Thursday, December 31, 2009

The 'W' Formula!

W ork
W ill
W in
W hen
W ishy
W ashy
W ishing
W on't

by Thomas S. Monson


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Vague Goals

"A vague goal is no goal at all. The Ten Commandments wouldn't be very impressive, for instance, if they weren't specific, but simply were couched in a phraseology such as 'thou shalt not be a bad person."
—Neal A. Maxwell-

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Just Distracting Enough

Does it feel as if Christmas happened months, not days ago to anyone else?? Anyway, here's your thought for the day:)

"It is wonderful, but not surprising, that after the admonition to "be faithful and diligent in keeping the commandments of God," he tells us how this is to be in these few simple and compelling words, "Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not" (D&C 6:20, 36). Doubt and fear are enemies that can enslave us in prison walls of our own making.

Thoughts don't have to be sinful, only distracting enough to weaken the communication so we don't hear the whisperings of the Spirit. Looking unto him in every thought will eradicate thoughts that fuel the fires of jealousy, envy, pride, and related diseases that distract and destroy.

We are instructed,
"Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God" (D&C 121:45). President David O. McKay said, "No principle of life was more constantly emphasized by the Great Teacher than the necessity of right thinking".
(Ardeth Kapp, BYU Womens Conference 1999)

David O McKay also said,
"I will tell you who you are, when you tell me what you think about, when you don't have time to think".

Remember our
"thoughts don't have to be sinful, only distracting enough to weaken the communication so we don't hear the whisperings of the Spirit."

Hope you have a good day.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Christmas Spirit

"Born in a stable, cradled in a manger, He came forth from heaven to live on earth as mortal man and to establish the kingdom of God. During His earthly ministry, He taught men the higher law. His glorious gospel reshaped the thinking of the world. He blessed the sick. He caused the lame to walk, the blind to see, the deaf to hear. He even raised the dead to life. To us He has said, 'Come, follow me.'

"As we seek Christ, as we find Him, as we follow Him, we shall have the Christmas spirit, not for one fleeting day each year, but as a companion always. We shall learn to forget ourselves. We shall turn our thoughts to the greater benefit of others".

(Thomas S. Monson, "In Search of the Christmas Spirit," Ensign, Dec 1987, 3).

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

True Gifts

"We all enjoy giving and receiving presents. But there is a difference between presents and gifts. The true gifts may be part of ourselves—giving of the riches of the heart and mind—and therefore more enduring and of far greater worth than presents bought at the store.

"Of course, among the greatest of gifts is the gift of love....

"Some, like Ebenezer Scrooge in Dickens's A Christmas Carol, have a hard time loving anyone, even themselves, because of their selfishness. Love seeks to give rather than to get. Charity towards and compassion for others is a way to overcome too much self-love"

(James E. Faust, "A Christmas with No Presents," Ensign, Dec 2001, 2–6).

Friday, December 18, 2009

Only One Christmas

"There has been only one Christmas - the rest are anniversaries".

~W.J. Cameron

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Hero at the Grocery Store, by Stephenie Meyer

Suddenly everyone was quiet. Even my rowdy children paused, feeling the change in the atmosphere.

Christmas stories happen in the most everyday places. I was part of one not long ago at the grocery store. I hope I never forget it, though the memory is bittersweet.

I had been shopping for almost an hour by the time I got to the checkout lines. My two youngest sons were with me, the four-year-old refusing to hold onto the cart, the two-year-old trying to climb out of the basket and jump down to play with his brother. Both got progressively whinier and louder as I tried to keep them under control, so I was looking for the fastest lane possible. I had two choices. In the first line were three customers, and they all had just a few purchases. In the second line was only one man, a harried young father with his own crying baby, but his cart was overflowing with groceries.

I quickly looked over the three-person line again. The woman in the front was very elderly, white haired and rail thin, and her hands were shaking as she tried unsuccessfully to unlatch her big purse. In the other line, the young father was throwing his food onto the conveyor belt with superhuman speed. I got in line behind him.

