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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

From the Inside Out

Dear Readers,

We also finished putting up the Christmas tree yesterday. It was a multi-day process this year. We just worked on it as we had time and energy.  I used to be the person that loved to get everything out the day after Thanksgiving.  We paid proper homage to the holiday and then just moved on with full speed.  I found that by doing this, I found I was tired of Christmas sometimes with a full week to go before it's arrival.

This year I didn't want to be in a hurry.  I didn't want to force upon myself Christmas-time.  I wanted to feel it from the inside out.  Let me explain by putting up the decorations and everything right away (listening to Christmas music, etc in full force) I was experiencing Christmas from the outside in.  I was dependent on my outer experiences to somehow shape my heart and spirit.  Some years it worked, some years it didn't and I still felt kind of empty at Christmastime.

I also didn't feel the need to rush, because my daughter asked if we could keep out our "Blessings" decoration from Thanksgiving.  She told me that Christmas was about blessings too.  I wasn't going to argue, so we've had a gradual transition so that we could continue to recognize all of our blessings and our greatest blessing, the birth and life of Jesus Christ.

Yesterday I walked into a mega-mart type of store.  Until yesterday I had only been in the grocery store or other small specialty shops.  It was dizzying with all of the displays of "buy this, only x amount of dollars".  The aisles were full of shoppers and "must have" products.  It brought a feeling of stress over me as I realized that this is what many people experience over finding "perfect" gifts.  It was influencing me from the outside in, rather than the inside out.  I didn't like it.

It made me think of President Monson's quote from the First Presidency Christmas Devotional that said "Let us make Christmas real. It isn’t just tinsel and ribbon, unless we have made it so in our lives. (source)"  Christmas is exactly what we have made of it.  This year I chose to feel it from the inside out.  I have done less (decorating, eating, cooking, delivering, music listening, reading, partying, etc.) than any other year, but I have probably felt more joy than any other year so far.  I can get into specifics another time about exactly what it is that I am doing/ not doing.

Are you feeling Christmas-y on the inside?  I know it's all around us on the outside, but are you truly feeling the joy of the season?

Hope so,

Feelingly,
Lindsay

Friday, December 7, 2012

Let Earth Receive Her King

Dear Readers,

So posting everyday didn't last very long :).  The past few days I've been crying in bed, feeling wronged by the world.  Not my best self for sure, but I do strive for complete transparancy.  Now, granted there were legitimate things that happened to me this week that were wrong and upsetting, I slipped right into all Grinch-dom....Christmas angel, my foot (no, that was real and legit).  Oh what a roller-coaster it's been this week.

I tried to bring myself to post something the past couple of days, because I'm not happy and rosy all the time nor is my life glamorous and perfect and I don't want to portray myself as that way.  Honestly, I couldn't bring myself to talk about the gospel so down in the dumps without being really hypocritical.  "Really, let the atonement help you..." when I had no intention of letting it help me.  Thankfully the moment has passed and I am feeling more positive and ready to resume normal, rational life.  Today I opened the blinds in my living room.  I haven't done that all week.  Read here about opening the blinds in my house as an analogy to letting Christ in your life.

Yeah, not perfect I know.  I chose to have 2 days of despair this week.  I have been thinking about that post though and how it has tied in with messages that I heard this weekend.  When I mentioned in my post about the funeral that the Bishop had a nice Christmas message, well no joke, it was some of the same things that President Monson said the very next day at the First Presidency Christmas Devotional.  My bishop had read the same verse of O Little Town of Bethlehem that President Monson read.


How silently, how silently
The wondrous gift is giv’n!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of his heav’n.
No ear may hear his coming;
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him, still
The dear Christ enters in.

My bishop spoke of the word "receive", that it was our choice to receive Christ in our lives.  I have since found out that no one at the funeral was LDS (besides the Bishop, myself, and 2 Elders) which made his talk all the more powerful to me.  When we choose the act of letting Him in, Christ will come in.  I like how the hymn says "In this world of sin, where meek souls will receive him, still".  So basically saying, Christ really, really wants to come, He's just looking for anyone left in the sinful world to do so.  God has already given us this "wondrous gift", we just have to choose to receive it.

I'm not going to do a separate post on the Devotional, so let me just share one great quote from Pres. Monson.

"Let us make Christmas real. It isn’t just tinsel and ribbon, unless we have made it so in our lives. Christmas is the spirit of giving without a thought of getting. It is happiness because we see joy in people. It is forgetting self and finding time for others. It is discarding the meaningless and stressing the true values. It is peace because we have found peace in the Savior’s teachings. It is the time we realize most deeply that the more love is expended, the more there is of it for others." (emphasis added)
Then of course Pres. Uchtdorf spoke about being a good and grateful receiver.  When he started to speak I honestly thought in my head "Go Bishop, Go Bishop".  How inspired he must have been to have been thinking the same topics as the First Presidency.  And then I felt how grateful that I was able to hear all of the inspired thoughts that were shared on both days.


"I hope that this Christmas and every day of the year we will consider, in particular, the many gifts we have been given by our loving Heavenly Father. I hope we will receive these gifts with the wonder, thankfulness, and excitement of a child. 
My heart grows tender and warm as I think of the gifts our loving, gracious, and generous Father in Heaven has given us: the unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost, the miracle of forgiveness, personal revelation and guidance, the Savior’s peace, the certainty and comfort that death is conquered—and many, many more. 
Above all, God has given us the gift of His Only Begotten Son, who sacrificed His life “that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”(John 3:16)
Have we received these gifts with humble gratitude, with joy? Or do we reject them out of pride or a false sense of independence? Do we feel our Father’s love expressed in these gifts? Do we receive them in a way that deepens our relationship with this wonderful, divine Giver? Or are we too distracted to even notice what God gives us each and every day? 
We know that “God loveth a cheerful giver,” (2 Corinthians 9:7) but does He not also love a good, grateful, and cheerful receiver?" (Pres. Uchtdorf)
So as "Joy to the World" (Hymn 201) so joyfully states, "Let earth receive her King, let every heart prepare him room."  Are you making room for Christ this time of year?  Does He need an invite? or is He already "received" cheerfully (see reference above)?  I find I need to cheerfully receive Him daily otherwise I find myself in the state of the past few days :(

Sorry I was grumpy and unable to post.

Receivingly,
Lindsay

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Pray for the President

Dear Husband,

I think you were disappointed that I didn't post this right away, but I am now, just in case someone didn't see it.  It was displayed very prominently on the newsroom page for weeks, but now it is not.

http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/statement-on-election-result

Can you believe a month has passed since the election?  I do agree that it is a very well written and tasteful statement and that it was nice that it was posted as soon as the winner was evident.  Is the Church ever not classy?

