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

Saturday, December 24, 2011

My Real Life

Dear Readers,


Merry Christmas eve!

When I don't write for a long time it is because I am living my "real" life.  I don't talk about it much here, because I am trying to respect the privacy and anonymity of those involved.

I am an unofficial missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Husband and I are not full-time missionaries called and set apart (No Black Name Tags or Sunday Dress 24/7), but we have been asked to serve a stake service mission but they don't really use that term anymore.  We were not "called" to this position and told we had the opportunity to say "No".  It was an opportunity that was extended to us (like a mission call) that we were instructed to pray about and then inform  them of whether or not this was something that our family could do (without great strain).

We are laboring in a Spanish Branch in our city.  Husband (speaks Spanish) is the branch clerk.  He is training a man to be the new branch clerk when we move in.......6 months.  It's coming fast!  Before my husband could teach him how to be a clerk, he first had to teach him basic computer skills.  "This button is the backspace.  You press it if you make a mistake and need to go back."  No joke.  I am the Young Women's President.  I am training 3 sweet ladies about what the program is and how to be a leader.  It is no small job.  We work closely with the full-time missionaries and stake leaders to coordinate our efforts to meet the needs for the branch.

I
am
exhausted.

I am also extremely happy to feel such joy in the service of the Lord.  I did not serve a full-time mission and I think this is very similar.  I also look forward to serving a couples mission with my husband.  It'll be a piece of cake after serving one with a 3 year old!

We don't get a Preparation Day and no one feeds us dinner.  We also don't have to tract or go to a lot of meetings.  We have our computers, music, and can talk to our families whenever we have time (ha!).  I am grateful to have "amenities" though when you are this busy, it cuts down on the time that you have for amenities.

Like I say, there are not many people in the branch and so if I talk about them it might be easy for some to figure out who I am talking about.  Even when I say good things about them, I hesitate to post about them.  I am having the most amazing experiences for sure.  I'll have to think about how to tactfully share them, but I haven't had a lot of time to think.

In addition to the church duties that we have we home and visit teach those on our routes.  This brings many unique experiences as well.  "Lindsay?  Can Husband go to court with me today?  It is at 1pm.  My neighbor said she'd go with me (to translate), but now she says she can't go."  This a real conversation that I had 3 weeks ago at about 10:30 in the morning.

I have eaten weird foods that after taking a few bites, hid the rest in my napkin (don't tell).  I have also sat through several meetings/ conversations/ lessons where I don't understand anything until someone translates for me.

We are having a delightful Christmas season.  I have 2 posts that I wrote about it, and maybe I'll post them, but I woke up feeling like I should revise them before I post them.  So I wrote about this, because it more accurately reflects my December.  It has been probably 70-80% focused on the branch and some serious needs that they are having right now, and not very much Christmas after the special Nativity exhibit.  I do love missionary work.  The Church has need of many other service missionaries and full-time senior couples.


“We need thousands of more couples serving in the missions of the Church.  Every mission president pleads for them. Everywhere they serve, our couples bring a maturity to the work that no number of 19-year-olds,
however good they are, can provide.”  Elder Jeffrey R. Holland General Conference, October 2011 (found here)


I like to think that this statement means me though I am sure he was referring to the senior couples because there aren't too many people that get to be in my position.  I know I am truly blessed to have this opportunity.  It is true what Elder Holland said.  These full-time missionaries aren't married, have no children, and have little frame of reference about many things in life.  They eat cereal for any meal that they don't have provided, but they are a lot of fun.

This blog doesn't reflect anything "fake" about my life.  It just shows the 20% of other experiences that I am having right now.

Merry Christmas.  I will share what our family has been up to soon (I never knew a simple cookie plate could bring so much joy!).

Celebratory,
Lindsay

Friday, December 16, 2011

Surrounded by Him

Dear Friend E,

I figured that by today after all of the excitement of coming home and catching up on rest that you might start to miss the people and places that you've seen for the past 18 months.

We did indeed attend the Nativity Display.  I am so sorry that you missed it.  You would have loved to see all of the nativities beautifully displayed.  They were spread throughout all of the rooms in the church.  One room was devoted to nativities from other countries.  Many in the Spanish branch displayed theirs from their homelands (Peru, Panama, Guatemala, Mexico, Columbia, etc.) while there were others from Japan, Kenya, Germany, and other countries all around the world.

They also had a live nativity.  The babies were always so cute.  I know that they knew they were depicting little baby Jesus.  They were gurgling and making such cute little noises, "talking" to angels probably :).

Daughter personally loved the Children's room.  There they had crafts for the children to make, nativity coloring sheets, and biblical clothing for the children to be able to dress as Mary, Joseph, Shepherds, Wisemen, and angels.  We took Daughter 3 different times and she never tired of it.  The last night we had to drag her kicking and screaming from the building.  I know she loved it.  She would dress as Mary and sit quietly by the manger.  I approached her once and she turned and said to me, "I'm having a good time with baby Jesus."  I just smiled and backed away, because what is there to say to that?  I am grateful that Daughter was able to have such a sweet experience.  We promised her that we could get her some "Mary clothes" at the fabric store, and so everyday she would wake up and ask for them.  It took a few days to make it there, but now she loves to wear them at home and sit by our shoebox manger with either Bear or her baby wrapped in white paper (her idea for swaddling clothes).

At the Nativity display, I signed up to play the piano for a half hour time slot.  As I practiced and selected the songs that I wanted to play, I thought about choosing songs that spoke of the Savior.  I played favorites like Away in a Manger, and The First Noel.  I decided that I wanted to end my program with the hymn "I Believe in Christ."  I knew that it wouldn't be recognized by visitors to the display, but I really wanted to express my testimony that I DO believe in Christ.  There's been a lot of media in the past few months about if Mormon are Christians (you might have to ask your Mom), and so I just wanted to publicly take the opportunity to share that yes, I, Lindsay, believe in Jesus Christ, that He is my Savior and Redeemer and I am a Mormon.

When I arrived at the Church, there were actually zero people that were listening to the music.  I felt bad for the previous time slot as they were faithfully playing and completing their responsibility.  I have no idea how many people came through as I was playing because they had the piano arranged so that I was facing a wall with my back to everyone.  I did hear some voices, so I do know that there were a few (including Husband and Daughter), but it felt good to know that I was giving of my time and talents.  I played my program (which I thought was quite delightful, meaning I loved all of the songs), and before I knew it my half an hour came to a close.  So, I took a deep breath and started to play "I Believe in Christ."

It was amazing.

I've played this song many other times, but this time was different.  As I played and focused on each note conveying my testimony about Him, I realized that I was surrounded by Him.  There were hundreds of nativities (657 to be exact) surrounding me that all depicted our Savior's birth.  They were big.  They were small.  They were ornate.  They were profoundly simple.  They were carved into coconut shells, and painted on grains of rice.  They were made out of paper, plastic, crystal, and porcelain.  They were all so unique and beautiful and celebrated Jesus Christ.  They all testified that He is our Lord who came to humble circumstances, and is the Savior of all mankind.  I will never forget having the opportunity to make it 658 testimonies as I added mine about Him.

I believe in Christ.  He is my King.
Good works were His, His name be praised. (Hymn 134)

Merry Christmas!

Miss you,
Lindsay

Friday, December 9, 2011

Gift to the World - Bible Videos

Dear Readers,

Did you see the First Presidency Christmas Devotional?!?!??!?!  If you missed it, watch here.  If you want to read some of my thoughts, read here.

