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

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

You Can Choose to Be Selfish

Dear Sister,

You can choose to be selfish, or you can choose to serve.

I wish I could sound all noble about service, but I really want to be selfish.

I just agreed to host 10 people at my house, TODAY, at 2pm for extra dance instruction for the upcoming Youth Conference.

My house is in disarray.  Last night's pizza box is still on the table, and the whole living room is filled with sewing scraps from all my projects over the past week.  Don't ask about the bathroom, I don't know, and I don't want to know, AND the resident bathroom cleaner is at school.  That leaves yours truly to have to take care of it.

Goodbye sewing table.  Goodbye sewing fun.  We have 4 hours to whip this place into shape.

No phone call/ chat today, Sis.

I will be cleaning my house so I can serve.

"As for me and my house (ha), we will serve the Lord."  You know, from Joshua.  The "ha" is mine, fyi.

The good news I'll get a clean house out of it, and the people who need dancing help will also get what they need.

Love you,
Lindsay

Monday, June 27, 2011

Moments



Dear Sister,

I love this. I saw this last week, but I haven't shared it with anyone yet. If you haven't seen it, enjoy!!!  I love the very last sentence that Pres. Uchtdorf says.  I love Mormon Messages. They put together the greatest videos!



I also finished the dance, and need to talk to you before Wednesday to review it.

Love,
Lindsay

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Discussion - No Question

Dear Readers,

There will be no discussion this week to allow for everyone to have time to read Sunday's and Monday's posts, both which were quite long.

I am also debating the future of Tuesday discussions as they have yielded 2 comments, total.  That doesn't bother me, I just have other ideas that could be posted instead of fruitless discussion questions.  Feedback is welcome.  Maybe people like to think about the questions without sharing, or maybe everyone is wishing I posted something else instead.  I would love to DISCUSS ideas about living The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, but I have no problem just sharing about me.  Still thinking.....final decision next week.

Thank you,
Lindsay

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Changing Perspective

Dear Friend P,

When Husband was the Young Men's President, I offered to sew scout patches onto scout shirts, so that all the boys could fully participate in the Scouting program.

Husband is no longer the Young Men's President.  We are no longer in that ward as we now serve in the Spanish Branch.

I still get asked to sew patches..........so I do.

This last time that I was sewing down patches I was grumbling to myself.  I told myself that I had better things to do.  I was tired of hurting myself, using my nail to push through the needle.  I was telling myself that I would get this opportunity in 10 years when we had a boy (the boy that I am thinking into existence, because I am just entitled to him).  I thought surely Husband was serve in the scouts again and I could do this in the future, not the present where I didn't want to.  I was thinking, "Husband is not the Young Men's President.  We are not even in that ward anymore.  Why am I still doing this?  I can't wait for MY boy."

Then I realized that I am not guaranteed a boy.  Thinking a boy into existence, is not something that I can control.

I thought to myself how grateful I was that I had this opportunity to sew on scout patches, and how loving our Heavenly Father was to give me this opportunity.  I had a scout to support.  I might have missed the Pinewood Derby cars (something I have been waiting for), but here I was getting to follow the progress of a scout and support them as they earned new badges and ranks just as I would for MY boy.  This might be my only chance if we never have a boy and Husband never works with the scouts again.

With my new perspective, a heart filled with love, and a smile on my face.  I then proceed to finish the job, and IRON the scout shirt for this boy.  Ask Husband how many things I have ironed for him.....(maybe 1 and I think he had to finish it for me)......this was a big deal!!!

This wasn't meant to be a baby post, but now that I'm started, I guess I'll keep going.

A baby would be most welcome at our house.  Daughter asks, now very regularly, about a baby coming to our house.  All I can tell her is that Heavenly Father decides when to send a baby to your house, so all we can do is to pray, and then we do.  Since it seems like everyone is having a baby these days, it sometimes is hard feeling like we're getting "passed".

