An Extra Special Christmas Season


For an extra special Christmas season this year, consider joining along in the “Light the world. In 25 ways. Over 25 days” initiative by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ primary organization.  They have put together suggestions of things that children can do daily to celebrate and share the Spirit of Christmas in December.  Check it out at Mormon.org/downloads.

And of course, teens and adults can participate as well!

“‘We are reminding children that Jesus Christ is the light of the world,’ said Sister Joy D. Jones, Primary General President. By participating in the “Light the World” initiative, children can do the things that help them not only come to know, but also emulate, the Savior.

“’We love the children,’ she said. ‘We have faith in them to be lights. We see their potential and it is grand.’…

“Serving others is ‘not a burden, but a way of life,’ explained Sister Jones, noting that she hopes this campaign will help families realize ‘we don’t do anything without Him.’

“‘When children share their light, they give a beautiful Christmas gift, said Sister Bingham, First Counselor in the Primary General Presidency. ‘You can give a Christmas gift of service—the most powerful gift you can give.’

“Sister Cordon said children can be involved in the campaign in simple ways without spending money. As they do, their hearts will change and they will have different expectations of Christmas; instead of wondering what they will get this year they will say, ‘What are we going to do for someone else today?’

“’We need to bring the Savior into our hearts and into our families,’ she said….’We are all trying to walk the same path that He walked,’ added Sister Cordon.  ‘We are trying to see others the way He sees them,’ said Sister Jones….finding ways to light the world will not be hard.  ‘There are so many sad people in the world.’

“‘These things come natural to children, who are so full of love and compassion,’ said Sister Bingham.”

How about it, are you game? 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!


It’s the evening before Thanksgiving.  We just finished watching Hallmark’s Operation Christmas, a warm and inspirational movie about helping our military families.

Watching it made me realize a lot more of what military families go through with their loved ones not only away from home but also in very dangerous situations.  It reminded me again of how very thankful I am to them and to all military personnel for the price they pay for the freedoms our country enjoys.

I am thankful to live in a country that has such great freedoms, and for the people and families who have given so much for us to have those freedoms.

At work they asked us to put together a PowerPoint slide of what we are thankful for.  I knew most people would mention the obvious things like their families and loved ones, etc.  So I decided to mention a few other things I am thankful for:

  • My knowledge of, and relationship with, Jesus Christ
  • My job
  • Modern medicine
  • Our country
  • Animals…not bugs…animals
  • Libraries

Additionally, at the beginning of the month I put several items in my workspace showing things I am thankful for:

  • My family
  • Blessings of the harvest
  • Family sitting down together for Thanksgiving dinner
  • Animals
  • My co-workers
  • Flowers
  • Our beautiful world
  • God and Jesus Christ
  • Prayer
  • Knowing that people we at first find fault with can become our dearest friends
  • Realizing that our choice of words and the language we use tells a lot about us

We bought some battery-operated candles and set them up in our room.  They add such a nice ambiance to the room.  I am surprised, perhaps it’s because we are close to the Christmas season, and we just watched that nice movie.

I have so much to give thanks to our Father in Heaven for!

What are you thankful for?

 

Words Say a Lot About Who You Are


There are several things that separate us and make us truly unique – fingerprints, lip prints, even words!

“Words are a form of personal expression.  They differentiate us as well as fingerprints do.  They reflect what kind of person we are, and tell of our background, and depict our way of life.  They describe our thinking as well as our inner feelings.”  Elder Charles Didier.

We are distinguished by the words we use, the kind of language we use, the way we say things, and what we choose to say.  There are probably times when you choose your words more carefully than others, i.e. if you want to make a good impression, if you don’t want to offend someone, if you are trying to be respectful.

And there may be times when you just figure you need to “let it all hang out”, or you are “just being honest”, or you are angry and trying to be hurtful.  What about these times?  Does it matter?  If it does, does anyone care that it matters?

Let’s think of this in a different way.  Have you ever been on the receiving end of these types of communication?  How did they make you feel?  What was your reaction?  Did you react in a like manner?  Did you retaliate and speak even more harshly?

Do you like being in trouble with someone?  Or do you appreciate it when someone compliments you, treats you respectfully, or even just says hi?

These are opposite ends of the spectrum and it’s a good idea to give this some thought.  What impression would you like to give others?  Have you noticed that what and how you communicate affects what and how you feel?  It also affects your mood, your happiness, your peace, and your relationships with others and with God.

What do you notice about the way others speak to you?  What does that tell you about them?  Is that something you want to emulate?

Blessings of Using Language Wisely


Here is a great quote about how our words and our language can affect others, as well as ourselves:

“Watch constantly for that which is worthy and noble in your fellowman.  It makes a person better to see and speak of good in his neighbor; while there is unbounded delight in observing the effect that a few words of appreciation and encouragement have upon men, women, and children with whom we associate.”  Joseph F. Smith, previous President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Just think what type of world we would have if everyone watched for the “worthy and noble” in others!  This would have all kinds of benefits:

  • You would see good that is happening all around you.
  • You would think about good more often.
  • It would give you ideas for how you can do good for others.
  • You would feel good more often.
  • Your problems would not seem as monumental – perhaps even turning from mountains into molehills.
  • You would start enjoying life again.
  • Others would react better to you and to others.
  • People would want to be around you more.
  • Life would be worth living.

