Category Archives: Faith
I wanted to share this with you since I wrote the Remembering Romance post. Thanks to Ginger at The Amateur Writer, I can! The address by F. Burton Howard, from which this was taken, touched my heart when I heard it originally. I am glad for an opportunity to share it with you.
(Technical error with encoding: the video is in the next post.)
I watched a film a couple of nights ago whose main character was a young man who didn’t believe in marriage. His claim is a common claim these days: once a couple marries, they begin taking one another for granted, lose the spark of romance between them, and life becomes drudgery. After nearly losing the love of his life, he realized that giving the relationship the definition of marriage was worth the risks because the bond it creates is stronger than a couple’s bond may be otherwise. The definition gives each person a right over and a say with the other’s life. Modern people may say this isn’t necessary, or even degrading, but I don’t believe that. I believe marriage provides a witness to my life, a sounding board, a protection, a complement to my strengths, and grace for my weaknesses.
My lunch break is over and my children and I need to pursue the rest of our studies for the day, so until next time…
We had a wonderful Christmas! I hope every one did, too. Our house is calmer than before Christmas, and everyone here has basically spent the past two days vegetating together in front of media, playing card/board games, or visit back and forth with family. Our celebrations were simple and filled with traditions. We didn’t exchange a lot of gifts, it was just right, and we did not have a fuss about what anyone did or didn’t get for Christmas. Our children don’t see dollar signs pre-Christmas, or become greedy for “stuff”, which is such a blessing! We had a couple of sweet neighbors play “Secret Santa” by leaving gifts for the children, which we appreciate, and we feel loved. We have basically everything we need and want; and yet, we know that Christmas is not in any box! Christmas is in knowing Jesus Christ and in love, which anyone and everyone can hold in his/her heart year-round no matter what the circumstances may be. For me, Christmas is remembering, faith, warmth, love, family, and togetherness! We chose to “pay it forward” with some of our blessings as a family, even before these sweet little experiences, and now I am even more excited to get busy with them.
I loved having all my kids around and sharing Christmas movies and Christmas music for the past week! No stress, no worries, or deadlines! We have a rather large collection loaded in our I-tunes library decades of collecting in the making, but klove (online, www.klove.com) is my radio station of choice (I’ve been a listener since I was 14 and glad its nationwide), and it’s had some wonderful selections! I recommend it any day of the year! I love listening to Christmas carols, especially the ones that focus on the real Christmas! I am not ready to give them up, and I am glad I don’t have to, even if other people want to get back to everyday business.
My children are missing the snow, and to be honest, I have really enjoyed the warmer than usual weather! I know the snow is a blessing though, because we will need it next year, so I am praying that the snow will drop (heavily) this year and that America will be protected from drought and a good growing season next year.
Some of us had an Indian themed evening last night, which was fun. Not really Christmassy, but we had togetherness! We ate Tandoori Chicken ( I love the Internet and the wonderful, rich availability it gives to other people, cultures, and recipes), some vegetarian curry/masala dishes, rice (my mom and I made everything with either nut or seed milks so I could try everything, and left-over vegan cream pies for dessert; a slide show of India (thank you, Mathew!), and the epic movie Jodhaa Akbar! Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai are both superb in their roles and my family has watched it a few times! Fun, fun, fun! I loved cooking with my mother and just being with others…,
Peace is good!
Five more days before my children and I all hit the books again. I love simply having time with them! So thankful for this break from the world and the chance to reconnect with those I love.
With all my heart, I wish everyone peace and comfort, and that love surrounds each of us as we transition into 2012.
Every few years I feel the need to switch things up a bit with my Christmas decorations! For the past eight or nine years, my tree has sported a nature-ish theme, complete with bird houses, nests, and woodsy, piney ornaments. I even had an angel topper, which tied in nicely. However, I wanted to do something new this year- new colors at which to gaze for the next several weeks, and my jumping-off point was an adorable paper tree-topper I bought several years ago from BayberryCove, an online boutique. It was a Nicole Sayer design licensed by Seasons of Cannon Falls, which was released in 2006 The problem was, it had some wear and tear showing from several years of use. I could not bear the idea of parting with it, and the design has been discontinued, so I decided to pull it apart and remake it. The original had adorable scrolly, script paper with Christmas phrases. Because I didn’t have any on hand, I thought about what I could make to print on cardstock. I decided that instead of Noel and Merry Christmas (which are fine), I wanted scriptural phrases about Christ. On its own, no one will ever guess the change in my star; yet, as I looked up references to type up in a pretty font, I thought, “Jesus Christ is the light of the world…Light…stars… this year I will make a light themed tree with stars of different types, and with more of the same quotes from my new original tree topper star.
