Friday, December 09, 2016

Light the World Day 9: Jesus Visited the Lonely and So Can You

You can find more information here.

I really wanted to find a way to actually go and visit the lonely today, but other things pressed on my time, and the day slipped away from me.  Tonight I took the time to read this message, which filled my heart and nudged me to spend more time praying for those who are lonely.  And to pray that I might recognize loneliness and take action where appropriate. 

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Light the World Day 7: Jesus Fed the Hungry and So Can You

You can find more information here.

Again, I switched 7 and 8.  Today Julia's girl scout troop went to Feed My Starving Children, a "Christian non-profit that provides nutritionally complete meals specifically formulated for malnourished children."  I got to come along, and it fit so well with today's challenge to feed the hungry.  We worked together for a little over an hour, packing and boxing meals.  Because we were with friends, the time flew by.  On our way out the door, Julia said, "Mom, I want to do this again!"  We will definitely be going back.

I am so grateful that we have enough food to feed our family.  I'm grateful there is an organization dedicating to feeding hungry children in my area.  I'm grateful I got to go and share this experience with my sweet daughter.   Lots of gratitude flowing over here.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Light the World Day 8: Jesus Prayed for Others and So Can You

You can find more information here.

Due to a previously scheduled trip to Feed My Starving Children tomorrow, I pulled a switcheroo and did #8 today.  I listened to Elder Nelson's talk about prayer while doing the dishes (this is the only way the dishes get done, if I'm distracted enough to tolerate it).  Directly afterwards, I did my regular scripture study, tacking on some extra time to read about prayer.  Here is what I took away from it: I need to pray more often, and more sincerely. I have a testimony of the power of prayer, but sometimes I forget just how specific and personal my prayers can and should be.  Today I resolve to spend more time on my knees, speaking with my Heavenly Father.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Light the World Day 6: Jesus Read the Scriptures and So Can You

You can find more information here.

Before my regular scripture reading, I spent a little bit of time flipping through my scriptures, reading various passages I have marked, remembering times in my life when they felt particularly poignant.  Let me share a few.

  • When Clark was unemployed, I really struggled to understand what God's plan was for our family.  I had grown to love our little town in Michigan, and the thought of leaving was weighing on me heavily, along with the massive amount of uncertainty in our every day life.  We were fairly certain that Clark's next job would not be in Michigan, but we had no idea when that next job might come along.  I struggled with living daily life, knowing that we would probably be moving in the near future.  What was the point of cultivating these relationships, or being "all in" if we were going to up and leave on 2 weeks notice?  But then in my regular scripture reading, I turned to D&C 51:16-17, which says, "And I consecrate unto them this land for a little season, until I, the Lord, shall provide for them otherwise, and command them to go hence; And the hour and the day is not given unto them, wherefore let them act upon this land as for years, and this shall turn unto them for their good."  I read those words, "act upon this land as for years," and knew that while we were aware of the forthcoming changes in our lives, we needed to be fully invested in our lives where we were.  God had a plan, and our job was to live where he placed us, and by live I mean be present, cultivate relationships, plant roots, and not think about the future too much.  That scripture carried me through the next 8 months of waiting, and gave me a much brighter outlook on life.
  • Last year I was reading through the book of Ether (in the Book of Mormon) and I came across what is a very well-known and loved scripture, chapter 12 verse 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 know I have read that verse a hundred times, but this time, it was like I finally GOT it.  It was an ah-ha moment, a light bulb went off, pick your metaphor.  This verse is about the Atonement!  We are imperfect.  But if we come unto Christ and use His Atonement, and have faith that His power is real and can help us, He will make weak things become strong.  And then, because we knew exactly how weak we were before, and can see how strong we have become, we will know that the only way this could have happened was through that Atonement.  And thus our faith becomes knowledge, and our trust in Christ increases.  These two things are the miracles of the Atonement: that we can be changed through Christ, and that we can recognize the power that changes us. I'm sure others have long ago recognized the beauty of this verse, but reading it last year I internalized it and it became so personal to me.  Lesson learned: keep reading the scriptures.  Old verses can have new meaning.
  • It's no secret that music is a big part of my life, and whenever I come across scriptures that have been made into songs, I love them all the more.  This is particularly true for the scriptures used in The Messiah.  This year I went through my scriptures and marked them all.  I love to flip through and find all the spots that say, "The Messiah," and then sing the words in my head.  But my very favorite scriptures used in that work are found in Isaiah 53: "Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."  What a poetic description of what our Savior has done for us.  "With his stripes we are healed."  Beautiful.

