Tag Archives: Christianity

Simplified Christmas


christmas tree

christmas tree (Photo credit: fsse8info)

 

With Beloved Hubby pushing himself so hard for the last couple months on a major project (fraught with problems and major issues), we didn’t have the time we normally do for all the Christmas activities in our regular Christmas routines.

 

Was that a problem?

 

I guess it could have been if I weren’t such an outstanding wife and married to “The Man Who Could Do No Wrong” (see earlier post).  🙂

 

But we focused on the true meaning of Christmas and the essentials for a real, meaningful celebration of the birth of the Son of God.

 

Instead of participating with the frenzied throngs of holiday shoppers, which we had neither time nor inclination for this year, we concentrated on the loving project for our family that will bring them hours of enjoyment and sweet memories.

 

Keeping decorations to a minimum gave us a chance to savor and enjoy them in a new way, embracing the sweet simplicity of the spirit they brought into our home.

 

Rather than hours of spending time in separate activities and apart from each other, we chose a precious few shared experiences to thoroughly enjoy.

 

With record cold we fully enjoyed the blessings of home, hearth, and happiness.

 

Even Christmas Day was simplified – relaxing and enjoyable with our loved ones.

 

But most of all, we rejoiced in the blessings of the restored gospel, and the knowledge of what Christmas is really all about.

 

And, as I overheard Santa himself explaining to our two Elders (missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), who does Santa work for?  Who is Santa’s boss?

 

Yep, you guessed it.

 

The real Santa works for God Himself.  They are on the same team.  The missionaries are on that team too.  They all exist to share a loving Father in Heaven’s love with His children here on earth!  And that’s not a bad mission, is it?

 

The simplicity of Christmas!  🙂

 

 

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Offense – Real and Imagined


True or false: A very wise man once said, “He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is usually a fool.”

What?  You don’t think he was wise?

This was said by Brigham Young.  Why would he say something so strange?

What is it that makes this statement strange?  Is it that the “natural man” reaction in us is to take immediate offense and look for a way to retaliate as soon as possible?

Is this the best reaction to have?  If we stop and think about it, it might occur to us that this course of action is quite a destructive choice.  Destructive to he who gave offense.  Destructive to me.  Wow.  Destructive all the way around!  Does that really make any sense?

“But,” we may say, “what other course of action could there possibly be!”

As we might suggest to a child who has fought back when taking offense:

  • “You can go tell an adult.”
  • “Walk away.”
  • “Let it go.”
  • “Ignore it.”
  • “Kill him with kindness.”

What can you add to the list?

The point is, we do not HAVE to take offense!  Perhaps this is a train of thought that has never occurred to us.  We might never have even heard of such a thing.  So let’s take a look at this choice.

If we choose not to take offense – whether offense was intended or not, we free ourselves from the destructive forces and open ourselves up to God’s healing influences.  Instead of feeling all hot and bothered, angry, and churned up inside we can experience feelings of comfort, forgiveness, and peace.  What a difference this makes in our lives!

I know it isn’t always easy to choose this type of action.  I also know that it is possible to choose this type of action.  And I know that it is so very worth choosing this type of behavior.

Try it yourself and see!  Let me know how it goes.  And remember that the harder it is, the harder we can pray to our loving Father in Heaven for His help and His mercy.  He delights in helping us choose to overcome this “natural man” reaction.

 

Don’t Deny Yourself God’s Blessings!


A Quadruple Combination of the (scriptures) of...

A Quadruple Combination of the (scriptures) of – contains the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price, all bound together. Ricardo630 07:45, 15 April 2006 (UTC) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

The other day I was on my way to work and got thinking about my life and what things I should change.

 

As I contemplated, and then prayed about it, I began to realize that because I am complacent about where I am in life right now, moving along with the flow of life, reacting to what comes my way but not planning in advance much, there may be some things I am missing out on.

 

I definitely have many wonderful blessings in my life.  I try to be a good person and do what is right.  I live a thankful life, rejoicing in God‘s blessings and seeking to share with others.  My deeply held spiritual and religious beliefs have brought me much joy in life, comfort and peace during trying times, and strength to keep trying even when I don’t always understand the reasons for why things happen the way they do.

