Friday, January 28, 2011

January Issue: Visiting Teaching

The article is actually called, "Home Teachers who made a Difference." I really loved this article about real life experiences of families whose home teachers made a difference in their lives. As I read through the article it made me think about my responsibility as a visiting teacher. President David O. McKay gave a strong statement about the responsibilities and duties of a home teacher. I decided to replace the phrase "home teaching" with "visiting teaching" and I think it applies just as strongly to the sisters.

"Visiting teaching is one of our most urgent and most rewarding opportunities to nurture and inspire, to counsel and direct our Father's children. It is a divine service, a divine call. It is our duty as visiting teachers to carry the divine spirit into every home and heart." - David O. McKay.
"As visiting teachers listen to the inspiration they receive through the Holy Ghost, Heavenly Father can direct them to proivide individual, personalized guidance and service to each of his children." - January Ensign, pg. 33

If you haven't had the opportunity to go visiting teaching yet this month, you still have a few days left! At least make a quick phone call to check up on your sisters, and make your appointment for next month now! I really do love visiting teaching!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

January Issue: Prayer

"Prayer is a supernal gift of our Father in Heaven to every soul. Think of it: the absolute Supreme Being, the most all-knowing, all-powerful personage, encourages you and me, as insignificant as we are, to converse with Him as our Father. It matters not our circumstance, be we humble or arrogant, poor or rich, free or enslaved, learned or ignorant, loved or forsaken, we can address Him. We need no appointment. Our supplication can be brief or can occupy all the time needed. It can be an extended expression of love and gratitude or an urgent plea for help. He has created numberless cosmos and populated them with worlds, yet you and I can talk with Him personally and He will ever answer." - Richard G. Scott

We used this message "The Restoring Power of Prayer" for FHE last night, and tied in an article from the Friend titled, "Wilford's Prayer." Sweet and Simple.

Last week, we had a good experience of an "urgent plea for help" being answered for our family. Ian had lost his ipod at school. It was a gift given to him recently by his grandparents. He was devastated, and so were the other kids. Megan even offered to give hers to him. I felt sick knowing that he had lost it. I knew the only thing we could do was pray. So we knelt down as a family and fervently asked Heavenly Father to help Ian find his ipod. Ian came up to me later that night still in tears. I told him that all we could do was have faith in our prayers, and be grateful we at least had that. He went to bed with a heavy heart. The next morning I checked my email before waking the kids, and found a message from the school principle that the ipod had been found. I knew that our prayers had been answered.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

February Issue: Jump Start

The February issue of the Ensign is published at! Click here to view the table of contents for this issue and get started on your reading! Hopefully the magazine will be in your mail box this week.

Friday, January 21, 2011

January Issue: Hope

Two articles that go hand in hand in this issue are "Ancient Exmples, Modern Promises" and "Make Yours a Great Life". These articles teach two key gospel principles, not only for members of the church, but for all people. Faith and Hope. In Moroni 7:42 it says, "Wherefore if a man have faith he must needs have hope; for without faith there cannot be any hope."

The articles teach from the lives of 5 ancient examples in scriptures, and one modern day prophet - Joseph Smith. All who suffered difficult trials and circumstances and all who trusted in Heavenly Father and His plan. They had great faith and tremendous hope. Here are just three of them:

Joseph of Egypt: "...forcefully taken from his home at 17 and thrust into foreign lands...13 years of undesirable situations...imprisoned until the age of 30. Instead of choosing to rebel, pout, or curse God, Joseph exercised remarkable faith. As a result he was tremendously blessed."

Abraham: "The Lord commanded Abraham to sacrifice his long awaited son Isaac. Abraham was obedient. His love for his son was great, but he loved the Lord above all else. Abraham's faithfulness was rewarded not only with the life of his son but also with innumerable posterity and other blessings."

Mary: "She was from humble beginnings and probably wondered about her future. Her espoused husband couldn't find a decent place for her to give birth to her son, and later because people wanted to kill her baby, the young family had to flee to another country."

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin said, "If we approach adversities wisely, our hardest times can be times of greatest growth, which in turn can lead toward times of greatest happiness."

President Uchtdorf said, "There may be times when we must make a courageous decision to hope even when everything around us contradicts [our] hope."

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

January Issue: FHE with Teens

There is a great article on pg. 18 called Successful Family Home Evenings with Teens.
Here are the bullet points from the article:
  • Keep it Simple
  • Be Consistent
  • Plan Ahead and Seek Guidance
  • Customize Lessons for Your Family
  • Give Them A Chance to Teach Younger Children
  • Teach from Your Own Experiences
For FHE this week we asked Ian (age 13) to share what he is working on for his Deacon Duty to God Award. This is a great resource for young men to find lessons to teach for FHE. Most of what they have to do in this program requires sharing what they learn with parents, leaders, or family. So teaching our FHE lesson was the perfect place for him to do this. He did a great job. Canyon even said it was "one of his favorite lessons, and wished we could have more just like it!"

