Let Your Light Shine

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Matthew 5:14-16

Have You Inquired?

And I said unto them: Have ye inquired of the Lord?

And they said unto me: We have not; for the Lord maketh no such thing known unto us.

Behold, I said unto them: How is it that ye do not keep the commandments of the Lord? How is it that ye will perish, because of the hardness of your hearts?

Do ye not remember the things which the Lord hath said?—If ye will not harden your hearts, and ask me in faith, believing that ye shall receive, with diligence in keeping my commandments, surely these things shall be made known unto you.

1 Nephi 15:8-11

Heavenly Father gives us our agency. Sometimes, if we don’t ask for things, we don’t receive them. It is good to ask questions and to seek knowledge. We need to remember to pray and ask our Heavenly Father. We can rely on him for knowledge, for guidance, and for the blessings in our life that we need and desire.

Our Direction

He rejoices every time we take a step forward. To Him, our direction is ever more important than our speed.

Larry R. Lawrence

This quote was from one of my favorite talks during General Conference. Elder Lawrence talked about asking, “What lack I yet?” We pray and seek answers on how to improve in our lives. We don’t need to be discouraged. We just keep trying with persistence.

Sometimes I want to improve all at once, but growth usually comes slow and steady. But it does come in small, simple steps.

Keep Trying

Our major success is simply trying—over and over.

-LeGrand R. Curtis

I think life is more about trying than succeeding. For example, I keep trying to exercise. I keep trying to be a good mother. I keep trying to find balance. I keep trying to not spend too much time on Facebook.

Sometimes I don’t seem to be getting anywhere. Progress can be slow. And sometimes I feel like I should just give up.

I can try as hard as I can and I can even fail sometimes. But success isn’t about doing well the first time I try. It’s about about picking myself up and trying some more.

Make Our Homes

We should “make our homes” places of order, refuge, holiness, and safety. Our homes should be places where the Spirit of the Lord is felt in rich abundance and where the scriptures and the gospel are studied, taught, and lived. What a difference it would make in the world if all people would see themselves as makers of righteous homes.

Bonnie L. Oscarson

Bulwark

Our homes must become bulwarks of strength through enthroning righteousness and bringing into them the peace, unity, and unselfishness engendered by personal purity, unquestioned fidelity, and simple family devotion.

-Ezra Taft Benson

bulwark: something that provides protection for or against something (Merriam-Webster)

Children are an heritage of the Lord

Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

(Psalm 127:3)

Heritage means an inheritance or a special possession. Children are a gift from God. We have a great responsibility to our children. They are not some afterthought or an inconvenience, but part of the purpose of life. They are a gift: something we should treasure.

As a mother to young children, sometimes I am distracted. I get selfish. But my children are something special. They are more important than a nice house or money or travel or personal ambitions. I try to remember that. I try to cherish them and push away the distractions.

There are some attitudes in society that are very selfish, more focused on individual wants or rights to the detriment of our children. We have to remember the importance of children and we should do everything we can to provide for them. Sometimes there are painful sacrifices, but the sacrifices are worth it when our children can have joy.

Joy

For his anger kindleth against the wicked; they repent, and in a moment it is turned away, and they are in his favor, and he giveth them life; therefore, weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

Psalm 30:5 (Joseph Smith Translation)

Joy always comes. We are not meant to be miserable. Bad times do not last forever and things work out.

Full Speed Ahead

I watched Elder L. Tom Perry’s funeral today. His son said that he lived life going full speed ahead. I liked that.

There are lots of things keeping us from moving forward or going full speed ahead. Fear. Laziness. Discouragement. Lack of self confidence. Lack of enthusiasm. Impatience. The wrong perspective.

But life really is quite exciting. Every moment we have in life can be exciting.

I want to live more like I’m going full speed ahead. Sometimes I slow down or I get too distracted or worried. But there are so many good things to do.

The Lord Is My Light

Like the young sunflower, when we follow the Savior of the world, the Son of God, we flourish and become glorious despite the many terrible circumstances that surround us. He truly is our light and life.

