Friday, January 29, 2010

Hope Talk - Part Five (the end)

D&C 68:6 “Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord and with you, and will stand by you.”

“We learn to cultivate hope the same we learn to walk, one step at a time.” (President Uchtdorf) If there is a chink in your armor of faith, the devil will know where to attack.

The Oak Tree
by Johnny Ray Ryder Jr

A mighty wind blew night and day
It stole the oak tree's leaves away
Then snapped its boughs and pulled its bark
Until the oak was tired and stark

But still the oak tree held its ground
While other trees fell all around
The weary wind gave up and spoke.
How can you still be standing Oak?

The oak tree said, I know that you
Can break each branch of mine in two
Carry every leaf away
Shake my limbs, and make me sway

But I have roots stretched in the earth
Growing stronger since my birth
You'll never touch them, for you see
They are the deepest part of me

Until today, I wasn't sure
Of just how much I could endure
But now I've found, with thanks to you
I'm stronger than I ever knew

May we all be like this mighty oak tree with deep, firm roots. So that when the trials come that this life will surely bring our way, we will be able to endure, and endure well. That we may endure with faith, hope, and joy. Life is not easy, it was not meant to be, but we can finish our marathon here on earth no matter what trials and tribulations come our way; that we can return to our Father in Heaven and live with joy.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Hope Talk - Part Four

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf gave a talk in October 2008 Conference called ‘The Infinite Power of Hope’. When preparing this talk I highlighted half of it to use, and while I cannot use it all, I would encourage everyone who is interested in this topic to go home and reread this talk. It is truly an inspiring talk. Some of what he said “Hope is one leg of a three-legged stool, together with faith and charity. These three stabilize our lives regardless of the rough or uneven surfaces we might encounter at the time…Hope has the power to fill our lives with happiness. Its absence … can make “the heart sick.”… Hope in our Heavenly Father’s merciful plan of happiness leads to peace, mercy, rejoicing, and gladness. The hope of salvation is like a protective helmet; it is the foundation of our faith and an anchor to our souls…The scriptures say that there must be “an opposition in all things.” So it is with faith, hope, and charity. Doubt, despair, and failure to care for our fellowmen lead us into temptation, which can cause us to forfeit choice and precious blessings. The adversary uses despair to bind hearts and minds in suffocating darkness. Despair drains from us all that is vibrant and joyful and leaves behind the empty remnants of what life was meant to be. Despair kills ambition, advances sickness, pollutes the soul, and deadens the heart. Despair can seem like a staircase that leads only and forever downward. Hope, on the other hand, is like the beam of sunlight rising up and above the horizon of our present circumstances. It pierces the darkness with a brilliant dawn. It encourages and inspires us to place our trust in the loving care of an eternal Heavenly Father…

President Uchtdorf talks about the difference in having hope for things and having hope in things. For example:

· A child might have hope for a special present for his birthday

· A teen might hope to be asked to a school dance

· A college student might hope for inspiration while writing a paper

· A pregnant woman might hope for a healthy child

· A single person might hope to find a spouse

· An employee might hope for a raise

· The residents of the Wasatch Front might hope for clean air

· During a trial one might hope for comfort; or a speedy resolution; or guidance; or peace.

Knowing what one hopes for is one thing; but hoping ‘in’ something or having faith in something is different. “The things we hope in sustain us during our daily walk. They uphold us through trials, temptations, and sorrow. Everyone has experienced discouragement and difficulty. Indeed, there are times when the darkness may seem unbearable. It is in these times that the divine principles of the restored gospel we hope in can uphold us and carry us until, once again, we walk in the light.” (President Uchtdorf)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Hope Talk - Part Three

Elder Robert D. Hales suggests that “we cannot expect to learn endurance in our later years if we have developed the habit of quitting when things get difficult now.” Enduring trials take practice, just like running a marathon does. We can build up to being able to endure when a big trial comes into our lives by conquering the small trials we face on a daily basis. This takes work: reading our scriptures, communicating with God through prayer, working now to increase our testimony and faith, and learning how to find hope in our lives. Elder Hales further teaches “It is not a question of if we are ready for the test; it is a matter of when. We must prepare to be ready for tests that will present themselves without warning.” If we do not have a regular practice of reading our scriptures or daily prayer, when trials come we might not be ready to receive the guidance that God is trying to give us. In the Bible Dictionary under the topic of prayer it says “The object of prayer is not to change the will of God, but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant, but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work, and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings.” But effective communication with our Heavenly Father takes time, effort, and practice.