It was the right choice. I was able to start unloading my groceries before the elderly woman was even finished paying. My four-year-old was pulling candy from the shelf, and my little one was trying to help by lobbing cans of soup at me. I felt I couldn’t get out of the store fast enough.
And then, over the sound of the store’s cheery holiday music, I heard the checker in the other line talking loudly, too loudly. I glanced over as my hands kept working.

“No, I’m sorry,” the checker was almost shouting at the old woman, who didn’t seem to understand. “That card won’t work. You are past your limit. Do you have another way to pay?”

The tiny old woman blinked at the checker with a confused expression. Not only were her hands shaking now, but her shoulders too. The teenage bagger rolled her eyes and sighed.

As I caught a soup can just before it hit my face, I thought to myself: “Boy, did I choose the right line! Those three are going to be there forever.” My mood was positively smug as my checker began scanning my food.

But the smiling woman directly in line behind the elderly lady had a different reaction. Quietly, with no fanfare, she moved to the older woman’s side and ran her own credit card through the reader.

“Merry Christmas,” she said softly, still smiling.

And then everyone was quiet. Even my rowdy children paused, feeling the change in the atmosphere.

It took a minute for the older woman to understand what had happened. The checker, her face thoughtful, hesitated with the receipt in her hand, not sure whom to give it to. The smiling woman took it and tucked it into the elderly woman’s bag.

“I can’t accept …” the older woman began to protest, with tears forming in her eyes.

The smiling woman interrupted her. “I can afford to do it. What I can’t afford is not to do it.”

“Let me help you out,” the suddenly respectful bagger insisted, taking the basket and also taking the old woman’s arm, the way she might have helped her own grandmother.

I watched the checker in my line pause before she pressed the total key to dab at the corner of her eyes with a tissue.

Paying for my groceries and gathering my children, I made it out of the store before the smiling woman. I had made the right choice of lanes, it seemed.

But as I walked out into the bright December sunshine, I was not thinking about my luck but about what I could not afford.

I could not afford my current, self-absorbed frame of mind.

I could not afford to have my children learn lessons of compassion only from strangers.

I could not afford to be so distant from the spirit of Christ at any time of the year—especially during this great season of giving.

I could not afford to let another stranger, another brother or sister, cross my path in need of help without doing something about it.

And that is why I hope never to forget the Christmas hero in the grocery store. The next time I have a chance to be that kind of a hero, I can’t afford to miss it.

- Stephenie Meyer, “Hero at the Grocery Store,” Ensign, Dec 2006, 20–21

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

This Beating Christmas Heart

"Let us remember that the Christmas heart is a giving heart, a wide open heart that thinks of others first. The birth of the baby Jesus stands as the most significant event in all history, because it has meant the pouring into a sick world the healing medicine of love which has transformed all manner of hearts for almost two thousand years... Underneath all the bulging bundles is this beating Christmas heart."
-- George Matthew Adams (The Christmas Heart)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Humbug: A Christmas Carol

My brother-in-law Lee, has written a really cute children's Christmas book and was on TV promoting it this morning. You can see the clip by clicking here.

'Humbug: A Christmas Carol' is the story of Winterton, a frozen town with frozen hearts and frozen people. A magical humbug that attracts the magical reindeer of Santa is brought to the town of Winterton by a little orphan girl called Mimi. The warmth of the little girl and the magical music of the humbug bring Santa, the reindeer and Christmas back to Winterton.

The illustrations are great too as they start off without color, but as the peoples hearts unfreeze they become more and more colorful. Ebenezer Scrooge even wrote the Forward to it:).

You can visit the website to order and see previews of it, and if you use code 'UYV" you get a 5% discount and $1 will be given to the Utah Youth Village. Check it out!

All Must Go To Bethlehem

"All the world must go to Bethlehem
though some but shut the door to Christ
all the world must go to Bethlehem
and some will find the world's wisdom there.
All the earth must go to Bethlehem,
for there is earth's hope."

