Thursday, August 28, 2014

To be Cleansed

Last Sunday I studied the lyrics of REVERENTLY AND MEEKLY NOW as we prepared to take the sacrament.  Something about this particular hymn stood out to me in a beautiful way.  This song is written in first-person as if Jesus were speaking, but not like His usual direct quotes that come from the scriptures.  It seemed more like poetry and art than doctrine.  And I loved it.  The words stirred inside of me.
Does anyone else feel like there's a hidden fear to stray from exact scripture and doctrine?  And I don't mean this question in a "go and preach false doctrine" kind of way...  Ew.  That makes me feel icky.
I mean, I don't know, I feel like when Christ was on the earth He always spoke in parables or metaphors to make us have to do the interpreting.  Maybe his words touched different people in different ways based on their personal experiences.  I don't know where I'm going with this....
I guess I'm saying that I appreciate art and interpretation of gospel topics: Enlighten those strengthening feelings of our testimonies with sparks of imagination and creativity.
I found myself pondering the sacrament in a new way that day.  My mind traveled back to memories of my baptism day.  I tried to grasp what it truly meant to be clean and pure, washed away of ones sins.  How does one put into words the sensation of being white and completely stainless?  A picture was painted in my mind and although it won't be found in scripture or sunday school lesson manuals, this is what the atonement means to me...

The silence in the air felt as pure as the hush of my inner soul.  My eyes were pillowed in the comfort of the undiluted white painted down the grand stonewalls.   The cool breath against the borders of my lungs accepted its cleansing gift with full gratitude. 
         Above me, diamonds splashed over the heavy chandeliers and dilated my senses with its unquestioning demand for respect.  The sunlight soaked through the surrounding stain glassed windows, radiating the energy of life fueled from its warming source. 
         My skin felt as soft as the silk, white dress that draped from my shoulders to my toes, dressing my elbows and wrists.   This body, the protector of my tissued spirit, seemed awake enough to fly through an entire wooded forest yet feasted on the calmness that flowed through the room. 
         I was alone.  But had never felt less lonely.  My heart seemed crowded with the attention and love that bubbled through the emptiness.  With no one there to observe or follow, my tiptoed feet crept in front of me, making up their own mind with no need for direction.  I wandered the open space adoring the terrific scene.
         A whisper of subconscious emotions pulled me towards the closed doors that sealed my atmosphere’s perfect borders.  The cushion of my palms pressed against the solid frame and gently swung open my pleasant, soothing obstacle.
         A distinct gravitational pull soared me through the empty hallways longing to find a hidden treasure.  Somewhere in my prison of solitude, I sensed one, and only one, single individual that lingered inside here with me.  My heart raced, longing to find Him.
         I explored all of the quiet rooms, climbed the crystal clear, spiral staircase, and rushed past every closet and secret space until I came upon the hidden doorway of the highest floor. 
         The dark room was cracked open with traces of candlelight and quiet hummings of reverent melodies seeping out the thin lines of the opening doorway.  I peeled open the blocking bolder that rested against its entrance and studied the precious scene that awaited inside.
         There He was.  I recognized His soul before even glancing at his face.  He knelt alone with His eyes pressed above to His almightly God in the throne of the stars.  And I wept.

... I asked my hubby to read this before posting to tell me what he thought and he told me it sounded like I was playing hide-and-go-seek in the temple with Jesus.

"Maybe I am, Mitchell... Maybe I am."

Art.  Interpretation.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

We'll Bring The World His Truth

I had to share...

  I'm so glad my mom finally posted this song to her music blog.  When my little brother left for his mission, she arranged this version of We'll Bring the World His Truth to play at his farewell.

I love what she says as she describes it:
"This piece begins quietly – humbly.  But it soon gains strength and power, much like so many young missionaries out sharing the good news.  Truth has a power all its own.  It wants to be heard.  It wants to be found and that in itself is a beautiful thing."

Click here to navigate to my mom's music page.

Please feel free to download and share her music.  She loves it!

Click HERE to download free sheet music (Piano, Four Hands)
Click HERE to download free sheet music (Cello)

Monday, August 11, 2014

How Can I Prepare Now To Be A Righteous Wife And Mother?: Part Two

My momma - 1983
I love this lesson so much.  August is my favorite month in the Come Follow Me manual.  To see my post for this lesson from last year, please click below:

This year I'm taking a different approach.  My main focus will be on the talk given by Elder L. Whitney Clayton - MARRIAGE: WATCH AND LEARN.
In it he states:

We can learn so much by watching and then considering what we have seen and felt. In that spirit, let me share with you a few principles I have observed by watching and learning from wonderful, faithful marriages.