However, I have been changing my perspective on lots of things and I am really am okay with our family situation.  I am not naive enough to overlook all of the good service our family has been able to provide to others, because we're not wrapped up in the needs of a larger family.  There is a specialized Plan for each of us, and it's okay that they are all different.  Some get the boys, and others of us hope, but we get something else, like a ridiculously EASY going, happy, obedient, brings joy to all girl.

Husband and I were talking recently.  We were saying that we had so much more to offer a child that was sent to our home.  We're older, we're wiser, we're putting together a career/stable future, and we're closer to Heavenly Father than ever.  We decided we were more prepared ten-fold, one-hundred fold than we were when we had Daughter.

BUT

A baby is not something that you "qualify" for, or can "earn".  It's not like Heavenly Father turned down our application and told us to work on some things and now that we have improved, we "qualify" to get on the baby list.  It just doesn't work like that.  During the course of our marriage and baby woes, I have often thought that it did work like that.  Not being blessed with a baby when we wanted to be blessed with children made me question our worthiness or "qualifications".  I did not have as good understanding or perspective.

See, I really am okay.  We are the best family of 3 in the whole world.  We have learned how to have interactions with others to provide experiences that mimic a larger family.  We have learned to love the versatility of only having responsibility/ time commitments/ financial obligations for 3.  (Don't hate when we go to Disneyworld......again.)

Yesterday at Church, Husband and I were having a very good time watching a baby walk around during Sunday School.  The baby will turn one within the month, but was a very proficient walker.  She was very cute and Husband and I reminisced about Daughter being that small once.  Watching a sweet baby was hard, for both of us.  Righteous desires are righteous desires so it's fine to have them.  While the "baby boom" of the past few months has shoved it in our faces that we aren't a part of it, I know we will be.  I just don't know when.

It sometimes is frustrating to go to the temple and receive revelation about a baby (especially when I went for something else).  It is hard to be so confident in something that I don't know the timetable for.  I do know that I will be blessed with MY boy (and probably a bazillion others) but that it most likely will be during the millennium or the next life.  I don't exactly know how all of that works out, but I know that it does.  This earthly life is SO short and temporary.  It really is a blink of the eye compared to eternity.  I know that God does keep his promises, but more will be fulfilled "later" than we realize.  I know several people that have promises in their Patriarchal Blessings of marriage, children, etc. that DID NOT happen in this life.  Are we to assume their blessing was wrong?  Were they unworthy of their blessing?  No.  They will be blessed with those things "later" just as I will be blessed,

 and I feel peace about it.

This is why I love my life.  I am at peace with it.  It still has hard things happen in it, but I have had a changing perspective :)

Peacefully,
Lindsay

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Peek Inside My Soul

Dear Readers,

Please permit me a personal moment.  I have so many things in my soul that I cannot keep contained.  I hope you feel that this keeps in line with my blog's purpose.  My life IS my testimony, and my testimony IS my life.  I used to live in two dimensions.  I was either doing something related to my faith or I was living the rest of my life.  They didn't coexist.  I wasn't very happy or satisfied because I never felt like I was ever complete, because I could only live half my life at a time (my Church life, or my other/regular/? life).  I have been working on meshing everything into one life; a life where I am constantly living and sharing my testimony of our Heavenly Father and His son, Jesus Christ.

I am an avid journal keeper, but today I feel like typing until my fingers fall off and sharing it all with you.  These are my thoughts and the feelings that are running through my soul, for I am so filled that I am bubbling over.

1.  Readers, please pray for Friend G.  He is having brain tumors.  The doctors keep removing them, but they keep coming back.  He has a six year old daughter, and I ache to think that she could lose her father.  I have personally never met Friend G, but last night Husband went and gave him a blessing at Friend T's request.  While you are praying stay on your knees and pray a little longer for Friend T.  Friend T and his family have not been to church very regularly the past few years.  Their family has been talking about the Church a lot lately and are showing some real desire to come back, but for some reason, just can't make the final leap.  Husband and I will continue to fellowship them and provide support, but I wish they could realize how much they already felt the Spirit in their lives.  All they are missing is to show up.  Within the past week they have several times borne such sweet testimonies of the Gospel.  I hope that our faith and prayers could be just enough to bring them back.