-Quentin L. Cook

Some people wonder why bad things happen to good people. I have never really had that question. Instead, sometimes I wonder why bad things don’t happen to me more often. I know we are here on earth to learn. Sometimes that means we have to go through really hard things. I am grateful for bad circumstances because that’s when I flourish. That’s when I grow. That’s when I have to look to my Savior.

Doubt Not, Fear Not

Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.

Doctrine and Covenants 6:36

Try to imagine, for a moment, your mind completely devoid of doubt and fear. You have complete faith and trust. This state of mind may be very different than what you are used to.

So many of my thoughts come from a place of doubt and fear–I’m afraid of what is going to happen in the future or I doubt that things could really work out how I want them to. It’s sort of silly, really, because Heavenly Father has always taken care of me. I’ve gotten through each hard time. I’m stronger than I think and when I do mess up, I’ve received forgiveness.

We don’t need to be afraid. And how do we chase away fear? We look to Jesus Christ. We focus on Him, and we love Him. We pray to our Heavenly Father about every aspect of our life, no matter how trivial, and then we go to work and we trust that He will take care of us. He will.

I was reading through some old journals and I was surprised about how much I have worried. Life has gotten progressively harder, and those challenges of years ago (like a difficult paper at school or trying to fit in) seem trivial to me now. I can see that things worked out. Heavenly Father gave me the help and guidance when I needed it.

Most of all, I see that the times I relied on my Savior, when I thought of Him and tried to serve Him, I found happiness, purpose, and peace in life.

Do Not Give Up – Ever

I have had days where I felt like giving up. They were horrible days. They were days when I felt too tired or too weak and I didn’t want to put in the effort. Failure only really happens when we fail to try. It’s not a good way to go.

When it comes down to it, we can do really, really hard things. People have been doing really hard things for a very long time. You just have to keep trying. Usually you surprise yourself with how much you can do.

Do not give up. Ever. Keep going. Life sometimes seems too hard–but it isn’t. When we have the help of God, we can do everything that is needful. We don’t ever, ever have to give up on ourselves. Or on others. He has provided a way.

Live in the Present

This is not one of my strengths. I am often concerned with what happened in the past, particularly my own behavior, getting caught up in guilt. And even more, I think too much about the future: planning, dreaming, hoping, waiting for what is to come.

I read a book that suggested a short meditation where you focus on the current moment and what is around you. I was surprised when I first did this. My mind usually wanders and my thoughts go in so many different directions. But when I focus on the present, I feel happy and grateful.

Worries are not focused in the present. A lot of times when I am struggling, it is because I’m focused on the future. I try to bite off everything at once. But when you can live in the present and have that focus on a single moment, a lot of the worries go away.

We can only really focus and do one thing at a time, after all. Distractions and multi-tasking aren’t helpful. Be present with wherever you are at with whatever you are doing. Make conscious choices instead of just going with the flow. You have to plan for the future, but then live now.

Lead Kindly Light

Lead, kindly Light, amid th’encircling gloom;
Lead thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home;
Lead thou me on!
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene–one step enough for me.

I really like to know where I’m going in life. I like to know what is happening and I hate to be confused more than anything.

My life has not gone according to plan. It’s been better, actually. I have had learning experiences that I could never have imagined for myself.

But I still struggle to put my trust in the Lord and let him guide me. I just want to know what is going to happen and when. I don’t really care that much where I’m going so much–I just want to know about it beforehand.

And so I think I’ve been given experiences that keep me in the dark, that force me to give up my questions and instead trust more, trust so much that I don’t have to know the next few steps anymore. One step is enough.

The Will of the Lord

The great task of life is to learn the will of the Lord and then do it. -Ezra Taft Benson

There are times in our lives that we want something that is not in line with what Heavenly Father wants for us. I have felt in my life that the Lord has led me gently and sometimes slowly to a better understanding of who I should be. Growing up, I was very ambitious and I had a lot of goals for myself. But a lot of those ambitions have faded away, because I know the most important things in life are sometime small things.

It is good to keep trying, even if we struggle with the same problems over and over again. Just try to do a little better. And follow any inspiration, no matter how small. Gradually, we will grow to understand what the Lord wants for us and what we can become.

In All Thy Doings

Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day. (Alma 37:37)

I was reading If Life Were Easy, It Wouldn’t Be Hard by Sheri Dew and at the ending she had a section where she talked about praying and how we should ask our Heavenly Father for blessings.