I could share so many scriptures that have touched my heart, but I will end with this.  From time to time dear friends have shared their favorite scriptures with me, and I have made a note of this in the margin next to the scripture.  I delight in seeing those names associated with those scriptures.  The scripture sent in a letter from a friend on a mission.  The scriptures of fellow leaders in the Young Women program, shared at girls camp.  I love, love, love these scriptures, because they remind me of these wonderful people whose testimonies have touched my life.  There aren't many of them, though.  So I leave with this request: My dear family and friends, if you have a favorite scripture, would you share it with me?  Because I would love to have your name in my book. 

Monday, December 05, 2016

Light the World Day 5: Jesus Healed the Sick and So Can You

You can find more information here.

I read through the suggestions on of how I can help provide comfort and love to those struggling with physical ailments, and it felt like none of the options were really viable.  I'm already an organ donor.  I can't give blood.  My plate is too full to add in volunteering at a hospital.  And while I firmly believe in the power of prayer, I wanted to actually take action, to DO something, and to do it today.  Then I hit on just the right thing.  I pulled out the tape measure to make sure I had enough length, and then headed over to Great Clips and chopped those locks right off.  Tomorrow they are being shipped off to be made into a wig for someone with cancer.  And I get a kicky new haircut, so win-win.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Light the World Day 4: Jesus Worshipped His Father and So Can You

You can find more information here.

Today we went to church, as we usually do on Sundays.  We sang with our ward choir, partook of the sacrament, bore testimony (or just listened), discussed gospel principles, and sang with the stake choir.  It was a full, happy Sabbath.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Light of the World Day 3: Jesus Helped Others to See and So Can You

You can find more information here

I read John 9 today (about Jesus healing a blind man and all the flack the now-seeing man gets from the Pharisees for it), and thought about how we can help others to see.  I had this great vision that we would go around the dinner table as a family and share one good trait about each person, helping them to see themselves more clearly.

Instead we ate at Wendy's because no one wanted to do the dishes.  In the car on the way there I started telling Ella how helpful she has been lately, but was met with, "I'm getting bored."  So then we had a bored Ella and a grumpy Shannon.  Julia tried her best to smooth things over (one of her good traits), but Bored and Grumpy overrode her.  That was the last we talked about how we see each other.  My mothering skills just can't be beat.

But I did read that scripture.  And thought about blind people.  So I guess the day wasn't a total wash.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Light the World Day 2: Jesus Honored His Parents and So Can You

You can find more information here

It took me until the end of the day, but I did call my parents today.  I let the girls talk to them too, something we haven't done for a while.  I have to say, I have the best parents ever.  They have always been, and will always be, incredibly supportive of me.  I'll never forget the day I was having a meltdown over what to do with my life (because I was a sophomore and hadn't picked a major yet [ah, youth]), and my wonderful parents came right on down to BYU, took me out to lunch, and talked it out with me.  They told me things they thought I was good at, and asked questions about what I enjoyed doing.  They helped me talk through all the options I was looking at and make a decision.  And I felt so loved that they would take the time to come do that.  But they do stuff like this all the time.  If I ever have a major life change, I know I can talk to them and get the best set of listening ears, along with some great advice, yet without them telling me what to do.  They are wonderful.  Plus, they are just about the most kind people you will ever meet.  And brilliant.  I'm pretty sure my mom knows everything.  I want to be just like her when I grow up.

I also took some time during the day to start reading letters my grandparents wrote to each other during WWII.  It is delightful to read their voices as young people.  They are still themselves (a personality like my grandmother's doesn't just pop up one day), but they are younger, less experienced, and even, dare I say, goofier.  Here's a joke my grandpa wrote: "Did you know they have a new use for holes in doughnuts. They use them to stuff macaroni with."  WHAT IS THAT JOKE.  I'll tell you what it is, it's something a 19-year-old boy would say.  My grandpa wasn't always a quiet old man, he used to be a goofy 19-year-old boy!  Quite the revelation.

I've always loved watching a love story unfold, and to read about theirs gives me even more warm fuzzies.  I've also always loved reading about WWII, and to read about them living through that time is fascinating.  It makes me feel so grateful that these letters survived, that my wonderful mom (referenced above) has taken the time to type them up, and that I have the time to read them.  I love and honor my parents and my grandparents.