What can you add to this list?

All of this would be compounded when we add respectful language to, and about, God.  For He pours blessings upon all those who remember Him, who pray (talk to) Him, and who use His name with reverence and respect.

God, your Father in Heaven, waits to bless you.  All you have to do is ask.  Talk with Him as you would with a loving father.  And be mindful of the ways you use His name.  And He will send so many blessings upon you that you will not have the capacity to hold them all.  Try it and see. 🙂

Giving Thanks Improves Communication Skills


Yesterday I talked a little about how important our communications are, especially the words we choose to use, and how this fits in perfectly as we celebrate Thanksgiving.  We are giving thanks, or being grateful, for our blessings, and our thoughts turn to God in appreciation for what we have.

As we think of the things we have and appreciate them, our hearts become softened for we are no longer being so selfish about our belongings.

And as we extend those thoughts to more than just what we own and appreciate people around us, the freedoms to do as we choose to do, the talents God has given us that we can practice and expand upon, as well as the good things in life that have helped us make good decisions and receive the naturally-following good consequences of those decisions, our hearts become enlarged even more and we begin to see and truly appreciate God’s hand in our lives as well as the lives of those around us.

As we give substance to all these things, we become more God-like (which is usually referred to as more Christ-like).  Then we find that our communication with, to, and about others becomes more substantial and meaningful.  We find ourselves watching and picking the right words to use, then graduating on to improved language skills as we interact with others, refining our abilities and sensibilities and drop all signs of course or even inappropriate words and phrases.

As we give thanks to our Father in Heaven and increase our communications, we’ll find that our relationships are strengthened, our self-esteem improved, and our confidence waxes stronger and stronger as our relationship with God and Christ improve.

And we’ll say, “Ah, life is good!” 🙂

Thanksgiving Communications


November is a great month.  It seems that almost everyone’s thoughts start turning to what they are grateful for.

Not only do we enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday with all the trimmings that go along with it, but people throughout the world have similar celebrations, grateful for the harvest, food to eat, and the other things they enjoy in life.

And many people give thanks for their blessings to their God, the Bestower of all good things.

As I contemplated these thoughts over the last month or so, I thought of the communications we have with God, and also with each other.  It occurred to me that Thanksgiving is a great time to address those various communications.

We use communication to share thoughts, ideas, feelings, etc. with someone.  And we usually adjust the words we pick, the tone we choose, and the emphasis we use given the situation.

Often in life we find that we can become quite casual; over-communicative; perhaps use profanity when angry or trying to show off or stress our point; even throw around the name of Deity as a simple exclamation.

Unfortunately, these last two are happening more and more often, by women as well as by men, and even by our children in school.  This has to change.

How you communicate reflects who you are as a son or daughter of God. Clean and intelligent language is evidence of a bright and wholesome mind. Good language that uplifts, encourages, and compliments others invites the Spirit to be with you. Our words, like our deeds, should be filled with faith, hope, and charity.  As you do this you will have a better quality of life, more happiness, and greater blessings.

“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good” Ephesians 4:29.

Always use the names of God and Jesus Christ with reverence and respect. Misusing the names of Deity is a sin. When you pray, address your Father in Heaven in reverent and respectful language. The Savior used such respectful language in the Lord’s Prayer (see Matthew 6:9–12).

Let’s encourage others to use clean language and receive the blessings that naturally follow. 🙂

The Supermoon, The Stars, The Night Sky!


Last night we went outside to look at the Supermoon – so called because the moon was the closest to the earth that it has been for decades and will be for a couple more.  Wow!

It was not the biggest moon I’ve ever seen, but it was perfectly full, and extremely white!  I think more details of the surface could be seen just looking at it than can sometimes be seen even with binoculars.  It was amazing.

I gazed at the night sky, and noticed some stars, and even recognized Mars, which had a definite red color to it.  I thought about the sun, the moon, and the stars – all up there in the heavens.  I remembered looking at the night sky when I was young, seeking comfort, understanding, strength, closeness to God.

I started to wonder if it was the closest that night, surely the following night it would still have to be almost as close.  Then I pictured watching the moon where it was and envisioned the earth turning on its axis and wondered how far would that take us away from the moon, and how quickly?  I could almost feel the earth moving.

And that brought me back to thinking of the people throughout time who had looked up at the sky, seeing the heavenly bodies, and trying to come up with explanations about what was going on.  Some would make up stories to explain why the sky changed as it did.  Some probably forgot as life became too bogged down with trying to stay alive.  Some few probably told horror stories to scare others.

I think Heavenly Father, after He created the heavens and the earth and all things that in them are, explained to His children exactly what it all was and what it meant.  And He told them to ask Him anything at anytime, and He would inspire them and give them answers.

And so, when we are looking for knowledge and wisdom, we can turn to Him and ask.  He has promised that He will help us to find what we are looking for.

The sun, the moon, the stars, all things in heaven and earth are testaments of God and of His love for us.  “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8.