There are trials and tragedies in our lives that are so difficult we might not be able to understand why we are asked to go through them. “For some, the true trial of our faith is to remain faithful, without murmuring against the Lord, when we lose earthly position, family members, or even when we are required to give our very lives… The greatest tragedy that can happen to a person is not the loss of his possessions, or his intellect, or his mortal life, but rather to lose eternal life, which is the free gift of God.” (Elder Carlos Amado) When trials occur, we must endure with idealistic optimism. Elder Quentin L Cook said “We know from the scriptures that some trials are for our good and are suited for our own personal development. We also know that the rain falls on the just and the unjust. It is also true that every cloud we see doesn’t result in rain.”

In order to endure well our trials, we must have hope. President Faust states “Hope is the anchor of our souls. I know of no one who is not in need of hope – young or old, strong or weak, rich or poor. As the prophet Ether exhorted ‘Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with a surety of hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.’”

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Hope Talk - Part Two

In the 1968 Olympics a marathon runner names John Akhwari from Tanzania finished the race a little over an hour after the winner had crossed the finish line. Earlier in the race he sustained an injury and could have dropped out of the race, no one would have blamed him if he had. Tired, dehydrated, disoriented, and with leg cramps, he finished the race. When asked why he did not give up, he stated “My country did not send me 5,000 miles to start the race; my country sent me to finish the race.” “He knew who he was … he knew his purpose – to finish the race. He knew that he had to endure to the finish, so that he could honorably return home to Tanzania. Our mission in life is much the same. We were not sent by Father in Heaven just to be born. We were sent to endure and return to Him with honor.” (Elder Hales)

D&C 24:8 Be patient in afflictions, for thou shalt have many; but endure them, for, lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days.

The scriptures are full of promises to those who can endure to the end:

3NE 15:9 Behold, I am the law, and the light. Look unto me, and endure to the end, and ye shall live; for unto him that endureth to the end will I give eternal life.

3NE 27:16 And it shall come to pass, that whoso repenteth and is baptized in my name shall be filled; and if he endureth to the end, behold, him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world.

If you are like me, the enduring part is the hardest part. But I have found that simply riding out the trial is not enough, we must endure well which I believe indicates that we must endure with hope, faith, and joy. Elder Joseph B Wirthlin in his Conference talk “Come What May, and Love It” said that “the way we react to adversity can be a major factor in how happy and successful we can be in life… if we approach adversities wisely, our hardest times can be times of greatest growth, which in turn can lead toward times of greatest happiness” Elder Wirthlin suggests a few steps to enduring trials well: Learn to Laugh, Seek for the Eternal, Learn the Principle of Compensation, Trust the Father and the Son. “Adversity, if handled correctly, can be a blessing in our lives. We can learn to love it.”

Monday, January 25, 2010

Hope Talk - Part One

A few weeks ago I was asked to give a talk in Sacrament meeting and I got to pick the topic. I loved that I got to do that because frankly I was able to choose something that was very personal to me, as opposed to taking a topic someone else chose and making it personal. I wanted to share my talk, but since it is long I am breaking it up into five short posts over the next few days.

I read a scripture at the end of last year that really stuck with me because honestly it has been a rough couple of years for our family. 2Nephi 2:2 “Nevertheless, Jacob, my first-born in the wilderness, thou knowest the greatness of God; and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain.” I thought a lot about that last line in the scripture: Thou knowest the greatness of God; and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain. Over the past 2 years I have heard many scriptures about trials, enduring, and faith that have not really given me a ton of insight as to why, for example, my mom has incurable cancer. Frankly the scripture about the Lord not trying us more than we can handle kind of made me mad sometimes in the past 2 years. Obviously it is true, but when I am going through a trial it is not so comforting. So when I heard this scripture “Thou knowest the greatness of God; and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain.” I was struck with an understanding of the purpose of trials, and the necessity of faith and hope.

When I think about trials I think of a marathon. What is a marathon but a long race and test of endurance? My guess is that 95% of this ward if asked right now to run a marathon today could not do it. My excuse is that it is Sunday and I need a day a rest. However, if a challenge was given to run a marathon at a future date most of us in the 95% who are healthy and able could do it. It takes training, planning, and the appropriate equipment including good shoes, water, proper food intake during training, planning, drive, endurance, and knowledge. The way to train for a marathon is to start with short training sessions of running and build up to the full 26.2 miles. Practice and drive to run a marathon comes from within. The road to run a marathon might be paved with fatigue, injuries, discouragement, time constraints, and frustrations.

