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

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Discussion - Scriptures

Dear Readers,

This week I would like to share scriptures.  You don't have to pick a favorite (because that is hard to do).  The scripture I would like to share is:

Proverbs 3:5  "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding."

For the past 3 weeks I have been especially thinking about this scripture.  I made 5 little signs and placed them in the 5 places that I frequent most.  Every time I passed by a sign I read the scripture and then pondered and prayed about it (while I did the dishes, drove in the car, washed my hands in the bathroom, etc.)

The scripture is only 15 words long, but spending an extended amount of time thinking about it has broadened my horizons and taught me new things.  It has brought me peace.  It has brought me closer to my Father in Heaven.

What scripture have you been thinking about lately?

Studiously,
Lindsay

Monday, May 30, 2011

Let Us Never Forget - IOU

Dear Readers,

Today marks a wonderful holiday, and I will tell you about it later.  I am too busy with last minute preparations for Young Women Camp.

I O U.

Sorry.

Regrets,
Lindsay

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Discussion - Acts of Kindness UPDATE

Dear Readers,

I would have commented on my last post, but then I was afraid that no one would read it, because apparently no one wants to talk about Acts of Kindness.

I felt compelled to write this though off my normal publishing schedule, because of the kindness that has been shown to me.

I was keeping a mental tally of all of the Acts of Kindness that were performed for me, but I lost count, because it was too many.

I walked into a temple on Tuesday.  The clock said that the session I wanted to be a part of was supposed to start in 3 minutes.  I explained that I could change into my temple clothing in 2 minutes and that I really wanted to be a part of that session.  They said they would wait for me, and they did, but I am pretty sure I changed in under 2 minutes so they didn't have to wait.

Earlier this week, I was standing in a parking lot.  The parking lot was sloped and I had to constantly hold on to the shopping cart or it would roll away.  There was no way to anchor it on something except for my foot.  I was trying to unlock my car, and keep track of a 2 year old who was running circles around the car, despite my asking her to stop, because cars were driving and I was afraid at any moment she'd run in front of one.  I was trying to figure out how to hold open the car door with my back, lift a large purchase inside, grab onto my daughter and wrestle her into her child seat, all while balancing a car with my foot.  Then out of nowhere, a man came up and offered to take the cart away for me, because he had also noticed the safety of my daughter.  We put my purchases on the ground and then I was able to proceed.

Makes me smile.  So small.   Took 20 seconds of this man's time, but it saved me from much (more) frustration.

The missionaries cleaned my kitchen.  They had come over for dinner and offered to help clean up.  The dishes were clean in the dishwasher, so they unloaded those, and then loaded it up with dirty ones.  Upon seeing that, ahem, we had more dirty dishes than could be loaded into our dishwasher, they proceeded to wash them by hand, while I exhaustedly just waited.

Today I just got of the phone with a woman who took the time to compliment me about my preparations for an upcoming camp for the Young Women of our Church.  This is my first time to do this and as I represent the Young Women who speak Spanish (without speaking it myself), I have had much difficulty and experienced much more anguish than I might normally if I only represented English speakers.  There have been others who have been quick to criticize my efforts, and pointed out my every flaw, which has only added to my nervousness about the whole situation.  This woman, just now, took the time to tell me what a wonderful job I was doing, and that she knew that my efforts were going to be enough.  It made me cry.  It was so nice to hear.

Simple acts of kindness have blessed me.

Of course I've been dishing it out as well, but I see it does seem kind of braggy to talk about it.  The more you dish it out, the more you get back.  I also have noticed a change in my perspective.  When I am busy focusing on how others have blessed me with acts of kindness, I am not focusing on how they have hurt or offended me.

Feeling loved,
Lindsay

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Where is that Quote?

Dear Friend A,

The A is for Anonymous Commenter.  Please help me find the talk that you referenced in your comment on my talk about establishing a Christ-centered home.  I have looked everywhere and cannot afford the time to look any further.

I am talking about how the what we want our children to know in 5 years needs to be in our conversation now.

I know it is from a fairly recent talk/ training/ magazine article, but my brain has been so fried lately that I cannot focus on figuring it out exactly.  Also, I can't figure out if "recent" means the past 6 months, or the past 2 years.

Thanks in advance.  I would love to read it again and be able to reference it.  I love to direct people to the source of our doctrine.