A BIG announcement that was made was about a gift from the First Presidency to the WHOLE WORLD.  Yes, that is BIG!

Pres. Eyring revealed that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was going to share 50 videos about the life of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

THIS IS THE INTRODUCTION VIDEO. (could not embed here, sorry)

Notice that these videos are for everyone, not just members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Tell all of your friends.  Email the links, post it on your social media (biblevideos.lds.org).  These are FREE and they are hands down the best depictions that I have seen.  Every time the Church makes videos about the life of Jesus Christ, the quality is unmatched.

These are going to be great for Family Home Evening, my Young Women lessons, and a great tool to share with my friends.  Who is going to turn down a movie about the Savior, especially with no strings attached?

Not all 50 videos are finished yet.  So far there are a total of 6 that are geared around the Savior's birth and early life events.  These are perfect for our Christmas worship.

When this was announced, my husband I just kind of looked at each other.  This was partially because we already had a heads up about the Jerusalem movie set.  We knew that it existed, but we had no idea that it was for THIS!!! - a free gift to the entire world!

In the Devotional they played "A Gift to the World" which contains clips of all of the completed videos so far.  In short that shows the birth of Christ more succinctly than the individual videos breaking down each part.

I have previewed a few of the other videos and I am just blown away.

WORD OF ADVICE - Because the whole world is now viewing these videos, I have had problems with choppiness on two different computers (so I'm assuming it's not just me).  However, if you click the "Download" link by the bottom right hand corner of the movie screen, it'll take you to a different web page where it plays with no problems.  On that page you can then save it to your computer, but clicking "Download" does NOT make you download it to your computer.

When I watch these little vignettes, my heart swells with the Holy Ghost.  Peace washes over my body and I have no doubt that Jesus Christ is MY Savior and Redeemer.  That He is indeed real, and performed every miracle/ action that the Bible says that He did.  He lived and died for me, and now lives once again.  I have no doubt as to the truthfulness of His doctrine and that through following it I will gain eternal life!!!  These videos are a great tool.  I am so thankful for them.  Everyone who is affiliated with them has been truly inspired.  Every detail is perfect from the textures in the clothing, to the dialogue used, to the musical score, to the lighting/ location, and the acting.

Christmas won't be the same anymore.  It will be so much better, and I assuming that these other vignettes will be rolling out over the coming months with the conclusion coming around Easter time.  Oh hope of hopes, I hope that is how it happens, because I have been thinking about Easter in conjunction with Christmas (it's all about Christ) and how to better focus on the Savior.

biblevideos.lds.org

His servant,
Lindsay

First Presidency Devotional

Dear Mother,


I always feel better after we talk.


With everything going on, I am just now getting to the First Presidency Christmas Devotional.  We took Daughter to the Church instead of watching it at home.  She was so excited.  She sat as still as could be while the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang.  I, of course, pointed out B.M. to Husband like I do every conference, because who doesn't think it's cool that he went and joined the choir.  We know someone in the choir!!!!!!!!!!!

At BYU when I was a janitor student custodian, I thought I was something pretty special when I realized that I cleaned the office of someone who sang in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.....yeah, that's a stretch at "coolness", which is why B.M.'s presence really adds some legitimate credibility to my "cool factor" now, because knowing someone who sings in the Tabernacle Choir is apparently really important to me!

Speaking of choir stories, I signed up to play the piano a couple of places this Christmas and one song that I practice has a specific part that highlights the "tenor" line, so I always think of R.G. and play it how I think he would sing it, since I was spoiled to sing in such a good choir for so many years, and that was partially due to his leading out in the tenor section.

How is that for one long gushy statement?!  Come up for air, lady.

Ok, so of course I enjoyed every bit of the First Presidency Christmas Devotional, but here are the things that meant a lot to me.  I was kind of purposely delaying the start of my Christmas celebrating, because I wanted to start out with the proper perspective.  I wasn't sure how I felt about certain "traditions".  I was thinking things like, "There's too much gift giving, we should cut back.  There is too much Santa/ Toy Workshop/ Elves, how do we handle that?, etc, etc, and so forth."  All of these thoughts were definitely weighing on me, so I was glad to come away with a lot of clarity and excitement for the season.

President Uchtdorf said something like, "that may be the most one-sided gift exchange ever given in the history of the universe" in reference to Jesus Christ's gifts that He gives to us.  That really started to get me thinking.  If the Savior is my perfect example, then I would like to give gifts like Him, meaning one-sided or lopsided (unequal) in result.

I personally hate the idea of a "gift exchange".  This always seems to imply that the involved parties all provide gifts that cost about the same in order to provide equality.  Sometimes a dollar amount is even set as a limit.  These gift exchanges are usually well-meaning, (i.e. don't want anyone to feel left out, reduce the number of gifts a person needs to buy therefore saving money, etc) but I hate that these gift exchanges take all of the heartfelt giving out of giving gifts.  When involved in these types of things, they always seem robotic as everyone sticks to the limitations and rules of the exchange.  Now I know that many people would jump all over this view and cite many examples of how they love this type of thing, and that's fine.  I don't.  I want to give gifts like the Savior and I can do that better a different way.

I always feel better when I give something to someone knowing that they can't give something back "equally".  I believe another name for this is called service.  Being the "poor student family" has resulted in many generous gifts being given to my family these past few years.  We have received everything from clothing and toys, to housewares and tickets to concerts and plays.  When someone buys me a $60 dollar ticket (times 2 for Husband), there is no way that I can repay them with an "equal" gift.  All we can do is graciously accept the generosity of others and count our blessings to receive these items that relieve our financial strain and that we have such wonderful, thoughtful, and generous friends.  Plates of cookies, thank you cards, being a good friend in return, and heartfelt thanks are definitely not equal to what we have received in monetary terms, but they are all we have been able to do.  Then we've gone and looked for someone else to bless.

These past few months, we have been able to FINALLY! feel like we are the ones giving to others what they can't in return (monetarily speaking).  The thrill that comes from helping others is unmatched.  We have been able to share clothing and toys, meals, rides, housewares, and yes, even tickets to a play!!!  We knew when we gave these things that all we would receive back was heartfelt thanks, love, and appreciation and so that's all we expected.

The Savior's way of gift giving is a great example to me that I hope to employ this Christmas season.  I know that I won't be able to avoid some of those other situations, but I hope to steer others into the same way of thinking.

A gift should be given with the understanding that it so great that the return gift (should the recipient choose to give one) could never be matched.  I am not speaking of size or cost.  Babysit for someone when you do not have small children for them to watch in return.  Share a talent with someone when you know they do not have the same talent to share in return.

Of course a word must be said  about graciously accepting any gift, especially the feeble efforts of one to thank you for your generosity.  They know they cannot give you back something "equally" and so they don't need to be reminded or embarrassed by the original gift giver's refusal of their best efforts (when they know full well that it is "small" compared to what was given).

Like I said, we would look for others who weren't doing as well as we were.  This also keeps gift giving not as equal exchanges, but as a collection of service oriented people who are looking out for everyone, as each person looks for a new person to bring into the gift giving circle.

Ok, so maybe I didn't think ALL of these thoughts during the devotional.  I think fast, but not that fast ;).  I started mulling these ideas over and then combined with what I heard President Eyring say, I've come up with this over a few days.