So, brainstorming, I went through the scriptures looking for scriptures about Jesus Christ, His birth, His purpose, about light, about being His disciples, being children of light, and letting your light shine, etc. This is just where I want to go mentally this year. This is where my heart wants to focus! I typed up a couple of pages, and doubled it in Microsoft Word so I may use the same file for several designs. Here’s a link to my file: http://screencast.com/t/l2GBAyKGJ . 1) I typed them up on cardstock, using a cream color and deep black ink for contrast, 2) cut the sheet in half lengthwise, 3)used pinking scissors on one edge of each half. I chose to leave the blank margin un-pinked because it becomes the middle of the star and is not seen. 4)Then I measured and scored the sheets with the scoring blade on my paper-cutter. 5) I folded them accordion-style and crimped both halves like a fan. 6)Turning the pinched, margin edges together, I hot glued them securely together, fanned out the open sides until they formed a circle I overlapped the edges of the accordion folds and glued them together. The pinking around the edges gives a subtle softness to the design. Once I finished my new circle, I hot glued it to the tinsel star and replaced the crepe paper-star disk, which nicely covers the seams of my new scripture circle.
From scratch, this would require some craft wire one medium and one thick, a length of thin tinsel from the dollar store, Walmart, etc., one sheet of card stock and access to a printer, some crepe paper and an embellishment for the center; perhaps lace, beads, paper, or whatever you may have on hand. It would only cost a couple of dollars. To continue the theme, I am making a garland to tie into my mantle design, with the scriptures printed on cardstock, cut out with pinked edges, and bordered with glass glitter in silver and gold. I will attach them to a ribbon, which will go in with my other garland or swag. I am also making new star ornaments, some of paper, some of fabric, and some of cold porcelain. It’s going to be lovely! I’ll share more as I finish them up! Until then,
I have thought quite a bit recently on the subject of grace, studied and pondered on it in my heart. In the past, although believing I understood grace, I still felt extreme expectation to do- and in the process, became so stressed that I felt my “being” diminishing. I am the type of person who worries- worries about the amount I get done in the day, that my home is not the way I want it, that money is tight, that I will let someone down, that somone will think poorly of me (I know, I know- those who matter won’t mind and those who mind don’t matter…I get it!); I worry about my husband, my children, their education, my education, the ministries with which I am involved. I worry about superficial things; I worry about eternal things. Talk about a waste of breath! So where did the grace go in all of that?!? (Before you think to reach through your monitor and konk me on the head, I know! I forget, so easily! That doesn’t show faith, or hope in grace at all!) When I think I am not good enough, which is an awful trap to slip into, I think I need to remember that grace was given before I was born- He-Jesus Christ- is not waiting for me to do anything before He reaches out to me! He already has! He has blessed me, before I asked, and all I need to do is surrender to it and allow myself to accept His love for me. Why would I want to block myself off from someone else’s love, I cannot fathom! I love being loved. In this case, this is the best offer of love I’ll ever get! (Bring it on, huh?)
Now that may seem as though I have no joy at all in life; yet that is not so. Thankfully, my worry is not constant. I am too busy to worry to the point of distraction. I am grateful for my day to day living! I just need to remember: No matter how much I do, I cannot do “it all” alone. My to-do list is insane! My husband constantly counsels me to knock it off- I keep making lists- from New Year’s resolutions lists to my daily list of chores- thinking I can do more than humanly possible, and I stress out when I don’t live up to expectations. Wait a minute! Who’s expectations? Yep, they’re mine. Not My husbands, my children’s, my neighbor’s, or God’s- mine! So why do I torture myself? I do not need to do it all; and the most important- the one’s I really need to do- I do not need to do alone. That is the point of the Atonement. The Atonement does not make the difference after what I do, it is my strength to get started, my strength to keep going, my strength in new struggles and old joys. He is there when I am at my worst, but also when I am at my best.
I appreciate this presentation (I’ve watched it a few times over the past year or so) because Brad Wilcox seems to understand my obessive compulsive personality, which leads me to burn out over “ifs” and “dos.” I find serious comfort in the idea that “any effort is acceptable to God… because He is more concerned with the offerer than with the offering.” I love the analogies Brad Wilcox uses in describing our relationship with Jesus Christ. He, Jesus Christ, just wants us to be with Him again!
