This morning for our family devotional I felt prompted to take a slight detour from our regular Book of Mormon reading and read the Family Proclamation. I found out a few days ago my older son was having a lesson on families today. The school district we live in has partnered with a prominent LGBT activist group to teach “kindness, tolerance, and diversity”. That’s not really their goal though. Their goal is to introduce and normalize LGBT propaganda to young children. There are plenty of programs out there that teach tolerance, kindness and diversity without an LGBT focus I found out about this group and their program at the parent night which was held the first week of school. As much as we all hate going to those things, it was a good thing I went, and noticed in the display of books on the teacher’s desk of the curriculum materials from this group. Friends, pay attention, and be “that parent”. I’ll share my experiences meeting with the superintendent of the school district about this program in a later post. Continue reading
Ten years ago today, I wrote my first post for The Millennial Star as a regular contributor. I wrote about the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall (see that post HERE). Today is the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Wall. As I usually do on November 9th, I’ve spent some time thinking about that momentous event, and its impact on my life. I’ve been thinking about my exchange-family and friends in Berlin. We’ve sent messages this week celebrating, remembering, and giving thanks that, that wretched wall is gone.
As I wrote ten years ago, I served a full time mission behind the Iron Curtain in Bulgaria. When I was there, the dreary grey of communism still stuck on all of the buildings. People struggled to meet their most basic needs of feeding and clothing their family. Sometimes basic food items like bread and meat were scarce. Inflation was rampant, sometimes the exchange rate even changed several times a day. You didn’t change your American Dollars until the minute you needed to buy something it was so out of control. With the rise of socialism’s popularity in this country, I find myself saying to anyone who promotes socialism to talk to me after they’ve waited in a bread line or 14 — believe me, it’s not as fun as you might think. Continue reading
I feel like this year has been a slog thru the trenches of life for me and my family. One of the things that has helped me this year as I have navigated some pretty big trials is to be grateful and to show gratitude is hand writing thank you notes. I bought a big box of thank you cards in the spring when I was recovering from a broken foot and spent time each day writing thank you notes to people that had come into our home to serve me and my family. It felt good to hand write a card, to stick a stamp on it and wait for the mailman to take it away. I love a well written thank you note. Its something we need to bring back, don’t you think? (The only answer is yes here).
“Gratitude is a Spirit-filled principle. It opens our minds to a universe permeated with the richness of a living God. Through it, we become spiritually aware of the wonder of the smallest things, which gladden our hearts with their messages of God’s love. This grateful awareness heightens our sensitivity to divine direction. When we communicate gratitude, we can be filled with the Spirit and connected to those around us and the Lord. Gratitude inspires happiness and carries divine influence. “Live in thanksgiving daily,” said Amulek, “for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you.”
Over the next few weeks, we’re going to concentrate on gratitude in our family — even more than I already make my kids do — they roll their eyes most days, because I won’t let them complain until they’ve told me three unique things they are thankful for. Usually by the time they get to the second thing, their gripe is dampened, or gone altogether. I hope you will join me and my family in our daily thanksgiving, and comment here on my posts as I make them. I’m inviting you to reach deep inside and think and ponder on the things you are thankful for. I’m also inviting you to share that gratitude with those in your circle — and beyond just social media, which is fine, but let’s take it to the next level which is connecting with people. Reach out to the people in your life and share the spirit of gratitude with them I feel like if we can be grateful ourselves and encourage others to also be grateful, we might be successful in diffusing some of the angst in our respective circles, with the hope that we might all be more sensitive to the Holy Spirit in the process.
This week in Come Follow Me we get to read Acts 17. This chapter starts out with Paul and Silas making their way through Macedonia and Thrace, spreading the gospel and teaching the Saints. After Paul escapes the angry mob in Thessaloniki, he ends up in Athens, a city, “wholly given over to idolatry”. He goes to the Aeropagus, or Mars Hill, which is a place where people congregate to gossip and debate. While there he preaches the gospel. Continue reading
It’s been a week of contemplation for me. You see two friends died this week, one young, one older, both from cancer, a thousand miles apart. It was also the fourth anniversary of the death of a best friend. I have been thinking and pondering my life as I’ve thought about all of their lives.
I had this mental picture of life as a ongoing timeline. We hop on when we are born, and others join us and leave as relationships wax and wane, and eventually you jump off the timeline when you pass away. For my younger friend, we spent our time on the line in high school. None of us know what life will bring or how we leave — of course she didn’t know that cancer would take her, when we were singing in choir and worrying about the problems of youth. We don’t know that when we join the timeline of life. That is the greatness of mortality though — we have people, opportunity, good, bad, all of it. Isn’t life wonderful?
My thoughts also have turned to how I spend my time, and the things I worry about. I see the madness we’re continually descending into as a society and I am tired of it. It doesn’t matter what goes on in the news, or who is offended about what. What matters is that we’re teaching our children the gospel, teaching them to keep the commandments, and preparing them to enter the temple. Everything else will either work out, or not matter. The night before I’d spent several hours at a City Council meeting listening to people quibbling over stupid, trivial things. I didn’t want to be there, but I had to make a statement. When I was done, I sat down and decided, I was going to remove myself from this local political issue. I just can’t waste my time on stupid things that have no bearing on eternity. I want to live my life better, and work on those things that matter most.
“And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.” Acts 5: 38-39.
It was fitting that last night in our family Book of Mormon study we read Alma 32: 21, “And now as I said concerning faith—faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.”
I asked my kids what do we hope for, what do we have faith in? My 2 year old just shouted out, “Dee-zus! (Jesus!)” Yes, we do. We hope for Jesus and the resurrection he made possible for us, and all of the other promised blessing we have access to as we live the gospel, keep the commandments, and really deeply let our covenants surround us and protect us and remake us into what God wants us to be.
This is what I know, I hope for, and have faith in the resurrection, for my friends, and my self. The Plan of Salvation is real, the gospel of Jesus Christ gives us hope in these things and helps us to make the right changes so that we work out to be with God.