It is time to pray for the president and all the people who work in our government as there are many decisions that are imminent.

Pray with me.

I love you.

Prayerfully,
Lindsay

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Christmas Angel

Dear Friend S,

My daughter keeps asking about you, and we do talk and think about you often.  I'm mentally counting down the days until the 12th.  We definitely miss you.

Tonight I felt like a Christmas angel.  One tradition in my family growing up was to read Christmas Stories every night after scriptures.  My parents had several books and collections of heartwarming stories that really embody the spirit of the season.  One of my absolute favorites was always "Aaron's Christmas Tree".  Each story that was in my parent's collection seemed to speak of people who were such examples of self-less love and charity - really the pure love of Christ.

Now, I'm no one special, but tonight I felt like a Christmas angel.  I felt like I had been an instrument in the Lord's hand to minister to specific people on the Lord's behalf.  I almost felt like it could be a story from my parent's collection, except that it was just me and so simple, but that's probably part of the beauty of it.  Simple, not complicated and over thought.

My tale starts a few weeks ago.  I was at the grocery store and saw sprinkles on sale.  They had red and green, so I picked some up thinking that Daughter would like them..she likes sprinkles.  As I was putting them in my cart I thought that they would make a great care package for the (*_____ ) Family.  With their dad deployed I have tried to take them something once a month to let them know that they are thought of and loved.  The idea was born that for December I'd take them cookie decorating supplies.  As the weeks continued on I looked for other items to go along with the original sprinkles.  Well, then I thought of the (*_______ name of different) Family and how their dad was also deployed right now.  I decided to give Daughter's red and green sprinkles to them and make them an identical care package.

Daughter and I ended up with sugar cookie mix, peppermint frosting, red, green, and white writing gels, the red and green sprinkles, and assorted cookie cutters.  I wanted to make sure that they had everything that they needed so that it would be a true delight for the kids, and not a huge hassle for the mom (remember, the dads are on the other side of the world).  The last thing I wanted was to give a half complete project that the mom had to scramble so the kids could finish.  We lovingly wrapped up the items and put them in gift bags for the two families.

This picture shows the assortment of items on the right and how we wrapped them on the left.  Then we just put them in the gift bags.  Daughter helped me with the tissue paper so some of it was pretty ripped before it made it in the bag :), but she was so earnest in helping me pick out the specific tissue papers and loved the curling ribbon.  I love doing service with my daughter.



For Family Home Evening tonight we went to deliver our love.  We went to Family #2 first.  I knew it'd be nice to get to both families in one night, but my goal was just to get one delivered.  We practiced caroling at home much to Daughter's delight, but of course when we got to the door she ran away and hid leaving husband and I to sing a duet.  The kids were excited to see us and informed us that they were getting out their Christmas decorations.  Their mom came down from the attic and I quickly sent Husband up to help haul down the biggest boxes.  What are the odds that we arrived right when they needed man power? (feel good moment #1)  One child exclaimed, "Look 4 presents!!!" as he pulled everything out of the gift bag.  I informed him they were to opened right away and that there were 4 presents because there were 4 kids in their family.  They all opened them to find the cookie decorating supplies and were super excited.

The kids continued to play with loud exclamations (Daughter joining right in) and the mom said she didn't know where the "crazies" were coming from.  I smiled at her and said, "I do.  You must not have people over very often."  She laughed and said, "You're right, we don't." (feel good moment #2)  She kept asking if we had other houses to get to baffled that we would have singled them out (I didn't advertise that it was because her husband was deployed), and I kept saying "No, my goal was one house tonight.  This is it."

We stayed for an hour the moms visiting together, the girls playing dolls, and the boys enjoying showing Husband 3 levels of their favorite video game (they don't get a lot of man-time right now... :) ).  When it was getting late I said we better go.  The kids were all disappointed to have their audience leave.  One thing they showed to me was their advent calendar.  It was a mini-muffin pan with magnets covering each hole.  Each day they took the appropriate number off to reveal the hole which had a typed activity on a piece of paper in it.  I asked if I could peek ahead to see what kinds of activities they were going to do.  Imagine my shock when I saw that the activity for tomorrow was "Bake Cookies".  I felt tingles and heard a choir of angels in my head. (feel good moment #3)  The mom had been explaining to me how they needed to move for financial reasons and that she had a realtor coming to inspect their house in a few days.  She was responsible for all of this without her husband.  She hadn't been looking ahead to the activities in the tin, so I'm sure tomorrow morning as the kids awoke and read the advent activity, she would have had a surprise and had to scramble to complete the cookie baking.  (She had previously told me that she didn't bake very often, so I honestly was surprised to see that was an activity in their advent.)

It felt really good to know that a such a teeny tiny act of service could make her life easier.  I am always so grateful when someone does that for me.  I couldn't imagine my husband being gone for a full 6 months.  Husband's orders were hard enough a few months ago.  I am also amazed by the experience as I hadn't originally planned on taking anything to this family.  Yet, Heavenly Father did prompt me, and put it in my heart that we should go tonight and then we arrived right as they were getting things out of the attic.  Small things I know, but the hand of the Lord, nonetheless.

And that is why I felt like a Christmas angel, a character in one of the many stories that I love.

Miss you.  I have so much to tell you, but we know you're doing good things.

Angelically,
Lindsay

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Worlds Without Number

Dear Friend M,

A few months ago I was driving in the car with my daughter.  She had picked up a flyer while we were out and was proceeding to read it.

"Mom, what's a world?"

I then proceeded to explain what a world was to her for a few minutes.  Not wanting to miss an opportunity for a spiritual conversation, I then said, "Heavenly Father created the world.  There's a scripture that says Heavenly Father created worlds without number (Moses 1:33)."  I told her to think of the biggest number that she could and that there were even more worlds than that.  I give an example of something like a million, billion, gazillion, trillion (because that was the biggest number that I could think of on the spot).

"You mean like 100?"

"Is that the biggest number you can think of?"

"Yeah."

"Yeah, Heavenly Father created 100 worlds and even more than that."  :)

Laughingly,
Lindsay

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Each Life That Touches Ours

Dear Mother,

I went to a funeral this morning.  Last night the Bishop called while we were out and asked if Husband or I would play for a funeral this morning.  It was for someone he didn't know and wasn't affiliated with our church, but somehow we were asked to officiate and provide the music for it.