Thank you,
Lindsay

Discussion - Acts of Kindness

Dear Readers,

So, there was an underwhelming response to last week's discussion question, but I'll try a few more weeks before I shelve the idea.  Don't be shy.

Today I want to talk about acts of kindness.  The little things in life that bring big blessings to others.  A good example is my Valentine's Day story when someone offered my family a Chicken Pot Pie.

At my end of the year party for my piano students I offered to feed everyone dinner.  There are a lot of kids, so not going to lie, I went with pizza to be easy.  Concerned about nutritional value, I decided to make some veggie trays.  I had no idea it was so easy!!!  I arranged the vegetables in an appealing manner.


Now I am pretty sure that 0% of the piano students were excited to see my vegetables (I told them they had to eat a minimum of 3).  "Yes, Lindsay prepared SIX different vegetables for me to eat!  Woo hoo!"  Yeah, right, but I am thinking that 100% of their parents were grateful I wielded a knife for a few minutes in order to feed their children something more than greasy pizza.

Who wouldn't want to eat that?  (They did ask for ranch, but at least they ate them)

I am sure you are thinking "That is so small, why are you even talking about that?"  Well, that's the point.  We never know how far reaching our actions can go.  Picture ripples in a pond.  What might seem like something so simple as a heartfelt handshake and "How are you feeling today?" might be exactly the blessing that someone else has been praying for.

What is something that you did this past week as a small act of kindness for someone else?  Did someone perform a small act of kindness for you?


If you care to share, leave a comment.

Kindly,
Lindsay

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Master Teacher

Dear Friend S,

Bumping into you at church today was way too short for me.  I wanted to invite you to my student's upcoming piano recital, but it all happened so fast.  It does sound like you have a busy week anyways, but I wanted you to know that you are still invited.  I know how much you love children and watching all of their accomplishments.  They are so smart, much more than adults ever give them credit.

With the piano recital coming up, I have been thinking and reflecting.  I love my students and the time we have together in our lessons.  They have made so much progress over the past few months.  I love presenting new concepts and musical ideas to them and watching their "aha" moments as they understand and master them.  I love when they surprise me and completely exceed higher than my expectations (which are high to begin with).  Sometimes they make me cry.  Sometimes it is tears of joy during their lesson (which I never let them see) or when I burst with pride telling Husband or my mom.  Sometimes it is tears of sorrow as I watch potential and talent go to waste, because the student does not understand the capabilities that they have, or I know my teaching has not been the best it could be to help their growth.

One thing I have decided.  I could make triple the amount of money, if I tweaked how I charged my tuition.

I should just charge a fee for when a student says, "This is hard."  I hear that SO much.  Way too much.

Sometimes, the comment is valid, because I truly am asking the student to work on something really difficult and at a higher level than their current skill level (and I empathize).  Most times, the comment is just an excuse because the student is unwilling to put out a little effort, and figure it out.  They want to just be able to do the scale, the song, the fingering, the rhythm, etc.  They do not want to WORK.  They want it easy.  I am the teacher.  I know the progression that I want them to make.  I know the order I want them to learn things (to actually make it easiest for them to succeed).  I know what they will become, because I see the potential in them.  I just need them to believe a little in themselves, trust me, and recognize that they just need to TRY, keep going, and not give up.  I sit and mentally roll my eyes, just waiting for them to stop complaining and start working.  Often times they do not see their progress or understand, but I do, and get really excited after they have mastered something, even if it was really small, because it is all part of perfecting their piano abilities.

Ahhhh.  I can't wait for the recital!!!!

I have one more story for you....you really breezed by me fast today.

This past week, I was supposed to go Visiting Teaching, but something came up and I needed to stay home with my family.  I needed to call my visiting teaching companion, but I could not find the paper anywhere that had her phone number on it.  I thought of other people I could call that might know her number.  The only ones that I knew who would be home at that time do not speak English well.  I tried to look up her number in the directory on the internet, and it was unlisted.  Due to the circumstances, and being tired and stressed, I started to panic.  I kept imagining how the phone conversation would go, me trying to communicate in English with almost no Spanish, and these ladies trying to communicate to me in Spanish with almost no English.  Without seeing them face to face I was afraid we would not be able to figure things out, and I always imagined the phone call ending with me hanging up in tears.  (I guess I am still traumatized a little from my talk last Sunday.)  I finally was able to call K. A. who didn't know the person that I needed to reach, but her husband did, so she called him, ALL FOR ONE PHONE NUMBER.  (Everything did turn out okay.)

