Friday, May 30, 2014

I am LDS: Same Sex Attraction

I follow and worship Jesus Christ. His living prophet whom he speaks to (as in times of old), guides the church I belong to. Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father watch over us, want to be intimately involved in our lives, and want to make our lives as meaningful and joyful as possible. They can do this if we keep our hearts open and teachble to the spirit of Christ we all have within us.

This is what Christ teaches about immorality, including same sex attraction:
Exodus 20:14:  "Thou shalt not commit adultery." Adultery is having sexual relations with anyone you are not married to. This would include with a man or woman.

1 Corinthians 6:18-20: "Flee fornication." "But he that committeth fornication sin etch against his own body..." "Know he not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you...?" Fornication is having any unmarked person having sexual relations with another person.

1 Thessalonians 4:3: "This is the will of God...that ye should abstain from fornication." Another witness that not committing sexual sin is the will of God.

Matthew 5:27-28: "thou shalt not commit adultery...but I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on [anyone] to lust after [them] hath committed adultery with [them] already in [their] heart. And if the right eye offend thee, pluck it out..." Christ is very clear and strict. Don't commit adultery or even think about it!

What the living prophet and apostles teach:

Where the Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter Day Saints stands: "The experience of same-sex attraction is a complex reality for many people. The attraction itself is not a sin, but acting on it is. Even though individuals do not choose to have such attractions, they do choose how to respond to them. With love and understanding, the Church reaches out to all God’s children, including our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters."

Having same sex attraction is not a sin, acting on it is. Just like any and all temptations/tendencies and acting on them. 

Elder Dallin H. Oaks: "Have we forgotten to follow the Savior who taught that if we love Him, we will keep His commandments? (see John 14:15). If so, our priorities have been turned upside down by the spiritual apathy and undisciplined appetites so common in our day."

"We look on marriage and the bearing and nurturing of children as part of God’s plan and a sacred duty of those given the opportunity to do so. We believe that the ultimate treasures on earth and in heaven are our children and our posterity. ...Outside the bonds of marriage between a man and a woman, all uses of our procreative powers are to one degree or another sinful and contrary to God’s plan for the exaltation of His children."

"We know that through the God-given power of choice, many will hold beliefs contrary to ours, but we are hopeful that others will be equally respectful of our religious beliefs and understand that our beliefs compel us to some different choices and behaviors than theirs. For example, we believe that, as an essential part of His plan of salvation, God has established an eternal standard that sexual relations should occur only between a man and a woman who are married." (2013 October General Conference, No Other Gods, Sun. Morning Session - By  Dallin H. Oaks)

Elder Jeffery R. Holland: "Sadly enough, my young friends, it is a characteristic of our age that if people want any gods at all, they want them to be gods who do not demand much, comfortable gods, smooth gods who not only don’t rock the boat but don’t even row it, gods who pat us on the head, make us giggle, then tell us to run along and pick marigolds. 
Talk about man creating God in his own image! Sometimes—and this seems the greatest irony of all—these folks invoke the name of Jesus as one who was this kind of “comfortable” God. Really? He who said not only should we not break commandments, but we should not even think about breaking them. And if we do think about breaking them, we have already broken them in our heart. Does that sound like “comfortable” doctrine, easy on the ear and popular down at the village love-in? ...It is obvious that the bumper sticker question “What would Jesus do?” will not always bring a popular response."

"Christlike love is the greatest need we have on this planet in part because righteousness was always supposed to accompany it. So if love is to be our watchword, as it must be, then by the word of Him who is love personified, we must forsake transgression and any hint of advocacy for it in others. Jesus clearly understood what many in our modern culture seem to forget: that there is a crucial difference between the commandment to forgive sin (which He had an infinite capacity to do) and the warning against condoning it (which He never ever did even once)."

"...Pure Christlike love flowing from true righteousness can change the world. I testify that the true and living gospel of Jesus Christ is on the earth and you are members of His true and living Church, trying to share it." (2014 April General Conference, The Cost—and Blessings—of Discipleship, Sat. Morning Session - By  Jeffrey R. Holland)

My testimony:
I believe that Jesus Christ is the savior and Redeemer of the World. I believe He loves me and wants the very best I life for me. I believe He won't lead me wrong. 

I believe He gave us all commandments and expects those that love and know Him to keep them. I believe I can't just ignore the commandments and disregard them and say I follow Christ. I believe that one commandment is to not commit adultery and another commandment is it love one another. I believe it doesn't matter how many of humandkind choose to not obey the commandments, God's commandments can't be changed by humans/His children.