Some quotes from the book:

How many of you, my brethren and sisters, are seeking for these gifts that God has promised to bestow? . . .

None of us would wish to limit or restrain the Lord by the smallness of our vision or hopes or petitions. . . .

We don’t receive what He has for us because we don’t really, consistently, diligently seek after Him. . . .

Is anything too insignificant to discuss with the Lord? Is any heartache too petty? Is any anxiety or worry too trivial? Is any weakness too insignificant to deal with? The Lord doesn’t seem to think so . . .

He has invited us to weary Him with our requests and needs. . . .

But we don’t act as if we believe in the Lord’s promises regarding our spiritual privileges. We don’t really believe He will tutor us personally regarding the hidden doctrines of the kingdom. . . .

The bottom line is simple: While life is meant to test and challenge and strengthen us, if we are attempting to negotiate the twists and turns and ups and downs of mortality alone, we’re doing it all wrong. Mortality is a test, but it is an open-book test. We have access not only to the divine text but to Him who authored it. But we must approach and seek after Him.

The scriptures say to pray always and to ask and receive. Yet I am sometimes hesitant to ask for blessings–both large blessings and small things. But we can and should pray about EVERYTHING. We can talk about any small or large detail of our lives with the Lord. He wants us to.

Heavenly Father wants to bless us and sometimes we are getting in the way of those blessings by not asking for them and being grateful when we receive them.

Be Calm & Love

The other day, I felt that I had run out of patience. It happens sometimes when you are the mother of young children. They seemed to be constantly doing what I didn’t want them to. The forbidden objects and places are much more enticing than toys.

I knew I needed to pull myself together better. I don’t mean to raise my voice or get angry. I want to be patient and loving. It just gets hard.

That night I tried to think of a phrase I could repeat to myself. A phrase that would help me remember that I do love my children very much and I can be calm and patient with them. It needed to be short and easy. So I wrote:

Be calm & love.

The next day, it helped. When they wanted to climb onto the kitchen counter, I would think be calm & love. When they made a mess, I would think be calm & love. When my daughter was disobedient, be calm & love.

I want to act out of love for them, not out of frustration because they aren’t doing what I want. And since I wrote down that phrase, I have been much calmer and much more loving.

Is there a phrase (a mantra, a motto) that you like to repeat to yourself?

Things Will Get Better

The other day, I was worrying again. I usually turn on some inspirational videos for my kids to watch in the morning, and I heard Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s voice say:

Every one of us has times when we need to know things will get better. My declaration is that this is precisely what the gospel of Jesus Christ offers us, especially in times of need.

Life took a difficult turn this last month–my husband ended up in the hospital for 13 days due to complications from getting his appendix out. It was completely unexpected and a lot of times I struggled. I didn’t understand what was wrong and so I didn’t know how things would work out. They still did. Things got better.

Don’t you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead. Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don’t come until heaven, but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come.

A few days ago, I was feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. When I have bad moments, I tend to immediately view myself as a failure. But then I realized most of the time I was succeeding, even if in small ways. And so I keep trying, even if a few bad moments pop up here and there.

Take No Thought For the Morrow

I was once feeling rather down and I was praying for answers. I opened my scriptures, and this is what I turned to.

Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. (Matthew 6:34)

I didn’t really understand the answer at the time, because that scripture didn’t seem to answer any of my immediate questions. But I’ve reflected on it a lot lately.

There are certain things in my life that are only hard if I think about them all at once. Being pregnant is sort of like that–if you try to think of pregnancy all at once, it seems like too much of a struggle. But you take it one day and moment at a time, it’s all right.

It’s like eating the elephant one tiny bite at a time. You can’t worry about the whole elephant.

We all have trials, but I think they are the most difficult when we try to figure out our trial all at once, when we want to see beginning and the end of it all. But we usually don’t know when the end will be.

When trials and struggles come, the best way to get through it is one day, one moment at a time. We can usually do that next step, even if it’s a small step. There is enough to do right now without worrying about what there is to do tomorrow, or the next week, or the next year.

