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

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Sun/ The Son

Dear Readers,

Fact:
Everyday the SUN comes up providing warmth and light (yes, even on the cloudy days it is there)

Fact:
Some days I CHOOSE not to open the blinds in my house and do not let the light brighten up my home.....like I am afraid the neighbors will see me or something......not really sure why, I just know I think about opening the blinds and then I don't.

---------

Fact:
Everyday the power of the atonement of the SON of God, Jesus Christ, is available to provide warmth and light in my life (yes, even when it looks "stormy" outside, He is there)

Fact:
Some days I CHOOSE not to allow myself to feel of this light or accept that the Atonement has already been performed on my behalf......like I prefer living in despair or something.......not really sure why, I just know that I think about saying prayers, reading scriptures, etc. and then I don't.

Those days that I make that CHOICE........are awful.  They're dark, when they could be light.

I cannot get enough of the Savior.  I NEED Him everyday.  I need Him every hour.  I don't know how anyone can go through life without clinging to the Atonement.  It is what gives me hope.  "Hope is the anchor of my soul (see Hebrews 6:19)."  It is how my burdens are bearable (awesome video here!!!, please watch).

Enjoy the Sun/Son.

Hopefully,
Lindsay

Monday, February 14, 2011

God's Love Part 2

Dear Readers,

Yeah, so a broken mirror pretty much is ruined forever.  The good news is that feeling like a shattered mirror is the worst analogy on the planet.  This is because no life is shattered beyond repair.  While I may have said I felt like this mirror.  I was wrong.  Completely wrong.  God's love and Christ's atonement make it so that every life is worth living.  Every one's divine potential is so much more.

So, there's more to my Valentine's Day.  Too much more that showcases God's love.  I must share, if you will accept.

God loves me.  He knew that today of all days I couldn't cook.  Never mind it is THE day where dinner is a big deal.  As I cried with relief during Daughter's brief nap, I wanted to text Husband and say "pick up a pizza".  We hadn't planned an elaborate dinner, but definitely it was something special and I was too overwhelmed to make it.  I know Husband would have gladly picked up a pizza or anything else, except I never texted him.  I remembered that a pizza would have cheese and fat and spice and all of the foods we are trying to avoid for Daughter's sake.  Desperately I tried to think of other restaurants that might have something   without cheese and fat and spice and couldn't think of anything.  Glumly, I looked at our dinner list trying to pick out something that would be little work and tasty.  Rice and toast are getting old, and we all knew it.
Then the phone rang.  Someone had been prompted by the Lord to offer our family dinner.  This is what God's love looks like: a homemade chicken pot pie.
I don't think the person that brought it will ever realize how much this act of kindness helped me to feel the love of our Heavenly Father.  With my burdens lifted I was able to quickly put this tablescape together and to see Daughter's face light up at it, it was so wonderful.  We needed some smiles today.
After dinner we had planned to make treats to take to our neighbors.  We've lived in this neighborhood for almost two whole years and have not reached out to our neighbors.  We've said here and there and introduced ourselves to a few, but they seem to be the ones that have moved away.  Mostly we just stare at them and they at us.  A few weeks ago I vowed that I was going to introduce myself to them.  This is the year of reaching out.  Tonight wasn't a great night by any means and I tried to abandon the plan.  With Husband's support we persevered and spoke with 5 out of 7 neighbors.  We were invited into 3 homes.  It was nice to see how the neighbors were excited to meet us and grateful that we had thought of making them a Valentine's treat.  It was a great experience to reach out to others and now feel like I could turn to them if need be.  We expressed that we would be happy to help them as well.

Finally, the icing on the cake...well, Husband did have a special dessert that he served to me over candlelight, but then something even better happened.  We finally decided that with Daughter feeling this way and perhaps even getting worse that we needed to give away our tickets.  What tickets you ask?  Oh, just tickets to a certain Broadway show that we have been really excited to go see together.  No big deal......... NOT.  We have been planning this outing for over 6 months.  We've listened to the music in advance.  We've watched advertisements online.  We've dreamed of going TOGETHER, because this would be the first Broadway show that we've seen together.  Luckily, the Lord was full of love today.  (He is everyday.)