I believe we need to love, encourage, and strengthen each other. We all commit sin, we all need love, and we all need the Savoir. I believe we can't accept sin as the way to live life even though it's easier. I believe we all need to be Christlike as we can and follow His commandments and then use the atonement as we slip up daily.

I believe we must change and humble our hearts daily to His will. I believe part of life is learning to overcome all ungodly/natural man trait. (Like laziness, overeating, being prideful and mean.) I believe Christ wants us to be happy, hopeful, and full of purpose and that is what His commandments and atonement help us to accomplish.

I am LDS: Joseph Smith and the Bible

"[In the grove of trees, Joseph Smith] learned that God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, are two separate, distinct beings."

"The Bible confirms Joseph Smith’s discovery. It tells us that the Son submitted His will to the Father (see Matthew 26:42). We are moved by the Savior’s submission and find strength in His example to do likewise, but what would have been the depth and passion of Christ’s submission or the motivational power of that example if the Father and the Son were the same being and in reality the Son was merely following His own will under a different name?"

"The scriptures give further evidence of this great truth: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son” (John 3:16). A father offering up his only son is the supreme demonstration of love that the human mind and heart can conceive and feel. It is symbolized by the touching story of Abraham and Isaac (see Genesis 22). But if the Father is the same being as the Son, then this sacrifice of all sacrifices is lost, and Abraham is no longer offering up Isaac—Abraham is now offering up Abraham." (2009 October General Conference, Joseph Smith—Prophet of the Restoration, Sat. Afternoon Session - Tad R. Callister)

Scriptures to know and understand:
Christ submits His will to the Father, not himself. (Matthew 26:42)
The Father sacrifices his Son, not himself. (John 3:16)

"[Another] great truth Joseph Smith discovered was that the Father and the Son have glorified bodies of flesh and bones."

"Following the Savior’s Resurrection, He appeared to His disciples and said, “Handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have” (Luke 24:39). Some have suggested this was a temporary physical manifestation and that when He ascended to heaven He shed His body and returned to His spirit form. But the scriptures tell us this was not possible. Paul taught, “Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him” (Romans 6:9). In other words, once Christ was resurrected, His body could never again be separated from His spirit; otherwise He would suffer death, the very consequence Paul said was no longer possible after His Resurrection." (2009 October General Conference, Joseph Smith—Prophet of the Restoration, Sat. Afternoon Session - Tad R. Callister)

Scriptures to know and understand:
The ressurected Christ told disciples that He was of flesh and bone, which would never be separated (death) again. (Luke 24:39 and Romans 6:9)

"[Still another] truth that Joseph Smith learned was that God still speaks to man today—that the heavens are not closed."

"One need but ask three questions, once proposed by President Hugh B. Brown, to arrive at that conclusion (see “The Profile of a Prophet,” Liahona, June 2006, 13; Ensign, June 2006, 37). First, does God love us as much today as He loved the people to whom He spoke in New Testament times? Second, does God have the same power today as He did then? And third, do we need Him as much today as they needed Him anciently? If the answers to those questions are yes and if God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, as the scriptures so declare (see Mormon 9:9), then there is little doubt: God does speak to man today exactly as Joseph Smith testified." (2009 October General Conference, Joseph Smith—Prophet of the Restoration, Sat. Afternoon Session - Tad R. Callister)

Scripture to know and understand:
God loves us just as much as the people of biblical times, God is still powerful, and we have need of direction just like in times of old. (Mormon 9:9)

"[At lastly], Joseph Smith learned was that the full and complete Church of Jesus Christ was not then upon the earth."

"Of course there were good people and some components of the truth, but the Apostle Paul had anciently prophesied that the Second Coming of Christ would not come “except there come a falling away first” (2 Thessalonians 2:3)." (2009 October General Conference, Joseph Smith—Prophet of the Restoration, Sat. Afternoon Session - Tad R. Callister)

Scripture to know and understand:
Christ apostles who had the proper authority of the preisthhood given to them by Christ himself were all killed. Therefore all the preisthhood possessed by humans was no longer on the earth. In order for the proper preisthhood authority to be on the earth again, it would have given to a human from one of these ressurected apostles. Which began on May 15, 1829 recorded in Joseph Smith-History 1:68-72.