I've played piano for a lot of funerals (way more than I've attended because I knew the person that died), and it was similar to a lot of them.  I usually show up with no personal attachment, but am interested in what their life was like.  The family usually finds me and thanks me for the music and then proceeds to talk to me for some period of time.  I guess the piano player seems safe?  Not sure, but someone always talks to me and I just have to smile and nod, because I have no connection to them before that day and I most likely will never see them again  I only can piece together what is said during the services to get a feel for the situation.  Then during the services I get bored and look around the room at the people attending the funeral.  Since most of them usually aren't LDS they don't look comfortable at a "religious" meeting.  Their dress and actions are different than how Church members would act at a funeral.  I try to figure out who is family, co-workers, friends, war buddies, etc.  and how they might be feeling.  I especially like to watch them as the Bishop gives his remarks that teach LDS doctrines.  For some this may be the first time they have ever heard the Plan of Salvation or of the atonement of Jesus Christ.  I always wonder if they'll remember the Spirit that they felt

Today, the funeral was for a man who led a rogue life.  He was promiscuous and his sister said they knew of 12 of his children (but that there might be more.)  It didn't sound as if he ever married any of their mothers or spent any time with his children or grandchildren until 4 years ago.  Perhaps he knew he was dying?  He came and went whenever he pleased only contacting his family if he needed something.  The sister said she just had to accept him how he was, and spent most of her "life sketch" apologizing to his children and grandchildren that were present for her brother's weaknesses.

The Bishop then focused his remarks on the atonement and what Jesus Christ could do for the man who died, and each person in that room.  I also thought he did a nice job of mentioning Christ and Christmastime as the world was hustling and bustling while we were all paused.

We did not sing "Each Life That Touches Ours For Good" as no one would have recognized it.  It's one of my favorites, but at 90% of the funerals I attend we sing "How Great Thou Art," as we did today :)  Then later on in the program I played a special musical number.  Well I did not find out about this special musical number until a couple of hours before the funeral and I was not at home.  I whipped out a Lindsay special and played "Nearer, My God, to Thee" (a hymn I knew that would be recognized by non-members and also sung at most of the funerals that I've been to).  I just did broken chords on the first verse, up an octave on the second verse, and full chords on the third verse, repeating the final line for finality.  I felt kind of guilty that I hadn't a chance to practice anything, but also grateful that I had the ability to just whip it out on the spot.

I could tell as I was playing that those in attendance could feel the Spirit.  I heard sniffles and crying and as I completed the song I found that I had tears in my eyes as well.  I genuinely found myself hoping that the family members could feel peace with the situation as it clearly wasn't ideal.  I hoped that they would remember the words spoken about the Atonement and somehow be led to missionaries so that they could learn more.  As they Bishop said the closing prayer, these thoughts continued to overwhelm me.

We didn't sing "Each Life That Touches Ours For Good," but I can honestly say that this unknown man to me, touched my life for good.  I am grateful that I was able to be at the funeral and think and reflect about my blessings and my testimony of the Savior.  Today was the first day of December.  A midst parades, lights, Christmas tree lightings, etc. I think I had the perfect Christmas Kickoff.  I am so grateful for the atonement in my life.  I am grateful that we just celebrated Thanksgiving.  I wasn't ready to move on yet.  I am so blessed that my attendance at the funeral of this rogue man could provide me the opportunity to serve others, to help them feel the Spirit, maybe for the first time.  I am looking forward to a season of love, peace, joy, blessings, and devotion to the Savior.

With love,
Lindsay

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sisters, Sisters

Dear Readers,

I used to be "searching for a sister", someone who could locally meet my needs that my own sisters couldn't due to geography reasons. Well fate smiled upon me, Heavenly Father blessed me and indeed a "sister" appeared into my life. We first met because I mentioned some of my infertility issues during a Relief Society lesson. She found me after church and our friendship was born though not instantly sister status.  Then she was assigned to be my visiting teacher and she went beyond what most visiting teachers do. It was heavenly.

I showed up at her house unannounced, borrowed things from her, ate her food, she watched my kid, I threw up in her toilet, laid on her couch doing nothing (while she cooked my meals), she nursed me back to health, we watched movies together, we laughed, we cried, my daughter drew on her walls with crayon and terrorized loved her dog, we slept at her house for 4 days when ours was flooded, she gave me rides around town and once to a neighboring state to save money on a rental car.  She grocery shopped for me, and of course ALWAYS refused my money even though I knew that we were in a more stable financial position than they were.  We filled in for each other with our church callings, we counseled each other through doctor visits and hoped together for babies. You name it. We did it.  We were true Sisters in Zion.  I couldn't believe that I actually found some someone like I had hoped for in my earlier blog post (worth re-reading if you haven't).

And

then

she

moved.

(sigh)

From one coast to another. And it makes me cry just thinking about the self-less service and friendship that P.M. and her husband rendered to my family.  For of course I feel like she gave way more to me then I ever gave to her.  And I felt alone and back to square one as a true sister is hard to come by.

As I pondered/ pitied myself I began to open my eyes around me in new ways. I realized that Heavenly Father had indeed placed a situation right before me again. I have been visiting teaching a sweet single girl who has been faintly calling out for a sister. She's asked me to be her scripture study partner for months, and talked about how lonely she was, but it didn't really click for me that I could do for her what my visiting teacher had done for me.  I hadn't ignored her pleas and they certainly didn't fall on deaf ears.  I visited her more than once a month, and made her little "care packages" to let her know I was thinking about her.  I invited her to my home for dinner several times and offered her a ride to every Relief Society activity because she doesn't have a car. We had had some deeper level conversations, so in my mind I thought I was doing so much more than what I was, but I wasn't being the “sister” that she needed.

So,

This past Saturday morning I called her. I asked if she wanted to go watch a parade with my daughter and I. Then we ate lunch at a park together and she helped me put together my materials for my Sunday calling in Primary.  We were cutting and taping and talking the whole time, making plans to become scripture study partners.  I answered her questions about missionary service and attending BYU.  I had mentioned that I was involved with a community service event that I thought she might like to be involved in and told her that I could give her rides whenever I went.  She was so excited by the idea that we made plans to go that same night (though I originally had planned not to go that night).  We went out to dinner and off we went to the evening’s activity, spending 10 hours in a row.

I knew she was a recent convert.  I knew she had little support from her family.  I knew that she didn't have any friends that lived the same standards that she did and she was weary from trying so hard to do what was right in an atmosphere where others weren't.  I also knew she had a strong testimony and a desire to serve a mission, but had no idea where to start.  Heavenly Father has provided the way for me to be the “sister” that she needs to make this happen.  That’s not to say that it HAS to be me and ONLY me to help her, but I know that right now she is reaching out to me for help and I can choose to help her as a true Sister in Zion or I could keep doing more of the same which was better than nothing, but not what she really needed to help her with the desires of heart.

I already enjoyed Visiting Teaching and knew it was inspired, but the events over the past few weeks have really made me appreciate the blessings that come from this program.  I always just thought I was extra “needy” or something by wishing for a sister, but I’m beginning to see that everyone could really benefit from one.