I was prompted that we should give our tickets to a certain person.  I talked to Husband and he agreed.  When I called this person, I wanted to tell them they had won the lottery, because that is what it felt like I was giving them.  A once in a lifetime opportunity.  I knew that Husband and I would be able to go to dozens of Broadway shows, but this person would never have the same types of resources that we will.  I could tell by their reaction, that they were really, REALLY excited and grateful that we thought of them.  I am excited and hope they have a really fun time.  While I am sad that we are not going, and I am definitely sad that Daughter's health is the cause.  I am so excited that I had the opportunity to give these tickets to someone as a gesture of my love for them.

So today, on Valentine's Day, love came full circle.  Love does never end.  God loves us all.  Jesus Christ's atonement covers all.

This may be the best Valentine's Day I have ever had.  It for sure is the most love filled Valentine's Day I have ever experienced.  I think of this song as I replay the events of the day in my head.  I like reaching out to others with love.

I am humbled.  I am so filled with gratitude.  I am so tired.  I did not know that a person could feel so much emotion in one day.  Stay tuned.  I would like to say a word about the part of my Valentine's Day that involved my husband, but that will just have to come later...

Humbly,
Lindsay

God's Love

Dear Friend S,

How are you?  How has your day been?  This is what I felt like most of the day.....yeah I broke that a couple of weeks ago......grr.
Yeah, it's been a rough day.  No, make that a ROUGH day, or a ROUGH, ROUGH day.

Yes, I did the stuff with Husband and he's even in the middle of preparing a surprise for me right now.  I can hear him banging around in the kitchen.  Husband wasn't home all day though.  That left plenty of other time to have a trying day.

Daughter is not getting better.  I almost wonder if she is getting worse.  It is so hard to tell and I hate being the responsible person that has to call all of the shots on her behalf.  This is the stressful part of being a parent.

Anyways, before I get too wordy about me, I have been thinking about you.  I remember once a LONG time ago you said that you had done some really bad stuff in your life.  It seems as if sometimes it still bothers you and that you don't allow yourself to feel of God's love for you.

God's love.  That has been all I have been thinking about today, every minute since I woke up and exhaustedly stumbled through this day.  I know God loves me know.  It is SO much.  Husband attended the Leadership Broadcast on Saturday and in it, it was said that priesthood blessings were underutilized in the home.  Once a year was deemed not frequent enough.  On Sunday I asked Husband for a blessing.

One of the lines in it was "the times you have ....(made a certain choice)..... though not ideal or acceptable........[you can] allow the atonement of Jesus Christ to swallow up your guilt and press forward in your life drawing nearer to Christ."

Ack.  Heavenly Father said something that I did was not acceptable.  That screams DISAPPOINTMENT.  And I could feel it.  BUT what was so amazing to me was that at the same time I felt how much God loved me.  I KNOW that He has every confidence in me to make right choices.  I am ashamed  that I was a part of this situation and I know that Heavenly Father definitely does not approve, but I felt so much hope, knowing that He loves me and supports me.  He wants me to succeed.  There are NO grudges.  No hard feelings that He's going to allow to get in the way.  God loves me.  I totally know what the phrase feels like: "love the sinner, but hate the sin."

I know that if God loves me like this then He most certainly loves you the same way despite all of the "really bad stuff" that you have done.

I know God loves me.  Today when I thought I could not survive one more minute of a whiny sick child.  He relieved me of my burdens, allowing her to fall asleep.  I cried with relief recognizing His hand in my life only allowing me to face what I could handle.

God is real.  He is my Heavenly Father.  He loves me as a Father with a pure and perfect love.  I love that I am His daughter.  Today has been a long and trying day.

Luckily, it has been a day full of God's love.

Lovingly,
Lindsay

Saturday, February 12, 2011

New Lds.org Website Update

Dear Readers,

Today I wanted to talk more about the "new" lds.org website.  Many hits to this blog have been people looking for more information about it.  Here is their FAQ page. (That's Frequently Asked Questions for my international readers.)

"New" refers to new look, new features, easier navigability, etc.  It does NOT refer to "new" content.  If it was on the "classic" lds.org then it will be somewhere on the "new" lds.org.  "New" also references that in the beginning the "new" site was new.lds.org while the classic site was lds.org.  Now if you type lds.org you will go to the "new" site and the "classic" site is classic.lds.org.

Confused yet?

If you still are finding your way around lds.org if you scroll down, all the way down, on the left side there is a button that says "Go to Classic LDS.org".  If you click there, you can enjoy the "old" website.  It says it will only be available for a couple months.....no idea what that really means.  Once again, I'd like to suggest that you watch the tutorial videos, because it sounds like eventually the "classic" site will go away.