At this point I remember saying out loud, "This is hard" while I thought about all that I was being asked to do right now.  Serving in the Spanish Branch, Girl's Camp, Youth Conference, and my upcoming piano recital (yeah, I dropped the marathon a long time ago) all are happening and taking a toll on my family.

As I sulked, my mind wandered to my piano students, and I realized that I am just like them.

My comment might be valid, because I truly am being asked to serve with a very high capacity, more than I have ever been asked to before.......but I definitely want it easy.  I sometimes don't want to put out a little effort, and figure it out on my own.  I want Heavenly Father to tell me what to do.  I don't want to have to figure it out.  I just want to be able to enjoy myself at Girl's Camp, or watch the finished Youth Conference performance.  I don't always want to WORK.  Heavenly Father is the master teacher.  He knows the eternal progression that He wants me to make.  He knows the order that I should learn things (to actually make it easiest to succeed).  God knows what I will become, because He sees the potential in ME.  He just needs me to believe a little in myself, trust Him, and recognize that I just need to TRY, keep going, and not give up.  He patiently waits for me to stop complaining and start working.  Often times I do not see my progress or understand, but Heavenly Father does, and He gets really excited after I have mastered something, even if it was really small, because it is all part of perfecting myself preparing to live with Him again.

Now there's a lot to think to think about.  Husband says these thoughts remind him of the popular story about the currant bush by Hugh B. Brown.  That reminded me that Elder Christofferson also mentioned that story in his most recent Conference talk.  Not exactly the same, but similar.

God is patient.  God is kind.  He loves me.

Your friend,
Lindsay

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Discussion - Family Home Evening

Dear Readers,

Hey all!

It's Tuesday.  Last night was Monday and we all know that means Family Home Evening.

I want to know:

1.  What was taught to your family last night?  Was it a formal lesson, lecture, or more of a discussion or hands-on activity with role-play?

2.  What resource did you use?  Do you use something like the Family Home Evening Resource Book, For the Strength of Youth Pamphlet, Church Magazines, Conference Talks, or do you form your own lesson picking your own scriptures/ quotes from many sources?

3.  How do you decide what the topic is for your lesson?  Do you just go methodically through a resource or does it depend on "current" issues in your family (like Junior dealing with a bully at school)?

4.  What's one tip that really brings success to your Family Home Evening?  Share something unique that totally works for your family even if you think it might not work for others.  We want to celebrate your successes!!!  I love that there is no one right way to do Family Home Evening.

Have you checked out all of the features on the Family Home Evening website?  Seriously, no excuses.  You don't need to look anywhere else for FHE ideas.  The Church has it all.

I'll go first:

1.  Our Family Home Evening included a lesson/ discussion about Elder Oak's talk "Desire" from the Saturday Afternoon session of Conference.  We had company so we did something a little different since it made for 4 adults.  If we hadn't had company then we would have taught Lesson 16: I Will Say "I'm Sorry" out of the Nursery Manual that would have included role-play, songs, pictures, etc (which is all spelled out in the Nursery Manual).

2.  We use the Nursery Manual "Behold Your Little Ones" because Daughter is Nursery aged.  The lessons are all spelled out and they have so many ideas listed that I know they can't do them all on Sundays.  The parts that she does remember, she loves to repeat anyways, so yay for reinforcement from class manuals.

3.  We go in order of the book.  We are actually on our 3rd or 4th time through the book.  Sometimes we do the same lesson a few times in a row to really reinforce the concept if we think Daughter needs it, like she pushed 2 kids at the park this past weekend, so she's getting the lesson more than once for sure.  I know this won't work forever, but I'm not going to worry about changing it until I need to, then I'll come up with an awesome new plan.  There are a bazillion resources.  I'm really not worried at all.  Why worry about making new "curriculum" when the Church has already done it for you?

4.  This probably isn't helpful to anyone else (isn't that what I asked for anyways?!?!), but I really think the secret for us was starting to use the Nursery Manual.  Before we started using it, we were always scrambling for an idea and didn't really have very good engaging ideas for a little toddler.  The Nursery Manual has pictures, scriptures broken down, and even just uses parts of songs (never would have thought to break it down so much) and fun finger-plays and actions for everything to help Daughter learn.  It's fun and requires little preparation time which means more family play time at the end of the night!!!

Join the discussion and share with me in the comment section (and it can be as long or as short as you want).

I can't wait to hear from you.