Alright, what did President Eyring say (there is no written transcript of the talks, bytheway)?  I know you were wondering.  He began his talk and I noticed that he was using one word a lot.  That word was "gift(s)".  I found out later that his talk was actually entitled "The Gifts of Christmas".  Well between hearing President Uchtdorf talking about a "one-sided gift exchange" and President Eyring talking about "gifts", I was confused.  How could two-thirds of the First Presidency be talking about gifts when I was thinking that gift-giving was getting so out of control?  Did you hear about the Black Friday pepper spraying/ shooting/ robberies, etc all in the name of buying gifts?  I planned to give gifts, of course.  I just wasn't sure how many, or how much we should spend, etc.  I didn't want greed to find its way into my house.  Because of my turn-off to gift giving, I was really beginning to feel like Ebeneezer Scrooge.  I didn't want to hoard all my money, but I didn't want to be a part of thoughtless waste and fleeting happiness.  We were trying to focus Christmas on the Savior, but it still didn't feel right.

Then I realized  this:

In my mind I had been thinking about how to reduce my gift giving.  Aha!  Listening to my words again (in my head), I heard it again that I was really REDUCING MY gift GIVING (Reducing my giving).  In trying to find ways to cut back, I had cut out the best part, the selfless giving that comes with Christmas and all the service opportunities that I have mentioned above.

This is the Year of the Reach Out.  And while it may be the end of the year, it's not over yet.  I became really excited as I began to think of Christmas as a time of giving, and eliminate such thoughts of "gift exchanges" from my mind.  I have several ideas of things that I want to do personally or that my family can do together to join in with the Spirit of Giving (no gifts required)!

Gifts aren't obligations, but expressions of love.

Typing this, it sounds kind of obvious, but in my brain, it just was a little mixed up somehow.  Too many mixed messages, I guess.  Don't laugh, just be happy for me that I figured it out.  I think the confusion comes from knowing where "the line" is.  Everyone agrees that Christmas is over-commercialized every year, but it's agreeing on where "the line" is between over-commercialization and what is "okay" (meaning not over-commercialized).  See I told you it was confusing!

Then, I about fell off the pew, when President Eyring announced the videos about the Savior.  What a gift to the world!  I am so excited for them to be finished!

Lastly, our beloved prophet spoke.  My favorite quote that he said was "Christmas is what we make of it."  I had been complaining earlier in the weekend about this very thing to Husband.  Seriously, how do these men know what I needed to hear!  Amazing.  This kind of sums up all of the above thoughts.  I never realized how much effort it took to celebrate and enjoy Christmas.  I also liked how he said something about establishing Christmas traditions to capture and keep the Spirit of Christmas.  We're working on it.  We plan to visit a nursing home again like we did last year.

I love the First Presidency Christmas Devotional, always have, and always will.  It so great to have that be the "start" of the season for us.  The next day we were able to start putting lights on the house, and get out the tree, etc.  It really helped me feel like we had the proper mindset, and you know what they say, "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."

Ahhh, let the festivities begin!

Love,
Lindsay

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Christmas Website

Dear Readers,

I would like to remind you about christmas.lds.org.  I found this website last year, but not until 3 days before Christmas.  I was disappointed that I had spent my whole season without it!

Read The Christmas Story.  It sounds like a pre-made Family Home Evening idea to me!  There are links to music, video and other articles to enhance the meaning for you and your family.

Watch 17 different Christmas videos.

Find a list of ideas to have a more meaningful Christmas.  I love that they remind us that Christ is the best gift of all.  Let's simplify!

Download free Christmas music.

Check out these coloring pages and games for kids!  Also are other ideas that look perfect for the other  Monday nights in December (Family Home Evening opportunities).

I actually love how this website is very simple.  Nothing glitzy or glamorous here.  It is an example to me to keep things simple during my Christmas worship!  At first glance I thought, "That's it?  With all of the resources that the Church has, they are only including this little amount?"  But you know what?  It's enough.  I'm still putting together the finishing touches on my Christmas season "plan", but I will keep it simple.

Christ is the real gift of Christmas.

Lovingly,
Lindsay

Want It All

Dear Readers,


This is a continuation of my last post.


Today let's talk about attitude.



The way to “have it all” is to want all that you have.  Because then, if you want all that you have, then you have all that you want.   Having all that you want brings great contentment.  Think that through for a minute.

Let’s break it down.

When I say “want all that you have” I am referring to wanting, accepting, and feeling gratitude for everything that has happened in your life.  I mean every little thing whether it was good or bad.  Situations that were devastating in the moment are some of the experiences that I treasure the most now.   They make me who I am.  They are what have molded me into who I am and helped to refine my rough edges.  Instead of being upset by things that happened to me and letting myself become a “victim” (“Why me?” or “Only me!” mentality) I have learned to embrace my past.  It doesn’t take away the fact that it was hard for me.   It was definitely hard at the time.  Being grateful for my past also doesn’t lessen the severity of choices that others made towards me.  Everyone has things happen to them that they can’t control.  We could all be “victims” if we wanted to choose to be miserable, but then the world would just be miserable.  And that sounds so sad.

I’m not going to lie.  Acceptance doesn’t come overnight.  It took me a few years.  Once you embrace all of your embarrassments and can laugh about them (Thanks Elder Wirthlin!), then you’ll really appreciate “All” that you have.  I do have tons of examples, but seeing how I barely have any time to post anymore, I’m trying to keep this short.

I have to say that I love being me.  Nobody can be me, but me.

 Next up is The Pots and Pans Theory.  This really explains how I “do it all”.  It’s already half written, but I really want to write some other things first, so don’t hold your breath waiting for The Pots and Pans Theory, though with such a catchy name, I could see how you might be intrigued :).

Very tiredly,
Lindsay

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Woman Who Has It All

Dear Readers,

This message was originally intended for Friend M back in February.  However, due to my slowness, Friend M, might not even find it relevant anymore.  Sorry!  I have adapted it to a broad audience as I got "that feeling" that I should post about this due to things that I have been reading around the blog-o-sphere recently.

As this is a supercharged topic with much to say, I will stop trying to cover it in one post.  Call it "feeling adequate/ inadequate", or "finding balance in one's life", or "how to do it all", but join me as I write the next few days about being a woman who has demands that come from others, but also dreams to be nourished from within.

--------

Early in my marriage (and up until earlier this year), I was always confused and frustrated.  I knew that there were many things that I wanted to do (i.e. take dance classes), but there were also so many things that I should do (i.e. laundry).  I didn’t always want to do the things I should do, making it impossible to do everything between both of those categories.  A woman has to pick and choose what type of woman she wants to be.  I was searching and searching being overwhelmed by the “decisions” that I was going to have to make that would seem to control my destiny.  It seemed that there were many decisions that would have long term consequences, and it only added to my stress to choose wisely, NOW.  I knew I wasn’t trying to do “everything under the sun”, but it was still too much for my current situation, and I was borderline heartbroken about some of the things that I felt I was going to have to give up.

Back in February I was really struggling with specific things that had been put on hold due to being a young mother with a young daughter.  I didn’t like how that was the only definition of me that I felt like I was allowed to have.  I felt that it was choking the rest of me, because I was Lindsay before I was a wife and then mother.  There was more to me than just being Daughter’s mom.  Waiting 20 years to fulfill certain dreams and passions was just unbearable.  Call me selfish if you want, but it was really crushing me at the time.