I know in my first post about the website changes, I was not exactly thrilled.  Now that I have watched the tutorial videos (some are more helpful than others) and had more experience I am overall pleased.

I have LOVED the new conference website.  It has really helped my study of the talks from the last conference (and yes I am working on my next review......it's just really, really long).  I also think that the new site lives up to it's purpose which is "to help you, as a member of the Church and child of our Father in Heaven, learn, live, and share the gospel of Jesus Christ."  They also tout more videos, pictures, audio, etc. which is definitely nice.


Some other things to highlight:


1.  I also LOVE some of the new scripture features.  Let's be honest, I don't read my scriptures online, nor do I intend to change, but for talk preparation I am pretty excited.  If you watch the scripture tutorial video it will be more clear, but I think the footnote linkage is really cool.


2.  I also like how they put words from apostles and prophets on the homepage, so it really sticks out that we believe in a prophet that is receiving revelation from God.


3.  After watching the tutorial videos (especially this one), I like the "Menu" and "Tools" at the top of the page.  Initially it seemed like extra clicking to me, but I understand now why it is organized how it is.  I am excited to look through the resources listed under "Menu".


4.  The new SEARCH feature is by far the best thing ever.  It is located in the upper right hand corner of the page.  They have gone through and indexed all of the information so that it is easier to find.  They also have a "smart" search so that it guesses (rather well I must say) what you want to find.  Then once you actually do the search, there are "recommended" pages that pop up at the top in a highlighted box.  These have put together by many volunteers and missionaries to show the sites that are clicked on most or most applicable and helpful to what you searched for.  Honestly, most times that I have searched I have found what I wanted in a "recommended" result.


5.  Watch out for the "maps" page.  I hope they keep working out bugs, because it has given me a real hard time, and I don't think it was as good as the old "meetinghouse locator".  Drives me nuts!


6.  I have a mixed review on the Study Notebook.  I hadn't tried it before my last review in November.  I think it is hard to use and a lot of clicking.  There are definitely cool features and I understand how it could work for some people.  I think it might just not be my style.  You must be signed in to use this feature, but you do NOT have to be LDS (Mormon) to get an account.  I like how you can link together talks and scriptures and put it all in one place.  You can also put it together by topic  or "collection" they call it.  If you were going to write multiple talks, it would keep it all separate how you wanted it.  Maybe this will grow on me, or else I am just used to my old fashioned way of writing talks and study methods (because it's not just for preparing a talk) :)


I am trying to remember if there was something else that I wanted to say...


Honestly, I have kind of groaned over having to watch a tutorial to use a website, but the Holy Ghost manifested to me that it was time well spent because of all the websites on the internet, this is definitely the place to spend your time.  Remember, I haven't even scratched the surface with all of the resources that are available. 


Informatively,
Lindsay

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Temple Square Trip

Dear Readers,

Hello.  This is me!!! (I look a little tired, but Husband assures me that I look good, and I do agree that it shows that I've been hitting the gym:) 
I haven't posted any pictures in forever, and if you've been reading from the beginning then you know that I typically don't post a lot of pictures anyways for privacy reasons.  However, I have felt like I should share these pictures with you.  They are obviously from Christmastime.

We found ourselves at Temple Square.  Temple Square is in Salt Lake City, Utah, where the Mormon Church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) is headquartered.  Temple Square is a collection of buildings that are important to our Church.  These include the Salt Lake Temple, the Salt Lake Tabernacle (where the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performs), General Church Office Building (Church headquarters), the Conference Center is across the street, and there are visitor centers and other buildings as well each of which are significant for different things.  Click here to read all about them.

We went three days in a row to Temple Square and Husband, Daughter and I had a BLAST!!!

We went to Temple Square to see the lights.  It is so beautiful to see them in the trees and how they complement the always lit temple.
Our happy and very excited family!!!
A nativity that had narration and music of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  This picture does not include the wise men, shepherds and other vignettes that they had.
We are having so much fun seeing the temple!!!  Daughter was just ecstatic (and here's a big "cheese!").
The love of my life.  Look at his eyes.....okay, leave them to me, but with Valentine's Day approaching, I am extra love-sick.
My amateur pictures of the temple.  It is so grand, even in daylight, and I can't believe that it was built in the 1800's.  Read more here to understand why temples are so special to the Mormon Church.
I love that the Church Office Building is in this picture (see to the right of the temple).


Daughter is so excited when I tell her that we get to come back to the temple the next day.