And tell me that you LOVED Elder Eyring's talk from the General Relief Society meeting where he related that story about his daughter's Visiting Teaching companion listening to a prompting and arriving in time to drive her to the hospital.  Brings tingles to me when I think about the miracles that we can perform for each other as "sisters."  (All you men should read the talk with some tissue!)

Oh, and one last note.  I have appreciated the emails that came my way after I posted that I was searching for a sister.  While I appreciate your long-distance well-wishes, I implore you to pray and find someone in your community that you could minister to as you would have ministered to me.

Sorry it's long, still getting my regular posting mojo back.

With love,
Lindsay

Monday, October 22, 2012

In the Saddle Again

Dear Friend A,

This is my formal invitation to read my blog that I told you I have, though I also told you that I no longer post on it.  I had decided it had run it's course (because I am so wise and know everything, ha).  I thought that Heavenly Father had accomplished the purposes that He desired, that through my efforts the outcomes had been reached, rendering the blog to be finished.  As usual, I was wrong.

I will start posting on this blog again.  Mainly because I realize that the world needs my voice and testimony.  Not because it's anything extra special, but because it is exists.  I LOVE reading the Ensign every month.  I have posted about it several times on my blog (check the archives).  I love the pictures and counsel from our General Authorities, but I also love the articles that are from regular Joe Schmoes like me.  Their little blurbs about their best efforts to live the gospel really lift me up and inspire me.  Regular people are Mormons, it's true!  More than once I've seen things published by people that I know!  That's always exciting.  I keep thinking that I should submit something to the Ensign, but yeah well, you know.

Enter the blog.  It's basically a big compilation of a bunch of Ensign submissions.  Friend D's words were really encouraging to me the other night that maybe my readers enjoy reading about my best efforts to live the gospel and endure to the end in this crazy existence called life.  Hence, why I'm starting anew and you're invited (lettersfromlindsay.blogspot.com).

Somehow I think I have a feature that you can subscribe to me, look for it somewhere on my blog I guess.  I'm not super blog techy.

Miss you.

Besties,
Lindsay

Monday, July 30, 2012

Guiding Behavior

Dear Friend H,

Today during the Singing Time there were some boys who were making faces at me and being rude.  It hurt my feelings.  Since you are one of the oldest boys in Senior Primary, I was wondering if you would help me. I'd like for you to be a leader and an example to the other boys of how to sing during Singing Time and treat me with respect.  If you want to help me please check the "yes" box, sign your name and mail it back to me in the envelope provided.  Thank you so much for your help.  I know I can count on you.

Your Friend,
Sister Lindsay





You guessed it.  My little friend was indeed the ringleader of the face makers, non-singers, etc.  I decided to take a page from President Monson's playbook.  He has spoken of an experience many different times.  When he was in Primary he came across his Primary President and noticed she was upset.  She said it was because of the discipline problems.  He said he'd help her and then there were no more problems, because he too was the main cause of them at the time.  (one source here)

I couldn't resist the return card.  What little kid doesn't love sending and receiving mail.  I also thought this added an element of commitment on his part.  Fingers crossed the snarky comments stop.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Did You Forget It's Pioneer Day?

Dear Readers,

I wasn't going to post today (off schedule), but I guess everyone doesn't mark Pioneer Day on their calendar and anticipate it for weeks like I do.  When I was visiting teaching tonight, no one else remembered!!!

Today Daughter and I have enjoyed watching this (video below) several times.  I LOVE acoustic hymns.  I have so many CDs of folksy hymn arrangements.  I love thinking about the example of the pioneers and the idea that I can be one too.  Heavenly Father asks me to do hard things all the time.  Knowing that the pioneers were successful gives me motivation to get through my struggles.  Faith and courage are the two things that I really associate with pioneers.  I am a modern day pioneer.

Sorry, if you missed Pioneer Day, but remember not everyone entered the valley on July 24th, so remembering them everyday is appropriate :)


In Remembrance,
Lindsay


Monday, July 23, 2012

Searching for a Sister

Dear Readers,

I've been on a search for a few years now.  I'm searching for a "sister".  Now, I have biological sisters and sisters-in-law (sister-in-laws?, whatever) and that's the problem.  I know how great having a sister can be.  The problem is I haven't had the honor or privilege of living by a sister for years.

When I did live by my sister(s), I loved it!  I always had someone to call........and then visit, in person, the same day, or even within minutes if need be.  I am so jealous of those who live by sisters.  A sister is someone you can call when you're sick and they'll take care of your kids AND you.  I have never called someone from church and asked them if I could lay on their couch while they made me lunch and then proceeded to lay there for hours :)

Sisters provide rides, friendship, tell you when you're wearing something dumb, your haircut is lopsided, and you've said something uncalled for.  You don't have to clean up your house for sisters either.  When you have a "disaster zone" they see the true disaster and then help you clean it up, because they know where stuff goes in your house and what has to be a certain way to keep you sane.  Nowadays, I have to clean for 20 minutes when I tell someone that I have a "disaster" because I'm afraid of being gossip fodder because you never know what other people think a "disaster" should look like.  Some people's "disaster" are other people's "uninhabitable" and other people's "not even messy at all") Maybe this is why I move a lot.........just kidding.  (Someone can validate me in the comments section, shameless plug today, sorry, this is sensitive stuff!)

Are you catching on yet?  I could list millions of examples.  Sisters love your guts out, but they'd do anything for you even when it's inconvenient to them and their family, because they love you unconditionally and don't judge.

Having been away from my biological/ married into sisters for a few years and knowing that it'll be this way for a few more years has made me more determined than ever to find a "sister" who lives local to me that will love me and befriend me the way a real sister might.  I've been looking and I haven't succeeded.  Maybe it's me.  You have to be that kind of "sister" to find one in return.  This year's Visiting Teaching theme is working on being a better Visiting Teacher.  If you didn't know that, it's kind of loose and unofficial, but each month the message has been revolving around that idea (Here they are all in one place.).

This month's was entitled "Demonstrating Our Discipleship Through Love and Service".  It gave some pointers on things to do.  It worded it not as things to do to be a better visiting teacher, but that as we did these things our service would "close resemble the ministry of our Savior."  Win-win.  As we serve others, we better ourselves.  "Love them without judging them, establish sincere friendships with them and visit them in their homes and elsewhere, reach out to those in need of comfort".....great stuff here, all that makes me think of my sisters.  I also love how it mentions women of the New Testament as examples.  "Paul wrote of a woman named Phebe, who was “a servant of the church” (Romans 16:1). He asked the people to “assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many” (Romans 16:2). " (from Visiting Teaching Message, July 2012)  Aww, this has been going on forever.  Something about this just makes me feel really good to know.  It motivates me.  I want to lift others up and help them, because I like being a sister.