So, I want to look toward the graces manifested in my life. The times in my life when He has saved me- literally, physically saved my life, when He has saved my sanity, shown me strength, acceptance, courage, hope, love, or joy despite the circumstances through which He still requires me to pass. He has carried me through so many experiences, and I know He will keep doing so. I cannot do it alone, yet I have the blessings of grace- as proof of my worth to Him; as knowledge that I am not alone, and that He powers me and I can do all things! Without Him I am nothing-powerless. With Him, because of Him, I can do anything He wants me to do. His grace powers me to be the person who He knows I am capable of becoming. He is not so worried about what I do, but who I am, and He loves me as I am now. He shapes me so that I may fulfill the measure of my creation. I know I am a long way off from who I want to be when I am done “growing up”- He sees the gap; yet, He knows my heart and knows better than I how I should close it. Once I accept His grace, and step off the hampster wheel of “should’s,” I allow Him to work on me. All those things I want transformed, He can change, even though I cannot. He does it lovingly, whereas I would treat myself with harshness and impatience. He is not about guilt or expectation or demands. His request that I make covenants with Him is about love, empowerment, protection, and providence- for me.
I am blessed! I have the joy of having Jesus Christ walk beside me and hope for my life because He chooses to be here unconditionally, and forever. What an awesome plan! (See the Old Testament- Isaiah 53, New Testament-Romans 5, John 3, and Book of Mormon 2 Nephi 9:6-7, 21-26 and Alma 7:11-13 and 34:8-17 for more on Jesus Christ’s Atonement.)
Have an amazing Monday! Have an amazing week! May Heavenly Father’s blessings rest on all of us (an may we be wise enough to accept His grace)!
Wow! I am sitting snuggled up with my Sonnet and Abigail, and we just had an amazing discussion on mistakes, apologies, forgiveness, and atonement. We stumbled on the conversation as part of our Wonder of the Day. We learned about the High Holy Days of Judaism, and discussed personal evaluation, relationship building, relationship mending, and why giving an honest apology may become difficult. What a great mom moment! This also gave us an interesting opportunity to compare some similarities between our faith and that of other religions. For instance, we observe a day of fast at least once a month, and although this may seem uncommon to many people, many religions also observe fast days – Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, to name a few. I like finding opportunities to compare similarities because I hope my children will appreciate human beings from all walks of life and treasure them for their strengths and show grace and respect for their differences or weaknesses, as we hope others will do for us. What a great day! I hope yours has moments of light, reflection, and connection with those you love, too! To check out the conversation lead, visit Wonderopolis @ http://wonderopolis.org/wonder/can-you-erase-all-of-your-mistakes/.
So I was listening to the radio as I drove home from dropping off William at his class this morning and I heard the song Remind me who I am by Jason Gray. This song is about a man’s personal journey of faith and his relationship with God, yet when I hear his voice, I am reminded of something very critical to me as a parent: my children need to know love and they will learn it primarily from me. While the adult in this song is obviously looking, searching, and wanting confirmation for himself, a child would not necessarily do that on his or her own. They inherently know and accept affection and service, and give it, too. However, a child needs that love reaffirmed by those around him or her- parent, siblings, relatives, friends, and community, or he or she could lose that identity as a loved being. I hear the song- remind me who I am to you, remind me why I am loved- and I recognize how dearly important that is for a healthy childhood and preparation for a healthy adult life. Everyone needs that; not just children! I can show my children love because I have been loved. I know One who loves them more than I- although sometimes that is difficult to imagine. I believe every human being has a spark of divinity in him or her, yet how will anyone ever believe it if no one reflects it back to them- with words, with love, with appropriate touch, with time and fellowship?
How do I say today, “You are important to me! You matter! Look at how fabulous you are! I love you! I am glad to know you and honored to witness your life”? I want to say that to everyone I know! Do I remember to say that in meaningful ways? I am working on becoming better at that. If I have missed you, forgive my oversight. I tend to wrap myself up in busy-ness, which means nowhere near as much to me as you do.
I am blessed! I have so many amazing people in my life, young and old! What a great life! So today I say, point-blank,
You! You are important to me! You matter! You are fabulous! I love you! I am glad to know you and I am honored to witness your life! Thank you for allowing me in!
Have a fab day! Afterall, you are worth it!