Some of you know that I have struggled with where I am currently living. I have wanted to know when I can leave. But I came to this point when I realized I live here now, I’m not moving today, and that’s all that matters. I am here today and today is sufficient. It brought a lot of peace to me to start thinking like that.

Planning for the future is good if it leads to action today. But you can’t just sit and worry.

I like this quote:

Worrying is an attempt to exert control over the future by thinking about it. (Chad LeJeune)

And we can’t change the future by thinking about it. It just leads to worry, stress, and frustration.

Sometimes, if we get rid of all our worry about the future, the trials we thought we had disappear.

(Photo taken by Dillon Hoyt.)

Grateful in all things

Life recently has helped me to learn gratitude. For the most part, I’ve lived a very blessed life, without any major struggles. There has never been a shortage of things to be grateful for, which is probably why I was never very grateful for any of it. When you have everything you want, you forget easily.

But right now I don’t have everything I want. My life is still wonderful and I am still incredibly blessed, but I live far away from family in a place I don’t necessarily like that much. I have struggled living here. Which means I needed to learn gratitude.

It’s easy to not notice everything you have in life. We take most things for granted. For a while, I was reading/watching a few design/lifestyle shows/blogs. I would look at beautiful houses with hardwood floors and beautiful people with stylish clothes and I wanted that. I don’t know why I wanted it–it’s not like it would make me happy at all. I finally stopped reading and stopped watching. Because I may live in a modular home with lots of cheap/ugly finishes and carpet that is literally falling apart, but it works just fine.

There are so many people in the world that have so much less than I do. I have running water. I have heat. And air conditioning. And electricity. And triple-pane windows. And a refrigerator. An extra bedroom that we completely don’t need at all and rarely use. And two bathrooms that are almost completely functional. And a new roof. And a shed to store extra stuff. I mean, my house doesn’t look that awesome. But it functions. I can be very grateful for it.

It seems sort of silly to be worrying about things like the state of your baseboards. We have so many good things in our life, and yet we keep inventing stuff to worry about–like being on trend or fashionable or having lots of stuff.

So much of it doesn’t matter.

I haven’t traveled much and I haven’t seen how some people live in other countries–in small shacks without what we would consider absolute necessities. I have seen a little bit how a lot of people live even in the United States–there are people with broken roofs and windows, plumbing that never gets fixed, old fixtures, peeling paint, holes in their foundation, flooding basements. There are people who don’t know where the money is coming for their next meal.

We forget that. We feel like everyone has more than we do, when in reality we have been blessed with so much.

I have thought sometimes that it is hard living where I live–maybe because the desert is ugly or my kitchen sink still leaks or my closets all seem full or simply because I miss my family. But when it comes down to it, I don’t have any real struggles. I think of some of my ancestors who literally left their entire family and everything they owned and immigrated to an unknown desert. That was a time when there was no Facebook and texting, only slow, handwritten letters. That was when you had to build your house, farm your own food, and sew your own clothes.

We miss seeing most of what we have been given in this life. I have been given a gift of time, for example, and I rarely am grateful for empty hours. But they truly are a gift.

I think it’s okay to say that some things are hard in life. But there is always, always something to be grateful for. No matter how bad things seem, someone probably has it worse. And throughout history, mankind has been preserving anyway. When it comes down to it, we can be grateful for our very lives and for our Savior, Jesus Christ. And that is enough.

Blessings have been flooding into my life, and maybe I’ve learned a little bit better how to recognize them. I’ll keep working on it.

How to parent

No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;

By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile—

Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy.

Doctrine and Covenants 121:41-43

Lately, I have thought of this scripture as the ultimate guide to parenting. I’ve read parenting books that have much more complicated guidelines and suggestions. Those books have been helpful, yet they have sort of missed something that I feel this scripture captures perfectly.

Parenting isn’t complicated in principle, though it can seem extremely complicated in practice. I can’t control my children. I will never, ever be able to control my children. And this scripture tells me to give up control and go at it a different way.

Persuasion. Pure knowledge. I shouldn’t physically force my kids to do things. I shouldn’t command without another thought. I should persuade, explain things to my kids, give them reasons. I should help them make their own decisions. I need to teach them truth more than anything.