Seriously, EVERYONE says "Call me for anything."  Who really does?  There's a certain level that we feel we need to achieve on our own (at least for me).  I have a convoluted ranking system.  A cold doesn't count as "sick" so therefore I wouldn't call for help, however if I was in the hospital I might consider it.  I might drag my kids on errands much to the displeasure of all because that would sound "needy".  Yeah, convoluted is right.  It has to be an "emergency" or at least half of one to ask for help.  I know I'm not the only person with a problem because no one has called me on the edge of their sanity because they can't take their kids one more minute.  No one has called me asking me for food, money, or "doctoring" over a cold either.  Somehow we're programmed to have walls and if we could just take them down, imagine, sisters for all!

How funny is that?  I go to church every single Sunday and call every woman over the age of 18 "Sister".  Yet, I don't have a "sister" relationship with anyone?  Hmmm, an interesting perspective that makes me want to examine my actions.  I would love to have someone locally who I can go shoe shopping with (and buy matching shoes).  I would love to not have to worry about or second guess if it's really ok if she's watching my kids, or she's just doing it because she "owes" me, and is rolling her eyes secretly.

Oh, everyone lives states away (and no I don't live where the states are puny).  Those of you who are thinking, "I'll be your sister.  I wish you lived close to me."  You know what I have to say....  Go do thou likewise to someone who lives near you, who needs a sister, because I guarantee you there are plenty who are searching.

Searchingly,
Lindsay

Monday, July 16, 2012

Family Night

Dear Readers,


It's Monday!  My family will be having Family Home Evening.  Will yours?


I love my family.  As I was thinking about my love for my family today, I decided to visit family.lds.org to see what resources they held for me.


I clicked on "Building a Strong Family" and was pleasantly surprised to see several links to topics that would benefit my family.  There are 4 sections listed; Keys to Strong Families, Strengthening Husband and Wife Relationships, Strengthening Parent and Child Relationships, Strengthening Individual Family Members.  I have questions about parenting my daughter.  I saw answers to the very things I was wondering about under "Strengthening Parent and Child Relationships".


I did notice that all of these links came from the Family Home Evening Resource Book, so I already had the answers in my home and didn't even know it.  The information isn't anything new or earth-shattering as the Family Home Evening Resource Book (buy here) has been around awhile and I am thankful for that.  It's the same little things that build strong families.


I also liked that in the sidebar it listed a link for "Places to Visit".  If you click there it takes you to a page that has Visitor Centers, Historic Sites, and Pageants of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Summer's not over yet.  There still is time for a vacation and what better place to go than a church sponsored site/ event.  I am a big believer in family vacations and apparently the Church is too.  I know they build strong families.  It was something that I loved all growing up and now my family does too.  We make it a priority to go, even if it means going on a limited vacation budget (i.e. no four star hotel accommodations or fancy restaurants) or adjusting our monthly budget and cutting out the four star hotel accommodations and fancy restaurants, (ha, I wish!).


We went to Nauvoo, IL last summer!  And we loved it!  And we may or may not have returned there this summer, but I'm not spilling the beans yet (and we may or may not have eaten PBJ sandwiches for lunch everyday).


I just have family on the brain today!  I love them so much.


Here is a semi-recent picture of said family.  I don't think I've posted a picture for awhile:




Dreamily,
Lindsay

Friday, July 13, 2012

We All Believe The Same Thing

Dear Readers,

I've thoroughly been enjoying my time these past few months.  I apologize for anyone who has missed my posting.  I truly feel sorry if you came expecting to read something and there wasn't anything new.

Over the past few months I've traveled a little bit and also just sat around lazily enjoying sunny days at the beach with my family.  Can I get a "Yay" for family?  And a double "Yay" for true relaxation!!!

I don't want anyone to think that I stopped posting because I ran out of ideas, or that I was wavering in my faith and commitment to the gospel of Christ.  That is simply NOT true.  This is also why I feel it is important to post today and let you know that,

I DO have a testimony of my Savior, Jesus Christ, that He atoned for me.  I love Him and He KNOWS and loves me.

My devotion to Him has not wavered at all this summer, though my presence here might be interpreted as such.  If anything my relationship with Him has been strengthened and my understanding of Him has been deepened in ways that I never thought possible.

Recently there was a period of 5 Sundays in a row where I attended a different congregation (all LDS) each Sunday.  There were circumstances that dictated this occurrence as this obviously isn't normal.  Between my other travelling this summer, I have attended 2 additional congregations to the ones previously listed and another stake's Stake Conference.  I attended wards that were so big it looked like Stake Conference as the chapel and gym were filled.  I attended wards that were so small they met in a teeny meetinghouse where the chapel and the gym were the same room (so no pews, just chairs they could remove to play basketball after partitioning off the rostrum).  In some areas members traveled 30 minutes to get to church.  In other places, members traveled 3 minutes to get to church.  Some wards were loud and filled with children fidgeting.  Others were silent with nary a sound.  I attended wards where the language spoken was English.  I attended congregations where the language spoken was Spanish.  I heard choirs sing some places, but not others.  I heard visiting general authorities, visiting teaching conferences, firesides, Relief Society activity nights, testimony meetings, and regular Sunday sacrament meetings.  I talked to many missionaries asking about the work in their location.  Sometimes I was meeting old friends.  Sometimes I was making new friends.  All of this was spread out between 5 different states and thousands of miles.

Guess what?

We all believe the same thing!  Sunday schools everywhere were studying The Book of Mormon.  The sacrament was administered in the same fashion in each locale.  The proper priesthood authority presided over meetings everywhere I went.  Testimonies about Christ and God's love were freely shared and given everywhere I went.

It has been a wonderful summer to be surrounded by so many other people who believe the same thing.  You might say that we are just a large group of people dedicated to their church.  We are loyal and faithful and that's why we go...because of the church as an institution.  I would say that we go to these meetinghouses because we love the Savior and his Doctrine and know that Heavenly Father has a plan for us that necessitates us being a member of the one church that has the proper authority and truthfulness here on the Earth.  And to know that there are people who share this same belief located all around the world is quite thrilling.  It strengthens me.  I know that I have only witnessed a small taste as I didn't even leave the United States this summer.

People always say that the Church is the same everywhere and that's true.  The administration and programs are standardized.  Even more amazing to me is the faith, devotion, and testimonies of the believers and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  People are praying everywhere for peace, love, and hope from the atonement.  People are feeling joy from keeping the commandments in every nation around the world.