Then I came across a quote from President Faust that gave me new perspective.  This is from a talk entitled "How Near to the Angels".  He says:

Women today are encouraged by some to have it all: money, travel, marriage, motherhood, and separate careers in the world. For women, the important ingredients for happiness are to forge an identity, serve the Lord, get an education, develop your talents, serve your family, and if possible to have a family of your own. 
However, you cannot do all these things well at the same time. You cannot eat all of the pastries in the baking shop at once. You will get a tummyache. You cannot be a 100-percent wife, a 100-percent mother, a 100-percent Church worker, a 100-percent career person, and a 100-percent public-service person at the same time. How can all of these roles be coordinated? I suggest that you can have it sequentially.

Aha!  He wasn’t telling me that I had to choose.  He wasn’t saying that I had to give anything up.  “I suggest that you can have it sequentially.”  That totally changed my view.  He then even explains that “Sequentially is a big word meaning to do things one at a time at different times.”   The book of Ecclesiastes says (3:1): “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under … heaven.”  Now when most people think of seasons in life, they think of living each one once.  Springtime is representative of when you are young, and winter is during your final time before you die.  I am sure you’ve heard this analogy before.

I decided after reading President Faust's quote that I would live my life like the seasons, meaning, ever changing.  Who said that you only got to have each experience once?  I decided that meant I would live Spring many times.  I would experience the thrill of learning something new and being infantile in many situations.  I would experience a glorious Autumn that was rich with experience and the joy of having become an expert at something over and over again.  It also meant that I would experience the coldness of winter, and the hardships that come from that, but I decided that it was worth it to me.  I decided if that I took his advice to only do one thing at a time then all would be well.  Nowhere did he say that you had to live the stereotypes that others place on upon your age or other statuses. I didn't have to be confined.  A lot of anxiousness went away when I realized that everything wasn't pinned on one chance at everything.

This then set in motion for me, a few principles that I came to embrace and live.  These will be my next few posts to hopefully help someone else.

Helpfully,
Lindsay

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Goals = Personal Progress

Dear Readers,
I hate it when I spend time away from this blog.  When I come back, I feel as if I must reacquaint myself with it and examine my purpose and think about the overall direction that I was heading before and if I want to pick it up again in the same direction or if it should change.

It is harder to write more consistently since my new responsibilities in Young Women.  Lots of things have become harder to find time for, since I have been spending time working with the Young Women.  Thankfully it's only been a few weeks since I have written here, but to be honest, it has felt like months.  Every day Husband and I wake up and labor hard.  There is much to do to support the Branch.  Every step of progress that they make is exciting, especially as we see souls being changed for the better as they choose commit themself to gospel of Jesus Christ and make and keep sacred covenants.  Some are being baptized.  Some are attending the temple for the first time.  Some are somewhere in between.  Everyone is progressing, and it is exciting!  It is also my explanation for why I have spent zero time here.

Moving on...........................................................................
I have a lot of goals for myself.

A lot.

These include some of the following:

Run my second marathon in April 2012
Further my knowledge of long-term food storage
Overcome my fear of the cannery and buy wheat and other long-term storage items
Grind my own grains and make homemade bread
Hand out a Book of Mormon by the end of the year (extended by missionaries)
Find someone for the missionaries to teach by the end of the year (extended by stake)
Regularly post on this blog
Learn Spanish at a faster rate than 2 words per week
Read El Libro de Mormon by the time I move
Finish reading The Doctrine and Covenants by the end of the year
Prepare my piano students to be able to share their talents with others
Complete current Personal Progress program by the time I move
Improve my sewing skills
Be a better mother to my daughter (I know specifically what that means to me, but don't need to share)
Be a better spouse to my husband (see above)

 No lose 5 pounds or achieve world peace here.  I have enough on my plate.
Time consuming, yes.  Lofty, I know.  I thought I had a lot of time on my hands.  Then I was called to be the Young Women's President and all of my free time has evaporated away like water on a hot day.  I was becoming discouraged as I had less and less time to work on these my goals when I had an "AHA!" moment.

Working towards these goals could be a part of my Personal Progress!!!!!!!!!!!!

How exciting is that!

Young Women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have the opportunity to complete the Personal Progress program.  Young women are girls who are 12-18 years in age.  Mothers are also allowed to work on the program with their daughters, and leaders as well.  Since the girls need a little motivation to get going, I thought the best way was to get working on it myself.

Coming from the Church website about Personal Progress:

"Personal Progress will help you strengthen your faith in and testimony of Jesus Christ as you learn His teachings and regularly apply them in your life. It will help you strengthen both your present family and your future family. It will help you prepare to make and keep sacred covenants and receive the ordinances of the temple. And it will prepare you to be a faithful, contributing member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The Personal Progress program uses the eight Young Women values to help you understand more fully who you are, why you are here on the earth, and what you should be doing as a daughter of God to prepare for the day you go to the temple to make sacred covenants. It will help you prepare for your future roles as a faithful woman, wife, mother, and leader in God’s kingdom. Participating in Personal Progress teaches you to make commitments, carry them out, and report your progress to a parent or leader. The patterns you establish as you work on Personal Progress—such as prayer, scripture study, service, and journal keeping—will become personal daily habits. These habits will strengthen your testimony and help you learn and improve throughout your life."

Rather than feeling overwhelmed, I began to feel empowered a few weeks ago!!!  I made a plan of how my goals fit the different values and how I should complete them, and I'm off and on my way.

Here's a small sampling:

The marathon will be my value project for Individual Worth.  I use all sorts of positive self-talk when I run and to get through a second marathon and all of the training that I need to do, I'll have to really pump myself up.

A Young Woman in the Branch will tutor me to help me learn Spanish as one of HER value projects.  A value project is a significant project that takes at least 10 hours.

My Young Women in Excellence Project will showcase sewing that I have done for the missionaries.  They asked me to do some clothing alterations for them.  I tried to tell them I didn't know how, but I somehow still ended up with them.  So I researched how to do what it was I needed, and also went to the fabric store and asked questions to the workers, and then I took pictures of every step to make a poster to display!

I am also working on the value experiences.  These include scripture reading, journal writing, and specific activities to help learn about the values.  Some are already planned out, but there are also opportunities to customize experiences to your interests as well.  I am thinking this is where some of my food storage goals could come in.

No matter what I accomplish, I will definitely be progressing and learning tons of new skills and having testimony building experiences.

Relieved I finished this by midnight,
Lindsay

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Mormons are Christians

Dear Readers,

My new (for real, long) post will be posted by midnight tomorrow.  Absolute promise.

Meanwhile, check out my new button in my sidebar!!!

<-------that side

Did you know that Mormons are Christians?  You'd think that would be obvious.  We are:

The Church of 
JESUS CHRIST
of Latter-Day Saints

It's become a hot topic in the media recently, so let me weigh in...

Mormons are Christians.

Period.

Any questions?

I didn't think so.

Visit mormon.org to learn more about my beliefs.  Better yet visit jesuschrist.lds.org.

You all are awesome for continuing to check this blog.  I have lots to say, and thankfully tomorrow starts the marathon of time to type.  I can't wait!

Faithfully yours,

Lindsay

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Songs of Praise

Out of the Mouth of Prophets - Part 9

Dear Readers,


Ouch!  This is only Part 9?  I guess I think about the conference articles a lot more than I have written about them.  We'll have to change that.