Gentleness. Meekness. Kindness. There really aren’t a lot of reasons to raise your voice and yell. A soft, kind word does a lot more than a loud, scary word. The other day, I was sort of frustrated with my daughter, and frankly hadn’t been a very good parent. My daughter was getting increasingly frustrated. But I took a step back and we went into my room together and we just talked, softly and gently with each other. The day after, when she was having a bit of a hard time, she asked, “Can we go in your room and talk again?”

Long-suffering. I think of this as patience. My kids do the same things wrong over and over again, even when they know better. But I can have patience! I can listen. I can keep trying with and never, ever give up on them. They’ll get it, even if it takes a long time.

Without hypocrisy or guile. My kids copy what I do. No matter what I tell my kids, they learn a lot more from what I do. I cringe when I see my own weaknesses, my own lack of self-control, sometimes reflected in my children. But they pick up on the good things too, and they know when I practice what I preach.

Reproving betimes with sharpness. I never have to accept bad behavior. Often, a child needs to know that what they did was wrong. They need someone to say no to them. They need limitations and rules, because those limitations and rules will keep them safe and actually give them more freedom in the long run.

Love unfeigned. Increase of love. Love is the most important. Sometimes when I tell my children they are doing something wrong, they fall apart on me. They don’t usually mean to do it wrong; they are just doing what they want. But even though I should correct bad behavior, afterwards I believe in lots of hugs, kind words, and forgiveness. A child should always be loved, and should always feel that they are loved, not matter what.

I am always striving to be a better parent, to treat my kids how they deserve to be treated. I still have a lot of work to do, but these simple words help me keep in mind the mother that I want to be.

Heavenly Father Loves You

Heavenly Father loves you—each of you. That love never changes.

It is not influenced by your appearance or by your possessions.

It is not changed by your talents and abilities. It is simply there.

It is there for you when you are sad or happy, discouraged or hopeful.

God’s love is there for you whether or not you feel you deserve love. It is simply always there.

Thomas S. Monson

Sometimes I don’t quite know where life is taking me. Sometimes I am overwhelmed with doubt and discouragement. Sometimes I am flat our confused.

But there is one thing that remains constant: I know that Heavenly Father loves me. He loves me when I am struggling. He loves me when I don’t love myself.

He loves me even though I am weak. He loves me even if I make mistakes. He loves me even if I feel sometimes alone and distant.

Heavenly Father loves me. And I can always turn to that love and feel that love, no matter where I am and no matter what I am doing.

It is a love that I do not understand and cannot comprehend. But it is a love that has been an anchor to my soul sometimes, particularly during those times when I have felt (foolishly) that I did not deserve love from anyone. But Heavenly Father loves me.

And He loves you. And you can feel of that love if you pray to Him and turn to Him. It is a constant. It is always, always there. It is something you can always rely on, during hard times and easy times.

He loves you.

The Lord Bless Thee

The Lord bless thee, and keep thee:

The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:

The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

Numbers 6:24-26

As I was reading through the book of Numbers, I wasn’t thinking I would find a scripture I really liked. But then I read this beautiful blessing. It closes with, “And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.”

We belong to the Lord, if we choose so. My point in life is not to please the people of the world. I want to please the Lord. Because I want to be His. I don’t want to be caught up in having a lot of followers or a lot of friends or belonging to certain groups at all. That stuff doesn’t matter.

I know that people don’t always like me. I know that my daily actions are usually very small things that will never be applauded by anyone on this earth.

When I make these quotes on photographs, I’m not doing it to please people. I’m not the best photographer and I’ve never had very good handwriting, so it’s an uphill battle some days. But I do it to try to please the Lord, even in a small way. I try to do it for His glory, not my own.

I’ll never be popular with people. But I can love the Lord, and I can rely on him for my peace.

He Loves You For Who You Can Become

He loves you not only for who you are this very day but also for the person of glory and light you have the potential and the desire to become.

Dieter F. Ucthdorf, Living the Gospel Joyful

Sometimes (about every day) I get discouraged because I fall short of the person I want to be. I just make so many mistakes.

But I’m getting better at chasing away that discouragement. I don’t have to discount the positive in my life. And I NEVER should discount the fact that God loves me. And He loves me for who I am right now. He loves me because He knows who I can be. He knows who I want to be. And He will help me get there.