"Each family prayer, each episode of family scripture study, and each family home evening is a brush stroke on the canvas of our souls. No one event may appear to be very impressive or memorable. But just as the yellow and gold and brown strokes of paint complement each other and produce an impressive masterpiece, so our consistency in doing seemingly small things can lead to significant spiritual results. 'Wherefore be not weary in well doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great' (D&C 64:33). Consistency is a key principle as we lay the foundation of a great work in our individual lives and as we become more diligent and concerned in our own homes."
- David A. Bednar

Thursday, January 13, 2011

January Issue: The Essence of the Gospel

"At the final day the Savior will not ask about the nature of our callings. He will not inquire about our material possessions or fame. He will ask if we ministered to the sick, gave food and drink to the hungry, visited those in prison, or gave succor to the weak (see Mathew 25:31-40). When we reach out to assist the least of Heavenly Father's children, we do it unto Him (see Mathew 25:40). That is the essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ." - Joseph B. Wirthlin

This painting of the "Healing at the Pool of Bethesda" is one of my favorite Carl Bloch paintings.
What I learned by reading this article (pg. 62) is that the story of the healing (see John 5:1-9) not only teaches about the healing powers of Jesus Christ, but gives us the pattern to follow that we may be instruments in His hands as we serve others.

The article outlines the 5 steps Christ teaches through this miracle: 1. He looked for one in need 2. He listened without criticism 3. He often gave anonymously 4. He understood and acknowledged grief or disease 5. He followed up with the sufferer.

I LOVE this Mormon Message:
Is there someone whose spirit you could lift?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

January Issue: Heritage

On pg. 56 of the January issue is an article called, "So They Will Know Their Heritage."  This is an article I would definitely not have read if it weren't for the challenge.  I'm not sure what it is about the words "family history" or "genealogy" but they both give me a knot in my stomach because it's not something I work on and I know I should.
After reading the article, I felt like there was something I could do and that really needs to be done.  So for FHE last night, we read part of this article together, and I taught my family that it is just as important for us to preserve our own history, as it is for us to search out our family history.
Over the years, I have collected pictures, and other memorabilia for each of my kids and stored it all in plastic totes. (What a mess!)

Last night we set a goal for the kids to get their important documents, pictures, and other favorite memories organized into a binder.  Something like this...

They really do love looking through their old photographs, and funny things they have saved.  We all had a good laugh at their kindergarten "self portraits" and stories they wrote about our family.  Here is a picture of each of us you might find in our personal histories...

Friday, January 7, 2011

January Issue:

"If you follow the history of the Church, our methodology has always been to go to the town square and preach the gospel. Today the town square is the Internet." - M. Russell Ballard
When I imagine a gathering at a "town square" I see a group of people with energy and enthusiasm, talking and sharing, smiling and enjoying life. I love that we can all be a part of this "gathering" on the internet as we join
The church has a goal of 100,000 member profiles entered in by the end of this year. At the end of 2010 there were over 25,000 profiles. Any adult member of the Church can create a profile. I did it! It was so easy! Visit and create your profile today.

This particular video on the site is one that I relate to so well! Go check it out! Although I haven't had to move away from my home and the people I love, I do love photography and the outlet it gives me from my responsibilities!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

January Issue: The Scriptures

"Through the words of the scriptures we can come to know and love our Heavenly Father and the Savior Jesus Christ. We can read Their commandments and, as a result, learn to see the difference between right and wrong. We gain strength to resist temptation to sin. We increase our desire to obey God's laws. The scriptures comfort us and teach us while we are on earth, and they show us the way back to our heavenly home." {pg. 14}

I have recently found a new way to read, study, and mark my scriptures. The new has created a system to highlight, tag, and journal as you read your scriptures. If you click on menu, and look under the "study" section, you will see a link to "my study notebook". (You will need your membership record number to set up an account). Once your account is created, you can click on the menu again, and go to "scriptures". Select the book you'd like to read from (At the bottom of the screen, make sure that "study mode" is turned on). When you find a verse you'd like to mark, highlight it and and small window will open up to show you the options of highlighting, tagging, and recording your own thoughts. Once you click "save" the verse will be documented in your study notebook. Click "open notebook" at the bottom or your screen and you will find it there. You can edit your tags, highlights and notes right from your notebook. You can also record journal entries in your study notebook.

It is awesome! Go check it out, and start studying today! Make it part of your New Year's Resolutions!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

January Issue: FHE Lesson

For FHE last night we read the message from President Monson called, "The Lord needs missionaries." We were impressed that he called missionary work a "Priesthood Duty" and an "obligation the Lord expects." We hope that our boys will choose to serve missions.

January Issue: Quote

"I like to think of adversity as the wind that blows the kite. The stronger it blows, the higher the kite can fly." {pg. 71, Dealing with Adversity}
This quote made me think about the other end of the kite. If we don't hold tight to the string, the kite will be taken away by the wind and likely lost or damaged. When we face adversity, what keeps us grounded? For me it's the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Scriptures. Prayer. Temple Attendance. Covenants.