Similarly we can train and endure our trials. When we equip ourselves with prayer, scripture study, testimony and faith we can overcome all trials we are given. Just like the obstacles that we would face in training for a marathon we face mortal roadblocks here on our race to eternal life. Our road that leads back to our Heavenly Father is paved with fatigue, injuries or illness, discouragement, time requirements, and frustrations. Our trials are personal, very real, and only we can figure out how to endure. Our faith will be tried and tested. Life is not meant to be easy; life is a marathon; a race of endurance to the end.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


My boss was at the doctor yesterday for a heart stress test only to find out that while gone his house was broken into, burglared and his wife's car was stolen. I find that much more ironic than"rain on your wedding day" or a "free ride when you've already paid."

It is sad that there are people in this world who have no respect for others, only selfishly fend for themselves. It is also very sad that there is no magical solution to problems like theft, vandalism, assault, etc. A report is taken by police, but rarely is justice seen. It is sad.

Friday, January 15, 2010

This video is legen ... wait for it ... dary

Any fans of How I Met Your Mother? How much did I
love this week when Barney broke into song? See in my
world this is perfectly normal to have a song and dance
routine to answer a perfectly normal question...
If you are a fan, you might notice that the pic seems
to be inverted from the tv show... not sure why.
Warning of a little swearing...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Happy Birthday Besty

Today is Besty's birthday and I am not going to go into how old (30) she is, just how much I love her! How I wish I was on my way to Vegas with you right now. Mmmm steak and impersonators! What more can a girl as for for her birthday? Well besides being able to leave for vacation on time... but I digress for you.

Have a good trip and you better be back for the Globes. All I am saying!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Helping Hand

Many of you will be in similar economic situations as I am and cannot do much to help in times of disaster such as the nation of Haiti is facing now. I did read on the White House website of a way I know I can help and wanted to pass it on for anyone who might be interested in such help as well. The link above will take you to the official White House website where there is a short video from President Obama with information on the USA effort to help and a few links to donate. The easiest way I found there was to text HAITI to 90999 where a $10 charge will appear on my cell phone bill. I decided to try this since it was suggested on I received a text back asking me to confirm my donation by replying 'yes', and then a text telling me what to expect on my phone bill ($10 charge to your phone for Red Cross Int'l Relief.) Then one more text telling me if I wanted to receive more texts to reply 'yes'. Standard text message fees apply, but since I have a data plan I am not charged to send or receive texts. I felt a $10 contribution is something I know I can afford, and while it might not seem like much I believe that the small efforts of many add up fairly fast. Since the idea was on a verified government website I felt safe in donating in such a manner.


Last night was the Stock Market class in Relief Society and I learned so much from Ben AND from the others in the class with me. Some of my favorite points are below:
  1. There is an inherent risk in investing
  2. One should not invest if one is not financially able to take such risk
  3. There is a difference between investors and speculators in the market
  4. Bonds and stocks are vastly different; a bond is basically investing in debt, a stock is an ongoing investment in a share of something
  5. Education in investing is the key to success
  6. Everyone is involved in investing through the purchase of life, home, auto, etc insurance
  7. There is no such thing as a "sure thing" and anyone who tells you different is not on the up and up
  8. Not all independent financial planners are untrustworthy just as not all financial planners who are affiliated with a large firm are safe to invest with
  9. A person does not need to be rich to start investing in the secondary (stock) market
And my personal favorite:

Finding a stock broker or personal financial advisor is like having sex... you just don't do it with anyone you do not trust (bless your heart Melissa!! You have a way of expressing things in a way I can always understand!)

All in all an eventful and eye opening meeting! Now to educate myself better...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Busy Bean

My sister, Colleen, has started a new business making handbags and such. If you click on the logo above it will take you to her website. She is naming all of her bags and such, and is having a contest right now to name some really cute wristlets. The winner of this naming contest is going to win a custom made wristlet free. You will get to pick the fabric you want your wristlet made in if you win. She is naming her purses and such as one would name a child. The bag I am getting is called Chloe, for example.

She and I just went Monday to pick out the fabric for my purse (red, black, and white... a picture to come when it is done!) and wallet (green and cream.) Her Etsy shop will be set up this weekend to make it easier to order if anyone has a desire to do so. They are pretty much awesome!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Do any of you work with idiots or are they all in my office? I seem to be surrounded today...

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Internet Rules!

I am sitting in Utah watching my boy Dylan play a basketball game LIVE in St. Louis. How awesome is the internet?

Bragging time? Don't mind if I do: D's team The Washington University in St. Louis Bears are ranked #1 in the NCAA Div III standings. Last year they won their second division championship in a row and D was a part of it. I am a very proud former nanny! Although I do feel old when I say "I used to nanny a kid who now is a sophomore in college."