 

When we keep a law, we reap the reward for keeping that law:

 

“There is a alaw, irrevocably decreed in bheaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all cblessings are predicated—And when we obtain any ablessing from God, it is bybobedience to that law upon which it is predicated.”  Doctrine and Covenants 130:20-21.

 

The wonderful thing about this rule is that if you want a certain blessing, you obey the law it is connected to and you will have that blessing!  The interesting thing about it is that if you don’t obey the law, you will not be able to have that blessing.  The scriptures are replete with God’s laws and the blessings that come from obeying them.  They include stories and examples of people who follow the rules and reap the blessings, and with people who trust in their own desires and reap the consequences of those actions.  And we get to choose which path we will follow.

 

Back to my musings.  It occurred to me that because of my complacency I could well be missing out on some additional blessings Father in Heaven has in store for me.  I perhaps need to prepare myself in order to move forward in my life, further along the path He has waiting for me as soon as I am ready for it.  That is a very intriguing, somewhat exciting, and even a bit unnerving thought.

 

Yet, knowing that Heavenly Father always wants what is best for us, it is something I want to think more and pray more about, and discern what I need to change, or to do, to be ready for that next step in my life.  I wouldn’t want to deny myself any of God’s blessings.  I know He has amazing things in store for all of us!  🙂

 

 

 

Powerful Testimony


Today was a very special day.  We went with our missionary, correction released missionary, to the Stake High Council for him to report back to them.  These are the leaders of the Stake, which consists of about 8 congregations.

They had asked him to share an experience from his mission that showed him the great love God has for His children.  He explained about a woman who didn’t want to join the church at first.  Then they taught her how to pray, and prayed with her.  A couple days later she came to them and asked when she could be baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

She had been introduced to her Father in Heaven, and had developed a relationship with Him.  That was a wondrous thing for her, and something she wanted to build on.  What a wonderful example of God’s love.

Then in Sacrament meeting he said that the 3 main things he learned on his mission are:

  1. That God is our loving Heavenly Father.
  2. We are all His children, and that makes each and every one of them very important, of infinite worth!
  3. Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world.  And of all the names He is known by, Savior is this returned missionary‘s favorite, because that is exactly what Jesus does, he saves us.

He then bore powerful testimony that God lives, that He is there to guide us, and that we can feel the Savior near.  And if we cannot feel Him, we are invited to look at our lives and change what we need to so that we are able to feel Him near.  It was a powerful moment, the Spirit of God was very strong, and once again my feelings were so close to the surface.

He has developed a closeness with God that is almost palpable.  And even better, there we were, listening to him and surrounded by almost our entire family.  My feelings of love and joy were almost overwhelming.  Oh, the goodness and mercy of God!  🙂

 

19 Additional Hours


My missionary has now been released as a missionary.

But, you may say, he got home last night.  Why just released?

Well, sort of an answer to prayer.

His time is so short with us between finishing his mission and going off to college that we were disappointed.  We, or at least I, didn’t pray for more time, but we certainly thought it would be nice.

It didn’t work out for him to visit with the Stake President last night as planned.  No problem, we all realize that things come up, that others might have a more pressing need, etc.  Not a big problem.  It’ll happen today.

This morning was the groundbreaking for the Fort Collins temple.  So his release was pushed out a little further.  He hung around the house, going through his things, helping us with some chores, reaching out to family and friends, and running errands with his dad.

We had some nice chats, talked about his mission, talked over what needs to happen before he leaves for college, filled him in on what’s been happening around here the last 2 years.

It suddenly occurred to me that in a way this was like an answer to prayer.  By having his release postponed, we were able to spend more time with him, almost a full day, 19 additional hours.  Not a bad deal.  Heavenly Father gave us what we desired, even without our specifically asking for Him to.  What a loving and thoughtful Father!

 

Missionary Homecoming


Missionaries Mormon

Missionaries Mormon (Photo credit: More Good Foundation)

After 2 years, our missionary returned home last night!  What a joyous reunion it was.

We went to the airport to greet him.  We went in to meet him, I scoured the area looking for a tall young man dressed in a dark suit, white shirt, a tie, and a black badge with the name “Elder” on it.

When at long last I spied him from several yards away, I found myself bee-lining straight for him, moving faster and faster the closer I got to him.  In fact, beloved hubby says I was running!