 I don't have any pictures from the middle day.  Husband and I went inside the temple and since Daughter does not have a recommend, she just had to wait and look at displays in the Visitor Centers.  We loved seeing the Nativity again (kids love repetition!!!) and the other buildings.  I told her that the last day she would actually get to touch the temple, not just look at it.

What a memory this girl has!!!  The next day when we were in our Sunday best, we went on the temple grounds and she ran over to the temple.  It took me a minute to realize that she was "touching" the temple.
 Our family on the temple steps.
 These pictures are in front of the Christmas tree that was in the building "where President Monson works."  President Monson is the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  He works in the Church Office Building along with the general authorities of the Mormon Church.  This article has more information about the building.  This also was so exciting to Daughter to have this privilege that we couldn't get very great pictures.  We often use the wording "Please bless President Monson and those he works with" in our prayers, so it was just too exciting to see where they ALL work.


In one of the Visitor Centers they have this large statue of Jesus Christ.  You can listen to a narration that uses His words from the scriptures.  I wanted Daughter to get to see that so that was our very last stop.

Over the years I have been able to visit Temple Square.  This visit was extra special with Daughter.

If any of you readers ever have a layover in Salt Lake City, you can take a free shuttle to Temple Square.  They can give you a tour and have you back at the airport in a very timely manner.  I forget how long they say it takes, but know that the opportunity is there.  I am sure you will see signs in the airport.  I always do.

In summary, this post could also be called "Faith, Family, Fun" because that is really what these pictures show.  I am not a Mormon because I have to be, but because of the peace that these beliefs bring me.  I love my family.  We are so happy and we have so much fun together.  Life is awesome.

Peacefully,
Lindsay

Friday, February 4, 2011

Open Up Your Mouth

Dear Friend J,


I hope you have been able to enjoy all of your extra time, though if you are like me, it has come and gone and I think, "Ack, I had way bigger plans and wish I had more to show for it."

I wanted to thank you for sharing the video "Inviting All to Come to Christ".  It has had a huge impact in my life.  I really enjoyed being inspired by the one boy who opened up his mouth to invite others to Church.  For some reason this petrifies me.  I was given a hard time in high school to the point that I sometimes I don't even want to tell people that I go to church, because if I do then they might ask me which one.  Then I have to tell them and who knows what they might say in response.

A few things that I enjoyed about the video.

1.  Junior was not single-handedly responsible for multiplying his quorum from 1 to 26.  He invited a few, who invited a few, who invited a few.  It really showed the far reaching effect that a single action can have.

2.  One of the boys said "I'm not afraid to talk to other people about the Church, because I tell them what is true, what I know to be true."  Hmmm, if I KNOW these things are true why would I have a hard time sharing them?  To be timid would imply that I did not KNOW or have a strong testimony and I do KNOW that Jesus Christ is the head of this Church which is organized to help us prepare to enter the presence of our Father in Heaven again.

3.  "It shows that they really care.  They got the gospel and it did good for them and they don't want nobody one left behind.  That's why we invite a lot of people."  I just love that quote.  I don't want anybody left behind.  I want everyone to be able to experience the same eternal glory that I will.  It made me realize that I really need to open up my mouth.

With all of this thinking of missionary work and sharing with others, I was enjoying the supplement to the Ensign about mormon.org.  It said that there were new pass-along cards.  Then it said that you could order a box of 500 for $10.  I thought, "That's nice."  Then, I realized that they meant me, not the congregation, but for me personally to order these and hand these out.

I asked Husband if he thought we could hand them all out by the end of the year, and he was skeptical which kind of dampened my enthusiasm.  Though I realize that he was being honest.  There are some days that I don't talk to anyone outside of my family.  The past few days I have been starting to watch and try to strike up any conversation with others, because you definitely can't talk about the Church if you are not talking.

As soon as Husband shut me down, I immediately thought of you.  I know that you served a mission.  What kind words do you have for me?  This is something that I would really like to feel like I can do.  I want to be prepared to serve a mission someday and I know that preparation starts now.

I haven't forgotten about lunch.  I wanted to do it sooner, but now I am thinking that Spring Break might just be best, though I will keep looking at my schedule.

Thanks again for sharing the video.  I had not seen it yet.  I love to be aware of the resources on the websites put out by the Church.

Your Friend,

Lindsay

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Ensign

Dear Readers,

Ugg.  Do you ever feel like your time is not your own?  There are just always so many things to do, and choices to be made, and people to help, and family to love, and you get the idea.  As with all things, time is a gift from our Heavenly Father, so we better use it responsibly (just like everything else He has given to us.......wait, that's everything!).