President Monson has always been so good at rescuing.  I used to think that "rescuing" in the Church was such a funny term and even offensive.  It always provoked images of glorifying the "rescuer".  In an example of saving a drowning victim, the rescuer might be given medals, awards, or recognition for their "heroic, act of bravery" or other such puffery.  Through Pres. Monson's example and my own study, I now understand that we rescue others, because we truly don't want them to drown.  I always avoided "rescue" type work before (which if you read between the lines that also means all missionary work), because I didn't want to be offensive to someone that I was "rescuing", that I was only trying to help them because I wanted my recognition, and not to truly help them.

The past few weeks, I have learned how to put myself aside and stop being so selfish.  Husband says that a few years ago we were much more selfish and resultingly, depressed and miserable.  I agree with his assessment and am happy to report that we are now the opposite.  Loving others definitely makes all the difference.

2.  I have learned that you cannot love others until you love yourself.  If you never see yourself as worth anything than you will not be able to value others as worth anything.  Everyone is a child of God.  It is just a matter of remembering that fact.  We come to love ourselves as we learn more about the nature of God.  The more we understand about the nature of God, the more we understand the infinite and far-reaching Plan that He has.  The more we understand that there IS a Plan, and that we have a place in the Plan (for we all do), the more we understand what infinite self-worth we have, for "The worth of souls is great in the sight of God." It truly is.

I have learned to trust in the Lord.  The more that I trust in Him, the more I trust in me, for trusting in the Lord builds confidence and power.  As I gain confidence, it makes me feel more powerful (as I recognize that ALL things are possible through Him), and so I make more of an effort to bring to pass daily miracles, and then I do.  Not by my power, but the power of God.  I have learned how to be His instrument.  I have learned that while I am of great worth, more than I ever, ever could comprehend before, I am so weak and nothing compared to God's power.

I love me.  I don't think you realize how good that feels to say, to know.  I LOVE ME.  I absolutely mean it, and am not just repeating phrases that I have been told a million times, but thinking that they applied to others.

I love myself.  I am happy with myself.  It is a pleasure to know me.

Loving myself like this, has opened the doors to loving others in a capacity that I have never been able to do before.  I always loved those I served, or thought I did, but I have experienced a greater love of late that I can't describe.  Loving others is truly wanting the best for them.  This means wanting them to know of the gospel of Jesus Christ and that they are also children of a loving, kind, and merciful Heavenly Father.  Doesn't this make you want to share the gospel?  How can I keep my mouth shut?

Yes, loving others, after loving yourself is the foundation for all good works in our Father's name.

3.  I have a friend who tells me that when we seek to become closer to Heavenly Father, everything else in our life will get better AUTOMATICALLY.  I can attest that this is true.  These past few months have been the best months of my life.  I have made changes, my family has worked on making changes, and we continue to do all that we can to be close to Heavenly Father.  It does feel like we are on a mission in that we have eliminated MANY distractions.  While we do not have mission "rules", by choosing to live a life centered on Jesus Christ's gospel, we do not have any time for mind numbing, time wasting activities that the mainstream says we need to participate in.  I almost feel like we are living in an alternate dimension.  I see all of these other choices happening around us where our neighbors and friends choose activities that are not in harmony with the gospel of Jesus Christ, and distract them from what they should really be focusing on.  We do not think that we are better than these people by choosing not to participate in these activities, we really do not have time.  Being "anxiously engaged" in building up the Kingdom of God is taking every free second.

I have been amazed at how many people are searching on the internet about a "christ-centered home".  I do not know the ratio of who might be members of the Church and who is not, but I know that people are searching.  I have been thinking about things that I might post to help those who are seeking for the truth.  I say to them and to you that becoming closer to Heavenly Father will make things in your life be better, automatically.  Focus on centering your home on Christ.  Get rid of distractions.  Leave behind worldly ways. They tell you that you can't, that you will be nothing without them, but that is not true.  You will be better.