Then all at once, there he was!  Arms outstretched to return my hug, I hugged him for what must have been a full 60 seconds.  Tears were streaming down my face, I was so overcome with emotion.  As I stepped back to get a good look at him, I saw that he, too, had tears in his eyes.

He looked wonderful.  Tall and straight, with a confidence inherent in those who serve the Lord with all their heart, might, mind, and strength, he, too, was moved by the reunion.

My feelings ran the gamut from joy at seeing him after the long separation, peace for knowing he has been immersed in the Spirit of God and in developing his relationship with his loving Father in Heaven and in serving His children, gaining a love and appreciation for God’s children everywhere, happiness for the experiences (challenging and rewarding) that he has lived through these 2 years, thankfulness to God for His great mercy in giving my son this opportunity and in allowing him to have this great adventure, to humility in realizing he is very soon moving on to the next stage of his life which will again take him away from home but which is the next step in his progression.  So much emotion.  🙂

It was wonderful to hear of some of his experiences.  Things that are different (like almost no thunderstorms there) and things that are the same (people are people no matter where you go).  He has become a man, he has learned to love people, to help and serve them just as the Savior did, to moderate his feelings and reactions, to become a leader and to watch for what people need and to address those needs.

It is so good to have him home!

And as I contemplate this experience and these feelings, I can see a similar reaction in Heaven by our Heavenly family to the homecoming of their children from their great adventure that we call life here on earth.  I catch a glimpse of the joy and rejoicing that must be present when one of God’s children returns from whence they came, to their family and loved ones, to their Father in Heaven.  What a wonderful homecoming, reunion, it will be!  It is a place of perfect love, of hope, and of great happiness for all we have done here that has helped us to progress and become better than we were!

And so here I am, encouraged to try a little harder, to seek a little more, and to step outside my normal sphere to connect with others around me, especially those in need, and to love and strengthen each other more than I have before.  And I look forward to my own homecoming when the time comes to leave this frail existence and return to Him who gave me life.  Oh, how joyous it will be!

Memorable Day


English: A monument commemorating the restorat...

English: A monument commemorating the restoration of the Aaronic priesthood, which is located in Oakland Township, Pennsylvania, United States (historically Harmony Township). The monument was placed at the Aaronic Priesthood Restoration Site in 1960 by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

We had several inches of snow yesterday, so a friend gave me a ride to church.  She said she was glad to do it and that she enjoyed the company as she usually goes alone.  She drives right past my house on her way to church.  She is such a sweet lady and a good friend.

 

Sacrament meeting was wonderful as usual.

 

I must say that sitting in the back as I have the last few weeks certainly gives me a different perspective that sitting up front as we have always done.  I would say that anyone who has a difficult time at church and sits in the back, rather than not going back, try sitting up front.  You don’t get all the noise and commotion, you can actually hear the person talking, you never have to worry about what people are thinking about you because you have almost no idea who is there and who isn’t – especially when you have to hurry to Primary to play the piano, or to class to teach!  🙂

 

In Primary we’re learning a wonderful song, “A Child’s Prayer”.

 

“Heavenly Father, are you really there?
And do you hear and answer ev’ry child’s prayer?
Some say that heaven is far away,
But I feel it close around me as I pray.
Heavenly Father, I remember now
Something that Jesus told disciples long ago:
‘Suffer the children to come to me.’
Father, in prayer I’m coming now to thee.

 

“Pray, he is there;
Speak, he is list’ning.
You are his child;
His love now surrounds you.
He hears your prayer;
He loves the children.
Of such is the kingdom, the kingdom of heav’n.”

 

Words and music: Janice Kapp Perry, b. 1938

 

© 1984 by Janice Kapp Perry. This song may be copied for incidental, noncommercial church or home use.

 

It’s a beautiful song, and you always feel the spirit of God when you hear – or read – it.  What a wonderful blessing from Heavenly Father, such beautiful, moving songs to stir our souls and help us realize that He is real!

 

After church I was able to watch as my son ordained his son to the office of Priest in the Aaronic Priesthood.  The blessing he gave was that of a loving father who knows his son and what he is facing, what he is capable of, what he can do, what he should be watchful of, and inspired by God.  It was a spiritual and memorable experience, and I’m so glad to have witnessed it.  Afterwards I suggested to my grandson that he take a few minutes to write down what he remembers from the blessing when he gets home.  It can guide and direct him in the days and even years ahead.

 

A memorable day indeed!