Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Scraping Up the Browned Bits

See the title up there?

I read that in the recipe I made last night.

It's a common instruction when making meat with a bit of sauce.

Last night it was for a Thai Green Curry Meatball recipe.

I've done it when doing roast or stew or pork chops, also.

It's so delicious.

You take all that flavor and get to mix it in with the rest of the ingredients.

Sometimes, I have worried that the final food will end up tasting burned.

But, for the most part, it just adds this depth of flavor that you don't get by just "cooking".

There have been times in my life (and those I love) when it feels like I'm getting "burned".

I get stuck on questions I can't answer.

Life gets "hot" and uncomfortable.

What I need to understand is that God is going to "scrape up the browned bits" into something beautiful.

These bits will eventually add a depth to my life that can't come any other way.

God's purpose is to give me all the "flavor" He can.

It will be good.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Strengthening our Faith in Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ and His Atonement by honoring the Sabbath Day

Here's the talk I gave in stake conference on Saturday night.

I wrote it all out before hand, but when it came time to actually speak, I didn't share this exactly.

I am much more comfortable in a teaching position than speaking, because then I can ask questions and be strengthened by others' testimonies.

I felt that I really needed to get my own personal testimony on this subject to be able to speak on it.

And I wasn't sure I had much of a testimony of keeping the Sabbath day holy.

I mean, I follow all the "rules" and I try and do what God wants me to do; but I try and do that every day, so I'm not sure how that makes Sunday different.

I was praying a lot for help to come up with what I should speak about.

I had a couple of scriptures that I found that were helpful and I thought I should share.

And then on Friday, when I was still struggling to focus my thoughts on this topic, I went to the temple.

There was a man in a wheelchair who couldn't speak clearly.

The woman next to me and I shared experiences of other times that people with disabilities had strengthened our faith.

And that was when I knew how honoring the Sabbath day had blessed me.

So, after that long's the talk:

I am thankful for this opportunity to speak tonight. I would like to share my own personal testimony of how honoring the Sabbath day has strengthened my faith in Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ and His Atonement.

I first want to talk about what strengthening my faith in Heavenly Father, His son Jesus Christ and His Atonement means to me.

It took me a while to figure out what that means or how to do that. I feel that I have always believed. I just didn’t know how to make that belief or faith stronger. I couldn’t figure out how I could “believe” any more than what I did. How do I strengthen that?

In Matthew 6:27 it says, “Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature”. This was what I was trying to do with my faith. If I just “believe harder” or take more thought it would be “added to”. Reading in the same chapter, but vs. 33 it says, “seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added…” I realized that my faith is strengthened by obedience.

I may not have known how to believe more, but I could be more obedient. In fact, I even began to substitute the word obedience for the word faith in certain scriptures to help me understand faith better.
Alma 32:21 And now as I said concerning [obedience] —[obedience] is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have [obedience] ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true. 
Ether 12:6 And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that [obedience] is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your [obedience].
I am obedient because I have hope in the blessings even if I don’t see them right away.

But obedience is not just following rules.

One of the commandments the Lord asks us to be obedient to is found in Ex. 20:8 , “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.”
But, if I am just going to church because it’s a rule I’m following, or if I am focusing on the activities I choose to do or not do on the Sabbath, then I am missing an important piece of obedience; of faith.

In Eph. 2:8-9 it says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

And in D&C 46:8 it says that we should “seek earnestly the best gifts”.

This tells me that being obedient (strengthening my faith) requires asking of God for this gift. We seek the gift of faith and strengthen it, by learning God’s will.

In Mosiah 2:22 it reads, “And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you.”

So, how do we be obedient and honor the Sabbath day?

In Prov. 15:33 it says, “the fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom; and before honor is humility.”

It’s not just following a rule that strengthens me. It is being humble and learning from the Lord.

Elder Bednar in this last conference said, “The Sabbath is God’s time, a sacred time specifically set apart for worshipping Him and for receiving and remembering His great and precious promises.”

My faith in Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and His Atonement has been strengthened as I have honored the Sabbath day, by attending my church meetings; specifically sacrament meeting and all that I have learned and experienced by doing so.

I can say as Nephi said, “Behold, my soul delighteth in the things of the Lord; and my heart pondereth continually upon the things which I have seen and heard.” 2 Ne. 4:16

Allow me for a minute to share some of the “great and precious promises” I remember and have received as I have attended my meetings.

Bro. McCurdy was the man who always passed out the programs as we came into sacrament meeting, when I was a young. I remember when he passed the sacrament for the first time in 1978 after receiving the priesthood. I was barely old enough to understand the importance of blacks receiving the priesthood. But I have never forgotten the outpouring of the Spirit that I felt that day.

I remember the time when a young man with severe speech difficulties blessed the sacrament in one of my wards. And the knowledge that came to me of how Christ’s Atonement works in my life to make up for my weaknesses.

