Friday, June 22, 2012

For those who love climbing Hills : )

Oh Come On…It’s Not THAT Steep!

by Hilary Weeks

June 18th, 2012
Killer Hill.
It’s about a half mile from our house and it is as bad as it sounds.  Not because there are criminals lurking in the bushes, but because it is a SUPER STEEP CLIMB.  My treadmill has a max incline of 12% and if I had to guess the incline of Killer Hill…it would be at least 82.567%.  I swear it feels like you are running at a 90 degree angle.
The short but arduous, lung-burning climb is fresh in my memory; I faced it last Saturday.  About a mile before approaching the hill, a car passed me.  It looked like one of my girl friend’s cars.  As it passed I thought, “If that was Emily, and she pulled over to see if I wanted a ride so I didn’t have to run up Killer Hill, I would gladly, willingly, gratefully accept.”
That thought was immediately squelched by this one…
“If you can’t do the hard, then you don’t deserve the easy.”
I arrived at the base of the hill.  I stopped, and waited until I could breathe so my lungs would be ready.  I even said a prayer that my body and mind would be strong.  I rarely make it to the top without stopping, hunched over, grabbing my knees, gasping for high-altitude air.
Today, I wanted to conquer the hill.
I wanted to run to the top.  No walking.
I thought about a goal that I’ve been hoping to achieve.  I  told myself that if I made it to the top without stopping or walking, it would symbolically represent me achieving the goal.
I began.  Maybe I shouldn’t have, but I kept my head down.  I didn’t want to see how far I had to go, I just wanted to see each step I took to get there.  I thought of my desired goal.  The hope and vision of achieving it carried me to the top.
I felt victorious…and nigh unto death.

Killer Hill Takeaways…
1.  If I am not willing to push to the top of a painful hill, then I don’t deserve the flat ground.  I appreciate the 0% incline much, much more after experiencing the effort of the steep climb.  (That is an analogy for life…)
2. I can do hard things. (And so can you.)
3. Prayer works.
4. When you are approaching something HARD – get your mind right.  Stop.  Pause.  Focus.  Tell yourself you can do it.  And then go.
5.  When you are focused on your dreams, it makes the effort worth it.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

They are God's gift to you

"The only way to succeed is to not worry about what anyone else is doing"

When a person can find the gift within the trial, then the trial will have served its purpose. It's when we flounder through the same type of trial over and over and never learn anything, never find the gift, that we keep going through the same, seemingly fruitless struggles.

"You don't choose your family.
They are God's gift to you, as you are to them."

Don't let yourself become so concerned with raising a good kid
that you forget you already have one."
"Good habits are not acquired simply by making good resolves, though the thought must precede the action. Good habits are developed in the workshop of our daily lives. It is not in the great moments of test and trial that character is built. That is only when it is displayed."

You may not control all the events that happen to you,
but you can decide not to be reduced by them. 

If you find a sister feeling cold, take her to your heart and warm her up.
Eliza R. Snow

When the student is ready the teacher will appear.

"Sometimes you've just gotta look back at your past and smile at how far you've gotten."

Life is like a camera: focus on what’s important, capture the good times,
 & develop from the negatives. 

"Pray and seek for strength to change our circumstances rather
than praying for our circumstances to be changed."

David A. Bednar

It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.
"Even though the tasks of life become heavy, and although sorrow thrusts a drooping burden upon us, the light that emanates from our Savior beckons us on, undismayed."

"As the teachings of the Savior are consistently obeyed, life will be beautiful, the future secure, and there will be capacity to overcome the challenges that cross our path."

Stand by faith (Romans 11:20)
Stand fast in the faith (1 Cor. 16:13)
Stand and testify (Alma 5:44)
Stand spotless (3 Ne. 27:20)
Stand in the place of our stewardship (D&C 42:53)
Stand in holy places (D&C 45:32)
Stand as a witness (Mosiah 18:9)

Take upon us the Lord’s whole armor, that we may be able to stand (D&C 27:15)
Having done all, to stand for truth, righteousness, peace, and faith (Eph. 6:13)
“Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid.
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee,
and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by my righteous…omnipotent hand.”

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Because we are learning to treasure heavenly things

"…Faith forged in the furnace of trials and tears is marked by trust and testimony.

Only God can count the sacrifice; only God can measure the sorrow;
 only God can know the hearts of those who serve Him."
Thomas S. Monson
"Gaze upward, look inward, reach outward, and press forward."
Thomas S. Monson

The reward of eternal life requires effort.