I wish every person in the world could share this joy and feel such hope.  It motivates me to open my mouth and share.  I am teaching Chapter 13: Doing Our Part to Share the Gospel this Sunday and so I will be sharing some these same thoughts with my class.

Ever yours,
Lindsay

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Describe Your Religious Beliefs

Dear Readers,

I can't keep track what day of the week it is.  It must mean that it is summertime!  I don't know why I don't schedule all of my posts, because I'd look a lot smoother if I did.

Anyways, I was recently faced with the task of filling out a questionnaire.  It included the statement:

"Describe your current religious beliefs and practices."

I knew the questionnaire would only be read by 1-2 people, so I didn't want to stress over it...too much.  On the other hand, I didn't know which two people would read my answer, and possibly the effects that could come from reading my answer.  I wanted it be accurate and also as complete as possible.  I was only given a few lines to hand write my answer on so I knew I wasn't going to be able to write out the whole doctrine of Christ/ Plan of Salvation, my testimony, the 12 articles of Faith, and what I do with my family, personal life, and ward congregation that would describe my "practices".  Eeks!

This is what I wrote.
"I believe that God is my Heavenly Father who created me.  Jesus Christ is my Savior and atoned for me.  I follow the doctrine of Christ.  I was baptized and I was married in one of God's holy temples.  I believe that I will live with God again and with my family in the next life.  The family is the most basic unit of society.  Our family is responsible to help one another follow Christ.  Parents have a sacred obligation to love, care for and nurture their children.  I read my scriptures and follow the teachings of God's prophets as they preach His words.  I am a Mormon."
I don't know who ended up reading it, but I felt like I did a good job considering the small space that I had.  I especially love that I was prompted to reference The Family: A Proclamation to the World.  I've been thinking about families a lot the past few weeks.  I also love how I ended it with "I am a Mormon."  I live in a place with not too many Mormons.  Whoever ended up reading my questionnaire would now know where to find information....guess I should have written "mormon.org"?  Too pushy.  No, it just feels good to know that I didn't back down from a situation to share about the doctrine of Christ.  I have many "missed opportunities" in my life, mainly because I didn't realize it was an opportunity until after it was over.  I'm trying to change that and embrace an opportunity to share my religious beliefs.

Happily,
Lindsay

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Over The Rainbow

Dear Readers,

Today I saw a rainbow.  It was beautiful.

I remembered that the rainbow was God's promise to us that He would never flood the earth again.  It makes me smile.  He will allow all sorts of  trials and tragedies, mishaps and disasters, but He will not flood the earth again.  I'm so glad I don't have to worry about that.  Cross that off the worry-list, because let's be honest, "flooded earth" is not the way I want to go.

As I marveled at the beauty and colors (yes, I checked for all of them as they melded into one another), I had a thought pop into my mind.  I realized that a rainbow is also a symbol of God's love for us.  I was filled with love.  Wrapped in it.

And I felt God's love.

It was beautiful.

Both the rainbow and God's love.

I came home and opened my scriptures to Genesis so that I could read the promise for myself.


 ¶And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying,
 And I, behold, aI establish my bcovenant with you, and with your seed after you;
 10 And with every living creature that is with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth.
 11 And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a aflood to bdestroy the earth.c
 12 And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:
 13 I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.
 14 And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud:
 15 And I will remember my acovenant, which bis between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a cflood to destroy all flesh.
 16 aAnd the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the beverlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.
 17 And God said unto Noah, This is the atoken of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth.
The scriptures use the word covenant.  A covenant is a 2-way promise.  God is promising to never destroy the earth again through flood, but I couldn't find what He wanted out of me.  I found the other part of the covenant in Genesis 6:18.

But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee.

Heavenly Father really does love me.  Because of Noah's faithfulness that he got on the ark, Heavenly Father made this covenant with all of his "seed" (that's me and you, verse 9), I will be spared.  Heavenly Father could have just said that it applied to Noah and his wife and sons and their wives.  They were the ones who had to keep up their part of the bargain.  They were the ones who had to exhibit trust and faithfulness.  What have I done?

You could say that there were many times that I stepped onto my figurative "ark", but those are different parallels and lessons for a different day.

The bottom line is that my Heavenly Father loves me.  Yes, He allows inconveniences to happen in my life, but He blesses me far more than enough to make up for them.

Somewhere over the rainbow,
way up high,
Smiles a Heavenly Father, 
promising I won't die.

(sing it, it works) ;)

Sunny and Smiling,
Lindsay

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Movie Day

Dear Readers,

Do you ever just have one of those days where you want to watch a movie?  Maybe curl up on the couch with some popcorn, and just laze around?

Consider the Bible Videos.  Today when I visited lds.org the first thing I saw was the Bible Video about Jesus calling the original twelve apostles.  So, I went and watched it, because I was tired, and it was nice to rest after my run, but yet get lifted up.

So far 27 of the 50 Bible Videos are completed and up for viewing.  They are amazing.  I can't believe we still have half to go!  This is an amazing resource and I'm so glad that the First Presidency gave me and you, and you, and you this gift for Christmas.

The words of the Savior are absolutely soothing.  Words of chicken soup for the soul.  Seriously, next  time you're home sick on the couch, instead of watching re-runs on tv, click on over to the Bible Videos.

In this particular video I loved hearing "Freely ye have received, freely give" (Matt. 10:8).  I'm not an apostle, but I am a follower of Christ and want to heed his counsel.  I have been blessed with so much.  Sometimes I hoard, sometimes I freely give, whether this be a simple smile or of my financial resources or precious time or even knowledge or expertise.

Freely give.  That sounds like the kind of thing to write on a 3x5 index card and stick it someplace.  Will you do it too?

Pass the popcorn, please.

Solemnly,
Lindsay

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Simple Prayer

Dear Friend J,

I have been thinking of you.  You probably love to read the Friend Magazine, because it talks about kids just like you!  One of my favorite parts of the Friend Magazine is when different kids write in from all over the world about how they are trying to be like Jesus and living the gospel.

I am not in the Primary anymore, but if I was, this is what I would write to the Friend, because I just had a great experience recently:

"One day my lawnmower wouldn't start.  The Dad of the family tried to start it for a long time and it just wouldn't start.  I needed the lawnmower to start that day, otherwise it would create a bunch of problems the next day.  Right when the Dad of the family was about to give up, I said "Wait, let me say a prayer."  I bowed my head, and closed my eyes, and said a little prayer that Heavenly Father would help our lawnmower to start.  When I finished, the lawnmower started on the 2nd try!  I felt really good inside and knew that Heavenly Father answered my prayer."

I have a great testimony of prayer, and I hope you do too!