"Yet sorrowfully, on occasion, some are willing to set aside the precious gospel truths restored by Joseph Smith because they get diverted on some historical issue or some scientific hypothesis not central to their exaltation, and in so doing they trade their spiritual birthright for a mess of pottage. They exchange the absolute certainty of the Restoration for a doubt, and in that process they fall into the trap of losing faith in the many things they do know because of a few things they do not know. There will always be some seemingly intellectual crisis looming on the horizon as long as faith is required and our minds are finite, but likewise there will always be the sure and solid doctrines of the Restoration to cling to, which will provide the rock foundation upon which our testimonies may be built. 
When many of Christ’s followers turned from Him, He asked His Apostles, “Will ye also go away?” 
Peter then responded with an answer that should be engraved on every heart: “To whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life” (John 6:66–68). (2009 October General Conference, Joseph Smith—Prophet of the Restoration, Sat. Afternoon Session - Tad R. Callister)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Things to Remember: From KSL Studio 5

(It's too late to proof-read again :), but enjoy the fabulous tips from amazing women nonetheless. PS watch the links and you'll be in love!)

People who are easy to be around... (by writter and actress Natalie Hill,

Are good conversationalists (ask more questions than they answer, and they answer with more than one word. Perhaps even ending with a "have you ever felt like that/done that/said that?")
Be sincere (that also means be brave and take down some of your "guard.")

Say "yes" to opportunities (that don't compromise your integrity, of course).
Even if you want to say "no," say "yes" and become more well rounded with more experiences to share.

Serve others first.
Don't be worried who is going to do something for you. Sincerely serve!

Seven rituals to happiness (author Connie Sokol, )

1. Get set 
Before the throngs of multitudes (children) came, Christ went to the mountains alone to get set (relax, prepare, and/or ready). Wake up 20 minutes earlier to get dressed, deeper (because kids aren't crawling on you) morning personal prayer, start a load of laundry. Or take deep breaths. Or cuddle with spouse for 2 minutes to connect before you jump out of bed. Etc :)

2. Love in Moments
It doesn't have to be this huge program of love, just eye contact, a touch to the shoulder, a "good job!", etc.

3. De-clutter Something
As you're on the phone (for example) just throw out/put away 5 things from the junk drawer, fold a few pairs of socks, etc because you'll feel refreshed.

4. Bloom and Grow
Notice your talents and grow! Don't compare and get down, enjoy others talents and work on your own. Develope and expland into new ones, but share who YOU are.

5. Do One Difficult
Self disciple starts a feeling of self respect. Do just one significant part of the thing you don't want to do.

6. Positive Pause
Do something lovely or joyful for 10 minutes. Have fun!

7. Give Away Freely
Do something without any hope or thought of reward. Just do it out of the goodness of your heart. :)

Emotional Eating!! (Yikes! I'm thinking of the beginning of nap time... "Where's a cookie?") by counselor Michelle Lewis,

Determine: "am I actually hungry on a scale from 1-10?" 5 or lower you're body doesn't need food.

Delay: just for 10 minutes and the urge will subside a little. 

Distract: Go do something else (for 10 minutes...) :)

Distance: Don't go straight to the kitchen after the kids are down, for example. Get a room other than the kitchen. 

Decide: After 10 minutes, decide if you're truly hungry and if so make it a mindful process (sit down, portion out).

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Motherhood: It Matters

Saturday night I was wallowing in self pity and was dreading being celebrated for feeling obligated in my role as mother. Fun times. But all melted away with this stirring reminder: motherhood is important and that's why you're being honored tomorrow and that's why you stick with it each and everyday.

Being celebrated for the amount of work I do is what makes me hate Mother's Day. It makes me think, "holy cow, motherhood is truly a lot of work and that's what the rest of my existence will be like." Can I get a "wahoo"? This lovely thought fills me with overwhelming despair and self pity. 

When my focus is on the crying and ornery kids I wake up to everyday, or my kitchen floor that will not stay clean, or the fact that some things I do everyday, even all day, aren't what I would particularly choose to be doing, I begin to feel obligated, sorry for myself, and start wallowing in self pity.

Are you ready for the encouraging and hopeful truth yet? 

For obvious reasons, the above description of motherhood is not why I stick with it. I don't create another battle plan for handling ornery starving kids in the morning because I enjoy this challenge. I don't discipline because it makes me feel refreshed and calm. I do these things because being a mother is the most important thing I can be doing here and in the eternities.

This one thought teaches us how important each individual is to Heavenly Father. Brynlie and Trevin are so important to Heavenly Father that he needs a nurturing yet strong mother to teach them to be Christlike and to rely on Christ's grace so they can return to live with Him. How humble, tearfully humble, I feel to answer the call to give my best effort. How complaining about washing a kicking and screaming one year old's hands sounds trivial when I remember how important it is to Heavenly Father that Trevin is cared for, loved, and taught Christ's gospel.