Today let's have a shout out for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir!  They provide music for several of the sessions of General Conference and other Church meetings throughout the year.  They also perform Music and the Spoken Word every Sunday.  It is now the "oldest continuous nationwide network broadcast in America."


All of the 360 members volunteer their time and pay their own way when they travel.  This is the same for the 110 members of the Orchestra at Temple Square.  If you read the Frequently Asked Questions, you can learn more about the amazing choir, because honestly I don't even know where to begin.  Being a music person, I am fascinated by the singers, their directors, their ORGANISTS (can you tell I play the organ?), and everything that is a part of their organization.


Honestly, who hasn't dreamed of singing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir?  Even those who claim to carry no tune would secretly love to have that kind of musical ability to stand next to 359 other people singing about our Savior, Jesus Christ.


Specifically, I wanted to talk about the hymn, With Songs of Praise that was sung in the Saturday Morning session.  This is in the hymnbook of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as Hymn Number 71.  Did you know that?  Unfortunately, it's not a well loved hymn.  The only time I have heard it sung in a Sacrament Meeting is when I was in charge of picking the hymns to sing.


I was also pleased to pieces that it WAS sung in General Conference, because now I bet it will be sung more in Sacrament Meeting due to the exposure.  That's Hymn Number 71.  The same thing happened with the beloved song, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.  It was in the previous edition of the Church's hymnbook.  It was removed because of the lack of enthusiasm about it among the Church's members.  Mack Wilberg comes along, writes an arrangement of it for choir/ orchestra, and overnight it became a SMASHING success and now is widely known throughout the Church's membership.


Now I know there are over 300 hymns in the Hymnbook, and we sing maybe 6 on each Sunday.  There are bound to be some that aren't sung very often, but we are encouraged to be familiar with them all.  Seriously, in the back of the hymnbook it says so.


"In addition to using hymns already known and loved, members are encouraged to become acquainted with new or less familiar hymns.  Try to achieve a good balance between familiar favorites and less well-known hymns." (click here then scroll to Hymns for Congregations)


If you read the words of hymns which were penned by Penelope Moody Allen, it so clearly says that music is a way we can worship Heavenly Father!!!  It so simply states truths about music.  We can show our gratitude.  It can be a prayer.  Music can unite us, and it brings the Spirit.  The last line says, "express the heart too full to speak, in one exultant hymn."  I think it describes beautifully how music can express things that words can't.  Music has been on my mind a lot lately.  I can't imagine my life without this blessing.

The First Presidency has written a message regarding music.  It is printed in the front of every single Hymnbook that is printed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but few have taken the time to read it.  It lists 4 ways that hymns are essential to our church meetings.  It lists 7 ways that hymns move us.  It also lists 6 ways that the hymns can touch us personally.  That is a minimum of 17 blessings, because there is more to the message than what I have listed.

Remember that "some of the greatest sermons are preached by the singing of hymns." (above reference)  I echo the First Presidency's words "Let us memorize and ponder them, recite and sing them, and partake of their spiritual nourishment."

Sing a song of praise!  Sing a hymn!

This is by no means as comprehensive as it could be, but yay for General Conference reviews!

If you wish to watch this conference musical number, click here.  Just find this musical number (Saturday Morning Session - make sure to click on "Show Music"), and watch, download, whatever you want.

Are you in love with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir?  Do you want to audition with me?  Let me know!  My email is lettersfromlindsay at gmail dot com.

Expressively,
Lindsay

Friday, October 14, 2011

Website Differences

Dear Friend B,

I would be happy to explain this to you:

"What is the difference between mormon.org and lds.org?"

Mormon.org
Mormon.org is the website that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has put together for those who are looking for more information about us, well you know, Mormons.  Elder Ballard just said in Conference, "It is impractical to expect people to type the full name of the Church when seeking to find us or when logging on to our website."  The content of mormon.org is directed at those who are looking to find our more about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It is easy to find information about our beliefs and values.  It has links to information about Jesus Christ, WHO WE DO BELIEVE IN, Joseph Smith, and why we do missionary work and humanitarian aid, etc.

On mormon.org you can chat with a representative from our Church, but if that's way more commitment than a person wants to give there is a very thorough Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) link found near the upper right corner of the page.  It lists over 100 questions organized by topic.  Very easily a person could clarify any question that they had about our faith.  Also, find a church location, request a Book of Mormon or to have missionaries visit you in your home to tell you more.

One of the neatest features of mormon.org is the new "meet a mormon" campaign that has been happening during the past year.  Real Mormons have created profiles (here's mine!) to show that we are average, regular Joe's (or Lindsay's :).  We also have weighed in on these questions that people are so confused about.  A visitor to mormon.org has access to many testimonies.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is NO cult.  We have a prophet who is God's mouthpiece.  He tells us what God wants us to know, which may or may not be what we want to hear.  Reading all of these testimonies of members of The Church of Jesus Christ shows that we all truly believe in Jesus Christ.  The doctrine of Christ is real and very personal.  The Church is just the organization that brings order to living the doctrine of Christ on Earth.  There is also a really great talk by Dallin H. Oaks, one of our apostles, that explains this.

Visit mormon.org.  I dare you.  Member or non-member will find it an edifying trip.  Members should regularly log-in and add to the content that is listed to share with those seeking the truth.

LDS.org
The family of lds.org websites have been designed with the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in mind.  However, THEY ARE OPEN TO EVERYONE.  There is nothing secret about the content.  We do not post things there that we don't want our friends and neighbors to view.  In a digital age, it makes sense to have an online library of all of the Church's resources.  They are numerous, which is why there are so many websites in the lds.org family (i.e. conference.lds.org, temples.lds.org, youth.lds.org, music.lds.org, etc).  Mormon.org is just a subset of the Church's websites, (just like mormonmessages.org).  It organizes content that is fundamental to our religion so that someone doesn't click on the lds.org homepage and think "What now?".

Think of all the paper we are saving through having these resources online.  With over 14 million members that makes for a lot of manuals, pamphlets, etc.  Also, it is great to not have to drag a large bag of Church sponsored materials everywhere you need to go.

You can read the scriptures online.  You can get help with your calling, whether that be leadership tips (this is new, watch the tutorial!) or finding the materials needed for your organization.  Use the study notebook (found under Tools) and study Ensign articles, conference talks, and words from the prophets and apostles.  Find the Visiting Teaching and Home Teaching message.  Purchase Church approved materials for use in your home.  Log-in to access your stake and ward directory and the new calendar feature.  Watch Mormon Messages and other uplifting media.  The hymns are all online and so is other LDS artwork.

The list is endless.

With so much content to wade through, it can be confusing to find things sometimes.  This is why I link to lds.org so much.  I want to help make members aware of resources that they didn't know were there.  There is no need to look elsewhere for Family Home Evening ideas, Primary Sharing time ideas, etc.  No member of the Church is expected to read every webpage that the Church sponsors, far from it.  No member of the Church is required to visit lds.org.  It is a resource to bless the lives of the members.  And it does bless mine.  I hope this blog shows that.

Every blog post that I write, links somewhere on mormon.org or lds.org.  I want people to know that I have a testimony of Jesus Christ and of His church.  I want them to be able to know what I know, to read what I read, and to feel what I feel about the truthfulness of the gospel.  This is why I avoid linking to other sites.  I do not want anyone to get their information from a source other than the Church itself.  This is also why I don't care if my blog grows to be big and famous.  When someone reads here, because of a search that they did, they are provided with a link to the right source to learn more.  People are searching.