It’s so comforting to know that if He loves me, I can love myself too. I can accept myself. I can accept that I am good enough and that Jesus Christ will make up the difference.

I can think about all those mistakes I make and not be discouraged. Because God knows that that won’t be a part of me forever. No matter how many times I stumble, I keep trying. And He will accept my efforts and make me into that person of glory and light that He knows I can be.

Life is beautiful

Life is beautiful and worth living.

Dieter F. Uchtdorf, from this article

I have struggled with depression at different points of my life, and I wanted to share what helped me through those dark times–and they are things that still help me to stay happy and know that life is beautiful and worth living.

TURN TO GOD

  • Pray
  • Pray again
  • Pray even more
  • Study scriptures and other inspiring books to know and understand truth
  • Know that you are a child of God
  • Be grateful

LIVE

  • Simplify
  • Cut unimportant things out of your life
  • Be present
  • Take time to ponder
  • Stay busy
  • Slow down
  • Small steps are good steps
  • Have regular planning sessions
  • Set modest goals for yourself
  • Motivation follow action; knowledge follows obedience

PHYSICAL

  • Take a nap
  • Exercise
  • Drink water
  • Take supplements
  • Go on antidepressants

CONTROL THOUGHTS

  • Count positive thoughts with a clicker
  • Write down thoughts and talk back to the negative ones
  • Just because you feel a certain way doesn’t make those negative thoughts true
  • Be optimistic and have a good perspective, and don’t predict the future.

GUILT

  • Don’t blame yourself when it’s not your fault
  • Guilt is about viewing yourself as a bad person; godly sorrow is realizing that you are divine
  • Be okay with your weakness–everyone has a lot of weaknesses
  • Don’t “should” yourself–replace should statements with “I want to.”
  • Be gentle with yourself

SELF-WORTH

  • Don’t compare yourself
  • Embrace being average
  • You don’t have label yourself as good or bad–you are just a person who is trying
  • Success is family
  • Don’t fake it
  • Learn not to care what other people think about you; care what God thinks about you
  • See yourself how God sees you
  • You are worthwhile because you are a child of God; you don’t need anything more than that
  • Give away your image of a perfect person

TREAT OTHER PEOPLE KINDLY

  • Empathy
  • Don’t judge others, and don’t label them
  • Don’t try read people’s minds
  • Swallow anger and complaints and they’ll go away
  • Serve others often

ENJOY LIFE

  • Participate in a hobby
  • Get out of the house
  • Learn something new

SEEK OUT HELP

  • Talk to people
  • Read
  • Spend time with family and friends
  • Learn how to communicate better with others

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Trust in the Lord

Trust in the Lord
with all thine heart;
and lean not unto
thine own
understanding.

In all thy ways
acknowledge him,
and he shall
direct thy paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6

I can’t rely on what I know and what I can figure out on my own. I must rely on the Lord. I must trust in him. And not trust a little bit, but trust in him with all of my heart. This trust must be reflected in every aspect of my life.

Everything I do, the Lord can be there with me. He will lead me by the hand and guide me in all the different ways I need to go and all the different things I need to do. There are many paths, and the Lord can be there in all of them if I let him.

It is up to me to trust. It is up to me to submit myself more fully to him. And as I do that, he makes something better of me. He guides me on paths I did not know.

Patience

Patience is a purifying process that refines understanding, deepens happiness, focuses action, and offers hope for peace.

Dieter F. Uchtdorf, from Continue in Patience

I am not really a patient person. I remember a friend telling me that I was patient once. I was pleased that she would think of me that way, but while I may seem patient at times, my thoughts are often worried about the future and the unknown. And there are time with my children when I just don’t seem to have any patience left in me.

How do we gain patience?

We have to let go of those things we can’t control. There is so much in life that we can’t control and it does us little good to worry about it. We instead focus on what we can control. We work towards worthwhile goals, keep a good perspective, and celebrate small victories. We find happiness in the journey, knowing that we will reach the destination sometime, but it doesn’t really matter when because we can be happy now. And we realize we don’t have to have everything we want in order to be happy.

We have to realize that the world doesn’t revolve around us and get more involved in serving and loving those around us. And we have to trust in God and know that He will take care of us.