Thomas S. Monson


“Anger is not an expression of strength.  It is an indication of one’s inability to control his thoughts,

words, his emotions… When the weakness of anger takes over, the strength of reason leaves.”

Gordon B. Hinckley


“To succor means to ‘run to.’  I testify that in my fears and in my infirmities the Savior has surely run to me. I will never be able to thank Him enough for such personal kindness and such loving care.”

Jeffrey R. Holland

Courage, not compromise, brings the smile of God's approval.

Thomas S. Monson
I am certain that the Lord, who notes the fall of a sparrow, looks with compassion upon those who have been called upon to part, even temporarily, from their precious children.

Thomas S. Monson

I hope that you will learn to take responsibility for your decisions. don't take counsel of your fears.

Thomas S. Monson
“Spiritual maturity is understanding that we cannot blame anybody else for our actions. Some factors may make it harder for us to perform according to God’s plan for us, but being accountable for how we use our agency means being answerable for our own behavior.”

Elaine Cannon
“Gifts of the Spirit which the Lord bestows upon those who believe and obey the gospel of Christ are called signs.  That is, their receipt stands as an evidence or sign of the presence of that faith which results from believing the truth.  Signs are wonders and miracles;
they always and invariably are manifest to and among the faithful saints.”

Bruce R. McConkie

In reality, we are all travelers even explorers of mortality.
Thomas S. Monson

On occasion we need to make a second effort and a third effort, and a fourth effort, and as many degrees of effort as may be required to accomplish what we strive to achieve.
Thomas S. Monson

 “We should seek to be happy and cheerful and not allow

Satan to overcome us with discouragement, despair, or depression.”

Joseph B. Wirthlin

“Life is full of difficulties, some minor and others of a more serious nature. There seems to be an unending supply of challenges for one and all. Our problem is that we often expect instantaneous solutions to such challenges, forgetting that frequently the heavenly virtue of patience is required.”

Thomas S. Monson
"Do we really believe you can earn your way to heaven?" "Absolutely not! We are not paying our way into heaven. We are preparing for it."….the miracle of the Atonement is that not only can we be cleansed and consoled, but we can be transformed. Christ chose to become like us so that, through His grace, we can choose to become like Him. It's a lofty goal and a long and difficult process. When we get discouraged, it is easy to feel like giving up. But we can find renewed motivation when we feel God's love and power. Keep trying. Keep practicing. It will be worth it not because we are earning a treasure in heaven,
but because we are learning to treasure heavenly things.
Brad Wilcox

Monday, June 18, 2012

The sacred title of 'father' is shared with the Almighty Happy Father's Day

"Now, fathers, I would remind you of the sacred nature of your calling. You have the power of the priesthood directly from the Lord to protect your home. There will be times when all that stands as a shield between your family and the adversary's mischief will be that power.
You will receive direction from the Lord by way of the gift of the Holy Ghost."

Boyd K. Packer

"In order to strengthen the father in the home, I make two simple suggestions: first, sustain and respect the father in his position; second, give him love, understanding, and some appreciation for his efforts. . . .
"In terms of giving fathers love and understanding, it should be remembered that fathers also have times of insecurity and doubt. Everyone knows fathers make mistakes--especially they themselves. Fathers need all the help they can get; mostly they need love, support, and understanding from their own."

James E. Faust

"Fathers, by divine decree, you are to preside over your family units. This is a sobering responsibility and the most important one you will ever assume, for it is an eternal responsibility. You place the family in its proper priority. It's the part of your life that will endure beyond the grave"

Elder L. Tom Perry

"God bless you, dear fathers. May He bless you with wisdom and judgment, with understanding, with self-discipline and self-control, with faith and kindness and love. And may He bless the sons and daughters who have come into your homes, that yours may be a fortifying, strengthening, guiding hand as they walk the treacherous path of life. As the years pass and they will pass ever so quickly may you know that "peace... which passeth all understanding" (Philip. 4:7) as you look upon your sons and daughters, who likewise have known that sacred and wonderful peace. Such is my humble prayer, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, amen"

President Gordon B.