I would encourage other members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to become a little bolder and share a little bit more on the internet about what they believe.  Share a little less about what you ate for lunch, who said/wore what, or funny animal pictures/ videos, etc.

Bottomline:

Everyone is welcome at either mormon.org or lds.org.  Members of the Church should not send non-members to lds.org unless linking them to something specific, because that defeats the purpose of mormon.org as being a concentrated place to answer their questions if they are left to click around on their own.

Hope this helps,
Lindsay

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Old-School Education

Dear Daughter,

I would like to take a moment and tell you how much I love you.  Words are very difficult to find to express exactly how I feel about you and the joy that you have brought to my life.  There is so much that I am thinking.


One of my favorite things about you is that you are left-handed.  Neither your dad or I are left-handed.  It shows me that even though you are 50% my DNA and 50% his, you are still you.  You are unique and special and have your own thoughts, dreams, desires, talents and abilities.  I think it is easy for people to think you are a mini-me, but you're not.  You're on loan to me from Heavenly Father.  A Spirit picked to come to our family.  Though you are young, you have your own preferences and style.  I love that you can offer me opinions about crafts and fashion.  I love discovering all of your potential and watching your talents blossom.  For some reason, every time I see you pick up a pencil, and decidedly use your left-hand, your whole life flashes before my eyes, because I know that you will do great things.  Most of them without me.  You are you, and I am me.

Right now you are still young and you do exhibit many age-appropriate behaviors.  I love how you nurture your dolls or me, because you have no younger sibling.  I love watching your limited coordination, or hearing you mix up consonant sounds, because I know all too soon you will be a grown, refined woman.  I know I need to spend more time with you.  It is all going too quickly and I miss your earlier stages.

I am impressed with your love of the Lord.  There is nothing sweeter than hearing you sing hymns all day long.  Recently, you've been singing "Praise to the Man" and "The Spirit of God" the most, but you also have a vast repertoire of over 50 Primary Songs/ Hymns.  I love your little prayers and desire to serve others.  I love when you decide we should pray for someone and we stop and do it right then.  I love that you already have your sights on the temple.  I love that the "Joseph Smith Movie" is your media of choice and that you watch it several times a week.  I also secretly love that you insist upon singing "Latter-Day Prophets" before we read scriptures every night, though I try to get out of it every night.  I also love your support of me in my calling.  Yesterday at the Church, you stood up at the Primary microphone and said "I'm Sister [our last name].  I'm giving a talk." and proceeded to share what you knew about the gospel.  I was busy doing other things, but now I wish I had stopped and hung on your every word.  You have been really patient as Dad and I have served others, but I know that Heavenly Father blesses you for helping us help others.

Now, my little pioneer, pay attention to this.  I hope you never grow out of your pioneer stage.  We all loved Nauvoo, this summer, and all have been inspired by the early saints of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

I have decided that the best thing I can teach you is to be like a pioneer woman.  I came to this conclusion a few weeks ago when I was wondering what to do about your education.  Homeschooling?  Public schooling?  There are a lot of options and everyone seems to be so concerned about starting earlier and earlier.  All of your friends are starting pre-school, pre-K, or Kindergarten, AND dance lessons, gymnastics and soccer.  I have wondered what we should do.  There are so many different ideologies.  Some people have a full-blown curriculum for their 2 1/2 year old that they plan to home-school.  Other parents are lamenting that their child went to Kindergarten knowing too much.  They were so far ahead of everyone that they were bored and never were able to develop a "good work ethic."  This led to difficulties later in the upper grades.  What am I to think?

Lately, I have been turning to the pioneers for inspiration.  I know they did not have the same educational opportunities as we have now, so I don't know if it is a fair place to look for inspiration.  Pioneers did learn to read and write when possible and taught their children.  There were several schools in Nauvoo.  We toured one.



Literacy was important then, and our Church still recognizes it as important now.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints also encourages women to get an education.  I know that pioneer women valued education.  I also know they valued hard work.

Daughter, I want to teach you to work hard, like a pioneer woman.  I want you to know how to keep house, how to sew, how to cook, how to value your time and money.  I want you to know how to preserve and prepare for emergencies.  I want you to constantly render compassionate service to others like a pioneer woman.  I want you to value your relationships with other people and how you treat them.  I want to teach you to have faith like a pioneer woman who endured a life of constant struggle and sorrow, yet NEVER wavered in her belief in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I want you to love the Lord, like a pioneer woman would, consecrating everything she had to the growth of the Kingdom.  I want you to know that you are a beloved and precious daughter of God, that you should be virtuous, and have a love for the scriptures & and the words of the prophets.  Be prayerful, learn to read and write, and yes, value constant education like a pioneer woman.

The world gets caught up in schooling, and creative crafts and learning materials while frequently forgetting about moral values and work.  Yes, Daughter, the best thing that I can do is to teach you to be like a pioneer woman and that's exactly what I plan to do.

I love you so much.  I feel like I have told nothing in comparison to all of my love for you.

Be strong and always trust in the Lord.

Love,
Lindsay

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I Am a Child of God

Dear Readers,

Whew!  It's over.

Last night was Nuevos Comienzos (New Beginnings) for the Young Women.  For the past 10 days, I have done nothing, but work on the details for that.

Today is a special day for Daughter.  She has been very patient these past 10 days, so today we are heading to the science museum and we will meet our Dad for lunch.  In celebrating Daughter today, this is one of her favorite Mormon Messages right now.



By recognizing that I am a daughter of the Divine One, this means that I have a Heavenly Father who loves me and is watching out for me.  He blesses me ALL of the time.  This makes me really happy.

Exhaustedly,
Lindsay

Saturday, October 1, 2011

At the Door and On the Stair

Dear Mother,

I have a great story for you, but it requires background information, so read on!  You'll love the ending.  You won't know whether to laugh or grab a tissue, because Daughter is so sweet and precious.

At the Door:

In our bedroom hangs the picture by "Jesus at the Door" by Del Parson.  It is the one that you gave to Husband and I with the gold foil leaf.  There have been many times that Daughter has pointed it out and so we have talked about it.  I have explained to her that there is no door handle on the door and that she must choose to open up the door, because Jesus is knocking on it.  We have to choose to be close to Jesus, because He wants to be close to us.  I have knocked on the wall of my room to demonstrate that Christ is knocking and calling "Daughter, Daughter please let open up the door."  We must let Him in our lives.




On the Stair:

This week Daughter and I were on our way upstairs to do the laundry.  She was holding a book and we had talked about reading it together, but decided to first do the laundry.  I told her to put the book on the couch, and Bear (who was in her other hand) also.  She misunderstood what I was saying, and I could tell that she truly wanted to understand, so I clarified.  I said,  "Book on the couch, Bear on the couch, Daughter come upstairs for the laundry."  Daughter understood and she started upstairs.  I had been waiting for her midway up the stairs and I bent down and gave her a big hug.

This is the conversation that followed:

Me:  That was good obeying!  I am so proud of you!

Daughter:  I obeyed!

Me:  When we obey our Mom and Dad it helps us obey our Heavenly Father.  Mom and Dad ask us to do things and so does Heavenly Father.  Heavenly Father has asked us to do things like go to church on Sundays, read the scriptures, and pray with our families.  Daughter is obeying Heavenly Father!

Daughter:   (big gasp and jaw-dropped smile)

Me:  Daughter goes to church on Sundays!  Daughter reads the Doctrine and Covenants every night.  Daughter says prayers with our family!