It is easier said than done. I struggle, but I am working on it.

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Be Still

Be still, and know that I am God.

Psalm 46:10

I have a bad habit that I think may be common in this day and age: I can’t be still. I always have to be doing something. So whenever I have a down moment, I usually use it to check my email or social media or read something.

I rarely sit and do nothing, because it seems unproductive. We are very much concerned with being productive, with doing. Even if the things we are doing aren’t significant. Even if they don’t matter much. We want to fill our time up and stay busy every minute, stuffing our lives so that we never have a time to think about what is most important.

What if I instead of checking Facebook, I checked in with God? What if I could just be still for a minute and know that He lives and He loves me?

Isn’t it time to turn my thoughts more toward Heaven, to have the time to hear what He would say to me?

There is something very beautiful about having nothing to do and having a minute to sit and think and be.

Slow Down

“In preventing illness whenever possible, watch for the stress indicators in yourself and in others you may be able to help. As with your automobile, be alert to rising temperatures, excessive speed, or a tank low on fuel. When you face “depletion depression,” make the requisite adjustments. Fatigue is the common enemy of us all—so slow down, rest up, replenish, and refill. Physicians promise us that if we do not take time to be well, we most assuredly will take time later on to be ill.”

Jeffery R Holland

From “Like a Broken Vessel”

One Thing is Needful

Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.

And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.

But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.

And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:

But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

(Luke 10:38-42)

I am often “cumbered about much serving” and “careful and troubled about many things.” I care too much about how clean my house is; what I am wearing; what I am cooking. I am troubled by my to-do list. I am worried about the future.

I have a picture of this story up on my wall to remember to not worry and to not care about stuff. Jesus said that one thing was needful. Only one. Mary say at his feet and listened. That is what matters.

I do have a lot to do, or a lot that I can do. But all those things should point me to my Savior, not take me away from Him. Serving dinner is not a bad thing, usually; but it was taking Martha away from the Savior. She wasn’t a bad person. She had a testimony and she probably wanted to show Jesus how much she loved him by serving him. But she got too carried away, too troubled with stuff. Even if her intentions were good in the first place, she ended up worrying too much about herself and not enough about things that really mattered. I don’t think Jesus cared about how nice her kitchen looked or how good the food tasted. He cared about the bigger picture. He loved Mary and Martha and He wanted to teach them the word of God.

There are times when I do have good intentions but I get carried away and those things that were once good are taking me away from the Savior. So I need to remember: only one thing is needful.

I know who I am and I am not distracted

I know who I am and I am not distracted.

I am a woman of God, not a woman of the world. A woman of the world cares about how she looks more than who she is. I don’t receive any great acclaim in this life and most of my work goes unrewarded. I want to be more interested in pleasing God, striving to be who he wants me to be.

For so long, I was thinking that I needed to be this specific person–maybe one who could do anything and everything. Even good things became a stumbling block if I focused too much on being this perfect person who could cook, clean, write, sew, garden, earn lots of money, do creative activities with kids, take amazing photographs, get higher degrees.

But God was quietly and patiently guiding me to realize that I have my own unique abilities and talents. I many not ever be particularly skilled or successful compared to others. But with His guidance, I can come back to Him.

Distractions come in many ways, like television, websites, or gossip. But when I know who I am deep inside, when I remember that I am a daughter of God, those things don’t take me away from my identity and purpose. I can serve in small ways, completely unnoticed by most. But I know God watches over me, I know that he loves me, and that is enough.

Inspired by Linda K. Burton, who said, “He knew who he was and what his mission was and was not distracted by the evil that surrounded him.”

Grant us the good

Lord of Lords

grant us the good,

whether we pray for it

or not.

But evil keep from us

even though

we pray for it.

-Plato

I found this quote in a book I was reading and it reminded me of this quote:

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve;
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health, that I might do greater things;
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.
I asked for riches, that I might be happy;
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.
I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men;
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life;
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am among all men most richly blessed.

I have prayed for a lot of things that have not happened because they were not right for me. I’ve prayed to move or to get jobs when I needed to stay put and wait. I’ve prayed and wondered why I didn’t get the answer that I wanted. But if I wait patiently, I see that the Lord loves me enough to tell me no and not yet.

the best is yet to come

The best is yet to come.

