Be a disciple of Christ (Highlights from Elder Rasband-April 2014)

“Jesus Christ continues to extend the call “Come and follow me.”5 He walked His homeland with His followers in a selfless manner. He continues to walk with us, stand by us, and lead us. To follow His perfect example is to recognize and honor the Savior, who has borne all of our burdens through His sacred and saving Atonement, the ultimate act of service. What He asks of each one of us is to be able and willing to take up the joyful “burden” of discipleship.”

Focusing on serving our brothers and sisters can guide us to make divine decisions in our daily lives and prepares us to value and love what the Lord loves. In so doing, we witness by our very lives that we are His disciples. When we are engaged in His work, we feel His Spirit with us. We grow in testimony, faith, trust, and love.”

Elder Ronald A. Rasband, “The Joyful Burden of Discipleship”. April 2014 General Conference.

Caught living the gospel

While studying the June 2014 Ensign magazine, the following thought by Elder Holland really stood out to me:

“When He comes, I so want to be caught living the gospel. I want to be surprised right in the act of spreading the faith and doing something good.”

That is how I want to spend my life. Am I living each day of my life so that I might be caught living the gospel and doing something good???? Something to think about and strive for each day.

In the article, Elder Holland offered three lessons to remember in our call to be Christlike:

1) Never cheek your religion at the door

2) Be compassionate but be loyal to the commandments

3) Use gospel values to benefit communities and countries

The Atonement helps us to bear the load (Highlights from Elder Bednar-April 2014)

Each of us also carries a load. Our individual load is comprised of demands and opportunities, obligations and privileges, afflictions and blessings, and options and constraints. Two guiding questions can be helpful as we periodically and prayerfully assess our load: “Is the load I am carrying producing the spiritual traction that will enable me to press forward with faith in Christ on the strait and narrow path and avoid getting stuck? Is the load I am carrying creating sufficient spiritual traction so I ultimately can return home to Heavenly Father?”

“Bearing a load is a necessary and essential part of the plan of happiness.”

Not only does the Atonement of Jesus Christ overcome the effects of the Fall of Adam and make possible the remission of our individual sins and transgressions, but His Atonement also enables us to do good and become better in ways that stretch far beyond our mortal capacities. Most of us know that when we do things wrong and need help to overcome the effects of sin in our lives, the Savior has made it possible for us to become clean through His redeeming power. But do we also understand that the Atonement is for faithful men and women who are obedient, worthy, and conscientious and who are striving to become better and serve more faithfully? I wonder if we fail to fully acknowledge this strengthening aspect of the Atonement in our lives and mistakenly believe we must carry our load all alone—through sheer grit, willpower, and discipline and with our obviously limited capacities.”

As we are yoked with Him through sacred covenants and receive the enabling power of His Atonement in our lives, we increasingly will seek to understand and live according to His will. We also will pray for the strength to learn from, change, or accept our circumstances rather than praying relentlessly for God to change our circumstances according to our will. We will become agents who act rather than objects that are acted upon (see 2 Nephi 2:14). We will be blessed with spiritual traction.”

Elder David A. Bednar, “Bear Up Their Burdens with Ease”. April 2014 General Conference.

Christlike Obedience (Highlights from Elder Hales-April 2014)

“Jesus taught us to obey in simple language that is easy to understand: “If ye love me, keep my commandments,”5 and “Come, follow me.”

Using our agency to obey means choosing to “do what is right [and letting] the consequence follow.”11 It requires self-mastery and brings confidence, eternal happiness, and a sense of fulfillment to us and, by example, to those around us; and it always includes a deep personal commitment to sustain priesthood leaders and follow their teachings and counsel.”

As disciples of Christ, we have a sacred obligation to uphold His laws and commandments and the covenants which we take upon ourselves.”

Obedience is taught by example. By how we live, we teach our children, “Learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God.”

Elder Robert D. Hales, “If Ye Love Me, Keep My Commandments”.  April 2014 General Conference.

Christlike love can change the world (Highlights from Elder Holland-April 2014)

Christlike love is the greatest need we have on this planet…”meme-holland-love-1240450-gallery

Pure Christlike love flowing from true righteousness can change the world.”

Be strong. Live the gospel faithfully even if others around you don’t live it at all. Defend your beliefs with courtesy and with compassion, but defend them.”

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Cost–and Blessings–of Discipleship”. April 2014 General Conference.

Jesus Christ is the greatest example (Highlights from Elder Scott-April 2014)

meme-scott-example-1240483-galleryGod’s purpose is “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”2 That is fundamental to all we do. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in things that we find fascinating or become so consumed by mundane responsibilities that we lose sight of God’s objectives. As you consistently focus your life on the most basic principles, you will gain an understanding of what you are to do, and you will produce more fruit for the Lord and more happiness for yourself.”

Remember, loving them is the powerful foundation for influencing those you want to help.”

There is no doctrine more fundamental to our work than the Atonement of Jesus Christ. At every appropriate opportunity, testify of the Savior and of the power of His Atoning sacrifice. Use scriptures that teach of Him and why He is the perfect pattern for everyone in life.4 You will need to study diligently. Do not become so absorbed with trivial things that you miss learning the doctrine and teachings of the Lord. With a solid, personal doctrinal foundation, you will be a powerful source for sharing vital truths with others who desperately need them.”

Elder Richard G. Scott, “I Have Given You an Example”. April 2014 General Conference.

Sistershood and loving each other better (Highlights from Sister Oscarson-April 2014)

To be sisters implies that there is an unbreakable bond between us. Sisters take care of each other, watch out for each other, comfort each other, and are there for each other through thick and thin. The Lord has said, “I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine.”