Christ didn't enjoy suffering for our sins. He specifically asked, "Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me."  But he stuck with it because Heavenly Father's will is incredibly important, "nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done."

Christ knows what it's like to not be utterly thrilled to do the important work Heavenly Father has for each of his children. In fact, Christ said, "[this is] not my will..." But Christ is the master at doing what Heavenly Father asks whether or not it's what we want to to. He is the master at trusting Heavenly Father's plan and the role Heavenly Father has asked us all to play. As mothers we have the privilege and the challenge of teaching and caring for his precious children because that is what Heavenly Father has asked us to do. We can have fun and have a good time, but when we aren't having fun and when we are sick of it, it's okay. We've just been asked to stick with it, remembering Heavenly Father's will and his love for his children. Motherhood. It's the most important thing we, as mothers and women, can do. It's a privilege and a challenge we humbly accept.

Motherhood: The Sacrament Schedule of Success

Last week and today we had very successful sacrament meetings. It had to do with a few things: I had a specific schedule for the hour, I had treat bags, and angels helped the kids feel content.

I came to the conclusion that facing sacrament meeting basically as an hour of free time for my kids was overwhelming and showed me exactly why I am exhausted after that "free time"/sacrament meeting.

So I made a "schedule" or a general plan for the hour. AlthoughI I felt like I had just taken another step towards an over-organized-crazy-person, the second the meeting started I felt positive and in control because I had a plan! This immediately made me feel more organized mentally. This is how it looked:

This is how it went down:

11:50-12:00 (before the Sacrament):
Trevin on the bench, playing with the 
bench in front, or waving to dad. Sometimes it feel busy (keeping him from pulling the girls hair in front of us), but it still wasnt a big deal because it was part of my plan and I also knew there would be an end shortly. 
Brynlie during this time totally participated in the meeting. Singing songs and praying and generally laughing at Trevin. (Precious!)

12:00-12:15 (During the Sacrament): Trevin had his treats and books. During this time I answered Brynlie's concerned question about her treats with "when the boys passing the sacrament sit down."

12:15-1:00 (the talks):
Treat bag! This was Brynlie's main area of success. (But other weeks without this "schedule" she is not the exhausting "problem" of sacrament) I handed her a whole baggie full of snacks (mostly healthy things like raisins) and she loved the free reign to choose which treats she wanted and when. This kept her occupied for almost 20 minutes!!
Trevin, too, loved it and played with his books during this time.

With only 20 minutes left I pulled out Brynlie's purse of toys mostly because she saw it. (If she hadn't seen it she would have been content without it)

I debated whether to even bring out trevins eggs (quiet time activity with easter eggs and an egg carton) because he was pretty content. Then he had a small out burst with 5 minutes left so I whipped them out and we flowed easily through until the end of the closing prayer!!

Today it went like this:
11:50-12:00 (before the Sacrament):
Trevin played on the bench and Brynlie participate like last week.

12:00-12:15 (during the Sacrament):
Trevin had a few treats and played with a few books. This wasn't perfectly ideal because of all the resources I had to use, but we made it. Brynlie during this time was very eager but equally patient to wait for her treat bag.

12:15-1:00 (the talks):
For the next 20 minutes Brynlie enjoyed her treat bag (another successful activty for her). This was also the climax of Trevin's neediness. I'm not incredibly sure but I believe Trevin and I survived by trying (again) all the books and I treats I had. 

He finally became content when I pulled out the tin box of crayons. He spent 20 minutes tipping over the box and putting all the crayons back in. Brynlie wanted to color during this time and was very kind to not demand all the crayons be in her possession. Instead she'd lean over and grab the crayon she wanted and let him have the rest! So sweet. Angels helped these too be patient with each other and relax and be content.

Another thing I've done is have one diaper only for Sunday that has everything (diapers, wipes, toys and books) already packed except the treats. It makes packing up and getting ready for church the night before so much more doable. (It's not really an exciting joy to pack up the diaper bag full each week at 10pm, so just worrying about the treats helps). Plus this keeps the novality of the toys to "Sunday only" toys which should help for a little. I already have switched toys out to help as well. :)

Having a smoother Sacrament meeting effects the rest of the day somehow. I've been a lot less exhausted/overwhelmed and have a lot more positive energy at the end of the meeting which is priceless!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Gardening 2014: Starting out passionate

Lately I have been loving working in the garden!! Ever year is usually a complete failure (other than last year when I didn't even plant it in the first place. I had my friend Natalie plant it and reap from it for the summer/fall).

