday, November 1, 2010

Attitude of Gratitude Part 1


Out of the Mouth of Prophets - Part 2

Dear Readers,

Today is my 100th post.  I believe I said somewhere on my blog that once you hit that number then you were an expert or something.........oops, not true.  I still hardly know anything about blogging, but I definitely know what I believe, so I'll keep sharing it with you.  I am in awe (and grateful!) that I continue to get new readers.  Hi to all of you.  I count you all among my friends.

With today being the first day of November, I thought that I would talk about President Monson's talk "The Divine Gift of Gratitude".  After reviewing the talk I have decided that I am not even going to try to cover it in one post.  For today I have picked out a couple of things to highlight and will share more in the next couple of posts.

First quote:

Often we feel grateful and intend to express our thanks but forget to do so or just don’t get around to it. Someone has said that “feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. ” (see talk reference 12)
Oh yes, this is me.  I feel grateful a lot.  I know I should express gratitude to a certain person, but I put it off, and then it happens.  However, I NEVER have wrapped a present and put off giving it for so long that I never get around to giving it.  Thinking in terms of gift giving shows how much effort that showing gratitude requires.

I have been grateful this past weekend for 4 people.  These 4 people each thanked me for something.  A woman that I visit teach loves getting my cards that I mail each month (never would have guessed).  Husband expressed thanks for something specific I had done in a prayer.  A compliment was passed on to me about the Primary Program.  Someone left a comment with the word "thanks" included on my blog.  Receiving so much thanks in 2 days made me realize how little I am thanked.  Now, it's not a big deal, because I obviously go about my business regardless of whether or not  I am thanked, but wow!!! the difference that thanks makes.  It was really nice to hear.  It lifted me up and helped sustain me on this journey we call life.

It also made me think.  If I am never thanked, who else is never thanked?  Am I thanking others or making them trudge along never knowing the positive impact that they have?  Yeah, think about that. 

"A grateful heart, then, comes through expressing gratitude to our Heavenly Father for His blessings and to those around us for all that they bring into our lives. This requires conscious effort—at least until we have truly learned and cultivated an attitude of gratitude."
An "Attitude of Gratitude".   That line has been running through my mind ever since I heard it.  It is like a personal anthem or something for me.  Call it a mission statement, whatever.  I want to have an Attitude of Gratitude.  I want it to be natural to me so that it doesn't require "conscious effort".

In an effort to reach this goal of "learning and cultivating" this desired attitude, for my 100th post here is a list of 100 things that I am grateful for...

1. Husband  2. Husband takes out the trash  3. Daughter  4. Parents paid thousands of dollars for piano lessons  5. R.G. believed that I could teach piano lessons and lined up my first students  6. dry socks  7.  spices to season my food  8. Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon  9. My grandparents have kept in close contact though we have different religious beliefs  10. The Gift of the Holy Ghost  11. P.B. is my friend  12. A. let me borrow clothes even though I wouldn't let her wear any of mine  13. a working car  14. I sang in my High School Choir  15. That my parents made me do band in addition to sing in the choir  16. peas  17. warmth from the sun  18. I could afford enough pairs of running shoes to train for running a marathon  19. all of the chauffeuring my parents did for me as a child  20. Atonement of Jesus Christ  21. People who say thank you 22.  paper towels  23. I have taken risks in my life  24. Temple Ordinances  25. I am sealed to my family for all eternity  26. hairbrushes  27. beautiful sunsets  28. crunchy leaves on the ground  29. D. C. taught me about leadership  30. I volunteered my time at an Alzheimer's care facility  31. phone calls from my brother  32. dishwashers  33. my daughter loves to sing  34. our prophet, Thomas S. Monson  35. free calls on Skype  36. rhododendrons  37. hydrangeas  38. chocolate  39. car seats  40. I can pray anytime that I want  41. Heavenly Father will always answer my prayers  42. I can read  43. I can write  44.  Husband changed all of the diapers if he was home (back when Daughter wore diapers)  45. I came in contact with G.P.'s infectious enthusiasm for life  46. Mr. D the children's librarian  47. played volleyball in junior high/ high school  48. quit volleyball my senior year for color guard  49. received scholarship money for color guard to finance my college education  50. weekly meetings with F.M.  51. my Mom  52.  my Dad  53. Joseph Smith prayed to know which church was right  54. soft sweaters  55. ability to repent and change  56. forks  57. microwaves  58. calming sound of the surf  59. family photographs  60. journal writing  61.  my big big big comfy bed  62. Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ  63. those who clean the lint out from between my toes :)  64. swings and slides at the park  65. blessings of a priesthood holder in my home  66. I tried out for the school musical on a whim and made it  67. I did 2 more musicals after that  68. siblings  69. family vacation  70. broccoli  71.ice cream  72. Husband's family  73. waking up in the country in the morning, dew on the grass, birds chirping  74. mountains  75. valleys  76. oceans  77. beef  78. the wheel  79. peanuts  80. recycling or reusing things  81. General Conference  82. opportunity to take the Sacrament weekly and renew my baptismal covenants  83. ability to voice my opinion through voting  84. fingernail clippers  85. Husband and I go on dates  86. popcorn  87. I have been able to strengthen my back and avoid pain  88. G.P. helped me to become a stronger writer  89. Mrs. A encouraged my volunteerism  90. Husband supports my dancing  91. Daughter loves to dance  92. word processing technology  93. copy machines  94. spaghetti  95. K.B. is such a generous friend to me  96. C.H. inspired me  97. I serve in the Primary  98. camping  99. washing machines  100. that I have learned how to have hope

And there could be many more things listed.  There is much to be grateful for in my life.

I love that Pres. Monson used "the divine GIFT" in the title of his address.  You mean to tell me that gratitude is a gift from Heavenly Father?  I had to think about that for awhile.  What a merciful and loving God we have.

"Sincerely giving thanks not only helps us recognize our blessings, but it also unlocks the doors of heaven and helps us feel God’s love."
There have been far too many times in my life that I have not allowed myself to feel of God's love.  I see that it is because I was being full of selfishness rather than full of gratitude.  That is a great gift.

"My brothers and sisters, to express gratitude is gracious and honorable, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live with gratitude ever in our hearts is to touch heaven."
Touch heaven?  I would love to.  I imagine that would be like being full of Spirit all of the time, constantly heeding the Holy Ghost's counsel (because it's crystal clear with no distractions), and never doubting that God loves you because you are filled with it.  Oh yes, that is a divine gift.

God asks so little, but gives so much.

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

What are you grateful for?  How do you show your gratitude?  What did you enjoy from this talk?  My email is lettersfromlindsay at gmail dot com.

Stay tuned for Attitude of Gratitude Part 2 coming soon!  There is so much more that I want to share.

Thankfully,
Lindsay