If there are barriers, it is because we ourselves have created them. We must stop concentrating on our differences and look for what we have in common; then we can begin to realize our greatest potential and achieve the greatest good in this world. Sister Marjorie P. Hinckley once said, “Oh, how we need each other. Those of us who are old need you who are young. And, hopefully, you who are young need some of us who are old. It is a sociological fact that women need women. We need deep and satisfying and loyal friendships with each other.”6 Sister Hinckley was right; oh, how we need each other!”

“I invite you to not only love each other more but love each other better.”41138-2

Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, “Sisterhood: Oh, How We Need Each Other”. April 2014 General Women’s Meeting.

The Basics of our Summer Daily Plan

The summer season is a good time: sleeping in, swimming at the pool, reading books, and lots of uninterrupted time with my children…wait a second…the thought of lots of uninterrupted time with my children every summer can sometimes be a cause for panic! So I’ve done some thinking and some online research and discussing with other moms, and this is the plan that I have come up with for our family this summer. Our goal is to keep our brains and bodies active and our house clean!

6:45    Mom wakes up

7:00  Morning Mile Run (for mom and sometimes Anwyn, and sometimes Lily and Zach on their bikes)

7:45  Family Prayer, Read 5 verses in the Book of Mormon, Breakfast

Morning Fit: If we don’t get out and play first thing in the morning, the Florida heat and humidity will keep us inside the rest of the day. So right after breakfast we head outdoors for some physical fitness. The children take turns picking the activity: bike ride, playground at a park, tennis, soccer/balls. Basically any activity that gets us outdoors and moving.

Morning Things: Daily personal care habits: get dressed, brush teeth, brush hair, make beds, put away clothes.

Morning Work: Since I have three children, I divided our house into three cleaning zones: kitchen, living room, and bathrooms. The children rotate weekly being in charge of one zone. I work  with the children to teach them how to clean their zone. For example, depending on the age of the child, the kitchen zone involves emptying and loading the dishwasher, clearing the breakfast table, sweeping the floor, etc. The living room needs to be picked up, and sometimes dusted and sometimes vacuumed.

Once the three morning things are done, the children have earned 30 minutes of  “learning screen time”: a show on PBS, learning apps on the iPad, or websites like starfall, pbskids, abcya.com, or brainpop. Sometimes they do a screen together, but we usually end up with 1 child on the computer, 1 on the iPad, and 1 watching the TV.

Practice Time: to keep our brains active, the children are encouraged to practice something for at least 15 minutes. My 4-year-old reviews his activities from his speech therapy. My 6-year-old does reading lessons or practices sight words (I am trying to come up with fun ways to practice these and have a list of ideas). My 9-year-old is currently practicing  typing at the keyboard. Once they have completed practice time (and done some other activities) they have earned 30 minutes of free choice screen time.

Reading between the lines here, and you can probably see that screen time is the best motivator I have to encourage my children to get things done!

The rest of the day is a little less structured. I try to plan an activity for each day: playdates with friends, library trips, swimming at our neighborhood pool, etc. We usually swim at least 3 days a week, sometimes more (in my effort to tire my children out so they will go to sleep at night!). And we read books-picture books, chapter books, or individual reading (the Ant Bug read the first four Harry Potter books in four days this week).

I am hoping to work in more creative time and science experiments and hands on activities, but in the first two weeks of summer we have stayed pretty busy so far!

What are you doing to survive the summer?

Make the most of your time here (Highlights from Bishop Stevenson-April 2014)

“Now, consider how your pathway to eternal life is similar to these athletes’ “four-minute performance.” You are an eternal being. Before you were born, you existed as a spirit. In the presence of a loving Heavenly Father, you trained and prepared to come to earth for a brief moment and, well, perform. This life is your four minutes. While you are here, your actions will determine whether you win the prize of eternal life. The prophet Amulek described, “This life is the time … to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day … to perform [your] labors.”5

Self-discipline is needed. Daily prayer, scripture study, and church attendance must be the foundation of your training. A consistent pattern of obeying the commandments, keeping the covenants you have made, and following the Lord’s standard found in For the Strength of Youth is required.”

Bishop Gary E. Stevenson, “Your Four Minutes”. April 2014 General Conference.

We can change for the better (Highlights from Elder Hallstrom-April 2014 General Conference)

This talk was given in the Priesthood session of conference, but it has application for all of us. We can all be inspired to change and strive for the ideal of being like Jesus Christ. 

The purpose of the priesthood session of general conference is to teach priesthood holders what manner of men we ought to be (see 3 Nephi 27:27) and to inspire us to reach that ideal.”

once any of us conclude—“That’s just the way I am,” we give up our ability to change.”meme-hallstrom-become-1240505-galleryWell, we meet in this priesthood meeting because who we are is not who we can become. We meet here tonight in the name of Jesus Christ. We meet with the confidence that His Atonement gives every one of us—no matter our weaknesses, our frailties, our addictions—the ability to change. We meet with the hope that our future, no matter our history, can be better.”

The only complete response to the question posed by Jesus Christ “What manner of men ought ye to be?” is the one He succinctly and profoundly gave: “Even as I am” (3 Nephi 27:27). The invitation to “come unto Christ, and be perfected in him” (Moroni 10:32) both requires and expects change. Mercifully, He has not left us alone. “And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. … Then will I make weak things become strong” (Ether 12:27). Relying upon the Savior’s Atonement, we can change.”

Elder Donald L. Hallstrom, “What Manner of Men?” April 2014 General Conference.