Excitedly,
Lindsay

Monday, May 16, 2011

Courage to Be Better

Dear Brother,

I did it.  It's over.  Today I gave my very first talk in church.....in Spanish.

Several weeks ago I approached the Branch President and asked if I could play a musical number, because I felt it was the only thing I could contribute to the branch.  The piano doesn't differentiate between English and Spanish.  He said that would be fine, and I went on my merry way.

As we are riding home from church that day, I am happily telling Husband my story about talking to the Branch President and how I was happy to have something to contribute finally, because "no habla espanol" or however you say "I don't speak Spanish".

Husband simply says, "Oh."

He then proceeds to tell me about his day.  The Branch President asked him to give a talk and he asked if it was just him or if I was supposed to talk as well.  The Branch President said, "Can she give a talk?" and Husband says, "She can read Spanish really well." SO HE VOLUNTEERS ME for a talk.

Fast forward.....I wrote the talk, Husband translated it.  I practiced and practiced reading until my little tongue was sore wagging around my mouth trying to flip all of the different ways it needed to.  I wanted to practice on you, but I have been too busy to call.

I was so nervous I cried (and I do not get nervous to speak), but I did it!!!

Husband got up and I understood 1 sentence at the beginning of his talk about how hard I had practiced, and then I picked out 2 words of his talk.  That's it.  He told a joke at the beginning when he was talking about me, and everyone laughed.  I didn't know if it was AT me or not.  I had to wait until the end of the meeting for him to come tell me what the joke was, which was:

He said he was happy to translate my talk, because then he could make it longer so he didn't have to speak as long.  Then he said he was just kidding and that he didn't really do that.

Life is full of opportunities to stretch us.  I know I could have wimped out.  At any time I could have given up and sat down and everyone would have understood, but I had a message to share, so I shared it.  I was asked to speak about a talk from General Conference and I spoke about Elder Richard J. Maynes' talk, "Establishing a Christ-centered Home."

As I blinked back tears up at the podium, some counsel from President Hinckley came to mind.  He once said to "try a little harder to be a little better.....We can do it, if we will be prayerful and faithful.  We can do better than we have ever done before."  I knew President Hinckley was no wimp, so I wasn't going to be either.  He always wanted members to be the absolute best they could be.  I knew that I could give the talk though it would be hard.  I had been prayerful and faithful to the task at hand, and knew that Heavenly Father would help, and He did.

We do get your pictures and we love them.  B is too cute, totally jealous.

Love,
Lindsay

Establishing A Christ-Centered Home

Dear Readers,


Here is the talk that I gave yesterday.  I used a lot more content from the original talk than I usually might to make translation easier.




I was asked to pick a talk from General Conference for my topic today.  I chose the talk by Richard J. Maynes of the Seventy titled, “Establishing a Christ-Centered Home”.

When we say that we are centered on something it means that everything is turned towards it.  If someone is the center of attention then all eyes and ears are focused on them.  So, how do we turn everything in our home towards Christ?  Does Elder Maynes suggest that in the center of our living room we have a statue of Christ with all of the chairs facing it and we sit in them all the time?  No.  Establishing a Christ-centered home is just as much about the spiritual as it is the tangible.  We want to center our thoughts on Christ, our actions on Christ, our home d├ęcor on Christ, the way we spend our free time on Christ.

First Elder Maynes says, “The principle of eternal families is an essential element in Heavenly Father’s great plan for His children. Fundamental to that plan is the understanding that we have a heavenly family as well as an earthly family.”  The apostle Paul writes in the book of Acts, that we are God’s offspring (see Acts 17:28-29).  He is our Heavenly Father.  One of the first Primary Songs that is taught is “I am a Child of God”.

I am a Child of God
And He has sent me here
Has given me an earthly home
With parents kind and dear

Lead me, guide me
Walk beside me
Help me find the way
Teach me all that I must do
To live with Him someday.

We are God’s children here on Earth trying to live faithfully so that we can return and live with Him, our Heavenly Father for eternity.  This is His Plan of Salvation.  This Plan is also called “the great plan of happiness” by Alma in the Book of Mormon.

The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, whom we sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators, have offered us this inspired counsel in the Proclamation on the Family with regard to happiness and family life: “Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Elder Maynes)

By focusing on having a Christ-centered home, we will be able to experience the happiness that Alma refers to when he calls the Plan of Salvation, the great plan of happiness.  We are meant to experience joy on this Earth with our families.  Heavenly Father does not want us to be miserable.  Only Satan wants us to miserable.