I tried to ponder who in my life I have "watched and learned" from as wonderful examples of strong temple marriages.  There are my terrific parents, of course, who I owe so much to for always raising a peaceful, loving home.  There are also my grandparents.  I have never in my life witnessed a more enamored couple in love.  Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth, Romeo and Juliet, they've got NOTHING on my grandparents.  They are two souls with hearts intwined by an unbreakable connection of tenderness, selflessness, and celestial joy.

Taking sections from Elder Clayton's talk, I interviewed my grandparents and asked how these principles have helped build their relationship in their marriage.  Since they live eight hours away, I edited a video mixed with the general conference talk to share during class.  I'll assign each YW a principle from the talk and pause between each section to allow the girls to discuss what they read and what they learned from it.  I'm also made a version of the video (without my grandparents) HERE for people to use in their lessons.  You can choose a guest couple to come to class and interview them during your lesson, pausing between each section of the video...

Here are a few quotes from Mary N. Cook's Talk 

My challenge for the girls this week is to work on completing Good Works Value Experience #2 in their personal progress.
Service is an essential principle of family living. Help plan your family’s menus, obtain the food, and prepare part of the meals for two weeks. During that time help your family gather to share mealtimes. Report to your class what you have learned.

As motivation, I want to hand out at the end of class a meal time starter kit.  If they don't have two weeks to work on their Personal Progress at least they can plan one fun meal this week to surprise their families.  Their kit includes a meal chart, recipe ideas, and little candle lights for extra fanciness.... because everyone knows twinkling lights makes everything fancy ;)

I picked out a few recipes from Chef in Training and made notecard sized handouts to go with their kit below.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Girls Camp: Disney Princesses

This year's girls camp theme is Disney Princesses.

Did anyone else take note while watching TANGLED that Rapunzel would have MOST DEFINITELY earned her honor bee for personal progress if she was a member of the church?

And so I'll read a book
Or maybe two or three
I'll add a few new paintings to my gallery
I'll play guitar and knit
And cook and basically
Just wonder when will my life begin?

Then after lunch it's puzzles and darts and baking
Paper mache, a bit of ballet and chess
Pottery and ventriloquy, candle making
Then I'll stretch, maybe sketch, take a climb,
Sew a dress!

She could have marked off, like, 10 value experiences in one day!

Moving on...

Unfortunately, I won't be making it to girls camp this summer because of my work schedule.  But thankfully I was given a peewee size project so I can feel like I contributed in some way for the girls.

Our ward's assigned princess is Pocahontas.  And I was asked to make a handout saying:
I was having too much fun, so I made two different choices.

 So, there you go... my Saturday morning activity in a nutshell.
I doubt many people will be able to use this, but nothing's gonna stop me from posting today!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Another Facebook Challenge

Here's another great missionary opportunity for the youth.
Click HERE for the actual Facebook page with more information.

Flooding Facebook with 1,000,000 Temple Posts
August 11th, 2014
Las Vegas, NV Temple

Here are the details mentioned: So, my goal is to have 1,000,000 different LDS people on August 11th 2014 post their testimony of the temples on Facebook for the world to see. I know that if we can get 1,000,000 people to do this that one soul might come closer to Jesus Christ, who this is really all about. (in your testimonies connect temples to Him!) Please include a photo of you and/or your family at the temple as well as a description of how the temple has changed your life!
Feel free to use the hashtags #ldstemples and #myeternalfamily #milliontempletestimonies so that we can all connect!!!

Orlando, FL Temple

The temple has changed me by opening my eyes to the bigger picture, helping me travel through this life with a clearer perspective.  In the House of the Lord I feel protected from the troubles and worries of the outside world.  I am given a light and a destination to focus on so when the journey is rough and tearing me down with countless obstacles in my path, I can raise my head and see in the distance my celestial stopping place, beckoning my aching feet to persevere so at last I may find eternal peace and rest.
I am so grateful for this amazing gift our Heavenly Father has blessed us with in this time and age.  We are given a glimpse into Heaven as we humbly enter the doors of the temple.  The work and ordinances performed there allow us to live forever with our loving families.  My family is my entire world.  I can't imagine living without the truth of being forever bound to the souls I love and have cherished in this lifetime. 

San Diego, CA Temple

I know that my Redeemer lives.  It is through Him and His gospel that all of this is possible, that we have these Castles of Heaven accessible here for us on this earth.   I am grateful for his everlasting love and His sacrifice, giving His life for me and for all of you.   That is my testimony in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Kona, HI Temple

I think Facebook has become such a wonderful missionary tool.  One of my amazing young women has her own traditional "Testimony Tuesday" post where she shares a spiritual thought on her wall for all her friends to see.   What an outstanding example of standing for truth and righteousness at all times and in all things and in all places!

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