This was not intended to be a post about time management, though maybe I ought to make it into one.  A study on that topic would greatly bless me.  I wanted to write about the Ensign magazine, particularly January's issue, which is why I wish this had been posted before today (February), but that is my old perfectionism showing through.

What is the Ensign?  It is a magazine publication of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for the adult population.  The Church also publishes the New Era and Friend magazines for the youth (age 12-18) and Primary aged children (3-11).  This year these publications are celebrating 40 years (though that's more of a trivial bit of information).

Wait, you mean to tell me that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has a magazine that is relevant to EVERYONE in the world?  Yes.  That is exactly what I am saying and I am inviting you to read it.  The Church publishes another publication called the Liahona magazine that is published in 50 languages that is written for those outside of the United States and contain stories and features relevant to the local population.  It has excerpts from the Ensign as well as articles for younger readers because they don't get the New Era or Friend.

Why is the Ensign relevant to everyone?  The Ensign has articles from our prophets and apostles every month!!!  Each month we can hear their words to us, which of course are words from the Lord.  I think the best part about this magazine compared to other magazines is that there is no advertising.  I don't need to flip through a bunch of distracting garbage to find the things that I want.  100% of this magazine is content.  As in the case of the January issue, that is 80 pages of content.  That is eighty, eight-zero pages of uplifting material that brings me closer to God.

What more could you want?

You can always subscribe (do not need to be a member of the Church) or check it out at ensign.lds.org.  Online of course there are a multitude of awesome features such as searching through the past 30 years.  I love to hold it in my hands though with the glossy pages shining up at me.  I love to see the pictures and photo essays that illustrate each article.  I love that they put prints of famous paintings in the Ensign.  I love the smell of the pages.  I love having something tangible to show that I do have good things in my life.

So, after ALL of that....

The January issue was simply amazing.  From cover to cover, I have loved reading so many features over and over again this month, deepening my understanding on so many things.

Pres. Monson called for more missionaries, again!!!!!  Remember his conference talk?  How many times do I need to be told to get going?  How many times will I commit myself to get going?

I know the Primary children are studying about scriptures this year.  Learning about the Savior's example of using scriptures (by Jay E. Jensen) in teaching really helped me to understand how I should use them better.

I am a self-improvement-a-holic.  There I said it.  Reading Heber C. Kimball's words about being clay in God's hands to be shaped by him into a masterpiece was awesome.  This address was given in 1854, but it is so relevant now... tells me that it is true.

I loved the Visiting Teaching message.  When the Relief Society was formed there were teenagers, widows, single women and those married with children.  Relief Society has always been an inclusive group made of a diverse group of women.  I do belong there and I learned that from the Ensign.

There was a reprint of Elder Oak's address at Harvard Law School last February.  It puts in plain terms what our faith is really about.  Husband has already used this tool with his friends.

An article called "The Historical Context of the New Testament" helped to excite me about studying it this year.  I learned so many things that helped to clear up confusion and misunderstanding that I had.  Now that I understand the historical context, it will mean so much more to me.  I keep thinking of how cool it is to talk to someone who comes in contact with someone who I admire for whatever reason, or reading journals of those who knew historical figures.  The New Testament was written by such individuals that knew JESUS CHRIST.  They walked with Him.  They talked with Him.  They loved Him.  They observed the things that He did.  The New Testament is the record of those who knew Him.

There was a supplement in the middle about mormon.org.  Oh it made me want to hurry and finish my profile and share it.  It also inspired me to open my mouth to share the gospel.

Lastly, I loved the article called "Carrying Others to the Pool of Bethesda".  I read it about the same time that I was thinking about reaching out to others as a goal for the year.  It spoke of helping the sick and afflicted.

There were so many other little tidbits and stories that stirred within me the feeling of the Holy Ghost.  I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true.  It is real.  Jesus Christ is the head of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  He directs our prophets on how to lead the Church, because leading 14 million church members and the rest of the people on Earth is no small task.  We can't all speak to a prophet individually, but we can all read their words in the Ensign and learn of the doctrines that are true.

I am so excited to open up my February issue of the Ensign.

Excitedly,
Lindsay

P.S.  I absolutely feel that I must post one more great article.  Please read "Make Yours a Great Life" by Elder Paul V. Johnson of the Seventy.