—John F. Mulholland- "We Must Go to Bethlehem," Treasury of the Christian Faith

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Some Tips for a More Worshipful Christmas

  • Replace some holiday decorations in your home with reminders of Christ.
  • Politely decline requests that will take you away from family.
  • Play more Christmas music.
  • Donate gently used items to a thrift store.
  • Go Christmas caroling.
  • Avoid “mad rush” shopping times.
  • Say thank you as often as possible.
  • Schedule a night to help another person or family.
  • Call someone you normally wouldn't to wish him or her a Merry Christmas.
  • Delegate some holiday preparations to children or other family members.
  • Trim the gift list.
  • Simplify a traditional activity.
  • Find quiet time to pray.
  • Write down great memories as they happen.
  • Set and stick to a holiday budget.
  • Forgive a grudge.
Ideas from

Friday, December 11, 2009

Tips for a Christ-Centred Christmas

Nurturemama shared a link to a website the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had made to give us idea's for Christmas, like family activities, traditions, free music downloads, video's and talks. Check it out here:

Here is am excerpt from one of the talks on there from Jeffrey R. Holland, "Maybe Christmas Doesn't Come From a Store":

"There are so many lessons to be learned from the sacred account of Christ’s birth that we always hesitate to emphasize one at the expense of all the others. Forgive me while I do just that in the time we have together here.

One impression which has persisted with me recently is that this is a story—in profound paradox with our own times—that this is a story of intense poverty. I wonder if Luke did not have some special meaning when he wrote not “there was no room in the inn” but specifically that “there was no room for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:7; italics added.) We cannot be certain, but it is my guess that money could talk in those days as well as in our own. I think if Joseph and Mary had been people of influence or means, they would have found lodging even at that busy time of year.

I have wondered if the Inspired Version also was suggesting they did not know the “right people” in saying, “There was none to give room for them in the inns.” (JST, Luke 2:7.)

We cannot be certain what the historian intended, but we do know these two were desperately poor. At the purification offering which the parents made after the child’s birth, a turtledove was substituted for the required lamb, a substitution the Lord had allowed in the Law of Moses to ease the burden of the truly impoverished. (See Lev. 12:8.)

The wise men did come later bearing gifts, adding some splendor and wealth to this occasion, but it is important to note that they came from a distance, probably Persia, a trip of several hundred miles at the very least. Unless they started long before the star appeared, it is highly unlikely that they arrived on the night of the babe’s birth. Indeed, Matthew records that when they came Jesus was “a young child,” and the family was living in “a house.” (Matt. 2:11.)

Perhaps this provides an important distinction we should remember in our own holiday season. Maybe the purchasing and the making and the wrapping and the decorating—those delightfully generous and important expressions of our love at Christmas—should be separated, if only slightly, from the more quiet, personal moments when we consider the meaning of the Baby (and his birth) who prompts the giving of such gifts.

As happens so often if we are not careful, the symbols can cover that which is symbolized. In some of our lives the manger has already been torn down to allow for a discount store running three-for-a-dollar specials on gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

I do not feel—or mean this to sound—like a modern-day Scrooge. The gold, frankincense, and myrrh were humbly given and appreciatively received, and so they should be, every year and always. As my wife and children can testify, no one gets more giddy about the giving and receiving of presents than I do.

But for that very reason, I, like you, need to remember the very plain scene, even the poverty, of a night devoid of tinsel or wrapping or goods of this world. Only when we see that single, sacred, unadorned object of our devotion—the Babe of Bethlehem—will we know why “tis the season to be jolly” and why the giving of gifts is so appropriate."

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Nothing Will Startle Us More

"Nothing is going to startle us more when we pass through the veil to the other side than to realize how well we know our Father and how familiar His face is to us".
– President Ezra Taft Benson, 'Jesus Christ--Gifts and Expectations', BYU, 10 Dec 1974

Monday, December 7, 2009

Dirty Dishes

I/we have a bad habit of not doing dishes straightaway, it'll often be the next morning before we 'get' to them. I will invariably find that food that was left on the plate the night before, now has the consistency of super glue, and that I have to soak and then scrub them before the dishwasher takes a turn at them. It makes my kitchen look messy, and provides extra jobs that could've been avoided if I had just spent the 10 seconds to rinse off the plate straightaway.

This reminded me of sin (naturally:). There have been times in my life when I know I have done something wrong and I repent and change straightaway. Other times I am too spiritually lazy to do so, knowing that it's going to take some effort on my part. When I have left things which shouldn't have been left, and when I do wake up and want to change, I find I now have more damage to repair and more spiritual dirt to deal with.