4.  Lastly, I can't get this out of my mind.  I recently was talking to a young women.  She was telling me about her school program which is year-round.  It is a specialized program that has 100 students in it.  She is the only student who is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  She told me that one day at lunch the students were all talking and that it came up that she is the only student in that program (out of 100) that has not lost her virginity.  My mouth fell on the floor as she told me that.  She said that the other students respected her for that, rather than made fun of her.  One in 100.  I am grateful that this young women is standing tall and remembering who she is.  How can we help the rest of these youth?

I found this and think it'll help a lot of youth.  I love how chastity is explained and especially how it ends.



I am still thinking through this conversation and still trying to wrap my head around that.  Parents teach your children.  Open your mouth, let's talk to our friends.  Let's share the gospel of Jesus Christ with others.  We cannot let Satan get a hold of our youth like this.  We can't.

Sincerely,
Lindsay

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Discussion - A Christ-Centered Home

Dear Readers,

I recently posted the talk that I gave about establishing a Christ-centered home.  It was based on the talk "Establishing a Christ-Centered Home" by Richard J. Maynes of the Seventy.

Interest has been high and that post has become the most popular post on my blog.  People seem to be searching for "Christ-centered home", "establishing a Christ-centered home", "how to have a home centered around Christ."

With there being so much interest, and people searching for help, I thought that this should be today's discussion.

What do you do to keep your home a Christ-Centered home?  What "celestial traditions" have you created?

Thanks for sharing!

Watch his talk here (if you want to get a refresher):



Happily,
Lindsay

Monday, June 13, 2011

Budgets and Blessings

Dear Friend A,

At the beginning of the year when I was putting together my goals for the year, I decided that our family could benefit from a new budget.  We haven't discussed budgets for awhile, but I've been thinking of you, wondering if you're still doing the same thing with the cash?  As our family situation changes, every so often we change the format of our budget, and this time we had decided to use more cash like the system you were using a few years ago.

This time I decided to see what resources the Church had first, before turning to other sources.  I found this budget worksheet on the provident living website and decided that I would use it as my guide in planning our new budget.  It worked great for several months, and would have continued to work great, if we actually followed it.

You see, I have been very busy the past few months, and especially busy the past few weeks.  I have been buying things left and right, willy nilly, without keeping up to date on all of my finances.  I started to dread having to update our finances and then started ignoring them altogether.  I know this was not a good choice, but then our desktop computer died and so it made it a lot easier to ignore my guilt as well.  The finances are always 50-50 and Husband helped where he could, but we have equally been very busy.

What kind of busy?

We have driven hundreds of miles to dance practices for the upcoming Youth Conference.  We have spent many hours rehearsing the dances, and driving to the dance practices, etc.  I have been involved with the Young Women camp, and helping all of my piano students prepare for the recital.  With our work we do for the Spanish Branch and now for the stake (and the other dancing stake), we have been totally immersed in the building up of the Kingdom of God.  Also, this list doesn't include all of the temple trips we've made, or the service/ mentorship that we've given to youth in the stake, or our home and visiting teaching, and I'm on a service mission here people, etc.  It has been exhausting, but fulfilling!!!  It has been time consuming as we have only been anxiously engaged in good causes.  Deep down in the bottom of my brain, I have just had faith that we would be blessed for our unselfish efforts.

Well, we were.

Finally, Husband and I were able to sit down last night and assess our financial situation.  I knew we had enough money in our savings.  It wasn't a matter of being afraid that we had overdrawn accounts.  Everything was just unorganized with turning in receipts to be reimbursed, etc.  We were able to figure out the things that we needed to and get everything taken care of and updated.  I felt like a big load of weight had been lifted off of my shoulders, because I know that we need to prudent and wise with our finances.  The Church has made that clear (and my sweet grandparents who lived through the Depression).