Love,

Lindsay

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Tomorrow is Memorial Day

Dear Readers,

Oops.  I've been having fun and didn't stick to my "new" post schedule (which was going to be Monday, Thursday, Saturday, but who knows now).

Tomorrow is Memorial Day.  Memorial Day is a day to remember those who died in past wars.  (Last year's post here.)

My locale is quite patriotic.  We had an outdoor concert with the symphony and fireworks.  (I love patriotic concerts!!!)  I felt under-dressed as I did not wear any red, white, or blue.  I would say close to 50% of the people were decked out.  People had patriotic balloons, pinwheels, hats, necklaces, and of course flags.  We took a flag for Daughter and she loved waving it in time to the music with everyone else.


I was touched by the emotion that was in the park.  The program included narrations about the meaning of Memorial Day and we all remembered and thought of those who died.  It was very sobering.  Grown men were choked up with emotion.  It was exciting to see standing ovations for some World War II Veterans to be able to have something tangible to celebrate.

That's the worst part about Memorial Day.  All that exist are crosses and gravestones as physical evidence of what the day is about.  Widows and family members are left behind.  I explained it to my daughter that these men and women didn't get to come home to their families, but instead went to live with Heavenly Father.

I felt so proud to be an American and a part of that gathering of people as we displayed our patriotism together.  I know that America is the land of the free, because it is the promised land.  Heavenly Father set it aside to be free, a "land of liberty" (2 Nephi 10:11).

Whatever your plans are for tomorrow.  Be safe.  Thank a service-person if you get the chance (they're under-thanked), but most importantly,

remember.

Thank you,
Lindsay

Monday, May 21, 2012

Oh, the Places You'll Go

Dear Readers,

Welcome back!

I always thought of life as a long walk.  Some call it a journey.  I pictured a highway out in the desert (no trees and dusty) that just went on forever.  All you had to do was endure...one foot in front of the other.  Then one day when your life was over, that was that.  I'm not sure if I really pictured getting somewhere or if you were just kind of teleported to heaven (a la Area 51?).  The main idea is that I focused on was to endure to the end.  I thought I would be successful as long as I had a sturdy pair of tennis shoes.  I'd be fine and not need anything else.

However, somehow I was switched to the High Adventure Amazon option.  My life has included hiking along uncharted territory (balancing atop a waterfall no less), ziplining through the jungle, avoiding catching diseases, dodging dangerous wildlife, rafting down the river avoiding crocodiles and piranhas looking for a snack, and scything my way through dense foliage.  This is a very active life/ journey.  It is high adventure and very exciting with many "thrills", but they don't come without risks and heartache as well.  It is also much more intense and definitely once in a life-time!  It is hard as heck and some days you just don't look like a babe with sweat pouring off of you, and tears of frustration being emitted, and rope burns on your hands from climbing up a tree for safety.  But you're alive, you've endured one more experience, and that's what matters.

It is not the walk that I had envisioned.  Enduring just won't cut it.  I have found that I need more preparation and protection than just a sturdy pair of tennis shoes.  I have realized that life takes a lot of work along the way.  It's not just a meandering aimless walk, but daily survival.

I am amazed and awed by my life.  It is something that I never would have chosen, but I have learned and grown so much and had many once in a life-time opportunities similar to an Amazon Adventure.  I treasure my experiences...almost all of them (still working on a few), for they have made up MY LIFE.  My opportunity to prepare to meet God (Alma 34:32).  I have become more Godly, but by no means am I ready yet.

Prayer, scripture study, temple attendance, journal writing are all tools that help me through my personal life experiences.  I have needed them more than ever before.  When I thought of my easier "life is highway" life, they weren't as important to me, interestingly enough.  When I started to realize what an active high intensity life I had, I began to cling to them as one would cling to their mosquito netting and machete out in the Amazon as the only chance for survival.  It also sounds cliche, but the scripture "With God all things are possible" (Matt. 19:26) is an easy catch-phrase for me to tell myself as a positive affirmation in hard times.  I also think of the scripture in Philippians about being able to do all things.  It's on a lot of Christian t-shirts and so it's a great reminder as well, because I live in a place where a lot of people wear Christian t-shirts.  "I can do all things through Christ which strengthened me." (Phil. 4:13)

The day is young, I'm off to conquer whatever crazy experience lies out there today...maybe interactions with the tribal chief????  Sounds great.

Off and running,
Lindsay

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Official Hiatus until May 21st

Dear Readers,

We've been taking an unofficial hiatus for awhile, but let's make it official.  Beginning May 21st regular blog posting will commence about my thoughts, feelings, and testimony of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

I look forward to "official" time away and the chance to think about some changes to be made to the site.

See you May 21st!

Yours,
Lindsay

Monday, April 16, 2012

Kansas City Temple

Dear Friend M,



Love the blog, it's one of my favorites.

On Tuesday my family attended the temple open house (having driven from [location] just for the occasion).  While I am endowed and could enter any temple that I choose, the open house really made an impression on me.  They show a film before taking you through and it was very well done explaining the history of temples AND of the Church's history in the area, which is rich with Independence, Liberty, Far West, etc.

If you haven't gone yourself, the open house goes through April 28th and you can make reservations at templeopenhouse.lds.org though I don't think they will turn anyone away (as many tour times are all reserved).  They actually didn't ask to see our confirmation (but we were also there on a weekday at 8am).

I thought of you when I realized how many other people on my tour were NOT members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I didn't realize it until the end when they started asking questions.  Most everyone was wearing appropriate Sunday clothes so they just blended right in!  That's when I realized how interested people were about our Church, and this is their big chance to get inside a temple, a rare opportunity indeed.

I know it's a craft blog, but it would really mean a lot to me if you would mention the Kansas City Temple Open House to your readers.  I know not everyone is from from the Kansas City area, but I really do think that your non-member readers would be interested and not offended by you mentioning.  I think most everyone knows that you are LDS and with your outreach I think a lot of good could happen from a mention on your blog.


Thanks for your time,
Lindsay

Monday, March 26, 2012

Arise and Shine Forth

Dear Mother,

I saw that you watched the Young Women's General Broadcast! It was a delight! I was elated to hear that many of the same themes were discussed that I spoke about at New Beginnings!

This is the talk that I gave. I had stayed up past 2am writing it, because I knew that Husband needed ample time to translate it. I delivered it in English this time so that the Young Women could hear the proper inflection. Husband served as my translator and read from his translation. I know they like to hear my improving Spanish, but I didn't want that to be the focus. I felt very inspired as I wrote this. When I thought I had finished, I had just laid down in bed when a specific sentence formed in my mind, and I knew I had to go back and include it. This is why I was doubly excited by the messages given in the Young Women's General Broadcast.