I don’t particularly love where I live right now. It has been a lot harder than anticipated. And sometimes I look at the problems in my home and I get discouraged.

But the best is yet to come. I can have a perspective that I won’t be here forever. The hard things won’t last–and the good things won’t last forever either.

Sometimes life actually gets harder, not easier. We want it to stop raining and instead it starts raining harder.

But “the best” isn’t found on the easy path. As we keep trying in the hard times, we grow and grow and so we becomes better. Our best self is in our future, and we are working towards that potential.

Life is more than our present circumstances. We are working towards an eternal destiny.

Cheerfully

Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.

Doctrine & Covenants 123:17

We all need time to be still. Sometimes people go in all different directions all at once, trying to be everything and do everything. But it is good to choose only the best things we can do and do them cheerfully. Then we know that our work is good. We can take a minute to stand still because we know we have tried our best.

You are not forgotten

Inspired by this talk.

I once had the privilege of meeting an older woman who had moved away from her family. She knew no one in the area and she could have easily slipped through the cracks. When I knocked on her door, I too was in a new place far away from extended family and without any friends.

She was a very gentle person who had spent her life in the service of others. She loved easily and fiercely. In my first visit with her, I told her, “You are not forgotten. The Lord knows who you are and where you are. He loves you.” I knew He had not forgotten her because I was there to speak with her and share His word.

The Lord never forgets, no matter how far we move and how lonely we feel. The Lord remembered both of us. He sent me to her so that we could both have a friend in a lonely place.

Come What May & Love It

“Come what may, and love it.”

-Joseph B. Wirthlin

I will admit that I complain too much. And much of my complaining is because I want to see how it will all work out. But life never works out how I plan or how I think. There are always detours and roadblocks and unexpected opportunities. Sometimes, it’s okay to laugh at the unexpected. Sometimes, it’s okay to love the changes that life forces. When milk spills on the ground again, when my house is a wreck, when we are late, when my kids are dirty, when we are lost, when the schedule has to be abandoned–come what may, and love it.

 

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Scatter Sunshine

Scatter sunshine all along your way.

I have met people who are always a pleasure to be around and who serve so readily, with a smile on their faces. I thought of this quote after a woman who I didn’t know well agreed to babysit my two kids on my anniversary, allowing me to spend time alone with my husband. She did it without wanting payment or reward, but merely because she was the sort of person who scattered sunshine in her life, however she could.

Choose to be happy

Choose to be happy.

I have struggled with depression for years. I have been absolutely miserable sometimes and I didn’t know how I could choose to be happy. I felt that the despondency I was feeling was a dark hole that I could never climb out of.

But the darkness always went away. There has always been some degree of light in my life, and there was always a choice. It took me a while to figure myself out and to figure how to be happy. But it was still my choice. I didn’t have to listen to those dark thoughts and feelings. They were only as real as I made them out to be.

I choose to be happy by paying attention to my positive thoughts. By being grateful. By slowing down sometimes. By praying. I choose to be happy when I laugh and when I smile and when I work hard and set goals for myself. I choose to be happy when I let the Lord take control of my life, when I give my will to His. When I choose to be better and to overcome my weakness.

I make so many little choices daily, and through those small choices, I choose happiness.

 

This too shall pass.

This too shall pass.

This is my husband’s favorite quote, or one of them. At first, I didn’t like it because it seemed sort of negative. Everything will go away.

But it always helps me to remember to stay in the present, to know that my kids will only be young once; they will only perhaps do or say that adorable thing one time and that I will never get that moment back.

And it helps me to realize when times are hard that it won’t be forever. It will be for such a short time, and so I can endure for a moment. I don’t have to give up, but I can press forward knowing that the future is bright.

Soar

We are designed to soar freely through the heavens.

-Dieter F. Uchtdorf

I think it is good to think of heaven sometimes, and to realize that heaven will be our eternal home and it is there we can find true joy. We are divine beings and we are meant for something greater. The Lord knows of our potential.

Sometimes I got bogged down in the moments, even struggling with questions like, “What should I wear today?” But I am more than that. I am someone who is designed to soar freely through the heavens, not plod slowly on the earth.