Sister Beck says: "Sometimes people get casual about repenting. I have heard some people say that repenting is too hard. Others say they are tired of feeling guilty or have been offended by a leader who was helping them repent. Sometimes people give up when they have made mistakes and come to believe that there is no hope for them. Some people imagine that they will feel better about themselves if they just leave the restored gospel and go away". (Julie B. Beck, “Remembering, Repenting, and Changing,” Ensign, May 2007, 109–12)

The Lord says: “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.” (Ether 12:27)

I am grateful that the Lord teaches us little lessons that we need, even in the oddest of places. I need reminders, and His reminders show He cares.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Our Personal Conviction

Straight to the point:
"The intensity of our desire to share the gospel is a great indicator of the extent of our personal conversion."
Dallin H. Oaks - Ensign, Nov. 2001, 7

Friday, December 4, 2009

Parental Certainty

"No child in this Church should be left with uncertainty about his or her parents' devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ."
- Jeffrey R. Holland, Ensign, May 2003, 85

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Fiery Darts

Our sunday school lesson last week was on this subject, based on this scripture:

"Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked". (Eph 6:16)

Someone made a comment on this that really resonated with me. Paraphrasing, they said that fiery darts were much more dangerous than regular darts/arrows. A dart might be able to penetrate a chink in some armour, but it would only do localised damage, whereas a fiery dart once it has penetrated will consume the rest of the body, and quickly.

You can definitely see the correlation here to temptation and sin - that it is never localised, that it does affect 'all' of us, once acted upon. I think that the reverse is also true though that good attributes can consume the bad too. I hope that we will increase our faith, thereby increasing our protection from these nasty fiery darts, that just keep on coming!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Journals and Blessings

I was reminded recently of this talk by Elder Eyring about the importance of keeping a journal, and recognising your blessings. I hope it uplifts you too:):

"I came home late from a Church assignment. It was after dark. My father-in-law, who lived near us, surprised me as I walked toward the front door of my house. He was carrying a load of pipes over his shoulder, walking very fast and dressed in his work clothes. I knew that he had been building a system to pump water from a stream below us up to our property.

He smiled, spoke softly, and then rushed past me into the darkness to go on with his work. I took a few steps toward the house, thinking of what he was doing for us, and just as I got to the door, I heard in my mind—not in my own voice—these words: “I’m not giving you these experiences for yourself. Write them down.”

I went inside. I didn’t go to bed. Although I was tired, I took out some paper and began to write. And as I did, I understood the message I had heard in my mind. I was supposed to record for my children to read, someday in the future, how I had seen the hand of God blessing our family. Grandpa didn’t have to do what he was doing for us. He could have had someone else do it or not have done it at all. But he was serving us, his family, in the way covenant disciples of Jesus Christ always do. I knew that was true. And so I wrote it down, so that my children could have the memory someday when they would need it.

I wrote down a few lines every day for years. I never missed a day no matter how tired I was or how early I would have to start the next day. Before I would write, I would ponder this question: “Have I seen the hand of God reaching out to touch us or our children or our family today?” As I kept at it, something began to happen. As I would cast my mind over the day, I would see evidence of what God had done for one of us that I had not recognized in the busy moments of the day. As that happened, and it happened often, I realized that trying to remember had allowed God to show me what He had done.

More than gratitude began to grow in my heart. Testimony grew. I became ever more certain that our Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers. I felt more gratitude for the softening and refining that come because of the Atonement of the Savior Jesus Christ. And I grew more confident that the Holy Ghost can bring all things to our remembrance—even things we did not notice or pay attention to when they happened.

The years have gone by. My boys are grown men. And now and then one of them will surprise me by saying, “Dad, I was reading in my copy of the journal about when . . . ” and then he will tell me about how reading of what happened long ago helped him notice something God had done in his day.

My point is to urge you to find ways to recognize and remember God’s kindness. It will build our testimonies. You may not keep a journal. You may not share whatever record you keep with those you love and serve. But you and they will be blessed as you remember what the Lord has done. You remember that song we sometimes sing: “Count your many blessings; name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”

"O Remember, Remember", General Conference, October 2007, Henry B. Eyring

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