Here it is:

Since I am moving soon, I am running out of time to share my testimony with you. As I have pondered and prayed, I have thought about each one of you Young Women, and your hopes, dreams, desires, heartbreaks, and challenges that you each face. This is what Heavenly Father wants you to hear tonight.

H. just sang the most beautiful song, thank you [Worth Waiting For from this year's Jenny Phillips CD]. Some of the lyrics said:” though evil seems like the normal thing, the light inside you, will help you see through the deceit.” And in the second verse: Let the light inside you, flood all the world around you.” Let’s talk about these.

Both lyrics speak of light. Not just any light, but the light inside of you. Doctrine and Covenants115:5 says “Arise and shine forth, that thy light may be a standard for the nations” This is our Young Men and Young Women theme scripture for the year. Evil is everywhere. It is in our books, on our televisions, in our schools, governments, on our computers, everywhere. Because it has infiltrated every part of our daily life, sadly many people think that evil is normal and acceptable. We know, it is not, and as the song says, the light inside of us will help us to see through the deceit and know good from evil. We can let this light “flood all the world”. I like that word, “flood”. It’s not just show our light a little, or if we feel like it, or just enough to get the job done, but flood with as much light as possible. If I am trying to reach something from the back of my closet in the morning, I want as much light as possible; otherwise I might pull out mismatched clothes and shoes. Have you ever dressed in the dark before? It is near impossible to know how you are dressed until you get into the light. Did you know that it is impossible for light and dark to be in the same place at the same time? It is also impossible for good and evil to co-exist. Now, what if you dressed in the dark spiritually? Without the light of Christ, or the Holy Ghost, do you think that you will be able to live the standards of the church very easily? Will you be happy if you are living “in spiritual darkness”? I don’t think so. Find the light inside of you and flood the world. I think of a lighthouse that is emitting light from all directions, so that from a far distance everyone can see your “light”.

Now I’ve been talking about this light that is “inside” of you. What do you suppose that means? For me, I think it is talking about your testimony and your ability to have the Spirit with you at all times. In the Book of Mormon, Alma asks “have ye received his image in your countenances?” He is talking about having a mighty change of heart after committing oneself to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You can tell a lot by looking at someone’s face. Happy, sad, etc. You can tell from their countenance if they have charity and are overflowing with the Spirit. We may even feel warm and fuzzy around them. Be that kind of person. Don’t hide your light under a bushel, like the bible says. Matthew 5:16 "Let your light so shine among men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

Arise and shine forth that thy light may be a standard to all nations. This light, this testimony, this Spirit that you have will be a standard to all nations. That’s everyone on earth. Your light, your testimony, your Spirit will be an example to everyone you meet. The best way to be an example is to live the standards that are found in the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet. They are not considered “popular” or “cool” by many people, but they are the standards that will bring light to you and to others. They are the standards that will help your testimony to grow and to stay strong. Clean language, appropriate dress and grooming, gratitude, honesty, sexual purity, Sabbath day observance, and other standards are what will bring you light and happiness into your life. Living these standards will keep you close to the gospel.

Elder Ballard, one of the Twelve Apostles, has said (source), “Thirty years from now the leadership of the Church will largely depend on how well each one of you is prepared to fulfill the calls to serve in the Church that will come to you…. Suppose the Church creates 100 stakes a year. That means by 2040, just 30 years from now, the number of stakes will have doubled to approximately 6,000. You will be in your late 40s…. Now ask yourself—where are the 6,000 stake presidents? Where are their counselors, executive secretaries, clerks?...where are the 60,000 bishops…elders quorum presidents…Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary presidents and counselors, and on and on? Where are they? Elder Ballard says, “You are they!” And I would add, you will be married to those priesthood leaders that will be called. So Elder Ballard asks, “Will you be ready to accept the callings that the Lord will extend to you?” Arise and Shine Forth. Live the standards in the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet. Keep it as a reference guide, and refer to it often.

Living these standards will prepare and keep you worthy to attend the temple and receive your endowment and when the time is right, marry a worthy young priesthood holder.

September 29th is a day that I am looking forward to. Sister B [one of the YW leaders who was baptized in September] can tell us what is so special about September 29th. She has already scheduled that she will be sealed for time and eternity. She has made the goal and now is doing everything she can to prepare. Let her light be an example to each of you. I am going to her sealing, and I still promise that I will go to each of yours. There is nothing that I want more than for you to call me in 5-10 years and say “Sis. Lindsay, It’s me, M, K, J, etc from [location]. Do you remember that one Girl’s Camp? The one where we all committed to get married in the temple? Well, I’m getting married in the temple, and I want you to be there.”

And I cry, and I will come. If weren’t at camp, commit to me now and I will still cry when you call me, and I will come. A temple marriage should be your goal.

Do what you are supposed to do. You know what is right. You know what is wrong. If you feel new to the church and you aren’t sure then complete your Personal Progress, read the standards, come to church and learn. This is a picture of my Grandpa. When he was 19 years old, he served a mission in [location]. He made a righteous choice. He did what he knew he should. He served diligently and completed his assignments. One assignment was to baptize a 15 year old girl that had been tracted into by the sisters so an elder needed to baptize her. The girl was my grandma. [note to Mom: I printed out their wedding picture and when I held it up, I held a piece of paper over Grandma, then for dramatic effect, I whipped it off later to show them in front of the temple. Dumb I know, but they had really wide eyes when I did it, because they totally weren't expecting it :) ] It’s a long story, but they became engaged a few years later when he came back to [location] to work. My grandpa made a righteous choice to serve a mission so he could teach people about Jesus Christ. Do you think he ever thought that one choice would lead him to his eternal companion? This is them being sealed in the [location] temple. Do you think he ever thought that because he served a mission, he met his wife, they had my mom, and my mom had me, and now I’m serving in a Spanish Branch with you lovely people teaching you about the gospel? Did he know in 1953 that he was going to bless you in 2012? No, he had no way of knowing the generations of good that his righteous choice would create.

Each of you is like my Grandpa. You have no way of knowing ALL of the good, of light, that your righteous choices will bring to yourself AND others. Your decisions in 2012 are shaping people’s lives that will be happening in 2040, 2050. We cannot begin to guess what Heavenly Father has planned, but we can prepare because we know that He DOES have a plan. This plan involves His gospel and being the future leaders, His standards, the temple, eternal families and happiness. Each righteous choice that you make will bring an eternity of blessings. Heavenly Father loves you and wants you to live with Him again. He wants you to make righteous choices so that you are happy, so that you are worthy to attend His house, the temple. I testify that it is worth waiting for. He wants you to Arise and Shine Forth and I do too. I love you and leave these messages with you in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Love you Mom. Thank you for everything this past week.

Love,
Lindsay