Daughter:  Daughter is obeying!

Me:  Yes, you are!  The things that Heavenly Father asks us to do are called commandments.  When we follow Heavenly Father's commandments we get to live with Him again.  Do you want to live with Heavenly Father again?

Daughter: (smiling and nodding yes)

Me:  That's wonderful.  Heavenly Father loves you so much and wants to live with you again.  Heavenly Father loves you.

Daughter:  (thinking)  Jesus loves you.

Me:  You are right.  He does.  Jesus loves Mom and Daughter.

Daughter:  He is saying, "Daughter, Daughter, open up the door." (see above)

Me:  (I had to think for a minute what she meant)  Oh, you mean like the picture in my room?

Daughter:  Yes.  He is saying, "Daughter open up the door.  Let me in."

Me:  And is Daughter going to open up the door?

Daughter:  YES!  And I will tell Him, "Hola!!!!!" (Hello in Spanish)

Me:  (no response, smile, laughter, wonder and awe)

Mother, I have often thought about choosing to open up the door and letting the Savior into my life.  Yet, I have never thought about what happens once the door is actually opened.  It does make a person ponder...

Would I greet the Savior with a big hearty "Hola!" or would I be looking through the peephole in shame timidly opening up the door?

I love Daughter.  She teaches me.

I love you.

Love,
Lindsay

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

And Counting...

Dear Readers,

Lastly, YES I am ECSTATIC about General Conference.  The General Relief Society Meeting (highlights here!)was fantastic.  I want to spend a whole week on it.  Five days for five "forget-nots" from President Uchtdorf.  I can't wait.  Our family will stick to tradition.  We treat General Conference as an employee might treat a business conference.  We wear business casual or nicer depending on the session.  We're on time.  We plan no other activities to distract us.  We look forward to hearing the keynote speakers recognizing them to be THE experts of this field.  If we cannot make it in person we "tele-commute" and participate over the web.  We feel the buzz and excitement of a LARGE group gathered together for a single purpose.

YES, we LOVE General Conference in our house.  We have been preparing for over a month, but I have not said anything.  Sorry.  It's not too late for you to clear your calendar and plan to participate.

Print out activities for children (or yourself).

Recognize that it is no ordinary blessing.  (It is worth it to give 20 hours of your year.  Seriously.)

AND last but not least, enjoy this from Elder Holland's last Conference talk in April.

General Conference IS amazing.  It has the power to change your life.  Please watch.


Read here for my "Proper Preparation" from April that also lists how and where to watch on the internet.


Waiting,
Lindsay

How are you? I am fine.



Dear Readers,

I apologize.  I have sent much personal and private correspondence, but have not allowed you to be privy to it. I am also grateful for the cards and letters that I have received lately.  It has been a fun time. Cards have that effect on people.  Anyone want some? (lettersfromlindsay at gmail)  Everyone from my first group has received their card packages in the mail, but I still have oodles and oodles.  I even started giving out more cards myself, but I still have more than I'd like to have.

As far as news on "the purge", or shall we call it "Purge 2011", or "The Great Purge"?  Every great "disaster" has a catchy name.  We'll just stick with "The Purge".  We're not to 50% yet.  Honestly, I have no idea what percentage we're at, but we have made a ton of progress in case you're interested.  It might take a whole month to get everything to all simplified like the pioneers, but we are off to an awesome start.  The missionaries have also been really grateful for some of our castoffs...(never seen someone so grateful for a waffle iron for example).  I have even purged my "drafts" file in this blog and deleted 50% of my "draft posts".  It feels so good to remove clutter from all areas of my life.

The Young Women's presidency is off to a great start.  We are slowly overcoming the language barrier and having much success.  Rome wasn't built in a day, but I'm sure they savored each and every little success.

Additionally, it has been exciting to hear about those who are starting to labor in the The Vineyard.  Thank you for all of your feedback.  It lifts me up to hear of others who are making a stand for good in the world.  This is what I wrote about the Vineyard.  Even my own husband got right to work.  I am so thankful, because he is doing Spanish translation.  We need that, because all of the Young Women materials are not in Spanish (yep, another hurdle for me.)

I don't usually do updates like this.  This blog never was meant to chronicle my day-to-day activities, or even my day-to-day spiritual life, but I feel like I am behind, and as part of the "The Purge" I am getting everything current, so I can live in the present.

Also, I am pooped, as in VERY tired.  Every night I sit down and think that I'd like to share something on the blog, but I am just way to tired to form sentences.  It might be like this for awhile.  My new responsibilities caught me off guard, and the health of myself has not been stellar.  Someone in my house needs surgery in the coming months, and we have our own personal heartaches to work through right now in addition to everything mentioned above.  Your patience is appreciated.

With the influx of new readers, I just wanted to say hello.  Welcome.  This is my testimony.  I know that these things that I type about are full of truth.  I know that as you read these things, they will also ring true within you.  Visit mormon.org to chat with a representative or have them visit your home to speak more about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Wearily,
Lindsay

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Beautiful Story



Dear Readers,

May I tell you about my Sunday?

Today has been such a wonderful, WONDERFUL day.  One of the best of my life.  It has been a day full of peace and joy that comes from being close to Heavenly Father's Spirit.

I attend The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  With over 14 million members, we meet as small congregations on a weekly basis.  These are organized geographically for convenience.  At this time, my family has been asked to attend the Spanish congregation (called a branch) in our area.  Many of them are new to the gospel of Jesus Christ and to the organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints as a whole.  We are helping to train them to assume leadership positions so that the Latino population may become stronger in this area.

This past week I was called to be the Young Women's President.  This is to oversee the girls who are ages 12-18 in the branch.  A president chooses two counselors to work with as well as a secretary.  They then counsel together on how to best meet the needs of the girls and administer the program for them.

All positions in the Mormon Church are unpaid.  As people are "called" they choose to volunteer their time to fill the position they have been asked to fill.  We do not base these "callings" on resumes or look at qualifications, but believe that these positions are "called of God", like Aaron.

As the President it was my responsibility and privilege to pray and receive inspiration on who Heavenly Father wanted to work in the Young Women's organization.

I prayed,

and prayed.

My head swirled.   Being the Young Women's President or any other president comes with great responsibility.  I did not know if I could complete the task ahead of me.

Did I mention this is a Spanish congregation?

I don't speak Spanish.  "No habla Espanol." (I say that a lot.)

(If you're wondering what I'm doing in a Spanish congregation see above comment about being called of God.  If we trust in Him, He will direct our paths.)

As I thought through the names of all of the other women, I became very overwhelmed.  How could I train someone who spoke very little English when I spoke very little Spanish?  I had been told that I could have a "translator", but I kept feeling that Heavenly Father wanted someone else.  Someone else who did not speak English...what to do?

After praying for over an hour last Wednesday (it felt so long, but that is so short compared to Enos) I finally knew.  I knew that God had spoken to me, and I did not waver anymore in my thinking of who should fill what position.

Today at church we began our duties.  First, our names were presented to everyone so that we could be voted on.  Then we were given special blessings to perform our best in these callings.

Before all of this though, one of the ladies I had chosen was given the Holy Ghost and was confirmed as a member.  On Saturday, she was married to her spouse, and then her family was baptized.  It was a beautiful moment for them in their lives as they chose to become a member of Christ's Church.  Yesterday was really special and it carried over to today.