Ready for the damage?

I did discover that the electric bill hadn't been paid for not just one, but two months (oops!).  The late fee was $1.  Blessing.  We also made a late payment on something a few weeks ago, because the passage of time has been so fast.  No lingering penalty.  Blessing.  The weeks seem like minutes to us.  I think Valentine's Day just happened.

The best part was that we actually had more money than I had thought we should have in our accounts and our student loan debts were lower than we remember (without having made a payment).  Blessing!!!  I know we have been blessed for our service to the Lord!  We have always been faithful in paying our tithing and it is true that heaven will pour more blessings out on you than you have room to receive like the scripture in Malachi 3 says.

I am so grateful that we have been blessed.  I know many people who do not delight to serve the Lord.  I was actually in a conversation recently where there was one member of our Church, one was not a member, and myself.  The other member was saying that we only wanted the guy to convert to our Church because we wanted to have less work to do ourselves.  I kept quiet not sure what to say, because I love to fulfill my temple covenants and build up the kingdom.  I have been blessed.  I know it.

With financial collapse all around our country right now, it is not a time to make money mistakes or become casual in our finances.  Husband and I don't plan to test this out again, even though we have many more hours to serve for the upcoming Youth Conference and beyond.

*** Don't try this at home!!!  I do not endorse this behavior.  I am just sharing my story.

Your friend,
Lindsay

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Let Us Never Forget

Dear Readers,

Here's my IOU.  Thanks for waiting, but I had a lot to say and I wanted to give it justice.

I love Monday holidays.  After having a regular weekend, then all of a sudden there is one more day to relax and play!  Of course, as I relax and play I always think about why we get the holiday.

Memorial Day is often confused with Veterans Day.  Memorial Day is to remember soldiers who have died in wars.  It started back with the Civil War.  Veterans Day is to remember and celebrate anyone who fought in a war, whether they be veterans that are still living or those who have died.  Anytime is a great time to support our military, so if you did that on Memorial Day, I commend you for getting your patriotic on, though technically you celebrated six months early.

While it is exciting to celebrate those who have returned, Memorial Day is always a sobering time as you realize that those we are celebrating had no hero's welcome with parades and fireworks.  They didn't get to return home to the country that they were fighting for and enjoy living in "the promised land".  They left behind families, current and potential.  They gave their life and all of their potential, so I could be free and comfortable, spoiled really.

I hope to never forget that.

Who do I thank?  The soldiers aren't here.  I suppose I could find their families and descendants of those who died in battle, but I think the best way that I could thank and honor them is to remember.  Remember that freedom does come with a price, and that it wasn't paid by me.  Their sacrifice has blessed me.  I will remember.  I will not forget.

Lessons from the past are powerful.  I was fortunate to spend my Memorial Day weekend with those who remember the past.  In addition to celebrating Memorial Day, I participated in a celebration of western heritage, cowboys, pioneers, a time of horses and cattle.

There were many pioneers who settled the Western United States, especially the Mormons.  Persecuted, they sought refuge in Utah.  The mass exodus is a major part of the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  The journey took them months of walking and many groups made the trip.  They are to be revered.  Their courage to be admired.  Some of them also died before reaching the end.

We have a special holiday to recognize the pioneers.  It is July 24th, yet many do not celebrate.  Many do not remember.  Some seem to think that it is only for those who are descendants of pioneers, that if you do not have family ties than it means nothing to you.  Our Church is what is is because of the pioneers, just as our country is what it is because of the soldiers.  I have heard converts to the Church feel left out, or get offended that the Church celebrates a holiday for those who have such generational ties to the Church, but they misunderstand.  It doesn't matter who walked the plains, it matters that they did.  It matters that we remember and celebrate.

I think the best thing we can do is always remember and never forget.  The Church has restored countless historic sites so that people can see and understand where we came from and appreciate the strong testimonies in the frail beginnings of the Church that now has millions of members worldwide.