"Let us reflect gratitude for our fathers " Father . . . is ever willing to sacrifice his own comfort for that of his children. Daily he toils to provide the necessities of life, never complaining, ever concerned for the well-being of his family. This love for children, this desire to see them well and happy, is a constant in a time of change."
Thomas S. Monson

"We encourage you, brethren, to remember that priesthood is a righteous authority only. Earn the respect and confidence of your children through your loving relationship with them. A righteous father protects his children with his time and presence in their social, educational, and spiritual activities and responsibilities. Tender expressions of love and affection toward children are as much the responsibility of the father as the mother. Tell your children you love them"

President Howard W. Hunter

"The Lord's plan of salvation requires that you pass through trials in this mortal life. Those trials seem to be greatest when you reach fatherhood, but be assured fatherhood, in a sense, is an apprenticeship to godhood"

"Fathers, listen to your sons really listen to them. Ask the right kind of questions, and listen to what your sons have to say each time you have a few minutes together. You need to know not to guess but to know what is going on in your son's life."

M. Russell Ballard

"Fathers, yours is an eternal calling from which you are never released. Callings in the Church, as important as they are, by their very nature are only for a period of time, and then an appropriate release takes place. But a father’s calling is eternal, and its importance transcends time. It is a calling for both time and eternity"

Ezra Taft Benson

"It is useless to debate which parent is most important.

No one would doubt that a mother's influence is paramount with newborns and in the first years of a child's life.

The father's influence increases as the child grows older.

However, each parent is necessary at various times in a child's development.

Both fathers and mothers do many intrinsically different things for their children.

Both are equipped to nurture children, but their approaches are different.

Mothers seem to take a dominant role in preparing children to live within their families, present and future.

Fathers seem best equipped to prepare children to function in the environment outside the family"

James E. Faust

"The sacred title of 'father' is shared with the Almighty. In the Church men are called and released.

Did you ever hear of a mortal father being released?

"...Fatherhood is not a matter of station or wealth; it is a matter of desire, diligence, and determination to see one’s family exalted in the celestial kingdom. If that prize is lost, nothing else really matters"

 Ezra Taft Benson

"We are all in the process of becoming who we will one day be. Fathers and sons can play a critical role in helping each other become the best that they can be."

M. Russell Ballard

Saturday, June 16, 2012

This is my wish for you


……therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness

Hebrews 1:29

This is my wish for you.

By Emily Freeman

May you see a good day.

May your perspective be governed by
Light, laughter and discernment.

If mountain moments come your way,
May you rise above and continue your journey
Knowing the Lord is with you.

May the breaking of each day
Find you on your knees.

May you live after the manner of happiness.

May your focus lead you to understand
That God is in the details.

As you pray each day for the answer you want,
May you remember that He might send
The answer you need.

May your heart have great experience.

May listing what you love allow you
To recognize your joys.

If sorrow comes your way,
May you sow in tears
And reap in joy.

May you always remember the important days of your life,
Specially the days when your testimony burned within.

May your eyes be quick to search
From one side of Heaven unto the other
And recognize the great things
As tender mercies from the Lord.

May the oil of gladness permeate your heart.

May every day be a day of gladness
And a good day because you have chosen the good part.

This is my wish for you.

