Saturday, November 30, 2013

Abiding in Him

In John 15, scriptures 6-11,  Jesus talks about what happens when we abide in him and what happens when we don't. I looked up the word "ABIDE" in the dictionary and this is what it says: "accept or act in accordance with, to obey, observe, or follow". 

So for me it seems very simple... if I accept and try to act in accordance with what The Lord asks of us then, we are abiding in his love? But then I have to accept, obey and to follow and sometimes the actions of others causes me to act not in accordance with the Lord. I have always tried to teach my boys that just because someone provokes a reaction from you, it is still your choice whether that reaction is going to be positive or negative. And much like other things in my life it is often easier to tell someone what to do than to teach them by example. So is it really that simple to abide in his love always.... NOT FOR ME!


Friday, November 29, 2013

Drawing Strength from Family & The Lord

In the first five verse of John 15 it talks about the strength of the vine and the branches. Jesus tells us that he is the vine and we are like the branches, if we bare fruit then we are blessed and given strength to bare more fruit.

With yesterday being Thanksgiving, I can't help but feel like my Family is part of my fruit and in return they also give me strength. I lean on them and learn from them everyday. Good or bad we lean on each other for strength, wisdom and self discipline. I think we also lean on the Savior for a lot more things than we realize. He is there for us always in spite of the things we do and say.

Yesterday was also my Brother's birthday, now a grown man with many health issues on his plate due to the
handicaps left over from the birth defects he faced when my mother came down with German measles three months into her pregnancy.  His trials in life often seem to be so much easier than others around me, I watch him co-exist in a world with no sound and not much color for him to visualize.  And yet I know, with out even calling home, that today he will be exchanging all his Fall decorations out for all his Christmas ones. by next weekend, my mothers yard will be lit up with thousands of small colored lights of awe and wonderment. The other thing I know for sure is that in the center of all the worldly lights and Christmas cheer, he will have the almost life-sized Nativity Scene that stands out for all passerby's to see and shinning high above the manger you will find the brightest light (star) of all. I have often asked him through the years, "how did you get that light up so high?" He just shrugs his shoulders, grins big, nods to the light on the pole and says "Jesus!"

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thankgiving 2013

Very grateful for the chance to share today with my awesome family. We were missing a few... . But they were never more than a thought away. Other than eating late due work schedules, sick people and our car getting broke into, our day was filled with traditions, family stories and fun! One of our traditions every year is to try a new recipe... This year, I decided the recipe would be the breakfast treat to share while we watched the parade. (Another family tradition!) 

SOOOOO, I decided to make homemade "Salted Caramel Bacon Donuts" I keep hearing rave reviews about bacon & salted caramel this and bacon & salted caramel that. Anyway, after searching for several months for good recipes, no luck! I came up with my own, Here are the results.... They were delicious!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Week 2 ~ Studying John 15

This week we are encouraged to study John 15, 

"Jesus is the vine; His disciples are the branches—He discourses on the perfect law of love—His servants have been chosen and ordained by Him—The world hates and fights true religion—He promises the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth."

As I started to read and study this week I very quickly begin to realize I was going to need to think about this a little bit through out the week. Some of the a things were are suppose to ponder this week are...
  • From whom do I get my Strength? 
  • Am I abiding in Christ? 
  • How can I bring forth much fruit Lord? 
  • Can He call me a Friend?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

National Cake Day

Today is a good day.... Today we eat CAKE!

We had fun here at our house. WE celebrated in a variety of different ways...

FIRST - we made a very yummy cake all home made.
See the recipe and details on our food blog at The Pantry Life

Second we made cards, invitations and scrapbook pages to high light the day...You can find the instructions and details for these on our craft blog at Annie's Pantry

 And the we had a CAKE PARTY!!!!!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Ponder & Reflecting - Week 1

Today is Monday and we are coming to the end of our first week. Today is the day we get to ponder over the things we have studied this past week. Our question was to Ponder: Am I seeking the Lord's help in all I think & do? How can He help me overcome my weaknesses?

I just want to share with everyone, what amazing week this has been... Two things I have truly gained a better testimony of this week are 1. Faith without sincere works are / is dead and 2. The principals and ordinances of the gospel are the easy part, applying them in every thought and action is the hard part. I feel very blessed and very greatful for the testimony building experiences that I have had this week and as I ponder the question above, it reminded me of a story I once heard entitled...

"The Cracked Pot" 

A waterbearer in India had two large pots, one hung on each end of a pole, which she carried across her neck. One of the pots had a crack in it. While the other pot was perfect, and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the mistress's house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to her master's house. The perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.
After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream: "I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you. "Why?" asked the bearer. "What are you ashamed of?" "I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your mistress's house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don't get full value from your efforts," the pot said.

The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in her compassion she said, "As we return to the mistress's house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path." Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some.

But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again it apologized to the bearer for its failure. The bearer said to the pot, "Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path, but not on the other pot's side?
“That's because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you've watered them.
“For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my mistress's table. Without you being just the way you are, she would not have this beauty to grace her house."

Moral: Each of us has our own unique flaws. We're all cracked pots.
But it's the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding. We've just got to take each person for what they are, and look for the good in them. There's a lot of good out there.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Chris Cullen's Missionary Homecoming

Not feeling good today, but I knew I had to go to church today. Chris was giving his mission homecoming report. He talked about how much he had grown and how important being a member missionary is. He shared a couple of experiences with us that made me homesick for Toa and his family feasts, our red brick home on the hill in Provo and all our friends that taught me the true meaning of being there for each other.