There is much to remember.

Let us never forget.

Thank you soldiers.  I cannot wait for the Fourth of July.

Thank you pioneers.  I cannot wait for the Twenty-Fourth of July.

Example of a Historic Site - Winter Quarters, NE
The Winter Quarters Temple
Husband!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 Kanesville Tabernacle (IA)- Where Brigham Young was sustained as the President of the Church
My little Pioneer, awwww
Husband being sworn in, Go military!!!
 Family Picture from that day......eeks, we all look so young! (couldn't resist sharing...where'd my baby go?)

In remembrance,
Lindsay

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Discussion - Fathers

Dear Readers,

Whoops!  I thought I had this scheduled to post.  Sorry.

In an effort to be ahead of the game, this week let's talk about fathers.  Father's Day in the United States is June 19th.

I remember one time my dad offered to babysit for me.  He had told me that we were not going to attend a certain cultural celebration so I took a babysitting job, and then at the last minute when he decided our family was going, he approached me and offered to babysit so I could still have an opportunity to attend.  Imagining my dad babysitting 3 girls and it was a long one (5 or 6pm until after midnight if I remember correctly), I somehow thought he wasn't up to the job, so I turned him down.  Deep down I was a little disappointed that I didn't get to go, but it was alright.  In hindsight, probably took me years to appreciate this, I recognize his offer to me was one of many examples of his love for me.

Awwww.

Okay, who has a great dad story to share.

Tell us in the comments box, and for those who are reading this who are Dads (this means you, Husband), go ahead and read this great article "A Latter-day Father's Guidebook."  It is all about the examples that are in the Book of Mormon of great fathers.  I really enjoyed it, and you will too.  It also strengthened my testimony about how the Book of Mormon really is for our present day.

Awesomely,
Lindsay

Monday, June 6, 2011

Senior Missionaries

Dear Readers,

I thought that this was cool.  They have made changes to the Senior Missionary program so that more will be able to serve.  This is where I read about it first,  It has changes in the amount of time required to serve and a cap on housing costs.  This is the complete announcement of changes!

Our stake is focusing on missionary work this year.  They have asked that everyone prayerfully find someone to be taught in their home.  I recently was talking to Friend M and it was an energizing conversation about missionary work.  There is a desire that comes from a burning testimony that just makes you want to share it with others.  It is like you can't hold it in for fear of bursting.

I have had some of those types of experiences lately, but those are stories for a different day.  We are inviting someone to eat with the missionaries this week!  Hopefully, we'll be able to share with our friend so that he will feel of the Spirit.

Full disclosure:  I have not ordered my box of pass-a-long cards like I said I was going to, but I kind of just forgot, and then have been ridiculously busy.  Now that camp is over I plan to dig out my copy of Preach My Gospel and study in there more and get my box of pass-a-long cards.

For those who don't know, Husband and I (and Daughter) have been serving a stake mission since February. We were called to serve in the Spanish Branch in our stake.  This is not a proselyting mission, but more of a training mission to help these mostly new converts learn about leading and serving in the Church, and supporting them in developing their testimonies and being worthy to enter the temple and receive it's blessings.  Husband served a Spanish speaking mission, but I did not.  I do not know Spanish.  I have never served a mission before.  This has been a wonderfully hard assignment that has yielded great blessings.  I am adjusting fairly well and even bore my testimony today.  I said 2 sentences in Spanish and the rest in English, but it's a start.  "Soy un hijo de Dios...(English testimony)......En el nombre Jesucristo, amen"

I have been wanting to write about the branch for awhile, but that is also on my list of things to get to.

In conclusion, Go Senior Missionaries!!!  I have always looked forward to being one, since I did not serve a mission before getting married.  I never dreamed that I would be called on a stake mission and that I would get to serve one sooner than before retirement.  I am very lucky, and teased my mom about it.

I hope to hear that the number of Senior Missionaries has increased by next April when they read off the statistics in Conference.

Sincerely,
Lindsay