Friday, June 15, 2012

If we will but turn to God

Where Can I Turn for Peace?
Elder Paul V. Johnson
First Quorum of the Seventy
 There are a number of things in this world that cause turmoil and conflict or that can undermine personal peace. War, armed conflict and terrorism are constantly taking their toll somewhere in the world, and crime, gang violence and other illegal activities affect the peace in our cities and towns. Earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, and other natural disasters cause disruptions to peaceful lives, and the quakes in the economies of the world in recent years have left many struggling. 
 Some threats to our peace are more individual. Physical or emotional problems, pain, personal debt, addictions, fear, worry for others, and sins either our own or someone else’s that affect us can seem to obstruct a peaceful outlook in our individual lives. There are two types of peace referred to in the scriptures and which we hope for in our lives as well. One is the absence of war, turmoil and strife between nations, groups or individuals. The other is the inner peace of the soul.
 The ultimate answer to this question is, "To the Prince of Peace." He holds the answers for both types of peace. If we were to look at each item from the list of threats to peace we can see that the complete and final solution for each of those concerns can be found in the Savior Jesus Christ. He can control the elements. He has power to heal individuals and nations. His Atonement makes possible the forgiveness of sins and frees people from afflictions and addictions. His teachings contain the keys to living in peace individually and as a world.
Inner peace is part of the fruit of the Spirit. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith.” The Savior said, “My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.” Peace is a gift. We don’t determine the conditions upon which this gift is given. He sets the terms. Sometimes our quest for peace becomes so focused on the peace itself that we forget it is a gift that is one of the fruits of a righteous life. Our best course for finding peace is to live righteously to keep our covenants. This is the only course that leads to that inner peace we all desire. The adversary would tempt us to put all our efforts in directions other than a righteous life in our search for peace, but if we do this we will be disappointed in the end, for that true peace only comes from the Lord as a result of our righteous lives. There are also many worthy pursuits that are good and helpful, but if they take precedence over a worthy life they never lead to that true peace we seek.
With the gift of peace there isn’t a promise that all our problems and challenges will dissolve according to a timeline we set. We can actually have peace in the midst of trials. President Howard W. Hunter said:
“Indifference to the Savior or failure to keep the commandments of God brings about insecurity, inner turmoil, and contention.  These are the opposite of peace.  Peace can come to an individual only by an unconditional surrender—surrender to him who is the Prince of Peace, who has power to confer peace.  One may live in beautiful and peaceful surroundings but, because of inner dissension and discord, be in a state of constant turmoil.  On the other hand, one may be in the midst of utter destruction and the bloodshed of war and yet have the serenity of unspeakable peace.  If we look to man and the ways of the world, we will find turmoil and confusion.  If we will but turn to God, we will find peace for the restless soul.”
Think of Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail. It was hardly a setting naturally conducive to peaceful feelings, particularly in light of the struggles of the saints who had been driven from Missouri. Joseph’s own circumstances and those of his people weighed on his soul and he cried out in anguish to the Lord. The Lord answered by saying, “My son, peace be unto thy soul,” and Joseph was given the gift of peace even though his circumstances didn’t change right away.
Elder Richard G. Scott related a personal experience of a struggle for peace regarding a situation over which he did not have complete control. He said:
“I once had an experience that caused me immense anxiety. I was severely troubled. It had nothing to do with disobedience or transgression but with a vitally important human relationship. I was so overcome with concern that I did something I never do. I left my office early and went home to pray. For some time I poured my heart out to the Lord. Try as I might, I could find no solution, no settling of the powerful stirring within me. I pled for help from that Eternal Father I have come to know and trust completely. I could see no path that would provide the calm that is my blessing to generally enjoy. Sleep overcame me. When I awoke I was totally at peace. I knelt again in solemn prayer and asked, “Lord, how is it done?” In my heart, I knew the answer was His love and His concern for me. That is consummate peace.”
Notice that Elder Scott was troubled by something not brought upon him by his disobedience, but the Lord was able to bestow peace even if the situation wasn’t totally resolved.
Sometimes peace comes in the most trying circumstances. We have each experienced this when we have been in very difficult times trying to do the right things and have been blessed with a powerful feeling of peace and love.
It is comforting to know that we are eligible for this peace if we are faithful and diligent even if others we love choose to wander from the truth including members of our own families.
This pattern of our inner peace being dependent on our own diligence and righteousness is pervasive.  A beautiful verse in Psalms includes the phrase, “…righteousness and peace have kissed each other.”
Even when we are trying to live a righteous life, if we give in to temptations we can damage the inner peace we want and need. The prophet Nephi lamented that he struggled with this in his life.  He wrote, “…why should I give way to temptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul?” This is something each of us faces. Nephi mentioned that one thing he struggled with was being angry with his enemies. Each of us is aware of specific temptations we struggle with that open the door for the adversary to have place in our heart. The more we can resist these temptations, the less influence the adversary has to destroy our peace.
 A story from the New Testament highlights the power of the Savior. He was crossing the Sea of Galilee with his disciples.
“And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful?How is it that ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
There may be times in our own lives when we are in stormy seas with high winds and our ship may seem to be taking on water. We may be tempted to ask, “Carest thou not that ‘I’ perish?” We know He has the power to calm any storm. Sometimes He calms the actual storms we are facing, but other times instead of calming the wind and sea we face, He instead gives us great calm in our souls. One of the phrases from "Where can I turn for peace?" is "He answers privately." Many times our experience with His great gift of peace is very personal and private and individual. This pattern repeats itself and is found in the scriptures over and over again. A story in the Book of Mormon shows this pattern and also illustrates the connection between faith and hope and feeling peace in our lives.
At one point in the long wars between the Nephites and Lamanites, Helaman was recounting to Moroni the precarious circumstances he and his stripling warriors found themselves in. Because of lack of reinforcements and lack of supplies it looked as if they would be overthrown. He wrote, “We did pour out our souls in prayer to God, that he would strengthen us and deliver us out of the hands of our enemies … and it came to pass that the Lord our God did visit us with assurances that he would deliver us; yea, insomuch that he did speak peace to our souls, and did grant unto us great faith, and did cause us that we should hope for our deliverance in him.”
Notice the connection between faith, hope and peace. One reason this inner peace can be so powerful is because of our absolute faith and hope in the power of the Atonement and the power of the Savior. He told His disciples, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
No matter how daunting the challenges are in our lives or in the world around us, we know we can have peace through the power of the infinite Atonement, because Christ overcame the world. Faith in Jesus Christ and in His Atonement engenders the hope of deliverance and the promise of a better world to come. Using this “eye of faith” to see the fulfilling of the promises deepens the peace within us since we know of the great blessings and relief that await us if we will only remain faithful in this life. Even in troubled times we have a great promise of peace from the Lord. “…he who doeth the works of righteousness shall receive his reward, even peace in this world and eternal life in the world to come.”
I testify that our Heavenly Father and His son, Jesus Christ love us, and that the great gift of peace in this life is available to each of us. I pray that as each person here strives to follow the Savior, peace will be poured into every heart. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