But three things changed for this year: I'm only planting plants I have plans for and none of my plants have to be bottled (yay! Bottling is still an overwhelming and new concept for me that I plan on conquering one day, just not this year! :)), Natalie showed me that keeping up on weeding and then actually reaping in the harvest is POSSIBLE in MY GARDEN (another new concept for me), and I've had a year to realize that having at least one successful year of gardening is a huge goal of mine that was subconscious until now.

So here's my first tapered furrow that I was sooo proud of!!
Here's my two rows of carrots and two rows of spinach. We eat carrots as a staple vegetable and I eat spinach in green smoothies almost every day. Green smoothies can be expensive but not if spinach (and strawberries-below a few pictures) are growing in my garden!!
Then I planted two rows of kale for some more green smoothie fun:
Other part of the garden that has me stoked is the strawberries! Kind of as a last minute decision, I decided that my garden is a green smoothie garden and therefore strawberries are essential! Sidenote: trav backs me up on all this and appreciates my effort but we've decided that its fine if it's "my" garden. :)

Anyway, 3 years ago trav and I added what we call black "weed guard" stuff to our flower gardens in the back. Although the black weed guard is WAY tacky when you can see it through the wood chips (sorry, Michelle, you've had to look at it all these years!) we dubbed this a fantastic decision because we haven't had to weed it for YEARS!

But this year I cut out a section and I'm going to plant strawberries in a few weeks and hope over the years the strawberry plants will spread and become a nice ground cover too.
Under the bay window will be flower bushes and in front of the window well be the strawberries.

So fun to have a hobby that's also productive on many levels!! :)

Monday, April 7, 2014

Motherhood: the 1 year old and 3 year old stages

I have loved watching Trevin in each of his stages but this 1 year stage has been so so fun! I love watching him not only learn to walk but how incredibly proud he is of himself as he's walking!! I love that he can sign and that he loves to learn new signs! And how he understands the main things I say about food and toys! Right now it just seems like he feels so accomplished and proud of himself which at this stage of learning and innocence is just the sweetest thing I've seen! I'm also loving that he sleeps through the night. Meaning: he wakes up between 7:30 and 8 for the day with the rest of us and can wait 10 minutes and have breakfast before his bottle full of cows milk!
I'm also loving how helpful Brynlie is becoming! How independently she goes potty! How incredibly excited she was when we ate our dinner outside! (Totally worth all the effort just to witness her seventh heaven excitement!) How when she sees Trevin cry when I can no longer play basketball with him picks up a ball and says, "I'll play basketball with you, Trevin." When she gets rewarded for such a kind and thoughtful gesture says, "what can I get if I play tractors with him?" Seriously? Can I just squeeze you!!!?
Love love love!!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Motherhood: Have fun!

That evening (mentioned in the previous post), once the kids were asleep, I was reminded of a principle and then I also did something that completely rejuvenated my faith. I was reminded by Connie Sokol's free podcast called "Beat the Holiday Blues" (and she has many more) to have conscious fun!! I'm really good and working hard even when I don't want to. I love to have fun but easily choose "more important" tasks instead. So I made a list of things I like to do that are unproductive and things that I feel good after (can be productive). Like taking pictures of the details in our yard and organizing something.

Today I'm gonna make time to have full on fun even for 15 minutes!

Also, last night I combined and created my weekly dinner plan with a kids lunch plan, daily fun mom activity, daily kids activity and other calendar type plans (like playing with Hadley and her mom on Friday). I feel so organized and less "what are we going to do TODAY?" When I plan from "off the seat of my pants" I tend to plan things more based on my mood and the same things over and over. Normally it's fine and works well but just slightly exhausting. On days like yesterday where my mood and energy level aren't an asset, I need a solid plan that is unrelated to my mood.

Yay for a plan and "fun" solutions!!

Connie Sokol's free podcasts:

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Motherhood: We will survive!

Today I had another one of the moments where I realized I had a choice make: to be a crazy and sad mother or a steller mom for my family's specific needs. I suppose I've chosen sanity because I have a plan for tomorrow and some determination way down somewhere in my bones. But I'm still bloated with an ulcer and overwhelmed. Unrelated to motherhood overwhelmedness, Trevin's got a fat lip, and Trav has the stomach flu.

Anyone else done with winter/spring sicknesses!?? They might just do me in! Phew! :)

Things are bound to improve though, right?! Chances are low Trav will have the stomach flu forever. And if I choose faith President Hinckly says things ALWAYS work out for those that have faith. And a grain of a mustard seed has been told to work!! 

Here's to fighting through those mothering blah and frustrating days.