In our special blessings we were blessed with many wonderful promises.  One woman was blessed with the gift of tongues; that she would learn English in a way she never thought possible to be able to communicate with me!  Another woman was blessed that through her diligent service that her family would want to come to church and work towards being sealed in the temple!  My own blessing provided special guidance and direction on how to interact with the girls and a blessing of health (yay!) to be able to complete my duties.  It also spoke of listening to the "whisperings" of the Holy Ghost.  It made me remember this experience.  I am grateful that I have learned how to discern guidance from the Holy Spirit.  There have been many lessons learned this past year.

After an overwhelming week for many reasons, it all ended so sweetly.  The Lord is pleased.  I know it.  He has spoken and chosen His servants and they have answered the call.  We have a beautiful beginning as we meet this week to begin to figure everything out.

One English-only speaking woman.

Two Spanish-only speaking women.

One barely bi-lingual woman who knows just enough English to translate for us all.

This is our presidency.  There is much to teach.  There is much to learn.

I am humbled by my experiences.  I have prayed many times this week.  I have shed many tears,

but now I am feeling my greatest joy.  And I know this is just the beginning.

This is Jesus Christ's work.

Dutifully,
Lindsay

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Overwhelmed

Dear Readers,

Sorry about Friday.  Something has come to my immediate attention that has taken every possible thought and energy out of me.

Thankfully an answer has come, and like my little brother has said, "I'm not at the end of my rope, but at the beginning."  There will be much work ahead, but I know it will yield blessings.

Heavenly Father asks us to do hard things.  He doesn't ask us to do more than we are able to do, but sometimes we don't think we are as capable as He does.

"Ye fearful Saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head."

(verse 2, God Moves in Mysterious Ways, Hymn 285)

"Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord." (Jeremiah 31:16)

No more crying, Lindsay.

"Forget yourself and go to work."  (I just love President Hinckley sharing that story from his mission.)

Weakly,
Lindsay

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Simple Pioneers - My Gift

Dear Readers,

I LOVED my trip to Nauvoo, IL.  It was exactly what my family needed.  In keeping with the letter to my sister about purging 50% of my household, I have a gift for you.

I am a card maker, as in greeting cards.

I used to be involved in a card swap where crafters would make greeting cards of their own design and then swap them with the other makers.  Because of this, I have over 200 pre-made greeting cards just sitting in my house.

Stacks of them.


Stacks and Tubs of them.

When I give a card these days, I sometimes use one of these pre-made ones, or make a new one if I want it to be specifically made by me, for a certain situation.  As part of my purge, I realized that I felt guilty making new cards when I had so many others to choose from, so that resulted in NO card-making for awhile.  And what's the point of having card-making supplies if you are not going to make cards?  Those should get purged as well...but I don't want to have to do that.

If I get rid of the greeting cards, then I can keep the supplies :).  I could either:

1.  Throw them all in the garbage

2.  Give them away

Being a crafter, I hate to throw them away.  They are clever, cute and many times made with loving attention to detail.

SOOOOOOOOOOOOO,

anybody want some cards?  No catches, no gimmicks.  If you email me where to mail them, I'll send you 10 cards.  These can include Halloween, Easter, every Holiday in between, Get Well Soon, Thinking of You, Birthday, Blank/ No specification, etc.  Since I didn't make all of these cards, they are very diverse in style.

Here is a small sampling of my 200+ cards.




LettersfromLindsay at gmail dot com

I'll pay the postage.  I love the post office.  Remember?  It will be my pleasure to share these with you.

I will be bummed if no one wants any, because I simply can't use them all.  Even if I wrote 10 notes to friends a week, it would take me over 6 months to send them all (and that would be 6 months of no new cards).

Some of the cards even have matching envelopes that were swapped....

Have I sold you yet?  I know this blows your anonymity, and for that I am sorry, but there is no way to mail them without an address.

I love cards because of the joy that they can bring to others.  Everyone needs a friend.  President Hinckley taught that.  Giving/ receiving a card is a friendly gesture.  It also is a great fulfillment of my goal to reach out to others this year.  I am working on it, though I haven't talked about it too much lately.

Thanks for reading,

Givingly,
Lindsay

Simple Pioneers

Dear Sister,

I cannot say enough about Nauvoo.  It was EXACTLY what my family needed.  Daughter is still singing the songs from the shows and praying for the characters in the plays.  She also wears her pioneer get-up almost constantly.  Sometimes she makes me wear our cowboy hat and then she calls me "Cowboy Mama", lol.  I don't know where she gets this stuff.  I don't know which I prefer more, "Cowboy Mama" or when she just calls me "Ma".

"Ma?"

Are you kidding me?

This is 2011 and my daughter calls me Ma?

Next we're going to sell our car and travel by covered wagon alone.  Daughter actually got mad when I was putting away the pioneer decorations this week.  Hello, it's September!

Secretly, I love it.  Make that LOVE it.

I love that our household cherishes the lives and sacrifices of our progenitors.  I love that we remember them daily.  Remembering our past helps us understand who we are and how we should act and why.

One thing that impressed me in Nauvoo was how simple yet so rich and full their lives were.  They didn't have so many comforts that we now have.  They worked hard all day, and then socialized in the evenings.  Though they were persecuted and faced many trials they were so happy.  They were so full of joy for their blessings of what they DID have, ie. The Book of Mormon, the temple, food to eat, clothes to wear, etc.

In their homes they had what they needed.  Even the "extravagant" homes still had many kids sharing one small bed.  Their family might have a few prized possessions, but their homes (albeit reconstructed and refurnished) did NOT have "stuff", piles of clutter, or a surplus of plastic toys/ items made in China.

No wonder they were able to easily focus on the gospel.  Their houses were Houses of Order.

Looking around my house, I thought it would be so neat if we could get rid of 50% of we have.  We have a family of 3 so I know we have a lot less than the typical American Family, but I know we have WAY too much.

I also know 50% is huge.  I was telling the missionaries my goal, but then I was telling them I didn't think it was possible.  Yeah some things would be easy.  We have 2 pianos, give away one.  We have 4 strollers, get rid of 2 or more.  Then I thought of my craft stuff and I thought........."ooooh, which things would be a part of my 50%?   There is NOTHING I could part with."  Same with some of my piano music.

I kind of left it at that, but then a few days later, I walked around my house with new eyes.  Having mulled over the idea of 50% in my head, all of a sudden, I saw TONS of things that I could part with.  I told Husband to hurry and let me get rid of them before I changed my mind.

We took one load to donate last night.  It was probably only 2%, but it was mainly the bags we've been meaning to take for months.  I haven't gone through for my big purge yet.

I am excited.  I know we won't really hit 50% because I am sure we use 50% of our possessions regularly, but I am happy to kiss some major clutter good-bye.  There are so many qualities that I hope to emulate from the pioneers.

Being 3rd generation Depression dwellers, I know we struggle with clutter/ junk.  We were taught to hold onto things because we MIGHT need them later.  I decided that the DESIRE of living a simple "stuff"-free life outweighed my FEAR of getting rid of something that I "might" need later.  I haven't regretted any decisions yet.  I have only reaped the blessings of feeling lighter, simpler, and more godly like the pioneers.  If the pioneers were happy focusing on the Book of Mormon, temple work, and other simple doctrinal truths, then I can be happy focusing on those things too.

I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Is someone stuck in wrong time period?  She sure is cute though.


Purging,
Ma,
Lindsay