He quenches the thirst that comes from being separated from our Heavenly Home

The Water of Life
By Hilary Weeks
- In 37% of Americans, the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is often mistaken for hunger…
- Even mild dehydration will slow down one’s metabolism as much as 3%...
- Lack of water is the number one trigger of daytime fatigue…
- 8-10 glasses of water could significantly ease back and joint pain…
- A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen or printed page?
We all know how important water is!  Every one of us at one time or another has been so thirsty that we would have trampled anything that got between us and a cold glass of water.  Maybe it was after a long run on a summer day, or maybe after eating a rich piece of cheesecake.  Perhaps we have felt that kind of thirst after fasting.  Make no mistake, there is nothing like putting a refreshing glass of water to your lips and drinking until the thirst is entirely quenched.
Water is essential to life.  We can’t live without it.  Nothing can.
Many of us are familiar with Helen’s story….The first word she recognized as a word, understanding the meaning and making the connection between what was being signed into her hand and what she was feeling pour over her hand was…water.
It wasn’t “doll,” though that was the first gift that Anne Sullivan gave Helen.  It wasn’t “mom” or “dad” though Helen knew and loved them dearly.  It was “water.”   This is the experience as described by Helen’s own words:
“We walked down the path to the well-house, attracted by the fragrance of the honeysuckle with which it was covered.  Someone was drawing water and my teacher placed my hand under the spout.  As the cool stream gushed over one hand she spelled into the other the word water, first slowly, then rapidly.  I stood still, my whole attention fixed upon the motions of her fingers. Suddenly I felt a thought; and somehow the mystery of language was revealed to me.  I knew then that “w-a-t-e-r” meant the wonderful cool something that was flowing over my hand.  That living word awakened my soul, gave it light, hope, joy, set it free!
It would have been difficult to find a happier child than I was as I lay in my crib at the close of that eventful day and lived over the joys it had brought me, and for the first time longed for a new day to come.”
Interesting that Helen would describe that moment as the mystery of language being revealed.  We know who has the power to reveal, to make known, open to our understanding…the Holy Ghost.  I believe the Spirit opened her mind to the mystery of language.  I believe that is how the connecting finally happened.
Then Helen uses these words to describe the word water – “living,” “light,” “hope,” “joy”, “set it free!.”  The very same words we use to describe the Savior.  When I think of the Savior as living water, it inspires a sense of awe and reverence.  As water is to our physical bodies, so the Savior is to our souls.  He quenches the thirst that comes from being separated from our Heavenly Home. Through the living water that only He can offer, the thirst of loneliness, fear, doubt and discouragement can all be satisfied.
“With joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.” (Isaiah 12:3)
“Every one that thirsteth, come ye to the water.” (2 Nephi 9:50)
“If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.” (John 7:37)
“Partake of the water of life freely.” (D&C 10:66)
I can understand the smallest part of what Helen felt that night as she fell asleep because through the Savior I have felt that same excitement for life.  Because of Him I look forward to a new day to come.  He is our source of joy, of light, of hope.  May we all seek to partake of the water of life.