Elder Maynes also says, “Our eternal happiness is not one of Satan’s objectives. He knows that an essential key to making men and women miserable like himself is to deprive them of family relationships which have eternal potential. Because Satan understands that true happiness in this life and in the eternities is found in the form of family, he does everything in his power to destroy it.  Some of the more powerful weapons he uses in his attack are selfishness, greed, and pornography.”

We know what will tear apart our families and not contribute to a Christ-centered home.  What can and should we be doing to establish a Christ-centered home?

Well, “parents teach their children with words and through example.”

Elder Maynes talks about creating what he calls “celestial traditions”.  These include having Family Home Evening every week and holding family scripture study and prayer every day.

He says, “there is great power and protection for us and our youth in establishing celestial traditions in the home.  Learning, teaching, and practicing the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ in our homes helps create a culture where the Spirit can dwell.”

Now having consistent, success at this is hard to do.  I know that.  The Brethren know that.  Half the battle is making the time and actually having the prayer or family home evening or scripture study.  The other half of the battle is feeling like that time counted for something, which is hard to do if your children are bickering, complaining, asleep, etc.

Not to worry,

Elder Maynes says, “We learned that our children might not remember everything about the family home evening lesson later in the week, but they would remember that we held it. We learned that later in the day at school they would probably not remember the exact words of the scriptures or the prayer, but they would remember that we did read scriptures and we did have prayer.”

These celestial traditions though they may seem small will add up one by one and strengthen ourselves as individuals as well as our families.  They will slowly, bit by bit, turn our homes and families toward Christ so that eventually we will be able to say that we are centered on Him.

Here are some other small celestial traditions that you could establish in your home that would help center you on Christ.

Subscribe to the Ensign or Liahona magazine.  When it arrives take it out of the packaging and place it in a prominent place.  Do you set it out so it can be read or is it hidden on a shelf?

Have a picture of Christ in your home.  Have a picture in every room.  I knew a lady once who required her children to have 3 pictures up on the walls of their room.  First was a picture of Christ, second was a picture of the temple, and third was a picture of BYU so that they daily saw that as a reminder of what their goals were.

Have other Church artwork in your home such as pictures of temples, apostles, paintings of scripture stories, whether these drawn by your children or purchased from the Church catalog.

Share your testimony with your family often.  It can be short.  “Wow, it’s a beautiful day.  I am thankful that Heavenly Father created such a beautiful world for us to live on.”  Done.  Let the gospel be a part of your normal conversation and not just your “Sunday talk”.

These are all very simple ideas in addition to Family Home Evening, daily scripture study, and family prayer.

I know that if you do these things, remembering that they are a part of God’s Plan of Happiness that you will establish a Christ-centered home.

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


Yours,
Lindsay

Friday, May 13, 2011

Not the Expert and Starting Over

Dear Readers,

Happy Hiatus to you.

I stopped blogging because I am not the expert.

Not that you have to be an expert to blog, because most bloggers aren't, but I am not the expert on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

What I mean to say is that while reading my blog is a good thing to do, and I am flattered that it uplifts so many of you, an even better thing to do would be to pray and talk to the THE expert (God), or read your scriptures or conference talks from other experts on what God wants us to know (prophets and apostles).

I have been having a conflict within myself as I have thought these thoughts, because I do want for you, my readers, to be uplifted, but I really really want my blog to be the place that you turn to AFTER you pray, or read official material from the LDS Church, not before.

BUT,

I KNOW that Heavenly Father did NOT intend for us to go through life alone.  He expects us to help one another and provide support and uplift each other.  You CAN'T do it all by yourself and if you think you can, then you are selling yourself short of countless resources or other people's talents and abilities.

So,

I have decided to continue blogging with the hope that you will not take the words I say as "expert" or "law".  I am learning and growing just like everyone else.  I am not the same person that started this blog a year ago.  A lot of changes have been made in my life, but I am still working on making more changes, just like all of you.

I am still concerned about privacy, but I have loosened up a lot.

Here is the new format for my blog:

There will be a post every Monday.

On Tuesday I will post a discussion question to be discussed all week until the next Monday.  I do not need comments for validation, but I would love if we could start some conversations so that I can glean ideas from others as well.

This will take effect Monday May, 16th to kick off Year 2 of "Letters From Lindsay".

With appreciation,

Lindsay