I remember when Chris left and all the struggles we had had with him in the past, both in and out of our home. But I do feel like he served a good mission and his heart is in the right place. I know his road has been hard and he has a lot of work to do still. But I think I have grown and I have become a better person for knowing him. He gave a great report and will be returning to Salt Lake City, I wish him luck in all his endeavors. I love his quote "even though it was not the best two years OF  life, it was the best two years FOR my life"

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Grace, Love and the art of being Humble

Yesterday, I contemplated my weaknesses and drew strength from a past experiences, one of which I shared. Today, I would like to ponder the grace and love that fills our souls, when we humble ourselves before The Lord. The scripture for today is the one I made reference to yesterday... Ether 12:27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

I listen to a lot of music, I often find myself turning on my music instead of reaching for the TV remote. I have several gospel stations in my Pandora line-up and this morning the first song that played was one of my all time favorites... "I Need Thee Every Hour". In the second verse it states "I need thee every hour; stay thou nearby; temptations lose their power when thou art nigh." I know that sometimes the words temptations and weaknesses are interchanged and if that were the case in this song, then all our weaknesses (our crutches) lose their power when The Lord is with us and as we become humble and like little children, then The Lord uses his grace to help make us strong. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Turning Weaknesses into Strengths

I have really had to pray and ponder today's scripture. Jacob 4:7 Nevertheless, the Lord God showeth us our weakness that we may know that it is by his grace, and his great condescensions unto the children of men, that we have power to do these things. 

A couple of things that have been going through my mind today are two things I learned very early in my seminary and institute studies. 
1. Weaknesses don't always mean sin.
2. That through the miracle of forgiveness all sins can be forgiven. 
And in Ether 12:27 we learn that The Lord shows us our weaknesses to make us humble and by his grace and our faith he uses our weaknesses to make us strong. 

I remember a calling that I had back in my ward in Manchester, CT. I had served in many different positions in many different wards, several I had knowledge of going into them and several of them I had others around me that I could draw strength from. But this particular calling, all I had to draw from was my passion and love of music. My bishop, whom I had lots of love and respect for, called Marty and I into his office and extended a call to me to be the new Relief Society Chorister. I ask him if he was crazy... No kidding, I did, in those exact words. I quickly went on to explain I could not read music, the only time I had lead the music was a couple of times in Seminary to pass off my personal progress stuff and I was pretty sure I was not a good singer, even though I pretended really hard to be a good alto/tenor in my institute choir. Marty was the music man in more ways than one. But he insisted that was the calling that The Lord desired for me to have at that moment. I asked for time to pray about it, which I also had never done before, but I hadn't been gone from his office very long until I found myself  knocking on his office door, agreeing to take on the new challenge. I prayed hard and worked very close with Marty to learn everything I could about what I needed to do. I loved my calling, I treasure the time Marty and I spent together as he taught me how to lead song after song. I am fully aware of the Lords hand in helping to make me strong in my weakness. I am very humble and grateful for both my calling and my wise bishop. The knowledge and experiences that I gained from that calling has served me well, both then and now. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Trusting in the Lord

When I started thinking about all of this yesterday, my mind immediately turned to the little booklet that we often use in our missionary teachings entitled "The Gospel of Jesus Christ". And as you open this little booklet to the fourth page you find in a small caption box this scripture: Proverbs 3: 5-6 - 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. This scripture is listed as the first scripture in pour weekly list and is often the scripture that is first memorized and quoted the most by our young LDS seminary kids.

Also found on this page along with the scripture are the words Faith and Repentance. "Faith is a strong belief that motivates a person to act and Faith in Jesus Christ leads you to want to change your life for the better." For me it is easy to have the faith in the Lord, but it is not always easy for me to trust in him. I am a doer and often I lack the patience to wait for The Lord's time. Growing older and watching my children develop into adults and realizing that my idea of now and their idea of now  maybe different and I have to trust in them. Besides what matter does it really make as long as we reach the end goal. Many times, in my life, I have had to apply the same reasoning to things I have asked The Lord to help me with.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Week 1 ~ Seeking the Lord's help

This week our Relief Society started a new holiday testimony building segment entitled "Fourteen Week Walk With Christ". Each Week they will post a Scripture(s) to Read and a Thought to Ponder. I think this is an awesome opportunity to study and grow closer to my heaven father, plus a chance to grow closer to the sisters in my ward family. I decided that I would take a scriputre a day to study, add to and try to apply it to my everyday living. So starting tomorrow, I will post one of the scriptures listed, post notes and thoughts from my studies and at the end of the week I will post my answer to the weekly "PONDER" question along with some of my experiences through out the week. I would invite anyone you would like to join me in this journey please feel free... 

Week 1: Scripture(s) ~ 

Proverbs 3: 5-6 

Jacob 4: 7 

Ether 12: 27

Ponder: Am I seeking the Lord's help in all I think & do? How can He help me overcome my weaknesses?

Friday, November 1, 2013

"Fall"ing for a new outlook on life...

        You know, they say to be careful what you wish for, well I wished really really hard and I was granted my wish... (BOTH OF THEM!) I am exited and a little nervous at the same time. I am excited because I had the opportunity to work a lot of hours during September and October, so that we could paint and redecorate our living room and dinning room to make them more useable and family friendly. So now that we are putting the finishing touches on that wish, I was wishing that maybe I could go down to not very many hours at work, so that I could be home to enjoy my family more and to jump start my stamping business for the holidays. And that wish was granted... :). now I am nervous wondering if I am going to be able to live up to the deal I made with my hubby that I can pay for Christmas with profits from Stamping.