I remember being in the hospital one Sunday and having a couple come knock on my door and ask if I’d like to have the sacrament. And seeing this older gentleman kneel on my hospital floor and bless the sacrament just for me. Heavenly Father is aware of me and Jesus Christ would have died even if it was just for me.

I am humbled as I remember the many times I have sung in a ward choir and felt angels joining in.

I delight in the chatter of the women before Relief Society starts because of the love and friendship that is happening.

My heart is full when I seeing many who come to church even when they don’t feel they fit in or haven’t been for a while. Knowing they are there seeking God’s will blesses me.

I am blessed by the answers that I have received directly or indirectly from the speakers, teachers or music on Sunday.

And I am blessed by the revelation that has come to me unexpectedly while sitting on a bench listening to prelude music. 

“…my soul delighteth in the things of the Lord” (including the Lord’s day).

All these experiences and many more, have strengthened my faith in my Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ and in His Atonement. I have been “blessed and prospered” from keeping God’s commandment to honor the Sabbath day, by attending my church meetings and by taking the sacrament.

I testify that God lives and knows us individually. And He loves us. I know that the Lord sends the blessings you need as you keep His commandments. The Sabbath day is the Lords’ day and it is a time set aside for us to ponder on the love He has shown and continues to show us. And I believe He wants to bless us and strengthen us even more as we make the choice to honor His day.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Son

We have had a very mild winter this year.

But the temperature does not always tell the full story.

I walked into church this morning without my coat buttoned up.

Then, I realized I should feel colder because it was only 13 degrees.

I felt warmer than I had the day before when it was 36.

The difference was the sun.

The sun makes all the difference in whether I feel cold or warm.

When I am going through a hard or dark time in my life, the only way to get through it is with the Son.

He makes the cold days seem better even if they aren't.

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Psalms 27:1

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Just Write

Some time back before Christmas I decided to give up social media.

I recently had given up sugar. 

Not because it's "bad", but because I had noticed some effects it had on me that I didn't like. 

So, it was also a bit of an experiment to see if it changed some of these physical things.

It did.

I feel 100% better not eating sugar. 

And I don't even crave it so much because I know what it does to me.

When I started, I wrote down some things that I wanted to replace the sugar with. 

Eat an apple, a handful of nuts, drink some water.

I don't think that social media is bad, but I did feel that I was spending too much time on it.

I had also been thinking about all the books I used to read and wondering why I didn't read anymore.

Was it just because I had gotten busy?

But, really I stopped reading when I got a smart phone and when Facebook came out.

--Sidetrack --
I love Facebook!!
I love being "in touch" with old college roommates and old friends and knowing what is going on in people's lives.
How did I ever live without it?
I guess I had to be more diligent about keeping in touch.
I wasn't.
And I actually had to write letters or make phone calls.
I didn't.
Who has time for that? 
Well, I guess people who aren't spending time looking at their phone at the hundreds of people they're keeping in touch with.

Anyway, my main point was that I wanted to free up some time. 

Or at least experiment and see if it freed up some of my time.

So, I wrote down some things that I would like to replace that time with.



I've gotten good at replacing social media with reading. 

(In some ways, it's not that different!)

I've already finished 3 books!

My house is cleaner.

And I've been able to make visits to neighbors and friends that I haven't in the past.

But, what about writing?

Why do I want to write?

When I write, I just put all kinds of jumbled thoughts down.

And as I do that, things become clearer.

I'm not saying that I'm a good writer.

But, I'm not bad at editing.

I spend less time writing all the jumbled thoughts than thinking about what I've written and getting it just right.

So, that's what I'm going to do.

Just write.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Summer Schedule

I've been a bit anxious about school ending.

I'm definitely tired of sending my kids out every morning and the rush/hassle it is.

But, I've been feeling a bit lost about what happens next.

This will be my 3rd summer that I am working part-time while my kids are home. And I'm still trying to get the hang of it.

I finally sat down the other night and got my plan figured out.  In case anyone is wondering why I do this, you can read this old post.

I'm sharing my schedule on this blog in hopes that others will join me - I've always thought, the more the merrier.

5:45 am - walking
7:15 am or so - check in at work
8:00 am - family scriptures
8:30 - 9:30am - breakfast/get ready/morning chores/personal scripture study
Play time!!!
1:30 pm - ? work
6:00 pm - dinner
7:00 pm - evening/kitchen chores
read out-loud book
9:00 pm - bedtime

Monday - Homeschool Day/Library

Temple Tuesday - (little kids watch a movie? or do a trade with another family?)

Friendsday Wednesday - play group/park day/etc.

Thursday - Shopping/One-on-one time/Kids Cleaning Day

Friday Funday - Field trip/Hiking

Saturday - Outdoor (work on house or play!!) 

I'm so lucky that I have the job I have. It is so flexible. 

Which I know I will have to be this summer.

I have grand ideas of what our summer will be like. 

But, even if it doesn't turn out just so, at least I have a foundation to work with.


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